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Posts Tagged ‘peanut butter’

Tonight was EXACTLY what I needed after an aggressive work day, and an even more aggressive morning!

My evening started with a hodgepodge of yummy pre-workout snacks

The Ginger People Original Ginger Chews - LOVE the spice in these lil' firecrackers!

Great option when you need a snack AND your sweet-tooth is raging

I used my fuel for an awesome sweat sesh at the Graybar Equinox! I started with a 13 minute treadmill warm-up, then completed three sets of the Women’s Health At-Home Workout, adding weights to the plie squats and lunges.

The weather decided to cooperate tonight, and I felt myself relax and revive as I breathed in the warm air.

To top it off, I threw together a licktheplateclean scrumptious dinner and dessert!

Steamed veggies tossed with salsa, CRACK baked Parmesan chicken tenders, Annie's Organic White Cheddar Shells. Perfection.

1-2-3 Cake with Protein Frosting (sugar-free Vanilla Jello pudding and plain Greek yogurt) -- I got crazy and added almond extract and coconut flakes. Sooo good but almost gone :(.

So, why was a lovely night JUST what the doctor ordered?

This morning, when I settled down on the train for my commute, I noticed some old newspapers underneath my seat. Absentmindedly, I kicked the papers a few inches away, so that my feet wouldn’t slide around on them.

All of a sudden I heard a flutter of sharp quick movements, and a man sitting two rows ahead appeared in my wide-eyed gaze.  In an furious, derogatory tone he spat “YOU COULD HAVE JUST PICKED THEM UP INSTEAD OF KICKING THEM!”. He grabbed the papers from under my feet and ran out to throw them away. Back on the train, he actually moved his person and accoutrement to a seat further away from me.

I sat in stunned, horrified silence for several entire minutes.

I didn't do it.

Eventually my brain began to register two sets of thoughts:

The self-righteous Thoughts:

  1. What’s HIS problem?! I get that I have upset him by my newspaper carelessness, but there’s gotta be something personal that that this dude is unleashing on me.
  2. Plus, these trains are littered with nasty leftovers, and I’d never make it on a train if I tried to pick it all up!
  3.  Plus PLUS–do you KNOW what my eyes have seen in the last two days?? Those sodden newspapers would have been bartered for a McDonald’s fish sandwich and used as napkins on that bus.

The Tail Between My Legs Thought:

  1. He’s right. I SHOULD have thrown those newspapers away.
  2. No. 1’s all I got.

Granted, the guy could have been much nicer in his communication, and I do think there must’ve been a bee in his bonnet about something else.

Bottom line though, it was inconsiderate of me to perpetuate the train-trashing cycle by kicking the papers aside, instead of throwing them away. Of course I can’t pick up every single piece of train garbage (talkin’ to you, self-righteous Bean), but I certainly can dispose of what ends up right under my nose/FEET.

I like to think of myself as a generally mindful person. I care about the environment, and I care about the discomfort of others. But living in NYC has hardened me in some ways–sharpened my tongue, decreased my patience, channeled most of my focus inward. The existence of those newspapers barely even registered in my mind.

The Grind.

Unfortunately, it is a raw truth that ‘making it here’ often seems to require a callousness towards…well, anything not ME. Like I said, No.1’s all I got.

And yet, I wonder if it really has to be that way? My train-foe’s condescending attitude suggested that he is indeed a New Yorker, but he was thoughtful enough to do his part. Come on, if HE can do it, I can do it.

As I’ve noted and praised, I live more presently as a result of this blog than I have in years, so why not apply this mindset to my greater surroundings?

I’m not gonna lie to you–this morning’s exchange really shook me. I was angry, insulted and embarrassed.

You talkin' to ME?

He sure was.

But I’ve always had a thick skin, I respond well to tough love total disdain (apparently), and this experience prompted a new goal for me: to try to be as generous and considerate a person while living in this city as I should behere or anywhere else.

So although it was an unpleasant jolt, I am thankful that it happened! I took my new goal into consideration on my walk home tonight, practicing patience with slow walkers and offering smiles to strangers. Everyone I smiled at flashed a grin right back! It was wonderful.

On that note, I’m heading to bed with the hopes of a slighter more placid tomorrow. Sleep tight!

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Good morning! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.

You know how there are times when you meet someone, and it’s as if you’ve always known each other? It’s a special chemistry that applies to romantic relationships and friendships alike, and in my experience, it is both extraordinarily rare and extraordinarily wonderful!

This weekend, one of those “Insta-friends” came to visit!

Test of time

Berkley and I met during the sorority rush process my freshman year of college, and although we were supposed to try to chat with as many people as possible, we only had eyes for each other!

Berkley is the kind of friend I couldn’t lie to if I tried–she can read me in an instant, knows the ugly and loves me anyway, and although life has placed us in different parts of the country,we always pick up right where we left off.

This was evident the moment she came through my apartment door on Friday to the intoxicating scent of a 1-2-3 Cake! Berkley had specially requested one of these beauties outrageously delicious cakes, and I HAPPILY obliged.

Sans sprinkles with chocolate protein frosting: 1 c plain Greek yogurt, 1.5 tsp sugar-free instant vanilla pudding, 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp agave. 

Berkley was primarily in town for a friend’s engagement festivities, but we had a BLAST in the time we spent together! Thankfully, I had brunch plans with Rachael’s parents at PEELS to look forward to when Berks and I parted ways Sunday morning :(.

This weekend was a JAM-packed (note: Foreshadowing) whirlwind, but here are a few snippets!

Saturday Brunch at Delicatessen with Berks and her old/my new friend Elena. Standard but delicious brunch fare

Me and Elena: Spinach and mushroom omelet which we added GOAT CHEESE to, home fries and multigrain toast/jam for the table (unpictured).

Berkley: poached eggs and bacon, homegirl’sfries and toast

Pat-myself-on-the-back bargain find:

Validation for impulse checkout purchases

I absentmindedly sniffed the above perfume while waiting in the Zara checkout line with Berkley, and I’m tellin’ you, this is a DEAD-RINGER for Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue, one of my absolute favorite scents that’s too expensive to buy on the reg. This tube was $5 and will last for a loooongg time.

Slurped down a coupla these!

Tried my first and last-ever Balance Bar (peanut butter flavor). Picked this up for a protein boost, but hould have checked out the nutrition first. Chemical-saturated ingredient list and high sugar content (17g). Ew.  At least my nails look really good.

On Saturday afternoon, I had my second volunteer orientation session at Animal Haven! I’m officially a purple-tee wearing volunteer and cannot wait for my first shift.

Sunday brunch at Peels: LOVED spending time with Rachael’s family, but not Peels’s strongest showing. Mediocre service and you needed a magnifying glass to see the Daily Market Quiche, which came without sides.

SLAMMIN’ biscuits and jam though

After Sunday brunch, with the NOR’EASTER that is blowing through the East Coast right now (we got complacent, didn’t we?), the only thing that sounded good to me was BAKING!

I was SO disappointed by that Peanut Butter Balance bar, and knew I could make something with a solid protein punch that not only tastes better, but has a list of ingredients I can pronounce and count on (less than!) ten fingers!

Thus, the birth of these High-Protein, No-Oven-Required, SCRUMDIDLYUMPTIOUS Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars!

A Tasty Mouthful

I used this incredible recipe by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows as my inspiration. Definitely check out Angela’s site–her’s was one of the first blogs I read, and she is also the mastermind begin the Green Monster Smoothie revolution!

HEALTHY NO-BAKE PB & J BARS:

CRUST:

  • 3/4 c roasted unsalted almonds
  • 3/4 c roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1.5 c regular oats (I used quick cooking steel-cut oats this time, but have made this crust with regular and I think I prefer the regular)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (you can sub canola)

FILLING:

  • 3/4 c Peanut Butter (I used crunchy unsalted Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 c JELL-AYYYY (it just has sass, you know? Used TJ’s Strawberry!)

This recipe is WAY easy. The one crucial element is a food processor or a really good blender.

Line a rectangular pan (I used 8×5) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Add the almonds, peanuts, oats and salt to your chopper of choice and process until a fine crumble forms. Next add the dates and and pulse until incorporated. Add oil (melt first if using coconut) and process until the mixture is sticky and can hold shape when pressed. If necessary, add a bit more oil until you achieve the desired texture.

Jammy Jewels!

Smooth Operator.

Remove mixture from the processor, set aside 1 cup for the top layer, and press the rest FIRMLY into the pan. I used my palms to cover more surface area.

Next, just pour your peanut butter and jam on top and schmear around with a knife until evenly coated! My PB&J sandwiches are always peanut butter heavy and lighter on the jam, but if you like an even pb to jam ratio, use 1/2 c pb and 1/2 c jam.

As far as the eye can see

Lastly, cover the filling with the remaining cup of crust, cover with saran wrap/aluminum foil and pop in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Cut into bars and serve! Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

THESE BARS ARE UN-FLIPPIN BELIEVEABLE! I could NOT STOP coming back for forkfuls throughout the afternoon.

The front-page news?! Packed with good fats, protein and natural sugars, these are actually healthy enough for a snack BUT sweet and decadent enough to satisfy a dessert craving!

People-friendly. Just let me sniff your hand first.

I brought one to work with me today (stored in fridge), and I’m literally counting down the hours until I can devour it as my pre-workout fuel!

Have a great Monday guys!

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TGIF!!! I hope you all are as pumped to head into the weekend as I am!

As a warm-up for your taste buds, I present my absolutely delectable breakfast and lunch today!

A Strawberry Sunrise: Greek yogurt with cinnamon, honey and strawberries. Pb&J on a whole wheat English muffin with Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

Maple-glazed turkey on whole wheat with Swiss, lettuce, avocado, grain mustard and balsamic vinaigrette (my addition!). Side o' carrot and celery sticks.

Savored every bite of these meals, and now moving riiiight on to LAST night for some more foodie pics!

Last night, I had a scrumptious dinner with a great dude at a hip tapas restaurant called Boqueria (Flatiron location). Not a shabby equation, eh?

My friend Rob, who lived/studied in Barcelona and is fluent in the language, chose Boqueria to satisfy a recent hankerin’ for some authentic Spanish grub, and I couldn’t have been more pleased! I LOVE tapas restaurants, and Boqueria did not disappoint.

I let Rob do the ordering, since I had hungry eyes for it all he had a better sense of what would be authentic amidst the vast array of options. Great job, Rob!

We each started with a local Barcelona beer called Estrella Damm, which we used to wash down these LUSCIOUS  nuggets! : Dátiles con Beicon: Dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeón (blue cheese) wrapped in bacon

4 dates in one night - ain't no thang!

Note: This isn’t my picture, which was rather off-putting in the dim light, but the bacon on ours was more thoroughly cooked.

I’ve had this dish at tapas restaurants before, and surprisingly, it can go wrong. Boqueria hit the nail on the head, however–the dates themselves were HUGE and juicy, the blue cheese melted in my mouth and most importantly, the bacon was perfectly crispy!

We then moved on to two more appetizers, which arrived together:

Bread buddies

Left: Pan con Tomate: Grilled bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil. The freshness of the ingredients shone through in this dish’s clean and clear flavor (there was no hint of facewash).

Right: This octopus salad was a daily special. The meat was tender, almost mimicking an olive tapenade, and it was perfect on the crunchy baguette slices [can anyone supply a Spanish equivalent here?].

Rob also ordered a Spanish red that we enjoyed with our apps, while our main dish simmered away in the Boqueria kitchen! (takes 30 mins–order in advance)

Stole the Show

Paella de Mariscos: Bomba rice, monkfish, sepia, squid,shrimp, clams, mussels, saffron, salsa verde

knew it tasted fantastic, Rob knew why

Crunchy goodness

See that glistening, caramel-colored film on the bottom? Apparently it’s called the Soccarat: The browned, crusty layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the common Italian or Spanish dish known as paella

Rob and I had NO shame when it came to scraping up every last bit of the rich, buttery Soccarat. Lil’ public elbow grease never hurt anyone.

We finished the dish with warm, happy bellies, and I couldn’t imagine the meal getting much better…

Remember when I called Rob a bang-up guy? He deserved that titled BEFORE last night. HE OWNS that title AFTER last night.

Apparently, halfway through the meal, Rob realized that we were a five-minute walk from Madison Square Park and subsequently…

While I duck and cover, please absorb that I’d actually NEVER been to Shake Shack before. I have no idea how this happened, with a great love for burgers and a greater, indescriminate  love for desserts. But so it was.

And NOW–now I can’t even remember my own name, let alone how this wasn’t in my life until less than 24 hrs ago.

Bells will be rinngginnggg

The CONCRETE (we chose to build our own):

If you’re not familiar with the famous Shake Shack Concrete, it’s like a Dairy Queen Blizzard or a McFlurry–but BETTER. If you’re not familiar with the Dairy Queen Blizzard OR a McFlurry? I have pity but no miracles for you.

Mine: Vanilla custard, bananas, peanut butter sauce and chocolate-covered toffee. His was the same, subbing cookie dough for the toffee. Both left me reeling but I preferred mine :).

Honestly, I didn’t have words then and I don’t now. I just kept sort of laughing and eating until I was practically licking the cup clean and crying. If you haven’t been, don’t be a foo’ and wait as long as I did!  This cuppaluv was the PERFECT end to an all-around awesome night.

I’m off to attend to a slightly healthier dessert that’s bakin’ in the oven as we speak :).

Have a great Friday night!

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Hello again!

I had a fantastic day yesterday, from my 6 am cab ride to the airport (stick with me till the end!) to the moment I crawled into my soft cool sheets and went lights out.

This day was long, filled with joy and beauty, and reminded me of how incredibly blessed I am to not only have family members that love me, but that I truly respect and admire as incredible individuals.

Evening light at home sweet home

First though, backtrack with me a bit to the start of my journey in the slightly less glamorous LaGuardia airport.

Well that’s not fair, I actually DO enjoy airports. There’s something fun about pretending I’m Tom Hanks in The Terminal exploring them and seeing what goodies they have to offer. However, I DO NOT enjoy spending money on their price-inflated products (can I get a witness?!), so I try to pack meals and snacks to take with me when I travel. Yesterday morning, I whipped up a SCRUMPTIOUS breakfast at home and wrapped/baggied it to eat once I was settled at the gate.

I miss you

What did I come up with?

A PORTABLE PANCAKE BREAKFAST SANDWICH!!!

I have made this utter dee-LIGHT before, but I completely forgot how delicious, easy and convenient it is! I came up with the idea one day when I was craving a PB&J and didn’t have any bread in the apartment. Somehow, the Kodiak Cake box caught my eye, and I saw no good reason why two hearty pancakes couldn’t sub in!

A true Renaissance mix

WORKED LIKE A CHARM! I just whipped up two bread-slice-sized Kodiaks (or you can use WHATEVER pancake recipe you like) using 1/2 c of the mix, and spread them with about 1.5 tbs of peanut butter and jam to taste! (I used TJs natural crunchy and TJs Strawberry)

A KEY move that I stumbled upon was taking advantage of the pliability of the still-warm cakes to gently press the edges together around the sandwich and seal in the fillin’. This creates a somewhat pita-pocket-like result.

Lemme tell you, this concoction is the BEES KNEES. I may even go so far as to say it is better than a PB&J on mere bread (first try, then find me for battle). I ADORE pancakes, but they’re usually viewed as weekend-warriors only because of their lack of portability. NO LONGER!

I’m sure I looked like a complete fool sitting at my airport gate MARVELING at the paper-towel-wrapped lump in my hand.

I'd do it again and I won't apologize neither

My mind has been reeling with potential Portable Pancake combinations!  Almond butter and maple syrup? Bacon, egg and cheese? Egg, cheese and jam? The CHEESE stands alone?!

I topped my doughy-love off with a crisp apple and boarded the plane soon after

That may or may not be dessertstalking.com in the background.

My flight to Nashville was super easy! I was in and out of sleep until touchdown.

Both of my parents arrived to pick me up at the Nashville airport (never gets old), and we  headed towards home in the bright and breezy Spring weather. As we pulled into the driveway, I was greeted by the third member of my welcome wagon, our family dog PUFFERDOODLESNUFFERFLUFF!

Ok, her  name is Puff, but I can’t help but throw together an amalgam of mushy nicknames for her whenever I see her :).

You rub, I indulge

After a bit of unpackin’ and bloggin’, the  rest of my day continued to offer up some seriously delicious eats as my mom and I had a blast running errands and cooking our way through Good Friday!

To cover as much ground as possible for short attention spans with efficiency, here is a quick Foodie Flipbook of the day’s highlights!

Lunch: Spinach salad with sesame dressing. Tuna salad with mayo, Dijon, diced sweet pickles and freshly ground pepper. Served with Ak Mak crackers--love

Paired with Starbucks; first KIND bar ever! Wholesome ingredient list, chewy texture. Big fan.

Dinner spread: Arugula salad with cucumber, sunflower seeds and sweet onion dressing; deviled eggs; baked shrimp with butter sauce over brown rice

Deserving of a highlight

Oh fine, you too

Chocolate Avocado Mousse; recipe to come!

Night Cap

We drew-out our delicious dinner for hours and capped the night with a bit of Tennessee bourbon, simply to celebrate our being together!

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that my day began on a positive note as well. That’s because my cab driver (If you don’t already, LISTEN to them) gave me the following advice as we drove through a growing New York sunrise:

“Be positive, aggressive and bold. If you think negative, you will always have negativity in your life. If you think positive, you will always be shining like this bright sunshine.”

I was stunned by the simplicity and utter truth of his words, and vowed to keep them in mind in the way that I approach the world.

It’s no surprise then, that I ended up having such a wonderful day :). Now enjoy the rest of yours!

Has a cab driver ever told you something that you found inspiring?

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Hello there!

I spy a re-emergence of denim

And welcome to my first post!

As I was rummaging around in my office snack drawer…s(yes there are two) yesterday, I realized that an easy way for you to get to know a little about me would be to give you sneak peak into the contents of these drawers.

Two things I love–SNACKS and the fact that I work at an office that provides its employees with a fabulous stocked healthy kitchen and a lunchtime Seamless Web account. One thing I hate–not having a snack (or two, three) on hand at all times. Not only do readily accessible snacks save $ and get my mind/body workin’ again when I start to get sluggish, but there’s also just something about knowing that they’re there. I always try to include something a little naughty with my healthy goodies–I like knowing that a cookie or lollipop is there if I decide I want it.

To illustrate the above, I have provided you with snapshots of my two main snack drawers.
Oh and I apologize in advance for the horrific photography. I hope my skills as well as my comfort level re: taking food pics in public will improve over time, but I’ll ask you to bear with me for now!

Ok,  so the first  is my more ‘substantive’ snack drawer:

Pictured (starting bottom left and moving counterclockwise): Happy Herbert’s Oat Bran Pretzels; Kashi TLC Chocolate Coconut Layered Granola Bar; orange (good guess!);  Anderson’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels;  Grab the Gold bars; Nature Valley Oats’ n’ Dark Chocolate Bar and SAMOAS aka crack cookies.

The second drawer is mostly my “candy” drawer:

Pictured (starting top left and moving clockwise–you still with me?): homemade honey cinnamon almond butter; Pure Icelandic Chocolate Noi Sirius 70%; Emergen-C packets, pink lemonade flavor; Ice Breaker Ice Cubes Cool Lemon gum, Life Savers Sugar-Free mint, Halls cough drops (scattered); Blow Pops; Caramel Apple lollipop; Peppermint Candy Cane Tootsie Pop.

From the above, you can see that I adore sweets, am more of a chocolately/granola-y/nutbuttery snacker than a salty snacker, am lacking in organizational and photography skills, and though I TRY to be a Frugal Frannie as much as possible, I am a complete sucker for specialty food products. Several in particular deserve a shout-out, as they hold a dear place in my heart and wallet and might become a favorite of yours:

1)

Grab the Gold Bars

I discovered these uhhhmaazing ‘snack’ bars at an adorable boutique in Nashville called the Cosmetic Market. My mom and I grabbed them randomly one day several years ago (we both have a weakness for chocolate anything and I am known to succumb to checkout impulse purchases–anyone else?!). Ignoring the fact that they look like horse food, I was BLOWN AWAY by both the taste and the impressive nutritional stats of these bars. I also have yet to find a bar that fills me up the way these do! Which is why I bite the bullet and order a box every few months from their headquarters in Franklin, TN :).

2)

Pure Icelandic Chocolate Noi Sirius 70%

My ex-boyfriend actually found this chocolate on a whim at Whole Foods. We tried it after dinner that night, not expecting much, and we both could not get over how phenomenally DELICIOUS it was! None of the bitterness or flakiness that often accompanies very dark chocolate. This is also a total splurge, but I buy it occasionally and try to sava the flava!

3)

Peppermint Tootsie Roll Pops

I read about these elusive pops on the blogosphere somewhere,  and as an intense lover of traditional Tootsie Pops (orange tops the charts for me, anyone else?), I couldn’t help but try these out. Unfortunately, a quick Amazon search taught me that they’re seasonal, and they were out of stock at the time. So, naturally, I put myself on  atwo wait-lists to receive these pops when they became available!

Ok, now to get you up to snack-speed, my most recent afternoon snack, demolished around 4 pm yesterday, was one of my absolute favorites:

Work “Overnight Oats”

  • 1 packet of Quaker Original Instant Oatmeal
  • Almond Breeze (can use any milk)
  • 1 spoonful Natural PB
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • Small squirt of honey
  • small handful of cereal or some sliced banana

When I have some foresight during a workday, I’ll grab a packet of oatmeal from the kitchen, pour it in a cup with a lid (so I don’t weird out my coworkers to practice discretion), add just enough almond milk so that the oats are fully soaked, and put it in the fridge! Whenever my belly starts to grumble I’ll take it out, add my nut butter/toppings, and voila! Cool, creamy, satisfying pefection! So delicious and something to look forward to during a long day at the office.

So there you have it! I hope this gives you a wee bit of insight into my tastes, habits and personality, AND that it entices you enough to come along for the ride!

Do you have a snack drawer? If so, what’s in that treasure trove?!

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