An Ode to Summers in Ridgewood

Well I haven’t been posting in quite some time, since I was basically living at the golf tournament all weekend, but perhaps it is a good thing to get in the habit of posting every couple of days so I don’t overwhelm myself when I get back to school!

In recent news, I got a new camera!!!!!!!! I’ve been using my mom’s camera to take pictures all summer, but I really needed my own to take back to school with me.  I wanted something cheap, but decent, and the dude at Best Buy was quite a salesman, convincing me to buy this one

I got it in black, just like the one pictured here.  It’s sleek, cool looking, and the best part about it? There’s a FOOD “scene” option!!! I think that option is what sold me the camera.  I tried it out this morning on a bowl of overnight oats, and I gotta say its pretty spectacular:

(The oats were spectacular too, per usual)

For today’s post, I didn’t have many food-esque stories to discuss, and I couldn’t help but get a specific topic off my mind…hence the title of this post.  I feel so lucky to spend the summer months in my hometown of Ridgewood, NJ.  Summers here definitely contain some of the most magical moments of my life…comparable only to scenes on the legendary hit series, Wonder Years.

I am enchanted to recall the Fourth of July celebrations and spending the hot, humid days in the shade of gorgeous, old oak trees, like these ones that provide an umbrella for the deck of our home

In my middle and early high school years, before we even had our driver’s licenses, I reminisce on the first couple years of freedom…walking through the wet grass fields, barefoot and determined to make the most of my teenage years…

Like that photo with two of my truest childhood  friends, snapped on the 4th of July in 2005…we were babies!  We wanted so bad to grow up, take on the world, get into those high school parties…and yet we had so much crazy fun along the way…

When I got old enough to work, I began as a lifeguard at Graydon Pool, a man-made lake in Ridgewood where my family and I grew up, digging in the sand and jumping off the docks.  There, I really felt like I was a part of that Wonder  Years kind of life…we didn’t just work together, we practically LIVED together all summer long…

Could I really have asked for anything better? Definitely not.

So as I say goodbye to the summer of 2010, and leave Ridgewood behind until next year, I will bask in the joy of knowing I had one of the best childhoods possible in this place…hot days bike riding all over town were followed by long, endless nights, ice cream cones at Van Dyks…and perhaps a midnight swim at Graydon.  Nothing could be better.

The friendships that emerged were strong and true, merited by the colorful friendship bracelets we wore on our wrists.  It is a time in my life I will never forget, and is made up of the memories that will never fail to warm my heart, no matter how many miles I stray from my roots here in Ridgewood.

“I grew up in the suburbs. I guess most people think of the suburbs as a place with all the disadvantages of the city, and none of the advantages of the country, and vice versa. But, in a way, those really were the wonder years for us there in the suburbs. It was kind of a golden age for kids.” -The Wonder Years

I got them ALL cut!

Today feels like it was a month long.  The day started so early because my brother’s friend was here to go see the golf tournament and we wanted to get down bright and early…up at 8 :-\ eeks!  But I did manage to make myself an AWESOME breakfast sandwich

I cooked up some egg whites with hot sauce, smooshed 1/4 of an avocado onto some Ezekial toast, and added a few tomato slices.  Of course, I had to make a heaping pile of my *organic* ketchup to dip the sandwich in.  Not only was the combination delicious and filling, but again I found that my satiety lasted till way past lunchtime, and I can’t help but wonder if it was simply the addition of the avocado-the creamy, healthy fats sticking to my ribs all morning

And boy did I need a full stomach for the kinds of walking I was doing around that course.  Every time I leave the course, it feels SO.GOOD. to sit down!  My left foot is still really bothering me, kind of where the tendons attach on the inside near my arch…which is apparently a symptom of this arthritis, but hopefully it will get better as the year goes on

This weekend’s eats are not going to be superb since I am at the golf tournament, and their only offerings are pretty limited to hot dogs and hamburgers.  Instead, I grabbed a KIND Almond & Cashew bar when I was at Starbucks this morning.  Another superbly satisfying treat.  After leaving the course, I played “mom for the day” to run some errands for my mommy while was hard at work at the golf course.  I didn’t mind it, I LOVE grocery shopping (weird? maybe)

But worth it…for picking up THAT phenomenal character right there.  Lately, I’ve been eating Maranatha‘s line of organic nut butters, and to be honest…wasn’t too impressed.  Today, I saw these babies on special and had to give it a shot, after hearing so many good things about the Peanut Butter & Co. products.  I sliced up one of the beautiful, crisp, Pink Lady apples that I purchased and enjoyed it with some PB

I give this snack 5 stars, and this is definitely the first of many peanut butters I will buy from the Peanut Butter & Co. line.  I had such a hard time deciding what flavor to choose, between Dark Chocolate Dreams, Mighty Maple, the Bee’s Knees (w. honey), and White Chocolate Wonderful, but I finally chose Cinnamon Raisin Swirl because it said on the side “great with apples!”  I loved that the cinnamon was still somewhat grainy in the nut butter and you could really feel the sugar on your tongue…mmmmm 😀

In the afternoon, I got a hair cut…except this time, I got them ALL cut! Just had to include this joke partly to introduce my super corny sense of humor that I accredit to none other than my wonderful father

Yes, this is obviously a self-shot, and I am adamantly against those, but I just wanted to show everyone my new hair cut!

To end my marathon of a day, I decided to change somethin’ about the snacks that have been floating around my house lately…nothin too good, but a whole jar of Nutella, and that’s DANGEROUS.  I can take a spoon to a jar of Nutella in 20 minutes flat, and it’ll show ALLLLL over my face.  Just look at this beauty…

Obviously eating a  whole jar of Nutella is really not the best idea in the world.  However, my mom told me about a recipe she’d heard of earlier in the summer to make NUTELLA COOKIES.  Does that not sound like the best of both worlds? It does to me.  I started doing some googling and found this recipe, because my all-time favorite cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip.  When I looked at the recipe though, I noticed that the butter had to be softened…bummmmmerrrrrrrr. It only took me a few milliseconds to find a quick and easy way to get softened butter…microwave the stick for 14 seconds, and then roll it out with a rolling pin between two sheets of wax paper:

Worked like a charm! Great tip for bakers out there everywhere.  The final product was phenomenal…Sue, you better be excited for coming home tomorrow and trying these!

Lots of pictures today, but overall a busy and productive couple hours!

New eats and my 5 minutes of fame!

Yesterday morning, while I posted, I enjoyed another overnight oats creation that I was eager to try.  I picked up some Goji Berries the other day at Whole Foods, and was amazed at their deliciousness.

Is it embarrassing that this is all that's left after 2 days?

They look, and feel, like solid seeds, but when you bite into them they feel more like a raisin.  I threw them in a bowl of oats with some agave nectar and was pleasantly surprised to see that they plumped and softened even more while soaking in the liquid.  The taste was exquisite…unfortunately the photo got lost somewhere 😦

In the morning it was time to do some back to school shopping with the madre and I picked myself out a new backpack:

And that’s the one! I have had a similar looking blue North Face backpack since freshman year of high school…it almost feels like cheating to retire it after so many faithful years

While running errands, my mom and I also stopped at the Vitamin Shoppe…one of my mom’s favorite spots.  As she was searching for the new perfect multivitamin, I took a look at the nutrition bars and ended up picking out a few.  New bars ALWAYS make me so excited to try–maybe its because I like candy so much?? I picked out some good all natural ones to be sure that I wasn’t eating anything chemical/processed as I’m trying to steer away from that lately

The Kardea bar didn’t even make it 5 minutes out of the store and I munched it right there in the car on the way home…it was DELICIOUS.  I really like the Kashi GoLean Roll bars because they are so chewy and similar to a Snickers bar.  This bar featured the best part of the Kashi bars–the soft and nougaty part with nuts as the crunch.  I really loved it, and it was an added bonus that it was neither high cal or high fat.  The ProBar and the Garden of Life bars are still sitting in the pantry waiting to be tried, but I look forward to them just as well.

In the afternoon, I headed down to the golf course with my friend, Mia, to see some of the action.  We stood feet away from Dustin Johnson, JB Holmes, and Phil Mickelson.  My mission of the day was to get an autograph from Phil, so we watched him on the 18th green and then I waited for him to come back out to the putting green.

I waited anxiously amongst the 7 year old kids and got right in line when he came outside…and it was a greatttt success! (Borat voice) I just read a recent newspaper article that Phil has also been recently diagnosed with arthritis, and is using the help of an anti-inflammatory diet just like I am!  We actually had a 2 minute exchange where I told him I was starting the same diet as him and he told me its really working out well for him…pretty cool…thus my 5 minutes of fame 🙂

I definitely left the course starstruck.  It was a ton of fun.

In the evening, I grabbed a quick bite of Ezekial Bread with PB and banana…such a classic and exceptional flavor combination.  Then I met some of my friends at Starbucks to say goodbye to Julie, who’s leaving today to study abroad Spain for the next couple of months…good luck Jules, we’ll miss you!!!

I can only guess the weekend will be golf-filled and tiring, but I promise to update and keep blogging as much as I can.  I’ve realized that my eats are getting boring, so I am making a pledge today to do something…bake, cook, and put together something interesting to feature in my new post! Stay tuned.

T Minus 4 days

This morning when I woke up, it really dawned on me.  Summer is over and I will be packing up the car and moving back to Philly in only FOUR DAYS.  I can’t believe it’s already my junior year of college, and it almost feels like this summer didn’t even happen.  Usually when my mom wakes me up around 8:30 in the morning, I am more than able to fall right back asleep…but not this morning…I couldn’t stop running a to-do list in my head:

  • New backpack
  • Hair cut
  • Fall clothes?!?
  • Toiletry and groceries

I also got sad yesterday wondering where I’ll be next summer and where my friends will be.  Because I spent so much time in Philly this summer, I didn’t get to see my friends from home nearly as much as I’d like to, and I hope I have more chances to do so throughout the year

Well yesterday was a really gross day, but I woke up excited to the thought of my overnight oats, made with Oikos Pure Pleasure Chocolate Greek Yogurt

While I’ll admit it’s not the prettiest picture, it was SO GOOD! The taste was different, and definitely a little less sweet than my original combination, but the consistency was really much better with the Greek yogurt! I am going to try all sorts of combinations with this stuff…I have a feeling this might be the year of the overnight oats…

After a long and boring MRI of my knee, I got back to the house and made myself a wrap with some of my favorite ingredients: hummus, tomato, and avocado.

The sandwich was great, and I have been finding that the more avocado/nuts I eat (the healthy fats), the longer I am full for.  I only wish the wrap would have a LITTLE more flavor or kick, and Evan suggested I throw in some sriracha sauce and red onion slices…definitely something I’m going to try soon

In the afternoon I made a trip to the mall with my good friend, Mia, and we checked out the new stuff at Urban Outfitters.  GREAT stuff! I haven’t been impressed by their stuff all summer, but yesterday I took at least 12 items with me to the dressing room. I’ll be back for sure 🙂

When I got home, I relaxed for the evening and enjoyed some wonderful eats…

A crab cake over greens with some cherry tomatoes.  And AFTER dinner-my mom, brother and I headed to Jubilate in Glen Rock for a frozen yogurt treat.  Their yogurt is awesome, pinkberry style, and healthy! The difference between here and Pinkberry is that at this place, you get to make your own.  So fun.  I loaded mine with some fruit and goji berries

The BEST after dinner snack there is.  Today I’m off to do some shopping and then, who knows…maybe I’ll head down to the golf course in the afternoon.  I’m bored now, but I know I’m gonna miss these lazy summer days pretty soon…

Rain, rain, go away!

I am SO SICK of the rain!!! It has been raining since I got home on Sunday and it’s yet to stop.  The past two days have been a little drizzley, but today looks like the worst of them all…Looks like another day on the couch.  Maybe I’ll even get some back to school shopping done!

This week begins the Barclay’s golf tournament at Ridgewood Country Club, where my parents play golf.

My mom and dad are both volunteering for the tournament, and the rest of my family is passing around tickets to go down and see the action.  I’ve just started playing golf myself, and the course at Ridgewood is absolutely beautiful.  The tournament was hosted here 2 years ago in 2008, and it returns again to this breathtaking landscape…

I am pretty excited to see the golfers who will run this place for the next couple of days..Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and tons of other big names in the golf world.  Yesterday, we walked around and watched the practice rounds plus some of the hitting on the driving range.  We didn’t really see anyone big time, but we did see Adam Scott on the driving range…

and he just might be my new favorite professional golfer 😉

As far as eats for yesterday, I’ve let you all down if you were looking for something new and exciting.  Breakfast began the same as the day before, with a bowl of Kashi Good Friends cinna-raisin cereal plus a chopped banana.  I won’t include a picture, as it’d look the same as yesterday.  As I was rushing down to the course, I grabbed a KIND bar to hold me over.

These bars are awesome.  For a quick snack on the go, they have everything you should be looking for…non-processed so that means it lacks the high fructose corn syrup and chemical additives, it’s full of protein and monounsaturated fats with the nuts, and it full of energy-packed carbohydrates through the dried fruit.  I love every bite of these bars every time I try them.

When I returned home from the golf tourney, I wanted a small snack to tide me over till dinner time so I make a quick, sweet, and delicious snack by spreading some organic PB on a whole wheat tortilla and drizzling some agave nectar over top.

I’m really getting into this agave nectar! As someone with a HUGE sweet tooth, it’s the best little topping to put on practically ANYTHING.

I’ve just begun this rainy day with a big bowl of overnight oats (this time using greek yogurt to soak the oats in!!!!) and I am EVEN MORE EXCITED than when I tried the original overnight oats!!  But more about that later…for now its off to my MRI, and then who knows, maybe a trip to Anthropologie is in store?

Rainy days

Yesterday, was a rainy day.  It felt like October, and I have to admit…I was getting a little excited for fall.  I love fall and all of its smells, feels, and looks.  I’ve always been that kid who waits anxiously for their back to school list and can’t wait to just get back to school by the time the last week of August rolls around.  This year, I’m looking forward to fall, but I definitely have been wondering where summer 2010 went.  It feels like Memorial Day was just a week ago, and now here I am getting ready to start my junior year of college…too fast!

Well I spent my rainy day well, just lounging and relaxing.  I started the day with a good bowl of Kashi Good Friends cereal-Cinnamon Raisin flavor, with a sliced up banana

Bananas with cereal and milk is one of the best treats.  I ran a few errands with the madre and then we stopped at the grocery store to grab a few things.  We picked up a large container of split pea soup, and I was immediately excited for a hot soup lunch, the perfect antidote for a cold, rainy day…

Although I had wished for some kind of hard, multigrain roll to dip into the soup, a slice of my Ezekial Bread made a great substitute and worked just as well.

In the afternoon, I realized I had nowhere to be and nothing to do, so I took to the couch to watch some movies.  Nothing worthwhile on TV, but the relaxing hour or two on the couch proved second to absolutely nothing.  I put together a bowl of fresh grapes to snack on and made a large, steaming cup of hot coffee sweetened with plenty of milk and agave nectar.  YUM.

All cozied up under a blanket with a warm mug of sweet coffee…I could probably do this all fall.  Later in the afternoon, I made plans with my friend Raquel to get some sushi downtown.  We had an awesome dinner at Masago, a new Japanese place with the best sushi I’ve ever tasted.  They have a huge selection of specialty rolls, each one better than the next.  Last night I chose the Ridgewood Roll, substituting brown rice and soybean nori paper.  The soybean nori is a pink soy paper wrapped around the roll instead of seaweed.  It is one of my favorite new things to do with sushi and adds a unique, crisp taste, yet not as offensive as seaweed can sometimes be.

It was great to catch up with Raquel over some delicious food.  We spent the remainder of the night hanging out and watching TV (Real Housewives of NJ!!!!) I don’t follow the season closely, but I love to pick up an episode here and there.  Although last night’s finale was nothing like the table flipping drama of last season’s finale, it was still pretty good.

In other news…I made some progress with my blog yesterday!!! While lounging on the couch, I was looking through other food blogs and came across an advertisement for Healthy Living Blogs , a website designed to link the community of food bloggers and readers.  This was the perfect spot for me..someone who’s just begun a blog and is trying to get the word out.  My blog will be featured on the site now for all to find.

If anyone else is interested in the website, here is a little more information:

Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to healthylivingblogs@gmail.com and check the site out for yourself!

  • Email subject line: MEMBERS

  • Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)

  • Blog Name

  • Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)

  • Your twitter handle, if applicable

Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. We’ll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too

Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)”


Hopefully it will help to get the word out about Munching to Mend! Off to the gym, have a great day everyone!

New obsession

Yesterday morning, I discovered a new best friend, in the form of a breakfast cereal…OVER.NIGHT.OATS. I linked a few different recipes, but I decided to make them very simply.  And it turned out phenomenal! Despite it being 1:30 in the morning (sorry Mom and Dad for the late night kitchen sounds), I managed to put together:

  • 1/2 cup Quaker Oats-nothing special, just the canister of the instant kind
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 chopped up banana
  • A capful of vanilla extract
  • Sprinkled cinnamon

Then, I covered the entire bowl with some saran wrap and left it in the fridge overnight.  Perhaps the best part was how excited I was to take the bowl out of the fridge and dig in!  I almost got up at 6 just to get breakfast started early…almost 😉  But when I finally dug in, I was in an ultimate mode of breakfast bliss

I simply cannot rave about this delectable breakfast treat enough, and you all need to give it a shot.  I really enjoyed that it was quick and easy to make, and that it was a breakfast I could just pull out of the fridge and enjoy immediately.  I’m not much of a morning person, so preparing a great breakfast is always a challenge for me, but that’s not a worry with overnight oats.  I also really enjoyed the cold factor, and the creamy texture is unbeatable.  It was a great start to my day!

I powered through an hour long eliptical workout at the gym, definitely aided by the energy of my wonderful breakfast, and then headed home to take on the challenge of: LUNCH.

One of the best things about this blog, for me, is the knowledge that I can’t just eat the same thing every single day because that would bore all of my readers!  So as I was looking through the fridge, I pulled out a few items that I thought might go well together:

  • Tofu
  • Liquid egg whites
  • Asian sesame marinade

I crumbled the tofu and put it in a bowl with the asian sesame marinade first

Next, I got a pan going with some egg whites.  After they were cooking for a while, I threw in the tofu mixture and stirred all of the juices around, deciding last minute to throw in a handful of baby spinach

The mixture came out great.  I have not always been the biggest tofu fan, because its very hard to enjoy without the right sauce, but this was the perfect combination.  I am a huge fan of scrambled egg whites, and it was hard to even tell the difference between the tofu and the egg whites.  It just tasted like a huge scramble, and the sesame flavor was a wonderful addition to the whole mixture

I toasted a piece of Ezekial bread to go with the mixture, and it was great.  I also sliced up an orange to finish it all off, and by the end of lunchtime I was fully satiated as well as fully satisfied.

In the evening, I drove down to Hoboken to see my sister Sue’s new apartment and have dinner with Sue and my cousin, Jenny, from Florida!  It was a great treat to hang out and we had so much fun walking around Hoboken and catching up.  I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures of the delicious foods we enjoyed, but we ate at an awesome restaurant called Court Street and all 3 of us decided on Wednesday Lobsterfest special- a 1 1/4 lb. lobster served with soup and a baked potato.

Lobster is my favorite food, and it lived up to all of my expectations.  I was even pleasantly surprised to see that the baked potato was served with spaghetti squash and a mixture of mashed beets!  I’ve never been a beet fanatic, but this mash was sweet and delicious.  I ate every bite.

We finished the night at Oyo, an organic frozen yogurt place.  I topped mine with the usual..fruit and some graham cracker crumble, which is the ultimate froyo topping in my book.

It was not only awesome to see Jenny and catch up, but I also got some advice towards my blog!  Jenny has been blogging about healthy eating as a college student for a long time now and is definitely way ahead of me in the blogging world.  She gave me some great advice on how to get this blog going and get the word out, so hopefully I can get this project underway and get some readers soon!

Today, we are off to the pool to soak up some sun, and this evening, I’ll be heading down to the beach for the weekend.  I can’t promise I’ll be able to document my foods or blog much throughout the weekend, but I’ll be back Monday!  Have a great weekend 🙂