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WIAW: Protein with a Touch of Honesty

Posted Sep 18 2013 10:56am


Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the fall weather as much as me. 

You may notice a bit of a change to the design of my blog today. I was aiming for a clean look, with more white space and an emphasis on the pictures. Please let me know what you think – always looking for constructive criticism!

Anyway, it’s What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) again, and today’s post features a reoccurrence of one very important part of my diet: protein. I’ve been slacking in the protein category these days, so I’ve been making a conscious effort to up the daily intake. I’m going to finish off this post of mouthwatering eats by sharing with you something that happened to me recently that has affected my life in a pretty major way. Protein with a touch of honesty ya’ll.


 

My day started a 4:15 AM, because my jet-setting BF needed a ride to the airport. He has been traveling a lot these days, but his schedule should calm down soon. I miss him…but I love having the chance to indulge in foods he hates, like spaghetti squash and tofu.

Getting up at such a crazy hour requires a large caffeine buzz. Enter Dunkin Donuts.

Oh, no you didn't Coffee-Mate!

Oh, no you didn’t Coffee-Mate!

Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you. That right there is Girl Scout Cookie Creamer from Nestle. I saw it in the store the other day and literally almost jumped for joy. And guess what? It’s also available in Thin Mint.

The flavor was on-point, evoking the nostalgic Samoa cookie (my favorite) with every sip.

I have a bit of a shopping addiction…a food shopping addiction. Every week, I usually leave the grocery store with at least 1 or 2 new items. So, what better place to share it then on this blog?

This week the Product Spotlight is on Nestle’s Coffee-Mate Girl Scout Creamers. These LIMITED EDITION creamers are a brilliant way to enjoy your favorite Girl Scout cookies without going into a cookie coma. Some of these products fail at the arduous task of recreating the flavor of such beloved foods, but not this one!

girl-scout-coffee

Notice the “Limited Edition.” Let’s buy lots of them so that Nestle makes them a permanent member of the Coffee-Mate family ;-) .

The coffee + creamer definitely gave me a much-needed extra pep to my step at 5 AM. Check out the beautiful sun rising over the mountains as I drove home.

The advantage to waking up early!

The advantage to waking up early!

With all of the extra time in my morning, I decided to whip up an old favorite breakfast: egg muffins. I don’t always get my fancy with my creations, but hey, it was only  6 am, so why not?

Egg Muffins

Sautéed mushrooms, pepper and onions mixed with 2 Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Laughing Cow Wedges  and topped off with a bit of fresh mozzarella (my new obsession). Not surprisingly, this combo worked beautifully. Next time, I might add some basil to kick it up a notch.

Delicious and nutritious!

Delicious and nutritious!

I love the versatility of egg muffins. You can make a full pan tailored to different taste buds, so they are the perfect item for serving to picky breakfast guests. At the same time, I often throw them in a plastic bag for a quick and easy protein-packed snack on-the-go. 

After a few egg muffins, I was fueled and ready for another BodyCombat class . I can’t wait for the new release in a couple of weeks! We’re learning some of the new combinations, and there is one move that involves swirling an imaginary sword over your head. Some people might feel stupid doing this – I love it!

I worked up a sweat and then pedaled on the elliptical for a few more minutes reading my NASM book. Unfortunately, the tiredness was starting to hit me, and the chapter of the day was anatomy. You can imagine how much information I absorbed. To those that have studied for your NASM certification, would love some tips on how to master this portion!

By the time lunch rolled around, I felt like it should be dinner time, considering how long I had been awake.

IMG_5017

Nice and Easy

I threw together a wrap with cheese, avocado and salsa and paired it with some Triscuit Minis, a Laughing Cow wedge for dipping and string beans that I picked at the farm on Sunday.

Snacks for the day included Swedish Fish, Goldfish and some random Triscuits here and there.

You must try this new flavor : Brown Rice baked with Sweet Potato Roasted Sweet Onion. One word: addicting.

You really can't eat just one...

You really can’t eat just one…

By the time dinner rolled around, I was ready to go to sleep. But, I’m never one to walk away from food.

I have had a butternut squash in the fridge for a couple of weeks and have been avoiding it because I’m too lazy to cut it up. Somehow, I found the motivation through my tired haze to make butternut squash fries last night. Personally, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the whole squash cutting process, so for those of you who share this phobia, below you can see exactly how I made the fries.

Butternut Squash

 

Coat in cooking spray or a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning over half way through. Butternut squash is one of the harder  squashes to cut, so you’ll need a sharp knife. There are a few different ways to cut it, but I found this way to be the easiest. 

The fries took awhile to bake, so I had to eat them after dinner, which was a sweet and sour stir fry with fresh vegetables and tofu

Mmmm...tofu and vegetables!

Mmmm…tofu and vegetables!

All of the vegetables in the dish were picked at the farm on Sunday (except the mushrooms), and this dish definitely hit the spot. The BF absolutely hates tofu, so this was the perfect meal to eat while he was gone.

As soon as I finished my stir fry, the squash fries were ready.

Worth the wait!

Worth the wait!

For a girl who loves her french fries, these fries are the perfect Sometimes Healthy substitute. The crispy ones were the best part!

I was pretty full from dinner, but lately, I’ve been having a hard time ending my day with anything but ice cream and sprinkles.

The perfect end to a long day!

The perfect end to a long day!

Yes, those are Goldfish on top. Fudge Brownie Goldfish to be exact. I am going to campaign for flavored Goldfish to be brought to fro yo joints across the nation. They are the perfect topping! Let me know if you want to start a petition…. (only half joking here).

About that Side of Honesty…

Well, this post is already long, and I promised myself I’d keep it short before I shared the recent events in my life. For those of you that stuck with me, thanks!

As I mentioned in my post about changes , in order to move to the Hudson Valley, I took a writing job at a trade publication not far from where we live. I alluded in the post about how difficult it was to write full time, and in particular in an “authoritative technical tone.” When I took the job, I was under the impression that the writing needs were more along the lines of an “educational tone” which is MUCH easier than technical writing.

Ultimately, I’m not sure the owners (who are not writers) understood the type of writing that they needed, and this proved to be very challenging for all of us. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t satisfy them. I spent many nights in tears, dreading walking into the door and reading my emails the next day.

I’ve always been one of those “If I set my mind to something, I can do ANYTHING” type of people. But, I knew in my heart that this job just wasn’t the right fit, and I was never going to able to be a technical writer.

I’m anything but a quitter, so I kept on trucking, all the while sensing that the end was near. One day, the owner emailed me at night to set up a 5:30 meeting. I knew right away what it was about. I should have been crushed, but all I felt was relief. I would no longer have to try to do something I clearly wasn’t capable of doing.

Sometimes things just don't work out.

Sometimes things just don’t work out.

The next few days, I tried to process all that had happened. All my life, I’ve been able to accomplish almost everything that I set out to do, from being the president of student government in high school to attending my dream school (Northwestern), running in a marathon and being a successful NYC PR career woman. Sure, there were growing pains along the way, but I always made it through. 

These things don’t happen to people like me, right? People like me don’t get…FIRED do they? Nope, this only happens to underachievers and people on the Apprentice tv show.

Humbling would be the perfect way to describe this experience. 

I took a risk leaving a great job in NYC, and unfortunately, it didn’t work out. 

This happened in late May, so I’ve been unemployed for about 4 months now. You may have been wondering why I am doing things like running with the dog at 10 AM or going to the gym in the middle of the day. Well, now you know! On the plus side, I have supportive family and friends and a great place to live. And, I also get to really take advantage of and explore my new home!

Oh, that's why you're hiking with Cole at 11 am on a Monday!

Oh, that’s why you’re hiking with Cole at 11 am on a Monday!

And, for the first time in my life, I finally have time to really think about what fulfills me, including this blog. When I’m having a rough day, it’s this blog and your comments that make me feel better. I truly get so much enjoyment through this outlet, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have it.

I’ve also discovered my passion for fitness during this time period, and as you know, I’m now studying for my personal training certification ! I’ve always known that I love to workout, but having this free time has allowed me to discover that this passion runs even deeper than I thought. Creating workouts for the blog is now one of my favorite things to do!

Gettin' educmacated!

Gettin’ educmacated!

And finally, there’s Girls on the Run . I had my first practice with the team on Monday, and I can’t even describe how happy I felt as I prepped the girls for the season and explained to them the ways that running will change their lives. There have been SO many times through the past few months where I’ve felt out of place. But, standing there on that track and motivating these girls to be active and healthy, I felt like, for the first time, I was where I belonged. It was truly an incredible feeling and what spurred me to finally write this post.

I belong here.

I belong here.

It’s hardly been rainbows and sunshine, though. Much of our self-worth is tied to our jobs (whether we realize it or not), so not having a job has left me feeling very vulnerable and confused at times. I also feel this immense pressure to take advantage of this time and figure out what I am meant to do . I feel like I have a lot going on that may lead me to the perfect lifelong career, but I’m still trying to put those pieces together. I’d hate to take a job that leads me off that path…

There are good days, and there are bad days, but through it all, I’m trying to remember that age-old phrase “Everything happens for a reason.” I truly believe that every day I’m getting closer to my dream job (whatever that may be), and when I put that thought in the front of my mind, I feel driven and motivated to succeed.

Eye of the tiger, super-serious motivated face...I still can't help but smile a little.

Eye of the tiger, super-serious motivated face…I still can’t help but smile a little.

I apologize for the lengthy post (this may be a record word count for me!), but this is something I’ve been meaning to tell ya for awhile! Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog and for helping me to see the silver lining through the rough patches.

 

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