What I’ve Been Reading….

Some posts I have enjoyed recently….

Helpful, honest and/or informative posts:

Sweet Tater: On Binge Eating – in this post, Katie lays down the facts about binge eating in such a clear and informative way and discusses how she personally deals with the issue. I love how blunt, honest, and hilarious she is in general (I always look forward to reading her posts), and I personally loved how she delved into this topic in such a relatable, open way.  Check it out if you haven’t already!

For the Love of Kale: Dissassociating my Veganism from my Eating Disorder: I have mentioned Heather/her blog on here a few times already, but I must say, her blog is one of my new favorites. I love when blogs are authentic and real and when you can tell that the person behind the page really has a passion for what they are writing about. Heather’s blog is just that, and I love the positive energy she exudes through her writing. She also  talks about topics in such a well-rounded and helpful way.  

Une Vie Saine: Lately: I have been reading Gabriela’s blog for quite a while now, and I have loved watching it evolve. I think our 20’s can be such a confusing time, and I appreciate how Gabriela has let her blog evolve with her life and how she is so open and real about her feelings.  I love how brutally honest she is in this post. It was very refreshing to read.   

You can’t fake authenticity and passion, and I love finding blogs (and posts) that are honest and real (these are the blogs  that keep me coming back for more!). It is not easy to whip out informative/thought-provoking/well-written content on a consistent basis, so I have huge respect for people who are able to write openly and honestly about their thoughts/experiences/feelings. Check out these blogs!

On the food/recipe front:

Accidentially Delish: Chocolate Banana Hummus – I have no words. This is such a good idea! I need to buy some chickpeas stat.

Healthy Happy Life: Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers –  I heard that these are delicious and I reallllly want to make them.

Gluten Free Goddess: Kale Salad with Quinoa, Tangerines and Roasted Almonds – I am always on the lookout for new uses for kale and this one seems right up my alley…

Recipe Success

Peanut Butter Fingers: Savory Salmon Oatmeal Hash – I made this for dinner the other week and LOVED it! While I have made savory oats before, this was a new spin on the concept. You couldn’t even tell that oatmeal was used as the grain! This was really easy to make and was sooooo delicious. I basically stuck to Julie’s recipe only making the following modifications:

  • I replaced the cauliflower with asparagus and broccoli 
  • I seasoned my oatmeal hash with some dijon mustard and pepper (that I mixed in at the end of cooking) and topped my bowl off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice  (instead of seasoning with dill)

Any posts you have loved recently?

Any recipes you want to make/have made and want to share?

….feel free to link!

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Things I’ve learned this weekend…

1. Three  years can go by really fast….

My boyfriend, Jon, and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday. I honestly can’t  believe it has been that long…. I feel like we just met next to the keg in the basement of that lovely college apartment where neither of us knew anyone…

While our relationship has evolved quite a bit over the years, he still makes me laugh everyday, is always my #1 fan, and I love him now more than ever. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

I love you Jon! Happy 3 years!

2. I want to be Ina Garten

Yesterday afternoon, Sami (my sister) and I made and brought lunch over to our friend Erin’s house to have a lunch/homework “party” (Hi Erin and Erin!). From reading my blog(!) and seeing Sami’s lunches during breaks from class (Erin is in Sami’s grad program), she was interested in having a Dana/Sami-inspired salad. I, of course, was happy to bring over some healthy and delicious food for us to enjoy (since I do want to start a lunch-packing service), and packed us some Asian-themed salads.

Asian-themed salads with edamame, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, snap peas, teriakyi tofu, brown rice, sesame seeds....

I felt a lot like Ina Garten, since she always seems to be whipping up and packing food to-go for special occasions. I won’t lie, I am a big fan of hers, and I kind of liked channeling my inner Barefoot Contessa yesterday. I love packing lunches for myself and for others, and if it were possible for me to make a living traveling around and making people healthy/colorful/delicious lunches and snacks, I totally would do it.

I need Ina to come give me some tips….

3. Bulgur wheat is a delicious oatmeal alternative

1/4 c bulgur, 1/4 c oats, 1 c almond milk, 1/2 banana, big scoop pb

Yesterday morning, I tweaked my normal oatmeal/banana/peanut butter breakfast by replacing a 1/4 cup of my normal oatmeal serving with a 1/4 cup of some bulgur wheat (that I got in the bulk bins at Whole Foods).  I first read about this grain over at Carrots ‘n Cake, and it is a great grain to enjoy for breakfast (here is some info about it if you’re interested). It is a bit chewier than rolled oats, but I find that combining it with oats creates a great combination of texture. It is a great way to switch up breakfast and  incorporate fun, new, and healthy grains into your diet! I really enjoyed this breakfast yesterday. (Note to self: eat more bulgur for breakfast!)

I  hope you are having a great weekend!

Anything you have “learned this weekend?”

Any types of grains you like to enjoy for breakfast other than oatmeal? I have tried using barley and quinoa as alternative breakfast grains before, and I know Bethenny has a brown rice breakfast that I tried a few years ago…

How to order beer at a bar without feeling clueless

Hi everyone! I hope your having a lovely (3 day!) weekend so far.

So today I thought I’d discuss beer (an appropriate weekend discussion, I think).

The thing is, I LOVE beer now, but this wasn’t always the case. For a pretty long time, I thought only of this when the topic of beer came up:

which has its time and place of course....

But this past summer, I learned that a whole world of beer exists outside the big names of Miller, Coors and Bud…. craft beer.

I used to be really intimidated by these “fancy” beers. How do you know what you like? What do you order from a draft list of 10-20 beers that you have never heard of? What is the difference between an IPA, a pale ale and a  stout?

In order to gain some knowledge about this, I took matters into my own hands and did what any clueless, information-seeking person would do. I read Beer for Dummies.

So while I am still no expert and still have much to learn when it comes to beer (which is part of the fun!), I believe I have figured out enough in order to know how to order a beer at a bar without feeling completely clueless. Since I don’t think I am the only one that has ever felt that way, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned, and lend some advice as to how I decipher beer/draft menus. (Note: I am not an expert. I am just a beer loving 23-year old trying to help out any future beer lovers. This is just a compilation of tips that I find to be helpful in a bar setting.)

How to decipher a draft list and look somewhat knowledgeable about beer

1. Be aware of the different types of beer

There are usually a few types of beer you will find when you look at a draft list. The most popular ones you will see include:

IPA

Pale Ale

Brown Ale

Wheat Ale/Hefeweizen

Seasonal Ales (right now you probably will see Winter/Christmas Ales)

Stout

Beers can have crazy names, but they will usually include their type at the end (for example, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Troegs DreamWeaver Wheat Ale). Sometimes they won’t (Victory Storm King), but if you’re first staring out in the beer world, I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

2. Be aware of certain flavors/tastes

Beer is made of 4 ingredients: water, yeast, hops and grains. All beer contains these 4 ingredients, the difference in taste results from how the ingredients are combined, or in the balance of how the ingredients are used (There is much more to it than this and it is a much more complicated process, but that is the basic jist of the process).

There are lots of ways to describe a beer, but the main “technical” terms I tend to keep in mind are: hoppy and malty

hoppy = a bitter taste that can sometimes taste a little fruity, sometimes a little spicy

malty =a caramel-y taste,  can be sweet or dry

Other terms/ways to describe a beer include: fruity, crisp, yeasty….

I have found that beers tend to follow this pattern:

hoppy: IPA, pale ales

malty:  brown ales, a lot of winter/Christmas seasonal ales, darker ales (like stouts – they taste like coffee!)

other: wheat beers I find, taste lighter, and “yeasty,” which  is more of a fruity, lighter taste

There are a lot of different breweries out there and a lot of different variations of beer types, so not all IPAs or pale ales, for example, will taste the same. I like to put the difference types into these categories to make it a little easier to remember, but keep in mind that variations do exist. I like to think thats part of the fun though……. there is always something new and exciting to try!

3. Don’t be afraid to  ask questions and try new things!

If you aren’t really sure if you will like a certain kind of beer, ask! Bartenders tend to be very knowledgeable about beer (who would of thought?) and are very helpful. I know I like IPAs and hoppy beers, so I often will ask a bartender what they recommend I try. Sometimes you can even get lucky and they will give you a sample.

Once you kind of get the taste basics down (hoppy, malty, a balance of hop/malt, fruity… really there is no wrong way of categorizing a beer), you can use it to your advantage. If you know you like IPAs with that are more fruity/citrusy you can ask for a recommendation. If you like lighter, more crisp beers, a bartender can offer advice as well.

So there you go. I hope this was somewhat helpful. If you happen to be reading and happen to be feeling adventerous at the bar this weekend, I challenge you to not order the Miller Lite and try something new!… and then promise come back here and tell me what it was (I love trying out new beers!).

Questions: Any other beer lovers out there with more tips for navigating a beer menu?

What is your favorite kind of beer? It depends on my mood/the season but I am currently loving Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA and Troegs Mad Elf (SO GOOD)


My Food “Non-Negotiables”

One show that I hate to admit that I love is The Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo. There is something so enticing about watching first dates go well (or crash and burn…). Plus, I think Patty is pretty hilarious.

One thing that Patty always tells “her millionaires” to do is to write down their non-negotiables when it comes to love and relationships. A non-negotiable in this sense is basically a trait , quality, or value that a person must possess in order for you to want date them (e.g., humor, be of a certain religion, want to have kids….).

Since I tend to always have food on the brain, I thought this could be kind of fun to do in regard to food/healthy living, as in,  what  non-negotiables do you have in regard to food? Basically, what food “rules” (I am using this term lightly) do you follow/must you follow on a normal basis?

As for me, a few food “non-negotiables” that I have are:

1. I must have 20-30 minutes each morning to eat breakfast

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I have a little routine I follow every weekday morning. I like  to set myself up on my living room couch to watch the news as I catch up on blogs on my phone/computer. I love having this quiet time to myself before I start the day. Regardless of what time I have to go into work, I always make sure I have at least 20 minutes planned for breakfast.

2. I have to drink a glass of water every morning before breakfast

I started doing this about a year ago (probably when I realized that I am awful at drinking water through out the day), and now it is something that I routinely do. I don’t know if it is really beneficial at all, but I find that I am thirsty in the morning now (which is weird because I used to hate the taste of water in the morning). I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing…

3. I eat ranch on pizza

If I have had one too many drinks on a Friday or Saturday night, it is guaranteed that I will want a snack/snacks that night (ask any of my friends… I am a bottomless pit). Most likely, I will want pizza. The thing is, pizza is not complete in these instances unless I have ranch dressing to dip the pizza into.

I don’t even really like ranch dressing, and I really don’t eat that much pizza on a normal basis… but for some reason these two go together perfectly on those certain nights at 2 AM. I first discovered this at Penn State and now  it is just a fact of life. The ranch is mandatory.

4.  I pack my lunch for work every day

This is definitely a non-negoitiable for me. It first of all, saves me so much money, and also guarantees that I will always have a healthy/filling/delicious lunch during the week. I admit that it does take a little more time and effort to plan/pack my lunch (chopping veggies can take time), but with a little bit of prep work at the start of each week, I have pretty much streamlined the process.

5.  I must eat grilled cheese with yellow mustard

This one is kind of random, but if I eat a grilled cheese sandwich, I HAVE to have yellow mustard to dip it into (I am starting to notice that I have a weird dipping habit with certain foods…). I also prefer it to be French’s, but as long as it isn’t spicy/Dijon, etc. I’ll accept it. I guess I was raised to do this (I’m  pretty sure my mom/sisters do this as well), but grilled cheese isn’t the same without mustard to me. I probably would choose to eat something else if it wasn’t available. Anyone else do this?

So some of my “non-negotiables” are healthy habits while others are a bit more random I suppose…. I know we all have them though.

I am always interested in hearing what other people like to eat or how others eat on a daily basis (I suppose there is a reason why I love reading food blogs so much), so do you have any food “non-negotiables?”