Liebster Award and Survey Fun

It’s hard to believe another week has flown by and that I now only have 3 weeks left of school. Three! Where in the world did this school year go? Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait for summer to arrive, but I just can’t get over the fact that I am practically finished with half of my grad school program already.

I think it’s safe to say that spring has officially sprung here, and I have been enjoying the lovely weather as much as I can. And the beautiful, blossoming trees that are all around!

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In other news, this past week I was nominated for a Liebster Award by a fellow blogger Melissa, (thanks Melissa!) so today I wanted to share with you the survey that goes along with it! The Liebster Award is essentially used as a way to discover new blogs, and help blogs gain exposure. It’s also a great way to learn more about the people behind their blogs too! Melissa’s blog, Films, Food, and Beer, is always a fun read and full of super yummy foods. You should head on over and check it out if you haven’t been there already!

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So here is how the Liebster Award works. After receiving a nomination, the blogger must:

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers (as far as you can tell!). They should be bloggers that you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers that you nominated to answer.
  • Let all of the bloggers that you have chosen know you have nominated them.

So here goes nothing!

11 Random Facts:

1. One of my all-time favorite songs is Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension. I know my obsession started back in the day when I was watching the movie My Girl. One of the best scenes in the movie is when Vada cranks up the volume, flops on her bed holding a picture of her beloved teacher Mr. Bixler, and belts out the words to Wedding Bell Blues. Ahh nostalgia.

2. If I could only bring 5 items with me on a desert island, #1 would be my toothbrush. What would #2 be, you might ask? Yep, I’d bring a back-up toothbrush. What can I say, I’ve got a thing for dental hygiene. See proof below. It’s a picture of a poster that’s in my room.

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3. Cardigans are without a doubt the greatest article of clothing ever made. Think layers people. I love me some layers.

4. I never paint my fingernails, only my toenails.

5. I love cats. My family had two of the most amazing kitties for almost 16 years. Sasha and Rissa, hope you are enjoying each other’s company in kitty heaven!

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6. I enjoy photography, especially taking pictures of flowers in my Mother’s garden. So beautiful!

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7. I go to bed laying on my stomach, and without fail I wake up on my back. Apparently sleeping on your back is the best for your body, so I’m glad I can at least end the night right.

8. My favorite chapstick at the moment is C.O. Bigelow’s Rose Salve. Silky smooth lips with a bit of shine.

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9. Senior year of college my two best friends and I went on a spring break trip to San Diego and went kayaking in the ocean. It was probably the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done!

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10. Depending on how often you read this blog this may or may not be a random fact, but I eat a banana almost everyday for breakfast. I’m talking every. single. day. If I don’t have a banana awaiting me in my fruit basket when I get up in the morning, my whole day’s bound to be ruined. I guess that’s a bit of an exaggeration…But not really.

11. I wear my watch on my right arm…and I’m right handed. Apparently that makes me the weird one.

11 Questions from Melissa:

1. What’s your favorite pick-me-up movie? (if you aren’t a movie person, what’s your cheer-up routine?)

I’m not sure about which movie, but the tv show Gilmore Girls is always my go-to show to get me out of a funk. Love it! Babette ate oatmeal. ‘Nuff said.

2. What achievement of yours are you most proud of?

I got into my grad school program of choice, and then made the big and somewhat scary decision to move across the country to attend it. I moved from Wisconsin to NYC, and it was totally worth it!

3. If you could travel anywhere for a month-long vacation, where would you go?

Italy! And this summer I’m lucky enough to make this travel dream come true! Although I’m getting credit for a course while studying abroad and conducting some research, we’ll be eating our hearts out along the way and I’m sure it’ll seem like a vacation just as much as it is school.

4. What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“I want you to be ‘dancing through the woods crazy’ happy.”-Lorelai Gilmore

5. Do you sleep in the dark or do you like to have a light on?

Darkness all the way.

6. Do you collect anything?

I don’t really collect anything at the moment, but when I was younger I had a mean gum wrapper and sticker collection.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My parents have always told me to “Just do the best you can, that’s all anyone can ever ask.” I am a hardworking, motivated, and dedicated individual in all I do, and at times can put a lot of pressure on myself. Obviously it can be great to have these tendencies to a certain extent, there’s nothing wrong with striving to make things better, but there is also something to say for doing the best you can, calling it a day and being happy with that. Balance is key, my friends!

8. If could time travel, which decade would you choose to live in?

The 1950’s. I love the movie Grease, and I’d love to live in the decade where the movie was set and see how different life was compared to today. Diners, sock hops, and poodle skirts. Awesome.

9. What is your favorite type of cuisine?

Vegetarian! Give me some fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes and I’m good to go. Vegetarian cuisine has endless options, and I love trying  new foods whenever I come across them!

10.  What is a fitness goal you have (can be long or short-term)?

To sign up for a group fitness class for the summer. I’d love to take another zumba class. I love zumba!

11. If you could compete at the Olympics, which sport would you choose?

Figure skating. I was obsessed with Michelle Kwan when I was little. I remember the year my parents let me stay up until like 10:00pm to watch her routine in the olympics, it was awesome! Except for the fact that she was robbed by the judges and only won the silver. But that’s neither here nor there. I’d be a figure skater all the way. Then I could say things like “oh yeah, I do triple lutzes and double salchows all the time.”  No big deal.

11 Bloggers I nominate:

Disclaimer: I’m not really sure how to tell the number of followers you have, but the reason I’ve nominated your blog is because I’ve had fun perusing it thus far and would love to get to know you a bit more! There’s no pressure to join in on the survey if you don’t want to, but if you’d like to participate the more the merrier!

1. Meghan @ Clean Eats, Fast Feets

2. Lisa @ Lisa Lately

3. Michelle @ Peachy Palate

4. Liv @ Liv Lives Life

5. Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious

6. Sunnie @ Modern Girl Nutrition

7. Holley @ Versatile Vegan

8. Sammy @ An Ode To Mung Beans

9. Sheila @ Tea, A Drink with Jam & Bread

10. PoPpy @ Persistence Over Perfection

11. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

11 Questions from me: 

1. What is your all-time favorite meal?

2. What is one of your favorite family traditions?

3. If you had $1,000 dollars to spend on anything, what would you buy?

4. If you could travel to any country in the world, where would you go?

5. What is your dream career?

6. Milk or dark chocolate?

7. What is the best book you’ve read recently?

8. What is a blogging goal you have for yourself and your blog for the next year?

9. If you could be a fly on the wall for any significant historical moment, which would it be and why?

10. Are you a morning person or night person?

11. What summer plans are you most looking forward to?

Go ahead ladies, answer any of these questions or any of the questions I answered above!

With ripe, succulent, juicy pears,

Sydney

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What I Ate Wednesday #15 and Mindblowingly Awesome Rice and Beans

Morning! Happy Wednesday! We’ve had some highs in the 60s and 70s this week in Jersey so I thought I’d make some spring/summer inspired overnight oats. I love cold oats! Today I had a banana, peach, and ground flaxseed jar of goodness that was sprinkled with cinnamon. Pure heaven.

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I just recently ran out of whole flaxseeds and this time I decided to pick up the ground kind. It was great mixed in with the oats. This jar was made with 1/2 cup of instant oats, 3/4 cup of almond milk, 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed, one sliced banana, and some frozen peach chunks.

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I spent all morning making calls, doing homework, readings and finishing various projects. It was a very productive morning to say the least! By mid-morning I was craving a little something sweet and decided to go for the golden combo of sweet and salty. I had this lovely dish of pretzel pieces and dark chocolate.

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Not too long after I headed in to work. And there I had my packed lunch. And holy cat, this was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time! I made a simple rice and bean concoction from a few recipes I’ve seen across the blogosphere lately, and, wow. Such a simple yet delicious dish! These pictures don’t do this Mindblowingly Awesome Rice and Beans dish justice.

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Topped with avocado, fresh sprouts and some goat’s cheese, lusciousness. I’ll be making this again next week for sure!

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I also had an apple with lunch. Unfortunately it was pretty mushy and I had to throw some of it away. Sad.

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That afternoon during class I snacked on some apple cinnamon rice cakes. I love these things!

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I got home for dinner earlier than expected and decided to whip up a sandwich and smoothie. The sandwich was a winner, spinach, cucumbers, sprouts, tomato and hummus. Yum.

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And the smoothie was a new flavor! I called it a tropical ginger bliss smoothie. Made with one frozen banana, 1/2 frozen orange, a little over a 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tsp of grated ginger and some coconut flakes sprinkled on top. I’ve never frozen an orange before and used it in smoothies, but it worked great! Kind of tasted like a dreamsicle. Oh the memories.

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To end the night I treated myself to a little Parks and Rec.

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Oh Leslie Knope, you’re amazing.

And here’s the recipe before I forget. Make these rice and beans today!

Mindblowingly Awesome Rice and Beans

Serves 3

1 cup of brown rice, uncooked

1 can of no salt added diced tomatoes

13.4 oz. box of no salt added kidney beans

~1/4 cup of jalapeño peppers, sliced

1/2 tbsp of the herbs of your choice

Recommended toppings: Fresh avocado, fresh sprouts (I used broccoli, kale and radish sprouts), and goat’s cheese.

To make this dish, simply cook the rice according to package directions. When rice is done cooking, add to a large mixing bowl and add the tomatoes, kidney beans, jalapeños, herbs, and stir to combine. Serve hot or cold piled high with yummy toppings and you’ve got yourself a meal!

TGIW,

Sydney

Food. Farmers Market. FUN.

IMG_3780Peacefood Cafe.

IMG_3774Roasted Japanese Pumpkin Sandwich. Delish.

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IMG_3775Raw Keylime Pie. Unbelievable.

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Stumbled upon the famous Shake Shack yesterday.

IMG_3876And later that night had some ‘za. Margherita and 4 Formaggi.

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IMG_3885This morning I was back at the Farmer’s Market!

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IMG_3892Samples! A beet, fennel and goat’s cheese salad.

IMG_3899Can’t wait to try my kale, broccoli, and radish sprout mix!

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IMG_3914It’s a mini pie. With pears. Heaven.

IMG_3915This little boy was chasing his sister around the fountain. Adorable.

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And…free yogurt samples on the way home. I love NYC!

Happy Saturday,

Sydney

What I Ate Wednesday #14

Morning! And happy Wednesday to you all! Another week has gone by and I am so ready to share some lovely foods with you today. These are the eats I had on Tuesday this week, and overall it was a great day!

I woke up bright and early, about 6:00 a.m. to start studying and working on some final projects. I cannot believe I am already working on final projects for the semester. How it is halfway through April already, I have no idea. To start the day I made a tropical greek yogurt bowl inspired by a few fellow food bloggers’ recipes I’d seen on the internet lately. Delicious! I loved it and there wasn’t even a banana involved, crazy!

IMG_3607This glorious bowl was made of plain greek yogurt, a bunch of frozen (and thawed) pineapple chunks, coconut shavings and chia seeds. Absolutely delightful.

IMG_3613After I had worked on my final portfolio for my Food Policy class and done some readings for epidemiology I decided to take a break with this…

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Yep, that’s right, this summer I’m going to study abroad in Italy and I’m in the process of teaching myself Italian. I am extremely excited and grateful to have the opportunity to study the food and culture of Italy, and more specifically the Mediterranean diet and its impact on human health. It’s going to be an amazing experience. And I can’t even imagine how wonderful the food is going to be! I’ll keep you all posted as the trip approaches :)

After working on my Italian phrases for a bit, I was back to the school books, and then I took a break for lunch.

IMG_3809It was a simple and delightful plate. I had a salad with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, a giant carrot, a slice of whole wheat bread with hummus and cucumber and a golden delicious apple. Yum.

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I brought along some snacks with me to work…apparently I was obsessed with apples yesterday. Oh well, they are so good!

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Dinner was a delicious salad topped with roasted sweet potato, black beans, bell peppers, corn, and goat’s cheese. Super tasty. Goat’s cheese makes everything better. And another carrot, I had a bunch and needed to use them up!

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After I returned from class I made some calls, worked on a project for my biostatistics class and ended the night with an episode of Parks and Recreation. Oh my word. Why have I never seen this show until now!? Thank goodness for netflix (and my mom whose account I have been using to watch it whenever I get the chance). I’d say it’s one of the funniest shows I have ever seen, and a great way to wind down and end the night. Along with a little peanut butter chocolate to accompany the show equaled pure bliss.

Thanks Jenn for hosting this WIAW bash!

Arrivederci,

Sydney

Recent Eats

Today I wanted to do something a little different and share some snapshots with you that represent what I’ve eaten over the past few weeks. Foods I’ve had while out at restaurants, at the farmer’s markets, and other dishes I’ve made at home but haven’t featured yet. Hope you enjoy!

IMG_3077Thai Tempeh Sloppy Joe’s. Yum yum.

IMG_3510Peanut Tofu and Broccoli Brown Rice Bowl.

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Green Smoothies, can’t get enough!

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Farmer’s market freebie!

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Other farmer’s market finds!

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Organic Raspberry Crunola Parfait and Grapefruit Ginger Tonic from Le Pain Quotidien. Yes and yes. One of my favorite places!

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One dollar cent (?) organic bell peppers from the nearby market. Heck yes!

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And an awesome piece of art featuring the ultimate fruit, none other than the glorious banana.

Add a pinch of cinnamon to your oatmeal,

Sydney

What I Ate Wednesday #13

Morning! Hope you all are having as glorious weather in your area as we are on the East coast. We’ve got a high near 80 today! Crazy. I’ve got plans of studying in the park and simply being outside as much as possible. Wednesdays are always the best!

Mainly because I love sharing my eats with you all and I love learning what other amazing dishes people create as well! Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting.

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I started yesterday off with a nice tall glass of water and a small glass of orange juice. I’m feeling a little under the weather and am trying to keep hydrated with a bit more than just water (please), hopefully that’ll help!

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I also had a delicious bowl of banana oats with flax seeds, and this time I got a little wild and added some slivered almonds and cinnamon. And some dried cranberries. Delicious!

I was able to eat lunch at home before heading to work yesterday, which was really nice. Some days I have to pack two meals to bring along with me, so on the occasional days I leave a little later for work it’s nice to eat at home and only have to pack and bring one meal for the evening. Less to carry!

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As you’ll see, Sweet Potato, Brown Rice and Crunchy Pecan Veggie Burgers make another appearance. I whipped up a second batch on Sunday, this time using chickpeas instead of cannellini beans and a few different spices like a ginger citrus blend, and they turned out fabulous. Please make these asap, your life will never be the same.

So for lunch I had the burger on an english muffin with some greens and roasted red pepper hummus. Yum. Also had some strawberries on the side and a Basil, Bell Pepper Farro Salad with Ginger. A scrumptious meal through and through.

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Here is my dinner packed and ready to go in my beloved snack taxis. Seriously, I love these things! Packed inside was an apple in one bag and a peanut butter sandwich on cranberry walnut bread in the other.

I was halfway through my sandwich when I realized I hadn’t been taking pictures of my meal…so here is a shot on the street of the second half of my sandwich!

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Why yes, I did stop in the middle of the sidewalk on a crowded Manhattan street to take a picture of my sandwich. Even though people were looking at me as if I had lost my mind as they passed by, it was worth it. So worth it. And it really was a great sandwich as well.

When I got back home later that night I decided to crack open a drink I had bought the other day but had yet to try.

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It was a Honey Pear sparkling water drink. And it was pretty good too. I’m not going to lie, the only reason I bought it was because it had the word “pear” in the title and I am completely obsessed with anything and everything that’s pear. So I was glad this didn’t disappoint. It was light, sweet, and refreshing.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Enjoy your day!

TGIW,

Sydney

Sweet Potato, Brown Rice and Crunchy Pecan Veggie Burgers

As I mentioned in my last WIAW post, I think this is one of the best veggie burger recipes I’ve had to date!

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These Sweet Potato, Brown Rice and Crunchy Pecan burgers are pure bliss! They are delicious all on their own, and are packed with enough flavor that they can simply be placed on a bun and consumed if desired!

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I added a few toppings to mine the first night we had them. Fresh tomato, onion and a little bbq sauce was perfect. But I think my favorite way to eat them was on a whole wheat english muffin, topped with fresh tomato and avocado. The simple ingredients really let the natural flavors shine!

IMG_3586I’m actually whipping up another batch of these as I’m typing this. They are that amazing! I’m making enough to have leftovers all week. Yum!

Sweet Potato, Brown Rice, and Crunchy Pecan Veggie Burgers

Makes 6 patties

Recipe adapted from Healthy Happy Life

1 large sweet potato, baked and mashed

1/2 cup of brown rice, dry

1/3 cup of finely chopped pecans

1 and 1/2 cups of cannellini beans

2 tbsp bbq sauce

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tsp of dried basil

A dash of red pepper flakes

To make these burgers, start by baking your sweet potato in the oven. I cut mine into four wedges and baked for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

While the sweet potato is baking, cook the rice according to package directions.

When sweet potato and rice are done, combine in a large bowl (minus the skin of the sweet potato) and mash away using a fork! Once the sweet potato is mashed and mixed with the rice, add in the remainder of ingredients and mash by hand again. You can leave the beans and the rest of the mixture as chunky as you like.

Then, form the sweet potato mixture into 6 patties and place on a non-stick sprayed, tinfoil lined baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping the burgers halfway in-between. Take out of the oven and top with some avocado and tomato and call it a day! Enjoy!

I love farmer’s markets,

Sydney