A grown-up PB & J: WIAW edition

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It’s Wednesday! And, you foodies know what that means…(If you don’t, then head to Peas & Crayons for the scoop!)

I hate to admit this, but I went through a phase in high school where I ate PB & J for lunch. Every. Single. Day.

And, no, I’m not talking about having natural peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam on a whole wheat bread.

I’m talking processed white bread, peanut butter that was far from natural, and grape jelly with lots of added sugar. I may or may not have enjoyed this with a Choco Taco on the side. (P.S. I miraculously never gained weight during this sugar-laden time of my life. Thank goodness!)

But, anyways, I still love the taste of PB & J. What I don’t love is refined sugars, processed ingredients, and empty starches. That’s why I’ve started to create my own “grown-up” concocotions of PB & J…first, my healthy PB & (Strawberry) J bowl and now this…

PB & J oatmeal

 

It’s¬†Healthy PB & J Oatmeal! Here’s what’s in the mix (one serving)…

  • 1/4 c. steel cut oats, cooked (Or use 1/2 c. regular oats)
  • Splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. natural strawberry jam
  • Additions: hemp seeds + flax seeds
  1. In a bowl, combine oats and milk. Microwave for 1:10.
  2. Top with strawberries, jam, peanut butter, and any extra additions. Enjoy!

Mmmm, so yummy!

Here’s what the rest of my day looked like…(Trust me, they’re not as pretty. The rest of my eats were all on-the-go!)

WIAW6.18_apple

 

11:45 a.m. –> apple

WIAW6.18_lunch12:40 p.m. –> Mini turkey burger topped with TJ’s reduced-guilt guacamole + lettuce + white onion on quinoa flax bread from Whole Foods (it’s amazing) + baby carrots on the side

WIAW6.18_snack4:00 p.m. –> 3 oz. plain 0% CHO + 3 oz. plain 2% Mango CHO topped with sliced almonds, puffed wheat, and oats

WIAW6.18_dinner6:00 p.m. –> Roasted sweet potatoes + roasted brussel sprouts + watermelon (It was a very colorful — and tasty — dinner!)

Unpictured: 2 Hershey Kisses while at a meeting + my nighttime snack (1 banana, warmed in the microwave, with 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter, 2 tbsp. oat bran, and a splash of milk)

 

 

 

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Exhausted arms + summery oats!

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Good morning! Sorry for disappearing for a few days…last Thursday after work, I headed off to the beach with a friend for a short weekend and tried to completely unplug. Although it ended up raining most of the time we were there, it was still a lot of fun!

I’ve been working with my friend Leslie for the last few weeks to help her train for her first post-baby 5K, and we completed the race on Saturday morning on the Ocean City Boardwalk…she did so great! She originally wanted to finish under 35 minutes, and before the race, I told her she should push for 33 minutes…and she ended up finishing in 31:30! Congrats, Leslie — you did awesome! (Sorry for the blurry phone photo!)

5K race

 

As for my own workouts, I banged out 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning followed by three rounds of this upper body workout…

  • 10 bicep curls (each arm)
  • 10 shoulder presses
  • 10 bent over rows
  • 10 flys (each arm)
  • 15 tricep dips
  • 10 tricep extensions
  • Cardio: 30 jumping jacks, 30 high knees, 30 tuck jumps

My arms are seriously exhausted right now!

I followed up my workout with a great big bowl of chia seed oats with some vanilla protein powder, peanut butter, strawberries, and blueberries…I love the addition of summer fruits in my morning oats!

Strawberry and blueberry oats

 

I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow for WIAW…but before that, be sure to check out the Lean Green Bean. I was featured in her weekly food prep inspiration post on Sunday! ūüôā

A post-marathon 26.2 WIAW!

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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for WIAW and a short break from all my marathon talk!

This week’s eats come from Monday, the day after my marathon. Normally after long runs I’m absolutely ravenous, which didn’t seem the case on Monday…however, I still got in lots of recovery carbs and protein (and some treats!) to celebrate the end of my journey to 26.2!

I started the day off with “Apple Pie Oats”…

Apple Pie OatsApple Pie Oats
Serves 1

  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 2/3 c. liquid (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk; you can use a combo of milk + water if you’d like)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed
  • 1 small apple, chopped (I kept the skin on, but that’s optional.)
  1. In a small saucepan, combine oats and liquid over medium-high heat. Stir regularly.
  2. Once the liquid begins to be absorbed, add in your egg white and apples and cook for about a minute or until egg is cooked throughout.
  3. Stir in your tablespoon of flaxseed and mix well. Remove from heat and serve — preferably with a big ol’ scoop of nut butter!

After breakfast, I had a pretty busy day so I snapped my eats on the go!

WIAW5.8

Morning snack: Baby carrots

Lunch: One large sweet potato with sauteed peppers, corn, and black beans served with fresh pico de gallo and unpictured TJ’s quinoa lentil chips

Afternoon snack: I had an Apple CHO all ready to go, but when someone came back with half price Starbucks fraps for the office, I couldn’t resist! I had a Mocha Cookie Crumble and it. was. phenomenal. (Almost cherry shaved ice status!)

Dinner: 1/2 c. whole wheat angel hair pasta with shrimp sauteed in 1/2 tbsp. butter + 1/4 tsp. garlic + steamed broccoli + balsamic vinegar

Evening snacks: A small homemade granola square sent from my mother-in-law (amazing!) and part of the fruit from an Edible Arrangement I received as a congrats on my marathon! ūüôā (Dollop of plain 0% CHO on the side)

Unpictured: Lots of water! In retrospect, I should have had some Gatorade as well to replenish the electrolytes, as I was feeling pretty sloggish still on Tuesday morning!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?

 

Hitting the wall + baked banana walnut oats

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As I mentioned earlier this week, it was time for a break from marathon training. My body was feeling the rigors of training and I was overall tired. I did pretty well sticking to my “rest” plan– besides a six mile run on Monday, I stuck to arm/core strengthening workouts and yoga all week.

I woke up yesterday morning excited! In exactly one month, I would be toeing the starting line of the Pittsburgh Marathon. AHHHH.

I originally planned to run this morning but because the weather was so nice, I decided to tackle my 20-miler yesterday afternoon after work. My eating had been a little “off” during the day since I wasn’t really hungry, but I still ate a decent amount and stuck to the foods I typically do when I go running in the afternoon. (That typically means having a snack of 1/4 c. nuts about an hour before my run for fuel.)

The setting was perfect — it was over 60 degrees and I ran in shorts for the first time since last fall. Miles 0-5 weren’t too bad. I was averaging a 8:05 pace, which is a little fast but I felt okay. Luckily, I wrapped my toe and didn’t feel any pressure like I did when I ran on Monday morning.

Slowly, things started to go downhill. I slowed down a bit (around 8:25/mile, which is closer to where I should be anyways), and just really wasn’t feeling it. At mile 11, I had it. I was so tired. I was tired of training for this marathon, I was tired of hurting, I was tired of feeling like I’m dragging my body around. I ended up calling the hubby hoping he’d tell me to suck up and keep going, but he told me I needed to stop and give my body some time to rest and attempt the run later.

But, I’d already come 11 miles, I really didn’t want to do that all over again. I pushed through for a while and even cut my 13 mile pace down to 8:30 (faster than my splits that had just kept creeping up). But, by mile 15, I was dragging. I hurt all over, and I knew I shouldn’t finish. (At that point, I think I¬†could have finished, but not without doing some more damage to my body.)

It was an emotionally draining evening. I feel like I’ve come¬†so¬†far, and I’m only a month away from race day! With only one more long run left on the schedule (22 miles), I wasn’t feeling as confident as I wanted to at this point.

After a quite emotional call to my sister, I gained some perspective.

It’s my first marathon, and I’m going to do it — even if I walk all the way to the finish line. (That’s not going to happen, let’s be honest). I need to take the pressure off myself to be “fast” and just focusing on finishing. She’s right — when I was running my “slowest” yesterday, I was still keeping a 9:10/mile pace. That’s more than respectable — that’s awesome! I need to focus on finishing and not on my time.

I’m hoping to take some time to rest and recover today and attack a shorter distance run tomorrow — without my watch and without worrying about pace and time. I’m going to¬†enjoy running again.

The game plan for today is to take it easy and let my legs recover. As usual, I wasn’t really hungry after my run last night but was¬†starving¬†today. I legitimately woke up at 4:30 this morning and had to convince myself not to get up and eat, haha! I held off until 7:15 a.m. before getting up and enjoying the last of these baked banana walnut oats…

Baked Banana Walnut Oatmeal

Baked Banana Walnut Oats
Serves 4-5

  • 2 bananas (1 sliced, 1 mashed)
  • 2 c. oats
  • 1/4 c. flax meal
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • A few shakes of cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 c. milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond)
  • 1 Tbsp. agave syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a round (or 9 x9 square) pan with cooking spray.
  2. Slice one of your bananas and lay slices evenly on bottom of greased pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine your oats, flax meal, salt, baking powder, 1/3 c. chopped walnuts, and a few shakes of cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl, combine your mashed banana, milk, agave, vanilla, and egg. Mix until well blended.
  5. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet, mixing until both are well combined.
  6. Pour mixture over bananas. Top with remaining walnuts and place in oven for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • For added sweetness, you could add 1/2 c. blueberries and leave out the agave.¬†

How to “level down” this recipe:

  • For a chocolate-ly breakfast, add in 1/2 c. chocolate chips before baking!¬†

A trend I just can’t do

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If you’re a food blog junkie like me, you’ve seen the recipe everywhere: overnight oats.

Don’t get me wrong. I. love. oats. But, I love a big bowl of oats served piping hot so that my nut butter melts just right and makes the whole bowl taste amazing.

But cold oats? I just wasn’t feeling it. However, I’ll try anything once and since I had an empty jar of peanut butter staring me in the face, I felt obligated to throw together my own version of overnight oats.

But before we get into the recipe, it’s time for a few truths…

Truth #1:¬† This picture is horrible. I was lazy and snapped it with my iPhone right before digging in. If you want pretty pictures of overnight oats, try this, this, or this. These people show their overnight oats some lovin’ I just can’t muster…

Truth #2: I got about halfway through breakfast when I threw in the towel, dumped out my oats into a bowl, and warmed them up in the microwave. I am officially Team Warm Oats!

Overnight oats jar

Overnight oats
Serves 1

  • 1/3 c. oats
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/3 c. milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/3 scoop protein powder (Optional; I used vanilla)
  1. Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Pour into empty nut butter jar and place in refrigerator overnight.
  3. In the morning, add another scoop of nut butter (if desired), mix, and enjoy!

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • Add some chopped fruit, such as apples or strawberries, or mash half of a banana and stir in.
  • Substitute 1/3 c. greek yogurt for the water.

How to “level down” this recipe:

  • Omit the chia seeds. The seeds help with liquid¬†absorption¬†and add a punch of protein and fiber, but if you don’t have any on hand, it’s okay to leave them out!
  • To sweeten your oats, add 1/2 Tbsp. maple or agave syrup, a few chocolate chips, or a splash of vanilla.

It’s the little things

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Today got off to a great start! No reason in particular, just a bunch of “little things” combined to make a pretty great morning.

I started off the day with a 30-minute elliptical interval workout, followed by my “Anything for a Minute” circuit workout twice through. My elliptical intervals looked like this:

30-minute Elliptical Intervals

Definitely a great way to get your heart pumpin’ on the elliptical! The elliptical used to be my “cop out” for when I didn’t feel like doing real cardio work on the treadmill. It may not be quite as tough as one of my HIIT tradmill workouts, but it definitely leaves me sweating. Phew!

I headed home, got the coffee brewing, and whipped up this delicious breakfast concoction: Chocolate Chia Proatmeal.¬†You’ve got to try this!
Chocolate Chia Proatmeal_Final

In the mix:

  • 1/4 c. steel cut oats, cooked (Or use 1/2 c. uncooked regular oats)¬†
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  1. In a bowl, combine your oats, almond milk, and chia seeds. Let sit for at least thirty minutes up to overnight. (I normally make mine the night before, as the chia has more time to absorb the liquid.)
  2. Next, add some more liquid (water or almond milk) if needed and microwave for about 1:10 (depending on your microwave).
  3. Remove and stir in your chocolate protein powder and peanut butter. Enjoy!

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • Add some sliced fruit, like a banana, into the mix for some added nutrients.

How to “level down” this recipe:

  • You can remove the chia seeds, but you’re missing out on the big,¬†voluminous¬†bowl of oats it produces!
  • Top with some coconut or chocolate chips for added flavor!

Back to all the “little things” that made my day great…

Vera lunchboxMy new Vera Bradley lunchbox that I got for $8.50 during a holiday sale. Score!

hand sanitzerYes, hand sanitizer. I think I was most excited because I got this on clearance last night at Target for $0.88. (Granted, it was originally like $1.25, but still. It’s a steal, right?!) It smells delicious, and I finally have some hand sanitizer at my desk!

Spicy sweet potato + veggiesOkay, so this was no “little thing” that I enjoyed for lunch. It was pretty darn big and packed full of all of my favorite things right now: sweet potatoes, black beans, veggies, chipotle salsa, and avocado. Yum, yum, yum. It was an amazing lunch!

And, I was too excited that I forgot to snap a picture, but I enjoyed some¬†homemade¬†vanilla cashew butter with flax seed spread over two brown rice cakes for an afternoon snack. I have some minor tweaks to make, but I’m excited to share my easy-as-can-be homemade nut butter recipe with you. I don’t think you’ll ever buy the jar stuff again — I know I won’t!

Time to go! I’m currently cooking up another batch of my Spicy Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup (trying it with lentils instead of sweet potatoes!) to freeze and use in the future…At least, that was my original intention. After smelling the soup, that’s pretty much all I can think about for tonight’s dinner. We’ll see! ūüôā

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal & WIAW

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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for What I Ate Wednesday! My eats come from last Wednesday & I’m excited because they included some baked blueberry oatmeal, which means I have a fun new recipe for you!

WIAW Dec 5

Breakfast: Big surprise here! 1/2 c. steel cut oats with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, spoonful of peanut butter

Snack #1 (not pictured): Banana

Lunch: Crab vegetable soup, baby carrots, and Multigrain Crunchmasters crackers — has anyone else had these?! They are absolutely amazing!

Snack #2: Vanilla Greek Yogurt, 1/2 honeycrisp apple, cinnamon

Dinner: Fall Apple Salad (no chicken) and whole wheat angel hair pasta with lots of veggies and parm cheese!

Bedtime Snack:¬†1/2 c. of my baked blueberry oatmeal, the star of my WIAW! Since this month’s WIAW focuses on healthy holiday eats, this is a perfect recipe for a Christmas morning breakfast (or nighttime snack!)

Healthy Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
Serves 2-3

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats (quick or old fashioned work!)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. blueberries (I used Trader Joe’s frozen)
  • 1/1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 3 Tbsp. agave/maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds (if desired)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small baking dish (I used my small Corningware dish) with cooking spray. Spread layer of blueberries across the bottom. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and rolled oats and pour over top of blueberries.
  3. In another bowl, combine your milk, syrup, vanilla, and egg white. Mix well.
  4. Pour milk and egg mixture over oats.
  5. Top with remaining blueberries and sliced almonds/nuts if desired.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out fairly clean.

How to “level up” this recipe

  • I made this recipe earlier this week and added a half of a sliced banana in with the blueberries!¬†
  • Add flax seed, chia seed, or whatever other healthy seeds/grains you have on hand in with the oats.

How to “level down” this recipe

  • If you like your oatmeal a little sweeter, consider adding a little bit of brown sugar or regular raw sugar to the mix.¬†