34 Going On 5

by HEAB on April 15, 2010

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

I will never buy pita bread from the grocery store again after buying a bag of freshly baked whole wheat pita from my favorite local Mediterranean restaurant, Kalamata’s. Oh my gosh, it’s 10 x’s better than any brand I’ve ever purchased from the grocery store. Yesterday, I enjoyed a toasted pita filled with roast beef slices and cucumber dressing.

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Then today, I had another toasted pita sandwich with melted goat cheese, cucumber dressing, and a chopped Trader Joe’s turkey hot dog. Random, I know – totally felt like a kid again eating my little hot dog bites…just as yummy as I remembered too. :)

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Where do you purchase your pita bread? Next time you go to buy some, I highly recommend checking out a local restaurant that bakes it fresh every morning. Honestly, it’s so much better!

Reader Sue emailed me asking me about the changes in my diet and if I ever used rice protein powder anymore. Now nothing against Jay Robb because you all know I love him, and I really do think his protein powders are the best tasting out there. However, I’ve stopped relying on the powders so much. I used to skip out on meat in favor of protein powder oat bran, or instead of eggs, I would drink a protein smoothie or make protein ice-cream, etc. I’m not saying I’ll never use protein powder again, but for now I’m feeling good with eating more meat and eggs. Besides, after giving up stevia for Lent, the thought of sweetened powders just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. In fact, I haven’t had any stevia since Lent ended almost 2 weeks ago, and I’m feeling really good. It’s been very freeing as I no longer crave sweets nearly as much as I used to in the past. So, my sincerest apologies to Jay, but for now I think I’d rather just eat another turkey dog. :)

Two more things to share with you:

1) Chia Seeds Direct is having a sale on white chia seeds through Saturday, April 17th. Use the promo code WCS at checkout to save 10%.

2) Allrecipes.com is sponsoring Just Add A Handful of Almonds Giveaway. Click here for a chance to win $1,000 just by sharing your favorite use of almonds. The contest ends Saturday, April 17th. I just entered my Marinutta Sauce. :)

{ 68 comments }

Beth April 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I recently bough a loaf of fresh multigrain bread from my Farmer’s Market and it was amazing! So much better from what I buy at the store. And I also stuck with what I gave up for Lent afterwards- all red and white meat. It’s been about 2 months and I’m loving it.

Johanna B April 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I used to buy my fresh pita from a little Greek restaurant about 30 minutes from here. Got good hummus from there too. Now I can’t eat the pita because I have Celiac Disease and I miss it. I try to focus on what I can eat rather than what I can’t but sometimes I just miss stuff – ya know?

hair in my coffee April 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm

yum! Where’s the cucumber dressing from?

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Hair in my coffee, It’s Trader Joe’s Tzatziki sauce. LOVE.

jen trinque April 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I don’t know if any restaurant around me makes pita bread. Years ago I made my own for a while, but the whole wheat kind I buy from the store is pretty inexpensive and is so much easier to cut and use than the stuff I made. Your sandwiches look tasty, though.

Heather April 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

that’s a great tip! i buy the pita bread from the grocery store, but i only use it for pita pizzas because it’s so hard and stale! now if i can just find a good Med. place around here… :)

Elle @ Acquired Tastes April 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Hmmm… I will have to look into that! My favorite Mediterranean restaurant of all time is in Nashville – its called Mediterranean Cuisine on 21st Ave – best hummus ever! You should check it out if you get a chance.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Elle, I love Mediterranean Cuisine and always used to get their veggie plate. Haven’t been in years, but their tabouleh salad was always my favorite!

Brandi April 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm

we have this local greek place that has THE BEST pitas. Super fluffy and doughy. I should see if they’ll just sell me some of theirs to use.

Janet (Pantry Bites) April 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Fully agreed on the protein powder. I used to have smoothies every morning, but recently replaced it with an omelette cooked in ghee and topped with cream cheese. It’s so much more satisfying. Saturated fat is good for you!

Katie April 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Call me impressed. I need your willpower. I am slightly addicted to the sweet stuff. But, I suppose there are worse things I could be eating than stevia.

Naomi(onefitfoodie) April 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm

there is NOTHING like fresh pita. There is this middle eastern restaurant and their bread I think has crack in it. It is SO amazingly good, doughy and delicious!

I am so with y ou on the protein powders. I do love them but try to limit my use only after my workout! ( i do love bakign with it though!) but I am much more satisfied with real food!!

Jonna April 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Hi Heather,

Love your blog and being part mediterranean, love the food!

I have a quick question for you. I just blended up some fage yogurt
with frozen strawberries and a little agave and I added about 1/2 tsp
of guar gum and seemed to work great. I bought both Bob’s Red Mill Guar gum and Xantham gum, but don’t really now the best way to use them. Do you use one or both at the same time? I’m wondering if I didn’t put the guar gum in, if my little “ice cream” concoction would have gotten as thick as it did? I didn’t bother to put in any xantham gum. I have see you use both and was sure if you use them interchangeably? Any advice would be great.

Thanks!
Jonna

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Jonna, I always use both of the gums together. About 1/2 tsp guar gum and 1/4 tsp xanthan. I never make “ice-cream” with yogurt – usually just nut milk or water, and using both of the gums really thickens up the mix. Try it with xanthan for some extra thickness, but it sounds like with the yogurt, you don’t really need it. Deb wrote a great post on why she uses both gums together, and you can read it here: http://smoothiegirleatstoo.blogspot.com/2009/12/saturdaysunday-smoothie-guar-and.html

Kristy Blake April 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

You know, I ate at Kalamata’s for the first time last Saturday, and I was so disappointed. The pita was stale and hard as a rock, and my salad was wilted. Perhaps it’s because it was evening and the food had been out all day? I don’t know, but Athens blew them out of the water, especially with the pita. I was trying to avoid Athens because they keep raising their prices, and that makes me mad, but I don’t know if I’ll go back to Kalamata’s. :(

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Kristy, I’ve only ever eaten lunch at Kalamata’s, and it’s been delicious every time. The bag of pita bread I bought was still warm. If you go, try going earlier in the day. I haven’t been to Athens in a while – thanks for the reminder that I need to go back!

runnerforever April 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Very interesting that you feel better after giving up Stevia. I recently started working on cutting out Splenda and have been using Stevia instead, but maybe I should just cut out the artificial sweeteners in general. Any particular ways in which you feel better or just overall?

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm

runnerforever, I used to drink 2 cups of stevia sweetened coffee every morning plus a bowl of stevia sweetened oat bran, and I would just feel kind of gross and then crave sweets all day. Even I start my day out with some fruit plus yogurt or cereal I never feel that way any longer. I always blamed the gross feelings & cravings on too many carbs, but now I’m thinking it was just all the stevia I poured on everything. No thanks.

Carbzilla April 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Weird that we both married guys with the same name who were fours years younger than us. Hunh.

I would love to find homemade pitas, but I throw them in the freezer so that might negate any homemade goodness about them. Looks like a yummy lunch though.

PS. Your hair looked fab the other day! You looked amazing!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Carbzilla…my fellow cougar. ;)

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) April 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Hot dogs are great for the kid in you!!! I made gluten free corn dog muffins for my boys the other day…they thought I was a genius (well in that instance anyway)!

Kelsey April 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

agree, local pitas taste so much better! just like bread.. cant stand mine in bags anymore- gotta be the fresh stuff.

polly April 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Hullo muh peach!

Have a wonderful rest of your day. I am so ready for a hot dog on the grill. Need to find some good ones, never thought to check TJs? Just need to find a no nitrates, no msg, no crazy ingredients kind. As a kid I loved them with Van Camps pork and beans. Loved it because my mom sliced them all up and mmm. Plus a pile of nacho cheese Doritos. Oh my. Or spagettios with hot dogs. : P Now THAT is a meal. mmm. hehe

Love you!

Jenn (www.j3nn.net) April 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I love pita bread, I usually buy it from the store; Joseph’s or Food for Life. I’ve been wanting to make my own, though. Never thought about asking a restaurant to buy some! We have a lot of Greek diners around here that I’m sure would oblige. :D

Jenn

homecookedem April 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I totally forgot about how much I do like turkey hot dogs!! I need to pick some of those up this weekend to relive my childhood too!! :)

Diana April 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I never buy pitas now. I bought a package with some, some months ago and it was soooooo bad. And I can’t find other brands so I just don’t buy it. :/ I also have no idea if there are any places that bake them fresh, I wish!

Suzanne April 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I’ve been buying more fresh bakery bread lately and less from the grocery store. I agree it definitely makes a difference!

Jessica April 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I totally agree that homemade pita bread from restaurants is the best! SO much better than store bought.

Anna April 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Buying fresh from the restaurant is a great idea! I always try to do that with pizza dough, but it’s never occurred to me to do it with pita!

Mike April 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Chia Seeds Direct is way over priced even with 10% off. NutsOnline.com is only $6.99 a lb. Plus they have of other goodies at prices below other sellers as well.

jenny April 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Wow! I bet homemade Greek pita is sooo much better than anything in the store!

lola April 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Hi Heather!!!
I was wondering if you had the same problem when you used splenda instead of stevia? (having the sweet cravings all day long?) I’m thinking about switching up my breakfast since my sweet tooth is getting out of control!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Lola, Yep, same problem with splenda – just exacerbated the cravings.

Mama Pea April 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm

You and I are so the same, yet so different. I’m like the old HEAB: lots of protein powder, stevia…and almond butter. I love that you are branching out though! Who’d have thought…hot dog pitas?!

BroccoliHut April 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Mmm a good pita is just so….GOOD. That one looks phenom! I love the idea of stuffing it with hot dog bites too:)

theemptynutjar April 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm

hot dog and cheese on warm fresh bread…wow…good stuff!

i admit i use stevia…and sugar and maple syrup and all that jazz…oh well!

but i like that you embrace real food versus protein powder. I’m sure if people want to use it its fine on rare occasion. But all the food in the world we have…so many choices! Powders seem kind of unnecessary…and costly I would assume.

yay for food. and carbs are great! glad u are back into the yogurt, cheese, bread, cereal and fruits…u seemed to forget them for a long while!

kettlebelllove April 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm

We buy ours from the Lebanese bakery near our house. We’re lucky to live amongst a very large Middle Eastern population and have some phenomenal ethnic restaurants in our city.

-Beth

eatmovelove April 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Fresh baked bread is the best. I used to live near a bakery and every time I walked past it was impossible NOT to go in…love pitas, love meat, love eggs! I agree with Katie though – I don’t have your willpower! Oh well.
Do you still drink coffee &/or tea by the way? Do you sweeten it at all!!? :)

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Eatmovelove, Nope, not really craving coffee much now that it’s warm outside. However, will probably start up on one of my favorite summer habits soon…iced coffee, and yes, I’m sure I would still sweeten it.

Katherine: What About Summer? April 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I tried Jay Rob’s whey and didn’t like it
Everyone talks about his rice protein but I haven’t found it in small packets to try. Woe is my life haha I love how you incorporate it into so many things!
Katherine

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Katherine, If you didn’t like the whey, I doubt you would like the rice. I thought Jay’s whey was delicious, and it took me a while to get used to the taste of his rice. Kind of chalky at first.

Kellie@obsessivelyhealthy April 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm

There is a greek restaraunt by us that has the best veggie and hummus pita. I know the reason it is so delicious is because of the fresh baked pita.

Jaya Dixit April 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Heather – that pita does look amazing. I started making my own pita bread a few years ago and it is just too cheap, easy and fun to make – I even make it despite the awesome Lebanese grocers in my hometown! I’ve heard it said before, but I really believe that the best way to watch what you eat is to make it yourself…or failing that, to eat whatever your amazing local ethnic food hangouts are serving!

Erica April 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I am so going to see if my local greek restaurant makes/sells pita bread. That would be fantastic. Your marinutta ROCKS! Hope you win :)

Becca April 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Heather, I’m so proud of you for getting so stevia-free. What an accomplishment!

Jonna April 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Thanks Heather! It was pretty delicious using the guar and Fage yogurt, thickened up nicely, although I always have unsweetened vanilla almond milk on hand so I’m sure I could use both with that. I’ll definitely read the link you posted.
Also, I was an avid splenda user and gave it up months ago. I think it was really affecting my stomach. I just went to black coffee (I even recently gave up my creamer) and now I can really taste the coffee (I loved naturally flavored ones)!
Have a great one!
Jonna

Danielle April 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Local bread is seriously the best. I buy artisan loaves and tortillas and they’re so fresh! I haven’t seen pita bread though.
But I know they’re not too hard to make…hmmmmm :)

livelifeeatright April 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I love eating foods of my childhood. My favorite is a good old pb&j, milk and an apple …sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are the most satisfying,.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Heather the timing of this post is amazing! I dont know if you read my blog but I am training for fitness competitions as a high raw vegan who does very minimal soy. I have been doing Sun Warrion brown rice prot powd in great quantity than ever before and my tummy has been a wreck. Jay, Sun, same difference to me. The point is that the powders are just that…supplemental protein in powder form, not food. I am posting tomorrow about how I tried to “up my protein” via powders but that it simply doesnt work for my body and that REAL FOOD is best. Period. Vegan or otherwise. Anyway, thank you and I will link this post back tomorrow!

charlotte April 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Fresh real pita spanks store bought pita every time!! You are SO RIGHT! Same thing with naan. I’ll eat a whole basket of the stuff at our fave Indian restaurant (shhh) but I won’t touch it if it came from the grocery store.

And I’d noticed your dietary shift too – thanks for the explanation.

PS> You have shampoo commercial hair in your last post! GORGEOUS!

famishedtofantastic April 15, 2010 at 9:12 pm

If you like home made pitas you should try this recipe http://www.chow.com/recipes/12095-whole-wheat-pita-bread
I first saw it on this blog http://lelelurvesplants.blogspot.com/
They are SO good and they freeze very well. I have not figured out how to get the big pocket in it quite right yet but they are still fabulous.

Jan April 16, 2010 at 4:51 am

I think you have “shampoo commerical hair” also! Beautiful, Heather!

I hear all of you about not using the protein powder, but without eating dairy, how do you get 1200-1500 mg of calcium a day? Protein powder doesn’t have very much calcium in it either, but it does have a good amount of potassium. I was getting all sorts of leg cramps from not enough potassium until I bit the bullet on the carbs in a banana and went back to Jay Robb whey and made a couple of smooties this week with a banana. Leg cramps gone.

I track all my nutrients and calories on http://www.sparkpeople. It has this added feature where you can keep track of daily nutrients like fiber, calcium, iron, etc. It’s really helped me lose some very stubborn weight!

Have a great weekend!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2010 at 7:36 am

Jan, Whenever I’ve tracked my nutrients in the past, I’ve never been low on calcium. I eat a ton of broccoli, salmon, almonds, and some goat milk dairy products. One cup of almond milk has 20% of my daily calcium, and I usually drink at least 2 to 3 cups a day. So, I tend to get plenty.

Katherine: What About Summer? April 16, 2010 at 5:11 am

Maybe I just need a better way [whey- haha] to mix it in? I think the lumps of protein floating in liquid milk were unappealing. Thank you for the response! I think it’s so great that you take the time to read everyone’s comments and reply to them all.
Katherine

Scott in Ohio April 16, 2010 at 5:37 am

Very cool to hear your sweet cravings have subsided.

Do you still indulge in Bakers chocolate or cacao nibs?

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2010 at 7:38 am

Scott, Oh yes, I still eat some sweet stuff – I’m simply not dousing everything in stevia. In fact, I’ve probably dipped into the coconut milk ice-cream one too many times this week, and our cupboard is ALWAYS stocked with unsweetened chocolate. ;)

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 16, 2010 at 6:09 am

I buy my pita fresh from the lebanese bakery. There’s nothing like getting pita fresh off the conveyor belt, into your tummy!

Zeus' Mom April 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

I buy pitas from Middle Eastern markets. They’re the best.

Heather, are white chias any different than the regulars? Is Chia Seeds Direct where you get yours from?

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2010 at 10:37 am

Zeus’ Mom, I believe the white chia seeds are a bit higher in nutrients, and yes, I order my chias from Chia Seeds Direct. You have to order in bulk, but the shipping is free, and they arrive in 2 days. :)

Shawna @ Balancing Me April 16, 2010 at 10:49 am

Wow! I was noticing your change in eating. Very inspirational that you’re off the stevia now. I’ve given up artificial sweeteners now, as well. I use a little maple syrup now and then in my yogurt, but that’s really it. I’m currently using an unsweetened whey powder to up my protein. I know it’s not the best, but with trying to lose some weight, I’m finding the best for me is to keep my protein level up there. I just feel better and the weight is coming off nicely.

maggie April 16, 2010 at 10:58 am

You always put together such yummy treats!

Maggie

fitandfortysomething April 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

delicious!

Beth April 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Kristin used to do my hair! She is amazing, I can’t wait to read her stuff!

Tina April 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

My sister made homemade pitas for our gyros on Easter and they are just SO much better than anything store bought. They were so fluffy, doughy, and delicious. And they are easy too!

Carrie April 16, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Hey there! I discovered your blog through the link on Averie’s blog (Love Veggies and Yoga). I have to say, I so appreciate reading what you said about stevia, because it confirms for me that it’s been good for me to avoid it so far – knowing my incredible sweet tooth, I figured that if I could make anything sweet with “no consequences” (calories), I would be putting it on EVERYTHING. So thank you for confirming that I’m on the right track by avoiding it. :)

Susan April 17, 2010 at 5:50 am

Ohyes, fresh pita bread is incomparable. I’m lucky. There’s a local restaurant here that sends their pita bread to the grocery stores in the province (Mother Nature’s restaurant). I’m obsessed with it!! Far superior to wraps and tortillas ;)

theprocessofhealing April 17, 2010 at 9:58 am

Homemade pita bread?! Awesome. I wish I could get my hands on some of that!

Bekah April 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Glad to hear you’re eating lots of meat Heather! I love the influence you can have on other bloggies too. I mean, I LOVE protein powder, but I do eat it in addition to normal food! Although… what can I say, I probably miss protein pancakes more than anything else from bloggie food land. :(

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