Archive for February, 2009

It has been raining all day long. Although it’s pretty gross outside, it was nice to have a relaxing day inside today. I got most of the laundry finished, dinner made, and am about to make that dish for church tomorrow – don’t worry – I’ll have the recipe  🙂


My snack during the heartbreaking Hokie game was a slice of my bread with almond butter and a few chocolate chips



Dinner tonight was my first try at Baked Tofu, a la Gliding Calm!



My tofu marinade was:

  • 1.5 Tbsp bbq sauce
  • 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. It was perfect! I’m sad I’ve waiting this long to try it! I loved the texture and the kick from the cayenne – I will definitely be making this again.

On the side, I had some mashed sweet potato topped with salt and cinnamon and some roasted zucchini.

Of course, we had to tie in the POM juice in some way – what better than a POMtini?




I used Bobby Flay’s recipe, but we used vodka instead of gin.

So, this was a mix of POM juice, vodka, fresh lemon and fresh orange juice. It was actually a little strong for me, so I poured it into a different glass and added a bit more orange juice. Perfect – the tart pomegranate and the sweet orange juice was  a good combination of flavors.


We’re starting a movie right now and then I’m off to cook the couscous really fast so I can get back to it  🙂


I have a feeling the last of my TJ’s Candy Cane Jo Jo’s will be my snack tonight – just letting you know in case I don’t get a picture!

Oh – and just in case you were wondering, the Heart Health series will resume on Monday! I’m taking a break this weekend, but make sure to tune in for the next installment!

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Soggy Saturday

Blech – today is so gloomy and rainy!  I know we need the rain, but it was not fun being out in it today.

We went and watched our little neighbor’s basketball game today – it was so much fun! They won their game, but the best part was just watching all the little kids – it was pretty funny.

I got most of the grocery shopping done and JUST ate lunch at 2:30 – I’m still pretty hungry. My yummy breakfast was lower calories than normal and I ate lunch much later than normal – so snacking will happen  🙂

I put this quick lunch together after I put groceries away.


Some fat free refried beans topped with a black bean burger surrounded by romaine, tomato, and avocado.



Oh, and I ate one of the raspberry filled chocolates from my Secret Cupid package, but my camera was too slow to catch it!

Super quick post, right?

Things STILL to do:

– Laundry (started)

– Prep dish for church fellowship tomorrow


Do you have any fun plans today?

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A Red Kind of Breakfast

So, the lovely Diana from POM Wonderful sent me some POM 100% juice to try, and I was so excited when it showed up this week! I had seen other bloggers trying this, so as soon as I found out I was getting some samples, my mind started working overtime for recipes.



Can you see me? 


The POM juice itself is great! It is pretty tart, but Nick and I both really like it.

Last night, I came up with my BSI entry for this week using the juice, and today’s breakfast has been about 2 weeks in the making  🙂  I starting thinking about this meal as soon as I knew I would be getting samples.



Strawberry Stuffed French Toast with Pomegranate Maple Syrup (Serves 2)

  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 Laughing Cow light wedges
  • 4-6 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of skim milk
  • 1/2 cup POM 100% juice
  • 2.5 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 strips fresh orange zest


  1. For the syrup, put the POM juice in a pan and bring to a boil. Drop in orange rind pieces and let simmer until it has reduced by half (about 5-10 minutes). Stir in maple syrup, let cook for another minute or two, then take off the heat.
  2. Slice the strawberries.
  3. Take 2 slices of bread and spread each with one laughing cow wedge.
  4. Layer the strawberries on the cheese.
  5. Top each with the other slice of bread.
  6. Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl or plate and dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture on both sides.
  7. Cook the french toast in a skillet until egg batter is cooked.
  8. Discard the orange zest/rind from the syrup, and drizzle over the french toast.


Look at that spot of syrup  🙂

This was SO good – it tasted like a strawberry danish with a tart and fruity maple syrup. The strawberries in the middle of the toast got hot and kind of melted into the cheese.

In fact…it was so good, I’m going to post every picture I took while eating this!




Plus a red mug of Love Buzz coffee



I’d say this was a successful red and pretty heart healthy breakfast!

– The POM 100% juice is the only brand guaranteed to contain 100% authentic pomegranate juice, is all natural and contains no added sugars/preservatives/colors/or cheap filler juices, and is proven to have cardiovascular benefits! Go POM!

– We used 100% whole wheat bread, fresh fruit, real maple syrup, and low fat cheese and milk

Plus, it was delicious!


I’m off to get groceries, then come back for lunch, laundry, cooking, and Hokie Bball at 3:30!

Hope you’re having a good Saturday!

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They Call Me Cuban Bran

 ♫  I’m the queen of the rhumba beat….

Our dinner was all Cuban tonight – or almost  🙂


First – sorry for no lunch pictures! Nick and I went out with some of my coworkers and I didn’t take my camera. We got this awesome pizza called the “rustica”: pepperoni, roasted red peppers, black olives, and basil. Yum  🙂  I also had a mixed salad for some veggies. The meal was good, but the service was horrible. This place just opened a few weeks ago, so I guess we should expect some issues, but it was a little ridiculous.

Work was work – I just couldn’t wait for today to be over!!! I’m so happy it’s the weekend!

We went to BodyPump today after work and it was killer! I upped my weight on a couple of the songs, and my arms feel like jello  🙂  I can tell I’m getting stronger, so I’m hoping the real muscle definition will start showing up soon!


Back to dinner –


I made some healthier versions of Cuban Sandwiches



Pork tenderloin, mustard, pickles, and swiss cheese all on a toasted Arnold Sandwich Thin

PLUS – my BSI entry for this week: Cuban Pork & POM Black Beans



These got so creamy!  The beans had such a great texture, and the flavors went great with our Cuban sandwiches.

Cuban Pork & POM Black Beans

  • 1/2 slice bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • oregano
  • cayenne (to taste!)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 glugs of POM Wonderful Juice (probably about 1/4 cup) – more on this tomorrow  🙂
  1. Dice bacon and cook in pot.
  2. Once bacon has cooked to your liking, add in onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in seasonings, beans, and bay leaf. Stir together and let cook for a minute.
  4. Add in water and POM juice and let the beans cook on low for about 10 minutes, adding more liquid (either water or juice) if needed.
  5. Serve!

The seasonings in the beans + the sweetness of the POM juice was SO good!!!  This could easily be made without the bacon and it would still be great.

Well – I’m off to relax for a bit, catch up on blogs, and watch some What Not to Wear – possibly with some popcorn  🙂

Update: Day 5 of Bread Experiment






I’m actually surprised, but both slices still look good! Granted, they haven’t been exposed to air except on the first day, but I figured I would see something by now.


– Make sure to get your BSI entries in by Sunday – Sweetie Pie is also having a giveaway for her 50th post!

For the Love of Oats is having an awesome giveaway for her 1 year blog-birthday! Make sure you’re keeping up with the trivia questions  🙂

Caitlin and Meghann are racing tomorrow AND Sunday! Make sure to check in this weekend and wish them good luck! They’re going to do awesome!


See you tomorrow for a fun and heart healthy breakfast!

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Heart Health: Risk Factors

While looking for the most common risk factors of heart disease, I found a few sites that had good lists of risk factors. I wanted to have a complete list, so I’ve listed the ones I found and split them up into 2 categories.

Basically, there are risk factors that we have no (or little) control over and then there are those that we do have control over.

The ones you can control are where you want to put your focus.

Risk Factors We Cannot Control/Have Trouble Controlling –

  • Age: As women grow older, their risk of heart disease and stroke begins to rise and keeps rising with age.
  • Sex: Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women, and they have attacks earlier in life. Each year about 60,000 more women than men have strokes, and about 60 percent of total stroke deaths occur in women. Heart disease is now the #1 killer of women in the United States.
  • Mental stress/depression: Research hasn’t yet defined the role stress plays in the development of heart disease. People respond differently to situations they find stressful. Unhealthy responses to stress may lead to other risk behaviors like smoking and overeating. Depression is twice as common in women as in men, and it increases the risk of heart disease by two to three times compared with those who aren’t depressed. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment, so talk to your doctor if you’re having symptoms of depression, such as loss of interest in your daily activities, feeling hopeless or unexplained changes in your weight. While depression can be treated, there are many outside influences that contribute to depression that are out of our control.
  • Heredity: Both women and men are more likely to develop heart disease or stroke if their close blood relatives have had them. Race is also a factor. Black women have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke than white women. Compared with whites, African-American men and women are more likely to die of stroke.
  • Previous heart attack or stroke: Women who’ve had a heart attack are at higher risk of having a second heart attack; 43 percent of women ages 40 and older who survive a first heart attack will have another heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease within five years, and 22 percent who survive a first stroke will have another within five years. A transient ischemic attack (TIA or “mini-stroke”) also is a risk factor and predictor of stroke.
  • Diabetes: Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates that are two to four times those of adults without diabetes. People with diabetes often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and are overweight, increasing their risk even more. *Obviously, the type of diabetes is key to this one.

Risk Factors We Can Control –

  • Diet: Eat a diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt. Eat more nutrient-rich foods and less nutrient-poor foods – this means lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats.
  • Smoking: Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular heart disease among women. Women who smoke have an increased risk for ischemic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Constant exposure to others’ tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) at work or at home also increases the risk, even for nonsmokers. Women smokers who use birth control pills have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke than nonsmokers who use them.
  • High cholesterol: High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and also increases the risk of stroke. Studies show that women’s cholesterol is higher than men’s from age 55 on. High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) raise the risk of heart disease and heart attack. High levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) lower the risk of heart disease. Research has shown that low levels of HDL cholesterol seem to be a stronger risk factor for women than for men.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and the most important risk factor for stroke. Women have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure if they are obese, have a family history of high blood pressure, are pregnant, take certain types of birth control pills or have reached menopause. African-American women have higher average blood pressure levels compared to Caucasian women.
  • High triglycerides: Triglyceride is a common type of fat in the body. A high triglyceride level often goes with higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL, lower levels of HDL and increased risk of diabetes. But scientists don’t agree that it’s a risk factor for heart disease by itself. Research suggests that having high triglycerides may increase the risk for women more than for men.
  • Activity: Various studies have shown that lack of physical activity is a risk factor for heart disease and indirectly increases the risk of stroke. Overall, they found that heart disease is almost twice as likely to develop in inactive people than in those who are more active. When you’re inactive and eat too much, you can gain excess weight. In many people overweight can lead to high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends accumulating at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most or all days of the week.
  • Weight / Metabolic Syndrome: If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is located in your waist area — you’re at higher risk for health problems, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men.
  • Excessive alcohol intake: The risk of heart disease in people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol (an average of one drink for women per day) is lower than in nondrinkers. However, it’s not recommended that nondrinkers start using alcohol or increase the amount they drink. Excessive drinking and binge drinking can contribute to obesity, high triglycerides, cancer and other diseases, raise blood pressure, cause heart failure and lead to stroke.

I won’t be going into each one in detail over the next few installments, but I will be going over most of the ones that we are able to control.

I know I can’t do anything to change my family history of heart disease, but I can do everything else in my power to have a healthy heart.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Go Red Heart CheckUp! You need to know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers to take this – if you don’t know them now, get them soon! It’s important to know your numbers and keep track of them even if you don’t have a family history of heart disease.

Get ready for a Heart Healthy breakfast tomorrow – I am super excited about it  🙂

Oh, and a shout out to my family, if they’re reading!  I love you  🙂  Hi to Melissa in NY?!?  How did I not get invited?  🙂

See ya for dinner!

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Breakfast of Champions

It’s FrIdAy!!!!

Good morning!  Thank you all for your tips/notes about my crampy run yesterday – I appreciate it!

I always feel great when I’m done, but it’s so hard when the run itself is just tough the whole time.

Breakfast today is a regular here on Bran Appetit – better get used to seeing it, if you’re not already  🙂

Kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries


2 over easy eggs on some grits


and just water — I forgot the cup of milk!

1 cup of coffee plus more water  = the normal morning at work

Make sure to tune in at lunchtime for Heart Health #3!

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Crampy McCramperson

Well….I’m pretty sure the banana is no help.  😦



I have no clue if that’s actually true – my cramps today could be from anything. I ate the banana today at 4 pm at work and we went running around 5:45. I seriously had cramps in my side/abdomen from about the 3rd step I took until we stopped running 30 minutes later.

The bad thing? This was probably the worst run I’ve had in a while. 30 minutes of constant cramping is not fun.

The good thing? I still ran for 30 minutes. I’m proud of myself for not stopping, but it was not a fun run today.

For all you runners: Any things you’ve tried that seem to help?  Tips? Tell me it will get better someday? 🙂


Dinner tonight was a repeat of the Black Eyed Peas, Pork, and Greens from last night – I think this was better tonight! I love when meals get better after sitting in the fridge for a day.



Plus a slice of our experiment bread



I’m off to catch up on blogs and work on an editing project for a while….another piece of bread may get eaten with some almond butter soon…..

Enjoy your night and get ready for Heart Health #3 at lunchtime!


Make sure to check out Chocolate Covered Katie’s awesomely chocolate giveaway  🙂

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The Bread Experiment

Nick and I have been talking about doing this on the blog for a while.

I honestly have no clue what is going to happen, but it should be fun to find out!

One of my baking projects this past weekend was making some whole wheat bread for us to have this week.

I used this recipe, but made a change that I probably shouldn’t have  🙂

It looked like SO much dough when it was rising that I split it into 2 loaf pans instead of just baking in one. It still turned out delicious, but it’s not really “sandwich size” bread. Oh well – now I know for next time, I guess.


So what is the experiment, you ask?

We’re putting this up against the bread we normally buy to see which one goes bad first and how long each lasts, period.

Do you ever wonder why it takes some store bought bread so long to go bad? Some brands are fine, but we’ve had some that have “looked fine” much longer than they should have  🙂


Here’s one of the bread brands we usually buy and its ingredients:



Not really bad, but not as good as homemade.

So I made the bread on Sunday and we bought this loaf on Sunday.

I put one slice of each in a ziploc bag and have them on the counter so we can watch the progress – these pictures are from Day 2 (Tuesday night).


I looked at them both this morning and they both still look the same, so no new pictures yet.

I’ll be updating the progress as things change – this should be fun. It’s like a science project without a grade!

— Check out my new Foodie BlogRoll ad! —  I’m so excited!

Have you ever done any food experiments at home just for fun?

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Chips off the Old…


I remembered something I bought a couple weekends ago and knew I needed to use them in my oatmeal this morning.


That’s right – cinnamon chips! Nick’s mom said these are really good in oatmeal cookies, so that may need to be my next project  🙂

Banana Berry Oatmeal with Cinna-Choc Chips


  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • cinnamon!
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp each of semi-sweet chocolate chips and cinnamon chips

Look at it melt!


The cinnamon chips were interesting – they smelled more cinnamon-y than they tasted, but they were good! It was a good mix with the chocolate/berries/banana.

Since I’ve been doing the Heart Health Series at lunch this week, I decided it would be easier to just post my lunch now – especially since it’s already packed and ready to go!

Barley topped with a Black Bean Burger


Salad with romaine,  roasted corn, tomato, and avocado


and an apple


See you for Heart Health #3! I’m off to get coffee  🙂

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Green, Green and Green

Look out! This is going to be a marathon post  🙂 


Lunch today was a Meatloaf Sandwich (yum – sorry the picture doesn’t do it justice!)



Steamed green/yellow beans



and a really juicy orange



And….just because I’ve had this song stuck in my head all day, I thought I would share this video for you to enjoy  🙂  My lunch was the reason this song came up – if you’ve never heard this, I hope you listen to it! I love these guys.


Work was work – only 2 more days this week! It’s been hectic without my supervisor here, so I’ll be happy when she’s back next week. It just seems like so many people decide to do strange things or ask way too many questions when she’s not here.


This afternoon, I had some plain ff yogurt topped with 1/2 cup of Kashi U. This was my first time trying it, and I really liked it! I loved the little blueberries in the cereal.





We decided not to go running tonight – Nick ended up having to stay a little later at the lab than he thought, so we’re going to run tomorrow. The weather should be nice enough for us to run outside, so I’m hoping it actually is! If not, we’ll probably have our stuff in case we have to go to the gym instead.


Dinner tonight came from Eating Well – I love this magazine! I’m going to have to look for the new one. I’ve made a lot of recipes out of it, which makes me glad I bought it – I’m getting my money’s worth!


Black Eyed Peas with Pork and Greens



This was really good – the smoked paprika gave it this amazing deep, smoky flavor. That smoked paprika is my new favorite thing – it’s awesome.


For my third green of the afternoon, I finally opened these


Thanks Mom!!!

Look how cute the little messages are on the m&ms!



Plan for the rest of the night:

  • Watch Hokie b-ball game until LOST comes on
  • Watch LOST
  • Try to stay up for the Top Chef finale….I can usually make it until the last 10 minutes – I seem to always miss the end!

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