Bagel Breakfast Pudding

Hi Friends!

Can we talk about food today? It feels like AGES since I’ve posted about …well anything, but specifically food!

So today, how about a recipe? This is great for company because you can make it ahead of time. And it involves bagels… So you really can’t go wrong, in my opinion.

I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow… But this is more of a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday recipe….

Farmer Ben and I were shopping last week and our grocery store was having an insane sale for a random ten minutes… 6 bagels for $1!!!!! It was such a good sale that we bought a dozen. Is there even a question on whether or not one should buy bagels when they are less than 17 cents each? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, we ended up giving ½ dozen to Ben’s dad and step-mom who are in town visiting and had bagels for breakfast one morning… and then I had people over on Saturday and needed counter space, so I moved them to the top of the fridge and promptly forgot about them until yesterday. Needless to say, they were starting to get a little hard.

Now, if you know me, I HATE wasting food. So I perused our cookbook collection to see if I could find a way to use them up. Farmer Ben said he would use them in stuffing, but I had a better idea.

Bagel Pudding. I love traditional bread pudding…but I also love breakfast. Savory breakfast…I’ve been eating a lot of sweet stuff lately and we had all of these delicious garlic/onion/sesame bagels to use up.  I’ve also been on a major casserole kick lately, so this was a perfect way to keep that rolling…not to mention, it is stupid easy to make!

This is slightly adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Bread Pudding (from her cookbook).

Everything Bagel Breakfast Pudding

Ingredients:

4 savory/salty bagels that are a couple of days old.

2 + TB butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound veal chorizo (but breakfast sausage will also work!)

10 eggs

1 cup of half and half or whole milk

Salt/Pepper/Smoky paprika to taste

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional: add your favorite veggies (peppers, spinach, beans, etc)

What to do:

*If you’re using fresh bagels, lightly toast them and let them sit out for a few hours to dry out…

Cut bagels into chunks (I cut mine 4 ways both directions, no need to slice) and set aside.

Place 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add in your onions. Cook until nice and soft (I caramelized mine because Ben’s a weirdo and only likes disintegrated onions, but as long as they are pretty well cooked, that will also work).

Remove onions from skillet, placing into a small bowl, and set aside.

Put sausage into the same pan, breaking up as you cook it. Let brown. Remove from heat. If you have a lot of grease, drain it (this will depend on your sausage).

While your sausage is cooking, whisk together your eggs, cream and spices in a large bowl. I went very light on salt as the chorizo and bagels I used were pretty well flavored, but again, this is to your taste.

Grease a 2 ½ qt casserole dish with remaining butter.

Layer half of your bagel pieces in the dish.

Add half of your sausage and onions.

Top with half of your cheese.

Repeat bagel, sausage, onion and cheese layers.

Pour your egg mixture over dry ingredients. This part is a little scary, but it will fit!

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It should look like this

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight/for a few hours.

The next day… pre-heat oven to 350 (you’ll want to take your casserole out of the fridge so it warms up as well). Once pre-heated , place casserole in the oven, still  covered. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted, and casserole is firm and crispy.

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What carb-filled dreams are made of

Eat immediately. This will also reheat well.

Happy Thanksgiving, Shopping and Long Weekend, Friends! Cheers!


An Inexplicable Peace

Have you ever felt completely certain that you were in the perfectly right place at exactly the right time?

This has happened to me a few times in my 27 years. Many people would say that it is fate or coincidence….the stars aligning, whatever you want to call it. I say with complete certainty that it is a God thing. Something happened to me this weekend that I had to share. When moments like this occur, when everything is so perfectly aligned… how can you doubt His existence?

This is something I have gone back and forth about posting…because, well… I don’t know what to say! Full disclosure: I sat here staring at the blank screen for a long time before I started typing.

My apologies because, to protect identities, I’m going to keep this vague. I know that would drive me insane.

I received some news about a friend from my past a few months ago. To say it was horrific and completely shocked me would be an understatement. This person had done something absolutely terrible. I won’t go into detail but will say that my heart broke for this person and all involved.  

It’s been difficult for me to process…this is someone who I spent a LOT of time with, and though we haven’t spoken in some time, if asked, I would still say that they were a friend. Many of my memories growing up involve this person. Needless to say, this news has occupied my thoughts often.

It is a prime opportunity for me to truly live out “Hate the sin, NOT the sinner.”

I try to live by this philosophy…it is not my job to judge other people because I, myself, am far from perfect and I know that I’ve done some pretty terrible things in my past. To God, sin is sin, there is no difference. It is my job to love others, regardless of their choices. No exceptions.

Now, this practice is easy when you have a friend who doesn’t tip… or a loved one who tends to be quick to anger. But this particular situation? I’d be lying if I said that I’ve been able to live this out to the highest degree.  

My memories of this person feel tainted. I can’t see my old friend in this individual. They are so disconnected from this other person, someone I no longer recognize in the midst of everything that has occurred. My heart aches for their situation and I wonder what on earth could have happened to push them down the current path they are on…but for them to do what they did… I can’t look past that (on my own).

For whatever reason, I’ve had more trouble pushing this out of my mind as of late. I’ve been spending a lot of time praying about it; praying for this person and others involved… and last week, I blurted it all out to a friend of mine. Though it helped to get everything out and talk to someone who shares my faith, I’m still having trouble. I’m still asking “Why?”

So, when an unexpected answer to my prayers came yesterday evening at church… I was pretty shocked.  It was a service on Thanksgiving with a very different format than what is usually followed. There was more music than usual and our pastors were having people speak, mostly on what they were thankful for.

This seems completely unrelated to my situation, right?

There I stood in church, listening to someone give their testimony.

This is a person I have so much respect for, but never in a million years would I have guessed their story. They began with a few statistics and then just came right out and said that they had been directly affected by almost the exact thing my old friend had done.

I listened to this person tell of how they had so much hatred and unrest in their life as a result. And then something happened between them and the person who had done them wrong a few years later.

Their offender had gotten saved. They had found God and found redemption. And this person would, five years later, do the same. And their offender, who they had hated so much, would become their biggest hero.

This may sound crazy, but this was a moment that I felt God speaking directly to me…there was no bright lights, parting of the clouds, or harps playing… it was just a person telling their story, but at the moment HE was speaking directly to me.

I could barely get through the last song and then I went to my seat and immediately bowed my head and prayed for my friend. And I may have cried.

I felt an inexplicable peace.

After the service, I thanked the person who spoke and they told me that they almost didn’t come to the 5 pm service! My thanks was confirmation that it had been the right choice to go.

Now, PLEASE don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that I can completely forgive my friend (on my own). And I’m not saying that what they or this other wrong-doer did was right by ANY means. NOT at all.

But the fact that there is HOPE for them—for anyone—was confirmation enough for me.

 


Real Talk: Skoop B-Strong Review

Hi Friends!

As promised, I am back to tell you a little bit about Skoop.

I was contacted about three weeks ago to see if I’d be interested in trying this product. After checking out their website and ingredient list, I decided to give it a shot.

Full Disclosure: I was sent a bag of Skoop B Strong in exchange for a review. Per usual, all opinions are my own. I was not compensated for my time.

Let me start off by saying, I prefer to get all of my vitamins and minerals from real food. I’ve never been one to take multi-vitamins or a pill or, for that matter, drink a protein shake. I know that there are people out there who need that something extra, but I personally prefer to eat my nutrients and typically am able to do so without any troubles (and to be honest, I’m not good at REMEMBERING to take a daily vitamin).

But…there are times I can’t eat as well or as much I want to…. Like when my husband opens a restaurant.

Confession: Since the bistro opened, I’ve been struggling to eat enough high quality food. Most of my meals are eaten in a hurry, either while I’m driving to work in the morning, hovering over a counter while trying to do six other things at once, or scarfed down on my lunch hour while trying to take care of other items on my to-do list that I no longer have time for after work.

I’ve eaten more late night slices of pizza in the last four months than I care to admit… and my body has not been happy about it.

Don’t get me wrong, pizza is delicious and portable…but it’s not something I like to eat every day…or even every week for that matter.

I’d prefer to eat a salad every day… but when you’re running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep and trying to do everything in a hurry, salads are a lot of work. And take a lot of concentration to eat.

If you know me personally, you know that I am not someone who can go without eating. If I do, I become an absolutely miserable you-know-what. I’m also not someone who likes to drink their calories…because that never actually keeps you full.

Naturally, when I was contacted to check out this product, I was skeptical… but I figured it would be worth it to at least see what they had to offer.

So what is Skoop (From their website)?

B-STRONG is a plant-based protein blend. It contains prebiotics, mediterranean fruits, fatty acids, and higher carbs to make sure your body is properly using all the nutrients it can. Plant-based protein is more easily broken down and absorbed than protein from a steak, so your body can direct more energy toward healing and extra energy.”

Another plus? They use ingredients I can pronounce. It’s protein powder, but made from REAL foods.

“B-STRONG contains a well-rounded profile of nutrients, which every meal requires. Single plants generally don’t contain all the essential amino acids necessary to create a complete protein, so we used plants that complement each other. B-STRONG gives you all the essential amino acids your body needs to prevent muscle breakdown and loss. Use B-STRONG to help build muscle, recover faster, or just as a strength-building snack during the day.”

I also really like their business model and that they give back to the community. From the Skoop Website:

“That’s why we partnered with The Chef Ann Foundation, a non-profit that provides real, fresh fruits and veggies to public school lunch programs all over the country – programs that currently need to classify french fries, tomato sauce, and ketchup as vegetables in order to meet FDA standards.

For every serving of Skoop sold, we donate one serving of free, fresh fruits and veggies to a school lunch program. You buy a serving, you give a serving. And everyone can feel good about that. Literally”

So I decided to give it a shot.  What did I have to lose? If I hated it, I wouldn’t have wasted any money trying it out.

First things first, can I just say, I was absolutely floored when I got the package from Skoop? I was expecting a couple of sample packs … they sent me a whole bag!!! They also sent me five days’ worth of their A-game and a cute little shaker bottle! Wow!

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I immediately tried the powder with some water to see how it blended. The result? Minimal clumping, no weird chalky aftertaste and a lightly sweet vanilla flavor. I liked the flavor but I could tell right away that it would taste even better with milk.

Since then, I’ve been mixing it up with milk (cow, almond or coconut) and if I’m feeling fancy, some cold coffee. I’ve also added it to smoothies (with almond butter, almond milk, banana, spinach or kale and some cacao).

My favorite way to drink Skoop is with coconut water, almond milk, cacoa and maca powders. The cacoa gives it a nice chocolate flavor and the maca adds some nuttiness. I also really loved adding the A-Game to my morning smoothie for a double-whammy of nutrients.

My next plan is to make some energy bites or some peanut butter cookies with it.

So is this worth buying?

After having it almost daily for the last few weeks, I would say yes! Definitely!

I’ve been drinking Skoop for a quick breakfast or as a snack before going in to work at the bistro and I’ve been full. I feel energized and haven’t had any stomach issues (This is HUGE because, if you’re waiting tables, you don’t have time to run to the bathroom).

For a plant based protein, it doesn’t have any weird after-tastes and doesn’t cause any digestion/gas issues (I know you know what I’m talking about).

I also love the ingredient list and all of the micro-nutrients. Seriously, look at this!

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HealthySkoop.com

For all of that, a 30 serving bag is $67.

Skoop was generous enough to give me a discount code to share with you. Use the code “NOTEBOOK10” at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.

Sidenote: My husband purchased a raw protein/meal replacement around the same time with an equally impressive ingredient list and though I like that one as well, I do notice, I wasn’t as full and had some of the previously mentioned protein farts (sorry, TMI).

Huge thank you to Skoop for sending me this product!

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Happy Wednesday, friends!

 


Currently

Hi friends!

Just popping in with a quick life update!
It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here and Farmer Ben and I were so thankful to both be off on Labor day! What is it about sleeping in that makes the world so much easier to take on???
Do you know what I mean???

Anyway… Here is a list of “currently…”

On the running front: After a lot of soul searching, I decided to drop down to the half for the Wineglass Marathon…. Training wasn’t going well and I was panicking about my long runs…I’d only gotten up to 14 miles and that was rough. In the end, I decided I would rather run the half for fun than try to run the full marathon hating my life and possibly injuring myself.

Because of this decision and a twist of fate, Farmer Ben and I are running the Adirondack Ragnar Relay this year! We can’t wait!

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I have to say, it is a relief to just go out and run, rather than worry about hitting a certain distance. Last night, Farmer Ben and I ran a speedy 4.5 miles (that almost killed me) and it was so nice to not worry about going too fast or having to hit a certain distance.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love distance running. I do… It’s just that right now, it isn’t working with everything else. And I have to accept that for the time being and do what is best for me.

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On the migraine front: I haven’t talked about my migraines in a long time. Long story short, I tried cutting out a lot of different things (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, etc) and nothing seemed to work. I finally decided to go off the pill as a last resort. It’s still a bit early to tell, but it seems to have helped. I haven’t had a migraine in two months!

On the food front: I’ve been eating in a hurry lately. As a result, I’ve been tired, sluggish and hungry…and my pants are a bit more snug than I’d prefer, but I’m not too stressed. It just means it is time to get back to meal prep and getting up early enough to make breakfast and lunch. I’m also back to logging on myfitnesspal for accountability (username nre820).

Something that seems to help is Skoop B-strong. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks and I LOVE it for a quick breakfast/snack. Not only does it keep me full, but it is also 100% organic and is SO GOOD for you! I’ll be doing a full review later this week.

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healthy skoop

On the book front: I finally read The Fault in Our Stars. Verdict: I loved it but I totally guessed how it would end… So sad. Now I have to watch the movie!

I also read Divergent (after seeing the movie). I really liked it… But did anyone else think that Four looked way older in the movie than he was described in the book? I was a little creeped out by this before I read the book.

Lastly, I started reading this a couple of weeks ago (before getting sucked into the other two books)!

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I am picking it back up tonight. Thoughts so far: I’m geeking out over the scientific stuff but some of it feels too gimmicky, like they are trying too hard to sell it to the reader. I’ll keep you posted on my final thoughts.

Can I just say that I love the library???

In other news: Farmer Ben and I started our first batch of homemade vanilla extract. I cannot wait to try it! Six weeks feels like forever.

We’ve been obsessed with tintos (tinto de verano). So simple and so refreshing! Half red wine, half orange/lemon soda (I love the blood orange variety in the picture) over ice.

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That’s all for today! Happy end of summer!

What have you been up to???


Marriage; Year Three

I meant to write this post yesterday but …. I got sidetracked.

Yesterday, Farmer Ben and I celebrated our third year of marriage.

This year has been crazy! Not that we have too many years to speak of, but I have to say, this has probably been the most eventful to date…We’ve experienced a lot of changes in life and as a couple but we are in it together!

I’m very blessed to have such a wonderful husband.

We didn’t do anything extravagant yesterday… but I woke up to Ben smiling at me and fell asleep next to him, the way we do every night.

And that’s how it should be.

Happy Anniversary, Benjamin! I love you!

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Real Talk: Vega Sport Hydrator Review

Happy Saturday Friends!

Just popping in to share my thoughts on this fun little product! Vega Sport Hydrator.

Full Disclosure: I was provided this product by Vega and Fit Approach, for the “Fuel Your Better” Campaign, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

As you know, I run…and I sweat… a lot. As I’ve started running longer distances over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that my body does not do well with just water… I’ve also learned that my stomach doesn’t like a lot of the energy gus and gels on the market (hence my obsession with ENERGYbits). And Gatorade? not my favorite. So, when Fit Approach sent out information on their campaign with Vega, I was excited to try it! Fuel Your Better? Heck yes!

I’ve been reading a lot about Vega and following them on Social Media. I like that they offer a plant-based and natural alternative to the mainstream endurance and nutrition products on the market. Not gonna lie, I am a little obsessed with the Fuel Your Better campaign. Check it out for some serious motivation.

2353-FuelYourBetter-Tag

Anyway, I was sent the Berry Sport Hydrator. I liked that it came in single serve packets. Super easy (just add to 16 oz of water, stir and drink!). I also loved the fun pink color! Not your standard lemon-lime or blue raspberry!

mason jar drink

 

Here is a look at the nutrition label on the hydrator I received.

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Notice the lack of scary ingredients!

So what exactly is the Electrolyte Hydrator?

From their website: “A natural, alkaline-forming drink mix, free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator is formulated with all the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated during workouts.

With zero calories per serving, Electrolyte Hydrator tastes great, so you can sip it not just during your workout, but throughout the day to:

  • Replenish electrolytes and minerals
  • Enhance metabolism and alkalinity
  • Provide antioxidant protection”

Sounds promising, right?

How did it taste?

I LOVED that it wasn’t as sweet as your standard sports drink… It also didn’t stain my lips/clothes and it didn’t have that weird aftertaste.

That being said, it was still a little too sweet for me, but this was easily remedied by adding a little more water than the 16 oz per packet. Honestly, I think I would have preferred the lemon-lime flavor over the berry, but this was still pretty good.

Did it work?

I definitely noticed that I didn’t feel as depleted/drained after a hard workout when I drank this before/during (Also, here is where I tell you that I’ve had this product for a little while, and it took me forever to test it out because life seriously cut into my workout time. No big deal.).

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I also drank it while I was running around doing errands or at my regular job and it definitely helped me to feel more hydrated.

Would I buy this?

Definitely. I love that there aren’t crazy ingredients and will definitely be adding this to my water for long runs with CamelBak.

Thank you to Vega and Fit Approach for the sample! I would definitely recommend it to my fellow runners looking for a better alternative! #fuelyourbetter

Let’s Chat: Favorite Hydration Product? Flavors?

 


Real Talk: Pure LYFT Review

Hi Friends! Long time no see! Remember when I used to blog a few times a week? Sigh… soon, we will be back to that!

Farmer Ben and I have been crazy busy getting ready for the bistro opening…it’s crazy to think that in just two days (AH!) we will be open for business!

In other news, I was recently sent a sample of LYFT to try and review.

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Not gonna lie, I typically don’t try stuff like this, but with all the late nights at the bistro, I thought it may be nice to try an alternative to my standard coffee with cream… thank you to LYFT for the sample!

Full Disclosure: I was provided LYFT in exchange for a review through Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.

So, what the heck is Pure LYFT?

From their website: “LYFT Energy Stir Sticks are an innovative “clean caffeine”™ energy product infused with all natural caffeine and vitamins that provide a sophisticated energy experience.”

They also boast “a clean taste,” compatible with many different drinks, the caffeine equivalent of a small coffee, zero calories and “no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.”  The energy comes from green coffee bean extract and vitamins B & A.

So, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

I was pretty impressed at how quickly my sample came…it was literally in my mail box two days later.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve read about green coffee bean extract but had never tried it.

So what did I think?
Well… the packaging was pretty neat.

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And it is pretty self explanatory to use…

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This looks like something else

You peel off the label and stir the stick into your drink…. easy enough.

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The taste was …detectable. It wasn’t super sweet, but I could still taste… something and that threw me off. I must admit, I only mixed with water, the average person probably wouldn’t have noticed it, especially if mixed with tea or juice. 

I will also admit that I am kind of a weirdo with taste, sweet especially, and most people probably wouldn’t notice any taste.

Did I notice a boost in energy?

A little.

I used mine on particularly long days at work when I hit my 3 pm slump. Mid-afternoon has been especially rough as I have been up late most nights, so I’ve been  hitting the coffee pretty hard. I tried the LYFT on days when I just wanted water.

I’d agree with the statement that it is similar to a cup of coffee.

Anything not to like?

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Ugh. Maltodextrin. I do NOT like this ingredient. And I do NOT consider it clean.

I’ll let you do your own research but … it’s (usually) corn. Highly processed corn. There has got to a better way!

I’m also not a fan of “natural flavors,” I get the reasoning behind it but you don’t know what that means.

Would I buy this?

If it didn’t have maltodextrin… maybe. Again, I was pretty disappointed when I saw the ingredient list… if LYFT found a better alternative, I’d consider it… but  I am pretty committed to coffee.

Happy Memorial Day, Friends!


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