Sunday’s Superbowl Snippets

Yesterday was a very sad day for Patriots football fans everwhere.

(but a very GOOD day for Giants fans… ūüėČ )

I think the poor men folk are still recovering.

At least there was plenty of good food around.

(and that’s just the appetizer table!)

Never mind the chili, meatballs, chicken, baked beans, etc.

And Nicole’s baked onion rings, which I am hopelessly addicted to!

I’m obsessed!

Seriously. ¬†Nicole knows by now to just place the onion ring platter right in front of me. ¬†It’s a little ridiculous how much I love these things.

As for the game? ¬†Well. ¬†I wish I could partake in all the superbowl excitement, but honestly, I’m more excited about seeing everyone, eating good food and playing with a certain cat named Stitch.

I did get into the game a little bit though.

I mean.

I didn’t end up pulling out the Real Simple magazines that I had toted along just in case the game got boring. ¬†The game was so close, I didn’t even have a chance to get bored. ¬†Maybe I have an inner football fan somewhere, trying to get out. ¬†Maybe. ūüėČ

Time for me to get to work after a long (fun) weekend!!!

QUESTION: Did you watch the superbowl last night?  Are you a sports fan?

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Baked Banana-Blueberry Oatmeal.

This is Part 29 of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.

Sunday mornings are made for long morning walks before going to church. ¬†Hot cups of steamy coffee with soy. ¬†Family lunches. ¬†The newspaper’s crossword puzzles.

And, of course, breakfast.

Normally, I eat within 10 minutes of getting up, before grabbing my cup of coffee and hopping on the computer for work-related things.

Not on Sunday, though.  No sirree.

On Sunday, I like to slow things down a little.  I pull out the pots and pans and I allow myself the luxury of making an absolute mess.  

Oatmeal is every day food around here.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing to brag about.

Baked oatmeal, however, is an entirely different entity.

The bananas fluff up like little bits of toasted marshmallow.  The walnuts get extra crispy and the blueberries pop.  Perhaps the best part is the texture of the oatmeal itself.  All gooey and smooth and custardy like.

I’m not one to wait 30 minutes before eating breakfast.

But.

Sometimes it’s worth it.

Besides…

…that’s what Sunday mornings are for.

Baked Banana-Blueberry Oatmeal
(Serves 4) 

I found the idea for this baked oatmeal on the back of a Stop & Shop grocery store flyer, but I tweaked it to make it just a tad bit healthier.

Regular, old fashioned oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts you could possibly eat. ¬†You can easily start your day with a good dose of whole grains and fiber, and it’s the perfect opportunity to add in a splash of some of the other healthy ingredients too (like flax and walnuts.) ¬†Oatmeal has been popularized for its cholesterol lowering benefits (thanks to the fiber content) and it can taste absolutely delicious too! ¬†Let your imagination run wild with varying fruit, nut and spice combinations.

Oh.  And trust me.  This breakfast is worth the wait.  Enjoy!

  • 2 cups uncooked old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed flaxseed (optional)
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (do not dethaw)
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, half of the walnuts, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon (and flax, if using.)
  2. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla; add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Spray the bottom of an 8-inch pan and add sliced bananas.  Pour batter over bananas and top with the remaining walnuts.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes until top is golden and the oatmeal is set.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: When you have the time, what is one of your most favorite “special breakfasts”?

Beer Baked Beans.

This is Part XIV of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.

You know, I’ve seen some people add beer to their baked beans,” I yelled to dad from where I was standing in the kitchen, stirring away at a pot of simmering beans.

I’m not entirely sure if I was just commenting on some random fact or if I was looking for approval from an outside source. ¬†Or, maybe, I was just looking for someone else who I could put the blame on if things didn’t quite pan out. ūüėČ

I waited.  Wondering.

“I’m up for trying it!” Dad shouted back from den. ¬†

That’s just like Dad. ¬†He’s always up for trying “it.” ¬†A ridiculously hot chili pepper in (any) soup. ¬†A pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. ¬†Beer in baked beans. ¬†He is quite often the convincing vote to my indecisive nature.

A while back, I posted one of my most favorite recipes from my Memere’s kitchen.

Baked Beans.

I could eat bowls and bowls of it, along with big hunks of homemade bread. ¬†If you looked up comfort food in my own personal dictionary, this is what you’d find.

And then Samantha (aka, the author of Bikini Birthday) had the brilliant idea of adding whiskey to the recipe.

The idea was a brilliant one and I wanted to copy her creativity immediately.

Only I didn’t have whiskey, so I added a bottle of beer.¬† It added just the right touch of flavor and sweetness, and it totally complemented Memere’s recipe. ¬†

Being Saturday and all, I wanted to keep this healthy living recipe simple and soulful. ¬†And baked beans are one of the best things you can make on some lazy Saturday afternoon. ¬†They do take a while to come together, but that’s all oven time.

Which means you are free to browse Pinterest or read or tag a friend on facebook.

Or browse through home good stores with your sistah…

…contemplating whether you have just enough money to purchase a new soup bowl or that jar of half-priced peanut butter…

..(the peanut butter almost always wins)

…or you could spend your afternoon at the ‘bucks, sipping on a hot soy mocha latte…

…(or you could be like me and do all of the above, since that’s what Saturdays are made for!)…

Well.  Whatever it is that you decide to do, I guarentee you that your house will smell amazing once you return.

And then you can indulge in a bowl of deliciously nutritious baked beans for dinner, making you feel as if your lazy Saturday afternoon was totally productive after all. ūüėČ

Beer Baked Beans

I recommend doubling this recipe, as leftovers are great to have on hand.  They freeze well too!

I like to serve this with a side of hearty bread.  Or a side of buckwheat pancakes and a bowl of sauteed collard greens, which is equally delicious and fun.  Enjoy!

  • 2 c. navy beans
  • 1-2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 T. molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 bottle of beer
  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water.  Simmer beans in same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hrs.  Drain and reserve liquid. (keep in mind that you don’t want the beans sooo tender that they’re falling apart on you…they should be a little firm)
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  3. Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish and top with onions.
  4. In a saucepan, combine rest of ingredients.  Bring mixture to a bowl and pour over beans.  Pour in 1/2 bottle of beer and just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans.  Stir gently with rubber spatula and cover dish with lid or aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 3 to 4 hrs in preheated oven.  Stir occasionally.
  6. ENJOY! :D
    QUESTION: Describe your perfect weekend…

This Weekend, I… (Part II)

This weekend, I…

1. Ran my first 5k.

Now I’ve got a 5k, a 10k and a half under my belt. ¬†I do realize what this means, but I have to mentally prepare myself for that next big step before taking the plunge. ūüėČ

I have to say, running a 5k was one of the funnest events I’ve yet to attend. ¬†It was great being in a crowd of like minded individuals. ¬†It felt fun vs. feeling scary and competitive (although there were definitely some super competitive athletes at this event as well!)

Dad ran with me, and burned up the course with his pace of 7.3 minute miles. ¬†I ran my heart out with 8.? minute miles. ¬†It felt good to run for speed vs. running for distance. ¬†I’m normally a slow runner, but I like the idea of increasing my speed for future races.

The front runners finished with a pace of 5 minute miles which is absolutely awesome and absurd. ¬†I can’t even imagine.

Whole Foods was handing out free apples and apple cider which made for a delicious post-run snack. ¬†I also took a couple bites of Dad’s chili after the race. ¬†Delicious. ¬†It was nice and chunky with plenty of veggies and local grass fed beef.

We considered waiting in line for the locally dug potato fries (they seemed to be the hit of the day,) but the line was long and we were starving…

…so we mingled around for the free samples of breads and vegetables and things like that.

Check out these gorgeous heirloom garlic braids.  For those of us obsessed with all things garlic.  So pretty.

Later, we stopped off at Whole Foods for some more food (5k races apparently make me hungry.)

Dad made himself a roast beef sandwich by stopping in the bread department and asking for some lean roast beef at the deli.

I snagged a piece of dad’s baguette and got a little bit of this and that (kale, tempeh, 3-bean salad, and butter beans in olive oil) from the salad bar.

We also got some complimentary goodie bags complete with locally made strawberry and tripleberry jam.

Fun race, fun day.

I’m already planning another 5k for next month. ūüėÄ

2. Registered for a Masters Degree Information Session in November.
I’m still not really sure how I feel about this. ¬†But lately I’ve been thinking about going for my Masters Degree. ¬†It would be a big financial leap, but it might also be a smart career move.
I’m just going to start studying for my GRE exam, go to this informational session and take it a day at a time (while still applying for jobs in the meantime.)
We’ll see what happens with this one. ūüėČ

3. Had a cookout with the family.

Who cares that it’s 32 degrees outside?

Or that I’m wearing mittens and thick wooly socks and I can see my breathe when I step outside?

It’s never too late for a cook”out.” ¬†Complete with grass fed burgers, whole wheat buns from Trader Joes, onions and mushrooms (for the burger), root fries and side salads.

I wanted to try something slightly different than your typical “fry” so I baked up some root veggie fries, thanks to some inspiration from the cookbook Clean Food. ¬†I changed the seasoning options, as it’s easily tweakable. ¬†Go with what you like…the cooking method is no-fail.

Root Veggie Fries

  • 4 parsnips, peeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder to taste
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cut vegetables into stick shapes.  Steam for 3 minutes.  Transfer to cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, drizzle with oil, and toss with cornmeal and seasonings of choice.
  3. Broil for 5 minutes.  Flip.  Broil another 5 or until browned as desired (longer if you prefer them more crisp.)
Just like your typical french fries, these were delicious served with ketchup.  As much as I love potato fries, these really do make a fun twist now and then.
4. Recharged and reflected.
We all need “me time.” ¬†Time to just unwind and reflect and journal and sip a cup of tea.
I heart holiday teas.
QUESTION: What did YOU do this weekend?

high-five weekend.

This weekend, I…

1. Ate meat for the first time in 6 months.

If you’re wondering how I know that it’s been exactly 6 months since I last ate meat, it’s because on April 16, I decided to go without. ¬†I don’t know. ¬†Something about the weather, the fresh seasonal vegetables. ¬†I had a love affair with vegetables and I didn’t want to miss out on one single fresh tomato.

So. ¬†I just decided that I didn’t need meat, although I still cooked it for the family.

Until this weekend, that is. ¬†That’s when Dad made his beer can chicken and I felt the familiar return of a longing for heartier, autumn inspired meals. ¬†Butternut squash. ¬†Kale. ¬†Chicken stew. ¬†A little meat with a preference for produce. ¬†And that’s that.

2. Cooked with wine for my very first time.

I realize that I’m far, far behind in this avenue, but I do try my best to be honest with you guys. ¬†So there you have it. ¬†I have never before cooked with wine (or any alcohol, for that matter!)

But after tonight’s dinner, there may just be a new trend on the rise.

3. Ran six strong miles.

This is a very big deal for me. ¬†I haven’t been running the distances since my half marathon, really. ¬†To feel strong (pain free!) is huge. ¬†No injuries in sight! ¬†Feeling good. ¬†Who knows where this will take me? ūüėČ

4. Ate a muffin for each and every breakfast.  

That’s how I role.

(Stay tuned for the uber easy, uber delicious recipe!)

5. Fell in love with parsnips.

Gosh, I never thought I’d hear myself saying that.

I really did hesitate before throwing that one pound bag of parsnips into my shopping cart. ¬†Not only do they look like very pale and sickly carrots, I have a horribly bad experience with them. ¬†I first tried them in a casserole dish and (apparently) I hadn’t washed them thoroughly. ¬†The result was a very bitter, very gritty dinner. ¬†You can see why I hold such a grudge?

But I threw that little ninety-nine cent bag into my cart and told the eager little vegetable that I was giving it one more shot (don’t worry, I don’t actually talk to my vegetables…not usually, anyways.)

Maybe it was the white wine that went into the dish, hitting just the right note.  Or the very bright and seasonal kale mixed with caramelized onions.  Who knows?  All I know is that I found myself picking away at the bottom of the cooking pan after all was said and done, just to get one more last bite of sweet and tender parsnips.

So yes. ¬†I’d call that love.

Pasta with Kale, Caramelized Onions and Parsnips–modified recipe, based on the original Cooking Light recipe.

This recipe is easy to throw together. ¬†The most time consuming part is the chopping, which can be done the day before if you’re in a hurry. ¬†Enjoy the leftovers for a quick lunch the following day. ¬†Enjoy!

(serves 4-6)

  • 2 tablespoons¬†extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups¬†(1/3-inch) diagonally cut parsnip (about 1 pound)
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon¬†chopped fresh (or dried) thyme
  • 4¬†garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup¬†dry white wine
  • 8 cups¬†trimmed chopped kale (about 3 bunches)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces¬†uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup¬†(2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add parsnip to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnips, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Pass around extra cheese at the table.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What did you do this weekend?

Saturday Morning.

I love Saturday morning rituals.  And if I really had to choose a favorite moment, a most anticipated time, it would be (yes!) Saturday morning.

Somewhere around 7 o’clock. ¬†Somewhere before 10 o’clock. ¬†Somewhere around there.

My love for Saturday mornings used to revolve around the morning Looney Tune show. ¬†Nicole and Matthew would pull out all of their toys and I would follow suit. ¬†We’d play between commercials and laugh like crazy at bugs bunny and daffy’s latest antics.

And then we would run around and play outside. ¬†Sometimes we’d be ferocious wild horses, running through fields and jumping over logs. ¬†Sometimes we were cowboys (+ girls!) and Indians. ¬†Whatever we might have been for the day, we would always refuel with some good ol’ fashioned balogna and cheese sandwiches. ¬†Life was good. ¬†Life was perfect.

And then I grew up and everything changed.  Except for Saturday mornings.  I still enjoy my rituals (FYI, without elmer fudd!! Ha!)

I drink my morning cup of coffee. ¬†I take in the fresh new day. ¬†I breathe (because sometimes during the week, it’s hard to remember to do this!) ¬†I go for a run and I don’t rush home. ¬†I make myself whatever I want for breakfast. ¬†Life is good. ¬†Life is perfect.

Ezekiel Toast.  Chocolate Hazelnut butter.  Banana.  Milk.

Enjoy your Saturday!!

QUESTION: What are your Saturday morning rituals?

The Flying Onion vs. Mr. Stress

Well.  It happened.

I fought it. ¬†I really did. ¬†You’d be truly proud of me, really. ¬†But still. ¬†It happened.

In a pure moment of weakness, I finally let Mr. Stress get the better of me.

You know exactly what I mean.  That tight feeling up in the chest.  Head swimming, ready to burst.  Tightened shoulders.  The feeling of being nervously energetic and tired all at the same time.

I’m usually pretty good about things like this. ¬†Feelings like that don’t pop up all too often. ¬†But. ¬†This time? ¬†They did.

My new job officially started on Thursday, and I found myself feeling overly flustered with the whole ordeal. ¬†I’m learning three new types of software. ¬†I’m learning what a zip file is (don’t laugh, I had no idea there even was such a thing!) ¬†And I’m calling people to collect dietary data for a nutrition study.¬†¬†

(Which, in case you didn’t know, I have a major phonephobia. ¬†It’s true!)

I reached my breaking point somewhere around 4 o’clock yesterday. ¬†This is when I realized how silly I was being. ¬†How feeling tight and wound up was doing nothing—absolutely nothing!—for me, except to give me really tight shoulders (and I really¬†can’t afford a massage therapist right now…bummer!)

Sarah, I said to myself. ¬†It’s time you did something about Mr. Stress. ¬†Fight back!

And so, I did. ¬†I dragged myself to the kitchen table and helped (i.e., taste tested and watched) mom frost and bake a batch of cookies. ¬†I indulged in a deep session of yoga flows. ¬†I went for an after dinner walk, just because. ¬†And I counted the hours until I’d be hanging with this gal:

She’s making us smoothies for tomorrow’s shopping trip, which she swears tastes just like the Starbucks Chocolate Banana Vivanno. ¬†This could be a very, very good thing.

(Don’t you worry, I’ll try my best to convince her to share the recipe!)

Sigh.  Yes.  I am stressed.  A little tight.  A little wound up.  A little anxious about starting a brand new job on top of keeping up with my dietetic internship requirements.

But you know what?

I’m okay. ¬†I’m more than okay. ¬†And in two hours, I’ll be shopping with my best gal friend and laughing without a care in the world. ¬†I’m fighting back and it seems to me that Mr. Stress is losing.

QUESTION: How do you usually handle stressful situations?