Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

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Happy Monday! Ready to start your week? Who’s starting school back up today? Good luck if you are 🙂

Well – put it in the books – this is the first morning since Spring that I’ve had to wear pants on my morning Mom walk!! It was a nippy 55 degrees this morning…ice cold. We heated up soon enough though and it’s supposed to be in the low 80s today, so all is not lost!

Last night I made an overnight Green Monster with some spinach that I picked up at Costco yesterday (item #1!). This morning I whirred that baby up and devoured!


I literally have 1 scoop of almond butter left! Ben is heading to Chicago this weekend though, so I have a list of things for him to pick up at Trader Joe’s 🙂


Is your Green Monster ever too thick? Add a splash of water. Overnight green monsters get suuuuper thick from the oats absorbing the milk, so I add a splash of water in with the ice and banana, which gives me the perfect consistency!


Today for lunch, I packed a: Spinach Salad, Blueberry Yogurt & an Orange.


In the salad we’ve got:

  • Spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Chopped Celery
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Cherry Tomatoes


Look at these beauts. Fresh from the vine!


Sir, I think you could use a haircut…


Love the salty feta with the tart cranberries.

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While I don’t eat oranges a lot, they are actually a really good snack option. After you peel them, it takes awhile to remove each section and eat!


Finally, one of my faves – Blueberry Buckle Yogurt. Sweet and creamy!



Today’s Running Tips

Monday’s running tips are from the “Advanced Running” section of the 101 Greatest Running Tips list. Don’t let the advanced name scare you – again, these are tips that I pulled out of the list of 101, that I thought were applicable for runners & athletes at all levels!

Tip #37. Go with mind over grind: "Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger." –Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic marathoner

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I think it’s important not to go from 0 to 100 when you first start getting into running, or are getting back into it from a break. If you go too hard too fast, you’ll likely get super sore, which can be discouraging. My advice would be to ease into a running/exercise routine and slowly increase time and miles.

Tip #44. Rest assured: "Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days." –PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian

We touched on this in Tip #16. It’s really important not to push through an injury – you’ll likely make it worse! Taking rest days is important too – your body needs time to recover from heavy exercise and runs.

Tip #45. Divide and conquer: "Pick one thing each year that you need to improve, and work on that. It might be improving your diet, getting more sleep, or increasing your mileage. You can’t work on everything at once." –Bob Kennedy

– This is my favorite tip of the day. I think getting into a healthy lifestyle is daunting for a lot of people because they think ‘Oh, I have to be perfect. I have to workout, eat right, drink lots of water, sleep 8 hours a day, etc., etc.’ Be easy on yourself – again, you can’t go from 0-100 in one day. Baby steps! It’s ok!


Alrighty friends, off to begin another week! Check back tonight for the start of a week-long, end of summer dinner series. Tonight’s going to be a good one!


What did you have for breakfast today? Do you typically go for a “healthier” breakfast on Monday’s?

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Good morning all!

Yesterday was one of those absolutely picture-perfect, must-be-outdoors kind of summer days! I think this view pretty much sums it up!


I spent the day outside tidying up my gardens, playing tennis with Ben (and losing miserably,) grilling some perfect steaks (my camera ate the pictures!!) and ended the day with seeing Inglorious Bastards.

Oh boy… Hands down, goriest movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Like, picture the goriest movie you’ve ever seen and then multiply it by 10. Nay, 100. Aside from the gore – Quentin Tarantino once again delivered a quirky, unique movie that I really enjoyed. I actually feel twisted saying I enjoyed it because of the gore, but again, aside from the gore – it was awesome!

This morning I woke up sore as H – thanks tennis! – and hobbled to the grocery store, where $51.75 bought me all of THIS:


We’ve got the fresh stuff:

  • Pineapple
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas (btw, thanks to a couple of commentors, I now know that bananas last longer when you don’t keep them in a bunch!)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Potatoes
  • Salad
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Mushrooms
  • Green Apples
  • Celery
  • Lemon
  • Onion
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Braeburn Apples

And other/husband stuff:


  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch – aka organic Cinnamon Toast Crunch!! (thanks Lauren for the rec!!)
  • Wild Rice
  • Skim Milk
  • American Cheese slices
  • Brat & hot dog buns
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • Cheddar Cheese slices
  • Turkey slices
  • Hot Dogs

All for $51.75! I’m telling you – buy in-season and on sale, and you will never go wrong! The most exciting purchase of the day was the Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch, which was on sale, plus I had a $1.00 off coupon. Yes!

Not part of the total bill was a Starby’s Lite Caramel Frappuccino, which I treated myself to after grocery shopping. Which I also sucked down before I even got home! I can’t help myself with frozen, blended beverages…they go down so quick! 😀


After I got all my groceries put away, I munched on some of the Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch cereal. For a cinnamon-sugar addict like myself, this is a TREAT!


Here are the nutrition labels for Cinnamon Toast Crunch vs Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch.

ctc ctc2

As you can see, the nutritional stats stats aren’t too different, except for the ingredient list. Cascadian Farms is all organic, where Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not. This is probably more than you ever wanted or cared to know about cinnamon-sugar flavored cereal, I just thought it was interesting!

So ANYWAYS – I nibbled on a small bowl when I got home 🙂


Just amazing 🙂


Ben and I are heading off to my parent’s house in a couple hours for lunch, then the rest of the day is completely open!


How much is your typical grocery bill?

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Cafe Su Me

Good morning everyone!

Last night Ben and I went to dinner at one of the best little restaurants in town: Cafe Su.



I always forget that it’s here and that makes me sad because this place is incredible! It’s a Chinese cafe with funky decor that plays music like Norah Jones. Totally random, eclectic, unique and you really feel like you’re having an “experience” while dining here.



There were pink roses on every table and on the windowsills. Very sweet 🙂



We started with what may be my favorite item on Cafe Su’s menu: Crab Rangoon. These rangoons are the size of my hand, pillowy soft, and bursting with savory crab filling. Heavenly!


For my main dish, I ordered a Vegetarian Garlic Stir-Fry.


Broccoli, water chestnuts, onions, bamboo shoots, snap peas, baby corn, zucchini and mushrooms in a garlic sauce. They even let me sub out the carrots & celery (I hate cooked carrots & celery) for more broccoli. Score!


Umm I could have drank this sauce in a glass – it was SO good!! Perfectly light and the garlic wasn’t too overwhelming – it was exactly what I was looking for. Cafe Su knocked it out of the park with this dish!


Served with some fluffy rice.


And how can you not love a restaurant that not only gives you fortune cookies at the end – but gives you chocolate covered fortune cookies at the end?! These tasted like Kit Kat bars and were key.


His & Hers fortunes 🙂


As I mentioned, we were going to go hit up Inglorious Bastards after dinner, but Ben wasn’t really in the mood for a movie, so we came home and watched the Vikings play. Now, I moved to Minneapolis right when the whole “boat” incident happened, so I didn’t get the best first impression of that team, if you know what I mean… Either way it was fun to hang out with the husband. We had a great night!

This morning I woke up pretty hungry, actually! I popped some bread in the toaster, smeared it with some almond butter & sugar-free raspberry jam, cut up a peach and called it breakfast.



I am getting down to the bottom of my Trader Joe’s Almond Butter and am slightly freaking out…

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The rest of today’s agenda includes:

  • Post office run
  • Maybe grocery store run
  • Maybe cleaning? (didn’t get to it yesterday…)
  • Hit up neighbor’s garage sale

I’m off to seize the day – have a great one yourself!


What’s your favorite Chinese food dish?

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Guess Who’s Back?


WOW I’m so refreshed! I slept until 9:00 today – unbelievable! I stayed up a little later than usual last night watching Project Runway and a new show right after it that’s about the models of PR. It was dece!

You know what I was thinking yesterday? There are hardly any “shows” left on television. Gone are the days of Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, Full House, etc. You know, the ones with a live studio audience? Now it’s all reality shows, all the time. Which is fine – I actually happen to like reality shows – but it’s just funny what 10 years can do to television!

Anyways – the Fall weather continued through the night and into the morning…so guess who made a comeback? OATS! It’s actually been so long since I made oatmeal, that I had to consult my own How-to Stove Top Oatmeal directions because I had forgotten how!

I dug out my dried fruits, spices and old fashioned oats to make Fig & Apricot Oatmeal.


In the mix:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • splash of cinnamon & vanilla
  • 1 banana
  • 3 dried figs
  • 3 dried apricots
  • drizzle of sugar-free syrup


Oh how I have missed you, oatmeal!


The sweet, creamy, comforting, warm bowl was just what I needed on this chilly morning.


I sure did miss the pOp of those fig seeds too 🙂


I may not be thinking clearly because this bowl of oatmeal was so satisfying and the current temps are so cozy, but…I can’t believe I’m about to say it…bring on Fall! Bring on the football games, crock pot dinners, apple picking, hoodies, leaf raking and everything else that comes along with my favorite season! 😀

Here’s the rest of today’s agenda:

  • Catch up on emails
  • Go to bank
  • Go to drugstore
  • Work on blog (ch-ch-ch-changes are in the works!)
  • Vacuum & dust
  • Relax with trashy day-time television 🙂

Sounds good to me!


What’s your favorite part about your favorite season?

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Without further ado, the winner of the Food Should Taste Good Chip Giveaway is…

Emily: I joined the fan club! 😀

Congrats Emily – you’re going to love these chips! Email me at IowaGirlEats@hotmail.com with your mailing information. For everyone else, I highly recommend these products. If you see them in stores, definitely pick up a bag – and don’t forget to sign up for the fan club to receive a $1 off coupon!

Soooo, last night I smeared some almond butter on a slice of my chocolate banana bread, per Holly’s suggestion. Umm…are you joking with me? It was better than you can even imagine! I had to replicate it for breakfast this morning, so I smeared another slice with almond butter and served a nice, sliced apple on the side 🙂


I didn’t think this bread could get any better, but throw almond butter into the mix? Forget it, it’s over!



Apples go perfectly with chocolate and AB too – actually, this would make a STELLAR bowl of oats. Chocolate, banana, almond butter and apple…I’ll have to keep that combo in mind…


Today for lunch, I eliminated the bread from last night’s Sweet & Sour Tuna Salad Sandwich, and piled the whole mixture on top of some crunchy coleslaw.


Those diced apples held up well overnight – no browning at all!



I also packed a perfectly ripe peach. What gorgeous colors!



Today’s Greatest Running Tips

Today’s 101 Greatest Running Tips selections continue the “Basic Training” portion of the list. These three are good ones!

Tip #22. Reach for fast, low-fat fuel: “Energy bars are good portable food for runners. Look for bars with 4 grams of fat or fewer per 230 calories. Fat slows down digestion.” –Liz Applegate, Ph.D., sports nutritionist

– There are SO many bars & supplements out there so this is a really good tip to keep in mind when you’re trying to select a good product at the store!

Tip #23. Go for the goal: “I believe in using races as motivators. It’s hard to keep on an exercise program if you don’t have a significant goal in sight.” –Bob Greene, personal trainer of Oprah Winfrey

– I 100% believe in this way of thinking. It’s so much easier to exercise or run when you have a specific goal in mind, or are it least following a schedule. For me, if I’m not running for anything – be it training for a race, or to “check off” a day on an exercise calendar – it’s too easy to throw out an excuse NOT to exercise.

Tip #28. Toss out the clutter: “Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-mo-tion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination.” –Lorraine Moller, 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medalist

– Now, I would LOVE a Garmin Forerunner – but currently, I don’t run with anything special. No heart rate monitor, iPod or special clothing. While the fancy stuff is awesome, you don’t need it to run – so don’t let that stand in your way of getting started or getting back out there!

I hope you guys are liking these tips. I’ve heard back from several people that they are helpful and I really do think that a lot of them are relevant to exercise as a whole and not just specifically running. Hopefully you are finding them useful!!


Well I am one tired Iowa Girl today. I woke up around 2:30am with a straight up allergy attack. It was so weird and awful, all at the same time. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – my allergies have been acting up in the worst way for the past couple of days. Any allergy sufferers out there? Are you getting hit worse than usual? Anyways, I’m really hoping today isn’t a struggle since I’m so tired. Wish me luck and have a wonderful day!


You know what day it is…Three Question Thursday! Today’s questions were inspired by last night’s episodes of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.

For the elimination challenge on Top Chef, the chef’s had to prepare a dish that represented one of their vices. Drunken Chicken, Smokey Steak, Procrastination Salmon, Hot-Tempered Stuffed Peppers, etc.

For the final challenge on Top Chef Masters, the chefs had to prepare dishes that represented different periods of their lives. One for their earliest food memory, another based off of when they realized they wanted to become chefs, a third that reminded them of their first restaurant opening, and a final dish representing the culinary direction they were heading in. SO – here are my questions adapted for you!

1. What’s one of your vices?

2. What’s one dish you ate growing up that you have fond memories of?

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

 My answers:

1. Stubbornness. I am as stubborn as a mule. Also, being a perfectionist. There’s nothing wrong with wanting everything to be “right,” but sometimes I need to just chill!

2. Definitely cinnamon-sugar toast. Perhaps this is where my love of cinnamon toast crunch comes from?! Also – bologna, lettuce & mustard sandwiches. They were SO good when I was little!!

3. I honestly don’t know the answer to this question. In 5 years I’ll be…31. THIRTY-ONE! That’s insane! I hope by that time I’ll maybe have lived in a different state, gone back to Japan, seen Greece, perhaps be driving a hybrid SUV (love SUVs, but refuse to drive anything that gets less than 20 mpg), expanded my cookie “business” and maybe – maybe – have a child. Maybe.

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Pictures are up! I think I’m going to switch them so the more detailed picture is closer to eye level – but I think they look pretty sharp! I am so glad I get to walk in the door everyday and be reminded of all the amazing memories I have of Japan. 🙂 Thanks again to my wonderful parents for the gift!


Sooooo, my secret baking project last night was Chocolate Banana Bread!


For some reason the placement of my fruit basket/banana hanger in my kitchen, always causes my bananas to ripen in literally one day. I could bring home a bunch of green bananas on Sunday, and they’d be as yellow as the sun on Monday. So in my kitchen, the banana philosophy is “use ‘em or lose ‘em.”


I usually cut the bananas that I’m about to “lose” into slices and stash them in the freezer for Green Monsters. Last night I had other plans…


I used this Joy of Baking recipe, but left out the chocolate chips. The result was this decadent, moist, chocolatey banana bread – positively sinful tasting!


This recipe was easy as pie – er, banana bread – and was seriously amazing. I use real butter when I bake too – no subbing in applesauce for fats up in here. I just try to eat my baked creations in moderation. Sometime it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Today it did because this bread is RICH. SO GOOD!


For breakfast, I had a slice of the bread with a crispy Braeburn Apple. Bananas, apples & chocolate? Pretty delicious if I do say so myself!



Lunch today is – you guessed it – an exact repeat of last night’s dinner – Greek Turkey Burger Spinach Salad.


Today I added a sprinkling of dried cranberries for a little pop of sweet & tart in my salad.


The great thing about these burgers, like the frittata, is that they’re just as good cold, as they are hot!


I also packed some Midnight Grapes.


They taste like red grapes, but are a little bit bigger and of course, as the name suggests, a little bit darker!


Today’s Greatest Running Tips

Tips #16, 17 & 19 wrap up the “Starting Out” portion of the 101 Greatest Running Tips list and move into the “Basic Training” section. Again, these are tips from a list of 101 that I felt were particularly helpful for runners at all levels!

Tip #16. Listen up!: “You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.” –Dr. George Sheehan

– Last winter I ran into some terrible IT band issues that I tried to run through. Not good – it definitely got worse. I let myself rest and didn’t run for a couple weeks, and magically I have felt no pain ever since. I see absolutely no point in running through pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Go see a doctor!

Tip #17. Create your own running creed: “My whole teaching in one sentence is: “Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately, and don’t eat like a pig.” –Dr. Ernst van Aaken, renowned German coach

I think this is really cool. The creed above is really a creed for life, not just for running. What would your life creed be? I’m going to steal the one above, I think it’s awesome!

Tip #19. Take what you can get: “So-called ‘junk miles’–those slow miles done on easy days or during warmups–do count. They burn calories as effectively as fast miles; it just takes longer. Regardless of pace, each mile you run burns about 100 calories.” –Hal Higdon, runner/writer/coach

This tip is from good ol’ Hal Higdon, so you know it’s good. It kind of goes along with Tip #10 from yesterday. ALL EXERCISE COUNTS. No matter how slow or how short – it counts, so lose the “all or nothing” mentality!


I am literally smiling from that banana bread – it is YUM-E. Definitely a dessert for breakfast kind of situation, but sometimes, that’s ok. 🙂

Don’t forget that the Food Should Taste Good Chip Giveaway ends today @ 1:00pm Central. Enter up to three times to enjoy these crunchy, flavorful, better for you chips!


Do you like breads or loafs? Banana bread, zucchini bread, cinnamon swirl bread, poppy seed bread, lemon loaf, pumpkin loaf, etc.?

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