healthy breakfast ideas: volume 1

Healthy Breakfast Ideas | The Pomegranate Bandit

In high school, I skipped breakfast. When I got to school, I’d nibble on an apple or bag of Cheerio’s. Lunch was at 10:30, so I didn’t go TOO long without food, but these days I know better. I need to eat to fuel my body, and I need to fuel with proper nutrients to start the day off right. Some days, I have something small, and then a “second breakfast” at work when I get hungry again. And some days after a morning workout, I can eat a giant plate of food. It all depends on how your body is feeling, but you should never skip breakfast. These are some of my breakfasts over the past few months: 

Easy/Healthy Breakfast Ideas | The Pomegranate Bandit

Clockwise from top left:

  1. Oats topped with pomegranate seeds and agave syrup with a side of egg whites
  2. An egg white omelette with melon and blueberries
  3. Greek yogurt topped with fresh raspberries and kiwi
  4. An egg white omelette with green onions, sunburst tomatoes, and parmesan cheese
  5. Oats with fresh raspberries, almond butter, chia seeds, and ground flax seed
  6. Gooey gouda sandwich: ezekiel bread toasted and topped with two egg whites, a slice of gouda cheese, sunburst tomatoes, and sauteed mushrooms
  7. An egg white omelette filled with spinach and mushrooms with a grapefruit on the side
  8. Protein pancakes topped with blueberries and a sliced banana
  9. Cinnamon protein pancakes with maple raspberry puree topped with sliced almonds

Be sure to check out Volume I and Volume II of Easy Lunch Ideas!

Thanks to Jen over at Peas and Crayons for hosting this week’s What I Ate Wednesday!

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Goji Mango Super Smoothie

We’re heading back into smoothie season and I couldn’t be happier to get my smoothie bar back up and running full-time again. I’ll have one about once a week in the winter, but in the warmer months I’m all about the daily smoothie to cool me off and keep me energized. Plus, they’re so quick and easy which means less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying the outdoors.

A couple weeks ago, I took advantage of the first sunny, warm(ish) day and whipped up this Goji Mango creation. I’ve had my goji berry powder for a few months, but haven’t really experimented with it much since I’ve also been using pomegranate powder. I bought a giant bag of frozen mangos from Trader Joe’s, and they just seemed to pair so well with the goji flavor. Add some chia seeds and coconut water for an extra boost, and you’ve got yourself a super smoothie!

Goji Mango Super Smoothie | The Pomegranate Bandit

Goji berry powder has a TON of health benefits, which is why it’s considered a super food. It’s got antioxidants, vitamins, and is believed to boost energy levels and stamina. In powder form, it is easily digestible in order to absorb these nutrients. A smoothie is a great way to do this, and it tastes great. This one especially is boyfriend-approved, and that’s saying a lot!

Goji Mango Super Smoothie
Serves 2
A delicious super smoothie that will satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you essential nutrients and antioxidants.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp goji powder
  2. 2 cups mango
  3. 1 tsp chia
  4. 11 oz coconut water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
The Pomegranate Bandit http://pomegranatebandit.com/

Goji Mango Smoothie Recipe | The Pomegranate Bandit

^^Fit tip: print this out and tape it inside your pantry!^^

What’s your favorite smoothie?

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latest workouts and the Quest bar trap

A rare Sunday post! I usually schedule my posts for during the weekdays, but I really wanted to check in and tell you all about my first week of Erin Stern’s Elite body program. I’m really enjoying it and I feel good, even though I had a few hiccups during my first week. Here’s how it went:

Monday // shoulders and arms – Off to a good start! I jogged for five minutes to warm up, and then completed the workout in about 40 minutes. 

Tuesday // plyo and legs - I love leg day. And this workout incorporated some HIIT too, which I also love because it gets my heart racing. I felt like a beast after this workout.

Wednesday // cardio and core - The instructions for this day were to just do intervals for 30 minutes for some cardio and then there was an ab workout after, I ended up doing my own ab moves instead of hers since my gym doesn’t have the equipment she used. 

Thursday // back - I had my trainer, and we ended up doing a little bit of back but mostly arms and shoulders, as well as some HIIT. I was still sore from Tuesday’s leg workout, but pushed through the squats and burpees like a mofo.

Friday // chest and shoulders - Here’s where things got hairy. I’ve been having a weird issue with my upper arm on the right side, so it hurt when I did any type of fly movement. I could do the bench presses, but I couldn’t do the dumbbell flyes. I asked my trainer about it, and he said “so don’t do that!” Sigh. I did as much as I could, but was bummed about the flyes I skipped.

Saturday // sprints - I woke up on Saturday feeling sore and tired, so I decided to cash in on my rest day and do the sprints today instead. I’m glad I did, because I needed that break, and when I got in there today I hit it hard even though it was a quick workout. 

Ready to do the whole week over again starting tomorrow!

Nutrition - I’m definitely more hard on myself than I should be. I’d say I did okay this week with food prep and making sure I was stocked with plenty of veggies and protein, but I also fell into the Quest bar trap and had one almost every day. (remember when I said I hated them?) I guess they ARE pretty good for barely any carbs or sugar. I got lazy at the end of the week and had the unhealthy type of trail mix for lunch, and then indulged in sushi and ice cream last night. (not even froyo. I’m talkin’ that real, full-fat, creamy chocolatey ice cream)

salmon sweet potato cakes

I’ve been making these salmon sweet potato cakes from The Little Honey Bee twice a week because I’m OBSESSED with them and they are so delicious! DK doesn’t like salmon so I make them for myself for dinner when he’s working a 24 hour and then bring the leftovers to work the next day. I’m also on a smoothie kick…you’ll be seeing a new recipe for one tomorrow! TGISW (Thank God It’s Smoothie Weather). Speaking of weather, DK and I took advantage of the sunshine yesterday and went for a walk on our favorite trail. It felt amazing to be back out there, I’m looking forward to some long Sunday runs.

on the trail

What’s your favorite thing about this time of year?

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overcoming a workout slump

Two weeks ago I posted about how I was okay with basically half-assing my workouts. I lied. Well, I kinda lied. It was a true statement at the time, but since then I’ve had a random surge in motivation and ambition and realized I was just making excuses. Maybe I’ve been following too many fitness junkies on Instagram, but I’m suddenly back on the weight lifting train. RAWRRR. (that’s my badass lifting roar…I promise I don’t do that while I lift weights)

The last time I did a lifting program, I was pressured by an upcoming vacation and went too hard on myself. But I do miss the feeling of finding new muscles and noticing new developments in my abs, biceps, legs, etc. Don’t worry, I’m not aiming to look like a rotisserie chicken in a bedazzled bikini. I just want to be a badass lifter again. (rawwwrr…….no? maybe?) 

Looking back, I noticed I thrive more off a structured program like Insanity or P90X. When I did Jamie Eason’s program, I fell in love with weight lifting, but then the program ended, and ever since then, my ratio of cardio to strength training has flip-flopped. I’ll start my workout on the treadmill and do intervals for a half hour, and then spend another 20 minutes doing a little strength training, usually a few sets of abs or arms. Not very challenging. I’ve got myself into quite a workout slump.

Overcoming a workout slump | The Pomegranate Bandit

In order to push out of my slump, I need a new routine. I turned to bodybuilding.com once again and discovered Erin Stern’s Elite Body 4-week trainer program. Boom. Four weeks, six days a week. Each day focuses on a different muscle group, and one day is just for cardio. I see my trainer on Thursdays, so I’ll be sure to let him know which muscle group I’d like to focus on in place of the workout I’m supposed to do that day. I also want to keep up with Bikram yoga, so I’ll continue doing that on Sundays which is a rest day in the program. 

I love it because there’s a video for each workout that goes through each exercise in detail so I’ll know what I’m doing when I get to the gym. I’m only a few days in, but I can already feel the difference it’s made in terms of my mood and energy levels. Bodybuilding.com also offers user profiles called Bodyspace (I can’t help but think of Myspace, which is pretty accurate since it’s so similar with all the muscley selfies and whatnot) that lets you track your progress and your workouts. You can upload progress photos and update your weight and measurements, and even find friends in a similar weight class. The best part is that it’s all free…which is crazy because so many paid workout programs out there don’t offer the things that the Bodyspace platform does. 

Bodyspace workout tracking on Bodybuilding.com

With all that said, I promise I won’t turn into a meat head, and I’ll try really hard not to post too many photos of my muscles. Wait, I’m just realizing why they created Bodyspace…could this be a movement to keep all gym selfies from other social media outlets? *If this post miraculously disappears tomorrow, it’s because I’ve figured out their secret*

Stay tuned for progress updates! (or friend me on Bodyspace…I’ll put you in my Top 8)

Do you use a set routine when you workout, or just wing it?

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Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Truffles

Ever had those Brookside chocolate pomegranate candies? Those things are so dangerous. I used to tell myself they were healthy because I actually thought there were real pomegranate seeds in there, but after reading the ingredients it turns out I was wrong. These things are full of unpronounceable ingredients, along with a number of fruit juice concentrates. One of them is pomegranate juice concentrate, so I guess that’s why they can legally say they’re pomegranate flavored. 

A few months ago, I bought some Navitas pomegranate powder from vitacost.com with intentions of putting it in smoothies. (this one came out great!) Lately, I’ve been trying to find other ways to get my daily dose of pomegranate since they’re out of season. I’m also trying to find healthier ways to satisfy my sweet tooth. So, I created these little truffles so I can get my fix of pomegranate AND chocolate. 

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Truffles....tastes just like Brookside candies! | The Pomegranate Bandit

These truffles are a tad healthier because I’m using 85% cacao dark chocolate and pomegranate powder instead of those funky ingredients found in Brookside candies. The pomegranate powder is raw, organic, kosher, gluten free, and packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium. I know it’s kind of expensive and random, but it’s totally worth it because you can use it in yogurt, smoothies and juices. Maybe even cocktails! Plus, it lasts a really long time, and you don’t have to deal with seeding a pomegranate for an hour.

Here is the recipe for the truffles, enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Truffles
Yields 30
A healthier dessert option that tastes like chocolate covered pomegranates.
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/3 cup pomegranate powder
  3. 1 dark chocolate bar
  4. 1/2 cup honey
  5. 1 scoop protein powder
Instructions
  1. Break up chocolate bar and pulse in a food processor until it resembles a grainy texture.
  2. Add oats and powder and blend together.
  3. Add honey and pulse until mixture starts to stick together.
  4. Form into 1/2" balls, using the protein powder as a flour to keep your hands from sticking.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The Pomegranate Bandit http://pomegranatebandit.com/

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playlist: 50 great running songs

The speed and duration of my runs are directly related to the music I listen to. And if I happen to forget my headphones…the run is not happening. Lately, my circuit training playlist hasn’t been cutting it for me on the treadmill, so I decided to make a playlist specifically for running.

50 Great Running Songs: A Spotify playlist by The Pomegranate Bandit

I usually end up pressing the skip button a few times if I’m just not feeling a song, so I need a long playlist that allows for plenty of skips. This one has FIFTY of the best songs for running. There’s everything from classic rock to dubstep to 90′s jams, and all of them will make you run faster!

What are your favorite running songs?

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Life Alive Cafe

This past Saturday, DK and I went to Life Alive in Lowell for lunch. Life Alive is an organic cafe in the downtown area that serves everything from warm meals to wraps to smoothies and fresh pressed juices. I’d heard of it a few times and wanted to go VERY badly since it pretty much sounds like my kind of thing, but I just never got around to it. Finally, a few weeks ago, my company ordered lunch from them and I was blown away with how good it was! I had to take DK there to get his opinion. I got “The Emperor” and he got “The Hot & Healthy Bachelor,” and we split the “Be Alive” fresh juice, served in a mason jar. (check out the menu!)

Eating at Life Alive

The vibe of the cafe was chill with lots of artwork and plants and jars of loose-leaf tea. Yep, definitely my kind of place. As for DK? He’s not so much into the earthy-crunchy stuff, but he did enjoy his wrap! The best part is that I felt great after, because I knew I was eating fresh and organic. I’m hoping this can become a regular place of ours…maybe next time I’ll even get him to try some kombucha!

Do you have a favorite spot like this that matches your personality?

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that time I had my eyebrow pierced

If you’ve read my story, you know that I’ve tried on quite a few different…looks..in my early years. I don’t regret any of it, and I’m not ashamed. It’s all just part of the process of growing up (does it ever end?) and I think everyone goes through some sort of discovery phase. I wanted so badly to fit in, but at the same time I wanted to express my individuality. In college, I decided to get my eyebrow pierced because I thought it looked pretty cool on Fergie. Turns out it didn’t look so good on me (I took it out after a few months).

IMGP7291

^sweet hemp necklace

These days, I don’t have as many piercings and I ditched the black eyeliner. Those are things that are easy to control. The shape of my body, not so much. Exactly one year ago I was trying to lose weight for an upcoming vacation. I did P90X and all kinds of dieting, just so I wouldn’t look like a whale standing next to my friends in our beach photos. I turned down all desserts and worked out every day, all because I just wanted to fit in. Seems like something I’ll never grow out of, right?

IMG_4692

^When this photo was taken, body image was the last thing on my mind because I was laughing too hard.

With no vacations on the calendar this year, I’ve started becoming more lax in my training and eating habits. I don’t go to the gym every single day, and when I do, I don’t go HAM. Just enough to get my heart rate up. I went all-out in NYC, enjoying pasta (gasp!) and all kinds of pastries. Last weekend, we went out to eat three times. And I got pasta, again! I just don’t try as hard as I used to, and it’s okay. I’m never going to be ripped like the fitness professionals I follow on Instagram, because they are professionals, and I’m your average twenty-something just trying to be healthy and happy.

I’m not saying I’ve let myself go, because I would never stop working out or eating healthy. I actually like going to the gym and eating clean. It’s just that sometimes I like sleeping better, and sometimes I want pizza instead of quinoa. And I realized that in order to “fit in,” I’d have to work really, really hard, and it’s just not worth it. I’m okay with having arms that jiggle a little bit, because I don’t want to spend more than an hour at the gym a day and I’d like to continue eating pizza.

Thanks to Spoons for letting me word vomit again for today’s Thinking Out Loud!

link up

Have you ever done anything weird or crazy to fit in?

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Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Kale

So technically it is spring time over here in New England, but I’m still wearing my heavy coat, furry boots, and thick-knit scarves. Apparently this is supposed to be the last freezing week until December, but I won’t believe it until I see it. The one good thing about this relentless cold? Comfort food! I guess not having to shave your legs is a good thing too, unless you’re next to me at hot yoga. No, I’m not Chewbacca, just lazy (I can do a really good Chewy noise though, one of my many hidden talents).

Anyway, I love making soup because it’s easy (yep, definitely just lazy). Simmer some stuff in a pot and BAM, dinner. My favorite has always been chicken noodle soup, until I discovered butternut squash soup, but I’ve definitely had more than enough of that over the past few months. On a whim, I decided to try making chicken noodle soup sans the noodles…but with quinoa instead. I added some peas and kale for a little green action, and it actually came out really good!

Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Kale | The Pomegranate Bandit

This recipe is fool-proof, and it tastes just as good a day or two later. I like to make a giant pot and back up some containers to take to work.

Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Kale
Yields 4
A light but filling soup packed with protein and greens.
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 small onion, diced
  3. 2 small chicken breasts
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon no-salt italian seasoning
  7. 32 oz low sodium chicken stock
  8. 1 cup frozen peas
  9. 1 cup tricolor quinoa
  10. 3 cups baby kale
  11. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven on medium. Add the onions and sautee until translucent, then add chicken breasts and brown on each side (about a minute each side).
  2. Add garlic, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and broth. Stir everything around and make sure the chicken isn't stuck to the bottom.
  3. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, then add quinoa and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken, add peas and kale, cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Shred the chicken and add back to the pot.
  6. Remove bay leaf and serve.
The Pomegranate Bandit http://pomegranatebandit.com/
You could always use baby spinach instead of baby kale if you want, and if you can’t find tricolor quinoa, you can use any other type. 

Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Kale | The Pomegranate Bandit

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

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two exciting things

I know I’ve been kind of M.I.A. lately, but it’s for a good reason, I promise. I’ve had some time for an occasional recipe or WIAW post, but I haven’t really shared much else of what’s happening in my life. There are a lot of exciting things happening right now, but for now I can only share two of them.

1. The Recipe ReDux

Recipe ReDux

I am so happy to announce that I’ve recently been accepted to The Recipe ReDux! The Recipe ReDux is a recipe challenge that occurs each month between food bloggers around a specified theme. I can’t wait for my first challenge in April! Check out the archives for past challenges to get an idea of what’s to come. 

2. Israel Bound

I finally planned my birthright trip to Israel! This August, my brother and I will be riding camels and floating in the Dead Sea. I’ve been overseas multiple times and have had the travel bug ever since my first experience in another country. The last time I traveled overseas was in 2009, when I went to Sicily for a month for an Art History program in college. It’s hard to plan a trip like that when you have too many bills and not enough vacation time, but I’m so very fortunate enough to have this opportunity because of my Jewish background. 

Tell me what’s happening in your life! Where is your favorite travel destination?

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