Category Archives: reading

Healthy Living in the News

Fascinating study today in the NYT on diet and food choice’s affect over an elongated period of time. Read full article here.

Short summary for those of short on time:

20 years research following group of people to see how their diets influence their weight. Overall summary is that it’s not entirely about how much you eat so much as eating the right things and exercising. There is such a thing as “bad” foods and “good” foods.

“The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound).”

“An increased intake of dairy products, whether low-fat (milk) or full-fat (milk and cheese), had a neutral effect on weight.” –> Thank goodness!

“And despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period.”

Yogurt is linked to be the best food for weight management/loss. Bring on the Chobani Greek yogurt!

Yogurt = awesome

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?

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

Mamoun’s v Maoz

Lauren and I are on a quest to find our favorite falafel place. To achieve this goal, we have to try lots of different falafel. Hard, I know. Two weeks ago, we tried out Mamoun’s. This week, it was time to try out a popular falafel chain, Maoz. I’ve heard good things about Maoz from friends, but in general I’m always weary to try out any chain place (including Mamoun’s which is a smaller chain), because I never find chains to be good as individual restuarants. Still, it was on the list of falafel places, so last night we hit it up.

One of their many locations.

We both order falafel pitas. I chose to add feta to mine (everything is better with feta) and paired it with a soda. It came out to a little under $9. This was more expensive than the uber cheap Maumod’s, but still cheap for NYC standards.

Maoz works by giving you a pita stuffed with only lettuce and falafel (and in my case feta). Then you hit up their extensive salad bar to stuff your pita. The only problem is, it was hard to choose from all their options. This is what happened:

How does one eat this?

 I learned that I cannot properly stuff a pita. My pita was so overstuffed that I lost a falafel ball to the floor. This was pretty sad, until I tried the falafel and decided it didn’t have much flavor. In fact, the whole thing just didn’t taste right. The feta was chewy and tasteless – I never don’t like feta so this was a big thing – and a lot of the pickled veggies tasted sort of sweet. Really, the whole thing was just odd and a disappointment. So Mamoun’s v Maoz? Definately Mamoun’s.

After our disappointing dinner, Lauren and I decided we needed something reliably tasty. We took a walk and grabbed Italian ices. Lauren was sweet and bought mine for my belated birthday, so I went all out and threw some custard on top to celebrate.

Mint chocolate chip and cheesecake ices topped with chocolate custard. Yum!

 When I came home, I found Hadley hiding from the heat. This dog just does not do warm weather. Give him snow, and he’ll play in it for hours. Give him sun, and you’ll find him here:

What? Caves are coolest.

Chris worked late so I took the time to do me-time things. I watched the Oprah finale I DVRed, which was a bit of a let down. Then I read Women’s Health in bed, and learned some great information. I just ordered a year-long subscription last night for $5 from a deal site. They offered me to add a subscription for Self for $2 additional. Lots of good magazines are coming my way!

What are your favorite me-time things to do? Favorite magazines?

Scenes from Another Book Club

One of the first things I did when I moved was join a book club. I thought it would be a great way to read new books I never heard of and make friends in my new area. When I discovered a book club that combined all my loves- food, wine, and books – I was sold. There are two meetings held a month, but I usually go to one so that I have time to read books of my own choosing, too. Every meeting has a food theme based on the book. Every member brings one potluck dish and one bottle of wine. That’s right, a bottle of wine a person. All the leftover bottles are a gift for the host to keep, which I think is a neat idea.

This month we read Mysteries of Pittsburgh. This book was not for me. I immediately felt like there was a Great Gatsby element to it – a book I hated, sorry – and it just got further from my taste from there.

Apparently someone liked it enough to make a movie.

 Source

Still, the food at book club was amazing, and now I can say I read a book that was outside my normal literary taste. Book club this past week was a Sunday brunch and the theme was to bring a food that reminded you of your hometown. Immediately I knew that I wouldn’t be cooking for this one, but rather, buying bagels. When I lived away from the land of good bagels (namely DC – how can no one in DC make a decent bagel?!), all I craved was a good warm bagel with cream cheese. So bagels, I brought, along with some OJ for mimosas.

Clockwise: My bagels, homemade crepes, egg noodles with cabbage, french toast casserole.

Clockwise: Turkey roll-ups, Quiche, Bacon and Cheese Grits

Potato and Cheese Periogies

Rhode Island Pizza Strips

Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream Cake Cups

And I didn’t even got a photo of everything! What would you bring to represent your hometown?

Greek Ends, Life Goes On

If you don’t watch Greek or haven’t watched the finale, go ahead and skip this first paragraph:

Anyone else a huge ABC’s Family Greek fan? I cannot believe it just ended last night. I understand that all good things must come to an end, and I will even give you that this show was coming to its logical end, but I really wish they were given a full season to wrap things up. It seems like the show was cancelled a few episodes in to this season, and they had to tie up all their loose ends. Fast. And they made all lawyers look evil in the process. “You have to choose between your future and your friends.” Really horribly unrealistic law professor? But I digress. Ignoring the bit where they sent Casey and Evan to law school and didn’t know how to handle it, I found this to be an amazing season. The entire show was a surprise to me. It was the little show that could, with great characters that evolved over the series, witty jokes, realistic and unrealistic college moments alike, and their running joke with the Plain White Tees as frat brothers. When the show began – and even up to mid-way last season – I didn’t want Casey and Cappie together, but by the end they proved that they deserve to be with each other. The last two episodes were rushed and somewhat messy, but overall Greek stands tall as one of my favorite shows. Now Army Wives is my favorite hour long show on TV. How sad is that?

Back to your regularly scheduled program:

Pilates felt so difficult last night. I think it’s because I used my ab muscles a lot when I was running on Sunday. I felt beat and so darn hungry by the time class was over. When I came home, I immediately made dinner. I combined left over veggie fried rice from a nearby Malaysian place with a bunch of tofu. I know a lot of people say that tofu unseasoned has no flavor, but I really enjoy it. I was still hungry after dinner – why am I just ravenous some nights – so during Greek I enjoyed some frozen yogurt. After dealing with the end of Greek, I ended the night by starting a new book.  I am only two chapters into The Circus in Winter, but I can tell this is going to be a good one. My goal is to read 25 books in 2011, and so far I’ve gotten through 6. The last book I was reading, I had to abandoned because it was still boring me 200 pages in. I hate giving up a book, but sometimes it’s just not worth the effort.

Any book recommendations?