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Posts Tagged ‘Apples’

Well, it finally happened. I graduated.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day for graduation. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue, the sun was shining and the temperature was mild. Our main ceremony lasted nearly three hours and I left thinking, “That’s it?”. Four years and it is over in the blink of an eye? My parents and brother joined me in the celebration and presented me with a beautiful bouquet of pink roses after the ceremony (THANK YOU!!). We went to brunch at a local cafe (a few minutes from my new apartment!) and I ordered a breakfast sandwich with two eggs, goat cheese, portabello mushrooms, tomato, basil and ham on sunflower bread. I have more pictures but unfortunately I left my camera uploader at my apartment, so I’ll have to post them on Tuesday.

After brunch, I attended my department ceremony to receive my diploma. It was a small ceremony and only lasted an hour. As soon as it was over I sprinted back to my dorm-apartment and went into a packing frenzy. I didn’t even stop to take my high heels off, I just wanted to GET OUT! I ate my last Jonagold apple and started throwing things here and there until everything was in the car. I have been ready to leave for so long and did not want to spend MORE time than was necessary. My parents joined me in the packing craze and we were out of there in about two hours. I think we were all surprised by the amount of  ‘things’, especially kitchen gadgets, that I have collected over the year. It barely fit into two cars!

The insanity continued as we hulled garbage bags full of random items in to my new apartment. It was such a long day and I was so thankful to have my parent’s help. When we finished, we were extremely exhausted and still had a 1.5 hour drive home. It was nearly 8:30pm when we finally got back and dinner was Chinese food. My dad and I shared some Middle Ages Wailing Wench beer as we settled down and we feasted on wonton soup, mixed seafood and vegetables, rice and fortune cookies with a glass of Dr. Loosen Riesling. (pictures will be  posted later!)

I fell asleep approximately one hour later and woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I’m glad that I was able to come home for a few days to spend time with my parents and organize myself before starting the next phase of my life. I know that if I stayed in my apartment last night  I would have been anxious about getting settled and entered into another sleepless night and unpacking furry. I’m the type of person that likes to be completely organized before I can relax and focus.

I was really hungry when I woke up and after searching the contents of my parent’s cupboards and fridge, decided to create a gigantic yogurt mess with Greek yogurt, sliced almonds, Cheerios, banana, strawberries and cinnamon for breakfast.

I spent much of this morning generating a to do list, doing laundry, and configuring my computer. My generous parents bought me a new computer for graduation (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and I am organizing files on my old one before the transfer. This has NOT been an easy task. Much like my room at school, my computer is packed full of random files and pictures in an extremely unorganized fashion.

After a few hours of stressful computer sorting I made a peanut butter, banana, strawberry and cinnamon sandwich on two slices of whole grain bread with a side of baby carrots. Shortly after, I snacked on vanilla yogurt, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and cinnamon. I’m basically eating whatever I can scrounge up in my parents fridge. I’m hoping dinner has some sort of vegetable because today has been a fruit, nut and dairy filled day (good thing that those are my favorites!).

I’m off to do more computer work. I’m heading  into the real world tomorrow to face my apartment mess and work. I’ll be sure to post but I can already tell that insanity is in store.

Crazy,

Nora

Are you an organized person? What are your tips and tricks?

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I am officially starting to move in to my apartment this afternoon, which means I had to clean and organize the contents of my pantry and refrigerator yesterday. I woke up yesterday morning CRAVING cold cereal. It was a blessing in disguise because I was able to finish the last of my Kashi Heart to Heart and an aging banana.This bowl contains about 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch, 1/2 cup Kashi Heart to Heart, 1 large banana, 1 cup vanilla soy milk and cinnamon. I haven’t had cold cereal for breakfast in a really long time and it hit the spot. I was hungry shortly after and had a big, crunchy Jonagold apple.

As I began the cleaning process, I had to face the reality of my snack bar collection. I have been trying to go through it for a while now but some how always manage to purchase more. Give and take a few bars that are hiding in my car, this is my collection at it’s finest:Lunch was a production that I like to call “contents of my fridge”. I made a big spinach salad with goat cheese, broccoli, sprouts, strawberries, button mushrooms, cucumber, 1/3 block of tempeh and balsamic vinaigrette. I had two carrots and an unpictured apple on the side.After lunch I decided I needed a bit more fuel before I started packing and heated up a Medjool date with crunchy almond butter. I seriously love this combination. Midway through eating I came to the realization that I needed another stuffed date but this time tried something new: a Medjool date with MaraNatha Chocolate Almond Spread. Needless to say, it was divine.

Last night was our Senior Ball. It was a really lovely evening at a hotel with about 600 members of the Class of 2010. It reminded me of highschool prom amplified by 100. Before leaving my roommate and I prepared a fancy swordfish dinner. I pan-seared the swordfish and we had leftover pesto pasta and a mixed green, cherry tomato, feta cheese and avocado salad dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I absolutely loved the combination of the three elements, and the salad was creamy and delicious!To honor our wine tour earlier in the week, we had a glass of Anthony Road 2009 Semi-Dry Riesling with our meal.

I’m off for a day of moving and graduation rehearsal! I can’t believe how quickly this week went by!

Nearing The End,

Nora

Do you tend to go out for a meal before a nice evening or do you prefer making something at home?

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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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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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BREAKING NEWS: OATS ARE OFFICIALLY BACK IN MY LIFE!

I was starting to get nervous that my ugly green monster/granola bowls were becoming my new breakfast of choice. I have been choosing alternative breakfast options for nearly a week, but alas, loaded oatmeal always wins. I even pumped it up a bit more with ground flax in the base. Before I get into the contents of this bowl I must profess my love for Medjool Dates. They are so soft and sweet. I like eating them plain with a bit of almond butter, however; they take on a whole new meaning when they are warm. They melt in the warm oats and are the perfect pair with banana and almond butter. When I am done with school, I am foresee some MAJOR baking using these flavor combination.

In the Base: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/2 banana, 1/3 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 TBS ground flax seed, 1/2 TBS chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract.

Toppings: ~1/4 cup Greek yogurt,1 chopped Medjool Date, black berries, strawberries and 1 TBS crunchy almond butter.

I like adding the Greek yogurt because it makes the mix extremely creamy and tames some of the sweet flavors. To my surprise, it was not enough to thin my oats today. After letting it sit I wound up with a rather thick bowl. I did not want to add water and reheat because I find that when you heat a bowl that has yogurt it tends to get…well…clumpy. I resolved my issue by adding a bit of my hot coffee into the bowl. Did the trick!

Before leaving my apartment I had another Jonagold apple. I think I need to calm down my apple consumption. I’m getting into the mentality that, “my meal isn’t complete until I have an apple.”. There could be worse things but it is sad seeing my apple supply diminish so quickly!

Happy Almost Weekend!

Nora

Do you ever get into food habits? Repeating meals, snacks, etc?

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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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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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