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Posts Tagged ‘dried cherries’

In honor of the Ginger Snap Lara Bar I tried over the weekend, I added a new addition to my oats today: ground cloves. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the warm flavor, and knew it would be a nice addition in my morning oats. Cloves remind me of the winter holiday season where items like dried fruit, nuts and spices are staples in every meal and dessert. I wanted something hearty, creamy, dynamic and sweet to start my day so I decided to make Banana Fruit Cake Oats: 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1 sliced banana, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 TBS oat bran, 1/2 TBS chia seeds, 1 chopped Medjool date, 1 chopped apricot, 1/2 TBS dried cherries, 1/2 TBS dried cranberries, 1/2 TBS raisins and 1 TBS natural almond butter. I added the milk, water, spices and 1/2 of the banana (reserve other half for top) into a small sauce pan until it starts to boil. I reduced the heat and added the oat bran, oats and chia seeds for about 8 minutes and topped with the dried fruit, banana slices and almond butter. Oat bran is a new product for me. A few weeks ago I was adding about 2 TBS of instant oats (an attempt to get rid of them) to my rolled oats and noticed that they added a lot more volume and creaminess to my bowls. I wanted to find a product that would give this same feel, and the fine grind of oat bran did the trick! This was delicious and SO filling. I had  small apple mid-morning but this held me over for hours!

For lunch I was oddly craving hummus and carrots. I made a big spinach salad using: spinach, 1 large grated carrot, 2 inch piece of an English cucumber, 1/2 Roma tomato, 1 stalk of celery, 3 white button mushrooms sliced, clover sprouts, hummus, goat cheese and hot sauce. I really like the addition of hummus to big salads, and always put ~2 TBS right on top of the clover sprouts to spread it around. It is such a delicious combination. On the side I had a handful (plus a few pre-photo!) of Food Should Taste Good The Works! Chips. I’m not really a big chip person, but I do like blue tortilla chips and fancy chips from time to time. This company makes so many “different” chips including sweet potato and chocolate! I saw that The Works was a mixture of caraway and poppy seeds, minced garlic and onion and HAD to pick them up. I love the flavors of caraway and poppy and haven’t had them in a long time. These chips were a bit salty but paired nicely with the hummus and hot sauce. After lunch I needed something sweet to cleanse my palate and had 1 sliced kiwi, 2 sliced frozen strawberries and Chobani Greek Yogurt; light and refreshing.

I just found out that I won’t be able to attend the Passover dinner with my friend tonight. I’m a little bummed because I was looking forward to experience her religion and see the traditions, but I received an exciting little something-something in the mail today that might make an appearance around dinner time!

Creative Thoughts,

Nora

If you are an oatmeal person: what types of oats do you use and what are essential ingredients in the base of your oats?

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Maybe it’s just me, but my daily food choices are DEFINITELY inspired by the weather. Reflecting on some of my daily eats, I realized that certain flavors and textures are more appealing to me based on the temperature. It was gorgeous and sunny around lunch time, and all I wanted was either a loaded salad or a veggie hummus wrap. Since lunch had to be portable today (working at a desk in this picture), I went to a campus eatery that has to-go containers. I am the annoying girl in the salad line that has to get everything…I can’t help it I love everything, and lets face it, salads are never really THAT filling. In this mix: mixed greens, romaine, spinach, broccoli, bean sprouts, tofu, mushrooms (sliced bella and marinated portabella strips), mandarin oranges, feta cheese, carrots,  and snow peas along side a juicy apple. This hit the spot, but a few short hours later it was time for a snack.

I relished in the weather as I walked outside to a local cafe to study. I sat at a cozy table near a window so I could continue to enjoy the playful sun and craved a tropical bite as I worked. I’m not really a pineapple/coconut girl, but the Tropical Fruit Tart LaraBar was screaming my name. I’ve always wanted to try this flavor, but it has never sounded particularly appealing to me until today. I LOVED IT. I kept questioning why I had avoided this flavor for so long, because I have tried every other Larabar. It was sweet and appropriately nutty. I could taste the orange and coconut the most with a slight hint of pineapple and crunchy almond. This was so satisfying, and I washed it down with an iced tea. Maybe I think I’m still on Spring Break?

After a few solid hours of work, I decided to head back to my apartment before it got dark out. As I walked, the air was a bit cooler, and it reminded me of a quintessential fall day. I love the flavors of the fall. My mom always made roasted acorn squash, turkey, stuffing, baked apples…all the warm comforting flavors you crave on a cool evening. Obviously, food carries a lot of sentiment (I miss home!) to me and I decided to make Seared Chicken with Balsamic Mushrooms, Warm Kabocha Salad and Lemon Steamed Green Beans. I seared the chicken in olive oil (about 4-5 min per side) and removed it from the pan. I then sauteed 1/4 of a Spanish Onion, added sliced bella mushrooms and balsamic vinegar until it reduced. When the reduction was a syrup consistency I topped the chicken with the mixture. For the Warm Kabocha Salad, I coated the Kabocha with olive oil and cinnamon, and roasted it for about 40 minutes. I added it to a bowl of spinach, chopped walnuts, dried cherries and dried blueberries and tossed it all together. This dinner was sweet, savory and represented every element of the fall.

I couldn’t shake my cinnamon craving, and went for a make shift apple pie. I chopped half of a Jonagold Apple, topped with cinnamon and microwaved it for a minute. I added a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and some Galaxy Vanilla Almond Granola. What a great way to end my day. This reminded me of the gigantic apple dumplings my family would purchase from the Farmers Market nearly every Saturday. We would have them for dessert after a thoughtful Sunday dinner. My mom would bake them in the oven, and the sweet-syrup-goodness would start seeping out the pie crust cover. They were always topped off with large scoops of vanilla ice cream, and it was heavenly. I’m still not sure how each member of my family was able to eat a whole one; they were so large that they only fit in our over sized soup bowls!

Memories,

Nora

Do particular foods strike memories for you?

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