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Baking Win

12 Dec

It’s sad to think that my first Christmas baking project may also be my last.  I just hadn’t gotten around to making any goodies until today and I’m leaving town in a week so I can’t make any promises about there being more to come.  Plus, I always feel like I should be putting my time and resources into healthier cooking projects.  Today’s baking was a bit of a compromise.  I have been dying to make my favorite Chocolate Crinkle cookies but I also needed to make a gift for someone who specifically requested “no chocolate”.  Apparently she just can’t control herself around the stuff 🙂  So I made biscotti, not what I’d consider a health food but it is low fat and packed with nutritious dried fruit and nuts.  The recipe come from Leite’s Culinaria website and was recently featured in The Kitchn’s fig recipe roundup (which has lots of other amazing ideas, btw).  The biscotti turned out beautifully and really weren’t that hard to make.  Also, they were so good that I’ve been completely spoiling my dinner with them since they came out of the oven.  I need to remember to save some for gift-giving!


School’s Out

11 Dec

I have successfully completed my final prerequisite course for nursing school!  Chemistry was so hard for me in high school but for some reason, between then and now, my brain decided that it all made sense and so this class that I’ve been dreading turned out to be a breeze.  I got up early to take my exam and the celebrated with a hot shower and a green smoothie.  The ingredients only cost me $4.17 and I have plenty for 2 smoothies:

Today’s smoothie was really good!  The granny smith apple made it nice and tart and the ginger added an extra layer of complexity.  Also, since all the ingredients were either green or neutral-colored, the final product was gorgeous.

Smoothie of the Day

– 2 collard leaves

– a generous handful of spinach

– a little bit of fresh ginger

– 1 banana

– 1 granny smith apple

– water and ice


Going for Broke

11 Dec

It’s that time of year again.  The time of holiday travel airfare, Christmas gift shopping, and realizing that you don’t have enough money in your daily budget buy any groceries.  Which means that it is also pantry cleaning time!  I had plans to make some appetizing and healthy smoothies and appetizing and unhealthy cookies to share this weekend, but I’m putting all that off until my bank account has a chance to recover from the joys of Christmas.  Dinner tonight is Tuna Mac.  A can of tuna and a box of mac prepared according to the directions (I used sour cream instead of butter because I was out) yields one dinner and leftovers.

9 Dec

Smoothie of the Day

– a leaf of kale

– a stalk of celery

– 5 baby carrots

– 1 banana

– 1/3 c blueberries

– soymilk

– 2 Tbs hemp protein



– 1 can chickpeas, drained

– 2 Tbs tahini (or sesame seeds)

– 1 small clove of garlic

– 1 Tbs olive oil

– 1 Tbs lemon juice

– 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

– 1/2 tsp cumin

– a pinch of cayenne

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until creamy.  For me, it worked best to let the blender run slowly for a few minutes, rather than cranking up the speed to high.

Christmas Shopping

7 Dec

I have to take a moment to congratulate myself here…I successfully completed shopping for my family’s Chrismas presents today!  For a girl who usually waits until December 23rd to pick some gifts and then hastily wraps them in whatever tissue paper she can find on Christmas morning, this is pretty darn impressive.  I have to admit that part of the reason I’m being so good this year is that I won’t get to spend the holidays with my family and I’ll have to make sure to get the gifts in the mail within the next few days.  Nonetheless, I’m feeling pretty smug here with the results of my morning shopping laid out before me.  Here’s what I got:

for Dad – 2 good pairs of REI hiking socks and some good jam

for Mom – 4 cute little bottles of different fancy salts along with information and cooking recommendations for each.  The salesgirl at The Meadow was very helpful for picking these out and I ended up with Sel Gris de Guarande, Marlbourough Flakey, Pinot Noir salt, and Lemon Flake salt.

for Sis – 2 great-looking cookbooks for beginners/people who just don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on dinner.  The are The Vegetarian Student Cookbook and Mollie Katzen’s Get Cooking.  I am jealous.

Vegetarian Chili


– 1 Tbs oil

– 1 small onion, chopped

– 1 Tbs oregano

– 1 tsp cumin

– 1 tsp salt

– 2 stalks celery, chopped

– 1 green pepper, chopped

– 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

– 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

– 2 Tbs chili powder

– 1 cup frozen corn, thawed

– sour cream (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot and stir in onions, cumin, oregano, and salt.  Once the onions have softened, add the celery and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, beans, and  chili powder and simmer for 45 minutes.  About 10 minutes before it’s done, add the corn.  Top with sour cream in serving bowls, if desired.

Restaurant Review: Equinox

5 Dec

Portland is a brunch-obsessed city.  I often see people standing out in the cold for up to an hour for the privilege of being served scrambled eggs at their neighborhood brunch hot-spots.  Sometimes I’m one of them.  Usually, though, Jeremy and I go to our regular place in the Mississippi District, Equinox.  I really don’t know why this place doesn’t get the same crowds as other brunch restaurants of similar quality.  Perhaps it’s just because it’s half a block away from the main drag of Mississippi Street.  Regardless, our wait time is usually minimal, the service is good, and the food is consistently delicious.  Their menu consists of classic scrambles and benedicts alongside more unusual dishes like the Chilaquiles.  We’ve gone there for brunch perhaps a dozen times and I’ve always left happy.  Today I had the tofu scramble, which included spinach, roasted garlic, and avocado.  The tofu wasn’t as soft and was a bit more fried that I would normally like for a scramble, but the vegetables more than made up for it.  They serve Stumptown coffee and whether you prefer a side salad or their brunch potatoes, you can’t go wrong.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that they have a gorgeous (dog-friendly) patio for the summer months.  Here is a copy of their brunch menu, which they offer on the weekends.

5 Dec

Food and Exercise Diary

9am – english muffin with butter and jam

12pm – green smoothie of the day: an orange, blueberries, kale, almond, coconut water and hemp protein (this was not as good as yesterday’s smoothies)

12:45pm – workout, with a 5 minute warm-up and stretching cool-down

2:15pm – a big ol’ piece of  Zuzana’s banana nut-cake (recipe below) and kombucha

Dinner-time to bedtime – green chile chicken enchiladas cooked by Jeremy, red wine, raw chocolate, and some popcorn…oh, and then a Pop-tart

So, not really my best day.  But there’s always tomorrow!

Zuzana’s Banana Nut-Cake

This recipe is adapted from Zuzana Light’s on  The original post is here but she doesn’t write much out for us, so I’m writing what I did here.  It seems to be pretty high in protein and so I think of it as more of a Clif-type protein bar instead of traditional banana bread.


– 1.5 cups lowfat cottage cheese

– 1 very ripe banana

– 1 egg

– 2 handfuls rolled oats

– 2 handfuls walnuts

– 1 handful raisins

– 2-3 servings vanilla protein powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×9 baking dish.  In a blender, blend cottage cheese, egg, and banana until creamy.  Food process the rest of the ingredients into a coarse flour.  Mix wet and dry ingredients together, spread in baking dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

* Note, my end result was not quite sweet enough for me and so I think that next time I might want to use 2 ripe bananas instead of one.  As you can see, it’s not as if this recipe is super-finicky anyway.