Tag Archives: Food

On Keeping It Real

I stay away from talking about weight, diet, eating habits, and the like on the blog for a number of reasons. Mostly it’s because I’m not qualified to talk about those things and it drives me nuts when people that aren’t qualified (try to) give advice. I know most of these people are trying to be helpful, but what I don’t think they realize is that they can actually have the opposite effect. I see it rampant in the blogging world, because, as a society, we’re so obsessed with diet, exercise, and “looking and feeling our best” (which really means “looking what we think society sees as the best”). That being said, this post is about how I feel about my own body, and how it affects me not only as a runner, but as a human being.

I actually had this post on the back-burner for awhile because I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to say or how to say it. But when I saw that Lauren Fleshman posted about keeping it real over on the Runner’s World blog, I knew it was time for me to share.

Growing up I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. When I was very young (toddler and pre-school age) I would eat anything and everything, no questions asked. I then went through a phase where I was extremely picky; my mom referred to it as “eating like a bird.” Being naturally thin, I never thought about my weight during those dangerous pre-teen years when girls start to realize society puts a high price on “skinny.” I do remember whining about not fitting into size 0 shorts at some point in middle school—to which my mother quickly shot down with a “you are a woman. You will have hips!” I started swimming in middle school as well and, despite being in a bathing suit in front of people (sometimes hundreds), I was never self conscious. I also ate anything I wanted. Double quarter pounder with cheese, super-sized, from McDonald’s once in awhile? You bet. I always ate a balance of “good” and “bad,” and my parents did a good job of keeping overly processed foods out of our reach. My ability to devour food without any consequences carried throughout college. I did have a period after my freshman swim season ended where I put on a few pounds (I’d say maybe 5-10), but it quickly dropped once I was home for the summer and back to swimming regularly and not spending my weekends at keg parties.

Once I graduated college, though, I realized I didn’t have the type of physical activity in my life that allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. I spent periods throughout that first year worried about putting on weight, but not doing much about it. Eventually, I decided to start running just to give myself a safety net; for some reason, I worried that one day I would just wake up and realize I’d packed on post-college pounds. It never happened and I fell in love with running enough to keep doing it, regardless of what it did (or didn’t do) for my waistline.

About a year into running I discovered social media. Twitter! Blogs! Running and fitness groups! Instagram! For the first time in my life, I questioned my body. I’m the “thinnest” I’ve ever been by almost ten pounds, but, at any moment, I can log on to any social media site and read about how someone just crushed a workout or ate a super healthy meal (also known as “eating clean”). I can see pictures of their ripped and lean bodies and tiny meals. Or they just had a killer long run and are stuffing their faces with mounds of pancakes, but still seem to be extremely fit. I’m sure there are plenty of people who scroll right through those posts and think nothing of it, but not me. When I see these kinds of posts, I tend to have two very different reactions. Part of me wants to be able to be disciplined to “eat clean,” workout hard, and be the epitome of physical fitness, but then the other part of me wants to still workout hard and run fast, while eating whatever I want, whenever I want. I want to show people who are overly restrictive about food and intense about their workouts that you only live once. If I want a second serving, I’m going to go for it!

I find myself thinking about food all the time, but this isn’t new. You can guarantee that as I’m finishing a meal, I’m already thinking (and asking) about the next one; it drives my mom crazy. But I find myself thinking about it in different terms these days. I compare myself to the images people project of their “healthy living” lifestyles on the Internet, and I can’t escape thinking that I’m eating too much and not the right stuff. I find myself wondering if I’m weird for not craving things like salads and fruit and “healthy” things all the time. Or if I just don’t have enough willpower. I’m the kind of person that if given the option between a fruit salad or home fries with my brunch entree, I will always choose home fries. If I go with the assumed healthier option, I may feel better about myself in that moment, but I’m usually not satisfied. If I go with what I really want, I enjoy it, but usually feel guilty afterwards. As you can imagine, that type of internal struggle can get tiresome (and annoying).

When I find myself worrying about food, it isn’t because of its health value (or lack thereof), but rather what it may mean for the image of my body. And that’s a pretty messed up way to think about food, isn’t it? If I’m expecting my body to perform to the best of it’s ability, I should treat it right and fuel it the way it needs to be fueled. And, at the same time, if I want a little dessert after dinner I shouldn’t feel like I “don’t deserve it.”

Life is about so much more than the number on a scale or the number on the tag in your jeans, or how much skin sits over your pants when you’re sitting down. No, I don’t have a six pack and I have cellulite under my butt that, no matter how many squats I do, doesn’t seem to go away. And guess what? I’m still strong and athletic and am able to push my body to get it to perform to the best of its ability. I’ve always compared myself to others in every aspect of my life, but at the end of the day I’m living my life and no one else’s. What good does it do to compare myself to someone in a completely different situation? They say comparison is the theft of joy and I truly believe it. Everyone is different—that’s the beauty of being human—so how can you compare what you’re eating and how you’re working out to what someone else is doing? Sure, it’s easier said than done, but I think, as a society, we need to do a better job of encouraging one another to live our own lives and to support one another in that journey. If we’re all open and honest about our struggles and try to keep it real, at the end of the day I think we’ll all feel a little bit better. I know I will.

22 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Life, Running

Belated: San Francisco Food Recap

I’ve been meaning to write a recap about all the delicious food I ate while in San Francisco, but as the days and weeks (and now months) passed, I completely forgot. But after being reminded multiple times, I’m finally doing it! Better late than never, right?

After our fun trip in Disneyland, we took a 45 minute plane ride up to San Francisco to spend a few days before heading home. When it comes to trip planning I like to stick to what I know: food, and I leave the rest up to everyone else. So, prior to the trip I spent some time looking up restaurants, per the usual, and was thrilled with the amount of vegetarian and vegan restaurants I found with glowing reviews, along with tons of other restaurants and must-do suggestions. I knew going into this half of the trip that the majority of it would be spent doing two things: walking, and eating.

We arrived in San Francisco mid-day, so after a quick check-in at the Intercontinental San Francisco, we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf via trolley. Riding the trolley was simultaneously super cool and kind of terrifying. I couldn’t help but think of my mom who would have been mildly terrified to know I was hanging off the side of the trolley mere inches away from parked cars as it flew up and down the rolling hills of San Fran, controlled only by a man pulling and pushing levers. Mildly dramatic, but the truth (though not nearly as terrifying in real life as it would be for a mother thinking about it, I’m sure).

Lombard St!

Lombard St!

After spending some time walking around and admiring the tons of seals, we decided to have dinner at Pier Market Sustainable Seafood Restaurant, overlooking the bay. I started off the meal with an Anchor Steam beer since it’s a San Francisco institution, and devoured the pesto penne seen below. There is blackened swordfish on top that I didn’t eat, but I was told it was delicious… and I don’t doubt it was considering how awesome the pasta was. When we got our receipt, I noticed there was a note suggesting a trip to the Biscoff Coffee stand the pier nearby. Being completely obsessed with Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter and Biscoff Spread, I knew I had to get over there for dessert, immediately. I ordered a Biscoff latte, and it was as delicious as I had hoped, and helped warm me up since it was windy and quite cool for an early September evening (for me). After that we headed back to the hotel for an early night, and were up nice and early for the next day of fun.

Pasta at Pier Market Sustainable Fish

Delicious pasta!

One place I knew I needed to get to quickly was the Ferry Building, which is why I started my day there. It came highly recommended to me by a bunch of people, so I knew I had to get there early in the trip to make sure I had enough time. I absolutely loved the Ferry building! It was awesome – food, little shops, and they have a farmer’s market there on the weekend. I had a breakfast of Blue Bottle Coffee, and Cowgirl Creamery toasties. I’ve had Blue Bottle Coffee before in NYC, so I knew I had to have it in it’s birthplace. And, as someone who absolutely loves cheese, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have food from creamery! I ordered the cheddar toasties, which were two pieces of perfectly crunchy and chewy bread topped with grain mustard and melted cheddar cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee, the best!

In addition to grabbing breakfast, I saw an adorable canvas tote bag with birds all over it that I had to get, and I also picked up some chocolate for a friend (and myself) from Recchiuti Confections. Before leaving I decided to get a second coffee from Peet’s, to make sure I was sampling all the different kinds of coffee the locals love. We walked past the America’s Cup, and made our way to the Painted Ladies, which was another must-do on the list.

Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies!

I must admit, this trip was so long ago (over three months), that I don’t remember the exact order of events for each day, but that isn’t what this post is about – it’s all about the food!

One day we decided to venture to the Mission District with only one goal: a mission burrito. After scouring Yelp and Foursquare, we decided on Taqueria El Farolito. As soon as I looked at the menu I knew exactly what I was getting… they had a burrito with a chile relleno stuffed inside! The burrito was huge, and everything I could have dreamed it would be. And now that I’ve written about it, I want one.

Mission Burrito!

Mission Burrito!

After letting the mound of fried burrito deliciousness settle in my stomach, at the recommendation of a bunch of friends we headed to Monk’s Kettle for dinner. This is a (very small) gastropub that has so many beers to choose from it can be kind of overwhelming. Thankfully the waiters and waitresses as well as bartenders are more than happy to help you pick out a beer. I zeroed in on a beer that I’d heard so much about and knew I could only get on the west coast, Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny The Elder.

Scranton Swimming box in the background!

Scranton Swimming box in the background!

It was as awesome as everyone said, and it helped ease the pain of having to wait an hour for a table in a small restaurant. And I should mention that while I don’t have any pictures of the food, it was phenomenal. We had a cheese plate (heaven) to start, and I went with their chickpea and spelt veggie burger. I couldn’t have been happier with the entire experience, and riding the bus home later at night is always fun and filled with characters.

Strikin' a pose at the Golden Gate Bridge

Strikin’ a pose at the Golden Gate Bridge

The second to last day involved being super touristy with a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge and a breakfast burrito at the little Warming Hut that was actually really delicious! After a lot of walking around, we refueled at Source, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that wasn’t too far from our hotel. I ordered the Hummus platter and paired it with a house made kombucha, which were both awesome. I wanted to try everything on the menu, but resolved myself to grabbing a vegan twinkie on the way out instead of getting a second meal.

Hummus plate with falafel

Hummus plate with falafel

Our final day was spent up in Sonoma and Napa Valley, stopping at a few wineries. I had two favorites; Cline Cellars because their wines were phenomenal (we bought some to bring home with us – if you’re ever there, try their Cashmere wines), and V. Sattui Winery because they had an awesome little deli where you could buy food and then just sit outside and relax with wine. Also, the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards (yes, the same family that invented THE jacuzzi) has a little shop inside their main tasting building called The Olive Press that has tons of different kinds of fresh olive oils and balsamic vinegars. As soon as I locked eyes with their jalapeno olive oil I knew I had to have it. It was so good I bought a bottle to bring home with me, and have been babying it every since.

Jalapeño olive oil

Jalapeño olive oil

Before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head home. It was so fun to spend the majority of this trip based around delicious food… and I feel like I didn’t even crack the surface of the San Francisco food scene!  But at least that’s a good excuse to have to go back.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Food Review, Restaurant, Vegetarian/Vegan

Oh Hello!

Hey friends, remember me?!

I know I haven’t posted in awhile, but that’s because I’ve been busy trying to enjoy the last days of summer (while refusing to believe it’s almost over), and more importantly, because I really haven’t had much to say.

I’ve been in the kitchen cooking up some really great dishes. There have been a few that I’ve come up with on my own and hope to re-create for blog post purposes, but the majority of them have been based on recipes I found online. I’m not one for “photo dump” posts, but I want to share these recipes with you guys, since they were big hits in my house.

Dessert theme, clearly.

Dessert theme, clearly.

Clockwise from the top left:
1. Vegan Oreo Pancakes: Reminded me more of an Almond Joy (it uses shredded coconut) and is awesome. Definitely a “dessert for breakfast” type pancake.
2. Flourless Chickpea Chocolate Chip Blondies: I know, chickpeas in your dessert? It sounds weird, but is absolutely delicious. It’s vegan so you can eat the entire thing raw if you want (and it’s gluten free)! I need to make these again ASAP.
3. Peach & Blueberry Spiced Muffins: I’ve had a surplus of blueberries and peaches from my CSA box, and this was the perfect way to use some. The spices added a nice hint of almost-Fall, with fresh summer fruits.
4. Agave Lime Tofu with Asian Slaw and Chipotle Sweet Potato Mash: First time using The Conscious Cook cookbook I’ve had forever – SO awesome and easy to make.

Aside from cooking and eating, I wish I could say that I’ve been running and crushing marathon training with my ankle issue far behind me. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. I took a full week off per my doctor’s suggestion, and seemed okay when I started back up for that first week. I was a little achy and sore in places, but it wasn’t unbearable. I assumed that I would just have to run through the discomfort, and eventually things would start to feel better. I started the second week after seeing the doctor with a decent 6 mile run, and followed it up the next day with a 4 miler that just didn’t feel good. I woke up the following morning barely able to walk, and extremely frustrated. I saw my podiatrist that afternoon, and he really didn’t have any suggestions for me. He told me to come back in a month, and if the pain was still there, I’d be sent for an MRI. Nothing like a non-answer to make you feel better! I haven’t run since then (it’s been a week), and to be honest, I’m kind of lost. Do I wait until the pain is completely gone from walking (it is now), and try to run again? Do I wait longer before trying to run? I need to find someone with answers, or at least suggestions! I’ve had a few suggestions to go to a chiropractor and get some ART done, so I think that is next on my to-do list. I’m still planning to run (or walk, if I have to) the 10k and half marathon for the Disneyland Dumbo Dare at the end of the month, but I’m undecided if I’ll still run the Richmond Marathon. I may drop down to the half, or defer to next year. I’m so thankful that this particular race at least provides those options!

At least I have this sweet all-sport Picky Bars water bottle to keep me company!

At least I have this sweet all-sport Picky Bars water bottle to keep me company!

Even though I haven’t been running, I’ve been trying to stay in shape. I also figured if I couldn’t run, it would be the perfect opportunity to try and get myself a 6-pack, and increase my overall strength (LOL on the 6-pack). I’ve been participating in Kat’s August Core Focus, and adding in my own variations (hello Pinterest). I’ve also come up with some decent arm workouts that use only your body weight and 5-10lb. dumbbells. Maybe I’ll share it in a fun little graphic one of these days. I’ve done a few biking sessions at the gym, have done yoga almost every single day, and have a swim planned for tomorrow — first time back in the pool in at least a year… wonder how many yards I can do!

The biggest thing I’ve been doing during this whole “situation” is trying to stay positive, which I think I’ve actually been pretty successful at. In the past, as soon as I felt a twinge of discomfort or had a bad run I would immediately freak out and become a ball of misery. Recently I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may not run a fall marathon, but there are marathons all over the country every single weekend, and my health is more important.

Have you ever dealt with a non-injury, injury (or as I’m calling it, a “situation”)?
Any great non-running cross training things I should try?

7 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Summer Simple

Does anyone remember the acronym/mnemonic device KISS (keep it simple stupid) from elementary school? Well, that was the first thing I thought of when I decided to make zucchini “pasta” and basil pesto for dinner on Monday night.

I signed up for the “Fresh Box” from Alan’s Orchard again this year, and I can’t say how much I love getting a fresh box of produce each week. It’s such a fun surprise to show up on Saturday morning not knowing exactly what I’ll be getting for the week (they send out a newsletter that day, but I enjoy the element of surprise). Once I have the box I’m able to plan my meals for the week around the fruits and vegetables, and having farm fresh produce over less than impressive grocery store produce is a real treat.

When I saw that we’d be getting basil this week, I immediately thought of making a simple basil pesto and having it with spaghetti. Then I saw we also got zucchini, and decided to give zucchini pasta a try. I’m not going to lie, when I first saw vegetables being used in place of pasta I scoffed at the idea… I think mostly because I saw them being pushed simply as a low calorie alterative to pasta, which isn’t how I roll (bring on the calories, people!). But I can say that they are in fact delicious – but this definitely isn’t filling enough to have on its own (so have it as a side dish). And it only took a few minutes to throw together!

So try this… you can thank me later.

Zucchini Pasta with Basil Pesto | Foodosaurusrex.com

Simple Zucchini Pasta with Basil Pesto
– Serves 2 as a side – 

Ingredients for pasta:
1 Tbsp oil
4 medium zucchini
Ingredients for pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler, set aside. 
2. In a blender, combine the basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and blend until well combined. 
3. In a medium skillet, heat the 1 tbsp of oil and sauté the zucchini until heated through (about 3 minutes). Add the basil pesto and stir to combine, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. 
4. Garnish with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese if desired. 

2 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

D.C. Food & A Giveaway Winner!

I had grand plans of posting my Food Should Taste Good giveaway winner early last week, but a bout with a stomach bug kept me quarantined for a bit instead, and then I was just trying to get back to normal life. Rather than talk about how miserable my drive home from Washington D.C. was, followed by the rest of Monday into Tuesday, let’s focus on the second best part of my trip — the food! But first… the giveaway winner is…

Winner

Becky! Who gave a great suggestion for apple styled nachos… sign me up! Shoot me your address to foodosaurusrex [at] gmail [dot] com, and I’ll have chips on their way to you!

Becky

So now onto the good stuff – the food in D.C.! I didn’t have any set plans when it came to where I wanted to eat or what kind of food I wanted to try while there, except for one thing – Baked & Wired cupcakes! I had asked Krissy for some recommendations, and I remembered her stopping for birthday cupcakes there after the Cherry Blossom 10-miler a few weeks ago. While I’ve always wanted to try Georgetown Cupcakes, the thought of having to wait in a long line for cupcakes that I’ve heard are “just okay” wasn’t appealing. So I headed to Baked & Wired instead, and was thrilled with what I found. The storefront was small, but it was broken into two sections – one for cupcakes and desserts, another for coffee, tea, etc. I didn’t venture over to the coffee line, but from reading reviews online it seems like their coffee is just as good as their cupcakes. I should mention that they call them cake cups, which is appropriate since they are huge!

Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, Flapjack, and Tessita [clockwise]

Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, Flapjack, and Tessita [clockwise]

We decided to get four cupcakes – one to enjoy right then, and another to save for Sunday. We wound up with the Tessita, Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, and Flapjack. These cakes are amazing; some of the best I’ve ever had. The frosting was generous, the cake was moist, and the size for only $3.50 was more than enough… I had trouble finishing one! I can’t recommend Baked & Wired enough. The store is cute, the employees are super friendly, and their treats are delicious. I mean, what more do you need? Plus, if it’s nice enough outside (like it was on Saturday) you can sit right outside their shop and lounge while eating baked goods and sipping coffee or tea. Talk about a perfect afternoon.

Aside from cupcakes on Saturday, we had personal pizzas for lunch at Paper Moon, followed by Santa Fe salads from Chop’t for dinner. This was my first time having Chop’t, and I really wish there was one near me. The salads are huge, and when you get avocado, they give you half of one… that’s a generous portion of avocado! I absolutely loved my salad, and on the way back to the hotel (we got them to go), we noticed the street was completely shut down. So, we stopped for a minute, and low and behold, who drove by? President Obama! I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I’m sure that it gets old for D.C. residents quickly (especially when it means road closures), but it was so cool to see the President drive by us on his way to the White House Correspondent’s dinner.

Oh hai Mr. President!

Oh hai Mr. President!

On Sunday morning after the race, Ashley and I headed to The Mad Hatter for brunch. We walked in and the restaurant was basically empty, but we were told that they really didn’t have any seats for us because they had a lot of reservations that morning. Huh? We were able to score a seat at an upstairs bar, and got to work on the most important thing – booze! I ordered a mimosa followed by a beer, and Ashley hit up their Bloody Mary bar. That’s right… your server gives you a glass of vodka, and the rest is up to you. Just look at all the options!

Hot Sauce, anyone? [Ashley's Picture]

Hot Sauce, anyone? [Ashley’s Picture]

I didn’t take any pictures of my food (post-race haze) but I had a really delicious Tex Mex burrito with home fries. When we left the restaurant was definitely crowded, but they could have seated us in the regular dining room. I mean, shouldn’t restaurants have seats for people with and without reservations? At least the food was good and our waiter was friendly. I would definitely return, but this time with a reservation!

Dinner on Sunday  night was pretty epic. I spent a lot of time looking through Yelp and FourSquare for suggestions, and stumbled upon a true gem – Founding Farmers. As soon as we walked in at about 6:30pm, thinking we’d beat the crowds especially since it was a Sunday, I knew we made a good choice. We were told that the wait would be about an hour and a half, and I quickly learned that once again reservations reigned supreme. We decided to wait based on the reviews we read and the fact that it was so crowded, and I’m really glad we did. The restaurant was founded on the premise of a farm to table concept (my favorite!) and is D.C.’s first green restaurant. They filter their own water, make everything from scratch in the kitchen (down to their condiments), and have a pre-prohibition era styled bar where their bartenders make their own syrups and infuse the alcohol themselves with juices, etc.

After waiting about an hour and a forty-five minutes we were seated, and had the nicest, most informative, and attentive waitresses I’ve ever had. She really was exceptional. Our meal started with their popcorn of the day (how cool is that?!) which was Old Bay seasoned, and fried green tomatoes. They were featuring Rogue beers on tap, so we each had one of those as well. Their menu is expansive, and I was really excited to see a separate vegetarian and vegan menu. Their regular menu denotes vegetarian and vegan (as well as nut allergy) options, but they also create vegetarian and vegan specials that all sound phenomenal. I was actually confused at first when I glanced over it seeing things like “bacon burger,” “shrimp scampi,” and “turkey burger.” Obviously they were all meatless, and it was awesome to know I could choose anything.

Not the best picture... but all those options are veg*n!

Not the best picture… but all those options are veg*n!

I eventually decided on the cauliflower steak with broccolini and risotto… and it was amazing. The cauliflower was nice and crunchy while maintaining it’s buttery flavor, and the fried onion strings that it was topped with added some extra flavor and crunch. For whatever reason I’ve found that people either really enjoy cauliflower or really can’t stand it, and I’m obviously in the enjoying it camp. But I really believe that this dish would convert someone with apathetic feelings towards cauliflower. It was fun using a steak knife to dig into a big hunk of cauliflower! I’d be remiss not to mention the risotto, because it really stole the show for me. It was creamy, cheesy, and everything I could want in a risotto dish… I just wish there had been more.

Not the best picture, but it was delicious!

Not the best picture, but it was delicious!

While we were waiting for our entrees, our waitress brought over their dessert menu, which I thought was absolutely genius on her part (get someone to commit to dessert before filling up on their entree). She pointed out their homemade biegnets, which under normal circumstances I would have been all over… but I knew based on how I felt before our meals even arrived that there was no way dessert could be in my immediate future. So we passed on their delicious sounding desserts, but a couple next to us got the biegnets, and you better believe I plan to order them if I’m ever back in town!

Nice neighborhood, eh?

Nice neighborhood, eh?

And unfortunately, that’s where our eating in D.C. stops. As I mentioned in my Nike Half recap, I woke up feeling okay on Monday morning with plans of coffee, but eventually started feeling sick. By the time I got home (about a 3 1/2 hour drive), it was only a matter of minutes before I was out for the count the rest of the day and into Tuesday. Obviously that was not the way I wanted to end the trip, but I’m thankful it didn’t happen while I was there!

5 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Giveaway, Restaurant, Running, Travel

Goodie Goodie Gum Drop

I don’t know how it started, but it seems like monthly shipment clubs are all the rage these days. “Of the month” clubs have been around forever, but they’ve really taken off recently and seem to include anything you can think of; food, drinks, workout clothes, health and beauty products, accessories… they have it all! I personally love the idea of getting a fun little box of treats each month, and stalk my mailman when I think a new package is on it’s way.

Since there are so many companies offering monthly subscriptions, I had a difficult time deciding what to try. I’ve mentioned before I’m in the Picky Bars club, but I also signed up for Goodies Company’s monthly box subscription. And I also bought my mom a Love With Food subscription for her birthday in February! There were a few things that really caught my eye when it came to Goodies Company. Obviously the biggest selling point is the price – $7! While the general price for most subscriptions I’ve seen is $15, there are plenty in the $30+ range as well. At first when I saw the price I assumed you must get “fun sized” versions of everything, and no more than two or three things each month. Because it was only $7, though, I decided to give it a try anyway.

This past month's box - breakfast themed!

This past month’s box – breakfast themed!

Well, I’ve received two boxes so far, and am completely impressed. Most of the time I get a sample of something, I don’t wind up buying it for myself… not because I don’t like what I get, but because I’m either lazy about it, or question whether or not I really loved it enough to buy full sized packages of it. The Goodies Company box this past month changed all of that! I always try everything, but there was something in the box that immediately caught my attention and I had to have it as soon as possible. Enter Rip Van Wafle’s Amsterdam Caramel Waffle! Not only is the concept really cool (you place the waffle on the edge of your hot coffee so it steams the waffle), but it’s delicious. After I finished it with my morning coffee, I was on their website, placing an order for my own stash.

Amsterdam Waffle!

Amsterdam Waffle!

At first I wasn’t really keen on the idea of paying X amount of money per month just to get little sample sizes of things, but it’s grown on me. I love that most of the companies allow you to pick your subscription length, choosing from either one, three, six, or a continual month option. I have every intention of continuing my Goodies Company subscription, because I’ve really found some great products. And besides, who doesn’t like a surprise each month?!

So tell me…
Do you have any monthly box subscriptions? 
Any monthly box subscriptions I should check out? 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post. I simply wrote about Goodies Co. because I really enjoy my subscription. All opinions are my own. 

4 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review

Veggie-tastic

This past Friday (February 8th) marked my 6th month as an official vegetarian!

Becoming a vegetarian is something that I had been interested in for a long time, but never committed to for one reason or another. So after months of generally eating meat-free, I decided to finally take the plunge in August, and I haven’t looked back. Sure, I’ve made a few mistakes here and there (dipping a chip into an unassuming dip at a party only to find out there’s shredded chicken in it), and I haven’t inquired in great detail while out at restaurants (is the meat-free pasta dish truly vegetarian?), but I’d say that overall the last 6 months have been a success.

I thought I would share with you what has helped me in the journey, in case some of you are toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian, but feel like they don’t have enough resources to be successful in your attempt. Or, if you’re just looking for more ways to incorporate a meat-free diet into your life (even if not all the time)! I’d be lying to you if I said it’s easy; sometimes I just want a hamburger, and I often get questioned and teased by friends and family, but at the end of the day, I know that I’m making the right decision for myself. And at the end of the day, that’s what is most important! So here are a few different things that have really helped me.

Vegetarian/Vegan blogs, with tons of delicious recipes (just to name a few):

Vegetarian/Vegan Cookbooks:

  • Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
  • Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
  • The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen
  • Vegan Fire & Spice by Robin Robertson
  • The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel
  • Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Carole Raymond

All of the above blogs and cookbooks have either vegetarian or vegan recipes (some a mix, some just one). I’ve made plenty of vegan meals despite being a vegetarian. But I’ve also made plenty of vegan recipes and easily turned them into vegetarian (usually just by adding cheese). Most of them are also easily adaptable to other dietary restrictions (gluten free, etc.).

Pantry Staples:

  • Grains: quinoa, cous cous, farro, brown rice, lentils
  • Meat substitutes: Tempeh, tofu, soy chorizo, TVP (textured vegetable soy protein)
  • Beans and protein: pretty much any and all bean types, eggs, Greek yogurt
  • Condiments/extras: almond butter, peanut butter, nutritional yeast, lots of spices
  • Vegetables! Fruits! Milk and cheese!

Quick Fixes:

  • LightLife refrigerated and frozen meals
  • Amy’s Kitchen frozen meals and soups
  • Frozen veggie burgers (what can I say, I’m a sucker for them. Though I do love homemade!)

Obviously the above isn’t an extensive list, but just the basic things that have really helped me over the last 6 months. There are tons of resources for vegetarians and vegans (tons of blogs, websites, magazines, etc.), and while nothing will completely replace the taste of meat, there are plenty of foods and recipes that will help you not miss it so much. And I know for a lot of people, the above information is not new. But I can’t tell you how many people don’t truly know what vegetarians eat (yes, we eat more than lettuce!).

Do you have any other suggestions for resources I should check out (food brands, recipes, blogs)?
Are you a vegetarian? Ever gave it a try, or thinking about it? 

6 Comments

Filed under Vegetarian/Vegan

This Week in Yum and a Giveaway!

I haven’t been posting many recipes (or posts at all) lately, and that’s because I haven’t been making too much of my own. Instead, I’ve been re-creating, or exactly following, recipes from some of the many cookbooks I have. So, in an effort to not step on anyone’s toes in terms of copyright laws, etc., I’ve left those delicious meals off the blog. But, since this is a food blog, I figured I should still be sharing all the yummy things I’ve eaten with you – especially if they were created in my own kitchen! Who cares if it wasn’t my original idea, right? So, I’m going to try out a new weekly post for all of the really good things I ate that I didn’t have the opportunity to blog about. Hence the posts’s title, this week in yum. Oh, and I also have a giveaway for this week [scroll to the bottom for info]!

I bought two new cookbooks recently, and have already made two things from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and they have been awesome. I’ve been somewhat intimidated of vegan cooking because so many recipes I’ve read have really obscure ingredients. I’m still on a tight budget, so it’s hard for me to justify buying some of these odd ingredients for just one or two recipes. But this book has really accessible ingredients, which I of course appreciate.

First up was Curry Laska, which was flavorful and really easy to prepare. It had a little bit of spice, and nice coconut undertones from the coconut milk. I would absolutely make this again.
Curry Laska

The second dish was Cajun Bean Balls, which I served just with some pasta and regular tomato sauce (though there is a great recipe for homemade tomato sauce with a lot of variations). This was my second attempt at meatless meatballs, and these were really good. I was surprised by the combination of ingredients (soy sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, a bunch of herbs) but it all worked together really well. I also appreciated baking them, as I never seem to have luck pan-frying any faux meat (burgers, meatballs, etc.). I was too excited for it’s deliciousness to take a picture. But I will definitely be making them again, so I’ll be sure to snap a picture next time.

This next dish was completely random, and totally awesome. I could see this being a huge favorite at parties, or while watching a game. I threw this together after a run and it was the perfect amount of melted cheese, soft and puffy biscuit, and a little kick from the pepperoni. This recipe is from Baking Serendipity, and it’s awesome. You should make it next weekend!

Last but certainly not least are Funfetti cookie bars. It can’t get any easier than this. All you need to do is prepare the Funfetti as you usually would (1/3c oil, 2 eggs), and instead of putting it into a cake pan or in a cupcake pan, simply spread it out on a greased baking sheet, and bake it at 350 for 8-10 minutes! Then once it’s cooled you can frost them. They look kind of like Poptarts, but taste like those delicious soft sugar cookies that have globs of frosting on them. You know what I’m talking about – they come in a 12 pack and scream “buy me!” at places like Target (I had to resist the urge last night). This was the perfect way for me to use the extra Funfetti mix I had laying around.

So now I’m sure you must be thinking to yourself, “great, I don’t really care what food you’ve eaten recently. Just make with the giveaway details!” So here’s the goods: Just in time for halloween, the folks at Hormel are giving away the following to one lucky FoodosaurusRex reader! You’ll get some limited edition chili cheese dip, pepperoni minis, and chunk breast chicken. Perfect ingredients for party snacks to watch the games! To enter, you can do any of the following, and make sure to leave a comment telling me for each!:

1. What’s your favorite game-day/party snack?
2. Follow me on Twitter – @FoodosaurusRex
3. Subscribe to the blog via reader or e-mail

You have until Thursday 10/28 at 9p to enter!

7 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Giveaway

New York (city), I love you

Okay so that might be the title of a movie that came out this past fall with a story-line similar to Love Actually. But I’m not here to talk about the movie. I’m talking about the city in general. Seriously, it rules (mostly). Having been born at the NYU Hospital and then lived in Brooklyn for a few years with family still there today, NYC holds a special place in my heart.

The weekend was full of running, sweating, and of course, eating. On Friday my fiancé and I headed to Central Park for the 5th annual Jamaica Underwear Run. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like; a run through Central Park in your skivvies. Since it was just the two of us, we decided to keep our personal belongings with us, instead of haphazardly checking them. Let me tell you, running with a drawstring backback or camera bag is tough! Not being able to use your arms properly and having something slam against you makes running difficult. Not to mention it was a million degrees out. I never would have thought those 1.7 miles would have felt like that. At any rate, it was a leisurely run through Central Park, and my fiancé and I finished hand-in-hand at around 16 minutes.

Before the Undie Run Started!

From there, we headed to my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, where we went on the prowl for some food. By the time we got there, showered, and we ready to go it was about 10p. Well, apparently not many restaurants in Park Slope are open past 11, and if you try to walk in at 10:15p, you’re turned away. We were going to grab Indian from Baluchi’s, but we just didn’t make it happen. The only places that seemed to be open later were Mexican joints, which I was more than happy with so we settled on Piramide.

The restaurant wasn’t empty, but being that it was 10:30p, it wasn’t crowded either. We started off with some made to order guacamole (extra spicy) which was super fresh. Definitely a step-up from my poor man’s guacamole, but hey – desperate times have called for desperate measures. I ordered the Piramide Pobalano Combo which was two poblano peppers; one with chicken and the other with cheese, fried to make it a delicious chile relleno and topped with a tomato chipotle sauce, served with rice and beans. It was very good, but at nearly double the price of Jose Tejas’ chile relleno which is a bit bigger and much fuller, I was merely okay with my decision.

Poblano Combo

My friend went with chicken fajitas that were seriously sizzling, and she enjoyed them. My fiancé ordered the Burrito Loco with steak, which was stuffed with peppers, onions, rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese topped with a salsa verde. This was also pretty good, but nothing out of this world. Because my fiancé and I have a similar palate and are often times indecisive, we decided to switch our plates half way through, so we could each sample two dishes. I think the guacamole was probably the highlight of the meal, which is okay since I love it.

Burrito Loco

After that our night ended, since we had to be up bright and early for the Central Park Conservancy Run, a 4-miler through the wonderful CP. Since we ran the night before and the registration fee was a little to steep for our wallet (nearly $40 by the time we knew about the race), my fiancé and I decided to be spectators instead of runners. This is actually the first time either of us attended a race, and didn’t actually run in it. It’s a weird feeling, similar to attending a swim meet and not swimming; you are relieved to not have the pre-race jitters and actual race pain, but at the same time, you feel a bit like a slacker. That’s exactly how we felt Saturday morning, but because it was so brutally hot, I was more than okay with being a spectator. We got ourselves a sweet spot at the finish, and were able to spot my friend (wearing the same polka dot shirt she does for every race) cruise across the finish line in 25:22. Yes, you read that correct. A fellow former swimmer running 4 miles in just over 25 minutes – and she looked comfortable the whole last leg. Envy I tell you, pure envy. It made me realize my running and excuse department is a bit lack-luster, and I should probably get myself out there more. But yes, enough whining about my running ability and back to the food. But seriously, awesome job Kir!

From there we headed to Washington Square Park, so I could get my hands on some Cake & Shake. A newer food truck on the scene, they offer daily cupcake and shake flavors and they also have pupcakes for the dogs! Since there were two of us, my fiancé and I decided to share a cupcake and a shake, and we picked the whatchamacallit cupcake and salted caramel shake. They were both equally awesome. The whatchamacallit is a milk chocolate cake with caramel mousse and a nougat frosting. The salted caramel needs no explanation, and was the perfect combination of sweet, creamy, and refreshing. If you are ever in the area, you need to get yourself a cupcake and/or (probably and) shake. I have every intention of heading back to get some more!

Salted Caramel Shake & Whatchamacallit Cupcake from Cake & Shake

Continuing our galavanting after hanging out in the park for a bit, we ventured over to Petite Abeille for some brunch. What a cute place! As soon as you walk in you’re welcomed with the smell of delicious Belgian waffles, and are then quickly ushered back to a table. They offer specials throughout the week (such as all you can eat mussels and a Stella on Wednesdays) and have an extensive beer list. Since it was brunch, I decided to order the Madame Croquet, which comprised of grilled ham and gruyere cheese and a sunny-side egg on top with a side of fries. My fiancé ordered the Gaufre Dame Blanche, which simply put were some Belgian waffles with ice cream and whipped cream, topped with a chocolate sauce. Both of our meals were good, but definitely not filling. We each ordered a coffee, mine iced and my fiancé’s hot, and his had a ton of coffee grinds floating in, and at the bottom of his cup. Our water also had a crayon-like taste, which was disappointing considering how incredibly hot it was outside. Overall, the food was okay, but the restaurant itself is adorable and the staff is friendly. If you’re looking for something small to eat, I’d recommend it, however, don’t expect a big hangover curing brunch because you won’t find it here.

Croque Madam from Petit Abeille

Gaufre Dame Blanche from Petit Abeille

To end the day, we headed to Coney Island for The Village Voice’s Siren Fest – a free music festival right in the heart of Coney Island. I was excited at the opportunity to see both Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Matt & Kim, but unfortunately they didn’t go on until 7p, and it was just too brutally hot outside. We walked up and down the boardwalk a few times to use the breeze to our advantage, but we were still basically dripping sweat. We were too full from our stops earlier to enjoy some Nathan’s, so we called it quits pretty early, and headed back home.

Overall, there was a lot of eating and sweating this weekend in good ole NYC. Often times I’m envious of the lifestyle New Yorkers have, and this weekend was definitely a weekend I felt that way. There were a million options of things to do, and they could be done by simply hopping on a train. Not to mention the food is always amazing, and I really enjoy walking around everywhere. No wonder so many of you New Yorkers are so thin ;-). But then I remember it’s also nice to have my own backyard, and a slightly lower cost of living. But have no fear, I’ll be back again soon, because New York, you’re just too awesome to stay away from!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Food Review, Restaurant, Running, Spanish Food, Travel

Here it is!

So, my first official post as Foodosaurus Rex.

I can’t really imagine where this is going to go, but I suppose only time will tell.

I’m an avid foodie who recently has become obsessed with the blog world. Put the two together, and there’s a whole new virgin territory for me to delve into.

So join me in my quest for deliciousness; whether it be in my kitchen or another’s. I’ll do my best to find all things yumyum and give you the 411 on all the nomz.

I can’t suggest you put weight in my posts – I love food. It’s going to be difficult for me to find something I don’t like.

Nonetheless you should stay tuned…

1 Comment

Filed under Beginning Food