Category Archives: Trader Joe’s

Some Vegetarian Options

Alternative title- keen on the quinoa 😉

After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Matt of No Meat Athlete‘s Vegetarian Advantage series, I decided to become vegetarian during the month of December.  I’m still eating fish (though no farm raised fish) so I don’t think that qualifies me as full vegetarian.  Whatever though- I’m setting my own rules 😀 

This brings me to two new recipes, including one food that I have never tried before.  The first recipe is one that I created all by myself.  I must say, I’m quite proud 😉 

Tropical Tofu- Serves 2

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 block firm tofu, drained for approximately 15 minutes
  • 2 T oil (I used sesame oil, you can use whatever is on hand)
  • 1 small can diced pineapple
  • Tropical-y marinade    


  1. Cook rice according to directions (boil one cup water, add rice, simmer for five minutes)
  2. After tofu is drained, cut into 1/2 inch squares.  Pour marinade of choice into freezer size bag and coat tofu inside of bag.  I used this delicious marinade:image

3. In a large pan, heat up 2 T oil on medium high heat.  Add marinated tofu, reduce heat to medium and saute for 2-3 minutes on each side, until tofu is lightly browned.  Remove from heat.

4. Stir rice and add a dash of marinade plus the can of pineapple.  Add in cooked tofu and stir. 

5.  Eat!image

Easy!  It may look a little bland but I promise you, it tastes delicious!

My next cooking adventure brought me this:image

Red quinoa!  Why red quinoa, you ask?  Well, it is a complete plant-based protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids our body requires.  Pretty nifty from a ball looking thing, eh?  First thing’s first, though- how the eff do you say quinoa?  After looking it up, I’m fairly certain it is pronounced keen-wah.  Although if you call it quin-noah I wouldn’t judge you.  😉 

To cook quinoa:

Boil 2 cups of water.  Add one cup of quinoa, reduce heat and let simmer for around fifteen minutes.  Once the little balls (that’s what she saiddd) appear translucent and the ring of wheat germ (or whatever it is) separates, you’re good to go. 

Confession: I’ve been eating pretty well for around a year or two now.  I never felt like a weirdo until I opened the lid to stir the finished quinoa.  It looks really weird, different and just plain healthy.  😉  Dare to be different, friends!

I added some pre-made, cooked tofu (thank you Trader Joe’s, I love you) to the quinoa and added the mixture over a huge bed of greens (along with feta and tomatoes) in order to make some headway in the 20 salads in December challenge.


The verdict:  quinoa is pretty dang good!  It adds a nice healthy crunch and although it looks weird, I like it!

So, tell me- what is the weirdest healthy food you have tried?  Did you like it?  Are you a fan of the keen-wah? 😉

Have a good one friends!


Filed under 20 salads, Quinoa, Recipe, Tofu, Trader Joe's, Vegetarian

Thanksgiving Trotting

Happy Thanksgiving friends!  Thank you for all of the insight as to who the green character was in my last post- apparently I need to start watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 😉  Funnily enough, my brother and stepmom told me that they saw the green man the turkey trot I ran this morning! 

This morning my dad and I ran the Christopher Dailey Turkey Trot in Saratoga.  It started at 8:30 so we made sure to arrive by 8.  It was really reallllly cold out but we dressed appropriately.  Well, aside from my dad, who forgot his gloves (duhhhh dad).  Looking cold: image

We quickly decided that we should warm up in the City Center before the race started, which was wise decision. image

By the time we headed back out, it had warmed up a few degrees and we were ready to go!  My dad started the Couch to 5k on October 11.  I remember the date because it was one day after my half-marathon 🙂  He indicated that he wanted to run a 5k so I told him to saddle up and start training because he was running the turkey trot with me! 

After the nation anthem we got ready to start.  Excited/nervous/cold:image

The race started out very slow.  There were SO many walkers.  I’ve run a bunch of races and I have never had to dodge so many.  We spent the first mile weaving around the walkers.  It was a good course but the walkers made it annoying- I think there should be more clear instructions in future races- ie, walkers stay to the right and start at the back.  You know, basic race etiquette 😉

After the first mile we entered the grounds of Skidmore College, which meant one thing: hills.  There were some fairly steep hills!  My dad was doing really well though, although I told him to not look down at the hills and instead stare straight ahead.  I may have had to break out my hazing skills from last week gently encourage him by saying “up!  Look up!” a lot 😉

The best part about the uphills was then going downhill.  One lady loved it so much that she was chanting “I. Love. Running. Down. Hills.”  repeatedly to herself.  People are funny, hahahah. 

After all of the hills we were maintaining a decent clip.  We had about a third of a mile to go so I told my dad to smile pretty: 😀image

Yippee!  We crossed the finish line at 36:50!  Yay dad!  He ran the entire race, an awesome feat considering the hills, the cold and all of that good stuff.  I think I have him hooked on running now 🙂  image

Post-race happy.  Awesome job dad- I’m so proud of you! 😀  Did you run a Turkey Trot today?

After the race I enjoyed a bagel with this yummy cream cheese from Trader Joe’s: image

It is SO delicious 🙂  Now I’m off to bake some cookies and risotto- I decided earlier in the week that I am going vegetarian until the end of the year.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma really has me thinking so I’m going to try it out and reevaluate how I feel come January.  It was pretty brilliant of me to declare myself a vegetarian a few days before Thanksgiving and right before I head to dinosaur bbq, an AWESOME bbq place that just opened up in the Capital district, this weekend.  Heh.  Whatever though. 

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.  Bri, I miss you and can’t wait to spend our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple next year 😀

Enjoy all of the food, friends! 😀


Filed under Race Recap, Running, Trader Joe's, Vegetarian

Philly Marathon Spectating Recap!

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend.  Mine was quite the whirlwind!  On Friday I got in a quick interval workout on the treadmill and then packed for Philadelphia!  My friend Melissa was running her first marathon and I was heading along to spectate/cheer/haze her run the last few miles with her! 

We arrived at the hotel on Saturday afternoon.  I dropped her off and headed to complete an essential task:  grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s!  I met up with my mother in law and did some serious damage.  Thirty minutes and $104 dollars later I had more than three bags worth of awesome-ness.  Bri will be getting quite the package soon 🙂  As for me, I am very excited to try pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin butter, artichoke dip . . . YES! 😀  I purchased four bags of peanut butter pretzels (one or two were for Bri) but as I was leaving Philly a homeless guy had a sign asking for food and/or money.  I don’t carry cash so I gave him a bag of the pretzels.  Meager, I know.  I feel so helpless sometimes!  He looked at me and said “Thank you for not staring ahead and ignoring me as if I did not exist.”  So sad. 

Anyway, back to the marathon weekend!  Sunday morning came bright and early for Melissa!  She left the hotel at 5:30 to get there early for the 7 AM start.  The plan was for me to meet up with her at mile 20 and go from there.  I took a cab to mile 20 (thirty dollars later, yipes) carrying my bright yellow sign- “Go runners!  Kick Asphalt”! 

I arrived about two hours before Melissa was expected to be at mile 20, so there was a lot of cheering!  I had so much fun cheering on the runners and a lot of them pointed at my sign and grinned or thanked me for cheering.  I had to put the sign down to take a picture of this guy, though:image

Yes, that would be a dude running in I don’t even know what.  His entire body was covered in the green fabric.  This was at mile 20.  How he ran like that I have no idea.  It was insane!  There were others dressed in costume too: a few ladybugs, a pumpkin, a greek warrior type of dude, minnie mouse and some others.  I only saw one guy running completely barefoot.

A few minutes before Melissa appeared I saw  my blog buddy Amy!  She was killing it and looked awesome.  Way to go Amy!

Then I spotted Melissa!   image

She looked great but I could tell she was in a lot of pain.  I put my sign down and started to run the final 6.2 with her.  She was maintaining an awesome pace and even passing some people!  I couldn’t believe the determination that she had, despite the intense pain.  I may have told her that she couldn’t stop to walk and that her mind was just playing tricks on her 😉  There was a lot of camaraderie from the fellow runners and overall it was just so inspiring.  I think around mile 24 she said to me “are you sure you want to run a marathon next year?  This is awful!”  I told her without a doubt yes- that the pain was temporary and soon enough she would be a marathon finisher and I couldn’t wait to join those ranks next year. 

Just before mile 26 I pulled off the course and tried to run along the sidelines to get a good picture of her.  She was seriously gunning it!  I couldn’t keep up with her and she had just run 26 miles!image

She pushed through to the finish and became a marathoner!imageYay Melissa!  She seriously killed it.

Spectating the marathon has made me soo antsy to train and run one myself.  I saw the whole gamut of emotions from people around mile 20- exhilaration, exhaustion, pain, happiness, excitement, oblivion- but at the finish line every single finisher looked happy and accomplished.  Even if they were walking around a bit stiffly 😉 

If you ever have the opportunity to spectate a distance event, do it!  It will provide so much inspiration.  Witnessing the Philly marathon further cemented the fact that there is no definition of a typical runner- the age range and body types covered the whole spectrum.   To run a marathon, you need determination, spirit and heart.    That is what makes a runner. image

Congrats Melissa!  You are an inspiration to us all 😀


Filed under Inspiration, Running, Spectating, Trader Joe's