Nature’s Pride Bread tasting

Since we moved into our new condo, I’ve been sending all of my packages to work. I feel a little funny doing it, but otherwise it becomes a game of chasing packages on weekends and that’s just no fun.  Do any of you do this or am I the only weird one? ;) I think the mailmen at my work are going to start talking about me soon, because I’ve been a popular girl lately. Yesterday a big box full of bread was delivered to my cube at work. I had to giggle a little :lol:

The bread was from Nature’s Pride Bread and I received it through participation in Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker program. Taste testing is definitely one of my favorite things! Here are the two loaves – 100% whole wheat and 12 grain. All the breads are 100% natural with no artificial ingredients, no HFCS, no trans fat, etc. Perfect!

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I dug into the whole wheat loaf first thing in the morning. This kind of soft bread is perfect for french toast for breakfast and as I found out today for egg in the hole! I had my lovely egg in the hole with some mascadine grapes + regular organic red grapes. Sweet grapes + egg and toast are a heavenly combo. The whole wheat bread was also so delicious. Very soft and flavorful, not rubbery at all like whole wheat breads sometimes are. I’d say it’s a whole wheat bread for whole wheat bread haters! *I’m going to test this theory on Adam soon.*

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Mmm, egg in a hole. Yum!

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Mid-morning snack revolved around another slice of Nature’s Pride bread – this time the 12 grain kind. There are little seeds inside the bread. Again, the bread was very soft with great texture and a touch of sweetness. I toasted it a bit, slathered it with a light laughing cow wedge and topped it with some more organic red grapes. Wow, what an awesome snack! Sweet (grapes) + savory (cheese) = satisfied Elina :mrgreen:

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This snack also perfectly fueled me though a bootcamp style workout. Coco joined me for the class today and I thought she was going to kill me at some point. We did the usual interval training for a while (alternating between weights and cardio for 1 minute) and then the instructor told us to put everything away and we started doing team sprints from one end of the studio to another. Wholly cow. I was sweating buckets, and kind of felt like I was back in high school… except this time I think I was in a better shape ;) Thankfully Coco was a trooper and said she liked it overall. This was definitely quite the class to try out for the first time at my gym. We didn’t ease her into it at all :D

Lunch: leftover cheddar crusted salmon with sweet roasted broccoli + heirloom grape tomatoes

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Mid-afternoon snack: Heart Thrive apricot bar (reused pic)

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This cookie bar sat like a rock in my stomach all afternoon. I was happy it did because it made a cupboard full of treats or worse, a trip to the bakery, that much easier to resist. Yeah, work got MEGA stressful again, and my instincts are to eat. I am NOT giving in. I will fuel my body the right way!!

After a 10-hour work day, I had absolutely zero desire to cook dinner. Luckily a newsletter from b.good with a special buy one/get one free offer made dinner an obvious choice. I got the b.good turkey burger: caramelized onions, mushrooms, garlicky greens, steak sauce (sans the onions of course!) and stole a few baked fries from Adam.

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These pictures do not do this fabulous burger justice!! It was SO juicy and flavorful. The garlicky sauteed spinach and mushrooms were seriously incredible. I kept on saying how much this dinner rocked the entire time we were eating. Adam enjoyed his “usual” – beef el guapo. I’m adding the “b.good burger” to my rotation at b.good (current other favorites: southwestern chicken salad and the turkey el guapo).

Dinner without dessert? Not on this blog! I had a small slice of the chocolate fudge cheesecake when we got back home. Yeah, that’s how you end a night of perfectly delicious eats! :D

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Do you have a favorite bread brand? I used to be obsessed with Ezekiel bread but now am not a fan for some reason (despite still LOVING their english muffins). There is also a Whole Foods organic spelt bread that I enjoy and of course a good crusty baguette on occasion cannot be beat.  For a soft bread I haven’t found “the one” yet. Nature’s Pride Bread could become just that very soon. I was seriously impressed!!! :grin:

Oh, how could I almost forget… if you haven’t already, go enter my Lazy Baker cookie mix giveaway!!

Never ending to-do list

It’s a little after 9pm. I just finished dinner and am now for the first time sitting down to relax. I wish I could say I’m truly relaxing, though, because my head is spinning with everything that needs to get done. There is laundry to be folded (has been sitting in the washing machine for a few days now), I need new cosmetics and need to research the green chemical-free alternatives, some of my clothes need to be ironed and the blogging “wish list” is never ending. Oh yeah, I also need to decide on what I make for dinner this week. The meals need to be fast because there will be longer hours at work again. Somehow another day has gone by and my to-do list has not shrunk one bit. Do you ever feel like you’re constantly going full speed, yet nothing gets done?

Despite the crazy schedule (another late meeting prevented me from working out after work :evil: ) my eats were delicious. I tried to eat a little cleaner today given the abundance of this weekend’s treats.

Breakfast: egg & cheese with tomato on a FFL english muffin + mascadine grapes

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These grapes are giant and are super cool. Their skin is very thick and tart but their flesh is really meaty, sweet and delicious. Have you ever mascadine grapes?

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Mid-morning snack: some grapes my co-worker gave me. They were so sweet!

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Lunch: mixed greens, carrots, heirloom grape tomatoes, roasted red peppers, black beans, roasted almonds + buttermilk-herb dressing and shaved organic cheddar cheese.

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My favorite was the crunch of the roasted almonds and carrots and the creaminess of the black beans. The roasted peppers were kind of random – I was just trying to bulk up the salad with veggies. Next time I’ll skip them. Black + roasted red peppers are a weird combo. One at a time is better :)

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Lunch dessert: 1/2 FFL cinnamon raisin english muffin with Barney Butter and fresh raspberries. I knew I needed a little somethin’ after the salad and this hearty dessert prevented me from hitting up the vending machine at the office!

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Mid-afternoon snack: fruit & nuts – 100 calorie almonds pack + 2 dried prunes. Yum! :D

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Dinner: cheddar crusted salmon + sweet roasted broccoli

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See the crust over the salmon? That’s cheese!! I sprinkled the salmon fillet with S&P and shredded some cheddar over it before plopping it (top side down) on the skillet until perfectly cooked (inspired by this recipe). I knew the salmon was perfectly done when I could easily remove the skin from it. The broccoli was roasted by following this recipe. I thought sweetening the broccoli with some sugar was fun and different although I don’t think broccoli necessarily needs any sugar; I love it as is. :D Adam loved this sweetened version!

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Dessert: Kashi dark chocolate oatmeal cookie + a glass of riesling

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Mmm, wholesome cookies.

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And now I’m snacking on these as I’m typing. They are definitely addictive and incredibly delicious (I also got the chocolate kind – not as good). I need to separate them into little baggies for portion control asap! New addiction alert!! :mrgreen:

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How was your Monday? Do you find that you’re refreshed after the weekend and ready for the work week or dreading to go back?

Don’t forget to enter The Lazy Baker giveaway!

Weekend full of sweets + The Lazy Baker giveaway

Ok, where did this weekend go? I want another one right now!! ;) It was such a fun weekend. Let’s quickly recap the highlights:

1) Finishing a 12 mile run and feeling strong. Average speed exactly 10.0 minute mile. I felt amazing, and can’t wait for the race now, which is less than 2 weeks away. I AM READY. Bring it on!!! :D

2) Going shopping with my sister and parents. My parents were so generous – they bought every single thing we liked! I got really cute going out clothes and did some real damage at Lululemon. I put my new shirt to test on the 12-miler and I’m obsessed. I’m buying one in every color. I’ll post a pic online. Every runner should have one!!

3) Brunching with my girlfriends. It’s been months, and it was time! We vowed to never go this long without seeing each other again.

4) Spending time with my parents in law, who brought us cheesecake and helped us put up track lighting. We have light in our living room now, and for a little over $200. Go Home Depot! Forget you, lady from the ghetto looking lighting store who quoted us $2,500 for lights. Psh! :lol:

5) Running for 12 miles straight!!! Oh I mentioned that already? Oh well – it deserves a second highlight! :mrgreen:

And now onto something sweeter. Somehow this weekend ended up sweeter than usual – literally. I have 5 sweet highlights for your enjoyment (I ate some “real food” too but it was nothing to write home (err blog) about :) ).

1) My Saturday morning started with a brunch at Acquataine. Brunching is really a great way to get a weekend going, don’t you think?

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Sweet numero uno: warm house made cinnamon bun, as part of Acquitaine’s Saturday $9.99 pre-fixe menu. I was happy this thing wasn’t the size of my head, and enjoyed about 1/2 of it with a nice cup of coffee (or 3!).

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A beautiful egg white spinach and feta omelet (light on cheese, light on oil) was perfectly fluffy and light :)

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2) Next up – Tatte! My sister has read about this bakery on my blog several times and requested that we go on her next visit to Boston. I couldn’t pass up my favorite – mixed nut box. Shortbread box with lots of nuts and buttery caramel. How can you go wrong with that?! Mmm, that was Saturday’s “lunch” :grin:

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3) Mom’s cherry filled “gorka” cake. Gorka means a little hill in Russian – can you see why?

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I ate a slice sometime on Saturday, and then this guy after my run on Sunday. Most delicious post run fuel ever! :D

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4) Cheesecake sample pack from Alden Merrel Fine Desserts in Newburyport, MA my parents in law brought for us. Geez, I think people were trying to kill me with all these sweets this weekend. Good thing I burnt 1,600 calories on my run :D Back to cleaner eating this week…

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The turtle cheesecake was to-die for. The caramel was just so sweet and gooey. The slice is on the smaller size and clocked in at 330 calories (21 grams of fat though – eek) so I didn’t do that much damage. :???:

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5) And now we’re getting close to the giveaway! A few weeks ago I emailed The Lazy Baker and asked if they’d send me one of their cookie mixes to review. I’m often in a situation when I’m craving cookies, but don’t have the energy to look for recipes and start a full-on baking project. There are 3 alternatives to this problem – 1) going to a bakery (expensive, time consuming); 2) quick trip to the grocery store for something sweet (way less tasty and often unsatisfying); 3) ignore the craving (boo!). The Lazy Baker mixes seemed like the perfect solution (and the ingredients are all natural!!). So what did I think?

I received in the mail the oatmeal cherry raisin spice mix – although these sounded delicious, the chocaholic that I am I would of course choose one of the other cookies with chocolate if I were to buy the mix. Here is the package, and everything else you’d need to make the cookies.

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Inside the package:

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After preparing the dough as per instructions, and rolling them into little balls:

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I came out with 27 balls. Instead of eating 27 cookies right away, I put about half away in a ziplock bag and froze them. I think these will be great when I just want 1 or 2 cookies. Hopefully it works!

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Post baking (took about 15 minutes in my oven):

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I had to taste 2 right away!

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Wow. These were absolutely amazing fresh out of the oven!!! As you can see they didn’t spread too much, so they were plump little balls of oats and spices with cherries and raisins. Again, I’d normally go for cookies with chocolate but these blew me away. My husband and parents in law absolutely loved these too. They tasted so wholesome, yet rich and buttery (but not in a greasy way). Yum!!

Overall I thought The Lazy Baker mix wasn’t that lazy. I still had to pull out my Kitchen Aid mixer to whip up the butter and eggs and mix the dough. Basically the mix let me skip 1 step (mixing flours, baking powders, spices, etc.) but I still did some work for sure and still had some bowls to wash at the end of it all. Was it worth it? Absolutely! The cookies were amazingly flavorful, and if my freezer trick works, I did a bunch of prep work and will reap the benefits for weeks to come (if they last that long, hehe).

Do you want to win your own mix of The Lazy Baker cookies? Here are the rules:

1) Go to The Lazy Baker website and tell me which mix you’d like to try the most (if you win, I’ll nicely ask the company to send you that mix!).

2) If you have a blog, let others know about the giveaway and link back to this post.  If you don’t have a blog, tell someone about this giveaway and let me know that you’ve done so (after they enter the giveaway by commenting). *This earns you 2 bonus points*

3) If you have a blog, add Healthy and Sane to your blogroll (if I’m already on your blogroll, let me know – it counts!).  If you don’t, shoot me an email and give me some feedback on my blog. *This also earns you 2 bonus points*

The giveaway ends October 5th at 6pm EST. I’ll announce the winner that night! Good luck!!! :mrgreen:

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