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Archive for the ‘Weights’ Category

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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Despite the fact that I have had such crazy sleep this week, I still managed to wake up this morning at 7am! I went to bed around 11:30pm last night, so I got my required hours worth, but you can imagine my shock when my body naturally woke up at such an early hour. I have never been the typical college student who sleeps until noon anyways and find that no matter what time I go to bed I am always up before 9am. I’m such a morning person though, so no complaints! I love the peace and quiet before a crazy day.

Going back to sleep was not an option at this point so I decided to get a jump on my day. It STILL hasn’t hit me, am I really done? My laundry basket has clothes beyond the brim and I have piles of papers and books to sort through, so I immediately made a to-do list for my day. The weather was going to be in the 50’s and raining so I figured that it was a perfect day to attempt my cleaning/reading lists.

Before yet another home-bound day I went to a Vinyasa Yoga Class. I haven’t been to a class in weeks, and my body felt so sore when I woke up from sitting hunched over my computer multiple days in a row. The class started at 10, so I decided to have a refreshing Lemon Zest Luna Bar and Jonagold Apple while catching up on emails.

This bar had me feeling rejuvenated. I love the fresh lemon flavor in the morning because I can’t always stomach chocolate first thing.
The class was amazing but made me realize how stiff I have become. Hopefully I can get back into yoga this summer. On the topic of summer…. I HAVE A JOB! The HR representative called me when I was on my way to yoga, and I sat down to fill out paperwork after class. Don’t worry I thoroughly apologized being a com for being a complete sweaty mess. I applied for this position in late December and have had two interviews, so the anticipation was killing me. I shed a few tears when I found out I finally was granted the position. I don’t want to go into details quite yet, but essentially it is a paid summer marketing position in the food industry!

When I got back from yoga/paper signing I made exactly what I was craving: A Green Monster with Granola Bowl.


Into my blender went: 5 ice cubes, 1 large frozen banana, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood, 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/4 cup water, cinnamon and spinach.

I topped it with a bit of Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond and Flax Granola. Adding the extra ice cubes today made it more like an ice cream, it was so thick! I forgot to add peanut butter to the mix today, and found that I really prefer the flavor and feel more full when I add it.

Shortly after I made myself a snack plate of strawberries, MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread and 2 carrots while browsing for apartments! I’M LOOKING FOR APARTMENTS!?! I never thought the day would come when I would be searching for a place of my own. The only difficult part is that I’m not sure how long I will be here for, and I have to move in one week. YIKES!

I had another Jonagold later on…I have a thing for apples :).

I’m off to finish up some laundry and then dinner with my roommate who I haven’t seen for an entire week! I can not believe this fact, but we have had such crazy and opposite schedules. It will be good to finally catch up and relax.

Really,

Nora

What are your plans for the Summer?

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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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When I have absolutely NO idea what to have for breakfast and need something quick, nutritious and filling, I turn to Greek yogurt, granola and fruit. I am hitting all of my nutritional bases with whole grains, protein and a serving of fruit. I try to pick a granola that is organic (Be careful when you buy granola, many of them have TONS of sugar and are highly processed.) and that has a bit of fat for staying power. I like using a lower fat granola for topping purposes, but when granola is the main component of my breakfast paired with a low-fat yogurt I like a heavier granola for satiety.

This morning I was NOT in the mood to make oatmeal (weird I know…I always am) and I wanted something cold, so toast was not an option. I received a package of Chobani Champions to sample yesterday, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to try another flavor. I am trying to widdle down my cereal/granola collection and I thought that my Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola would be the perfect addition to the Honeynana yogurt. I was extremely excited to try this flavor because I LOVED the Chobani non-fat Honey Greek Yogurt I tried a while back, and love the combination of honey, banana and nuts. I used 1/4 cup granola (almost didn’t fit in the cup!) and had a small Gala apple on the side to round my breakfast out.

I really like the flavor of this yogurt. I think the Champion line is a great product for people who have never tried Greek yogurt or for children. Both the chocolate and honeynana had a thinner consistency than other Chobani products, less protein and big flavor. I love Greek yogurt because of the tangy flavor and rich texture, but I have found that for many people it is an acquired taste. The Champion product is great because it is a bit more mild but still packs more protein than regular low-fat yogurt, has probiotic cultures and excellent nutrition! I love the diversity of Chobani’s products; there is something for everyone to enjoy!

I have one hour-long class this morning then it’s off to the gym for my upper body lifting committment! I’m sticking to this in hopes to gain some upper body strength by summer. I haven’t been sore after the past two sessions, so I think I am going to switch up my routine. I think it is important to work different muscles and “build” weights if you are looking to gain muscle, not simply tone-up. And of course I packed one of these:Chocolate Whey Protein Shake: 1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk, 1 scoop Organic Chocolate Whey. Is it weird that I actually like these? I just pack it up with some cold packs, shake and drink…tastes JUST like a chocolate milk shake! Lunch time is usually right after the gym, so I typically don’t have a “post gym” snack, however; since I am trying to build back muscle, I read that protein shakes are the best recovery because your body absorbs the nutrients faster than through a food source. I try to have this as soon as I am finished, and then head home for lunch about an hour later. I haven’t had this routine long enough to promote any results, but I am hoping it helps!

Happy Friday!

Nora

What are essential breakfast elements you have even when you are in a hurry?

How do you feel about protein shakes? Any experience/advice for strength exercises?

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After a wonderful couple of days with my parents, it was time for me to pack my bags and head back to school. I woke up early to say goodbye to my dad before he left for work, and made a date to go to the gym at 8am with my mom. I haven’t done early morning work outs since I was a swimmer and had to wake up at 5am for practice. That was always WAY too early but I really do prefer starting my day with an energizing activity, and the gym is much more peaceful in the morning. With classes I simply do not have the time, but it is something I would like to start doing again when school is over. Before heading to the gym I had a mini Clif Bar:I want to start lifting more weights and building my upper body, so I warmed up with 30 minutes light elliptical and then hit the weights. I did:

3×10 bicep curls with a 30 lb bar

3×10 lateral raises-7.5, 10, 10 lb free weights

3×10 front raises 8lb free weights

3×10 side crunches-25 lb weight

20 lunges (per side) with 15 lb hand weights

50 crunches

22 push ups (fun fact: I do 22 because that is how old I am! haha)

I took some advice from Naomi, a personal trainer and amazing blogger, and had a strawberry-banana and chocolate whey protein shake post lifting session:It made this large beer mug full plus another half cup and was frothy and delicious! Into my blender went: 1 frozen banana, 5 whole frozen strawberries, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 small handful (~1 cup) spinach, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder and 3 ice cubes.

My mom and I chatted in the kitchen and I had a carrot cake muffin with natural pb and a cup of coffee. It was a bit chilly this morning and the clouds were threatening rain. My smoothie made me even colder so I needed something warm and comforting. I sliced the muffin in half and heated it before adding the PB, which was SUCH a good decision.

This is my last time home for quite sometime, so I really wanted to make the most of it and spend some extra time with my mom. I can’t believe I am graduating so soon, but am so excited to finally be done with school and applying myself in the job world. What I am doing next year is still up in the air but I am really hoping that it will be something involving food/wine. A girl can dream.

Living Life and Eating Right,

Nora

What time of day do you prefer to exercise? Do you have specific pre and post work out foods?

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Among my, lets call it ‘5’ , different types of breakfast cereals sits an almost full bag of muesli. I made this purchase a few months ago and have only used it once. I have a month left of school, and decided it was time to start liquidating my supply. Today I made a very random overnight mix using muesli and open can of pumpkin that has been sitting in my fridge.

Layer 1: 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, 1/4 cup almond milk

Layers 2, 3 and 4: Pumpkin Yogurt (1/4 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and 1 medium sliced banana.

Layer 5: Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola

I realize how disgusting this looks, but I have to reassure you that it was fantastic. I am also going green and recycling my apple sauce jar as a dish again. I think I prefer using Muesli for overnight oats, compared to regular rolled oats. I really like the elements of the sunflower seeds and raisins, and the texture they obtain overnight. It creates a creamy and flavorful bowl rather than something on the chewy side. It made a world of difference to incorporate the Greek yogurt and pumpkin a head of time. When I was mixing it together last night it had a soup-like consistency and this morning it formed into the perfect custard. I layered the Pumpkin Yogurt with sliced banana to give it a bit of sweetness. I like adding textural elements to dishes, especially when the main component is creamy. Galaxy Granola is perfect, it  holds its texture better than any other I have tried, providing a nice crunch in every bite.

After breakfast I strolled to class and took in the beautiful weather. All that separated me from the weekend was a 10 minute presentation, then FREEDOM! After class, I went to the gym and did 20 minutes of light elliptical and 30 minutes of  arm weights (dumbell curls, side crunches, front raises, lateral raises and rows all 3×10). Immediately after, I was anxious to get my number one mission out of the way: operation get a new blender. I packed my old blender up and went to Target to see if I could possibly exchange without a receipt. Normally I would just let it be (I have had it almost a year and didn’t even have the box!), but this blender had a 2-year warranty. I was able to get an upgrade on my blender and it only cost me $8! SCORE! I was happy  to make the exchange but it came with a few sacrifices: LUNCH!

I ended up getting stuck in traffic and I could hear my stomach start to rumble. It was nearly 1:30pm! By the time I got home I knew what I wanted: PB and J. I read somewhere that it was National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, and I needed some quick protein so it was essential to have this classic lunch. However, I did have to put a spin on it. On to my peanut butter base went Crofter’s North America Superfruit Spread (a tart spread with cranberries and blueberries) and Shredded Carrot. I’m not sure what possessed me to do this but it worked! On the side I had a Gala Apple with cinnamon, an unpictured Adora chocolate calcium disk COVERED in more PB, and a Mini Monster.

Oh…this mini monster…NOT my best effort. I really wanted to use my blender, and since I lifted a bit at the gym thought I needed some extra calories and protein so I came up with this concoction: 1/2 cup almond milk, splash of water, 2 ice cubes, 1/2 frozen banana, 10 frozen cherries, 1 scoop Chocolate Amazing Meal and 2 handfuls of spinach. Too much spinach not enough sweetness!! I should have added some regular cacao powder and less spinach. Live an learn. It wasn’t so awful, I drank it all, but the prominent flavor was spinach.

I’m headed home tomorrow for Easter and CANNOT WAIT to see my family! Not that I dislike being at school, but I find the most comfort when I am home surrounded by loved ones and have lots of good home cookin’! I plan on doing a bit of cooking with my mom too, so hopefully I’ll be able to snag a few photos before we devour some good eats!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Nora

What meals do you turn to when you are in a crunch for time?

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On Sunday I went to Target to treat myself to a few new items in honor of my birthday. Along with a new dress (they seriously always have the cutest clothes!), and 2 types of granola bars, I wound up with this:A beautiful new scarf, Bon Appetit and Mini Clif Bars. I am a huge fan of Clif Bars (I like Luna Bars, but not as much as these!), and was excited to finally make this purchase. These are the perfect snack on the go or workout fuel. They are each 100 calories and have between 4-5 grams of protein!

On Tuesdays I have a dance class from 9:40-10:55 and a Philosophy class from 11-12:20, so I thought this would be the perfect pick me up for in between. I have never tried the Blueberry Crisp variety, so it was my first pick. This dense little bar with filled with pieces of dried blueberry and had a nice crunch. It was so satisfying and held me over until lunch time. I will certainly toss a few of these in my bag from now on for some fast fuel!

As promised, I incorporated Crofter’s North America Superfruit Spread into my lunch!!The composition: Two Pieces of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread (Cinnamon sprinkled on each half after removed from the toaster), Crofter’s North America Superfruit spread on each half (~2TBS), slices of White Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, a mound of Clover Sprouts, sliced English Cucumber, and Turkey Breast.

Winning combination!! Cinnamon is probably my go to flavor for everything, I just can’t get enough of it! The sharp cheese with the bitter cranberry was phenomenal! This spread was made for cheese. I liked the North America spread in my oats, but I LOVED it in this sandwich (mainly because of the cheese contrast). I had this and a big crunchy Jonagold; a meal made for the fall.

I lifted some weights this afternoon, so shortly after lunch I was still a bit hungry. To be full and focused, I went for the Chobani that I have been patiently waiting for the right moment to try: Non-fat Honey Greek Yogurt. I have ordered Greek yogurt for dessert at Greek restaurants and am always floored by how something as simple as thick yogurt, real honey and nuts can be so indulgent. I topped mine with Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola (~3 TBS-1/4cup), which is packed with almonds, walnuts, pecans, raisins and dried cranberries. I still have to try 3 more flavors to make a complete assessment of their products, however; this might be my favorite. It was thicker than the “fruit on the bottom” varieties, and had a stunning honey flavor. This is the way Greek yogurt should taste!

Happy Eating,

Nora

What ingredients do you find yourself adding to everything?

****KEEP THE ENTRIES COMING FOR MY CHOBANI GIVEAWAY!!!!! Click the “CHOBANI GIVEAWAY”  TAB ABOVE FOR DETAILS****

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