Beer, cheese and beans
My apologies for my brief reprieve — I was out of town this past weekend and have been scrambling to catch up since I’ve been back!
I’ve had quite an interesting past week…As you may recall, I went on a date, but I failed to mention that I actually went on two. Oh yeah, I’m a player.
Okay, I’m not really a player — but I really didn’t expect to go on two dates with two separate people and like both of them. I’m worried this may get me intro trouble, but at the same time I think it will not only help me keep a healthy perspective, but also be…well, fun! I mean nothing malicious by it, I just happened to meet both people at the same time, and for once had good luck!
I am getting together with suitor #1 tonight for some beers and grub at a casual beer-nerd bar, and I’m quite excited. He has invited me to join him along with some friends even though we have only gone out once, so this could end up going very well, or very — VERY badly.
Anywho, this past weekend was spent in Madison! I went to school there waaaaay back in the day (not really) and hadn’t been back since I moved to Chicago last summer. I had a blast seeing old friends and even got to visit with my friend’s brand new 10-week old golden retriever. She is the CUTEST little bugger in the world and I will post more pictures tonight or tomorrow, but here is a little sneak peek:
Meet Shandy :) Doesn’t she look like a stuffed animal? My heart just about melted.
Since I left for Wisconsin right after work on Friday, I didn’t really have a chance to pack much aside from a bag of clothes. Knowing how things tend to go on weekends away though (especially in a state known for beer, cheese and brats), I was worried that I would spend the entire weekend eating junk with nary a vegetable in sight. This did, in fact, turn out to be the case — however, thanks to some savvy preparation on my part, I snuck some healthy foods in anyway!
It was freezing and raining as the work whistle blew Friday, but I trudged over to the grocery store anyway and picked up a few essentials: rolled oats, apples, bananas, baby carrots, Justin’s almond butter packets, red peppers (on sale!) and dried blueberries. The oatmeal was the real lifesaver, as the friend I was staying with had little more than cereal and milk for breakfast — and as we all know, this gal doesn’t do milk. I made peanut butter-y oats with dried blueberries and some borrowed honey + cinnamon both mornings, and even made some for her the the second time around! Her reaction when I arrived with a full bag of oats was hilarious, though — she was looking at me like I was nuts. (Okay, maybe I am a little nuts — but I was happy that I had again made the initiative to be healthy!)
That doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge in some good old Wisconsin fried cheese curds and beer though. Never heard of cheese curds? Look em up. They’ll change your life.
Speaking of taking healthy initiatives, I was really stretching my dedication last night. After staying at work late and stopping home to have a snack, I was exhausted and unsure if I would make it to the gym. I hadn’t been in almost a week and was feeling very sluggish, but was too far out of my regular routine to want to go without much of a battle in my head.
After some serious couch-ridden pondering and a few longing gazes at my pretty pink sneakers, I decided to just go — even if it was already 9:30 pm!!! I know, I’m totally nuts, but sometimes you just gotta make it happen. I did a quick 2 mile run (which, shockingly for me, took almost zero effort!) along with a few full-body power moves (think squats with shoulder raises and walking lunges with bicep curls). In the end, even though I left the gym at the whopping hour oh 10:30 pm, I felt amazing. As Julie said today, “You’re just one workout away from a good mood.” She always has the best mantras!
My lunch today was pretty incredible. I am way impressed with myself, guys — no joke. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in quite some time due both to time restraints (hey, dating takes a lot of time!) and going out of town. So when I was trying to decide what to have for lunch today, I was stumped. But then the simplest (and cheapest — I am way broke at the moment) occurred to me on the way home from the gym — beans and rice!
It’s the ultimate budget food staple, and couldn’t be much easier to prepare. Unfortunately though, I didn’t have any black beans, so I decided to try my hand at a Middle Eastern classic instead — Mujadarrah.
I wanted to kick mine up a notch as well as use some stuff from my giant freezer stash, so this is what went into the mix:
- 1/2 can french lentils, rinsed and drained
- liberal pour of olive oil
- 2 cubes frozen garlic
- handful of frozen spinach
- handful Trader Joe’s fire-roasted pepper + onion mix
- veggie/chicken broth
- sea salt
- cayenne pepper
While I was sauteing the onions and cooking the lentil mix, I made some brown Jasmine rice in the rice cooker, then mixed equal parts lentil/onion mixture and brown rice. It was HEAVENLY. I really had no idea something so cheap and easy to prepare could taste so decadent. And depending on whether you use veggie broth or chicken, this dish can also be completely vegan. Win! I brought a dollop of plain Greek yogurt along and stirred it into the mix to make it nice and creamy, then had a basic salad and honey mango on the side for lunch today. Love.
Off to finish the rest of today’s work, then it’s date night!
Entry filed under: Boozing, Dating, Favorite blogs, Favorite products, Fitness, Food and diet, Motivation, Recipes. Tags: beer, cheese, cooking, dating, lentils, recipes, travel foods, vegan, vegetarian recipes, Wisconsin.