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August 29, 2011

Green Monster #5

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Oh my goodness!  I have been so busy with school that I have completely neglected poor Chockohlawtay  :(

Well, not completely.  I have been testing out (quite a few) recipes so far this school year--no, I'm not the typical college student who parties every weekend!  I'd rather make some yummy goodies for my dorm roomies and for you (virtually, though).  Sadly, only 1 of 4 trials actually turned out well).  Here is a preview!

Maple Cinnamon Krispy Treats
     My Peanut Butter Krispy Treats were a huge hit, along with my Coconut Krispy Treats w/ Dark Chocolate Drizzle!  So I wanted to prepare for Fall/Winter with these Maple Cinnamon Krispy Treats.  Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to buying all the ingredients I was able to have at home, in my dorm.  So, I used whey protein concentrate (unflavored) rather than the vanilla protein powder I put in my smoothies.  For some reason, these treats had a strange aftertaste.  I also read that pure maple syrup is supposed to be refrigerated because of a type of mold that can grow on the surface (I hope my syrup didn't go bad!).  I also used grade B maple syrup, so it wasn't as sweet as I had hoped.  Still needs work, but I loved the maple cinnamon icing!

Maple Cupcakes
     Mmmm... these were delicious!  So sweet, so moist, and so maple-y!  Unfortunately, my hope of it becoming a cupcake was shattered when it cooled and had taken on the role as "muffin."  They were amazing, however, I may have lost my recipe.....

Peanut Butter Protein Bars w/ Chocolate Topping
     Did I ever tell you guys to NOT bake in a hurry?  You feel too rushed, you forget an ingredient, and it turns out sloppy (well, it does for me, anyway).  The peanut butter layer was supposed to be firm instead of gooey, similar to the Peanut Butter Protein Balls you all loved so much.  But instead, I felt the need to make something on a time crunch!  I dumped all the whey protein concentrate I had into the bowl with peanut butter, and realized, "Oh no! It's still gooey!"  So, I looked around my room for anything to thicken the peanut butter filling, but there was no dried milk or protein powder to be found.  I decided to blend some oats and make it an energy bar, but still, that was not enough to thicken the vast amount of peanut butter.  I gave up, spread the peanut butter in a brownie pan, and poured the melted chocolate overtop.
     Don't get me wrong, these were great.  But they left you smacking your lips from the peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth!  Later that night, I saw something in an unchecked shelf.  Yup, it was protein powder.

     These were... okay.  Instead of using powdered sugar, I used dried nonfat milk--they both have a similar consistency and color, so I thought it would be okay.  Unfortunately, the dried milk needs less water than powdered sugar does, so it was quite squishy and felt like Play-Doh.  I didn't put enough almond extract in, so it didn't have that recognizable taste of marzipan...  but this will be fixed soon!

*gasp!*   finally, the successful recipe:

Green Monster #5
     I was going to go running the day I made this smoothie, so I knew I needed more carbs and calories than usual.  What better way to jumpstart your morning than a healthy, delicious green smoothie?  The oats provided a nice creamy texture, and the peach jam added a lot of (natural) sweetness, rather than a bunch of useless sugar.  I loved how thick it was... I love milkshakes (used to, rather, now that I don't eat store-bought, fatty and sugar-loaded ice cream), so anything close to it is perfect for me!

Green Monster #5:  [low fat, high fiber/protein, GF, vegan]
(serves two)
    1/4 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (GF if you like)
    1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
    3 tbs 100% Fruit Peach Spread
    2 handfuls Baby Spinach
    2 large Bananas
    1 large Peach, pitted
    1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
    4-8 drops Stevia Extract (optional)

1. Put the oatmeal and applesauce into a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute
2. Put the oatmeal mixture and the rest of the ingredients into a blender and puree until there are no spinach chunks (if you like a thinner smoothie, add in some juice... I like super thick smoothies so this was perfect!)

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     One week of school down!  Only four months to go!  It sounds like a short period of time, but all the walking to class, homework, projects and exams make it feel like 4 months has turned into 4 years.  I am excited for it though, even though I know how easy it is to get "burnt out."  I had that feeling at the end of my first semester in freshman year.  I realized that catching senioritis wouldn't get me anywhere in this world.  We are not in college to slack, but to work and give our all.

     To be successful in a tough environment, you need to "let go" in the proper ways.  Many college students resort to partying, which puts a lot of unneeded stress on your body, and junk-food-bingeing, which is just another push toward a downward spiral of depression, and procrastination.  I saw this (quite a bit actually) last year.  People get into the routine of going out on Friday and Saturday nights.  And then other people get into the habit of sitting on their bed eating Pringles and watching seven episodes of their favorite TV show (to procrastinate or to "let go").

     I'm not going to lie, it is easy to fall into traps such as partying, unhealthy eating and procrastination.  So I have a couple tips for the stressed ones out there:

1)  When you drudge into your dreaded 8am class (or work setting), cranky, hungry and tired...
       -Put a big smile on your face!  It instantly makes the situation seem better, and might make you feel that today will be a good day.  One thing that will always make you look forward to class, is coming prepared and proud of your work.  You don't lose anything by giving too much effort into an assignment, but you do lose something if you give too little effort.
       -If you are not in the mood to work, don't categorize your assignment as just another task on the to-do list.  This will make you want to complete it even less than before.  I'm pretty sure that if I put shopping on my to-do list, I'd avoid it like the plague (and I love shopping!).  To get "into the zone," go to the bathroom and freshen up, maybe even wash your face.  I find it helpful to have my room and workspace completely clean (like, 100% clean).  If a sweater is draping off my bed, it has to be put away.  When you work, nothing should be distracting.
       -If you're tired, sleep.  It's simple.  The work you do when you are tired is not your best work.  One time last year, I was getting extremely tired around 8pm, but I had a 10-page paper to finish!  I wasn't able to pay attention--I was reading the same paragraph over and over and it wasn't getting me anywhere.  So, I went to bed... but I did set my alarm for 3am (yes, AM!).  Even though I woke up early, once I freshened up and had breakfast (and maybe a coffee slipped in there somewhere), it felt like I had woken up at 7am.  I was able to concentrate and I was actually productive... oh, and I finished my essay!
       -If you know you have an early day the next day (like an 8am class or workday), make it your mission to go to bed earlier than usual (don't procrastinate sleeping!).  But, if you didn't go to bed early simply wake up 5-10 minutes earlier (yes, earlier) and make a coffee with a balanced, satisfying breakfast (with healthy fats, fiber and protein).  Maybe even do some jumping jacks.  Do some push ups.  Blast your favorite upbeat song and dance around with your hairbrush.  Just get the blood flowing!  If you have time, make some easy scrambled eggs (my favorite recipe: 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites.  Top with 1 cup of black beans and a sliced avocado.  I sometimes put cayenne pepper (only a dash or two) on the egg while they cook and a pinch of salt over the black beans.)  If you don't have time, grab a bar (my favorite bars: Simply Bars in peanut butter and chocolate, Active Greens Bar, and if I am working out that day, a Clif Builder's Bar in chocolate mint).  Never leave the dorm (or house) without breakfast.

2.  "Let go" the right way
       -The first semester of my freshman year, I thought "letting go" meant TV, food, and hanging out.  This actually stressed me out even more because I wasn't accomplishing anything.  My second semester, I discovered healthy baking and the campus gym.  Directing energy into something good and uplifting is much better than toward the computer or TV screen you see every day anyways.  It is the change in environment that help separate work from free-time.  Being in the kitchen rather than the library or my desk was surprisingly therapeutic.  The treadmill allowed me to "run off" my stress and the Boot Camp classes let me "punch away" my frustrations.  Last semester, after almost every exam, I went to the gym.  Not only do you de-stress, you increase your fitness level while feeling accomplished.  In the beginning of my freshman year, I couldn't run (6mph) any longer than .3 of a mile (that is so embarrassing!), but now I can run (6.3mph) for 1.5 miles!  So find a healthy way to let go that works for you.  Baking and exercising works for me!  If you tend to turn to food, think about what foods you generally go to:  fats? carbs?
       If you said fats, then make a meal with avocado, dark chocolate, coconut or nuts.  Maybe make my Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake or Peanut Butter Protein Balls!  Don't turn to ice cream and candy bars (they are a waste of money and are severely nutrient deficient.  I cannot think of one single benefit of frozen desserts, candy bars, chips, etc... as they are generally made with hydrogenated fats, refined sugars, and the cheapest ingredients a manufacturer can get their hands on)
       If you said carbs, then first, before anything, grab a fruit.  Bananas have plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber, but any other fruit would be good if you don't like bananas.  Then bake some healthy delicious Coconut Krispy Treats or Lemon Pound Cake with this White Icing.


1 comment:

  1. You have some really interesting recipe ideas! They all look great. Looking forward to more!


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