Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweetener Smackdown

I have a confession to make…for all my healthy and clean eating, I still have one rather large challenge (ok several, but this is the one I happen to be working on righthisminute). Hello everyone, my name is Emily and I’m addicted to artificial sweeteners. Aak! Particularly to aspartame in the form of cheap date NatraTaste, but I also occasionally dabble in Splenda (the devil!), and once or twice in my life I’ve even delved into some Sweet n Low. Hideous.

I try to avoid Splenda as much as possible because it gives me serious tummy troubles, and we all know that the chemical compound in Sweet n Low is the only one actually proven to give ya cancer….but it’s that dang aspartame that keeps me tied down. I like to use it in a lot of stuff, namely this
this and this (Hello, I'm also addicted to TEA!). But also this (cottage cheese with SINnnnnamon)and sometimes this and basically whatever else needs some suga (on my tongue, ya gotta give me, give me some, put it right there on my tongue). Sorry. I just love to sing to you.

Sigh. Anyway, I’ve been turning over this thought in my head for a while now, and I HATE how I work so hard to make my body the best it can be, in the goal of complete health, and yet I still put this sort of garbage in there. I believe it might go a long way in helping me to become a true intuitive eater and master my hunger/fullness cues a little better if I would quit ingesting chemicals that tell my body I’m receiving a sort of food that I’m actually not.

So without further adieu, I present to you my latest experimental challenge: The Sweetener Smackdown! Each week, I will be trying a new kind of all natural sugar substitute in hopes of prying the cold white hand of the NatraTaste goblin off of my tea mug.

The first contender: Well, here's the verdict so far. I can't really taste it! I'm exercising a great show of self restraint not to squeeze the whole bottle in. After all, the point of a sugar substitute for me is to sweeten with less than would be required of sugar. I also tried it in some cottage cheese, but it was very difficult to detect in that as well. Interestingly enough, after a few frustrating days of sampling the agave in my tea, I gave in and dumped a packet of the blue stuff in. Holy cow was that SWEET! Soooo...I think I possibly could be retraining my taste buds, but only time will tell.

That's all for now until the next installment of Sweetener Smackdown. Hope your Monday is going well and turns out sweeter than any chemically formulated non-nutritive sweetener. xoxo

Friday, August 28, 2009

Freaky Food Friday Round Two

Do you love my post title? I'm so original. But I've been smashing tile with a hammer all day, then prying it out of the floor with a crowbar....and it's now 4:00 and I've just barely finished eating lunch so I'm a little discombobulated.

It's a good thing
Tina posted a reminder about Cookie Friday this morning, or I would have totally forgotten about my own foodie feature: Freaky Food Friday! Well, luckily I didn't forget about it earlier in the week, and already had something ridiculous up my sleeve. My lovely and gracious sister was kind enough to contribute to today's installment with these:

Greenday Durian Chips

Um, I've heard that the actual durian fruit smells AWFUL, so I was relieved to smell nothing but goodness when I opened the bag. Definitely sweet, and almost musky smelling. So surprised--these were freaking fantastic!

They had a flaky texture almost almost like those dehydrated fruit toddler snacks--like a cross between that and a potato chip.
The flavor was super vanilla-caramelly and pretty reminiscent of a dried banana.

The packaging on this cracked me up, as the chips are labeled "The snack of the century"...ooookay, ego. I could tell it was a foreign product because there were some grammatical errors, but hey, when you're the snack of the century, I guess that's simply a minor misgiving.

Here's what else Greenday had to say about the product:
Premium brand of vacuum fried fruit and vegetable chips made from the finest raw materials via highly advanced technology, without any additives, preservatives or food coloring. Our products are crunchy, low in fat and contain high fiber content which is widely approved to be the perfect snack for all ages.

The package also refers to durian as "the King of Thai Fruits." Awesome.
My little bag contained 2 servings, and I only ate a few of the chips even though I easily could have polished off the whole dang thing, but I was a little leery of the nutritional information. Per each serving there are 150 calories, 5 g fat and only 2 g fiber (wait, I thought this was supposed to be the widely approved high fiber snack??). The only ingredients listed were durian and palm oil. So despite, the sketchy stats, I guess I ate the perfect royal snack today and happily give these my Freaky Food seal of approval. Don't be scerrred y'all--try them!

In other news, speaking of freaky food, I would love to get my hands on some of
this wild dessert hummus. Especially the Chocolate Mousse and PB flavors. Sounds good to me! And Jenna over at Whole Body Love has a great food for thought post on running. If you haven't already read my thoughts on running, click here.

I also wanted to mention how excited I am to see some new readers on the blog. Thanks everyone, so much, for all your awesome comments and great feedback! I can't wait to get to know each of you and your blogs better. It's beyond cool to be able to share my love of foodie experimentation and healthy eating journey with gals who get it!

P.S. In addition to those wacky-ass chippies, my sister also brought me these, which I can never find in my neck of the woods. She has to go trekking all the heck over the place to some random specialty ethnic food store that may or may not have them in stock .
Purple sweet potatoes. They may not look like much now, but I guarantee they will be much-o tasty in my tummy later on. YAY! Thanks sis! She loves me. And I love YOU! Hope you all are having a great Friday and looking forward to a glorious weekend. xoxo

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Overnight Oats a.k.a. Just Follow the Directions

Hey guys, guess what?? I finally convinced myself to try overnight oats this morning! I know everyone has been sporting these for a while, but they are definitely new to me!

I'd kind of forgotten my love for oatmeal. Let me explain. I work for an orthodontist, and I got BRACES as an adult (how awkward!) two summers ago. I could not eat ANYTHING for the longest time. I had been used to having things like toast and toaster waffles for breakfast, and those became absolutely off limits--just too much crunching and chewing for my poor teethies. I never liked oatmeal as a kid because my mom always made is sooooo runny, but in an act of desperation, I decided to give it another shot. Well, much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it immensely. Especially with the addition of a little Fiber One and ridiculous amount of cinnamon--fabulous. So this became my a.m. staple for almost TWO years.

Unfortunately, at that same time, Ed started to sneak back into the picture, and mandated that oatmeal was the only "safe" thing allowable for breakfast, along with a bowl of fruit. As I entered recovery, and began to work with a nutritionist, one of the first things we did was tackle my standard morning meal in order to add more variety and staying power. Oats were out.

But alas, breakfast has become boring again with the typically structured routine of my meal plan--grain, dairy, fruit, possible fat; with each component normally eaten separately, as Ed insists. Since that has gotten old, I've started experimenting with what I can "normal person" breakfasts. For example, a normal person would perhaps make overnight oats with yogurt and berries instead of eating a miscellaneous grain product, a bowl of yogurt and a bowl of berries on the side. So word yo, that's what I did.

In my mix:

  • 1/3 c. oats
  • 1/4 c. Fiber One
  • 1/2 cuppish (end of the container) Fage 0%
  • 1 whole shaker of cinnamon--ok just kidding. Kind of.
  • 2 tbs. slivered almonds (for staying power)
  • last of my raspberries (sad face--I will HATE it when Summer's over)
  • little leftover banana nub, sliced
I mixed the yogurt, oats and cereal last night with a splash of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze and added the rest this morning. Ok, Emily, here is a prime example of when you should just follow directions instead of being all experimental. In most versions I've seen, an equal amount of liquid is also added in ratio to the oats and yogurt. But since I have a strong aversion to runny oats, and generally like mine a lot thicker than most (TWSS??), I nixed the Almond Breeze for the most part in the beginning. When I checked them this morning, they were beyond dense. More like concrete! So, more Almond Breeze was added to thin things out until I could at least stir it up for Pete's sake.

YUMMMMMMMYYYYYYY! This didn't really taste like oatmeal, so I was super surprised by the oat-come (that was actually a typo, but then it made sense, so I decided to leave it--get it? ha ha!).

OMG, it was delicious, and I really enjoyed being a normal person at breakfast for a change. I guess, that is, if you can call us food bloggers normal people :) If any of you out there are stuck in the breakfast rut, or in the compartmentalization of your meals due to some ridiculous rules, I super encourage you to try this. Ollie, if you're reading, you would love this. It works! And it is dreamy. I am adding it to the rotation, and am super psyched to try it with a little pb&j, or diced up peach and almond butter. The possibilities are endless! And evidently, so is this post! Who knew I could ramble on for so long about my silly little breakfast?

I'm a little behind on the breakfast challenge, but this is my little contribution for the week. Thanks especially to April, whose bowl this day served as my inspiration. Check out Kailey's bog here for another beautiful version and for a great giveaway--only one more day to enter! Now I just have to figure out when I can try those spicy oats I've seen so often. The version seen here looks to die. Oats for breks is back!
P.S. Holy cow these oats have some serious go-time in 'em too! I ate around 5:45 a.m.--it's now 9:00 and I'm STILL full! Like a rock, baby, like a rock!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For you baby

As I've mentioned before, my husband is incredibly supportive of all my experimentation, especially in the fight against Ed. He always encourages me to try new things, especially if they are fear foods, and even if they are not so completely healthy sometimes (cuz, hey, that IS healthy, right?).
The other day I sent him to the store to get some drinks for us, and he came home with a little present for me, too. I don't know how he thought of this, but he must have remembered a time when we got some candy and I only ate the pink ones of the kind we were having. Whatever. Pink makes things taste better :)

Anyhoo, he handed me these PINK Strawberry Mentos with the cutest look of pride and warned me that he better not find them in his lunch (yes, I pack it for him). So I packed them in my lunch yesterday instead.

They were sweet and chewy, just like you'd expect. I didn't eat them all, but I had a few and I was glad to have something a little wild and crazy to make my day more interesting. Very pink and a sweet little treat (and sweet reminder of D) in the middle of the day. Thanks babe. This one's for you. I love you! Even more than I love pink, and even more than mustard :) xoxoxo

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mustard Mania

Hi friends! First of all, thank you so much to all of you who read and commented on my previous post (if you haven't read it yet, click to see Why I Run). It was kind of nerve-wracking to put myself out there like that, and I am so touched by your support and encouragement. So thank you, thank you!

Now, on to bizznass. In addition to running my 10k this weekend, I was also doing this:
ripping up carpet and pulling up a bazillion little carpet staples, along with the horrific invention that is carpet tack. And the hubs, trying a little experiment of his own with some tile in the bathroom. Having a house is hard work. And we don't' even live there yet.

All this extra exertion certainly helped me work up an appetite for all kinds of adventurous eating, including this tasty little item (another find from my fave little corner market a.k.a. Target).
As suggested on the label, I tried it on ham... carrots... and as not suggested by the bottle, but most definitely suggested by your truly....sweet potato bomb goodness. This is good, plain and simple. I can't even describe how yummy this is. I was slightly disappointed at first when I tried it on the sandwich and veg, but this stuff was MADE to be mashed with a sweet potato. Delectable. If you like mustard as much as I do, or even if you don't ,and you just enjoy the thought of some tangy maple-y goodness, please purchase this product promptly (wow, hello letter P).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why I Run

I did it! I finished my race today in 55:57:4, 53rd out of 376 runners--I can't believe it! Thanks, everyone for your support, especially my hubby and my sister, who was the first to hug me as I reached the end. I have made an effort not to be overly personal on this blog, but this race was very important to me, and I wanted to share with you exactly why. So here goes:

Why I Run

I wasn’t always able to run, or at least to run well. I was always one of the last to finish running the mile in gym class, and I ended my middle school track career by falling flat on my face and breaking my nose (funny story).

Running was hard, and I just never thought I could hack it. I found other ways to be physically active and incorporate exercise into my life starting at a very young age. I was always interested in fitness and healthful eating, but it was an interest that would turn into a dangerous and consuming obsession as I developed a severe eating disorder.

From the time I was 12 until 16, I bounced back and forth between bouts of “recovery” and sickness, reaching what I presumed to be a full recuperation shortly before I left for college. I was able to maintain some semblance of normalcy through school, my wedding and first year of marriage, still turning to exercise and gym workouts as a compulsion.
Unfortunately, last fall, at the age of 24, my fa├žade of recovery began to crumble and I stepped back into highly disordered eating in order to cope.

There is no truer comparison than that of an eating disorder as an abusive companion that we call Ed. If you want to know more about who Ed is, click here. It is my experience that Ed screams constant failure and inflicts unimaginable verbal and physical abuse on his victims, unrelenting in his tenacity. There is never enough working out, calorie counting, meal planning or “trimming the fat” for Ed.

Ed sets strict rules and guidelines that must be adhered to at all times. This includes almost everything in daily life, but is especially pertinent in my case, to things like THE GYM. Ed mandates exercising for an exact amount of time or calories burned. He lives and breathes for the calorie counters on the elliptical even though he knows they may be completely inaccurate. He gives no regard for exhaustion and definitely does not tolerate any variation in his routine.

That’s where running comes in. As I entered into recovery yet again, I made the decision to get as far away from Ed’s rules as possible, and this time for good. I began with only 10 minutes of running on the treadmill. This meant ending the other part of my workout early, which made Ed madder than anything. It meant that I couldn’t complete my “allotted” time and would throw my calorie counts way out the window. I laughed in Ed’s face. Eventually, I started convincing myself to run outside INSTEAD of going to the gym some days. Only for 2 miles at first, then 3, 4, 5 and now 6.25 as I proudly completed today.

With every step it’s a slap in the face to Ed. Even though I am still “working out,” I am in all ways working against Ed. Running outside, there are no calorie counters, no set time limit. Some days I am faster and some slower. Some days I choose to run 4.5 miles and some days I choose to run 6 (and some days I choose not to run at all). There is nothing to measure other than the amazing feeling of being able feel my body move.

So today I ran. As I ran, I noticed those running along with me. Some ran past, limping, gasping, stopping, starting, coughing, flailing their arms and legs, their faces screwed up in pain or in physical exhaustion. Others glided by, evenly, calmly, easily. Some runners even had smiles on their faces, and I began to think the fight against Ed is like this. I started out slow, suffering and unsure. Today I ran, fast and powerful, pushing myself along when I needed it most. I will always be running, as I will always need to be vigilant in my recovery. But one day, I will be gliding through—with a smile on my face.

The race was called The Wasatch Woman’s Love Your Body 10k, and I liked the idea of that. Of course there was an organization that the race was benefiting, but today it just benefited me. Before, running was never a viable option because I was never able to muster the confidence to keep at it, even though it was difficult. The same part of my psyche that entertains Ed also told me that I was too fat, too lazy, too slow to run, and that I just plain couldn’t do it. But I can do this. I can run and I can beat Ed. Because no matter when I finish, I am always a step ahead of Ed.

This blog was never meant to be about the eating disorder, or focus singularly on my recovery, and it never will be. I started this blog as I began to give myself the freedom to experiment with as many different “crazy” foods and eating styles as I wanted to. After years of restriction, there is almost nothing more exciting to me than finally making the concerted effort to truly eat what I want. Whether my latest venture is simply crazy for me (avocado—yikes!), or crazy for most (how ‘bout some vinegar drink?), with each experiment, I am learning to listen to, and care for, my body, discover my true likes and dislikes and challenge myself on multiple horizons. Cause guess what? Ed told me I could never blog, either. ☺

This is blog is dedicated to my grand experiment called life, and I hope that as I begin to love food again and define the eating style and foods that I love the most, that I can inspire others to get creative with their food and try new things also. Thanks for reading, blogging, sharing, caring and all that jazz. Xoxo,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Freaky Food Friday

Tina has Cookie Friday, Janetha B. has Flashback Friday, and here I am with my own little addition to all the Friday Fabuloussness: Freaky Food Friday. Hopefully this will become a regular feature, assuming I can find enough freaky food to sustain it. I went to the natural foods store yesterday and picked out the most bizarre thing I could find...

Y'all know I live for sour stuff, especially vinegar (yum!), so when I saw this, my heart leapt for real! I decided it would be perfect for the first installment of Freaky Food Friday, and snapped it up lickety split!

I will just say that if any you you ladies can handle kombucha, this would be easy-breezy for you to swill down. The vinegar taste is so light, it almost tastes like lemonade, oddly enough. I thought the honey was rather overwhelming, and personally would have added more vinegar, but that's just me :)

According to my sis, they used to drink shiz like this back in the prairie days to keep cool in the summer. Word. That's exactly what I did!

Race Prep

Over here, I'm anxiously gearing up for my "big" race tomorrow. I'm pretty excited, but also a little nervous--eek! So I'm psyching myself up with two new purchases from my fave little boutique a.k.a. Target. Cute new running top:

Love. It's pink and has a little vent in the back. Sweet!

New deodorant! I know I'm a dork, but I took one whiff of this, and thought "Wow, inspiration!" Awesome. Now I have some perspiration inspiration :) How silly.

Thanks to everyone who suggested some music to pump me up while I'm racing. So far my playlist includes:
  • Cocaine/Eric Clapton
  • Kids/MGMT
  • Black Betty/Ram Jam
  • Going On/Gnarls Barkley
  • Jump rope/Blue October
  • Gone Gone Gone/Robert Plant and Alison Kraus
  • Get Well Cards/Conor Oberst
  • 21 Guns/Green Day
  • It's a Great Day To Be Alive/Travis Tritt
  • Gun Powder and Lead/Miranda Lambert
  • Ever Fallen in Love/Pete Yorn
  • Story of My Life/Social Distortion
  • Boom Boom Pow/Black Eyed Peas
  • Sex on Fire/Kings of Leon
  • Walk Away/Dropkick Murphys
  • Amber/311
  • Bathwater/No Doubt
  • 99 Red Balloons/Goldfinger
  • some other randomness from my country collection, Social D, BEP, No Doubt....and and my secret weapon....Ice cream and Cake by Buckwheat Boyz! You know this song--it's the semi-obnoxious tune from the Baskin Robbins commercials--helps remind me what I'm running for. Ice cream and cake! Whoo hoo!
Wish me luck lovies! xoxo, E

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Guess what these are:

Nope, NOT lemons, as the title would suggest, or even melons (which is sort of what they look like)...they are actually lemon cucumbers!

I forgot my camera AGAIN (aargh!) during my Tuesday trip to the farmer's market, but I guess that ok since it was just a very small sampling of what is normally available on Saturdays, so no pics. But you can check out my Saturday buys here.

I actually didn't do too much damage this time around, only snagging some raspberries, more corn and two of these lovely lemon cukes. Given my love for all things lemon and SOUR, I was super intrigued by the name. The guy actually laughed at me when I asked him if they tasted like lemons, which I didn't think was very nice, but he assured me that they tasted like just like a sweeter variety than your average old cucumber. He was right, and the taste is nothing too out of the ordinary, and definitely not lemon-like, but they are very light and crisp and a wonderful addition to my lunch snackies for today.

I loooooove you, Farmer's Market! You are the perfect haunt for my produce-lovin', veggie-curious, experimental self.

Around the blog world, parfait-making K is hosting a cookbook giveaway, and in just another example of how amazing the blogging community is, check out this very Special K exchange--great idea!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What a Coincidence!

The very same day I post about taste-testing my latest find on the yogurt front, Meghann from the wildly popular blog The Inner Workings of a College Graduate, proffers a delish Chobani giveaway of her own! Check out her blog for lots of great meal ideas, good eats and beautiful balance...and also to enter the giveaway!

P.S. Don't forget to enter your comments and suggestions for your favorite racing music here. T-minus 3 DAYS til the 10K!!

Chobani Pomegranate

Mmm! I was so surprised to discover that this has real pom seeds mixed right in!Thick and rich as per usual, but much more sublty flavored than any of the other kinds. It was kind of hard to pick out the pomegranate flavor and the mix-in wasn't as sweet either.

Contains 140 cals, 14 g protein for 6 oz. Ingredients: cultured, pasteurized non fat milk, pomegranate, evaporated cane juice, pomegranate concentrate, pectin, locust bean gum, natural flavor, fruit and vegetable fruit (for color)??--I have no idea what that means. 5 live cultures. Not my favorite flavor, but Greek yogurt is never bad, right? At least from Chobani :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Operation Beautiful SLC

If you don't know what this is, you should. Click here to learn all about Operation Beautiful. There is nothing more damaging in our society than the constant subjection of women and girls to the negative images blared by the media, and worst of all, each other and ourselves. We all deserve to be comfortable, confident and happy in the skin we're in. Sadly, so few of us are.

End Fat Talk. Be a positive role model for your girlfriends, moms, daughters and every single woman you know. Start today. Build your own self worth outside of your weight, eating habits and figure. No better place to start than your own little Operation Beautiful.

Today I did something I haven't done in a long time. I got off the elliptical. Usually I set my time and run and run until I have hit my set number of calories burned. Today I just got off. I wanted to truly enjoy my workout and encourage others to do the same. So I pedalled away until Al Roker finished his second forecast and then got off to lift weights. And guess what? I DID have a great workout!

I do NOT get on the scale. I have no idea what I weigh and I don't want to. I want my body to be fit and happy, indifferent to whatever that number is. I want it to carry me through my 10k this weekend and have enough energy to paint walls in my new house. I want to eat my ice cream after dinner and cook amazing meals with my family. I want to be healthy enough to bear children and strong enough to pick them up and chase after them. I don't want to waste precious time in this life obsessed with calories or consumed with guilt about enjoyable food. I will make healthy choices for my body consistently, and that includes nourishing, indulging and loving it for what it is now.

Not every day is as positive for me, but today I am strong, healthy and happy. I hope you are too. xoxo

Monday, August 17, 2009

Asparagus Risotto Mockery

I have been wanting to make this for a while now--it always sounds soooo tempting. I've seen a few different recipes for mock risotto, most of them involving asparagus. So eeny-meeny-miney-moe this one from the Food Network looked easiest, so that's the one I chose. Plus it had PEAS!! Love those!

This was a little more time-intensive than most of my dinners, but fairly simple to put together nonetheless. It looked so good and creamy when I dished it up and I was so excited...

....meh. It wasn't that great! Boo! The risotto did look beautiful, but the texture wasn't as creamy as I'd hoped, and it was actually kind of bland. Not really a mock risotto, more like risotto mockery!

The recipe makes a ton, so D and I had it later in the week and I doctored mine up with mucho red pepper flakes, parsley and the wonderful addition of chickpeas. SO much better! D liked his the first and second time around (I added chopped ham to his bowl for the encore performance). He said it reminded him of a rice and Campbell's-type casserole. Um, I don't think that's what they were going for!

  • Add some sort of extra protein like an egg a la Jenna (which I did the first time for D), chickpeas, lentils or chopped meat for flavor and balance
  • Try using Light Laughing Cow cheese instead of the cream cheese. I think this might improve the texture a little. The garlic and herb flavor would be great.
  • Get biz-zay with the spices! This would be lovely with a little rosemary and thyme or basil. Try some more Italian-style seasonings or pour on the red pepper flakes like I did and add garlic. I think almost any spice addition would be better than leaving the recipe as-is.
  • Add a little more liquid and stir the rice even though it says not to before adding the vegetables. I don't know if this would work, but I think it might bring out the starches in the rice a little more and give the risotto a more traditional texture.
  • Another thing I will try next time is using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I think the veggie broth usually has a lot more flavor versus chicken, which obviously, is kind of bland.
All in all, this recipe wasn't terrible, so I think I will try it again in the future with some of the modifications listed above. I really think it could be DE-lish with a little more experimentation! If any of you try this, be sure to let me know how you put your individual twist on it. Also, don't forget to send me your personal power play songs here! Race day is less than a week away!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shopping Spree!

Now this is my type of shopping spree! My mom was in town yesterday, so she, my sis and I decided to hit up the Farmer's Market for some locally grown, mostly organic and very delectable produce. Here is my loot below:
I got a couple of ears of corn (so good!), yellow carrots, orange baby carrots times 100, a poblano pepper, half of a freaking huge cucumber and some zephyr squash.
These guys were my favorite buy of the day! Look at how cute! Evidently, they are a cross between zucchini and regular yellow squash. I have them on my menu for tomorrow night with a heaping helping of guacanara--I think they'll be perfect!

I also got a bajillion green beans (which are fantastic mixed with some pineapple salsa, by the way).

I especially liked these green beans because they were locally produced and harvested by a special program provided by the county jail. It allows the offenders housed at the facility to learn new marketable skills and develop a positive sense of accomplishment while giving back to the community.

I loved the little tatted up dude who sold them to me. He made me an awesome deal and he seemed so proud of what he had helped create. It totally gave me the warm fuzzies. My mom got the little orange carrots from that stand too (convict carrots, ha ha). Having tried both, I can give them my official stamp of approval, and I will probably head straight there the next time I hit up the market. Plus, I think it's for sure Experimentarian-approved to sample produce from these homies--I kept expecting to pull out a lock pick or something from one of the beans. :)

There were tons of other delightful things at the market, and I should have taken my camera to snap pics of all the amazing samples the vendors were giving out. Gorgeous peaches, huge melons (that's what HE said--perv),lots of ingenious jams from a booth specializing in hot pepper and fruit preserves, local goats' milk cheese, hummus, and more.

I may venture out to the market again on Tuesday night with my youth group--my girls were totally taken with the idea. If we go, you can bet I'll be doing the mango tango with some of that pepper jelly and swinging by for a little jail-house rockin' tomatoes and spinach!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Help, I need somebody! Help not just anybody! H-e-e-e-e-lp! Not just anybody bloggers, I need YOU! I started this post with a song, and I hope to end it with many more! I'm not quite sure what I've gotten myself into, but....I just registered for my first 10k!

I mentioned a while ago that I was thinking about doing so, and I'm excited to report that I've followed through. I know I can do it, but I also know I'll need some extra motivation in the form of some jammin' tunes to get me through. That's where you come in! Please, please, please spread the word through your blogs that I'm sending out the music S.O.S., and leave a comment to let me know what your favorite up-beat workout jam is.

I know you guys can help me come up with the most awesome all-out-balls-to-the-wall playlist and I can't wait to see your suggestions. I hope this works--thanks in advance everyone! xoxo,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lara Bar Jocolat Hazlenut Flavor

These are amazing and you should absolutely try this flavor if you have not already. I love Lara bars, and they are one of my favorite bar options both because of their yummy flavors and super-duper good (and soy-free) stats.

I have been DYING to try the new PB and J flavor, but until I can get it, I consoled myself with the Jocolat Hazelnut. This was the perfect after-lunch treat, and tasted much more indulgent than it actually was. I must say that this is BY FAR the best of the Jocolat bars that I have tried. Most of them don't taste all that chocolatey and I feel like the other ingredients in the mix tend to overpower any subtle hint of cocoa that's in there. This one didn't taste exactly like I'd anticipated either, but not neccisarly in a bad way! I was expecting it to taste sort of like Nutella, but the hazelnut flavor was surprisingly indistinct. Instead it tasted like the gooiest, healthiest brownie ever, and VERY much like chocolate.

Each bar contains 190 cals, 10 g fat, 5 g fiber and 4 g protein. Like all Lara Bars, this little yum-fest keeps the ingredients to a minimum and the processing to zero. Ingredients (all organic): dates, hazelnuts, almonds, cocoa powder.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Baking (with Bananas, Baby!)

Jeez louise, I have been doing a lot of baking lately! Just call me Martha, but in addition to making a sweet little treat for my realtor, I wanted to make something for my new neighbors as well. I figured it's my own little preemptive ice breaker, like, "Don't hate me and steal my garbage cans, I brought baked goods!" type of thing. :) So...I concocted another lovely little recipe with some unfortunately/fortunately gone-by bananas.
Brown Sugar Banana Mini Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips

  • 1 c. flour

  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 2 generous dashes cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 egg

  • 1 large over ripe banana

  • 1/3 c. brown sugar

  • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
Mash banana with a fork. Add egg, vanilla, sugar and applesauce. Mix in dry ingredients until just moistened and then stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-minutes. Makes about 24 mini muffins.

Check out this little bit of banana caramel goodness...
You'll notice that I've been posting a lot of my baking recipes on Foodista as well. This is a great site dedicated to recipe sharing. It has some cool resources and awesome blogging tools like these recipe widgets. I definitely recommend you check them out!
Brown Sugar Banana Mini Muffins With Dark Chocolate Chips on Foodista