Vitally Important

Hello Again!

I was MIA last week. I have a good reason though! I was vacationing down in Hilton Head Island. Every two years my family takes a road trip to that place we call paradise. I enjoyed myself to fullest and wish I could go back. Nothing is more calming then the sound of the ocean waves, delicious seafood & German chocolate cake ice cream with the family. I traded my running shoes for slippers & sandals but now it is back to reality for this caffeinated runner.

Did you know breakfast is the most important meal of the day but often the most skipped meal, especially for college students?

I’m guessing you did since this idea has been making headlines news for a few years now. But honestly, it is one of my favorite meals. I’m sure I have mentioned that I could eat breakfast foods all day long. However, there is one “go to” breakfast that never fails to make me smile. It’s not a staple per say, because VitaTops cost an arm and leg, but rather a nice treat. Plus, who doesn’t like cake/muffins for breakfast!?

  • 2 Corn Muffin VitaTops
  • Cinnamon Yogurt [plain greek yogurt + 1/2 tsp. Truvia + Cinnamon]
  • Almond Cashew KIND Bar

Or, are you more of a chocolate peanut butter person?

  • 2 Deep Chocolate VitaTops
  • Peanut Butter Yogurt [Plain Greek Yogurt + 1 TBSP PB2]
  • Green’s+ Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bar

Moral of the story: Make breakfast fun!

To Run Like A Runner

You need to eat like one.

Simple as that.

It kills me to see some people busting their butts by putting in the time to run crazy distances and train hardcore not to see the results they deserve. Or worse – an injury.

I am currently reading Running For Women by Kara Goucher. I must admit, I have a major girl crush. She is so candid in the fact that she struggled with emotional eating when she suffered two injuries. Yet, she came back strong and faster than ever. She is going to London for crying out loud! Her chapter on nutrition really spoke to me. Coming from an athelete, I could relate to her advice/tips more so than a fashion magazine that puts women on a low calorie diet. Running 65-75 miles a week requires lots of fuel, so eating is essential to reduce the risk of stress fractures, injuries and burnout. I don’t have any eating “rules” per say – except two.

  1. 1500 mg of Calcium every day. No ifs ands or buts about it.
  2. Carbs at every meal. Usually 2-4 servings.

When I post reviews/a reciepe – it is usually only one part of my meal. I normally have a couple extra sides to make sure I am getting enough. Thus, I’d thought I would show you a typical lunch for me. Increasing my carbohydrates during lunch has really improved my performance. Enter a little Italian love <3

I think you all can tell I love me some Trader Joe’s & I have loved eggplant ever since I tried it about a year ago. Top the purple vegetable with some tomato sauce, seasonings and cheese and the meal sounds promising. Plus, how can you go wrong with ingredients like this:
Although, the last Italian meal I had from Trader Joe’s was less than stellar so I really had no expectations for this. However, my tastebuds were blown away. Not only was the sauce flavored perfectly with basil & oregano the tomatoes used for the sauce tasted surprisingly fresh. No “tomato sauce from a jar” taste at all. The cheesy had a rich mozzarella flavor that was abundant throughout the eggplant. Oh and the eggplant – well lets just say it was hearty and savory. Not soggy at all. If you have a local Trader Joe’s – this should be added to your list asap. Crazy good. I mean just look at the cheese!

Rating –> 5 Coffee Beans

Alas, no meal Italian meal is complete without some veggies and pasta. My veggie of choice is two sauteed zucchini seasoned with garlic powder, basil & Italian seasoning. The pasta is spinach pappardelle, which taste oh so good. Not to mention I love how wide the noodles are!

And that lady & gents is one of the many ways I like to fuel up.

There Are No Words.

There are no words to describe my love for artichoke hearts.

There are no words to explain how much I enjoy the creamy texture of ricotta cheese

There are no words to justify my adoration for a good sandwich.

There are no words to do this sandwich justice.

Oh – I went there.

Let me give you some background. There is this killer sandwich/Irish bar in Blacksburg. Honestly, I’ve had many a great sandwich creations there. However, nothing beats their spinach and artichoke dip. Warm, creamy, artichoky & garlicy don’t even begin to describe the amazing flavors from that dip. I blame my best friend for getting me addicted to that stuff ;) Yes Shannon, I’m talking about you! The two of us make a monthly trip to our beloved restaurant and since school is out, I had a major craving for some good spinach and artichoke dip. Alas, I really wanted a sandwich for lunch. Why I didn’t think of this earlier, I really do not know.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Slices of Bread (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 slices of MeunsterCcheese
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 5 Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 Tbsp of Part Skim Ricotta
  • Garlic powder, Salt, Pepper and Basil (Basil is optional)
  • Olive Oil for the pan

Steps:

  1. In a small skillet, heat up some olive oil on low/medium heat
  2. Add your seasonings (garlic powder, salt, pepper and basil)
  3. Add your spinach and cook until it turns deep green and wilty
  4. While the spinach is cooking, combine your 2 Tbsp of Ricotta and artichoke hearts in a bowl. Add a little garlic powder to the mix.
  5. Once the spinach is done cooking, add the spinach to the ricotta/artichoke heart mixture and stir
  6. Spread the spinach & artichoke dip onto two slices of bread.
  7. Place the two slices of muenster cheese on top of the spinach & artichoke dip on one of the slices of bread
  8. Take other slice of bread and make into a sandwich
  9. Place onto a small skillet that is greased with olive oil
  10. Flip when bottom is golden brown

Just go make this sandwich. Now :)

A Little More Personal

Good Morning!

I was recently nominated for this blog by the lovely Flecks of Green

**Obligatory Rules**

  1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.

7 things. Ready. Set. Go.

  1. Jell-O scares me to death. It is not a fear food in that way – more of a fear because when you shake the plate the blob “dances”. I can’t be around it. Food shouldn’t jiggle like that.
  2. People say I look like Reese Witherspoon – I take that as the highest compliment :)
  3. Pretty Little Liars & Gilmore Girls are my obsessions. I could tell you the episode synopsis of Gilmore Girls just by the opening scene.
  4. Within dietetics, I really want to work with athletes or a major food company that focuses on healthy products to refuel athletes. Basically, I would just love help active individuals fuel themselves so they perform their best.
  5. I have an extreme fascination with artificial sweeteners, calcium and female triad syndrome. Researching about any of these three things (or maybe if there is a link between the three!!) would be a dream come true.
  6. Anderson Cooper is my silver fox. He makes me swoon every time ;)
  7. I may run crazy distances every day, but I am extremely lazy. Once I shower I love just laying around trying to figure out sodokus. Give me a book of sodokus & Gilmore Girls in the background and I’m yours.

What are 7 fun things about you?

You Let Me Down Joe

Trader Joe’s just so happens to be one of my favorite grocery stores.

Trader Joe’s just so happens to sell the most amazing frozen foods/meals in my opinion. From stirfried veggie egg rolls, Channa Masala to Quesedillas & tofu nuggets, just to name a few. In a nutshell, they’ve pretty much got food for every cuisine.

Trader Joe’s just so happens to have a new frozen meal that I thought would be perfect for lunch.

As I have mentioned before, I am picky about Italian food since both my grandmother and mother grew up in Italy. Thus, I basically get authentic Italian food on a daily basis when mom makes her sauce. However, the promise of spinach & ricotta stuffed inside pasta shells with gooey cheese melted on top skewed my judgement. I should have just walked away, but alas, this meal went into my basket.

Looks promising, right? Well don’t be fooled. I guess for only 270 calories, it shouldn’t have surprised me to only see 2 measly shells. Sure they were big, but the picture on the box makes it appear like there is more than two….three perhaps. Disappointing really doesn’t begin to describe this Italian classic. Not only was the filling inside the shells extremely bitter, but there also seemed to lack ricotta. Basically there was no ricotta and boatload of spinach. The tomato sauce was bland and tasted like it came from the jar. I guess the only highly of the meal was the nice al dente texture of the pasta and the melted mozzarella cheese. Meh.

Rating: 1 Coffee Bean

Sweet Raspberry Ricotta Spread

Bagels just so happen to be my favorite way to ingest carbs. I really don’t discriminate against bagels (except for plain…because, well, they are plain). I love spreading them with peanut butter, laughing cow cheese wedges, guacamole. Making pizza bagels & sandwiches are other atypical ways I eat them. Thomas just so happens to be one of my favorite brands and their seasonal flavors always keep me on my toes. This summer, Thomas rolled out a Lemon Poppy Bagel! Yeah, I about died. Lemon Poppy is one of my favorite muffin flavors so I picked up a pack of these bagels faster than you can say 26.2! Alas, I ran into an issue – I couldn’t figure out what to spread on the bagel. To me, peanut butter seems too…odd. Then a light bulb went off –> lemon + ricotta = awesome! Raspberries? Oh yes please.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Part Skim Ricotta
  • 1/2 tsp of Truvia
  • 3-4 Raspberries

Steps

  1. add ingredients into a small bowl
  2. Stir & Enjoy!

I adore the texture of Ricotta – it is thick creamy and oh so smooth. This spread pretty much made for an awesome bagel breakfast morning :)

Raspberry & Lemon is an undeniable combination.

Maple Almond Overnight Oats

If you live in the Northeast, you are probably well aware of the major heat wave that hit last week. Yeah, it was a doosey! Waking up at 6:45 a.m. only to see it was 75 degrees was shocking to say the least. I don’t think it is really ever that warm so early in the morning, which is one of the reasons I adore running at home. Due to the “extreme” heat, I only craved cold, uncooked food for most of the day. Breakfast was no exception.

Maple Almond Overnight Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1 packing of Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal
  • Maple Yogurt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 Kashi Almond Soft Baked Square

Steps:

  1. Combine milk, oats and yogurt into a bowl and stir.
  2. Let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator
  3. In the morning, take oatmeal out of the fridge and crumble the Kashi bar on top
  4. Enjoy :)

Other Toppings

  • Maple Almond Butter (or just almond butter)
  • Sliced banana or strawberries
  • Shredded coconut