Archive for January, 2009

BEFORE! (Here’s all the ingredients I bought – or already had – for the project!)


My basic method was 40 grams of dates + 30-ish grams of dry ingredients in food processor (i.e. oats, dried fruits, coconut, etc) plus sometimes sunflower seeds or chocolate chips.

13109-009And here’s my kitchen counter AFTER!

13109-011In fact, I’m surprised my camera is still working because there’s so much sticky date juice all over it.

I made 10 bars, each with a different combination of ingredients.  I hope they’re good – I’ll let you know!


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Over winter break, I discovered I was  allergic to cashews and some other tree nuts.  I have an official allergy test appointment next week, so I will have more information then.  In the mean time, I have been very careful to avoid obvious sources of nuts and pretty careful to avoid the less-obvious sources (candy, ice cream, cereal, granola bars, etc)

I’m currently having a mild allergic reaction (don’t worry, I just took medicine).  I very carefully tracked everything I ate in the last 36 hours.  I ate only food I prepared, all with safe ingredients, as far as I knew.  I just looked at the labels of the ingredients to the cookies I just made, and learned that Trader Joe’s “pure” vanilla extract is processed in a facility with tree nuts and organic unsweetened baking chocolate may contain traces of tree nuts.  Oh, and in my oatmeal this morning I had a splash of said vanilla and Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie spice (processed in a facility with tree nuts).  So it must have been one of these three products.  I thought those warnings were more for legal reasons???

I almost threw away the cookies and all the ingredients, but I decided to take them to school tomorrow to give them away.  
Also, I am finding websites that list nut allergy-safe products, like McCormick vanilla, because none of their facilities process nuts, so that is good.
Now I might walk to the grocery store to get McCormick vanilla and try to find some safe chocolate and remake my cookies. Scratch that, it’s too cold and icy. 

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snowy lunch

Afternoon classes were canceled due to 2 inches of snow (!), so I got to come home and arrange my packed lunch on a real plate.


This chicken salad and avocado wrap was amazing! (I made up the chicken salad recipe using what I had in my fridge – chicken, apples, red onions, plain greek yogurt, S&P, relish, and ground mustard)

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Inauguration Day Snacks

12709-004(except I ended up leaving out the banana and carrots because they didn’t fit into my regulation size bag, which wasn’t even checked because I hopped over a gate to get on the mall)

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It probably is.  This week, I thought I had found the BEST frozen burritos at Trader Joe’s with shockingly few calories: the “Beef and Green Chile” burritos.  It is a 2-pack of burritos, and the package claimed that one burrito only had 190 calories.  


I was in disbelief as I was eating it, because it was so delicious, but if the nutrition label says so, it’s true, right?


Wrong!!  Yesterday I went back to Trader Joe’s and looked very carefully at all of the labels, and noticed that the similar chicken and veggie burritos had 350 calories per burrito, so I became suspicious. Lo and behold, my sister went to a TJ’s on the West Coast, and the Beef and Green Chile Burritos she found have 190 calories per HALF of a burrito!  

I’m not suprised that it has that many calories, but I am dismayed that my Trader Joe’s is lying to me!  Lesson learned: if a calorie content seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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This semester I will be spending more time at Chris’s apartment, meaning more opportunities to plan to eat well. Yesterday morning I walked to the grocery store to get whole milk and bread for Chris (because the store is next to the dentist) and get a few things for me. I ended up leaving with pears, apples, bananas, strawberries, bell peppers, mushrooms, salad, yogurt,  and cottage cheese plus the bread and milk (all for $23 -my first grocery purchase for this week). With these I items I knew I would be able to supplement  the usual non-perishables in Chris’s pantry and the items I had brought from my apt to his. 

Lunch yesterday: scrambled eggs with sauteed bell pepper, onion, mushroom, and cheese, 2 small tortillas (I brought from home), stawberries, and an orange (brought from home). I also gave strawberries and oranges to Chris (he is the worst for eating fresh fruit and veggies).


Dinner: salad with feta (from home) and balsamic vinaigrette (from fridge). I was going to have soup (from home) but decided a sandwich would be better.  I put together grilled cheese, turkey, and barbecue sauce with lettuce – all from the fridge. (Total calories: 481).

Breakfast: cottage cheese, pear, half a banana, and cinnamon toast crunch. I know the CTC is not as good for me as, say, oatmeal or Kashi cereal – but grain is grain. Surprisingly to me, the sweetness of the pears actually covered the sweetness of the CTC, but CTC provided a very nice crunch.


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new year salsa

This is a variation on a New Years Salad I made several years ago.  It seems to be more of a crowd favorite than Hoppin’ John would be.


(Side note from Wikipedia – info about Hoppin’ John and: “Many regional variants exist, including “Hoppin’ Juan,” which substitutes Cuban black beans for black-eyed peas, and the Brazilian dish Feijoada (fay-shwaa-da), which uses black turtle beans instead of black-eyed peas.”)

I used black eyed peas (of course!), canned corn, roma tomatoes, red onion, green pepper, garlic, lime, and cilantro.


I forgot jalapeño so it was a little bland and I added cumin. I have one of those mini chopper/grinder things and used it for the first time for the tomatoes, onions, and green pepper. It would have made a very diced salsa, but I like larger pieces.  Considering this was the first time since last year I used the chopper (last christmas, to grind almonds for an cookie), I don’t know if I will take it next time I move.

A mandoline, though, might be more useful.

(Another side note: Rachel Ray is known for her 30 minute meal tips, including the “GB” (garbage bowl). My accessory of choice is the Garbage Bag – the produce bag – which makes a perfect counter-top disposal after washing the vegetable and putting what I don’t use in a ziplock in the fridge.)


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