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Archive for the ‘Walnuts’ Category

I ran out of time to write a post this morning, however; the pictures were so beautiful that I wanted to share. Breakfast today was inspired by Caitlin and my new Farmer’s Market Honey, ‘Honey I Love You’. I love this name, it’s so clever!

In my bowl: 1/2 cup raw rolled oatmeal, 1/4 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, ~1-2 TBS chopped walnuts, 1 banana, drizzle of honey and cinnamon.

This was a delicious hearty breakfast for a warm summer morning. I really liked the use of raw oats mixed with the yogurt and pumpkin, it gave off a granola-esque feel. As my flower bowl indicates, it’s bound to be a bright, bright sunshiny day! Enjoy!

And I’m Off,

Nora

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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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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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Happy Easter!

Sunday mornings almost always mean “omelets and cappuccino a la dad”. He has been the Sunday Morning Breakfast Chef for as long as I can remember and always makes something special and delicious. One year he got a Belgian waffle iron, and I remember our Sunday Special was waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for months! He is busy working all week, and I love that he takes the time and thought to share his creations with us on the weekends.

In honor of Easter today’s omelet featured: ham, swiss cheese, asparagus, mushrooms and tomato topped with hot sauce and cracked black pepper. I usually have toast but just stuck with some orange juice, and waited for course two: carrot cake muffin, Holiday Biscotti and cappuccino.

Starbucks, WATCH OUT! My dad makes one mean cappuccino! I mean, just check out that foam! It was delicious (THANKS DAD!) and went perfectly with the crunchy biscotti! I was pleasantly surprised at how well the carrot cake muffins turned out. I literally threw a bunch of things together and just hoped that it would work. I wrote the recipe down, so I will have to post it soon! My mom raved at the moist texture and balance of flavor. YAY! The ultimate compliment  is my mom’s approval! Check out the inside:

**Side Note: This muffin was packed with raisins, but the way I cut it you can barely tell! SO moist!**

After breakfast my mom surprised me with an Easter basket! Yes, I am 22 years old, and NO I am not too old for bunny shaped chocolate. She included pastel colored Peanut M&Ms, chocolate eggs, a solid chocolate rabbit and an almond chocolate rabbit. My mom knows my sweet tooth and nut addiction all too well. I love that she put so much thought into this! Cupcakes and cookies are in the oven and our house smells phenomenal. I miss baking so much, I really need to do it more frequently!

Have A Fantastic Day of Rest,

Nora

What are your favorite memories from growing up?

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I woke up this morning with absolutely NO appetite; very strange for me. I’m never starving when I wake up but almost always want a big bowl of oatmeal or granola to start my day. Today, the very thought of oatmeal, or anything sweet for that matter made me cringe. I had a slight headache and stomach ache, and could only imagine that something sweet would add to my yucky feeling.

Why was I feeling like this? Well, last night after dinner I was full and content but the sweet-tooth fairy told me that it was time for dessert. I wasn’t craving anything but went for an old stand by: Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Chunky Apple Sauce, Peanut Butter and Kopali Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs. I was watching TV as I ate this and before I knew it, it was gone. I decided I wanted a bit more and fixed myself a second bowl, this time using Dark Chocolate Almond Spread and Galaxy Vanilla Almond instead of Peanut Butter and Cacao Nibs. About half way through the second bowl I was feeling uncomfortably full but refuse to waste, so finished it. I did not leave myself enough time between eating and bed to digest and it resulted in a “yucky” feeling morning.

I had to get to class, and never go breakfast-free, so I made myself a bit of a light and savory breakfast, aka a Green Monster. Into my blender went 1 cup vanilla soy milk (I like using almond milk better, but had to finish this carton off), 1 frozen banana, 1 scoop Chocolate Amazing Meal, 2 huge handfuls of baby spinach. I used the apple sauce jar (ELR style) that I conveniently polished off last night as my “to-go” cup and headed out. I think I was a bit dehydrated (maybe last night too…should have had WATER instead of extra dessert, oy!) and I drank a few glasses when I woke up. Thankfully my headache and stomach ache were gone a few hours later, and my appetite returned.

For lunch I had a normal campus-dining hall large tuna salad complete with artichokes, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, snap peas, carrots, spinach, balsamic vinaigrette and a few dashes of hot sauce. I love the combination of artichokes, cauliflower and tuna, it has such an Italian feel. If I was able to get a few olives and peppers in there it would have sealed the deal.  I also had a big and crisp Empire Apple on the side. I can’t wait for apple picking season, I have to say I am pretty obsessed with all varieties of this fruit.

Later in the afternoon I reclaimed my sweet tooth with a new favorite combination at Starbucks: Grande Decaf Cappuccino with Sugar Free Hazelnut. Yes, I know the sugar-free flavors aren’t particularly good for you, but they just so delicious every once and a while :). I was actually craving an Awake Tea Soy Latte, but I have kept up during Lent with the “no caffeinated beverages” ordeal. I had a few slip-ups here and there, but I feel AMAZING being caffeine free. I swear I am a whole new person. I love coffee so I still drink decaf but I feel more refreshed and energetic all the time!

Speaking of Lent, IT’S ALMOST OVER, which means Easter is coming up! I’m heading home for a big family get together on Sunday, and hopefully will be cooking up something fantastic to share with my family! I have been thinking of some type of sweet bread, rosemary bread, an asparagus dish, a root vegetable dish, and something lemon/blueberry for dessert. Decisions, decisions.

For dinner I was supposed to go to Sedar with my friend but she wasn’t feeling well, so AGAIN I did not go. She has promised to cook a traditional Kosher meal with me later in the week, so at least I can look forward to that (hopefully!). I wanted to keep dinner light and simple tonight, and decided to make use of the second half of my celeriac and leek. It is still a bit cold out (but won’t be for long!!!) so I decided to make a Leek and Celery Soup topped with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms and Lemon-Thyme Cream. Well…this was a bit more of an “experience” than I had hoped for. When I went to remove the blender from it’s base, my soup came out of the bottom! All of my pretty visions  died. All I wanted for dinner was a nice soup and here it was all over my counter, and BURNING my hand. I managed to save 3/4 of it, garnish it how I wanted and try it’s deliciousness, but it was a sad, sad cooking experience. Maybe my blender just wasn’t meant to be used twice in one day? No more green monsters for a while :(. On the side I had some a simple salad with spinach, red peppers, olive oil-herb roasted carrots, cucumber, sprouts, goat cheese and apple-cranberry chutney.

I can’t decided if dessert is in my future this evening but I have learned a very important lesson: listen to your body not your habits. I get so in the habit of having dessert every night that I often don’t realize if I’m actually in the mood for it. Usually if I am full, I can have a piece of chocolate and be done. Last night was a combination of wrong choices:  not hydrating properly and the decision to mindlessly eat dessert even though I was not craving it. I felt so off today, and it goes to show that the foods you eat really do influence the way you feel. Oh well, live and learn. Hopefully tomorrow my breakfast concoctions will be back on track :).

Savory NOT Sweet Dreams,

Nora

Any ideas for “spring” side dishes and desserts that I could make for my family for Easter?

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After seeing last week’s Cook’s Mission competition, I knew I needed to get in on the game! I impatiently waited until Saturday when the ingredients were announced: Celeriac (celery root) and apples. I thought this would be a “no-brainer” because I have seen them prepared together before, and although I have never cooked with celeriac, have seen it prepared in a variety of fashions. The first thing that came to my mind was celeriac-apple puree. Done and done. That just didn’t seem good enough so my next thought went to celeriac-apple soup. Hmm…I have seen/heard of these before. As I searched online for recipes, I just became more confused and my creative juices slowly died. I didn’t want to make a dish that was typical or done before. I peeled myself away from celeriac-apple research and waited until one came to me: Risotto. Initially I was going to integrate the apples into the risotto but I already had thoughts of cranberry-apple chutney in my mind. (Hello THANKSGIVING!)  I decided to use the elements separately, but in a way that really complemented each other. I ended up mixing the chutney into the risotto and it was fantastic! All together my dish was: Celeriac Barley Risotto with Apple-Cranberry Chutney. After tasting the risotto and the chutney I decided to make a side dish of Honey-Orange Carrots and prepare a Pan-Seared Chicken Breast to round out the meal.

SERVES 1:

Barley Risotto:

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS minced garlic

1/4 Lemon, juice and zest

cracked black pepper

1/2 Leek (white and light green parts only)

1/2 medium Celeriac bulb

1/4 cup quick cooking barley

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock

2 TBS shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup torn baby spinach

In a medium sauce at a medium heat add olive oil, garlic, black pepper and leeks; cook until soft. Add celeriac, lemon juice and zest; cook until celeriac is tender and slightly brown. Add barley and stir 1 minute. Add white wine and allow to simmer, then add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then to a simmer. Allow to cook ~10 minutes stirring occasionally until all the liquid has absorbed. Take off heat and wilt in spinach and mix the parmesan cheese. The result is a creamy “risotto”!

Cranberry-Apple Chutney

1 tsp olive oil

1 shallot (white and light green)

2 sprigs of thyme (chopped)

1/4 Lemon, juice and zest

1/2 orange, juice and zest

1/2 cup orange juice

cinnamon

nutmeg

ground cloves

1/2 cup frozen cranberries

1/4 cup jumbo raisins

1 small Gala apple

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a small sauce pan add olive oil, shallot and thyme until tender. Add spices, apple, cranberry and raising and mix. Add lemon and orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and add walnuts before serving.

I was going to make this tomorrow and use MY NEWEST PANTRY ITEM that came in the mail today, but I am going to Passover Sedar with my friend tomorrow night! She had too much going on this evening and decided to go to services tomorrow instead. I am so happy that I am going to be able to go after all. My how things change through the course of a day.

What is my newest pantry item you ask? Well, I am a sucker and couldn’t pass up on Kath‘s Open Sky deal for Kodiak Cakes. I have been eyeing these babies for a while now and can’t wait to give them a try. I had a savory pancake in mind for dinner, but you will just have to wait for another day to see my creation :).

Monday Funday (In The Kitchen),

Nora

Have you ever made a dish that is traditionally sweet into something savory or vice versa?

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My apartment smelled FANTASTIC this morning as I baked this dish. Now, you might think that spending a half hour making a weekday breakfast is silly, but I promise you that it is worth it. I have been thinking about banana bread the past few days, and love the combination of dates and walnut so I thought, “Why not make a baked banana oatmeal with Banana, Walnuts and Medjool Dates?”

I woke up to another cold and rainy morning today, and decided I needed a little comfort before leaving for class. In to a medium bowl I combined: 1/2 mashed banana (save a few slices for garnish), 1/2 TBS Chia Seeds, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Vanilla; mix to combine. Add 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1 TBS chopped walnut (plus have another walnut half for garnish), and 1.5 Medjool Dates, Chopped (reserve a few for garnish). Add to an oven safe bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, garnish and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. When it was finished I added a glob of Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt and Honey.

I loved the warmth of this hearty dish. Chia seeds are optional, but I really like them for the extra thickness and nutty crunch they provide, as well as the added health benefits!!

Warmth and Comfort,

Nora

Have you ever tried baked oatmeal? What is your favorite way to prepare oatmeal?

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