Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Fun- and Food-Filled Weekend

This weekend was such a blur of activities, but it was so much fun and full of good times with friends.

On Friday night I put the finishing touches on my Halloween costume and then met my boyfriend and our friends Amy and Max (they actually introduced us to one another). We were also joined by another one of their friends and a friend of mine from college. We hopped around to a few different places and, since we went out early for happy hour, we went home relatively early as well.

On Saturday morning, as I’m sure many of you know, we woke up to this:

Snow in October

Can you believe all that snow!? It’s only October!! While we were complaining about the inconvenience of having to go out in the wet, cold weather it was actually very bad in northern NJ where my parents live. Apparently there are downed trees and power lines everywhere, and a lot of schools were actually closed!

We pretty much hibernated all day until it was time for me to go to class. I had a test that I think went fairly well–definitely better than last time, I should hope. We had a substitute chef, and he was one of the real old-school French guys. He is actually going to be our instructor for levels 3 and 4, so it was great to meet him and work with him once to see what we are in for, but I can tell it’ll be a challenge. He is definitely tough! I guess that’s a good thing though, because I really felt like I learned a lot from him in just one class.

We made this ginger marinated pork with a sweet and sour sauce accompanied by mashed potatoes and pork chops. The ginger pork was so delicious–I’m dying to make it again. And I don’t even like pork!

Ginger marinated pork with sweet and sour sauce

Ginger marinated pork with sweet and sour sauce

After class I met Andrew and all his friends out to celebrate Halloween. I felt really silly putting my costume on at school, but I had fun with it. It also turned out that my costume was pretty perfect for the cold, snowy weather we were having.

penguin costume
Yesterday morning I was treated to an amazing brunch with my Mom, Dad and brother. My parents had come into town the night before to go to a concert, and it turned out it was a good thing because they still don’t have power at their house! We went to ABC Kitchen, a restaurant in my neighborhood that I have been dying to try (not an understatement). It’s a real hot spot right now and theirs always celebrities coming in and out of it, so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I understand now! The restaurant is so sleek and beautiful inside. There is such attention to detail, and every time I looked around I felt like I noticed something new and even more beautiful. The food was also top-quality. They use all local, sustainable ingredients, but it doesn’t feel in the slightest bit limited or trying too hard to be “green.” I had this squash flatbread with ricotta and cider vinaigrette to start and then I had eggs Benedict. I felt a little boring getting the Benedict, but I just love it so much. My mom and brother got this pickled jalapeno burger and, I have to admit, I kind of wished I had gotten that!

Roasted squash flatbread

Roasted squash flatbread

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

Jalapeno Burger

Jalapeno Burger

What were you for Halloween?

October 28, 2011

Happy Friday Things

I feel like I have so much to share today! I probably should have done two separate posts, but I just don’t have time!

First up, class last night was great–much needed after Tuesday! We only had two recipes, and they were both very simple, low key recipes: Strip steak with french fries and a sauce called Chevron (tangier and way better but similar to hollandaise) and fillet mignon with a bordelaise sauce (basically a type of red wine and veal stock reduction).

Strip Steak with French Fries and Chevron Sauce

Strip Steak with French Fries and Chevron Sauce

Despite the beauty of the strip steak, I’m just not a fan. It’s way too chewy for me. There’s only a small amount on my plate because I saved the rest for either my boyfriend or my brother. Since filet mignon is my favorite (I know, I know…such a brat!), I opted to pair that with the chevron sauce for lunch.

Fillet Mignon with Bone Marrow and Chevron Sauce

Fillet Mignon with Bone Marrow and Chevron Sauce

Such a fancy meal looks funny being eaten this way, right?!

Anyway, I had a few fun surprises at work today. During our meeting to go over the December issue, one of the editors brought in some Halloween candy to share. I think I may have a new favorite candy!

Take 5

Take 5

Has anyone ever tried these? They are an amazing combination of pretzel, caramel, peanut and peanut butter and then coated with milk chocolate. They are so salty and sweet. I love it!

And then a few hours later, UV vodka delivered a case of this baby to one of my coworkers.

White Cake Flavored Vodka

White Cake Flavored Vodka

Since there were so many bottles, we each got to take home one. I don’t normally like cake-flavored food and drink items, but I can’t wait to try it–It reminds me of Jessica’s cake batter martinis, a drink I still think about how many months later?!

This afternoon I’m off to gather the last-minute pieces of my Halloween costume. I was gonna stay in tonight (I say that every Friday), but looks like I’ll be out and about. There might even be a dessert bar at my brothers apartment that I’ll have to attend (he makes this drink called pie–tastes exactly like apple pie! and I have my cake batter vodka!). Our mom is so proud.

Happy Friday!

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Do you like cake-flavored foods and drinks?

October 27, 2011

Ran Out of Steam

Tuesday’s class was pretty tough. We only had two recipes, but they were both pretty complex and time-consuming.

Wow, hours later I only had that one line written…  very long, busy day…

Anyway, we made sauteed duck breast and braised leg with orange sauce as well as pan roasted quail with rice and sausage stuffing in a potato basket. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to finish the quail, which meant not only did we not get to present (looks very bad), but we also didn’t get to eat dinner. We fell behind so quickly, it was really a wake-up call. Ron was having some trouble butchering the duck (I probably would have too, had I been the one doing it) and then he had to prepare the sauce so that we could braise the duck, which meant I had to do most of the quail dish alone and there really just wasn’t enough time for that. So, after all the troubles, we didn’t even get to eat the quail we prepared, because we had to move on to the next recipe to make sure we at least got that one done in time. My dinner pretty much ended up being little scraps of sausage I didn’t need for the rice. The deprivation made me really grumpy…

Luckily (for my sanity) the duck came together as it should have and we finished that within plenty of time. Our duck was a bit undercooked for Chef’s liking, but it was still considered safe to serve and just the way I like it. Our sauce also was a bit too acidic and should have been reduced a bit more. Wasn’t a winning recipe, but it was much better, overall, than the quail, which was  a success to me.

Sauteed duck breast and braised leg with orange sauce

Sauteed duck breast and braised leg with orange sauce

Apparently not enough of a success though. I was so tired, hungry, frustrated, and emotionally wacky Tuesday night that when I got to Andrew’s I pretty much just crumpled into a pile of tears because I didn’t know what to eat. Um, hello! I had a ton of perfectly good quail and duck in tote. I think I just totally ran out of steam. Lucky for me, he was perfect and helped make me feel better–he even got me laughing a bit!

Yesterday I was still feeling a little out of sorts, and I really didn’t know what I wanted to have for lunch–until I realized that Potbelly opened on the concourse of our building. I’m not ashamed to admit that I just about sprinted there. I used to have Potbelly all the time when I lived in Chicago, and it was just seemed like such a treat to be able to have it in NYC.

I have to say that I was totally disappointed! I ordered my standard TKY and they informed me that they don’t have that item on the menu in NYC. Ok, but I wanted to know why. I politely asked why not and the manager, who just happened to be standing there, was like we dont have it on the menu. So I said I realized that but still was wondering why. He just repeated himself but added I dunno we just dont have it, corporate decision and was just so grumpy and rude. No smile, no nothing. Wouldn’t you expect something more along the lines of “Corporate decided not to put that on the menu here. Too bad, a lot of people seem to want that.” I mean…anything but what he did!

Turkey from Potbelly

Turkey from Potbelly

Anyway, I’m not sure if I didn’t enjoy my sandwich as much because it didn’t taste as good, because I had a sour taste from my interactions with the manager, or a combination of both. I think I’ve decided it was a combo. I asked for extra hot peppers (they are by far my favorite part of the sandwich) and there werent even what I would call a normal amount. The turkey also tasted more rubbery (I wonder if they get the turkey from the same distributor?). Maybe I’ll stick to having Potbelly as a special treat when I’m in Chicago–the NYC Potbelly just doesn’t have me that thrilled. Sad.

October 24, 2011

Full Fall Weekend

It’s hard to believe how quickly this weekend went–I guess I was just having way too much fun.

On Friday I went to the Devil’s game with my boyfriend, and we met some of his friends there. I hadn’t been to a hockey game in such a long time and, even though our seats were pretty high up, we actually had the perfect bird’s eye view of the entire rink.

Saturday was kind of a sluggish day that I spent mostly indoors (even though it was such a beautiful day) because I had test #3 on Saturday night. I didn’t study as much as I normally do, but I also didn’t completely blow it off. The test was extremely difficult–much more so than the other two. I could blame it on my lack of in-depth studying, but I really don’t think studying more would have helped much. The things I missed were actually from prior chapters that most of us didn’t review because we didn’t think they’d be on the exam. We were all in agreement that it was a really hard test, but I guess Chef snuck those questions in to see who’s really retaining the stuff we’ve learned. I guess we’ll get our tests back tomorrow night, but I’m really curious to see how I did. I’d guess I got somewhere between a high B to an A-. Not terrible, but also not up to par with my previous scores.

Luckily, I really didn’t let the difficult exam get to me and, even though I wasn’t working with Ron, I managed to turn out some awesome dishes. I was a little bit nervous, because it was our first poultry day, and I was working with one of my friends (which would make things kind of awkward if we didn’t work well together, I thought!).

We made sauteed chicken, hunter style and chicken poached in a Mediterranean-style broth.  The Mediterranean chicken had olives, saffron, caper berries, cumin and all these spices I really love but I wasn’t crazy about the way the flavors all came together. It was good, but it’s not on my  “must-make-this-for-everyone-I-know” list like some of the other things I’ve learned are. The sauteed chicken, hunter style, on the other hand, was delicious. I would definitely make that again in a heartbeat. Especially since it’s so rich and comforting–perfect for the fall and winter season.

Sauteed Chicken, Hunter Style

Sauteed Chicken, Hunter Style

Poached Chicken in Mediterranean-Style Broth

Poached Chicken in Mediterranean-Style Broth

On Sunday morning, my boyfriend and I walked from his apartment downtown to Brooklyn for brunch. It was a gorgeous day, and the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge was so much fun–it was so pretty and something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. We found a great little brunch spot that had a garden with outdoor TVs playing the football games. We chose to sit outside, even though it was a bit chilly when the sun went away, because we figured it’s probably one of the last time’s we’ll get the chance to do that this season.

view of manhattan from the brooklyn bridge

walking across the brooklyn bridge

When I was settled back at home last night, I scooped up some ingredients to make a caramel apple pie. I had so many left over apples from apple picking the week before, and I really didn’t want them to go to waste. The pie was so delicious. I can’t wait to share the recipe  tomorrow!

I’m excited for tonight, because Monday is really the only night I have time to make myself a nice meal to enjoy throughout the week (except the food I make at school, of course), so I’m excited to cook a bit tonight.

What should I make? What are some of your favorite fall meals?

October 21, 2011

Shellfish Overload

Last night’s class was such a 180 from Tuesday night, and thank goodness because I really needed it.

First, we got our tests back and things continue to be good in that department, so that definitely started the night off on the right foot.

We had a small lecture about shellfish, but then we pretty much got right to cooking. It was an interesting night, because we had five recipes, but we did two at a time (usually we do one at a time) and we each did the fifth one ourselves. This meant that between my partner (Ron!) and me, we were basically each taking charge over one of the recipes in each rotation.

Our first recipes were a l’anglaise sauce for the lobster (to be made later) and scallops with a parsley coulis. Ron took on the lobster sauce, while I went ahead with the scallops. For his dish, he had to cut up lobster bodies (meat removed) and saute them with a variety of different veggies, before simmering with white wine, chicken stock, and canned tomatoes. My scallop dish was also pretty straightforward. I had to make the parsley coulis and then sear the scallops. Both his sauce and the scallops I made turned out very well. My parsely coulis was a bit thinner than I would have liked, but Chef actually didn’t think it was too far off.

Scallops With Parsley Coulis

Scallops With Parsley Coulis

Once we presented our lobster sauce and our scallops, chef demonstrated how to cook a lobster so that we could each cook a lobster for ourselves as dinner. Sounds amazing, right? Not so fast. First I had to murder the poor little thing. I felt a little better once chef told us that lobsters are the ocean’s equivalent of an over-developed cockroach. Ok, that’s gross enough to make me want to kill it, but so gross that it almost makes me not want to eat it!

Anyway, I got to work slaughtering my lobster (Fred…yes, he was a male) by stabbing him in the head while he was still alive and crawling around on my cutting board. Despite the cockroach pep talk, I still felt incredibly inhumane and squealed a little too loudly when the thing was still squirming around postmortem. It was so sad, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I tossed him in the boiling hot fish stock and there he cooked for 8 minutes.

Cooked Lobster

Cooked Lobster

Once he was done (I should stop humanizing him…), I cracked him open and plated him (Chef actually showed us some tricks to getting the meat out all in a few beautiful pieces) with the a l’anglaise sauce to finish.

Lobster A'Langlaise

Lobster A'Langlaise

As you can see, he was so delicious.

After dinner, we had two more recipes to make: steamed mussels with shallots, white wine, and parsley as well as Escargot Burgundy. Ron loves shellfish, so he took charge of the mussels. It worked out perfectly, because I have an unnatural obsession with escargot. Both dishes came together relatively quickly, were equally as tasty, and, best of all, received no criticism from both of our chef instructors. Maybe even better than that? Feasting on mussels and snails and then mopping up the buttery juices from both with a fresh baguette from the bread making class down the hall.

Steamed Mussels With White Wine, Shallots, and Parsley

Steamed Mussels With White Wine, Shallots, and Parsley

Escargot Burgundy

Escargot Burgundy

After  having more than our fair share of food, we learned how to shuck oysters and clams without cutting off our hands. I found it really laborious, and would have given up had I not been so excited to eat the darn things. When I finally pried the delicious raw goodies open, they were so worth it.

Even though I took a lot of the food home to donate to a boyfriend that orders too much take out, I still woke up this morning a little woozy from shellfish overload.

Tomorrow we move on to poultry. I don’t know how I feel about that. I’d much rather work with the fish and shellfish, but chicken is always a good thing to know better since it is so widely consumed. Plus, poultry also includes delicious things like duck…

October 20, 2011

The Worst Part

We had our second test on Tuesday night. I think it went well… I didn’t blatantly miss any questions, but it’s hard to tell what the Chef could take points off of in terms of how thorough my explanations were, ect. Honestly, I think waiting to get your grade back is the worst part–even worse than studying for the test itself.

According to one of my classmates, another classmate cheated off of one of the girls in our class. Even though I wasn’t involved, this really makes me mad. I studied and to think that one of my classmates got by with cheating really angers me. If I have a full-time job and can still find time to not only study for the test, but also to do well on the test, than everyone else can too. I guess there is nothing I can do about it though…

After the test, we continued with fish. This time we worked with flatfish, as opposed to round fish. We made goujonettes, which is basically a fancy way of saying “fish sticks” and braised flounder. Looking back, the goujonettes turned out alright. It had a few extra components, like the potato basket, that are difficult to make and we should be proud for executing well. The braised flounder, on the other hand, was disasterous. We ran out of time at the end of class, and our sauce was not reduced properly. That’s not the worst of it though–our fish wasn’t even cooked all the way through. Oy.



All-in-all the rest of class was pretty frustrating on Tuesday night. It just seemed like everything I made was terrible and/or done badly somehow. Unfortunately, I let myself get pretty frustrated and, I have to admit, it was the first time that I really didn’t want to be there. I can’t believe how much I let it get to me, and I actually felt bad for my boyfriend because I definitely got more frustrated with him than I should have due to my mood. Maybe it’s because class has been relatively stress-free thus far and it was a new problem I was experiencing. I don’t know? All I know is I am going to try to bring my “A game” to tonight’s class–shellfish!

October 18, 2011

Apple and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage Risotto

As I mentioned before, I went apple picking on Sunday afternoon and had a million and one apples to use up.

I know everyone is on pumpkin and now butternut squash overload (not that that’s a bad thing–I love both!), I figured I’d share an apple recipe that was a little more unusual.

Last night I made myself apple risotto with chicken sausage. I didn’t expect it to be that wonderful, because not only have I never made risotto before, but I also wasn’t quite sure the flavors I chose would pair entirely well together. Oh my goodness was I wrong.

Despite the rice being a bit more al dente than I would have liked, the aroma was heavenly and the flavor was so so delicious. I ate it up so fast that I never even took a decent picture of it…To my credit, I was studying for my test and can’t believe I actually had time to make dinner in the first place.

I hope you will all trust that this recipe is amazing and make it for yourself sometime. You will not be disappointed!

Apple and Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage Risotto
Adapted from The Washington Post 
Serves 4

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 sun-dried tomato chicken sausages (approximately 8-9 ounces), casings removed (just start at the top and peel back the rubbery outside)
1 small onion, diced
2 crisp medium apples, cored and diced
1 cup of short or medium grained rice
1 cup white wine

1. Heat chicken broth until it comes to a boil. Adjust to low heat to keep warm.

2. While broth heats, saute chicken sausages (you can use any mild variety of sausage) in a large saucepan over medium heat until slightly browned. Add onion and apples and saute until soft, but not colored (if your onions and apples begin to brown, your heat is too high). Once onions and apples have softened, stir in rice.

3. Add 1/2 cup of the white wine and stir until liquid has evaporated. Once liquid has evaporated, add enough chicken broth to cover rice. Let simmer, stirring continuously. As broth begins to absorb below the level of the rice, add more broth 1/2 cup at a time until broth is gone.

4. Add the second half of the wine and stir until incorporated and absorbed into the rice mixture. The risotto should be done at this point, you can tell your risotto is done when it looks creamy and the rice is slightly firm to the bite. If your prefer your risotto a bit softer, slowly add more warm broth until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

Even though it’s a pain, it’s very important to stir continuously. I kind of skimped on this, because I was studying simultaneously but that’s definitely why my risotto was more al dente than I would have preferred.

By the way, I think this could be made into a delicious vegetarian meal by using veggie stock and eliminating the sausage. The sausage definitely adds great flavor, but it’s not entirely necessary. If you eat fish, shrimp would probably be delicious as well.

Hope you like it!

What’s the best thing you’ve made for dinner recently?

October 17, 2011

Fish Night and Apple Picking

Fish night was actually much better than I had anticipated. It turns out the fish had already been gutted for us, so all we had to do was fillet them. There was no cutting out guts, eyes or the likes. It was really pretty clean and painless.

Dead Fish

I'm sorry this is gross, but the fish we filleted (is that right? sounds weird!)

We worked with both Bass and Tout and turned them into poisson en papillote (fish baked in parchment paper) and filet de truite a la grenobloise (sauteed trout, grenoble style) respectively. The fish baked in parchment paper was really fun and easy to make. It created such a soft, delicious and healthy (I think!) fish. We basically sealed up a fillet of bass with julienned celery, carrots and leeks, white wine and thyme and baked it for 7-8 minutes. The result was a perfectly puffed package that you then open in front of the diner for both a beautiful presentation and a waft of the aromas.
The trout was pan fried with an herby, brown butter sauce. I didn’t try it (terrible omission) and I didn’t take a picture of it because it was Saturday night and I was ready to get out of there. I was tired and had a friend visiting for the night.

Bass cooked in parchment paper

Bass cooked in parchment paper

We actually didn’t get out of class till after 11, because people took too long to cook their food and we had to do a review for our second test (which is tomorrow). It was very frustrating.

I went apple picking yesterday, and got a ton of apples. At first it seemed like there was nothing left. We literally couldn’t find an apple anywhere (but rotten on the ground!) until we asked someone. Apparently all the apples were hiding in the back right hand corner of the Orchard. Once we knew where to go, we had more than enough apples to lug back to the city with us.

apple orchards

The beautiful apple orchard

That means I’ll be spending my night studying and cooking something for dinner that requires apples. I’m thinking apple risotto with sausage or butternut squash and apple soup.

Which recipe would you make? Any other suggestions?

October 14, 2011

Ramblings and Potato Overload

…And I’m back. I don’t know what was going on this past week, but I guess I really needed the week-long hiatus. I got a bit off track with my test last week, then the holiday weekend, and before I knew it a week had gone by.

So, as is evident, I’ve changed the name of this blog. The other one just didn’t sit right with me. I liked the idea of it, but I really couldn’t commit to it with all that I have going on. I want to be able to share my adventures in culinary school and those recipes, as well as any of my own recipes and/or ideas for healthy (or not so healthy) living. Plus, this name is much cuter and just sort of suits me. I think. I figured I may as well make the name change while I still have (maybe always will?) minimal readership.

A quick update on what I’ve been working on at school….

Thursday: We had our first test, and I felt really good about it when I was done. Guess my feeling was pretty accurate because I was more than pleased with my score. After the test, we got started on our soup lesson! We made split pea soup, beef consomme, french onion soup, and farmer’s vegetable soup. This lesson was a lot of fun, because it was fairly low-key but still yielded a delicious product (except our split pea which was a weird color but somehow still tasted amazing?).

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Saturday: We had a substitute chef (that sounds funny!) on Saturday for our preservation lesson. Let me tell you, I love this stuff! I’ve been making jam every fall for a number of years now, and I absolutely love pickles of nearly any kind so this was right up my alley. We made gravlax (cured salmon), duck confit, pickled veggies, preserved lemons, this salted cod puree that I’ve completely blocked out because it was disgusting, and we had some time leftover to poach some pears in a red wine reduction (which someone has since stolen from the fridge at school….rude!).

Pickled Veggies and Lemons

Pickled Veggies and Lemons

Tuesday: We had our salad lesson on Tuesday night. Thank the lord. I’ve been eating so much heavy, oily, salty foods at school that I really have been craving vegetables. When family meal comes, my friends laugh because all I can talk about is how much I just want the salad. Guess my body knows it’s being fed on overdrive and needs healthy food–I don’t know what to say. Anyway, we made a cooked veggie salad with tomato fondue (bound together with straight mayo–not exactly healthy), nicoise salad, and a bitter greens and herbs salad with a classic vinaigrette that is suspiciously similar to my favorite salad dressing which was created by my grandma. This was also a pretty relaxing class in which I had so much fun with Ron.

Cooked Vegetable Salad With Tomato Fondue
Cooked Vegetable Salad With Tomato Fondue
Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad

Bitter Greens and Herb Salad With Croutons

Bitter Greens and Herb Salad With Croutons

Thursday: Devastating news–Ron and I were split up today. Not to worry, the separation is only temporary, and we will be joining forces again tomorrow. I think. Anyway, last night was potato night. All I can say is: NO. MORE. CARBS. No, I would not like a bagel (my fav), bread, pasta, and especially no potatoes. My stomach hurts just thinking about potato city last night. We made pommes darphine, pommes darphinois, pont neuf (french fries that we turned into disco fries–fries with veal reduction, gruyere cheese, and chunks of bacon slathered all over it), and this other thing I can’t remember the name of (it was pommes puree with egg yolk and some other stuff in it and then piped out, breaded, and fried). Today, in the aftermath, I feel like one giant baked potato. We did get our midterm evaluations at the end of class last night. I was definitely satisfied with my review, but hope that it’s a bit higher for the final evaluation.

Pommes Darphine

Pommes Darphine

Disco Fries

Oh, hello disco fries.

Wow, so much rambling.

Tomorrow is fish day. Is it just me or is it cruel to make us gut fish for the first time ever on a Saturday night when I’m supposed to be going out afterwards? I’m gonna walk into the bar, and people are gonna drop dead. Will have to take about 500 showers before going out, I suppose.

October 6, 2011

Healthy Snacks to Keep at Work

For lunch this afternoon I had a delicious soup that I made for dinner last night (I’ll be sharing the recipe later in the week). I really enjoyed it and it left me full, but I am craving something sweet.

I’ve noticed that after both lunch and dinner I absolutely am dying for something a little sour or a piece of chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I always have a host of snacks at my desk, because we tend to receive a lot of samples here at the magazine but, as I look around, nothing is just right. Here’s a list of my favorite healthy snacks to keep at my desk or in the fridge here at work.

1. Cheese. My favorite is Laughing Cow’s Mini Babybel Light. They keep for such a long time in the fridge and they don’t taste “diet-y” at all.

2. All-Natural Peanut Butter. I don’t really have a favorite brand, but I love the chunky kind. This is also one of the few things I’ll never buy the diet version of–diet peanut butter just tastes so weird to me. I especially like to fill my spoon with half honey (they have little packs of honey here in the office) and half peanut butter.

3. Oatmeal. I’ve only recently gotten into oatmeal, and the Maple and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal from Trader Joe’s is definitely a new favorite.

4. Cereal. I never really loved cereal either. I always thought it didn’t fill me up and wasn’t tasty enough to waste too many calories on. A few weeks ago, I received a box of Kashi’s Cinnamon Harvest cereal through work and it is so good. I finally cracked it open early last week, and I’ve had a bowl almost every day.

5. Tea. When I really don’t want any added calories but I want to have something sweet, I have a cup of tea instead. My recent favorite has to be Yogi Lemon Ginger with a packet of splenda for a little extra sweetness. I also like Tazo’s Passion tea.

6. Hummus. I have always liked Sabra’s hummus, but I decided to try their chipotle flavor one day while walking through the grocery store (I love all things spicy–especially chipotle flavored!), and it is so good. I love to have a spoonful of this as a snack. On days when I’m lucky enough to get some good grape tomatoes from the farmer’s market, I mix the two together.

7. Dark chocolate covered cranberries. I absolutely love the dark chocolate covered cranberries from Trader Joe’s. They are like a much better version of raisinets.

What are your favorite things to snack on at work or throughout the day?

*Note: all of these opinions are my own. I did not receive any samples for review other than the cereal which came to me through work, but I really do love them!*