Archive for December, 2010

I am such a slacker

Guys, I am so bummed! I had this awesome sounding recipe for coconut lime shrimp from One Fit Foodie that I was totally psyched to try out for dinner. After I got home later than I would have liked from an appointment, I set to work getting things prepared for dinner. First, I made some instant brown rice (blegh) that turned out way too gooey. Then when I went to thaw out my shrimp,  I realized that the bag had been open in the freezer and all of it was freezer burned. Gross!

I decided to roll with the punches anyway and make coconut lime chicken instead. While it was simmering (and I was attempting to salvage my gross mushy rice) it smelled amazing, so I figured it would turn out delish anyway. WRONG. I must have put way too much lime juice + lime zest in or something, because I could barely taste the coconut over all that TANG. I was so sad because it smelled amazing, and the recipe was even healthy, but my messed up version tasted like I was sucking on a lime. I tried adding a little bit of sugar to cut some of the lime and it helped a bit, but I think I will just have to tweak this one a few times before I get it right. Kitchen fail. Let me know if any of you try it out and succeed!

mine didn't look anywhere near this delicious :(

source

Anyway, after my chicken-shrimp-lime disaster, I decided I needed a glass (or three) of wine on the couch, and watched an episode of the Millonaire Matchmaker (I’m a classy lady) from my DVR. Nope, no gym. By the time it was over it was almost 10 (!) already, so I cleaned up the kitchen and hopped into bed to watch a movie. I was hoping to fall asleep quickly, but I was so engrossed in this documentary I turned on from Netflix that I watched the whole thing. I must warn you, it reflects my social and personal views, so if you’re a conservative lady, you might want to steer clear of this one.

Going to be another busy day today. The weather is so gross and rainy, but I have plans to meet up with a friend or two after work for some delicious food and drinks. Can’t wait!

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December 30, 2010 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

A busy, but decent day

I really should be focusing on work right now…but my brain is frazzled and I’m taking a mini lunch break. I also needed a dose of green tea, so it’s a good time to update!

Remember my wish list last night? Some of my wishes came true! Well…I didn’t make it to LOFT or Banana Republic (although they have a pair of pants that they’ve altered and I’ve been neglecting to pick up for over a week now…eek), but I did get to TJ’s! I decided to rent a Zipcar and pick up some goodies without worrying about lugging them onto a bus. My list was especially long…

lotsa veggies!

Does anyone else write their lists like this? I feel like my mom’s grocery lists are always so organized, sectioned into parts of the store. I just write it down as it comes to mind.

Anyway, I hit the jackpot at the store. We’re talking a 3-digit bill, lovelies. But I got a bunch of stuff that only TJ’s has, and stalked up a fair amount of stuff that I can freeze. I also got some “tuna for cats,” whatever that means, for the kitties. They will appreciate it greatly, I’m sure.

Last night’s dinner was…well…not really dinner. I hit the gym right after work and got in some great cardio on both the bike and finally getting back on the treadmill! I hate running, but I love that it’s a challenge, so it’s difficult to get bored. If I give up…it’s because, um, it’s hard. I have gone through all of the decent reading material stocked at my gym this month, so I decided to watch TV instead, and ended up watching some really stupid show on TLC called “Infidelity” about…you guessed it, marital infidelity. Bleh. Could have done without that. But after cardio, I got in a great set of upper body exercises, and boy am I sore today!

After the gym, I ate a quick PB sandwich to tide me over until later because I had about 15 minutes before my Zipcar reservation! I’m glad I ate before I went to the store because I was already so excited about all the awesome food, I probably would have walked away with twice as many groceries had I been hungry!

I was just a little peckish after getting home and unloading 19,000 pounds of groceries, so I spread some goat cheese and fig spread on some Whole Foods mini whole wheat pitas, and had some nuked asparagus with olive oil, sea salt and garlic powder on the side. Yum!

Because I was feeling so ambitious after my kickass grocery run last night, I made today’s lunch before even going to bed, and I am glad I did! Look at my pretty salad!

I wish all of my meals were this pretty

My salad had some baby Romaine, a sliced red bell pepper, half a sliced cucumber, some tomato-basil Feta, sesame seeds, garlic powder and grape tomatoes. Deeeeelish. I also had a sandwich thin with goat cheese and some sliced turkey and a sliced orange on the side. Since I’ve been working on portion control, I keep challenging myself to eat more slowly, go a little at a time, and most importantly, pay attention to how full I feel after each meal. I think my brain is so programmed to eat huge meals that it doesn’t realize I can fill up on smaller amounts of food. This lunch isn’t tiny, but it’s not huge either, and I was definitely starting to feel full after eating the salad first. A work in progress…

Time to get back to work! Isn’t my mug cute?

break time!

 

 

December 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Thinking about the new year

I wasn't counting these bad boys last night!

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I made sure to get myself into bed early because I cheated and skipped the gym for a hearty meal and a few glasses of wine instead (oops!). I watched a few episodes of Modern Family (which I just started watching…it SO funny…you can find it on Hulu here) and read a chapter or two of Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. After practically falling asleep with my head in the book, I figured it was time to hit the hay, so I turned off my light and snuggled up next to Mojo.

And I laid there.

You may or may not know me (more likely not…), but I’ve always struggled somewhat with anxiety. Thankfully, after amazing support from friends and family, I have gotten it “cornered,” and I can function pretty normally without letting it disrupt my life like it used to. Every once in awhile, I can feel that familiar ache creeping back into my stomach, and that hard to describe feeling running through my head. Last night was one of those nights.

While I’m lucky enough to be living on my own in a fabulous part of Chicago, I still have to live with roommates to share expenses. Having roommates can be fantastic and a of fun for many reasons: there is always someone around to watch tv with or chat, bills are dramatically lower, and an endless closet! Things were going this way for awhile in my current living situation, but recently they have been falling apart. There was, for lack of a better word, a fallout right before everyone left for the holidays and things have been, well, up in the air since.

I can’t say that I wasn’t at fault at all, but I felt that I was not treated respectfully, maturely or fairly, and I’m angry that I’m left feeling uncomfortable in my own home. Thankfully I was able to have some time away from it all since this blowup occurred right before the holidays, but I have been dreading the return of the instability ever since I left.

I’m hoping that things will move more smoothly since we’ve both had a chance to step away from the situation and calm down, but despite my many attempts, I feel like this roommate is not making the effort to come to a workable and mutually agreeable compromise, and would rather just fight instead. I really wish this person would think twice and, well…grow up.

Anyway, my stomach was in knots last night, and I’m definitely more antsy and unfocused than usual today. Some positive and forward thinking is just what the doctor ordered. Of course, retail therapy ranks up there too. Here are the three places I have on my mental checklist at the moment:

I’m trying to hold off as long as I can, having just paid off part of my ASTRONOMICAL credit card bills. I wish I could blame it all on the holidays, but the sad truth is that they were already pretty high before the gift-buying season. On the bright side, I’m lucky enough to not have any student loans, and I feel like the amount of debt I have compared to people my age is pretty low. This will just have to be one of my…dum dum dum…goals for 2011!

I know, a silly New Year’s Resolutions list, right? Nope. Goals. I like the phrase goals because it allows for more flexibility. As anyone else knows, a failed resolution can really hurt your confidence and self worth — didn’t lose 10 lbs? You failed. Didn’t pay off your entire credit card? You lose. But what if you set these goals, and perhaps you don’t make it all the way, but you make progress — maybe you lose 7 lbs, or you’ve paid off more than half of that card. It can be really inspiring to look at what you did do rather than what you didn’t.

So without further ado, here are my goals for 2011:

  1. Find a mix of affordable and cheap beauty and healthcare products that work really well for me, and stick to them. I need to stop wasting money on things that I try once and toss, or worse yet, sit around my cluttering up my apartment with unused things!
  2. Continue the healthy lifestyle I’ve been working on for the past few years, but also continue to tweak and improve it. I need to get better about making meals the night before, utilizing leftovers/not wasting food, incorporating more vegetables and less fat/cheese/bad carbs into meals, and eating out less frequently. I love my food, but I’m still working on finding the right balance.
  3. Get better about putting things away right after I use them. Nuff said.
  4. Open and file/toss my mail right away, no exceptions. I’m really bad about this.
  5. Go to the gym and/or exercise (actual sweaty, heart pumping exercise) at minimum 2 times per week and maximum 6 (hah!) times per week. Any less would be unhealthy, and any more is…um…unrealistic.
  6. Make a stronger effort to be a good listener. This is something I’ve been working on for a few years now, but I really feel that we could all improve on this. I’m a talker, so sometimes I don’t realize that I’m not being as good of a listener as I need to be.
  7. Be a better person. I’m not sure of the specifics of this one, but it’s always something we should keep on our minds.
  8. Scale back on impulsive purchases. I’m really bad at this one, and my bank account can prove it. I have everything I need more or less, so I really need to watch this and ask myself, every time, is this a “want” or a “need?”
  9. Meet a cute, nice guy. Go out with said cute, nice guy. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

What are your goals for 2011?

December 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Someone should pay me to do this + garlic mashed sweet potatoes

Do you ever have those moments where you totally amaze yourself?

I know I’m a good cook, and when I’m actually putting the effort into it, I can come up with some really incredible meals. One skill I have yet to nail down, though, is cooking an elaborate or really fabulous dinner without either a) dirtying 29034954834958 dishes or b) taking 3 hours. The stuff I whip up on an exhausted Monday evening like this one still tastes great, but I have a short list of standbys that doesn’t vary much from pasta, a Lean Cuisine, or chicken and veggies. I try to keep it healthy, but it’s usually not very imaginative.

On the bus ride home from work tonight, I could barely keep my eyes open. Having already decided a trip to the gym was just simply not in the cards, I was trying to come up with a way to cook something decent that wouldn’t totally make me feel like a slob. Next thing I know, I have this:

hot, filling and deeee-licious

I apologize for the bite taken before the picture, but i couldn’t help myself! I pan seared a frozen filet of salmon from Whole foods, steamed some asparagus and — the piece de resistance — made whipped garlic mashed yams. YAMS. Oh my gosh, they were so good, I had to share:

Laura’s super easy, garlicky, clean-your-plate, single gal mashed yams

Ingredients:

1 medium yam, washed, peeled and chopped into smallish cubes

1/2-2 cloves garlic (as little or as much as you like) peeled and minced

small lump butter (again, as much as you like)

about a teaspoon of good quality olive oil

sea salt to taste

2-4 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Fage)

Directions:

Boil water in a medium saucepan and drop chopped yam into water. Boil until soft, about 10-15 minutes. While yam is boiling, melt butter into garlic and olive oil on medium low in medium saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes until butter is melted and flavors combine. Drain yam in colander and place into medium bowl. Add garlic butter, sea salt and Greek yogurt. Mash with potato masher or fork until smooth or desired texture. Quickly heat in microwave if the Greek yogurt cooled it off too much. Serve with other delicious food or by itself, on plate or straight out of bowl. Enjoy.

I apologize for the lack of specific directions, but this is exactly how I made it and it turned out great! You can adjust the recipe to your taste, and of course for more servings. I loved this because on top of being delicious, it was really easy to make and didn’t leave me with gobs of leftovers. Yum!

December 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

Prepare for the worst, feel the best!

Hi everyone!

I hope you have returned safely from the holidays (whether it was from a family member or loved one’s home or simply the couch) and were lucky enough to have great company and delicious food to satisfy your soul as well as your tummy.

I’m sad to say I’m back at the office this week, although I’m still lucky enough to have a short week with Friday off. I wasn’t aware that “grown-ups” had this week off, but judging from quite a few Facebook statuses, I was wrong! I’m quite jealous :(

Buuuuuut, today is still better than most Mondays because I have started my new job! The company I’ve been working for promoted me to a new role. I was initially supposed to begin my new duties after the new year, but they were so ready for the extra help that it was pushed up to today! Very exciting. And if you’re wondering, no, I’m not blogging on the clock — it’s my lunch break! :)

So speaking of lunch, I thought I would share a little dilemma that I run into from time to time, and have been working around ever since I’ve worked in an office setting. I usually walk to our local supermarket (which is only about a block away) once or twice a week on my lunch break to get a quick and health-focused shopping trip in. I went today because I needed to pick up a set of fancy highlighters (I’m oh so special!) and figured it couldn’t hurt to grab a few more pieces of fruit.

I bought less than I usually do (although I was really glad I remembered that I needed cereal for home!) and got a few bananas, some oatmeal to keep in my desk and some deli meat to go with the rest of the sandwich fixins’ I had for lunch. Unfortunately when I got back, I realized I didn’t have bread for my sandwich! I usually leave it in the fridge here, but it must have been tossed out or inadvertently came back home with me. Either way, I was stumped — what’s for lunch now??

Luckily, I have been in this situation enough times to have a backup plan (I’m quite possibly the most forgetful person on the planet. Really, I lose everything), and I had a few of these stashed in my drawer:

yum

With the addition of a tasty baby Romaine, feta and grape tomato salad, a slice of the deli turkey I bought (consumed while waiting for the soup at the microwave!) and some of my faaaavorite citrus fruits ever (below), I ended up with a healthy, balanced lunch despite my little hiccup.

cute AND easy to peel!

I’ve learned that no matter where you work, or how good you think you are about packing a lunch, always always always keep a few healthy snacks, breakfast items and quick lunch substitutes in your desk drawer or office space. It can make a big difference in your day and also protect your wallet! Just think — if you forget your lunch one odd day, you can have rich, tasty, CHEAP soup instead of ordering a so-so sandwich from Jimmy John’s. Save your splurges for times when you can really enjoy them — not when you’re sitting in front of a computer screen.

Some examples from my desk: bananas (I buy them super green so they stay longer), Oat Revolution instant oatmeal packets (the pouch serves double duty as a measuring cup so you’ll never have mushy, watery oatmeal again!), walnuts, black bean soup, and — a new one as of today — Justin’s nut butter packets. I haven’t tried it yet, but they come in lots of tasty different flavors, are portion-controlled, and run between 70 and 99 cents a pack! I bought one each of honey flavored almond and peanut butter. Should go nicely with my honeycrisp apple for a snack. Yum!

they were out of chocolate at the store :(

I’m a little disappointed with my workouts over the past week, but have a fun, new inspiration to get me moving again (more on that later…). Adieu for now!

December 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Merry Christmas!

image

I hope that whatever you’re celebrating and whoever you’re celebrating it with, you have a safe, wonderful and happy day.

December 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

No work today means…

Sleeping in!

Yesterday I somehow made it to the gym, then had time to shower and head out to dinner with Megan, where I ate this:

all that is holy

Oh. mah. gawd. If you live in Chicago, hit up Spacca Napoli in Uptown (I think). I couldn’t do justice to this pizza if I tried, so I’ll just let you drool over the picture.

Short post today. Slept in after Meg stayed over because we were out LATE seeing The Black Swan. I seriously had no idea what to expect with that movie, but I can say with total confidence that I have never been that uncomfortable in a movie theater. Ever. That movie made me want top pop some Xanax.

Off to run some errands and stop at the gym on my way home, then pack up a bag for my parents’ place over the holiday! Can’t wait!

December 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

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