A day without cake …

… is apparently a day I will never have to know for as long as my internship continues! I think I have had more cake in the past seven months than I have had in my entire life. There has been birthday cake, baby shower cake, rum cake, tres leches cake, banana bread pudding cake, smiley face green-frosted st. pat’s cake, DIY cakeand that’s just in the past two weeks!! Obviously, I’m building up to the fact that I ate more cake today. But obviously (or maybe not so obviously, haha), it was not the first thing I ate at work today. Nutrition does play a part in my life, too.

My strawberry-banana-apricot-papaya-cardamom-nutmeg yogurt kicked things off a little bit after 11:

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There was also some Newman’s ginger mint action (x6?):

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Lunch happened around 12:30. I brought along about three cups of a fresh spinach and arugula mixture and used it as a bed for my two heated “entrees” which included the last cup of Mediterranean chicken pasta:

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And 1/2 cup of asparagus and portabellos in curry butter:

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On the side, I had 1/3 cup of the chicken and rice Vianni made for me (I also brought home a full cup of it for another time, yum!):

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For dessert, I had about 1 tbsp hershey’s kissables and a baby guava hard candy. I did not know dessert x 1000 would be arriving later.

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Around 3:30, a serving of Newman’s spelt pretzels came out to play with the last 2 tbsp of Inginia’s guacamole from Friday:

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Just after 4, I heard Deborah calling my name from down the hall in a familiar mischievous tone that was scary and exciting all at the same time. The next work out of her mouth? Cuuuuuuuuuuuuupcaaaaaaakes!!

Deborah had fortuitously come across some inside knowledge in the course of traversing the building. Our City Harvest delivery had arrived and, along with it, boxes upon boxes of cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop that we could not give out to the families! Obviously, Nydia and I flew down the four flights of stairs to round up what we could for ourselves and the other ladies on the floor.

I came back upstairs with a sampling that included German chocolate, chocolate chocolate, devil dog, and red velvet:

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The crumbs started flying:

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I meant to have just a couple little bites, but I think I ended up having about two cupcakes’ worth of bites!

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Ahhh, well … just another day in the life 😛

At the end of the day, there were still 2.5 cupcakes left on the conference room table next to my desk, so I packed them up to bring home for the freezer. Here’s a little peek into one of my many freezer-organizing systems:

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On the left are a couple stacks of the healthyish cheesecake I made last Friday night; on the right are today’s cupcakes cut into manageable portions for easy extraction in a dessert emergency.

Do you manage extra dessert items by tossing them, storing them, or eating them right away? Or is there a fourth option you prefer?

And if you are in need of safe pistachios, make sure you enter my giveaway here!

Gourd hopes “squashed”

As promised in my last post, dinner did involve plenty of experimentation with autumn decor:

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As part of my organization efforts over the weekend, I packed up a box full of pumpkins and gourds that came from Brigitte’s family’s farm sometime in September or October. The gourds had served us well in their provision of seasonally appropriate color for months, but I decided it was time for an update! Brig was planning to toss everything, but she knew I might take offense at that and instead handed it all over for the sake of my kitchen adventures. I got started on the process last night with the four cuties pictured above.

I chopped them all in half (except for the one with all the tumors that would not yield to the knife) and scooped out (and reserved) the seeds:

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They went face-down into a casserole dish with 1 cm water and roasted for 45 minutes at 375:

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I knew the pumpkins would be fine (my oven and I got VERY friendly with a 25-pound fresh pumpkin back in October), but I was mostly curious to see what would become of the gourds. I licked my finger after getting the seeds ready to toast and found the answer:

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Yes, the gourds went right into the trash. Along with the gourd seeds, which unfortunately contaminated all of the other seeds with their relentless bitterness. I was seriously running around the kitchen trying to get the taste out of my mouth. Note to self: no more gourds.

The pumpkins, however, met a different fate. I mixed them (skin and all) in a pot with two small chopped apples and 1/4 cup water and then simmered until it was all tender enough for an immersion blender:

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After blending, I taste-tested several times and added 3 chopped dates, 2 chopped prunes, the last 1.5 cups of my healthy cream cheese icing, and loads of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom). The result was a mildly sweet, comfort-food puree that could go either the entree route or the dessert route. I began with the entree because I like to do things in order.

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I had about 1 cup of the puree with a morningstar Asian veggie patty and half an orange:

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These flavors blended deliciously. I even dipped some of the veggie patty into the puree for fun … and it was definitely fun!

I still felt hungry after, so I decided to go the dessert route as well (did you ever doubt I would?). I had 1/2 cup of the puree (chilled) topped with Italian cookie crumbs:

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It did not let me down!

I slept well last night, relaxed in the knowledge that I had given the gourds a fair shot and that I will never need to wrestle with one again … unless you have experience with gourds and a different take on the matter? Let me know!

Be back later with brekkie and a workout 😀

Systematic food maintenance

Breakfast this morning was strawberry cheesecake ice cream oatmeal!

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I’m trying to use up all the things that need to be used, so I made a big batch of this concoction. Good thing it is delicious! Into the pot went a little bit over 1 cup of whey from Greek yogurt-making, 1 cup of “ice cream” mixture from yesterday‘s strawberry cheesecake ice cream (minus the red velvet crumbs), a few freezer burned strawberries and blueberries I found during the deep-clean yesterday, a chopped frozen banana, 1 cup of cooked brown basmati rice from two weeks ago, 1/2 cup dry old-fashioned oats, and 2/3 cup instant white grits. I ate about 3/4 cup of the final product topped with a chopped strawberry and cinnamon (obv). And jasmine green “artwork” tea on the side:

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I feel so relaxed today after organizing everything in the kitchen last night! I hope the roommates don’t kill me when they get home and can’t find any of their stuff . But just look at how beautiful and easy everything is! Here’s the pantry with tea on the top shelf, common staples (oats, olive oil, sea salt) and coffee on the next, Brig and Tara’s canned foods on the next, and my whole grains on the bottom:

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And finally, the pièce de résistance: the freezer! Specially marked cardboard boxes for Brig’s ice packs, breads, and meats are on the left; her leftovers are in the middle; and my leftovers are on the right:

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Poor Tara doesn’t buy much food because finding space for it is such a painful process. I don’t blame her. Hopefully the new system will help her out … and last more than a week!

I’m off to tackle the next thing on my list. Thank goodness I have tomorrow off! Do you?