Monthly Archives: November 2008

oh the weather outside is frightful…

What a dreary, rainy day we had. Yuck. I made the best of it with a fabulous Vinyasa Yoga class, a little baking, some Christmas decorating and an awesome turkey noodle soup made by my dear hubby. All in all, it was a great way to end a lovely four day weekend.

Breakfast: A cookie! (I know, slap my hand!!!) along with a banana and almond butter.

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I had a quick snack before yoga because I was STARVING. Apparently cookies for breakfast aren’t the most filling of choices. Lesson learned.

Snack: Blueberry Clif ZBar.

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Yoga was amazing as always, my muscles and joints felt all squishy afterwards.  Love it!

Lunch:  Leftover roasted veggies, a handful of Kashi crackers and about 1 oz of aged gouda.

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I caught up on some blogs, then decided it was time to finally make the maple banana cornbread recipe from Sweet and Natural.  I’ve been dying to try this!!!

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Soooooooo good!  I had two slices for my afternoon “snack” while decorating our Christmas tree.  Both hubby and I were very impressed.  I think I overcooked it a bit, it didn’t seem done at 30 minutes so I left it in for an extra 5 and it turned out a bit drier than I expected.  Totally my fault for not trusting the recipe.  😦 But still so yummy…I can’t wait to share it with the co-workers!

Dinner:  Brian made turkey noodle soup with fresh stock made from our smoked Thanksgiving turkey carcass.  I can’t even describe how good it was.  The stock was perfectly smokey, and he added the leftover turkey meat, celery, onion, carrot, potato, fresh sage and my favorite brown rice curly-cue pasta.  YUMMMMMM!!!!!!  I had this bowl, plus another about 1/2 its size.  And a small glass of wine.

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After dinner we finished decorating the Christmas tree.  I ❤ ❤ ❤ our tree.  A few years ago we decided to stop cutting down live trees ’cause we felt bad, and thought it was time to find ourselves a good artificial tree.  We thought “hey, if its fake…lets make it REALLY fake” and decided on a fabulous silver tree.  Very retro, and I adore it.  🙂

We have mostly white and silver ornaments (which we had long before the silver tree…just coincidence).

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But we also have the obligatory ornaments that you collect from childhood.  You can learn a lot about young Andrea from these ornaments…

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Like…I played soccer.  I loved Winnie the Pooh.  I wanted to be a magician.  I played the saxophone.  I liked penguins.  I am a Florida Gator.  You get the idea…

All Finished!

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And look, my hubby sneaked something under the tree!  Presents for moi!!!  🙂

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Anyway, sorry for getting a bit off-subject.  But it does help to explain my current mood and why I am now craving an after-dinner snack of eggnog… What is your holiday must-have treat??? 

cranberry walnut sandies – BSI!!!

Good morning! Sorry I missed a post last night…I was wrapped up in BSI baking and then two movies on the couch with my hubby. 🙂

I’m very excited about this week’s BSI ingredient chosen by Amy over at Coffee TalkWALNUTS!!!  As you’ve probably noticed, all of my BSI entries thus far have involved baking.  I love to bake and realized that I wasn’t doing enough of it so this has been a great way for me to get creative with making up my own recipes and experimenting in the kitchen.  Walnuts were a tough one for me this week because I really don’t cook much with nuts…my hubby HATES cooked nuts in baked goods.  Something about the texture.  So I never add walnuts to my banana bread or brownies because he won’t eat them, which means I would be left with the whole batch to eat all by myself. A feat I am certainly capable of but which is not so helpful in my quest to eat healthier or lose weight.

So this recipe comes from two points of inspiration…  1.  How do I incorporate walnuts into a baked good in a way in which Brian will eat the baked good?  2.  How can I incorporate some of our leftover Thanksgiving ingredients so that they don’t go to waste (buttermilk and fresh cranberries)?

The solution?  Cranberry Walnut Sandies!!!

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Whenever I have buttermilk in the fridge that is needing to be used I think of a wonderful scone recipe that a friend gave me a long time ago.  Her scones are wonderfully fluffy, unlike most dry, hard scones you find in stores.  I decided to start with her recipe, but to substitute the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat flour, and substitute some of the total amount of flour for some ground up walnuts.  I was hoping that the ground walnuts would give the scones a wal-nutty taste without the big chunks of baked nuts that my husband despises so much.  I added turbinado sugar in place of refined, and threw in the leftover fresh cranberries I had in the fridge.

I was surprised when I got everything all mixed together and the result resembled cookie dough rather than scone or bread dough like I thought it would.  Because of this unexpected twist, the recipe quickly turned into a cookie recipe rather than a scone recipe.  Warning: this is not one of my healthier recipes…  🙂

Cranberry Walnut Sandies

makes 18 cookies

calories: 252  fat: 15.4g  sat. fat: 5.8g  carbs: 26g  fiber: 3g  sugar: 13.2g  protein: 4.8g

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup buttermillk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cups walnut halves and pieces
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries, chopped finely in processor
  • 4 oz baking chocolate, broken into small pieces

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Spread walnut halves on ungreased baking sheet and place in oven to toast for about 10 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir once at about 5 minutes.
  3. Pull walnut halves from oven and grind to fine flour in food processor or blender.
  4. Mix WWW flour with ground walnuts, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles course bread crumbs.
  6. Add sugar, chopped cranberries and chocolate pieces.
  7. In separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, egg and extract until smooth. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and fold together until well blended.
  8. Place golf ball sized drops of dough on greased cookie sheet.  Press each dough ball down to flatten slightly.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
walnut "flour"

walnut flour

chopped cranberries

chopped cranberries

chocolate chunks

chocolate chunks

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I am so happy with the result, especially since I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  The cookies came out perfectly crunchy on the outside and wonderfully moist on the inside.  The walnut flavor in the dough is fantastic…I was worried that it might be overpowering but it is not at all.   Because the cranberries are chopped so finely they add more of a sweetness to the cookie than a tartness.   And the ultimate test…Brian LOVED them!  

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I love the little red cranberry specs in them.  I will definitely be making these again…probably as a holiday cookie this Christmas.  I’d like to try them out as smaller, bite-size drop cookies to increase their crunch a bit.

A quick dinner recap for last night…

Dinner:  Leftovers!!!  (thankfully the last of them) along with a new batch of roasted veggies.  We had none leftover after Thanksgiving!!!  But luckily we hadn’t roasted all the veggies we had in the fridge, so I was able to do another batch of them last night.

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  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • parsnips
  • beats
  • tomatoes
  • garlic

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  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • mashed russet potatoes and celery root
  • stuffing
  • cornbread pudding
  • veggies

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And two glasses of wine, one while cooking/eating and one while movie watching.

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And, 1/2 a cookie for dessert.  Bri took the other 1/2…

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Busy day ahead… Christmas decorating (didn’t get to it last night what with all the movie watching…), yoga!!!, more baking, cooking a few things to get a head start on the week, maybe spin….  I’ll report back later!

Enjoy your Sunday!

training week #5 + groceries

Happy Saturday!  I hope that everybody is enjoying their post-Thanksgiving weekend with family, friends, relaxation etc.  

Brian and I started the morning right with a run with the 10-Miler training group.  We ran 2 full miles on the track (boring!!!) but it went really well and felt great.  This morning was especially important for me because I was trying out a loaner pair of shoes that my running coach gave me out of his shop to see if they would help to correct the foot pain I’ve been experiencing.  Verdict is….success!!!  I ran the full 2 miles pain-free.  YAY!!!!  He says that I have a very unusual foot and that this is their least-selling shoe because it combines the soft, cushioned sole with added support for pronation.  They are still Brooks, which I’ve been running in off and on for about 9 months, just a different style.  I love them so far…aren’t they pretty?!?!?  Not that that is the point…

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Breakfast:  I had 1/2 a banana before my run, then came home for a bowl of oats.  This yummy bowl contained

  • 1 cup prepared rolled oats
  • 1 apple sprinkled with 1 tsp turbinado sugar and a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • sprinkling of pom seeds

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I spent some time catching up on blogs this morning, then made our grocery list for the week.  I took a thorough inventory of the fridge, pantry and freezer and was able to keep the trip pretty light.  But first, we stopped at the running shop so I could buy my shoes.  I also picked up a wind/rain breaker from the sale rack and a pair of gloves.  Anything to keep me motivated to run through the winter…

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Its not really day-glow pink…more of a bright raspberry.  I figure I won’t be missed when running on the road!  Brian also got a new pair of shoes, and since we spent so much money (eek!!!) I got a free t-shirt (yeah!).

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After that spending spree we stopped at Hot Cakes for lunch.  They have an awesome selection of salads, sandwiches, soups, quiches, lasagnas etc.  I selected the Salad Sampler which had

  • Spicy Lentil Salad (sooooooooooo good, has me craving lentils now)
  • Tomato/Onion/Feta Salad
  • Roasted Cauliflower w/ Dried Cherries and Capers (such an unusual combo but really tasty!)

I skipped the piece of bread that came with it.

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Next was Whole Foods.  I was shooting for $50, but was thrown off after my amazing lentil salad from lunch (I just had to buy bulk lentils to try and replicate it), a sale on Amy’s soups (who can resist?) and a persimmon!  So the total wound up at $63, which is still good for us considering we typically spend at least twice that (scary…I know).  I paid for detergent and dish soap separately to help us to get an idea of our actual food cost for December.  We’re trying to cut our grocery shopping in 1/2…  

Here’s our loot:

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  • brown rice pasta
  • corn meal
  • walnuts (BSI!!!)
  • dried lentils
  • bars!!!  (we’re taking full advantage of the coupons in the Whole Deal and stocking up every week)
  • canned beans
  • enchilada sauce
  • Amy’s Soups (in hearty bean flavors for added protein for me)
  • organic Stonyfield French Vanilla yogurt (no Oikos for me this week…)
  • eggs

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  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • potatoes
  • bananas
  • sweet potatoes
  • persimmon

I also picked up these flavors of Clif Nectar bars yesterday when we were shopping at our local sporting goods store…they don’t carry these at our Whole Foods so I had to get a few.

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After getting home, unloading and photographing groceries I was ready for a snack.  I decided to try out the infamous PB-filled medjool date for the first time.

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FANTASTIC!!!  Now I know what you all have been raving about!!!  I also had a couple of tortilla chips with some salsa that Brian was munching on…

Now we are going to spend the evening decorating our Christmas tree while I bake up a few treats in the kitchen!!!  I should have a BSI post tonight or tomorrow morning, and I’m going to try another of Sweet + Natural’s recipes!  Woohoo!!!

nana’s apple crisp

This is one of Brian’s all-time favorite desserts, made for him by his grandmother whenever we see her.  A few year’s ago, Nana gave Brian a book of all of his favorite recipes of hers so that we can make them whenever we want.  This one is requested every fall…

I made a couple of minor adjustments (turbinado in place of refined sugar, butter in place of oleo, WW pastry flour in place of white) but for the most part stuck with the original recipe.  I’d love to figure out a good substitution for the butter/oleo in the topping to make it a bit healthier, so if anybody has any suggestions please let me know!

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Nana’s Apple Crisp (with a few Bella Eats modifications…):

Ingredients:

Apples

  • 14 medium, tart apples
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Crisp

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 cups turbinado sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup melted butter

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Peel, core and slice apples.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples, toss to coat.
  3. In separate bowl combine all crisp ingredients.
  4. Stir apple mixture and pour into ungreased 9×13 pan.  Spread topping mixture over top and “pat down”.
  5. Reduce oven heat to 350* and bake for 45 minutes.

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turkey day review

I hope everybody had a simply fabulous Thanksgiving!  Ours was full of amazing company, fantastic food, lots of wine and tons of laughter.  We had a fabulous time hosting and are so grateful for our wonderful friends who helped us to have an amazing day.  

I started the morning with a 3-1/2 mile run/walk with Lucy to try and get the energy out of her in preparation for our company.  She has a tendency to get pretty hyper when we have people over, so I wanted her to be as mellow as possible.  We ran about 1-3/4 miles of the total distance, which was great for both of us.  I haven’t run much with her, especially since her surgeries this summer, so it took awhile to get our pace right but then she was a champ.

When we got back I had a big bowl of cereal with 1/2 cup Kashi H2H, 1/2 cup Back to Nature Maple Nut Medley, 1 banana, sprinkle of pom seeds and 1 cup Silk soymilk.

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Then, I jumped in to help Brian prep our big T-Day dinner!  In this case, I feel that pictures are definitely worth more than words, so here’s a recap of our day…

Morning Preparation

dinner rolls

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nana’s apple crisp (recipe coming soon!)

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veggies to roast

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country bread and sage dressing

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turkey!!!

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Our guests arrived while the turkey was smoking and the veggies were roasting. We worked on munchies for a couple of hours…

Munchies

white sangria with mango and star fruit

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cheese, fig spread, crackers, olives, etc.

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And finally, the feast!!!

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Our guests with Brian…

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Our guests with me…

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Such an amazing day we had!!!  I haven’t had a chance to read all of your Thanksgiving posts…but I can’t wait!  I’m hoping to play catch-up tonight and this weekend.  

Ok, quick recap of today’s eats.

Breakfast:  We got up this morning to shop, luckily the stores we wanted to go to didn’t open ’till 8am anyway so we were able to sleep ’till 7:30.  I grabbed 1/2 a Clif Mojo PB Pretzel bar and a banana to chow on in the car (sorry…no pics).  After shopping for a few hours and finding some incredible deals, we went to Bodo’s Bagels for a real breakfast.  I had eggbeaters, muenster and tomato on a whole wheat everything bagel.

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I also went to the running shop this morning to report my test runs to my coach.  I’m still having some foot and knee pain with the inserts we put in my shoes so he actually gave me a pair of shoes out of the store to try out with the training group tomorrow, no charge!!!  He says if they work I can come back in and pay for them tomorrow, and if they don’t we will try something different.  How great is that?!?!? 

Late lunch/dinner:  Leftovers!!!  I decided I’m not counting my calories for yesterday or today, its just too hard and I’ll get back on track tomorrow.  No biggie.  We munched on some cheese and crackers and fig spread while our t-day eats heated in the oven.  Not all of this though, don’t worry!!!  🙂

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My leftovers plate.

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One of my lovely dinner rolls.

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And a winterbock from Star Hill, a local brewery.

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Turns out I wasn’t as hungry as I thought. Here’s what was left when I was totally stuffed.

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But an hour later I was ready for apple crisp…

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Whew!!! That was quite the recap. I hope that everybody has a lovely Friday night…we are laying low and recovering from yesterday’s festivities. Stay tuned for Nana’s Apple Crisp recipe!