Monday, July 30, 2012

Ina Garten - Veggie Style

I've been trying recently to incorporate more protein into my diet (especially for breakfast) so I made a frittata to take to work last week.  Now, as my family is fully aware of, I am absolutely obsessed with Ina Garten.  I want to be her best friend, her neighbor, heck I want to be her.  She is such a classy lady, has fantastic taste, and has an impeccable talent for entertaining.  It's my life dream to one day meet her but I'm afraid if it happened, I would just stand there sobbing like the idiot that I am. 

Alas, moving on. 

I decided to "tweak" her Smoked Salmon Frittata recipe which is, by the way, to die for and I highly recommend it  for when you have family staying the night over.  But for everyday eating, I wanted to "healthify" it so I:

1. Omitted the salmon and added crumbled soy breakfast patties (if you are a meat-eater, leave the salmon in for a nice boost of omega-3 fatty acids) 
2. Added a brick of spinach (thawed and squeezed of water) 
3. Switched goat cheese for low-fat mozzarella shreds
4. Swapped a dozen eggs for egg beaters equivalent
5. Swapped cream for skim milk 
6. Swapped butter for Brummel & Brown 

Now you're probably thinking, "What the heck Lindsey? You dismantled her recipe!" Okay well fine so I did- gigantic tweakage. But it was Ina's technique of sauteing the onions, pouring the mixture over top, and baking the frittata for almost an hour that really makes this dish what it is.  Also the addition of a cup of fluid makes this dish fluffy and moist.. So, so good. 

Breakfast fit for a king (and queen)

Also- this frittata (made in a 10'' pan) made enough for me and my husband for a week! Yum! Not to mention- who isn't jazzed when they fit vegetables into their breakfast? 

Disclaimer: Please ignore that my foot is in the photo and that the photo is clearly cock-eyed, I was in a gigantic rush to eat it!! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Family Favorites

Garden vegetables are finally starting to ripen and my CSA boxes are bursting with summer deliciousness!  I was so stoked to get 4 ears of corn and some banana peppers in my box last week- summer staples from my childhood.  Back when I was younger, my family used to live for farm stands and tomatoes fresh from the garden.  My mom used to grow mainly cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and banana peppers, but I think now that my brother and I have moved out, she just sticks to tomatoes.  

I was feeling rather nostalgic today and craving something home style for dinner.  I didn't want anything elaborate, but I did want something familiar.  I think my dinner selection sums up pretty well what my family would eat every night July-August.

And ya know? We never, ever wanted anything else. 

Hot dog with banana peppers, corn on the cob, tomato salad, and cottage cheese. 

Followed by Grandma B's signature dish: green beans and potatoes with bacon, cooked in the pressure cooker. 

I have so many fond memories of eating dinner at my grandparent's house and having this dish.  I can remember it like it was yesterday, everyone sitting around her round wooden table and digging into fresh tomato salad, spooning out steaming green beans and potatoes, dolloping out cottage cheese, passing the bread and butter.  The kitchen is rather small, so whomever was sitting near the fridge could literately reach behind them, open the door, and grab some pop from the fridge without even getting up!  Not only was the food amazing but it was also so fun to share stories and laugh with my family.

The main point is, everything was so fresh, simple, and delicious and so, so comforting.  I could literately eat this exact meal every night for the rest of my life. 

My grandma is such a fantastic cook, her dishes are famous in the family and often requested at holiday get together's.  One time I tried to sit her down and get the recipes in writing only to find out she doesn't measure anything and just throws in "a handful of this, a dollop of that". Oye!  My mother is slowly mastering many of her dishes through trial and error, her oyster dressing, macaroni salad, potato salad.  Oh and my mom also brings some amazing summer dishes to the table!  I crave her fried zucchini this time of year, and her cucumbers and onions are so refreshing and can go on just about anything.  

So, so good. 

I think I'm going to fully embrace the fruits of summer by making and enjoying my family favorites more often- I think I'm hanging up my spatula for the summer so I can just nosh on fresh vegetables.

Family summer must-haves:

Tomato salad
Corn on the Cob
Cottage Cheese
Hot dogs with banana peppers
Green beans & potatoes with bacon 
Fried Zucchini 

Now I'm super curious to know, what is everyone else eating this summer? 

Monday, July 23, 2012


This shiz... is amazing....

You better pray your local Trader Joe's has this.. because it's the bomb..

It's literately the best non-dairy ice cream I have ever stumbled across and I will be indulging in this whenever I get the chance. 

Another Day at the Strip

Hello my lovelies.. sorry for going on a hiatus for a bit.  For some reason I was really dragging my knuckles last week and could barely muster the energy to put dinner on the table, let alone blog about it.  Luckily, nothing interesting was missed food-wise...  Something exciting however was that my brother and sister-in-law came to visit Friday-Sunday.  It's been so long since I've been able to see them and it was so nice to spend time with them. 

On Friday, we ate takeout from Curry Away (I ordered Vegetable Pad Kee Mao.. soooo good...) and went to see Mike's improv show at Steel City Improv.  Afterwards we went to a really fun bar called James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy.  I really dug the bar, it was very speakeasy-esque, there was jazz music, jazz musician's photos on the wall, old-fashioned cocktails, and just had a really fun vibe going on.  The beer list was amazing too!  We were still full from dinner so we just ordered an appetizer of cajun fried oysters.  I am obsessed with cajun fried oysters, but unfortunately these weren't very good... Too, too salty.

On Saturday, I woke up and made a decent brunch of coffee, toast, and a frittata that consisted of items I had available in my fridge.  I was a bad, bad hostess and didn't have time to go grocery shopping- I didn't even have conditioner in the shower!! D'oh!! 

The frittata included:  Eggs, mozzarella cheese, turkey sausage, spinach, onion, and soy cream.  Like I said, I was really.. really low on ingredients.. 

After brunch, we headed down to the Strip District and had an amazing time.  It's so fun taking new people to the Strip and watching them have fun and enjoy themselves.  It really is a sight to see! My sister-in-law Tricia is a major foodie like me, so she was in seventh heaven!  Actually Brian (my brother) is a pretty big foodie too so they both loved it. And while not in the foodie club, Mike loves showing newcomers Pittsburgh, so he enjoyed showing them Mancini's Bakery, Wholey's, and Penn Mac

I have to say Penn Mac is my favorite place in the Strip (well, that and the public market). 

We also stopped at Penzey's for some spices- I scored some hot curry and some schmancy cocoa powder... 

T bought their hot chocolate mix, some Zatar seasoning, Aleppo pepper mix, and my personal favorite, Sunny Paris blend.  If you are ever at Penzey's you have to buy the Sunny Paris or I won't be your friend any longer. 

I mean it... 

We also picked up some Mancini's bread, vinegar from Olio Fresca, and olive oil from Penn Mac.. 

Some veggies!! (and some pepperoni for T) 

A little antipasta... The olives were a-ma-zing!

For dinner we had grilled seafood (the rest of the family also had steak) 

And for a side, we had this gorgeous, gorgeous heirloom tomato salad... So incredibly good... 

Oh.. and for dessert... 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mom's Cucumbers & Onions

Now, my mom's a little bit leery about some of my vegan concoctions.  She still loves to call my seitan "satan." Well, little did she know one of her favorite summer dishes is already veggi-fied. Thanks for the recipe mom! 

Mom's Pickled Cucumbers and Onions
6 c. thinly sliced cucumbers
2 onions, sliced thin
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp celery seed (optional)

1. Layer cucumbers and onion in container
2. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, vinegar, and salt
3. Pour liquid over cucumbers and onions
4. Let soak at least 24hrs before serving

Seriously, it's not summer at my house until we've made a big batch of these.... 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Most Amazing "Chicken" Fingers Ever

Blargh, Mondays come way too soon and this one was particularly harsh.  I feel like I could sleep for another two days straight and I'd be happy.  For some reason, today I was a little mopey and craving some comfort food like nothing else when I got home from work.  I needed some fried chicken finger-esque food- pronto.  I didn't have any ready-made "chicken" nuggets handy, so I had to use my imagination and a little elbow grease.  And if I do say so myself, wow did I do a good job!! 

I know they don't look outstanding in this photo due to my poor photography skills, but they were so juicy and tender - I couldn't even believe it!  Drizzled with "honey mustard" (hint: yellow mustard + agave nectar),  these things really hit the spot. 

Also in photo: Lipton taco rice, Romano beans with sauteed garlic, and my mom's cucumbers & onions recipe. 

And because I'm nice, I'll share: 

Veg-tastic Fried Chicken 
1/2 c boiling water
1/2  vegan chicken bouillon cube (I used Edward & Sons
1/2 c TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1/2 c pancake mix, dry (I used Pamela's baking and pancake mix) 
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
1 tsp nutritional yeast (or to taste)
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten 
1/3 c bread crumbs 
1 tsp olive oil 
olive oil for pan 

1. Place vegan bouillon cube in glass measuring cup and add boiling water, stir until bouillon is completely dissolved.  Add TVP to broth, stir to combine and ensure all kernels are wet.  Cover with plastic wrap and soak for 10 minutes. 
2. Pour bread crumbs onto a plate or shallow bowl and set aside (we'll use this for breading the chicken strips later). 
3. Add pancake mix, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and vital wheat gluten to the TVP and mix well.  Drizzle in olive oil and work through dough (I used my hands).  Coat your hands in olive oil to prevent dough from sticking to you! Dough should be sticky and want to clump together easily, add more wheat gluten if it's too runny or more water if it's dry and crumbly. 
3. Form dough into desired shape such as patties or thick strips, make sure you squeeze the dough firmly to remove any holes or air and prevent cracking during cooking.  Roll in bread crumbs to coat completely. 
4. Add a drizzle of olive oil to your liking to a 10 inch pan and let it heat up for 2 minutes. Add chicken fingers.  Saute until golden brown on all sides, drizzle in more olive oil as needed to prevent sticking and to get that delicious golden color. 
5. Prepare to be amazed. 
Serve with ketchup or honey mustard 
Yield: around 6 chicken strips 

Yay for leftovers, there were enough chicken fingers left to take for lunch tomorrow!! 

Cookie dough

Sometimes after a particularly long and annoying day, you just gotta treat yourself.  The hubbster was requesting something sweet and chocolate, and I was only too happy to oblige.  I've been obsessed with the Happy Herbivore as of late and, after purchasing two of her books on my Nook, decided to finally give one of her recipes a go.  I chose her instant cookie dough recipe because it was super fast and I had everything on hand! 

I tweaked it a bit: oats + agave nectar + peanut butter + cocoa powder 

I thought it was just too dry though, so I added a good splash of soy milk but then I felt like I was eating chocolate cereal.  Mike ate his up at this point but I had an idea brewing.  Why not combine the concept of overnight oats with this delicious mix?  I popped this in the fridge overnight and had an amazing, more cookie dough textured deliciousness the next evening. 

Sooo delicious and way healthier than traditional cookie dough! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Square Cafe and House Cleaning

I woke up later than intended, we went out to the Park House for Mike's birthday celebration and I didn't get to bed until 2:30am - eek! I am too old to be staying up that late anymore! Haha! 

We were both in the mood to head on over to our favorite breakfast spot called Square Cafe, so we threw on some clothes, made ourselves presentable, and headed on over. 

What I love about Square Cafe is that they have vegetarian and even vegan breakfast options on the menu that absolutely rock! 

I also love that they are a-okay with giving you a little cup of soy milk to put in your coffee (which you get refilled a thousand times!) 

I got my old standby that I'm obsessed with - the Veggie Overload Omelet.

Three eggs stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchini.  Served with toast and home fries. 

So... freaking... good...

Mike is more adventurous than I so he tried a new item on the menu: the Square Tostada. 

Crisp tortilla shell topped with chorizo, onions, peppers, two eggs over easy and a spicy aioli. Served with sour cream and salsa.  

He said it was really, really good too! 

After we stuffed ourselves with a delicious brunch, we headed down to the Waterfront to buy some much needed household items from Target.  Boring stuff ya know? Trashcans, a fan, an alarm clock, a lamp, etc. 

Dinner was a haphazard throwing together of things while I tried to cook through most of our CSA veggies.  TJ's Kimchi rice topped with salmon and a scoop of kimchi, served with grilled zucchini and onions.  

I have more laundry to do, ugh. 

The Park House

Now, I'm gonna let you in on a lil secret.  Ever since I turned 21, I have been quietly pining for a low-key, homey bar where I can go and chill, drink beer, and eat some amazing bar food.  I can't handle the loud, chaotic, and pretentious bar scene of most popular and trendy bars.  I want a place like Cheers where when I walk in, the bartender knows me by name and knows my beer order.  My friends, I have indeed found it.  Well almost, the bartender knows Mike's name and his order- but I'm sure if I keep showing up he'll know mine too. 

I'm talking about the Park House on Pittsburgh's Northside.  You walk in and it's a nice, tavern style bar, longer than it is wide with a long bar area and then a row of tables.  They have a great selection of beer, specializing in microbrews and craft beer, and they also have wine and spirits.  While I enjoy an ice cold Straub when I walk in the door, especially with in this summer heat, I have to admit I'm really there for the food. 

You won't find any wings or cheese sticks here my friend, but you will find a delicious array of hummus, gyros, falafels, and grilled chicken- super super noms. 

I was pretty famished when we headed to the Park House after watching a hilarious improv show at the Steel City Improv Theater.  I needed sustenance fast.  Good thing they have free popcorn and peanuts available- I grabbed us a bowl of popcorn and ordered up a glass of ice-cold Straub. 

Mike regrets to tell me that the main cook is still on vacation so it's just fries and hummus available tonight- darn it!!! Nevertheless I'm hungry so we order some spicy hummus served with pita...

....and some sweet potato fries with honey mustard sauce. 

And also another beer. Or two. 

I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm actually there to have a full meal but even better, go there and see for yourself if you can! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My First Yumvelope - July 2012 Review

After a crappy day of work one day, I came home to another super awesome package!! 

My first Yumvelope

Please ignore the awful mess piling up on my front room table. 

I was really impressed with how much was stuffed into a standard sizes shipping envelope.  They really stuffed this puppy to the brim!

Included in the bag was: 
  • A card with a note from Yumvelope on one side, on the other side a list of the included goodies with coupon codes for 10% off GoPicnic Meals and 25% off Honey Stinger Waffles. 
  • GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals: Hummus + crackers
  • A granola with coconut Macrobar
  • The Good Bean sweet cinnamon roasted chickpeas
  • A Honey Stinger Waffle 
  • Tulsi organics tea 
  • 2 packets of Gogo Squeez in Apple Cinnamon 
I've heard of (and love) GoPicnic products, I had actually ordered a case of the peanut butter boxes a while back and was thoroughly pleased to receive a hummus one in my Yumvelope.  I love that these are shelf-stable and super portable.  I like to keep these in my drawer at work for emergencies and we have one in our glove compartment in the car.  This would especially be great for vegans/vegetarians who travel because sometimes finding fast food that is vegetarian (or remotely healthy) is tricky! 

The Macrobar comes in a variety of 10 flavors, is USDA certified organic, vegan, and macrobiotic.  I received the granola w/ coconut flavor and I am jazzed because I love coconut! This bar has 210 calories, 8g fat, 36g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 5g protein - this would make for a nice breakfast bar for anyone on the go! Other flavors I have my eye on are peanut butter chocolate chip and banana almond- mmm....

The Good Bean roasted chickpeas are sweet cinnamon flavored with a hint of vanilla.  They boast 7g of protein per serving, are high in fiber with 6g per serving, and are gluten free.  From the ingredients list they also appear to be vegan but they don't say so on the label. Other flavors include: Sea Salt, Cracked Pepper, and Smoky Chili & Lime- wow I bet the savory ones rock too! They also sell some fruit bars that look interesting. 

I don't know why, but I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into the honey flavored stinger waffle. I think it's because it feels so dense and chewy through the package.  It's super flat and lightweight so great for travel, and reminds me of a more dense looking pitzel.  The flavor is amazing, sweet and chewy like a sugar cookie flavored with honey- yum!  On their website, other flavors include chocolate, lemon, vanilla, and strawberry. One waffle has 160 calories, 7g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, and 0g protein.  I'm kind of disappointed that there isn't any protein in it but then, it's supposed to be an energy bar, not a protein bar.  While this is perfect for bikers and those performing high energy, endurance sports or races, I wouldn't recommend munching on these just because "they're healthy."  Save these for their intended purpose! 

So excited for tea! Included were three packets of Tulsi Organics tea: 1 Tulsi & Lemongrass, 1 Pure Tulsi, and 1 Tulsi Chai.  They also have Tulsi Ginger available.  Evidently, Tulsi is a plant used commonly in Ayurvedic medicine in India to promote calmness, alleviate stress, balance metabolism, and strengthen immunity. In English it's called "Holy Basil". Well if it does all that- sign me up!! It's caffeine free so I will definitely be having a cup in the evenings to relax me. 

Last but not least, some GoSo Squeez packets - I'm excited to try these because I love cinnamon flavored applesauce and I'm sure these won't disappoint.  There was also a packet of this in my Conscious Box so I'm glad to have a variety of flavors. As I mentioned before, these are cute and a good option if you're in a pinch without access to fast, healthy food but again I think it's cheaper and healthier to eat an apple and call it a day. Just sayen'.. I like the little cap at the top too- reminds me of a canteen. 

I can honestly say I am very impressed and pleased with the variety of products included and will be continuing my subscription with them- Lordy I can't wait until August now! 

I would also like to mention that I wrote this review of my own accord and received no money, free items, or anything of that nature from Yumvelope.  They didn't ask me to write a review for them, I did it merely because I love the idea, love the products, and think others would enjoy them as much as I do!

My First Conscious Box - July 2012 Review

So I have caught wind recently of this really awesome trend where people are subscribing and having awesome packages send via snail mail to their homes.  They have ones for food, beauty products, and I found a vegan, eco-friendly one that I have been absolutely ecstatic about finally getting!  The company is called Conscious Box and they are AWESOME!! I'm so pleased with my experience I've had with them.  Everything from quick processing of my order, to speedy delivery, fun updates on Facebook from them, and the box is so great and chock full of things I like! I also feel I definitely got my money's worth (something that was lacking with my Healthy Surprise box..)

Conscious Box tends to stuff their boxes with a theme, this month's theme is about enjoying the simple pleasures of the summer season in July.  

I have to confess, I was so excited to look through my box I opened it up and immediately started unpacking  all the goodies so I can't show you how genius they were about packing so much into this modestly sized box! I tried 5 times to get everything back in and I just couldn't.  Whoever works there must really rock it out when packing their clothes for vacation... 

I do remember that, lying on top of the goods was their signature card, explaining everything that was in the box for July.  Underneath it was a cute post card with an uplifting quote on it... I have to be honest though. I'm not sure what the photo is of- is that bamboo?

Reading through the list of items, I became super excited to see products from Aura Cacia!! I love, love, love their aromatherapy products and am so glad I signed up in time to get this box! 

Included in the box was a vial of sweet orange essential oil and a deck of Aromatherapy cards.  

These cards are so great!! They have three sections: Essentials, Benefits, and Formulations.  The essentials cards go over basic, commonly used scents, how they're procured and their common uses. The benefits section goes over common ailments that can be helped through aromatherapy (headaches, PMS, lethargy, etc.) and suggestions on what aromas to use to treat them.  The formulations section has great recipes and ideas for use, such as mists, bath gels, lotions. Also- a dollar off coupon was included! Woohoo! 

Next up was some makeup! They can't go wrong there, especially for me! They included eye shadow from The All Natural Face in the shade of Lemon Ice which I felt complimented my skin tone very well and had a lovely shimmery after-effect.  The shade seemed very forgiving for many skin tones actually. I think it would make a great highlighting tone to sweep over your brow bone. They also included a 20% off code! 

Also included was some "Muscle & Joint Therapeutic Cream" from Jadience Herbal Formulas. I haven't tried this yet but I'm all for more natural treatments so when in need- I will be trying this out. Skimming through the ingredients I see burdock root, goji berry, chinese foxglove, aloe vera, and jojoba oil.  The active ingredient is camphor (a topical analgesic).  Mike has had some issues with his knee recently, maybe we'll try it out on him next time and see how it does! 

As if I weren't already suspicious Conscious Box was eavesdropping on me and taking note of items I need and love, they also included a sample of "Naturally it's Clean" by Enzyme Fresh Home. I was literately just looking a few days ago for a natural cleaner for hardwood that wouldn't leave streaks or sticky residue. Directions say to mix this packet with a 1/2 gallon of water and mop as per usual. Safely cleans hardwood, ceramic tile, stone, cork, bamboo, laminate, linoleum, vinyl, and any water washable flooring. 

Next up we have a "Just Great Stuff" bar by Betty Lous in superberry acai flavor.  This bar is vegan and gluten free, made with goji berries, acai berries, and raspberries. The bar is also USDA certified organic.  The benefits of this bar include antioxidants and dietary fiber, as well as unsaturated fatty acids.  Sometimes I'm a little leery of these health bars because I've seen some with as many as 350 calories!! Yipe! I was pleasantly surprised to find this bar only has 180 calories with 7g fat, 24g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 5g protein. Not too shabby- this would make a nice snack or even breakfast on the go! Also a plus, I recognized all the items on the ingredients list as food. 

St. Claire's Organics Peppermints were an exciting find also, I'll be tucking these goodies in my purse! They are also USDA certified organic, allergen-free and vegan. The ingredients include organic molasses granules, organic evaporated cane juice, and organic peppermint essential oil.  They smell super strong and minty, I could smell them from the conscious box before I even opened it! They taste similar to an Altoid but not quite so overwhelming, and what's even more fun, there's a nice saying on the inside of the lid to inspire you every time you grab a mint.  I won't spoil what it says, buy a box and find out

I'm an avid lover of coffee and tea (hot or cold, on a boat, with a goat, etc.) so any tea samples will be welcomed with open arms. I've never heard of Tea Forte before, so I was thinking it was merely a sample of green tea in various flavors.  Then I noticed the heading of "Skin Smart antioxidant amplifier teas" which was intriguing.  How cool is that- they hone in on ingredients that help prevent skin cell oxidative damage to help prevent aging.  I'm not overly concerned with my skin, though I should be, but who doesn't want to keep their glowing, healthy, young face?  The flavors sound super yummy too, cucumber mint, cherry marzipan, and honey yuzu- nom!! Also included was a dollar off web coupon.  After meandering over to their website they also offer a myriad of other delicious sounding teas- especially the rare tea: jasmine pearls!

This Sun Warrior supplement looks rather intense... I was nervous this was for a power lifter or someone who clearly works out more than me (not that that's a huge feat). The warrior blend: a protein powder of pea, cranberry, and hemp protein (clearly all plant-based) also boasts being gluten free, soy free, dairy free, hypo-allergenic, and non-GMO.  Directions say just mix with 8-10oz of water, rice milk , or favorite beverage.  It wasn't outrageous in calories or powder- I would definitely use it just to supplement my diet in protein.  This puppy will be going in a nice cold glass of soy milk the next time I need a boost of protein! 

I thought that the GoGo Squeez mango flavored applesauce packet was a cute idea.  This is supposed to be a portable, quick way to get some food into your kids (or yourself). Ingredients: apple, mango, banana, and apple juice concentrate.  I guess if you're in a pinch and this is as healthy as it gets- go for it.  However, I still think it's so much better (and cheaper) just to eat an apple, get for fiber, and call it a day.  I'm really grateful for the chance to have sampled one though! 

Now that it's been in the 80-90's range here in Pittsburgh, I have been craving a nice tall glass of iced tea and BAM, thank you again conscious box!  A sample from Mighty Leaf Iced Tea is just what the doctor ordered.  Included was one sample of whole leaf tea in a silken pouch, Calypso Mango flavored and it smells amazing. $1.75 off coupon included seals the deal. 

To "sweeten the deal", Madhava Natural Sweeteners samples were included! One of organic light agave nectar and one of organic coconut sugar.  I have been a fan of Madhava's agave nectar for a while and use their products regularly, but I actually haven't tried the coconut sugar so I'm super excited to give that a go! A coupon was included for both items, a dollar off each product. 

Also included in the box:
  • 20% off coupon for Maple Hill Dryer Balls 
  • $1 off coupon for Naturally it's Clean (available at East End Food Co-op)
  • $1 off coupon for Jovial Einkorn Pasta.(they also have a free shipping code on their website!)  

Last but not least, for an extra treat since I posted on Conscious Box's facebook page, a Powbab super fruit chew! This little chew boasts immunity strength by providing 100% daily dose of vitamins C & E, and a good source of vitamin A.  It also contains this fruit I've never heard of called a baobab, known as the "Tree of Life" in Africa. I'll let you know how this tastes..

Whew! Hopefully this peek into the Conscious box has caught your attention and interested you in giving it a try- I highly recommend because it ROCKS!!! 

Oh FYI- I have subscribed to Conscious Box of my own free will, have not accepted any money, free items, or anything of that sort from them, and am just freely offering up my time and opinions on the box because I truly enjoy their product.  Conscious Box didn't even ask me to review it- I just did it BECAUSE I CAN!!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Dinner with Friends

Now I'll be the first to admit, I'm a tad superstitious, I wear my lucky necklace every day, believe in spreading good Karma, carry crystal quartz in my purse, and run screaming from black cats. Okay, just kidding about the last one, I run towards cats because they're so fluffy and cute! My point being - I figured Friday the 13th would be seriously awful and catastrophic seeing as how that's the rep it has.  I was envisioning everyone malnourished in the state of PA flooding into the hospital all needing nutrition intervention STAT!

After an uneventful (Thank God) day at work, Mikey and I did some super-speed grocery shopping and then headed over to our friends place for dinner to celebrate their very recent engagement!  Appetizers were already laid out on the table- some fruit kebabs with adorable marshmallow stars at the top!!  Hilarious note- the creator of this dish noticed someone messed up the spiral design in the dip and ran to bust out a squeeze bottle of green gel to rectify the situation.  I've never seen her move so fast. 

Because I'm predictable and unoriginal, I brought my standard brie, jam, and crackers. Everyone seemed to enjoy it though!  Note to self: make sure you remove all the plastic from the cheese before putting the jam on- oops! Evidently the men were having issues cutting the cheese (haha) because they put little strips of plastic on the exposed sides to help the wedge keep it's shape. 

I have to say though, the star appetizer of the night was the hostess's creation of tuna tartar with fried wontons... this seriously looks like it's from a restaurant.  She made two and they were devoured in 5 minutes each- super, super noms and so beautiful!

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures for the rest of the meal (which was delicious) because as we sat down for dinner, the hostess handed me this: 

Now in my happy, ditsy little world- I'm thinking oooh- party favors!  She mentioned that she'd already given  the other gal hers, and this is definitely something creative she would do so I thought nothing of it.  

Inside was a note: 

Now clearly here, I was slightly suspicious of what the question would be, but wanted to make sure I was absolutely correct so as not to create awkwardness or an idiot of myself so I feverishly went to work on the puzzle you can see in the upper right hand corner.  I was pretty nervous while I was putting the puzzle together because everyone was watching me and I suck at puzzles, plus my mind was going a mile a minute.  I was beginning to think it might say like .. will you be my best buddy or.. will you... go do something with me...who knows. I think I was just in disbelief and too modest to think, because I've never, ever been asked to do something SO AWESOME BEFORE! 

FINALLY after much encouragement (and help) I got the sucker put together and YAY!!! 

I was so elated and excited to be included in their special day, I started crying haha! But that's also par for the course with me.  I'm so excited because Mike is also in the wedding and I was trying to think how we would plan that day out if he were with them and I went separately to the wedding/reception area.  Looking back, I'm fully aware it was blatantly obvious to everyone else- but I was just too retarded and afraid to assume until I had it directly in front of my face.  I'm so excited to be included and help such a wonderful couple plan one of the most important days of their lives. 

Ahh I'm such a romantic. <3 

And a foodie: dinner was fantastic- roasted potatoes, a red cabbage/fennel/carrot slaw, grilled chicken, and caprese salad.  Everything was super tasty- I definitely polished off the plate of potatoes while they were ridding up dishes. I have no shame. 

Dessert was a.. I think raspberry pie with vanilla ice cream and whipped topping- but I forget because I was 3-4 beers in and still excited about being asked to be a bridesmaid!! Oh, I guess it's matron now - what an old sounding word!! Booo hiss!! I'm still a fresh young, starry-eyed teenager with the world as my oyster! 

Anyways, what a great way to put my suspicions about Friday the 13th to rest! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mad Mex

Mike and I went to dinner at Mad Mex tonight and I was super impressed with their vegetarian options!! They have a vegetarian option for every section on the menu (soup, taco, quesadillas, taco, burrito, etc.) They even had a vegetarian appetizer- seitan wings!!! I've never had seitan wings out at a restaurant so I had to give them a try. They delicious! I like that they let you pick from any of the sauces that go on the regular wings.  I wish the sauce was dairy free but I don't imagine too many people order that so it wouldn't be cost effective for them. They do offer Daiya cheese for their entrees though! COOL! 

Mikey ordered the Carnitas Burrito which was pork slow roasted in garlic, cilantro, chipotles and Dos Equis with roasted chillis inside, it also had a side of blue cornbread and pico de gallo. 

Now I don't even get what all was in this blue cornbread, but it was so.. amazing. It just melted in your mouth and was so wonderful and delicious. I wonder if I could just get that as a side next time- it was a winner for sure!! 

I feel like I haven't been doing a bang up job on protein lately, so I ordered the grilled fish tacos, it's my standard meal when I go.  I have to be honest though, the beans and rice were the best part! I think I'll have to try the vegetable quesadillas next time!  Oh well! 

Oh, I also ordered a Big Azz Margarita which was half price during happy hour. It was 22oz... bad choice. Oh well! 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Hubby!!

Wednesday was Mikey's b-day, the big 3-0! I had to work so I couldn't do a whole lot the day of... I laid out a steak for him as his birthday treat. 

Breakfast was a Larabar and apple slices, snack was the same old thing, lunch was a tofurkey sammy with a soygurt. Trader Joe's soy yogurt is delicious by the way!! 

When I got home I hurried up and threw all of our CSA goodies in the fridge and excitedly opened my first Conscious Box!!! (More on that later...)  Then I delved into dinner.  I made steamed purple potatoes, tomato salad, braised bok choy, and I sauteed some garlic and beans with some smoked salt for protein. Mike had a Del Monico steak with smoked salt. He seemed to enjoy it quite heartily. 

Delicious summer meal... I need more tomatoes ASAP!!!

I didn't know what to get Mike for his birthday so I raided his Amazon wish list which was barren.. Therefore, all he got  was some new batteries for his XBox controllers, some shirts and underwear.  But luckily a friend gave me a great idea for a fun birthday gift which is currently en route!! I hope he likes it! 

I also made him black bean brownies... I wasn't up for making a full blown cake after the day I had, which I feel really bad about but I don't think he minded.  I think he enjoyed the brownies!! 

He dug into it before I could take a picture haha!

So, happy birthday to my cute, loving, and wonderful husband!!  May you have many, many more years of  health and happiness! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cooking with a Vengeance

Whelp... I tried two recipes from one of my cookbooks and they weren't successes... one my fault, one not my fault. Both recipes are from the book "Vegan with a Vengeance" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I made the peach cobbler but added some blueberries since I was short on peaches. Maybe it's because I have the Nook version of the book but the cobbler batter was so liquidy, I feel there had to be a mistake with the measurements. I checked them, double checked, and triple checked to make sure it was correct before I added in the liquid. Who knows. The fact is my cobbler was flat and disappointing. Boo! 

But tastes delicious, yaaaaaay! 

Sorry it looks so terrible. I'm ashamed and disappointed...

My second recipe I tried out was the frittata recipe from the same book, I did a variation of the optional add-ins. I included: mushrooms, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and basil.  What can I say, I like my frittatas and scrambles Italiano. 

This here begins a tale of tragedy... I wish Poe were still alive to tell it better. 

I began by crumbling up the tofu and adding some of the seasoning when I realized I hadn't pulled the nooch (nutritional yeast) out of the cubbard.  I looked high and low for my little jar of nooch and it was nowhere to be found! There was no nooch in my household- how could this be? I was devastated, my frittata was ruined!! What on earth could I use to replace the NOOCH? Ugh.. So I got a little crazy and panicky and added a bag of non-dairy galaxy cheese. What the heck. I'm an idiot... 

For breakfast, I'm having my failure of a frittata which looks like a goopy scramble and some sliced apples. Snack will be soygurt and some almonds. 
Lunch will be leftover beans and greens I found in the fridge. Whoopee. Not. 

Now the clincher here, amongst all this ridiculous misfortune I experienced, is what I found while packing my lunch long after the fact.............

I don't even want to talk about it.