Eating my cake

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Mmmmmhmmmm, there was leftover birthday cake hanging around my office yesterday, so I packed a piece and brought it to class last night to round out my apple/pb/raisins/mini-Luna dinner! I also found manchego cheese samples at the gourmet market next to Hunter, so those made the dinner cut, too. Here’s the spread all together:

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Now, let’s talk about this cake for a moment. img_2492In social work, we use something called a strengths-based perspective, and I like to apply this perspective to food from time to time … or all the time. As I worked my way through the cake during class, I noted three major strengths: (1) it had pineapple bits!, (2) the frosting tasted like whipped marshmallows!, and (3) the texture of the sugar flowers on the cake reminded me of meringue!!!

The third strength is the most noteworthy, as sugar flowers on cakes can sometimes have a bitter taste and a rock-like texture that indicates they perhaps were not meant to be eaten. But these flowers were so airy and lightly crunchy that I felt like I was floating on a sea of frothy egg whites. Unfortunately, I developed fuzzy, swirly sugar-head syndrome immediately upon finishing and had a hard time focusing on my class for a few. I ate some bites of roasted vegetables when I got home as I prepped today’s lunch, and that seemed to help, but the fuzz didn’t go away for real until I woke up this morning. I just can’t do sugar like I used to!

After the gym this morning (legs and stairs stats: 1 hr, 15 mins; 434 cals; 125 ave hr, 163 highest), I heated up a cup of my BSI entry: Zucchini-Lime Cheesecake Oatmeal. I may not have won the competition — sushi obviously ranks over oatmeal! — but this meal is still a champ as far as I’m concerned :-). I topped it with 1/3 cup of my healthy cream cheese “frosting”:

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This frosting is sooooooo good. It makes everything taste like carrot cake!

Lunch/evening snacks today are going to be exactly the same as lunch/evening snacks yesterday … with one exception. In place of the mini-Luna bar, I will be taste-testing this beauty:

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That’s right, my Quaker True Delights samples — all six of them! — arrived from Foodbuzz last night. Here they are, marching across my floor:

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And there’s no better time to try one out than on double workout day, right? I should probably be trying a different flavor first since Allison at Green Dog Wine already gave this one rave reviews, but come on, dark chocolate raspberry almond??? Who can resist that?

I’ve got another long day with the running club tonight, but I’ll be back eventually to report on any extra nibbles that appear along the way!

Lunch does not grow on trees

But first, thanks to everyone who sent some yoga motivation my way last night. I will try again eventually. Second, the ear plugs were phenomenal last night, yay sleep! And third, breakfast this morning was something old and something new. My last piece of carrot cake:

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And spicy cinnamon peanut butter hot chocolate because I needed something to zap me into the Monday spirit!

I made the hot chocolate with 1/3 cup unsweetened Silk, 2/3 cup water, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp sugar in the raw, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and just under 1 tbsp pb. This was my first time putting pb in cocoa, and it was soooooo good!

And, of course, I hit the gym before brekkie for arms + StairMaster. Stats: 1 hour, 10 minutes; 479 calories; 136 average heart rate; 167 highest.

Lunch

As usual, I did my Sunday cooking yesterday to unwind and get myself ready for the week. I’ll take you right through the process with me.

I finally found tofu for a decent price (at Whole Foods, of all places) on Friday, and I immediately put it in the freezer when I got home that night. When I’m planning to eat tofu in actual pieces (as opposed to pureed or disguised somehow), I always always freeze it first — I find it does wonders for the texture. I took the tofu out of the freezer yesterday, sandwiched it between layers of paper towels and two pizza stones, topped it with more oven-safe heavy dishware, and put it in my off oven (remember, I have a pilot light, so it stays warm in there) to thaw and drain. Once it was thawed enough (maybe two hours later), I sliced it into very thin pieces and returned it to the sandwich setup:

thaw/press part 1

thaw/press part 1

thaw/press part 1

thaw/press part 2

When the tofu was thoroughly thawed and drained, I followed Gliding Calm‘s brilliant tofu rub process. I love tofu cooked in restaurants, but this is the only home-cooking method I’ve found that works just as well. For my rub, I mixed honey, Thai red curry paste, chili powder, olive oil, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, white rice vinegar, and maybe more:

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I coated the tofu:

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And baked until perfectly crisped:

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Or a little too crispy (what else is new?) as I discovered upon flipping:

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But still delicious! Meanwhile, I chopped broccoli, kale, red cabbage, and carrot and mixed it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, coarse sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper for roasting:

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

I mixed the roasted veggies with the leftover sofrito rice/barley/cabbage from the past two weeks (don’t worry, I roasted this also to kill off anything spooky) and the tofu for my lunch “entree”:

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Here’s an overview of the entire lunch spread which also includes yogurt with banana/apple/strawberries/spices, an orange, carrot sticks, an apple, tbsp pb, tbsp raisins, and a mini Luna:

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Consumption of the apple, pb, raisins, and mini-Luna is entirely dependent on my level of success with nosing out extra food throughout the day that could qualify as dinner since I’ll be in class until 8. We’ll see what happens!

Geographical stress

Yay groceries! Here’s what I got this afternoon:

kale, broccoli, apples, unsweetened coconut, raisins, oranges, pumpkin, carrots, part-skim ricotta, strawberries

kale, broccoli, apples, unsweetened coconut, raisins, oranges, pumpkin, carrots, part-skim ricotta, strawberries

Total cost: $23!! That brings the week’s grocery total up to $35, leaving me with $5 of wiggle room for the rest of the week :-).

I stopped into the gourmet market by my apartment on the way home to pretend to shop so that I could get samples of cheese, Portuguese sweet bread, and toast dipped in fancy olive oil. We all know how much I love my free food!

While almost getting into several fistfights trying to maneuver my way through the grocery crowd shopping, I was on the phone complaining to my mom about NY living. I want three things that are impossible here: (1) my own apartment, (2) a car to drive to places like, say, the grocery store, and (3) grocery store aisles wider (just slightly, that’s all I ask) than my hips. I’ve been here for 8 1/2 years, and I’ve had enough!! Except that I have 1 1/2 years left of grad school …

I got home and went to town preparing lunch for the week (details to come tomorrow) and dinner for tonight. I had a teeny bit of Belkis’ beans left in the fridge (I froze the other half), so I mixed them with 1/2 cup pumpkin and 1/3 cup guacamole to increase the volume to my liking:

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With butternut squash seeds, grated homemade cheddar, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a dollop of yogurt:

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Macro love:

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For dessert, I had 1/4 cup cream cheese frosting (greek yog, part-skim ricotta, vanilla, maple cream, cinnamon, raisins, unsweetened coconut) with a few strawberries for dipping:

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And now it’s just about bedtime! I have a long day planned for tomorrow (5am gym + work + 1st class (blech) + commute home until 9pm), so I’m trying out some earplugs because this is Brooklyn, walls are thin, and most people over the age of six are still awake now. Maybe I will get some good sleep!

What do you wish you could change about where you live?

Nope, still not a yogi

Today, I woke up determined to do some yoga. After reading about all the good it’s done for Jenna at Eat, Live, Run and about Meghann’s success with the 20-minute sessions from yogadownload.com at The Inner Workings of a College Graduate, I came to the conclusion that yoga would be an excellent complement to my half marathon training. Sure, yoga and I have had a bit of a spotty past, but I’m not one to hold a grudge, and today’s a new day, right?

When my computer finally managed to download the Morning Flow #1 and the Yoga for Runners #1, I cheerily unrolled roommate’s pilates mat, enlarged the yoga pose guide on my computer screen, and settled in for a life-altering experience. The Morning Flow class started with child’s pose, soothing music, and a pleasant-voiced instructor. I thought to myself, Oh, this is lovely. Yoga and I are going to be fast friends.

Very quickly, however, I started to feel like the instructor was speaking Spanish — I could sort of understand her words, but by the time I deciphered them and the pose I was supposed to be doing, I was five steps behind. I started to look something like this:

This photo may or may not be from a less-than-sober moment in my younger days ...

This photo may or may not be from a less-than-sober moment in my younger days ...

Not one to be discouraged easily, I switched over to the Yoga for Runners class. But the same thing happened. After seven total minutes of yoga practice, I decided I’d had my fill for the day. Yoga, please don’t take offense. Maybe we just weren’t meant to be. We can try again another day when we’ve both had time and space to think.

With the yoga disappointment behind me, my next task was clear: BREAKFAST! Another slice of carrot cake (I cut this slice into 3 so it would look like more) and Nutcracker Sweet tea with unsweetened Silk (so excited to have my soy milk back!):

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This was even better today — the cream cheese frosting was super thick because the cake had absorbed a lot of the moisture:

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I’m such an artiste:

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I spent the morning finishing up some homework for my internship and dreading the re-start of classes tomorrow night.

I got my work done a little after 2:00 and dove into a yummy yummy lunch. My roommate Tara was making butternut squash soup the other night, so I had her save the seeds for me:

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I topped the seeds with coarse sea salt, sugar in the raw, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon:

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I put them in the oven at 425 and proceeded to forget about them completely until I realized that the weird popping sound I kept hearing was the seeds exploding in the oven. Whoops:

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But I’m not going to let a little bit of char stop me! I heated the rest of my red lentil-peanut soup with 1/2 cup of sofrito rice/barley/cabbage combo (that I’ve been eating all week) and sprinkled some of the still-delicious seeds on top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and two basil leaves for color:

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So pretty I can’t stand it!

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For dessert, I had 1/2 cup of zucchini-lime cheesecake oatmeal and more tea:

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With more cream cheese frosting and squash seeds, of course:img_2425

And now I’m off to brave the outside for the first time today. Girl needs some fresh air!

Addendum

Why stop eating, really?

Tonight, I made Zucchini-Lime Cheesecake Oatmeal for this week’s BSI contest. I did not know that I was making this until it was already made … which is usually what happens when I cook. Obviously, I had to taste test the oats when I finished, so I set myself up with a half-portion:

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It was deeeeeeeeeeeeelicious, if I do say so myself!

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And as if that wasn’t desserty enough, I followed up with a Godiva dark chocolate:

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Filled with chocolate-raspberry cream!

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And now, I’m done for real. I promise.