Category Archives: Lunch

Day 6: Happy Birthday to me!

Hey guys! Sorry I am so behind on my updates, this week has been crazy and today is no better! Luckily things are about to slow down 😉

Thursday was my birthday and it was a happy one indeed!

For breakfast, I had oats with banana and peanut butter. I forgot to photograph it, so here is a “recycled” photo.

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Mid-morning, I snacked on more grapes. I’m loving these!

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Lunch was leftover spaghetti squash with the veggie chickpea sauce I made on Tuesday night 🙂

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And an orange!

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Then later in the afternoon, I finished off this bag of edamame before heading to the gym to lift weights, using the same routine I did on Tuesday.

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For dinner, we went to Ramsi’s Cafe on the World, which is one of my favorite vegan-friendly places here in Louisville.

Mom treated me to a glass of Chardonnay which was great, I hadn’t had any in a while!

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Then we ordered the hummus appetizer, which I was so pleased that many of my relatives tried…and liked! 🙂

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For my dinner, I had the Roasted Vegetable Masala. I divided this huge portion in half and took the rest home to have for lunch the next day!

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It was delicious! I loved the sweet potato, carrots and all the other veggies inside, plus it was just a little spicy. Almost as good as going to an Indian restaurant.

Everyone else really enjoyed their food too and we had excellent service. I’m so glad everything worked out so well 🙂

We skipped dessert at the restaurant, but later on at home I wanted something else, so I made myself a little birthday treat!

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How cute is that? 🙂

I had a great birthday and I know that 28 is going to be the best age yet!

Day 5: Let the celebrations commence!

Even though Wednesday was the day before my birthday, I still got to start celebrating early 🙂

Reason number 5,682 why I love my sweet, sweet husband:

He had heard me complaining about how terrible my blender has been lately and here I thought he never listened? Ha ha. He showed me! Check out the beautiful new green smoothie maker:


And good riddance old friend. You’ve worked well the last 4.5 out of 5 years but it’s time to retire now.


Anyone know what to do with old appliances? Can they be recycled?

Of course I celebrated my first birthday gift with a delicious green smoothie. Just look at it go!

I even spoiled myself and used the dispenser!


Result: A yummy, creamy, delicious green smoothie (1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, three handfuls of spinach).

I made sure to send my husband a message about how awesome this smoothie was and how much easier it is to make in a shiny new blender. I’m so spoiled!

Mid-morning, I had some tea and grapes.

Then for lunch, I sort of threw together a new combination. One thing I realized about this challenge is that even though there are a ton of recipes out there that I could use, I love being forced to come up with my own based on what’s in the pantry. It makes me so creative!

Chickpeas on top of a sweet potato, drizzled with salsa verde! Definitely interesting, but totally delicious and filling too. I also had an organic apple on the side 🙂

I snacked on some almonds before heading to the gym for an awesome treadmill run. Wow, those are three words I rarely put together, ha ha.

Then I went home, showered and got ready for girl’s night. I am so lucky to have such good friends who make me feel special!

For dinner, Margie made what is probably my favorite food ever…FALAFEL!

A pita pocket filled with lettuce, diced tomatoes, hummus, and falafel balls topped with tahini. Yesssssss!

Note: this meal is technically not challenged approved, but still very healthy, delicious and special because it was my birthday. I thoroughly enjoyed it, which goes back to that comment about enjoying stuff more when you don’t eat it every day.

I had this plate times two!

For my birthday dessert, per tradition, we had some pink bubbly!

And some yummy vegan cupcakes that Courtney made herself!

She was not happy with them, but I thought they were delicious. Sometimes things can look funny but actually taste great. Plus when a friend makes something special for you, it tastes even better, am I right?

She used this recipe, including a special strawberry glaze that was full of sugar but oh so tasty!


I enjoyed my birthday dessert, very very much 🙂

Thank you girls for giving me such a special night! I love you all 🙂

Day 4: Oops!

Sorry for the short lapse in posting! I promise, I’m not having another meltdown. In fact, life has been so good this week that I’ve just been enjoying it too much to keep up with blogging 🙂

Today is my 28th birthday and I feel absolutely fabulous!

But let’s back up…I have a lot to catch you all up on.

For breakfast on Tuesday, I had oats in a jar!


Well, technically it was oat bran in a jar, but you know what I mean.

I cooked 1/2 cup oat bran with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup of water, then threw it in the PB jar with a sliced banana and enjoyed the beautiful creation.


On Tuesday, I ended up drinking two cups of coffee at work, but I am glad to say that I have not had a diet soda since May 1st! And now that a few days have passed, I don’t even miss them 🙂

For a snack, I had some grapes. So refreshing and juicy!


Lunch was leftover beans & tomatoes on top of salad greens. I love making leftovers salads!

And an orange. I’m really loving fruit these days!

I mentioned my two cups of coffee already but I also had some decaf peppermint tea to help warm me up. I love tea and I’m actually kind of glad it’s been cold at work because otherwise I’d be too warm to drink any!

Later in the afternoon, I snacked on some edamame before my workout at the gym.

Then when I got home, I refueled with a special dinner…spaghetti squash!

I wrote an Examiner article on spaghetti squash a while back and I’m so glad to have it back in my life and remember why I loved it so much! I actually prefer spaghetti squash to pasta now, which is especially great for this 30 day challenge.

It’s just so easy to make, just cut it in half and bake in the oven at 375* for 35 minutes. It’s also so cheap (usually around $1/lb and I just buy the smallest one I can find) and a great way to get in more veggies!

I decided to step my sauce up a notch, using these ingredients.

I drained an rinsed the beans and threw half the can, with half the jar of sauce, into a pot. Then I chopped up 1/2 a green pepper and 1/2 an onion and stirred those in, simmering on med-low heat for about 20 minutes, while the spaghetti squash cooled.

Et voila!

This was so flavorful and amazingly delicious. The eggplant sauce combined well with the peppers and onion. There is something so satisfying about preparing a meal like this yourself and so much healthier than eating anything out of a box. Even though I used already-made sauce, I still feel like this meal was so fresh and whole 🙂

I’m so excited, I get to eat the leftovers for lunch today 😉

For “dessert” I had a small cup of oats with raisins and natural peanut butter. I’m obsessed! I’m pretty sure I could live off of oats and peanut butter, at least for a little while…

I can’t believe we are almost a week into this challenge already! I’ve noticed a big difference in my energy levels and I feel good about removing certain junk from my life that was weighing me down.

But, for dinner and dessert last night, I relaxed some of the “rules” and I really enjoyed myself. It was my birthday celebration with the girls at our Wednesday night potluck. I learned a valuable lesson too — there’s just something about making certain foods be for special occasions only makes them so much more enjoyable than if I ate them every day. Don’t you agree?

Stay tuned to find out what…

Day 3: Smoothies and Snackiness

For breakfast this morning, I had something I hadn’t had in quite a while…a smoothie!

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Then I quickly realized why I haven’t had it in a while. My blender really sucks, I think I need a new one stat. However, several stops and stirs later, this finally blended up to be a good one.

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This smoothie contained: 1 cup plain almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen cherries, a few handfuls of spinach, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/2 tbsp maca powder. The maca gave it a weird aftertaste again, I’m not sure how to mask it better. 

Mid-morning at work, I had a cup of coffee and some nuts.

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I really love the taste of natural almonds, more so than roasted or salted ones.  That’s not true of a lot of other nuts!

For lunch, I had another leftover black bean burger on a salad with salsa.

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Plus a gala apple and Bora Bora bar, which I don’t think fits into the challenge but it helped round out the meal!

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It tasted really good too! I may have to try another flavor once this challenge is over 🙂

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For my afternoon snack, I had 1/2 cup of granola with a splash of unsweetened rice milk. This was sort of a last minute decision this morning when I was packing my bag, but it ended up being great!

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I also had two cups of tea this afternoon as it was quite chilly in the office with the air conditioning on.

After work, I went for a 2 mile run, stretched and did some abs. It felt good to work up a sweat again, it had been a few days!

I am happy to say that I haven’t had a diet soda in two days, even though today I wanted one really badly. But then I remembered the headache and stomach troubles they give me. Not to mention they cause food cravings.

Thankfully, I made something even better when I got home: a POM Seltzer 🙂

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So refreshing and tasty, without all those nasty chemicals and artificial sweeteners!

For dinner, I heated up some leftover beans & tomatoes from last night and threw them on a sweet potato with some leftover veggies on the side.

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Then while watching House and 24 with Josh (well, he watches, I blog and straighten my hair, ha ha) I snacked on some dried apples and oats with peanut butter.

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The snack monster started to creep in, so I came upstairs and brushed my teeth. I have to use a special $16 toothpaste in the evenings to protect my teeth from cavities, so trust me I don’t want to waste it!

Day 3 = Totally awesome.

What are your tips for dealing with “snackiness?”

Day 2: Headache & lots o’ bananas

I woke up this morning with a really bad headache that is just now starting to go away as I write this (8 o’clock at night). I think I got overheated in my sleep or I’m really sensitive to weather changes (it’s been hot, humid and rainy today). Or perhaps a combination of the two.

But I ate a good breakfast before lying on the couch and going back to sleep for four more hours! Yikes, I must’ve needed it.

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Pumpkin Raisin Oats

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp raw wheat germ
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • Heat almond milk and water on high until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in oats. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Add in pumpkin and stir for an additional minute or so, allowing pumpkin to heat up. Remove from stove, stir in wheat germ and top with raisins and peanut butter.

When I woke up from my really long nap, I was ready for lunch. But first, I had to walk Suzie who got REALLY wet from the monsoon going on outside.

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Poor wet dog!

For lunch, I had my last Gardein “chicken” breast. It’s technically processed but it expired before the end of the challenge, so I decided to go ahead and use it up.

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I had it on top of whole wheat couscous with some Brussels sprouts on the side. It was hard not to sprinkle salt or add Smart Balance Light to the veggies, but they tasted just fine without!

Before I went grocery shopping, I snacked on a banana.

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I also picked up a black coffee while I was out. I didn’t want to send myself into caffeine withdrawal while I already had a headache! But it made grocery shopping quite relaxing! I may have to do that more often ;-) 

For dinner, I decided to work with these two ingredients.

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I drained and rinsed the beans well before adding them to the pot with the tomatoes. I heated them over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.

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While the beans + tomatoes cooked, I heated up some mixed veggies in the microwave.

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I poured a portion of the bean mixture over some whole grain brown rice that I made in the steamer/rice cooker.

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It was a weird looking plate of food but it sure tasted good!

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In this challenge, it is suggested that alcohol be enjoyed in moderation, so I went ahead and finished off the half glass that was left in a bottle I got last week.

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I’m not going to buy anymore wine for home until the challenge is over, but I do plan on enjoying a drink on my birthday 🙂

For dessert, I made banana soft serve with a twist!

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I made the regular banana soft serve recipe and when it was just about done, I added a handful of blackberries and blended it for a few more seconds.

It wasn’t as thick and creamy as the bananas alone, but it still tasted great!

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Day 2, in spite of a possible migraine, went pretty darn good too. Hope all my fellow challengers are feeling strong 🙂

30 Whole Days – Day 1

In my last post, I discussed how I have decided to go forward with a 30 day whole foods challenge started by Happy Herbivore.

As I was preparing for this challenge, I couldn’t help but think it’s amazing how much my personal food philosophy has changed over the years.

I first got “healthy” in 2007 by making lots of lifestyle changes (drinking water, cutting out fast food, exercising, etc.) and lost a lot of weight in the process. But it wasn’t until later that I learned about things like artificial sweeteners, which prompted me to switch to a “crap free” approach to eating.

Then in late 2009, I decided to give vegan a shot after going back and forth with vegetarianism for over a year and now here I am. This challenge is just a reminder that I need to eat whole foods and not rely on processed stuff, no matter what my diet preferences.

I feel like the first day went really well!

For breakfast, I had oats (cooked with unsweetened rice milk) with banana and Krema natural peanut butter (which is made of just peanuts).

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Then I went out and did some shopping with my mom where I enjoyed a black Starbucks coffee (which I haven’t done in a while—I’d gotten hooked on their soy milk).

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I didn’t feel the need for a snack so I just ate lunch when I got hungry. I made some leftover vegetarian baked beans poured on top of a sweet potato and some leftover green beans.

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And later, I snacked on an organic Pink Lady apple before heading to a Derby party.

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I was a little nervous about the party food, but I have to say this challenge has given me more will power, at least today!

I snacked on lots of veggies with salsa and some fruit.

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And since everyone else was eating BBQ and chicken salad, I brought my own black bean burger which I laid on top of salad greens and topped with more salsa 🙂

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While the salsa was technically processed, it was all natural and was a lot better choice than some of the other dips or dressings I could’ve used.

I snacked on a few banana slices and carrots while we were there. One thing I didn’t plan on was the one cup of Coke Zero I had. But I think I’m getting over it – my stomach got upset and I got a headache after I drank it. Hmm…I had water the rest of the time!

When I got home later tonight, I felt hungry and knew I was low on grains for the day, so I had a small cup of oatmeal with peanut butter and some peppermint tea.

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I’m sure I am going to face more challenges, but one day in I have to say: so far, so good.

On the mend

I think I am finally starting to feel better! I think it helps that the rain is finally clearing out of here for a couple of days and thus my allergies are letting up.

Breakfast this morning was a beautiful creation…I am so in oats mode right now, at least until it warms up again!

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This bowl contained 1/2 cup oats cooked with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup water, 1 tbsp flax, and topped with blackberries, walnuts and peanut butter.

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I recently went back to more “natural” peanut butter (only ingredient peanuts) and it’s so tasty!

I stayed on the couch again with Suzie drinking coffee for most of the morning. Then I decided to get up and try to do some house work which worked up an appetite for pita and hummus 🙂

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For lunch, I was really craving some more vegetarian baked beans (they are so good, must be the brown sugar, ha ha) which I had today with cauliflower and couscous.

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I had an appointment to get my hair cut this afternoon and afterwards I ran a few errands, taking some magazines to the used book store and picking up some new hair products at Target 😉

My hair is awesome, will have to take pics later!

While I was out, I snacked on a peanut butter cookie Larabar and an iced coffee with soymilk.

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A few hours later, I made Mama Pea’s black bean burgers for dinner. It had been a while, they are so good!

I started off with a romaine salad and shiraz.

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I had my burger in a pita pocket with ketchup and some corn on the cob on the side 🙂

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I snacked on some strawberries with peanut butter while watching “It Might Get Loud” with Josh. Excellent film for anyone that likes music 😉

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Perhaps I spoke too soon? My nose is all stopped up and I keep sneezing! But my energy is back, so I know I can function normally again.

We’ll see how I feel tomorrow! Hopefully I can get an easy workout in 🙂

I keep forgetting I did a mini marathon four days ago!

Unintentional three-day weekend

Today’s breakfast featured the following:

001I usually prefer to use Libby’s brand, but I’ve had a hard time finding it so I picked this up at Whole Foods instead.

I was going to have a green monster this morning but I woke up not feeling so hot and decided what I really needed was a nice bowl of pumpkin oats 🙂

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This bowl contained 1/2 cup oats cooked with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup pumpkin stirred in, pumpkin pie spice, 1 tbsp flax, and topped with raisins, walnuts and all natural peanut butter.

It was so delicious.

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I still felt bad so I decided to stay home from work and slept until after 11 a.m.! I must have needed it.

For lunch, I had an Amy’s non-dairy burrito and a romaine salad with vinaigrette.

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I hadn’t had an Amy’s burrito in a while and it was really good!

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I must be fighting off an illness because my appetite has been insane today! After lunch, I had a pita pocket with peanut butter and chocolate chips.

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Then I took another nap on the couch with the dog and woke up REALLY hungry again, so I had another pita pocket with some hummus.

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When it came time for dinner, I had only one thing on my mind…baked beans on a sweet potato!

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And whole wheat couscous!

Then afterwards, I started to think about dessert. I finished off the chocolate chips earlier in the day but remembered the many frozen bananas that resided in my freezer!

Banana soft serve!!!

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I am still amazed that this is ONLY bananas! But after a few bites, I decided to add some peanut butter 😉

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I’m still not feeling so great and think I will head to bed early. I’m hoping it’s just allergies and the crazy weekend I had that just ran me down a bit.

Hopefully, some rest will help and I can get back to work tomorrow!

Bigger meals = fewer snacks?

When I woke up this morning, I found a container of GoodBelly that I hadn’t opened yet and only a few days to drink it!

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I really liked this Black Currant Flavor but the mango is still my favorite. I also made another bowl of stove top oats for breakfast, I think I’m hooked 🙂

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Aren’t they gorgeous? This bowl contained 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, cooked with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup Silk vanilla almond milk.

Then I stirred in 1/2 cup pumpkin, some flax, pumpkin pie spice, a drop of agave nectar and then topped it all with almond butter and raisins. Yum 🙂

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This filled me up for a long time, including through a 2+ hour dental appointment!

It got me thinking about trying to eat bigger meals more often and maybe that way I’d snack less?

When I finally got to work, I had a banana and some black coffee. I did want coffee today!

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I didn’t pack my lunch on purpose because I couldn’t decide on anything, so I went to Subway, which I hadn’t done at work in a LONG time.

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I got a 6-inch veggie delight sandwich on wheat bread (contains honey). Since half of my mouth was still sort of numb, it took me forever to eat it!

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This sandwich contained lettuce, tomatoes, onion, green peppers, banana peppers and mustard. I skipped some of the other veggies since I didn’t want to have to chew anything too crunchy.

I couldn’t pass up the Sun Chips though! 😉

I ate lunch around 1 and it took me a while to eat it. I didn’t feel the need to eat a snack at work that afternoon. So it would seem a bigger breakfast and lunch kept me full longer, hmm…

On the way hope, I picked up some red, red wine.

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I’d had white the last few times, so I was ready for a change!

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This was pretty tasty. I think Shiraz is one of my favorite blends of any brand. Plus it’s the name of one of my favorite restaurants, ha ha!

For dinner, I had leftover Indian food, plus a sweet potato with Smart Balance Light and cinnamon.

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It was nice to eat at home since I had take out for lunch!

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Josh and I watched some TV and movies, during which I enjoyed some oats with AB and chocolate chips.

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And popcorn!

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Do you eat three smaller meals and snacks or three larger meals during the day?

I go back and forth, but most of the time I do the smaller meals and snacks. I’m thinking of changing it up for a while though.

Tax Day

Thursday was an interesting day, which started with me mailing our taxes at almost the last minute (well, 10 a.m. at least)!

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And also an old fashioned, cooked on the stove top bowl of oats 🙂

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Not only do they taste better, but they make for a better presentation too!

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When I got to work, I had some tea and mixed nuts.

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Then I had one of the best lunches ever! I hadn’t had this in a while and I recently saw Caitlin enjoying it, so I decided to add it back to the rotation 😉

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While I think vegetarian baked beans are my favorite, this works well with black beans, pinto beans, etc. Veggies + protein = ❤

And I enjoyed some ripe, juicy strawberries too!

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For my afternoon snack, I tried some new sun dried tomato hummus with carrots.

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I ate it all, but it left a weird aftertaste and I’m not sure that I really liked it that much. But oh well, I tried something new 😉

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After work, I went to the gym and ran 2 miles.

So far I have only missed one day of running this week, so I feel pretty good. I’ve been taking lots of short walks at work too to get my Vitamin D!

For dinner, I went with Indian. Pre-packaged Indian, that is!

012 013I thought I checked all the packages well at the store but that dang rice contains milk! 😦

Just shows that even at 7+ months into this, it’s still easy to make mistakes and stuff slips in. It still turned out to be a nice dinner.

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It wasn’t the best I’d ever had but it was pretty good. I also had some broccoli with Smart Balance Light for some more veggies.

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After dinner digested, I took Suzie to the dog park for a little bit so she could get her exercise too! She loves it there. I’m so glad we got her signed up.

When we got back, I was really craving non-dairy ice cream, but instead of spending a lot to get some high calorie, sugary treat, I made a much healthier version…Banana soft serve!

I just threw one frozen banana in the food processor.

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Then processed until it got creamy, stopping to scrape the sides a few times.

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I topped mine with almond butter and chocolate chips! So much better than processed, store bought ice cream 🙂

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I watched “500 Days of Summer” which was cute but also a little depressing. It was a beautifully shot movie though, made me want to live in a big(ger) city 😉

I got hungry again later that night, so I had a small cup of oat bran with almond butter and chips.

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Do you wait until the last minute to do your taxes?

I don’t usually wait until the last day but we had to pay state taxes and I had to wait until we got the money together for that!