Loaf of Manna Mass

Hello m’dear eaters.
Happy (almost) Halloween! Are you celebrating? Please tell me you are. Tonight seems to be the big night to dress up and go out, but I’m still convention-ing it up, so while I certainly won’t be sitting in my hotel room twittling my thumbs, my official Halloween isn’t until tomorrow.
But really that has nothing to do with anything I’m writing about.
Remember forever ago when I posted this tantalizing picture of the breakfast I had at Papa’s house on the first day of fall break?
I said I would tell you more about this later. And now is finally later. (I don’t even know if that makes sense.)
Recently the universe shined on me in the form of a huge box of manna bread from Manna Organic Bakery.
9 loaves of all the flavors of Manna bread.
Does this remind anyone else of a box of crayons?
3 samples of sourdough
A fridge full of bread…
Means one happy ‘Baby.
Oh yes, this bread needs to be stored in the fridge/freezer because…
Between that and the ingredients (for cinnamon date it is sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic cinnamon, organic dates, organic oats) I don’t really know if this can be considered bread. I think more of a loaf of manna mass.
Regardless of what you’re calling it the ingredient list is awesome. I can count it on one hand AND pronounce AND that anybody’s grandmother would recognize. It really doesn’t get better than that.
So, I guess I’ll just call this food. Yes, finally real food. From a crinkly package. And there’s my ringing endorsement.
But if you need more of a reason, here’s some tasty bites…
Cinnamon Date:
This is great toasted, but microwaving isn’t half bad (don’t eat it cold, because it has a bit of a strange gummy texture). Plain or with a nut butter, this is just like eating cake. I almost stuck a candle in it and pretended it was mine.
No joke, I was very close to doing this. Or I might just request this at my next birthday.
Fig, Fennel, Flax:
Holy texture! Poppy, sesame, pepitos, fennel, and flax all adorned the top, with the pleasant flavors of fig in the soft, gooey bread. Oh yes, I was in love.
Fruit and Nut:
Check out those chunks! Raisins, dates, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and some lovely spices made this a nice little breakfast treat. While this wasn’t my favorite, I certainly wouldn’t kick it out of my fridge.
Whole Rye:
Rye bread requires spicy mustard in my mind. So I obliged. Honestly, while this bread was good and certainly edible, it didn’t have a huge of a rye flavor. The mustard completely masked the flavor, which seems a bit of a crime for rye.
And speaking of rye flavor, let me give you a brief rundown of the sourdough breads.
When I first saw them I was pretty excited. I love a good sourdough, and when I saw the hearty oaks, and generous dose of flax in two of the breads I got even more excited (the other flavor was rye). 
But then I tried them.

Unfortunately, these breads didn’t do too much for me. They were heavy on the sour and light on the moisture. Just not anything to write home about, or really eat without a good schmear.
Luckily, though, the rest of the breads were jazzy enough to make up for it.
The only real downsides I found with this bread were the price (4 loaves on their website is $15.40) and the shelf life:
But then, I doubt one person ever has 9 loaves sitting around, so shelf life might not be a problem for you.
Overall verdict:
Yes please!
I mean honestly, even Papa liked the bread, and he’s not exactly into unusual foods. That’s about as much of a ringing endorsement as you’ll get, eaters.
PS-VG recommends toasting and smothering in Earth Balance for every flavor. And he knows his food.

Local Love

Hi eaters!

Once again, I’m horrible at keeping you up to date on my life. So if I haven’t mentioned it before, let me fill you in.
I’m currently in Louisville, KY attending the National College Media Convention. I’m here with all the other editors from my paper and it looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed, but very interesting and informative weekend.
Yesterday was a ridiculously long travel day and I’m still slightly tired.
And nothing has been too blogworthy yet.
But have no fear because something blogworthy did happen Wednesday—Solarpalooza!
What the eff does that mean, you ask?
Well, m’dear potty-mouthed eaters, it was my school’s attempt at being cute. But in actuality, it was a festival of sorts to celebrate our sustainability.
See, I go to a crunchy granola school if there ever was one. Besides the students sporting dreadlocks and tie-dye, and the others that have sworn off shoes and take thrifting to an art form, the school itself is also pretty green. We use two giant Earth Tubs to compost all the food scraps from the dining hall. We don’t use trays in the dining hall so we don’t have to wash them (and waste water and detergent). And recently, we’ve taken quite a few more big strides towards green.
Like the solar panels that cover the roofs of every building (and that are responsible for more than 60% of the hot water on campus). And the free bike repair shop we just added on campus, to encourage more bike use. Our dining service company uses as much organic, local food as possible. They even have a weekly list of what on the menu is organic and/or local.
So Wednesday they invited local farmers and vendors and all the environmental clubs.

and even a band to help us celebrate all things green.
Our sustainability coordinator’s wife was there giving out apple granola bars (and the recipe).
Flower Flour
Of course I scored one. And they were quite tasty.
After the festival we hit up the dining hall for their Feed the Difference dinner, which featured almost entirely local produce. It was supposed to be light on the meat to keep in line with the idea of real sustainability, but that didn’t happen.
Oh well.
I had some yummy black bean soup and fresh foccicia.
Just plain yum.
The soup was really peppery, which I loved.
I also had a heaping plate of a stir-fry with seitan chicken.
Local veggies, locally made chik’n. 
Pretty food.
But everything was delicious (especially the seitan).
And for dessert I had the world’s smallest apple.
All in all, it was a lovely, local evening. 
And now I’m off to have a very Louisville evening. 
G’bye eaters.

Oh So Wonderful

Helloooo eaters!

Happy Hump-hump-humpty dumpty day! Can you tell I’m in quite a good mood?

Well, part of the reason is because of the wonderful day I had yesterday, which I have thoroughly processed and am now ready to share.

As you know, my legs have been causing me quite a bit a grief lately. Between my shitty shins and my recent knee problem, I have been contemplating investing in a wheelchair and training for the Paralympics. But yesterday put a damper on those plans (thankfully).

Yesterday was the day I had been so eagerly awaiting—my running evaluation with a new sports medicine guy.

This was my 3rd sports medicine doctor in about 6 weeks. I was oddly hopefully, despite my less than helpful visits with previous doctors. And that hope proved not to be false.

After almost two hours of getting poked, tapped, bent and stretched by three different sports medicines doctors, who also watched me stand up and sit down, run, and walk too many times to count, I came away with something concrete.

^And I was only slightly embarrassed by rocking mismatched socks.^

Apparently some of my joints appear to be hyper-flexible, which means that those tendons aren’t as tight or strong as they should be. And my nearly complete pancake feet…

^Why is this so funny? And what does it mean?^

…have caused quite a few misalignments. Those two things combine to cause a whole heap of problems. One problem is an extra pouch of fluid that is pressing on a nerve, which is more than likely, the cause of my occasional foot numbness. And a combination of the misalignment and my flexi-ness causes my feet and ankles to flop and roll and go in all the wrong directions when I move, which seems to be putting too much torque on my shins, thus the pain. Essentially, I run like I’m skiing, which is bad.

And not only did I walk away with some concrete causes for my troubles, but I also walked away with a whole host of exercises (about half of which I already do, so they will be ridiculously easy to stick with) and inserts for my shoes.

I am more than optimistic.

The day got even better once I hit the gym. Tuesday means weights, so I happily pumped iron. But this wasn’t just any weight session. It was the first day that I was able to do 3 knee-intensive workouts (walking lunges, side lunges, wide stance squats) since my knee problem. I’ve been slowly incorporating lunges back in to my routine, but not squats.

Obviously, these 3 exercises kind of kicked my ass. And I’m feeling them today. But I love it. I love it. I love it!

The last bit of wonderfulness came after dinner—a lecture by David Brooks, a NYTimes editorial columnist and NPR contributor.

I feel slightly more than a little nerdy admitting that I was so very excited for this, but I’m not in the least bit ashamed. My school hosted the lecture, so it was free.

Score!

And believe me, it was a great talk. He was funny, engaging, and discussed both the past and future of our country. He talked about the generation that’s currently in college (me!) and those just entering school and how much hope there is for the future (despite his prediction for a major financial crisis sometime soon).

Like I said, it was an absolutely wonderful day full of hope for the future and exciting improvements.

I’ll catch you eaters later.

Yummy Muesli?

Hiya eaters!

How did your Tuesday go? I completely forgot it was Tuesday, actually. But regardless of that, my day was so freaking ah-maze-ing! Unfortunately, it’ll take a little processing before I can adequately share everything. So while I’m marinating in all the wonderfulness that today has brought I’ll share a little something else wonderful with you. And this is some wonderfulness that you can have for yourself. Intrigued?

Here goes:

If you’ve been reading for a while you know two things about my breakfast habits—I enjoy oatmeal and cereal does nothing to fill my stomach (and kind of scares me because it’s all usually full of too much sugar and not nearly enough protein).

So when I first heard about a nifty little company called [me]&goji; I was a little wary.

They are a “custom artisanal cereal” company, hence the wariness. But all my fears were alleviated in the first step of designing my cereal. Three words: 5-grain muesli.

I know muesli is a bit of an intimidating idea—it’s super healthy and super reminiscent of eating carpet. But I decided to take the plunge (and add plenty of goodies to make it more palatable).

Designing my cereal was ridiculously fun. I love customizable things (but not monogram-able things, oddly enough). And it kind of felt like playing with my food, which we all know is a guaranteed good time.

You design your cereal in 5 easy steps:

Pick a base—there are 9 options here, everything from flakes to shredded wheat to granola. I obviously picked the muesli.

Enhance base—there are 19 possible enhancers. They’ve got chocolate-y things, granolas, flakes and spices. I skipped the enhancers (and only partially because that just sounds dirty and makes me giggle).

Dried fruit—they have 15 different fruits, ranging from your tame raisins and cranberries to delicious coconut and cherries, all the way to the slightly weird currants and mulberries. I decided to go out on a limb and try two things I’d never had—goji berries and goldenberries. And then I added some coconut for yumminess/healthy fats.

Nuts & seeds—next come 16 options for crunch. And again, these choices range from normal (almonds and sunflower seeds) to slightly unique (pine nuts and pumpkin seeds) to the more unusual (brazil nuts, soy nuts, and amaranth). I decided to go a little boring and get almonds.

Customize—the final step, which is possibly the most fun, requires you to name your cereal. And what else is there to name a cereal as awesome as this?

Of course.

This huge tube (more than 30oz of cereal-goodness) arrived in not time flat.

Does that not look amazing?

But wait, I haven’t even shown you my favorite part yet. Check out who made it:

Quite possibly the best mom-joke ever.

If you’ve ever eaten muesli before you know it has far more…texture than regular oats. That means it doesn’t exactly lend itself to creamy oatmeal. But I was determined. I mean, I had almost 2lbs of cereal to eat. I had no other choice but to figure out the most delicious way to eat it.

First attempt: microwave.

I did exactly what I normally do for a bowl of oats. But rather than my usual creamy goodness I had a bowl of hot, very chewy and texturized grains.

This will work perfectly for a day that I’m craving some serious chew, but that’s not everyday.

Second attempt: stove with banana.

I, obviously, made this over break, since I don’t have a stove (or a gorgeous kitchen).

I made this “risotto-style” by adding water in small increments. This produced a very creamy, very delicious bowl of oats, but it is also highly impractical for everyday use.

Boo.

Third attempt: soaking.

I started off “overnight oats-style” by adding water the night before. Come morning I added a bit more water, a few frozen berries, and nuked it. Then I took it to Starbucks.

I think we have a winner.

These weren’t as creamy as plain oats, but they were pretty close. Actually, these had just the right amount of chew.

I was a very happy (well fed) ‘Baby.

So, cold cereal lovers and hot cereal lovers alike can rejoice in the fun of designing their own organic massive tube of breakfast! (But if designing isn’t your thing, they have pre-fab cereals that seem pretty damn good.) And didn’t your mom always tell you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day?

So come back tomorrow, eaters, and help me revel in some super great news.

PS-I want to say a special “hello” to the few new eaters that have recently joined in the fun. I hope you enjoy it here.

Little Baskets

Hi eaters!

Is your week off to a good start? I hope it was less traumatizing than mine! A 14-hour day after a week away is not exactly fun, but enough of that. Want to talk about something fun?

Okay, let’s talk about my grocery shopping for the week then.

While this is normally fun for me, this week was a little different for a couple of reasons: fall break and my upcoming conference. I leave this Thursday for a weekend in Louisville, KY for a collegiate newspaper conference.

So that means that rather than my usual week of meals I only had to plan for four days.

This presented a little bit of a problem, but since I’m becoming quite skilled at shopping and feeding myself I was up for the challenge. And since my energy was waning I decided to stick close to home and forego Earth Fare and the farm market. Instead I hit up two old favorites.

First up was Fresh Market. I don’t remember the last time I went, but boy did I miss it. The coffee sample (pumpkin spice this time). The fruit sample (strawberries, oddly). It was a lovely experience. And all my purchases were lovely, too.

Loot:

Organic kale, organic apples, lemons, dates, organic broccoli, and black bean soup

This is quite possibly the smallest, greenest basket I’ve ever had at Fresh Market. I thoroughly enjoyed the greenness.

Afterwards I swung by Harris Teeter for some really old school shopping.

Loot:

Organic pears, roasted pepper hummus, tofu

Again, possibly a new record for basket size. I did also buy some conditioner and toothpaste, which always makes me feel super adult.

So this is my foodstuffs for the next few days. It has to last me until Thursday afternoon and not a moment later.

Wish me luck, eaters.

Big Apple-ventures: Day 5

Hiya eaters!

I’ve officially left the Big Apple, but there is still one ‘venture to tell you about.

Thursday broke the usual mold for us. We slept late(r than usual) and bummed around the house for a brief bit before doing a little ‘sploring around town and finally mailing Brother’s cookies. Eventually we caught a late afternoon train into the city to start our ‘venturing. And believe me, we had big plans.

Once we got off the train we hopped on the subway and zoomed off to a restaurant I had spotted on Sunday with a very cute sign and lots of potential:

Plump Dumpling. See, I told you it was cute.
Maddie and I are big dumpling lovers (I got her hooked on the pork dumplings from Fresh Market) so I knew we had to hit this place up. As soon as we sat down we were handed a huge stack of menus.

3 different menus for each person. Confusing much? Well, it seems they were a bit confused, too.

What does that mean exactly?

I, of course, just picked up the one with the pictures. While we were waiting for our food we mapped our course and enjoyed the pretty décor.

I love the colorful lanterns against the pressed tin ceiling.

In a flash our food arrived:

General Tso’s Steamed Vegetable Dumplings

So delicious. So vegetable-y. So filling. I barely ate half, but I was stuffed.

M&M; both ordered steamed pork dumplings with lo mein.

They were happy.

With full bellies we headed up to Harlem to see a play that one of Marissa’s friends was in. Then we headed back downtown to bum around Greenwich Village with a school chum of ours.

Eventually we made our way back to Grand Central and collapsed on the 1am train home.

And thus marked the end of our Big Apple-ventures. It was a wild ride.

Box, Sweet Box

Hi eaters!

I’m happily back in the little beige box I like to call my room. Break was wonderful, but I was more than a tad happy to leave on Friday morning.

After making our way through a little city traffic we hit the open Turnpike and made ah-maze-ing time!

I think we shaved 2 hours off our time there because we timed it right and missed rush hour. But regardless of the speedy journey I was still quite glad to get to Papa’s house. Once there we snacked a bit and then headed out to watch Sister’s volleyball game.

She’s only 9 so I expected the game to go very much like my softball games from that age—a wonderful display of short attention spans and undeveloped hand-eye coordination. And it was, but not to the extent I expected. There was actually a good amount of volleying.

^Sister is the one diving for the ball.^

They played 3 games and they won three games. Needless to say, Sister was quite proud. After she drank her after-game Capri Sun the little athlete needed food. Pizza, specifically.

We went to the neighborhood family pizza sports bar-place for dinner. Normally, a joint like this would have nothing for me. But tonight, after eating my weight in carbs at each meal all week, all I wanted was veggies. And they just happened to have a massive Greek salad on the menu. I swapped the feta for avocado and inhaled it before I thought to take a picture.

I’m sure you can envision it, though.

I woke the next morning before most (but not Papa, of course) and enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee while watching the Cooking Channel. Sounds like a great morning, right?

It gets better.

I had the foresight to import some bagels from the Big Apple:

Honeycrisp apple and half a lightly toasted everything bagel with almond butter

Honestly, is there any more delicious site? I think not.

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

After a little digestion Papa and I hit up the gym. My first workout (save for some yoga) was difficult, as to be expected. But boy did it feel good!

A not so quick shower and some snacking later M&M;&I; hit the road. The ride felt ridiculously long, but boy is it almost good to be back.

I’ll catch you up on the last Big Apple-venture soon, I promise. But for now I have a new bottle of wine beckoning me.

Later, eaters.

Big Apple-ventures: Day 4

Well hello eaters,

What day is it? I honestly don’t really know. Being a day behind on posting has left me more than a bit confused as to the day. But I think it’s…Thursday, right?

But today doesn’t particularly matter. What matters is yesterday.

So Wednesday.

The big beautiful upstate was a wonderful, much needed break, but yesterday it was back to the city. Maddie had some family bonding to attend to, so Marissa and I were left to take a bite out of the Apple by ourselves. Don’t you worry, though, we did a pretty damn good job of it.

As soon as we got off the train Marissa declared that she needed a chicken gyro from the Hala food cart outside. Never being the kind of person to deny another’s culinary desires I followed her nose to the most tantalizingly scented street corner ever.

They sold falafels and I wanted to badly to get one, but I wasn’t hungry and I’m trying this new thing called eating when you’re hungry. Pretty crazy, right?

After she nommed we hopped on the subway in search of a very special place. A few stops and only one wrong turn later we found it!

Ever heard of this place? It was started by two women who were training for the Ironman. They got sick of choking down tons of energy bars and gels so they created a cookie that would be a tasty way to get calories while training. These are the cookies:

6 ounces of deliciousness in 4 flavors: Chocolate Chip Walnut (the one that started it all), Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.

^Actual size chocolate chip walnut^

Marissa and I split this big baby and o’m’gosh it was good. It was still warm so the chocolate chips were melty and the inside was soft and chewy.

Walking around the city is like training for a triathlon, right? Sure, why not.

I also picked up a couple to send to Brother, as inspiration.

After successfully carbo-loading we made our way over to Central Park, where we stumbled on this little group:

Pretty, but no big deal, right? Just wait.

We continued moseying through the park. We found some rocks overlooking one of the lakes. I did some yoga.

Yadda yadda.

But not 5 minutes after sitting down on our big rocks we saw the wedding party again. They were processing down a path and into a little gazebo in front of our rocks.

They were actually getting married! So of course, we stayed and watching.

While this may sound creepy let me assure you that we were completely out of site of the party (and out of the background of all wedding pictures), unlike some other people…

Okay, so maybe we were a bit creepy, but if you get married in Central Park you’re asking for it.

After the wedding I decided that it was time to feed (and all I saw were hotdogs and ice cream) so we began finding our way out of the park. Imagine my surprise, though, when I saw this printed on the side of a food cart:

I got even more excited when I saw this:

And this:

But what really sent me over the edge was this:

Vegetarian hot dogs? Sign me up.

Veggie dog with grilled onions, relish and spicy mustard.

I haven’t had a hot dog in so freaking long. This completely hit the spot. (And it was so much better than a falafel.)

From there we continued to wander, leaving the park only to visit the awesome underground Apple Store and FAO Shwartz.

Eventually we collapsed on the train and made it home just in time for dinner. Not a bad bite out of the Apple for two of us.

And it’s about to start all over again.

G’bye for now, eaters.

Big Apple-ventures: Day 3

Hello again eaters,

Are you ready for another apple-tastic installment? Well yesterday proved to be a little different than before.

After two long, action-packed days spent ‘sploring the city I needed a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle. M&M; were up for an adventure. So this time rather than head south, we went north.

Driving upstate was absolutely breathtaking!

Unfortunately, these pictures don’t do it justice. At all.

Eventually we got to our destination:

Woodstock!

As soon as we got into the village I texted Papa and was surprised to find out that he’d never been, despite growing up in NY and frequenting the upstate area.

Not to long after getting in we decided to feed, and what better place than…

Taco Juan’s, a very funky little Mexican place.

The menu boasted tofu and an impressive collection of hot sauces, so I was happy.

I got even happier when I saw my massive plate of food:

Tofu rice plate—onion and tomato sautéed tofu, dirty Spanish rice, salad with salsa, guacamole and tomatoes.

All for $8! Not too shabby.

Sporting a FoodBaby named Juan we strolled through town. First stop:

This was a cute little shop with almost every imaginable blend of tea, tea pot, infusing devices imaginable. It also had a delicious little sample:

Can you say yum? Because I sure did.

And I also said “yum” again not too long later when I saw this:

Oh come on. How could I have passed this up?

You’re right, I couldn’t.

^These were pot free, I promise.^

But there was more to this quaint little village than nom-ables.

Papa really does need to pay a visit here one day.

The drive down was equally beautiful. And on this drive I made a very important life decision: I will consider myself a successful person and try to never ask for another thing if I can be lucky enough to own a house in that neck of the woods, where I can spend quiet weekends and watch the seasons change and breath the clean clean air.

And as a motivator, I just spent a bit too much time looking at real estate. I think I found my perfect house. Does anyone want to lend me $345, 000?

A ‘Baby can dream, right?

G’night eaters.

Big Apple-ventures: Day 2

Hiya eaters!

I hope your workweek, your days at the grind, your cubical time is going well. I, of course, am thoroughly enjoying being shackle-less these past few days. And Monday was no different.

Once again I woke to a delicious breakfast (which will be shown later) before catching the 10:39am train to Grand Central. This time, though, M&M; were with me and there was no Blue Astro van waiting. Nope, this time we were simply three ladies bumming our way around the city.

First, we did a bit of shopping at H&M.; I picked up a great dress and a cheap blazer, which made me a very happy ‘Baby. But after all the overwhelming shopping we needed sustenance.

A quick subway ride later we were at one of Maddie’s favorite places to grab a slice (of pizza). $1 for a slice of cheese can’t be beat. So I grabbed a slice, stripped the cheese and ate…mildly tomato-y bread. Not great.

Luckily, I knew that there was a great dessert to make up for the less than great lunch. And another quick subway ride later we arrived at none other than….

Yes! I was so freaking excited!

There were so many delicious options—cupcakes, cookies, cupcake tops, muffins, loaves, cake, donuts—that I almost didn’t know where to start.

But then I saw IT.

Allie had just recently been to the bakery and raved about the spelt flour carrot cake cupcake. And if a non-vegan is raving about a vegan cupcake you know it has to be good, right?

So both Marissa and I ordered one.

Isn’t that freaking adorable? Well it was more than freaking delicious, too.

The cake was light, with a nice carrot color and taste, and oh so soft. And the frosting was perfect! It tasted like cream cheese without being gross and overwhelming. It was also quite possibly the most perfectly smooth frosting ever!

Maddie ordered the spelt flour chocolate cupcake.

She was quite pleased, as well.


And while enjoying our lovely little Babies we got to admire the adorable décor

and read all the ingredients in all of Baby Cakes’ creations.

I love that sugar is the exception rather than the rule.

Before leaving I absolutely couldn’t resist the urge to indulge in one more little treat:

A lemon coconut-topped donut!

I don’t remember the last time I had a donut (do you?) so of course I couldn’t pass it up. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I ate it within a block of the bakery.

So damn good! But the best part of my bakery experience was that, unlike the cupcake I ate for Papa’s birthday, I didn’t want to die of sugar afterwards. Nor did I have an uncomfortable FoodBaby. Even after a cupcake AND a donut I still felt perfectly fine, and oh so happy.

Oh yea, I was a very happy ‘Baby.

With our bellies full of Baby Cakes Maddie split ways with Marissa and I. Maddie took the subway uptown to visit some friends. Marissa and I took the subway downtown to Chinatown.

^Look! A pay phone!^

A little tip for anyone visiting the city: The red Chinese-looking Starbucks isn’t really the beginning of Chinatown. If you want the real Chinatown look for Mott St and tiny streets.

I promise, the tiny streets do not disappoint. And if you want a good place for Peking duck than look no further than…

The Peking Duck House

This is a longtime favorite of my family’s and we used to go every time we were in the city.

After wandering around for a bit (and smelling one too many fragrant open fish markets) Marissa and I hopped back on the subway and met up with Maddie to head back home. It was another long day of Big Apple-ventures this ‘Baby is thoroughly exhausted.

G’night, eaters.