Have you ever been in the situation where suddenly there are several incredibly good things happening that you literally don't know what to do with yourself? Since coming home, a lot of new and really exciting opportunities have appeared and as thrilled as I am, I feel almost paralyzed. I just don't know which direction to leap into! I'm by no means complaining, I just feel a bit...dazed. Of course, situations like this lead to one of my favorite activities: list-making. Oh, I love lists. So pretty and clear and organized. Yes, I'm a geek . And I love it.
Even if lists fail me, there is always one thing I can turn to: food! So let's get to it, shall we?
Now, you may wonder, what in the heck does a girl fresh from Tuscany eat when she returns to America, land of the packaged, home of the processed?
These oats being in the form of bran, which I actually prefer to rolled oats. I like the texture better, something more mixable and thick about it?
This particular mix is chocolate-strawberry. Before I left, I ran out of my dark cocoa powder (*tear*), which really makes the bowl, but it was almost just as good with this guy:
I found this at Whole Foods when in search of carob powder. The "bits of unsweetened chocolate" just called to me (and the price tag on the carob powder chased me away...). It is so good. It's rich but because it's unsweetened it doesn't overwhelm you, just makes it super chocolate-y. And it's FairTrade, so you can consume with a clear conscience:)
Another favorite of mine discovered just before I left for Italia is this beauty:
Ezekiel bread toasted & spread with:
I have a very specific technique for this toast - I use a piece of wax paper and mix them together while the bread is gettin' toasty, and then spread the mix on when it pops. It's crunchy, it's creamy, it's salty, it's sweet...it's wonderful. One of my favorite home snacks ever. It's good with apple butter as well, and I'm sure other fruit spreads would also do quite nicely. But there is just something about this Stonewall Kitchen Cinnamon Apple jelly that just makes my tastebuds oh-so-happy! Barney Butter is another wonderful find. Like most almond butter, it is a tad pricey, but this is my first jar and I've had it for a while, so you really can make it last. I've tried the infamous Maranatha brand and it just does not do it for me. This one and Naturally Nutty take the cake.
Can you tell I have missed nut butters? Because I have. A lot.
And, I'll admit, as much as I adore how little processed food I ate during my semester, I also missed these:
Yes, I am Luna bar lovah.
I really got into them last year, when I tried one in desperation before a late night plane trip going home. I made my way through all the flavors and then...was hooked. They help me a lot at school, where getting protein is not always easy for me (cafeteria meat scares me), and they have a slew of other vitamins and minerals. Plus, they're pretty, and we all know how much I like pretty food :)
While I am more in favor of getting all your nutrients via whole foods, I'm the first to admit that sometimes my lifestyle just gets in the way! So, for now, I've made good friends with the microwave and embrace as many natural albeit processed foods that come my way.
The Vanilla Almond is a relatively new flavor to the Luna line; I think they are ending their Luna Sunrise line (which makes me a little sad - the Apple Cinnamon was SO good!), but it seems that they are just making some of the Sunrise flavors a part of their regular lineup? I loved the pretty design on top and that you can actually see the almond pieces in it. The flavor was a tad too sweet for me, at least in terms of 'breakfast'; but it is a vanilla bar, and I think those are kind of asking for sweet anyway. All-around nice taste, rather dessert-like in fact. I wouldn't recommend it for those without much of a sweet-tooth, and I wish the almond flavor was a liiiittle more prominent, but it's a good bar. Chocolate Peppermint Stick still owns my heart, though;)
I guess Luna has been going through some ch-ch-ch-changes, because they also have a new "protein" bar line. I have tried the Cookie Dough and while I enjoyed it, I didn't so much get the 'cookie dough' part. More like nougat? But, to be fair, I tried the other two recently:
Chocolate Peanut Butter!
A brilliant combination - this one was looking good already. And, of course, the fact that it is coated in chocolate helped a little too ;)
The flavor of this bar was good - the peanut butter wasn't too sugary and it was balanced out pretty well with the chocolate flavor. My biggest issue was the texture - it's a little too jaw-breaker-chewy for me. But, for 12 grams of protein and in the case of a Reese's craving, it's not a bad option.
I also tried the Chocolate Cherry Almond:
The chocolate coating on this one was a little on the dark side, which I loved! This one was my favorite of the 3 Luna Proteins. There were legit chunks of dried cherry in this one and you could taste the almonds. With the smooth chocolate coating, it was really a delicious way to get in some nutrients :)
First official product review: Check.
BUT...I can't live without my veggies.
This would be a big, bright, beautiful salad featuring marinated mushrooms from our Italian deli (it's literally like walking into a mini Mercato Centrale...I love it) and grilled bell peppers, courtesy of my dad. If you've never grilled peppers before, you must! They were made for the grill. They're wonderful with grilled chicken, too. I love summer grilling!!!
Though my appetite is not reflecting it, I feel like I've been sleeping constantly. Nap, drink seltzer, eat, repeat. I should probably just accept the fact that my body clearly is going to take its sweet time adjusting back to home...but it's driving me a tad crazy. I crave energy! All in good time, I suppose.
Tomorrow my mom's got me working at some hoity toity house tour (it's all good, I'll wear my new dress from the Cascine market!), but tomorrow night we're going to dinner at a family friend's house and we're having - what else? - Italian. Bellissima!