Back to the basic + EcoEd Thursdays

June 17, 2010 § 9 Comments

I’m in a swell mood today, folks, mainly because I got to leave the lab at 5:15pm! It’s supposedly a 9-5 job, but somehow it turned out to be more like 9-6, sometimes 9-7, and one incident of 9-8:45.

Anyhooz, after yesterday’s divine eats for breakfast, my cravings did a 180 this morning and I went for the basics. Sometimes a simple breakfast can be as glorious, if not more, than an elaborate one.

A grapefruit. Hah, like that’s gonna keep me full for the next 4 (5? or maybe 6?) hours.

A toasted Ezekiel cinnamon-raisin English muffin, topped with PB2 and raspberry preserves. I cut up half of the grapefruit (hello! long time no EAT!) to go with some cottage cheese (topped with more raspberry preserves).

Oh, forgot about my daily Teeccino.

Taa-daa! Oohh and you can see the steam from my “coffee”! 🙂

And of course, no mornings are complete without this face!

This was yummilicious, and surprisingly held me for the next 4.5 hours. I usually need a snack 2.5-3 hrs after my brekkie, especially this past week when I was always hungry. Was it high amounts of fiber, or the satiating all natural plant protein in the English muffin? Either way, I need to get some more Ezekiel stuff.

After reading Julie’s post last night, I was craving some fried eggs myself. I thought, why not incorporate it into lunch tomorrow? And a bagelwich was born, created by cinnamon spice alternative bagels, arugula, basil, Laughing Cow Light French Onion Cheese,  a fried egg, and a squirt of ketchup. Who would have thought fresh basil tastes oh-so-good in a sandwich? Especially with cheese & egg? I did not provide a picture here because 1)I forgot to snap some shots of it when I finished making them last night, and 2) they were already in the most unpresentable, unphotogenic (is that a word?) state when I opened my sandwich package. But I believe you’re all creative people, so use your imaginations 🙂

I was excited about getting off from work early today, but was more excited about the dinner I’ve been daydreaming about while in lab (I am certainly not a model scientist!). I bathed some gigantic portabello mushrooms last night in balsamic and olive oil, but wasn’t sure where to go from there. A burger? A salad? Burger? Salad?

Salad.

Mainly because I enjoyed the Portabello Cobb Salad so much that I wanted to recreate it. So after work I stepped on the gas and accelerated home (within speed limit of course! :-)), chopped up veggies, did some sizzlin’, roastin’, seasonin’, and dinner was on the table.

The salad menu: arugula, tomatoes, chopped celery, roasted eggplants, roasted zucchini, roasted red peppers, sauteed onions, chopped hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and of course the star, portabello mushrooms. I dressed the salad in some salt + pepper, and doused it with more balsamic + olive oil combo.

I realized the salad wasn’t picture-perfect, i.e., the ingredients were not placed in a “pretty” manner. I just kind of threw all the veggies onto the plate one after the other. At least it’s presentable right? 🙂

~~~

So I’ve been dreaming about this idea for a couple of weeks now: EcoEd Thursdays. I grew up in a fairly environmentally-conscious country and family, and ever since my becoming a yoga enthusiast 4 years ago and a vegetarian almost 2 years ago, my awareness for the environment has jumped up several notches.

Despite the fact that all who are hanging out in the food blog community are die-hard foodies and will probably never get bored of reading, writing, dreaming about food, I feel like blogs still need some variety. Hopefully, I’ll have enough topics racked up in my brain to keep y’all entertained for a good while.

So, without further adieu, the first post of EcoEd Thursdays……(drum roll)……

PLASTIC BAGS VS TOTE BAGS!

If there are any patriots out there, please do not be offended by what I have to say next. But for a “developed country,” the United States does the most horrible job at raising awareness for recycling. Look at your local grocery stores, they put 3 items in a flimsy plastic bag and call that “packed.” It’s no surprise that a regular weekly grocery run would end you up with 10 more plastic bags.


And what do your average Americans do to these bags? Directly. into. the. trash. No second thoughts about how they might possibly be able to reuse them for their next store run, or at least recycle.

Taiwan, on the other hand, sets great examples in my opinion. What’s Taiwan compared to the great United States of America? A measly island that nobody cares about (I get the “Is it part of Thailand?” wayyyy too much). And if they do care, it’s always about China vs. Taiwan. Or the same old argument saying that Taiwan is part of China. Sorry, getting off topic.

Back to the business about plastic bags, in Taiwan you have to buy plastic bags if you go to the store. This encourages people to bring their own reusable bags or tote bags. However, unlike the flimsy plastic bags that can’t even hold the smallest weight in the gym without tearing up, the plastic bags in Taiwan are made out of some durable stuff! Heck, you can put 5 bottles of 1-liter sodas and you’ll still be fine.

According to this website:

  • The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, which requires approximately 12 million barrels of oil to make that many plastic bags
  • Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food
  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store
  • Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. The bag will pay for itself if your grocery store offers a $.05 or $.10 credit per bag for bringing your own bags

So next time you hit up the store, remember to bring your own reusable or tote bags! Even when I go clothes shopping, I carry my own tote bags and just ask them to put the clothes in there. Think of how many lives you’ll be saving, especially now that the numbers of marine animals are plummeting due to the oil spill. What a tragedy 😦

~~~

That concludes my first EcoEd post. I don’t really have a detailed route as to what direction these posts will go, but I am open to any suggestions you guys have!

I am outz! TGIF tomorrow! 😀

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+ What’s your favorite “basic” breakfast?

Dessert for breakfast

June 16, 2010 § 15 Comments

I love it when breakfasts taste like dessert, and my day started out just so.

A Brandi-inspired banana split oatmeal sundae. My banana kind of fell apart when I was trying to slit it down the middle, so I tried to cover up the ugliness with loads of oats and yogurt. I smeared one half of the banana with sunflower butter, and the other half with raspberry jam. Then I topped it with 1/4 cup oats cooked in water and a dash of salt. Now, here’s the impulsive thing I did this morning. I spiked my oats with a few drops of almond extract. It. smelled. heavenly. It gave the oats such a refreshing taste to it too! For extra creaminess, I layered some homemade Greek yogurt on top of the oats, adorned with fresh blackberries and April’s protein brownie batter.

And of course there’s cinnamon. Lots and lots of it. In my world, there’s no such thing as too much cinnamon. I think I ❤ cinnamon almost as much as I ❤ dark chocolate.

Going along with the almond theme, I made myself a huge cup of Teeccino Herbal Coffee–Amaretto style.

Actually, I have this almost every morning. I’m not a huge coffee drinker (I try to stay caffeine-free), and when I do, I go for decaf. Of course there are those days where I just need that extra boost of mental power, but I usually opt for tea.

I do like coffee, that is, when it is loaded with milk and spices and a dash of sweetener. I was very excited when I discovered Teeccino a couple of years ago at my local grocery store, and all their flavors have not disappoint me yet. Here’s a long blurb from their website:

Every cup of Teeccino is brimming with nutritious health benefits that are naturally released during brewing from Teeccino’s herbs, grains, fruits and nuts. These nutrients are quickly absorbable from brewed Teeccino because the nutrients are suspended in liquid so digestion isn’t needed to remove them from fiber.In many ways, Teeccino rebalances the negative effects of coffee. For instance, Teeccino is excellent for people with digestive health conditions because it is non-acidic and contains the prebiotic, inulin. Inulin is a soluble fiber from chicory root that supports a healthy population of beneficial digestive flora, so necessary for good digestive health.

Coffee, on the other hand, is highly acidic and along with its caffeine content, coffee can over-stimulate the digestive tract aggravating health problems for people with gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux and IBS.

Another example is heart health. Teeccino provides two heart-healthy nutrients, potassium, an electrolyte mineral, and soluble fiber. Potassium helps prevent strokes and high blood pressure. Soluble fiber lowers total cholesterol. Drinking several cups of Teeccino daily provides nutrients that support good cardiovascular health.

Caffeine, however, is a central nervous stimulant that makes the heart beat faster and can increase blood pressure. Coffee drinking has been shown to increase blood pressure in sensitive individuals. Caffeine’s effect on heart beats can stress the heart in people who have heart conditions. Decaf coffee has been shown to raise cholesterol and produce the “jitters” even though it has less caffeine than regular coffee.

Energy is the reason why many people drink coffee. With Teeccino, people experience an energy boost that comes from nutrients, not stimulants like caffeine. A cup of Teeccino keeps energy steady and balanced, but won’t provide that spike and subsequent crash that you can experience from too much coffee. Although many people drink coffee to get “energy”, they are really putting themselves in a state called “flight or fight syndrome”, which is a stress response that triggers alertness along with a host of stress reactions throughout the body. Getting off of the caffeine rollercoaster ride of sudden highs followed by lows in energy is one of the benefits of drinking Teeccino!

There’s also that thing about caffeine negating the absorption of nutrients, and hence I typically try to stay away from coffee while consuming a meal. Getting back to the point, I really recommend Teeccino to everyone!

Ironically, I couldn’t help myself but grab an overpriced cup of joe during my lunch break today, the decaf course.

Tall decaf skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Again, going with the cinnamon trend. Oh, why did I wait so long to try you? I’ve been sticking to the plain vanilla lattes for too long!

I also had a bite of thinkThin Chocolate-Covered Strawberry bar to go along with the coffee.

My thoughts? 😦 I thought they would at least have dried strawberries in there! Instead, there was a funky strawberry taste.

Well guess what. Today was yet another long day in ze lab. Seriously, 10+ hours a day? I feel like I need a break in the middle of the week! I’ve also been resortin to uber unhealthy eating because I stay so late in the lab. Constant snackage when I got a minute to spare, and going for the high carb/high fat/high sugar grubs. E.g., cookies. 😦

I also haven’t been cooking as much since I always return home tired, grumpy, hungry, and not wanting to stand any longer in the kitchen having been on my feet for the entire day already.  Tonight I again went for the easy stuff for dinner: frozen meals.

Amy’s Indian Palak Paneer and Mattar Paneer.

These are quite tastey and not as bad as other frozen meals but I’d rather eat freshly prepared food.

At least I made a smoothie in my Buddha Bowl:

What went in the blender: (made 2 huge portions)

  • 1 whole frozen sliced banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup kefir
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • splash of H2O
  • a handful of ice cubes
  • Amazing Grass Chocolate Infusion

This felt soooo refreshing after a long day of work!

With that, I will leave you guys pondering over this:

Tell me if you have any brilliant interpretation of this! 😀

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