Tag Archives: Chocolate

chocolate salad…

Happy Monday everyone! I hope your weekends were rejuvenating, fun, and family filled. I didn’t get to see my family since they live so many states away, but I did get to talk to them over the phone as well as receive a a beautiful bouquet of Easter-colored flowers from my mom and step pops.

I really like Mondays. I see them as an opportunity for a new start. It’s a fresh week, and you can be who you want to be, do what you want to do, and shake off any lingering stress or negativity from the week before. Thanks to this inspirational post from Lori, I started a gratitude journal last night. Just my single entry so far has lightened my mood and makes me smile every time I think of it. I swear I am getting cheesier with age. I used to be fairly cheesy, a pseudo cheese, like Kraft American singles. Not real cheese, but it’s trying. Then, in high school, I got a bit more sentimental and graduated to cheddar status. Now, as college comes to a close, I am full on French stinky cheese. The finest Gruyere, if you will.

Question: Do any of y’all keep gratitude journals or affirmation boards? Comment with any fresh ideas for  self reflection or something that you are grateful for!

In my last post. I said I would go over my Spring schedule and some purchases I am amped about.

My classes are Nutrition and Aging, BIOLOGY (and the lab -_-), and Neuro Physio biology lab. The nutrition course is a “joke” and “designed for seniors” according to my professor, so that’s awesome. [Note sarcasm.] It is nice that I won’t have to stress over it, but Im also a bit sad that he isn’t taking this opportunity to blow our minds with studies and knowledge on the zillions of topics he could go into with the class. The bio is a freshman/sophomore course, so I’m thinking it will be pretty easy, just very time consuming with the busy work, lab, and apparently memorizing the entire tree of life. And NPB 101L seems like it will be fascinating; our labs include dissecting a frog heart, stimulating frog leg muscles, peeing into a cup and analyzing it, measuring our VO2 max, and something with GI motility ;). I am scared shitless for the lab reports though. Word on the street is that they take 4 days to write and are an average of 25 pages. Awesome.

My MCAT course via Princeton Review is finally over –> Yay!! However, now that means its all on me. I sort of made a study plan… Once again, I am going to post my schedule to hold myself accountable… Behold.

Anality at its finest. That night time studying is pretty sketch. 

The purchases I mentioned are two new pairs of shoes that I got in Austin over Spring Break (THANK YOU MAMA!). One pair is a Vibram/New Balance hybrid that is perfect for lifting and CrossFitting.

 

I ADORE these. I can actually feel what I am doing so much more and my form has definitely benefitted from the lack of support. Squats and deadlifts are more through the heels and balanced. Box jumps feel safer in that I can actually feel myself landing on the box/plastic hollow board. The other pair has slightly more support and will be for running; my first pair of Sauconys. I feel bad betraying my beloved Brooks, but these shoes feel amazing. The Sauconys aren’t barefoot runners but they don’t have nearly as much support as what I am used to. I feel light as birdy. Nay. A butterfly.

Andddd finally, I have for you a salad that involves chocolate. I was skeptical at first, and yet intrigued when I first saw the recipe. As it turns out, cacao nibs are delicious and make an epic pair with citrus fruits. You must try this. I made it three days in a row, and only because I ran out of nibs.

Spinach & Citrus Salad with Cacao Nibs

Recipe: Serves 1

adapted from Not Without Salt

3-4 cups baby spinach

1/2 large orange, slices cut in half

a few slices grape fruit (optional)

handful cacao nibs

a twist of fresh ground pepper

for the dressing – 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic

1 tbsp orange juice

pinch salt

Directions – Toss the spinach and citrus in the dressing. Top with cacao. Enjoy!

You know you truly love chocolate when you can appreciate the unadorned cacao nib.

An amalgamation of badass breakfasts..

I have been delaying posting so that I could do a recap of my fantastic weekend in Austin, but the wedding and my friend’s photos aren’t out yet! You will just have to hang on the edge of your seats a bit longer ;).

This week began as the week from hell, but that was expected. Being in Austin was a breath of fresh air, but it caused my school work to pile up. Breakfasts this week reflect both stress and time constraint, but they were SO delicious. Ahem…

Greek yogurt thinned with almond milk and vanilla extract, peanut butter and chocolate Puffins (brought over from Texas!), and 3 tbsp peanuts! Sheer comfort food.

My attempt at clearing out the fridge before going to Texas. 4 egg whites +  1 egg, 1/2 cup Great Northern beans, corn, onions, mushrooms, and 1/2 mashed avocado with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a dash of hot sauce!

BEST BREAK-FAST OF THE WEEK.

Cheddar-Apple & Egg Breakfast Pizza

Recipe: Serves 1

1 whole wheat tortilla

thinly sliced fuji apple

5 egg whites

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

salt

Directions – Toast the tortilla until it retains its form when you lift it up. Place a pan on the stove on medium-low heat and grease with butter. Lay the apple slices in the pan.

Pour in the egg whites. Cover and let cook until opaque. Sprinkle the cheese on and recover. Once the cheese has melted and everything looks cooked, carefully use a spatula to slide the egg/apple/cheese pancake out of the pan. Lay on top of the tortilla. Sprinkle on salt if desired. ENJOY THE GOODNESS.

So good. Please make this!

And another (less attractive) version..

Similar breakfast pizza only with 1/2 of an avocado instead of cheese and in a bigger rush. Oh, and the apple was eaten while riding my bike to lab.

Good news…… I GOT MY FIRST INTERNSHIP! Finally! The interview was yesterday and I found out immediately afterward. I am going to be working at a fertility center for the head endocrinologist there. It will be a mixture of filing type work (merh) and fun stuff. The best part is that he also treats his patients with a particular diet plan and I will hopefully be able to get a bit involved with that! Nutrition aspect + hormones = perfect internship. I start next week! I have got to run but I’ll be back!

Benefits:

Apples * 3 a day can help decrease cholesterol by 10%!  They are rich in the antioxidants beta-carotenoids, vitamin C, and polyphenols. They also have filling fiber and pectin!

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Give it another tri

Hello! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Seeing as this is finals week, I should have been studying the entire time, but Delta Gamma had other things in mind. For whatever reason, they chose this weekend for Presents (where you get presented to your families as a DG by your Big ;)), so my mom flew in from Texas on Friday. We ate at a few superb restaurants in Davis and Sacramento and went to the Presents luncheon on Saturday.

The new members, I am top middle

After she left on Sunday, I studied, went for a run, and studied some more. Today was more studying and a swim! I have decided that I want to get back into triathlon training… I think. I don’t plan on ever being as hardcore as I used to be, but I miss swimming and cycling. Mainly swimming. Plus, joining the UCD triathlon team would be a great way to meet more people. Triathlon seems to attract people who are pretty intense and unique, and UCSB’s team offered me some good friendships. Today’s workout was extremely simple:

Getting Back Into It Pool Workout

1500 swim

10 x 50  fast, 10-15 second break

100 swim

300 kick

100 cool down

And what powered this workout? Why Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal of course!

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 tsp cocoa powder (quality is key!)

pinch salt

a few drops vanilla extract

dash cinnamon

1-2 tbsp Artisana coconut butter

1 tbsp coconut shreds

Directions – Combine all the ingredients except the coconut butter in a bowl. Microwave for 90 seconds. Top with coconut butter and more coconut shreds and enjoy.


Once again, Im sorry for all the bowl food. I swear I have been eating things off of plates too… I will post some real recipes soon!

Chocolate Muffins with a hint of coconut

With finals coming up, I have been depending on super easy recipes for all my meals, hence all the bowls of food you have been seeing lately. The only final I am worried about is Biochem. I need to know what happens when you eat carbs all the way until it has been transformed into H2O and CO2. So digestion, absorption, glycolysis, the malate shuttle, the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, the TCA cycle, then oxidative phosphorylation and ATP synthesis. Mmhmm. So when I am eating these effing delicious chocolate muffins, I know E X A C T L Y what is going down in ma’ belly.

I usually don’t like anything chocolate unless it is quality ice cream or straight up chocolate bars because I feel like chocolate cakes and cupcakes just taste fake. Not strong enough. So I am not sure what possessed me to make these muffins, but I am so glad that I did! They are perfect: Not too sweet, like a cupcake. Not bland at all. Chocolately, with a hint of coconut. And filled with whole grains, fiber, and flavor.

Chocolate Muffins

Recipe: Makes 4 muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tbsp shredded coconut

2 tbsp oat ban (totally optional, I just wanted so extra fiber!)

1/4 cup raw sugar

[Note: Use more if you want a sweeter muffin, like a cupcake. I have also done a low sugar version with 1 tbsp sugar and 12 drops of stevia - it was delicious as well.]

2 tbsp quality cocoa powder

pinch salt

shake cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp coconut oil, melted

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375. Place all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet in another. Stir each individually. Pour the wet over the dry and stir with as few swipes of a spatula as possible. Divide batter into 4 greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes, or until passes the toothpick test.

Benefits:

Coconut * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism.

Whole wheat flour * The outer bran layer in whole grains is where the fiber, vitamins, and minerals are, which is why you should ditch the white.

Cocoa powder * A surprisingly potent source of antioxidants!

 

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

I woke up before my alarm today due to voices coming from the driveway. (No worries, just my housemates randomly awake at 6am… I am not sure if they ever went to sleep.) With my extra time, I decided to make something new for breakfast. This has no doubt been done before, but it was new to me and one of the best bowls of oatmeal I’ve had. I know I say that too often… but I mean it!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest! There were so many people who commented that I had never seen before; it was awesome to learn of my unknown readers! Thank you all for following the blogsky. Y’all make it worth it :)

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats

Highly recommended.

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 tsp cocoa powder (quality is key!)

pinch salt

a few drops vanilla extract

dash cinnamon

1-2 tbsp peanut butter [Y'all! Please be sure to by peanut butter that has not had any oils added to it! Look for a jar that only has peanuts (and salt, if you want) on the ingredients list. It is very common for companies to add plant oils that aren't nearly as good for you and hydrogenated oils which are downright bad for you in order to reduce the need for stirring! For more info, see my fats post!]

Directions – Combine all the ingredients except the PB in a bowl. Microwave for 90 seconds. Top with PB and savor every last delicious bite until you are swiping the bowl clean with your index finger. Repeat?

Option: You could totally sub out the peanut butter for coconut butter and coconut shreds. I have. Tis’ amazing.

Benefits:

Peanut butter  * a cheap and ‘licious source of healthy unsaturated fats!

Cocoa powder * a potent source of antioxidants

Oats * A slow digesting carbohydrate that will keep you full for longer and not spike your blood sugar because of its high fiber content! Also contains potassium, phosphorous, pantothenic acid, and magnesium.

Cinnamon * In one study, after taking 1/4 – 1 tsp cinnamon daily for 40 days, all participants benefitted from a reduction of fasting blood sugar levels, blood triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol! It is very high in antioxidants and can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which will help prevent an insulin spike, and thus the storage of fat.

Guest Post: Alex from Spoonful of Sugar Free

Hello Everybody! Thanks you Lauren for asking to do a guest post while you are gone!

My name is Alex, and my blog is called Spoonful of Sugar Free. Just a quick note about myself before I continue onto the topic. I am very sensitive/allergic to sugars. I can’t eat sweets, but I can handle a bit of fruit sugar. I get a massive headache, a rash, and plain sick after eating sugar.

All right, now that you know where I’m coming from, I am going to talk to you about the different kinds of sugar replacements out there. When you walk down the aisle and see tons of new sweeteners, you probably don’t exactly know what to think. I believe that natural sugars are completely fine to eat in moderation. Our bodies were designed to digest natural foods, so natural sugars are great (I just can’t handle them) for the majority of the population.

A bad sugar that we hear a lot about these days is High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is a sugar derived from corn that is made by treating it with an enzyme. It is aprocessed food! Some recent studies have reported that “Rats normally live for a good two years,” explains Meira Fields, Ph.D., research chemist at the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland. “But the rats in my study fed a high-fructose, low copper diets are dying after 5 weeks.” High Fructose Corn Syrup is not meant to enter the human body, and our bodies don’t know how to digest it. Therefore, our bodies will either store it as fat, or the mutant high fructose molecule will travel to our cells and block off nutrients from getting into the cells. This, therefore, causes many problems in the body.

Bad Sugars Substitutes:


  • Aspartame: Steer clear! It is also unnatural, and it is known to cause cancer, and possibly interfere with the nervous system.
  • Sucralose (Splenda): Splenda is a chlorinated artificial sweetener. According to a study at Duke University, Splenda “suppresses beneficial bacteria and directly affects the expression of the transporter P-gp and cytochrome P-450 isozymes that are known to interfere with the bioavailability of drugs and nutrients. Furthermore, these effects occur at Splenda doses that contain sucralose levels that are approved by the FDA for use in the food supply.” Doesn’t sound good to me.
  • Sugar Alcohols: Xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol are popping up everywhere. They are not completely absorbed by the body; but because they are not completely absorbed, they can ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Personally, I don’t use them. But if you decide to try it, don’t use too much, it can cause stomach-issues.

Good Sugar Substitutes:

  • Honey: This natural bee delicacy even contains antioxidants! And small amounts of proteins, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Agave: This nectar comes from a desert plant. It is getting a lot of attention these days because it has a rather low Glycemic Index.
  • Maple Syrup: Must be PURE maple syrup. If so, it is minimally processed and contains antioxidants.
  • Molasses: Same as Maple syrup. The darker the molasses, the more antioxidants it contains!
  • Stevia: I have actually started using this, and have not had an problems. It contains zero calories, and is naturally derived from a herb. It comes in liquid or granule form.

And now, a sugar-free recipe! From Lauren’s request :)

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

~This milkshake is dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan, and is a wonderful treat for summer!

Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

First, blend the cashews with equal parts water until it is smooth and makes a sort-of nut milk. Then, add banana, cocoa powder, and vanilla (if using), and blend until smooth. Add more water to create desired consistency. (I like my milkshakes nice and thick, so I don’t usually add much more water.)

You can even add some of the good sugars we talked about if you want the milkshake sweeter. I suggest using honey, stevia drops, or agave for this particular recipe.

Hope you enjoyed my post! My blog is here if you ever want to check it out.

Thanks again, Lauren, for allowing me to do this guest post!