An Epic Day

1 04 2010

Lovies!

 Can you believe it’s already Thursday?  I know, right?.  So insane.

 Did anyone notice I forgot to give my post a title last night?  Oops.  :lol:  

Question for all my fellow bloggies out there:  Are you constantly worried your blog is too boring and you should spice it up because no one cares what you eat every day? 

I think this on a day-to-day basis and then realize, I LOVE seeing what other people are eating on a day-to-day basis.  So, I’m going to subject you to my food as well!  I guess you have to be a true foodie to understand the enjoyment it gives me to see one of you eat tofu, while the other is enjoying a burger made with grass-fed beef.  I find it so interesting and inspiring to try all of these new ideas I’m finding! 

 I am SO weird.  Let’s just move on.

 I had a great 4.52 mile run today and then hopped on the elliptical for 20 minutes more.  ‘Twas a sweaty mess at the end of it and enjoyed it very much.  I’m officially missing weight lifting and can’t wait to start again on Monday.  I feel lazy when I don’t lift, mainly because I don’t get that FANTASTIC sore feeling.  It’s making me bonkers!  Of course, next week, I’ll be so sore that I can’t even walk and will need Mr. KD’s assistance just to sit on the toilet :shock:  

Haha…just kidding but the thought of it made you giggle, didn’t it? 

Now let’s get to the good stuff….

 …specifically JUSTIN’S CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BUTTER.

I wrote to Justin’s a few weeks ago and explained that Justin’s is my favorite nut butter that I’ve tried (it’s true) and I have been DYING – and I mean dying – to try hazelnut butter.  Nutella is another of my trigger foods, but since the hazelnuts are so easily disguised with SUGAR, I wanted to find a healthier solution.  I inquired as to whether they would send me a sample for review and these sexy ladies arrived in the mail not long after.

Squeal!  SO EXCITED.

Look at the difference in the ingredients lists.  While Justin’s first ingredient is hazelnuts, Nutella’s is sugar.  This means Nutella has more sugar than anything else in

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

Nutella: Ingredients: sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (from milk), soy lecithin: an emulsifier, vanillin: an artificial flavor.

Now, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t seen me eat Justin’s if it’s supposedly my favorite.  Two reasons: 1)  I just recently saw it showing up in my supermarket.  Justin’s is a small company located in Boulder, CO, so it took them a bit to get out to the East Coast (at a regular store and not a WF/TJ’s) and 2)  While Justin’s is all-natural, it is still sweetened, so it’s another “treat” nut butter in my eyes.  Right now, I’m trying out (and loving) my PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful and Naturally Nutty Chocolate Butter Toffee.  They are similar to Justin’s in the fact that they are naturally sweetened and treat-like, so I don’t need a tub of Justin’s on top of that.  Don’t forget that I also always have a jar of plain almond butter and plain peanut butter on hand.  Know what I’m saying?  I’m trying to have Equal Opportunity Nut Butter Lovin’.  Thank you for understanding.

I knew the very first place I wanted to use the hazelnut butter was on my oats, so last night, I made a fantastic overnight oats version!

Epic Breakfast:

Chocolate Hazelnut Overnight Oats!

In the Mix:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ banana
  • ½ tbsp Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Cinnamon

 Toppings:

  • Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

 Before we even go there with the Justin’s, let me ask you this:  WHY haven’t I thought to add cocoa to my oats before today?!?  As you know, it obviously takes a lot of sugar mixed with the cocoa to really obtain that chocolate flavor we all know and love, but on its own, it provides a subtly bitter chocolate flavor that was just perfect for these oats.  Great with the cinnamon too!  Plus, we all know that cocoa is good for you, so this will definitely be a new member of my overnight oats family!

Back to the nut butter.  I heated my oats in the microwave for 45 seconds and mushed the nut butter around as is my routine with oats.  When I started eating them, I couldn’t taste it and was SO disappointed.

Then, I found the secret to eating hazelnut butter.  You need a lot in one place.  We’re all so used to peanut butter, which has a very strong flavor.  A little goes a long way with PB, ya know?  The hazelnut butter is a little different in the sense that it has a “softer” flavor and was easily getting masked by the chocolate oats.  When I finally hit the jackpot, my mouth, belly and mind knew: I was head-over-heels in love with hazelnut butter.

It is WAY more dessert like than peanut butter or almond butter.  The hazelnut flavor is extremely smooth and delicate.  It’s similar to Nutella, actually, but definitely less sweet.  Think: more hazelnut and less sugar.  I immediately envisioned melting it and putting it over vanilla ice cream.  Yeah, I went there. 

And, THEN I thought, “I wonder what this would be like melted over a pineapple Chobani.”  OBVIOUSLY, I am going to test out this little masterpiece, so stay tuned.

Way to go, Justin’s.  You continue to surprise with your delicious nut butters and I totally *heart* you.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that Justin’s sent me the packets that contain 2 tablespoons, which is the actual serving size of a nut butter.  However, I generally only eat one tbsp at a time, so I split the container in half.  Watch out for that if you buy some on your own.  If you go to the Justin’s site, however, they do sell packs in half quantities for only 80 calories a piece if that’s more your speed.

Now that we’ve talked about how EXCELLENT it was, I know you’re dying to know a little more about hazelnuts.  Aren’t you? :smile:

As with everything I try to tell you guys about, hazelnuts are nutritional rock stars!!  They are loaded with poly- and monounsaturated fats (good for the heart), as well as an EXCELLENT source of Vitamin E (good for the formation of red blood cells).  They are also a good source of fiber and protein.  In addition to these traits (which are also common among walnuts), hazelnuts contain a high level of folate, which reduces risks associated with cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.  Folate is even known to fight depression.  Pretty interesting, huh?

Hazelnuts also contain phytochemicals (which were also HUGE benefits of the Amazing Grass products that I didn’t get into enough detail about), which are plant compounds that also reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.  There are a variety phytochemicals, including proanthocyanidins (say that 3 times fast!) which may reduce the risks of blood clotting.  Of all the tree nuts, hazelnuts have the highest amount.

As with all nuts, the calories are dense, so a handful of nuts or a tbsp or two of the nut butter is all you need per day!!

I want to send out one last HUGE, “THANK YOU” to Justin’s for providing such an awesome product I can feel great about eating :smile:

Lunch was ANOTHER epic meal, which unfortunately, was not photographed properly.  I took along a serving of my curried chicken salad with a dollop of hummus with some fresh pineapple. 

Look at that Granny Smith in the corner!  Still crunchy and delish!

At work, I put together a salad MASTERPIECE that acted as the bed for my chicken salad. 

Epic Lunch:

The salad included:

  • Mixed greens
  • Red Grapes
  • ~ 1.5 tbsp feta
  • ~ 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • Red onions
  • Carrot shreds
  • Mushrooms
  • Green peppers 

I topped the salad with the combo of chicken salad and hummus and drizzled it all with balsamic vinegar.  Out.of.this.world.  So sorry I couldn’t take a pic for you.  It was heavenly.  I enjoyed the pineapple for dessert.

Epic Snack

Then, snack time rolled around and I thought I had used up my epic meals allotment for the day.  W-R-O-N-G.  I tried the first of the no-bake protein bars I made with Mr. KD.  If you remember from that day, we followed the original recipe except didn’t add any dried fruit.  Instead, we decided to use a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, which in turn meant an additional ¼ cup of agave had to be used to get it back to the proper consistency.

I THINK WE HAVE CREATED A MASTERPIECE.

The original no-bake bars were so good, I wasn’t sure they could be topped.  I think they may have found their match.  The vanilla whey makes the base taste like a peanut butter cookie dough.  I was so in awe that I called Mr. KD at work right away.  As he answered in his eloquent work voice, I shouted, “If you LOVED me, why didn’t you tell me that these bars we made tasted like cookie dough?!?” 

His response:

“You think they taste like cookie dough?  I didn’t notice.”

This is because he inahles food without breathing and, therefore, can’t possibly enjoy it his tastebuds are just not as developed as mine.  Would I lie to you about something as serious as faux cookie dough?

And, scout’s honor, that IS a true story.

I then received an email from him as he was snacking on the bar he brought to work that said, “I see what you’re saying about the cookie dough”.  So there you have it.

Here she is:

Dinner, on the other hand, was less than epic.  As I told you, we literally have zero food and are going to the store tomorrow to stock up on Easter eats.  I had leftover lasagna with the remainder of my grilled, frozen veggies.  I’m not saying it wasn’t tasty, but we’ve been-here-done-that this week.   Oh well, you can’t have it all.

I had dinner about 40 minutes ago and my belly is still rumbling.  What is my deal lately? I feel so out of whack.  Hungry and thirsty all the time!  I might have some greek yogurt with a drizzle of agave.  It’s about the only thing left in the fridge!

So stoked for tomorrow!  Have a date with my sister to decorate Easter eggs and then a Fish & Chips date, as I mentioned earlier in the week.  How lucky can one girl get?!?

I will leave you with this, which is an article I have saved and refer to every once in awhile.  It’s simply a list of vitamins and how they are important to a woman’s health.  Check it out!

Question of the day:  Do you find it more difficult to lose weight/stay healthy in the fall/winter or spring/summer.

Gosh, I find staying healthy to be tough every day, all the time, to be honest.  I obviously love healthy food, but, I also love unhealthy food.  And, I like ALL food in large portions.  Portion control is definitely my biggest weakness.  I can very easily just TAKE OFF with a food like you saw me do with that ice cream.  That being said, I actually think it’s tougher for me in the summer.  I’m going to make a conscious effort to work on this.  The summer is filled with BBQs (they kill me), parties, concerts, weddings, ball games etc, etc.  Do you know what all of these things have in common?  BEER.  During the winter, I hardly ever – and I mean ever – drink.  Show me a sunny day and  I LOVE drinking beer.  Not to mention, I DO more in the summer.  My  calendar is almost always full with something that involves food (and beer).  Obviously, with alcohol comes fewer food inhibitions and the rest is history.  So, even though football season and the holidays are tough, I don’t find them nearly as tempting as floating in a pool with an ice cold beer and a plate of nachos on my lap.  Oh, and did I mention a little something called ice cream?!?  I feel my pants getting tighter already!





God Continues…

7 03 2010

GOOD MORNING!!!  Don’t let the title of this blog scare ya :wink:   Remember how I joked that God was talking to me yesterday via my ice cream mishap and fortune?  Well, He continued again this morning, but we’ll get to that in a bit!

I’m in the most outstanding mood today for a number of reasons.

  1. The Jersey Shore party was a SUCCESS and Mr. KD and I had so much fun hanging out with our friends.  We don’t get together enough and it was great to see everyone :smile:  
  2. I feel FINE.  I’m so happy!!  I’m tired because I physically cannot sleep in anymore and was up at 6, but that’s okay!  Good reason to get to bed early tonight.
  3. IT IS LIKE SPRING HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I went out this morning and it’s GORGEOUS.  Even if this only lasts for one day, I’ll take it.
  4. Mr. KD and I are heading to his hometown today to visit his good friend whose wife just had a baby.  Can’t wait to meet her!  Then we are hooking up with Mr. KD’s parents for dinner.  We haven’t seen them in a while, so I’m excited to catch up :smile: (They are probably going to be horrified as I snap photos of everything I eat…haha).

Before we get to this morning, I’ll share with you a few pics for last evening!

My sister (do you think we look alike?), my cousin and myself.  You can’t really see our outfits, but check out our strategically placed Ed Hardy tattoos :wink:

Just me and my best girlfriends…living the Jersey Shore dream.  Haha.  P.S. Doesn’t it look like I have a pot belly in this pic?  What an unattractive pose!  You can’t really tell from this photo, but I’m wearing hot pink fishnets.  Love it!

Shall we move on?

As I mentioned earlier, I was up at 6, but laid in bed until about 7.  The house really wasn’t too bad at all.  In fact, I snapped a few photos to show you!

Yes, those are pizza boxes.  Yes, I ate 4 slices (three Hawaiian and 1 mushroom/pepper).  No, I didn’t feel guilty about it….

….until God tried to tell me something again!  After cleaning up, I looked at the clock and determined that if I hustled, I could make it to the 8:30 Mass this morning.  I got showered and dressed in the blink of an eye and shot out the door and arrived at exactly 8:32.  I heard singing from outside, which seemed normal because I thought the opening procession was going on.  To my surprise, I walked in on COMMUNION :shock:  

This is probably in the top 5 most embarrassing things I have EVER done (slightly behind my Celtics photo faux pas a few weeks back). 

Hey – at least I didn’t have 3 inch heels on that clack-clacked on the wood floor as I was walking in.  Ohhhhhhhhhh wait…I DID.  One shocked communion-taking parishioner actually locked eyes with me and gave me a you’re-a-little-late look.  Oops.  Guess Mass started at 8.  I’m now convinced this is God’s way of trying to tell me that I probably shouldn’t host parties where I am purposely making fun of other people and THEN eat 4 slices of pizza and not feel guilty!!

I slinked away and came back home and plan to go back at 11 and pray for Snooki and pizza forgiveness :wink:

In my haste to get ready, I sucked down a cup of Joe and a no-bake protein bar.

Love these things!

When I returned home, my stomach was growling already.  I knew this bar needed to be paired with something, but I didn’t have time before I left to make anything else, so I guess my escapade actually worked in my favor.  Considering my monster carb loading last night and with this bar, I thought eggs would do me some good, so I whipped up a veggie frittatta.  I used one egg, two egg whites, the roasted veggies from last night and one slice of 2% American cheese.

Drizzled with some KETCHUP LOVE!!

I recently discovered the art of the frittatta and I’m not sure how I ever lived without it.  For those of you who don’t know how to make one, you place your ingredients in a frying pan and cook until the bottom is set.  You then take the frying pan and place under the broiler (adding cheese, if using, at last minute) for a few seconds until top is set.  Viola!  Perfection every time!  I used to struggle with omelette flipping and I royally stunk at it.  I mean, I was bad.  Now, there’s no need to flip and it tastes exactly the same!!

Considering the GORGEOUS weather and the fact that I had plenty of time before I had to leave, I decided to whip up a fruit salad for the week.  I’m such a domestic diva these days!  Who knew I had it in me? 

Isn’t she puuuuuuurdy?  I love all the vibrant colors of fruit!  Yes, I’m nerdy.  All you have to do is refer to my favorite song to figure that out :wink:

I love using weekends to roast up veggies and cut up fruit.  It makes the hectic work week so much easier.  And since I only go to the store once every 2 weeks, I love having something like a fruit salad to get me through week one and then relying on durable fruits like apples and oranges for the second week.  It’s the best of both worlds and I only have to deal with the store twice a month.  I call that a success!

Okay, bloggies, I’m off for the rest of the day.  Not sure what lunch will entail yet because we might be on the road or we might eat here.  Either way, I’ll be sure to snap pics and upload with dinner tonight when we get home.

Have a FABULOUS Sunday and enjoy the weather if it’s nice near you! :cool:

P.S. The pizza was the new Domino’s pizza.  It truly doesn’t taste any different.  They put a little garlic salt on the crust and that’s basically it.  Just in case you were wondering!

Until we eat again…