Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

So I got hit by a car…and made some pesto

Oh, hello there.

Have you forgotten about me?

*waves frantically*

So this time, I have a legitimate excuse for my prolonged absence. As I was walking home from work Thursday, I was hit by a car. Some of you may have seen me mention it on Twitter, but after that, I took a short break from the world for a few days.

Let’s backpedal a bit — to answer the question that everyone is asking, yes, I’m okay. Everyone has been so nice and I really appreciate everyone asking if I’m okay – it means a lot! :) Now, as to how it happened?

Well, it was about 6:30 and I was rushing to catch a bus to my friend’s house to make cake balls for her boyfriend’s birthday. I was crossing the intersection right outside my building, and I had the green light and cross signal. As I was approaching the other side of the intersection, I still had about 23 seconds left on the crosswalk timer. A car had turned left from the cross street, and was waiting for me to finish crossing. Unfortunately, a cab driver behind the car decided he couldn’t wait an additional five seconds, so he cut around the side of the stopped car and, without seeing me, was going to drive through. He saw me in time not to kill me, thank God, but I didn’t see him coming and he hit me hard enough to knock me off my feet.

I was pretty stunned and it took a second to realize what had happened, and a few nice people rushed over to help me up and make sure I was okay. Long story short, I called 911 (but declined an ambulance) and made sure the cop wrote him a severe ticket. She was incredibly nice and didn’t make me feel like an idiot for crying in the middle of the street. She also let me know that she wrote him a ticket for a municipal code violation, instead of a traffic ticket, so he couldn’t get out of it with just a fine. The cab driver was nice enough and completely agreed with me in that the accident was entirely his fault, but he broke the law — plain and simple — so despite how nice of a guy he may be, I was still furious.

AND…he ruined my favorite pair of shoes. Not pleased.

More than anything, I’m incredibly thankful that I wasn’t hurt worse, or killed. It could have been so, so much worse. It takes things like this sometimes for you to see how your life could truly change forever in an instant, and to be thankful for every second you have with the people you love.

——

Thankfully, the friend who I was on my way to see  (and the aforementioned boyfriend) are both lawyers, so they came and picked me up to make sure I was okay . It was funny, because the boyfriend even happens to be a personal injury lawyer — or as my friend says it, “Psh – he’s the ambulance chaser.” Hah.

We went back to her apartment, but not before stopping for beer, some random fruit from the grocery store, and ordering Thai and tacos (random!) for delivery. She’s a good friend.

I helped her make some decorations and goodies for her boyfriend’s surprise party that was going to be on Saturday while sipping my beer and munching on our random dinner spread. We also watched trashy tv. It was the absolute best remedy for such a crappy day.

——-

Thursday night, I emailed my boss and let her know that I was going to get into work late so I could sleep in and see how I would feel the next morning. I was right, and I felt pretty sore and kind of shaken up, so I was glad that I had built in some time to take it easy. I made some coffee when I woke up and nibbled a small breakfast, got a little work done, then got started on making some homemade pesto!

Into the Magic Bullet went:

  • 1 oz fresh basil
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1/3-1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1.3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup (plus more as necessary for ease of blending) good quality olive oil
  • a few grinds of sea salt
It took a little while for everything to get blended up, but once I did, it looked and smelled incredible. I seared some cherry tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil and salt in a really hot pan, which made them super plump and bursting with flavor. I mixed the pesto and the cherry tomatoes with some cooked whole wheat pasta, and topped it with some fresh chevre. It was so simple, and so amazingly delicious.
Oh, but that wasn’t all. This stuff was so good that I decided I wanted some more. I toasted half of a FlatOut Wrap in the toaster oven, ripped it into pieces, topped each with a schmear of goat cheese, a half cherry tomato and a glob of pesto. Mmmmmm. I feel like these could make some really good appetizers/hors d’ouvres in a pinch!
I can’t get enough of this stuff! Can’t wait to make it again :)
——
I took it easy Friday night and went home after babysitting the whole evening — it was certainly welcomed, so I didn’t mind being a lame-o that night.
Saturday night was the surprise party! First Laura and I went out to grab some dinner with a Groupon I had for RedFlame Pizzeria.
We enjoyed some beers while going over the menu.
We each had a Kolsch, but they were so tasty and refreshing that we decided to split a third!
The pizza here is known for their cooking method — first they grill the dough, then bake it in a super hot oven once the pizza is assembled. Yummmmm.
This was my ridiculous dinner date…
I swear she’s not antisocial…
I ordered a margherita pizza topped with prosciutto, and Laura ordered a white pizza with mushrooms, 4 cheeses and tooooons of garlic. She added arugula to it as well.
They were delicious! We had a little bit of each, but I picked the mushrooms off Laura’s ’cause I don’t like ’em.
It was amazeballs. Check out the grilled crust! Probably my favorite part.
We packed up the leftovers (which were totally consumed post-beer pong a few hours later…) and paid the bill, then hopped in a cab so we could get to the surprise party on time.
The decorations were so stinkin’ cute. He really likes beer…
…and penguins! It was the theme for the party and she made all the decorations herself. I was very impressed.
She even made this crazy penguin cake, to go along with the cake balls. It was awesome!
She topped rice Krispy treats with fondant. So talented!
The cake balls were red velvet, made with cream cheese frosting, then topped with chocolate. I had like, 8 million. Soooo good.
Aren’t my friends beautiful?
It was a great weekend!
——
Today I was not in the best of moods. I was tired, stressed out and just sort of sad. I made my way through work but got upset about something toward the end of the day, so I was really ready to get home by 6. Since today was really the only night in the week that I don’t have non-stop plans, I decided to take it easy and make myself a decent dinner, watch some crap TV and update the blog. These things always make me feel better when I’m down!
I had some ground beef I needed to use up, and my parents just gave me a George Foreman grill, so I made a burger! (actually, I made two, but only cooked one). I mixed the beef with some panko crumbs, sage, sea salt, a bit of olive oil, paprika, chopped garlic and garlic powder. While the burger was sizzling away in the GF, I baked some sweet potato fries and sliced zucchini to have on the side. I didn’t have any buns, so I had the burger on some grilled bread (I made two pieces but only ended up eating one), and topped it with creamy goat cheese and romaine. It turned out to be a really tasty dinner that came together pretty easily!
I’ve been nibbling on strawberries and a few dark chocolate peanut butter cups for dessert and catching up on blogs. Gonna make my lunch for tomorrow then hit the hay for the night.
Sorry it’s been such a long time since my last update! What have y’all been up to lately? I’d love to hear!

August 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm 8 comments

Mixed feelings on yoga + protein brownie

Oooohhhhhhhhhh, why hello there.

Yes, I know it’s been awhile. I’m sorry!

Forgive me?

——

I was in a bit of a rut for awhile, you see. With the increasing pain in my right knee, my runs were becoming more painful and less frequent. This was not only frustrating, but also disheartening. I was feeling my motivation starting to wane as the possibility of running slipped farther and farther away, and other things just sort of followed suit.

Bleh.

So I decided to do something about it, and took my sorry ass to the physical therapist’s office. She had me explain my symptoms (excruciating right knee pain during lunges, squats, and going up or down stairs), history of pain (patellofemoral pain diagnosed at 12, brief physical therapy followed, nothing since) and then watched as I walked, skipped, tip-toed and heel-walked (??) back and forth a few times.

The results? Apparently my right leg is functionally shorter than my left, causing me to favor it and tilt my hips to compensate for the height difference. This makes soooo much sense, as I have always had a feeling that something was a little “off” about my gait. She did some stretching, some pulling, some general moving body parts around, then had me do some exercises to strengthen both my hips and my gluteus medius muscles.

I am very, very excited to continue with this and hopefully get to a pain-free place soon!

——

I went to yoga tonight. To be honest…I’m just not sure I’m ever going to like yoga. I know it’s good for me. I know it relieves stress, improves flexibility and strengthens my body. But I can’t help but find myself thinking, during every damn downward dog, “This suuuuuuucckkkkksss.” Am I crazy? Amy I the only person whose wrists hurt after the third sun salutation? Who looks at the clock on the wall with dread after seeing that there are still 30 minutes left? Parts of the class feel good (I love Warrior 2), but other parts just make me want to curl into a ball.

Oh wait — isn’t that a yoga pose too?

source: Your Yoga Place

Anyway, I decided to go today since my knee is still hurting, but I was really craving some movement for my body. I’m glad I went. It felt great to challenge myself (my balance sucks) and even better to successfully finish the class with only a few minor adjustments from the instructor. I might go again, but for now, I still have pretty mixed feelings on yoga.

——

To combat the food rut, I hit up Trader Joe’s Monday night. Oh. My. Goodness. $111 later, let’s just say that opening up the fridge and pantry is a very exciting event right now. I’ll share some of the loot in a later post, but trust — it is good.

——

With the aforementioned loot, I decided I wanted to get creative for dinner tonight. And so I did — and then some. Y’all, I made homemade pesto. This stuff was so good that I nearly went weak in the knees. In fact, I’m getting a little tingly just thinking about it. But because I’m too lazy to upload the pictures right now I like keeping you in suspense, the recipe will have to go up in an upcoming post as well. It’s super easy, and super GREEN. Oh my goodness.

——

For now, you’re just going to have to settle with an ooey, gooey, high protein, single-serving brownie. I know — life is tough.

Start with a few simple ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin (can sub applesauce)
  • 2 T rolled oats
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 scoop protein of choice (this is optional; I used chocolate sun warrior)
  • 1 egg (can sub flax egg)
  • sweetener of choice (I use 1 packet stevia)
  • 5-10 dark chocolate chips.
Whisk egg in a bowl with a fork and add cocoa powder; mix again. Next add pumpkin and stir, then add in oats, protein powder and stevia. Spray a mug or a small bowl with a little bit of Pam spray, then pour in mixture. Stick chocolate chips into the batter, making sure to push them under the surface in different spots. Microwave for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes. Top with maple syrup and devour straight out of the bowl while still hot and gooey. Smile and revel in the deliciousness.
This isn’t super low-cal, but it’s simple, wholesome and packs a great dose of protein for either a mini-meal (for those of you that do that) or a post-run/gym snack. Make this. Right now. You will be hooked — I sure was :D
—–
I’m hitting the sack, and hopefully preparing for a short trip to the beach tomorrow afternoon for a mid-workday break! Goodnight!

August 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm 9 comments

Mini chocolate doughnuts – taste (and look) naughty, but they’re not

Oh, hey. Did ya see that I made some doughnuts the other night?

Sidenote: which spelling do you prefer — donuts or doughnuts? I switch back and forth…can’t make up my mind!

My friend Laura and I decided to stay in Friday night and watch movies/make doughnuts with the new mini doughnut pan I got last week! Don’t they look super neat??

I modified an EatingWell recipe for healthier chocolate donuts, and it went down like this:

Laura’s Inappropriate-but-Healthy Mini-Chocolate Doughnuts

Modified from EatingWell Sept/Oct 1996

If you’re wondering why they’re named as such, see my prep video.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups flour: half oat, half whole wheat, or whatever mixture of whole grain flour of your choosing
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt + squeeze of fresh lemon juice (this makes a buttermilk-like taste!)
  • 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch or two of coffee grounds — this will bring out the chocolate flavor

Glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk of choice — I used vanilla soy, but will use almond next time

Doughnut-makin’ time:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. If you are using regular size and not mini doughnut pans, bump this up to 400. Thoroughly coat the molds of mini-doughnut pans (I only used one, but this made ~3 batches) with cooking spray. Sprinkle molds evenly with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, shaking out excess.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk egg and egg white in another bowl until frothy. Add brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar; whisk until smooth. Add yogurt, oil and vanilla and whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened.
  3. Scoop batter into each prepared mold, smoothing the surfaces with a small spoon — you will want it to be about 1/3 of the way filled. Bake until the tops spring back when touched lightly, about 8 minutes. If you are using regular doughnut pans, you may need to cook slightly longer. Loosen edges and turn the doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. To make glaze: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough of the milk to make a smooth, thick glaze. When the doughnuts are completely cool, pick them up with your lovely fingers and dip them into the glaze and let stand until glaze has set. For a thicker glaze, repeat .
These were tasty and not overly sweet. I think I might experiment with the recipe a bit, but this is a great base recipe and is quite easy to modify to fit your tastes and whatever you have on hand (e.g. buttermilk can be used in place of yogurt, applesauce can be used in lieu of oil, a flax egg to make them vegan, all-purpose flour can be used in place of whole grain, etc.). I’d really like to figure out how to ma these with stevia to cut down on the sugar content, and I think next time I might add some melted baking or bittersweet chocolate to make them taste a little richer. Different flavors for the glaze, shredded coconut or sprinkled toppings would also be good too!
I brought my camera to document the process, but forgot the CF card. D’oh! So the phone was the only thing around — sorry, peeps!

whaaa? all the ingredients together now!

we ran out of counter space, so...we used a footstool. shutup.

giving Vanna White a run for her money

still stirring....yogurt makes it thick!

scooping into a well-oiled pan...that long turd-like thing is a knife covered in batter, hah

tasty batter!

success!

These guys turn out pretty little, so I had more than my fair share of them. I ended up staying over at Laura’s that night so as not to get lost in the mega-storm of the century, and had a few alongside some coffee for breakfast in the morning. Delicious! :)

Yesterday I had a pretty decent day. I slept in, spent some time lounging around and reading in bed, went for a long and schwetty run (it’s sooo humid in Chicago!), then showered and met my friend Dan at Wicker Park Fest. I showed up kind of late because I didn’t want to deal with the crowds and the heat, but I did manage to see two great performances: Joe Pug (I love his name, hehe) and Blizten Trapper. Both bands were awesome — we had such a great time singing and dancing along. (I was standing directly to the right and behind the girl at the very front in the picture on Blitzen Trapper’s website…so bummed I didn’t make it into the shot!)

It was a neat evening.

Hope you’re all having a great Monday! I’m off to get some more work done. On the agenda tonight: finishing up my laundry (blegh), cleaning, making some Greek quinoa salad for lunches this week, and stopping by my friend’s open mic night to say hello. Catch ya later!

July 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm 4 comments

Fire + ice

Good lord, has it been hot in Chicago lately. I have taken to wearing either next to nothing (while at home only, of course), or workout/wicking clothes most of the time because it’s literally like an oven outside this week. Yesterday’s heat-inspired outfit at least looked somewhat put-together:

I feel like my head looks awkwardly huge here…but yeah, that’s my new Lululemon CRB (cool racerback), a hat to cover up the major sweaties/greasies and some cool, comfy LOFT shorts. Flip flops were obviously worn as well.

This was worn as a work from home outfit, but my working was intended to be at the Caribou nearby. Unfortunately, I got there and paid for a drink before finding out that their WiFi wasn’t working! I feel like that is kind of a big deal for a coffee shop where people sit around and work, so I was pretty annoyed that they didn’t have some sort of sign up or something. Small potatoes, but still. Hmph.

I decided to just go back home and finish my work there. I had rented a Zipcar at 6 o’clock to run some errands, so I didn’t want to waste time walking around to another coffee shop when my apartment was much closer. Still though, I hate being cooped up inside all day. At least it was a good day to hide out in the AC.

It was also a beautiful night for colors in the sky.

Isn’t that incredible? I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it looked at dusk.

Even though I have AC in my apartment and it stays pretty cool because it’s so small, I haven’t wanted to use the oven at all — something about hot food or standing over a steamy pot just makes me want to gag. Tuesday night, I made an Amy’s frozen veggie lasagna that was actually really good. I can’t remember what I ate on the side, but it was some sort of vegetable….

The portion size seemed just right (enough to feel slightly indulgent and filling, but not too huge where it was overly filling or had too many calories). The veggie filling was also nicely bulked up, and while I would have preferred whole wheat pasta, the organic ingredient list was nice. I highly recommend it!

Last night, I went all cold and picked up some sesame tofu (marinated but I don’t think they were fried) from the Whole Foods prepared foods case. For some reason I don’t really like the way sesame oil smells, even though I like how it tastes, so the smell kind of put me off and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I tried it though — it was AMAZING!

(Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pics). I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise it was delicious. If you see these, definitely give them a try! I also picked up a lemon-lime Zevia because I was craving soda. To continue with the no-cook theme, I made another massaged raw kale salad. This time, it was just kale, olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I topped it with grape tomatoes.

I love how easy this is to make, plus I feel like I’m eating superfood when I make it (I guess I am!). It’s perfect for hot nights.

So this morning, I finally got to see my doctor regarding the knee pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had knee problems for a long time, but they’ve never really interfered with my life like they have been doing lately. I know it’s in part due to my increased running, but I know that that’s just what intensified the problem, not what caused it.

I got up early to work from home for an hour or so, then headed out to see the doc before going into work. My doctor confirmed my suspicions in that it’s not my IT band and likely not my actual knee that’s causing the problem, but it’s actually “further upstream” in my hip. My right hip is tighter and slightly higher up than my left, causing a misalignment and subsequent knee pain. Some physical therapy focusing on hip stabilizing and strengthening, as well as strengthening my gluteus med muscles, should really help, so she wrote me a scrip. I can’t wait!

Doesn’t she have such nice handwriting for a doctor? I seriously love my doc — she is a D.O. as well as a licensed clinical social worker, and puts a lot of focus on holistic health, and always recommends natural and healthy alternatives like yoga, whole foods and natural supplements. Please let me know if you live in Chicago and would like a recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about her!

When I got to work, I had not one, but two Amazon packages waiting for me. I seriously have a problem! I worry someone is going to nominate me for Hoarders soon…

One item was super-relevant to the doctor’s orders today.

She told me I need to be icing both sides of my knee for 15 minutes every day, twice a day (wow!) so I’m glad this came in the mail. I know I can use frozen peas, but it will be nice to have at least one “real” ice pack since I don’t have any. I still got a bunch of other stuff too though.

I know, I’m insane. Look at all those boxes! But I got some fun goodies, including:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book I’ve been wanting to read forever
  • A kitchen scale which will not only be useful for cooking/baking (weight is much more reliable than volume), but also occasional portion checking
  • A 4-pack of dark chocolate roasted almonds that were WAY cheaper than at the store. Can keep some at work for afternoon snacks, some in gym bag, some at home!
  • A (not pictured) locking glass shaker bottle that I will use for transporting smoothies!
  • Another fun surprise that will be revealed soon!

Love. Love love love love love. This is a clear case of the wild hair syndrome, but whatever – I know I will use all this stuff, and I am really jazzed about the new book. I’m also super excited that Mel offered to lend me her Hunger Games books! Thanks, Mel!! :)

Just for fun, here are a few more 5k pictures.

This was my post-race brunch:

Not sure if I remembered to mention the bacon in that brunch or not, haha.

cutie-pie Amy

Amy's face describes exactly how we felt at the end

anguish!

I am going to get back to work, but I hope you are all having a wonderful day and aren’t melting in this heat. I’m going to try to make it to the gym tonight as my knee is finally feeling a little better, but I’m still wary of busting it up even more. See ya!

July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm 7 comments

Candy + My Second 5k

I wanted some candy the other day, so I busted out my candy bowl.

My kind of candy doesn’t look like most candy, though.

There is just something about a big bowl of fruit that makes me smile :D

Oh, hey — you know what else makes me happy? Did I mention I ran my second 5k on Saturday?

It was H-O-T outside that morning, oh my. The race started at 7:30 and it was already at least a good 80 degrees out. I ran with Amy again this time around, which again was such a wonderful part of the experience. We seem to be able to push each other at just the right times and in the right ways — she likes to go faster than I do, and I tend to take fewer breaks, so with that push and pull, we do better together than I think we would apart.

We pushed through the first mile without stopping, but needed a break soon after that because it was so hot out and we were both needing a break. There was an air quality alert over the whole weekend, so the air felt very thick and smoggy — blegh, not the best weather for running.

Thankfully this time around, I had a new tool in my arsenal…

please excuse the scary post-gym look I have goin' on

That’s right — I got a Garmin!!! I feel like a total poseur wearing this behemoth around, but it really motivates me to see my pace while I’m running, and pushes me to kick it up a notch when I slow down. It also really surprised me to see how fast I run when I’m on the road and not on the treadmill!

After working my way up to faster and longer runs for months and months at the gym, I can actually keep a pretty decent pace — for me, that is (I am in no way fast, and probably never will be). I had always thought I was much, much slower out on the road though, so it really surprised me to see that my pace wasn’t that far off when I took the Garmin out on its first run the other night. It’s still not as fast as I am on the treadmill, of course, and I need to take more frequent jogging or walking intervals, but I don’t suck as much as I thought I did! Who knew!

So back to the 5k — the Garmin helped keep us from taking off too quickly after our walking intervals, which was important because again — IT WAS HOT AS HELL OUTSIDE. There was a decent breeze, but the sun was really just beating down. The distance indicator was what really helped, because for whatever reason, there didn’t seem to be a 2 mile marker! When you’re new to doing races, that 2nd mile mark is a really important motivator.

Even though we stopped at the water station almost at the start of the second mile, Amy and I started to feel a little lightheaded and she even said she started to shiver by the end of the second mile, so we really had to step it down a notch which was somewhat disappointing to both of us. Before the race started we had both said we wanted to beat our last time, but would still be thrilled just to finish. At this point, we were both saying how glad we were that we hadn’t committed ourselves to beating the first time, haha.

A few walking breaks and lots of back-and-forth inspirational yelling, we got about halfway through the second mile and really started to slow down.

On a side note: Amy kept thinking I was saying, “You’re doing great” when I was actually saying “We’re doing great!” which cracked me up because had I said “you’re,” I think it would have sounded so condescending! If anything, she is a better runner than I am!

This was where the people started lining up along the course and were cheering us on, which as I explained after my last/first 5k, meant the world to me. I wanted to hop over and kiss them, I was so grateful!!

Unfortunately, there was also a huge soccer game or some sort of event going on, so at certain points around the course, we would pass a big tent of people grilling hot dogs and burgers. Seriously, guys — when you’re hauling your semi-out-of-shape ass through the last leg of your second ever race at 7:45 in the morning in 90 degree heat, the absolute last thing you want to smell is a friggin’ smoking piece of meat. I kind of wanted to vom.

I did, however, enjoy the smell of meat at SausageFest

When we finally got to 2.75 mi, we started to perk up again, and then — like magic, we passed a setup where a group of people were playing Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, and as we were passing them, we heard, “Go, go go go Johnny, go!” Amy and I both got huge grins on our faces and got ready to finish strong. Even though we were huffing and puffing and feeling like we were going to absolutely die, we ran our fastest to the finish line.

And then, we immediately collapsed onto the ground.

They had medical personnel ready at the finish because it was so hot, and they also had fan/misting stations and tons of water and ice waiting. Amy and I both said we felt like we might puke or pass out (not really, but kinda….), so we grabbed some water and just sat immediately to catch our breath. We must have really looked like we were in bad shape, because some guy ran over and asked if we were okay. We half panted, half answered him yes, but apparently didn’t sound very convincing, because he asked us again! Haha. Had I had the energy, I would have laughed, but all I could do was chug water and, you know..not die.

He offered to grab us popsicles, which we gladly accepted, so after he bolted in the other direction and returned shortly after with the 911-popsicles, we hoisted ourselves up and found some shade to cool off. Amy’s temporary roommate (who is from Paris!!! How neat!) was nice enough to come out and cheer us on, so she joined us for a popsicle and some post-race treats as well. The poor girl had to sit there and watch us pant like overheated dogs though! Hah.

Estelle, Amy and me

Aren’t our pink race shirts fun?

I still can’t believe how sweaty we were! Holy unflattering picture.

sweaty beasts

I am so, so glad I bought that visor last week; it really helped to keep both the sun and sweat out of my eyes, and it’s from my favorite brand — Mizuno!

We walked around for a bit and took in the post-race sights and goodies. I stopped at the New Balance tent where the guy on staff told me I desperately need physical therapy because my glute meds are insanely weak. He was super attractive and was sitting there telling me that my butt muscles were inadequate. This was sooo awkward.

When I finally got home around 10, I immediately hopped into an ice cold shower and rinsed off, then climbed into my bed and positioned myself directly next to the air conditioner. After sleeping for a good hour and 45 minutes, I climbed out of bed and made myself the perfect post-race treat: a Fitnessista Green-a-colada!

Into the blender went Fage 0%, unsweetened original PureAlmond, a stevia packet, unsweetened organic shredded coconut, frozen pineapple chunks, frozen mango chunks, vanilla SunWarrior and a big ol’ handful of spinach. It was so insanely tasty I could barely contain my delight. I totally slurped this bad boy down. What do you think of that color? Gross or delectable?

After some putzing around the apartment, I cleaned up a bit then met up with my sister-in-law Lisa and my friend Allison for brunch around noon. We hit up Jack’s on Halsted and I feasted on 2 poached eggs, a piece of whole wheat toast, some fruit and some breakfast potatoes. I also snuck a few of Allison’s fries, and treated myself with a victory mimosa :) I earned it!

Allison and I wandered around DSW for a bit after to escape the intense midday heat, and I walked outta there with two pairs of shoes! One was a pair of sandals that were on clearance that I have already worn three times. The other was a pair of Saucony running shoes that I thought were great in the store, but I realized after testing them on the treadmill that they don’t provide the cushioning/shock absorption I need on my forefoot, so they will have to be returned. I’m not at the point in my running yet where I can run in a minimalist shoe, so the bouncier, the better!

Because I am out of my mind, I went home, changed, and went to the gym! I had so much energy after the 5k and nap that I really wanted to hit the treadmill and do some body resistance exercises. Probably not the smartest choice, but oh well. I only did about two miles and kept it really leisurely on the recumbent bike while reading Redbook. The real magic happened when I did some glute med-isolating exercises, per Mr. Sexy New Balance Man’s instructions, and then some serious foam roller torture therapy. My IT band was obscenely tight, as were my hips, so I could tell it was desperately needed. I took my time and stretched after, and felt immensely better. I think that’s why I’m not really sore today.

Thankfully, this guy arrived in the mail while I was at work today:

That’s a Tiger Tail! I got one per Tina’s recommendation so I can foam roll in-between gym visits, and I’m so glad I did. It can’t quite match up to the giant foam rollers they have at the gym, but I just don’t have the space for one of those right now, so this works great. As a bonus, it works on my neck and shoulders, which feels like a great, deep-tissue massage!!

After the gym yesterday, I made a nourishing meal that my body was really craving.

Salmon! I defrosted a wild Alaskan salmon filet from Whole Foods while I was at the gym, then when I got back, I preheated the oven to 375 and heated up a skillet. After warming up some Pam spray, I seared both sides of the filet for about 30 seconds, then popped it into the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Before putting it into the oven, though, I crushed some black pepper and sea salt on both sides, then topped it with a simple lemon butter sauce:

  • 1T butter, melted
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt + pepper
  • 1T honey
It was sooooo tasty. I used about half of the sauce before cooking, and put the rest on after. It made the salmon so flavorful and a little sweet, which really made it special.
The broccoli had some spritzed olive oil and a sprinkle of Pecorino cheese.

 

Well, this was a looong post and I need to get to bed and snuggle with a very impatient kitty. Keep your eyes peeled for a seriously sweet recipe on my next post…

Have a great night, and if you’re from Chicago, make sure to look at my Chicago Blogger Meetup post!

July 19, 2011 at 3:11 am 9 comments

Dare I say…healthy bread pudding?

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeew. Hi guys! Hot and sticky here in Chicago. The weather has been sorta all over the place — 108 degrees yesterday, 102 today, then it cooled off significantly after work when the clouds rolled in…then rain! I didn’t turn the AC on when I got home because it’s cool enough outside, but it’s still sweltering inside my apartment. Blegh!

would love to dive into a pile of these right now

I actually did my heaping mound of dishes last night (!!!), but still have a giant basket of clothes to put away, then an even bigger pile of laundry to do. Sometimes, being a grown-up sucks.

After getting home from work and immediately changing into some sweat wicking clothes, I noshed on a Gardenburger topped with goat cheese and avocado while joining in on the #fitblog chat that was tonight. It was so much fun! This was my very first one and while it was totally brain-melting (soooooo many tweets bombarding you at once!), I had a great time “interacting” with so many healthy living bloggers at the same time. I highly recommend doing the next one to anyone who is curious! You can learn more about #fitblog chats here.

I never thought I would use or love Twitter as much as I do…It’s so much more social than just sitting behind a screen — I even got to meet Allie and Mel via Twitter! :)

So I promised I would give ya a certain recipe, huh?

 

That’s bread pudding!!! I love bread pudding, except I can’t handle the super heavy, creamy, over-sweet versions you often find in restaurants or at stores. I also don’t like the idea of making a huge pan of it since I live alone, so the only solution when I was craving it a few weeks ago seemed to be making my own mini-bread puddings!

Unfortunately, it was so good that I may have had two of them and a bite each of the remaining two…whoops :)

The base recipe is very easy, and the best part is that you can customize it with any toppings/flavors/mix-ins you want. I did two maple cinnamon walnut, one with dried wild blueberries and one chocolate chip! But I can imagine adding fresh/frozen fruit, cocoa powder, nut butter…the combinations are endless!

all cooked! bloo-burries

ready for ze oven!

Laura’s fantabulous, individual healthy bread pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces (you can use gluten-free, but I didn’t try this)
  • 3 fresh, organic eggs
  • 3 T honey (you can use agave too)
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (you could use sweetened or flavored almond milk, or other milk of your choice as well)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon to taste
  • pinch sea salt
  • fresh lemon zest (optional, but this will really perk up the flavor!)
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Tear up bread into bite-size pieces if  you haven’t already and place in large bowl.
  3. Beat eggs in small bowl. Add vanilla, sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest.
  4. Spray 4 small ramekins (mine are about 1 cup capacity) with cooking spray.
  5. Pour almond milk and egg picture over bread, and gently fold mixture together with spatula (or your hands!)
  6. Evenly distribute bread and custard mixture into the 4 ramekins and top with any leftover liquid from mixing bowl. It’s okay if you don’t use all of the bread mixture, and the ramekins also don’t need to be all the way full.
  7. Top each pudding with whatever toppings you like — you can leave them in on top of the pudding, push them inside with a spoon, or if you want one uniform flavor, you can fold them in while mixing in the larger bowl.
  8. Fill a large square or rectangular oven-safe pan with about 1-1.5 inches of water. Gently place ramekins in pan so water reaches about halfway up outside of ramekins.
  9. Optional step: I topped mine with brown sugar to form a crusty top.
  10. Carefully place dish in oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until tops of pudding start to lightly brown.
  11. Let cool for 10 minutes and dig in!
I promise you’ll love this stuff, and although I haven’t calculated the calorie count of each, I don’t feel bad about eating them at all! Best of all, they’re super easy to whip up in case you’re having company over, or if you’re just randomly craving something sweet. Just make sure not to make them on a hot night like tonight, or else you might overcook yourself inside your apartment ;)
Happy baking!

July 13, 2011 at 12:04 am 4 comments

Playing catch-up + “massaged” kale caprese salad

Hi guys.

Despite the fun package from Amazon that I received earlier, I’m having kind of a shitty day. But first we’ll start with the positives:

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work and saw some organic kale on sale, so I nabbed it up, thinking I would make kale chips alongside one of my FlatOut pizzas. But by the time I got home, I was feeling pretty icky from the 90-degree weather that the thought of turning on the oven seemed far from ideal.

FlatOut pizza, redux

this time I had some mozzarella

Soooo, I decided to make Gina’s massaged kale instead, with a little twist of my own.

Caprese Kale Salad

First, I trimmed my small bunch of kale (about 2.5-3 cups), removing the stems and cutting the kale into bite-size pieces, then rinsed and dried it off in the salad spinner.

(Spinning away!)

I sprinkled the kale with a few grinds of sea salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil, then came the fun part..

“Massaging” the kale! It’s not so much massaging, per se — it’s more squishing the kale around with your fingers. I used dinosaur kale, which is more tender, so you’ll have to do this a little longer if you use curly kale. I did it for about two minutes. Next, I added about a tablespoon (I didn’t measure, so use your best judgement!) of honey, the juice of half a lemon and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. Apple cider would work as well.

While letting the kale rest for a few minutes (it was tired after that long massage), I halved about 3/4 cup of grape tomatoes, crumbled up three or four walnut halves, and chopped up a big bunch of basil (do this to taste — as little or as much as you want!) and added these in with the kale.

After doing some more massaging, I transferred the mix to a salad bowl and topped it with a small sprinkle each of shredded mozzarella and crumbled goat cheese. I think fresh mozzarella would taste even better with this, but I used what I had on hand.

Presto! This made about two servings.

It was absolutely delicious and couldn’t get more than a few bites without stopped and remarking (to no one in particular) how shockingly good this was. I always thought people were crazy for eating raw kale salads, but now I can see why they gobbled them up. This is so tasty, so healthy, and smells amazing! I’m sure you could do this a million different ways/flavors, but I really loved the flavor of the fresh basil. Yum.

I had this alongside an organic turkey burger that I California-ized by topping with a slice of Jarlsberg lite, about 1/4 of an avocado sliced, some pea shoots and ate it between a sliced piece of toasted Trader Joe’s Tuscan whole grain bread. It was just what I wanted.

pre-burger

post-burger

I was going to head to the gym after work and do some incline walking or elliptical time while reading The Hunger Games (no running still…waiting to talk to my doctor about my knee/IT band pain and potential shin splits), but by the time I got home it was already pretty late. I decided to tidy up my kitchen a bit instead before making dinner.

I’m still struggling to…well, function normally at the moment because of the lobster-grade sunburn I got on Sunday. After sleeping off our hangovers, my friend Megan and I headed to North Ave. beach to meet Amy and lay in the sun for a bit. I didn’t think it was for long, but I sat out with my un-protected back to the sun reading for a little while before turning over onto my back.

I had a band-aid on my back from my recent dermatologist visit and didn’t take it off so it would protect the scabbed spot.

This was the result:

Yeah, not cool, right? It’s still excruciating, and I’m having trouble laying on my back (TWSS) and wearing anything too binding — especially a sports bra. Here’s to hoping it fades from a horribly awkward sunburn into a horribly awkward tan soon. I don’t think I’m ever gonna get rid of that BandAid mark….haha.

After finishing dinner and settling onto the couch for some work, I received an upsetting text message that really made me feel awful. The issue ended up being resolved, but I feel like it flipped some sort of switch inside my head that changed my mood. My anxiety has been sneaking in for brief periods lately, and I know now that some of the thoughts I’m having are related to it, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Do you ever get into a funk, where you feel like you don’t really have anything to look forward to in the immediate future? Logically, I know that the summer is full of fun things and nights with friends, but somehow this black cloud starts to creep in. I’m worried about paying off my credit card, and because I’m working on that, I can’t buy a plane ticket to visit one of my good friends who lives far away like I wanted to…or take a vacation like I had planned…etc. etc. etc. Owing money is exhausting, and although my debt isn’t anywhere near as bad as that of many other people I know, it’s still really daunting and scary. Once I get this paid off, I’m never putting myself in this position again.

In the meantime, my credit card stays at home, tucked neatly into my desk so I can’t use it. Helps a lot!

Anyway though, I’m sure I’m just tired and having an off day. I’m hoping my sunburn will ease up enough by tomorrow so I can get a good run in and bring back some of those feel-good endorphins.

Thankfully, my sunburn isn’t as bad as that of some of Amy’s friends that I spent the day with on Monday. After bumming around the apartment for a few hours, I headed over to meet Amy at her boyfriend’s house and join them and his two friends on the rooftop deck. All the guys are Scottish, so I had a blast chatting with them and making a really poor attempt to understand their accents.

They neglected to put sunscreen right away, so after spending several hours on a hot rooftop, they were sporting some seriously deadly farmer’s burns. Before they had a chance to realize how bad they were, we headed down to Millenium Park for the free Monday night concert. It was enjoyable, but we got a bit antsy after awhile because the band that week wasn’t that good.

We decided to grab dinner at Sweetwater, then head to Navy Pier to watch the fireworks. Most of us ordered “normal” food (I got their salmon salad , which is really tasty), but one of them decided to order chicken fingers and the other ordered mac & cheese bites (thinking it was just a smaller portion of the noodle dish) and a brownie ice cream sundae. Needless to say, he was completely shocked when they brought out triangles of deep-fried and battered mac & cheese — his face was priceless. I couldn’t stop cracking up as he was lecturing us about this “disgusting American creation.” Hilarious!

(not the actual mac & cheese bites from that night)

Unfortunately, we took a little too long at dinner and ended up missing the fireworks! As we were walking over toward the pier, we saw huge crowds of people walking away. I asked one of them and they confirmed that the fireworks had already happened! Haha, I felt so silly.

Fortunately, I was able to enjoy my own little private fireworks show Sunday night. It was a close friend’s birthday, so my friend Laura invited a bunch of us to her apartment and we threw him a non-surprise surprise party.

After everyone got there, we were hanging out on the back porch while a few people smoked cigarettes and the rest of us chatted. All of a sudden, we saw all these fireworks! There must have been a nearby show at a park, because we could see them perfectly. It was so peaceful and sweet, and our super talented friend Lisa accompanied the show with some ukelele music in the background. It made me a little nostalgic, and surprisingly a little sad for some reason, but overall it was a really nice start to the night.

I ended up spending a lot more money than I had planned to, buying a big assortment of gourmet cupcakes to bring over so we would have a cake to sing happy birthday with — they had malted milk ball! And moon pie! I brought over 7 or so, and got to enjoy a few bites of a couple of the flavors. I think Boston Cream pie was my favorite :)

Since my sunburn was just starting to settle in, I was really feeling the pain, as well as some wicked congestion from being hungover (Sidenote: does this happen to anyone else? I am always super congested the day after I’m drinking, even if it’s not a lot!). I tried to tough it out as long as I could, but ended up taking a Benadryl to feel better.

Bad idea. I spent half the party asleep on the couch! I eventually felt a a lot better (because it also brought down some of the sunburn’s inflammation), but I’m not sure it was worth it to miss out on some quality time with friends. Oh well — lesson learned.

Sorry this post has been so long…I felt like if I didn’t update my weekend shenanigans now, it would never happen! I’m off to finish up a little work then crawl into bed for some reading. It feels good to be able to go to bed with a clean kitchen — it’s been WAY too long!

July 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm 5 comments

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