What’s for breakfast?

Over the weekend, I experienced one of the most fun events of the year…the Penn Princeton football game!

Because its a big rivalry, a bunch of different groups all over campus order school buses to get to Princeton.  Once there, there’s a lot of open fields that where everyone tailgates It’s usually incredibly fun…and this year’s was no different.

Although this blog is supposed to be about healthy eating, there are some exceptions that must be made when one is in college…

One of these exceptions is Four Loko for breakfast:

At least it was orange flavored!  Most people drink OJ in the morning, I just chose to supplement.  And that bacon egg and cheese was great too.

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Finally a moment to think…

As many of you have pointed out, I have unintentionally abandoned my blog.  What a semester it’s been so far.  Junior year in the nursing school is nothing like I expected nor is it anything like I’ve experienced before.  College standard used to be no classes before 10 AM, and now I’m reporting to the hospital by 6:2o AM on most days.  Sleeping in occurs when class is at 9 AM.  I know in the adult world, 6 AM is a reality…but its been a hard adjustment to what I’m used to.

Where I used to have a few free moments in my day…I am sitting in the library.  I can’t remember the last time I sat down to think about something other than schoolwork.

But being busy is usually a good thing, and the year is FLYING by.  I can’t even believe that it’s been almost 2 months since the last night I wrote!

I expect to adhere to the blog from here on out because of one major change I’ve taken on recently…I have stopped taking the medications prescribed for my reactive arthritis because they bothered my stomach excessively and daily.

It’s been about 2 weeks now since stopping the medications, and my foot/ankle that was originally affected feels sprained all over the place.  I know this is probably just going to be a year of various aches and pains until the reactive arthritis runs its course, but I am determined to follow the anti-inflammatory diet now more than ever.  And you will certainly hear about it!

Although this bone in filet will no longer be a part of my diet, it was a great treat during one weekend at home:

In recent news, my favorite place on campus to grab lunch is Gia Pronto, a cute little place with make your salads, organic soup, and paninis with farm-fresh ingredients.  The soup supplier has recently been updated to Hale and Hearty and I am obsessed with every flavor I’ve tried.

My favorite is Tomato Basil Rice:

I’ve never tried Tomato soup with rice..but Hale and Hearty’s version is awesome because it has big chunks of tomato throughout the rice.  So thick and filling, which is what I love about a good soup!

There will definitely be more Hale and Hearty soups featured here on my blog as I seriously take on the challenges of the anti-inflammatory diet!

Never forget

2 posts in one day is a rarity, but this is something that holds a lot of importance in my life and I wanted to acknowledge it.  I just came home from the 9/11 Memorial on College Green, which provided a much different experience than I expected.

Never forget.  It’s a phrase plastered on bumper stickers and flags.  We’ve all seen it a countless amount of times.  But does it really ring true?  One of the boys at the service spoke of his frustrations today when he watched Penn students continue their daily lives, oblivious to the date and its significance.  His point was that, yes, we are supposed to move on and heal…but what can be said about the mere 15 others in attendance at tonight’s memorial?

I’ll never forget the first vigil I attended on the night of September 11, 2001 in Van Neste Square in my hometown of Ridgewood, NJ.  I was only 11 years old, and I just could not wrap my head around the events of the day or the changes that had taken place in our nation overnight.  As I stood there crying with my mom, an older woman approached us.

I’ll never forget her, a complete and utter stranger, looking me directly in the eyes and telling me that everything was going to be okay.  When we averted our gaze for just a moment, we couldn’t find her again.  We never saw her leave, and I never saw her face again.  I can’t even remember much of what she looked like.

But I do, and always will remember my mom’s suggestion, that she could have been an angel.  This thought gave me comfort during such a terrifying period.

The point of my recollections is not to dwell on the past, nor is it to recover and reopen all of the wounds incurred on 9.11.01.  I just wanted a few minutes to think about it, and to remember that day for all it was.  Perhaps the point of that boy’s speech was to ask everyone else to do just the same.

The chaplain who spoke really hit home when he prayerfully mentioned to keep in mind those who are pouring over photographs today.  I am most assuredly one of the lucky ones.  I know many people whose dads never came home and have seen their grief and anguish as they cope.  Although most of us do not need to remember today with as much pain as those who lost love ones, we still need to remember it.  It just felt right to allow myself some time, 9 years later, to think through everything that happened and say a prayer.

God bless America, and God bless those families and friends who lost someone important on this day nine years ago.

Nouveau Riche

n., pl., nou·veaux riches (nū’vō rēsh’).
One who has recently become rich, especially one who flaunts newly acquired wealth.

I begin my post with this fitting description because that is exactly how I am feeling after running some errands this morning…only I am rich with new items and food; not money.  DEFINITELY not money.

A trip to the bookstore inspired me to get a new cookbook, as I am looking to cook a lot more this year and feature healthy recipes that I enjoy through this blog.  I chose this one, put out by Cooking Light.  The “5-ingredient, 15 minute recipes” tag on the front really sold me

While perusing the bookstore, a past time that never fails to entertain me, I picked up some good looking trail mix and Kind Bars for some snackage.  The coolest part about that trail mix? It has no salt or added sugar!  Just a simple blend of sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, and dried fruit..I love that companies like this one are taking the non-processed route with their foods.

I also picked up a package that I’ve been waiting forrrr…my new boat shoes!

I chose Sperry’s most classic women’s style.  I’m not a huge shoe person, and I usually have one go-to pair per season (summer-Rainbows; winter-mocassins)  I used to LIVE in my Minnetonka mocassins , right until I wore out the sole and the rubber detached from the bottom! I’m hoping that these will replace my mocassins in a sturdier fashion

Then I ventured to the grocery store, which is also one of my favorite places, and got some of dis stuff:

  • Sprouted Sourdough Ezekial bread (a staple)
  • Asian Gourmet sesame sauce–thinking of putting this with some tofu/chicken/veggies and noodles!
  • Falafel; tried them for the first time last week and kind of on a kick lately
  • Wholly Guacamole
  • Diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro; maybe Mexican’s in the plans for the week?
  • Dole Fruit Crisp: I am PSYCHED about this last one-I saw these around this summer and always wanted to try them, couldn’t resist buying them today.  It’s a little cup of Apple-Cinnamon fruit with a granola “crisp” topping that you heat up in the microwave.  Seriously can’t wait to give these a shot!

I also picked up some frozen veggies, which are always perfect to make a quick meal in the frying pan.  When I got home, I arranged my new goods in the refrig and was proud of how organized it all looked:

DC: essential, Falafel: yum, Milk: cereal., Cpt. Morgan: vom

Look how cute my apples fit in there!

My door contains all of my sauces (organic ketchup, Frank’s Red Hot, Sesame sauce) and some cheese **-important disclaimer** I do NOT promote Fat Free Cheese by any means, in fact I hate it and would never sacrifice the calories/fat for the exquisite taste of cheese, but on this diet I have been avoiding cheese because I am supposed to avoid dairy fat.

I’m a huge cheese fan, I could live off of cheese and crackers, and I’ve missed it so much lately that I had to buy some.  I am contradicting myself a little with this Kraft processed food item, so if I do this again, I will make the trip to the downtown Whole Foods to get some organic, reduced fat cheese

Another new item in my room is this super cool, but really goofy looking set of utensils from Ikea

I love bright colors, which drew me to this set that has a fork, knife, and spoon in hot pink, orange, yellow, lime green, turquoise, and dark blue.  Probably more utensils that I’ll EVER need, but they’re fun.  I love little kid-looking stuff, hence my Anthro Kid’s comforter:

Bright colors just make me so happy 🙂 I also got a lot of new plates and bowls to keep in my room, and I set all of the kitchen stuff up pretty nicely

Ignore the hairdryer in the background, it hangs on a hook there, but I am very proud of my color coordinating kitchen-ware!

Productive day I’d say.

Quick question…I am in the market for a coffee maker of some kind.  Preferably, I want one of those easy single cup Keurig’s because I don’t want to mess with filters or grounds.  Any suggestions??

New beginnings

First off, I want to apologize for disappearing for so long.  I know I am going to feel so much better after writing this post, just because I’ve had so many thoughts looming that I want to write about!

This has been the most stressful starts to school ever.  Stupid FBI took forever processing my fingerprints for nursing school, and its been a NIGHTMARE.  But putting that nonsense aside, I am happy in every other aspect because I finally feel comfortable here

Although its a blurry pic…thats me and some nursing pals on the first night of NSO, and I’d like to say I chose a thumbs up appropriately because I am subconsciously SO HAPPY at school for, like, the first time, ever.  (Dad- you’re going to hate that sentence, but it just sounded so good!)

For those of you who know me well, you’ve known my ups and downs here at Penn, and I won’t bore the rest of you with a sob story..but I really let a lot of things get to my head.  For instance, the fact that I dropped out of sorority recruitment after how horrified I was with the whole system, really stuck with me for a lot of my sophomore year.

On the last night before I left for school, I was hanging out with my brother Patrick, who can be the best listener.  I started to tell him how I need to find something to get involved with at school, and when he asked me about what happened with sororities…I felt sick to my stomach.  I literally started pouring tears, recounting the rejection I felt and the hurt that I let dig so deep underneath my skin.  So deep I almost let it become a permanent tattoo, displaying the image of a huuuuge chip on my shoulder

It was at that moment that I decided this year would be different, that I would join things…get involved…and overall, be. happy. And so far, I’ve had a smile on my face the entire time…

Well, maybe not the ENTIRE time, cuz that’d be a little creepy, but you get the point 🙂

I already have a few groups on my radar to join, including Big Brothers-Big Sisters which is a community outreach program where Penn students “adopt” a West Philly elementary school kid as a buddy!  Sounds like it could be really fun and really rewarding

I think it was really hard for me to leave high school on the “top of the heap” …captain of the lacrosse team, secretary of the school, succeeding academically without much effort, and being a member of not one, but two close-knit groups of friends.  I sort of laughed at everyone who was worried about college, because as pompous as it may sound, I just “knew” I’d be fine

And when I wasn’t? My whole world was practically overturned.  There were so many nights that I considered transferring, so many nights that I really thought I should check myself into a mental hospital, and so many days where I questioned who I was and if my past successes were ever really valid after all the disappointments I’d encountered

But in hindsight, I had a lot of growing up to do…being the baby in a big family probably sheltered me more than I ever realized.  It took me a long time to establish a back bone for myself…but once I learned to do what makes me happy, the rest all fell into place

On another note, I do have a super great recipe to share to incorporate some “healthy eats” back into this blog!  For my last night before heading back to school, I chose a Shrimp Pad-Thai recipe from Spark Recipes. I LOVE pad thai, but I’ve also heard that it can be pretty calorie/fat-laden from a restaurant.  This healthy alternative was phenomenal, and I highly recommend it!

Delicious and definitely worth recreating! I apologize for the verbose post with minimal pictures, but that will change soon!  Hope everyone else is having a great week 🙂

An Ode to Summers in Ridgewood

Well I haven’t been posting in quite some time, since I was basically living at the golf tournament all weekend, but perhaps it is a good thing to get in the habit of posting every couple of days so I don’t overwhelm myself when I get back to school!

In recent news, I got a new camera!!!!!!!! I’ve been using my mom’s camera to take pictures all summer, but I really needed my own to take back to school with me.  I wanted something cheap, but decent, and the dude at Best Buy was quite a salesman, convincing me to buy this one

I got it in black, just like the one pictured here.  It’s sleek, cool looking, and the best part about it? There’s a FOOD “scene” option!!! I think that option is what sold me the camera.  I tried it out this morning on a bowl of overnight oats, and I gotta say its pretty spectacular:

(The oats were spectacular too, per usual)

For today’s post, I didn’t have many food-esque stories to discuss, and I couldn’t help but get a specific topic off my mind…hence the title of this post.  I feel so lucky to spend the summer months in my hometown of Ridgewood, NJ.  Summers here definitely contain some of the most magical moments of my life…comparable only to scenes on the legendary hit series, Wonder Years.

I am enchanted to recall the Fourth of July celebrations and spending the hot, humid days in the shade of gorgeous, old oak trees, like these ones that provide an umbrella for the deck of our home

In my middle and early high school years, before we even had our driver’s licenses, I reminisce on the first couple years of freedom…walking through the wet grass fields, barefoot and determined to make the most of my teenage years…

Like that photo with two of my truest childhood  friends, snapped on the 4th of July in 2005…we were babies!  We wanted so bad to grow up, take on the world, get into those high school parties…and yet we had so much crazy fun along the way…

When I got old enough to work, I began as a lifeguard at Graydon Pool, a man-made lake in Ridgewood where my family and I grew up, digging in the sand and jumping off the docks.  There, I really felt like I was a part of that Wonder  Years kind of life…we didn’t just work together, we practically LIVED together all summer long…

Could I really have asked for anything better? Definitely not.

So as I say goodbye to the summer of 2010, and leave Ridgewood behind until next year, I will bask in the joy of knowing I had one of the best childhoods possible in this place…hot days bike riding all over town were followed by long, endless nights, ice cream cones at Van Dyks…and perhaps a midnight swim at Graydon.  Nothing could be better.

The friendships that emerged were strong and true, merited by the colorful friendship bracelets we wore on our wrists.  It is a time in my life I will never forget, and is made up of the memories that will never fail to warm my heart, no matter how many miles I stray from my roots here in Ridgewood.

“I grew up in the suburbs. I guess most people think of the suburbs as a place with all the disadvantages of the city, and none of the advantages of the country, and vice versa. But, in a way, those really were the wonder years for us there in the suburbs. It was kind of a golden age for kids.” -The Wonder Years

I got them ALL cut!

Today feels like it was a month long.  The day started so early because my brother’s friend was here to go see the golf tournament and we wanted to get down bright and early…up at 8 :-\ eeks!  But I did manage to make myself an AWESOME breakfast sandwich

I cooked up some egg whites with hot sauce, smooshed 1/4 of an avocado onto some Ezekial toast, and added a few tomato slices.  Of course, I had to make a heaping pile of my *organic* ketchup to dip the sandwich in.  Not only was the combination delicious and filling, but again I found that my satiety lasted till way past lunchtime, and I can’t help but wonder if it was simply the addition of the avocado-the creamy, healthy fats sticking to my ribs all morning

And boy did I need a full stomach for the kinds of walking I was doing around that course.  Every time I leave the course, it feels SO.GOOD. to sit down!  My left foot is still really bothering me, kind of where the tendons attach on the inside near my arch…which is apparently a symptom of this arthritis, but hopefully it will get better as the year goes on

This weekend’s eats are not going to be superb since I am at the golf tournament, and their only offerings are pretty limited to hot dogs and hamburgers.  Instead, I grabbed a KIND Almond & Cashew bar when I was at Starbucks this morning.  Another superbly satisfying treat.  After leaving the course, I played “mom for the day” to run some errands for my mommy while was hard at work at the golf course.  I didn’t mind it, I LOVE grocery shopping (weird? maybe)

But worth it…for picking up THAT phenomenal character right there.  Lately, I’ve been eating Maranatha‘s line of organic nut butters, and to be honest…wasn’t too impressed.  Today, I saw these babies on special and had to give it a shot, after hearing so many good things about the Peanut Butter & Co. products.  I sliced up one of the beautiful, crisp, Pink Lady apples that I purchased and enjoyed it with some PB

I give this snack 5 stars, and this is definitely the first of many peanut butters I will buy from the Peanut Butter & Co. line.  I had such a hard time deciding what flavor to choose, between Dark Chocolate Dreams, Mighty Maple, the Bee’s Knees (w. honey), and White Chocolate Wonderful, but I finally chose Cinnamon Raisin Swirl because it said on the side “great with apples!”  I loved that the cinnamon was still somewhat grainy in the nut butter and you could really feel the sugar on your tongue…mmmmm 😀

In the afternoon, I got a hair cut…except this time, I got them ALL cut! Just had to include this joke partly to introduce my super corny sense of humor that I accredit to none other than my wonderful father

Yes, this is obviously a self-shot, and I am adamantly against those, but I just wanted to show everyone my new hair cut!

To end my marathon of a day, I decided to change somethin’ about the snacks that have been floating around my house lately…nothin too good, but a whole jar of Nutella, and that’s DANGEROUS.  I can take a spoon to a jar of Nutella in 20 minutes flat, and it’ll show ALLLLL over my face.  Just look at this beauty…

Obviously eating a  whole jar of Nutella is really not the best idea in the world.  However, my mom told me about a recipe she’d heard of earlier in the summer to make NUTELLA COOKIES.  Does that not sound like the best of both worlds? It does to me.  I started doing some googling and found this recipe, because my all-time favorite cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip.  When I looked at the recipe though, I noticed that the butter had to be softened…bummmmmerrrrrrrr. It only took me a few milliseconds to find a quick and easy way to get softened butter…microwave the stick for 14 seconds, and then roll it out with a rolling pin between two sheets of wax paper:

Worked like a charm! Great tip for bakers out there everywhere.  The final product was phenomenal…Sue, you better be excited for coming home tomorrow and trying these!

Lots of pictures today, but overall a busy and productive couple hours!