Chopped out

I’m not even going to try to be witty tonight because all I can hear running through my head is a repeating loop of chop this, chop this, chop this. I never want to see another knife or another veggie again. (I will probably change my mind tomorrow, though.)

Anyway, we had steak salads for lunch made with leftover steak from Saturday night’s grilling:

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Also in the salads: arugula from the garden (10 million times better than from the store — it’s super super hot and spicy), green onions from the garden, chives from the garden, romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, feta, and drizzles of balsamic and herby olive oil.

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Dessert was a teeny bit (like 2 tbsp) of leftover carrot cake oatmeal with extra pineapple, apple, cinnamon, and cardamom:

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Mom and I forged on throughout the afternoon to make enough food for 30 armies to send to my dad’s house: chicken cacciatore, beef-kielbasa-barley stew, and pumpkin grapenut pudding. Mom was in charge. I followed her commands. Chop this, chop this, chop this. At some point, I had a minor breakdown and abandoned the kitchen in favor of a nap on the porch bench. I am not made to be a sous-chef, nor am I made for large-scale food prep.

My dad came over around 7pm to collect the goods, and mom gave him detailed serving and reheating instructions. Dad, I expect a full report as you eat these things!

Sarah Whiting (aka Ting) and her friend Nora came over for dinner. I completely forgot to take people pictures, grrrrr. But I did take food pics. I made chips from the stale whole wheat roll-ups and guacamole from two avocados, black bean and corn salsa, fresh tomato, fat free sour cream, fresh lime juice, and cayenne.

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We ate it all very quickly (a significant portion is sitting in my belly now). We also enjoyed more Golden Star sparkling white jasmine tea spritzers (1/3 tea, 2/3 plain seltzer).

The main course was chicken-pineapple-onion-green pepper-kielbasa skewers. I’m pretty sure I spent hours skewering these things. John started them off in the stone grill outside, but they weren’t cooking fast enough, so we finished the job inside with a quick broil in the oven. Ting and Nora brought an awesome pesto-bean salad with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. The plate:

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The skewers may not have been able to finish outside, but the sweet potatoes did, however, do quite well in the stone grill with perfect char.

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Dessert was fresh watermelon:

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And pizelle cookies:

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Dinner with the girls was so fun — Ting and I needed the chance to catch up, and we had some very interesting conversations, not the least of which was my mom’s recounting of her competitive bodybuilding days. And like I said, I’m exhausted. And stuffed. I’m heading back to NY at some point tomorrow, though I don’t know my exact schedule. And I’m too tired to deal with the bus schedule right now!

I can’t think of a question. What question would you ask now, and how would you answer?

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Food in my hair

I took a shower this morning. That is very exciting news in itself. Even more exciting, however, is the assortment of shower products that I discovered in the bathroom:

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Products only a food blogger could appreciate 🙂 John travels often for work, so the house has quite a collection of mini hotel shampoos. I usually seek out the cinnamon bun set from Holiday Inn (left), but I got so thrilled about washing my hair with whole grains (right) that I decided to shake things up today.

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Moving on, breakfast was a slice of random rhubarb pie:

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Alongside a pile of fruit salad with apples, kiwi, banana, orange, and fresh pineapple topped with ground flax, chia seeds, cinnamon, and cardamom:

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And some milky oriental rose tea on the side (with my baby fork):

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Mom and I have embarked on yet another day of cooking (of course!). My stepmom broke her ankle last week and is going to be bed-bound for a while, so we’re throwing together some casseroles and goodies to take over to my dad’s house today to make sure they are well-stocked 🙂

How do you feel about food in your hair? If you like it, what is your favorite hair treat?

Beachy keen

Ack, today has gotten away from me — it’s just been action-packed with laziness 😛

Before I get onto today’s food, though, look at what I found last night hidden in a cabinet behind some dishes!

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This was perfect since we were all pretty stuffed from the big grilled dinner but still in the mood for something sweet. I split the Hershey’s truffle and the Newman’s bar into three pieces so that mom, John, and I could all take part:

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To be honest, though, that chocolate bar was weirdly sweet. I like my dark chocolate to be somewhat bitter — the extra sweetness kind of gave it a fake chocolate taste.

For breakfast this morning, I made us all carrot cake oatmeal:

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For the three of us, I used 3/4 cup dry steel-cut oats, 2 cups water, 1 egg, 2 shredded carrots, 1 shredded apple, 2/3 cup fork-crushed fresh pineapple, and lots of cinnamon. (I put a giant spoonful of freshly ground almond butter on top of mine, too, in case you missed it.) I also made about 1/2 cup each of healthy cream cheese icing for the side to be added on at the last minute possible — I wasn’t trying to have any more chemical reaction disasters taking place in my food!

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Cascading icing:

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After breakfast, we pushed off toward Wareham, a little town near the Cape where my mom bought a marsh-shack (though she calls it the “little house”) a few years ago. It’s just a few teeny rooms, but mom and John are working on completely gutting it and making it liveable — it will be a nice renovation project to keep them busy for, ohhhh, the next 25 years or so. While John did something with tools and ladders and some cementy compound in the “bathroom” (which now boasts a toilet that flushes — yayyyyyy!!) mom and I went for a walk on the “beach.” Here she is looking for pretty rocks:

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More scenery:

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My dad was nearby on the Cape with my stepmom at my step-grandma’s house, so he came over for a visit post-walk. We had brought some goodies from home for entertaining purposes, so alongside our afternoon tea (unpictured), we each had a slice of random rhubarb pie that my mom made yesterday (with my assistance, of course).

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I’m not going to give a recipe for the pie since it was SO random (part of the fridge clean-out mission), but it included all of the following and more: part-skim ricotta, verrrrrrry iffy fat free ricotta (it was gone enough that I wouldn’t eat it straight, but mom was convinced that it would be fine for cooking), eggs, garden-fresh rhubard, dried Asian dates, a way beyond ripe avocado, 1/2 banana, erythritol (my mom is diabetic-ish, and this is her sweetener of choice because it doesn’t have a wretched aftertaste like splenda), and a crust made of pre-cooked whole grains (a blend of every grain under the sun that mom made last week in hopes of using them for a batch or seven of kitchen sink muffins).

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I wasn’t sure how this pie would be given all of the iffy ingredients (my doubt says a lot because you know how lenient I usually am with food iffiness!), and the taste didn’t knock my socks off when I tried it right out of the oven yesterday. I have to admit, though, that it was pretty tasty today after a night in the fridge! I guess mom knows what she’s doing after all.

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After pie, we also shared a package of Anna’s ginger thins and rye crackers with seed butter I made yesterday:

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The seed butter came about because, during fridge clean-out yesterday, I came across a ramekin full of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sea salt that my mom had been saving since we made everything bagels together when I was home in March of 2008. Yes, she’d been saving these seeds for 14 months. I just could not handle the thought of them taking up space in the fridge for another 14 (or 28 or 42 or 56, etc.). We soaked the seeds in warm water to dissolve and eliminate the salt and then toasted them, along with some pepitas that mom had around, to dry them out. All grinding took place in the coffee bean grinder, but I think I over-toasted because the finished product was pretty bland. I immersion-blended it with a couple tsp of miso paste and about 3 tbsp of almond butter to add “depth,” and that helped quite a bit. Mom has plans to doctor it further with Ghirardelli cocoa powder — no complaints here!

After tea-time, dad headed back to step grandma’s house, John returned to compounding the bathroom with ladders and tools, mom pretended to do some work paperwork, and I took a nap. When I awoke, it was nearly time for dinner! We droveout to Turk’s Seafood in Mattapoisett. My mom has been raving about this place to me on the phone for months, so I was excited to have the chance to experience it first-hand!

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I love beachy seafood restaurants, and this one fit right into that category. The atmosphere inside was very casual (though, sushi is also available if one feels the need to class it up) and boisterous. The food even came on paper plates! We started with edamame to share:

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I ordered the broiled haddock and crabcake with roasted vegetables:

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It was delicious (even though “thawed in the oven” may have been a better description for the veggies than “roasted”). I chopped the fish and crab cake and mixed it all up with the veggies and that mango salsa (back right) and quite enjoyed every single bite.

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After dinner, dessert was on the agenda, of course. We backtracked slightly to hit up Kool Kone, another fun beachy establishment, for ice cream (and we turned on the heat in the car to get in the mood!).

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I had a small cup with a scoop of black raspberry chocolate chip frozen yogurt on top and a scoop of chocolate peanut butter cup on the bottom.

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Some blurry pb cup chunks:

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Phew, that brings us to the end of this marathon post! It’s been a very exciting food day that somehow involved a lot of doing nothing. Not a bad combination if you ask me 😛

What is your favorite beach food?

Freeee (for 10 days)

We all know I love free things! Now that my last class is over and I’m flying up 95 N  on the Peter Pan, I feel freer than ever 🙂

In class, we did in fact have a little celebration. My professor is retiring, as of today, so she brought in coffee and lots of bagel-y goodness. Here’s napkin #1 with a “mini” everything bagel spread with whipped butter and two Italian cookies, including a slice of rainbow cookie perfection, in the background:

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If you look very very closely in the background, you can see the bottom of the cup that holds my contribution to the event: Golden Star Sparkling White Jasmine Tea. I’ve zoomed in a bit in the picture on the right. I first sampled this tea at Whole Foods and got super excited about it. I don’t like champagne or wine, and I always feel like I should be at the kids’ table when I ask for sparkling cider at events. Sparkling tea has a much classier ring to it (not to mention that I love jasmine tea anyway). This tea is mostly non-alcholic (something like 0.5%), but it definitely has a more grown-up taste to it because it still goes through a fermentation process. And my class worked through the bottle I brought to share quite rapidly!

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Napkin #2 had another half of an everything bagel with “1/3 less fat” cream cheese, plus some more Italian cookie crumbs.

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And finally, napkin #3 had just a couple more cookies!

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A few more cookies may or may not have found their way into my mouth after that, too. Whenever I see a platter of pretty colorful cookies (or pretty colorful anything, for that matter), I absolutely have to one of each. And fast — before they disappear! It’s a problem.

Anyway, like I said, I’m blogging from the bus and expect to make it to Providence just in time to join my mom and stepdad for a PawSox game! Can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer 🙂

Does the “prettiness” of foods, especially of desserts, affect your interest in eating them?

Splitsville

As I was contemplating what to make for breakfast that would best use the extra things in my fridge before I leave for the weekend, I read Broccoli Hut‘s comment about healthy banana splits! Just like that, breakfast was born 🙂

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IMG_0152My current batch of yogurt isn’t strained, so I needed something to thicken it up: chia pudding! Two packages from Oh!Nuts and Navitas Naturals came in quite handy. These have to be the jumbo-est Medjool dates I’ve ever seen:

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I followed Kristen’s holiday chia pudding recipe, but I took out the “holiday” (cloves, ginger, lucuma) because I just wanted vanilla. Also, I halved everything except the chia seeds and added 1/2 cup of yogurt. I probably should have taken out the water completely and only used yogurt because it didn’t get as thick as I wanted, but oh well! For today, I just popped it all in the freezer for a bit to get some firmness.

I split the 1/2 banana I had left and decorated it with my three flavors and some extras:

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The vanilla scoop (plain chia pudding-yogurt):

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The chocolate scoop (1/4 mashed avocado, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp chia pudding-yogurt):

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The berry scoop (chia pudding-yogurt mixed with chopped blackberries):

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Topped with flax seeds, hemp seeds (some seem to have sprouted, hence the green), and cereal (and sided with yerba mate):

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Right after breakfast, I’m off to my last class (where I think a last class celebration will be taking place) and, from there, on a bus to Providence. I wonder if Peter Pan will have Internet on the bus again?

What are your three ideal split scoop flavors?

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother Mark!!!!! Yay for May birthdays 😀