Mt. Vernon Trail Take Two

We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day and go explore the Mount Vernon Trail again today (where I took my long run last night). Here I am at the entrance, which is just a 2 minute walk from my front door!

As I’m sure can imagine, the trail was packed.

It always makes me happy to see so many active people around! There were tons of walkers, bikers, roller bladers, and runners out enjoying the day.

We brought our softball gloves and a softball and threw the ball around for about 30 minutes. It was our first time this year and it was so fun, though I’m definitely a little out of practice. 😉 The field right off the trail where we were throwing the ball around was pretty close to the airport, so there were planes landing that seemed right above our heads!

The scenery wasn’t too bad, either 😉

For snacks, I had a 100 calorie pack of cocoa roasted almonds.

Love these! And then I had 1/2 of this bar

I wasn’t crazy about this flavor, but it did the trick. After we finished throwing the ball and admiring the scenery, we were getting kind of hot so decided to come home. We ended up walking a little over 3 miles in total and it was a fun way to enjoy the gorgeous day.

Lazy Sunday

Laziness got the best of us this morning so we decided just to stay at home today instead of drive back out to Tysons. Spring is officially here, so some spring cleaning was in order. Not the most fun way to spend your Sunday morning, but I definitely feel better and more relaxed in a clean apartment, and sometimes you just gotta do it!

I woke up really hungry today… I’m sure that has something (everything) to do with yesterdays 9.8 miles! I wanted to make a GM, but I realized I was out of bananas so decided to wait until later. I was craving another yogurt bowl, so I threw a different combo together for breakfast.

This bowl has:

  • ~ 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2 small kiwis, sliced
  • 1 small plum, chopped
  • 2 weetabix biscuits
  • ~1 tbsp almond butter

Great combo. Have you tried these Weetabix biscuits? They are really good and crunchy, but don’t have too too much flavor. I ended up breaking them up and mixing them with the almond butter so it was kind of like almond butter granola-esque and was really tasty and crunchy. Yum! And, I got to eat this delicious breakfast outside on my balcony this morning – first meal out there of the year! That might have had something to do with the fact that today was the first day I cleaned the table out there this year…. but thats a whole nother story 😉

Good news is that I am way less sore today than I thought I’d be. My left knee definitely hurts a bit when I bend down but other than that I’m in good shape. I’m trying to figure out what I should do for a training plan until the 10 miler now that I have a 9.8 mile race under my belt… any ideas?? The original plan was to do 8 next weekend and 9 the weekend after, and then try to do 2 shorter runs (4-5 miles) during the week days. But now, I don’t really want to lose the mileage so I’m trying to figure out what the best way to train for it.

Such a gorgeous day out so I might try to go for a walk, maybe throw the ball around. I also need to run to the grocery store for a few things. Be back later.

Happy Sunday!!

Chef Geoff Tysons

After my delish salad, I hopped in the shower and then went to meet my boyfriend at Chef Geoff Tysons. I was still pretty hungry from the (almost) 10 mile run, so we decided to sit at the bar and have a drink and some food. I got a glass of the Torrontes (just one!), which is a white from Argentina.

I perused the menu and the Tuna Sashimi Napoleon with Wasabi Aioli was calling my name.

The picture doesn’t really do it justice. The ahi tuna is mixed with wasabi aioli, and then its stacked between baked wonton crisps, and then has some crunchy wonton strips on top. There was also a soy vinaigrette on the plate – soooo good. I wanted to get a little something else too, so I ordered a side of green beans with no butter

These were cooked perfectly – still a little crisp, and with a dusting of sea salt. I ate about 3/4 of the beans (there were a lot!) and all of sashimi except for a few wonton strips. I decided I wanted something sweet after I was done with those, so I asked what kind of sorbet they had – coconut, passion fruit, or raspberry. I went with a scoop of the raspberry.

It came with a cinnamon biscotti and I ate all of it. Delicious way to end my day! And we’re actually going back there for brunch tomorrow to check it out and I love brunch so I’m excited!

PS: I am definitely starting to feel sore already so keep your fingers crossed that I’m able to walk tomorrow 😉

Have a good night!

Green Monster 101

Hi! A friend asked me to do a step by step “How To” on making a Green Monster with photos so they could see the process. I have been experimenting for about a week now, and this is the way that I’ve found it works best.

You start by getting everything together that you want to use.

My current favorite combination includes:

  • 1 cup Silk light soy milk
  • 1 large banana
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • ~1/2 cup frozen pineapple tidbits
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • ~1/2 cup ice cubes

You can easily change it around by using any other kind of  milk or fruit combination, but you always want to have something green. I’ve heard of people using kale instead of spinach, but have heard that the kale stays a little “chewy” in the GM even after being blended up, so I’m gonna hold off on that for now. Also, I’ve heard of people steaming the spinach first to release more nutrients, but I just use it raw. You also don’t have to use ice cubes, especially if your banana is frozen.

After getting everything out, I put the milk, banana, strawberries, and pineapple in the blender

And blend that together first to smoothie-like consistency.

Once the milk and fruit are blended together, I add the raw spinach. I use a lot of spinach (around 2-3 cups raw)

Then I use a wooden spoon to mix the spinach into the smoothie

Then I turn on the blender and let it do it’s job!

You see how there’s still green bits in there? I leave the blender on until all those green bits are gone and also add the ice at this point if I want it thicker.  It takes about a minute of blending to get all the ice and spinach broken up and it should look something like this when its done:

And then comes the best part, pouring it in the glass…

And drinking it!

Now I know some people probably use a slightly different process than that, but that’s just what I’ve found works best through experimenting. And, those of you who haven’t yet jumped on the Green Monster Bandwagon, I promise you they are delicious! You can’t even taste the spinach in them at all even though you use so much. You pack in a ton of fruit and veggie servings and its a great energy boost. Don’t slam it til you try it! 🙂

Enjoy!!

Front Page

Turns out my idea to want to sit out outside for drinks was not a unique one last night 😉

We decided to go to the Front Page in Dupont Circle and the whole patio was packed.

Since I was the first one there, I put our name in and they said it would be an hour wait for a table outside. Since none of my other friends were there yet, I decided to just wait outside and read the Women’s Health magazine I had in my purse while I waited for them. I realized I was getting super hungry and was happy to find this in my purse

So good! I hadn’t tried this flavor before and I really liked it.

Our table was ready but none of my friends had arrived yet and I think the hostess was doubting I actually had any friends coming. ha. I ordered a glass of house red to start

and ended up having 2 more and a vodka soda while we were there. My friend Rachel was the first to arrive, so when she got there we decided to order some food and went with the Mediterranean platter.

Delicious! It had falafel, olives, hummus, babaganoush, tazatziki, and pita. We ordered some extra pita because by the time we were done with the bread there was still a ton of dip left. And, we got a side of fries

Lianne and Jess ended up making it after we were almost done with the food and we stayed for a few hours. Here were are right as we were finishing up at Front Page

Thats me, Jess, Rachel and Lianne. We had such a good time and it had been a while since we were all together. We ended up heading to Lianne’s new apartment afterwards and hung out there for a bit before heading home.

Today I got to sleep in late (~10am) and that felt SO good! On the agenda for today is getting a workout in and then going to get a haircut! I always get so nervous when getting my hair done for some reason, but I reallly need it. It’s also supposed to be 76 and sunny today so I’d like to get some time in outside. Come back later for pictures (new hair and food!) and a step by step Green Monster photo montage. Hope you enjoy your Saturday!

Korean Cart, Take Two

Today Emily (my work spouse, as others have put it) and I decided to go sit in McPherson Square to eat lunch, and it was such a good decision. I decided I’m going to bring a designated picnic blanket into work for lunches for the summer so spreading out in the grass is always an option. I brought my lunch but she needed to buy something and asked for an idea, so I suggested the Korean Cart where I got those awesome dumplings!

It is located on K Street NW, between Vermont and 14th St. The food is homemade every morning and the cart is family run. There is a father-daughter team serving the line of hungry people constantly lining up.

And the food is SO good. And affordable, especially for DC!

After Emily picked up her lunch (Mandu with the mild salad), we walked over to McPherson Square to sit and have our lunch, and a lot of other people had the same idea!

Food just tastes better when you eat it in the sun, I think. Here is Emily’s lunch from the cart:

I had leftovers from last night

and two plums

It was really hard to convince myself to come back to work, as I’m sure you can imagine. But, here I am! 🙂

Excited to get through the afternoon so I can hang out with my girlfriends. Happy almost weekend!

Ravioli!

Ahh tomorrow is Friday. Thursday night is definitely one of my favorite parts of the week. 🙂

Afternoon snacks included popcorn

and a Fuji apple (last one!)

Once 5 o’clock rolled around, I did end up taking a nice stroll to Trader Joe’s. It’s about 12 blocks (or around 1.5 miles) from my office and it was perfect outside. I picked up the GM essentials and a bunch of other things I didn’t need (always how it goes for me at TJ’s) but left a happy camper.

I got home and experimented with my GM recipe and found one I really liked AND that’s really green. Woohoo.

This green monster contained 1 cup soy milk, 1 large banana, 3 frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple chunks, and lots of spinach. I realized that if I use just a few strawberries or blueberries, it’ll stay pretty green and still have the extra flavor. That probably should have occured to me earlier but that’s what experimenting is for.

I did a quick run to Target to get a few things, and I found some awesome snack bars.

They are all natural and delicious. I love it when the ingredient list is relatively short on snacky things. I ate one while I was shopping and I actually went back to buy another box – they were that good!

I came home to throw together a quick dinner, and I pulled out this ravioli I had purchased at Whole Foods over the weekend:

These were Roasted Vegetables Ravioli by La Pasta and were incredible. They are described on the front as “Roasted red pepper, eggplant, carrot, onion and zucchini wrapped in whole wheat pasta” and the ingredient list is so short! They are fresh pasta and need to be kept refrigerated, but cook in just 5-6 minutes. They were a little pricey ($6.99 for the box with two servings) but definitely worth it for a quick and delicious meal. I heated up some vegetable broth while the ravioli were draining, and added some white beans and mozzarella cheese. I would have used red sauce, but I was out! I put the ravioli back in with the broth, beans and cheese, and then added some fresh spinach and mixed it all up.

I also had a glass of Rioja with the pasta

that I’m still sipping on now. This meal took about 10 minutes to throw together and was really good. Maybe I’m onto a new theme here 😉

So excited that tomorrow is Fridayyy… I’m meeting up with some girlfriends after work and getting a new haircut Saturday (eek!!) so nothing crazy, but I just looove the weekend!

Moose

Morning! It is still so amazing outside, it makes it so hard to want to be (aka stay) in the office!

I finally finished Moose this morning on the way into work and highly recommend it! If you’ve ever had any issues with your weight or body image in general, I think it’s provides a great perspective on the issue. The book really opens your eyes to the fact that most people who are thin have to work at it. And, a lot of people who struggle with their weight and/or body image will struggle for the rest of their life.  I think when you are heavier, you tend to feel like it’s unfair that you’re heavy and you wish you could just eat whatever you want like all the naturally thin people and not gain weight. I speak from experience. But, the reality is, this is not usually the case. Stephanie Klein provides a light hearted and funny memoir about her lifelong struggles with weight, and if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read, get this book!

Breakfast today was not terribly exciting, but delicious none the less.

I also had

and of course…

a large Dunkin Donuts Coffee (black).

Because it’s so nice outside, I think I’m going to eat lunch in the sunshine! This weather seriously makes me so happy I feel like I’m bouncing off the walls. And, tomorrow is Friday!! Life is good. 🙂

Caffeine Question

Hi, My name is Beth and I am a caffeine addict. No, really.

I drink a lot of coffee. I usually have an XL coffee from Dunkin Donuts every morning, which is huge. I just checked the website and that is 24 oz – aka 4 6-oz cups. If i don’t grab that, I go to Starbucks and get a Venti Americano, which has not one, but FOUR shots of espresso. I never really gave it too much thought until this weekend when I was travelling back home from vacation.

Saturday was travel day, and I was on the phone with priceline.com for hours (another story for another day) so I just forgot to have any coffee. That coupled with me being sickish made for the worst headache ever on the plane ride. Being congested and flying are definitely not a good combo, but adding denying a coffee addict their fix on top of that makes it even worse.

On the weekends at home I usually make french press coffee, but on Sunday I was still getting back into the routine of things and had a lot of stuff to do around the house, so it slipped my mind. That afternoon I felt a headache coming on and it got BAD later at night. I had trouble falling asleep because it hurt so bad.

Come Monday, the line at Dunkin Donuts was far too long for me to wait on it, so I just went into work without coffee. Mid-day I felt a headache coming on, so I promptly went to Starbucks and got a grande Americano (only 3 shots of espresso) and the headache faded away before it even came on.

Then, I kinda freaked out. Coffee is supposed to be a pick-me-up and you should drink it because you enjoy it. That was what I told myself as I got an XL coffee day after day from Dunkin Donuts. Don’t get me wrong – I love drinking coffee. But, it seems its gotten to the point where I am drinking it to prevent a headache coming on more so than because I need a pick-me-up. Plus, on the mornings I haven’t had it, I haven’t been dragging or felt a lack of energy – I think working out and a healthy diet (and green monsters maybe!) have been helping in that department.

So, my point is, I think it’s time I start cutting back on coffee. Step one has been that I’ve started to order a large coffee at DD in the morning instead of an XL. I think I’m going to do that for 1-2 weeks and then switch to a medium, and see where it goes. I’m not against drinking coffee by any means, but the headaches kind of freaked me out a bit. I want to go back to the days of enjoying coffee and not worrying that if I miss my cup a terrible headache will set on…

How much coffee/tea do you drink a day? Have you ever noticed headaches when you don’t have your daily fix? How have you eased yourself off of it, if you’ve tried, or do you just accept having to drink it every day? I’m curious!

Vacation Recap

Back in DC after a looong day of traveling yesterday and finally getting settled enough to share some highlights from my trip! It was SO fun and went by far too quickly. We went to Vieques in Puerto Rico, which is a tiny island off the coast of Puerto Rico, one of the Spanish Virgin Islands. There were four couples in total and three kids, so we decided to rent a villa and ended up in Villa Uno which was amazing. I swear the pictures on the website don’t do it any justice. The house had 6 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, a pool, a ton of outside seating, and was located RIGHT on the beach. I ate a ton of delicious, fried food and indulged more than I intended to, but thats what vacations are for, right? Right.

We had trouble finding direct flights to San Juan from DCA so ended up laying over in Charlotte, NC. I had a bloody mary for my first vacation drink at the airport during our brief layover there.

And don’t mind my pasty white skin crying out for the sun while I sipped it 🙂

Once we got to San Juan, we realized everyone else was stuck there and couldn’t get to Vieques. We had to take a tiny puddle jumper plane from San Juan to the island, and it was rainy and miserable in San Juan so none of the planes were running! We ended up having to spend the night in San Juan and didn’t get to Vieques until Sunday. I had never been to San Juan before, so we went out to dinner with my sister and her husband in Old San Juan and had some great local food. I tried taking pictures but the lighting was so dim and they were turning out horrible, so I gave up. My sister used her points to get us rooms at the Sheraton which was SUCH a nice hotel.

There’s a look in our room. It was so fancy! After dinner we came home and played around in the casino downstairs. My boyfriend and I each lost $6 and then decided to call it quits. Woke up Sunday and actually managed to go the hotel gym before heading back the airport for round 2, which turned out to be my only run of the whole week.. ah well.

We got to the airport Sunday and the planes were running so we finally got to Vieques! The little puddle jumpers were SO scary to ride in because they are shaky and so small and i’m a pretty anxious traveler as it is. Here’s a picture of the plane we took:

They literally hold 9 passengers in total. Crazy! The weather was pretty miserable Sunday but that gave us a chance to unpack settle in, lay low, etc. We were told it would be raining all week so expectations were pretty low, but luckily, the weather shaped up on Monday and we were able to get to the beach! We rented cars to drive around the island because half of the island is Atlantic (where our villa was) and you have to go to the other side of the island for the Caribbean beaches, which are much brighter and calmer and just gorgeous.

We mostly did breakfast and lunches and home and dinners were half and half cooking and out. The food was actually pretty uninspiring at most of the restaurants we went to. It was very expensive, and nothing to write home about unfortunately. The best meals we had were the ones at home!

There was a docking area a few blocks from our villa that we could walk to where local fisherman came to sell their catches of the day. We went to check it out and they had just brought in some lobsters, so we decided to buy 4 large ones to make for dinner.

Doesn’t get much fresher than that! We kept them in the fridge to “chill them out” until it was time to make them for dinner. Here they are all ready for the boiling water 😉

After boiling them for 6-7 minutes, we severed the tails and cut them in half  to finish off in the oven.

We obviously doused them in butter after they came out of the oven and they were delicious. Maine lobster is definitely a bit sweeter than Caribbean lobster, but the texture is similar and there is a lot more meat in the Caribbean ones, so two people can easily share one if they are large. We made salt cod fritters and stir-fried veggies to go with the lobster, and it was an incredible meal.

One of the other awesome meals we had at home was rice and beans with tostones. Plantains are very common on the island (and in Puerto Rican cooking in general) and were easy to come by. I also happen to LOVE them so we had them most days we were there. Here’s a few photos of the meal:

Tostones, white rice with cilantro and jalapeno, homemade mango salsa, and black beans. The mango salsa is so easy to make and sooooo delicious. We make it at home a lot and it seemed quite appropriate for PR. It has chopped up mango, yellow bell pepper (or you can use red), red onion, lime juice, lots of cilantro, and salt. So easy and so good.

I was able to stay away from meat all vacation pretty easily, which I was happy about. If I could do it all again I would probably have picked a day or two to splurge instead of just slurging the whole time. (I say that now that I am home safe and don’t have to stick with that :P.) I ran at the hotel on Sunday and went kayaking twice for about 30-45 minutes. We also did a good amount of swimming and walking, but it was definitely an indulgent vacation but so fun and worth it.

DC’s weather is overcast and rainy and pretty cold so it’s been a little traumatic trying to adjust back to regular life. I am so glad we decided to come home on Saturday instead of Sunday so I had a day to just relax and catch up on things (grocery shop, clean up, unpack, etc). But going back to work tomorrow is going to be ROUGH.

I miss Vieques already!

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