Grapes

Hello from BWI

Hey guys! Hope your Wednesday is going well so far. I am currently sitting in the gate waiting to board my flight at BWI airport. I lucked out majorly getting to the airport today because I hit zero traffic even though I left at 8am, prime rush hour time. Since I was going against traffic (out of dc instead of into it) it worked out well.

I made an eggwhite sandwich to take on the road which was the same as I had Monday morning, except no sriracha. I also brought along grapes, an apple, sliced cucumber, and baby carrots for snacks. I ate the breakfast sammie in the car but haven’t had any of the snacks yet. I’m blogging on my phone so ill come back with pictures tonight once I get to Oklahoma City.

I have a long day of traveling ahead of me because I lay over in Atlanta And then have my flight from Atlanta to OKC. Wish me luck!

So Far So Good

Thank you so much for all your encouragement and ideas from this morning’s post on my goals for the month of June! I think I will do a weekly check in rather than monthly so I keep closer track of how I’m doing with the goals, and so that I will be able to adjust them a bit if necessary. The first week may be a little tricky for me since I’m traveling, but I plan to go back to WW next week, still count points as much as possible, not drink too much (except water!) and try to get 2-3 workouts in while out of town. There is supposed to be a pretty nice gym in the hotel so I will try to go there as much as I can when my schedule permits (not likely on Saturday + Sunday since I will be working 12+ hour days and busy from early morning to late evening).

Lunch today was awesome, and very point-friendly! I’m trying to use up as much as I can of what’s in the house since I’ll be leaving tomorrow, plus eating as many fruits and veggies as I can to cleanse out my system and start the month off right.

Doesn’t that look so good and colorful!? Plus, the whole enormous salad had only 4 WW points.

Onto my plate went:

  • 2 cups baby spinach (0 pts)
  • microgreens (0 pts)
  • garlic sprouts (0 pts)
  • Corn (raw cut off the cob) (1 pt)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (1 pt)
  • 1 roasted pepper (0 pts)
  • 1 serving Doctor Kracker Hummus Maximum (2pts) broken up

Check out all those toppings!

They made the salad fun to eat and delicious since there was so much going on. I’d never broken up crackers on my salad before, though the idea doesn’t seem too revolutionary, but it made for a nice crunch on the salad! Plus the fresh corn added a little soft crunch and sweetness, and the garlic sprouts a spicy garlicky flavor. On the side I had some grapes (1 pt):

So a total of 5 points for a really delicious and colorful lunch. I’ve also already had my 8 cups of water today and plan to keep on drinking, so so far so good for the first day of the month!

Question: What is your favorite low-ish point/calorie lunch? I’ve mentioned this many times before, but I LOVE baked sweet potatoes (3 pts for a large one) with 1/2 cup black beans (1 pt) with a big salad on the side loaded with veggies (0) – total of 4. This lunch was pretty awesome, too, so comes in as a close second.

Biking for Beginners

A few people have been asking me about the bike I bought, how much it was, what I had to buy to go with it, whether I like it, etc etc. so I figured I’d take this opportunity to tell you a bit about my bike!

I need to take some more pictures, which I will post soon, but I bought a Diamondback hybrid. A hybrid is a cross between a mountain and a road bike, and in my opinion is the best of both worlds (unless you want to race – then you should get a road bike!) The tires themselves are much thicker than road tires, but they are still pretty narrow so I can go relatively fast in it. Because I ride on trails that are not just pavement but have dirt, bridges, roots, etc, the tires are sturdy enough to go on all sorts of terrains, but isnt as slow as a mountain bike.

My bike was used and cost $200 – it had new tires, new handlebars, and was fully tuned and ready to ride. If you’re in the DC area, I highly recommend going to the market where I bought mine (Craig’s List ad here) because they have about 40-50 bikes at any time and the guys are very knowledgeable and helpful. They let you ride the bike around and test out different bikes so you can get a feel for what you like best, and they guarantee the bike for 90 days. If anything happens to it, you have any questions, it just doesn’t feel right (or anything other scenario you can dream up!) you can bring it back to them and they will fix it, tune it, or let you pick a new bike.

Here’s a breakdown of some bike equipment you need/might want when you purchase a bike:

  1. Helmet – This goes without saying! You must, must, must MUST wear a helmet! It’s so dangerous and honestly not worth it not to!  One thing I recently learned is that helmets are only good for one hard fall – so if you have a tumble on your bike (which you inevitably will) replace your helmet. Even if it stays intact and looks OK from the outside, they are only designed for impact once, and much better to be safe than sorry!
  2. Padded Bike Shorts – A must in my opinion! I got mine off Amazon.com and they were under $30 and make a world of difference when riding.
  3. A comfy seat – If your bike doesn’t come with a comfortable seat, I highly recommend checking out amazon.com, a bike shop, or Target (where I bought mine for $20!) to get a new one. It makes a world of a difference.
  4. Air pump – This is a must that you have to buy along with your bike or very soon after. You’ll need to put air into your tires after every ride or two, so you need an air pump!
  5. Bike Lock – This is essential if you plan to leave your bike unattended at any time – – to go to the bathroom or into a store if you bike somewhere, if you want to switch from biking to running, to store your bike on the street or on a bike rack. You want to get a U-lock if you can, not a cable lock because those can be easily cut if someone is trying to steal your bike.
  6. Sunglasses or sports glasses – another essential which I didn’t realize until several rides in. There’s a lot of stuff and bugs flying around in the air, and since you’re going so much faster than running, it hits your face/eyes with much more speed! What a huge difference wearing sunglasses makes with keeping your eyes clear of gnats and other nasty things along the way! 🙂
  7. Bicycle gloves – These are optional, but next on my list to buy (don’t have them yet). Especially if you go on long rides, they help with your grip on the handles, they protect your hands/skin from the rub of the handlebars, and they absorb some of the shock when you hit bumps along the road.

I think that’s it! I am SO glad I bought my bike – definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s such a nice break from running, and its non impact. Also, sometimes when I speed by runners, I am sooooo happy to be on a bike going so much faster than I can run! I’ll always love running, but it’s definitely a nice supplement to it. Any other tips for beginners about biking? Especially from more experienced people because I’m such a novice! Or additional questions for people thinking about getting into it?

Now, onto my eats for the day! My afternoon snack was a T&C Sandwich with grapes.

T&C = Tempeh and Crofters Asia. I had 1/4 of a block (1/2 a serving) of raw tempeh sliced on the sandwich and put THE LAST ( 🙁 )of my Crofter’s Asia on both sides of the bread.

It was SO good! It doesn’t taste like much, just adds a nice texture to the sandwich, and definitely adds a LOT of staying power. 1/2 a serving has 11 grams of protein!! And grapes will always have a place close to my heart… love them!

After work I went out for a few drinks because my friend Jess finished LAW SCHOOL TODAY!!!!! Congrats Jess!! I am so happy for her, but it’s definitely making me think twice about what I’m doing/start thinking about “the next step”.. I can’t BELIEVE my friends are already graduating from law/grad school.. my how time flies! I had 3 vodka sodas and then called it quits. I was glad I had that substantial sandwich before going because I didn’t get too tispy and was able to stop after the 3 easily. After I left the bar, I was super hungry, so I decided to (against my own rules) stop at Chipotle for some dinner before heading home. I hadn’t been to Chipotle in AGES and when I walked by, it was calling my name, so I went with it.

I ordered the vegetarian burrito bowl:

I asked them to put lettuce at the bottom of the bowl, and then had them pile on:

  • black beans
  • fajita veggies
  • cilantro rice
  • pico de gallo
  • corn salsa
  • guacamole

It was soooooo good. Their corn salsa tastes SO good and everything felt so fresh even though it was from a chain… I know I said I wouldn’t eat out BUT I only spent $7 and I didn’t leave the bar until 8:30 and needed to eat before it got too late! But I admit I broke my own rule… and I’m not thrilled about it. No more eating out this week at all… hold me to it!!

Nurse Jackie is coming on soon! I’m gonna curl up on the coach and watch some TV. Have a good night!!

Mother’s Day Dinner Recap

Dinner tonight was perfect and I think my mom and grandma both were very happy! 🙂

The drive to Philly was uneventful – – I was sure I was going to hit tons of traffic since tomorrow is Mother’s Day, but somehow it was smooth sailing the whole way from DC to Philly. There were a few slow moving parts of the trip, especially around tolls, but I left just before 12 noon and made it by 2:30!

I brought some snacks to munch on in the car. (Don’t worry – these pictures were taken BEFORE my drive, not during.)

A few grapes.

Three mandarins.

And a KIND Bar – Almond & Apricot flavor.  This was SO good, I honestly can’t believe I went on so long without KIND Bars. I was always a little nervous about having a lot of calories in bars just because I feel like I could eat 3 and still not be full, but these are full of nuts and fruit, so they’re not only delicious, but filling too. Stay tuned because I’m going to be doing a reader giveaway for some of these KIND Bars next week!

After I made it to Philly, my sister and I got to work with cooking! We were lucky to have picked a bunch of dishes we could make beforehand and serve at room temp, so dinner time wasn’t stressful at all. After prepping a lot of the dishes for dinner, I was pretty hungry so I had a little bowl of leftover tomato soup

and some half sour pickles.

We took Wendy’s dog, Sadie, on a walk for about 30-45 minutes after that and it felt good to walk around. The day was gorgeous even though it was a little windy so it was so nice to be outside. My parents came around 5 and we set out some appetizers to munch on while we chatted and drank some wine.

Green olives, goat cheese (covered in ash, paprika, herbs, and plain), a goat cheese red pepper spread, and some sliced baguette and crackers. I munched on a little of everything and it was really good even though I’ve had a LOT of goat cheese today. But cheese and I are friends so I didn’t mind too much. 😉

For a first course (or second, depending on how you want to look at it ;)), we had Chilled Beet Soup.

My sister made this by adding a chopped onion, 1.5 pounds of beets, and 5 cups of water to a pot. She cooked it for 40 minutes, and then pureed it with a hand mixer. So simple, but it was INCREDIBLE. (Also,0 WW points for this soup!) We garnished it with some sour cream and fresh chives from her backyard.

The main course was…

Soft Shell Crabs!! One of my absolute favorites but I hadn’t had them in soooo long. We just dipped these in egg wash and then a mixture of cornmeal and flour, and then cooked them in a pan with hot oil for about 2-3 minutes a side. They crisped up and were out of this world.

We had three side dishes to go with the crabs.

A Smoky Pasta Salad that I was in charge of. We just mixed smoked mozzarella, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, salt and pepper into the cooked pasta. It was simple but delicious, especially if you like smoky flavors because the mozzarella really popped in this dish.

Roasted Corn and Wild Mushrooms with Arugula Flowers.

Watercress and Endive Salad with homemade vinaigrette.

Here’s my plate:

A softshell crab and some of each of the sides. Everything was delicious, and I was so happy to use those arugula flowers! They are so pretty but added that same peppery flavor you get from regular arugula. And the softshell crabs were just perfect. They’re one of my mom’s favorites too so she was a happy camper, too.

Then came dessert, which was amaaaaaaazing.

Doesn’t that look professional?? My sister and I made it FROM SCRATCH, though she deserves most of the credit.  She was in charge of the crust, and I made the custard filling, and then we topped it with fresh strawberries she picked up at the Farmer’s Market. My piece:

Ahhh it was so good and such an amazing way to end the meal. I don’t know the last time I had something made from scratch that I actually helped make so it tasted that much better! Dinner wrapped up around 8:30 so my parents went home and now I’m just watching a movie with my sis and her hubby.

I am exhauuuusted so will definitely be going to bed soon. I hope Saturday is treating you well, too!

Baked Tempeh

Happy Friday Eve! 🙂 My new favorite way to look at Thursday nights. Today has been a really good day, though nothing terribly exciting happened. The highlight (besides lunch) was probably that Farmer’s Market right by my office opened up today, which is so convenient for me. I literally have to walk through it to get to the metro, whereas the one I’ve been going the last few weeks is about a 20 minute walk from my office.

Here’s what I picked up from the Farmer’s Market.

I got:

  • a dozen farm fresh eggs
  • 3 parsnips
  • arugula flowers
  • spring onions
  • 1/2 log goat cheese
  • one multigrain roll

I did really well and got everything for under $20. I’d never heard of arugula flowers, but they basically grow out of the top of the stalks of arugula and have the same peppery taste but are also pretty to look at. The vendor had some out to try and I thought they were so tasty that I decided to buy some. I also haven’t had farm fresh eggs since… I can’t even remember the last time. I can’t wait to try them! I didn’t want to get too much stuff because I’m going away this weekend for Mother’s Day, but I think I did well with my choices.

After getting home from the market, I went on a long bike ride after work and it felt so good! I did 16 miles that took me around 1 hour 15 minutes, which is a 13 mile/hour average. I’m happy with that pace because the wind was blowing hard against me during the first half of the ride and then magically the wind disappeared on my way home when I was hoping it would push me along. The Garmin says I burned 781 calories on the ride, but I recently found out that it calculates your calories burned not by heart rate, but instead by age, activity and pace. I was a little disappointed about that because that means its a lot less accurate than I was thinking.

For an afternoon snack, I had a bowl of fruit around 4pm.

I just brought in the grapes, but when I went back to get them there was leftover food from a meeting, so I took advantage of the starfruit and kiwis that were on the platter. Yum!

Pre bikeride, I had the roll from the Farmer’s Market. I put almond butter on half, and Crofter’s Asia on the other half.

This was SO good. The bread was really fresh so the outside was crispy and the inside soft. And with almond butter and superfruit spread? Delicious.

After my bikeride, I was huuuungry. I decided to do some roasted veggies and the other half of the block of tempeh I opened last week. For the veggies, I took one large parsnip and one sweet potato and peeled them and cut them into chunks. I sprayed nonstick spray on the pan and then spread them in a single layer.

I sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and then threw them into the 400 degree oven. I roasted them for 2o minutes, and then flipped them over and roasted them for another 20.

For the tempeh, I spread some of this minced ginger on each side:

And also added some rice wine vinegar, ponzu sauce (citrus soy sauce), and salt and pepper.

I baked the tempeh at 400 for 15 minutes on each side and it came out perfectly.

I served the baked tempeh with half of the potatoes and parsnips.

Sort of random but it was exactly what I was craving. Everything turned out perfectly and I think this might have been my first time ever having baked tempeh! It’s flavor was delicious with the ginger, rice wine vinegar, and soy, whereas raw it didn’t have too much flavor, but I still liked the texture.

I’m off to catch up on the Biggest Loser and then get to bed. Have a good night!!

Unwrapped Lettuce Wraps

Hey! Those Chia Seeds seriously kept me full until after 1pm.. unheard of. I’m excited to experiment with them in different ways because there are a ton of ideas all over the place!

For lunch today, I used leftovers from last night’s lettuce wraps to make a salad.

Onto my plate went:

  • torn organic green leaf lettuce
  • bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup rice noodles
  • mango chunks
  • marinated tofu
  • pickled red onions for garnish

There was so much going on in this salad and the flavors were awesome. It was easier to eat than the wraps last night because the lettuce didn’t work well to hold everything together.. so throwing it all together and diving in with a fork worked well. With the salad, I had some red grapes (on sale at Whole Foods!)

And a serving of Dr. Krackers Seedlander Snackers.

I had commented on Kath’s blog about how I had never tried these crackers before but they look so good, so someone from Dr. Kracker reached out to me and asked if I’d like to sample some. They sent me a box with all the flavors, so I’m really excited to make my way through them. According to the Dr. Kracker website, “Millet-crunchy and molasses-sweet, our Seedlander Kracker is baked with our specially milled, 100% whole grain organic spelt flour, combined with organic pumpkin seeds, millet, sesame, flax, and poppy seeds. Its sturdy texture and nutty, slightly sweet flavor make it the perfect cracker for cheese and fruit plates and creamy dips and spreads.”

As you can see from looking at these up close, they are LOADED with different kinds of seeds. They are very crunchy – in fact, I was a little taken aback by how hard they were at first – but once I got used to them, I was in love! They taste so good, and have just a hint of sweetness. They went great with my sandwich and I’m looking forward to figuring out new ways to use them and try the other flavors!

As I was eating my lunch, I noticed that I ate my whole salad first, then moved onto the crackers, and then finished with the grapes. I never really noticed before that I finish one thing before moving onto the next.. strange!

Question for today: Do you eat a little bit of everything in your meal and finish it all together, or do you finish one item at a time (like I do apparently!) when you’re eating?

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Anyone have any fun plans?