Saturday, June 28, 2014

Salad for Breakfast?

With our lettuce and kale in full bloom, I don't want to eat anything but salad. 

I find an excuse to make a salad whenever I can, making tuna fish or grilling a veggie burger and slicing it on top. 

After a long morning of biking, swimming and running yesterday, I found myself past one o'clock and starving. But, I never like to start my day with anything but breakfast food, no matter what time I actually end up eating breakfast. But as I walked past the garden to put my bike away, I really wanted a salad.

So I compromised. 

Veggie Scramble Salad (a.k.a. "Eggs on a Bed")

Basically, toss in whatever you like with your scrambled eggs and put it all on a bed of greens. If you're curious, here's how I made mine:
  1. Lightly grease a pan with olive oil and sauté baby bella mushrooms and onions.
  2. While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, chop up about a quarter of a medium-sized tomato. Then, crack two eggs in a bowl, add a little water, and whisk. (My grandmother told me that a chef told her that using water instead of milk is the key to fluffy eggs.) 
  3. Once the onions and mushrooms are tender, pour in the eggs. Add the chopped tomato, grated cheese (I used Trader Joe's Creamy Toscano Cheese), and kale (I recommend breaking up the leaves).
  4. Add a little pepper and salt. 
  5. Keep a careful eye on the eggs, using a spatula to stir often.
  6. Place greens in a shallow dish and top with the veggie scramble.
  7. Enjoy!

It was exactly what I was craving, and when I woke up this morning, I craved it again. It's a refreshing and protein-filled way to start the day! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


When I woke up at 4:30 this morning to make Mom a smoothie to-go for her class at Lesley University, I hadn't planned on staying up. I went to bed at midnight, after all. But I wasn't really that tired getting up (maybe it'll hit me later) and most mornings this sumer I'll want to sleep in because I'l be out late performing Les Mis, so when Mom commented about what a nice time of day it was, I decided it might be a good idea to take advantage of the morning.

I boiled water for tea and took my laptop out at first, figuring I would continue working on my college checklist from last night. Then I realized how wasteful it would be to spend an early morning in front of a screen, especially because I would be tempted to check my Gmail and Facebook to see who had thought about me between midnight (the last time I checked them) and 4:30 in the morning. It's frustratingly satisfying to see that someone liked my picture or status on Facebook (the only e-mail I get on a regular basis is the Word of the Day, so my e-mail is rarely exciting), or that someone messaged me.  It's frustrating because I'm relying on others for self-security, and because the satisfaction wears off seconds after I click the message or little Earth icon.

Instead, I grabbed my notebook–I've been trying to get back into the habit of writing–a beach towel, my tea, and my car keys. Which brings me to the beach this morning. The sun peaked over the clouds. The waves crashed. I sipped my tea from my Krispy Kreme thermos and burned my tongue. There I sat. Sitting. Sitting. Sun. Waves. Tea. Burnt tongue. Seagulls. Sand. Yup.

I'm terrible at being still. I'm bad at even walking. It's too slow. I would rather run. It gets my heart rate up and gets me in shape. It feels purposeful. I have the annoying desire to always be productive. I always need to be doing something, for something. I'm terrible at being still because I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything. I'm not content doing things just because I feel like doing them. I need a reason. If I sleep in, it's because I should be catching up on sleep for the week. One of the reasons I'm so conscious about what I eat is because I feel like whatever I eat should benefit my body in some way.

Trust me when I say this neurosis can be extremely mentally draining. Often times I lose the spontaneity of the moment because I spend too much time planning the what and why of my day, instead of just living it.

I know it's important for me to slow down sometimes. Allow my mind to wander without justification. I need to find more moments in my life to meditate; to be at peace with myself, rather than always trying to think of how I can better myself.

Which is why it was important for me to just sit this morning. Dig my toes in the sand and let my thoughts about those s'mores and frozen yogurt and cookie from yesterday go out with the tide. Sip my tea and feel the newly risen sun on my face. Just sit.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Art of Procrastination

All of a sudden, there is so much I "need" to do when it's time to clean my room...

I "need" to cut up and redesign an old tie-dye T-shirt...

I "need" to make Blueberry Four Grain Pancakes...

And I "need" NEED to update my blog. This I actually do need to do, so I am going to take advantage of this legitimate need to procrastinate cleaning my room just a bit longer, and talk about my breakfast this morning. 

My love for pancakes was rekindled at our In the Heights post-show cast party at IHOP. I had never not liked pancakes, but I would've preferred waffles or crepes if you asked me my preference. Quite frankly, I had never really liked IHOP, either. I had been only twice before, once being in New York for a track meet. The fact that I was running a big race that weekend, on top of the fact that I ordered some sort of strawberry yogurt crepes, left a sour taste in my mouth for the franchise.

On that particular post-show night at IHOP, I got the Harvest Grain 'N Nut pancakes (filled with oats, almonds and English walnuts), topped with blueberry compote. Maybe it was the post-show adrenaline. Maybe it was the fact that it was 11:30 at night, and everything sweet tastes better at 11:30 at night. Maybe it was just that IHOP has really good freaking pancakes. Whatever it was, they were delicious.

My next momentous trip to IHOP was two months later, at the post-show cast party for our spring comedy, Testing, Testing. I got the Whole Wheat with Bananas pancakes, and I will never get anything other than those at IHOP ever again. Fat, fluffy, warm, golden, and maple syrup. What more could a girl ask for? 

Anyway, I've been craving pancakes these past few days, but I was set on having whole wheat pancakes, and alas, we didn't have any whole wheat flour in our pantry. So, after surfing the internet for about forty minutes last night, I finally came across a series of healthy pancake recipes that I combined to make my own:

Blueberry Four Grain Pancakes

Yields 6-8 pancakes (4"-6" in diameter each)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup ground chia seed*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1 cup milk**
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or light brown)
  • 1/3 cup original applesauce
  • Blueberries (optional)***
*Some websites I read said chia seeds are a whole-grain, and others said they aren't. Regardless, chia seeds are filled with nutritional benefits, including healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. So, whether or not you call these pancakes Three Grain or Four Grain, they're still really healthy for pancakes.

**I used plain almond milk, but I'm sure any other milk would work fine. 

***Although the blueberries are optional, the quinoa flavor is strong, and I thought the blueberries helped mask the taste (although I don't mind the taste of quinoa). 

Here's where my skills in the kitchen fail: following directions. All pancake recipes I read online said to toss together all the dry ingredients first. Next, whisk the wet ingredients (in this case, applesauce, milk, and egg) in a separate bowl. Then, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Honestly, I just combined them all at once in a big bowl. I used a whisk to break up the egg, and then a wooden spoon to stir it all together. It still turned out fine, but if I were to do it again, I probably would separate the ingredients.

One tip I did read, though, was to be careful not to overmix the batter. Stir until all the ingredients are just combined. Otherwise, the pancakes will be tough and dense. 

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray, oil or butter. I used an ice cream scooper to drop the batter on the skillet, which made about 4" pancakes. I liked this size because it meant I could stack more pancakes :) 

Wait until bubbles begin to form in the center of the pancake, and then flip. Cook until the other side is golden brown. Coat your griddle or skillet before every pancake or batch of pancakes. 

Stack and serve with maple syrup! 

And now, three and a half hours after I have woken up, I return to clean my room. At least it's almost lunch time!