Lights Out

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toasty…

Since yesterday was an early day, I feel asleep super early! But, of course, my phone started ringing at 2000. I tried to ignore it, but it just kept ringing. Then, as I hung up with the person on the other line, the power goes out. We made it through Hurricane Sandy with only a few flickering lights, but for some reason, the power lines couldn’t stand up to the cold. My mom went into manic-mode, lighting candles and such. Me? My phone was charged and the alarm was set. I curled up next to the fire place for some warmth, and relaxed. But unfortunately, I could not fall back asleep, especially with mom calling the power company, on speaker phone, every 25 minutes! So I whipped out my phone and started working on some posts for you all!

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Apparently power outages have
no effect on this Sleeping Beauty…

The power came back on around 0130. Just in time for me to watch a great movie, called Canvas! I finally fell back asleep around 0300, I would say. Apparently, the universe prefers me sleep deprived…

On another subject, I found this link last night after I mysteriously developed an overwhelming appetite. The article discusses seeing food as “good” or “bad.” I began to feel really guilty about not working out, yesterday. I felt even worse after eating so much later in the night. A few sentences really stood out to me so I thought I’d highlight them for the overly anxious, bingers and  health seekers, like me.

the quality and the balance of what you eat may play a bigger role in weight control and the regulation of your metabolism than the calories alone.

A study found that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories won’t reflect on your waistline, as long as you maintain a healthy diet in the long run.

                Researchers believe that little to no weight gain occurs because healthy individuals usually “undereat” one day and “overeat” on another. So in the end, it all evens out. As long as you’re eating healthy most of the time, having an occasional treat won’t wreck your diet.

I need to remember that although I’ve been rather over indulgent this week, I can even it out. I can’t stress or crawl in my corner.

Now lets get into the goods. Good as in tasty, that is…

I planned this breakfast a few days ago while making the Walnana Muffin Cookies. I decided to use Katie’s melted banana trick in my oatmeal. I was surprised when my mom ask me to make her one too! I was really impressed with how it turned out! If I wasn’t so full from this stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, I would have eaten another bowl! Yeah, its that good!

Walnana (Banana Bread) OatmealImage
serves 2

1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup Flax Milk (or milk of your choice)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 bananas
1 Tbsp Artisana Walnut Butter
1/2 tsp Splenda brown sugar, or 1 tsp brown sugar

Combine oats through cinnamon in a pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring often. After 15 minutes, cut bananas in half, place in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Pour the fruit into the simmering oats, add the walnut butter. Stir really well ensuring the butter is fully dissolved. Sprinkle the brown sugar over top. Give it a quick stir and serve. Each bowl gets a heaping cupful!

ImageNutrition Facts, per serving:
Calories: 303
Fat: 8.7g
Sat. Fat: 1.1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 21.4mg
Carbs: 52.9g
Fiber: 7.5g
Sugar: 14.2g
Protein: 7.4g

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melted banana

Melting the bananas really brings out their natural sugars and allows the fruit to really distribute evenly throughout the oatmeal; and adding the walnut butter while it was cooking, gave the oats a smoother texture. I topped mine with some chopped walnuts to add a crunch. I was going for a banana bread feel, but the milk added a creaminess that made it a bit of banana creme pie-like. Wow this was good!
Speaking of pie. Today is National Pie Day! Being the nerd that I am, I usually celebrate Pie Day on March 14th. Get it? 3.14?
I thought about it… Pizza pie or fruit pie? But banana creme pie-ish oatmeal counts, right? Sure, why not? I won’t tell if you don’t.

I enjoyed the oatmeal with a mug of some new herbal tea I picked up at the co-op, yesterday.

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While I waited for my oatmeal to fluff up and cook, I tried my hand at some homemade cashew Imagebutter. I used about 1/2 lb raw cashews, and soaked them in water over night. I was surprised by how much water the nuts soaked up.

I drained the cashews and popped them in the Magic Bullet. Every so often I removed the whipped cashews and gave the whole nuts a shake. As the butter accumulated I removed it from the bullet. Never having had store-bought cashew butter, I wasn’t really sure how it was supposed to taste. I will say, I loved the smooth consistency  I also sprinkled a little less than 1/4 tsp of salt into the mix.

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Dinner tonight was the Lean Cuisine I’ve been putting off eating! I added some of the baby carrots, as planned, to the broccoli,a sprinkled some black pepper. The meal was pretty decent. Theres a lot of the gravy and I wasn’t quite filled enough. If I get it again, I’m going to need more veggies. The flavor was good and the steak tender, but lacking in mushrooms. This frozen meal has a lot of potential.

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I snacked on some graham crackers and PB, the best hospital snack ever! And tapped into the homemade chips and salsa one of the nurse’s brought in. I love fresh, homemade salsa!

Even though the oatmeal was pretty darn spectacular, the highlight of my day was booking my flight to San Jose, for my trip in April! Every year I try to attend the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society International Convention. I’ve been blessed with being able to afford Seattle, two years ago, and Nashville, last April. I’m glad I have some time to save up some dinero for the trip!

Going Bananas with Snow Mieser

Early bird catches the worm? More like, early bird requires an afternoon nap. When I left the house this  morning, it was 19 degrees F outside and there was a coating of snow! BRRRRR! Glad I brought some hot tea with me. My mom was so sweet! She got up before me and started my car so it would be warmed up for me! Thanks, mom! Mr. SnowMieser needs to take a chill pill.

Mondays and Tuesdays are tricky for me. I have to be at my clinical site by 0645 and I’m there until about 1330. We get  a lunch break, but until then, theres not much time to eat. These are the days I tend to bring my bars, so I can snag a bite on a “bathroom break.” I also tend to bake bite size/ snack size muffins and things that I can nibble on throughout my morning.
Thats what I did today. Yesterday, I took advantage of my new Walnut butter and adapted a recipe from Julie and made these babies:

ImageOatmeal Banana Nut Butter Cookies! Julie’s recipe used PB, but I wanted to incorporate my new nut butter! And, duh, banana and walnut? Wal-nana! Always a winning combo!
Since Walnuts, and Walnut butter aren’t super flavorful like peanut butter, I did a 1:1 mix and voila!

Oatmeal Walnana Muffin Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

2 ripe bananas, mashedImage

2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp plus 2tsp Artisana Walnut Butter
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
3 Tbsp liquid egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray or use a mini muffin tin.
Mix bananas, nut butters, apple sauce and Splenda together. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the oat mixture into the banana mixture until everything is combined. Place spoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet or into the tins and bake for approximately 10 – 12 minutes.
ImageNutrition for 48 cookies: 1 cookie:
Calories: 43
Fat: 1.3g
Sat. Fat: 0.1g
Cholesterol: 5.2mg
Sodium: 55.2mg
Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 0.6g
Sugar: 1.4g
Protein: 1.1g
This batch gave me around 52 pop-ables. This recipe also gave me the opportunity to use my new cookie scoop that I got myself for Christmas, too! I get excited over the weirdest things, don’t I? haha
They turned out better than I expected! The banana flavor shown brightly and the nut butters were complimentary, not overbearing, as some nut butters can be! I can’t wait to try other nut butters! But, oh man, were they good!I got out of clinical early today and decided to bring dad some lunch at work. I stopped by ImageClaymont Steak Shoppe (known for their cheesesteaks) and picked him up some lunch! This thing was huge! I dressed it Philly style: fried onions, mushrooms, and wiz. For lunch, I packed Banana Chobani flip and Multigrain PB Cheerios and Chocolate Fiber One 80.
What can I say? “So nice, I ate it twice!” But don’t get me wrong, I definitely helped dad finish that steak. 😉
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And to add to out filling lunch: Chia Seed Cookies!
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These cookies were like sugar cookies that melted in your mouth! I love Newark Natural Foods (the “co-op” as we call it)! I always get amazing baked goods from them!
I also picked up a new addition to the Bundo Nut Butter Family:
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When I got home, I welcomed the almond butter by spreading it on one of the walnana nuggets! MMM!
While we are on the subject of bananas, still, have you ever had Larabar’s Banana Bread? You know I have a freakish obsession for bars, so I’ve decided to start a bars files on the page reviewing some bars.
The Banana Bread wasn’t what I expected. I has an almost burnt taste? Yeah, I guess thats the word…
What I like about Larabars, is what I like to call “pure.” There is nothing artificial in the bars and most of them are quite delicious! As for the Banana Bread, I’ll pass. The Bananas Foster Uber Bar is a little better and a lot nuttier. Its difficult to include banana into bars, unless its baked in. A lot of bars containing banana, use banana chips, which, in my opinion, take away some of that natural sweetness that attracts me to the fruit. I’ll keep on trying banana bars, but as of now, they’re not my first choice.
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I’m super stoked to try Thursday’s crock pot meal! Dad and I grabbed the last of the ingredients today! I stopped by the co-op in Newark to pick up some garam masala and Good Karma Flax  Milk.
Lots of studying to do tonight. With all this work in my life, I’m going to go bananas!