Chai Tea Fun + Butterscotch Oatmeal Dough Balls Recipe

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By 3pm today, I had completed several kitchen projects:

  • eggs + biscuits for breakfast
  • chai tea infused caramels
  • pot roast (prepped and in the slow cooker)
  • butterscotch oatmeal dough balls
  • chai tea infused granola

Phew! It was a busy Sunday! As a 9-to-5 working woman, most of my kitchen projects get squeezed into the weekend, so I have to make the most of my free time.

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Most of my goodies were centered around this – chai tea, but there was a lot going on in the kitchen in general today.

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I had Ball Jars cleaned and drying out.

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Mom’s pot roast (click for recipe) prepped and in the slow cooker.

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A new dough ball flavor chilling and waiting to be baked.

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Baking sheets waiting for those dough balls to be ready to bake.

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Chai tea infused caramels cooking stove top. (I found out later the caramel was hard! Boo…guess I’ll have to try the recipe again and cook for less time?) Does any one know what causes hard caramel?

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Chai tea infused granola slowly turning golden in the oven. (The recipe needs tweaking before I share it here on the blog)

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As I’ve mentioned many times before here on The Chic Life, I am trying to move away from using plastics.

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I’ve been trying to move towards using glass.

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I wanted to get some of those glass containers with the flip-open top and silver lever that you press down to seal. However, those aren’t nearly as cost-effective.

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So, I got some quart-sized Ball jars a la Emily and will be moving some of my grains and dried beans around. So far, so good!

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But here’s what I’m guessing you really wanted…

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oh yes…a new dough ball flavor! I actually have two to share with you, but first…

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Butterscotch Oatmeal Dough Balls! I actually had one failed batch before I found success with this flavor. Substituting oats for flour is not an easy thing when you’re going for a particular texture. My first attempt turned out like regular (delicious, but flatter) cookies. But, today I found success! Hooray!

Butterscotch Oatmeal Dough Balls

Inspired by Annie the Baker

Makes 14-18 (depending on how you size them)

Be sure to check out my chocolate chip dough balls (click for recipe)!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 stick butter, softened/room-temp
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg (or flaxseed-egg)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix sugars and butter till creamy. (I used a handheld mixer, but you could probably just use a whisk). Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.
  4. Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. Careful to not overmix.
  5. Gently fold butterscotch chips into the dough, without overmixing.
  6. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes (yes, more than the chocolate chip dough balls) before using a small sorbet scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Roll each mound into a ball and spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball.
  7. Bake balls for 10-14 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. If you use egg, and you’re paranoid like me, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the centers of the balls are at least 160 degrees F, which many web sites say is the safe temp to eat eggs.
  8. Let your dough balls rest on the baking sheet to cool at least 5-10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

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These may be more irresistible than the chocolate chip version. I can’t tell. Can you?

***

Anywho, after my kitchen fun, I headed out for an afternoon session of Zumba! I was late for class (I was just attending…not teaching) but still had an awesome time. I left with such a great Zumba-high. You may have seen the following Facebook update on my TCL FB Page or on Twitter:

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:)

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I came home, twittered with some friends, took a shower, and made mashed potatoes to go with the delish pot roast.

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By the way,I’ve been working on an “Artistic Alcatraz” set of photos to share with you guys, which I’ve created using photos I took when I visited Alcatraz a couple weeks ago. The photos are looking really cool, and I can’t wait to share them. Here’s a sneak peek. ;)

I’m off to watch some football with hubby and cuddle with Bailey before bed. I have a short work week ahead, so I’m excited! Hopefully a lot of people will be out of the office, too, so things will be nice and quiet. I am ready for some easier work days…and holidays!

Portable Breakfast #3 – Sip + Chew Oatmeal And New House Goodies

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It was fun reading about your responses on the whole acupuncture experience!

I hope you guys have been enjoying the Portable Breakfast series on The Chic Life this week. So far, I’ve featured two other breakfasts you can enjoy on-the-go here and here.

WIthout further adieu, here’s our next morning meal for your busiest days…

Portable Breakfast #3 – Sip + Chew Oatmeal

Ok, I know what you’re thinking…sip…and…chew? While I find that oatmeal is far and above better when enjoyed spoonful by spoonful from your favorite oatmeal bowl…when you’re short on time, oatmeal in a cup is better than no oatmeal at all. I mean, sometimes, you just really, really want oatmeal. Not a smoothie, not toast…oatmeal. So, here’s your solution. And while I suppose you could whip up oatmeal and throw it in a blender so you can skip that whole chew part (and while I do have an oatmeal smoothie recipe in the works), I believe oatmeal of this kind should still be chewed.

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So, why sip the oatmeal? Because, unless you’re able to take public transportation to work, you’re probably going to need your hands to drive your car, etc. By sipping the oatmeal, your hands are free to take care of business.

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Step 1: Gather your ingredients and oatmeal pot (or a bowl if you’re going to microwave)

I really like oatmeal because it hits all the key points I try to get in my breakfast: whole grains, fruit, protein and the ability to add healthful add-ins like chia seeds.

Today, I used (to make oatmeal for me & hubby – he’s not a big oatmeal eater:

Note: I don’t typically use extra sweeteners. I prefer to get the natural sweeteners from the fruit, but feel free to add yours to taste.

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Step 2: Prepare ingredients, as needed

A blended fruit or veggie like applesauce or pumpkin would probably be your best bet for a fruit add-in, but I really like bananas. I also really don’t like mashed bananas in my oatmeal, so I just chopped mine, but mashed bananas would probably be better on the go.

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Step 3: Cook oats stovetop (or in the microwave)

A couple general stovetop oats notes:

  • I cook my oats on a medium low heat setting
  • I add my oats, water, milk, and chia seeds straightaway
  • I add the banana slices near the end of cooking

A couple notes for sip + chew oats:

  • You want the consistency to be pretty liquid-y so it’s easy to sip. Otherwise, it will be difficult to eat from a cup.
  • If your oatmeal gets too thick, you can add extra milk or water while you’re cooking to help it thin out.

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Step 4: Add toppings

I like to add my protein via a nut butter and nut/seed toppings. Some oatmeal can have a fair amount of protein, so check your label. The one I’m using today has 7g per 1/2 cup, but I like to get extra from the nut butters, since the protein helps you stay full.

You can also add other toppings here, but I recommend sticking with things that are small or easy to eat since you won’t be using a spoon.

For toppings, I used:

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I added my cooked oats and toppings in a bowl to show you, but you can add it straight to your container for transportation of choice.

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Step 5: Stir

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And if for some reason your almond/etc butter gets stuck to your spoon…well…

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…you know what to do.

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Step 6: Add your oats to a container for transportation and enjoy (if you haven’t already)

For a container for transporting your oats, I recommend the same thing you used for your smoothie – an insulated thermos. They’ll keep your oats warm, off your lap, off of the interior of your car (if you do it right), and will fit nicely in your cup-holders so you don’t have to look around for somewhere to put a bowl (as you may be able to tell…I’ve tried that before). I also recommend while you’re transporting the the oatmeal you leave the top on to prevent spills, but you can remove the top once you’ve settled into your car (or on the bus, etc.).

That’s it…if you got your oatmeal to the right consistency, it should be pretty easy to sip and chew when you’re on-the-go. Just think of it as pouring bites into your mouth instead of getting them off your spoon. Remember to try to stick with toppings and mixins that are easy to chew.

Btw, other options, if you don’t want to sip your oatmeal are to use an insulated container and enjoy your oats when you get to your destination/office or bring ingredients with you and make your oats at your destination/office. You don’t have to sip it…that’s just another option for you busy bees.

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Cleaning tip: fill your pot with water once you’re done. If you let oatmeal sit on your pot all day, it will cake on and be difficult to remove. If you soak your pot, the oatmeal should come off very easily, even after only several minutes (though I do often let mine soak all day and clean when I come home from work, depending on how hectic my morning is). I do try to let the pot come to room temperature before I add water because I heard sudden changes in temperature can ruin a non-stick finish.

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And here’s a photo of Bailey from this afternoon because you guys asked for it. :)

***

I fiiinally have a house update to share with you guys! You may remember hubby and I fell in love with a couch and chair set at Macy’s late last year, but have been too short on funds to purchase it. We’ve been stalking the set for the last year in hopes we’d find a floor sample or a major sale, but alas…the sale never came.

Lucky for us, hubby has been checking Craigslist on a regular basis and recently found the very couch set we wanted there!

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For the first time in over a year, the formal living room has furniture in it. Literally, the only thing in this living room for what feels like forever was the rug…and eventually the buffet.

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Bailey loves both the new couch and chair.

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I love them both! Plus Bailey and definitely plus hubby for finding this amazing furniture for us! :)

***

Check back later for my next post on a new twist on stir-fries, plus new kitchen goodies!

***

Btw, I asked my Facebook friends (click) for one word to describe The Chic Life and they said:

  • Chic ;)
  • Fabulous/Fab
  • Creative
  • Fun

You guys make me smile…thank you!

***

Have you ever wanted to purchase something (doesn’t have to be furniture) but had to wait a long time to get it? What’s your shopping story?

Chocolate Pumpkin Oats + Share TCL!

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Quick Updates

We have our first Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge 2010 entry! Click here to check out the challenge and the entry…it’s a goodie!

Oh and in case you missed it, I posted the recipes I promised recently:

In case you need ideas for dinner and stuff.

***

Eats!

As for today, I had a brainstorm this morning for breakfast. I like pumpkin oatmeal. I like chocolate pumpkin bread. So why not make chocolate-pumpkin oatmeal!?

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Oh yea!

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Hot coffee.

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Per the usual, my chocolate oats look decadent, but they really aren’t that sweet.

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I used unsweetened cocoa powder and only added a little maple syrup as my natural sweetener.

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On top: flaxseed meal, walnuts, cacao nibs.

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Hello beautiful!

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I made hubby and me love-bugs…err…love-mugs today full of hot tea. He had Tulsi and I had Yogi Echinacea.

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Yogi tea quote of the day: “You are infinite.

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Which Wich for lunch. I haven’t had this in awhile since I don’t like to order sandwiches out (because I don’t like to buy things out that I can easily make at home), but there’s something about the crispy-edged bread that is so appealing.

I had the Chicken Philly (which was surprisingly light – I think because they used deli meat) with provolone, lettuce, and tomato.

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Someone was sleepy today. That’s what he gets for being so restless the other night! lol

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Hubby was in charge of dinner again. He made grilled chicken with that Bahamian blackened seasoning, micro-baked potatoes (sweet for me, russet for him) and grilled broccolini.

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I enjoyed my sweet potato with a bit of real butter and a dusting of brown sugar.

***

Bloggie Updates – Share The Chic Life

And now for some blog updates. You may have noticed that a couple things have been changing here on The Chic Life. I’m especially excited about some updates related to sharing content. I hope you find my blog useful and a good resource for not only you, but for your family, friends, and co-workers. I’m hoping that the changes I’ve made over the last couple weeks will make my blog more share-friendly so you can better utilize my posts and recipes.

Read a recipe you liked? Why not Facebook-like it to share it with your friends?

Did I blog about some tips that you think your BFF would like, now you can email it, tweet it, or share it a number of other ways with the click of a button. Just look for the icon representing the share-method you want to utilize.

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And, of course, I always, ALWAYS love reading your comments. They offer me support and encouragement to keep doing what I do here on The Chic Life. Not to mention you guys have some pretty fantastic advice and ideas, so please keep ‘em coming! :)

Also, do I have any readers who work in offices? I’m going to be starting a new set of posts geared towards the working woman (or man). First post goes up tomorrow! Woohoo!

So, who will be the first to Facebook-like something here on The Chic Life? ;)

Candied Pecan Topped Oatmeal

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TGIF Friends! This week has been sooo long! Know what I mean? I’m so ready for the weekend!

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I was so excited to share some photos from breakfast with you guys today that I had to take a lil break from work today to post, instead of waiting till after work.

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I used the last of my frozen steel cut oats from my “oatmeal factory” awhile back for today’s breakfast.

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I just mixed in half a mashed (very-well-ripened banana), plus some 1% organic milk (you could use non-dairy milk to make your version vegan) and chia seeds.

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To top, I added ground flaxseed meal and the last of my vegan candied pecans (click for this fast and easy recipe). Boy did they make an amazing topping, folks! Look for those candied pecans again soon…they’re way too easy to not make again in the near future.

Remember to tell me how you dress up your t-shirt and jeans by clicking here and adding a comment. I love reading about your ideas!

Steel Cut Oats…Fast!

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Ever wonder if you can make steel cut oats faster? Well, you can’t really speed up the cooking time (at least not that I’m aware of) but you can make a big batch when you have some time (think Prep Day Sunday) and eat off the batch the rest of the week.

The other day, I made a big batch of steel cut oats in my slow cooker (a great way to start the day – hot oats waiting for you! Woohoo!), and I set aside a couple servings to reheat later. I put 2 in the fridge, and I’m currently experimenting with a couple frozen batches.

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As for the refrigerated version, they’re a cinch to heat up…and super fast, too!

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And look what time it is! Pumpkin time!

Part of the reason I made my slow cooker oats sans sweetener or mixins was because I wanted to add the mixins, like canned pumpkin, at the time of re-heating.

Anywho…

While there are lots of ways you can re-heat oats, I like to avoid the microwave as much as possible. So, I usually go stove-top.

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Place your pre-cooked oats (see this post on how to cook them in advance) in a small pot and add a little milk (or non-dairy milk) over medium low heat.

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Stir to combine.

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Add your mixin of choice (here I have canned organic pumpkin).

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A little more heat and a lot more stirring and voila! Pumpkin oats are ready! Just make sure you heat them to your desired temperature (but try to avoid bringing to a boil, especially if you’re using a cow milk). Once they’re at the right temp, you can just pour them in a bowl.

As for sweeteners, your best bet is to add them while your oats are in the pot…as for me, I like just a drizzle of real maple syrup on top. :)

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Perfect with a hot cuppa joe.

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My fave pumpkin oat toppings are pretty simple: maple syrup and nuts. Today I added maple syrup, flaxseed meal and pepitas.

Yuuummy!

Oatmeal Factory (Slow Cooker Oats)

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I woke up to a lovely vision this morning…

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Hot coffee in the coffee pot and hot oatmeal in the slow cooker.

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Hubby’s been doing a great job setting this up every night. Nothing like having coffee waiting for you!

Today we tried the new fall flavor I picked up recently – Pumpkin Spice from The Fresh Market!! Yuuuummmm!

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Oatmeal waiting for me was killer! :)

I used Alton Brown’s recipe as a guideline, but got paranoid about burnt oatmeal after reading all the reviews, so I switched up the cooking method.

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Here’s what I did for my Slow Cooker Oatmeal:

  • Mixed up 1 cup steel cut oats with 4 cups water and 1/2 cup 1% organic milk in the slow cooker.
  • Cooked the mixture over Warm for 8 hours.
  • After waking up, I turned the slow cooker to hight for 30 minutes.
  • I served myself a bowl and moved the rest to individual containers to cool and store in the fridge and freezer

Notes:

  • I didn’t add any fruit or sweeteners because I knew I’d make several portions for later and I want to pick my mixins later.
  • I’d like to try adding mixins like dried fruit, chia seeds, etc. to the original batch in the future to see how it turns out.
  • Many reviews said the Low temp (which is what you’re supposed to use according to Alton’s recipe) resulted in burned oats. I think I’m going to experiment cooking mine on Low but during the day so I can stop them before they’re burning. The 8 hours on Warm with 30 minutes on High trick seemed to work well enough for today.
  • Please don’t use rolled oats – they’re totally not going to work with this cooking method (at least that’s what all the reviews on Alton’s recipe said…but it seems to make logical sense).
  • I think this dish would be fabulous for a brunch party.
  • Random Thought – I’d really like to bring some of these to work some time…maybe some new people would find out they really like oatmeal?

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I made another mini me bowl of oats for hubby today.

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I mixed in a sliced banana, plus flaxseed meal, chia seed, sliced almonds, with a couple cranberries on top.

The mixins were strange today because I mixed them in post-cooking. When I re-heat the rest of the oats, I plan to do so stovetop, which will make it much easier to incorporate mixins. At least that’s what I’m expecting. :)

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My kitchen felt like an oatmeal factory today! Look at all the servings I have for later! These are each about 2/3 – 3/4 cup servings.

***

If you guessed my errand today was going to the DMV, you were right!

I tried going to the DMV. I mean…I actually went, but when I got in line behind about 40 people, I knew it would be bad. When someone said it would be 3 hours from where we were in line, I decided to leave. Guess I’ll try again next week.

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I had a second breakfast later – another delicious rye bagel. Hubby and I may or may not be slightly obsessed with these.

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Bailey is so funny. Look at how he gets all comfy on our pillows! :lol:

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Tulsi tea with honey.

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Hubby picked up some dry cleaning for us today. They charged us $15-17 per dress!!!! I don’t do dry cleaning much, but that seems astronomical! Is this normal??

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Lunch #1 was ED&BV lentil soup plus some fresh-baked Whole Grain Goodness with a dab of real butter.

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Lunch #2 = steamed broccoli with butter and nutritional yeast.

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I also had more of that healthy “Lucky Charms” cereal… eaten with a new spoon! Picked this up at a recent garage sale.

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And about 2 hours before teaching zumba, I had a smoothie for a pre-workout snack. I normally aim for 1 hour before a workout for pre-workout snacks seem to take me longer to digest.

In the mix:

  • frozen mixed organic berries
  • banana
  • Vanilla rice milk
  • Vega Whole Health Optimizer

***

Post work, I taught Zumba tonight! We had a fabulous class with lots of hard songs. I’m trying to make my playlists pretty challenging so people get a really good workout. :)

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Post-zumba I met up with some friends at Yoforia. I just went for the company, though…I didn’t actually eat any froyo! I really wanted dinner first. Can you believe I went to a froyo shop and didn’t get anything?! lol

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I had no clue what to eat for dinner, though I did know we didn’t really have much at home. So, I hit up Jason’s. I kind of wanted a turkey wrap, but I ended up getting a turkey melt.

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Mostly I picked the melt because I heard sauerkraut is good for you. It seemed like a logical decision…but it tasted…off tonight? Guess I should have listened to my gut. Oh well!

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More cereal for me tonight! Nom nom nom!

Ready to try oats in your slow cooker? What’s your favorite thing to cook in a recipe? Please comment with recipes if you have them. :)

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