How I Actually Stuck to my 2012 Resolutions

Good maaarrnin’ to ya! It’s been a while since I last posted and that’s simply because I have taken a total break from my computer in general. I spent about 6 days in Florida with my family and then this past weekend in the Poconos with my friends, and am finally back in NYC for New Years. It’s been extremely relaxing and rejuvenating. I’ve read, taken a lot of naps, spent really quality time with my favorite people, and haven’t really worried about a thing. I hope you have also had an amazing time over the holidays and feel ready for a new year!

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So I wanted to talk a bit about resolutions. As my friends gathered for New Years last year at a restaurant in the city, our glasses clanking and filled with plenty of champagne, we went around the table and laid out our new years resolutions. I think resolutions are funny– most people make them, few people keep them, myself included. I don’t think I have ever actually kept my intended resolutions. But in 2012, I am happy to say that I did. I approached my resolutions differently in 2012, and I figured out a way to set goals that worked for me. Although everyone is different, and goal setting is actually very personal, I thought I’d share what worked for me this past year and how I intend to set resolutions for 2013.

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My two resolutions for 2012 were simple:

1. Keep up with the news more.

2. Cook more.

I know from being in the business world that these goals break every “goal making” rule. Your goals are supposed to be specific, measurable, attainable, etc. These resolutions are none of those things. They are vague and I didn’t lay out ways to measure them, except to be further along in both areas than I was at the beginning of the year.

But this worked for me, for the first time. And I actually made HUGE strides in both of these areas.

1. News: I found several methods of incorporating more news into my life. I have several apps on my phone that I refresh before getting on the subway, putting CNN on TV is now a habit, I record a few News shows each week, I keep up with News on Twitter, I occasionally grab a paper on lazy Sat/Sun mornings just to read the news from a real newspaper, I listen to news podcasts (never did I think I would have the NPR app on my iPhone!), etc. I found little ways that worked for me, and it has hugely paid off. I feel way more knowledgable and up to date on knowing what is going on in the world.

2. Cook more: Well, that little idea turned into this blog, so I guess I followed through on that one. This blog started from my New Years Resolution and has turned into so much more.

Looking back on why these resolutions worked for the first time since I started setting and breaking resolutions so many years ago, I have come up with a few theories:

1) By making them not “measurable”, it took the pressure off. In the past, I put myself up to very specific goals that were often very ambitious, and when I didn’t meet those measures, I felt like a failure and threw it all away. In 2012, the only measure of achievement was if I made some sort of progress in each of the two areas. I didn’t say to myself “you need to read the news for a half hour every day”. That would undoubtedly have left me with days or weeks of failure. Instead, I just said “keep up with the news more”. I set myself up for success, and this made me actually WANT to keep working toward these goals and incorporating both the news and cooking into my life more and more.

2) The method by which I would attain the goals was also left unspecific. This let me figure things out as I went along. Instead of defining exactly how I would reach the goals from the get-go, I just kept these goals in the back of my mind and tried to find fun, easy ways to keep up with the news and small windows to fit in more time in my kitchen. This allowed the method of attaining the goals to change over time. It gave me flexibility which felt so much easier than sticking to a strict structure.

3) I made small moves that added up to a big change. 10 minutes of news here, picking up a paper there, a podcast while I walked in the morning, these are all small changes that added up to a big difference in my life. Similarly with cooking, I started off just blogging about once a week. It turned into much more than that once I got comfortable, but it started off really small and basic.

4) I made sure my goals really mattered to me. Being more in touch with the world and really learning how to cook were two habits I wanted to create and have for the rest of my life. These things mattered to me, and I thought long and hard about the reasons why and if they were truly things I wanted. If you don’t really want to achieve your goals, it won’t happen.

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Going into 2013, I have two new goals that I’ll be focusing on (I’ll post about these in the coming days), and I am absolutely sticking to my same method. I am going to keep them brief, focused, and without strict structure or measures. They will be a focus in my mind every day in 2013, and I’ll work toward them every day. But they won’t cause me unwanted stress, I won’t feel bound to any sort of structure and they won’t come with a heavy dose of pressure on myself. Like I said, all of this is personal, but this is what I found works best for me.

So I’d love to hear… do you make resolutions? What have you found works for you in terms of keeping them? Everyone is so different in terms of how they set and reach goals, so I’d love to hear what works for you!

Giveaway Winner…

Good morning everyone!

I hope you’re having a wonderful start to Christmas Eve. I’ve been in Florida with my family, enjoying plenty of down time, some sunshine, tons of Homeland episodes (I got through the entire first season in 3 days), and of course really really good food.

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I used a random number generator to chose the winner of the Erewhon Foods Cereal Giveaway… and the lucky winner is….

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Caroline at the Trendy Trainer: 

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Congrats, Caroline! Email me your address at jamiemendell@gmail.com and I’ll get the cereal on it’s way to you once I am back from FL (next week). Yay!

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Merry merry merry merry Christmas!

Healthy Cookie Recipe Roundup

Have you entered my cereal GiveAway yet? Just leave a comment to enter to win 4 boxes of my favorite Gluten Free, super healthy, delicious cereal! 

Cookies are everywhere. So many cookie recipes flying around the Internetz, cookies being made for the holidays, cookie swaps being held, cookie making parties being attended, so many cookies!

So I thought I’d do a little roundup of some of the healthy yet delicious cookie recipes I’ve come up with. It’s nice to bring a healthy cookie to a party for a change. I’m telling you– more people will appreciate it than you think!

1. Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies: no sugar, oil, or butter. Whole Wheat.

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2. Oatmeal Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies: honey is used instead of sugar, no oil or butter. Whole Wheat.

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3. Pumpkin Cookies with Raisinets: half the sugar of a normal pumpkin cookie, Whole Wheat flour.

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4. Compost Cookies-  Zucchini, Carrot, Chocolate Chip: ummm, they have VEGGIES in them. What?

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These were all tested by my friends and family and although they are quite healthy, they repeatedly got stamps of approval. Enjoy!

Do you have any healthy cookie recipes that are fit for the holidays? Link up your recipe in the comment section! 

My 100th Post and a Give Away!

This is the 100th Post that I’ve written for StudioEats. Hard to believe that a little idea a year ago turned into a whole lot more– you guys know more about me than I ever would have thought I’d share, and the support has been incredible. Thank you so much for continuing to read. This is so fun for me and I love connecting with all of you.

SO, since it’s my 100th post, I thought I’d do a little Give Away. I’ve been waiting to do this one for a while now, and I figure I might as well today.

So I have to admit, I am really picky about what cereal I eat. I don’t like to eat a lot of processed food, and to be honest, most cereals are pretty processed. But there are a couple of cereals that I love, that are made with just a few whole ingredients, and that I can trust. Erewhon brand is thankfully a brand I have found that makes cereals that I actually love to keep on hand.

A common breakfast for me these days… Buckwheat and Hemp Cereal with Blackberries and Banana:

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Check out the ingredients in the Buckwheat and Hemp Cereal:

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(sourced from Attune Foods Website)

You really can’t get more simple and straightforward than that. All of the cereals from Erewhon are JUST like this. Very simple, easy to pronounce, wholesome ingredients.

I first tried Erewhon cereals with the Buckwheat and Hemp variety when we were sent home from the Healthy Living Summit with a box to try out. Immediately, I emailed Attune Foods (the parent company to Erewhon) to see if they would be willing to send me a few boxes as a Give Away and also let me try a couple of new kinds. Since I hardly ever find cereal that I really like, I was SO excited about this one.

They were happy to send me a few items, so here we are today!

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So what do I have for ya?

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  • 1 box of Buckwheat and Hemp (this one is New, and it’s simply amazing. It’s the one in all of my pictures above)
  • 1 box of Strawberry Crisp (haven’t tried this one myself, but I trust that it is equally as good!)
  • 1 box of Crispy Brown Rice, No Salt Added (<– I tried this one out and I loved having it to add volume to a lot of different concoctions that I threw together. It’s really light (think Rice Krispies), but made from brown rice!)
  • 1 coupon for ANOTHER free box of Buckwheat and Hemp cereal

I’d also like to add that these are ALL Gluten Free. I don’t keep a GF diet, but I know some of you guys do, so it’s just nice to know that these all are.

So there you go! 4 things in 1 Giveaway.

And to enter, just leave a comment below telling me how you like to enjoy your cereal. With fruit? Straight up with milk? In yogurt? Lemme know yo! I’ll keep the Giveaway open until next Monday, 12/24 and will choose a winner then.

Sweet Potatoes Made Easy: Roasted with Maple and Fresh Rosemary

Good morning guys!

I’m really excited this morning. Yesterday I bought a desk that I am in LOVE with and I’m sitting at it typing away for the first time this morning. I decided I needed a desk if I were to get serious about getting anything done in my apartment, so I went on craigslist, searched for exactly what I wanted “shabby chic white desk”, and found one that fit the bill for super cheap. Not to mention that the nice couple delivered it to me from Jersey City for $15 within a few hours. The whole process went pretty much as smooth as it could have possibly gone and I’m sorta kinda obsessed with my new piece of furniture.

OKAY so now that I’ve calmed my excitement, let’s talk sweet potatoes! I almost didn’t get around to posting this because it had been so long since I made them (last Sunday), but then I thought no way, they HAVE to have this recipe. It’s a really really good one.

Allow me to introduce you to Maple Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

First of all, I just learned in my nutrition class the other day how many antioxidants sweet potatoes have. Like, they are packed. Additionally, they contain TONS of Vitamin A which is needed for your vision, bone growth and skin/membrane growth. So eat ’em up!

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The reason why I love this sweet potato recipe so much is that they are so simple to make, yet they make your kitchen smell ridiculously good and they add some serious flavor to a normal sweet potato.

All you have to do is chop up the sweet potatoes into bite sized chunks, add them to a bowl and drizzle a little bit of olive oil, maple syrup, and rosemary sprigs on top. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about a half hour.

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And then once they are done, just store them in a tupperware and eat them all week long. With anything and everything. Some examples of how I used these throughout the last week:

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Salad: bean burgers, veggies, avocado, sweet potato, spinach

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Snack: baked chicken, sweet potatoes, avocado, BBQ sauce

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Lunch: veggie stir fry with pesto

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Dinner: pasta with bean burger, sweet potato, spinach and pesto

Clearly I used up the same ingredients all week just in different combinations, but I loved having these tasty, soft sweet potatoes to add to everything.

I don’t know if I will ever make sweet potatoes any other way again. These were SO easy and absolutely delicious. So get your Vitamin A and antioxidants on! I hope you enjoy 🙂

Maple Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1.5 LARGE sweet potatoes, or 2 small ones, or however many you want. But this recipe is for what I made, which is using 1.5 very large potatoes.
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 5 or 6 fresh rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Wash sweet potatoes and roughly chop in to bite sized pieces.

3. In a large bowl, drizzle the maple syrup and olive oil on top of the potatoes. Add the rosemary leaves from the sprigs (just roughly pull off the leaves).

4. Toss everything thoroughly to coat. Lay ‘taters on a greased baking sheet (I use PAM) and pop into oven for about a half hour, or until cooked through.

WIAW {12.12.2012} My Friends Feed Me Well

Yesterday was a good day. And a GREAT food day. Added bonus– my friends cooked me 90% of my food, which makes it that much better. I am one lucky girl.

I ate some really really delicious stuff, so let’s get right to it. If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook Page, you’ve already seen most of this, but here we go anyway.  Thanks, Jenn for some more WIAW love.

Starting off on the right foot, I headed to Amanda’s for brunch. She knows exactly what I like and served me my favorite breakfast in the entire world. Toast, soft poached eggs, smoked salmon, fruit, and french press coffee. I mean, what else do you need?

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We chatted for a few hours while slowly eating and drinking a couple cups of coffee.

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My situation:

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I then headed to my first class. At around 4:00, I had some time to kill before my second class so I stopped in to a cafe to get something decadent. Mmmm hmmm, decadent. I was in the mood for some tea and a dessert, so I went for it.

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This is the house cheesecake from Cafe Angelique. Holy guacamole.

As I was debating with the waiter about what I should order, the lady sitting next to me was like “you should really order that cheesecake. It is SO good. And it’s pretty light.” Oh really? It’s light? Perfect.

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After the first half a bite, I knew that this cheesecake was not light, no it was not light at all. But it was one of the better things I have eaten in a while and I enjoyed every second of it. Along with Ginger tea. On my way out I asked the waiter, “do you guys ALWAYS have that cheesecake here?”. Thankfully, they do. I shall return.

After my second class, I got home at around 7:45 and headed to Katie’s where Nana’s Mac & Cheese awaited me. My friends rock.

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She even fed me vegetables. Thank god, because If I go a day without vegetables, I slightly freak out.

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I ate this times three. You don’t mess around with Nana’s mac & cheese:

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This is Katie’s grandmother’s famous Mac and Cheese, hence the name “Nana’s mac”. it is the one thing Katie knows how to cook and man, she does it well. She said she would leave the recipe in the comments section below so you guys all have it. It’s made with pure, simple ingredients and hits the spot every single time. I grew up going to Katie’s for Nana’s mac all the time during middle school and high school. This dish has been around forever, and never lets us down.

I ended the night with a couple squares of peppermint dark chocolate.

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The day was decadent, delicious and I feel so grateful to have friends who cook for me. Although I love cooking, it’s the best feeling to sit back and just enjoy something someone else made for you.

And now it’s Wednesday! Time to kick off the day. Have a good one 🙂

Moving From Ordinary to Special: Egg White,Veggie,Goat Cheese Frittata

This post is all about taking something rather ordinary and adding some fairy dust to it to make it something special. Something NOT ordinary. It’s about sprucing up the little things in your day-to-day to make the little moments feel even better.

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Like adding a fresh squeeze of lemon juice to your water. With some ice, and a straw, and you’ve got yourself sippin’ on a special glass of water. I know it sounds like nothing, but oo- la- la it can be so refreshing! Serving it in a cool mason jar, even better.

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Or adding some cinnamon and nutmeg to your morning cup of coffee. Served in your favorite mug.

Or downloading some of your favorite music to listen to during your morning commute. Christmas music perhaps? Some old school Beyonce? One of those DJ’s that you all know but that I don’t know? A Podcast?

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Or taking 10 extra minutes in the morning to get ready. To shower longer, to make yourself breakfast, to watch the Today show, to put on some fun jewelry.

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Or having so much fun doing laundry. Okay… this one stumps me. I don’t have any answers here. I HATE doing laundry!!

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Or taking time for yourself during your lunch break to call a friend and laugh about something silly and totally brain-less.

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I love trying to take something simple and “boring” and make it more interesting and fun. That’s all this recipe is about, really. I was in the mood for an omelette with veggies, but didn’t want just another omelette. I wanted it to be special.

So all I did was slowly sauté the veggies (I used onion, red pepper, zucchini, spinach and corn), add in some egg whites, some clumps of goat cheese, and let it cook on low for a few minutes until the whites were mainly cooked through. I didn’t stir it or anything, I just let it sit. I then stuck it in the oven and under the broiler and watched the edges and the top lightly brown and the cheese get all perfectly melty. It took about 5 minutes.

It took a few extra minutes than an ordinary omelette would have, but it came out looking beautiful, and tasting amazing. It felt good to put a little bit of extra love into my breakfast.

What’s funny is that when you continuously add some fairy dust to the little moments, all of those moments add up to an amazing day.

How are you going to make this seemingly ordinary Monday special??

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sooo, these are definitely the best cookies I have made to date. And yea, they are really really healthy.

Why do I like to make healthy cookies? (see below for more of my healthy cookie recipes)

Because I want to eat them every day. For snacks, for dessert, and as my friend said today “you can even eat these for breakfast, they are so good and healthy”.

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After I made these, I tasted one straight out of the oven and almost lost my cool. I tripped over shoes, books and bags to grab the nearest notebook and pen to write down the recipe. I could not forget a single ingredient. They were THAT good.

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These have no butter.

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No oil.

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No sugar. Just 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup and 1 Tablespoon of Honey. 

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They are whole wheat.


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But you better bet they have chocolate.


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They are simple. They are made of quality ingredients. They are good for you. And you can eat them any. time. you. want.


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Something happened and I became good at sharing this week. I actually LOVED giving these to my friends. ‘Tis the season, after all. I loved carrying a few in a zip lock bag in my purse and surprising someone with cookies. I loved watching my friends try them, staring at them in anticipation as they chewed, and then getting their stamp of approval. I hope you try these and like them too!

Just one of the many ways I enjoyed them this week…with some almond butter before bed:

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Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

(makes 14 cookies)

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup oats (I used old fashioned, not quick oats, but you can use either)
  • 1 banana, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mini morsel chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix together dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon in a large bowl.

2. Heat up the banana in the microwave for 1 minute, until it is really soft and mushy. Beat in the egg and the applesauce. Beat together until smooth (see above picture). Add in honey, maple syrup and vanilla.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

4. Stir in chocolate chips. Form into cookie form and add to greased baking sheet.

5. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

Other healthy cookie recipes I have made:

Compost Cookies: Zucchini/Carrot/Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

When You Just Need Some Wine

So many people have asked me something along the lines of… “so, now that you’re into this nutrition thing, do you still drink?” “can I still get you a beer?”.

Oh heck yea you can!

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I remember freshman year of college I used to not go out as often as I would have liked because I didn’t want to take in all of the calories of alcohol. Like I mentioned here, when I first went off to college I was super fit and was so worried about how I was going to maintain it.

But over the years I’ve learned that drinking, in somewhat of a moderate way, isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can help you maintain or lose weight.

How is that, you ask?

Because it is fun. And fun is a HUGE ingredient for weight maintenance or weight loss. In my case, I think FUN is and was probably the MAIN ingredient that helped me effortlessly lose weight. Having more fun in my life.

Another health coach who I follow, Sarah Jenks, has an entire program devoted to this concept. It is called “Live More, Weigh Less” and the premise is about how getting a life helps the weight fall off. I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy.

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I believe that when you have more of a life, a fun-filled life, you feel more fulfilled in general. Feeling fulfilled makes you feel whole and happy. And when you feel whole and happy, you don’t really care about food. You don’t need the food to fill any voids.

So the moral of the story? Embrace your wine. Or your beer, or your jalapeño margarita. Or a mojito (my weakness in the summertime) I’m not saying to go binge drink every night. That would make you feel terrible. But, enjoy it, have fun with it, smell it, taste it, savor it. I know this girl agrees.

Let loose. It’s good for the soul.

Here are some tips that I have developed over the years for incorporating drinking as part of a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat dinner before you drink. In college, I would try to not eat before I drank to counterbalance the calories. This just ends up backfiring because you end up eating more late at night when your appetite is raging. Now, I always eat a decent dinner beforehand. Except for at Happy Hours. Those are always interesting… no time to eat dinner beforehand… Oops.
  • Stick to low sugar drinks…. but not all the time! Personally, I don’t like the sugary drinks that much, but I do love an occasional awesome cocktail and real beer. For the most part, I’ll stick to wine, beer, and vodka/soda, but if a good cocktail catches my eye, I go for it. Again, have fun with it.
  • Drink some water, at some point.
  • Peanut butter toast is a great go-to food at the end of the night. When you come back late, you’re kind of hungry, and need something before you go to sleep. Peanut butter toast is my go-to. It’s hearty, healthy, and beats 5-5-5- Domino Pizza (oh, college). Well, ok, maybe it doesn’t really beat Domino’s in taste, but your body will thank you the next day.
  • Start the next day off with a hearty breakfast.

That’s about all I’ve got for ya! Almost the weekend!!

What are your thoughts around drinking fitting into a healthy lifestyle? Any tips you have?

WIAW {12.5.2012} and some Excitement

Morning! Before I get to my What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) eats, I have some really exciting news. Last night, I finally hit publish and launched the Health Coaching page on my blog. Check it out! I will have more information about this coming in the next week or so, but in a nutshell, I’ve decided that I want to put my Health Coaching degree to full use and start coaching people on attaining a healthier relationship with food, their own bodies, and their weight. I talked about my entire Health Journey here, and my struggle with weight and emotional eating, and now want to help others free themselves of the burden this can have on their life. More to come on this! Much more.

ANYWAY, on to things equally as important… Breakfast! Thanks again to Jenn for hosting WIAW.

Rye toast, egg whites, melted American cheese. An orange, and coffee.

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Must I remind you about how much I love my egg and cheeses? 😉

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Lots of work was done in the morning, then a stroll through Central Park for about 45 minutes, and then Lunch.

Spinach base, chopped up cucumbers, carrots and red pepper. About a third of an avocado, 2 Black Bean Lentil Veggie Burgers, and roasted sweet potatoes. Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, truffle olive oil, and salt.


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Sooo, because of the 2 hours of prep I did on Sunday, this whole salad took me literally 3 minutes to throw together! The veggies were already chopped, the burgers and the ‘taters were already cooked…this was so nice and easy! The prep really does pay off- I never would have had the patience to put this salad together if it took more than a few minutes.

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So colorful 🙂

In between two of my classes, I had a little bit of a break so I found a coffee shop, VBar, down by NYU and stopped in to get a few things done. I hardly ever have a second cup of coffee, but I needed it yesterday.

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Then it was off to my second class at Columbia. How pretty are the lights around their entrance gate??

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Right before my 5:00 class started, I had a snack to hold me over.

A juicy pear and cheddar cheese slices.

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Dinner was eaten on the late side and was also really quick and easy.

Chopped up Grilled Chicken, Whole Wheat Couscous, Sautéed Mushrooms, Slivered Almonds. Again, all things I made on Sunday during my massive prep session.

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And finally, a cookie (recipe coming soon) and almond butter to finish off the night.

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And that’s a wrap! Have a great Wednesday.