running partner

I am not a night runner.

I get up early.  I wake up with the sun.  I run in the crisp morning air.  I indulge in the smells of coffee and bagels and fried eggs. 

At night, I am sleepy.  Ready to relax with a good magazine.  Or maybe fit in a quick yoga session.  Maybe.

I am not a night runner. 

Putting that all aside, tonight I ran my heart out.

Dad and I have made a mutual agreement to set aside both Tuesday and Thursday nights for running, as it fits nicely into both of our schedules.  And, really, I think having a runner partner is going to do me—and my motivation—a world of good.  There are definitely times when I’d rather not run (yes, especially at night!) and having someone who’s up and ready keeps me going.

My dad pushes me harder than I think I’m capable of.  He dashes up hills.  He pushes through moments of feeling tired.  Just after a week or so of running consistently with his pace, I feel like my endurance has already improved dramatically.

A breezy 3 miles felt absolutely invigorating! 😀

And then I came home to eat a gigantic sardine sandwich. :mrgreen:

Forget those thoughts of slimy, canned fish.

When sardines are heated in a pan, mashed together with dijon (or even honey mustard) and mixed with crunchy, diced celery, the results are pretty darn yummy.  Place in between two toasted slices of seedy bread, and serve with a mixture of your favorite veggies. 😀 

I am exhausted tonight.  My second day at the hospital left me with a huge workload, along with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Once I fell into the groove, however, I found myself really enjoying it.  Nutrition assessments.  Education (I love the elderly patients! 😀 ).  Nutrition screening.  I think I’ll learn a lot.  And very quickly. 😉

Tomorrow, I’ll be on my own for a couple of hours in the early morning.  Ready or not, here I come. 😀

Question: Do you have an exercise partner or do you prefer going solo? 

the return of the boxed lunch

Vacation sure was nice while it lasted. 

Honestly—aside from writing an abstract on hypertension—I didn’t accomplish a whole lot during vacation, and that is just fine by me.  My brain feels well rested.  Ready to think and be used once again.

That being said, the first day back always feels a little rough.  Especially since I was starting my clinical rotation at the hospital for the first time today.  Obviously, I needed a fun lunch to feel excited about.  Something to  make getting up at 5:00am just a little bit easier. 😉

Last night, I made chef salads for the family and topped each one off with a few scoops of roasted veggies that had been drizzled and deeply caramelized with a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Sweet onions, peppers, carrots, and baby portobello mushrooms. 

I forgot how much I love this simple flavor combination.

One of the (many) things that I love about roasting vegetables, is that any extras can be incorporated into the following day’s lunches and dinners.  Breakfast, even! 

And so, roasted vegetables became my very special lunch for today.  I reheated the veggies in the cafe’s microwave, scooped them onto a whole wheat wrap from home, and finished it all off with a salty bite of feta cheese.

(p.s. As much as I love roasted veggies, the feta definitely made this meal! )

The first day back can be terribly unsettling.

What time will I eat?  Will I have the time to eat?

Where do I go?  What was that persons’ name again?  And the worst: I think I’m lost.

 But…

Yes, I had time to eat.  I’ll learn peoples’ names eventually.  And it’s impossible to get completely lost, even in an unknown hospital, because there’s always somebody around to redirect me if I look worried enough…ha! 😉 

A fun group of snacks and a tasty lunch didn’t hurt either.

Snacks included:

  • Chocolate Chip Z-Bar
  • Apple
  • Almonds mixed with fancy raisins
  • Sliced papaya

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Roasted Veggie Wrap
Serves 1-2

Roasted veggies make for a fine lunch-to-go.  Make extra during the weekend to carry you through at least the beginning of the week.  For easy lunch options, you could easily mix the veggies with brown rice and baked tofu or chicken for a complete meal.  Or serve them alongside a piece of grilled fish.  Or simple eat as-is, with roasted garbanzo beans and a dollop of gaucamole.  

Or, roll the veggies into a whole wheat wrap and top with feta cheese. 

Whichever way you serve them, roasted veggies offer you a whole lot of nutrition and a whole lot of flavor.  Enjoy! 😀

  • Mixture of your favorite vegetables, sliced to desired thickness (the thicker pieces will require longer cooking time)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • whole wheat wrap
  • feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. On a rimmed cookie sheet, toss vegetables with oil, salt and pepper.  Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Stir around.  Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked as desired (browning is recommended! 😀 ).
  3. Place on a whole wheat wrap, top with feta cheese and enjoy! 😀

Question: What do you do for work (or as a student)?  Do you enjoy it?

a typical day.

If you have the chance, check out my guest post at Ashlei’s blog (aka, the Vegster.)  Ashlei was nice enough to ask me to write a guest post on anything that I wanted, so I decided to put up together little ‘photography post.’ 😀

Good Morning! 😀

Tea and oats were eaten in standard form this morning, while sitting in front of  the Christmas tree.  I had exactly 15 minutes to eat, but it still felt incredibly enjoyable with the dazzling drama and glitz of a few colorful lightbulbs. 😀

But I still think it would have been useful to have just a bit more than 15 minutes to clear away any early morning brain-fog.

Look how I almost walked out the door!!

Not that I didn’t mind spending more time in a warm pair of Uggs and striped fleece pants, but…

…phew.  That was a close one. 😉

I managed to get myself out the door in one piece—and wearing a work-appropriate outfit—with a fun, smart lunch packed away in my backpack.

Homemade Baked Beans!

And a raw kale salad!

  • a couple handfuls of raw kale, shredded with hands
  • 1/2 carrot, grated
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a few splashes of fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Snacks included a red orange…

…honey roasted peanuts…

…and an apple, crackers and a cheesestick.

Plenty of snacks.  I’m finding this works best with my internship schedule, since I never quite know when I’ll have the chance for a “quick” bite.  Normally, I can’t go longer than 3 hrs without feeling tired and/or hungry, so having a little something to eat on hand is an absolute must.

Packed last night. 

Ready to-go this morning. 

Munched on throughout the day.

The 9 hrs. at work f-l-e-w by today!

This week’s internship rotation is going to be at a Long Term Care facility.  Today I visited a local nursing home, and I really, really liked it.  I grew up volunteering in nursing homes and working as a food service worker in an assisted living facility as a high school student, so I tend to feel at home in places like this.  And I love talking with the patients.  Their life stories are so fascinating!  Where else would you hear about living in Holland?  Or being born on a ship while having a father in the navy? 

I love it.

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Dinner; kept simple!

I’m on such a scrambled egg kick lately.  Usually I’ll opt for a veggie-styled omelet, but tonight I wanted straight up—pure and simple—fluffy eggs.  Nothing but a touch of salt and a splash of soymilk.

Crisp veggies were saved for the side, with a dollop of artichoke hummus.

And then I blasted the radio, flicked on the Christmas lights and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my way through tree poses, downward dogs and plenty of planks.  A delicious end to a typical day. 😀

Time to catch the final show of the Biggest Loser!!

Question:  What is the most enjoyable way that you stay active?  I change my opinion all the time.  Obviously, my true love is running.  But I also love a good long walk or a deep, energizing yoga session.  These days, I’m even enjoying strength training, which is competely new for me! 😀

over a bowl of oats

This morning, there were two things on the brain.

First, breakfast. 

I don’t normally like to eat and read all at the same time, but I did just that today. 

Well.  That is, if you count studying the t-stops to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston as “reading.”

Part of the dietetic internship involves traveling to various places and listening to different lecturers and speakers.  Today, Beth Israel Hospital in Boston was having a day-long lecture on the topic of Obesity (and how to best manage it,) self esteem issues in the adolescent, and more. 

This all brings me to the second thing on my brain: making my way through Boston.  A solo journey.  Normally, this kind of thing is deemed as fun and exciting, and it really doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  If I get lost, I get lost.  What’s the worst that could happen, really?  I end up in Canada?   That’s okay.  I like Canada.

(FYI, this is not my own picture.  And Boston is not currently seeing this much sunlight. 😉 )

(source)

Even though I’m not afraid of getting lost, I do hate, hate, hate showing up late to any sort of event or conference.  It’s one of my own personal little pet peeves.  And so, with a time schedule looming over me, I felt slightly anxious and nervous.

That was when my dad asked me with a smile, “Sarah, it’s not a big deal.  What are they going to do if you show up a little late?  Yell at you?”  I thought about this, realizing how silly I was for worrying about things that were completely out of my control (what if the T is running late???  What if I get a flat tire and can’t make it on time?  What…)

I thank my dad for always having the ability to just shrug something off, because that is exactly what I decided to do from that point on.  And then I just enjoyed the trip into Boston.  Reading during a 30 minute ride on the subway.  People watching.  Feeling deliciously independent as I walked into the lecture hall of Beth Israel Hospital (completely on time, I might add.)  Soaking up all the little bits of information like a sponge.  Walking home with a tall soy gingerbread latte from Starbucks.

Delicious.

Lesson Learned: Relax.  Breath.  And realize that it’s okay to not always have control over everything.  This is what makes life interesting. 😀

Question: How do you handle life’s little stresses?   

good morning, scones.

During my last couple years of college, I was awake (and studying) into the late night hours.  For a girl who is normally in bed by 10, this was the furthest thing from normal.  😉

Countless hours were spent in my family’s living room chair, as I pounded my head full of nutrition notes and chemistry formulas.  I can still feel the anxiety of a chemistry exam, the pressure of doing well in my medical nutrition therapy class, and the thrill of seeing an A on my report card.  I also happen to remember the fear of seeing a C on my chemistry exam, but we won’t talk aobut that tonight.

This week, I felt like that college girl all over again.  I was up late doing homework assignments for my internship, and I felt that same pressure of wanting to do well.  Saturday night involved hours and hours of note reviewing, in addition to figuring out what I wanted to do my research project on. 

And then I started to think about future careers which brought a whole new level of emotions.  Exciting.  Scary.  Thrilling!

And then—finally—I decided to just stop thinking.  It was Sunday morning, after all.  A day of rest.  And I wanted breakfast.

Sundays are those perfect days when everything seems to just slow down. 

People tell me that I’m supposed to be depressed on Sunday—with tomorrow being Monday and all that—but in my opinion, there’s absolutely nothing to be depressed about on a Sunday morning.  It’s my time to (a) go for a run, (b) eat a lovely breakfast, (c) go to church, and (d) hit Starbucks with my best friend for some chatting time.  Sunday?  Depressing?  Not so much. 

My breakfast of choice for this morning was not at all fancy, but it did boast of energetic and bright flavors.  Perfect for a cold autumn morning. 

Breakfast scones are best served straight from the oven, as they have a slight crusty texture on the outside, and a warm, fluffy inside.  However, they’re also delicious served the following day.  You can simply warm them up in the microwave for a good 20 seconds. 

On the side of my breakfast scone, I served some homemade greek yogurt with flax granola and a banana smeared in almond butter.  A lovely Sunday morning breakfast.

Breakfast Sconesidea was taken from Eating Well magazine, with some tweaking involved.

The reason I’m calling these breakfast scones and not “blueberry scones” is that I’d hate to limit what this recipe is capable of.  You can turn it into an apple scone if you like.  Or a banana chocolate chip scone.  Or maybe even a savory cheese scone to be served with scrambled eggs.  So many possibilities. 😀

The orange zest adds a zingy and energetic note, making theses scones a lovely treat after a busy work or school week.  Enjoy! 

  • 4 T. reduced fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  • zest of one orange
  • cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2/3 c. plus 1 T. buttermilk, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place cream cheese and butter in freezer to chill, about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Cut cream cheese and butter into flour mixture with pasty blender, two knives or your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.  Add blueberries and orange zest, tossing to incorporate.  Make a well in flour mixture.  Add 2/3 c. buttermilk, stirring with a fork until just combined.
  3. Knead dough gently in bowl, 7-8 times.  Divide dough into 8 round balls.  Pat each piece into a circle about 1/2 inch thick and place on baking sheet.  Lightly brush tops with remaining 1 T. buttermilk and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.
  4. Bake scones for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and firm.  Cool slightly on wire rack.  Serve warm
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you find that you work your best in the morning or at night?  I am most definitely a morning person!!

my cup of tea

This morning, I drank tea.

This is a big step for me.  I’ve gone from 2 cups (yes, my favorite blue mug apparently holds 2 solid cups of coffee) to 1/2 cup within a matter of two weeks.  And not a grumpy headache in sight.   

Today I took the final leap.  No coffee.  Just tea.  And for my family’s sake, I hope I don’t get the grumps, but we’ll see. 😉   In the end, it will be well worth it.  My stomach has felt super sensitive lately, and I’d rather not be drinking large amounts of caffeine every. single. morning. 

One thing about caffeine withdrawal is that my appetite skyrockets.  Through the roof.  It’s a random side effect that usually only lasts for a day or so.  A good solid breakfast helps. 

I made my standard banana oat mix, threw in some flaxseed for the extra omega-3’s and fiber, and filled, filled, filled my almond jar to the brim.

One nut jar down.  Three to go. 

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Yesterday was my last day working at the school cafeteria!   

This was the first rotation of my dietetic internship, so leaving the place felt a little bittersweet.  Yes, I’m ready to move on to something new.  Something different.  But I’ll also miss the food service workers, the kids, and even my daily routine which I was just starting to get used to.

There were many fun experiences involved.  Creating health posters.  Offering food tastings.  Giving presentations on food allergies.  Cooking.  Surveying parents and kids.

Perhaps most of all, I’m going to miss all of these lovely ladies.  They all have huge, huge, huge hearts.  Never once did I feel like I was in the way, as they all made sure to make me feel more than welcome.

Next week, a whole new rotation starts!  For two weeks (before Thanksgiving,) I’ll be working in a veteran’s hospital.  My sum of emotions is excitement and nervousness.  Mostly excitement. 😀

Question: Are you a tea or a coffee drinker? 

roasting: making life easy

In case you didn’t know, it is perfectly okay to have breakfast for dinner.

In fact, it is more than okay.  I highly recommend it.  Especially when we’re talking fried eggs.  Whole wheat english muffins.  And loads of roasted broccoli (because this is way more appealing after 5pm than it is before 5am.)

I have been roasting so many veggies around here.  You’d think I was feeding a family of 5.  Which I’m not.  But I am feeding a family of 3 (that eats like a family of 5 when it comes to produce.)  And so, I’ve been mass-roasting broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, etc., and throwing them into big containers.  They’re quickly used up on everything from salads, to omelets, to an everyday wrapped sandwiches.

Honestly, I sometimes have a hard time convincing myself to take the time to cut up and roast a vegetable, especially during a busy week.  Laziness is what it is.  Sometimes I just have to give myself that push and make it happen.  Because it’s awesome to have a fridge filled to the brim with pre-cooked veggies at my convenience.  Well worth the effort.

Roasted Broccoli

  • 1-2 large head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine broccoli, olive oil and garlic powder in a large bowl.  Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook in oven for 10 minutes.  Stir and place back in oven for another 10 minutes or until browned.  Serve immediately or place in a bowl to be used for the upcoming, busy week.  ENJOY! 😀

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On Sunday, I went to the American Dietetic Association’s Food Conference in Boston.  It was, in one word, awesome.  And not just because of all the free food that I ended up with…

Yes, I am a food hoarder.  😉

There were hundreds of food distributors talking about their products, as they handed out sample after sample.  Awesome.

But anyways, I didn’t exactly go there for the food (although this was a definite perk! :mrgreen: )  I went there to learn.  To meet practicing RD’s.  To hear some of the most recent research that dietitians are involved with.  I felt slightly overwhelmed with excitement, and found myself wishing that I had gone for the full, 3-day weekend.

I’ll be doing that next year.  In California.  I’m already dancing in excitement. 😀

Question: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate veggies into your daily diet? 

Breakfast Bonanza, day 6. “it started with rice.”

In the back of the fridge—along with the peanut butter, ketchup, and jug of soy—there is usually a big ol’ batch of brown rice.

I consider rice to be one of my favorite “go-to” foods.  I like mixing it with salsa and beans, and calling it lunch.  I like mixing my rice with peas and serving it alongside baked cod for dinner.

And, apparently, I like rice for breakfast too.

I like to follow the habit of using up most leftovers within 3 days, so I decided that brown rice was a good candidate for this morning’s meal.

Layer 1: About 1 c. of brown rice

Layer 2: An apple, diced

Layer 3: 1/2 of a smashed banana (I needed the other half for lunch’s almond butter sandwich!)

Layer 4: 2 T. soymilk + cinnamon and nutmeg + ground flax

Stir, stir, stir.  And into the fridge the batch of sweet rice went. 

With busy, early mornings, the overnight soaking method almost always sounds like a good one.  Besides, rice is not a naturally sweet tasting grain, and I’ve found that it tastes best when allowed to chill out with some of the other flavors. 

The following morning, I pulled out the rice concoction, added some extra soymilk to loosen it all up, and gave it a few minutes in the microwave.  As a side note, this would probably make a great chilled breakfast for the summer too.  But that was not  meant for this morning.  No.  This morning, I kind of liked the thought of enjoying a warm, melty breakfast bowl.  You know, that point where the apples begin to soak up the cinnamon, forming a melty layer of ooey gooey sweetness.

 

And then I topped it all off with walnuts and coconut.  Delicious.

Spiced Apple Breakfast Bowl

Usually I’m a stickler when it comes to cooking brown rice.  Nothing ruins rice like cooking it too slow or too quickly (starchy, starchy, starchy!)  But in this case, the starchier rice actually tastes better!  Think of it as being a little like a risotto.  For breakfast.  And not too fancy, making it perfectly suitable for any old morning.

Tart apples and sweet bananas bring balance to the entire dish.  But have fun and create some of your own new tasty combos! 

  • 1 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 4 T. soymilk, separated
  • toppings: walnuts and coconut
  1. Mix rice, apple, banana, spices, flax and 2 T. soymilk together.  Place in fridge overnight.
  2. Next morning: Add 2-3 T. soymilk  and stir together.  Heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes or until hot.
  3. Top with walnuts and coconut.  ENJOY! 😀

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My food service rotation for my dietetic internship has been going really well. 

Today, my preceptor (aka, the school’s food service manager) was holding a beverage sampling for the kids to try. 

And she gave me permission to take whatever I wanted from the kitchen and serve it up to the kids for a taste testing.  I was so excited until I realized that I had about an hour or so to come up with a new recipe that would feed at least 600 kids.

After much searching, I found cans of kidney beans.  Cans of garbanzos.  All natural salsas, fresh bell peppers, peaches, shredded carrots, red onions, corn.  Crushed red pepper.

And lots of garlic to liven things up.

Lo and behold, a spicy bean salsa was born.

I felt a little nerveracked to be feeding the kids something that I made up on a whim, based on what the kitchen had on supply for the moment.  But I made it look as pretty as possible with some catering dishes, served some corn chips on the side for dunking, and called it a day.

The verdict?

The kids loved it.  One girl commented that she hated vegetables but she loved the salsa.  A teacher said the flavors were “lovely and beautiful together.”  One boy made a face that he didn’t like “health food” but went back for seconds after trying it.

Suddenly, I realized how good Jamie Oliver must have felt when people enjoyed his food. 😉  It was such a fun experience, and I found myself sighing with relief by the end.

I have tomorrow off!!  Whatever will I do with myself? 😉  Actually, I have a lot of homework to catch up on, as well as putting together a powerpoint presentation for next week.  AND, I need to find a killer cupcake recipe for my sister’s housewarming party.  Any ideas?

Question: Do you enjoy cooking for other people?  Do you find that friends and family have similair tastes to your own?

how convenient

Sometimes I exhibit split personalities.  Especially in the kitchen.

For example, sometimes I really love cooking over a hot stove for several hours.  Wearing my apron as if it’s an accessory item.  Waving my spoon around while chanting “Bon Appetit” in my best Julia Childs imitation. 

And then there’s the other side of me that wants convenience.  This mostly takes place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, when I’m doing my internship in the school system.  I don’t want to spend longer than 15 minutes preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Quick!  Snap, Snap.  No time to be wasted. 

Breakfast: 1 serving of creamy banana oatmeal + 1 almost but not quite empty peanut jar + 15 minutes of preparation = perfect.

Lunch could not have been easier in the convenience department either.

As soon as I finished making the lentil tacos last night, I popped some directly into the freezer and dished the rest into a tupperware container for today.  Eazy Peazy.

When served along with a whole wheat wrap, an apple, and some carrot sticks, this meal was complete. 

Convenience.  Nutrition.  Taste.  It’s nice when they decide to get along.

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt mixed with 1/2 c. pureed pumpkin + Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

I’ll bet when you think “fish,” convenience doesn’t always come to mind.  And I’ll bet that some of you won’t believe me when I tell you that my dinner was served in under 15 minutes.

But it’s true.  From grill to salad, salmon makes a quick and easy dinner for a busy weeknight meal.  Sometimes I’ll go all crazy with the marinades, but honestly, I like to keep things as simple as possible with the wild caught salmon.  The flavor is so sweet and fresh; salt and pepper is all it really needs.

I threw some black beans, tomatoes, and good olive oil on top, along with some kashis on the side for crunch.

Moral of the story: convenience isn’t always such a bad thing for your tastebuds or for your health. 😉

Question: What are some lunch items that you’ve found to be most convenient, still nutritious, and TASTY? 

breakfast in a hurry

Sometimes I like to spend hours in the kitchen. 

Throwing together homemade samosas and carrot soup, all on a whim.  Just because I can.

And then there are times when I need short-cuts.

Let’s take steel cut oats as an example.

Steel cut oats take a good 30-40 minutes of your attention.  This is fine for lazy weekends, but not so much for a busy week day.  What’s a busy girl to do?

Well, duh.  There are rolled oats for people like us.

But, really, sometimes you want steel cut oats.  They impart a deliciously nutty bite, and may even keep you full longer since the digestion time is increased.  I like to think of it in this way: steel cut oats > rolled oats > instant oats.  In regards to the fullness factor, anyways.

I’ve discovered that there is indeed a short cut to having steel cut oats during the week.  And that is simply to prepare one heeping batch at the beginning of the week and pop it in the fridge.

Four servings worth of steel cut oats.  Just cut it, pop it in a microwave safe bowl, throw in your favorite fillings and heat to desired temperature.  In 3-4 minutes, you’ll have steel cut oats for a busy, week day breakfast!!

This morning I had to drive in early for a Food Service Director’s meeting, which meant that breakfast needed to be extra, extra quick to throw together.  Cha, cha, chilly oats became my breakfast of choice.

  • 1 serving of steel cut oats (about 1/4 c. uncooked)
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 T. craisins
  • toppings: granola and almond butter

Served with hot tea for a lil’ warmth on a chilly morning. 😀

Another busy day tomorrow.  But hopefully by the end I will be ServSafe certified! :mrgreen:

Question: Do you have any “secret” shortcuts for meals/snacks/breakfasts that would normally take a long time to make?