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Archive for April, 2010

Oatmeal and fuzzy slippers are my motivation to rise from my cozy bed and warm sheets each and every morning. I love these slippers. They are the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever owned and never fail to provide my feet with warmth.  As I ritually slid them on today I became a bit sentimental. It finally hit me–I am done with my undergraduate career. I purchased these slippers the summer before I began college and they have served me well.   I am uncertain what is going to come next (hopefully a career in food/wine/health!) but these shoes will remain with me as I take my next steps.

I was freezing when I woke up this morning, so I appreciated my slippers and oatmeal even more. I wanted something comforting and hearty. I thought about making something like my fruit cake oats, but as soon as I opened the refrigerator to grab my almond butter I spotted a can of fresh cleaned peaches. I am in the process of cleaning out my fridge before graduation (2 weeks from Sunday!!) and these looked like they would make a nice addition to my oats. I was also under the mentality that I might be able to channel the warm weather back by adding peaches to my breakfast…let’s hope this works :).

In the mix: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, 1.5 tsp chia seeds, 1.5 tsp ground flax, cinnamon, vanilla extract. Topped with clean peaches, blackberries, almond butter and cinnamon.

This was obviously “the best bowl of oatmeal I’ve ever made”–I always think that oatmeal is fantastic:)! I was a little heavy-handed with the almond milk today and added a few extra splashes as I measured out the 1/3 cup. This was certainly for the better because my oats were MUCH creamier and fluffier than usual. I basically scraped my almond butter jar for the last chunk so oats in a jar are coming soon! This is also exciting because I love opening a new jar of almond butter almost as much as I love licking them clean! I’m off for a day of review sessions, studying and day dreaming about new kitchen creations for “study breaks”. Two finals and one paper left until I’m out in the real world!

Happy Almost Weekend,

Nora

Are you a morning person?

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WHOA, busy day. It is 6pm, and this is the first time today that I have been able to sit and relax! I had a day full of appointments, errands and, the most significant happening, MY LAST COLLEGE CLASS EVER!!!!!!! WOOOOOOHH! Now all I have to do is pass 2 finals, finish 1 paper and get through Senior Week.

Today started at 7:45 am when I woke up to head to the gym. I typically don’t go to the gym in the morning, but since today was rather busy I wanted to wake up early to energize myself. Before going to the gym I tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna Protein Bar. Hello lover 🙂 (okay…I’m obsessed with Sex in the City, and my “hello lover” phrase is stolen from the one and only Carrie Bradshaw.). This was my favorite of the three flavors by far! It isn’t overly sweet and has an awesome peanut butter and chocolate flavor. It has 12g of protein and 190 calories, which was perfect pre-gym fuel.

On Wednesdays I have been trying to incorporate some upper body weight training, so I usually start with a light cardio and then lift moderate weights. Since I was crunching time I cut my work out a bit short, but here it is:

20 minute run–2.2 miles

4 minute walk @ 4.0

3 x 10 bicep curls with a bar @ 40 lbs

3x 10 lateral raises @ 7.5 lbs

3×10 hammer curls @  20 lbs

3 x 10 side crunches @ 22.5 lbs
Consuming whey protein within an hour post work out is supposed to be great for rebuilding muscle so I decided to have breakfast number two: Green Monster, Granola and Raw Almonds. This contained: 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop Green Amazing Grass Superfood, a generous amount of cinnamon, 1 large frozen banana, 2/3 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/3 cup water, 2 handfuls of spinach and 2 ice cubes. I topped it off with 1/4 cup Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond Flax Granola and raw blanched almonds. When I was consuming this lovely bowl I had two revelations:

1) CINNAMON IS THE BEST SPICE EVER! I would and do put it on everything. It is so key for flavor the warm flavor of this bowl, I love it!

2) Raw blanched almonds really add a lot flavor/texture wise. They are buttery, smooth, and full of flavor. Roasted almonds have a bit more crunch but these little gems are phenomenal!

Workin’ it Out,

Nora

What is your ideal exercise/food to fuel it?

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Enter: A Day in My Life:

This is my dinner on my coffee table. It is one of the three places in my apartment where I tend to settle down for meals. Breakfast is almost always in bed (and dinner on occasion) and when I am home for lunch/dinner, these meals are often enjoyed sitting at my desk or in the living room in front of my computer and TV. Such is my typical, single, college life. Unless I am stuck on campus or have dinner plans, I often cook for one and eat alone. I find solace in making myself a meal that satisfies at the end of a long day. As much as I enjoy cooking for others, it is also special to be able to prepare nice things for one.

Tonight I was randomly craving BBQ sauce and baked sweet potato wedges with cinnamon. I pulled out a piece of Tilapia from my freezer earlier and thought, “Why not bake it with barbecue sauce?” Exactly…why not? For dinner tonight I made Barbecue Tilapia with a Spinach, Mixed Vegetable and Peach side salad and Cinnamon Baked Sweet Potato Wedges. I swear I could put cinnamon or barbecue sauce on anything and it would taste like a million bucks. Along side I had a glass of Bogle Petite Sirah. I normally would not pair this wine with a light fish but the heavy sauce needed a complex wine. It was such a simple yet nice meal to satisfy my cravings and give me some warmth on this cold April night.

Serving Dinner For One,

Nora

What are your favorite dishes to make when you are cooking for just yourself?

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That’s right, Luna Protein and Cottage Cheese again!

On Tuesday’s I have class from 9:45am-12:20am, and usually do a light 45 minutes on the Precore machine at the gym right after. I had an apple running out the door to class, but since I had breakfast around 8:30am I needed some fuel for the gym, and something to hold me over until lunch. I decided to pack a Cookie Dough Luna Protein Bar. Cookie dough tends to be my favorite protein bar flavor among several brands that I have tried, so I was excited to see how Luna would compare. It did not disappoint! It still had a “protein bar consistency” but I really liked the flavor and the crispy bits in the filling. With 12g of protein and 180 calories, this was the perfect mid-day snack.

I am usually on campus until a little after 6pm, and I am trying to empty my refrigerator before graduation (2.5 weeks!!!!!! WOOH!) so I packed some additional snacks. I have been thinking about savory cottage cheese since my post yesterday, and it is one of my favorite no-fuss snacks. I threw some together for my lunch box with a serving of Dr. Crackers, Fresh Pineapple and Strawberries. I can’t have something savory without something sweet and have half of a pineapple sitting in my fridge that I  refuse to waste, so fruit salad was the perfect sweet treat!

In the mix: ~3/4 cup cottage cheese, hot sauce, cracked black pepper, julienned spinach, red pepper, carrots and cucumber.

Before I finish this post I have to leave you with a confession. I love Tootsie Pops. I have gone through phases where I would have these at least once a day. They never last for long– I always bite through to get to the center. I randomly started to crave a Raspberry Tootsie Pop while I was doing work on a school computer. Thankfully we have a bulk food market at our school with many candy and snack options, so when the craving called I answered. They are simple yet delicious, one of my life’s little pleasures.

I am a very happy snacker today :).

Keeping It Real,

Nora

**Finals week is approaching, which means I need many quick and easy meals and snacks on hand. Any suggestions?**

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Every bowl of oats that I make is slightly different, but they never fail to satisfy my mood. I am constantly thinking, “This is the best bowl I have ever made”, and I truly feel like that at the time because each bowl has an impact on my day. Today I woke up to a cold and drizzly morning. I knew it was an oatmeal day, and slowly came to my topping decisions as I slowly got out of bed. It was one of those mornings where it took a little “self-talk” and thoughts of a lovely breakfast to leave the comfort of my cozy sheets.

Lately I haven’t been able to get enough blackberries. I love, love LOVE this berry. They are sweet, tangy and crunchy–the perfect combination to top oatmeal, or anything for that matter. I was craving some good old almond butter and raspberry jam melted on top of my warm oats, and so was the inspiration for this bowl.

In the mix:

Base: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, 1/2 TBS chia seeds, 1/2 TBS ground flax, cinnamon.

Toppings: Raspberry jam, blackberries, almond butter, coconut butter.

This bowl rocked my world this morning, and I love how the flakes of coconut butter melt when they hit the warm bowl. I think the coconut butter may have been the star companion to my blackberries and raspberry preserves. This breakfast was indeed, “The best bowl I’ve ever made”….well at least for today. I’m off to brave the cold, miserable weather with a smile in my heart and love in my belly! Happy Tuesday!

Cozy Breakfast Bowls,

Nora

What are your favorite toppings?

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Some like it spicy, some like it sweet, some like it hot some like it cold. What am I talking about? The extremely versatile and wonderful Cottage Cheese. I have seen this ingredient used in more ways that I can count on one hand: in pancakes, muffins, crepes, omelets, egg scrambles, oatmeal, smoothies, as a dip, sauce…the list goes on. To be perfectly honest,  I have only recently acquired a taste for this little gem of protein. Something about the bright white appearance and the pebbly curds turned me off when I was younger, and I refused to touch it. I have experimented using different mix-ins and have to say, one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is in the form of a savory dip. It isn’t particularly special, but it is delicious. I combine cottage cheese with hot sauce, cracked blacked pepper, minced broccoli, red pepper and carrot and heat it slightly in the microwave. I swear it is the best savory afternoon snack I have created along side a few hearty Blue Corn Chips.

After lunch today I was craving something sweet. I had some fresh strawberries and blackberries in my fridge that were calling to me, but I wanted to incorporate them into my treat rather than simply eat them plain. I finished my Greek Yogurt over the weekend so I settled for Cottage Cheese. I wasn’t sure how cottage cheese would be as a sweet vessel because I typically have it in a savory manner, but I have seen it done before so I thought it was worth a shot. I mixed together 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 tsp Hershey’s Cacao powder, and a dash of cinnamon and served it on the side of my berries.

The Verdict: I liked it! I can see this being even more amazing mixed with jams and spread on toast or gram crackers. It sightly reminded me of the ricotta filling in cannolis.  I think this combination would have been even better heated, but unfortunately my bowl was not microwave safe and I was in a rush.

Fun Snacking Experiments,

Nora

How do you use cottage cheese?

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I finally got my hands on Luna Protein Bars! I have seen them in blogs for quite some time now but have not been able to locate them until this weekend. As I was browsing through my favorite store on the planet, Target, I spotted these babies and HAD to pick them up. I was excited to try them because the flavors sound awesome, and it is hard to come by an organic protein bar. A few years ago when I was preparing for long runs I would eat Cookie Dough Balance Bars before heading out the door. They are low fiber, high protein and had enough calories, fat and carbs to energize me without generating an upset stomach. I’ve tried cooke dough and peanut butter flavors, but have never seen a chocolate cherry almond protein bar before. I knew this had to be the first flavor that I tried.

This morning I was out the door by 7:30am to pick up tickets for my school’s Senior Week Wine Tour. Senior week is the time between the end of finals and graduation and is used to honor and celebrate seniors before we are launched off into the real world. The wine tour is something I have been looking forward to because I LOVE the Finger Lakes Region wines, and can not wait to share them with a few of my friends. Granted half of them don’t really appreciate good wines, but it will still be a great experience. Ticket sales didn’t start until 9:30am but they go quickly, so it was essential that we got there early. I didn’t have time for a sit down breakfast so I decided to pack a Chocolate Cherry Protein Bar and an apple and grab a Soy Misto at Starbucks while we waited. I wanted to go to the gym after so I thought this would be good fuel.

Flavor wise, this was just okay. It was a little bit too sweet first thing in the morning and I couldn’t really taste anything that resembled almond. I’m not sure that I love the flavoring of cherry but it was a filling and energizing bar. The texture was nice for a protein bar. It was dense like most protein bars I’ve tried, however; the crispy bits in the filling made it more palatable and pleasing.

I can’t wait to try the other flavors, and although the cherry almond was not what I was expecting, I think that the Clif Bar company did a great job creating a protein bar.

Happy Monday,
Nora

What are your favorite protein bar brands?

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