life’s lessons in health.

 

Life’s Lessons In Staying Healthy…

…through the eyes of a “shop-till-you-drop” shopping trip.

#1: Aim for 8 hrs. of sleep (or more!) a night…

  …and don’t be afraid to take naps.  I was always a self-proclaimed nap hater until my freshman year of college.  And then I had an afternoon free without an ounce of homework.  And I fell asleep.  And it felt delicious.

Ever since, I’ve been making sure that I get at least 8 hrs. of sleep a night.  And I’m not afraid to take a nap if I need it.  Even if it means falling asleep in the ladies dressing room at JCPenneys.  Kidding! (kind of)

 

 

#2: Find what works for you and your body.

I love having a big ol’ mug of coffee.  I do.  I love the intoxicating smell of freshly ground beans.  The feeling of warmth on the palms of my hands, hugging the mug.  The swirl of steam that hits my nose as I take my first sip.  Sigh.  Love.

But then, the “after effect” is never quite as fun.  After years of just putting up with the gurgling stomachs, the shaking, the feelings of nausea, I’ve decided that caffeine and I just don’t really get along.  I still enjoy a fully caffeinated cup of coffee now and then, but I mostly stick to decaf. 

It works for me.

 

 

#3: Treat your body with respect.

You would never tell a hungry friend to skip a meal or a snack because “she needs to lose an extra 5 pounds.”  She doesn’t deserve it.  So why oh why would you ever tell yourself to do the same? 

Respect your hunger.  Respect your fullness.  Feed yourself with mostly wholesome, nutritious foods that leave you feeling and looking your best.

And know that it’s okay—important!—to treat yourself with your favorite foods now and then.

 

 

#4: Spend time with the people who make you feel good about yourself.

Nobody likes a Negative Nancy!  Hang out with the people who support you through everything in life.  People who inspire you to be a better you.  Stronger.

People who make you smile and laugh and live life to the absolute fullest.

 

 

#5: Sneak exercise into your everyday life.

This applies to runners.  Or bikers.  Couch potatoes.  And gym junkies.

Finding little ways to sneak in exercise has been proven to be beneficial towards good heart health.  Little steps really do add up.

Take the stairs.  Park in the furthest parking spot.  Do bicep curls with your shopping bags.  Take an extra lap around the mall before shopping.  Get up and walk around for 5 minutes every hour (that’s 40 minutes worth of walking in an 8 hr. work day!)

Yes, regular structured exercise is important.  But so are the little things.  Just. Do. Something. 

 

 

Question: What are some of your favorite of life’s lessons in staying healthy?  Another thing I would add: Drink lots of water!  I always have a nalgene bottle filled with H2O and I bring it anywhere and everywhere.  It keeps my skin and hair feeling healthy and keeps me energized.

a walk in the woods (and a taste of bruschetta)

 

I drive my car through slippery ice.  I shovel dense, heavy snow off of the porch.  I plow myself through the slush and snow, on my daily runs and walks.  And the cars are dirty.  All. Of. The. Time.

But winter is not the problem.  Winter is not to blame.

The problem is that I don’t do anything to enjoy the snow.  The fault is my own.

 

 

Yesterday, I decided to change all of that and took my workout into the woods.

Al la snowshoes.

 

 

(Yes.  This is a lawn chair.  In the middle of the woods.  Buried in the snow.)

 

 

??? 

You just never know what you’ll run into. 😉

 

 

 Snowshoeing is such a fabulous workout.  I kept my heart rate up the entire time, simply by walking through deep layers of snow.

And the best part?  It didn’t once feel like a workout.

Going…

 

…Going…

 

 

…”Kind” of still going…

 

 

completely gone. Ha!

 

 

The secret to surviving winter:  finding a fresh new way to enjoy it!

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Honestly, I’ve never been much of a football fan.  But the Super Bowl involves lots of food.  And friends and family. 

I really, really enjoy the Super Bowl. 😀

 

 

For the party, everyone brought something to the table, which made for a deliciously wide variety of flavors.

 

 

I brought the bruschetta!

 

 

Good food.  Good friends.

(And the additional perk of having everyone cheering for the winning team.  Perfect.  Day.)

 

 

A Simple Bruschetta

Bruschetta may look all fancy and gourmet, but it’s actually one of the easiest appetizers you will ever put together.  If you would like to make a light lunch or dinner out of it, top the bread slices with fresh mozzarella cheese and serve with a side salad. 

For the best flavors and texture, choose a crusty bread that has aged a few days.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 whole grain baguette, sliced about 3/4 inch thick
  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil or more
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • parmesan, grated
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
  1. Set oven to low broil.  Combine olive oil, parmesan and garlic together in a bowl.
  2. Place bread slices on a baking sheet.  Brush oil mixture onto bread and place under broiler.  Cook until golden brown and crispy.  Flip over, spread with more of the oil mixture and continue cooking until browned. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and basil together.  Top the cooked bread slices with the tomato mixture and serve immediately.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What is your favorite winter time activity? 

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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! 😀

staying motivated

It’s important to roll with the changes when it comes to motivation.

Last week, I ran because that’s what kept me sane for the moment.  I blew off steam.  Fed my frustration.  Came home feeling like a brand new woman.

This week, I didn’t feel frustrated.  I didn’t need to blow off steam.  I didn’t feel motivated.

Once I realized why I didn’t feel much like running, I just decided not to.  In the same way that I’ll never force myself to eat a healthy food just because it’s good for me, I’ll never force myself to exercise.  Just because.

However, that being said, I also know that exercising makes me feel eons better.  So I walked.  Because it felt good and kept me energized for a busy week.  I mixed yoga in with my regular strength routine.  I mixed things up, focusing on the things that helped me relax, because that’s exactly what I needed.

Motivation.

I also ate out a lot this week, which is totally unusual for me.  Between the german chocolate cake, the date squares, the meatballs, the tenderloin tips, and the broccoli casserole, you could say that I’m feeling a little less than normal. 

Motivation to eat better?

Because I’ll feel better.  Energized.  Normal.  Healthy.  Strong.  Ready for anything. 

(p.s. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy ever. single. bite of all the delicious food that I was served, but it sure does feel good to be back to normal today!)

A big hunka salad, a steaming bowl of homemade beans and a warm slice of cornbread left me satisfied.

Motivated.

Motivation is always evolving.  Always changing, in all different areas of our life.  What keeps us motivated to exercise doesn’t necessarily keep us motivated to eat right.

Find what works and stick with it.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  To fall now and then.  Getting back up, and trying something new.  Never beating yourself up but moving on.

One.  Step.  At.  A.  Time. 

Homemade Baked Beans

I’ve talked about these baked beans before, but it’s just one of those recipes that you need to talk about more than once. 

As much as my Pepere and I have in common when it comes to food, my Memere and I shared a deep appreciation for homemade baked beans.  She would serve them with a fresh batch of fluffy pancakes, smile, and say how much she loved this meal.  Sometimes she’d make some buttery scrambled eggs for the side too.  As a little girl in awe of her Memere’s cooking, I was pretty sure that life couldn’t get much better, and I still feel that way.  This meal is proof that healthy foods and comfort foods can oftentimes be one and the same.

  • 2 c. navy beans
  • 1-2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 T. molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 c. ketchup (I use trader joe’s all natural brand)
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. packed brown sugar
  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water.  Simmer beans in same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hrs.  Drain and reserve liquid. (keep in mind that you don’t want the beans sooo tender that they’re falling apart on you…they should be a little firm)
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  3. Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish and top with onions.
  4. In a saucepan, combine rest of ingredients.  Bring mixture to a bowl and pour over beans.  Pour in just enough of reserved bean water to cover the beans.  Stir gently with rubber spatula and cover dish with lid or aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 3 to 4 hrs in preheated oven.  Stir at least every hour. 
  6. ENJOY!

Question: What are some of the things that keep you motivated?

a leafy tale

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sarah.

Sarah loved the outdoors.  She loved to walk.  She loved to run.  She even loved to rake. 

One day, Sarah decided to join the “no-makeup” bandwagon for the day.  Instead of gussying up and going to the mall—as might be expected on a typical Saturday afternoon—Sarah threw on a big ol’, cozy sweatshirt and headed outside.  Rake in hand.

The entire family joined in on the autumn experience.  Hours upon hours flew by, with everyone hard at work. 

(my arms will be very, very sore tomorrow, FYI!!!)

But then, despite the beautiful day, the array of autumn’s colors & smells, and the boundless energy that everyone seemed to have at the very beginning, people began to grow very, very tired.

Sometimes—most times—growing tired is equivalent with being silly.  It kind of just happens.

 

(Let it be known that dad started it.)

Tackle #1

Tackle #2

Leaf jumping.  Leaf catching.  Leaf tackling.  All three are absolutely necessary when raking a yard. 

After raking the yard and countless numbers of tackles, it was time to go in and eat.  Which, by the way, was also absolutely necessary.

Roasted chicken legs.  Brown rice ‘n’ peas.  Heaps upon heaps of roasted butternut squash.  The entire family agreed that this was the perfect meal to refuel on.

Energy input = complete.

The.  End.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Who doesn’t love a hot side of roasted veggies?  The preparation is super simple, and the flavor is sweet and intense.  I always seem to err on the side of being a purist when it comes to roasting veggies, but you could also add in cinnamon and nutmeg, which I think would go lovely with the butternut squash.  This is an easy vegetable side to add with any meal. 😀

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Dice the squash into bite sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop in oven for 10 minutes.  Flip with a spatula.  Continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until soft, tender and browned.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you regularly do yard work?  What is your favorite/least favorite? 

Tomorrow is *Day 2* of the Breakfast Bonanza.  If you haven’t started yet, that’s okay!  You can jump in any time.  Just let me know what breakfast(s!) you want to include on the breakfast post for next week.

OH, and even trying ONE new breakfast overall is great too.  Just have fun with it! 😀

(a cat’s) life lessons

As naughty as cats can be—like jumping on the counter when they know they shouldn’t be up there in the first place 😉 —there sure are a lot of life lessons to be learned from them as well.

Lesson #1: Take the time to look around you.  Enjoy those simple, every day things that make you smile.

Lesson #2: Give your body the rest that it needs. 

Lesson #3: Take time to be alone once in a while.  Find a comfy spot and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Lesson #4: Embrace those things that make you stand out.  Those things that make you unique.  Those things that make you you!

Lesson #5: Stretch often.

Lesson #6: Eat plenty of fatty fish.

I cracked open a can of sardines for the kitties tonight and decided to do the same for me. :mrgreen:

Keeping it simple with sauteed cabbage and mustard.

Sardines get such a bad rap for being stinky and slimy, but I seriously love them.  If you’re on the fence about cracking open a can, try adding some texture to the meal.  Sometimes I’ll dunk the little fish in whole wheat flour and toss them in a frying pan with a bit of butter, thereby creating a crispy coating.  OR, you could simply toast a slice of whole wheat bread, slather on some really good, spicy mustard and call it a meal. 

Question: What is it that makes you unique and different and how do you feel about it?  I have a red scar that I used to always feel super self conscious about!  I even had a doctor try to remove it when I was smaller.  But now I love it because it makes me different, and I’m not afraid to show it off.  😀

ode to fall…continued

This morning I wanted pancakes, and only pancakes would do.

Puffy, fluffy, pumpkin pancakes. 

I’ve been dreaming of making pumpkin pancakes ever since I spotted a can of Libby pumpkin sitting on the grocery shelves.  It’s the fall weather that finally convinced me to do so.

This recipe (go way, way, way down to the bottom of this post to view it) is one of my all time favorites.  Not too sweet but filled with everything you want in a pumpkin pancake.  It’s light, fluffy, and fragrant with autumn spices.  I would have used white flour if I thought it would have produced better results; after all, a girl has only so many pumpkin pancakes in her life.  But in all honesty (and this is not just my nutrition side speaking,) the whole wheat flour does wonders for this recipe.  It’s all hearty and rustic without being dense.  You’ll love it.

They’re versatile too.  I served scrambled eggs, oranges and maple syrup for my parents…

…and slathered mine with almond butter and sliced bananas because it just seemed oh so right.

My craving for making (and eating) a plate of pumpkin pancakes = fulfilled.

The leftover pancakes (because this recipe makes at least 18 good sized pancakes) can be cooled on a wire rack, much in the same way you might cool a muffin or a batch of fresh cookies.  You’ll avoid soggy bottoms, and then you can pop them in a freezer bag for an easy weekday breakfast throughout the week.

With a belly full of deliciously energizing carbs, it was time to walk.

I have been absolutely and completely absorbed with fall lately.  The fresh and crispy air.  Colorful New England leaves.  Warm, cozy sweatshirts.  Comfy weekend jeans.  Spicy, pumpkin flavors.  Mmm…I think I want fall to stay around forever.  Do you think winter would oblige?

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
As seen on AllRecipes by Ruth, with minor tweaks here and there
Serves 6

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 2 T. vinegar

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine (do not over mix.)

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 c. for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Question: What is your favorite thing to serve ON THE SIDE or ON TOP OF of your pancakes?  As you can see, I am totally obsessed with all things fall and all things pancake lately.  Please forgive me.  :mrgreen:

Apparently, the weather doesn’t care if fall is official.  It would much rather be summer.  Who am I to argue?

My morning run consisted of all good things.

Feeling good for 5 miles…well.  Let’s be honest.  Feeling good for 4 miles.  That first mile seems to always feel a bit creeky.

Sunny sky.

And a running revelation.  Don’t you love when this happens? 

What was my running revelation?  Well, I’ll tell you. 

It occurred to me as I was running along on my third mile, that I used to beat myself up over taking a walking break during a morning run. 

“Sarah, where’s your endurance?”  “You’re giving up!”  “Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!”

And now?  Now, I’m convinced that taking the occasional walking break is not only okay, but it can also be extremely beneficial.   It’s part of living intuitively.  We hear so much about intuitive eating, but what about intuitive exercising?  Whether you’re having an ‘off day’ or are increasing your mileage, plan on structuring in some walking breaks.  This doesn’t mean taking a break whenever you grow tired and it doesn’t mean never pushing yourself—which really does help to build endurance.  But it means respecting what your body is telling you. 

If you’re experiencing abnormal pain related to an injury, STOP running.  And if you find that you’re becoming tired or starting to slouch, take a walking break!   A slouched, tired running form can cause you to run differently, leading to injuries. 

BREAKFAST

Libby and I, we’ve been best friends lately. 

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon + nutmeg
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. canned Libby pumpkin
  • topping: 2 T. walnuts, Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

I chomped my way through this bowl of deliciousness before heading out for my run.  It was easy on my stomach.  Dairy used to bother me on my runs, but no more.  I think I’ve built up a tolerance level. 😉

Post run, I was starving. 

As in, “is it lunch time even though it’s only 10 o’clock” kind of starving.

One whole wheat tortilla wrapped with ricotta cheese later, I was again feeling like my normal self.

LUNCH

Chopsticks.

Whole wheat bunny crackers.

Deliciousness.

  • mesculin greens
  • carrot
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • garbanzo beans (about 1/2 c.)
  • 2 T. dried cranberries
  • black olives, sliced
  • feta cheeese (about 2 T.)
  • olive oil

There’s something about having a day off that makes me crave Starbucks.  I’m so glad there isn’t one too close to my house.  I could foresee the following scenarios happening all too frequently:

“Oh, it’s Monday, I think I’ll treat myself to a morning latte.”

“Oh, it’s Hump Day, Starbucks would be a fun treat.”

“Oh, it’s Saturday, I think I’ll hit up Starbucks with Nicole for a coffee date.”

“Oh…”

You get the picture.  My entire paycheck would end up in Starbucks’ wallet.  It wouldn’t be pretty. 😉

Today I went with a grande soy misto with one pump of toffee mocha.  Mmmm….

Afternoon Snack: almonds and grapes

DINNER

If I had to choose just one thing to cook for the rest of my life, I would choose soups.  At least, for the time being.  Next month I may say differently.  But for now?  Soups!

This is one of my favorites.  It’s simple, rustic, and super hearty.  You could easily make this vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.  That being said, however, nothing quite takes the place of a homemade chicken stock in this soup.  The next time you boil a chicken, save the broth specifically for this soup.  It is definitely worth it. 😀

Mushroom Barley Soup
from the Culinary Institute of America, “Book of Soups” with some minor variations

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 3 c. sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 2 qts. chicken broth
  • 1/2-3/4 c. pearl barley
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T. parsley
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes
  2. Add vegetables up to mushrooms.  Stir, cover and cook on low for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and add broth and barley.  Bring to a simmer and cook until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the parsley.  Stir in vinegar.  Serve in heated bowls.
  5. ENJOY! 😀

A pear for dessert!

I’m off for a walk.  Nothing celebrates the upcoming weekend like a relaxing after-dinner walk. 😀

Question: Do you take walking breaks during runs? 

AND/OR

Question: If you were to cook one type of meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

first day :)

First day at the internship!!

(I totally felt like a little kid going to her first day of kindergarten class :mrgreen: )

This morning was a bit crazy.  Crazy.  Yes, that’s the right word. 

5:45 seemed a little way too early for my brain to function.  6:00 left my legs feeling wobbly and jiggly on my three mile run.  An orange did not provide enough energy for even a short run.

And then there was soap in the eye, a stubbed toe, and humidified hair.  Crazy.

 

But my run made everything alright, despite the insanity.  And so did breakfast.

A couple of you guys were asking about beet leaves and what it’s like in a green monster.   Here’s my take on trying to explain it: it’s a little like spinach meeting kale, falling in love, and having a baby.  The baby would be a beet leaf.  Its flavor isn’t completely subtle, but it’s not in your face like kale either (and I say that with love, because I actually really like kale in my smoothies!)

It also adds a little bit of beet flavor.  So if you love beets, then you’ll probably like flavor of its leaf.  They have a very similar flavor when mixed into a smoothie. 😀

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. frozen blueberries
  • a few handfuls of beet greens
  • topping: Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

On the side, I had two slices of homemade 100% whole wheat bread for some whole grain goodness.  Smothered in peanut butter.  Mmm…

Refreshed and energized.  Ready for the new day. 😀

The orientation for my internship went really well today.  The 9 fellow interns all seem super nice, and I’m already realizing that we’ll have quite a bit in common.  Let’s just say that there was definitely more than just one foodie in the room. 😉

I’m also realizing that there is going to a be a lot—a lot—of new and exciting opportunities.  From working in the pediatric nutrition department, to working in a cardiac health program, to working in the local school systems.  There’s a lot of stuff coming at me and I’m excited to see where each direction leads me. 😀

Oh, and the presentation went pretty well too.  I’m a little out of practice of presenting, but I think overall it came out okay.  That’s another thing I’ll have the opportunity to brush up on during this internship. 😉

*******************************

Tired.  So, so tired.  I need to figure out what time I need to get up tomorrow, and I promise—promise, promise—to take my camera and take some pictures once the internship (officially) gets going. 😀

Question: How much time do you need to get ready in the morning before heading out to work/school/etc.?  Not counting workout time, I need about 45 minutes.

Food Stars

 In every good movie, there is a celebrity.  A star.  The main actor.  The reason you watch the movie in the first place.

Food isn’t so different.

Take breakfast, for example.  Just my standard bowl of banana ‘n’ oats, topped with granola, chia seeds, coconut…

 

 …and Trader Joe’s almond butter. 

Almond butter.  It stole the show.  I mean, everything else was delicious, and there would have been no meal without the oats, the milk, the banana.  But still.  It was all about the almond butter.

 

 Then there was lunch.

You all know I love my salads.  Whether it’s basic like this one, or filled out to the max.  Love. 

 Extra virgin olive oil.  Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.  Buttery white beans.

But it all came down to the cheese.  Robusto cheese, to be exact.  Full of little crystals that pop when you chew, melting into your tongue with a burst of sharp, nutty flavor.  I like to try all different types of cheese, but I’m pretty sure I could settle down and enjoy this one for the rest of my life. 

 

dessert: watermelon x2!!!

snack: grapefruit and almonds

 

 Dinner had a major role player as well, although this one was a little harder to narrow down.

Was it the brown rice cooked in vegetable broth?

The grilled zucchini, cooked with olive oil, garlic powder and pepper?

 

 Was it the grilled chicken, smothered in garlic powder, paprika, parsley, pepper, & a little olive oil?

Was it the fresh salsa, made of Trader Joe’s mild salsa and diced avocado?

 

No. 

It was the date.  The sweet, innocent medjool date that I ate for dessert.  At first glance, he doesn’t look like much.  But, you know, first appearances really aren’t everything.

Densely sweet.  Chewy.  Nature’s candy. 

Melt.  In.  Your.  Mouth.  Delicious.

Question: What were some of the “food stars” of your day?