Multigrain Pancakes + Easy Raspberry Sauce + “TV Dinner”

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Hiyas friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

I have a couple fun recipes to share, because I made one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in awhile today – Multigrain pancakes with raspberry sauce!

(and in case you don’t usually make it to the end of the post, be sure to check out the link at the bottom of the post for my Black Swan Discussion group)

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Oh yes, these are keepers for sure!

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The batter starts out a bit liquidy.

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But, if you let it sit for a few minutes, it thickens up.

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We got to test out our new griddle pan this morning. I stopped making pancakes for awhile because I was frustrated by making them in a small non-stick pan – they were just taking too long!

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Thanks to the new griddle, things are moving along much faster.

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Wait till you see the bubbles before you flip the pancakes if you don’t want squishy centers.

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I decided to use my immersion blender to make the sauce today, but any blender type tool (stand blender, food processor) will work.

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The best part of the sauce is…well, there are a couple good things: it’s a fruit serving (depending on how much you serve, of course), and it’s not as sweet as maple syrup would be (I think maple syrup on pancakes is often too sweet).

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Check out the steam!

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Check out that sauce! Mmm…

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Multigrain Pancake Recipe

For years I used boxed mix for pancakes. I don’t know why…I guess I just grew up eating it that way. But, by making your pancakes from scratch, you can control all the ingredients you use and sub in healthier items like whole grain flours. This multigrain pancake recipe uses all purpose flour, but also 2 whole grains: whole wheat and spelt. The spelt helps keep the pancakes light and fluffy, though you could probably substitute another flour or more of the all purpose or whole wheat. Be careful not to mix to yield fluffy pancakes. The batter will be a bit lumpy, and that’s ok. :)

The flavor secret is the combination of vanilla and almond extract. You would be ok if you used just one, but use both for the best flavor.

Serve with the delicious raspberry sauce below or your favorite pancake topping.

*Vegetarian (contains egg)*

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled but still in liquid form
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: milk, egg, melted butter, sugar vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  3. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Be careful to not overmix. The batter will be lumpy.
  4. Let pancake rest 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat a griddle or large pan over medium low heat.
  5. Melt a dab of butter on the griddle/pan, pour pancake batter onto pan. Let cook till bubbles show on top of pancakes. (Bottoms should be golden brown). Flip pancakes and cook till bottoms are golden brown.
  6. Optional step: If you’re cooking in batches, you can place pancakes on a baking sheet in the oven on warm/lowest setting (around 200 degrees F, depending on your oven).

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Easy Raspberry Sauce

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Strawberry Sauce

Craving fruits in winter? This is a great sauce to make when raspberries are not in season, because it is easily made with frozen raspberries. Also, this sauce is just lightly sweet, which pairs nicely with the tangy raspberries. If you like your sauce more on the sweet side, just add maple syrup to your liking. Ooh and while I love the flavor of lemon, you may not care as much for it. Feel free to reduce the amount of lemon juice used.

*Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free*

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen (or fresh) raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • juice of half a lemon

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small pot over medium low heat.
  2. When raspberries are no longer frozen, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce.
  3. Heat till warmed through.

***

I don’t know if you live in the South (or if this madness even happens anywhere else!), but we got word it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. Whenever the South gets a winter weather report of snow, ice, or a combination of the two, rest assured the entire town will go the grocery store to buy milk, eggs, and bread. I’m not sure why, but they do. I ended up going to the grocery store, but in talking to my checkout person found out I lucked out and went during a lull. Yes! I am not a fan of grocery stores that are packed with people franticly shopping for a snow storm (snow storm = any snow or ice in the South…lol).

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I made a quick lunch today – turkey melt over Great Harvest flax oat bran, Annie’s mac and cheese, and organic peas.

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And to cancel out the nasty, cold weather outside, I had a nice mug of Celestial Seasonings berry zinger! I love CS’s zinger teas!

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I also managed to cut a new Zumba top today. I’ve been looking at my gear and the more I wear the plain tank tops, the more I dislike them. My favorite tops are the ones that are cut, so I’m going to work on cutting more of them. :) I took a lot of photos of the cutting process of this, so I’ll post that soon.

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For dinner, I made a favorite that I’ve been cooking for the last few years – Rachael Ray’s 30 minute meal – Salisbury Steak with Wild Mushroom Gravy, Smashed Potatoes with garlic and Herb Cheese and Chives, Creamed Spinach. I just love it.

I enjoy the recipes and serving this dinner out of these cute TV trays I found at Target a few years back. Now this is my kind of TV dinner!

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I typically only follow the directions for the Salisbury steak, though, and I only sometimes add the mushrooms. These are the best Salisbury steaks I’ve ever had, and they’re so simple to make! I usually don’t follow RR’s suggestion to make such big patties. I find the small ones cook faster and are less likely to be pink on the inside and burnt on the outside (I think that happened the first time I made them. hehe).

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I’ll make regular ole mashed potatoes, typically. I did add some chives as the recipe suggests, but that was mainly because I like chives on potatoes and I have a chive plant in my kitchen.

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I made Trader Joe’s frozen creamed spinach (a purchase after one of those infamous samples! They get me every time!).

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Plus an Alexia frozen WW roll. I love frozen bread. It always tastes fresh-baked!

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Ooh and I couldn’t resist baking some of my famous chocolate chip cookie dough balls tonight. These will taste delicious as I watch the snow falling tomorrow afternoon. Oh yea!

***

Attention Black Swan fans! I started a Discussion on my Facebook group (spoiler alert) to talk about Black Swan. I wasn’t the only one who wanted to talk more about the movie, so I created a place where we could talk through our various interpretations and questions. Click here to view the discussion, but beware, there are spoilers in the discussion!

***

What’s your favorite pancake topping?

Sunday Eats + No Starbucks

Just before doing my grocery shopping, I hit up Barnes + Nobles. This is normally a lovely afternoon splendor of Starbucks coffee sipping and magazine browsing. However, since I’m in the first week of Eat in Month, I had to skip the coffee. As if!

If I had thought it through better, I may have brought a thermos of hot tea with me to sip on whilst magazine browsing. Alas, I didn’t, so I just made a quick trip of it, only browsing a couple mags and heading to the Gardening section for one book in particular.

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That’s right! I got All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I can’t wait to start reading and planning my future herb + veggie garden. Something tells me I need to start on the prep work soon!

I also picked up this Best of Better Homes and Gardens 100 decorating ideas – Big Style for small rooms. I loved almost every room and set up in this book! I thought I may be able to remember the ideas without having to buy the magazine, but I’ve decided to keep it for reference. Can I use dark curtain rods if the decor in the room is overall light? I dunno…but let’s consult one of my mags to see what they did. I like to have concrete examples whilst brainstorming room decorations.

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Normally, I would have picked up a soup at Earthfare whilst grocery shopping, but thanks to Eat in Month, I headed home for something more cost-effective.

Lunch was again kind of weak, but after my big breakfast earlier, I really wasn’t that hungry and didn’t want to spoil my appetite for dinner (had something special planned).

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Great Harvest Flax Oat Bran toast with Barney Butter and chia seeds. I also had a couple apple wedges but put most back in the fridge since I was still feeling the sweetness from breakfast.

Post lunch, I had blogging and errands to do. Before I knew it, it was time for dinner!

Since I had mascarpone on hand, I decided to try out a recipe I’ve been wanting to do for awhile – Giada’s Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce.

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I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to make this. I guess buying all the ingredients seemed on the expensive side – mascarpone and marsala. I guess I just think mascarpone is expensive, but it wasn’t too bad this time since I used it for two recipes. It was worth it! Both this one and that one were fab!

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I used the rest of the fresh pasta from yesterday (I stored the 1/2 lb uncooked in the fridge till today) and also served dinner with steamed broccoli with a drizzle of real butter. I left the butter off the pasta as recommended in the original recipe. I decided the sauce would have enough flavor.

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So yum! I think I am in love with all marsala-wine-based pasta dishes.

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For dessert, I re-heated a tiny piece of leftover Cinnamon Chip French Toast Casserole and added a wee bit of maple syrup and a couple mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. As small as this was, I didn’t quite finish it. I was pretty full from dinner!

After my lovely staycation, it’s back to work for me tomorrow! Any one else headed to work after vacay?

PS I’m not looking forward to giving up my Starbucks Mondays or Bagel Day Fridays, but…in the name of Eat in Month, I’ll do it! I’m only missing out on 4 coffees and 5 bagels. I will save roughly $30-40! Yay!

Becoming a Modern Hippie

Breakfast yesterday was so good, I decided to make it again today.

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I’m getting much better at fried eggs…yay!

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Coffee (with fresh-ground coffee beans) in my inspirational mug (featuring one of my all-time fave quotes: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?“)

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Instead of kiwi, I opted for an organic banana today. The rest was the same as yesterday: 1 fried cage-free egg, and Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat toast, 1/2 with real butter and 1/2 with TJ’s pumpkin butter.

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I swung by our house a couple hours after breakfast. We opted for a greenish color for the master bedroom.

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Light gray graces our 2nd bedroom aka my closet/changing room.

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For our 3rd bedroom aka guest room, we chose a light blue.

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Our kitchen is a bit of a disaster zone. Thank goodness we decided to do all this work BEFORE we moved in!

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I found some yucky mushrooms growing outside…ick!

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My Bay Laurel plant seems to be doing ok. Please grow strong little one!

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I can’t tell if these yellow and purple flowers are good flowers or just weeds with flowers. Anyone know?

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I was feeling a bit blah today, so I decided some retail therapy was in order. I went to Barnes & Noble. Magazine shopping always makes me happy. I heart magazines…perhaps too much? I managed to only buy two: Natural Health and Body + Soul. I’ve been waiting to close on the house to start subscriptions on these two, so hopefully, I can sign up soon. I LOVE these mags!

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I brought my magazines to Earthfare to have a quiet little lunch solo.

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Since the weather outside was so cold, I decided a cup of soup sounded wonderful. I tried the Butternut Squash + Apple, which was nice and sweet.

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My main dish: a salad with romaine, baby spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, purple cabbage, celery, sprouts, wheatberry salad with sesame goddess dressing.

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I tried to eat the wheatberry salad separately, but ended up stirring everything together. They gave the salad nice texture.

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I got more of that yummy iced Mate tea – the lemon version this time. Oh-so-good!

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I had a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie for dessert. It was the PERFECT ending to this yummy lunch. The texture was awesome – slightly crunchy on the edges and tender on the inside. I loved the pieces of oats. This cookie reminded me a lot of the Clean Food version I made awhile back.

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I noticed a quote from Sara Snow, one of my fave TV personalities, in my Natural Health magazine. Just another reason I love that mag!

I read an article in the NM magazine about a woman who beat breast cancer the natural way. The woman in the article was healthy and active but still got breast cancer. When she found out, she threw out all her products and foods with hormones, antibiotics, and toxins. She started using only organic and all natural products. She totally revamped her lifestyle and beat cancer! The article was very inspiring, but also was one of those things you read that makes you afraid of conventional products. It’s stories like this one that remind me to try to eat and use as much organic and all-natural as possible. If you can, check out the magazine – the article was really good.

Anywho, I’ve been eating a lot more organic and all-natural food products, but I’ve been wanting to switch over with other products I use: lotions, soaps, etc.

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After I wrapped up lunch, since I was already at Earthfare, I decided to go ahead and do some grocery shopping. I picked up some organic veggies for the week, but I also headed over to their beauty section. I checked out some of the organic and all-natural lines of shampoos and conditions, but there were a TON!

I was going to try to google reviews etc. once I got home, but when I spotted the travel sized products, I couldn’t resist picking one out to try.

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I decided to try the BWC (Beauty Without Cruelty) conditioner in Rosemary Mint Tea Tree.

On the bottle:

  • paraben free
  • 100% vegetarian
  • organic ingredients
  • 100% pure organic essential oils
  • pH balanced

I also picked up a an Earth Therapeutics all-natural bamboo cleansing sponge. It’s uber-soft!

With all this tofu eating and organic/all-natural product preferring, I’m starting to wonder if I’m becoming a modern hippie?! Did I mention I used to be in the Earth Love Club in high school? Oh yea! lol

Does any one have any suggestions for organic and/or all-natural beauty products (shampoo, lotion, makeup, etc)?

Phoenix, AZ – Day #2 + Le Petit Prince

Day #2 of my AZ trip last week brought more good eats.

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I started my day bright and early around 5:30 am PT and in the fitness center. My doctor said I can work my way back into zumba (yay!) but also that I should do the bike and elliptical to help strengthen my hip and leg muscles. The elliptical was taken, so I got on the bike, but only for a little bit. Then, it was back to my room to get ready for the day.

We headed straight to work and kicked off the first of 2 days of some intense meetings. They were busy, but good and definitely productive.

We broke for lunch around 11:45am PT and headed over to a teammate’s suggested restaurant – Daphne’s Greek Cafe.

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The restaurant was located in a cute little shopping center. I thought the misters in the outdoor eating area was fascinating – haven’t seen these since the themeparks in Orlando, FL!

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Daphne’s is my kind of “fast food” restaurant. I thought the menu was simple but had some great options. I had a tough time deciding what to get, but ended up ordering the Veggie Plate.

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I like to think of the Veggie Plates as “parties on a plate.” I just love all the flavors you get – it’s like a sampling platter! You know me and my love of many flavors.

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On the plate: hummus, falafel, spanakopita, dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), grilled pita, rice pilaf, Greek salad, and tzatziki sauce. The plate was HUGE! I knew I wouldn’t finish all this food, but luckily, we had a newbie (to Greek food) at the table, so I shared a few bites of my food with him so he could experience some new tastes.

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After lunch, we were back to work for another intense afternoon session. Things were busy, hectic, sometimes crazy, but overall great.

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I couldn’t help but snap a few shots of the scenery on the way to the hotel. So pretty! We thought the palm trees were pretty unusual. Guess I always thought of them as a beachy thing…but I suppose they’re more of a warm weather kind of plant?

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The sun was still very strong by the time the work day was over, but it set quite quickly.

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The sun was so bright, right in our eyes, on the drive to the restaurant, but we literally watched the sun set behind the mountains in the distance. Luckily, we both had our sunglasses (bring those if you go to AZ!!).

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After the afternoon session, we headed over to Abuelo’s for a team dinner.

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The inside of the restaurant was super cute. The middle area looked sunlit, but totally wasn’t.

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The germiphobe in me loved how we each got our own mini bowl of salsa – no need to worry about double-dipping!!

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For drinks, I was torn between the sangria and the mojito, but ended up going with the sangria. Nice and fruity! This version had a bit of a fizzy-buzz to it.

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I got the fajitas for my dinner. I was slightly sad that the chicken was cooked into the veggies on the hot plate – it was grilled, sliced, and put on top of the hot plate, but it still tasted good.

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Toppings plate: cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, slice of lime.

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The fajitas came with a lovely side of beans. I thought the bean dish was quite tasty.

I managed to scarf down about 1 1/2 fajitas some about 1/2 the beans, but boy was there a lot of food there!

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Dinner wouldn’t be complete without dessert, of course. I ordered the sopapillas.

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Little pillows of fried dough with a cinnamon-sugar topping…

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…and a side of a honey sauce.

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Dinner mint.

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After dinner, I headed to the hotel room and got out my trip reading material to wind down: body + soul (sent my card in for this months ago and haven’t gotten 1 magazine yet…wth? Will send a new card in once we’re homeowners.) and Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Le Petit Prince

Le Petit Prince is a book I once studied in a high school French class. The book is fascinating and has a much deeper meaning than the surface stories tell. Stories that sound like simple children’s tales speak more to life than to kings, snakes, and roses. Some of the lines in the book are downright beautiful and some can bring you to tears. I once told my college French professor about my love of this book and how I wanted to buy it and would you know…one day, she just handed the book to me in class. It was one of the most thoughtful teacher-student moments I’ve had. The book pictured is the one she gave me. I don’t know what happened to the copy I once studied in high school. I read the book throughout my AZ trip sans dictionary and it was an interesting experience. Normally, I have a dictionary on hand to look up the words I don’t know (since I’m not fluent), but without the dictionary, I had to use common sense to figure out some words. I was surprised at how well I was able to read the book without the dictionary, though I’m sure it helped to be so familiar with the story.

Big thanks to both the teacher to intro’ed me to the book and my college professor who helped encourage my French studies.

I leave you with my favorite quote from the book and what I consider to be one of my all-time favorite quotes: “On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur; l’essential est invisible pour les yeux.” Translated: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; the essential is invisible to the eyes.” So beautiful!

Open Your Mind, Allow Yourself to Enjoy the New

It’s been a great day! Besides the beautiful weather… (be sure to read the bottom section of this post – good stuff there!)

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Work was steady but not too hectic and hubby offered to go with me to Kabob Grill so I could enjoy my new favorite meal – the vegetarian combo.

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The vegetarian combo is perfect for me because I’m a girl who likes to sample lots of different flavors in a single meal. Usually, I try to get someone (typically hubby) to split an appetizer, entree, and dessert with me. With the veggie combo, I get all the flavors I can handle!

In the vegetarian combo:

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Mini spinach pie and stuffed grapeleaf

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Combo comes with baba ganoush (sp?) but I subbed the foul muhammed (sp?)

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Plus delish hummus and pickled veggies

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Potatoes harra

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Taboulleh

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AND a new fave of mine – falafel!

It is all SOOOO SOOOO SOOOO GOOOOOOODDDDDD!!!! I just love enjoying all the different flavors in one meal.

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Things wouldn’t be complete without dessert – pistachio baklava (apparently my new fave type of baklava)

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After dinner, we hit up Barnes & Noble to browse house decorating maagazines and for me to check out a book I heard about on email. Actually, I received a coupon from B&N to get the book Clean Food by Terry Walters for 50% off. After checking out the book in the store, I was intrigued and decided to take the book home with me. I can’t wait to read through the book more!

Here are some recipes I’m looking forward to trying:

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Some great stuff in the Clean Food book…need to do more exploring now!

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I also scored the last copy on the stands of Martha Stewart’s special Halloween magazine. Her older version is behind the new one and it is a personal fave of mine! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I just love all the dreadfully delightful ideas Martha Stewart comes up with.

Open Your Mind, Allow Yourself to Enjoy the New

Going back to my vegetarian meal, I have to say that I cannot believe that for the last 20+ years I’ve skipped vegetarian meals because I’m not a “vegetarian“. What was I thinking?! For whatever reason, I’ve always had the mindset that dinner had to be complete with the following:

  1. A Meat
  2. A Veggie
  3. A Starch
  4. Dessert (ok, ok…this one is optional) :)

Now that I’ve started to educate myself more on nutrition, I’m learning that a complete meal has less to do with those 3 items above and more to do with getting a nutritionally well-balanced meal. I’ve learned that I like soysage better than sausage…That I can enjoy both traditional burgers and veggie burgers equally…That anyone can eat vegetarian/vegan/raw meals and enjoy them. That you don’t have to be a strict “vegetarian” to eat a meatless meal.

Most importantly, I’ve realized how close-minded I’ve been to such a simple concept as vegetarianism. That’s a word, right? “Vegetarianism.” Yes, a quick google search found the term on Merriam-Webster . Anywho, if I missed out the last 20+ years on the delicious meal I enjoyed so-very-much tonight, and one that is quickly becoming a (dare I say) favorite meal, because I didn’t think I was supposed to eat it…what else am I missing out on? What am I inadvertently closing out? What new joy am I missing because I’m not open to it?

Going forward, I’d like to try to be more open-minded…not just in food but in life.

Reader Question: What is something you were once close-minded to but now love…or…what is something you are currently close-minded to but would like to open up and try?

Clean Eating Magazine

I stumbled upon a cool, new magazine the other day:

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Clean Eating magazine

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The magazine doesn’t appear to be all that “new” (I checked the back issues and there are 7 older versions online), but it’s new to me.

I’m working on trying to eat more whole foods and be a cleaner eater, so this magazine really piqued my interest at the book store.

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I can’t wait to try this shrimp and zucchini dish.

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These turkey-stuffed peppers look awesome.

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Oh, and I can’t wait to try this Chia Fizz drink – sounds so cool and unique!

Does any one out there subscribe to this currently? If so, what do you think?

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