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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry jam’

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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I’m not sure what my deal is but I am having the HARDEST time focusing on my exam. I think it is a combination of uninteresting material and the thoughts of finishing school looming in my head. I have been doing work at a snail’s pace, finding things to distract me left and right. Initially, I had planned to go to 4pm Vinyasa yoga as my “stress relief” after a long day of sitting and working, but I did not get enough done and my mind would have been wandering during the class. I like to go to yoga as a release but if I’m not mentally present during a class it defeats the point.

Anyways, I got to the bookstore promptly when it opened at 10am. Since I would be eating a lunch from home, I decided to be a paying customer and purchased a medium not-fat hazelnut latte. I’m also addicted and the warm, sweet beverage and it fueled a few hours of studying. I wasn’t starving for lunch, but my lack of focus caused me to break into my lunch box around 11:55am. I needed something to distract me /get me through some of my readings. I am such a study snacker. A few hours later I finally broke down and purchased a decaf coffee (I can’t handle THAT much caffeine in a day, but wanted coffee flavor and warmth) with a Kind Fruit and Nut Delight Bar. These are my absolute favorite! I saw them at the register while I was waiting for my latte and couldn’t get them off my mind.  I know from the past if I am thinking about a specific food instead of the material I am reading that I NEED to have it in order to refocus. Plus a snack that is sweet, nutty, crunchy and chewy….hello, ULTIMATE STUDY FOOD!

Side Notes:

1) I drank about a liter of water to sooth my throat during my during my book store camp out. Along with 2 medium coffees and my green monster–let’s just say I think people were starting to assume I had some issues. I literally had to get up, ask someone to watch my computer and walk to the restroom at least 6 times. At least I’m hydrated.

2) Each time I walked to the restroom, I passed by the cook book section, more specifically Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book, and realized that all I really want to do in life is bake, cook, read and write. You can expect billions of foodie things in my post-graduation state.

3) When I got home I noticed that I spilled coffee down my light gray shirt. I have also been sporting the “slicked back ponytail” look all day, so I must have been looking pretty fine.

Oy. I can’t wait for the college lifestyle to be over.

All day long I was subjected to coffee-house smells of dark roast coffee and warm egg and cheddar sandwiches. I have been craving eggs for a few days now but keep  having “food swings”, changing my meal decision each time I go to make them. Since I literally sat in the cafe area for the entire day, the craving finally stuck and I went home to make a basic cheddar, mushroom and broccoli omelet with a spinach, celery, sprout and strawberry salad and half an orange. I usually make egg white omelets but for some reason I love the pairing of egg yolk and cheddar cheese, so I made a two egg omelet. My throat is still a bit scratchy so I wanted something fresh and cool on the side. I randomly had half of an orange in the fridge, perfect for some extra vitamin c!

For dessert I had a Chocolate Chobani Champions topped with raspberry jam, roasted almonds and Kopali chocolate covered cacao nibs. I’m not a huge fan of the chocolate variety. For some reason it is semi-liquefied, a little too sweet and not chocolaty enough for me. Although, it did taste great with these toppings!

I’m back to the books, but think I need to get to sleep early tonight. I haven’t been sleeping regularly because I can’t stop thinking about how much work I have to do. I just have to keep telling myself that I only have one more week of this.

Slowly But Surely,

Nora

What are your study (or work)  skills/ habits?

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Ina Garten, aka my kitchen hero, charmingly states “What could be bad?” as she incorporates decadent and simple ingredients into her divine creations. This morning with each heavily bite of my oats in a jar, I started to channel Ina and kept thinking “What could be bad?” Answer: absolutely nothing. Putting warm oatmeal in an almost empty nut butter jar is such a simple pleasure. I started making mental notes about how amazing this breakfast is:

1. I get satisfaction knowing that I successfully ate ever molecule in my expensive nut butter jar.

2. One less dish that I have to do, saving time and WATER! GO GREEN!

3. It is amazing when you get to the bottom only to discover a chunk of almond butter coating your spoon.

4. Melted almond butter is delicious.

5. Let’s face it, eating out of a jar is fun.

6. If I really wanted to I could put the lid on and have an easy portable breakfast.

7. I get to open another jar soon!

8.  Oatmeal in a jar is one of the most comforting and satisfying breakfasts I can think of, and easy to take back to bed with a cup of coffee!

In to my almond butter jar went: 1/4 cup oat bran, 2 TBS rolled oats, 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1/2 thinly sliced banana, 1.5 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp ground flax, cinnamon, and vanilla extract topped with blackberries and raspberry preserves.

I know I’ve said it before, but I really enjoy the combination of rolled oats and oat bran. I like the texture of rolled oats alone but they do not generate a fluffy volume. I get the best of both worlds when I combine rolled oats and oat bran to create a fluffy/chewy bowl of perfection.

I’m off to the bakery for the day, where I will be dreaming up my next creation. I have a little something in mind for dinner this evening so stay tuned!

Goodness,

Nora

What are your favorite simple yet satisfying meals?

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Every bowl of oats that I make is slightly different, but they never fail to satisfy my mood. I am constantly thinking, “This is the best bowl I have ever made”, and I truly feel like that at the time because each bowl has an impact on my day. Today I woke up to a cold and drizzly morning. I knew it was an oatmeal day, and slowly came to my topping decisions as I slowly got out of bed. It was one of those mornings where it took a little “self-talk” and thoughts of a lovely breakfast to leave the comfort of my cozy sheets.

Lately I haven’t been able to get enough blackberries. I love, love LOVE this berry. They are sweet, tangy and crunchy–the perfect combination to top oatmeal, or anything for that matter. I was craving some good old almond butter and raspberry jam melted on top of my warm oats, and so was the inspiration for this bowl.

In the mix:

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

Toppings: Raspberry jam, blackberries, almond butter, coconut butter.

This bowl rocked my world this morning, and I love how the flakes of coconut butter melt when they hit the warm bowl. I think the coconut butter may have been the star companion to my blackberries and raspberry preserves. This breakfast was indeed, “The best bowl I’ve ever made”….well at least for today. I’m off to brave the cold, miserable weather with a smile in my heart and love in my belly! Happy Tuesday!

Cozy Breakfast Bowls,

Nora

What are your favorite toppings?

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Apparently I have an over packing problem.  I struggle to close sandwiches, wraps and omelets in the same way that I struggle with my suit case every time I travel.

This morning I woke up and decided it was an egg day. The sky was dark and a misty rain was present in the cold air. I thought about oatmeal and pancakes but knew I needed something a bit more savory. My solution: egg-white omelet with spinach, broccoli, mushroom, tomato, vegetarian sausage (I crumbled up a Yves and heated it with my veggies) and feta cheese, a side of whole wheat toast with raspberry jam, coffee and orange juice. I do not make omelets for breakfast often (they are more of a dinner dish for me) because I have an extreme “sweet breakfast” complex, so when I do I tend to go a little overboard. I somehow managed to get it on my plate in a presentable manner, and topped it with Sriracha hot sauce and cracked black pepper. It was the perfect breakfast for this cold morning, and filled me well.

After breakfast I went to a Vinyasa yoga class.  Let me tell you there is nothing better than doing relaxing yoga in a warm room when it is miserable outside. It brings out a whole new uplifting mood! When the class was finished the clouds parted, the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue. Although the temperature was still in the upper 40’s it was an amazingly beautiful day! After class I stopped by the grocery store to visit my co-workers and pick up some produce. I think that my 10am yoga class followed by grocery shopping is becoming my Sunday routine. I picked up some goodies for dinner and headed home for lunch.

I was parched after yoga and shopping so I wanted something refreshing for lunch aka a green monster, granola and raw almonds bowl, apple, carrot, green grapes and Medjool dates with almond butter. I mixed up my green monster a bit, my combination was: 1 large frozen banana, 3 large fresh strawberries, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk, cinnamon, cacao and vanilla extract. The strawberries gave it a darker color so it looked like sludge. Since it wasn’t an exciting lunch I neglected pictures but it looked something like this (didn’t I have the same thing last Sunday haha…yep!) with about a cup of big green grapes and a large carrot.Miss Congeniality is on TV and I have a bunch of work to do so it is going to be a stay-in day. I have something nice planned for an early dinner before going to a 7pm meeting.  I love having relaxing Sundays. When I was younger my family would attend church together, have a great brunch, do yard/house/school work all day and gather for a thoughtful and comforting dinner. It was the perfect way to end a hectic week, and refresh ourselves for the week to come. I now see why Sunday is meant to  be a day of rest.

Peace and Love,

Nora

Do you usually do something special on Sunday?

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