Posts tagged ‘holidays’

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.



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

Merry Christmas!


I hope that whatever you’re celebrating and whoever you’re celebrating it with, you have a safe, wonderful and happy day.

December 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

The carb monster is creeping back up…

rarrrr, carbs! mmmm

…and threatening to ruin my workout again this evening. And again, it comes in the form of pizza.

Surprisingly, I’m really good about working out on Fridays (for context, today is essentially Friday for me — no work for this girl tomorrow!). Maybe it’s the laid back feeling of having two and a half days of free time ahead of me, or maybe it’s just wanting to start the weekend off on a good foot. Regardless, I almost always make it to the (nearly deserted) gym on Fridays after work and get in a really good, sweaty workout.

One tip I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in keeping up with my gym “schedule” is packing up my gym bag and taking it to work with me in the morning. It sometimes feels silly, because my gym is literally 3 blocks from my apartment, and to drag this (admittedly cute, but so not matching with my all-black work vibe) pastel purple Puma (alliteration!) duffel all the way down to the Loop with me, only to bring it back and stop just a few streets short of my original starting point point seems…well…like a lot of effort. But, I’ve figured out that if I don’t go to the gym right after work and before getting home, the chances of going drop off severely…almost alarmingly so.

You’ve got dinner…and since dinner is taking a while to cook, well, why not have just a little glass of wine while you wait? And ooh, those chocolate covered pretzels you made for your party over the weekend are still sitting on the counter. They’re small, I can have a few. By this point you’ve already finished your wine, and obviously need another glass to go with dinner. And hey — Jersey Shore is on! Would be nice to lean back on the couch and relax — just a bit! have to go to the gym after this still — while you finish your dinner. Of course, you have to wait for your food to digest before working out and jostling it all in your stomach, otherwise you will just burn the food off and it won’t be effective. Oh my goodness, what’s that? It’s already 9:30? Well, getting your beauty sleep is important, maybe a night off from the gym would be beneficial if you go to sleep early and work out in the morning instead. That would really feel good. I’ll just get into my pajamas and watch a little Netflix on my computer to fall asleep. Wow, this documentary is fascinating…I can’t stop now What? It’s 1:30 in the morning? I really should sleep in tomorrow…can’t be going into work without my wits about me.

Yeah, you all know this game. I can’t be the only one.

But I digress…I actually have my gym bag here at work with me, and I didn’t even forget a sports bra like I did a few weeks ago (but still worked out!). It’s the start of my holiday break, and I have all the tools to start it out healthy – but – my friend Megan is coming over to visit tonight, and we, like always, are already talking about food. Food porn, you know how it goes. We want pizza. If I go to the gym after work, I won’t have time to shower and get ready to head out to dinner with her. Gotta make a choice.

I think pizza wins.

December 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Hi, I’m Laura!

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