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Archive for the ‘Blueberries’ Category

Today is going to be the LONGEST day of my life. I have been up since 6:45am and have my hardest final at 4pm. I have been studying for the past few hours, so thought a quick post was in order before making my way to the library. Yes, that’s right, no coffee shop for me today! I want to stay on campus studying until 3:50pm then casually make my way over to the exam room.

Today I woke up and needed an energy boost. I decided on a Loaded Green Monster for breakfast.I almost couldn’t fit the whole thing in my big wine glass! It was so refreshing and thick because I added some extra ice and frozen blueberries to the mix today. I’m doing extremely well with the whole “clean out my refrigerator/freezer” initiative. I just keep throwing random bits and pieces here and there, so I think I should be successful by the end of next week when I officially move out. Scary to think that one week from Sunday I will be out of here!

In my monster: 5 ice cubes, 1 large frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, 1 scoop Green Amazing Grass Superfood, cinnamon, 1 TBS crunchy natural peanut butter, 2/3 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup water and 2 big handfuls of spinach.

It was so thick that I ended up eating it with a spoon. I should have added granola to it because shortly after I wanted something crunchy and had a Kashi Pumpkin Pie Bar with a cup of coffee.  I love pumpkin, and went through a serious pumpkin phase this fall where everything I ate had this flavor. I had pumpkin coffee, muffins, bread, yogurt, pie, ice cream, granola bars, custard…the list goes on, it was intense. I had two of these just sitting in my overflowing pantry and thought it would be a nice treat before starting some major studying.Lunch today will be out of my lunch box. First up, Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Sandwich with goat cheese, cinnamon (seriously, I put cinnamon on EVERYTHING!), Crofter’s North America Superfruit Spread, spinach, cucumber and turkey. As I said before, I’m doing extremely well with the whole fridge cleaning thing!Next up a variety of sides: Apple, Chobani with cinnamon and blackberries, almonds, 1 large carrot and 2 stalks of celery.I can already tell you that my apple will be devoured before lunch time. I get nervous when I am “crunch time” studying and apples are the perfect way to keep me focused. I ate a few extra almonds out of my jar while packing…what can I say, I need brain food :)!

I already have a little something-something planned for dinner after my exam. I planned it knowing that it would be a long and tedious day and wanted to come back to something exciting before I start studying for my second exam, which is tomorrow at 12:30pm. Looks like it’s going to be a long day and night :/ . Such is the life of a college student. 3. More. Days.

Working Bee,

Nora

What are your favorite work snacks?

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During my Sunday afternoon “walk and talk” with my mom I began to divulge what the phrase “Live Life, Eat Right” truly means to me. It is not a basic factor of eating healthy foods and exercising, but rather; having all around balance in life emotionally, spiritually and physically. It is about doing of the little things that make us well-rounded and happy. I find that I am my happiest self when I am able to make time for work, family, friends, exercise and my personal interests aka food and wine. Work (yes even school work) gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I get the same feel from exercise, but find that it is more of a release and something that provides a refreshing/relaxing feeling for me. My interest in food/wine stems from the sentiment of family and culture. I relish in the moments where I have time to research industry trends/recipes and have the opportunity to cook. These are things that I hold dear to my heart and that make me feel like a whole person. After all, it is the simple things in life that mean the most.

Today I was contemplating what creation I wanted to make for breakfast. I thought about chopping nuts and dried fruit, making a wonderful sauce with orange juice and frozen berries, and drizzling honey over a dollop of yogurt to give my bowl an elegant look for my photos, but paused to realize– I wasn’t actually in the mood for any of these complexities in my oatmeal. I just wanted something hearty and simple. I decided to make Basic Banana Oats with Blueberries and Almond Butter. Into my pan went: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, cinnamon, vanilla extract and 1/2 TBS chia seeds. I finished my bowl with a handful of blueberries, 1 TBS crunchy almond butter and cinnamon. I enjoyed a cup of coffee along side in my favorite New York Wine and Culinary Center mug. Simple and satisfying.

Remember The Little Things,

Nora

What hobbies/interests make you feel complete?

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Appetizer

1st course

Main

Dessert (what was left of it when I remembered to snag a picture)

The boys did a GREAT job with dinner last night. They slaved over this meal all day, and all we had to do was show up! How lucky are we? When we arrived we were welcomed into their main foyer with cheese and crackers. After mingling for a while we were directed downstairs, where they had a long table set up with the “proper” plate and utensil arrangements and dinner was served….on paper plates with plastic forks and knives. Let me tell you it was SO difficult to cut that chicken in a graceful manner. It was such a thick piece of meat, I almost broke my knife and my fork pierced through my plate. So much for etiquette, but I think I probably ruined that when I took my phone out for pictures :). I didn’t really learn much about proper dining but it was fun to meet new people!

For an appetizer they had shrimp cocktail. There were a few plates like this on the table to share along with cocktail sauce. We were then given a first course of Caesar salad. The salad was extremely petite and a bit over dressed. I was having so much fun talking to my “date” that I only ended up having a few bites of this before the main course was served. For our main course we had chicken Marsala, roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus. This was the real selling point and “effort” of the meal and it was AMAZING. It was a huge piece of chicken but  well-cooked, and the potatoes were so flavorful. For dessert we were all given full pieces of strawberry cheesecake. I forgot to take a picture so this is only my last bite’s worth of dessert. Needless to say I was excited about cheesecake and devoured the entire thing. I was a classy date.

For breakfast today I was inches away from making a green monster and granola bowl but decided that blender clean up was not worth it. I went back to something I haven’t had in a while: Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Soy Milk, Banana, Berries, Flax and Cinnamon. I use to eat this almost every day, especially in the summer months. You know what? It wasn’t as good as I remember it being, I’m disappointed in my breakfast choice today (hate that feeling!). I also had a big Fuji apple on the side, which I think made my stomach a bit upset! I’m having a rough start to my day.

I’m off to work, and couldn’t be happier because it is a rainy day. The bakery should be pretty busy this afternoon, and I can’t wait to have a little change of pace from school. I only have a week and a half left and I’m so excited to finally be finished.

Fine Dining,

Nora

What do you eat when you can’t decide what you are in the mood for? (For any meal/snack.)

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After a wonderful couple of days with my parents, it was time for me to pack my bags and head back to school. I woke up early to say goodbye to my dad before he left for work, and made a date to go to the gym at 8am with my mom. I haven’t done early morning work outs since I was a swimmer and had to wake up at 5am for practice. That was always WAY too early but I really do prefer starting my day with an energizing activity, and the gym is much more peaceful in the morning. With classes I simply do not have the time, but it is something I would like to start doing again when school is over. Before heading to the gym I had a mini Clif Bar:I want to start lifting more weights and building my upper body, so I warmed up with 30 minutes light elliptical and then hit the weights. I did:

3×10 bicep curls with a 30 lb bar

3×10 lateral raises-7.5, 10, 10 lb free weights

3×10 front raises 8lb free weights

3×10 side crunches-25 lb weight

20 lunges (per side) with 15 lb hand weights

50 crunches

22 push ups (fun fact: I do 22 because that is how old I am! haha)

I took some advice from Naomi, a personal trainer and amazing blogger, and had a strawberry-banana and chocolate whey protein shake post lifting session:It made this large beer mug full plus another half cup and was frothy and delicious! Into my blender went: 1 frozen banana, 5 whole frozen strawberries, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 small handful (~1 cup) spinach, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder and 3 ice cubes.

My mom and I chatted in the kitchen and I had a carrot cake muffin with natural pb and a cup of coffee. It was a bit chilly this morning and the clouds were threatening rain. My smoothie made me even colder so I needed something warm and comforting. I sliced the muffin in half and heated it before adding the PB, which was SUCH a good decision.

This is my last time home for quite sometime, so I really wanted to make the most of it and spend some extra time with my mom. I can’t believe I am graduating so soon, but am so excited to finally be done with school and applying myself in the job world. What I am doing next year is still up in the air but I am really hoping that it will be something involving food/wine. A girl can dream.

Living Life and Eating Right,

Nora

What time of day do you prefer to exercise? Do you have specific pre and post work out foods?

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The Beginnings

Favorite Study Snack: Turkish Apricots Stuffed with Almonds

Happy Lick-Your-Almond-Butter-Jar-Clean Day Friday. Remember that almost empty jar I pictured yesterday? Well, I made sure to put it to good use today with Oats In a Jar! I have done this before with overnight oats, however; putting warm stove-top oats in a jar makes for an infinitely better melty-almond experience. I used my standard banana-oat mix ( 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, 1/2 banana, 1/3 cup steel-cut oats and 1/2 TBS chia seeds), mixed a handful of blueberries in at the very end, added the mixture to my almost empty Maranatha Almond Butter jar and topped with Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, Crofter’s South America Superfruit Spread (Maqui berries and Passionfruit), chopped Turkish Apricots and Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola. DELICIOUS! There were points were I literally was eating spoonfuls of ALMOND BUTTER! Whoever started this OIAJ trend needs an award. My favorite addition was the Turkish Apricots. I love dried apricots, and often snack on them with mixed nuts. (see picture above, my favorite way to eat them= stuffing with almonds!)  These are the most flavorful, and have the best texture. I find that bagged apricots are some times “gummy” and have a preservative taste. I only chopped 1 or 2 to put into my oats, and despite the other flavors, could taste them in every bite.

I’m headed home this afternoon for an eye doctors appointment. The pink eye I had about a month ago turned into an allergy and I have been wearing glasses ever since! I am glad to finally be glasses free, plus I get to go out for a fish dinner with my parents! (Fish because we don’t eat meat on Friday during lent/ I love fish! Can you believe Lent is almost over? I gave up caffeinated beverages, and only cheated a few times, plus get de-caf lattes and coffee so it’s not all bad! I have to say I have been feeling FANTASTIC being caffeine free.) With traveling comes ROAD SNACKS! It’s not a far drive so I packed some finger foods: 1 large carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 Gala apple and left over mango sprinkled with cinnamon. I ended up eating another Gala apple while chopping all of this! They are so good! I made a spontaneous Lady Gaga CD purchase yesterday when I went to Target. I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a CD. This should be a fun one for the ride; there is something about her music that is….interesting to me.

In other news I am 99% sure that I am going to get a juicer this summer! I’m thinking about getting one from Breville. I found a few that were less expensive, but from past experience buying “cheaper” appliances, I know that they don’t always last and quality is extremely important. If anyone has suggestions let me know!

Have a Safe Weekend,

Nora

What is your favorite music? When was the last time you bought a CD?

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Dear Oats, I miss you. Love Always, Nora.

I haven’t had my beloved stove top oats in a few days, and oh how I have missed them! There is nothing better than a bowl of creamy, luscious and hearty oats to start the day off right. I can honestly say that no other breakfast satisfies me the way oatmeal with fruit and nut butter does. Be still my heart.

I wanted to thank Kristen at POM Wonderful for contacting me and sending me some bottles of POM juice to test out. I will use the juice in much more creative ways, but I HAD to incorporate POM into my oats as my first cooking endeavor. Breakfast today was: Banana Oats with Almond Butter and Mango-Blueberry Pomegranate Sauce.

The Base: 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, 1/2 sliced banana, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 TBS chia seeds. Bring everything up to banana up to a simmer, add oats and seeds, cook for ~8 minutes “whipping” banana at the end.

Mango-Blueberry POM sauce: In a small sauce pan combine blueberries, mango and cinnamon. Add POM to coat, simmer and stir until slightly reduced.

I also added 1 TBS of Almond Butter directly to the center and poured the warm sauce over it. YUM! I’m also thinking OIAJ (oats in a jar) might be necessary tomorrow, based on the condition of my almond butter jar. Happy Friday to me :)!

To the Most Important Meal of the Day,

Nora

What are your favorite flavor combinations using pomegranate?

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I started today a little bit off routine. I’m a creature of habit, so when I wake up late I feel rushed and unbalanced. It was almost 9am and I still needed to pack, shower, get ready, and more importantly HAVE BREAKFAST! I wasn’t very hungry this morning or in the mood for anything particular but I really do not like starting my day with out breakfast (if you read my blog you will see that it is my favorite meal of the day). I wanted a loaded green smoothie (1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, handful of spinach, ice, chia seeds, and Amazing Grass Chocolate Superfood) topped with  Galaxy granola but being the good room-mate that I am, realized my room-mate was still sleeping and my noisy blender going off would be a rude awakening. I decided for the next best (and easiest) thing: 3/4 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, 1/4 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk, 1/2 TBS Chia Seeds, 1/4 Cup Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola (my new OBSESSION!!! LOVE THIS STUFF!), a handful of blueberries and cinnamon.

When I stepped out the door the rain was gone, the clouds had parted and there was nothing but blue skies and sunshine! This changed my mood immediately, and after class I had to go for a leisurely riverside run. It was a little bit cold with mild wind in the 50’s, but there is one thing I do not do when we have a sunny day: waste them. I have to take full advantage of the weather, and it always lifts my mood. I ran for about 40 minutes (plus time for pictures, because it was TOO beautiful).

While I was running I started to think about getting a juicer. (My foodie mind is in perpetual motion)Since it is getting to be farmers market season (BEST TIME OF THE YEAR!!!! IT’S PRODUCE CHRISTMAS EVERY WEEKEND!!!) and the weather is getting nicer, I think that a juicer might be a great addition to my kitchen. I love fresh juice, but it is SO expensive at almost $6 a bottle and how refreshing would it be to wake up in the summer and have a glass of fresh juice with breakfast or in the afternoon? I have looked at a few online, and was wondering if anyone had suggestions? I was thinking about getting a product from Breville, I have read about them and when I inquired about juicer advice, the company quickly responded and made suggestions based on the level of use I was looking for.

Since breakfast was a little lame, I had to make up for it with a good lunch. Warm Lentil Salad with Beets and Hazelnut Coated Goat Cheese and of course an apple. When I make warm lentil salad, I usually serve it with a walnut coated goat cheese. I actually had this in mind last night but then was having a Dijon craving and didn’t want my plate/flavors to be TOO busy. I love the way the goat cheese medallion slightly melts when it is placed on the lentils. The combination of the spices and the texture of the lentils with the creamy goat cheese is phenomenal. It is simple, but so luxurious.

Dinner tonight will have to be something fast; I’m doing my usual shift at the bakery until 9pm. I love it there :)! I might be feeling creative with my “lunch box” dinner so I’ll be sure to post later!

Reinventing Leftovers,

Nora

What are your thoughts about purchasing a juicer?

I received some comments about what I do for work outs/ what snacks etc I eat through out the day. I don’t always post everything, so I was wondering what you would like me to blog about more. I would love to hear some feedback! 🙂

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