A Day of Thesis(Eat)ing {WIAW}

Hello! This is going to be the week month of pictures with minimal text because writing pages of schoolwork (ahem, thesis) followed by blogging just muddles everything up in my head.

So, I thought a nice change of pace for today would be to let you in on what I’ve been eating (or some of what I ate one day) while stuck in libraries! (And by libraries, I mean the same, single library. I like working in one exact spot for a single specific project). Also, thanks to Jenn from Peas and Crayons for creating this link up, to Laura for hosting hit this week!(Ps. Laura has a recipe for Banana Walnut Protein Pancakes up on her blog today!) It’s been a while since I’ve participated, and I’m so excited to hop back on the bandwagon this week!

Thesis Eats {WIAW}

Sunday I was cooped up in the library all day, so I grabbed lunch and dinner to eat at my table while I worked.

I think I started off the day with a Greek yogurt before my run, and a bowl of oatmeal afterwards!




My breakfast held me over for quite a while, but that didn’t stop me from snacking on some carrots and hummus!

IMG_6437This actually ended up being my “lunch time meal”, since it occurred around 1:30 ish pm.

I finally felt the “real” hunger arise around 3 pm, so I went to Olives to grab some sustenance. I began with a sweet potato jalepeno soup and an apple (not pictured).



I thought I would be satisfied until pretty late (like 8 or so), but ended up eating around 6:30-7 pm. I had the “protein” wrap from Olives, which consists of spinach, grilled chicken, egg whites, and avocado on a whole wheat wrap.



IMG_6442It was deeeeelicious! I think I also had some snacks later but I cannot for the life of me remember what they were. Oh wait, I do.

IMG_0004Cinnamon teddy grahams!!! These guys are the best.

Ugh, truth be told, I actually wrote this post last night before going to bed, and I was famished writing it (it was almost 1 am), so putting up these pictures/writing about food was torture. I sure looked forward to breakfast this morning!


What’s your favourite thing to eat while you’re studying or working on a project? 

I try to eat healthier when I’m working on big projects so that I can stay mentally alert. Drinking a lot of water and coffee helps too!


Last. Princeton. Midterm. EVER!

Hi guys! With midterms going on I cannot fathom the idea of any more organization right now, so this post is going to jump all over the place. Apologies in advance.

News: Good and Bad

So I have some good news and less-than-good news.

Good news: I am about to go write my last ever Princeton midterm! Woooo!

Bad news: I do not in any way feel adequately prepared, and I have to go write it.

IMG_1275Oh, midterms. You really are the ultimate academic endurance sport.

Promised posts for this week –> Next Week

Anyway, I know I know I know that I said the Greek yogurt and female athlete posts would be up this week, but I’m actually going to save them for next week. Today is just a quick catch up post saying hi, and explaining why I’ve been so MIA lately! (Which I feel terribly about).

My new nickname

Also, funny little note: upon having read my previous post, my parents now think that “NARP” is just the funniest thing they’ve ever heard. I think I must accept that to them, I will from here on out forever be known as “Nicole the NARP”.



Image 1

Great, looks like I’ve gained a new nickname. Sadly, it actually has a pretty good ring to it.

Plans for next year….coming soon!

ALSO, in the next couple (or few) weeks, I am going to have some huge news for you guys, aka, what my post-graduation plans are. I am sorting a ton of things out right now, and am very excited about what all is to come. (Just gotta get this darn midterm over this first…. 🙁 )


And to close, who doesn’t love a good food pic?! Here’s part 1 of my dinner from last night.

ImageVeggies, hummus, more veggies, and grilled chicken! I also had a bowl of some noodley soup afterwards too which left me feeling sooooo thirsty.

Okay that’s it from me! Time to go get rocked by this midterm!


What was your worst ever midterm experience? Feel free to rant! 

Do you have any nicknames that stuck even though you wish they hadn’t?


Polar Opposite Weekend

It’s kind of funny that this post has the world “polar” in it, because right now as I stare out the window, all I can see is a blanket of white covering every single surface. It looks like the second round of the snowstorm has hit. Fortunately, my mode of transportation on campus is by foot, so I don’t have to worry about driving in the snow or de-icing my car of anything 🙂 .

But anyway, speaking of polar, let’s back up to this past weekend, where I spent one day being a complete sloth, and the next being as busy as a bee!


Do you ever have an extremely lazy day, followed by the most productive day you’ve had all month?

Well, that basically sums up my weekend! Saturday started off pretty slowly, with a very strange breakfast of popcorn, cheddar cheese and macadamia nuts (no, I’m not proud of this, and it can be attributed to my 3am U-store run with friends… college…), followed by multiple hours of Royal Pains, and several failed attempts at working on my thesis. So when Isabella texted me around 5 pm to ask if I wanted to grab dinner later, it didn’t take much convincing for me to say yes!

We went to a small Japanese restaurant, which happens to be Isabella’s favourite restaurant in Princeton. I’d never been there, but had heard amazing reviews from several friends.

We started off with miso soup and a small salad, followed by our main entrees. I ordered a sashimi medley, with two kinds of white fish, salmon, and tuna.

IMG_6100I’m a die-hard salmon fan, so I was not surprised one bit that it turned out to be my favourite. Afterwards we went to a local ice cream parlour, Halo Pub, for some dessert. In honour of National Peanut Butter Day, I just had to get something festive, so I selected a small cup of soft-serve peanut butter ice cream. It was delicious, and a great way to finish off a Saturday.


After my extremely unproductive Saturday, it’s a huge understatement to say that I was motivated to get some serious work done Sunday.

My morning started off with a bike warmup and then a hit with our assistant coach. After a day off, it felt good to get back on the court, but I did feel a little sluggish, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, after some food and some coffee, my mental sluggishness wore off and I was able to buckle down for roughly 5 hours to knock out some serious thesis work.

Bein a hoodlum

Throughout all of my thesis-ing, you bet I needed some snacks to keep me going! I picked up some of these Monkey Love bites at the Convenience store, and munched on them atop some plain 2% Plain Fage Greek yogurt.


IMG_6105They were chewy, sweet, and had a hint of banana flavour which I loved. I can’t wait to try making them myself!

Following my schoolwork, I headed back down to the squash courts for practice around 6:30 pm. We played for about an hour, before showering quickly and heading off to a late dinner! A few of my teammates and me went to Panera for a light supper, before Hadley and I sat down at Starbucks to get a little more work done.


Today I’ve got more thesis work to do, as well as squash around 1 pm. So far I’m feeling awake and super productive, and I’m hoping some caffeine can fuel that even more!


Do you ever have really unproductive days? 

Are your unproductive days usually followed by really productive and motivated days? 


Warm Winter Squash Kale Panzanella

When I think back to all of the delicious food I ate this 2014 holiday season, one thing stands out in my mind. No, it’s not the Christmas turkey or ham, nor is it the sweet potatoes and stuffing.

It’s a salad!!!!

Okay, before you start making faces at me and turn your nose up in disgust, you’ve really got to take a look at this recipe. I liked it so much, I made it twice more after its original (and thankfully successful) attempt. When I made it for our second Christmas family dinner on the 27th of December, it was the only dish that was polished off! (And to put this in perspective, four days later, we are still working on the leftovers from the dinner). When a few relatives asked for the recipe, and my mom asked me to make it again a couple of nights ago, I knew I had to post the recipe for you all. So, what is this great salad I speak of?!?!?

Friends, I present you with… Warm Winter Squash Kale Panzanella. 

IMG_5827Right now you’re probably thinking: what in the world is Panzanella? Well, I had no idea, but after having found this delicious recipe by Cookies and Kate on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a shot.

IMG_5828The most unique part about this recipe is the rosemary. Along with the goat cheese, it adds so much flavour to this salad dish! It honestly reminded me of a healthier version of stuffing.

I also loved how easy it was to substitute certain ingredients to make the dish customizable. For example, the first time I made it I used some type of winter squash, the next time a butternut squash, and the final time a sweet potato!

squash, onions, croutons, seeds

If you’re looking for a hearty, delicious winter salad, you’ve got to try this. My family and I loved it, and if you like kale and balsamic, I have a feeling you’ll love it too!

Warm Winter Kale Panzanella

Adapted from Cookie and Kate’s Balsamic Butternut, Kale and Cranberry Panzanella

Serves 2-4 people, depending on whether served as a side or a main dish, and on how hungry you are!


Cold: Salad

  • 2 large bunches of kale, washed, and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (add this on only at the very, very end)

Hot: Squash, seeds, and croutons

  • ~3 cups winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc will all work), baked until slightly crunchy and cut into approx. 1 inch cubes
  • 2 slices of bread, sliced into bite size pieces (should make about 50 pieces in total, if you slice 5 by 5)
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped into long, thin, ~2 inch pieces (not chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (a few shakes each)

Dressing (should make ~1/3 cup of dressing)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup the first time, and actually omitted it the next two times- it works fine without)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper



  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Place mostly baked squash, bread, seeds, and onions on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated, and then sprinkle rosemary and salt/pepper.
  • Bake for roughly 10 minutes, before removing from heat to flip ingredients, and baking for another 7-10 minutes or so, until bread is well toasted.
  • When bread is toasted to your liking (and they resemble croutons), remove pan from oven.


  • While the “hot” items are in the oven, massage kale in small batches. This will make the leaves much less “rough” and will also decrease their volume by a lot. If you need a tutorial on how and why you should massage kale, check out this article by the Huffington Post.
  • Add dried cranberries to the kale. Do NOT add in goat cheese yet!


  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. You may wish to taste the dressing to make any necessary adjustments to suit your liking. For example, I much prefer balsamic over mustard, so I tend to use more of it.

Assembly (right before serving)

  • In a large salad bowl, combine cold and hot ingredients. Drizzle dressing over salad, and mix well until all leaves are well coated.
  • In an oven or microwave (make sure the bowl is microwave-able safe!), heat salad until lukewarm. This should take about 5-7 minutes in the oven (watch it carefully), and 1-1.5 minutes in the microwave.
  • Remove salad from heat, and crumble goat cheese on top immediately before serving.
  • Serve salad immediately when warm. Enjoy!

Also, it is WEDNESDAY, which means I can also combine this recipe with some awesome What I Ate Wednesday eats! I’m liking up with Jenn for WIAW from Peas and Crayons! Be sure to check out her website for not only her WIAW eats, but also others’!

What I Ate Wednesday

organic greens, kale, grapes, and feta salad from the Parsonage cafe
Breakfast sandwich from Parsonage cafe {creamed spinach, egg, tomato, bacon and cheddar on whole wheat bread}
Coconut flakes, which I turned into coconut CHIPS by baking them!
Christmas dinner #2: ham, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, broccoli quinoa dish, more sweet potatoes

Happy New Year!

And, last but not least, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! I hope you all have a fabulous time celebrating, whether you’re staying in, going out, or doing absolutely whatever 🙂 . Here’s to 2015!


Do you like kale? Do you cook with it much?

I love love love kale!!! I absolutely adore how robust it its, and how it can withstand dressing without wilting!

Do you know what “panzanella” is? Have you ever made it? 


Home For the Holidays

I made it!

IMG_5739I nodded off on one of my flights, and woke up to this beauty. I have yet to take an East to West flight where I’m chasing the sunset, but this one got pretty close! Amazing sunsets really never cease to amaze me 🙂 .

Let’s just say nap was much needed after a very, very fun Thursday afternoon and evening.

10861031_1513347082271863_3728549453846845751_oThe mens and women’s teams got together to play our annual mixed-doubles holiday tournament, followed by some festivities later on that night. It was such a fun last practice, and so great to see everyone dressed up in holiday gear 🙂 .


One of my favourite things about being home (besides writing blog posts in my PJ’s 🙂 ) is going to my favourite restaurants and making my own favourite food!

Roasted root salad from the Parsonage Cafe


Homemade whole-wheat biscuits


Balsamic Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts

IMG_5777Recipe coming up for these- they were so good!

Goat cheese creamed spinach




No-bake chocolate cookie dough protein bars (<– Click for my recipe!)


Green Smoothie

IMG_5787In the blender this morning went:

  • 1 frozen banana (or maybe 1.5 frozen bananas, not quite sure)
  • 1 large handful fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 avocado
  • ~1 cup Silk Almond Coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups frozen mango

It was incredibly creamy!! Next time I’d add some coconut extract, and maybe decrease the amount of banana. Still, it made a ton of smoothie, so much so I gave the leftovers to my dad!


Yesterday morning around 11, I laced up my shoes and drove down to my favourite local running trail around Elk and Beaver lakes.

IMG_5759The Elk lake/Beaver lake trail is a 10k loop, and it’s in perfect condition. For being located at the edge of a highway, it’s remarkable that you don’t hear any highway noise at all when you’re not running right along that small portion.

IMG_5756It was about 5 degrees Celsius outside, which sounds pretty cold, but thanks to my light-weight Lulu vest, I was kept perfectly toasty! (Minus my hands… they were pretty frozen by the end. Note to self- wear gloves!)

IMG_5763Well, that’s all from me this morning! My plans today include some squash (probably solo hitting and court movement), and then a Sufferfest session with Ken later on. (Wish me luck!)

Hope your Monday is off to a great start!


If you don’t live at home, what do you look forward to doing when you go home? Any restaurants you like to check out? Any favourite running or biking trails?