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Home.  There are definitely a few things on the agenda, after a week of vacationing.

First, I wanted green. 

Breakfast

  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • 1 c. blueberries, frozen
  • 1 large handful of red kale
  • 1 packet of Amazing Grass SuperFood
  • 1 c. soymilk

On top, I sprinkled some Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola.  Honestly, I don’t know if I would ever buy Amazing Grass.  I kind of liked the taste of this one (grassy meets peppermint) but only because it felt right.  Psychologically healthy.  I wouldn’t put stock in it as being a “super food” and I’d much rather eat the real food then pay extra money for the powder form.  But it’s still fun. :mrgreen:

 

 On the side, I had a whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

 

 This was the most perfect post-vacation breakfast.  I was beginning to have some serious smoothie withdrawals while on vacation.  I hope that’s normal. 😉

 Next on the agenda: some sort of sweat session.  Biking sounded like the perfect option.  I pedaled my way through fields, past horse stables, over highways, near farm stands.  Eleven miles of sweaty summer fun.  Bliss.  Kicking myself out the door and onto my bike is a battle, but once I’m out there, I love every bit of it.  Even those insane hills that threaten to slow me down.  I feel so victorious when I conquer them.  :mrgreen:

Lunch

I couldn’t decide what I wanted for lunch, so I had a bit of everything.  Mostly, I wanted green.  Lots and lots of green.

A large salad became the building block for a trio of flavors.  Spicy = salsa.  Salty = 1% cottage cheese.  Savory = Basil Hummus.  A slice of jarlsberg cheese and a whole wheat tortilla were thrown in for good measure. 

After lunch, I took a run (not literally) to Dicks Sporting Goods for some new sneaks.  With my running schedule all out of wack, I’m not exactly sure how many miles I’ve been logging.  But since I use my Asics for walking and running and biking, I decided to just go with the ol’ 5 month rule of determining when to replace them. 

The new ones (right) feel so cushiony and light.  I love them.  And so do my knees. 😀

 

 Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt, 2 T. crushed flax, 1/2 banana, about 2 T. Galaxy Granola

 

 It feels so good to be eating normal snacks, normal meals, at normal times.  It does wonders for keeping me energized. 😀 

Dinner

Pizza can make for such a nutritious dinner.  Whole wheat crust.  Veggies.  Lots of veggies.  Your imagination—and the size of your pizza pan—is really the only limit.

I pulled a batch of frozen, uncooked, homemade whole wheat pizza dough from the freezer last night in order to be used for tonight’s dinner.  Easy Peasy.  It’s nice not having to put too much thought into cooking dinner once in a while. 😉

For the sauce, I combined a can of diced tomatoes (drained) with garlic powder, basil and oregano.  I then proceeded to clean out the veggie drawer and used up the last green pepper, some fresh mushrooms and a vidalia onion.  Plus some reduced fat sargento 4-cheese italian blend.  Ooey gooey deliciousness.

 

I think I could live on pizza, if there weren’t so many other foods out there, just waiting to be tried.  And, if it just so happened to make a completely balanced lifestyle choice.  Which it doesn’t.  A girl can dream, though. 😉

Question: If you could theoretically live on any one food item or meal, what would it be?

Great Grillin’!

Can I just say how much I loved hearing about your cooking memories from the last post???  They totally made me smile—each and every one.  Thanks so much for sharing those wonderful memories with everyone! 😀

I’ve been on such a cold cereal kick lately!

  • 1-1/2 c. Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt with 2 T. crushed flax
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • scoop of Teddy peanut butter

This was so crunchy and fun to eat. 😀

I’m glad my breakfast was hearty and filling, because my expected 30 minute morning bike ride turned into a 1-1/2 hr. ride around town. 😉

Dad became my biking partner, and we both were quickly sucked in to the many yard sales going on around town.  I have no idea how far we actually rode our bikes, but let’s just say that I saw more of my town then I’ve seen in a long time. 😉  When I came back, I was so thirsty and hungry, and quickly broke into the almonds and watermelon.

Lots and lots of watermelon.  I’m pretty sure that I ate my weight in watermelon today. 😉  It’s such a great (tasty!) way to rehydrate in the summer!

By the time lunch rolled around, I only wanted a cold and crunchy salad full of fresh produce.

  • mesculin greens
  • black olives
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • carrots
  • onions, chopped
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 mushroom
  • 1/2 c. garbanzo beans

Salads are so satisfying in the summer.  When the temperature rises above 80 degrees, they’re pretty much my one and only craving.

On the side, I had some kashis, a slice of reduced fat sargento swiss, and a few large green olives, sliced.

+ an iced coffee! 

Nicole bought me this adorable reuseable iced coffee cup last week.  I brewed up some starbucks beans, and once the coffee was chilled, I added in about 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/2 c. plain soymilk (which adds a bit of sweetness by itself even without any added sugar.)

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + 2 T. Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

Cold + Crunchy!

For dinner, Dad was once again put to work on the grill.  He totally enjoys cooking on the family Weber.  And my mom & I totally enjoy eating whatever he cooks up.  It works.

Dad made himself and my mom a Rib Eye steak.  Not being much of a steak fan, I decided to put the tofu block that was sitting in my freezer to good use (freezing tofu gives it a whole new, chewy texture which I love!)

I marinated 1/2 of the block of tofu in a peanut sauce.  You’ll want to check the labels on store-bought peanut sauces, by the way, as many of them have MSG and other funky additives.  Look for the ingredients that you can read. 😉

Tofu is surprisingly easy to cook on the grill.  I sprayed a peice of foil with cooking spray and plopped the marinated tofu on there.  Dad flipped it once the undersides were lightly crisp and browning, about 6 minutes into the cooking. 

On the side, I had sauteed cabbage with mustard, a slice of whole wheat sourdough bread, some grilled peppers & onions and a grilled portobello mushroom smeared with deglazed balsamic vinegar and a bit of EVOO. 

Best meal of the week.  Hands down.

The tofu was so flavorful and so full of texture.  I will be making this again soon. 😀  It would make an awesome wrap filling.

+ a small peice of a new dark chocolate find at whole foods (favorite dark chocolate yet…it’s full of tiny little crystals and snaps when you bite into it.) 

My sister kidnapped me for the next hour or so, and I’m so glad she did.  I always find myself laughing and smiling when we’re hanging out. :mrgreen:

Off to wrap some Father’s Day gifts and relax for the rest of the night!

Question: What is your favorite food to cook (or eat) on the grill?  Tofu is now up there on the list for me.  But I also like chicken sausages, grilled peppers and grilled peaches with a bit of balsamic vinegar!

Nicole’s Birthday Bash

Nicole’s 27th Birthday Bash was an absolute blast.  The entire day was full of shopping, family, friends, food, fun…

…and hot pink sunglasses.

…and skinny jeans.  Nicole was absolutely rocking these white skinnies!! 

I realize that three photos is an awfully brief way to sum up an entire day’s worth of shopping.  But just trust me that we did indeed shop till we almost dropped.  Nothing less would have sufficed.

We left the mall carrying bags full of great deals.  I practically bought a whole new wardrobe at H&M alone, and all the shirts were $20 and under.  Very happy indeed.

This photo, by the way, is an example of the “slightly dropping phase”…in case you were ever wondering. 😉

Following the shopping spree, everyone headed over to Nicole and Nate’s place for dinner.

I’m convinced that Nicole is the up and coming Martha Stewart.

Case in point:

While waiting for the food to cook (Nicole was serving grilled turkey burgers, her famous potato salad, green side salad, onion rings, and more), the men chatted…

…the pretzels sunbathed…

…and I ate my fill of these baked onion rings.  I am forever addicted. 

There were many gifts to be opened, and at the very end, Nate came out carrying a new bike.  Nicole was pretty shocked and excited.  And so was I.  This now means that I have a future biking partner.  :mrgreen:

The night ended on a very sweet note.  Nicole has a yearly tradition of serving “make-your-own icecream sundaes”.  I look forward to this every year. 😀

In keeping with the birthday’s theme, there were many fun, tropical-inspired toppings.  Crushed sugar cones, coconut shavings, coconut M&M’s!!! (even better than it sounds!!!), whipped cream, crushed pineapple, crushed strawberries, and cherries.

I think one of the best parts about making a personal sundae (aside from the fact that it’s way more social this way,) is that you can add on as many cherries as you want.  I always plop on at least two, just because I can. 😉 

The entire day was a blast—Happy 27th Birthday, Nicole! 😀

Happy Weekend!

Question: What is your dessert of choice on your birthday?  Do you usually opt for cake or do you take a different route?

Fuelin’ Up

Yesterday was a very good day.  My mom and I spent time looking over old photos to add to the picture display at the funeral for Saturday, and I was incredibly worried that I’d be a big ball of tears by the end.  Instead, we both found ourselves fondly laughing at so many great memories.  Remember when… 

I was also full of peace.  Suddenly I felt okay with everything.  Yes, I miss my Memere and my heart still aches whenever I think about it.  Yes, I’m still on the verge of crying.  But I’m still okay.  Knowing that family is here to take care of Pepere and that Memere is in heaven with God is all the strength that I need to get through this.  Besides, my Memere would have shook her head and felt badlly if she knew how sad everyone was feeling. 

A good nights sleep and a run in the rain certainly helped me to feel better too. 😉  Last night it was pouring cats and dogs.  I’m pretty sure my sneakers are going to be sopped up for a good 2-3 days…haha.  But it was totally worth it.  I ran 2-miles and it may as well have been 6, based on how I felt when I rolled on home.  Completely rejuvinated.  I could think straight again. 

Breakfast was delicious this morning.  I decided to start my day with a filling, rounded out meal to fuel up for a morning bike ride… 😀

Veggie Scramble—1 whole egg + 1 egg white + 2 large handfuls of spinach.  Fried in a nonstick pan coated with cooking spray, and then topped with a slice of Sargento Reduced Fat Cheddar.  On the side I had two slices of TJ’s whole wheat bread with a sliced banana. 

Off to get ready for a morning bike ride.  It’s 60 degrees and sunny and I can not wait to start pedaling! 😀

Question: What is your favorite way to eat an egg?  I like mine fried in an egg sandwich with a slice of cheese, but it’s fun to mix things up once in a while. 😀

Breakfast and Biking

Thank you all so much for the well wishes, prayers, and thoughts regarding my memere.  I appreciate the kind words and support.  It means a lot.

It is so gorgeous out this morning, that I only have one thing I can possibly think of doing.  Biking.  Well, okay.  I’d rather go running and zone out into what I fondly know as “runner’s bliss.”  😉  But biking is the second best thing.  And just like a really good best friend, biking is there when I need it the most.  I may not be able to zone out as I do with running, but I can sweat bullets and show those massive hills who’s boss.  :mrgreen:

I started with a Caitlin-inspired yogurt mess this morning…

  • 1/2 c. old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana, smashed
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin
  • + cinnamon and ginger

I mixed the concoction together in a vigorous manner and then preceded to top it off with 1 tsp chia seeds, 2 T. Natures path Pumpkin Flax Granola, and a scoop of teddy’s crunchy salted peanut butter.

It tasted very similair to overnight oats.  Creamy.  Sweet.  Delicious.

I think I could use a cup of very darkly roasted coffee with soy this morning.  Followed by a long hard bike ride…off to get started on both! 😀

Oh, and Happy Memorial Day!!

Question: How do you plan on celebrating Memorial Day?

first day of spring

For some strange, unknown reason, all I wanted this morning was a cold bowl of crunchy cereal.  It’s so unlike me, but I decided to just roll with it. 😉

  • 1-1/2 c. Barbaras Shredded Oats (these are awesome, and very similair in taste to the Quaker Oat Squares)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 T. wheat bran, stirred into milk
  • handful of almonds (about 20)

I think the warm, spring-y weather is bringing out my love for cold breakfasts once again. 😀

Mid-morning was full of blissful outdoor activities. 😀

I fit in 40 minutes of strength training as well as my knee exercises (these take up a lot of time, but I’m hoping it will be well worth it in the end!)  Then I was off for a 3-mile walk with my parents to soak up some lovely Saturday sunshine.  When Matthew woke up, I was off yet again for a 9-mile bike ride.  It felt so good to be moving all morning—it reminded me of the feeling I get after a weekend long run.  Love it! 😀

For a juicy snack, I noshed on a huge red grapefruit—they’re so sweet right now!

Lunch started off well enough, with kashis and a huge dollop of peanut butter.

But don’t let this frothy green monster fool you.  It was not amazing.  Let me explain.

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. wheat bran
  • 4 c. kale
  • Topping: Galaxy Granola

Problem 1: not enough sweetener…a whole banana for this sized smoothie would have been way better

Problem 2: four cups of kale was a bit much

Problem 3: four cups of kale plus 1/4 c. wheat bran was way too much 😉

I still ate it, but this smoothie was not on the list of my favorite green monsters, by any means…haha. 

+ dessert, which was sweet and yummy

Nicole and I meandered through Target this afternoon to pick up some mucho needed items (i.e., eye makeup remover, which is such an annoying way to spend money…guys are so lucky that they don’t need to spend money on these kinds of things 😉 )  We also both ordered an iced tall skinny vanilla latte from starbucks—the perfect way to enjoy the first day of spring.

+ a small handful of almonds

I made a quick dinner tonight so that I could crack down on cleaning my closet space.  My room has almost been completely cleaned out from top to bottom, but I still need to clear out all my winter clothes from the closet and start figuring out what I need for the summer. 😀 

Eggs are such a super quick and healthy meal—they’re always my go-to food when I can’t figure out what to make myself. 😀

  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites
  • handful of finely chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 T. butter
  • chopped onions
  • salt and pepper
  • topping: salsa

I also cooked up some cabbage with a bit of dijon mustard, and went back for another mini-whole wheat bagel after this first one.  I love the mini ones.  They’re perfect for small snacks with a bit of cheese or peanut butter, but can also be “doubled up” when you want a slightly larger portion. 😀

Eaten with chopsticks to slow. me. down.

Off to make a snack and relax! 😀

Upcoming Food Challenge—drum roll please—BLACK BEANS!!  Get creative!  Everything from a black bean dip to black beans on the most amazing salad to a black bean burger.  Post up your creativity on your blog starting now, and let me know when you posted it.  All the recipes will be compiled into one major incredible black bean post for next Saturday. :mrgreen:  Post ’em up!

Question: If you make something that you end up not enjoying, will you still eat it?  Or does it end up in the trash?  It really depends how bad it is. :mrgreen:  Sometimes I’ll eat it, but if it’s truly horrible, it’s not worth wasting my tastebuds on. 😉

Winter Biking

This morning I tried adding some bran to my breakfast cookie!

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 T. peanut butter
  • 1 smashed banana
  • splash of milk
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 2 T. wheat bran
  • 2 T. crushed flax

If you’ve ever tried bran muffin batter, you know exactly what this breakfast cookie tasted like.  It had that lovely hint of bran which I loved.  I also love how 2 T. wheat bran contains 3 g. fiber, lots of nutrients, and only 15 calories!

Served with a glass of milk and lots of water. 😀

We’re expecting snow and rain until next Thursday, so I was all prepared to bunker down today with a strength training routine.  I made a change of plans when I realized the precipitation hadn’t yet started though.  May as well take advantage of the clear weather and go for an 11-mile bike ride! 😀 

There are definitely some challenges to winter biking:

  • Slip ‘n’ Slide: I ride my mountain bike to avoid slipping or skidding on snow and sand.  The thicker tires provide some grip, but it’s still important to be extra cautious on the snow and ice!
  • The Big Chill:  I thought my face would be chilling the most, but it turns out that my feet are the problem!  I heard somewhere that an easy solution is to duct tape the front toe of your sneaker, which covers up the vents.  However, I just threw on some thick wool socks, and it took care of that! 😀
  • Vision: Both for me and the cars.  Wearing bright colors (ie, yellows, greens, etc.) makes you more visible.  And although I don’t personally have a pair of glasses, I’d recommend investing in a pair for when flurries start.  It’s important to keep your eyes on the road, which can be a bit challenging with snow hitting your face. 😉

There are lots of perks to biking in the winter too.  Like that feeling of satisfaction and refreshment after a long morning ride.  Plus I was able to plan out a lot of  my coconut presentation for tomorrow.  Running makes me zone out…biking makes me think. :mrgreen:

After a quick shower and adding a bit of makeup, I grabbed this snack to-go: an orange and a Fruit and Nuts Yogurt KIND bar.  Another lovely flavor! 😀  I still like the Almond and Cashew the best so far, but this was one was chewy, sweet and fun to eat.  I loved the yogurt! 

Lunch was scrumptious! 😀 I had no idea what to expect from this meal, because I threw it together last night when I was tired from studying and homework. 😉  But the flavors all worked out really well together.  I especially loved the splash of lemon.  It added a touch of freshness and zing!

  • 1 c. leftover brown rice
  • 1/2 c. garbanzo beans & black beans
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1 carrot, shredded finely
  • about 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • about 1/8 tsp. cayenne (a little less)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • splash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Yum!

I brought along some almonds (about an ounce or 20 almonds) and a pear for an afternoon snack too.

Dinner was as much a hodgepodge as my lunch, but in a different kind of way.  Still just as delicious. 😀

Lots of veggies!  Turnips (boiled and mashed,) steamed green & wax beans, and peas.

There was also a recipe for Soba Noodles and Broccoli from a Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook (not to be confused with Molly’s Moosewood cookbooks, ) which I went back for seconds on.  Soba noodles are one of my favorite types of noodles.  They take approximately 2 minutes to cook, and they have a unique flavor all their own.  This dish was so simple (think soysauce and hot red pepper with a bit of oil) and paired perfectly with the leftover orange marmalade chicken. 

I love sampler plates full of variety and flavahs! 😀

Finale!  I broke into the Valentines chocolate box and picked out a pretty caramel chocolate.

Tomorrow night I will be done all of the presentations and papers and exams that have been keeping me so busy over this past week!  I plan on relaxing and taking a break by reading blogs, drinking tea, and journaling.  So excited! :mrgreen:

Busy day tomorrow, so I’m heading to bed ASAP!

What’s your favorite way to relax and unwind after a busy work/school week?  I love reading a fun magazine, journaling, drinking tea, taking a bubble bath, and just taking the night off from plans and work.  I think we all need a catch up day once in a while! 😀