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Good afternoon!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Sundays.

Mine is being sorta funny in that I want to be lazy, but I want to be busy, too.  With school starting tomorrow and me being anxious as heck, I can’t sit still — I’m full of restless and anxious energy, but at the same time, part of me is saying, “Take it easy today because tomorrow, you won’t get the chance to breathe.”

I pottered around outside after breakfast, trying to tackle some yard work, but after about five minutes, my stomach informed me that it was about to digest itself and if I didn’t get food in there, stat, things could get ugly.

Funny how hunger sneaks up on you like that, ne?  By the time I sat down with my huge salad beast, my hands were shaking so much that it was hard to snap a photo.

Call Guinness, guys: this is the World's Largest Salad!

I threw in an entire large head of romaine, a couple servings of broccoli and cauliflower, a half a large tomato, a large mushroom, a cup of peas, and a heaping half cup-ish of chickpeas.

I threw on about a quarter to a third of a cup of hummus (didn’t measure, just eyeballed it) and a generous splash of hot sauce.  Or two or three.

I rounded off my lunch with a perfectly ripe pear.  (Yes, sister.  This time an actual pear, not a mislabeled plum.)

Wonderfully ripe and juicy Bartlett pear.

And since my lunch was light in the fat department, I stuffed two dates with a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter and shoved another spoonful into my mouth.

Love dates.  Seriously better than any candy.

That huge two pound tub of them that I got from Costco?  Nearly empty.  Le sigh.  I dread the day I run out.

Oh, and speaking of large tubs from Costco, since Amor bought those epic jars of peanut butter for me a couple weeks ago, I’ve already decimated one 28 oz jar (by myself!) and am steadily working my way through the other.

Clearly dates + peanut butter are an addictive combination.

Can't stop myself, and I don't wanna!

I tried to go back outside to finish up my chores, but alas, the poor hedge trimmer had died.  It’s currently on the charger now, but I’m feeling lazy.

I attacked some of the larger weeds with the oversized scissors designated for that particular chore, but they were dull and I have no idea how to sharpen them.

So I came back inside, and now here I am, vegging on the couch.

Almost out of these, too.

I ate this lemonhead, and now I’m trying to brainstorm on how I’m going to do this whole packed-lunch business.

My first class is at 11:30, and from there, I have three back-to-back classes until about 4:30.

I have a ten minute break between classes, but during each one of those breaks, I’m going to be hauling behind to the next class across campus.

I’m trying to figure out how I’m doing to do this lunch thing.  I’ll be getting up early enough that I can enjoy a large, healthy breakfast, but I get hungry very quickly, and will be starving before my first class.  I don’t know if I could eat in class, and besides, I think snacking down on large, stinky salads would be frowned upon.

What do you pack for meals when you’ll be out and about all day? I can’t eat sandwiches (no gluten, and GF bread is too expensive to eat every day) and I’ve ran out of bars.  What should I pack?

I’ll be at school until late into the evening as well, so I’ll have to pack enough to last me about eight hours or so.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

Evening!

Thank you again, for all the warm comments on my last post.

Seriously, you read all that?  If I had gold star stickers to pass out, each and every one of you would receive one.

Right now, I’m sitting on the couch, and my tummy is full of delicious food to the point where my work pants are a wee bit uncomfortable.

It feels pretty nice.

Oh, before I go any further, before I forget: my conscience has been nagging me.  More and more of you have been commenting on frozen Larabars, and have been giving me credit for the genius of that.  I gotta give credit where it’s due, though.  I first spotted this stroke of culinary awesomeness on Chelsey’s blog, and being the frozen-food fanatic, immediately followed suit.  So, if you’ve frozen your Larabars since seeing it here, go pop on over to Chelsey’s blog and love on her a bit for making life a bit better for us foodies.

Rock on.

I have no dinner pictures for you today (Amor surprised me by spontaneously taking me out to dinner tonight after work, and I didn’t have my camera with me), but I have “everything else” photos.  How’s that?  Works for you?

Works for me just nicely.

Breakfast was something that had me “mmming” all the way through it.

Remember that Nogurt sent me those samples to try?

I seriously could not sleep last night, because I was thinking of all the different ways I wanted to attack the blueberry flavor.

I love how the umlaut makes a smiley face.

I seriously lay in the dark for nearly an hour (too much coffee yesterday, evidently) pondering how I was going to properly utilize my exciting new breakfast treat.

I debated on drizzling it atop a bowl of porridge, but decided against that.  I didn’t want the flavor to get lost or anything.

Super short ingredient list -- yay!

Finally, I settled on a version of how I enjoyed it yesterday.

I woke up, brewed myself a pot of coffee (clearly, I do not learn from my mistakes: insomnia, here I come!) and set to work.

I wanted to complement the blueberry-banana flavor, so I threw together a quick cinnamon-vanilla blueberry muffin (3 tbs peanut flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 whole egg, and a heaping fistful of blueberries and a splash of vanilla, nuked for about 2 minutes).

Certified GF -- Nogurt is practically allergy free!

I crumbled my muffin into a bowl, and by crumbled, I mean, I stabbed the heck out of it when I took it out of the microwave, then threw its remains into a bowl.

I’m morbid.  Blame the Dexter commercial that was just on, okay?

Since I wanted to stick with the banana-blueberry theme, I microwaved some frozen blueberries to make a sauce, then sliced a banana and piled them onto the muffin.

I really enjoy how this company caters to all sorts of health concerns.

Then it was time to open the Nogurt.

Since you’re gonna ask, I’ll tell you.

I liked it.  Much like the chocolate, it was a mild and sweet flavor, with emphasis on the blueberry and a slight hint of banana in the background.  It wasn’t tart, either, which might be a good thing for those of you who are put off by too-tart conventional yogurts.

Smooth, almost liquid consistency.

It wasn’t thick, either, but I was ready for that, since yesterday’s flavor was liquid-y as well.

I actually was looking forward to having my muffin soak up all the blueberry flavor, after a couple bites to get a good idea of the flavor profile, went ahead and drizzled it over my muffin and fruit.

I garnished the bowl with a heaping tablespoon of almond butter (made into a sauce with almond milk, and nuked) and several handfuls of sliced almonds.

MIMs are so versatile!

Verdict?

Loved it.

Seriously, I’m not just making that up.  I haven’t seen Nogurt on the shelves yet, but if I spotted it, and the price was right, I definitely pick up a few to have around on those days that I want a change of pace from the usual.

Muffin topped with blueberries, banana, and Nogurt.

So, here’s the breakdown.

I enjoyed Nogurt for a variety of reasons, but the ones that really stood out to me was that it’s not too sweet.  I’m still on the prowl for a tart soy/dairy/gluten-free yogurt, but other than that, I loved the taste and the level of sweetness.

I also enjoyed how it had a short ingredient list of real food, and didn’t have any weird gums or stabilizers.  That’s extremely important to people like me with sensitive tummies.  I’d choose a kefir-esque yogurt alternative any day over a thick one that would kill my stomach.

Loved how the MIM soaked up the almond butter and Nogurt! Yay for tasty sponges!

This product is, like I said, virtually common-allergen free.  If you have other common allergies keeping you from trying new things, give Nogurt a look-see.

It’s also low sodium, which was also awesome, since I and many others fight an endless battle with edema.  It’s vegan, certified organic, and also has a hearty boost of probiotics.

Oh, and it has DHA!  That’s awesome!  I was anxious at first, and googled the brand of Omega’s that they use in their Nogurt and was delighted to see that it was a completely vegan and flax-free source.  You won’t be poisoned by unwanted phytoestrogens with Nogurt!

Hurrah!

The cons?  Not as many, but a couple.  Not everyone likes the taste of bananas, but I seriously love bananas, so the underlying banana taste wasn’t off-putting to me.  The other thing is, if you’re expecting something to be thick like yogurt, you might be a bit bummed.  However, remember that there are no funky stabilizers in Nogurt, and bring a straw.  And, yeah, I crave the tart — that’s why I miss yogurt.

But, as a yummy, ethical, lightly sweetened pudding-flavored kefir with a healthy dose of probiotics and DHA, I was very happy with Nogurt and would definitely buy it.  I’m not sure how much it’ll sell for, but if I see it in stores, I’ll keep you guys updated.

Another obsession of mine: hummus and hot sauce.

And that was breakfast!

Lunch was consumed a few hours later, in literally maybe five minutes.

I have a bad habit of spending too long getting dressed in the morning before work, leaving myself standing in the kitchen twenty minutes before I need to leave and unsure of what I’m going to have.

I threw this together in five minutes, and spent the next ten shoveling it into my mouth.

It contained the last of my green beans, tons of broccoli, a cup of peas, a mushroom (chopped), a half a cup of chickpeas, and two or so servings of hummus and a ton of hot sauce.

Eaten throughout the afternoon.

Work was insane today.

It’s so weird, how work is either totally slow and completely dead, or it’s ridiculously frantic and I have no time to breathe.

I threw a plum, this Boomi bar, and a few handfuls of dry cereal into my purse to eat at work, and had to break off nibbles of the bar to sneak into my mouth between patients because it was so busy today.  It took me nearly two hours to eat it.

Huge plum -- almost the size of my fist.

I was lucky to snag a couple minutes to nosh down this plum, too.

Amor, as I said, took me to dinner after work, but as soon as I got home, I had a mad craving for grapes.

I indulged said craving happily.

Sorry for the awful photo. Night comes early nowadays.

And, in true dessert fashion, stuffed a couple dates with peanut butter, then stuck wedges of chocolate into them.

I threw them into the microwave on 70% power for about 25 seconds, then let them cool for a minute then happily devoured.

Another date and a few more pieces of chocolate slipped into my mouth after the camera was turned off for the night.

Just melted enough that it oozes when you bite into it.

I just found out that I’m working tomorrow (I thought I had the morning off), which is fine.

Extra hours never hurt anyone, and besides, my boss is awesome and I love my job.

Tomorrow is Amor’s Fantasty Football picks get-together, which should prove entertaining.  However, I’ll be scrubbing the house from top to bottom (he’s helping, of course!) to make the house presentable for his friends, so I most likely will be away most of the day.

Does anyone you know go crazy over football or any other sport?

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

Whoa!

Where have I been?

Seriously.

Okay, I’m still sick, but I’m like, a content sick.  Being chronically ill sorta forces you to go through the stages of grief, curiously enough.

First, I was in denial.  No, I’m not sick.  I eat tons of veggies, lean protein, whole grains!  How can I, the model vegetarian, be sick?

Then there was, of course, the anger.  I was — and still am, occasionally — livid at my body and even at God for putting me through this.  Why me?  What have I done to deserve this?

Then bargaining.  Okay, I’ll give up soy.  Okay, dairy.  Now gluten.  Nightshades?  C’mon body: I’ll do anything!  Just make me well!

Then the depression struck.  I cried.  A lot.  And I sat on the couch, eating too much chocolate and peanut butter, and only ventured out of the house for doctor’s appointments and work.

And now?  Acceptance.

I’m sick.  Now to get better!  Easier said than done, but I’m determined to do everything I have to in order to properly heal my body.  I have an appointment with a social worker in a couple weeks, and she’s going to help me get insurance.  Then, a couple weeks after that, hopefully they’ll start some tests for me.

Gotta keep my chin up, right?

Today, my appetite has been through the roof, but it was definitely warranted.

First!  Return of the salads!  (Can you tell I’m excited by this?)

My lunch (more on that in a few) held me over an amazing seven hours.  That’s including four insane hours of yard work.

When I came in, I immediately hopped into the shower, scrubbed off about ten pounds of grime and dirt, whipped up a quick dinner for Amor (going seven hours without eating, for him, is no big — for me?  it’s epic, yo), then threw myself together the largest salad the world has ever seen.

Oh, how I missed you, my beloved salad!

I stopped eating salads there for a while.

Without nightshades, they just weren’t fun.

But now, they’re back — I still have awful edema, but I haven’t noticed any improvement after making dietary changes (taking out eggs, taking out legumes, taking out nightshades — still sick, so adding them back).

And salads are yummy again!  This one contained an entire head of romaine, half of a large tomato, a crimini mushroom, a cup of peas, tons of steamed green beans, half an avocado, two or three huge blobs of hummus, and a generous splash of hot sauce.

Ate. It. Up.

Two ripe, juicy plums.

Since I had done four hours of intense yard work and went an entire seven hours without eating, my appetite caught up with me with a vengeance.

For the record, I also ate two rice cakes smeared with tons of applesauce and peanut flour (higher fat, not that low-fat rubbish) as I sat down to type this.

I inhaled two plums, then went into the kitchen for more.

Peanut Butter Pandas and Chocolate Koala Krisp, shoved into my mouth by the fistful.

As I prepared another snack of dates stuffed with peanut butter and dark chocolate, I ate a few handfuls of cereal.

Nothing tastes better than delicious, filling food after working all day, that’s for darn sure.

I love this chocolate forever and ever.

Okay, funny thing about this chocolate.

I really need to do a post called, “A Bajillion and One Reasons I Love Amor.”  While we were at the natural food store, I spotted this chocolate on the shelf, picked it up, and pined for it.

Then I remarked that I didn’t need any more chocolate, and put it back on the shelf.  Without missing a beat, Amor said, “Yes, you do,” plucked it off the shelf, and threw it in the cart.  I love this man.

Then, I ate a piece, enjoyed it…then promptly forgot about it.  I found it tonight while desperately scrounging up some chocolate.  It was hiding under a box of baking supplies, obviously hiding in wait for a day that I truly needed it.

That was tonight, clearly.

Dates + peanut butter + chocolate = match made in Heaven

After I snapped this awful-no-good-very-bad picture, I threw these dates into the microwave for about fifteen seconds.

I let them cool for about a minute, and then enjoyed every single drippy, melty bite.

My shirt enjoyed it, too.  Oops, sorry, Amor.  Was that your shirt?  My bad.

More chocolate was consumed, of course.

Okay!  Backtracking now.

Breakfast.

Spiced cooked apples, peanut butter, and creamy buckwheat groats.

Breakfast may be a new favorite, but the jury’s still out.

While they deliberate, I’ll share the details of what I had for breakfast.

I bought some raw buckwheat groats at the store when I had stocked up on my kasha, but after googling it, I found that some people didn’t like them, claiming that they had a bitter taste.

Since I’m getting a wee bit burnt out on kasha, I decided I might as well try something new.  If I don’t like these untoasted groats, I can always have a bowl of cereal, right?

Could be my new favorite hot cereal, this.

Okay, first off, raw buckwheat groats take longer than kasha to cook.

These took fifteen minutes, about the same as quinoa.

However, they were far more voluminous than quinoa, but not as fluffy as kasha.  The taste, however, was fantastic.  No bitterness whatsoever.  It actually tasted mild and sweet, like oats!

I’m thrilled!  After being oatless for several months, I may have found a suitable replacement for my favorite breakfast staple.

I cooked my groats with a cup of water, vanilla, cinnamon, one whole egg, whisked in some almond milk, then topped it with spiced apples (cooked with a teaspoon of cornstarch, to thicken it like a pie filling) and two tablespoons of peanut butter (turned onto a sauce, with almond milk, and a bit of nuking to get the right consistency.)

I know what I’m having for breakfast again soon!

Okay, now here’s what I’m all excited about, guys.

Lunch.

Oh, boy: lunch.

What is this?

I recently contacted Nogurt, a company that produces a vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten free probiotic yogurt alternative, and expressed interest in their product.

They replied back quickly, and generously offered to send me a few flavors to try.

This is insanely perfect timing, especially with my doctor recommending me to start taking probiotics to restore balance in my tummy.

Well, those samples arrived today.  (Just to clarify, these are free samples given to me from Nogurt, and my review of them is merely my own opinion of them.  There — hopefully I haven’t incurred the wrath of the FCC.)

Wooks: What is it? Oso: Can I eat it?

I immediately tore open the package.

Their arrival couldn’t have been better — they arrived a few minutes before my typical lunch time, so I was more than ready to try one.

Nogurt was extremely generous, and sent me four samples to try out.

Thank you, Nogurt! 😀

Unfortuntely, the pomegranate one had asplode in transit, and I had to throw it out.

However, being the weirdo that I am, I smelled it before tossing it, and it smelled delicious.  If I were slightly less OCD, I would’ve ate it anyway — I almost did, thought, but prudence won out for the time being.

However, that left me with two chocolate and a blueberry to enjoy.

Want to guess which one I went for?

Chocolate, of course!

Psh, chocolate, of course!

No doubt, ever, of that.

Check out the amazing nutritional stats:

Short, simple ingredient list? Check.

As you can see, it doesn’t have a lengthy ingredient list full of weird gums and stabilizers.

This is awesome for me, since I’m very sensitive to gums.  I tried another brand of coconut milk kefir once, if you recall, and had to give it away because all the stabilizers they put in it tore my poor tummy to pieces.

Nogurt doesn’t have any weird stuff in it, which is like, uber-bonus points to me.

Talk about dedication!

I also liked that it’s sweetened with cassava syrup and banana puree.

Anyway, I’m rambling.  I made a long list of my initial thoughts of Nogurt, which I’ll share with you guys tomorrow.

The question is, how did it taste?

Chocolate Nogurt.

As you can see, Nogurt is not yogurt.

The texture is more like kefir than yogurt, which I am fine with.  You’ll see in a moment how I put it to use.

The taste was, in my own opinion, very good.  Delicious, even.

Here’s why I liked it: it was sweet, but not too sweet.  Yes, it has 9 grams of sugar per serving, but as you can see, much of that sugar is probably from banana puree.  I also could taste the banana, but it was very mild and faint.  However, I love the combination of chocolate and banana, so that was not a problem for me.

I also liked that it had a strong chocolate flavor — it wasn’t just sugar with a hint of chocolate, which you might find with other products.

Another thing: it wasn’t tart.  It didn’t taste like yogurt — it was almost like a lightly sweetened chocolate-banana pudding, with emphasis on the chocolate.

I ate about half of it, liking it more and more with each bite, before I realized I had better incorporate it into my lunch lest I spoil my appetite.

Oh, I love dessert for lunch.

Since I wanted my lunch to complement the chocoatey-banananess of the Nogurt, I went ahead and prepared a quick microwave muffin.

I threw together 3 tbs peanut flour, 2 tbs cocoa, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and an egg, then nuked it for about two minutes.

I sliced it up, then layered it onto the bottom of a bowl.

The muffin soaked up the Nogurt like a yummy chocolate sponge.

I topped it with a small banana, sliced, then drizzled the rest of my Nogurt all over it.

I topped it off with about a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter sauce.

Dude.

This rocked, seriously.  The muffin soaked up the Nogurt, and each bite was a chocolate-peanut-butter-banana explosion in my mouth.

And, like I said, I ate this at 2:30 and didn’t get around to eating dinner until 9:30, and this in including four hours of hard manual labor in the yard.  No sugar crash or anything.  Score!

Melty, drippy, delicious, sweet yumminess.

I can’t wait to try the blueberry one!

The other chocolate Nogurt is in the freezer, by the way.  I have evil plans of running it through my food processor with a banana and seeing if I can’t make a wicked banana soft serve out of it.

Okay, so I’m rapidly approaching 2000 words here, and haven’t really talked about what I’d like to do with thisere blog.

I know this sounds selfish, but I’d like to make this blog more about me, if you guys can dig that.

I felt guilty for being sick, which I think is not entirely atypical of many people.  I worried about dragging you down, but you guys rock.

Thank you, each and every one of you, for the warm and kind comments you left on my last post. I smiled as I read each one of them, and felt so cared for and loved!  You guys are awesome!

But yes, I’d like to personalize this blog.  The fact is, you guys know virtually nothing about me, and I think I’d be more interested in sharing myself with you guys.

Is there anything you’d like to know about me? Or am I being a total narcissist?  Feel free to hit up my FAQ page and ask/tell me about stuff you’d like to see me talk about on this blog.

For starters, if you guys are cool with it, I want to talk a bit more about how I recovered from my ED (binge eating disorder).

I’d also like to talk about any discoveries I make about myself as I journey forth to heal my sick body.  For instance, I think I may have figured out one major factor in why I’m so sick: low stomach acid.  It’s just a hypothesis, though, and I can’t wait until the doctors start testing me.

I’m also perhaps going to reduce my posts to twice a day: perhaps a quick morning post, if my breakfast so fancies me, then a nighttime post to highlight my lunch and dinner.

I need to figure out a way to streamline commenting, too.  It takes me like, two hours each day to comment, because I actually read everyone’s blog before commenting.  I’m not part of the tl;dr crowd.

How do you budget your time for blogging/commenting?

Anyway.  It’s late — after 1 am, and I work tomorrow.  Today.  Yikes.

I’ll be up early tomorrow to catch up on you guys.  I missed you!  All of you! ❤

Thanks for reading!  And thanks for being so awesome!

❤ Kaz

Evening!

Unpictured: tons of chocolate.

Pictured?

All this yumness:

My addiction. Can't get enough.

Fresh from my yard. My reward for mowing the lawn.

Bed of romaine, cup of peas, 2/3 cup chickpeas, 1/2 HUGE avocado (blended with about 1.5 servings spinach, hunk of onion, garlic, cumin, and lemon juice) and smothered in hot sauce and tons o' hummus.

Largest, sweetest plum ever -- the size of my fist, no joke.

Frozen, of course.

Snacky day. I love bananas.

Keeps my mouth amused. Love 'em.

Without peanut butter = just meh. With? Can't stop eating 'em.

I’m loving my makeshift guacamole, with the spinach in it.  It’s full of fat, creamy, delicious, and healthful.  I definitely prefer it over salad dressing.

Yep.  It was a crazy-snacky day, but I’m struggling with a tummy ache right now.  Something I ate last night disagreed with me.

(I can hear it in my tummy right now defiantly arguing, “No I did not!”  Eternally contrary, ’tis, my food.)

What’s the yummiest thing you ate this weekend? Definitely for me, the dates, and my sister’s spinach guacamole.  Yum!

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

Afternoon!

Guys, I got hungry this afternoon.

Like, famished.

Like, so hungry, I could eat my arm.

So I tried.

Omnomnom.

And failed.

Being a vegetarian sucks sometimes, just for that reason.

Pay no mind to my tatty hair.  I just hopped out of the shower and pinned it up without combing it.

And please ignore the bit of ugly bra peeking out, and what appears to be a five o’ clock shadow in my ‘pits.  I shaved.  I swears it.

And please pay no heed to the deranged look in my eyes.  I was hungry.  I promise, I’m not dangerous.

In fact, I’m quite ‘armless.

My cravings are out of control. Bring on the hot sauce!

I posted that pic just so I could make that joke.

I rock.

Get it?  I’m ARMLESS.  Because I ate my arm.  Because I was so hungry.  See?

I amuse me.

Possibly my new favorite lunch.

Lunch had to be fast, on account of my hunger.

I had some zucchini in the fridge that I kept thinking I was going to bake with, but kept not baking with them.

One already had to be thrown out because of mold, so I knew I had to act fast.

I sliced up one whole zucchini, chopped up a head of broccoli, and threw a cup of peas into a bowl and nuked them all together until tender, about five minutes.

My favorite Larabar!

I slathered them in about a half a cup of hummus, then drowned it in Frank’s Red Hot sauce.

I inhaled it all, then wanted more.

Instead, I attacked a frozen Larabar, peanut butter cookie flavor.

If you like Larabars, definitely try them frozen!

And dessert.

Since I was still a bit hungry, and still craving some sweet, I pitted two medjool dates and crammed them with peanut butter.

I stuck a dark choccy meltaway in each, then threw them in the nuker until squishy.

They had to cool for a couple minutes, which was torture, but oh so worth it in the end.

Gooey-melty action shot!

I keep filching these.  I swear, I’m out of control around them.

I also tried baking this morning, but failed, since I forgot the guar gum.

Didn’t stop me from picking at it, though.  Strangely enough, I’m still hungry.

Oh, by the way.  Breakfast?  Kept me reasonably full until about four-ish, when my hunger hit me like a vat-load of T-Virus which in turn resulted in me reanimating as a vegetarian flesh-eating KaZombie that tried to eat my arm.

Yeah.  That.

Have you ever been minding your own business and suddenly, out of nowhere — BAM! — you’re famished?  Do you keep snacks with you for food “emergencies” when you’re out and about? I always have food with me.  I hate being hungry!

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

Evening, everyone!

In case the title didn’t give it away: I got my bike!

Wahoo!

More on that in a minute, though.

My stomach, for the time being, appears to love the Pease Porridge.

I didn’t get bloated or sick like I sometimes tend to do after breakfast, and, bonus, I also didn’t get hungry until almost four o’clock this afternoon.

Local raw/vegan/gf food bar.

Em showed up sometime after three, and we had plans to take our walk.

But first, she came bearing a gift in the form of a locally made raw food bar.

It was…interesting, to say the least.

Extremely tough and chewy, like boot leather, but oddly appealing.

It had an amazing nutritonal profile.

It was completely raw, organic, and had all sorts of lovely things like chia seeds and sprouts and hemp seeds, but it was “plum” flavored and very, very sour.

I ate a quarter of it before my mouth threatened to cave in on me from insane pucker, and I wrapped up the rest for Amor to try.

Inhaled a peanut butter and banana sandwich before headed out.

He won’t.

But, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Or, if I’m feeling ornery, I’ll offer him a bite just to gauge his reaction.

These are fun times in the Kaz household, based on sheer trust that we won’t poison each other.

World's smallest almond butter banana sandwich, enjoyed by Em.

After fueling up with lunch, Em and I set out on our adventure.

There is the most amazing bike path and hiking trail, practically right in my back yard.

I had no idea it even existed, but apparently it does, and it’s a straight shot from my house.  I can easily see myself biking to it.

Shared the world's largest pear with Em. Very yummy.

You know, on my new bike?

Yeah.

We walked a couple miles, leisurely explored, and snapped a few pictures.

A sample:

I had no idea I lived near such splendor.

Then, it was time to head to Target!

For my bike!

My bike!  To purchase!  For me!

Shared with Em before we left on our walk.

But, of course, we had to stop by the Grocery Outlet first.

We were both pretty ravenous, and I found these amazing gluten free crackers for 99 cents and some Newman’s Own cilantro salsa to snack on.

Properly fueled, we then headed to the Tarjay.

More pre-walk fuel. Hey, leisurely strolls are serious business.

Finally, we arrived at Target.

I was dancing in the aisles, skipping along.

I swear, I was such a hyper mess, fueled by a wonderful time with Em, good eats, and the promise of a new bike.

Em made me dinner. Omigosh, it was so good!

As we rounded the aisle to greet the bikes, there it was.

My new bike.

I was immediately drawn to it — sleek, silver and black, 21 speed…and the funny thing was, it wasn’t there yesterday.

Before shot. Em and I ate an entire head of kale tonight.

Amor, it would seem, was right.

Of course.

I’m glad I heeded his advice and slept on it, because the bike I brought home today was so much cooler than any of the other bikes I had seen yesterday.

Sautéed mushrooms and onion, balsamic vinegar, a bit of olive oil, and a ton of kale. I feasted like royalty tonight!

Even better?

For some reason, the math didn’t add up when the cashier told me my total.

I picked out a bike that was a bit more expensive than the ones I had been thinking about yesterday, but it turns out it was on sale!

Best dinner ever, hands down. Em, please come back and cook for me again!

It turned out it was on sale, 30$ off, and I wound up paying less for this bike than I would have for one of the more inferior ones.

Lesson learned: when Amor speaks, I shall listen.

Squeeeee!

Hummus-seasoned chickpeas for protein. Yum.

We piled my bike up into the back of Em’s car, then made a quick side-trip to the Co-op for some vittles.

We picked up a huge head of kale and I have no idea what else — when I’m at the Co-op, things just sort of spontaneously jump into my basket.

However, when we got home, Em took charge of the kitchen and made me probably the best dinner I had ever tasted.

Gluten free garlic-hummus crackers sprinkled atop the bed of kale.

I don’t know everything that she put in it, but I know she sliced up some onion and mushrooms and sautéed them in olive oil.

When tender, she added a head of chopped kale and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

She covered them and let them cook down a few minutes, until tender.

All together. This was so frikkin amazing.

We enjoyed them next to those chickpeas and the crushed gluten-free garlic-hummus crackers.

Oso, by the way, evidently loves kale.

He tends to get curious about what I’m eating, and will sometimes take a tentative bite and eat it without thinking, only to decide later he didn’t like it.

Cashew stuffed dates. Perfect dessert.

He pestered me for a half-dozen more bites of kale before I ran out and had to cut him off.

And who says you can’t raise children to appreciate their vegetables, hey?

Dessert was three dates stuffed with cashews.

I was craving the most dark, bitter chocolate tonight. This was amazing.

Then I enjoyed this Sharffen Berger bar as I typed up this post.

I’ll show a picture of the bike tomorrow!

Amor is adjusting the brakes right now, and I’m looking forward to giving him a test ride first thing in the morning.

Like, my heart is skipping a beat, and I keep sitting on it (it’s in the living room) and it’s almost surreal.

I can’t believe that I finally have a bike.  Thank you so much, Em, for taking me to Target today to pick him out! ❤

I still need to name him, too.  Oh, sheesh, more big decisions!  My brain may asplode.

Does your car/bike/mode-of-transportation have a name?  If so, what is it? My bike is a men’s bike, and he’s definitely a manly man bike.  I need to come up with a strong name for him.  Hm…

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

Evening, guys!

Did you miss me?

Admit it, you did.  You totally did.

I can feel the love, that’s how I know.

Today is another picture heavy day, so I hope you can soon grow to forgive me.  Em and I went on a spontaneous adventure to find a jogging trail — success!

I also found the perfect bike path.  Now, to get a bike…

Leftover potato stew. Yum!

I still owe you guys this recipe!  Nag me if you’re interested.  I’ve been running about like a headless chicken this week and still need to organize the recipe.

Yes, my recipes are disorganized.  Do you do that?

Like, the margins have additions and changes, and then I run out of room so I start over and add stuff to the back and any available space.

A "small" salad was also enjoyed by each of us.

By the way, the stew gets better with each day.  Em told me it was awesome.

Em’s awesome, that’s what it is.

Anyone who likes my cooking is good in my book.

I know the reviews are mixed on this bar, but I LOVED it.

Dessert was half of this Larabar.

I know some of you love it, and some of you hate it.

I’ve heard some of you describe it as “soapy”.

I, however, am in the “loved it” camp.

Camp Loved It likes to swim across the lake and egg and toilet paper Camp Soap, just so you know.  All the cool kids are in Camp Loved It.

Now you know.

Oh? What's this?

After all my grousing about Amor and his Greek yogurt, a miracle plopped into my lap today.

A miracle in the form of Em and I darting off to the Grocery Outlet, and while I was poring over overripe and ganky old produce, Em rushed up to me with something held out in front of her.

What was this?

Rice yogurt!

Rice milk yogurt!

I nearly fainted dead away.

Even better, they were only fifty cents each.

Fact: I bought six, and immediately tore into one when I got into the car.

Why would I do something like that?  Because I had to know if they were good, because if they were, I wanted to run back in and buy them all.

99 cent Muscat. Oh yes. I went there.

Alas, they were mediocre at best.  Each contained 19 grams of sugar, and they barely had any of that tart tang that I crave from yogurt.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the chance to try yogurt again, and I’m thrilled that Em spotted them for me.  (Thanks, girl!)

As an aperitif for my dinner, Em and I cracked into a bottle of 99 cent bottle of wine.

Nothing but the best for us gals, am I right?

More pre-dinner appetizers. These were a total snipe, for real.

Two-buck Chuck?

Too rich for our bloods.

99 cent Muscat for the win, baby.

Another awesome find: 99 cent Sharfenberger chocolate.

We got got a box of tasting chocolates, too, for just a couple of dollars.

Yes, friends; tonight's dinner was brought to you by the Grocery Outlet.

It was fine dining all the way.

Our main course was this tin of dolmas I spied for 1.50$.

I love dolmas, but I had trepidation when I picked these up.  However, they did not disappoint.  The leaves were a bit soggy, but the taste was spot-on.

Yum.

Sliced cucumbers and bell peppers with hummus rounded out the meal.

Yeah, I know.

Em and I are silly, but we’re silly together.  I think that’s why she and I get along so well.

Nothing is too weird or goofy for us to do.

As a matter of fact, we spent the other half of the afternoon playing with construction paper and glue.  It was awesome.

Dessert round one: raspberries, cooked peaches, and a dollop of lime curd. YUM!

For dessert round one, I cracked out this morning’s lime curd and spooned it over slightly defrosted frozen raspberries, a drizzle of honey, and a half of a sliced, chopped peach.

Amazing.  Try this sometime, okay?

Sure you will.

Dessert round two: Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbet.

We also picked up this sorbet for a buck and a half at the Outlet, so of course we had to have  sample tonight.

We had about a half a serving each?

It was amazing.  Just blood orange juice, sugar, and pectin.

However, it was also 45% of my daily Vitamin C, and it actually gave me a bit of a tummy ache.

Blood Orange Sorbet with a touch of Sharfenberger.

Em (whom, by the way, took 99% of these lovely pictures tonight!) had the brilliant idea to place a bit of dark chocolate onto a bit of sorbet.

You know those chocolate foil-wrapped oranges that you buy over the holidays, and you whack ’em on the table and they break into segments?

Just like that.  Yum.

Not quite ripe, but still good.

Amor and I finished The Sound of Music tonight.

Have you ever seen it?

I love it.  It’s probably one of my favorite movies, and Amor even admitted that he enjoyed it.

I told him it was a World War II movie (he’s a WWII buff), and by the time the nuns were puzzling out the conundrum of how to solve a problem like Maria, he was hooked.

A salted, roasted cashew, stuffed inside a date.

After the movie, I was still a bit peckish, and enjoyed a handful of cashews.

I decided to be clever and to place a cashew inside the date, where the pit was.

Oh, boy.

The cashew was slightly sweet, and somewhat savory, and lent perfectly to the caramel taste of the date.

And my creepy claw, holding a handful of cashews. Carry on, folks, nothing to see here.

And that was how my day went.

How did your day go?

Do you have a Grocery Outlet where you live?  What’s the best deal you’ve found on quality food? As you already know, I also found 77 cent Larabars last week at Winco.  Score!

No shame.

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kaz

Good evening!

Is it sad that I’m seriously looking forward to bedtime tonight?  I have a feeling that I’m going to sleep like a rock.

I hope my optimism isn’t unfounded, but I’m just plain bone-tired today.

Huge, sweet, and crisp, some of the best grapes of the season.

That huge salad satisfied my “nutritional” craving, and I really didn’t get hungry for the rest of the night.

Instead, I decided to sort of snack and graze my way through the evening.

Wow, these look so dramatic! Yay for intense lighting!

My salad dessert was grapes, and my grape dessert were Yorks.

Dessert begets dessert.  You know you live a great life if you follow up your desserts with more desserts.

Am I right?

Of course I am.

I spent way too long playing with these in my light box.

I had an enjoyable chat this evening with Amor’s stepmother.

This lady is so awesome.  Before I came to visit them earlier this month, she found out what I could and could not eat, and when I arrived, there was a Kaz-friendly feast waiting for me with all my favorite foods.

She had prepared sweet potatoes with brown sugar, a huge salad with grapes, garbanzo-breaded fried egg plant, this amazing rice and raisin dish…

Dolmas from the Natural Food Store. Amor and I love these.

She hooked me up with a bag of garbanzo bean flour when I was there, and if you look closely, you’ll see it scattered throughout my recipes.

After chatting with her, I played with the Nikon a bit, and took a bajillion pictures of Hi-Chew in the light box.  I ate three, of course.

And washed my dessert (round three!) down with a dolma from the Natural Food Store.  Amor ate the other.

I love having all these perfectly ripe and juicy pears just sitting around!

Eating a dolma warranted another dessert.

I enjoyed this just-right pear.  I actually had to wrap it up in a napkin to keep it from juicing all over me.  So good.

Then I did dishes, which is awesome because I love having a clean kitchen.

Medjool dates stuffed with peanut butter.

It’s also awesome because that meant more dessert!

Hey, any reason to celebrate, right?

I enjoyed two dates stuffed with peanut butter, and a handful of chocolate chips.

These are Guittard brand, and possibly my favorite chocolate out there.

Then I stuffed the chocolate chips into the peanut-butter stuffed dates.

You’d think I’d be stuffed myself at that point, but I had room for one more treat.

Oh yeah.  You knew this was coming.

I can't wait to have some of this for breakfast!

I hope you stick around tomorrow long enough that I can share this recipe with you!

Thanks for reading, and sweet dreams, everyone!

❤ Kaz

Mornin’!

I’m gonna have to make this snappy, since I have to be at work in a little bit.  Just bear with me these next couple days, hey?

Yep, I made my light box last night.

Except, I didn’t affix a light.

Funny how that happens, right?

Bedtime chocolate fix.

However, these next few pictures were taken last night, sometime around 11 p.m. with my new light box.

I think they turned out rather well, don’t you?

Dates stuffed with peanut butter. Try this; it's so good!

And yes, I did consume snacks right before bedtime, in order to, ahem, test out the light box.

Hey, I had to see if it worked, didn’t I?

Oh, the sacrifices I make for you guys!

All natural fruit spread and a brown rice cake. Crunch-a-riffic!

I’m pretty pleased with it.

Yes, all I did was slap a couple coats of paint into a box.  We can’t all be geniuses here, guys.

Tonight, I plan on a run to the Tahr-zhay (Target, of course, for us non-elite) and I think I’ll pick up a reading light to affix in there.

Taken in the light-box this morning.

I’m debating on making a parabolic disk with some aluminum foil, to help disperse the light better.

Any suggestions?

This morning, I made and ate the world’s fastest bowl of quinoa porridge.

Versus perched-next-to-the-window light.

As a matter of fact, I’m still eating it.

Yikes.

I need to start shoveling that stuff down, stat!

Oohey-gooey blops of melty peanut butter.

It’s hard to rationalize in my brain that part of me that says, “Mmm!  Must savor!” versus, “If you don’t finish this soon, you’re gonna be late for work!”

I hate rushing breakfast, but sometimes I must. C'est la vie!

And on that lovely note, I’m going to beg off, finish eating this, and go make myself presentable.

Wait, one more photograph, since, ya know, I already took it and all.

Even in a rush, I made time to make this breakfast. It is that good!

I’m terrible at budgeting my time, and I feel as though I’m always running late.

Are you always running late, or are you the one who tends to show up fifteen minutes early just to be safe? I wish I were the early one, but it seems that I’m always just a few minutes behind!