Month: August 2010

Make-Your-Own Microwave Popcorn

Happy very Last Day of August! How the heck did that happen?! I seriously cannot believe tomorrow is September… or that its 2010, but that’s a different story. 🙂

Yesterday I had one of my favorite snacks – microwave popcorn. But instead of using the prepackaged kind that is loaded with sodium and lots of other ingredients I can’t pronounce, I made my own! I’ve mentioned this before on the blog but wanted to show you how it works with just regular popcorn kernels and a brown paper bag…

First, measure out 3 tbsp of popcorn kernels and put them in a brown paper bag.

Next, fold over the top a few times so it keeps the kernels contained and the bag closed.

Put it in the microwave and select the popcorn setting, or else stand by for 2-3 minutes while it pops. They say you want to stop it when there’s 1-2 seconds between pops. That’s it! Then you have delicious additive-free popcorn that you can dress up however you like.

At home I usually spray a bit of olive oil and then add salt and pepper, but I’ve also done it with truvia and cinnamon if I’m going for sweet, or evoo and parmesan if I’m feeling sassy. I love making popcorn this way because it’s much better for you, only 1 point for the whole bag, and SO much cheaper than buying the prepackaged stuff!

I also had two wasa crackers (1 pt) with 1 light babybell cheese (1 pt) and sliced tomato (0 pts) for another snack.

Plus a few heaping tablespoons of dark chocolate dreams when i got home… I think I have a problem with that stuff. I have so much trouble sticking to a portion because it is just SO delicious.  And whenever I find it on sale, I can’t resist…

Dinner last night was AWESOME. Wil cooked it so I can’t take credit, but it was a new fish I’d never heard of or tried before… Kingklip! It’s a firm white fish but still pretty flaky and had a mild flavor. It’s less firm than swordfish, but more firm than a Chilean Seabass. It kind of reminded me of Black Cod in flavor/texture. Wil coated the fish in lime thyme (farmer’s market find!), lemon zest, garlic gold, and salt and pepper and then cooked it in a pan with a little evoo. He also made a farmer’s market veggie stirfry with onions, yellow tomato, okra, and eggplant in nonstick spray, plus whole wheat couscous for a grain. He made a little sauce with nonfat greek yogurt and lemon juice to top it off with.

It was delicious!! It can be very nice having a chef for a boyfriend when he makes meals like this… 🙂

I woke up this morning early to get a run in, and it was a good one!

Distance: 4.00 miles

Duration: 38:50

Avg. Pace: 9:42 min/mile

Avg. Speed: 6.2mph

Calories: 475

My iPOD was out of juice (charging it now!) so I went out without music and it actually felt kind of good. It was nice to just soak in the surroundings and let my mind wander. I still prefer running with music for sure, but sometimes its nice to just “unplug” (even though I had my Garmin…)

After my run, I had a sliced up pink lady apple (1 pt) which were on sale for .99 cents a pound at Harris Teeter (!!!). I got 4 apples for under $2, which is so cheap in my neck of the woods.

Plus a chocolate mint vitatop (1 pt)

I was planning on having some almond butter too but didn’t end up eating it even though it was out. Maybe I ODed on the chocolate PB dreams last night (though I don’t think that’s acutally possible…)

Lunch was leftovers with a little twist. I took all the leftover veggies (onions, okra, eggplant, yellow tomato) (0 pts) and stirred in 1/2 cup couscous (1.5 pts). Then, for some protein, I added 1/2 cup of chickpeas (1 pt) and mixed it all together.

It was delicious! Veggies from the farmer’s market (all of them were from that or my CSA!) are soooo much more flavorful than what I buy at the grocery store. This dish was bursting with flavor but was so low point, I didn’t even realize it until I wrote about it just now. Crazy.

My friend Amber is coming over tonight for a Healthy Date! We haven’t had one of these in forever so I am soooo excited! We’re going to cook dinner and maybe work out, have a glass of wine, and chat. My favorite kind of night.

What are some of your favorite snacks lately? Have you ever made microwave popcorn like this before? What are you favorite popcorn toppings?

Back on Track

What better way is there to get back on track from an indulgent long weekend than with outdoor yoga!? The Crystal City BID has been offering free outdoor yoga at the water park at 7am on Mondays for most of the summer. I am on their mailing list and get weekly reminders about it, but somehow have been unable to make the 7am Monday class work… until today! Understand that I literally had no excuse to miss this – its free, its literally right outside my apartment building, I’ve been trying to do more yoga lately, and it works with my schedule.

My alarm went off at 6:45 and for a second I almost turned it off, but then I remembered my weekend and thoughts of NY pizza, peanut butter crackers, and cheddar bunnies ran around my head. I quickly ditched the snooze idea, got up, brushed my teeth, got dressed, grabbed my yoga mat and headed out the door. The water park has this gorgeous fountain with little plots of green all around, and the instructor stood in the middle of one of the green rounds and all the people taking the class spread out around her. Not gonna lie – it was a little tough to hear her because the fountains were pretty loud and there were definitely a few times when I zoned out in a pose and looked up and everyone was doing something different than me so I had to change gears quickly.

That said, it was an amazing experience and perfect way to start the week. The hour itself was a bit more challenging than I was expecting – I definitely broke a sweat (I sweat a lot btw) but it was great to stretch and get my heart beating first thing. The weather was perfect and I walked away literally feeling like a million bucks.

After taking a quick shower I headed into work and have been feeling great all day. For breakfast, I made the Vega Shake n Go as the package suggests – by mixing it with 1/2 cup of water (they suggested 1/2 cup – 1 cup). I added a few ice cubes and brought it to work in a mason jar and it was good!

It doesn’t look like much, but it was actually quite filling (8-9 grams of protein and 3-4 grams of fiber and just 1 point on WW). It tasted kind of similar to Carnation Instant Breakfast, but was strangely satisfying. I never was big into those shakes but they remind me of my childhood. It’s good to know I can just mix this stuff in with water and have a satisfying boost with minimal effort. I was going to have something else for breakfast but the day got away from me and when I looked up it was already after 12.

I’ve been really into making lettuce-less chopped salads lately with whatever fresh veggies I have on hand.

This had:

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, drained (1 pt)
  • 1/2 summer squash, chopped (0 pts)
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped (0 pts)
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped (0 pts)
  • 1 tsp olive oil (1 pt)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (0 pts)

I served it on a bed of arugula (0 pts) with two pickles (0 pts)

Plus a flatout wrap toasted (1 pt).

These toast up really well if you haven’t tried them, and are pretty large for just 1 pt. I used it to scoop up the chickpea salad and they worked perfect.

So only 3 points for that huge plate of food and it was goooooood! I realize I’m running super low on points today (I’ve only had 4 and my target is 23!) so I’ll probably have some extra snacks this afternoon which is a-ok with me! 🙂

I’m setting some mini goals for myself this week since I haven’t done that in a while. They are:

1.) Work out at least 5 times (4 to go!). I have now taken almost a full week off from exercise (last Tuesday was the last time!) which is fine, but I need to get back on track!

2.) Get in a long run (10 – 11 miles). I was supposed to do 10 this past weekend and didn’t get around to it since I was babysitting for my niece/nephew. I need to get one in this week even though I’m traveling yet again this coming weekend!

3.) Cook every single meal this week. No ordering in or eating out! Since Wednesday evening I have ordered out every night with the exception of Thursday night when my sister cooked… I need to get back to preparing my own meals. It makes me feel a lot better, saves me money, and allows me to load up on fruits and veggies!

4.) Drink More Water. I go back and forth on drinking a lot of water and not drinking enough, and have been slacking on this lately, so need to get back to it. I have my Athenos water bottle (HLS swag) that is about 4 cups (32 oz) or maybe a bit less, but I want to drink at least two of those each day at work and then more at home.

What are your goals for this week? What’s your favorite way to get back on track after an indulgent weekend/week/month?

NYC Weekend Recap!

My weekend with my niece and nephew was SO FUN. It did, however, make me realize a few things. First, I am not ready for kids. I was so exhausted at the end of every day I could barely move, and you never get a second to be in a bad mood or pee with no one watching. Second, showering moves far down your priority list when kids enter the picture. I only took one shower during my time in NYC (tmi?). Exercise also moves far down the list of priorities, while snacking moves way up. Though I was much more active (ie going to the park every day instead of  sitting at my desk), I didn’t get out to do my scheduled 10 mile run during any of the three full days I was there. Many, many props to all you moms out there! 🙂

That said, my niece, Claire, and nephew, Ben, are SO adorable. Claire will be 3 on Thursday, and Ben is just 9 months. They couldn’t be more different in their personalities, but are so damn cute when they interact. Here’s a few pictures from the weekend.

Claire, Ben, and Me getting ready to head out…

To the WaterPark!

That is the waterpark area of a free public park in Brooklyn. I was blown away with how nice the park was for a public park with free admission! There was a huge swing area, sand area, and regular playground area as well, all separated by gates – so nice!

The next day at the park 2 blocks from their house on the swings.

Me and Claire!

Claire doing WiiFit… perhaps the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

And then Ben, with a halo that I made for him. 🙂

He really is the sweetest little boy. All weekend he’d cry a little bit, race over for me to pick him up, plop his thumb in his mouth, and be as content as could be sitting on my hip sucking his thumb. Love.

So as for healthy living, it was pretty much out the door. The first day, we walked a little over 2 miles round trip to the water park, and then got outside for shorter walks both the other days. I was definitely more active than I am at home running around with the kids and playing, but I didn’t get any formal exercise while I was there.And then with eating, it was all indulgent. I realize that I do not do well being home all day and having constant access to the kitchen.

I tried to start the days off well with oatmeal for breakfast…

With PB and some trail mix on Friday.

With PB and a honeycrisp apple on Saturday.

Besides breakfast though, there was tons of snacking and lots of pasta/carbs/pizza and not much fruit or vegetables. But, it was only 3 days and I honestly was looking forward to getting back into my routine on my trip home. I did get to see Leah, one of my best friend’s from college.

We went out and got a glass of wine, and picked up a pizza to bring home. The three of us DEVOURED this entire thing:

Unreal. Fresh mozzarella, sauce, basil, green peppers and tomatoes…. Thin crust, enormous (20″ I believe!) but soooooooooo good. That made pizza 3x in 48 hours but it was totally worth it.

But now, back to work and back to reality!

How was your weekend!? Any highlights?

Sometimes You Just Need…

… pizza.

Last night I had a major hankering for pizza, so I went with it. There’s this new place called zpizza that dropped a menu under my door several weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since.  From the website, “zpizza was founded in the art colony of Laguna Beach, California, where creativity and craftsmanship have flourished for almost a century. So it comes as no surprise that our critically acclaimed pizza is a true Laguna original. A passion for great food is why we start with dough made from 100% organic wheat flour prepared fresh every day, hand-thrown and fire-baked until uniquely crisp. Our zest for quality continues when the toppings go on. We combine select ingredients using award-winning skim mozzarella from Wisconsin, certified organic tomato sauce, MSG-free pepperoni, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Our gourmet salads and sandwiches are just as delicious.”

So naturally, I was drawn to it. We ordered two small (10″ pizzas) and a salad, to share.

The two flavors I picked out were the Napoli (homemade roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, fresh rounds of tomato, parmesan, and fresh basil) and the Tuscan (homemade roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, Cremini, Shittaki, and Button mushrooms, carmelized onions, feta, truffle oil, and fresh thyme). The pizza was a little cold when it arrived, so in retrospect it would have made sense to heat it up but we were so hungry and wasted no time diving in. To balance out the pizzas, we also ordered a Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with mixed greens, pears, Gorgonzola, and candied walnuts.

The salad was awesome, and both the pizzas were cold even if not up to par temperature wise. The Tuscan pizza was the better of the two with lots of fresh mushrooms and delicious flavor from the truffle oil. I will defintiely order from here again, I’ll probably just have the oven ready when it arrives so I can throw it in there to warm it up. Leftovers for lunch today, so we’ll see how it tastes hot. 🙂

… to take a day off from planned exercise.

I had a 4 miler scheduled for this morning, but when I woke up, I was feeling stressed because I had a lot of last minute packing to do. Whenever I workout in the morning, its always a very rushed situation because I’m inevitably running behind, so have to shower, throw together lunch, and get out the door before even taking a second to sit down. So this morning, I still got up when my alarm went off but decided to just take a shower, take my time getting my suitcase together, and have a cup of coffee before taking off to work. It felt great.

… a green smoothie for breakfast.

I was trying to think of what to have this morning and knew I needed a boost, so when a green smoothie came to mind, I happily obliged.

This was AWESOMEEEEE. In the mix:

  • 1 cup light soy milk (1 pt)
  • 1 small frozen banana (1 pt)
  • 2/3 cup frozen mango (1 pt)
  • 2 handfuls spinach (0 pts)
  • 1 scoop Vega Chocolate (1 pt)

This combo was delicious and gave me such a boost as I was drinking it. 4 servings of fruits and veggies, plus lots of protein from the milk and the Vega mix? YES PLEASE! Yum.

… to get away for the weekend.

I am NYC bound TONIGHT! My sister is going to a wedding in Montreal, so my mom and I are babysitting my niece and nephew for the weekend. I haven’t seen them since Easter (!!!!) so I cannot wait to spend time with my babies!!! Plus, it’ll be nice to spend some one-on-one time with my mom, which never seems to happen anymore. I leave tonight on a flight and then come back late Sunday afternoon, so it’ll be a nice trip. Cross your fingers for me that my travels go smoothly because I’ve heard nightmare stories about flying from DC to NYC on the shuttle and I’ve never done it before…

What are some things you just need from time to time?

Tips for Staying Fit on a Budget

Expensive gyms and workout classes, top of the line workout clothes and accessories, energy bars and other fitness fuel – it can add up far too quickly. When I decided I wanted to overhaul my lifestyle and make a change for the better, I needed to figure out ways to do that without blowing my budget, which was pretty low. I didn’t have a lot of extra money (still don’t!) to pay a high monthly premium for a gym membership or yoga classes, nor will you find me in places like Lululemon or Lucy buying gear to sweat in, no matter how nice either of those things might be.

I came up with a list of tips that I have personally used, some that I knew going in, and some that I learned along the way.

1.) Discount Shopping – TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and other discount stores are AWESOME places to find great workout gear. Start in the clearance racks and then move to the regular Active section, and you’ll be surprised with how much great clothing they have (and great brand too). I’ve also found great deals on yoga mats, hand weights, resistance bands, stability balls, and other at-home workout gear – anywhere from $5 to $15 for most of those things. Another great place to shop is Target. They carry a lot of workout gear that is much, much cheaper than other stores and holds up just as well in my opinion. I’ve also found my beloved Sports Beans and other energy gels/chews there for a lot cheaper than other places, and those are essential for me with long runs.

2.) Workout Without a Gym – There are SO many things you can do that don’t require a gym. Power walking, running, biking, On Demand workouts, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, wall sits, etc. Especially in the nicer weather, it feels so much better to be outside getting fresh air while doing something good for your body rather than cooped up in a gym. It’s also muuuuch cheaper to not be paying monthly!

3.) Yoga Studios/Gym Part-Time Work – If you love yoga classes or really want to have a gym membership, you can talk to them about part time work in exchange for a free/discounted membership. At my Bikram studio, they offer “Work Study” for people who want to take the last class during the week and stay a bit after to help clean up. They get to take the classes for free, and its very low commitment because you only have to go when you want to – not a certain number of times a week. A lot of gyms also will have you help with cleaning up, folding towels, etc., so don’t be afraid to ask!

4.) Check out your Local Parks and Rec – This is pretty new to me, but a lot of cities and towns offer adult classes through their local Parks and Rec. I always thought most of the offerings were for kids, but they have a ton of things for adults too. The link to my local P&R is here (Arlington, VA) and they offer things like Zumba, Yoga, Swimming, Aerobics, and a variety of other classes for a fraction of the price as taking these classes elsewhere.

5.) Try out Free Classes – A lot of Bikram/yoga studios do one free class or week long trials for a discounted rate for first timers. I shopped around a lot when I first started doing Bikram and basically did it for a whole month for about $20. A lot of other types of yoga (like Down Dog Yoga in DC) do a free intro week, so shop around. Most places have a website these days so you can find local specials. While these won’t last forever since they are normally just for first timers, its a good way to get started and find something you like on the cheap.

6.) Fitness Gifts – Birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holidays where you will be receiving gifts – ask for workout clothes or other gear you might need or want instead of other things. Last year my sister bought me some amazing running capris from Lucy that I would never have bought for myself, but they are my absolute favorite pair of bottoms to run or workout in. I’ve also gotten a water belt, CamelBak, sports bras, dry wick tops, and various other random fitness related items for birthdays/holidays. I’m always happy to have those things rather than other random items I come up with to ask for who’s novelty fades quickly after I receive it.

Are any of these tips new to you? What else do you do to stay fit without blowing your budget?

For breakfast this morning, I had breakfast pudding! I stole this recipe from Evan because when I saw his post on it I knew I had to have it. I got a bag of Vega Shake n Go Smoothie in Chocolate from HLS, and I have been looking forward to trying it.

For this breakfast, I mixed together:

  • 2/3 medium banana, mashed (1 pt)
  • 1 scoop vega smoothie mix (1 pt)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (2 pts)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (.5 pts)

You let it sit for a few minutes and it turns into a delightful chocolate breakfast pudding that’s not only delicious, but filling too!

While I realize it doesn’t look that appetizing, I promise you it was delicious and really filling, too. The chocolate vega smoothie mixes has such a good flavor – I can’t wait to experiment with other ways to use it!

Confession

Sardines used to scare me big time. I’ve seen them all over the blogworld lately (namely on Kath’s blog) and last night, when I was throwing together my lunch for today, I prepped everything for tuna salad to discover that I was totally out of canned tuna. Might have been a good idea to check that first, but that’s another story for another day. What I did find was a can of sardines in the depths of my fridge that was somehow still good until August 2012.

That can of sardines had just 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, and packed a whopping 19 grams of protein. How could I say no?

To make myself feel better about the whole thing, I did a little research on sardines to find out just what the health benefits were. Here’s what I found:

  • Sardines have a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids and are one of the best sources of Omega 3’s, surpassed only by a few fish, including Salmon.
  • It’s better to get your Omega 3’s from sardines than salmon since they are smaller and there’s less of a chance of toxin accumulation – like mercury.
  • Good source of Vitamin D, which is found in very few foods in such a high amount as in Sardines.
  • Also a good source of Vitamin B12, Vitamin B3, calcium, protein, tryptophan, selenium and phosphorus
  • Sardines contain no carbs, so blood sugar remains stable.
  • Sardines are cheap, convenient, and portable.

For my sardine salad, I added 1 can of sardines (3 points), chopped celery (0 pts), chopped cucumbers (0 pts) 1 tbsp of Olive Oil Mayo (1 pt) and some salt and pepper.

I mixed it all together and there you have it.

Sardine Salad.

I had the sardine salad (4 points) on top of a bed of sprouts (0 pts) in a flatout wrap (1 pt):

And ate it with some cucumber spears and celery sticks.

Verdict? I actually LOVED the wrap! I really like tuna, and the “fishiness” is pretty similar to tuna. The flavor was great and it left me so full and satisfied.

What about you? Have you tried sardines ? Would you or not so much?

No Excuses.

6:45am. My alarm goes off and I, not surprisingly, press snooze. 6:55am. It goes off again and I show it, by pressing snooze yet again. 7:05am the alarm goes off for a third time and my boyfriend grumbles something to the effect of get up or turn it off. Begrudgingly I force myself out of bed and into my running clothes that I set out the night before. With my eyes barely open I navigate through the dark into the kitchen, fill up my CamelBak, and chug a glass of water. I eat three Powerbar Gel Blasts (65 calories or 1 pt) before heading towards the door to grab my ipod.

I fumble with the ipod but it won’t budge, and realize that it is completely dead. I panic for a second, and then realize I can listen to Pandora on my phone instead, so grab my phone and head out the door before I find another excuse not to go at all. I walk down to the trail, turn on my Garmin, and the “Battery Low” message flashes across the display screen. I grumble under my breath for a few seconds and then set off, realizing that I know the trail so well by now that I know where to turn around for any run from 2 – 6 miles almost to a T. No excuses.

During the run, my mood lifts considerably and I start to actually enjoy myself. The weather is perfect – around 68Âş, cool, and not humid in the slightest. Before I know it, I’m at the 2 mile mark and I turn around and head back towards the entrance of the trail. I had looked at the time – 7:24 – on my Garmin just before I started running, and I found someone within a minute or two of finishing my run to ask the time. 8:04. So just under 40 minutes for right around 4 miles. Success. I headed back inside feeling about a million times better than when I left. I’m so glad I didn’t let the excuses get the best of me this morning.

Now that I have a tofu press, I’m kind of obsessed with all things tofu. I know it’ll fade, but I’m riding the wave while it lasts. 🙂 This morning I decided to try scrambled tofu, which I’d heard much about but never personally tried. I actually got all the ingredients ready and prepped last night so it would be a breeze to throw together after this morning’s run. I did sort of a Mexican twist on the scramble and loaded it with red onions, black beans, corn, edamame, salsa, and lime and it was awesome! I started by sauteeing the onion for a bit to get it soft and then added the block of tofu.

I broke the tofu up with a spatula while mixing it around with the onion, and then added the rest of the ingredients and kept it on the stove until they were heated through. I garnished it with a dollop of salsa and a lime wedge.

In the mix:

  • 1.5 servings extra-firm tofu, pressed (2 pts)
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion (0 pts)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (.5 pts)
  • 1/3 cup frozen organic corn kernels (.5 pts)
  • 1/4 cup shelled edamame (1 pt)
  • 2 tbsp salsa (0 pts)
  • lime wedge (0 pts)
  • salt and pepper (0 pts)

This scramble was awesome! I sort of zoned out for a second and thought I was eating scrambled eggs – its pretty similar in texture and taste. I’ve heard a lot of people add tumeric to give the scramble a yellow color so it actually looks like eggs but I didn’t have any on hand. This was super filling and a perfect combo of protein (tofu and beans), carbs (corn!) and deliciousness.

How did you start your day today?

TofuXpress

I woke up SORE today. I think the 9 miler yesterday, even though I walk/ran a lot of the second half, really pushed my body. I haven’t felt sore like this in a while, and in a twisted way it feels good. The rest of my day yesterday ended up being pretty lazy, though I did muster up the energy to go grab a glass of wine and some hummus, veggies, and homemade pita chips with Wil and his friend Jeff who were visiting.

Loved the presentation on that and it was tasty, too. I got a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and sipped on it while enjoying the perfect weather the late afternoon brought once the thunderstorms cleared.

Wil made dinner last night and wanted to have a man’s dinner for him and his friend, so made bone-in ribeye steaks. I decided to do tofu for my protein, and got to break out this new tofu press that I was sent to review from TofuXpress.com. This thing is AMAZING. You put your tofu in it and leave it for 1-3 hours, and it presses out all the liquid and makes a huge difference in texture with the tofu. It tastes more meaty and a little firmer with all the liquid gone, and its seriously something you should think about getting if you eat tofu a lot like I do.

You put the tofu in the bottom, and then place the top part down which has a spring that pushes against the tofu. The liquid from the tofu gathers and you just pour it out once its done pressing. Check out the difference in the pressed v. nonpressed tofu:

Obviously the pressed tofu is on the right, but what a difference! I used to wrap my tofu in paper towels and put it between two plates, which works well if you don’t frequently eat tofu, but if you eat it pretty regularly like me I think its an investment worth making. The paper towel/plate technique doesn’t take out nearly as much liquid as the press does, and it really changes the whole texture of the tofu. It makes it so much easier to prepare because it stays together really easily when you flip it over.

I rubbed my tofu in a dry rub spice mixture before grilling it on a grill pan (before the steak was cooked ;)).

The dry rub was actually made a few weeks ago and had cumin, hot paprika, salt, pepper and a few other things that neither Wil nor I could remember. My finished plate, eaten out on the balcony:

Iceberg salad with blue cheese crumbles and farm fresh tomatoes, farm fresh green beans boiled and then sauteed with a little balsamic, 1/2 a baked sweet potato, and the grilled tofu. SO delicious!

Breakfast today was super light because I just wasn’t hungry… a coffee with some skim milk (.5 pts) and a banana (1.5 pts). Lunch was some leftovers, reworked. I had the other half of the sweet potato (1.5 pts) with 1/2 cup black beans (1 pt). I decided to change it up a bit today and added 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels (.5 pts) and the rest of the tomato to the beans and put the whole mixture over the sweet potato.

I also had the rest of the green beans in a little balsamic on the side (0 pts).

And then, a fuji apple (1 pt) for dessert, my favorite kind!

What’s your favorite kind of apple? Do you eat tofu a lot? If so, what’s your favorite way to prepare it?

Crabs and Horseshoes!

Hello and happy Sunday! I can hardly believe it’s late afternoon on Sunday already… this weekend has FLOWN by. I know I say that every weekend, but its true! My weekend has been jam packed though, so I’m sure that’s part of the reason its felt so fast…

I started the weekend out right with a 6pm Bikram class on Friday. I hadn’t been in weeks so was kind of dreading going, and honestly, it was HARD. I think sometimes when its been 1-2 weeks the class actually feels even better than if I’ve gone within the last week, but when its more than 2 weeks, its a huge wakeup call for my body. It was really hot outside so the room felt even hotter than normal, and I felt really tight so a lot of the postures were really hard for me. I also got kind of tired during the class so I sat out for a few postures that I normally don’t sit out for, but left feeling really cleansed regardless. I used my Subway coupon from the Healthy Living Summit to grab dinner after class, and I hadn’t been there in so long!

I got a 6″ veggie delight on wheat, toasted with pepperjack cheese, and also had spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, cucumbers, pickles, extra banana peppers, and honey mustard (5 points total). I tried a new flavor of Lays chips – Baked Parmesan and Tuscan Herb. They were REALLY tasty and only 2 points for the bag, whereas some of the other baked lays cross into the 3 point category. The flavor on them was really tasty, though the ingredient list was a bit long to make them a staple in my diet, they were a nice treat.

Saturday, I went to the Eastern shore for the day for a crab feast! One of my coworkers invited us to her weekend home, which was incredible. It’s about a 2 hour drive, so I drove with two of my coworkers and one of their boyfriends, and we left around 9:30. We made it to the house by 11:30 and spent the whole day and into the evening there. It was a blast! First, Emily and I went kayaking.

(The house we were at is in the background…. its a little on the large side) We kayaked for about 45 minutes, but half the time we were just hanging out not paddling because the water was so nice and there was a lot to see. On the way back in, I got out of my kayak first while Emily watched, and I totally tipped the entire kayak over and fell into the water in the process. She was laughing so hard while I struggled to get up and managed to get more dirt in my bathing suit than I had in years!

After I took a little time to recover my pride, I started grilling up some eggplant and corn from my farmshare. They had the nicest grill!

We got a half bushel of steamed crabs smothered in old bay for the feast:

And here’s the table we took over to dig into the crabs and all the veggies.

Everything ready to be dug into…

It was all so good! I had a few slices of eggplant but didn’t even have a piece of corn because I had my eyes on the prize.. the crabs. I looooove picking crabs, and didn’t want to get full on other stuff and not eat them. I had about 6-8 crabs in total and my lips were burning from the old bay at the end. Today my fingers are a little cut up from the crab shells, but it was totally worth it… 🙂

Here’s a picture of our hosts for the day:

Our coworker Mary Helen and her husband, Richard.

After dinner, we  went out into the yard and played horseshoes!

That’s Erin, Emily and I ready to go. I’d never played before, and it was SO fun. I ended up getting 3 ringers (horseshoe around the pole) and no one else got any. I got super into the game because I tend to get really competitive, and Erin and I were the reigning champs, beating both Emily and Mary Helen, plus Richard and Vincent!

We ended up playing into the dusk and then leaving around 9pm to head home. Unfortunately, we hit insane traffic on the way back because they decided it would be a good idea to go down to one lane from three on a very high traffic area of the road… awesome. We didn’t get home until almost midnight so I was BEAT.

I woke up today with one thing in mind…. 9 miles. I had nothing else on the schedule today and really wanted to get the long run in per my training plan. I made myself a toasted arnold thin with some Crofter’s Europe (2 pts).

I loaded up my Camelbak and set out. The second I stepped outside, I couldn’t believe how humid it was. The weather had said it was only 80 degrees, but the humidity was about 90%. The air felt so thick, but I really wanted to get the run in so I set out anyways. I ended up running about 5 miles straight, and then walk/ran the last 4 miles. Here are the final stats:

Distance: 9.00 miles

Duration: 1:37:52

Avg. Speed: 5.5mph

Avg. Pace: 10:52 min/mile

Calories: 1005

I have been really really struggling with my long runs lately. I feel like there is always an excuse (today’s humidity/heat) or I’m not feeling well or whatever the reason, and I haven’t been able to run the whole way on any of my long runs. I have 10 miles on the schedule for next weekend, so I’m going to have to play it by ear, but possibly readjust my original goal for the half marathon, which was to complete the whole thing without walking. I just don’t know if that’s possible at this point judging by my recent history with long runs.

After the run, I whipped up a delicious and quick breakfast.

An egg fried in nonstick spray (2 pts), a slice of whole wheat toast (1 pt), and then a mix of 2/3 cup frozen corn, thawed (1 pt), chopped tomato (0 pts) and 1/2 small avocado (2 pts). 6 points total and delicious. Sometimes I know exactly what I want when walking into the kitchen, and today was one of those days. This totally hit the spot.

Not sure what the rest of the day brings, but hopefully a nap and lots of good TV!

How’s your weekend been so far? Any highlights?

Ping Pong Dim Sum

Happy Friday!! I am so glad it is almost the weekend I could cry. This is the first and only weekend in August that I’m not traveling/have something huge going on. The first weekend was one of my best friends’ weddings, last weekend was the Healthy Living Summit, and then next weekend, the last one in August, I leave for NYC on Thursday night through Sunday to watch my niece and nephew with my mom because my sister has a wedding to attend herself in Montreal. I’m saying all these things aren’t amazing and fun, its just nice to stay put sometimes!

Last night I went out to happy hour to Ping Pong Dim Sum, this cool newish place in DC. I’m not sure where the ping pong comes into play because there’s no ping pong anywhere in sight, but the place is actually quite loungy and fancy. They do have an amazing happy hour, where drinks that are normally $9-$11 a pop are only $5, plus cheap beer and wine, too. They have dim sum, which is basically small appetizers, sort of like an Asian style of Spanish tapas where you are encouraged to share and try a bunch of things. I met my friend Jillian, who I hadn’t seen in a long, long time, so it was great to catch up!

I started out with an Earl Gray Julep:

Which is Buffalo Trace bourbon infused with earl-grey tea, shaken vigorously with mint and sugar. It is pretty strong since it’s pretty much just bourbon on the rocks, and I had two of them during our few hours there.

For food, we got a bunch of Dim Sum to share, most of which was $3 for happy hour!

Steamed Chive Dumplings

King prawns and chives in green chive pastry.
We also had the Seafood Dumplings:
Which was snow crab, prawns and scallops in carrot pastry.
I loved both of the kinds of dumplings, but Jill though they were “a little too sticky” so I had 2 of the 3 of both of those.
We also ordered Vietnamese Spring Rolls:
They had prawns, noodles and vegetables and were wrapped in rice paper and served with chilli fish sauce. These were SO good and the sauce they came with was delicious… in fact, I dipped some of those lettuce leaves in there once the rolls were gone just to soak it up. We split those evenly so I had 1.5 of the rolls.
That was Round 1.
Round 2 consisted of Prawn Toast

This was shrimp on toast flavored with garlic and coriander and sprinkled with sesame seeds. We split those down the middle and they were gooooood.


Crispy Prawn Balls
This is one of my favorites from there and consists of chopped king prawns and spring onions in shredded egg pastry, served with sweet and sour sauce. I’d love to try to recreate these in a healthier version.. stay tuned. I had one of those three and let Jill have two since she’d never had them before and they are awesome.


Last, but not least, I had to get some veggies in so I ordered the Bok Choy, which Jill wouldn’t touch. 🙂
It was steamed in soy sauce with garlic on top and was really good. I love bok choy but have it so rarely so this was a treat.

I walked away from this happy hour feeling really good about my decisions. I had only two drinks which was just the right amount, plus I didn’t overdo it with the food. Looking back this looks like kind of a lot but I actually left feeling still a little hungry! I got to treat myself a bit with some of the fried food (which as you probably know is a rarity for me) but I balanced it out with steamed dumplings and bok choy. I was home safe and sound by 8pm and actually got laundry done and the kitchen cleaned after I got home so it turned into a productive night.

I was still a little hungry when I got home, and was craving pizza… I used to order a medium pizza from Domino’s and eat the whole thing or close to it but try to refrain from making that a habit. Instead, I made this delicious 3 point pizza that was MORE satisfying than getting delivery!
In the broiler, I sliced up a tomato from my farm share and heated it for about 5 minutes so it was hot throughout and getting a little soft. I added 1/4 cup of reduced fat shredded cheese (2 pts) and spread it between the two tomato stacks and then put them back in the broiler. Meanwhile, I toasted an arnold thin, and once the cheese got melty, I took the tomato cheese stacks out and placed them between the two halves of the arnold thin (1 pt). I added 1 tsp of Garlic Gold Paremsan nuggets and split that between the two, plus added a few leaves of fresh basil to each half.

It was still light out, so I went out on my balcony to eat
This was SO good and so easy! The broiler heats up so quickly so I don’t have to wait for the whole oven to reheat, so I see this being a frequent treat if I’m craving pizza. This was AWESOME and only 3 points!!

What’s your favorite typically unhealthy food (nachos, pizza, etc) to healthify? Do you have a recipe for it? Share it in the comments and feel free to link to the recipe on your blog if you have one!

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