I have simply exhausted the idea of eating grilled vegetables. Broiled, baked, grilled. I need something different in my life. I also don’t think I have been eating enough protein, because I end up eating too much crap (especially sugar) and I feel weak when I run in the mornings and sometimes all day. This week I decided to start fresh and try to make different dinners throughout the week. I would experiment with breakfasts, but time usually seems to be an issue, so I’ll stick with my yogurts. Let’s start with Sunday’s eats, since it was the start of my challenge and is much more intriguing than yet another school day. 🙂
Pumpkin chia/oat pudding with some walnuts (brain food!) on top. This time I added some frozen berries to my breakfast pudding, just to add some extra flavor and health benefits 😉 Then to counteract all this healthiness, I splurged on a Starbucks iced coffee with pumpkin. Notice my name. I have never seen anyone spell it this way. Where do they even come up with these spellings? One day I would love to pull this trick (see below)
Problem is I would be laughing the entire time and I would throw the entire prank off. However, if could keep myself together, this would be fabulous.
I was working the soccer games, which was great on a sunny Sunday morning. Staci, one of the bosses, had brought along doughnuts. Years of elementary school birthdays have seared an image of pink box = doughnuts in my mind. I was good and didn’t stick my hand in the box, even though I thought about it for the entire first half.
Then when I decided I could sneak one edge of the old-fashioned, I looked and they were finished. I guess it was meant to be. I do say, everything happens for a reason I guess. 🙂 I did head back to my apartment where I worked on some homework and snacked on an apple, green tea, and “KIND” Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate bar. Probably a little heavy on the sugar and caffeine this morning, but necessary for powering through my studies. Oh note, I guess to be exactly clear on what I consumed, I only finished about a third of the venti coffee, which was great because it meant I could save it for the rest of the week! See, it’s fun to find happiness in the smallest of things 🙂
As a way to break up the day (even more), my friend/roommate, Liz, and I went shopping at Trader Joe’s. I hadn’t shopped for food all of last week, so it was about time I pick up some of the essentials. Yep, we just about went to town!
These were a couple of my favorites from today’s shopping trip. Ever since I had soup at Boudin’s this past weekend, I have been craving it. I was so excited when I found these little boxes, which are perfect for single servings for the single people out there. It’s great when recipes give you instructions for 4-8 people, but let’s be realistic, I am not cooking for the masses and am not a total fan of leftovers. As for the apple cider, I could recall when my mom would make it on stressful fall school nights. I would be freaking out about some class, probably AP European History, and she would bring a mug into my room to try to calm me down. Good times. (The cider and time with mom, not the class)
Below was not from trader Joe’s, but I wanted to highlight the adorable little treats my grandma sent to keep in theme with this month’s pumpkin obsession. I haven’t tried the See’s products, but can honestly tell you to NOT purchase the Hershey’s Kisses. Those just don’t do pumpkin justice, so you might as well save your chocolate points/calories/splurge for something else.
And I kept my promise about making different dinners throughout the week! We started off with some bruschetta, prepared by Liz. It was simply bruschetta out of a Trader Joe’s bottle, so completely healthy 😉 atop sourdough bread.
Sunday (tonight’s) dinner consisted of grilled steak and asparagus with some russet potatoes. We purchased just enough to feed the three of us (Eddie – Liz’s boyfriend, Liz, and I) and were completely satisfied. I can’t recall the last time I had beef before this though. I know I tend to get into a vegetarian diet when I come to school. It’s not fun to grill an entire steak for one person, it costs too much (remember COLLEGE BUDGET), and usually requires more time to to make. But, splurging a little at the beginning of the week was nice.
After dinner, Liz went to help out at mass and I kept myself busy in the kitchen. I decided to test out a new recipe and decided on pumpkin chocolate chip blondie bars, which I adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod’s Recipe.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars
(Serves as many as 24)
2 cups all-purpose flour (half wheat & half regular)
1 Tbsp pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch (~3/4 tsp) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1.5-2 cups chocolate chips (semisweet preferably)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a a 9-by-13-inch baking pan so that a little paper falls over two of the sides (this will allow you to lift the cookie out of the pan at the end)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
4. Add pumpkin puree and mix well.
5. Start to add in the dry ingredients slowly and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. (This was probably the most difficult part for me because the batter was so doughy)
7. Bake bars for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Test it out with a toothpick and make sure the toothpick comes out nice and clean 🙂
8. Cool bars in the pan. Lift paper out and cut into squares to serve.*
* I actually let mine sit overnight in the fridge, which made it much easier to slice and left me with left crumbs to clean up.
I love using parchment paper because it is so much easier to take the brownie/cookie out of the pan and all the edges are perfectly cooked! I used this trick when I baked my pumpkin bread the other week, so I highly recommend it.
Served them to my friends after dinner and then took them to chapter. Needless to say they were gone by the end of the night. Excellent recipe!