weekend, workout, and waffles

And here we are again at Monday…no complaints because I had a fine weekend for myself.

On Friday, I’d been battling a headache, so I went to the gym after work to try and work it off. When in doubt, I usually can fight things off with a solid workout, and I was right! There’s nothing quite like a hard-hitting strength workout followed up by a sweaty run to get you into the Friday vibes. The rest of Friday included a casual evening of good food, tv watching, and SLEEP. I cannot emphasize my love for going to sleep on a Friday night knowing there is nothing pressing on Saturday. GLORIOUS.

The difference between my Friday night dinner:

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Is in the side dish:

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Both were delicious and celebratory as Saturday was National Waffle Day.

On Saturday, I nailed a shoulder, ab/adductor, glute, and core workout before hitting the spin bike for a HIIT ride. I walked to and from the gym to fit in some extra rays (I’m hoping my east-coasters will find me TAN when I go home for a wedding next month – if you comment on it then, you get a cookie because then I know you’re reading my blog). Next, I headed to an LA staple, the Getty Museum in the Hollywood Hills (I think). My friend and I took the architecture tour which was interesting. Art is not my thing exactly, but I have more maturity than I did in the third grade (sort-of) and was able to appreciate it more. Would still rather be seeing a Broadway show to fill my culture quota, but I’m afraid that the closest this girl gets to “cultured” is pop.

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That view though!

My friend and I ate dinner at a cheesy Italian restaurant before driving back. We passed a man dressed in full Jester costume, with make-up, hanging out under the freeway, and it was spooky. Yay for expressing yourself? So long as there’s no nefarious deeds being done.

This is what I enjoyed while watching my show, curled up on the couch.

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Yup, that is fact. It has a slightly different texture than regular ice cream, but it’s still delicious. For the record, I did not eat it all in one sitting, although, I totally could have.

I enjoyed sleeping in again on Sunday before I woke up for some pancakes. I’m obsessed with my small pan because it makes the perfect omelette, as evidenced in the two above pictures. After I digested, it was time for a run.

I wish I snapped a picture because I ran along the bike path (it’s allowed, I checked), which is by a river. It eventually leads to the ocean, but I wasn’t up for that yet. It’s quick-ish on a bike, but a bit far for a run (for me) to and fro. I also got in some at-home yoga, which felt like a nice stretch and extended my sweat time for a bit.

For fuel, I gobbled down a pb&j, showered, then headed out to treat myself to a massage. It was just what I needed. At work, I am constantly on my feet and running around, and I add some grueling, yet satisfying workouts six days a week, so my body needed some love. For whatever reason, I carry my stress (which to be fair, isn’t a lot, but it exists) in my top left shoulder. When I was at a job I was stressing over a few years ago, I had to ask the masseuse to stop as he prodded my knots, but these ones were easy-peasy.

The stress-relief lasted until I tried to find a parking spot at Trader Joes, but fortunately, it didn’t take too long and I quickly grabbed my things and got home.

It was time for whatever I was making in this bad-boy (lunches for the week and Sunday night’s dinner).

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Chicken chili, served this evening with a handful of tortilla chips.

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Chock full of veggies – collard greens, red bell peppers, zucchini, and corn – beans – black and red – and chicken! SO good and SO easy. I had shopped the night before for a few items I needed so that I could toss everything together in the morning. Meal prep = simple and healthy with a crockpot.

The rest of the evening was productive with laundry and writing. I’ve given myself a homework assignment that I’ll fill you in on later in the week. Don’t fret, it’s the good kind.

Happy Monday!

 

Quinoa Three Ways

At least Monday’s bringing some sunshine! It was a dreary weekend after a dreary kind of week weather-wise. Friday night included some curling up on the couch time watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, which was disappointing. Saturday was a full-work day that was followed up by a long run on the treadmill, not friendly for these hips, and more time curled up on the couch watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, even more disappointing. I was up early again on Sunday for a softball game, followed by Mother’s Day celebrations. I ended Sunday with a massive load of laundry, which always feels so productive, while watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees, far more satisfying!

This morning, we jumped right into some food prep for the week! I haven’t made quinoa in forever, so I decided to get a little fanciful. Quinoa three ways!

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First up’s quinoa with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta!

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Next we find quinoa with cilantro and lime, a little knock-off from Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice.

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Finally, we have caprece quinoa with fresh tomato, mozzarella, and balsamic vinagerette! I’ll enjoy this one for dinner tonight as it won’t last as long as the others in the fridge.

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To go along with my delicious quinoa concoctions, I made a batch of Tasty’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, which are amazing!

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Fret not, I didn’t forget my greens! This zucchini and spinach dish (mixed with a little garlic and olive oil) will have to be replenished a few times over to meet my needs for the week, but it’s a start!

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I’ve got meals to keep me fueled and workouts planned to keep me strong. Starting off on the right foot!

I would be remiss not to flash a picture of my breakfast this morning. This time, I went with the peanut butter Kodiak Cake waffle mix, and I was not disappointed. And look at those berries! (Butter is difficult to spread).

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I Almost Choked on a Lemon Seed

My title really has nothing to do with this post, except that while trying to come up with a clever title, I almost choked on a lemon seed. Proceed with caution.

What’s going on with the summer weather? I can handle hot, and somewhat humid, when the sun is shining and I can study by the pool (or at least look outside), but this downcast look is not good for the soul. We’re in the last week of August!

I know technically it’s not the end of summer until well into September, but thanks to school, I will always feel as though September is the real start of a new year. I really think that part of my desire to teach was due to my nostalgic love of preparing for a new school year: clothes shopping, supply shopping, that fresh dose of hope and starting over. Fall adds to the feeling. Alas, it wasn’t enough for me to want to continue, but I’m still glad I had all of those experiences.

Despite my love for fall, I’m not ready for summer to be over, which means I want more pool and beach days, BBQ in the backyard, and summer shandys! Listen, I’m picky about alcohol and beer in particular so the other night at Harry Potter trivia, when they told me they were sold out of shandy for the summer, I had to order a pumpkin beer. Too soon! But I had to get something I knew I liked. Don’t look at me like that…

Changing the subject, last night, my brother made us stir-fry for dinner. He grilled the chicken to perfection and tossed together some brown rice, peppers, and broccoli and mixed it with a dash of soy and teriyaki sauce. It was delicious and a healthy, nutritious meal to end the day. I suspect he keeps making dinner so he can be included on the blog. Thanks, Jimmy!

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Even though I enjoyed my breakfast sandwich for breakfast yesterday, I was chagrined to learn it was National Waffle Day. I’ve been craving waffles these past few weeks, so it would have been an opportune time to enjoy them. This is the danger of having all of these days!

To celebrate belatedly, I heated up two of them today to join my eggs. Chopped jalapeños, tomato, and red bell pepper accompanied my scramble, finalized with a sprinkling of cheese. Rounding out the meal was this bowl of fruit. Gotta say, the raspberries were not as impressive as they have been, but the blueberries and banana were on point. While eating, I read a chapter of Harry Potter.

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As I write this, I am guzzling water in preparation for my workout in a few minutes. Otherwise, I’ve got work and studying to complete. I’ll check back in later on in the day to talk about what gave me strength today (TBD).

I Pulled A Stale Pretzel Out of My Purse and Ate It

The title speaks the truth. It’s weird because I don’t even eat pretzels all that much. If I want some salt, my preferred choice would be tostitos or cheezits. I think people were eating pretzels at work the other day, so one must have fallen into my bag. That is no excuse as for why I would have popped it into my mouth, but it was more of a gut reaction than anything. I think the heat is getting to me.

You can see I am a true foodie…

After breakfast yesterday, I took some time to get organized. I have a bunch of cover letters and resumes saved from last summer’s job search that I definitely don’t need anymore, so I cleared them all out among other files I don’t need. To clean my room, I folded and put away laundry and tidied up my desk.

By the time I finished cleaning, I was ready for a workout. It was super cold in the water when I first dove in, but it felt nice and refreshing, especially as I got moving. I swam a mile and some change before calling it for the day.

I needed to pick up some groceries, so I helped myself to the Whole Foods salad/hot bar. I don’t know what it is about the way they cook their vegetables, but they are so good! I love the mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers in particular. Whenever I try to grill them over the pan, they come out mushy. Maybe I use too much oil. I stacked my bowl with veggies and tossed in a scoop of the creamy macaroni and cheese and a chicken finger.

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Before work, I fit in some quality studying time. As an English major in undergrad and an Education major for my master’s, I didn’t do a ton of studying in the sense I am now. Whatever studying I did do focused a lot on memorizing, but there is so much information on the test and I don’t think that’s the best method. Plus, the information I am trying to learn is not just for the test, it’s for my livelihood. I’m used to reading, analyzing, and dissecting passages into essays, so I’m struggling a bit to find my best methods. Yesterday, I tried a new strategy that seems to be going better than what I was doing before.

Last night, I also spent a great deal of time writing. It’s been difficult lately because I have so many ideas floating around in my head that I can’t focus on just one. I’m afraid if I don’t write every idea and all that comes with it down, then I’ll lose the thought. I need to be better focused on one idea so the writing actually gets done! Here’s a little product of my procrastination of studying and writing last night.

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As I said in my instagram post: Not all art is beautiful, but there is beauty in all art. I just like to write in cursive and draw with crayons.

Dinner included grilled turkey tips, zucchini with marinara and a little parmesan, and spinach rice. Sorry about the lack of picture. I got home late and guzzled it down!

This morning, it was hot again and though I had an interest in some pancakes, that egg/waffle combination got to me first. Less exertion in the end! I cracked two eggs into the pan, swished them around with a pat of butter, and scrambled them into what I feel are perfect eggs. A sprinkle of cheese on top with some salt and pepper added to the perfection. Along with two crispy, buttery waffles, I found solace in having fresh berries again with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries added to half of a chopped banana.

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I know I need to start making my own waffles in my waffle maker, but convenience is just easier sometimes, especially when it’s hot! I’ll be in the market for some new recipes.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Laughing in the Morning

Are you sick of me yet? I hope not because there is more blogging to come! Please keep reading and sharing if you like it!

The first thing I did this morning was laugh. I don’t stay up late enough to watch late night talk shows, but I do like to catch the best parts the next day. Had I known who was going to be on Jimmy Fallon last night, I may have made an exception. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, or as I call them, Tamy, are the best. I can’t wait for their movie to come out in December, though on the same day as Star Wars, which I feel like is just asking for failure. I will definitely see it after I watch Star Wars about 8 times (unless they did something bad to Han and Leia, in which case, forget about it!) Anyways, if you want a good laugh, check out the video below. You’re welcome.

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler Play 'True Confessions' on <em>Tonight Show</em> — Watch

Fittingly- if you are a Parks and Rec fan- on this humid day, I woke up with a hankering for a waffle. For a quick breakfast, I will turn to Van’s whole grain waffles, which are tasty, but today I was in no rush and wanted to get some use out of my waffle maker. It’s been awhile. I have trouble making a waffle for one because I’m still learning the measurements that best fit the waffle maker and today was no exception. I used the toasted coconut batter I got from Stonewall Kitchen and it was a little too much as evidenced by it dribbling out on the sides. The end result was a little messy, but delicious. I served it up with a dollop of peanut butter (okay, more than a dollop), jelly, and a medley of fruit.

  
Now that I’ve done a bit of blogging, it’s time to get studying! 

It’s Hard to Cook Without a Fully Functioning Kitchen

One of the perks I thought I was sure to enjoy after finishing my Master’s, was the ability and creative liberty to try out new recipes. This was prevented once the kitchen went under construction. No complaints here as I will be able to enjoy the benefits of a new kitchen shortly, though I probably won’t have as much free time then.

Anyways, for this Meals on Monday edition, I thought I did a lot better taking pictures of what I was eating, but I think I really just snapped my lunches and forgot about the rest of the meals. As you will see, my memory only alerted me to my mistakes halfway through eating the meals, so don’t think that I have been eating such small portions. Trust, I have a hearty appetite.

Breakfasts:

I have eaten quite a lot of peanut butter toast this week as I have limited use of technology in which to cook. This is hurtful because breakfast is my favorite meal and I like to concoct all sorts of different recipes throughout the week.

I had this at least four times this week, but with a little variety. Here we see my use of Peanut Butter and Co’s chocolate flavored products, Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Wonderful with a smear of jelly on whole wheat sour dough and a side of fresh fruit.

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Other times you might see my toast topped with the same chocolate peanut butter but with coconut sprinkled on top and a banana on the side. I also enjoy using regular Teddie peanut butter, which I had yesterday morning for a more savory twist. Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods and as I write Meals on Monday more, you will see it included in almost all of my breakfasts and sometimes lunches.

For breakfasts this week, I also had a delicious “Italian Delight” egg breakfast with two poached eggs over mozzarella, tomato, and toast with a side of potatoes at a diner I went to with my sister Lauren. Forgot to take a picture, but it is something I will be making at home once that kitchen is running again.

A wonderful waffle I made in my waffle maker, duh, but the clean up was messy. Obviously, it was still worth it. The batter is the same as my peanut butter pancake recipe, topped with more peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut.

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One day, I also had a bowl of raisin bran with chopped banana and a coconut-blended Chobani, which is the best flavor of greek yogurt there is, mixed with blueberries.

Lunch:

A salad with arugula as the base, mixed with cucumbers, peppers, asiago cheese croutons, feta, and red beans with greek dressing. Nice and simple on a hot day!

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Another salad of arugula and baby spinach, cucumber, pepper, and feta cheese with italian dressing. I also had a chicken burger topped with a piece of pepper jack cheese on a whole wheat english muffin and a fruit bowl consisting of pineapple (my ALL-TIME favorite) and a few cherries (another favorite, but must be eaten carefully as I am semi-allergic, it’s a cruel world).

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Leftover salmon over a salad of spinach, peppers, tomato, and mozzarella with a side of buttered toast (not pictured).

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I did not snap a picture of my rice and chicken bowl filled with fresh veggies including zucchini (the first produce from my garden!!), summer squash, and red pepper because I was in the pool.

Saturday, I went to Harry Potter trivia with my friends Erin and Katie and though we didn’t place as we should have, it was still so much fun! I had my share of chips and salsa, margherita pizza, and Leininkugel Summer Shandy that I was pretending was butter beer.

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Yesterday, my sister came over for lunch and my mom grilled some turkey tips with a drizzle of honey BBQ sauce with more of my zucchini, summer squash, and peppers, corn on the cob, a side salad, and a piece of toast.

Dinner:

Salmon with summer squash, pepper, baby spinach, feta over brown and wild rice.

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We also had chicken kebobs one night skewered with zucchini, summer squash, and peppers (I guess you can tell what veggies we like best).

Another night was pasta with chicken sausage and spinach.

Thursday night, I had dinner with my friends Nouha and Sarah, which consisted of a Lebanese meat dish over rice and potatoes, made by her mother and it was fabulous. We also had a side of hummus with whole wheat pita and a sliver of Whole Foods cake.

On Friday, we had a girls night out, as my mom, sister, and I stopped for cheeseburgers and beer before the Red Sox game. Because I opted for a side salad instead of french fries at dinner, I enjoyed a twist cone during the game. I’d take ice cream over anything, any day, any time.

After trivia, I came home Saturday to find my aunts, uncles, and cousins over. Family time is the best time, whether we are sitting around the porch table laughing at ourselves and one another, roasting marshmallows, or hiding in the dark trying to freak each other out. We also ordered pizza because it seems to be a trend of every “party” (for lack of better term).

Finally, in honor of my Uncle Mike, who I appreciate for many reasons but mostly for his consistent reading of this blog, Gollum is still looking for his precious “ring.”