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.