Playing Around

I had two goals this summer.

1. Paint our kitchen table (it is looking rough!)

2. Start using the manual setting on my Nikon camera.

The first goal was a complete fail. As for the photography goal – mission accomplished! Yesterday I spent 1 hour looking into tips of how to use the manual setting. It seemed so overwhelming to me – adjusting aperture, shutter speed and ISO…why not just set it o auto, no flash mode, right? I am now happy to report that the manual setting takes MUCH better pictures. Naturally, I used food as my object. Plus, a product review from Macro Vegetarian is long overdue!

 Macro Vegetarian: Sun-dried Tomato Baked Tofu Dumplings

sundriedlabelSame familiar box I have grown to love over the past couple of years. For those of you that don’t know me – sun-dried tomato is one of my favorite flavors. Italian heritage? Perhaps….but I just love the taste. Rarely has a Macro meal every disappointed me so I had high hopes for this dinner.

closeuptomatoes

Uhm, can we take a minute and stare at those huge globs of sun-dried tomatoes!? Yeah, that was only one batch of them. The dumplings were garnished with cilantro and basil for an extra flare of fancy. After a few minutes in the microwave, my house smelled like marinara sauce and I was okay with that.

dumplingsplateI couldn’t get over how incredible this variety is! The dumplings were soft and slightly crispy on the outside (partly due to the amount of time in the microwave because I like them crisper) The sun-dried tomato flavor was spot on – not to mention the filling of tofu, cabbage and herbs complimented the tart flavor the the tomatoes. To say I enjoyed this meal would be an understatement.

Rating: 5 Coffee Beans

I still can’t believe how great the pictures came out with artificial lighting…the possibilities are endless when I take some pictures during the day! Fun Photography + great food = winning evening if I do say so myself.

Macro Managing

Suffice to say, it has been one heck of a summer. I had an awesome internship experience with a fabulous RD, caught up with old high school friends, shopped for my apartment (!) and spent quality time with my family. Oh and I got to spend a week in paradise for the week, aka Hilton Head. Life is good, but I am itching to get back to school because Virginia Tech is one of my favorite places on earth. Not to mention I am missing my roommate & friends like crazy. Oh and ABP Coffee, but that is to be expected. Since life has been a tad crazy, I haven’t been too crazy in the kitchen but I did find time to heat up my favorite Macrovegetarian meals.

Udon Noodles

I could pretty much sum this box up in one word: ginger. Seriously, the ginger flavor was overpowering. Let me preface by saying that I am not a huge ginger lover. Sure, I love small amounts of the spice added to my stirfrys for some Asian flare, but not to the point where its all I can taste. For this noodle box, all you can taste is the ginger. While its not terrible, I just would not get this again. One the plus side, the noodles were nice and al-dente, just the way I like my pasta. Also, there were huge cabbage chunks for a nice crunch.

Rating: 2 Coffee Beans

Shanghai Dumpling Box

Welp. I hate to say it, but I think I found a meal that I would never eat again. These dumplings had a weird taste – they were bitter and minty. The mint flavor was a little overpowering. It wasn’t the kind of mint flavor that cleanses your palate either –  more of the “oh my goodness why does my food taste so bitter” kind of mint. Sure, the dumplings were nice and soft and made with whole wheat flour (not to mention the box contained 80% of my daily calcium!) but the strong bitterness just overpowered the great texture of this meal. Oh well, you win some & you loose some.

Rating: 1 Coffee Bean

Have you ever bought a product by a favorite brand that you just did not like?

Macro Vegetarian

Last year, while I was cruising through a small local grocery store, I stumbled upon Macro Vegetarian meals. Since that day, I have been addicted to their noodles and dumplings. What I also love about these meals is that they fuel the best for long, hilly runs.

Sesame Noodles

In a nutshell, these meals are made with minimal ingredients that are natural and wholesome. Not to mention delicious! Especially the sesame noodles. Of course noodles make up a large part of this meal, but there is also an abundance of cabbage and onions (which taste fantastic warmed!) along with tofu crumbles and sesame seeds!

Not quite sure what the spices used are, but they all blend beautifully! It is hard to pinpoint the taste of this meal other than sesame oil. It was a fantastic savory sesame flavor that was present in every bite. We all know I am picky with noodles/pasta and I am pleased to say these noodles were al dente – even after microwaving them. The tofu was flavored perfectly so it wasn’t bland and there were sesame pieces in every bite, which added a lovely crunch. Spices is listed as the last ingredient, but I could definitely taste the garlic (and my mother could smell it on me the next morning :\)  There was a bit of parsley that added a nice cleanser between forkfuls. The only bad part of this meal was when it was over :(

Rating: 5 Coffee Beans

Pad Thai Noodles

Let me start off by staying I should have been born into some ethnic kind of family. While I love my Italian mother & grandmother, Japanese, Thai and Chinese food have always been my favorites. Thus, I had high hopes when I found out this brand made a Pad Thai meal! Pad Thai just happens to be one of my favorite Thai noodle dishes. I just love the combination of the savory peanut sauce with the tangy lime. Delicious. This Macro meal didn’t use rice noodles, instead udon noodles were present. I wasn’t complaining through since I like love thick noodles

One thing that really surprised me about this meal was how many carrots there were. Like the Sesame Noodle meal, there was a lot of cabbage, onions and parsley throughout the box. Not complaining though because I like all three.

Another very exciting note was the major almond sprinklage going on! Usually I have my Pad Thai with peanuts but the addition of almonds couldn’t hurt! There were even more almonds throughout the box too.

Almonds and carrots aside, this meal was a tad off. For one thing – there was no peanut flavor whatsoever. Instead I got more of a tang/tomatoey flavor. I looked at the ingredients and found that there were sun-dried tomatoes so that is probably why. This meal wasn’t bad – the noodles were nice and al dente, the cabbage and onions were tender and not overly soft and the carrots still maintained there crunch, but make no mistake, this was not Pad Thai. The almonds didn’t add a whole lot of flavor either – just a nice crunch. Overall, this meal was okay. I was expecting more of a peanut/savory flavor than a tangy/sweet/tomatoey flavor.Thus, if you want a sun-dried tomato flavor – go for this meal!

Rating: 3 Coffee Beans