Monday, August 31, 2015

Recipe: Overnight Muesli

Good morning!

Long time no talk, eh? I hope you'll bear with me as I get back into the school groove. It has been a crazy week!

Because I know I'm not alone in the whole "back to school" thing happening right now, I wanted to share one of my favorite breakfast recipes with you!

I'm a BIG fan of Overnight Oats and have made countless variations over the years. A pumpkin version will definitely make an appearance in a few short weeks...

I love that I can make this recipe the night before and that it is ready to go when I wake up. Whoever said "I love sleep because it's like a time machine to breakfast" was speaking to my soul. It can also be portable if you make it in a tupperware or mason jar.

I've tried several recipes for overnight oats and muesli that I love independently, but for this version I combined my favorite parts of each into one SuperRecipe.

I found this Super Seed Mix on my Trader Joe's run yesterday and it will now make regular appearances in my basket. [Does anyone else limit themselves to a basket at TJs in an attempt to curb impulse buys? Don't bother trying my tactic, it doesn't work. Case and point pictured above]. 

This mix is sweet and crunchy and filled with fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. It would be a great topping for yogurt or oatmeal (or by the handful).

Overnight Muesli

Serving: 1


The night before, mix:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup milk (whichever % you prefer)
1/4 plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup of apple, chopped
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon

The next morning, top with:
Handful of almonds, toasted and chopped (I usually use 12-15 almonds)
2 Tbsp Trader Joe's Super Seed Blend with Cranberry and Coconut Chips

EAT, preferably with a cup of coffee and a side of The Today Show.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WIAW #1: Back to School Edition

Hello there friends!

Yesterday was my first day of classes at Winthrop! It was definitely a bit of a shock getting to campus in the morning and seeing it filled to the brim with undergrads. Campus was so quiet and peaceful during the summer!

Because most of my life revolves around food, I thought I'd share my first day of my 18th year of school (do we count Kindergarten?) via a "What I Ate Wednesday" post. Let's get to it!
First day of school! CHEESE!

7:00am: Alarm is off and buzzing! I head to my apartment's sad, sad gym for a quick 3 mile run on the dreadmill. I signed up for a half-marathon in November (more to come on this, promise!) and this was day 2 of training!

8:45am: After a drive to campus with the company of NPR, I scarfed down my coffee and this amazing Paleo Banana Bread courtesy of Peanut Butter Runner. [Note: I just noticed that I used 3/4 cup coconut flour and NOT the 1/4 cup the recipe calls for because I misread the recipe. But I also used 3 bananas instead of 2 because I had 3 very brown ones. I also substituted olive oil for the coconut oil because I forgot to buy coconut oil. By some miracle it still worked really well and hey, we all make mistakes!].

I topped 2 slices of the miracle baked good with Cocoa Coconut Almond Butter from Barney Butter. It was unreal. I've never baked with almond or coconut flour before and was a little nervous but it turned out great (despite my errors)! Definitely not the most attractive loaf of banana bread ever but it is dense and moist (I hate this word but it is so apt here I had to use it) and the higher (healthy!) fat content of the flours kept me full much longer than a normal bread.
Not an attractive photo. Morning photography = not my strong suit.

11am: My first class (Food Composition) goes from 9:30-10:45am. After some walking around campus I spent some time in the library and had this snack in ninja mode. No food allowed in the library! I found it at Trader Joe's and the ingredients are Apples and Coconut. The End. 

1pm: LUNCH TIME! I posted up at a table outside of the Student Union and ate my whole grain, turkey, pepper jack, avocado, spinach sandwich + a side of raspberries + La Croix.

I putzed around campus for a bit before my 3:30-4:20 class - Intro to Dietetics!

4:45pm: Snack time in the car on my drive back to Charlotte! I hate eating in the car, but desperate times...

7pm: Dinner time! I had leftovers of this awesome salad and topped it with grilled chicken. Along with some "celebratory" wine courtesy of Torsten. Creepy label, no?

This plate x 1.25 to polish off the remaining salad!

Last but certainly not least... First day of school Froyo!

The sign at the froyo place cracked me up... GETCHA SOME!

And there you have it! This was a pretty normal/healthy day of eating for me. And yes, a healthy day of eating includes wine and frozen yogurt! Everything in moderation.

What was the best thing you ate yesterday?!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Strikes My Fancy Friday #1

It's Friday!

And time for a little Strikes My Fancy Friday action. I spent an absurd amount of time trying to come up with a clever alliterative title for this post and, I'm sad to report, this was the best I could do.

This will mostly recap my favorite eats and recipes of the week, but I might also throw in some other goings-on just to keep you on your toes.

My self-control didn't stand a chance once the pumpkin beers emerged. I'm saving these four until October (promise!) but I may have had this glass of Southern Tier Warlock (which is 10% ABV!!!) at Good Bottle Co. so I could compare it to Southern Tier Pumpking. They had them both on tap - what's a girl to do?! Verdict: they taste remarkably similar despite their totally different colors/styles. I still think they taste like a Yankee Candle. But I also finished this no problem. 

I checked out the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market for the first time last Sunday and bought a carton of peaches. Because it was almost closing time, the farmer loaded me up with extra peaches. So, of course, I had to make peach pie! This recipe from smitten kitchen was fairly easy and resulted in a super flakey crust! Make it before peach season comes to an end!

The Coconut flavored La Croix will always have my heart, but this Apple Berry flavor takes a close second! I've been on the hunt for the new flavors (Kiwi Watermelon! Blackberry Cucumber!) but haven't found any yet. 

I found this wine at the Charlotte Total Wine (which is truly a magical place) for the reasonable price of $8.99. Two thumbs up from the Sauvignon Blanc lovin gal.

Everyone knows you can order 1/2 and 1/2 toppings from places like Domino's and Papa Johns but it had never occurred to me to do so at a local pizza joint! Until this week, that is. Half greek and half sundried tomato pesto made for one whole delicious pizza at Hawthorne's (do you see what I did there?).

Forgive me the somewhat unappetizing photo here because I swear this was the most summery and delicious lunch. Avocado toast, local tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and a handful of almonds for some extra protein. And hey, is that another La Croix I see?

This is my new favorite greek yogurt. So tropical!

This has been my view for the majority of the week. I start classes next Tuesday so I've been catching up on reading and Bachelor in Paradise (I know, I know). But I'm considering it a "pruning of my brain cells" before I build them up again this semester in class. It's science!
Anything striking your fancy this week? Foods? Books? Spill!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back to School!

I can hardly believe it, but apparently summer is almost over and kids all across the country are going back to school.... including me.

After 4 years of doing the whole "job" thing, I'm headed back to school full-time on Monday. Woah.

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing a little bit of what my fall semester will look like!

Some of you might care less! If the whole RD, classes, schedules, and nutrition talk isn't your thing, I present you with this Snickerdoodle Strawberry Shortcake I made last week for my mom's birthday. Go make it.

For those of you who weren't 100% distracted by the summertime dessert goodness pictured above, let me tell you a little about what my first semester towards my MS in Nutrition/RD at Winthrop is going to look like!
Before moving to Charlotte, I took an Intro to Nutrition course and Developmental Psych at Northern Virginia Community College. I also had a couple of courses that carried over from my undergraduate degree (Stats, General Chemistry, etc.). The program I'm in at Winthrop allows me to take undergraduate and graduate courses simultaneously over the span of two years (including summers). This is perfect for me, as I have a lot of science courses to catch up on.
This summer, I took Nutrition through the Lifespan at Winthrop as my first "official" grad school class. It was Monday-Thursday from 8-10am. With a 30 minute commute. I became an early morning person real fast. Despite the crack-of-dawn wake-up call, I really enjoyed the class, learned a ton, made [one] friend and felt like I was finally getting started on this whole nutrition thing.
This Fall, I'll be taking five classes.
Classes at Winthrop:
Community Nutrition
Inro to Dietetics (1 credit course)
Food Composition + lab
Research Methods
Class online through Northern Virginia Community College:
Anatomy and Physiology I
Anatomy and Physiology has, to put it mildly, been the bane of my existence for the last few months (and the class hasn't even started!). Apparently it is the hottest class on the market and not a single community college or tech college within a 40 mile radius had any availability in their A+P I class for the summer or Fall classes months in advance. Because A+P is a pre-rec for many other courses, I had to take it ASAP. So as weird and convoluted as it seems, I'll be taking it online through the same community college I attended back in DC.
In the midst of registration angst, I cheered myself up with school supplies and flowers.
Once classes start I'll be sure to share a "day in the life" post, too! Until then, I'm off to figure out what to wear on my first day of school (kidding, kind of) and plow through some beach reads before textbooks takeover.
Any other RDs out there starting classes soon? What are you taking?!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cooking Class at Chef Alyssa's Kitchen

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you're having the perfect mix of productivity and Sunday funday.

As you may have seen in my last post, I just returned from a glorious week at the beach (Harbor Island, to be exact). I'm suffering from a bit of a vacation hangover and thought it might be fun to reminisce about a fun little date night from a few weeks ago!

For my birthday, Torsten signed us up for a cooking class at Chef Alyssa's Kitchen at Atherton Market in Charlotte. I've heard lots about her cooking classes on the interwebs and was very excited to try it out for myself! The classes focus on healthy and approachable meals and they offer classes for every level.

We attended a cooking class centered around local tomatoes (summertime!) that I believe was an "intermediate" class. The class was $65/person and you could BYOB (the best).

We ended up grabbing beers at Good Bottle Co. beforehand instead, but will definitely bring a bottle of wine next time! [Of note: Good Bottle Co. has started carrying pumpkin beers and I can hardly contain myself. I may have already purchased 4 for my October Pumpkin Beer Tasting 2k15 but please don't tell anyone because it's definitely still August...]

When we arrived, there was a little appetizer waiting for us and cucumber water to sip on. I need to add cucumber to all of my water! So refreshing. We were also provided with a fancy chef knife, a recipe book that we could take home featuring all of the recipes from the evening, and a cutting board.
Torsten and I were at a table with another couple who were our cooking buddies for the evening. For the next 2-ish hours we worked together, with instruction from Chef Alyssa, to prepare a 4-course meal!

At one point, we filled local zucchini blossoms with a mixture of ricotta, garlic, parmesan goodness. Apparently, it required the utmost concentration...
Even though we were cooking for 2 hours (about 4 times longer than I usually spend cooking dinner...) we had a blast learning new techniques and chatting with our table mates.
The best part.... EATING! After we had prepared everything, we sat down to taste the fruits of our labors. (This is punny because tomatoes are fruits).
We made ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms with tomato jam (tomato jam is a revelation), eggplant involtini with buckwheat groats and tomato sauce, and a caramelized onion tart with a fresh tomato topping. For dessert we had a watermelon tomato sorbet!
Everything was so delicious. Many others in attendance needed take home boxes for their leftovers but, needless to say, Torsten and I left our class empty handed and bellies oh-so-full.
I'm already eyeing future classes at Chef Alyssa's. Game Day Favorites and Dim Sum are the current front-runners!
Have you ever taken a cooking class? What did you make?!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week at the Beach: Photo Dump

What better time to share some photos from my beach vacation than during a lil afternoon pop-up thunderstorm, eh?

I'm spending the week on Harbor Island in SC with my parents and, as of yesterday, Torsten! Days have included lots of reading, running and walking (I got a Fitbit for my birthday and am still in the very competitive and obsessed phase), tennis, food, wine and beach time.

We have never been here before but the island is beautiful and tiny. Lots of colorful houses, marshes, cool birds and turtles! But why don't you take a look for yourself! Ps this is my first time blogging from my iPad so I apologize if the photos are a bit wonky :-/

Twinning with my momma.

Running route!


These pelicans fly over our place every day around happy hour. Hundreds of them!

Send help. 

We have been to this gelato shop/coffee house twice so far. Do you blame us?!

Where is your favorite beach getaway?? Any good beach read recommendations?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Charlotte: A Night at the {Mint} Museum

I'm on a bit of a grown-up summer break right now before I start full-time classes at Winthrop, and I'm trying to get as much exploring and adventuring around Charlotte done while I still have free time.

Lucky for me, living in a new city makes it pretty easy to explore. Also lucky for me, I have a very willing co-explorer (Hi Torsten!). Unlucky for me, a student budget isn't the most conducive to fancy restaurants, weekend getaways or shopping trips.

That's why I was super excited to see that the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte has free admission to their permanent collections from 5-9 pm every Wednesday. And BIG BONUS, they also have buy-one-get-one free wine glasses in the gift shop! Sold.

Torsten and I ventured over to the Mint Museum around 6:30pm and promptly found the BOGO wine. Priorities. There were also free snacks! Be still my heart.

This was my first time to the Mint Museum in Uptown and I loved it! It's mostly contemporary art with some craft/design thrown in and some intriguing looking special exhibits (there is one on Body Art right now).

Me: "Torsten, take my picture with these ones! We match!"
Everyone else in the gallery: "What a dweeb..."
Here were some of my favorites from the collection, if you'd like to see!

I think this would make a good studying desk, don't you? 
This installation is one of 10 commissioned by the Mint Museum in 2010. Trippy!
The night ended as all of my favorite summer evenings do - with this ohsoyummy rose from the Winestore.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recipe: Peaches n' Cream yogurt bowl

Breakfast is 100% my favorite meal of the day. I (way too) often fall asleep at night looking forward to breakfast the next morning.

Not only is it the most important meal of the day (your grandmother was right!), but it's the only thing that has the potential to make me a "morning person."

The peaches from South Carolina this summer seem to be particularly sweet and juicy and I've been buying them in embarrassing quantities every week.

Before peach season comes to an end, I thought I'd share one of my favorite quick and easy peachy breakfasts from this summer!

I give you...

Peaches n' Cream Yogurt Bowl

I hadn't had my coffee yet, hence the vaguely blurry photo.


1/2 cup plain 0% greek yogurt
1 glug of honey (very scientific)

Top with:
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 peach, roughly chopped
Scant 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tablespoon flaked unsweetened coconut

This would also be great topped with almond butter or chopped pecans for some crunch and more staying power.

Serves: 1

Recommended (but not required) serving suggestion: With 1+ cups of coffee.

Let me know if you give it a try! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

End of Summer Bucketlist

Hi friends!

Have you heard? It's August. Yes, August! I'm just as shocked as you are -- I don't know where this summer went! Between a move from DC --> Charlotte, a sojourn in Atlanta, my first grad school course and several weekends of travel, this summer has flown by.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm not *the most* excited for Fall. All things pumpkin, football, flannel, apples and cozy are calling my name right now. But in an effort to "live in the moment" etc. etc. blah blah blah, I've put together a lil End of Summer bucket list to make the most of these last hot, muggy days of summer. Here goes...

End of Summer Bucketlist

1. Walk to get ice cream after dinner. It's a classic.

2. Try a new brewery running club (I'm eyeing Triple C and Sycamore)

3. Eat a picnic on the beach (family beach trip in T-minus 4 days!)

4. Go to a drive-in movie screening (I've never done this and figure I better get to it before they die out -- sorry for being a Debbie Downer)

5. Stand-up paddleboard at the Whitewater Center (I'm cheating - I did this one on Sunday!)

6. Check-out the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on a Saturday

7. Make Strawberry Shortcake (particularly this Joy the Baker version -- drool)

8. Go for a BIG HIKE in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 2-3 hour drive to most of the "good hikes" around Charlotte usually dissuades me, but I'm going to man up for at least one big adventurous hike this August. Roan Mountain and Black Balsam Knob are the current front-runners.

9. Read 3 books before classes start and my life is taken over by textbooks. Currently reading yet another Jojo Moyes book -- The Ship of Brides - and, unsurprisingly, loving it.

10. Make homemade granola! Eat it all!

11. After completing number 6, make these mouthwatering Open-faced heirloom tomato sandwiches for lunch.

12. Get my North Carolina license plate at the DMV! This isn't exactly the "most exciting" item on my bucket list, is it? Nothing says summer like an outing to the DMV!

13. Go to another boot camp at the Crossfit in Dilworth (Mondays @ 6:30pm for $5! What a steal!)

14. Drink a bottle of rose outside -- on a deck, on a patio, on a rooftop, on the beach, wherever. Not picky!
Flashback to last summer at a winery in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I would DEFINITELY drink rose here.

15. Play tennis!

16. Sign-up for a Fall half-marathon. So very excited for Fall running.

If I can accomplish even a fraction of those before summer ends, I'll be pleased as punch.

What's on your end of summer bucket list?!