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Archive for the ‘peanut butter’ Category

Hooray!  I’m so so glad you guys like the new look.  I could never have done it without Julie’s services, so if you’re looking for a blog makeover, she’s your gal.  Seriously.  She took a sketch of a header I drew and made it into the reality that you now see.  It’s amazing.  And she was ever-so-patient with my (nonexistent) technology skills.  Not that it’s over…there are still some kinks to be worked out, but for the most part things are running smoothly. 

Feel free to click around and let me know what you think.  Any feedback is greatly appreciated so I can make my site as user friendly (and pretty) as possible.  Aside from the font, which people have mentioned can be difficult to read, let me hear your thoughts!

Moving on…

Night shift steam rolled on by these past two days. 

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I actually really lucked out with my patient load…not only were they the sweetest group of people, but they were stable and compliant and slept through the night.  In the words of Michael Scott: win win win.

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Now that I’m riding my bike to work, it allows for a more restful day too.  I don’t feel rushed and/or anxious about when I’m going to squeeze in exercise (while still letting myself sleep in some) and my commute time is always the same.  For those unfamiliar with LA traffic, having a constant like that is invaluable. 

Biking to work means I can leave the apartment at 5:45 pm, arrive at the hospital at 6:15 pm, clean up, change into scrubs, relax, and I’m ready to get my nurse on when 7 pm rolls around.  Much better than guessing how the day’s 405/Wilshire drama is going to go down (my commute by car can take anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes, no joke).  That construction is getting to be too much stress! 

Next month they are closing the entire freeway down (July 15-18th) and the hospital is already looking to recruit staff to spend the night.  I predict a riot.  Or maybe a plot for J.J. Abrams’ next movie…

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The only thing you need to know about this bowl of oats is that it was made with almost as much peanut butter and raisins as oats

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The combo of PB&R (not to be confused with the beer PBR) makes breakfast (or early dinner in my case) taste like cookie dough. Anyone else think that raisins are very underrated in the oatmeal world?  Or maybe you never consider the rankings of breakfast ingredients like I do…  Eh.  Your loss. 

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Work eats were packed, as per usual…

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Sidekicks of mixed nuts, Three Sisters honey graham cereal (obsessed!!!), apples, and cherries.

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Salad with veggies and grains galore, topped with chopped seitan

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This salad was an everything in the fridge kind of situation.  In other words, a delicious, one-of-a-kind beast.  It fueled me all through the night.  Also, I had fun coworkers to work with, which always makes shifts fun and fast.

How is your work commute?  Do you drive?  Bus?  Subway?  Is it the same every day or does traffic come into play?

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I have made it my personal mission to try Surprisingly Vegan’s competition…

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It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it.*  Right?

*False: nobody has to do it, this is an entirely self-imposed task

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Peanut butter melted on top of fresh strawberry slices on top of a frozen waffle.  All in the name of brand research…

I will spare you the name of the company I tried here (it was also vegan and gluten free), but let the record state, the frozen varieties may as well be toast because there wasn’t much waffle flavor going on.

They were crispy and hard, like overly-toasted bread, not thick and soft like the Belgian waffles I’ve been enjoying lately.

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I am spoiled.

My second attempt was better, but that’s because I turned to what I know best…

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Peanut butter and chocolate.  None of this one or the other business.  Both.

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Kinda sloppy, but that’s not really a concern when you are doing the hand-to-mouth shuffle shovel. 

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I’m maintaining my position though.  These vegan and gluten free frozen waffles needed MAJOR enhancing with toppings…whereas Surprisingly Vegan’s waffles are delicious plain. 

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Nothing on top.  Excellent as is. 

[I’m obviously 100% biased here, which is why no brand names are mentioned, but I’m fairly certain everyone would agree with my “research findings”]

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Working on the weekends isn’t too bad when the days are mellow and the weather is mediocre (I swear I heard the phrase “June gloom” six hundred and fifty three times yesterday).  Having interesting patients helps too…

My shift flew by and as 7 pm approached I texted dinner plans to Kyle. 

me: Veggie Grill take-away tonight?

kyle: yes.  what do you want?

me: Baja Fiesta salad, add chik’n, dressing on the side

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Done and done.

I got this same order last time so I knew it would hit the spot. 

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This time I had my camera to take photos of my Baja Fiesta salad at home (as opposed to my cell phone for sub-par pics).

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Chopped romaine, papaya, avocado, roasted corn salsa, quinoa, cucumber, cilantro, tortilla strips and a ginger-papaya vinaigrette (plus the chillin’ chickin’ I added on).

I love their ginger papaya vinaigrette, but I also squeezed some lime juice in for an acidic punch.  It complements the avocado.  :)  

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I also dumped some extra quinoa on top because I like carbs

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Obviously none of these tweaks were necessary, and getting the salad how it’s intended in the restaurant is perfectly delicious.  I’m just unable to leave anything be once it enters the kitchen.  Cookbook recipes included.  Anyone else have this problem?

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Kyle got the All Hail Kale salad, which is one I’ve been eyeing for some time now.   I’m glad he got it so I could scope out how it looks. 

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It has marinated kale and red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts with a ginger-papaya vinaigrette (you can add blackened chickin’ or tempeh for extra).  Kyle got it with blackened chickin’ and a side of sweetheart fries (aka sweet potato fries).

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He said it was really good.  In fact, he was talking about it all night…so I’m not sure what he was expecting, but clearly it was way better than he was anticipating.  I don’t think I need to say how the fries were.  They were obviously outstanding. 

The Veggie Grill is definitely becoming a staple take-away in our lives.  It’s such an easy option – fast and fresh – plus I adore that they are bringing veg-friendly fast food to the masses.  I will support that.  They recently opened a new restaurant in The Grove, too.  Expand and dominate a la Starbucks!  Now if only they would open up their next location on the I-5. 

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After dinner I had a lot lot lot of dessert.  I lost track of the number of rice cakes I had, but I know that the peanut butter jar was left feeling significantly ravaged. 

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If I had to summarized Monday through Thursday in a single post…well…I can’t, so I don’t know how to end that sentence.  But, where I was going with that intro was to say my week has been packed and amazing.

Highlights reel?  Sure, why not.

Monday slash Tuesday I had night shift stuff.  The only thing of note food-wise was how many berries I consumed over the course of the day. 

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I have likely met my Vitamin C quota until October. 

I also made a pita pie (for those of you who keep asking about the-best-pita-ever, it’s from Whole Foods and the brand is called Turlock Pita Bread). 

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My gorgeous pie was toasted then layered (generously) with Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter and very thinly sliced golden delicious apples.

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Any meal that has fewer than five ingredients, takes under five minutes to make, AND tastes this good should be illegal.  Or accepted into the Foodie Hall of Fame.  Is there such a thing?  Nope. 

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I also did some late night therapy baking.  I find it a very soothing thing.  Just me and the oven, and the rest of the day fades away…

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Kyle’s a big fan of these nights.  Unlike retail therapy, they don’t cut into our vacation rent funds, plus they yield delicious treats.  Who else uses cooking/baking in this way?

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(Vegan) peanut butter and jelly thumbprint muffins.  Recipe on the way!

Wednesday morning wasn’t notably interesting, but I did make a really really yummy tropical smoothie.

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I had it with a massive bowl of cherries (since the strawbeezies are done-zo).

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I didn’t measure anything, but it had: light unsweetened soymilk (365), vanilla soy yogurt (Stonyfield), frozen tropical fruit mix (Costco), and some ice.

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I tried to go slow and eat cherries in between, but you know I froze my brain up because I have no self control.

Of course to compensate I had to make some tea.  I may be having issues with my body core thermal regulation, because I always seem to be the temperature of whatever I’m eating.  Humans are supposed to be warm blooded.  I may be a lizard.  My poor patients have to deal with my frigid hands poking and prodding them (ok, ok, I’m not that rough).  Good thing I suck down coffee like a fiend all morning long which is when I do most of my assessments…at least the heat from that helps my hands stay a bit warmer.  I’m sure the fact that I’m cracked out of my mind and bouncing off the walls doesn’t even phase them. 

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Fact: I drink Yogi tea more for the inspirational messages than the flavor of the tea.  This flavor happens to be Cocoa Mayan Spice.  It’s no Chai, but it fills the roll when my Tazo stash is on empty.

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Wednesday afternoon we picked up our friend at the airport.  In our new car.  His name is Carson and he’s a new 2011 silver CRV.  Yes, we name all our cars.  Who doesn’t? 

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The best feature is the cup holder in the door.  It fits a Kombucha perfectly.

After navigating our way back to Santa Monica (LA traffic wasn’t that bad actually), we immediately dropped off Dean’s luggage and walked to dinner.

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Blue Plate is one of my absolute favorite places ever and I have been craving their falafel burger for a solid month now. 

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We started with chips ‘n guac for the table.

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Plus a nice white bean dip with bread crisps (on the house).

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Kyle got the chicken & veggie soup and the falafel burger

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Dean got the falafel burger with fries.

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And I got the falafel burger on a salad with fresh greens, cucumber, carrots, sprouts and huge amounts of avocado

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I used all the balsamic dressing, plus the remainder of the guacamole that wasn’t eaten with chips.  It would be a crime for avocado to go unclaimed!

SO GOOD.  There’s no two ways about it, Blue Plate makes a damn fine falafel.

Wii tennis and golf duels took up the remainder of the night.  We are party animals!

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Thursday morning was not meant to start at 5 am, but that it did.  Why you ask?  Because we have crazy effing birds that crow incessantly like they are the alarm clock for the entire West Coast (and their home base happens to be directly outside our window).  The rage I was feeling…gah!  Let’s just say there’s probably never been a more conflicted vegan.  I may not be a member of PETA, but I’m still not into shooting down angry birds.  

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In any event, our plans to got for a hike in Malibu were simply pushed forward a few hours.  So after a trip to WF for coffee and a picnic lunch, we headed off to Point Mugu State Park.

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We had a fun hike.  It was relatively mild and only took a bit over an hour.  The weather wasn’t really cooperating, but if we had waited ‘til later on, the cloud cover probably would have blown off.  Sun or no sun, we enjoyed the views. 

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After reaching the bottom again, we made our way to the beach for lunch. 

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Not too bad of a view. 

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I got a veggie sando from WF with hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and mustard

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I could’ve used more hummus, but that’s pretty much always the case.  In life.

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The rest of the day was mellow.  We strolled on the Promenade, stopped by the Santa Monica Pier, watched some volleyball games, and enjoyed the sun that finally did show up.

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For dinner there was no question about what we were making.  Dean simply HAD to try some home-made vegan waffles.

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We tried out Surprisingly Vegan’s latest flavor and I have to say, it’s even better than the OG recipe.

They really are SO good.  Unfortunately, they take quite a while to make from scratch…and grinding and blending and mixing everything uses up just about every single appliance and counter space in our kitchen.  Needless to say, I’ll be glad when these babies finally hit shelves, because just-add-water is so much simpler. 

The good news is that by late summer they will be sold online!!!  Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you all know when, where, and how you can get your hands on them. 

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Vegan, gluten-free, delicious, and nutritious.  :) 

If you’re wondering about the above creation, it’s a waffle ‘wich that I made with two waffle squares, blueberries and Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese.  I had two servings.  And even though I was very full after my double serving, I didn’t feel like my stomach was coated in lead.  Heavenly!

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And now I am getting ready for a Friday at the hospital.  Big salad, quinoa with tofu, Inka Crops corn nuts, apple (x2), Nana’s fudge bites – yep, it’s gonna be a good day. 

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Lunch is packed and I have a breakfast of vegan waffles ready for early morning leftovers.  Yeah buddy. 

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I’ve seen this game going around, and since I’m a fan of such activities, I’m going to give it a go too!

A is for Apple, what’s your favorite variety?

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Galaaaaa.  Can’t you tell by their unwavering presence in my daily eats?  I have two a day minimum.  My record is over a dozen in one day.  Just as between meal snacks, mind you.  Yes, I like apples.  A.  Lot.

B is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?

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Well, whole grain (specifically whole wheat) is my all time favorite.  However, I am partial to anything that’s freshly baked.  Being in Europe, that meant baguettes around the clock.

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Recently I’ve been all over Whole Foods’ pretzel baguettes though.  Have you seen these heavenly creations? 

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They are TO DIE FOR. 

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If you like pretzels and soft chewy bread, you must tackle your nearest Whole Foods store manager and beg them to start getting these goods. 

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[They are in the baked foods section where you buy individual muffins, rolls, bagels, etc.]

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With hummus, with peanut butter, with nothing at all…I know for a fact, that I could live on bread alone.  As you can see, I’ve had quite a few loaves. 

C is for Cereal what is your favorite kind currently? (just one)

Are you kidding me?  Seriously, didn’t I just discuss this.  Picking one, and only one, is like my personal Sophie’s Choice.  [FYI, I’ve never even seen that movie, but it’s so often referenced, I’m guessing the struggle I face with this question is very similar to her own struggle]

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Three Sisters Graham Crackerz are my current numba one stunnaz. 

D is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?

When we were little we used to get doughnuts after church and I always chose the old fashioned kind with maple glaze.  Kyle thinks I’m a freak for liking that kind, but the traditional ones aren’t appealing to me at all. 

E is for Eggs, how would you like yours prepared?

As you guys know, I rarely rarely rarely eat eggs, but while in Spain, I couldn’t turn down my all time favorite meal…

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I basically lived on tortilla espanola when I studied abroad in Barcelona, so I relished the opportunity to enjoy Spain’s finest cuisine.

F is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?

It’s kinda hard to think of products like this.  I know I like skim products, but I don’t know how to sort them in my mind by their fat content.  I’m thinking greek yogurt is the only thing officially designated “fat free” in our fridge.  But I like fruit and veggies and I know (most of) those are fat free too, right? 

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Stonyfield Oikos organic Greek yogurt and Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry granola.  If you’re wondering about the lap photo it was an on-the-go meal. 

G is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours?

Whole Foods.  No ifs, ands, or buts.

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H is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?

Do you really have to ask? 

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COFFEEEEEEEE!

I is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

Anything with chocolate…topped with anything else chocolate-y. 

J is for Jams or Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?

I pretty much only eat jam in PB&J sandos…and I like almost any berry flavor.  Strawbeezies, blackbizzles, and raspberries are the best of the best.  My mom makes a killer plum jam though (tutorial here).

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K is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product?

I can’t really recall the last Kashi product I bought.  I think they have some pretty bombass cereal.  Not a big fan of their bars, though. 

L is for Lunch, what was yours today?

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Hugh Jass salad, apple, Equal Exchange organic extra dark chocolate, & candied ginger.  [I eat the chocolate with the candied ginger – it seriously rocks]

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Plus Sabra hummus and the bestest tortilla around.  I’m talking about Alvarado Street’s sprouted tortillas, yo!

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Were you wondering about that salad I mentioned above?  It was legit.  I swear, there’s no such thing as a bad salad once the ingredient list gets longer than five things…the more the merrier, fasho.  The lettuce was fancy, and had mega organic baby greens including normal things like red and green romaine and crazy things like oak leaf, lollo rosa, tango, organic red and green chard, organic mizuna, organic arugula, organic frisée, and organic radicchio.  Earthbound Farms has really stepped up their products. 

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Aside from the lettuce, there was green bell pepper, carrots, corn, tomato, and kaia foods sprouted pumpkin seeds.

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I fell in love with these after I got a sample at EXPO West.  The flavor isn’t too strong.  It’s perfect as a salad add in because the crunch and spice is just enough to bring some extra pizzazz to veggies. 

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The dressing I’m all about lately is a simple balsamic, but for some reason this Oro Nero Balsamic is better than your average vinegar.  You can get it at Dean & Deluca (or online).

Ok, M through Z will continue in a later post…

Feel free to chime in with whatever letter suites your fancy!

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I’m sorry (but I’m not sorry) that I’ve been MIA this week.  Playing catch-up after being on vacay is a never-ending process.  When I haven’t been working or sleeping, I’ve been spending every single extra second with Kyle.  Absence does make the heart grow fonder, FYI.

I also stopped taking photos of my food for a while because my camera couldn’t keep up with my appetite.  I’ve been doing quite a number on the fridge/pantry (it’s as if I arrived home from Europe and immediately felt the need to ravage our kitchen and make up for the 20 days I was gone).  Seriously.  If you want a visual, just picture the Tasmanian devil whirling through the apartment.  I haven’t been uncomfortably out of control, but I do want to get back to intuitive eating.  Soon. 

There’s also that matter of triathlon training…but I’ll get to that later. 

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In the meantime, I found a way to make oats taste like Raisin Bran without using the actual cereal at all.  Raisin Bran is one of my favorite cereals (a fact that means almost nothing since that category has close to 50 occupants).  But let’s pretend that I don’t put cereal before my husband in terms of devotion…and say that being one of my favorites is a highly elite and selective honor.

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Raisin & Bran Oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4 drops NuNatural’s liquid stevia (or 1 tbsp sugar)

I cooked the oats in the water first, then added the bran and soymilk at the very end. 

True to the OG cereal, I doused the raisins in the sugar separate from the oats.  And just like the actual Kellogg mantra of “two scoops,” I added in just enough raisins to make the ratio fairly raisin heavy.  🙂

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And while we’re on the subject of themed oatmeal flavors…

This is one I packed for work the other day.  It looks like an ordinary tupperware of oats, but just wait. 

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I swear I have more recipe ideas when I’m running than any other time of the day!  It’s like the cardio clears my head and I am flooded with brain activity.  My breakthrough moments aren’t always food related, but they often are.  I can’t tell you how many times I get back from a run and immediately grab a pad of paper to jot down my notes.  Anyone else have this same method of madness?

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(Vegan) Strawberry Cheesecake Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (I’m partial to Follow Your Heart’s dairy alternative)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 3-4 drops of NuNatural’s liquid stevia (or whatever sugar you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

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For transportation purposes, I left things unmixed until I got to work. 

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Once breakfast time arrived though, I stirred it all up.  After heating up in the microwave, the strawberries and cream cheese got soft and combined perfectly to make beautiful pink oats with a thick consistency and cheesecake-like flavor.  Mmmm…

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Today, I’m switching it up.

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Apple pie oatmeal with bananas and peanut butter on top.

What kind of dessert have you made your oatmeal into?

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The art of packing food is my specialty.  Much like making my daily work eats (tutorials here), packing food for traveling is a bit of a craft.  Some may find it easier to buy meals at the airport rather than go through the hassle of taking extra baggage through security.  Personally, I’m not one of those people.  I don’t care if it adds 25 pounds of dead weight that I have to schlep by plane, train, and automobile, for me it’s SO worth the energy.  The cost to benefit analysis probably differs depending on your diet and distance, but knowing I won’t have to pay exorbitant prices for crappy food (with limited vegan options) is worth it.  Peace of mind for a peaceful stomach. 

Tips:

  • BYOB (tea bags and empty water bottles) – The way I get around the liquid law is filling up my klean kanteen at the fountain (for free) once I’ve made it through airport security.  Also most places will give you free hot water (some charge 25-50 cents).
  • Skip the salt – Flying causes bloating and there’s no reason to add to that.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I already feel gross within a second of boarding a flight.  So I generally try and ditch the pretzels and salted nuts and drink plenty of fluids.  And get an aisle seat 😉
  • Pack way more than you think you’ll need – This is the same as how I pack for work.  If I have too much stuff, fine, it’s not like I have to eat it all in transit.  Having extra bars and snacks is hardly a disaster.  Being hungry and unprepared, on the other hand, is totally miserable and leads to bad choices due to less than stellar options. 
  • Produce produce produce – Is there anything more portable than fruit?  No.  Apples, bananas, etc. are all naturally ready to bring on the go. 
  • Nibble mindfully – Because of time changes, my body never really knows what’s going on and I end up doing more snacking than eating full meals.  Rather than snack the whole trip long, I make sure I am truly hungry and not just bored.  [In other words, bring lots of magazines, books, movies, crosswords, etc. to keep your mind preoccupied so you aren’t using your mouth instead]

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Veggies, hummus, bread, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, apples, orange, oat bakes, dark chocolate squares.

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Snack central.  Seriously, I have no editing skills.  Just wait ‘til you see everything hidden in that bag:

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Probars, Corazona’s, Larabars, Clif bars, Luna bar, KIND bar, Artisana cashew squeeze pack, Attune bar, Love Grown granola, Udi’s granola, dried fruit

And my latest raw obsession too…

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kaia foods makes really yummy raw foods including sweet things like granolas, as well as savory things like these sprouted pumpkin seeds

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The good news is that I will have plenty of bars leftover to throw in my bag.  So when I’m struggling in Paris, I will have backup options and then some. 

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Hummus and dip-ables (carrots, celery, bread).

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Produce in zoom.  The salad is pretty much just romaine, carrots, corn, and avocado…with Trader Joe’s faux chicken on top. 

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I’ve had these before and they are pretty good.  They remind me of the same “chik’n” that The Veggie Grill makes. 

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It’s soy based with vital wheat gluten too.  It comes with some seasoning on it, which lends itself to a Mexican flavored meal.  Hence the Chipotle-salad-esque meal.  

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I only kept the soy meat separate for commute purposes…it will be added on top once it’s time to dig into the greens. 

Now about those “oat bakes”…

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I decided microwaved “bakes” were a smart portable option instead of oatmeal.  So I turned to Ashley, the queen of breakfast bakes.

The first one I made was a spin on her ba-nilla bake

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I have to say, almond extract is quite an interesting ingredient!  I’m going to have to get some of my own soon (my mom shocked me by having it in her cupboard, but I should have known she’d have it).

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Where my recipe differs from hers is my grain and milk choices.  I opted for oats instead of buckwheat.  I also skipped the almonds and replaced the almond milk with soy.  Since there was almond extract in the bake already, I decided on soy milk.  I also threw in golden raisins and dried cherries because I think tart dried fruit goes so well with vanilla.  Otherwise, it was pretty much the same recipe.

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Mixity mix. 

Ba-nilla Oat Breakfast Bake [serves 1]

*adapted from this recipe

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Here it is after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

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This photo steamed up the camera lens, but you can still see how it’s like a baked good as opposed to a bowl of oats. 

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The ease of this is so mind blowing.  Now, I haven’t tasted it yet, but I did lick the spoon, so I am pretty sure it’s going to rock. 

The second “oat bake” I made was my own recipe using up the second half of the banana and whatever I could find in my parents’ kitchen.

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Frozen blackberries?  Sure, why not! 

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Nuts & Berries Breakfast Oat Bake [serves 1]

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Once they had cooled I packed them up in tinfoil. 

I’m pretty sure I’m covered in the food department.  Now, hopefully I won’t get to Spain and realize I am missing my toothbrush or something. 

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Adios amigos! 

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