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Glorious Day

Hey Buuuuudies!

I have had the best day. I got all my errands done, organized my entire office, filed some pictures away and organized ALL of my bills/important docs/receipts, etc. I keep an expanded folder for each year that have slots for categories like:

  • 401k
  • Insurance
  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Mortgage
  • Important Docs

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Up until now my 2008 docs were combined with 2009 docs, and that just wouldn’t do. Today, I finally had the time to separate everything out and gave 2009 its own, green folder. Ahhh, everything is right in the world 🙂 How do you stay organized?

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After mission organization was complete I snacked on an Orange:

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A ChocChip Trailmix PURE Bar:

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This bar has raw cacao nibs in it, which I was totally craving today. The crunch of the nibs remind me of the crunch of hazelnuts…that’s the only way I can describe them! Well, I can describe them as tasty, too 🙂

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And some Popcorn! I have not had p-corn in ages…it is so delish!

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Oooo look what I got at the store today – facial cleansing cloths!

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Fun fact about me: I absolutely hate washing my face. I seriously don’t know how to do it without getting water all over the bathroom and it’s just a mess and not fun. Therefore, if I don’t shower after working out in the afternoon, more often than not I don’t wash my face at night. I know. Trust me, I know.

Anyways, I’m SO excited to use these!! I almost tried one out when I got home, then decided that having to re-apply my makeup would not be so fun. Tonight though for sure!

Speaking of, I think Ben and I are going to do a dinner + movie date night tonight. Movie = Inglorious Bastards. I have not been this excited to see a movie in AGES. I love Brad Pitt when he’s playing slightly “off” characters and BJ Novak is hysterical. Plus Quentin Tarantino (the director) is one of my absolute faves – Kill Bill I & II are my favorite movies! Should be a good night!!

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1. What are you doing tonight?

2. What kind of face wash & lotion do you use?

I use Oil of Olay face wash and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin lotion. Love ‘em both 🙂

In Case You Missed It…

Saturday:   Iowa State Fair Day!
Sunday:   I had hands down, one of the best desserts ever…
Monday:   101 Greatest Running Tips made its debut and I made a light, Vegetable Frittata.
Tuesday:   It was Mediterranean night at la casa de IGE!
Wednesday:   I had dessert for breakfast and a Tuna Salad Sandwich that squashes the stereotypes.
Thursday:   Three Question Thursday and Chocolate Banana Bread with Almond Butter continues to cause trouble.
Friday:   Oats are back!

 

So the people at PURE Bar are spreading the word about their faaaaab products on a Summer of PURE Love Tour! Among other things, they are driving a sweet, tie-dyed van around Cali, handing out free PURE Bars and displaying some wicked dance moves. Check out their schedule to see if they’ll be in your area and sneak a peek at what they’re up to:

 

Guess Who’s Back?

Hello!

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.

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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

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Oh how I have missed you, oatmeal!

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

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

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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!

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What’s your favorite part about your favorite season?

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!

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That’s my neighbor’s tree leaves turning colors! FALL IS COMING! Wow. This sight literally made me come to a screeching halt as I drove up the street today. Unbelievable…the summer has passed in the blink of an eye…

It’s pretty fitting that I saw this Fall sight today, as there is a briskness in the air right now – I even have a hoodie on! Warming comfort food was calling my name, so I hit the proverbial “easy button” and made some Mac & Cheese 🙂

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Have you ever had Annie’s brand macaroni & cheese? It’s made with organic pasta, real cheese and no additives or preservatives – sweet! A bunch of varieties were on super sale at the grocery store last week so I got boxes of classic, white cheddar and Real Aged Cheddar.

I knew I couldn’t very well eat just mac & cheese for dinner, so when the pasta had about 2 minutes left to cook, I threw some broccoli florets into the boiling water to cook.

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8 minutes from the moment I put the shells into the boiling water, dinner was ready!

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Ok, LOVE Annie’s Mac & Cheese! This tasted so real, if you know what I mean. There were no artificial-tasting flavors at all.

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Now I’m going to be honest, Velveeta Shells & Cheese holds a very special place in my heart, but I usually feel pretty icky after eating it. That was definitely not the case tonight. This is super light with just the perfect amount of sauce.

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I will definitely be purchasing more of these mac & cheese varieties. I’ve also tried Annie’s Bunny Graham’s…omg…soooo friggin’ good! What other Annie’s brand foods do you like?

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So maybe you’re wondering what the heck my post title means? Well, TROUBLE is spelled CBBWAB as in: “Chocolate Banana Bread With Almond Butter!” I am not kidding you guys…this combo is like crack!  I can’t stop eating it and had another slice for my after dinner dessert. 8) You should really make this recipe – you know you’ve got some bananas on your countertop right now!!

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Like a delicious peanut butter cup in bread form 🙂

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I savored every sweet bite!

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Well good news, I took tomorrow off of work! I foresee 50% lounging, 20% exercising, 20% errand running and 10% cleaning in the forecast…it’s going to be great! Have a great night – tomorrow’s FRIDAY!

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How often do you eat “boxed” products? Frozen meals, mac & cheese, canned soups, rice mixes, etc.

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 🙂

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

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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…

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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.

Squashing the Stereotype

Hello!

I’m happy to report that today was a great exercise day for me. I escaped during lunch and went on a 40 minute walk – SO nice. After work I hit the trail for a 4 mile session. I did not run, I did not rog, I jogged that B – it was really hot out. Near the end I played a fun little game of sprinting through the completely shaded parts of the trail, rogging through the semi-shaded parts and jogging through the completely sunny spots. It made the run go a lot faster and definitely got my heart rate up. Nice! In the spirit of running tip #19, I am completely content with my daily activities!

After my run I consulted my 101 Simple Salad Challenge list and made a modified version of #60: Sweet & Sour Tuna Salad Sandwich.

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I started with a pouch of chunk light tuna packed in water.

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To the contents of the pouch, I added half a diced apple, about 10 quartered midnight grapes, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of EVOO, 1 tablespoon of Kraft Light Sicilian Roasted Garlic salad dressing, S&P and a dash of cumin.

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Next, I toasted 2 slices of whole wheat toast and made a quick slaw for some CRUNCH in my sandwich. I just combined some coleslaw mix, chopped pickles and a squeeze of the roasted garlic dressing. Finally, it was assembly time!

1 slice of toast:

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Crunchy, pickle slaw:

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Tuna salad mixture:

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Toast topper!

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LOVED this! The sweetness of the apples & grapes went so well with the sour pickles, and savory dressing. Add the crunch of the slaw – and well, you’ve got yourself a pretty great sandwich!!

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This is actually the FIRST tuna sandwich I have ever made. No lie. I always associate tuna salad sandwiches with that canned, “fishy”, tuna taste. This tuna pouch combined with all these great ingredients really made a super sandwich though! Win!

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I bet you can’t guess what’s for dessert… It’s chocolate, it’s banana and some almond butter may find it’s way in the mix…muwahahaha! Have a great night!

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Do you ever make “salad” sandwiches? Tuna, chicken, egg, etc.

I usually don’t, because of the reason above and because mayo kind of freaks me out – which is usually what I associate salad sandwiches with. The use of EVOO in this recipe by-passed that all for me though!

Dessert for Breakfast

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!

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

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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.”

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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…

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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

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

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I also packed some Midnight Grapes.

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

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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!

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