(High-Protein) Cinnamon Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal

I LOVE oatmeal.  And I LOVE apple pie.  And I LOVE the smell of cinnamon-baked ANYTHING (Cinnabon is a problem for me).  So, what could be better for breakfast than Cinnamon Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal?  Well, in my world, making it high-protein, of course!

My mother always told me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And I believed her (and still do! – technically, it’s actually impossible to truly skip breakfast because your first meal of the day is when you are “breaking your fast,” hence, breakfast!  Okay, nerd moment over.  For now).  But then there’s also the adage, “Life is short. Eat dessert first.”  I say, why not do both?

Let’s get you as excited about breakfast as I am!

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Mint Chocolate Avocado Protein Pudding

Mint Chocolate Avocado Protein PuddingI don’t know about you, but it seems like avocado-based puddings are EVERYWHERE these days (and by everywhere, I mean all over Pinterest).  I love me some avocado (sliced and sprinkled with sea salt, in guacamole, on my burgers, in my salads, etc.) and I also love chocolate, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to get me believing in the avocado-chocolate combination.  I fiddled around with a few recipes, making my own adjustments here and there until I had absolutely nailed the creamy, cool texture of a traditional dairy-based chocolate pudding.  And then, to justify it as a gym-friendly snack, I threw in some protein powder.  Naturally.  You’ll see that I do that with a lot of recipes.  There are only so many egg whites, chicken breasts, cans of tuna, and Quest Bars (yes, there is even a limit to those, sadly) a girl can eat before she needs to get creative with her protein choices.

But, add MINT to the equation (an idea I first got from these ridiculously good No Bake Andes Mint Bars) and it was like the heavens opened with an angel chorus and I was bathed in a warm white light: Hallelujah!  Mint Chocolate Avocado ECSTASY!

I’ll show you what I mean!

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Booked for Bali

I’m excited, and I just can’t hide it!  I’m about to lose control and I think I like it…..whooooooooaaa YEAH!  Um, actually scratch that.  I’m not about to lose control (at least, I hope not).  But I am about to go on vacation (and boy, am I ready for a vacation!).  As I mentioned in this post, I just finished a pretty intense strength training program, not to mention work has been INSANE lately.  Some time soaking up the sun (and maybe even getting a new bikini or two to recognize the positive changes in my body as a result of said strength training program) in a tropical setting is just what the doctor ordered (or what the doctor would order, if I needed to go see one).

So, where am I going?  Drumroll, please! (Man, I love this “jump break” thing to cause suspense – or maybe I’m just losing readers who aren’t interested enough to click through?)

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Blogging Resources

At least two of the food bloggers that I admire and follow have provided links and/or write-ups on blogging resources on their own blogs.  Seeing as I haven’t figured out this blogging thing myself, I’d like to share their wisdom with you, and hope that you will check out their sites as well:

The DetoxinistaHow To Start Your Own Blog

Running to the KitchenBlogging Resources

My Not-So-Secret Addiction: Quest Bars

As much as I love preparing AND eating home-baked (or no-bake, as the case may be) treats such as high-protein muffins, cakes, bars and squares of all kinds, I still eagerly look forward to my almost-daily Quest bars.  I forget who first introduced me to them (I would thank him or her profusely if I could remember), but it was “love at first bite.”

I’ll be following up with a more in-depth review of the various flavours (I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad sign that I’ve personally tried 15 out of the 17 flavours released by Quest, including the not-yet-available to me Mint Chocolate Chunk Flavour – if it’s anything like the flavour of a Dairy Queen Mint Oreo Blizzard, I’m in trouble!).

For now, I’ll just remind you that a pre-packaged/convenience protein bar is a better choice than a pre-packaged/convenience candy bar (in most instances!  There are always exceptions so that we can enjoy ALL foods in moderation).

What’s YOUR favourite Quest Bar flavour?  If you haven’t tried them, what are YOUR go-to brands?  I might have to sample them next!

My current stash (8 of 17 flavours)
My current stash (8 of 17 flavours)
*Please note that I am currently NOT sponsored by or affiliated with any particular brand, company or product. Any ideas, comments or opinions are my own, as mentioned in my Product Review page. However, if you choose to purchase new-to-you products I recommend using the link(s) I provide, I can earn a small credit. More information on that is available here.

Tuna & Spinach Dijon Stuffed Peppers

My very first recipe on the blog is something I’ve had for lunch no less than four times in the past week.  It might be fair to say that I’m stuck in a luncLunch Boxh rut, but I think it’s a testament to the simplicity, ease and tastiness of this particular dish (I should mention at this point that I pull longer-than-average office hours in a cubicle and I bring my lunch in a pretty, striped insulated lunch bag every day – a habit going all the way back to the hard-shelled plastic lunch boxes my mother lovingly packed for me and my brother when we were in grade school.  Thanks for the napkin notes, Mom!).  You might think that after years (literally decades) of bringing my lunch to school or work every day that I would finally want to break out of my comfort zone (or blandness zone, as some people think of brown-bag lunches), or that I might have *finally* saved enough pennies to splurge on a restaurant lunch.  But I get excited with all of the POSSIBILITIES when I am preparing my lunch the night before, and I try to make sure that my choices have me excited about what I’m going to be eating that day.  I’m often the envy of my co-workers!

Also, it is worth noting that I was just finishing up a pretty intense powerlifting 12-week strength training block and I needed my meals to be protein-packed and bursting with nutrients to help my muscles recover from my intense noon-hour (or noon-two-hour) workouts.

So what was I eating?  Let’s get to it!

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Genesis: The Origin of The Golden Graham Girl Blog

First things first, Golden Grahams Family Sizethis blog is NOT about Golden Grahams (and my sincere apologies to any fans of the band Genesis who inadvertently stumbled across this post due to its title – rock on, Phil Collins, rock on), the deliciously sweet and cinnamon-y breakfast cereal rival to Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  (As an aside, my brother and I were not allowed to have either of those cereals in the house when we were kids – they were on the “too sugary” list – and we were relegated to the relatively tame, albeit still delicious, Honey Nut Cheerios.  It was always the highlight of a sleepover at someone else’s house if that someone else DID have either of those in the pantry.  Or Cap’n Crunch.  I think that one fact of my childhood alone explains a lot about why I now have a blog connected, however loosely, to fitness and nutrition.  And funny that I called it “breakfast” cereal, seeing as I used to (and still do) consider cereal to be a perfectly acceptable snack or meal at ANY time of the night or day.)  No, this blog (and this food blogger) is(are) indeed attempting to join the glamorous (or is that auspicious?  Or both?) ranks of *FOOD BLOGGER*.

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My Sports & Training History

Competition PoolMy chief athletic background is in competitive swimming, up and down the lanes in a regulation competition pool as fast as I could go.  I performed reasonably well at the provincial level but certainly never on a national level and my amateur competitive career fizzled out after less than one semester at the varsity level in university.  I returned to swimming as an “adult” (and I still use the term loosely when describing myself) as part of the Masters program (a sanctioned swimming body for recreational and competitive athletes aged 25+).

I took up running as a sport (as opposed to a cruel & punishing form of cross training for swimming) in my first year of working full time after university graduation.  It seemed like a very “adult” thing to do.  I’m pleased to say that my very first road running race was a full marathon (42.2 km or 26.1 mi for my American visitors) because that’s just really how I do things: go big or go home.  I’ve now done three full marathons, seven half marathons and a handful of ten-mile and ten-kilometre races.  I still enjoy getting out for the occasional jaunt, but I’ve hung up my laces in semi-retirement for the tenure of my assignment in the ROK (Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea and not to be confused with the aptly-named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, our neighbours to the North).

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The First Post

Last PostNot to be confused with The Last Post, the stirring military bugle call to close the day’s activities and something I once played on my trumpet and/or euphonium as part of our high school’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.  No, indeed this is the VERY FIRST post of my brand new baby blog, The Golden Graham Girl!  And that’s just the kind of random, off-on-a-tangent digression from the main topic that you can expect in my writings.  More to come on that later!

You’ll learn lots more about me (probably too much) in the posts to come (I’m already envisioning an “About Me” post, just like when we had to write an autobiography for English class every fall when classes resumed after summer vacation).  I promise lots of FOOD, FITNESS and FUN, interspersed with my philosophical ramblings and musings on those topics and all things in between.

For now, WELCOME!  I’m glad you found me and I hope you enjoy your time here.

-Lauren, a.k.a. “The Golden Graham Girl”