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Hi guys,

Im going to start putting together a series every so often on “Things I’m Loving (Right Now)”- just things I am into at the moment, from food to books, to soaps, dog toys, etc. Anything and everything making my life better- and things you guys might be into as well.

So this Months List Includes the Following:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Miracle Soap in Lavender. It really does clean everything! I use it to clean out my tub, and then in my tub for a really relaxing soak. Lavender is the most calming sent to me.
  • Galaxy Granola. I was sent a few free samples a month ago and it is amazing! All natural, no added sugars, flavor baked in. It is super crunchy and has great flavor. My favorite was the Raspberry Granola with real pieces of dried raspberries in it. Yum! Try over cottage cheese for a great snack.
  • Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. A great read that really pulls you in from the first page about a refugee from Nigeria and an Englishwoman whose lives intersect. I’m really enjoying it- but its keeping me up every night!
  • The Good Fork Pork Dumplings, and the fact that they are now sold at a booth at the Brooklyn Flea every Saturday in Fort Greene. Hands down the BEST dumplings I have ever had- so juicy with amazing flavor, and this incredible sauce on top. I almost peed myself with happiness when I saw them at the Flea.
  • Pilates. I’m so into it right now! Its changing my whole body- strength, tone, flexibility, and helps you breathe better. Find a small group class near you with reformers (the machines) and go! You will love it- just shop around for a good, knowledgeable teacher. And start with a Beginner’s Class.
  • The Highline. I visited this Manhattan development this weekend for the first time- it was incredible. So cool! Old train tracks now covered in an amazing boardwalk type thing with seating, foot pools, and incredible gardens. Eventually it will run from downtown to mid-town. You must visit it when you are in NYC.

Hope that gives you all some inspiration/ ideas for the month. Feel free to add your own- I love hearing from you. :)

Well, things have been pretty normal ’round here, and I’ve been getting my fruits and veggies- or trying to. And probably too many doses of chocolate, but of course, those go undocumented!

Here are some of my latest culinary creations:

A big ol’ veggie sandwich… (basically an excuse to buy this really good mayo I bought the other day)…

YUM!

With lots of crunchy fruits and veggies on the side…

A yummy wrap for lunch with hummus, baba, and lots of fresh veggies…

YUM #2!

A lovely bowl of cereal with fresh fruit,

And black beans + sweet potato tacos, with a side of “okra fries”.

This was the first time  I’ve made the “fries”, and they were delish! Spiced them and popped ‘em in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes.

Mmmmm, tacos!

Oh, yeah, and a dog!

Not to eat, of course, but to play with. We took the plunge and adopted a dog (i.e. I have been begging for a dog for 2 + years and on my birthday, Loren finally conceded to the inevitable) who I can partially blame for falling of the face of the blogosphere, because she is just too cute/ demands all my attention/ loves to cuddle/ needs lots of walks/ jumps on trees at the dog park and tries to destroy them/ my cats hate her so I have to spend my time breaking up potential dog/ cat fights.

Her name is Sya and I am in love. :)

That is all for now- we will be back! :)

I am a little late on the uptake, but I just read a fascinating article in the NY Times dated April 12 about the need for exericse. Does it really have benefits in weight loss? Apparently not, its just about eating less than you burn. And as we all know, in WOMEN it has shown to increase appetite, making weight loss MORE difficult. But not so for men- life just aint fair!

What is also interesting is that the article asserts that exercise is helpful in keeping weight off, because of the way it helps us to metabolize food. This is must read for all you healthy foodies/ gym rats/ cubicle sitters/ runners/ standers out there!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/magazine/18exercise-t.html?src=me&ref=general

The Incredible Egg

I’ve always loved eggs. They are, seriously, a perfect food. One egg is a protein packed, low-calorie, high satisfaction guarantee!

And lately, I’ve been eating a lot of eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even though I am no longer a vegetarian, I still don’t eat very much meat, so eggs provide me with the protein I crave.

For me, a perfect breakfast is a sunny side up egg cracked over a slice of WW toast with lots of hot sauce (and some cottage cheese on the side for extra lasting power).

Looks weird,  but trust me, it’s a really good combo!

For dinner, I recently tried my own version of “beans and toast” for dinner using some TJ’s baked beans… topped with a perfect sunny side up egg. Simple, easy, and so satisfying for a weeknight meal.

There was a little bit of cheddar on their, too!

And recently, Loren and I made a miraculous discovery. Well, not so miraculous, but a life-changing event for us nonetheless….  We started hard boiling a carton eggs on Sundays, so they are ready for snacks and meals for the rest of the week! So easy, so life altering- REALLY!

I’m sure most of you guys have your own egg boiling recipes, but for those of you, who, like me, were a little clueless in this department, I found an easy system:

  • Put eggs in pot
  • Cover with cold water, at least 1 inch higher than the top of the eggs
  • Put vinegar in water (I use rice vinegar) to prevent the whites from coming through any cracks. Add salt to help it boil faster
  • Cover, bring to boil
  • Once the water is at a ROLLING boil, bring down heat to medium low, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, depending on how well you want them cooked
  • When you remove the eggs from stove, put them in a bowl of ice water so they STOP cooking right away
  • Put in your fridge and enjoy all week!

I don’t know why we didn’t start doing this sooner. It’s been so nice to have these guys in the fridge, ready to be made in to lovely kitchen creations. While I love eating them plain with salt-and-pepper, I love cutting them up (one whole egg, one white) and having them on toast for breakfast.

I love spreading cream cheese, really good butter, or a little bit of sharp cheddar on the bread as well.

And one day when I was home for lunch, I made the most delicious egg salad using one egg and two egg whites (mayo, mustard, s &p).

Having the eggs ready makes these kinds of healthy meals so simple and fast.

YUM!

So, us egg eaters are on a whole new kick. We buy two cartons of large, cage free eggs a week and hard boil a dozen every Sunday.

I just ate my last for snack while posting, so I can’t wait for a fresh batch tomorrow!

So, I have a confession to make. Lately, I have been rather lazy and uninspired in the kitchen. And I have been craving lots of “bad” stuff: cheese, carbs, melted cheese, hot carbs, cold cheese, crunchy carbs… you get it. Same ingredients, different ways: not great for the waistline!

And a few days ago all I wanted for dinner was a big plate of cheesy nachos. I thought about going to pick some up, or going out, but then I took a step back and said to myself, “Self, you can make tasty, but healthier nachos at home. Stop being so lazy!” (Sometimes I have to just be straight up with you guys- I talk to myself).

So I grabbed a can of TJ’s Cuban Black Beans from my pantry…

These are great for those lazy nights because they are pre-cooked with onion, green peppers, and lots of spices. Great flavor! Even if you don’t have a TJ’s near you, I am sure you can find beans in your store that are cooked with spices and veggies. This will save you a lot of time on nights when you just don’t have the energy to do it yourself.

I heated up a big bowl of beans and topped them with chopped tomato, part-skim mozzarella cheese, low fat yogurt (instead of sour cream), and salsa. I had some sweet potato ruffle chips (also from TJ’s) and corn chips on the side.

This was SO GOOD! I think the key to making this dish healthy is to load up on beans and skimp a little on the chips. The chips are great for a little crunch, and to satisfy the carb craving, but the beans are really what keeps you feeling full and satisfied. And low fat yogurt or sour cream gives you that hearty, creamy taste without all the fat.

And as long as you are eating chips, might as well go for the sweet potato ones and have some extra vitamins, right?

A perfect bite…

I’m sure you guys have made “nachos” at home- no big cooking revelation here- but t it really was so satisfying for me. So much better than going out for a big plate of Mexican food, and coming home feeling nauseous, bloated, gassy, and like you just gained 5 pounds in salt/ water retention. Sometimes it’s just not worth it!

Last night, I made the most yummy dinner- and it was really quick! Perfect for a weeknight meal.

I was in the mood for pasta, but I wanted to try something a little different. So I put together the following ingredients in my kitchen:

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Roll of polenta
  • Trader Joe’s “Giotti” canned tomato sauce
  • Goat’s milk gouda

I decided to combine all of these ingredients into mini eggplant/ polenta “lasagnas”- and they turned out really well!

I preheated my oven to 350, sliced up the eggplant, and cooked it in a pan (about 3 minutes each side) on medium heat with some EVOO, salt, and pepper. While the eggplant cooked, I sliced up the polenta. Then, I just stacked the soft eggplant and the slices of polenta (just 2 slices of both- didn’t want them to topple over!). I topped the “lasagnas” with the TJ’s sauce and a slice of yummy cheese on top.

I popped the whole thing in the oven, covered in aluminum foil, for 20 minutes. I took off the foil after 20 minutes and let it sit in the oven and bake for another 5.

And, VOILA!  A cheap, easy, and really tasty dinner!

If none of you have cooked with polenta in the past, I highly recommend it. It’s actually made of cornmeal, and you can find it in any supermarket these days, usually in the pasta aisle. I like to buy it pre-made in a roll (wrapped in plastic) which is easy to cut up and bake or pan fry. I was really happy with this version… as I don’t use recipes, I’m always happy when I play with ingredients and it works!

All of the flavors worked perfectly together. You could definitely play with the ingredients and add things like zucchini, peppers, fresh basil, a sharper cheese, etc. This dish is very forgiving! Especially if you have a great sauce (This TJ’s marinara is highly recommended by yours truly).

This dish also makes plenty of leftovers (if you are two hungry eaters, like we are). It made enough for 2 filling meals for both of us!

Hope you all give this a try at home. If you do, don’t be afraid to add new flavors and ingredients- and let me know how you like it!

Yes, I’ve Been Eating!

Hi guys! While I certainly haven’t been posting as much as usual, I have been taking pictures of some of my most delicious eats over the last week or so. There’s been some great meals! So let me share…

DINNERs

We’ve been low on groceries, I’ve tried to keep cooking…

First up, a simple and delicious meal: A tomato and cucumber salad with a warm tuna melt.

I just made the tuna salad, scooped it on some bread, topped it with some shredded Gouda and toasted it up! This is a Loren/ Kat favorite. And the cats always want some, too!

One night, when we were very low on groceries, I was proud of myself for putting together a healthy, veggie-filled meal from the pantry and my freezer. I combined some frozen chopped spinach with a big can of Trader Joe’s tomato sauce and some chickpeas. I just made some whole wheat angel hair pasta (the best kind of whole wheat pasta because it has a nice texture) and topped it with the sauce. I also made a green salad on the side.

YUM!

If you don’t like the texture of whole wheat pasta, and therefore don’t eat it, I highly recommend you try angel hair whole-wheat. You can find it at any grocery store.

But my favorite dinner that I’ve cooked in the last week was definitely wild salmon- baked in aluminum foil in covered with a sauce of olive oil, lemon, capers, and dijon grain mustard. In the oven for 22 minutes at 400.

And voilà, the best salmon EVER. And I cooked up some really easy veggies to have on the side: corn and haricot verts (fancy word for skinny string beans). They were so easy because I could just boil both vegetables (at different times) in the same pot.

And there you have it- a 20 minute meal. :)

BREAKFAST

These are some of my favorite breakfast as of late…

Apple/banana oatmeal.  I added half a chopped green apple and half a sliced banana to the oatmeal and let it all cook together for about seven minutes. I added lots of cinnamon and some maple syrup as well.

Then there was the “waffles benedict”- Yogurt, apple, apricot jam, and PB on whole wheat waffles!

SOOO good!

A simple sunny side up egg on toast. Little bit of cream cheese. Lots of hot sauce!

And my favorite breakie of all: today’s! Scooped out FRESH whole wheat-everything bagel with a little bit of chive cream cheese, capers, sliced tomato, and lox (smoked salmon).

Yes, I am a Jewish girl at heart. This is my people’s food! I’ve gotta love it- its in my blood. ;)

And that’s about it for the greatest as of late. I promise to try to post more regularly- please bare with me!

Today I am actually attempting a double workout- lets see how that goes. I swam for 30 minutes this morning and I am heading to a Novice/ Open pilates class. I’m excited- I really want to get into Pilates- seems so good for toning, stretching, and strengthening the body. And I found a great-looking studio right down the street! Love Brooklyn.

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