Tag Archives: Winston-Salem

The Trouble With Food Tracking and My Wish List

I learned a valuable lesson today. It’s a lesson I’ve been forced to learn about 187391092779 times over, and I hope this time the true meaning will stick in my mind so that I’ll quit making the same mistakes.

If you are monitoring your food intake, ALWAYS TRACK YOUR MEALS.

I know, it seems obvious. It is obvious. It’s also the cornerstone of the Weight Watchers philosophy. But I am the laziest tracker in the history of the world. I spent the month of March being really lazy about my tracking habits- partially because I was fasting, and partially because I’m just really freaking lazy. As a result, when I stepped on the scale two weeks ago, I wasn’t very surprised to be pissed off by the number it gave me. However, I was a little surprised to be even more upset by the number I saw last week. In my defense, I was on my period and I always weigh really heavy when I’m menstruating. But I also didn’t track very well last week. I always start the week strong, and then I taper off toward the middle of the week. When I stop tracking, it becomes infinitely easier to impulsively eat the foods which sabotage me and my goals.

This week, however, I really focused on my tracking- even when I didn’t feel like it. And I saw definite results on the scale this morning. I need to maintain this momentum- sometimes tracking my food is just such a F-ing hassle. But I have to remember that the long term goals are worth the extra five minutes of effort.

In other news, I’ve been accumulating a wish list of items which will improve my blogging/cooking/athletic life. While the list grows steadily every day, there are a couple of items that are really key:

canon rebel1. New Camera- I love my camera. I really do. It’s small, and I can take it everywhere. But I need to get serious about my photography, especially in regard to my blogging. I mean, I’m well aware that a fancy camera does not create great photos- there’s no substitute for good lighting and composition. But I want the quality of my photography to increase, and I don’t want to invest more money in another point and shoot when I’m pleased with the point and shoot I’m using. I need to upgrade to dslr. My ideal model is the Canon Rebel– of course, it’s really expensive. I’m looking for a used canon, and I’m actually looking primarily at older models. I spend quite a bit of time scouring ebay for viable options. At this point, it’s just a little too far out of my financial grasp. But I’m hopeful- if you know anyone who is upgrading to another model and wants to get rid of their dslr, let me know!

garmin heart rate monitor2. Heart Rate Monitor: I think I need to be monitoring my activity level more vigilantly and I think a heart rate monitor will really help with this goal. I’d like to kn0w exactly how many calories I’m burning while exercising and I’d like to get more precise heart rate calculations. This will help me determine how I should be increasing/decreasing my exercise levels, especially as I reach weight plateaus and finish couch to 5k. At this point I’m battling between a garmin and a polar– price is an obvious factor, but I’m still just trying to decide between the two brands. As always, I’m really open to any insight you guys might have.

running shoe fitting guides3. Running Shoes: I actually already talked about this, but it’s become a true necessity. I don’t know how I’ll make it through the summer running season (especially since I definitely plan to run/race when I’m in Boston) wearing the shoes I have right now. These are great sneaks for general exercise, but I need to take better care of my tootsie wootsies if I’m going to keep up this hobby. I’ve received some great running shoe store recommendations in both GSO and Winston-Salem, but I still can’t quite decide between Fleet Feet and Off’N Running. In fact, I might have to get fitted after Saturday’s race– but maybe I’m being too impulsive. Thoughts?

citrus reamer4. Citrus Reamer: Self-explanatory. I bite my nails, and citrus juice+ bitten cuticles= LAME.

All this talk about running has made me pretty pumped about my run tonight. It’s weird how I’m sort of starting to like it.

…I hope I didn’t speak too soon. Smile

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Filed under blogging, body issues, couch to 5k challenge, exercise, food, goals, money honey, races, running, shopping, weigh-in, Weight Watchers

Eating as a Non-Vegetarian- Lime and Garlic Marinated Porkchops with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

Ok, I admit it: I like meat.

I don’t eat it very much. In fact, I eat it pretty infrequently. I rarely purchase it.

But I like it. I like the way it tastes. And there are very few photos of piglets that will make me feel guilty about enjoying a slice of bacon.

However, what I can’t come to terms with is what happened to the meat before its arrival at my dinner table. It arrives after inhumane mammalian brutality, hundreds (if not thousands) of travel miles, and undocumented harm to food workers.

All because I wanted a slice of bacon.

Yeah…that’s not ok.

I’m reaching a point in my life where I can’t bear to purchase meat that’s been produced in ways I can’t stomach. I mean, my ancestors ate meat- but the meat they ate is not the meat I buy at my local grocery store.

As regular readers of this blog know, I can pontificate on this topic for pages and pages. But all I really need to say is that in order for me to eat meat, I need to be prepared to find meat that was harvested from animals who were raised humanely.

Yes, it will be expensive. But that’s the price of being an omnivore in the 21st century first world.

ANYWAY, since yesterday was the most beautiful day ever (seriously, anyone who wasn’t in the North Carolina triad yesterday missed out on a gorgeous Southern spring day), I decided to make my girlfriend a spring-y dinner of pork chops and quinoa.

So where does an ecologically conscious Winston-Salem resident go when they want fresh meat?

Whole Foods Market, of course.

Whole Foods has a remarkable devotion to the sale of sustainably produced food items AND (probably most importantly) to crafting and maintaining solid relationships with farmers and ranchers. Since the food chain from farmer to consumer grows with every congressional bill and ‘science innovation’, it is more important than ever for us to support companies who strive to cut out the millions of middle men who get in the way of Americans eating food which doesn’t go against the evolution of our bodies.

As far as meat sales go, Whole Foods adheres to the stringent guidelines of the Animal Welfare Rating Standards, which are produced by the Global Animal Partnership. Basically, they have a 5 step standards list which details the requirements for a livestock animal’s living conditions. It looks like this:

Step 1: No crowding
Step 2: Enriched environment
Step 4: Pasture centered
Step 5: Animal centered: No physical alterations
Step 5+: Animal Centered: Entire life on same farm

As you probably noticed, there’s no step 3 for cattle. There are separate charts for poultry and pigs. And at Whole Foods, all the meat options are labeled with the number which corresponds to this chart. It’s another way of letting you know where your food came from.

Since I was making pork chops, here are the five steps I looked at:

Step 1: No crates, stalls or cages
Step 2: Enriched environment
Step 3: Enhanced outdoor access
Step 4: Pasture centered
Step 5: Animal centered: No physical alterations
Step 5+: Animal Centered: Entire life on same farm

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I ended up buying some very pretty chops from a local farm with a 4 rating. There were other options, but the fact that the meat came from a nearby farm means that the journey from farm to table was very short, and it insures the freshest ingredients possible.

It does not, however, insure the cheapest price.

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But here’s the thing- I can’t pretend to not know what I know about factory farming. And if I want to eat meat in spite of that knowledge, I need to be prepared to pay the price.

Plus, the flavor of this finished dinner was more than worth the money. I’m not a huge fan of lime and/or cilantro, but both of those flavors keep popping up in my recipes recently. I’m blaming it on Chipotle– I mean, who doesn’t love their cilantro-lime rice? But instead of making rice, I decided to try out the same flavor combo with quinoa. I’d say it was a success- Kate basically licked her plate clean.

(Ok, so she didn’t lick it clean. But she probably wanted to lick it clean.)

Both of these recipes are unbelievably simple, and can be whipped up very quickly. They can be served together, or paired with other dishes. For example, substituting cilanto-lime quinoa in a homemade Chipotle burrito bowl is a healthier option than eating mounds of fluffy white rice.

(I mean, don’t get me wrong- I LOVE fluffy white rice. But quinoa is just as delicious, and packs an unbeatable nutritional punch.)

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Lime and Garlic Marinated Pork Chops

(Adapted from Gina’s Skinny Recipes)

Yield: 2-4 servings (depending upon size of pork chops)

Ingredients:

4 (6 oz) lean boneless pork chops ( for the record, I made this recipe using 2 super thick bone-in chops, and the proportions still worked perfectly)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1/2 lime, juice of

lime zest

salt and fresh pepper

1. Trim off extra pork fat.

Basically, go from here:

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To Here:

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2. In a large bowl season pork with garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Squeeze lime juice and some zest from the lime and let it marinade at least 20 minutes.

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I always recommend long marinade times, but if you need to make this in a hurry, 20 minutes should get the job done. I had to whip up this meal pretty quickly, and I think 20 minutes was long enough to get a good flavor infusion.


3. Line broiler pan with foil for easy clean up. Place pork chops on the broiler pan and broil about 4-6 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.

While that’s cooking…

Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup dry quinoa

1 1/4 cup Water

1 lime, juice of

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1. Follow my instructions for fool-proof quinoa.

2. While quinoa is cooking, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, and remaining oil in a medium bowl and toss until completely mixed. When quinoa is finished cooking, add it to cilantro-lime mixture and toss until coated.

Bam, dinner is served.

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Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you: Kate and I also ate French fries with our dinner. But those French fries are extra special, and will be reviewed in a separate post. However, just for the record, they were absolutely delicious. Smile

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Wait, Is All of This An April Fools’ Joke?

So, yesterday was probably the best April Fools Day on record. Well, the best April Fools’ day in my personal history. And I’m pretty sure none of this was part of an April Fools’ joke.

money tree

1. Student Loan Refund Checks were distributed- Self-explanatory. I’m no longer in the proverbial poor house. I mean, I’m still broke. But at least I’m not scrounging for pennies under seat cushions. Ok, I’m still doing that. Whatever, I CAN OFFICIALLY PAY MY RENT LET’S CELEBRATE.

 

2.  Jessamyn Not Jasmine Takes On The World- Yesterday was packed with a lot of REALLY exciting blog-related developments. Some of them are so exciting that I can’t talk about them quite yet. But one thing that made me super pumped was my mention in Backyard Produce’s weekly newsletter! I wrote a review of their service earlier this week, and they were kind enough to give me a shout out in their publication. As a result, I have quite a few new readers- HELLO NEW READERS! I hope you realize that I get as much from  you as you do from me- if you ever have any suggestions, comments, complaints, requests, ideas, magic tricks, hula hooping tips, etc., feel free to blow up my comment boxes or e-mail me (jessamyneatspraysloves@gmail.com). I’m so glad to internet-meet each and every one of you.

wgbh

3. WGBH- Yesterday I found out that I am going to be a WGBH/Kenan Institute Summer Fellow. This fellowship is beyond the cat’s meow- I’m going to spend my summer working at the WGBH headquarters in Boston, as well as spending time at Seftel Productions in NYC. I’ll be working on a project about- well, actually, I don’t know if I’m allowed to reveal the details of the project. Just know that the topic is EXTREMELY interesting, and it is going to involve a lot of interaction and conversation with people from all walks of life. I don’t think there’s a way to express how stoked I am. My excitement about this opportunity extends to every aspect of my personal and professional life. Plus- did I mention I’m going to be in one of my favorite cities all summer?

Speaking of Backyard Produce, have y’all seen some of their offerings this week? Here are three I’m especially excited about:

tatsoi

Tatsoi, a green I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I’ve heard the flavor is similar to a hybrid of bok choy and mustard greens. I love both of those plants, so I’m really excited to try tatsoi. BY PRODUCE POINTS: 7

collard greens

I went off on an extended tangent about proper collard green preparation after my trip to Milner’s restaurant last week. This week, I am really excited to make some collard greens the way my grandma taught me. However, I’m crafting a  vegan friendly version of my family’s famous ham hock-soaked greens. This week I’m going to put in some time with this recipe, and Backyard Produce is going to play a huge role. BY PRODUCE POINTS: 5

purple sweet potatoes

Um, purple sweet potatoes. Need I say more? Smile BY PRODUCE POINTS: 5

If you’re still on the fence about trying Backyard Produce, try this on for size- tell them Jessamyn referred you, and we’ll both get 10 extra points. Is that a win or what?

I’d love to stay and chat, but the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds which means it is a perfect Farmer’s Market day. If you’re racing today, I’m sending you lots of positive vibrations. Actually, I’m sending everyone positive vibrations. Smile

Have a great weekend, y’all!

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Food, Inc., Corporate Farming, Online Farmer’s Markets, and Backyard Produce- An Exercise in American Consumerism

Last weekend- remember  when I went on a pilgrimage to Charlotte and lost my mind at Trader Joe’s? Remember when I mentioned that I didn’t buy very much produce, but that the reason would be explained in the future?

Well, the reason is about to be revealed- but first, let me give a little back story.

(STOP: By reading below this disclaimer, you are allowing yourself to read a stream of conscious and potentially nonsensical rant. You were warned.)

I don’t know how clearly I can state this- I am a cheapskate. I hate paying more money than is absolutely necessary. It’s not just because I hate spending money- it’s because I don’t have a lot of money to spend. There’s never been a point in my life when I haven’t been on a very restrictive budget.

One of the biggest problems with the Western food industry is that it is SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive to eat whole foods than it is to eat processed foods, from potato chips to factory farmed “Idaho Potatoes”. I’ve spent the past three years actively trying to resolve my budget issues with a healthy balance of organically produced food and cheaper options. Up until about four months ago, I thought I’d finally struck the perfect balance.

That was before I saw this:

food, inc

If you are able, rent/buy this film. It’s on netflix instant right now- when you are done reading this entry, WATCH IT*. As one of my friend’s recently said, Food, Inc. should be broadcast on CNN 24/7. EVERYONE needs to see this film.” I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told to watch Food, Inc. who’ve told me that they’ve held off on watching it because they don’t want to feel guilty about or grossed out by their eating habits (i.e.- they will feel guilty about eating meat). I understand this dilemma. But here’s the thing- the movie does not seek to shame anyone. It is not very visually graphic. It doesn’t promote vegetarianism, or any specific diet. It puts the food industry into colors so vivid that you can’t help but wonder why we’ve become so complacent in our food choices.

Here’s the truth- if you didn’t buy your food directly from a farmer, you probably have absolutely no idea where it came from and you CERTAINLY don’t know what’s in it. I’m not just talking about the center aisles of your grocery store- you know, “foods” that come in boxes, or that arrive to your store frozen. I’m talking about the “healthy” fruits and vegetables, the dairy products, and every piece of “fresh” meat and fish homogenously wrapped in plastic for your enjoyment. There is a deliberate veil between food manufacturers and food consumers, and when you start looking behind the curtain you’ll be repulsed by what you see. It’s not just about the literal ingredients of your food- this film exposes all of the unseen costs of producing the food you eat, from distorted food laws and travel costs, to the horrific exploitation of ALL food industry workers. We’re not just talking about exploitation in other countries- the things happening to our American brothers and sisters (hell, our NORTH CAROLINA brothers and sisters) will make your head spin.

And we support them. Every time we go to the grocery store or a restaurant, we support corporations which deliberately try to mislead us. Every time you buy fruits and vegetables produced in far-reaching parts of the globe (which is more than often the case), you are directly furthering deep set afflictions between farmers, workers, governments, and the international oil industry. It is important that, as consumers, we make ourselves aware of the real decisions we’re making, and change our actions in order to affect a balanced economy and work-force.

The balance I struck in my personal eating/buying habits was not where it should be. I was perfectly happy purchasing food that wasn’t produced in an ethical fashion simply because it made my wallet feel less pain. However, the source of pain I feel now has much less to do with money and more to do with the power of my individual dollar. It is much more important for me, as a tax-paying American consumer,  to buy foods which do not support unhealthy corporate farming, which are organically produced, and (whenever possible) support my local economy. In my opinion, this is the most important decision I can make as a consumer. I know how easy it is to say, “I can’t afford to do this” or “I can’t afford to do that”. And it’s true- there are millions of Americans who simply can not afford to make the necessary changes to their lifestyles. BUT I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. And I have to lead by example.

Anyway, one of last week’s groupons was $18 for delivery of one box of local and organic produce from Backyard Produce, a North Carolina online farmer’s market. I have read extensively about online farmer’s markets, and was already well aware of Backyard Produce- but, to be frank, I’ve always thought fruit  and vegetable delivery was a luxury I couldn’t afford. Though this groupon deal was a steal, the typical price of a medium box of produce is $23.49, not including the $12 annual packaging fee. However, after critically looking at my produce buying habits, I decided it would be worth it to try out Backyard Produce with this groupon.

Here’s how it works:

You choose from three different sizes- small, medium, and large. Each package size equates to a certain number of points- 20, 40, or 60. You then use the points to choose from their weekly selection of food options. The options rotate every week, and are subject to availability- while not all selections are locally produced, they are organic, fresh, and arrive to your front door the following Wednesday in refrigerated boxes to ensure freshness.

Sign-up is really simple, and you have up until Sunday night to decide which fruits and veggies you want in that week’s delivery. I made my choices, sent in my order, and waited with bated breath until Wednesday.

Yesterday, after a very stressful day, I was pleased to see this waiting on my front porch:

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I gave very specific directions on how to reach my apartment (which can be a little confusing), and I was super pleased to see that the delivery person had no trouble figuring it out.

As promised, the produce was protected by refrigeration insulation:

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Just in case you were wondering, the annual $12 packaging fee helps them reduce the amount of packaging they use. Every week, they pick up your packaging from the previous delivery and reuse it. Great system.

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Let’s see what I ordered, eh?

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Granny Smith apples, organic WA – 2 count- 4 points

Baby Carrots, organic CA – 1lb- 5 points

Navel Oranges, organic FL – 3 count- 5 points

Tommy Atkins Mango, organic Ecuador – 2 count- 3 points each  (6 points total)

Salad Mix, Cottle Farm NC organic – 1/2 pound- 4 points

Kiwifruit, organic Chile – 2 count- 3 points

Bibb Lettuce, Green Haven Farms hydroponic NC – 1 head- 7 points

TOTAL POINTS USED: 34

As you can see, I only used 34 of my 40 points, leaving 6 points for a future delivery. I was extremely pleased with the quality of my items- bruise free, chilled, and clean. The mangos are nice and large (which is not always the case with mangos), and everything smells great.

At this point I can’t decide if it will be worth it to use Backyard Produce in the future. I still think it’s a little too expensive- but is it really?

I mean, I spend a lot of money on produce every week. In fact, I’m probably spending more than $23.49, not including the gas to/from the grocery store/farmer’s market. Though I’ll keep going to these spots for the rest of my items (and any incidental vegetation I might want), it is really awesome to have fresh, local, organic produce arrive at my door and ready for the week without having to judge by sale prices. I can change up my order every week, depending upon my weekly meal plan. Hmm.

All in all, I’m very pleased with my Backyard Produce experience thus far. This particular company only services the North Carolina Triad, Triangle, and Charlotte area. However, there are online farmer’s market delivery services all over the country- I’ve heard about them in urban centers, and in other parts of America. At the very least, they are worth a try-the convenience factor is unbeatable, and the price might be in your ballpark.

*And yes, that was an inadvertent plug for netflix. I love netflix- and so should you.

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The Frugal Student Takes On: Texas Pete Twin City RibFest

I actually wrote this entry several months ago when I was writing under another blogging alias, The Frugal Student. However, while writing about a recent dinner party involving barbeque and other tomfoolery, I decided that this entry is absolutely necessary in order to understand my love of Carolina barbeque. Enjoy, and try not to slobber all over your computer.

There are few things in this world which get me as giddy as a food festival.

1. The Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale
2. Tax-Free Weekend
3. The Week When Harris Teeter Triples Manufacturer Coupons up to $1.99

But, really, I think entire festival weekends devoted to specific foods are too epic for words. Therefore, events like Twin City RibFest are too good to miss out on.


Actually, this is the third year in a row I’ve attended TCRF and I actually considering sitting it out this year. However, the Frugal Girlfriend convinced me to go, as she’s never been and I realized I couldn’t miss out on a good old fashioned, down n’ dirty rib competition.

For those of you who’ve never attended a food festival, there are typically vendors who come from all over to showcase their talents in the realm of said food. In the case of ribs, meat purveyors come from all across the continent to show their stuff. And the true rib fan knows there are as many ways to prepare ribs and barbeque as there are cooks who try their hand. In fact, there’s another renowned North Carolina food festival (Lexington Barbeque Festival) which conquers the chopped and sliced pig/cow, and I’m here to tell you that BBQ is a whole other “animal” from the quintessential rib.

Personally, I like my ribs slow cooked so that the meat is unable to attach to the bone, with very little sauce.

Others like theirs drenched in sauce. I think this is kind of disgusting. But I digress.

Anyway, the Frugal Girlfriend and I ate several versions of cooked pig at TCRF.

First up: a barbeque sandwich. Some people think finding a good barbeque sandwich is as easy as hitting up your local drive through and ordering the singular barbeque sandwich option. Or worse, they wait for the McRib to be offered at McDonalds. Blegh. In my opinion, the perfect barbeque sandwich has a vinegar base, very little (if any) sauce, and a thick (NOT RUNNY) coleslaw on top. Nothing more, nothing less, right? However, the barbeque sandwich we ordered from Camp 31 BBQ broke almost all of these rules. Meat laden with thick sauce, topped with a mayo heavy coleslaw. However, as you can see from this photograph, the meat is literally CASCADING from the bun. Not to mention that the meat was so moist it would make a grown man cry. Final verdict: well done, sandwich man. Very well done.

I also ordered a sausage sandwich from Camp 31. It was pretty simple: I mean, it’s really difficult to complicate a hickory grilled kielbasa, sliced in two pieces and served on a hamburger bun. However, I did dip it in two of Camp 31′s signature BBQ sauces. Absolutely delicious.

Then, after a quick lap and a hand washing, The Frugal Girlfriend and I decided it was time to get down to the main event.

These ribs (what’s left of them) came from Big Boned BBQ, straight out of Hixson, TN. Since they won last year’s People’s Choice award, I decided to make them my rib of choice. I also decided to go whole hog (look, I had to say it) and try both of their house sauces. The cashier told me that the first sauce was rated a 5 on the heat Richter scale. It had a nice, smoke-y flavor, without being too overpowering. The second sauce, on the other hand, was rated 9 on the heat Richter scale. It also accidentally coated one of my ribs. Now, being the true Southern girl I am, I finished all of my ribs like a champ. However, I did have to search for extra napkins to clear up the ensuing nasal drainage. Also, I’m sorry this picture doesn’t show the ribs in their true glory. I went into a food panic upon seeing them, and this is the pre-trashcan shot. Hey- a girl’s got to do what she’s got to do.

However, it would be ridiculous for me to say this was a Frugal trip. Since I’m not a big fan of spending money, my head hurts when I think about purchasing meat. But all in all the prices at TCRF are pretty typical pork prices. The BBQ sandwich and sausage sandwich were each $6. Ribs? $6 for four bones. Add in the lemonade and Belgian waffle ice cream sandwich I felt the need to buy (trust me, they were both worth it), and you’re looking at spending almost $25. However, this was a very special occasion. And I did enjoy myself. Even if I did get barbecue sauce all over my new sundress.

Basically, if you’re in North Carolina next June, you really must attend the Texas Pete Twin City Rib Fest. If nothing else, your sinuses will thank you.

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SlapHappy Friday: Jessamyn’s New Favorite Thing of The Week

Ok, so remember that time I said I was too busy to breathe and didn’t have time to blog?

Ok, I definitely wasn’t lying but I couldn’t resist sharing my new favorite thing of the week. Maybe this should be a weekly segment… Hm, I’ll put that in my good ideas folder: right next to “Vegan and Gluten-Free Soul Food Cookbook” (which is DEFINITELY an active idea- I’m mentally working out a primitive version of Southern Fried “Chicken” as we speak).

Ok, enough rambling, Jessamyn! What’s my new favorite thing?

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Isn’t it adorable? I discovered this while having a really quick dinner at the UNCSA non-cafeteria on-campus eatery (was that descriptive enough for you?) It’s a Sabra Hummus Grab N’ Go Pack. It comes in a domed container (obviously), with hummus on the bottom half and pretzel crisps on the top half.

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Nevermind that Sabra hummus occasionally tastes like mayonnaise (am I the only person who feels this way? I mean, I like it in general but sometimes it definitely tastes like mayo). This idea is freaking AWESOME. The container is really handy, the portion size is plentiful, and who doesn’t love pretzel crisps? Ok, I’m sure someone doesn’t. Also, I’m sure someone doesn’t care for original hummus- well, that’s why it also comes in roasted garlic and roasted red pepper, DUH!

But let’s get serious: I was pleased with this purchase even though it was a bit of an impulse buy. I ate some of the pack with my fruit bowl dinner, and then decided I didn’t want anymore. So I just put the two halves back together, tossed it in my bag, and headed back to rehearsal. Guess who had a tasty hummus mid-rehearsal snack? THIS GIRL. So yes, this pack is PERFECT for travel, school, work, and play.

By the way, I’m sorry if I seem a little slaphappy and crazy: it’s because the weather here in Winston-Salem is about 73 degrees today. ON FEBRUARY 18TH. Like I said via twitter: I hate global warming as much as the next liberal, but this NC spring during winter weather? I AM IN LOVE.

Happy Friday, y’all. I’m going to spend all weekend listening to hot boys sing about the revolutionary war. What are your weekend plans?

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OF COURSE We Went to “Breakfast of Course”!

To quote one of my life heroines, Scarlett O’Hara (she ranks on the same list as Beth Ditto, Clarissa Darling, and, of course, her majesty Queen Elizabeth II),

“As god as my witness, this disease isn’t going to lick me…I will not miss school because of a stupid illness again!”

Ok, she definitely didn’t say that. At all. But if she were 23, living in the year 2011, and suffering from a nasty hybrid of food poisoning/influenza (oh, and not a fictional character), she DEFINITELY would have amended her original statement.

I’ve mentioned this restaurant before, but I can only think of a few places in Winston-Salem (forget it, the entire STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA) who are doing breakfast as well as Breakfast of Course.

I actually briefly mentioned the lady Mary and her wonderful restaurant in a previous post about a new restaurant in the Dash called The Screaming Rooster. Some of you may know BOC by its old name and location, Mary’s of Course. BOC takes everything that was awesome about MOC (great food, great service, cute/mismatched table decorations) and brings it into an awesome new downtown location which solves all of the old problems (too small, cramped tables, long lines).

Ok, I lied about the last part- the tricky thing about restaurants being tasty and awesome and popular is that EVERYONE IN TOWN WANTS TO EAT THERE AT THE SAME TIME. Therefore, if you’re trying to eat Sunday brunch at BOC, you need to be prepared to wait. And wait. I’ve legitimately waited over an hour for a table at BOC (I KNOW, I couldn’t believe it either). Was it worth it? Oh, yes. BOC serves some of the best grits outside of my mom’s house and trust me when I say that I will wait for a bowl of decent grits. Was I frustrated? Meh, not as important. I mean, hello: those grits are damn good.

Another awesome thing about BOC is that they have a lot of vegetarian and vegan friendly options. For the record, the vegetarian sausage gravy is delicious, and they have a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses which can be ordered a la carte. Because sometimes a girl just needs a plate of vegetarian sausage and a slice of brie, you know?

In fact, just the other day I was in the mood for something really light*, fresh, and… not actually on the menu. That’s right, I was going to be THAT customer: the customer who thinks they can order anything they want just because the restaurant has a kitchen and the customer has a mind of their own.

For starters, I didn’t want the typical ‘on the menu’ cup of grits. I wanted a bowl of grits, a tureen of grits, a BUCKET of grits-

but ok, I’d settle for a bowl.

I’ve asked for an enhanced bowl of grits at numerous restaurants across the U.S. and the responses have run the gamut of waiter/waitress emotion- from intense eye-rolling and snide remarks, to (at a VERY memorable Carolina Beach hole in the wall) the waiter delivering a mixing bowl of grits. Basically, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Also, while I wanted eggs, I really only wanted egg whites. Scrambled hard. With fruit on the side.

Did my BOC waitress roll her eyes, make a snide remark, and bring me a cup of grits with two whole scrambled eggs on the side? Nope. She wrote down my annoying order, smiled, and gave me what I wanted:

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‘Pleased’ does not adequately describe how I felt upon seeing this plate. Thank you, Breakfast of Course, for making my brunch dreams come true.

*And yes, I fully realize that a tureen of grits is not typically seen as ‘light’. Yeah, whatever.

OH AND BY THE WAY:

I lost 3.3 pounds today at my weigh-in. While part of me wants to write this off as a by-product of my disease riddled body, the other part of me is doing a happy dance and saying, “AY-YO!”

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