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Archive for the ‘Granola’ Category

Lack of internet + no time= my demise. Although I have been completely disconnected for the past few days, I did not forget about my dear blog. My internet is not going to be installed until Wednesday, so I am EXTREMELY grateful right now for free Wi-Fi at coffee shops….I’m also extremely grateful for my parents. They have been my “knights in shining armor” through the insanity of the past week. I can’t believe how much has happened in such a short period of time. To recap:

  1. I graduated college on Sunday May 16.
  2. Immediately after my diploma ceremony I went on a packing rampage and shoved the contents of my college apartment into trash bags and boxes as quickly as possible.
  3. My parents helped me move all of my crazily packed belongings into my apartment and I headed home for a few days.
  4. Early Tuesday morning I left home to get started on apartment unpacking.
  5. Wednesday-Thursday my parents returned to help me clean/unpack/organize my apartment. All day Wednesday was spent cleaning. I had work at the bakery on Thursday and my parents stayed to complete the apartment transformation without me! I came back after work to a beautiful, organized and clean home. I’m not sure what I would have done without them because they completely transformed my hole-in-the-wall into a cozy abode.

When I got back from the bakery Thursday night my body was screaming “GIVE ME VEGGIES! GIVE ME VEGGIES!” The past few days haven’t exactly been produce heavy, and I was dying for some clean eats! It was nearly 8:30pm when I got back to my apartment, so I complied a salad in my new PERFECT SALAD BOWL (This bowl is is deep and has high sides so the contents of my typically gigantic salads mix well and do not fly all over. I’ve always used plates for my salad constructions and they can be messy. I’m very excited about this purchase. Thanks Mom and Dad!) with about 2 cups of mixed greens, 1/2 head of romaine, 1/4 cup garbanzo beans, handful of alfalfa sprouts, 1 stalk of celery, 1/3 of a large cucumber, 3 big and beautiful strawberries, 1/2 of a navel orange, 1/3 block of 5 grain tempeh and feta cheese topped with balsamic. This beautiful large salad was enjoyed on the floor of my new living room while watching Julie and Julia on my tiny TV. After dinner I enjoyed an ice cream sandwich for something sweet and cool.

Previous Eats:

On Monday I ate the contents of my parents fridge which includes but is not limited to the following:

Later that night I shared crackers, cheese and a martini with my dad before dinner. My mom prepared a fantastic grilled chicken breast, blue cheese wedge salad with a tarragon vinaigrette and herbed basmati rice. We enjoyed this meal with a cool and crisp Simi Chardonnay.

With a little help from my friends Betty Crocker and butter, I assembled Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (extra chocolate chips added) for dessert. I had four of these while watching TV with my parents. It was the perfect way to relax before returning to my cluttered apartment.

Running out the door on Tuesday morning I grabbed a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Luna Protein Bar (as if I didn’t get my cookie fix the night before) and headed back. When I got to my apartment I snacked on almonds and dried apricots before assembling my first apartment meal. For lunch I made a simple salad with a slice of leftover pizza. I had an apple and dark chocolate shortly after.

Dinner was a complete disgrace so pictures were not taken. I had a meeting from 5-9 so I decided to fill up with granola, cereal, museli, a frozen banana, vanilla soy milk, and Greek Yogurt. A few bowls later and I was  extraordinarily stuffed. When I got to the meeting the smell of pizza filled the air. The temptation was too much and I had a slice of cheese and a slice of pepperoni. After the meeting I had a dark chocolate almond and a dark chocolate cashew cluster before calling it a night.

Wednesday morning I had an 8am class to learn how to use my new MacBook. I wanted oatmeal for breakfast, but it was out of the question. The gas for my oven was not turned on and my microwave aka the number one cooking device used during my freshman-junior years of college remained in storage at my house. I made a portable breakfast for the drive:

This monster was composed of 1 large frozen banana, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop GREEN Superfood, cinnamon, 1 cup vanilla soy milk, 1 TBS crunchy PB and 5 ice cubes.

After the appointment I went to Starbucks for a Grande Soy Misto and a KIND Cashew and Almond Bar.

I had a late lunch and my parents finally arrived, ready to get down to apartment furnishing business. I have the world’s greatest parents, I can’t believe how much they have helped me with over the past two days. I’m pretty sure that if I did not have their assistance I would have just lived in a dirty, half-unpacked apartment for the next three months. It was a long day of cleaning that ended in Dinosaur BBQ for dinner. I started with a Middle Ages IPA beer and for my meal I had a chicken platter with BBQ chicken breast and wing, baked beans (so tasty and cooked with pulled pork!), corn bread, and a marinated cucumber and tomato salad. You better believe I demolished the entire plate!

This overdue entry is a bit lengthy, so I’m going to stop here. I have been reflecting over the past few days and have some thoughts for my blog that I want to share. I’m also exceptionally excited about my internship that starts MONDAY! I’ll be back later today (if I have the opportunity to obtain internet!) so stay tuned for more trials and tribulations.

Growing Up,

Nora

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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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AH! I feel like I have been away for ages! This weekend was a little NUTS and filled with a few too many NUTS.

I began my Saturday with a lovely breakfast with my roommate of Cinnamon Peaches and Cream Kodiak Cakes with sliced pineapple, watermelon, orange juice and coffee on the side. I love Kodiak Cakes. Unlike many whole wheat mixes I have tried, Kodiak cakes are fluffy, doughy and extremely easy to make. For a single serving all you have to do is add 1/3 cup mix with 1/3 cup water! I added cinnamon to the batter and topped it with sliced peaches, Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt and more cinnamon. My roommate always thinks it’s a bit odd when I take pictures of food (she doesn’t know about my blog) so I decided to forgo a picture and enjoy our breakfast together. There was a big event on campus so we headed over for a while to enjoy the nice weather, music and good company. Before I knew it, it was 4pm and I was so busy having fun that I had forgotten lunch! I’m a little embarrassed to post this (and almost didn’t), because the premise of my blog is “healthy living” and this definitely wasn’t the healthiest of days for me, skipping lunch and then going a bit overboard with my evening eats. But blunders are a part of life–living and learning

I was starving and slightly thirsty when I got back so  I decided to make myself a SUPER Green Monster topped with Granola and Raw Almonds. This monster was so big that I barely fit it into the bowl! It contained: 1 large frozen banana, 1 carrot, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, 1 scoop GREEN Amazing Grass Superfood, ~1 TBS peanut butter, 2/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 1/3 cup water, 2 large handfuls of spinach and 3 ice cubes. I topped it off with 1/4 cup Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond Granola with Flax and raw almonds.

After a few bites, I thought I needed more substance so I added melted Dark Chocolate Almond Spread and Coconut Butter to my bowl. This was very tasty but I think I went a little over board with my nut butters! It was really filling, but I couldn’t consider it a full meal especially since I missed lunch. A little while later I had an apple, a large carrot and made  a plate with a serving  Dr. Crackers and Broccoli and topped it off with a copious amount melted Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I was beyond full and decided a nap was in order after such a long day. When I woke up, I wasn’t hungry but made a snack with the rest of my Chobani, Almond Butter ~2 TBS and cinnamon . I also made toast topped with almond butter, raspberry jam, chopped date and apple sauce (random but delicious!). I nearly emptied my almond butter jar so I think it’s safe to say that oats in a jar will be making an appearance this week. Everything I consumed was “healthy food” but the quantity was a bit much; my eyes were much bigger than my stomach! I love nut butters but they tend to be the type of food that I can get a bit carried away with. Between the peanut butter, almond butters and coconut butter I think I had something around 5-6 TBS in a very short period of time.

Needless to say my stomach was NOT feeling so hot after all of these random-mish-mashed foods. I was just looking for a quick fix and went a little overboard. Happens to the best of us.

I wasn’t hungry when I woke up this morning, and my stomach was still feeling uneasy from my food selections but each day is a new day for health. I decided to start today on a fresh foot with a bowl of sliced strawberries, blackberries, Nature’s Path Vanilla-Almond Flax Granola, and vanilla soy milk. I had an apple and cappuccino for a mid-afternoon snack and started to feel a bit more on track. I settled for an early dinner which was fresh and clean. A big spinach salad with 1/3 block tempeh, 1/2 of a roasted beet, 1 golden beet, cucumber, red pepper, tomato, mushrooms, 1 large carrot, clover sprouts in a red wine vinaigrette. I had a few Dr. Krackers on the side  and for dessert I had an ice cream sandwich.

I usually carry around granola bars and pack small snacks “in case of emergency”. I hate when I miss a meal or a snack and then try to compensate for it later in the day; it just leaves me feeling uncomfortably full and lethargic. Like I said before, each day is a new day for health so I just left my Saturday behind and started Sunday off with a fresh outlook. My mom always says, it’s better to be proactive then to dwell on things.

To Fresh Starts,

Nora

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Happy Earth Day!

I wanted to start my day with a piece of earth aka a Green Monster and Granola. Into my blender went: 1 frozen banana, 2/3 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood, 1 handful of spinach (what was left in my bag), 2 tsp Hershey’s Unsweetened Cacao powder, 1/3 cup pumpkin, cinnamon, 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup water and 3 ice cubes. I’m not sure if it is the pumpkin or the cinnamon that makes this combination so delicious, but it is my favorite green monster concauction I have tried. The pumpkin makes it amazingly creamy and flavorful.

I recently ran out of my new favorite Galaxy Vanilla Almond granola, so I had to pick up another at the grocery store. My grocery store does not carry Galaxy (I bought it at a natural foods store) and I wasn’t in the mood to buy Bear Naked Vanilla Almond, so I decided to give the Nature’s Path version a try. I tried a bite straight from the box before topping my bowl and it had such a familiar taste that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. After brief deliberation, I decided that it tasted like a Rice Krispie Treat! It was good, but I think I prefer it as a snack because it is so light and airy. Galaxy granola still owns my heart for granola toppings because it has such amazing flavor and crunch up until the last bite!

This was such a refreshing and hearty breakfast. I grabbed an apple before running out the door to sooth my need for “crunch” and “juice”. I think I might be slightly dehydrated because I woke up with a bit of a headache. I’ll make it a point to have some more water today, I don’t think I drink enough.

Tangent– I am a granola girl. I have tried almost every granola on the shelves at my grocery store, and I buy homemade versions at the farmer’s market when I see something new. I’m always trying new varieties, and I have not found a better flavor and crunch than Galaxy.

Also, I forgot to add to my late night post the highlight of my day: $4.95 sale on Mangia Crunchy Almond Butter! This stuff is usually almost $10 and I’ve never tried it! It does look delicious and has a nice layer of oil and nut pieces floating on the top of the jar! My other jar is almost finished, and I can’t wait to try this!

Earth Friendly,

Nora

Are you doing anything special for earth day?

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Do you ever have days where you feel like you are constantly racing against the clock? It is either moving too fast or too slow, leaving you bored and idle or overwhelmingly busy. Today was one of those for me. After my morning classes I grabbed lunch at a campus eatery (loaded salad–mixed greens, spinach, water chestnuts, snow peas, chick peas, marinated portobello mushroom, artichoke hearts, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, tofu…and much more with a Granny Smith apple)  and still had time to kill so I went to Starbucks for no particular reason. I was bored so I got a grande hazelnut latte and a Berries GoMega Odwalla Bar. I know sugar-free lattes aren’t the best for me but I have a slight addiction. I don’t even want to know what chemicals are in it, it’s GOOD. Win some, lose some right? I really liked the Berries GoMega bar. I wasn’t particularly hungry for it but I ate the entire thing because it was SO delicious. I loved the pieces of dried fruit and the light sweetness of the bar.

After my afternoon class I came back to get ready for work. As I was packing up dinner I decided I needed a snack.  I ate a large carrot while I was packing my lunch box (not even sure what I threw in there…some tempeh, a banana, veggies, roasted beets, cheese, nuts…I was going full speed, I can’t even remember!)  followed by a Cranberry Kombucha,  1 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt with Bear Naked Fruit and Nut and Blackberries. I only had about a 1/2 cup left of this granola (I put about 2 TBS into my yogurt), and to my COMPLETE sadness, it was all mushy and stale.  After a few bites, I added  a good amount Kashi GoLean Crunch and Kashi Mountain Medley Granola for crunch. I have had the Mountain Medley for a while and it isn’t my favorite granola so I sprinkled some on top to continue working on widdling down my stash.

I have to pause here for a moment and tell you about MY FIRST KOMBUCHA experience. All I really have to say is: “Hello Lover.” I have been wanting to try it for a while after hearing about health benefits, and seeing it in blogs. Lindsay from Cotter Crunch recommended Cranberry to me for a “first try” flavor. I’m a girl who likes beer, so the suprising beer-like flavor from the fermentation was appealing. It tasted like beer meets cranberry juice…beer-mopolitan?  Regardless, it was refreshing to drink and I will be going back for more. Thanks Lindsay!

Dinner was a mishmash at work followed by a bite of a pumpkin muffin and dark chocolate almonds. When I got home I continued my “rushed” state and finally settled down to a big bowl of Perry’s Peanut Butter Chip Frozen Yogurt. I didn’t take the time to get a picture of my bowl (er…well I went back for seconds, so of my two bowls.) but I wanted to show this AMAZING yogurt off. Just look at those peanut butter ripples. I love huge chunks of frozen peanut butter; they melt in your mouth! The chocolate chips are big squares and give it a nice crunch. Honestly, how can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?

I felt like I was rushing all day long. My mind was moving a mile a minute, and I felt like I was incapable of doing everything that needed to be done/addressed in the course of my day. My stomach was actually a bit upset from the randomness/perhaps at times a  bit too large  quantity of food. It reminds me that life is never perfect OR easy. You can’t plan out every moment. You just have to go for the ride, let things happen and accept them for what they are. That being said, it is always nice to take a DEEP BREATH and SLOW DOWN when things seem to be getting out of control. When my world starts feeling off , I have to step back and get a healthy dose of perspective. Usually perspective comes from some self-reflection…and my mom.

Fun Facts:

1) I’m really, REALLY against wasting food. Even if I don’t really like the item I bought, I try to think of ways to use it all up. My Fruit and Nut granola was not worth saving. It was so mushy and stale :(. Instead of throwing it all out I saved the nuts from the bag….well..more like picked them out and ate them. I’m so thrifty.

2) Along with my “sugar-free” syrup love, I also really like a sparkling beverage produced by my grocery store that is chocked full of preservatives and aspartame. I try not to think about the list because it is so good! I’m not a huge soda drinker but these things are bubbly and refreshing!

To a Calm Tomorrow,

Nora

What are your “guilty pleasures”?

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It’s official. I am in a breakfast rut. My oat comeback yesterday must have been a fake out because this morning I was craving a green monster and granola. I wasn’t planning on having ANOTHER smoothie this morning, but when cravings call I answer. This is possibly the most uninteresting breakfast to photograph, and I realize how repulsive the green looks but I promise you it really hits the spot. I find that my breakfast cravings tend to reflect the way I am feeling. I had a late night with friends yesterday, which left me dragging when I woke up this morning. Green smoothies are the perfect remedy when I am feeling lethargic upon waking. They are light, yet pack tons of essential nutrition and have an “energizing” effect. In to my blender: 1 large frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen raspberries, 3 ice cubes, 1 scoop Chocolate Whey Protein, 1 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood, 1 cup vanilla soy milk, ~2-3 cups of spinach. I topped my bowl with some Galaxy Granola and raw almonds. I’m glad I have a few deep soup bowls because this smoothie yields over 3 cups!

To add to my lameness, I had another Jonagold and coffee before heading to class. I’m starting to feel like a lame food blogger. I’m in need of some creativity!

Dinner last night was a quick throw together with my roommate. I love cooking, but sometimes it is nice to dig into the depths of your fridge and make a 3 minute plate of food. I ended up having a “Semi-Greek Salad” which consisted of HUGE plate of spinach (I was having a major spinach craving after a green free day haha!) topped with a toasted Boca burger, lots of Cedar’s Garlic Lovers Hummus, pita chips, cucumber, red bell pepper, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and sprouts. After dinner I broke into….EASTER CANDY!! Remember my second bunny?

Last seen.

Well, it no longer has a back pack to carry all of its yummy carrots in. I also made a dent in my peanut M&Ms. What remains:

Hopefully my eats will progressively become more interesting through out the day! Tonight I am going to an “etiquette” dinner with my roommate. Our friends who cooked us dinner a few days ago are in a fraternity, and one of their projects is to host a nice dinner and learn table manners! Somewhat random but naturally, I love this concept. I’m not positive who my “date” will be, but it will be interesting to be educated the traditional ways of fine dining. When it comes to etiquette, I think that stopping to take photos is probably a no-no (whoops!) but I’ll see what I can do with my sneaky iphone photo taking skills!

Happy Friday,

Nora

What do you do when you are in a food rut? Do you go with it or try new and creative things?

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After a long night with friends I did something I haven’t done in a while: slept in and took breakfast on the go. I slept until 9am and have a class that starts at 10am so I grabbed a cup of coffee, a Jonagold Apple and a Kardea Cranberry Almond Bar and headed out the door.This bar was amazing! This was my last Kardea bar to blog about and I am happy to say I loved it. I keep comparing the texture of these bars to that of oatmeal cookie dough, and the Cranberry Almond flavor really hit home. There were large pieces of cranberry tucked into the bar with bits of almond and BIG almond flavor. It reminded me of my favorite oat cookie that my mom makes with dark chocolate, walnuts and dried cherries. Yes, those are different ingredients but it had such a “home cooked” feel to it!

Lunch was a bit rushed and consisted of a green monster, granola, almonds, veggies and almond butter. I ran 3 miles after my morning class, and needed a quick source of protein, carbohydrates, calories and fat. I didn’t have much time before my afternoon class so into the blender went: 1 medium frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen raspberries, 1 scoop Chocolate Whey Protein, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk,  1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 3 ice cubes and 2 handfuls of spinach. I topped my monster bowl with ~1/4 cup Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola (almost out of this 😦 )  and a small handful of whole raw almonds.

For some reason I was craving the warm almond butter, pumpkin butter and cinnamon topping that I had on toast the other day so I decided to experiment with another Jonagold. I sliced the big apple up (barely fits on that plate!), sprinkled it with cinnamon, drizzled my almond and pumpkin butter and heated it for 45 seconds in the microwave. Messy but DELICIOUS! I may or may not have found almond butter all over my keyboard later in the day. I’m addicted what can I say?

Later this afternoon I had work at the bakery! Before heading out I whipped up some fresh juice and dinner. This juice combination was a bit random: grapefruit, beet, celery, carrot, cucumber, parsley and kale. I’m not sure that I liked the sweet beet with the tart grapefruit but it wasn’t half bad for a throw together juice! Dinner was an homage to my mom: Chicken Salad. My mom makes the BEST chicken salad. I live for the day we have leftover chicken breast because it is THAT good. I switched mine up a bit and used Greek yogurt, lemon and thyme instead of mayonnaise. It was pretty good, but missing something (mom fill me in!). Chicken Salad: 1 chicken breast, 2 small celery stalks, handful of green grapes , 1 TBS walnuts, 1 TBS dried cherries, heap of Greek yogurt, lemon juice and chopped thyme. I loaded it onto a bed of arugula with a few Roma tomatoes. I brought this to work in a Chinese food container and enjoyed it with a slice of sourdough bread on the side. If I could manage to fit ALL of that into a sandwich I would be a magician, the bread was better on the side! I found a small apple in the break room that was calling my name so I had that before heading back to work. Yes, that makes 3 apples in 1 day.

When I finally got home and had time to relax, I crawled into my freezer candy stash and had a few Frozen Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups. It was the perfect sweet treat to end my busy bee day.

When I am constantly running around all day, it can be hard to find time to eat right. I hate feeling rushed but with a few “quick-fix” meal and snack options I made it work. I think it is SO important to have go-to meals and snacks. This way you are left satisfied and have great food to fuel a busy day. I find too often as a college student that many of my friends “can’t find the time to eat” because they are so overwhelmed with work. They end up skipping meals and then unhealthfully snack and eat a lot later in the day to compensate. Personally, I can’t focus if I’m hungry but to maintain balance and energy it is essential to have some sort of plan. You will be happy, healthy and most importantly PRODUCTIVE!

I’m off to finish some work and then hitting the sack! Hopefully tomorrow will be a return to normalcy.

Busy Bee,

Nora

When you have a busy day do you plan what you are eating, or do you just go with the flow?

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