workin’ hard in the kitchen

I woke up at 5:15 this morning. 

No alarms were needed to wake me up.  Just the warm and comforting thought of a hot shower and a hot bowl of oat bran.  Mmm…

Using my basic oatbran method in the recipe page, I also added in some dried cranberries and topped it all off with some lightly salted mixed nuts (ah-mazing!!)

Trail mix meets oat bran.  In one yummy, delicious bowl.  Worth.  Waking.  Up.  For. :mrgreen:

The kitchen of the High School was b-b-b-busy this morning!  I immediately threw on some gloves and got to work.  After pouring out 1/2 c. portions of peaches, I helped make pizza.

It was so much fun stretching out the dough and swirling on the red pizza sauce.  The olive oil and herb mixture that was placed around the crust smelled absolutely heavenly!  I also made some calzones, which was the “special” of the day.  Fun! 

All of this working in the kitchen immediately brought me back to my days of working at an assisted living facility.  It was hard work, and at the end of the day I would always be physically and mentally exhausted.  Completely.  But there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing people enjoy the food that you worked hard to put together.  Especially when they actually enjoyed it…haha. 😉 

Four hours into working at the high school, and I was oh-so-ready to dig into my lunch bag!

First, a morning snack: an apple and a cheesestick

I like to use up leftovers.  This explains my lunch. :mrgreen:

  • 1 c. cooked brown rice (leftover!)
  • about 1 c. of sauteed summer squash & zucchini (leftover!)
  • about 1/2 c. roasted turnips (leftover!)
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • salsa and parsley

Brown rice is so versatile and makes for an awesome lunch when mixed with veggies and a protein source.  I devoured every last, delicious bite.

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. yogurt + 2 T. Pumpkin Flax Granola + Almond Butter

 Return Of The Tofu Press!!!

Wait.  That’s not tofu.  Oh, you’re right.

That would be frozen, dethawed spinach.  I’ve heard that the tofu press works well with those kinds of things, but I’ve never actually tried it.  Until tonight, that is, while making a spaghetti pie. 

This baby worked like a charm. 😀

Mom and I both had the late afternoon off today, so we both got our hands dirty in the kitchen.  It was fun having a cooking companion. 😀

On the menu: Vegetarian Spaghetti Pie (hint: call it Spaghetti Pie if you have family members who are still wary of eating vegetarian dishes 😉 )

Vegetarian Spaghetti Piecourtesy of Eat Well, Live Well Cookbook…with some tweaking

  • 8-oz. whole wheat spaghetti noodles, uncooked
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and separated
  • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. green pepper, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1-10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook spaghetti in boiling water according to package directions; drain.  Add oil, eggs and 1/4 c. of mozzarella cheese.
  3. Press mixture onto the bottom of a 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick spray.  Build the edges high to form a crust.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. In a nonstick skillet cook the onion, green pepper and garlic until tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, basil oregano, and salt.  Set aside.
  5. Spread ricotta cheese over top of spaghetti crust.  Layer mozzarella cheese on top.  Layer the spinach on top of this and then the tomato mixture.
  6. Cover the pie with foil and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 2-3 minutes.

Makes about 6 servings.

Meanwhile, while the spaghetti pie was baking, I threw together a larger than life salad.

Complete with yellow & red tomatoes, EVOO, sea salt, black olives, ‘shrooms, carrots, cucumbers and celery.  Fresh, fresh, F-R-E-S-H!!!

About 20 minutes of baking time later, and this came out.

Melty.  Ooey-gooey.  Saucy.  Rich.  Fresh.

Not even being a pasta fan, I am in love with this recipe.  It very closely resembles a vegetarian lasagna, with the red sauce tasting much like a marinara.  So yummy.  I think the overall recipe could use some extra vegetables (mushrooms, summer squash, etc.) to reach perfection, but it’s well on its way.  Feel free to mess with this recipe and make it your own. 😀

I get to go in an hour later tomorrow (8’oclock vs. 7’oclock!), so I have high hopes for a morning run.  I’m not at all looking forward to running in the winter, but I’m absolutely loving my chilly autumn runs. 😀

Question: What was your favorite job that you have ever had?  For me, it was definitely working at a service dog training facility.  Playing with & training golden retriever puppies all day and getting paid for it?  Um…yeah.  It doesn’t get better.

focused

Perfect.  There’s really no other way to explain my morning.

I had time for a morning bowl of hot oats (such a luxury these days!)

I had time for a morning 3-mile run.  Which, by the way was probably my favorite run of the past couple months.  I headed out into some hardcore rain, with the sound of distant thunder cracks in the background.  I didn’t surrender. :mrgreen: On the way home, however, the sun peaked out through the clouds, and the sky turned into this gorgeous array of colors.  Orange intermingled with blues and white puffy clouds off to the side.  It was gorgeous.  Stunning! 

Somehow I managed to sneak hot oats and a morning run into my routine, while still waking up at the same time.  I really don’t know if I could do this again if I tried. :mrgreen:

Lunch was quick ‘n’ easy to pack today!

On Monday, I baked an extra sweet potato and threw it in the fridge to be used as a lunch for sometime this week.  Last night, I wanted something easy to throw together, so I slathered on some peanut butter between the potato.  Voila!  Lunch was on! 

Along for the ride: kashi crackers and cheese, pineapple and watermelon fruit cup, and diced red & green bell peppers for some extra veggies and crunch.

Afternoon Snack: plain yogurt with Kashi Cinnamon Harvest and raisins with a drizzle of maple syrup

My focused morning kept me going today.  For real.

Little things that normally would have really got to me, just didn’t phase me in the slightest.  Not even a coffee stain on my shirt or a wet car seat (due to leaving the windows open last night…haha) could bog my good mood.  I felt completely energized and ready.

These morning runs during my “work week” really need to happen more often. 😉

I kept dinner simple, since I was dining solo.  A nice big garden salad with fresh cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, black olives, kidney beans, and olive oil & sea salt.  Twas delicious as ever. 😀

+ an orange spiced bran muffin on the side (LOVE these!)  They’re soft, moist, and filled with a rich citrus zing.  Super easy to bake too.

I am so ready to unwind and relax.  I spent most of my day sitting in front of my computer screen, working hard at finishing the Job Tasks Lists that my Food Service Preceptor would like to have done.  Phew.  It’s time consuming!  But the end is in sight. 😀

Happy HUMPDAY!

Question: Favorite type of muffin?

transition phase

Yesterday was all about fall.  And—if this is at all possible—I’ve become even more excited about its upcoming appearance, after reading all of your ‘fall-filled’ comments.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.  Bring on that cool, hoodie & jeans styled weather! 😀

But around here, we’re still in that silent transition phase.  That point where you’re not really sure if fall is just a tease, or if summer truly is on its last running stretch.  Days that offer a little bit of summer, a little bit of fall.  I like to think that this phase gives us the best of both seasons, all in one day.

With today being Labor Day and all, my family needed to celebrate.  Outdoor style.   

Any good celebration includes (1) a picnic table (or anything that allows you to eat outdoors, really…a picnic blanket would do just fine 😀 ).

(2) A grill to cook off of.  And hopefully someone who knows how to cook on one.  Let me tell you right now, I am hands off when it comes to the grill.  Too little temperature control, too much a mind of its own.   Scariness!

But then again, maybe I should add ‘master the grill’ to my bucket list?

Lastly, any good celebration involves (3) family.  The more, the merrier.  My Pepere and Nicole came to join us for good food and fun conversation. 

Mom and Nicole

One of my favorite things about cookout fare in the late summer/early fall is that it’s absolutely a-okay to grill up the meats, veggies, corn, etc. on the grill, while simultaneously turning on the indoor oven. 

These babies were baked in the oven (325 to 400—temperature was increased for timing reasons 😉 ) for a good 2 hrs.  Roasty.  Crispy.  Perfect. 

I went for a sweet potato version which went through this whole ooey, gooey, caramelization phase.  It was lovely. 😀

Let’s talk corn.

For the full experience of enjoying corn on the cob, corn must be grilled in its husk at least a few times a year.  Yes, you can boil it for decent results.  But for that really sweet, “I can’t resist your love” type of feeling, you simply need to grill it.  Just soak the corn in the husk for about 15 minutes to prevent scorching and then throw them on the grill, rotating every so often.  It takes about 15 minutes (longer or shorter depending on your desired results.)

I chose tempeh for my protein of choice today.  I’ve never been a steak girl (I know, I know…many grill masters would cry over this fact—sorry!), but tempeh and tofu are extra nice when grilled.  Using weber’s tofu method for grilling (spray a sheet of foil, plop the tofu or tempeh on the sprayed sheet, and grill for about 10 minutes, flipping once), I first basted 1/2 the block of tempeh in some Bone Suckin’ Sauce.  The sugars in the sauce helped contribute to those nice, golden markings and rich, smoky flavor.

Delicious.

And, really, no celebration is complete without my sister’s focaccia bread.  It’s quickly becoming that secret recipe which everyone begs for at every. single. family. gathering.  Summer, fall, winter, spring.  It really doesn’t matter what the season, somehow this bread always works.  Always.

The meal was considered complete when this local, last-of-the-season watermelon was brought out for dessert. 

Sweet perfection. 😀

I love the seasons’ transition phases. 

Enjoying the foods of both summer and fall.  Taking in the warmth that the summer sun still has to offer.  Enjoying a cool breeze.  Wearing a hoodie and a pair of flip flops.

*Sigh*

Life is good. 😀

Time to get organized for tomorrow’s busy day at the school!! 😀

Question: Did you celebrate Labor Day?

Hello, Fall.

Hello, Fall.

Hello, cozy mornings, hot cups of coffee, and warm fuzzy socks.

Hello, hot bowls of oatbran, sprinkled with granola, and topped with melty pb&jam. 

Hello, Fall.

Hello to those long morning walks, in my jeans and a warm, fuzzy hoodie.

Hello, big black lab with your thick winter coat.  Hello, big black lab with your endless energy and enthusiasm—your happiness with life itself.  Hello.

Hello, warm morning sun, with your lingering reminder of a summer past.  Hello, warm morning sun, with your gentle, glowing kiss.  Hello.

Hello, Fall.

Hello, fresh local vegetables.  Hello to your crops of squash, cabbages, pumpkins.  Hello to your deliciously abundant, end-of-the-season zucchini.

Hello, roasted brussels sprouts.  I’ve missed you.

Hello, Fall.

Hello, apple farms.  Hello, homemade cider donuts, “pick your own” apples, and freshly made apple cider.

Hello, hayrides.  Hello to the intoxicating smells of fresh hay, sweet apples and fallen leaves.  Hello.

Hello, Fall.

Hello to walking through petting zoo’s while at the apple farm.  Hello to my not-so-mild obsession with little black goats…

…warm fuzzy noses…

…and squiqqly little tails. 

Hello, Fall.

Hello, Fall.

Hello, afternoon snack, picked right from the tree.  Crisp.  Cold.  Fresh.

Hello, afternoon snacks of the week.  Week(s)??

Hello, Fall.

Hello, Fall.

Hello, Starbucks.  Hello to your warm pumpkin spice lattes.  Hello to your promise of upcoming gingerbread lattes too.

Hello to driving home with the windows down, a chilly breeze against my face, a fuzzy hoodie, and a cup of warmth in my hands.  Hello.

Hello, Fall.

Hello, visions of apple crisps, applesauce, apple pan dowdy, and apple spice muffins. 

Hello to actually wanting to heat up the kitchen again. 😉

Apple Sauce

cored apples (about 10)

sliced apple wedges + a bit of water (less than a cup)

brought to a boil and simmered (for about 10-15 minutes)

brought to a soft, mooshy state

blended and mixed with 2-3 T. brown sugar + cinnamon and nutmeg as desired (blending not necessary if you peel the apples, but I like to leave the fiber and nutrients completely intact 😀 )

and stored (in the fridge, up to one week)

for the full experience, be sure and serve this stuff h-o-t!  And preferrably with homemade bran muffins. 😀

Question: What is one thing that you look forward to in the fall?

summed up in five words

A big thanks for all the comments regarding my newly organized recipe section.  It feels good to have everything all laid out, both for my own easy access and hopefully for yours too. 😀 

I spent the last several hours at a Verizon store, trying to find the most affordable phone possible.  I’ll be honest.  There were some fancy schmancy ones that immediately caught my attention.  I kind of liked the idea of being able to blog anywhere, anytime, anyplace.  My head began to swoon just a little, until the sales clerk came over and snarkly commented that there were 4 phones to choose from that did not require the $30 internet payment.  I looked at one poor little phone all by itself and fell in love.  Just like that.  I hope it’s okay to get all sentimental and attached over such a thing as a phone.  Please tell me this is normal. 

Anyways, without further ado, let’s get to the nitty gritty of food.  All summed up in five words because I’m completely out of words after talking phones, service, and monthly payments. 😉 

Summed Up In Five Words.

“Un”overnight Oats In A Jar.

Globs Of Peanut Butter = Amazing.

Cheddar Cheese Meets An Apple.

You Will Love This Recipe

Recommendations: Delicious With Sweet Potatoes. 😀

Sharp Cheddar Cheese Meets Cauliflower.

Nothing To Say But ‘YUM.’

Juicy, Cold, Fresh, Sweet, Dessert!

Yogurt, Flax, Granola, Almond Butter.

Star Of Dinner = Fresh Corn.

Sweet Summer Corn On Cob.

Star Of Dinner #2 = Basil Hummus.

Y.  U.  M.  M.  Y.

Filled With Greens And Happiness. 😀

Gone To The Dark Side.

Tomorrow —> Food Service Rotation Begins!

Time To Read And Relax. 😀

weekend post: ‘happiness’

“The secret to getting what you want, is wanting what you’ve got.” 

Happiness is found in a long walk with dad after dinner.

Happiness is found in having the kitchen completely to myself, along with some Brad Paisley, a favorite apron, and a little blue dutch oven.

Happiness is a batch of sweet potato fries and a can of black beans that have been turned into some homemade black bean patties.

Happiness.

Happiness is found in having an entire day off from work, school, internship.

Happiness is found in that first sip of coffee. 

Happiness is found in a random phone call from a friend.  A sister.  Best friend.

Happiness is found in fresh summer squash, sauteed in balsamic vinegar with a bit of salt and pepper.  Sprinkled delicately with feta cheese.

Happiness.

Happiness is found in that energetic morning run.

Happiness is found in making an elderly woman smile at the mall, after commenting on how beautiful she looks in a sparkly blue dress.

Happiness is found in dining al fresco, taking in the last of the summer sun.

Happiness.

Happiness is having no homework to do.

Happiness is spending the night by a campfire in my pajamas with a Real Simple magazine.

Happiness.

Question: What made you happy today?

“because you had a bad day…”

You’re taking one down.  You sing a sad song, just to turn it around.

Cheezy song?  You decide.  I actually kind of like it and it really does turn my mood around.  Apparently it doesn’t take a whole lot. 😉

Not that I had a horribly “bad day” per say. 

And it did start out in a wonderfully delicious away.

  • 6-oz. plain yogurt mixed with 2 T. crushed flax
  • 1.5 c. Kashi heart to heart
  • banana
  • peanut butter
  • raisins

I used to eat this breakfast every single morning.  Much like the breakfast cookie.  Every.  Single.  Morning.  It’s crunchy, creamy, delicious.  And quick. 😀

Part of what I do on a “bad” day is to list the top 3 things that I’m appreciative of in that day.  Instant mood lifter!

  1. The sun.  I love rainy days, I do.  They’re cozy, refreshing, and absolutely wonderful.  But there’s nothing like watching the sun come out after 3 days of rain.  I love feeling the kiss of a warm sun on a nice long walk.  Mmm….
  2. Coffee.  Because nothing slows down the morning like sipping on a hot cup of coffee.
  3. My parents.  Not just because of their financial support in helping me achieve my career dreams, but also because of their emotional support.  Always there for me when I’m excited, when I’m grumpy, when I’m happy and when I need to vent. 😉

What are you some of the things that you appreciate today (or every day)?

I didn’t get around to eating my lunch until after the high school orientation, which was somewhere around 3 o’clock.  That would be exactly 8 hours since breakfast.  Needless to say, I was starving. 

  • white bean and black olive soup
  • kashi crackers
  • almonds
  • an apple

I kid you not, nothing has ever tasted so delicious.  😉

My bad day came to a close when I went out for a walk with dad.  I literally felt my stress drifting away into the wind.  Nothing left but a smile on my face, a cob web cleared brain, and a whole new outlook on my day.  Walking and talking is oftentimes the perfect medicine for a lot of things.

Sardines haven’t made an appearance in my house lately.  I need to change that.

I used to be the sardine queen, eating them at least once or twice a week.  They’re (a) cheap, (b) filled with omega 3 fat—the healthy fats that your body needs! and (c) incredibly versatile—sandwiches, melts, “fried” with a bit of whole wheat flour for coating, baked, topping for crackers, etc.  If the sight or thought of a sardine grosses you out, try mashing them up and treating them like tuna.  Such as I did with dinner tonight.  I topped my basic salad with the following:

mix together

  • 1 can of sardines
  • spicy brown mustard (I use Trader Joes)
  • celery
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 avocado

Drizzle salad with a bit of olive oil and voila!  Dinner is on.  And for such a little fish, you’re getting a whole lot of nutrition bang for your buck. 😀

I also had another sharp cheddar cheese quesadilla, because—well—I am truly addicted.

I have today “off” from driving anywhere.  *Sigh*  So happy.  And there are plans for icecream tonight.  It’s going to be a glorious weekend. :mrgreen:

Off for a run! 😀

Question: What are some of the things you appreciate today (or every day)?

b-b-b-usy morning

Back in the day when life consisted of early morning classes, too little time, lack of sleep, and biochemistry exams, I became good friends with the breakfast cookie.

(check out my ‘breakfasts’ section on the right for the easy peazy recipe!)

Quick.

Easy.

Nutritious and filling.

Perfect.  It’s my breakfast of choice on those mornings when even drying my hair is an unrealistic option.  😉

Someday soon, I will tell you all how tired I am of salads.  How ready I am for warm, winter soups.  How, if I see one—just one!—more cucumber or tomato, I will not be able to withold a scream.

But until then, I’ll keep on munchin’.  My lunch time salads have been continually hitting all those right spots.  Mmm…summer produce makes me wonder how I could ever grow tired of a crisp, tender salad.

  • mixed greens
  • cucumber and tomato from the garden
  • carrot
  • kidney beans
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

+ kashis’.

+ dessert.

I love packed lunches.

Also brought along an apple, some almonds and a homemade granola bar for those hunger attacks in the morning and afternoon.

I never quite know what to call a dinner like this.  Scrambled eggs?  Veggie scramble?  Scrambled eggs with veggies?

  • about 1.5 c. worth of organic frozen spinach, dethawed and drained
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • diced tomato (seeds removed)
  • garlic powder
  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites, whisked together with salt, pepper and a splash of milk

I sauteed all the veggies together in a nonstick pan coated with cooking spray for a good 3-4 minutes before adding the egg mixture.  I love combos like this.  Only mushrooms would have improved it.  And maybe black olives. 😉

I also had a cheese quesadilla on the side because—yes—I am hopelessly addicted.  There’s something about a crispy whole wheat wrap and the melty x-sharp cheddar cheese.  Addicting.

Post dinner, I indulged in 30 minutes of yoga which felt ah-mazing on my tight back and legs.  I also indulged in a couple of medjool dates and a bowl of cereal for a night time snack, which is something I always have.  Eating a little bowl of cereal with milk at night helps me sleep while also giving me some extra pep for a morning run. 😀

Today was my last day of Preclinical Training, but instead of jumping right into the clinical rotation, I’ll be spending 2 months at a high school in food service.  And the orientation for that starts tomorrow!  I’m excited—nervous—and so ready for the ball to get rolling. 😀

Question: What is your favorite “busy morning” breakfast?

injuries and moving on

Five.  Count ’em, f-i-v-e!!  I cranked out five delicious miles this morning.  Running over hills, hopping and skipping past puddles, smiling ear to ear.  F-i-v-e.

I can’t remember the last time I ran 5 miles.  I think it was way back in February sometime, before knee injuries and plantar problems became part of my life. 😉

Injuries are a pain, yes they are.  But they also teach us important things.  Like, for example, when our bodies say, “hey you, wake up! I’m tired, give me a break!”  Well, it’s *kind* of important that we listen up.  Here are some other “injury-related lessons” that I’ve learned through the months and over the years:

  • An injury is not forever.  Take it in stride and take it as a change in pace.  Find something new to exert your energy on!
  • Remind yourself that doing some other exercise—biking, yoga, swimming, hiking—is just a means to help you return to doing the activity that you love the most.  I biked for 4 months because I am a runner!
  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  When reintroducing yourself to your favorite activity, start slow.  Just because you ran 11 miles a couple months ago doesn’t mean you’re now a wimp for doing 1.  Build up gradually to avoid reinjuring yourself and stop immediately if you feel the old pain coming back.  It’s so, so, so important to heal before returning to a regular routine.

Today’s “un” overnight oat mixture:

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. crushed flax
  • toppings: dollop of almond butter and coconut flakes

So delicious.  We’ve had some really chilly mornings lately—perfect for hot oats.  But I still find myself craving the warmer weather fare. 😀

Morning Snack: Almonds and Watermelon

Return. Of. The. Chopsticks.

Eating rice with chopsticks can be a bit on the tricky side.  Especially dry brown rice, since it’s much less sticky than—say—sushi rice.  But it’s still fun and totally doable. :mrgreen:

Simply mixed together brown rice, black beans, frozen corn, a few spices (as in cumin, cajun, etc.) and some salsa.  Heated it all up, tossed with some lettuce greens—I love when it gets all wilty!—and called it a meal.  There were some raw veggies on the side for some x-tra veggies too. 😀

Peachy keen. 😀

It was pouring cats and dogs all afternoon, which was absolutely fine by me.  It kept me glued to my chair with nothing but the sounds of raindrops for company.  Gotta keep memorizing my Medical Terminology.  I have such a tough time remembering certain prefixes, abbreviations and terms.

ABG’s.  Stands for Arterial Blood Gases.  I can not for the life remember this one, but maybe typing it out will help. 😉

Study Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola + chunky peanut butter

With the risk of being called repetitive, I indulged in white bean and black olive soup once again for dinner.  It was even better then yesterday. 😀

And an ooey gooey cheesy quesadilla is really too delicious to have only once.  Crispy.  Stretchy.  Cheese.

Yum.

I need to get back to studying for some more brain cramming time. :mrgreen:

Tomorrow’s To-Do’s:

  • Last day of preclinical training!
  • Stop at whole foods/trader joes for some necessities.
  • Study.
  • Take post-clinical exam.

Question: Have you ever had a sports-related injury? 

monday morning madness

I don’t care that it’s Monday.

I don’t care that it’s rainy and dark.

I don’t care that the electricity went out last night.  Or that I was out of bed by the ungodly—and completely unnecessary—hour of 5:00am (since I had no way of knowing what time it was until seeing the kitchen clock.)  Do.  Not. Care.

I don’t care.  I refuse to be grumpy.  Refuse

I didn’t say I couldn’t be tired though, now did I?  Because I was.  In fact, I was almost too tired to function.  I figured if anything was going to spice up my morning—making me feel energetic and ready for the new day—it would be a bagel.

I’m hooked on Thomas’ whole wheat bagels.  I covered it with almond butter and honey roasted peanut butter this morning, just because I can never make up my mind about such things (almond butter? honey butter? why not both?)  And bananas.  Sweet, marshmallow styled bananas.

Plus a big ol’ mug of coffee with soy.  Totally necessary. 😉

I like to pack my lunches the night before I actually need them.  I’ll sometimes wait for the morning of, but it never turns out quite the same.  For starters, I hate feeling rushed—especially in the morning.  And the end result is usually a less than stellar lunch.  Nothing is worse then opening up a lunch pack and seeing that I didn’t really put any thought into creating my midday meal.  What a downer.

Today I was prepared.  Last night I had a salad for dinner, so I just doubled up on all the chopping duties and created my lunch for today.  Easy Peazy! 😀

  • mixed romaine greens
  • carrot
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • black olives
  • black beans
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • sea salt

I’m really into bread lately.  This Organic Multigrain Boule is fantastic.  It makes that crusty noise when you slice into it, but the inside is all doughy with specks of seeds and nuts. 

I smeared artichoke hummus all over a big hunk of bread for that perfect, carby counterpart.

+ a peach!

Packed and ready to roll!

So thankful that I brought along 3 snacks for the morning and afternoon.  My appetite was through the roof today, so they came in handy. 😀

My Moosewood Cookbook has been making a reappearance in the kitchen lately.  And I kind of like it.  A lot. 

Tell me this: what is more comforting than a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese quesadilla, on a cold, rainy evening?  Nothing.  I can’t think of one single thing. 

White Bean and Black Olive Soup and a grilled whole wheat tortilla filled with melty, stretchy, sharp cheddar cheese.  I grilled this baby up on a high heat to make the tortilla all crispy and flaky, while letting the cheese do its thing.  😀

My “tiredness” lasted the day.  Until—oddly enough—after dinner, when I went out for a 3 mile walk.  It’s true that exercise releases feel good endorphins, and I definitely felt that effect tonight. 😉 

I am so (so, so, SO) happy that I have tomorrow off from having to drive anywhere.  Wednesday and Thursday are going to be jam packed busy, so I’ll take all of the “relaxing” time that I can possibly get. 😉  Orientation for working in the high school for my food service rotation is this Thursday!  Already!!(?!?!)

Question: What is one thing about yourself that people might be surprised to know?  Okra is the only vegetable that I can honestly say I don’t like.