Monthly Archives: March 2012

Snacker Day Saturday: 3/31

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Squash and I go way back.

We first met under a true-blue North Carolina sky while I was learning the ropes of gardening at my grandparents’ house. They always have an abundant garden and one of my favorite things about summertime when growing up was spending a week squatting on my knees pickin’ beans, eating fresh tomatoes between slices of white bread, and baking zucchini slices with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I also had a tendency to get distracted from my bean-washing duties in the driveway making mini obstacle courses for baby toads out of old seedling containers, but that’s a different story. There’s really nothing better than hauling a huge bucket of green beans from the garden that you’ve picked yourself and then eating them for dinner that night.

The only problem with having access to so many fresh, backyard-grown veggies?
Vegetables from the grocery store never taste as good.

Still, I love my veggies and since I currently live in a place where I can’t grow my own in the backyard, I buy my veggies from the co-op or from farmers markets when I can. And the other day while I was shopping, a beautiful, yellow squash caught my eye. I think it might be the bright, sunshine-y weather that’s bringing me back to summer days, and I started craving a delicious vegetable concoction of some sort.

Combine a delicious yellow summer squash with a need for a crunchy snack and what do you get?

A snack that will squash all of your expectations.

Here’s my recipe for squash chips. The process may take a while and the chips will be gone faster than you can say “little toad obstacle course”, but it’s totally worth it to make them. They’re that good.

Oven-baked Squash Chips

Ingredients

1 yellow squash

Salt

Other seasonings of choice (I used an Italian blend on this batch, but I feel like you could make some great new variations on the chips – cheesy squash chips? Chipotle rubbed squash chips? Garlic squash chips?)

How To

1. Using either a mandolin or a knife, slice the squash as thin as you can. This is the hardest and most important step of making these chips so take your time. I cut them with a knife and although difficult, they turned out perfect.

2. Spray a cookie sheet (or two) liberally with cooking spray. Then line the squash slices up on the cookie sheets, ensuring that they don’t touch (they can be really close to each other, but not touching). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

3. Sprinkle salt over the squash slices. BE CAREFUL during this step – the chips will shrink and you don’t want to bite into a squash chip that tastes like ocean water. At this point, sprinkle whatever else you want on the chips right now too.

4. Put the cookie sheets into the oven. Let the squash chips bake for 2-3 hours (check them at 2 hours and see how long they need from there). The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be. Patience pays off in this recipe!

5. Take the chips out of the oven and try not to shove them all in your mouth at once. In fact, to keep you preoccupied while you’re snackin’ on squash chips, here’s a little bit of reading to keep you busy.

There’s a story called “True Trash” by Margaret Atwood from her collection titled Wilderness Tips that I think would be perfect for today. Set at a summer camp, this story comes equipped with docks for laying out, sunny weather, and a cool lake for swimming. And drama. Lots of suspense, intriguing interactions between campers and counselors and the female waitresses that make up a small but important chunk of the camp population. If the weather and the squash chips aren’t bringing you towards summer then this story will.

Whatever you do today, whether it’s getting outside for a walk or to mow the lawn or relax with a book, I hope you make these squash chips and thoroughly enjoy your Saturday!

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Hummus, Three Ways!

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When I love foods, I love them to the extreme. Take ice cream, for example. A few years back I ate almost two 1.5-quarts of Edy’s ice cream in order to win an ice cream eating competition. I ate my first tub in 12 minutes and then painfully made my way through the second tub which was cookies n’ cream flavored. Trust me, I love cookies n’ cream but I’d probably had well over 100 grams of sugar at that point and it was just too sweet. After the contest was over, I had goosebumps for about three hours afterwards, and rolled around the floor trying to make my stomach feel better. Even though I felt so sick, I managed to eat normally all of the next day and even went out for ice cream two days later.

Another example of my love of specific foods: frosting. It was on my list of life goals to eat an entire container of Betty Crocker frosting so my mom caved and let me and my brother each have a container to ourselves. We sat down with spoons in hand and I achieved my dream. My brother couldn’t finish his container so I ate the last half of his as well. Twenty minutes later, the Wheel of Fortune turned into the most hilarious show we had ever seen.

Other foods I’ve loved excessively over the years: Ritz crackers, olives, pickles, mangoes, baby carrots, and zucchinis. More recently I’ve fallen in love with sweet potatoes, seaweed salad, popcorn,  lemon-tahini dressing, Brussel sprouts, and Greek yogurt. Now you’re probably wondering, what does all of this have to do with what I’m sharing today?

I’ve got another food in my life that I can’t seem to get enough of: hummus. I love it on sandwiches, as a topping on my salads, and using it as a dip for my beloved baby carrot sticks. I buy a ton of it from our local co-op, so much that I go through a container of it within 48 hours of buying the stuff.

I’ve constantly seen recipes for hummus around the internet that look delectable and oh-so-easy to make. So, last time I was at the co-op I bought a can of garbanzo beans rather than my usual little tub of hummus. I made three different kinds and I’ve been dipping everything in ever since. I’m happy with how they turned out which is why I’m sharing my humble little recipes with you today! If you love hummus as much as I do – or even just want to try a new flavor – go ahead and give these a go!

Hummus, three ways
(Tumeric-garlic / Cilantro  and Green Onion / Ginger and Soy Sauce)

Ingredients

For the plain hummus:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can of garbanzo beans (drain the beans and reserve the liquid)

1 tablespoon tahini

1/2 cup reserved garbanzo bean liquid

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the tumeric-garlic:

1 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 tablespoon garlic

For the cilantro and green onion:

1 teaspoon cilantro paste or one tablespoon chopped, fresh cilantro

Two small green onions, finely chopped

For the ginger and soy sauce:

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon soy sauce (or one and a half teaspoons), to taste

How To
These instructions might appear complicated, but here’s what we’re up to: basically you’re going to make a batch of plain hummus and then after following those instructions, simply split the plain hummus into three batches and then add the different ingredients to each different batch to make the three flavors. Here we go!

1. Pour the olive oil into a small skillet. Then, pour the beans in and heat over medium heat. Stir them so that the bottom beans don’t burn. Cook the beans until they are golden brown.

2. Put the beans into a food processor. Add the salt, pepper, and tahini. Blend this mixture.

3. After blending the beans, examine the consistency. Little by little, add the 1/2 cup of reserved garbanzo bean juice from the can until the hummus reaches a creamy texture.

4. Separate the hummus into three small bowls. Next, add each set of ingredients to each different plain hummus batch. Mix them really well and then they are ready to dive into!


From left to right: tumeric-garlic / cilantro green onion / ginger soy-sauce

Well, I hope you enjoy these different hummus recipes! They are PACKED with flavor and are a great accompaniment to a lot of different snack foods. However, although these hummus recipes might pair perfectly with baby carrots and crackers, I’ve got a recipe tomorrow for Snacker Day Saturday that will act as the perfect vessel to these hummus flavors.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for this…

and in the meantime, have a fun-filled Friday!!!

Breaking Night [Book Review]

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It is immediately clear why Liz Murray’s memoir Breaking Night is a New York Times Bestseller. From the poignant, heartache filled descriptions of the sole remaining photo of her mother, to the expressive and somehow beautiful reflections of homelessness and abandonment, the first pages of the book set a tone of raw honesty, incredible circumstances, and profound prose that characterize the entirety of the memoir.

The book is dramatic and suspenseful, but reaches past the temptation of simply recording the almost unbelievable events that Murray has survived to touch on themes such as family dynamics, perseverance, and most of all, forgiveness. Murray explains all of the situations and events in her life with a voice of clarity, honesty, and reflection that shift the novel from a melodramatic recollection of events, to an inspirational story about growth, love, and the concept of finding family in those you love most. While Murray struggled through extensive hardships in her childhood, she reaches deeper than a simple description, and provides insight into her strong will, the effects of people surrounding her, the power of hope, and staunchness to inevitably succeed and rise above her situation to provide the best life that she can for herself. Murray’s motivation to be stronger than her circumstances is incredible.

As is described throughout the book, the term ‘breaking night’ is urban slang for staying up through the night, until the sun rises. And it is no wonder that Murray selected such a phrase to provide a succinct summary of her story; she spends nights in turmoil by the phone ready to call 911 should one of her parents not return from their drug runs, she is awake in the night walking the streets and waiting for any of her friends to let her in their homes for a quick meal or a catnap on a futon, she experiences extreme insomnia when her mother passes away, and she stays awake miraculously absorbed in her studies that she is unable to commit to for most of her life. Both the city of New York and Murray blossom at night, unfurling to expose stealthy drug deals, bars that suck her parents in regularly, darkened streets that her frail and nearly-blind mother strides confidently down despite the prominence of violence and rape that pervade during those hours.

Murray’s childhood is stolen from her by the culprit of drug and drink induced intoxication that consume her parents. Before the age of five, Murray comprehends her parents’ drug habits because she has seen them inject cocaine so many times. At the age of five she spends afternoons waiting for the mailman to deliver the welfare check so that her parents can spend it on drugs and a few slices of bologna. And these responsibilities and lifestyle implications continue to ebb away at what childhood Murray could have had. Rather than study math in the evenings, Murray holds her fingers over 911 in the evenings in case her parents don’t return. Instead of playing with other kids, Murray plays somewhat of a game with her father, sneaking him down the hall past her sister’s bedroom so he can buy more drugs. And instead of grumbling over cafeteria food, Murray and her sister plead for even one more mayonnaise sandwich just so that they can ease the pain in their stomachs in the slightest. She trades textbooks for television shows in an attempt to form a relationship with her mother, hustles gas stations as a minor in order to get money to buy the family food, gives up her birthday money so her mother can buy more drugs, and reads her father’s crime books, biographies, and trivia books that he steals from the library in order to feel connected to him. Behind ever action of Murray’s, there is consistent motivation to nurture ties to her family members that she sees as crucial to her life when she is young.

These family dynamics are perhaps one of the greatest aspects of the book. It is painful to read about the hunger that Murray and her sister experience while understanding that all of the money has gone to a few hits of coke. Reading about the guilt that Murray feels because she believes her parents demise to be her fault is agonizing. And when reading about the constant absence and neglectful actions of Murray’s parents, it becomes easy to want to dislike them and rebuke them for their actions. While Murray in no way at all endorses their lifestyle, she writes so powerfully about tender moments that do occur within the family that allow readers to see inside Murray’s mature and forgiving mind. Rather than dwell on the damage that her parents inflicted on her, Murray forges connections pointing out the positive traits that her parents nurtured in her. For example, Murray cites that her father taught her not to care what anyone else thought of her which gave her a sense of strength in crucial moments of her existence. Her mother loved her and would give her a hug when everyone at school jeered at her and made fun of her appearance. Additionally, there are many moments in the book when her mother breaks down and explains how much she wishes she could end the cycle that she feels trapped in. Murray writes so eloquently about these interactions between herself and her mother that the emotions leap off the page and into the hearts of readers. The longing for acceptance and love that Murray strives for throughout her life are explained vividly and honestly, which make the entire narrative awe-inspiring and excruciating in the same moments.

These descriptions I have just given regarding what make this memoir so powerful only scratch the surface of the content that exists between the covers. Murray encounters so much resistance from acquaintances, her family, teachers, and circumstances that when she succeeds, readers truly rejoice with her. This book is compelling, motivational, and moving. There really are no words to describe the experience of reading this memoir because it is so pure in voice, so extremely incredible in content, so beautifully written, and so inspirational. Because I am unable to adequately explain how amazing this memoir is, I highly recommend that you pick it up for yourself and read through Murray’s challenges and successes. It will change your perspective on homelessness, on limits of the human spirit and heart, and the depth of motivation that exists within each of us.

Ich habe einen German Chocolate Cake. Vegan. Ya Vole. [Guest Blog Post]

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Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve seen her face on this blog several times, witnessed her baking and measuring when I deemed myself too incompetent, and heard tales of her genius concoctions in the kitchen. It is my pleasure to formally introduce you to your guest blogger today, Andrea! She’s a girl who loves broccoli as much as she loves the earth, has a sweet tooth for chocolate and saving all of the animals in the world, and devours grapes with as much gusto as she does an informative book about topics she’s passionate in. A runner, five-finger-wearer, unique-necklace-owner, vegan, tree-lovin’, baker-extraordinaire, Andrea is my cherished friend and cooking partner in crime. So without more gab from me, here’s Andrea’s inaugural post in the blogging world! Enjoy!

Hi I’m Andrea and I’m nervous to be writing this post.

So nervous that I made this cake in December and have been putting it off ever since. I’m obviously honored to be guest blogging on my favorite blog and don’t want to let my friend Jacqueline down!

Being vegan, I surprisingly do indulge in a lot of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and milkshakes. They are all obviously delicious, but usually just the staple flavors. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter… So when I saw a recipe for a vegan German Chocolate Cake in a new cookbook Jacqueline got me for my birthday, I knew it had to be made.

I wasn’t with my favorite baking crew (my roommates) because it was winter vacation so we couldn’t indulge in licking the frosting spoons together but I’m glad I finally get to share my cake success now!

The ingredients were gathered around, the cakes were baked, and I was ready to assemble!

Can you tell what I was going for here? Making the chocolate cake look like soil that is growing the grass from the bag of sugar? Yeah, obviously I just got a new camera and thought I was being super artsy.

What a great excuse to use the little Mr. Frosty cake stand.

Where is that missing piece you ask? Obviously I had to have a piece before the photo shoot. When it comes to chocolate, my patience is about ZERO!

This recipe is from Mama Pea herself in her cookbook Peas and Thank You. It is definitely one of my favorite cookbooks ever, Mama Pea has yet to disappoint! To get this recipe for German Chocolate Cake and read Mama Pea’s blog for yourself, check this out!

These are just some more pictures I took with my new camera on New Years Eve. What a great way to ring in the New Year.

It’s obviously not even close to New Years anymore, but there really is no wrong time to make a Vegan German chocolate cake and hang out at the beach!! The first day of Spring is coming up, though! I think that’s always the most exciting season change. It’s only going to get warmer from here!

Have a great Spring, however you ring it in!!!

Andrea

Popping the Question

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Engagement? Nah.

I have a better question to pop.

What should we eat for dessert?

This is a question that Andrea and I pondered after finishing delicious meals. We sat in our dining room and visions of sugar-plums danced in our heads. Actually, I lie. Visions of anything chocolatey danced through our heads.

We began throwing out ideas: brownies, cupcakes, a banana creation. You know, the usual. But we just weren’t feelin’ it. Instead, we made something more perfect than we ever could’ve envisioned. Something salty and sweet. Something vegan. Something different but irresistible.

Okay, okay, I’ll get to the point and ask you, what should you eat for dessert?

This.

I’m going to pretend I can tell fortunes for a second and go ahead and let you know that this is in your future. The ingredients are simple, the taste is out of this world, and it’s the perfect food to snack on, enjoy for dessert, and share with friends. Andrea and I think so, and we know you will too.

And if this picture hasn’t convinced you to go ahead and try making this popcorn, maybe this little song about it will encourage you to do so.

Pop! Goes the Popcorn!
(sung to the tune of Pop! Goes the Weasel)
A half a cup of yummy kernels
Half a cup of chocolate
That’s what you need for this treat
Pop! Goes the popcorn!

Don’t worry, I won’t quit my day job to start a song-writing career, but the punniness of the song was too much to resist. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe to our popcorn concoction!

Caramel Chocolate Popcorn

Ingredients

For the popcorn:

1/4 cup of popcorn kernels (or 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels, depending on how much you want the popcorn to be coated)

1-2 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the caramel sauce:

1/2 cup xylitol

1 teaspoon agave

For the chocolate drizzle:

1/3 cup chocolate chips

How To

1. In a small pan, combine xylitol and agave. Stir for 5-8 minutes over medium heat, watching it carefully. Take off the burner when it becomes a beautiful caramel color. At this point, it will be really liquidy so pour the contents of the pan into a small bowl and then place it in the fridge. For more instruction, go to this blog which is where I found the recipe. Thanks, FoodieFiasco!

2. While the caramel starts to get a bit more gel-like, start popping the popcorn. Add 1-2 tablespoons oil (or enough to lightly coat all kernels) and the kernels to a large pot. Ensure that you put a lid on the pot before you begin attempting to pop the kernels. Heat over medium-high heat until most of the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to a bowl.

3. Put chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave them for 45 seconds. At this point, check them and stir. If they are fully melted at any point during this process, drizzle the chocolate onto the popcorn. If they aren’t completely melted, put them in for 15 additional seconds and then check them again. Repeat process until you get melted chocolate. Ensure that you don’t burn the chips-this can happen easier than you might think!

4. Grab the big bowl of popcorn and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt on it. Then, drizzle chocolate all over the popcorn, mixing as you do it. After that, drizzle the caramel and continue to mix. Mix popcorn carefully (as not to break too many pieces) and then let it sit for a little bit while the chocolate hardens. Or, if you’re like us, start eating popcorn by the spoonful while it’s still warm. If your chocolate isn’t hardening, you can go ahead and pop the bowl into the fridge for 10 minutes. The popcorn won’t get stale and the chocolate will firm up.

5. Dig into this treat!! Hope you love it as much as we do!!

Monday Mementos

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Since I’ve got a little bit more sharing to do about my trip last week, I figured I’d share little snippets of the great food I ate, the books I read, the activities I did, and the wonderful people I shared it all with!

  • Reading: GRE workbook. I saw this book quite a bit this trip. I used it to keep me occupied during my 12 hour journey to Montana, and then worked at it in various coffee shops during the week. Accompanied by a hot cup of joe or a rootbeer from the cozy spaces downtown, the workbook seemed bearable. On my way home on the plane? GRE was completely neglected.
  • Food: Caffe Dolce. Where do I even start on this one? If I could, I’d classify my relationship with this cafe as a long-distance love affair. Have you ever been to a restaurant where you can get gelato, pumpkin bread, a grilled-pb&j sandwich, a glass of wine from Germany or France, a milk and white chocolate-streaked biscotti, and a plate of butternut squash ravioli? I didn’t think so. Best part about this list is that I only named a few items off of the menu. While seated under a beautifully painted ceiling, it’s possible to gaze at the chalkboard menu for minutes on end, admiring the use of fresh, local ingredients and unique pairings. The food tastes wholesome and on the end of fine-dining, but is offered at a reasonable price, elegantly presented, and served with genuine kindness. Along with funky pairings like fried sage and hazelnut browned butter, the fine dining-feel of the cafe is complemented by serve-yourself water out of beautiful vases, and an atmosphere that students feel comfortable studying in and foodies savor. It’s a place for people who want good food or a beautifully presented cup of coffee. And, as I said before, I’m in love.

  • Rock Climbing: At my brother’s gym, there’s a huge rock climbing wall so I decided to test out my arm and leg muscles that have been abandoned for three months and try to climb. Entering a climbing wall swarming with people who made climbing look like Spiderman does was daunting. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that many of them were bouldering and could easily swing their bodies from side to side and pull themselves up with the strength of their fingertips. Nevertheless, my brother taught me how to belay properly and then I was on my way, climbing to the tops of each of the walls and following the “rainbow routes” since there was no way I could manage keeping track of whether or not my fingers and toes were on the green tape or white tape. I had a ton of fun and it felt great to get out and be active again. The ultimate highlight of rock climbing? The fact that later that night I found it almost impossible to eat popcorn in my hotel room because my forearms were so sore.
  • Book: I read Kevin Canty’s collection of short stories Where the Money Went while on a stationary bike for the first time in three months (yeah, my muscles were in pain). I don’t know whether it was the endorphins from the bike ride, or the fact that I was intrigued by the male perspective on life and love present throughout Canty’s work, but I managed to bike and read for an hour.
  • Food: Some of my favorite meals last week came from….drumroll please….the cafeteria! The name of the cafeteria is “The Food Zoo” and most kids groan about walking in there to eat, which I completely understand. Even good things become mundane and less desirable after you’ve had them for months on end. Since I was new, I raved over the extensive salad bar and piled my plate full of greens, beets, baby corn, carrots, hummus, and OLIVES! Taking me to a salad bar where endless amounts of whole black olives and green olives with the little red pits are available is one dangerous combination. Over the course of two dinners, I managed to sample vegan jambalaya, grilled chicken, shrimp pad thai, and roasted zuchinni and radishes (a combination I ate nearly two platefuls of..I’m sensing I’ll have to re-create the magic in my own kitchen soon). I thoroughly enjoyed both my dinners, not only because I was able to choose food from over six different food lines, but because I got to meet a lot of my brother’s friends which was really nice.
  • Hiking: We got to go on a couple nice walks around campus along the river and halfway up the “M” trail. Our nicest hike outing though was when we drove to Lolo to hike a little bit on the mountain trails. There were SO many trails to choose from and we ended up hiking through a beautiful series of gigantic rocks, pausing to tan (yes, TAN) on a boulder, and then to let my brother climb around a bit on some of the rocks. We experienced snow, sleet, rain, and sunshine. It was a great day full of walking and spending time with my family.

  • Books: Expect a review of Breaking Night by Liz Murray coming soon on digintobooks. An intense and humbling story about a girl who made it from being a homeless teenager to graduating from Harvard. Murray writes honestly and beautifully about her drug addicted parents and the toll that their decisions made on her and her family. It was a book I literally couldn’t put down – I started it on the plane ride home and finished it later that night. Incredible.
  • Food: The Catalyst. A trendy, modern-feeling cafe and eatery in downtown Missoula offers breakfast all-day (when can you turn a deal like that down)? My mom and I bopped in there after I studied for a few hours and I was in need of some brain fuel. A local beet salad topped with arugula and hazelnuts served next to a tomato lime tortilla soup was the perfect remedy to my studying exhaustion. The restaurant features upper-floor balcony and main floor seating, a small coffee bar area with stools, and tall-paned windows that make the most of the slender space that the building occupies. Giant portions, wholesome food, and friendly staff can all be found at The Catalyst. A bonus: a good chunk of the menu at The Catalyst is vegetarian and vegan friendly!

  • Coffee: Both Liquid Planet and Break Espresso served as my studying spaces while in Missoula. I love the variety of beverages available at Liquid Planet. They offer not only an extensive selection of coffee based drinks, but also teas, pops, beers, wine, and a few little snacks to accompany anything you might choose to drink. At Break Espresso, I was amazed at the $1.25 drip coffee that featured 25 cent refills. The staff was so accommodating that they let me add soy milk to each of the cups of coffee that I had. A full array of coffees and teas as well as fresh juices (my mom had a DELICIOUS lemon-ginger juice) and a plethora of baked goods (we split an irresistible ginger cookie) make Break Espresso the place to be when studying, working, or on a coffee date. Rich wood floors and textured brick walls made the place feel homey.

    Sampling a unique rootbeer at Liquid Planet.

Overall, my trip was full of great food and reads. But best of all were the moments spent with my family, especially when in the great outdoors! I loved getting the chance to stretch my sleepy muscles a little bit and enjoy time in the sun and snow (!) with the people I love most. Look for some book reviews and recipes coming up in the next few days! I am really itching to re-create those roasted zucchini and radishes!

Snacker Day Saturday: 3/24

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Today I’m leaving my family to go home, which means I’m spending the whole day in airports. Hooray for fun days spent in airport terminals when you woke up earlier than the sun and all of the coffee shops! Luckily for you, I’ll spare you the details of my “snacker day” today, as it will most assuredly consist of the giant bag of cheerios I have in my backpack, an apple, and some Christmas themed Clif Bars. And let’s not forget my most important snack today: an extra-large, overpriced coffee from one of these airports. I can’t wait until the caffeine hits my bloodstream.

But I won’t bore you any more with the woes of pricey airports, eyes that can’t stay open, and the fact that I’m already missing my family. Instead, I’m going to give you a fun new snack idea and a great new short story to read. And I guess this snack actually does relate to airports (unless I’m just making this up in my stupor of sleepiness). We’ll try this connection out and see how it goes:

Ever walk through an airport or mall and smell Cinnabon? Please say yes, and please tell me that each and every time you walk past the sugary, sweet, buttery mountains of puffy dough and sticky glaze you really really want one. You want one so much in fact that you manage to look past the fact that these suckers cost half of your days paycheck and probably contain enough sugar to send 100 small children bouncing to the moon and back, and you almost convince yourself to buy one. Note, I said almost. Whenever I smell those Cinnabons, I’ll admit that yes, I crave them, but I always know in the back of my mind that I can make something more nutritious, filling, and less expensive at home (please tell me to read this post later when I’ve been in the airports for eight hours and I’m salivating for absolutely anything).

So today, in honor of my future airport stroll past Cinnabon, I’m bestowing upon you the recipe for a delicious snack that is packed with flavor and looks like dessert (wow, my ‘snacks‘ seem to have a theme, don’t they…?) Anyway, here’s the recipe for the Sinless Cinnabon Snack I’ve been hyping up in this post. Wish I was home with a wrap, some peanut butter, and a banana to whip these bad boys up. Alas, I’ll just dig into my plain sandwich bag of cheerios for now.

Sinless Cinnabon Snack

Ingredients

1 whole wheat wrap

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 banana

1 teaspoon cinnamon

How To

1. Lay your wrap out on a flat surface (like a countertop, or table, or your abs that you procured for spring break) and just let it sit there while you mix up the ‘filling’.

2. In a bowl, mash a banana up well with a fork. Mix in the peanut butter (you may have to microwave for 5 seconds if it’s natural PB and refrigerated) and the cinnamon to the banana. It should attain a really smooth texture.

3. Scoop the banana mixture onto the wrap. Smooth the mixture out and spread it around, being sure to leave one-inch margins around the wrap.

4. You now have two options. Option A: Roll this bad boy up like a burrito and eat it (awesome as a lunch like this-I’ve packed it in a sandwich bag and an ice pack and it’s great). Option B: Roll the wrap up as if you’re making a spiral (because you are). Then, cut the spiral into little pieces that may or may not look like mini cinnamon rolls.

5. Eat ’em up!

I apologize for the horrible pictures but I promise, promise, promise that these taste WAY better than they look. I’ll leave it up to you to try them.

*We interrupt this blog post to inform you that the lights in the airport just turned on. That’s right ladies and gentlemen…I’m awake earlier than the lights at the airport! Go me!*

Anyway, onto my last order of business: a little reading snack to keep your mind working. By now, I’m sure you’re saying thank goodness this is almost over or you’ve just stopped reading. Either way, I’m not offended: sleep and I don’t do well without each other. Something else that does not do well without the other? Montana and Kevin Canty. Kevin Canty is a brilliant writer who crafts tightly written stories that offer room for insight into self and the world. And by “tightly written”, I’m referring to the title story of one of his short story collections called “Where the Money Went”.

I know that your Sinless Cinnabon Snack will take you 3.0 seconds to eat (okay, maybe I’m a REALLY fast eater), so I decided to keep the reading short, too. The story is only three pages and will leave you at the end feeling slightly different about reality by the end of it. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but the story really does provide a lot of space for self-reflection and an opportunity to view life from a different lens. Just go ahead, read it. The writing is far, far superior than the babbling I am doing on this blog this morning.

Just ignore my sleep-deprivation and trust that in a normal state of being I would recommend (highly recommend, in fact) both this snack recipe for your belly and for your brain. Have a great Snacker Day, Snacker!