Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How I Spent My Summer...

Yoga on the Mall - Washington, DC
New York School of Trapeze - Washington, DC 
(Other locations available)

and FINALLY...

Hiking Mt. Whitney - Lone Pine, CA

 I love you, California.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Club II

It's never been much of a secret...Anyone who so much as had a sleepover with me since middle school knows that I can shovel away a whole pan of brownies. I have an inner fat child, I like to say. Back then, it wasn't much of an issue; I was growing after all. Now though, it's not so fun that my weight fluctuates by 15 pounds. Combine this with the fact that I usually buy clothes when I'm at the lighter end of the spectrum, and you've got a frustrating morning where most of my closet doesn't fit. So! I give you this weeks read:

It has sections where you're supposed to journal (a little difficult on the metro and using my Kindle) but I'll let you know how it goes.  Also, when I'm feeling self-conscience that someone might be reading my self-help books over my shoulder, I've been reading through:

I love reading about mountaineering.  It's the best kind of suspense story to me.  I would love to hike some of the 8,000ers someday. However, reading about blood clots forming in your legs and then travelling to your lungs and killing you is a little deterring, no?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's in My Bag?

Like most "city girls" I carry a huge freaking bag to work.  I'm not one of those annoying people that drags a roller bag through metro but close.  On days when I'm squeezing in a weight circuit, pilates class, or volleyball game during lunch, I'm also toting around the following:

{Foundation, mascara, face wipes, baby powder, headband, ipod, and finally - my camping towel}

This is everything I need to go from slightly-sweaty-and-gross to OK for sitting through an afternoon with my spreadsheets.  I don't really workout during lunch if I have a meeting in the afternoon.  I just know I don't look 100% so it's best if I can save my sweating for later. (Oh yeah and deodorant is also probably a good idea!  Sorry, he was absent for the photoshoot.) 

Here's what I do:

1. Shower off and dry with the camping towel. (No, I don't wash my hair. I have thick hair and it would take 2x as long as my workout to get it dry.)
2. Then I wipe off any remaining sweat from my face with the wipes.  
3. Reapply make-up and let hair dry a bit (or blot with paper towels if needed).
4. Sprinkle baby powder lightly at roots and massage in with fingers, shake out any remaining. 
5. Comb out and probably put into a pony tail or bun.
5. Get dressed and apply deodorant.  

That's it! Back to work I go.  Any tips for a quick turn-around from gym to desk?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Food 101: Canned!

So you've probably heard of BPA?  It increases leptin. Elevated leptin = bad.  BPA is used in can lining so that creates a little problem, particularly if your local wine store disguised as health food store Trader Joe's only carries canned beans.  

Let's look at another aspect of this issue:

Calories are equal....that's good. The bag has 11 g of protein and the canned has 6 g?  Strange. This probably has to do with water content as it also varies for the fiber and some of the micronutrients.  More concerning is that the sodium is increased by nearly 16 times.  Gross.  I realize some sodium is good but that is more than I would like.

Cooking dried beans is pretty simple especially if you have a Crock Pot. 

Cooking Dried Beans

1) Rinse the beans in a colander and check for rocks.
2) Put in a Crock Pot and cover with 2 inches on water.
3) Set to high and let cook for 5-6 hours.

It takes some planning but not a lot of actual work! Enjoy your musical fruit without the BPA :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's a Matter of Mind

The temps have once again swung from the 80's to the 50's and I'm pulling sweaters and my favorite holey ol' sweatshirt out of their boxes.   This hasn't slowed me down from making some summery dishes! Fish tacos with homemade tortillas (I was out and I thought, why not? Dumb, dumb idea.)

Usually, I peruse several recipes and come up with a combination of my favorite elements, but when  I came across this tortilla recipe from Hillbilly Housewife I went with my gut instinct and tried it.  Making tortillas is hard work!  I definitely see the many ways our lives have become sedentary. Although I don't think any of my ancestors made tortillas...Anywhatzit,  I marinated the fish (any light fish will do) in lime and garlic then lightly cooked it in a pan.  I topped the tortillas with the fish fillets and my favorite toppings (err...whatever I had in the fridge).

I also made an eggplant salad but I'll spare you the camera phone picture I snapped before lunch.  Just check here and trust me, it's delicious.  I used roasted zucchini instead of avocado though. It's what I had :) No grill needed, just bake the eggplant in the oven.

PS - I also made, what else?! Muffins!  This recipe was actually quite good!  I used BodyTech Banana Cream protein powder because I have so much of it. (Side note: As a drink, this stuff clumps into taffy if the water is too cold.  Blech.)

I also tried a spin class for the first time in a decade!  In the past, I've had the seat adjusted too high and it caused some issues.  Painful issues.  This time was different, I had so much fun...I will definitely be back.  I see it soon becoming addicting!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mojo is MIA

Wow.  I've applied to so many jobs today, it's exhausting.  I can't really tolerate being in front of a computer this much so I've been a blog-slacker.  I really was going to post a 'Five on Friday' yesterday...Now I can't even recall any of the 5 things I had in mind...

My workout this morning was even a fail.  Lately, my muscles have felt tapped out 100% by the time I even step on a machine.  This is particularly true for my legs.  So when I hopped on the stair climber this AM, it was a short lived effort - 10 minutes! So I pranced over to the ellipti-suck thinking I could get in a lower impact workout.  Unfortunately, I was on a machine behind a guy who was evidently having quite the conversation with himself, God, one of his other personalities, or all of the above.  Complete with hand gestures and waving. That was the last straw, I went home.

I did take a nice walk this evening with Bear while talking to one of my (sadly) long-distance friends... Cardio? Not really.  Just what I needed?  Definitely.

Good night! xo

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WIAW: Fancy v. Functional {On a Thursday}

I had a somewhat fancy Wednesday. My typical weekday food is plain. For example, if my diet plan that day means I need to eat 6 egg whites that AM, I will probably eat them with just a little of thyme & pepper. Sort of gross to most people. SO this Wednesday I made an effort to fancy it up a bit. For breakfast, I made some awesome egg salad the night before:

Here's what it looked like made into an open face 'wich:

Why, yes, those are peas...And for lunch I had a sweet potato stuffed with zucchini, onion, barley, and balsamic chicken (barley seasoned with thyme, lemon juice, oregano, and chili flakes)...

BTW for my snack in the AM I had my usual 20 almonds, and in the PM a protein muffin (leftover from in the freezer!)

I worked late, hit the gym for an hour of cardio, and came home famished around 8:30, despite the fact that I'd eaten a Pure Protein bar at 5. I pulled out this smorgasbord...

I snacked on a couple carrots and strawberries while I prepared some salmon (yogurt was dessert). I topped the salmon with S&P, Italian seasoning, and a lemon slice.

I loosely placed a piece of plastic wrap over it, set the microwave to 70%, and it was done in 3 minutes! {So much for being fancy.} Functional usually wins for me, I guess.

Good night! xo

Shaved Asparagus and Pea Breakfast Egg Salad
2 chopped boiled eggs
1 chopped boiled egg white
1/4 frozen peas
2 asparagus spears
1/4 c finely diced onion
1 T mustard
1 t smart balance mayo

1) Shave asparagus with a vegetable peeler.
2) Stir together all ingredients with a fork. Really smash the yokes with the fork to make it creamier.
3) Chill for a bit if you like :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Club

Here in the mid-Atlantic it was a gorgeous day to flop oneself across a towel in the sun with a book after a nice long run. On my reading list is the May issue of Women's Health and You are an Ironman.

I came across this delish recipe for ceviche in Women's Health. I've never tried it before and it sounds perfect for a hot summer day! Or a hot April day ;)

I've been reading Ironman for the past week, and it covers personal quests to compete in races and, ultimately, Ironman. Some of the stories are so incredible, I've started to tear on the metro while reading at various points! I'm about half-way through it and highly recommend it.

Other great, inspiring books I've read recently are The Long Run & Into Thin Air. I'm also really looking forward to reading Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs. If you haven't read his other works, put down the YA lit and get some!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


WIAW is not special here. I'm pretty sure this blog is more buns and breakfasts, and less about running. Do not fear, I will organize my scraps of paper from the gym with my workouts on them into an Excel sheet one day soon...Until then, here's a WIAW, with a bonus WIAM and WIAT (I know).
{Click to enlarge}

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nando's Salad & Banana Cream Protein Muffins

The Nando's Butternut Squash and Couscous salad is possibly one of my favorite salads. Ever. This photo doesn't do it justice. In fact, I'm not even sure it's the exact salad as the one served at my local Nando's. I digress. Anyway, I recreated it using quinoa & sweet potatoes. Peel, cube sweet potato, and boil. Top spinach with chopped onion, canned (or frozen) corn, cooked quinoa, potato cubes, and Spanish olives. I made the dressing with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, S&P, and a splash of milk. I put the dressing in a small jar (like from artichokes) and then into another ziploc to take the salad to work. (Every fancy salad and dressing container I've ever bought has broken!)

This past weekend I also made Banana Walnut-Cream Protein Muffins. Tasty, no?

3/4 c oats

3/4 c Banana Cream protein powder (via Vitamin Shoppe. You can use vanilla!)

2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 c Splenda (or 1/4 c agave)

2 eggs

3 bananas

1/2 c yogurt

2 t vanilla

1/2 c chopped walnuts

1/2 c coconut oil

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1. Mix the liquids.
2. Fold in the dry ingredients.
3. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Each muffin has about 170 calories and 9 g protein! (Based on 12 muffins)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIAW: What I Ate Wednesday

{Protein pancake with almond butter & chia, spinach salad w. boiled egg & veggies, green smoothie, dinner tonight - sweet potato, lemon-rosemary chicken, steamed kale}

I love quick dinners. Came home to marinated chicken, turned on the broiler, washed & steamed the kale, popped the chicken in the broiler, & then microwaved the potato for 6 minutes. 15 minutes & under 400 calories! Enough room for dessert ;) Maybe after I lift (did cardio during my lunch)...Have a great night!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Playing Catch-up

If you've seen my Pinterest, it's no secret that I love meatballs...

No, not that meatball...although he is getting fatter. I'm referring to the yummy turkey pesto meatballs I made. They're super easy to thaw and take into work for a quick lunch. You eat at least 21 meals a week; they can't all be exciting but they can still be healthy! Handy that I also had some pesto in my freezer! I've pinned lots of other meatball recipes though if you don't have pesto lying around.

Today I also ran the freaking Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. Not going to lie, it was not this pretty:

But I'm so glad it's over!! My time could have been better but I stopped to pee twice. The first time, at mile 3, there were only 3 port-a-potties (for a 15,000 person race) and the line wasn't moving so I freaked out and jumped back in the race thinking I could just suck it up and hold it. At mile 6, there were a bunch of no-line-facilities just a quick 50 meters away....riiight. Thanks, good planning.

{Post-race cuddles. Yes, I'm obsessed.}

My favorite race is still the Baltimore half - most spirited crowd, for sure :) Platters of gummy bears, orange slices, beer, and music. AMAZING community there. Love.

So with running over, I'm on to something new:

I've got 9 weeks of it! Wooohoooo! More weights, less running..yessss. I mean I still love running but my body needs a break and lifting is much more natural for me ;) It's been a while, I can't wait to get back into the gym.

So for a quick, high-protein breakfast this week I made some protein pancakes and popped them in the freezer.

Protein Pancakes (this is a triple batch for freezing!)
1.5 C cottage cheese
1 C oatmeal
1/2 C ground flax meal
4 eggs
4 egg whites
sprinkle of cinnamon

1. Mix in blender.
2. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup as a ladle and cook until bubbles come through then flip.

Makes 16 - 18 pancakes. Each pancake is roughly 70 calories, 5.4 g protein, 1.5 g fiber!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Biggest Loser-ish

I'm getting my body fat tested tomorrow for a contest at work. I'll be on a team with a bunch of people in my division and we'll compete against other divisions for which team loses the greatest percent of body fat and most weight. I'm excited to have a new source of motivation after this race.

This is my schedule for this week. I'll have to make a plan for the next week too since that is the first week of the contest! It runs from April to June 1st (nine weeks). What to do with myself for nine weeks?!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pre-Race Running Treats

I bought some warm weather running stuff at Lululemon this weekend after my Saturday AM run jog. They're having a pretty decent sale by Lulu standards at the Georgetown location. Anyway, I was more excited about my sweet new socks that don't slip, and pom flavored GU I bought for my 10-miler next Sunday. Spinach salad is one of my favorite things to have with eggs by the way....yum.

{Frittata and salad, lulu bag, socks and GU, egg in avocado, ham, & small protein pancake}

This weekend I made BBQ Chickpeas (which is sadly a Rachel Ray recipe but so good) and some quick veggie soup with my magic bullet. It was damp and rainy all day Saturday, so soup and a nap on the couch with the dog were definitely in order. Also, I hardly ever eat red meat (like pretty much never) but I have been getting a lot of random bruises lately so I thought it would be a good idea to have a bit, e.g. what's pictured in the 3rd picture is what I ate over 2 days. I'm not a fan. I also ran 6 miles on Sunday to burn off some of that animal lard, which I was happy with considering my knee has been a real &(*% lately but it didn't meet the 7 I had scheduled. Just got to go with what works I guess...

{New speed short, steak salad on Sunday,
steak with 10-min veggie soup Saturday, new lulu tank}

10 Minute Veggie Soup

2 thinly sliced carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup water

Microwave about 6 minutes at 70% power until vegetables are steamed. Blend. Throw a dish towel over the magic bullet/blender before opening to shield anything that may splatter. Top with diced avocado or parm.

Have a great week! xx

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chia Seeds

There's always some nutritional fad going around. I wondered though, why chia? Here and here are some good sounding reasons for it, at least in rats ; ) Basically, it sounds like it helps your body regulate insulin better in some ways. That and fiber? I'll take it.

I made some chia pudding last night using 1 cup coconut milk, 1 T chia, and 1/2 cup chopped strawberries.

I was pleasantly surprised. Since my overnight oats experience, I realized I rarely like cold, lumpy items for breakfast. This was rather tasty though...

{Bear cameo!}

I'm off to powerpump and then to play some vball with my coworkers. Even though it's my day off, I just couldn't resist coming into work to play -- I've got spring fever and can't wait to spend some time in the sun! Then, I'm meeting a friend to check out some museums before the hoards of tourists get here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ante Up

I feel extremely fortunate to have a stable job (and in the field I studied, bonus) right now, but sometimes...I wish that I were just a pinch less responsible and more impulsive. For example, a few of my friends went to Italy last year but I didn't have the time off to go. My boss even told me I had sick leave available (wink, wink) but I couldn't do that. That isn't me. So I didn't go. Then, a few weeks later I was offered a job in Denver. BUT it wouldn't have as high of earning potential (which, because I live in DC, it's obviously going to be much higher here!). Bottom line, I probably should have taken the job but I was scared, and had this sliver of a delusion that I was dating the one (HA!). Looking back though, if I would have quit my job, gone to Italy for 2 weeks, come back, packed, and driven for Reno (home sweet home), everything would have pretty much lined up perfectly such that I could have stopped in Denver and started the new job! If only I had just decided that I wanted something and gone for it. Just commit to moving to Denver and "wing it." Only, I don't think it would have been "winging it," I think that there was a plan for me and maybe I missed out on it last time. But I know that there's something bigger at work now, and I can trust myself (and my higher power) that everything will work out, if I just bet bigger and go for it.

I ran 4 miles tonight until joggers nip got in the way (TMI, sorry). Might need to invest in some new sports bras. I'm also going to check into downloading this app. It's called GymPact, and you wager how many days per week you'll go to the gym (min. 3) and set a fee for yourself to pay if you miss (as low as $5). Love it! I am an econ nerd though...I'm tempted to try it but need to read the fine print first ;)

After my run I threw together a little snack/dessert since I ate cookies-n-cream protein powder mixed with oatmeal before leaving work (so I'd have enough energy for my run). Here's my mini pie recipe, for those of us too cheap to buy almond flour :)

Easy Gluten Free Mini Pie

For 1 Pie:

8-9 almonds, ground in coffee grinder
1/4 cup of fruit
1 T oatmeal
opt: agave/brown sgr/etc., cinnamon, lemon juice

(1) Pulse almonds in coffee grinder until fine...not too fine, we're not making almond butter.

(2) Pack into bottom of ramekin with fork & top with fruit, oats & optional ingredients.

(3) Bake for 15 min. at 325.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Crispy Edamame

The crispy edamame recipe I tried yesterday was delicious!

I cooked them for 25 minutes, not 15, and stirred it about every 5 minutes. I reduced the cheese by quite a bit and added some crushed red pepper flakes (a little went a long way). Next time I might mix some wasabi and soy with the olive oil and skip the cheese. Panko could be subbed in for the cheese to add some texture, and hence vegan. ;) These little guys would be amazing on a salad. Maybe with some marinated tofu, hmm?

I ran in the rain a bit tonight, it felt great. (No, not just crossing the street from the metro...) I've also started doing push-ups daily because I want to try Cross-fit and not *totally* embarrass myself. I used to be strong, promise.
{Check out my guns! Hahaha...ridic}

On the other hand, I would still really like to not have my blouses be super tight in the arms. (Is this just me? Who do they make shirts for?)

How's the running weather where you are?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NYC and Some Apple Bran Muffins

I had fallen off my 10-miler training bandwagon this week as I had 2 interviews and a mid-week trip to see the Book of Mormon in New York. I took a couple of muffins (see bottom of post) on the bus ride to NYC this last week though. I was using baking as a way to destress about my interviews {but I probably should have gone for a run instead...}. Baking is one of my favorite ways to unwind!

While in SoHo last week, I tweeted a pic from an amazing cupcakery -- Baked By Melissa. They were mini cupcakes that were as satisfying as the full-size-calorie-bombs! The peanut butter chocolate was my favorite.

As for tonight, I'm making a couple new (for me) recipes that I pinned, to take to work this week. I won't post 'em since I followed them to a T. Or at least attempted to (I might have to rename this blog Pinteresting Failures).

Prosciutto-Wrapped Mini-Frittata (and don't overfill, they're currently spilling all over my oven)

and finally, the muffin recipe from earlier this week:

Apple Bran Muffins

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur flour and I halved the butter, replacing it with banana.

1 cup bran
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon (and a couple shakes of nutmeg)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 small banana
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with papers and grease the insides of the papers.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the sugar/sugar substitute. Beat until fluffy. Mash in the banana. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl (After adding the egg, do not over-mix. This is how your muffins get rubbery.). Mix in the milk gently. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks. (Opt: Stir in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts)

I baked mine for 20 - 25 minutes but used a large muffin tin from Williams-Sonoma which takes longer but bakes very evenly! I really want the mini-muffin tin.

Oh, and if I'm still living in the DC-area (e.g. I'll be on this side of the country), I will be doing this:

{from Run Washington magazine}

P.S. - Registration opened last week!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tapas & the Sunday Blues

I wish this were an original thought but... totally not looking forward to Monday, amirite? Gosh. Okay, regroup. Here's what I got done this Sunday: 6 mile run, filed federal taxes, made turkey meatballs for my lunches this week, and found these babies:

Note: The ones above are actually imitation since the real thing is $800/lb. Sadly, their high price is due to their rarity (obviously, poor fish) so the imitation eel is quite popular in Spain.

A couple years ago, I had the chance to travel Spain with some amazing friends of mine. My favorite dish there was a salad topped with baby eels! I know it sounds gross, but trust me. We even went to San Sebastian which has the highest concentration of Michelin restaurants, and the eel salad was still the culinary star of the trip.

I hope to recreate the salad now that I've found these, and I'll be sure to share! (Even though I am an only child I've managed to learn how to do that from time to time. You're welcome.) Anyway, here's a prettier memento from Spain. Have a great week! xo

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time...

Occasionally, I get these crazy ideas (*thanks* Pinterest) to make something from scratch that I could purchase for less than $5. Yes, those would be the makings of homemade ravioli (and no, I don't own a ravioli cutter). It was painful. It was laborious. It turned out nothing like the photo I pinned.

The lovely, vegan catalyst of this project can be found here by the Petite Kitchenesse. I used half-wheat, half-white flour and, gasp, added an egg to the dough. I also really, really regret not adding cheese to the filling, because frankly if I'm going to work that hard at something, the result should taste like heaven in your mouth. Cheese does that for me.

The remainder of the recipe I essentially left untouched. (Actually doing something I pinned, ftw!)

I peeled and chopped 2 large sweet potatoes into 1" cubes. I had quite a bit leftover, which was fine because it was delicious. I would use 1 med-large potato if you do not want leftovers, although, if you're reading this, you are mostly likely not of the anti-delicious-leftover sort.

Boil them and get to work on the dough.

Mix 1 cup wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup of water, and a pinch of salt in mixer. (Oh wait, I don't have one of those -- Cue the arm cramps.)

Mash the potatoes, adding the coconut milk (or cream...) and a ground chili pepper.

Finally, I roll out the dough (so easy to type, so hard to do) and add dollops of the filling to half of it. Wet the edges around the filling with water. Overlay the other half of the dough. This was my first time so I did them 1 by 1. Sad, I know. It literally took forever. Slice to make raviolis. Press edges with fork.

Repeat until out of dough. I think this batch (a half batch, if you're working from the PK recipe) made about 14-15 large raviolis.

The good news is that they did taste more like the raviolis I usually never sometimes buy from Eastern Market for $14/lb, and less like the frozen-grocery-store variety. I layered them with wax paper and put them in a plastic container in the freezer to store.