Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekend Favorites

Hi there :)  In an effort to blog more, I thought I'd start posting a list of Saturday Favorites - things I've found from around the web throughout the week that I love.  Another way to step outside of the food blogging realm and dive a little deeper into myself.  You'll notice some of these things are serious, like #1, provide entertainment, like # 4, or sigh have to do with cooking like #5. I couldn't get away from the food blogging completely could I...

1. I love the Thought Catalog.  Basically, Thought Catalog is a list of random musings and articles by different authors.  I read this article, Let Me In, and almost got teary....since the person that the article is written to sounds a lot like me. It's comforting to know I have a twin out there who is as equally complicated as I am.  Anyway, onto to the rest.... 

2. Prevention RD's question & answers series - so informative for those of you with nutrition questions and/or questions about becoming a dietitian - Nicole has one of these posts almost weekly and sometimes even I learn new information from them!  You can also look at the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics as another great resource. 

3. M.I.A.'s song Bad Girls - such a good song for running, which reminds me... I heard it for the first time when I was watching this wonderful new tv show and that leads me to #4.

4. The Mindy Project- a hilarious new comedy on fox.  I've been watching it on hulu and I can even say in all seriousness that I watched the first episode twice.

5. Cooking Light's Pan Seared Scallops - I always order scallops at restaurants and I would like to be able to make them at home... I have to admit I'm a little nervous that they might turn out like my great salmon debacle.   Look how amazing these scallops from Cooking Light are?

What are your weekend favorites?

A Rant. A Recipe.

Sigh, I'm writing this post out of sheer frustration, in hopes that someday I'll look back on it and laugh.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I'd started running and completed my first 5K with the help of an awesome physical therapist.  Physical therapy had been going well and I even got word last weekend that I'd only need to come in for one more visit... finally success at last.  I was overjoyed, I was finally back to where I had been before my knee had started bothering me and I couldn't wait to be able to run farther and longer... I was also ridiculously excited to run the Susan G Komen 5K that was coming up this weekend.

It all started Tuesday - I decided I would go for a 2.5 mile run, then back off and run a mile later in the week before the race.  I laced up my running shoes and out the door I went, my first mile flew by, the second mile was a little harder, but no problems.  I rounded the corner to work my way back, about 1.5 miles into my run and I felt it.  My left knee, starting to hurt.  I stopped to walk and stopped to stretch on some stairs by a church, I thought about running again but knew in my heart that was a bad idea.  I started the long walk back as my knee continued to hurt.  Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but I can sum up what was and is to me in three small words.

It was devastating.

That's right, devastating.  Not in a "I'm being a drama queen because I can't run" kind of way, but an "I feel like an absolute failure because I have been and always will be a diehard perfectionist kind of way" It took everything in me to resist the urge to cry as I limped down the sidewalk.  What a failure.  Maybe you've run tons of races and never had an injury or maybe you have.  It feels horrible to work towards something you want so badly and then physically not be able to do it.  It is awful.  When I think about the race tomorrow, I literally get teary.  So what if it's a 5K walk/run, it was supposed to be a 5K run for me and now it won't be.

So sure, they'll be plenty of other 5K's.  Everyone tells me it's not a big deal, to just go at my own pace and it will be fine. I won't get to push myself and since I won't get to push myself, I won't get to be proud of myself either.  They'll be other 5K's....but still.      

And for listening to my rant, I suppose that I'll leave you with a recipe....

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes


3 large sweet potatoes
1 C 0% greek yogurt
1 C 2% shredded cheddar
1/4-1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 tbsp bacon bits
1/4 tsp hot sauce (more to taste)

1. Wash and dry sweet potatoes, prick with a fork.  Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.  Cover potatoes in foil, baked ~45 minutes until soft.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
3. Remove potatoes from oven, slice in half.  Scoop out insides of potatoes and combine with greek yogurt mixture. Decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees.
4. Stuff potatoes with greek yogurt mixture, top with additional cheddar and green onions if desired.
5. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until top are golden brown. 

What do you want to rant about?

Monday, September 17, 2012

27 Before 28

Last year, I wrote a post around the time of my birthday called 26 lessons learned.  For this post, I reflected upon my life and listed the most important lessons that I had learned up until that point.  However, it would seem a little redundant to make this years post 27 lessons learned.  Instead, I pondered what I wanted this post to be about - after all, I started this blog as a way to not only share my love of cooking but also as a way to look back on my life to see how I had grown and changed throughout the days, months and years.

A couple of weeks ago, I was randomly browsing my hard drive and found a list that I had made when I was 23 of things that I wanted to do before I turned 27.  Clearly, I forgot about that list, but some of the things on the list actually happened such as starting and finishing a master's program in nutrition science.  Other aspirations that happened by magic included going on a beach vacation, buying rainboots and getting a massage.  The concept of making a list of things I wanted for my life is definitely not foreign to me, I made a list of what I wanted in a job before I found mine and I've created vision boards before.

I decided that it would be a way to challenge myself if I made a list of 27 things to do before I turn 28... then as the year goes on, I can feature future blog posts of how I've accomplished each one.  It's also a way to face things I've been afraid of or put off as time has gone on. 

So, now I present to you...

27 Things To Do Before 28

1. Take a cooking class - after all, I love cooking, so why wouldn't I want a way to sharpen and refine my technique?

2. Go to yoga once a month - ideally, I would like to go to yoga more than this, but it's important to start small. I've loved every yoga class I've ever gone to and with free yoga at Lululemon on the weekends, I can't say I have any excuses.

3. Run a 5k - as in, run the whole 5k without stopping.  I've run/walked a 5k before and finished in a decent amount of time but my next 5k goal is to run the whole time without stopping.

4. Keep a journal for 21 days - this was on my previous list, except the goal was 30 days which seems pretty lofty to me.  Periodically, I've written my thoughts at various time points in my life but never consistently.   

5. Get a passport - even if I don't have a set vacation, I would really like to travel out of the country at some point and time and a passport is definitely the first step.

6. Meditate 3 times a week and work up to daily - this should be underlined and in caps.  Nothing ever makes me feel as connected to myself and to life as much as quiet time to reflect and listen, but for some reason I don't make enough time for it.  If you're new to meditation or aren't sure where to start, I recommend reading this article from Whole Living and if you're ready to dive a little deeper, try reading one of Sonia Choquette's books.

7. Continue crafting - is it against the rules to make a goal one of the things I already do? The thing is, in the past year, I've explored the crafty side of my personality that I loved so much during childhood.  Thankfully, pinterest fully supports this goal!

8. Carve a pumpkin - I haven't done this in so long.  When I was little, my grandpa and I would carve pumpkins every Halloween.  I always looked forward to it and maybe now that I'm 27 my carving skills will have improved (although, I seriously doubt it)  

9. Go to a football game - nothing says fall like football and last year I only went to one game.  Even though I don't always know what's going on, I always enjoy the atmosphere.

10. Make a chocolate chip tofu cheesecake - my favorite dessert of all time, but I only end up making it once a year if even that.... so clearly that needs to change.

11. Go on a bike ride - on a trail, obviously.  I haven't been on a bike since 8th grade and honestly they kind of terrify me a little bit.  The funny thing is, I remember liking to ride my bike but being scared of cars, so if I rode on a trail this wouldn't be an issue.  There wasn't really anyone to teach me to ride it, except for my friends, so I can't say that I've got the best skills. 

12. Go on a picnic - something I have always wanted to do and have never done!  I love cooking, so why not pack it into a basket and head to the park?

13. Waste less time on my laptop - does this happen to anyone else?  I come home from work, I'm tired, so I grab my computer and look at blogs/pinterest.  Before I know it, I've wasted a ridiculous amount of productive time, so perhaps I should set a limit of 30 minutes a day?

14. Don't always multitask - multitasking can be a great thing, but not when you're trying to relax.  At the end of a long day, I'll be trying to check & send emails while eating dinner and trying to watch tv - and then I just end up stressed which is the opposite of how this was supposed to make me feel.

15. Continue to follow my budget - I'll admit this isn't always easy but lately I have been having a much easier time.  I've always had a lot of anxiety when it comes to money, but having a budget in place helps me to feel much more confident.

16. Become a better friend - because I can.  I can listen more and talk less, I can ask about difficult situations going on in friends lives instead of just saying let me know if you need anything, I can pay more attention to how other people are feeling, everyone can do these things.

17. Perfect a signature cookie recipe - everyone has something that they make really well... so since I love baking, I would love mine to be cookies.

18. Spend more time with my grandma - this one is hard now that I'm working full-time, I'm always there on the weekends and I try to call every single day, but she doesn't always remember that I was there or that I've called... which can be hard, but it helps me to know that I'm doing the best I can right now. 

19. Blog at least one time per week - blogging has been so hard once I've started working, but I think that once I work on #13, I'll be much more efficient at having time to blog.

20. Plan a trip - it's always fun to go somewhere, no explanation needed. 

21. Be more grateful - we can all be better at appreciating what we have and reflecting on it everyday.

22. Take a class - it might be a one time class, or it might be a series class.  I'm interested in calligraphy, photography, cake decorating, ballet....the list goes on and on :)

23. Read one book per month - gosh, it used to be that I could read one book in a matter of days...but now it takes me so long that I have less time.  Next up on my list, Gone Girl.

24. Volunteer - even if it's just once or even if it's more consistent.  In college, I volunteered between 2-5 hours a week at the hospital, went on a Habitat for Humanity trip and was always participating in random volunteer events.  I miss it.

25. Discover the area of dietetics I'm passionate about - I'm fortunate that my job is giving me exposure to so many areas of my profession and love it.  I know that at some point I want to obtain a specialty certification from CDR, which is a goal that I hope to be working towards once I'm 28... and since these go together Continue to further my education in my field- I'll do this by attending workshops, seminars, online trainings etc.  Even though I'm done with my continuing education requirements, I still want to be able to learn and grow my knowledge to better serve my patients.  

26. Complete one month of the Physique 57 challenge - now that I've been running, completing the challenges that Physique 57 posts on their website are difficult for me to accomplish.  However, winter will be here before I know it and I'll be looking for a workout that I can complete indoors.  Finishing the challenge will be difficult for me, but I think it would be a great accomplishment!

27. Try a book on tape & stay more current with the news - numerous people have asked if I've ever tried a book on tape with my long drives for work.  I haven't but I'm thinking this could be a good avenue to help me "read" more books.  I listen to NPR fairly often in the car which helps me to stay up on current events, but I would like to know more about what's going on in the world. 

What do you want to do before your next birthday?

Caprese Could Be My Favorite

Happy Monday everyone!  It's looking like it's going to start raining here any second - considering I have a few last minute errands to run, I had better get myself together.  The post office, dry cleaner and Target are all still let on my to do list.

I've had the past week off of work and it's been so refreshing to just relax, reset and get ready to go back.  Unfortunately, I feel like the past week has flown by and I've gotten used to sleeping in until 8:00 am....which doesn't seem so late unless you get up at 6:00 am everyday :)  I do miss the people that I work with and having my set routine. I won't be using any more paid time off days until the holiday season, but I've had plenty in the past month! 

Everything I've made this summer has had basil, tomatoes and mozzarella in it.... sigh I had better get it together before I become a one trick pony.  Seriously though, can you ever go wrong with basil, tomatoes and mozzarella?  I found a recipe for caprese lasagna, but has any one else noticed that gluten-free rice lasagna noodles cost a pretty penny?  As in almost $5 per box. Thanks, but no thanks.  I decided to layer pasta in this dish to create a similar concept that was much cheaper :) Enjoy! 

Caprese Pasta Bake


1- 8oz box quinoa pasta
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp brown rice flour
2 C fat-free milk
2 bunches basil, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 slices brown rice bread

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Follow box instructions for boiling pasta, drain and set aside.
2. In a medium size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and simmer about 2 minutes.
3. Fold brown rice flour into garlic butter mixture, about one minute.
4. Add milk to flour mixture, stirring constantly until thickened, this is called making a roux, be patient and continue stirring.  I find it helpful to use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan.  You may need to increase the heat on your stove slightly.  Once the mixture has thickened, reduce heat to low.
5. Spray a medium size baking dish with cooking spray,  add 1/3 cup of the white sauce and spread across the bottom of the dish.  Next, add 1/2 of the pasta, basil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  Add 1/2 of the white sauce to the top and repeat the layers until all ingredients are used.  Alternatively, you can add the pasta to the sauce mixture and stir in the ingredients if you are too lazy to layer :)
6. Finally, add brown rice bread to a small food processor to create bread crumbs.  Layer crumbs on top of the pasta dish.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

What pasta bakes are you currently loving?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome Back

Hello!  It's been almost 2 months since my last blog post.  I love this blog and how it's allowed me to look back on the past year of my life, but 2 months without blogging is 2 months too long.   Does anyone have any suggestions on how to change that?

What have I been up to? Well, since July 23rd, quite a bit - there have been numerous weddings, baby showers, summer parties, birthdays, along with my job that I love. I've started running more, wound up in physical therapy and completed my first 5k!  I showcased my creative side and wound up making some pretty badass projects - I painted wine glasses, made modge podge photo coasters and etched glasses for my bf's birthday and created these beautiful confetti wine glasses - a total anthropologie knock off.

I also tried green juice from Whole Foods and decided that I need a juicer in my life  Fresh juice in Hawaii was incredible, but when I saw that my Whole Foods had installed a juice bar, I was so happy that I wanted to cry. 

Anyway, in other news, my 27th birthday is this weekend!  Was it really a whole year ago that I blogged about my 26 lessons learned?  I'm anxious to look back on this post, to see how I've changed and grown in the past year. 

See you later with a birthday post and a recipe post for a super easy caprese pasta bake :)  And most likely a tutorial on how to make a Hello Kitty birthday cake, since I'll be doing that for a very special toddler's birthday - happy birthday to the sweetest of the little bears :)

What have you been up to this summer?