Jan 20, 2013

Girly Glam and a Great Harvest

It's that time of year when the holidays are over and Valentine's Day is still far, far away (okay, a few weeks - but it's too early too get excited about it yet).

It's easy to get into a bit of a slump at this time of year, so it's more important than ever to take some time to do something nice for yourself. Why? Because you're worth it!


My suggestion?

Treat yourself to a healthy breakfast (or snack) that tastes every bit as good as it is for you! Being healthy makes you feel good and feeling good is great :)
Whole grains are good for your energy levels, heart, hair, figure, and a whole lot of other things. Plus, a good whole grain treat can be so much more delicious than a nutritionally void loaf of white Wonderbread (the only wonder is how a full sized slice of bread can squish down into a ball no bigger than a quarter).

Great Harvest Bread Company has franchises all over the US, including one in Friendly Shopping Center in Greensboro, NC (where I live)! I stopped by the bakery the other day to pick up some whole grain goodies to try.


It's a small shop, but very welcoming.

Even half an hour before closing (the bakery is open 7:30am-6:30pm Monday through Saturday) there were several loaves of bread on the shelves under the big chalk menu board, as well as several generous slices of bread on the counter for visitors to try (for free)!


There were also still a good number of whole grain cinnamon rolls, muffins, and brownies/bars in the display case.


All of which looked very tempting!

Sheila packed a big box full of healthy treats for me to try.

Three different varieties of whole grain breads (they have several different varieties each day, rotating according to a bread schedule), three muffins (one of which is even vegan!), a whole grain cinnamon roll, and a bag of their oatmeal ready-mix.


I'll start with the oatmeal.



It's packed with dried fruits and nuts, providing natural sweetness, crunch, and added vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The mix also includes nonfat dry milk for additional protein and calcium!

Since there's already nonfat dry milk in the mix, all you need to do is add some water...



Then cook it in the microwave (instructions are on the back of the bag).



The dried fruits plump up delightfully and the milk powder adds some extra creaminess that other instant oatmeal packets lack.

I also really like that this oatmeal gets its sweetness from the dried fruits, not lots and lots of added sugar. Sticking to just the natural flavors allows the whole grain oats to shine!

And if you don't want to follow the rules, I think it tastes delicious uncooked with milk instead of water.



But as great as their oatmeal is, it is Great Harvest Bread Co.



And the breads really do shine. I've had their Dakota bread before (available on Mondays and Fridays this month). It's been my favorite bread since forever so my mom always buys it for me on my birthday. But I hadn't tried the three breads Sheila packed for me!

I was delighted to find that they're really, really yummy, too!

The High 5 Fiber bread is packed with seeds and has a delicious whole grain taste.



The loaves are all quite dense and heavy, because they're whole grain, but they're not at all hockey puck-ish. They're soft and delicious, baked fresh every day!

The raisins and walnuts worked well together in the Raisin Walnut Whole Wheat loaf, but my family's favorite of the three was the High Protein Country Crunch.



It isn't vegan (some of that protein comes from egg whites) -



- but it's all whole grain with a variety of delicious grains - oats, quinoa, whole wheat, etc.!



I love how this loaf (like my beloved Dakota) is studded with millet. Millet is not only a high protein ancient grain, but it's also absolutely delicious!



The crunchy, nutty millet (along with all of the nuts and seeds in the loaf) paired with the soft texture of this mild whole wheat bread make this bread extremely crave-worthy.



You'll want to eat it plain (it's that good) but if you can restrain yourself long enough to add some butter and jam it's even better.



I'm pretty convinced that this would convert any non-breakfast-eater. You'll go to bed eager for the sun to come up, so that you can have breakfast again!



No matter which loaf you choose (or even if you go for the oatmeal) you're guaranteed a healthy stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that won't leave your stomach growling just an hour later.

Sheila and Kevin Barth at Great Harvest also have you covered if you want a healthy pastry for breakfast.


Trust me when I say that Cinnabon can't hold a candle to this Golden Wheat Cinnamon Roll.


It's big and sweet, with just enough cinnamon syrup between each soft swirl of dough, but this treat comes with no sugar crash and no guilt. The whole grains are slower digesting than the processed ones in your usual cinnamon roll, so you can have this roll for breakfast without having to worry about a 10am crash.

Or you can make an odd (but delicious) bowl with it - peas, dark chocolate, and a Great Harvest Bread Co. Golden Wheat Cinnamon roll (microwaved for 30 seconds).


YUM.

The same goes for the muffins.



They're big and fluffy and soft and sweet, but not too sweet. They're nice and hearty and a healthier alternative to highly processed breakfast cakes.

They're also just plain delicious.


The blueberry muffin has big, juicy blueberries generously scattered throughout. They're absolutely bursting with natural sweetness and pair delightfully with the buttery, hearty muffin.

The banana nut muffin has plenty of walnuts on top, instead of just a sugary streusel.


But it really shines when you cut it open (or bite into it).


The muffin is packed with even more walnuts inside, as well as plenty of super sweet, soft baked banana chunks. This muffin is scrumptious as is, but even more mind-blowing with a little peanut butter.

Great Harvest even has a vegan option for muffin-lovers.


The vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin is just as soft, sweet, and moist as the other muffins. You'd never guess that it doesn't have eggs or dairy!


Instagram fabulous, with melty chocolate chips and rich harvest flavor - cinnamon, nutmeg (?) and general pumpkin spicy excellence.

I'd recommend stopping by Great Harvest if you're in the Greensboro area. The treats are so yummy and they're great for you, too! You can try a slice of bread, pick up some more for later, and even get something for your furry friend.



Isn't it cute that they make dog treats? Now 'Fido' doesn't have to be left out when you stop by the bakery!

After your healthy breakfast, get all dressed up and go shopping with your girls! Even if it's just window shopping followed by a nice (Groupon or LivingSocial purchased) lunch/dinner, for those of us are on a budget, you'll still feel like a socialite!

If you can handle the heels, here's a look that I really like:

Girly


$550 - zalando.de



$4.80 - hm.com

barneys.com

macys.com



If you can't (no shame, I'm still working on it myself) a cute pair of flats will do the trick, too.

What's the last fun thing you did?

Do you have a pet?

Which of the above breakfast (or snack) options looks best to you?

2 comments:

  1. Oh man, all those breads looks fantastic! And the vegan pumpkin chocolate chip is like my dream muffin! Especially since I can't have any dairy or eggs now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for writing about Sheila's bakery! She is a busy woman :-) So glad you enjoyed the bread and goodies.

    ReplyDelete

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