Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Story of Amalgamation

There once was a girl named Gina.  One day, her life got a little busy.  Then it got busier.  Then, when things started to calm down, her internet went out.  With blogging never far from her mind, what was Gina to do with so many pictures and intended posts backed up in her mind?  

She makes one big wrap up post for the week, obviously.  And this is it.  

For your convenience, I have provided you with a table of contents.  Feel free to go make fun of me behind my back.  

Part 1 -  Buffalo Popcorn

Part 2 -  Stuff I Bought

Part 3 -  Chili Bites

Part 4 -  Banana Walnut Breakfast Cookies

Part 5 -  Sweet and Spicy Scramble

Part 6 -  Working out and Yoga

Part 7 -  Student Teaching Update

Part 8 -  Leftovers

Part 1 -  Buffalo Popcorn

I mentioned that while I was in Hawaii last weekend, my husband and I visited Borders a few times.  We both had gift certificates, and I walked away with a book called Popcorn.  If you are thinking “a whole book on popcorn??”...well that is what my mom thought too.  But it is very cool.  On Tuesday I made the Spicy Buffalo Popcorn recipe (using Earth Balance instead of butter).  

It was very cool, but I think I need some higher quality popcorn, because a lot of mine just melted away.  There was a whole into about popcorn, its history and the different kinds, and I think mine is just cheap.  No matter though, it was still really really yummy.  Some of the other recipes are Matcha Green Tea Popcorn, Chai Spiced Popcorn, Tequila Lime Popcorn, Candy Cane Popcorn, and a whole lot more.  There are also popcorn bars, and popcorn balls, and some very not-vegan entree recipes.  But all in all, it is such a cool little book.  

Part 2 -  Stuff I Bought

I have been making a weekly trip to Nature’s Pantry (my own personal heaven), because it is pretty close to where I am teaching.  I’ve also been having a Live Pumpkin GoRaw bar every day, and that is the only place I know that sells them.  Anyway, I made a really quick trip this week, but I came away with

Okara Burgers

You can make them in a toaster!!  I don’t know if I am behind the times and this is a common thing, but I don’t usually see that.  Each patty, made by SoyBoy (which are individually wrapped) has 130 calories and 13g of protein.  I have been eating lunch on my way home from school, so I made one of these (in the toaster) before I left in the morning and topped it with this awesome hummus I also bought at Nature’s Pantry this week.  

Moshe’s Original Hummus

I have to say that this is some of the best hummus I have ever had.  I’m also glad that I got the original instead of the flavored, because you can really taste all the different components, especially the lemon and garlic.  So delicious!  It has a little more calories than other hummus that I have bought, but it is so worth it.  It also has more protein.  I serving (2 Tbsp) is 100 calories and 5g protein.

Part 3 -  Chili Bites

Okay, I debated posting this at all, but I decided that my ultimate conclusion was worth mentioning.  

A few weeks ago I had a coupon for any LightLife product.  Actually, two coupons.  I used the first to buy Smart Bacon, which I really liked.  I also bought their Gimmie Lean "Beef" product and was waiting for a good opportunity to use it.  Well, I’m all about making my food portable lately, so I figured little “meat”loaf muffins would work well.  Even better...chili “meat”loaf muffins.

Everything *worked*.  I just couldn’t get over the taste of the Gimmie Lean.  I thought it was icky.  And I added A LOT of spices in there, as well as corn and whole wheat saltine crumbs.  They’re edible.  I’ll probably have a few more, but I doubt I’ll be able to eat the whole batch.  I still like the idea though, and I have some thoughts on how to change it rolling around in my head, so we’ll see what happens.  

Part 4 -  Banana Walnut Breakfast Cookies

If you are skimming or scrolling down to the section you want to read, I hope that this is one of them.  I have been having some kind of variation of my Breakfast Cookie for breakfast every day that I go to work.  I have a few fun ideas for variations, and this one worked out so very well. 

Banana Walnut Breakfast Cookies

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup vanilla protein powder

1 banana

6 tbsp agave nectar

2 tbsp water

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut oil, liquified

 In a large bowl combine the oats, flax meal, chopped walnuts, salt, and protein powder

 In a blender, combine the banana, agave nectar, water, and coconut oil, blending until combined, but not completely smooth...I like being able to taste small chunks of banana.

 Pour the wet into the dry and mix until well combined.

 Form into 8 cookies, and let chill overnight.

Someone asked me last time if you could use something besides coconut oil.  I haven’t tried it, but I can’t see why not.  I would suggest another quality oil, like walnut, or apricot, but canola or vegetable would be fine too.  Hopefully it goes without saying, but just in case, don’t use olive oil.

Serves 4

Nutrition Information:  471.0 Calories;  23.5g Total Fat;  7.3g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  46.5g Carbohydrates;  8.7g Fiber;  25.9g Protein.

These are stickier than the last Breakfast Cookies I posted about, so you really can’t eat them immediately, they need the chilling time to set up.  They are also considerably softer, but are still hard enough to stick in your pocket because you are carrying too much stuff as you walk out to your car in the morning.  Also, same as the last ones, they aren’t going to crumble all over you while you are driving.  But, they are definitely very filling.  I thought the last two batches were filling, but either I wasn’t very hungry yesterday morning, or these were even MORE filling.  I seriously get excited for breakfast every morning, even though it is these same darn cookies.  They’re awesome.

Part 5 -  Sweet and Spicy Scramble

As much as I love my Breakfast Cookies, I was excited to be able to sit down to a warm breakfast this morning.  I had plenty of time before yoga at 10, since I am so used to getting up early, I was up at 6:30.  I really like it too, gives me plenty of stuff to do the stuff I fall behind on during the laundry.  

Anyway, I had this Sweet and Spicy Tofu Scramble this morning.  I still wanted a big breakfast since I needed it to last through yoga, and this definitely fit the bill.


7oz extra-firm tofu

1/2 green pepper, roughly chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 carrot, sliced, diced, however you want it

1/2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce, or Bragg’s)

1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste, I used more, just being safe)

1 Tbsp vegan cream cheese

1/2 Tbsp agave nectar

salt & pepper to taste (optional, I didn’t use any)

Know how to make tofu scramble already?  Then just do your thing, saving the toffuti for after you add the spices, and then drizzle with the agave nectar.  

If you want some more specific directions:

 Heat a pan over medium heat, add the vegetables, the tamari, and 2 Tbps of water.  Cook until softened.

 Squeeze the tofu to get some of the water out (you don’t have to go crazy, you don’t need to press it, but you don’t want it dripping either), and crumble it into the pan.  

 Quickly add the spices, and mix until the tofu is consistently a bright yellow.

 Add the vegan cream cheese to the scramble, and combine until melted.  It should look creamy and yummy at this point.  

 Remove from the heat, and drizzle with the agave nectar, and mix to combine.  

 Check for spices and seasoning.  

Serves 1

Nutrition Information:  353.9 Calories;  13.4g Total Fat;  2.4g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  32.7g Carbohydrates;  8.9g Fiber;  25.9g Protein.

This was totally what I needed this morning.  I added some Ezekiel bread with the last of my pear butter, and a big cup of Lipton Pyramid Tea that I got a sample of in the mail.  It was really good.  I’m not as big a fan of white tea, because I don’t think it tastes like much, but this was pretty good. 

Part 6 -  Working Out and Yoga

So, remember the workout that I said I hated?  Guess what?  I hated it.  Well, not that I hated it, but it wasn’t motivating for me.  So on the fly yesterday, I completely changed it and went back to a version of a 5x5.  Instead of posting it all at once, I am going to post it progressively.  

5x5 Day 1

Squats 5 sets or 5 reps (~80lbs)

Bench Press (barbell) 5 sets of 5 reps (~60lbs)

Rows (dumbbell) 5 sets of 5 reps (~35lbs)


Pullups (assisted pullup machine) 3 sets of 10 reps (~55lbs)

Hyperextensions 3 sets of 10 reps (~25lbs)


Bicep Curls 3 sets of 10 reps (~15lbs)

Rear Delt Lat Raise 3 sets of 10 reps (~10lbs)

The first group, the 5 sets of 5, are done individually, while the second two groups and supersets.  The weights are just a general idea of where I started...which doesn’t really give a great representation of where I am right now, because I have used a lot more recently, but its always less when I first start a program.  I’ll try to remember to let you guys know how it is at the end.  If I am feeling good on this one, I might stick with it for 8 weeks this time.  

Yoga has been going really well.  On Thursday, our instructor spent a good half hour (of a 90 minute class) working on partner yoga.  I was his guinea pig, which was fun, because I got to do everything, instead of having a partner who was scared of some stuff (which happened a few weeks ago).  Don’t get me wrong, I like teaching and helping people, but I don’t go to this class to help other people, I go so that the teachers can help ME...if that makes sense.  He is planning on doing a partner class one week, which would be fun...if I can get my friend to go...she knows who she is, haha.  She came with me this morning, but we don’t do a lot of partner stuff on the weekends because the class is so much larger.  Thursday there were seven people.  Today there were about twenty.  

In other news, I mentioned in my last program that I was going to start running more.  This became difficult when my knee started to hurt.  Which can only mean one thing...time for a new pair of running shoes.  

I ended up with a new pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 5, and I am very excited to start running in them.  It is supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow, so maybe I’ll get to try them outside!  

Part 7 - Student Teaching Update

When I first started student teaching, Heather kept commenting that she couldn’t wait to hear stories.  And I kept thinking “Oh no, what if I don’t have any stories?”

So, Heather, this story is for you.

We have been doing acids and bases, and one of the teachers who shares our room has been doing the same unit (hers is a higher level class though).  Well, in our lab yesterday, we were using sodium hydroxide pellets (NaOH).  Mini Chem lesson time:  NaOH is a base.  A strong base.  Bases react with water, so if you get a strong base (or acid for that matter) on your hand, it will react with your sweat, and the water in your hand, and burn you.  Well, in order to impress the importance of lab safety, I told them what happened when the other teacher’s class used sodium hydroxide the day before.  

One of the students ended up in the emergency room later that day, with second degrees burns....down her pants.  It is most important to mention at this point that this particular student...was wearing leggings.  Leggings.  How does one get pellets of base down one’s skin tight pants?

You can’t make this stuff up, I swear.  

Really though, working at this school has been fantastic so far.  For the most part, kids and kids, and they will come and go, but the people that work there, are so great.  Not to mention the fact that my mentor teacher is awesome.  I have taken over all of his classes now, and he’s been nice enough to just leave the room and let me do my thing.  I can tell you right now that I will cry when I leave this place.  I’m already sad thinking that it is almost half over.    

Part 8 - The Leftovers

We have three leftovers today.  

1.  This was the dinner I had from Down to Earth, on the place, on my way home.  

I know it is from awhile ago, but it was really good and I wanted to share.  Try to picture it with cucumbers and green peppers...if you remember, I made sure to eat them before I got on the plane.  

2.  These are the sweet & sara marshmallows that are made in NY, but I finally found in HI.  I already talked about them, and I think they’re okay.  

I guess they call them marshmallow meltaways for a reason.  In a weird way, it is a more accurate description of what they are.  They’re okay, but not something I’m going crazy over.  

3.  I saved the best for last.  During one of our many trips to Borders while I was in Hawaii, I found this shea butter based chap stick.  It is totally and completely so awesome.  

If you aren’t aware, most chap sticks are made with beeswax and therefore aren’t vegan.  I got the grapefruit flavor and it smells so good.  If you ever find this stuff, whether you are vegan or not, I highly suggest it, it is so good.  Smooth, easy to apply, smells great, a little shiny, etc.  Okay, so the shiny part may be offputting if you are a guy, but my brother used it today and didn’t complain.  I would LOVE to link to them for you, but I can't find anything about them.  If you are looking for a good vegan lip balm, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has a recommendation (that she made on her last podcast) and a coupon code if you visit her website.    

Part 9 - ...Just Kidding

So, I will try my best to not go this long again...the Geek Squad is coming on Tuesday, so hopefully posting will be smoother after that.  Oh, and if you are wondering how I am posting now, it is because we can plug in directly, but it is in the basement and I rarely go down there.  I made a special trip for you guys!  

I will be catching up on blogs as much as possible, but please excuse my being horribly behind.  Please? 

I hope everyone had a fabulous week, has a fabulous (and if you are in the northeast, warm!) weekend, and has a fabulous upcoming week!  


  1. Amazing eats Gina! I don't even know where to start! haha

    I just found a really awesome hummus too, I was so glad because the old hummus I bought wasn't that great.


  2. Thanks for braving the basement to keep us posted on all your findings! I like the table of contents. :-)

  3. hahahahaha i love storytime!!!!

    Awww the lipbalm is too cute. It got me crackin here.

    Sweetie you aren't a bad friend...goodness don't ever say that!We'll always find time to catch up with each other when things are less crazed. That's what real friends do.You're so thoughtful I could just squuuuuueze ya.

    Have a good one.


  4. I really like the Gimme Lean products. The breakfast 'sausage' is excellent! I cut the round form into rounds and layer them 2x2in wax paper so I can grab a quick pack to add to an AM meal. With a little salt and peppers as it sautes, it's terrific. The dinner 'meat' makes great meatballs. I saute onion and garlic in chili oil, then mix the 'beef' in a bowl with them and add lots of seasonsing and fresh basil. Then I use PAM to crisp them up in the saute pan. It's super low calorie and a good amount of protein. I found it for just a couple $ at Trader Joe's last weekend. Bon appetit.

  5. So excited about your breakfast cookies! I love that you used coconut oil, because I find that some fat really helps keep me going in the mornings. I definitely adding this recipe to my breakfast queue!

    Enjoy your Mizunos. I've owned a few pairs and been quite pleased with them.

    Thanks for the story - I wonder how she did get the base down her leggings. Hmmm - how odd and painful. Glad to hear your student teaching is going so well.

    Grapefruit lip balm. I want some!

  6. I love that you put a table of contents!

    And mmmm breakfast cookie. I pretty much never eat breakfast but I know I should. I'm definitely going to have to try these and hopefully they will inspire me to start!

    Hope things calm down for you soon! (I totally understand, sometimes I look at my blog and it's been AGES since I posted).

  7. o00o0o chili bites! i want them :)

  8. geez, woman. you definitely weren't kidding about a long post!!

    i love your new kicks. that brand is so expensive so i hope these ones last long. i am a tennis shoe collector, myself, but haven't tried that brand yet.

    also, the pull-up machine is like my worst enemy haha i've been doing it for about 6 months and still can't do a damn pull-up. i started with 30 lbs assistance, but now i'm doing 40 because i've gotten weaker... somehow?? haha

    partner yoga sounds really fun. my gym doesn't have anything like that. i'd be interested in taking a class like that.

  9. I've very glad you made a special trip to go down to the basement just for us : ) (I hope the Geek Squad will solve all your problems!)

    I enjoyed every part of your blog but my favorite was Part 4 ... those look GREAT!

    Hope you're having a great weekend : )

  10. Thanks Shelby :) I'm glad you found a hummus you like also. I just ate way too many marshmallows though....but they're still pretty yummy!

    Jenn, I should probably mention basement is finished and pretty nice, haha. I just never go down there, its kind of my dad's place.

    Denny, the lip balm is fantastic. And I will accept any virtual squeezes :)

    Autumn, thanks for the input. I wondered if the sausage might be better, but I doubt I will ever buy it again. I did add a lot of spices and whatnot to the mix, and I still thought it tasted funny. But I have yet to find a meat (or cheese) sub that I like, so maybe I am just picky. I also seem to be the only person on the planet who can't stand gluten free all purpose flour, so...yeah.

    Heather, I too love having fat in the morning. This particular cookie was so filling I almost couldn't finish it. I have had Mizunos before also, they're my favorite. The best part about the story is that the poor girl really seems to have no idea how they got there.

    Vegetation, breakfast is the best!! You may want to start with just one cookie and maybe some fruit, if you aren't used to breakfast, because they are super filling.

    Megan, hopefully I'll come up with a recipe I feel like I can share sometime this week!

    Joanna, I never wear shoes like this, except for when I am running. All my running shoes are expensive, but they really are better quality, so its worth it to me. The pullup machine isn't so bad!! I can do a pullup or two on my own, but I don't think I've ever done more than 3. Doing it on 30-40lbs is awesome though!

    Thanks Lesley...Part 4 is totally my favorite part also!

    I seem to have commandeered the basement hookup, since both my brother and I use my computer (because Macs are awesome), so I should be around more regularly now...hopefully!

  11. Thanks for the comment! Wow, so much yummy food. Those breakfast cookies sound amazing! You didn't like the marshmallows? I got some for Xmas and I'm obsessed! Maybe it's just because it's been so long since I've had marshmallows. Hope you enjoyed your day!

  12. I like the Soyboy ravioli so the okara burgers look interesting. You make them in a toaster? Way cool!

    That Gimme Lean thing is really icky! Not your muffins, the faux beef thing. Have you tried Morningstar Farms crumbles? That's my favorite faux ground beef, and it's not icky!

    Breakfast cookies and tofu scramble! They both look super yummy!

    The thing about the second degree burns down the student's pants is bizarre!!

    I hope you get the internet working again soon!

  13. New runners are the best!

    Breakfast has turned into my favourite meal of the day! I'm definitely going to have to try your breakfast cookie!

  14. Wow! That was a long and wonderful post. I always look forward to reading them. I have to try those cookies. I'm into portable breakfasts, lunches and dinners, too. I don't know if you got a chance to check out my blog but there have been changes. Again. Is this normal?

  15. I am a vegan chapstick connoisseur and that grapefruit kind looks awesome! I'm gonna have to track some down.

  16. Sorry to hear your internet was out. I dont think I could live without internet anymore!

    A book on popcorn ?! Oh my! I have to buy it, I love popcorn! Thanks for writing about it :)

  17. aw nice wrap-up post!
    a whole book on POPCORN! haha i love popcorn..that sounds awesome. i mostly just eat it with hot sauce though..yumm.
    oh and that's cool you got the moshe's hummus! i thought it was only sold around philadelphia, since thats where the guy is from..but thats cool! they actually sell his sandwiches and stuff in the 7-11's around here! its sweet.
    okay, and i must make those banana breakfast cookies asap..they look and sounds amazing!

  18. those cookies seem so yummy! great eats!