“Life” Is A Funny Thing

Posted on February 12, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

That’s actually a huge understatement; life is more like the craziest thing you’ll ever attempt to know. That’s what has been on my mind most of today. A few things that sparked that:

  • Someone in my year was struck and killed by a car on a road I’ve crossed 100’s of times this year. I could have had a class with him, lived in the dorms with him, or at least knew him, but I didn’t. I went to his Facebook page when the email was sent out to get a sense of what he looked like. Not 24 hours ago, he was “making friends” on Facebook.
  • While on Facebook, I noticed someone I went to middle school with remark that 5 years ago today, we left off on what would be 10 tough days of community service in Costa Rica. This was one of those trips that breaks you down and builds you completely anew; my eyes were opened in so many ways, good friendships were made better, and it gave me a completely new experience to look back to.
  • Sunday’s Valentines Day. Facebook reminded me(nothing I didn’t already remember) that it also would have been the 18th birthday of a girl I went to high school with and knew very very well, who died from cardiac arrest on a school trip 2 1/2 years ago. She was 15.
  • On a much lighter note, some guy on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire won $250000 answering movie trivia. That’s probably the kind of stuff people told him all his life “would never be useful”, and now look at him. I’ve picked up tons of information like that(hell, it’s my major! haha).

What’s the takeaway from all these doses of “life”? For me, it’s that I’m now looking forward to going home Sunday to be with my extended family. At first, this seemed like such an imposition; could I really give a day away from work? Now I’m thinking, could I really not for family? I don’t think so.

Green Peppers And Savory Breakfast Chicken Sausages

After getting the first bit of news barraged at me, I needed a lunch that would “wow!” me and take my mind of things, but didn’t feel like doing much. I looked at the Al Fresco website to get some ideas for something simple, and found I could make this recipe pretty easily.

Kitchen Sign

I like to adhere to all the rules while cooking; I especially try and remember to take pizza out of the box before putting it in the oven. But that one always trips me up 😛 Anybody care to make a kitchen confession? I’ve done the foil in the microwave thing when I was younger(actually, it was probably my dad’s bad. It was a pancake syrup container from McDonalds on a night my mom was gone from the house). And a note on the last one: The fan doesn’t even work, haha 🙂

Egg And Sausage Frittata, Broccoli With Cayenne Parma

I changed the recipe by using 1 egg and the rest of my egg white container, and microwaved it for a minute afterwards rather than the traditional bake to finish off the top egg. On the side, I had simply steamed broccoli with cayenne parma. I pretty much loved this, licked my plate–the whole shebang. These sausage can do no wrong; I remember thinking that the first time I ate them when I snuck them into the dining hall as my protein. Expect to see this again(hopefully a lot!).

Banana Whip With Maple Syrup

I was pretty awful at getting work done this afternoon; I blame twitter friends and other blogs on my reader 😛 I decided a cool treat was necessary while I had time. I blended up some bananas and drizzled the top with maple syrup. Surprisingly, the syrup didn’t taste awfully sweet with the banana 😦 It was really only sweet the whole spoonfuls I got. Oh well, they were each good on their own part. It always amazes me how something so natural and raw can be so satisfying(technically, maple syrup isn’t raw. But from a New England and New Hampshire standpoint, it’s more natural than breathing).

Peanut Sweet & Salty Odwalla Bar

Later on I wanted some peanuts(not surprising). I realized so few bars I have actually have peanuts in them :-O I think it must be so that companies can boast a peanut-free facility. I remembered grabbing this one from a campus store last semester and went for it. It was way more sweet than salty(I actually had to pour a little salt on). I also convinced myself to go out for the 2nd time today and grabbed some yogurt; 1 vanilla chobani could not last me through Sunday morning.

Bacon Tempeh, Marinated Brussels Sprouts And Tempeh Cubes, Honey

Dinner was flavorful and–better yet–taken care of much earlier. At 3, I marinated brussels sprouts and tempeh with soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. I roasted them for 45 minutes and then added some cooked tempeh bacon and honey for a more-or-less savory BBQ flavor. I think this has sparked a new craving for honey in me; I forgot how sweet and pure the real stuff tastes; I’ll grab a local one at a farmer’s market when those rise up again.

On the other side of life, there are happy, tame points that make you smile. I could ask myself every night before going to bed if I lived life that day the way I wanted to and the answer would almost always be “yes”. I love my family and friends and couldn’t be happier with my readership. It’s no secret I like to network with all of you through this blog, both influencing and being influenced. I’m happy to have influenced Freya who made my raw vegan brownies with chocolate frosting here.

And here’s an iHerb giveaway you could win and live life to the fullest with online shopping!

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Not So Blissful

Posted on February 8, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

OK, the title is a bit of an exaggeration on my evening, but it’s punny as you’ll see 😉 First of all, way to go Saints! I wasn’t even watching the Superbowl and didn’t have a team, but after hearing it was their first time ever winning, that made me happy for them. Everyone deserves their 15 minutes 🙂 Instead of watching it, I was mostly glued to Fox and Modern Family, as well as my plate.

Emmy's Organics Raw Vegan Coconut + Vanilla Macaroons

Emmy’s Organics sent me some delicious sounding raw macaroons which I could not wait to try. Naturally, anything raw deserves a big ol’ raw platter to be served on.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With A Coconut + Vanilla Macaroon

I only needed 1/2 of one of my 7 avocados to make this pudding; that means I’m going to have plenty of pudding I’m guessing 🙂 The Coconut + Vanilla Macaroon was simply remarkable. Normally, I’m skeptical whether vanilla things are going to be flavorful; the whole vanilla beans put my mind at ease but then the true vanilla flavor really wowed me! And I also tasted the rich hint of coconut oil. These cookies were definitely a winner. While I was on a roll, I thought why not try another new coconut product:

Artisana Cacao Bliss

From Artisana, I decided to eat this on some oatmeal. At first it was very clunky, but after sitting a while in the microwave it melted… sort of.

Oatmeal With Cacao Bliss

I’m not going to agave nectar sugar coat it: I had high expectations for this Cacao Bliss and was really let down. Another blogger has toted this as “like frosting” and plugged it like crazy recently, so I thought it must be amazing, right? It was actually a bit more like chalk than frosting and bitter than sweet. The nutrition was stellar, but I needed something really chocolaty to get over the disappointment.

Justin's Chocolate Almond Butter

Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter to the rescue! Maybe the cacao bliss will be better in cold applications–I don’t know. I’m certainly up for ideas.

This morning it felt so good to get back up at 7 and hit the gym(didn’t think I’d be saying that any time soon). Surprisingly, all 3 of the working treadmills were already in use! I’m happy more people are working out, but a little sad how that pushes me aside. I biked a bit while I was waiting for a free one and snacked on this.

Nature's Path Organic Peanut Choco' Chewy Granola Bar

Mmm, yum! This was a Nature’s Path Organic product that I won off their Facebook contest. I just love these Peanut Choco’ Chewy Granola Bar because of the whole peanuts and how sweet they are! Then again, their first ingredient is sugar :-/ Oh well, a good workout warrants carbs anyway so then was definitely the time to enjoy it if ever.

Running Stats

I eventually got my ‘mill and ran the 8 miles scheduled in 71:30. If you’re wondering “Why does he take pictures of random lengths and times?”, I don’t really. I take a photo at the end after running 60 minutes. At that point, the treadmill turns off and resets itself. For example, today I ran 6.74 miles in the first hour, and then really finished after the last 1.26. Well after that, breakfast was a favorite of mine.

Vanilla Yogurt With Peanuts, Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Oikos With Vanilla Stevia And Peanuts

More Justin’s nut butter, this time the Chocolate Peanut Butter. I love it because I feel like I’m getting my chocolate peanut fix but not straying far from just average peanut butter nutrition(had to do it). I was going to use some store bought peanut granola for the oatmeal when I decided to go with an even better, nuttier, 1-ingredient, gluten free granola: peanuts! So much simpler and better, and definitely less processed–love it.

New things

Obviously, I love trying new things. At the end I recapped all the new reviews I did for this post(as always, the * means it was a sample from the company and the absence of them means I bought it or something along those lines). I also love hearing about others try new things. Ginger Jul recently tried my pumpkin bread and said she loved it. I hope she took pictures for her blog! If anybody else makes a recipe of mine, I’d love to hear it. I also thought it’d be fun to pick some new things I want to try but have no immediate plans to; right now, I want to eat jungle peanuts–never had these before and think they might be interesting–and I want to make almond milk from scratch! What about you? Anything new you want to put into your life?

Peanut Choco’ Chewy Granola Bar

*Coconut + Vanilla Macaroon*

*Cacao Bliss*

Chocolate Almond Butter

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Built In Dessert

Posted on February 2, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Routine, routine, routine! I feel like I’m settling in to my new weekday routine pretty well, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be packed. I guess that’s a price I’m more than willing to pay, though. No complaints here 😀 Excuse me if I’m short on words because I’m short on time. Some things don’t need words, like how amazing this combo is:

So Delicious Soy Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanut Sunspires

Gah! I’m drooling thinking about it. I’ll admit: Like a vegetarian who misses meat, I’m an all-natural eater who misses some of the “silly things”, like colored M&M’s and Swedish Fish(*drool*). Sunspires mend my heart a bit, though they need to come in more colors! Still, I do get a kick about mixing them all in…

Yogurt Mixed Up

Pretty!…ish? If it were frozen, it would remind me of a McFlurry 🙂 Ahhh, I remember having way too many of those one vacation in Florida as a kid; that’s what vacations are for, right? Note to self: Bananawhip + Sunspires = McFlurry? It’s a possibility and something to try…

Heroes has me so lost at this point, I’d think I’m watching Lost! Claire’s father had another family? How old is he? Mostly I just waded through some homework while I was trying to figure that one out. I also realized I was putting off a chapter of a book that was only about 7 pages. I think I could deal with 7 pages 🙂

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chunky PB, Agave Nectar, Sea Salt, And Nutritional Yeast

I didn’t want to have the “same ol’, same ol'” pumpkin, nutritional yeast, and Smart Balance agave peanut butter oatmeal before bed. Instead, I started with oatmeal and then added pumpkin. To top it, I threw on some Crazy Richard’s chunky peanut butter(which was basically a clump of whole peanuts–yum!) and squirted on some agave nectar. Then I added a little nutritional yeast and sea salt at the end. So… I ended up with the same ol’ same ol’ anyway, haha. I think you just can’t ignore perfection. Does anybody else though find agave nectar not that sweet? It’s supposed to be 1.7 times sweeter than sugar but I can hardly taste it 😦

This morning I was pumped to be up at 6:15!… Not really, but I was up at least. I hopped out of the room and into the gym. I’m surprised I was only the 2nd one there; someone really wanted to get their elliptical in I guess. I, of course, grabbed my treadmill and got going for 5 miles. I love that I’m building speed again! This way I’m not falling too behind in my morning rush 😉 I finished in a sweaty 44:54 and got right back into the dorms to throw together a breakfast and check emails.

Egg White Oats With Honey Maple Peanut Butter And Cinnamon

Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate

Holy protein, Batman! That’s what I was thinking over my oats. After cooking them, I beat in 2 servings of cage-free egg whites(from a carton), and cooked it until puffy. Then I topped it with high protein honey-maple peanut butter. Yum! It needed something, though, so I threw in some cinnamon. For something that has no sugar, does anybody else find egg whites surprisingly sweet? And not agave nectar? Maybe my taste buds are just all crossed. Breakfast had a built in dessert with the chocolate bar–I think I need to make this an every meal thing 😉 Actually, I packed it for Greek class, and by the time I got to it the agave nectar had seperated a lot from the cocoa powder and coconut oil. It still tasted good; I just needed to mix it up and eat it with a spoon. Now I see why every chocolate bar has soy lecithin(except Vivani)!

That was speedy. On the list: Make a replacement chocolate bar, Greek History reading, make lunch, Greek History, no Latin today because it was cancelled(sweeet), meeting with peer advisor, and then I’m free for the day! It’s going to be a long run one. Gooo!

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Get Those Oats On A Scale!

Posted on January 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Morning! I feel like everybody was working for the weekend this week, so if you were, it’s finally here! I hope you kicked it off well. The start to mine was a little bland admittedly; I read this book for my object history course: Stuff. It’s all about the big efforts that go in to making something as simple as a french fry or soda can. I try to live as green as possible and it had me feeling like a total tax on the environment. Yikes! At least the closing thoughts were “Focus on what you can and do do and not on the things that are so much bigger than you”. That, I can do. Meanwhile, I tried to make a greenish snack.

Dried Raspberries, Raw Vegan Brownie

This was a fun snack, especially since I’ve started thinking of these dried raspberries as “nature’s Swedish fish”. And some of the brownie was organic, so I wasn’t killing too much earth. But it wasn’t doing it for me, so I got a little creative.

Rolling Up Dried Raspberries

Raw Chocolate Covered Dried Raspberries

These were 10 times more creative and tastier. You could probably make the brownies by substituting other dried fruits for half of the dates. Some Latin homework also got done(much lighter than Stuff surprisingly) as I realized Friday night television has gone to hell; didn’t there used to be great shows on then like 1 vs. 100? What happened to those? Later on, I got hungry, which leads to a confession…

Rapunzel's Organic Hazelnut Butter

I’ve made my opinion on Nutella very clear. And Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter is an excellent hazelnut butter. But–let’s face it–when you’re craving Nutella you actually want milk chocolate and not hazelnut. So I do have a milk chocolate spread on hand, which looks about as bad as Nutella.

Rapunzel's Organic Hazelnut Butter

It still is more of a “Palm Oil Butter” than a “hazelnut Butter”–don’t know how I feel about that. But, on the bright side, it has 1/2 the sugar of Nutella so I can eat twice as much and is organic.

Oatmeal With Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Oh. And did I mention it’s downright delicious? That, too. Right after having my dose of palm oil from the butter, I got a nasty craving for some coconut oil(very different, the two). Thankfully, I now keep a bar of coconut oil chocolate already made waiting in the fridge for just an occasion.

1/2 Raw Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Bar

Since it was right before bed I kept it to half. This one I made with raspberry flavored agave syrup, but to be honest the flavor wasn’t that much different, which was a little surprising. Raspberries and chocolate go so well together; I don’t understand how chocolate covered strawberries are the more popular dessert. Maybe it’s because they’re larger and you get more chocolate?

Pondering that thought, I slept 9 1/2 hours and oh boy do I feel rested. I actually woke up at 6:45 naturally but the gym doesn’t even open until 9 so I forced myself back to sleep for a few hours. I wanted to get to the gym when it opened, but after waking up it made more sense to eat breakfast, workout, then have lunch rather than have breakfast at some ungodly time(and I just can’t skip breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day).

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

So Delicious Soy Yogurt Plain With Milk Chocolate Peanut Sunspire Drops

This was all pretty much dessert for breakfast–it tasted that good. But I’m hoping the simple sugars will be better pre-workout than anything else. And it was all organic! Except for the oatbran in my oatmeal, but it’s all about focusing on what you do do.

In making this, my kitchen scale’s batteries started to die. It wouldn’t even turn on for a while! I would be so lost without this thing; I don’t even own measuring cups for my oats or water because I have the scale to be more perfect. When I got it working again, I just threw them on as fast as I could! Everything worked out, but I definitely need to buy more batteries at CVS. And, to top it all off, those oats I was throwing on I’m running out of. And yet, walking 1+ mile to Whole Foods in sub-freezing temperatures does not sound fun. Screw saving the environment–I need a ride!

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Nutelling What I Think

Posted on January 26, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Rant | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I keep things in my life–including my blog–free of controversy. I don’t confront people a lot, and always try to respect others opinions while keeping my own. At the same time, I love a good rant 😀 So skip down to the end for me blowing my top on a not-so-nutty topic.

Soy Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanuts

I wanted to eat up this soy yogurt so it would be one less thing to carry back to school with me. Of course, what’s soy yogurt without a milk chocolate topic? Irony is tasty. I love how the peanuts taste a little roasted and salted; that contrast definitely helps bring out the sweetness of chocolate. I tried throwing myself back in to Heroes since it looked like the only new thing on television, but since I haven’t seen any of the 2010 episodes I was a little confused. Claire has daddy drama again? That can’t be healthy.

I decided the night would be perfect for a new nut butter. This was one of the ones I bought from Justin’s online store with my Christmas money. It’s similar to Nutella in concept, but the stats are much better as I’ll go into later.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Mmmm, yum! It melted so well over the oatmeal. This one’s a keeper. It didn’t taste too chocolatey; it more tasted like hazelnuts sweetened up. But that’s what I hope for in a hazelnut butter. And, unlike Nutella, this is vegan! I hope it reaches store shelves before I go through it(I hear it’s already in Colorado!). I ate this watching the star from NCIS on Leno. That was possibly the least interesting interview I’ve seen; oh Conan, we’ll miss you and your wit! I ended up tuning out early, going to bed, and waking up to a sweet surprise.

Box Of Q.Bel Chocolate

I mentioned yesterday that I won a Facebook contest for reviewing Q.Bel. Well, apparently they have Speedy Gonzalez running deliveries for them because I got my prize at 7:20 am from FedEx. Look at that chocolate! I can’t wait to try out the 2 new flavors. That’s definitely one way to start the day. That excitement aside, I started doing my core and did that through. When I got to the cardio(stairs), I grabbed something with protein and carbs.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna Protein Bar

I wish I had time to review this now; I will sometime soon and I’d give it a 7.5/10. But I think I say it all when I ate about 1/3-1/2 and just threw the rest out. And I HATE wasting food. It just tasted OK. But it almost was more like a candy bar and definitely not a whole food. I figured, if I wanted to eat a candy bar at the time I should have a Q.bel and if I wanted peanut butter I should have peanut butter. After I finished all the flights, I made a breakfast to “redeem” chocolate and peanut butter.

Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Ok. I’ve made my peace with chocolate and peanut butter now. I assure you, the dollop of peanut butter was big; it just got “nestled” into the oats after I popped it back in the microwave for 15 minutes(doesn’t that sound delicious :-D). For the yogurt, I just mixed full fat and 0% with some vanilla stevia and vanilla powder and it was nice and clean tasting. Once again, Justin’s nut butter made me happy 🙂 That was such a good purchase with my Christmas money.

Not Nutella

I’ll admit it: There was a time I adored Nutella and kept it in my pantry. There was also a time I had a Barney plush and thought about tearing out all my teeth if it meant I’d get a dollar under my pillow. But I’ve grown older, and wiser, and just cannot stand Nutella or its marketing. Have you ever noticed how they call it a “Hazelnut spread”? That’s because, legally, they cannot call it a hazelnut butter. The ingredients and statistics of it are so poor, I’m amazed they can get that far.

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, MODIFIED PALM OIL, HAZELNUTS, COCOA, SKIM MILK, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (FROM MILK), SOY LECITHIN: AN EMULSIFIER, VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

What’s more appropriate would be “Chocolate Pate” or even “Palm Oil Spread”. But would you top your oatmeal with something called “Palm Oil Spread”? Probably not. But there it is, higher on the ingredients than hazelnuts. And modified to boot! And the list is rounded out with vanillin, which I just can not stand and am happy to have out of my diet. Is it going to hurt you? Not at all. It’s just the hallmark of a cheap product. Now let’s look at Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter:

Ingredients: Dry Roasted Hazelnuts, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Natural Vanilla, Sea Salt.

That looks 10 times better to me. No, 100x. It’s a legitimate hazelnut butter–not a chocolate spread. The ingredients are straight forward and organic. And the nutritional information reads like a nut butter. I’ll leave you with a good rule for buying a flavored nut butter: If the grams of sugar are more than the fiber and protein, look at it with a skeptical eye; if the grams of sugar are more than the fat, put it down and walk away.

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