The cake … errr, the ceremony

So, yesterday was the wedding that brought me down to Charlotte in the first place! As I mentioned before, my old college roommate Ilin was getting married. There was lots of delicious food all afternoon/evening long, but first …

Ilin and I were placed together freshman year at NYU (in 2000!) as roommates, along with Coonoor. Here’s our very first day in the big city, awwwww:


Ilin and I continued to live together for our sophomore and junior years. Here we are junior year after the short walk from our dorm down to Battery Park to see the sights (i.e. Statue of Liberty in the background) because we thought we should:


Here’s the bride in action yesterday with her daddy:


Getting handed off:


After the ceremony, we went through the receiving line:


And then Wife (fyi, in case you missed this before, Wife’s real name is Laura — Wife is a nickname we have for each other left over from college!) and I headed downstairs to partake in the “light refreshments.”


We couldn’t get over how much food there was, especially knowing that a full buffet dinner was also in the cards! I loaded up on produce and a little slice of turkey wrap:


On monogrammed napkins!


And fruit with a dollop of cream cheese dip:


I had two plates of fruit, plus a few more grab-and-go-bites.


I probably would have kept going on the fruit, but I had put Wife in charge of managing my food pace. She saw where I was headed and dragged me away from the food table, thank goodness!

We climbed back upstairs, and the cake soon made its big debut:



I couldn’t stop taking pictures.



I had one piece:


This was honestly one of the best wedding cakes I’ve ever tasted! The cake itself was moist and very chocolate-y and only moderately sweet, and it combined perfectly with the strawberry filling and buttercream icing.


It was so delicious, in fact, that I went back for another small piece. Wife tried to stop me, but I was unstoppable.


After cake #2, Wife finally succeeded in dragging me out of this room as well so that we could make our way over to the second wedding event: the dinner reception! Coming soon …

Describe the best wedding (or other) cake you’ve ever tasted 😀

Southern hospitality, part 2

After Wife collected me from Kath‘s house yesterday, we made our way over to her friend Kristin’s house across town. So many things have worked out perfectly for this weekend: my JetBlue gift certificate that covered airfare, the last minute plans with Kath yesterday, Wife being able to drive up from GA, her friend Kristin (and her husband Dustin!) living here and offering to put us up — I think Charlotte is my lucky city 😀

Kristin had the guest room perfectly coiffed and ready for us:


Don’t be jealous, Ted 😉 (That’s Wife’s boyfriend.)

We all spent much longer than we realized chatting and snacking on some very mature appetizers of mixed nuts and pimento olives:


Then, we headed to a late dinner at 131 Main, an uptown Charlotte restaurant with a fire pit!


I ordered the Crab Cake Salad with mixed greens, fresh corn, herb vinaigrette, and whole grain mustard sauce (I got the dressing/sauce on the side):


Look at all the meat in that crab cake!! I felt like I had died and gone to Maryland.


The salad spent some time warming its toes by the fire:


(Speaking of corn and toes and fun food names like boat eggs and broccoli trees, my mom used to call my toes corn niblets when I was little because they were so teeny and short. Just thought I’d throw that out there.)

Wife couldn’t quite finish her cedar plank salmon with whole grain mustard butter and wild rice salad, so I took care of the rest for her:


It was tough choke down, but I took one for the team and found a way somehow.

For dessert, the three of us split the homemade key lime pie with graham cracker crust. It was a huuuuuuge slice:


Mmmm, look at that crust. It was so thick and crunchy — the best part!


It was past 11 when we got back to Kristin’s house and fell right into bed (or blogged, as the case may be).

I’m not sure what the plan is for the rest of the morning; the afternoon/evening will be quite full with wedding events. Can’t wait!

What is your luckiest region of the US?

Danger zone

Breakfast this morning was delicious and complex:


But before I get into the details of this multi-layer marvel, I have to fill you in on my morning at the gym 🙂 I did my Self Challenge strength workout last night before I went to bed so that I could focus on cardio this morning and get to work on time! I did 20 minutes on the Stepmill, 12 minutes on the elliptical, and 12 minutes on the treadmill (plus the jog to the gym and back and some stretching).

This was my first time back on the treadmill since the muscle-straining incident (which occurred outside and not on the treadmill, btw). Usually, 5.5 is a very comfortable treadmill pace for me that falls on the lower end of my treadmill speed range. This morning, 4.2 was all I could handle! Anything faster than that forced me into a too-long painful stride. My range of motion is so limited. I’m not a fan of being injured, and this slow recovery makes me nervous for both the 10k I’m running on May 9 and the half marathon I’m running on May 30. I suppose the flip-side is that the injury is seemingly forcing my body to work unusually hard for cardio and I burned something like 560 calories this morning. But I’d rather be burning fewer calories if it meant I were healed :/

Anyway, back to breakfast:


I went Bob’s Red Mill crazy on this combo. Before I went to bed last night, I pulled out the crockpot and filled it it with two cups of whey from Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk, 1/2 cup BRM whole oat groats, 1/2 cup BRM triticale berries (similar to wheat berries), 1/2 cup pumpkin muffin crumbs (from the freezer), 1/2 cup chopped Newman’s Own prunes, and a big pile of cinnamon. I cooked the whole thing on low overnight.


This morning, I cooked 1/4 cup BRM oat bran on the stovetop with 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk and then immersion blended it with 1/4 cup silken tofu. That became my base layer.

I topped the tofu oat bran base with 1/2 cup of the crockpot prune “groatmeal” and topped that with a tbsp of cashew-almond butter and a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut.


picture-526Exciting, right? It was quite the production! I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow, too!

When I got to work this morning, check out what was waiting. Our very own agency Martha Stewart (aka Jessica) was inspired to bake her famous mini-cupcakes by the tray from yesterday’s mini-pumpkin muffins. She just knew it would make the perfect carrying case for her signature goodies.


I milked these two over the first two hours of the day.


They were the perfect morning snack!

However, the entire tray of cupcakes spent the rest of the day on the infamous conference room table. Here’s the view from my desk:


Where is the most dangerous spot to leave treats lying around in your life?

Also, The Professional Vegan did a great review post today of a NYT article about “aspiring vegans” who follow “veganish” lifestyles. This is relevant because the subject of the article, Jeffrey Masson, was interviewed at Angelica Kitchen, a fabulous vegan restaurant in NY where I have eaten!

Bits ‘n’ pieces


I’ve got to say that I’m feeling the lack of exercise this week. The regular cheery Sarah keeps disappearing! Maybe there really is something to that whole endorphins thing 😛

I got up at 7:30 this morning (because Thursday is my leisurely class day) and worked for two straight hours on some work homework that was supposed to be done yesterday, ack! At 9:30, I realized I had to leave for class in 30 minutes, so I heated breakfast and got ready fast fast fast.


Breakfast today was the same protein porridge mix I had on Monday, with apples and bananas mixed in, yogurt on the side, and PB2 poured over the top:




Since I ate that around 10, moments before I walked out the door, I didn’t bother bringing a full lunch to class — just a couple snackies to get me through.

Chopped apple and spices on the bottom with lemon curd + healthy cream cheese icing and golean crunch on the top:


And a chocolate chip Z-bar:


I also finished a sleeve of my Newman’s Ginger Mints when I was bored during class. They set my mouth on fire, but I liked it!

On my way home from the subway station, I stopped into Ladybird for a sample of carrot muffin:


(It was so sunny out!)

Lunch main course was an entire plate full of the fancy apps from last night’s re-enactment:


(That’s a lot of tuna I think. I don’t mess around.)


There’s still a ton of tuna left, so I bit the bullet and put the whole container in the freezer. It’s half raw anyway, so I figure it will freeze fine, and I can just cook it all the way through when I’m ready to use it again.

I had way more work homework to do, and I comforted myself about that by finishing the bag of white cheddar soy crisps:


With salsa:


And then some Newman’s Own Organics dried berries, apricots, and prunes:


Once again, who knew Newman’s made dried fruit?? I thought it was all salad dressings and Ginger-Os!

I also had half a chocolate rugelach and a piece of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from the freezer cookie bag:


Two more hours later, I had finally gotten all my work done. I struck out to do some errands. Obviously, I stopped into Union Market while out to have sample gouda and cheddar cheese cubes and these sample pieces of pecan pie and fudge pie:


When I got home, I prepped food for tomorrow, which meant more bites of protein porridge, yogurt, cream cheese icing, fruit, baked beans, etc.

Finally, I was able to settle down for a(nother) nice little desserty treat:


A scoop of healthy cream cheese icing “ice cream,” a scoop of raw chocolate mousse “ice cream,” hot apple topping, a sprinkling of pb2 powder, and graham cracker crumbs.


Mmmmm. I’m so sleepy. I hope I can go to bed soon!

Does your mood change when you’re not working out?

FYI, Becca’s giving away some SERIOUS goodies from the CIA!!! (Intrigued? Go check it out!)

Do you have plans for the leftovers?

Such a simple question … yet one that has worked like a charm time and time again for this lady on a mission to save good food from a dumpster destiny.

I received a last-minute email yesterday afternoon inviting me to attend a fancy schmancy event featuring Chef Brad Steelman of Brooklyn’s famed River Cafe. (The spot opened up because poor HangryPants Heather was still too sick to attend, so go give her some love … after you read this post!)


Chef Steelman’s demonstration took place at the Desiron Gallery in SoHo using the Electrolux ICON line of dream-material kitchen appliances (think magnet-triggered stovetop ranges that reach your desired temperature in seconds — whether hotter or colder — and somehow stay cool to the touch).

When I arrived, I grabbed a goblet of sparkling water to keep me company as I took in the scene. Right off the bat, I met some fun new foodie friends — Michelle from Taste As You Go, Mike from Man Eat Food (no kidding, a rare male food blogger live and in person?!), and Elizabeth from The Kitchn — and we settled in at a table together to watch Chef Steelman work some culinary magic.


(I promise the sparkling water was not spiked. WordPress is the lush that won’t let my picture upload correctly.)

The event kicked off with a glorious round of hors d’oeuvres. I had two lentil wafers with lobster salad:


One giant spoonful of seared tuna on bed of avocado-sesame-wasabi puree:




(I also took the most hilarious photo series of Michelle in similar poses. I hope she posts a slideshow … but I think she might delete them all instead!)

And two pieces of roast duck with rhubard sauce (yesssssss, yum is right!):


But that was only the beginning! Before our very eyes, the chef whipped up a Spring Asparagus Risotto with mascarpone, parmigiana reggiano, and crispy trumpet mushrooms:


Which we enjoyed as first course (or 5th course if you live in expansion world like I do):


The main meal was Colorado Lamb Roast with carmelized spring onions, potato puree, and roasting juices. In process:


Moments pre-disappearance:


And finally, the classic gourmet dessert of classic gourmet desserts: Melt Away Cake (aka molten chocolate lava cake). Chocolate magic:




Topped with gold dust (told you it was magical!):


Just because:img_7089



(And if you are in the market for new kitchen appliances and have money to burn, the chef managed to cook all of this food in front of us and have it plated and served in what was likely less than a half hour. This kitchen was not messing around! And neither were the phenomenal sioux chefs …)

So, as I was savoring my cake, I noticed that some kitchen clean-up had begun and wondered aloud (as I am wont to do) where the leftovers were headed. My curiosity (or misplaced survival instinct) was so strong that I actually left the table mid-cake to go and ask the chef, Do you have a plan for the leftovers?

The following exchange ensued:

Chef: No, would you like to take some with you?

Me: That would be LOVELY!!!!! But I do not have any containers (sad face).

Chef: I’m sure we have something around (finds tupperwares and Ziplock baggies). What would you like? Lamb?

Me: Anything you’re willing to give me, really!

[Chef scurries around collecting. I follow behind.]

Me: Ummm, you can totally send me away if I’m being obnoxious … but what about your display asparagus and mushrooms?

Chef: Really? Of course! [tries to dispose of spinach and asparagus peelings to make room in a container for asparagus]

Me, intercepting spinach and peelings before they hit the trash can: No, really, I’ll use it all!!

Chef, doubtful: You’re sure?

Me: Absolutely.

Chef puts sioux chefs on the job. Sioux chefs help me pack up some of everything and even come and bring me more food as they find it while cleaning out the fridge … and give me tips for how to reheat and cook it all! Here they are at work, my new best friends:


Expandable bag out:


Inventory at home. Asparagus, portobello mushrooms, spinach, and veggie scraps:


(Scraps are for my frozen veggie broth bag.)

Seared tuna, carmelized spring onions (omgsogood), lamb, and risotto:


(I’ve got the risotto and the lamb at work today to share since we’re all having an April Fools lunch together. Gotta give back! I’m going to have to do some research on how best to store the tuna, aside from in the fridge, obviously. I wonder how it freezes?)

Two melt away cakes and … wait for it … the melt away cake batter left from the demo!!!!!!


The batter is in my freezer now, waiting for the perfect occasion.

Moral of the story? Always ask.

When were you glad you asked?

P.S. Enter my Bob’s Red Mill giveaway!!!