Category Archives: breakfast

Let Freedom Ring

My Fourth of July weekend was all sorts of fabulous. Let’s recap, shall we?

Friday: After work, I forced myself to run a 5K. I wanted to make sure I could do the length, since Chris and my first official 5K race (since I was in high school) is coming up soon. It wasn’t so bad! My biggest issue with the run was pacing myself. I went out too slow most of the time, since I was scared I couldn’t make the distance, and then ended up finishing with a lot more to give. I guess over time I will remember how to pace myself? When I ran in high school, I was able to autopilot whatever time I sought, but that skill is long gone. I guess there could be worse problems.

The run paid off. I already proved I will run for pasta. Well, I’ll also run for Mexican. Chris and I meet up with Lauren and her BF for Mexican food. It was finally good real Mexican food, none of that fancy NYC Tex-Mex that drives me nuts. We shared guac to start (fresh-made at our table = awesome), enjoyed sangria (BYOB wine and they do the rest), and I polished off my entire veggie burrito plate, rice and all. I paid for that with a food coma, but it felt so worth it at the time.

Insane amount of Mexi food.

After dinner, I watched my new obsession HGTV, and Chris and I fantasized about buying property all over the world. Julian Alps, I’m coming (one day) to you! We ended the night watching She’s Out of Your League. Good concept, but meh movie.

Saturday: Woke up early for a Saturday (before 9AM = early on the weekend) and headed down to my brother’s place near Princeton. Hadley meet bro’s adorable pup that he rescued last month, Rider, for the first time. At first Rider was timid, but Hadley showed him the ways of the good life. By the end of the weekend, Rider was all play all the time.

Hadley and Rider playing tug of war.

After introducing the pups, we took them on a hike that lead to a pretty waterfall. Hadley was even brave enough to follow us into the water, but then freaked out a little (water and kayakers are Hadley’s two big fears). Even with lifeguard Hadley (I swear he thinks that water is dangerous and only he can save us from it), it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

The evening was spent in New Hope, PA. My brother’s GF recommend an awesome garden restaurant there that offered American, Italian, Thai, and Mexican food! We all choose Thai, and I had my first yellow curry. Very yum. Dinner was followed by walking around the cute town, the bro and his GF trying out chocolate covered bacon, and then we all ended our food fest with ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a good thing.

Teddy bear shaped rice with my yellow curry.

Sunday: Sunday was supposed to be a beach day, but it was raining. We slept in and then headed to a famous Princeton pancake spot, PJ’s Pancake House. We ate at the counter, which made me feel like a kid, so I went with that feeling and ordered a chocolate milk. It really hit the spot.

Chocolate milk goodness.

My egg white veggie omelet with a side of pancakes was huge. I ate two of the pancakes, but failed to eat the rest. Next time, I must remember that my eyes are bigger than my stomach (sometimes).

Too much!

We spent the rest of the afternoon food shopping (outside of NYC = real super markets) and playing lawn sports when the rain finally let up. My parents joined us for a pizza party at night and supplied a strawberry shortcake. Yes, this weekend was a fattening fest.

Monday: We were up early to head back to our apartment. Chris and I spent the rest of the day prepping for our Fourth of July party. We are lucky to have a view of the Macy’s fireworks from our apartment terrace, so we invited over friends to share in the festivities. It was the first time I saw the fireworks live (something I’ve always wanted to do), and it was really great to be able to do so surrounded by friends both old and new. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Let freedom ring (they looked better in person!).

Now it’s back to eating healthy. Today so far = chobani kids yogurt with honey bunches of oat cereal for breakfast and a TJ’s frozen Indian meal for lunch. Some fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries are coming up soon for a snack. You know what, healthy is yummy, too!

How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend?

MDW Recap

I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day Weekend! Mine started out right with a visit from my best friend from college, Kelley. We had dinner with Chris at a restaurant I’ve wanted to try out for a while, Westville. We actually went to their Chelsea location, go figure. I was drawn to the restaurant because it’s a fun setting and provides both healthy and not so healthy eating options. We started with their four-choice market vegetable plate. We shared grilled asparagus, chickpea and olive salad, plantains, and a mushroom medley. It was so yummy that I forgot to take a picture! For our main course we all choose two hot dogs and a side. My hot dogs were vegan hot dogs and topped with relish and sauerkraut. My side was Dijon cauliflower.

My main course wasn’t nearly as good as the veggie plate. Chris liked his a lot, though, as did Kelley. Still, I would go back. The restaurant was really inviting and the salads that passed by my table looked amazing.

Chris's hotdogs: one meat chili, one relish and a side of fries.

After dinner, Chris went to meet up with a friend, and Kelley and I checked out a Comedy Club. It wasn’t our type of humor, but we decided it was worth it to try something new. You win some, you lose some, right?

Saturday started off with brunch outside by the Hudson. It was a perfectly sunny day and more than enjoyable. After brunch, Kelley and I got our exercise in by spending the next four hours meandering through NYC. We stopped at a Street Fair for some fuel:

Mine. I dream about grilled corn.

Hers: can't go wrong with a nutella crepe.

 And saw some pretty sites:

And I used a gift certificate (thanks Carrie!) to get this new toy:

Food processor!

After our walk, we got ready for my birthday party. Kelley was my college roommate, and I forgot how much fun it is to get ready with another girl. Chris just doesn’t get the singing to music while trying on clothes thing. Boys. When we were all ready, we met up with the rest of my friends at a small Italian restaurant. They set a long table for us lined with candles – perfect! Most the pictures didn’t come out, because of the low lights, but everything was delicious. Dinner was followed by drinks at a bar. It was a great night, and I’m thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Sunday can be summed up in one word: lazy. We slept late, Chris made us all waffles and eggs (including Hadley regarding the egg), Kelley introduced us to HGTV, and I finally suggested a Target trip. Chris and I were so excited to have Kelley’s car to use instead of our normal routine of dragging everything back that we went a little overboard. I know have a fully stocked kitchen!

Our best find, this huge thing of olive oil for $6! decorations.

 Monday was a great capstone to the long weekend. Kelley, Chris, I ate lunch outside at an adorable falafel restaurant. My falafel pita was oh so good! Plus, they had some cute decorations.

Nom nom nom.True beans.

 

Lunch was followed with Kelley having to say goodbye to head back to Philly. Chris headed to work, and I headed to meet a friend at Union Square. I made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s – because after Target we needed more food – but really, because I can’t resist their good deals.  I then headed home to give my apartment the cleaning love it needed. I ended my night making hummus. Recipe to come!!!

How did you spend Memorial Day Weekend? If you made it to the beach, I’m jealous!

I Don’t Know How to Relax

Yesterday I was excited all day to hit up Anthropologie for their bi-annual Tag Sale. In the past, the sale supposedly was awesome. I even asked Chris to make sure that he could come home from work at an acceptable hour to let Hadley out for a walk, so that I didn’t have to rush my shopping. I figured I could pick myself out a nice birthday prezzie. There was a lot I was lusting over.

Why won't you go on sale?

Sadly, the Tag Sale was a huge let down. Most things I liked weren’t on sale. In fact, very few things were on sale. Stop playing games with my heart Anthro.

You know you gotta stop, you're tearing us apart.

I went home feeling somewhat down, but was quickly made better when I realized that Chris and Hadley were at the dog park. The dog park is such a happy place. I was able to witness Hadley chasing around a Wheaten and rolling in the mud. That sure put a smile on my face.
 

Hadley at the dog park meeting another Welshie. This is my happy.

What else put a smile on my face? I have been craving chocolate chip pancakes for a long time, so last night I decided to have them. I complained to Chris that I was feeling lazy and wished the pancakes would just make themselves. Well, the next best thing to magical pancakes happened. Chris made me my pancakes and served them with a glass of white wine. Pancakes cooked by your boyfriend and a glass of white wine? I’ll have seconds please.

Not my actual pancakes, but you get the idea.

Link

Tonight I’m excited to have plans. I was good at scheduling things to do on weeknights before vacation, but have been lazy since I’ve been back. I am one of those people that suck at just relaxing, so without plans I tend to get bored and cranky. I guess after 3 years in law school of constantly being on the move, you just get used to the lifestyle. Anyone else suck at relaxing?

Tonight I’ll be attending Pilates (second class this week – I’m back, baby) and meeting my friend Lauren to try out a new falafel place. We then are going to catch up and watch my favorite show still on TV, Modern Family. I just watched last week’s episode last night, and the puppy made me so happy.

So give me advice: are you any good at relaxing? What do you do with free weekday evenings?

Scenes from Another Book Club

One of the first things I did when I moved was join a book club. I thought it would be a great way to read new books I never heard of and make friends in my new area. When I discovered a book club that combined all my loves- food, wine, and books – I was sold. There are two meetings held a month, but I usually go to one so that I have time to read books of my own choosing, too. Every meeting has a food theme based on the book. Every member brings one potluck dish and one bottle of wine. That’s right, a bottle of wine a person. All the leftover bottles are a gift for the host to keep, which I think is a neat idea.

This month we read Mysteries of Pittsburgh. This book was not for me. I immediately felt like there was a Great Gatsby element to it – a book I hated, sorry – and it just got further from my taste from there.

Apparently someone liked it enough to make a movie.

 Source

Still, the food at book club was amazing, and now I can say I read a book that was outside my normal literary taste. Book club this past week was a Sunday brunch and the theme was to bring a food that reminded you of your hometown. Immediately I knew that I wouldn’t be cooking for this one, but rather, buying bagels. When I lived away from the land of good bagels (namely DC – how can no one in DC make a decent bagel?!), all I craved was a good warm bagel with cream cheese. So bagels, I brought, along with some OJ for mimosas.

Clockwise: My bagels, homemade crepes, egg noodles with cabbage, french toast casserole.

Clockwise: Turkey roll-ups, Quiche, Bacon and Cheese Grits

Potato and Cheese Periogies

Rhode Island Pizza Strips

Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream Cake Cups

And I didn’t even got a photo of everything! What would you bring to represent your hometown?

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Yesterday I finally got around to making Homemade Instant Oatmeal packets. I got the basic recipe off of this website mentioned in this NYT article. I was inspired to make my own packets, because of several reasons. Making my own packets allows me to experiment with lots of different add-ins. I can make any combo that I can dream up. Making lots of packets at once, instead of new ones every morning, allows me to save precious morning time. I am anything but a morning person. Most importantly, since I eat Quaker instant packets every morning, I go through a lot of oatmeal. Instant oats aren’t cheap, especially in my area, so making my own packets ultimately saves me money.

Here’s what you’ll need for the basic oatmeal:

Quick oats, sugar, salt, and sealable bags. That’s it. Fill each bag with 1/4 cup of quick oats. Add 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  

Basic oatmeal packets.

Now time to jazz up your oatmeal:

The Quick Oat container filled 20 bags, so I decided to make 4 different types of oatmeal. I used the following for add-ins:

Chocolate Coconut Cream Oatmeal: Add 1 tablespoon of non-dairy creamer, a pinch of shredded coconut, and a few chocolate chips. Be sure to use non-dairy creamer, as powdered milk may spoil over time.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal: Sprinkle in cinnamon and add about a dozen raisins.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Oatmeal: Add about a dozen cranberries, a few chocolate chips, and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring.

Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal: Add chocolate chips now. The morning you plan on eating the oatmeal, add desired amount of PB.

These are just how I choose to jazz up my oatmeal. You can add whatever you enjoy most. I had the Chocolate Coconut Cream this morning, and I prepared it just as I would any other instant oatmeal. Look at me being a money-saver!

How would you jazz up your oatmeal?

One Week Later

I promised to post pictures of Chris, Hadley, and my adventure to  Audrey’s  Farmhouse in Wallkill, NY. The B&B was adorable and made you feel sorry you had to leave from the moment you entered. Chris and I spent our first evening eating homemade pastries left out for the guests, drinking wine, and watching a fire roar in the fire place. We spent the weekend enjoying the B&B and their wonderful breakfasts, looking through old photo albums from the 30’s in the B&B’s library, hiking, dining, wine and whiskey tasting, and exploring the town.

 

First thing we saw when we walked in.

Homemade cookies? Yes, please.

We stayed in the LL Bean Room.

Poached Pear for breakfast

Lovely breakfast.

I wish I had one of these in my apartment.

Hadley hiking.

Frozen branches on our snowy hike.

Wine tree at dinner.

Hadley exploring the wine cellar on our wine tasting.

Whiskey tasting.

Thanks Audrey's!

Sicky McSickerson

Chris and I have this habit of making up weird nicknames for Hadley. Amongst them are the simple like Hads or the the random like Didley or the amusing such as Sniffy McSnifferson. Well today, call me Sicky McSickerson.

I jinxed myself last week when I said I was so proud of making it through the entire winter without a bad cold. Yesterday, I woke up with a wonderful cold that kept me sneezing all day and today it advanced to that “I can’t think straight, do I also have a fever?” level. I made it into work despite the rain and hoped if I had a filling breakfast I would feel better. I never buy breakfast, but today I ate this:

Paired with orange juice.

Source

After eating breakfast and still feeling like the world was spinning, sneezing, and starting to sweat through my pretty work dress I wore in hopes that it would make me feel better, I decided it was best for me to go home.

I have been spending the rest of my failed day cuddling in bed with Hadley, consuming glasses of OJ, and watching Friday Night Lights. I also enjoyed a big lunch. I know they say “feed a fever, starve a cold”, but I have decided from past experiences that feeding is really a good strategy for colds, too. So I ate this:

My get-well pack.

Yup, I ate the whole sandwich. I was too full to eat any of the soup – good thing I have a lot of tuperware. I also have a Chobani calling my name for snack later. As you can see, I also had myself some Dayquil. So basically, I’m fighting this thing hard. Chris and I are celebrating our 3-year anniversary this weekend, and I know he has some surprise in the works, (I LOVE surprises) and I don’t want to miss out on it. Here’s to fighting the good fight!

Oats in the News

Today the NYT featured an interesting article about my beloved oatmeal. I eat oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast. I find it soothing and more filling than most other breakfast options. I also prefer sweet to savory most mornings, so once again oatmeal comes out on top. In fact, I am currently eating a packet of Quaker’s Instant Maple Sugar oatmeal with some dark hot chocolate powder from my morning cocoa added in. Yum.

The article speaks towards how commercial food chains, specifically McDonald’s take something healthy like oatmeal, and completely ruin it. They add “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.” And they charge you over $2 in NYC.

McDonald's oatmeal

Source

The article also provides a link that teaches you how to make your own oatmeal packets. Considering I hate spending the hyped up price of Quakers Instant in my area, and I know that it’s not the healthiest version of oats out there, I will be buying these ingredients (most which I already own), and try to make my own oatmeal ready-to-go packets soon.  

Some recommended ingredients.

Source

What would you put in your own oatmeal ready-to-go packets?

Great Recipe #2 of the Day

I have a bunch of oats and granola in my house, and I wasn’t sure how to best use them. Then I saw how other bloggers were making homemade granola bars, and I thought I would give it a go. Not only was this recipe easy and easily modifiable to what you have in your cupboards, but it is delicious!

Kitchen Cupboard Granola Bars

3 cups Old Fashion oats

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup granola

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 14oz can of condensed milk

Combined dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add condensed milk. Mixed well – you may want to use your hands to make sure all the dried ingredients are covered.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan with non-stick spray like crazy – these babies stick. Spread mix into pan. Flatten out evenly. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. For chewier bars, stick to 20 minutes.

Cut into 24 bars, and remove from pan. Try one fresh out of the oven – they are amazing!

Make Oat-Banana Pancakes, Pretend Like It’s the Weekend Now

Sunday morning Chris woke up before me. I promised him when I finally made it out of bed (I am such a late sleeper on weekends!), I would make us some homemade oat pancakes. As soon as I made my way out of the bedroom, Chris reminded me of my promise and ran to get us some milk.

I have been meaning to whip up some homemade pancakes for some time now, but weekend after weekend I end up putting it off. I already read up on various recipes, and decided to base my recipe off of one I found on SavyEat. I present to you my Oat-Banana pancakes:

Oat-Banana pancakes

Makes approximately 5 large pancakes

1 cup of Old Fashion oats

1 ¼ cup of whole wheat flour

3 T sugar

1 ½ tsp of baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 ½ cup milk

½ banana

Pour Old Fashion oats into blender and grind into flour. You may need to stop the blender and shake the oats and then start again. Blend until looks like flour.

Combined dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix in the wet ingredients and stir. Add more milk if necessary. Cut up the banana into thin slices and add to the mix. The batter should look pea soupy.

Pour your batter onto the pan. This batter is thicker than pancake boxed mix, so be sure to flatten out the poured batter with a spatula.

Not the roundest pancake, but still tasty.

Cook one side, flip and cook the other side. Make sure that the middle is cooked through. Enjoy with your favorite pancake topping. I choose grape jelly.

Oh hello, yummmies.

Note: These pancakes are less sweet than buttermilk pancakes. They have a nice flavor of oatmeal and banana. Because they are less sweet, they go well with a sweet topping. They are also very filling. I had one and half pancakes and was so full that I skipped lunch.