Tag Archives: vegetarian

High Tea at The Talking Teacup

For my birthday, Mrs. Benzio got me a groupon for High Tea for two at The Talking Teacup!  Dominique and I try to set a date to do this at least once a year, so I was thrilled that we could go this summer (and not have to pay!  She even gave us some cash for a tip!)  We had trouble scheduling a time, but we finally found a day…yesterday!

I told Dominique to "act natural" lol

High tea consists of four courses of delicious teatime food, as well as your own pot of one of their signature teas.

After much deliberation, I chose the “Immunity Booster” herbal infusion: “Rosehips, orange and lemon peels with the immune system enhancing properties of Echinacea. Cinnamon bark and ginger to aid digestion and improve circulation. A fruity taste much like that of a softer, less tart fruit blend with citrus notes. Refreshing and invigorating.”  Indeed it was!  It was craving something light since its summer, but I still wanted something healing, like cinnamon and ginger.  It totally hit the spot!

First course is always scones with Devonshire cream and jam.  Today’s flavors were cinnamon walnut and chocolate chip!

They are always warm and fresh out of the oven!  Since they aren’t huge, you can have two 😉

The next course is a soup course.

Tomato bisque!  We’ve had theirs before; they make a really good one!  It’s not too creamy and really flavorful.

Next course….tea sandwiches!

7 different flavors!  I asked for all vegetarian in my sandwiches.  Here’s what I can remember

  1. cucumber herb mayo on white
  2. Egg salad on wheat
  3. Artichoke on white
  4. Cheddar and jam on cinnamon swirl
  5. Sundried tomato
  6. Pumpernickle swirl with something really delicious I can’t remember!
  7. Apple butter?

teapot sammie!

Last, of course, is DESSERT!

Sugar cookie, white cake with orange marmalade, and chocolate chop blondie.

That’s a lot of food, right?  I had to be really strategic because for dinner my parents said that my sister and I could go out to eat, their treat!  She wanted to go to the local family Italian place, Luberto’s.  So, I just had a banana for breakfast to make sure I was nice and hungry for lunch!  At The Talking Teacup, I ate both the scones (because they are always the best part) and I only had half of the soup.  Then, I just ate a few bites out of each sandwich so that I could try each one, then went back and nibbled on the remnants a bit (pssst I still nearly ate them all :)).  Lastly, I just had half of all the desserts.  And I was still stuffed!!!

We had such a wonderful time at the talking teacup.  We always feel like princesses, and we always gabgabgabgabgab!  Thanks so much, Mrs. B!!! Best present ever!

Eating Vegan at an Italian Restaurant

I ate vegetarian at the Talking Teacup, but I wanted to try and eat vegan at the Italian place.  It wasn’t too hard at all!  They give you bruscetta (just crostinis with an herb tomato topping) and rolls made of pizza dough (that I drizzle with olive oil and pepper), which I ate as we were waiting for our food.  For my meal I ordered a salad made from zucchini, eggplant, kalamata olives, and plum tomatoes sauteed in olive oil and garlic.  I felt good about all my choices, but I still felt like I ate too much.  But I guess sometimes you have to eat like a queen!

How do try to eat well at restaurants?




Filed under Food, Life

a pile of spinach for dinner?

a pile of spinach for dinner?  That can’t be…

There’s something hiding underneath!  Fatigued from our weekend of traveling, Hannah and I decided to grab this pretty baby while grocery shopping last night.

A 12-inch “spicy vegetarian” frozen pizza pie for just under nz$8 sounded like a deliciously easy dinner. (And a bargain compared that to the pizza place downstairs – more than nz$15 for a pie!)  Also, I recognized everything on the ingredients list, so I deemed it nearly wholesome.  Of course, it was super tasty!  It really was spicy and the crust was perfectly crunchy – I guess our microwave/oven is working well!

My trick for healthifying pizza is to put a heaping handful of leafy greens on top of each slice.  It’s a great way to pack on some extra nutrients, plus I always pretend that it fills me up faster that way.  I am proud to say that I stopped after two slices!  (Especially because I could save the leftovers for lunch!)

Today was actually a pretty stressful day, I’ll admit.  Remember when I talked about my literacy paper being too long?  Well, I had Literacy class today from 8am-11am, and after sharing my concerns with my professor, she agreed that, yes, it was way too long. She was also very unhelpful with how I should shorten it.  All she did was reminded me that the assignment was to research write an 1800-word discussion on the quote:

“Reading is not a natural activity, but a set of gradually acquired component skills initially learned independently, but later integrated and automated.”

Of course, me being my over-achiever self, I researched more than was required and added a whole other component to my discussion that was not necessary.  I was particularly distressed because I was really proud of and excited about my discussion and I did not want to condense it!  I discussed how understanding the processes of literacy acquisition helps provide more individual support for struggling readers.  Absolutely something I will think about as a teacher of literacy.  Absolutely something I did not want to erase from my paper.

After a pep talk from none other than my Mommy and Daddy…

"You can do ittttt!"

I got to work.  And I am pretty proud of the finished product!

I managed to get it down to 1,819 words without completely trashing my (VERY RELEVANT AND VALID) discussion about struggling readers!

I celebrated finishing my paper in the best way possible: yoga and dinner at my favorite studio in Auckland: The Loft Yoga Lounge!

This is not your ordinary yoga studio.  All classes are from 6:00-7:15pm and are followed by a delicious vegan dinner and dessert!  And all for just nz$14!!!! (Well, for students.  Normal people have to pay nz$17.  But not bad either!).  After my first Intro to Ashtanga class (there), I was lucky enough to be asked to attend the advanced Primary Series class.  Don’t mind if I do!  I have been going every week and wishing I could go every night.  I have really been missing my proper full Ashtanga practice, but I am grateful to be able to do it once a week.  Plus, dinner there is the best meal I have all week!  Tonight, we had BBQ Eggplant burgers, split pea soup, and potato salad.  With carob cake for dessert.  yum-crazy-yum.

Have you ever felt like you worked really hard…for no reason?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, School

“Are you a vegetarian now?!”

I got that (sort of desperate) email from my good friend Tara the other day.  (Fun facts about Tara: she has been committed to a vegetarian diet for the past few months and she is currently living in Galway, Ireland!  and I miss her.)  I was a vegetarian for about five years, for animal rights reasons, until I started college and my roommate Jocelyn and our good friend Kelsey began to force feed me wings every so often 😉  We managed to keep it a secret until I felt too guilty and had to come clean.   Plus, after watching Food, Inc. I realized that it was not just the American meat industry that I didn’t agree with, it was the entire American food system!

So for the past year, I’ve tried to live as closely to a “thoughtfultarian” diet (as Kath described) as I could.  This means eating wholesome (organic, local, karma-free) foods whenever possible, wile not restricting myself AND sticking to my college-gal budget.

But I must be honest: I haven’t been happy or satisfied with that diet.  I still truly believe that animals can serve a much greater purpose in life than our dinner (just look at Heifer International).  My response to the veg question lately has been, “I have vegetarian sympathies,” though personally, I still identify myself as a vegetarian.  In fact lately, I’ve been even more closely identifying myself as a vegan.

  • I am trying to avoid dairy because of my skin issue and a slight lactose-intolerance I tend to suffer from.
  • I am trying to avoid meat because I believe in the life-changing potential of all animals
  • I am trying to avoid all animal products because of the cruelty they suffer and because I wish to eat karma-free
  • I may never be able to give up fish because of the strong fishing culture of my family and its unparalleled health benefits
  • I am trying to eat produce that is local, organic, and in-season for the sake of our depleting family-farm values, our environment, and its nutritional value

But at the end of the day, I’m not going to kid myself.  I know that right now I cannot commit to this diet because of money and my frequent traveling.   Though inside my little head I believe I am a “vegan,” I can’t publicly identify myself as such because I don’t want to offend those who do live a committed vegan diet.  But I can commit to awareness. I can commit to eating a wholesome, healthy, balanced diet, and that is the most important eating philosophy of all.

So what did I eat today, you may ask?  Before my run, I had a piece of wholemeal toast with crunchy peanut butter.  Best fuel ever.  On my way home, I stopped at The Juicery for a Green Monster!  My yoga friend, who owns the place, asked me if I was out “Sporty Spice-ing” lol!!

As I power-walked the rest of the way home, I enjoyed an ice-cold blend of leafy greens, apple juice, pineapple, banana, almonds, and sesame seeds (and I added chia seeds!).

Yay a new sticker for the collection!  For lunch, I had some very eggy French Toast.

Two slices of wholmeal bread dipped in an eggy mixture (eggs, cinnamon, a dash of oat milk) then grilled crispy-perfection

and loaded with mixed berries and banana!

On the way to class, I had one of my homemade oat bars:

It wasn’t enough 😦  I have class from 2-7:30ish every Wednesday.  Class is held in the Marae, a sacred Maori building in which you cannot eat or drink.  This is proving to be very challenging for me.  By the time class is over, I’m totally out of it with a headache and ravenous hunger.

(Class was very interesting today, despite my fatigue.  In Maori society, we learned about the mysterious discovery of New Zealand.  Maori tradition and Western beliefs clash!  In Leadership, we talked about the importance of being proactive.  We learned about the first female Maori Queen who was a pretty cool chick!  More on that later, I have to write a paper on it.)

Dinner was very replenishing and satisfying: lettuce wraps!

While I babysat the quinoa as it cooked on our ghetto stove,

Hannah cut some tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini.

I ❤ balls falafel balls

I love when I eat something that is also an activity, I had so much fun building my wraps!

I also enjoyed an Isaac’s Pear Cider.  SO refreshing!

The rest of the brownies were eaten for dessert.  I’m sad to see them go 😦  But maybe my next dessert rotation will be vegan!

What kind of diet to you try and follow?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, School