Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Spaghetti Squash)

Hey ya’ll! It’s Monday. If this were a normal school, I would totally be happy because I would have the entire day off for Veteran’s day to study for my advanced nutrition exam that is on Wednesday, but no I have class from 3-9. Go me. In order to cheer myself up, I have decided to share another recipe with ya’ll with some of my favorite ingredients. One is obviously pumpkin. I think pumpkin is one of the greatest things about fall, besides my birthday of course. The other ingredient is spaghetti squash. Ya’ll know I can’t live without my spaghetti squash. Seriously that thing is a staple in my diet. A good one too. So today I have for ya’ll: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Spaghetti Squash.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1/2 spaghetti squash (if you really don’t like it, you can use regular noodles)
1/2 to 3/4 c of pumpkin (depending on how pumpkiny you want it)
1/4 c of light cream cheese
1/4 c of skim milk
1/3 c of shredded cheese (I used WW Mexican blend)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
sprinkle or two of pepper
Turkey bacon and green onions for garnish

1. First you will want to cook your spaghetti squash. I heat my oven to 400, stab my spaghetti squash all over with a knife, and then place in the oven for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Then I remove, let it cool, and then split it in half. You only need half of the spaghetti squash or even less than half because it provides a ton of “noodles” for the recipe.

2. Place your noodles in a medium pot and turn the heat on medium low.

3. Add pumpkin, cream cheese, skim milk, shredded cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pot. Continuously stir as the ingredients heat.

3. You want to heat the dish until the cream cheese and shredded cheese has completely melted through. There will be no white chunks in the noodles is when you will be able to tell that it is ready.

4. You can let it sit on low heat while you work on the garnish. Heat a small skillet pan and place two to three slices of turkey bacon on. Cook until crispy. Then chop up into small pieces to place on top of pasta dish.

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6. Split into two or three servings depending on how much you want to eat. It is a pretty low calorie recipe since you are using spaghetti squash instead of actual noodles. This way you don’t need to feel as guilty.

7. You can top each bowl with green onions too, which gives it a nice flavor. Enjoy.

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This sort of looks like a pile of mush that isn’t appetizing in the least bit. However then you realize it is made with cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese? If you don’t like cheese, we probably can’t be friends. Actually that is a lie because one of my friends is allergic to dairy and I still love him. Anyways this dish is cheesy goodness with a light pumpkin flavor. To get it more pumpkin flavored and less cheese like, you will need to add more pumpkin. I thought it was perfect like this because it was a cold day and I was looking for something warm and filling to bring for my dinner that evening to class. The best part about this dish, besides it being super cheesy, is that it is pretty healthy for you. All the cheese and milk was low fat or fat free. Plus the base of the dish is just a vegetable. That is why I love spaghetti squash. You can create any pasta dish that you want without all the unnecessary calories while still getting a good source of fiber. It is a win-win in my eyes.

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Cheeeeeeeeese!

Happy Veteran’s day! I’ll be having fun in class all day, so wooo!

What is the best thing you have made with spaghetti squash?
Have you ever used alternative options for noodles?

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The Cupcake Experience

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Hey ya’ll! I’m in such a fantastic mood right now, so I thought I would post about one of my favorite things in the world: Cupcakes. Why am I in such a good mood? Well I got an A on my first midterm in graduate school. For me, it is just reinforcing that I am in the best field for me. I’m so excited. So cupcakes. My favorite thing in the world. Well I have many favorite things, but this is just one of the top 3. I obviously had to go to the iconic cupcake shop in the city: Magnolia Bakery. Funny thing is my dad and I tried to go here many years ago, but it was so hard to find that we just gave up and ate Crumbs (not that I’m complaining). When Carrianne and I were over in West Village over by Bleecker street, I was like we HAVE to go to Magnolia just for the experience because it is on one of my favorite shows, Sex and the City.

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This place is so cute. The location on Bleecker is a very tiny shop, so the line wraps around in the inside and it can get really crowded. However we went at a pretty good time, so the line wasn’t bad at all. Plus there were tons of beautiful cakes to look at while we waited to place our order. A woman came around in the line to ask if we wanted any cakes or other things besides cupcakes, so she would get them packaged. It was a really good method to make things more efficient. We were in and out of the shop in 10 minutes, so that was really nice because this is such a classic place for tourists to go.

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The cupcakes are so cute. It is super simple, but I think that is what makes them so classic and wanted by everyone. Not to mention the association with Sex and the City. People that come to NYC to visit have some weird love with doing things that are related to their favorite tv shows. Anyways the cupcakes come in a few flavors. There was just the simple ones such as the vanilla vanilla or chocolate, but then they had options like red velvet, coconut, and s’mores. I think the special cupcakes change every day or week, but I’m not completely sure.

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I wanted to have the classic Magnolia Bakery experience, so I went with the vanilla with vanilla buttercream. The buttercream came in different colors, so you got whatever one they gave you. I thought this one was really cute. I like that they put sprinkles on top of it too. Sprinkles makes everything better. I was a little worried before I ate this because the reviews on yelp were iffy, but they were wrong. This was a good cupcake for what it was. Do I prefer Crumbs? Well yes, but this wasn’t bad. The cake was moist and the icing was sweet, but not overly sweet.

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What I enjoyed most about this place was probably the experience. It was a pleasant time with some sweet treats. The icing was the best part of the cupcake. I have weird cupcake eating habits, like sometimes I lick all the icing off the top before I even eat the cake. Or I will rip the cake in half and make a cupcake sandwich. However I prefer to just eat all the icing. I have a passion for icing. It is my favorite part, so I love when cupcake places stuff the inside of the cake with icing too (hello Crumbs, I see you got me there).

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The main reason to go to Magnolia is for the cake! Yes, you heard me right. Go for the cake and skip the cupcakes unless you want the experience of the whole Sex and the City thing. This cake is mind blowing. I got the hummingbird cake. It was incredibly moist and packed with a ton of flavors from all the spices and pineapple. The icing was so delicious. It was a sweet cream cheese. Cream cheese isn’t my favorite icing, but this one was pretty great. I was so happy that I had gotten this slice of cake to go. It took me a few days to eat it all because they give you massive slices. It is definitely worth the money.

Have you ever been to Magnolia bakery?
What places on TV shows have you wanted to go to?

The Perfect Roommate Date

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone has had a pretty great weekend. Mine has been awesome even with all the studying and paper writing that I have had to do. One of the highlights of the weekend was going on my roommate date. My roommates and I decided that we have been having and still will have this graduate school hell weeks that we needed a nice night out. We decided to get sushi for this roommate dinner, so I looked up places and found a delicious one that would suit all our needs. I ended up making reservations online at Open Table, which was a smart idea because this place was crazy when we got there.

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This place was amazing for many reasons, but one of them was for the drinks. They had a happy hour from 5-9 pm that had 2 for 8$ cocktails. That is a steal. Seriously. The first weekend I went out in New York, I ordered a vodka and tonic, and had to pay 12$ for one small drink. WHAT? This is not the world that I want to be buying drinks in, so getting two for that price was amazing. These drinks were strong too, so we were feeling a little buzzed. This was a grapefruit cocktail that my roommate got. We all enjoyed our drinks so much.

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I got a drink called the Rainbow. It had citrus vodka, blue curaco, and pineapple juice. It was delicious. After one drink, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to have another, so I’m glad that the waiter didn’t come back to get our second drink order until after we had gotten some sushi in our stomachs. We were in drink heaven though. This would definitely be a good place to go if you just wanted drinks too, but the food was just as amazing. Not to mention the awesome staff.

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One of my roommates is a vegetarian, so she ordered vegetable tempura as her appetizer. It was cool because you could specifically pick what vegetables or items you wanted as tempura, it came with two pieces, and depending on the item it was only 2-3$. She let Carrianne and I split the zucchini piece and it was delicious. It was perfectly fried on the outside and the vegetable was soft on the inside. She ended up getting broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini. The pieces were so large though, so you definitely needed to cut them up. Also they only give you chopsticks here, so if you aren’t good with them, definitely ask if you can get a fork and knife.

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Carrianne and I ended up splitting an appetizer. We got bacon wrapped scallops. These were so good. The bacon was so smoky, so it enhanced the simple flavor and texture of the scallop. The sauce on top was delicious. It was a sweet flavor mixed with a hint of the green onion. It was a nice light way to start the meal. It definitely didn’t provide any substance in our stomachs as we threw back our drinks.

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Hello to sushi heaven. Did I order way too many rolls? Yes, but oh well. I managed to eat almost all of it. I attribute this to the alcohol in a small way and my determination to consume some of the best and affordable sushi that was available. On this plate is a pumpkin tempura roll, a heart throb roll, and a bagel roll. Lets talk about how cheap this sushi was. The pumpkin tempura roll was only 4.50$! The heart throb was 12$ and the bagel was 10$. In my opinion that is pretty good for crazy specialty rolls. Some places can charge up to 15 for just your basic specialty roll, so I was excited to see that there were so many affordable options.

photo 2(1)The heart throb roll was definitely my favorite. It had spicy tuna wrapped around the roll. Inside was eel crabmeat, avocado, and spicy tuna. There was also a spicy mayo drizzled all over the roll. The fish was extremely fresh. I love when a roll is wrapped with fish on the outside because it gives it a meatier taste. The sauce gave it a nice creamy texture along with the avocado inside. I finished this roll like a champion.

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This was the pumpkin tempura roll. It was just your simple pumpkin tempura along with some small things inside. It was so delicious. The fried texture gave a nice crunch to the roll while the pumpkin was smooth and creamy. It was a savory and sweet kind of roll. I am obsessed with all things pumpkin right now, so this roll definitely hit the spot. Plus it was only 4.50$. I probably could have survived on a few of these rolls and only paid 13$. That would have been pretty awesome, but I like to try different things.

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Bagel roll. You know when we Jews see the word bagel we are instantly attracted to it. I think that is pretty much why I ordered the roll. Besides the fact that cream cheese and salmon is like the best combination (just another Jewish obsession). It was lightly fried on the outside, which was awesome. The roll also had spinach and asparagus inside. I think it could have done without the spinach, but it was still appetizing and delicious.

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Hello to Carrianne’s plate of sushi. The funny thing was when she ordered her food, the waiter said that she needed to stop ordering because that was too much food for her. She was gonna get a third roll, but then she just decided to go with what she got. Smart girl. I wish the waiter would have said the same thing to me and my other roommate because we were so full by the time we tried to eat all our sushi. She got the pumpkin tempura roll too along with a piece of salmon nigiri. Also a roll with salmon and jalapenos. She enjoyed all of hers.

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Here was my other roommate’s plate of sushi. She ordered all vegetarian rolls. The cool thing was that they had about 20 vegetarian rolls on the menu, which is definitely a nice thing for vegetarians and people that are more health conscious (not that sushi is that unhealthy for you). She got the sweet potato tempura roll, which looked just as good as the pumpkin one. Since she ordered three rolls too, she was about to burst. We were both in a sushi coma.

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For our second drink, we all three got something called the Asuka-tini. Oh man. How strong was this thing? I thought I was going to die. It was tequila, sake, triple sec, and grenadine. I was like oh man. Plus it was super salty. I should have asked for mine without salt on the rim because I ended up knocking half the salt into the drink. I powered through and drank all of it. I was feeling a good buzz at this point and we decided to get jello shots for us. They were raspberry flavored and probably the best jello shots I have ever had. It tasted like real raspberries were in it. The waiter was so nice too. He gave us a free jello shot on the house. Overall it was a really great experience, and we will definitely be going back here many times.

What is your favorite date food?
Have you ever had crazy sushi rolls?

 

 

 

Doughnut Plant

Hey ya’ll! Hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday. I am dying actual death. I ended up going out last night for my birthday, it was a good time, but I am so tired. Then I went to Chinatown for brunch today with my two girls! It was insane down there. Too many people. I do love my dim sum though. As ya’ll know Saturday is my treat day, so last Saturday I ended up getting myself a treat that I have been craving for years. Ever since I saw Doughnut Plant on Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network, I knew I had to go to this place. Finally this past Saturday I made my way to the doughnut heaven!

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Enter doughnut plant. It was as if it was fate that we had met that day. By chance there was a doughnut plant right by the place we were going to earlier that day. I told Carrianne that no matter what happened, I had to stop in so I could get something to go. It was literally one block over from where we were. Unfortunately since we went so late in the day, there was a lot of stock sold out, but there were still some really delicious doughnuts left on the shelves.

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This place is so cute. There is a wall of doughnut pillows. I really wanted to rip one off the wall and steal it You know which one. That pink sparkly one Maybe the peach one too. I love doughnuts and I love squishy pillows on my bed. The atmosphere is really fun in doughnut plant. The staff is super friendly and trendy, which makes the shop really great. The store is organized really great too. There is ropes with a line, so no one can cut you. I hate people that cut! So annoying!

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This is the creme brulee doughnut. It is kind of small, but packed with a ton of flavor. It is definitely worth the money. Inside is the pudding like cream that you would normally find in a creme brulee. The doughnut is then torched and it has a layer of hard caramel on the top. It was so amazing. Every bite was like tasting heaven. I was kind of sad that it was so small because I never wanted it to end The crunch of the outside went nice with the inside smooth texture. The flavors mixed well too.

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This is the carrot cake doughnut, which I am totally in love with. There was cream cheese in the inside of the doughnut, which was AMAZING. I love that about carrot cake, so I’m glad that they didn’t forget to include it. They also glazed it in a cream cheese icing, which was pure perfection. I was one happy customer. Carrianne and I both ended up choosing this doughnut when we saw it sitting in the display case. The carrot cake was very moist, which was pleasant. I would definitely get this doughnut again and again. It was my favorite.

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Carrianne’s second doughnut was a chocolate one since they were out of her first two choices, which was sad, but lesson learned. Don’t go at 3 pm in the afternoon because then you don’t get the full selection of doughnuts (good news though – Whole Foods is now carrying some doughnut plant doughnuts, which is awesome!!). I barely got a picture of this. I had been drinking, so my food picture taking skills were not on top of their game. I stepped it up though and caught the second half of the doughnut. She enjoyed it. We were in a happy doughnut coma.

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I just want ya’ll to understand HOW CUTE this place is. This is the bench to sit on while you nibble on your doughnuts and coffee. This was cute. I love the shapes of their doughnuts too. They have square doughnuts! It is a super unconventional place. They have interesting flavors like lavender and roseseed. I love unique places like this because it is what makes New York City so awesome and special. I can’t wait to explore what other places are on the best thing I ever ate list. If you are ever in the city, this place is a must see!

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Hahahah me with my doughnuts to go. This is the aftermath of a thing that is called rave brunch. I recommend the experience. It is definitely one for the memory books. Anyways I hope ya’ll enjoyed my review and that ya’ll actually go here if you are in New York. You definitely won’t regret your decision. Hope ya’ll have an awesome rest of your Sunday. I’ll be studying, relaxing, and catching up on some reading!

What is your favorite flavor of doughnut?
Have you ever been to a place on Best Thing I Ever Ate?

 

 

WIAW #3 – The Party of The Year

Hey ya’ll! Happy Independence day and WIAW! While most of you will be eating, drinking, shooting off fireworks, I’ll be finishing my move and starting my research paper that is due on Friday – uh oh. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have left that till last minute, but I think that some of my greatest work comes from that sort of pressure – like that time I wrote a ten page single space paper on green tea. Oh yeah good times. Anyways lets get to the fun part of today, What I ate Wednesday hosted by Jenn.

I had pumpkin pie pancakes. These were delicious. I was wondering what kind of pancakes I should make as I was looking through my fridge. I then saw some canned pumpkin that I had leftover from my pumpkin pie cheesecake oats (recipe will come soon). I was like oooo that would be delicious in pancakes, so I went with it. It turned out pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 c Almond Milk
1/3 c. Canned Pumpkin
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 packet of stevia
1 tsp of cinnamon (add as much as you like)
1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
2. Add in all wet ingredients and mix well.
3. Place on preheated pan using a 1/3 c to scoop out batter.
4. Heat until bubbles appear and flip over.
5. Cook until lightly brown.
6. Top with whatever you would like – I put banana slices, chocolate chips (gf/df), and sugar free syrup on top.

These were yummy in the morning, and I had so much batter that I ended up making extra to eat again. Success!

These are my typical class snacks. I get a bag of red cherry tomatoes and yellow grape tomatoes. I have a bag of cherries, blueberries, and blackberries. Then I have a piece of fruit on the side like a peach, pear, or apple. This day it was a peach. I like to mix that up. Also I tend to throw in a kashi granola bar, but since I’m in the moving process right now finding all my food is hard.

For lunch I had sushi. When I was in Austin this past weekend, I ended up going to How Do You Roll to get my brother some food and when I was there I got a free roll on their new card system. I ended up saving mine since I was going to have lunch with my dad. I decided to cash it in yesterday. I got a roll with brown rice, tofu skin, avocado, cucumber, and topped with spicy mayo. Oh man tofu skin. It is amazing. I am now getting it in pretty much every roll there. It is sweet tasting. Not what you would expect. I also got a free thing of edamame with my roll. It was awesome.

After lunch lately, I’ve been enjoying smoothies to keep me cool in the hot weather. This one is a Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie. It just has chocolate powder, water, tons of blueberries, and ice. It makes a pretty large smoothie, which is awesome.

For another snack, I munched on some Chobani. It was Blood Orange. I seriously love this flavor because it is so tart and sweet. It probably is one of my top three flavors. This is a great snack to have because it contains a high amount of protein and is very filling. A good idea for those vegetarians out there needing to get protein without eating meat.

Brinner. Breakfast for Dinner. That is my kind of meal. I had an omelet with onions and mushrooms topped with salsa. A bagel thin with cinnamon laughing cow cream cheese and banana slices. A grapefruit. This was definitely the way to go. I was pretty satisfied and pretty full after this meal for a queen. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so if I could eat it all the time I definitely would.

I wanted to try an omelet with cheese to see what it would be like. It was actually pretty great. Plus I discovered salsa on top of eggs. Mmmm. So good. I’m definitely going to be doing this for a while now. I like to switch it up every once in a while.

My fitness is moving boxes all day, but I don’t have any photos of that. I will definitely take some of my new place – more specifically MY CLOSET!

Happy WIAW! Hope y’all have a fantastic time on the 4th!

What are your 4th of July plans?
Any special food items you will be consuming on the 4th?

WIAW #2 The Snack Attack

Hey ya’ll! It is halfway through the week, which means it is almost over and today marks What I ate Wednesday. Thanks to Jenn for hosting this fantastic day. I really don’t know what I would do in the mornings without having a bunch of food pictures to stare at while I ate my breakfast before classes. WIAW always makes my day so much better. For breakfast, since I woke up at my mom’s place, I decided to have an omelet. Doesn’t that cheese look so oozy and good? It was a pretty plain omelet since she was lacking a lot of vegetables in the fridge, but that didn’t bother me. It was just egg white substitutes, onions, and a 1/3 cup of cheese. The cheese to me is what makes the omelet the best.

For one of my mid-day snacks, I decided on a Kim’s Magic Pop. These can be found in the most obscure places, but I recommend that you go get them immediately. They are a low cal snack, about 10-15 calories, that come in a bunch of flavors. They have strawberry, cinnamon, plain, and onion. I have the strawberry and I topped it with laughing cow strawberry cream cheese and banana slices. It is the perfect snack to tie you over.

For lunch I had a snowcone. Yes not the healthiest choice, but it was about 106 degrees outside and I needed a cold treat. This is from Sweet Caroline’s, which is down the street from my mom’s place. I got the Hulk, which is grape, green apple, and pineapple with nerds in it. It was delicious and hit the spot. I’ll actually be doing a review of New Orleans style snowcones pretty soon!

Cherries are probably my favorite snack. They are so tasty during the summer. The only problem is that they are so freaking expensive. Give us our cherries, but at a discount pretty please. I mainly buy them at CostCo (well my dad does) or I get them on sale at the grocery store. I really wish the other type of cherries would go on sale because I love the white ones.

Man I was totally being a snack monster. It was so hot that I needed to make myself an ice cold smoothie. It was my Very Berry Chocolate Smoothie, which I’ll share the recipe soon because today is just all about pictures and sharing our meals. It really hit the spot and it was also massive. It filled up my longhorn cup. I got to use a straw too, which always makes me happy (You can laugh at me now because I am five years old and love straws – I have a massive bag in my pantry).

Mmmm just look at it, so tasty. If I didn’t have a straw, I probably would have eaten it with a spoon, which is my second favorite way of eating a smoothie or shake.

For dinner, I had a chicken burger topped with jalapeno cheese and caramelized onions and mushrooms. This is probably one of my favorite meals. Mainly because I just love caramelized onions and mushrooms, but also because the spiciness of the cheese gives this meal a little kick. Right now I’m trying to eat all of my meat products, like these burgers, in order to clean out everything but fish products so I can go pescatarian.

The most delicious snack in the entire world. And my brothers wonder why I’m a snack monster? Well when you eat stuff like this obviously you love snacks. This is greek yogurt with sugar free fat free butterscotch pudding powder. Then I add in sliced strawberries and a couple of gluten free chocolate chips. This is the bomb. I usually love to mix up the pudding flavors every week like to lemon or pistachio or chocolate. Everyone should have this as their bedtime snack!

Hope everyone has a fantastic WIAW! We are almost to the weekend and I’m almost done with summer school!!

What is your favorite flavor of snowcone?
Have you ever had a New Orleans style one?