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Archive for the ‘Almonds’ Category

This morning I had a big ol’ bowl of overnight oats. It has been WAY too hot to make hot oatmeal but cereal and smoothies NEVER fill me like a hearty bowl of loaded oats. I added 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract to my bowl and let it sit overnight. In the morning I stirred in 1/2 cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt and topped the mixture with 1 sliced banana, roasted almonds, dried cranberries, cinnamon and honey. I typically add the milk and yogurt together overnight, but find that this can result in a bowl that is too thick or even chalky. The method I used today left me with a smooth, creamy and cool bowl of oatmeal full of intense vanilla flavor.

(Side Note: I miss chia seeds :(. I ran out a while ago and they can be expensive, so I decided not to buy them until I finish the flax I have on hand…not the same my friends, not the same. I might give in and buy more soon.)

I wasn’t sure how to prepare my overnight oats because every “recipe” I have seen for this version of oatmeal is slightly different. This got me thinking, there are SO many ways to make a hearty oatmeal breakfast. I have prepared oats in more ways than I can even think of:


Cookie Form:Baked in the oven:In nearly empty jars:Loaded with fresh fruit:Loaded with dried fruit:With Chocolate:And even raw:

Oatty-goodness,

Nora

1) What is your favorite way to prepare oatmeal?

2) What is your favorite breakfast when the weather is warm?


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Last night I decided that it would be an excellent idea to bake. I have been looking for a new “pre-workout” food to tide me over between lunch and dinner, and Dreena’s Super-Charge Me Cookies sounded ideal. I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand (i.e maple syrup) so I made a few substitutions. Let’s just say they didn’t turn out as well as I would have hoped but the main reason for this was probably my stellar oven.

Looking delicious in the mixing bowl.

Yummy on the cookie sheet

My high tech oven.

Re: My high tech oven.

The aftermath.

Fail.

While the oven was heating, the temperature of my apartment rose to match it. AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL idea! I here by vow to NEVER turn that oven on for the rest of the summer ūüė¶ .

The cookies were a little on the “crisp” side but I’ll love these little disasters all the same (I’m not one to waste). I’m going home for my mom’s birthday this Sunday, so I will be taking full advantage of her convection oven and getting a little baking-crazy. My life is exciting… clearly.

Baking Dreams,

Nora

Have you ever had a major kitchen failure?

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Happy Memorial Day!!

I hope everyone is taking advantage of this beautiful weather and enjoying the company of family and friends! I also hope that everyone takes a moment to pause and remember the meaning of this holiday. I want to send a big THANK YOU to our troops and all of those who have devoted their lives to our country. You are constantly in my thoughts, and I am so grateful for your commitment.

Today has been a patriotic day for my food. One of the reasons why I love coming home is to use my mom’s dinnerware. I swear she has plates, cups and place mats themed for every major holiday. The summer months are all about the stars and stripes!I woke up this morning around 7:30am, and geared up to go for on a “Memorial Day Run” with my dad. Before heading out the door I had a light breakfast that consisted of 1/2 of a large banana, strawberries, sunflower seed butter and coffee (in my themed mug!) while reading my horoscope and completing the easy Monday sudoku puzzle in our local paper. Fun fact: I’m obsessed with sudoku. Every time I am home I retrieve the newspaper from our mailbox as soon as I wake up so that I can do the puzzle while watching the news and having breakfast.

My dad and I ran a surprising 5.5 miles (it has been an EXTREMELY long time since I have done this distance, 3 is usually my max.). The sun was hot during our run and we were BEAT by the time we returned home. My dad, aka The Breakfast Man, whipped up some omelets for brunch. My omelet was made with¬† Swiss cheese, basil, mixed cherry tomato and broccoli with a glass of orange juice and a large carrot on the side (don’t ask, I was craving a crunchy vegetable haha). We had brunch outside on our patio and it was fantastic!¬† I don’t want to be repetitive, but I LOVE COMING HOME! There is something distinctly¬† special about family time and good food.The run took a lot out of me, and I decided that I needed a bit more protein. I extended this brunch with a 1/2 cup of Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, strawberries, a handful of roasted almonds and cinnamon.The sun was out in full force today, thus the shadows in many of these pictures.

I’m off to do a few tasks before heading back to school my apartment later today. WHOA! I actually typed school and it took me a minute before I realized that I just completed college and now am in the working world. So the song goes, times are a changin’. I think we will have an early Memorial Day barbecue before I head back. I have to take advantage of our charcoal grill while I can because it’s back to a cast iron grill pan when I return to my mini apartment!

Always Remembering,

Nora

What are your plans for Memorial Day?

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After an indulgent day of drinking sweet Riesling and eating heavy food, I knew I needed something for breakfast to “recharge”. My sleep was slightly disturbed last night and despite the fact that I drank plenty of water yesterday, I had a bit of a headache upon rising. Riesling and many of the other wines we tasted were fairly sweet and all the sugar was a bit much for me (and to add to my sugar intake, I also had an ice cream sandwich right before bed). I couldn’t even picture something sweet for breakfast so I went with something green.

Into my blender: 4 ice cubes, 1 frozen banana, 1 scoop Green Amazing Grass Superfood, 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, cinnamon, 5 roasted almonds, 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/2 cup water and lots of baby spinach.

I really liked the flavor of the roasted almonds in the mix, plus it provided extra protein and fat for satiety. I didn’t want my smoothie to be too sweet, so I opted for only 1/2 of a scoop of the chocolate whey. I’m not sure that it really made a difference in flavor, but it left me hungry sooner than normal and I grabbed my last big¬† Jonagold before heading out.

I’m off for a day of apartment hunting followed by a dinner party with friends this evening. I’m not entirely sure what is on the menu, but it should be good :).

Cherishing Moments,

Nora

What are your go to breakfasts after a day of indulgence?

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Mom: I have to wish you an extra Happy Mother’s Day since I am unable to be with you today:(. This is the first Mother’s Day that I have not been home for, and it makes me sad that I am unable to spend this special day with the most amazing woman I know! Thank you so much for all of your advice and guidance over the years. I feel so blessed to have you in my life!

This picture is from a family trip to Toronto in January 2009. I wish more than anything that I could be home celebrating my mom and eating good food. Since I am still at school, I am unable to physically be with my mom but she will be in my thoughts all day. I actually called her this morning at 9am and woke her up to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day! Sorry about that Mom! I love you!

Breakfast today was ‘Mom-inspired’ with a bowl of strawberries and cream oats.My mom loves strawberries. She also has a beautiful garden at home filled with an assortment of fresh vegetables and berries that she grows in the summer, so fresh summer produce always makes me think of her.

Sunday breakfast has always been a special meal for me. I remember growing up that my dad would make AMAZING Belgian Waffles on Sunday and my mom and I would always top ours with strawberries and whipped cream. Although this is not exactly the same, I thought of my mom as I was preparing my oats this morning, wishing that I was with her sipping coffee, sharing a conversation and diving into some sweet strawberries and cream waffles!

I’m off to yoga and more apartment hunting!

Love and Appreciation,

Nora

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

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Did I really just complete my undergraduate college education? Ladies and gentleman, at 4pm this afternoon I emerged from the confines of my minuscule apartment looking half-human and walked to campus to hand in my last college paper ever. It still hasn’t hit me yet. Do I really not have any readings to do? Tests to study for? Papers to write? As I sit in my room and type this I am in disbelief¬† that the past four years have finally come to an end.¬† It has been an interesting ride to say the least. The knowledge I have gained at this institution expands far beyond the classroom. I have learned a lot about myself and have grown tremendously. I have to take a moment here to pause and thank my parents.

Mom and Dad- Thank you so much for every opportunity you have provided me with. I am so grateful to have your love and support in my life. The road hasn’t always been easy, but you never stopped having faith in me and I appreciate that more than you will ever know. Thank you for never doubting me and encouraging me to pursue my interests. You are my best friends and every day I truly feel lucky to have you in my life. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

On to my day:

Today was such a scramble. I’m always such a mess during finals week between little sleep, weird eating and stressful studying. I’m glad that this marks the end of it! I started today around 7am and was under lock and key paper writing in my apartment until 3:30pm. I literally moved from my floor (everything was spread out on my floor…I couldn’t sit at my desk anymore!) to the kitchen all day long and finally sat in bed for some final editing and to provide relief to my numb “bottom” that suffered from my harsh floor all day. Yeah, it wasn’t a fun time.

Breakfast was exactly what I was craving: Berry Oats. Last night for dessert I had some luscious local strawberries with MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread.

I knew that I needed to have these again for breakfast, so I made a big bowl of oats for breakfast with strawberries and blackberries.Into my bowl:

Base: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/8 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, 2 tsp chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract.

Toppings: ~1/4 cup Chobani Greek yogurt (last of it!), 3 strawberries, handful of blackberries and almond butter.

This was SO delicious. I really liked the melted Greek yogurt on top. It made my bowl so creamy and I loved the sour contrast with the berries. When I get more yogurt, I’m going to incorporate it into my warm oats more often!

This is the only meal that I was 100% certain of all day. As I got into paper writing the rest of my food was completely random and consisted of “I can’t focus, go make food” dishes. They were all consumed sporadically between the hours of 10am and 3pm. I really hate mindlessly eating, I never feel wonderful when I do and today was no exception. My stomach was…let’s just say a bit bubbly, but it got me through the day. I’ll try to categorize as best I can the randomness of food:

Morning Snack: Jonagold Apple with Almond Butter.

“Lunch”:

Lunch was a compilation of everything in my room/fridge/freezer that I could think to put together. I’m not sure what time this all actually took place, but I think it was a few hours after breakfast when I was getting into the really tedious part of my paper. I spotted a Luna Cookie Dough Protein Bar and decided I needed a little cookie dough to chug through more work. I ate half of it before lunch and the other half later in the day. Shortly after I decided that I needed to refocus and make myself a snack. I went back into my kitchen and prepared a plate of watermelon and pineapple. I wasn’t full and it was almost lunch time so after maybe 30 minutes I went back into the kitchen to make some real food. Remember that Multigrain bread I picked up at the bakery a while ago? Well it also comes in a Multigrain Currant variety(be still my heart, I’m in love with this bread), and I happened to have a few pieces in my freezer from a long, long time ago ūüôā . The pictures above are a before and after shot. I topped my toast with some natural crunchy peanut butter. After I made my toast, I thought to myself, “Nora, you can not live on nut butters, fruit and carbs alone.” And decided to make a plate of saut√©ed spinach topped with a runny fried egg, extra sharp cheddar cheese and hot sauce. Maybe I should just call this breakfast number two! It was so delicious, and held me nicely through the majority of my paper writing! I really love the combination of egg yolk and extra sharp cheddar cheese, it is so creamy and flavorful!

I finally completed the bulk of my writing around 2pm and determined I needed some editing food.I needed some greens so I made a mini “sludge” monster with 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 5 ice cubes, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass GREEN Superfood, 1 heaping TBS Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa, and a big bunch of spinach. It looks like sludge, and wasn’t as good as my protein packed monsters, but it was still refreshing. After this freezing beverage I needed something warm so I microwaved a Medjool date with almond butter and cinnamon. I microwaved another unpictured date with just cinnamon after this. Still not satisfied, and now wanting chocolate, I used a random (embarrassing purchase… my campus store sells them so I picked up a bag a while ago.) rice cake as a vessel for MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread and Raspberry Jam.

Today was a whirlwind, and I had a bunch more “finger swipes” of almond butter, some raw almonds, another apple and a big carrot somewhere in between. I think it’s safe to say: my paper was a nut butter fueled production.

It was a bit cool out when I finally left my apartment, but the walk was welcome. I was in need of a good leg stretch, and it settled the random bites of my day. I was fortunate to get to the Political Science Department mere MOMENTS before they locked the doors. My professor told us that the paper was due at 5pm, and the department locks¬† down at 4:30pm! I don’t know what I would have done if I left my apartment 5 minutes later.

I haven’t had time this week to exercise so I did a light 50 minutes on the Pre-core machine before heading home. I was planning to run but was felling a little “blah” when I finally got to the gym. I’ll tell you, paper writing + sitting + eating = exhaustion.

I wasn’t particularly in the mood for anything fancy for dinner, and wanted to continue my fridge cleaning so I used the remainder of my Bush’s Baked Beans for another Baked Beans and Sweet Potato dish. I served it with a fresh green salad and the last of my watermelon. I decided to cook my sweet potato in the microwave for the sake of time, and it wasn’t very photogenic. I ended up mashing it and topping it with cinnamon and Crofter’s North American Superfruit Spread (cranberry/blueberry mix) before adding my baked beans, which was delicious :).

For dessert I had a few squares of Green and Black’s Mint Dark Chocolate and a cup of Decaf Constant Comment Bigelow Tea. I needed something a little cozy to curl up in bed with because The Notebook was on and I had some blogging to catch up on :).

Hopefully, normalcy will resume tomorrow. I still think it is SO strange that I do not have anymore school work to accomplish. I have some personal projects and fun books to read, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to stay occupied. I think the most exciting part about finishing is that I now have time to do the things that I really like. I’m all for academics, but when it is a struggle to love and appreciate the material you are learning the work is tedious and stressful. I’m really looking forward to reading for fun and continuing my food/wine aspirations.

I have MANY more thoughts, but until I gather them I’m going to leave this rather long post be. I have one more week on campus for¬† “Senior Week”, which is filled with senior class functions (Finger Lakes Wine tour Monday…stay tuned!). I’m officially out of here after our graduation ceremony next Sunday. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Surreal Life,

Nora

Have you ever had a moment or experienced an event that seemed unbelievable?

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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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