Classes, Banapples, and Football (oh my!)

21 Aug

Yesterday was a very productive day. I finished the assignments for my first graduate course. Granted, it was a one-credit class to prepare for online learning, but it still brings me one credit closer to being a librarian. I also had an online orientation via the Elluminate platform last night. It just amazes me how far technology has come. Elluminate is as close to being in a real-live classroom as it gets. We had discussions via chat and microphone, and learned how to use all of the application’s functions. Any action you might have in a live classroom (raising your hand, writing on the board, taking a poll, splitting into groups…etc.) is available via on-screen buttons. Applications and presentations can be shared, and moderators can provide “web tours” if they want to explore a website with the class. Some professors also use it to host virtual office hours. Finally, there’s a “drop-in center” where students can chat with one another and practice using the various techniques. I imagine it will really come in handy for meetings when working on group projects. I’m very excited for the coming semester.

Aside from getting a head start on classes and orientation, it was also a successful day of trying new foods and baking. I tried roasted-salted edamame for the first time today. They’re just roasted soybeans, but have a nutty, almost peanut-like flavor. A ¼ cup is 130 calories and 14 grams of protein. They taste like they’d be a fantastic salad topper or trail mix ingredient. I may add some to the leftover steamed shrimp and broccoli I had for dinner and eat it cold for lunch tomorrow

While at the market, I also picked up some apple chips to make a fruity protein bar which I’ve dubbed “the banapple-nut bar.” They came out great and had a texture similar to my apple-cake bars. Here’s the recipe and method for those interested:

Banapple Nut Protein Bars

¼ cup soy flour
¼ cup almond flour (just grind blanched almonds to a cornmeal consistency)
1 packet kashi honey-cinnamon 7 grain hot cereal
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (or about 60g)
½ tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
2 ½ tbsp. SF cinnamon syrup (hazelnut or caramel would be fine too)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white
2 tbsp. cashew-macadamia butter
2 tbsp. chopped pecans
¼ cup banana chips, chopped
¼ cup apple chips, chopped
1 tbsp. apple butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, soy flour, ½ of the packed of kashi, ½ of the protein powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the cinnamon syrup and mix well until everything is slightly wet. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white and nut butter until smooth. Add that mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally, add the other ½ of the kashi packet, protein powder, pecans, banana chips, and apple chips. Mix well until a sticky batter forms.

Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil. Grease or lightly wet your hands and pat the batter into the pan evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, drizzle on the apple butter and spread it evenly. It will melt slightly and create a thin glaze. When cool, remove the bars from the pan and cut into 6 equal pieces.

Nutrition facts: 172 calories, 11 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of protein.

If you’re concerned about fat, you can replace the nut butter with some applesauce or mashed banana and/or nix the chopped pecans. If you still want a nutty flavor without adding too much fat, try using PB2 in place of the nut butter. Keep in mind, however, that the fats in nuts are monounsaturated and have been shown to lower levels of bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten in moderate amounts (reference: Mayo Clinic website). Walnuts and flaxseeds in particular contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are even better for heart health.

If Little Red Riding Hood’s granny had me for a grandchild, I can assure you that she would have chased that wolf out of her house lickety-split. That’s because I would have brought this:

This is my goody basket. It’s where I keep my protein and vitamin rich snacks so that I can grab one or two and get out the door quickly in the morning. As much as I love making my own protein bars, there are some flavors that I simply haven’t mastered yet. I usually have Kashi Chocolate-Peanut and Cinnamon Coffee Cake Protein-Fiber bars on hand, as well as some of the South Beach Peanut Butter or Cinnamon Raisin Protein Cereal bars. South Beach does make “meal bars,” but they’re high in sugar alcohols which I tend not to tolerate. Also packed in my basket are a batch of my chocolate vita-cupcakes and a batch of my new banapple nut bars. Granny would have been power-packed and ready to lay the beat-down on any nasty wolf that came her way.

Keeping healthy foods in high supply is crucial to balanced eating. Without that basket, I’d be scrambling around the kitchen in the morning trying to find things to throw together that are high protein, high iron, and just all around good for me. Take the time to prepare things for yourself in advance and it’ll make eating well significantly easier. Most soups freeze very well, so I try to make a large pot, let it cool slightly, and then put it in single-serving containers in the freezer. I take one out in the morning, toss it in my bag, and by lunch it’s thawed enough to get nice and toasty after about a minute and a half in the microwave. I’m currently eating my way through a batch of cauliflower-cheese-chicken chowder.

The reason I’m focusing on this so much now is that I know once classes get into full swing, I’ll have a lot of other things on my mind. With a good meal plan in place, there’s one less thing to worry about.

In other news, I have my first fantasy football draft of the season today. Joe and I joined a league with a bunch of people from a forum that we frequent. I’ve got some lists made, but I want to narrow a few more things down and check injury reports one more time. I’ll post my roster here tonight or tomorrow for anyone who’s interested.

That’s all for now. It’s almost the weekend, so “Just keep swimming,” as Dory said so many times in Finding Nemo. Think positive and have a wonderful Thursday everyone. Ciao!

One Response to “Classes, Banapples, and Football (oh my!)”

  1. Olden Grey September 2, 2008 at 3:04 am #

    Sounds delicious. Couple of questions come to mind … I was under the impression that the Kashi was a little high is sugars per serving. I was told to keep sugars at about 6g per serving to avoid dumping. How many grams of sugar do you think are in each bar? Also, I noticed the banana chips in the store list sugar as the 2nd ingredient .. do you buy “no sugar” chips? Thanks! John

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