Posts tagged ‘Trader Joe’s’

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!
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August 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm 9 comments

Grocery woes + Greek quinoa salad

Hi friends — happy Thursday!

pretty, huh?

I had another impossible time waking up this morning. I stayed up late talking to the guy I just ended things with for a couple grueling hours. He informed me yesterday afternoon that he may be moving to Portland in a month and I was completely flabbergasted. He is still intent on becoming friends, and while I really do care about him, I’m just not sure I can do it. We’ve been doing this awkward back and forth for awhile now, and it’s getting exhausting, so I’m really not sure what to do. I think I still see him as someone I dated, and don’t know if I could maintain the distance to be okay with being just friends. You know, not kissing or holding hands…etc. :(

Have you ever decided to become friends with someone you dated longer than a quick fling, but not long enough for a full-fledged relationship?

Anywho, I’m totally exhausted. We finally got off the phone at 1:30 in the morning, and after that I proceeded to tackle the horrific mound of (stinky) dishes in my sink. I don’t like this living alone thing — I’m turning into a freaking slob! I’m rarely home these days because who wants to sit home by themselves in the summertime when you could be out having fun? But that means I’m dashing in and out, and never spend any time cleaning up. Who wants to come over and help? :)

After getting the news about the guy’s potential move, I was totally bummed out, so naturally, I went grocery shopping.

You guys, I am a food hoarder. Some people stockpile shoes (although I do tend to do this too…) — I stockpile groceries. I have enough food to feed 50 people for a week. It doesn’t help that it’s nearly impossible to leave Trader Joe’s without spending at least $50. I left with lots of tasty produce, some quinoa (theirs is always cheaper), some frozen fruit for smoothies (ditto — you won’t find cheaper pineapple and mango anywhere else), their amazing chicken meatballs, some Kona coffee (!!) and a few other random things that I can’t remember. I think the bill was something like $83….ugh. But I can’t help myself!!!!!

I also picked up this nifty reusable insulated bag, even though I already have like 38492340239450 reusable grocery bags. Again, friends — hoarder, I tells ya. HELP ME STOP.

After feeling crappy about everything all day (despite being able to work from home – aka Starbucks), I headed home, noshed on a small banana, cleaned up a bit, and tossed on my gym gear after winning an internal battle of whether to go or not. It was absolutely insanely gorgeous out last night, so it would have been the perfect time for a run, but I’m starting to think that I overtrained and gave myself shin splits.

I’m not exactly sure how one can overtrain for a freaking 5K, but I guess these legs are not ideally suited for running on hard surfaces. This totally bums me out, because for the first time in my life, I’m actually enjoying running outside. I’m considering asking my GP to refer me to a physical therapist so we can take a look at what is causing my knee pain, as well as this shin-splint-y feeling. Have any of you guys ever had shin splints?

I got on the scale this morning for the first time in ages. I’d been avoiding it because, due to my total (okay, not total, but certainly not up to par) lack of exercise commitment, I was almost certain that I had gained some weight. I’ve also been feeling pretty down on myself, self-image-wise, and my clothes have been feeling a little snug, so I really haven’t wanted to stare those numbers in the face. But I think it’s important that I know so I can get myself back on track.

Bad news: I had gained some weight, as I thought.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Good news: It wasn’t that much. If I can hop back on the exercise train and get my freaking act together, I think I should be okay. Right now, I just want my goals to be about eating and feeling better (e.g. getting more protein so my hair stops clogging up the drain in the tub — ugh, gross) and fitting comfortably (and feeling fabulous) in my clothes. Eventually I think I do need to set a general poundage goal, but I’m still unsure of how I feel about that. We’ll have to wait and see.

So, um, I’m kind of thinking I need to get myself out on some dates again. But I’m tired of meeting morons and jerkface buttheads (I’m so mature). Chicago ladies — where should I go to find some eligible bachelors that aren’t of the John Barleycorn persuasion? I live in the ultimate no-man’s-land, straddling Wrigleyville and Boystown. To the east, there are gay — albeit gorgeous — men as far as the eye can see. To the west, it’s the land of the Bro-skis, a class of men so undesirable that I’d rather spoon my cats for the rest of my life. Waaaaah.

I’m crazily excited for my lunch today. I packed a salad consisting of butter lettuce + radicchio, a Greek quinoa salad I threw together, tomatoes, leftover avocado and some organic pea shoots. I grabbed a banana to have on the side. Here’s how you make the Greek quinoa salad (makes about 4 servings):

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked
  • a bunch of full-fat feta (as much or little as you want)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced/diced
  • 1/2 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Mix everything together in a large bowl and keep in the fridge, covered. It should stay good about 4-5 days. This stuff is great because it makes packing a lunch SO easy. I topped my salad with it today and can’t wait to try it out with some olive oil vinaigrette as a dressing. Lots of fiber and protein, too — yum! Feel free to tweak the recipe as desired — you can add onions, olives, whatever floats your boat. I recommend using the full-fat feta for two reasons: 1) I think low-fat cheese is disgusting, and 2) low-fat cheese doesn’t have enough flavor, so you end up using more anyway. If you really like the low-fat stuff though, go for it.

I’m off to finish the day. Have a good one!

June 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm 5 comments

Flip flop

I’ve been doing just that…flip-flopping…a LOT lately. But it’s all gonna stop today. Take a deep breath and prepare yourselves, ladies..

…cause the gym clothes were packed and brought to work today.

Yeah.

What’s that? You’re not really impressed? Well, hmph. I know Carrots ‘n Cake and FoodFitnessFashion are talking about signing up for marathons, but can’t we just be the tinest bit excited that I got my ass up off the couch?

Please?

In slightly more exciting news, I hit up the new Trader Joe’s on Diversey yesterday. I figured the crowds might have died down after being open for a little while, but the 15-deep line at each register proved me wrong.

source: Nibbles of Tidbits

Trader Joe’s Begins Tradin’ in Lincoln Park – Now Open – Racked Chicago.

Regardless, having my beloved purveyor of all things goat cheese in a much more convenient (and bus route-friendly) spot made me a happy girl. I walked out with just shy of $100 in loot, and can’t wait to scarf down every bite of it.

Well, except for the package of organic strawberries that had mold on them when I opened the package at home! Have you guys ever had that happen? I never know what to do, because I often throw out the receipt, or forget to bring the stuff back before it’s pointless and/or too late. But really, shouldn’t somebody be checking this stuff? I don’t think I should have to make sure the fruit I buy isn’t moldy, but maybe I’m wrong…

I also picked up some of these:

source: Girl with the Red Hair

In case it wasn’t obvious….these are. so. good. Omigod.

I have a pseudo-date tonight with my aforementioned fella. We’re still seeing each other, but have yet to reach that ever so elusive “title”… yet we talk every day, have confirmed we are seeing each other exclusively, and see each other very regularly. I don’t understand men. What the hell?

Anyway, this certain fella has several close friends that are ladies, and I will be meeting one of them tonight. She seems to be concerned that he does not spend enough time with her lately (although she has a boyfriend, as I’ve been told). I can’t help but worry that my eyes will be clawed out.

If they are, expect some really awesome typos in my next post :D

June 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Ultimate hangover [+ easy peasy caprese]

Hi friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend, full of relaxation time or crazy time. Mine was a strange combo of both.

My “ultimate hangover” had two parts — food and booze. Let’s just say I was not so good to my body this weekend…

Last week was one of the most stressful weeks  in recent memory. I was waiting to hear about the fate of my current job and whether it would be continued, and if that wasn’t in the cards, whether another position I had interviewed for would give me an offer. My plans for a date were also rescheduled twice then canceled, which not only bummed me out, but brought out some serious insecurities that I struggle with whenever I’m dating someone. I’ve been lied to too many times (in my opinion, once is too many), so I was feeling very vulnerable.

I wouldn’t call myself an emotional eater. When something bad happens, my first urge is to swig a glass of wine, not eat a piece of cake. (Hmm — does this make me an emotional boozer? Haha). Luckily I’ve leaned that a trip to the gym is usually a good substitute that will usually, at least temporarily, chill me out. I am, however, much more inclined to go totally lax on my eating habits when I’m stressed. I tend to tell myself that I don’t care, or that at this point that bowl of pasta bathed in cheese is necessary. Or I’ll go out to eat instead of making something healthy at home.

This was one of those weekends.

Thankfully (and I am thrilled to announce) that I got a call Friday morning with an offer for a new job! Unfortunately, I had stressed myself to the breaking point by Friday, and was in bed with a seriously congested head and a fever when I got the call, but it made my day nonetheless. While I was thrilled (and officially called back to accept the offer a few hours later), my stress levels were still through the roof.

I can say with near complete certainty now that I rarely get sick unless a) I pick something up from riding the bus every day, or b) I am completely stressed out, which is usually coupled with little sleep and not enough fruits, vegetables and other healthy stuff. Alcohol is sometimes thrown into the mix as well. This weekend, my main sources of “nourishment” comprised of mac and cheese, shrimp and cheese grits, buttermilk fried chicken, a steak sandwich and a giant bowl of pasta. There were no vegetables to be seen. But there was lots of beer. LOTS of beer.

Thankfully, these weren’t all in entree size and were instead enjoyed in tastes and sharing sizes, but needless to say, I still felt like…well, shit. I also dealt with two serious hangovers.

Are any of you emotional or stress eaters? How do you get yourself back on track?

After sleeping in to catch up some desperately needed Z’s, I finally got myself over to the gym. Since my cold is still lingering around and preventing any use of my nose, I kept it light to 20 min on the recumbent bike (set on random hills at level 10) and 20 minutes on incline intervals on the treadmill (speed 3.3-3.5 with inclines from 1.0 to 11.0). I tried to complete one of my WH workouts, but after one superset, I realized that there was no way I could do these without doing them half-assed, and that just seemed pointless to me, so I plopped down on the mat and stretched out instead.

And then…Trader Joe’s happened.

While Chicago has gloriously acquired a new Trader Joe’s pretty close to my house (and on my way home from work) on Diversey, it hasn’t been completed yet, so I have to rent a Zipcar if I want to buy more than a backpack’s worth of food and take two buses to get there.

Yesterday was a Zipcar day, and boy did I stock up.

How can you not get completely excited and overwhelmed at TJ’s? They have a zillion new things every time I go, and they have my favorite foodie finds at ridiculously low prices — things like goat cheese (in spreadable, sliced, medallion and every other form you can think of), smoked salmon, frozen shrimp, endive, pre-cut and washed leeks and more. Their produce isn’t always the best but beyond that, TJ’s is essentially my dream come true.

My bill (take a deep breath) was $170. I was almost ashamed of myself, but after a particularly veggie-deprived weekend, I felt good looking down at the four-bag bounty in front of me, full of fresh lemons, avocados, fresh basil, salad fixins, peppers, salt-free spices, white bean chili and even some frozen (!!) brussels sprouts. I also had some goat cheese in there :)

Last night, I was craving something light and fresh since Chicago experienced a freak evening of seventy six degree weather!!! It was damn near balmy outside, so while I cooked some of my mustard maple chicken with the porch door open, I threw together an incredible caprese salad. Into the mix went:

  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes (that needed to be used ASAP)
  • a crap ton of fresh basil, torn + chiffonaded (new word?)
  • good olive oil, as much or as little as you like
  • a good sprinkle of sea salt
  • red wine vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • 4-6 asparagus spears sliced into 1 inch pieces, sauteed in cooking spray and blanched in cold water immediately after
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
  • as much fresh mozzarella as you like

Mix everything together, add more olive oil if you like and DIVE IN. You can play around with the ingredients and portions in this recipe as much as you’d like, because I imagine it would be delicious in nearly any combination (for example, some chilled grilled zucchini or some cukes), but any way you spin it, it’s unbelievably easy, fresh and light. YUM!

Pictures of dinner to come later tonight!

April 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm 4 comments

Like a Little Kid

Hello there!

I had a lovely evening last night…too lovely…I went on a date! I will spare the details for everyone’s sake, but it completely surprised me (I was not expecting much, considering my last romantic excursion…). I had a blast talking the night away, really enjoyed his company, and even ended the night on a really sweet note. I walked away feelin’ giddy and excited, which really is the best feeling :)

Unfortunately, I tend to lose track of how much I’m drinking when I’m enjoying myself or engrossed in a good conversation, so I ended up drinking four pints of microbrews…You know, the 6 or 7 percent ABV kinda microbrews.

*facepalm*

Thankfully I had the, er…”right mind” to eat two little pieces of leftover pizza (hah!) when I got home, as well as provide my future self with a big bottle of water next to my bed, so I didn’t wake up feeling too atrocious. My head did feel extra heavy though and I had an especially hard time waking up. It was a wash my face and throw my hair in a ponytail kinda day…

My lunch today, incidentally, was heavily “inspired” by my lack of A.M. effort. I grabbed a can of soup, PB&J fixins, and an orange. Kara ended up picking up a nanner for me at the store, but my lunch totally looked like a little kid’s lunch.

image

Although I suppose with the soup, I probably should have had grilled cheese instead of PB&J to make it really authentic,  haha.

The soup was Trader Joe’s organic tomato bisque. I really want to like the stuff and it’s not half bad (it’s not even too salty!), but it’s too sweet! There is something really unnerving about sweet tomato soup..I think it starts to taste like ketchup at a certain point. This stuff was still pretty good though, and certainly worked in a pinch. I would have had my famous green-filled mushy soup, but I finally finished off the last of it yesterday :)

The sandwich was two smallish pieces of whole wheat bread, Skippy Natural and Trader Joe’s fruit spread. I LOVE this stuff and won’t really eat any other kind of “jelly.” It actually tastes like fruit!

Off to finish the second half of the workday, then I’ve got a fun workout planned for the evening. I’ve started a new routine recently, and  I can’t wait to share the details with you! Have a great afternoon!

March 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Fast food

Boy, did this day fly by! I had a lot of work on my plate and barely looked up from the computer most of the day. I’m glad it went by quickly, but I felt like a big lump of blah.

Instead of staying late, I decided to eat lunch at my desk so I could leave at a normal time. (I do this far more often than I’d like to admit). Since it was a Monday, I went with healthy convenience foods instead of something elaborate for lunch; since I already had a can of soup in my desk, I grabbed a strawberry Chobani and an English cucumber to throw in my purse while my morning oatmeal was cooking in the rice cooker.

Sidenote: I am legitimately obsessed with making oatmeal in my rice cooker. Post on this to come!

I ate one of these guys:

image

As noted before, this stuff, while delicious, is just too salty for me. I had to down several glasses of water, all in my goofy Santa-Simpsons cup.

image

I never got to the cucumber, so it’s still waiting for me in the fridge at work!

I got hungry a few hours later (shocker) so I had the Chobani with some of the strawberry stuff mixed in (all of it makes it too sweet, in my opinion), some uncooked old fashioned oats and some of Kara’s Vanilla Almond Special K mixed in to tide me over. Delish and worked like a charm!

image

So despite it being only Monday, I already had plans set for every day this week, as well as a trip for this weekend, so I was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed and worried that I would’ve have much me time – let alone any gym time. I decided to rearrange my plans a bit so I could not only have Laura time (very important :D), but also feel less..I don’t know, boxed in? I tend to get really anxious when I’m overwhelmed and it’s just not good for anybody. I’m now on the bus home (update: finished the post at home!) and feeling much better about the week ahead :)

In other and less important news, why do the ends of my hair always look like they’ve been chewed on by an animal?! I need to get a haircut, blegh.

February 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm 1 comment

Droolworthy: my tomato flub

You know how I said I made my lunch with an heirloom tomato?

*facepalm*

While I loooove tomatoes, I am by no means an expert on the ruby hued fruit. When I bought these guys on my trip to TJ’s the other day, I saw, I drooled, I bought. They looked like heirlooms, so I assumed they were heirlooms!

 

 

Alas, they were not. Check out this YumSugar post for the lowdown on what these lovely ‘maters are really called.

January 27, 2011 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

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