Barley and Me

January 30, 2009 at 1:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Sorry I couldn’t resist the title. Did anyone else see Marley and Me?? Boy did I cry during that!!! Maybe because my last golden, Polo, was EXACTLY like Marley..quite the terror. But I loved him.

I had planned on making swee potato rissoto for dinner but then I realized we were out of onions. Bummer. Another night!

Instead, I had some of the leftover black bean burger mixture (James cooked some of the leftover black bean burger mixture with some potatoes cut up in it). On the side, I had a mixture of kale, defrosted Asian veggies, with some hummus + soy sauce on top. I love hummus on top of cooked veggies! 

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And then I cooked up some barley!

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I got this in the bulk section of whole foods. It cooked up nice and fluffy.

I found this on the Whole Foods website:

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Look at all those nutrients!

According the the website, barley can help protect against high cholesterol,  provide cardiovascular benefits AND protect against  Type 2 Diabetes!!!

A lot of that can be said for most whole grains but the high fiber in barley takes it a notch above the rest!

I thought this table was really interesting:

Food Fiber Content in Grams
Oatmeal, 1 cup 3.98
Whole Wheat Bread, 1 slice 2
Whole Wheat Spaghetti, 1 cup 6.3
Brown rice, 1 cup 3.5
Barley, 1 cup 13.6
Buckwheat, 1 cup 4.54
Rye 1/3 cup 8.22
Corn, 1 cup 4.6
Apple, 1 medium with skin 5.0
Banana, 1 medium 4.0
Blueberries, 1 cup 3.92
Orange, 1 large 4.42
Pear, 1 large 5.02
Prunes, 1/4 c. 3.02
Strawberries, 1 cup 3.82
Raspberries, 1 cup 8.36

 

WOW!

Today I also had my first experience with a Clif bar. Each week when we go grocery shopping, I treat myself to one special bar from the bar section.

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This week the Carrot Cake Clif Bar won. I had seen Clif bars all over the blogworld and decided to give them a shot. I have to say…I didn’t really like it! It was just too sweet for me. I felt like my teeth were starting to hurt from all the sugar! It was also a lot more caloric then I usually like to make my midmorning snack (240 cals) and it didn’t keep me full any longer then my normal granola bars do. Disappointing I must say.

These are the bars I have been having regular:

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Eating this is pretty much a taste explosion in my mouth. Here’s the description:

Inspired by the downright yummy combination of flavors in one of our best-selling trail mixes, Trader Joe’s Organic Sweet, Savory & Tart Trail Mix Bars are a perfect blend of taste and convenience. Peanuts, cashews, cranberries, chocolate chips and almonds are blended with organic oats and crispy rice to create the ultimate grab and go bar. They’re sweet, savory and tart – crunchy and chewy. Talk about satisfying a whole lot of cravings at once!”

Nutritionals:  140 cals, Fat: 4.5 g, Sat. Fat 1g, Sodium 85 mg, Protein 2g, Dietary Fiber 1g

Okay not blow your mind nutritionals but it tastes good and makes a nice mid morning treat.

What is your favorite granola bar??

UPDATED: Just wanted to remind everyone about the BSI this week: DATES! Head on over to Sarah’s blog to find out more!

Oven Roasted Veggies

January 29, 2009 at 2:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Nothing too crazy for dinner tonight. But it was my first time trying parsnips which i liked! And I always love roasted veggies.

1 Zucchini, 2 parsnips and 1 sweet potato in 1 tsp. olive oil and S + P  before being put into a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. IMG_1213

And after:

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I meant to take a picture of them in the pan but I forgot to. Ah well.

The parsnips were really good roasted. I liked that they were kind of mushy on the inside but the skin on the outside was still a little firm. And you can’t really go wrong with oven roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini.

When I got home from work I was STARVING so I had an appetizer of this:

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That’s a Trader Joes Veggie Flax chip with black bean and corn salsa. These chips are awesome by the way…and dangerous because I can easily go through half a bag.  We just bought a bag of Trader Joe’s Hemp chips..I’ll let you know how they measure up.

(Ignore the chipped nail polish…it has since been removed I promise…by the way that color is called “Breaking Curfew”.  haha Nail polishes have crazy names)

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Here’s the salsa:

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My Aunt from Arizona sent my folks a basket of like 8 salsas for Christmas so James and I got to take one home. Let me tell you…this stuff is good. It’s really thick and has a deep, rich flavor. It was definitely a contrast to the tomato salsas we usually have.

I thought I’d show you James’ dinner too since I haven’t seen him like something as much as this in a while:

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That is ground turkey mixed with leftover enchilada sauce with corn and TJ’s BBQ sauce on top.

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I think his exact words after his first bites were “Holy hell this is good!” You know that’s a winner.

Score. Law & Order: SVU is on. Gotta go!

What’s the name of your favorite nail polish color?

Black Bean Burgers and Microwave Chips

January 28, 2009 at 1:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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Boy was tonight’s dinner good!!

We’ve made these Homemade Black Bean Burgers a few times and they always turn out great. Instead of using bread crumbs we used Panko bread crumbs. I’ve also used rolled oats instead of the bread crumbs and that turned out good too. James also wanted me to note that he added a little bit of Worcestershire sauce to the mix. We baked them in the oven since, in the past,  when we’ve tried to make them on the stove they would stick and it was just a hassle. 

They took a little longer to bake since James made 2 instead of 4 like the recipe says (I had half of one and am putting the other half in a wrap for lunch tomorrow! Leftovers are such a good thing)

James also sauteed some onions and mushrooms to put on top

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On the side we had the COOLEST THING!

Chips that we made in the microwave!!!

We got the recipe from the February EatingWell magazine (recipe found here).

James used Red potatoes to make them.

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Sliced up in a bowl with Olive Oil and salt.

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Spread out on a microwave safe plate.

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Out of the microwave (they took longer in the microwave than the original recipe called for and apparently they crisp up as they cool)

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On my plate. I would like a repeat performance please.

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All together! This was so. so. delicious. I ate the burger opened face with ketchup and mustard on top.

We WILL be making this again. Next time I want to put vinegar on the potatoes before microwaving so we can have salt + vinegar chips (my fave!)

Work was good today. When I got home I did some yoga. I downloaded a few of the YogaDownload free podcasts over the weekend. Tonight I did David Farmar’s 20 minutes Sun Salutations. I really want to keep doing this! After sitting for so much of the day, it just feels great to move around a little. Afterward I felt calm and happy. I even danced around a little.

Poor Toby was sick all last night so we didn’t get much sleep. Thankfully he seems to be feeling better (he’s snuggled up on his bed as I type). Tonight will definitely be an early night. 

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Back to our disk of West Wing we got from Netflix today!!

Veggie Enchilada Casserole

January 27, 2009 at 1:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I’m really digging layering things up in a pan and popping it in the oven. It’s just too easy to resist and all the flavors meld with each other in the oven. So far, I’ve had great success with it and this enchilada casserole was no exception.

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat wraps
  • Trader Joe’s refried black beans
  • McCormick Enchilada Packet
  • Tomato sauce
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Reduced fat shredded cheese (I used the Mexican blend from Harris Teeter)

I started with layering the bottom of a loaf pan with whole wheat tortillas. I cut them into strips thinking that would be better but I’m going to go ahead and say it was not the best idea. Because the next step is spreading the refried black beans on top..which was not easy with the strips. I need to do a little more forward thinking.

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So once I cursed the refried and black beans for a while, I got them all spread out on the pan. Then I put a layer of sautéed onions and veggies (a frozen medley I defrosted while sautéing the onions). Then I chopped up some fresh spinach. 

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And I thought I was done but corn just sounded like it would be a great addition so I sprinkled some of that in there as well (I’m sure you’re seeing this was a very cohesive and well thought out recipe)

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Then I poured some of the enchilada sauce on top (prepared according to the packet: spices + tomato sauce + water brought to a boil), another layer of whole wheat wraps, more enchilada sauce, and then some cheese. 

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I covered it with some tin foil, popped it into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Then I removed the foil and broiled it for another 5 minutes.

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When James was looking through my pictures he told me none of the pictures of my casserole made it look edible. And I’ll tell you why. I was just too excited to eat it and didn’t wait until it cooled off to cut into it and put it on my plate. Woops! This made for some less than stellar blog photos. But let me tell you, it was good.

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I’m still trying to get used to working full time + running + making dinner and making sure the apartment doesn’t look like a tornado swept through it (which it kinda looks like right now).  I know that it just takes getting used to and tons of people do it.

At least James has the next 2 days off so he can make dinner…. Right dear?? 😉

On the agenda tonight:

  • Make hummus
  • Clean kitchen
  • Make lunch
  • Get oatmeal assembled for breakfast
  • Figure out tomorrow’s outfit

Half Marathon Training

January 25, 2009 at 1:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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This week I start training for my next half marathon! I am running the ING Atlanta Half Marathon on March 29th. I am really excited about it because some my friends from high school are running it!! It’s a dream come true! I honestly can’t wait.

 

Half Marathon #1 : St Jude, Memphis, TN.

My first half was an awesome experience and my roommate from college gave me a training schedule for it. Basically all I did was run 4 miles everyday, and then a long run on the weekend. Sometimes we would do sprints barefoot on the soccer field (best feeling ever), but that was only when we had the urge and not when a training schedule told us to.

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It was an awesome marathon. Not only was it my first, but it was for SUCH a good cause. The streets were lined with people with motivational/inspiring signs, thanking us for our contribution to St. Jude.  We also ran through cool parts of Memphis like Beale Street, by Sun Studios and  by my college so a lot of friends and professors were out! It was the best first experience I could ask for.

Half Marathon #2: City of Oaks Half Marathon

My next half, the one I ran this past November, I really didn’t have a set out training schedule. I loosely made one up for myself and ended up doing too many long runs, in my opinion, and kind of burning out.

Plus we ended up having to move into our third floor apartment the day before my half (we were supposed to move in 10 days before) so my legs were incredibly tired from walking up and down 3 flights of stairs a million times the day before carrying solid wood furniture etc

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It was a really hard and painful run.  The hilly course did not help. The only thing that made it better was that my parents and James were waiting at the finish line. James even met me at the halfway point, which is where this picture was taken!! I was pretty impressed he found it since we were in a brand new city.

When James comes to my races, he always stands a few yards before the finish line and cheers me on and starts running toward the finish with Toby. It always motivates me to sprint that last bit! But in this race, I had nothing left in my legs to sprint. Ah well. There’s always the next one!

Half Marathon #3

Stage 1: The Plan

Speaking of the next one: This time I am basing my training on the Ultimate Half Marathon plan from Runner’s World. It’s a nine week plan. The number of long runs don’t intimidate me and it incorporates speedwork into my training which I rarely do but I know it will help, especially after all the great testimonies about it from Caitlin. Hopefully it is just what I need. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes!

I am trying to plan my long run routes so I can come back and get this guy for the last 4-6 miles:

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This is two toy Toby. He gets very jealous when I run by myself.

I’m currently watching an Audrey Hepburn movie Love in the Afternoon.

Does anyone else love old movies?? I really do. I’m not an expert on them or anything but they’re just so romantic and dreamy!

That’s a terrible description.

Have a good Saturday night!

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Tofu-in’ and Stir Fryin’ It Up

January 24, 2009 at 12:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Stir fry seems to always sound appealing to me. It can be different every time you make it, using seasonal veggies or whatever is on hand. And then there’s the sauce! Yup. I would say stir fry is up there as one of the most versatile dinners.

With starting a new job and James and I both working full time now, I am working on creating meals that are fast to make and easy to clean up without sacrificing nutrition or taste.

Tonight’s stir fry included:

  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic

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  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Peanut Sauce

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  • Extra Firm Tofu

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First I sauteed all the veggies except the kale until they were soft and then I took them out of the pan and put them on a plate off to the side.

I poured a mixture of the sauces in a pan and placed the cut up tofu in it. I pretty much just eyeballed everything. Once they were in there, I topped em with a little more of the sauces. The soy sauce is definitely soaked up the easiest so keep the salty factor in mind.

Cook until water is evaporated (a few minutes) and then flip. Put the veggies back in the pan and top with kale. Cover with a lid so kale will wilt. Cook for another few minutes.

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The finished product:

 

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I liked the tofu in this dish a lot. I tried baking tofu a few weeks back and it did not turn out well at all. I had smothered it with BBQ sauce and followed the baking instructions others had and it turned out like cardboard! I was so disappointed since everyone always raves about how great baked tofu is. Maybe I just needed to cut them thicker?? Anyhow, the tofu in this dish was not cardboard-y at all. It was full of flavor and was browned just a bit on each side. Perfection!

Cooking the veggies first and then setting them to the side made it so I only had to use (and then clean) one pan. Adding them back to the pan after flipping the tofu allows them to warm back up.

James and I always split this Bavarian Hefeweizen beer from Trader Joes:

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I usually like wheaty beers but this one had a strange aftertaste. We didn’t even finish it.

It took me a while to figure out what kind of beer I like but after a trip to The Flying Saucer with their extensive beer list, I found my love of all beers wheat (okay not ALL beers as demonstrated above but you get the idea).

I am planning on doing some baking this weekend so stay tuned!!

What is your favorite kind of beer?

In Case You Were Wondering…

January 20, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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SNOW DAY!

Being a Florida girl..the idea of driving in snow is basically terrifying. So I am happy that it looks like it’s ENOUGH snow that I won’t have to even try to drive in it.  Which means I get to act like a kid and go play in the snow with Toby!! Woohoo!

Vegan Sloppy Joes + French Fries

January 20, 2009 at 3:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

What a fun dinner we had tonight! I forgot how much I love Sloppy Joes…and it’s always fun trying out new recipes and having them go well (Especially when last night didn’t go well…let’s just say someone – read: me – didn’t put enough cooking spray on the pan before putting the pizza crust down – it wasn’t pretty).

So tonight I was out to redeem my cooking skills!

First, I set to work on some sweet tater fries. I chopped up two of the gems that we got from the farmers market on Saturday.

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Then I put them on a cookie sheet, sprayed em with some cooking spray and sprinkled them with salt.

Pop them in a 425* preheated oven for 30 minutes, take them out and flip them over, then cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how thick they’re cut)

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While those were cooking, I started on the Sloppy Joes. I got the recipe from Vegan Dad’s recipe. When James told he wanted Sloppy Joes, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to use! Vegan Dad always has such great looking recipes and now I can say they taste good too 🙂

I followed the steps mostly except I skipped boiling the tempeh in water and soy sauce.

First I sautéed two tiny onions in some water until they were translucent:

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Next, I crumbled up the tempeh with my hands and added it to the mix (I had also rubbed a little soy sauce on the tempeh while I was waiting for the onions to boil..don’t know if it made a difference):

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Then I poured Vegan Dad’s awesome sauce over everything:

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I followed Vegan Dad’s recipe for the sauce exactly except that I used apple cider vinegar because that’s what we had.

After letting the sauce thicken for a bit we got this:

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I’ve really fallen in love with tempeh.  I was skeptical at first, especially since my first experience making tofu myself was a bust, but the more times I use tempeh the more I find how versatile and satisfying this ingredient is. It made the perfect Sloppy Joe. I bet it would work for any recipe that uses Boca Crumbles or other forms of faux meat. It crumbles just like ground meat does…or how I remember ground meat crumbling

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I stole some fries and put it into my wrap for tomorrow’s lunch:

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I made some hummus last night for me to use in my lunch this week. I used  some inspiration from  Happy Herbivore and added spicy mustard and soy sauce to the mix. It gave a different depth of flavor and definitely was the star of my wrap today. 

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This is a flat out wrap, homemade hummus, cucumber and spinach. 

The best song just came on Pandora: “Time to Pretend” by MGMT. I have a playlist that I used to run to that starts off with this song so it brings back the awesome feelings of just starting off on an early morning run.

Does anyone else associate certain songs with a feeling or situation?? I do that ALL the time! When I was training for my last half-marathon, I would download the latest episodes of This American Life (my favorite show ever) and Sound Opinions to listen to on my long run.  When I would run some of the same streets the following week, I could remember what was going on in the podcast when I was at that spot on my run! The mind is a crazy thing.

In other awesome running news, my new boss today told me I could come in at 9 instead of 8!!! Which means that getting a run in in the morning will be SO much more doable!

Of course I might not be going to work tomorrow morning anyway since it’s supposed to snow here tonight and for anyone else who lives in the South, you know that even a little bit of snow means the whole city shuts down! We’ll see if I wake up to a white world tomorrow which will equal staying in bed and watching Obama get sworn in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some pics from seeing Obama speak at Clemson:

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Farmers Market & Loving the Mini

January 19, 2009 at 2:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Mini pizzas that is.

While James was on a business trip I had to get back to my roots of meals for one! One of my favorites is making mini pizzas, I used to make them on English muffins but then I FINALLY found these at our Harris Teeter:

 

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ARNOLD SANDWICH THINS!

I saw these out in the blogworld AGES ago and had been dying to try them.  So I took these puppies out for a little test drive.

For the marinara part I used some of this:

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This was actually really good. It had been sitting in our cupboards for ages (well James’ cupboard and when we moved here it came along). It had a great blend of seasonings and it’s organic to boot!

For the cheese I used part skim Harris Teeter brand shredded cheddar cheese. I also sautéed some onions, spinach and carrots in some water until they were soft/wilted and put it on top of the cheese. I put them in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes (until cheese was melty) then broiled it for another 3-5 minutes and topped it with some crumbled goat cheese.

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I ate these with a fork. I liked the sandwich thins better than the English muffins since they’re softer. I had a coupon for them at Lowes Food for $1.89 which is an awesome price for a packaged item like this. I’m not sure I’d buy them regularly for $3 when I can get a loaf of whole wheat bread for less than $2.

Paying attention to coupons and specials lets me still indulge in things I normally wouldn’t for price reasons…I just have to be keep my eye out and put in a little extra time now and then.

I spent some time yesterday and today doing some menu planning for the week. It was fun to look through cookbooks and magazines to come up with recipes and now we have a more comprehensive grocery list going to the store tomorrow! Hopefully this will help us keep to our supermarket budget. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Farmers Market

We went to the farmers market today which was a little disappointing..it was pretty cold out so there weren’t many vendors there. No one there had my fave cameo apples 😦 Luckily I still have a couple left…

The loot:

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4 Sweet Potatoes

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Lots of onions

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2 cucumbers (2 for $1)

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1 Zucchini

= $5.17

And I also splurged a little and got this:

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Pumpkin butter!! (please excuse the unattractive line down the front label…a little bit of pumpkin butter escaped in my excitement to do a taste test)

This stuff is awesome!! It tastes like pumpkin pie filling in spreadable form. I can really taste the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. I’ve always been a big apple butter fan (in fact it was the first thing I made in the Crockpot I got for Christmas) so when my friend suggested I try pumpkin butter, it just sounded too good to resist. And, oh, it is.

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I will definitely have to learn how to make this stuff.

Anyone have a good recipe for making pumpkin butter from a can of pureed pumpkin?

I used the zucchini we got today to make these awesome Chocolate Zucchini muffins from Happy Herbivore. They were really really good. Basically everything I could wish for…chocolatey, cakey, virtually fat free and made with wholesome ingredients.  James has already eaten three… make that four.

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I heated mine up in the microwave for 30 seconds and topped it with some ice cream.

Now that’s a happy ending. 🙂

Whenever I can I try to buy local and to support small farmers and businesses. Not only do you get fresh and delicious produce at a reasonable price but you’re also contributing to your community. Does anyone else have a great farmers market or place to get local produce near them?

Cold Outside, Warm on the Inside

January 16, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

When I heard yesterday about the cold front that was coming through last night, I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner: Pea Soup! It’s pretty much a staple for us because it’s so easy, inexpensive and most important sooo good!!! Pea soup has always been my favorite kind of soup. It leaves me feeling warm and satisfied.

Pea Soup

  • 1 bag dried split peas
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans of chicken broth (or veggie broth to make it vegan/vegetarian)

1. Rinse the dried split peas

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Why is rinsing important? Because of this:

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Stones and debris?? No thank you!

2. Chop carrots

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3. Put everything in a medium large pot.

I only had one can of chicken broth so I used some Better Than Bouillion that James’ mom had gotten for us when she visited us and James had her make her famous chicken soup.

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I just refilled the can of chicken broth with water, dumped it into the pot and then added a little less than 2 tsp. of the Better Than Bouillion. It’s pretty great. We got it when it was on sale close to Thanksgiving I think for $3.99 and it makes a ton of chicken broth.

4. Bring everything to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.

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I think I found this on Allrecipes.com. It gets thicker as it cools.

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I like to put some extra pepper on top plus some Texas Pete hot sauce! Yum!

In other cool news, look at the awesome coffee table we found on Craigslist.org for $35!!!

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We were amazingly lucky because when James and I were moving in together, James’ mom was moving to a smaller house so we got all of the old furniture that she couldn’t fit in her new home! It’s so incredible when things work out well like that. All of the furniture we got is also made of cherry wood with Queen Anne feet so we were really pumped to find a coffee table that matches.

We also found our washer/dryer on Craigslist for a steal. The only thing wrong with them is that the dryer’s timer doesn’t work. We’ve really found that hunting around for deals can pay off pretty big!!

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little apprehensive about going out tonight since the low is in the single digits! Brrr!! I will definitely be bundling up!

To end, I thought I would share what a hard life Toby has:

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Yea that’s Toby’s personal pillow…which he is trying to fit his entire body on instead of lying on his bed which is right next to him. He really likes pillows as you can see in the pictures on The Toby Story page. I’ve definitely woken up a number of times to him hovering above my head stretched out over my pillows. And every morning he climbs in bed between James and I, puts his head on the pillows and his body under the blankets. He hasn’t gotten the memo yet that he’s not a people.

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