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What I Ate Wednesday #177

What I Ate Wednesday, we meet again. Hope your week is off to a good start. Amanda was musing the other day about how our concept of a weekend changes as we get older and swap cartoons for errands and to-do lists. For those of us who work on the weekends, it can further complicate our sense of what day it is—not to mention what the name of a day really means. 

Between Back-to-School ads and the upcoming 10-year reunion I am mostly likely not going to, I’ve been thinking  about my high school classes lately. Creative Writing was always my favorite, and I got a lot out of English. My sophomore year, we did our Existentialism unit in late winter/early spring, which is basically the most depressing time of the year. All I really remember was that my main takeaway was, “Well, if this is all meaningless and arbitrary, may as well make the best of it?”

Anyway, I kind of feel that way now about days of the week—at least as this point in my life and career. A day is a day is a day. Maybe one day I’ll remember  what a weekend is supposed to feel like, but it’s been a while.

This past Saturday was spent working at the hospital. I actually don’t mind the weekends because it’s quieter and easier to get everything done. I also find patients are really chatty, which can be hilarious. My favorite from that day was when a patient told me that husbands are like pancakes: You usually have to throw the first one out.

I usually pack a lot of good food to get me through the day. Here’s what was on the menu this week:

WIAW 177

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with blueberries, coconut flour, and flax with a little cereal on the side for crunch.
  • Lunch: Salad with sardines.
  • Snacks: An unpictured apple; a new-to-me Gnu bar flavor; Dunkin Donuts coffee; a sweet potato with chocolate goat cheese and raspberry jam when I got home (oh, PMS cravings—the weirdness never ceases to amaze me)

sweet potato with chocolate goat cheese

Dinner was a bowl of chili I’d made the day before that was based off this recipe, only I used red kidney beans instead of red lentils and added some black garlic pulled pork.

pulled pork bourbon chili

Before bed, I had a sliced banana with a little peanut butter. Never gets old.

Look out for the grain police!

What was your favorite (or least favorite) class in high school? What are your weekends like now? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

Thinking Out Loud: Chocolate Cheese & Other Awesomeness

Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!
Thinking-Out-Loud2

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1.) My favorite summer dessert of late: roasted peach with Greek fry-yo. All you do is wrap the fruit in foil and roast at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. I guess technically it’s steaming it but whatever! grilled peach

2.) Until recently, I had no idea  that penile thrombosis was a thing. Now I know what to wish on the all the men who’ve been jerks to me…

3.) Puppy toys are the cutest. I promise I’ll stop teasing you soon. puppy toys

4.) I got rid of the garbage can I’ve had since Freshman year of college. Ugh. How is that 10 years ago already? Is it normal to even keep a garbage can that long? Either way—historic s*** in the Keeping It Real household.

5.) I cannot get enough of this song. I had the chance to see Jackson Browne at the Newoprt Folk Festival a few years ago, but it rained and it rained and it rained, and I left early. Listening to this makes me wish I had stayed. Then again, maybe it’s better to associate this song with a windows-open summer afternoon.

6.) I was on a date once with a guy who looked a lot younger than his years. I’d thought maybe he was 35 when we first met. Well, I found out the truth when I joked about my having the musical taste of a 45 year-old-dude and he gave me this look like, “Ummm…” As a Sagittarius, tact is clearly my specialty. Not that 45 is old, per se—it was just a surprise. The joys of being a fire sign…Not that it really matters, but thinking about, my musical taste is probably closer to someone in their late-50′s. Oh well. Next time I’ll say that.

7.) My friend Lauren (who, among her many talents, writes wonderful things about cheese, jam, and the like) is my new hero for turning me on to this chocolate goat cheese from Westfield Farm. I think it deserves its own post, but I’m way too excited to not tell you about it. It’s that good. For all my vegan friends out there, you should tell Daiya to get on this—or start adding cocoa powder to your homemade nut-cheese. Hah, nut-cheese. I’m sorry, I’ll stop. chocolate goat cheese

8.) I’m feeling much better after Sunday night’s little fainting adventure—a little banged up, but a gal’s just gotta keep on keeping on.

What song(s) are you obsessed with lately? Any favorite food finds? 

Stuff I Like: Rosemary Fig Honey

Taste Artisanal HoneyOne of my favorite finds at the Coffee and Tea Festival last weekend was this delicious rosemary fig honey from Taste Artisanal Market, a Pennsylvania-based company that creates a variety of spreads and honeys.

Products like this are exactly what I’m talking about when I encourage patients and clients to move away from artificial sweetener and choose instead to use a small amount of something they love. A little goes a long way—and provides a flavor that takes a humble snack to a new level of awesome.

What I love about this is the subtle but distinct rosemary flavor—it’s the perfect balance to the sweet honey and the slightly tart fig. I’m also a fan of the health benefits associated with rosemary, a powerful anti-inflammatory herb: improved immune function, good digestion and increased circulation. An added bonus:  that optimized blood flow to the brain may improve concentration, which is great if you need to focus at work!

So far, I’ve been enjoying it with sliced apple and cheese—the Trader Joe’s mini bries are a perfect pairing, but a nice goat cheese would work too! Here are a few other ways I plan to try it out:

  • Drizzled over ricotta or plain Greek yogurt
  • On a salad with a little olive oil
  • In a sandwich—maybe a grilled goat cheese & apple creation?
  • As a glaze for chicken, pork, or fish
  • With various cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts for a party appetizer plate

What foods or products are you excited about these days? 

 

Another great summer dessert

I didn’t know what my favorite fruit was until last year. Even now, I don’t even have a one specific favorite, but more a favorite…genre. Genus? Whatever the agricultural equivalent to “genre” is, that’s what I’m talking about.

Anyway, maybe it was all the wine tasting-and-writing or moving to a neighborhood with better markets, but I finally realized sometime in 2012 that I freaking love stone fruit: plums, peaches, nectarines (especially white nectarines), apricots, and especially plumcots.

roasted plumcotBecause roasting things is easy and almost always yields delicious results, I enjoyed a celebratory “my sense of taste and smell are back!” dessert last night of a roasted plumcot served with Greek frozen yogurt and the most gorgeous blackberries I’ve seen in a while. I’m glad it’s only August—I’m so not ready to move on to apples, pears, and pumpkin things yet. Give me a few weeks, and I’ll be ready. Haha now I’m thinking of this song…I’m afraid to count the many David Byrne/Talking Head nods on this blog. Then you’d all really know what a nerd I am.

What are your favorite fruits? Are you ready to move on to fall fruit or are you enjoying a summer sweet-spot? Pun totally intended : )

Summer Awesomeness

Happy Friday, guys! Keep the Firmoo giveaway entries coming!

Here are a few things I’ve been digging on this week:

…and I just saw “This is the End” last night. Really f-ing funny. I laughed so hard for so long you could consider it an ab workout !

What are you digging lately? 

Easy Summer Dessert

I love summer. I even love the sticky humid days that come with it. My theory is that the heat helps me relax because my muscles aren’t as likely to tense up like they do in cold temperatures.

For better or worse, I’m that dietitian who will run down to the kitchen to get someone a meal they’ll actually eat, especially if it’s someone I’m a little worried about.  I’m happy to do it, but it does get exhausting. I have so much respect for nurses and CNAs who are on their feet running around all day long taking care of people. It’s also interesting that I spent so much time talking about weight management with people who want to lose weight only to find myself focusing on getting enough calories to keep up the pace.

Sweating under my lab coat in the humidity isn’t exactly sexy, but when I hang that thing up and head out for the weekend (even if I stayed late to finish all my work), I have almost no trouble transitioning into Personal Life mode. There’s something to be said for putting on a dress and getting out into the summer evening air.

IMG_2640Another thing I love about summer is how much easier food prep is. Meals are just simpler—fresh, in-season produce, less cooking—it’s a beautiful thing. Last night I saw the fruit stand on my way home had some gorgeous black figs for sale. For whatever reason, figs are one of my ultimate comfort foods—they’re just so luxurious and—dare I say it?—a little bit sexy.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy figs is roasted. They’re the perfect addition to many a sweet and savory dish. In the spirit of easy summer desserts, I enjoyed some over a little frozen Greek yogurt with dark chocolate chips. It was absolutely perfect—and a great way to celebrate my one-year-anniversary in my apartment.

This morning I took a great yoga class that focused on the heart chakra. It was an awesome reminder of how much stronger I’ve gotten in the past twelve months—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Like I often say, Always an adventure.

What do you love about summer? Any favorite summer foods? 

Weekend Loves

Happy Saturday! Can you believe it’s June 1st? I woke up this morning really excited about the new month. So far, this weekend couldn’t be more different from last. For starters, it’s freaking sunny out! And hot! Love it.

I also love that I have time for summer reading and diner brunch with friends. My aunt surprised me with a gift card to Ann Taylor LOFT so of course I had to scope out the 40% off sale…

I’m also really digging this new snack of sliced peach/nectarine with cottage cheese and fig & ginger preserves. So many good flavors. I go through phases where I forget about cottage cheese—I tend to alternate between that and nonfat ricotta. I really love how versatile it is, though, especially the no-salt-added kind. Maybe it’s the reign of Gemini influence talking, but I appreciate having the option of going sweet or savory. Options are good.

What are you loving this weekend? 

Things that should happen more often

I don’t know about you, but for me, it can be so easy to slip into “creature of habit” mode. Or maybe consider yourself an all-the-time COH and are, like, “Wait, that’s a just a mode one can slip into? Since when?”

Either way. When it comes to breakfast, as I’ve said many times before, I almost always have a variation of oatmeal. Lately (and by “lately” I mean, like, the last 2 months), I’ve been alternation between this (with egg whites) and this, with an occasional green-pancake breakfast when I have extra spinach to use up. Over the winter, savory oatmeal was my thing.

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early (I’ve been gradually training my body to wake up a little earlier again in preparation for the new gig). I had plans for a picnic, but it wasn’t until 3 pm. So, after a workout to kill some time, I decided to use up a bunch of random things lurking in the fridge and freezer by making egg-white French toast for what I guess I’ll call brunch.

IMG_2231

As I often do, I ate it with a side salad—gotta use up the greens and get in some veggies for the day.  Seriously, why don’t I do this more often? French toast is so easy and satisfying, not to mention delicious. This is definitely one of those things that needs to happen more often.

Are you a creature of habit? What are some things that need to happen more often in your kitchen? Or in your life, for that matter? 

The Return of Smoothie Season

It may not be hot out yet, but my taste buds have been transitioning toward warm-weather staples: cold salads instead of warm vegetable plates, white wine and gin vs red and whiskey, and green smoothies.

Personally, I tend to associate smoothies with positive, active times in my life, as they’re one of my go-to foods when I need something quick and nutrient-dense to fuel myself for a fun event or “replenish the stores” after a good time (I’m a dietitian, not a nun). That said, they’re also a great breakfast or after-work snack.

I also love smoothies for their versatility—you can easily make them as light or substantial as you like. For example, if I’m making a  quick smoothie after work, I’ll just use half a frozen banana, some ice, 3/4 cup milk (dairy or non), and some spinach or kale—just enough to get me to dinner without gnawing my arm off.

However, if I’m making a smoothie for breakfast/brunch/”I didn’t mean to stay out so late” dinner, I might use more milk and maybe even a scoop of protein powder. I’ll also add cereal on top for extra texture, carbs, and calories to balance out the meal. A little drizzle of coconut makes a fun “magic shell” too if you’re into that.

This afternoon’s restorative creation is a good (if unphotogenic) example of the latter: IMG_2153

Here’s what I threw into the blender with my less caffeinated hand:

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  •  1/2 a frozen banana
  • ~5 ice cubes
  • ~1/8 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 giant handful of spinach

After blending and pouring the mess into a bowl, I added a cup of puffed millet and 1/2 tsp of coconut oil. That should keep me going until dinner with my mom and sister later.

Here are a few of my other favorite smoothie recipes:

PS—Check out some other awesome weekend recipes from other bloggers over at Weekend Kitchen Creations!

What are your favorite smoothies combinations? 

Good Stuff

I don’t usually buy fancy jams & things, but once in a while I have to make an exception. Case in point: IMG_2099

Figs & ginger are two of the food-related ways to my heart, so this found its way into my grocery basket in, like, two seconds.

I love Stonewall Kitchen products, and this is definitely a new favorite! I’ve already tried it on sprouted-grain toast with melted cheese and on top of oatmeal with plum & tahini. I imagine it’s also great in yogurt, on top of pancakes, and used as a base for marinade or salad dressing. My inner mad scientist is looking forward to a little experimentation.

As far as nutrition is concerned, sometimes people ask me what I think about added sugars in condiments, and I tend to feel the way I do about sugar in general:

  • a little goes a long way, and
  • when you do enjoy it, make it a small amount of something you really love

So if a little spread of your favorite fruit preserves is going to take your healthy sandwich from good to “OMG I need to Instagram this amazingness ASAP,” go for it. Just keep that feeling in mind when staring down the bowl of waxy leftover Easter (milk) chocolate at the office, and save your sweet-time for when it’s awesome. Oh dear. I wish my brain wasn’t so quick to make that into a metaphor…

What’s your favorite condiment? Any new finds? 

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