The Little Beet + Kombucha + Recent Meals

I love that it is Wednesday already! The best part of having Monday off is how quickly the rest of the week starts to pass.

Okay so first, we need to get back to the Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips discussion. I still think the chocolate chips taste different in the new bag. The new bags of chips also say dairy-free (which the old bags did not say), but now, I compared ingredients between a new bag and another old chocolate chips bag again, and the ingredients are the same.

Don’t ask me, I have no further information on this topic. All I can say is that the chocolate tastes slightly different and my taste buds don’t lie.

Moving on…

I chose this salad pizza slice at Villa Monte instead of the whole wheat vegetable slice for a change.

salad pizza

Here’s my usual whole wheat margarita pizza from Mario’s with a side salad. Bot the pizza and salad seemed so big that I needed two plates.

whole wheat margarita pizza

Yet another Chopt salad.


I had a veggie plate from The Little Beet. It’s not so easy to choose which veggie combination to go with but this time it was the roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and a new chickpea + cucumber combination. Oh, plus a scoop of avocado bean dip.

the little beet

Oh hey, remember I went to The Little Beet with Michele from Paleo Running Momma? Of course, you don’t remember, why would anyone reading this post today remember? It was a while ago.

My son and I had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory the other day. The onions look so pretty in this picture.

bbq ranch salad

Last but not least, I bought a Kombucha for the first time in quite some time from Trader Joe’s. While this wasn’t the flavor I used to get (I actually forget the exact names of the ones I used to buy but I know it wasn’t this), I really liked it.

synergy kombucha

Actually, here is the last time I mentioned Kombucha on the blog. It was three years ago. Time sure does fly.

Recent Meals + Little Beet + Kidfresh Faves


We really haven’t chatted about recent meals in a while!

I absolutely LOVED this vegetable plate from The Little Beet. I picked four different vegetable options as my meal. A Brussels sprouts salad, roasted broccoli (it was so good, tasted like lemon was involved), a beet and lentil salad, and parsnips. In fact, I think this was my most favorite combination ever from The Little Beet. I was there not too long ago (listed in this post) but for some reason, this combo was just so incredibly good.

the little beet

I’m big on eating wild salmon lately, aiming for once a week. It usually turns into once every two weeks yet still, I try to remember to buy it! This time I cooked the wild salmon with a maple and dijon mustard combo on top. While fish is never my favorite thing (unless it’s hidden in sushi), I do believe in the health benefits of wild salmon so I want to make sure I keep it a part of my diet. Salmon is sort of growing on me.

wild salmon

I bought fresh brussels sprouts and asparagus for the first time in a while. For the longest time, it was routine for me to buy a wide variety of fresh vegetables but then I switched over to mainly frozen vegetables. This happened for a combination of reasons. First, I had been turned off to certain fresh vegetables after being sick with stomach viruses and then I just found that frozen vegetables were easy to store and roasted well in the oven.

However, the fresh brussels sprouts and asparagus were a nice change of vegetables for me and I really enjoyed roasting them for a ton of meals this week. I added the roasted brussels sprouts and asparagus to this salad which also included my lentils and quinoa mix and a base of the chopped power veggies blend from Stew Leonard’s.

lentils quinoa salad

After sharing my shrimp in the curtains revenge story yesterday, it seems my personal stories from the divorce time period of my life are much appreciated. I want to try to incorporate more of those life lesson moments and stories in my posts. As I said yesterday though, that can be hard to do regularly on the blog as divorce is not a huge part of daily life anymore. AND, I’m always super careful about what I share. Not only do I think about the privacy of others involved in my divorce process, I also remember that my son may read a post. Which isn’t likely as he thinks my blog is pathetic, but still he might.


Here’s a story from my divorce that I never told you before (at least I don’t think that I did) and it relates to food!

The Cheesecake Factory was always my favorite, even way back when I was married. In fact, it was our first date spot in 1999. When things started going wrong in my life and we stopped going out to eat all the time, I refused to go to The Cheesecake Factory for TWO YEARS. Can you believe that?! Once they opened a new location however in our area, my friend took me and I am glad she did. I would never ever allow myself to not go to a favorite restaurant again. While I understandwhy I didn’t want to go, I would never allow myself to miss out on a favorite restaurant again!

How did I survive without my favorite salad for almost two years?

My favorite salad from the Cheesecake Factory

By the way, does anyone wonder what my son eats these days? I used to share more of his meals but he really doesn’t let me take pictures anymore.

I made him “real” meatballs for dinner this week. He labeled my meatballs as real because I used actual ground beef without the addition of anything too healthy or unusual. Just the beef, bread crumbs, an egg, and spices. He said they were terrific.

While I don’t have a picture of the real meatballs, I did want to take a second to show you that my son does still love the Kidfresh product line.

I learned about Kidfresh when I started my blog in 2013. They were one of the first brands that I worked with and I still buy their products today on a regular basis.


Even though my son is in ninth grade, he doesn’t mind eating a “kids” type of meal. In fact, he always asks for it when I go to Target! As a mom, I like Kidfresh because they use a nice set of ingredients with the addition of hidden vegetables.

He really enjoys the Kidfresh chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, pasta with meat sauce. When I can locate it, he also likes their quesadillas. It’s nice for me to have these Kidfresh options on hand for a quick meal or snack that is easy to heat up. I prefer that my son eats chicken nuggets over granola bars as a snack if he’s super hungry. Mini meals are better than empty snacks in my mind, you know?

[bctt tweet=”Talking recent meals on the blog today including lunch at Little Beet plus Kidfresh faves! @kidfresh @cheesecakefactory #thelittlebeet #food #divorce #salads” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

Any moms out there buying Kidfresh for their kids? Do they like it? Which meal is their favorite?

Have you ever stopped going to a restaurant after a break up or divorce because it was too upsetting to go?

Favorite vegetables to roast?

Trader Joe’s Shopping + Lunch At The Little Beet


I’m making it a point to take pictures of my Trader Joe’s shopping cart every few weeks so that I can share what I’ve been buying (and eating) lately.

Here’s a look at my Trader Joe’s shopping cart from a couple of days ago. It’s really just a bunch of my weekly staples plus some odds and ends that I noticed were running starting to run low (like oatmeal and ketchup!).

trader joe's

Fresh Produce:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Baby Carrots
  • Grape Tomatoes

Forgot to buy apples. Ugh!

Frozen Fruit & Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • String Beans
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Roasted Peppers & Onions
  • Blueberries < – I love frozen blueberries in my oatmeal. I stopped eating fresh blueberries so long ago after a stomach virus!


  • Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Organic Ketchup
  • Organic Fair Trade Columbian Coffee K Cups
  • Organic Chick Peas
  • Organic Tomato Paste
  • Organic Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Oregano
  • Balsamic Dressing

I’m scared because I didn’t see the everything but the bagel sesame seasoning on the shelf with the other spices and seasonings. I actually read on Instagram that other people haven’t seen it either. Have you seen it recently?!


  • Ground Turkey < – For my son. I will probably make this into taco meat or chili. 
  • Skim Milk
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

My grocery shopping would probably have better structure to it if I were a more meal planner. But I’m not. A friend of mine is looking to get into some meal planning though and asked me for a few plant-based recipes, among other meal planning ideas. I know how to meal plan so I can advise on it, I just don’t do it myself. 🙂

I thought maybe you would be interested in the recipes I shared with her from here on the blog!

Black Bean & Quinoa Chili < – Love this recipe. Will probably make it this week! Also, for my son, I would make his turkey chili basically like this recipe, only with the addition of ground turkey. He likes quinoa now so this meal comes out terrific.

Eggplant Cacciatore < – This was always so easy and good! Definitely considering an eggplant as part of my grocery shopping list for later this week.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers< – I loved making these burgers and keeping a bunch in the freezer.

Oh! And I had lunch from The Little Beet yesterday. I hadn’t had The Little Beet in a really long time!

I created my own bowl which contained a brussels sprouts salad, a cucumber and greens mix, roasted green beans, and a delicious avocado white bean dip. I really liked this lunch!

the little beet

Have a great week!

[bctt tweet=”Trader Joe’s Shopping Cart Plus Lunch At The Little Beet #traderjoes @traderjoeslist #thelittlebeet #food #weekend #lunch @thelittlebeet” username=”cookiechrunicle”]

Best thing you ate over the weekend?

What are your Trader Joe’s staples lately?

Are you good about meal planning?


Recent Eats


A traditional What I Ate Wednesday post just isn’t going to work today. I have too many meals that I want to show you so instead, let’s just take a look at some recent eats from the last bunch of days…


Oatmeal = breakfast. It just does.

Early morning oatmeal before getting ready for my run.


A filling bowl of warmed autumn oatmeal after one of my runs with lots of cinnamon roasted apples plus some roasted bananas in there too.



If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen my side dish roasted veggie lunch from The Little Beet.

I normally choose Maoz when I am standing in the dining district at Roosevelt Field mall but on this particular afternoon, I thought I wanted Red Mango but then walked by The Little Beet, saw the roasted sweet potatoes and made my decision.

The Little Beet

All side dishes, no protein < – such a rebel.

Would you believe that I actually had leftovers the other night from my salad at The Cheesecake Factory? This never  happens!

I am known for finishing my plate but maybe because we ordered the Thai Lettuce Wraps as an appetizer first, I was filled enough to leave some salad and skip over to dessert.

I will admit it was exciting to bring home the leftover salad and have it for lunch the next day.


I doctored it up with some leftover roasted sweet potato wedges and a lentil/quinoa mix that I had made plus extra avocado.


I got a lot of use out of the batch of lentils and quinoa I made a few days ago. In addition to adding it to the above salad, I made this yummy power bowl too with roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, broccoli and brussels sprouts topped with  barbecue sauce and nutritional yeast.

power bowl

I also added the lentil and quinoa mix to my favorite fall recipe.

I modified the recipe a bit because I just didn’t have the patience for all of the ingredients.

I roasted butternut squash, acorn squash and brussels sprouts but skipped the sweet potatoes, as much as I love them, because I just couldn’t cut up another thing.

I made the coconut rice via short cut method (I used the steam bag of brown rice medley and mixed in coconut milk), quickly whipped up the called-for guacamole and replaced the nuts, cheese and cranberries with the lentils, quinoa and some chick peas which were leftover in the fridge.

roasted fall veggie bowl

I made my cast iron skillet whole wheat lasagna per the meal plan Sunday night and really should share the recipe one of these days because it’s so easy and customizable.

cast iron skillet whole wheat lasagna


I am still bent out of blogger shape that I didn’t get a picture of my Linda’s Fudge Cake dessert from Saturday night!

While the usual apples with peanut butter are still going on, I have been in the mood for hot chocolate.

sipping chocolate

I picked up this Sipping Chocolate from Trader Joe’s and simply adore it.

It says it’s not quite a hot chocolate and not really a chocolate milk but I don’t even understand those claims because  this Sipping Chocolate mixed with warmed almond milk and some whipped cream tastes like a decadent hot chocolate to my taste buds.

hot chocolate

I like my hot chocolate with a spoon. Anyone else?

[bctt tweet=”Recent Eats #oatmeal #cheesecakefactory #leftovers #hotchocolate #traderjoes #recenteats”]


Do you often bring home leftovers from restaurants?

Hot chocolate – with a spoon or without?

What’s on today’s workout agenda?





WIAW – Saturday Lunch with Michele!


Wednesday already? Not that I am complaining or anything, that’s for sure.

Let’s take a look at what I ate on Saturday, also known as long run day, also known as the day I rarely have lunch or dinner at home and last Saturday in particular, also known as the day I had lunch and girl time at the mall with Michele.

michele and me

If you only knew what it took to find someone to take our picture. Maybe somewhere else in the country, like anywhere but New York, you would be able to easily ask someone to take your picture but here? It’s weird. Thank you to the kiosk person for taking our photo while looking at us as if we were totally nuts for asking.

Anyway, on to what I ate on Saturday.


Super early morning banana with peanut butter and the mandatory mug of coffee. I think I press the brew button on the Keurig without even having my eyes opened yet.

banana with peanut butter and coffee

14 miles later, it was time to eat again.

I added pumpkin to the usual post-run bowl of oatmeal plus cinnamon, blueberries, Skoop and peanut butter.

post run oatmeal

Michele and I met up at the mall in the late morning after we both ran our 14 miles (funny we ran the same distance) for some shopping, serious chatting and of course, lunch.

Last time we went shopping at Roosevelt Field, we both ordered from The Little Beet.

This time however, while Michele was going to have a salmon salad, I really wanted my favorite Maoz Vegetarian salad. I have a hard time resisting their roasted broccoli (there was no cauliflower this time which was upsetting but I got over it).


Michele and I joked about those people who always think that restaurant salads are so huge when in our reality, we probably could have eaten double what we were served.

When I got home from the mall, I was hungry so I diced up a giant honey crisp apple with peanut butter.

apple with peanut butter

My son was finally starting to feel better after being sick last week so we decided to go out for dinner before the Islanders and Mets games were on television.

I appreciate not cooking but after looking at the below picture of my food from dinner, I am noticing that I basically eat the same foods at home or at a restaurant. Hmm.

dinner at Morrison's

Small greek salad, roasted sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts <- sucker for side dishes.

We talked about picking up sundae ingredients to make ice cream sundaes while watching the games but somehow ended up home just eating chocolate chips which is always fine with me. Simple desserts, focused on chocolate, are sometimes the best.

dark chocolate chips

So I am suddenly not a fan of Nestle’s Dark Chocolate Chips. They don’t taste right to me anymore, they almost taste like milk chocolate?

Maybe my chocolate taste buds are changing?

I much prefer Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips instead.

chocolate chips

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today 🙂

[bctt tweet=”WIAW – Lunch with @paleorunningmomma @maozvegetarian @thelittlebeet #chocolatechips #wiaw”]

Which type of chocolate chips do you prefer?

Do you typically order the same foods that you cook at home when you are out to eat?

What mall do you live near? Do you go often?


Lunch With Michele At The Little Beet


I love that it is already Tuesday even though it feels like Monday!

Three day weekends certainly help to make the week go that much faster which is super important this time of year when you are looking forward to enjoying some warm weather fun.

Although, even with my pool opened and my beach pass waiting to be used, you can still find me in the mall just like I was on Saturday….with Michele!

You may know her simply as Paleo Running Mama but now I truly know her as Michele. There’s nothing like meeting one of your blogger friends (blends) in person and liking them just as much in person as you do from this interesting thing called the internet.

I knew I would like her by the way. I read her blog every morning so I just felt like I already knew her so well. We are both mothers with similar parenting styles not to mention we are both runners and runners just understand each other.

I was so happy to see her after my 15-mile run on Saturday because she listened to the recap of my run, how I thought that maybe my Adidas Energy Boosts were sort of maybe upsetting the bottom of my toes for a brief minute and how I felt like I was done with the run at mile three yet without issue continued for another 12 miles.

These things only make sense and sound normal to other runners. I know I sound crazy otherwise.

All of this crazy runner chatting took place in front of the pants section at Lululemon as we touched each pair, discussed the specs and asked the Lulu girl to take our picture which was the normal thing to do <– normal to us that is, not so much to the employees.

paleo running mama

We met at Roosevelt Field Mall which is here in New York. Even though Michele lives in New Jersey now, she isn’t far at all and is originally from the area so this mall is technically her old stomping ground anyway!

Our plan was to shop around and have lunch in the new Dining District otherwise known as a mall food court.

There are so many great new food options in the dining district, including my favorite vegetarian spot Maoz, but I fought off the urge to eat the same thing I always eat so that Michele and I could both try The Little Beet.


Linking up with Sara for Tried It Tuesday so be sure to check out what everyone else is trying today!

The Little Beet has two locations in Manhattan and is known for serving, “good food deliciously.” All menu items are gluten-free and are inspired by season, local and natural ingredients.

The Little Beet

Since Michele follows a Paleo lifestyle and I live the meatless life, The Little Beet was a great choice because we could both enjoy what we love.

The Little Beet offers lots of healthy proteins, both vegetarian and not, such as tofu, salmon, chicken and steak.

Their roasted vegetable selection reminds me of the Whole Foods food bar which is certainly not a bad thing.

The Little Beet

They offer a ton of salad options and/or you can create a meal by selecting your protein and then choose your side dishes.

The side dishes included kale, roasted broccoli, a roasted cauliflower (I didn’t love the seasoning), string beans and sweet potatoes. They also had a few side “salads” which to me count as my proteins such as lentil, quinoa and a chick pea-type dish too.

I ordered four sides as a meal and chose the sweet potatoes, kale, roasted broccoli and a lentil salad.

The Little Beet

I sampled the quinoa salad before ordering but didn’t like it probably because it contained mint.

The sweet potatoes were terrific!

sweet potatoes

As for the price, it wasn’t cheap (about $15) but it was really good.

I know Michele enjoyed what she ordered too (salmon with a salad and some of the roasted veggies too) but you can check out her review by clicking here.

I can’t wait to get together with Michele again soon (we have some plans in the works!) not to mention, Arman made the big move from Australia to NYC which means we need to meet up with him too!

If you’re in our area, let us know! It’s always fun to meet other blogging friends 🙂

In case you missed my other “Dining District” reviews:



[bctt tweet=”Lunch with Michele at The Little Beet @paleorunningmama @scranberry33 #triedittuesday #thelittlebeet #blend #bloggers”]


Which mall do you frequent the most?

Does your mall have healthy food options?

Ever met a blog friend (blend) in real life?








Tried It Tuesday – Potatopia!


I am really excited to be linking up today with my Lake Shore Runner-friend Sara’s Tried It Tuesday Series.

The whole point of Tried It Tuesday is to broaden your horizon, try something new to you and then talk about it!



For quite some time now, I have been meaning to try out Potatopia, which you may recall me mentioning since it opened fairly recently (right next to Maoz!) in the “Dining District” at Roosevelt Field (our local mall).


Last week became the perfect time to finally order up some potatoes since I was in the midst of my major potato craving spree.

Meet my LOADED baked sweet potato creation…


So many topping piled on top that you can’t even tell there is a baked sweet potato underneath it all!

It actually looks more like mashed sweet potato but it isn’t.


So it works like this:

You have your choice of just going with a Signature Meal created by the Potato Experts….

potatopia signature menu

OR being a little bit high maintenance and building your own by following a series of potato creating steps.

Potatopia Menu

Of course we needed to build our own potatoes and test the potato man’s patience as we contemplated, debated and changed our minds on the toppings over and over again until we got it right.


Don’t ask me exactly what my son ordered over there…All I know is that he went with mashed potatoes which I wasn’t thrilled about because I wanted him to get the thick cut chips, shoestring, waffle or curly fries just so we could share and have fun.

I didn’t want mashed potatoes but he didn’t care what I wanted.

Anyway, tons of toppings. Tons of proteins. Tons of options.

potatopia toppings

I tried the Vegetarian Chili but I didn’t get it on my potato. It was okay, nothing special.

potatopia toppings bar

I went with mixed peppers, broccoli, roasted mushrooms, marinated tomatoes, roasted corn and I think the cole slaw.


And a few dipping sauces.

potatopia with sauces

I did not get any cheese. I don’t love cheese, did you know that?

The Potatopia Positive:

  • Major variety
  • Lots of protein choices (chicken, steak, beef, shrimp, bacon, pork)
  • Vegetarian protein options too (chili and cheese)
  • The protein options help to make Potatopia a complete meal rather than just a fun side dish
  • Everything is customizable
  • I like that they offer baked potatoes in addition to the fried and mashed


The Potatopia Negative:

  • I didn’t see the portion size of the fried varieties but the baked potatoes were not as giant as you would expect. In fact, the guy gave me two sweet potatoes to fill the plate and told me the sweet potatoes were larger than the regular potatoes they had on hand which I found odd.
  • They don’t have avocado. Or guacamole <- Like, what?! How do you not involve avocado in your potato bar?
  • They need sautéed onions as a topping option. And onion rings!
  • Even though they have a vegetarian chili, I think they should offer more bean options for vegetarians and vegans (black beans, chick peas etc.) because I didn’t really like the chili, didn’t want cheese and ended up without protein. Oops.
  • I really liked my potato bowl…but I missed Maoz and kept gazing on over to their counter.


I had to get myself a Maoz side salad. I couldn’t leave the mall without my favorite roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

Next up on my list of places to try in the dining district will be The Little Beet.

So far I have only stopped at The Little Beet for samples but they don’t let you sample their sweet potatoes (trust me, I tried) and they look way too good to never experience.

The Little Beet Sweet Potatoes

Be sure to check out what everyone else is trying for Tried It Tuesday!

[bctt tweet=”I finally tried Potatopia! Check out my review #potatopia #triedittuesday #potatoes @scranberry33″]


Are you a mashed potato, baked potato or fried potato lover?

Favorite food court food to order?

What are you craving lately?

Thinking Out Loud During Winter Break Week


With school closed for winter break this week, I am even more confused as to what day it is (let alone knowing the actual date on the calendar) than usual.


I am convinced that babies/children take naps for the sole purpose of giving parents the opportunity to recharge their own batteries in silence, a chance to regroup from the madness that is parenting and to witness the sweet sleeping faces of their innocent babies.

my baby

Turning around to see this face suddenly peaceful and quiet the other afternoon just melted my little heart.

Just like when he was a baby napping in the car, I got myself coffee from the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru and proceeded to circle the neighborhood to keep him sleeping so I could rest my ears (he talks an awful lot) and so he could take a nice nap.

He’s up way too late these days on the phone and by phone I mean FaceTime. Kids don’t actually hold a phone to their ear anymore which is something I will NEVER understand. I do not want to see you or what you are doing while I talk to you via phone.

dunkin donuts coffee

So I have this problem. It’s a good problem to have but it’s still a problem.

They opened so many good places in our new “dining district” at the mall that I don’t know what to do with myself.


I wanted to try this pota-topia but it’s right next to Maoz and I can’t resist Maoz!

maoz salad

Look at all of that hummus!

My son said something genius though – why can’t I just order from both next time? He is right.

A side of loaded sweet potatoes would go perfectly with my loaded Maoz salad bowl, don’t you think?

I looked up pota-topia’s menu and they have all sorts of potatoes, both sweet and regular, in various smashed, baked and fried forms with lots of toppings to choose from, including vegetarian and healthy options too!

There’s also another place from the city which opened a few steps away called The Little Beet which has beautiful roasted sweet potatoes too along with an awesome selection of vegetarian side dishes.

sweet potatoes

Can you imagine all of this healthy goodness in your mall? And yes, there is a Red Mango too.

I am a sucker for free samples. I usually hover around the counters with a smile and when I make eye contact with one of the employees, I sweetly ask to try something even if I have already tried the food before.

I didn’t get to sample those sweet potatoes but I tried The Little Beet’s roasted cauliflower and it was great.

roasted vegetables

I couldn’t get the image of those sweet potatoes out of my mind though so I replicated them at home based upon appearance.

sweet potatoes

We haven’t been eating home much this week but in the minutes I have been in the kitchen, I also whipped up some chocolate chip cookie bites which you may have caught a glimpse of on instagram.

chocolate chip cookie bites

They are lightened up with a vegan option — recipe next week!

Time for me to go eat and run. Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!

[bctt tweet=”Thinking Out Loud During Winter Break Week @maozvegetarian #potatopia #thelittlebeet #diningdistrict #newyork”]

If you have kids, do they like to nap in the car? At what age did they stop napping everyday?

Favorite potato toppings?

Are you running inside or outside today?


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