Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Official.

I am 80 years old. I'm tired before 10 PM.

I think I'll go read in bed and probably fall asleep with the book on my face.

But first...a picture.
Sweet dreams!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gone Swimming

It's been too long!

My head has just been swimming with too many things. I feel like I've been going through this summer with something constantly in my peripheral vision but I can't turn my head to figure out what it is. I'm not sure that really even makes sense, but to sum up, I feel overwhelmed with lots of *things* going on and can't seem to quite ever feel caught up. Know what I mean? 

But, the one thing that is not confusing me is my love for food. Especially yummy, healthy food!
I guess I was feeling patriotic?
Actually, I was just really excited when I came downstairs to find my dad home from a Costco trip with huge containers of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, melon, and Fage in tow. It was like Christmas!

Chocolate makes everything better.

Applesauce + cinnamon + Naturally More. 
I mixed mine up, but I don't recommend it - the pb got totally lost and I could barely taste it! No worries, there will be a next time.

Who's up for some reviews??

A Chobani that passes the sideways-spoon test!!
This was very tasty and enjoyable - like regular plain greek with a little sweet kick. I did like it, but to save $$ I'd rather just throw a little vanilla extract into some plain Fage. Just sayin.

You may recall my recent road trip. Road trips = LOTS of bar consumption.
This was disappointing. Very dry and very date-y. Not that I mind dates, but when I pick up a bar touting the name chocolate prominently in its title, I'm expecting lotsa cocoa, not so much date flavor. The chocolate chips helped, but I wouldn't buy this again. Plus, brown rice syrup was the first ingredient - not ok for having such a dry, crumbly texture!

My second Odwalla had better results.
Love that bad hotel lighting.
I was not expecting much after the chocolate one, but this was a horse of a different color! The coffee-chocolate balance was dead on, and it was pleasantly oaty and not dry or datey in the least. Loved this guy! Perfect dessert after a loooong day on the road. (And I mean long - 500 miles in 9 hours!)

Tried some new (to me) Laras as well:
This was just lovely! Reminded me of lemonade. Very refreshing! I had my doubts, but they were all put away after the first bite. The lemon flavor came through loud and clear, but were not at all clashing with the dates, and the cashews added the perfect creamy flavor and crunch in texture. A perfect summer snack!

I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. The banana flavor tasted almost too overripe for me. But overall, it definitely tasted like banana bread, and I loved the almonds! I'm always impressed with the Larabar flavor - always so real and genuine and such a teeny tiny ingredient list. 

Along the same lines...
Clif C boasts only 9 ingredients and a whole serving of fruit. I've reviewed the raspberry and tried the blueberry & cherry pomegranate with varying results, so I was interested to try this last one. 
I liked it. It had cinnamon, which was a very wise addition. I do like the texture of these - chewy, with the crunch from the bits of chopped nuts on top, reminiscent of Nutrigrain bar fillings. But, I wouldn't pay the $1.29 per bar. Just not that good. But, it's always fun to try new things!

I have one final review left:
I don't remember if I've mentioned it before or not, but I have a bit of a problem with frosting. The problem being that one bite and I am compelled to scrape it off the entire cake and leave the cake itself naked. It's one scratch recipe I've never made well and it bothers me. All in good time, right? In the spirit of trying new things, I picked this up at Whole Foods. I couldn't resist - toffee vanilla by a company named Namaste?!! Yesplease.
You just mix the bag with 6 T of butter, margarine, or the like and add water as needed to get the right consistency. In one of my baking storms, I whipped some chocolate cake a la Dreena (halved the recipe and made it all one layer) and topped it with this gooey goodness. It was wonderful - this chocolate cake recipe rocks my baker's socks! I wish there was a similar one for vanilla cake. I figure it can't be hard to figure out, just may take some experimenting (my fave activity!). And the frosting? Very toffee-y! I was really impressed with the toffee flavor. In a testament to how good it was, my brother ate one tupperware full last night, and ate the second tupperware this afternoon. Sometimes my parents worry that I bake too much for the house to eat....I don't know why.

Hope you're all surviving the heat! I'm only semi-melted.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

She's Baaaccck...

Didja miss me??!! 

So, instead of attempting to put the past 6 days into words, I will do it with pictures. They're worth a thousand, right?

Stop #1: Ursinus College, Collegeville PA
P.F. Chang's - loved how they served the wine flight!

The Collegeville Diner


Stop #2: Haverford College, Haverford PA

Love it.

Stop #3: Lancaster Art Hotel, Lancaster PA

The restaurant used all local, organic food! I was a happy foodie :)
Amouse bouche: Gazpacho
lettuce+cauliflower+zucchini+beans+snap peas+ fennel+goat cheese = YUM.
One of the best pizzas...ever.
Chocolate cake w. raw almond butter filling. I all but licked the plate.


Stop #4: Goucher College, Towson MD

[Pit stop in Pittsburgh!]
Baskin-Robbins kiddie cone soft-serve :)

This salad had some of the tastiest roasted tofu EVER. I want to know what they did to it!

Stop #6: Oberlin College, Oberlin OH

Solar energy panels power their entire environmental studies building - too cool, right?!

Dinner at the Black River Cafe:

Homemade raspberry-lavender sorbet. Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it.

Our last stop was to Hyde Park, NY to check out the Culinary Institute of America for me. They didn't allow pictures inside the school and I was so focused on the tour, I didn't take pics of the campus - but it was gorgeous. To sum up, I was in love with it. And if it hadn't been sealed earlier, when we passed by one of the baking classes that focuses on gluten-free/vegan-friendly baking, one of the students brought out biscotti they had just made for our tour to try. I am a little superstitious about talking about the possibility of my going there, just because, um, let's just say I had a truly awful, scarring experience with the undergrad college application process and now I'm totally scared of jinxing this next upcoming process. Stupid maybe, but...I can't help it.
We ate lunch in the school's student-staffed cafe. Mom got a pesto-white bean soup:
It wasn't, perhaps, amazing, but it was most definitely delicious and worth the price. I had a chopped veggie salad:
Now this reached amazing-status. Radish, beets, green beans, carrot, zucchini, fennel, potatoes in a champagne vinaigrette. So simple but so good. And I had a roll because I was not about to leave without trying the bread:
Oh, this is up there on my favorite-breads list. Yes, I have one - it also includes the rolls at Legal Seafoods, the bread from our local Italian specialty food store, and the Tuscan bread at Sergio's. This was a perfect little piece of carb heaven. Crispy-crunchy on the outside, doughy and fluffy on the inside. If I learn how to recreate these, my life could be complete.

The drive home was brutal beyond belief - what should have been a 2 1/2 hour zip turned into a traffic-laden 5 1/2 hour nightmare. Despite a downright blissful yoga class this morning, I'm still exhausted. BUT, it was a very successful and pretty fun trip. My brother has a better idea of what he wants in a school, and I had some seriously delicious eats.

I think I'm going to sleep for a veeerrrrrry long time tomorrow. I can't wait!