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Posts Tagged ‘Sweet Potato’

To my dismay, I woke up this morning to a torrential down pour. My dad and I were going to go on a bike ride but had to cancel our plans due to the massive puddles that had accumulated. Instead, we decided to go to the local high school track and run. Before we left I had a pre-run banana.

When we returned, “Dad’s Breakfast Kitchen” was in full swing for another amazing Sunday brunch! This lovely omelet was made with 3 egg whites and 1/2 a run away yolk, stuffed with spinach and goat cheese, and topped with fresh tomato, basil and more goat cheese. On the side I had a piece of whole wheat toast with fresh strawberries, honey and cinnamon. Needless to say, I was in breakfast heaven.

While waiting for the rain to pass, I took another stab at baking Super Charge Me Cookies in my parent’s functional oven and they came out MUCH better than my little  disaster last time.

What an oven should look like.

Cookies that aren't burnt!

I used peanut butter and loaded them with dark chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, dried cherries and dried cranberries. I had one for a snack before heading out on a stroll with my parents. I think it gave me a fair boost of energy because I found myself dancing to non-existent music as we walked around the neighborhoods. It is a good thing that my parent’s love is unconditional because my dance moves are borderline embarrassing.

I had planned on returning to my apartment later in the afternoon but was running behind schedule so I stayed at home for dinner. Besides, birthday cake was involved and I am not one to turn down good company and dessert. For dinner “Cafe Mom” was open and we had leftover steak with horseradish sauce, oven roasted sweet potatoes, a mixed green and tomato salad and boiled carrots and broccoli.Today was my mom’s actual birthday so we celebrated with a small cake for dessert.I had a slice complete with MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP (!!!!I have been dreaming of mint chocolate chip and my parents bought some on their grocery store trip. I love them.) ice cream.This concludes another segment of “my wonderful weekend at home”. Gotta love family.

Another Week,

Nora

What is your favorite food?

**(I feel like this is the hardest question in the world to answer, but it is something people frequently ask me. I like so many things and have yet to find a food that I truly dislike, therefore; I had a very long internal debate about what was my all-time favorite food. My conclusion: Ice cream. Go figure.)


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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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Hey everyone! I hope you all survived this Manic Monday! What makes Monday such a crazy day anyways? I swear I always feel like I’m being pulled in 7 directions, running around like a chicken with my head cut off (what a bizarre phrase.). I have lots of studying to get done this evening but wanted to post some of the foods that really hit the spot today. I love when I eat something and it is EXACTLY what I wanted.

“Breakfast” (I have to put this in quotes because this is not something I would typically consider breakfast.):

For once in my life I didn’t feel like making breakfast and I was in a rush to study. Good thing I have an ample bar supply! I know I said before that I wasn’t fond of these Chocolate Cherry Almond Luna Protein Bars but I think they are growing on me. When I went to my stash I was thinking Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna but this little guy just jumped out at me. It  COMPLETELY hit the spot and this mini meal held me over for a few hours!

Lunch:I’m still working on cleaning out my fridge  and I was craving some hummus and cheese on toast so lunch today was a monster sandwich. This monster contained: 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread, Cedar’s Original Hummus, Swiss Cheese, spicy brown mustard, spinach, cucumber, sprouts, Roma tomato and turkey breast. On the side I had watermelon and a Honeynana Chobani Champions with blackberries and 1 TBS walnuts.

Lunch was also supposed to have this beet, carrot, celery and ginger juice, but I think the beet was a little overripe (bad part of cleaning the fridge…things you forgot you had gone to waste 😦 ) and it tasted a little off.

After lunch I went to Barnes and Noble to study and of course I got a Grande Non-Fat Cinnamon Dolce Latte.I think I have it set in my head that I need a warm, sweet, foamy latte in my hands in order to focus on tedious material. I also had a bite of a Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Factory Cupcake that they had for sampling! SCORE! Only 4 more days!

Dinner:

Brace yourself…

All day long at the Barnes and Noble cafe I kept smelling coffee, peanut butter (they have amazing peanut butter cup cookies that they heat up!) and maple. I was also FREEZING thanks to their work conducive temperatures so I wanted something cozy for dinner. I saw this sweet potato and baked beans concoction on Caitlin’s blog, and knew I had to try it. I picked up some Bush’s Original Baked Beans (has bacon, not the vegetarian!) a while ago anticipating the day when I would make this. I roasted the potato in the oven at 450 for about 40 minutes. I almost cooked the sweet potato in the microwave but I LOVE eating the skin, and it gets crispy and caramelized when you roast it in the oven 🙂 . I cut the sweet potato open, sprinkled it with cinnamon and topped it with baked beans. HOLY COW! Caitlin, you are a genius! This is the most surprisingly fantastic thing I’ve ever consumed. I swear I would be a very happy girl if I had this every night for the rest of my life. On the side I had some roasted broccoli, carrot fries and dill pickles. Everything was dipped in ketchup, even the sweet potato.

Dessert:

I was feeling a bit “All-American-Cookout” after dinner and decided to continue this theme for dessert.I give you: Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt topped with cinnamon, chunky natural apple sauce, a chopped Medjool Date and Kopali Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs. This tasted like a wholesome apple crumble. The date pieces give a nice maple flavor, and harden for an extra chewy texture. It was only missing one thing: Peanut Butter. I dove back into my freezer candy stash after the photo for a miniature Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Perfection.

Now I am full and satisfied and ready to get back to work. I find it makes SUCH a difference when I study with a full and happy belly. I am a million times more focused and productive. Although, I do start day dreaming about all of the things I want to make post-graduation after a few hours of reading Freud.

Studying Hard,

Nora

What is your favorite simple and satisfying meal?

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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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Enter: A Day in My Life:

This is my dinner on my coffee table. It is one of the three places in my apartment where I tend to settle down for meals. Breakfast is almost always in bed (and dinner on occasion) and when I am home for lunch/dinner, these meals are often enjoyed sitting at my desk or in the living room in front of my computer and TV. Such is my typical, single, college life. Unless I am stuck on campus or have dinner plans, I often cook for one and eat alone. I find solace in making myself a meal that satisfies at the end of a long day. As much as I enjoy cooking for others, it is also special to be able to prepare nice things for one.

Tonight I was randomly craving BBQ sauce and baked sweet potato wedges with cinnamon. I pulled out a piece of Tilapia from my freezer earlier and thought, “Why not bake it with barbecue sauce?” Exactly…why not? For dinner tonight I made Barbecue Tilapia with a Spinach, Mixed Vegetable and Peach side salad and Cinnamon Baked Sweet Potato Wedges. I swear I could put cinnamon or barbecue sauce on anything and it would taste like a million bucks. Along side I had a glass of Bogle Petite Sirah. I normally would not pair this wine with a light fish but the heavy sauce needed a complex wine. It was such a simple yet nice meal to satisfy my cravings and give me some warmth on this cold April night.

Serving Dinner For One,

Nora

What are your favorite dishes to make when you are cooking for just yourself?

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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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I am by no means a vegetarian, but from time to time I do appreciate a good tofu or tempeh protein source in my meal. I have to emphasize the word “good” because I have had some bad tofu experiences in the past where it was over cooked or poorly flavored. Tofu essentially takes on whatever flavor you give it.  I have always been a bit intimidated by those huge blocks of tofu at the grocery store. It seemed like such an effort to prepare: pressing all of the water out of the block, slicing, marinading, preparing etc. I went to some websites that called to press the block with a cheese cloth for hours and then let it marinade overnight. NO WAY do I have that kind of time. I decided to keep it simple. I took a block of firm tofu and pressed out as much water as I could, using  paper towels. After this I divided the block into four sections (serving size is about 1/4 of a 16oz block) and cut each section into about 4 thin sections. I pressed the liquid out a bit more from each slice, and placed them into a glass baking dish. I coated each piece with a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and lightly dusted each piece with cumin. I baked it at about 400 for 20-25 minutes, turning once until firm. I completed the dish, making Baked Tofu with Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprout Wedges.It came out surprisingly well and was extremely filling. The soy/vinegar marinade was flavorful but not too intense and went nicely with the fresh spinach and carrot salad with sautéed mushrooms, onions and red peppers that I topped it with. The tofu had a meaty texture, which I prefer. I find sometimes that tofu can become rubbery or be too soft and have a cheese like consistency.

Maybe, I’ll be come a vegetarian? That is extremely unlikely, but it was a nice twist to repetitive chicken and fish!

Experiment,

Nora

Have you ever prepared tofu? What is your favorite way?

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