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Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

I live by the motto “never judge a book by its cover”; some of the best things in life come in unexpected forms. I always try to keep an open mind and will try anything once (within reason). It is with this mentality that I have discovered my love for things like escargot and raw fish. I was hesitant to try these things at first, but I’m so glad that I did.

For breakfast this morning I had a bowl of unconventional oats. I used 1/2 cup raw rolled oats, 1/3 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 1/2 of a large banana, ground flax, honey and cinnamon. With inspiration from Catlin, raw oatmeal is quickly becoming one of my favorite breakfast dishes. I did not think it sounded appealing at first, but after trying it I immediately fell in love. It has a better consistency than overnight oats and is far more substantive than granola or cereal. It keeps me full, satisfied and happy all morning long.

Lunch today is also “off the beaten path” so to speak. I packed my lunchbox with a sunflower seed butter, spinach and red bell pepper sandwich on whole wheat with two large carrots, an Empire apple and a super-charge me cookie. Allie sent me my very first jar of sunflower seed butter a few weeks ago and I have been dipping into it non-stop. I have added sunflower seed butter to everything from bread to yogurt, and found that some of my favorite surfaces have been vegetables. In fact, I think the best combination I tried was raw broccoli dipped in sunflower seed butter. Sounds odd, but it was so good. Remember my motto?

Hopefully my day will be as interesting as my food!

Happy Monday,

Nora

What is the best “odd” combination you have tried?

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I ran out of time to write a post this morning, however; the pictures were so beautiful that I wanted to share. Breakfast today was inspired by Caitlin and my new Farmer’s Market Honey, ‘Honey I Love You’. I love this name, it’s so clever!

In my bowl: 1/2 cup raw rolled oatmeal, 1/4 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, ~1-2 TBS chopped walnuts, 1 banana, drizzle of honey and cinnamon.

This was a delicious hearty breakfast for a warm summer morning. I really liked the use of raw oats mixed with the yogurt and pumpkin, it gave off a granola-esque feel. As my flower bowl indicates, it’s bound to be a bright, bright sunshiny day! Enjoy!

And I’m Off,

Nora

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Happy Earth Day!

I wanted to start my day with a piece of earth aka a Green Monster and Granola. Into my blender went: 1 frozen banana, 2/3 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood, 1 handful of spinach (what was left in my bag), 2 tsp Hershey’s Unsweetened Cacao powder, 1/3 cup pumpkin, cinnamon, 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup water and 3 ice cubes. I’m not sure if it is the pumpkin or the cinnamon that makes this combination so delicious, but it is my favorite green monster concauction I have tried. The pumpkin makes it amazingly creamy and flavorful.

I recently ran out of my new favorite Galaxy Vanilla Almond granola, so I had to pick up another at the grocery store. My grocery store does not carry Galaxy (I bought it at a natural foods store) and I wasn’t in the mood to buy Bear Naked Vanilla Almond, so I decided to give the Nature’s Path version a try. I tried a bite straight from the box before topping my bowl and it had such a familiar taste that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. After brief deliberation, I decided that it tasted like a Rice Krispie Treat! It was good, but I think I prefer it as a snack because it is so light and airy. Galaxy granola still owns my heart for granola toppings because it has such amazing flavor and crunch up until the last bite!

This was such a refreshing and hearty breakfast. I grabbed an apple before running out the door to sooth my need for “crunch” and “juice”. I think I might be slightly dehydrated because I woke up with a bit of a headache. I’ll make it a point to have some more water today, I don’t think I drink enough.

Tangent– I am a granola girl. I have tried almost every granola on the shelves at my grocery store, and I buy homemade versions at the farmer’s market when I see something new. I’m always trying new varieties, and I have not found a better flavor and crunch than Galaxy.

Also, I forgot to add to my late night post the highlight of my day: $4.95 sale on Mangia Crunchy Almond Butter! This stuff is usually almost $10 and I’ve never tried it! It does look delicious and has a nice layer of oil and nut pieces floating on the top of the jar! My other jar is almost finished, and I can’t wait to try this!

Earth Friendly,

Nora

Are you doing anything special for earth day?

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I am a planner. I have mile long to do lists with check marks on the sign, two calendars and every Sunday make a “plan of action” for the week noting what work/activities I have to do each day complete with a time line. Granted, you can’t always plan everything, but when I know I will be in a crunch for time I prepare my meals ahead of time….even breakfast.

Last night I had a late night with friends and knew that I would probably be sleeping in and not have time to make a proper breakfast. I am not one to grab a granola bar and fruit in the morning; it just doesn’t satisfy me. I also have an extremely busy day running around the bakery, so I needed something fast and filling. Last night I prepared: pumpkin overnight oats.

The Base:  1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 TBS oat bran, 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 TBS chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves.

Toppings: 1 sliced banana , 1 TBS almond butter, Crofter’s Europe Superfruit Spread (black currant and pomegranate) and Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola.

This bowl was so filling, and has prepared me for a full day at work. I love adding chia seeds to my oats. I forgot to add them yesterday and noticed a difference in heartiness and volume. They add crunch and a fluffy consistency to the bowl, and make it more satisfying. It is so easy to eat right, it just takes a bit of planning. 

I don’t have much time today to enjoy the beautiful weather we are having, but after work I am making my 1.5 hour drive home. I’ll be back just in time for dinner with my parents!! PERFECT way to end the day!

Enjoy The Sunshine,

Nora

What is your favorite way to spend time when the weather is nice?

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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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Good Morning!! I’m in WAY too good of a mood for 8am on a mid-week day. I woke up today completely refreshed with nothing but oats on my mind! I’m seriously contemplating starting a club dedicated to oats. They are hearty, delicious, HEALTHY and so versatile. It is the one breakfast that I know will satisfy me and send me off with high spirits for the day. Today was no exception, and this bowl of Pumpkin oats was scrumptious. Yes, my word of choice today is scrumptious, because no other word seems to fit the sheer enjoyment contained in this bowl.

In the mix: 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 sliced banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 TBS oat bran, 1/2 TBS chia seeds,  1/4 cup canned pumpkin (stirred in at the end).

Toppings: 1 Chopped Medjool date, the last of my Plain Chobani container ~1/4 cup, 1 TBS almond butter, and a big spoonful of Crofter’s Europe Superfruit Spread (black currants and pomegranate!).

The “brag” factors in this bowl were: Medjool Dates, Crofters and Oat Bran. I love the soft consistency of the dates, and the sweet “melt-in-your-mouth” feel they provide. They are such a nice pair with pumpkin and almond butter; something I have to remember next time I make pumpkin bread! The tart Crofter’s gave this bowl a little somethin’-somethin’. It  mixed so well with the Greek yogurt and provided a nice contrast between the sweet and spicy elements in the base of the bowl. Lastly, I am officially a fan of mixing oats. The rolled oats provide a slight chew factor and the oat bran leaves it nice and creamy; the perfect consistency for me :).

Back At It,

Nora

What is your “happy food”? Something that you can rely on to always treat you well?

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Oy Vey! This post is somewhat gross, but has a feel good ending so stay tuned.

Having your eyes glued shut is NOT a good way to wake up in the morning. Lately I’ve been having a bit of sinus pressure, nothing serious, but it has come with post nasal drip and some eye puffiness. My eyes started feeling a bit swollen last night when I was working at the bakery. I thought maybe it was just the intense cold and blizzard condition snow getting to me. As the night went on I realized that I was feeling a little fuzzy, and that the weather probably wasn’t the main cause. My contact fell out of my left eye, and shortly after, that eye became irritated. I have had stray bread crumbs rip contacts before so thought that might have happened. All of my speculation was of course wrong. I woke up today with PINK EYE! Super. And, in both of my eyes! Seriously, who gets pink eye after the age of 5? I have no idea how I got it, but I was absolutely miserable. While I was waiting to go to the doctor to get a cure for my infection, I decided to do all that I could to cure my misery. The best way to make a bad day better: good food. I needed something warm and hearty, the result: Pumpkin Bread Oats.

Pumpkin Bread Oats Before

The delicious oats post mixing!

It was fantastically creamy and flavorful. I love the way raisins become plump and soft when you give them moisture, and the nuts were, of course, hearty, satisfying and gave that necessary little bit of crunch. The one element I added to this oatmeal that I don’t typically add was wheat germ. It is virtually flavorless, but adds a slight texture; I think they made my oats a bit thicker. I have been reading about the health benefits and thought it would be a nice addition to my morning meal. It contains 23 nutrients; more than any other grain or vegetable, and has more potassium than any other food source. Two tablespoons of wheat germ has 60 calories, 4g of protein and 6% DV of iron (good for women!!). Even if my eyes are sick…at least my body will be healthy! My Pumpkin Bread Oats were warm, comforting and made the world of difference in my sad, sad day.

Washing My Hands Compulsively (I don’t want anyone else to suffer!),

Nora

What are you favorite “turn that frown upside down” dishes?

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