New Blog

Just in case people are still checking in, I wanted to share that I’ve created a new blog!

Come check it out at eatingup.com!

It’s Been Far Too Long…

…and I have many days worth of food to post!

Last weekend, I went home to St. Louis for a little rest + relaxation with my brother who was in town visiting from Sacramento. Saturday day was spent with family! My two grandmas, one aunt and one cousin came over for a really delicious lunch featuring my dad’s hard morning work. Inspired by a recent outing to a BBQ place near my school, my dad decided to smoke all sorts of meat for our luncheon. Warning: LOTS of meat pictures ahead.

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Smoked chicken, ribs and salmon. The salmon was for me. :-P

On the side, my two grandmas brought potato salad and homemade bread.

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I contributed to the spread too (per my mother’s orders) and made Haricots Verts and Grape Tomato Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing.

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Really simple and delicious! Lots of flavor. Everyone was in agreement about that.

For dessert, my grandma made blueberry pie for my brother…

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…not knowing that my mom had bought her a birthday cake from the store! Muhaha…my grandma told everyone that she’s not having birthdays anymore. ;-)

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And then the cake massacre of 2009 happened. Just like 2008. Apparently, history taught me nothing. For some reason, I have these intense cravings for store bought cake, and so naturally, I was looking forward to having a piece of grandma’s bday cake. Flashback to 12 months ago when I was deep into my healthy eating spree, my mom encouraged my grandma to give me a big piece to kind of give me a break from my normal eating. I agreed and happily ate until I felt sick and didn’t want that kind of cake again for a year. A year later, it happened again. I’m looking forward to 2010. Maybe I’ll learn from my mistakes. I stand by that it was all worth it.

But wait, there’s still more desserts. My dad made his homemade ice cream after my other grandma suggested it.

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My cousin was perplexed as to why I was taking pictures of my food. Always a weird thing to explain, I’m sure you all can relate.

The night before the feast, I had another mini feast with my best friend from high school. We went to my favorite neighborhood in St. Louis, the Central West End. After searching for a parking spot for twenty minutes, we were ravenous for dinner. The Drunken Fish wasn’t too expensive and could seat us right away so we chose that. I’ve heard good things about the sushi restaurant, but I wasn’t blown away by the food. It wasn’t bad though!

For an appetizer, we split the St. Louis Roll: tuna, avocado, pickled radish and masago.

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Not a shabby way to represent the hometown. For my entree, I had Chicken Yaki Soba Noodles.

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I ate it. I’m not really a noodle girl–it kind of all tastes the same to me. Give me a sandwich, salad or pizza and I can say more marvelous things. The best friend ordered an appetizer and only got two wimpy skewers of meat so we decided dessert was a must. We walked across the street for some gelato, which ranks in the top 5 of my favorite desserts. Carrot cake, chocolate chip ice cream cookies, cherry pie and s’mores take the other four spots.

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She got chocolate chip, and I got mint chocolate chip. My chip ended up being one HUGE chunk of chocolate in the middle that I happily unladylike bit down on.

Just this past weekend, I met up with Mara, Jenn and Caroline at Blind Faith Cafe. You can read more about the fabulous time we had on their blogs and hear about the delicious treats Jenn gave us! I ordered the Homemade Quiche with red peppers and spinach and enjoyed every last bit of it down to its flaky crust.

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Food fact time. This one’s a short one (unlike the rest of this post).

Honey is believed to be the only food that does not spoil.  Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found to still be edible. You know what that means? Stock up when it’s on sale!

Tell Me What’s Your Flavor

So, I’m in exam week paper writing mode which means this post will be short on the words, big on the pictures. Time to break out those concise writing techniques I learn in my journalism classes. :-P

It was the weirdest thing. I started getting serious cravings for a food I thought I disliked. Has this happened to anyone? Well, instead of fighting the cravings, I went with them.

It started with this guy.

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And then things got out of control fast.

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I’m finally a fan of Greek yogurt. Clearly, it’s not just infatuation.

This non-Greek yogurt was not good. However, it did make a nice sour cream substitute to my chicken quesadillas. I fed most of it to my sink drain, though.

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I also made oatmeal on the stove finally. Can you believe I normally always microwave my oats? I just got used to it from living stove-less throughout the school year. I actually blended Wheat Chex and Quaker Oats to make myself a very grainy bfast. Mmm mmm good.

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Other good eats include this huge salad with raisins, raspberries, chicken, shredded carrots and lots of feta cheese with raspberry dressing.

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I also tried the Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake frozen meal. I decided to heat this up in the oven instead of the microwave, which was pointless because it took a lot longer and tasted the same as it would have if I had microwaved it. Lesson learned. The meal was good–I liked the plantains and sweet potatoes–but I think my expectations ended up being higher than my actual liking after the taste test.

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When my parents came up a few weekends ago, my mom gave me our “vintage” food processor. The first thing I thought was YES! I can make banana soft serve.

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Sigh. That picture is so sad. I’m going to have to do right by my nanner soft serve next time and take a picture worth celebrating its deliciousness. For now I’ll chalk the starkness of the pic up as representation of its simplicity.

I’m really excited for this post’s food fact. I’ve been wanting to share it for awhile, and I feel good about this being the time.

Your favorite flavor of ice cream can say something about your personality!

Edy’s Grand Ice Cream commissioned an ice cream flavorology study conducted by Dr. Alan R. Hirsch (M.D.), Neurological Director of the Smell & Taste treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, that revealed that distinct personalities correspond with ice cream flavors.

If you like vanilla, you are colorful, impulsive, a risk taker who sets high goals and has high expectations of yourself. You also enjoy close family relationships. Gregarious, lives a hectic life. Easily suggestible, expressive, idealistic; a private person.
(Prototype lovelorn housewife)

If you like chocolate, you are lively, creative, dramatic, charming, enthusiastic and the life of the party. Chocolate fans enjoy being at the center of attention and can become bored with the usual routine. Seductive, well-dressed, extroverted, easily influenced, a follower, intuitive, enjoys intimate relationships.
(Prototype: feminine woman, macho man)

If you like butter pecan, you are orderly, perfectionist, careful, detail-oriented, conscientious, ethical and fiscally conservative. You are also competitive, aggressive in sports and the take-charge type of personality.
(Prototype: executive, secretary)

If you like banana, you are easy going, well adjusted, generous, honest and empathetic.
(Prototype: the perfect husband, wife, parent or child)

If you like strawberry, you are shy, yet emotionally robust, skeptical, detail-oriented, opinionated, introverted and self critical. Easily made to feel guilty; cranky, pessimistic, low self-esteem.
(Prototype: bureaucrat, journalist)

If you like chocolate chip, you are generous, competitive and accomplished. You are charming in social situations, ambitious and competent. A visionary, a conqueror, enjoys being catered to, a go-getter, intolerant of defeat.
(Prototype: Industry leaders, voted most likely to succeed in school)

My favorite flavor is chocolate chip, and I agree with a lot of the characteristics but definitely not all of them! Oh well, I thought it was a fun study. What’s your favorite flavor? Does it match your personality?

I Ramble When I’m Excited

T minus eight days until summer school is over, I slap on my seat belt and make the drive home to see all sorts of loved ones and get acquainted with a new friend…my new iPhone!

I never really had plans or a strong desire to feel like I have to have an iPhone, but when my parents were visiting me this weekend, I was talking to my dad about his iPod touch and asked if he thought I would get an iPhone when my phone contract is up in March. He said my contract is actually up in November, and then realized my mom’s contract is up now! Ergo, my mom could get the phone and we could transfer my number to it…that day! Well, it turns out not actually that day as there needs to be iPhones in stock at the local stores for this plan to work. Long story short, my mom is babysitting my phone until I get home next Thursday. I think she’s having fun with it, although I did send her a text message in the a.m. with no response from her. Turns out, she didn’t know how to text me back! :-P

Naturally, I’m very excited to explore all the food apps to add to my phone, but I digress…as the post’s title shows.

So, yes, the parents took time to visit their youngest child and I welcomed them with open arms as I rarely get company this summer. Plus, they were bringing me new furniture for my apartment, since the girl I’m subletting from came in a week ago and took out almost everything I can sit on! My butt was getting sore from chilling on the (carpeted) floor. Oh, the hard life I live…

Anyway, here’s a little recap of our Saturday. I woke up to the smell of my dad’s famous pancakes. He didn’t think he could make them the night before because I didn’t have any “normal” ingredients. Well, he was wrong. Although I do have five different kinds of alternative flour (I am Sweet & Natural‘s sister, after all), I did have one tiny bag of white flour. He made the pancakes. I ate the pancakes, and they were gooood.

Mom and Dad and I made our way down to Bucktown/Wicker Park where we spent a few hours browsing through overpriced, empty boutiques. All that overreacting to price tags made us hungry. After going in about three pubs on just one block, we decided to eat here.

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Few things make me happier than eating outside on a nice day. Outdoor BBQs? I’m there. Picnics? I should have my own basket. You can’t really tell from the picture, but we were dining en plein air at the Northside Bar and Grill.

My dad and I split a fruit tray to start, and I give kudos to the restaurant for its arranging techniques. And props to them for adding kiwi.

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I ordered the Grilled Catfish Sandwich with grilled veggies for my entree. I love getting fish at restaurants because I never buy and make it for myself. I devoured every bite of my meal–except the garlic mayo. I’m not a fan of a lot of garlic or mayo.

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Our shopping mission was simple: the parents insisted they needed to buy me new shoes. Who am I to argue with what my parents thought best? Well, I didn’t find any shoes, but my mom came out with some stellar purchases…a cute yellow purse and a fuchsia cotton dress I convinced her into buying muhaha.

From Bucktown, we made our way over to Navy Pier to catch the Rod Blagojevich Superstar show from the Second City comedy troupe. We had some time to kill before the show and knew we were having a late dinner so we had dessert to tide us over.

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You gotta love the overpriced ice cream at Navy Pier. Whatever, strawberry sorbet totally did the trick. My mom got plain strawberry ice cream and my dad opted for a strawberry banana smoothie. Can you tell what our family’s favorite fruit is?

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Ah, I love being a tourist in my own city. I still haven’t been on the Ferris wheel. It’s a cheesy thing I want to do eventually.

The show was entertaining, but the bathroom view ended up being the highlight of my night. That’s something I wasn’t expecting.

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Seriously. It’s a show in itself really.

After we got our politically aware laugh on, I dragged the parents to an Armenian restaurant close to the Pier called Sayat Nova. My two favorite cuisines for eating out are Mediterranean and Indian so I was loving the menu. Plus, I had pre-picked out my mom’s chicken dish so she was on board too.

To start, we ordered the Baba Ghannouj. My dad and I dug in while my mom sat and nibbled on a pita triangle.

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Then, they brought out a house salad. Loving the veggies. My mom found the mint vinaigrette dressing “interesting.”

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For my entree, I chose the Kebab Combo which came in what I thought was a small portion at first.

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And then quickly realized that I had ordered a lot of meat. It was delicious, but I can’t remember the last time I was so carnivorous. That grilled onion was amazing by the way. Slice a sweet onion in half, grill it, be happy.

You know you love the food facts.

The Popsicle was invented by an 11-year-old who kept it secret for 18 years. In 1905, Frank Epperson left a combo of powdered soda and water on his porch with a stir stick in the cup. When temperatures reached a record low in San Francisco that night, the combo formed what we know to be a Popsicle today. Eighteen years later, Frank patented his accidental creation. The kids are the future! Maybe we should leave the menu up to them sometime…

Whip It Good

I realized in my last post I didn’t specify when my b-day is…or more importantly when National PB&J Day is. April 2nd friends! Woo, let’s all count down. No, seriously, let’s–it’s my 21st in 2010! :-D

In blog related news, the lovely Shannon from Healthy Beach Bum bestowed me with my first award!

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Thanks Shannon! A gorgeous award from a gorgeous girl!

Also, MarathonVal tagged me to share with you all seven silly (or not so silly) traits about me. Without further ado, here’s a little get to know me segment.

  1. In order to graduate with a journalism degree, I had to fulfill a one-year language requirement. After a year of Spanish in middle school, four years of French in high school, I chose to study…Swahili. Jambo!
  2. This past November, I was fortunate to get tickets to Grant Park on Election Night. Five of my friends and I had a blast inside the park and celebrated with the rest of Chicago in the street afterward with a big slice of pizza pie! One of the best moments of my life for sure.
  3. I went to an all-girls Catholic college prep school that Sports Illustrated deemed the best high school athletic program in Missouri (including public and all-boys schools). I never played a varsity sport.
  4. Growing up, the only thing I ate for breakfast was a Pop-Tart. I loved all the dessert flavors the best: Oreo, Cookies & Cream, Hot Fudge Sundae, Chocolate Fudge, S’mores. It’s one of the few junk foods I still love.
  5. I’ve lived in the same house my whole life. While I love St. Louis, I need to live in other places. I used to want to live in NYC, but now I’m looking more toward the Carolinas. I want to be somewhere warm!
  6. In high school, I was voted Best Dressed. In college, my sorority sisters voted me Most Likely to Go to a Sperm Bank–because I’m independent they said, not because I won’t get married. Yeah…
  7. My favorite place on Earth? I’ve only been there once so it may be bold to say it’s my favorite. I don’t care. If I did live in NYC, I would go to Stōgo every day.

Enough talk about myself, let’s talk about my food. I discovered a new bar I like. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing to like yet another bar. Options are always great, no?

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I loved the texture–very much like a cookie. I normally gravitate toward chocolate or pb bars, but this berry flavor was delicious! I want to try the others: Mango Coconut, Raisin Almond, Apple Walnut, Peanut Chocolate Chip and Strawberry.

Another product rave? Amy’s Tamale Verde Black Bean frozen dinner. I almost didn’t buy it–too expensive and I try to avoid always resorting to frozen dinners.

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This didn’t taste frozen at all! If I ever want to order Mexican, I’m going to remember to go to the nearby WF and pick this up instead.

This past weekend I worked a huge wedding at one of the city’s museums. It was beautiful, and the couple was adorable. They had an eco-friendly, Hawaiian/African inspired ceremony and reception and a sixteen-person band that played for five straight hours. Anyway, it was a lonnng (but fun) day and night. I fueled myself beforehand with my new favorite simple snack.

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Wasa Whole Wheat Crispbread smothered with different kinds of nut butter. So crunchy and filling.

After ten hours of unpaid labor but wonderful amounts of experience, I did get rewarded with this lovely African violet centerpiece from one of the dinner tables.

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Let’s see how long I can keep this thing alive…

Does anyone else realize how good whipped cream is? I certainly didn’t think I liked it as much as I do. It’s really fun to swirl some on top of your afternoon coffee–especially if it’s chocolate flavored.

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Pashaw. Starbucks ain’t got nothing on my Mr. Coffee.

Yogurt parfaits really like whipped cream too.

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Pretty food that tastes good too. Mental note: this was very filling. Vanilla yog, booberries, sberries, nanners and ‘nola. Anyone else like talking in abbrevs? I normally don’t, although my sister definitely used to say “totes” all the time instead of totally. She’s a silly one.

So, it’s been pretty warm here-80 degrees and above. Naturally, I crave chili during these times. I heated up some of Amy’s Chili with Vegetables and made myself some cheetahs on the side.

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Definitely only ate one-third of that. Chili is hearty! Leftovers are perfect for next day’s lunch…

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A veggie chilidog! I enjoyed the chili so much more when it was chilling on top of my dog. The best part is I still have more for future lunch repeats.

Food Fact time!

The word “salary” comes from “salt.” Our oldest preservative, salt used to be so rare that workers would get paid in tablespoons of salt instead of coins. Now, restaurants offer salt for free and we sometimes eat too much of it. Funny how things change…

A Nut Butter Life

Recently, I found out that I was born on a very important holiday. You might be wondering how I spent 20 years of my life not knowing this. I have no idea, but I plan on thoroughly celebrating both my birthday AND the holiday on my next bday…in April. What holiday am I talking about? Drumroll please.pb&jellyNational Peanut Butter & Jelly Day! This explains so much about me…

Anyway, a lot has happened since my last post. I am now halfway through summer school which makes me ecstatic. The second half always goes faster than the first, right? I made plans to go home in three weeks to see my brother who I’ve lost to computers on the California coast. The new working guy and I haven’t seen each other in six months! Only that amount of time could motivate me to make the six hour drive home by myself.

As for the blog, I added a new page that “features” (ha) a concise list of all recipes that show up on my front page posts. I’m absolutely hopeless without recipes–throwing things together that taste good is something I have not even remotely mastered. So, feel free to use other people’s ingeniousness when looking for something to eat.

Because it’s been so long, it doesn’t really matter when I ate all the pics shown below (and I can’t remember what day any of these were taken). Here’s a little photo spread:

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Healthy bacon, egg and cheese. Turkey bacon, egg whites and swiss on a whole wheat bun. So much tastier when not soaked in grease.

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Sweet potato pancakes from De Wafelbakkers. Review? Good, but really no sweet potato taste, which is what intrigued me–that, and the low price at Whole Foods. I think I’m going to just make my own pancakes from now on though.

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Kashi Thin Crust Margherita pizza. Review? Not my favorite pizza. I’m not really a girl who loves pizza sauce (unless I’m eating deep dish, yummm) and the only thing the tomato basil sauce’s flavor did for me was stay around in my mouth for quite a while. Ewww.

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Whole Foods California Shrimp Roll. I only crave sushi about once a year, and after consuming this large roll, I believe I’m set for another year. I tend to prefer sushi as an appetizer and not my whole meal.

When I went to WF to buy the sushi, I made an impromptu checkout lane purchase when I noticed this gum and decided to give it a try.

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I have never tried all natural gum, but let me just keep it simple and say this gum did not make me as happy as that gleeful man on the package. Boo.

The dessert stock in my apartment was at an unacceptable low, so I searched for a dessert to make. It took awhile until I realized I’m the lucky sister of a girl who makes delicious sweets all the time. The family link was one of the reasons why I chose to make a certain batch of cookies. The other reason? It was the only way I could convince myself that buying this was worth the expense:

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My first jar of almond butter! Sooooo gooooood. The camera angle was for effect. So, what did I make with (fortunately only) half this jar?

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Maple almond butter cookies! My sister’s picture is prettier and much more appealing, so I’m posting that one too.

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For some reason, mine came out much more pancake-cookie like. Still, I’m with her boyfriend Dan in thinking these are “the best thing she’s ever baked.” Except for the Chocolate Carrot Cake, of course.

Last night, I baked a late birthday present to send my friend in Michigan. I picked the most chocolatey dessert I could find since she said those were her favorite. These brownies may just force someone into cardiac arrest. I’m posting the website picture because I couldn’t cut up and arrange the dessert in a way worthy of the drool-inducing factor they provoke.

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Peppermint Cookies n’ Cream Brownies from Baking Bites. I had so much fun making these! I never make desserts with 1 cup butter, 3 cups sugar and 4 eggs. :-P Plus, I got to crush up mint Oreos with my fingers. I wish I could have tried some, but they are all ready to be sent out today.

Being a summer school student, I totally value my edumacation. In that manner, I’ve decided to further my food trivia by perusing the web for “food facts.” In my attempt to spread the knowledge, I’ll post one a post. In honor of both my bday and my hometown, here’s a little nugget to chew on:

People theorize peanut butter as the brainchild of a St. Louis physician who, in 1890, ground up peanuts in order to provide a nutritious and easily digestible food for his elderly patients. However, some believe peanut butter may have existed earlier in South American and Asian cooking, and in African cooking in the USA. An 1883 Savannah newspaper even suggests that peanut butter was already a favorite food in Georgia.

It’s Not Greek to Me

Well I took all your advice and gave Greek yogurt another try. This time I made sure to choose a flavor (vanilla) and mix in some toppings (granola and chocolate chips).

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The verdict? …still not a fan. I didn’t even lick the container clean like I normally do with non-greek yogurts! So friends, I suppose this is a blog where you won’t be seeing any(more) Oikos or Chobani.

You will see some Luna though! After my socks being knocked off from the WCM, I felt compelled to try another flavor.

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This bar was a buy-again, but ranked #2 to the WCM. Still, I have restored faith in Luna bars! Amen.

This past week, I made a really great and fresh tasting wrap for dinner–twice in a row!

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Chicken, raisins, nuts, raspberry dressing and a whole lotta spinach. Basically a salad in a wrap. Yum.

Alright, you all know how much I love my breakfast. I love it so much, I ate it for lunch and dinner this week too.

For my brinner (Scrubs reference ;-)), I made a scrambled egg + egg whites with TJ’s French Toast smothered in syrup.

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I snatched up the boxed toast because I actually don’t keep slices of bread in my apartment. I have wraps, bagels and buns…but no loaves. This pre-made french toast means I don’t need to experiment with french toast bagels…yet!

For my brinner dessert, I had the perfect sweet in mind.

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A Boston Cream Oreo Cookie Holey Donut. Yep, this one’s my favorite. There really was no doubt that it would be. Cream? Gooood. Oreo Cookie? Gooood. I also really like Boston, but I don’t think the city has any effect on the flavor.

My breakfast lunch happened today. I woke up and ate a PB sammie to fuel a morning workout. After I cleaned myself up, I realized all I wanted was cereal. So, I made myself a huge bowl of Kashi H2H and a banana yogurt parfait. The parfait was almost as good as froyo. Almost.

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Still gotta get my fix with the real thing.

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I receive daily quotes in my email each night because I’m a dork always looking for inspiration. I thought you all would like the one I received tonight:

“Power is being aware of what one is choosing to do, feeling
free to do it, and doing it intentionally. Power is freedom
to choose with awareness and to involve ourselves in health
promoting and other activities. Power is how we participate
in creating our reality.”
— Dr. Gerald Epstein

Many people recognize the power they have in their careers,
their successes, and their relationships.

Yet when it comes to their health, they feel powerless. They
can take medicine, eat right, and exercise, but they think
their health is out of their control.

The truth: Your health is the one thing over which you have
the utmost control.

Happy 4th everyone! Stay safe and enjoy the fireworks! I’ll be missing my dad’s BBQ for sure. What’s your favorite July 4th treat?