Archive for ‘Food for Thought’

March 4, 2013

Clarity

If I learned anything this summer, it was the power of the mind. I have a tendency to push myself beyond my limits, often relying on rushing endorphins to power through above and beyond. The good news is that now, when I start to feel myself reaching my breaking point [insert headaches, fatigue, etc., here…] I force myself to slow down, take a deep breath and embrace some much needed downtime. This weekend, I rebooted and boy, did it feel good. Saturday I slept in, clocked 8 miles, hit up the grocery store and spent the day enjoying Mike’s company. Although we originally had a Broadway show ambition, we settled on a lazy afternoon full of goofing off and planning for some exciting stuff in the works. Ahem, we may not be city slickers for much longer. More on that to come! A delightful salmon dinner by moi later on made things all the more perfect. Gosh, I love the fish market near our apartment. So fresh!

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My guy was off early yesterday morning for work so I got things started off on the right foot with a solid gym pump. Bikini season is closer than you think, ya’ll! I’m determined to have fiercely lean, sculpted arms by then. Besides that, I had quite the productive “me” day. My lunches for the week were all prepped, as were my outfits (pressed, accessorized…the works.) A hair and facial mask were completed, followed by a gal pal gabfest for over an hour on the phone. I find it funny how rarely I actually talk on the phone nowadays. It’s all texting and I don’t like it. Would you agree? After hanging up, I chose a new book over television (win!) before whipping up a simple stir-fry dinner with spaghetti squash and tofu shirataki noodles. See you never, pasta! My makeup brushes were then cleaned for the first time in, well, too long and a fresh coat of pink polish was applied with some sparkly accents. Love! Before I knew it, I was hitting the sack early to get my beauty rest to tackle the week off recharged and bright-eyed. Yep, this was just the weekend I needed.
How do you prep for success? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

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April 19, 2012

I Run For ______.

I have always considered myself an athlete but never a “runner.” Runners enjoy long distances, eat energy chews or gels and pay a boatload of money to participate in what many consider hell. After completing my first half-marathon, however, I guess I have earned the title I’ve always held on a pedestal. With 13.1 now under my belt and a few days of rest to allow for my adrenaline levels to balance out, I’ve been mulling over the excitement Sunday offered. I feel so accomplished and learned quite a bit I’d love to share with you. Here are 10 half-marathon tips from a first timer’s point of a view. Enjoy some of the mouthwatering meals I’ve been fueling up on, too! I’m on an edamame hummus, canned salmon and seeds/nuts kick, as you can see…

10. I Run For _____. This was the quote that was plastered to a racer’s back that I ran behind for a good chunk of my race. It stuck with me and gave me goosebumps as I mentally prepared a bullet list of “why’s.” Yes, you set the goal but why are you putting yourself through this? What’s the reason behind the struggle, the pain, the buzzing of that 6 a.m. alarm? Reflecting on what has motivated me to make this commitment not only kept my mind going, it reminded me of the reasoning behind the madness. I haven’t been too vocal on this touchy subject but I currently have two family members battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. It’s been hard on my family as a whole, especially already having lost loved ones to this disease, but it has served as a huge wakeup call. I’m in control of my body, my health, my well-being and can help myself for the future. Running and the regimen I followed was a way to dedicate myself to a fit, strong and healthy lifestyle, while serving as an outlet for the stress this crazy last semester has presented. It was a goal that kept me going, fighting and committed to other aspirations, too. So set a “why.” Whatever it may be, let this understanding propel you forward whenever doubt stands in your way.
9. Know your body and listen. Working your way up in mileage is no cake walk so naturally you’re going to be sore and there is potential for injury. If you feel a tweak, continue with caution and don’t be ashamed if you need to take a day or two off. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry! Stretch, ice, stretch some more and take pain relievers, if necessary. Schedule a doctor’s appointment, of course, if the issue continues or worsens.
8. Be ready, even if it seems neurotic. The night before the race I was nervous, excited, scared and uber prepared. Laying out your running ensemble, iPod, bib number, SPIbelt, etc. will save you from any unnecessary stress in the morning. Bring tissues or toilet paper because porter potties will be stripped by the end of the race or maybe sooner!
7. The early bird catches the worm—and scores sweet freebies. I’m a stickler, ok borderline overzealous, when it comes to time. Get to both the expo and race early so you can grab awesome gift bags full of goodies and not have to wait in lines. I mean, you don’t want to tucker yourself out the day before the race standing around or plowing through crowds. The less anxiety, the better.
6. Hydrate. Fuel. Hydrate. Fuel. Hydrate. Fuel. Get it? Got it? Good.
5. Stick to your norm. Don’t try anything fancy or different just because 13.1 is looming in the immediate future. You know how your body reacts to certain foods, caffeine, sleep, etc. so keep it balanced the week or so leading up to the race. With that being said, forget about the energy gels, beans, chews, etc. if you haven’t been using them before. (A special thanks to Sam for lending me this advice! I would have been WORSE in the tummy trouble department if it weren’t for her!)
4. Don’t second guess yourself. You can do this! 13.1 sounds daunting but after all the conditioning, strengthening and time you devoted to this goal, you have to trust your abilities. To make the course less intimidating, break it down into manageable distances and celebrate every mile marker. When I got to 10, for example, the three remaining miles seemed like nothing and totally doable!
3. Pace yourself and don’t think about it. As Amanda put it before the race, “We’re just going for a casual jog in the park. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a typical long run day.” Over-thinking a race will trigger nerves and God knows what else. The finish line isn’t going anywhere so start slow and work up your pace. There’s always time to take it up a notch! Having a running buddy and a playlist full of inspiring beats also helps with this.
2. Race Shirt Swag. I read somewhere before my race that wearing the race shirt before you complete it has some bad “joo joo.” Earn it before you sport it and wear it with just as much pride as the metal itself! Note to self: have one of my “cheerleaders” hang onto it at the end of the race so I can shed the sweaty top for post-race pictures.
1. Enjoy and celebrate your success. Like I mentioned, I didn’t break the time I wanted. Who cares? It was my first race, I worked my butt off for months and I crossed the finish line. Be proud and know that tomorrow’s another day, with many races in the future.


What do you run for?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

March 9, 2012

Easy Peeling, Non-Smelly Hard Boiled Eggs

Woah, woah, woah…what!? Hard boiled eggs can be easy to peel and not total stink bombs? Yup. That’s right. All you need is a large sauce pan and steam basket. Simply boil water before lowering the heat to a simmer. Gently place your eggies in there for 20 minutes. Let cool and voilà! I made a big batch Monday morning and have been enjoying two for an afternoon snack all week! Perfect for a little power boost.

In a little less than an hour I will officially be on my last college spring break. Ever. Can’t wait to board my Carnival Cruise with 20-something gal pals! I do have a few things to tend to first like, ahem, packing. Tomorrow, after completing 9 miles, I will be pairing outfits, throwing everything into a suitcase and hopefully treating myself to a much needed mani/pedi! It’s hard to believe this semester is half way through already…or that in a matter of two short months I’ll be unemployed, cutoff and no longer residing in the place I’ve called home for three years now. Ahhh! I’m not be thinking about any of that this upcoming week, though. No stress, no work, no anxiety. I need a week of clearing my head and fun more than anything. Yesterday’s 70 degree weather was intoxicating. To say I have spring fever would be an understatement!
Do you like hard boiled eggs? How do you prepare them? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

February 4, 2012

Tackle a Healthy Super Bowl

According to the USDA, the Super Bowl is the second highest eating day of the year (behind Thanksgiving, of course). With all the booze, wings, pizza and snacks, I can’t say that I’m that surprised. So is it possible to be a healthy nosher while cheering on Manning (or Brady…boooo!)? Absolutely! Here are 10 quick tips toward a nutritious, diet-friendly game plan.

1. Fuel up with a light meal before your soiree.
2. Use and stick to one small plate for portion control.
3. Protein switcheroo…swap beef for leaner meats, beans and/or soy products.
4. Nix the chips. Get your crunch fix from veggies, Popchips, popcorn, baked pita slices, nuts, etc.
5. Alternate each alcoholic beverage with a tall glass of water.
6. Consider using whole wheat or lettuce wraps instead of buns/rolls.
7. Avoid high calorie juice or soda-based cocktails.
8. Go for the hummus, salsa and guacamole over creamy dressings/dips.
9. Use nutritious substitutes (like Greek yogurt, avocado, natural sugars, etc.) to lighten up your recipe.
10. Load your chili up with fresh vegetables and take a timeout on the cheese.

Who are you rooting for? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

August 12, 2011

(Thumbs Up Sign) Like.

I have a little less than two weeks left of summer before…gulp…I begin my senior year of college. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? For today’s post, I decided to round up my favorite things I’ve discovered and/or relied on the past few months. No, they do not include raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, although it’s hard to say “favorite things” without thinking back on my childhood obsession with Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music soundtrack. Let’s just say the products below have Sprinkled with Love’s seal of approval, whether you are on the prowl for a protein-powered snack or a beauty product for flawless skin. You’re welcome.

1. got2b POWDER’ful Volumizing Styling Powder, $12.98
Between my commuting and the humidity, my hair has been unpredictable lately, to put it lightly. Shake a little of this stuff in your hands, rub it together and work into your roots for instant va va voom! See you never bad hair days!
2. Covergirl ‘Marble’ NaturalLuxe Gloss Balm, $6.49
I’m not going to lie, I bought this simply because it’s endorsed by Taylor Swift. I’m a sucker for print ads, I know. Regardless, this balm looks chic without the sticky or cakey feeling of a gloss/stick. Plus SPF 15? Win.
3. Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love by Sarah Matheny, $13.64
In need of some new vegetarian recipes? One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah from Peas and Thank You, recently released her first book in which I, no joke, read cover to cover one night on my train ride home. Hilarious, fun with mouth-watering pictures. Now that’s my kind of book!
4. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer Skin Transformer, $7.94
People scoff when I tell them one of my biggest fear is getting wrinkles. This primer keeps my makeup from melting off my face in the sweaty city while keeping my young skin looking radiant. Let’s see who has the last laugh a few years down the road!
5. Nathan L.E.D. Safety Strobe, $5.99
My dad purchased this techy lifesaver for me when I started my internship so I could safely run in the dark (whether that was before or after the sun was up). It has a bunch of different flashing settings to keep you safe on the road and clips right onto your running apparel. Thanks, dad!
6. Clif Bar Chocolate Mint Builder’s 20g Protein Bar, $21/12 pack
I’m a big Thin Mints fan so any food with the savory combo of chocolate and mint is right up my ally. These all natural protein-packed bars are not only delish but are made from soy and nuts instead of whey, which upsets my sensitive tummy. I’m buying these babies in bulk to bring back to school for lunch in between (or during) class!
7. Yes to Tomatoes Acne Daily Pore Scrub, $9.99
I have suffered from acne since my early tween years and have FINALLY found a skin care routine that works for me in managing breakouts. I love this all natural product line, but in particular adore the scrub with its ground mango seeds/bamboo exfoliate, tomatoes, ginger root and bisabolol ingredients alongside salicylic acid treatment. Bye, bye blackheads.
8. Sally Hansen Electric Shock Salon Effects, $8
Who doesn’t like a funky, neon nail color in the summer? I rocked these for over a week (yes, they last that long!) and got SO many compliments! Easy, no mess and long-lasting. Stick on your favorite wild pattern or color and you’re good to go, girlfriend!
9. Sperry Silver Leather Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe, $85
Do I even need to explain why I love these? Sperry Boat Shoe. Check. Metallic silver. Check. Comfortable. Check. Shall I go on? These boat shoes are my pride and joy. They can be worn any season and make any outfit go from drab to fab.
10. Crispy Green Crispy Mangoes, $7.99/6 pack
Hate bringing messy fruit on-the-go with you? These 100% freeze-dried mangoes have a crunch and sweetness that will have you skipping the bag of chips. They’re super low-cal and are perfect, healthy cure for a sweet tooth!
11. Svelte Chocolate Hello Beautiful Protein Drink, $3.29
Like I’ve mentioned, whey protein doesn’t sit well with me. This soy protein drink is delicious, nutritious (without all the fat, sugar or calories) and made from organic ingredients. Plus they keep you full! Attention all coffee lovers, the cappuccino flavor is divine.

Well, there you have it! Try ’em out…let me know what you think.
What are you summer must-haves? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

July 21, 2011

Skinny Summer Cocktails

Oh, hey there! Today’s post comes from a fellow foodie and fitness fanatic over at LoveEatRun, Jenny! After being featured on the gorgeous gal’s blog last week, I asked her to do the same for Sprinkled with Love and let me tell you…it’s pretty darn fabulous. After you’re done here, you must check out LoveEatRun for fitness advice and a look at the nutritious, healthy lifestyle she leads! 

***** 

Hi to all you Sprinkled With Love fans out there!!  I’m Jenny from LoveEatRun and I’m so excited to be guest posting for Lauren today!  How awesome is she and how awesome is her blog?!  I love her fresh approach to fitness, recipes and fashion all rolled into one!

If you all aren’t familiar with what LoveEatRun is all about, I blog pretty much about anything and everything with a focus on living a healthy lifestyle full of food, fitness and fun.  I’m currently training for my first full marathon, which I will be running this October, so much of my fitness right now is dedicated to cracking down and getting those miles in, while working in strength training, cross-training and lots of yoga! 

And now, getting my guest post… My top 5 skinny summer cocktails! I recently came across a recipe for a Freckled Kiwi summer cocktail on VitalJuice.com and it immediately caught my attention. I love a refreshing drink on a hot summer day and this seemed right up my alley, not to mention it is a recipe that isn’t loaded with artificial flavoring, juices, etc. It’s pretty light and “skinny”. And we all know that Skinny Cocktails are all the rage right now.

So in light of this discovery, I thought I would share some of my favorite summer skinny cocktails with you. 

 1. Vodka & Soda with a Lemon & Lime: I love this drink on it’s own but also find that teaming it up with a variety of Crystal Light flavor packets also suites me well. I’ll mix the vodka and soda and pour in just enough powder to give the drink of hint of flavor but not overwhelm it.  

Some of my favorite flavors are: 

2. Arnold Palmer: To make this I use Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and mix it with lemonade, made from mixing water and a Crystal Light Lemonade packet. A nice twist to an old favorite.

3. Skinnygirl Margarita: I used to drink this straight over ice but since discovering Cara from Chic Meets Healthy’s blended version I don’t think I will be looking back! I love frozen drinks but the calorie counts can be outrageous because of the drink mixes used.

 By using frozen berries and ice, you can significantly cut back on the number of calories while still enjoying a perfectly tasty frozen cocktail. I recommend trying it with blueberries or strawberries but the possibilities of flavors are endless – just throw the skinnygirl, ice and whatever fruit you chose into the blender!

4. Spritzers: White wine with club soda. Simple and refreshing, garnished with berries.

5. Peach Bellini: Another easy breezy summer drink. Mix 2 parts champagne with 1 part peach juice and garnish with a peach wedge. To make this a little lighter in calories, simply use an Ocean Spray white cran peach packet mixed with water in place of the peach juice.

So there you have it, simple, low-cal summer cocktails at your fingertips!

Is it happy hour yet?!

May 24, 2011

Favorite Things, Round 2

After a seven hour shift on my feet, followed by a decent workout, I am pooped and turning in early. Don’t ya just love being in bed by 10 PM on a Monday evening? I know I do. Macbook + online shopping + Adele’s 21 CD (which has been blasting on repeat the last two weeks) = ideal. Woop, woop…am I one wild and crazy 21-year-old or what? Anyway, I have some new, favorite food obsessions I would like to share with you, all in which are pictured below. Not the most fun or intriguing of posts, but a necessary one to hopefully perk up some of your taste buds!

Bartlett pear slices with almond butter…a favorite snack of mine, which I picked up on thanks to a friend of mine (Amy). Take your morning toast up a notch by adding on this delightful combination (with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar). Can I hear an AMEN?

AVOCADOS ARE FINALLY REALLY IN SEASON! In other words, I’ve been avocado-happy, topping everything and anything with this glorious fruit…or is it a vegetable? Regardless, I love ’em, especially on my scrambled eggs in the morning. The past few I picked up from my local Stop & Shop have been flawless and divine.

You can’t go wrong with a humongous salad. Top it with avocado, tofu cubes, an assortment of fresh, colorful veggies, sesame seeds and a large dollop of hummus? Even better. Clean meal for a clean eatin’ gal. I’ll take it any day.

Here’s one of my favorite evening snacks when I’m plopped in front of the television, feeling the need to graze and craving something both salty and sweet: savory popcorn, popped on the stove. Making it yourself on the stovetop is a healthier alternative to sodium-filled, overly buttery microwavable bags, plus a lot tastier and versatile (you can mix in your favorite spices for a whole new take on this classic snack). Did I mention low-cal? Um, yes please? I’ve been making mine in extra virgin olive oil and seasoning with cinnamon with a quick drizzle of agave nectar for a sweet, dessert-like snack. Surprisingly very filling, might I add!

Although I would have loved to have had the opportunity to live in NYC this summer, being home has suited me well. Having home-cooked meals prepared for me has added to the overall appeal, I’m not going to lie. Cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for yourself day in and day out as an off-campus student can be taxing after a while! My father made the baked salmon pictured above for dinner last night with a side of corn on the cob and fiddleheads (below). Just a little bit of olive oil, sliced green peppers, parsley, onion and lemon made for pure perfection. I likey.

I had never tried fiddleheads before last night but can officially call myself a fan. My dad simply sautéed them in a little bit of olive oil, garlic and shallots. Yum, yum, yum! Welp, there ya have it. My recent favorite foodie trends I can’t get enough of the past few weeks.
What have you been loving lately?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

May 13, 2011

Epic Failure Turnaround

The other day I was psyched to make my own spin-off of Family Fresh Cooking’s Telluride Trail Bars. Granola bars have been on my “to-make” list for some time now and when my mom put me on grocery shopping duty, I couldn’t resist picking up the ingredients. My excitement took a turn for the worse, though, quickly spiraling into disappointment and utter frustration when they didn’t turn out as planned. Flaky, dry mess. Wahhhh! I blame it on Stop & Shop’s not-ripe-enough bananas…and the fact that I forgot to add the agave nectar prior to cooking. Oops. Although they didn’t stick together into crunchy bars, what I thought was a flop recipe turned into a great granola.

Ingredients
2 cups toasted Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 cup chopped and toasted peanuts
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 bananas
1/2 cup chopped whole wheat pretzels
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Cinnamon, flaxseeds and shredded coconut to top
Agave nectar (or maple syrup/natural sweetener to taste) 

To start, preheat the oven to 350˚F. On a baking sheet, place chopped peanuts and rolled oats in a thin layer. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 


Like I did in my Nutty Nanner Overnight Oats, slice up the bananas and cook in a small sauce pan until lightly browned. Mash it all up and add in the PB so it softens. While those are getting ooey gooey on the stove, chop up your pretzels. 

Time for the fun part, adding it all together and mixing it up. NOTE: This is where you should add the sweetener of your choice.

Line a 9×13″ pan with wax paper and add the granola mixture. Press/shape evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon, flaxseeds and shredded coconut on top. Drizzle some more agave nectar on top before poppin’ it in the oven. 

So…like I said, these did not turn out as I had hoped in bar form BUT the recipe still tasted great. I broke it up into small clusters and took my Go Lean Kashi cereal and Silk Light Vanilla soy milk breakfast up a nutty notch by topping it with my recipe faux pas. Moral of the story? As the saying goes, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

Gotta love Kashi, although this concoction of mine also goes wonderfully with oatmeal or overnight oats! SOOooo what will I change next time I attempt to make granola bars (which I will be doing soon because I’m headstrong and a perfectionist)? My recipe alterations include the following: 1) Use 4 very ripe, speckled brown bananas, the kind, ya know, good for banana bread! 2) Cut out the pretzels because it just added to the dryness. 3) You may have noticed that I added coconut oil, which I had hoped would help in the moisture department. Fail. I will play around with this ingredient and get back to you on my verdict! 4) Add dried fruit. Welp, ya win some and ya lose some…lucky for me this “loss” ended up having quite the turnaround in the granola department. Yay!

Have you made your own granola or granola bars? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

May 6, 2011

Tempeh

For quite some time now I’ve been curious about tempeh. I have come close to purchasing it on multiple occasions but have been hesitant, unsure how to prepare it or if I’d even like it to begin with (some textures weird me out). After my ever-so random final exam week eating habits, I needed a hearty meal last night to help me recuperate and took it upon myself to tackle tempeh once and for all.

I decided to keep it relatively simple to make sure I liked the soy product instead of making a dish revolving around a key ingredient I wasn’t keen on. 

I followed the “TO FRY” directions on the label…easy peasy lemon squeezy! Look at all that protein! Like.

To start, I thinly sliced up the tempeh while heating up some olive oil and soy sauce in a large skillet.

For flavor purposes, I minced a garlic clove and added it into the pan. Great decision on my part because these babies aren’t too flavorful…not that that’s a bad thing, they take on flavor well!

I then sautéed the strips until golden brown – FYI the thinner the tempeh, the crispier. Tada! The perfect salad toppers or even throw these nuggets into a vegetarian wrap. Mmmm! LightLife has a lot of different tempehs I cannot wait to test out. Also, their website features a bunch of appetizing recipes that caught my eye so report back for more on that!   

Dinner last night = tempeh and oven roasted cauliflower. Not the most cohesive meal but still hit the spot. Thanks for being patient with me and my lack of posts the last week or so. Exams/final projects this semester were KILLER! But guess what? I am officially on SUMMER BREAK so Sprinkled with Love will be in full gear. Hip-hip-hooray for summer food and BBQs!
Are you a tempeh fanatic? If so, what is your favorite way of preparing it? Any fun recipes to share? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren 

April 16, 2011

Favorite Things

After going quite a few days without fresh produce and relying on friends with on-campus meal plans, I decided it was time to head to the grocery store last night and went a little overboard with colorful fruits and vegetables. I attribute it to the weather shift…I have been craving “summer foods” ever since the last of the snow melted. Can you blame me?

Anyway, last night I grilled a fantastic turkey burger alongside asparagus, red pepper and corn on the cob for dinner before working on an insanely daunting group project. Sounds fabulous, right? It would have been pure perfection (minus the awful paper/content analysis portion, of course) if it were not for my grill incident…let’s just say my right arm is smoother than a baby’s bottom now, thanks to getting way too close for comfort when starting up the grill. Womp womp…

At the supermarket, I couldn’t pass up a big carton of blackberries and strawberries. Hip hip hooray for fruit prices becoming more feasible with the change of season! I’ve missed the sweet, light delight (yes, I just rhymed) of my favorite food group. This morning’s breakfast consisted of Plain Chobani with berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds. Doesn’t get much better than that. Favorite thing #1.

Another recent food trend I have been thoroughly obsessed with lately is kale (seen here). Believe it or not, this huge family-sized bag was cheaper than the 1 lb bundle…guess I will be eating a lot of kale the next week or so! Not a problem, especially since one of my favorite side dishes recently has been kale chips! 400°F + kale + baking sheet + drizzled EVOO & balsamic vinegar = crunchy goodness. Two thumbs up.

What’s my third favorite thing of the week? Portable salads. I have been good with bringing lunch to work this semester and today topped all with a kale/spinach salad with red bell pepper, sliced avocado, cubed tofu and a generous dollop of hummus. Tasted just as divine as it sounds!

My final favorite of the week I want to share with you are EatStrong snacks. The energy bar tasted, no joke, like cookie dough and gave me the energy to go for a nice jog outside today. Like.

And there ya have it, folks. My favorites of the week. TGIF! Have a fabulous weekend!

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren