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Is it just me or does today feel like a Monday? The holiday weekend threw me for a loop and I found myself running around my apartment this morning remembering the 10 billion things I had to do before I went into my internship at 8am. This time crunch left me little time to prepare breakfast and lunch so I went with a couple of easy go-to solutions.

For breakfast I had the heartiest portable breakfast that I know: A Green Monster Protein Smoothie. I use: 1 large frozen banana, 1 TBS crunchy natural peanut butter, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, cinnamon, 1 cup vanilla soy milk, 5 ice cubes and ~2 cups of organic baby spinach. I know that this isn’t the prettiest looking thing, but these smoothies are delicious and satisfying. To be perfectly honest, it is basically a peanut butter, banana and chocolate smoothie that I add spinach to. The spinach is oddly refreshing and it never hurts to get some energizing greens in!My lunch was a bit lackluster, but it works. Usually my wraps are so large that I have trouble closing them, this one was a little…well, flat and crumbly. I packed a sprouted grain wrap with hummus, spinach, alfalfa sprouts and grape tomatoes, an Empire apple and an AllieBar.
I like the Ezekiel sprouted grain products, but these wraps do not hold up as well as other whole wheat varieties that I have tried. In an effort to use what I have and save money, I want to finish the bread/wraps in my freezer before making my next purchase.

In other news, I have a confession. Yesterday afternoon I dusted off an old friend:This little beauty has been hanging in the rafters of my garage for about 2 years now. I was a competitive swimmer for my entire life (I stopped after my sophomore year of college) and took up running after I retired from my swimming career. I entered several running competitions, including a half-marathon in the Fall of 2008. I had ambitions of entering a triathlon and received a road bike for my birthday. I rode it a handful of times but alas, my life went in another direction and storage/time to ride became complications that prevented me from training.

My dad helped me fill the tires and she’s good to go! I’m not making any commitments just yet, but I am debating entering a triathlon. I need to make sure that I train properly and learn proper nutrition for the training/competition. I did not prepare properly for my half-marathon a few years back, and it definitely took a toll on my body. That experience taught me the importance of proper training and listening to your body.

On The Go,

Nora

Have you ever trained for a competition? What advice/training did you follow?

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The last post was actually written on Friday but I was unable to post it because my internet connection was failing and my battery died. I had work all day at the bakery on Saturday, so I’m trying to play catchup with my post.

Friday Post:

I’m not sure how, but I woke up this morning at 6:30am. I felt completely awake at this ungodly hour, and parted the blinds to reveal the radiant sun. I decided to go for a run. I haven’t exercised in weeks and it was the perfect morning to start-up again. I grabbed half of a petrified Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar and strapped on my running shoes.

It felt so great to run again. I saw many other people out and about running, dog walking and biking, taking advantage of the beautiful morning before it was consumed by the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun. I’m not sure how far I ran, but it was a leisurely 40 minute adventure through my new neighborhood. It made me realize how much I miss running. In the past I have run many races, including a half-marathon in the Fall of 2008. I’m not in any sort of shape to compete, however; it is something I desperately want to get back in to.

When I got back to my quaint apartment, I made the most refreshing green monster smoothie. My smoothie was composed of: 1 large frozen banana, 5 ice cubes, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, 1 scoop GREEN Superfood, cinnamon, 1 TBS crunchy natural peanut butter, 2 handfuls of spinach and 1 cup vanilla soy milk.

For some reason it was thicker than usual, and completely rejuvenated me after my run. Shortly after I enjoyed a crisp Jonagold Apple as I read through old food magazines on my floor while waiting for the delivery truck to arrive with my futon. They told me they would arrive sometime between 10:30am and 1:30pm. Good thing I had a bunch of paper sorting to do and didn’t mind being home-bound for the time.

The delivery men came around 11:30am and finished assembling my futon just in time for lunch. I got a bit creative with the contents of my fridge and made a wrap with lots of Cedar’s Original Hummus, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, cucumber, carrots, button mushrooms and hot sauce. I also had the other half of my navel orange from the previous night’s dinner. My sweet tooth was calling me and I had a piece of dark chocolate almond bark for dessert.

After lunch I headed to the mall. I had ANOTHER appointment at the Apple store to “Meet My Mac” and learn some of the basics of using my new computer. I went a bit early with hopes of using the mall Wi-Fi to post my blog, but the slow connection failed me. I snacked on a PB&J Larabar and Grande Ice Coffee with Soy Milk while feeling completely defeated.

After my appointment I came home to make a semi-real dinner. Using my resources, I marinated some shrimp in BBQ sauce and grilled them on my panini maker. I also assembled a broccoli slaw using 2 cups of pre-made broccoli slaw blend mixed with a sauce composed of 2 TBS Plain Greek Yogurt, juice of 1/4 a lemon, 1 TBS Dijon mustard, cracked black pepper, a few dashes of Sriracha hot sauce and topped with ~1/4 cup garbanzo beans. This was such a refreshing meal for a hot evening and I enjoyed it with a glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve 2008 Chardonnay.

Dessert was exceptional. I have been loving the juicy and sweet strawberries this season and wanted to incorporate them into dessert. I ran out of vanilla ice cream but I found a Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt in my freezer. I let it defrost a bit and topped it with fresh strawberries and MaraNtha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread.

I’m realizing with all of these new changes in my life that there are some great expenses. During college, I never had to worry about paying rent, a gas bill, internet/cable bill and a food bill. I have always paid for grocery store items, however; I did have a meal plan so it wasn’t a burdensome bill. I’ve always had car and cell phone expenses, but after factoring in all of these additional expenses I starred at my bank account and financial spreadsheet dumbfounded by the reality that I am broke. I know everyone struggles at some point to “make ends meet” so to speak, but it has forced me to reconsider my spending. I’m not a big shopper when it comes to clothes, shoes and accessories but when it comes to food and food related products I tend to throw my money at it. Honestly, there is no real reason that I spend $2 on a snack bar or $9 on a nut butter jar other than curiosity and a love of food. I’m not going to stop eating the things I enjoy, I just need to make sure that I am being a bit more economical.

My internship position is full-time, requiring me to be in the office from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.  I want to have time after work to do things I enjoy such as exercising, reading and socializing, therefore; in order to avoid eating dinner at 9pm every night or spending unnecessary money on take out, I need to start meal planning, making things ahead of time and getting creative with leftovers.

My blog writings this summer are going to revolve around the mentality of planning healthy, sensible and easy to prepare meals.

Economically Minded,

Nora

What are ways that you save money at the grocery store? Do you create “make-ahead” meals?

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Hey everyone! I hope you all survived this Manic Monday! What makes Monday such a crazy day anyways? I swear I always feel like I’m being pulled in 7 directions, running around like a chicken with my head cut off (what a bizarre phrase.). I have lots of studying to get done this evening but wanted to post some of the foods that really hit the spot today. I love when I eat something and it is EXACTLY what I wanted.

“Breakfast” (I have to put this in quotes because this is not something I would typically consider breakfast.):

For once in my life I didn’t feel like making breakfast and I was in a rush to study. Good thing I have an ample bar supply! I know I said before that I wasn’t fond of these Chocolate Cherry Almond Luna Protein Bars but I think they are growing on me. When I went to my stash I was thinking Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna but this little guy just jumped out at me. It  COMPLETELY hit the spot and this mini meal held me over for a few hours!

Lunch:I’m still working on cleaning out my fridge  and I was craving some hummus and cheese on toast so lunch today was a monster sandwich. This monster contained: 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread, Cedar’s Original Hummus, Swiss Cheese, spicy brown mustard, spinach, cucumber, sprouts, Roma tomato and turkey breast. On the side I had watermelon and a Honeynana Chobani Champions with blackberries and 1 TBS walnuts.

Lunch was also supposed to have this beet, carrot, celery and ginger juice, but I think the beet was a little overripe (bad part of cleaning the fridge…things you forgot you had gone to waste 😦 ) and it tasted a little off.

After lunch I went to Barnes and Noble to study and of course I got a Grande Non-Fat Cinnamon Dolce Latte.I think I have it set in my head that I need a warm, sweet, foamy latte in my hands in order to focus on tedious material. I also had a bite of a Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Factory Cupcake that they had for sampling! SCORE! Only 4 more days!

Dinner:

Brace yourself…

All day long at the Barnes and Noble cafe I kept smelling coffee, peanut butter (they have amazing peanut butter cup cookies that they heat up!) and maple. I was also FREEZING thanks to their work conducive temperatures so I wanted something cozy for dinner. I saw this sweet potato and baked beans concoction on Caitlin’s blog, and knew I had to try it. I picked up some Bush’s Original Baked Beans (has bacon, not the vegetarian!) a while ago anticipating the day when I would make this. I roasted the potato in the oven at 450 for about 40 minutes. I almost cooked the sweet potato in the microwave but I LOVE eating the skin, and it gets crispy and caramelized when you roast it in the oven 🙂 . I cut the sweet potato open, sprinkled it with cinnamon and topped it with baked beans. HOLY COW! Caitlin, you are a genius! This is the most surprisingly fantastic thing I’ve ever consumed. I swear I would be a very happy girl if I had this every night for the rest of my life. On the side I had some roasted broccoli, carrot fries and dill pickles. Everything was dipped in ketchup, even the sweet potato.

Dessert:

I was feeling a bit “All-American-Cookout” after dinner and decided to continue this theme for dessert.I give you: Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt topped with cinnamon, chunky natural apple sauce, a chopped Medjool Date and Kopali Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs. This tasted like a wholesome apple crumble. The date pieces give a nice maple flavor, and harden for an extra chewy texture. It was only missing one thing: Peanut Butter. I dove back into my freezer candy stash after the photo for a miniature Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Perfection.

Now I am full and satisfied and ready to get back to work. I find it makes SUCH a difference when I study with a full and happy belly. I am a million times more focused and productive. Although, I do start day dreaming about all of the things I want to make post-graduation after a few hours of reading Freud.

Studying Hard,

Nora

What is your favorite simple and satisfying meal?

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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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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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Why do I bother making sandwiches?

Behold: BEET JUICE.

I hope everyone is having an amazing Friday so far! The weather here has taken quite a drastic turn from the once sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures, to a bitter 40 degrees and dark clouds threatening rain. On gloomy days I like to relish in life’s simple pleasures; things that are relaxing and make me happy. I secretly love stormy weather in the Summer time because it gives me an excuse to cuddle up in blankets, make comforting food and watch movies for hours on end.

I feel extremely lucky to have some free time this afternoon to recuperate from a busy week. I even had time to make lunch: Bakery-made Muligrain bread, hummus, spinach, cucumber, mushrooms, sprouts, Roma tomato, and red bell pepper along with a jumbo glass of beet, Fuji Apple, carrot and celery juice. I always take time during the week to make a thoughtful meal in the morning and evening, however; lunch is usually a product from a campus eatery or a soggy sandwich concoction that I made hours before consumption. When I have the time I love making a fresh, and hearty lunch. There is nothing better than toasted bread. When you make sandwiches before hand they just aren’t the same.

This sandwich was MASSIVE and delicious. I honestly do not know why I bother with sandwiches/wraps because I tend to try to stuff way too many ingredients into such a small space. I think that the ultimate topping for this bread is hummus. The 7 grains and 4 seeds produce such a hearty texture and nutty taste; it doesn’t get much better than that!

I am officially obsessed with my Breville juicer. I don’t care what anyone says, I fully intend on juicing my heart out every chance I get. Today I made Beet, Apple, Carrot and Celery Juice. I can’t believe how much juice this produced, almost 16 ounces, and LOTS of foam.  I love the foam! Even at Starbucks, I always get the cappuccinos because of the yummy foam on top. (Okay, let’s pause to laugh.) This has such a great flavor but was missing something…ginger. I searched high and low but couldn’t find the small piece I had left :(. Next time I make this combination, I will definitely be adding a small piece of ginger!

I had a piece of Easter chocolate, to round out my carefully prepared lunch and can certainly say that the foods you eat can turn even the worst day upside down!

BEETing the Weather Blues,

Nora

What is the most unusual juice you have tried?

Has anyone tried any new recipes/ingredients lately? (I need some inspiration!)

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After my exam and running a  few errands on campus, I came to finish packing and cleaning. My lunch today was completely random,  polishing off the remainder of vegetables in my fridge in omelet form topped with avocado hummus (eggs+hummus=amazing) and the last of my slaw and chickpeas. Of course I had to have something to calm my sweet tooth after my massive savory plate and since my apple didn’t do the trick, I thought it was about time for another product review: Chobani 2% Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt topped with Kopali Dark Chocolate Cacao Nibs.

Dreams Really DO Come True

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to Chobani. Not just because I am doing a giveaway (ENTER MY CHOBANI GIVEAWAY ENDS IN THREE DAYS!!!), but rather, because I think they have an outstanding product. I dipped my spoon into the ridiculously thick yogurt, and almost fainted at the luscious taste. This yogurt could stand alone. It wasn’t too sweet and had an extremely present but not overly intense strawberry banana flavor. I was in love at first bite, but then thought I could dress it up with DARK CHOCOLATE!  Match made in heaven? YES.

Now that I have successfully cleaned out my fridge, have a full belly and a calm sweet tooth, I am ready to pack!! I can’t wait to go home. My family is my world, and as much as I like being independent, I always miss them terribly. There is something so comforting about being home. We are having our entire family over to celebrate my twin brother and my birthday (March 1) and my Grandfather’s birthday (March 7). It will be such a treat to see my whole family this weekend. We are venturing to NYC for a few days after that so prepare for some good eats!!! Naturally I can’t go on vacation without some reading materials:Food inspired of course. I have been wanting to read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food for so long and have heard great things. I also couldnt say no to a memoir that says “A Love Story with Recipes” on the cover. I finished I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti over winter break and am obsessed with foodie memoirs!!

Happy Weekend/Spring Break (for those of you who have one!),

Nora

What books have you been reading lately?

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