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Filtering by Tag: larabar

swiss chard, i think i love you


I am a BIG fan of leafy greens.  Collards, kale, mustard name it, I probably like it.  Except for swiss chard.  I've never been convinced of swiss chard.  Now to be fair, I haven't given it many chances.  I made a chard gratin many years ago with the stems and it turned out mushy and bland.  I sauteed the leaves and they were a little bitter.  And then I gave up because I already had a long-term relationship with collard greens and didn't really feel the need to rock the boat.   090126-d4 Last week I decided that maybe it was time to give chard another chance, in the name of trying new things and expanding my veggie-loving horizons.  I bought 2 bunches and planned to try preparing them using this recipe.  And then I got busy, and the chard went bad.  So on Saturday I bought another two bunches and made sure to plan a meal with them at the beginning of the week so that there wouldn't be a repeat of last week's waste.   090126-d3 We had a couple of ingredients in the fridge leftover from this weekend, bacon and heavy cream, two items I don't get to cook with very often in my quest to eat healthfully.  So, in the name of not wanting to waste more ingredients in my fridge, this recipe was born. Swiss Chard + Bacon Linguine with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce makes 4 servings Ingredients:
  • 1 pound swiss chard, preferably rainbow or red-stem
  • 1/4 pound bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8oz butternut squash puree'
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 pound whole wheat linguine
  • salt + pepper
  1. Wash chard and separate leaves from stems.  Course chop both, separately.
  2. Boil linguine for 10-12 minutes, until al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Fry bacon in large, nonstick skillet.  Set aside on paper towels.
  4. Saute' onion in nonstick skillet for 2 minutes, until translucent.  Add chard stems and saute' for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add 1/2 cup of water to pan along with chard leaves.  Cover with a cookie sheet and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes until stems are tender. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  5. Whisk squash and cream together over medium high heat.  Bring just to a boil then lower heat to simmer, whisking constantly.  As sauce thickens add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.
  6. Pile noodles on plate.  Drizzle with a bit of sauce.  Add chard mixture and crumble bacon on top.  Drizzle additional sauce across the chard.
090126-d5 This was really delicious.  Swiss chard and I are now good friends, and I think we have quite the future ahead of us... What vegetable have you tried in the past but written off because of an unpleasant first experience? 090126-d6 Ahh routine.  I LOVED spending so much time with friends this weekend and having an excuse to eat several meals out and drink lots of wine, but my body is thanking me for getting back on track.  I was starting to feel a little blah what with all the unhealthy eats, vino and lack of exercise due to a sore foot, so today was definitely a welcome change.  Granted, my dinner included a small amount of bacon and cream, but at least it was whole and homemade.  :) I started the morning off inspired by the custard oats I've seen pop up on both Sarah's and Heather's blogs.  These two ladies are really fabulous, and their blogs are daily reads of mine. Check them out if you haven't yet! Breakfast:  custard oats topped with cinnamon, flax seeds, dried figs and a PB spoon. 090126-b1 To make the custard oats I combined 1/2 cup soymilk, 1/2 cup water, 2 egg whites and 1 tsp vanilla in a small pot on the stovetop.  I set the heat way too high and walked away from the stove, resulting in a very smelly mess of boiled over milk and eggs.  Thank goodness for glass cooktops!  Yuck.  I didn't want to give up, so I quickly jumped back on Heather's blog to read that I was supposed to keep the heat on medium and whisk the ingredients constantly until they thicken a bit.  MUCH better.  At this point I added 1/2 cup of rolled oats and kept the heat on medium, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes.  After the oats had thickened quite a bit more, but were still a little runny, I removed the pot from the heat and covered it to allow for additional thickening while cooling. I topped my bowl with:
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 dried fig
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
The verdict?  Well, the oats were certainly very creamy, but I think I prefer the texture of my standard oats much better.  The banana doesn't cream-ify the oats quite as much, and lends such a wonderful sweetness to the whole bowl.  With the egg whites I kept thinking I could taste them, and worried about whether or not they were actually cooked.  Eggs freak me out a little. Don't judge.  :)  I'm glad that I tried them though, thanks ladies! Lunch:  the other 1/2 of my Amy's Curried Lentil Soup and a big salad.  Look familiar?  It was SO welcome. 090126-l1 090126-l3 This beauty contained:
  • spinach
  • red bell pepper
  • cucumber
  • hearts of palm
  • garbonzo beans
  • a tangelo
  • poppyseed dressing
YUM!  I finally remembered to take a picture of the dressing bottle for you too.  Its SO tasty, but definitely not low-cal.  Does anybody know of a good low-cal creamy poppyseed dressing?  I'd love to know about it!  I'm addicted to poppyseed dressing on top of fruit on top of salad. The bottle says that its good drizzled on fresh peaches...hmmmm.   090126-l2 Snack:  a peanut butter cookie larabar.  After witnessing several of my fellow bloggers ignore the salmonella scare and refuse to waste their favorite bars, I decided to do the same.  Its my favorite flavor, and I can't find them ANYWHERE (or at least can't remember where I found this one) so I decided to risk it. Probably stupid, huh?  It was tasty though!  :) 090126-s1 Ok, this post has been really long.  I'll quickly tell you that I didn't get a run in tonight because I had to work late, but my foot is feeling much better! There is still slight pain, so its probably best that I gave it another day before pounding the pavement.  I do have plans for some yoga tomorrow morning though, and I can't wait! Oh, and I almost forgot!  Look what was waiting for me when I got home tonight...Quaker True Delights bars from Foodbuzz!!! 090126-d2 I've been dying to try these new bars from Quaker since seeing them on Jenna's and Kath's blogs last fall, so of course I said YES when Foodbuzz asked if I wanted to try them!  Thanks Foodbuzz!!! The hubb and I split the dark raspberry almond flavor for dessert and it was SO good.  I think I'm in love with a new granola bar...move over Kashi!  :) Ok, now its bed time.  G'night!
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back to the grind for just one day


Can every work week be just one day long?  It was strange to get up this morning at 6am after two weeks of sleeping until 8am, but I managed.  Did anyone else have to work today?  I felt like I was the only one, even my one co-worker called in sick.  My boss was nice enough to tell me to go home at 4pm (we normally leave the office at 6pm), so I was able to run a few errands before picking up my hubb and heading home.  One of my errands involved an exciting new purchase which I am sure I will post about this weekend so you'll just have to wait...  :) Breakfast:  3/4 cup Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch cereal from Nature's Path with 3/4 cup Hemp Milk and 1/2 a banana sliced.  On the side, the other 1/2 banana with 1 tbsp almond butter. 081231-s1 I'm ready to use up this cereal.  Its good, but it has more calories per serving than I typically look for in a cereal and doesn't keep me full for very long.  I'm getting close...  The hemp milk is really good.  It is thinner than soymilk, and has a slightly sweeter flavor.  I still think that I prefer soymilk but the hemp is nice to keep around because it doesn't have to be refrigerated before opening.  Its my back-up milk. 090102-b11 Lunch:  Leftover black-eyed peas on brown rice and the last of the roasted veggies. 090102-l1 Mmmm.  Warm and satisfying.  Have I mentioned that my office is freezing?  Actually, we blast the heat, but I sit right by the really old and poorly-insulated windows that let every 35* draft in.  So one side of me sits in a sauna all day while the other side of me turns into an ice cube.  Its miserable, but my boss is working on getting the windows replaced so I'm trying to be a good sport.  There are some days when I never take off my wool winter coat and scarf all day long... Snacks:  I spread 2 clementines and a peanut butter cookie Larabar throughout the day.  I also had 3 brazil nuts and 2 mugs of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea (to try and thaw myself out). 090102-s2 Oh. My. Goodness.  Now I know why you all have been raving about the PB Cookie Larabars!!!  I couldn't find this particular flavor for the longest time, but while searching for some gifts the week before Christmas I happened to run into a store I don't visit often and found this beauty on their shelf.  It was amazing!!!  The only ingredients?  Dates and peanuts.  I'm in love.  I had every intention of eating just 1/2 the bar but couldn't stop once I started.  These could be really dangerous...luckily they are good for me! 090102-s1 Dinner:  Another bowl of black-eyed peas on brown rice.  Shockingly I haven't tired of these yet! Don't be surprised if you see a repeat tomorrow, but after that I'm freezing the remainder.  They'll make a great lunch in a couple of weeks. 090102-d21 I also made a big salad with romaine, spinach, cucumber, yellow bell pepp, green olives and feta cheese.  I added a glob of roasted garlic hummus on the side because it sounded tasty, and drizzled the salad with 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil and 1 tsp moscatel wine vinegar. 090102-d1 Dessert:  Our dear friend Kelly, whose husband Steve was the guest of honor at the New Years Eve Surprise Birthday Party we unfortunately had to miss, brought us a plate of leftover birthday cake today!  My biggest weakness in the whole culinary world is cake.  I LOVE CAKE.  Who doesn't?  Cake tops cookies, pies, brownies and ice cream on my list of favorite sweets.   090102-d3 I started off with just the 3 bites you see missing in the photo above.  I promptly put the plastic wrap back on the cake, slid it to the back of the kitchen counter and turned off the kitchen light as I went to the living room to join my hubb for some Friday night t.v. watchin'.  I thought I was safe.  Then, the hubb disappears to the kitchen and comes back with the plate of cake and a fork.  I was powerless to stop him from handing me the fork after every third bite of his.  I just can't help it.  We did scrape off most of the icing because it was too thick and sweet, so I feel slightly better about the whole thing.  But now I have mega motivation to get out the door tomorrow for a run.  :P Exercise:  Before dinner tonight I pulled out my favorite yoga DVD for 30 minutes of intense stretching.  I wouldn't call it a power yoga session because I wasn't sweating, but I was definitely working my whole body and feel so much better now for it.  It had been two weeks since my last yoga practice and I was really feeling the need to get back into it.  Afterwards I did 10 minutes of ab work in various positions.   Tomorrow is a long run day and I feel stretched and ready to go.  I'm nervous because my longest run in the last 3 weeks was 2-1/2 miles while in Florida.  Eek!  I didn't realize it had been that long since our 3-1/4 mile run.  Now I'm really nervous.  We were supposed to run a 5k on New Years Day but weren't up for it after all the traveling and dog sickness etc.  I think I'm going to plan on a 4 mile run tomorrow, a 4-1/2 mile run mid-week, along with a couple more shorter runs and then hopefully be back on track for the 5 mile run scheduled for next weekend.  Scary! Alrighty, I have a date with my hubb and a movie.  Anybody have any exciting plans for this weekend or are you all just recovering from the holidays like we are?
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french toast + marshmallows...


Happy Saturday bloggies!  I hope you've all had a wonderful first 1/2 of your weekend...mine was super-productive.  Sadly, the productivity did not include my training run.  :(  I've been bummed about it all day.  The hubb and I had the alarm set to go, but my honey was feeling under the weather so we postponed our long run 'till tomorrow.  I'm crossing my fingers that the ice they are predicting tonight will not happen so we won't be deterred again, especially since the hubb is feeling much better tonight.  :) Breakfast:  Instead of going for a run I made an indulgent breakfast, Eggnog French Toast with cranberry "ketchup".  Yummy!  No butter or syrup, just cran ketchup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 081120-b1 This was easy, I just combined:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
Whisk it all together, soak your bread in the mixture (I used whole wheat), and brown in a nonstick skillet until both sides are golden. For those of you that would like the cranberry "ketchup" recipe, leave me a comment on this post *letting me know specifically that you want it* and I'll email it to you.  Its SO GOOD!  You all will love it.  Erin let me know that the recipe is straight from a cookbook so we can't publish it because of copyright issues. After breakfast I rushed off to a morning hair appointment then ran crazy errands all day.  I think I visited nearly every single store in Charlottesville.  The traffic and crowds were insane!!!  I'm glad to have accomplished everything on my list today though so that I don't have to go back out in the madness tomorrow... Morning Snack:  I grabbed this while standing in a check-out lane at Target.  See what happens when you forget to pack your wind up with overly-indulgent Chocolate Drizzled goodness.  Its actually a tiny, one-portion bag...and I ate the whole thing. 081220-s2 Next time I'll remember my larabar... Lunch:  I never expected my errands today to take 6+ hours, so come 2:30 I was STARVING!  I stopped in my favorite gourmet specialty food store, Feast!, and grabbed a prepared sandwich.  No picture, I inhaled it far too quickly.  It consisted of local chevre, artichokes, arugula, sundried tomatoes and olive tapenade on a baguette.  I assure you, it was tasty. Afternoon Snack:  When I FINALLY got home I grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge...I'm still in clean-out mode and want to finish all perishables before we leave town on Tuesday.  I'm so very spoiled after discovering greek yogurt...this regular was way runnier than I like. 081220-s1 Dinner:  We needed something quick and easy.  The hubb ordered a pepperoni, onion and black olive pizza, of which I had two pieces minus the pepperoni and the crust.  I also made a leftovers salad with napa cabbage, broccoli slaw, celery, hearts of palm, alfalfa sprouts, dried cranberries and light ranch dressing. 081220-d1 And a glass of cabernet. 081220-d2 Oh!  While I was out and about today I found a few exciting things... 081220-larabars1 FINALLY!  The holiday-flavor Clif Bars, PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE Larabars, and a Cashew Cookie Larabar!!!  Yay!  Now I feel like I'm part of the club!  :) The hubb and I have been busy this evening with Christmas prep as is typical these days.  Here's one of our activities...Homemade Marshmallows!  They are going in gift boxes for friends and family.  I'll post more about them tomorrow when they are finished. marsh-1 Have a fabulous Sunday!
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leftovers and no-bakes!


Happy Wednesday!  Can you believe Thanksgiving was already one week ago?!?  Crazy.  I hope you have all had a fabulous day.  Thank you all for the great comments today and for being so supportive of my blog and decision to try one post a day...I think it will be better to keep the food diary consolidated into a summary each night.  I'll give it a trial period and see how it goes!  :)  I'm sorry I haven't been responding to comments...I need to play catch-up!!! My day was pretty busy, but not as busy as it really needed to be.  I've got a big meeting on Tuesday in Raleigh for my project, and just 2 weeks until a big big big deadline.  I'm not feeling the pressure yet which scares me...I'm afraid its going to mean some REALLY late nights at the end of this two weeks.  :(  I did have a fabulous run after work though! Brian and I went to UVA campus for a lovely 2 mile run.  It felt SO GOOD!!!  Brian's legs are much longer than mine so he gets ahead of me but is sweet enough to slow down and let me catch up.  We don't talk much, which I'm actually starting to like because it gives me time to get lost in my own thoughts.  I'm just so excited that running is becoming enjoyable for me again and that so far I seem to be steering clear of injury!  WooHoo!  I can't wait to keep increasing my mileage and run the New Year's Day 5k, it'll be here before I know it! On to food... Breakfast: Slice of Maple Banana Cornbread (still moist after 4 days!!!) with 1 tbsp almond butter, 1 cup of vanilla Oikos and my persimmon. 081203-b1 081203-b2 081203-b3 This was my first persimmon, and I was surprised at how sweet/mild the flavor was. I was expecting it to be much more tart. The flesh is very similar to a mango, and the skin (in my opinion) is inedible. I enjoyed it, but wound up picking it out of the yogurt to eat on its own. The yogurt overpowered the mild taste of the fruit. Lunch: I made a quick lima bean and corn salad (inspired from a Self recipe this summer...) and tossed it on a bed of spinach.
  • 3/4 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
This was such a yummy combo, the dressing from the salad coated the spinach leaves perfectly. 081203-l1 081203-l2 Snack:  Pink Lady Apple (of course!) and the other 1/2 of my Cinnamon Roll Larabar. 081203-s2 Dinner:  Leftover Healthified Baked Ziti and a spinach salad.  Look at that monster piece Brian cut me!  Its actually only 1.5 servings, and I managed to eat most of it...! 081203-d1 My salad tonight had fresh spinach, hearts of palm, red bell pepper, celery, almonds and light ranch dressing.  Yum! 081203-d2 Dessert:  I made cookies!!!  I've been in such a baking mood lately...  This is another of Brian's favorite recipes from his grandmother.  I did make a few modifications...I just can't help myself!!!  These cookies are so great and simple because they require NO BAKING!!!  They are completely similar to Gina's breakfast cookies but not quite as healthy...  I thought about adding banana to these but I just don't know that they would hold up well enough to actually be little bite-size cookies.  Plus, I didn't want to derail Brian too much...  :)  Anyway, they are still hardening (but seem to be taking awhile...hopefully my modifications didn't screw them up!!!) so I will snap some pictures tonight and post the recipe tomorrow if they turn out ok.  And if not, I'll post Brian's grandmothers original recipe because I KNOW they are delicious!!! Here they are hardening... 081203-d3 Oh little chocolate-y, peanut butter-y, oatmeal-y bites of goodness I could eat all of you!!!! What is your favorite family recipe?
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pumpkin oats and leftover veggies


This morning I decided to use the leftover pumpkin puree' in my fridge on my oats.  What a great combination!  I was inspired by Jenna's recent breakfasts, and will be using this combo again (probably tomorrow, to use up the rest of the pumpkin!) 081114-b1 Ingredients:
  • 1 cup prepared rolled oats
  • splash of Silk vanilla soymilk
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree'
  • 1 mashed banana
  • sprinkling of pom seeds
For lunch I packed up my leftover spaghetti squash and veggies.  I love when I have leftovers to pack for lunch, it makes my morning so much easier! 081114-l1 For snacks I have had a pink lady apple and a slice of banana apple bread...yum! 081114-s1 So, I skipped a couple of meal postings the last couple of days because they just weren't interesting and I was feeling stressed from being behind with the deadline and all.  But, a couple of things are definitely worth talking about... Product Review: Clif Z-Bar peanut butter flavor! 081113-s1 I LOVE these bars!!!  This is my second flavor, I tried the chocolate chip last weekend.  I think the chocolate chip is my favorite so far, but the peanut butter was REALLY good.  I had it as an afternoon snack anticipating that I would be going to spin class, which was canceled, but it held me over nicely until dinner was ready around 8pm.  It had great texture and flavor, very similar to a peanut butter cookie.  Those Clif people sure know what they are doing!  :) I can't wait to go to the store tomorrow and pick up a few more, especially since I scored some coupons out of the Whole Foods Whole Deal...definitely pick one up if you haven't yet. Coupons for practically every type of Clif Bar available and Stoneyfield coupons, along with some other good stuff. Product Review: Larabar cherry pie flavor! 081112-s4 I've been a long-time fan of Larabars, and cherry pie is one of my favorite flavors.  They are so wholesome and filling and always hit the spot.  I love the fruitiness of their fruit pie flavors, but I'm also really wanting to try come of the non-fruity flavors.   I've never been able to find the chocolate coconut, coconut cream pie or peanut butter cookie flavors, and I'm dying to try them!!! They are so hard to find... Have a great afternoon!  I'm trying out my BSI recipe excited!!!
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