Archive | October, 2012

We Made It

31 Oct

Well folks, I am happy to say that I survived my very first hurricane. The storm wasn’t nearly so bad in Washington as was predicted and most people didn’t even lose power.

At one point, Stef and I ventured out to the grocery store to escape cabin fever and get some grocery shopping done. Grocery shopping during  a hurricane makes it obvious what the choice foods are in a storm.

 

The peanut butter shelves were practically cleaned out and we were left with a brand I had never heard of called Peter Pan.

 

Bottled water was the other hot commodity.

We had bought our own bottled water, but it didn’t end up being necessary as the storm felt just a bit windier and rainier than usual.

There was, however, one little surprise outside my front door.

 

I am so thankful that this was the worst of it for us and I am thinking of all those people who have been so affected by the hurricane in New York, New Jersey, and other parts of the northeast. One of my friends lives on the Jersey Shore and his town has been utterly wrecked. If anybody feels so inclined, here’s the link to the Red Cross hurricane aid page if you want to make a donation to help them out. For those of you who got caught in the storm, I hope you and your families are safe and well!

Stormy weather makes for a great time for comfort food. One of my favorites this weekend was a cauliflower pizza bowl: mashed cauliflower mixed with pizza sauce, some turkey pepperoni, and melted mozzarella cheese.

It was a great way to get the comforting flavors of pizza without all of the excess bread from the crust. Yum.

Monday and Tuesday were days off from work because my firm was closed and I spent most of yesterday doing laundry, cleaning my room, and all the other things that never seem to get done during the week. While cleaning, I was greeted with a happy surprise in the mailbox: my ballot had arrived! I am voting absentee in Washington State and I was nervous that my ballot had not yet arrived, with the election coming up so soon. I was so thrilled that it finally arrived, though it looked like it had been caught in the hurricane and was pretty damp.

Nothing a little blow-drying can’t fix. It’s a big ballot for Washington State this year, so I am even more excited to vote!

This morning it was back to work and I tried to go back to my normal routine, despite starting mid-week. My breakfast was a usual yogurt bowl and some peanut butter on a toasted sandwich thin.

I am all about the hot tea this morning, both at home and at the office. Since the storm passed, the weather has been downright chilly and the tea is more for warming my hands than anything else! Time to stock up on some new flavors!

While I managed to get in a workout at the gym in Stefano’s apartment building on Monday, I haven’t really had a good workout since Thursday, so I am antsy to get back to the gym tonight. On the books today is Body Pump, followed by a Zumba class for some cardio.

Food For Thought: What are you favorite tea flavors? Is there a specific brand and flavor you prefer?

Right now, I am totally into Caribou Coffee’s Hot Cinnamon Spice – with the combination of  cinnamon, cloves, and orange peels, it absolutely epitomizes the season of autumn for me.

 

 

 

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Frankenstorm

29 Oct

Good morning, everybody! I’m writing to you from home, because work was canceled today, due to Hurricane Sandy. My office follows the federal government for closures, so we closed after the government made an announcement that their offices would not be operating. Hurricane Day!!!

It’s like snow days in high school. Despite the closure, the weather in Washington is still fairly mild – it’s not very windy right now and the rain is pretty light. I hope all of you in the northeast and mid-Atlantic are being cautious and have prepared yourselves for the storm. Stay safe, everybody!

We’ve got the Weather Channel on and are tracking where the storm is headed. It looks like we could get quite a bit of rain, but the winds won’t be nearly as high as those in New York or Connecticut.

Let’s backtrack to the weekend. My office threw me a surprise party for my birthday! I didn’t see it coming at all, but was so pleased. One of my co-workers even made adorable mini-cupcakes.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful people I work with for making me feel so special.

Saturday was a nice, long walk all over the city with Stefano. Our first stop was to Eastern market to check out the fall foods.

The market is chock full of homemade cheeses, sausages, baked goods, along with fresh produce of every sort imaginable. For lunch, we stopped by the bakery to get lox bagels on fresh bread. A strawberry smoothie made an appearance, too.

On our way to the market, we stopped by a cute bookstore that was tucked away in a small courtyard, complete with fountain.

We popped in, but I didn’t see anything that caught my eye. Kindle or no Kindle, the real things are still #1 in my book (Ha!).

After grabbing lunch at the market, we moseyed over to the Capitol building, which was surrounded by tree in the middle of changing colors – so beautiful!

Stef and I spent a long time playing in the leaves, throwing them around and making big piles. We’re really mature.

That evening, we went to a friend’s Halloween party. Neither of us were really planning on doing Halloween this year, so we scrambled to come up with costumes. He ended up as an Italian soccer player and I dressed up as Liz Lemon from 30 Rock. I even had a bag of cheese puffs. Our friends took some pictures, so I will post those when I have them

Speaking of friend, I told you guys last week that I had some visitors in town. Their last day was Sunday, so we went out to brunch at Busboys and Poets near U Street. I have been there several times and each time, I love everything I eat! That morning, I ordered their Oaxaca omelet with home fries.

The omelet was so flavorful and creamy, thanks to the black beans and guacamole inside. The potatoes were just wonderful! I could have eaten a plateful of those.

After brunch, Stef and I had just enough time to do a Costco run while the girls were packing and returned home just in time to see them off. Luckily for them, they were on one of the very last flights out of the airport before it was shut down for Hurricane Sandy. They let me know that they got home safe and sound, though the flight itself was a scary one – they must have hit part of the storm while they were flying!

Today looks like we’re going to stick out the storm, though the power is still on and it just feels like a gloomy Sunday. Stefano is hard at work grading papers and I will probably dive back into a book I’m reading called ‘Sex and World Peace’, which is about how microcosmic events of gender inequality affects national security on a macro level. Yes, it sounds textbook-y and yes, I’m a total nerd. If any of you have read ‘Half the Sky’ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, check this book out!

Food For Thought: Are any of you in the line of the hurricane? What have you done to prepare?

Being from Seattle, I really don’t have any experience with major natural disasters, so I wasn’t sure how to prepare myself. We’ve got candles, flashlights, and bottled water so hopefully that will be all we need!

Visitors in Town

26 Oct

Happy, happy Friday!!!!

I’ve got a couple of visitors in town this weekend. My friend Lucy, who I have known since first grade when we were in Brownies together, is in DC with her friend from college to scope out law schools and grad schools. I have a roommate out of town who generously offered her room to them, so they’re with me until Sunday afternoon!

I had a great rest of my Thursday after posting in the morning. At lunch, I met my friend Ellen at Burger Tap and Shake by Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom. She was treating me for lunch for my birthday and I love burgers (this was my third one this week!) so I was game. In the effort to mitigate my burger consumption, I ordered a vegetarian burger, which was a falafel patty with feta, pickled vegetables, and a cilantro yogurt sauce. On the menu it’s called the Haight-Ashbury and it’s an excellent pick, even for non-vegetarians. My only complaint was that the patty could have been a little more moist (hate that word), or that there was more yogurt sauce to compensate for the dryness.

Ellen ordered their house burger and a side of sweet potato fries and we split a cookies n’ cream milkshake.

One of the great things about BTS is that they make everything in house (except for the sweet potato fries) and use local, natural ingredients for everything from their meat to their homemade buns. An excerpt from their website says,

“Throughout the day, we grind on premise a custom blend of 3-day aged, naturally raised Local Harvest beef chuck and brisket.  Char-griddled and served on a buttered, toasted, house made bun. By focusing on premium sourcing and in-house production – from pickles to ice cream – we are able to serve a great burger at a great price.”

And it’s true! Their house burger is only $6 and their specialty burgers are $8 – an excellent price for such quality ingredients! I’m a fan.

Ellen brought me a little gift in a bag she knew I would love.

I’m 23 going on 6.

Inside were some wonderful homemade treats for the holidays like white chocolate peanut clusters, caramel truffles, and maple sugar candy that she brought back from her hometown in Canada! I can’t get enough of that stuff!

After finishing up work in the afternoon, I made my way to my volleyball game and got a great workout in, though we lost (so close!). I love that volleyball is still accessible for me after high school and college because it really is a defining part of who I am.

The evening was spent catching up with Lucy and her friend Milena – I love girl talk!

This morning’s breakfast was another PB & J with chia seeds (I told you I can eat the same thing for days on end!), a baby sweet potato, and a small scoop of plain Greek yogurt.

While typing this up, I found a mini-protein bar that was a sample being given out at my gym a few days ago.

It was nice and minty and tasted kind of like a York Peppermint Patty. I am not a huge fan of protein bars, because I feel like they have a really strange aftertaste, so I probably wouldn’t go out and buy them. I am on the hunt for a protein bar that doesn’t taste weird after chewing it – any suggestions? This mini size was the perfect amount for a mid-morning snack.

What do you all have planned for the weekend? I am probably going to stop by a couple of Halloween parties, but I don’t think I’m going to dress up. I was hoping to, but I really lost motivation as the month went on. Maybe I’ll scrounge together something at the last minute – we’ll see!

There is supposed to be a huge storm hitting the East coast over the weekend, which they have dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’ on account of its proximity to Halloween. I’ve been reading mixed reports about where/when it’s going to land, so we will see if I need to be prepared! Seattle has really mild weather, so I have absolutely zero experience with hurricanes or tropical storms. What do I need to do to be prepared? Any suggestions are welcome 🙂

Food For Thought: Do you have any Halloween plans this weekend? If you’re dressing up, what is your costume?

Have a great weekend!

The Price You Pay

25 Oct

Good morning from cold, grey Washington, everybody.

I woke up with a bit of an upset tummy today, so the only thing that sounded even remotely appealing was a PB & J and some hot tea.

I immediately knew why I felt so icky. It’s because I had too much of this last night:

Apple pie a la (chocolate) mode. This, coupled with some CVS-induced poor decision making (read: Halloween candy) and my stomach was not a happy camper.

My Body Pump workout was really subpar. I had to take multiple breaks during the bicep and delts songs and was feeling too low energy to stay for Zumba afterwards. I guess that’s the price you pay when you put junk into your body.

I tried to mitigate it by having a light dinner of spaghetti squash faux pasta, with some pasta sauce and a sprinkle of grated parmesan for dinner. This dish is seriously so good for people who are looking for a pasta substitute – just stick that baby in the microwave for 11 minutes and then cut in half, de-seed, and scrape into “noodles”. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and I woke up feeling not so hot.

With the holidays coming up (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), I know it’s going to be a challenge to stick to healthy choices when there will be a plethora of delicious, heavy treats just waiting to be consumed. I know this time of year is hard for everybody because of all these special occasions, as well as the cold weather that makes you only want to eat stick-to-your-ribs kind of food. A crisp green salad doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as a big bowl of hot spaghetti when it’s cold and dreary outside.

This weekend, I’m hoping to compile a list of healthy versions of comfort food. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes you need to have a the real thing and there are just some meals you shouldn’t ever try to fake. But a lot of times, it is easy to make just a few changes and fill that craving without all the unhealthy extras.

Food For Thought: What’s your favorite fall comfort food? Is there a holiday staple that you can’t get enough of?

My holiday staple is the stuffing at Thanksgiving. I swear, there’s some kind of crack in it because I can never get enough. I feel like my family has begun to make two batches of it: one for me and one for everybody else. Stef is a huge stuffing fan as well, so I have a feeling that it’s going to be the star of our Thanksgiving this year. Who needs turkey?

What’s My Age Again?

24 Oct

Hey, hey, hey!

So I’m 23 now and it feels…well, it feels like 22 does, but somehow even less exciting. At what age is it appropriate to just stop looking forward to birthdays because it’s only a reminder that you’re getting older? One birthday related thing I never tire of is beautiful flowers from the boyfriend.

Other than my beautiful bouquet and wonderful gifts, my birthday was pretty low-key. Lunch was packed, I read a book, and ate a pretty usual meal.

After work, I went to the gym to get my Zumba on. Our usual instructor was out, so we had a sub who did a fabulous job. Her dance style was more Cuban and I had a lot of fun! When I got home, one of my roommates was around and we sat in the kitchen and chatted while I made dinner.

On the plate: balsamic vinegar-infused couscous, some frozen veggies that had been sauteed in balsamic vinegar, and two mashed sweet potatoes with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt on top. I used TWO dishes – win. I am so into sweet potato, squash, and other root vegetables right now and thanks to the microwave, they’re so easy to prepare. I cooked these sweet potatoes on high for 6 or 7 minutes and they turned out perfectly. Conveniently, the couscous also took about 7 minutes to cook, so everything came together and just the right time.

My roommate decided to make an apple pie last night and while I went to bed before it was finished, I am definitely going to get in on that after dinner tonight.

Speaking of apples, I decided to change up my yogurt bowl this morning by adding some chopped pieces of Macintosh apple to the mix. With some chia seeds, half plain yogurt, half honey yogurt, and some Kashi Go Lean, it was a good way to start off the day.

One reason I was looking forward to turning 23 was finally listening to this song and being able to relate.

Ah, Blink 182.

My boss is out of town for work for the rest of the week, so I’m holding down the fort. The journal is all printed and packaged, so now I’m off to the copy room to stamp a whole lotta envelopes.

Food For Thought: Do you make a big deal out of your birthday? How do you usually celebrate?

 

 

 

 

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