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Archive for the ‘Fittness’ Category

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper 70’s and there was a consistent mild breeze. My parents and I thoroughly enjoyed the weather along with some amazing food.

After a little bit of this…Two pieces of this Calamata Focaccia and Wake Robbin Cheese.We were ready to sit down for dinner: grilled rosemary pork tenderloin, mixed green salad with a blend of cherry tomatoes, blue cheese and cucumber and steamed broccoli paired with  Diseno 2007 Malbec.Along with fresh herbs pressed on the pork, my dad also puts fresh rosemary right on the charcoal so that it infuses into the meat…delicious!

We were pretty full after dinner and decided to fill our glasses with a splash more of the Malbec and go for a walk around the backyard.After our “garden tour”, we each had a small piece of the brownies I made the previous evening and called it a night.

This morning we woke up at 7am to attend church and came home for our Sunday morning ritual: breakfast, biscotti, cappuccinos and the newspaper. My dad made an omelet for my mom and himself but the strawberries in our refrigerator were calling my name. I compiled a bowl of Plain Chobani Greek Yogurt, sliced banana, strawberries, cinnamon and had half of a chocolate-macadamia biscotti on the side (the other half was used for dunking into my cappuccino…aka the proper way to enjoy biscotti!) This biscotti was so rich! Initially I thought it was chocolate-almond but it ended up being packed full of macadamia nuts! It had a hint of orange zest in it, which made for a nice contrast to the espresso.

With a happy belly I’m off for a day that includes a nice country run, reading and a family BBQ for my cousin’s birthday.

Have a Relaxing Sunday,

Nora

Do you have special weekend traditions?

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Dinner last night was simple and satisfying. For some reason warm weather always makes me crave grilled items and fresh produce. I marinated a chicken breast in barbecue sauce and grilled it on my cast iron skillet. I wish I had access to a real grill but my make shift grill pan over an open flame is the next best thing! My chicken was perfectly moist and delicious. On the side I had a rather big salad of mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, button mushrooms, garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes and feta cheese. I dressed this salad in a homemade mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and cracked black pepper. This dressing was so good that it caused an epiphany: If you have the time, MAKE YOUR OWN SALAD DRESSING! My dressing was the simple and the perfect consistency, really highlighting the crisp vegetables.

Once again, I had strawberries on my mind for dessert. I found a Jell-O pudding in the back of my fridge that I’m pretty sure was expired (gross, I know) but it looked okay so I decided to eat it anyways. I topped it with strawberries and whipped cream. NOTE TO SELF: BUY ICE CREAM ASAP!

I woke up this morning with an odd craving for cold cereal. I assembled a bowl of 1/2 cup Go Lean Crunch, 1/2 Cup Heart to Heart, 1 sliced banana, sliced strawberries, 1 TBS ground flax, cinnamon and 1 cup vanilla soy milk.
It was my first day at my internship so I was rather excited this morning. I debated bringing lunch because of my financial situation, however; because it was my first day I wanted to scope out the scene and try the cafeteria. I had a turkey, lettuce, red pepper and mayo sandwich on a whole wheat pita, a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette and an apple. It was pretty good and only set me back about $4 but I’ll probably pack a lunch from now on. It was another intern’s last day with the company and the department had a send-off for him after lunch. I was really excited because it was complete with CAKE! I had a small piece of dense yellow cake with white frosting (I made sure to get an edge piece for the extra frosting 🙂 )

After work I went to the gym. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting home for dinner until about 7pm, so I planned a head and packed a pre-gym snack and an easy dinner. I had a Tropical Fruit Tart Larabar around 4pm. It was such a nice treat for a hot summer afternoon and fueled my workout. I did about 40 minutes on the precor machine followed by crunches and arm weights. I always thought that I preferred morning workouts, but I really liked how it broke up my day. It was relaxing, and having dinner already prepared was KEY!

When I got home dinner was waiting for me. Last night I realized that I had a portabello mushroom cap to use so I created a stuffed portabello mushroom with couscous, spinach and feta cheese topped with grape tomatoes and more feta as the main component of my meal (I’m planning on some simple sides to accompany this dish but took this picture last night.). To prepare, I cleaned the exterior of the mushroom with a dry cloth (aka paper towel), discarded the stem and gills of the mushroom and brushed the outside with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried basil and cracked black pepper. I then placed the mushroom cap side down on my cast iron grill pan, added the remaining vinaigrette mixture evenly into the belly, grilled it until tender and let it rest on a plate before adding the filling.

For the couscous, I placed 1/4 cup dry whole-wheat couscous in a bowl, added 1/2 cup of boiling water and let it sit about 5 minutes before fluffing and allowing it to cool. I added a handful of freshly chopped baby spinach, about 2 heaping TBS feta cheese and cracked black pepper into the couscous and mixed to combine. I placed this mixture in the mushroom cap and finished it with grape tomatoes and more feta cheese.

My internship is absolutely amazing! I feel so lucky to have found a position in the food industry incorporating aspects of social media and marketing. I am extremely passionate about food, family, healthy living and social media (obviously!) and can’t believe that I was able to find an involved internship composed of all these elements and more. I don’t want to go into details but today I was able to learn about and work on projects that dealt with iPhone apps, Twitter and blogging. Seriously, someone pinch me!

Working Girl,

Nora

What tips do you have for balancing work, exercising and healthy eating?

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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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BREAKING NEWS: OATS ARE OFFICIALLY BACK IN MY LIFE!

I was starting to get nervous that my ugly green monster/granola bowls were becoming my new breakfast of choice. I have been choosing alternative breakfast options for nearly a week, but alas, loaded oatmeal always wins. I even pumped it up a bit more with ground flax in the base. Before I get into the contents of this bowl I must profess my love for Medjool Dates. They are so soft and sweet. I like eating them plain with a bit of almond butter, however; they take on a whole new meaning when they are warm. They melt in the warm oats and are the perfect pair with banana and almond butter. When I am done with school, I am foresee some MAJOR baking using these flavor combination.

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

Toppings: ~1/4 cup Greek yogurt,1 chopped Medjool Date, black berries, strawberries and 1 TBS crunchy almond butter.

I like adding the Greek yogurt because it makes the mix extremely creamy and tames some of the sweet flavors. To my surprise, it was not enough to thin my oats today. After letting it sit I wound up with a rather thick bowl. I did not want to add water and reheat because I find that when you heat a bowl that has yogurt it tends to get…well…clumpy. I resolved my issue by adding a bit of my hot coffee into the bowl. Did the trick!

Before leaving my apartment I had another Jonagold apple. I think I need to calm down my apple consumption. I’m getting into the mentality that, “my meal isn’t complete until I have an apple.”. There could be worse things but it is sad seeing my apple supply diminish so quickly!

Happy Almost Weekend!

Nora

Do you ever get into food habits? Repeating meals, snacks, etc?

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When I have absolutely NO idea what to have for breakfast and need something quick, nutritious and filling, I turn to Greek yogurt, granola and fruit. I am hitting all of my nutritional bases with whole grains, protein and a serving of fruit. I try to pick a granola that is organic (Be careful when you buy granola, many of them have TONS of sugar and are highly processed.) and that has a bit of fat for staying power. I like using a lower fat granola for topping purposes, but when granola is the main component of my breakfast paired with a low-fat yogurt I like a heavier granola for satiety.

This morning I was NOT in the mood to make oatmeal (weird I know…I always am) and I wanted something cold, so toast was not an option. I received a package of Chobani Champions to sample yesterday, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to try another flavor. I am trying to widdle down my cereal/granola collection and I thought that my Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola would be the perfect addition to the Honeynana yogurt. I was extremely excited to try this flavor because I LOVED the Chobani non-fat Honey Greek Yogurt I tried a while back, and love the combination of honey, banana and nuts. I used 1/4 cup granola (almost didn’t fit in the cup!) and had a small Gala apple on the side to round my breakfast out.

I really like the flavor of this yogurt. I think the Champion line is a great product for people who have never tried Greek yogurt or for children. Both the chocolate and honeynana had a thinner consistency than other Chobani products, less protein and big flavor. I love Greek yogurt because of the tangy flavor and rich texture, but I have found that for many people it is an acquired taste. The Champion product is great because it is a bit more mild but still packs more protein than regular low-fat yogurt, has probiotic cultures and excellent nutrition! I love the diversity of Chobani’s products; there is something for everyone to enjoy!

I have one hour-long class this morning then it’s off to the gym for my upper body lifting committment! I’m sticking to this in hopes to gain some upper body strength by summer. I haven’t been sore after the past two sessions, so I think I am going to switch up my routine. I think it is important to work different muscles and “build” weights if you are looking to gain muscle, not simply tone-up. And of course I packed one of these:Chocolate Whey Protein Shake: 1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk, 1 scoop Organic Chocolate Whey. Is it weird that I actually like these? I just pack it up with some cold packs, shake and drink…tastes JUST like a chocolate milk shake! Lunch time is usually right after the gym, so I typically don’t have a “post gym” snack, however; since I am trying to build back muscle, I read that protein shakes are the best recovery because your body absorbs the nutrients faster than through a food source. I try to have this as soon as I am finished, and then head home for lunch about an hour later. I haven’t had this routine long enough to promote any results, but I am hoping it helps!

Happy Friday!

Nora

What are essential breakfast elements you have even when you are in a hurry?

How do you feel about protein shakes? Any experience/advice for strength exercises?

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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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I love coming home to my mom’s pottery. I found this bunny dish (PERFECT for Easter!) and knew I had to have my oats in it this morning. I have a minor obsession with cups, bowls, plates and serving items. It is probably equally as bad as my obsession with nut butter, jams/spreads, granola and bars. I always have to restrain myself when I go shopping because I want to buy MORE and do not have the space. Even when I go clothes shopping I somehow always manage to make my way over to the home goods section and 9 times out of 10 buy a new cooking item rather than the clothes I intended to buy. We eat with our eyes, and having dishes to complement the food really does make for a better dining experience (plus the pictures are always a bit more fun!). My foodie collections are getting a bit out of control though. I recently decided that until I finish my 2 bags of granola, muesli, oatmeal and 2 boxes of cereal I WILL NOT BUY MORE! This also goes for my…lets just call it 7, jars of jam in my refrigerator.

It was a quiet, cold and sunny morning; perfect for a warm cup of copy and hearty bowl of oats. I searched the cabinets and cupboards and decided to make use of some soon-to-be overripe strawberries for my Banana Oats with Peanut Butter, Strawberries and Cream. I used 1/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk, 1/3 cup of Water, 1/2 sliced Banana, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla Extract, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 TBS Chia Seeds, 1 TBS Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, Greek Yogurt and 4 sliced Strawberries.

When it warms up a bit I plan on going for a run. I live in a pretty rural area and it is so peaceful to do a ~2 mile run down the street and absorb the natural beauty of older “farm” homes, birds, animals and trees. Coming home is like a mini getaway from the busyness of school and work. It reminds me that true happiness is not a result from success, but rather, derived from life’s simple pleasures: family, food and nature.

I’m heading back to school later, and as graduation nears, I am growing more anxious about what I am going to do next year. I know that my passions rest in the realm of food/wine/family/marketing but I have yet to find a job. I know that whatever I do in life, it has to be something that I can truly own, dedicate myself to and be happy with. A perfect career for me would never be about the money (although the way I eat, money is good to have to pay the grocery bills!), it would be about the personal success and satisfaction I get from knowing that I am making a difference.  Enough with that for now, something will come with time.

Enjoy The Little Things,

Nora

Do you have the tendency to over-buy certain items when you shop?

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