Cooking Inspiration :)

Sometimes I feel like dancin’
Sometimes I can’t help but laugh
Sometimes I smile at nothing…nothing at all…

Usually I jibber jabber at the beginning of my post, but since I’ve had two fun questions that I can’t wait to talk more about, I’ll save my rambling for the end of this post. 😉

I slept really, really well last night.  I told myself before pulling the blankets over my head, not to get stressed over a sleepless night, and to just let it kind of…happen.  One night of little sleep won’t hurt, and I usually have a hard time snoozing when I become over excited to be seeing old friends again, or as I mull over in my head all the things that I need to remember.  But last night, I wrote everything down that I needed to bring and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  By 5:45 the following morning, I felt refreshed and energized…and hungry.  And oh-so-ready for my breakfast cookie. 😀

  • 3/4 c. oats
  • 1 mashed banana (super sweet and ripe!)
  • 1 T. salted, chunky peanut butter
  • 1 T. ground flax
  • 2 T. unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • small handful of raisins and unsweetened coconut on top

For an extra boost of protein and calcium, I drank a glass of milk on the side.  This is such a lovely way to start a busy morning. 😀


Speaking of lovely ways to start the morning, my mom surprised me by making the “good stuff” this morning before I left for school.  I know I’ve mentioned that we normally drink Maxwell House around here during the week, and save the “good stuff” (aka: dunkin donuts, starbucks, or whole foods 365 brand coffee) for the weekend or for special days.  But mom ground some dunkin beans since it was my first day going back to school, which was lovely…thanks mom! 😀

We both enjoyed a cup in our favorite mugs. 😀


Tuesdays are the one and only school day where I need to think ahead and plan my snacks and lunch.  They need to be 1. portable, 2. nutritious, 3. filling, 4. not LOUD. 😉  I failed to fulfill the 4th point on more then one occasion last semester, and as I found myself crunching on hard kashi bars in the middle of lecture.  Yes, this did slow down my eating.  But I don’t recommend it, depending on your professor. 😉 

Portability is important too.  The yogurt, blueberries, and granola were left in my car’s cooler for a snack before driving home, but everything else was packed in my bag.

Here’s a summary of my eats:

11:30—almond butter and blueberry jam sandwich
12:00—homemade, dark chocolate granola bar
3:30—Yogurt with blueberries and granola

This lunch/snack combo wasn’t quite filling enough.  I think I could have used another hit of protein somewhere in there, maybe in the form of veggie sticks and hummus.  It’s going to take a while to get the hang of packing snacks and lunches again, but thankfully I only need to do this once a week, and I’ll have plenty of time to figure out what I need to bring along. 😉


Classes went really well, considering it was the first day.  I love receiving new syllabus, organizing my time schedule, and—best of all—seeing old friends that I haven’t seen over the past summer.  It was fun catching up and hearing what everyone was up to over the past couple of months.

Today I only had Biochemistry Lab and Lecture + Writing in Nutrition, but both are looking promising.  I probably won’t love biochemistry, but I’m determined to find interest in it, while relating it more closely to my major. 😀  And I think Writing in Nutrition may be fun, since writing + nutrition is a guaranteed winning combination. 😉

When I finally arrived home, I walked into the house to be greeted with the smells of freshly baked bread.  My mom spoils my dad and I, that’s all I can say. 😉


She also made one of my favorite vegetable soups, taken from Moosewood Cookbook.  It’s called Gypsy Soup, and it’s another one of those soups that I’ll always double whenever I make it.  It’s so simple but lovely, and very, very versatile.  I make it quick by using canned garbanzo beans and canned diced tomatoes in place of fresh, but you could make it either way. 

There’s a bit of spice and hotness in there, but the sweet potato balances everything out with its super sweet ways. 😀  I went back for doubles of the soup and another small slice of bread, finally taming the stomach grumbles.  The tastebuds were mighty happy too. 😀


For dessert, I had a bowl of fresh pineapple. 😀


Proof that messes aren’t always a bad thing:::   😉

  • plain yogurt
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 1/2 c. puffins
  • 3-4 chopped dates
  • Sprinklin’ of Natures Path Pumpkin Granola
  • scoop of peanut butter


I think I’ll cover one question tonight, and cover the other tomorrow, since my eyes are already drooping (and it’s only 9:30–this girl needs her sleep 😉 ), and I want to give my best answer possible.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s answer to two separate emails that I received recently, asking what my opinion is on fear foods and how to avoid food fear in general.

April had asked where I get my meal and cooking inspiration from, which I thought was just such a fun question. 😀 Thanks, April!

Part of my inspiration comes from the family.  My grandmother is known for never following a recipe.  She adds a pinch of this, a dash of that—the only way anyone could ever hope to replicate the same dish would be to watch her cook and write things down as you go. 😉  I always loved the idea of just tasting a little as you go and tweaking a recipe according to what you want the outcome to be.  It’s like a blank canvas waiting for a masterpeice to be painted.

The other part of my inspiration comes from my two favorite moosewood cookbooks.  Yes, it’s true.  I cook from her cookbooks all the time, and I would love to meet her someday.  I would personally thank her for revamping my way of cooking. 😀  I love including veggie-packed meals into my regular meals.  And I also love that she doesn’t always include exact measurements.  Sometimes recipes call for one or two bell peppers…not 1 or 2 cups.  The decision is left up to the at-home chef—that’s you! 😀  It reminds me that cooking and baking aren’t meant to be taken too seriously.  Relax, have fun, and don’t be afraid to make a flop! 😀 

I also receive inspiration from farm stands and farmer’s markets.  Fresh, in season produce doesn’t need much tweaking, because it’s already pretty amazing.  Simplicity is where it’s at!! 😀

And, last but not least, the rest of my cooking inspiration comes from all of you!!!  Whether following your amazing recipes from ingredient to ingredient, or tweaking them based on what I have on hand, I’ve learned so much from fellow bloggers.  I would have never learned of the breakfast cookie, green monster, overnight oats, and a million other things…and for that I’m forever grateful. 😀 

On that note, I’m off to read over my syllabus from today, while finishing up my schedule/calendar organization.  Can you believe how fast Hump Day has come along?  It’s amazing what Labor Day does to the work/school week—it feels like such a short week, doesn’t it??

Have a great night! 😀

Exercise: 3-mile post-dinner walk

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About One Beautiful Life

Hi and Welcome!!! I'm a 30 something year old who loves Jesus, nutrition, green tea, my family and my tuxedo cat named Humphrey. I enjoy photography, cooking and working at the local hospital as a Registered Dietitian. Thanks for stopping by!

14 thoughts on “Cooking Inspiration :)

  1. Oh, I miss syllabus and school. 😀
    Glad to hear you had a great first day back at school. I’d love to sit in your classes – not the BioChem though.
    Big YUM on that fresh bread and Gypsy Soup combo.
    I’d have to mention that you are one of my cooking inspirations. 😀 I’m not one who can follow recipes – I just take ideas from blogs and cookbooks and go along as I please. Good thing I cook for myself only. 😉

  2. That was really fun to know where your cooking inspiration comes from because your meal always look so spectacular! Your grandma sounds like quite a lady!

    Glad your first day of school went well – getting the right balance of food is hard! I am working off-site at a conference all this week and need to pack lunch and kinda dinner too and that is SO HARD!! We’ll see how it goes…

    Oh! That gypsy soup looks phenomenal!

  3. Nothing is more comforting than coming home to fresh baked bread. I saw this first hand when I baked a loaf of oaty bread and saw my mom’s utter delight on her face when she came home from a stressful day. Good stuff!

  4. i love hearing about your cooking inspiration – i might need to pick up those Moosewood cookbooks if that’s where you get all your delicious eats!

    love the portable lunch – i need new ideas, so we should definitely team up to brainstorm because i know EVERYONE could use more help with those.

    have a good 2nd day of school 🙂

  5. that fresh bread looks amazing!

    figuring out what snacks/lunches to take is always hard! some days I’m so hungry and others I’m not, but I’m sure you’ll figure out a good combo that works for those days.

  6. WOW. your food looks so yum from today
    esp the puffin and date blend!

    i need to find directions for how to make one of those dang cookies. must.try

    there is nothing quite like fresh baked bread, i ADORE the smell. it looks great too.

    ps – love the heart shaped sammie in the lunch 🙂

  7. fun to read about your inspiration. that soup looks right up my alley with the garbanzos! and fresh baked bread? yummm. looks like you are on the right track with those delicious and nutritious on the go food options!

  8. Is your bread in the shape of a heart?? I love it!

    And thanks for answering my question! You are an excellent cook I can tell! I think it’s awesome that you tweak everything and make it your own. And it’s so sweet that your grandma inspires you! I bet she’s happy to know that! 🙂

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