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Posts Tagged ‘Greek Yogurt’

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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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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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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I wake up every morning EXCITED for breakfast. If I have been “dreaming” up a new combination or dish it is even more motivation to get out of bed. I haven’t had the time to make stove-top oatmeal in days, and knew this Saturday morning was the perfect opportunity to get back at it! I don’t know if it was because I had more time today, or if my “oatmeal form” is just improving from practice, but I have to say this bowl was simply divine. You can even see tender pieces of banana in the base! I knew I wanted blackberries and almond butter because I haven’t had them in a few days, and lets jut face it, a day without almond butter is a sad day for me. I had some frozen cherries on hand and dreamt up a big bowl of Cherry-Berry Oats.

Oats: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 large sliced banana, vanilla extract, cinnamon, 1/2 TBS chia seeds.

Toppings: sautéed Sweet Cherries (I heated frozen cherries in a small sauce pan with orange juice…AMAZING), Chobani Greek Yogurt, Blackberries and 1TBS crunchy almond butter.

The 40 degree weather has channeled me to make foods of summer. This breakfast reminded me of cherry pie and last night I made Barbeque Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries with a Greek Side Salad. I can’t even tell you the last time I had BBQ, but for some reason I was really craving it for dinner. I marinated a chicken breast in some Memphis Style BBQ sauce and grilled the chicken on a cast iron grill pan about 7 minutes per side. I didn’t have time to make sweet potato fries in the oven (it was nearly 8:15 when I started making dinner!) so I broke out the panini maker, dusted the rounds with curry and cinnamon and grilled away. On the side my salad contained spinach, red bell pepper, cucumber, celery, sprouts, feta cheese, mushrooms and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

I’m glad I had such a filling and satisfying breakfast because today I’m going to be running around the bakery for 6 hours :). I love my job, and even though I have a lot of school work to do it is a nice break and change of pace to be at work.

Have A Great Saturday,

Nora

What are your favorite summer time dishes? What is your favorite seasonal produce item?

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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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Happy April 1! This is NOT and April Fool’s joke, this is my breakfast. I’m such an oatmeal girl. I was surprised that I ACTUALLY made pancakes for breakfast. The best part (aside from the decadence of this breakfast) was that it took me less time to make than my beloved stove-top oats! Don’t worry this will NEVER replace my warm bowl of comfort, but at this point I have to admit, it is the next best thing.  Every bite was heavenly and I was left extremely satisfied.

I recently received my purchase of Kodiak Cakes from Kath’s Open Sky deal. I have seen these pancakes (flapjacks?) on many blogs and had to give them a try for myself. WOW. I am beyond impressed. They were deliciously thick and cake like. I find that whole wheat pancakes can some times fall flat, or lack the consistency and flavor of the traditional buttermilk-style I grew up on. With Kodiak Cakes, I didn’t have to decide between nutrition and flavor; they were packed with both. Kodiak Cakes contain 10% whole grain wheat flour, 100% whole grain out flour, non-fat dry milk, honey, leavening, egg whites and salt. Each serving (1/3 cup) contains 130 calories, 7g of protein, 2g of sugar and are cholesterol free. Did I mention that all you have to do is add water? Why would you NOT make pancakes for breakfast?

I dreamed up these Chocolate-Cherry Pancakes last night at work. In the bakery we have a chocolate-cherry bread and recently I have oddly been craving my ALL TIME FAVORITE Ben and Jerry’s flavor: Cherries Jubilee. Sadly, this flavor has been discontinued 😦 but it was the ultimate mix of Brownie Batter and Cherry Garcia ice cream. Chocolate ice cream with brownie chunks and sweet cherries…YES PLEASE! I have actually written the company several times to resurrect this flavor from their graveyard. Don’t poke fun of me, ice cream is by far my favorite food.

Anyways, back to my breakfast. This baby contained: 1/3 cup Kodiak Mix, 1/2 TBS Hershey’s Natural Cacao Powder, cinnamon, 1/3 cup water. Cooked and topped with 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, 1 medium banana, 1 TBS Almond Butter and POM sautéed sweet cherries.

POM sent me some samples a while ago, and I combined frozen sweet cherries in a small sauce pan with their 100% pomegranate juice. It was such a nice contrast with the cherries and the perfect “syrup” for these cakey flapjacks!

Sweet Thursday,

Nora

What is your favorite “indulgent” breakfast? Do you ever make it during the week or is it a weekend/special occassion dish?

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