Start Strong + Finish Strong

by Jenn (eating bender) on January 14, 2009

Thank you all so much for the ideas on various brands. You gave me a lot to think about and I had two big decisions to make. I needed two brands for both my individual and team presentations. After much deliberation, I decided that what would make the most sense in terms of availability of information and just plain fun were the following:

I talked to my professor and she said that Whole Foods would be a good choice. I figure that it encompasses a lot of the brands that all of you mentioned in my last post, so I can integrate those somehow, too! Plus, who doesn’t like talking about Whole Foods?! And Green Mountain Coffee has an entire page on their website devoted to students, so they are very open to marketing research. I think our team should bring in a giant pot of coffee and let everyone know that they can feel free to take some in order to stay alert through our presentation πŸ˜‰ Thanks again, everyone!

Enough talk about school! I woke up early this morning faced with yet another snow storm and freezing cold temperatures. And yet, I still had to go to work. I decided a warm breakfast was absolutely necessary, so PB + banana oatmeal was my obvious choice.


I used 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and 1/2 whipped banana*.

*By the way, I think someone may have asked me once how I “whip” the banana. Basically, it just means that I cut the banana into slices and stir them with the oatmeal until the heat makes them melt into goo and they become “whipped” into the oatmeal.

I added the last of my crunchy Barney Butter to the top of my oats. But hey, don’t fret! I ordered two more jars today because the lovely blogging duo Heather + Mark of Hangry Pants convinced Jennifer Barney to offer free shipping! Check out the post for more information by clicking here!


I brought the usual travel mug of Coffee Cocoa for my stressful drive to work.


Work went by quickly since I arrived a little late because of the snow 😳 Once I got out, I snacked on a Pure Protein bar on the drive home. It was a Chocolate Peanut Butter and I thought it tasted pretty good. I definitely like Clif bars better, but you can’t beat the protein content here.


Once I got home, I made myself a more substantial meal to round out lunch. I started by heating up another AmyLu Sun Dried Tomato + Basil chicken sausage link with organic ketchup.


And added a little more than 1/2 cup whipped cottage cheese on the side.


Combined with the protein bar, this was a very filling lunch and definitely what I needed before taking on another big workout!


I let that digest for about an hour, and then it was time for the next workout in the P90X Lean Series: Shoulders + Arms. This workout DVD went for about an hour and went through roughly 6 cycles of 3 arm workouts that aimed to target shoulders, biceps and triceps. I recorded my reps and amount of weight used for each exercise and will continue to build on it in the coming weeks. Let’s just say that it was incredibly challenging, as all the workouts have been, and I am 100% certain that I may not be able to hold my arms up above my head tomorrow. The teachers may wonder why I’m not participating, ha.

After the arm workout, I also did the Ab Ripper X DVD. This one lasts a little over 16 minutes and goes through 25 reps of 11 different ab workouts that work your entire core. Considering I was already sore from the past two days, this workout was REALLY hard. I couldn’t do some of the moves and had to alter some of the others to make them easier on myself. I’m hoping that by the time I end the program, I’ll be able to look back on today and laugh. Right now I’m just cringing! But hey, I did over 300 reps of ab moves in 16 minutes…I’ve gotta be happy about that!

Following another intense and sweaty workout session, I cleaned up and made myself a snack to refuel. I had 1/2 serving of Kashi crackers with a part-skim mozzarella cheese stick. I also had 1 tbsp of peanut butter straight from the jar. I couldn’t take a picture faster than it was in my mouth!


And then, the pictures that I took for the day end. I went out to dinner this evening with one of my best friends who doesn’t know about the blog, so I didn’t get a picture of what I ate. But let me tell you, the restaurant was really good! It’s called Pomegranate, and it’s Mediterranean cuisine. I’d been there once before and thought it was iffy, but they really impressed me this time. I got the Chicken Shawerma Sandwich, which is described as follows:

“Layers of marinated chicken, cooked slowly on a rotisserie served with lettuce, tomato, onion and tahini sauce.”

The tahini sauce it was served with was incredible, as was the homemade pita bread. I found a picture that looks just like it at this link here, but this is not actually my picture.


I think mine was maybe about 3/4 of that size. It wasn’t quite as gigantic, although I certainly wish it had been πŸ˜‰ Either way, I ate and enjoyed every bite! Then my friend and I came back and caught up on this week’s Gossip Girl. How good is that show? We also watched the first three episodes of The City. I think it’s WAY better than The Hills. Whitney is so much more genuine! And Olivia looks and acts exactly like Leighton Meester (Blair) from Gossip Girl!

Random Question

If someone were to write a biography of your life as it stands right now, what would the title be and why?

I’m not sure if I can even answer my own question! I guess if I’m thinking off the top of my head, I’d probably want it to be the mantra that Papa Bender** has ingrained in me from a very young age: “Start Strong + Finish Strong” :) I think it applies to a number of areas in my life!

**I’d just like to state for the record that my dad sent me something in the mail this week and in the top left corner the return address said “Papa Bender” :mrgreen: I think someone likes their nickname, don’t you?

1 Heather @ Hangry Pants January 14, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Thanks for the shout out! I hope your readers enjoy the free shipping!

I think your school project will be fun! What else, oh yes, I love whipped banana! I hope your arms aren’t too too sore, but just sore enough to make you smile. πŸ˜€

I like Papa Bender’s Mantra. It’s a good question, but I am not sure I know the answer. Maybe something deep and meaningful like …. I don’t know. Sorry!

2 sarahannmatheny January 14, 2009 at 11:53 pm

I think I was the culprit on the whipped banana question. You can bet I’ll be doing that!

I feel the same way about Pure Protein bars…its kind of like taking your vitamins: not a whole lot of joy in it, but its necessary =)

My mantra is and always has been “Life is what you make of it.” I think we have so much control over our path and happiness. I’m just like a fridge full of ingredients and my life is what I’m making for dinner. It can be as delicious or terrible as I want it to be based on how I put it together.

Way to deep for this late. Can you tell I’m in the Top Chef frame of mind???

3 Moran January 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Wow that sounds like an AWESOME school project!
Pomegranate has my kind of food ! Yum!

4 Marianne January 15, 2009 at 1:41 am

Your workout sounds like fun – in that sweaty, hard working, workout sort of way! And dinner sounds excellent.

If someone were to write a bio on me right now, they should title it “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. I figure that’s also my theme song (by U2 for those who might not know).

5 seeleelive January 15, 2009 at 4:22 am

hey ladyyyy! good morning!

okay, for some reason that oatmeal looks 10x better because of the cool shaped bowl. i wonder if thats hard to clean ? whoa, i sound like a mother. oh goodness.

glad you enjoyed the meal with your friend. i find that at restaurants i always eat what i want and what i’m HANGRY for-i never go by the “1/2” rule. alot of woman feel that they shouldnt finish their plate, but this is simply not true. your amazing, girl!! your wonderful habits and positive outlook are inspiring.

6 seeleelive January 15, 2009 at 4:23 am

my song would be indie rokkers by mgmt!!

7 Erica January 15, 2009 at 5:05 am

I think in order to do your assignment well, you’re going to have to spend a GREAT deal of time in whole foods realy examining the products…and taste testing is probably a good idea too :) Good luck- I’m sure the projects will turn out great!!

Snow again-ugh!

Dinner looks aweosme (even if the picture is larger than the actual dinner!)- what a fun dinner!

8 eatingbirdfood January 15, 2009 at 5:51 am

I think Whole Foods will be a really fun project to do and I’m sure there is a wealth of information! Good luck!

Hooray for no shipping on Barney Butter, I’m almost out as well! I’ve only tried the prue protein bars once, but it really hurt my tum. :(

I love that Papa Bender is embracing his nickname- too cute. And his mantra is a good one. I think my mantra… especially when bad things happen is that “Everything happens for a reason!” and that there must be something good that will come out of it :)

9 limberkimbers January 15, 2009 at 6:00 am

Oh man, Schawarma is SO GOOD! I wish I could eat it every day!

Good luck on your project, you’ve def made some great choices.. the assignment should just write itself πŸ˜€

10 Andrea (Off Her Cork) January 15, 2009 at 6:37 am

Whole Foods would be a great project to do. I know they have a blog and twitter and stuff, so I think they would be open to helping out as well. πŸ˜€

I’m jealous of your whipped cottage cheese because I cannot find any!

The title of my Bio would be, “She did it her way” because I always do my own thing instead of following someone else. :)

11 zestycook January 15, 2009 at 6:42 am

Bender!! That wrap/sandwich looks so gooood! I remember when I did Ab Ripper for the first time _ I could not even come close to 300 reps. That is awesome.


12 VeggieGirl January 15, 2009 at 7:08 am

LOVE the shape of your oatmeal bowl!! πŸ˜€

**Biography title = Yes, I am VeggieGirl

13 Sarah January 15, 2009 at 7:17 am

hahah the name ‘ab ripper x’ TOTALLY cracked me up. it sounds pretty intense!

i love the string cheese/cracker combo you’ve been eating recently. When I was in high school I used to pack string cheese and wheat thins and it would take me forever to eat it because i would pull a piece and then carefully wrap it around a cracker and all of my friends made fun of me for it! I’m such a dork.–hmmm, maybe that should be the title of my biography, lol.

shwarma is SO GOOOD!!! there is one little stand in Jerusalem that makes the best shwarma I’ve ever tasted. it’s actually probably the best food i’ve ever tasted, period. i had it the first time I was in Israel and then when I went back i was on a mission to get it again but didn’t know the name or location so i searched for hours until i finally found it. it was so worth it!

14 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) January 15, 2009 at 7:20 am

P90X sounds awesome! I would love to try it out sometime, hopefully one day! I think it’s really cute that your dad is enjoying his nickname so much. :)

15 Nicole January 15, 2009 at 7:30 am

A project one Whole Foods is one that would definitely motivate me to get my work done, ha! Of course, I hope you have to do a lot of in store research. That would be the most enjoyable school project ever. I could be in there for hours!

As for my biography, that is one tough question! Hmm.. I’ll have to keep thinking and get back to you on that one.

16 Shelby January 15, 2009 at 7:47 am

Great oats, I still haven’t tried barney butter!!!

Whole Foods would def. motivate me to do my work. I would need to spend a day in there, just to you know…”research” haha

As for the bio, I have no idea! I’m gonna think about it.

17 Shelby January 15, 2009 at 7:48 am

Great oats, I still haven’t tried barney butter!!!

Whole Foods would def. motivate me to do my work. I would need to spend a day in there, just to you know…”research” haha

As for the bio, I have no idea! I’m gonna think about it.

18 Diana January 15, 2009 at 7:56 am

I think bring the coffee to your presentation idea is brilliant! What student doesn’t like free coffee? Or free anything for that matter? lol. Maybe you could bring some WF cookies or something, too, to sweeten the deal? May be ok if it’s the WF brand cookies, right? :)

19 Rose January 15, 2009 at 8:19 am

You are kicking butt with your workouts – good job! And eating well beforehand, which is of course always important :)

Glad you choose WF and Green Mountain. I drink Green Mountain coffee almost daily – they make K cups for the machine we bought, and it’s the best kind to use. I could go on and on about how great they are….

Interesting question! They are always challenging, and I read in the morning and can’t think of anything good. Will ruminate.

20 Heather Eats Almond Butter January 15, 2009 at 8:20 am

Papa Bender -so cute. :)

Wow, these workouts are sounding brutal. More, more, more – I love reading about them.

What an awesome protein packed lunch. Love whipped cottage cheese, and I’ve never seen that brand of chicken sausage. I go through chicken sausage phases – I’ll buy a pack of 15 at Costco and eat them everyday. Then I don’t want them again for months! Haven’t had any in a while…maybe I’ll pick some up this Saturday.

Hmmm, your random question is a kicker today…making me use my brain! My current title would be Honor Thy Body…With Almond Butter – hehehe.

PS – Tahini sauce – heavenly!

21 Meg January 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

So much fun stuff in this post. That ab workout sounds amazing! Love all your bowls and dishes, especially the star.

22 ksgoodeats January 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

Oh – good picks!! That pure protein is my favorite flavor. I call it a protein brick because that’s how heavy it sits in my stomach :)

That restaurant sounds fabulous! I LOVE me some Mediterranean cuisine! The City is way better than The Hills in my book – maybe because it’s new?

That’s a hard question…love your pick though and Papa Bender is so cute!

23 marafaye January 15, 2009 at 8:25 am

I’ve been so curious about that restaurant!!! My mom told me about it, and I haven’t made it out there yet…

stay warm today!!! No idea on the title of my life…

24 brandi January 15, 2009 at 8:35 am

P90x sounds awesome – my husband keeps looking at it, but we’re going to BodyPump at the gym and it’s kind of similar (muscle exhaustion). I can’t wait to see before and after pics!

What is that cute strap in your car in the coffee cocoa pic?

Title of my life?

The Cookie’s Crumbles (one of my nicknames is cookie – long story) :)

25 The Healthy Hostess January 15, 2009 at 8:41 am

I can’t find any whipped cottage cheese either! I am sure your projects will turn out great! Your arm workout is making me jealous! I need to get to the gym and do weights ASAP!

26 Krista January 15, 2009 at 8:45 am

Sounds like you’re really enjoying your new workouts!! Awesome!

I do love your oatmeal bowl! Very cute!!! :)

27 healthy ashley January 15, 2009 at 9:01 am

Good luck with the projects!! Anything with WF will be awesome.

Sorry about the stressful drive… I know all too well how much those can get to you!

My autobiography? It’d be called “Healthy Ashley” :) I’ve had some BIG things happen in my life, and it’s been so important to remain healthy inside and out and enjoy life!

28 Sharon January 15, 2009 at 9:13 am

Great pictures and good luck with the projects! I heart Whole Foods so much!

And delicious eats for the day! Yum!

29 Sara January 15, 2009 at 9:35 am

You’re workouts sound amazing! I’ll have to try those Pure Protein bars, they look great.

Your random question is a good one! And a hard one! The title of my autobiography would be: Looking at the World, Through Pink Colored Glasses. :) I’m obsessed with the color pink and I’m pretty optomistic about life…so that’s my title.

30 Mel January 15, 2009 at 9:51 am

Your presentation sounds like it will be fun! I think you should definitely bring coffee to class!

Bio title… hmmm, maybe “Unconventional Paths” since I definitely do things my way!

31 bobbi January 15, 2009 at 10:24 am

wow great stuff here girl!!! You want to hear somthing funny I had never heard of this P9OX thing until your blog and then last night hubby and I saw the infomertiel about it on TV and were like OOOOO MY GOODNESS that looks awesome. So now after my marathon training I want to buy it!!!! Love that I can follow you and hear about the resaults!!!

32 Danielle January 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

Your projects sound great. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it :) Happy Thursday Jenn!

33 sweetandnatural January 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

Whole Foods is a great project. They’ve done an awesome job branding themselves, so I’m sure they’ll be good for your marketing class.

Also, have you ever tried mashing the banana before putting it into the oatmeal instead of cutting it up and whipping it? I used to do it your way, but recently discovered the mash method is way faster and easier. :-)

34 Danielle January 15, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I have no idea what my biography would be called, that’s something to think about.
I love the fun bowl shape you used for your oats.

35 Kelly Turner January 15, 2009 at 1:25 pm

My title would be “Im happy right where i am, and its only going to get better from here.”

i think sometimes people dont think they are truely happy because they want more. but I have discovered that even though i have goals and asperations, its ok to be happy where you are right this moment, too.

Kelly Turner

36 carolinebee January 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Cool projects, i just had one of those bars today- i’m not sure if i’m on the bandwagon yet but they keep they are filling so I’m sticking with em! I’m glad Tony is kicking your booty!! I might need to invest, or just steal my friend’s…haha I’ve thought about your biography question, and basically that’s sort of where I was going with starting the ongoing biography if you will πŸ˜€ I thought forever about a title, but they were all a little on the *heavy* side, so i’ll keep it light and fresh with the banana cabana haha.

37 runjess January 15, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I’m a little suspicious of bars with high protein counts. I once ate one with 30 grams and it made me feel weird, even though I didn’t eat the whole thing.

An hour of all arms? Yeah, you’re gonna be sore :)

38 Lara January 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for your idea to help manage post-dinner snacking. I think 8pm is a good time. It’s actually funny because I said that to myself the day before and then I didn’t stick to it! Now that you’ve said it maybe I will listen!
Good luck with your projects–that sounds like it could be really fun, especially talking about WF!
Hmmm..a title–such a good question. Also very difficult to answer! My husband is saying something like “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” since I left CA for England, and we dated long distance for 5+ years!

39 ttfn300 January 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm

hmm, are you upping the protein for P90X?? does it come with an eating plan? i am in no way trying to say you shouldn’t eat this or that, more b/c i’m curious!

LOVE papa’s motto, and that he likes his nick name πŸ˜‰

40 Kelsey January 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the Barney Butter! I’ve been meaning to try it out for ages–now with free shipping, I am definitely place my order!

41 gina (fitnessista) January 15, 2009 at 7:05 pm

your presentation sounds like it’s going to be awesome
i <3 papa bender… food blog celebrity πŸ˜€
you’re totally making me want those work out dvds. maybe when we move and i’m in between teaching aerobics, because from what it sounds like i don’t know if my body could handle teaching on top of that crazy workout plan. i totally want to try it though!!
i love the motto
mine would be: eat dessert first πŸ˜€
have a great night

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