Tag Archives: shrimp

Early Bird Special

Are you an “all or nothing” type of person? My body seems to be.  My internal clock is so out of whack right now!  For the past week, I’ve alternated between going to bed early and getting more than a full night’s sleep (10+ hours) and getting less than 6 and feeling completely wiped.  This morning was the latter.  Last night, even though I was exhausted,  I could not get myself to drift off.  I knew I had to get up early to get ready for an interview, and the pressure of knowing I needed to sleep only made it worse.  I dragged myself out of bed, bleary and blurry eyed (I’m blind as a bat), not even stopping to put on my glasses.  I had one mission, and one mission only.

Our house guest left this as a parting gift when he left.  I’m sure it’s delicious, but I really didn’t pause to smell or taste it before throwing it back.  I’ll let you know about that tomorrow 🙂

I replenished my supply of POMx to dissolve my Ester-C into.  I’m still so proud of myself for discovering this works!  (For new readers: I drink a little bit every day with breakfast to dissolve Ester-C, which aids the absorption of an iron supplement I take for low energy, but don’t photograph it every morning.)

I was excited to try out a new product with breakfast: Stonewall Kitchen’s Lemon Curd.  I’ve been curious about this for years, and my mom was nice enough to buy it for me this weekend.

Breakfast was a double portion of Sarah‘s pumpkin “cakes”, topped with a heaping cloud of 0% Fage, cinnamon, walnuts, and a scoop of lemon curdLemon Meringue Pumpkin Pie before 7 AM? Yes, please!

I had two back-to-back interviews starting at 9 (which I think went well); afterward I needed to unwind a little with some teasing retail therapy (AKA touch everything, buy nothing) at J.Crew and Anthropologie.  How is it that a store (or two) can be filled with only perfect things?  But my bank balance remained stable, and I left satisfied with the clothes on my back.

The tree is going up in Rockefeller Center…

I sat in the plaza and ate my Criterion apple.  Sometimes it’s okay to be a tourist in your own city.

After making sure there were no more stores I needed to browse through, I came home to get some done and eat lunch.  I heated up a bowl of Spinach & Rice soup and added lots of fresh parsley, and served it alongside a small sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Perfect mid-Monday comfort food, if you ask me.

I thought I deserved a treat, so I had some 55% Dark Chocolate Peppermint Chococolove.

The rest of the afternoon was spent writing. Welcome to my “office”!  You may recognize it as the kitchen table, but during the day I spread out and use it for reading, writing, researching, and tea-drinking.  I tried the Sugar Plum Spice holiday teaso good.  I think this might have been the first flavor they came up with, because I remember having it a long, long time ago before they changed their packaging.

After successfully moving to decaffeinated tea, I didn’t want to go back to drinking coffee so late in the day.  Instead, I moved on to a cup of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride.  I don’t know how they do it, but this smells so much like a cookie! It’s very vanilla-y, but it has a very soft taste without a hint of bitterness.

I finished up my work, then went into the city to meet my friend Ilena at 5:30 for an early dinner at FreeFoods NYC.

Tonight was another example of how many secrets this city has to offer, both food-wise and other.  I never would have suspected that a restaurant like this could exist (and thrive!) in Midtown Manhattan, in the heart of corporate offices and tourist attractions.  Was I wrong!  It goes to show that people do want to eat locally and sustainably, the options just have to be made available.

FreeFoods serves fresh soups, sandwiches and salads; they have raw, vegan and gluten-free options.

I built my own salad with arugula, avocado, spiced mango, shittake mushrooms, spicy shrimp and Manchego cheese with Thai basil dressing.

One of the staff members had made an extra Vitality Berry smoothie (sweet cherry, açai, blueberry- pomegranate juice, ginger-agave), so Ilena and I split it with our dinners.  It was really good, and helped ease the heat in my mouth leftover from my spicy salad dressing!

Ilena and I sat for a while catching up…

…and were treated to another smoothie sample! This time we tried the “orange creamsicle” (it’s new, and the ingredients aren’t listed).  As Ilena said, it really did taste like a creamsicle, “but not in the bad way”!

Since we dined early, I was back home by 7:30 to get some things done before Gossip Girl.  Sadly, it seems like most TV shows have already had their holiday finales, so I did some more work instead.  I did, however, make a fabulous dessert to fill my Chuck Bass-sized void…

My dad found a great deal on takeout containers of Tasti D-Lite, so he picked me up some peanut butter frozen yogurt.  I added frozen berries and Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.

Another sweet end to a good day.

What was the best part of your Monday? What are you looking forward to about Tuesday?

P.S.  Please vote for Lyle!  She is a talented, beautiful actress who deserves to realize her dreams.  Register, vote, and help here get there!

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A “Quick Meal”- Themed Day

Good evening, Upper East Siders!  How are you? I’m taking a little work break to blog and catch up on my Gossip.

Last night, after we got back from the wedding, I hunkered down to do some reading and prepare for my interviews.  All of that brain stimulation must have shot my metabolism into overdrive, because only a couples hours after dinner,  my tum was a-grumblin’ something fierce! I thought I might just be thirsty, but that didn’t seem to be it.  Finally, I put down my book and headed into the kitchen to make a bowl of Kashi GoLean and Smart Start. Problem solved!

This morning, I woke up bright and early to see Ari off.  As I mentioned, he’s going Vigilante through December, and had to leave at 7:30 this morning.  I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind was already up and ready to go.  I had to be at physical therapy at 10 anyway, so I just got up and made breakfast.

Taking Jess‘s advice, I heated up half of a Trader Joe’s Berry Mango Bran Muffin, crumbled it up, and tossed in on top of 0% Fage with some warmed frozen berries and a scoop of flaxy PB.  I really like this peanut butter, by the way.   It’s both crackly and crunchy and adds great texture!

Quite the mess!

My therapy session went well… I still have a lot of tightness in pretty much each muscle in my legs, so I have to keep working on that.  Repeat after me: yoga, rolling and stretching, okay!  When I got back, I briefly chatted with the guest who is staying with us, made myself an apple-cinnamon snack, and retreated to my room to be interviewed (via phone) with the HR department for the company I’m interviewing with.

It shaped up to be one of those days where I was constantly hungry, so I made something as soon as the clock showed that it was even remotely close to lunchtime.  Ellie reminded me yesterday about the beauty of the crack wrap, so I made one with a whole wheat wrap, three-layer hummus, and a slice of Jarlsberg cheese.

I ate it with half a can of Progresso’s Fat Free Lentil soup.   This isn’t the tastiest of the canned variety, but I had a hankering for soup.  I’ll definitely be making my own in the near future!

Finished up the meal with a piece of salt water taffy for a sweet end.

I’ve been searching in vain for the seasonal Celestial Seasonings teas (like Sugar Cookie and Gingerbread)… any New Yorkers know where I can track it down?  I settled on a cup of Sweet Coconut Thai Chai, which was a good substitute…

…but it knocked me right out!  Ari caught me snoozing at 5PM when he woke me up with a phone call.  Whoops! I snacked on some carrots to perk me back up…

… then did Yoga Download‘s Hip Opening Flow #2.  I have trouble practicing yoga for more than 20 minutes when I’m not in class… does anyone have tips for staying in the moment? Turning off my phone would probably be a good start!

I heated up some leftover Coconut Barley Pilaf and made a quick salad with kale, broccoli slaw, grape tomatoes, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.

Honestly, as much as I love my fancy salad dressings, I could probably make a sesame vinaigrette every night and be happy.  It’s simple, but so delicious.  I don’t even use measurements or mix anything together… the vinegar and oil just get drizzled on.

I made another quick dessert, starting with a tri-flavored chocolate sauce using Pure Dark cardamom chocolate, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips.

I added a few drops of water, microwaved the bowl for 35 seconds, then mixed in some Brown Sugar ice cream.

And thus concludes another day’s passing without having spent a single extra dollar on food.  I’m going to have to buy some fresh produce soon, as we’re running low on fruit and vegetables, but otherwise the kitchen is pretty stocked.  It’s a satisfying feeling.

Back to work… it’s going to be a late night.  Bonne nuit 🙂

Sweet Coconut Nights

So sorry to have disappeared last night! I was so enraptured with Betty White in The Proposal that before I knew it, it was time for bed.   I don’t usually like doing massive, two-day catch-up posts, but if I don’t, I’ll be living in the past for a while and we can’t have that.

 

My new peanut butter was calling my name from the pantry.

Peanut Butter w/ Flax

How could I incorporate it into my breakfast?

PB w/ Flax

I decided to make eggs-in-a-basket (or “toad-in-the-hole”, as my grandmother calls it) which I’ve seen all over the blogs recently.  I used Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread and cut a hole in the middle with my water bottle.  The “hole” was the perfect size to to test the peanut butter out on.

PB w/ Flax on bread

I melted a slice of Jarlsberg cheese on another piece of bread, and put a little pumpkin butter on top of the flax hole.

Toad In The Hole

I love getting as many tastes as possible out of a meal!

After waiting a couple hours to digest, I laced up my sneakers, stretched, loaded my ipod with a new playlist (thanks to Maya for turning me on to this site) and hit the pavement.  This was my third run in a month, and I wanted to make it count.  I ran slowly but easily, and before I knew it I was bake at home with 4.5 miles under my belt.  I wasn’t even out of breath!  To be honest, I was worried I would have lost my stamina and wouldn’t even be able to make it half that far.  This is a good sign 🙂

I went into the city to meet my mom at Macy’s to go coat shopping.  It was exhausting.  Although I’d brought kale chips and an apple, we didn’t end up eating until 3:30.

Kale Chips

Apple

If there’s one thing I know about my mother’s side of the family, it’s that we get c-r-a-n-k-y when we get hungry.  Au Bon Pain was the only option for us at Macy’s (the rest of the fast food joints didn’t have any vegetarian options), and I quickly made a salad with spinach, artichoke hearts, green beans, roasted red peppers, tuna and Thai peanut dressing.

Au Bon Pain salad

The only memorable aspect of this salad was how quickly I ate it.  My mom got us a bag of mini chocolate chip cookies, and I had one somewhere in the lingerie department while searching for Hollywood Tape.

Au Bon Pain cookies

Three stores and one successful purchase later, we fond ourselves sitting at the old wood bar in DiFiore Marquet.  This was only my second time coming here, but it’s one of my favorite spots in the city.  It’s charming and quirky, quiet, inexpensive, and the staff is so knowledgeable about their wine list.

DiFiore Marquet wine list

Last time we went, I tried my first glass of Vouvray.  This time, I went for the Alsatian Pinot Gris (I get this whenever I see it on a menu), and my mom got the Torrontes, which is a fruity white similar to a Pinot Grigio.

The Pinot Gris is on the left, the Torrontes on the right.

DiFiore Marquet wine

On our way home, we made a pit stop at The Donut Pub.

The Donut Pub

My mom and George both think these are the best donuts in the city.

The Donut Pub

My mom and I did a taste-test with a glazed and a sugar ring (I had tiny bites of each); glazed won.  I got a marble cake donut hole for myself.

Donut Hole

I don’t even remember the last time I had a donut!  Oh wait… it was almost exactly a year ago!

We finally did get home, where we met my dad for a takeout pasta dinner from La Parmigiana in Southampton.  We started with salad… I thought all “Italian” dressings would taste like this when I was younger, and was sadly disappointed when I learned this was not the case.

Parmigiana Salad

Their pasta is hard to beat.  I had a plate with half linguine with clams, half linguine with broccoli rabe and sundried tomatoes.   I gobbled up all of the former, but had had my fill and didn’t quite finish the broccoli rabe pasta.

Parmigiana pasta

My mom and I split a Criterion apple that my parents picked last weekend…

Criterion Apple

… and, later, I had three chocolate snowballs.  They were even better the second day!

Chocolate Snowballs

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping recently… rather I normally have a hard time falling asleep, but have been enjoying a nice respite from that and have been nodding off quite easily.  No sleep aids required!  The last few nights, however, it’s been hard for me to fall and stay asleep, so that by the time morning comes around it just seems like a mean joke.  Needless to say, my breakfasts have had to be pretty darn good to make up for it.

These Berry Mango bran muffins from Trader Joe’s came recommended by both Lauryn and Caroline, and I knew I had to try them.  I’m not a huge muffin lover, but bran is a whole ‘nother story.  Love it!

TJ's Berry Bran Muffins

I popped half a muffin in the oven to warm it up, and while it was toasting got out the container of almond butter my parents had picked up for me at the Co-Op.

Co-Op Almond Butter

Beat that, Maranatha!

Co-Op Almond Butter 2

I slathered some on my muffin, and used the nut-buttery-spoon to scoop my banana/cinnamon/honey-filled Oikos.  How’s that for a complete breakfast?

Muffin & Yogurt breakfast

My physical therapy appointment was scheduled for 11, and although I left with plenty of time to spare, my subway line is all messed up and is skipping my stop due to track work.  So I had to ride all the way to the end of the line and back down again, and by the time I got off at the appropriate stop only had five minutes to spare.  I ran all the way there with a shoddy umbrella, dodging raindrops and praying my waterlogged Chucks wouldn’t trip me up.  I didn’t fall, but was still five minutes late.  Not a problem… I still got quite the workout in.

My left thigh was been really sore for the past few days… I don’t know if it’s because of the exercises I’ve been doing or just freak tightness, but my therapist worked it out for a good ten minutes.  I also did some calf, core and quad work on the Proform (which I am really feeling today!), then got iced down and strapped with electrodes.  Who knew therapy could be so fun?

I packed my lunch to take with me to eat in transit:

Lunch Salad

In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • grape tomatoes
  • frozen pineapple
  • broccoli slaw
  • Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burger (like other Dr. P. burgers, this is very mushy and doesn’t have a real “burger” texture. I really like the taste and chunks of veggies, though)
  • kale chip “dressing”/hummus

Because it was cold and rainy out, there wasn’t really anywhere to sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch.  So I ate LVP-style: standing up and shoveling food into my mouth in the middle of the sidewalk.

Eating On The Go

Also had a Pink Lady apple… wonder if there is a T-Bird variety apple as well?

Pink Lady

After I finished my dignified lunch, I walked across town and went up to meet Greg at Starbucks.  I got the coupon in the mail for my free birthday drink (if you have a Starbucks card, register it!), which I used for a Grande Skim Dirty Hippie (Chai with two shots of espresso).

Dirty Hippie

Two sample trays came by while we were chatting: Peppermint Mocha and Crème Brulée.

Peppermint Mocha Crème Brulée

I remember when I used to get so excited for Peppermint Mocha-season… now I found this – and the crème brulée- way too sweet.  The only sweet coffee drinks I like are Chai lattes and the occasional Mocha or Frappuccino; I tend to stick to lightly sweetened cappuccinos and black coffee.

The rest of the afternoon was spent running errands (found the perfect pair of jeans on sale).  I was in four different areas of the city in under four hours, and let me tell you: it gives you an appetite! It was the kind of day where I felt hungry all the time.   I dug into my bag and found this Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola bar that Bear Naked sent me as a sample and ate it on the subway.

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar Nutrition

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar Ingredients

Review: This was way too sweet for me, and the ingredients list (and 18g of sugars) explains it.  Why does the fruit need to be dried with sugar on top of the additional tapioca syrup, honey and maple syrup that gets thrown into the mix? It was also very, very greasy.

Would I buy this? Thanks, but no thanks.

When I got home, I started making this recipe for Coconut Barley Pilaf.

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn

My dad had made it a few weeks ago and recommended it to me, so I decided to give it a go.  I substituted shrimp for chicken, light coconut milk for regular, and chili flakes for jalepeño.

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn 2

I didn’t know how many people would be around for dinner so I made the full recipe… we’ll just have a lot of leftovers!

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn 3

I really liked this. The sweet barley, salty cashews, chewy shrimp and fresh mint were in such harmony!  I would definitely make this again (although I think I can get another 3 meals out of this batch).  Ari didn’t like it as much… he prefers chickpeas and mushrooms.

We also had some Sauvignon Blanc…

Sauvignon Blanc

… and I finished off the snowballs.  Nom.

snowballs

We’re off to Connecticut for a wedding this weekend.  What are your plans?

Early to bed, early to rise…

Is it wrong that it’s only 9:15 and I’m considering going to sleep as soon as I Love You, Beth Cooper (one of the silliest movies I’ve seen) is over?  When sleep calls, I’m not one to ignore it!

Yesterday I got up early, packed up, had a quick breakfast and headed out.  I toasted an Ezekiel English muffin and topped one half with a light Babybell cheese and egg whites and the other with peanut butter and raspberry jam. Fun fact: I lost my first tooth in a Babybel cheese!

Breakfast Sandwiches

I met my mom at our voting station to do my duty, then took care of some paperwork so my visa will be in order for Russia.  I still can’t believe I’ll be there in less than a month! I also can’t believe the high will be 9˚ Fahrenheit.  Brr!

Mama brought me a Jonagold to help me sign and date papers for the embassy.  It was hard work!

Apple

When that was all taken care of, we set off in search of a great coat for an even better price.  We found a good one at The North Face, but are going to keep checking around some more.  Who makes your warmest coat?

We broke for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien.  Because it’s a chain restaurant, they’re required to post the calories in all of their dishes.  Their meals are really healthy, but it’s nice to be reminded of what’s inside your food!

Le Pain Quotidien

My mom and I split the seasonal appetizer special: red quinoa with roasted beets and butternut squash.

Red Quinoa with Roasted Beets & Butternut Squash

I only had a couple bites because my entrée was huge!  I ordered the shrimp salad with avocado, mango, and salsa.   It was mighty fine… I ate every scrap.

Shrimp Salad

We were full, but not too full for dessert 😀  We set off in search of frozen yogurt, and bumped into Ada on the way! To celebrate her 19th birthday, she’d just gone on a 13 mile run!
Ada had also just come from The Lite Choice, and told us the flavors were worth the trip.   I got a small cup with Oreos ‘N Cream and Espresso Truffle.

TLC

After our treat, I left my mom and went across town for physical therapy.  I have another appointment tomorrow to see how my therapist thinks I’m doing after my fifteen minutes on the treadmill… I’m very optimistic! In the past month, I have been to four different branches of my gym.  The one I went to yesterday was by far the biggest, but it was also the most confusing! I literally got lost in the locker room. Twice.  What do you like most about your gym?

When I got home Ari had some errands to run so I tagged along.  I brought an apple with cinnamon for the ride, and for the second time in a row, Ari ate half of it! I think I’m rubbing off on him 😀

Cinnamon Apple

Since The Upwelling is going to be on the road for the next month, Ari and I decided to go out to dinner to spend a little time together to get away the craziness of packing.  He had a few things to do before we could go, and my stomach couldn’t wait.  I ripped into Josh’s bag of barbecue-flavored pretzel thins… I’m not a huge fan of bbq-flavored chips, but I could have eaten the whole bag.  I don’t know what it is about flat pretzels, but they really get me going!

BBQ Wing Pretzel Crisps

Ari was craving chicken parm so we went to the diner for dinner.   Now, while I love going there for eggs, something feels a little off about eating there for a meal other than breakfast.  It turns into a more upscale restaurant, but I’m just not a fan of their post-brunch fare.  We still had a very nice time.

All dinner entrées come with soup or salad, and I went with salad.  Hello, onions! (Sorry, boyfriend.)

Side Salad

Nibble at the dinner roll… starting to feel those pretzels!

Dinner Roll

For my main, I ordered the pecan-crusted ahi tuna in a balsamic-fig reduction with Mediterranean orzo and cherry tomatoes.   It was good, but very filling.  Orzo is such a confusing (but delicious!) grain… it looks just like rice but I always forget it’s actually pasta! I also forget how much I like it.  I’m going to see if I can find a whole wheat variety at the grocery store.

I ate about 2/3 of this and boxed the rest up.

Seared Tuna w/ Orzo

For dessert I had a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But The… ice cream with a warmed up Edgie brownie.  No one will ever accuse me of not knowing how to indulge!

Brownies & Ice Cream

Now that Ari’s gone for a little while, I’m going to be cooking a lot more and eating out a lot less.  We like to eat home-cooked meals when he’s home, too, but we’re on such different schedules that it’s often hard to coordinate dinner.  It’s a goal of mine to cook more frequently when we’re both around… I’m pretty sure that any dish with mushrooms in it is a safe bet 😉

Hope you had a fabulous day. Bonne nuit 🙂

Two Apples A Day? If you Insist.

Good morning, sunshines! It feels just like monsoon season over here… when I woke up yesterday it was raining, and it still is now!  At least I’ve been getting better about bringing my umbrella (or parapluie, en français) so it’s actually been kind of nice.  There’s something so pleasant about being indoors and cozy with the rain outside, don’t you think?  When I was in fifth grade our teacher had us make a list of things that helped us write… “rain” was on there!

Yesterday I made another batch of Sarah‘s Microwave Pumpkin Pie… so, so good.  I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to snack until lunch since I had to go to my internship, so I made it a little heartier with a container of Trader Joe’s Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt, one whole Gala apple, and cinnamon.

Microwave Pumpkin Pie w/ Apple

I read some interesting things at work until lunchtime, when I met my mom at Pinto, a Thai restaurant that has a great prix-fixe. For $8, you get a salad, appetizer, and entrée.  Pretty good price, especially for New York City!

Tuesday Mom

We both warmed up with jasmine tea.  It was served in a coffee press, which neither of us had ever seen used for tea before.

Thé pressé

In addition to my salad (which came with a fabulous lemon dressing), I started with the tofu seaweed soup.  I was surprised to find glass noodles at the bottom of the bowl!

Pinto Lunch 1

My mom and I both selected the Thai Basil for our entrée.

Thai Basil

Mine came with shrimp, hers with beef.

Thai Basil w/ Shrimp

I had a couple bites of rice, but focused on the main event.  I did a pretty good job on it!

Thai Basil Sauce

After lunch my mom took me to buy some vitamins, then she went back to work and I walked across town to the gym.  It wasn’t raining, but was very damp.  The city is beautiful, but needs a little wringing out.

Wet New York Fall

At the gym I biked for 30 minutes and did some ab work.  I didn’t do the “cool down” today; I know I should, but it usually depends on how anxious I am to get off the machine.  On Monday I was reading an interesting magazine, so I stayed on for 50 minutes.  Do you stay for a cool down?

On the way out, I tore into the Jonagold apple my mom brought me from upstate.  It was huge! I had to violate the “absolutely no photography” rule to show you how big it was.

Apple at the gym

When I got home I researched and applied to some temping agencies; hopefully I’ll hear something soon.  Ari was working in the kitchen, so, friendly girlfriend that I am, I went out quite a bit to visit.  That may have been more about the bag of pretzels that he had next to him, though…

I was on my own for dinner, which I made while catching up with some friends and enjoying some pinot noir.  Recently, I’ve really been enjoying drinking cold red wine.  Do you chill your red or keep it at room temperature?

Pinot Noir

I made a quick batch of roasted Brussels sprouts:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1/2 pint Brussels sprouts, washed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450.  Chop stems off Brussels sprouts, and cut in half, top-to-bottom.  Combine olive oil, salt and pepper in the bottom of a glass baking dish.  Add sprouts, and toss to coat evenly.

Put dish in oven and bake 20 minutes.  The outer leaves should have begun to brown, but the rest should be bright green.

Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the sprouts.  Less is more, so start with about 1 tablespoon and add additional balsamic if desired.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

I combined the sprouts with spinach, steamed green beans, grape tomatoes, julienned carrots and TJ’s Meatless Meatballs, and made a simple EVOO/balsamic/mustard vinaigrette.

Salad with Brussels Sprouts

FYI: I eat my salads out of a 3 quart Pyrex baking dish!  No ordinary bowl can handle these beasts 🙂

For dessert, I finished up the Light Phish Food and mixed in a teaspoon of Nutella.  Mmm.

Ice Cream & Nutella

When Ari came home, we watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which I hadn’t seen in years. I haven’t laughed so hard at a non-Hangover-style in a while.  Thank you, Charlie Brown.

This Sedentary Life

Hey there, chickadees.  It’s 2:40 on a Wednesday, so for all you working lads and lasses, your week is more than halfway done! I hope it’s been a good one.   As for myself, I’ve spent the past few days with my fingers fused to the keyboard, searching for any and every job post.  My boss forwarded me this article yesterday… talk about depressing!  I’m still optimistic, and feel like there is always something somewhere, even if it’s not exactly what I’m looking for.  There is hope!

Yesterday I got up on the very early side to finish some reading and writing for my internship.  I caffeinated myself and prepared this lovely (if not very random) breakfast.

Yogurt Muffin Mess

In the mix:

  • Stonyfield Farms organic fat free plain yogurt
  • Trader Joe’s Mangolicious mango/berry blend, warmed
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 Silver Moon pumpkin muffin, smeared with peanut butter

On Tuesdays when I intern at the office, there’s usually only an hour or two of work for me to do.  When there, I file, run errands, and read manuscripts; when I’m at home, I read and write in the comfort of my bed.  Yesterday there were a few outdoor things to do; I always enjoy a trip outside to stretch my legs and a chance to re-start my energy with a snack.  On one such occasion, I snacked on a Great Date w/ Chocolate YouBar.

Great Dates w/ Chocolate YouBar

I really liked this bar! I will write up a full product review once I have tried all of the samples I was given, but should you decide to make a purchase at YouBar in the meantime, enter the code “Lilveggiepatch” at checkout for a 5% discount.

At noon, right as I was leaving the office, I got a call from an orthopedist’s office letting me know I had gotten a last-minute appointment with the doctor to figure out just what’s going on with my knee.  I had just enough time to pick up a salad at Ready To Eat, an upscale takeaway deli near work.  I picked up a curried shrimp salad, which came with mixed greens, avocado, orange, tomato, and lemon. It was on the pricey side ($9.95) considering I hadn’t planned on buying a meal (had to cancel a lunch date with my mom for the appointment), but the salad was really big and very filling.

Ready To Eat Shrimp Curry Salad

In what’s becoming true LVP-style, I inhaled my lunch on a bench in the subway in less than ten minutes.  Sadly, in my frenzy to eat and make my appointment on time, my poor tomato flipped out of the container and onto the ground. The 5-second rule does not apply in NYC public transit, sorry.  It was a good thing I took the time to sit and eat, however, because I bumped into a good friend I hadn’t seen in an embarrassingly long time, and who now lives in California!  It was a very nice surprise, but we were both in a hurry and had to rush off.

I got to the hospital an hour before my appointment to take X-Rays.

Hospital for Special Surgery

The X-Ray technician was great. Each time she moved me or took a photo, she explained exactly what she was doing and why.  Here is the X-Ray of my right knee:

Knee X-Ray

Unfortunately, the appointment with the doctor himself left me frustrated, confused, and really irritated.  He did not go over the X-Rays at all, explain what he was doing as he manipulated my leg, and only gave me information when I asked him directly.  Do I have a sprained mensicus? No. I was told that I did… is it possible that it healed itself already? No.  My knee-cap clicked a bit just now… is that normal? You have a little arthritis.   He did say that it was caused my overdoing it, and that low calcium + vitamin D is probably part of the culprit.  I should take Citrical supplements, and get a bone density scan. (I used to take a massive quantity of vitamins every morning, but didn’t want to spend the money re-stocking when I ran out.)

He left the room about two minutes later, and still didn’t know what I could and could not do.  When can I run? Can I strength train? What, if anything, should I do at the gym? Arthritis?! I got dressed and found him outside in the hallway, and, desperate for one more minute of his time, asked if I had arthritis.  He then examined me in the middle of the hallway, lifting the back of my shirt up all the way and having me bend completely over, as he stood very close to me and ran his fingers along my spine. I don’t think I need to elaborate on what that looked like from the side.  I’m sure the doctor wasn’t trying to do anything inappropriate and didn’t think that I might be a little uncomfortable in front of other patients with my shirt up, but I was really uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable, and angry that the doctor hadn’t made sure that I understood what was wrong with me, and how I could fix it without hurting myself again.  Not knowing how to improve is so frustrating.  I think I’m overly sensitive about it because running was a reliable way for me to structure my day now that I don’t have a job, and now I just feel like I’m floating in limbo.

On the way out of the office, I scheduled a bone density test for Thursday at 8:30 AM.  I also received a prescription for physical therapy, although the prescription is for work on my left knee, and not my right. (Mistakes can happen, and luckily this isn’t a serious one… I have a friend who had the wrong side of his body operated on a few years ago.) I talked to my dad, near tears, right after I left the doctor’s office.  He said this is usually how “network doctors” (doctors who are covered by insurance) work, because they have so many patients to see each day.  I understand that, but I also wanted some answers.  He called the office and asked them to call me back… the doctor’s assistant actually just called (a day later) as I was typing this post.  She didn’t know much else, except that I have a “knee sprain.”  I asked about the arthritis, and she said that, from the X-Ray, I don’t have it. I should only use the recumbent bike at the gym, and no strength training.   So now, I really don’t know what to think.  The doctor basically told me the exact opposite things that the physical therapist did last week.  I need to start seeing the physical therapist so I can gradually start running again, but I haven’t been able to get their office on the phone.

It isn’t news that doctors are overstretched and, unless they’re privately hired, don’t have time to work closely with patients.  I’m lucky to not have really needed hospital or serious doctor care until recently, and I need to learn to be patient with “the system.”  That patience needs to be transferred to my job search as well…. Om.

When I got home from the hospital yesterday, I was pretty hungry and made a yogurt bowl with a microwaved apple, cinnamon and granola.

Yogurt Bowl

After spending a couple hours decompressing, I set to work on a new baking project.  Since high school, cooking and baking has always been a way for me to relax and take a break from more stressful things like school work and job searching.  Even though the finished product might not be “perfect”, it’s finished, and I can feel good about that.  So, without further ado, I give you…

The Virtually Fat-Free* & Vegan Banana-Pumpkin-Date Tea Loaf! (And don’t let the name scare you off… it tastes pretty darn good.)

*Bananas have a very small amount of fat.

Adapted from Veganomicon‘s Lower-Fat Banana Bread.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 3 small ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin pie mix
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 crushed cloves, or 1/8 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped dates (about 7 medjools)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until no large chunks remain.  Add molasses, applesauce, and pumpkin pie mix and stir.  Mix in half of the flour, spices, and salt. Stir in the remaining flour until no clumps remain.  Fold in chopped dates.

Pour batter into pan.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 1

It will be very thick.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 2

Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted through the center comes out clean.  Cool. It will be dense, but adorable.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 3

While the bread cooled, I made a quick and easy dinner that was a tribute to my college days of yore.

College Mac & Cheese

I mixed a cooked sweet potato and a can of tuna into a packet of Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I always enjoy Annie’s with a little more cheeze than the packet comes with, so I added a scoop of nooch as well.  A sprinkle of chili flakes made it the perfect meal, taking me right back to long days procrastinating writing papers.

Mac & Cheese w/ tuna, sweet potato & nutritional yeast

For dessert, I had two small slices of fresh low fat vegan banana-pumpkin-date tea cake, one plain and one with almond butter and raspberry jam.  It’s moist, soft, and perfectly sweet.  Possibly not the best idea to bake a whole loaf of bread when most of your roommates are on vacation, but…

Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf

I tried to hold out for as long as possible, but eventually went back for another plain slice.  What can I say? Blame Lexi Gray.

Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 1 Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 2

Alright, time to get a-movin’.  If the recumbent bike is all I can use, I’m off to bike-a-way.

Ari is awesome.

I asked Ari what this post should be titled, and this is what he deemed to be appropriate.

Good afternoon!  I hope your day is off to a great start… I woke up thinking it was Saturday!  I slept in this morning, which was glorious.  Not too much on the agenda for today, which is A-OK with me 😉

Yesterday was slated to be a long run day, so I woke up, guzzled some coffee, and fueled up with half a Dulce de Leche Luna Bar.

Pre-Run Luna

I stuffed some gummies into the little pocket of my shorts (which left me a tad sticky)…

Mid-run gummies

I finally made a new playlist… the No Doubt song has been in my head for the better part of this week.

6.4 playlist

The run was fine… again, I just felt sleepy.  I think, for me, running distances is going to end up being more of a psychological challenge.  Obviously the physical aspects are also great, and every time I go out for a run I hope so hard that it won’t be the day that something goes wrong again.   The only thing that went “wrong” today was that my heart rate monitor didn’t register my actual heart rate

Total distance: 6.4 miles

Total time: 1:07:55

I’m not sure if I should be concerned that I haven’t been increasing my speed for these long runs… and it’ll probably be time for me to increase my distance again soon, too.   I just signed up for my first 10K a couple minutes ago- it’s next WEEK- so I’m going to have to start working on this!

My “training schedule” is a little weak, since I only have 8 days, but here’s what it looks like, which I made on the Runner’s World website:

training schedule

When I got back from my run, I made another excellent fall smoothie: Cherry Pumpkin Pie.

Fall Smoothie #2

I made this using frozen cherries, canned pumpkin pie mix, homemade almond milk, cinnamon and nutmeg, and topped it with a little GoLean & granola.  After breakfast and a bunch of puttering around, I packed up my portable lunch.  I wanted to use up all the leftovers, which, combined, made for an… interesting salad:

Leftovers Salad

The bottom layer was covered with sprouts, topped with corn & edamame salad and beets; the small compartment had leftover fish and a few noodles.  Some things, shall we say, do not taste great the morning after.

Leftovers Salad 2

On the subway, I snacked on some TJ’s dried fruit. Balls to the wall, as my lady would say.

Michelle & Dried Passion Fruit

My dad had told me about a DMV that expedites all of their services, so luckily I was in and out (with a new picture!) in 20 minutes.  Must be some kind of record.  It was starting to rain, so I went into Starbucks and bought a Tall Skim Chai so that I could eat my lunch without getting drenched.

Lunch @ Starbucks

After taking a few minutes to read and decompress, I skedaddled along to an informational interview, then picked up a few books.  The first was a beautiful collection of poems by my friend and former professor, Kristin Naca.

Bird Eating Bird

The second was A Race Like No Other, to motivate and inspire.

A Race Like No Other

Then, in the spirit of racing, I rushed home to see my traveling musician, who has spent the last three weeks on his own kind of race, driving back and forth across the country with Blink 182 and the All American Rejects.

We grabbed some friends and went for dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant.  I was still pretty full from lunch, so I only ate a little of my Massaman Curry with shrimp (with unpictured rice) and took the rest home.

Massaman Curry

A little while after we got home, however, I was hungry again, and dug right back into the take-out container 😀  Ari and I went separate ways for dessert; I had a Double Chocolate Dream Vitamuffin with frozen cherries, Greek yogurt, and homemade almond milk.

Vita/Yog/Cherry/Almond Milk

Ari had Saltines with Nutella & peanut butter.

Ari w/ nutella & PB

Nutella is made with skim milk, hazelnuts (healthy fat), and chocolate (antioxidants), so it’s practically a health food!

Saltines w/ Nutella & Peanut Butter

We had a little Domaine Lalande Pinot Noir (a gift from Howard on my last day of work), and watched Grey Gardens, which Caitlin had recommended.

Pinot Noir

It was a great night… I’m so happy he’s back!

I’m off to go cross-train, as my training schedule recommends.  What are your plans for the weekend? Enjoy it!