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Posts Tagged ‘Almond Milk’

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 🙂 . 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 sautéed 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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Oatmeal and fuzzy slippers are my motivation to rise from my cozy bed and warm sheets each and every morning. I love these slippers. They are the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever owned and never fail to provide my feet with warmth.  As I ritually slid them on today I became a bit sentimental. It finally hit me–I am done with my undergraduate career. I purchased these slippers the summer before I began college and they have served me well.   I am uncertain what is going to come next (hopefully a career in food/wine/health!) but these shoes will remain with me as I take my next steps.

I was freezing when I woke up this morning, so I appreciated my slippers and oatmeal even more. I wanted something comforting and hearty. I thought about making something like my fruit cake oats, but as soon as I opened the refrigerator to grab my almond butter I spotted a can of fresh cleaned peaches. I am in the process of cleaning out my fridge before graduation (2 weeks from Sunday!!) and these looked like they would make a nice addition to my oats. I was also under the mentality that I might be able to channel the warm weather back by adding peaches to my breakfast…let’s hope this works :).

In the mix: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, 1.5 tsp chia seeds, 1.5 tsp ground flax, cinnamon, vanilla extract. Topped with clean peaches, blackberries, almond butter and cinnamon.

This was obviously “the best bowl of oatmeal I’ve ever made”–I always think that oatmeal is fantastic:)! I was a little heavy-handed with the almond milk today and added a few extra splashes as I measured out the 1/3 cup. This was certainly for the better because my oats were MUCH creamier and fluffier than usual. I basically scraped my almond butter jar for the last chunk so oats in a jar are coming soon! This is also exciting because I love opening a new jar of almond butter almost as much as I love licking them clean! I’m off for a day of review sessions, studying and day dreaming about new kitchen creations for “study breaks”. Two finals and one paper left until I’m out in the real world!

Happy Almost Weekend,

Nora

Are you a morning person?

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Do you remember the “3 R’s” from elementary school? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These were pretty much engraved into my brain growing up, and Earth Day yesterday reminded me to get back into environmentally friendly habits.  I’m a recycling fanatic. I carry empty bottles around with me until I can find a recycle bin and when my friends put things in the trash that can be recycled, I tend to go “dumpster diving” and put them in their proper place. This morning I decided to dedicate myself to a better Earth and Reduced clean up, Reused my empty pumpkin butter jar, and Recycled the vessel when I was finished.

Last night as I was munching on my Dr.Kracker’s I knew that something was missing in my life, and that something was sunflower seeds. I use to put them on everything, and snack on the shelled version like a baseball player. I knew I was going to want the buttery seeds in the morning and thought it was a perfect occasion to use the empty pumpkin butter jar sitting in my fridge to make Overnight Muesli. Remember the Muesli I bought a while ago? I’ve only used it a grand total of….I think 3 times. I’m not sure why, it’s just not something I tend to crave in the morning. It is best used as overnight oats, and although I do sometimes think about my breakfast the night before this has never popped into my head. Last night, into my cute little jar went 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Muesli and  1/4 cup Greek yogurt. This morning I added cinnamon, 1 TBS chia seeds, 1/4 cup of almond milk and 1/2 sliced banana. I was surprised that I was able to fit this all into the jar but I did and it worked!

I loved the flavors. The raisins in the muesli get so plum overnight and the oats are the perfect soft consistency. I love the sunflower seeds and almond slices to give it a slight crunch. The pumpkin and banana flavors work perfectly with the mix. I especially like the contrast of pumpkin with the raisin. Pumpkin bread anyone? That is what it reminded me of.

Life Fun: I realize many times I am simply blogging about my food, so I decided to add a few little quips about my life. Not that I lead a very exciting life but every now and then I like to share, so here it goes. I have a nail polish collection. It’s almost as bad as my nut butter, jam, cereal and fun bowls/plates collection…almost. There was a time in my life that it would have been rare to see my naked nails because I was constantly changing colors. And by colors I mean variations of navy, dark purple, dark red, gray…I have fun colors too but nearly all of them are some color that resemble black upon first glance, although I do not actually own a black nail polish. I have been a little too busy to keep up with this habit, but I ALWAYS have my toes painted. Last night I decided it was necessary for a change. I went from Russian Navy to Mad As A Hatter. I actually picked up this new color yesterday because a) name sounded fun and b) I like shiny things.EW FEET! Well how else was I supposed to show you? The bottles are deceiving.

HAPPY WEEKEND,

Nora

What are your little “obsessions”?

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Rain, rain, GO AWAY! I suppose that rain is just a natural part of April, so the saying goes: “April showers bring May flowers.” I have to look at the positive side of rain. YES, it is miserable to walk outside and YES I hate the dark sky, but with rain comes growth and beauty. The more rain we have now, the more beautiful my mom’s garden will be this Spring and her vegetable garden will surely be more bountiful!!! There is NOTHING like fresh, grown-in-you-backyard produce!

To brighten up the morning a bit, I decided to have some Triple-Berry Oats using fresh blackberries, strawberries and a drizzle of organic raspberry jam. I couldn’t say no to those blackberries when I went grocery shopping yesterday. Aren’t they beautiful? They are like “diamonds” of nature. I changed up my mixture a little bit today too using 1/4 cup oat bran and 2 TBS rolled oats instead of my usual 1/4 cup rolled oats and 2 TBS oat bran. I wanted a bowl that was a bit more creamy to have a “berries ‘n cream” feel, so I had to give this a try. Not only was it more creamy, it had a nice nutty flavor that complimented the berries EXTREMELY well. I actually ended up adding a bit more water in the mix at the end because it was much thicker than the consistency that I prefer.

The Base: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup water (plus some), 1/2 banana, 1/2 TBS chia seeds, vanilla extract, cinnamon.

Toppings: Almond butter, strawberries, blackberries, raspberry jam and Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola.
I think I am going to make this a lot more in the spring. I love “fresh” tasting food when the weather is nicer, and traditionally have fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and granola ALL summer long. To be perfectly honest, NOTHING fills me like oats. The creamy oat bran is a nice base for fresh fruit.

BUNNY UPDATE:

Attack of the bunny did not cease, and now his entire right side has vanished.

After Attack 1

Current State

Sadly, his current condition reveals that he only has a few more days left in him. His other basket friends better watch out!

Happy Spring,

Nora

What is your favorite spring/summer produce item? Do you grow anything yourself?

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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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