7 mile walk around DC

Today I went on a very pleasant walk.  On this walk, I saw…

The front of a house with no house!:

pic10A funny sign:


A flea market that made me feel like I was in Oakland:


Ben’s Chili Bowl (I must go sometime! Is there ever a short line?? I guess waiting in line is part of the experience. Sissy, want to go when you visit?):


Some neat graffiti:

 pic4And an adorable chocolate and coffee shop.  Too bad (or good thing!) my tree nut allergy prevented me from trying any chocolate.  They had bacon flavored chocolate!

pic9pic72pic6In the future, I will definitely be doing more DC exploring to get my exercise in!


Yes, in my usual fashion, I am copying my sister.  But, I was super excited to try making my own Lara bars – especially since my free supply (via Chris’s work) ended.  I stopped by Trader Joe’s to get dates, dried cranberries, and candied ginger (–I went with the least expensive dried fruits). I already had oats, pecans, crunch fruit, and cocoa powder.  Below I photo-document the process. The end result: so good! I had the basic dates-cranberries-oats-pecans and it had intense flavor like the cherry Lara bar but with a little crunch. I am curious how they will be after refrigeration. 

Before picture:


I started by pre-grinding the oats, although toward the end it occurred to me that might not be neccessary. Next I cut my dates in half and took out the seed. Then I was ready to blend. 

For each bar, I measured ~33 g dates and the rest cranberries or ginger. I dumped that in and chopped for while.  Then I measured 5-13 g ground oats plus pecans/crunch fruit up to 20 g, added it in, and ch0pped some more.  

Chopped dates, before mixing with dry ingredients.


After processing.


Ready to be pressed into a bar. I didn’t have wax paper so I used parchment paper, which worked well.


The finished products!


After picture. I don’t think I was quite as messy as Liz because I used fewer ingredients. Also, my dates were just past their printed date, so I suspect they were a bit drier than hers – because I didn’t end up with date juice everywhere.


p.s. By using this chopper twice in a month, it may mean I have to keep it after all.

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!

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. 

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)

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)

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.