Numero Uno

June 20, 2009

I am in much better spirits ūüôā¬† We finally made some (basic) choices, which I will be sharing with readers by the end of this week.¬† Plus I saw Year One this afternoon which made me laugh.¬† Andthen I got to catch up with an old college friend.

J and I worked at the on-campus bar together at University of Miami.  She is in law school here in NY which means she is as busy as I am and we never see each other!  It is almost summer now so we managed a double date at South Street Seaport.  I was wicked thirsty on the train so I slammed a lemonade as soon as I reached the Seaport.

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Then I met up with A, who had been out drinking with school friends, and finally we met up with J and her boyfriend.  Some of the restaurants at the Seaport are a bit iffy so we ended up at Unos.  I was pretty much stuffed still from movie popcorn so I made a light dinner choice.

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Soup and salad.  Soup was vegetable РCarrots, celery, corn, beans, onions, spinach, red bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini in a low fat vegetarian broth (135calories).

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And the salad was the Gorgonzola Walnut Side Salad – Mixed lettuces, tomato, red onion, cucumber, honey glazed walnuts, Gorgonzola, croutons and low fat blueberry pomegranate vinaigrette (280calories).

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I ate about 2/3 of the soup and salad.¬† Even though I didn’t clean my plate I did manage to snag a few bites of A’s brownie sundae dessert.

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Yums!¬† I frickin love living in NY so much – having the calories posted on the menus takes away all of my ordering anxiety.¬† There are times when I really don’t care between two options and the idea that one of them could potentially have 1,000 more calories when I don’t even prefer it freaks me out.

We got done with dinner around 10:30 and A and headed home because I need to be up early tomorrow for my 2nd foray into Physique57.  Sweet dreams all!

Does your town post nutritional stats?  What do you think about the practice? 

I am generally unsure about things that put an emphasis on calories.¬† The amount of young girls who are concerned about weight (and additionally engaging in unhealthy practices) is staggering.¬† If I hear some one commenting about calories when I am eating I feel deeply uncomfortable.¬† However, I strongly support posting nutritional stats.¬† While I have slight reservations that this practice may deprive some young girls typical childhood experiences (“A corn dog at a ball game with dad has how many calories?!¬† No thanks!”) I think that starting a dialogue is a good thing.¬† And on the flip side there are times when I am surprised by how low the number is, rather than high.¬† Just as it’s good for people to be aware of excess, I am glad people eating too little have the information in front of them rather than (over)estimating.

Additionally, (thankfully or sadly?) people who are too concerned about calorie counts are the minority in American society.¬† People complain about parents who don’t bother to have the sex talk with their children, what about the trans fat talk?¬† Or the calcium talk?¬† Or for my children, the why we don’t eat candy for breakfast and lunch talk.¬† Putting nutritional information right on the menu opens up a opportunity for communication.

Finally, as an informed adult I appreciate my ability to be armed with all of the facts when I make a food choice in NYC.  Even as someone who is concerned with health, cooks, reads articles, etc I am often surprised by how much I over/underestimate the calories in restaurant meals.  While it is not feasible to ask Mom and Pop spots to call in a team of analysts, chain restaurants are employing nutritionists anyways, why not make their knowledge public for the good of the consumer?

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Way To Go Bear!

May 20, 2009

Two grand things happened today – A graduated with a Masters degree in Education (not that he’s not heading back to grad school next year or anything) and we each got a free day off work to attend the ceremony.¬† A’s family came in for the ceremony and we made quite an event of the day.

We sucked as much sleeping in time as possible out of the morning and ended up running around like headless chickens to run our errands Рpicking up dry cleaning and buying a belated Mothers Day present.  The in-laws got to town in time for lunch so we headed to an Italian spot in the Slope.

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Everything was tasty tasty.  They brought yummy bread to the table with dipping oil.

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The special thing about this spot is that the dipping oil has tomato paste in it.  I ate one piece with dip.

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And then a half a piece.

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My lunch special came with an appetizer so I got the fresh mozzarella,

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and I ate a piece of my s-i-l’s bruschetta.

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For my actual meal I got grilled salmon with veggies.

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The sauce was a balsamic reduction and it was delicious.

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The service was good but it was soooo slow.  The guy was super sweet and brought us complimentary pours of a Port dessert wine.

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Then we headed up to the city for graduation.  Pace held it at Radio City Music Hall this year which was pretty sweet.

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The ceremony was super-long.¬† Myself, and several others!, caught a few zzzzz’s at several points!¬† I snacked on a Cookies and Cream Luna Bar to keep myself awake.

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The in-laws and I actually left the ceremony a little early to grab Starbucks for the ride back.  I got a Frappuccino Light Coffee with an extra shot of espresso.

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Since I’m the best wife ever I also bought A a tuna sub from Subway.¬† I took a few blurry bites in the car.

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Once back in the Slope we went to an Italian Cajun spot (Two Boots) for dinner.

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I ordered a Super Cajun Bloody Mary Absolut Peppar with our homemade spicy tomato juice mix, in a 16oz mason jar, garnished with house pickled okra & a Tomolive.

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I am all about the Bloody Marys lately.  I never drank them before this year but I have really been digging the spiciness.

The in-laws ordered nachos for the table so I had a small plate.

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And a second small plate with jalopeno salsa.

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My meal choice was the Big ‘Ol Cobb Salad blackened chicken, avocado, tomato, bacon & pepper jack cheese over greens with a creamy green onion dressing.

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I ordered mine without bacon and with dressing on the side.

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They basically gave me a platter!  It was super tasty though; I used a few splatters of dressing but mostly enjoyed it with the creaminess of the avocado.  I only about about 3/4 so I went Sarah-style and packed up the rest to go.

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Then we said our goodbyes and headed home.¬† We think A’s sister and her husband might come visit us next weekend so we are pretty excited.

Now we are watching “Red, White, and Brown” and I am eating a bag of Walkers chips from last weekend.

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Prawn Cocktail yuminess.¬† And bed ūüôā

Where did you graduate from?¬† I haven’t earned my masters yet and I got my undergrad from University of Miami.

FYI РPretty Green Girl is giving away some pretty sweet soy stuff.  And Melissa is offering a chance to do a three day clense with Blueprint.  And Diana is giving away a Vitatops treasure trove.

More BAM’ness –

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Whole Date

May 3, 2009

Is it dorky that I’ve been planning a trip to Whole Foods for more than a week?¬† Either way, I was super excited!¬† A and I did ate dinner from the salad bar and then did our grocery shopping for the week and it rocked my socks.¬† New York has been unable to decide what the weather is – spring, winter, summer? – so I couldn’t decide either.

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I have to give credit to my mommy for buying both the hoodie and summer dress for me – I haven’t bought clothing in almost a year and somehow I have all sorts of cute things!¬† Since it was a date night I even got a bit gussied.

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A and I took forever getting to Whole Foods.  First we had to make an emergency stop for Visine because my allergies are making my eyes so bad, next we had to transfer trains twice, and finally A felt the need to stop for an expresso!  Salad bar was worth the wait though!

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Alongside a Honey Drop drink.

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This drink was tasty but an inbetweener,not really water or juice.  I tried to get a good mix of healthy/not so healthy.  Edame and seaweed salads.

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Asian chicken salad (I think this had broad rice noodles in it!).

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Sesame tofu and a teeny serving of baked macaroni and cheese.

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Everything was so good!¬† It was the perfect amount of food, but we couldn’t resist this downstairs:

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Locally made gelato?!  I ordered a small dulce de leche topped with honey lavender.

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A and I had a great time exploring Whole Foods – better produce, better variety, and better prices than the stores in our neighborhood!¬† We actually managed to show some self-restraint so we didn’t go too crazy, but I have some super fun products to show off over the next week!

The trains were crazy coming home too, so now it is basically time for bed.  I have a busy busy day tomorrow (especially because we want to go see the new X-Men movie!).  Sleep tight!

What is your favorite grocery store?

What is your favorite flavor of gelato? 


The Best Kind of School Day…

April 22, 2009

…one where I’m not actually at school!¬† Whenever I used to dream of living in NY I pictured prowling Manhattan and drinking Starbucks on the way to work, so any pd that takes me out of East New York is good in my book!¬† The pd was a Read180 training and it took place at the Scholastic center, so that was fun.

This morning I got to head to work on the same train as A for the first time in two years ūüôā¬† I was so excited I was dancing around like a little kid for the first half of the ride.¬† I had to ride a few stops further than A and when I got off the logical breakfast spot was…..Starbucks!

I got a fruit and cheese plate for breakfast.

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And coffee.

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My favorite Starbucks order is grande iced Americano with room + skim milk I add on my own.  I am one of the few who enjoys the taste of Starbucks but today I thought it tasted burnt.  I ended up adding two packets of raw sugar before I left.  I ate all of my fruits and cheese (brie!) but left the crackers because they seemed odd that early in the morning.

The pd was pretty boring –¬†I don’t actually run a Read180 program! – but I did have fun talking to my coworker who came with me.¬† We were the bad kids, when we were supposed to be doing silent reading we chatted instead!¬† We both agreed that it is sad how exciting it was to have a work day where no one cursed at us!

For lunch I hit up the cafeteria inside the Scholastic building.

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I did the salad bar, with a cookie bar and a cherry coke zero.  My salad was a spring lettuce base with some raw veggies and a dab of oil and vinegar.  I also plopped in a small blob of chicken salad.

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I saved the cookie to eat during the second half of the pd.

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The other amazing thing about pds is that they often let out early – I was home by three o’clock!¬† I took advantage of the “found time” by catching up on all the food blogs.¬†¬† I also made a snack because my lunch was pretty light.

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The last small serving (this is a mini plate) of fried rice, spiffed up with some Chipolte Tabasco.

On the agenda for this evening?

  • tons, tons, tons of school work
  • making dinner
  • new episode of Scrubs!

My aunt and one of my cousins are coming to visit me this weekend so I have to do a lot of my “weekend work” in advance.¬† I realized during a freak out yesterday that I shouldn’t even attempt to go to the gym until next week.¬† On the note of being busy, I should go!¬† Be back this evening.

What is your standard order at coffee shops?

Don’t forget to enter my first giveaway before 8pm today!


A Little Down, but Way Up

April 18, 2009

Howdy, Hola, Hello!¬† What a day it has been!¬† Before I describe the extreme awesomeness of today (get ready!), I’m going to discuss the not-so-awesomeness of yesterday.

I did nothingyesterday.¬† Zip, nada, zilch.¬† By 8 A managed to drag me out for a walk and an impromptu dinner but daylight hours were a wash.¬† From 9am-7pm I did no work, and worse had no fun.¬† For some reason I woke up with a headache and a bad mood that I couldn’t shake.¬† It was a beautiful day and A was dying to go outside all day and I just couldn’t make myself move.¬† I don’t mind procrastinating or not doing work (if you are a regular reader this is obvious!), but procrastinating and not having fun?¬† Not cool.¬† I didn’t even watch tv, and I would have loved to watch to tv.¬† I thought I was doing ok with school, and I am, and I’m doing ten bazillion times better than last year, but days like yesterday really make me think about how these two years of teaching have affected who I am.¬† I don’t know what I will end up doing next year (I don’t even know what state I’ll be living in until A hears back from grad programs), but I do know that I can’t go back to my school.¬† Does anyone else ever experience days like this?

On a happier, healthier note, today was fantabulous.¬† We had gorgeous spring weather and A and I took advantage by taking the mother of all walks through our ‘hood.¬† I love love love walks and we actually went so long today my feet started to hurt!¬† I’ll go back to the beginning and walk you through, hehe.

When we woke up we decided that there was no sense in even trying to work with the first day of 70+ weather outside our window.¬† We started by walking to the farmers’ market to look around.¬† We planned on eating breakfast at the market so we bought a goat cheese, basil, cranberry loaf thing.

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We split most of this but did throw away most of the toppingless edges.  So good.

From the farmers’ market we walked 20+ blocks to the movie theatre.¬† We thoroughly enjoyed the spring flowers along the way.

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After buying our tickets we actually did some more walking before the movie started.¬† Park Slopers have you explored the area around the park (13th-19thish)?¬† Very neat.¬† We saw “17 Again” and thought it was pretty great.¬† A is much more into chick flicks than I am and he loved it!¬† I mostly loved the serving of Soda Pop Jelly Bellys I packed.

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From the movie we decided to go down the 7th Ave and then go home.  But then!  We are nerds, so when we spotted these chalked lines on the sidewalk we had to follow them.

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After a long long long treck we came to this:

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Lame.¬† Since our fruitless treasure hunt lead us to 5th Ave we decided to walk around there.¬† There are some wonderful looking places we hadn’t seen before, particularly a beer emporium we will be visiting soon!¬† After more walking A and I convinced ourselves it was necessary to go back to the Mexican place we went to dinner at yesterday for a late lunch.¬† Worth it!

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Burrito Bar and Kitchen is un-frickin-believable!¬† So so so good, I almost can’t describe it.¬† 1) Their drink menu features Cruzan rum.

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2) They give you free chips with amazing salsa.

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I didn’t eat many chips today, because my oh so healthy lunch choice was Chicken Nachos.

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YUM!¬† I demolished this.¬† The flavors were amazing, but that didn’t stop me from adding plenty of chalulu.

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Hands on our bellies, A and I were very happy when we got home. 

I would like to say that I was full, but I totally made a sundae an hour later!

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This was a 1/2C So Delicious chocolate (coconut milk) ice-cream topped with 2t melted pb and 1t unsweetened shredded coconut.

I got in my missing tv time from yesterday while I ate my sundae, House rocks my socks.

Dinner tonight came in the mail yesterday, Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti ravioli.

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Thanks Foodbuzz!

First we had salads.

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This was a romaine base topped with lemon poppysead dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and dried raspberries.  The berries are from Nuts Online that my parents gave me in my Easter basket.

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For the pasta we completely ignored the directions to boil and sauteed them in 1T Smart Balance instead.

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So good!  I ended up basically eating my serving with my fingers (and enjoying them greatly).

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For antioxidants we broke our a bottle of our favorite wine.

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A poured me a small glass to enjoy with our dinner.

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And now we are cuddling and watching our Netflix (Hot Shots Part Deux).¬† I (per usual) squandered all of my work time so I have a busy busy day tomorrow before we head back to school.¬† I wouldn’t have done things any differently!

When do you ignore directions?


You Ugli

March 29, 2009

The title is what our students say to each other (god forbid they use a verb).¬† The other day a (horrendous!) boy was apparently quite pissed that I asked him not to scream outside my door during my class so he told me “you ugly!”¬† My response?¬† Deadpan voice “I know.¬† And I cry about it every night, but right now I’m trying to suck up the pain so I can teach this class.”¬† Hehe, that is generally my response to any sort of random criticism thrown my way “I’ll cry about it later, but let’s get on with class now.”

Anyhoo, I started my morning off with an Ugli fruit today.  Actually, I started my morning off with a small handful of this stuff.

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Then I attacked the ugli fruit.

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Here it is naked.  It was still big, but the peel definitely added some of the heft.

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A and I split it, we both thought it tasted like an orange.  I ate my half with a medium sliced banana.

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I also ate 2 Brazil nuts.

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Did you know that 1 Brazil nut contains more than 100% of your daily selenium needs?¬† I was reminded of this fact by a “House” episode a few months ago, so when I saw unsalted ones at the grocery store I had to buy them.

After doing some school work it was time for lunch.  A and I decided on meatloaf sandwiches.

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I put a small serving of meatloaf on a slice of ww bread, spread the other slice with maple pumpkin butter, topped it with sharp cheddar and broiled the whole thing.

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I got a coupon for Kraft Naturals the other day so that is what I used, this stuff has Great flavor!

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After 5minutes, my sandwich was ready to go.

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Super tasty!  I love the savory/sweet so pumpkin butter was the perfect addition to this.

A went out to do the laundry so I went with me and ran some errands around noon; we have some Easter surprises for our parents when we go home in two weeks!  I worked at a leisurely pace all morning which means I had to pick up the tempo by the afternoon.  I got all of my plans and materials finished (I am saving my posters for tomorrow) and hurried to Staples to make my copies.

After Staples I came home and ate a small salad.

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This was romaine and shredded red cabbage topped with a little bit of unsweetened dried blueberries, pine nuts, and fat free poppy seed dressing.

Then I headed to the gym – I am getting back into the swing of running and I love it!¬† Sadly my bunion feels a little bit funny, but I am hoping it’s my shoes.¬† I’m going to do other forms of exercise for a few days then run again in a different pair.¬† The gym was near closing time when I got there so I had to cut my treadmill intervals (2minute jog/1minute walk) to 25minutes.¬† I still managed to do 2.75miles so I left feeling pretty happy.

I had to go to the drug store to buy something to bring my mom after the gym.  I knew I had to eat more meatloaf leftovers for dinner so I did some brainstorming during my run, and came home with these.

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I’ll explain them in a minute.¬† On the way home from the drugstore it started to hail on me!¬† I was wearing just a hoodie because the weather had been so nice all day and I was not happy!¬† I sprinted a few blocks and then thankfully A saved me with an umbrella because my foot was really starting to hurt.

I have to take a quick minute to mention what a hero A was today.¬† I truely don’t know how I got so lucky with my husband.¬† He is always sweet but today was above and beyond.¬† Not only did he wash my laundry, he folded and put them all away!¬† Then he walked with me to Staples, saved me with an umbrella, and sat in our teeny bathroom to chat with me during my shower because I was cold and frustrated.¬† He is truely the best guy for me on Earth.

Then I got down and dirty with my other great love, in the kitchen, popcorn!

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No one guessed buttered popcorn as my Jelly Belly pudding flavor but that’s what I bought.¬† It was good, but I almost wish it was saltier.

Mushy stuff over.  Want to know what I made with Doritos and meatloaf?

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Nachos!  I topped them with corn, sharp cheddar, and a dollop of medium salsa.

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So tasty, I love homemade nachos!

I actually have the chance to be in bed before 10:30pm, a miracle for me.¬† I’m going to grab my book and hit the sack!

Do you do homemade nachos?¬† What “bar foods” do you make at home?


A Story in Three Parts

March 23, 2009

First off, major love to whomever can tell me what book the title today comes from.¬† Because I have three major points today, and I’m too short on time to do a full recap, I’ve decided to divide this post into three parts.

Workin’ It Out

Today’s workout was abso-frickin-lutly fabulous!¬† I am so glad I tookthe time for myself to go to the gym.¬† I know this week will be gym light (I am going back to the doctor’s yet again tomorrow to deal with the stupid wart on my foot) but my goal for the rest of the year is to make it as much as possible.¬† I am such a happier (healthier!!) person when I am in shape.

Today I started with a 30minute Abs and Stretching Class at Crunch.¬† When class was over I hit up the treadmill for a 35minute interval session – I do 2minutes jogging/1minute walking.¬† For 35minutes I did 3.5miles and burned est. 300calories. I’m trying to build back into running while being cognisantof my bad joints, so you will be seeing a lot of intervals.¬† The 35minutes flew by with my fabulous gym mix:

  1. “I Will Follow You into the Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie
  2. “Rock Lobster” – The B52’s
  3. “O… Saya” – AR Rahman and MIA (Slumdog soundtrack)
  4. “Vitamen S” – Cham
  5. “Loose Lips” – Kimya Dawson
  6. “Crank That” – Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em
  7. “Get Loose” – The Salads
  8. “Heartless” – Kanye West
  9. “Stolen” – Dashboard Confessional
  10. “Paper Planes” – MIA

Eats

Today started normal but ended with Insane hunger.¬† I’m not sure why my hunger has been so wonky this year (starving or nauseous and hardly ever just normal) but in honor of upcoming bikini season (19days until vacation!) I think I will just be ignoring any craziness for a bit.

Breakfast

For train breakfast I ate a new bar that Melissa brought to brunch yesterday.

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It was good.  I liked the taste and the chia seeds gave it a great chew texture.  My only complaint is that it was pretty sticky and I like to read while I eat on the train.

Lunch

Lunch was a plethora of fruitiness.

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Dannon Light & Fit Pineapple Coconut Yogurt.

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I hate this brand of yogurt usually (I don’t tolerate fake sugar outside of my diet cokes) but the seasonal flavor looked intriguing.¬† It actually wasn’t bad, the chunks were downright delicious.

A minneola.

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I brought and extra and gave it to kids working in my room at lunch, upon which I learned that about 1/2 of them did not know how to peel an orange!

And finally 1/4C unsweetened dried pineapple from TJ’s.

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Snacks

{Unphotographed = 1fun sized chocolate from a student + a disgustingly large handful of nuts}

A caramelapple bar spread with a bit of pb.

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Dinner

I did a dinner in three parts to0.  We did three salads, three courses.

Course 1

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A small salad of lettuce and shredded red cabbage topped with 15spritzs of Balsalmic Breeze dressing and a few banana chips.

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Course 2

A serving of pasta salad.

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A made this from a kit from Target.  It was only ok, we have two more varieties of kits in our pantry and we are not sure what to expect.

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Course 3

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Juicy Chicken Salad, serves 4

Places the following ingredients in a bowl and stir together gently.  You can eat right away or make a day in advance to allow flavors to combine.

*4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
*6oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt
*1/2C pickle relish
*3/4C halved green grapes
*1t paprika

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Vegan Challenge Reflections

(Sorry this is a day late)  I hope you all enjoyed the 2week vegan challenge.  I know that I did!  While I have decided NOT to be vegan for life I enjoyed the two weeks and definitely learned a few things.  I outlined a few off my final ideas below.

What I’m Keeping

  1. Variety!¬† During the challenge I really pushed myself to shake up my lunch rut and I’m glad I did.¬† Our dinners were fun too.¬† Even though there were a few flops (tofu scramble), some recipes have become new favorites (strawberry tofu club).
  2. Fake meat.¬† I knew I was a tofu fan, but I had no idea how enjoyable some of the other forms of vegan protein could be.¬† Fakin’ bacon rocked my socks, and the soy chorizo dish I made was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

What I’m Losing

  1. No ovo.¬† I like eggs, they are a healthy source of protein.¬† Plus they are in all of my favorite Thai dishes, life without authentic Pad Thai just isn’t worth it! ūüôā
  2. The dairy to soy conversions.¬† There are many soy products (tofu, soy pudding, edamame) that I greatly enjoy and plan on consuming for life.¬† However, withthe research still at a stall about the point at which soy becomes a cancer risk rather than help I don’t want to over-indulge.¬† I have a high risk of cancer anyway, my genes and I grew up in an intense sun area, which is part of why I am concerned with a healthy diet.¬† Since I enjoy regular dairy I do not want to consume an excess of soy simply to keep animal product off my cereal.
  3. …..more specifically, soy yogurt.¬† Besides the fact that it lacks the tangy flavor and high protein of Greek yogurt, soy yogurts were impossible for me to find without added sugar.¬† Consuming extra sugar to get a taste I find second rate seems silly.

What I’m Changing

As you guys know I am mostly vegetarian.¬† I don’t consume a ton of fish/foul and I haven’t eaten mammals since the summer before 8th grade.¬† Part of the reason for this (in addition to tastes and health) is that I am unable to make¬†peacewith the idea of eating a mammal.¬† Pigs are officially smarter than human babies.¬† While I don’t judge what anyone else eats, I am just not cool with that.¬† Besides a long long conversation about the treatment of animals breed for food.¬† I realize you could question why chickens/turkeys/fish are not worthy, honestly I’m not sure.¬† I feel ok about eating them though and it adds convenience to my life.

As far as animal products go, I do not have a moral issue with consuming them.  My issue lies in the treatment of the source of these foods Рcows and chickens raised for eggs and milk.  On a related note, I do not usually consume organic products (my budget will not allow it), although I try to when I can.  A and I discussed this during our challenge, and I realized I see a pretty big difference between pesticides on the outside of a peach and antibiotics that are fed to a cow before she produces milk.  Therefore, A and I have decided to consume dairy/meat less often so that we will be able to afford organic in these products.  We are also going to make a more conserted effort to buy only from companies that provide humane conditions for their farm animals.  I realize that many of my points of view are rationalizations that work only for me.  I am not here to tell anyone what to do, I just wanted to share my own reflections from the 2week challenge.

What are your thoughts on consuming animals/animal products?

What are your thoughts on organic products?