Friday, January 22, 2010

Glo-ing with Happiness

For a few weeks now, Beth has been telling me that she got me a "surprise" for my blog but was waiting on it to ship. I could not for the life of me figure out what it could be so imagine my surprise when she presented me with Glo Bars made by Angela from Oh She Glows, a blog I occasionally read. Angela had been sending out shipments to some of our favorite bloggers and I had to say, I was very curious about them.

They're vegan granola bars and an off-shoot of this recipe I made last year.

They come packaged nicely:

There were five types of granola bars in the box:

This cranberry one was my favorite. I am not usually a big fan of dried fruit but after eating several granola bars without it, I realized how much it adds to the bar. It's sweet and gives it a different texture. The bar was chewy and refreshing!

This was nothing like I've ever had before. Because it has coffee grinds in it, it smelled wonderful and definitely perked me up.

This was my second favorite because of the coconut. It's chock full of them but it's not that fake coconut sweetness. Just the coconut flavor and texture.

This was the original and closest to the delicious bars I made last summer. I wasn't that impressed with it though. In fact, it was quite bland. I guess that's what healthy, nutritiousness does to granola bars.

And I was surprised to find that this Revive bar was my least favorite. In fact, I threw it out after a few bites because it had the weirdest after taste and was also a bit bland. Don't let the chocolate flavor fool you. I think it's more carob than chocolate and has a hint of cocoa powder in it. Something was just not right with it.

All in all though, I was impressed by these homemade, vegan granola bars. They keep you full and the ingredients list makes you feel good. (And also makes you feel like maybe you can make them yourself?)

The calorie count is a bit high for a snack but again, it's chock full of good nutrition that I can get past it. I would definitely visit to check it out!

Thanks, Beth!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just Can't Get Enough...

I have been looking ALL OVER for this Lindt chocolate with sea salt. I kept seeing it on Jenna's blog and it has been on my mind since last summer. I finally found it at the Food Emporium near Lincoln Center. Score!!!

Upon opening the bar, it looks pretty normal...

But when you bite into it, you immediately get "a touch" of sea salt. It's very subtle but pretty lasting. Unfortunately, after all of that hype, I have to say that it didn't rock my socks off. At the end of the day, it's just chocolate with a hint of salt. Sigh.

When Spencer was in town the other day, he gave me a hostess present - Belgian dark chocolate! I loooooove Belgian chocolate in any form so this was super exciting for me.

Even more exciting - look at how thick the chocolate was!!!

However, when I opened it up, it turns out it was just two chocolate bars stacked on top of each other. I have to say, I was thinking it would be a little hard to bite into if it really was an inch thick, so that made a lot of sense. Good thinking, chocolatiers.

They came in little breakable pieces:

Sooooooooooo delicious! It was so creamy yet bitter. Possibly one of the best chocolate bars I've ever had. (Sorry I took it from you, Spencer!) I have no idea where you can buy it but if I ever see it anywhere I am going to stock up on it for sure!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Easy Olive Hummus

I saw on Kath's blog a recipe for olive hummus and I had to try it! I LOOOOOOVE kalamata olives and will eat them straight from the container, put them in salads, and now...put them in hummus!


a can of chick peas (rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup kalamata olives (about 12)
1 Tablespoon Tahini
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Process in food processor until well incorporated.

And that's it!

Excuse the next photo. For some reason, it would not let me format it and now it's sideways.

But it's just to show you how I ate it.

I didn't add any salt because the olives itself are pretty salty. It's nice and light and so delicious! I put it on top of my salad which didn't need any dressing at all.

With a side of pita bread, it's the perfect light dinner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sun-dried Tomatoes = Bacon?

I've been wanting to make Brussel Sprouts for a really long time. I just think they're so cute!

The few recipes I found online called for either roasting them (which I don't like to do because it wastes too much gas) or had meat (bacon) in them. I decided instead to just saute them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I also added some sun-dried tomatoes for extra color, nutrition, and flavor.


about a pound of brussel sprouts
1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Remove outer leaves of brussel sprouts if they are brown are almost coming off anyway.

Rinse sprouts.

Trim the ends of the brussel sprouts if they're really brown. I don't know if it's really necessary to do that, but I did it!

Cut up sun-dried tomatoes.

Saute the brussel sprouts on medium heat with the olive oil. Add the salt and pepper to taste and then add the sun-dried tomatoes. This whole process shouldn't take more than five minutes.

And voila!

You have a tasty and healthy side dish! I highly recommend this recipe. The sun-dried tomatoes did a great job substituting for the salty bacon and adds an extra texture into the mix.

Yum, yum, yum!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Burrito Bowl

When I first moved out of my parents house, I had an entry-level job that wasn't paying me very much and paying off some lingering credit card balances from college and I was POOR with a capital P. My roommate Eli and I would meal plan for two weeks at a time and see how we could combine our grocery shopping and meal plan efforts to spend the least amount of money possible. She came up with this delicious, easy, healthy and CHEAP meal. I resurrected it last week as I was looking for a no-effort meal with ingredients I already had on hand from nacho night.

It's kind of like a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle but SOOOO much healthier for you. I definitely recommend this because you can cook up the beans on Sunday night and eat it for at least three days of the week.


1 can of black beans (do not drain!)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch of salt
about 3 cups of brown rice
3 cups of chopped lettuce
2 cups of tomatoes
1 whole red pepper diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Dump the entire contents of the can of black beans in a saucepan. Simmer until warm and add cumin, chili powder and salt. If you want it spicier, you can add more chili, or you can add garlic powder, onion powder, whatever you want into there.

While beans are on the stove, chop up vegetables. Again, you can add whatever you want into the dish (ie onions, ground beef...etc.)

Put brown rice in a bowl, add remaining ingredients and top with shredded cheese. You can then put salsa and/or sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt) on top. I also added a healthy dose of hot sauce, of course ;)

And with the leftover black beans and soupiness at the bottom of the saucepan, you can make a poor man's black bean soup. Top with cheese and eat with tortilla chips.

I love when you can get two different meals out of one recipe!

Monday, January 11, 2010

First Time French Toast

The other day, Spencer and I went to Tanto Dulce in search of breakfast but unfortunately, all of the tables were full. That has never happened to me before and it was quite disappointing. We decided to do a DIY breakfast instead at the apartment.

I've been having a craving for pancakes for at least two weeks now and somehow I just can't satisfy the craving - but not for a lack of trying. I've had it once at a friend's house and once at a diner and while both were good it hasn't killed the pancake cravings in me. Just call me the pancake-monster. All of this to say, I'm TERRIBLE at making pancakes and that might be the reason why I crave it so much. When I want to satisfy the craving I can't because I can't make it myself. So sad...

I decided that even though I can't make pancakes to save my life (well, maybe I can make it to save my life...) I can make French Toast which is almost the same!

I adapted this recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.


4 slices of whole wheat bread
2 eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
pinch of cinnamon


I was so hungry I didn't bother to take pictures!

Mix the eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Dip bread into mixture and then cook up with a little bit of butter.

Voila! It was SO easy and looked pretty good!

I drenched it in maple syrup and it 85% satisfied my pancaking craving :)

Tommy decided to munch on a super large sugar cookie coated with lots of icing for his breakfast.

Several hours later, I found out that he left me a portion of his breakfast (in tact!) in my closet :D

Friday, January 8, 2010

Big Nick's

Nicole and I went to Big Nick's on Broadway between 76th and 77th last week. They always get such great reviews but the facade of the restaurant always makes me slightly weary of actually going in there. It just seems like a really tired New York burger place but with Nicole by my side, I knew it was time to try it.

Little did I know, it was also a pizza place!!! But I had my heart set on a cheeseburger and a cheeseburger I did get.

There are soooooooooooo many choices in the menu.

Including this Sumo Burger. Sounds ridiculous but I'm intrigued to see if someone can actually eat all that food.

I got the standard cheese burger with cheddar cheese and waffle fries. I think it cost about $8?

The burger patty was HUUUUUUGE! But thankfully, I had eaten lightly throughout the day in anticipation of this meal so I was good to go. It was pretty good and not too greasy. It's nothing SPECTACULAR but definitely worth a visit. Their pizza actually looked pretty good so maybe I'll try that next time.

The service was good and the food came out really quickly so if you're pressed for time and you're super hungry, Big Nick's is the place to go!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nacho Time!

And here is the nacho recipe from the other night! I didn't follow a recipe but I figured I've eaten them enough times to know what to put in it. It's obviously not very fancy but it gets the job done.

This took less than 30 minutes to put together and it's great for a crowd. You can even chop up all the ingredients ahead of time and assemble right before your guests get there to make it easier on yourself.

1/2 large bag of corn tortilla chips
1 container (20 oz) of ground turkey (you can use any time of ground meat)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin (I actually may have added 1 1/2)
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
a container of grape tomatoes (or about 2 cups of any kind of tomatoes)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 large container of greek yogurt
a jar of salsa


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the tortilla chips and spread it on two medium sized baking sheets.

Take the ground turkey and saute it with the olive oil. Once it's about halfway cooked through, add the chili powder, cumin, and salt.

Chop up the tomatoes, lettuce and shredded the cheese while the turkey is cooking.

Throw everything onto the chips and then pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted.


With the ground turkey, it makes it a little more healthy since it's leaner than beef. We topped it with some salsa and plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream since it's healthier and easier on my tummy :)

Tommy and the girls enjoyed the nachos.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apple Pie Part Deux

Sorry I've been so MIA the past few weeks. I've been taking the time to spend time with family, sleep, and do some fun things without having to lug my camera around everywhere. But I missed sharing my experiences with you all, that's for sure!

This past weekend, my friends came over for dinner after a fun afternoon at the MET. If you haven't gone to the MET lately, I highly recommend it as there is a really interesting exhibit about samurai warriors and armor. They had a few rooms dedicated to just sword blades (which all looked the same to me) but after watching a short video on what it takes to MAKE a sword, I appreciated it a lot more. Also, my mom's side of the family were samurai so it was cool to think that maybe some of my ancestors had used some of them :) I know, it's a stretch but it made the exhibit all the more poignant.

I made some delicious nachos (which I will post about later this week.) For dessert, Colette bought an apple pie from Fairway.

We heated it up in the oven for about 10 minutes. Perfect for a cold January night!

It was very yummy! We demolished all but two small pieces among four of us. I'm very proud :) I wasn't sure what to do with the leftovers since I don't have a microwave and it seemed like a waste to turn on my oven just to heat up small slices so I decided to throw it into oatmeal for breakfast! Oh oatmeal, you are so versatile and help me clear out leftovers... I heart you.

I made oatmeal with 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup soy milk, 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, a teaspoon of vanilla. I left out the bananas since I knew I was adding a lot of apples.

I picked out all the applies and raisins and put it into my oatmeal and it tastes just like Quaker apples and cinnamon instant oatmeal, except a bit healthier. I definitely recommend doing this with any kind of leftover pie. It seemed like a waste to throw away the crust but I guess that's better for my waistline...sigh.

So nice to eat warm oatmeal under the covers to get a winter day started!