Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spicy Mac and Cheese

Tonight's dinner is destined to become a classic in our house! :) I wasn't in the mood to cook anything too difficult, so I threw a pot of water on the stove and waited for it to boil. My plan was to make a box of Annie's Mac and Cheese (Shells & Real Aged Cheddar flavor), but I wasn't sure what I wanted to eat with it. (I like my pasta dishes to have a little excitement in them!) We're completely out of fresh veggies, so I searched our fridge and cupboards for ideas. 

In the fridge, I found a jar of roasted red peppers, and in the cupboards, I found a jar of jalapenos. (Score!) I chopped up a good-sized roasted red pepper and a few jalapenos, and tossed them together with the mac and cheese. The end result was a spicy and cheesy pasta dish. I looooovvveeee this combo! I have a feeling it is going to become a "go-to" meal for me. 

So, Mal and I both have a "thing" for malt balls. (Well, to be honest, I have a "thing" for any and all sweets!) We treated ourselves to a bag of Ultimate Malt Balls, which are layered with dark and milk chocolate, and coated with marble milk and white chocolate.

After dinner, I enjoyed 3 malt balls. They were so delicious, I wanted more, but I decided to hold off.

However, while watching a movie together, Mal decided to break into the malt ball bag again. I caved into the temptation, and ate another 3 malt balls. (They were calling my name!) I ate these three a lot slower, and savored them while watching the movie. 

I'm off to relax and read in bed. I'm psyched that I can sleep in tomorrow! No work for me! HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!!! :)

Another Busy One

After a slow start, my day ended up being jam packed! I'm glad that we're finally home with no plans on tonight's agenda. In my "old" age, I'm really starting to like relaxing nights in! :)

My Sunday morning started with a glass of iced coffee with vanilla hemp milk, which I drank while blogging about yesterday's busy day. The blog post took me about an hour to type up! 

Breakfast this morning was an egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin with homemade homefries. For the egg in my sandwich, I used a liquid egg white patty, which was quick and easy to prepare. To make: coat a small, mircowavable bowl with cooking spray, pour 1/3 cup liquid egg whites into bowl, and cook in microwave for 90 seconds. 

Liquid egg whites in cooking-spray coated bowl...

After a quick cook in the microwave, the egg whites form a small patty, which is perfect for a breakfast sandwich.

From above...

To make the homefries, I coated a chopped potato with olive oil, Montreal Steak Seasoning, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, and baked them in the oven on 375* F for 20-25 minutes. 

Sunday Newspaper

Mal and I used to have a Sunday night tradition where we would read the Sunday newspaper in bed before falling asleep. We no longer have the paper delivered to our front door, so we rarely buy it and hardly ever read the Sunday paper. Today, however, we both had the urge to leisurely peruse the newspaper. We decided to purchase the paper, bring it to Starbucks, and enjoy a couple of yummy beverages while reading outside in the sunshine. At Bucks, I ordered a Banana Chocolate Vivanno, which tasted just like a homemade smoothie. As a snack, this baby filled me right up! Mal ordered his favorite: iced peppermint latte. 

I took a break from the newspaper to catch up with my magazine reading... I saw Kath in this month's Shape! So cool!!!

Around 2:00, I still wasn't hungry for lunch, but I thought it would be smart to have a snack before heading to a friend's Labor Day BBQ, where I knew there would be lots of junk food. I was in the mood for some Kashi crackers, so I decided to make a "dip" to go with them. For the dip, I cooked a veggie burger in the microwave, mushed it up, and added sliced grape tomatoes and roasted red peppers. The veggie burger dip ended up being the perfect consistency for scooping up with Kashi crackers. 

Right before leaving for the BBQ, I grabbed another snack: part of a granola plank (about a 1/3 of a whole one). I'm not sure why I thought I needed another snack--  I wasn't hungry at all. 

At the BBQ, Mal and I played Cornhole...

...and drank some beers. Mal drank 2 Bud Lights, I drank most of 1. My lunch held me over well through the BBQ, and I wasn't tempted at all by the unhealthy food options. 

I'm not sure what's for dinner tonight... I'm not really in the mood to cook, so perhaps I'll make something easy like Annie's Mac and Cheese or a tuna sandwich. Hmmmmm... I'm not really craving anything specific. 

Be back later tonight!

A Day Behind

Sunday, already? I apologize for neglecting the blog all day yesterday. Saturday definitely flew by for me! I left our apartment at 8:45 am and didn't get home 12:30 am! And during that whole time, I lugged my gym bag all over Boston, but I guess I got a good back and shoulder workout, right? :)

The Wedding Bliss exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum was wonderful. My sister and I really enjoyed it. 

The wedding exhibit spanned four rooms with paintings, sculptures, photographs, decorative objects, jewelry, and attire from all over the world. It was really neat seeing how these objects related to the various rituals, beliefs, customs, and emotions surrounding marriage and the matrimonial experience. Of course, my favorite part of the exhibit was the wedding gowns. I snapped this photo of a Vera Wang gown from the mid-1990's, but I got busted by security-- no photography allowed-- but at least he didn't make me delete the photo. :)

After visiting the museum, my sister and I walked around Salem. We popped in a bunch of little shops, and leisurely pursued all of the cute items. It was so nice having my sister to window shop with me. Mal likes to shop with a "purpose," and usually doesn't enjoy dilly-dallying through shops.  

We walked around Salem for a couple of hours before getting hungry for lunch. Mal used to work at Finz a few summers ago and he highly recommended it, so my sis and I decided we'd go there for lunch. 

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, and we were lucky to dine on the Finz outdoor patio that over looks the Salem Harbor. My sister and I ordered the same Arugula Salad, tossed with vanilla bean vinaigrette, raspberries, pine nuts, and topped with boursin cheese.  The vanilla bean vinaigrette immediately caught my attention. I had never heard of anything like it, and I am so glad that I ordered it. The vanilla bean vinaigrette was slightly sweet and tangy, and definitely brought some life to my arugula salad. 

My sister and I also shared a side order of sweet potato fries. We both loved them dipped in the vanilla bean vinaigrette! 

After lunch, I was craving something sweet (like always), so we stopped in Jaho Coffee & Tea, a funky coffee shop on Derby Street. My iced coffee with soy milk was delicious-- strong, but a little sweet.

Around 2:00, I said goodbye to my sister and headed back into the city. I stopped at Healthworks for a quick workout. I did the elliptical for 45 minutes, walked on the treadmill for 15, and did a few sets of lunges and squats using the Nautilus machines, Bosu, and dumbbells. After a quick shower at the gym, I met up with Mal downtown. 

Our North End friends, like many Boston residents, spent part of their Labor Day moving into a new apartment. Understandably, their move took longer than expected, so our dinner plans were pushed back until 8:00 pm. I knew there was so way I could wait to eat until then, so Mal and I grabbed a snack and a cocktail at Charley's on Newbury Street. 

I was in the mood for a good, strong cocktail, so I ordered a dirty vodka martini. (It was after 5 o'clock!) :)

I love it when dirty martinis are served with big olives like this! I always save one for right after I finish the last sip of my martini. Delish! 

Mal and I shared the Bruschetta Mozzarella, which was toasted focaccia bread topped with marinated roma tomatoes, red onions, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was fantastic, but definitely a dish we could easily make at home. 

Instead of going out for dinner, we decided to grab food at the St. Anthony's Feast in the North End with our friends. The St. Anthony's Feast was quite the bumpin' event! The streets were packed with people! 

Pizza was on my mind for dinner, so as soon as I saw the Pizzaria Regina booth, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to eat.

Mal and I each ordered a slice of cheese pizza from the Pizzeria Regina vendor. 

The streets of the North End are super crowed during the St. Anthony's Feast. I tried to get a photo of my piece of pizza, but as you can see, it wasn't an easy task!

A lively parade came through the streets of the North End with Italian marching bands and serenaders. I can't remember the last time that I saw a parade, so it was really fun to see! 

After about an hour at the St. Anthony's Feast, we decided to grab a beer and catch the end of the Boston College football game at the Waterfront Cafe Bar-Grill. Our friend, Jack kindly bought us a round of drinks. I ordered a Blue Moon.

The football game ended (BC won!), so we headed back to our friends' apartment to hang out on their roof deck, which had the most AMAZING view of Boston. What a great location! It was almost midnight at this point, so Mal I walked to Park Street and headed home to bed. 

Long post for a long day! Not sure what is on the agenda for Sunday. I'm off to a slow start, but I think an iced coffee and a shower will get me moving! 

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just the Right Amount

Good morning! I woke up with just the right amount of soreness from yesterday's training session. I loved that my trainer challenged me the entire session, but I had such a wonderful time talking with her, I didn't feel like I was working that hard. It was a nice surprise waking up to the "what-a-great-workout" soreness. My trainer knew exactly what she was doing! :)

Breakfast this morning was another wrap panini made on our panini maker. Inside today was Barney Butter, half of a crumbled granola plank, ground flaxseed meal, and a few raisins. Again, I cut it into "handy" triangles.  

I also drank some homemade iced coffee with vanilla hemp milk and a little sugar. 

Busy Saturday Ahead

My sister and I are going to a wedding exhibit ("Wedded Bliss, The Marriage of Art and Ceremony") at the Peabody Essex Museum later this morning. I received the tickets as a wedding gift from my aunt and cousin (Hi, Andrea!), and what better person to take with me than my recently-engaged sister. We both love art (and weddings!), so I think we're going to enjoy it a lot! We're planning lunch in Salem after the museum. (Salem is super cute in the fall!) Unfortunately, I don't know the area at all, but I'm sure we'll find something-- perhaps a cafe or sandwich shop. 

After lunch, I am heading to Healthworks for a quick workout-- showering and getting ready there. I'm going to try to stop by a friend's BBQ near our apartment, then Mal and I are headed to the North End to have pizza and beer with our friends at their apartment. We volunteered to pick up pizza-- any recommendations for North End? Is Pizzeria Regina our best bet?

I'm off! It's go, go, go today! 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wine on the Balcony

My Friday evening started with the most delicious glass of wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, on our balcony. I (swiftly) sipped my wine while chatting with Mal. Obviously, we live together, but I felt like we had a lot to catch up on tonight! 

After drinking my first glass of wine, I started to get the munchies. I considered just waiting for dinner, but my buzz immediately drove me to some cheese and crackers. (I always crave cheese when I am drinking!) I ate about one serving of Kashi crackers with a slice of swiss cheese. 

My first glass of wine went down so quickly (rough week!), I decided to take my time with my second glass. I am still savoring it about an hour later. For dinner, we kept it simple and made veggie burgers on toasted English muffins with buffalo sauce. 


Lunch was greens topped with Broccoli Slaw and grape tomatoes... 

I also had a Kardea Chai Spice bar and some watermelon. 

I have a relaxing night planned-- finishing my wine, reading in bed, and hitting the sack early. I have a big day tomorrow! Hope everyone has a nice Labor Day weekend!!!

Kardea Nutrition Bars

The nice people at Kardea Nutrition asked me to sample and review a few of their nutrition bars. I'm happy to report that my first experience with the Chai Spice flavor was great!

The Chai Spice Kardea Bar had an amazing chai aroma, which hit me as soon as I opened the package. The flavor of the bar was equally wonderful-- nice and strong. My only (small) gripe about these bars was the consistency, which reminded me of a Power Bar-- soft, sticky, and chewy. I prefer a much more solid and dry bar like a Larabar, but these are definitely worth a try. If you like a bar with a taffy-like texture, you will LOVE these. The nutritional elements are pretty stellar too.

From the Kardea website:

  • Plant Sterols-1 gram
  • Total Fiber-7 grams with 5 grams Soluble Fiber
  • Viscous Soluble Fiber- 3 grams --50% More Viscous Soluble Fiber than Heart Healthy Oatmeal
  • Protein-7 grams with 3.5 grams Soy Protein
  • Vegetarian-Friendly (Chai Spice & Banana Walnut Are Vegan)
  • Kosher Certified
  • Only 150 Calories/Bar
  • No Trans Fats
  • Lower Glycemic Formulation
Delicious selection:
- Banana Walnut
- Chai Spice
- Cranberry Almond
- Lemon Ginger

Nutrition Bar Lemon GingerNutrition Bar Cranberry Almond
Nutrition Bar Chai SpiceNutrition Bar Banana Nut

Full Body Workout

This workout was designed using a variety of exercise equipment, including a Bosu, exercise ball, dumbbells, and various machines. If you do not have a gym available to you, resistant bands can be substituted for many of the machine exercises.

High Row Machine

Wt: 25 lbs. Reps: 15

Chest Press on Ball (alternate arms)
Wt: 15 lbs Reps: 15

Bosu Hops
Wt: Body Reps: 45 seconds

Lunges on Bosu
Wt: Body (or 12.5) Reps: 15

Gravitron Machine
Wt: 90 Reps: 10

Cable Cross Chestfly
Wt: 20 Reps: 12

Cable Cross Lateral Raise
Wt: 5 Reps: 12

Open Arm Bicep Curl
Wt: 12.5 Reps: 15

Overhead Tricep Extension
Wt: 45 Reps: 10

Single Leg Press (machine)
Wt: 10 Reps: 15

For all exercises: 2-3 sets.

What a Week!

TGIF, seriously! What an insane week! So glad that it is just about over! I still have quite a few tasks on my to do list, but I don't think it will be a stressful Friday.

Quick recap of last night...

The surprise party last night was at DJ's at The Garden, a sports bar near the Boston Garden (aka TD Banknorth Garden). I had never been to DJ's, and honestly, I was expecting some seedy dive bar. (If you know the area at all, you'd understand why!) But, DJ's was a surprisingly upscale restaurant/bar. The decor was especially wonderful! It was actually pretty classy with it's dark wood, low lighting, sports photos, and memorabilia, including a large mural of the old Garden. There were also plasmas TVs strategically placed all over the bar, which is essential for a bar/restaurant near the Garden. DJ's had a wide variety of quality beers, which, from the current selection available, probably change on a seasonal basis. I don't visit the North Station area often, but I will definitely keep DJ's in mind as a perfect spot to hang out before an event at the Garden.

I started with a UFO... sadly, no lemon slice.

Party food...

Quesadilla made with cilantro cashew pesto (delish!), jack cheese, and sweet peppers... I ate 2 of these quesadilla triangles.

Party people waiting for the birthday boy to arrive...

Beer cart! This is one of the birthday boy's gifts from his girlfriend. Of course, he shared it with his guests. I drank Bud Light from the cart. (If you're wondering, the birthday boy was VERY surprised! He walked into the bar and did a double-take at all of his friends standing around waiting for him to arrive. He loved it!)

Here's the birthday boy blowing out his 30 candles...

I thought about having a piece of birthday cake, but I wasn't really in the mood for it. (I know, very, very strange.) My "dinner" only consisted of 2 pieces of quesadilla and 2 beers, so I wanted something else to eat, but it wasn't cake. When I got home, I made myself a piece of whole wheat toast with Barney Butter and raisins.


My workout with the trainer this morning was amazing! She definitely challenged me-- much more than our first session. And I LOVE the workout she put together for me! (I'll post it later this morning.)

Breakfast was Kashi instant oatmeal, high fiber cereal, and a big scoop of peanut butter. Boring, but filling!

As always, Starbucks iced coffee with soy milk...

Question of the Day

What's up for the long weekend? Do you have any fitness excursions/adventures planned?