Matcha Quark

So when I still worked retail, and walked more than 10,000 steps a day and put away about 1,000 pounds of frozen food in addition to other physical stuff, I ate a big breakfast. Eggs, avocado, toast, fruit, vegetables.

For that decade, I worked hard and often didn’t know when I’d have time to eat. Big meals were a must.

But now I’m sedentary (and losing my will to go to the gym) and I’m just not as hungry. And I’m back to my bad habit of not having a proper breakfast.

Luckily, there are a lot of hearty yogurts out there and protein granola bars for a particularly rough start. Trouble is, I bore of food easily.

So when I see a new intriguing, protein-dense breakfast product I try it.

And the Grocery Outlet allows our household to try such things very inexpensively. That’s how I ended up with vanilla Farmer’s Cheese. Now, that was gross. But if I were hungry enough, I could have eaten it.

I also ate it a few days past the expiration but from what I knew about Farmer’s Cheese it is a cross between yogurt and cottage cheese so doesn’t that mean it’s already rotten? It certain had that exact texture.

Next I saw Quark.

Now, it was grass-fed Matcha Quark.

I have no idea what Quark is.

To me, Quark is the software I learned graphic design on nearly 25 years ago.

But I’ve loved matcha since before it was trendy.

Today I saw I had left it in the work fridge. This was good.

It stirred like yogurt, but pulled out of the cup like soft serve. No butter, acidic tang like yogurt. No bits or weird texture like the Farmer’s Cheese.

Organic Black Bean Pasta

It’s certainly not pretty, but it tastes better than it looks. It looks like a pile of slip.

I bought this gluten free black bean spaghetti at Marshall’s. I don’t usually shop there as my soon to be ex-husband worked at Marshall’s and I didn’t approve of their practices as employers or their merchandise.

But I am always looking for trendy forms of protein.

I got inspired (I blame too many episodes of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares) to make Asian-inspired glazed chicken meatballs with pineapple and the black bean pasta with a cheater method peanut sauce.

The sauce is an easy 30-minute meal starter, and vegan. See the recipe on my old cooking blog where I chronicled every meal for about seven years: Peanut Butter (Thai) Noodles

The chicken meatballs turned to mush in the pan. It’s my own fault as some of the ground chicken was still frozen. I don’t know why I thought I could work around that.

Flavor was fine, but texture was like scrambled eggs.

As for the pasta, I liked it. The teenager didn’t like the texture of it, but I did. If anything I would call it a tad sticky. The teen referred to it as gummy.

Mini road trip

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and for the first time in more than a decade, the teenager and I both have “off.”

We had originally planned to go to DC, visit friends, renew the teenager’s passport and plot an African vacation.

But with a Goffin’s cockatoo still getting adjusted and a new kitten in the house, a three-day weekend away sounded disastrous.

My daughter complained that she was feeling the need to get away, so I suggested a day trip this weekend. I even offered to let her pick and plan it. She declined.

With the snow forecasted for Saturday and the pets already in a semi-routine, she suggested today, Monday, for an outing.

Of course, she didn’t wake until almost 11 (which gave me time to do dishes and a load of laundry). She did her chores and I offered her a choice: a childish little mini-road trip or a girls day out at the mall as we both need a few things.

We started the trip at the ATM and then Dunkin’ Donuts for egg wraps. Imagine the teens surprise when I accidentally ordered her TWO hot chocolates.

The surprise option was the Pocono Reptile and Animal Farm, which the web site said had special hours for the school holiday. When we got there, the door had a sign saying it was closed due to cold.

So I mapped a route to House of Candles in Henryville on Rte. 715, where my mom used to buy her candles.

The teenager is knee deep in my old witchcraft books. She’s reading a lot of Scott Cunningham books. She loved the shop and forgave me for making roads where there were none.

On the way home, we stopped at a different Dunkin’ to use the bathroom and ended up with sour cream doughnuts to finish the day.

Eating Polish Things

For Christmas, I got the teenager a subscription to Universal Yums, a snack box that send food from a different country to your door.

This month featured Poland.

We plan to do an unboxing and a tasting with every box.

This box featured a lot of chocolate. The three items that weren’t chocolate were pretzel sticks covered with poppy seeds, a milk caramel coconut candy and a potato chip called Monster Munch that was the same product as Frito Lay’s Munchos in a different shape.

For our review, visit my YouTube channel:

Universal Yums from Poland part 1

Universal Yums box from Poland, part 2

And for the initial box, the multicultural holiday box, see here:

Universal Yums holiday box

Turkeys and Trophies

The title and format of this post is homage to our local daily newspaper, The Express-Times, and their weekly column on the op-ed pages celebrating the best and the worst of the community that week.

Trophies

    I did three workouts this week.
    I packed several smart lunches.
    I went to the grocery store.
    My daughter and I worked well together trying to keep the house clean.
    I started the week eating fresh fruit. (I’m not a fan of much fruit.)

Turkeys

    I wanted to attend the book club last night at our local independent bookstore, Book and Puppet Company, but I didn’t read the book. And it was Zazie in the Metro so I really intended to join the group.
    Those workouts were five to ten minutes each.
    I ordered Dominoes twice and ate a ridiculous amount of pizza and two doughnuts.
    The fruit is languishing in the fridge.
    I watched way too many episodes of Kitchen Nightmares.

When the highlight of your day is a trip to the Grocery Outlet

I worked a long day today. Voluntarily got to the office at 7:30 to prepare for my 8:30 development committee meeting, followed by some grant writing, lunch at home with the teenager who had an early dismissal, then an afternoon meeting and an evening mixer at another local nonprofit.

The mixer typically goes until 7 p.m. I asked the teenager if she wanted to go get milk and more salmon salad at the grocery outlet. When we bought the salmon salad last week, it was $1.99. But the “Best Buy” date was today so it was 47 cents! The teenager bought one for lunch tomorrow and I suggested tossing one in the freezer. For 47 cents, if it doesn’t free well who cares.

They had a nice selection of essential oils for $5 a vial. I almost bought tea tree oil, but instead opted for this $12 gift set.

My little treat.

We also got various yogurts and smoothie/yogurt drinks. A snack mix of dried mango, banana chips, peanuts and spicy almonds. Very yummy. Baby bel cheese wound in a pinwheel. Organic coffee in yogurt. And some weird matcha “quark” thing that I fear is Farmer’s cheese. And a caramel apple pie yogurt.

And a layered chili lollipop with gum inside. Not even sure what the heck that is.

I spent $15 on the aromatherapy set and garbage bags and $24 on yogurt, milk, fruit, salmon salad and broccoli.

I love stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying weird stuff at the Grocery Outlet.

And did I mention this particular Grocery Outlet supports our food pantry? They do.

Pizza and a bottle of wine

Tonight’s blog entry will be short.

I’ve had a lot on my mind and on my plate for days. Weeks? Months?

I did something big for me. I reached out to a friend and asked her to have a drink with me.

We had intended to go OUT for a drink, but we’re both kind of broke so I invited her here to my home to meet Nala, share a bottle of wine from my holiday party, and order cheap pizza. Dominos.

Except I didn’t think she’d like the Beaujolais I had. I feared it would be too woody for her.

I told her so.

So she brought her own bottle. And I ordered the Dominoes. One white pizza, the garlic Parmesan sauce, with feta and pineapple. The other with robust marinara, banana peppers and black olives.

(The teenager is floating the idea of vegetarianism again.)

And we got the chocolate chip cookie brownie.

I blame that damn $5.99 mix-and-match promotion.

It felt so good to mindlessly talk, just sit and do nothing, eat pizza and share wine.

I am grateful to have a friend that will do that.