good things : discoveries

Recently I’ve discovered a few wonderful things. And they are:

1. NFL Network on Hulu

Um…HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS??? There are no words. Well there are words, and they appear in the picture above. They say, “Need a break? You have been watching for more than 3 hours.”


Well, then.

In my defense, I have no defense. I just love football way too much.

If you’re looking for me between now and September, you know where I’ll be.

2. New Old Soap

I ran out of bathroom soap. Which is only half true, because I have plenty of other soaps that would have no problem making themselves useful in the bathroom. What I really ran out of was eucalyptus mint foaming soap…and I really prefer foaming soap in the bathroom and scrubbing soap for the kitchen because I’m just one big freak. I was just going to use my back-up kitchen soap in the bathroom…but had a stroke of genius instead! I pumped some of the lemon scrubbing soap into what little remained of the eucalyptus soap, added some water, and gave it a good shake. And lo and behold, I now have lemon eucalyptus mint foaming soap that I like even better than the original! (In no small part because I feel like this is a great discovery for all of womankind. Really…just think of the possibilities!!!)

3. Fresh Greens

For the record, don’t believe me when I say that something changed my life. Because it happens often. And while true, it usually doesn’t carry the weight of what most people define as life-changing.

But really…fresh greens changed my life this weekend. And you can take that one to the bank. Or to the farmer’s market, where I purchased said greens.

PEOPLE. OH MY WORD!!! I didn’t think that I could love salad more than I already do. But buying fresh spinach and arugula changed everything. It was like going from Sunny D to fresh squeezed orange juice. So crisp! So fresh! So flavorful!!!

I then proceeded to make six salads. For myself. For the whole week. I’m not even kidding.

Sometimes, when I’m in the kitchen, I’ll pluck a few leaves of spinach from the bunch just to snack on because they’re that good.

Oh my word. Totally life changing.

4. Homemade Sound System

That insert on the chute of the food processor? Perfect for holding an iPhone playing Pandora and amplifying the sound x 100. I had many a kitchen jam session this weekend.

Clearly, because there was so much to celebrate!

Two thumbs way up for unexpected goodness all around.

staying hungry : grilled chicken salad

I blame Park Ave for this week’s dinner challenge meal.

I had a perfectly good meal planned for this week…and then I had Magnolia’s Strawberry Spinach Salad. And it was SO GOOD that it was all I could think about. And I was still planning on making my previously scheduled dinner challenge meal until F. Oliver’s changed my life. And then…it was a done deal. I had no choice but to go to Wegmans and put this week’s previously scheduled meal on hold for this beauty:

Oh my word…great decision.

Grilled Chicken Salad

Serves 4



Start with 2 cups of spinach and arugula mix, then add sliced strawberries and grilled chicken. Sprinkle with goat cheese and walnuts and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


4/5. Perfect spring salad, definitely hit the spot after craving Magnolia’s fantastic rendition.

staying hungry : tuna, white bean, and beet salad with dijon viniagrette

For the love of all that is the Weekly Dinner Challenge…

We finally have a rave-worthy meal around here!!!

Now, it may not look like much, but this salad packs an AMAZING punch. It’s from the hallowed pages of Everyday Food, a sure source of winning recipes every time.

This recipe is from the May 2012 edition. Here’s the original ingredient list:

Tuna, Chickpea, and Beet Salad


1/4 balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cans light tuna

1 head romaine lettuce (I used a bag of spinach and arugula)

3 cups baby spinach (I used an arugula field mix…because I’m an addict)

1 package cooked beets (8 oz)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (15.5 oz) (I used white beans instead)


Here are my I’m-too-lazy-to-wash-multiple-bowls directions: Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add in the flaked tuna, chopped beets, and beans. Toss to coat. Add equal portions on top of salad mix to each bowl.

Apparently my kitchen motto is “Less is more.” Only when it pertains to dishes. Not when it pertains to chocolate.

Rating: 4.5/5. This salad is going to be a lunch staple this spring/summer. Light but filling and packed with protein…and the dressing just takes it over the top! THANK YOU, Everyday Food, for redeeming these Challenge posts!

staying in rochester : birthday weekend food tour

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend. And by celebrated, I mean I ate an abundance of really good food with a lot of really good people.

OH…the abundance!

In highly uncharacteristic fashion…I didn’t photography ANYTHING that I ate. Who am I?! I’ll return to normalcy next time around, but for now, enjoy the logos and website links!

Here’s how it all went down:


Location: Napa Wood Fired Pizza


Order: The Medusa (wood-fired pizza with basil pesto, goat cheese, the Napa cheese blend, figs, and caramelized onions instead of pineapple)


Location: Yotality

Order: Vanilla, Pink Lemonade, and Pomegranate Frozen Yogurts with Toppings

Location: Dogtown

Dogtown - Where the best hot dogs live

Order: The Schnauzer (traditional dog with sauteed onions and brown mustard)

Location: Yotality (Round Two)

Order: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Frozen Yogurt with Toppings

Location: Village Bakery (full post coming soon…this place stole my heart!)

Order: Farm Table Salad (organic greens, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, croutons, nuts, lemon vinaigrette), the Daybreaker (espresso, steamed milk, honey, vanilla simple syrup, cinnamon sprinkles) (OH MY WORD.)

And…there’s still a trip to Simply Crepes left for next weekend! Does life get any better?

Here’s to good food and extended celebrations!

beka stays hungry : salmon salad

Salmon and I have been BFF’s recently since I’ve been on the 10 Day Cleanse. We’re usually the type who gets together once a month or so, but this week, we’ve rekindled our relationship with daily bonding.

Case in point: this salad.


Usually I wouldn’t put salmon/chicken/tuna/meat of any kind on top of a salad. It’s just not how I roll. But I’ve been trying to incorporate more protein into my meals so adding some leftover salmon to my salad seemed like an easy solution to that problem.

And it was delicious, too!

This was one of those whatevers-in-my-fridge salads. Here’s what’s in my fridge/in my salad:

  • Spinach and Arugula Mix
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Bell Peppers
  • Red Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Hummus
  • Salmon

Happy lunching, everyone!

(Also, if any of you guys get stuck trying to come up with new protein-packed lunch ideas too, check out these suggestions from Shakeology. The breakfast, dinner, and snack plans are great also!)

beka stays hungry : chopped everything salad

For those of you who may have had too many Super Snacks on Super Sunday, here’s an easy way to get back on track:

Pillage your refrigerator for anything green and/or from the ground. Chop it all up. Store it in the biggest bowl you have. Add it to the side of every lunch and dinner for the rest of the week.

Bam! You’ll instantly feel better about life after 10 – 12 side salads (especially after Sunday’s 10 – 12 bowls of popcorn). It’s also much easier to make the good intentions of salad a reality when you don’t have to do all of the chopping/mixing/dressing before every meal.

Kitchen productivity, people. It makes all the difference!

Here’s what threw into that monster bowl above:

  • 1 bag of Wegmans Spinach and Arugula Mix
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Red, Yellow, and Green Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Green Onion
  • Cilantro


  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Hummus

(I mixed the balsamic vinegar with lime juice and kept it in a separate jar. Then, when I was ready to have some salad, I just added the dressing and a dollop of hummus.)

Go forth and chop vegetables, my friends. And have a great Tuesday!

beka stays in rochester : the gate house

Just so we’re clear, all of these In Rochester posts are going to be about restaurants.

I mean…what else is there?

This month’s new place : The Gate House.

It was my first time there. It will not be my last.

What I Loved:

  • The Menu. It’s pizza and burgers with class. And lots of healthy options, too!
  • The Atmosphere. Relaxed but stylish. Perfect for a night out that feels more special than most but not so stuffy that you’re afraid to laugh out loud.
  • The Fact That The TV’s Are Tuned To The Food Network. (Say no more…this place is a winner.)

What I Loved Less:

  • I had the Manhattan Square salad – spinach, apples, avocado, bacon, and honey sherry vinaigrette. It was so good! I just wished there were more of the toppings since it was mostly spinach. BUT…it came with two cheese-filled breadsticks…so that made me forget about my longings for extra avocado.

What I Ordered:

  • Split an order of Sweet Potato Fries with Carolyn. They were thick-cut and crispy and even more flavorful when cooled to room temperature!
  • The Manhattan Square salad described above.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Any suggestions for next month’s outing?

beka stays hungry : mexican fried egg salad

Let me show you what is sure to become a dietary staple around here. I’m calling it a Mexican Fried Egg Salad because I don’t know what else to call it…other than amazing. (Disclaimer: this is not a cop out for this week’s dinner challenge. That post is coming soon and trust me, it’s a good one. I just can’t wait any longer on this one.) Here’s the deal, layer style:

+ start with spinach and arugula (about 1-2 cups)

+ sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of black beans

+ continue with 2 Tablespoons of salsa

+ further continue with 1 Tablespoon of hummus

+ add one fried egg

+ top with about 1/2 Tablespoon goat cheese

Then prepare to have your day made. This is a good one! Enjoy!

(And FYI, I’m lamenting the day when I finally take my Christmas decorations down and have to use an actual flash.)

the dailies : 9.15.11

daily word: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NLT)

daily sweat: My first (and possibly last) Spin class. I think I’m just not a fan of stationary bikes in large doses.

daily dish:


More pumpkin pie oatmeal! This stuff is legit. I can’t wait to post the recipe once I figure out what I put in it and take some decent pictures.


Last night’s leftovers.


Round FOUR of the quinoa and bulgar salad…another recipe I should post if only for it’s economic and nutritional prowess.


A Finger Lakes’ bananas foster coffee, a Tim Horton’s coffee, and a vanilla chai. I was all about the jolt today.

daily mile:

Day 11: humbled.

the dailies : 9.14.11

To preface, it should be noted that Bath and Body Works is taunting me. They must know I’m weak. I got this email today:

New! Marshmallow Fireside

If that doesn’t sounds like the perfect fall candle, I don’t know what does.

I might have to break the November rule.

daily word: “We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself.” Romans 15:1-3 (NLT)

daily sweat: 75 minute Power Vinyasa yoga class at 5:45 am. Awesome way to start the day.

daily dish:


This breakfast – food and location and temperature and EVERYTHING – absolutely perfect. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal (recipe coming soon) outside on the canal after this morning’s class. I forsee many repeats in the future.


Quinoa and Bulgar salad with prune plums and fig newtons – on the side, not mixed in. Use your imagination, because I forgot the cell phone photo shoot again.



I’ve been wanting to try the Owl House forever so when my dear friend Morgan suggested we meet there for dinner I was only too happy to oblige. It did not disappoint! We split the sweet potatoes fries with gorganzola cheese and balsamic reduction as an appetizer. For dinner, I went with the panzanella salad because I love panzanella and it’s almost the end of the appropriate season to order it. Then we split the chocolate mousse, which was divine. It was a healthy mixture of cocoa and avocado topped with fresh fruit and cacao nibs.

The dangerous part: I want to try everything else on the menu too. And this place is less than a mile from my apartment. I have a feeling I’m about to become their #1 customer.

daily mile:

Day 10: beating clarkia into submission