Monthly Archives: October 2009

Agave roasted pumpkin seeds



Halloween will forever hold a special place in my heart. Two years ago on Halloween is when Mike and I officially met.

While we didn’t officially start dating for about another month, this date still has significant meaning.  I’m happy to be going two years strong with my babe.

In celebration of this fabulous day, we have been having a ‘fall themed’ date day, which started with a crisp walk around town and some pumpkin bagels and pumpkin cream cheese from Brueggers Bagels.  Oh, and pumpkin spice coffee as well. :mrgreen:

We then went, unsuccessfully, to find a costume at Party City.  I now can understand what Caitlin was talking about a few days ago.  ALL the costumes are super skimpy with barely any coverage.  That is all fine and dandy, but when you live in MINNESOTA and the temperatures are going to be in the 30’s tonight, I prefer a warmer costume.

Instead of spending $80 on a costume I would never wear again,  I ‘borrowed’ Jenna’s idea of being Julia Child.

All I need is:

  • An apron (got a cute one for $12.99 from Target)
  • Pearls (I have already)
  • Baking utensils to carry around (a small pan and rolling-pin, $1 and $2.50 at the Target dollar spot)
  • A grey wig ($16 at Party City)

And, even better, I can put everything to use on a regular basis.  Well, maybe not the grey wig. 😉

By the time we were done shopping we were both famished.  We stopped by a local bakery/cafe, Urban Harvest, to get some lunch to-go.

We were so indecisive we decided to both get half of a sandwich (they were HUGE) and split them.  I got a curried turkey on sourdough.


This sammie had currant in which I couldn’t really taste.  I think I would rather have had it have raisins.  Num!  But overall, this sandwich had a fabulous curry taste.  It was a nice change of pace from the regular turkey or veggie that I typically get.

The other sandwich was chicken salad with grapes, one of my favorite.  This was served on an eight grain.


On the side, some baked Cheetos


And half of an apple.


Then it was time for carving pumpkins!



And hers…


We of course saved the seeds and had a pumpkin seed cooking contest.  He chose savory, I chose sweet.  This is where my Agave and Cinnamon Roast Pumpkin Seed recipe comes in!

I was pulling things out of the cupboard and came up with this…

Once the pumpkin seeds are dry, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Form the seeds in single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top of the salt layer.  Then follow-up with a few squirts of agave.  (Eyeball all of these measurements).  Stir and re-spread.

Baked for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.  Pull out of the oven and do another round of seasoning.  Then continue baking for 15 more minutes.

End result?


Okay, the photo really doesn’t do the taste justice.  If you are looking for a sweet spin on pumpkin seeds, try this recipe.  We couldn’t stop eating them!

Mike’s savory recipes includes the same method as my sweet version, except with garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.  His was very good too!


We also have been snacking on Halloween candy all day…

The festivities will continue tonight as we drink pumpkin beer (at least to start), dress up in our costumes (Mike is going to be a decked out Twinkie) and head to the bars with Luke and Jodi.

Two things came in the mail today!!!!! One in which you all should make sure you check back in to my blog tomorrow for…  have a safe and fun evening!  However, you will find out what both were tomorrow.


Two questions for you this afternoon.

1. This morning I had planned on going for a run.  But I think secretly my body was screaming for rest.  Do you ever take a ‘vacation’ from working out? Please share! As hard as it is for me, I am taking a vacation from the gym this weekend!  Instead I went for a nice long walk this morning with Mike.  I think at times I push myself too hard and I just need to take a step back and relax. 🙂

2. What are you doing tonight for Halloween?


This n’ that

Good morning!  This post has a little bit of this and little bit of that.  Half food, half fun.

This morning Jillian and I had a one-on-one workout on level two of the shred.  She kicks my booty every single time.  Nothing too exciting/different on that front, so moving on.

I’m going to give everybody one last day to send any questions they have for Niki!  Remember, you can pretty much ask anything food, cooking/baking/methods, ingredient related, culinary school, professional/career wise, etc.   You name it, send it over!

By now, I don’t think I even have to tell you what breakfast is.  You all know by now that it is scone Friday!  Or, for new readers, you will soon come to find that every Friday I treat myself to a scone.  A local restaurant in the skyway named Allie’s has the best scones I have ever tried.

Last weeks was a cinnamon chip.  My camera ate my photo from last week, but luckily I’ve had that flavor before and can use a replacement. 🙂



For lunch today I will be going to Potbelly’s with a friend.  We both agreed we wanted something quick and cheap.  I have been spending money lately like I am some high roller.  I seriously need to tone it down a bit.  😦

I can almost guarantee that I will be getting a turkey sammie on wheat and a diet coke.

They conveniently have a photo of a turkey sandwich on their website.  However, I won’t be getting the cookie shown. I have some candy stashes a few cubes away that I will raid instead.

turkey_sandwichAfter reading Caitlin’s blog yesterday and finding out that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, I thought I would give an ode to my little Petrie, following Caitlin’s fun facts on James and Maggie.  Now, I haven’t had Petrie very long.  And due to the heartbreak that we went through we haven’t seen her for a while.  But I still know the fun things about her!


  • Petrie is a mix between a pug and a terrier.  Her breed is called a Puggat.  However, she is way more pug that terrier.   Petrie is currently 8.5 pounds and the vet thinks she will only get to be about 12 pounds.  YES!  She is going to stay little. :mrgreen:
  • Petrie was given up from a family who was moving.  What makes me angry is the fact that they could have only had her about 4-6 weeks before they moved (due to her age when we got her).   Wouldn’t you think you would have known you were moving?  I am thinking they just couldn’t handle the puppy.
  • If we would have shown up 5 minutes later to the shelter we wouldn’t have gotten Petrie.  There were two other families that came in right after us wanting to adopt her.
  • She thinks she is a human and stands like one as well.  Hence…


  • She is fearless.  She plays with the biggest dogs and will hang on them like she is the queen of the world.  My mom has said that Petrie already thinks she owns my mom’s house and her neighborhood.  What a spoiled dog!
  • Petrie is a lover.  She always wants to be in your lap.  When she falls asleep in your lap she snores- otherwise she won’t snore when she sleep.
  • When Petrie walks around, she sounds like a video game character.  It’s hard to describe, but she makes this little gremlin noise.  Very hilarious.
  • In 9 months we will be REUNITED!!!!! According to the chart at the vet, Petrie will be in her ‘teenage’ years.  Great, she is going to think she is all that even more.  😉

Have you ever adopted from a shelter?  If so, share a fun fact or two about your fabulous animal.  If not, would you ever consider it?

Oh (banana doughnuts) glow!

Angela, over at Oh She Glows, is a baking genius. But more on that in a bit!

It has been a very stressful week for both Mike and I in terms of our jobs.  So Mike emailed me today and told me we were going to Trader Joe’s tonight!  What a guy.  Seriously, he knows how to brighten my day.  ❤

So after work we headed over to Trader Joe’s and stocked up on a lot of fun foods which you will be seeing in the upcoming week.  By the time we got home it was already after 7:30.  Jenna + hunger= watch out.  So instead of taking the time to cook up a meal, we improvised on something quick- baked potatoes.

I topped mine with some Trader Joe’s shredded bbq chicken, cheese and a dollop of greek yogurt (great replacement for sour cream).


On the side, a salad with sea salt and pepper croutons (which are now my second favorite behind Panera’s Asiagoou) and raspberry vinaigrette.


Simple dinner and oh so satisfying.

This afternoon while I was working away I of course was thinking about the overripe banana’s I had at home and what I was going to do with them.  I thought about making banana bread, but I always do that.

Then I thought about banana cake.  But the majority would probably go to waste.  Then I remembered Angela had a recipe for Baked Banana Doughnuts! Well, if she insists we try these, then I guess I can’t not. 😉

Here are mine out of the oven. (There is another plate of them!)


My holes kind of didn’t remain ‘holes’ through the baking process.  Can’t win them all.  At least it doesn’t affect the taste.

To jazz some of my doughnuts up, I made a special ‘glaze’.  Aka, my peanut butter frosting: powdered sugar, milk and a big spoonful of peanut butter- I used chunky this time.

I made a special doughnut for Mike when he gets home tonight since I’ll most likely be sound asleep.


Looks good huh?  At first I thought these were going to come out tasting and having the consistency of banana bread based off of the dough taste.

Boy was I wrong!  They were veryyyy moist and dense.  I underbaked them by one minute even since I like my ‘dough’ and prefer my baked goods a bit ‘doughy’.  Anybody with me on this? I seriously could have eaten two or three but I resisted.  There is always tomorrow!

After having one and a half doughnuts with icing and way too much dough doughnut I am S.T.U.F.F.E.D. to the brim.  I need to go put on some sweatpants that have an elastic waste!  I am going to crawl into bed and watch He’s Just Not That Into You.  It was a total impulse buy at Best Buy, but worth it.

Tomorrow I am thinking of sleeping in a bit and waking up to have a morning session with Jillian for some shredding.  Nighty night!

What is the best recipe that you have tried in which you got/saw on another blog?


Rainy Thursday

The weather here in Minneapolis today is going to be rainy, grey and cold. Doesn’t that sound like somewhere you want to be? 🙂

I got my booty out of bed this morning and headed to the gym. Since I have ran the past two mornings I decided to switch it up and catch up on some gossip magazines do intervals on the elliptical.

I used to love the elliptical. But this was before I hated running. Now I love running and am not really a fan of the elliptical. Funny how that works.

Do I have any readers out there who love spin classes? I have wanted to try one but am super scared to go. I don’t want to walk in there and get my @$$ kicked, and look like an idiot at all at the same time.

On to eats.

Since I am eating the breakfast today that I packed for yesterday, I thought I would find a pretty breakfast photo for us all to drool over.

I present to you, Banana Stuffed French Toast. OMG.  How amazing does this look?  And look at that food presentation.  That is what I think is the best part of this dish.  Yep, I need to learn how to do that.


For lunch today I am having a can of Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable soup.  I’ve never had it.  Have any of you?  I’m excited to try!  I’ll let you know my thoughts.


On the side, heaven.  Aka, Trader Joe’s Cheddar Cheese Pita Chips.


Next time you go to Trader Joe’s, but sure to pick up a bag. They are filled with a wonderful burnt cheese flavor. Is it weird that I like burnt cheese?


Annnd, one of our creative agencies just brought in my favorite bagels EVER. Enstein’s. So, so good. They even brough PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE!

I’m going to steal a bagel and cream cheese to have later…

I am in desperate need of a Halloween costume. Help! Any ideas?

Musical food chairs

What a day.

I forgot that I had a meeting over lunch in which they provided food for us. No waffle sammie for me!

Instead, I enjoyed a chicken sandwich (they have really, really good bread) and a side salad from D’amico and Sons.

They have my favorite pasta salad of all times:

Pasta, Almonds, Celery, Onion, Poppyseed Dressing.

This photo doesn’t look the most appetizing but it gives you an idea of what the dish looks like.


Sounds so simple but nobody makes it quite like they do.  I of course try to make my own version from time to time at home, but to get the real deal, you have to visit D’amicos.

For dinner tonight I was home alone to fend for myself.  Mike is of course at the Timberwolves season opener with some buddies.

I felt that I needed to get some veggies in my life- I have been severely lacking the past few weeks.  What better way then a salad?


In the salad went:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Snap peas
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Feta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chipotle hummus
  • Refried beans

With some deli style turkey and leftover bread from D’amico’s.  What?  It was good!  I’m not going to let food go to waste, especially bread. 😉 (Everybody did it, lol).


Oh, and a gigantic carrot.


I totally forgot to tell y’all that I made carrot cake cupcakes last night.  Oh yes, I did.

It was one of my friend’s as work’s birthday today.  Jonathan mischievously found out yesterday that her favorite dessert was either carrot cake or cheesecake.  Here is one of the leftover cupcakes that I kept home for Mike and I.  Shhhh…. don’t tell!



Since I already had one of these cupcakes as my afternoon snack I won’t be having another tonight.  Okay, maybe a bite. Instead, I may have some pumpkin ice cream and graham crackers, which by the way, is a killer combo.

Night and sweet dreams!  By the way, my menu for today will shift to tomorrow- I’m just playing some musical chairs with my food!

Do you have a favorite restaurant dish in which you can’t exactly replicate at home to your standards? If so, what is it and where is it from?

Change of eats

My eats for today got thrown off from the moment I left the house. I forgot my lunch!

I don’t know what my deal is lately, but I seem to always be forgetting my lunch. 😦

However, I was saved by the Timberwolves this morning. Today is their season opener and I forgot that they always have a free breakfast for everybody and anybody the morning of. On the menu? Donuts and coffee of course!

Initially I wasn’t going to run this morning. But after eyeing up the donuts, I knew I needed a little extra sweat session due to the size of these glorious pastries. I ran intervals consisting of 6 miles in 56 minutes. Done and done.

I literally got ready in a record time because I wanted to make sure I got a donut. No worries, I did ;). I got a very large blueberry glazed old fashioned donut (I think?) with a blueberry icing drizzle. OMG. This is worth every calorie.

Think this, but blueberry and with purple drizzle:


I am sure I will be hungry mid-morning so I will probably grab an apple to snack on.

Since I forgot my lunch, I am going to push my ‘breakfast’ I brought over to be my lunch. I’ve spent way too much money lately, so a waffle sammie is going to have to do.

We start with some Blueberry Go Lean waffles. We’ll have to see how these stack up to the strawberry flavor.


The guts of the sammie will include a very thick layer of Barney Butter, of course.


I will also be slicing up a banana to add to the guts of my sandwich.

These three ingredients are totally going to make one damn good lunch. Sorry for the way dark picture, yikes.


I am thinking a yogurt may be necessary. So I probably will be visiting the convenience store downstairs in my building later.

Do you eat your breakfast at home or at work/school? I eat mine at work. I usually am at the gym early in the am, so I have no other choice. But even on the days where I don’t workout in the morning I bring it in. It takes me awhile to get hungry in the morning.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Mock risotto

Great questions are coming in for Niki at Eatz, keep them coming!

Today was kind of a blah day at work. One of those days where you lack any and all motivation.

Warning of a semi-small rant…

Add in the fact that we got an email from our property management company stating that they got two complaints of a dog barking in our apartment today and that they were going to send us an infraction notice, my day could have gone better.

What kind of company not only threatens, but has said they SENT the infraction notice without proof? I wrote a kind of semi-not nice email back to her, details I will leave out, and also asked to see the ‘pet policy’ they claim to have. Still haven’t seen that policy peeps.

Needless to say, obviously there is still at least one dog in the complex. And it got me thinking it wasn’t my little Petrie in the first place that was making noise :(.


Love her. And miss her terribly.

Anyway. Moving onto positives!

Dinner tonight was fabulous. I was expecting a not so great dinner since we haven’t gone grocery shopping since we’ve been back. However, we dug up some Cordon Bleu stuffed chicken breasts we had in the freezer. We also had canned green beans, Iowa Girl’s favorite :). Annnnnnd…. some Mock Risotto that I created this evening.

I was craving the creamy goodness of risotto but didn’t have on hand the best ingredients for it.  But I created my own little creamy rice dish anyways.  And it turned out great!

Mock Risotto

To make this ‘mock risotto’ it is really about eyeballing all the measurements.  This is also a dish that can be mixed and matched with your favorite ingredients to make different variations.

Cook how many ever servings of rice you will need.  Mike cooked four servings tonight so that we could have leftovers.  To the cooked rice, I added:

  • Three very large spoonfuls of ricotta (I’d say a heaping 1/2 cup)
  • A handful of parmesan (~1/4 cup)
  • A splash a milk
  • 1/2 of a can of diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 large spoonful of tomato paste
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Cook over medium heat to melt all of the cheese together to get a rich, creamy rice mixture.  Enjoy!


Dinner all together:


Ok, ok, ok, I of course had to have some ketchup on the side:


AND LOOK WHAT I FOUND AT TARGET OVER LUNCH!!!!!  And stuck my finger in to get a taste before I put it in the office freezer. 😉


So.freakin.good.  This is what dessert will be in a bit… looks like a hot couple, no?


And I leave you with a few more California photos…

Laguna Beach



The cute couple


Hollywood, baby!





Okay, another long post done.  I promise.  Night!