Occasionally, there’s a product I love so much that I feel the need to gush about it here. And for the record, no not a sponsored post. I just really dig this thing. It’s a portable food warmer that heats your food about 2 hours prior to eating. No more waiting in line for the microwave at lunch time. No more awkward small talk in the pantry while waiting for my food to heat up. No more dried-out from-the-microwave pasta leftovers. No cold middles and piping hot edges. And I only paid $12* for it. Do I sound like an infomercial yet?
I’d highly recommend it if you work in an office and regularly bring lunch to work.
My favorite feature is how well and evenly the heat distributes throughout the food without drying it out. The quality of the food is much better in the crockpot versus food heated in the microwave. And I’m not gonna’ lie. I really like that that I don’t have to wait for other people to heat up their lunch first. When the hunger strikes, I just reach over to my crockpot, uncover and eat. Instant! Easy!
Here’s how it works/how I do it: I keep the crockpot in a small desk drawer at my office and carry my lunch to work with me in containers.
About 2-4 hours prior to lunch time, I’ll transfer my food to the crockpot and plug it in to heat up. The container is rather compact so you have to be really comfortable having your food touch or overlap (I really had to wrap my head around this, as I generally don’t like my food to touch eachother)
Rinse and repeat.
I decided to take the day off on Friday at the last minute and I’m glad I did. It was one of those weeks at work that felt turtle’s-pace slow. Since we had to postpone our Charleston, SC vacation plans indefinitely, I’ve been using my PTO days sparingly and I’m mostly saving them for when/if we move within the year. That’s what’s so difficult about the unpredictability of a short sale. We have no idea when we should expect to move. Though speaking of which, we got news last week that the seller accepted our offer! We just need the bank to sign and then we’re in official attorney review (negotiations about the condition of the house, time frames and whatnot). Our realtor is confident that the bank will accept the offer too, so it looks promising. The timing is perfect because the company that we’re renting from now just sent us a lease renewal contract over the weekend. They’re raising the rent up by $100! Pfft. Oh! And we just now discovered what may or may not have had a leak in our coat closet over the last few months. And possibly some mold. So yay. We’ve since removed all of our belongings from the closet and placed them on top of our radiator in our already-cramped bedroom. What an eyesore. It’s like the universe is sending us signals to leave the apartment. Okay universe, I’m trying my best here! Tell the bank to hurry up and sign that contract!
Now on to more weekendy things. If I were to give you any advice about Governors Island, it is to go on weekday afternoon in the middle of September. The weather’s that perfect mix of warm and cool and the place practically belongs to you. At least, that’s how it felt for me and Bob on a disgustingly gorgeous Friday afternoon.
Oh hey, Chris Christie ( aka perhaps our soon-to-be governor)
But if you’re not going to visit, that’s fine too. You can live vicariously through these pictures and just admire those views. Most notably, the ever-elegant and shiny One World Trade, an appropriate and important visual reminder given the week in September.
We soared around the island on our rented bikes for a couple of hours and then laid out on the grass with our iced drinks and sandwiches. It was incredibly leisurely.
The rest of the weekend was pretty great too. We tried (and loved) the much-talked-about brunch at Sanfords, followed by an evening of the Mets losing (what else is new?) and some fireworks after the game. It was my first time in a long time at a baseball game and I have to say, it’s much more interesting to watch live than it is to watch on TV.
Admittedly, the promise of a fireworks show at the end of it was what really kept me going I’m a sucker for an ostentatious lights show.
Last week was a successful one, in terms of dinner. I enjoyed each and every meal/recipe listed here, so if you’re looking for a good variety of easy and healthy weeknight dinners then I’ve got you covered. Click on the links for the recipes.
I try to have at least one raw dinner, particularly a big salad, every week for a few reasons:
1.) I like to switch it up.
2.) It’s a dinner comprised mostly of vitamin-rich veggies, yet still satisfying.
3.) Most of the food isn’t cooked or denatured, so we get the maximum amount of nutritional benefits.
4.) It’s easy.
Of all the Thai salad dressings variations I’ve tried, this one has to be my favorite. I could have drank it up on its own, it was so good. It’s a flavorful dressing that uses sunflower seed butter as the main ingredient, although I think any nut or seed butter would work well in this. Make it! And when you do, make extra.
My parents gave me a whole bunch of bell peppers from their yard, so I got to use them up in this salad. Raw bell peppers don’t cut it for me, so I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil, salt and smoked paprika and it added a savory bacon-like flavor to it. Smoked paprika has been having a moment in my kitchen lately. I’m loving the strong smokiness and I’ve been using it a ton, mostly on vegetables.
Tips for people who just can’t get behind the idea of salad for dinner: 1.) Start small – add cooked foods to it. Toss in some baked shredded chicken, roasted veggies or a poached egg. It adds texture and loads of flavor, while still keeping it a healthy salad. Steer clear or go light on add-ins like bacon, shredded cheese and processed dressings. Try to stick to veggies, nuts and seeds and find creative ways to make them tastier for you. For example, I like to take raw walnuts with a tbsp. of soy sauce or tamari and a couple pinches of cumin and cayenne and mix them into a ground beef-like texture using a food processor. I sprinkle it over the salad for a meaty, salty bite. It’s awesome! 2.) Use different types of greens for variety and texture. No boring salads here! 3.) A great homemade dressing is key.
Again! But this time no sweet potatoes , which is fine because it simplifies the process a bit, yet doesn’t skimp on taste. It’s a starchy meal for sure, but still abundant in fiber, potassium and folate, which are all beneficial for maintaining optimal heart health.
I make Bob brown rice, while I have white. I bought a huge tub of brown rice, but I completely forgot that I loathe brown rice so I’ve been making two batches of rice. This can get blah sometimes but it’s better than letting it go to waste or forcing myself to eat something I don’t like.
“Shrimp in hot dog buns?”. Bob was incredulous and so was I, but for different reasons. Shrimp rolls sounded weird to him, but I just couldn’t believe he’d never heard of them before, especially since I made them twice last summer. He gave me his usual “I don’t think I’m going to like this” speech, but that just made me determined to make it extra special. And it was! I’d never made my own mayo before so that was a little daunting. It’s a workout, I will say that, but it’s still very easy. Good arm muscles are recommended, though And the brown butter? Bonus yum. I normally wouldn’t make something so high in cholesterol, but I thought it was okay to make an exception, especially since the meal is also high in healthy fats, protein and vitamin B12. If I were to give you any tips on this one, it’d be to toast the buns. Makes all the difference!
Bob’s take? “Good. But it’s still weird eating shrimp in a hot dog bun.”
I made very few, small changes to this soup. I substituted the milk for homemade cashew milk, as I tend to do with any recipe that calls for cream or dairy milk. I added more smoked paprika—obviously. I sauteed a few smashed garlic cloves with yellow onion for more flavor. No green onions, so I used chives which I like better anyway. The soup is thick and and hearty enough to stand on its own (love that) but a crusty loaf of bread to dip in is always a good call!
*I can’t seem to recall what we had on Sunday nor do I have the pictures to jog my memory. Fridays and Saturdays are usually “eating out” days.
Is Labor Day weekend the end of summer? No no no, I refuse to believe this. Bob and I have arguments about it. I say, It ain’t over ’til it’s over! and he says, Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer. Get over it. This week is going to be a hot one so I think this helps my case a lot. And the peaches. There are still peaches at the market! Summer is, for now, here to stay. Let’s enjoy it.
Unless, of course, you’re going back to school. Then yeah, it’s over for you babe. Sorry.
If you haven’t guessed by the title, these are my Labor Day pics. Correction, it’s two days prior. My mom and dad had a bbq, which mostly means my dad makes hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch and then dinner is rice, corn and roast pork, which is made indoors. But we eat it outside, so it’s still legit.
Not pictured: the amazing peach and raspberry pie we brought from Astor Bake Shop (wow), breaking my no-alcohol streak with a glass of homemade sangria (no regrets), the crazy aggressive bees that tormented us for a good hour and the adorable bunny family that made a home in the neighbor’s bushes. It might be the last outdoorsy family get-together we have for a while, but it was good one to go out on. We laughed a lot, ate a lot, played with the neighbor’s adorable dog Sophie and just plain ol’ had a good time with good company. It went too quickly! Just like the long weekend. Just like my favorite season.
My nephew Mase just discovered that he can listen to music on his Nabi (basically an Android tablet for kids) and so he’s been walking around with his mirrored sunglasses on, headphones plugged in and putting on a show. I’ve been told he’s been dance-walking (think: John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever) and holding up his Nabi on his shoulder like a boombox. What decade is this kid from?!