Chirpy Monday + Kardea Bar Review

July 12, 2010 § 19 Comments

Today is one of those Mondays where I am absolutely upbeat, chirpy, and perky. While my research advisor and my lab mate were feelin’ the Monday blue’s, I was full of energy! Which is kind of weird since I only got 7 hours of sleep last night. Maybe it was the kite-flying on Saturday that lifted my spirits for the week, or the ample amount of rest I got on Sunday. No matter what it was, it was one of the best Mondays I’ve ever had! If that’s even possible..haha. 😀

Wait a minute, I think I know why. Nothing like a fantabulous breakfast to start a Monday!

A blueberry Alternative Bagel with rasperry jam, cottage cheese, and sliced strawberries.

Brekkie also included half a mango (unpictured).

Well, apparently my swellin’ mood didn’t stop after breakfast, because Christmas came early this year!!! I went to pick up my present at the campus mailbox during my lunch break.

Nutrition Bar Lemon GingerNutrition Bar Cranberry Almond
Nutrition Bar Chai SpiceNutrition Bar Banana Nut

A few weeks back, Nancy from Kardea Nutrition offered to send me some samples of their Kardea Nutrition Bars. Of course I said yes! I was particularly inspired by the history behind the origins of Kardea.

From the website:

Rob Leighton founded Kardea as part of a personal mission to lower his own cholesterol.

At 47, Rob found himself moving from “border line” high cholesterol to outright high cholesterol. Rob notes that “it was not simply a matter of what I ate. It was a matter of genetics. Without medication, my mom’s cholesterol had exceeded 400mg/dl, and she found herself in early clinical tests for one of today’s leading cholesterol lowering medication.”

“I was not ready to start down a pharmacological road.” Rob recalls. Bringing a love of culinary creations and a belief in the science of natural cholesterol management, Rob founded Kardea to create great tasting, natural foods that enable daily compliance to heart healthy therapeutic nutrition.

Mission statement:

Kardea enables and empowers people to manage their cholesterol naturally and nutritiously.

We celebrate living life well and living life naturally. We create and market the delicious natural foods, quality supplements and educational materials that allow each of us to better manage our cholesterol levels and improve our overall cardiovascular health.

We’re committed to a deep and honest understanding of the evolving science supporting natural cholesterol management. To that end, we will actively partner with and support research that furthers the understanding of the power of nutrition to actively improve cardiovascular health.

There are four flavors, as picture above:

  • Cranberry Almond — recalls the taste of an almond croissant
  • Banana Nut — warmth of the home baked banana bread
  • Chai Spice — as flavorful as the tea, suggestions of pumpkin pie
  • Lemon ginger — with the zing of a lemon square
I’m also absolutely digging the nutritional stats of these bars! At 150 calories, one bar contains 7g fiber, 7g protein, 1 g of plant sterols (helps reduce risk of heart disease).
Other facts:
  • 2.5 Weight Watcher Points
  • 1 Diabetic Starch Exchange
  • Low glycemic
  • Kosher-Certified
  • Vegan

So which one did I pick as my afternoon snack today?

Warmth of the home-baked banana bread…”

They definitely got that right! It was very bananalicious and I love the nutty crunch and flavors from the walnuts in there. You can even see the walnut bits! The bar was also very dense, moist, and chewy–all things that I like! I think it might have even been more filling than a Luna bar :-D.

Down side? It kind of had a weird aftertaste though. But the pro’s definitely win the con’s! Over the next three days I will be sampling the other three bars as my afternoon snack, and I’ll be reporting back to ya!

So with a bomb breakfast, free Kardea bars, what else was in store for this already awesome Monday?

Dinner.

I first saw this sweet-potato and black bean ravioli on Jenny’s blog, which she got from Caitlin’s blog. Caitlin boiled hers like a ravioli while Jenny baked hers to crispy wonton-like raviolis. I opted for the second method ’cause I was in a crunchy

mood 🙂

I used one large sweet potato and about 1.5 cup of black beans. After skinning and cutting the potato into bite sizes, I popped them into the microwave to cook. I was “too lazy” to mash the potatoes and beans by hand, so I whipped out my handy-dandy food processor to do the job.

Here was where I strayed from the recipe. I seasoned the mash with some salt & pepper, about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, and this spice that my mom got awhile ago. I don’t remember what exactly it was, because I threw its original container away, but it’s red, a little spicy, and so good with veggies and whatnots.

Stuffed about one tablespoon-ful of the filling into a wonton wrapper and sealed with a little water. I got Dmitri to help me with this 🙂

I baked ’em at 400 degrees for about 20 min till nice and brown.

Ta-daa! Topped with some fire-roasted tomato salsa and feta cheese.

Peek-a-boo!

This made alot! I think I ate about 7 of those and Dmitri about 12? We still had 7 left which I divided between the two of us to bring as lunch/snack for tomorrow. This recipe was no doubt worth the time.

Alright you lovely people, I’m off to devour some H2O melon! (yesyes, what a nerd I am)

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+ Have you ever had a Monday that was just impossibly good?

+ Okay, this is important (to me)! I’m planning on getting a new phone sometime in the near future. I was considering getting the new iPhone 4, but have also heard great things about the HTC Aria and the Spring EVO 4G. Any suggestions/advices/comments? Any of you using one of those three phones or have friends who own them?

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Om Shanti

June 4, 2010 § 6 Comments

And no, I do not mean that by the Bollywood film “Om Shanti Om.”

The Aum (Om)– Hindu


“Charged with religious energy, this most sacred of Sanskrit syllables is often articulated at beginning and end of recitations and prayers.”

True, I usually start my morning yoga practices with Om. It reminds me that for the next 1.5 hours or so, my mind is focused on my practice and not thinking: “Oh I wonder what I should have for breakfast..” or “What should I do after work today? Maybe bake some cookies?” I also end my practice by thanking the spirits/gods/supernatural beings/Mother Earth for giving me the energy that day to guide me through my practice, for having yoga in my life, for letting yoga guide me through calmly through the weathers and storms of life, and for the wonderful people I have around me.

And then lastly, I close with Om shanti shanti shanti, which literally means Om peace, peace peace. What I usually do is that on the first shanti, I imagein myself filled with a peaceful energy. On the second shanti, I imagine that energy spreading to my family, friends, and those I know. Lastly, on the third shanti, I see in my mind that same energy disperse to everyone living on this planet, for we are all born and raised by Mother Earth.

I truly enjoy my morning yoga practices because I just love the feeling of doing Sun Salutations to the rising sun. And then when I finish my practice with Savasana (corpse porse), the sun has fully risen and the chirping of birds are like music to my ears while I lay on my mat. Ahhh…the beauty of morning practices 🙂

Anyways, so last night I had a spontaneous creation involving tempeh. I am still perfecting the recipe but what I would tell you is that it involved maple syrup, cinnamon, and sunbutter. I simply marinated raw TJ’s 3-Grain tempeh in that sauce for about an hour or so, flipping in between. Then I sauteed the marinated tempeh in a skillet lightly coated with cooking spray.

This morning, I created this sandwich to pack for my lunch:

Kind of looks like nuggets don’t it? The sandwich component was Multigrain Sandwich Thins, a bed of arugula, maple-cinnamon-sunbutter tempeh (gotta think of a new name for that too), and lastly a few slices of Harvarti cheese. I microwaved the sandwich at work today so that the sandwich thins were slightly warmed and the cheese slightly melted.

HOLY YUM! This was TO DIE FOR! Trust me. This combination may seem a little absurd at first, but cooking is all about experimenting right? Like Allie, I found this combo weird but YUMMILICIOUS! 😀

Today’s dinner was a lazy almost no-cook dinner, featuring Amy’s Pesto Pizza.

On the side I served steamed broccoli, which was tossed with some olive oil, lemon juice, and Spike Vegetable Seasoning.

I had 1/4 of the pizza and lots o’ broccoli! I was saving my stomach for the dessert I’m about to share with you guys!

It all started this morning, when I was craving some sort of strawberry frozen yogurt. Again, I’m still experimenting. My first batch this morning was kind of too runny, almost like strawberry kefir. So tonight, I added some xanthum gum to thicken the grub up. In the food processor went frozen strawberries, plain nonfat yogurt (may try Greek yogurt), honey, xanthum gum. The results? Take a look.

Better, but still not perfect. I might throw in a handful of ice next time. This totally tamed my frozen yogurt craving earlier though!

Tonight is a night of bumming around and vegging out! Sometimes I just like quiet Friday evenings for relaxation!

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+ Are you a fan of Bollywood films? Which ones have you seen? I’ve seen a few here and there. All I can say is that they’re kind of ridiculous, but sort of fun to watch. 🙂

+ Frozen dinners/meals–love it or hate it? I’ve tried a few Amy’s Kitchen products and so far I’ve been pretty impressed! They’re all organic and don’t taste like airplane food. They’re kind of pricey though, so I only get them once in awhile.

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