Monthly Archives: January 2010

Eating My Way Through Weddings in Woodinville


Well that’s a tongue twister. So the wedding event was a huge hit today! There were 6 venues, including 4 wineries, a lodge, and even a barn. I have to say, seeing the venues decorated to the nines with all the fabulous table settings, centerpieces, DJs/live music, caterers, cakes, flowers, wines.. it was so much more fun than yesterday, going through an expo center and being attacked by booth attendants. I’m still tempted to elope, but this gave the bride-to-be some fabulous ideas. Along with taking notes, cards, photos and talking with vendors, I sampled food all day. There were some fabulous eats. Here are a few highlights.. First fave: De Lille Cellars


Smoked Mushroom Salad

Fabulous calamari dish

Sampling the goods at De Lile Cellars

Don't mind if I do..

Mashed Potato Martini Bar


My other fave: Willows Lodge. They have two very well known, very prestigious restaurants; The Herb Farm and Barking Frog. I have yet to eat there. 😦 But today was the next best thing, catering by The Herb Farm! Note, the mashed potato martinis pictured above were sampled at Willows. As were these treats..


Formaggio

Veggie skewer and cheese fondue

My plate

More Cake

Another phenominal winery with excellent food was Novelty Hill  Januik. They have a beautiful venue, but a little too modern for the bride’s taste. The food is all done by their in-house chef. He was really interesting to talk to.. even offered to share any recipes with me if I call him. I will be making that call. It would just be cruel if I couldn’t recreate his pistacchio breadpudding, or hoisin chicken in scallion crêpe. Mmm.. my mouth waters every time I say that! 🙂

Hand-made truffles

Pistacchio Bread Pudding (the photo doesn't give it justice)


Those were my favorites. I’ll throw in a few food and venue photos from the other stops..





inside 'the barn'


Being in Washington, each of these wineries had a little northwest flare in one way or another. I loved it, although the stuffed animal trophies at the barn were a bit much. I’d rather see bambi running across the grounds than staring at me while I drink my bordeaux by the fireplace. You can see that we’re literally in the woods, maybe that’s why this town was named Woodinville!


The best desserts are the simplest. I recently discovered my love for decadent dark chocolate caramels sprinkled with sea salt.


After 5 hours, 6 wedding venues, and countless nibbles later we called it a day. I think it was a successful event, and so delicious! I decided that I’m doing this event every year (wedding or not). 😉

I hope you had a terrific weekend! I started a new training schedule this morning for my upcoming race. Less than 2 months before my half marathon in Prague. I can’t believe it. So excited!! I also reorganized my fridge over the weekend. In a bizzarre way it made me happy. 🙂 I like cleaning, and I decided it will help me be a more savy grocery saver. My non-existant grocery budget keeps growing and I found a bunch of rotten produce that I’d forgotten about. That’s the thing about eating mostly produce, you have to eat it fast. So, more on that later this week. I need to get some sleep.. but after the Grammys. Jamie Fox is doing the running man and I can’t look away. Haha. By the way, did anyone else see Pink’s outfit? Or lack their of. She was like a human sprinkler dangling above the crowd… with nothing on. Okay but really goodnight!

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Back In The Game

I’m alive!! Wow, seven days. That’s the longest I’ve gone without blogging. SOO much has happened, but I won’t bore you with the details of my day-to-day. 😉 Truth be told I don’t know how I made it to the weekend. I have zero food photos to show for my week. It’s been work, school, exams.. and then finally some girl time. Oh yes, I spent my day at a wedding expo; dress shopping, photographer talking. I have one word for all of you single gals like myself, elope. Ooh I’m sure the wedding will be exquisite, fabulous, memorable, but when I think about all the planning that goes into it all I see are stars..ei ei ei..

So to catch up, first I want to a tell you how much I love getting your comments. It really makes my day to know that I’m apart of this bloggy community. Love y’all! And second, I have totally dropped the ball on blogging this week. Mi dispiace. No matter how much I have on my plate I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs and sharing a part of my own life with all of you. So from here on out even if it’s a quick nutrition reflection or food photo, I’m posting.


With that said, I do have a couple things to share. I’m reading the most enjoyable book right now. Mediterranean Women Are Slim Too. Last month I read French Women Don’t Get Fat, and it was only okay. There were some tasty recipes, but I felt the tone was a bit too..mmm..French. And just to be clear, I’m not looking for a ‘diet book’. I just want to enjoy a good foodie book, and thought that something mainstream might be good for me. As a future dietitian and nutrition counselor I need to be informed on these types of bestsellers, and I never tire of reading about food. So as I was saying, Mediterranean Women Are Slim Too is a fabulous read! The author describes food as an art, and eating as such a sensual experience. I find myself completely mesmerizes as she describes the trenquility of growing your own foods,  the pleasures of tasting tomatoes fresh off the vine, or bread still warm from baking. The mediterranean lifestyle has always appealed to me, hence my adoration for Italy. Now I not only savor every bite with more appreciation for where it came from, but I am so eager to start a garden. The author is an Italian-American chef who owns a restaurant in Maine, where she prepares meals from the fruits of her own organic garden. She emphasizes the simple pleasures of a mediterranean lifestyle; eating in season, incorporating olive oil, an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, minimal but exceptional meats.   I am truly enjoying her book and highly recommend it. It’s a good read for anyone who enjoys healthy eating, or is attempting to achieve healthier eating habits. Please don’t be intimidated. There is never a better time than the present to start living healthy.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. Have a fabulous Sunday. I’ll be doing Weddings in Woodinville with the Andrea, bride-to-be, and friends. It should be a fun day of checking out potential wedding venues, sampling food, cake, vino, listening to potential bands, and getting all kinds of ideas for the big day. Notes to follow…..I promise! Goodnight.

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Sunday Fun Day

Today was a little bit of this, little bit of that. I woke up early to finish a blog review on Kombucha Tea.. coming soon. That reminds me, my latest published blog went live last week, The Real Cost of Plumping Chicken. If you aren’t familiar with the issue you should really read it. The practice of plumping chicken is unethical, unhealthy, and the only way to stop it is to raise awareness. Please read up and sign the Say No To Plumping petition at Foster Farms.

Anywho, so I was writing this morning. Then Bethy and I went to church. I was not prepared for such a heavy service. Our pastor just got back from Haiti and shared some really intense video footage. With all my heart I feel for those people, but today just brought on a lot of overwhelming emotion. The things he saw, and shared were so horrific. It makes me feel totally self-absorbed to be able to live comfortably without any thought of what’s going on around the world. Feeling helpless, all I can hope is that my prayers reach the Haitian people.

Next on the schedule was meeting up with Andrea. We walked on down to, my favorite, Caffé Fiore.


I had a nummy Americano with a bit of half and half, and some local artisan chocolate by Theo. Delish!


Then it was off to the farmer’s market. Today was wet, so we were shoppin’ on a mission. I needed some good old Washington apples.


Mission accomplished.


I got a nice wet run in before cookin’ time. Unfortunately I had to cut it short due to limited daylight hours so I came home and cooled down with a 30 minute yoga sesh. It was about 4pm when I started out, and I’m not a fan of running in the dark. Oh well, sometimes you have to reprioritize, and I did have a really good day.

Dinner was a bulgur salad with cilantro, Italian parsley, cucumber and tomatoes, plus a squeezed and zested lemon. Yum. I also cooked up some other food for the week: hard boiled a dozen eggs, roasted brussell sprouts, kale chips, sweet potato fries. With such a busy week ahead of me (three exams!) I need plenty of grab-n-go foods. I see wraps, and veggie lunches in my future.. and lots of sweet, honeycrisp apples! 🙂


Alrighty, well the rest of the night is some Carissa TLC. Have a fabulous Monday!!!

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Embracing My Inner Chocoholic

Can I just be honest? I love chocolate. Some days more than others, but today I was definitely in one of those gotta have it chocolate moods. Yes it’s an addiction, and quite possibly a syndrome, but I don’t care. It makes me happy. So when I got to work and my usual Honeycrisp apple didn’t quite cut it (which by the way I’m eating like they’re going out of style, because they are infact going out of season).. and then the caramel wafers I found in the breakroom still didn’t curb my craving, so I slipped right on down to my corner Starbucks and ordered something chocolate. Now I really could have gone for a bag of dark chocolate M&M’s, but those weren’t at Starbucks so the next best thing was a chocolate cupcake.

The rather delicious apple..

The wafers that I could have done without..


And ultimately, the chocolate that I just had to have..

It’s true that I believe in honoring cravings, be it fried chicken or cheesecake, but I wouldn’t be a true nutrition nut if I didn’t take a minute to point out the fantastic health benefits of chocolate. 😉

#1 Chocolate is a plant-based food, and rich in flavanoids (like leafy greens!)

#2 It’s packed with antioxidants that help fight cancer.

#3 Has been linked to lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

#4 Chocolate contains endorphins and seretonin, which can improve your mood. (Coincidentally the body produces these ‘happy’ endorphins through exercise, although I don’t recommend replacing cardio with a chocolate bar).

#5 Chocolate tastes like a little piece of heaven! Therefore indulging in modest amounts keeps your body feeling satisfied, rather than deprived.

Well I could go on and on about chocolate, but lets move on… TGIF!! Can anyone agree with that? What a week. There have been a lot of good eats in my house, days full of school, studying, work, running, and wine.

I can’t think of a better way to start the day than a great big bowl of oats. Although I fear I might be getting into a rut. Don’t get me wrong, I love oats with a dollop of apple-cranberry butter and/or almond butter, but maybe it’s time to throw something new into breakfast rotation. Nut butters that is, as for oats I’ll never stray.. 😉


Treating myself to French Pressed coffee at every opportunity..


Salads are almost a given. I love a winter soup and salad combo, or just a great big dinner salad at la mia casa. This week I did a couple lunch salads, dinner salads, an attempt at a caprese sandwich (which was kind of sad because my mozarella got soft and drooped over the toast), a chicken skewer dinner, which made for good Friday leftovers, and of course this weeks’ veggies were out of control tasty!

A touch of fresh rosemary gave this salad huge flavor. Otherwise this arugula salad included a winning combo of chopped walnuts, goat cheese, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, sea salt + pepper.

Not to mention my new love for rosemary balsamic vinegar (not to be confused with sugary vinegarette dressing). This stuff is the bees knees..


Next, Chicken skewers. So simple if you have some basics on hand. I just drizzled about 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil over one 4-oz chicken breast (cubed), add 1 Tbsp garlic paste (or you can mince, but Trader Joe’s makes it so easy with their garlic paste in a jar so why bother?), 1 lemon–first use the whole rind for zest, then juice it, and finally, a sprig of fresh rosemary. Thread onto a skewer, adding veggies as desired, and set the oven at low broil for 10 minutes.


More salads..


And now for my lunch caprese. After this attempt, I probably won’t pack a caprese toast for lunch. I really prefer it served fresh.. but seeing how I love mozarella, tomato, and basil, I’m open to suggestions!

With that I think I’ve brought you up to speed in the food life of moi. I apologize for slacking on regular blog entries, but school is cramping my style in more ways than I care to share. 🙂 For instance, I’m so whooped come Friday that all I look forward to is bloggin..from bed, with a bottle glass of wine. Tonight after work I stopped by Trader Joe’s for a jar of apple-cranberry butter and a bouquet of flowers. Then I went to the gym, only to be taunted with more images of chocolate thanks to the Cooking Light magazine I read while running. P.S. Cooking Light has not only great nutrition articles, but amazing recipes.

The flowers, because lets face it ambiance takes a little finesse..


 Likewise, the wine is always a key component.. Featured tonight, Columbia Crest Two Vines.

I hope everyone had a fabulous week, and have an even more fabulous weekend. Buona notte!!

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Mouth on Fire

Greens do not have to be boring. In fact, they’re pretty versitile. I like spicy food, and with a few chipotle chilis tonigh’ts kale was packing some serious heat! Not to mention it’s full of beaucoup phytonutrients and antioxidants. (I know how impressive that sounds). Just think cancer fighting, detoxifying, immune boosting superfood!

I got home from work around 7pm; long day, a really fun day, but still long. So first things first, vino, because we can’t forget about all the health benefits of red wine. 😉 The Ménage à Trois is a tasty red blend out of Napa Valley. I had the pleasure of tasting it at the vineyard, but I’ve since found it at my QFC, even at Cost Plus World Market.


Dinner started with me staring in the fridge, pulling out some veggies, and ultimately whipping up a recipe for fire breath.

This was really the secret ingredient..



Chop, chop. A bunch of kale, 1/2 a shallot, 2 garlic cloves finely chopped, 2 red jalapenos (seeds removed, because I’m really not asking for my stomach lining to be destroyed), and 3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. Sautée all of the above in about 2T of olive oil and season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Dinner was bliss. Kale has never been so hot! MMmmMMm!

In other food news…

Breakfast was delish, but fast. I had to leave early to drop my car off at the body shop. That’s right, the body shop. I didn’t mention this but my car was hit (while parked) a couple weeks ago. Fortunately all is well. The guy responsible is taking good care of me. I just have to survive without my car for a couple days. It’s a good thing I’m fond of Seattle’s public transportation. 🙂

Oats were a little watery today. I was trying to cool them down. Oh well, so I had a breakfast slurpy!


Lunch was soup from a can today. I just didn’t have it in me to cook last night. Me and Beth were way overdue for girl talk, and watching Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You. Then later we got a little carried away with the girl talk/boy gossip, and I signed her up for theknot.com. Sorry to all our girlfriends who got evites to be bridesmaids the wedding. I ‘m sure when they actually get engaged you’ll hear more. Wedding talk got us carried away, and I started planning her wedding before the engagement! Anywhoo, lunch was split pea soup and artisan whole-wheat bread.

Okay, now that you know what I ate today, what did you eat? Did you meet your daily needs for fruits and vegetables? If veggies seem a bit bland, or getting a little monotonous, try my kale and spice up your life!

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Avatar & Family Fun

It’s been a pretty good weekend. I didn’t do anything too crazy, but it was one of those weekends where I had a loooong to-do list. Amazingly enough I got everything done! Wow, huh? It’s a nice feeling to be productive. So yesterday I had my alarm set for 7:30am (Saturday, I know). I had myself a big bowl of oats, stuffed my laptop into my tote and headed up to Starbucks for some solid studying.

1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup water
apple slices
cinnamon
1T pumpkin butter

Just workin’ away on my next blog post, ” The Real Cost of Plumping Chicken”.. stay tuned. 😉


And getting a little people watching done too. This local is a great spot for Saturday mornings. There’s always a lot of action. Queen Anne is like little Europe.. people walking dogs, pushing strollers, reading the paper outside cafés until noon as if they have nowhere important to be. I love it. Someday when I’m walking a dog and pushing a stroller I hope I’m still living here. But for now I’m sitting in front of the fireplace with my computer propped up on my lap, earbuds in, playing what else, Michale Bublé. It’s a nice visual isn’t it!? 🙂


I got a 6 mile run in just as fast as I could, because of course it had been dry all morning and then as soon as I lace my sneaks the sky opened up and just let me have it. Then it was off to see the fam!!

I had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with my grandparents, 2 uncles, cousin Josh and his buddy Chris. Grandma and I were outnumbered so most of evening was spent talking about Navy stuff, boy stuff, flying stuff. Then we had cheesecake, yum!!

Dinner first, I had a side salad drizzled with olive oil, then grandma and I split a lemon chicken with angel hair pasta entrée. Oh and the bread basket.. why yes I did enjoy that! One slice of the honey wheat, no butter. I had a hard time deciding on what to eat. I was so hungry. I meant to have a veggie snack before they picked me up, but I was running late. So I unintentionally arrived at the restaurant famished. But you know when you’re not really craving anything in particular? I hate chowing down high cal meals when I’m really not in the mood for it. Splitting dinner was a good call, and the chicken pasta was pretty fabulous. I just might whip up my own concoction of this lemon chicken later in the week!



Then the cheesecake round, because everybody knows that you don’t go to a place called Cheesecake Factory for dinner.. It was a tough call with the 20 plus options of rich, creamy dessert. They have a low-carb cheesecake. I just have one thing to say about that, who are you kidding? If you’re going to have dessert, have dessert. Once again, my food philosophy is indulge, but do it mindfully. Since nobody wanted to share a slice with me I ordered Snicker’s cheesecake and asked the waitress to bring half on a plate and box the other half, also omitting the 2 gigantic dollops of whip cream. There were also a round of espressos with dessert.





Doesn’t it look like you could get in a lot of trouble in a place like this? Ha!

Well, after dinner we scooted across the street to see Avatar. What an awesome movie! If you haven’t seen it you’re missing out, and I definitely recommend the IMAX. A few fun, family photos to follow. Watch out for this first one, I’m doing a really dorky pucker, and kinda look like Heidi Montag after plastic surgery. Plus I’m not really sure what the hand gesture is all about.. it just felt cool!

Me & the Cuz

Grandma & Grandpa

I have a few more comical pics. Grandma was trying to figure out how to take a picture on my Blackberry, she couldn’t see anything in the window and kept putting her thumb over the lens! I love you mema. 🙂




Today was a bit more chippin’ away at that to-do list. Yes, I ate in front of my computer, but I was not multi tasking. Promise, I was good.


 


1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup water
banana slices
chopped walnuts
1T honey

Today’s work was more fun. I had to write about a dream in italiano to share with my Italian class on Tuesday. Naturally it was all about food!! I dreamt about being on Iron Chef, and wooing them with all my favorite food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. 🙂 Maybe I’ll share it with you later on.. se sento coraggioso.

Tonight I’m just relaxing with a bottle glass of vino, watching Gerard Butler P.S. I Love You. It’s glorious. Me and Beth having girl time. Just the kind of relaxation I need before facing another brutle week.

One more thing, from what I gathered over the weekend nobody eats Cream of Wheat. Haha.. I thought that was funny. I’m throwing my box out. Next time I’m out of oats I’ll just have to eat a Luna bar or something. And for the other question about drying out soggy shoes, I got great feedback! Most suggestions involved a heater whether it be in front of a wall vent or buying a special shoe heater/dryer. I’ll start with the wall heater.. and stuffing my shoes with newspaper as recommended by my running friend Lance. Thanks Lancer!

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

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Soups, Salads,& Soggy Runs

That title pretty much sums up my week.  I’ve been on the go since Monday morning, and thank goodness I had plenty of groceries to get me through. I haven’t had a lot of time to cook, much less shop. So warning, a lengthy blog is coming. 🙂 

All in all it’s been a good week. Starting every day with oats and coffee. Although today I’m out of oats, which is just about as bad as being out of toothpaste. Here it is Friday and I’m way overdue for a shopping trip. Since we foodies tend to be more addicted to grocery shopping than shoe shopping, what better way to decompress from the week than to hit the farmer’s market over lunch? 

First though.. breakfast!! 

Oats w/ banana & apple slices, almond butter, applecranberry butter, almond milk

 

Oats w/ banana slices, walnuts, honey, and almond milk

 

Oats & Studying (shamelessly multi-tasking)

 

Cream of Wheat w/ pomegranate seeds, honey, and almond milk

 

 

French Press is back!

 

Question for you, how do you fix cream of wheat? Or do you? I just kinda tossed in what I had, and I have to say, I wasn’t a big fan. Tt did fill me up though. 

My runs have been sooo wet this week! I currently have 2 pairs of running shoes that I alternate. They’re both so full of water I wouldn’t be surprised if they start sprouting grass or growing moss. Ick!! Any suggestions on how to dry out my soggy shoes? I’m due for a new pair, but I don’t want 3 pairs of soggy shoes so I have to figure this out. Running in the rain takes getting used to. It’s warm. I love that part. It’s the wet that I don’t care for. I gear up with ear warmers to fight the wind, a baseball hat to keep water out of my eyes, a lightweight coat, gloves.. I’m dry and warm everywhere but my feet. Gggrrrr.. what to do? Yesterday it was pretty windy. You know that feeling when the wind hits you from the side and your eye lids feel like their flipping inside out? It was like that, and the rain hits your face like pins and needles. I should have worn ankle weights. I was afraid the wind was going to carry me away. 😀 One positive thing I will say though, I haven’t been on a treadmill in a week!!!! Yahoo! As long as it’s not icy or dark I’ll run outside. Just please don’t make me run in place. I feel like I’m on one of those hamster wheels. 

Getting off the subject of food and fitness for a minute, I love my new Blackberry! Love it. My last Blackberry was mysteriously destroyed while in the care of my brother a few weeks back. I had to replace it. The sales guy at AT&T tried to sell me an iPhone. It’s an awesome phone, does pretty much anything my home computer does, but they won’t insure it! Lets think about this for a minute. I’m a mountain climbing, white water rafting, running, biking and fishing kinda girl.. and you want to sell me a phone without insurance?! Do you know what I do to phones? So needless to say I got the next best thing, insured, a Blackberry Storm. I never knew that I needed the internet at all times, but I do!! Not only can I be online anytime, anywhere, but this phone has apps that pretty much replace all my other electronic toys. There’s Pandora and iheartradio for free music stations… bye-bye ipod. I downloaded SportyPal to track my runs (speed, distance, routes, calories burned, etc) and sends the info to my computer.. bye-bye Garmin. It takes darn good photos (all today’s blog pics are from my phone). I have Google map and GPS.. I mean, everything I need is in this one little phone. If it could hold my credit card and lipstick I wouldn’t even have to carry a purse! So there you have it. If you’re in a market for a new phone I highly recommend a Blackberry. Unless you live in a bubble, then maybe you should get the iPhone. 

No photos from my runs this week. I have faith in my Blackberry but I’m not trying to drowned it. Truth be told I probably could have run better in flippers. 

Okay, lunch & dinner. Are you ready to see the most amazing soups and salads of your life? Grab a bib, these are some mouth watering combos! 🙂 

 

Spicy Caribbean Chicken Soup (leftovers)

 



For me a good salad has some kind of cheese, nut, veggies and extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is so flavorful, but not overly rich and sugary like salad dressings that cover the flavor of all the good stuff. For cheese, I’m a big fan of feta or goat cheese in salads. They have a lot of flavor so you just need a small amount.. I use about half an ounze of cheese and 1T olive oil. 

There was a little bit of mid-week cookin’ in the kitchen. Mostly roasting veggies.. asparagus, sweet potatoes, butternut squash. 



Asparagus with fresh minced garlic, red pepper flakes, sea salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil. I cooked them in the oven on high broil for about 10 minutes. Still a little crunchy. I hate limp vegetables. 


Cubed sweet potato and butternut squash tossed with olive oil, chopped walnuts, sea salt and pepper. Also broiled in the oven. Theses took about 25 minutes. They’re delicious over quinoa or just by itself. I ate it with ahi tuna and asparagus. Delish! 


 

Last night I finally had a breather from my hectic week. After catching up on a ton of reading for my HR Management class (you know, the book without recipes and pictures), I grilled up some shrimp skewers and tossed them in with a bowl of quinoa. 

 





 

Spicy Shrimp Skewers:
1/2 pound shrimp
1T olive oil
1 lemon squeezed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 

Mix all of the above ingredients. Thread onto a skewer alternating with veggies. I used grape tomatoes and mushrooms. Broil for 6 minutes on high, 3 minutes for each side. 

On the stove bring a pot of water and quinoa to a boil (1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup water). Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. 

I sprinkled some goat cheese and chopped cilantro to top off the meal. Easy, delicious, and full of nutrition! 

Now, for all the time I’ve been on the run this week snacks were a must. I packed around apples, almond butter on whole-wheat roll ups, raw green beans and carrots, eggplant humus, cheese sticks, and a water bottle. Forget the coffee. I’ve been hydrate with water. A bottle is easy to refill anywhere.. unless the tap water is gross where you live. Seattle has great tasting water so I drink it straight from the faucet! 

almond butter roll-up

 


And the end of the day has looked about like this every night.. 


Me + wine, in my sweats, curled up under a blanket with my laptop. Yes, this is true relaxation.. almost. I was buying my ticket to Italy this night. Price shopping, trip planning, there’s got to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Right now mine is v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n!! 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fabulous Friday, and one last thing: 

How to you dry out soggy running shoes?
What’s the tastiest way to fix Cream of Wheat?
 (In case I’m out of oats again, and desparate)
What are your on-the-go healthy snacks?

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Comfort Food For a Comfy Weekend

Well I hope you all had a nice, relaxing weekend. I sure did. I went to a going away party for a friend on Friday night. Then all day yesterday was spent home reading, some for school and some for pleasure. I tried reeeally hard to stay focused while reading my HR Management textbook, but there are no food pictures, no recipes, or even the mention of food. How am I supposed to stay engaged? So after about all I could take of that I went for a run. It has been a beautiful Seattle winter weekend. By that I mean no rain and mild temperatures.

Breakfast oats: I was in more of a nutty than a fruity mood.

 

1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup water
1T SF french vanilla creamer
1T chopped walnuts
1T honey

Here are a few pics from my run..




Doesn’t it look like a beautiful day?! I really enjoyed a leisurely hour and a half run. I’d stop for a picture, run, sit on a park bench and admire the view for a minute.. It was nice. Once home I had worked up quite the appetite, which called for an ahi tuna salad.

 

YUM! Good eats followed by a bit more lounging around the house. Later last night Sara and I went to one of our favorite spots for some live music. The night did not quite go as I’d imagined, but we had fun. It started at home when we were watching football. I said something like “wanna go up on the hill to listen to some music, grab a glass or two of wine?” So a glass or two would have been perfect. However, when you know the bar owner and he never lets your glass empty before refilling it, and won’t let you pay for a drink, the night takes a different turn. Ha! So a glass or three in Sara and I created a dance floor in front of the band and got the whole place on their feet. We danced our tails off and closed the place down. We had a great time. Made new friends. Mingled with other regulars. I love having a little neighborhood Cheers. It makes me feel right at home. 🙂



Needless to say this night left me pretty worn out come Sunday morning. I wasn’t really up for a run until noon, but I did get some good reading done in my new Cooking Light magazine. Tonight the girls and I had what we call “family dinner”. I made Caribbean Spicy Chicken and Squash Chowder. It was delish!! Don’t you just love a warm and spicy stew for a winter day?

Caribbean Spicy Chicken & Squash Chowder (Cooking Light recipe)
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup sweet potato
1 cup red bell pepper
1 cup onion
1/2 cup celery
1 T garlic paste
1 T fesh ginger finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 T brown sugar
2 cups butternut squash
4 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
12 oz cooked, shredded chicken breast (I used this  instead of the Chicken sausage called for in the recipe)

Instructions:
Heat oil in a large pot and add next 6 ingredients, chopped. Sautee 5 minutes. Add all the spices, butternut squash, and broth; bring to a boil and then simmer for 12 minutes. Add tomatoes, black eyed peas, and shredded chicken; cook for 5 minutes and serve with cilantro topping.

Well that’s all I got for tonight. I’m half asleep already! Happy Monday y’all. 🙂

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Pizza.. Now That’s Amore

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That’s amoooore.
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine
That’s amooooore…”
~Dean Martin

Don’t you love that song? Or maybe it’s just me. I found myself dancing around the kitchen tonight, drinking my Chianti and singing Dean Martin. That just might be a hit the next time I find myself in the neighborhood kareoke bar. I’m two months and five days from flying to Italy and I can hardly stand it. All I have to do is survive winter quarter.. you know, full time dietetics student with 3 jobs, half marathon training and a food blog. I can do it. And until then I very well could be cooking Italian every night. It puts me in such a great mood.. then again maybe that’s the wine. 😉

Tonight I made pizza. Thanks to Trader Joe’s pizza dough in a bag it’s pretty simple too. I laid the dough out on a floured countertop and stretched it by hand. After it was about 8″ in diameter I alternated with tossing it under my two fists, and holding it up while pinching around the outer edge. I wish I had pictures but I only have two hands! P.S. I learned this technique once when I was at happy hour at Sazarac’s and asked the server if I could make my own dinner. The cook took me in under his wing and let me go to town on my brick oven pizza. It was the most garlicy pizza we’d ever had!! Well anyone who lives with me knows that my favorite ingredient IS garlic. Just call me Chef Caris. 🙂

Pizza Toppings:
Extra virgin olive oil and garlic paste brushed over entire pizza dough
Roma tomato, sliced
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Fresh rosemary
Shrimp
Sprinkled with oregano

Baked for 20 minutes @ 450F degrees. By the way, some of the best pizzas I’ve ever had were misshapen. Don’t let the “organic” shape fool you. This pizza was amazing!!

Dispite my busy schedule I’ve found time to run this week. The weather has been really dreary so  motivation has been a bit challenging, but as soon as I’m home gulping down that tall glass of water I feel great! Then I remember that that’s why I run. Even on the groomiest day it lifts my spirits and gives me time to clear my head. I’ve been doing good with yoga too. Tomorrow I’ll get up early for a quick sesh before work.

Well I hope everyone has had a good week. Have a happy Friday! And tell me, what do you like on your pizza?

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Guilt-Free Morning

Good morning! Last night I was feeling guilty about not working out. It wasn’t exactly a planned night off, I was just exhausted after getting home from work at 7:30pm..starting at 7:30am. Had it not been for the weekend of over-indulging (aahem, New Years Eve) I wouldn’t have cared. BUT I felt like my body just needed to be over worked to bounce back from all the ‘junk food’. This morning I feel better. Who cares that I missed a day?! This was my self talk as I laid in bed this morning, “Carissa, you can’t gain weight from one weekend. You can’t lose weight from one weekend. Remember that healthy living is called that because it is a lifestyle“. So there. No more guilt. I don’t need a scale. I don’t need to work out 7 days a week. I just need to resume my healthy living habits. 🙂 Sometimes I feel like just because I’m a nutrition student I have to always lead by example, but then I remember that I’m only human. I think being human sends a better message than being perfect. Yes I care about keeping my figure and being healthy. Yes I love food, cooking, and especially sweets. And does my weight fluctuate? You betcha!! So at the end of the day I accept myself who I am, and remember that life is about balance. By the way I did enjoy New Years Eve.. even though I didn’t find time to blog about it over the weekend. Here are a few highlights of food and friends our my house.

 

Just engaged!!

 

Andi, me, Sara, and the Christmas tree!





And breakfast this morning, my favorite: oats and french press coffee.

Tuesday question for you:
How do you get back to routine after a guilty weekend?

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