Posts tagged ‘cheese’
I was still sort of in a funk today. I got to work from home, which was nice, but right now I’m having trouble shaking these yucky feelings.
One thing that did totally make me smile was a slew of Twitter conversations from some of my favorite bloggers :) I’m starting to realize that it’s almost impossible for me to get anything done if I have Twitter open in the background (as Angela noted today on Oh She Glows), so I’ll have to check in a little more sparingly in the future, but today it really did the trick.
On a similar note, I tweeted at Tina, asking if she would blog about how to be productive when working from home. I can’t wait to see what she says!
After running a few errands and
wasting a ton of time reading blogs finishing up the working day at Caribou, I called it quits and headed home to drop off my computer. I texted my friend Allison to see if she wanted to join me for a walk since it was so nice out (and the fact that I hadn’t seen her in awhile!), and she jumped at the chance, which totally made me smile. In an earlier post, I mentioned making fitness dates to keep up with your social life — I am a perfect realistic example, right here!
We strolled around the neighborhood while chatting about our respective weekends, then passed some of the tennis courts nearby. Apparently Allison is really good at tennis and has some rackets, so we’re going to try to get a court sometime soon and play! By “play,” I mean having her embarrass me horribly while I run around, red-faced and panting. Even though I totally suck at tennis (poor hand-eye coordination, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself), I’ve always thought it was fun, and it will be a nice change from the run-gym-run routine.
It was a beautiful evening.
After passing though the park, we walked over to the lake and Al showed me how to use my fancy schmancy camera. I still have no freaking clue how to use any of the manual settings on this thing.
I love living so close to the lake, and it’s amazing in the summer when all the sailboats are out :) If this is exercise, count me in!
After strolling around and chatting a bit more (including some serious discussion over the Casey Anthony trial), we decided to head back. We made plans to get together this weekend though, which I’m super excited over because I never see Allison enough — every time we hang out, I’m reminded about how much I enjoy her company.
As I was walking back home, I realized how hungry I was for dinner. My eats are always a little wonky on work-from-home days because I wake up later than usual and either spend the day parked on the couch in my pajamas, grazing away, or head to a nearby coffee shop and end up getting coffee, iced tea, or occasionally a baked treat.
For example, this was a work-from-home breakfast one week:
And here was a lunch from last week:
See? Wildly inconsistent. Today I had a bowl of Kashi Go Lean! Crunch for breakfast with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Lunch was my leftover massaged kale salad alongside a small bowl of whole wheat rigatone topped with a spritz of olive oil and some pecorino romano.
A short while later I was hungry again, so I had a bowl of blueberries. They were SO good though, that I had to have more, so I finished off the pint. I seriously can’t resist summer berries, mmmm.
After working some more, I hit the point where I needed to get out of the apartment so that’s when I went to Caribou. Before walking out the door, I had a Kashi waffle topped with that same cream cheese, fig spread and chia topping to tide me over. While running post-work errands, I nibbled on a mini cherry pie Larabar (not my favorite), then did the whole walkin’ thang with Allison. See! Eats all over the place!
Guess what I had for dinner, though? :D
Yep, another FlatOut pizza. I am so obsessed with these, and I’m getting really good at making them! This one started with a new-to-me type of marinara sauce — it was Bella Terra Organic‘s Tomato Basil, and it was SO GOOD. It had just the right balance between savory and sweet, and tasted super fresh. I wasn’t thrilled about the 25% daily value of sodium in one serving, but I eat too much salt anyway so I was able to look past it, haha. Overall I highly recommend this brand!
Next, I topped the toasted wrap with the usual spinach, then added some sliced roma tomatoes, a few leftover sliced grape tomatoes, yellow bell pepper slices, creamy goat cheese, a few shreds of mozzarella and a sprinkle of pecorino romano. I made sure to do less cheese this time around (although it doesn’t look like it) to see how it would fare without as much fat, and I was so glad I did! The runniness of the marinara, cooked spinach and tomatoes made it super juicy, so you better believe I licked the plate clean. I’m obsessed with these pizzas!
On the side, I cooked up some Alexia spicy sweet potato fries. Note to self: your oven is very small, so it cooks things (and therefore burns things) much faster. Plan accordingly.
I totally burned these, but they were so good I ate all of them anyway! Well, okay, maybe not that one on the left side…But seriously, the combination of the sweetness from the sweet potato and the chipotle seasoning is to-die for, and at only 130 calories and 4 grams of fat, along with loads of vitamin A per serving (30 fries!!!) these are totally a great bang for your nutritional buck. Go out and buy these. Now.
So I got about halfway through this post when I realized that I left my computer charger at Caribou — d’oh! Had to call and frantically run back to retrieve it, but thankfully people in my neighborhood are awesome and neighborly, and someone turned it in to the register. Phew.
Earlier today I got some fantastic news — I called my insurance company about a bill I had received from Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing lab, for $400. Not only do I believe that medical insurance exists to pay things like this, but I also believe it’s insane that they would charge me for super important tests of the female persuasion. After chatting with the lady for about five minutes, she offered to call the company and check into it. As it turns out, there was just a paperwork error on their end, and I never should have gotten the bill. I was SO SO happy to hear this news, I can’t even tell you. I do NOT have that kind of money, plus — where would that leave me to be able to tame the wild hair? ;)
Sadly, I also got some really awful news about half an hour ago, but I’m going to hold off on posting about that, as I still need somet time to process it. If you have a spare second, please send some positive thoughts out into the universe…Not for me, though. Lately it seems as if bad things keep happening to good people left and right. Gotta push the negative out with some positive thoughts.
I’m off to bed — last night I stayed up way too late again reading The Hunger Games, but it’s so good that I can’t put it down! I’m almost finished!
What are you guys reading lately?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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:
Unfortunately, there were still a few more of these:
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!
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:
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!
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!
That’s how I would describe my lunch today. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but I definitely think I could have cut down on the sodium content somewhere. In addition to having a TJ’s chicken sausage (which, in the scheme of things, really isn’t too bad), I made my quinoa with veggie broth, which I didn’t realize has 24% of your daily sodium intake in one serving! Sheesh! On top of that, I added some sea salt at the end, not realizing how salty this already was. It was still very tasty though :)
See the roasted leek I snuck in there? The fennel didn’t make it, but the leek was mighty tasty!
Quinoa looks so neat close-up! I had a big, tasty salad on the side.
After work, I stopped at Macy’s to look for a few things I needed. Of course I ended up with a few things I didn’t need. I got a neato silicone spoon since my wooden one had a rather unfortunate, err, fire incident. I also picked up some great tall, thin cocktail glasses (I’m not sure what they’re called) that were on sale for 6 bucks! What a steal. I then had to stop by the makeup counter and, despite needing some new foundation, spent FAR too much money. Bad bad bad!! I really can’t resist expensive makeup….
By the time I got home, I was tired and had seriously considered picking up some Qdoba for a burrito bowl. Thankfully I stuck to my guns and made something healthier and considerably cheaper at home. I went for a quesadilla made with two whole wheat tortillas, a TJ’s goat cheese medallion, some shredded cheddar, some grated parmesan, grilled asparagus, sliced leeks and spinach. On the side, I had some FF Greek yog + Cholula hot sauce (aka spicy sour cream), vegetarian refried beans and some sparkling mineral water + pomegranate juice. It was AWESOME.
I am SO glad that I made dinner at home, it was very, very good. You can also see my new glass here :)
Have you ever had fat free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I always thought it sounded stupid (and wimpy), and I’m crazy about sour cream. But since I only like the full fat stuff, sometimes I have to make concessions…and this is a surprisingly good one! Without any sugar, most of the taste you associate with yogurt is gone, and the little splash of hot sauce makes it so you almost can’t tell the difference!
Yeah, this was one tasty dinner, and I am one happy girl :) I’m also exhausted, so I’m going to turn on a movie and hopefully fall asleep. Have a lovely night!