Ultimate hangover [+ easy peasy caprese]
Hi friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend, full of relaxation time or crazy time. Mine was a strange combo of both.
My “ultimate hangover” had two parts — food and booze. Let’s just say I was not so good to my body this weekend…
Last week was one of the most stressful weeks in recent memory. I was waiting to hear about the fate of my current job and whether it would be continued, and if that wasn’t in the cards, whether another position I had interviewed for would give me an offer. My plans for a date were also rescheduled twice then canceled, which not only bummed me out, but brought out some serious insecurities that I struggle with whenever I’m dating someone. I’ve been lied to too many times (in my opinion, once is too many), so I was feeling very vulnerable.
I wouldn’t call myself an emotional eater. When something bad happens, my first urge is to swig a glass of wine, not eat a piece of cake. (Hmm — does this make me an emotional boozer? Haha). Luckily I’ve leaned that a trip to the gym is usually a good substitute that will usually, at least temporarily, chill me out. I am, however, much more inclined to go totally lax on my eating habits when I’m stressed. I tend to tell myself that I don’t care, or that at this point that bowl of pasta bathed in cheese is necessary. Or I’ll go out to eat instead of making something healthy at home.
This was one of those weekends.
Thankfully (and I am thrilled to announce) that I got a call Friday morning with an offer for a new job! Unfortunately, I had stressed myself to the breaking point by Friday, and was in bed with a seriously congested head and a fever when I got the call, but it made my day nonetheless. While I was thrilled (and officially called back to accept the offer a few hours later), my stress levels were still through the roof.
I can say with near complete certainty now that I rarely get sick unless a) I pick something up from riding the bus every day, or b) I am completely stressed out, which is usually coupled with little sleep and not enough fruits, vegetables and other healthy stuff. Alcohol is sometimes thrown into the mix as well. This weekend, my main sources of “nourishment” comprised of mac and cheese, shrimp and cheese grits, buttermilk fried chicken, a steak sandwich and a giant bowl of pasta. There were no vegetables to be seen. But there was lots of beer. LOTS of beer.
Thankfully, these weren’t all in entree size and were instead enjoyed in tastes and sharing sizes, but needless to say, I still felt like…well, shit. I also dealt with two serious hangovers.
Are any of you emotional or stress eaters? How do you get yourself back on track?
After sleeping in to catch up some desperately needed Z’s, I finally got myself over to the gym. Since my cold is still lingering around and preventing any use of my nose, I kept it light to 20 min on the recumbent bike (set on random hills at level 10) and 20 minutes on incline intervals on the treadmill (speed 3.3-3.5 with inclines from 1.0 to 11.0). I tried to complete one of my WH workouts, but after one superset, I realized that there was no way I could do these without doing them half-assed, and that just seemed pointless to me, so I plopped down on the mat and stretched out instead.
And then…Trader Joe’s happened.
While Chicago has gloriously acquired a new Trader Joe’s pretty close to my house (and on my way home from work) on Diversey, it hasn’t been completed yet, so I have to rent a Zipcar if I want to buy more than a backpack’s worth of food and take two buses to get there.
Yesterday was a Zipcar day, and boy did I stock up.
How can you not get completely excited and overwhelmed at TJ’s? They have a zillion new things every time I go, and they have my favorite foodie finds at ridiculously low prices — things like goat cheese (in spreadable, sliced, medallion and every other form you can think of), smoked salmon, frozen shrimp, endive, pre-cut and washed leeks and more. Their produce isn’t always the best but beyond that, TJ’s is essentially my dream come true.
My bill (take a deep breath) was $170. I was almost ashamed of myself, but after a particularly veggie-deprived weekend, I felt good looking down at the four-bag bounty in front of me, full of fresh lemons, avocados, fresh basil, salad fixins, peppers, salt-free spices, white bean chili and even some frozen (!!) brussels sprouts. I also had some goat cheese in there :)
Last night, I was craving something light and fresh since Chicago experienced a freak evening of seventy six degree weather!!! It was damn near balmy outside, so while I cooked some of my mustard maple chicken with the porch door open, I threw together an incredible caprese salad. Into the mix went:
- 2 vine ripe tomatoes (that needed to be used ASAP)
- a crap ton of fresh basil, torn + chiffonaded (new word?)
- good olive oil, as much or as little as you like
- a good sprinkle of sea salt
- red wine vinegar
- balsamic vinegar
- white balsamic vinegar
- 4-6 asparagus spears sliced into 1 inch pieces, sauteed in cooking spray and blanched in cold water immediately after
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
- as much fresh mozzarella as you like
Mix everything together, add more olive oil if you like and DIVE IN. You can play around with the ingredients and portions in this recipe as much as you’d like, because I imagine it would be delicious in nearly any combination (for example, some chilled grilled zucchini or some cukes), but any way you spin it, it’s unbelievably easy, fresh and light. YUM!
Pictures of dinner to come later tonight!