a pizza party celebration

 Hi.  My name is Sarah.  I am a food blogger, and I like to play with dough.

Nicole (aka, Loving Simple Moments) wanted to celebrate her one year blog-iversary with a fun meal and a movie. 

Step One: We bought a hunk of fresh mozzarella. 

Step Two: We sought high and low, and finally found a bunch of fresh basil (apparently, it’s not the easiest herb to find right now!?) 

Step Three: We had ourselves a pizza party, while watching Eat, Pray, Love. 

Nicole and I have a past history of buying a Freschetta pizza and drinking root beer floats during some random girls’ only night.  And—really—far be it from me to knock this divine experience.  I may be dietetics student, but I still know the pleasure of a frozen pizza and a girls night out. 😉

That being said, after tonight, I don’t think either of us plan on going back to the frozen isles anytime soon. 

The kitchen smelled only of olive oil.  Warm dough. 

And Oh. My. Word.  That intoxicating smell of fresh basil!

The entire experience of making the dough from scratch, slicing the fresh mozzarella, and stripping the basil was absolutely delicious.

Delicious.

We both agreed.  Best.  Pizza.  Ever.

I’m very picky about pizza.  Especially the crust.  This one was outstanding.  And best of all, it was the most uncomplicated piece of dough to work with. 

As for the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,”  I thought it was just okay.  I think there could have been way more eating and a little less praying and loving. 😉  I realize this sounds totally strange and wrong, but if you’ve watched the movie, I’m sure you’ll understand.  The book captivated me with traveling.  And Italy.  And gelato.

The book was fun and inspirational.  I guess I just didn’t get that same feeling from the movie?

It was still worth the watch though, especially after reading the book.  And it really was kind of fun eating pizza with Julia Roberts in Italy. 😉

Dessert: Cannolis from our favorite bakery!!

(p.s. Blog-Iversaries need to happen more often, I think. 😉 )

Happy Birthday to Nicole’s Blog!!! 😀

Goodnight, World!!

Pizza Dough—by Bobby Flay, as seen on Food Network, with minor tweaks

We chose not to use whole wheat for our blog-iversary celebration pizza.  However, I’m sure you could use half whole wheat/half all-purpose with delicious results. 

This was thrown together in under 1-1/2 hrs. from beginning to end.  You’ll be rewarded with a handsome crust and a delicious meal.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  1. Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour.

Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil—by Giada De Laurentis, with some minor tweaks

This is a delicious masterpiece of a pizza.  The fresh mozzarella oozes throughout the pizza.  The crust puffs up into a warm, doughy bite.  And the oils emitted from strips of fresh basil create an intoxicating aroma.  This is a no-fail, go-to recipe, which Nicole and I both highly recommend for your next pizza party.  Enjoy!

  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • Pizza Dough (using above recipe) 
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8-oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin 
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced, optional 
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Position 1 oven rack in the center preheat to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle the cornmeal over a rimless baking sheet. Roll out pizza dough into a 10 to 11-inch-diameter round or rectangle. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil over pizza dough. Spread the mozzarella over the pizza dough, dividing equaling and leaving a 1-inch border around pizza. Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer over the cheese.  Arrange basil leaves on top, drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle garlic all over. Bake the pizzas until the crusts are crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top, about 15 minutes. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over pizza. Sprinkle with basil for garnish and salt. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Have you read or seen Eat, Pray, Love?  Did you enjoy either one, and which did you prefer?

building menus

I slept in this morning!  And I loved every delicious minute. :mrgreen:

There are some times when it’s necessary to kick yourself out the door and into your regular workout routine.  And then there are other times—such as today—when the healthiest option is to just rest.

I’ve been playing limbo with a lingering cold this past week.  It’s like my immune system is playing tug-of-war with a stuffy head.  My bets are on my immune system.  It’s just taking a little longer than I would like. 😉  Needless to say, the extra sleep felt good.  Amazing, actually.  Sometimes you just have to listen to your body. 

My bowl of oat bran was exceptionally creamy this morning.  I think it’s due to the ripe banana and chia seeds.  So yummy!

  • 1 c. lowfat milk
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon + nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. oat bran
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 T. dried cranberries
  1. Bring milk, banana, and spices to a boil.
  2. Add in oat bran, chia seeds and cranberries.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 6 minutes, whipping every so often.

Creamy.  Creamy.  Oh so creamy!

Today, my internship involved grocery shopping.  And I loved it. :mrgreen:

Yesterday involved a meeting with a mom whose son has celiac disease.  She’s concerned about what he can eat, his own personal self esteem issues related to this new diet, being able to still “fit in” with the other kids, etc.  It was awesome being there to listen in on the conversation between her and the food service director.  I can’t wait until it’s my turn to educate someday. 

At least I had the opportunity to create a brochure and a 2-week cycle menu for the boy with celiac.  I had to keep the school’s budget in mind, as well as making it as easy as possible on the food service workers.  Thankfully, there was a little wiggle room to be able to purchase special gluten-free products, which instantly helped with helping him still “fit in” with the other kids.  This is where the grocery shopping came in. 

I found a gluten-free pizza crust, along with some tortilla wraps for deli sandwiches.  Pastas, gluten free cereals, rice cakes, cheesesticks, sun-butter, and other such foods found their way into the menu too.  Fun!

On my own lunch menu for today: 2 slices Arnold German Dark Wheat Bread, 1/4 c. roasted red pepper hummus, grated carrot and thinly sliced green bell peppers

I always forget about bringing yogurt for snacks! 

Today I packed up some plain yogurt with a chopped orange and a sprinkle of pumpkin flax granola.  This kept me full between an early breakfast and a later lunch. 😀

I also snagged an apple and some chopped carrots, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes for an afternoon snack.

My Food Service Preceptor told me that the Au Bon Pain chicken noodle soup from the school was delicious, and it sounded so perfect for my sore throat.  I grabbed a small dish to accompany my sandwich and it was absolutely perfect.  Not too salty tasting, like some other chicken noodle soups out there, and the carrots still had a nice firm bite to them.

Fun.  Lunch.

The rest of the afternoon zipped by in a flash. 

Menu planning, union meetings, and making brochures left me (a) ready for a walk and (b) ready for dinner.  I ate dinner first and went for a 3-mile walk afterwards.  Both were amazing. 😀

Veggie Pizza Slice #1 (see recipe page)

Veggie Pizza Slice #2

Plus greenage! 

Mesculin greens, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, olives.  Drizzled with EVOO.  I like my salads kept plain and simple these days. 😀

I am now off to unwind a bit before another busy day begins tomorrow.  I have a seminar class with my fellow interns, and I’m excited to see what everyone’s been up to.  😀

Question: How do you treat a sore throat?  Ideas?  My mom is convinced that gargling with salt water is key, but I just can’t do it.  Usually I stick to teas and hot bowls of oats.  It’s a temporary fix, but it still makes me feel better. 😉

lucky leftovers

(appropriate title for Friday the 13th?)

I opted to delay breakfast for an hour this morning, after deciding that a full meal at 5:30 would leave me starving by 8.  I don’t mind throwing in a snack here and there to tide me over, but I don’t want to be scarfing down lunch by 10. 😉

I snagged a date, guzzled some water, and carried on with every other morning ritual.  By the time I was finished, there was a good 30 minutes left for me to enjoy breakfast.  This worked out so perfect.  I’d much rather be eating breakfast at 6:30 vs. 5:30. 😉

Another beet green smoothie in a bowl!!  This time I added in 1/2 a frozen banana and topped it off with a sprinkle of Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola.  Delish. 😀

On the side, a whole wheat english muffin smeared with Teddy pb.

Natural lighting is so much nicer, but unfortunately, it was still pitch dark out this morning due to the cloudy overcast, so breakfast was eaten indoors. 😉

A packed morning snack: peach and almonds

Thank you all so much for all the great tips and advice for helping me become more green when it comes to packing my lunches!  I think I need to plan a shopping trip to Target soon, and stock up on some tupperware containers, in a variety of sizes.

Today, I didn’t use one plastic bag for packing lunch, and I was pretty proud of that fact.  I’m well on my way to becoming an earth friendly lunch-packer. :mrgreen:

Salads are my favorite go-to lunch choice.  They always taste so fresh, crunchy, delicious.  Very refreshing.  Today’s combo included all the basics (tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms) plus some garbanzo beans, a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of sea salt.  On the side I had some kashis, which fit perfectly in my little canning jar. 😀

Dessert!!

Notice anything missing?

Yes, that would be a fork.  I completely forgot to pack along a fork for my salad, which resulted in my running to a local cafe to ask (or…beg) if they would please let me have a fork.  I think the girl felt sorry for me, and she was kind enough to send me away with two. 😉

Last day of orientation today!!

These three days have absolutely flown by.  The preclinical training begins on Monday, and I have a massive amount of organizing and homework to do over the weekend.  I’m actually really excited for it all.  It feels good to be back into a routine, and I love filling in a new planner and organizer. 

On the way home, I decided to make a pit stop at Starbucks for a grande iced soy misto.  For money purposes, I can’t let this starbucks thing become a habit, by the way.  But it was definitely a fabulous treat for the 2 hr. drive home. 😀

Leftover pizza should never be microwaved.  Ever. 

If you think that’s a bold statement or happen to feel offended, don’t be.  I’ve been known to throw leftover pizza into the microwave too.  Or eat it cold, which is a pleasure in and of itself.  But, really, if you want to experience leftover pizza as if it was just freshly made that night, you need to heat it on a pan.

Like so:

I simply place the slices on a nonstick pan at medium heat, cover it, and let it heat up for a good 5-10 minutes. 

Crispy.  The crust is so, so, so crispy.  And the cheese melts right into the dough.  It’s perfect.  And that is why it’s the only way that leftover pizza should ever be reheated. 

I added some spinach to my pizza for some extra flavor and veggies.  Simply dethaw the spinach in the microwave, drain the liquid and chop it up a bit with a knife.  Then—voila!  Spinach pizza. 

I followed my dinner with a brisk 2.5 mile walk and 20 minutes of yoga.  After sitting down all day, it felt absolutely delicious to s-t-r-e-t-c-h and walk.  Delicious!

So excited for the upcoming weekend!  Tomorrow I’m going over Nicole’s house for a cookout/bbq with friends, and I offered to make a dessert and bring some hummus & veggies.  Any brilliant dessert recipes?? 😀

Question: What is your favorite way to eat leftover pizza? 

easy as a pizza pie

I don’t know what I was thinking.

 

Last night, I envisioned myself sitting down for 8 hours.  Finishing homework.  Completing the powerpoint presentation.  Finishing.

But, really, who was I fooling?  Sitting down for such a long period of time is not possible.  Was not possible.  I gave up after the first hour and decided that I would be more productive if I gave myself mini-breaks spread throughout the day.  😉

Breakfast

Pb&Jam and Banana Oats!

I wanted a pb and jelly sandwich.  I wanted oatbran.  I wanted both.

I cooked up a nice big batch of banana ‘n’ oatbran (my regular, go-to recipe) and topped it off with granola, coconut, Trader Joe’s raspberry jam (which tastes surprisingly close to homemade!), and a big scoop of Teddy peanut butter.

The best of both worlds.

Lunch

You all know how much I love my salmon.  Especially the wild caught variety.

My family has tried all kinds of marmalades and toppings, but I alwasy go back to preferring the simpler side of things.  My dad poured on a teensy amount of Lite Soy Sauce for flavor, sprinkled on some freshly cracked black pepper, and grilled that baby up.  No words.  None.  Zilch.  I think I could live on salmon (I say this about a lot of things, don’t I?)

On the side, I had 1/2 a large sweet potato and some steamed green & wax beans that I picked up from a local organic farm.

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + Pumpkin Flax Granola + Trader Joe’s Almond Butter

This afternoon, there were blue skies smiling at me…

…begging me to go outside.  The sky seemed to be saying, “Sarah, you need some Vitamin D.  Come on out and play!”

I couldn’t say no!  I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to such things. 

I grabbed two prunes for a source of psychological energy (running without eating something—anything!—beforehand always makes me feel ‘draggy’…I’m convinced it’s all mental!) before waltzing my way out the door.

 

I’m normally not much of an afternoon runner, but today’s run was fantastic.  I focused on keeping my pace slow and even, while just having fun with my new sneakers.  Hopping over curbs.  Running in dirt paths.  Taking in the summery breeze.  Feeling strong.

The run in three words: Wonderful.  Brisk.  Delicious.

Three and a half miles later, I was home icing my knees and feeling on top of the world.  I think I need to start introducing more afternoon runs for a fun change of pace.  😀

Dinner

This is my quintessential “quick and easy” pizza recipe.  It’s not quite as crisp, airy and amazing as my other pizza dough recipe (under the “Recipe” section,) but it’s super fast and still delicious.  No rising required.  You’ll have it on the table in no time. And it may just save you from ordering takeout when you want pizza in a hurry during a busy night.  And that, my friends, is what makes this pizza recipe a true family favorite. 😀

pizza slice x 2

 

Quick and Easy Pizza

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2-1/2 c. whole wheat flour (or a mixture of white and wheat if you prefer)
  • additional toppings: favorite sauce (I use canned tomato sauce with garlic powder, fresh basil and oregano added in) and veggies
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir in remaining ingredients until stiff ball forms.  Let rest about 5 minutes.
  2. Spread dough out on sprayed cookie sheet.  Add sauce and veggies.
  3. Cook at 425 for 18 minutes.

+ a side salad

 

+ 85% dark chocolate (Green and Black = my favorite)

Guess what?  After paying for the first installment this afternoon, I’m officially registered into the Dietetic Internship.  It feels so…I don’t know.  Official!! :mrgreen: 

Question: Do you prefer working out in the morning, later in the afternoon, or at night?

D-D-D-Drivin’ Along

I love waking up to a big bowl of fruit.  A big ol’ bowl of watermelon.  Juicy.  Sweet.  Refreshing.

 

It held me over until everyone else woke up around 8:30.  Time for oats, coffee, and the discussion of plans for the day.

I made the same mix as yesterday, only I subbed in a nectarine for the banana. 

 

We decided to keep the plans laid back for today.  It was raining, so hiking was out of the question.  Not that I’m against hiking in the rain, but I’d much rather be out hiking and have it start to rain, versus starting out a hike in the rain.  If that makes any sense at all.  Probably not. 😉

Anyways, as I was saying, the plans were laid back. 

Drive.

Eat.

Act like a tourist.

 

 We took a drive out to North Conway, and hit one of our favorite restaurants in the area for lunch.  The Muddy Moose.  I have yet to be disappointed here.  Their food is always delicious and the selection is great—everyone leaves happy and satisfied, no matter what the palate preference.

Dad ordered a dish of mussels in a white wine sauce for the table to share.  Um.  Amazing.  ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 Love the New Hampshire charm of the restaurant.

Picture drawing is NOT just for kids, FYI.

 

 In addition to the mussels, the meal started out with some warm, crispy bread.  So good!  I’m kind of a self-proclaimed bread snob, and this one was perfect.  Doughy on the inside, crispy on the out.  Yum!

 

 For my entree, I ordered the Portobello Burger.  I was expecting an actual burger-styled mushroom, but it came out in a roll.  At first I felt disappointed.  And then I took a bite.  Disapointment flew out the window.  Whoooosh!!!

This.  Was.  Delicious. 

The mushrooms were moist and meaty—packed with flavor.  They mixed and mingled with the broccoli, onions, olive oil & garlic, and tomatoes, creating the ultimate flavor combination.  I will definitely be attempting a “remake” at home. 😉

 

 Fellow Bloggie! :mrgreen:

 

 The rest of the day involved:

More driving…

More eating… (granola bars, fruits, hummus & veggies)

 

Viewing rivers, mountains, lakes…

 Being silly…

 Shopping…

Trying on hats and looking totally chic while doing it…

 

 Did I mention driving?

We drove through mountains, over mountains, by mountains.  We drove through towns, cities, forests.  We drove through rainstorms.

 

Driving.  Lots of driving.

Nicole and I entered into fits of laughter by the end of the car trip.  We’ll just blame it on exhaustion.  Pure, complete exhaustion. 😉

 

 By the time we rolled on home, we were all starving, and Nate & Nicole treated everyone to some pizza.  I had one giant slice of vegetable pizza and a large side salad, dolloped with a bit of refried beans. 

 

 

 Dinner was delicious.  😀

Cheers!

Peace Out.

Question: What is the longest car ride you have ever been on? 

(not so) Fancy Schmancy Sauce

Have you ever tasted, made or experienced a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce?  If the answer is “no”, then you’re missing out.  Just as I was until yesterday.

Jessica is one of my foodie friends who spent a good 3 years trying to convince me that I needed to try a balsamic reduction sauce on my pizza.  I always nodded.  Yes, I did needed to try it.  No, I wasn’t about to slave over the stove for a sauce.  A sauce!  If only I had realized how easy it was.  And now that I know, I’m sharing the idea with you guys.  Just don’t let it take three years before you try it. 😉

What you need: balsamic vinegar.

Yep, that’s it.  No fancy schmancy ingredients, other than your favorite balsamic vinegar.  I like the one in a jug from Trader Joe’s because it’s the best I’ve tasted within an affordable price range. 😉

Bring a good amount of balsamic vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan (it will reduce by about half or more).  Stir constantly until it thickens and voila!  You just made a gourmet sauce that would wow anyone.

I made the mistake of not realizing how much of the vinegar becomes reduced.  I poured in at least a good 4 T., but had less than a teaspoon by the end.  Ah well.  Live and learn.  It was still enough to drizzle over my pizza…But I recommend pouring in a good cup or more.  I’ll get the exact measurements right one of these times and share it here on the blog. 😉

The sauce was so thick, it was more like a syrup!  It reminded me of a hot fudge sauce that desparately needs to be heated before it can be spread.  Thick.  Sweet.  Gooey.  Sticky, even!  No trace of vinegar flavor.  Just sweetness.  Pure, unadulterated sweetness.  It paired marveslously with the roasted mushrooms sitting on top of my pizza.  Props to Jessica for finally convincing me to make such a simply wonderful sauce. 😀

Question: Have you ever made a balsamic reduction sauce? 

Don’t forget to do a happy dance.  It’s not Friday yet, but Hump Day is officially here and I find that incredibly exciting…haha. :mrgreen:

Goal Setting

Is it weird that I enjoy painting?

I spent my entire morning painting my Pepere’s deck and found that I was actually having fun.  Nothing but the chit-chatter between the cardinals, one shaggy coon cat and my own thoughts for company.  Pepere is already asking me to come back next week to paint the garage and I honestly couldn’t be happier.  I’m sure I’d grow tired of it if I absolutely had to paint all of the time, but I’d like to think that this is one chore that I actually find pleasure in doing. :mrgreen:

Breakfast isn’t anything you haven’t seen before except for the fact that it was chock full of juicy strawberries today.  At least a cups worth.  Mmm…so happy that berry season is in full swing!

Morning Snack: orange and a handful of almonds

Lunch was eaten over my Pepere’s house and after a morning of painting, I was absolutely starving.  My mom had made us a shrimp pasta salad, which was chock full of veggies, whole wheat pasta and shrimp.  I do believe this is epitome of the perfect summer lunch. 

Cold.  Crunchy.  Fresh.  Delicious.

As perfect as lunch was, I was still starving when I came home and made a quick salad for some extra produce and filling fiber.

+ an iced coffee (1 c. chilled coffee, 1/2 c. milk + 1 tsp sugar)

I like to make new goals for myself at the beginning of each new month.  I don’t always mention them on the blog, but there is always—always, always—a goal.  June, for example, was a month of positive thinking.  I tried my hardest to see the cup half full in every situation.  This is how it works:

Life Scenario: Dinner becomes a flop.     Thecup half full response”:  Something to blog about! :mrgreen:

Life Scenario: Having to mow the entire lawn.     The “cup half full response”: A productive workout!

These are some very simple life scenario’s obviously, but I tried to apply it to everything (even the tough stuff!)  I quickly realized that (a) I could use some work on this and (b) I need to extend this goal beyond just the month of June. 😉  But I also have a new goal for July as well: develop a strength training routine and learn to love it!  This one will be hard for me since I’ve always been a cardio girl at heart (just give me a pair of running sneaks and I’m happy!)  I’m really excited about shaking up my workout routine though. 😀

Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + about 1/2 c. worth of chopped strawberries

I started with a large side salad before dinner, complete with carrots, tomatoes, bean sprouts, celery and peas!

Pizza night!

Tonight’s dinner was quick to throw together, thanks to the convenience of frozen pizza dough.  It’s one of my favorite things about making this pizza dough recipe.  It makes enough for two pizzas, and I always throw one into the freezer for the following week.  Letting the dough thaw overnight and also giving it a chance to chill out on the kitchen counter for an hour (+ 1/2 hr. of resting on the baking sheet after you spread it out) is what really plumps up the crust and makes it light and airy. 

Onions, black olives and goat cheese graced the pizza.  The toppings were pretty simple because we’re nearing Wednesday. 😉 

I went back for a second delicious slice and then headed out for a fun after-dinner walk.

Jillian Michaels is on tonight!!  I’ve got some stuff to finish before I can relax for the night.  See ya tomorrow!

Question: Do you make weekly or monthly goals for yourself?

Question: Painting….yay or nay?

Spring Vacation

**Tomorrow is the last day of the sweet potato challenge! 😀  Remember, nothing is too small or too great to be entered. 😉  Just let me know when you post the picture on your blog, and I’ll post them all up on Saturday for all to admire. :mrgreen: 

Twas a busy morning, but I was totally a-ok with that, because it’s also the first day of spring vacation after my 4pm class.  :mrgreen:

I started the day with two large slices of French toast.

  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg white
  • splash of milk
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 T. flax
  • 1 T. raisins
  • 2 large slices of whole wheat sourdough bread (dunked in the above mixture)
  • toppings: 1 T. peanut butter + 1 banana

With a belly full of breakfast and a cup of coffee, I was ready for the gym!

Elliptical: 2.5 miles, resistance 11
Treadmill: 1.0 mile, 5.0% incline, 4.4 mph
Elliptical: 1.5 mile, resistance 11-12 intervals
Stairmaster: 10 minutes, 8% incline

I’m trying to extend the time that I spend on the elliptical in one go.  I have a tough time mentally staying on the machine for much longer then 15-20 minutes, but I think if I can get through this, it will help me hold on to more of my running endurance. 

Once home, I quickly set out to do my knee and foot stretches.  I’m curious to see what the physical therapist will give me for “homework” tomorrow morning! 😀

I made good use of my knee icing time by studying for today’s quiz and munching on a snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt with 1 T. crushed flax, 1/2 a chunky bran muffin and a tsp of peanut butter. 

Thursdays usually throw me into an “end of week” economic mindset, as I clean out the fridge and combine whatever leftovers I can find to call it lunch. 😀  Today’s hodge-podge included:

  • leftover brown rice with peas (about a cup)
  • 1/2 c. garbanzo beans
  • leftover broccoli and carrots, steamed (about a cup)
  • “dressing”: 1 tsp olive oil and balsamic vinegar (because what doesn’t balsamic taste good on? :mrgreen:)

Sometimes I forget to add a bit of oil to my lunches, but I try to remember.  Not only does it add such a great mouth feel to the entire dish, it also aids in the absorption of the important fat-soluble vitamins.  If the meal itself doesn’t have fat in it, it’s a good idea to add a bit through healthy olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc. 😀 

Along with my concoction, I packed an orange as well as a pear with some almonds for an afternoon snack.  I ended up stopping by Starbucks for a tall soy misto too since I had some extra time between classes.  It was so nice sipping a hot misto while reading some fresh new magazines.  😀 

Once my last class was complete, I happily drove home with the country music blaring on the radio.  Vacation leaves me just a little on the happy side. 😉

Soon enough there was pizza on the table, along with a huge side salad.  I was absolutely starving tonight for some reason…I’m pretty sure I could have eaten an entire pizza if it was put in front of me. 😉  I ate the first slice, then moved on to the voluminous salad which slowed me down.

Still feeling a little grumbly, I went for a second slice.  So delicious…it was piled high with green peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and black olives.  My absolute favorite toppings. 😀

Tomorrow morning I have an early physical therapy appointment.  I can’t wait to hear what they have to say and I plan on asking them about the causes of my knee pain so I can prevent it in the future.  I have a feeling it’s related to week quad muscles, and possibly overpronation of my foot.  I haven’t ruled out weak hips either, hence my adding hip strengtheners to my daily stretches too.

Ready to do some R-E-L-A-X-I-N with tea, LIFE cereal and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns. :mrgreen:

Question: Favorite Pizza Topping?  I love any and all veggies on my pizza…especially ‘shrooms and broccoli!   Pineapple is a nice addition too. 😀

Building the Breakfast Cookie

Ode to the Breakfast Cookie… 

Step #1: Mix-Ins

Each breakfast cookie starts with good mix-ins.  You can really be creative and add a li’ bit of this and that, but just keep in mind that a very ripe banana is your key ingredient.  If the banana is sweet, you can’t go wrong. 😉

Last night I combined:

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 [very] ripe banana, mashed well (save 1/4 of it for the top!)
  • 1 T. peanut butter
  • 1-2 T. milk
  • 2 T. wheat bran
  • 2 T. crushed flax
  • spices: roughly 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp clove 

Note: If you usually add sweetener to your oats, don’t be afraid to add a tsp or two of brown sugar, molasses, honey, etc. 

Step #2: Mix, mix, mash!

Don’t hold back! :mrgreen:  I smash it really well and add a little bit of milk as I go, until it is moist (but not soppy!)  Really smoosh it all together.

Step #3: Spread

Once you like the consistency of the mix-ins, spread it evenly on your plate. 

Step #4: Refrigerate!

Top your cookie with some saran wrap and pop it in the fridge overnight (or at least 3-4 hrs.)

Note: Don’t forget to hide the other 1/4 of your banana that you are saving for the top of your cookie.  This avoids having any unmentioned members of the family (or friends) unknowingly consume your cookie garnish.  The top of the fridge is a good place. 😉

Step #5: Enjoy!

Top your cookie with the saved banana portion and savor slowly. 😀  I always eat it with a glass of milk on the side and a large glass of water.  YUM!

Last night I had layed out my gym clothes and bag so that I would have no excuse to take a rest day due to rainy weather (yes, rain…the snow is practically gone already!)  When my alarm clock went off at 6:30, I really felt like sleeping in.  Then I remembered all the brave souls out there who get up at 5 to make it for their workout and suddenly I felt super wimpy.  It was enough to get me to drag myself out of my cozy–oh so cozy!!–bed and head out.

The local gym membership, by the way, is a gift from my parents.  They offered to buy me a one month membership at the local gym since I’ve been having the foot and knee problems.  I couldn’t be happier or more thankful.  Thank you both so much! 😀

I kept my workout simple this morning by cranking out 3 miles in 30 minutes on the elliptical at a resistance of 12.  I have no idea how to work most of the machines, or how to get the most out of a gym workout, but I don’t think it will take too long to figure things out.  And with plenty of group classes being offered, I’ll have chances to really spice up my workout routine.  Excited!!!

When I came home, I sipped on a cup of coffee while blogging for a bit.  Somehow my morning seemed much more relaxed then normal.  I think I owe that to getting up early for a workout this morning. 😀

Quick snack before heading out the door to classes!  I’m really loving these Doctor Kracker Seeded Spelt crisps, by the way.  They’re so buttery and crunchy with a nice rustic touch.  This is one flavor I’ll definitely be buying again.  And I’m not just saying that because they sent me these in the mail either. 😉  I’m always honest with reviews, whether I love ’em or dislike them.

I munched on the crisps with some cottage cheese on the side for dunking.

Lunch was awesome!

I haven’t had a wrap in forever, and sometimes they just hit all the right spots.  I spread about 1/4 c. vegetable hummus over a whole wheat wrap, then preceded to add 1/2 c. black beans.  On top of that, I added a grated carrot and some diced celery.  I love eating carrots with my lunch, and grating it this way adds so much sweetness and avoids having to crunch really loudly during a lecture. :mrgreen:

Then I tucked in the sides and rolled it right up into a peice of foil for easy transport.  I just peel back the foil as I’m eating it…no mess required!

Packed away with a pre-sliced apple for munching.

Also along for the ride, I brought a juicy pear and some almonds.  These were both eaten in the library while I was working on some Nutrition Problems Homework Assignments.  Right now we’re learning all about Type 2 Diabetes, which is fascinating.  It runs in my family, and I’ve always had an interest in learning all that I can about it. 

The good news about many cases of Type 2 Diabetes is that diet and exercise can work against the development of it (even if you’re predisposed through genetic factors/heredity.)  And even in the case where medicine *is* required, we can gain more control by implementing good nutrition and staying active. 😀 

Driving home from classes was a bit nerve-racking.  I absolutely hate driving in storms, and it was pouring cats and dogs out there.  The puddles on the road were really deep, and cars were driving incredibly slow to avoid hydroplaning.  Ugh!  Thankfully I made it home in one peice after telling myself to relax and just stay calm.  Sometimes I just need to remind myself that breathing is not an option, it’s a necessity…haha. 😉

The whole wheat pizza dough (click for recipe) that I made a while back makes two doughs which is perfect for freezing!  Talk about a quick and easy meal to put together.  I had two delicious slices plus a whole, sauteed zucchini on the side.   

Sauteed Zucchini

  • 1 zucchini, sliced thin
  • [tons of] garlic powder (I think I have an obsession with garlic powder!)
  • dried basil
  • splash of balsamic vinegar

Zucchini and balsamic were meant to be together.  😀

+ a night snack of yogurt with 2 T. crushed flax, topped with granola (and a couple of grapes, which my dad claims is the best yogurt mix-in…it *was* pretty good!  I wonder how it would be in oatmeal?)

It’s still pouring outside…I hope you all are staying nice and warm and dry, wherever you might be!

Question(s):

1. Do you think I should try adding grapes to my oatmeal tomorrow morning, or is that just *weird*? :mrgreen: 
 
2. Rain storms…love or hate?  I love them as long as I’m home and safe. 😉  And, as long as it’s not thundering and lightening!

Saturday Favorites

One of my favorite things about summer is taking a long walk to the ice cream barn.  Today was a beautiful blend of 72 degree weather, with the sun shining, and a cool breeze.  Perfect for that 4-mile walk to get some ice cream. 😀

This was a fun treat.  I ordered a small sugar cone with one scoop of cake batter and one scoop of candy bar overload.  Both were delicious.  The cake batter had big hunks of cake batter and was filled with blue frosting swirls.  The candy bar overload was made up of caramel icecream with caramel swirls and big chunks of chocolate covered nuts.  Mmm…

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Another highlight of the weekend was the homemade pizza that was made with this cheese:

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I had originally spotted it on Cristin’s blog (Eat Like Me) and then saw it again at Whole Foods.  I just couldn’t resist. 😀

I used about 3/4 the package to make two of these pizzas…the leftover cheese will be great on top of salads or pasta salads.

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Multipy this plate x 2.  I really loved this mozzarella cheese.  It tasted so fresh and not salty at all like you would expect in the packaged/shredded varieties.  Loved it!!

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And one of my favorite parts about the cheese was the way it sort of just melted into the pizza.  It looked like a giant marshmallow on my slice. 😀 

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And another favorite food enjoyment of the weekend was lots of this stuff…

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Tonight I went with Nicole and Nate to the movies to see UP.  I swear, I almost cried in several spots.  It was cute, but kind of sad too. 😦  Or maybe I was just in an emotional mood, which is totally possible. ha…has anyone else seen it?

Any fun plans for the weekend??? 😀  Hope you’re all enjoying it!

Exercise: 2-mile morning run + 4-mile walk to the icecream barn.  I really enjoyed spending some time outdoors in the sunshine.  Tomorrow is supposed to rain, but I can deal because the following week is supposed to be just as beautiful as today was.  😀