staying hungry : grilled raspberry balsamic chicken over roasted asparagus and pecan pilaf

So, I kind of cheated this week…again. But whatever, at least this one didn’t start out frozen.

Technically, these meals are supposed to be derived from recipes pulled from the endless stream of blog posts and magazines I hoard, but this recipe came straight from the aisles of Wegmans.

And I have no remorse about said circumstances because it turned out to be a darn good, though perhaps long-winded, meal.

The idea came from these places:

1. Wegmans is giving out samples of asparagus! I like asparagus. I’ve never purchased and/or cooked asparagus.
2. Asparagus = spring.
3. Chicken sounds good.
4. Oh my word what if I marinated the chicken in that dressing again??? That’s such a good idea!
5. Do I want to put it over a brown rice pilaf?
6. Do I want to put it over a roasted vegetable pilaf?
7. Do I want to put it over a wild rice and quinoa mix?
8. Do I want to put it over a brown rice pilaf?
9. Wait, did I already look at that one?
10. How long have I been standing in this aisle?
11. HEY! Pecan!
12. Man, I’ve been here for awhile.

And behold, a recipe was born.

Grilled Raspberry Balsamic Chicken over Roasted Asparagus and Pecan Pilaf

Or: Holy Goodness That Title Is Long

Ingredients:

Directions:

I’m so bad at this part. Here’s my best effort. Or an effort:

1. Marinate the chicken in the dressing for at least an hour. How much dressing, you ask? Oh, you know, that much. Enough to cover it well.

2. While the chicken is marinating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

3. Start the rice. Read the box. And then proceed as directed.

4. Put the asparagus in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender but not too tender.

5. When you have about 10 minutes of cooking time left, start grilling the chicken. Depending on the size of your cut it should only take 3-5 minutes per side to grill well.

6. Assemble: scoop of rice, a few stalks of asparagus, a few pieces of chicken.

7. Drizzle a little extra dressing on top.

8. Devour.

Rating:

4/5. I really, really, LOVE this meal – it’s 110% spring! Next time I’m adding goat cheese because I have issues and I’ll add goat cheese to basically anything. I think I’m also going to start adding this dressing to everything because oh my word…it’s so amazing. But overall: winner, winner, chicken dinner!

good things : spring groceries

It’s time for another grocery post!!! Here are a few favorite pantry staples this spring:

Theo Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs are, according to Theo’s website, “bits of unrefined cacao beans that have been separated from their shell and roasted to perfection in our chocolate factory. Nibs are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of antioxidants.” Cacao nibs are also, according to me, delicious. I love sprinkling them on my oatmeal, greek yogurt, and banana ice cream! I think they’d be really good in pancakes or waffles, too. Thank you, Wegmans, for adding this product to your already-brimming shelves!

TJ’s Golden Roasted Flax Seeds

I like burnt food. Burnt popcorn especially. I know, it’s weird. But what I like most about these roasted flax seeds is the depth of flavor due to the roasting. They don’t taste burnt…but they almost do. Regular flax seeds I could totally live without. I mean, I like them for their health benefits, but flavor-wise, they’re entirely forgettable. But these! Oh these! These I add to everything. Such a good advancement in flax seed technology.

TJ’s Omega Snack Packs

Apparently all of my omega needs are being met by Trader Joe’s these days. While I usually don’t spring for preportioned snack packs because it just seems too much expense for too much laziness, these have been really handy to have around when life gets crazy and I need food to-go.

Ezekiel Muffins

These are long overdue as a feature but let me tell you, totally worth the wait. I wasn’t going to buy them because it takes a lot for me to purchase a grocery item that costs about $5. Especially when that item is English muffins. But what lured me in was the protein content – 8 grams in each muffin! So I added them to the cart. And I’ve never looked back. I am hooked on these things…so good for you, and SO GOOD! Oh my word, with peanut butter and banana slices…heaven.

Kashi Lemongrass Chicken

Kashi, your frozen meals make my life a better place. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love them. And this Lemongrass Coconut Chicken? It’s like a summer vacation! Love it!!!

Ben & Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt

This picture was not taken this morning with all of the rest. Because I had to pull it from my Instagram archives. Because this item is no longer in my possession. Because I had no problem finishing the pint in under 48 hours. I think that’s all I need to say about that.

Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

This stuff is the magic behind the chocolate greek yogurt and the chocolate banana ice cream. And if you want to eat brownie batter for breakfast (and really…who doesn’t?), just add a tablespoon to your oatmeal in the morning and mix it with some almond milk. You get all of the rich luxuriousness of dark chocolate for only 10 calories per tablespoon – no grams of sugar and one gram of protein! Miracles DO happen!

Nature Valley Protein Bars

Something unprecedented happened over the weekend. I swapped the week’s worth of LUNA bars I had already picked out for these Nature Valley Protein bars. Now…hear me out. Ingredient wise, LUNA bars are filled with real, organic ingredients and probably have a quality advantage over Nature Valley. But what swayed me was that, surprisingly, the Nature Valley bars only have 6 grams of sugar per bar along with the 10 grams of protein…and the ingredient list was much shorter…and the price was much cheaper! I still love me some LUNA; they put out so many great products and I support their mission. But for less sugar and less money and great flavor…I’ll be buying these for awhile!

Chobani

Speaking of sugar, I usually prefer to buy plain yogurt and add my own toppings because flavored yogurt just has SO MUCH sugar! However, Chobani has won me over. For quick and easy protein these yogurts can’t be beat, and they’re so good! Add something crunchy on top for texture and you’ve got a great snack on the go.

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Coconut Thai Chai and Fruit Tea Sampler

The Thai Chai, aside from being fun to say, is helping me weather these less-than-springy days we’ve had around here recently. The Fruit Tea Sampler gives me hope that someday, in the far and distant future, fresh fruit will be readily available and iced teas will be brewed with enthusiasm.

Food Should Taste Good Jalapeno Chips

I’m so glad Carolyn suggested this brilliant combination: jalapeno chips and guacamole were made for each other. Oh my word…SO good! These chips are great by themselves or with hummus, too, but they’re really best with a hearty side of guac.

Annie’s Fat Free Raspberry Balsamic Dressing

Fat free and low fat items aren’t my favorite. I feel like the real deal has so many more advantages than disadvantages, satiety being one of the main ones. However, if you’re looking to save a few calories but not lose any flavor (or sleep over fake food), this is one fat free dressing that can’t be beat. It’s made from real ingredients, won’t add any extra fat or many extra calories to your meal, but tastes amazing! Great pick for a healthy dressing or marinade.

And there you have it! These items have been frequent flyers on this season’s grocery list. How about you guys? What have you been buying lately?

staying real : oh, the chicken.

(Late night last night + early morning this morning = no time to blog today. But look what was lurking in my drafts folder! Another embarrassing story showcasing my inability to function like a normal human in public! I’ve got an endless supply, really. Enjoy…and Happy Tuesday!)

This weekend I experienced my first ever bout with abandoned groceries. Which is actually surprising, seeing as how I’m really good at forgetting things. As I was leaving the store with my reusable bag I noticed that I didn’t see a separate plastic bag for the chicken anywhere. I figured the 15 year old behind the register shoved it to the bottom of the reusable bag. I had some choice mental words for him and my flattened chicken.

But alas, when I arrived at home and unpacked my bag, there was no chicken to be found, flattened or otherwise.

There was, however, plenty of crow. My apologies, Register Boy.

So back to Wegmans I went, receipt in hand, already wondering how in the world I’m going to prove that “Yes, I paid for this chicken, and no, it’s not actually at home in my crockpot at this moment.”

But Wegmans…oh, Wegmans…they were so cool. As cool as the cucumbers in their produce stands. And they were Antarctica compared to me. Because I needed to explain my situation in (too much) detail to the poor guy working at the customer service desk before he finally interrupted me to say, “Ma’am…it’s ok. Really. Happens all the time. You can go get another package of chicken.”

Then, for reasons known only unto me, I felt compelled to leave the peanut butter I had just purchased during Trip #2 behind the customer service counter as collateral. I don’t know why. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It did not seem like a good idea when I returned to the customer service desk after obtaining my replacement chicken to find a new person behind the counter (Other Guy, if you fled the scene while anticipating my return, I wouldn’t blame you) and tried to explain why I taking both a pound of chicken and a jar peanut butter for no apparent reason other than a very long, enthusiastic, exhausting story.

But at least I came home with the chicken this time.

Even though my dignity is still somewhere behind the customer service desk.

beka stays hungry : salsa chicken

Riddle me this:

Why did it take me so long to start making real food for dinner?!

Cereal, frozen dinners, takeout leftovers…it’s time we went our separate ways. It’s nothing personal. We’ll still meet up every now and then. But the truth is…there’s a new meal in town. His name is Salsa Chicken.

He’s LATIN!

Enough said.

This recipe (from Wegmans Menu Magazine, Winter 21012) really took me by surprise. I wasn’t sure how much I’d love a dinner covered in salsa. I mean, I regularly cover tortilla chips in salsa and while I occasionally consider that dinner it’s actually not. So I had my doubts.

Half a bite in…I was a doubter no more. I immediately started planning when I could make this again, which is basically the mark of a true winner.

I only made two minor substitutions. The recipe calls for chorizo but since I already had Wegmans Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage in the freezer from last week’s dinner I used that instead. Also, the picture in the magazine shows corn as a side…and it looked really good…so I just decided to add 1/4 cup of corn in at the end (when the chicken and olives are added; see below).

Like always, I cut the recipe in half. Otherwise I’d be looking into alternative freezer (and waist) space by now. One last thing – the recipe calls for a braising pan, which I’m sure is helpful, but I made mine in a deep casserole dish because that’s what I had on hand and it turned out great!

Here’s the recipe, from Wegmans website:

Salsa Chicken, Chorizo, and Whole Grain 5 Blend

Wegmans Menu Magazine, Winter 2012

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Wegmans Basting Oil
1 link Wegmans All Natural & Fully Cooked Chorizo Pork Sausage (Meat Dept), sliced on the bias in 1/4-inch pieces
1 pkg (8 oz) Food You Feel Good About Cleaned & Cut Chopped Onions
1 pkg (8 oz) Food You Feel Good About Whole Grain 5 Rice Blend
1 jar (16 oz) Food You Feel Good About Roasted Tomato Salsa
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 lb Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Breast (Cooked) (Prepared Foods), diced (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup Goya Alcaparrado (Manzanilla Olives, Pimientos & Capers), chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Add basting oil to braising pan on MEDIUM-HIGH. Add sausage; sear 2-3 min until browned. Remove from pan; set aside.
  2. Add onion to pan; cook, stirring, 3-4 min, until onion begins to soften. Add grain blend; cook, stirring, 4-5 min, to toast grains. Carefully, to avoid spattering, add salsa and water. Return sausage to pan. Stir. Bring to a simmer on HIGH; cover.
  3. Transfer to oven. Cook 25 min.
  4. Remove from oven. Sprinkle chicken and olives over top. Return to oven; bake 10 min.
  5. Remove from oven, let rest 10 min. Before serving, fold chicken and olives into grains.

(Side note: I topped mine with a small dollop of Greek yogurt, because that’s how I roll. It was delicious!)

These recipes just keep getting better and better…I think this was my favorite one yet!

The Rating:

Difficulty: Non-existent

Preparation Time: QUICK

Dumpster Dinner, Not Bad, Good, Really Good, or Unbelievably Amazing: Unbelievably Amazing

Overall Rating: 5/5 – This is something I’m already planning on making for my husband and children who do not currently exist. That’s how good this is: I’m feeding it to imaginary people.

beka stays real : kitchen productivity

Oh, Mondays.

Like the rest of the world, once Monday afternoon hits I am in a constant whirlwind of movement until Friday afternoon arrives.  Downtime? What downtime?! Preparing thoughtful, healthy meals?! Psssssshhhh, get out of town.

But over the summer when I was in a constant whirlwind of movement all of the time, I discovered a secret. Do the work once, just once!, and the week will go much smoother.

Case in point: this Sunday.

I usually break the 5 Things rule on Sundays because there is ample time to be productive after church so I try to make the most of it. I do things like returning all calls/texts/emails, paying bills, cleaning, and tidying up in general. Those things all set me on pace to have an effective week. There’s nothing worse than starting Monday in a mess.

But probably the most important thing that happens most Sundays is preparing food for the rest of the week. This makes healthy meal choices so much easier. If When I’m running out the door I don’t have time to put together a huge salad with homemade dressing. I’ll grab a Luna bar and a banana and bolt to work. But by making and packaging huge salads with homemade dressing on Sunday, all I have to do is stop by the fridge on my way out the door and I’m good to go.


See?

Those would have taken at least 10-15 minutes to prepare individually. Which, multiplied by 4, means I’d be working for an hour as opposed to 15 minutes. Not to mention I only cleaned one mess instead of four. Not to mention that during the week I wouldn’t have had time to clean up any of the messes in the first place which is why when I don’t do this on Sundays, my kitchen looks like it needs emergency relief from the Red Cross on Fridays.

Yesterday I spent about 2 and 1/2 hours in the kitchen, start to finish. It wouldn’t have taken quite as long if I wasn’t simultaneously watching the Ravens/Texans game, but hey, at least I had good entertainment. Here’s what I made in that time span:

1. Olive Oil Granola

Alterations: I only made 1/3 of the recipe, substituted apricots for figs and cherries for craisins, and added large flake coconut. Result: AMAZING. I think next time I’ll tone down the oil and agave just because it was a little too heavy for me, but all in all I’m totally enamored by this recipe. If you’ve never made your own granola I’m throwing down the gauntlet: you HAVE to try it! Seriously, it’s so much better than pre-packaged, so (SO) much cheaper, and infinitely healthier (in most cases). Plus, you get to pick all of the ingredients. Win-win-win-win! It’s like we’re living in a dream world!

2. Mixed Berry Lemon Oat Bars (Not Meatloaf…Which is Kind Of What This Looks Like…)

Alterations: I pressed the date mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan, then folded it into itself in thirds to create a rectangle, therefore making bars instead of squares (to-may-to, to-mah-to). I’ve done the strawberry topping (as suggested in the linked recipe) before and loved it, but since I already had a bag of Wegmans Frozen Mixed Berries in the freezer I decided to get a little crazy and make a simple compote:

Mixed Berry Lemon Compote:

Simmer until reduced by half. Cool, then spoon on top of bars.

Making your own compote is so gratifying. In addition to being healthier than most jams, it makes you feel like you’ve totally conquered the “I’m An Amateur Cook And I Usually Have No Idea What I’m Doing But Hey This Is GOOD!” world.

Then, to store, I just cut the parchment paper into lines where the bars were laying and folded the long ends over the compote to prevent sticking. I popped them into a container and stuck them in the fridge for a sweet accompaniment to these guys…

3. Avocado Wedge Salads

I decided I was making these salads while perusing the produce section and finding heirloom tomatoes and 3 for $5 avocados! Thanks, Wegmans! Here’s what’s in the mix:

Avocado Wedge Salads:

  • 1 (generous) Cup Wegmans Organic Mixed Field Greens (in bulk)
  • 1/4 Heirloom Tomato
  • 1/4 Avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons Grain Salad Dressing (Cooked Wheatberries, Corn, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice – quantities to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon Hummus (I used Sabra’s Roasted Pine Nut)

4. This Week’s Dinner Challenge…here’s a sneak preview!

So in 2 and 1/2 hours I made 4 dinners, 4 lunches, 6 snacks, and enough granola to last me for at least a few weeks if not a month. I now know that I’m going to be eating well all week long. It just makes me happier on Monday morning and all throughout the week.

(Another proactive kitchen task that makes me happy on ANY morning: setting the coffee delay and my alarm for the same time. Smelling the coffee brewing keeps me from hitting snooze 18 times. I know it’s better to grind and brew instantly, but this method gets me out of bed in the morning, and really, that makes up for any flavor disadvantage.)

Like the idea of weekend kitchen productivity? Have some tricks up your sleeve that help maximize weekday meal efficiency? Please do share!

beka stays healthy : almond joy oatmeal

Is there any better way to start the day than with Joy?

IMG_7632

Especially if it’s Almond Joy?

Even more especially if it’s a breakfast that is delicious, good for you, and will keep you full for hours?

And all for 250 calories?

Sometimes life just seems too good to be true.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened, but I bet vanilla would be good too!)
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp walnuts (or almonds, I just prefer walnuts!)
  • 1/2 Tbsp carob chips or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 frozen banana

Recipe:

Cook the oats as per your preferred method – stovetop or microwave. Once cooked, stir in 2 tablespoons of almond milk and about 1 tablespoon of unsweetened shredded coconut, saving about a teaspoon for sprinkling on top. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the top is just barely golden brown. Top with the nuts and put back under the broiler for another minute or so until the walnuts are toasted. Remove from broiler, top with carob or chocolate chips and remaining 2 tablespoons of almond milk. Let sit for a few minutes to cool and then top with chopped frozen bananas. You could definitely use fresh bananas; I just like the flavor/texture of the frozen ones in this oatmeal.

People. This one’s a winner. But don’t trust me – try it yourselves! There are so many variations you could try to make it even better too. I bet it would be great with coconut milk, a little vanilla, maybe some almond extract. Go crazy!

And if that weren’t enough, this is what I have to look forward to for lunch:

IMG_7637

Leftovers from yesterday’s lunch, Moroccan Chickpea Lentil Stew and a Rosemary Roll from Wegmans.

Oh, life is good. True story.

beka stays in rochester : the list

My bible has become a paperwork filing system. I blame it on the free space in the bulletins for note taking (come on, I’m just following instructions!). Usually my notes pertain to the actual subject matter of the sermon, but occasionally I veer from the straight and narrow and start jotting down groceries and to-do’s and then find the lists 8 months later when my bible is so stuffed full of paper that it threatens to outweigh the Encyclopedia Britannica. Which makes cleaning it out kind of fun because I enjoy the trip down memory lane, especially when I found a goldmine like I did this weekend.

Laying silently in hiding in between Wegmans receipts and packing lists was a piece of paper torn from a notebook. I don’t think I wrote the note in church, but somehow it ended up in my bible and I’d forgotten all about it. It was from May 2010 when I first started thinking about where I wanted to go after Admissions. The title? (Because I’m that much of a freak…I title notes to myself…)

“Things I Would Love in a Future City”

And they were, in no apparent order:

  1. Ability to walk/bike/public transportation
  2. Temperate seasons
  3. Good food with lots of variety
  4. An artistic side
  5. Lots of natural beauty
  6. A good church
  7. A meaningful job
  8. Year-round produce
  9. Open air markets
  10. A great supermarket
  11. Friendly people
  12. Doable distance from home

(Let’s just sidestep the fact that a quarter of these revolve around food, and that I wanted a “good” church, but a “great” supermarket. I should be ashamed.)

I remembered the locations I had in mind when I made that list: North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, maybe even Wisconsin or Colorado or California. Never (NEVER) did I think of Rochester when making that list. It wasn’t even a consideration.

And yet, here I reside in Rochester for the indefinite future. What could possibly be seen as a boring alternative to the other places I was dreaming of is in reality the fulfillment of everything I was hoping for in a future city:

I recently biked to a friend’s house in the city and then biked to CVS on the way home. I routinely walk around the neighborhood and to all of my favorite restaurants. (1)

Far be it from me to label Rochester’s seasons as “temperate,” but I’m truly a Northern girl at heart. I love the cooler seasons most: fall will always be my favorite with winter’s white canvas as a very close second. I wouldn’t mind if spring would hurry up and get here closer to March than May, but at least I live in a place with defined seasons. I love that. (2)

There’s a Word document on my computer with over 30 restaurants I want to try…and that’s just in the city, not even counting other places I’d like to visit in surrounding cities. Within a few blocks I have access to Mediterranean and Mexican, pizza and pasta, subs and sushi, fresh-baked bread and fresh-brewed coffee. I literally want for nothing as it pertains to the availability of favorable cuisine. (3)

I practically live right next to the Genesee Center for the Arts, where I hope to take lots of classes someday. I’m also within a mile of the George Eastman House, one of the most reputable photography museums in the world. There’s also a culture of creativity in the city, with musicians and photographers and artists of all kinds collaborating on local events, both scheduled and impromptu. (4)

A few weeks ago I ran up to the Cobb’s Hill Reservoir. I was so struck by how beautiful the loop was, especially the view of the city from so high up, and by how close such a wonderful sight was from my apartment – less than one mile. I’m also daily delighted by the tree-lined streets of my neighborhood, the Canal path that lies right outside of the gym I go to, the pretty shift from summer to fall that is taking place right outside of my window. And that’s just in the immediate area, it’s not even taking into account all of the other nearby wonders, most of which I haven’t even begun to explore. (5)

I’ve said multiple times that if there were ever a church that would decide my geographic location, it would be Northgate. I’ve never loved a church so much! I’ve been going since I started working in Admissions, but I’ve never gotten involved because my feet were always on the edge of leaving, always waiting for the opportunity to bolt. Now that I’m here to stay I can’t wait to get involved and actually be part of the church community, something I’ve never really done in earnest before. (6)

When I wrote down that I wanted a meaningful job, I never would have imagined I’d be doing what I’m doing right now. I was thinking more along the lines of Guidance Counselor or Magazine Contributor or Photographer. Jobs with capital letters. I’d still love to do those things, and more, but I couldn’t be happier with my current mix of jobs. I love working at the juice bar at a yoga studio; it combines my love for health and nutrition and adds in the bonus of amazing coworkers. And I love, love, love nannying. I adore spending time with the kids (we’ll talk about this more soon in a future post) and devoting “working” hours to shaping little lives is an investment that matters to me. And of course, working as a photographer’s assistant on the weekends is a fantastic learning experience. As far as meaningful employment goes, I’ve been blessed with much more than I originally hoped for. (7)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love food, but I especially love fresh, local food. I do wish that we had more of a winter selection of local produce, but I also enjoy knowing that food around here has concrete seasons. It makes savoring every last nectarine that much more special. It makes me anticipate local apple cider and berries and squash. Sure, I could get all of those things on a regular basis from any supermarket, but waiting until they are in season is truly a gift. Everything tastes better and is appreciated more. (8)

The Rochester Public Market was voted America’s Favorite Farmer’s Market in 2010. It’s an impressive array of local EVERYTHING – produce, flowers, pasta, meat, eggs, honey, crafts, and more. And if that weren’t enough, there are so many smaller markets throughout the week, including two within a mile of my apartment and two more that I happily travel a few extra miles to attend. (9)

I live 3 miles away from the Pittsford Wegmans. Enough said. (10)

Friendly people are occasionally lacking in the North. We can blame it on the long, harsh winters, perhaps. Maybe all of the Vitamin D makes people in the South more cheery. But within my own circle? I have more wonderful friends than I can count. I’d be heartsick to leave any of them behind. It’s a rare blessing to have so many people you love be so near. (11)

I-90 and I are BFF’s. We’ve traversed more miles together than I’d like to count; the number is literally in the high thousands when considering about a dozen 400 mile round-trip excursions every year for the past 7 years. And while the sections of construction never fail and the radio stations never improve, the distance from home is just about perfect. I’m able to go home easily whenever I need/want to, and vice versa. As much as I’ve talked about moving out of state, I really don’t think I’d like being much further away than I am right now. For starters, my mom says too many funny things and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that. And my dad and I have too much fun on the water and on the road to be too far away for those things to happen. And there are still people growing up that I want to be nearby to see. With the move to the city, I’m even closer to home, so now it only takes a solid 3.5 hours on a long day to get from one place to the other. I love being able to go back and forth. (12)

So, to review, I got everything that I wanted in a future city, and so much more! On my original list I forgot to include a fantastic library system, ample opportunities for serving the community, trails/pathways for running and biking, and entertainment options, but Rochester has surprised me with all of those as well, along with an ever-increasing number of additional items.

We’ve talked about this before, the ability of God to do immeasurably more than anything we could ask for or imagine, but it’s resoundingly true in this case. I’m not just happy in Rochester. I’m content, abundantly blessed, and finally at peace with staying somewhere, which is basically a miracle. It makes me all misty-eyed, to be honest. To think that I’ve been given so much, and I almost dismissed it all just because I’m a compulsive bolter? It makes me so thankful for a sovereign God who knows me better than I know myself; for a faithful father who will put me exactly where I need to be no matter how much I kick and scream.

I love Rochester.

(Unlikely, unforeseen and undeserved.)

the dailies : 9.10.11

Today is a day that will live in abundant detail in a future blog post. But for now…

daily word: “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17

daily sweat: 20 minute run, 2 hours of couch lifting/moving, 40 minute walk on the canal

daily dish:

oh my land…good food was everywhere today.

breakfast:

Oatmeal with peaches, banana, walnuts, and brown sugar.

lunch:

Dogtown! I went for the Schnauzer…great decision.

dinner:

Possibly the most colorful dinner I’ve had all summer, and a delicious one! Vegetable taco and fruit salad with yogurt, courtesy of Wegmans.

dessert:

My pantry. Seriously…there was a copious amount of dessert-eating going on tonight. I’m blaming it on all the couch-moving calories!

daily mile:

Day 6: third world reflections

the dailies : 9.7.11

daily word: “Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have; the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.” Proverbs 21:26 (MSG)

daily sweat: I’m easing back into a workout routine, so today’s workout was pretty basic: a 5 minute warm up on the rowing machine, a 30 minute run, and another 5 minute row to cap things off.

daily dish:

breakfast: frozen banana cream and cinnamon pastry coffee

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite post-workout meals. One frozen banana + 1/2 cup juice (I used Wegmans’ Green Glory juice) + 2 Tbsp protein powder + 10 – 15 second in the food processor = ice cream for breakfast. Topped with a little Trader Joe’s trailmix or fresh berries, it’s heaven!

snack:

Pumpkin spice lattes are back in action at Starbucks!

lunch and dinner:

Tabbuoleh salad from Jines, (plus two chocolate cookies and some unpictured dried mango for dinner)

snack:

A multigrain cocopop from Wegmans topped with chocolate peanut butter and triple berry jam.

daily mile:

We have some catching up to do! Here are the roadtrip posts from the past few days:

Day 1 : coffee shops and rest stops : a study

Day 2: sunny skies, bike rides, and grape nuts

Day 3: holy whole foods paradise