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Bucket Lists and Cronuts

3 Jun

Happy Monday, all! It’s dreary in Washington, but we had a rather nice weekend where I managed to cross a major item off of my bucket list:

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Waffles
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Pancakes
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French toast

Yes indeed, folks – I managed to eat the trifecta of starchy, carb-y breakfasts in one weekend. I call it a major success.

In other starchy, carb-y news, a new breakfast dessert has come to town and it’s brought to you by the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City.

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Picture from Dominique Ansel Bakery

The cronut is a cross between a donut and a croissant and is said to be a lighter, flakier version of a cruller. Made from croissant pastry dough, the cronut is then fried and flavored by tossing it in sugar and then filling it with ganache before topping it with icing.

Apparently, the pastry mutation is so popular that the bakery is selling out 20 minutes into their opening sales. Each cronut is $5 and there is a 6 cronut limit for each customer. The pastries are so popular that New Yorkers have started scalping cronuts on Craigslist. Yes, that is a fact, see for yourself.

I am of the opinion that the croissant, when made well, is a thing of beauty and does not need to be butchered by being deep fried and then covered in a sugar bomb. Also, the name always reminds me of Cro-Magnons, which leads to me imagine lumbering, Neanderthal-esque beasts chomping on pseudo-pastries.

What are your thoughts on the craze?

Not Sure When That Happened

28 Feb

At some point this month, I turned into a runner.

IMG_2106[1]Not sure when that happened, but I have been running for my workouts at least 4 days this past week. As someone who usually only runs when somebody is chasing her (or when her boyfriend convinces her to race), nobody is more surprised than myself. Yesterday I popped on the treadmill for a short run because I had to get home to work on a translation project that I am doing. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like 60 pages of translating to make you feel simultaneously proud and embarrassed about your skills in a foreign language.

My dinner was in two parts because I did a horrible job of timing when to start cooking my salmon. I had some sweet potato fries roasting in the oven and thought they would be done by the time my salmon fillet was done, but nope. So while I was ready for this:

IMG_2109[1]The sweet potatoes were still in here:

IMG_2108[1]Sigh.

I am love love loving sweet potato fries this week – they are totally worth the wait.

Since I had plans to go to yoga this morning, I also prepped some overnight oats in advance for breakfast. This batch included sliced strawberries and shredded coconut.

IMG_2107[1]Even though I’m not anywhere tropical, my breakfast doesn’t need to know that!

After a less than stellar night’s sleep, I made it to yoga this morning (whoohoo! Two for two this week!) and was, once again, super thankful I did. After two classes I am feeling so relaxed and can feel the tension in my shoulders and hips easing up a bit. I’m on the lookout for some at home yoga videos (preferably online) so I can do it from home on the weekends.

This morning, our instructor really focused on loosening up the hamstrings, so there was a lot of this:

trikonasanaAnd this:

reclined-big-toe-pose-exI definitely can’t do that – thank goodness for straps!

This evening, I am looking forward to an extra special spin class at Revolve. They are hosting a class for DC fitness bloggers and I am so excited to meet people like Anne, Joelle, and Meaghan. Of course, my girl Allison will be there, as well. I can’t wait to work out with these ladies and so many other great bloggers I have yet to meet!

I have heard so many wonderful things about the studio and I think it’s going to be amazing, particularly because I have never tried spin outside of my gym.

Then it’s Friday and the first day of March! Holy cow, did February fly or what? I need to start getting my act together to plan something special for Stef’s birthday at the end of the month, so give me some ideas, folks! After six years’ worth of birthdays, Valentine’s Days, anniversaries, and Christmas-es, my creative juices are running a little low.

Food For Thought: If you are a blogger, have you ever been to a blogger meet-up? How did it go?

Apple Cinnamon Bread [Recipe]

7 Feb

Say hello to my new, beautiful computer monitor.

IMG_1994[1]I originally received this after my old monitor at work started having weird glitch-y things happen to it. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I was able to get it set up. Aside from being a massive upgrade size-wise (it’s got to be at least six inches wider than my old one), the screen is bright and clear and beautiful. It made the second half of my work day so much better – amazing what little magia moments can do.

After work, it was time for Body Pump, which has lately been called “Whatever Our Instructor Wants Wednesdays”. Instead of the usual Body Pump routine (warm-up, squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs, cool-down), he switched it up by incorporating lots of planks, push-ups, and reverse crunches. While I can appreciate wanting to take the monotony out of a class, I want my Body Pump, darn it! I felt pretty unenthusiastic the whole time and was happy to be done.

IMG_1989[1]I finished my last bowl of lentil soup at dinner…sad days! I haven’t been posting my meals recently because it has consisted of lentil soup for lunch and dinner and a yogurt bowl for breakfast.

IMG_1990[1]Inside the bowl:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

Delicious? Yes. Repetitive? Absolutely.

We have a double birthday at work today, so last night I raided my pantry and fridge to figure out something to make and came up with this easy and super delicious apple cinnamon quick bread.

IMG_1998[1]It takes an hour to make, tops, and most of that time is spent in the oven. The cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice made the kitchen smell absolutely heavenly and I couldn’t wait for it to cool down so I could have a slice! I’m glad this is going to be at work because it would be gone in a matter of minutes if left at my house.

Apple Cinnamon Bread

1 loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples

For crispy topping:

  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

I always start quick breads the same way, using the first 9 ingredients on the list. Then I change it up using spices and different mix-ins. In this case, I added cinnamon and apples, but I also added some pumpkin pie spice because I had some leftover pumpkin frosting I wanted to use as a glaze. You could easily omit that and it would be wonderful.

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  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs for 30 seconds, then add vanilla, white sugar, and brown sugar to the bowl. Stir until well combined and then add Greek yogurt, mixing until smooth.
  4. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients mixing until just combined. Fold apples into batter until evenly distributed.
  5. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon topping mixture until well combined.
  6. Pour batter into a greased, 9″ by 5″ loaf pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping.
  7. Bake bread ~45 minutes or until forking/toothpick/poking device comes out clean.

I have completely jumped on the Greek yogurt instead of vegetable oil bandwagon. I have substituted plain Greek yogurt for oil and butter and it always comes out tasting fabulous. Plus side? It saves so many calories. In this particular recipe, using half a cup of vegetable oil came out to 964 calories. Instead, I used plain Greek yogurt (0% fat, Trader Joe’s) and it was a total of 60, yes SIXTY calories. WHAT?! That one substitution eliminated almost 1,000 extra calories from this recipe. Mind blown. Some people say that plain makes it taste a little tangy. Personally, I can’t tell, but if you use honey or vanilla Greek yogurt, that should mask any tanginess, and the added calories still won’t compare to using vegetable oil or butter. I always just do a 1:1 ratio and haven’t had any problems, thus far.

The total calorie count for the whole loaf was 1742 calories (can you imagine tacking on another 900 in oil?), which made each serving 145 calories (if you divide it into 12 slices). I don’t calorie count, but if you do, this is a nice little treat.  It’s kind of fun to plug the recipes into MyFitnessPal, just to see. I learned that cinnamon has a whopping six calories per teaspoon.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for you today. I’m off to spin this evening and then I’m going to do more research on Polar watches. Impulse shopper is something I will never be.

Wishing you all a magical Thursday. Much love!

Georgetowning

28 Jan

Hello, lovelies! For some reason unbeknownst to me, the federal government was closed until noon today (they say it was due to inclement weather, but the only thing I saw this morning was rain). Since my office follows the federal calendar, I didn’t have to be in until noon, either. That meant a nice leisurely morning, as well as a workout and shower! Though working out in the morning means I will miss my beloved Body Pump, it will be nice to go home and curl up on the couch or do some yoga.

Stef and I spent the weekend exploring Georgetown with our friends Eric and Sam (Eric is actually Stef’s cousin, too). We started Saturday morning with an ice skating session at the Georgetown Rink by the Washington Harbour. Though the weather was chilly, the sun was out and they were playing Oldies over the loudspeaker – my favorite.

IMG_1959[1]Those adorable penguins were confiscated from us shortly after the picture was taken. Apparently, only kids are allowed to have fun. Booooo.

After a little skating, we headed over to Clyde’s for a delicious brunch. I didn’t know anything about the restaurant before going, but it is a saloon-style restaurant, with various locations around the DMV area. Fun fact: Starland Vocal Band’s  1976 hit single “Afternoon Delight” was inspired by the appetizer menu of the same name at Clyde’s.

The menu had several choices that appealed to me and I had a supremely difficult time deciding. In the end, I went with a three-egg omelette, filled with all sorts of good stuff like tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, onions, ham, spinach, and cheddar cheese. I ordered it without the bacon and ham, but was looking forward to the side of brunch potatoes.

IMG_1955[1]Stef ordered the Denver burrito, which was a Tex-Mex style egg burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans and jack cheese rolled in a flour tortilla topped with pork green chili and sour cream.

IMG_1956[1]I could have ordered an entree of breakfast potatoes alone – yum!

Before our entrees, we started with some deviled eggs, which were filled with lump crab meat and chives. Deviled eggs are one of my favorite party foods, but I never think to make them myself. Home kitchen adventure in the making!

IMG_1954[1]We went straight from brunch to the movie theater to catch a 1:15 showing of Silver Lining’s Playbook. I had heard so many good things about the film (plus I love Jennifer Lawrence) and I wasn’t disappointed. Some parts of it caused me to get really emotional, but the acting was wonderful and it had a great ending.

The film is up for eight Oscars and it’s the first time in over 30 years that a film has Oscar nominations in all four acting categories!

This week is more exciting than usual (because my weeks are so exciting to begin with) because one of my oldest friends is coming to visit! Lucy has an interview for medical school in New York and is taking the bus down to DC to visit for a couple of days. I can’t wait!!! She and I have been friends since we were 10 years old – I love her.

lucysara

Circa 2006

We’re the cutest.

Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week – catch ya soon!

 

A Real Winter Wonderland

24 Jan

Looks like Mother Nature finally decided to put her money where her mouth is and gifted us with the white stuff this morning. Because I keep my window shades down at night, it didn’t even occur to me to look outside until I received a text from Stefano, saying his school had been delayed.

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At first, I didn’t understand why his school would just be delayed and then I looked outside.

IMG_1931[1]Unfortunately for me, I still had to go to work. Upside: the weather is a toasty 19 degrees, up three from yesterday. Baby steps.

I think I’m getting better at this staying warm thing. The key is to leave no skin unexposed, which leaves me looking a bit like a babushka, but whatever it takes, right?

IMG_1932[1]I still pick winter as the season to get voted off the island.

Workout

Body Pump was killer last night! Not so much because of the difficulty of the tracks, but because the room was heated to a bajillion degrees. By the time we got to planks during our abs session, I was feeling a little nauseous and dizzy. Despite chugging water like a madwoman, my throat felt really dry during the whole class. Too cold outside, too hot inside – moderation, people!

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do tonight. I am thinking about going home and doing a workout there, but it seems that every time I try, the couch and Netflix ends up sucking me in. I have a new three-month exercise plan that I am planning on unveiling next week! It’s going to run from February until May and I’m really looking forward to switching things up.

Eats

My more recent blog posts have not given much insight into what I’ve been eating, but it’s mainly because I have been enjoying the same meals for a long time and one can only post so many pictures of eggs or yogurt before they all start to blend together. One thing I have been a fan of is a bowl of yogurt (3 scoops plain, 1 scoop honey) with a sprinkle of oats and chia seeds, alongside a big sweet potato.

IMG_1926[1]The combination of healthy carbs from the sweet potato and protein from the yogurt keep me nice and full until lunch. Fun fact: although the nutrition facts are very similar, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes (i.e. Russet potatoes). The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after eating, so foods that have a low glycemic index do not cause a quick spike in blood sugar. As a result, people don’t experience the same roller coaster of sugar highs and lows and low-glycemic foods keep you feeling full longer.

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Since deciding to mix up my salads, I have really been enjoying all the different combinations I can come up with. In the salad up top, there’s a mixture of baby spinach, cannellini beans, dill pickles, Persian cucumber, grape tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes. Yum! I also had some roasted butternut squash (chopped, baked in oven at 425 for an hour) that I had sprinkled with the seven-spice I purchased from Hashems. The seven spice is a combination of ground black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, coriander, and cumin.

I usually save the apple and trail mix for later in the afternoon so I’ve got some energy for my workout in the evening. So far, I think I’ve found a pretty good combination of macronutrients to keep me feeling satisfied during the day.

Articles of Interest

I’m not sure what it is, but this week has been chock full of articles on health and wellness that I have been enjoying. Here are a few that people might find interesting and informative:

  • 13 Reasons to Start Bodyweight Training: This is an excellent article that gives an overview of why bodyweight training is so effective and how different types of training can be done.
  • Is It Too Cold to Exercise?: The Washingtonian breaks down the weather and how to protect yourself from the elements if you choose to exercise outside.
  • Interview with Emmy Rossum in SELF: I have liked Emmy Rossum as an actress since back in her Phantom of the Opera days, but I like her even more because of this down-to-earth interview she gives SELF about her fitness regimen. I hate it when actresses say that they eat junk food and don’t work out much and it is refreshing to hear about somebody who admits that she works hard for the body she has (Gwyneth Paltrow is another one).

Okay folks, that’s all for me on this end. Please share your thoughts on any of the articles I’ve mentioned, I love to hear your feedback, dear readers! Stay warm and have a wonderful Thursday ❤

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