My New Neighborhood Market

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 23 2010

Springfield has been abuzz about the opening of Bistro Market, the first grocery store in the heart of downtown Springfield. I’ve been particularly interested in its arrival, since it is just a few steps down the street from my office. This is the view from my desk… the roof of Moseley’s Office Furniture, a parking lot, and Bistro Market is on the first floor of the brick building:

The store opened on Friday. My co-workers and I walked through the store and were impressed and excited that it was all so… nearby! For lack of a better term, it’s “cool-looking.” It’s designed well with a big-city atmosphere, yet still feels warm. The Springfield Business Journal has posted some photos of the interior here. We were most excited about having staples such as ice, paper plates, etc. available within easy walking distance! This will definitely cut down on our miles driven when we have office parties.

It was so busy on Friday, I decided to wait to actually buy anything. So I walked down today to grab a to-go lunch from the salad bar. The store was very busy again; the seating areas were all full. However, I stepped right up to the counter and ordered and paid. I was in and out of the store in under five minutes. The salad bar had a great selection of fresh, high-quality ingredients. I made my salad with pear chunks and pecan halves, along with a little shredded mozzarella, bacon bits, carrots, and ranch. It. Was. Delicious. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill salad bar. They also have fresh fruit and sides like pasta and potato salad. (Blueberries + cottage cheese = yum.) I remembered to snap a photo about halfway through my salad:

The only downside was that the salad was a bit more expensive than what I usually pay for the salad bar at Dillon’s grocery store. However, you pay by weight at Dillon’s, whereas Bistro Market charges a flat fee. Theoretically, you could load up that to-go box with as much food as it could hold. Also, the time and gas I save by just walking down the street makes up for the extra cash expense at Bistro Market.

I have a feeling I will be eating many lunches at/from Bistro Market. Between the salad bar, deli, and hot food bar, it’s almost like downtown Springfield workers have their own company cafeteria! I’m looking forward to getting to know my new neighborhood market better. Judging from the crowds on the first few days, it will be around for a long time.

What I’m eating for lunch this week – RBCOO

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 15 2010

For ten days in January, I did a Daniel Fast. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s based on the diet Daniel and his friends ate instead of the king’s rich foods as described in Daniel 1 and 10. There are several versions of this fast out there, some are more strict than others. Most people do 21 days, but a 10-day period is also mentioned in the book of Daniel, and I wanted my first attempt to be achievable. Basically, I didn’t eat meat, dairy products, bread (or anything made with non-whole-grains), or sugar. I followed the guidelines used by Elevation Church, so I allowed small amounts of honey, olive oil, and spices. It was a good experience, and not as difficult as I anticipated, although I wouldn’t call it easy. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to ease into the high-fiber aspect of the fast to avoid some…. unpleasant… side effects.

But this post is not about the Daniel Fast itself, but rather one of the meals I ate while on the fast. I liked it so much that I still eat it fairly frequently. In fact, I made a batch Sunday night and have taken it to work for lunch every day this week. It’s super-easy, healthy, tastes good, and reheats well. I don’t have a name for it, but when writing a shopping list or something, I’ve been abbreviating it as: RBCOO. (Rice, Beans, Corn, Olive Oil)

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups uncooked brown rice (I use Minute Brown Rice–not the brown-est, probably, but definitely the easiest.)
15 oz can black beans – rinsed and drained
11 oz can sweet corn – drained
1 tbsp. olive oil
chili powder

Cook the rice as described on the box. Mix in the beans and corn. In a large frying pan over med-high heat, sautee half of the mixture in 1/2 tbsp of olive oil; sprinkle with chili powder to taste as it cooks. I usually leave it in the pan for… I don’t know… 3 or 4 minutes. Just until it looks done. Repeat with second half of mixture. Makes 6 1-cup servings.

Like I said, super-easy. You could skip the sauteeing, olive oil, and chili powder if you were on a stricter fast, but it tastes much better and adds some healthy fat to the fiber and protein. Here are the basic nutrition facts for a 1-cup serving:

225 calories
4g fat
5g dietary fiber
6g protein

You could also add chicken or beef if you wanted to make it a little heartier (but it wouldn’t be Daniel Fast-friendly, obviously.) It is very filling as-is, though. A 1-cup serving, plus a couple snacks like some almonds and an apple easily get me through my day at the office. I snapped a few pics when I made it Sunday night:

Awesome Apple Bread

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Nov 25 2009

Awesome Apple Bread

I decided to try this recipe for two reasons:
1) I have received Recipe Exchange emails from a couple friends, so wanted something fall-ish to share.
2) I wanted to bring something breakfast-y/snack-y to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe on, and tweaked it a bit based on some of the comments, and I think it turned out great! It was easy to put together; I definitely plan on making this again. I also want to try a healthier version with whole wheat flour, lower fat, etc… but here’s the buttery, sugary, real deal (at least there’s fruit, right?)

Awesome Apple Bread
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp.)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups apples, peeled and diced
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, and I opted out)

Combine and set aside the oil, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to oil mixture gradually. Add apples and nuts. Bake in two regular loaf pans or three foil loaf pans for 90 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

Here are a few photos of my process: