Butter(nut Squash) Fingers

Breakfast is the hardest meal for me to decide what to make for myself. I always want so many different things! I love all six(!) of the boxes of cereal in my pantry, oatmeal always ends up being a good start to my day and I still crave waffles and pancakes, without fail. One morning, I just couldn’t decide.

So I toasted a Kashi Blueberry Waffle and topped it with TJ’s Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal and some extra blueberries. It turns out oatmeal makes a very good topping–especially the maple/brown sugar kind. It is one of those things that I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before!

For dinner one night, I tried another Amy’s soup, this time the Minestrone one. I liked this one a lot more than the other one! It was a nice salty compliment to my very sweet sweet potato smothered in vanilla yogurt, pb and granola.

I ate my final Kid’s Flat-Out Wrap, and I think they went out with a bang…er, I mean with vanilla yogurt, TJ’s Superfruit Spread and granola.


I naturally graduated to the adult La Tortilla Factory Wraps and was feeling kind of fancy. This bad boy has turkey, hummus, arugula and raisins. The raisins were a great last minute addition.


I finally spent money on eating out on Saturday. Technically, I had dinner out on Friday but the boyfriend picked up the tab because he knew I was trying to not spend money. Saturday, I walked over to the Whole Foods that is DANGEROUSLY close to me and picked up an L-B worth of food from the salad bar.

The pic only shows the first layer. 🙂 That white blob in the lower right hand corner is a hard boiled egg. I was very happy to reunite with the food that made me so happy whenever I saw it chilling in the sorority house salad bar.

My special weekend breakfast was chocolate chocolate chip pancakes. Does anyone else really enjoy successfully flipping a pancake? Making and eating these brings me so much pleasure on the weekend…maybe because it reminds me of my dad’s famous pancakes (which are, of course, still the best pancakes I have ever eaten).

Pancakes weren’t the only thing I spent making in the kitchen this past week. I also finally got to make some banana bread, thanks to my bananas finally being ripe! I chose eating bender’s recipe since I wanted something really easy and light.

I love, love, love having good bread in the kitchen. I had a piece topped with more banana slices, vanilla yogurt and chocolate chips. It was a late night snack that tasted like a second dessert!

Also on Saturday, I went on a major search for a Trader Joe’s. I first drove to one location that my GPS (aka what my family calls “British Lady”) led me, only to get there and not see a TJ’s in sight. Determined to not give up, I drove 35 minutes further to find my favorite grocery store. At this point, I think I was about 50 minutes away from my apartment. Eek! That’s dedication! It was all worth it though! I got some really good stuff that will most likely be featured in future posts…

Luckily, I had packed a snack for all the (un)anticipated driving time.

This Luna Bar blew me away! If I could choose between a candy bar and the WCM Luna on taste alone, I would pick the Luna every time. When I was in high school, I tried so many different kinds of Lunas and never really liked any of them. After seeing the WCM on many blogger’s favorite foods list, I had to give it a try. I’m so glad to add another bar to my personal favorite bar collection!

Okay, enough about that bar. The boyfriend came home from shooting a wedding this past weekend, and I had promised him a very good dinner when he returned Sunday night. The menu ended up changing sort of last minute, but that was not a problem. Together, we split both a turkey burger with bacon and cheddar cheese and a lean beef burger with Asiago cheese and sun dried tomatoes on really good soft bun rolls.

I ended up liking the beef burger more! On the side, we ate shriveled up broccoli (an effect of being heated in the microwave) and butternut squash fries that ended up being more trouble than they were worth. More trouble=Amanda cut herself when slicing through it. 😦 It’s too bad because I love butternut squash fries…even more than sweet potato ones!

For dinner tonight, I warmed up TJ’s Chicken Fried Rice (one of my Sat. TJ’s finds) and had one of the soft bun rolls with some Smart Balance spread. I hardly ever just eat bread and butter–unless I’m at a restaurant–but I have a lot of grains to eat before they go moldy.

Speaking of mold, I bought TJ’s Blueberry Bran Muffins on Saturday too, opened them on Sunday and ate one (and found it impossible that a bran muffin tasted as amazing as it did) and then opened them today from the package I sealed and found mold on some of them! I was very sad to throw them out. Does anyone have ideas on how to keep them from growing moldy at an alarmingly fast rate? I would like to buy them again!


Mexican Blueberries

I googled my title to make sure there are no such thing as Mexican blueberries, and lo and behold an Urban Dictionary entry tells me that the two words together mean LSD, or acid. I assure you that LSD has not been a part of my eats these past few days. Mexican food and blueberries certainly have, though.

My first Mexican craving came late Friday night. I then knew what was on the dinner menu for Saturday: chicken quesadillas. Does anyone else think 24 hours ahead of time what you’re making for meals? Nevertheless, I got out the Kid’s Flat-Out wraps and used the panini grill to smash some chicken and Swiss cheese between the fold.

I also warmed up some of Amy’s Vegetable Barley soup. It was my first time trying Amy’s soups, and as a fan of Amy’s food, I’m saddened to say that I wasn’t a fan of this particular soup. I should include in this criticism that I’m a new soup lover, and I may not have warmed the soup up enough. So my lukewarm review may be affected by my lukewarm soup. 😦

I felt like making a special breakfast Sunday in honor of my dad who makes his special breakfast for the family on Sundays. I used Kath’s Oatmeal Pancake recipe and slipped some blueberries in the batter…thus starting my very berry obsession.


Kath’s recipe is great because it makes the perfect portion. One pancake with good old-fashioned syrup on it. Delicious!

This summer, I’m actually interning with a wedding planner, and Sunday was my first event I was working. I was a little concerned about if I was going to be able to eat dinner while working, so I made sure to eat foods that filled me up in case eating later was going to be hard to fit in.

For lunch, I made a turkey burger with hummus and filling fruit for the sides.


Turkey burgers are my favorite kind of burger, especially paired with avocado and sweet potato fries. I guess it’s my version of the classic American diner combo of a cheeseburger and fries. The hummus was a nice substitute for the avocado I didn’t have in the fridge.

After driving an hour to the (almost) middle of nowhere, without getting lost(!), I happily munched on a Clif Mojo Peanut Butter Pretzel Bar right before I started work at 3 p.m.


This baby kept me over like no bar ever has! I ended up not eating dinner until I got off at 9:30. And I didn’t notice I was hungry until 8:45 when people at the reception starting eating their dinner. The smell of all the catered food got to me. Breadbaskets always look so good to me when I’m hungry. Luckily, I packed a bagel for the car ride home. When I’m hungry, the first thing I want is bread. Always.

For my first day of classes on Monday, I made a breakfast I’ve abandoned for far too long…oatmeal!


How could I turn my back on that gooey goodness? Strawberries and blueberries with brown sugar=my classic oatmeal mix-ins. I’ve learned that bananas and chocolate additions upset my stomach in the morning and I don’t like adding nuts or granola because I like my oats smooth and creamy.

For dinner that night, I had a strange craving for both pizza and Mexican food. What’s a girl to do?

Eat Kashi’s Mexicali Black Bean Thin Crust Pizza!


This pizza was so good. I love nontraditional pizzas and this one tasted great and filled me up! It was a little spicy, but only in the Mexican spices way—not the whoa, this is too hot for me to swallow spicy. I ate half of the pizza along with a salad and had the rest for lunch today. Leftovers are great.

I surprised the boyfriend and baked some Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies for him. It was the first time baking in the apartment, and they turned out really well! I was a little nervous because I don’t have a mixer, so I mix everything by hand and the cream cheese wasn’t completely smooth at the end. They still tasted great, though, according to the boyfriend and his roommates. Who needs a mixer? My arms will get good workouts this summer! 🙂


I had one straight out of the oven to make sure they were edible. And—okay—just because I wanted one. They’re probably more appropriate to make in December, but they sure were still tasty in June!

On a completely unrelated note, I realized today that I haven’t eaten out for ten days! This may be some sort of a record. I may even reward myself…by eating out! Ha.

Food, Inc. and the Farmers Market

So far, my favorite part of having my own place is—no surprise here—I always get to choose what food I’m going to eat. For instance, if it’s lunchtime and I want a veggie burger*, then I can have a veggie burger! (*provided it’s in my freezer)

That’s one of the Gardenburger Veggie Medley burgers. It was my first time trying these particular ones, and I loved them. Carrots were popping out of the patty! I stuck it between a hummus-covered sammie thin and gobbled it down.

For dinner last night, I finally used some of the lettuce I bought and made a salad with nuts, grapes, raisins and bits of turkey.

I love the flavor nuts bring to a salad, especially when I use a balsamic dressing, or in this case a raspberry one. I also cut up and baked a sweet potato with cinnamon…finally! I’ve been craving these little guys ever since I moved in.


I also made some white chocolate coconut covered pretzels for the boyfriend, as a sort of thank-you for his amazingness in bringing me flowers and buying me baking/cooking tools at World Market.


I think he ate them all the next day, so I guess they were pretty good!

I got a treat too! My Holey Donuts! that I won in Erika’s giveaway came in the mail. I have wanted to try these things ever since they first popped up in the blog world months ago.

I got the Boston Cream Oreo Cookie, Low Fat Chocolate Crumb, Low Fat Original Glazed and the Coconut Cream Pie donuts. I stuck to the most basic donut to start: the LF Original Glazed.


I was so happy that this lived up to my expectations. It kind of tasted like my grandma’s stollen, but with a lot more sweetness. The best part was that it didn’t make my stomach feel gross afterwards, which is one of the reasons I normally don’t eat donuts. If I’m going to eat a donut, I definitely want a Holey Donut!

There was a coupon in my order letting me know you can get free 30 Low Fat Cinnamon Glazed Donut Holes with any online order. Just enter the promo code AWNY when you checkout. Thought I would share!


The boyfriend and I went to see Food, Inc. last night. How much of a geek am I that I dragged us both there on opening day? It was definitely more of a propaganda documentary than an unbiased documentary, but I didn’t mind because I agreed with the message. Plus, all of the multinational food companies discussed in the movie refused to be interviewed.

The boyfriend liked it too. We were both happy that it wasn’t extremely political, as it brought up the failures in Republican and Democratic administrations in monitoring the food industry. Also, it wasn’t completely knocking big business. Stonyfield Farm was a good example in the movie of an organic brand successfully being sold in Walmart, a multinational retail chain.

All in all, the movie did a great job of stirring up the audience’s emotions and explaining things in a way that was interesting and understandable. I think it’s an important film for people to see. But that’s just me. 😛 Click here to see what other people think about the movie.

Today, I woke up very excited because I had plans to go the local farmers market. It’s been open for about a month, and I was finally free this morning to go over and check it out.


The boyfriend joined me and ended up buying a loaf of nine-grain bread from Great Harvest’s stand (which by the way was handing out free slices of their bread :-)) and Key Lime Mango salsa. I bought some strawberries. Best $6 I spent all day.

We walked back to my apartment to make lunch and both had turkey and hummus on a TJ’s Whole Wheat Bagel with some of the strawberries I bought. I need to try to eat them fast before they go bad! I’m always wary of buying berries for just myself because I can never seem to eat them before they perish.


As for the Diana’s Banana Babies featured in my last post, I researched where they’re sold and found out you should be able to find them at Dominick’s, Jewel and Whole Foods. In doing this, I discovered there are Dark Chocolate ones too! I’m totally trying those out when I finish the Milk Chocolate ones.

Housewarming: The Inaugural Meals

I swear I’m an adult…even when my lunch says otherwise. Among the three different grocery stores my mom and I ventured to on Monday, only one of them had Flat-Out Wraps. And they only had the kids’ version–which means these things are TINY! Good thing I love anything miniature.


It’s hard to tell from my close-up pic, but I promise you these babies couldn’t ride on any roller coaster rides, if you know what I’m saying. (They’re too small…too much of a stretch?)  They were hard to wrap, but it was nice to have two different wraps for lunch. That way, I didn’t have to choose between my egg white/Swiss wrap and my hummus/Swiss wrap. Paired with some cherry tomatoes and nanners with cinnamon, I gobbled down that food with a smile on my face. My mom was amused by my love for this lunch. And for this snack:


Vanilla yogurt with Bear Naked granola, dark chocolate chips and some strawberries. Really a dessert snack, if you will.

After my grocery haul on Monday, I had no desire to go out to dinner anytime soon. Why go out and pay for dinner when you have so much delicious food at home? My parents weren’t as inspired to get cooking in my kitchen. So, we had our goodbye meal at my favorite Mexican restaurant, That Little Mexican Café.


I was debating between the Veggie Gorditas and the Mahi-Mahi Tacos. Also in the running? Flautas, but I had those the last time I went. It’s hard to turn down sweet potato tortillas, though.


I went with the Gorditas and was very glad I did. I tried to convince my mom to get the Flautas, but my parents both got burritos. They stick with what they know they like.


When I came home, I tried a Banana Baby.


These are SO good. Run out and get these right now. The milk chocolate layer is so thick and the banana tastes amazing with it. Why eat a banana popsicle when you can eat the real thing on a stick covered with chocolate?

The parents left me at 5:45 in the morning. They originally planned on 7 a.m., but apparently my neighbors–who are around my age–were making too much noise and they couldn’t sleep anyway. I hugged them goodbye and instantly fell back asleep until 8. I got out of bed and knew I was craving some Kashi blueberry waffles.


One of them had TJ’s Organic Superfruit spread, which is a blend of Morello Cherry, Red Grape, Blueberry and Pomegranate. This stuff tastes delicious and is full of antioxidants. The other waffle had a spread of Earth Balance PB. I haven’t had creamy regular PB from the cabinet in forever; I’m used to crunchy from the fridge. It’s nice to go back to the classic PB I had as a kid. Plus, one of the ingredients is agave, so it’s a sweeter natural PB.

One of my favorite places to get a quick, inexpensive lunch is Einstein Bros. Bagels for their Honey Whole Wheat bagel with strawberry schmear. Pair that with an Americano and I am one satisfied girl.


Now, I can recreate it at home! I’ve been looking forever for Rudi’s Honey Sweet Bagels at all the local grocery stores, but I haven’t had any luck. No worries, I just bought TJ’s Whole Wheat Bagels and slathered some whipped mixed berry cream cheese on each half. I had another nanner for lunch today because they were the fruit ripening the fastest. I drizzled some vanilla yogurt over the slices and ate it with my fingers. Less clean-up when you don’t use utensils! 😛


The boyfriend came over and surprised me with housewarming flowers! Look how pretty!


He knows how to make me happy. 🙂 Together, we made dinner based on this recipe for Turkey Sausage & Arugula Pasta. It was a pretty simple recipe, and we followed it for the most part except we halved it and used chicken apple sausage instead of turkey.


It could have used more cheese, but it was a simple and satisfying meal.

After dinner, the boyfriend surprised me by giving me $40 to World Market to get more things to cook and bake with. I was very excited about this, as you may imagine, and we couldn’t wait to go pick out more things for my kitchen. We ended up getting a big and medium size metal bowl, a wooden spoon and 6 more utensils. The girl whose apartment I’m subletting uses chopsticks, so she only has one fork.

I got a lot of questions about where you can get the chocolate-chip cookie dough from the last post. Click here for the brand’s website, and you can enter your zip code in the buy locally box to see what places sell the PB near you. Or, just order online if there’s nowhere nearby! I would recommend the Raspberry White Chocolate flavor. It’s my favorite. 🙂

Getting Groceries: My Favorite Kind of Shopping

Well, I’m done with moving! I am staying put in my apartment for three entire months. Luckily, this move was the easiest out of all the other ones I’ve assisted with this past week. Elevators, dollies and a/c really make a difference!

First, let’s do a time warp LOST style (is that right? I’ve never actually seen the show…) On Thursday night, I had my last sorority house dinner. What was on the menu? Salmon! YUM!


It’s back there, I promise! I had a very little serving of “mac” and cheese–because I couldn’t resist the cheesiness at the time–a lot of steamed broccoli and a pear on the side.

For dessert, I dumped a couple of these bad boys in my Choco-Chip Cookie Dough PB. Dark chocolate, Choco-Chip Cookie Dough and PB?! Yes, please!


I got a couple questions about how I control the nutritional content of my meals when I don’t get to choose what I eat. Luckily, my house has a salad bar that is always loaded with lots of fresh veggies. I added them to the meal when the other sides were less appealing. Also, I controlled portion sizes with what was served. And I always had my own cereal and peanut butter in the room. Most of the girls in my house are really health conscious, so our chef would know we would want healthier meals (there was normally always a vegetarian option too). Our snack drawer would have some Kashi bars from time to time, and I hoarded fruit from the fruit bowl in my room. 😛

Fast forward One Tree Hill style (a show I used to watch in my high school days…sadly) to today, aka move-in day, a very exciting day. I am now blogging from my apartment. 😀

Before my mom and I used our super-human strength (with the help of the boyfriend) to move all my stuff, we fueled up at Panera (ahem, I mean St. Louis Bread Co…gotta rep the hometown). I had the You Pick Two: Turkey Artichoke sandwich and Garden Vegetable soup.


It was the first time I got the sandwich, and I really liked it. It had a ton of flavor, and the bread was really crispy in a good way. I would order it again, but for dinner next time. I like lighter, simpler things for lunch.

After my stuff all got inside my apartment, my mom and I left to do the fun errand: grocery shopping! We spent probably close to four hours in three different grocery stores stocking me up. Needless to say, I’ve never had more fun. I also spent a lot of the time asking my mom, “How long will [insert food here] last before it goes bad?”

Check out my freezer! I’m very excited about trying the treats in the out-of-sight blue box on the right: chocolate covered bananas! And the Kashi frozen pizzas were on sale! I normally don’t use this many exclamation points!


And I have a bar drawer!


Once we got back from all the shopping, I was so exhausted from dealing with the logistics of moving today that I made my go-to comfort meal: Earth Balance PB and TJ’s Superfruit Spread on a sammie thin with carrots, grapes and sweet potato chips on the side.


For dessert, I had some more classic food comfort: Moose Tracks ice cream. My mom and dad had some too; it’s the family’s favorite flavor. Excuse the slightly fuzzy pictures. Dinner was not cooperating for the photo shoot tonight.


My mom and I unpacked and put away the food…but nothing else. Ha. So like us. Later, I snacked on TJ’s peanut-butter filled pretzels and a pear. That snack choice was after I had an epic fail: I burnt popcorn in the microwave. Now, I can sniff a lovely aroma in my apartment’s air…and apparently in the hallway too, according to my mom. I’m making friends with the neighbors, already, I’m sure.

Before I sign off this post, I would like to claim relation to someone in the blog world who is especially special (is that redundant?) to me. My big sister Ashley at Sweet & Natural. She’s the reason I started this blog, and the reason I know what I do about food. I’ve been helping her bake since I was tall enough to reach the microwave to warm up the butter. I basically still am the little sister who wants to do everything the big sister does…even at 20 years old. Through the years, we’ve gone to the same schools (grade school, high school and college), played for the same volleyball team (at different times) and had the same first job working at Limited Too (and hated it).

Oh, and we’re also looking to start a business together once I graduate college…we just don’t know what kind of business. So, if any of you have any ideas, we are all ears!


Summer for My Summerizations Begins

My Summerizations’ summer is here! My eats no longer have notes surrounding them like they did just a couple days ago.


I finished Tuesday, and I feel like I’ve been busier since I’ve finished my finals than I was when I was taking them! Between helping my friends move their stuff out, saying goodbyes and getting things in order for my summer to start, I’ve been nonstop working since I turned in my last blue book for the quarter. But, it’s all good work I enjoy doing! 🙂

The meals at the house have gotten quite interesting this week. The majority of the girls have left already and this being the last week the chef is working, a lot of leftovers have been popping up. Like one night, we had veggie burgers and grilled chicken. I chose a veggie burger with lettuce for a bun that night.


…And then for lunch two days later, it was veggie burgers and grilled chicken again! I took the chicken, wrapped it in provolone and one slice of wheat bread and stuck it in the panini maker for a few minutes.


I’m going to miss that fresh fruit we had for lunch everyday. That fruit salad was a staple in my lunches this year. Also, the hard-boiled eggs are a favorite in the house, and they pop up in my sorority meals a lot. Excuse the cracks, I got a little impatient when peeling the shell off…

For dinner last night, the boyfriend and I met two of our really good friends at a pizza place, Spacca Napoli. The waiter told us that the pizzas were individual size, but after seeing them, we didn’t believe her! We split three pizzas between the four of us.



We chose the Salsiccia, Bufalina and Quattro Formaggi. The pizzas came FAST! Like under ten minutes. We were so hungry that I think we ate them all in under ten minutes too.




I love pizza, and I think it’s really hard to mess it up. That being said, this was not my favorite pizza place. The actual pizza was so thin, but it was also kind of liquidy and flimsy. The crust was made up of more dough than the actual pizza which was odd for a “thin” crust. Plus, the crust was burnt—on purpose—and I was not feeling it. I just don’t think my favorite type of pizza is Neapolitan style, which is what the restaurant serves.

Everyone else wanted dessert after, so the table ordered two Tartufos, which were basically giant cocoa-covered chocolate truffles with vanilla  inside.


Okay, these were good. I took a few bites of one.

I spent this morning helping the boyfriend move out. Hopefully this is the last time he will be living on the fourth floor! Moving in and out with heavy boxes and suitcases is not fun when that many stairs are involved. I’m moving out in a couple days, and thankfully, my parents will be up to help. I live on the fourth floor of my house too. 😦

When I came home for lunch, I was ravished and made myself a turkey and cheese on a mini bagel with lots of watermelon and another egg. I also drank a big glass of water. I didn’t expect to be strength training when I woke up this morning!


I’m really excited for my parents to come this weekend because I get to take them to my new favorite restaurants I’ve discovered! Plus, I like having them around. 😉

Did My Bagel Just Yawn at Me?

Phew! It is finals week, and I am feeling it! Luckily, I only have one more exam until summer freedom…that is until I start summer classes in two weeks.

I started off Sunday morning with my all time favorite cereal. It’s not an original one in blogland, but I’m not a noncomformist so that’s not a problem. (Lots of negations in that sentence…sorry ’bout that!)



I basically imagine myself chanting that.

After I consumed the little pb pillows of perfection, I was out the door for the drive to church. When I came back to the house, I was ready for the last brunch of the year. Everyone’s favorite part of the week is Sunday brunch in the house. Our chef knows what we like! Pastries, bacon, eggs, fruit, french toast and waffles galore! I topped a mini bagel with part of an egg white vegetable omelette and had a banana on the side.


Still a little hungry, I ate a Kashi TLC Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar, compliments of the snack drawer. I’m gonna miss that treasure chest of snackage over the summer.

I worked all day on a PR proposal for a fake major announcement strategy. I developed a communications plan for a made up situation: that my all girls high school was going to start admitting boys! Only in my dreams would that have even been a consideration back when I was a high schooler.

For a snack, I had my favorite fruit and a little bit of Stonyfield Farm’s fat free French Vanilla yogurt.


Slight confession? I still haven’t totally fallen in love with Greek yogurt. I’m trying though! In the meantime, vanilla regular yogurt claims the top spot in the bid for my yogurt affection.

Dinner was from the house. I don’t have a picture of it, because I didn’t really have the true meal and what I did have was a little bit of an unenthusiastic mess. A very small serving of pasta with a tad of sauce added along red pepper and tomato slices with a hard boiled egg, corn and garlic bread on the side. Ho hum. I’m trying to appreciate the last few meals of prepared food for me, though. A mini homemade rice krispy treat was for dessert. Mmmm….that was good.

I retreated back to my hobbit hole–I mean room–for part two of my day o’ studying. I spent the rest of the night making flash cards for the slides I need to memorize for my art history final. So. many. slides. Like 150+. I stared at these weird images all night:

marsh1936 bather-with-beach-ball-picasso

My wonderful boyfriend took pity on me in my art history frustrations and brought me Red Mango to cheer me up and make me feel better.


Ah, ain’t love grand? I’m talking about the froyo, of course. Just kidding. It’s a little bit sweaty from the trip.

Because the Red Mango filled me up, I had a very tiny snack later: an Archer Farms Tropical Fruit Strip, also courtesy of the snack drawer.


I used to LOVE Fruit Roll Ups when I was younger. Well, turns out I’m no longer a young one because this was not too exciting for me. I would have much rather just eaten fresh fruit.

I’m excited to stop studying so my life’s not so boring. I feel like even my FOOD is boring. Like it’s yawning at me. One and a half more days…