Eating like a dietitian

Stopped at Kroger today on my way home from work. My shopping bag was filled with:

  1. Clementines – on sale, I hope this was a good batch!
  2. Broccoli – also on sale. my garden’s broccoli have gone to seed, I guess it’s too hot to grow them now??
  3. Zucchini – in a few months I’ll have homegrown, organic zucchini coming out of my ears, but for now I pay $1/lb for Kroger’s version and plan to create mock “crab” cakes and delicious muffins
                                           remembering last year’s harvest……zucchini 002
  4. Mushrooms – I buy the “baby bella” type for maximum flavor; these guys will be featured in tonight’s dinner!
  5. Biscoff spread – I almost wish I never discovered this jar of deliciousness. Definitely my “whoa” purchase of the day
  6. Clif Mojo bars – I pick up a few of these when they’re on sale. Unlike granola bars, I find that these guys actually fill me up – thanks to the healthy nuts, dried fruits, and maybe some chocolate… :)
  7. Special K cereal – this is the chocolate variety. I know, I am a chocolate-addict. But it’s better than a candy bar, and a nice crunchy snack!
  8. All Bran wheat flakes – to mix in with the above cereal and boost the fiber and nutrient profile

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I spent most of my after-work hours in the kitchen today, working on 2 wonderful recipes. Both of these feature super ingredient combinations!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
mmmmmm. My sister has a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are to die for (quite literally) because they are filled with oil and sugar.
This recipe I found is lower on the oil and sugar side, and still tastes delicious. Since I still have a few cans of pumpkin in the pantry, I figured it would be wise to start using them up before the move.

Julia Child’s Leek and Mushroom Quiche
I cheated, sorry Julia. Pillsbury’s frozen pie crust was used for tonight’s dinner, as I was too stressed and frantic to make the dough from scratch. But I have done it before!
The leeks in the quiche were from the garden – we have tons of them that pop up without having ever been planted. Delicious!
Cheat #2 – 1% milk was used in place of heavy cream. I just can’t do it Julia. My arteries harden at the thought.
My Martha Stewart baby yellow dutch oven is the star of the show to make this quiche and cook down the leeks & mushrooms until they caramelize. mmmm
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And now this dietitian is going to sit down and watch House, while trying to figure out how to pay for graduate school, which suddenly became a year longer than I was initially planning for! :(

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Choco-freak

This morning I declared a week of no chocolate. Although I heavily believe “everything in moderation”, this past week has been anything BUT moderate when it comes to chocolate. Let’s see…

Tuesday night, instead of going to the gym after work, I came home and ate half a chocolate cake.

Yesterday, I slowly munched my way through a bag of chocolate chips stored in the freezer. It seems every 30 minutes I was reaching in for a tablespoon or two. Small portions, yes, but that makes it even harder to realize how much you’ve eaten!

Not to mention the chocolate chip coffee I drink in the morning, the Valentine’s Hershey Kisses that my mom has scattered around the house in decorative trays, and the Trader Joes hot cocoa mix that I love.

So….

For the next 7 days, I will not consume any chocolate.

Today = Day 1

To keep my mind of cocoa, I turned to bread.

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Here is a yummy, but slightly underdone, loaf of no-knead bread. I used Steamy Kitchen’s tutorial, which can be found here. The crust is chewy and delicious, and a slice of this bread with local honey, peanut butter and banana slices made the perfect lunch.

And, yes, I do realize that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which is almost a national day of chocolate. However, I already planned ahead, and bought strawberries with whipped cream, for a lovely, sweet chocolate-free dessert.

After I make it through these 7 days, what will be my reward??

How about a 25th birthday? Yup, I’ll be turning a quarter-century in just a week. Pretty exciting. And hopefully lots of chocolate :)

Comments on the day

Massage

Was pure bliss. Loved it. It’s located in a resort here, nestled among the smoky mountains. We should rent a cabin there. Oh wait, there’s this whole house in the mountains I live in. haha. Back to the massage – I left feeling so refreshed and relaxed! But I do feel like my morning shower was wasted, since I left with greasy stringy hair thanks to the massage oil. Other than that, it was great.

Garage Sales

Must have stopped at a dozen garage sales on my way to/from the spa. I swear, people must be getting desperate, selling their underwear and half-empty bottles of shampoo/lotion. Come on people! Where is your vintage Pyrex!?

Oh, here it is :)

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I found this set of 4 Pyrex cups in the “Harvest Home” pattern, which was only made during 1981-1983 (older than me = vintage). They also came with the matching Corelle bread plates, and for $2 I couldn’t pass it up. Plus, the money went to a Martial Arts academy, and I have to support mountain children learning to defend themselves, right?

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Perfect for fall! And yes, I am using my Autumn Harvest 403 mixing bowl as a centerpiece, filled up with Harmo’s handpicked pine cones from the driveway. We’re very Martha-Stewart-like here.

College Football

Today was the infamous Georgia/Tennessee game. I have gone several years in the past, both in Athens, and in Knoxville. I always cheer for Georgia and I always wear my red and black. Today I chose a muted red shirt, so I didn’t scream “egg my car!” to the locals. Several of the garage sales I attended had the radio tuned in to the game, and when I heard the score, a smile crept on my face. Go dawgs!

Harmo’s Car Therapy

Harmo is now sporting a fancy schmancy car harness. Makes her look even more like a St. Bernard, out to search for human remains on a snowy mountain. haha.

She likes it just fine, and we took it for a 15 minute spin this afternoon. I can’t tell that the harness did anything; she wasn’t really restricted anymore than usual (can still try to force herself onto my lap while I’m driving). But I do think she’s getting better in the car. This time she just laid down,  with her head in my lap. Not bad. Can we extrapolate her behavior for a 15 minute ride to a 12 hour ride? Hmm… that’s a good question for Sheldon:

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Today’s cooking:

Made delicious potato soup for dinner. Chatting online with The Boy during cooking has left potato starch on my keyboard. Darn.

Dessert will be a warm pumpkin scone with cinnamon glaze and a glass of pseudo 2% milk. Impressed? I found the recipe here, had all the ingredients waiting for me in the pantry (I used canned butternut, which is apparently what canned pumpkin often is anyway!), and decided to go for it. They are now resting, on my redneck cooling rack (= upside down muffin tin) while I finish this and the dogs watch the last few minutes of “Never Been Kissed”. Yes, they like Drew Barrymore. 

Time to get glazin’ — Good night!

Energizer Tomatoes

Will these tomato plants ever quit? Apparently not. It’s now October, and my plants are still producing tomatoes like a little factory. They don’t grow quite as big anymore, and tend to be holey if I let them vine ripen, so I’ve been picking them green and bringing them in the kitchen to ripen.

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I know have 35 green tomatoes (and a few ripe ones!) on the counter. My goodness. Every few days I bring in a bunch to work and put a smile on my coworkers faces :)

I picked a handful today in preparation of tonight’s frost warning. I cannot believe it. Just 11 days ago, we were setting record high temps, and now I’m sitting here in my fleece jacket and slippers (and some other clothes too…) hearing that we might get a frost tonight!? Crazy. Please do not let this be indicative of the winter to come. I might have to move away….

Well, actually, I might be moving away next year anyway. Yup – I finally committed to applying to grad school and spent some time this morning getting my GRE score sent to my potential grad school (for the mere cost of $23! boo) and trying to request undergrad transcripts. How exciting! I could settle back into some studying I think. My cross stitch projects would probably have to go away. And no more homegrown vegetables :(

But what about homegrown yeast? Yes, my latest exciting endeavor (other than grad school applications, of course) is to bake bread using a natural starter. (this means using the yeast naturally present in my house/food, rather than from a little grocery-store-industrially-mass-produced packet). I heard about it on NPR’s Splendid Table this weekend, and have been reading up on it. It’s quite the science. I still have more reading/research to do, but hopefully I can start feeding my starter this weekend! Any ideas on names? Apparently every home baker names their starter. They sort of become a pet, since you have to feed them on a daily basis. Maybe Roger. Or Henri. I don’t know.

That’s all for now. I have to go remove handfuls of sheep innards from Harmo’s mouth.

Baking bread.. making wreaths..

Who’s ready for The Pam and Jim baby to make it’s big entrance tonight? Me!

I had a fairly normal day at work today. Stopped by the gym on the way home to finish my book – fastest 30 minutes on the stationary bike ever!

After the gym I hopped next door to Good Will, where I spent 55cents on a stuffed animal for Bess’s Easter present. It’s a floppy-eared bunny that goes quite well with Sheff’s little lamb. But shh, still a secret :)

Speaking of Animals….

Today has been quite the animal day. It started off with my commute to work, where I found a field of cows had somewhere escape through the fence, and were in the street and the neighboring land. Poor cows! I couldn’t see where/how they got it, but I sure hope their owner woke up and got them all back on their property!

This afternoon, while outside with the dogs, we spotted an opossum roaming around our back field. Of course, the dogs went berserk barking. But it’s weird – I thought those guys were nocturnal!? I’ve never seen a live one out in the daylight.

And then Bess continued to bark at every horse, deer or other four-legged creature she saw. I’m sure the border collie in her is dying to get out there and herd!

I’ve also been following the facebook updates for Amigo, the miracle horse here at the UT Vet Hospital, who is still in serious recovery from being stabbed with a massive tree branch. He almost died in surgery the other day, but is making a comeback (yet again). His owners are so worried about the financial burden of his treatment (the bill is over $10,000) and may have to bring him home early and care for him themselves to save money. If any of you horse/animal lovers would love to make a donation, please do so! They’re hoping to get his story on the Ellen DeGeneres show – I know she’d love to help out!!

Lessons in Domesticity continue…

After receiving a Mario Batali Pizza Peel for my birthday earlier this year, I have finally decided to go ahead and start baking crusty loaves of bread myself. Last year I received the book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but never got around to baking it. My mom recently tried out the fool-proof method and became obsessed with having hot, crusty, fresh bread baked every night. It also got my dad to come home from work earlier, so that’s saying something!

So.. I prepped my first batch of dough and will bake my first loaf tomorrow after work. Fingers crossed! I used their master recipe (read = all AP flour) but hope to later experiment with whole-wheat flour, oats, and other whole grain wonders :)

The Easter Wreath adventure is still ongoing – I found that you can indeed make the wreath with alternative candies (Hershey foil wrapped chocolate eggs work here!). However.. I know just realized that by choosing the high temperature hot glue gun (as opposed to the low temp version), I was making a mistake, and will probably burn/melt all the candies.

Embarrassingly enough, I found my Hobby Lobby receipt to exchange hot glue guns. The receipt was in the trash, covered in food scraps. I brushed it off and dried it out. Gross but it’ll work, right?

Pumpkins and Prostitutes

As part of fun fall food, I have been trying out new pumpkin recipes. Last weekend, in Nashville, I treated myself to my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. A great drink, certainly, but something I probably wouldn’t order all the time. Today, I stumbled upon a recipe to make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home. A simple recipe, and definitely cheaper! If only I had saved a tablespoon of canned pumpkin from this afternoon’s baking adventure, I could be sipping away on one as we speak….

This afternoon’s baking adventure: I had a craving to bake something with pumpkin, so I did a quick tastespotting search to see what delicious recipes I could find. I landed on a delicious, low-calorie, fat-free recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Muffin Tops. Oooh I know, you’re salivating already. Super simple recipe:

1 boxed cake mix (I used devil’s food, but spice cake would also be awesome paired with the pumpkin)

1 15oz can canned pumpkin

1/4 cup chocolate chips, roughly chopped

Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Drop cookies by 2Tbsp onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes. Batch makes ~36 cookies, ~50 calories each!

In all my excitement, I forgot to take a picture, but trust me when I say they’re delicious, rich and chocolatey. :)

As for the other part of this post (for those of you who cannot figure out why I would call a post Pumpkins and Prostitutes):

I came across a new vegetarian restaurant in the Knoxville area, named “Veg-O-Rama” (creative name I know). Their menu is online, and after reading it I was left in hysterics. Many of their menu items claim to be ho-made”. Never seeing this version of what I presume is homemade, I was left wondering if their chef/cook is a prostitute. Haha, OK, it was funny at the time. Maybe you had to be there :)

German Chocolate Cookies

Happy Friday morning everyone (or whatever time it is when this is posted)!

My cookies last night were wonderful. I’d never made cookies this small before, but the bite-size actually worked quite well when you just want a little something sweet. And 85 kcals a cookie ain’t bad either! The recipe was taken from the September 2009 issue of Better Homes And Gardens, and I made no modifications at all! It was actually from their Good and Healthy Food section, so my jaw didn’t drop at the amount of butter and eggs or anything like that.

So here’s the line up of ingredients:

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  • 1/4 cup butter (half stick), softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt (all in bowl 1)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (not pictured)
  • 2/3 cup AP flour (bowl 2)
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (all in bowl 3)
  • 3 oz dark baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted (all on cutting board)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on med-high for 30 seconds
  3. Add bowl 1 (sugar, baking soda, salt) and beat until well combined.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined
  5. Add bowl 2 (flour)
  6. Stir in contents of bowl 3 (oats, flax meal and cocoa powder)
  7. Stir in cutting board ingredients (dough should be really thick now)
  8. STP82389 Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets
  9. Top with additional coconut and chopped pecans (I just used coconut)
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are just firm and tops are set
  11. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before transferring to cooling rack.

Makes 35 cookies.

Each cookie: 85 kcals, 4 grams fat, 11 grams CHO, 2 grams pro.

Enjoy with a glass of milk – or, like me, with my iced coffee :)

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BTW: my formula for iced mocha which has worked quite well….

4 oz (1/2 cup) chilled coffee

2 oz (1/4 cup) skim milk

2 oz (1/4 cup) low-fat chocolate milk

Pour all over ice and stir to blend. Makes an 8oz drink for 60 kcals. Much better (financially and calorically) than what you get in the coffee shop!