The Nutella-Peanut-Butter Death Spiral (Or, Two Weeks of Being at Home)

It’s been a while, people. I’ll try not to make a million excuses for my lack of posting, but know that things will get back on track shortly! Things that have happened since my last posts:

– summer classes ended
– a spontaneous, hilarious, soul-restoring 24 hours in NYC (more on that later!)
– flying home to Georgia
– catching up with high school friends I haven’t seen in two years
– and….most relevant to that whole blog-posting thing….getting a NEW LAPTOP!

Yes, blogging has been really difficult without a laptop. Even the word “blogging” invokes the image of a lost, soul-searching twentysomething with a coffee mug pulled tightly to her chest and a laptop propped on her knee. Something about sitting at the college library computers to share my witticisms and favorite recipes seemed a little…off. In any case, I’ll be blogging in the more conventional way from now on. Get at me, interwebz.

So far, I’ve spent the last two weeks home in my Georgia town, swiftly inhaling all and any edibles in the kitchen. Is it possible that being home can make one grateful for a mother’s wonderful cooking and wistful for solitary college apartment cooking at the same time? Let me explain.

It is so much easier to eat well and eat in proper portions when you buy and make your own food. I never have to worry about digging away to the bottom of the Nutella jar in college because (in full cognition of my eating habits) I don’t buy Nutella! At home, however, a plethora of wonderful delights await in every nook and cranny of the kitchen. Have you guys ever tried Nutella and peanut butter together? It’s like…the best.
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Recently, I came across this article from LifeHack about what junk food cravings really mean. Apparently chocolate cravings mean I should eat almonds?! Weird, but I’ll give it a go, LifeHack.

How to Grocery Shop on a Budget

One of the hardest lessons  I had to learn when I first started buying food and cooking for myself was how to get the right things at the grocery store. There  are so many things to figure out right off the bat: What would I need to eat on a weekly basis? What are things to keep in my pantry at all times? How much milk will I go through in a week? What the hell do people use bread crumbs for?

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It can be overwhelming. Follow my blog for Eating Happily’s Guide to Shopping Happily – I give a $20 shopping list for what I spend on a particular week as well as a list of pantry staples. Take it from someone who’s nailed it down to an art 🙂

 

8 Easy Ways to Get Protein (no weird powders involved)

I admit that in high school I ran about a 12 minute mile. Yearly presidential fitness tests were literally the bane of my existence. Does anyone remember those? How the state basically mandated us to run a mile every year and then forced the runty nonathletic kids to compare their times to the Hulks of the class? WHY. WAS. THIS. A. THING. More importantly, why did they have to happen during the nonathletic years of my life?

Thankfully, I learned to embrace working out once I got to college. And then, by the time I was an off-campus upperclassmen, I learned to embrace making my own meals.

One of the most important nutritional lessons  I’ve learned as I’ve grown into a fitness-loving, meal-cooking, (mostly) independent and functioning individual is the importance of protein. If you’re anything like me, than protein is easy for you to miss. I rarely eat meat (not because I’m a vegetarian, but because  I hate cooking the stuff), and I couldn’t even imagine myself non-ironically buying whey protein at Giant. But protein is actually quite important to any physically active person working on cutting fat and increasing lean muscle. In fact, not getting enough protein leads to muscle weakness and wasting. So, don’t skip out on protein, because it could reverse the effects of an otherwise rigorous workout! Check out this great article to learn more about this crucial part of your diet.

Now, here  are my favorite ways to get protein! 🙂

  1. Nonfat yogurt – 11 grams in one cup
  2. Cheddar cheese – 7 grams in 1 oz
  3. Nonfat milk – 9 grams in 1 cup
  4. Two-egg omelet – 14 grams
  5. Red lentils – 25 grams in 1/2 cup
  6. Black beans – 7 grams
  7. Greek yogurt – 23 grams in 1 cup
  8. Oatmeal – 5 grams

For more protein sources, check out this great list from Fitbie! And to really put your new protein knowledge to the culinary test, try any of these 39 protein-packed recipes!

What are your favorite sources for protein? Shoot me a recipe and I may feature it on my blog!

5 Tips for Beginner Cooks

I recently stumbled on a great article from Women’s Health Magazine called 50 Food Tips That Will Change Your Life. Compiled from multiple popular food bloggers, the list really captured a lot of important components of cooking that makes food taste better or more healthy. With that in mind, here  are some of my favorite food tips:

1. If you find yourself not finishing vegetables/fruits that you buy, chop them up into food-prep ready pieces early on and store them in your freezer. Onions, for example, can last for up to three months in the freezer. Just heat them up a bit and use them in a recipe when you need to!

2. Buy foods that are filling to appease your stomach and your bank account. This may sound like an obvious tip, but most people don’t realize that a lot of what they buy doesn’t satisfy the stomach as long as other foods. For example, bananas or legumes make you feel full for a lot longer than a slice of bread or most cereals.

3. If  you find that you’re eating a decent amount of calories in the day, but are still hungry, try focusing on the fiber and  protein you’re also getting in a day. Studies show that diets high in fiber and protein (while also attuned to calorie intake) are best for weight loss.

4. Don’t confuse hunger for dehydration. You may just be eating that granola bar because you’re thirsty.

5. If making a lot  of meals during the week is just not feasible, make a big batch of one or two things a few days a week and divide it up. Kill a few birds with one stone, right? Even if you eventually get sick of what you made, you’ll still have saved some money by not going out for a  few meals.

Peach Cottage Cheese Pancakes: A New Frontier

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Have you ever shopped at your grocery store and  thought to yourself, “I should really give soymilk another try” or “Have I even been fair to kale all these years?!”

On   my most recent shopping expenditure, I added cottage cheese to my cart in a deliberate attempt to amp  up my morning protein consumption. With a  whopping total a of 13 g of protein per 1/4 cup, cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse. And by grabbing the lowfat option, you don’t even have to sacrifice in calories for the protein. There are no disadvantages to cottage cheese – except, I realized, the taste.

I don’t really like cottage cheese. It’s a most unfortunate dilemma actually, because  it’s probably the best way to get a quick and natural protein fix. So, of course, with the help of a few ripe Farmer’s Market peaches, I found  a way to incorporate cottage cheese into a recipe that enhances the taste without compromising the nutritional value of the meal. Get at me, Peachy Cottage Cheese Pancakes.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 peach
  • maple syrup ( optional)

Directions:

  1. Crack egg and whisk.
  2. Combine egg with flour, oil, and cottage cheese.
  3. Chop up peach into small pieces,
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add batter and heat for a minute before adding peaches. Flip over and cook on other  side.
  5. Add peaches on top of cooked pancake and swirl maple syrup over.

I think I’ve found the perfect use  for cottage cheese. I couldn’t get enough  of this delicious meal! Looks like I may actually buy cottage cheese more often…Maybe I’ll try these cottage cheese cookies next?

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Steals and Deals at a July Farmer’s Market

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July is my favorite season to go  to the Farmer’s Market. It’s like stepping into a wonderland of brightly colored apples  and berries – that is also adjacent to Zeke’s Coffee and Ethiopian Cuisine. There’s something for everyone – and I mean, everyone – at the Farmer’s Market.

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The  farmer’s market is the best place to go for a flavorful soil-grown food fix. Vegetables and fruits often taste particularly flat directly from chain grocery stores, and nothing ruins a good tabbouleh dish like a tomato that doesn’t taste quite like a tomato but a red rubbery reminder  of what a tomato might have been.  It’s moments like those that  I become wistful for the summer Farmer’s Market season.

And if you’re a smart enough shopper, going to the Farmer’s Market can be very cheap. To  scoop out the best deals, make sure you walk through  the entire market at least once before making a purchase and keep a mental inventory of the different prices different vendors offer. It seems self-defeating for one  vendor to offer a quart of vegetables for two dollars more than another down  the street – but most vendors actually do differ in prices for roughly the  same quality product.

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And you certainly don’t have to be a haggling master to get good deals (thank god, because I couldn’t talk a price down in my life). Many vendors keep  a few fruits and vegetables  with a few brown patches sold in  separate quarts for considerably cheaper prices. Thanks  to these deals, my grocery bill is drastically reduced every week. Today, I bought a total of 15  flavor-packed peaches for $1 thanks to just a few brown spots. And then a similarly large quantity of apricots for another dollar. I may have just found  my favorite fruit vendor of all time.

On an unrelated note, nothing invites questions and conversation more than bringing an over-sized  camera to the Farmer’s Market. One Morrocan vendor caught me snapping pictures of his wide array of vegetables and asked me about my ethnic background. When he  found out I was also Middle Eastern, he sweetly asked if I needed onions in addition to the zucchini and spinach I was purchasing, and grabbed a few to put in my bag before I even responded. It made my morning!

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the nice man who gave me free onions!