Live from the ice pack

Though I probably also could have titled this post: How to double your size in five days or less. On a positive note, though, it is a (thankfully!) rare experience for me to be physically unable to engage in vigorous excerise, and I might as well enjoy the expansion by continuing to eat as I normally do (and then some) and getting an extra half hour of sleep … in theory 😀

The work day started like any other: with tropical fruit salad, lemon curd + part-skim ricotta + yogurt, and granola.

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I actually ran out of time to finish this before my 11am visit, so I saved the last two bites for lunch dessert later.

Lunch at 12:30 was a repeat of yesterday’s southern comfort in slightly smaller portions with 1/2 cup sweet collard greens, 1/2 cup baked beans, and 1/4 giant piece of cornbread:

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To supplement, I also had about 1/3 cup of Myrna’s Dominican rice and fish:

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And one cup of her salad:

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Aren’t those cabbage ribbons beautiful? Myrna brought me enough of this rice and salad for tomorrow’s lunch, too. My coworkers treat me too well!!

Also, I probably had 4-6 of these guys throughout the day:

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Loving the cinnamon mints!

When the mid-afternoon nibbles hit around 3, I had another serving of the Newman’s white cheddar soy crisps I reviewed yesterday with about 2 tbsp homemade guac:

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While the soy crisps still tasted delicious, I have to add one complaint. The bag claims to hold 3.5 one-ounce servings. I actually used a food scale (for once) to measure one ounce of these crisps … and it definitely involved about half the bag!!! While I’m delighted that so many light and puffy soy crisps can squeeze into one serving, I’m bummed that I’m only getting 2-ish servings from what is supposed to be a 3-ish servings bag! And that’s using Newman’s serving guidelines — not even my own. Hmph.

Moving on, I had to leave my internship today at 3:30 to head to a mandatory seminar on working with aging populations at Hunter. I was thrilled to find that I was passing by Butterfield Market (aka my weekly supplier of manchego cheese samples) during their Passover Menu Tasting that I’ve seen them advertising on the sidewalk for a couple of weeks. How fortuitous … especially since Passover is my favorite holiday in the world due to the food that comes with it (and probably also because I am always so freaking starving after all the seder-ing that matzo becomes the most delicious delicacy EVER)!

Since I definitely needed more food (because eating is fun and not because I was hungry, obviously), I stopped in for “a little bit of everything, please.” Butterfield did not hold back:

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That plate included (in no particular order) gefilte fish, beef brisket, boneless chicken with apricot glaze, zucchini “linguine” with fresh herbs (YUM!), apple matzoh kugel (the BEST of the plate’s contents … but still no better than Aunt Sherye makes it), caulifower kugel with toasted pecans, and a non-Passover Ritz cracker with pate.

That could have been dinner, but why stop?? Especially when I had a fun dinner trick up my sleeve ….

To be continued!

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve?

Reminders:

1. Enter my Bob’s Red Mill giveaway!

2. Do you want to win the chocolate-covered vegan in a box? I know I do …

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The heat is on

Wow, sleeping until 6 is such a luxury! I hope I don’t get too used to it 😛

Heat story #1: I woke up and sat on a heating pad for 10 minutes. Then, I tied the heating pad to the top of my right thigh with a belt and dove into Gentle Hatha Yoga #1. I’m still feeling the pain, but it’s definitely getting better!

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Breakfast this morning was a second incarnation of protein porridge. I was craving a more “old-fashioned” flavor combo this time, so last night I mixed 1 cup of the porridge with 1 tbsp molasses, 2 tbsp raisins, cinnamon, and a crushed clove.

Heat story #2: This morning, the “oats” (just kidding, since there are no oats in here!) went in the oven (covered) for 30 minutes at 375.

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Heat story #3: While the porridge was in the oven, I tried to straighten my hair with the iron to address some of the style damage Supercuts did yesterday during the balding session. Since there was not much for the iron to grasp, this heat story was not as successful as the previous two.

Heat story #4: My apartment felt really warm, and I realized the heat was up to 70! I turned it off.

So back to the food. I layered the heated porridge over 1/2 cup Greek yogurt + part-skim ricotta blend and topped it with vanilla-almond granola, crumbled graham sticks, unsweetened coconut, and an extra little circle of raisins:

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Are you hot or cold?

Remember to enter my Bob’s Red Mill giveaway!

And check out this week’s BSI hosted by Ruth at Plentiful Plants. She’s doing avocado!!!!

Scrump-dip-liumptious

Woohoo, the Bob’s Red Mill giveaway is off to a great start! Keep those entries coming!

In other exciting news, I am back safe and sound from the doctor. While waiting to go in for my appointment, I took this beauty out of the candy jar:

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The outside was a white mint candy, and the inside was a real chocolate surprise, mmm.

The doctor pressed a lot of muscles in my back and in my leg, but nothing she did caused extra pain, so she thinks I had a big muscle spasm that resulted in some sort of enzyme explosion that is now causing me discomfort (or this is at least what I gathered from the broken English). She prescribed me an anti-inflammatory (which I’m debating about even fulfilling since I can just use ibuprofen) and sent me on my way with instructions to wait three more days before exercise and to try some stretching in the meantime. So I have big gentle yoga plans for tomorrow morning.

On the way home from the doctor, I stopped into my favorite beauty salon hair hackery, aka Supercuts, for a discount trim that turned into OMG, I have no hair left. Whatev, it will grow back in a month! I also snacked on three Newman’s Own Organics cinnamon mints. I’m actually enjoying these mints because (1) I don’t go through them the way I go through gum since they don’t have the addictive chew and (2) I’m not loading my body with weird chemicals and sugar-free sugars.

Also, in typical “expansion” style, I stopped into two gourmet markets on my way home (it was my first foray outside in over 48 hours!!) for samples: cotswald, gruyere, and fontina cheese cubes; roast chicken on a toothpick; and a tomato and mozzarella wrap sliver :D.

Dinner tonight was more snackiness since I haven’t been doing so much food prep the past couple of days:

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img_6948Doesn’t it kind of look like a head, with wild soy crisp hair on top, guac and salsa eyes, and crazy apple teeth?

Those soy crisps are the Newman’s white cheddar kind … and they’re super tasty! I generally don’t buy snack foods like this, but if you do, these won’t let you down. They were especially delicious dipped into the salsa and homemade guac:

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The other dinner component involved two slices of pumpernickel baguette toast topped with about 1 tbsp of super-dark cashew-almond butter (told you I roasted the nuts too long!) and some apple slivers for color:

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Dessert was the stuff dreams (or my dreams, at least!) are made of: the rest of the apple slices dipped in leftover cheesecake batter (!!!!) from a roommate project and crumbled graham sticks.

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I have two questions for you tonight:

1. What is your favorite dip concoction?

2. Did you get any good news today?

And remember to enter the Bob’s Red Mill giveaway if you have not done so already!


Southern comfort and a GIVEAWAY!!

Before you find about about the giveaway, of course, you get to hear about the yummy lunch I cooked heated.

This lunch was inspired by the south because (1) I wish the weather here were warmer, (2) I love country music and that’s something southern, too, and (3) I’m temporarily (I hope) an invalid and happened to have some frozen and canned ingredients on hand that fit this theme brilliantly.

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That’s right, collard greens, baked beans, and cornbread!! YUM 😀

I made and froze these sweet collard greens a few weeks ago (remember when I brought home those huge bags of them from the food pantry overflow at work?) using Kath’s recipe here.

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Seriously delicious. If you ever find yourself with collard greens on your hands, img_6940this is the way to cook them!

I also rummaged around and found this can of fat free vegetarian baked beans in the cupboard that didn’t really seem to belong to anyone. Since it didn’t belong to anyone, it belonged to me:

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And on the side, I had 1/2 piece of the cornbread that I brought home and froze after dinner at BBQ two weeks ago:

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Perfect! I felt like I was in Arkansas or somewhere while I was eating this 😛

Earlier, I snacked on two biscotti bites (and a piece of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie that “broke off” when I was rummaging through the freezer cookie bag for the bites) with this delicious Tazo tea sample I had lying around:

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Normally, I’m not into fruit teas … but something about the lemony-mango-ness of this tea reeled me in, and I loved it. It would be amazing in oatmeal, I’m sure. Look at the gorgeous color!

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OK OK, I suppose it’s time. You all know how I LOVE my whole grains (case in point: this morning’s protein porridge). Well, Bob’s Red Mill, home of what is probably the most extensive selection of whole grains/seeds/nuts/beans/baking mixes/flours ever, has generously offered to send FIVE lucky readers a full package of the food item of their choice (from the list of categories I just mentioned). This is a very exciting giveaway because it means you could pick out a familiar staple (such as oats) to replenish your supply … or you could go totally wild and experiment with something new (my suggestion) like whole grain chocolate cake mix or organic amaranth grain.

How to enter:

Step 1. Visit the Bob’s Red Mill website and select the one food product you would most like to try (again, from the list of categories I mentioned above).

Step 2. Leave me a comment with your selection!

Step 3. Link back to this contest on your blog to help me spread the word! If you like me, you can also add me to your blogroll, but this is not mandatory as that is a very personal decision 😛 If you don’t have a blog, email me at talesofexpansion@gmail.com after you leave your comment to let me know this is the case and that you still want to enter.

Step 4. I will randomly choose the five winners Sunday, April 5, so you have until NOON on that day to enter.

While you’re busy contemplating your next whole grain experiment, I will be at my doctor’s office. I’m so relieved I was able to get an appointment this afternoon — hopefully I can make it there without getting stuck on the subway steps … and hopefully the injury is just a simple muscle issue that will fix itself with rest. Eeek!

Ready, set, go!

Goldilocks (or Rosylocks?)

Well, I got up this morning at 6:30 with every intention of going to work, but things did not work so well movement-wise when I got out of bed … so back to sitting on the ice pack it is. Better safe than sorry!

Breakfast was installment number one of the whole grain and bean protein porridge (hence the goldilocks reference) I made yesterday. After I put all my toppings on, there was only this little teeny slip of porridge peeking through:

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I’m a fan of how this porridge worked out, so here’s the process. In my crockpot, I whisked 2 eggs and a dash of salt into 3 cups of whey left from Greek yogurt. I poured in 1 cup of dry chickpeas, covered the pot, and set it on high for one hour. After the first hour, I stirred in 1/2 cup quinoa and 1/2 cup millet and turned the heat down to low. Another hour later, I mixed in 1/2 cup lentils and let the whole thing continue to cook on low, adding water as necessary (I probably added 3-4 more cups over this time) until the chickpeas were semi-tender, maybe three more hours. (If you’re passionate about having your chickpeas be well-done and mushy, you might want to cook them fully separately before adding them to the crockpot.)

Once I could chew a chickpea without breaking my teeth, I set my immersion blender on the mix and whirred it until things got nice and creamy. Then, I toasted 1/2 cup wheat germ in a dry skillet and stirred that into the mix, too. This made about 6 cups of porridge. I didn’t add fruits or seasonings because I wanted to leave my options open for how to use this as the week goes on.

I was curious about the nutrition on this porridge since I’ve never really made anything like it. Per 1 cup serving: 384 calories, 6 grams fat, 71 grams carbs (12 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams sugar), 22 grams protein. The carbs seem sort of high (that might just be because I’m used to hearing about carbs from the diabetic members of my family), but I love the protein!

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To make this morning’s breakfast, I mixed 1 cup of the porridge in an ovensafe dish with 1/2 banana (some chopped, some mashed), 1/2 chopped apple, 1 tsp homemade extra-dark-roasted cashew-almond butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. I covered the dish and baked at 375 for 30 minutes.

When the porridge came out of the oven, I put it in my pretty dish and topped it with chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup yogurt + PB2 sauce, and my granola and trail mix blend.

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With my ever-present soymilky tea!

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It also may be worth mentioning that I had about 1/4 cup of this porridge last night in the form of crockpot scrapings mixed with homemade chocolate mousse and graham crumbs …YUMMMMM:

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Now I’m hanging out with my ice pack, the Today Show, and some homework … and waiting for my doctor to call me back, which hopefully happens sooner rather than later.

Who are you waiting to hear from today?

Some fun giveaways:

  1. Fashion and food at Strawberry Shortstuff
  2. A book and a bar at Simply Fabulous