Humbling experiences

Today, I had the honor of going back to my roots. I went to my alma mater, Holy Trinity High School on Long Island,  and spoke with the  junior and senior theatre students about my life as a performer. I explained about my high school and college experiences. I told them about becoming a Rockette, getting my first big National Tour, my Broadway debut, and being in original broadway casts. I spoke not only of the successes but of the let downs and struggles. It was so humbling to reflect on where I have been, and how difficult it has been to get here. Speaking with kids, and being able to educate and (hopefully) inspire them is so incredibly rewarding. I feel good. I feel REALLY good! 1956941_10152637107644499_2944661474478534338_o
10842144_10152637107329499_1104687629879750697_o-1Wait isn’t this a food blog?? Sorry! I just had to share 🙂

So!!!! As I said, I have been focusing on experimenting with Breakfast. I like to call it “Project Breakfast Branch Out!” Today, I’d like to focus on the super grain:

quinoa

Quinoa is probably my favorite grain. It has a fantastic nutty flavor, it’s super high in protein, and has almost double the fiber as other grains. That’s not all! There are tons of vitamins, minerals and other amazing nutritional benefits. I’ve only ever used quinoa  for dinner, and normally top it with steamed, or roasted veggies of some sort.

If I love it so much for dinner, why can’t I eat it for breakfast? Well, I did, and it was AWESOME….

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Overnight Blueberry Quinoa Cereal

  • 1/2 cup quinoa cooked
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • stevia
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 fresh fig sliced
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 TBS pistachios (or nuts of choice)
  • 1/2 TBS Hemp seed hearts
  • optional: Unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions: In a mason jar, combine all ingredients. Leave in the fridge over night. Enjoy in the morning by re-heating or simply eating them cold!

Note: If you want to, add more milk when you’re ready to eat!

This was such a great breakfast! The blueberry flavor was absorbed by the quinoa making it gorgeously sweet. The texture was fluffy and refreshing. I am absolutely obsessed with this bowl of goodness…and to think I would have never discovered it if I hadn’t “BRANCHED OUT FOR BREAKFAST”!!!!

 

I hope your day was as fantastic as mine was!!!

xoxoSYN

Peaches and Cream

I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about the importance of being prepared lately. It’s probably because that has been the name of the game for me lately. Right now, in “Big Fish” land, we are in what we call tech rehearsal. These rehearsals are when all of the elements of the show come together. Light, sound, costumes, sets, wigs and special effects all begin to introduce themselves to the show, thus creating the big and final picture. It is incredibly exciting to see all of these gorgeous aspects come to life, but there is a down side. It is really time-consuming. We are at the theatre for 10 out hours out of a 12 hour work day- Monday through Saturday. I’m not complaining… I have an AMAZING job and I feel soooo lucky, but it’s a lot.

My regime as of late has been:

Wake up by 7:45. Take an early work out class. Run any errands that need to be run. Head to the theatre!

I don’t have a ton of time to myself, and therefore, I try to make my food ahead of time!

I am in love with Overnight Oats. I love chewy and sweet they taste. I love that I can eat them out of a mason jar. Mostly, I love that they are sitting in my fridge, just waiting for me to grab and eat them!!!!

I wanted to share one of my favorite overnight oat recipes. It is ridiculously yummy 🙂

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Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup Instant rolled oats (I use gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 TBS greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1 whole peach chopped
  • 1/2 banana sliced
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon

In a bowl, combine oats, milk, water, chia seeds, stevia, vanilla and cinnamon. Microwave for about 2 minutes (keep an eye out that it doesn’t spill over!!)** Transfer the mixture to a mason jar. Add peach, banana, and greek yogurt. Make sure that everything is mixed together. Put it in the fridge over night and THERE YOU GO!!!

**In order to prevent the oatmeal from spilling over the bowl: Simply open the microwave door every 10 seconds (about). If you watch the oatmeal cook, you will see it rising. Whenever it looks like it is getting close to the top, open the door!!!! Repeat this until the oatmeal is cooked 🙂

I like to enjoy my overnight oats cold, but you can definitely reheat them when you are ready to eat.

Happy Friday!

xoxoSYN

Experiments with oatmeal!

First, I want to start this post with a shout out to spin class.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a workout nut. I love the feeling of getting a good sweat on, especially in the morning. Today, I took a kick ass Soul Cycle Class with the instructor Rique. If you live in the NY area and haven’t taken his class PLEASE DO. In my opinion, Soul Cycle is always an amazing experience, but this guy is life changing. It is nearly impossible to get into his class, but if you can, go for it. YOU WILL NOT BE disappointed!

Anyway, after I returned from my cycle sesh, I was starving. Oatmeal is always my go to breakfast. It is a fantastic source of slow release carbs. This means the glycemic load of oatmeal doesn’t force your blood sugar to SKY ROCKET like a white refined carb would. It keeps you full and satisfied for a long time. Also, it is a surprisingly good source of protein. With 6 grams in one cup of cooked oatmeal, you can’t go wrong. 6 grams may not sound like a lot, but it is definitely going to add to your protein count for the day.

My favorite oatmeal is Chocolate Oatmeal. I enjoy it nearly every morning. I mean common, who doesn’t love chocolate?! For some reason, I wanted something different. As I thought of about a creative oatmeal idea, I made some coffee. Yummm Coffee…

….Coffee Oatmeal?

yup

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Mocha Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (I use trader Joes brand)**
  • fruit of choice (Berries are my fave)

Mix all ingredients **EXCEPT Coffee and cocoa powder** in a large bowl and microwave for a minute and a half. Stir and microwave for another minute. Keep a close eye on it.. make sure it doesn’t spill over while microwaving!!! Stir in cocoa and coffee, Top with berries and ENJOY!

**If you don’t have instant coffee, try omitting water and subbing 1/2 cup fresh brewed coffee and 1/2 cup milk of choice. I can’t vouch for the results, but it may work 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this was! Just goes to show that experimenting in the kitchen can lead to new favorites!!!

xoxoSYN

Experiments with oatmeal!

First, I want to start this post with a shout out to spin class.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a workout nut. I love the feeling of getting a good sweat on, especially in the morning. Today, I took a kick ass Soul Cycle Class with the instructor Rique. If you live in the NY area and haven’t taken his class PLEASE DO. In my opinion, Soul Cycle is always an amazing experience, but this guy is life changing. It is nearly impossible to get into his class, but if you can, go for it. YOU WILL NOT BE disappointed!

Anyway, after I returned from my cycle sesh, I was starving. Oatmeal is always my go to breakfast. It is a fantastic source of slow release carbs. This means the glycemic load of oatmeal doesn’t force your blood sugar to SKY ROCKET like a white refined carb would. It keeps you full and satisfied for a long time. Also, it is a surprisingly good source of protein. With 6 grams in one cup of cooked oatmeal, you can’t go wrong. 6 grams may not sound like a lot, but it is definitely going to add to your protein count for the day.

My favorite oatmeal is Chocolate Oatmeal. I enjoy it nearly every morning. I mean common, who doesn’t love chocolate?! For some reason, I wanted something different. As I thought of about a creative oatmeal idea, I made some coffee. Yummm Coffee…

….Coffee Oatmeal?

yup

photo-35

Mocha Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp instant coffee (I use trader Joes brand)**
  • fruit of choice (Berries are my fave)

Mix all ingredients **EXCEPT Coffee and cocoa powder** in a large bowl and microwave for a minute and a half. Stir and microwave for another minute. Keep a close eye on it.. make sure it doesn’t spill over while microwaving!!! Stir in cocoa and coffee, Top with berries and ENJOY!

**If you don’t have instant coffee, try omitting water and subbing 1/2 cup fresh brewed coffee and 1/2 cup milk of choice. I can’t vouch for the results, but it may work 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this was! Just goes to show that experimenting in the kitchen can lead to new favorites!!!

xoxoSYN

Sunday Morning Pancakes

One of my fondest memories is pancake breakfasts on Sunday mornings. My mom would always make my favorite: Loaded chocolate chip pancakes. Of course these were topped with a whipped cream smily face, and topped with powdered sugar and more chocolate chips. This was my 10-year-old self’s dream breakfast.

…and perhaps it still is…

::Sigh:: to be a kid again.

Well, today is Sunday, which also happens to be my day off. This morning, for some reason, I was craving pancakes and my god did I have pancakes! I have been eyeing a couple of recipes and decided to alter/combine/customize a few to make the recipe my own. I was not disappointed.

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Blueberry Pie Pancakes 

topped with Strawberry banana “Syrup”

  • 1/3 cup Flour (I used gluten-free brown rice flour, but any flour will do)
  • 2 TBS rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 TBS egg whites
  • 3 packets stevia (more or less depending on how sweet you want)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2/3 tsp baking POWDER
  • 1/2 sliced banana

For the syrup

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3 frozen strawberries

(I think fresh would work too)

To make Pancakes, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Flip each pancake once.  You should make about 3 pancakes.

Next, blend frozen banana and strawberries until smooth. Transfer to a microwave safe container and microwave for about 30 seconds.  Pour on top of your pancakes and Enjoy!!!

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image-101 I’m not the greatest photographer, but I promise these tasted devine

I topped mine with even MORE berries…

YUMMM 🙂

Happy Sunday!!!

xoxoSYN

Finding Time

Ever find that when you get onto a new schedule, it takes a minute to find your routine again? Sometimes, when our lives change drastically, we neglect to do the things that make us happy, and only focus on the major tasks at hand. I am one of those people. Whenever I start a new show, or project I completely immerse myself in the work. It is great for job preparedness, but I have to admit that other aspects of my life often times suffer.

The 2 things that seem to suffer the most are my diet and exercise. Having a balanced diet and an active lifestyle is crucial to my sanity. Normally, when I’m in rehearsals, working out sounds like an awful idea. I also find that I’m not as prepared when it comes food. It’s hard to pack a lunch and snacks when all you want to do is pass out on the couch after a long day!

Well, I made a promise to myself that once I started “Big Fish” rehearsals, I would not allow my regular habits sneak in. I vowed that I would find time to work out, and make sure that I made my lunches at home. So far, I have been successful! It has only been two days, but I truly believe that if I start out on the right foot, I will keep it going.

This morning I set my alarm bright and early, and  took a ridiculously amazing class at Body By Simone. I have discovered that if I work out first thing in the morning I feel more energized for the rest of my day. It’s also nice to know that once it’s done IT’S DONE. After a quick shower, and a not so quick cab ride, I arrived at rehearsal.

The night before I decided to pack not only my lunch, but my breakfast as well!

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Lunch was a salad, topped with artichoke, tomato, beets, red pepper, black beans, pistachios and vegan shredded cheese.

For a snack, I packed veggies and an apple.

Breakfast was by far my favorite addition to the group

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Overnight Strawberry Banana Bread Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 banana chopped
  • 3-4 strawberries (depending on size) chopped
  • stevia to taste

AT NIGHT: Microwave the dry oats, water, vanilla, stevia and chia seeds for about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer cooked oatmeal to a mason jar (or a Tupperware). Next, add chopped fruit to the top. Put the lid on container and give it a shake (you want the fruit to be mixed into the oatmeal). Put the container in the fridge overnight. In the morning, enjoy your overnight oats cold! Bring them to work, or eat them at home. Either way they are awesome 🙂

(if you can’t fathom the idea of cold oatmeal, then by all means re-heat it!)

I’ve already got another mason jar in the fridge for tomorrow… and I’m sure they will make  repeat appearances throughout the week.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!!

xoxoSYN

Chocolate for Breakfast

Well, due to some skin issues I’ve been having, dairy can no longer be a part of my life. It’s pretty sad because I am a greek yogurt fanatic!!! Oh well… I love a challenge and finding substitutions will just fuel my fire 🙂

So I know the real reason you clicked on this post. Chocolate at any time of the day is awesome, but chocolate for breakfast time really takes the “Cake”…(chocolate cake?)

Your mother would have probably forbid this idea. “Breakfast is NOT the time for desert!” Well I say EAT YOUR DESERT WHENEVER YOU WANT!

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Chocolate Oatmeal Heaven

  • 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chia seeds**
  • 1 tbs coco powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • FRUIT! (I used a banana, blue berries, black berries, raspberries and strawberries)
  • Optional (add 1 tbs nut butter….Reeces oatmeal perhaps?)

Combine oats, water and chia in a bowl (mix so that the chia seeds are dispersed amongst the oatmeal). Cook for 2 and a half minutes depending on microwave). Add coco powder, stevia and vanilla. Mix completely (you will start to smell an amazing chocolaty aroma…your welcome. Top with fruit, and ENJOY!

**Chia seeds are awesome. They expand when they are introduced to liquids. Cooking them at a high temperature with the oatmeal enhances their expansion and gives a nice bulk to the oatmeal. They also aid in hydration and are a complete protein!

This is a great choice for breakfast. The oats are a complete protein, which will help to keep you full until lunch time. The chia seeds are a complete protein, and help with hydration and fullness. The fiber from the fruit will also keep you full, and give you a nice healthy sugar boost to start your morning..

—and who said that chocolate was unacceptable in the morning?!

xoxo Syn