Does Anything Beat Free Cookies?

I thought I had the most ingenious plan for breakfast.

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I’d whipped together plain Greek yogurt with a scoop of Acai powder for a sweet/tart flavoring, thrown on plenty of toppings and photographed away…

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…Only to dream of yesterday’s dessert as I was eating it!

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I may or may not have “sold” my contact information to SunTrust bank in exchange for the goods…but oh how good it was!

The moment of ecstasy from the free chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness will be worth the countless phone calls and fliers that I’m sure I’ll receive in the near future!

Also in the {very} near future: Chelsey’s vegan egg salad!

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I stole a few spoonfuls from the batch I made last night as I was assembling my sandwich, and I can already vouch for its deliciousness.

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Is it lunchtime yet?

And more importantly, will CookieTrust be back in my building’s lobby anytime soon?

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Raw Balsamic Zucchini “Pickles”

I really, really hate pickles. I hate them so much that I legitimately worry about my future pregnancy cravings.

Before you even ask, I have a LONG time before that even comes into play!

That’s not to say that during certain times of the month (ahem), there’s nothing I want more than a briny, salty and crunchy snack.

Enter my new favorite summer munchie: raw balsamic zucchini “pickles.”

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All of the tang with none of the actual pickle-ness? (And none of the babies, thank you very much?) I’m in love!

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Raw Balsamic Zucchini “Pickles”

Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free

Makes two servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/8 cup light balsamic dressing (such as Newman’s Own)
  • Sprinkle of sea salt

Directions:

  • Slice zucchini in half, then into slim spears.
  • In a shallow dish, arrange zucchini slivers and drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle salt over the top, cover and allow to marinate overnight (or longer).
  • Snack your face off (side of ice cream optional)

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I wonder what would come of a zucchini relish…

Do you ever get random cravings for foods you know you dislike? Do you go with it or try to find an alternative?


When Best Friends Are Coming to Town

You wake up at the buttcrack of dawn (which in your world equates to 6 AM), excited for work to come and go.

You assemble the quickest breakfast possible – maybe if you eat fast, 7 pm will get here sooner.

Chobani bowl

You cram in all the fresh fruits and nutrients possible, knowing that tonight’s dinner won’t exactly be health-conscious.

fruit nuts flax chia

You knock over empty planters in your excitement, trying to quickly clear a place for breakfast photography.

plain yogurt with fruit and nuts

You choose your lunch specifically because you know you have an older, not-yet-posted photo of it and can spend the extra two minutes finding the perfect outfit.

vegan taco salad

You abandon said perfect outfit because you remember – just as you’re walking out the door – that your office is FREEZING and that bare legs and arms will lead to curling up under your desk in a ball with a cup of coffee, wondering where you can build a bonfire for warmth.

We don’t really need conference room A, right?

You grab quickie snacks to keep your energy up until it’s time for burger assembly and massive face-stuffing to go down at Fuddruckers.

banana snack

Veggie burger with the works, here I come!


Hey Look, There’s a Hole in my Body

In contrast to Fridays, Thursdays are so boring.

Fridays bring the promise of an entire weekend of shenanigans. Fridays are bright and fun and a little bit crazy. Thursdays, on the other hand, are quite tame. You’re so close to the weekend – but not close enough to celebrate. Your brain is entirely over your week’s to-do list, but you still have to power through eight more hours on the clock before unwinding.

Unless, of course, your Thursday evening is spent at a tattoo parlor…

pierced navel

Oh hey, there’s a rhinestone in my navel. How did that happen?

I suppose the spontaneity began earlier on in the day, when I decided on a whim to swing by Cafe Annie’s for a mid-work snack (and leftovers to pack for lunch tomorrow!)

pita bread

As much as I love Cafe Annie’s authentic Mediterranean food, their pita bread is always underwhelming. Too much density, not enough puffiness!

That didn’t stop me from eating several slices though, along with the miniature salad doused in tzaziki!

Cafe Annie's Orlando

After work, I stopped at the Bloodmobile to do the blood donation thang:

orlando bloodmobile

Apparently, having a needle in my arm for 10 minutes triggered the desire to have a needle in my navel for 10 seconds.

I can’t stop looking at the sparkliness! Top that, Friday!

Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Have any of them been a spontaneous idea, or were they all thought out and planned? Would you ever consider another? I love how tattoos look on other people, but I’m too big of a wuss to get one myself. With three ear piercings and the new belly ring, I’ve run out of things I’m willing to pierce!


Adjusting and Adapting

Adjusting to a morning workout routine is hard!

tired dog

I want no part in this, mommy. Just let me go back to sleep. 

If you can move beyond the minor matter of being awake before the sun is, you still have to deal with the “get everything done before work” debacle. I’m still trying to figure out how to offset some of the rush by handling as much as possible the previous evening.

Make-ahead breakfasts help, but this morning, I was in the mood for something savory rather than the overnight oats I’d prepped last night.

In about three minutes, I’d defrosted some frozen kale and plopped it onto a Whole Foods whole wheat English muffin with a sprinkling of cheddar Daiya. It hardly put a dent into my time budget, but it definitely put a dent in my post-workout hunger!

kale and cheese sandwich

I grabbed a few snacks for later down the road:

organic apple and pear

The promise of a warm cup of coffee after settling in at work sounds incredibly appealing right now!

How do you adjust to a change in your routine? How long does it usually take you to feel “solidified” in the new schedule?


These Pumps Weren’t Made for Walking

pink tracy reese pumps

But that’s just what I did…

It’s been so overcast here in Orlando today that I had to infuse a little color into my life with my new fuschia Tracy Reese pumps! It’s not my fault that I was so excited about dinner that I forgot to switch into flats before walking home!

vegan Mexican salad

I rocked out even more color with a huge Mexican-inspired salad. This beast included romaine, roma tomatoes, fresh avocado, 365 chili lime refried beans and Daiya cheddar!

Mexican style salad

My sweet tooth promptly kicked in and I snagged a trio of fresh summer berries for dessert:

berry trio

Off to rest my feet! See you tomorrow!


Like Time Never Passed: A 2010-Style Weekend

Oh, Monday, how you flew here! I spent a glorious weekend in Lakeland reliving 2010 – one of my favorite years of my life (so far!) Where has the time gone – and how did it go so fast?

I’d driven back to Lakeland to see old friends, and on the way, I passed the school where I used to work. (For new readers, when the blog began I was a teacher at an after-school and summer program for our inner city kids.)

picnic  bench in the shade

Even though it was exactly the way I remembered it, it felt so strange seeing the playgrounds deserted. I seriously missed my munchkins!

older school bus

I grew SO much with those children, and I had some of the most amazing experiences with them. I never thought I would miss teaching, but for a moment, I actually did! I can’t believe it’s been a year since the most amazing summer of my life.

After a seriously nostalgic moment at the school, I headed to my old foodie stomping ground to grab some fuel for a run.

lakeland publix

Random Trivia Tidbit: that Publix was in the Southgate Shopping Center, where Edward Scissorhands was filmed. That’s Lakeland’s Claim to Fame!

edward scissorhands southgate

I snagged the very first “nutritionally-conscious” food I’d ever bought: a chocolate brownie Clif Bar. 

chocolate brownie clif bar brownie clif bar

In all seriousness, when I’d started the blog in 2010, these chocolate Clif Bars were one of my daily foods. My university cafeteria sold them as their version of “healthy food”, and I started purchasing them for snacks instead of Butterfingers. Little did I know it would be the first of many little healthy swaps!

In keeping with my 2010 throwback mindset, I cranked a Rise Against Pandora station as I headed out to Lake Hollingsworth for a run (and walk – hello, humidity!)

lake hollingsworth

Aside from the people, jogging the lake is seriously one of the things I missed the most!

Florida Southern College

lake hollingsworth lakeland

After the run, I headed over for some much-needed friend time. We snuck in a stop at BD’s Mongolian Grill (insanely awesome), a screening of X-Men (insanely odd) and a Sunday boating and tubing on the Chain of Lakes (insanely serious unexpected workout!) I tucked away the camera and decided to just live those experiences rather than photograph them…

But I busted the camera back out first thing this morning to catch breakfast!

Whole Foods Honey Crunch & Oats

Since Whole Foods was right on the way as I drove home, it was only logical to stop in and purchase a few supplies for the week 😉

One of the picks was 365 Organic Honey Crunch & Oats cereal. It seemed like it would be similar to my favorite Kashi Honey Almond Crunch (another favorite meal choice in my dorm circa 2010!)

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I was on board with the 5g of sugar per serving, but because the protein was a little lower than I’d have liked (only 2 grams in 3/4 cup), I bumped it up with the addition of a few slivered almonds and chia seeds – plus a few flax seeds for those Omega 3’s.

365 honey crunch and oats cereal

Boom. And that’s how it’s done.

Since it’s not 2010 anymore and I don’t get to mosey into work at 2 p.m. after my classes get out, I better get my behind off to my “grown-up” job. Catch ya later!

Do you ever go back to places you used to live, work, go to school, etc…just for “old time’s sake?”