Lovely Shopping

G’freaking’evening eaters!
Oh it’s been a tough one, but I survived. And so did you, obviously.
So this one is going to be short, sweet and minus all the small talk.
I went grocery shopping yesterday, as I do every week. This week was a little on the difficult side because I wasn’t terribly inspired on the meal planning front. Eventually, I came up with a list and did the deed.
Swiss chard, red onion, shiitake mushrooms, green pepper, Israeli couscous, salt and pepper cashews, raspberry Booch, single serving vegetable broth, carob chips, chocolate-covered dried apricots, frozen peas, and tempeh.
Despite the difficultly I experienced at the beginning of the outing, it actually turned out more than quite enjoyable.
First, I played around in the bulk bins section, which is where I found this hunky baby.
Hunky baby for a hungry ‘Baby
This is a chocolate-covered dried apricot. I love chocolate-covered things. I really love dried apricots. So these were right up my alley (except being $13.49/lbs, which is why I only bought 4).
And I got a great deal on pre-marinated sliced tempeh.
I know that things like these are over-priced and, normally, I would never think to buy them. But they were on sale 2 (7 oz each) for $6 (which was about $0.43/oz). A regular block of plain tempeh is $4 for 8 oz (which is about $0.50/oz). Less money, more convenient tasty tempeh.
But possibly the best part happened when I was checking out. The cashier behind the counter was a man. An attractive man. An attractive man in my age range. AND he was flirting with me. AND I have actual physical proof that he was flirting with me.
Oh, it is love.
He rang up my bag of loose shiitake mushrooms as loose crimini. $13.99/lbs vs $4.99/lbs.
Thanks so much cute Earth Fare boy (who’s name is Josh, according to my receipt).
Yup, it turned out to be a pretty darn good shopping trip. And it should be a great week of eating.
G’night eaters.
PS- You absolutely must check out tomorrow’s post. It’s a freaking ah-maze-ing, mouthsex chocolate experience.

Few Words

Today was beautiful, eaters.
Sunny and 70 degrees. So I took to the trail for my first run of the year.
It was hard.
But fun.
I saw all my old favorite spots.
The woods were alive with the sounds of people pretending to be animals.
And every time I turned a corner the unmistakeable small of marijuana wafted towards me. 
I do love my school in the spring time. 
G’night eaters.

Varied, Sorta

Happy Friday eaters!
We made it. Gahh, this week felt long. But the weekend is here and I plan to kick up my heels/kick off my shoes/let my hair down/other phrases that mean I’m going to party a lot.
And you should, too! Because what’s stopping you? Nothing!
So if you remember all the way back to Monday, I mentioned that my goal was to bring some diversity into my weekly eats. And thanks to a humble head of cauliflower, I was able to.
That’s right eaters. Cauliflower, one of the most forgotten of the vegetables, helped me spice up my meals.
First, I followed Campbell’s Soup’s lead by pretending soup is something besides soup.
You’ve seen the commercials, right? “Don’t know what to make for dinner? Pour some soup over rice and pretend it’s jambalaya” (or something like that).
Yeah, I did that. Sorta.
A bed of spinach, topped with a serving of split pea soup, topped with a mound of steamed cauliflower.
Heat everything (including the spinach) and mix.
So maybe it does kind of make it seem like something different.
The next meal was inspired by that random British chick who is sometimes a judge on Iron Chef but really designs jewelry and used to do other things.
One episode she was served a dish of baked cauliflower with cheese. She raved because apparently it’s a traditional English dish. So, of course, I made it. Sorta.
Steamed cauliflower borderline drowning in cheesy sauce. And topped with pepper. 
Because pepper makes everything better.
Did I feel more English eating this? No. Did my English speaking improve? Not that I know of. But I felt well fed.
So there you have it, eaters, how cauliflower saved the day. Or rather, how cauliflower varied my meals. Who knew that a white, hunk of produce could do so much?
Well now you do, eaters. Glad I could teach you something.

G’night eaters. 

Cheese-less, Egg-less

Hi eaters!
It’s Thursday, right? I keep thinking it’s Friday. Whatever day it is though, I deserve a glass of wine. Why do I deserve a glass of wine?
Because I’ve survived this much of the week. Because I spent far too long between the hours of 8am-10am debating how to sum up all the emotional, historical baggage attached to the actual n-word in one word (all of which could have been figured out days ago if people responded to emails). Because I’m not going to the club with people I don’t like.
So lately, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic. Specifically, I’ve been thinking back to when I first started cooking. Like the first thing I ever learned to cook — scrambled eggs.
I very distinctly remember Mother telling me to look for the edges to turn white before scraping everything into the center. I loved knowing how to make a meal for myself.
So it seems only fitting that one of the first tofu dishes I ever made was a tofu scramble. Just like it’s eggy counter part, it is unbelievably simple, versatile and delicious. And it doesn’t even require a tofu press!
So all you tofu-curious eaters, gather round as I teach you a quintessential veg-head dish.
Tofu Scramble
1 block extra firm tofu
1 T nutritional yeast
1 t cumin
1 t turmeric
several dashes cayenne, optional
1- 1 ½ c chopped veg of choice (I used onion ad green pepper)
salt and pepper, to taste
This requires minimal pressing, so simply wrap your tofu in a dish towel and put under something heavy while you prep everything else.
Chop whatever veg you prefer. I bet mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, or anything else you could stuff in an omelet would be tasty. But this is a use what you have meal.
Toss the vegetables in a oil, medium-high pan and sauté. Once the veggies are al dente (does that phrase work with things beside pasta?) crumble in the tofu.
Stir this around and let it do it things for a few minutes. Every now and then stir some more. After about 8-10 minutes, add in your reasoning.
And stir some more. All of a sudden your blah white tofu is bright yellow and smelling delicious.
Keep cooking until the vegetables are soft and the tofu is at your desired consistency. Then serve a heaping scoop (with some fruit for a complete breakfast).
This scramble is just like eggs, minus the eating a baby part.
But if you want to kick this up a notch and make it a true, greasy spoon type meal, pour almost too much cheesy sauce over the top.
Yup, I went there.
Cheesy sauce
1/3 c plus 1 T nutritional yeast
1 c water
1 t mustard
½ t granulated garlic
2 T flour
1/8 t turmeric
Mix everything except the mustard in a bowl. Whisk until there are no lumps. Then microwave for 4 minutes on medium (about 60%) power, stopping every 30 seconds or so to whisk. Once the sauce is thick enough, stir in the mustard and pour over everything.
Goopy, creamy cheesy sauce over soft, billowy, pillowy scrambles with occasional bites of soft yet still noticeable vegetables?
Top it with some hot sauce and I’m the happiest ‘Baby in the world.
All those directions for a cheese-less, eggless cheesy scramble?
Now you deserve a glass of wine, too.

Cheers, eaters.

WW: Shweet Circuits

Ello eaters!
I’m feeling pretty great right now. That wasn’t the case earlier toady, as you know if you follow me on Twitter. But right now, thanks to a great dinner and a nap in my beanbag, I’m feeling better.
But enough of that. Time for some sweat-talk.
Strength training is something I’m serious about. Well, not grunting in a muscle tank kind of serious. (I don’t ever want to be that serious.) 
FYI-Don’t Google “male bodybuilder in tank top,” you get penises.
But a week doesn’t go by when I don’t do at least 2 strength sessions. And these aren’t baby strength sessions lifting imaginary weights.
Oh no, eaters, these are big ‘Baby strength sessions.
Before starting I think about what I want to focus on (body part specific vs full body) and how long I have to work. That determines how many of what kind of moves I do.
Usually, a session for me includes 20-25 moves. I tend to do 1 “set” of each workout, with a huge number of reps. This is based off of what I learned from my Cain classes. And it’s pretty great…if you have an unlimited list of strength moves to draw from.
I don’t. And that’s why I love circuits!
(Long rambling intro? Check.)
Everyone and their mother know about circuits, but just like everything else, I do them a little differently. I make them fun (and more effective)!
I tend to do 3 circuits of 8 moves. Usually, 6 or 7 of the moves will remain the same for every circuit. These moves are the big, powerful moves. They’re either staple moves that are just plain awesome (Roman chair and lunges). Or they’re multitasking moves that work lots of things at once (kettle bell swing squats and curl to press squats).
So that means that 6 or 7 moves are freaking amazing and/or my favorite. But that leaves another move or 2, right?
Yup. And that’s where the fun comes in — I switch it up. This move is usually reserved for arm weights, mainly because there are quite a few muscles in the arm and I want to work them all equally.
For example, yesterday I did a round of forearm curls, a round of side wing extensions/lateral raises/whatever you call them, and then I finished with a round of upright rows.
And the fun isn’t restricted to just strength moves. Oh no, eaters.
Between each circuit I do a few cardio moves. Jumping jacks, high-knee running in place, plyo-style convulsions, you get the idea.
And before I know it, my workout is done, I haven’t had to think of every single move I know, and I’m sweaty. And I’m guaranteed to be sore the next day!
Like Janetha, I love sore, achy, painful muscles. They make me feel successful.
So there you have it, eaters — my take on circuits. Fun, balanced, mostly mindless circuits.
Doesn’t that just make you want to pick up some real, big weights?
I thought so.
G’night eaters. 

Eureka Paprika

G’evening eaters.
It’s been a long day, so try to stay interested as I try not to ramble.
In the interest of getting excited about eating my own food this week, I decided to try a couple new things. Enter:
Smoked paprika and split pea soup.

With the help of Isa’s Appetite for Reduction I decided to try a soup I’d never had before. Nope, not once have I ever eaten a split pea. I’m not sure why that soup had escaped my stomach all these years. But then again, upon looking at pictures of typical split pea soup, maybe it’s not so surprising.
Baby food or baby poo?
I stopped eating baby food at least 5 years a long time ago. Why would I want to revert?
So I decided to (literally) spice things up a bit. Isa encouraged this spice-tastic soup, so I went with it. With a few tweaks, of course.

Eureka Split Pea Soup
1 c split peas
6 c vegetable broth
1 ½ carrots, chopped (about 15 baby carrots)
1 medium onion, diced (about 2 c)
1 ½ spinach, chiffonade
¾ T dried thyme
1 t minced garlic
¾ T smoked paprika
½ T cumin
¾ t salt
pepper, to taste
Heat an oil-drizzled pot to medium heat. Add in the onions and begin sautéing. 
Once the onions are just barely soft add in the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant. Next add in the spices, toss everything to coat, and then pour in the broth. Raise the heat to high and toss in the split peas and carrots.
Bring the pot to a boil and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat to a high simmer, place the top on ajar, and walk away. Do some dishes. Do some homework. Walk around the kitchen in a circle.
Every handful of minutes stir a bit, just to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom. But really, this is a no brainer soup.
After about 40 minutes of cooking, taste the broth and peas. Add more salt and pepper, if needed, and continue cooking until the peas are just shy of al dente. 
Once there, toss in the spinach, stir, and cook until the peas are soft.
All in all, it should be about 80-90 minutes of active cooking time.
Serve piping hot, with a dusting of paprika and a sprinkle of salt.
This is a thick, hearty, vegetable-packed split pea soup.
And the paprika…oh the paprika!
I’ve never cooked with it before, but I’m in love. It gives this soup a je ne sais quoi, if you will. It’s that something, that taste that I just can’t put my finger on. It’s like a taste bud-memory and as soon as I took that first bite I just knew — paprika!
And the salt just livens everything up so delicately.
This is a eureka soup.
And now it’s time for me to have some more eureka thoughts. Or rather, watch old seasons of The Office on Netflix.
I bet Dwight likes plain split pea soup…
G’night eaters. 

Get in Ma Belly, Groceries

Hello eaters!
How did your Mondays go? More importantly, how are you surviving the cold? I’m sick of it. I actually got so fed up that I froze my ass off in a dress today because I couldn’t stand the idea of another day wearing jeans. And told the weatherman said we would be getting seasonal weather for the next few days.
Wtf does “seasonal weather” mean? Whatever it is, I’m sure I won’t like it.
But enough of my bitching. Time to talk groceries.
Normally, I do my grocery shopping on the weekends, but lately that hasn’t been happening.
Ya see, eaters, I’m not doing so hot on my meals lately. Call it laziness. Call it boredom. Whatever you call it, it comes down to the same thing — I haven’t been eating as much of my homedorm-cooking as I should. For some reason the variety of the dining hall has been calling my name more often then I should.
So before I did my planning and shopping for the week, I took some time to re-evaluate my approach to feeding myself.
And after a good bit of thought, I came up with a new game plan.
Organic spinach, organic yellow onion, organic cauliflower, organic spicy mustard, dark chocolate with banana, green split peas, tamari roasted pumpkin seeds, 40 spice hummus, pomegranate Booch, vegetable broth, extra firm tofu, seltzer.

So let me explain my new approach to feeding myself: Interchangeable parts.
Rather than making my usual two meals per week and eating lots of leftovers, I’ve decided to make things that can be used in lots of different ways. Example: cauliflower. I can steam it, sauté it, or sauce it. Example: hummus. It’s a dip, a schmear and a salad dressing.
I realize this all seems simple and stupid, but I’m hoping these baby changes will keep me excited about the food coming out of this ‘Baby’s kitchen.
But on another note — I’m very excited about my new banana dark chocolate bar.
I buy one almost every week to make sure I have something sweet to end my meals and cleanse my palate. But this one is completely new to me.
When I opened it I got hit with a huge whiff of banana-tastic flavor.
Yup, I think this is going to be a good week for my stomach.

G’night eaters. 

Eat Your Greens

Hi eaters!
I’m gearing up for a hoot of a night. So this one is going to be short, sweet, and to the point.
You know how my goal this week was to up my fruit and vegetable intake? Well, I decided that the best way to do that was to have a little of each at each meal.
You know what that means?
Lots of pureed spinach for breakfast!
I started off with a classic Green Monster in a bowl.
I thought I wasn’t going to like the plain jane Greeny, but it was pretty perfect in it’s simplicity.
And topped with a little peanut roux and oats it was even better.
Creamy, sweet, and oh so delightful.
And don’t think the spinach fun ends at smoothies. Nope. Not even close.
I added a heaped pour of pureed spinach to a big bowl of oats with green apple, cinnamon, and a tiny touch of honey.
I don’t even like green apples! But this was wonderful.
A whole serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables at breakfast. Without even a hint of spinach flavor.
Yup, that’s a win in my book.
And now eaters, I’ve got to run. It’s time to put on my party clothes and get going. The theme of the night is trashy.
Be a little jealous.

G’night eaters

Summer Lovin’

Helloooo eaters!
How are you doing today? Feelin’ thirsty? I know I am. And it seems I’m not alone because all my ‘mates are pouring themselves a drink as we speak. I do enjoy college.
And want to know another interesting little byproduct of college?
I’ve learned to live with cold! Growing up in the South meant that the high 30s was cause to put on every piece of clothing you could find and even then probably not leave the house. But now…22 degrees? Sure I’ll walk to Starbucks and drink an iced coffee.
Even still, I’m ready for some warmth. And it seems it’s just around the corner, because our last snowfall is finally melting.
Snow melts weird here.
And we’re in the high 40s right now. I barely have to wear a jacket!
I guess the thought of warmer temperatures was on my mind when I was meal planning, because a very summery salad got into the mix.

Sweet Summer Lovin’ Salad
This was just your run of the mill salad with spinach, onion, lentils, and bell pepper. But it was the sweet (canned) corn and tomato vinaigrette that gave this its lovely summery bite.
Tasty Tomato Vinaigrette
2/3 c canned tomato sauce
1 ½ T apple cider vinegar
3 T olive oil
½ t dried thyme
Pour everything into a bottle.
Try not to spill too much down the side.
Then shake.
There’s no need to spend money on an emulsifier. The vinaigrette you buy in the store comes in a plain glass bottle and it works just fine. So I used an old kombucha bottle.
And it worked just fine.
And with a generous pour over my big bowl of veggies, it tasted a heck of a lot like a summer BBQ.
Look mom, I wasn’t neurotic enough to remove all the stems.
The only thing missing was the mosquitoes. Instead, I have an ice slick outside my door.
Oh well, winter will come soon enough. Until then, I’ve got plenty of dressing left.
And a glass of wine calling my name.

Catch you on the flip side, eaters. 

WW: Bikram Yoga

So eaters, yesterday was Taco Tuesday. That means today must be Workout Wednesday, right?

Heck yes it is!
(And no, that wasn’t supposed to be a Napoleon Dynamite reference. That movie sucks.)
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
I’m here to talk about bikram yoga. You know, that really scary yoga where you’re in a room that could bring water halfway to a boil and the instructor doesn’t actually do the posses but just expects you to know them?
Yeah, that yoga.
I’m not a regular practitioner, but I do really love it for a couple of reasons. All of those reasons, though, point back to one big, important, ah-maze-ing, scary thing:
Accepting your body!

Think about it: You’re in a burning hot room, sweating from all your unmentionable places. There’s really no way you can get through an entire 90-minute class in the semi-fitted pants and oversized shirt you normally wear to a yoga class.
No, instead you’re going to be stripped down. I wear spandex jammer shorts, a sports bra, and a tiny tank. I see women more than three times my age without the cover of the tiny tank. And the other day a large-breasted women walked in wearing something that looked like half a bikini top and some undies. I’ve seen men who look like they’re in their third trimester with the back hair of a grizzly bear, too.
(Actually, I just described one of the instructors.)
The point is, all these people are showing their bodies. They’re bending and twisting and everything else you can do with your body, and they’re doing it all very exposed.
And no one thinks that it’s in anyway out of the ordinary.
But further still, you’re not just showing your body to others. You’re showing your body to yourself.
Ya see, eaters, one of the ideas in bikram is that you are your true teacher. That means there is a mirror at the front of the room, which you are supposed to stare into the whole time.
Let me say that again — you have to watch your scantily clad self bending, twisting, and sweating.
Does that scare you? Does it make you want to jump into your biggest flannel pajamas and never look at your body again?
It shouldn’t. Because after staring at yourself for nearly 90 minutes (there is some time spent staring at the ceiling, so it’s not exactly the full class), in all your sweaty, spandex-y glory, you’re left with one very real piece of knowledge: that’s your body.
That’s what it really, truly looks like. There’s no hiding and no complimentary lighting. It’s just you. In your skin. Your very sweaty skin.
It might take you a few classes, but before long you’ll stop comparing yourself to the other people in the class. You’ll stop averting your eyes when the only place to look is your “good birthing” hips (yup, I’ve heard that) or your “squishy” stomach with its manhole belly button (just me? okay). Soon, you’ll be looking at your body as just that — your body, which you happily own.
Have I convinced you to try a bikram class?

G’night eaters.
PS-I got 5 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit today. Bam! Beat that.