WIAW: The Time I Carried a Squash from NYC

Okay, okay, the title of this post is fairly inaccurate. No one would actually go to NYC for the night and come back the next day with nothing more than a squash, right?

Well, actually, the title of this post should have been, “WIAW: The Time I Carried 2 Squash, 6 Cupcakes, 8 Cookies, 2 Chobani Bowls, 1 Whole Foods Salad, Make-your-Own Trail Mix, a Pumpkin Muffin AND Banana Pudding from NYC.” 

(My NYC "contraband")

(My NYC “contraband”)

Every time I visit one of the biggest shopping capitals of the world, instead of returning home with trendy purses and shoes, I come back with “fashionable” food, like kabocha squash.

Somewhere, back in Omaha, my clothes-loving mom is thinking, “How is this child my daughter?” 

In all fairness, kabocha squash is all anyone in the healthy living world can talk about these days…and I can’t find it anywhere in the HV. So, why not capitalize on a trip to NYC?

You may be wondering if I moved back to NYC, considering I have been there almost once a week for the past couple of months. Nope, in fact, I was back in NYC for a very special sleepover. My oldest friend in the world, Emily was in town for work. She asked me to spend the night at her super-trendy Soho hotel on Monday night for a marathon catch-up session and an early morning Tuesday workout.

Catching up with Emily was like a breath of fresh air, as usual. She lives in Omaha, and as the mother of a very cute one-year-old, she rarely has the time to chat on the phone. You know how everyone has their “person?” (It’s the whole Meredith Grey/Christina Yang Grey’s Anatomy friendship thing). Well, Emily’s my person. I could wake up tomorrow morning, dye my hair black, cover my body in tattoos and run away to join the circus. And, Emily would still see ME. No matter what happens or where life takes us, Emily will always be that person that just “gets me”…often more than I understand myself. 

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Monday night, we enjoyed a friend-mantic dinner in Little Italy and fro-yo from 16 Handles and kicked our butts in the gym on Tuesday morning with my tabata workout.

(You MUST try their pumpkin yogurt)

(You MUST try their pumpkin yogurt)

Before I knew it, Emily had to leave for a meeting, and I was left to wander the streets of NYC before hopping on a train back upstate.

I probably would have chased after her cab and begged her to stay if she hadn’t been with her coworkers. The older I get, the harder it becomes to say goodbye to my best friends. You would think it gets easier…after all, Emily and I haven’t been in the same town for 12 years. But, as all of these special people move through the big stages in their lives (babies, marriage, etc.), I find myself really wishing I could be closer to them. Ah, the realities of growing older.

Hopefully, all of this touchy-feely blabbering hasn’t distracted you all from the task at hand: What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), where I journal all of my weird and wacky eats from the previous day. Well, you’re in for a treat, because my eats on Tuesday started with a creamy fall treat in NYC and worked their way back to the Hudson Valley for a triumphant squash-filled dinner.

As soon as Emily left me, I knew just where to drown my sorrows: Chobani’s Soho Yogurt Bar. As you may remember, I visited the store for the first time a couple weeks ago. I’ve been dreaming about going back ever since.

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I chose the seasonal option: Pumpkin + Cranberry, a yogurt bowl that included a sweet pumpkin butter, topped with cranberries, gingersnaps and other fall goodies. In case you are wondering about the glare on the left-hand corner of the picture, it’s not my poor photography, it’s actually heaven shining down this yogurt bowl to me. Once again, the chefs at Chobani Soho hit all the right notes with this creamy bowl of fall flavors.

Breakfast was eaten in the Whole Foods Cafe on the Lower East Side. Perhaps I should have been enjoying a coffee at a hipster LES cafe or exploring all of the unique boutiques in the Soho area, but when you’re deprived of Whole Foods, you’ve got to take advantage when you can! I went crazy at the salad bar (for later), picked up a pumpkin muffin, raided the squash stock and had a little fun at this station.

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Brilliant idea, Whole Foods. My mix included pistachios, raisin, chocolate chips, m&ms’s, yogurt raisins, almonds, granola and coconut. Sometimes Healthy Trail Mix. I was, however disappointed that there were no Goldfish at the bar.

After Whole Foods, I swung by one of my favorite bakeries in the city: Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Back when my brother lived on the LES, he introduced me to this special place. Once I moved to the city, I didn’t make it there as much as I would have liked, because it was on the opposite side of town.

If you need evidence of why this is the perfect bakery for me, just check out the sign in front of the store.

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My favorite is #3: It makes you feel like a kid. Indeed, it does!

Once inside, it was pure sugar shock. Between the mouth-watering cupcakes, the signature pudding bowls and the cookie bar, I had some very difficult decisions to make! I purchased a couple of items for our friends who watch Cole whenever we are out-of-town (they have a dog too, Lily, Cole’s girlfriend!) and a few treats for myself.

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After the bakery, it was almost time to get on the train back to the city, but first I roamed around the Lower East Side for a bit.

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Fun fact, if you’re a fan of the movie Devil Wears Prada, the above intersection appears in the opening credits and is where Andie lives in the movie. Before moving to NYC, I looked at an apartment in this area, but while it was beautiful, ultimately, I knew the West Village was more my scene. The Lower East Side is trendy…too trendy for a country gal like myself.

By the time I got to the hotel, I had to book it to make my train…but not before leaving my BFF a very special treat.

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The train ride  home flew by, and this was probably because I was immersed in the fascinating world of Human Movement Science and Flexibility Training Concepts.

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 My Sometimes Healthy Trail Mix from Whole Foods definitely helped me absorb the information. I’ve read that pistachios and chocolate increase your memory ;-).

Once back in the Hudson Valley, I popped by my favorite deli for a coffee and ending up purchasing this pumpkin bagel to nibble on.

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The bagel was a little bit dense and dry so I was slightly disappointed. However, when I picked up Cole, he tasted it and approved…guess our taste buds are a tad different.

Once home, I quickly stationed myself at the big table for a long afternoon study session, accompanied by my Whole Foods Salad.

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Yes, I know it looks messy. That’s what happens when you carry a salad all over NYC, on the train and back to your house 2 hours later. In case you’re worried about the fact that it wasn’t refrigerated, don’t worry, it tasted fine.

Speaking of the fridge, I found this very cool on infographic on Thrillist and had to share.

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For those of you wondering if that old bottle of ketchup is still ok to eat, apparently, you can safely eat at least 1 year after the expiration date!

While I studied, I nibbled on these delicious pretzels (also purchased at Whole Foods).

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Anything with a pumpkin or peppermint-chocolate flavor is guaranteed to be purchased and inhaled by this Sometimes Healthy Girl.

Eventually, as dinner time approached, I had a veggie craving.

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Salt N’ Pepper cucumbers, dipped in salsa and Laughing Cow Cheese. Refreshing and delicious!

For dinner, it was time to attack the elusive Kabocha squash. I followed this simple recipe for Roasted Kabocha Squash. 

kabocha squash

The squash was difficult to cut (like most squash), but other than that, this was a very easy dish to make.

By the way, I spent about 10 minutes in Whole Foods trying to figure out if this was a kabocha squash or a buttercup squash. For those curious about the small differences, check out this post. I think I got it right, but readers, please let me know if I unknowingly dragged a buttercup squash all the way back to the HV. 

The squash had a sweet, buttery flavor, somewhat similar to sweet potato, which incidentally, I also had for dinner.

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Since the BF was working, once again, my dinner was veggie-packed! The sweet potato was doused in the remainder of my Chobani Pumpkin + Cranberry yogurt bowl and salsa (a strangely delicious combo) and the brussels sprouts were covered in fresh mozzarella cheese.

This meal was extremely filling, and I’d say my first venture into the kabocha world was a success! I think spaghetti squash is still my favorite squash, though…

I ate dinner while catching up on a couple of episodes of The Voice, one of my favorite fall shows. The BF and I get such a kick out of watching the coaches banter back and forth. Of course, I tend to enjoy the banter between Adam and Blake the most, as they are not too bad to look at. 

Though I was full from dinner, luckily I was able to make a bit of room for the banana pudding from Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

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Rich and creamy vanilla pudding, chock full of bananas and wafers. This isn’t a pudding, it’s a decadent treat, and you must try it if you ever find yourself in NYC!

Now, I’m off to run with the pup who is really missing his GF, Lily right now. 

(No, Cole, you may not lie in bed and pine away for your girlfriend all day!)

(No, Cole, you may not lie in bed and pine away for your girlfriend all day!)

YOUR TURN:

Ever tried Kabocha squash? Thoughts?

Ever tried a pudding as good as this pudding from Sugar Sweet Sunshine?

Fill in the blank: My favorite baked good is _______.

Who is the “Christina to your Meredith” – your “person?”


20 Thoughts on “WIAW: The Time I Carried a Squash from NYC

  1. The banana pudding from Magnolia is also very good. Like it better than their cupcakes :)

  2. This is DIVINE! I have yet to explore the Chobani store in soho but it all looks and sounds so good! I have tried that squash, but it was quite a long time ago. Lately I’ve been picking up acorn squash, thinking its a kobocha squash :)

  3. I’m so glad you came to the city to hang with me. It was great to see you and have some girl time! The cupcake madey day. Ps. I remember you take me for banana pudding and even looked for that place the other day. So delish!

  4. Omg I love that you returned from NYC with food, so funny. Looks like you had an amazing visit. Peppermint is my fav and I am seriously craving those pretzel bites, they look seriously delish!! Where are you in the Hudson Valley? I’m in Westchester :) (for now).
    Kim @ BusyBod recently posted…A return to no real cooking {WIAW 10/15}My Profile

  5. you eat the best food!!! I wish I’d known you when I was living in NYC because I feel like you would have made the best foodie in crime! I also have one stamp left from getting a free froyo at 16 Handles and it sits in my wallet and tortures me daily!

    Fashionable food consumes my budget…It’s becoming a problem!
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted…Gluten-Free Ginger Pear PancakesMy Profile

  6. Honestly,
    I still sometimes end up with a buttercup. Buttercup is more mushy – the texture of kabocha is dryer and so much better in my opinion. Hope you got the right one…and if you didn’t, I think the banana pudding probably made up for it. ;)

    Sounds like a fun trip to the city, especially since you got to catch up with an old friend. Those are the best kinds of trips.

  7. What a great recap – I love just strolling around the city!!
    My sister is my person….we’ve always been close (she’s almost 4 years younger than me) and even though we live states away now we call each other with everything!!
    That veggie filled dinner looks so yummy :) I love that you have veggies as the main dish and the side dishes (and cheese, of course!) ;)
    -Sammy @ http://www.peaceandloveandicecream.com
    Sammy @ Peace Love and Ice Cream recently posted…WOD – October 16, 2013My Profile

  8. Completely normal haha! I was wondering that the other day too actually- has Jamie moved back to NYC ;)
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…What I ate Wednesday- No bake triple pretzel protein barsMy Profile

  9. I love kabocha. I haven’t had it in way too long but it’s on my “to-buy” list for next week, when I have to go to Whole Foods for a few other things. I live not too far from one, but I try to steer clear for budgetary reasons. Not sure if that’s a word, but hey…

    Haha I usually loathe 16 Handles (so many kids! germs! bright lights!) but I think your photo just inspired my twice-a-year craving : )
    Jess @ Keeping It Real Food recently posted…Thursday ThingsMy Profile

    • haha I could see why you would avoid 16 Handles because of the kids. Love kids, but 16 Handles is just too much sometimes. And they have that music blasting so loud. Guess I’m getting old :-)

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