Monday, March 31, 2008

Warm Beet, Bibb, and Bacon Salad

Beets were the star of dinner tonight! I have never, ever cooked beets from scratch... actually, I semi-panicked yesterday when I purchased them at the grocery store. I had no clue how to even begin preparing them for a meal. The beets that I ate as a kid always came from a can! 

Tonight's recipe was from a recent addition of Bon Appetite magazine. (I received a subscription as an engagement gift, but I have barely taken advantage of the wonderful and creative recipes. However, a couple of them will make their debut on the blog this week!) The Warm Beet, Bibb, and Bacon Salad came out excellent-- even Mal liked it! I pretty much followed the recipe, but I ended up doing a few things a little differently-- instead of bibb, I substituted romaine lettuce, and I sprinkled a bit of feta on top. The combination of beets, bacon, and feta was dynamic and very satisfying. The recipe says it makes 4-6 servings, but it ended up making just 3 for us-- one for Mal, one for me, and one for my lunch tomorrow. 

Warm Beet, Bibb, and Bacon Salad

Here are the raw beets, which needed to be scrubbed clean and then peeled. Peeling beets is a messy process! When I was finished peeling them, bright pink beet juice covered our cutting board, counter tops, and my fingers, which luckily cleaned right up. Despite the mess, I'm glad that I decided to give raw beets a try-- it was a fun way to enjoy new flavors and nutrients. 

The big salad from above...

For dessert, I enjoyed 2 Lindt chocolate truffles. Only one is pictured because I just went back for a second while mid-post. :)

My afternoon snack was a mug of peppermint tea and a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana slices. I loaded on the peanut butter, which definitely kept me satisfied for a few hours. 

Leftovers on a Small Plate

Lunch today was leftovers from last night's dinner: a piece of buffalo chicken pizza and asparagus... reheated in the office microwave and served on a very small plate. The pizza and asparagus just barely fit together on it. Unfortunately, the asparagus lost some of its "freshness" when it was reheated, but the pizza made up for it... it was just as tasty as it was last night.

Following lunch, I had 2 Lindt milk chocolate Lindor Truffles. Mmm... creamy, smooth chocolate center... so delicious! Lindt is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) brands of chocolate.

Buffalo chicken pizza, asparagus, and 2 Lindt chocolate truffles squished on a plate...

New Widget

Like Kath, I decided to add a Recent Comment widget to my blog-- check out the left sidebar. I think it will help keep track of new comments as they are posted.

Final Day of March

I'm so happy that today is the final day of March, which means that Spring (hopefully) is right around the corner. Tomorrow, I think we will actually get a glimpse of warm weather-- it's supposed to reach a high of 60! :)

I woke up in the mood for something besides oatmeal/bulgar/oat bran, so I made a 1-egg omelet, which I ate with a buttered English muffin and orange slices. Breakfast filled me up, but I felt like I wanted something else to eat, so I grabbed a handful of dates before I left our apartment... maybe I just have a weird date addiction!?

All together... The orange slices were incredibly juicy and sweet!

English muffin: 100
1/2 tbsp Olivio: 40
1 egg: 75
Orange: 85
7 dates: 150
Breakfast total: 450


A few weeks ago, I was selected to be a Featured Publisher on Foodbuzz, the first-ever community site devoted exclusively to food and dining content, and an unparalleled resource for searching, surfing and sharing with fellow foodies everywhere. (You probably have already noticed the various Foodbuzz icons on my blog, especially the big ad in the sidebar.) In the mail this weekend, I received my own "Carrots and Cake" business cards, each of which has a different food design on the back. They're so cute-- just had to share!

Please feel free to check out Foodbuzz! There is such a vast amount of information on the website-- including content about dining out, cooking at home, swapping recipes, restaurant openings, discovering new flavors, drooling over a food blog, dishing about new blog posts, cookbooks, videos, recipes, and menus.

Stonyfield Recall

Just a quick FYI...

Stonyfield Announces Voluntary Recall of Select Blueberry Cups
Affects 6-Ounce Fat Free Blueberry Yogurts

More info:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Catch-Up

Mal and I have plans to relax and watch a movie, so I need to make tonight's post quick. He has ants in his pants about starting the movie soon, so we're not up too late watching it. 

Lunch this afternoon was 1/2 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Ezekiel bread with some kiwi slices on the side. I realize that this is a pretty small lunch, but I had just finished a workout and I couldn't stomach a big meal... and I made up the calories later! 

A couple hours after eating lunch, I decided to splurge on one of those cake-shaped cookies that we received at the wedding band event on Friday. I had planned to eat just 1/2 of the cookie, but ended up eating the whole thing! I've decided that frosting, especially on cookies, is my kryptonite! I am helpless! 

I enjoyed a mug of Yogi Peppermint Tea with my cookie. I'm down to my last couple of bags of Tazo Refresh tea, and the Yogi tea was on sale this week, so I decided to give it a try. The Yogi tea is wonderful-- just as good as the Tazo Refresh tea... and it's a couple bucks cheaper! A little while after having my cookie and tea, I munched on an apple to hold me over until dinner. 

Dinner tonight was Mal's brain child: Buffalo Chicken Pizza. We sauteed a chicken breast, cut it into chunks, and then coated it with Buffalo sauce. We prepared the store-bought pizza dough with sauce and shredded mozzarella, and then topped it with the Buffalo chicken chunks. We cooked it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, and viola-- Buffalo Chicken Pizza! The Buffalo sauce gave the pizza quite a kick

Buffalo chicken cheesiness...

Two slices of pizza with sauteed garlic asparagus...

For dessert: dark chocolate Peanut M&Ms (from Easter)...

My serving of Peanut M&M's was about 1/4 cup...

Movie time! Good night! 

Sunday Morning & Saturday Night

I'm off to a slow start after a late evening out on the town with the girls. Sunday morning breakfast was bulgar with sliced banana. I ate while reading the Sunday paper and drinking iced coffee (with milk and Splenda).

I tried to zoom-in on the banana pieces, but you can't really see them. The banana added a lot of flavor to the bulgar; no need for sugar-free maple syrup today!

Saturday Night

It was so, so, so wonderful getting together with my college girlfriends last night! We had a lot to celebrate-- a recent engagement, a new job, and a trip to China! The evening started at our friend, Mary Kate's house, where we had drinks and tons of yummy appetizers, including mini pizzas, grilled veggies, tiny bean tacos, and pita chips with a Greek dip of veggies and feta. It was quite the spread! Of course, I tried everything... and even went back for seconds of a couple things.

My friend, Sara, who just got engaged, and me at Mary Kate's condo.

After eating, drinking, and being merry, we jumped in a couple of cabs and headed to Sanctuary for dinner and more drinks! To start, the eight of us ordered a round of martinis. I ordered the Wild Orchid martini-- from the menu: "A burst of Raspberry and Blackberry flavors combined with a champagne float Featuring Vox Raspberry Vodka & Chambord." It was absolutely delicious... and looked so pretty when it arrived!

Wild Orchid Martini

After ordering our drinks, we went around the table and each said something that we wanted to celebrate, and then toasted as a group. It was great seeing everyone so happy! We were all pretty stuffed from the food at Mary's Kate's place, so we decided to split a few appetizers. We ordered nachos, spinach dip, and a peanut chicken dish. The nachos were placed at my end of the table (and are my favorite), so I picked at those while sipping my martini and chatting.

My second martini was a cosmo with champagne. I forget the name, and I can't find it on the Sanctuary website menu, but it was delicious too! Here's a shot of a few of us with our fancy martinis! The night was a such last! I can't wait to do it again soon!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Review

Buuuussssyyy day! I've been running around like crazy, but accomplishing a lot. Here's a recap of Friday...

My day started with a bowl of bulgar with dates. Nothing exciting to report about this meal, but bulgar is still by far my favorite breakfast! Love it!

Around noon, I had breakfast for lunch: an open-face egg sandwich with swiss cheese. (I later added Tabasco sauce.) I used one of my uncle's fresh eggs to make my sandwich. I didn't notice much of a difference in taste, but the color was a much more vibrant yellow. Interesting, right?

I also ate 1/2 of a grapefruit for lunch. I thought I was a pink grapefruit kind of girl, but I like the regular ones just as much.

All together... egg and cheese sandwich and 1/2 grapefruit.

My afternoon snack was a small apple (sorry no photo) and 5 or 6 carob spirulina chunks.

And for the big news of the day... Mal and I picked out our wedding bands this evening! We attended a special wedding band event for engaged couples at Long's Jeweler's, where my engagement ring was purchased. We had such a blast picking out our bands! I chose a sparkley shared-prong band, and Mal chose a brushed band with polished edges. The funny thing-- Mal's band cost more than mine! He is so high maintenance! :)

In addition to the many gorgeous wedding bands, the event also had vendors, prizes, raffles, and a cake tasting! I wasn't hungry, but I'm not one to turn down cake... ever. I chose a piece of carrot cake with the most amazing frosting ever-- it was wonderfully rich and thick. I almost ate the whole piece, but quit with about 1/3 left.

To celebrate our newly purchased rings, Mal and I decided to celebrate with dinner and a drink. Mal was in the mood for chicken fingers, so we ended up at Chilli's... not my first choice restaurant, but I do love bar food! Mal and I ordered an appetizer sampler to share. Here's a shot of my plate... buffalo chicken tenders, Mexican egg rolls, and a couple carrot sticks and celery.

I also had a glass of wine with dinner. I can't believe I even ordered (and drank) this after my booze-filled Thursday night.

At the wedding band event, the cake vendor gave Mal and I each 2 cookies. The cookies are so cute-- shortbread decorated with pink and white frosting, shaped as little wedding cakes.

Even after all of that junk food for dinner, I ate the first two layers from one of the cake cookies. It was delicious, but I need to get myself back on track. I hardly ate any fresh produce today, and I've had trouble making nutritious decisions lately. I feel like I need a kick in the butt! 

I'm exhausted from the day, so I am climbing into bed very soon. Bright and early tomorrow morning, Mal and I have our Pre-Cana Marriage Preparation course, which runs the entire day (9-5). We are probably the worst Catholics ever, but I am actually looking forward to it. As soon as we finish Pre-Cana, I am meeting some college girlfriends for a "Ladies Night," so I probably won't squeeze in a post until Sunday morning. I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday! Good night! :)

Wagamama's and The Sevens

Last night was FUN! The evening started with a little shopping at Banana Republic (I bought 2 shirts and a pair of pants) then meeting up with Mal and our friend, Jon at Wagamama's for dinner. Wagamama's was everything that I expected and more! I loved everything about it-- the food, drinks, menu selection, atmosphere, seating style, even our waiter. I got to try a number of new foods too, which I always enjoy. Such a cool place! I already want to go back!

For dinner, I ordered the miso soup, which was served with Japanese-style pickles. The colorful pickles were similar to regular pickles, but with a soy sauce flavor.

While we were waiting for Jon to arrive, Mal and I ordered a couple of cocktails. Mal had a Sam Adams (you can see his beer in the background), and I ordered the plum wine, a sweet wine served with sparkling water and ice. I don't usually like super sweet drinks, so I wasn't sure if I would like it, but our waiter insisted that I give it a try. He was right; the plum wine was delicious and refreshing!

Mal and I both ordered gyoza (dumplings). He ordered the duck gyoza; I ordered the yasai gyoza (veggie). When the ordered arrived, Mal downed 3 dumplings before we realized that he was eating my veggie order. (He was really hungry, and I was preoccupied taking photos.) We ended up sharing our gyoza, so I had a few of both kinds. The cherry hoi-sin sauce was out of this world! It was so rich and flavorful, but not at all like that overwhelming "fake" cherry flavor. It was so tasty-- I'm surprised that I didn't lick every last ounce from the bowl!

With dinner, I also ordered a glass of Chardonnay. The wine glasses are branded with the Wagamama's logo... kind of cool.

After dinner, the three of us went to my old roommate's fundraiser at The Sevens in Beacon Hill. She is raising money for a charity that is sponsoring her to run the Boston Marathon next month. I'm so excited for her! She's been very dedicated to her training, so I am sure she will do great! I'd love to run Boston, but I don't think my old lady hips would make it 26.2 miles. :(

I saw a bunch of friends at the fundraiser, including my other old roommate, Kelly (left), who I haven't seen in months. It was so great to catch up with her! I think we will start hanging out more often again. (We made tentative plans for next week!) It's so nice to reconnect with old friends.

At The Sevens, I drank 3 UFOs (with orange slices), which is a summer beer, and you know what that means! :) I'm definitely a little hungover today, but I had a great time last night. I'll just have to balance out last night with healthy eating and exercise this weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Almost Over

Work flew by today! I can't believe it's also time to leave! (Not that I am complaining!) I'm excited to catch up with friends and eat good food tonight!

So, my photos are a little out of order this afternoon. Sorry about that... I'm not sure what I did.

My snack this afternoon was a piece of toast with peanut butter and an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. FYI-- now that the weather is getting nice, you will see a lot of Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee in the blog! It is my favorite warm weather treat... in addition to mojitos! :)

Lunch today was a big ol' salad-- half homemade, half from HSPH's salad bar. We had some veggies in our fridge for a salad, but not enough to make a meal.

From home, I brought this salad with lettuce, onion, green peppers, tomato, and black beans...

...and then picked up some "fun" additions from the salad bar... broccoli, feta cheese, beets, chicken breast, artichokes, wasabi peas, jalapeƱos, and a piece of very pink grapefruit.

All together... a wonderful lunch with a variety of flavor and nutrients. This baby filled me up! I couldn't even finish it!

There's always room for sweet snacks, so about an hour after eating my salad, I also had some dates and 2 carob spirulina chunks. Mmmm...

And here's a shot of my iced coffee from my afternoon snack... delish!

For dinner, we are meeting friends at Wagamama's, which I've been wanting to try for awhile now. (I think I even mentioned it in a previous post.) Wagamama's is a chain of Asian-inspired noodle restaurants, and the two locations in Boston are relatively new. I hear that the food is really, really great, and fairly priced. I love trying new restaurants! I checked out the menu online, and everything sounds delicious! Please let me know if you have any recommendations!

Is it really Thursday?

Does it feel like Friday to anyone else? Isn't it strange how that happens sometimes? I have a half day of work tomorrow, and my boss is out today, so I suppose that would make it feel like a Friday, right? :)

I slept in again this morning, but for a good reason: I wanted to blow dry my hair! I usually leave the house with sopping wet (sometimes half dry) hair, which ends up in either a ponytail, twist with a clip, or bun/messiness with a headband. (I know, I should probably try a little harder!) Blowing drying my hair takes at least an extra 30 minutes in the morning, especially if I want it to look good, so I don't often take the time to do it. I'm meeting friends for dinner tonight then going to a fundraiser, so I wanted to make myself look "presentable."

Breakfast this morning was bulgar with hemp milk. By the way, hemp milk is the key to soft and creamy bulgar-- using just water makes it more couscous-like. I also sliced-up a kiwi to enjoy with my bulgar, and ate a piece of banana bread before I left my apartment.

At work, I made a soy milk misto. This is my absolute favorite coffee drink, and my "go-to" at Starbucks! :)

It's only 11:30, and I already want lunch!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Experimental Banana Bread

It was such a gorgeous evening when I got off the T-- I decided to keep walking past my apartment building and stroll around the neighborhood. I walked for about 30 minutes while listening to my ipod. I really enjoyed the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. We need more spring days like this in Boston ASAP!

Mal went to dinner with his father, so it was just me tonight. I whipped up a salad with black beans, which I ate along side a serving of cheddar cheese pretzel sandwiches.

These cheese-filled pretzels are Mal's pick, but of course, I don't mind eating some....

Three very ripe bananas on our kitchen counter were just waiting to be baked into banana bread tonight. I don't have a "go-to" recipe for banana bread, and it is pretty tough to mess up, so I decided to experiment! I wrote down the recipe as I added ingredients, so I have typed it below. My banana bread actually turned out pretty darn good-- very moist with a nice banana-y flavor. I only wish that I had added walnuts... we didn't have any, but next time, walnuts are a necessity!

"Experimental" Banana Bread

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't add these, but next time I will)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients together and mix well (until smooth).
2. Coat loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray, and pour mixture into pan.
3. Bake for approximately 45-55 minutes or until loaf is completely cooked through.

Makes 8 pieces, approximately 250 calories.