Friday, March 19, 2010


Just in time for Freaky Food Friday! A batch of disgu--eeewww--sting concoctions from yours truly. Well, not that I actually think they're that gross--but I think my husband would beg to differ! :)

But, as we food bloggers know, the food that looks the strangest can often times taste the best--and be good for you too! Number One:

The Smeeeeewwwwthie!

Spinach, blueberries, stevia, cocoa powder, cinnamon and a few chunks of banana. Looks disgusting, tastes delicious! The chocolate flavor was pretty faint, but just added a nice hint of flavor while masking the gritty taste of the spinach. I love getting 2 full servings of veggies before lunch time!

Second: Neeeeewwwwdles!

Not that I have anything AT ALL against normal noodles, but finding a worthy pasta swap is kind of a fun little experimentation for me. I tired kelp noodles not too long ago, and couldn't resist these yam noodles when I spotted them in our Asian grocery.

These shiritaki noodles are almost identical to the famous Tofu Shiritaki, minus the tofu. I used to love the Tofu Shiritaki, but obviously the soy factor is a problem for me, so I was super excited to see the soy-free original version.
These noodles so require a bit of extra attention. After rinsing and draining extremely well ( warning! DO NOT smell them right as you open the bag--bad news bears fer real), I steamed them in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes and patted them dry with a clean dishtowel. I think cooking them for a little bit removes any of the briny taste and leaves them actually smelling like yams (instead of sewage).

Served with homemade turkey meatballs and spicy marinara. Yum Yum. :)

I did like these better than the kelp noodles. The shiritaki are much more like regular pasta, albeit finer and a little more chewy. But I do think they provide a great lighter base for more sturdy meal components such as protein, sauce, veggies and cheese.

There are basically no nutrition facts for these noodles--There are 2.5 servings per package, but each serving clocks 0 calories, fat, protein--nothing! While I am sure there is a minimal amount of calories and nutrients, the only ingredients are purified water, yam flour and hydrated lime. Now that's kind of freaky!

I know I have been kind of a bad blogger lately, and I really do miss everyone! My sister just announced a wedding date--in 8 weeks--so we are scrambling around trying to get that business under control. Plus work is very energy-consuming at the moment. Yeesh.

But also to be totally honest, sometimes I really enjoy not focusing so much on food in the day to day affairs. When I was locked into my ED, food was all I thought about, and now it's kind of refreshing to remove that fixation from some of my activities. Not that I am going anywhere though! This blog has served as an invaluable tool for me throughout the worst of my disorder and my continuing recovery. I know you all understand :)

Have a glorious weekend. And tell me--what freaky food do you love that looks disgusting, but tastes amazing? Love you lots! xoxo

Friday, March 12, 2010

Best Freaky Friday ever!

Well hey there, hi there, ho there bloggie friends! Gosh, how I have missed you guys! It's 2:00 and I am finally sitting down for probably the first time today. I just thought to myself, Hey! What's that thing I do when I have spare time? Oh yeah! BLOG!! Which explains my lack of decent posting lately--no free time, lots of life getting in the way, but NO apologies :) After all, what's life without a little excitement, huh?

But what better day of the week to come back than Friday, and especially when we can finally make it a FREAKY FOOD Friday! My long lost buddy Janetha B. and I met up for a little blab n gab over lunch yesterday.
So fun! And guess what? She brought me the most amazing thing from her trip to Jamaica!

Betcha never saw this before! What could be more fun (and more freaky) than banana ketchup? Two of my loves united!!

The minute I saw this, I knew EXACTLY how I wanted to try it out. I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to some baked yams--how delish. (The yams are paler than sweet potatoes, so it doesn't feel quite right to call them cheetas--perhaps leopards instead??)
Wow! This banana ketchup thing really needs to catch on in the U.S.! The ketchup was sweet, sticky and thick with a strong banana flavor and a bit of tang. I swear, with a little dip of this amazing condiment, my yam tasted just like a caramelly banana chip. Very tropical. I almost felt like I was in Jamaica for a sec...and then I remembered it was 30 degrees out side.

Just for fun, I'll show you guys what else I had with my phenomenal potato "chips"

Broiled broccoli, baby steak and massive amounts of caramelized onions--to go with my caramel banana chips, obviously :)

I will be catching up this weekend for sure, and I'm excited to see what everyone's been up to!

I'm off to some family adventures myself. The parentals are in SLC for sissy's birthday this weekend, so I'm sure there will be lots of yummy food, plus some more of this fantastic cake :)

Since I haven't heard from you guys in a long time, tell me: What's the freakiest food you've ever tried from an exotic locale? Maybe a trip to Mexico or Europe--or maybe just a trip to your grandma's house for dinner--do tell! Miss you and love you! xoxo

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giveaway winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered in my I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Giveaway! I t was fun to hear about the ways you guys like to use this products and other healthy fat sources. The lucky winner of some classy kitchen stuff from ICBINB and Crate and Barrel is Katey, who won by tweeting about the giveaway. Congrats Katey! Send me your address and info asap! xoxo

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Return of...

...Sammie Saturday!!!! Of course, it's sammie saturday for me every week, but it seems like it has been quite a while since I've posted anything on the subject. I've got two AMAZING sammies for you though, both of them completely delicious and absolutely crave-fulfilling!

First up, a gorgeous salmon sammie, decked out with spinach, avocodao (what up, fats??), honey mustard and luaghing cow between toasted 9-grain bread.

Secondly, a sammie with something I have been craving for a looooong time--REAL cheese! Oh gosh, what is life without real cheese? This sammie was put together with delightfully sharp aged white cheddar, a slice of turkey bacon, nuked egg whites and a toasted whole wheat english muffin. Ah, so good!

Both of these babies were full of healthy fats, a nod to my ongoing goal--it gets easier all the time. Especially when I have a delicious means to an end like this!

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway--just a couple more days (ends on Monday)! And it's so easy, all you have to do is leave a comment letting me know your favorite way to use a healthy fat source, including I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread, or follow ICBINB on Twitter. Way cute kitchen stuff to be had! :)

P.S. check out this amazing sammie over on Haleigh's blog. It's totally my inspiration for lunch tomorrow! I love the weekends when I have tons of time to cook up glorious meals like that. Yum yum. What's the best thing YOU ate this weekend? Miss you guys! xoxo

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Want to WIN??

Want to win some cool kitchen stuff??

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Enter by clicking here. If you win, you'll receive an elegant serving platter, handy spatula and smooth spreader, as well as some FREE I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread! Also remember to keep getting those healthy fats in--with zero grams of trans fats and lots of omega 3's per serving, ICBINB is a great way to help meet that goal! I love hearing all your healthy fat ideas, so keep 'em coming! xoxo

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Can't Believe It's...A Giveaway!

Edited to add: Wow, I was so tired when I posted this last night, I forgot to even put up a title. Duh. Anyway, read on, because I do believe the rest of the post is at least semi-coherent.

Greetings fabby bloggie friends! Hope everyone's weekend was wonderfully relaxing. I know mine was a lot busier than I originally anticipated, but filled with tons of friends and family and lots of fun :) Holy cow, can you believe it's March already?? My time is flying by so quickly, and sadly, my birthday month has come to an end. Boo :( It's also the end of the Fatty February challenge, but that doesn't mean I'm losing my focus on fats.

While I haven't been as gung ho about adding healthy fats to my meals as my partner in crime (she is fearless!! I am not!), I have been pretty consistent about getting at least ONE additional serving of fat into my diet per day. It has gone a long way to reduce the fear I feel about incorporating this nutrient, and I have begun to add little fat sources here and there to help up the ante. For example, a bit of extra nut butter on an apple or yog mess, a tablespoon of flax in my cereal or yogurt, diced avocado or guacamole in my salad.

I have also been keeping up with my fish oil and CLA supplements, and I just bought some coconut oil after reading about its health benefits in the latest issue of Oxygen. I also have seen some delicious inspiration from Averie via Adrien and Lauren, using this fat source, so I am excited to give it a try.

However, looks like I'm not the only one taking a closer look at my fat intake and healthy fats in general. The folks at I Can't Believe it's Not Butter recently hooked my up with some product information regarding the positive benefits of their spread. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is a butter substitute spreads that has committed to using no hydrogenated oils, and has zero grams of trans fat per serving.

ICBINB is made with a blend of heart-healthy vegetable oils, including canola and olive oil; and contains tons of omega 3 and omega six fatty acids which are fantastic for your body.

You all know that I have been a huge freak for I Can't Believe it's Not Butter Spray
--it's one of my biggest vices, so I am excited to try some of the "real" stuff as I move forward in my focus on fats throughout the month of March.

Luckily ICBINB wants all of you to get on board with increasing your healthy fats, so in order to help spread the word (ha ha, get it? ) about the health benefits of ICBINB, they are sponsoring a....what's that? Oh, a GIVEAWAY!!

The giveaway includes a coupon for ICBINB!, two recipes and a platter, spreader and spatula from Crate and Barrel.

There are FIVE different ways to enter, so listen up!

  • First, just leave a comment about your favorite way to use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter products, or another healthy oil source
  • Link back to this post to let others know about the giveaway and to help keep the focus on fats in March (just make sure to let me know you've done so with another comment!).
  • Or you can tweet or follow @ICBINotButter on Twitter (again, be sure to let me know)
  • For THREE bonus entries, you can create a recipe using ICBINB and email it to me when you feature it on your blog
To help give you some inspiration, here are some tantalizing looking recipes from ICBINB.

Giveaway ends a week from today (Monday) at 8:00 p.m. Good luck!

P.S. Another great way to get those um..."healthy" fats in?

Girl Scout Cookies. Whoo hoo! Last year, I never let myself have any, but this year hubs surprised me with a few boxes. thanks babe ;) xoxo

Friday, February 26, 2010

Barley Bowls

Hey kids! Thanks for welcoming me back on my last post. It's always nice to feel at least a little missed while I'm away :) As I mentioned, things have been pretty much a whirlwind since I've been back, and sometimes a crazy schedule necessitates a bit of laziness--or shall we say "efficiency" in the cooking department.

Between church, laundry and paying attention to my poor neglected husband, I only had a few hours last Sunday to catch up with everything and prepare for the week. I did some prep work for our dinner on Monday and wound up with a TON of leftovers.

I have been dying to try the recipe for Creamy Barley featured in last month's Real Simple, but I knew I wouldn't have time Monday night to put it all together. Not to mention, we didn't have the instant barley called for, so I decided to cook up our regular pearled barley (thank you food storage) in advance and modify the recipe on Monday. The recipe calls for two cups of instant barely, so I used 1 1/2 c. regular. Holy moly barely explosion!! I always forget that Real Simple like to make their servings Real Large (which is fine by me!), so even though I used a sufficient amount of the grain in my version, we still had SO much left.

For my Creamy Barley, I sauteed some onions in a large saucepan until golden, then added 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms and one package of thawed and drained frozen spinach. As the mixture cooked, I stirred in 1 c. cooked barley and a 14 oz can diced Italian style tomatoes (with about 1/4 of the liquid removed). Then, to make it creamy and extra delish, I added two laughing cow wedges and a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese with extra feta for garnish.

For added protein and a European flair, I also "fried" an egg to top off my masterpiece. Yep, another whole egg as part of the Fatty February challenge!

Really, the yolk does add an excellent element of flavor and texture, and was the perfect compliment to this meal. Yum yum. This made 3 servings. My sis and D both liked it too, although Sarah opted out of the egg on hers. She doesn't know what she's missing ;)

And additionally, since I am now overrun with barley, I decided to do some of my standard experimentation and incorporate it into my breakfasts. While not exactly a Freaky Food, it definitely turns the tables on breakfast norms for me!

Above is a delightful mix of Greek yogurt, Crofter's Asian Superfruit spread, berries, Naturally More peanut butter and 1/2 c. barley, plus cinnamon, of course!

Round two was equally scrumptious and included 1 chopped pear steamed with cinnamon, yog, sugar free maple syrup, almond butter and barley. So good and both barley breakfast bowls held me over for hours. Excellent, as I expect nothing less from my first meal of the day :)

Luckily for me, I still have a few more serving of this great grain in my fridge to eat up throughout the next few days. It's kept remarkably well and has been very versatile. According to a little online investigating, barley also contains loads of amino acids and can help fight high cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. So I'd highly encourage all of you to be a little daring in the grains department and give it a try. What's your favorite grain? Any interesting ways to eat it?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of lots of good things, including healthy fats, good grains and lots of R&R--I know I'm opting for all of the above! xoxo

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Haul and the Wall

Heya strangers! I'm back from glorious Arizona and things have been CRAZY! Crazy and cold! It seems like only Friday I was sitting by the pool and soaking up the sun. Wait, I was. And now here I am back in the SLC and working away. Drat. BUT...I do have some fantastic reminders of my trip to cheer me up: my Trader Joe's haul!

OMGgggggg. I literally could have spent all day in that store poring over new products and searching for stuff that I have seen on all of your bloggies. My friends, however, were not so enthralled, so I had to choose my products and use my time wisely!

This is what I ended up with: Dark Chocolate Crisps (um, PERFECT after lunch treat--they are just the right amount of chocolate to get me through!), vanilla meringues, pita puffs, baked jalapeno cheese puffs, dark chocolate pomegranate seeds, crunchy salted almond butter with flax seeds, peanut butter jam frakas bar (I am not so impressed with these) spicy black bean dip, chili covered pineapple, pb&j chocolate bar (guess what?? It has potato chips in it too! How awesome!), ginger mango chutney and fig bars. yeesh. Oh, plus a way cool tote bag that I just want to use as my purse because it's so cute and large.

...and the one perishable thing I allowed myself to get so I could eat it while I was there

I tell ya, I am a sucker for Greek yogurt! I just HAD to try this one. I did make a delectable breakfast bowl using this and some cereal I brought from home, plus pb snagged form the breakfast bar at the hotel. Unfortunately, no pic as it was eaten by the single kitchen light bulb in our suite. Didn't wanna wake the roomies!

Not only did I score some wonderful treats in AZ, but I also had a completely fabulous package waiting for me upon my return home.

I was SO excited to learn that Chrysta from Living Fit!

Tea, fabulous tea! Chrysta was sweet enough to send me two amazing teas from Teavana that I have been dying to try, along with a very fancy storage set.

Both of these are wonderful, and I particularly love the spicy notes in the Azteca. Thank you so much Chrysta!!

In other news, I walked into the exposed brick wall in my bedroom this morning. Just goes to show that I can't be trusted to do anything complicated like walking before I eat breakfast. ;) Hope your day is going well and a little less discombobulated than mine. I have missed you all so much and still have a ton of catching up to do in the reader, but I will "see" you soon :) xoxo

P.S. I did not check to see how many times I used the word "fabulous" in this post, but I'm pretty sure it was a lot. Please excuse the abundant overuse. Apparently walking into a wall reduces your ability to think of synonyms as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bowl of Sunshine :)

Hi all! Thanks so much for all your Trader Joe's suggestions and obsessions--I can't WAIT to go! I've got to keep this quick as I'm about to head out for warm and sunny AZ, so I'll just let this bowl of breakfast bliss do all the talking ;)

A version of Susan's custard oats, using rice bran instead of oat bran. In my quest for more healthy fats as a part of fatbulous February, I had yet to conquer a WHOLE egg (as opposed to just the whites) and this was the perfect icebreaker.

I just added about 1/4 c. rice bran to 1/2 c. boiling water and whisked in a beaten egg--watch out cuz it cooks very quickly! I poured the hot mixture over 1/4 c. Fage 0% and 1/4 c. pumpkin. Topped with molasses, cinnamon swirl, banana and peanut butter.

Delicious, but not as custardy as I'd hoped--definitely would benefit from the added crunch of a little granola or Fiber One on top, too.

Well have a great week everyone--hopefully I will bring some warm weather and sunshine home with me--and some Trader Joe's goodies! xoxo

Friday, February 12, 2010

Finally (Freaky) Friday!

Whoo hoo! It's finally Friday! And, better yet, it finally Freaky Food Friday! I haven't done one these for quite a while, so I think it's long over due for some weird and wonderful bites, don't you agree?

I have been saving these for quite some time--you know it's freaky food when Dustin practically gags at the sight. But that's also how you know it's delicious :)

I love brussels sprouts, and I love pickles, so it's only natural that I would want to try this fantastically freaky combination.

You know what else I love? GARLIC. So I had to get them for sure when I saw these little lovelies bobbing around in the jar!

I halfway expected these to be lightly soggy and mushy, but they were actually quite fresh and even crisp! They had the perfect gently sweet dill infusion with a light tang from the brine. So good! I haven't really thought of any way to use them in a main dish, but they do make the perfect accompaniment to any snack plate or sammie!
Speaking of freaky foods, don't forget to check out Kendal's super sweet guest post last Friday. She's had some awesome food adventures that are totally worth checking out.

Also, do doo da doo (trumpet)! I am headed to Arizona next week for work, which is not so exciting BUT I will have the chance to go to Trader Joe's to stock up on some awesome eats!! Yay! I am so excited! On my list to get already: pita puffs, chocolate chips and salsa!

Tell me what else I should keep an eye out for while I'm there! I would LOVE to hear your favorite TJ's stuff--I know you all will have the perfect recommendations! Don't worry, I'm leaving plenty of room in my suitcase!

Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Valentine's Day!! xoxo

Wednesday, February 10, 2010, catching up

Hi friends! No, unfortunately, there is no ketchup to be found in this post, but there IS some yummy cranberry mustard, and a whole lotta catching up to do , so let's dive in, shall we?

It's been almost a week since I've posted, but of course the big highlight was my birthday last Thursday. Thanks so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes. You guys are the best, and I was very flattered by all the comments! Anyone tried the SMOATS yet? Gosh, I know they look weird, but they are so good! I'm having them again tomorrow to perk up my day--I have to work all. dang. day. Over 12 hours. Waaah. What a cry baby.

Anyway, I got tons of super sweet and thoughtful presents for my special day, but I'll just show you the fabby foodie ones.

My sister is the bomb and got me the ultra-stylin' polar bear plate and matching sparkly cup that I've had my eye on. Yeah, I'm 26 now and I still like melamine cartoon plates--also to perk up my day at work. What? Cute little beehive tea infuser (I do live in the Beehive State!) and sinfully indulgent walnut green tea from my bro. It tastes like butter. No joke.
And...check it out! Probably like the very first ever home exercise audio! How freakin cool is that? I don't have a record player, so I'll probably never know what it says, but luckily I have the handy-dandy pictures on the cover to assist me if I ever decide to bust out the moves. Thanks Joel! Hubs also got me a gift card to Whole Foods, which is burning a major hole in my pocket! He's so great.

Oh food, glorious food! So many good things on my birthday including a ginormous frosted cupcake from the gals at work, crispy sweet potato fries,
turkey burger with cranberry mustard (told you) on a sweet potato bun and the most decadent and marshmallow-y bread pudding I have ever tasted, courtesy of Acme Burger. Ho-leeeey cow. Everyone's order was very tasty and the service was impeccable. If you are in the SLC, GO!

Of course I was even more spoiled rotten at home where my mama whipped up her signature from-scratch super chocolate cake with extra frosting and tons of SPRINKLES!!!
My mom was so funny--she hunted high and low for just PINK sprinkles, but couldn't find any so she and my dad sat down and hand sorted out a bunch of pink for me. Jeez. I am spoiled!

Daddy Experimentarian obliged my two birthday requests also, by fixing up his perfect pancakes with a side of thick cut bacon for breakfast.
I swear those pancakes are one of my favorite things on this earth. I would probably make them my last meal. Well, pancakes and smoked salmon--which my dad also put together for me.
Seen here as lunch leftovers the other day atop mixed greens, red peppers, onion, mushrooms and dried cranberries. I mixed that with a little BBQ vinaigrette and I never wanted to stop eating it.

Well, that's all for now, and quite enough, I'm sure! A big huge thanks to Kendal for guesting for me on Friday. I don't know about you, but all her food adventures make me long to travel! Luckily, I've had my dose of exotic locales for now (Sweetwater County homies!) and am all settled in at home, at least until next week!

Do you love going home for a little TLC like me? What's the one thing your parents make for you that no one does better? You saw my list above--I'd love to know yours! xoxo

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Weird. The Unusual. The Unknown.

Howdy y'all! As I mentioned, I am up in the wild, wild west this weekend to get some birthday love and spoiling from my mama and daddy. While I'm gone, I've asked the lovely Kendal from Eating Abroad to guest for me by taking over this week's Freaky Food Friday. She's got a great blog that I very highly recommend you check out pronto. Read on, and I promise you won't be disappointed! This is a great post, filled with wonderful pictures--Thanks so much Kendal!
See you soon for a recap! xoxo, E

In the last 6 years, I have been blessed enough to travel to Italy, Thailand, Cambodia, Tanzania, Egypt, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and England. I have lived in Kenya, the USA, and Germany. In each of these places, I've seen some pretty weird things, especially when it comes to food.

Weird food makes traveling what it is- a chance to experience another culture.

What would we be without our food culture?

Would we still have a day to sit down with family and talk about our blessings if there was no Thanksgiving?

What would birthdays be without the cake and ice cream or summers without a barbecue?

What's Belgium without the waffle? What's a waffle without Belgium?

People form an identity based on the food they eat.

Vegetarian. Vegan. Pescatarian. Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. The list goes on.

To understand a culture, you've got to understand their food.

Some of my best traveling experiences around the world took place around tables of food and drinks with new friends. I've eaten traditional home-cooked meals and food cooked over a fire in the middle of a dusty street. Food helps make the experience.

Although food makes traveling much more fun, there are a few freaky foods I'm still unwilling to try- even in the name of cultural understanding.

This is my second year living in Germany as a traveling teacher. When asked to write about freaky food, plenty came to mind.

Luckily, I can avoid many freaky German foods by hiding behind the vegetarian identity. Such as...

Blutwurst (translation: blood sausage. Yes, it is really sausage made of blood.)

Presskopf (English speakers call it head cheese, but it's actually bits of gross meat chunks held together by a gelatin.)

Not wanting to think about this stuff or it's origins... let's move on.

It's freaky. It's German. It's Vegetarian. It's Knödel!

This freaky food consists of Stove Top Stuffing like bread bits tightly packed into a little pouch.

Notice the dimples in the plastic for the water to get through?

To cook: soak in water. Boil. Drain. Remove from plastic. Sauce. Eat.

What sort of sauce? You may ask. Most Germans would suggest using some sort of beef sauce, but I use mushrooms.

Lots and lots of delicious cooked mushrooms!

We are all familiar with German sauerkraut. Another strange variation on this traditional food is rotkohl.

Cooked red cabbage.

My favorite variety is rotkohl with apples!


Germans are known for their seriousness and bad sense of humor. I disagree. Someone who created a phallic shaped food item and named it Super Dickmann's must have a sense of humor.

The box reads: Super Dickmann's- Super Big with Crisp Chocolate- Plump and Chocolaty

Now for the Super Dickmann's Photo Shoot

The Super Dickmann's are filled with marshmallow fluff atop a wafer.

The weird. The unusual. The unknown.

That's what traveling and eating are all about.

You never know what you might find as your teeth tear through a new food.

It might just become your new favorite!