Weird Food Combos I Love

We all have those things we love that send people into spirals. “You eat what?” or “You actually wear those??
I always try to be polite, address these concerns with a smile, and then continue right along, because I eat yummy food and wear fabulous socks:)
I will admit that some things I eat are decidedly strange. Not foul, just plain weird.
My latest obsession is a whim that that turned into breakfast this past week.
This sounds insane, but an oatmeal topped potato. Yup. Oatmeal on top of a baked potato.

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Above is a potato stuffed with cocoa oatmeal, buttered up with PB&Co Spicy Peanut Butter, and a crushed up Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cup.

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This one was the potato-oatmeal combo that sparked it all. Berry Oats, stuffed in a sweet potato, topped with berries and some cashew butter.

Another thing I love? Zucchini. I stick it in EVERYTHING. And trust me, I get looks.

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Overnight oats complete with my little green friend. Stuffed in a trader joes peanut butter jar, of course (they have the BEST peanut butter!).

Another weird love?

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Squash. I throw it on everything. Yogurt, oatmeal, mug-cakes. I eat it plain, topped with peanut butter, with some hummus, some salsa, or in a salad.
And yes, I am extremely orange:)

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What are some of your weird obsessions?

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Going to the Gym Tips + Pre-Workout Nutrition

Going to the gym can be a menacing task, trust me, I get that. In my utopian world, it would always be forty-five degrees, with a light breeze, and a hazy sun. Running outside motivates me more than any monotonous machines and sweaty drips.
But, this isn’t my paradise. Storms, arctic winds, saunic heat waves, and blizzards plague my area, and sometimes the gym is the only option.
But I always try to fit in my workout. It keeps me sane and lets me achieve something every day. (Well, except on rest days:)
It has taken me some time, but I have found ways to make the treadmill (*cough* dreadmill *cough*) or other machine more bearable.

1. Music, Audiobooks, Instagram, Internet- DISTRACTIONS.
Use whatever distractions you can to keep yourself sane. Personally, I love love love music. I can get lost in a good playlist. It keeps me from getting too “thinky”. One machines like the stepmaster though, you can check instagram or surf the web, because the lower body is so isolated. This is serves as an amazing distraction.

2. Intervals
Interval, or HIIT, training, is extremely effective and entertaining. With intervals typically between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, you constantly are changing treadmill (or bike/elliptical) speeds or inclines. It also mentally makes working out easier. “Mini-goals” can be more easily set.

3. Set Mini-Goals
Chunk you workout into a couple parts and focus on a chunk at a time. Running 2 miles 3 times is SO much easier than running six miles.

4. Eat a good pre-workout snack or meal.
Fuel yourself well. The best for me is to eat a bigger dinner a few hours before. I find that eating a majority of carbs, and some fat and protein is perfect. But experiment, because every body is different!

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Pre-workout tonight (eaten about 2 hours before my workout) was Farro, cooked with date chutney, carrot and veggie broth, tossed with corn, lettuce, and tofu. I served it with a potato and peanut butter!

5. Prepare
Lay out your workout clothes, bag, water bottle, headphones, whatever you need, BEFORE you start your day. Put that in your car, or by your door. That way when you have to go workout- you have no excuse at all.

6. Just do it.
Think of how much better you will feel after the workout. Then smile, and crush it. If your put your mind to it, anything is possible!

What are some of your favorite workout tips? Share then below!

Recap of a Crazy Busy Week- Some Fun Recipes!

This week was insanity. A nonstop whirl of school, rehearsal, runs throughout the neighborhood, and long hours at the gym (the treadmill has become bearable.. but I will always refer to it as the “dread-mill”)

So, the blog kind of took a backseat position for a few days- but, don’t worry, I thought of you all often, and took many pictures after creating¬†a couple of fun things!

This week brought about quite a few wonderful oatmeal bowls:

I found some Justins peanut butter cups on clearance at Kroger, and I bought ALL of them. Oh my gosh, I recommend them so much! Anyway, Monday morning brought some rather simple vanilla zoats, topped with a banana, a peanut butter cup, some raspberries, some pistachios, and some of Justins honey peanut butter! So delicious and filling!

I found some Justins peanut butter cups on clearance at Kroger, and I bought ALL of them. Oh my gosh, I recommend them so much!
Anyway, Monday morning brought some rather simple vanilla zoats, topped with a banana, a peanut butter cup, some raspberries, some pistachios, and some of Justins honey peanut butter!
So delicious and filling!

I was forced to upgrade my bowl for Tuesdays oatmeal. The combination of zucchini, orange, egg whites, and protein powder flooded my usual bowl. I wasn't complaining though! Chocolate Orange Zoats made with some Vega Protein Powder. I topped this thick porridge with a chopped banana, and some melted Trader Joes Salted Peanut Butter.

I was forced to upgrade my bowl for Tuesdays oatmeal. The combination of zucchini, orange, egg whites, and protein powder flooded my usual bowl. I wasn’t complaining though!
Chocolate Orange Zoats made with some Vega Protein Powder. I topped this thick porridge with a chopped banana, and some melted Trader Joes Salted Peanut Butter.

This photo looks so strange. I tried to make it aesthetically pleasing but it just looks.. awkward. Oh well, the bowl tasted quite amazing! Vanilla Zoats topped with a Justins Peanut Butter Cup and a sliced banana!

This photo looks so strange. I tried to make it aesthetically pleasing but it just looks.. awkward. Oh well, the bowl tasted quite amazing!
Vanilla Zoats topped with a Justins Peanut Butter Cup and a sliced banana!

This was a good one! Friday morning oats, complete with an aesthetic flair! Gingerbread cookie oats (recipe needs some refining but watch out for it!) topped with a peanut butter cup, a banana, some pistachios, and some Trader Joe's List Flax and Chia Peanut Butter!

This was a good one! Friday morning oats, complete with an aesthetic flair!
Gingerbread cookie oats (recipe needs some refining but watch out for it!) topped with a peanut butter cup, a banana, some pistachios, and some Trader Joe’s List Flax and Chia Peanut Butter!

I eat oatmeal everyday, but a couple of the bowls I either forgot to take a picture of, orrrr I am saving them for an upcoming recipe post! So watch out for some delicious ideas coming your way!

But this week had more than oatmeal. So, so, so, much more. Like this:

A grilled mango and dark chocolate sandwich. YOU READ THAT RIGHT. MANGO AND CHOCOLATE SMASHED BETWEEN BREAD AND THEN TOASTED. CAN I GET AN AMEN!

A grilled mango and dark chocolate sandwich. YOU READ THAT RIGHT. MANGO AND CHOCOLATE SMASHED BETWEEN BREAD AND THEN TOASTED.
CAN I GET AN AMEN!

OK that one was super enthralling for me. And it tasted amazing. Mmmm. But I do eat more than chocolate and oatmeal, I promise haha.

Last Sunday night I made a giant batch of 16 beans soup that lasted me half of the week! It was so convenient, and super tasty as well! All I did was leave a "16 bean mix" from Kroger to soak overnight. Then I added broth and cooked the soaked beans for 1 hour. I added an onion, a bag of frozen sliced carrots, a tbs of chili powder, a tbs of sriracha, a teaspoon of salt, and other spices to taste, and let that simmer for another hour. Viola! Easy soup! To serve, I would add boiled potatoes, some go veggie cheese, and some sriracha sauce! So delicious!

Last Sunday night I made a giant batch of 16 beans soup that lasted me half of the week! It was so convenient, and super tasty as well!
All I did was leave a “16 bean mix” from Kroger to soak overnight. Then I added broth and cooked the soaked beans for 1 hour. I added an onion, a bag of frozen sliced carrots, a tbs of chili powder, a tbs of sriracha, a teaspoon of salt, and other spices to taste, and let that simmer for another hour. Viola! Easy soup!
To serve, I would add boiled potatoes, some go veggie cheese, and some sriracha sauce! So delicious!

A quick and easy pre-gym meal for me this week! A tortilla stuffed with hummus, greens, tofu, shredded carrots, and go veggie cheese. Alongside some carrots, this always got me through my workout with energy and no upset stomach! (Runners trots are the WORST!)

A quick and easy pre-gym meal for me this week! A tortilla stuffed with hummus, greens, tofu, shredded carrots, and go veggie cheese. Alongside some carrots, this always got me through my workout with energy and no upset stomach! (Runners trots are the WORST!)

And then the weekend rolled around. The weekends are my favorite, as they are usually filled with activities I enjoy that keep me busy. School is busy, but isn’t exactly fun haha. But I would rather be at school than be at home doing nothing. It is probably just me, but laying around is only entertaining for a couple hours before I just feel lazy and bored!!!

The weekend was also filled with easy snacks and meals.

A snack that I will always enjoy. A quest bar and some fruit. So easy, so fast, and SO FILLING.

A snack that I will always enjoy. A quest bar and some fruit. So easy, so fast, and SO FILLING.

A "big snack", or just a typical snack for me heehheehehe. 2 pieces of toasted Ezekial Bread smashed together with Go Veggie Cheese, served up with a rainbow of fruits and veggies!

A “big snack”, or just a typical snack for me heehheehehe.
2 pieces of toasted Ezekial Bread smashed together with Go Veggie Cheese, served up with a rainbow of fruits and veggies!

And now I am sitting at my computer, after completing a AWESOME half-marathon this morning. Eating this:

Greek Yogurt topped with a chopped apple, some blackberries, and some sweet potato butter (SO GOOD OMG)

Greek Yogurt topped with a chopped apple, some blackberries, and some sweet potato butter (SO GOOD OMG)

And that was my week! Next week will bring in some recipes, so keep your eyes peeled!!!

Cocoa Roasted Butternut Squash + This Weeks Favorites

The first week of the New Year has opened with triumphant bang- I have high hopes for the upcoming days that will mesh together to mold 2015. Strange, typing that phrase on this document. 2015. It feels like a wind has settled right beneath my fingertips, a final goodbye to 2014.

At school particularly, It feels quite strange writing 2015 in the corner-tops of my papers, for even though I acknowledge in my head it is 2015, the idea hasn’t permeated my conscious thinking too effectively. Oh well, hopefully by October I will have the year straight in my mind ūüėČ

This Sunday was one for the running PR books. I ran my farthest distance yet, clocking in a 14.34 miles. Typing it makes is that much more real, and my heart dances thinking I ran over a half-marathon. In the past few weeks, while my pace has improved slightly along with my average mileage, the thing that has seen the most improvement is my¬†mental fortitude. I used to be unable to run far distances on a track, but on wonderful christmas cruise I breezed through 9 miles on the upper level track. I used to groan at the thought of running after school, but now I rush home so I can hit the road. Running truly does become an obsession after you get into it. I can’t picture my life without it anymore. I am enthralled¬†for the races that this year shall bring. I have a few that I am keeping my eye on at the moment, and am hoping to sign up soon ūüôā

This week was also a celebratory one for my taste buds. I whipped a butternut squash from my closet and performed some magic, and am pleased to share the final result!

Look at this beauty. Oh, it was gone so fast. I couldn't get enough of the rich taste!

Look at this beauty. Oh, it was gone so fast. I couldn’t get enough of the rich taste!

It was so easy too. First, I¬†cut the stem from the squash, cut it in half, and seeded it. Then, I heat the oven to “convection bake, 425F” and placed the halves in on a baking tin, face up, and let it bake for around 45 minutes. Before I put the halves in, I topped them with some cocoa powder, cinnamon, and stevia. Then, after I let it cool, I added peanut butter and coconut oil, and devoured it! Some melted dark chocolate on this would have been perfecttttt.

I need to buy more squash ASAP, I am down to the bare bones in my pantry….

I also created some quick and easy broccoli slaw. At Meijer this week, all of the broccoli slaw went on “managers special”, and was about $1 for a huge bag of the stuff. So, naturally, I bought four big bags. I made broccoli pasta with most of it (just broccoli slaw saut√©ed with garlic and spaghetti sauce- SO EASY AND YUMMY), but I had an idea to make some coleslaw after I saw something similar on pintrest.

This was easy as well (I love easy!). All I needed was 1.5 cups raw broccoli slaw, 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard, some spices (I threw in onion powder, paprika, and some pepper), as well a tablespoon of craisons (or raisons), and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds. So so so easy, and so delicious! Just mix and serve!

Yum! And so colorful!!

Yum! And so colorful!!

I also had the most delicious bowl of oatmeal ever. Lately I have been loving “flooding” my oatmeal, which is basically just splashing the piping hot oatmeal with a cool liquid. My favorite is juice- specifically carrot or pomegranate juice. (I could talk about carrot juice foreverrrr. I love love LOVE the stuff. Any yes, I am slightly orange!)

Sweet potato pomegranate oats, topped with a banana, peanut butter, and a splash of pomegranate juice. So wonderful, and so full of carbilicioius energy!

Sweet potato pomegranate oats, topped with a banana, peanut butter, and a splash of pomegranate juice. So wonderful, and so full of carbilicioius energy!

This week has been a great week so far! I am hoping for a strong finish, and not just to the week but for the year. Maybe that it looking ahead too far, but thinking in advance is one of my guilty pleasures ūüôā

How has your week been? Tell me below!! (I won’t bite!!)

Overnight Oatmeal… Lots of it

I love planning things ahead of time. One less thing to do later makes me happier now. The rush of pure relief that accompanies finishing a project, or list of things to do, is one of the best feelings in the world. I love accomplishing things, plain and simple.

That is one of the reasons I adore overnight oats. They allow me to get more things done in the morning, and save me stress later in the day. Or at least allow me to get that extra twenty minutes of sleep on crazy weekdays. Twenty minutes doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it is. Twenty minutes is pure heaven on some mornings:)

Overnight oats can be easily made the night before a busy morning, or a couple of days in advance. And the directions are so wonderfully simple- just combine things in a jar and shake shake shake!! Even better than a jar is a “almost” empty peanut butter jar. Mmmmm peanut butter. Anybody else a total nut butter addict? I know I am!

Anyway, there is a basic recipe that I find myself coming back to again and again. I take this recipe, add and subtract ingredients, and flavor it to my own needs. It had taken quite a bit of experimentation to find the perfect combination, but I FINALLY figured out the correct ratio!

Basic Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

¬Ĺ Cup Rolled Oatmeal

1/3 Cup Liquid (anything but water, I usually use unsweetened almond milk)

¬ľ Cup Greek Yogurt (Try multiple flavors for lots of fun!)

1 Tablespoon Raisons

¬Ĺ Tablespoon Chia Seeds

¬Ĺ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Optional Add-Ins (Add according to personal wants)

Seeds/Nuts, Honey, Chopped Dried Fruit, Flax Seed, Certain Fruits (Bananas, apples, and pomegranates work wonderfully, but certain fruits- namely berries- turn nasty and sour after being left overnight),Cocoa Powder, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Protein Powder,Cooked Zucchini, Grated Carrot, Cooked Sweet Potato, The options are endless!!

And now for a gallery of delicious things:

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In a kind-of-not-really empty jar of cinnamon peanut butter, I threw together the basic recipe plus some pomegranate seeds, cocoa powder, and cocoa nibs. Perfect!!

Oh boy, this one is a bit of a throwback! Back in the summer, when blackberries were actually affordable, I made some vanilla overnight oats, and then topped them with mashed blackberries and warmed banana slices. And peanut butter. Always peanut butter.

Oh boy, this one is a bit of a throwback! Back in the summer, when blackberries were actually affordable, I made some vanilla overnight oats, and then topped them with mashed blackberries and warmed banana slices. And peanut butter. Always peanut butter.

Coffee lovers unite! This one was a bit on the liquidy side (I was still experimenting), but I wasn't complaining, especially since it was peppermint coffeee flavored. With raisons. And cocoa nibs. And later- peanut butter!

Coffee lovers unite! This one was a bit on the liquidy side (I was still experimenting), but I wasn’t complaining, especially since it was peppermint coffeee flavored. With raisons. And cocoa nibs. And later- peanut butter!

Bad photo you say?? Well I agree, but in truth there is not such thing as a bad photo when oatmeal is involved. You know it is true! Dark chocolate banana overnight oatmeal, topped with more banana and, of course, peanut butter!

Bad photo you say?? Well I agree, but in truth there is not such thing as a bad photo when oatmeal is involved. You know it’s true! Dark chocolate banana overnight oatmeal, topped with more banana and, of course, peanut butter!

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I wish Justin’s almond butter wasn’t so darn expensive. Otherwise, I would bathe in this stuff. Liquid gold, I tell you. Liquid gold! This was overnight hazelnut oatmeal, topped with some whey sauce, and walnuts.

One of my more creative feats regarding overnight oats- watermelon pumpkin overnight oatmeal! The recipe still needs to be perfected now that I am thinking of it.....

One of my more creative feats regarding overnight oats- watermelon pumpkin overnight oatmeal! The recipe still needs to be perfected now that I am thinking of it…..

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KREMA IS MAGNIFICENT! One ingredient only: Peanuts. Talk about stellar!!! This beaut was overnight cranberry zoats!

Orangesickle overnight oatmeal. The lighting makes it look kind of alienly. In a good way, of course. This alieny pot was pretty delicious!

Orangesickle overnight oatmeal. The lighting makes it look kind of alienly. In a good way, of course. This alieny pot was pretty delicious!

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Peanut Butter Jars for dayssssss! This was a nearly empty jar of Naturally More pb, filled with overnight coconut oats. Side note- peanut butter and coconut is HEAVENLY.

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One of the many many reasons I love trader joes is their almond butter. It is low in price, low in added sugars and chemicals, and HIGH in flavor. Almond buttahhhh for days. Anyways, this was banana cream pie overnight oats. I later added some strawberries and more almond butter!

And we come to the last jar I have saved. Mango banana overnight oats. The best just might be last in this case. The pureed mango and banana made for a marvelous taste that made my taste buds soar. Plus the peanut butter went extremely well with the dish:)!

And we come to the last jar I have saved. (Certainly not the last jar I have eaten, however!)  Mango banana overnight oats. The best just might be last in this case. The pureed mango and banana made for a marvelous taste that made my tongue dance. Plus the peanut butter went extremely well with the dish:)!

New Running Shoes + Post Run Fuel

I guess I am claiming my woman card here and saying it- I love my new shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my old shoes, but they needed to be upgraded desperately. The past 500 miles had been rough on them, and they were giving my IT Band some major troubles. So, my parents gifted me with a beautiful new pair for Christmas (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

I loved my old new balance sneakers, but the treads on the bottom edges of both feet were completely worn away- and the foam sole was fading fast. I haven't thrown them away yet though, old shoes die hard!

I loved my old new balance sneakers, but the treads on the bottom edges of both feet were completely worn away- and the foam sole was fading fast. I haven’t thrown them away yet though, old shoes die hard!

Today I had a nice run in my new ASICS, and breezed through my favorite route, dropping thirty seconds from my average pace. Morale of the story: Buy new shoes if yours are falling apart, a runner needs her shoes!

After the quick seven miler, I fueled up with a cute product I found at Meijer last week. Called “Coco Wheats”, this product was easy to make, delicious, and customizable. Basically, the box¬†contains ground wheat and cocoa that you cook in the microwave for an instant bowl of warm porridge. The texture is similar to oatmeal, but more chewy. It cooks faster than roller oats, so¬†in a hurry, it is extremely practical!

Look how cute this box is!

Look how cute this box is!

And look at these ingredients! Yes, I do acknowledge that some artificial flavoring is used, but this is DEFINITELY a much cleaner product that instant oatmeal, which con taints a slew of nasty chemicals and sweeteners on a list a mile long.

And look at these ingredients! Yes, I do acknowledge that some artificial flavoring is used, but this is DEFINITELY a much cleaner product that instant oatmeal, which containts a slew of nasty chemicals and sweeteners on a list a mile long.

After my run, I was chilly and in need of a warm filling bowl for my tummy. I cooked three tablespoons of the Coco Wheat with a cup of almond milk for about 3.5 minutes, stopping to stir every 20 seconds or so. I then stirred in 1/3 a cup of egg whites (make sure you stir thoroughly and fast, to avoid egg chunks, YUCK!), a handful of raspberries, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and some more almond milk. After thirty more seconds in the microwave, another good stir, and a few extra raspberries, the Coco Wheats were ready to eat!

This was delicious!

This was delicious!

You could make something similar with quick oats, oat bran, plain wheat bran, coconut flour, the options are endless! You would just have to add some cocoa powder!

What are some of your favorite post-workout munchies?

New Blog + Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

Hello! Thanks for taking a look at my blog!

I am Abby, an avid runner with a passion for nutrition and healthy cooking. And peanut butter:) I decided it was time to create a blog to share some of my adventures on the trail and in the kitchen, considering I already follow (more like stalk) a couple of healthy living blogs, and have entertained the idea for about six months. I am really excited to begin sharing my journey with you, starting with this recipe for Zucchini Bread I whipped up yesterday!

Ahhh zucchini. I can never seem to spell it correctly. But I throw the delectable vegetable in nearly everything I eat. Oatmeal, soups, veggie pastas, cakes, muffins, breads. Nothing is safe from some shredded zucchini. The best part is that I can seldom taste it, and even if I do, it tastes pretty delicious. If you don’t like to shred it, consider blending it and using it like you would applesauce or mashed banana; as a fantastic oil replacement. It is surprisingly moist and is a great replacement. Admittedly, it isn’t as good as some applesauce or banana, but hey, it works!

Back to the bread. This stuff is addicting. I made five mini-loaves yesterday afternoon and have eaten four. Filling, moist, dense, and packed full of vegetables! It even has some protein! One mini-loaf has ten grams of protein, and it would be more if you choose to add some protein powder!

In my recipe, I choose to make the bread extremely dense. If you would like a fluffier bread, reduce to applesauce to one cup, and increase the whole wheat four to one and a half cups. Whip the eggs until they are slightly fluffy before you add them to the batter, and add a bit more milk if it feels too dry. Also, I usually add some raisons or walnuts to my bread.

This recipe is fantastic to use as a base, so feel free to add, remove, or tweak any of the directions or ingredients below!

Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

2-3 cups shredded zucchini, depending on your tastes
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour*
1 cup oat flour* (read directions if you have none!)
1 cup stevia, coconut sugar, or sugar of choice*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda*
1 tsp baking powder*
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon*
1/2 tsp nutmeg*
1/2 tsp salt*
Pinch of Cream of Tartar and Nutmeg*

Directions:

If you have no oat flour, blend a cup of raw rolled or quick oats to make some easily. Then, mix all of the dry ingredients (marked with an asterisk) in a large mixing bowl. Next, blend all wet ingredients until fluffy, excluding the zucchini. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and then mix in the shredded zucchini. Pour the batter into some greased mini-loaf tins. Alternately, you could use regular loaf pans. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, or longer if you use a regular loaf pan. Check the loaves before you remove them from the oven, a toothpick inserted in the loaves should come out clean.

Make sure you taste the batter before you pop it into the oven! Feel free to add walnuts, raisons, or coconut oil for added yummy points!

Zucchini Oatmeal Bread in its most glorious form- with cranberry sauce (from Trader Joes) and yogurt on the side. Served up with some fresh raspberries and apple slices. An absolutely perfect snack!!

Zucchini Oatmeal Bread in its most glorious form- with cranberry sauce (from Trader Joes) and yogurt on the side. Served up with some fresh raspberries and apple slices. An absolutely perfect snack!!