Reigning Over Imperfection

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Just so we all get the pun…

Rain In Providence

It’s raining really hard right now. And will be through Saturday, hence the “reign”. OK, good, I don’t feel crazy laughing alone at my own jokes 😀

I wouldn’t say I “struggle” with not being perfect simply because I’ve never met perfection in a bar and shattered a bottle to start swiping at it. That being said, I am pretty finicky(read: Polish stubborn) and try my best to excel at whatever I do or make. Sometimes A lot of times, things don’t work out. But the more I grow the more I learn to just “deal”.

Banana Whip With Vanilla Powder

This banana whip was far from perfect; some of the bananas I had just stuck in the fridge 2 hours earlier and weren’t even frozen. I needed to use Bob’s Red Mill guar gum and vanilla stevia here along with vanilla powder to get the flavor where I wanted it. And, in the end, I’d say it was just “OK”. Disappointing? A little. But there will be other banana whips.

Last night I also got the rough draft back from my writing fellow for a paper due today. I just don’t work that fast. And the comments she had I neither agreed with stylistically nor had time to properly work in. Naturally, my gut reaction was to freak out on how imperfect this paper’s going to be. In my stress, I made some tea to try and stop me from just grabbing a spoon and killing off a peanut butter jar(oh yes, I very well could have done this). But then I stepped back and thought: This is the class I took for “fun”. This is the class I changed to Pass/Fail so that it wouldn’t stress me out. And here I’m letting it walk all over me. I’m going to pass the class, perfect paper or not. And I was just being silly. At that, I edited what I could, and sent the final draft in calmly and rationally. So what did I eat in my no-longer stress?

Coconut Oil Chocolate

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Simply: Food. I whipped up 1/2 a batch of coconut oil chocolate and stuck it in a muffin tin because I’m OK with eating something imperfectly shaped if you’re OK with seeing it. And I had a nice filling, relaxing bowl of oatmeal with Justin’s chocolate peanut butter to calm my nerves. Did you know oatmeal is one of the best things you could eat to fall to sleep or back to sleep? I would have thought the carbs would make it imperfect for that but I guess since they’re all complex it works out.

8 Miles In 73:31

This morning, I woke up to rain(as I pointed out). I started thinking about how this could be the perfect excuse to not hit the gym. But then I had a funny thought: I wanted to brave the rain and get a good run in. There I had it, so I went and ran 8 miles in 73:31. The treadmill set up is imperfect; it only goes for 1 hour at a time, throws too many numbers at you, and doesn’t give a remote for the TV when the hour changes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it anyway 🙂

Fair Trade Organic White Chocolate Strawberry Raw Almond Butter

If it’s not clear that I’m somewhat of a neat-freak perfectionist, check out the sweet label I gave this homemade nut butter I made over Winter break. On the other side, it has a complete nutritional panel and even a little Fair Trader sticker 🙂

Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Pumpkin Pie Oats With White Chocolate Almond Butter

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal With White Chocolate Almond Butter

Lastly, I wholly acknowledge that I’m an imperfect refueler; I break about every rule for post-run recovery(which you can read the proper way for in this awesome and detailed post). But the flip side to that is I’m very good at telling what I want/need. Today felt like a “fat” morning where only fat would fill me up. I added a nice plop of almond butter on top of oatmeal made with pumpkin and egg whites(for a wee bit of protein). And instead of greek yogurt, I had chocolate avocado pudding. And, in an effort to keep stevia out of my breakfast, I sweetened this with 1 tablespoon Xagave instead. Was the flavor perfect? Not at all. But what’s a little real sugar after 8 miles in an effort to use stevia–while sweet and natural–a little less?

I’m also far from perfect for taking so long to get you this recipe; if you’ll remember, I made these coconut cherry cups for my family for Valentine’s Day. It took me a while to giving them their own recipe page but I finally have. Enjoy! If you try them, I bet they’ll come out perfect 😉

Vegan Sweet Cherry Coconut Cups

Ingredient:

  • 1/2 pound dark chocolate(I used 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and 2 squares(4 pieces) Baker’s Unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cherry butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar

In the microwave or using a double boiler, melt down the chocolate to a liquid state. Put a dab of chocolate into the bottom of 12 paper muffin cups to coat the bottom. Mix the coconut oil in a liquid state with the cherry butter. In a seperate bowl, mix together the coconut and agave nectar until fully incorporated. Mix together the two until a thick consistency and even red/pink color is reached. Add about 1 tablespoon of this mixture to each cup(there might be extra; if so, either make more cups or save for another use). Add a dollop of melted chocolate to the top of each coconut ball and work with a spoon until the cherry coconut is fully covered. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or more until serving.

And it would be imperfect of me not to mention this Chobani giveaway.

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Long, But Not Longer

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good morning and happy Monday! Are you a Monday lover? Or maybe it’s that dreaded day that sparks the work week for you? I’m a big fan of Monday’s myself; to me, they’re the time when things “normalize”: The gym is open at 6:30 again, the TV shows get better, I do my laundry, etc. It’s just a great day to get back at it! I’ll rave more about Monday when we get to that point. But first, Sunday night I had a lot to look forward to, too.

Trader Joe's Bed Time Tea

I tried this new tea from Trader Joe’s. Of course, since it was TJ’s, it was a cheaper knock-off version of some chain’s flavor. But it was also ridiculously good! It had plenty of chamomile and vanilla going for it, which tasted like a sweet treat with stevia. Mmmm. Beyond that, I opened up a new pint.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Soy Milk Ice Cream

Not that kind of pint; this kind! Although to get to this in the common room fridge, I did have to walk past a group of guys playing beer pong in PJ’s. LOL! Some might find that a little awkward but I’m comfortable in my own skin(or pajamas) and will jump through hoops for my ice cream! I love how this had a Gluten-Free seal on it, as if gluten is a creeper that would crawl up the sides and slip on in 🙂

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Yum! So good. I can’t even count how many pints of this flavor I’ve gone through. Incidentally, I’ve also lost a few scoops to stealers in the dorm in the past 😦 That won’t happen again, hopefully.

This also led me to question whether this conflicted with my Lenten give-up of pre-flavored soy products. My answer: No. I really wouldn’t say soy milk or soy ice cream counts very well as “food” to begin with(as opposed to tofu and tempeh). The point of giving up what I did was to take away a convenience food–2 key words there–and not to take myself off of trivial desserts. I don’t think it’s very “Lenten” to banish unhealthy food as if another excuse to diet. That’s my 2 cents; check out this post for what I think sounds like the best and toughest give-up by a blogger.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Blueberry Jam And Mighty Maple

Later on I had some very New England oats while watching Brothers & Sisters. Warm jam? Heck, yes. I’m glad Brothers & Sisters is back. Last night’s episode was incredible and next weeks looks good, too. I just wish it was actually played on Valentines Day, which would have made it more effective. I was not a fan of that crazy ice dancing; seriously, the aborigines?

Chocolate Brownie Z-Bar

For 3 weeks now, Sunday has been the hardest night for me to get to bed. Maybe this time it had something to do with the people singing Bohemian Rhapsody a few floors down–don’t know. I had to stay up late, watching something about King Tut on the Discovery Channel, and chowing on this Chocolate Brownie Z-Bar I found in my stash. I forgot how good these are! Too bad I don’t think I have more 😦

Newman's Own Organic Decaf

Back to why I love Mondays;. For one, I got to open this new bag of coffee which we bought at Stop & Shop yesterday; it’s one of my favorites! I got up at 6:50 so that I could be at the gym at 7:15, which I find is the perfect time for me to start running. Recently, Mondays have also been my “long run” which has so far been 1 mile longer than the one the week before. That would have put today at 11 miles. Well, my heart was just not that into it today. So I decided I’d still do a “long” run of 10 miles–just not a “longer” run.

10 Miles In 89:49

That took 89:49, in which time I had the good company of The Today Show, Cartoon Network, my gym friend who works for the college, and the local news. Apparently, it’s going to rain Tuesday-Friday straight! If that were snow, I’d be happy as a clam, but rain has me frowning 😦 At least it’s sunny today? Before breakfast, I also squeezed in a trip to a campus store for yogurt, a shower, and stuck my laundry in the machine. Needless to say, I was ready for fuel when I sat down!

Pomegranate Yogurt With Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Oatmeal With SB PB And Nutritional Yeast

Pomegranate Yogurt With Organic 70% Dark Chocolate Shavings

Mmmm, yum yum yum! I would call this a sweet and savory meal. For savory, we have the pumpkin and nutritional yeast combo with Smart Balance Peanut Butter; I swear it tastes like cheddar cheese crackers with peanut butter on them, and it’s a vegan dish! Perfecto! For the sweet, I bought a pomegranate yogurt this morning and topped it with 1 square of the 1.4oz organic dark chocolate bar by endangered species; this is pretty much my favorite dark chocolate–very deep in flavor, hard texture, and entirely organic.

So, have I convinced you of Monday’s greatness or not? Answer quick because my laundry comes out of the dryer in 20. Or, if you want to rant about Monday in the comments, I don’t mind that, either 😀 For my part, I’ll rant that I have a paper due Wednesday for which the writing fellow was no help with and a Greek test on Thursday I feel under-prepared for. To all that, I just have this to say: Que Cera Cera

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I Almost! But Then I Didn’t

Posted on February 19, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I almost peed myself when Survivor came on last night, but then I used the toilet.

I almost cried when I realized I’ve been watching Survivor for more of my life than I haven’t, but then I held it in.

Coconut Oil Chocolate

I almost made a bowl of chocolate avocado pudding, but then I didn’t. Instead, I thought this coconut oil chocolate bar made with virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions that’s been in the fridge a bit too long would be good enough. It was pretty tasty, though could have been fresher if you know what I mean.

I almost forgot that I promised to put up the Vegan Sweet Cherry Coconut Cup recipe, but now I threw it on the to-do list.

I almost got a chance once to go to a fundraiser where Steve Carell was hosting and the cake was made by Duff, but then I didn’t(mostly because I didn’t know a lot of these important details). Instead, I got to watch it on an episode of Ace Of Cakes. What a slap in my cake.

I almost liked Grey’s Anatomy last night, but then I decided it was just “meh”.

I almost thought of starting homework for the 5 day weekend, but–oh wait. No I didn’t 😀

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

I almost went for savory oats(nutritional yeast and smart balance), but then I went with sweet. You just can’t beat Justin’s chocolate peanut butter for some CPB lovin’ late at night.

I almost wanted to stayed up to watch men’s skating, but when it was starting at 10 and the best people weren’t until the final group, I knew that was code to give up hope. Instead, I caught it all on The Today show this morning. Go USA!

I almost snoozed in a little bit, but then I didn’t. I love running first thing in the morning for a lot of reasons, and not so much for others. In the end, the good outweighs the bad.

8 Miles In 73:07

I almost thought of running further today, but then I didn’t. I had 8 miles planned. They were a bit slow, but overall I felt really fresh.

I almost thought of having the typical oatmeal and greek yogurt for breakfast, but then I didn’t. Sometimes you just need to break out of the norm! And eat some fun and funky foods.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Hulled Hemp

I almost thought of doing a vegan Friday as part of Lent…

Soy Yogurt With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

…but then I didn’t(on account of the butter toffee peanut butter from Naturally Nutty). I’ve done the vegan-for-a-day thing here and here, and I’ve learned that forcing it for a 24 hour period is not for me. Curiously, there has been random periods of 24 hours straight where I ate completely vegan without trying! I didn’t point these out on the blog, because they weren’t exactly breaking news, but I thought it was interesting that something that can at times feel forced happened so naturally.

I almost forgot to say how amazing the pudding with the Bob’s Red Mill hemp seed and yogurt with the peanut butter tasted, but now I did. And don’t think some peanut butter didn’t hop over from the yogurt to the pudding 🙂

I almost forgot to ask my Lent question, but now I will: Fish on Friday, yes or no? I grew up in a house where fish was OK on Fridays. At the same time, we always say we’re giving up “meat” on Fridays. Well, if I ever went vegetarian, fish would definitely fall under the category of “meat” to me. So what’s the final stance? Is fish good on Fridays or is it just another meat? I’m curious to hear responses(and any authoritative statements you could point me to would be even better!).

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In A Jiffy…

Posted on February 18, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In a jiffy I’m putting up this post before class.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Nibmor Almond Chocolate

In a jiffy I can whip up a batch of chocolate avocado pudding that’s smooth and silky. I also added in a piece of almond Nibmor because raw cacao butter just rocks my socks(all though, to be honest, I wish this were their original flavor). Why haven’t I bought that yet? I’ll look for it and pick one up in a jiffy.

In a jiffy I’m already so annoyed with Lent. It’s making me have cravings it knows I can’t have that I would never otherwise crave. Like orange chicken at 10pm? Since when?!

In a jiffy last night I was in my PJ’s and reading a food magazine in the month that it was published. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten around to one that fast.

In a jiffy those female skiers were flying down the mountain last night. Too bad so many of them were on their butts and not their skis.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Nutritional Yeast And Smart Balance

In a jiffy I shut down my computer, ate some oats, and fell asleep. I might not have been able to feed a chicken craving but “vegan cheddar” I could do with these oats–yum.

In a jiffy I made some decaf french vanilla coffee this morning–whoopee!

In a jiffy I read an email from a writing fellow saying my paper might “miss the mark”, decided to disagree with her, and swapped the grading option from ABC to Pass/Fail on that class. How great to do 2 things I love–arguing with people and making important life decisions–before the sun rises and in a jiffy.

7 Miles In 62:55

In a jiffy I ran 7 miles(that is if you consider 62:55 a “jiffy”).

In a jiffy I decided that I would post before class to today so that I can hit up Whole Foods between Greek and Greek History with time to cook up lunch.

Breakfast Components

In a jiffy I grabbed what will make up my breakfast(less sunspires will be involved though.

In a jiffy I’m going to defend myself by saying this is 3/4 organic, free of refined grains, probiotic, and exactly what I was craving. So there!

In a jiffy I’m off! What have you done recently in a jiffy?

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The Downside To Christmas

Posted on February 17, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

For Catholics, the time has come to pay up. Remember getting goodies from under the tree almost 2 full months ago? Yes, that last part depresses me, too. I feel like the Christmas season of family time, holidays from work, and gift giving are far enough back to be “gone” but way too far off to be considered “coming up”. Any, now we’ve came to “the downside of Christmas” otherwise known as lent. On the one hand, you have the feeling of I can eat cookies and cake and candies so long as they’re all shaped like a tree or an ornament. And now we’ve come to Lent where, not only should we work off those cookies and cakes, but we should give something up, too. Well that’s just a kick in the shins. I thought about it long and hard, and the answer became clear soon enough…

Just kidding! But really…

Preflavored soy! It took a lot of thinking to come to this one, but I feel really good about it all around. Even though one of my money-saving tips is always buying the “raw” material, I have to admit I go against that from time to time. Especially with soy, it’s so easy to pick up a log of “meat”, a veggie burger, or marinated tempeh. My fave fave favorites have been fakin’ bacon tempeh, Lightlife’s buffalo wings and soy sausage, and a whole tofurkey loaf at Thanksgiving! And on days that I have no time, these have been quite useful. But now I’m saying no to them for Lent. I’m a little wary that I might get home at 7pm one night and just start eating raw tempeh, but if that’s the case I’ll deal; and it’s only about a month, right? Anyway, on to the eats.

Vegan Sweet Cherry Coconut Cup Over Oikos

I hate to tease with these amazing coconut cups before I’ve put up a recipe page but… I will. Oh my God are they good. And they have a name! Vegan sweet cherry coconut cups. I’ll clue you in that the inside is a blend of cherry butter, unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, and agave nectar–yum! It was perfect with some yogurt for protein while flipping back and forth between Idol and the Olympics. Last night, I wasn’t a huge fan of either, though, honestly. Idol’s kind of at that boring stage where no one’s bad but no one’s great, and men’s figure skating just isn’t my sport to watch. A little bored, I made a not-so-boring bowl of oats.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple, Coconut, And Dried Blueberries

I was thinking for some reason this might look more “American” than it did: orange, white and blue. I guess I’m supporting Holland these Olympics? Haha, those uniforms are styling. Not styling were. Shredded coconut, even unsweetened, is definitely growing on me as a dry and fiberous fat. And Bob’s Red Mill‘s dried blueberries are sooo delicious! They reminded me of wild Maine blueberry pie. I stayed up long enough to see the Canadian skater and then hit the hay; I felt bad that he didn’t do “perfect”, but he still did well and especially for still being a teenager! And I thought I had pressure on me…

10 Miles In 88:14

This morning, I had 10 miles planned again–yikes! I woke up feeling good, but I just couldn’t tell how good. I got to the gym and started running. After a while I wanted to get off, more from boredom than anything else. For a long time, I debated stopping at 8 miles. And then I looked down and realized I had gone through 9 1/2. 1/2 a mile more? Yeah, I could do that. And it was faster than Monday’s pace! That’s the part that made me happy.

Green Chocolate Dreams Superfood Snacks

Green Chocolate Dream Superfood Snack

Back at the dorm and I felt like a mad man trying to refuel! First I took a superfast shower. It’s a good thing I was so quick because someone was waiting behind me. Then I started tearing at things trying to figure out what’s for breakfast. I’m very noisy making breakfast; it’s something that annoys even me. But I have oatmeal flying here and there and a microwave beeping at me and dealing with underbed storage–it’s kind of a mess. Needless to say, these raw balls from Superfood Snacks worked their way in there.

Breakfast

I think you’re supposed to fast on Ash Wednesday? Whoops. Well, I really needed to eatsomething a lot. And, yes, I’ve already eaten fake meat, but I’ll justify it in a bit. I was dying for chocolate avocado pudding since I didn’t have any yesterday. It tasted sooo good; absence really does make the heart grow fonder. The green chocolate dream balls were… “interesting”. I don’t mean that to sound like how your high school art teacher described your painting; after all, I did give them an 8/10 in my review. They just needed a touch of fat to taste richer. I am glad to have gotten so many green in at breakfast, though.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful And Tempeh Bacon

This is not an Erkel “Did I do thaaat?” moment. I decided I was giving up prepared meat for lent last night at around 10:30pm, still havings 4 strips of tempeh bacon in the fridge. It is not the point of Lent, in my mind,  to be wasteful; I’m pretty sure even the opposite is true. So I used 2 strips at breakfast and will work in the other 2 at some point just to “use them up”. After that, any tempeh bacon I want I’ll have to cure myself–simple enough.

And so that is my kick-off to Lent. I still need to figure out how/when/if I’ll be able to get ashes today. And I have 3 1/2 straight hours of class now that history discussions are running. Whoopdie doo. Here’s a contest for some booty(of the pirate kind). Happy hump day!

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Catch Up, Run, Devour!

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Things I need to do more often: Relax! But that’s not happening now, so let’s get into it.

Tips To Save

I’ve been wanting to bring this one up for a while. I get asked a lot “How do you save money on groceries?”. My answer is that there are tons of ways! You just need to tap into them!

Proteins

1. Buy off-brand and do it yourself! These are two biggies anyone can do. If you trust a store brand, it’ll often be cheaper than the name ones. I buy a lot of Trader Joe products, which are almost a dollar off their competitors at normal price. I also try to buy the raw ingredients rather than premade/seasoned, which are always more expensive. And the best thing you can do is simply cook for yourself! You’ll save a lot more if you buy proteins and cook them than if you order them out.

If you’re asking yourself “what’s he going to do with a pound of beef in a dorm room?” I’m thinking the same question :-/

Yogurts

Yes, I do acknowledge my yogurt obsession, but this brings up 2 more tips.

2. Follow your favorite brands on Twitter. It sounds weird, but by doing this I won 12 Chobani in one of their contests, and you could too! It’s a great way to connect with your favorite brands. I tweet @So_Delicious all the time, and while it hasn’t won me anything so far, it’s really fun!

3. Store sales and coupons! I’m sure we all had mothers who sat at the table clipping coupons and reading circulars until the cows came home, right? Well, turns out she had a point! If you check, you’re favorite foods(like Oikos) just might be cheaper this week. And if you pair a $1 Oikos sale with a $1 off Oikos coupon from the circulars, that’s a freebie right there!

Groceries

4. Fan Your Favorite Companies. Similar to tweeting, email and Facebook are two great ways to stay up to date with your favorite company, and they often help you right back! In this picture, I managed a free bag of Popchips because I get their e-newsletters, and 2 free Nature’s Path products because I won a fan contest on Facebook by being their friend. It does pay to be friendly!

I hope that has enlightened or at least amused you. Personally, I loooove seeing other’s groceries 🙂

Almost Empty Smart Balance Peanut Butter

While I was home yesterday, I grabbed this out of our pantry. Who takes almost empty things just to use them once and throw them away? Apparently, me!

Pumpkin Oats In A Jar With Chocolate Chips, Vanilla Greek Yogurt

I also seriously felt like I needed protein, since I had so little all day. I added an Oikos in to put my mind at ease. Does anyone else make the oats in a bowl, and then add them to the jar? I just don’t really trust microwaving that plastic for 2 minutes. Also, for good measure, there was Trader Joe’s chocolate chips involved. There always are 🙂

Last night I could not sleep for the life of me. I think the attendant at McDonalds gave me real coffee instead of decaf at 6pm, which threw me off for the night! I tried to get sleepy; I shut down everything but the TV at 10. But then 11 rolled around, and I was up. And then 11:30. Finally, I had a snack.

Nature's Path Pumpkin N' Spice Chewy Granola Bar

I’m not saying something as carby as this bar is good at 11:30 when you can’t sleep. But it did hit a certain spot, and was free because of the Nature’s Path Facebook coupon, so left me with good conscious. The flavor reminded me of anything and everything toted as “frosted” from my childhood. And I was a little disappointed that even the seeds weren’t hard anymore but rather chewy. Anyway, I don’t think I actually fell asleep until after 12:30, which definitely P.ed me O, if only because there’s so much I could have done with that amount of time, and I knew I had a long run in the morning.

10 Miles in 89:51

I’ll start with what matters: I did it! Woohoo! The first time I hit 10 miles on the treadmill I remember needing a movie to keep me going. Well, this time I had The Today Show. I tried to get their early to dominate the TV’s but most of the ‘mills were taken by 7am! Let the competition begin. I felt a little lagging half way through, but then a gym friend showed up, and we talked about the opening ceremonies and not being able to be awake for the whole thing, haha. The time was a little slower than I’d like–a 9:00min/mile pace. But hopefully I’ll get speedier once I get more used to these distances.

Better Than Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It’s also been a rather slow(but busy!) morning; I took 60 minutes between getting of the treadmill to do everything I had to do before sitting down to a breakfast. Time gap much? I pulled out these new seeds for some optimum nutrition and worked them in to some favorite foods.

Pepita Sun Butter Oats, Soy Yogurt With Hemp And Pumpkin Seeds

Agave Soy Yogurt With Vanilla Stevia, Pumpkin Seeds, And Hulled Hemp

Clearly, when I get on a theme, I get on it. I had a somewhat obligatory bowl of oatmeal with pepita sun butter from Naturally Nutty. Since that has pumpkin, flax, and hemp, naturally my yogurt should follow suit, right? It was a glorious reunion with soy yogurt after a week of being out of it! It was nice and sweet, which gave good contrast for the pumpkin seeds and hulled hemp. I guess overall it was a pretty seedy breakfast 😉

Back On Track

I tried this last week and liked where it got me! But then some things took a downturn over the weekend, so here’s to me getting back on track.

1. Meal plans. In short, I need to make them. They may not be necessary, but they make life so much simpler, especially on work days, so why not? Any ideas for all that beef? I have a few, but I’d love to hear what you can come up with!

2. Planned Runs. Last week I hit my running goals spot on, and I hope the same for this week! Mon: 10. Tues: 5. Wed: 10. Thu: 7. Fri: 8. Those are the goals, at least.

3. Protein & Fat. I feel like I was doing so well at incorporating more protein and fat and then–what happened? Over the weekend was beans and chips and oatmeal–oh my! Hopefully, this one will come naturally if I stick to number 1 and number 4…

4. Eat Nutrition! I don’t mean to demonize carbs, I really don’t. But the fact is that heavy carb items–sugar, oatmeal, starchy vegetables–are also usually not as nutrient dense as light vegetables, seeds, nuts, and proteins. I was not a fan of Thrive by Brendan Brazier, but one point that stuck out to me was that he went from eating 8000 calories of starchy, white foods a day to 2000 of nutrient-rich ones and became 10 times better in what he does.

5. Work First, Internet Later. This is more of a one-day goal, specifically today! I have a HUGE to-do list before the week starts up, and anything beyond my inbox just does not need to be addressed soon I figure. So for now, it’s work work work!

And now, drumroll please….

The winner of my biggest contest thus far is reader Melissa MC! Congrats! I will contact you for your information. If you didn’t win, keep an eye out for more contests soon and more coconut oil recipes!

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Like Frosting

Posted on February 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Whenever the Olympics are on, I just feel such pride in being an American! I want to wear a flag wherever I go and pump my fist to the anthem; I think I’ve caught the Olympic fever! I’ve heard it lasts for two weeks and goes away and comes back every 2 years. Side effects include growing 5 lumps on your back, 3 on the top row and 2 on the bottom and all in bright, different colors. Have you caught this disease?

Last night involved finishing a reading on Socrates death(which coincidentally made me feel like I was dying a little inside), watching Apolo Ohno completely own the field in his first run, and making a big bowl of… frosting?!

Chocolate Avocado Frosting/Pudding

Pretty much. I tried merging the chocolate avocado pudding recipe with the frosting recipe from these brownies. I used 3oz avocado, 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, a dash of vanilla powder,and 1 tablespoon Xagave(reviewed here). It only tasted “OK”; it didn’t really taste like the frosting because it only had 1/3 of the sugar. Then again, all the sugar would have been a bit ridiculous. I ended up adding vanilla stevia to it to turn up the sweetness and make it not taste like avocado. The texture was incredible, though; in that respect, it was just like frosting in a bowl. I think the key for the thickness was no coconut milk and a really ripe avocado–yum! Did I mention I advertise as a “healthy living blog”? Yeah, I’m an imaginative person.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

I was still starving after that pudding and went straight for some volume oats! A full bowl of oatmeal plus what was left of a can of pudding plus a big spoonful butter toffee peanut butter by Naturally Nutty. Now that’s like frosting–deeeeelish. The women’s downhill was so much more entertaining than I would have gave it credit for; I felt bad a Canadian didn’t win because 2 of them were really impressive. I had to laugh that for all of them they announced their height and weight; I don’t know that much about women but from the bit I do I would think that wouldn’t be well appreciated? When a woman becomes president of the IOC, I’m sure that’ll be the first to go.

I had the oddest craving at 3am for chicken! If I had a rotisserie chicken in my fridge, it would have been in the oven in 5 minutes–I’m just saying. I didn’t though, so it was back to bed and sleeping in until 8:30. When I thought about all I had to do this morning–change, run, shower, eat, blog, and go–to be honest, I wasn’t sure how/if I’d do it.

5 Miles In 44:14

Clearly, I did it. My ultimate thought was “It doesn’t matter how it’s going to happen. If you go through the motions, and time passes, in 2 hours when you look back it will be done”. With that thought in mind, I laced up, put on a playlist, set the treadmill for 5 miles, and just ran. I tried not looking down as long as I could and instead just focus on Scooby Doo on TV. I tried guessing how long it must have been by the plot progression of Scooby Doo until I realized… “plot progression” and “Scooby Doo” just don’t go together.

Honest Foods Maple Almond Crunch Granola Plank, Vanilla 2% With Cinnamon

Having a quick breakfast in mind surely eased things a bit. I took the remaining 1/2 of a Vanilla chobani, added 2oz full fat Voskos, cinnamon, and NuNaturals vanilla stevia–Sweeeeet. This also gave me occasion to try a new product from Honest Foods, which I just made a review for here! In summary: large, maple, sugary, nice. Get the picture? If not…

Maple Almond Crunch Granola Plank With Cinnamon Yogurt Frosting

Now that’s like frosting. And now I’m throwing this post up about to head out the door to go home for the B-day bash! It’s going to be wall-to-wall work with picking up supplies on the way home, making a dessert as soon as I get in, and then playtime with the cousins throughout the afternoon, but it will be worth the hustle. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take “real work” with me for the downtime in the car or something to blow my mind off like a magazine or DSi, but now I’m thinking I’ll need that time to nap!

Don’t forget I pick a winner for the coconut oil giveaway tomorrow morning!

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On An Almond Butter Kick

Posted on February 12, 2010. Filed under: Book Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

With so many nut butters around here, my taste buds can really go any which way they desire. Obviously, I have plenty of peanut butters, a good number of almond butters, a few varieties of cashew, and then 1 or 2 jars of sunflower, pumpkin, pistachio, pecan, hazelnut, and–of course–coconut oil. But lately I have been all about the almond, baby!

Endangered Species Organic 1.4oz Dark Chocolate Cherry Bar

OK–I lied. First I was all about the chocolate 😀 To be honest, I didn’t care much on what flavor I was grabbing for(in fact I would have preferred plain dark chocolate but thankfully the cherry isn’t too pronounced in this bar). What I wanted was just toe at a whole chocolate bar! Not break of 2 chunks from a HUGE one, or finish a half eaten one. I just wanted to eat a chocolate bar. I think that’s the strongest feature of Endangered Species 1.4oz organic line to me.

A lot was going on while I was eating this. First and foremost: Survivor! I love the new season already, and hate the villains already. They get my blood boiling! I was bummed that the whole thing was 2 hours. Now I need to watch Greys and NBC shows online. I also found out that my peaceful, catch-up weekend on campus might not end up like that; I might need to take a trip home Sunday where my relatives and us would celebrate my aunt’s birthday. Of course, that’s  a pretty darn good reason to put down the books and go home, so 95% chance I will. Now I just feel as though I need a new recipe to try. Suggestions? Anyway, that all went down and my hunger went up; now bring on the almond butter!

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

Almond butter and chocolate? My heart be still. This bowl was a salty/sweet mess; that’s one of the best kinds of messes, in my opinion! So in love with Justin’s chocolate almond butter, but not quite as much as his maple almond butter. And how have I never reviewed that?! I’ve gone through pounds(literally). Adding that to the list of things I might not get around to this weekend… And after that I got to bed(finally!) to cap off the work week. Woohoo!

Honest Foods Choco Peanut Butter Bar

I wasn’t particularly starving before my run today but I wasn’t exactly “topped off” either. This choco peanut butter bar from Honest Foods(which I also ate 1 of yesterday afternoon…) was what I needed to hit the spot. What’s the 3rd ingredient? Almond butter! That’s interesting for a chocolate and peanut butter bar, but the flavor works regardless so it’s good with me.. I’ve been asked if I eat something before I run in the morning; the simple answer is “If I take a picture/mention something, then I ate it”. I always have a unpictured, single cup of black decaf coffee before leaving my room, but that’s it otherwise.

Running Stats

This morning’s run was a dilemma, but a happy one indeed. I felt very on top of my game throughout the whole planned 8 miles; I think watching about Olympians on The Today Show had me all fired up! Naturally, I just didn’t want to stop, and I thought today I could reach double digits again. Well, after talking myself down from increasing my mileage that much, I went with my schedule: 8 miles(70:42) and 30 minutes cross-training.

Elliptical Machine

I also took ya’ll advice and swapped to the elliptical from the bike. My verdict: I loved it! It felt like a “real” workout. I put on resistance level 5 and did about 4500 strides in 30 minutes, trying to stay above 150/min. It kept my heart rate at 120+ and got my sweat on. Lovely, right? Thankfully, I then got my shower on and eventually my eat.

Breakfast

Hemp And Oatmeal With Vanilla Almond Butter

My grandfather always says “Holy Hannah!” as an exclamatory but I think “Holy hemp!” could be my own thing 🙂 In place of 1/6th a cup oat bran in my oatmeal, I swapped 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill hulled hemp seeds. This was a bit of a haphazard swap; oat bran is the outer, fiberous layer of a grain whereas hulled hemp is the innermost part of a seed. Naturally, that meant the “fluff factor” was not there in the oats. But it was delicious! Nice and nutty(or “hempy”). And perfect with some vanilla almond butter from Naturally Nutty, which is made with hemp ground in! On the side I had some vanilla-y green tea and vanilla 2% Greek yogurt. I think today might be a vanilla sort of day 🙂

Speaking of “the day”, I may not have classes, but now I might have to get at working to make up for the weekend! And yet, for some reason I can’t stop looking at recipes for a lunch or dinner here or thinking about things I might want to order from iHerb. Do you ever feel like you need someone whose sole role is to tell you what you “need” verse “want”? Yeah, I “need” that person now.

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Welcome To The Weekend

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Welcome to my weekend, at least! I can’t think of a more perfect way than with a new Survivor season starting in 20 minutes! I’ve been watching the show since season 1 when I was only around 8 or 9 years old. Has it really been that long? Anyway, It felt soooo good getting out of my class at 4pm this afternoon. If you’ll remember, last Thursday it was out of class and off to chocolate fest so there wasn’t much “downtime”. This afternoon, however, has been nothing but. Speaking of being lazy, I really didn’t want a “real lunch” this afternoon. All I cared about was dessert. I ended up doing something sloppy and simple.

Scrambled Eggs With Ketchup, Canned Pumpkin With Nutritional Yeast

What can I say? I’m a college student 😛 I scrambled 2 Eggland’s Best Cage Free eggs in a little pasture butter and topped with ketchup–OMG. I seriously forgot how satisfying just scrambled eggs are. My grandma would make them for me all the time; I’ll need to do them more often. On the other hand, I’ve decided pretty firmly that I just do not care for pumpkin anywhere but in my oats. It tastes bland and nasty, in my opinion. Blech. But I was also out of fresh, fiberous vegetables and was in a pickle(Mmm… pickles). More importantly, I just wanted my dessert.

Banana Whipe With Peanut Flour Topping

Banana whip! Oh how I love thee. So smooth. So creamy. So delicious. I’ve been keeping bananas from the dining hall in the dorm fridge for this; it’s free for me and takes up common space 🙂 For the topping, I meant to make a peanut sauce but didn’t use enough flour so it was more like dough. That doesn’t matter; what was important was that I realized peanut flour is something that upsets my stomach. It’s weird to think something that’s only peanut would do that to me, but it does. And it sucks that it’s a perfectly vegan source of protein 😦 I don’t even know what I’m going to do. Thoughts? Any lactose intolerant ice cream eaters out there?

Choco Peanut Butter Honest Foods Bar

During my 2nd of 2 classes this afternoon, I broke open this bar from Honest Foods. Honestly? It was pretty fantastic. I’ve come to notice that anything that’s supposed to taste like peanut butter with grains in it usually doesn’t; thankfully that wasn’t the case. I think any walnuts/sunflower seeds in here would have been better off being more peanut halves, but beyond that yum!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Coconut Oil

I could have been dancing getting out of my last class this afternoon; it didn’t quite matter that I didn’t do all the homework for it because we never get that far in translation courses. To celebrate the afternoon, I had some raw chocolate avocado pudding with Tropical Tradition‘s coconut oil. Welcome to the weekend indeed! If this is any indication, this weekend will be fattening 😉 After that I mostly vegged out doing some potential online shopping(aka filling a shopping cart with foodie finds but not hitting “check out”) and planning a comforting dinner.

Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage, Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Sweet Potato With Maple Syrup

I think that pretty much sums up my comfort foods: brussels sprouts(or broccoli–either will do), sweet potatoes, maple syrup, fatty meat, salt, and anything roasted! Actually, the vegetables were a bit of a disappointment in that respect; either the fact that they were cooked in the dining hall(with no apparent fat) or my lack of patience meant they weren’t well roasted. This flavor of Al Fresco all natural chicken sausage cooked in a pan with some pasture butter made up for it a bit.

Fat Talk

Since I have a bit of time, I thought why not address some fat talk. And not the kind that we all snickered about in High School! I want to talk about fat in your(or my) diet. I was turned on to different and new fats and ways of thinking about them by bloggers like Heather and Averie. If today can be seen as an average day, then I get a good deal of mono- and poly-saturated fats from almond butter, peanut butter, and avocado, and my saturated fats from coconut, grass-fed butter, and hormone-free meats.

The obvious question would be “How do you feel?”. My answer is “Pretty darn good”. The fat is definitely delicious and filling. I haven’t had any stomach issues save the peanut flour which is actually only 12% fat. And–for what it’s worth–my skin and complexion seem smoother and clearer. If I had to sum it all up and be catch, I’d say “Fat is here to stay”. And I still think that getting the mono/polysaturated fats as well as the “bad” saturated fats. These really aren’t so bad if you stick with sources like coconut and grass-fed meat and dairy options.

Well that’s just my 5-minute 2 cents. But without further ado, the winner of the Yogurt Maker via Random.org is…

Erika!

Congrats! I can’t wait to see what she cultures up. And, if you didn’t win this, you can win Chobani from Anne in her giveaway here.

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My, Oh, Brownie

Posted on February 10, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some things words cannot describe.

The Wow Baking Company Chocolate Brownie

Like really big brownies. I was planning on saving this one from The Wow Baking Company for Cookie Friday, but I just couldn’t wait. Is it ironic that I was also watching The Biggest Loser at the time? I didn’t feel too bad because it was all about Olympic athletes and fueling! And I love chocolate fuel.

The Wow Baking Company Chocolate Brownie

Like the name says, “wow”. I popped this brownie in the microwave to get warm and melty. The texture was superb! So fudgy 🙂 I thought the sweetness was a bit “off”. It was definitely sweet(how could it not be with so much sugar?) but needed something to balance that sweetness. I really couldn’t complain…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie

Check out that fudge factor! And, of course, being from Wow, it was gluten free. I fel like that’s not so much a problem with brownies, though, since the first ingredients are always chocolate, eggs, sugar, and butter. For homemade gluten free brownies, check out my recipe here.

Oatmeal With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I thought all those generally empty calories would have left me starving, but I was actually more or less in a sugar coma and just wanted to get to bed early for my long run. Still, I figured I might want a little more so I wouldn’t be starving when I got up and made a bowl of oatmeal. There was a good blob of peanut butter but sticking it back in the microwave “enrobed” it with oats; doesn’t that sound tempting? 🙂

Running Stats

The oatmeal must have worked because this morning I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle my “long run” of the week. I wasn’t sure how it’d be after yesterday’s unplanned 8-miler. Well, for one, it certainly felt like a long run–difficult and painfully long at times. That being said, I enjoyed it and finished 9 miles in 80:53. And in that time I was able to catch to much of The Today Show on the Olympics! I can’t wait for them to really start! Breakfast was very “themed” 🙂

Tierra Farm's Organic Crystallized Ginger

I found this product from Tierra Farm I had yet to even open. I think yesterday’s Kombucha turned me on to a ginger kick!

Breakfast

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Crystallized Ginger

Vanilla Chobani With 2 Goji Ginger Walnut Cookies

Like I said, very themed. I topped the vanilla Chobani with 2 of the ginger walnut cookies from Goji Gourmet; gotta get my superfood in after a good run! Since I liked the idea of the ginger and walnut so much, I topped my pumpkin oats with Artisana brand walnut butter and the organic crystallized ginger. The ginger wasn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked; I’ve had some ginger in the past that’s just knocked my socks off and this wasn’t at that spice-level.

And on my way back from the gym it started snowing!! Obviously, the East is getting pummeled today, and it’s finally hitting New England; we’re supposed to get 6-10 inches! There’s also a great chance my only class will be cancelled, so I went ahead and put on lazy sweat pants, and now need to think of what to do for today. Obviously, there’s a little homework. Beyond that, I’ve just got an email about next year’s housing which has me thinking. I really lucked out this year. I got into the perfect dorm for me and got paired with a great roommate and we respect each other well. For higher years, however, it’s done a little more differently; there’s a bit of play involved. I could partner up with a group of 6–if I could find 6–and have us go into the “housing lottery” for a suite, go in completely solo and throw myself to chance, or a number of things in between.  My dream would probably be a solo in the dorm I live in now(Wayland). That’s not very likely, though, for a Sophomore. If anything, the top preference on my list would be to live in the same building at least as this year; I lived in one house my whole life so clearly, when I settle somewhere, I like to settle. There’s always hoping, right?

Editted to add:

I just got an email that class is back on, even though I can tell you right now it is not going to be pretty out at 3-6 in the afternoong. Ugh. And today was the class I volunteered to bring in snacks for(raw vegan brownies). I guess I know where my afternoon is going to. Aww, man, now I need to put on real pants!

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