Category Archives: Food

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

I used to be good about posting recipes, but I hadn’t really felt the creative urge lately. I know that’s going to change next week while in preparation for my meet–antelope cheeseburger soup anyone?–but here is a recipe that has changed my life. I’m not being hyperbolic at all. It has made my mornings a breeze, and has made my love affair with Aldi stronger.

Six reasons I shop at Aldi now:

  1. I only buy stuff I prioritize because of their small, thorough selection.
  2. There are no carts in hanging out in the parking lot threatening your car to dings because of the cart deposit.
  3. You bag your own groceries, which I prefer anyway.
  4. You have to buy bags (paper, plastic, or alternative) if you forget them. Or
  5. You can use one of their boxes (I used a Bugel’s box my first time).
  6. Most everything is offbrand/storebrand, but cheaper than anyone else’s store brand.

Here are their reasons, which are even more thorough than mine. 

For my freezer breakfast burritos, I bought breakfast sausage links, eggs, and tortillas for less than $6.00 at Aldi. You realize that’s probably the same as buying two of Amy’s freezer burritos, right? I know, I know, Aldi stuff isn’t organic. But my budget constraints demand that organic-ness of a product be a treat for me, rather than a constant lifestyle.

The recipe I got, from Iowa Girl Eats, is the basis for what I made. Some revisions to her process, though:

  1.  I decided to go sausage rather than bacon. This is a personal preference, as well as a cost one. They had a special on precooked chicken breakfast sausage links, with good macros, for only a couple dollars at Aldi. Considering you use almost an entire ration of bacon, this didn’t seem cost effective to me.
  2. I used Cholula hot sauce, versus Louisiana. I have both, but I figured I’d go for this flavor instead.
  3. A flavor difference is that I used no cheese, but substituted a half a pack of those guacamole snack packs from Walmart on the base of the tortilla. I already had those and I was trying to use them up before they expired.
  4. Also, I figured out too late that I was being overly generous with the egg–I only got seven burritos out of the recipe, as opposed to eight. Those extra large flour tortilla only come in packs of eight, but the breakfast sausage was a pack of seven. I figured one less burrito would be okay.
  5. I wrapped each burrito in a paper towel, versus saran wrap, and double bagged them because I have no freezer bags. When I microwave them, I leave them in the paper towel on the plate and let them cook for 2:30-3 minutes.

These burritos taste like a restaurant breakfast burrito. I can’t believe it, honestly. They don’t leak, they have great flavor, and are a great breakfast on the go.

I realized today I’m almost out of these bad boys. I’ll probably be cooking a batch today, and I’ll let you know if I make any neat changes to the recipe! Maybe I’ll add a picture or two.

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Purchases, Recipe

Changes

It has gotten a little mad around here, I’ve gotten a busy, and now remembered that I had this great blog outlet for my writing.

I got a new job recently, one that I enjoy immensely. I work at the Target deli where mostly, what I do is slice meat and cheese. In addition to slicing deli fare, I also make items in the cold case such as sandwiches, wraps, salads, and other miscellaneous pre-made food. Then, there is also the deep friers to contend with.

Customer interaction is rather minimized with this job. Don’t get me wrong, deli can get lines. In fact, at one point, we had about four people in line today to get something sliced. However, that’s about the extent of a line in the deli. Compared to Chick-fil-A, where a line could stretch through the lobby if not out the front door.

Due to my deli position, I’ve gotten creative with food again. I’ve really missed engineering tasty new things for me to eat. I’m being inspired to recreate the recipes from my job at my home with good results. Although, the other day I did make a Chick-fil-A inspired sandwich–Spicy deluxe with pepperjack cheese–and thought it was probably a vast improvement on the original.

Another change that has happened recently is more in regard to my mental health. I have included more spiritual mindfulness stemming from meditiation and healthy introspection. I got ideas for these things from reading the Deepak Chopra book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You. While some things in this book seem kind of absurd (you mean we can think all of our illness away?! 2012: I seriously hope you all don’t do this), I think there is some legitimacy about how much control our minds have over our body. This falls perfectly in sync with weightlifting, regardless of what H says about Chopra. Yes, I know he gets a bit “oogity boogity” about the mind and spirituality, but I think we don’t give this kind of thinking enough credit.

I’m pleased I’m going down this meditative road. Things seem to be falling into place more without anxiety. I’ve discerned through talking to my counselor and close companions that my anxiety is merely just a symptom of me trying to punish myself for some malady that I have “done” in my head. Whether this is a mess-up at work or just not scoring high enough in school, my anxiety the way I sadistically keep myself in check.

But through a new found calmness, my contentment can be self generated and not dependent upon external circumstances. Slowly but surely, it is becoming progressively more okay just to be myself.

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Filed under Books, Food, Health, Likes, Mental Health, Uncategorized, Work

Work Bingo

eat moar…shoot, on the tip of my tongue… errr…

I work at the most glorious of fast food eateries–Chic-fil-A. While not as mentally dehabilitating as other fast food restaurants, it still is rather soul crushing.

I hate suggestive selling. I hate suggestive selling food I know is bad for people because it is “not an option” (direct quote from manager).

I hate suggestive selling to children, especially if I am asking to “upsize their combo.” I try to avoid it as much as I can, but sometimes it slips out before I can stop myself.

“Would you like to upsize your fries for just 20 cents extra?”

“Would you like to try one of our new hot chocolate chip cookies for a little over a dollar?”


H and I have discussed that they should make a Starbucks bingo card to make the shifts less monotonous. I think I’m going to do the same for Chic-fil-A. Criteria for work-bingo is that you have to include things that happen frequently, but not overkill. The free-space would be something that happens every day (probably “Customer buys an original Chic-fil-A sandwich”).

Bingo card spaces so far:

  • Customer reacts to a request to upsize with something along the lines of “sure, why not?!”
  • Customer orders either grilled nuggets or fruit for their child’s kids meal and a full calorie soda for the drink
  • Customer orders a chicken filet instead of a “real” menu item.
  • Customer orders a combo meal, then asks for a water cup, not a bottled water.
  • Customer asks to hear all the dipping sauces read to them even though it is printed on the menu.
  • Customer asks for a discontinued item or asks if we still have ____ (such as Chicken Tortilla Soup or Sweet Potato Fries).
  • Customer asks if an original Chic-fil-A sandwich is available in a kid’s meal option.
  • Customer asks for no whipped cream on their shake but still wants the cherry (which looks really stupid).
  • D asks me to clean under the sink because I’m apparently the only one who ever does that.
  • Customer stacks 2+ coupons to get a super discounted meal.
  • An OC student tries to pay with meal plan points, even though the semester is over.
  • Customer’s order is so expensive that I have to ask them to sign a credit card receipt.
  • R comes in and orders for his wife.
  • J comes in and orders a water cup, Chick-fil-A sandwich substituted with a coleslaw and a small diet coke.
  • Old people ask for the senior drink discount.
  • I have to ask for change because someone paid with something that I cannot give change back with five dollar bills.
  • We are late making food for a catering order (honestly, this should be the free space).
  • There is a stack of trays as high as the front counter cabinets.
  • Someone in workout clothes orders a Poweraide (like it’s part of the uniform).

Those are essentially the ones I’d include. I need to make a table of this before I go to work, stat.

Oh, and in regards to squat day, it was delicious. H keeps on trying to get me to squat the low-bar form, but it hurts my shoulders too much for me to do it comfortably without dropping it. He has a much larger back than I do so anything over 100 lbs (which is a little less than half my squat on our 3 week of 5/3/1) I can’t handle. Which is unfortunate, because it seems like my squats are easier to line up with that form.

I think I’m also ODing on cottage cheese. It seems like every time I eat it now it murders my stomach. I’m tired of having to take Tums after every time I eat. I probably need to get more greens in my diet in general.

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Filed under Food, Health, Work, Workout

Thoughts from a Former Paleoite

via Pinterest

Let me first say how inefficient it is to bulk on Paleo. I figure most of you understand that inherent with in the “squatz’n’oatz” lifting meme is a ring of truth.

I did Paleo for about a month and some change. It wasn’t due to a lack of will power for the reason I canned the program. I could do it very easily if I didn’t feel absolutely terrible.

Please keep in mind, I hardly eat bread as I typically don’t like the taste and texture. My grains are the whole variety, stemming from raw cereals, granola and the like.

So when I cut even that small bit I was doing out, I had the carb flu. That was to be expected, r/Paleo warned me of this.

I ended up having the carb flu for a month and a half.

Now there comes a point that whenever you are “doing the best thing for yourself” physically does not intersect with your mental health. Yes, I’ve read the studies that say grains can be poisonous and yes, I’ve read, too, that article arguing that Celiac’s is merely a more extreme case of what everyone goes through on a daily basis when they eat grains. However, I felt like whenever I wasn’t eating any grains, my quality of life went down due to how sick I felt.

The purpose of being more healthy, at least in my mind, is so that one’s quality of life increases due to choices that put you in better health.

In graph terms, while my physical health may have increased a couple percentage points, to me, it wasn’t worth the steep decrease of other aspects of my physicality as well as my mental state. Net gains were in the negative.

That being said, I like creative uses of non-bread items. Portabello mushroom burgers? Totally. A sandwich made with fried egg “buns”? Where have you been all my life? Also the fact that Paleo saved my life when I went to New Orleans because without the strict rules, I probably would have just consumed everything breaded and deep fried.

In conclusion, I am going to continue to research the best carb/protein/fat ratio that makes me feel the best, and keep on using it until goals are met. Paleo was a nice experiment and I’m glad it works for others, but–today’s squatz day.

I had oatz.

Life’s grand when you feed your body right.

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Filed under Food, Health, Mental Health

1/3

by Klaus Pichler

I talk about food a lot. However, there’s an underbelly, a darkside to what we consume daily that ought to consume our minds and consciences until it is solved. There is an ongoing problem occurring in the United States and throughout the world. The figure 1/3 may seem like a harmless fraction, but consider the implications of this statement.

According to a 2011 United Nations report, the world wastes 1/3 of the food it produces.

1/3, a harmless little fraction now represents a very large number, which in turn represents a very large problem.

Narrowing the problem slightly, a turn to look at the United States produces more staggering statistics. Each year, Americans waste nearly 1/4 to 1/2 to food it produces. Using the conservative figure, this can be in the range of 160 billion pounds of food wasted per year. Food waste is defined broadly by Anthony Gallow in “Consumer Food Waste in the U.S.” as “all food purchased (or produced at home) that is not actually ingested by humans” (13). In comparison to this staggering statistic, a figure cited by the non-profit organization “Food not Bombs” says the total amount to feed the hungry of the United States is that of only 4 billion pounds.

In the fast-paced, fast-food society of the United States of America, the consumer drives the production of a variety of resources. Capitalism, at its core, caters to this highly demanding mode of existence. Webster’s Standard Dictionary defines the noun resource as something “that is available for use”.  Under that definition, what happens when the multitude of resources are not available for use anymore?

Petroleum, natural gas, and water all fall under this concept of a resource that in the future may not be  readily available for use. Unfortunately, a very important commodity not contemplated using this concept is that of food. Food, despite its availability on the shelves of gas stations and in aluminum cans in food pantries, should be treated with the respect that these other difficult-to-renew resources receive even though this is typically not the case.

My proposed best solution to this problem is that of consumer education efforts.

The largest problem with educational programming is accountability—how will businesses and consumers be held responsible for the information they gather? They may be sent to mandatory food waste prevention trainings trainings, but how many will actually do anything with the information? The phrase “You can lead a horse to water…” definitely comes to mind in this instance. However, consumer education and prevention efforts will yield positive results across the board.

Eventual savings (somewhere to the tune of $150-160 billion dollars) will outweigh immediate costs of starting the program making efficiency high. It is highly feasible that this could be incorporated into public education and mandatory food-service trainings. The best part of educational programming is that teaching the consumer and the business the implications of food waste will hopefully encourage them to waste less on the most part thus making effectiveness high.

So what now?

Continue to talk about it. Tell everyone you know. Share the number 1/3. See what happens. People are already coming up with creative and innovative ways of conveying this information. Photographer Klaus Pichler’s new exhibit, entitled One Third displays food destined for disposal in various stages of decay, along with a tagline about where the food is from, energy needed to produce it, and the ingredients. This display, besides turning stomachs, is turning gears in the mind of its audience members. Pichler is looking for wide distribution to non-profits around the world in order to raise continuous awareness to the problem.

The goal in writing this blog entry is to raise awareness to motivate audience members to waste less food. The effort to raise mindfulness through the presentation of this may only get one person to consider not trashing their leftovers they bring home from a big meal, or consider eating the food they already possess instead of getting pizza delivered.

That’s okay though.

However, if that one person continues to make life choices that support the concept of decreasing food waste, that will be enough to consider my work and research on this issue a success.

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Filed under Food, Project Enrichment, School, Writing

Tested

I made these cookies at my friend’s house on Friday. I must say, impatience lead them to be slightly lackluster (also a lack of all the correct ingredients). Instead of maple syrup or maple sugar, we had white sugar and agave nectar. Instead of chocolate chip pieces, we had Cadbury Mini-Eggs (discounted Easter leftovers).
We still made them into the most fattie ice-cream sundaes ever (birthday cake flavored ice cream from Target, cookies crumbled on top, with Reese’s flavored magic shell) and probably was the best dessert I’ve ever had.

I still can’t believe it used an entire jar of almond butter though. Oh the humanity.

{love+cupcakes} Blog

Peanut butter cookies have always been a favorite of mine, something about them will always remind me of my childhood as they’re one of the first treats I can remember making with my mom as a young girl. This cookie uses almond butter as its base, but has the same nutty, chewy, not too sweet characteristics of my old favorite and best of all, it’s gluten-free. Dark chocolate chips give it a decadent and sophisticated flavor that begs to be paired with tea or coffee (or my favorite, a glass of ice-cold milk). Recipe after the jump. xoxo!

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Filed under Baking, Food, Uncategorized

Recipe of the Week: Egg-cellent Chicken Salad

By this time, I think we’ve gotten to know each other well enough that you know how I am about eggs.

After the discovery this past week that making hardboiled eggs is not that hard, actually, I have a new lease on life.

I’ve been worried about the age of the eggs in my fridge. Since I don’t have a lot of time in the morning to make hot-eggy breakfasts, I’ve been scratching my head about how to eat all of these guys.

Enter can of chicken, stage left.

Yesterday, I tried making an egg-chicken salad for the first time and it was mighty tasty and ridiculously simple. So easy, a caveman could do it.

Well, as long as he knew how to make fire, that is.

I’ve also plugged all the information from the way I’ve made it into livestrong so you can get an approximate calorie, macro and micronutrient count. Neat, eh?

(Disclaimer: I apologize in advance if I have flubbed and have misrepresented the calorie count in some way shape or form. I am working from this net amount of calories in my own nutritional goals, and it is a good enough approximation.)

Seriously The Easiest Chicken Salad You Will Ever Make

Ingredients

  • 1/2 can of white chicken chunks (approx. 2 1/4 servings if one can has 4.5 servings. This is what I calculated the nutrition for.)
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled
  • mustard
  • seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder…anything!)
  • something to serve it with

Directions

  1. Open can of chicken and dole half into a container. Save the rest in Tupperware in the fridge.
  2. If your eggs are not already hardboiled, do this. Whenever finished, cool them and peel them according to your favorite method. Place whole in same container as chicken.
  3. Use a generous amount of mustard in the same container, as well as add your spices.
  4. Mush it together with a fork,  making sure there aren’t any overly chunky pieces of either ingredient.
  5. Eat on apples, lettuce, bread, toast, or crackers. Or just eat it with a fork because you’re really hungry.

Nutrition Facts: calories 315, fat 15, carbs 0, protein 44. Any additional nutrition information, just ask!

Since I currently possess five pounds of apples, I decided to serve it like miniature apple sandwiches. What an excellent choice, if I do say so myself.

I'm totally egg-static.

Hope you guys find use for a quick and protein-packed lunch.

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Filed under Cooking, Food

My First Time

via Pinterest

Got your attention, eh?

Yesterday was my first time to ever hardboil eggs. I don’t know why I skipped out on this rite of passage.

I think I’ve had an irrational fear of stoves and cooking since I was small. I know I had/have an irrational fear of eating, so that probably contributes.

For some reason, I’ve always been afraid that I’d “do it wrong”. Like you can hardboil eggs incorrectly. I mean, the only egg that I wouldn’t eat would be one that was still pretty much raw. I eat sunny side up, poached with liquidy centers, and fried in bacon grease.

Also, do you all know about the majesty that is Sunflower Market? We finally got one in our town. On Wednesday, I went to ours for the first time. Twice.

via Google Images

Basically, it is the southwest’s answer to Whole Foods. I mean, we also have one of those too (interestingly enough, right down the street from Sunflower Market and an Akin’s) but much much cheaper. I went yesterday with H and his roommate. They were having such a delightful sale on, well, pretty much everything.

I also acquired some Maranatha peanut butter, which is seriously thestrangest peanut butter I’ve ever had. It is like a peanut butter spread almost, almost tasting artificial or something. I mean, I’ve been eating Maranatha’s almond butter by the bucketfull for my entire bulk and this is my first time switching back to peanut butter. It still was delicious in my Chocolate Peanut Butter Blast protein shake this morning.

Oh, shoot, its 10:55. Work in 5 minutes and I’m still at my house.

I wish I could apparate.

-poof-

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Recipe of the Week: Fitcakes

Sorry, no pic for this go around. We didn't think to take pictures of them.

Via Pinterest

This is one I’ve been holding on to for the past couple weeks. First of all, this is definitely a bulking recipe. Do not be deceived by the title of “Fitcakes.” The title of “fitcakes” comes from the place of origin: 4chan. The directions are also a bit strange, as you will see.

Do not let this deter you, however.  If you are looking for a simple and nutritionally dense alternative to making traditional pancakes, this is for you!

A little backstory with this recipe comes along with my H. He told me about the recipe, brought up the infographic, and we decided to get crackin’ on some scrumptious breakfast-for-dinner, while we watched Walter White break some bad on Netflix. We’ve made this recipe twice now and I consider it to be a staple to my repertoire. Although this isn’t gluten free because of the oats, the fact that there are only a few whole ingredients make this good on the ol’ bod.

Fitcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Any other spices you might want to include. Cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, even.

Directions:

  • Put all the above ingredients into a blender. Blend and pulse until smooth.
  • Oil or butter a non-stick skillet.
  • After the batter is smooth, pour into the skillet and cook like traditional pancakes.
  • Smother with butter, all-natural syrup, or fruit. Or all three.
  • Consume!

Tips:

  • These seem to cook quicker than traditional pancakes. Be mindful to not burn them. The texture is a smidge thinner and not as fluffy as the buttermilk variety. I assume the egg content makes these more similar to crepes in nature, but I did not notice that much of a difference.
  • The original recipe said it yields three large pancakes. I would say this is pretty extreme (perhaps by /fit’s standards this is accurate). H and I made approximately 8ish medium pancakes that fed both of us. They fill your tummy up quickly, so easy does it.
  • Despite the intersection of all these ingredients sounds weird and nasty, you can’t discern specific tastes and textures.
  • You can add a little milk if you feel like it needs it, but it  shouldn’t.

Nutritional Information: “Three large pancakes” – 627 calories, 61 g protein, 36 carbs. This information does not account for any oil to cook them in or additional toppings.

Today I also get to go to the Apple store to pick up my computer. Blogging should be a bit easier now!

Have a happy Tuesday and enjoy your eats!

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Filed under Adventures, Cooking, Dates, Food

Recipe of the Week: Cottage Cheese and Spinach Egg Scramble

I promise I eat things besides eggs.

No, really, I do.

It’s just they are so cheap, delicious, and laden with the protein that my body craves all the time, I eat an overabundance of them. Lately, though, I’ve been on a cottage cheese kick. I ate so much this week and I am not being hyperbolic either. The tub I bought from Sam’s says 3 lbs and it is now sitting washed and empty in my Tupperware cupboard.

Plus, I had to buy some more.

Therefore, when I found a recipe on Pinterest for a trifecta of all things protein laden and glorious, I had to try it out.

This is pre-hot sauce, obviously.

It sounds utterly bizarre to include cottage cheese and spinach in scrambled eggs, but it turned out fairly well. I crumbled some Cabot’s Sharp Vermont Cheddar Cheese, which is my favorite cheese on the planet, into the mix as well to give it an extra bite.

So, did this recipe get “egg” on its face? Did I count my chickens in thinking this would be a good, simple recipe to try?

This was delicious and simple, however, I realized I’m not a scrambled egg person. To me, there is only one person on this wobbling rock in space that can make good scrambled eggs and that’s my Nana. (I think her secret ingredient is a lot of bacon grease. But, hey, not complaining!) Overall, I like my eggs with ooey, gooey middles that you can mix in with your hash browns. The “egg juice” is really the best part of an egg.

However, if you like yours scrambled light and fluffy and in such a way that will remind you of the consistency of a quiche without the breading, you will lay an egg over this recipe.

If you’re interested in not chickening out and giving this recipe a go, saunter this way.

-a.b.

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