Category Archives: Food

Good reads, good workout, good dinner, good day

I was busy busy busy yesterday. After work, I ran home to grab returns and headed off to the library. Chris currently is into Mad Men, so I picked him up Season 2 and picked myself up a new book. The book I just finished, The Principles of Love, is a young adult novel about a 16 year old girl starting at boarding school. Yes, I’m a 26 y/o with a ivy league degree, but I still love me some young adult fiction. Some y/a novels captures life moments so much better than many adult novels. Do you know what I mean? This book was particularly good at capturing the main character’s emotions, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series. Plus, the book is set at Hadley Hall, so how could I not read it?

A school named after me? (photo by Chris's sister)

Pilates was great yesterday. My instructor has been slowly upping the difficulty level, and yesterday’s class was really demanding. I felt a little Cirque du Soleil with some of the moves we were performing. It’s actually super fun doing these new crazy moves. I sweated more in Pilates last night than I ever have before (sweating = sexy). My teacher waited to the end to point out that we did the whole class without taking any breaks for the first time. I hadn’t even noticed, but I guess that explained the pile of sweat on my mat (sweating = still sexy).

I came home to Chris busy making dinner (swoon). Here’s a look at my plate:

Mock chicken sandwich, corn on the cob, and sweet potato fries.

The Morningstar mock chicken breast made a yummy sandwich when I added some relish and lettuce to give it an extra oomph. The corn on the cob hit the spot, as always. The only disappointment was the sweet potato fries. I was really hoping they would be stellar, but they turned out to be mushy. Next time I’ll make my own instead of buying them from the freezer section.

This morning I had promised myself I would get up early and go for a run. Chris wasn’t able to join, because he had to be at work extra early, so when the alarm went off I just couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed. I hit the alarm and ended up falling back asleep and having one of those dreams where I am back in high school, forgot to study for a French test (it’s always French or Math), and thus end up bombing it. The sleeping-in guilt was talking loud and clear. To make up for missing my run, I will brave the heat and go out tonight. For now, I’m busy hydrating.

Are you a before or after work exerciser?

Let Freedom Ring

My Fourth of July weekend was all sorts of fabulous. Let’s recap, shall we?

Friday: After work, I forced myself to run a 5K. I wanted to make sure I could do the length, since Chris and my first official 5K race (since I was in high school) is coming up soon. It wasn’t so bad! My biggest issue with the run was pacing myself. I went out too slow most of the time, since I was scared I couldn’t make the distance, and then ended up finishing with a lot more to give. I guess over time I will remember how to pace myself? When I ran in high school, I was able to autopilot whatever time I sought, but that skill is long gone. I guess there could be worse problems.

The run paid off. I already proved I will run for pasta. Well, I’ll also run for Mexican. Chris and I meet up with Lauren and her BF for Mexican food. It was finally good real Mexican food, none of that fancy NYC Tex-Mex that drives me nuts. We shared guac to start (fresh-made at our table = awesome), enjoyed sangria (BYOB wine and they do the rest), and I polished off my entire veggie burrito plate, rice and all. I paid for that with a food coma, but it felt so worth it at the time.

Insane amount of Mexi food.

After dinner, I watched my new obsession HGTV, and Chris and I fantasized about buying property all over the world. Julian Alps, I’m coming (one day) to you! We ended the night watching She’s Out of Your League. Good concept, but meh movie.

Saturday: Woke up early for a Saturday (before 9AM = early on the weekend) and headed down to my brother’s place near Princeton. Hadley meet bro’s adorable pup that he rescued last month, Rider, for the first time. At first Rider was timid, but Hadley showed him the ways of the good life. By the end of the weekend, Rider was all play all the time.

Hadley and Rider playing tug of war.

After introducing the pups, we took them on a hike that lead to a pretty waterfall. Hadley was even brave enough to follow us into the water, but then freaked out a little (water and kayakers are Hadley’s two big fears). Even with lifeguard Hadley (I swear he thinks that water is dangerous and only he can save us from it), it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

The evening was spent in New Hope, PA. My brother’s GF recommend an awesome garden restaurant there that offered American, Italian, Thai, and Mexican food! We all choose Thai, and I had my first yellow curry. Very yum. Dinner was followed by walking around the cute town, the bro and his GF trying out chocolate covered bacon, and then we all ended our food fest with ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a good thing.

Teddy bear shaped rice with my yellow curry.

Sunday: Sunday was supposed to be a beach day, but it was raining. We slept in and then headed to a famous Princeton pancake spot, PJ’s Pancake House. We ate at the counter, which made me feel like a kid, so I went with that feeling and ordered a chocolate milk. It really hit the spot.

Chocolate milk goodness.

My egg white veggie omelet with a side of pancakes was huge. I ate two of the pancakes, but failed to eat the rest. Next time, I must remember that my eyes are bigger than my stomach (sometimes).

Too much!

We spent the rest of the afternoon food shopping (outside of NYC = real super markets) and playing lawn sports when the rain finally let up. My parents joined us for a pizza party at night and supplied a strawberry shortcake. Yes, this weekend was a fattening fest.

Monday: We were up early to head back to our apartment. Chris and I spent the rest of the day prepping for our Fourth of July party. We are lucky to have a view of the Macy’s fireworks from our apartment terrace, so we invited over friends to share in the festivities. It was the first time I saw the fireworks live (something I’ve always wanted to do), and it was really great to be able to do so surrounded by friends both old and new. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Let freedom ring (they looked better in person!).

Now it’s back to eating healthy. Today so far = chobani kids yogurt with honey bunches of oat cereal for breakfast and a TJ’s frozen Indian meal for lunch. Some fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries are coming up soon for a snack. You know what, healthy is yummy, too!

How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend?

Will Run For Homemade Pasta

I was short on time when I came home from work yesterday. I had to take Hadley to the dog park and be at dinner by 8PM. But, I also really wanted to take a run. So I decided to risk going to dinner a hot sweaty post-run mess, and after the dog park laced up my sneakers and went for a run.

I’m so happy I took the time – it was my best run yet! My legs felt stronger, my breathing wasn’t all over the place, and I really loved the feeling of pushing myself. When I was done, I was indeed a hot sweaty mess, but I also was filled with an awesome runner’s high. I used that runner’s high to jet back to my apartment, foam roll, ice, and take a super quick shower. Booyah. Yes, I said booyah. I even made it to the restaurant 5 mintues early, so it really was a booyah moment.

Oh, the restaurant. If you’re a fan of homemade pasta, and really, who isn’t, then you must check out Da Andrea in Greenwich Village. Our party of four was able to sit outside and take in the beautiful evening. We split one two carafes of the house red wine, which was a reasonable $25 as were we able to get more pours out of it then a typical bottle. All the breads and pastas are homemade daily and were delicious. I ordered cavatelli with shrimp and salmon in a light pesto sauce. I was glad I went running earlier, because I ate the whole darn thing. It was that good.

I was full, but I still found some room for a mini Pinkberry on the way home. I haven’t had Pinkberry in too long, so I couldn’t resist when Chris beelined for the glowing storefront.

Pinkberry = irresitable

 Source

Tonight my exercise is coming in the form of awsome. Or specifically, in the form of swing dancing at Midsummer Night Swing. The event runs nightly until July 16th at Lincoln Center where a different type of music plays every night. Tonight is big band swing, and I’m super excited! I’ve no clue how to swing dance, but I’ve always wanted to learn.

I’m sure I’ll look just as cool.

Source

Can you swing dance?

A healthy spin on Spinach Dip

I love week nights where I’m productive after work. Last night was one of those nights. When I got home, I took Hadley for a long walk. My knees and body in general was a little sore from my morning run, but taking a walk really loosened me up. I felt much better by the end of it.

After our walk, I dropped Hadley off, picked up my library returns, and headed off for some new finds. In addition to picking up Sloane Crosley’s How Did You Get This Number?, I also nabbed some CD’s. I just discovered that my library has a great CD collection last week, and its fun to explore all these new musical options.

Yes, that's Fiddler on the Roof.

When I got home, I started on dinner. Chris and Evan were both joining me, so I decided to try out a new recipe. I modified a recipe found here to make a healthy dip. I love dips and one of my favorite is spinach-cheese dip. It’s creamy, warm, and delicious. It’s also pretty fattening. This recipe is a great alternative as it’s much healthier and you can decide to skimp on or skip the cheese all together. Plus, its a great way to get lots of veggies and protein into a meal.

Spinach and White Bean Dip

Ingredients: 2 TBS olive oil, 10 oz. frozen spinach, 1 can of white beans, 1.5 TBS lemon juice, loads of garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 cup mozz. cheese (optional).

I sauteed the frozen spinach in a frying pan with 1 TSP of olive oil. When the spinach was wilted and no longer frozen, I added a heavy handed amount of garlic powder. Then I allowed time for the spinach to cool a little. Next I added the remaining olive oil, other ingredients, and the spinach into my food processor.

Full to the brim.

I processed the ingredients on the chop function until it became a smooth mixture. I stopped blending a few times to mix it around with a fork. I threw it in a bowl, heated it up in the microwave (its much better warm), and served with lentil chips. We all loved it!

I love dips.

We dipped dinner paired with Cupcake Vineyards red wine, while watching How to Train Your Dragon. I recommend adding the movie to your Netfix list – it’s a cute, fun, easy watch.

The dragon looked a lot like a cat.

And it was all yellow

After work yesterday I made a quick stop at the grocery store. I’m pretty excited about my buys. Apparently, I was feeling yellow.

Color coordinated food shopping.

I was especially excited about the Chobani’s kiddie greek yogurt. I don’t care that it’s market for children, banana honey Chobani sounded amazing! Note: I had it for breakfast today with the Kashi cereal, and it is indeed amazing.

Not just for kids.

After food shopping, Hadley and I hit up the dog park. He made some new friends and played with an awesome squeaky ball (of course).

More dog park? Again? Please!

Pilates last night was hard. We balanced a small ball on our stomach while doing the moves to practice core control. It took a lot of mental strength as well as physical to keep the darn thing on my belly. Still, it was a good work out, and I left starving for dinner.

Chris came home from work by dinner time, which is always a good thing, especially because he loves to cook. He whipped up a veggie stir fry while I made some brown rice.

I am hopeless in making anything short of instant rice, so of course half the rice came out burnt! There was enough for us for dinner, and we were able to still enjoy our stir fry, so no big harm done. Chris went a little heavy on the cayenne pepper, so I ended up pairing the dish with a little sour cream and a half of tortilla to cut the spice.

We ended our night taking Hadley for a long walk. Now that the weather is nice, I’m excited for lots of night time strolls with my boys. I also finished the lastest Thursday Next last night, and I must say that I’m disappointed. Anyone else read the lastest Thursday Next? What did you think?

Oh, and I may have had a little cup of this:

Nom nom nom

Easy Pan Pizza

Last Sunday, I stocked up on goodies at Trader Joe’s. When I was on the ginormous line that ran throughout the entire store (but moved blessedly  quickly), I grabbed some 99 cent pizza dough. I’ve been thinking about making pizza since my last two pizza creations, and this seemed like opportunity knocking.

Pan Pizza

Ingredients: 1 bag of TJ’s pizza dough, 1/2 onion, 10 mushrooms, enough mozzerella cheese and tomato sauce to cover the pie, salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. You will also need a frying pan. Mine was 12 inches in diameter.

Set out the dough and allow it to sit in the bag for 20 minutes. Use the time to prep your veggies. I threw my onions and mushrooms into the food processor. I’m still getting used to it, so they were a little more chopped than I had desired, but still tasty. When the dough is  ready, spray your pan with non stick spray. Evenly spread out the dough in the pan. Leave some extra dough around the end to roll over to create a crust. Top with sauce, cheese, and your desired toppings and seasonings. Preheat oven to 450. Bake in oven for 10 mintues. The pizza will not be all the way cooked through at this time, (because of the pan), but it should be cooked enough for you to remove it with a spatula and place on the oven racks alone to cook longer. Cook until bottom is browned. Timing will vary depending on thickness of crust. Allow to cool, add some extra parmi, and enjoy! Just like Pizza Uno (only not greasy disguisting).

The before shot.

The ready to come out of the pan shot.

The finished product shot.

 FYI: If you’re careless like me, and happen to be more focused on not burning your pizza instead of your arm, and thus, burn your arm, mustard makes a great cooling agent. It really soothes the burned skin. No clue why, it just does.

Fancy mustard, fancy burn.

My Wheels Will be Spinning

I am so very sleepy. All I want to do is cuddle up in a nice ball and take a nap. Preferably snuggled up with this guy:

Chris can join to, I guess.

Alas, a nap is not in the picture today. There’s a lot to be done, and if I nap I’ll totally mess up my sleep pattern and just be tired again tomorrow. So instead of taking a nap, I’ll just be cranky. Good idea? Great idea.

Pilates yesterday was awesome. Moves are still harder than they were before vacay, but I was able to hold all the positions! I felt like my muscles were going to ripe out of my core at times (sexy image), but nonetheless I held the positions. I will admit that I have a pretty decent pain tolerance. Sometimes having a high pain tolerance is a good thing – like now when I’m trying to jump back right where I left off in Pilates. Sometimes it’s a not good thing – like when I refused to admit that there was something terribly wrong with my knees when I ran competitively back in high school. Or that time when I broke my elbow in 3 places in law school, and before going to the hospital first insisted that Chris take me to the library so I could finish a journal assignment, and then had him stop at Taco Bell (in my defense there’s often a long wait at the ER and I didn’t want to get hungry). But last night, my ability to just pretend the pain wasn’t happening resulted in a good workout. I would like to point out that the Pilates pain was good pain not the bad I’m injuring myself pain. As you can see from my highly academic examples, there’s a difference.

After Pilates I met Lauren for dinner at Mamoud’s Falafel. It wasn’t the best falafel in the world, but a falafel pita was $2.50!!!! That’s just ridiculous. Not even Subway, my broke student standby, is that cheap. So no, not the best falafel, but way better than its price point. I will return.

Link

Right, back to the fact that I’m super sleepy. I’m exhausted because I insisted on waiting for Chris to come home from work before going to bed. I was reading a book (not even a good book), lost track of time, and missed the email that said he was going to be home super late. When he showed up and told me that it was already past 1 AM, I was shocked. We were then idiots and stayed up chatting until nearing 3 AM so now I am le tired. I’ll be cute and say it was worth it, though, to spend some time with him.

Under the super sleepiness, though, I am just a little bit pumped for my evening. I’ve read on so many blogs about how awesome spinning is, so I finally decided to sign up for a class. It’s just one class at a nearby gym so if it’s a total failure then it’s not a big lost. I’m actually thinking it may be a mess. If you’ve been reading for a bit, then you know that I have pretty special knees. I haven’t been on an actual bike since … well I can’t remember. A lot of times when I pedal my knee makes a popping noise, so I usually just avoid bikes. However, I’ve been told that if the stationary bike is at the proper angle, my knee should stay in its proper place and all should be fine. I’ll give it one class and if I come away limping, I just won’t return. Still, I’m excited that maybe I won’t come away with a peg leg and will have found another class to get addicted to like Pilates.

Also, after the gym I’m going to head to the library (if it doesn’t resume raining) and pick out a new book!!! Plus, Grey’s Anatomy is on and oh that show is so bad it’s good. I can’t help myself for liking it. 1L year in law school we used to have Grey’s viewing parties, so I guess I’m not alone in my love. I’ll probably fall asleep watching the show, but that’s actually probably a lie, because I can’t fall asleep sitting up (stinks to fly international with me). Still, let’s hope for an early bedtime tonight!

Ever take a spinning class? Like/love/loathe?

Allergies Strike

I was so naive. I thought I made it through allergy season unscathed. It was already mid-May and I had not a sniffle nor red eye. Maybe my body had gotten over allergies? Maybe I was cured? Maybe they were just waiting to jump once I let my guard down? Yea, it was the last one.

Today, I woke up with that signature allergy feeling – the one where I feel like a cartoon character who stepped on a shovel and got slapped in the face with it. This is a pretty good analogy as my face is puffy enough that it kind of looks like it was slapped with something moving at a good speed. The puffiness is messing with my vision, which is already blurry without the help of allergies. Please forgive my typos.

Okay, so now that I have complained and whined, I shall try to put a positive spin on this post. At least allergies mean good weather and spring. And good weather and spring we have been having all week long. So that’s a happy thing. Another happy thing is I made it back to Pilates last night. I haven’t been in close to two weeks because of vacation and boy did I lose a lot of strength in such a short time! Moves that I could hold somewhat easily two weeks ago I can’t hold the entire time right now. My teacher tells me it should only take about a week to get back to where I was and I hope that’s the truth. At least I left feeling totally stretched out last night, which is always a nice feeling.

After Pilates last night, I got back into the cooking swing of things. I tried out Quorn Chik’n Nuggets for the first time. They were really good and like all Quorn products I’ve tried, tasted a lot like the actual meat. This freaked me out a little bit, but mostly it was a good thing. I paired the nuggets with a baked potato topped with some cheddar. Easy and yummy dinner to eat while working on catching up on lots of DVR from the past week and a half.

One of things I am most excited about being home from vacation is getting back into cooking dinners. I am always looking for some new recipes. What are your favorite spring time homecooked meals?

Lots of Squash

I have a love affair going on with Spaghetti Squash. It’s low in calories, crunchy, can be prepared lots of different ways, and is easy to cook. In my mind, that’s a big win. Tuesday, I made Spaghetti Squash, and have been reaping the profits since. I’ve enjoyed it both on its own and mixed with multigrain pasta for dinner Tuesday night and lunch yesterday and today.

Cutting the thing is the hardest part. Take that squash.

Now take out all the pulp ...

Ready to go into the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Take it out, let it cool, scope it out, and dress it up. Mine has marinara sauce, onions, peppers, chickpeas, mozz, and spices.

Enjoy it on its own or mixed with some pasta. Serve in whimiscal bowl.

Last night, Chris came home from work in time for dinner with lots of leftovers from a meeting. We put aside the Spaghetti Squash for the night and dug into some awesome Indian food:

We now have A LOT of Basmati rice.

We also got to spend an entire night together, which was awesome. You know what will be even more awesome? Spending 9 whole days together uninterrupted on our cruise! 15 days and counting …

Pilates and Puppy Time

Yesterday’s weather was perfect. Maybe more than perfect. At 9PM it was still above 70 degrees. Today NYC is a rainy mess. But let’s focus on yesterday.

After work yesterday, I left in a wonderful, let’s-achieve-a-lot! mood. I mean, it was 70 degrees. I stopped by the library and picked out two new reads. Then Hadley and I traveled to the dog park. He had fun obsessing over a ball, so that was all good and cute.

Following the dog park, it was time to scoot over to Pilates. Since people who were just experimenting with Pilates from the Groupon have either left, or in my case, stuck around for the last two months, we are beginning to up our skill level. In the beginning, Pilates was really hard. My neck would hurt after class a lot. But then, classes became easier and I would wish I had a harder work out. Now I am getting what I wished for. Over the last two weeks, we have been upping both our intensity and skill level. My neck is a little sore today, and yesterday I learnt that I have pretty much no muscles in my middle back. On the up and up, I did learn that I can do a push-up easily enough – something I couldn’t even have faked two months ago. I’m excited to keep advancing with Pilates and learning new moves.

I came home from Pilates starving. Chris is still in the midst of trial (done hopefully this week!!!), so I’m still eating solo. I enjoying cooking for one, because then I can make whatever I want. Yesterday, I wanted a nice big salad. The problem was, I had a piece of salmon sitting in my fridge that needed to be eaten. So I compromised and grabbed a salad on my way home at the food store salad bar and cooked salmon to add to it. While the salmon cooked, I needed to munch on something, so I tried out a recent Whole Foods purchase:

Nutritional info

I’m really excited to have found these chips. Alone, I don’t think they would work, but used as a dipper they are excellent. They have an earthy taste with a little bit of a spicy kick. Lentil chips and hummus was the perfect app to curb my hunger as I waited for my salmon.

New go to snack.

When the salmon was ready, I threw it on top of the salad, and mixed it all together. It was a good compromise.

I ended the night taking Hadley to Rita’s for ices. I got a peanut butter ice and he got custard in a Pup Cup. This is Hadley’s favorite treat, but I only let him have it sometimes, since sugar isn’t good for dogs. He was thrilled to be included in my Rita’s run last night.

I couldn't snap a picture at Rita's (no hands), but doesn't this look like a smug and satisifed dog?

I ended the night reading one of my library picks in bed and tried to wait up for Chris to come home, but failed. I can’t wait to have that boy back in my life!