Let’s pretend this is a panzanella

I lived in Italy this summer for five weeks and I ate a lot of pasta. There isn’t exactly a whole love of big veggie dishes in Italy (trust me, I searched) unless you’re on the coast. I’m spoiled and grew up in Southern California where we have arguably the best produce in the world. I eat tons of veggies, so this overdose of pasta was quite the culture shock. However, panzanella was an occasional awesome find. It’s basically a plethora of veggies that are grilled or cooked with some toasted pita or bread of some sort. I dig it.
I was feeling a little nostalgic of my travels through Italy and whipped up my own version of Panzanella! Mine is light, limited on the bread, and very flavorful considering how few ingredients it has. Whip it up, pour yourself a glass of red and pretend you’re sitting in a piazza in Florence!

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Panzanella
serves 1
ingredients
1 green bell pepper, thickly cut
1 zucchini, thickly cut
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chickpeas
1 whole wheat pita cut into 8 triangles
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons goat cheese

1. Put the olive oil into a pan and turn to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add in the first four ingredients along with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and the dried basil. Toss the veggies with a spoon and let them cook for 7 minutes , stirring occasionally.
2. While the vegetables cook, heat the oven to 300 and assemble the pita pieces on a cookie sheet. Put them into the oven and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly crispy.
3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas and remainder of the salt to the veggies. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. Assemble the vegetables on a plate with the pita pieces around them. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

Don’t forget your glass of red! You aren’t in Italy until you have your wine!

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A bagel every now and then isn’t that bad…

Happy Veteran’s Day, everyone! I hope you celebrated it with someone who served our country or at least said thank you to someone who did 🙂

As some of you know, I’m training for another half-marathon. One of the many benefits of running an obscene amount of miles each week is that you get to eat a little (lot) more. And I love to eat. I usually make a ridiculously healthy smoothie or chia seed pudding (recipe coming very soon) or almond butter pancake for breakfast, but every now and then… I need a bagel. This morning was one of those days. Before my workout, I stopped off at my local coop and picked up an everything bagel that they make in house. I feel at least a little better about myself if I buy a bagel made from organic and local ingredients. I tried to make this little bad boy as healthy as possible so everything is organic, local and fresh!  You might think I’m being ridiculous by saying this serves 2 with only one bagel… but this bagel is really loaded. You’ll only want 1/2 of it. And even if you are still hungry, just eat the second half! No one has to know!

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Loaded Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

serves 2

Ingredients

1 everything bagel

1 cream cheese packet or about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese (I used an organic one)

2 eggs, scrambled

8 slices of cucumber

1/4 of an avocado, sliced into four thin slices

2 slices of red onion, or about 2 tablespoons finely chopped

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1. Cut the bagel in half, straight down the center, then turn it on it’s side and cut it down the middle forming four equal pieces.

2. Prepare all of your vegetables while you toast your bagel pieces (it’s easier to use a toaster oven for this one. If you only have a regular toaster, don’t cut the bagel in half or it’ll get lost in the toaster!) and cook your eggs.

3. When the bagel is toasted and the eggs are cooked, start to assemble the breakfast sando. First, spread the cream cheese on one side of the bagel. Then add all of the vegetables on this same side. On the other side, layer the egg pieces.

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4. Now comes the tricky part.. hold onto your egg pieces on the bagel and flip it over on top of other half of the bagel. Now you’re ready to eat this masterpiece! Just make sure you hold the insides in while you take bites… it’s a pretty big mouthful.

UrthBox made my case of the Mondays a whole lot better

I just discovered something that I wish I had when I was a freshman in college so that I could have used it my entire 4 (and a half..) years at school. Let me preface this with the fact that I get through my day because of snacking and I’m sure that’s the case with most students. When you’re a student, you don’t really have the time (or desire) to cook full meals and so quickly grabbing a snack from the store on the way to school is usually what you have to do. If you’re especially unlucky and forget to grab something at the store, you’re usually stuck buying “convenience” crap food on campus that typically consist of a coffee to keep the hunger away and a bag of chips or a muffin that has an expiration date that’s further out than your own.

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When I discovered UrthBox, I felt like all of those years of abuse from grabbing junk food on the go when I was too unorganized to have healthy snacks available could have been avoided. Even as a nutrition major, I know it takes a ridiculous amount of time to go through the grocery store and read every snack label to make sure that there isn’t anything bad in it. My friends really hate grocery shopping with me because of this… so it can cause social issues as well. Just ask any roommate I’ve ever lived with and they’ll explain the methods they’ve used to entertain themselves at the store while I desperately scan every food label for healthy snacks–basically, the process isn’t fun for anyone.

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UrthBox is everything I’ve ever needed, especially as a student (Plus, it makes a great monthly care package for family members to send to their kids! *cough* Hi mom *cough*). They provide a monthly box of goodies that have passed their strict criteria for calorie and nutrition content, ingredient source and manufacturing reviews. Only the best reach your doorstep. So not only do you get to try a bunch of new products that were delivered straight to you every month, you also don’t have to worry about checking the food labels because they’ve already done it for you!! Praise the lord! Think of all the sleeping.. I mean studying.. you could do instead of wasting time checking food labels!

UrthBox has four different types of boxes to order based off of your dietary needs as well: Classic, Gluten-free, Diet, and Vegan. I got the classic. It was delicious. But more on that later. You can also get different sized boxes delivered to you depending on the type of “snacker” you are. You can get the small discovery box which is only $19 per month and has 7-10 products, the “part time snacker” box which is $29 per month and has 12-15 products or the Happy snacker which has 20-24 products and is only $49 per month. You can do the math, but I’ll just explain this to you: This is way cheaper than if you were to actually go out and buy all of the products that they sell. And it’s delivered to your door. Every month. I really shouldn’t have to say more because those facts alone got me beyond excited about UrthBox. But one more fun fact: You can get discounts and gift cards on the products that they sent you online or at local stores.

STUDENTS and PARENTS: It’s cheap. It’s healthy. It’s convenient. It’s delicious. It’s always fun getting mail. Do yourselves or your kids a favor and sign them up for this. I’m a student and a nutrition expert and this passes both the need for something easy as well as the body’s requirement for something healthy.

I can’t possibly explain all of the perks of UrthBox in this post, so to sign up or to get more information, check them out on facebook, their website, instagram or twitter:

www.urthbox.com

www.facebook.com/urthbox (like them and you’ll get a $10 off coupon code! Score.)

Instagram and Twitter: @Urthbox

Let me tell you about my experience with UrthBox:

I first received an email saying my UrthBox should arrive in 1-3 business days. So obviously, I immediately checked my mailbox to see if somehow the magical folks at UrthBox were able to teleport my package of snacks to me. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet discovered how to do this but I didn’t have to wait long for my UrthBox to arrive because two days later (when I again over-eagerly checked my mailbox) I had my box of goodies in my hands.

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Which is when I took this picture. You’re lucky you even got a picture of the unopened box. It took a lot of will power for me to take the time to snap this picture before tearing it open.

It was like Christmas in November. Which Christmas basically is in November now with Starbucks blasting Christmas music and using their holiday cups-very confusing- but I digress.

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I first see the UrthBox card saying “You are what you eat! So don’t be fast and cheap”. Oh, UrthBox. How did you know I require humor in my relationships? I can already tell this is going to work out really well.

When I brought the box into my apartment, I suddenly had the urge to artistically display the products around a pumpkin because, you know, it’s fall and food makes me inspired.

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My roommates were eyeing all of my snacks and looking down at their own barren sections of the kitchen with extreme sadness (Again, students have ZERO time to buy their own snacks. It’s just a fact of life.).

I now have a full stash of snacks to bring to class with me so that I don’t starve/resort to snickers bars or bags of chips. You guys. Listen to me and sign up for UrthBox. It’s probably the best thing that could happen to a student. Just do it. You’ll be happy, just like me and my satiated little belly.

PS: I’m writing this while snacking on the “Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips” from my box. I’ve never tried them before until now and I’m hooked. Non-Gmo and all! God, I love snacks.