Monthly Archives: March 2014

My Oatmeal Review

Through my association with the Sweat Pink Ambassadors I recently got the opportunity to try a free sample of customized oatmeal from My Oatmeal! My Oatmeal is an awesome online company that allows you to customize rolled oats, steel-cut oats, or a blend of the two with tons of flavors, nuts, dried fruit, and other add-ins. Although this is something I could totally do myself at home (like my Banana Bread Oatmeal), it was so much fun to look through the ideas on the site and come up with my own blends :-). I ended up making two 1 pound bags – one with regular rolled oats and one with steel-cut oats which I’ve been meaning to try! In order to keep myself on some kind of path with the myriad of ingredients offered I tried to re-create some flavors I already knew. I used my rolled oats batch to make a “Blueberry Muffin” blend with dried blueberries, chia seeds, ground flax, and sliced almonds. For the steel-cut oats, I made an “Oatmeal Raisin Cookie” blend using dark raisins, walnuts, ground flax, and coconut chips.

20140327-200915.jpg

20140327-200921.jpg

I love the way the site works – as you add ingredients to your blend, the price for your chosen size automatically updates, and a Nutritional Facts label updates with all the pertinent facts for your blend – it helped me keep an eye on calories and protein, as well as how much I was spending! It helped reign me in when I started to get carried away! The Nutritional Facts label is also on the bags when you get them, along with all your ingredients πŸ™‚

20140327-201005.jpg

20140327-201011.jpg

I chose to leave any sweeteners out of my mix, since I rarely eat sweet things I tend to be sensitive to sugar so I wanted to add my own later own – but the site has a great selection of natural sweeteners you can add, and they are slowly increasing their organic options! πŸ™‚

20140327-201155.jpg

I cooked up both types of oatmeal as mid-morning snacks this week and loved them both! They are so hearty and filling that I ended up eating lunch really late one day since the oatmeal was really carrying me over. The steel-cut oats take much longer to cook, about 20 minutes on the stove, but the bag gives a great microwave option where you soak the oats overnight and then microwave them the next day. I tried this method (and the stove method) and it worked great for me! I am so happy with My Oatmeal’s products and I’ll definitely be making more blends in the future!

20140327-201335.jpg

20140327-201342.jpg
Check out this deliciousness!

Full disclosure: I received a free sample of My Oatmeal in exchange for my fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own πŸ™‚

It’s Finally (Maybe!) Spring

I was so grateful that we had beautiful weather in Virginia last weekend. Maybe Spring is finally around the corner! Although as I type this the weather forecast has another bought of snow headed our way tonight. It’s the never-ending winter! At least for one weekend I got to enjoy the Spring weather, and I was even more fortunate that I got to do it during a three-day weekend at home with my family.

Early Friday morning I drove home and my mom took the day off of work for us to spend together. We started off at the Mermaid Winery in Norfolk. Mermaid Winery is really cool because it’s an “urban winery” meaning it produces its own wines, but sources them from other “traditional” farm wineries. Our tasting was presented in a really cool spiral that held all five wine glasses.

20140324-185700.jpg

While we tasted, we enjoyed a wonderful light lunch of bread, meat, cheese, fruit, olives and hummus as well as a pesto and tomato flatbread. It was a delicious light lunch that really hit the spot.

20140324-185814.jpg

Next, we headed to the Norfolk Zoo to walk around and enjoy the sunshine. After saying 'hello' to all the animals, we stopped by the Farm Market to pick up some locally baked cookies and to go to a new Kombucha bar – Kombuchick. My mom knows I love kombucha so she picked up a Living Social deal for this bar when she heard it opened. It's such a neat concept. The bar brews its own kombucha and uses it to make mocktails. I think it's a great way to ease non-Kombucha drinkers into the taste of kombucha, which can be an acquired one. We enjoyed cocktails mixed with ginger, mint and soda water and I had one with ginger and beet. They were all delicious! I also bought a case of kombucha to bring home with me because it was so much cheaper than GTs and I love supporting a new local business! πŸ™‚

On Saturday my dad and sister joined my mom and I as we "brewery" hopped around the Hampton Roads area. First we stopped by O'Connor's Brewery in Norfolk where the tasting was served in such a cute carrier!

20140324-185854.jpg

While at the brewery we ate lunch at a BBQ food truck (which may end up catering my dad's upcoming birthday party!) and it was a great way to stay outside and enjoy the sun, and our beer, while we ate lunch. After that, we went to Young Veteran's Brewery in Virginia Beach, which also had a cute carrier for its beer tasting but I forgot to take a picture. Also, our neighbors (who own a stone oven pizza business – that's sort of like a food truck) were setting up their business to serve pizzas in the parking lot of the brewery. It was so great to experience so many great local businesses in Hampton Roads all in one day! πŸ™‚ I truly love (and miss) my hometown!

On the way home we stopped by two local farms for fresh ice cream, honey, eggs, and apple butter (staples my mom and I needed to pick up between the two of us). I also got a chance to stop in a see the animals, including petting a donkey, some bunnies and a goat. I also fed the goat, who promptly head-butted me in the shin. I'm not sure if it was a "thank you" for the food or just the goat being a jerk, but I enjoyed it either way! πŸ™‚

I hope everyone else had a great weekend in the (hopefully) good weather! πŸ™‚

Homemade Banana Bread Oatmeal

One of the healthy habits I was able to maintain during my crazy January was eating oatmeal every day for breakfast. Usually, I drink a green smoothie everyday for breakfast but during that month I wasn’t going grocery shopping and definitely didn’t have the time and patience for my usual green smoothie routine. It’s a shame, but rather than dwell on the past I’m going to focus with this delicious oatmeal recipe I came up with as a result!

One morning when I was grabbing myself a ziplock baggie of oatmeal to take to work I decided to mix it up a little. Up until this point, I was usually grab about a cup of plain oatmeal from my large container and add a few shakes a cinnamon and call it a day. This particular morning, I decided to add in a scoop of Banana Bread granola from Nature Box (delicious – by the way!) and headed off to work. When I added hot water at work, the granola broke apart and mixed into the oatmeal but still had that awesome toasted flavor and the nuts/seeds/raisins in the granola mixed throughout the oatmeal. It was really delicious! While I love the idea of using the granola in my oatmeal, I decided to make a homemade version with all the same great flavors!

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Banana Bread Oatmeal
Makes one bowl.

    – 1 cup plain oatmeal
    – 1 1/2 tablespoons dried bananas, chopped (I didn’t chop mine out of laziness, but I think they’d be better chopped up)
    – 2 tablespoons raisins
    – 1 1/2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
    – 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    – 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar (to your taste)
    – Approx. 3/4 cup hot water or milk (to cook the oatmeal)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add hot water or milk and allow to sit and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Alternatively, add cold water or milk and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes, or until soft.

I’m pretty obsessed with this oatmeal blend and I’ve been eating it as an afternoon snack most days – it’s perfect during this last spell of cold weather! πŸ™‚ I love how the dried bananas soften up in the oatmeal – so delicious! I actually ended up making a huge batch of the dry ingredients for this oatmeal in a glass jar and I just scoop out what I need each time. πŸ™‚

Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

To get back on track after the craziness that was January/February – I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately. It’s partly in an attempt to detox and get back on a healthy track – but also because I’m absolutely fallen in love with this salad. I think I’ve eaten this exact salad for lunch on the weekdays for the past 3 weeks or so. It’s getting a little out of control, but in a totally great way.

I saw a few different salads in the food magazines I subscribe to that included goat cheese, spinach and beets and took what I liked best from the salads and made one of my own! I forget the exact magazines, because I get too many, but what resulted was a deliciously balanced and healthy salad – and it’s so easy to put together! I always keep nuts, particularly walnuts, in the house and I always have canned sliced beets on hand because I can’t stand the mess of roasting and peeling beets – but I love the flavor. Using these ingredients, I’m already halfway to a yummy salad lunch!

I don’t measure out the ingredients for this salad exactly, I just sort of throw it together (and I usually put 5 together in storage containers for the week during Sunday food prep). I also make a big batch of a simple lemon salad dressing at the beginning of the week and then portion it out as I need it for weekday lunches.

spinach_beet_goatcheese_salad_text

Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Makes one salad. Measurements are approximate – have fun with it!

    – A couple handfuls of fresh spinach, about 2-3 cups, depending on how big you want your salad to be
    – 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
    – 2-3 tablespoons walnuts
    – 1/4 cup cooked and cooled sliced beets (I use canned – so quick and easy!)
    – 3-4 tablespoons crumbled or sliced goat cheese
    – Juice of a lemon
    – 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a salad bowl or container. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil to serve. Alternatively, whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a container until emulsified and store until ready to use as dressing.

I can’t get enough of this salad. The tang of the goat cheese pairs so great with the sweet beets and the earthy spinach and walnuts. Plus, it’s so quick to throw together! I hope you enjoy πŸ™‚