Posts Tagged ‘Green Monster’

Great Sunday over here! First and foremost…I did laundry. End post. Day = success.

Well, there’s a bit more.

I left my apartment midday to meet my bestie/roomie Nellie in midtown, and we walked and gabbed our way to Bella Bridesmaid to pick up bridesmaids dresses for our friend Frances’ wedding!

Through thick and thin

Frances is one of our dearest friends, and her wedding will take place in the breathtaking North Carolina mountains late this summer. I have a bombardment of weddings this summer (they say it comes in tidal (?) waves), but along with my older brother’s wedding, I’m especially excited about this one!

This bridesmaids dress experience couldn’t have been further from the horror story ’27 Dresses’ stereotype. In true Frances fashion, the dresses are tasteful, beautiful and a fabulous color.

#1 Stunna

I think this is the color as well! I will absolutely wear this to other events…after the wedding :).

Before I left to meet Nellie, I had a orange and a cup o’ cottage cheese. Some people find the texture of cottage cheese off-putting, but I love the cold curdy stuff AND it is a fantastic source of protein!

Ok, so I have catfession to make. When I showed you a picture of my breakfast this morning, I purposefully moved this guy out of the picture.

“Beanie you are a fair-weather friend”

I noticed that my pictured already included my cat mug

And at first, I thought it was too early to share my inordinate love of cats with you…so I set the little man aside.

After some reflection, I changed my mind–might as well rip off the bandaid. So there you have it! I love all animals, but I LOVE cats! I’m not exactly sure why I prefer felines, but I think it’s because I truly respect their independence and how they make you work for their attention. There may or may not be other cat paraphernalia scattered around my room, but I think that’s plennntyy for now.

SO, you can imagine my excitement for this afternoon’s main event…my first volunteer orientation session at Animal Haven, a no-kill NYC shelter with a fantastic reputation!

I volunteered and then was hired as an adoption counselor at the Charlottesville SPCA my senior year of college, and it was far and away the most rewarding job I have ever had. I think my days at the CASPCA were some of my happiest to date. When I went through my recent breakup, I was determined to occupy my heart and my energy with something I love, and Animal Haven/volunteering came to mind. My future sister-in-law, whom I adore, applied with me, and we both showed up at at 3 pm today for our first orientation!

I had a quick turnaround time between Bella Bridesmaids and Animal Haven, so I whipped up another Green Monster for lunch. Same ingredient as yesterday’s GM, except this time I added a packet of Keurig instant coffee for the daily caffeine boost I’m addicted to I like to have.

I promise the straw is appropriately long for this cup

From the staff member’s orientation speech, the policies and procedures sound very similar to what I experienced at the CASPCA, which is a GREAT thing. Animal Haven appears to be an incredibly well-run and thorough organization, and I’m so pumped to become a part of it! I have one more orientation to attend 2 weekends from now, but then I’ll begin spending several hours there on Saturdays and Sundays with sweet baby angels like this guy

Is it nap time yet?

Whoops, sorry, that would be this year’s Westminster Dog Show footstool winner. JK Malachy, you killed it out there!


That’s more like it.

Bummer that I have to wait several more weeks to begin volunteering, but Idid get my nifty volunteer t-shirt!

My pillow fills it out quite nicely, don’t you think?

After orientation, I munched on a Kashi TLC Granola Bar and some almonds while I made my way through the drizzle to Trader Joe’s. My mission? Pick up ingredients for fajitas!!!

Actually, I prefer to call them Furritos, because I find the stigma that fajitas must be slender lil’ things and burritos can weigh more than an infant to be rather limiting. My ideal tortilla:filling ratio is somewhere in the middle, so Furrito is an more apt description.

Pre-my-ex-boyfriend, I was single in NYC for about two years, and I built up quite a repetoire  of “batch” recipes that I can make on a Sunday and have throughout the rest of the week. The keys to a successful Single Girl Recipe are cheap ingredients, easy preparation, fast preparation, and most importantly, yummy taste! These babies fulfill all of those requirements.


  • 1/2 bag TJs Fire-Roasted Corn
  • 2 large bell peppers (I used red because I prefer their flavor but any will do!)
  • 1 large purple onion
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained of extra salt
  • 1 package TJs Chicken-less “chicken” Strips or 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
  • Shredded cheese of choice–I used TJs Shredder Soy 3 Cheese blend
  • Salsa of choice–I used TJs Chipotle Salsa (great smoky flavor)
  • Tortillas–I used TJs Multigrain
  • Spices to taste
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt/sour Cream/Guac/lettuce–optional (or maybe not in your book and, fair enough)

I meant to get some Greek yogurt, which I love to use as a healthier replacement for sour cream, but the TJs mayhem had me a bit frazzled and I whiffed. I plan to get some after work tomorrow.

I munched on some more hummus and pretzels while preparing dinner. Can’t get enough of this combo!

First, I sliced up my peppers lengthwise and my onion crosswise. If you want to make this recipe super quickly, you can pan-saute your onions and peps in a little olive oil. Since I had some extra time, I preheated my oven to 450, tossed the veggies in OO and baked them for about 15-20 mins on aluminum foil-covered baking sheets. I pulled them out when the they were soft and the skin was a little black and blistery around the edges.

Feel the burn!

While those babies roasted, I rinsed and drained my can of black beans. This step isn’t necessary, but most canned legumes come soaked in salty liquid, and I think it’s important to cut down on sodium where possible.

The Chicken-Less Strips are precooked and don’t require any prep. I prefer organic chicken/meat to soy-based ‘meat’ products, but the good stuff is ‘spensive, the ingredients in these Strips are acceptable, and when they’re mixed up with the other goodies you really don’t notice a difference. Similarly, I opted for the Soy Cheese Blend tonight, but I prefer real cheese. In this case, I got the soy cheese because it lasts significantly longer in the fridge than dairy cheese, although I do enjoy the taste as well. I am flying home to Nashville for Easter this weekend (whee!!), and was worried that a whole bag of dairy cheese would spoil before I could finish it.

So, make sure you have all of your mise-en-place in order before the veg are done

Once your peps and onions are soft and caramelized from roasting in the oven (or from sauteing)

Coat a large, somewhat deep skillet with a bit more olive oil, turn to medium-heat and throw your beans, corn, chicken/soy chicken and roasted veggies in! At this point, I like to mess around with some spices. Tonight I added a dash of chili pepper, cayenne, a tiny bit of garlic salt, and a tiny bit of cinnamon (it works, I promise).

Simply stir the mixture until everything is heated through. Now wipe the sweat off your brow–the hard part’s over!

You can warm your tortillas in a low-heating skillet to soften them and wrap the ingredients up like normal fajitas. I luuurrveee the grill marks I get from my George Foreman, so I placed some cheese, salsa, hummus and filling in a cold tortilla, folded the left and right sides over the top, and sizzled it under George’s watchful eye for about a minute.

I drizzled some more cheese and salsa on top, and ate my Furritowith a mixed-green and veggie side salad.

I am telling you, these are freakin’ GOOD. Even with my money-conscious substitutions and missing Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream, it was absolutely delicious. And the best part is, this recipe makes an absurd amount of freezable food. This entire recipe cost me $15 (I already had the corn at home), and I’ll get at LEAST an entire work week’s worth (say that 10x fast) of dinners with the leftovers.

I also ended up making a shockingly delicious dessert tonight, but I’ll save that for another post. Don’t wanna spoil y’all so soon! For now, I bid you adieu with a full, happy belly and another cup of ginger tea!


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Despite the dreary weather, I’ve managed to have a lovely day so far! I snapped a photo on my walk to the subway–I don’t know what these flowers are called but they’re gorgeous. Any blossoms in early April set my heart aflutter with excitement for the coming Spring!

I met my friend Maria bright and early at Peels, one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city.

As a southern girl, I find the cozy ambiance and sophisticated spin on comfort food very aPEELing (see what I did there?).

The 2nd floor of Peels is basically my dream kitchen

Plus, everything I’ve tried there is delicious! For breakfast, I particularly love their Bircher Muesli: “Cider and Yogurt-Soaked Oats, fruit, toasted seeds.”  I adore ‘Overnight Oats‘, which I discovered through Kath’s blog, and this dish is basically an amped-up version of overnight oats. Each serving of thick, creamy oaty (Greek?) yogurt comes with two generous layers of of sunflower seeds, topped with a handful of seasonably-fresh fruit and a dollop of what must be house-made jam. This breakfast is surprisingly filling, and I find myself CRAVING it during the week. Re-creating this at home is on my to-do list!

My muesli today included a selection of citrus fruit slices and what tasted like a mixed-berry jam. SO good!

Maria ordered one of their signature ‘Build-A-Biscuits’ with eggs, sausage and cheddar. Also super yummy! I highly suggest hitting up Peels if you live in the city. Note: Reservations for Saturday and Sunday Brunch are taken only for parties of six of more guests.
Walk-in’s are encouraged at any time. They only seat complete parties on a first come, first serve basis (read–come early).

Maria and I had a great time catching up. We stayed at our table for a while after we were finished, which was clearly frustrating to our waitress. I generally think it’s rude when people abuse their right to stay at a table after a meal, but Maria and I rarely see each other and wanted to soak up every minute before she had to leave for work. We tipped well!

After Peels, I headed over to the Whole Foods in Union Square to pick up a bag of one of my favorite snacks–unsulphured dried apricots.

My understanding is that unsulphured dried apricots are simply dried apricots that have no additives whatsoever. The neon-orange (when is neon food ever a good thing?) ones that you usually see have had sulphites added to them that help preserve their color.

Less nutritious AND blinding

Not only are unsulphured apricots preservative-free, I personally think they taste a million times better. Unfortunately, the only place I’ve been able to find the ‘good ones’ is the bulk section at Whole Foods (Union Square and Chelsea locations, that I know of). I’ve stumbled upon one or two other health food stores that carry them, but they’ve been overly-dried and tough. The Whole Foods ones are large and juicy, just the way I like ’em! 🙂

While at WF, I also snagged a Poland Spring flavored sparkling water.

I LOVE flavored sparkling water/sparkling water in general and would drink it completely in place of still water if I could afford it. WF sells these babies for 79c each, which seems like a pretty good deal to me, so I usually treat myself to them when I’m there. My fave flavor is the Raspberry Lime, pictured above, but today’s selection was slim pickins’ so I had a Mandarin Orange. Still tasty.

I decided to stay at WF and read for a while before heading uptown. I’m currently reading An Island at the Center of the World, which is fascinating so far. I will post more on this book when I’ve finished it!

I headed home around noon, tummy grumbling for lunch, and I made myself an fab-u-lous Green Monster Smoothie.

Using frozen bananas gives it that thick, spoonable texture

I just recently got on the Green Monster train and I’m never looking back. I like my veggies, but let’s be honest–I’d take a peanut butter banana smoothie over them any day.  Now I can have the best of both worlds! You TRULY CANNOT taste the spinach, I promise.

Today’s Green Monster included:

  • 1 scoop banana-flavored Spirutein (a plant-based protein powder that tastes great and comes in a variety of flavors)
  • 1 tbs Trader Joe’s chunky peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana, pre-cut, peeled and baggied to make life easier
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 c Fage plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs flax meal
  • 3 ice cubes
  • dash of cinnamon
  • several LARGE handfuls of spinach

Then I just stuffed it all in my shoddy but still kickin’ $20 Hamilton Beach Blender and blended away! I cannot get enough of these smoothies, honestly, despite the chilly weather. I may or may not have gotten under the covers to take this one down…

I also tried a few pieces of a Trader Joe’s chocolate bar that I picked up last weekend. Unlike the other chocolate products I’ve tried from TJs, this one was disappointing :(.


Still ate the portion I broke off (hello chocolate is chocolate), but might try to find a recipe to use the rest of the bar in, since it’s not great on its own. I am, however, a huge fan of  TJs 72% Dark Chocolate Pound Plus bar.


Now I’m off to run some errands, get in a little cardio and get ready for dinner tonight with my friend Christina! We’re going to Bareburger, which gets rave reviews. A really good burger is definitely a top five savory meal for me, but I am picky about them. Look forward to seeing how Bareburger stacks up!

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

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