Tag Archives: vegan

Girl’s Night at Quantum Leap

Hey there, and happy weekend!  Life has gotten in the way, yet again, of my regular posting schedule.  I think once I’m settled in a routine it’ll get back to normal, but until then, I’ve just got to learn to be flexible and go with the flow.  I’ve got a great giveaway in store for you to supplement your already fabulous days, so keep reading!

Yesterday I was in the mood for something a little different for breakfast, so I made a HUGE cereal bowl… the picture doesn’t do the size justice, so trust me on this one! I mixed Kashi GoLean, some kind of raisin bran, and granola, topped it all with banana, and added a generous portion of skim milk.

Cereal & banana

I had an errand to run in the city, and took the most roundabout route getting there.  I rode four trains, when I’m pretty sure I would have been fine on two! It’s a little embarrassing that I’ve lived here my entire life and still have the worst sense of direction and navigation. I packed my lunch to go (salad with romaine, carrots, broccoli, Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burger & TJ’s three-layer hummus).

Lunch to go

I also brought an apple and a peach-flavored Chobani yogurt.

Apple & peach Chobani

I ended up eating while standing on the corner of Canal & Lafayette… since when did eating a meal on a crowded city street become the norm for me?

Salad on Canal

Again, I found myself close to the gym with my heavy gym bag, but all I wanted to do was go home and take a nap.  So that is just what I did.  When I woke up, I snacked on a Ginger Snap Larabar, said hi to this guy…

Ginger Snap Larabar

…before heading into the city to meet some lovely blogettes at Quantum Leap.  I was a little late when I got there, but immediately felt right at home with Missy, Elise, Marina, Ada, Olga, and Megan and had a great time chatting with everyone.  Ada and I ordered the same Tofu & Veggie Salad:

Quantum Leap Tofu Veggie Salad 1

This came with marinated vegetables, grilled tofu, bean salad & tahini cole slaw, with balsamic and carrot-miso dressing on the side.

Quantum Leap Tofu Veggie Salad 2

To be perfectly honest, this salad just didn’t do it for me.  There were only three small pieces of tofu, and I didn’t find the vegetables to be particularly flavorful.  Strangely, it filled me up pretty fast and I only ate about half of the salad.  Everyone else’s food looked pretty good, though, so I do want to go back to Quantum Leap to try out some other things.

Blog Dinner

Poor Ellie organized the whole event and ended up hurting her back and hip and spending the day in the ER!  She was greatly missed.

Most of the girls went out for ice cream afterward, but I left to meet Ari and go to a housewarming party in Williamsburg.  We didn’t stay very long (“We just want to warm the house, not make it too toasty,” said Ari) and I had about half of a vodka-soda.  When we got home, we dug into the brownies from Liz.  I had one Cookies & Cream brownie and half of a Chocolate one.

Brownies & wine

I also had a sip of wine, but I wasn’t feeling the alcohol… I really just wanted to go to sleep! Yes, I’m turning into a bit of a ninny, but so be it 😀  I took the day off from exercising yesterday and haven’t done anything physical yet today (other than cleaning).  When I skip one day, it’s always pretty difficult for me to go the next.  I don’t want to do anything too strenuous that would ruin my race game tomorrow, but I think an easy two miles should be fine.  We’ll see.  It’s turning out to be a very lazy day here at LVP headquarters!

And now for the giveaway! Chobani has graciously offered to send one lucky reader a case of Greek yogurt. To, simply comment on this post.  For an extra entry, link back on your blog (if you have one), or post the contest on Twitter and leave another comment to let me know you did.  Contest ends Monday October 12 at 10 PM EST.  Good luck!

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Cassoulet for a Crisp Fall Day

Good afternoon, Lovepies! I hope you are having a fantastic day, although by the time you read this it might very well be  nighttime for I am once again on the World’s Slowest Computer (WSC).

We are really running low on fresh supplies (although I have oodles of chocolate!), but I’m going to be out for a few meals in the next few days so I’d rather not buy produce only to have it spoil.  Yesterday I turned to the freezer for inspiration, and heated some of Trader Joe’s Mangolicious blend, which I mixed with a crumbled Apple Berry Vitamuffin and nonfat yogurt.

Yogurt/ Vita/Mangolicious

I’ve been wanting to make a pretty parfait again, but the only clear glass in the house has gone missing.

Big bite

After I worked around the house for a little, I grabbed an apple and headed into the city for some speedwork at the gym.

Subway apple

I don’t know about other runners out there, but I have a really hard time staying on the treadmill for more than two miles, and even that is a challenge for me.  It’s just so boring!  There was nothing but reality and sports showing on the TVs, and running in place feels a little depressing to me.  I can’t stop myself from staring at the screen as minutes and distances slowly tick by, even if I cover it with a towel. I think I can also run faster when I’m outside; on the treadmill, running less than a 10-minute mile is really a challenge for me.  One more reason that I need a Garmin! Finally, Behind The Music: Pink came on, and I actually kind of really like her, so I watched that and the time passed  a little more quickly.  I ran 4 miles at speeds ranging from 6.0 – 7.5, taking recovery breaks at 4.0, and cooled down for 3 minutes.

Total distance: 4.15 miles

Total time: 42:28 minutes

Maximum heart rate: 192 (97%)

Average heart rate: 176 (89%)

Calories burned: 496

After a very fast shower, I hurried to the subway, eating my Whole Foods meal (which I had wisely bought before working out, to save time) on the way.  I actually wasn’t so excited to eat this… I think I’m beginning to suffer from Food Boredom.

Whole Foods Salad Bar

In the mix:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • bok choi
  • baked tofu
  • vegan chicken salad
  • seaweed salad
  • sweet & spicy dumpling (1)

I almost got a soup to accompany my salad, but I was low on time and wanted to save room for my afternoon treat.  I hopped on the subway, transferred, and made my way to Babycakes to meet Ellie and Leslie.

Babycakes 1 Babycakes 2

I’ve dreamed about Babycakes cupcakes and their icing shots for far too long. Even if their pickings were horrible (which is far from the truth, their store is one of the cutest places I’ve seen.  The bake staff have the most adorable little Waitress-style outfits (that I would definitely wear in a non-working environment) And, even better, these treats are actually good for you! Have my prayers been answered yet again?  Here’s what they say about the sweets on their website:

In a city dominated by cupcakes overflowing with sugar, flour and butter cream, it’s easy for those with persnickety diets to feel left out. BabyCakes offers all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. Rest assured, all sweeteners have been chosen responsibly and used sparingly. White sugar will never be found in our bakery, nor will we ever use toxic chemical sweeteners. Instead, most products are sweetened with agave nectar—a natural syrup from a cactus which is low on the glycemia index and often a safe alternative to most non-insulin dependant diabetics. Occasionally, unprocessed and unrefined sugar is used in certain goods, although sparingly.

The menu of the day:

Babycakes 3

It was very hard for me to choose…

Babycakes 4

As soon as I saw the Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate-Fig Ganache and Cinnamon-Nutmeg frosting, however, I knew what I needed.

Babycakes Vanilla with Chocolate Fig Ganache Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Fig Ganache 2

Leslie got this as well.  We both thought that the cake itself tasted a bit like sweet cornbread, which wasn’t a bad thing! The filling was amazing, and the frosting was un-freaking-believable.  I need to go back and get a shot of that before they stop making their seasonal flavors.

It was really nice to chat with the girls; I met Leslie in Boston at the Summit, and we really have to get together again soon.  Lucky for me, I’ll be able to see Ellie again on Friday for dinner!  After we parted ways, I headed home.  Ari is leaving on Sunday for Europe, and I wanted us to be able to have a nice dinner together before.  I was mighty thirsty when I got back from the grocery store, and sipped on Goya coconut water while cooking.  This stuff is great… it’s cheap (6/$3.50) and has small chunks of young coconut meat on the bottom!

Goya Coconut Water

I also snacked on this silly-looking carrot.

Funny carrot

I whipped out my Vegetarian Times Cooks Mediterranean cookbook, which I do not use  nearly enough.  Melissa Clark is one of my present-day culinary heroes.  I wanted to make something with either mushrooms or chickpeas (Ari’s favorites, after steak 😉 ), and decided on Garbanzo Cassoulet

Vegetarian Times Garbanzo Cassoulet

The recipe calls for either homemade or store-bought tomato sauce; since the cassoulet was already going to take 2+ hours to make, I picked up a jar of Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce.

Newman's Own Sockarooni

It’s not organic, but the ingredient list is short and comprehensive.

Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce Nutrition

I threw in a couple shakes of Emeril’s Original Essence for good measure…

Emeril's Original Essence

Instead of using regular breadcrumbs, I used whole wheat panko.

Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs

Two hours later, the cassoulet was done.  There is a recipe for “Quick Cassoulet” on the opposite page of the same cookbook, which would be nice if you don’t have time to make this one.  However, if you do have the time, it really pays off.

Garbanzo Cassoulet 2

Garbanzo Cassoulet

Garbanzo Cassoulet 3

I served it with some steamed green beans.  We got more than our fair share of veggies!

Cassoulet & beans

After a few bites, Ari remarked, “Hey! It’s vegetarian and I love it!” I’m glad it was a hit.  We both went back for seconds, which we enjoyed with some Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc.

Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc

After dinner, we had to run some errands and somehow ended up walking out of Coldstone with huge cups of ice cream.  The photo didn’t turn out, but I got a “Like It” (or “small”, if you are Coldstone-illiterate) with Sinless Sweet Cream ice cream, cookie dough, and hot fudge.  Oof, my tum was not happy about that choice.

Well, I’m off to get some reading done.  Enjoy the rest of your day!

Long Runs & Last Days

Good morning and a happy Friday!  I am so excited for the weekend.  For one of the first times in a long time, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and everything really will be okay.  Thank you so, so much for your kind comments on yesterday’s post.  Leaving my job was a really hard decision for many reasons, but I smiled every time my phone buzzed with an e-mail yesterday.  It’s incredible to know how supportive our community is!

Yesterday I’d planned to do another- my second- 6.4 mile run.  I fueled up with a piece of peanut butter-topped butternut squash banana bread.

Pre-Run Butternut Squash Banana Bread

I was still really stiff from the 30/60/90 class, so I warmed up with Yoga For Runners.  With loose mussels, I laced up and stuffed the Hammer Gel my dad gave to me into the tiny pocket of my running shorts for mid-run fuel.

Hammer Gel- Apple Cinnamon

Do you bring energy snacks for long workouts?

Hammer Gel- Apple Cinnamon- Nutrition

I ran to the same soundtrack I used on my first 6.4 miler… I’m a little superstitious about things like that. I didn’t have a problem with stitches until I was about 30 minutes into the run, but it wasn’t so bothersome.  It got really bad during the last 1/2 mile, but since I could literally see my house I pushed myself through it.  Erin gave me some great suggestions about belly-breathing, but I don’t seem to be able to puff out my stomach while inhaling! When I try, I sort of default into a double-inhale-gasp thing.  Overall, the run was a success.  I had to stop more than usual for traffic (which is a good thing, since I forgot to wear my RoadID), but now that I’ve done it twice I know that the first time wasn’t just a fluke!  It’s very exciting for me 😀

Total distance: 6.4 miles

Total time: 1:09:53

Maximum heart rate: 184 (92%)

Average heart rate: 171 (86%)

Calories burned: 773

I soaked some steel-cut oats in the fridge on Wednesday night, so when I came back from the run I dove into them.

Overnight Oats

Steel-cut oats expand a LOT; I had 1/2 cup of soaked oats with Greek yogurt, a banana, and cinnamon.

When stirred, they turn in to a sweet, tangy and delicious mess.

Stirred Overnight Oats

Paula made a return around lunchtime, when I enjoyed a bowl of leftover lentil soup.

Vegan Lentil Soup

I also gobbled up the last of my mom’s brown sugar Brussels sprouts.  I LOVE Fall produce!

Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts

I packed up the last of my chunks of energy to snack on during my last wait shift ever (I hope).

Chunks of Energy

I left a little early so that I could make two important stops.

Stop #1: Sephora!  Ladies (and gentlemen), if you are not yet apart of the Beauty Insider Club, what are you waiting for?!  I am not in any way affiliated with Sephora, but this perks club is the best. You get great online discounts, free goodies every time you earn a certain number of points, and birthday presents!

Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Gift

My birthday is still a week away, but they let me pick up it up early.  Pretty sweet, hmm? I also took advantage of being in the store to play around with the makeup a little bit… killing time at Sephora is one of my favorite things to do.  I can experiment in really silly ways without having to commit to actually buying a product (although I do that too, from time to time).  ALSO, if you want to try out any of their skincare items, just ask! They’ll make you a nice little to-go sample.

Stop #2: Liquiteria for some Grasshopper Juice (pineapple, pear, apple, wheatgrass & mint).  This is definitely not cheap, but it was my gift to myself for my last day of work.  And lordy lord, is it tasty!

Liquiteria Grasshopper Juice

Before I went into work I decided that I was going to make this day one of my best.  I was going to have fun, enjoy the company of my co-workers, and not let any restaurant stress get in the way.  Behold the power of positive thinking…. It worked!  I left on a very good note.

My dad came in for dinner, and after Judy joined him I got off early and we all went out to ice cream.  I think I’ve successfully hooked them all on Stögo! From left to right:

Judy’s: Coconut Vanilla Bean/ Coconut Strawberry; Dad’s: Banana’s Foster/ Chocolate Hazelnut; Mine: Bananas Foster.

Stögo Lineup

Now that I know how to make ice cream, Bananas Foster should be a cinch! This is made with banana “ice cream”, cinnamon, rum and caramel.

Stögo's Bananas Foster

On the ride home, I dug into dinner (for some reason whenever I go to Stögo, I eat dessert first!).  For my last meal, Ramón had hidden some of the scallops from our dinner special under my salad.  He is so sweet.

Scallop Dinner Salad

I came home to an adorable goodie kit from April at Sweet Leaf Tea.  I can’t wait to try out their different flavors! And I’m sure Ari can’t wait to try out those guitar pics 😉

Sweet Leaf Goodies

I slept hard last night, and now I’m off to the gym.  What are your weekend plans? I’m looking forward to catching up with a lot of my best friends!

Have a great Friday 🙂

Edited to add: Congratulations to my friends Shannon and Fredo, who welcomed baby Lucia into the world yesterday afternoon!!!

Ready For Life To Start

Good afternoon, all! I hope your mornings have gone splendidly.  Mine was excellent, and I’ve already got a lot accomplished.  Like some other bloggers, I have some big news to share… not nearly as exciting as theirs, but it’s what’s best for me.  Read on!

Breakfast yesterday was excellent.  I love to taste as many things as possible, so I had my meal was both savory and sweet. I heated up an Ezekiel English muffin and topped one half with a mustard, a poached egg, and asiago cheese.  The other half had almond butter and TJ’s pumpkin butter… I think I’m going to have to stock up on this stuff!  Mmm.

Sweet and Savory English Muffin

While I got ready for work, I popped a loaf of butternut squash banana bread into the oven that I’d prepped the night before.  I was completely taken with Liz‘s version of this, but I was too impatient to wait for the recipe! (Rumor is that she will post it tomorrow.) Instead, I used Veganomicon‘s recipe for Lower Fat Banana Bread and mixed in half a can of Organic Butternut Squash Purée (available at Trader Joe’s).  I brought half a loaf to m boss at work, saved some for the house, and took a slice with me that I picked at throughout the day.  This baby is dense! For some reason, the squash seems to bring out the bread’s spices more than regular banana bread. My boss later sent me an email describing it as “BANANA FUDGE!” It was so good.

Vegan Butternut Squash Lower-Fat Banana Bread

The day before, I’d made another Veganomicon recipe (move over, Isa!) to get me through the week: Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple.

Veganomicon Lentil Soup

While I didn’t make my own chili powder (I subbed in 1 tsp chili flakes) or blend half of the lentils (I prefer my soups chunky), this was divine.

Veganomicon Lentil Soup #2

I grilled up some canned pineapple slices on the George Foreman…

Grilled Pineapple

To make them transportable, I put two slices and a wedge of lime into a baggie.

Lime & Pineapple To Go!

There wasn’t too much for me to do at the office yesterday, so I left a little bit after 12.  On my way out, I noshed on two vegan carob/nut/agave “chunks of energy” that I picked up last week at the health food store.  I didn’t know if I would like them so I only got a few, but they were so good! I bought 7/$1.33, so the price is more than right.

Vegan Chunks of Energy

Although I’d lugged my heavy gym bag through two boroughs, two trains and a long walk, I decided to just head uptown to my parents’ house.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done this before!  But I’d missed my yoga class, and I was too sore from a run and cardio class to work out any other way.

When I got home, I assembled my soup.  Jim‘s got a little competition! Meet Paula.

Lentil Face

The grilled pineapple was such a fresh twist on an old classic like lentil soup.

Pineapple bite

I loved it! I’m going to try to experiment more with sweet + savory from now on.

A little later, I snacked on a cup of Fage 0% (thanks for stocking this, Mom & Dad!) with an apple and cinnamon. Truly one of the greatest munchies around.

Fage 0%, Apple, Cinnamon

I decided to stay and have dinner with my parents… as my mom reminded me, I can’t remember the last time we all ate together.

Fall Centerpiece

Don’t you love Fall centerpieces?

Pumpkins!

Dinner was a joint effort: my dad made a fabulous Asian-inspired swordfish with basmati rice, and my mom made her famous brown sugar Brussels sprouts (just sauté cooked Brussels in butter and brown sugar).

Swordfish, Basmati, Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts

For dessert, we split three Whole Foods petit fours three ways…

Whole Foods Petits Fours

We also had squares of Côte d’Or’s dark chocolate with pistachios and sesame that my dad brought back from France.

Côte d'Or

This chocolate can be found in pretty much any supermarket and bodega in France, but don’t let that fool you! It’s AMAZING.  The chocolate is rich and smooth, and filled with the most interesting ingredients.  It’s my uncle’s favorite chocolate ever (and he’s a serious chocoholic), and my friends and I ate it all.the.time when we were in Paris.  Look how thick it is!

Côte D'Or

When I got back to my apartment, I crashed into bed, stretched my aching bones, relaxed and watched The Secret Lives of DentistsHas anyone seen this? What did you think? I love Hope Davis, and Campbell Scott always makes me think of Singles!

So, onto my news. I’ve tried to leave my work life at work, but, as you probably know, I work in a restaurant as a waitress.  I’ve worked at this particular place for the past three summers, starting in May after my sophmore year of college.  That first summer was probably the best: I felt exhilarated after finishing half of college, I met some really great people (through the restaurant), and Ari and I started dating.  Last year was fun as well; I’d just come back from a great semester in Paris and I was beginning to feel more like an adult.  This year, however, after having graduated, has been more of a reality check.  I wasn’t in school anymore, and this wasn’t just a “summer job.”  Because of the recession, business has been incredibly slow and I had nights where I came home with literally $1.   Customers treated me with unbelievable rudeness; there were two instances when I had to call the police.  I was working crazy hours and not getting any rest, crying myself to sleep more than I’d like to remember. (Ari has been so, so great throughout all of this; without him, I never would have been able to hold out this long.) I was expending all of my energy on a job that made me utterly miserable.  I haven’t been able to do what I love because I haven’t even had time to think about what that might be.  And, as silly as it sounds, I don’t want to turn still be working there when I turn 22.

So, last week, I informed the restaurant that I would be leaving the following week…. today is my last day. On the one hand, I feel bad about leaving the people that I’ve come to really enjoy spending time with.  On the other, I’d rather spend time with them in a stress-free setting.  This is what’s best for me.  It’s scary, because while I’m searching for a “real” job, I won’t be earning any income.  Lucky for me, my parents are amazing and are going to help out a little bit.  I will definitely be budgeting like a madwoman and putting my all into finding a job.  I don’t expect to find my dream job right away, but I know I have to get out of the service industry.  I have so much respect for the millions of people who work in service, retail, and manual labor.  I just can’t do it anymore.

On another happy note, I finally tracked down the Fuze Heroes For Hope photo Ilana and I took at the 5K Race For the Cure.

Fuze Heroes

Off to go make my last day my best.  Have a great Thursday 🙂

Whole Foods Heaven

Good morning! I hope your weekend is off to a GREAT start.  I’m going to make this as quick as possible, because Ari and I are off to Woodstock for the day! We’ll be spending the night, and coming back tomorrow.  I’m so excited!  My family and I used to go to Woodstock every fall, but I haven’t been able to go since I started college.  It brings back such happy memories, and I’m really looking forward to showing Ari all of my favorite spots! We’re so lucky to be able to make such a wonderful, last-minute trip.

Yesterday I had my new favorite breakfast: fruit (1/2 mango and 1 peach) with raw almond milk and cereal (Puffins).

Fruit bowl with raw almond milk and Puffins

I’d been planning on going to a 12:00 Vinyasa Flow class, but I overslept a wee bit.  By the time I got there (5 minutes before class began) the room was packed! I should have known that all of the East Village would be trying to cram in one last yoga practice before Labor Day weekend.  I didn’t let that ruin my day, though, so I did 20 easy minutes on the bike while I read my book, abs, and some strength training.

I ate lunch in the park: an apple and my new favorite sandwich.

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Hummus, mustard, sprouts, arugula, and a TJ’s Marsala burger on Ezekiel. Mmm!

Hummus, sprout, veggie burger & arugula sandwich

There was mail that needed to be picked up at my parents’ house, so I headed up there.  This was, to be honest, just an excuse to check out the new Whole Foods store!

Whole Foods Sign

The escalators have a special lane for carts, just like at Costco!

WF escalator cart

I ground my own organic peanut butter

WF DIY PB

Admired the raw goodies

WF Raw Goodies

Visited the sample station…

Rao's Pasta sauces

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I had a slice of whole wheat bread with Rao’s marinara sauce. Mmm!

Rao's marinara sample

I got dinner for later at the salad bar:

WF Salad & Hot Bar

  • spinach
  • corn
  • baked tofu
  • raw squash
  • grape leaves
  • lemon-scented tempeh
  • mac & cheese
  • saag paneer
  • farro

I picked up some bee pollen

Bee Pollen

… so I could channel my beautiful raw girl. Frozen blubes &  pollen rock!

Bee Pollen & Frozen Blueberries

I got my hands dirty in the kitchen…

Betty Crocker

Chopped a lot of dark chocolate

Chopping Chocolate

Channeled Elana

Biscotti Logs

… and made gluten-free, vegan double chocolate mocha biscotti. I tweaked the recipe a little bit and added hazelnuts!

Double Chocolate Mocha Biscotti (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

I bagged them up and got them ready for mailing.

Giveaway baggies

But a girl’s gotta have her own dessert, too! I had a small biscotti butt with raspberries and blueberries.

Berry & Biscotti Dessert

A day well spent, if I do say so myself.  Have a fantastic weekend! I’m leaving my computer at home so I can stay in the moment.  See ya later!

Look, Ma, I Can RUN!

Good morning and happy humpday! I’m so sorry: I forgot to wish you a HAPPY SEPTEMBER! It’s really starting to feel like Fall around here… a couple days ago I had to wear two sweaters to yoga! Luckily it’s not quite as brisk as it is in Michigan… lady, you keep that weather to yourself!

Yesterday, in honor of said Midwesterner, I had a PB2/VitaTop parfait, using a Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip VitaMuffin.

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I made chocolate honey peanut butter mousse with TJ’s Organic Nonfat Honey Greek yogurt,  then fancied it up with layers of peach and crumbled muffin.

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By the time I’d finished catching up on my morning things- what is your routine like in the morning between when you wake up, breakfast and lunch? –  I didn’t have enough time to go to the gym as originally planned.  I’d wanted to run on the treadmill so I could build some mileage, but decided to try it outside instead.  You may recall a certain killer run I went on with Ari’s brother (a four-time marathoner) a couple weeks ago… well, that was the run I set out on.  I laced up my shoes, bought some new headphones at the dollar store (my Clean & Clear ones were long dead), pressed play, and took off.

Since I was planning on a longer run than I’ve been doing,  I kept my pace slow, concentrating on breathing easily, listening to the music, and watching the scenery.  I made the trip to the park- which, in itself, is almost the 2-mile distance I’m used to running in our neighborhood- ran the length of the park, and ran home.  I didn’t rush, but I got a rush (hehe 🙂 ) because of how pleasant the run was.  Before I knew it, I was back home.  The funny thing is that for this distance- about 4 miles– the length of Ari’s CD is perfect! I started running during “American Girls”, and stretched during “New Streets”.  I have to remember to keep my playlists fresh; having music really makes such a difference to me in terms of the length and quality of my workout.  Luckily, I have these ladies to keep me on my toes!  I really want to start running longer distances.  The 5K is on September 13, and we’ll see where it goes from there.  It’s really important for me not to get too cocky about training, however, because I don’t want to end up with another injury. I’m going to try to keep going to yoga in between long runs, and make sure to cross-train and strength train throughout the week.  But, I have to say, I’m excited! I never thought I really had it in me to be a runner.

Total distance: 4(ish) miles

Total time: 44:40 minutes

Maximum heart rate: 192 (96%)

Average heart rate: 178 (89%)

Calories burned: 540

The distance is only an approximation… I really need a Garmin.

After a quick shower, I downed some carrot juice, my new recovery drink of choice.  For those of you who asked: I do not make this myself.  I wish I had a juicer, but I do not wish I was cleaning it every day!  I got a 32-oz jug of Organic Carrot Juice at Trader Joe’s for $3.99 (non-Organic is $2.99).

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Then I hustled into the city to meet my long-lost love and blogger, Miss Sarah, at the Candle Cafe.

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There were so many things that I wanted to try, so I gently forced the waitress to choose for me.  At restaurants, I usually try to stray from having things I can (and would) make at home, but going against my rule, I ended up ordering one of the daily specials, soba salad.

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It was very good! The dressing reminded me a lot of Woodstock Dressing, which I haven’t had in a while.

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Sarah ordered the Aztec salad: bi-colored quinoa, black beans, red onion and corn topped with spicy pumpkin seeds and barbeque grilled tempeh. Served over mixed field greens with a toasted cumin vinaigrette.

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I think she won that round… but it’s okay! I’ll just have to go back 😀  I will also have to go finish this girl in Russia… she’s leaving for Moscow in five days! What a life.

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We needed to end things on a sweet note, so we split the chocolate mousse pie.  Pure, chocolatey heaven at 2 PM.  Again, what a life 😀

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After Sarah and I figured out how to get her to the airport, we parted ways and I went home to run some errands (stencil-shopping at Home Depot!) with Ari.  On the way back, we stopped at Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spiced LatteJenna really talked this up this year!

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The last time I remembered ordering one was when I was college visiting, at Wellesley. I’d been out late at a Beastie Boys concert the night before, and thought the caffeine/pumpkin mix was just so very collegiate.  Yeah, big dork, I know.

I spent part of the evening doing work, then broke to make dinner.

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I used the George Foreman (which I should really be utilizing more, it’s fabulous) to grill us up two swordfish steaks.  I tossed each steak in a quick salmoriglio sauce that I whipped up; there are many variations of this, but the basic mixture is equal parts lemon juice (I used lime) and olive oil.  Then add herbs of your choosing (oregano), salt and pepper. It goes on just about anything, and can help quell that strong “fishy” flavor that’s prevalent in a lot of seafood.

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On the side, I braised some spinach and dried mushrooms (Ari’s choice) in vegetable stock, reduced the broth down, and drizzled the mixture with a little sesame oil.

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We also split a sweet potato with butter and agave.

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I got the swordfish steaks in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s; they were perfectly portioned out! One baby steak and one man steak 🙂 I added more salmoriglio sauce to the fish once it was plated, and drizzled a little on the spinach and mushrooms as well.  I wish I’d made more, because it’s such a versatile sauce.  Thanks for teaching me, Mom and Dad!

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I had some vino and a nectarine for dessert, and we settled back for a mini staycation with For Your Consideration (genius!) and In Treatment.  It was a lovely night.

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Well, off to pack my lunch, get my yoga on and go to work.

Before I go: if you’d like to sponsor me in the race 5K Race For the Cure, you can do so here. I appreciate the support!

Also, the lovely Lauryn, formerly of Making Moves, has started a new blog, Mastering Manhattan, about her tradition to NYC living. Woohoo! That’s right, she’ll now be a New Yorker, so expect some awesome collaborations 🙂

Have a great day!

Who needs sleep? Well, you’re never gonna get it

Morning and happy Thursday! I love Thursdays, because even though I don’t have a “traditional” schedule anymore, Fridays are always exciting.  This weekend has a few surprises in store, so I’m excited! Now, to just get through today…

Yesterday I got up bright and early to do some work.  I had a big bowl of fruit: 1/2 banana, 1 plum, and cherries.

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I met my lovelies, Lyle and Lindsay, for lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup.  There was a little wait, so in true NYC-fashion we got some iced coffees (skim milk & Sugar In The Raw) and plopped down on a stoop for some quality chit.

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When we were finally seated, we ordered a plate of scones to share: it’s unfortunate the photo is so bad, because these were SO GOOD.  We split carmelized banana and chocolate almond.  Why have I never been a scone person before?! I love scones! (And I know the answer to that question, and it needs to change!)

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I got my usual: the “Light Fare” with a bowl of tomato basil soup and their amazing bread:

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And the warm endive, carmelized pear & onion, and stilton cheese salad.  Best tea party ever.

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After saying our goodbyes (sniff), I had some time to kill before work While I was moseying around, I happened upon a cart giving away free Popchips!

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You can find the nutrition information for Popchips here.  These are snack-sized bags (50 calorie servings), and I gobbled up a package of the original flavor as I dodged raindrops on the way to work.  They reminded me a lot of soy crisps; they’re very light and not greasy at all, but still flavorful.  Cons? Try to eat these holding an umbrella and two bags in a torrential downpour! Would I buy these? Yes, but I think they’d be pretty addicting and potentially dangerous to have around 🙂

At work, I had a small (2-inch slice) of pizza with olives.  I drew a gallery-worthy picture of it, but left it in my apron at work. Use your imaginations!

For dinner I got off the healthy chip train and had freshly-made tortilla chips! The man who makes the pizza saw me eating my salad and thought I needed some deep-fried taco and plopped them right into the fryer.  I guess I’ll be getting my fry on a lot!

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Now, this looks like a regular salad, right? Not so! Hidden under a thin layer of parmesan are little shrimpies! I love you, chef Ramon.

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This was made with a lot of garlic. Delicious, but sometimes you need to freshen yourself up, you know? So I pulled out my handy-dandy Eat Whatever mints.  Have you guys heard of these?

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After eating something gnarly (like said garlicky salad), swallow the two jelly capsules with a glass of water.  Then, suck on the white mint until it’s dissolved.  Results? “Kissible breath”!  It worked for me, which is a blessing to know considering I work in an Italian restaurant.  Even better? They’re 100% vegan and gluten-free.  I’ll have to keep my eye out for these!

Work thankfully ended without drama, and I grabbed a fruit cup on the way to the subway.

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Well, time to go get my pretty on and head to my internship.  I have to go to the restaurant after I’m through with that, so it’s going to be a long, long day, and I didn’t get to sleep until after 3 last night. Bah. No more complaints… have a happy Thursday! And please wish Heather a belated Happy Birthday!!!