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New York City Weekend – WTC Memorial

17 Oct

Good morning!

I’m finally going to get started on some highlights from our NYC trip.

But first, breakfast!

Two scrambled eggs, a dash of parsley, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, half of an avocado, drizzled with Ed’s homemade spicy (for him, not me) tomatillo sauce.  I sided it up with a small glass of orange juice and a few sips of coffee.  The same pumpkin spice I left on the coffee table on Monday morning.  A “few sips” being the perfect choice of words.  It wasn’t very tasty 2 days later, but I don’t like to waste.  So, I gave it a shot.

World Trade Center Memorial

My friend Kelly and I escaped Maryland via Bolt Bus on Friday afternoon to go visit her sister, Elsa, who lives in Queens, NY.  She moved there about a year and a half about and we’ve been discussing a trip there together for some time.

My attempt to beat bus ride boredom. I read ZERO pages in that book.

The bus ride was quiet and the two of us chatted for the better half of it as well as a quick nap since sleep was not on the itinerary for the next couple nights.

We arrived NYC at around 8PM and bolted to their friend Ken’s place to drop our bags off before dinner at Lena Latin Grill.  We were hungry and I gobbled up my grilled chicken with tomatillo and avocado sauce (Yum!), sweet plantains and fried yuca in no time.  Since our bus was so late, we headed to Queens to rest up for an early morning at the WTC Memorial.

On our way to the World Trade Center Memorial, Elsa convinced me that a bacon, cream cheese bagel is the best street car breakfast in NYC.  I didn’t argue since I was hungry and there just happened to be one of many food carts outside the memorial.

Bagels, cream cheese and bacon are three of my favorite cheat items.  So, what can I say, I approved.

The memorial has come a long way since I visited Ground Zero last in 2008.  While there is still some to be done to put the finishing touches and officially open it to the public, it was quite a different site from what happened just over 11 years ago.

While waiting in line for our 11:30AM entrance, Kelly and I discussed where we were and how we found out about the tragedy that surrounded that day.  I was in 9th grade and in 2nd block gym class when we walked by the television inside the fitness center.  That was my first glimpse of the first tower and eventually the hit of the second.

South Pool

Ken, Elsa, Kelly


Even though I was a young 14 year old, the phrase “terrorist attack” was not something I had much knowledge of before that day.  From my memory, I think many people, older and younger, had to take a moment or two to figure it all out from afar that day.  Some couldn’t bare the site of it, while others chose to ignore it completely.

The memorial still has some final touches they are working on, but the beauty of the grounds was obviously there.

The Survivor Tree

North Pool

Rainbow across the North Pool

Needless to say, we left the memorial with a deeper honor for those whose lives were lost that day.

We will never forget.

After spending our morning at the memorial we headed on to enjoy the rest of our day in the city.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001?

Apple Salad

10 Oct

Today flew by!

After posting this morning’s post, I buckled down at my work computer and before I knew it, it was was lunch time.  I decided to spend my lunch in the gym doing a “quick” and “simple” workout and chose my Simple Treadmill Circuit.  I should really think about changing that name…I was a sweaty mess.  Since I’ve been running outside more with this beautiful fall weather, the treadmill and I are not doing so well.  I also kept my incline up at a 2.0 the whole time I ran.  I felt it.  Tomorrow is a long run before my NYC trip this weekend.  I’ll be walking, but I won’t be running at all from Friday to Sunday 😉

For lunch, I started with my favorite Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie before putting together a leftover bowl of soup.

I used Pacific Foods All Natural Southwest Vegetable Soup as my base and added some leftover pulled chicken and leftover Buitoni Whole Wheat Three Cheese Tortellini for some added depth.

Warm me up!

It tasted pretty awesome and made it’s way to my dinner plate as well.

Apple Salad

While tons of blogs are blowing up with all of their tasty  pumpkin recipes, I can’t forget that there is another favorite food in season as well.  Apples are getting tastier as the temps cool and I decided to put together a fall apple treat to change up all the pumpkin I’ve been consuming in the past week.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise (I used light Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups apples, diced
  • 1.5 bananas, sliced

Blend the cottage cheese, mayonnaise, cinnamon and sugar in the blender until creamy (about 3-4 minutes).

Pour mixture into a bowl and toss apples and bananas together.

Serve and dash with a little extra cinnamon for some added flavor.  Extra cinnamon is always allowed.

That’s it!  A simple dessert or side dish to go with your next meal.  I plan on eating more with my breakfast tomorrow. 😉

While making this dish, I kept humming that song, “I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas!”  Does anyone else remember that song?  I can’t remember the whole thing, but I know one thing is for sure,  I’ll take my fair share of both any day!

What are your favorite apple recipes?

I love hot apple cider and homemade applesauce.  Anywhere there is hot apple cider around fall time is where my spending money goes.  It’s the perfect cool evening, non caffeinated treat.  Motts doesn’t hold a candle to homemade applesauce.  The chunkier, the better!

Have you entered my Who Nu? Giveaway yet?  Only a couple more days to win a sweet and nutritious treat!

Book List

10 Oct

Good morning!

It’s been a couple days, but they have been rather busy on this end with getting back into a study routine.

First up, breakfast!

I started my day immediately with a hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee.  Yum.  I can’t get enough.  I wish I had my vanilla almond milk instead of skim, but it’s good all the same.

My meal consisted of 2 scrambled eggs, a scoop of roasted garlic hummus, cheddar cheese, a dash of parsley and a handful of fresh organic spinach open faced on half of a whole wheat English muffin.

Book List

Last night, I consolidated a list of books that I have been keeping track of wanting to read on the computer.  I love reading, but with school and my schedule lately, my days are early and as well as my evenings.  So, reading something I enjoy often takes the back burner.  I’m currently on the 3rd Chronicles of Narnia book, which has been enjoyable, but it’s taking me a while to get through the whole series.

Unfortunately, I started taking a liking to reading later on.  I wasn’t much of a reader in high school, but did enjoy the books that were assigned in school (Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders were a few favorites).  I haven’t read much of the most popular books that come to mind, but I’m working my way towards getting them off my list.  I recently had a conversation with my hair stylist who is an avid reader and I made it my absolute goal to read more often when time allowed.

Books that you have probably read, but I haven’t yet:

  • Harry Potter (Only read Book 1 so far)
  • The Hunger Games (Only read Book 1 so far)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (Only read Book 1 and Book 2 so far)
  • Gone Girl (I’m really hoping to get a hold of this one before October is over)
  • How to Eat a Cupcake (The title intrigues me)
  • Sarah’s Key
  • Wild

Oh, the list could go on.  Needless to say though, I have a lot to catch up on!

Off to work!

What’s on your ‘to read’ list?  How do you make time to catch up on your favorite books?

I think I’m craving time to myself more then anything these days.  Reading helps me escape and to concentrate on other things rather then working out, what to make for dinner, what assignments are due that week, etc.

Have you entered my Who Nu? Giveaway yet?  Only a couple more days to win a sweet and nutritious treat!

Cookies & Cream Frozen Yogurt: Who Nu? Giveaway! (Closed)

8 Oct

I love cookies, but even more then that, I love cookies in ice-cream.  Cookies and cream ice-cream is definitely towards the top of my list.  I’m the girl who searches for the largest cookies while scooping through the carton.  They are just too good to pass up.

While searching through the healthy eating blogs, I came upon this wonderful, frozen recipe for Cookies & Cream Frozen Yogurt by Lauren and couldn’t pass up the easiness of this frozen treat!

Cookies & Cream Frozen Yogurt
Original Source: Healthy Food Living

yield: 8 servings, about 1/2 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups plain 2% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 8 all-natural chocolate sandwich cookies, such as WhoNu? Chocolate Cookies

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, granulated sugar, and vanilla bean paste (or extract). Stir until the granulated sugar is completely dissolved.

Freeze according to ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions; adding in the chopped cookies during the last few minutes of churning… OR place mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze.

I placed it in a freezer safe bowl after cookies were mixed in.

Serve immediately as soft serve, or spoon into a freezer-safe container and place in freezer until “ripened” (hardened).

Frozen Yogurt

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

159.9 calories, 4.2 grams fat, 1.9 grams saturated fat, 8.0 grams carbohydrates, 0.3 grams fiber, 17.4 grams sugars, 9.6 grams protein

Who Nu? Nutrition Rich Cookie Giveaway

Who Nu? Nutrition Rich Cookies hit the market in the past year or so and like many others, I was skeptic of their taste and quality.  After trying their chocolate chip cookies, I got in contact with Kayla at Suncore products and she sent me free coupons to try more of the great flavors.

Currently, Who Nu? Nutrition Rich Cookies have six great flavors to choose from.

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Soft & Chewy (Chocolate Chip)
  • Crispy (Chocolate Chip)
  • Vanilla Wafer
  • 2x Stuffed Chocolate

I have tried their Soft & Chewy and their Chocolate so far and they are pretty fantastic!  They taste just like the “real things”, only with healthier nutritional content in each bite.

  • As much Fiber as a bowl of oatmeal
  • As much Vitamin C as a cup of blueberries
  • As much Calcium & Vitamin D as and 8 oz. glass of milk
  • As much Iron as a cup of spinach
  • As much Vitamin E as two cups of carrot juice
  • As much Vitamin B12 as a cup of cottage cheese & fruit
  • Overall, 20 Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Now, I’m not saying that they cookies should replace any of the healthy foods above, but wouldn’t it be nice to splurge during the week and not feel like your “cheating” on your fitness goals or your diet?  I know I like a sweet treat at my midday meal every so often and these cookies are perfect to take the sweet edge off.

Kayla was kind enough to give 3 of my readers a chance to try their nutrition rich cookies too!  Enter to win a chance to try these delicious and nutritious snacks below.  Each winner will receive 2 FREE coupons for Who Nu? Nutrition Rich Cookies!  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is for U.S. and Canadian residents only and is open until 12:01am on Sunday, October 14th . I will announce the winners on Tuesday, October 16th. 

Good luck!

Very Berry Fluffy Pancakes

7 Oct

Last night I came down with a late evening migraine which sent me and Ed to bed around 8:00PM.  The sleep aid I took led me into 12 hours of deep slumber and I woke up much better.

Ed and I decided we were going to have a lazy morning before church and all of our normal Sunday activities.  I found this recipe through Elaine’s Page through All Recipes and tweaked it with what I had in my kitchen.

Very Berry Fluffy Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup Chobani Blueberry Greek Yogurt (I used 1 8 oz. cup)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and diced (I used frozen strawberries from my freezer)

First, whisk egg in bowl.  Add yogurt and milk.

Egg, milk, yogurt

Add dry ingredients (flour, sugar, powder, soda, salt) to wet ingredients and stir till combines.  Add strawberries and fold.

Heat skillet on medium high heat and place tablespoons of batter on hot skillet.  Flip after a minute or after golden brown.

Serve with fresh fruit, syrup, powdered sugar or desired toppings.  We ate ours with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

I sided my pancakes up with some hot pumpkin spice coffee with skim milk (I Love our Kuerig!).

Pumpkin Spice Coffee with Skim. Autumn in a coffee mug.

I found the pancakes a little difficult to flip with the fresh strawberries, but they came out very tasty.  The Greek yogurt gave the cakes a thicker consistency and much more staying power then the average pancake.  After three fluffy, berry cakes, I won’t be hungry for a while! 🙂

Nutritional Info (From Original Recipe)
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 74.0
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 18.5 mg
Sodium: 18.1 mg
Total Carbs: 13.9 g
Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugars: 4.9 g
Protein: 3.3 g

After church I’ll be grocery shopping,  hitting the school books, Ed and I will be finishing up this weeks 40 Days in the Word study, Ed has a volleyball game at 5:30PM and then our small group tonight.

Happy Sunday!

What’s on your Sunday schedule today?

P.S. Come back tomorrow to take part in my first blog giveaway!  It’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth in a more nutritious way 😉

The Last Friday

5 Oct

After work I stopped at Wegman’s for a few things and was attracted by the juicy rotisserie chicken for $4.99 sign that caught my attention walking in the door.  As soon as I saw it I thought, “You’re right Wegman’s, I don’t feel like making dinner tonight.”

Caught!

They saw me coming.

The joke was on me though…it was not very tasty to say the least.  When I think rotisserie, I think juicy and flavorful.  Unfortunately, this bird was lacking in the flavor department.  The potatoes and broccoli stole the show.

The Last Friday

Today was bittersweet.

Great because its Friday and for many of us that means fun and/or relaxation.  It’s extra special for me because thanks to Mr. Columbus, I also have Monday off.  Woot for a long weekend!

Not so sweet of a Friday because our new classes opened today, which means we have 10 weeks of challenging coursework ahead of us.

Oh…if only this were true for this girl.  I started working at my “real world” job when I was 17 years old and 8 years later it has only progressed from temporary to permanent.  I didn’t have the typical “college experience” and I’m more then grateful for that.  I commuted though my whole undergrad and worked 32-40 hours a week, so working and studying is not new to me.  When I gradauted, I had no intention of ever going to graduate school…Ever.  I have solid references to back me up on that statement.  It wasn’t till I transferred jobs last year that I recognized my other interests and was encouraged to go on and get my graduate degree.  My best friend had just finished her graduate degree and my new husband was finishing his.  Both are huge, positive influences in my life, so I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

It’s true.

With all that said, I’m excited that the light is at the end of the tunnel (Graduation expected June 2013).  Each quarter is 10 weeks long and I have 5 courses left (2 this quarter, 2 next quarter, 1 capstone/internship).  Bring it on.

With all the time that studying takes up for Ed and I, we started a bucket list of “post-graduate school activities” to look forward to.

Post-Graduate School Bucket List

  • Go on another cruise vacation.  Top Picks: Europe, Alaska or Hawaii
  • Get 7-8 hours of solid sleep a night daily (Yes, please.  Yes, please.  Yes, please!)
  • Buy our first home (Wherever our “home” may be at that point ;-))
  • Get a dog
  • Read at least 2 books per month for fun
  • Decorate out home with DIY projects around the holidays/seasons

What is something you have been working towards that you can’t wait to complete?  Is it a house project?  Paying off debt?  How will you react when it’s all said and done?

P.S. Come visit on Monday when Sand Between My Sneakers hosts it’s first giveaway! It’s going to be nutritious and delicious 😉

Super Sweaty Elliptical Workout

3 Oct

When I work from home, Ed always tries to find things to keep himself busy.  Our place is so small that he can become very distracting once he is awake.  We talk, the TV is on, he is making something in the kitchen.  Every noise distracts me from my work.  So, he decided to sleep in and once he got up, went for a run at the park before work.

I get a call about an hour later.  Ed had dropped the car key somewhere on the path and he took my car.  I had no way to get to him since I don’t feel comfortable enough to drive his stick shift car by myself.  So, like a good wife, I told him to start walking 🙂  I know, I’m terrible, but the park wasn’t that far away and in my work mode mind, I just couldn’t think of anything else at that moment.  He eventually called his work and someone came to pick him up and drop him back off at the house.

Good news, Ed was happy to announce that he got 7 miles of running in when he had to add the extra running time for re-jogging the path to try and locate the key.  Way to go, Ed!

Moral of the story, if you want to increase your distance for the day, loose your keys!

🙂

Due to all the drama, I skipped lunch and was craving for 4:30PM to get to the gym for some cardio.

I have NEVER sweat so much doing an elliptical work out.  I opted for this machine since it was 85 degrees of humidity outside and I was in the need for a good interval sweat.  Either way, it was a great workout for below the belt, backside area.

After that sweat I came home, changed out of my sopping shirt (seriously, gross) and stretched.  I am really intrigued to find a yoga class in the area.  I have taken a total of one yoga class in my life and I think it would be great for running.  I’m also really intrigued by hot yoga.  What can I say, I love a good sweat 😉

Dinner

Dinner was quick since I was on my own tonight.

Garlic Butter Muscles, Brown Rice and Fresh Steamed Broccoli.

Simple and filling.  I was snacking all day long which called for a healthier dinner.  No snacking for this girl tonight.  I gave up my snacks to all the cheese sticks I consumed throughout the day.

My weakness.

Have you ever locked yourself out of your car?  

What are you snacking weaknesses?  How do you curb your appetite?

Cheese.  I love cheese.  My newest find is Munster cheese.  It tastes great melted over half an English muffin or waffles.  Yum!

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