Playing Dress Up

I am pretending to be a food blogger for a day. I scavenge several food/fitness oriented blogs daily to poach their ideas for healthy meals and to share the trials and tribulations of being a “healthy” person who loves to eat. The days I spend at the office are 10.5 hours long. Add a commute (1 hr) and a possible stop at the gym (1 hr) and I am away from home for nearly 13 hours. I need lots of nibbles to get me through the day, especially since my delicate digestive system operates best with those small but frequent mini-meals that have become so popular in diet books. Packing food to take to the office that is healthy and satisfying and yet not so tempting that I break into my food stash and eat it all before lunch is a bit of a challenge. I have at my disposal a microwave and a refrigerator, so that gives me some flexibility. My normal menu features breakfast and coffee, a morning snack, a light lunch after my daily lunch-break walk, and then 1-2 afternoon snacks (because lunch–> 8:30 PM is a long time). I try to wait until I get home so Tyler and I can eat dinner together. I strongly believe shared meals are important, and dinner is a great time for us to relax together and share – food, company, thoughts on our days. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore my growling tummy, though ; ).

So, for today, and today only (unless I just love this) I will do my best to document a day in the life of an Office Snacker. My coworkers don’t seem to have a problem with eating 3 normal meals a day, so I feel like I am constantly snacking while they only indulge their appetites at lunch.

Breakfast (9 AM-10 AM):

Coffee with milk (heated in my home microwave, transported in a thermos). I could drink my coffee at home, but I prefer to sip it over the course of my first 2 hours or so at work. It’s a nice transition from home-work.

Bagel (homemade!) with 1 Tbsp Sunflower butter and cinnamon. I toast my bread products the night before, so they have time to cool off and stop being steamy. I smeared it with SB and stored it in a tupperware container overnight. I do my best to ALWAYS use reusable packaging. Bonus? The lid doubles as a mini-plate.

Calories: 290

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Morning Snack (10:45 AM)

Leftover coffee, poured over ice in my yesterday’s Starbucks cup.

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*1 Hour Walk*

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Lunch (1:10-1:25 PM)

I steamed shredded carrots, shredded daikon, bean sprouts, and a few pieces of broccoli and cauliflower with 2 Tbsp of Teriyaki sauce in the microwave. I often bring raw vegetables and steam them in the microwave, normally topping them with pasta or some other grain. This dish was sub par. Would have been better with actual sauce (non-watery), some noodles, and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.  But, I got my veggies in and had a hot meal to warm my tummy.  Now I am looking forward to the delicious dairy and fruit snacks chilling in the refrigerator!

Calories: 120

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Snack 1 (2:50 PM)

A nice refreshing break: 1/2 cup canteloupe with 1/4 cup fat free cottage cheese. I experimentally topped this with a few sprinkles stolen from a pack of Kashi instant oatmeal that I found a little too wholesome. I don’t generally care for mushy foods — unless we are talking about ice cream or chocolate pudding, so these little crunchy nubs helped spice this up considerably.

Calories: 100

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Snack 2 (4:15 PM)

Yogurt! 1 full cup of plain fat free yogurt mixed with 1 Tbsp sugar free strawberry preserves, a dash of maple syrup for flavor, and a scant 1/2 cup of oats. I sprinkled a bit more instant oatmeal on top for crunch.

Calories: 200

~ Calories from oatmeal: 100

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Nibbles (6:00 PM)

Satisfying my sweet tooth with 1/2 a cup of blueberries. My last snack of the day.

Calories: 40

Gross Calories: 850
Calories Burned: 350
Net Calories: 500
Liquids: 25 ounces coffee + milk, 64 ounces water

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Apricot Abundance

We have apricots coming out our ears, and no, this is not a bad thing. My parents have an apricot tree in their backyard, and after a few years of neglect it has decided to become a fruit-producing machine. At one point my mom lobbied for the tree’s removal, but it is in full glory now. The ground underneath the tree is coated with the slick sludge of decaying apricots, as it’s impossible to gather them quickly enough. The Kansas wind helped take a few down, and I suppose although they are “wasted” on the ground, they do at least provide a feast for the smaller organisms with whom we share our earth.

We’ve been eating them raw, by the half dozen and I whipped up a deliciously simple apple cobbler the other night. These fruits are so ripe and sweet that I only sprinkled a tablespoon of sugar on the entire batch. I also served up a portion of the stewed apricots alongside my morning oatmeal yesterday, then enjoyed cobbler with vanilla frozen yogurt in the evening. This morning, I made pancakes and topped them with sliced apricots and whipped cream and the leftovers are destined to become a sassy apricot stir fry sauce tomorrow night.

It’s rare that we are blessed with such a bounty of fresh, flavorful produce so I am reveling in the pleasure!

Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Shares her Sweet Secrets to Success

I work for an organization called NetWork Kansas. Their mission is to connect entrepreneurs with resources and sometimes I get to meet some of these very entrepreneurs. I was on hand to represent NetWork Kansas at the launch of Butler Community College’s Entrepreneurial Institute on March 2 and had the opportunity to listen to Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce.

Beth is a local (Wichita, KS) entrepreneur who shares the story of following a dream. Like many of us, she longed for a life that was truer and more satisfying than the corporate gig she had pursued (very successfully) for years and finally listened to the call to live authentically. For Beth this meant becoming a master chocolatier. Beth’s passion is creating sweet confections but when it came to running a business, she realized there was a lot to learn. Striking the right balance between passion and preparation can be one of the most difficult aspects of entrepreneurship. Beth spent a lot of time planning, although her husband actually urged her to move faster than they’d initially discussed, citing failure as the “worst that could happen”.

As Beth spoke, I was struck by the way that her words resonated with the audience. Following a dream is a powerful image in today’s society, probably because so many of us spend most of our time doing things that aren’t consistent with what’s in our heart. When we align our skills with our passions, it seems like so often a path is opened before us that seemed impossible. When you remove “getting rich” as the motive, business will be more satisfying and often more successful. Of course, you have to earn a living, but that cannot be the only reason you decide to be an entrepreneur. Continue reading

Chicken Teriyaki

I promised you ages ago to share my homemade teriyaki sauce recipe. For my first attempt I combined what I felt were the best elements from several different recipes. The flavor was amazing – rich and almost smoky. It’s still not the same as the kind we get from Japan Express (an awesome little local “fast food” Japanese restaurant) but it was pretty excellent and far outshone sauce from a bottle. Continue reading

The Ultimate Big, Chewy, Husband-Approved Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This monster was as big as my hand.

Chocolate chip cookies are Tyler’s reward of choice for performing all sorts of above-and-beyond tasks for me around the house. He does a LOT for me, so I keep a few tubs of cookie dough in the freezer for quick rewards. The other night, he finished hanging new (pretty!) shelves in my office and I wanted to thank him. This is my new go-to recipe. It’s pretty awesome; chewy, rich and toffee flavored, and oh-so-buttery so it’s going to take a lot for another recipe to dethrone it. If you ever loved eating Tollhouse cookie dough straight out of the yellow tube, you are going to LOVE these – I promise.

Adapted from this recipe.

The Ultimate Big, Chewy, Husband-Approved Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or a mix of half chocolate chips, half butterscotch, to really bring out the rich, dark flavors)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (although I have also cooked these at 350)
  2. By  hand, cream together the melted butter and sugars. Beat in vanilla, eggs, and molasses until light and creamy. Mix in dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes at 325 or for 8-10 minutes at 350, or until the edges are golden brown.

*I often substitute brown sugar for all the sugar. I just prefer the flavor.

Strawbrerries

I could find no credit for this image. Let me know if it is yours!

I forgot! Spring means STRAWBERRIES. I am feeling a bit more cheerful. Spring also means tulips, and the ones Tyler gave me smell divine. Do I still have time to plant any bulbs? While you ponder that (and get back to me if you know), I will leave you with a few delicious morsels that celebrate spring. Or at least, embrace its bounty to the fullest – and isn’t that what spring is about?

Strawberry Sundaes with Prosecco Sabayon – yes, yes yes! I made sabayon once… and am wondering why that was the only time. DELICIOUS. Forget the “compote” and all that fancy stuff – all you need is fresh berries and a dollop of sabayon to send your taste-buds into swirling, joyous ecstasy.

Strawberry Shortcakes – Classic and ALWAYS appropriate. Especially for breakfast. Think about it. Fruit and a biscuit. That’s totally appropriate for breakfast.

Strawberry Bellini – Drink your berries. I insist.

Southern-Style Strawberry Cake – Like a fancy dress; pink, fluffy, layered, this confection is perfect for a party.

Craft Night Refreshments – no boys allowed

One of my friends has recently announced she will begin hosting an open craft night once a month for the ladies of our circle. Of course, I’m excited about working on projects while having a chance to socialize with all these lovely ladies, but I’m also excited to have an opportunity to try out some new recipes I’ve found-and many still yet to be discovered!

Girls deserve special goodies. Normally when I make something for a group it’s for a mixed crowd, or one dominated by husbands, so that influences my recipe choices. Men like things that are “hearty”. Big, chewy cookies and brownies, nothing with too many layers or flavors or delicate little crusts. They like things they can eat in one, impressive CHOMP. Frankly, I’m not going to spend three hours slaving over a special delicacy when I know that it will be devoured, not savored. That doesn’t mean this is *bad*, just that it requires a different mindset. These are a few things I’ve picked out that the ladies might like:

Cookie Dough Truffles

S’mores Cupcakes