Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eggplant--The Underloved Vegetable

First of all Happy Halloween. This holiday really only applies to children under the age of 15 who get to have all the fun collecting candy. But, if you’re dressing up, kudos to you. I’m not. Instead I’m suffering through a work commute with both the Giants parade and Halloween…yay. Can you feel my enthusiasm….How ironic is it that the Giants’s color is orange? So, since it’s Halloween, logically, I’ll be writing about eggplant.

                                                              Hello Happy Eggplant!

For all you eggplant haters out there, I was long ago quite like you. I just thought eggplant was plain weird. But, now I would list it as one of my top three favorite veggies! The list of ways to cook it is endless so you will never be bored!

There is also not just one type of eggplant. There are the Italian eggplants, like the type to make your typical eggplant parm. There are Indian eggplants, Japanese eggplants, and Thai eggplants. Who knew every country had its own type of eggplant? But, my personal favorite is the Chinese eggplant! I really like my eggplant soft, even mushy, and bursting with saucy flavor. This is exactly how they make it at my favorite restaurants. Whether stir fried or steamed, there is so much you can do with an eggplant. For my busy day, I just cut up a Chinese eggplant and stuck it in a pan of warm water this morning. I drained the water and added a bit of sauce and I was ready to go with snack for the day! I got a new sauce to use: Annie Chung’s Shitake Soy Ginger. Don’t be afraid of the mush of eggplant. It really is the best part, and eggplant is so filling as well.

If you are really as interested in the various types of eggplant as I am (which you’re probably not but just in case), refer to the following page:

I actually don’t even think this is every type because I have seen some tiny eggplants at a specialty market that aren’t listed on this page!

My love for eggplant was actually inspired by a Whole Foods dish. It consisted of eggplant and mushrooms in a dark sweet and salty sauce. If you are ever lucky enough to happen upon this dish at the hot food bar, try it! My local Whole Foods (one of the four I go to), carried it for a couple of weeks, but it disappeared after that.

On a side note more relative to Halloween, I must try the pumpkin spice covered malt balls I found at Sprouts! Oh my goodness! Who knew pumpkin products went this far in their spectrum?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So That's What a Fig Tastes Like

After 19 years of my life, I finally tried a fig. As a fruit fanatic, I have tried a pretty wide variety of fruits. I am always looking for more tropical fruits whenever I travel. That is how I discovered on of my favorite fruits, the cherimoya. If you haven’t tried it, you are missing out. It is almost like a mix of a pineapple, banana, and mango with almost a pudding consistency. A friend said it tasted like “one of those pineapple gummy bears.”
                   I could really use a Cherimoya right now, but they have such a short season!

But, back to figs. Another new realization after 19 years is that we have a fig tree in our backyard. Go figure. I went to pick up some produce from someone’s house a couple weeks ago (long story), and I was lucky enough for them to offer me a backyard tasting tour. Now, a usual backyard tasting would consist of a couple oranges—whoop de doo. But, this backyard garden was the king of them all! The entire backyard was absolutely covered in tomato vines and miscellaneous fruit. I was enjoying the tomato tasting, and they asked if I wanted a fig. I had previously never really thought of trying figs, but they did their job convincing me of their deliciousness. Hesitantly, I bit it…and holy mackerel! This was soooo sweet. I legitimately bought figs during my next grocery store trip. But, they were not even half as sweet or rich as fresh off the tree.
                                                      Just a few of the many tomato plants....

When I learned we had a fig tree, I was super excited. However, it is a tough battle with the squirrels who are winning. Squirrels-100000 Me-1. I have eaten one good fig off our tree. If you pick them even one day too early, they are hardly sweet nor soft enough. I keep waiting just one more day for them to ripen. But, I will return the following morning to find no ripe figs. Zilcho, nunca, nada. I can’t even find any purple ones. Those fig stealing squirrels. Moral of the story, I am now sad because we have those sweet, delicious figs fresh off the tree, but the first choice always goes to the pesky squirrels (that I used to think were cute).


           ME                        VS.           

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Treasure Hunt--For Food

So, after reading a couple of other great fitness/health/food blogs, I compiled what I am bursting to try! I always end up going to multiple grocery stores on these searches. Usually one store will end up having a couple of the flavors, but not the one I am most excited about!

1. I am absolutely obsessed with Zone Perfect Cookie Dough. I accidently stumbled upon this fantastical deliciousness at my local Nob Hill. It is basically cookie dough with 10 grams of protein. Who can refuse? Well, I was doing a bit of internet browsing and, unfortunately, I found out they have a peanut butter cookie dough flavor. I say “unfortunately” because I am certain I will never be able to find it, and the flavor will now be in my dreams. The chocolate chip is so good though and tastes exactly like cookie dough.

2. About Time Protein Powder—Birthday Cake Flavor. O m gee. I have heard so many good things about this product, but they don’t sell in a store remotely in my area. This means it’s ordering online time! They have some other interesting flavors as well that I must try. But, Birthday Cake is first on the list!

3. I’ve been making protein pumpkin omelets and been meaning to try to make some protein frosting. This is not really an actual product more as a reminder to myself to go buy some more protein powder to mix with maple syrup. This should be heavenly!

4. Better Whey of Life—Whey protein yogurt? Hmmm…should be an interesting try. Oddly enough, some Greek Yogurt brands seems to have more protein than this, but I really still want to try it!

I did find one product that I already tried! RTD 51 Peanut Butter Cup protein shake. This was a pre mixed shake and as soon as I saw the phrase “peanut butter cup,” I was hooked. I got this shake at the Vitamin Shoppe for count it $4! Holy mackerel. If I actually like these, I need find another place to buy them. Well, I tried the shake yesterday. It is very sweet. You can definitely taste peanut butter in it, and I do have the slight recollection of eating a peanut butter cup. My taste buds did notice a strong artificial flavor which was slightly disappointing. I know they had a cookies and cream flavor for this brand, but the artificial flavor is enough that I’m going to try another brand.
                                                           Look at this huge sucker!

Well, off to go drive 45-50 miles. Talleyhoe!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Arctic Zero--The Myth No Longer

Everyone who knows me surely is aware of exactly how obsessed I am with trying the newest food products. I jumped on the Arctic Zero bandwagon long ago, but many of the flavors seemed to be elusive.

Well, I can finally share with you that I have tried every single flavor! After combing all the grocery stores in my area, I can truly say that I am an Arctic Zero expert. What is Arctic Zero, you ask? It is a whey protein ice cream. Cue “ewww” noises. No, it’s really yummy! Now, I will first take you through the art of enjoying Arctic Zero.

Let’s start with my favorite flavors and the best ways to enjoy them:

Vanilla Maple: This flavor has an absolutely delicious vanilla flavor with the slightest hint of maple. It is honestly good as it is. But, give it a couple minutes to reach a soft and creamy consistency because it can be a bit hard out of the freezer. Now, a creative way I like to enjoy this flavor (and a couple of others) is by nuking it in the microwave. When I say nuke, I mean nuke. You put this in the microwave until it bubbles up. It tastes almost exactly like marshmallow fluff. So delicious. But, be careful that the container has enough space because it will REALLY bubble. I have had a few Arctic Zero explosions in my microwave. I also made a delicious strawberry smoothie with this flavor by adding fresh strawberries. It actually tasted pretty thick and sweet.

Chocolate Peanut: The same as above. Except, when you nuke it, it tastes like the thickest, creamiest, most indulgent hot chocolate you have ever tasted. Even better, it is much more nutritious! The chocolate peanut has a very slight hint of peanut as well. Don’t be expecting full on peanut butter because you won’t get it.

Coffee: This reminds me EXACTLY of a Freddo from Peet’s Coffee. To a T! I have yet to explore with this flavor, but I feel like it could create some really yummy concoctions

Chocolate Mint: This is actually decently minty. It creates a very interesting hot chocolate.

And finally….pumpkin! I looked everywhere for this, and my local Sprouts finally special ordered it JUST for me. They actually said they were going to put it on shelves, but not until after early November. I thought this was really odd considering pumpkin is more for Halloween than Thanksgiving. But, whatever floats their boat. This has such a strong pumpkin taste!!!! Nuke this and it tastes like pumpkin whipped cream. Oh m gee…put it on top of your pumpkin pie and life will never be the same. It also has somewhat of a homey cinnamon flavor to it. I also tried nuking it together with Arctic Zero chocolate, but it totally overpowered the chocolate flavor (lol). So, as shown, pumpkin apparently takes the win like always!

                                          Proof--Look at it sitting there all perfectly in the freezer.

Anyway, I was so happy to get my hands on any flavor. Some supermarkets have finally started to carry more flavors which makes me so happy. I also saw an Arctic Zero sale!!! YAY so I stocked up!

The Art of the Pumpkin Omelet

Tis the season. The pumpkin season that is! Every time I visit the grocery store, I see a plethora of pumpkin products. This is especially true at one of my favorite grocery stores—Trader Joes. I can’t even list their pumpkin assortment which consists of two kinds of pumpkin tea, pumpkin soufflé, pumpkin soup, pumpkin oatmeal, and of course the classic pumpkin pie. I’m sure I’m even missing a couple in this list.

With all this pumpkin, I was ,of course, inspired to try some pumpkin recipes. This is how the pumpkin omelet was born.

It was a long and boring afternoon, and I was in a pumpkin mood. But, oh no, the pumpkin pie was all gone! Fortunately, I still had some pumpkin in a can left. Now the question was what to make? I have recently become obsessed with protein powders and eggs whites…so what do I do but decide to combine all my favorite things!


This recipe is very subjective based on the consistency you like! If you want your omelete more pumpkiny (yes this should be a word), then add more of the pumpkin puree. If you want more of an omelet consistency, then use more egg whites. If you want more of a soufflé, then add a bit more baking powder.

½ cup egg whites

½ cup pumpkin puree

1 scoop protein powder

1 pinch baking powder

1 HEAPING tablespoon cinnamon (I do love my cinnamon!)

Sugar (based on desired sweetness)

Maple syrup (this adds a nice homey/holiday flavor! Pumpkin maple nom nom nom)

Whisk, whisk, whisk.

Now, you have more some choices to make in terms of cooking.

1. You can put this all in your non-stick pan and wait until it starts to bubble and then flip.

2. You can put it in a very large non-stick pan so it is thinner.

3. You can scramble it in the pan!

4. You can put this in the blender or use the electric mixer to make it more soufflé like and then pop it in a cup in the oven.

While the taste may be the same, the consistency will vary slightly based on mixing and cooking mechanism. You can also eat it plain or top with greek yogurt or even pumpkin greek yogurt (yes, such a thing does exist…one of the forgotten items at Trader Joe’s).