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Archive for the ‘Almond Milk’ Category

Saturday was my last day working at the bakery. This job has been one of the best experiences of my life and has influenced me to pursue a career in the food industry. Working in the customer service bakery of a large grocery store has taught me the importance of consumer relations and shown me the dynamics of a large business. I am always incredibly inspired by the creativity and excitement that goes on in the store.

My last shift was all I could have asked for. I was on the schedule from 9:30am-6pm to do “demo” aka providing samples to customers. The employee who typically provides demonstrations had another obligation and was unable to sell on this day. I give her so much credit because it is NOT an easy task to be on your feet talking to people and selling products for 8.5 hours 5 days a week! I prepared for my last shift with the world’s greatest breakfast: oatmeal. (I was thrifty and used my microwave to minimize my gas bill!)

In the mix: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/8 cup rolled oats, half of a banana (sliced and microwaved separately for 30 seconds, then added to my oats 1/2 way through cooking.), 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, cinnamon, vanilla extract and 1 TBS ground flax.

Topped with: 2 large strawberries, Crofter’s South America Superfruit Spread, 2 chopped Brazil nuts and coconut butter.

I was sampling our Pecan Raisin Sourdough and Kerrygold Butter. This is such a special bread that our bakers make from scratch on the weekends. I remember last summer when they were perfecting the recipe and I got to bring some home to sample. It is sweet satisfaction to see this bread come full circle. I’m not a huge butter on my bread person (something about disliking it as a child) but I absolutely love Kerrygold. It is so rich and brings out the best flavors in the bread; a perfect combination.

When I got home I had a pre-planned Cold Peanut Noodle Salad for dinner (practicing already!). I knew I was going to be tired after work and want to shower, so the night before I cooked soba noodles, chopped veggies and created a peanut sauce. All I had to do when I got home was assemble, pour a glass of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay and enjoy! Easy as pie.In my bowl: 1/2 chopped romaine heart, 1/2 bundle of soba noodles, 1 medium carrot, 1/4 red bell pepper, 1 inch of cucumber, 1/2 stalk of celery, 1 small bunch of broccoli. Topped with a peanut sauce: ~1-2 TBS crunchy natural peanut butter, juice of 1/2 a lime, pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 TBS low sodium soy sauce.

This was an amazing meal! I love how well the noodles took to the sauce, and the raw vegetables were so refreshing. It was a large bowl of food that required just a splash more chardonnay to complete it ;).

For dessert I had the last of my Mint Cookies and Cream frozen yogurt ~3/4 cup with fresh strawberries. Shortly after dessert I fell asleep on my new futon at the early hour of 9:30pm while watching the movie Maid of Honor. It was a long day.

I woke up at 7am this morning and knew it was another great day for a run. I stumbled into the kitchen for a quick pre-run meal of a Lemon Zest Luna Bar and Jonagold Apple, and returned to bed to read my book for a few hours. I MISS READING FOR FUN!!!

After my run I had a late “brunch” (11am?) of another thick green monster smoothie ( 1 large frozen banana, 5 ice cubes, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, cinnamon, 1 TBS crunchy peanut butter, a bunch of baby spinach and 1 cup vanilla soy milk. I forgot the Amazing Grass GREEN Superfood today and my smoothie ended up taking on a mint-ting-a-ling color) and a slice of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Coconut Butter and Cinnamon.

I did not have any obligations today, therefore; I was on a mission to find a decent Wi-Fi signal so that I could FINALLY upload my pictures and blog! I can’t believe I have been internet-less for an entire week! It is sad how dependent I am on technology, but hey, it’s my life. I spent a few hours at a local bookstore while my pictures slowly uploaded. I was successful but it was an extremely time consuming process. While I was there I snacked on a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar and Iced Coffee that I brought from home. No more $4 lattes for this girl! (I had a gift card to Starbucks thus why I had a few purchases earlier in the week.)

Now that we are all caught up I’m off to make an early dinner and get to bed before my first day at my internship! I’m beyond excited to start and have been waiting for this day to come for so long! I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve, I hope that I am able to sleep tonight.  I’m going to try my hardest to post tomorrow. I can’t wait to officially have internet in my apartment on Wednesday.

The Future Awaits,

Nora

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Mom: I have to wish you an extra Happy Mother’s Day since I am unable to be with you today:(. This is the first Mother’s Day that I have not been home for, and it makes me sad that I am unable to spend this special day with the most amazing woman I know! Thank you so much for all of your advice and guidance over the years. I feel so blessed to have you in my life!

This picture is from a family trip to Toronto in January 2009. I wish more than anything that I could be home celebrating my mom and eating good food. Since I am still at school, I am unable to physically be with my mom but she will be in my thoughts all day. I actually called her this morning at 9am and woke her up to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day! Sorry about that Mom! I love you!

Breakfast today was ‘Mom-inspired’ with a bowl of strawberries and cream oats.My mom loves strawberries. She also has a beautiful garden at home filled with an assortment of fresh vegetables and berries that she grows in the summer, so fresh summer produce always makes me think of her.

Sunday breakfast has always been a special meal for me. I remember growing up that my dad would make AMAZING Belgian Waffles on Sunday and my mom and I would always top ours with strawberries and whipped cream. Although this is not exactly the same, I thought of my mom as I was preparing my oats this morning, wishing that I was with her sipping coffee, sharing a conversation and diving into some sweet strawberries and cream waffles!

I’m off to yoga and more apartment hunting!

Love and Appreciation,

Nora

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

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Did I really just complete my undergraduate college education? Ladies and gentleman, at 4pm this afternoon I emerged from the confines of my minuscule apartment looking half-human and walked to campus to hand in my last college paper ever. It still hasn’t hit me yet. Do I really not have any readings to do? Tests to study for? Papers to write? As I sit in my room and type this I am in disbelief  that the past four years have finally come to an end.  It has been an interesting ride to say the least. The knowledge I have gained at this institution expands far beyond the classroom. I have learned a lot about myself and have grown tremendously. I have to take a moment here to pause and thank my parents.

Mom and Dad- Thank you so much for every opportunity you have provided me with. I am so grateful to have your love and support in my life. The road hasn’t always been easy, but you never stopped having faith in me and I appreciate that more than you will ever know. Thank you for never doubting me and encouraging me to pursue my interests. You are my best friends and every day I truly feel lucky to have you in my life. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

On to my day:

Today was such a scramble. I’m always such a mess during finals week between little sleep, weird eating and stressful studying. I’m glad that this marks the end of it! I started today around 7am and was under lock and key paper writing in my apartment until 3:30pm. I literally moved from my floor (everything was spread out on my floor…I couldn’t sit at my desk anymore!) to the kitchen all day long and finally sat in bed for some final editing and to provide relief to my numb “bottom” that suffered from my harsh floor all day. Yeah, it wasn’t a fun time.

Breakfast was exactly what I was craving: Berry Oats. Last night for dessert I had some luscious local strawberries with MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread.

I knew that I needed to have these again for breakfast, so I made a big bowl of oats for breakfast with strawberries and blackberries.Into my bowl:

Base: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/8 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, 2 tsp chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract.

Toppings: ~1/4 cup Chobani Greek yogurt (last of it!), 3 strawberries, handful of blackberries and almond butter.

This was SO delicious. I really liked the melted Greek yogurt on top. It made my bowl so creamy and I loved the sour contrast with the berries. When I get more yogurt, I’m going to incorporate it into my warm oats more often!

This is the only meal that I was 100% certain of all day. As I got into paper writing the rest of my food was completely random and consisted of “I can’t focus, go make food” dishes. They were all consumed sporadically between the hours of 10am and 3pm. I really hate mindlessly eating, I never feel wonderful when I do and today was no exception. My stomach was…let’s just say a bit bubbly, but it got me through the day. I’ll try to categorize as best I can the randomness of food:

Morning Snack: Jonagold Apple with Almond Butter.

“Lunch”:

Lunch was a compilation of everything in my room/fridge/freezer that I could think to put together. I’m not sure what time this all actually took place, but I think it was a few hours after breakfast when I was getting into the really tedious part of my paper. I spotted a Luna Cookie Dough Protein Bar and decided I needed a little cookie dough to chug through more work. I ate half of it before lunch and the other half later in the day. Shortly after I decided that I needed to refocus and make myself a snack. I went back into my kitchen and prepared a plate of watermelon and pineapple. I wasn’t full and it was almost lunch time so after maybe 30 minutes I went back into the kitchen to make some real food. Remember that Multigrain bread I picked up at the bakery a while ago? Well it also comes in a Multigrain Currant variety(be still my heart, I’m in love with this bread), and I happened to have a few pieces in my freezer from a long, long time ago 🙂 . The pictures above are a before and after shot. I topped my toast with some natural crunchy peanut butter. After I made my toast, I thought to myself, “Nora, you can not live on nut butters, fruit and carbs alone.” And decided to make a plate of sautéed spinach topped with a runny fried egg, extra sharp cheddar cheese and hot sauce. Maybe I should just call this breakfast number two! It was so delicious, and held me nicely through the majority of my paper writing! I really love the combination of egg yolk and extra sharp cheddar cheese, it is so creamy and flavorful!

I finally completed the bulk of my writing around 2pm and determined I needed some editing food.I needed some greens so I made a mini “sludge” monster with 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 5 ice cubes, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass GREEN Superfood, 1 heaping TBS Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa, and a big bunch of spinach. It looks like sludge, and wasn’t as good as my protein packed monsters, but it was still refreshing. After this freezing beverage I needed something warm so I microwaved a Medjool date with almond butter and cinnamon. I microwaved another unpictured date with just cinnamon after this. Still not satisfied, and now wanting chocolate, I used a random (embarrassing purchase… my campus store sells them so I picked up a bag a while ago.) rice cake as a vessel for MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread and Raspberry Jam.

Today was a whirlwind, and I had a bunch more “finger swipes” of almond butter, some raw almonds, another apple and a big carrot somewhere in between. I think it’s safe to say: my paper was a nut butter fueled production.

It was a bit cool out when I finally left my apartment, but the walk was welcome. I was in need of a good leg stretch, and it settled the random bites of my day. I was fortunate to get to the Political Science Department mere MOMENTS before they locked the doors. My professor told us that the paper was due at 5pm, and the department locks  down at 4:30pm! I don’t know what I would have done if I left my apartment 5 minutes later.

I haven’t had time this week to exercise so I did a light 50 minutes on the Pre-core machine before heading home. I was planning to run but was felling a little “blah” when I finally got to the gym. I’ll tell you, paper writing + sitting + eating = exhaustion.

I wasn’t particularly in the mood for anything fancy for dinner, and wanted to continue my fridge cleaning so I used the remainder of my Bush’s Baked Beans for another Baked Beans and Sweet Potato dish. I served it with a fresh green salad and the last of my watermelon. I decided to cook my sweet potato in the microwave for the sake of time, and it wasn’t very photogenic. I ended up mashing it and topping it with cinnamon and Crofter’s North American Superfruit Spread (cranberry/blueberry mix) before adding my baked beans, which was delicious :).

For dessert I had a few squares of Green and Black’s Mint Dark Chocolate and a cup of Decaf Constant Comment Bigelow Tea. I needed something a little cozy to curl up in bed with because The Notebook was on and I had some blogging to catch up on :).

Hopefully, normalcy will resume tomorrow. I still think it is SO strange that I do not have anymore school work to accomplish. I have some personal projects and fun books to read, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to stay occupied. I think the most exciting part about finishing is that I now have time to do the things that I really like. I’m all for academics, but when it is a struggle to love and appreciate the material you are learning the work is tedious and stressful. I’m really looking forward to reading for fun and continuing my food/wine aspirations.

I have MANY more thoughts, but until I gather them I’m going to leave this rather long post be. I have one more week on campus for  “Senior Week”, which is filled with senior class functions (Finger Lakes Wine tour Monday…stay tuned!). I’m officially out of here after our graduation ceremony next Sunday. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Surreal Life,

Nora

Have you ever had a moment or experienced an event that seemed unbelievable?

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It’s almost the weekend! Which means…ONE. MORE. PAPER!

Before I become deeply immersed in the “academic paper writing world”, I wanted to briefly post a few thoughts.

Last night when I got back from work I started to clean my room. It was getting a bit out of control with PILES of papers, plates and coffee cups galore. After tidying up a bit I decided to go through some books, binders and notebooks from the past two semesters to see what I needed to keep and what I could discard. I hate throwing things away. It seems like such a waste to take copious notes and work hard on projects just to find them in an untouched pile later on. As I was sorting I realized something: my book shelf was HARDLY empty after going through all of my academic papers.

Over the past year or so I have accumulated quite the collection of food/wine magazines, cookbooks, books about cheese, books about wine and various “fun reads” that I have yet to get to (I can’t wait to read for fun again!). If you can tell what a person is like by the contents of their room, then you would realize that I am a foodie. Rediscovering all of those magazines meant a lot to me. I have read most yet I can’t part with them like I can with my school books.

I have a binder that I started last summer containing recipes and “food facts” that I had discovered through reading/studying the industry. Post graduation, I plan to finally sort through my collection and add to my binder. This is sure to be a tedious task, however; this is what I love, this is who I am and who I hope to continue to be long after my college days have passed.

Now on to the food. For breakfast I woke up and NEEDED (yes, there was no question in my choice) oatmeal. I had a bunch of organizing to do before I could actually attempt breakfast, and contemplated settling for something simple like a protein bar or toast and fruit, but I didn’t want to settle. In general, life is too short to settle for anything less than what you are aiming for (I’m getting pretty philosophical in my day’s leading up to graduation). I had breakfast nearly an hour after rising, but it was worth the wait.

Into my bowl: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/8 cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup + 2 TBS almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 banana, 2 tsp chia seeds (running low!), vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Topped with crunchy almond butter, Crofter’s Asia Superfruit Spread (one of my favorites), blackberries and more cinnamon.

I added a splash more almond milk today and it made a world of difference. This bowl was creamy, fluffy, and in my opinion, the perfect consistency. To add more substance to my bowl, I determined that I prefer using chia seeds to ground flax. Chia seeds really add a lot in terms of taste, texture and consistency. They make my oatmeal extremely thick and provide a nice little crunch to every bite. I don’t really notice a big flavor or texture change with the flax. In sum, I never wanted this bowl to end.

Lastly, before I become an introverted book-worm for the day, I have one more item that I want to share. Mid-morning yesterday I was having a bit of a snack craving and came across an old favorite as I searched through my never ending snack bar pile. KIND Snacks are at the top of my favorite snack bar list. I often choose their Fruit and Nut Delight but cannot forget about my other favorite Walnut and Date.I always feel like I’m eating dessert when I have this bar. The dates are luxurious and provide a wonderful natural sweetness. The walnuts are buttery and flavorful, contrasting the dates perfectly. It is the best snack bar along side a cup of coffee.

One More Day,

Nora

What cooking methods/ingredients do you use for your oats?

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m READY! I’m ready to take MY LAST TEST and ready to be DONE WITH COLLEGE! I started today feeling quite prepared. Last night as I was waiting for my artichoke to cook, I assembled both breakfast and lunch. I knew I wasn’t going to have much time before my exam, and hate feeling rushed so this was an excellent decision. For breakfast I had overnight oats.

This happy crab bowl contains: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp ground flax, cinnamon, 1/2 a banana, 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk. I added 1/3 cup Chobani Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt, crunchy almond butter, Crofter’s Asia Superfruit Spread, blackberries, more cinnamon and a splash of almond milk in the morning.

I’m debating my overnight oats method. I think next time I’m going to add more liquid and chia seeds. I like using oat bran for warm oats because it adds so much volume, but I think for cold oatmeal it just gives it a pasty consistency. I really liked the roasted/salted almond butter in my oats! I thought it was too salty alone but when you add it to oatmeal it gives the perfect amount of flavor. I’m also starting to rekindle my love for Crofter’s in my oats. The Asia Superfruit Spread is one of my favorites, containing whole pieces of raspberries and yumberries. I really liked the tartness in conjunction with the sweet banana and full-flavored almond butter. I need to get over my green monster streak and get back on the oats band wagon!! In all honesty, I love green monsters and they really hit the spot when I’m in the mood but NOTHING fills me the way oats do.

For lunch today I’m having yet another monster sandwich. I went a little festive, and added avocado for the holiday! Plus I love avocado. I will be packing some variation of sides to enjoy with my sandwich that are yet to be determined, but I’m thinking apple slices, celery and carrot sticks with almond butter for dipping! I like that idea…so be it. This sandwich was made with two slices of whole grain Ezekiel bread, 1/4 of an avocado, hot sauce, 1/4 red bell pepper, 1/2 Roma Tomato, sprouts and turkey. I know I say this everyday, but I am quite pleased with my fridge cleaning abilities!

My exam is probably going to take me the entire three hours, so snacks will be necessary. I stuck a few “emergency” bars from my stash into my bag last night. See how prepared I am? I’m working at the bakery tonight, which I am SO excited for because it is the perfect way to spend some down time before finishing up my paper for Friday. Dinner will be a random lunch box throw together with some Cinco de Mayo flare. Perhaps a sweet potato and black bean burrito? The world may never know.

Happy Hump Day,

Nora

Do you own a lunch box? What do you usually pack in it?

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If I have learned one thing in college it is that Two Finals + One Paper + Sore Throat = miserable finals week.

I really wanted to make something fun for breakfast this morning like pancakes or a big omelet but my body felt like it was in the early stages of a cold.  I’m rarely sick but when I am, I am unproductive….NOT a good state to be in during finals week. I knew that I needed something cool, substantial, refreshing and healthy for breakfast to counteract my pre-cold symptoms. My solution: loaded green monster in a wine glass (to keep it classy 🙂 )

Into my blender: 4 ice cubes, 1 frozen banana, 1 scoop GREEN Amazing Grass Superfood, 1 scoop Chocolate Whey Protein, 2 tsp Hershey’s Unsweetened Natural Cocoa, cinnamon, 1 TBS natural crunchy peanut butter, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 bag of spinach.

It was extremely soothing and filling. I am never completely satisfied when I “drink” my breakfast so I usually top it with granola and eat it cereal-style, but this mix did the trick this morning. I had an apple shortly after, but I think adding the peanut butter made my smoothie more substantial and satisfying. I’m feeling energized and ready to tackle some major studying and this cold!

During finals week our school library is constantly packed with students. (Although, I’m pretty sure that this week is the first time that many of them have actually seen the library.) I won’t be able to find a space/computer outlet if I try to go, and I know that I can’t be as productive as I would like to be in the small confinement of my apartment so I’m off to a local book store. I have found the book store to be a great environment for me to do work with little distractions.

I’m being slightly frugal and packed a lunch to bring with me. I know that they don’t typically like you to bring food but hey, I’m a poor college kid and if I buy an over priced latte while I’m there that counts right? I call my lunch “cleaning out my fridge”. I packed a whole wheat and flax wrap (my last one!) with Cedar’s Original Hummus, turkey, Swiss cheese, spinach, sprouts, Roma tomato and cucumber with a side of watermelon and pineapple. I almost got the wrap closed this time! MY SKILLS ARE IMPROVING!

Getting The Study Party Started,

Nora

What types of food do you eat to help ward off a cold?

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Ina Garten, aka my kitchen hero, charmingly states “What could be bad?” as she incorporates decadent and simple ingredients into her divine creations. This morning with each heavily bite of my oats in a jar, I started to channel Ina and kept thinking “What could be bad?” Answer: absolutely nothing. Putting warm oatmeal in an almost empty nut butter jar is such a simple pleasure. I started making mental notes about how amazing this breakfast is:

1. I get satisfaction knowing that I successfully ate ever molecule in my expensive nut butter jar.

2. One less dish that I have to do, saving time and WATER! GO GREEN!

3. It is amazing when you get to the bottom only to discover a chunk of almond butter coating your spoon.

4. Melted almond butter is delicious.

5. Let’s face it, eating out of a jar is fun.

6. If I really wanted to I could put the lid on and have an easy portable breakfast.

7. I get to open another jar soon!

8.  Oatmeal in a jar is one of the most comforting and satisfying breakfasts I can think of, and easy to take back to bed with a cup of coffee!

In to my almond butter jar went: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 thinly sliced banana, 1.5 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp ground flax, cinnamon, and vanilla extract topped with blackberries and raspberry preserves.

I know I’ve said it before, but I really enjoy the combination of rolled oats and oat bran. I like the texture of rolled oats alone but they do not generate a fluffy volume. I get the best of both worlds when I combine rolled oats and oat bran to create a fluffy/chewy bowl of perfection.

I’m off to the bakery for the day, where I will be dreaming up my next creation. I have a little something in mind for dinner this evening so stay tuned!

Goodness,

Nora

What are your favorite simple yet satisfying meals?

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