The Professor has trust issues.IMG_20140413_195249

With veggie burgers.IMG_6945 (1024x682)

Of course, when he said he “didn’t trust them,” I didn’t know what he really meant was, “I’ve never had one.”IMG_6964 (1024x683)

Ever.IMG_6876 (1024x683)

Granted, his rationale of ‘why choose a veggie burger when it is right beside a meat burger on the menu’ does make sense.IMG_6884 (1024x683)

(Unless you are a super curious veggie lover like me, of course.)IMG_6890 (1024x683)

And while this wasn’t the best veggie burger I’ve ever eaten (or made), it did hold up phenomenally well, and it wasn’t an altogether bad way to lose one’s veggie burger virginity.IMG_6897 (1024x683)

Now, let’s see if I can convince him to eat tempeh or tofu…IMG_6982 (1024x683)

Jamaican Black Bean & Rice ‘Burgers’

[Loosely adapted from Jenn's Triple-Bean Burgers]

(Serves 4)

  • 1 (15-oz.) can of black beans
  • 1/3 cup previously frozen (or fresh) bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped green (or sweet) onion
  • 1 Tbsp (or so) of coconut–or other–oil
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax
  • 1 egg
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Jamaican Jerk seasoning (I like the one from Whole Foods.)
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add diced peppers and onions to the skillet, seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook peppers and onions until soft and translucent. Remove from heat.
  4. Rinse and drain black beans.
  5. Combine beans, peppers, onions, and remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  6. Using a fork–or, even better, your hands–mash and mix together all ingredients.
  7. Form into four patties and refrigerate for an hour (or more).
  8. When ready to eat, cook burgers in a bit of oil over medium heat, flipping once browned.

Note: The problem I often have with cooking veggie burgers is getting them to ‘cook’/heat all the way through. Covering the pan will help to keep them hot!


Mr. Goodballs

by Sarah on April 14, 2014 · 6 comments

Mr. Big Stuff Good Ballmrgoodballs

Who do you think you are?

IMG_6354 (1024x683)

Mr. Good BallIMG_6456 (1024x683)

You’re never quickly gonna get my love…

IMG_6372 (1024x682)

“Why, I’m Mr. Good Bar’s adult film star cousin…

IMG_6439 (1024x683)

Obviously.”IMG_6446 (1024x683)

Mr. Goodballs

  • 1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 24 dried pitted dates
  • 1 scoop Growing Naturals chocolate power rice protein powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp. almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Put peanuts into a food processor. Pulse until chopped and crumbly. Remove from food processor and set aside.
  2. Process dates in the food processor until a smooth paste forms.
  3. Add protein powder, almond milk, vanilla, and salt to the food processor. Process well.
  4. Add chopped peanuts and pulse until mixture is sticking together.
  5. Scoop out chocolate date nut mixture and roll into balls.
  6. Store balls in the fridge or freezer.

(Currently) Doing a Happy Dance

by Sarah on April 11, 2014 · 5 comments

So, I finally decided it was time to expand my SiriusXM horizons and every now and then have begun switching over to the pop stations, and just today (Yesterday? When am I posting this?) was struck by how many happy songs are on the radio waves right now. If not full on singing about happiness [see "Be Okay" by Oh, Honey] then certainly bearing an underlying sense of optimism…happy songs

…or, in the case of my current can’t-help-loving-it song of the moment, at least makes you want to start singing like you are either a gospel singer or a member of a Disney movie chorus, even if the subject matter is less than positive.Picture1

All I’m saying is, yesterday (Today? I’m confused.) at Boot Camp, we literally took a happy dance break in between burpees and power squats.IMG_20140404_131652_192 (1) (1024x576)

Currently Listening To…

Oh, wait. Didn’t  I just answer that?

Currently WAS Reading…

Who has time to read?

I kid. I kid. The last book I read was, obviously, chick lit. I’m pretty sure if it is written about a twenty-or-thirty something female living in the big city (whichever one is your own personal reference point) dealing with the trials and tribulations of love–or in this case, murder—I like it.1379973786000-The-Bride-Wore-Size-12

Currently Eating…

Kefir oatmeal.IMG_20140314_085257

Every morning.IMG_6525 (1024x683)

If there’s crystallized ginger involved, too…well, all the better.IMG_6300 (1024x683)

Currently Drinking

Cider…IMG_20140329_183626_232 (577x1024)

…and sour beer.IMG_20140410_202750

…every now and then.

Currently Watching

Well, the Professor and I finally finished Season Two of House of Cards on Sunday in a four episode “we’ve GOT to be almost finished” marathon.

It seriously does make you question your own morality when you realize you just can’t help but like Frank.

But he’s evil.House_of_Cards_title_card

Thank you, Meechum.

Currently Annoyed By…

Mr. Mouse.IMG_20140404_154539_110 (576x1024)

Get your paws off my pitas!

Currently Wishing for…

…a mouse-free apartment?

Currently Feeling Blessed Because…

I get to teach this summer after all!


Currently Needing…

…to find someone in town who practices the challenging, fast Vinyasa flow yoga I love.IMG_20140405_101005_361 (1023x1024)

Current Mood


Currently Indulging In…


(See comic.)IMG_20140409_121450_223

In cookie form, or straight from the freezer.IMG_20140410_133656

Currently Feeling Triumphant About…

…nearing the end of my first year as a PhD student! (Despite the craziness indicated in the comic above.)

Currently Excited About…

Spring arriving to Alabama.IMG_20140410_105603_794 (1024x576)

Which clearly deserves a happy dance.


WIAW: A Few of My Favorite Things

by Sarah on April 9, 2014 · 6 comments

A morning run along the river: one of my favorite ways to start the day.IMG_20140406_112933 (1)

My favorite breakfast was carried to stats, where I’m sure everyone was jealous of my kefir oatmeal (topped with apples, banana caramel cashew Simply Protein Crunch, and crystallized ginger, my favorite bulk bin treat).IMG_6565 (1024x683)

Tuesday continued in a blur of statistic analysis, until late afternoon, when I realized I could rejoin one of my favorite bloggers at her weekly party with an easy theme for What I Ate Wednesday…WIAWfavoritethings

…consequently leading me to make my current* favorite lunch: eggs, Korean sweet potatoes, and roasted Brussels Sprouts. (Ketchup is NEVER optional.)

*for about six months now…IMG_6587 (1024x683)

I remembered to bring a tin of my favorite peanuts to my evening class, where I promptly overindulged in the salty addictiveness (and ended up a bit covered in red peanut skin).IMG_20140408_181721

And was, therefore, thankful for my favorite way to drown a giant bowl of vegetables: favorite sauerkraut (Libby’s), favorite hummus (Sabra Tuscan Herb), and favorite hanger-on from my vegan days (nooch*).

*Who got the hooch nooch? (Yeah.) Who got the only sweetest thing in the world?IMG_6638 (1024x683)

Although I must say I do love ending my day with my favorite bedtime snack (plus some chocolate ;) )….IMG_6658 (1024x683)

…my favorite moment was the one where I suddenly realized that it might just be that spring is one of my favorite times of year, or Alabama is slowly becoming one of my favorite places to be.



Peanut ‘Butter’ Monkey Balls

by Sarah on April 7, 2014 · 4 comments

It must have been the assorted balls consumed on my trip to Atlanta. (Or, perhaps more logically, the Costco sized tub of pitted dates I purchased before I left for Spring Break.) All I could think about upon returning home last week was dusting off my food processor and getting to work on some balls.*

*Yes, Laura, that IS what she said.IMG_6502 (1024x681)

This also seemed an appropriate time to get back into using up the 15 lbs. of dried, unsweetened banana chips that still don’t taste at all delicious on their own.IMG_6387 (1024x683)

Starting with some dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped in the food processor (and then removed)…IMG_6311 (1024x683)

…banana chips, dried (pitted) dates, a smidge of salt, vanilla, Growing Naturals brown rice protein powder, and a smidge of almond milk*…

*These aren’t shelf stable, but they taste best from the fridge or freezer anyway.IMG_6396 (1024x683)

…pop the popcorn peanuts back into the processor, and pulse until crumbly.IMG_6407 (1024x683)

This mixture won’t stick together on it’s own, but a little smushing and shaping will make (slightly irregular) balls.IMG_6404 (1024x683)

Very delicious Peanut ‘Butter’* Monkey Balls.

*With no actual peanut butter, per se, hence the quotations.IMG_6497 (1024x683)

It turns out these are a huge hit with small children, who will greedily grab them from the bag you’ve brought to the Druid City Arts Festival to share…IMG_20140405_150904_290 (576x1024)

…and will model them before taking them all down. (After which, you worry a bit about a two-year-old’s ability to digest so much fiber and what exactly is the serving size of protein powder for a small body.)IMG_20140405_151538_048 (1024x576)

Go on.

Go bananas.IMG_6512 (1024x683)

Peanut ‘Butter’ Monkey Balls

(Makes 16)

  • 1/3 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 24 dried, pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup unweetened dried banana chips
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch (or two) of salt
  • 1 scoop Growing Naturals Vanilla Blast brown rice protein powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp. almond milk
  1. Put peanuts into a food processor. Pulse until chopped and crumbly. Remove from food processor and set aside.
  2. Combine dates, banana chips, vanilla, and salt in the food processor. Process until smooth and sticky.
  3. Add protein powder and almond milk to the food processor. Process well.
  4. Add chopped peanuts and pulse until coarse and crumbly.
  5. Scoop out date, banana, peanut mixture and form balls by squishing and pressing together with your fingers.
  6. Store balls in the fridge or freezer.

My Freezer is Famous.

by Sarah on April 3, 2014 · 6 comments

Y’all know I love blogging about my freezer meals.previouslyfrozenWIAWtwitter

What  didn’t realize was that my freezer has developed quite a reputation.laurafreezercomment

So I guess it’s time to empty out the ‘Previously Frozen’ file in my photo storage center one more time, eh?*

*I’ve turned Canadian. Because it’s cold there. Like the freezer. Where I kept these raspberry almonds. Get it? Maybe?IMG_2304 (1024x683)

And this time, no Brussels sprouts. (!)IMG_20140127_183747_952 (1024x575)

I never said ANYTHING about previously frozen green and wax beans (and carrots), though.

After trying to get too fancy and glaze them with some Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Tapenade, I learned my lesson and glazed them with a hummus yogurt sauce instead.IMG_6067 (1024x683)

And egg yolk, of course.IMG_6076 (1024x683)

Clearly ketchup egg yolk is the best glaze for many a previously frozen vegetable.IMG_2884 (1024x683)

Like this previously frozen broccoli rabe that I sauteed with fresh onions, then mixed up with Coconut Miso Glazed Parsnips & Carrots, with runny eggs on hummus-coated Asian rice puff cakes.

IMG_2871 (1024x683)

One of my other favorite frozen veggies is the sugar snap pea. I may or may not have popped a steamable bag in the microwave at ten o’clock at night for a bedtime snack once or twice.

(And see what I mean about ketchup egg yolk?)IMG_5592 (1024x683)

I even managed to somehow eat previously frozen EGGS.IMG_4939 (1024x684)

I know, you thought it couldn’t be done. But I did it.*IMG_4915 (1024x682)

*Thanks to a coupon, because I’m cheap and rarely by pre-made meals. But then I ALSO had a free coupon for a Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meal, so of course I tried that out, too. IMG_5389 (1024x683)

[After forgetting about it in the freezer for months.]IMG_5380 (1024x683)

It was actually pretty tasty–and I classed it up by transferring to a separate bowl–although those meals always seem so SMALL. (Am I right?)

IMG_5393 (1024x682)

Of course, there is nothing quite so joyful as concocting a meal with a little frozen on frozen action, like the previously frozen onions and peppers I mixed with frozen shrimp for my Southwestern Shrimp ‘n’ Hominy Grits.IMG_5821 (1024x683)

Or when I had frozen half of the herbed pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, and made a roasted veggie pizza with roasted veggies that were–yep–also once upon a time frozen.IMG_5793 (1024x683)

Frozen on frozen.

Is that some new type of cheapskate broke blogger food porn?

IMG_2766 (1024x684)

If it isn’t, frozen Pumpkin Molasses Oat Cookie crumbles with Cinnamon Peanut Flour Goop must be.


I’m still not fully recovered from my “Six States. Two Weeks.” 2014 world East Coast tour, but I best go ahead and document it digitally* because, well, the best thing about having a blog is the whole ‘scrapbook’ concept, isn’t it?

*Unless you follow me on Instagram. In which case…well, you’ve been ON the tour.IMG_20140325_145610

My new haircut (never again to be styled so carefully) and I were on our way to  Atlanta on Friday, but not before indulging in a few more of the perks of being at home. [Pun intended.]

The most beautiful words first thing in the morning are “I made you coffee.”IMG_20140328_065529

A bowl of chia-infused oatmeal with strawberries later…IMG_20140328_081541

…and I was once again entering the planes portion of my planes, trains, and automobiles* tour of the country.

*And buses.IMG_20140328_112238

While practicing my Spanish (yes, I can read it almost fluently) and enjoying some chick lit, I munched on still-slightly-frozen Greek yogurt with a mix of the multiple types of cereal I confiscated from Papa Smart’s Kashi-heavy cabinet.IMG_20140328_144105

An appropriate snack for my travels, I feel, as I was on my way to visit the only person I know who gets even stranger food passed TSA than I do.

That’s right, Sprint 2 Atlanta: The Spring Break Edition was about to commence.


This time, Heather joined in the fun, and we started the weekend strong with a visit to Vietnam (or, well, a Vietnamese restaurant). Saigon Sweet-and-Sour Shrimp Soup with a tamarind broth full of okra, elephant ear stalks, tomatoes, and pineapple (!) was absolutely wonderful…I ate about five bowls.IMG_20140328_205551

I stayed full of brothy goodness until this simple bowl of oatmeal (a mix of Bob’s Red Mill and Purely Elizabeth ancient grains) topped with strawberry jam and some Laura-made Irish Cream Healthy Bites and Heather-made Java Coconut “Buzz” Bites.IMG_20140329_094851

A trip to Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without Glute CampIMG_20140329_132635

…or a trip to Buford Highway Farmers Market.IMG_20140329_145245

Thank goodness Laura had made me a Pineapple Spinach Mint Growing Naturals smoothie. After both glutes AND shoulders, I’m pretty sure I would have passed out in the parking lot without it.IMG_20140329_131434

The afternoon passed by quickly, and it was soon time to join Sarena (along with her husband, Tony) once again in Decatur, where we split a bottle of cider and then moved on to wine.

And dinner. Obviously we ate.


The only thing I seemed to photograph were the collards with bacon (and more bacon) that our waiter brought me specially.



A run through Piedmont Park the next morning seemed like a nice personal send-off from Atlanta. (It also made me feel like I was on an episode of any HGTV show. What is with the numerous shots in Piedmont Park any time they are in Atlanta?)IMG_20140330_091935

After that was a hotel breakfast–oatmeal and berries (times three)–IMG_20140330_111224

—and a drive north of the city [with snacks, of course]*.

*My style of eating in the car always makes The Professor nervous, but not a crumb was lost!IMG_20140330_134128

My whirlwind two weeks was about to come to an end, but not without a barn weddingIMG_20140330_184932

….and a PIE BAR!IMG_20140330_185834

I certainly had fun…but HALLELUJAH it is good to be home. :)


On Smart Family Time…

by Sarah on March 28, 2014 · 5 comments

Back aboard a train, and onward to Pennsylvania.IMG_20140323_144938

Mama Smart greeted me and we kicked off the next part of my Spring Break with dinner at a new (to me) Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Kennett Square.lilylogo

I was too excited about finding such incredible (spicy enough to make me break a sweat) Tom Yum seafood soup with giant shrimp and scallops swimming alongside mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes that I just ordered a second bowl of that and (nearly) ignored the sushi on the table.IMG_20140323_205136

Of course, there was always time for leftovers later (with the extra ginger I’d requested).IMG_20140325_130807

Now, while it may be obvious from the sight of Papa Smart’s pantry that I inherited my obsession with cereal..IMG_20140324_083242

…y’all know I prefer it as a snack.IMG_20140327_173421

Breakfast was usually an oatmeal concoction of some sort…IMG_20140326_082259

…or another. [Bananas are big around here.*]

*I am aware of the innuendo.IMG_20140327_090321

I’d follow that up with a little exercise.IMG_20140324_114120

I took my first Body Pump class, made a return to yoga (after which I promptly also returned to my pajamas)…IMG_20140326_113348

…and got horribly lost running in the farmlands of Pennsylvania with only the deer to guide mock me.IMG_20140327_115524

Cost of living with family is free, and that does include some lovely dinners.IMG_20140324_211335

Papa Smart impressed with a simple Almond Baked Flounder with a tangy lime glaze, and we also ate a big batch of Spinach Ravioli with what are known as “eight hour” meatballs, because of the amount of time we exaggerate that he spends making them.IMG_20140326_203832

Papa Smart ain’t from the South, but he sure can cook some collards.IMG_20140326_152746

I do not have the patience of my father, but prefer Stepmama Smart’s easy, delicious methods instead. The Garden Minestrone from Cooking Light was perfect for a rather chilly evening, and the seven grain bread she bought was doughy and perfect for soaking.IMG_20140327_194832

Every now and then I do try to get into the kitchen. Mama and Sister Smart both loved the Mexican-Baked Tofu Tacos with peach salsa and roasted broccoli I came up with based solely on the current contents of the fridge.IMG_20140325_185954

Mama Smart: Aren’t these more like burritos?

Me: No, burritos are all wrapped. These are tacos.

Mama Smart: What do you call the hard shell tacos then?

Me: There is no such thing.

(If you’ve lived in Texas, you understand.)IMG_20140326_125401

I also cooked lunch. OK, I cooked lunch once. [Hooray for eggs.] Otherwise I ate some variation on a giant salad behemoth with a little bit of every salad dressing I could find added on top.


You know you’re getting older when the ideal Spring Break involves visiting your parents and sister, spending your days sneaking into going to the local Y, allowing someone else to think about what to cook for dinner, and maybe getting some work done. [Maybe.]IMG_20140325_163336

But I would happily stay another day (or five) on island Smart Family time.


All aboard the snack train!

No, literally, I was snacking on a train.*

*Would you? Could you? On a train?


That visit to the Baltimore Whole Foods provided me with snacks–including a hard boiled egg from the salad bar that I kept in the minibar fridge overnight--to make it through my trip to Charlottesville.

Not only did I make it, I was still full by the time I arrived.

Not too full to learn that I am apparently a big fan of sour wheat ale–at least that made by Champion Brewing Company, where we went to watch UVA (Go Hoos Go!) beat Coastal Carolina in the NCAA tournament.IMG_20140321_221331

Although I passed up the chance to try the new Domino’s pizza crust when my friends ordered some to the bar (and it is apparently VERY good), I was craving nothing but buttery, cinnamon sugar toast when we got home.IMG_20140322_004924

I’d been looking forward to this particular morning for weeks, because it is no longer every day that I have the chance to run around (my former stomping) Grounds.IMG_20140322_095833

A French pressed cup of coffee and some yogurt were waiting for me upon arrival back at my friend Shannon’s apartment, but I decided to meander downtown with another cup. Although whoever let me in to a fancy store like Caspari was sorely misguided.

While I did not spill anything in the store, I did, however, realize twenty minutes later that the lid of my cup wasn’t on all the way and I’d been dripping coffee all down my shirt and scarf. (Naturally.)IMG_20140322_120018

I managed to get all of the coffee out in time to meet my sorority “little” for lunch–and a fabulous local ciderIMG_20140322_143325–at Citizen Burger Bar, where the vegan beet burger (with sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles) was every bit as good as I’d heard it would be.IMG_20140322_155644

Those sweet potato fries? Well the only thing that could “beet” those was the company. :) IMG_20140322_161551

As for the afternoon:

When in Virginia….go wine tasting, right?

I’m pretty sure Barboursville has the best wine tasting value around. $5 for what was the equivalent of at least one giant glass of wine (if not more).IMG_20140322_182904

Shannon also appeased my desire to visit what I strongly believe is one of the best Whole Foods in the country. (I clearly needed more snacks.)IMG_20140323_125000

Homemade lentil soup (with vegetable stock she made that morning) was served with a dollop of Greek yogurt for dinner.IMG_20140322_211107

And then we went to see a high school musical. (Not starring Zac Efron.)IMG_20140323_090101

I may or may not have had stressful dreams because of Sweeney Todd, but it was very good. As was the plain bowl of stovetop oats with honey, cinnamon sugar, and walnuts I made for my breakfast the next morning.IMG_20140323_102804

I needed some fuel for another day of travel ahead. Pennsylvania, here I come came!


Good Morning, Baltimore!

by Sarah on March 24, 2014 · 3 comments

I guess, technically, we arrived in the late afternoon, but you can’t take me anywhere without some sort of musical allusion trailing behind. goodmorningbaltimore_smartkitchen

Of course, the threats of waking everyone up each morning a la Tracey Turnblatt were never realized, but I thought about it. You know I did. [And these lovely ladies are probably happy I then thought better of it.]IMG955439

As I WordPress automatically posted for me, I was in Baltimore last week for the 65th Society of Public Health Education Annual Meeting (aka conference). Despite the fact that I was more dressed up than I have ever been since I joined my program–yes, I DO own business attire*–some things about me never change.

*Most of which I bought the week before I left.IMG_20140318_154801

Like the fact that I traveled with an incredible assortment of food.

From the veggie burger on English muffin I ate on the plane to the can of mixed nuts I carried around with me all day, the words “food will not be provided” meant I was TOO well prepared for the long days with little time to stop for real meals.IMG_20140320_120436

But trust me, when one of my compatriots whipped out her instant oatmeal in the hotel room and started stirring it into coffee-maker-produced hot water, I knew no one would judge me for the yogurts I frozen and then pulled from my suitcase upon arrival.IMG_20140319_103101

(Or for the fact that I woke up at 3AM and ravenously ate a yogurt in the bathroom so as not to wake them up.)IMG_20140321_070900

Despite being told there would be no food provided, in keeping with my general modus operandi, I was able to obtain a fantastic amount of free food (and coffee).IMG_20140320_090005

Crab cake slider? Yes, please!

[Especially one with so little filler, I felt like I was cracking open a fresh crab at the table.]IMG_20140319_125923

And although at first I was a little uneasy about eating mashed potatoes for dinner, I must say the appearance of a mashed SWEET potato bar changed the game a bit. [Plus, I had the opportunity to remember just how tasty freshly shaved sharp Parmesan is...]IMG_20140319_205618

I’m also pretty sure the Eta Sigma Gamma planning committee knew I was in the building when they pulled out an oatmeal bar and impossible-to-find individual 2% Chobani for breakfast the last morning.IMG_20140321_091519

Amid the connections, the fun, the bonding with the girls in my program, and the almost constant firing of the synapses devoted to potential future health research, I did get out of the hotel for a bit.

One of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had–the composition of which I still cannot put a finger tastebud on–was hiding down a dark alleyway at Abbey Burger Bistro, after all.IMG_20140318_202251

I also managed to make time for one lovely (and very needed) run around Inner Harbor…


…and the obvious trip to the local Whole Foods, where one of my comrades said, “I have this sudden desire to eat everything on the salad bar and buy twelve kinds of trail mix…you are rubbing off on me, Sarah.”IMG_20140320_213143

I needed snacks. Clearly. There was more travel ahead. And I always travel with an excessive amount of food.