Another Week

It’s been a week since superstorm Sandy touched down in the greater tri-state area and wreaked havoc. A week of working from home, running as much as possible, and trying to keep up with the news while simultaneously trying to keep my tears at bay. It’s hard to believe that places I grew up and know so well have been forever changed; and more importantly than that, the friends and family that have had their lives changed as well. As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to retain power through the storm and not to suffer any damages myself. My office, as well as my parents, however, haven’t had power since late Sunday, with reports of it not coming back until the end of this week. While it’s easy to get angry at a lack of heat and power, in the grand scheme of things, it could be much worse.

That being said, even though our oven isn’t working, I’ve been cooking up a storm. My most recent creation was vegan buffalo lasagna. All my GI woes have gotten a little better, and while going gluten-free didn’t seem to make a difference, my doctor has suggested I lay low on dairy. I’m still eating dairy, just a lot less. At my last appointment when trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting much better, I just so happened to mention that I loved cheese, and I watched my doctor immediately scribble that information on his legal pad, with exclamation points to follow the statement. Things have been going better, but I’ve also upped my medicine, so we’ll see what happens when I start to dial the medicine back. So, to cater to my new reduced dairy diet and vegetarianism, this particular recipe is dairy and meat free! You can use regular cheese and dressing (and of course add in chicken), but you should give this version a try!

Vegan Buffalo Lasagna
– Serves 4 –  

1 block firm tofu
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup Frank’s red hot
1 cup vegan Ranch dressing (i.e. Follow Your Heart)
8 oz. vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (i.e. Daiya)
9 “no boil” lasagna noodles

1. Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible.
2. Meanwhile, combine the Frank’s and ranch dressing together in a bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl, break up the tofu using a fork until it resembles ricotta cheese.
4. Add in the nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup of the dressing mixture, stirring to combine.
5. Take 4-6 tbsp of the dressing mixture to generously coat the bottom of your slow cooker.
6. Layer 3 no boil noodles, followed by 1/3 cup of the tofu mixture, and a 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat.
7. After adding the last 3 noodles, pour the remainder of the dressing mixture, being sure to coat everything. Top with the remaining cheese.
8. Cook on high in the slow cooker for 2 hours.

May Foodie Pen Pals!

This month I was paired up with fellow FitFluential Abassador, Annica for Foodie Pen Pals. I know I say it every month, but coming home to these goodies at my doorstep is such a treat. I order a lot of stuff online (oops), but this is always my favorite package! If you haven’t joined yet and are thinking about it – do it! There are details of how to join below.

I received my package just after finding out my gastroenterologist wanted me to temporarily cut out dairy. Naturally, I cursed myself for mentioning how much I love chocolate, because of course Annica included a delicious looking chocolate bar! Thankfully, I was able to enjoy everything else in the package, and had all the crackers as my go-to snacks over the past two weeks, as the only crackers we had in the house were Cheese It’s. I was so excited about the rice crackers, I wound up devouring the entire bag before snapping a picture! They were an interesting twist on a typical chip, and reminded me a lot of a tortilla chip since it was on the grainy side.

There were also some tomato & basil crackers which were so flavorful – they were a lot like a pita chip (with that fluffy crunch, if that makes any sense), rasberry chipotle salsa, and blueberry granola. I’ve never had jarred fruit salsa, but this one is good! I love chipotle, so I knew it was right up my alley. It’s a great smoky/sweet combo, and most of the jar is already gone. I’m also a huge fan of the blueberry granola – it tastes like a blueberry muffin, and has been so delicious with some vanilla almond milk!

SO delicious

While I haven’t been able to try the mint chocolate bar, FiberOne bar (one of my favorites!), or the tortellini, I’m anxiously awaiting the go-ahead from my doctor to have dairy again. When I get the OK, you better believe I’ll be sampling each of these goodies! I’ve also been saving the Gevalia coffee because I know how yummy it is, but I think I’ll be giving in soon.

Everything was so delicious, and Annica did a great job picking out some really fun treats for me to try – I love getting to sample new things!

I had the privilege of sending some goodies to Heather, and since she doesn’t have a blog, I offered for her to do a review here!


This month I decided to try something new, Ive really been trying to eat healthier and make better choices and try new things. I ran accross this awesome blog and on this blog found something called FOODIE PEN PALS turns out it’s this amazing program to exchange food with others – If you haven’t heard of it you definitely need to check it out! It’s a great way to meet new poeple and find new blogs to follow with amazing recipes and ideas!

Now onto the FUN part……my box i received……I never thought i would be so excited to get something in the mail. I patiently waited for my box of goodies and when it arrived it was even better than i imagined! This month i received goodies from Danielle with Foodosaurus Rex turns out after reading her blog we have a couple things in common – Running and Cupcakes – 2 of my favorite things!! My box was filled the perfect assortment of goodies to satisfy my sweet tooth! Unfortunately i didn’t take any pics as im new to this and it didn’t cross my mind. 😦

First i found a bag of Trade Joe’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Pretzel Bites, we are in the process of remodeling our house so i thought i would put these away for a day when i needed a little snack in the middle of painting. Well turns out that day wasn’t too far down the road and i made the mistake of opening the bag while my family was over helping us work on the house. The bag was gone in no time, they were AMAZING!!! These were a huge hit with help and like Danielle said “dangerously addictive” possibly it’s a good thing I dont live near a Trader Joe’s! 🙂 Well after that chocolate kick we decided to go ahead and try the chocolate and almond bar – AGAIN AMAZING!!! I was glad there were lots of other people there to help me eat it otherwise I’m sure i would have had no problem devouring it all to myself!!!

Next was Perky Jerky my husband and I tried this on one of our many late nights of painting and was without a doubt the freshest, tastiest jerky i have ever had! YUMMO –

Also included in my box was a fiber one bar – I took this with me to eat after one of my 5k races – loved it, I have since bought a box and keep them on hand at the house. I also found a bag of Trader Joe’s Nut and Berry mix it included Almonds, Cranberries, Raisins, Cashews, Blueberries, Walnuts and Raspberries. I would never have thought of snagging this up on my own but beings that i got it i thought what the heck and tried it and sure enough LOVED it. This bag went with me to work for my mid-day snacks on several days! On one day i picked a few of the dried fruit out and put them on top my chocolate rice cake covered with pb2 mix – FABULOUS!!!! Could not believe how good this mix was loved it all!

And to top it off i also received some altoids, a little fresh breath after all my yummy goodies!!
Thank you Danielle for the AWESOME box of goodies can’t wait til i receive my next box next month!

If you are interested in joining the Foodie Pen Pals, check out the details below!

Big thanks to Annica for the awesome goodies, and to Heather for the wonderful words about what I sent her!

The Lean Green Bean

If this hasn’t convinced you to join yet, I don’t know what will! Here are the details if you’re interested in joining:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send Lindsay an email and she’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

It’s All Fun and Games Until…

I try not to get too personal on the blog, simply because I don’t feel the need to bore you all to tears. But, since something that’s going on in my personal life is affecting food, I feel like it’s appropriate to mention. I mean, the blog is FOODosaurus Rex, after all!

For quite some time now I’ve been experiencing some, ahhem, bathroom issues. It’s something that has started as a gradual process since about middle school and has gotten increasingly worse over the last few years, with the worst starting about a year ago. At first, I assumed it was because of the increase in running – everyone’s heard of runner’s trots, and I was training for my first marathon. Eventually, though, I realized something was off but couldn’t put my finger on it. Being the stubborn person that I am, I refused to go to the doctor, despite my parents knowing an awesome gastroenterologist.

Can we say stubborn?

Eventually my parents decided to make an appointment for me, and so on Thursday, I finally made it to the doctor’s office that my parents had been suggesting I visit for over a year. I knew from the second I walked in the door that things would work themselves out – instead of going into an exam room, I met with the doctor in his office, and we talked. He asked me questions, and I talked about my bathroom habits with a complete stranger.

While he has a few ideas as to what it may be, we still have to do some tests. You guessed it – endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasound… all the fun stuff! And to rule out any lactose intolerance, I can’t have any dairy in the meantime. This wasn’t something I expected, so of course I’m stocked with milk, yogurt, cheese, and milk chocolate. It’s amazing how much you want something when you can’t have it. I’ve also come to realize that I really don’t know what is in my food, and I was shocked when reading the labels how many things have traces of dairy that I never would have suspected. The doctor doesn’t think the cause of my problems are lactose related, but he wants to rule it out – fingers crossed!


So, I’m currently on a quest for dairy-free eats (suggestions welcomed!!), and unfortunately won’t be eating much over the next few weeks. It isn’t going to be easy or fun, but I know it can’t be any worse than I’m feeling now. I’m hoping that everything will be squared away by mid-June, and won’t have to worry about stopping multiple times during a marathon, what I’m eating, or where the nearest bathroom is.