Posts tagged ‘beer’

Weekend dance, half naked men…wait, what?

I just read the best line on a guest post from Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diares on Life of Blyss — “So instead of being a picky eater, I’m a pack-y eater.”

Ahhhh, I love this. I love this!

Can I marry this quote? Okay, sorry — I’m being a creep (my creepiness is something my dear love Ali loves to point out when I suggest sleeping in her walk-in closet).

Anywho…

Guess what? It’s Friday. You know what that means? It means that in approximately 6 hours, I am going to have a beer in my hand. And then after that, I’ll have another. Maybe I’ll sneak a Captain and diet in there, but it’s mostly gonna be beer. Ooooh, I am so excited.

I love beer. Oh god, I am such a creep.

I have some seriously crazy plans this weekend, and I am totally thrilled. If you haven’t noticed, I am a totally social person. I love being around people all. the. time. I tend to get lonely really easily, so when I have plans lined up for the entire weekend before it’s even Friday, I’m a pretty happy girl.

I’m planning on grabbing drinks with coworkers today after work (or rather, begging on the sidewalk for change so I can drink despite the sorry pre-payday state of my bank account), which is one of those things that always makes me feel like some sort of fabulous city dweller. What are you doing tonight? Oh, I’m just hitting up some fabulous happy hour on some fabulous rooftop with fabulous views of the fabulous skyline drinking fabulous cocktails. What about you?

So I’ve somehow miraculously stayed in touch with a dude that I dated briefly while living in Madison. My general rule is no friends with exes,  but enough time (and distance) is between us and I rarely see him anyway, so I have no problem keeping in touch. Plus, he’s pretty cute, so he’s not bad to keep around ;) Anywho, he is in Chicago this weekend for a work trip (I have no idea what this guy does but they are always flying him all over the country and he texts me from random hotels in random cities from time to time) and asked if I wanted to meet up.

He invited me to to go to the Arlington Race Track with some of his buddies on Saturday, but uh, yeah I turned down that invitation. When he asked me why, this is how the conversation went…

Don’t you love my honesty? Hah … What! I didn’t want to go! :X

So I’ll be meeting up with him at some point this evening and it should be fun to catch up. I won’t be joining for the “sport of kings,” however. Oh, boys.

Saturday I’ll be wandering around the Northalsted Market Days festival…it’s basically a street fest with a whole lotta gay. Like…a lot of gay. I live in a neighborhood in Chicago aptly named Boystown, which is the largest and I believe oldest official gay community in the country. AndIloveit. Pride Fest passes my front door. Love me some rainbows and glitter! Market days is a little more toned down than Pride, but it’s a street festival in Boytstown, so there is a lot of booze and half-naked insanely attractive men going on. And that means I’ll be there.

at first glance, just a normal street festival...

BUT…

so. much. gay.

gay Twister

 

gay Jersey Shore?

 

I ....YES. Yes. Just yes.

I love my neighborhood. It ain’t no secret, but in case you were wondering now, I am a big advocate of gay pride, marriage equality, and I am an ally. None of these images are meant to be in mockery, so please, no disrespectful comments.

I was also just thinking — it will be interesting to see what sort of new traffic these photos bring to the blog, no? haha.

Later in the day/earlier in the evening on Saturday, I’ll be going out on a second date with a guy I met recently. We had a great time on the first date and had so much to talk about and lots of things in common. I also got to drink one of my favorite types of beer — a Flemish Sour — when he suggested we get some drinks at the Map Room, a super neat watering hole in Bucktown. It also happened to be $5 draft night, which..yeah. Awesome.

I think we’re grabbing dinner then either seeing a movie or hitting up a bar — whichever one seems to fit best at the time, I suppose! I told him how much I love documentaries, and he was like well we could go see a documentary…Planet of the Apes is a documentary, right? Hahah. Zing!

LATER Saturday night, I’m meeting up with my loverbutt Laura, who is hosting some sort of hipster-chic poetry reading at her apartment (Hi Laura!!). I’m sure I will be out of place and awkward, but hey — what else is new in my life?

Sunday morning, I’m meeting up some fabulous (there’s that word again!) blogger ladies for brunch after Paige @ Running Around Normal does the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon!!! Holy smokes, will I ever feel inadequate, haha. Amy and Nikki will also be there — so if any other Chicago ladies want to join, by all means, Tweet me!

Oh, and I have no idea where exercise is going to fit into this whole schedule thing. Yeah, I gotta work on that part…

Happy Friday, loves! What fun things do you have planned?

August 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm 2 comments

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

Laggard

I was browsing though the dictionary, looking for the antonym of punctual — and it turns out that it’s actually “unpunctual.” Hmph. I hate that word, so I have decided to confirm what many people already know with the word “laggard.” It means someone who takes more time than necessary, or constantly lags behind.

*Raises hand*

I was super late to work today. My sleeping schedule is completely off (think washing the dishes and folding laundry at 2:30 last night) so I have had a really hard time getting up in the mornings. Since I am running my first 5k in less than 2 weeks, I really need to kick up my exercise schedule a notch if I plan on not…well you know, dying during the race. I know I can run 5k, it’s just a matter of how embarrassed I’ll be with my time.

source: Proud to Run

But since there are so many amazing things to do in Chicago in the summer, it’s really hard to commit to doing anything after work, since usually there are a thousand free concerts, festivals, happy hours or simple icy-cold drink-fuled hangouts to be had instead. Why the hell would I want to be huffing away in the gym when I could be drinking an Oberon by the lake? Pfft!

source: Beersurfing blog

I’ve been able to work with this problem a little bit by scheduling a few runs with friends after work, which is a great way to catch up and chat while getting some huffing & puffing in (not to mention being able to wander around the city, one of my favorite activities!), but I can guarantee that those runs will ALWAYS take a back seat to booze, music and sittin’ outside in the sun.

What’s a social butterfly like me to do?

This is why I need to exercise in the morning. Duh. But um, how exactly can I do that when I can’t even get up on time for work? I’m completely stumped — how does everyone seem to be able to juggle a social life (read: staying out late) while still being able to wake up and be a functioning adult? This isn’t me waxing poetic here, I need some advice — Help!!

—–

I had a pretty decent weekend. Friday after work, I met up with a few friends for beers at one of my favorite bars in Chicago, Guthrie’s Tavern. It’s a bit divey (just how I like em!), has a great (and cheap!) beer list, and provides board games for you to play for free! We snatched up Scrabble and chatted for a bit before diving in.

Somehow, I grew up without ever having played Scrabble (criminal, right?) so this was only the second (third?) time I had ever played in my life (the first being on a date….with a guy who was VERY good at Scrabble. He thought I was a complete moron and never called me again. Oops). I killed though! I still lost, but only because my friend stumbled into a ridiculous coincidence of a word and won in the last five minutes. I still won in my head!

Saturday was sort of a crapshoot of a day; I was supposed to meet some friends for the Old Town art festival, but apparently AT&T’s reception crapped out because there were so many people there (shocker), so no one could get any calls through. I ended up sitting at home for a good chunk of the day waiting to hear from my friend who I was supposed to meet, but got really frustrated and annoyed because I never heard from her. I did get a good run in (perfect running weather — 60 & breezy!), and ended up walking across the street to do a few hours of work at Caribou, so the day wasn’t a total loss.

That night, I met up with Amy and we grabbed dinner at The Chicago Diner, a vegetarian and mostly-vegan restaurant with the slogan, “Meat-free since ’83!”

source: Real Estate in Chicago

It’s right by my apartment, so I’ve walked past it a zillion times and had never been in it before. There’s always a huge line outside, and I’ve heard nothing but good things, so I was really excited to try it when Amy and I couldn’t agree on anything else except this place for dinner :) I love you Ames!

We both got veggie burgers — mine was a BBQ Bacon burger made out of seitan, and I topped it with Montery Jack cheese and avocado. It was SO GOOD. The texture of the seitan wasn’t weird or gross at all, and it was so flavorful and filling. It was also served with a side of sweet potato fries that were super crunchy and salty, the best and only way to serve them, IMO. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but I was too hungry and scarfed it down before the thought had even occurred to me!

I had an Oberon on the side, and since Amy and I had both heard about their amazing desserts, we decided to split a chocolate peanut butter cookie dough milkshake, completely vegan. Yes, you read that right.

source: Chicago Reader

It was made with a soy-based frozen ice-cream, and was TO-DIE-FOR. Not only was this bad boy rich, creamy, and free of any weird soy aftertaste, but the best part was that I didn’t feel gross, bloated or sick to my stomach at all afterward (since I am lactose intolerant). I’ve never been able to enjoy milkshakes, so this was VERY exciting! If you’re ever in Chicago and want to try an amazing veggie-friendly restaurant with classic diner food (they do offer eggs and dairy cheese, just no meat!), you’ve gotta give this place a try!

After dinner, I met up with some of my close friends who were in town for a bachelorette party, and hit a few bars with them. The bars they went to weren’t really my scene and were pretty overpriced, so I only had a few drinks and ended up going home in a bad (aka sad) mood.

———

I tried to sleep off the bad mood on Sunday, so after spending far too much time in bed, I got up and met Amy to head down to BluesFest! It’s a tradition for me to go every year since my Dad has been taking me since I was little, so I was psyched that Amy wanted to join me. We wandered around the fest a bit and picked up a few free samples (some not so great ZONE Perfect bars and some sickly-sweet soda — blegh!), then laid our blankets out in the sun to enjoy some of the great live music. It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon :)

source: xfx the mag

We both were craving a drink afterward (but didn’t want to spend $13 for a nasty Bud Light at the fest), so we went out for tapas and sangria at Twist! after leaving the festival. We had a great meal and some seriously tasty peach sangria, but had the funniest/most awkward moment when we paid the bill. Apparently both of us had neglected to deposit enough money into our accounts over the weekend, so BOTH of our cards were declined at the same time (we split the bill). The waitress came back and tried to insist that something must have been wrong with the machine, but both of us knew better and just started cracking up. One of the reasons we are such good friends is that we have a problem with expensive dinners and shoe shopping :D

Awkward, yes. Embarrassing, yes. But totally hilarious? Of course!

I’ve got some more work to catch up on, then I’m planning on either meeting up with a friend for another free concert in Millennium Park, or a nice long run before the hot weather comes back to torture is (high of 70 today! love!). Hope you’re having a great Monday!!

June 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm 2 comments

Busy bee

To say that this month has been crazy would be the understatement of the year.

After telling my roommates that I would officially be moving out at the end of the month a few days ago, so began the mad dash to find and secure a new apartment. The two that I had considered subletting both fell through, and I was beginning to worry that nothing would work out. So I took a huge chance and decided to sign a one year lease on a studio apartment.

That’s right folks, I am finally going to be fulfilling my dreams of becoming a cat lady living in a studio apartment with two cats. This should be interesting.

The plan is to sublet my new place (the apartment company actually lets you put someone else on the lease, so it would technically be a re-let) when my friend Amy and I find a new apartment when her current lease is up. I feel like I’m playing a giant game of musical apartments!

But now the thought of packing my entire apartment up in a week and moving, all while starting my new job, is daunting to say the least. I am a seriously stressed girl right now. But I know that this will be the best thing for my sanity, or whatever is left of it. So…wish me luck!

Yesterday was my last day of work at my old company, so they sent me off with a lovely tradition called “B&D,” which stands for beer and Doritos. BEER AND DORITOS!!! Really, how awesome is that? The office gets together around 4 o’clock and socializes with a few cases of brew and bags of chips. After the beer ran out, we decided to keep going and headed over to a nearby brewery for a few more beers. I spent some time chatting with my former boss about the power structure at the company and had to hold in the laughter a few times — it’s always so interesting what goes on behind the scenes among the higher-ups at companies!

After that, a few of us split off to go meet Amy for more beers (are you seeing a pattern here?) and get dinner at DMK, an AMAZING grass-fed beef burger place that also happens to have incredible fries. I would have snapped a picture, but my phone was long-dead after a day at work (I tell ya, smartphones are great, but you REALLY need to carry an extra charger around with you if you want to be able to use it!).

I got the incredible #2, which had onion rings, blue cheese and their house made ketchup. The way the cook their burgers leaves them super crispy around the endges and…oh…I can’t go on, I’m drooling here.

source

As if I hadn’t had enough at that point, we decided (after drinking since 4, save for Amy) to go to another bar! But as we were leaving, I realized that my coat had disappeared! We looked all over the restaurant, but it seemed as if someone had either stolen it or taken it by mistake. Fortunately I only had my mace (hah) and my Chicago Card (public transit pass) in the pockets and not keys or my phone, but it was a nice coat and now I have to pay to replace my card, which I use multiple times per day. So frustrating!

At this point, I was upset about the coat and, again, had been drinking since 4….I had half a dreamsicle martini, spilled the other half all over the bar, then was given a free replacement by the very nice bartender — I thought that was so sweet! She probably shouldn’t have given me that second one though, as I proceeded to spill it all over my pants. Oy.

After getting shoved into a cab to ensure my safe arrival home, I stumbled into my bed and passed out.

Hi, my name is Laura and I’m a hot mess. Nice to meet you! :)

I’m off to do some shopping with my friend Allison in the hopes of finding a dress for a concert date I have tonight. Wish me luck, and please don’t call an intervention on me just yet!

April 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm 2 comments

Mama’s date night steak!

Hi loves!
So for a date night awhile back, I made flank steak.

It had sugar…

Spice…

…and everything nice…

Mama’s Date Night Flank Steak

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (you can use bottled but it won’t taste as good!)
  • 1 cup green onion and tops, chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I didn’t measure this, just poured it in)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger (I’ve used both fresh and dried – I think fresh tastes better though)
  • 1 flank steak (mine was just under a pound)

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients (except steak) and mix well. Place steak and marinade in rectangular dish or large ziploc bag and marinate for 24-48 hours in refrigerator.

chillin'

I had a little helper

Can I have steak too?

To cook on the grill, cook for 4 minutes, turn 90 degrees, flip and repeat. To cook indoors, heat a cast iron grill pan slowly over medium heat. Grill steak for 6 minutes, flip and grill for 5 minutes. Let rest on a plate covered with tinfoil for five minutes (both methods), then slice against the grain at a slight angle and serve. Bravissimo!

I didn’t take a picture because…well…it was date night! ;)

And remember my crazy caprese?

That’s some pink Himalayan sea salt right there!

Is that gorgeous, or what?!

Here’s the maple mustard chicken I had with it.

On the side, I had a New Glarus Spotted Cow.

And some strawbs + dark chocolate for a little sweetness :)

I have another dinner date tomorrow, and I’m still up doing laundry and cleaning — and have NO idea what I’m going to make! Any ideas?

Night, all!

April 4, 2011 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

Cheesehead

Hello friends! I am such a bad blogger lately, my goodness! Can you ever forgive me?

I have a good reason for it though, I swear. Well, multiple reasons…one of them I mentioned here :) My, er..romantic life has taken a turn for the interesting. I’m not quite sure how I feel about sharing the details of this little situation with the world (and world meaning the three people that are reading) for fear of upsetting my future lover/boyfriend/fiance/husband (if you’re reading this — sorry future lover/boyfriend/fiance/husband! I love you!…I think), but here goes…

I happened to go out on two different first dates with two different people in the same week…and liked both of them. YEESH! It has been so much fun so far getting to know both of these people (and again, I reiterate — this is not meant to be malicious! It just happened that way!) but it’s hard to tell at the moment where things will lead…so for now, I’m just having fun, and boy, let me tell you — it has been fun!

No, not in that way you perverts…I have remained *chaste* and simply enjoyed some lovely goodnight kisses! :P

Anywho, between spending time with these two gentleman, gym time, work and fun (see below), I feel like I barely have a minute to myself these days! For example, my Saturday was filled with this stuff:

image

Believe your eyes, that is green beer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as tasty as it looks (do

esn’t it kinda look like Green River soda??) because it was Miller Light! Blegh, I HATE light beer, and would much rather drink something that doesn’t taste like stale water. Thankfully, a few (or 10..) of these made their way to my belly:

image

Unfortunately, there were still a few more of these:

image

Neat can though, no?

We started the day off early (9am!!) with some drinks and a walk down to see the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was so much fun walking around the crowds with everyone dressed up for the holiday. We have a lot of Irish people here (myself included), so Chicagoans REALLY take the holiday seriously! I couldn’t help but laugh though — the entire city seems to have decided that last Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day…not the actual holiday on Thursday! People were drinking all morning, afternoon and night (my neighbors, for example, decided to start the morning off at 6am with “Come On Eileen” playing at full volume below my bedroom…lovely) and needless to say, this town was toasted.

I can’t say I wasn’t in on the fun…

I spent most of the afternoon swigging Guinness and who knows what else, then planned on heading home around 6 to take a nap. Then my brother called and invited me to meet him at an Irish bar downtown…and I couldn’t resist (he even offered to pay for my cab — what a guy!). I stayed out much later than I had intended, as well as drank far more than I should have. I still had a great time and didn’t get sick, but I was in bed — dead to the world — by 9:30 pm and felt like I had been run over by a car, truck, train and bus (all at once, of course) the next day. It was a plain bagel and 37 glasses of water kind of Sunday…

Buuuut — I still got to watch them turn the Chicago River Green!

image

image

After my epic day Saturday and useless day Sunday, I really needed a good workout today. After stopping home for a quick snack and to feed the kitties, I tied mah shoes and headed out the door. Boy oh boy was this a good workout! I can really see the value of rest days (although unlike my tactic, you’re only supposed to take one or two, not like…eight…) if every workout of mine was like the one today!

I felt like I had endless power in my legs that carried me through a 2.5 mile run (far for my pathetic running butt) with lots of super-speedy intervals. I felt amazing! Afterward I mishmashed a strength workout together that seemed to incorporate a lot of what I’ve been learning from Women’s Health lately. I did some upper back schtuff, squats + lunges, bicep curls, shoulder presses and even PUSHUPS! I can do pushups now! It never ceases to amaze me when I can feel AND see myself getting stronger, and it really is the best motivation evah.

Can you tell I’m in a good mood?

Said mood is surprising, considering I was in the foulest of foul moods earlier today. Really, I wanted to rip somebody’s head off…Amazing how a little sweat can turn things around, eh? :)

When I came home, I really wanted something satisfying but loaded with protein since my diet was WAY out of whack this weekend. I came up with this:

image

It may not look like much, but let me tell you — this bad boy was tasty. I had originally planned on nuking some frozen broccoli, but when I took it out of the freezer, it was clear that that stuff wasn’t going anywhere except for the garbage. I hate freezer burn!

While I cooked a little bit of whole wheat pasta, I heated up and pulled apart some chicken I made last night for chicken tacos (boneless skinless organic thigh meat, simmered with onions, cumin, paprika and cayenne) and defrosted some chopped spinach. When everything was ready to go, I mixed the pasta with the chicken and spinach, then topped it with shredded cheddar, shredded lite mozzarella and a little (okay, not so little) blob of soft goat cheese, then nuked the whole mix for another minute to melt the cheese. After it heated up, I stirred it together then topped it with Garlic Gold.

Ohhhhhh man. Have I mentioned that this girl loves cheese? Yeah, because I love cheese.

Delish and easy, just the way I like it.

Now I’m off to have a glass of Zinfandel then get ready for bed. I have a chiropractor appointment bright and early!

March 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Beer, cheese and beans

Hello friends!

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:

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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.

Trying to contain the drooling right now...

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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
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • 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.

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yum!

Off to finish the rest of today’s work, then it’s date night!

March 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

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