Smoke Alarms and Human Test Subjects

I’ve decided that I should not bake muffins. Or I should at least be supervised while I bake muffins. Two out my last three muffin baking sessions something has gone wrong.

I bought an extra banana last week with the intent of baking banana muffins later in the week. I ate a late dinner last night of leftovers and then immediately went to work on the muffins. I had all the dry ingredients measured and mixed with the banana in under 5 minutes.

I probably should have stopped the process when I realized we had oat bran and not rolled oats. Experimenting with a recipe the first time doesn’t usually turn out well. I also should have stopped the process when we realized the oven won’t preheat at 350. It will bake at either 250 degrees or 395 or higher. Two red flags and in went the muffin batter. It smelled absolutely delcious! The aroma of cinnamon filled the apartment with a hint of banana. 6 minutes pass and I checked on the batch, they are rising to perfection. Almost done. 5 more minutes pass we both comment on the great smell and I then check on them. HUGE WAVES OF SMOKE escape the oven! It takes less than 30 seconds for the smoke alarm to madly sound.
Then we have the following chain of events play out:

I thrown muffins on stove.
Roomie starts fanning the alarm with a pillow.
I open apartment door.
I turn on a fan.
She grabs a wall fan and holds it up to the alarm.
I madly fan the alarm with a towel.
We fan and blow on alarm for another solid minute.
Finally the alarm slows and the beeping and stops.

I wish we had this on film.

We checked the muffins and the edges are, to put it lightly, burnt. Instead of instantly throwing them out we grab forks and dig into the center. It has a pudding texture and tastes sweet and not at all burnt. We could only salvage two or three bites out of each muffin. If they weren’t singed so badly on the edges they had potential to taste good.

I don’t know if it was the oven or the rolled vs. bran oats , or a timing issue. I do know, I won’t be making muffins in the near future.

Ingreidients gathered
Mixed and ready to bake!
The...survivors?
What I ate instead. PB&J wrap

In other news, I am a paid research experiment participant.

As a way to earn extra money this summer because I am unemployed I volunteered to be a participant in a paid research experiement. I went in for my baseline tasting last night and returned home with $20 and a hand grip exerciser. For the next three weeks I have to respond to text messages every few hours about the progress on my personal projects. I did reaction experiments in the lab, a personality survey, and finally concluded with stating my personal goals or “projects.”The text messages ask me how on a 1-10 scale how well I’m progressing on my projects, and how distracted I am from the project. In addition to each 1-10 survey text, once a day I also have to use the hand grip and measure my strength at that time. It is an easy way to earn an extra $100 over the course of three weeks. It is also a great way to motivate me towards my goals! Believe me when I say I am looking for more on-campus experiments!


Have you ever set off the smoke alarm?

WIAW- Cooking With a Busy Schedule


My favorite day of the week! I’m happy to be back with a a few of my eats from the past day. Linking up with Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast:
Having class at 10:00 am allows the perfect amount of time to scramble eggs or if I’m feeling really adventurous make a veggie omelet/scramble. Most days are sauteed onions and eggs. (I need to start making frittata’s again!)

Soft Boiled Egg

Lunch:
Lunch is the hardest meal of the day for me, I am still learning how to plan my meals. When lunch rolls around I am too hungry to decide on anything, but not hungry enough to cook immediately. I usually eat an apple and then decide what I want to make. Wraps are becoming an easy lunch for me to throw together. I always have leftover veggies, or the Green Giant helps me out with some steamer veggies. A Flatout, hummus, veggies, and (sometimes) chicken. Voila! 5 minute wrap.

Veggie wrap!

Snack:
I am completely addicted to the frozen yogurt down the street and today I had the chance to try their Strawberry Kiwi flavor. I wish they had that flavor all of the time. My other snack was a Nature Valley Peanut Granola Bar, I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it, but it was great to have when my stomach was growling.

Kiwi atop my kiwi/straw fro yo!
Snack #2

Dinner:
It is up for debate as my favorite meal of the day. I love breakfast, but dinner has much more versatility in my mind. Today, I didn’t have the chance to eat until 8:00 and I had Tupperware full of yesterdays leftovers. This became tonight’s dinner. Nothing too inventive right now, but the evening snack will be more creative!


Recycled Photo, sorry!

What is your favorite frozen yogurt flavor?
Have you ever made your own ice cream of fro yo?

We are old ladies

“We are old ladies” was a common theme throughout the day. After my exam in wellness today my friends and I decided to go to antique stores and to St. Vincent de Paul’s. We were not shopping for any particular reason, we hoped to maybe find a cool decorative piece for the apartment or possibly a book.  Our shopping excursion was far more successful than we had planned. We found books, puzzles and boardgames! [I couldn’t help but chuckle as I typed that.] It’s undecided, are we 7  years old or 70?  The puzzle is an awesome history puzzle 600+ pieces with a time line from 1900-1940 and names of the important persons’ on the board. We are nerds. Our other great finds include Taboo and the book Tabloid Love (sure to be a guilty pleasure).We had planned to go to Bootcamp today, but we were too engrossed in the books and clothing at St. Vincent’s and lost track of time.

For dinner,  an old friend  from HS that I ran into on campus came over to the apartment. We cooked up a quick vegetarian dinner. Other than a few issues with the rice boiling over (I never make rice! I though it was easier) and the broiler automatically turning off we had a great dinner. The tofu was marinated with soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sauteed with onions. We had originally planned to roast the cauliflower, but the oven had other plans for us. The cauliflower was then thrown in a pan and we also sauteed the cauliflower. Dinner was ready in 30 minutes.It wasn’t the most colorful, but if we’d been prepared with more vegetables and a satiated appetite; the presentation could have greatly improved. Despite lacking in presentation, the flavor was well accounted for.

First we attempt to roast
Plan B! Saute everything.
Vegetarian dinner

After dinner we played a few rounds of Taboo and then later on in the evening it was back to assembling the puzzle. Simple Pleasures.

What do you do for fun in the evening?
Have you ever cooked tofu?

Community Plate Review

Community Plate
Overall: A

Last week I had the chance to eat at this restaurant twice, and  I could probably eat there every meal if I had the opportunity. The restaurant describes itself as an old school cookery, they serve comfort food as well gourmet items and try and use local items when possible.

The first occasion I ate there I sat and enjoyed lunch with a friend. I ordered the Community Plate Burger. I don’t order burgers often, because they are always better at home, this is the exception. This burger was grilled to perfection. Caramelized onions, cheddar, tomato, horseradish mayo and lettuce  topped the beast. What’s wonderful about this burger is the reasonable size, I had enough left for a snack, but those with larger appetites would be perfectly content.
Food: A+

Best burger of my life

Service: A
*Another unique aspect about the restaurant is the service. You walk up to order and pick up your food. All silverware, water, and cups are at the far end of the restaurant for self service.

Atmosphere: A
The name Community implies that everyone interacts together, and the restaurant is set up in exactly that manner. Two large communal tables are at the center of the room and allow for easy conversation. If one prefers they have the option of smaller 3/4 person tables or sitting at the bar to people watch.

Cleanliness
: A
*Customers bus their own tables, but the employees do a good job of ensuring clean tables at each new seating.

My second Community Plate experience was at breakfast time, coincidentally it was on Father’s Day. My parents were already headed for the deep south at this time, so a friend and I celebrated our father’s by dining out that morning. We both ordered the special of the day, a Baked Egg. This baked egg was not an ordinary baked egg, it was accompanied with ham, caramelized onions, potato, and sun dried tomatoes.
This was another outstanding meal, it was not as life changing as the burger, but it was high on my list of greatest food moments. I was very close to licking the plate.
Food: A

Beautiful Baked Egg

 

Almost licked the plate!

Service: A
Delivered in a timely manner even on a holiday.

Cleanliness: A
Atmosphere: A

If you are ever in Oregon Wine Country and need to stop somewhere for a meal, I recommend this as one of your first stops!

[Oat Bran Pancakes, an Easy Lunch Wrap, and Flat Bread Pizza]

Roomie and I dubbed Saturday a blueberry pancake breakfast morning. We got up at the crack of 11:00am and got to cooking. We couldn’t find a recipe that we had all the ingredients for so, we had to improvise. Can you believe our pantry lacks cinnamon, vanilla, and now flour! We will be making another grocery run after the farmer’s market today.

Blueberry (Chocolate Chip) Oat Bran Pancakes:

*8 small pancakes

Gather your ingredients:
3/4 C Oat Bran
1/2 C Flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 T sugar
1 C skim milk
1 large egg
Pinch of nutmeg (or cinnamon if you have it!)

1. Mix your dry ingredients together in a measuring cup (if you want to save bowls) add the egg and milk.
[Let the batter rest 5 min. for fluffier pancakes]
2. The skillet should be heated, spray with Pam before each pancake.
3. We wanted different toppings, so we pressed our blueberries/chocolate chips into the pancakes while in the pan.
4. When the sides start to rise (2 min) it is time to flip!

Letting the batter rest.
Finished pancakes and turkey bacon

After I went crazy buying flatbread and wraps at Trader Joe’s and Winco I now have a surplus and have been getting creative with my bread. I made a light pesto/marinara pizza last week and a veggie wrap this week. If you are need of a couple of lunch ideas try these out!

Warm Veggie Lunch Wrap:

Gather your ingredients:
Wheat Flatout flatbread
Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge
~1/2 C steamed veggies
Sundried Tomatoes (you can make these at home!)
Mixed Greens

1. Turn the broiler on high,
2. Spread the laughing cow cheese on the flatbread.
3. Place sun dried tomatoes on bread and broil until is cheese is beginning to bubble.
4. Veggies should be warmed/steamed in microwave, and if you desire, broil for crispiness with sun dried  tomatoes.
5. When just warmed (tomatoes may start to become golden) remove from oven and add lettuce.
6. To make it more interesting add hummus or olives, etc.
7. Wrap up and Enjoy!

The wrap before it was rolled! (and the rest of my lunch)

A juicy pear and Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter are a great addition to this light meal. This was my first experience with anything from Justin’s! I am officially addicted to this brand, I want to try the almond butter flavor next!

And now, PIZZA!  I literally whipped up this lunch in under 8 minutes. This uses the same flat bread from Flatout. (Yup, I’m addicted.)

Gather your ingredients:

Flatbread
Marinara Sauce (or any base)
Pesto
Sundried tomatos
Spinach
Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge
*Any other desired toppings

1. Turn the broiler on high.
2. Spread the laughing cow cheese and place under broiler for 2 minutes
3. Remove from oven, add the toppings and pesto.
4. Broil for approximately 4 minutes.
5. Enjoy as a pizza or roll it as a wrap for easier eating!

Finished pizza! Mmm, mmm, good.

When you eat wraps what do you normally use as the filling?
Have you ever made your own nutbutter?

Feel Good Friday

¡Buenas Tardes Mis Amigos!
I can’t decide if this week has flown by or moved at snails pace. It seems to have been both at the same time, hmmm. I started off the week in two summer courses. Exercise and Wellness and Philosophical Problems and I am ending the week only enrolled in the wellness class. Philosophy is incredibly interesting and I would encourage anyone to either read some of the writings by Plato etc or to enroll in a course. I  just found that having 4 hours of reading a day, a paper every night, and two hours of class was not what I anticipated in a summer class. (This was in addition to my other course.)Philosophy is class that should not be covered in a speedy class, I would get much more out of it in a full term. So, today I returned my philosophy books and I now have a summer again.

Now that I don’t have 8 hours of school related activities a day I finally have time to work on my Zumba Fitness routines! Zorba, a Greek song, is currently my favorite new routine! It doesn’t have lyrics and starts slow, slowly the tempo increases until you are wildly hopping. This will be my second routine I’ve memorized, only 13 to go!

I have decided to make Friday’s Feel Good Friday”   to reflect on the great things that have happened during the past week.

-Last night I went to a game/Pazkooi night to help raise money for a couple friends that are running a woman’s half marathon. I got to meet some of their friends and reconnect with a couple of high school friends. All of this while enjoying a home made Pazooki and playing Catch Phrase/Scattergories!

-My roommate and I walk to school every morning and we have not yet failed to break in to song at least once on the walk over. A few songs from our repertoire have included, Taylor Swift’s- Mean, Oh, What a Beautiful Morning- Oklahoma, That’s How You Know- Enchanted.  Singing in the morning puts a great spin on the day and is a great way to start on the right foot! [Kaila, from Healthy Helper, just went to a T-swift concert. I’m so jealous!]


-It’s too good to not just post on here!

-Grocery shopping and being able to cook! It’s a blessing and a curse! I love having food already prepared, but I love the satisfaction of creating my own meal. I need to learn how to plan and it will be even better! Any one have tips on meal planning?

What were your favorite moments from the past week?
Do you plan your meals ahead or just throw something together?
Do you ever watch musicals?


Maiden Trip to Trader Joe’s

Hi friends! [All pictures are at the bottom today!]

Last night my roommate and I went on a long past due grocery shopping run! If you noticed yesterday’s first dinner it was a bit lacking in the color and nutrient department. Alright, it was basically lettuce and tuna (of course with mayo and mustard!). We had three destinations, we stopped at each place for a specific purpose.
-Trader Joe’s: free range meat.
Sundance Natural Foods: organic fruit and veggies.
-Safeway: everything else for a better price.

Trader Joe’s was fantastic! Everything was laid out in an easy to find manner and the price stickers for a “Super Deal” were very helpful. I already have Flatout flatbread, but I couldn’t resist the Tj’s flatbread. I’m going to be eating a lot of wraps and mini pizzas for the next two weeks to get through my bread supply, which I started doing today!
Lunch: red roasted hummus, melted mozzarella on TJ’s flat bread. Simple and easy. I paired it with an apple and grapes. Perfect fuel to bust out a short essay. No pictures unfortunately, hunger prevailed.

A few other noteworthy TJ finds are:
Super Seeded Tortilla Chips. These chips are small, but have mighty flavor. I love that they have chia, flax and hemp seeds.  My red roasted hummus complimented the chips perfectly, I’m not usually a chip fan, but these are a new favorite!
Sugar Snap Peas and Boneless Chicken Breast  were also a highlight of the evening. I wanted to buy the Lemonade Tea, but I probably wouldn’t drink it fast enough. I tend to stick to water or green tea.

At Sundance Natural Foods I only bought organic apples (which were on sale!), they are number one on the Dirty Dozen and because I am an avid apple eater I will seek out the organic ones when it is affordable. If you are ever in Eugene, OR and need to buy vegetables. GO TO SUNDANCE!!! This place is really awesome, with lots of locally grown food and natural goods. If you don’t go to buy anything at least walk in and experience the fragrance of fruits and veggies that hits you as you enter. It will engulf you.

This leads to tonight’s dinner. Today the roomie and I had a Jillian 30 day burn session in the morning and then attended Boot Camp on campus in the evening. We. Are. NOT. In. Shape. What’s wonderful was having the class out in the quad and the weather was not too warm. This was awesome because 10 minutes in we were doing sprinting intervals and sweating like crazy. I realized today how long it has been since I’ve been on a true run and it has been over two weeks. Summer has made me lazy 🙂 The “coach” is a student and did everything with us, he was incredibly encouraging to everyone. What’s also wonderful is only a few of the males were cruising through class, the rest of us were huffing and puffing. We came back to the apartment with an appetite!

Last night I “cooked”, so tonight I worked on a paper and made the salad. My roommate stir fried, onions, criminis, bell pepper, chicken, spinach, garlic and Seracha. It was finished in under 25 minutes and hit the spot. I am learning to enjoy spicy food, so the minimal amount Seracha was the perfect for me, but I’m sure I saw her add more to her plate…

*Tonight we are off to a game night and Pazooki! Pazooki is one of my all time favorite desserts, I will be having more than one for sure.
* My parents are currently in Louisiana and Alabama, they keep sending me pictures of their food and it is entirely too delicious to not share with you!



Have you ever had the Pazooki at BJ’s?
What is your favorite post or pre-work out snack?

WIAW- Waffle Edition

I am never eating a waffle anywhere else ever again.

For breakfast today my roommate, our friend and I drove to Off the WaffleThis place is everything it is hyped up to be. The waffles are of a different breed! The batter is different than all others because they are Liege waffles,  yeast is included in the batter. (I’m sure more than yeast is added!) The waffle is perfectly crispy and chewy, as well as perfectly portioned! Off the Waffle offers sweet and savory waffles, fried eggs, organic yogurt and vegan options (!).

I indulged in the H-bomb! Melted Havarti, Apple and Cinnamon topped my waffle. The picture does not do it justice. I walked in to class and immediately recapped my meal to my group member. He is already making plans for his maiden trip to Off the Waffle.

Food: A
Service: (we ordered to-go) A
Ambiance: Small, family friendly, very casual/hippie feel. A
Cleanliness: A
$4.50 for my waffle. Worth every penny.

Heaven! Havarti, Apple ,Cinnamon, Waffle

I have class 10am-2pm and was full from breakfast the entire time. (waffle is worth every penny!). I then holed my self up in the library for 3 hours trying to read my philosophy text. Today we were assigned Metaphysics by Aristotle and I may have nodded off for a new minutes during the reading. Did I ever mention this stuff is dense? Lunch in the library included a Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar (my favorite!) and a banana. It was filling, but disappeared quickly!

Snack

My roommate and I went to Zumba Fitness before dinner tonight. We ended up discussing how we are completely different in our workout choices. I like longer workouts with periods of intensity and she prefers short but intense sessions. Tomorrow we are trying Boot Camp, it will be interesting for sure! I heard a new song  in class that I want to add to my own routine! I forgot to ask the instructor tonight, but on Friday it’s my mission to get the title. After Zumba Fitness we came home and I whipped up a light dinner. Tuna salad, salad with balsamic vinegar and tons of broccoli.  We are both obsessed with broccoli. Which is great because it is high in vitamin C, fiber and fights multiple types of cancer. Power food!

Dinner #1- tuna/broccoli/salad
My roommate requested her 2nd dinner be displayed. Shrooms, Toast, and Chips/Salsa!

*Tonight we are going grocery shopping and I can get some real lunch food and possibly my first trip ever to TRADER JOES!!! I am beyond ecstatic.

 

What is your favorite vegetable? How do you prefer it to be cooked?
Do you prefer short high intensity workouts or longer workouts with intervals?

I Found Waldo! [S’mores on the Stove]

This post is loooong, so I broke it into 3 parts to keep it interesting!
Moving in, Classes, and Food.

Moving In
:
Today is the beginning of part two of my three part summer. The first part consisted of being a morning regular at my gym, baking/cooking for my family, Zumba fitness training, camping, and relaxation. I didn’t even realize that my four weeks were coming to an end until days before my move. I then went into a frenzy and spent Saturday packing up a storm.

I would like to say that I am a entirely moved in with my friend, but actually it looks as though a tornado hit her apartment. My stuff is covering nearly every square inch, we lost my friend’s purse for a solid 5 hours, no exaggeration. In order to complete school work I have to have organization, by tonight my stuff will be organized.

Last night we threw together dinner in under twenty minutes, it was nearly 7:30 and we were starved. It wasn’t a pretty a meal and photographs were not taken. We camped out, apartment style using a cooler for our tabletop and sat cross legged on the rug. Best indoor camping ever. Tuna pasta with sundried (I am obsessed!) tomatoes, homegrown lettuce salad and grapes. Tasty, easy and filling!

After clean and shuffling my stuff around we found room to collapse on the floor. Watched some of Chelsea’s Dancing With The Stars clips, read some Cosmo and searched for Waldo. Until last night I had not completed a Where is Waldo? for years. I found Waldo and Wanda, but that dog is hidden entirely too well! Tonight may entail a round two search…

My roommate was the recipient of all the leftover camping food and that includes the s’more making goods. Mmm, yum! I had never seen a s’more made over a stove, it’s a brilliant idea! This is how she roasted her marshmallow and melted the chocolate chips (we didn’t have a chocolate bar).

Roommates dog! He

S’mores On The Stove: Method

1. Using a chopstick or fork turn burner on medium and toast marshmallow on one side.
2. For an equally toasted marshmallow, remove chopstick and prick other side. Toast until golden.
3.Bring water to boil in a pot
4. Place chocolate chips in a glass and when water is boiling place glass in pot to melt chocolate. ( Trust me, better than a microwave).
5. Spread melted chocolate onto graham crackers and place marshmallow.
6. Enjoy!

P.S. If there is extra chocolate I suggest making hot cocoa!

Classes:
Today is my first day of classes! I am taking two classes for the four week term: Exercise and Wellness and Philosophical Problems. Both classes sound interesting, I am excited to see what I am going to learn! I have never had a philosophy class and my last health/wellness class was in high school; the H.S. health classes were always a waste of time, I have high expectations for today! I feel like a freshman on the first day of school, anxious and excited best describe my emotions. My friend walked me from our first class (we have exercise and wellness together!) to philosophy class. I know I would have wandered the wrong way without guidance! It’s incredibly intimidating and exciting at the same time being in a new place. I love trying new things and going to new places, but I always need the extra push/support from a friend. But, it also makes me question if I will want to go abroad next summer to Spain. Oh well, cross that bridge when we come to it!

–My classes were great! My philosophy teacher is incredibly hippie and laid back and he also seems to be very willing to help. I am going to need his help, these philosophy readings are DENSE! But, I am still excited to dabble in a new field of study!

Philosophy Readings and write up...

Food:
The UO campus is gorgeous and it is warm today! We have plans to eat lunch in the quad and enjoy the sunshine! I love being on a large campus. There are several quality food options right on campus and the surrounding city has tons to offer. Holy Cow is at the EMU and serves organic goods.De-licious!

Preparing to add the chocolate!
Melting the chocolate!
Not the s'more, but a delicious one while camping!
My "Holy Cow" salad! Hummus on top and roasted garlic cloves!

Have you ever studied abroad or spent a significant amount of time in another country?
What is your favorite lunch to buy?

C² [Chocolate and Curry]

After dinner last night I was still in the mood for more curry. I feel as though I’ve wasted almost 21 years of my life not indulging in any form of curry. I have to make up for lost time. I laid in bed and began Googling curry dishes for breakfast. My only prerequisites were minimal chopping was involved and it would take less than 30 min.

Voilà! Curried Oatmeal with Caramelized Onions. Two of my favorite things!

Curried Oats: Method
1/2 t  curry powder (or to taste)
1-3 T caramelized onions ( in this case more is better!)
1/3 + 1/8 C water
Pinch of salt
optional: poached egg

1. If you don’t already have caramelized onions start those right a way! They become sweeter the longer they simmer.
2. Wait 25 minutes and then begin to poach the egg. Allow 7 minutes for the egg to cook.
3. When the egg is almost finished pour boiling water on the oats (or microwave) and add the curry powder.
4. Top the oats with the carmelized onions, poached egg, salt, and if desired, more curry.
5. Enjoy!

This is now one of my favorite savory breakfasts and today debuted in my breakfast rotation!


The second C!
Chocolate Hummus!
When I was biding my time on the elliptical a few days ago I picked up Oprah’s magazine and thumbed through the articles. In this magazine she adapted dessert hummus recipes from the company Crazy Camel.
I would have felt guilty tearing the recipe out, so at home, I recreated it from memory.

Chocolate Hummus: Method
15 oz. can chickpea or garbanzo beans
2.5 T cocoa powder
1/4 C honey
2 T water (for consistency)
1/2 t cinnamon (add more to taste)
Nutbutter on top for presentation

1. In a food processor combined the beans, honey, cinnamon, cocoa powder and blend.
2. Scrape down the sides and add water for desired consistency.
3. Continue to blend until desired consistency is reached.
4. Feel free to add more spices/sweetener as you see fit!
5. Enjoy with apples, bananas, cinnamon raisin toast, etc..

Next time, I plan to add almond or peanut butter in the hummus. The dollop of peanut butter on top complimented the hummus perfectly and I believe blending it in the spread would kick it up a notch.

Have you ever had a dessert hummus?
What is the easiest dinner for you to whip up in a hurry?