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Posts Tagged ‘almond butter’

HAPPY FRIDAY!

I hope everyone has fun and festive plans for Cinco de Mayo/the weekend! (incl. but not limited to raucous baking sessions)

Quick aside, did anyone else know that there is a stunningly beautiful plant called a Mexican Hat?

Get it?! I didn’t.

So I’m hoping you know what today is on my blog, but if not, I’ll give you a hint with this bangerang breakfast sandwich I had for lunch today:

Two over-medium fried eggs, muenster cheese and strawberry jam on a doughy Portuguese muffin. Try it to believe it.

Wow, you read ahead nailed it! It’s PROTEIN FRIDAY!

Yesterday, as I decided on the below for my newest treat, it dawned on me how integral of a role almonds play in my daily nutrition. I’ve wearied your eyes glorifying Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, they’ve been the key ingredient in four of my recipes thus far, and I’m just gettin’ warmed up!

For convenience, taste and ability to satiate, almonds are hands-down my No.1 go-to protein source.

Please take your sombreros off for today’s Protein Friday Star!

We charge by the hour.

ONE CUP OF WHOLE ALMONDS HAS THIRTY GRAMS OF PROTEIN

The daily protein requirement for women is 46 grams. I’d wager that between my homemade almond butter, my pb&j bars and snacking on them whole-roasted, I’ve consumed at least 1/2 – 2/3 cup of almonds every day this week. That’s around a third of my necessary daily intake!

Aside from their incredible protein power, almonds are tasty, gluten-free and extremely versatile. I love them in the buff, in butter form, and Almond Breeze almond milk is probably my favorite non-dairy beverage.

Just last night, I added another almond-based delight to my repertoire, in the form of Coconut Cherry Pie “Larabars”!

I count myself among the many LÄRABAR suckers fanatics, but I don’t enjoy shelling out almost $2/bar (cheapest I’ve found is $1.59 at Trader Joe’s).

Good thing I don’t need to! Most Larabar flavors contain less than five ingredients and several have less than three–facts which the evil Larabar geniuses display proudly on their website.

The umlaut gets them every time.

Yesterday I realized that I already had the ingredients in my pantry to make one of my favorite flavors, Cherry Pie!

This recipe is delicious and deliciously easy. I decided to add coconut for some extra healthy fat and texture, but I’m sure they’re fabulous without as well.

Coconut Cherry Pie “Larabars”

  • 1 1/4 cup Medjool Dates; pitted and chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup dried cherries (I use and adore the brand Kirkland)
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Process the dried cherries, dates and coconut until they turn into a semi-gooey paste–you want to maintain some small pieces of dried fruit. Empty the mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Now pulse your almonds into a course meal. Again, it’s nice to keep it a little chunky for texture. Don’t let it turn to flour! Empty your almonds into the bowl of dried fruit.  Knead the dried fruit and almonds together until combined and evenly distributed. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan to about 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes or overnight.  Invert the pan’s contents onto a cutting board and slice to desired size. Makes about a dozen bars, depending on your individual preference.

Coconut curveball + fresh ingredients + fatter wallet = LB 2.0

These taste exactly like store-bought Larabars, only better in my opinion ;). The scrumptious mixture of fiber, carbs and protein makes them a perfect pre or post-workout snack!

There are countless other ways to incorporate almonds into your diet:

  • Add a dollop of almond butter to your morning oatmeal or smoothie. Nuke some in the microwave or thin by mixing with a bit of milk and drizzle over cereal
  • Spread AB on toast,  fruit, crackers or raw veggies (swear it’s yum!).
  • Cup for cup, dairy milk has more protein than almond milk. However, if you’re like me and feel dubious about the majority of dairy milk distributed to our grocery stores and you enjoy the taste, go for almond or drink a mixture (like I do). Obviously, this is also a great alternative for those with a lactose-intolerance.
  • Use AB as a binder or chopped almonds as an ingredient in granola and granola bars.
  • Use as a crust in dessert/snack bars like my pb&j ones. Make them lemon; add some cocoa powder and create brownies–get creative!
  • Experiment with almond flour and almond meal in baked goods, which has a fabulously moist and dense texture
  • Toss raw almonds with a sweetener or oil of choice–something that coats/sticks–and cover raw almonds with a mixture of your favorite spices. Roast at 350 until slightly brown and fragrant.
  • Substitute coarsely-processed almonds for breadcrumbs in savory recipes
  • Don’t forget those conveniently pre-sliced almonds! I love them as a topping for salads, yogurt, pudding and ice cream.

For more almond inspiration, here are a few links you might wanna check out!

You can also read more about the killer nutritional benefits of almonds HERE.

I’d love to hear more from you guys, so feel free to leave a note in the comments section about your favorite way to eat almonds/almond butter.

Have a fantastic and safe Friday night!

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HAPPY HUMP DAY!

Today started off muucchh better than yesterday. I’ve been in an uber-good mood all day, as I have dinner plans tonight with my amazing friend Elissia!

I met Elissia at my current job, and we hit it off immediately! She’s beautiful, brilliant, and one of the most loyal friends people that I know. I’ve been lucky enough to see Elissia marry a wonderful guy AND give birth to an absurdly cute baby boy (as in I got updates, people).

Although scheduling time together can be tough, the Insta-Friends rule definitely applies to us, and we always pick up where we left off :).

Exciting -to-me news! This week I decided to begin participating in the healthy-living-blog phenomenon What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)!

WIAW was started by Jenn at Peas and Crayons as a weekly food diary, and it caught on like wildfire! In Jenn’s words:

“—-What WIAW isn’t about—-
Comparison – Judgement – Restriction – Guilt
—-What WIAW is about—-
Celebrating one of the glorious things we all have in common: We all eat!
WIAW is…about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself & others, embracing fruit & vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so much more <3″

Still curious? You can read about it here!

Although I already share some of my meals and snacks with you guys, I think it will still be fun to participate in the awesome collective spirit that is WIAW. Jenn also creates monthly WIAW challenges that I look forward to taking on!

Click on me to go straight to the WIAW site!

Woulda had this in the bag.

So let’s get to it!

Breakfast: Chobani plain Greek yogurt with Splenda, cinnamon and RIPE sliced banana; Whole Wheat English muffin with butter and a drizzle of honey

Breakout Butter Shot! Mmmmm

Lunch: Whole wheat toast with a heaping pile o’ cottage cheese, 1/2 sliced avocado, sprinkled with S and P; veggies tossed in balsamic, side of hummus

Ate me hoomus with the dregs of these yummy pretzels!

Dessert: First chunk of this chocolate bar from my Big-Girl Easter Basket!

If you know me BUT AT ALL, I keep a serious amount of sweets chocolate at home, in my desk, and on my person at all times. So I am just now getting to this guy on the waitlist! Verdict: Incredible! Chocolate tasty enough to stand alone, with a fabulous bonus crunch from the walnuts and chewiness from the banana. Would absolutely recommend.

Snack 1: Heavenly bowl of mixed fruit. I could live off of fresh fruit and dark chocolate.

Snack 2: Pretzels dipped in my Vanilla Maple Roasted Almond Butter! The sweet/salty combo is slammin’.

Mint tea with a splash of whole milk

Unexpected treat! Pepperidge Farm ‘Brussels’ cookie, leftover from a meeting! Love when that happens :).

I’m off to meet Elissia for dinner, but I will update this post with my final eats of of this WIAW tomorrow. (Edited to note: One of the great things about WIAW is its flexibility! Since Elissia and I ended up having such a yummy dinner with multiple plates, I’ll be continuing my WIAW goodies on tomorrow’s post.)

I want to leave you all with something that I recently read on Allie’s blog, Live Laught Eat, which I thought was remarkably well-said and accurate:

“If I’ve learned anything the past few years it’s that our bodies are incredibly smart. Care for it, exercise some patience with it and it will naturally do what it needs to do.”

Have a fantastic night!

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Hello again!

I just polished off a fantastic weekend visiting two of my dearest girlfriends in Richmond, VA!

My travel accommodations there and back left something to be desired, however, to say the very, very least.

Excited for a steal, I spent $50 to take the Apex bus roundtrip from Chinatown to VA. I’ve taken the Bolt Bus several times before to Washington, D.C., and I just assumed that Apex would be a similar experience…

It made an a*s out of…only me.

CATCH THESE AS I THROW ‘EM ATCHA: Potential roach infestation, duct-taped bathroom door, trash-covered, soda-sticky floor, blasted air conditioning…on an already cold bus, and the thick unmistakable scent of  stale, deeply fried food.

Needless to say, I cannot exactly recommend the Apex bus, except for the mere fact that it is an absurdly cheap way to travel, and it offered me the opportunity to meet some lovely folks! Amazing what you can learn about someone on an 8-hour bus ride.

Today I have a SUPER easy, why-didn’t-I-do-this-before recipe to share with you all! So easy that I whipped up a batch last night, after dragging myself and my rolly-suitcase through the subway post-bus adventure.

First things first though, some snapshots from my Richmond visit! I really was living in the moment this weekend and did not take a ton of photos, but hopefully the below will give you an idea of the fun we had!

Or the fun I had entertaining myself at the gas station rest stop. Go big or go back North.

Triple Threat to my eyes at 1 am on Friday–Berkley’s Beautiful Bed!

Kath’s boyfriend’s dog Maggie, who kept a rather loud night vigil slept in the room with me.

Bright and early Saturday–my first BARRE BURN class

There’s been serious buzz about Barre Burn recently, so I jumped at the opportunity to try it out with Kath and Berkley!

What is Barre Burn? “It’s a total body workout that slims your hips, tightens your thighs, lifts your seats and mobilizes your metabolism. Utilizing ballet movements, intelligent isometrics, challenges in rhythm, range of motion and progressive core training, your body heals, tightens, strengthens, so you look, feel and move better!”

VERDICT: I absolutely adored this class. Leaves your muscles screaming for mercy in the best way, without the intensity of most strength workouts. Equinox offers a few classes, and I am DEFINITELY adding it to my fitness routine!

You’d better believe it. Post-burn, Kath and I hit up the annual Richmond WOOFSTOCK Festival! This is an adorable event for a fantastic cause, and I’m so glad we stopped by to support it!

Gentle Giant–One of the many sweet pups up for adoption.

A kinship discovered.

Snack attack at Sweet Frog! Me: Vanilla,White Chocolate Macadamia nut and Cake Batter fro-yo, with Reese’s Cups, Snickers, coconut and peanut butter sauce. HIT THE SPOT.

Kath: Irish Mint and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, pound cake, raspberries, unrecognizable chocolatey goodness

Richmond dreamhouse-spotting

Afternoon delight with our friend Lacy  from UVA!  Manchego, goat cheese, crackers, champagne, a hand, antlers.

I didn’t snap any shots at Berkley’s engagement party out of respect for the betrothed couple, but it was a total blast! Replete with signature Mojitos,  famous local cupcakes, and an ADDICTIVE nut/cheese spread–Berks lemme know if you figure this one out!

Droolworthy leftovers from Sunday brunch at Kath’s boyfriend’s parents’ home (you with me?!). Everything was scratch-made and out of this world! Buttery cinnamon coffee cake pictured.

Chicken-salad comfort for the bus-riding soul.

The STAR of the brunch didn’t make it to my camera before my mouth, but I feel fairly certain that these homemade HAM BISCUITS were laced with the same ingredient as the nut/cheese spread.

Somethin’ like that.

Powered by an incredible meal and a potent combination of fear and revulsion, I said goodbye to Kathleen yesterday at 1 pm and boarded the Apex bus back to NYC.

8+ hours and multiple hand-washings later, I was back at my apartment NEEDING to make something fast and delicious to mask the odorous memories of my journey. I’ve been getting down to the wire on my  Justin’s Maple Almond Butter packets, previously praised here and here, and as I scoured my pantry I realized I had all of the ingredients to make my own!

 So I thanked the stanky-bus for inspiration and I didn’t look back!

MAPLE VANILLA ALMOND BUTTER

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups roasted almonds*
  • 1.5 tbs  maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (my stellar addition, not in Justin’s)

*NOTE: If you start with raw almonds, toss your almonds in maple syrup, and roast in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing once. Allow to cool completely after removing, and proceed with the rest of the instructions.

Process your almonds for about 5-7 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed until completely smooth.

Don’t be alarmed! For the first few minutes, it will clump up and rattle around like a hamster

Battle of wills.

Eventually, however, your FP should do its job and turn your nuts into a lovely, creamy consistency!

Hoosyerdaddy.

At this point, add the maple syrup, salt and vanilla extract and process again for another minute or so until ingredients are fully incorporated.

Makin’ magic.

Now sample your gorgeous nut butter straight-up, feel all become right with the world, and empty every last bit into a Tupperware container.

Owe you one.

I savored 2 tbs of mine this morning on a whole wheat English muffin, paired with cottage cheese that I mixed with strawberry jam and strawberries!

The warm scent of maple syrup made me feel like I was eating pancakes at work! Perfect way to lick my bus wounds start a Monday.

Much as I love Justin’s, it will run you a pretty penny, so I’m psyched to have created an equally-scrumptious homemade version.

I haven’t been able to get my baked Parmesan chicken tenders out of my head, and I have a TON of the cheese/breadcrumb mixture left, so I’m headed out to the grocery to pick up ingredients for a new batch!

Have a wonderful Monday night :).

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BACK IN NYC after a marvelous Easter break at home!!!

I hope everyone came out of their weekend with a yummy lil’ nugget of positive memories!

Don't say it. And don't judge a Yummy by its cover.

I was definitely a little blue as we headed towards the airport this morning. It’s always tough to say goodbye to my family and the Marshmallowfluffernutter.

I can't work with this woman.

Sorry, PUFF

That's better. Now feed me ham for eye contact.

My departure was bittersweet however; because not only did I get to return to my beloved NYC, I came back with some serious LOOT a Big Girl Easter Basket!!

Don’t misunderstand me–nothing is better than the traditional Cadbury/Peeps/”Nest” material that doesn’t seem to disentangle from your fingers/Plastic eggs with something in them?! Oh, it’s a jelly bean…

Alright, maybe I can think of a few better things. Which is why I was excited that this year I  didn’t get a traditional Easter basket.

[for real though moms out there everywhere, these baskets are bomb–then, now and always–thank you!]

Instead, this year my mama let me pick out some fun specialty items from the grocery store! AND I let me pick out some fun specialty items from the family pantry! That’s what I like to call TEAMWORK.

Behold, the fruits of our combined my efforts!

And another lesson learned in photography!

Starting from the bottom left and moving clockwise (you’ve got this):

  • Tuna packets. Glamorous, no. Fast, filling and keep forever? I’ll let that freak flag fly.
  • Extra Long Lasting Watermelon Gum; 2nd shout out to this amazing stuff
  • Ah, more Yummy nuggets! Unsulphured dried apricots.
  • Ak Mak Sesame Crackers; incredible crunch and sesame flavor; incredibly addicting
  • Whole Foods bulk bin Whole Wheat Fig Bars, a.k.a FIG NEWTONS FOR GROWN UPS. Nuff said.
  • Amazing Grass Amazing Meal “100% whole food nutrition mix” in Chocolate and Vanilla Chai: never tried it but heard great things; will report.
  • McCormick Almond Extract. Because it was unopened and Mom had an extra. So sue me.
  • Vosges Dark Chocolate with banana and walnut bits. New-to-me flavor. Will report but let’s be serious; how could that go wrong?
  • Publix Fruit and Nut Breakfast Bread. I probably can’t pass this sugary, good ole’ white-processed-flour loaf for healthy, but it’s doughy and delicious and reminds me of my sweet grandfather, which is ample reason for me :). Highly recommend if you live near a Publix!
  • Last but certainly not least: to-go packets of  JUSTIN’S MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER

Uh, can we highlight that again?

and Essie nail color Lilacism--get in the game

I decided that this product deserve a moment in the spotlight.

If you like almond butter, if you HATE almond butter and if you are simply neutral to it/have no earthly idea what almond butter is…

YOU.MUST.TRY.THIS.JAR.OF.LUV

Not only does it have an ingredient list as pure and unadulterated as its heavenly taste, but the founder of the company SELF-PROFESSES his love for this particular flavor on the side of the container.

It is a wee bit pricy, but if you are EVER in the mood to treat yourself to something that is healthy, wholesome but totally decadent tasting, consider this baby.

There’s one product that actually didn’t make it into the above picture, because I was using it in cahoots with my Justin’s jar all weekend 🙂

Great Harvest 9-Grain Bread. The healthy foil to my Publix Breakfast Bread.

I first heard about Great Harvest Bread Company through Kath’s blog, Kath Eats Real Food. This was one of the FIRST healthy living blogs I stumbled upon, and it caught my attention because Kath and her husband own a Great Harvest bakery in Charlottesville, VA, where I went to college.

For months, I watched with longing as Kath posted mouthwatering photos of steaming Great Harvest loaves, some oozing cheddar cheese, others swirled with cinnamon or studded with nuts. So when I spotted the brand at the Nashville Whole Foods last year, you’d better believe there was one on the checkout conveyor belt before mom could notice you can say teamwork!

And I couldn’t resist bringing the remainder of this weekend’s loaf back along with the rest of my prizes.

Remind me to tell you about the time I got stopped by Security coming back from Easter break one year and had to watch the security guard pull tuna packets out of my suitcase with his right hand, while holding a loaf of bread in his left.

I just smiled serenely.

I'm worth it.

Ok, I know I’ve shared a lot today. But I think I still owe a few of you something. The few of you that haven’t been able to concentrate on the rest of this post, because you’re stuck trying not to imagine to figure out what the uniformly-sized brown nuggets are in my first picture.

It’s time I put you at ease.

First, a caterpillar

My mom and I randomly snagged a pack of these slice-and-bake cookies as we made our way through Publix. We’d both heard of the Immaculate Baking Company and its commitment to premium, natural ingredients and baker convenience, and we were sold!

The whole family was HIGHLY dubious when we opened the plastic, dipped the ‘nugs in a small packet of sugar crystals (provided) and popped them in the oven with a prayer.

now a butterfly!

They were SCRUMPTIOUS! We wiped the nervous sweat off our brows and ate these chewy golden wonders with Hagen Daz Vanilla. I am definitely going to pick these up and other flavors when I need an easy dessert recipe!

He showed those 'nugs who's boss.

Apparently thumbs-ups run in the family.

I can’t be the only one…what do you put in your ‘Easter Basket’/ raid your parents’ pantry for when you’re home?

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Happy Easter!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend, no matter what you were celebrating!

I done good

I always look forward to my trips home to Nashville to be with my family on the holidays. This was a particularly poignant Easter for me, however; because in two weeks, this house is officially no longer ours.

The five of us have relished every year in this beautiful home, but with time has come different needs for our growing family, and we have found a house closer to the heart of Nashville that is much more practical for the future.

I knew all of this going into the weekend, and was worried that I would be too emotional–too caught up in the “last time”-ness of each ritual to to enjoy my weekend at home.

Breakfast: Frothy coffee; toasted fruit and nut bread smeared with almond butter; berry, spinach and yogurt smoothie

Lunch: Toasted multigrain, cherry preserves, melted gruyere, over-medium egg; arugula salad with reduced balsamic;....sneaky carrot with sea salt; chocolate avocado mousse as needed

Easter Dinner: Lamb chops with rosemary marinade; creamy mashed potatoes with peas and mint; bibb lettuce salad with feta, garden-grown asparagus and grapefruit

Ginger cookies and cocktails for dessert

But I realized something over the course of the day.

These aren’t really last anythings.

As long as I can remember, my family has sat down together for dinner on every single night possible. Those first memories didn’t take place in Nashville, however. They took place in Baltimore, MD, where I was born and spent the majority of my childhood.

Boy, did those firsts and lasts feel like mountains at age twelve. And boy, did I NEVER want to feel that sense of displacement again.

Thankfully, today carried not even the faintest hint of that sensation.

Because at age 26, as I watched and participated in my family’s pure joy–pure absorption in one another

And as we sat down together once again at the dinner table, so many years and rituals later after that wrenching move

I knew with a fill-up-your-lungs deep conviction that we’ll be taking everything precious with us when we go

Yes, that includes the bourbon.

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I’m back I’m back! You can let that breath out!

The reason I skipped posting yesterday is because…I had a DATE! Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

Whatever helps you sleep at night

Ok, maybe you didn’t miss me as much as I missed you :).

First, lemme quickly recap a few particularly tasty workday eats I had in the last two days:

For lunch yesterday, I ordered a lightened/modified version of one of my favorite sammies.

A delectable imposter

House-cooked, thinly sliced roast beef with lettuce and swiss on whole wheat bread. I ordered a side of Thousand Island Dressing and combined the two to recreate some of the flavors of the classic Reuben, without the usual coma-inducing side effects.

Today’s breakfast was a repeat from my first post, but in case you somehow (?!) missed it

Makin' a comeback

Toasted whole wheat English muffin, with 1tbs almond butter per half, topped with sliced banana and cinnamon. You can barely see my orange juice/seltzer combo vying for attention in the back right corner. I usually save that combo for special occasions/recycling guilt purposes, but I was craving it, and I’ve learned it’s never a good idea to ignore your cravings–for healthy OR unhealthy food (in moderation). If you want it that badly, your body probably needs something from it!

And then my lunch today was my own creation!

It's alive!

I initially ordered a salad for lunch, but when hunger time rolled around I decided I wanted something I could pick up and bite into, ya know? So, I rummaged around the work kitchen and found the perfect companions for the side of avocado that I’d ordered as well. Toasted multigrain bread, swiss cheese and hummus created the perfect little underbelly for my ‘cado. Lightly salted, heavily pepped (the way I roll!).

All three of these meals and their accompaniments were fantastic!

Onto the main event…

I decided when I began this blog that I would not go into too much detail about my dating/personal life, until someone comes along that really makes his presence unavoidable. This choice is out of respect for my suitors, assuming there is a potential that one of them will become a part of my life at some point, and I wouldn’t want them to have been publicly picked apart! As I will reiterate in my next post, I believe that one of the most important aspects of dating is being respectful of your date, no matter how you end up feeling about them (there ARE rare exceptions to this, and I may share an anonymous story or two eventually if you do your homework and eat your veggies).

So I won’t be pouring my heart out, but suffice it to say that last night was date # 2 with this particular human, and we had a lovely time :).What I WILL tell you about is the good stuff anyway–the food! I mean c’mon, we all know that one of the best part about dating is the free dinners (hey, I’m only human).

My date suggested The Mermaid Inn for this rendezvous, which I thought was a fabulous choice in our recently-defrosted city.

The Mermaid Inn is a well-known seafood restaurant in the hoppin’ East Village, with a dockside menu and several areas of outdoor seating that make you feel like you’re on a beach vacation (sighhhh).

Our choices for the evening included the following:

  • Lobster Knuckle “Escargot” with grilled country bread, parsley and garlic butter: I nodded enthusiastically when he ordered this, while my mind scrambled to figure out whether or not lobsters actually have knuckles and where they would be located if so.  I never  got my answer, but thankfully these rich, flavorful little morsels were delicious!

    How many lobsters does it take to make 6 knuckle-nuggets?

  • Roasted Local Skate with spring peas, organic baby carrots and carrot puree: I couldn’t find a picture of this, but despite the elementary school-style peas n’ carrots accoutrement, the piece of skate was tender, generously portioned and tasty.
  • Lastly, the famous Lobster Sandwich on a Griddled Bun with Old Bay Fries:

Mayo to meat ratio abuse

Nice attempt, but NO lobster sandwich can compare to Luke’s Lobster, a stone’s throw away in the East Village. Luke’s basically serves an entire heaping lobster’s worth of meat on each buttery, sweet hot dog bun, and will leave you contemplating in all seriousness whether or not the pimply high school kid who served you your slice of heaven has a girlfriend.

The fries were the salvation of this Mermaid Inn dish, but Old Bay could make my knuckles taste good, so not sure how much it truly compensates.

All in all, an enjoyable but not particularly memorable meal (foooood wise :)). I cannot say that I would recommend The Mermaid Inn solely based on its everyday menu, but it gets major points for ambiance during the warm months. And although I haven’t participated, a scan of their reviews revealed some AWESOME sounding specials:

  • 7 days a week, The Mermaid Inn has a “HAPPY HOUR“: 5:30-7:00 Monday through Thursday, 5:00-7:00 Friday through Sunday. During this time,  a selection of beer, wine and cocktails are offered at a solid discount. To accompany your beverage, East Coast oysters are $1, and they have a bar menu with delightful sounding snacks such as shrimp corndogs with creole mustard and coleslaw, and mini blackened tilapia tacos with avocado and smoked jalapeno. Yum!
  • Even BETTER, every Sunday they offer “LOBSTERPALOOZA“: $24 for a pound and a quarter lobster with grilled corn on the cob and red bliss potatoes.

As you might have noticed, I am a lobster FIEND, so I will definitely be trying the second option at some point!

I'm talkin' to YOU.

The best part about this night was simply sitting on the restaurant’s back patio amidst twinkling white lights, enjoying a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc and having a fantastic conversation. Can’t put a price on that!

And speaking of lights, my preparation for this date caused a MAJOR light bulb moment while I was getting ready that morning.  If you’re a single workin’ lady, you’ll wanna tune in for my next post!

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I had a minor case of the Mondays today.

5 more minutes puh-lease?

I’m usually a morning person–the earlier the better! But for some reason getting out of bed was ROUGH today.

Thankfully, work ended up being super busy and I was kept awake distracted by my project list.

I did manage to snap a few pictures of my breakfast and lunch, both of which were deeelicious today. Isn’t it amazing how looking forward to and enjoying your meals can truly enhance the quality of your day?

Breakfast was a toasted whole wheat English muffin (schmeared with a bit o’buttah),  a banana and one of my favorite combos–cottage cheese and jam!

Tastes like dessert!

Our firm orders the delectable Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves!

Purty

.

One day, I randomly added a dollop of this jam to some cottage cheese for a touch of sweetness, and you bet your bottom dollar…IT TASTES LIKE STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE. I actually haven’t tried it with other jam flavors, but I’m sure your favorite flavor would work just as well!

I poured my strawberry cheesecake mixture on the English muffin halves before digging in. YUM.

Lunch was another smashing success. I order this same egg salad sandwich on multigrain bread every week (it’s a Monday special) from a local deli on our Seamless menu. The egg tastes fresh, the bread is chewy and slightly sweet, and they use just enough mayo to bind the chopped eggs together. I personally don’t love the flavor of mayo on its own, but I don’t consider it an unhealthy ingredient when used in moderation. In cases such as this, I think it’s key.

Come to mama

No fancy additions, just good quality ingredients. I added a bowl of veggies drizzled with balsamic to round out the meal. After a few minutes of digestion, I enjoyed a hunk of Noi Sirius Pure Icelandic chocolate.

The rest of the day flew by and photos took a backseat! I stopped at the Graybar Equinox after work, intending to do a Cardio Kickbox class that I thought I saw on the schedule. Turns out, the class was taking place at another EQ location. Bummer! Instead, I completed this  30-minute incline treadmill workout, courtesy of Julie. Recently, I’ve tried to stay away from treadmills/running as much as possible, because I’ve noticed that it’s already taking a toll on my shins and knees. Intervals and inclines, however, are a great alternative when a treadmill is the most viable option (elliptical + a bumbling beanie = disaster) .

Onto the good stuff…

Yesterday, I made a WONDERFUL, MAGICAL mistake.

Yesterday morning, I discovered some pumpkin butter in the back of our fridge and mixed it with a bit of almond butter and cinnamon to use as a pancake topping. Post-breakfast, I couldn’t get the flavor out of my head, so I ignored the fact that the combo had a somewhat mealy, sticky texture, and I set out to make a large batch of Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter. I first whipped up some homemade pumpkin spice mix (<3)

Don't listen to the rumors. I belong in all seasons.

I used the following ratio:

  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

I then threw the following into my food processor:

  • 1.5 c almonds
  • 1/4 c pumpkin butter
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin spice mix
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (canola would work)

and I let that baby go!…and go…and go…

20 minutes of whirring and some alarming smoke fumes from my FP later, I admitted defeat–the mixture just would not smooth out into a luscious, nut-buttery texture. When I emptied it out of the processor, it practically thudded onto the countertop in one large, doughy chunk.

Disappointed, I deleted my pictures of the process (take THAT, failed recipe!), rolled the amorphous hunk into some Tupperware, and stuck it in the fridge to go lick my wounds.

Later that night, while rummaging around for something to satisfy my post-Furrito sweets craving, I noticed the TJ’s chocolate bar that I had found less-than-impressive on its own.

2nd String

IT HIT ME LIKE A MAC TRUCK.

Melt the chocolate, add some extra suga’ to it, and take advantage of the pumpkinalmondcreation’s ability to maintain it’s form by making Healthy Truffles!!!

I greedily took the Tupperware from time out the fridge and rolled the ‘dough’ into balls.

Please refrain from analogies.

I broke the chocolate bar into small pieces and melted it in the microwave–30 second intervals, stirring in between until ready.

To the melted choc, I added a generous tablespoon of honey and stirred. For the truffle coatings, I instantly knew I wanted to use a mixture of coconut flakes and cocoa powder. I poured a small bowl of each topping and set them near the melted chocolate.

Then, I just plopped each ball in the chocolate, lifted it out gently on top of a fork, rolled it in one of the toppings, and placed it on a mini baking sheet.

My food photo skills really shine here

I covered my pan of coated truffles with some saran wrap and placed it in the freezer. Twenty endless minutes later, the coating had hardened and it was time to taste…

Success!

Oh, my lordamerci. These Little-Engines-That-Could are OUT OF THIS WORLD. Not only are they outrageously tasty, they’re full of good fats and protein and taste so rich that you feel satisfied after one or two (please confirm, if you try the whole just-eating-one thing).

I shared them with my awesome roommate Carina, and she agreed that they’re phenomenal.

A Cinderella Story

On that note, I’ll leave you to bed and visions of truffles dancing in your head.

I won’t be posting tomorrow, for reasons that I will reveal on Wednesday :). Night night!

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