Sunday, August 9, 2009

Moving Day!

It's still a work in progress, but One Bite At a Time has officially moved!

Please join me at www.spiceaholic.com

Don't forget to update your bookmarks, Google Reader, and RSS feeds, etc.!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An on the go kind of day

Wow, I didn't even realize how close I was to 150 posts! I guess they add up when you post more often. :P

I'm probably going to be moving this blog over to my own domain soon. I had an earlier version of this blog over at www.spiceaholic.com and for some reason felt the need to start over here with the same name. I'm just going to move this one over and combine the two. You can go check out the old stuff if you want, it'll all still be there. Plus that URL is a heck of a lot easier to remember and type, isn't it? For some reason when I started this I thought your URL had to be the same as your blog name. Silly, innocent me.

But I'll let you guys know when I officially move over.


Yesterday I was out and about for most of the morning and early afternoon. I had an eye exam in the morning and then I was supposed to meet up with some former coworkers for lunch since I was in the area. I had planned to eat breakfast before my appointment but as usual I dawdled way too long getting ready and ran out the door with only a Coke Zero. Breakfast of champions indeed.

Afterwards, I killed some time at Dunkin Donuts. I got an iced coffee with Splenda and got a couple of chocolate Munchkins. I love the donuts there, but felt like having just a couple Munchkins would give me the taste I wanted without doing too much damage. I just read a little while I waited. We were supposed to be meeting for some Chinese food, but while there I got a text saying one of them had restarted her diet and wanted to go to F20 instead. Not really my kind of place, but I agreed to meet them there.

I got there early and since there was a Costco in the same parking lot decided to kill some time there too. Now I've told you before how I'm probably the only person I know who buys cookbooks there as often as food. I headed straight for the book section as usual. Found a new mystery out by an author I discovered a few months ago, but I'm on the waiting list for it at the library so ignored it. The cookbook section at Costco has regrettably diminished quite a bit in the past few months. No, not because I buy them like crazy. Anyway, I saw a new Cooking Light one that looked good - Eat Well, Live Well or something like that. I managed to convince myself it'd still be here in a few days and I could get it later if we came back to buy stuff. I also checked Amazon to see if it was there, but it must be one of those special prints they do for Costco because I've bought a few there and don't see them on Amazon for sale. I also took a quick looksie to see if there's anything I wanted to come back for this weekend. Might do so.

By now it was time to meet them for lunch so I headed over to F20, which stands for Fresh To Order. Now, I've only been here once, but it just didn't do it for me. I'm really not a salad kind of girl, and I'm actually pretty picky about my salads. Write me off if you must, but I do not enjoy goat cheese, bleu cheese, Gorgonzola, balsamic vinegar, candied nuts, dried fruits, and sweet dressings, etc. on my salad. Sorry. And it seems like there's a lot of that there. I know you can make substitutioins, but having had such a skimpy breakfast I wanted something more substantial than leaves and veggies.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised this time. Yes, they did have the tons of salads and stuff, but I saw some sandwiches that looked good too. I'm wondering if the time I went last time I was trying to be "good" and that just made it harder to order what I wanted because I felt restricted. Today I felt no such compunction. I ordered exactly what I wanted -- the Chicken Ceasar Panini with no avocado (allergic, how tragic) and a side of apple slices.

My food took longer to come out than everyone else, but it was worth it. I had chosen ciabatta bread and it was oh so good. The grilled chicken wasn't phony and processed, but real breast meat. It was very good and I was so hungry I ate the whole sandwich and didn't feel guilty. I had a few of the apple slices afterwards but they were starting to make my mouth itchy so I stopped and just enjoyed the company.

Thus vigorously fortified, I set off to run one last errand before going home. I had to return a library book but since I was nearby, I also popped into a natural foods store that opened up a few months ago. I'll drop in now and then and buy a couple things, but their selection isn't really that great to be honest. I found some PopChips and a vegan lemon cookie and got those.

After the library, I figured since I was out I might as well hit up the used bookstore that was nearby. It's a lot smaller than the ones I usually go to, but it's such a cute little store. I used to work in one when I was in college so these cozy places hold a place in my heart.

Now I was finally done running around and was able to spend the rest of the day just relaxing and watching old shows.

And yes, I finally have some food pics for you.


I felt snacky a few hours later and had some SunChips.


When I realized it was close to dinner time, I defrosted some tilapia I had in the freezer and cooked it up with some Berbere seasoning I got at World Market a while back. It's an Ethiopian spice mix that contains a lot of ingredients found in Indian cooking. I also cooked up some couscous and spinach and added some Ras-el-Hanout seasoning that I'd also bought at World Market. This stuff is a blend of spices from North Africa and the Middle East. Again, it has ingredients found in Indian cooking, so it tasted good to me.


After dinner we wanted something sweet, so I broke out the cookie I'd bought earlier. I liked the taste, it was very lemony, but the texture was not cookie-like at all. More like a dense cake. It worked for me, but Mr. Spice wasn't too crazy about the texture.

We watched more tv and still wanted something sweet so I had some ice cream and got into some Hot Tamales as well. I finally made myself stop before I did too much damage. I know it's because I didn't have a proper breakfast to start me off right. Lesson learned. Time to move on.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

She's a coaster freak, a coaster freak . . .

I know, I'm a dork.

Oh and I'm not talking about the coasters that you set your glasses on.

Before we get to all that, here's yesterday's eats:


I hereby dub these "Fiesta Fried Eggs." As you can see, I like my eggs on the well-done side. Not a huge fan of uber-runny yolks. Anyway, I just wanted to jazz them up a little and think I did a pretty good job of it.


Sorry for the blurriness of this pic, none of them turned out that good. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I do enjoy trying various Morningstar and Boca products. I saw a grilled "chikn" patty by Morningstar and decided I'd give it a try. I didn't really like it in the wrap, probably because everything else was kinda bland. I'm going to try these out with some buffalo wing sauce or barbecue sauce to see if they taste better when doctored up. And I'm sure if I cooked them in a pan or on a grill they'd taste better too - I was in a hurry and nuked them.

As far as pictures for yesterday, that's all folks. The rest of the day was unplanned and I didn't have my camera with me.

Oh right, I was talking about coasters before, wasn't I? Yes. Well, I thought it'd be fun for Mr. Spice and me to get out and actually do something rather than just going to stores, movies, coffee shops and hanging out at bookstores. He doesn't always want to do the stuff I would like to do, but I convinced him on this one. We had buy one get one free coupons for Six Flags over Georgia and since neither of us had been and we both love roller coasters, I thought we should go. We timed it so we got there a little after 5, so it wasn't as crowded and hot. I'm mad we didn't do this sooner, it was so much fun! The lines weren't too horrible and after we went on the scarier looking coasters, we took a break and just people-watched for a while. If any of you ever go there, I really recommend the Goliath -- that was hands down (or up!) the BEST roller coaster I've been on. The first drop is soo high and we were literally up out of our seats for most of the ride. If the line hadn't been so long for this one I would have gone again.

On the way to Six Flags (which took all of 10 minutes), I had a couple Quaker granola bars and Mr. Spice had a nut and dried fruit mix. That held us over pretty well for the few hours we were at the park. Afterwards we were both starving. We've been trying not to eat out too much during the week, but I didn't have anything at home that was going to be quick and ready to go so we decided to grab something on the way home. We ended up at Five Guys since we hadn't been there in a while and burgers just sounded REALLY good right then. Now, I've learned my lesson about ordering food there. I always get a little hamburger or little cheeseburger -- the regular size has 2 patties and that's just too much. And now we just split an order of the regular-sized Cajun fries since they dump a whole bunch in there anyway; even then I think it's enough for more than 2 people.

And that's about it for yesterday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Self-conscious eats

Somehow during July I managed to lose about 5 pounds. I'm still trying to figure out how it happened, but I also don't want to lose the momentum. I didn't exercise, so it's not that. I know I cut down on my Coke Zero addiction and I wasn't taking one of my medications, but I don't know if those had an effect. I'm honestly trying to remember what I ate differently, and this is one of those times where if I'd been food journaling I could look back and see.

Anyway, I decided to log my eating in SparkPeople again -- I was just going to log as I went instead of pre-planning everything. But knowing I was logging my food made me very conscious of what I decided to eat. And I don't know if that's a good thing, because then I start into my all-or-nothing "being good" routine and that always sets me up for a binge later on. I wish I could just eat normally and not obsess over every bite I had or didn't have.

So here's what I ate yesterday:


I started the day off with some Honey Nut Cheerios, strawberries, and vanilla soymilk. I'm usually not a cold cereal for breakfast kind of girl, but got into the habit while visiting my parents. We'll see how long it lasts.


For lunch I had a sandwich with roasted garlic hummus, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. And some baked Cheetos on the side. I've seen other bloggers doing the hummus and cheese combo as well and I actually like it!


Mid-afternoon I was hungry. I needed something that would tide me over a few more hours until dinner. I know from past experience that I do better eating more protein so I nuked up a frozen spicy chicken patty and had that. If you like the Wendy's Spicy Chicken sandwiches, get the Tyson Spicy Chicken Breast patties, they definitely take care of that craving!


I felt like Indian food for dinner, so I puttered around and made a green bean and potato bhaji. I browned some onions, then added mustard seeds, then dried red chili, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Finally I added the veggies and let them all cook together until done. Wasn't too bad, I usually suck at making veggie dishes.

We have gotten into the habit of eating basmati rice every time I make Indian food, and I'm afraid we've spoiled ourselves. I bought some plain long-grain rice from Publix this weekend and cooked it last night. There's no comparison - this stuff is sticky, bland, and bleh compared to basmati.

I heated up some of the frozen chicken seekh kababs that I get from our Indian store -- these are pretty good and help make a quick meal. Too bad they're so pricey -- 4 big kababs for a little under $8. Sometimes if the wife of the store-owner is up front she'll give me a discount if I buy a few. These kababs are pretty big and though the box says 1 and 1/3 kabab is the serving size, that is way too much. We'll just have 1 each and even then that's a bit much sometimes.

Now I have to be honest here -- I took seconds of the rice and veggies, but didn't take a picture. I did log it into SparkPeople though. So there.

After this huge dinner, I was full the rest of the evening and entertained no thoughts about dessert.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where did the Sunday go?

Lately a lot of my days are just zipping by and I don't remember what exactly I did, probably because I didn't do anything.

It probably doesn't help that I've been staying up late and getting up late. I'm no young'un anymore and it really messes me up the next day. Plus starting next week I have to go back to the grown-up world. Boo hoo.

The tricky thing about breakfast on weekends is that I get up much earlier than Mr. Spice, but sometimes I'll have just had breakfast when he decides he's up and is ready for lunch. I guess just because he wants lunch when I just had breakfast doesn't mean I have to eat with him, but we don't get lots of opportunities to eat together during the week. Anyway, so yesterday I just had some yogurt to calm down my rumbling belly so that if we ate lunch within a couple hours my appetite wouldn't be spoiled.

Of course it turned out that I ended up eating lunch alone anyway since I was hungry and he wasn't. Just some leftover chicken and a tortilla.

I got hungry again a few hours later and decided to break into the baby carrots I'd bought the other night. I had this with some light Southwestern ranch dressing and a few slices of turkey. See how I used one of my little prep bowls for the dressing? This is the smallest one in the set and measures 1/8 and 1/4 of a cup. If you look closely you can see I had just under 1/8 of a cup. or less than 2 tbsp.

After spending the rest of the afternoon watching tv, I realized it was almost 8 and we should probably think about dinner. I had some sliced baby portabella mushrooms that needed to be used up so I sauteed some in garlic, olive oil, and some other seasonings and then wilted some fresh spinach towards the end. Had some of that with some pasta, sauce, and some shredded parmesan/asiago/romano blend. This was really good and I really could have gone for more, but I wanted dessert.

And dessert I had. Just for curiosity's sake I had entered my food intake into SparkPeople and the tally after dinner was just under 900 calories, so I had quite a bit of calories to play with. I decided to go for it and have 2 servings of ice cream, so my total for the day was just under 1300 calories. Not too bad! This is another one of that set of prep bowls I've been using for portion control. This one held 3/4 cup and 1 cup. It turns out my ice cream scoop measures in 1/4 cup increments, so it all comes in pretty handy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Movie Munchie Madness

Yes, I'm rather fond of alliterative titles.

Yesterday wasn't one of my best eating days, but it certainly wasn't my worst.

I had plans to go to a friend's house around noon to watch Coraline with her and some other girlfriends. She was taking care of the sandwich stuff and we were bringing whatever else we wanted.

First things first -- if you go grocery shopping when you haven't eaten, then you're asking for it.

Anyway, so here's the lunch spread. I brought the Sunchips, the dark chocolate Reese's cups, and the coconut M&Ms. By the way, those last two are officially my favorite candies for this week.

Now don't be fooled by the plate I took. I had another half sandwich later on and we all were chowing down on chips and chocolate.

Later that afternoon a couple of us went to go watch The Ugly Truth. I liked it -- very predictable, but it was fun to watch. Along with the eye candy on-screen, I had some Hot Tamales.

After the movie, I went grocery shopping and got lots of good healthy food for the week.

I've discovered that if I eat a heavy meal around lunch time/early afternoon, I really don't feel like eating the rest of the day. That was the case yesterday. I didn't get hungry again until after 10, while Mr. Spice and I were watching some tv.

Didn't get a picture of it, but I had a Trader Joe's Veggie Masala Burger on some light bread, with some achaar for taste. Then I had to make one for Mr. Spice since he thought it smelled really good. I was still hungry so I had some Sunchips. Okay and then a couple cookies later. I swear I'm going to freeze the rest of the cookies.

Anyway, so like I said, not one of my best days but not one of my worst either.

Today's plans are up in the air, but I do need to do my assignments for a QuickBooks class I'm taking online and I need to fill out some paperwork. See you later!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The cookie monster strikes!

I think I'm starting to remember why I don't bake that often.

It's because I can't stop eating what I've baked. :)

Anyway, today was another day of shopping and I did quite the damage. I went over my budget, but that was because I saw 2 really cute purses at Kohls. And don't worry, my usual buyer's remorse will set in shortly and I will be off returning stuff. That's my shopping M.O. -- buy first, then question later. If I see something I like in my size I snatch it up because chances are if I wait too long it'll be gone.

So after spending a few hours shopping, I came home starving for lunch.

I finished off the last of the turkey keema I'd made a couple days ago, along with half a tortilla and two of those innocent-looking but evil cookies. See how they lurk in the back like that? Last week Kroger had ground turkey on sale -- $1 for one of those 1-lb tubey things. And it was light turkey too. I went and bought $10 worth so I could stock up on them for easy meals later. Always thinking ahead.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the internet. And then after I posted that wedding video, I was sending messages back and forth to my cousin on Facebook about some Bollywood videos we'd loved back in the day and then I started getting nostalgic and began watching them on YouTube. I'm sure my husband thought I'd lost my mind again when he saw me glued to the computer watching all that cheesiness. Good stuff though.

Don't worry, I did manage to tear myself away to get dinner going. I had some chicken drumsticks thawing in the fridge that I needed to use up. See, those were the result of yet another good sale a few weeks ago -- chicken drumsticks and thighs were $.99/lb so I stocked up. Of course at that low of a price they came with the skin on, which I hate dealing with. Anyway, I figured a good way to use up the drumsticks was to marinate them in one of those bottled marinades and then bake them up.

No evil cookies here, just chicken and some lettuce and tomatoes.

We decided to watch a movie as we were eating dinner -- we have had some movies from Netflix for a few weeks now and really need to watch them. We watched RocknRolla, which is a crime flick, not really my type, but it wasn't too bad.

Oh but we decided to snack a bit as we were watching. There might have been some Sun Chips that made their way into my tummy but managed to avoid being photographed.

Look who decided to show up!

Those darn cookies keep showing up everywhere like those travelling gnomes.

That's it for tonight!

A little Friday fun!

Okay I know this video has been all over the interwebs this past week, but I couldn't resist putting on here. I love it!


The Un-Omelet

I've been having cereal for breakfast quite a bit these past couple weeks and thought I'd change things up a bit and do a veggie omelet today.

Does that look like an omelet to you?


I think the mistakes were using only 1 egg, and then not beating the egg enough before pouring into the pan. Once I tried flipping it and it tore, I figured I might as well do my version of scrambled eggs, which seem to resemble smushed up omelet rather than scrambled eggs.

Oh well, it tasted really good! I sauteed some fresh mushrooms and spinach in cooking spray before adding the egg. Then I added a little chopped green onion and cheese. Once on the plate I added more green onion, a little bit more cheese (all for presentation, of course!), and some salsa. I think I will try to sautee mushrooms and spinach to keep on hand for impromptu omelets or to go with lunches and dinners.

So I decided I'm going to do my best to document my food each day, depending on where I am and who I'm with. For now I'm going to hold off on tracking calories or points -- I just want to see how I eat when I know I'll have an audience. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A spicy dinner and monochromatic dessert

So we did end up seeing the Monet exhibit. Though I like Impressionism and Monet's work, I have to admit I was very disappointed by the exhibit. It took up all of 2 rooms. I would have loved to have seen more and would gladly have spent hours soaking it all in. We ended up spending 20 minutes max. It's a good thing we took advantage of a special the museum was running where they offer 50% admission on Thursdays from 4-8 pm, otherwise I would have felt even more upset. Anyway, at least we got to inject a bit of culture into our week!

After we were done, we were both getting hungry. Now, we were in the Midtown portion of Atlanta, which is where I used to work a few years ago. There are so many great restaurants in that area, but a lot of them were just a bit too pricey for us right now. We tossed around some ideas and were going to go to a Bangladeshi restaurant when Mr. Spice suggested we get some Caribbean food. I thought of a place a former coworker loved going to and highly recommended. It was a bit of a drive from where we were, but it was way after rush hour so the highway was clear.

It wasn't until we had the menus that we realized that this place was also a bit out of our price range considering our current situation, but we decided once in a while was okay and this would just be our once in a while. :) There were so many good choices, and I was wavering between quite a few but I ended up ordering the curry chicken/jerk chicken combo and Mr. Spice ordered the oxtail/curry goat combo. I really wish I could have taken a picture of my plate to show you how much food there was, but you know how Mr. Spice is about taking pictures of food in restaurants. Le sigh. But I did the next best thing and took a picture of the leftovers I brought home!

Starting from the top left: rice and beans, steamed veggies, and then the good stuff -- Jerk chicken on the left and curry chicken on the right.

The food at the restaurant was pretty good. The jerk chicken could have been spicier, but it was still good. I liked the curry chicken, but that's probably a given since I'm used to eating Indian food. Oh and I even tried some of Mr. Spice's oxtail and goat curry. Now this is a big deal since I don't like eating goat meat or lamb. The goat didn't have that "goat-y" taste that I usually find when I've tried it at restaurants or other people's houses. I'm not saying I would order an entree of goat meat, but I would try a bite here and there. The oxtail is really beef, and it was good -- very rich and meaty tasting. Again, I wouldn't order it myself as an entree but I would sample it again.

I was good about not polishing off my food, but that would have been hard to do anyway since they served so much food. But I was still careful not to let myself get to that stuffed point that's so easy to do when the food tastes good. I knew I wanted some ice cream when I got home, so that helped me stop when I had enough.

Now then, onto my monochromatic dessert.

I probably should have put this into one of my cute little prep bowls, but I guess it worked out after all.

I don't know if you guys have tried Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream. If you haven't, please do so. It's so good. I usually go for the all chocolate-type ice creams, but this is definitely up there in my favorites. It's a cinnamon-y ice cream with oatmeal cookie chunks and chocolate chunks. So good. Well when I saw that Publix had come out with their (significantly cheaper) version of it, I had to give it a try. The main difference is that the ice cream here is a honey ice cream with cinnamon swirls in it, but the taste is pretty dead on otherwise. If only someone would make a low-fat version of this!

But most importantly, don't you love how the ice cream matches my bowl? It even kinda goes with the counter-top!

Bargain Hunting Thursday

How on earth do you guys think of new titles every day?

Anyway, today through Sunday is a sales tax holiday in Georgia for school supplies, clothes, shoes, and certain other items, all subject to price limits. I was just concerned about the shoes and clothes -- anything under $100 is exempt from sales tax.

Without jinxing myself, I have some good news on the job situation! So I decided to treat myself and get some new things.

I really really needed some brown dress shoes for work, so I hit up DSW to see what they had. I saw some cute pointy-toed shoes, but my feet are weird and wide at the top so those shoes tend to not be so comfy. Then I saw some cute kitten-heeled round-toed pumps. These were actually pretty dang comfortable! I found them in black and brown, and the black ones were 40% off. Score! Oh then I hit the clearance room and found some brown wedge pumps kinda like these that were also 40% off. All together, the total for the 3 pairs of shoes was under $90!

I did plenty of wandering around after that, looking around in Macy's and New York and Company, but nothing really caught my eye. I decided to go to the Gap to see if I could find any jeans -- although they tend to cost more than I'd like, jeans from here just fit me better. I managed to find a pair of jeans in my size on the sale rack, but the others were all priced at $10 and these were much more. I went ahead and tried them on anyway. They fit perfectly, but were a little long. For being such a shorty (4 ft. 11 and 3/4!), I have long legs and short/petite lengths are almost too short for me and the regular length is a bit too long. I figured with heels or boots I could get away with them and decided to suck it up and get them. Well imagine my surprise when they rang up as $10! Wohoo! I'm so glad I didn't put them back! So even if I go get them hemmed, they'll still cost way less than what they usually do.

My feet started hurting after a while so I decided to call it quits for now. When did I get so old? Still need to look for some work clothes, but I have 3 more days to look!

And look what I did. I spent most of this post yakking about shopping when I was supposed to be posting what I have been eating today.

So here we go!

I started off this rainy gloomy day with some Honey Nut Cheerios, vanilla soy milk, a few blueberries, and some orange juice. Can you believe that glass only has 1/2 cup of juice in it? Imagine filling it with orange juice, you're looking at at least 1.5 cups. Good thing my little cereal bowl is actually a measuring/prep bowl, helps to keep the portion sizes in check.

After I got back from the mall, I was starving for lunch. I quickly put together a wrap with turkey, pepperjack cheese, horseradish mustard, green leaf lettuce, and tomato on a Flat-Out wrap. Oh and there are some baked Doritos in the background!

I was still hungry after lunch so I decided to have a couple of the chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday. Don't those look so good? This is my sister's top-secret recipe which she divulged to me, but made me promise not to put on my blog. It's a heavy price to pay, but for cookies this good it's worth it. Sorry guys!

That's all for now. Dinner's up in the air -- we're thinking of hitting up the Monet exhibit at the High Museum of Art this evening so we might eat around there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July Book Club

As you all know by now, our monthly book club get-togethers are just a thinly veiled excuse to eat!

This month we all read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I highly recommend it! Not to give too much away, but it takes place primarily in North Africa, which is often culinarily lumped together with the Middle East . So we decided to have a North African/Middle-Eastern themed potluck.

Our lovely hostess did the amazing chicken/veggie kababs, as well as provided pita chips with hummus and baba ghanoush. I did couscous, and our friends brought mango key lime pie, the ingredients for fruit salad, and sfouf, which is a Lebanese cake.

All ready to eat! Except the sfouf, which was baking away.

Chicken and vegetable kababs

Couscous with herbs and spices -- olive oil, parsley, mint, turmeric, paprika, cumin, za'atar, and some other stuff I don't remember. Sorry for the crappy blurry picture, I must have been excited about the food!

The BEST fruit salad -- raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, nectarines, and plums, all mixed with honey, lime juice, fresh mint, and cinnamon.

Mango-Key Lime Pie -- soo good!

Sfouf - semolina turmeric cake. Fun to say, fun to eat!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anybody want some cookbooks?

If you've been reading this blog, you know how I am about buying cookbooks. It's a compulsion.

Well, I've decided it's time to weed out ones that I was a bit too compulsive about buying or that I just no longer want. I'm also doing this with other books and movies we own. It's ridiculous how many piles of books there are around the house. They just seem to pop up out of nowhere. Okay, so maybe I have something to do with that!

Anyway, I'm debating whether to put them on Ebay, Craigslist, etc. If you have any suggestions, feel free to pass them on. If it's too much of a hassle I'm just going to donate them.

If you're interested in some cookbooks, let me know as well. I'll post a list or picture of the books shortly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Saying hello to an old friend

I know what some of you are thinking. What on earth are ketchup flavored chips??

To answer this query, I will tell you that they are precisely what they sound like they are. Potato chips with a ketchup flavoring. Sorry, flavouring, since I first had these on a visit to Canada many many years ago when I was a kid.

I remember being excited when we would go visit relatives there because it meant coming back with a few things: ketchup chips, Weetabix cereal, and the "good" British chocolates like Aero bars, Twirl bars, Cadbury, etc. The novelty of these chips didn't escape me even back then. I also remember other flavors like "everything" chips, and pickle-flavored chips, among others. What can I say, I'm always intrigued by the different flavors of chips that are found in different countries. When we were in Toronto a couple years ago for my cousin's wedding, I made it a point to inspect the nearby grocery store to see what other flavors I could find and yes, I did buy different ones to try.

I always just figured that these were treats I would only be able to have once in a while if we were ever visiting Canada. But sometimes, I would find packets of these chips in Walmart and once more I could taste the memories of my childhood. And for a brief wonderful period of time, Lays sold dill pickle-flavored chips here in Atlanta, tasting just like the Canadian kind we'd had long ago. To me they have the same appeal as the salt and vinegar flavored chips -- the sharp tang of the vinegar, the salt crystal on the chips, the rawness of my tongue from the salt and vinegar after devouring the chips. The same aroma that draws me to them repels my husband, who just mutters something about how it must be a weird woman thing to like those chips. While we were driving to Memphis a couple weeks ago, we had to stop for gas somewhere in Alabama and I spotted a bag of dill pickle flavored chips. I was spiteful enough to take pleasure in the fact that he would be stuck in the car with me as I ate them. :)

But back to my ketchup chips. These too have a tangy smell as you open the bag, but not as sharp as the salt and vinegar/pickle chips. This smell is tempered by a sweetness from the no doubt fake tomato flavoring. The chips are dusted with an almost angry red powder that stains your nails hours after ransacking the bag for all the salty little crumbs. When I saw them a couple days ago, hanging out at the end of the aisle in Walmart, I saw that the ketchup chips were not alone. Nope, there were also steak-flavored chips and green onion-flavored chips, other flavors I remembered seeing long ago. But I only had eyes for the ketchup chips.

I brought them home and showed them to my husband who again rolled his eyes at the weird things I like to eat sometimes. Whatever, it meant the bag was all mine. I did enjoy that bag. I especially enjoyed the first chip, my mouth watering in anticipation of the taste and in reaction to the memories that the bag invoked -- of long car trips years ago, the excitement of discovering something new, and of being a kid on summer vacation with no cares or worries in the world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quick update

Hey, sorry I haven't been on in a while!

I'm back from visiting my parents, everything went well last week. Anyway, I'm settling back in here, so I'll be back posting shortly.

Stay tuned for more yummy eats!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Slight change in plans . . .

The wedding was absolutely beautiful and it was great to see all my family, even those who traveled all the way from Bangladesh to be there. Loved it all.

Mr. Spice and I drove up to Memphis from Atlanta on Friday and got there a few hours before that night's pre-wedding ceremony started. Saturday night was the wedding and we had the whole day to ourselves. We ran some errands and then set out to have some Memphis barbecue! One of Mr. Spice's friends had recommended a place, but it looked like a lot of driving, so we wanted to find somewhere else. I am a huge Food Network dork and love watching Down Home with the Neelys -- they are so cute! Just for kicks I looked up their restaurant and it turned out one of the locations wasn't that far from our hotel. Off we went. I didn't take pics because you know how Mr. Spice is about taking pics in restaurants. But I can tell you it was pretty dang good. Mr. Spice got the pulled pork and I got the smoked turkey. Both of our plates were piled high with food and we didn't make a dent in them.

Anyway, so the original plan was that we'd drive back to Atlanta on Sunday. However, I found out last week that my dad has to have some tests done on his heart later this week to test for blockage. I tend to worry about everything anyway, but I asked my mom if they wanted me to come out to help out and all that since I'm currently not working. They both said they would like that, so I ended up driving back home with my parents to Kansas yesterday. Not sure how long I will be here, at least a week though.

I was kinda hoping I'd get to do some cooking with my mom and learn some new stuff or even cook for them, but it looks like they're both on a health kick and aren't really cooking a lot. Pooey. But at least it'll help me stay on track food-wise! We stocked up on fresh fruit, veggies, soy milk, veggie burgers, etc. And I might as well post some of my daily eats while I'm here, so I'll start us off with today's lunch:

In the little bowl: fresh blueberries and strawberries

On my plate: sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, Boca Chik'n patty on 2 slices of Nature's Own Double Fiber bread, a slice of pepperjack, and some sriracha. The plate is from my poor grad school days, but my mom keeps it around for me to use when I visit. Gotta love that Corelle! :)

If I get a chance to cook anything yummy, you can be sure I'll post it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just a little something I threw together . . .

So I told you my phupi (dad's sister) and her family were in town and were going to visit us last night. I was really looking forward to it -- it's fun to have my relatives come and visit me at my house, since I always enjoyed visiting them.

Anyway, I think I went a little crazy with dinner last night, but it turned out pretty well in the end. Thankfully I started cooking some of it Monday and Tuesday so that yesterday I just had to do the rice, dal, and salad and reheat the other stuff I'd made. I miss having our cleaners, but I think Mr. Spice and I did a serviceable job of cleaning up. That is definitely something we'll have to start up again once I find a new job.

I took pictures of everything but the rice and salad, since I did those after they got to our house. These were taken just before they got here, so they aren't in their final prettied up version. Here's what we ate last night:

Chicken and Potatoes cooked in Whole Spices -- this is a variation of the White Chicken Curry recipe I posted a while back. No fresh green chilies though. And I added green cardamom, black/brown cardamom, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, and dried red chilies. I tossed in some garam masala powder and some Kitchen King Masala powder just for kicks.

Salmon in Caramelized Onion Sauce -- this is a recipe from Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India, by Lachu Moorjani. I've already tweaked it a little and hope to do some more before I feel comfortable posting it. I do feel that this is a keeper in my dishes to impress arsenal. It's sweet, hot, and a little tangy and I feel that salmon goes with it perfectly.

Lemon Moong Dal -- I posted a variation of this a while back too, except that version had garlic and spinach and used masoor dal instead. Very simple, very good.

I'm unofficially calling these my "I don't remember what I put into these but they're damn good" kababs. This was one of those instances where I just pulled out a bunch of spices and went to town. I actually do remember most of what went into these, but I'd rather develop a more reliable recipe before I post it. Just trust me, these were good. My two cousins kept saying they liked them and the younger one said they were just like restaurant kababs! The dish looked much better when I served it -- I garnished it with red onion slices, some green onion slices and a few sprigs of parsley. Cilantro would be traditional, but I cannot stand it, especially when it's fresh.

Oh there's more.

I even did breakfast for this morning. I really had to restrain myself from going all out, but I did it. They needed to get going this morning so they could get to Memphis for the wedding this weekend. We're driving up tomorrow. Anyway, I did a lighter version of a traditional Bengali breakfast, which would normally include omelets, parathas (flaky breads), and what I'm calling Bengali-style hash browns (aloo bhaji), among other items. I just did the omelets and aloo bhaji and pan-toasted some tortillas to stand in for the heavier parathas.

The omelets were simple -- sliced onion, sliced green chilies, salt, and pepper. We do our omelets on the well-done side. I think I finally mastered aloo bhaji. This is one of my favorite Bengali breakfast dishes, it goes so well with parathas, or pooris (deep-fried breads), and even tortillas. Instead of laboriously shredding potatoes, I use frozen shredded hash browns, like most people I know. At it's simplest, it's just browned onions, a whole green chili if you want, the potatoes, and salt and pepper. And the teeniest bit of turmeric for color. I upped it a bit and put in some nigella seeds, which I put in hot oil after the onions started browning. Very subtly flavored, but oh so good.

Confession: I totally staged this plate for a photo after they left. Mr. Spice very happily ate this after I was done taking pictures. I think he secretly likes me being home and being a good little Bengali housewife. :P

Anyway, now I have to finish packing for the wedding this weekend. If I don't post again this weekend, have a good one!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Sorry, I didn't realize it had been over a week since I last posted! Must have lost track of time, I've had so much stuff going on!

I have another crazy week this week, so I will try to post if I can. My dad's sister and her family are in town and will be visiting us Wednesday night, so I've been trying to clean up and figure out what to make for them. We are all going up to Memphis for a wedding this weekend, so I've also been trying to get ready for that -- consulting about sari and jewelry choices, going to the bank to get jewelry, going to Indian stores to pick up last minute things, etc.

Anyway, I've been trying to keep up with my Google reader, so even if I'm not commenting, I'm still reading! I hope it calms down a little once we get back next week and that I'll have some stuff to post!

Hope to see you around!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Presto Pesto Pasta Salad

Say that five times fast!

I have been quite the social butterfly this weekend! I had book club Friday night, Bunco last night, and this evening we're going to a barbecue with some of Mr. Spice's friends. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly our weekends get filled up in the summer.

Anyway, it's been nasty hot here in GA so I thought I'd bring something that could be served cold. Pasta salad was my first thought and I looked around at some different recipes. And then I realized I was making this WAY more difficult than it needed to be. I have a tendency to do that.

As you know, I'm all about saving time and taking shortcuts when I can without sacrificing on taste. I think you'll agree that not only does this go together really quickly, but the flavors all go together as well. I didn't really measure anything here, so adjust quantities as you want.

Presto Pesto Pasta Salad

1 box pasta -- I used tri-colored rotini
pre-prepared pesto -- I used Classico pesto
Mozzarella cheese, cut into tiny cubes
sliced black olives, cut into halves
fresh tomatoes, diced
fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Boil pasta in salted water. While pasta is cooking, cut up cheese, tomatoes, and olives.

Drain pasta and immediately rinse in cold water until pasta cools off. Put in large bowl.

Add pesto and coat pasta thoroughly. Add pesto as needed to taste. Then add cheese, olives, and tomatoes, and toss to combine. Sprinkle parsley if using. Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

You can play around with this however you want to. Add more veggies, add meat, whatever you want. I made this without meat since I wasn't sure if there were any vegetarians coming tonight, but next time I might add some grilled chicken or chopped salami. If you want to make your own pesto, go for it, but you know how lazy I am!

Mini Nutella Swirls

What's the best way to win over a group of people you've never met before? I think I discovered it yesterday when I experimented and made these.

A former coworker of mine has been trying to get me to come to Bunco night for the longest time, but I always seemed to have something going on whenever they met. Well, our schedules finally coincided and I got to go last night. In case you've never heard of Bunco, you can read about it here. Anything that doesn't require skill is my kind of game and if it involves food and friends, then all the better! Anyway, everyone was supposed to bring something to eat. I had been tossing around this idea for a week or so and figured I might as well try it out.

I should have known that trying to work with refrigerated crescent roll dough wasn't a good idea in a warm kitchen and I messed up my swirls the first time around. I finally got them to come out right and Mr. Spice happily ate up the mess-ups. Okay, I had some of the mess-ups too. And licked the Nutella-coated spreading knife when I was done. You really can't blame me though.

I was a little nervous about last night, just because I'm really shy around people I don't know. But everyone was really nice and once we started playing, it got a bit rowdy and after a drink or two I relaxed a little and really started enjoying it. We ate in between rounds and I am proud to say everyone ate up all the mini Nutella swirls! Oh and I ended up winning a little cash -- I had the lowest score in the second round and walked away with a little over $3. :)

Anyway, these are relatively easy to make and I guarantee if you take them to a party there won't be any leftovers!

Mini Nutella Swirls

2 cans refrigerated crescent roll dough - I used reduced fat

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with foil. Line your working area with parchment paper.

Open crescent roll dough -- they come in sheets of 2 triangles loosely joined into a rectangle. Keep them like this, and pinch the dough and seal where the two triangles meet so that you now have a rectangle of dough. Seal as best as you can. Spread Nutella over one side. Start rolling up the dough from one end, keeping the ends as neat as possible. Pinch and close the seam at the end of the roll. Put this roll in the fridge to chill for a few minutes as you work on the next roll. I kept the unused dough in the fridge as well since our kitchen was really warm and the dough was starting to come apart.

Once you've made all the rolls and chilled them all, take them out and cut each roll into 5 or 6 pieces. Place the pieces on the baking sheets with one of the cut edges down -- so when you look down at the pieces you see one swirly cut edge on top.

Bake for 11 minutes or until dough is golden brown.

Try not to eat them all at once!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recipe Review: French Yogurt Cake

This cake is so French -- simple yet elegant. There, I said it.

I'd heard of French yogurt cake before and found a recipe for it in Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours that I had intended to try, but I ended up finding an even easier version on Recipezaar. Why I even bother buying cookbooks when I usually end up finding something online is a mystery that remains to be solved.

Anyway, even though we have been sweltering here in Georgia for the past week or so, I got bitten by the baking bug. Since the recipe looked easy enough and I had all the ingredients already, I figured it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. I was also hoping that if it turned out okay then I could make it for this Bunco thing I'm going to this weekend.

I think this recipe and I are going to become good friends. It's so versatile. All you have to do is change the flavor of yogurt you use and put in whatever additions you want and you have a new cake! What makes it even better is that if you use a 4 oz. yogurt container then you don't need a measuring cup for this cake! C'est très facile! (It's so easy!) There are quite a few versions out there, this is the one I ended up using.

French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau au yaourt)

4 oz. yogurt - I used blueberry pomegranate flavored YoPlus yogurt
1 cup sugar - can use less if you use a sweetened yogurt
1.5 cups flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil - I used 1/2 stick of butter
2 tsp baking powder
flavorings/add-ins of your choice - I used 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take a 9-inch baking pan and spray with cooking spray or cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan like I did (I'm so fancy!).

Combine the yogurt and sugar in a bowl. Add the flour in 1/2 cup batches, combining after each batch. The batter will be stiff. Add the eggs, oil, and baking powder, and combine. Add any flavorings or add-ins you want. Carefully put batter in pan -- the batter is very thick so you may have to smooth it out towards the edges.

Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool and then slice.

Makes 8 servings.

I suck at cutting cake, but here is 1/2 of a slice:

I would say this cake tastes almost like a light pound cake. The next time I make this, if I use a sweetened, flavored yogurt I might cut back on the sugar a bit. I may even try subbing applesauce for the oil/butter to see if I can get this to not be so point-y. But I think this cake lends itself to tweaking quite well so have fun experimenting with it!

Something sweet, something savory, something sweet

That pretty much sums up the rest of my eats for today!

I had some errands to run this afternoon and was hungry when I got back. Cereal sounded quick and good. I had 3/4 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch, 1/2 cup Fiber One (to try to pretend to be healthy), and 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla soymilk. You can't tell from the picture, but the bowl is actually a prep bowl! I found a set of these at Ross for under $5 -- there were sizes ranging from 1/4 cup to 2 cups. Instead of using them as measuring cups, I'm going to use them as portion-control bowls. I used the 2 cup bowl and it seemed to work pretty well.

Yes, those are curly fries in the back! I find that if I totally cut out stuff like junk food and fast food that it comes back to bite me later on, so I'm just going to try to work them in. Arbys has been doing this Wednesday Freebies thing for a couple weeks around town and I thought we should give it a shot tonight. Today's deal was a free regular roast beef sandwich if you purchased a soft drink. I got one of the new diet blackberry iced teas to try out, a drink for Mr. Spice, our free sandwiches, and an order of curly fries to split. I'm weird and eat my roast beef sandwiches open-face -- I think I started doing that in high school when I was scary obsessed with dieting to make my food last longer. Anyway, I sliced some fresh cucumbers and tomatoes to go along with my food just so it wasn't all junk. Usually we each get our own fries, but I was satisfied with the 1/2 order, probably because I bulked up my sandwich with veggies.

What's that piece of cake doing there? For some reason, even though it's in the 90s here, I felt like baking. I remembered a French yogurt cake recipe I read about in one of my cookbooks, but wanted an easier version. A little searching and I found one! I'll post the recipe separately. I ran the recipe through the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers site and saw that each serving was 6 points! Oh la la! No problem, I just had 1/2 of a serving so that I didn't totally decimate my points for the day. Oh and the plate was another Ross find -- it's from a set of appetizer plates. You already saw one at breakfast. I'm a sucker for anything colorful, cute, and small and I saw that these were another good way at controlling portion sizes. All these mind tricks I play on myself!

So I've actually managed to document a whole day of what I eat! I still don't know how you guys do this every day, but it's fun! I may not do them all the time, but expect to see more of these.

Good night!

A Boca-licious Lunch!

Boy was I happy when I saw a bunch of Boca products on sale at Publix for 5 for $10! I stocked up on the "chicken" patties, crumbles, and a couple others, such as the Savory Mushroom Mozzarella patty. So good, so easy, and so healthy!

Anyway, the most productive thing I've managed to do all morning is to exercise. I have had Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred dvd forever and have only done the level 1 workout a few times. I'm determined to graduate to levels 2 and 3. For only a 20 minute workout, it's pretty intense! So not surprisingly, I worked up quite an appetite for lunch.

I cooked up a lot of pasta the other night, so I had plenty of leftovers to work with. I know the bowl doesn't look so nice and pretty, but I was starving! So I have 1.5 cups of vermicelli pasta, 1 big handful of spinach, 1 Boca Savory Mushroom Mozzarella patty, 1/2 cup Classico Spicy Tomato & Basil sauce, some crushed red pepper, and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

So that's it for now. I need to find something else productive to do this afternoon -- snacks and dinner are undecided yet, but we're doing a movie night at home so definitely something quick.

Have a good afternoon!

Cool as a Cucumber Breakfast

I can't help but be impressed by those of you who consistently post pictures of each meal almost every single day. I think that a photo food journal is more effective than just tracking one's food online or on paper because you now have an audience to keep you accountable. And I know that if it were me, that would motivate me to make more of an attempt to eat healthier foods knowing that others are going to see what I eat (and possibly judge, let's be honest!).

Hmmm, maybe that's not a bad idea?

Okay so maybe I'll give it a shot for a few meals and then let's see how it goes.

So let's start with breakfast today.

Today's breakfast is an actual attempt by me to have some fruits and veggies to start off the day, unlike the past couple weeks.

So, I have a Weight Watchers English Muffin, some light chive cream cheese, thin slices of cucumber, and the cutest little clementine ever. It really is adorable -- if I get back into bento-ing, these will most definitely be part of them.

Okay I also have a couple things to confess.

As some of you know, I'm an inveterate Weight Watchers re-starter. I lost 25 lb. on it 7 years ago, but due to life/laziness/whatever I've put it all back and a whole lot more since then and have really been struggling with the weight loss game. I have a wedding to go to in a few weeks and although I can still barely squeeze into my sari blouse and although I know I can't work miracles, I really would like to drop a few pounds before then. So I'm hoping if I try to post some meals here I'll keep myself accountable and not do something stupid like having pizza rolls and baked fries for dinner like I may have done last night. What? I said I had a couple things to confess!

See you at lunchtime!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm not ready for this heat!

Wow, it's been insane this past week. The heat and the humidity combined have forced me into hiding out inside the house with the AC and fans running.

It used to be the heat didn't affect my eating, but more and more I'm noticing that when it's oppressively hot, I want to eat light or not at all. I probably shouldn't admit this, but there was a night last week where we opted to have ice cream for dinner. The perks of being an adult! :)

Well I've realized that eating ice cream for dinner is NOT the solution, and though the thought of cooking over a hot stove or baking something in the oven is not appealing, we do have to eat. I've been resorting to meals that take the minimum amount of time to cook (so not a lot of Indian food lately) or that require no cooking at all.

So where does that leave us in terms of meal options the past few days?

Cereal and milk
Hummus, pita, veggies
Ice cream (ahem)
Tacos/taco salad -- I used Boca crumbles which don't take long to cook
Pasta -- I used angel hair, which doesn't take long to cook either

I want to come up with some more options that I can rely on. I should also mention we're working on a budget since there have been some changes to our household, job-wise.

Okay so here are some other ideas that work for me, may not work for Mr. Spice:

Sandwiches/veggie burgers
Couscous salad
Pasta salad

Notice how I haven't mentioned actual salads. I'm not always in the mood for salads, I prefer cooked veggies. But I may not have a choice with this weather.

Time to think of more options . . .

What are some of your hot weather meal ideas that require little to no cooking?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dinner is served!

It didn't quite turn out as I'd planned, but I certainly had no complaints once I started eating.

Okay, so what exactly am I eating?

Starting clockwise from top right:

Egg and potato curry

a big blob of spicy mango pickle (achar)

Okra with cumin and tomato

whole wheat paratha (flaky Indian bread)

Originally, I'd planned to make khichuri, which is a dish made from rice and lentils that can be made gloppy like oatmeal or dry like a pilaf. I make it the second way. After making the okra and egg & potato dishes, I was too hot and lazy to make khichuri.

Egg and potato curry is one of the easiest curries, in my opinion. However, I don't know what I did, but the gravy didn't come out how I wanted, both in texture and taste. I was just tossing in stuff and it didn't work out this time. I'll work on it and then post a proper recipe sometime.

Spicy mango pickle is a staple in our household.

The okra dish was something I made up as I went along and it turned out pretty good. I heated some oil, tossed in some cumin seeds and let them start popping, then threw in some chopped onion, then some frozen okra, then some salt and salsa (my secre sub for tomatoes).

The parathas were the frozen kind from the Indian grocery store. I've never made these from scratch, nor do I have the time and inclination, especially when someone's already done the work and all I have to do is cook them in a hot pan. I try not to eat these too much since they are pretty rich, but we do buy different brands and flavors and keep them on hand. I'm even ashamed to admit we've just had parathas and achar for dinner a few times. But don't judge too much, it tastes damn good.

Have you guessed by now I'm lazy and take help where I can get it? :D