Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was just what I needed. I caught up on TV shows, hung out with friends, and ate good food! Friday night was spent baking chocolate chip cookies and catching up with my friend Megan! The cookies were really good, sorry no picture, but I accidentally used baking powder, not baking soda. While this difference didn't ruin them, it made for a cake-ier cookie. That's what happens when you are talking and baking! Haha.

Saturday was spent doing a little homework and getting tea with a friend from my Bible study. We met up at the Earth and Tea Cafe here in Harrisonburg. It's got a great atmosphere and soooo many different varieties of tea! I ended up with some kind of chocolate tea. It was pretty good and very mild. I ended up adding some sugar to bring out the chocolate flavor.

Saturday night I made a spin off of the traditional grilled cheese. What do you do when you want grilled cheese but don't have legit bread or slices of cheese? Improvise!!

Enter: English Muffin Grilled Cheese!

Ingredients
-butter (mmm...)
-reduced sodium shredded mild cheddar cheese
-whole wheat english muffin

Directions
Butter each side of the english muffin. Place one buttered half down on a griddle, sprinkle cheese on top, top with the other half. Flip!

Chewy, buttery, and cheesy...

Please ignore the chipped nail polish ;)


I'm definitely repeating this English Muffin Grilled Cheese. This week I am planning on making BBQ tofu and sweet potato & parsnip fries! Stay tuned :)

On another note, this morning at church, our band released their new CD! Check them out, they are awesome! Here's a link that has one of their songs if you're curious.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow and P90X Update

Unfortunately, and fortunately, we didn't get a snow day today. JMU opened at noon, so my 3ish hour class (HLM) started an hour late. I was happy we had it so that I don't have to come in on a Saturday to make it up! Plus the lecture was extremely helpful for the hw assignment we have due next week! Also on the "textbook" front, I'm presenting some research at a research forum in Richmond, VA next Thursday. Should be fun! I am about to start thesis data collection too. It looks like it's going to be a busy semester!!

Here are some pics of the snow and icicles on one of my chairs from this morning!




P90X hasn't been as brutal as I thought it was going to be. But it's been very hard. So far I've completed:
  • Chest & Back
  • Ab Ripper X
  • Plyometrics
  • Shoulders & Arms
  • Yoga X
The hardest day for me, so far, was Plyometrics. Here is a pic of me after:


 *Please note the red/purple face and fake smile!

I'm excited to see how the next few weeks go! Have a great night everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smoothie & Dinner Recipes!

Hi friends! Boy is it gross outside! Well...gross when you have to get outside and pretty when you're nice and warm inside :) This morning I woke up to ice...everywhere!

Hello windshield...

After spending about 15 minutes de-icing my car, I drove to work. Luckily the main roads weren't too bad. The sidewalks and parking lots at my place were sheets of ice!

Everything stopped for a few hours, then the sky dumped ice for about an hour...followed by snow. Once I saw that it wasn't stopping, I decided to head home. Good thing because I saw an accident and lost traction quite a few times! 


 I just received a text from JMU saying they're closing at 2:15. Thank goodness! Now down to the food!! :) I've been making a lot of smoothies lately. Why?

1. They are quick and easy.
2. I always want something cold as a snack after my P90X workout.

Strawberry, Banana, & Chocolate PB Smoothie

Ingredients
-1 cup milk
-6 frozen strawberries
-1 frozen banana
~1 hefty tablespoon of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB
-1 cup ice

Directions
Blend until smooth!

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Tofu & Peas in a Light Peanut Sauce


Ingredients
-1 block extra firm tofu
-1.5 cups peas
-1/2 cup peanut flour (or PB)
-1 cup milk
-1 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
-1 tbsp agave (or honey)
-1/2 onion chopped
-EVOO
-1 cup quinoa
-2 cups water

Directions
Sauce: Add peanut flour, milk, liquid aminos, and agave into a measuring cup (the pour type) and whisk whisk whisk!

Tofu: Drain all of the liquid out of the tofu by putting a plate on top of it and then a book on top of the plate. Let this sit for about 15-20 min. Slice tofu into 5 long pieces. Place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and brush sauce on both sides. Let that bake for 30 min per side (1 hour total) on 350 degrees! I originally thought these would take 15 min per side, but the slices were too thick! If you want to lessen the cooking time, definitely slice them thinner.

Quinoa: Rinse quinoa. I use a re-usable coffee filter. Add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn it down to low and cover for about 15 minutes.

Final Dish: Slice tofu into 1in by 1in cubes, chop onion, and get peas ready! Pour some EVOO (~2tbsp) in a pan and saute onions until they turn clear. Add peas and tofu. Pour in the rest of the peanut sauce. Let this simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure you stir it so that the sauce doesn't develop a film.

Top 1/2 cup quinoa with 3/4 cup of mixture (this was roughly what I had as a serving).


Yum!


Chewy, peanut-y (OK, I'm making up words), and slightly sweet! 


I loved that the peanut sauce was light and not too heavy.  If you'd like to add a kick to the sauce, I'd recommend adding cayenne. Have a great rest of the day! Check back tomorrow for a post about my thoughts about P90X so far.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Overnight Oats

Being a lover of all things oatmeal, I am surprised that I haven't tried overnight oats yet! What are overnight oats? Well...they are basically all of your oatmeal ingredients (minus the toppings) mixed in a bowl and set in the fridge over night.

I mixed 1/3 cup oats with 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp flax seeds, 1 mashed banana, and vanilla extract. These overnight oats look exactly like traditional hot oatmeal...


The verdict: I wasn't a huge fan. It was really weird to eat cold oatmeal when I normally have it hot. Also, I rarely taste vanilla extract in hot oats but it was totally overpowering in the cold version! Also, my pb didn't mix well. I'll definitely try this again, but I'll probably mix in yogurt (which is what I've seen others do) and maybe add a crunchy topping (granola?).

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Have any of you tried overnight oats?
 --

On another note, we had a fantastic mini-getaway at our friends' house yesterday! It was just what I needed to recharge my batteries for the week. We saw the movie The Fighter...amazing!! Such a great cast and great acting. Definitely see it if you haven't already! We had this AMAZING french toast this morning. Half and half, butter, and loads of maple syrup...Alton Brown is a genius. Here is a link to the recipe. We added some vanilla extract and cinnamon to the batter :)

I'm off to finish up a little work and then hit the hay!

Big Changes!

Gooood afternoon! This week has been full of exciting things! One thing I've learned for sure is that sometimes with excitement comes disappointment. Some people just like to rain on your parade! But, I've learned that you can make a choice...let what others say hurt your feelings and be upset...or choose not to give them the power to make you upset. I choose the latter!

Anyway, I found out Thursday that I got invited to interview at on of the PhD programs I applied to! For now, I'm not going to blog about what school it is, but if I get any acceptances...I'll for sure blog about it then :) It's taking place mid-Feb so I'm going to need to book my flight ASAP! Hearing about the invite really took a weight off my shoulders, although that weight was soon replaced with thesis chaos ;). Hopefully now I can "chill out" as my parents so kindly put it haha.

This morning I did something that I didn't think I would ever do again...I purchased MILK from the grocery store. And it was 2%...what?! This is coming from a vanilla almond milk drinking girl. Why the change? Well, almond milk separates in my coffee (especially when it's iced) and it grosses me out! It doesn't taste funny, but it looks weird. When I decided I'd give real milk a second chance, I chose 2% after reading lots about why that's the better choice as opposed to skim. Here is a link that discusses it briefly.

Going with the milk theme, I made a chai tea latte this morning! Basically all you do is steep chai tea in 1/2 mug full of water. Heat up milk in microwave for a little over 1 min. Froth it with a frother. Add milk + foam to the top. Then sprinkle on some sugar! So good!




 Look at that foam!


I'm off to Winchester to double date for dinner and a movie with friends! Check back tomorrow for my post about overnight oats!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

5 Meals a Day

Hi friends! I thought I'd post a little bit about my recent diet change from 3 solid meals a day to 3 smaller meals + 2 snacks! I've always been curious as to how this would work for me, especially because I have a busy schedule. Here's an example of a day's worth of meals:

Meal 1: Breakfast
-egg white omelet with fresh spinach and feta
-cottage cheese w/jam

Meal 2: Mid-morning Snack
-protein shake

Meal 3: Lunch
-baby spinach topped with tuna salad

Meal 4: Afternoon Snack
-almonds

Meal 5: Dinner
-protein (fish, chicken, etc.)
-vegetable (broccoli, carrots, etc.)
-whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)

Tonight's dinner
-tilapia seasoned with lemon pepper, lime juice, and pepper (notice a theme?)
-couscous
-broccoli and mixed veggies 

*I am bad at baking fish- I hate it slimy so I tend to over bake it :-0

Having protein at every meal has really helped keep me satisfied longer.
    The biggest change I have noticed is a decrease in my cravings for dessert and sugary things! Monday night at Bible study, one of the girls made truffles, HOMEMADE TRUFFLES. Somehow I politely said no like it wasn't no thang! Just 2 weeks ago I would have devoured about 6 of those truffles in under 5 minutes. That's HUGE progress for me! I mean, during high school I'd go through a half gallon of double fudge brownie ice cream in 2 days.

    The second biggest change is how my energy levels seem to remain stable throughout the day. I typically hit a wall around 3pm and get extremely tired. Now, I don't reach for extra caffeine in the afternoon or when I get home!

    *As a disclaimer: It's important to make sure you consult a doctor before making any dietary or fitness changes*

    That's all for now...I'm off to finish analyzing some data and prepare for class tomorrow.

    Wahoo SPSS!

    ----
    Do any of you eat 5 meals a day?

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Protein Power Green Monster

    I have been dying to make this so-called phenomenal drink many bloggers refer to as the Green Monster. Now that I have a working blender (hello Vitamix!) and a few frozen nanners, it's a possibility! Although the appearance is a little unsettling, the raving reviews made me so curious! I decided to use Angela's Classic Green Monster recipe as a general guide. I didn't want to make it up totally on my own and end up with a pile of green goop my first go around.

    Protein Power Green Monster (inspired by Angela's Classic Green Monster)

    ~Serves 1

    Ingredients
    -1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    -1 frozen banana
    ~2 cups of spinach (trust me)
    -1 scoop Syntha-6 chocolate milkshake protein powder(amazing!)
    -6+ ice cubes (depending on how icy you like your smoothies)

    Directions
    In the order listed above, add the ingredients. Blend for not even a minute and you're done! This took about 30 seconds, if that, with a Vitamix.





    This was so amazing! It tasted very similar to a Wendy's frosty! I know, I know...a frosty isn't green so how could it taste like a frosty? Because the banana and protein powder completely mask the spinach taste! My boyfriend was very skeptical at first and made lots of jokes about what the drink looked like...boys:-P But after he tried it he thought it was really good!

    So for all of you skeptics out there...try this smoothie...prove me wrong;)


    Here are the nutrition stats:

    Calories- 363
    Total Fat- 9.24g.
    Cholesterol- 55mg.
    Sodium- 447.99mg.
    Carbs- 48.17g.
    Fiber- 11.33g.
    Sugar- 23.25g.
    Protein- 25.72g.

    This made a great post-P90X fitness test dinner drink :) Good news is that I passed so I can start this week! I'll keep you posted on how the workouts go!

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Chili-Flavored White Bean Hummus

    Hi friends! As promised, I'm back with a recipe! After making the curried white beans and kale, I had some leftover white beans. I am bad a gauging how much of anything to make or use (which is why I am horrible at wrapping presents), so it's not surprising that I had this little problem on my hands. Luckily, my Vitamix came to the rescue! Enter...

    Chili-Flavored White Bean Hummus

    Ingredients
    -2 cups white beans
    -big spoonful of Tahini (~1/2 cup)
    -Olive oil
    -Garlic powder
    -Chili powder
    -Dash of turmeric and cumin

    Directions
    Add ingredients into food processor (or high powered blender) and process until smooth. You'll want to add more oil, water, or leftover bean juice (the stuff they were cooked in) to make it process. As you will notice, I didn't list the specific amounts for the spices. I just added the chili and garlic powder until I got the "chili" flavor that I was looking for. Next time I'll measure :)

    Check out all of the little chili specks!

    IMG_3242IMG_3237

    Rich and creamy with a *kick*!

    IMG_3243IMG_3246

    The carrots couldn’t wait to join in on the fun…

    IMG_3252IMG_3255
    IMG_3248IMG_3249

    This made the perfect snack to eat during my class break today. My class spans from 11-1:45 and I figured offensive smelling lunches (e.g., tuna) were out of the question! This recipe will definitely be seen again Open-mouthed smile I’m off to go eat dinner and analyze some data!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Microwavable Cupcake

    There is one recipe that I have been dying to try since one of my favorite bloggers, Chocolate-Covered Katie, posted it! It's called a Single Lady Cupcake! This vegan recipe can also be microwaved! How easy is that? I was craving something chocolate, sweet, and easy to make tonight and decided to finally try out this recipe!

    Check out the above links for the full recipe. As a note, I used whole wheat flour and added 1/2 packet of stevia.

    It turns into a little doughy ball of goodness once you mix all of the ingredients...


    Look at all of the *mini* chocolate chips!



    After 90 seconds in the microwave:


     The texture and taste of the cupcake was great! 
    Chewy, slightly sweet, and CHOCOLATY! :)


    I will definitely make this recipe again! Next time, I'm thinking I'll add another tbsp of applesauce to make it more moist (because I used whole wheat flour). Also, I'd love to add peanut butter!

    I made some chili-flavored hummus using white beans tonight for lunch tomorrow. I'll be posting that recipe tomorrow! But for now, I'm off to finish up some reading. Have a great night!

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    The Best BTSB

    What's BTSB? Back To School Breakfast! And today, this topped the list of BTSB's. See exhibits A and B:



    No, I didn't eat an entire jar of peanut butter this morning. BUT, I did finish up the remains of my beloved Cinnamon Raisin Swirl PB. Some of you know from previous posts how much I LOVE this PB! I've seen a few bloggers make "overnight oats" which entails adding all of the ingredients into the jar (plus yogurt?) and eating it cold. Because it's freezing here and I don't really like yogurt all that much, I made my typical oats recipe and poured it into the jar.

    Oats in a Jar

    Ingredients
    -1/3 cup oatmeal
    -unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    -1/2 banana
    -remains of PB in jar (~1TB and edges)

    Directions
    Heat oatmeal and milk in a bowl in the microwave for 1 min 30 sec. Pour mixture into PB jar, stir, and add thinly sliced bananas on top!

    Easiest breakfast ever! Do any of you make BTSB's (or BTWorkB's)?

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Bye Bye Winter Break

    Today marks the last day of my Winter break. Although I'm sad to see my free time disappear, I'm happy to be back on a normal schedule. I'm one of those weird, type-A people who thrives on schedules. When I have no plan, I get lazy. So while it's nice to sleep in until 9 and have a day open to do anything I want, I much prefer waking up at 6 or 7 and having somewhere to be :)

    Here's what's on the plate for this semester:

    -Hierarchical Linear Models (HLM)
    -Single Case Experimental Design
    -Thesis Research (finally doing my study!)


    I'm reallyyyy excited that the two "real" classes are stats/methods courses!  The first year of my master's program was very stats heavy and last semester I had no stats courses at all! I definitely missed the challenge that stats courses give you, although neuroscience more than made up for the challenge. Haha.

    I decided to make my bf and I a "back to school" dinner tonight. He recently told me that we hadn't had a curry dish in a while, so I decided to make...

    Curried White Beans and Kale over Quinoa

    Ingredients
    -olive oil
    -1/2 onion
    -garlic (I used 5 cloves)
    -1 bay leaf
    -2 tbsp curry powder
    -1 tbsp cumin
    -1 tsp cinnamon
    -1 tsp paprika
    -1/2 tsp sugar
    -salt and pepper to taste...along with cayenne pepper (at the end only)
    -1 cup of plain yogurt (I used fat free greek yogurt)
    -frozen kale
    -1 cup white beans

    Directions

    1. Pre-soak the beans for 6-8 hours if you bought dried beans. Just follow the instructions on the bag to see how long to cook them.You could make this recipe quicker if you buy them canned.
    2. Get the quinoa going, because it takes about 15 minutes.
    3. Saute onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil until brown/yellow.
    4. Add all of the spices. Cook for about 2 minutes.
    5. Add white beans and steamed kale.
    6. Add yogurt (this could be added before or after the white beans+kale).
    7. The longer you simmer this, the more flavorful it will become. However, if you are starving (like I was), I only simmered it for 8-10 minutes and it was fine.
    8. Add whatever else that the dish is missing. Everyone likes their curry a little different. I typically taste it and add more curry, cumin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, or whatever depending on my mood.







    Although I used different main ingredients in this recipe, this is the exact same curry recipe that I used to make Curried Chickpeas and Broccoli. The key to making dishes like this is to PREP. I chop the onion and garlic and put them in a bowl and I put all of the spices in another bowl. This way, I'm not scrambling around the kitchen throwing spices everywhere.

    I'm off to go rearrange my room (to make room to do P90X, more on that later) and hit the hay! Have a great start of the week everyone! :)

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Smoothie Obsession

    Hey everyone! Happy Friday Smile Today was my second day back to doing work after such a nice and relaxing break. While school doesn’t start until Monday, I have readings for class and stuff to prep for my thesis! I start data collection this semester, finally! I’m excited to take a break in the writing process and actually DO the study! I finally finished writing all of my thank you notes from Christmas too. And I just have to say that there is no better stationary than Crane’s. I mean, check out the quality and thickness of the paper. You might think it’s silly that I get this excited about stationary, but don’t knock it until you try it!

    IMG_3154IMG_3162IMG_3153IMG_3157

    Between running to the grocery store and catching up on work, I made a few things worth mentioning.

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal

    Ingredients
    -1/2 cup oats
    -1 tbsp almond butter
    -1 tbsp rhubarb and strawberry jam
    -almond milk

    This just might be the best idea I’ve had in a while.

    IMG_3145

    For a late afternoon snack, which turned into dinner because it filled me up so much, I made another smoothie in my Vitamix!

    Strawberry Banana Vanilla Smoothie

    Ingredients
    -1 frozen banana
    -2/3 cup frozen strawberries
    -1 serving vanilla protein powder
    -1/4 cup water
    -1 cup ice

    IMG_3172IMG_3173

    I’m signing off for the evening. Just made some chocolate chip cookies with the bf and we’re about to watch the V episode we missed this week! Have a great night!