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Posts Tagged ‘Hummus’

I’m the type of person who cannot be idle. I find that when I have down time I end up getting antsy and think of anything and everything I could be doing. That being stated, sometimes you just need a day where you can stop, smell the flowers and relish in the peacefulness of having nothing on your agenda. Today was one of those days.

After my short country side run this afternoon I took myself on a “garden tour” around our backyard. My mom is extremely devoted to her gardens. She takes such pride and pleasure in them, and spends the majority of her day carefully tending to them. I think her dedication is what makes the flowers so beautiful.After my garden adventure we went to my cousin’s house for their birthday barbecue. I had a plate of grilled chicken, fruit and a mixed green salad with pear slices in a lemon vinaigrette. It wouldn’t be a birthday with out cake so I had a slice of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and a little mint chip ice cream (can never resist mint chip 🙂 )After the party, I went for a nice walk-and-talk with my mom. When we returned I headed into our back yard to do a cart-wheel,  just because I haven’t done one in ages, and proceeded to lay in the grass and stare at the sky for a while. Sometimes you just have to soak in the beauty.

It was such a nice day that we decided to sit outside and absorb the beauty over crackers, hummus, bread, cheese and a bit of Dr. Loosen Riesling.

Life is good.

Peaceful,

Nora

What are your favorite ways to spend down time?

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I’m a little over excited for this post! I could hardly sleep last night because I had thoughts of fresh produce, artisan bread, flavored pastas and hummus running through my head. Today my parents and I ventured to my version of Disney Land: The Farmers Market. I have always been a Farmer’s Market enthusiast. I distinctly remember a time during my childhood when my family would go to Farmer’s Market almost every Saturday during the summer. I would always willingly hop out of my bed, excited by the prospect of finding handmade clothes for my barbie dolls and tasting locally produced cheese curds (I especially liked the pizza flavored cheese curds…I was a strange child.). There is nothing like waking up at 6am and entering a customer packed venue filled with smells of fried dough and dirt , to obtain “the good selection” of plants and produce. The energy at the market is what appeals to me the most. The vendors are so passionate about their products and you know you are purchasing something that was tended to with care. I always try to buy locally grown/ produced goods when I can because supporting the community is something that is very important to me.

The produce this time of year in Upstate NY is not at it’s best, however; we did not walk away empty handed. My mom bought several vegetable plants and herbs for her garden which will be amazing to have this summer–you can’t  get any fresher than straight from your own backyard 🙂 !

We made a stop at the Mediterranean store at the market for ground cinnamon, goat cheese, fresh hummus and kalamata olives. We also purchased some locally harvested honey and locally produced Bailiwick Cheddar Cheese from Wake Robbin Farm.

Our trips to the market are never complete with out buying a loaf of bread from our favorite vendor. Today we purchased one of our favorites: Calamata Focaccia. This bread never disappoints and has large pieces of kalamata olives under the top layer of airy dough sprinkled with sea salt. Simply stated: heaven in bread form.Because we tend to be Sunday morning coffee, biscotti and newspaper people, we purchased three of these lovely chocolate almond biscottis to round out our trip. I’m looking forward to trying this tomorrow, they smelled buttery and divine!

I’m off to enjoy some bread, cheese and wine with my parents!

Buy Local,

Nora

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The last post was actually written on Friday but I was unable to post it because my internet connection was failing and my battery died. I had work all day at the bakery on Saturday, so I’m trying to play catchup with my post.

Friday Post:

I’m not sure how, but I woke up this morning at 6:30am. I felt completely awake at this ungodly hour, and parted the blinds to reveal the radiant sun. I decided to go for a run. I haven’t exercised in weeks and it was the perfect morning to start-up again. I grabbed half of a petrified Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar and strapped on my running shoes.

It felt so great to run again. I saw many other people out and about running, dog walking and biking, taking advantage of the beautiful morning before it was consumed by the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun. I’m not sure how far I ran, but it was a leisurely 40 minute adventure through my new neighborhood. It made me realize how much I miss running. In the past I have run many races, including a half-marathon in the Fall of 2008. I’m not in any sort of shape to compete, however; it is something I desperately want to get back in to.

When I got back to my quaint apartment, I made the most refreshing green monster smoothie. My smoothie was composed of: 1 large frozen banana, 5 ice cubes, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, 1 scoop GREEN Superfood, cinnamon, 1 TBS crunchy natural peanut butter, 2 handfuls of spinach and 1 cup vanilla soy milk.

For some reason it was thicker than usual, and completely rejuvenated me after my run. Shortly after I enjoyed a crisp Jonagold Apple as I read through old food magazines on my floor while waiting for the delivery truck to arrive with my futon. They told me they would arrive sometime between 10:30am and 1:30pm. Good thing I had a bunch of paper sorting to do and didn’t mind being home-bound for the time.

The delivery men came around 11:30am and finished assembling my futon just in time for lunch. I got a bit creative with the contents of my fridge and made a wrap with lots of Cedar’s Original Hummus, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, cucumber, carrots, button mushrooms and hot sauce. I also had the other half of my navel orange from the previous night’s dinner. My sweet tooth was calling me and I had a piece of dark chocolate almond bark for dessert.

After lunch I headed to the mall. I had ANOTHER appointment at the Apple store to “Meet My Mac” and learn some of the basics of using my new computer. I went a bit early with hopes of using the mall Wi-Fi to post my blog, but the slow connection failed me. I snacked on a PB&J Larabar and Grande Ice Coffee with Soy Milk while feeling completely defeated.

After my appointment I came home to make a semi-real dinner. Using my resources, I marinated some shrimp in BBQ sauce and grilled them on my panini maker. I also assembled a broccoli slaw using 2 cups of pre-made broccoli slaw blend mixed with a sauce composed of 2 TBS Plain Greek Yogurt, juice of 1/4 a lemon, 1 TBS Dijon mustard, cracked black pepper, a few dashes of Sriracha hot sauce and topped with ~1/4 cup garbanzo beans. This was such a refreshing meal for a hot evening and I enjoyed it with a glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve 2008 Chardonnay.

Dessert was exceptional. I have been loving the juicy and sweet strawberries this season and wanted to incorporate them into dessert. I ran out of vanilla ice cream but I found a Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt in my freezer. I let it defrost a bit and topped it with fresh strawberries and MaraNtha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread.

I’m realizing with all of these new changes in my life that there are some great expenses. During college, I never had to worry about paying rent, a gas bill, internet/cable bill and a food bill. I have always paid for grocery store items, however; I did have a meal plan so it wasn’t a burdensome bill. I’ve always had car and cell phone expenses, but after factoring in all of these additional expenses I starred at my bank account and financial spreadsheet dumbfounded by the reality that I am broke. I know everyone struggles at some point to “make ends meet” so to speak, but it has forced me to reconsider my spending. I’m not a big shopper when it comes to clothes, shoes and accessories but when it comes to food and food related products I tend to throw my money at it. Honestly, there is no real reason that I spend $2 on a snack bar or $9 on a nut butter jar other than curiosity and a love of food. I’m not going to stop eating the things I enjoy, I just need to make sure that I am being a bit more economical.

My internship position is full-time, requiring me to be in the office from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.  I want to have time after work to do things I enjoy such as exercising, reading and socializing, therefore; in order to avoid eating dinner at 9pm every night or spending unnecessary money on take out, I need to start meal planning, making things ahead of time and getting creative with leftovers.

My blog writings this summer are going to revolve around the mentality of planning healthy, sensible and easy to prepare meals.

Economically Minded,

Nora

What are ways that you save money at the grocery store? Do you create “make-ahead” meals?

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Hey everyone! I hope you all survived this Manic Monday! What makes Monday such a crazy day anyways? I swear I always feel like I’m being pulled in 7 directions, running around like a chicken with my head cut off (what a bizarre phrase.). I have lots of studying to get done this evening but wanted to post some of the foods that really hit the spot today. I love when I eat something and it is EXACTLY what I wanted.

“Breakfast” (I have to put this in quotes because this is not something I would typically consider breakfast.):

For once in my life I didn’t feel like making breakfast and I was in a rush to study. Good thing I have an ample bar supply! I know I said before that I wasn’t fond of these Chocolate Cherry Almond Luna Protein Bars but I think they are growing on me. When I went to my stash I was thinking Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna but this little guy just jumped out at me. It  COMPLETELY hit the spot and this mini meal held me over for a few hours!

Lunch:I’m still working on cleaning out my fridge  and I was craving some hummus and cheese on toast so lunch today was a monster sandwich. This monster contained: 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread, Cedar’s Original Hummus, Swiss Cheese, spicy brown mustard, spinach, cucumber, sprouts, Roma tomato and turkey breast. On the side I had watermelon and a Honeynana Chobani Champions with blackberries and 1 TBS walnuts.

Lunch was also supposed to have this beet, carrot, celery and ginger juice, but I think the beet was a little overripe (bad part of cleaning the fridge…things you forgot you had gone to waste 😦 ) and it tasted a little off.

After lunch I went to Barnes and Noble to study and of course I got a Grande Non-Fat Cinnamon Dolce Latte.I think I have it set in my head that I need a warm, sweet, foamy latte in my hands in order to focus on tedious material. I also had a bite of a Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Factory Cupcake that they had for sampling! SCORE! Only 4 more days!

Dinner:

Brace yourself…

All day long at the Barnes and Noble cafe I kept smelling coffee, peanut butter (they have amazing peanut butter cup cookies that they heat up!) and maple. I was also FREEZING thanks to their work conducive temperatures so I wanted something cozy for dinner. I saw this sweet potato and baked beans concoction on Caitlin’s blog, and knew I had to try it. I picked up some Bush’s Original Baked Beans (has bacon, not the vegetarian!) a while ago anticipating the day when I would make this. I roasted the potato in the oven at 450 for about 40 minutes. I almost cooked the sweet potato in the microwave but I LOVE eating the skin, and it gets crispy and caramelized when you roast it in the oven 🙂 . I cut the sweet potato open, sprinkled it with cinnamon and topped it with baked beans. HOLY COW! Caitlin, you are a genius! This is the most surprisingly fantastic thing I’ve ever consumed. I swear I would be a very happy girl if I had this every night for the rest of my life. On the side I had some roasted broccoli, carrot fries and dill pickles. Everything was dipped in ketchup, even the sweet potato.

Dessert:

I was feeling a bit “All-American-Cookout” after dinner and decided to continue this theme for dessert.I give you: Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt topped with cinnamon, chunky natural apple sauce, a chopped Medjool Date and Kopali Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs. This tasted like a wholesome apple crumble. The date pieces give a nice maple flavor, and harden for an extra chewy texture. It was only missing one thing: Peanut Butter. I dove back into my freezer candy stash after the photo for a miniature Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Perfection.

Now I am full and satisfied and ready to get back to work. I find it makes SUCH a difference when I study with a full and happy belly. I am a million times more focused and productive. Although, I do start day dreaming about all of the things I want to make post-graduation after a few hours of reading Freud.

Studying Hard,

Nora

What is your favorite simple and satisfying meal?

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When it comes to making sandwiches and wraps, I am full of issues. I want to add so many topping that I can hardly close them and eat them in a civilized manner. Some examples of this are:

This is BARELY closed.

I will never learn... Could not get it closed.

How many things can I put between two slices of bread?

Today, I didn’t even try. It was one of my rare days where I had time to make lunch at home and I wanted to take advantage of my warm toasted bread. As soon as the bread popped out of the toaster I slathered Cedar’s Original Hummus on both sides and added slices of Swiss cheese to melt on top. I added my other toppings: turkey breast, spinach, mushrooms, Roma tomato, sprouts and cucumber and ate it as is. I decided that it would be much more enjoyable to eat it like this rather than trying to push it down and wrap my mouth around it. I ended up cutting each slice in half to reduce the mess-factor and happily ate my “sandwich” (can you still call it that if it isn’t actually sandwiched together?). This was to die for. I LOVE (strong emphasis) toasted bread. It brings out all of the flavors in the nutty grains and has the best texture, that is sturdy enough to hold all of my toppings. I also think there is nothing like warm hummus and melted cheese. It is so…cozy, I only wish I had some cool avocado to lay on top of it, then it would have been the ultimate sandwich. I had some green grapes and a big carrot on the side. It was such a relaxing and delightful lunch.

In fact I was so relaxed that I ended up having a piece of chocolate and a cup of tea right after then promptly took a nap! I NEVER take naps, but it was just one of those days. I’m getting ready to go to the etiquette dinner this evening, which should be entertaining. To be honest, I’ve never really learned what all of those forks and spoons are for. I’m sure my bad table manners don’t stop there either. In fact I know they don’t. If you were sitting with me eating that sandwich today you would have probably been repulsed by my messiness, as my toppings were falling EVERYWHERE!

Living and Learning,

Nora

Have you ever learned proper dining etiquette?

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Why do I bother making sandwiches?

Behold: BEET JUICE.

I hope everyone is having an amazing Friday so far! The weather here has taken quite a drastic turn from the once sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures, to a bitter 40 degrees and dark clouds threatening rain. On gloomy days I like to relish in life’s simple pleasures; things that are relaxing and make me happy. I secretly love stormy weather in the Summer time because it gives me an excuse to cuddle up in blankets, make comforting food and watch movies for hours on end.

I feel extremely lucky to have some free time this afternoon to recuperate from a busy week. I even had time to make lunch: Bakery-made Muligrain bread, hummus, spinach, cucumber, mushrooms, sprouts, Roma tomato, and red bell pepper along with a jumbo glass of beet, Fuji Apple, carrot and celery juice. I always take time during the week to make a thoughtful meal in the morning and evening, however; lunch is usually a product from a campus eatery or a soggy sandwich concoction that I made hours before consumption. When I have the time I love making a fresh, and hearty lunch. There is nothing better than toasted bread. When you make sandwiches before hand they just aren’t the same.

This sandwich was MASSIVE and delicious. I honestly do not know why I bother with sandwiches/wraps because I tend to try to stuff way too many ingredients into such a small space. I think that the ultimate topping for this bread is hummus. The 7 grains and 4 seeds produce such a hearty texture and nutty taste; it doesn’t get much better than that!

I am officially obsessed with my Breville juicer. I don’t care what anyone says, I fully intend on juicing my heart out every chance I get. Today I made Beet, Apple, Carrot and Celery Juice. I can’t believe how much juice this produced, almost 16 ounces, and LOTS of foam.  I love the foam! Even at Starbucks, I always get the cappuccinos because of the yummy foam on top. (Okay, let’s pause to laugh.) This has such a great flavor but was missing something…ginger. I searched high and low but couldn’t find the small piece I had left :(. Next time I make this combination, I will definitely be adding a small piece of ginger!

I had a piece of Easter chocolate, to round out my carefully prepared lunch and can certainly say that the foods you eat can turn even the worst day upside down!

BEETing the Weather Blues,

Nora

What is the most unusual juice you have tried?

Has anyone tried any new recipes/ingredients lately? (I need some inspiration!)

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After lunch today, I professed my love to my panini maker. Trust me, if you had this grilled vegetable, goat cheese and hummus wrap for lunch you wouldn’t think it was odd to talk to a kitchen appliance either. Last night I tossed baby eggplant, red bell pepper, portabella mushroom strips and asparagus in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon and cracked black pepper and grilled them on my panini machine. I had some leftover, so I decided to throw them in a wrap with goat cheese, hummus, and spinach. It was such a nice combination. I am a goat cheese fanatic and love when it is slightly warm and creamy. Grilling the tortilla makes it nice and crispy; a perfect vessel for the soft texture of my fillings. On the side I had cedar’s original hummus and a large carrot sliced for dipping. I also had an unpictured apple and more of Mr. Chocolate Almond Bunny for dessert.

Days are numbered.

After my attacking Mr. Chocolate Almond Bunny,  I received and email to pick up a package at the campus post office. What could it be? I have been expecting contacts (that were supposed to come a week ago…I’m not going to get into that) but it was something even better, MY BREVILLE JUICER!I really should re-name this post to “My Obsession With Kitchen Appliances”. I was so excited when I picked this up. I placed my order a few weeks ago after wanting to make juice for MONTHS. I work at the bakery tomorrow evening, so I’m going to pick up some organic produce afterward. When I spoke to Mario Lopez **(he wrote this about juicing for my blog)** he suggested using organic produce so you avoid the occurrence of chemicals in your juice.  I can’t even express how much I am looking forward to using this baby!

Fun Gadgets,

Nora

What is your favorite kitchen appliance/cookware?

What should my first juice combination be?

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