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Archive for September, 2009

With my Stats test completed yesterday, I focused completely on chemistry today.  I like when I can devote a whole day, or at least several straight hours to just one subject.  Switching gears from one subject to another makes me lose my focus.  So today was all about chemistry.  I had a 3 hour lab and worked on homework problems.  Whew!  I was ready to break for meals, just to take a break….oh, and also because I love to eat!

Mini meals allow me to take multiple study breaks.  This was my favorite minimeal today:

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It’s blurry, but in real life, it was simple and spectacular.  A brown rice tortilla with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge, tomatoes, and spinach.  So simple, but melted in the panini maker, it becomes rich and gooey!

Dinner required a bit more work.  I love spaghetti squash.  But I really have a time of it when I try to cut it.  Today, I couldn’t cut it length-wise, so I cut it in half, microwaved it for a bit, and then it was soft enough to cook.  I placed them face down in about a half inch of water, covered it with plastic wrap, and microwaved for 10 minutes.  I love pulling the spaghetti strands out of the cooked squash!  Such a fun vegetable!  But a word to the wise…make sure to let it cool enough to handle, or it is a dangerous process!

I served out a big bowl of “spaghetti,” mixed in some  ricotta and parmesan cheese, and then reheated to melt the cheeses.  I topped it with a big scoop of the veggies I cooked yesterday and an even bigger scoop of marinara sauce  Delish!

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Right now, I have some apple slices baking.  I love having a fridge-full of apples!  Last night’s baked apple came out perfectly.  I stuffed it with raisins, cinnamon, and sugar, and when it was soft and mushy, I topped it with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and cool whip.

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Tonight, I am experimenting with slicing the apples before baking:

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It smells so good right now….like apple pie in the oven!

Time to join my boys on the couch.

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As soon as Dave sits, Jack comes calling!  He is always looking for a lap!

Good night all!

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A big thank you to everyone who sent me support and pep talks after last night’s post.  I had just reached my limit in terms of trying to take in new information.  I needed a break, so I turned off the computer and watched Sunday’s “Desperate Housewives” while comfort eating more ice cream than I needed.  Waking up to so many supportive comments really helped me to take a fresh look at everything.

I got a lot accomplished.  I tidied up my chem. lab report, studied my medical terminology, and spent 5 hours on statistics. And somewhere in there, I vacuumed the apartment!

Lunch was well earned and very yummy!  In a brown rice tortilla, I put Laughing Cow cheese, a scrambled egg, tomato, and lettuce.  Then I put it in the panini maker.  I am getting used to the brown rice tortillas.  They are definitely a different texture, but actually quite good in their own way.

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While I was working hard all afternoon, Jack did this:

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He followed the sun as it moved across the floor.  It’s a rough life he leads!

After four hours of stats practice, I felt confident enough to take this week’s quiz.  While taking my the test,  I was hopping up to the kitchen and back to monitor my vegetables in the oven.  Thankfully, my test didn’t suffer from being slightly distracted…I got a 94%!  I rock!

I had a lot of veggies to cook up, so I made a huge pan of roasted vegetables to use throughout the week.  I also made my version of egg plant parmesan.  Because I am still finding success in abstaining from gluten, I dipped my agg plant slices in egg and then in ground flax seed (instead of bread crumbs).  It was healthier, and I think I liked the crispiness of the flaxseed crust better.  I served my eggplant with shiritaki noodles and marinara sauce mixed with a scoop of the roasted vegetables.

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I stacked the egg plant slices, after they had baked, and sandwiched ricotta cheese in the middle before putting back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.  It was a yummy addition!

For Dave, my gluten-loving hubby, I roasted some potatoes with salt and pepper (at the same time as the veggies), cooked up some corn from the farmers market, and topped some chicken (that I had cooked the other night) with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.  There may have been a couple of crescent rolls as well…

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Right now, I am baking another apple.  I think I have it down now.  I’ll take a picture and post it tomorrow.

I have a couple other things I want to make this week.  After reading about Melissa’s stuffed peppers, I know what my remaining pepper is destined for!  I also want to try this again:

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When my brother was visiting, the boys got Chinese food.  So I mad myself some spring rolls.  I was so impressed, I can’t wait to make them again.  I shredded some carrot, summer squash,and zucchini, added some tomato and tuna, and heated it all up with some Asian spices sprinkled in.  Then I stuffed for rice wrappers with the mixture.  Dipped in some gluten-free Tamari soy sauce, they were amazing!

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I love days like this where I actually feel like I got somewhere in chipping away at my to-do list.  It’s a good feeling!  Thank you again to all of you and to my wonderful husband for helping me to make a fresh start today!

What do you do when you need to recharge?  Anything in particular that helps you destress? Exercise is a biggie for me.  Good tv, snuggled with my honey, is also at the top of my list!  (Then there is the excessive consumption of ice cream that occurs from time to time!)

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Be Back Tomorrow

Hello all!  I was MIA yesterday, and I am going to flake out again today.  I spend all day yesterday studying statistics with my hubby and then biology with my brother.  (My brother is going back to school to get his degree in education so he can teach biology…I’m so glad he is because he is a really good teacher!  I’m a proud big sister!)

Today, I spent the entire day studying chemistry with brother and then statistics by myself.  When I started crying 15 minutes ago because I couldn’t get a stats problem right, I knew it was time to quit for the night.  This is a very humbling experience.  I was the straight A student in high school and college (and grad school, for that matter!).  So it is hard to be faced with so many courses that are hard for me all at once.  My eyes are glazed over and I just need to turn off my computer for the night.  I’ll be back tomorrow with pictures and food and fitness and all things blogworthy!

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Today was just what fall in New England should look like!  It was beautifully sunny and just brisk enough to want a light sweater.  I call it “sweater weather,” and every year I am ready for it.  The knowledge that winter looms around the next corner, kind of puts a damper on fall for me.  But other than that, I just love this time of year!

This afternoon we headed to Honey Pot Hills Orchard in Stow, MA.  I had been there before several years ago, but I don’t remember it being quite the operation that it is now!  I would be curious to know how many people come through there on a typical day.  Today was packed!   But it kind of added to the excitement.  We have gone apple picking together every year and it is a tradition I really look forward to.

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One of the things I remembered about this orchard was that you are allowed to climb ladders into the trees.  I have been to other orchards with big signs that tell you to keep off the trees.  But since I’m a big kid (and my sweetie is an even bigger kid!), we like to climb trees!  The best apples are at the top too…

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We came home with a 23 pound bag of apples (we weighed it on the scale when we got home)!  I have one baking in the oven right now and am so excited to eat it.  It was a labor of love because I do not own an apple corer and I almost lost a finger or 2 trying to cut out the core.

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I will not be sharing this beauty!  Dave ate 4 apples at the orchard and is not feeling so well right now.  I am cutting him off!

We made a couple other stops today as well on the way to the farm.  I am almost done collecting data for my statistics project on the farming methods of local farms.  But I need a few more  to make the results statistically significant (look at me throwing around statistics terms!).  We stopped off at Verrill Farms in Concord which just reopened it’s main store after it was destroyed last fall in a fire.  What a beautiful new building…and brimming with a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, and jellies.

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I collected my data there, and then we stopped at another little farm (it was actually called Small Farm!) we passed on the way tot he orchard.  It was so cute, we pulled over and picked up some corn.

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IMG_1546It was really that small!

I came home and studied statistics for a little while (percentiles, z scores, and box plots, oh my!).  But I was distracted by my excitement for dinner.  I read Nicole’s blog this morning and knew I needed to recreate the quinoa dish she mad.  Not only do I love quinoa, but there is so much you can do with it!  I had never thought to put ricotta cheese in it.  Thanks, Nicole!

I made mine with an Italian twist…ricotta, artichoke hearts, spinach, diced tomato, garlic and Italian seasoning.  I also through in some butternut squash because I needed to use it up.  I will probably leave that out next time, as it didn’t really fit with the rest of the ingredients…but it didn’t matter, this was goooood!  I topped it with some parmesan cheese.

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Not the greatest photograph, but trust me, it was delicious!  I can smell my baked apple and I can’t wait to eat it, so off I go!

My brother is coming up tomorrow afternoon to spend the night and to tutor me in biology.  if you don’t see me tomorrow, it’s just because I have my nose in a book or two!

Do you have a favorite fall tradition?

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Today was a crazy day in terms of school work.  I will spare you the boring details, but I managed to cross a couple important things off my list.  Instead of school, I’ll just talk about food!

Tonight was a disaster in terms of my attempt to make gluten-free pizza dough.  It’s embarrassing because it was a mix from a box…pretty tough to screw up!

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I bought this mix at Whole Foods earlier this week in anticipation of Friday’s Pizza Night.  Dave was all set since he is not going gluten-free in any way.  But I wanted to partake too, so I was excited to find this mix.  Unfortunately, I didn’t read the added ingredients.  I didn’t have any eggs, so I substituted in eggbeaters.  It may have worked, but I think I needed to use less because the batter was just too wet and sticky.  I will try again with real eggs.  I will also add only a little water at a time.  I think it woul dhave been fine if I had used less liquid.  Live and learn!  this batch went straight to the garbage can.  It was too sticky to be salvageable.

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Since I lost my dough, I had to come up with a quick replacement.  So I grabbed a corn tortilla and a brown rice tortilla, put sauce and ricotta cheese on each, and then topped them with lots of veggies I had cooked up earlier this week.  I was curious to see which “crust” I would prefer.

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Brown Rice Tortilla

Brown Rice Tortilla

Corn Tortilla

Corn Tortilla

In the end, I couldn’t decide.  They both turned out to be really good.  I would use either one again (although the brown rice tortilla is bigger, so I get more pizza!)

I have been staring at my computer for the last 6 hours, so I am going to crash on the couch with my sweetie and watch last night’s Grey’s Anatomy!

Tomorrow….. Applepicking!

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I feel like I am knocking on wood here, but I had another tummyache-less day today.  On Saturday, I looked several months pregnant.  This morning:

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It’s either an amazing coincidence, a major placebo effect…. or I am sensitive to gluten!  I don’t know if I have Celiac or not, but I am becoming more confident that I am sensitive to gluten.

Feeling in tip top shape, I went on a tough, very hilly 8 mile run.  It doesn’t matter how tough it is though…as soon as I’m done, I feel great!

Before heading to my Biology lab, I hit yet another farmer’s market.

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This was a great farmers market.  So far, Belmont and Arlington have had the most impressive markets, in terms of layout and the produce and products available.  It is really tough not to over-buy all of these beautiful fruits and vegetables.  (Remember, I am the main veggie-eater in my house!)  Today I wasn’t going to buy anything.  But I am still 2 days away from my annual apple-picking day, and I was having a major apple craving!  I bought a single apple.  It was so huge, I had to take a picture to document it!  The cottage cheese container is in the picture to offer a size comparison:

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That is a serious apple!  It sat in my bag throughout my lab, taunting me.  I fought the temptation by snacking on another Lara Bar flavor.

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Cashew cookie is right up there with peanut butter and jelly for me.  The nuts were finely chopped and taste was great!  I will take a break from Lara Bars this weekend, but they are a great portable snack when I have class.  I got there extra early today to prepare for the lab in the empty classroom.

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When I got home, I enjoyed half of my ginormous apple, and cut up the other half to add to my salad.   My salad tonight included, farmers market carrots, 3 different kinds of farmers market tomatoes, farmers market  lettuce, and a big scoop of Cabot fat free cottage cheese.  On the side, were last night’s forgotten butternut squash fries.  I managed to remember to put them in the oven tonight….I just forgot to take them out.  Ooops!  There were a few casualties, but most were salvageable.

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This salad was great!  I love all of the different tomatoes to choose from at the farmers markets.  This salad had red, yellow, and green tomato in it.  And the apple added a wonderful sweetness.  No dressing was necessary, which is good because all of the dressings I have right now have gluten in them.

Some dressings I like, but more often than not, I like to use salsa, hummus, or cottage cheese as a dressing because they add to the nutrient value of the salad.  Cabot is my favorite cottage cheese.  The texture is a little different, a little firmer than more watery cottage cheeses.  It made for a protein-packed, tasty salad!

I am excited to watch Flash Forward tonight.  I am a huge LOST fan, so I am excited to see what the creators of LOST do with this new show.

Until tomorrow….

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This is going to be a quickie post.  My eyes are glazed over after a 3 hour chemistry lab and then 2 1/2 hours of working on the calculations from the lab!  It’s so frustrating because I know that at one time, I knew how to do this!  Not anymore.  I am not feeling like the brightest bulb right now.  Thank the good Lord for my brother…he was a biology major in college and knows some chemistry too.  He’s coming to visit this weekend to tutor me in both subjects.

In between my lab and coming home to work on the calculations, I hit another farmer’s market for my statistics project research.  More organic farms that are not certified organic and more farms that use IPM (Integrated Pest Management).  When I actually analyze the data and research the terms these farmers have been throwing around, I will share the information.

Arlington, MA Farmer's Market

Arlington, MA Farmer's Market

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On the way to the farmer’s market I tried another Lara Bar flavor.  The German Chocolate one.  It was good, but there were 3  whole, intact nuts.  I don’t like nuts!  I love nut butters, and I don’t mind finely chopped nuts.  But whole nuts…not so much!  I spit those out, but I enjoyed the flavor of the bar very much!

When I got home, before settling in with my chemistry, I chopped up butternut squash for a side of fries at dinner.  I even put them in the oven.  Too bad I got sucked into my chemistry and forgot to turn on the oven!!  Poor Dave got home, and I was still bent over my lab book.  He’s such a good guy…he just set to work making his own dinner, so I could concentrate just on my own gluten-free meal.

I took a brown rice tortilla and warmed it up to make it more bendable.  Cold, the wrap just wants to break when rolled.  Heated up, it rolled very nicely.  I filled it with hummus and a Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge (I had never had these before, but needed a replacement for my old standby gluten-y cheese).  I also added farmer’s market veggies….carrot, cucumber and yellow tomatoes.  I put it all in the panini maker and it was wonderful…and gluten-free!

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I am really pleased with the gluten-free products I have found so far.  I am a Laughing Cow convert, and I can adapt to the different texture of a brown rice wrap.  Given that I had another tummyache-free day, I will be sticking with this, I think.

Tomorrow will definitely feature those butternut squash fries…unless I forget about them again.  They are cut and ready to go!

Have a great night everybody 🙂

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