Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIAW #7

Happy Leap Day!  Maybe it is the novelty that it should be March 1st right now...or maybe I'm just strange (uh yup, more likely)...but I'm pretty excited that 2012 is a day longer than usual!  Also because I have a couple fun ideas for the kiddo I nanny for and I to do later on!  Ohhh, and that we all get extra snacking time in this year! ;)  If you're looking for a new healthy snack to conquer that "salt tooth," then check out yesterday's post.  (Sorry about the self-promotion, but these are too good not to share with my WIAW amigos.)

A big thank you to Jenn for hosting, as always, and thank you for swinging through!






Breakfast: Honey Whole Wheat Chia Seed Pancakes w/ a scrambled egg

These pancakes were sooo good - great flavor & very filling.  I got the recipe from a blog I read often, Peanut Butter Fingers.  There are some really great recipe ideas on there, as well as fun workouts! 



Lunch: Mushroom-Scallion Frittata w/ salad

I'm not normally a big fan of mushrooms but, for whatever reason, this frittata was screaming my name when I saw it in Whole Living's Power Foods.  I had the entire thing whipped up in less than 15 minutes and each serving is only 112 calories - and a serving is a quarter of the pan, not some teeny sliver like some recipes.  A definite repeater!  I'll be posting the recipe sometime soon, so make sure to check back. 


Dinner: Healthy, Hearty Chili chock filled with vegetables & topped w/ Greek yogurt & cilantro

Another recipe that I scored from a blog - Fit in Heels.  It is seriously veggie-packed with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and zucchini (chopped & grated) as well as protein-packed chicken breast and beans.  I spiced it up with plenty of cayenne, of course. ;)


Snack #1: Quaker Oat Banana Bread bar

I picked these bars up after a friend recommended them.  They taste just like a piece of banana bread and are nice and soft.  I'd rather have a slice of homemade bread (who wouldn't?) but these will definitely be a great quick snack to have on hand.


Snack #2: Fresh pineapple

Nothing to say here except yum!

Have you tried any new foods or tasty products lately?  I have been discovering a lot of new foods/products through WIAW, which is another bonus of playing along!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make It: Split Pea Crisps

You know how some people have a sweet tooth?  Well, I was born with a salt tooth.  I am a complete junkie when it comes to salt-laden crunchy snacks like chips (especially barbecue! <3), nuts, and crackers.  I just can't control myself around them.  I'll tell myself "one more" but my hand will magically appear back in the bag for another round.  Needless to say, I try to limit the amount of salty treats that I buy and make.

But this recipe from Whole Living got my intrigue up - Split Pea Crisps.  The saltiness was present...the crunch factor was there...and yet, it was considered a healthier snack since these little nuggets were made from yellow split peas.


I was sold and immediately went out to grab some of these dry peas and flew home to make a batch.  They were easy peasy to whip up and every bit as crunchy as promised.  The only "hard" part was waiting the few hours for the peas to soak!  After the peas took their bath and dried off, they are sauteed in a little bit of olive oil and then tossed with seasoning.  A ton of flavor varieties ran through my head and you can be damn sure I'll be trying them all out!  Thus far, I have created salt & pepper and chile powder & cayenne flavors.


My parents and I crunched through the entire batch almost immediately.  (See, I told you I can't control myself around snacks!)  Thankfully, each serving is only around 55 calories so I don't feel too guilty about this.  ;)

Split Pea Crisps
makes 12 servings

Soak 1 cup yellow split peas in 3 cups of water for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
Drain and pat dry.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil (I used maybe 2 teaspoons worth) and place on medium-high heat.
Add half of the peas; cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crunchy, about 6-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and place in a bowl.  Season with salt and/or other seasonings.
Repeat with other half of peas.

What flavor combination would you try?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Product: PB2

While most of MassachusEATS' content is directed toward my home state's restaurants and local products, I will occasionally share other fun places, trips, and items that I use that might be of interest to you all.

Case in point, PB2.  This product has popped up a couple of times on my WIAW posts and garnered a few questions, so I figured I would discuss it here for anyone interested in learning more about what PB2 is.


Manufactured by Bell Plantation, PB2 is powdered peanut butter.  Basically, they squeeze out 85% of the fat from roasted peanuts and what is left is peanut butter powder.  That's it.  How in the world do they do this?  Well, I haven't the slightest clue (lol) but their website states that "their unique process doesn't involve chemicals or alter nature's intended balance found within the peanut."  No preservatives or artificial sweeteners are added, either.  Check out the nutrition facts below:

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Servings per container: 15
Calories: 45
Calories from fat: 13
Total fat: 1.5 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Trans fat: < 0.01 g
Cholesterol: < 0.01 mg
Sodium: 94 mg
Total carbohydrate: 5 g
Dietary fiber: 2 g
Sugars: 1 g
Protein: 5 g

Okay, so you got this jar of powdered peanut butter sitting there.  Now what?  Well, let's start with the basics and reconstitute it to make some peanut butter.  Simply mix 2 tablespoons PB2 with 1 tablespoon of water.  Boom - done!  Not much more involved than just opening a jar of Jif, is it?  It is ready to slather onto bread for a classic PB&J sandwich, onto crackers & celery for a quick snack, or just licking off of the knife like I might do...


The dry powder comes in handy, too.  My boyfriend likes to add about a half tablespoon to his protein shakes.  I throw a spoonful or two into my oatmeal and love it in hot chocolate!  Bell Plantation suggests dipping fruit slices directly into the powder.  There is a myriad of uses for this stuff, so invent your own method and share it with us!  Alternatively, you could try out one of the many recipes on the PB2 website.


Admission: I am completely addicted to peanut butter in all forms and will always eat WAY over the suggested serving size.  So, I was thrilled to discover this stuff.  I know that natural peanut butter isn't necessarily awful for you (good fats and protein and all that), but it is nice to have a lower fat and calorie alternative that I can indulge in more often.  :)

Bell Plantation also offers a chocolate PB2, as well as roasted peanut oil, but I have yet to try either (someday!) so I cannot vouch for them at this time.  If you have tried them, let us know what you think in the comments!

(Note: Bell Plantation did not endorse or in any way promote this blog post.  This is a product I personally use and enjoy.  All opinions are strictly my own.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIAW #6

Note: The following ramble about my weekend does indeed have a point.  It is just a very talkative one.

So, on Saturday, my boyfriend and I headed into Boston for a day in the city with some visiting friends.  We started by grabbing brunch at The Pour House.  I got the Pour Joe's special: scrambled eggs with ground beef, spinach, mushrooms, & onions, served with home fries and toast.  I don't know that I had ever had ground beef in a breakfast/brunch dish before so it was cool trying something new...doesn't hurt that it was tasty, either.  We capped off brunch with a quick trip to the Prudential Center for a (free!) Paradise Bakery cookie!

"C is for cookie that's good enough for me!"

Afterwards, we grabbed a few brews at Dillion's and then headed over to Jillian's for some bowling.  I totally stink at bowling but whatever, I can laugh at myself.  (Hehehe, see?)  After a couple games in which I hopelessly lost, we hopped on the subway to hit up the North End for dinner.  A great idea and yet, a rather dumb idea.  Completely packed everywhere.  Duh on us.  But, eventually, we snagged a table at Gennaro's and feasted!  I got some yummy gnocchi and the four of us pigged out on dessert.  No pics, sadly.

Sunday was a little bit more waistline friendly, though we did meet up for breakfast with friends again.  Our favorite breakfast spot in Waltham (In A Pickle) had a looooong line so we stopped at Joseph's II.  While my meal wasn't terribly junky, it was certainly was no star.

French toast, scrambled eggs w/ ham & cheese, bacon, and my babe gave me his sausage.  (Get your minds out of the gutter...)

It was pretty nice outside that day, so we grilled that night for dinner.  Oh man, I can't even tell you how wonderful it was to have some grilled goods again.  Some monstrous steak tips, spicy red potato wedges, and a salad rounded out our fabulous weekend!

In short, this past weekend was crazy fun but holy moly, was I ready to get back onto the healthy side of things!  So, without further ado, allow me to show off the healthier side of my life with this week's What I Ate Wednesday...





Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ strawberries, bananas, and lotsa cinnamon!

Lunch: A multi-lettuce salad hiding beneath broiled chicken, tomatoes, cukes, chickpeas, and - yes - a TON of black pepper.  I happen to like it a lot, okay?  ;)

Dinner: Broiled chicken and Citrus-Pomegranate Quinoa Salad [ from Our Best Bites; I had to sub strawberries because none of the THREE stores I went to had poms :( ]

Snacky: A chocolate graham cracker sheet spread with PB2...yummy in my tummy

So, catch me up to speed - did you do any fabulous eating over this past week?  Oh, and have an amazing week!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Make It: Cookie Dough Dip

You read that right.  Cookie.  Dough.  Dip.

This was one of my very first finds after I started spending obscene amounts of time on Pinterest.  Practically everyday I would dream about the occasion when this dip would finally grace my table.  Well, on Superbowl Sunday, it hit...

...and damn was it a hit!  I'm gonna shut up now and let the photo do the talking!  ;)


Cookie Dough Dip
Slightly adapted from Add a Pinch's blog (Click link for original)

1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup Heath "Bits 'O Brickle" toffee bits

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter until well combined.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3. Refrigerate a couple of hours to allow flavors to meld.  Remove at least 10 minutes before serving, to allow the dip to soften back up a bit.  Top with additional mini chips, toffee bits, or larger chips, if desired.
4. Serve with graham crackers, apple slices, or mini cookies (if you're daring!).  *I used chocolate graham crackers and they were a perfect accompaniment.


By the way, for any fellow Pinterest addicts out there, you can follow me HERE, if you are so inclined!  Or, leave your link in the comments so I can catch up with you there.  :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIAW #5

I have some fun news to share!  My super awesome boyfriend surprised me last week...with my own domain name!  I am now the proud owner of Massachuseats.com  :D  I'm truly excited and it has sparked a fire under my ass to get crankin' on making this site better.  (If anyone has any suggestions for improvements, let me know.)  Thank you so much babe!  <3

Onto the WIAW noms!  But, first, thank you to everyone who has stopped by my little blog in the past month and read my ramblings - it doesn't go unnoticed and is very much appreciated!  And a big thanks to Jenn for hosting, as always!  I am happy to be participating in such a fun event every week.  :)

Apologies in advance for the stinky pictures - I forgot my camera and was using my terrible cell phone.  (Thanks to Picnik for helping to make these slightly more presentable.  Soo bummed out that they'll be shutting down in April.  Wahh!)





Breakfast: The usual oatmeal ;) This time with banana, walnuts, and ground flax seed

Lunch: Gettin' my veggie on with a salad loaded up with grilled chicken, tomatoes, cukes, and kidney beans

Snack time: Peeled up a blood orange in the morning; noshed on some baby carrots and a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick in the p.m.  (The kid in me will NEVER get sick of string cheese!)


Dinner: 
I failed to grab a picture of dinner because I was too busy celebrating my boyfriend's birthday and Valentine's Day!  :D  We went to Miller's Ale House in Watertown.  I had the Cajun Chicken Pasta (linguine tossed with blackened chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions and a spicy alfredo sauce) with a Palm Speciale beer.  My babe had the prime rib with sweet potato fries (with a creamy cinnamon dip that was legit crack!) and an Arrogant Bastard Ale & a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat.  

Dessert: For birthday treat time, we split the Capt'n Jack's Buried Treasure!  Let's just say...homemade ice cream cake, caramel, and Heath bar crunch atop an Oreo crust, all swimming in hot fudge sauce.  Y. U. M.


I hope everyone had a fun Valentine's Day!  And, as always, have a fantastic week!

Did you have or do anything special on Valentine's Day?  I would love to hear about it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Fried-Day! (February edition)

Have you recovered from the last heart attack inducing Fried-Day?  Are you ready for more tantalizing treats?  Well then, buckle in...or possibly unbuckle...for this month's fried treat - deep fried bacon.

Oh uh, excuse me.  I actually meant: DEEP FRIED BACON.  (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


Just when you thought that bacon couldn't get any better (or is it worse? Hmm...), Beckett's Pub in Walpole, Massachusetts* has turned that ridiculous notion on its head. Three crispy slices of applewood bacon are dipped into a thick beer batter.  The coated strips take a quick trip through the deep fryer and are finished off with a maple-y drizzle.  The name says it all; what more can I say other than that they are deeeeeliciously sinful.

(*I absolutely cannot write Massachusetts properly anymore.  I continually write "Massachuseats" lol)

As one of my favorite foods, I'm sure you can understand what a revelation this was for me.  And I have had some pretty wacky "baconed" foods in my life!  If you continue reading MassachusEATS, you'll eventually be privy to all of em.  :)

PS That's me on the right...

(Source?)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIAW #4

Welcome back for another installment of What I Ate Wednesday!




I hope everyone had some great food and even better treats on Superbowl Sunday - I know I sure did.  Venison chili, buffalo & spicy Asian wings, cheese fondue, stuffed shells, cookie dough dip (!!!)...oh man, I don't even know what else.  Not to mention the "couple" of Bud Light Platinums I might have sipped...  At any rate, I'm glad to be back in the eating healthy routine!

Breakfast: English muffin w/ peanut butter & jelly; egg whites w/ cayenne; strawberries

I truly cannot wait for all the yummy summer produce to be back in season.  These were a pretty decent deal - 2 pounds for $4 - and looked mighty tasty, so I couldn't pass it up.  Thankfully, they were flavor-ific!

Lunch: Sun-dried tomato & basil stuffed chicken breast; salad w/ cuke, tomato, balsamic vinegar

This was a leftover dinner.  Honestly, I wasn't too impressed with the stuffed chicken recipe.  It was rather bland, considering the highly flavored ingredients.  Currently looking for a new one to try out, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Dinner: Light pasta carbonara w/ turkey bacon, peas, & basil

Yum!  The only change I would make next time is to use whole wheat spaghetti.  I was out of it, unfortunately, because I actually prefer it.  

I forgot to snap pictures of my snacks this week.  I'm the nanny of a 21 month old so sometimes things can get a little crazy at work lol.  ;)  I munched on some red seedless grapes that morning and had a Chobani blood orange yogurt for my afternoon pick-me-up.

Off to see what you guys ate this week!

What did you all snack on during the Big Game?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Make It: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Butter

I got a couple of comments on my last WIAW post asking about the dark chocolate pumpkin butter that I posted about.  Well, I'm not one to disappoint so here it is!  :)

Not only is this stuff incredibly easy to whip up but it is also addicting.  I have been adding spoonfuls to my oatmeal, slathering it on toast, and sending Graham crackers for a dip. Word on the street is that this is great as an ice cream topping or spread onto waffles and pancakes!  Let me know how you use it!




Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Butter
(I adapted this recipe from Life's Ambrosia. HERE is the original recipe.)

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla



Stir all of the ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a slight boil on medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until it thickens, about 30 minutes.  Make sure to keep an eye on it and stir frequently.


Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks...if it lasts that long! ;)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIAW #3

Happy Wednesday...and first day of February!  January absolutely flew by with lots of healthy cooking (well, some treats definitely snuck in there too lol) and some great new experiences.

Two weekends ago, I went up to Mount Snow in Vermont to go snowboarding for the first time and surprised myself by liking it, especially since I HATE the snow and cold.  The first two days went pretty well, considering I was a complete newbie.  :P  However, on my first run on the last day, I wiped out pretty badly and ended up spraining my wrist.  (Another first!  My worst injury to date.)  Luckily, it was not my favored hand so I could still function decently enough.  Despite the fall, I can't wait to get back on the slopes and practice, practice, practice!  Anyways, my wrist is feeling a lot better and I'm looking forward to what February brings!

Enough of my babbling, let's get to the eats!  [Click the button for more great WIAW menus.]



Breakfast: Oatmeal with PB2 and cinnamon; egg whites with lotsa cayenne pepper

I love PB2 in my oats.  Regular peanut butter sometimes adds a strange gummy or "too creamy" texture.  PB2 is powdered, so it eliminates that issue AND it is lower in fat and calories.

Lunch: White chicken chili with whole wheat penne (from 400 Calorie Fix)

This was leftover from the previous night's dinner.  I liked the chili recipe but the pasta seemed unnecessary.  True, the recipe called for elbows but I think I'll just omit the pasta altogether next time.  Save the calories for something else!  ;)

Dinner: Bahamian-Spiced Chicken Breast with Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce; salad

The yogurt-cilantro sauce was deeeelish!  And healthy, too, since I used plain Chobani 0% Greek yogurt.

Snack: Forelle pear; blood orange

Oh. My. God. This Forelle pear was so tiny and adorable! :)  And I'm so glad blood (Moro) oranges are back in season - they are my favorite.

Dessert: Plain Graham crackers spread with homemade dark chocolate pumpkin butter

Yep - dark chocolate pumpkin butter.  Recipe to follow in a few days, so make sure to come back!