Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday love

Happy Friday! Can you believe this is the last Friday of September? I swear we were just celebrating New Years...

Friday morning started off muggy and humid, so I wanted an unheated breakfast.

OJ and a sandwich thin with goat cheese, honey, and cinnamon. My new fav combo!

Work went by slowly, as it normally does on Fridays. I took a short break for lunch around 1pm.

Packed and photographed last night. Spinach salad with goat cheese and roasted walnuts, and a mason jar filled to the brim with Hearty Vegetable Soup.

I may have also spend my lunch break shopping at the local thrift store. (50% off on Fridays!) You can't prove anything! Just, don't look in my closet.

5pm didn't come fast enough, but my patience was rewarded with stunning skies while driving home.


Truly beautiful. Hoping those guys bring rain soon! 

I had noticed all day that my shoes felt off, but I couldn't figure out exactly why. The reason became very apparent when I took them off and actually looked them over:

I somehow lost my little rubber heel and had been walking on the screw all day long. No wonder they were clicking more than usual! I swear we should be allowed to wear slippers everywhere. It would make life much easier.

Fridays mean date night so we went for comfort food which means anything asian.


Fuji is our go-to "hole in the wall" place. They have wonderfully fresh sushi and lots of Japanese/Korean home-style foods.

I always get a combo plate with rice and miso soup. Tonight I went for tempura (shrimp and veggie), fresh sashimi, and teriyaki salmon.

Devoured with lots of tea on the side! I think we're going to stay in tonight as I have hula early in the morning and a bit of a scratchy throat.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pralines pt. 1

Don't worry, I didn't forget about the recipe! 

And if you couldn't guess before, then you must know now that that little project I was working on was pralines! I started with Happy Herbivore's recipe, and modified it to my heart's content.

I couldn't help tasting them 15 minutes after pouring them out and they were very soft but very good. However, they will not set no matter what I do.

So.... no recipe right now, sorry. In the mean time, please enjoy this very cute picture of my cat:

Just try not to stare directly into his eyes or he might consume your soul.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Veggie frenzy

I woke up a bit later today than I wanted and didn't have time for a workout. But I did have time to grab one of these...

Soy latte in a Kerr jar, my favorite!

For lunch I had the rest of the spaghetti squash with marinara, it was very unphotogenic today! The redness from the sauce permeated every inch of the squash and it looked a mess. Still tasted great though!

We had an ice cream social today at work, so I indulged in some sweets in the afternoon. Bad idea! I had a tummy ache for the rest of the day, curse you lactose intolerance!!! (I'm usually OK with small amounts of non-cow dairy though.)

As soon as I got home I knew I needed some intense veggie action to soothe my body. Ev was over at a friends for dinner so I grabbed whatever soon-to-be-unusable veggies I could and decided on soup.

This is my favorite "kitchen sink" style soup. It has a very mild flavor (unless you add extra spices) and is easy on the tummy. You can add practically anything and it comes out great, I always add beans for extra protein and density.

Hearty Vegetable Soup
1/2 onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 large or 2 small zucchini
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
5 cups broth of your choice
1 bunch kale
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 can canellini beans (white kidney beans)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1) Prep all your veggies first! Thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, chop the carrot/celery/bell peppers into 1/4"-1/2" wide chunks (or whatever you prefer), de-stem and roughly chop the kale, roughly chop the cilantro.

2) Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or high sided dutch oven.

3) Add the onion and garlic and sweat with a small pinch of salt for 5 minutes.

4) Add in the carrot and celery, stir to combine and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

5) Next, toss in your zucchini and bell peppers. Once again, stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes until the edges just start to get soft.

6) Add your broth of choice and a few grinds of pepper, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes (depending on how thickly cut your veggies are).

7) Turn off the heat and stir in your beans (drained) and the kale. Tuck the kale down into the broth as best you can.

8) Let sit for 3-4 minutes, till beans are warmed through and the residual heat has cooked the kale.

9) Taste for seasoning and add a pinch of salt or pepper if needed.

10) Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro before serving.

Other options/substitutions:
- 1 can of roasted diced tomatoes (Muir Glen is my fav)
- a handful of washed quinoa or rice
- chickpeas
- shallots
- parsnips
- potatoes (sweet or regular)
- miso
- shredded chicken (if you eat poultry)
- chard or collards
- your favorite spices (oregano, thyme, sage, etc)

And in case you were wondering what that little dent in the bowl is for...

Nifty huh? It's actually Ev's chili bowl! Purchased at a local pottery event in LA. I knew I should have bought one that day, I am so jealous.

After that bowl + another 1/3 bowlful, I was still hungry. Dessert ended up being a whole wheat sandwich thin with a smear of chevre, drizzle of honey, and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Carby goodness in every bite.

Did you know that tomorrow is National Coffee Day? I feel like taking it off to celebrate!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy Bee

I have been so very busy today! I was wide awake this morning at 5:50am and ready for the day. After Evan left, I gobbled down a pre-workout snack.

Two lightly toasted Kings Hawai`ian sweet rolls with Earth Balance.

Then I hopped on my treadmill and alternated running/walking for about 45 minutes while watching an episode of Medium. I'm re-watching the entire series on Netflix, it's one of my favorite shows! I am completely in love with her husband and kids, and of course the freaky crime solving paranormal aspect is right up my alley.

Post-workout I had two things on my agenda:

1) soy latte

2) finish reading The Host

The latter didn't happen... I opted to catch up on my Google Reader instead. See where my loyalties lie?

Then I chopped a bunch of veggies for lunch: cauliflower, cucumber, and red bell pepper. I whipped up a small side batch of dip to jazz things up a bit. It's just a few tbsp of Veganaise and soy sauce mixed together. Delish!

I also had some un-photographed tuna and crackers throughout the day for extra sustenance. I had to work 45 minutes late today due to multiple meetings, so as soon as I got home we had to run off to get groceries.

My main culinary goal for the fall is to incorporate more squash into my diet. Aside from zucchini and the occasional acorn, squash continues to elude my culinary prowess. I know for a fact that I am not a pumpkin fan (gasp!), but there are so many other types of squash out there to discover. I am bound to find one I like... right??

I started off easy with Spaghetti squash. I followed Emily's recipe and roasted it for about an hour with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and shallots rubbed all over. I gave Ev the job of forking out all the roasted insides which he was a bit too eager to do.

I didn't want to fuss with the sauce, so I popped open a jar of Trader Joe's marinara. A side of sauteed rainbow chard completed the meal.


Survey says: I liked it! Although, I think I undercooked the squash because it was a teeeeeny bit crunchy.  I think I need more salt/pepper next time and some fresh basil for the sauce.

While we were eating I had another project in progress:

But you won't get the recipe till tomorrow!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Prolonging the inevitable

I am trying soooooooooo hard to prolong finishing the book I'm reading! I am really enjoying it and I hate when books come to an end. You go through so much with the characters, sympathizing, agonizing, loving, hating, and then it just ends. *sigh*


Soy latte and chia seed oats. I don't pick favorites between Ball and Kerr jars, I love them equally!

Lunch was a bunch of sushi that escaped the camera. It was a very small break in an otherwise completely boring day. Normally work isn't that boring, but our computer systems were being upgraded and we couldn't access anything from 9am-3pm. So, we spent the day cleaning and organizing the office, doing what other non-electronic work whenever we could.

As soon as I got home, I knew I needed to move! I got turned onto Body Rock by Gina (aka The Fitnessista) and I am hooked!

I don't have all the equipment that Zuzana has, but I improvise as best I can. Today's workout "Caught Stripping Fat Workout" (sounds naughty eh?) kicked my bootie. Interval training is so very difficult for me.

After that I blasted 22 minutes off on my new manual treadmill while catching a cartoon. I LOVE being able to workout as I am watching my stories (i.e. cartoons).

Ev went out for takeout while I got nice and sweaty.

Panda Express = salty/sweet knock-off chinese food... and in a pinch it's very satisfying. Half chow mein/half steamed veggies with eggplant tofu and brocolli. I ate all the veggies and tofu, left half the noodles. Lots of water on the side to wash it all down.

I dabbled with that frozen banana softserve that everyone seems to love... frozen banana + add-ons + food processor/blender. I added some PB as my first flavor. It was meh, not very impressing. I will dabble a bit more with that later.

Gotta stretch out the IT bands before bed and finish my book. (Do I have to???)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Dio!

I know what you're thinking... another birthday post!?!?!? I told you September is birthday month!

After all those movies yesterday, I needed some coffee to refuel. We headed to our favorite coffee shop for a cup 'o the good stuff.

Jones Coffee Roasters is in my top 3 favorites for coffee shops. It's local in Pasdena, walking distance from our apartment, and they really know what their doing when it comes to coffee.

It's cute and funky, with art all over the walls, amazing pastries, and live shows every so often. Starbucks eat your heart out!

(The lady on the left was hiding a big scone bite, doesn't she look like she's praying though??) 

After coffee, we swung by L & L to get some lovely local food. They even had poke today!!! Behold the deliciousness...


Poke is raw ahi chunks mixed with shoyu, onions, red pepper flakes, and limu (a particular type of seaweed). It is the best thing in the world! I have eaten many pounds of poke in my day and I am so happy to be able to get it her on the mainland occasionally.

In typical local fashion, it's served with 2 scoops of rice and 1 scoop macaroni salad! It's always too much food for me, but I at least managed to eat every. single. piece. of. fish. YUM!

Then it was off to Whittier to see the birthday boy! I can't believe Dio just turned 1! I remember Karen being pregnant like it was yesterday and now he's 1???

So cute with cake on his face!

You know who else is cute...

Uh yeah, that's the man I am going to marry! Inflating and deflating a Capri Sun packet with all his might.

And what kind of LA birthday party would be complete without a pinata?

I feel the need to sing "Chocolate Rain" when I look at this picture...

We just got home and I have a million more chores to do before bed! Is it really time for another week already?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Ben!

Ben is Evan's brother-from-another-mother. Not only do they look the same, they are both teachers, way into disc golf and other games, and are born within 24 hours of each other!

We gathered at Carol's house this evening for a mini surprise party. There's nothing like giving your friend a heart attack for his birthday, he fell over when we turned the lights on and screamed!

After a few glasses of water and some rounds of "name that state's capitol" with friends, I had to go home, I was not feeling well at all.

I actually called in sick today and my doctor said there are multiple colds going around right now. The back-to-school germs are beginning to circulate through the population.

I spent the day laying in bed chugging juice. What would I do without my juicer!?!? It is the easiest way to get nutrients when I am sick and not interested in solid food.

First up was leftover watermelon with some lime. I was not a fan, the lime made it taste funky, but I guzzled it down anyway. Next was a foamy concoction of beet, carrot, apple, and ginger. MUCH better.


And even after this short posting session, I am already exhausted. Going to slip into a hot bath and then a big bed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Evan!

A BIG happy birthday to the love of my life! Today he is 29... just that much closer to the big 3-0! It's been over 6 years together and he still makes me laugh every single day.
Today was a bit stressful since I was dead set on surprising Evan at school for lunch. I didn't realize how bad traffic would be in Hollywood during lunchtime! I ended up making it to school just 1 minute before his lunch period after sitting in hellish traffic for almost an hour.

I ended up surprising him more that I had hoped, and it was nice to eat lunch together at his school.

I went back to work and around 3 I started to feel funny. Everyone in the office has been getting sick and I started to feel really terrible with headache, feverish symptoms, and an aching body. I was so happy to go home and lay on the couch.

Evan also had a lot of work to do tonight, so we just kept the celebration simple with a birthday dinner at Mike & Anne's in South Pasadena.

I've only been there for breakfast (which is fantastic!) and was delighted to see boatloads of seafood on the menu. :P

After devouring the sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade, we decided on mushroom risotto and clams with linguine for our entrees. YUM!!!

Evan's mushroom risotto was to die for! Creamy, smooth, and nutty... I would have given up my firstborn child for another plate of it. It was heavy on the cheese though, so I cherished my clams and linguini. With notes of garlic, shallots, and perfectly al dente pasta, it was insanely good!

We sat outside in a dark garden area so it was impossible to take pictures without blowing them away with flash. You'll have to use your imagination!

Now off to bed early to rest and recuperate. Only 1 more day till the weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Long beans, long day

I finally felt comfortable waking up at 5:50am this morning! Normally I am very crabby that early, but being very strict about bedtime makes it much easier.

While Ev showered, I whipped us up something to eat.
Behold the poorly photographed breakfast! Honeydew, cardamom yogurt, coffee, and a scramble with potato, zucchini, egg, and cilantro.

After seeing him off, I pulled on some workout clothes and went for a 45minute brisk walk around the neighborhood. With the ipod bumping and the sun peeking through the clouds, it turned out to be a very beautiful morning.

After rinsing off, I rolled some curlers in my hair and went to work. I always take them out right before I go in so the curl lasts longer. Work was work, nothing exciting to report.

I was ravenous all day long and consumed a plum, a pear, half a lemon poppy muffin, and ate my lunch in little bits throughout the day.
It consisted of romaine salad, 1 red bell pepper, and a large bunch of minced cilantro (caesar dressing was added post-photo). On the side were two carrots, and that foil pack is a tamale! Salsa verde is hiding beneath the carrots.

When I got home I was starving again, so I opted for a teeny Trader Joe's Raspberry and Cream bar. These bars are so small they don't even have a stick! Perfect for a quick sweet fix.
Ev wanted to go for a bike ride later so I sliced up two pieces of carby fuel. This is the tomato-basil loaf from Panera. It has a very slight pinkish color when you cut into it and the aroma is akin to tomato soup. Sadly, on the palate it is not very tomato-y or basil-y.
 After a short bike ride it was my turn to cook dinner. I happened to grab a bunch of these Chinese long green beans on our last trip. Have you ever seen beans so loooooooong??
 I love their texture, they are less crisp than regular green beans but taste just as good. Served up with 5 cloves worth of minced garlic, they stole the dinner show from the broccoli fried rice.
Garlicky, salty, filling, green. YUM! I had to run a few errands after dinner tonight (I HATE pumping gas and always put it off to the last minute) and made sure that Menchie's was included.
The left side is Dulce de Leche with roasted almonds, and the right side is Sour Cherry with mochi balls. The perfect end to a long day!

Safety first!

My heart goes out to Ashley after her accident, I wish her a speedy recovery!

Her fall reminds me of a very VERY important part of exercise: carrying ID at all times.

When I started training for my first 5k, I often had to stop and rest. My heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest if I took one more step. 

I almost passed out once and a fellow jogger saw me wobble and asked if I was OK. I couldn't even say my name and barely had enough energy to nod yes. If I had passed out, I had nothing other than my Mazda car key for identification.

I did not know that I had a heart condition at the time. My doctor discovered it many months later when I saw him for a bad cold. He discovered that I have tachycardia, a potentially serious elevated heart rate. My heart beats faster than it should, even in a normal resting state.This can cause BIG problems if I am not careful. If I run too hard too fast, I can rip cardiac tissue or even go into cardiac arrest.

I am happy to say that I did completed my training successfully and crossed the 5K finish line smiling. On my race # there was a coupon for and I decided to check it out. The concept was so simple, the testimonials were scarily real, and I ordered one that very day.
Now I NEVER EVER EVER NEVER NEVER exercise without wearing my Road ID. It can speak for me when I am not able to speak for myself.

Since I just ordered my second Road ID (the blue one is the slim version), I have three $1 off coupon codes to share. I posted them on Caitlin's blog comments and also here. Try one of the following codes to get $1 off your $10 purchase (These are first-come first-served so I apologize if they've already been used!)
Go get your Road ID now!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Do you ever have recurring dreams? It's something that happens to me all the time. Sometimes I can even finish my dreams if I accidentally wake up in the middle of them.

I awoke around 5am with a splitting headache this morning. Normally I convince myself that if I just lie still it will work itself out and I will go back to sleep. Then after around an hour of tossing and turning, I will finally get up and do something about it.

Not this time though, I actually got up right away and grabbed 3 advil, an ice pack, and a big glass of water. I'm pretty sure I was back asleep within 5 minutes. However, I was too tired to wake up with Evan, so he had to get breakfast on his own.

I should have woken up with him though, because when I went back to sleep I had the SCARIEST dream ever!!! It also happened to be a recurring dream, but I got a lot farther into it then normal. I woke up in a panicked daze.

Luckily cardamom spiced yogurt and honeydew melon slices brought me back to the real world. Paired with a latte, I was almost normal when I went to work.

It was a long day of meetings and calls, but it went smoothly overall! Somewhere during the middle of the day I enjoyed a small lunch, an afternoon plum, and more coffee.

This evening we took a looooooooong walk when I got home and Evan treated me by making dinner while I got into a hot bath. The smell coming from the kitchen was intoxicating.
I was delighted by a pile of wonderfully un-photogenic stroganoff with lemon kale. Since I'm trying to cut back on wheat, we went for rice as the starch. I really wanted brown rice for this, but we seem to be out so I had to make due with the far less nutritional white version. :(

I already had a forkful before the camera came out, something about long walks and hot baths makes me ravenous.

I'm trying to wake up with Evan and catch up on posts in the mornings before work. When I become a teacher I will need to be on this schedule so it makes sense to start trying it now. I am such a bear in the mornings though!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Vince!

Vince has the perfect house for surprise birthday shenanigans. With 2 easy access pathways to his backyard, I knew I had to arrange a sneaky birthday bash.

Everyone assembled down the street and around the corner, while Evan distracted him (conveniently) by checking out a bike in his basement he was going to buy. Then we went into stealth mode and hid in the backyard.

Hehe. We got him good. I believe the first sentence out of his mouth had a few expletives in it.

Nick, Vince's brother, also pulled together an amazing spread for grilling: corn, peppers, chicken, chips, etc. A pack of 30 Tecate (1 for every year of Vince's life) came in handy as well.

And Vince's frosting test had a special pose to it:


We kept the neighbors up for a bit, shot off a few guns, and knocked back a few drinks in his honor. You know, just your usual Thursday night in Eagle Rock!
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