Also known as Halloween.
Now, who is excited for Starbucks red cups? They’re coming…
Growing up never tasted so good
My friend Scott told me he wanted to cook something healthy on Sunday. As someone who wants to cook something healthy Mondays-Saturday, but rarely finds the time and energy to do so, I welcomed the challenge if it meant I had a teammate. So we assigned roles: mine was to pick out the recipe and his was to get the ingredients.
You may have thought I used the word “challenge” a little too loosely. I mean, that amount of ingredients could get us through the express check-out lane at the store. Combine that with the fact that we got the recipe from Cooking Light and you would think the meal could be made with one hand tied behind your back. You would think…
It started off well enough. Scott thoroughly enjoyed taking control of the skillet and the meat.
Meanwhile, I was reaffirming all previous fears I had about cooking rice. I was getting through it until I was rudely interrupted by the smoke detector in our living room. Oops. And then, in a drive-you-crazy chain effect, the smoke detector in each and every one of our bedroom’s started going off. Cooking momentarily halted to try to make the bleeping bleeps stop.
The Aftermath, a photograph.
Eventually, dinner was served. Forty minutes later than predicted. No worries, it was still hot.
1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, drain.
2. While rice cooks, melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.
3. Melt remaining 5 teaspoons butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice with chicken.
We may have lost the battle with the smoke detectors, but we won the healthy cooking challenge.
Mmm. Victory dinner.
I just got back from my cousin’s wedding in Minneapolis this weekend where a lot of family fun was had and revelations were made. One revelation was that yes, I do have a favorite food. It’s wedding cake. I have to admit one of my favorite parts of going to weddings is seeing the cake and finding out what flavors the couple picked. There’s something about the anticipation of getting to try some and the atmosphere in which it’s served that never fails to get me excited. Not that I ever need help getting excited for food…
Do you have a favorite food?
Ever have those days when you don’t know what you’re in the mood for? They normally happen to me on those more hectic grab-and-go, eat-dinner-fast days. I often get more stressed when I waste precious time standing in front of the refrigerator door trying to figure out what I want…and then I have to take the time to make it! It’s times like these that I wish someone would just tell me what I wanted.
Enter in Delish.com’s Daily Foodscopes. Each day has a full horoscope reading that ends with a perfect meal pairing for the day’s predicted activities, moods, stressors, excitements, etc. While I don’t believe horoscopes are entirely accurate, I do enjoy reading them for fun. And honestly, my reading for today was kind of spot on.
Spaghetti and meatballs would have been perfect. If only I had read this before I had made and ate dinner. Still, next time someone asks you what they should make for dinner, feel free to ask them, “What’s your sign?”
Throughout my childhood, I changed my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up just as much as the next kid. At one point in my life I was going to be a pediatrician–until I realized I can’t stand the sight of blood. Then I was going to be a meteorologist–until I discovered I’m afraid of extreme weather and natural disasters. I think I even envisioned myself turning into an Olympic figure skater–until I remembered I don’t know how to ice skate (still really don’t). Recently, my love for healthy eating and nutrition often makes me wonder if I would have considered nutrition sciences as an undergraduate major if my high school self had the same passions and interests as my college self.
While I don’t plan on becoming an RD anytime soon, I still work on getting my “continuing education” through any resource I can find. My newest obsession? Self‘s Nutrition Data, a reference site that provides free and unbiased nutritional info.
You can analyze any food by getting detailed nutrient facts about common food and food products, menu items, recipes and even custom entries. You can generate custom Nutrition Facts labels, track your daily food intake and estimate your daily needs. The site also has an awesome search feature that lets you find food by its name, category, caloric ratio, Nutritional Target Map or nutrient.
Cool, right? That’s just the beginning of what this site can do. Go explore and see for yourself!
What’s your favorite nutrition website?
I woke up on Saturday morning and had the same feeling I used to get when I was a little kid on Christmas morning. Being that it was October 16th, it was clearly not Christmas (although it was a holiday! Happy belated Sweetest Day everyone!). Anyway, October 16th was finally the day that I would go apple picking.
I haven’t gone apple picking since probably the time that picture was taken of me in my blog header. I had made big plans to go last year, but I got sick the weekend I was supposed to go. But I was going on the 16th. For sure.
It didn’t matter that all of the orchards in the Chicago area kept telling me their u-pick season was over (heads up: go late September for prime apple picking time). I was still going on the 16th. And my friends were coming with me.
So we all got up bright and early on a Saturday morning, piled in my car and drove the hour plus to Wisconsin and Apple Holler.
Forget Disneyland. This is where dreams come true. Ignore the Apple Holler Orchard Outlaws picture—I probably could have gotten a more welcoming shot of apple heaven.
Upon arriving, we were warned that there were barely any apples left on the tree to pick. While this was a little bit upsetting, we all agreed that there was plenty of other awesome things to do.
Like go on a hayride through an enchanted forest.
Eat apple cider and apple cider doughnuts.
Play with some animals. My friend Katherine made friends with a chicken.
Be animals. My friend Kaitlyn made a much more appropriate sheep face than I did. I was too happy to stop smiling, I guess.
Get lost in a corn maze. And then get found in a corn maze.
Make our own caramel apples.
Wander around the apple orchard anyway and scour the trees for the last apples. And then be resourceful in reaching the tops of the trees.
Apples straight from the trees taste so much better than the apples already picked in the orchard bins.
But the ones from the orchard bins are good too.
Have you ever been apple picking? What’s your favorite kind of apple? (I can’t choose just one, and I’m glad there are so many variations!)
I hate buying bottled water. Not only do I think it’s bad for the environment, but also I think it’s just a waste of money. The only bottled water I feel good about buying is Ethos Water at Starbucks because some of the money I’m spending is going to a good cause. I tend to gravitate toward products that give some of the profits to organizations in need. I’m sure I’m not the only one. So, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I have found a few foods you should feel good about eating.
Pink Poetry Smoothie from Odwalla
Plum, dark sweet cherry, guava and other juices are blended with hibiscus, cranberry and green tea extracts, along with Vitamin C and E, as well as Calcium and Iron–two important things women don’t get enough of in their diet! The Superfood drink was made to increase awareness of breast cancer, and Odwalla is donating $250,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
LUXE MILK Chocolate from Ghiradelli
LUXE MILK, Ghirardelli’s all natural premium milk chocolate line, is trying to raise up to $100,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Whenever you purchase a specially marked pink bar or bag of LUXE MILK, you will receive a unique prize code. When you enter your prize code ad www.ghirardelli.com/LuxeMilk, $1 will be donated to the NBCF.
Pink Ribbon Bagel from Panera
Cherry chips, dried cherries and cranberries, plus vanilla, honey and brown sugar are baked in the signature breast cancer ribbon shape. For each Pink Ribbon bagel sold during the month of October, Panera Bread will donate a portion of proceeds to benefit breast cancer charities.
A special shout-out to my two roommates who inspired this post. They’re both members of Zeta Tau Alpha, a national sorority whose philanthropy focus is breast cancer education and awareness.
What foods do you like that donate money to causes and organizations in need?
My dad told me more than a year ago that he wanted to go to Sidney Street Cafe. Apparently he does possess patience because we finally did go…last Friday.
I went home to St. Louis this past weekend for a wedding and tried to squeeze in as much quality time with the parents as possible. Normally, this quality time involves trying at least one new (to us) restaurant in St. Louis. My dad and I were both very excited about trying out Sidney Street Cafe, a slow food restaurant that specializes in continental and American cuisine. It’s in a fun neighborhood five minutes from Downtown St. Louis and has won numerous local awards. It sounded like my kind of place.
Sidney Street Cafe has an oral menu, meaning the waiters explain each dish off a mini chalkboard at your table. The only paper menu we were given was the wine list—which my dad looked over and then selected a bottle of an Oregon Pinot Noir for the table.
I’ve never been to a restaurant where I wanted to try every entree until I came here. When we first sat down and saw the menu listings, I turned to my mom and said, “I don’t know what I’m going to get!” She said the same thing but in a less excited manner—she doesn’t share the same adventurous foodie gene, apparently. (Sorry chicken wasn’t on the menu Mom!)
While I mulled over my decision, I popped a beignet in my mouth from the bread basket. I love, love, love the bread basket and get way too excited when the bread is something other than a standard baguette. I used to go to this one restaurant just because I enjoyed the pancakes they gave out in their bread basket. Anyway, bravo Sidney Street for the beignets. My mom—who had at least three—appreciated them too.
For an appetizer, my dad and I ordered the Confit of Sweetbreads, aka edible glands.
This was delicious. They were super flavorful, soft and had a great flaky crust.
To start, we all had salads come with our entree that were perfectly proportioned.
And then our food came. For my mom: Piedmontese Rib Eye with smothered greens, bone marrow gratin, and house worcestershire.
For my dad: their famous Béarnaise filet served with roasted seasonal vegetables and rustic mashed potatoes.
And for me: Pecan Encrusted Rabbit with roasted root vegetables, basil sausage, and rabbit jus.
I made the right choice. But so did my mom and dad. I really don’t think you can make a wrong choice at this restaurant. If you live in St. Louis, go here immediately. If you ever visit St. Louis, have this be your first meal. And your second and third.
As we walked out of the restaurant, I declared Sidney Street Cafe my new favorite restaurant in my hometown. I’ve done this numerous times in the past few years, so my parents asked me, “Really?”
And then in the parking lot, I saw this bumper sticker on a customer’s car from American Farmland Trust.
And I answered, “Really.”
What’s your favorite restaurant in your hometown?
Handling your own finances is a huge part of growing up. In an effort to learn to budget and shop smart, I seek out shopping tips and tricks. And then I tell them to other people. I see no reason to keep them a secret. Yet.
Here’s my first Save Up post.
I love grocery shopping. It’s my favorite kind of shopping. What I don’t love, however, is “errand shopping.” Picking out produce, peanut butter and yogurt is something I enjoy. Restocking toilet paper, aluminum foil and toothpaste doesn’t provide me with the same sort of pleasure.
Enter in Amazon.com’s Subscribe & Save program. Sign up, and you’ll automatically receive a new shipment of the items you selected every one, two, three or six months. Featured items include office products, health care, pet supplies, personal care and grocery (if you don’t share my love for going to the store). Plus, you get an extra 15% off already low prices and free shipping. Worried you may not be able to correctly estimate when you run out of hand soap? Amazon will e-mail you before they ship out any order to give you time to make necessary changes. And they won’t bill you until the order has been shipped.
Amazon.com also offers free one-year Amazon Prime memberships for students. That means unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of items with no minimum order size.
Any moms out there? Join Amazon Mom and get Amazon Prime benefits and 30% off diapers and wipes with Subscribe & Save Delivery.
Fall is here (yay!), and the change of season has brought a change of scenery, temperature and food. If the (yay!) didn’t clue you in to what my season is, let me tell you that it is most definitely fall. November, October and December rank—in that order—as my favorite months of the year.
I can’t think of fall without thinking of pumpkins, and apparently I’m not the only one. Businesses have picked up on the fact few can resist a pumpkin-flavored treat and are offering seasonal specials for the next few months. Want pumpkin coffee? A pumpkin bagel? Pumpkin spice froyo? Guys, I think pumpkin is being exploited.
Do I care? A little. Am I an enabler?
The first sweet treat for the blog had to be from my literal sister(’s) site. These are her brain child. I take no responsibility in this particular exploitation of pumpkin. Except for the fact that I made the recipe, ate the product of the recipe and then shared the recipe with you. Let me continue.
Get these ingredients.
Mix them together, and create this.
Need more direction? Here are the actual directions:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup Sucanat
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 ounces grain sweetened chocolate chips
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Preheat: Oven at 350*F.
Pan: Spray an 11×7-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. (I didn’t have this, but I did have a round cake pan…which is why my brownies are in the shape of pie slices.)
Mix: For the base mixture, mix together whole wheat pastry flour and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together Sucanat, eggs and vanilla until well-combined. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until blended. Divide this mixture into two bowls. For chocolate mixture, melt chocolate chips and oil in a bowl. Stir into one half of the base mixture. For pumpkin mixture, combine pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a bowl. Stir into other half of base mixture. Spread chocolate batter evenly into prepared pan. Top with pumpkin batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Eat up.