Friday, July 30, 2010

Iron Chef- The Office Edition

That's right, I'm back!  Do I get a gold shiny star sticker?  I hope you guys have had a good week and are ready to start the weekend.
Now to get to the title of my post, I am really good at going grocery shopping, cooking lunches up for my husband (not because I'm a domestic, but because I have control and he eats anything) and bringing snacks to work.  Unfortunately, I can never plan to make myself lunch because I can't predict what I will be in the mood for the next day.  Am I the only one? 
Working in an office has the advantages of a microwave, utencils, and a fridge, so I play a little game of Iron Chef almost every day. 
Secret Ingredients #1: A smug homegrown tomato, basil, whole wheat bread, and an avocado.
I turned it into a mock caprese open faced sandwich.
The star really was the tomato and the buttery avocado made a nice sub for the mozzarella.
The Verdict: Although it was an accident, I am so making this again.  I win.

Secret Ingredients #2: A baked sweet potato, avocado, and  the remainder of my cottage cheese.
This time I heated it up and topped it with a baked potato that puts restaurant versions to shame in my little mind.

The sriracha I found in my work fridge gave this a little kick and lit my mouth on fire. Perfection.
The Verdict: I think I win again.

Sometimes planning everything out is more cost effective and less stressful, but never as fun.  I have had some flops before and my coworkers think I eat pretty nasty things, but I just shrug my shoulders and tell them I'm strange. 

Another great thing about being spontaneous?  If you don't pack your dinner for school, you get to have frozen yogurt for dinner. 

Do it.  It will make life just a little bit better.

Question for you: Do you pack your entire lunch all prepped for work?  Do you ever just wing it like me?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Still a Blogger

I think I may have um...forgotten about blogging.  I was under the false impression that this was a slow time for me given it's summer and all.  I guess I'm wrong but I have still been enjoying the season as much as I can being an adult and such.  Even if I'm not around on a daily basis I'm still a food blogger deep down.

Even if I can't run miles, I can still walk on the trail by my house as my body recovers.
Even if I don't buy 100% organic, I can get excited about our first pesticide-free tomato harvest.

 Even when I don't post my daily meals, I'm still eating hummus and fresh veggies like it's my job. I'm also eating frozen yogurt and chocolate because they are awesome.
Even when I'm not posting daily workouts or race recaps, I am out taking awesome hikes and am grateful that I can wear shoes!
Even if I'm not next to the computer on weekends, I'm out enjoying nature on my first REAL camping trip.
Even if I'm not looking my best or glamorous in pictures, I'm quite happy with life and learning to be content with myself.
Question for you: What are you doing when the blogosphere isn't watching?
I'll be back with regular nonsense on a more regular basis.  I miss my blog friends and hope everyone is enjoying this warm weather!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where is the Scale?

Hi guys!  I hope your Monday and went swimmingly.  Mine was aight and I'm glad we can move on from that nuisance. 

A clarification on my last post: Ceviche is usually made with raw fish and the acid in the marinades and other ingredients usually break it down and 'cook' it but I skipped this step by using cooked shrimp.  I didn't want any food poisoning on my hands and I was impatient. So now you know all my secrets.

Are you sick of my yoga talk yet?  Hope not.  I have been attending my yoga studio for almost two weeks and really enjoying it.  The classes are challenging and while I have been working up to a higher level, I have been getting a nice stretch and experiencing some muscle endurance (I think that's what it's called since there are mixed opinions on whether yoga is strength training or not). 

You see, I come to the fancy pants studio with the rest of the housewives living in my suburban city outside of San Francisco.  There is a fountain in the lobby.  As I was walking into their bathroom (they call it the Ladies Oasis or Lounge, or something else that tells me I don't belong there) I looked around at all of the ammenities provided- hair dryers, lotions, shampoo, lockers, plenty of clean towels, and noticed something was missing from the typical gym potty.  Where was the scale?  Did they forget it (I am paying full price, ya know)!?  I walked back and forth a couple of times and it was not there.  How could they not have a scale in the Women's Retreat? 

While they say women aren't good at math, we measure, weigh, calculate, divide, and estimate numbers in our heads all the time- calories, pounds, fats, carbs.  You get the picture.  I know I've done it before and looking for the scale proves that I still do it to an extent.  Of course I subconsciously measure myself to other people in the studio (great people watching) and I measure my progress to the way I used to look or to how fit I was a year ago, or even 2 months ago prior to this setback. 

Not to get all hippie on you, but in yoga, nobody cares.  There are old, young, women, men, bald, thin, overweight, and people like me- breathing, clearing their minds, and doing something good for their bodies.  Some instructors are built like ballerinas and others like linebackers and it doesn't particularly matter.  I've gone in for my classes and temporarily put away my mental scale and it's pretty awesome.  Plus, I have an awesome scale in my bathroom that tells me my weight within 7 pounds, which is cool anyways.

How often do you find yourself weighing or measuring yourself?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tapas- My Way

This weekend I wanted to make food that looked expensive, but wasn't.  I didn't do this for any reason except for my love of appetizers at restaurants, particularly when going out for tapas.  Tapas are my favorite way of eating because I love sharing- well, mostly when others share with me. My recent favorite meal was the ceviche I had at a Cuban restaurant.  I don't know what made me do it (probably because I'm obsessed with food),  but I woke up on Saturday morning with the need to recreate it . 
It was so easy even I could do it!
*2 cups of your favorite mango salsa (I used one from Costco, but Trader Joe's has a good one too)
*1/4 cup chopped red onion
*Fresh cilantro
*Sprinkle of cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper
*Defrosted cooked shrimp (I used about 1 cup)
*Plantain chips for scoopage (I bought mine at Trader Joe's)

-Chop up onion, dump in all ingredients, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours

I served it in a wine glass since we are klassy and don't have martini glasses:
I really enjoyed this, and so did my hubby.  (Sidenote: ceviche is Spanish and Spain won the World Cup!  How did I know?  I just did.  I didn't make any Dutch Food, OK?)
So what did I serve with this ceviche?  Homemade spring rolls of course!  Did I mention I kinda do a fusion thing a LOT?  I serve Russian, Latin American, Asian, and random cuisines together.  It just works.  Don't tell me otherwise.
For more details on my spring rolls method (perhaps method gives too much credit)- go HERE.
So tell me, are you a ceviche fan?  What was the best thing you did this weekend?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Guest Post: It's Harvest Time at the One Healthy Apple Home

Hi Guys!  I hope your week is going well.  I'm excited to bring you a guest post by the hubby.  I think you have met him before when he made his infamous blogging debut almost a year ago.  He's know around here as my partner in crime and blogging intern.  We also have lots of fun together.  I'll stop talking now (almost never happens) and let him take it away!

As promised by One Healthy Apple, it is that exciting time of the year to share my experience of growing an organic garden in our backyard. I should back up and state that my relationship with farming goes way back. My grandpa and parents have been growing crops on our land in the country in Russia well before I was born. Some of my earliest memories as a kid are associated with being forced to help them pick strawberries, pack tomatoes, and dry apple slices. I hated it all.
However, as I got older and One Healthy Apple and I bought a house, a sense of (land) ownership along with learning the health benefits of controlling what you put into your body completely changed my opinion about farming. It became one of my biggest hobbies and I caught myself visiting the garden every day (or multiple times in a day). 

I noticed that the growth of plants provided an enormous amount of motivation and encouragement as a reward for the effort of taking care of these plants. I learned that they really are living organisms that quickly respond to weather conditions, watering cycles, and other factors. 

Last summer was my "pilot" project where I dedicated a small piece of land in our backyard towards agricultural "experimentation". It was mostly designed to confirm that our soil is able to support the growth of plants, but in the process, produced delicious tomatoes that we ate all summer long. Eating these tomatoes reminded us of the unique taste quality of off-the branch just-picked food relative to anything else. The taste factor is further enhanced by the effort payoff as it is that much more enjoyable to eat something that has required a lot of effort, time, and sweat from you over the last few months.

After the success of the pilot project, I more than doubled the size of the garden this season. We spent the winter creating a compost pile with a bunch of food leftovers, ground coffee, and pulp from juicing. When spring came, our soil was better than ever and I diversified our crops by introducing the following species to our backyard:
  • Tomatoes
  • Beats
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Herbs
While I learned that most of these plants will ripen at different times, we have been enjoying lettuce and cilantro for nearly the last month.
In addition, our beets just started ripening and we have been eating them over the last week. The tomatoes and peppers are almost ready and will soon be eaten (my mid-July). The food still tastes as good as ever and the ability pick food fresh from the garden when it's needed for cooking in the kitchen is indescribable.
I highly recommend trying organic gardening as a hobby for those of you that have some land and live in warmer climates. It's also a great workout and gives you a sense of ownership.  The next time some asks me where my food comes from, I can tell them 'from my backyard' and I have to say there is something great about that!

Thanks again for stopping by.  I'll be back later to do a product review in the coming week.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Best Day Ever

This weekend was everything I could hope for- relaxation, great weather, good food, and time with friends.  I fell asleep quickly each evening- the ultimate sign that I am relaxed and stress-free.
It was one of those weekends when I kept looking over at hubby and telling him 'this is the best day ever' (I do this a LOT) but it really was great!  I know we sound like one of those sickeningly happy couples and probably are, but what can I do? :)
We woke up early and I was handed a homemade latte right away.  Not sure if it was intended to keep me quiet or what, but it worked.
Hubby knows I am easily entertained and he has this down to a science.  Look what I caught him making for himself for breakfast- plain yogurt with honey.  I almost shed a tear with excitement that he had joined my cult!

We decided to venture out to Half Moon Bay and spend the morning at the beach. 

Hubby surfed while I took pictures, behaved like his groupie, and read my textbook.  It was cold but such a fun experience.  I forget how lucky we are to live 45 minutes away from a beach, even if I have to wear sweats and a hooded sweatshirt while there.
The Counter
I had been stalking and drooling over the idea of going to The Counter ever since they opened an East Bay location.  I read about it on Lara's blog, The Dining Detective and knew I would love it.  The concept is that you can build your own burger by choosing your own toppings, protein, bread, and cheese.  You can also chose to put it on a bed of greens.  I took a picture of my clipboard but you'll have to zoom in or check out their full menu here.
I highly recommend the place.  They focus on sustainable and local ingredients and have a sweet wine and beer selection that we would love to check out when we come at a more appropriate time. 
Here is my beautiful creation:
Turkey burger on a multi-grain bun with sprouts, roasted red bell peppers, marinated green peppers, goat cheese, and grilled pineapple. Amazing.

The hubby had to show off and ordered the special- a bison burger.  He seemed to enjoy it. 

We each ordered peanut sauce and though it sounds odd, it was a great combo.  I made more peanut sauce to eat later this week when I did my food prep.

I have been doing great on my yoga challenge!  I have only missed one day this month (I am fully aware that it's only July 5) and actually took a rest day because I was feeling sore.  This has to mean that yoga is doing something, right?  I also hit a milestone and took a 3 mile hike yesterday.  This is big, since I haven't been able to wear running shoes in a month.  I'm hoping to get some good news from my doctor tomorrow and get the green light to start moving like a semi-normal person.  I'm off to hit the stationary bike and read my book, then zoom off to my yoga class. 
Hope you are all enjoying the rest of the long weekend if you are in the US and otherwise enjoying summer.

P.S. Please come back for the next post- a guest post from my fabulous hubby.  I'm clearly a fan.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What Sound do Goats Make?

I'm anticipating a pretty quiet time around the blog-o-nets as people are out and about enjoying summer and the holiday. I hope you are doing something fabulous this weekend!
I haven't done a food post in quite a while with my traveling, school, and injury nonsense, so I am back to share some things I have been loving.  Clearly I have been eating- just look at my empty fridge.
Overnight oats in a jar with the remainder of THE best almond butter on the market. 
I also used the goat milk yogurt I bought at Trader Joe's earlier this week and loved it!  It's tart like Greek yogurt and extra creamy.  Since I embarrass myself on the daily, I was going around my kitchen saying 'baaaa' but then realized goats don't make that sound- I even googled it. Dork.

I have also been loving salmon of all kinds- here is my version of a lox breakfast sandwich:
Smoked salmon with arugula, slide of jarlsberg cheese, organic whipped cream cheese, and sweet chili sauce.  This made for quite the filling breakfast and I loved it!

I also enjoyed some baked salmon in my lunch yesterday in the form of an arugula and roasted beet salad:
I added laughing cow cheese, sunflower seeds, and wasabi peas for fun toppings and really enjoyed the combo.
I was pretty excited because I got these beets locally- in our backyard.  Meet my favorite farmer, who will be doing a guest post soon to tell you all about our vegetable garden.
Yoga, Yoga!
I have been loving my yoga studio.  It's much too nice for a goofball like me and I felt like I would get kicked out any second as I was sitting in the lounge waiting for my class enjoying my herbal tea.  You can read about my yoga month here.  I can't wait to go to my next class!
I hope you enjoy your weekend!  See you soon!