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Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

I live by the motto “never judge a book by its cover”; some of the best things in life come in unexpected forms. I always try to keep an open mind and will try anything once (within reason). It is with this mentality that I have discovered my love for things like escargot and raw fish. I was hesitant to try these things at first, but I’m so glad that I did.

For breakfast this morning I had a bowl of unconventional oats. I used 1/2 cup raw rolled oats, 1/3 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 1/2 of a large banana, ground flax, honey and cinnamon. With inspiration from Catlin, raw oatmeal is quickly becoming one of my favorite breakfast dishes. I did not think it sounded appealing at first, but after trying it I immediately fell in love. It has a better consistency than overnight oats and is far more substantive than granola or cereal. It keeps me full, satisfied and happy all morning long.

Lunch today is also “off the beaten path” so to speak. I packed my lunchbox with a sunflower seed butter, spinach and red bell pepper sandwich on whole wheat with two large carrots, an Empire apple and a super-charge me cookie. Allie sent me my very first jar of sunflower seed butter a few weeks ago and I have been dipping into it non-stop. I have added sunflower seed butter to everything from bread to yogurt, and found that some of my favorite surfaces have been vegetables. In fact, I think the best combination I tried was raw broccoli dipped in sunflower seed butter. Sounds odd, but it was so good. Remember my motto?

Hopefully my day will be as interesting as my food!

Happy Monday,

Nora

What is the best “odd” combination you have tried?

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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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I’m the type of person who cannot be idle. I find that when I have down time I end up getting antsy and think of anything and everything I could be doing. That being stated, sometimes you just need a day where you can stop, smell the flowers and relish in the peacefulness of having nothing on your agenda. Today was one of those days.

After my short country side run this afternoon I took myself on a “garden tour” around our backyard. My mom is extremely devoted to her gardens. She takes such pride and pleasure in them, and spends the majority of her day carefully tending to them. I think her dedication is what makes the flowers so beautiful.After my garden adventure we went to my cousin’s house for their birthday barbecue. I had a plate of grilled chicken, fruit and a mixed green salad with pear slices in a lemon vinaigrette. It wouldn’t be a birthday with out cake so I had a slice of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and a little mint chip ice cream (can never resist mint chip 🙂 )After the party, I went for a nice walk-and-talk with my mom. When we returned I headed into our back yard to do a cart-wheel,  just because I haven’t done one in ages, and proceeded to lay in the grass and stare at the sky for a while. Sometimes you just have to soak in the beauty.

It was such a nice day that we decided to sit outside and absorb the beauty over crackers, hummus, bread, cheese and a bit of Dr. Loosen Riesling.

Life is good.

Peaceful,

Nora

What are your favorite ways to spend down time?

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After work today I came home for Memorial Day weekend to spend time with my family. I was so thankful for this break because between graduation and the start of my internship I haven’t had time to relax and unwind. It will be a weekend filled with good food and even better company; my favorite way to spend down time.

Since I was going away for the weekend, I needed to clean out my produce closet. I hate letting food go to waste and had an ample supply of produce in my refrigerator, therefore; lunch today was a simple salad with a tuna topper, Dr. Krackers and strawberries. My salad was composed of 1 romaine heart, 1/4 red bell pepper, 1-2 inches of cucumber, alfalfa sprouts and a handful of grape tomatoes. I prepared a package of tuna with balsamic, Dijon mustard, 1 stalk of celery and chopped kalamata olives. On the side I had a serving of Dr. Krackers and the remainder of my fresh strawberries.

After a long day of work, I made a 1.5 hour drive home and was greeted with a Middle Ages IPA beer. I love this beer, it has an incredible “hoppy” flavor and rich mouth-feel. For dinner my parents prepared grilled chicken, corn on the cob and a mixed green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and blue cheese paired with  Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc. This meal was the epitome of summer: simple, crisp and fresh. Some of my favorite childhood Summer memories revolve around grilled foods and soft serve ice cream.

Dessert is ALWAYS necessary, so as a ‘thank you’ for the thoughtful dinner my parents prepared, I teamed up with my good friend Betty Crocker and baked a batch of brownies. My mom added peanut butter cup sundae ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry for brownies a la mode. Did I mention that I LOVE coming home? I had such a nice evening catching up with my parents.

Family Gal,

Nora

What are your favorite family memories?

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My internet is up and I’m officially back to blogging :)!


I’m a planner and an organizer. After a few days at my internship, I have come to the conclusion that the 8am-5pm life was meant for me. Gone are the days of staying up until 3am for no reason, wearing the same sweatpants everyday, showering twice a week and living off of a Starbucks heavy diet. That’s right college is over….good riddance.

I’m not necessarily saying that I need a strict schedule but it is nice to have a semi-consistent set of obligations and goals. I like waking up early, working all day and relaxing in the evenings. Looking back at my college years, I’m not sure how I functioned. Sometimes I would finish my day at noon, or start my day at 2pm. I was constantly doing work into the early morning hours and was always awake by 9am because I am incapable of sleeping in. (Did I ever sleep???) Over the past few days I’ve been waking up at 6am, leaving by 7:30am, working until 5pm, going to the gym, arriving home by 7pm and in bed by 10:30pm. An hour and a half is exactly what I need to get ready and have breakfast before heading into work, however; it also requires a bit of planning.

Last night before I went to bed I prepared breakfast and lunch, cleaned my apartment (I hate coming home after a long day and having to do dishes etc) and got my bag ready for work. Doing these little things the night before saves time and frustration, allowing me to enjoy the peacefulness of the morning.

This morning I had a breakfast cookie inspired by Gina and topped it with plain low-fat yogurt (I love Greek yogurt but I was out and this is the next best thing. Low-fat yogurts are creamy and filling. I tend to pick them over nonfat varieties.), strawberries and cinnamon. The night before I combined 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1 TBS crunchy almond butter, 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, 2 TBS vanilla soy milk, 1/2 of a banana (mashed) and cinnamon and placed it on a plate in the fridge over night. This was so easy and completely held me over through the morning. I will be repeating this in the future!

Shortly after breakfast I was craving juice. I didn’t have any in my fridge but remembered that I purchased a Red Rhapsody Odwalla a few weeks ago. I’M IN LOVE! This was so refreshing and a nice combination of flavors. It is the perfect drink to blend with yogurt and ice for a smoothie on a hot summer day.

It has been an EXTREMELY hot week, and I have been craving cool and crisp vegetables. For lunch I made a semi-Greek salad with 1/2 of a romaine heart, 1 large shredded carrot, 1/4 cup of garbanzo beans, 1-2 inches of cucumber, 1/4 of a red bell pepper, a handful of grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese and cracked black pepper. Along side I packed a homemade dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dried parsley flakes and had a serving of Dr. Krackers and a Jonagold apple.

I wanted something chocolate for my mid-day snack and reached into the bottom of my bag to retrieve the other half of my petrified Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar.

The cable company gave me a time frame between 4pm-7pm for their arrival, so I came home immediately after work. They arrived when I was turning onto my road (!!!) and I was relieved that I would not have to sit in my sweltering apartment and wait. I debated going to the gym or going for a run, but it was FAR too hot outside today. I’m planning on catching up on some busy work, making dinner and heading to bed early tonight because tomorrow is jam packed with meetings and events. I am loving my internship and feel so lucky that I have FINALLY found something that I can dedicate myself to and enjoy!

Blogging,

Nora


Are you a planner or a “go with the flow” type?

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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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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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