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Posts Tagged ‘toast’

Lack of internet + no time= my demise. Although I have been completely disconnected for the past few days, I did not forget about my dear blog. My internet is not going to be installed until Wednesday, so I am EXTREMELY grateful right now for free Wi-Fi at coffee shops….I’m also extremely grateful for my parents. They have been my “knights in shining armor” through the insanity of the past week. I can’t believe how much has happened in such a short period of time. To recap:

  1. I graduated college on Sunday May 16.
  2. Immediately after my diploma ceremony I went on a packing rampage and shoved the contents of my college apartment into trash bags and boxes as quickly as possible.
  3. My parents helped me move all of my crazily packed belongings into my apartment and I headed home for a few days.
  4. Early Tuesday morning I left home to get started on apartment unpacking.
  5. Wednesday-Thursday my parents returned to help me clean/unpack/organize my apartment. All day Wednesday was spent cleaning. I had work at the bakery on Thursday and my parents stayed to complete the apartment transformation without me! I came back after work to a beautiful, organized and clean home. I’m not sure what I would have done without them because they completely transformed my hole-in-the-wall into a cozy abode.

When I got back from the bakery Thursday night my body was screaming “GIVE ME VEGGIES! GIVE ME VEGGIES!” The past few days haven’t exactly been produce heavy, and I was dying for some clean eats! It was nearly 8:30pm when I got back to my apartment, so I complied a salad in my new PERFECT SALAD BOWL (This bowl is is deep and has high sides so the contents of my typically gigantic salads mix well and do not fly all over. I’ve always used plates for my salad constructions and they can be messy. I’m very excited about this purchase. Thanks Mom and Dad!) with about 2 cups of mixed greens, 1/2 head of romaine, 1/4 cup garbanzo beans, handful of alfalfa sprouts, 1 stalk of celery, 1/3 of a large cucumber, 3 big and beautiful strawberries, 1/2 of a navel orange, 1/3 block of 5 grain tempeh and feta cheese topped with balsamic. This beautiful large salad was enjoyed on the floor of my new living room while watching Julie and Julia on my tiny TV. After dinner I enjoyed an ice cream sandwich for something sweet and cool.

Previous Eats:

On Monday I ate the contents of my parents fridge which includes but is not limited to the following:

Later that night I shared crackers, cheese and a martini with my dad before dinner. My mom prepared a fantastic grilled chicken breast, blue cheese wedge salad with a tarragon vinaigrette and herbed basmati rice. We enjoyed this meal with a cool and crisp Simi Chardonnay.

With a little help from my friends Betty Crocker and butter, I assembled Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (extra chocolate chips added) for dessert. I had four of these while watching TV with my parents. It was the perfect way to relax before returning to my cluttered apartment.

Running out the door on Tuesday morning I grabbed a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Luna Protein Bar (as if I didn’t get my cookie fix the night before) and headed back. When I got to my apartment I snacked on almonds and dried apricots before assembling my first apartment meal. For lunch I made a simple salad with a slice of leftover pizza. I had an apple and dark chocolate shortly after.

Dinner was a complete disgrace so pictures were not taken. I had a meeting from 5-9 so I decided to fill up with granola, cereal, museli, a frozen banana, vanilla soy milk, and Greek Yogurt. A few bowls later and I was  extraordinarily stuffed. When I got to the meeting the smell of pizza filled the air. The temptation was too much and I had a slice of cheese and a slice of pepperoni. After the meeting I had a dark chocolate almond and a dark chocolate cashew cluster before calling it a night.

Wednesday morning I had an 8am class to learn how to use my new MacBook. I wanted oatmeal for breakfast, but it was out of the question. The gas for my oven was not turned on and my microwave aka the number one cooking device used during my freshman-junior years of college remained in storage at my house. I made a portable breakfast for the drive:

This monster was composed of 1 large frozen banana, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop GREEN Superfood, cinnamon, 1 cup vanilla soy milk, 1 TBS crunchy PB and 5 ice cubes.

After the appointment I went to Starbucks for a Grande Soy Misto and a KIND Cashew and Almond Bar.

I had a late lunch and my parents finally arrived, ready to get down to apartment furnishing business. I have the world’s greatest parents, I can’t believe how much they have helped me with over the past two days. I’m pretty sure that if I did not have their assistance I would have just lived in a dirty, half-unpacked apartment for the next three months. It was a long day of cleaning that ended in Dinosaur BBQ for dinner. I started with a Middle Ages IPA beer and for my meal I had a chicken platter with BBQ chicken breast and wing, baked beans (so tasty and cooked with pulled pork!), corn bread, and a marinated cucumber and tomato salad. You better believe I demolished the entire plate!

This overdue entry is a bit lengthy, so I’m going to stop here. I have been reflecting over the past few days and have some thoughts for my blog that I want to share. I’m also exceptionally excited about my internship that starts MONDAY! I’ll be back later today (if I have the opportunity to obtain internet!) so stay tuned for more trials and tribulations.

Growing Up,

Nora

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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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When I woke up this morning my sweet tooth was non-existent. In fact, it was slightly aching from some late night Easter candy AND  ice cream. Around 11pm last night I felt like I wanted dessert but couldn’t decided between candy and ice cream. I went with candy and had a bit of Easter Bunny and a frozen mini Mr. Goodbar. After finishing that I wanted ice cream (go figure) so I had a double scoop of Mint Cookies and Cream and Vanilla topped with fresh sliced strawberries. I curbed my cravings but it might not have been the best “pre-bed” snack. I quickly ruled out cereal and even the notion of nut-butter and banana oats seemed TOO sweet. I decided that a runny egg was the only thing that would satisfy.

For breakfast I had Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Pumpkin Butter and Extra Cinnamon, Fried Egg, Strawberries and a Valencia Orange. I finished it all off with a cup of  Black Tea. This was a delicious combination. I love fried eggs with something sweet, and the pumpkin butter had just enough sweetness without overwhelming my throbbing sweet tooth.

Fun fact: I actually BURNED my first piece of toast this morning. I started laughing, because a) I can’t remember the last time I completely burned a piece of toast and b) toast is the easiest thing to make and I cook WAY more complex things. EH, such is life. I also discovered that my pumpkin butter was on its last legs :(. I literally scraped the jar for my toast, but I decided to keep the jar as a yogurt vessel to REALLY scrape it clean. I do not waste a drop!

Breakfast Special Wednesday,

Nora

What is your favorite egg dish?

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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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It has been quite a hectic day FILLED with food. I didn’t end up finishing my paper last night and went to sleep around 3am! This meant I had to wake up and finish it this morning. I HATE procrastinating. I usually keep a calendar and schedule when I know I have projects due so I don’t feel rushed and anxious. Quite frankly, when I try to do things last-minute I know they wont be my best effort, and I always want to be proud of my work. Recently my mind has been elsewhere trying to dream up my life after college. I want to contribute and dedicate myself to healthy living, food and wine on a much larger scale than I do now. I am searching for a career and a purpose.

When I do “crunch time” work, I get really antsy. I feel like I’m moving 100 miles a minute and am never focused. I fall into snacking habits to keep me calm. I’m not sure why, but I have it set in my head that I need snacks to complete my task. Every time I finish one, I have to run to get something else. I found that I had only written a few pages after breakfast (another green monster and granola bowl with an Amazing Grass Wheatgrass packet added today…interesting texture and made me feel energized!) before I ran back into the kitchen to grab a Jonagold. As soon as I finished my apple I ran back to the kitchen and had to make toast. Okay you get the picture. Basically write/read 1-2 pages grab a snack is my pattern. I literally sat in bed with my laptop from 8:30 am-1pm paper writing and snacking. A few snack highlights: 2 slices of multigrain bread (the dense bread from my bakery!) with cinnamon, almond butter, organic raspberry jam and more cinnamon on top. As soon as the bread popped out of the toaster I sprinkled it with cinnamon. I couldn’t decide if I should top my almond butter with jam or pumpkin butter, so why not both? I finished it with more cinnamon and I kid you not, the second I finished one slice I needed another it was THAT good.I also tried the Kardea Lemon-Ginger Bar. The texture/visual appearance reminds me of oatmeal cookie dough batter! I smelled lemon when I opened the package so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste the ginger and the lemon flavor was pretty mild. For a while I was in a Lemon Zest Luna Bar phase (It is such a refreshing flavor!) and I love the potent flavor of those, so I do have a slight bias. I also loved the Kardea Banana Nut Bar so much that the others I have tried are hard to live up to it.

I’m not complaining, the food was good and I got my paper done but I was still in my pjs at 1pm with a belly full of food. I handed in my paper and needed fresh air! I decided to go for a run and soak up the blue sky and sunshine. It was exactly what I needed. As I walked back to my apartment I had a heartfelt phone call with my mom about life and what I’m going to be doing next year. I feel so fortunate to be able to talk to my parents about anything. They are my allies and my best friends.

When I got back, it was highly apparent that I had been cooped up in my room paper writing for two days. There were piles of clothes, scattered papers and books, and plates everywhere. I needed to clean. I restored my room to normal order and took a relaxing shower to refresh myself. For dinner I decided to continue with the “clean” theme and made Pan-seared Lemon-Thyme Tilapia with Asparagus and a Berry Salad. So light and refreshing after a day of snacks! I love adding berries, light green veggies (cucumbers and celery), feta cheese and nuts to spicy arugula. It is so light and packs a punch of flavor!

While waiting for my laundry to dry(when I clean…I CLEAN!), I had some dessert. I was going to go for more Chocolate Bunny for dessert but decided to keep it classy with mint cookies and cream with a frozen cherry on top  in a wine glass. Everything is more fun to eat when you serve it in a wine glass! I felt elegant ;).

Job Searching,

Nora

What are little things you do to “treat” yourself? (**If I’m having a bad day I always make myself something really nice and plate it up using fancy dishes. I love sharing my cooking with others but sometimes it’s fun cooking for one!**)

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Background:

In high school, my twin brother and I shared a car. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we went to separate schools, and would alternate who got the car from week to week. The weeks when we were car-less, my dad would drive us in. I always found this to be such a special time to catch up with my dad and listen to talk radio. It is even more memorable to me because EVERY morning he would prepare us each a piece of toast and a beverage for the car ride. I would always have peanut butter on whole wheat bread and my dad would have butter on potato bread. He always had the same Lipton tea with lemon and made me a double hot chocolate in the winter and NO PULP orange juice on the nicer days. I have to stress the “NO PULP” part because at the time I hated pulp, however; the rest of my family loved it so the only orange juice we had in the house contained pulp. My dad would take a hand strainer and remove the pulp for me every morning! I will never forget that. (MISS YOU DAD!!)

This morning I decided to do a little “throw back” breakfast, and tribute to my dad. Last night I was working in the bakery, and couldn’t stop thinking about the multigrain bread we carry. I decided to buy a half loaf because I needed a piece with my dinner. I had a few pieces last night and thought it would be the perfect way to start my morning. This bread is so dense and has 5 grains and 4 seeds packed into it. I smothered it with crunchy peanut butter and topped it with banana slices. The banana I used was quite large so I had more peanut butter on the side for extra dipping. It was a fun way to start my day!

I also paid tribute to my dad by making an effort to MAKE juice! I USED MY BREVILLE FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY!!!!!!!!! I was dreaming about it all night, and woke up like a child on Christmas morning anxious to make my juice. I decided to make “Glowing Sunshine”, a suggestion from Angela at Oh She Glows a drink that contains grapefruit, carrots and ginger.It was so easy to use, and I was surprised by how quiet the machine was. Check out the remains! I ended up getting a big glass full, and it was spicy and delicious. The grapefruit was a bit tart but balanced nicely by the carrot. It was a welcomed change from orange juice and extremely refreshing. I feel SO energized and ready to start my day!

New Takes on Old Favorites,

Nora

Do you remember “favorites” growing up that you haven’t had in a while?

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