Food Hog Backlog

Several weeks and several thousands of bites later, I have a photo or twenty that finally feel like making their way out into the open. I figured I’d help them along.

You know that whole Quest bar trend, and how everyone says they’re “omgbestbaryou’llevereatever!”?

Maybe not the best idea to buy an on sale, almost expired Quest bar online as your first attempt at jumping on that bandwagon. I nearly chipped two molars. These bars do not hold up well stale.

IMG_3725(For the record, I’ve tried a fresher variety with much better results, though not totally sold on their holy grail-ness just yet.)

This Perfect Fit Protein bar was also a new try, luckily with some easy on the teeth results. Tastes a lot like a chocolate chip Larabar.

IMG_2244

Visible chocolate chips right in there, I’m sold.

IMG_2248

I’ve had a few Greek salads this past month, a hardcore Kristie favourite, clearly. Minus the olives. ALWAYS minus the olives. Yet I still try to eat one every.single.time. Why? Apparently after a certain number of tries, you can learn to like a food. I’ve tried olives many many times. If it hasn’t happened by now, it ain’t gonna happen. 

IMG_2241

Salads (non-Greek) that include pictures before I demolished them:

IMG_2282

IMG_3821

IMG_2290

Sauteed kale, runny egg and squash with…. blackcurrant dijon mustard? What don’t they put in mustard these days?IMG_2295

Everything’s better with Greek yogurt.… except my skin. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the state of my breakouts and the amount of yogurt I’m eating. That and throat clearing. Yep, I’m that annoying “ehem hem, HEM cough hem” person. Unfortunately this means I don’t buy it all that much anymore. Yet I still manage to crave it every day. EVERY day. Geez dairy, why you gotta be so mean?

IMG_3759IMG_3764 IMG_2303

Whey protein in smoothies seems to be hit or miss. Sometimes it destroys my stomach, sometimes it’s just dandy. So I still frequently experiment with different kinds/brands etc.

I ordered a few tasty protein samples online to try from CanadianProtein.com (Still working through them).

IMG_3767 IMG_3777

I also heard great things about this North Coast Naturals Whey Protein Isolate so I’ve been having that in my breakfast smoothies a lot lately. Big fan of this one and it seems to be just fine on my stomach so we’re looking at a repeat purchase from this brand.

IMG_3793 IMG_3815

There was also a time, a couple weeks ago, when I ate only fruit for a few days (in this case, tomatoes + avocados = fruit).

IMG_2324 IMG_2344

Felt nice and clean at that particular moment, but ultimately didn’t do much for me other than make me eat my weight in peanut butter and pumpkin-shaped cheeseballs mere days later.

Banana Granola Peanut Butter? Come on, Kraft, you’re killing me. No one person needs to consume this much peanut butter in two days (it almost happened). I’ve currently enabled a temporary peanut butter ban. It hurts, but so does sitting in can’tbreathtight jeans all day. And I apparently have no self-control.  Cold turkey it is!

IMG_3804 IMG_3799

And yes I did make a cheeseball in the shape of a pumpkin on a spider webbed plate for Halloween. Oh you fancy huh.

IMG_3838

And now I’m working at home alongside the scents of Cider Lane while trying to stay warm in my freezing cold household and contemplating how realistic it would be to attempt a sugar cut down right before the holiday season. My sweet tooth is taking over my sanity. It’s getting bad. Like “I just ate stale marshmallows and don’t even like marshmallows” bad. Whomp whomp.

IMG_3875

At least it’s Friday!

A Day in the Kitchen of a Grazer

Word on the street says that there are a lot of grazers out there.

I am a grazer. Through and through.

I knew today was going to be quiet and uneventful – The perfect recipe for a grazing day. So I decided to give myself a challenge: Try to photograph everything I ate for the day.

I wasn’t aiming to capture perfect portions or every bite since I grab chunks, spoonfuls and nibbles rather than measuring or plating out 3/4 of what I eat. I just wanted to see if I could capture a glimpse of each food thing that entered my mouth today.

Verdict: Almost successful.

This was tough! I’m impressed with people who can actually capture every.single.thing they eat (even more impressed with those that can actually plate their snacks and bites before eating them. I do not have enough patience for that). I definitely forgot a few things along the way but I think I got the majority.

 

SO here’s a sample of A Day in the Kitchen of a Grazer (This is a sample of my habits, not necessarily of my regular daily food choices. Though most days are similar enough, my food choices do have quite the day-to-day variability)

Warning: the quality and appeal of today’s food is rough. Avert your eyes or scroll past quickly as needed.

Breakfast

As I’ve been mentioning lately, smoothies are the name of the game in the mornings. This morning was no different on that front. Before said smoothie is made, a pre-smoothie snack always seems to happen. Don’t ask me why, weird habit.

Today’s contenders: leftover grocery store sushi

001

…and a chunk ripped off a slice of bread.

007

Which was then dipped in roasted red pepper hummus.

008

Then finally the smoothie got made. A coffee cocoa spinach strawberry smoothie to be exact.

009

Vanilla soy protein powder + chilled coffee + almond milk + cocoa powder + spinach + a handful of large frozen strawberries + ice + stevia + the gums

020

This one actually turned out perfectly. Best smoothie I’ve had in a long time. No idea what I did differently but I’ll likely be making this exact combo again tomorrow with crossed fingers.

Perfection smoothie was paired with hot green tea.

026

Followed by a splash of coffee with vanilla creamer.

030

Enjoy my ten course breakfast?

 

Mid-Morning

After a little digestion time I was in the mood for baking. I’ve been meaning to make cornbread for a while now and it was finally time.

033

Except…this cornbread was awful. AWFUL. I was half following a couple recipes, half winging it, full out failing miserably.

035

I tried sampling some with butter and jam but it was still pretty inedible. I wrapped the rest up and threw it in the freezer since I prefer to Waste Not…but I’m really not sure how I’m going to be able to revive that mess.

038

For sweet redemption (since my first baking attempt definitely didn’t satisfy any baking urgers), I decided to use up the last of my peanut flour in the best way possible since I can’t buy it around here and it will be a while until I see some in my pantry again.

046

In an Inside Out Peanut Butter Cup Cake! I’ve made it before with amazing results and today was no different. I saved this baby for later though.

First it was time for …

Lunch

Since the oven was already hot and ready from my baking attempts, I decided to throw in an acorn squash for lunch. I ate some of this mashed beauty with a pat of light margarine alongside a kale salad, a hard boiled egg and another chunk of this morning’s bread slice with plain hummus.

040

Then it was time for…

Workout

I did a duo sesh – long treadmill session followed by Jillian Michaels Shred. The in-between required a breather… and a grazing session.

The rest of this morning’s bread slice was dipped straight into this jar of salsa. And here’s where a picture fail happens – I missed getting a shot of the rice crackers and triscuits that also got drowned in the salsa.

052

I didn’t forget to grab a shot of the acorn squash I ate with a spoonful of peanut butter though. Well… I almost did.

059

There were a few spoonfuls into here today… and into my other natural (aka not-so-fake) peanut butter jar. And I was going to take a break from peanut butter this week… maybe tomorrow. Or never. Whatever.

010

 

Dinner

When dinner finally rolled in I was in the mood to mess around with my panini press. Pizza quesadillas were born – aka jarred pasta sauce and cheddar squished into a wrap. Culinary expertise right here.

067

I didn’t actually eat these. I just made them for kicks, chopped them up and threw them in the fridge. I eventually had a quarter or two though. Half the cheese ran right out so they were a tad on the bland side.

What I did eat for dinner: more kale salad topped with chopped cheddar and hard boiled egg. With a side of rice crackers topped with pasta sauce and cheese. I guess I was in a pizza mood tonight. Okay so more of a cheese mood than anything. Sometimes there’s just nothing better than cheddar.

072

 

Evening

The time when grazing can really go haywire. This must be why they say you’re not supposed to eat after a certain hour. I don’t agree with the rule but I do understand it… It’s not because your body can’t metabolize it but it’s because all caution goes to the wind at night. I could easily take in a day’s worth of food post dinner on a lonely, boring night of snacking!

This evening started out with a nice chunk of my earlier made peanut butter cup cake (which is actually more like a thick, creamy peanut butter pudding and I’m a-okay with that!) served with peach yogurt.

079

I don’t like “Fruit Bottom” yogurts because that “fruit” is just weird jelly. I scoop it out and trash it. The yogurt is already sweet and flavoured without having to stir the gunk in anyway.

086

I also had one last tiny Tbsp of peanut flour that I was saving specifically for THIS:

091

Peanut butter “ice cream”– aka frozen almond milk cubes blended with sweetener, peanut flour and a splash of liquid almond milk. Not the most successful ice creamy texture when trying to do this with my little Magic Bullet but the taste was darn fine.

I also dipped a couple dried prunes into my “ice cream”.

097

I let a little time go by before digging into an apple.

101

And then some apple and orange slices. With peanut butter.

108

I then scrapped picture-taking because I already downloaded the pictures to my computer and didn’t feel like doing another download session to prove that I just finished off: A bunch of cold acorn squash; a mug of peppermint tea with cocoa; and a container of silken tofu blended with cocoa, stevia and frozen raspberries that had instant oats stirred into it and was topped with peanut flour drizzle.

And I’m spent. Time for the grazing monster to go to bed.

 

[With all this recent talk about portions, people not eating enough when showing their daily meals etc etc, please remember: What you see on the plate or in the bowl is what I ate but not necessarily the amount I ate. In many cases I had quite a bit more than what is shown. I just ate it before it made it onto the plate ;).]

 

 

Are you a grazer or a mainly meals eater?
I think the fact that I’m not on much of a schedule right now definitely contributes to my grazing habits. Some days I probably eat ten times a day. On a schedule I do a little better… either way I’m a snacker at heart though :)

Scooter Girl

Can someone build a gasless car and deliver it to me by the end of the week? Otherwise I’m never leaving the house again. That or I’m going to invest in one of those motorized bicycles. Or maybe a really sweet scooter. Considering I work at a motorcycle shop (Didn’t know that? Now you do :)), this idea just might be plausible. Thoughts?

I think I could rock a scooter (please excuse the hairy legs…and arms).

ridin in style copy

Seriously though, gas prices make me want to cry… along with the rest of the population since that’s all the news and anyone who drives seems to talk about lately. I just heard the prices are supposed to skyrocket even more? And I’m down to a quarter tank…sob.

 

While a scooter might not be on the agenda for this week at least, green smoothies have been. Smoothie weather has arrived!

For Breakfast…

007

011

…AND lunch.

010

Yes, those are three entirely different smoothies. How exciting am I, they all look the exact same and I can’t even be bothered to switch it out of a Bullet cup. That’s just another dish to wash though and the Bullet cup fits oh so nicely into the hand.

The contents of the three above smoothies vary slightly but include:
Chilled green tea, unsweetened almond milk, ice, large handful spinach, ~1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder, frozen strawberries, cinnamon, barley grass powder, xanthan gum (and maybe some guar), a bit of sweetener if needed.

 

Aside from smoothie binges, last night I chomped on a veggie burger on a slice of rye with dijon mustard, Laughing Cow cheese, sundried tomatoes and spinach.

016

Can we just focus on the faux grill lines for a second? Are they supposed to give some sense of real burger authenticity? It kind of makes me laugh…but I totally felt like I was eating a big juicy burger hot off the grill…or not quite.

036

It was even better that the real thing. Thumbs UP to veggie burgers.

DOUBLE thumbs up to Pita Pit. I hadn’t had a Pita Pit pita in ages but I finally had one again the other day. Isn’t it beautiful?

004

A babaganoush and vegetable-loaded bundle of joy: baba, romaine, red onions, pickles, hot peppers, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, honey mustard.

010

 

Last night I was also in a baking mood so I baked granola!
Making granola is a little more like concocting than baking but it satisfied the urge and mom’s request for granola. Two birds, one stone.

I based mine off of this recipe, making a much smaller batch with the ingredients I had on hand.

057

My batch included:

Dry: 50 g rolled oats, 50 g quick oats, 10 g puffed rice cereal, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp sea salt
Wet: 1/4 cup applesauce , 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp packed brown sugar, 1/2 tbsp safflower oil, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add-ins:1/4 cup chopped almonds and cashews, 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots, cranberries and raisins

Baked at 300 for 20 minutes without the fruit and nuts.
Then stirred and baked for another 30 minutes with the fruit and nuts.

This granola came out beautifully. Lightly sweetened, super crunchy, with some of those oh-so-coveted granola clumps in the mix.

Be sure to check out the original recipe, which breaks down all of the steps to a perfect batch of granola.

 

Still on the topic of baking, I was recently sent a bag of Emerald Forest Xyla brand Xylitol, an all-natural sugarless sweetener extracted from natural fibrous sources such as birch trees. It has the same sweetness as sugar with 40% less calories and 75% less carbs.

029

Considering it can be swapped 1 to 1 with sugar, I decided to try it out on a miniature batch of flourless peanut butter cookies: 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup Xyla, 1/4 egg (this was a little tricky).

024

Though they’re no substitute for the real thing, the Xylitol puts an interesting flavour spin on the cookie and they’re plenty sweet. I think I’d cut down on the Xylitol a bit when using it again as a swap for sugar in baking.

That being said, I finished off the last cookie last night atop a bed of plain yogurt, banana and peanut butter. Mmm. I’ll have to see what other good uses I can come up with for the Xyla. Ever used it? Any suggestions?

042

 

Wow, where did the morning go? I think it’s about time I get a move on…preferably not via driving, though I now also have a nice big chip in the windshield after a rock came shooting at me off the highway the other day. Swell. So I need to go get that repaired stat.

 

Do you drive? Are you crying right now because of it? Are these rising gas prices making you change or consider changing your driving habits?

I sure am less motivated to want to go out anywhere. And I’m definitely trying to figure out how I can use bicycle transportation more often. Sadly I live in the burbs so everyone and everything is a bit of a hike out of the way. Otherwise I’d be doing a lot more walking to where I need to go! Motorized shoes perhaps?

 

*Don’t forget to enter my Tuesday Tea Giveaway!

The Cold Combat

So the classes start up and so do… the COLDs. They kind of go hand in hand, right? Winter classes and winter colds? I dunno but I’ve been fighting!

My How to Fight a Cold How To.
(Ignore the redundancy)

THE BIG BANG THEORY

 

*Eat Fruit-Based Breakfasts

Apples and oranges and bananas and pineapples OH MY. Plus plain yogurt and granola and peanut butter since fruits alone do not stick your ribs.

004

Sidenote: THIS peanut butter = spectacular. I was all out of normal PB (PB&Co is great but sometimes you just need the plain stuff) and had to get a new jar. This was one sale and I’m pretty sure I had heard good things so I tried it. Two thumbs way up for MaraNatha.

023

*Drink Fruit-Based Smoothies

Or more specifically, Angela’s Flu-Buster Clementine Creamsicle Smoothie. I’ve had it two mornings in a row now and it is love at first sip.

016

This one had a handful of spinach added to it for an extra nutrient kick. Hence the extra green hue of clem smoothie #2.

015029

 

*Eat Your Greens

But make sure to protein pack them with TUNA mixed with fat free sour cream, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Or however you prefer your tuna.

035

032

Or just top with a blob of hummus (after eating a few more blobs by the spoonful). And add lots of salsa to everything. Just because it tastes good.

019

 

*Add Veggies to Everything

We obviously can’t eat ONLY veggies and fruits all the time, so add them into and/or on the side of wraps and sandwiches.

These are two halves of two different panini-pressed wraps (I got a press for xmas!): one with sweet potato hummus and spinach; the other with tofu slices, mustard and BBQ sauce.

057

Veggies on the side of an English muffin with tofu, mustard, BBQ sauce (I told you this was one of my new favourite combos).

033

 

*Bake with Cranberries

These little jewels have about a million benefits and I’ve had a big bag frozen in the freezer for a while now so I decided to add them to a bunch of stuff. They might not be advertised as cold combaters but I doubt if they’re hurting my cold any! I’ve baked a couple cran goodies, but I’ll put the recipes up in a separate post.

Sneak Peak: PomCran Muffins & Crustless Cranberry Pies

019

041

 

*Don’t forget your Vitamins

I take a multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin C (though we’re out right now. how convenient for cold season!) and vitamin B12 every day. I take an Omega 3 vitamin when I remember. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can think of so I don’t know what difference it really makes in cold combat but it certainly can’t hurt. I have this fear that if I stop taking them I’m suddenly going to come down with every sickness imaginable since my body is so used to them. Irrational maybe but it keeps me popping my vitamins everyday!

that-crazy-broccoli_large

 

*Exercise

Exercise kind of sucks when you have a cold that involves coughing and makes your lungs feel like they are 10lbs heavier and half-filled with liquid. But I’ve been sticking it out because it still feels great afterwards, like those pools of sweat are filled with cold bugs just leaking right out! I’ve just been letting myself have a few “breather breaks” the past few days. Aka running on the treadmill is 3x harder right now so I step off for 10 seconds here and there when I can’t breathe, which seems to be more often than I would like right now…Naw good!

comics,funny-1de62a9278a3e35edc3efe47dc332970_h

*Chug Water

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate. C’est magique! I think this is common knowledge (I hope!).

tumblr_l2skl8RSPJ1qa7ir4o1_400_large

 

I also think all of my “Tips” are common knowledge but laying them out just so makes me feel helpful. At least to myself :)

 

What is your best cold combat tip?

I hope you’re all managing to stay healthy and sickness free! (or at least fighting it off with a vengeance)