Saturday in NJ

Hi there! Just checking in after a nice day at the rents. We had a really low-key, mostly just hanging around and getting stuff ready for our big brunch tomorrow. I did end up getting the mani/pedi that I wanted which was exciting. After I had those Overnight Oats from earlier, I was craving some fruits and veggies, so I decided to try to throw together a Green Monster. I asked my mom if she had any frozen fruit, and she gave me one of these:

This is one of the frozen Yoplait Smoothie mixes that had mixed berries inside and some frozen yogurt chunks, for lack of a better word. It calls for you to mix it with milk, but I added a few handfuls of spinach too.

I’m not a big fan of these smoothie packs. I felt like the yogurt in there added a really weird flavor and left a nasty aftertaste. I did still drink it, but I think I’ll just stick to my regular old frozen fruit. It did give me a burst of energy and kept me quite satisfied through my mani/pedi 😉

After getting home from that, the ‘rents were making steak for dinner, so I decided to make a monstrocity of a salad for myself. My dad actually put the bowl in the middle of the table after I threw my salad together because he thought it was for everyone to share, but I definitely ate it all.

This salad had:

  • Tons of baby spinach
  • 1 hardboiled egg + 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • daikon radish
  • raw zucchini and yellow squash
  • homemade balsamic vinaigrette

I also had the last of the multigrain loaf that I bought at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday:

They had grilled flank steak, grilled zucchini, leftover green beans with truffle oil, salad, and sauteed onions and mushrooms for the steak. I took advantage of the grilled zucchini and sauteed onions and mushrooms and transformed my salad a little bit into this:

Yum! This salad really hit the spot and it was nice getting to put whatever I wanted on there to make it big and satisfying. I don’t usually have as many ingredients laying around my own house to make a huge salad like this with so much different stuff!  I wasn’t sure how this whole not eating meat thing was going to go over because my family does eat a fair amount of red and white meat, but tonight I just made my own thing, used a little bit of theirs, and everyone was happy. 🙂

After dinner, I snacked on a few Cadberry Mini Eggs

Tomorrow is Easter after all! I love these things, so good.

I’m going to go relax a bit, we have a big day ahead tomorrow because we’re going to Philly to church and then brunch at my other sister’s house. We’re each in charge of something different for the meal, should be quite a feast! We have to get out of my parents house by 8:15am… so we’ll see how that goes.

Good night!!

Biking and Family

Happy Easter Eve! I slept like a baby last night until 8:30am and woke up today feeling really good. I had plans to go on a bike ride with my dad to visit my grandpa’s grave site, which is about 14 miles total. We took a few detours and I added in a few extra roads here and there to let my dad catch up, so I ended up doing a little over 16 miles. It was my first time on a bike in almost a year! It felt so nice to change it up a little but now I really want to buy a bike…

Before the ride, I had a cup of coffee with frothed milk and a sprinkle of cocoa. My parents have Keurig coffee maker which is the kind with the pods, so it always makes the perfect cup. They also have this awesome frother where you just push a button and you get perfectly frothed milk every time.

and some dried apricots:

Plus an unpictured 1/2 a banana. That was perfect pre-ride fuel for me because it was light but I didn’t feel hungry during the ride at all.

Today’s stats:

Total Distance: 16.31 miles

Total Time: 1h:22m:29sec

Average Pace: 5:03 min/mi

After the ride, I played with my niece, Claire, for a little and took a few pictures:

That’s her and I. Isn’t she a doll!?

The shirt I’m wearing says “shittake happens”.. ha! My mom lent it to me to wear for the ride because she didn’t think I’d be warm enough in the only workout clothes I brought with me:

And good thing I listened to her… I was chilly during the whole ride even after I added that t-shirt to my ensemble. Moms always know best, don’t they? 😉 (Side note: that is a Daffy Duck sticker on my hand in case you’re wondering. Take a stab at whose idea that was…)

After playing with Claire for a bit I was getting really hungry, and had thrown together a bowl of oats before I went out to ride. These ones only soaked for about 2 hours, so technically weren’t overnight oats, but they were good! I present.. PB&J “Overnight” Oats:

My mix contained:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • Toppings: 1 tbsp Strawberry Simply Fruit, 1 tbsp Skippy Natural Peanut Butter

Yum! I’m glad this worked out because its good to know it doesn’t actually have to soak all night if I forget to throw it together the night before. I used a little less milk and yogurt than normal since it would be sitting for less time, and this was the perfect consistency.

Not sure what’s on the agenda for the rest of the day but its getting really nice out so hopefully spending some time outside. Maybe a mani/pedi?

I’ll be back! I hope the weather’s nice wherever you are. 🙂

Grazing Friday

Hello from New Jersey! I made it to my parents house in good time even though I did hit some traffic. It took just over three hours, and the weather was so gorgeous for the whole drive so it wasn’t so bad.

I’d been noticing for some time that my tires were looking a little low with air, and when I was driving today I could feel it a little so it was making me nervous. I knew I needed to put more air in them, but I’d never done it before and had no clue what to do. I stopped at a Wawa to get gas, and then pulled over to where the air machine was and gave it a go. I had no idea what I was doing, so I went over to the gas attendant to ask him if he could help me, and he said he wasn’t able to leave his station but tried to tell me how to do it. I went back and tried again, but when I pulled away, I wasn’t sure if I had put air into my tires, or drained all the air out of them… haha. Hopefully the first of those two scenarios, but I made it to my parents house and my brother-in-law is going to take a look tomorrow. 🙂

I pretty much grazed all day, starting during my drive. I had a serving of Fiber Select Wheat Thins and the rest of the dates (probably about 6):

I also had an orange a little while later, which luckily was a lot less messy than I was expecting.

Mmm. Those snacks got me through the whole drive, and then after I made it to my parents’ house, I played with my niece and nephew, Claire and Ben, for a bit. I’ll try to snap some pics of them tomorrow.. they are SO cute and fun to be around. My sister (their mother) and I then decided to run out to pick up some food to make for dinner, and we went to this awesome fish market called Bob’s Seafood. My boyfriend and I stumbled upon it the last time we were here, and though a bit pricey, the fish selection was awesome and plentiful. Here’s a picture I snapped inside the market:

We decided to go with the whole red snapper, and ended up getting 2 large ones for 6 of us which turned out to be wayy too much, but leftovers are never a bad thing. We had to run to a regular grocery store to get the rest of the things we needed for dinner, and I snacked on some dried apple rings while we were driving around.

We ended up getting some dill and lemon to cook the snapper with, and it looked so pretty I had to snap a picture before we put it in the oven.

We baked it at 400 degrees for 25 or so minutes, and it came out looking like this:

It was so juicy and delicious when it was done. My sister and I ended up snacking on the bread from the Farmer’s Market with olive oil while the food was cooking so we were getting kind of full before dinner was even ready. I still managed to do devour my plate, though. 😉

A piece of snapper, steamed green beans drizzled with a little olive oil, a baked potato, and zucchini and yellow squash sautéed with some Parmesan. So good! Afterwards we each had a tiny piece of cheesecake

This was also delish. My sister found it at a local bakery that she just discovered around here that makes a lot of treats. There’s a bunch of leftover cheesecake and some sticky buns in the house from there, so I have to be careful….

I am exhausted! Tomorrow I’m going on a bikeride with my dad and that’s the only thing on the agenda for now. But for right now, SLEEP.

Happy weekend!

AMAZING Grass

It’s Friiiiiiidayyy.. woohoo! I woke up today feeling surprisingly refreshed after last’s nights festivities. I decided to go out for a quick 4 mile run since its so nice out and I hadn’t run since Tuesday.

Today’s stats:

Distance: 4.01 miles

Time: 37:14

Pace: 9:17 min/mile

Calories: 467

I felt like I was going really fast while I was running… I think the few days off really helped my legs be fresh today. It was so nice out, perfect weather for running.

When I got home, I had THE BEST Green Monster I’ve had yet… thanks to this:

Chocolate Amazing Grass. This is DELICIOUS. I’m going to buy a big thing of this flavor… it tastes so chocolaty and I can definitely feel the energy burst from it. It really made my GM delicious.

This Green Monster had:

– 1.5 cups light soy milk

– 1 medium frozen banana

– 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

– 1 packet chocolate amazing grass

– two handfuls of spinach

YUM! It was seriously so good.. and made that jar x2 so was very satisfying after my run. I ran around like a crazy woman showering and packing for the weekend, and then dove into the bowl of overnight oats I’d put together last night:

This one has:

– 1/3 cup rolled oats

– 1/3 cup yogurt

– 1/4 cup soy milk

– 1 mashed banana

– Toppings: 1 tbsp dark chocolate dreams (YUM!) and 1 crushed weetabix biscuit

So so good. I’m glad I finally got the ratio down for the consistency I like, and I still want to try some different topping and flavor combos. I’ve noticed over the last few days its really filled me up and I haven’t had to have a morning snack like I usually do. It’s a keeper!

I’m about to finish packing and get on the road to my parents house to play with my niece and nephew. Wish me luck that the traffic gods are with me!

Check ya later.

Better Luck Next Time

So unfortunately, tonights excitements were a little disappointing on both fronts. Since it was the very first week of the farmer’s market, pickings were pretty slim. I was planning on picking up some great things for the salad I’m in charge of for Sunday brunch, but the goat cheese lady wasn’t there, and they didn’t have the greens I was looking for (anything really, but all they had was butter lettuce). I think the coming weeks will be a lot better, so I’ll do a full review then when there are more vendors. I am going away this weekend for Easter, so I didn’t want to stock up on too much day to day produce, but I’ll do a more thorough shopping trip next week when they’ll hopefully have more vendors. I’ll share a couple pics from today:

Apples and cider, the ONLY fruit vendor there.

The bread vendor. I did end up buying one loaf of multigrain bread, but that was my only purchase there!

Pretty flowers.

My one complaint about the farmers markets in DC are that they are SO expensive. A lot of people love farmer’s markets because its a way to get cheap local produce, but its not the case here. The single loaf of bread I bought was $6, and the prices for apples and other produce is definitely more expensive than in the grocery store. I know its good quality food and its great to support local farmers, but I am on a pretty tight budget so its hard to justify it.

After the quick trip to the farmer’s market, I met my boyfriend at Cafe Asia. While we had a nice time and enjoyed ourselves, the sushi itself was just not up to par. I started off with a large cold Sake:

The Sake was delicious and the appetizers were also really good, per usual. The best part is that the Sake is only $4 and the apps are only $3 at happy hour, and happy hour is 4:30-7:30 Monday through Saturday! I love places that have happy hour on the weekends. We started with some edamame:

And the Summer Rolls:

I love Summer Rolls and these ones don’t disappoint. They are so fresh, and just have the rice noodles, cilantro, shrimp, lettuce and carrots. The peanut sauce they come with is also delicious.

Then we moved onto the main event, the sushi.

We got several pieces of Nigiri sushi (sliced fish over rice), and a tuna roll (I meant to order Spicy Tuna but messed up.. doh!), a cucumber roll, and a yellowtail and scallion roll. The nigiri was tuna, salmon, mackerel, yellowtail, octopus, shrimp and eel. It wasn’t bad, it just was kind of thrown together a little messily and the rice was slightly off. The fish was a little thinner than usual and it just wasn’t great. I did like the eel and the octopus, but everything else was a little disappointing. For the first time in history, we didn’t even finish the sushi we ordered. That says something!

After the sushi was cleared, we ordered the crab wontons:

Which are to die for. Literally. That sauce they come with is like nothing else I’ve ever tasted before… I would bathe in it if I could, but it probably wouldn’t help me get cleaner. Those and the second sake I ordered made me feel better about the overall experience and forget about the sushi, a little.. 😉

Home now sitting out on the balcony enjoying the gorgeous weather. Have a good night!!

Energized Without Coffee!?!?

Morning! High of 73º today and sunny… I really think sunshine makes everything better. I even went so far as to not wear a jacket today! I was definitely a little chilly on the way in, but it makes me feel like its really spring time when I don’t have a jacket hanging on the back of my chair, so it was worth it. 😉

This morning I tried something new… I had Amazing Grass before leaving for work. I went with this one:

The berry flavor. It recommends having it in the morning mixed into water (or a smoothie) to give you an energy boost and jump start your day.

So, taste-waste, I definitely like this better in a smoothie. It didn’t taste bad straight up like this, it just was something I wouldn’t choose to have were it not for the heath benefits. I think I will stick to it in my smoothies, but I must say that I can definitely feel great effects from it energy wise. I feel very alert and awake even though I didn’t have my morning coffee, which is a rarity for me! I’ll probably try to just make a quick smoothie, even just blending in a few ice cubes and a banana in the morning and see how that goes.

Breakfast was…

You guessed it.. overnight oats in a mug this time. And today, I got the ratio of oats:yogurt:milk just right for me.

My oats had:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • just under 1/2 cup light soy milk
  • just under 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • Cinnamon
  • toppings: 1 tbsp pumpkin butter

I ran out of canned pumpkin and remembered the banana this time, and these were perfect! I also bought an enormous container of rolled oats… I’ll take a picture to show you next time I remember, but I’ll be set on oats for a while. I also had a few blackberries on the side:

I bought a container of blackberries at Whole Foods on Monday, and I went to eat them this morning and almost half of the container had taken a turn for the worse (mushy/starting to grow fuzzy). Berries are expensive, otherwise I would have thrown them all out, but I just picked out the good ones and had those. Maybe that’s why they were on sale…

Two exciting things on the agenda for today. First, the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market starts today!! I haven’t been to a farmer’s market since.. October! I am so excited to finally be able to get fresh, local produce. Plus, I’m going to Philly for Easter this weekend, and I’m in charge of the salad, so I’m going to pick up some delicious ingredients for it while I’m there.

The other exciting thing is I’m going to Cafe Asia after that! Cafe Asia is my absolute favorite place to go for happy hour because they have amazing sushi that’s actually reasonable, appetizers for $3, and cheap sake, beer, and mixed drinks. Good Sushi + Sake for cheap? Yes, please. I go through phases where I go there once a week for a few weeks at a time and then don’t go for a while, and it’s been a whiiiiile since I’ve been there, so bring.it.on. =)

Happy Thursday!

PS: Even though I am super gullible and will believe almost anything people tell me, I am so bad at coming up with April Fools jokes. I was trying to think of something creative to do on here and came up with nada. Maybe next year. 😉

Tis the Season…

…for frozen yogurt! Today was my very first frozen yogurt of 2010!! It feels so good to have broken the seal on this… You know its spring when you crave a frozen yogurt in the afternoon… There is a super cute shop right by my office called Yogen Fruz:

This frozen yogurt place is awesome because they have tons of different flavors and different toppings. I’ve never seen a frozen yogurt place before that will blend flavors into your yogurt for you, but this place will blend any of their frozen fruit or a few other flavors that they have on hand into your fro yo.

Here is their frozen fruit (a little blurry!)

My favorite thing to get their is the green tea fro yo because i love love LOVE green tea ice cream, but can never find a low cal version of it anywhere. They take green tea extract (all natural) and blend it in to the yogurt! Yum.

The fresh fruit toppings:

The dry toppings:

I was so upset they didn’t have any mochi! That is my favorite topping for fro yo, and my plan had been to do green tea fro yo with mochi and chocolate chips. They said they may get it in the future, but are out of it now, so I just went with the plain green tea.

This was delicious! So good that I got over the fact that they were out of the mochi! 🙂 I’m so happy the weather is now condusive to fro yo. You will be seeing this a lot!

We had happy hour plans after work, and I wasn’t sure what the food selection would be like, so I had a quick snack towards 5pm to tide me over just in case.

Love these things!

After 5:30pm rolled around, we headed over to this place called Recessions. We get a monthly allowance for “social activities” and go figure its 3-31-10 and we hadn’t yet used March’s funds, so today was the day! If you don’t use the money, it goes away so better to do something last minute than nothing at all.

I had a Vodka Soda with lime:

I may or may not have had 2 more of these before calling it a night.

I was surprised to see quite a few veggie options on the menu, so I went with the veggie sandwich on pita:

It had lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green bell pepper, and avocado! It came with a pickle and chips, but after I finished the pita and pickle, I put the plate with chips in the middle of the table and it went fast. I was glad I did that because I’m sure I would have munched on the chips if they were in front of me even though I didn’t really want them. This sandwich was actually really good! I was surprised that a little hole in the wall place like this had such fresh veggies.

Now I’m back home and feeling good that I cut myself off after 3 drinks and am back on my couch relaxing.

Have a good night!

Smells like Shamu!

Today is a gorgeous day outside, so Emily and I decided to go for a walk before lunch to soak it in. I work right near the White House so we have this loop we like to do and there are always so many tourists. For some reason, it always cracks me up when I see people on Segways:

Though I guess its a good way to explore a new city (but walking would be better!). And it’s really spring time in DC.. flowers are starting to bloom! So exciting.

And here Emily and I are enjoying our quick walk outside:

Do you notice how my collar bone wounds look even worse!? It seriously looks like I got attacked by a vampire or something of that nature. Last night when my boyfriend got home, he goes “Wow! Those look so bad!” before “Hi” or anything… thanks chef! 😉

Now onto my eats, but a little story first. Several months ago, I brought leftover shrimp in for lunch and heated it up in the office kitchen. I was really self-conscious about it smelling like fish, so I asked a few people if it smelled while still in the kitchen. They said no (probably just to be nice), so I came back to my cube and before I could even sit down, not one, but TWO people said, “OMG! What is that smell!?” And someone else, “EW! It smells like Shamu!” (I, too, laughed a little at the second comment). So, embarrassed, I darted back to the conference room and ate my lunch in there with my head hung low (not really). That was the first and last time I’ve ever brought fish in for lunch.

So, sad part here is, when I make fish for dinner, I can’t bring leftovers in for lunch the next day so it messes me up (aka the mussels from last night). I pulled out some of the leeks before adding the mussels last night and set them aside for lunch today, but then had to figure something else out for the main event. I went with another one of those Turk’y California Grillers by Morningstar Farms.

I toasted an arnold thin, spread on a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese (1/2 on each side), and put it on top of a huge bed of sprouts. I also cut up an orange on the side.

And had some leftover leeks from last night:

‘Twas a very satisfying lunch, and much more balanced colors than yesterday, no?

The laughing cow cheese worked really well on this sandwich, definitely better than the soy cheese earlier in the week. The flavor just made the griller pop. And these oranges I got at Whole Foods and so juicy and delicious. Yum!

Do you have things you will eat at home but not at the office? For me, its fish that needs to be heated, but I’ve had canned salmon or tuna before no problem. I also won’t make butter popcorn in the office because I think it smells so much (in an amazing way) and every time someone else makes it, I want it, so I figure it’s not really fair for me to do it. But I looove fish and popcorn at home (though not usually together)!

Check ya later!

Overnight Oats: Take Two

Good morning! Today is supposed to be 70 and it’s already sunny and clear and this makes me veryyyyy happy. I wore a skirt without stockings for the first time all year, that’s how excited I am. 😉 I am still super sore today in my legs from Monday night’s Shred workout. As I’ve said before, even though its only 20 minutes, it is intense. There are three 6 minute circuits, which consist of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs each. Its go-go-go the whole time, but what else would you expect from a 20 minute workout? At one point, you do weighted static lunges for 1 minute straight, and then switch to the other leg and do it again for 1 whole minute. That is a lot of lunges for a girl who doesn’t do them very often. I think I’m going to start trying to do it 1-2 times a week so I don’t feel this way after one go at it.

This morning I had overnight oats again! I am seriously loving them. I used a little more oats, a little less liquid, and no banana this time (mostly because I forgot about the banana :P).

My oats contained:

  • 2/3 cup oats (I was going to use 1/2 cup but there was only a little left in the container, so I used it all)
  • 1/3 cup light soy milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup canned organic pumpkin
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • Toppings: 1 crushed Weetabix biscuit, a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin butter, and 1 packet Truvia

I promise there are oats under there! These are my new fav, and I actually have to run to the store to get more oats because I’m out! I only have steel cuts oats left, which I love, but those ones you have to cook.

I’ve had a few people ask me about the texture of these. This bowl was thicker than yesterday because I used less liquid. I wanted it to be a bit thicker than it was yesterday, but I think I “under-did” the liquid this time. I think going forward I’m going to keep the ratio close to 1:1:1, but just a little bit less yogurt and milk than the oats. The best way I can describe it is if you mix granola into your yogurt and let it sit for a while so the granola gets soft, but in a good way. You’re not expecting the oatmeal to be crunchy, and it’s just so thick and satisfying. Plus, I love that you can add whatever toppings you want to change it up. I’m going to try to run to the store soon to find some different toppings to experiment with.

Happy Hump Day!!

Wind Drag and Mussels (Not Together!)

How is it already after 9pm!? Today flew by because I was swamped at work. I made some popcorn brown paper bag style but inhaled it too quickly as I was working, so no picture. This time I just put a little cinnamon in the bag, shook it up, and it was really tasty! Sometime after lunch, I started to feel SO sore from doing The Shred last night. It’s kind of funny how I ran 10 miles and wasn’t sore, but did 20 minutes of circuit training and I feel like an old lady! Guess I have to start doing it more often.

I got home from work and some Amazing Grass samples had arrived. I was really looking forward to trying them, but they sent me packets of a bunch of different kinds so I didn’t know which one to dive into first.

I decided to go with this one:

Green SuperFood (just the basic one). I made my regular Green Monster with:

  • 1 cup light soy milk
  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • 5 chunks of frozen pineapple
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • Green SuperFood Amazing Grass

It was so good! I honestly didn’t notice the Amazing Grass in there too much besides it being extra green, but the package said its great to use for an energy jolt in the morning, so I think I’ll try it with a morning workout and see if I feel a difference. Also I’m looking forward to trying the different flavors – chocolate and berry – now that I’ve given the plain one a go.

After my GM, I decided it’d be good to go out for a walk/run to loosen up. I started by walking .75 miles, then ran for 4 miles, then walked for another .75. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such bad wind drag! My splits for the running miles were: 10:07, 9:55, 8:55, 9:05. For the first half of the run, I felt like I was moving my legs and they weren’t going anywhere! It was such a strange feeling, but I was hoping on my way back the wind would blow in the opposite direction and help me go faster, and that it did! For the two miles back, there were a few gusts that really pushed me along! Crazy that there was a 1 minute 12 second difference between my fastest and slowest mile on that run. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much of a pace difference during the same run before. I stretched a bunch after I finished and am feeling a lot looser and better now than I was before the run.

After my run, I was HUNGRY. I had gotten some mussels and leeks at Whole Foods last night, so I looked up a few recipes today to get some ideas, and ended up deciding to make them together. I rinsed off the mussels first and threw out the few that were open, and then sliced up the two leeks. I heated up some chopped garlic, dried thyme, and white wine in a wok, and then tossed in the sliced leeks.

I let those go for about 10 minutes, and then put in the mussels and mixed them into the leeks.

I covered the wok and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so. It smelled SO good I was looking forward to it being done! While the mussels were finishing up, I toasted a Thomas Bagel Thin to soak up the extra broth with.

Here’s my serving:

And the toasted Thomas Bagel Thin:

After I ate all the mussels, the bagel thin worked perfectly to soak up the extra broth in the bottom of the bowl:

Yum! This was a really tasty and easy dish. It only took about 25 minutes from start to finish, including chopping everything up and cleaning the mussels.

Question.. Do you like to follow recipes or just wing it in the kitchen? For me, its kind of a mix. I am not very good at following recipes to a T because I like to just do my own thing in the kitchen, but I do like to look up different recipes when I’m figuring out what to cook to get some ideas. I especially like to do that if the ingredients I’m using aren’t that familiar to me (ie mussels and leeks together). But in general, I don’t really follow recipes.

I’m off to pack lunch for tomorrow and then do some reading and relaxing… have a good night!

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