Tagged: almond butter

WIAW #27 – A Funny Story with an Adorable Ending

So who wants to hear a funny story?? I, personally, love a good amusing anecdote. This story isn’t just amusing, but it also has a pretty adorable ending. Here goes:

Last Monday was the first day of my maternity leave. The following post contains all of my eats from that Monday. I wrote this post last Tuesday evening, as I typically do with my What I Ate Wednesday posts. I was super excited to actually have the time to get a post up, too!! I knew it had been a while so I made sure I kept a really great record of my whoooole Monday. I was getting a little sleepy that evening, so I decided I would finish this post up the following morning. I hit the hay around 10:00pm Tuesday the 10th.

annnnnnnnnnnnnd I went into labor at 2:00 AM!!

Miss Emma Grace was born one day early at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. She weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was twenty inches long. Just in case you don’t follow me on Instagram and haven’t been getting blown up with my baby pictures, here is what I shared with our family and friends to let them know she had finally arrived! It’s so crazy that my little munchkin is already a week old today!!

Emma's Announcement

I will be sharing a post with more pictures and my whole labor story tomorrow for anyone who is is interested in that sort of thing. For today, since this post was already ESSENTIALLY finished, I’m sharing how I spent and what I ate the first day of my maternity leave. Also, I’d like to take a moment here to wish my hubby a very happy 27th birthday today!!! He’s absolutely, positively the sweetest, silliest, sexiest, most genuine person I have ever known, the best daddy to our baby girl, and I am overjoyed to be able to call him my husband. Love you buggle. 🙂

Now, here is my WIAW! I’ve left the original introduction I wrote to this post, too, just for posterity. 😉

Well howdy doo!!!

I’m not gonna lie to you, I am absolutely tickled to be able to be getting this post up today!! I know that I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been pretty busy over the last few weeks. Well, Monday was officially the first day of my maternity leave. Baby is due TOMORROW!!!! I have a doctor’s appointment today to check and see how things are progressing that I am super looking forward to.

I’ve spent the last two days trying to be as productive as I can while still making sure I’m rested up and ready to go for labor. Or, well, as ready as I can be I suppose. I’ve FINALLY had time to prepare some freezer meals. I made about a dozen breakfast sandwiches (eggs, broccoli, a wee bit o’ bacon, and cheddar frittata style on whole wheat english muffins) 15 chocolate coconut banana muffins, several packs of frozen strawberries and bananas for smoothies, protein flax waffles, chicken fajitas, and spaghetti sauce with ground turkey. It’s not too much, but I’m sure it will definitely be helpful in the coming weeks.

Here is how my first day of maternity leave went down:

 Breakfast: So I wound up waking up around 6:30 on Monday morning. Technically that’s still sleeping in for me on a weekday, because I was usually up at 5:30 to get ready for work and such. I sat down to breakfast at the table with my latest read – Nick Offerman’s “Paddle Your Own Canoe” (Absolutely hilarious. I love everything about this man.) – a cup of decaf english breakfast tea, a whole wheat english muffin topped with almond butter and some of my latest obsession, that is, Wegmans Organic Blueberry Jam. It’s amazing. Seriously. I also had a hard boiled egg with a lil’ black pepper sprinkled on top. It was pretty delightful.
blueberry jammed

Snack: I’m not usually one for the lil’ fruity greek yogurts because they’re so high in sugar, but I had a coupon for a 12-pack at BJs so I only spent $8 on a dozen. That makes me feel better about them. This guy was pretty delicious.
oikos

Snack time was followed by some Yoga. Melinda bought me this DVD for Christmas and although I used it a bit then, it’s not particularly challenging if you’re an experienced yogi in your first or second trimester. Now, though, I’m so thankful I have it! It’s a really great combination of relaxing and challenging at this point in my pregnancy (ya know…ready to pop).
prenatal yoga

More Snacks: Snack time post yoga was the pregnancy special – 6 dates with a tablespoon of peanut butter and some iced raspberry leaf tea. I’m not usually one to go along with old wives tales and all that jazz, but I figured when it comes to eating dates and drinking raspberry leaf tea, there is no harm in consuming them, so I may as well give it a whirl. There have been studies done linking date consumption in late stage pregnancy to an increased likelihood of spontaneous labor occurring and a decreased likelihood in the need for induction. Date consumption has also been linked to dilation occurring more rapidly. Raspberry leaf tea is recognized for its benefits for women’s health in general. Some folks say it’s supposed to induce labor. Others say it just may make things a bit easier. Regular consumption of raspberry leaf tea has been linked to strengthening and toning the uterus. I’ll let ya know how it all works out for me. 🙂
dates and pb

Lunch: Melinda and I went out for lunch on Monday and snagged some eats at one of our favorite local places – Juice and Java. My go to is the Sun- dried Grilled Chicken Sandwich. It’s grilled chicken, Monterrey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion with a “chipotle spread” on sun-dried tomato bread. They typically serve their sandwiches and wraps with chips – which are delicious – but they also offer orange wedges on the side if you ask. That’s my personal choice!! I was also delighted to see they had decaf blueberry coffee…which I got and turned into iced coffee and enjoyed every sip of!!
juice and java

Once we got back from lunch Melinda and I sat down and I finished designing her wedding invitations!! But not before snapping of photo of the babies enjoying their bones together!!
ze puppies

Dinner: I almost forgot to snap a picture of my dinner on Monday, but Johnny was kind enough to remind me. It was pretty simple and delicious. Grilled chicken breasts with a bit of bbq sauce, baked potatoes, and some green beans with almonds (thanks, Green Giant).
dinners

Dessert: Johnny went out to do man things on Monday, as per usual, so after dinner I sat down with some strawberries and whipped cream and Battlestar Galactica.
strawberries and cream

And that’s all she wrote!! As usual, a big shout out to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting this fabulous link-up party. The next time I participate, I’ll (hopefully) be a momma!! Ah!!! That’s nuts!!! Only time will tell, right??


WIAW #20 – Monday Noms & My Thoughts on Fiber

Greetings, pals and gals!! Hey, I got 23 cents – anybody wanna chip in for a dog-sled delight?! (I don’t know where all my money goes! A dime here – 15 cents there…)

Oh snap – who can name the movie that’s from?! I’ll give you a cookie! Well, probably not a cookie actually, what with the internet not being the best provider of pastries. But a nice shout-out for being awesome – that I can do!

Anywho, happy Wednesday to all. It’s the first What I Ate Wednesday of Spring!! Huzzah!!

We got a taste of some spring weather over the weekend and it was faaaaaaaaaaaaabulous!!! Of course, it’s about 25 degrees outside today and we got some more snow, but the weekend was perfect. *sigh* I really hope it warms up soon.

At least next weekend I’ll be in South Carolina!! I can’t wait for the mini vaca!! We’re staying with Johnny’s Grandparents and I can’t wait to see them!!  Though, I’m a bit terrified at the thought of how many times I’m going to need to stop to pee on the way. Today, I peed 5 times in less than 3 hours after I woke up. Sure, that may be TMI for a blog post that’s going to talk about everything I ate on Wednesday Monday but I decided to share it with you so I can’t take it back now. And you’ve got to admit…that’s ridiculous!!

On that note…let’s get to the food…shall we?! (Hey Jenn – Thanks for hosting!!)

Breakfast: So I tried changing things up a little bit on Monday and instead of my typical peanut butter covered banana oat cookie/muffin/squishy-delishness I just microwaved myself a bowl of “standard” style oatmeal. Ya know. The creamy kind. In the mix is 1/2 cup of oats, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of flax meal, 3/4 of a mashed banana, 1 cup of almond milk, and some cinnamon. I microwaved it at work for 5 minutes, stirring it up every minute or so. I couldn’t not add chocolate chips to it. It was tasty. Not as good as my peanut butter covered banana oat/cookie/muffin/squishy thing. But good. I also had some decaf green tea with it.
oatmeal and green tea

Snacks: Boy was Monday a snacky day. It all started with some strawberries. Delicious, juicy strawberries that I can’t seem to stop eating! I cut these ones up and enjoyed them with a fork instead of making a huge mess all over my desk as usual….
strawberries
About an hour later I was still hungry so I snagged an apple cinnamon rice cake that I smeared in almond butter (Warning: I know I say I have a new snack obsession every week. This one belongs to this week!)
rice cake and almond butter

Lunch: Recycled salad photo!! I said I need to start making this salad more the last time I had it. So I did. Like a boss. Except the one in THIS photo is muuuuuuuch prettier than mine was Monday…because I forgot to take a picture before I shook it all up and it turned to an egg yolky/avocadoy/mess of noms.
salad

Snacks: I told you I snacked a bunch today man. Here is a recycled photo of an apple…because I knew I had one and I was like…gosh I’m hungry I don’t want to take a picture I want to eat. So I did!
apple
Then I ate some pistachios…
pistachios
…and then some decaf green tea…
green tea
…and then some edamame…
edamame
….and then some carrots.
carrots

Holy munchies, Batman!! I realized at this point in time (thanks to my fitness pal) that I hadn’t even consumed 1,000 calories yet in the day!! Thattttt’s why I was starving! With baby on board I try to consume between 1500-1600 on an inactive day and that’s been working really well for me. I don’t track my food every day – but since I was feeling sooooo hungry I decided to check in and see what my numbers for the day were looking like. Lots of fiber, not enough protein.

For me, personally, I find that a diet higher in protein and healthy fats with a wee bit less fiber works to keep my satisfied for way longer than a diet higher in fiber. I was all about fiber until I started running and lifting. Fiber One bars were my jam. I can’t even tell you the last time I had one, now, which is a good thing… because all they do is give me gas and make my belly hurt. It turns out, if you get enough fiber in your diet from natural sources like fruits and vegetables and whole grains your body is NOT happy when it gets extras from additives like chicory root fiber (which, beeteedubs to all my preggos out there, is not recognized as safe during pregnancy but is in LOADS of products. read your labels!) WHODA THUNK?!  Boy, the human body is such a fascinating thing. *STEPS DOWN FROM SOAP BOX*

Dinner: By the time I got home I was soooooooo excited for dinner…for so many reasons!! I was starving…and I knew I was making CHEESE BURGERS!!! It had been a while and it was just on my list of things I realllllllly wanted. For my burgers I use 85% lean ground beef, oats, worcestershire sauce, and looooooads of garlic and black pepper. Topped with some american cheese, romaine, tomato, and onion on a toasty whole wheat bun. Oh goodness. It wassssss perfection (even cooked to well done #pregnancy). I also made some sweet potato “chips” on the side using my brand spankin’ new Simple Slicer from The Pampered Chef that came in my New Consultant Mini Kit!! Oh man, it’s soooooo easy to use (way easier than the Ultimate Mandolin – which it looks a lot like – but I’m telling you it’s a million times better!!), easy to clean (the blade locks into place so it’s nearly impossible to cut yourself or your sponge), and it made PERFECTLY sliced sweet potatoes. I love how it has three different thickness settings. I sliced my sweet potatoes on the second level and I thought they were just the right thickness!!  I just tossed them in olive oil, threw em’ on a sheet pan with some salt and garlic powder, and baked them at 450 for about 30 minutes…flipping them after 15. I sprinkled mine with (probably too much but I don’t care) Cajun seasoning when they were hot from the oven. I need to make these more often. 😀
cheeseburger and sweet potatoes
Dessert: Obviously, a burger and sweet potato chips weren’t enough (jkallday) buuuut I still indulged in some Wegmans brand chocolate frozen yogurt after. I restrained myself, though, and did NOT add a giant spoonful of peanut butter to it. *pats self on back* Johnny went out for a bit on Monday night, so it was just me and the pooch nomming some froyo and watching The Big Bang Theory. I then proceeded to try on a bunch of my “springtime” clothes to see how they fit with my giant baby belly. I may need to go shopping. *sigh*
fro yo

So what are your thoughts on a high fiber/high protein diet? Which works best for you and your body?

Do you have any mini vacations planned soon? What about regular sized vacations?

Are you familiar with The Pampered Chef? What’s your favorite product?!


 

 

Smoothies & Scones

Hey folks! I hope you enjoyed your weekend! Did you do anything fun or exciting? I didn’t do much of anything this weekend, and I must admit it was pretty fantastic! With the holidays winding down Johnny and I got to enjoy our first weekend of nothingness in what feels like fooooooreverrrrrrr and I made sure to take advantage!!

How?

By cooking my face off!!!

And I’m pleased to say that the time not spent cooking/eating I was either working out… or… cleaning…or at Target with Melinda and Kyle…orrrrr watching Parks and Rec. Regardless, it was faabuloussssss!

Now I don’t know about you, but without an alarm set my body naturally wakes up after 8 hours of sleep. I’m typically always up before Johnny. Yesterday morning  was no exception. I was up at 8:00 am and I was fiiiiinally able to try out my brand spanking new Bella Rocket Sport Blender!

I love making smoothies for breakfast, but I have a problem you see. I HATE measuring ingredients. That’s why I’ve never been much of a baker. The exactness of everything frustrates me. When I make smoothies in a standard blender, I always tend to overdo it and throw in a little of this and a little of that and I ultimately wind up with enough for two smoothies! My husband doesn’t care for most of the smoothies I make so he doesn’t drink the extra, and I can try to freeze and it drink it later but I wind up forgetting about it. It’s really quite a conundrum. For Christmas, Johnny picked up this single serve blender for me and it’s absolutely perfect! The first smoothie I made in it is one of my standards, as I typically always have everything on hand for it. Here is the recipe!

smoothie

Berry Almond Smoothie

serves 1

  • 8 oz vanilla soy milk
  • 1 8 0z container of berry flavored greek yogurt (I used Wegmans Brand Triple Berry, but any berry will do!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 baby spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Place all of the ingredients in your blender and whiz until combined! (Note: If you’re using the same Bella Rocket Sort Blender, I suggest adding the ingredients in the exact order they appear here. That way, when you flip it upside down to blend it, the spinach is closest to the blades and will incorporate nicely. Putting the milk in before the yogurt will also prevent the yogurt from getting stuck at the top of the blender!)

I enjoyed my smoothie with a piece of whole wheat toast with a little smart balance and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar! Noms!

cinnamon toast & smoothie

This morning I was up early again (7:45! Yikes! Getting ready for baby, haha!) and  it was suuuuper rainy and gloomy outside. I decided I wanted something warm and cozy for breakfast… and something a little different and fun! No oatmeal for this chick today!

I was all alone in the kitchen, even the puppies were still sleeping. I looked through my pantry and I decided I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Gingerbread Scones!

Now, ya know how I mentioned before that I wasn’t much of a baker? It’s really the truth. Muffins and quick breads are the only thing I’ve ever excelled at and that’s primarily because the recipes are pretty forgiving. Scones…dough that needs to be kneaded and cared for…I grit my teeth and searched for a recipe. I found one that sounded great at joyofbaking.com  and I’m pleased to say I followed it ALLLLLMOST exactly. The result was a perfectly light and flaky scone that tasted like Christmastime. I was thrilled with my results!  Here is the recipe, I’ve noted the few changes I made!

gingerbread scones

Gingerbread Scones

adapted from Joy of Baking.com

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Zest of 1 lemon  (I used the zest of an orange instead! I prefer using orange in my gingerbread recipes!)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (this was not a part of the original recipe at all, I just love pecans!)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I used skim milk – it worked fine!)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure anilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.  Stir in the lemon zest and dried cranberries, if using.  In a separate bowl mix together the milk, molasses and vanilla and then add the milk mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 11/2 inches thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles).  Place the scones on the baking sheet.  Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

**I made my own glaze for this recipe, rather than the one provided with the original recipe. (I needed to express my creativity somehow!) All I did was microwave 2 oz of fat free cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. I mixed it all up and spread it on top! These scones were perfect!!!**

gingerbread scone

Yes, you’ll note that is a mug of milk with my scone. I thought I wanted tea…so I got out a mug. Then I decided that my new big fuzzy blue robe I was lounging in (thanks, Ma!) was actually doing a fine job of keeping me nice and toasty so I decided I didn’t want tea and that I wanted a nice cold glass of milk instead. Buuuuuut and I didn’t want to get out a glass…so I drank my milk from a mug like the classy gal I am!! It was all delicious. 🙂