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A review. Sort of.

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Clearly, not a photograph taken by me

I would like to talk about this bar.  Can I talk about this bar?

This morning, on the way to the gym, I was hungry.  I’m usually hungry, pretty much at all times, but this morning I was the kind of hungry that would have impaired what was already sure to be an extremely weak effort on the treadmill.  So I stopped into a bodega and considered my options.  There were Z Bars, which we all know I love.  There were Larabars, and Balance bars, and Clif bars.  There were also Kashi Crunchy bars, which is what I would usually get (Chocolate Pretzel, seriously.  Amazing).  But I decided that today, I would branch out and purchase this bar, a Gnu Foods Chocolate Brownie Bar.

Since I know you probably didn’t click on that link, I am going to tell you how Gnu Foods has chosen to describe this bar:

Gnu Bars are wonderfully moist, chewy and delicious. Chocolate Brownie is rich with cocoa and yummy chocolate morsels.

Moist?

Absolutely not.  Cardboard, more like.

Chewy?

Okay.  Maybe chewy.  But not in a good way.  In a “oh my god, I don’t know if I can swallow this” way.  In fact, I only ate two bites.  And like I said, I was hungry.

Delicious?

I don’t think I need to comment.

Rich with cocoa?

Uh, no.  Not at all. I am actually personally offended that they named this after a brownie.

Yummy chocolate morsels?

Again, no.  I think they left these out of mine.

Do you get what I’m saying here?  Bad.  Really bad.  Worse, perhaps, than the Pure Protein bar I tried a few weeks ago.  Although, I would like to give Gnu props because as far as I noticed – granted, this was at 6am and it was dark outside – this bar did not have any warning messages about side effects involving a laxative effect.  So, you know.  That’s a plus.  It is also entirely natural, which is another plus.

Did I get a bad bar?  Are they all that bad?  Because some of these Brooklyn bodegas can be a little sketchy, I’ll admit.  The thing could’ve been hanging around for a while.   This is why I usually keep an emergency Z Bar in my gym bag.

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The lesser chip

If you’ve read this blog more than a few times, you probably know how much I love Sun Chips.  I talk about them a lot.  I mean a LOT.

That linking took me forever.  I hope you appreciated it.

Anyway, my point is, I really like them, but Chris likes them more.  He will buy a bag on the weekend and it will be gone in about two days.  And then to rectify the situation – and life without Sun Chips is in fact a situation – he will go to the grocery store on his lunch break and buy another bag, as often as necessary, so that we always, always have them on hand.

It’s kind of a problem.  I mean, I know.  They have 18 grams of whole grains.  They are low in sodium.  They don’t have cholesterol or trans fats.  In fact, they have 30% less fat than potato chips. They can, apparently, make you a healthier you.

But let’s face it, really.  The things are basically glorified Doritos.  We were going through three bags of Doritos a week.

Not good.  So I had to put my foot down.  And Chris agreed with me, despite the fact that for two weeks, he continued to bring home “my good-bye bag, I promise.”  Finally, together we selected a replacement chip:

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And it is a lesser chip, by any stretch of the imagination.  For starters, there is no cheese.  No cheese!  Like Sun Chips, they are low sodium, but let me tell you, with these guys, you can tell.

But that’s kind of the point.  This chip does not make me want to eat it.  It doesn’t whisper to me through the cabinet.  I truly can eat just one, and in most cases, I don’t even want that one.  I had a few with my sandwich today for lunch, and I actually put some back in the bag because I didn’t want them.  That never, never happened with Sun Chips.

More soup

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We have a soup problem, I think.  Back on solid food next time, I promise.

Over the weekend I dragged Chris through Williams-Sonoma because I had a gift certificate and I basically spent it on all food.  The most exciting thing was Sarabeth’s strawberry raspberry preserves, which I have of course been eating on bread like a civilized person.

No.  I eat it out of the jar with a spoon.  It’s a problem.

The other exciting thing was a red curry base.  I have tried many, many times to make curry, and I always fail.  I am not good at it.  But this stuff looked pretty idiot proof, and I’ve really been wanting to try to make a coconut curry soup after I saw this recipe.

Here’s my version:

  • 2 cans of lite coconut milk (I used this brand, which was actually the best lite one I’ve ever had)
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 – 4 T red curry base
  • 1 cup milk (I actually used almond milk)
  • 1/2 T red curry paste
  • 1 scallion
  • A ton of cilantro
  • 10 – 12 medium shrimp, chopped
  • 3 cups of frozen corn (or more, just add as much as you want.  I didn’t really measure)
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the leeks into thin ribbons and cook them in a little olive oil.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute, then add the coconut milk, regular milk and corn.  If your shrimp is cooked and frozen, you can add it now, too (if it’s fresh, I’d wait until it’s almost done so it doesn’t over cook).  Stir in the red curry base (not to be confused with the red curry paste – I know) and bring the soup up to a simmer.  Ladle a couple tablespoons of the broth out into a bowl and mix with the red curry paste until it’s incorporated, like so:

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Then, add it back into the soup.  Add salt, pepper, scallions and cilantro and serve. This makes about 4 – 6 servings. Here’s mine:

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We had it with bread:

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There is a new little shop by my apartment that sells really nice vegetables and bread and cheese and fish.  I will find any excuse I can to go there because I’m obsessed with it and I’d like to work there and then possibly buy it someday and eat bread and cheese behind the register.

Lentil soup

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I’ve been buying $2 cans of lentil soup at Trader Joe’s to eat for lunch every day.  Yes, I eat the same thing every day.  Well, almost every day.  Sometimes I add a side, usually a piece of bread and some butter, but for the most part, it’s lentil soup for me.  That way I don’t have to think.  I prefer to give my brain a rest from 12 to 12:30.

Two bucks isn’t a lot for a whole lunch, but I realize that if I made my own soup, I’d have a lot more, it would be really cheap, and it might even taste better, depending on my skills.  I’ve never made lentil soup before.

I went ahead and made my first mistake in the little grocery shop by my apartment.  It’s those damn little bulk bins.  Everything happens so fast and all of a sudden I have five pounds of lentils on my hands.  At least it’s not five pounds of figs.  That happened to me once.  Although, it wasn’t an accident.

Oh!  I tried a date over the weekend!  Did I mention that?  It was good. Kind of caramely.  They look like roaches though. I’m not sure I could get used to that.

Anyway.  As I was saying, I decided to make lentil soup tonight, and I googled around for a recipe until I found this one from the Times.  It looked easy, and their recipes are always on point, plus the person who wrote the article about it said it was the best lentil soup she’d ever had.  So that was a good sign.  I basically followed it exactly, except I added an extra half a cup of lentils, since I have so many, and only used a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  I also used some canned diced tomatoes instead of the tomato paste and added celery.  And I just realized, right now, that I forgot the cilantro.

So I didn’t follow it exactly.  I tried my best.  It still turned out excellent, as far as I’m concerned.  Chris, on the other hand, took a taste and said “I don’t think I like that kind of soup.”  Which is fine, because that means there is more for me.

A pictorial Thanksgiving

Pictorial is a weird word, right?  I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I decided to throw it in to switch things up a bit.  What I’m trying to say is, I have a lot of pictures.  So let’s get to it.

I managed to put together my vegan apple pie using a combination of these recipes.  I basically used Kim O’Donnel’s crust and filling and then the crumb topping from the Scranton Times, subbing Earth Balance for butter.  I even bought vegan sugar and soy vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe’s.  Hardcore, my friends.

The pie turned out awesome.  Really.  The vegans, however, didn’t eat it.

I don’t want to talk about it.

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apple pie filling

 

Crumb topping

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in the oven

in the oven

half eaten

half eaten

I was so careful to document every step of the way, and then wouldn’t you know, I totally forget to take a picture of the finished pie.  Probably because I was stuffing my face.  Or drinking mimosas:

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I am thankful that mimosas allow you to drink before noon

We also had turkey and stuffing and all of the other amazing things that go with Thanksgiving dinner:

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Have I mentioned how much I love stuffing?  Because I do.  I wait for it all year.  I don’t even care if it’s been inside a turkey and that’s kind of gross, I still love it and I would eat it every day if I could.  My mom makes unbelievable stuffing, but this one was really good, too. In fact, it seems that our friends Rachel and Justin are very good cooks, something I was not aware of.  Chris and I might start showing up on their doorstep for scraps.

Anyway, there was also homemade salsa:

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And vegan chocolate chip cookies:

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Along with lots of other things that I didn’t get pictures of.  Actually, that’s kind of a lie.  I didn’t get pictures of anything.  All of these were taken by my friend Chelsea, who should maybe start her own food blog because she is clearly way better at it than me.

And finally, proof that even dogs get turkey comas:

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Or maybe he was just tired from all the dancing.

 

As promised…

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Forgot to take a picture of the whole deal, sorry.  So I’m going to post the recipe that I did, because it is pretty drastically different from the one in Veganomicon.  For starters, mine isn’t vegan.  Oops.

Anyway, here we go:

  • Four handfuls of whole wheat penne (Sorry, that’s how I measure. I figure a handful is about a serving).
  • 1 15 ounce can of pureed butternut squash (See, I didn’t even use pumpkin!)
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (You could use whole or even fat free probably)
  • 4 – 5 sage leaves, chopped (Do you want me to stop writing things in parentheses now?)
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 -3 T soy milk
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Handful of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Couple shakes of paprika and cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta.  In the meantime, heat the can of butternut squash and add the ricotta, brown sugar, soy milk, 3/4 of the sage, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and some salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.  In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, the remaining sage, and the chopped walnuts.  When the pasta is done (take it out a little early), mix it with the butternut squash, then spread in a pan and top with the breadcrumb mixture.  Add the rest of the parmesan cheese on top.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 350.

And there we go.  This was kind of like macaroni and cheese, but without the cheese.  Or at least without so much cheese.  Parmesan isn’t really cheesy, in my opinion.

I have to scan a bunch of things for work now, which takes about four times as long as it should because Jack is absolutely enthralled by the noise the scanner makes and so he gets in the way and paws at it and tries to bite it.  It’s fun.