Archive | December, 2012

Christmas and Football

24 Dec

Seahawks crush the 49’ers to clinch a playoff birth!

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Now I am off to the mall to brave the masses in order to buy Stef’s Christmas present. Procrastination is bad, folks.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tickle My Francey

21 Dec

The day is finally here! I only have to get through one more work day until I get to hop on a plane and go back to Seattle!!! I am really having a hard time containing my excitement, at this point. Before that though, Stef and I are meeting up with his cousin and girlfriend to go out to dinner and then go to Zoo Lights at Woodley Park Zoo. We are going to Medium Rare, which is supposedly a steakhouse that keeps bringing you steak. Um, what? The first thing my roommate said was, “you and Stef are going to do some serious damage at that place.”

He knows us well. Maybe it was because he watched me eat an army’s worth of roasted sweet potato medallions last night.

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While those were baking, I made up a mini pizza with a piece of lavash bread. I topped it with some leftover pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, then added artichokes and sun dried tomatoes for my own personal pizza.

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Remember the cinnamon apple chips from the other night? I brought them in a Ziploc bag for lunch yesterday, along with a hummus vegetable wrap and lots of red grapes.

IMG_1667[1]It was a pretty tasty lunch and the wrap looked super fancy because I took the extra time to wrap it in parchment paper and aluminum foil, just like real food places do. I am really moving on up in the culinary world. It was funny how good it was, given that it was just my usual salad in wrap form. Still, nice change!

IMG_1669[1]I ate lunch at rapid speed and had time left over to walk over to a nearby salon and get a much-needed manicure. Most of the time I either paint my nails myself or, more commonly, not paint them at all, but they were very long and I panicked and didn’t know what to do with them, so I enlisted the help of a professional. It would have been awesome, had she not realized she had a waxing appointment with someone halfway through and left me to fend for myself. Seriously. All was going well until her appointment arrived and then she sped through the rest of my manicure, not even trimming my cuticles or bothering with any of the lotion on my hands. Then she turned on the fan, told me to dry my nails, and then left. What? $25 later, I think it’s worth contacting the salon. I’m not a confrontational person and I never complain about service anywhere, but I feel like it’s justified in this case.

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Upside: the nail color I picked out is amaaaaazing! I love the color and the name, Tickle My Francey by OPI. I might have to buy it myself, which would bring my nail polish collection up to three. I’m so ladylike.

24 

hours left until I am on a plane! I am definitely planning on unplugging when I am at home so you’ll have to excuse me if my posts are few and far between. No doubt, most of you will be spending time with your families and will be more removed from technology than usual, too. On that note, I want to wish everybody a very happy holiday! If you’re traveling, I hope you have a very safe trip. If you’re driving, please be careful! I know the storm is making the roads a little hard to navigate. Wishing you and all your loved ones a peaceful and blessed holiday. Much love from over here

Cinnamon Apple Chips

20 Dec

There is only one more day between me and Friday and going home is so close I can taste it! My only hope is the winter storm that’s making its way across the nation won’t interfere with my travel plans. PLEASE, weather gods, have mercy on Christmas travelers!

After my Body Pump workout last night, I was craving a burger and fries in a major way. I am in the process of trying to eat all my food before I leave town and I knew I had some sweet potatoes that needed to be used, so sweet potato fries it was! What I usually do to make mine is slice up one large sweet potato into 1/2″ slices and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil on a cookie sheet, then top them with salt and lots of pepper.

Then I pop the sheet into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.

I was super hungry and had some cucumber slices and hummus to stave off hunger while the fries were baking.

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After 15 minutes is up, I take the cookie sheet out to turn the fries over, then put them back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them).

IMG_1652[1]While the fries were baking, I prepped my burger by defrosting two MorningStar Farms tomato basil burger patties (vegetarian) and topping a sandwich thin with mustard, ketchup, and relish. That came together quite easily and was all ready when the fries came out!

IMG_1655[1]Delicious! I love being able to make fast food items at home – you know exactly what’s in your meal and you can customize the meal exactly to your preferences.

A week or two ago, I bought a big bag of apples from Trader Joe’s that just weren’t very good. I kept bringing them for lunches, but I really wasn’t enjoying their flavor. I still wanted to find a way to use them because I abhor wasting food. That’s when the idea for Cinnamon Apple Chips came into my head. I wasn’t really sure how they would turn out, but I just decided to go for it. They turned out pretty well! The only thing I recommend now is having a mandolin for making the slices nice and thin. I had to bake mine for almost three hours to get the desired crispy texture of chips because my slices were cut with a knife and a little on the thicker side.

IMG_1653[1]All you need to do is slice (or mandolin) your apples as thinly as possible, then place them on a cookie sheet with some parchment paper (so they don’t stick), then top with a light dusting of cinnamon. I contemplated making it cinnamon sugar, but I figured that apples are already so sweet, I didn’t need to add extra sugar. Then I stuck them in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees. I kept checking on them and adding more time to the oven until I felt that they were at the texture I desire. The total time ended up being about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Luckily, I had season 8 of Scrubs and a notebook of goals for 2013 to pass the time.

IMG_1663[1]The kitchen really started to smell like apples and cinnamon and I was tempted to just take them out and eat them the way they were! I managed to resist until they were finally ready.

IMG_1665[1]Of course I had to taste them, which is why you might notice a missing piece or two. The rest I bagged up and put them in my lunchbox for a sweet snack today! While they do take quite awhile, most of that time doesn’t involve being anywhere near the kitchen, so it’s not that time consuming. Next time, I will make a big batch and save them as go-to snacks when I’m craving something crispy.

Food for Thought: Do you ever try to make a fast food favorite at home?

19.8

19 Dec

Good morning! This morning’s alarm came a little too soon because I was up late, reading Gretchen Powell’s debut novel! I’ve been reading her blog for a little while now and as soon as the book was available, I downloaded it to my Kindle.

IMG_1642[1]I’ll post a review of it later, but I thought it was a nice, easy read. It’s meant to be the first book in a dystopian series  and the ending definitely asks for a sequel.

I realize that I’ve been neglecting to post my eats the last few days. Sometimes I just forget to take pictures of my food and it’s gone before I even realize it – whoops! Since I’m leaving for Seattle on Saturday morning, I only did a very small grocery shop over the weekend so I don’t have food going to waste. Lately, I’ve been a big fan of fried egg sandwiches for breakfast and have been eating them virtually every day. They’re quick and easy and taste delicious!

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Lunches have been mostly salad-based (packaged greens were BOGO at Giant) and I’ve taken to eating those delicious red grapes every chance I get! In this particular sandwich thin, I spread some garlic hummus from Trader Joe’s, but I’m also a big fan of using a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese when I feel like switching things up.

IMG_1641[1]Like I said yesterday, I was feeling a quick workout that would get me in and out of the gym last night. I started with a 20 minute interval workout on the elliptical before completing this circuit workout. It’s almost Christmas so I feel like Washington should feel winter-y, but it’s not! The weather has been unseasonably warm. In that vein, I decided to call this workout the Not So Winter Wonderland.

Not So Winter WonderlandI was good and sweaty by the end of the workout, especially with the Burpees – those never fail to get my heart rate skyrocketing. As I was stretching, I noticed that the body fat analyzer was out, so I decided to see where I was. When I first measured my body fat in July, I was at 21.7% and I set a goal to go sub-20% so I could fit into the ‘athlete’ category on the body fat chart. Five months later?

IMG_1644[1]Goal reached! I am pretty thrilled with myself, especially because I didn’t really make a concerted effort to eliminate body fat – I have mostly been focusing on increasing my strength and endurance. It’s nice to see all my effort pay off in a tangible way after all these months! This has made me more sure than ever that the best way to take care of your body is to eat right and get your body moving.

On the walk home from the gym, I was greeted with a row of houses all decked out in Christmas lights.

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I imagined how pretty they would look if the streets were covered in snow and all you could see were the lights twinkling. Come on, winter wonderland!

Because I’m trying to clear out the fridge, I decided to make dinner using some big portobello mushrooms that have been in my fridge for a little while. Originally I was going to make portobello burgers, but when I looked at how big they were, I thought it might be interesting to stuff them, instead! What I ended up doing was putting them on a cookie sheet and putting them in the oven for five minutes on ‘broil’. Then I took them out and cracked an egg in each one and put them back in until the eggs were cooked through, about five more minutes. While they were still hot, I topped them with a little bit of marinara sauce and some shredded mozzarella – pizza mushrooms!

IMG_1646[1]A peanut butter sandwich thin also made an appearance which was a perfect hit of sweetness after the mushrooms. Next time, I think I’ll try stuffing them with some sort of grain like couscous or bulgher. I’ve been avoiding quinoa for the past few months because I suspect that it upsets my stomach. I’ll probably give it a go again so just so I can confirm it.

Now it’s another new day and I’m one day closer to vacation! I’m already fantasizing about all the Seattle restaurants I’m going to frequent as soon as I arrive, but that is a post for another day.

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Board Room

18 Dec

Hi all. I’m still trying to muster up the motivation to write about my day-to-day life when the lives of so many others have been profoundly altered this past weekend. One of the things that is helping me is doing some readings by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher. One of things she says relates to grief, which I really identified with:

“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”

So it’s still a little rough going around here, but I’m working on it.

In the spirit of trying to get back to normalcy, I want to tell you about a fun new discovery in the city. The girlfriend of Stefano’s cousin was celebrating her birthday yesterday and Stef met up with me after work so we could walk over there together.

We arrived at an unassuming bar called the Board Room and walked inside, imagining it to be a typical bar. Wrong!

This place is not your average bar. Upon entering, you notice a large cabinet right inside the doorway and tables line the main floor and upper level. Inside the locked cabinet? Scores upon scores of board games! Every kind of board game you can imagine, from Parcheesi to Risk.

board-room-barThe decorations inside were all board game-themed, complete with a chandelier made out of dice and chess pieces. Even the bar counter was themed, with Monopoly-esque characters decorating the top.

Front-Bar-PatOur group grabbed first grabbed ‘Taboo’, but finished up the night with a new-to-me game called ‘Telestrations’, which is a kind of a cross between ‘Telephone’ and ‘Pictionary’. It was pretty hilarious and some of the final guesses were nowhere near the original word (one word started as ‘Picasso’ and ended as ‘wheelchair’).

Since I knew I was going to a happy hour right after work, I got my workout in during lunchtime in the form of a spin class at my gym. This was my first time with this particular instructor and it’s pretty amazing how different the styles of coaching are with each person. So far, I have experience three different spin instructors and they each have their own strengths: one is very encouraging and very well suited to beginners. She reminds me of a yoga instructor in that she’s very focused on each person honoring their body and what they’re individually capable of. Another instructor is totally different, she has much more of a push yourself, ‘go go go’ style. Each is nice, depending on what I’m looking for that particular day. The third instructor I’ve only had once, but had the best playlist, by far.

It feels like one of those days where I would like to get in and own out of the gym, so today I’m thinking about doing my own circuit workout, along with some cardio. I’ve got lots of loose ends I want to tie up before Stef and I leave for Seattle on Saturday!

Hope you all are having an enjoyable day, sending you all big hugs from over here in my little corner of the world.

Food for Thought: What is your favorite board game? Do you prefer board games or cards?

My favorite board game is Trivial Pursuit, because it finally rewards me for being a total nerd and knowing useless facts about absolutely random topics. I’m also a big fan of Settlers of Catan – it reminds me of a board game version of the Oregon Trail!

 

 

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