Smoothie King's Daughter (12.30.2008)

Monday Night

Last night, after taking Oscar for a quick romp in the park, Kevin and I headed to the gym for spin class. I ran into my old roommate over the weekend and while I was telling her how hard the 7pm class was, she politely informed me that the 6pm class was the hardest they had and people fight to get into there.

That settled it - I had to try it.

Good thing I got there 10 mins before class because there were probably only 5 bikes left in a room full of at least 40. The spin instructor made me work so hard. My legs ached and I couldn't catch my breath. I was loving it. It might have been the first time that there was sweat on the floor around me. Gross, I know. I am one of those sweaty girls at the gym.

Someone once told me it is healthy to sweat a lot - so that is what I tell myself when I walk by girls that look perfectly primped after their workout. I am always a mess, but at least I am healthy. ;)

After devouring sliced raw zucchini dipped in TJ's edamame hummus, I decided to try making Meghann's award-winning Pumpkin Pecan Encrusted Chicken.

I had leftover pumpkin I needed to use up and it seemed like a simple, delicious, and healthy way to prepare the chicken. All true. It was fantastic. Great recipe!
I also made some cauliflower mash and pine nut couscous to go along with the chicken. Is it me or does my plate of food look like a face with a knife sticking out of the eye?
After dinner, I tried the Mango & Cream bars from Trader Joes. They were very refreshing, but may be better in the summer months. I was bundled up under a blanket eating it.
I spent the remaining hours of the night reading through my Vita-mix Recipe cookbook, watching The City premiere, and cleaning out my new blender to get it prepped for a morning smoothie.

The directions suggest you clean out the blender before using, which I did and was amazed at the suds it created. Is that weird to be excited about? It's the small things in life.

I put 5 cups warm water with one tiny drop of dish soap and blended on high for like 5 secs.
This blender is no joke. I had to spend 5 minutes rinsing all the suds out.

Tuesday Morning
(anyone else have this store near them? love it)

I really wanted to see if this blender could blend ice and not leave chunks. My old blender would never fully blend the ice or frozen fruit and it was annoying. I decided to come up with my own concoction and do a simple Banana/Almond Butter Smoothie.

  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1/2 large banana
  • spoonful almond butter
  • 2 large ice cubes
All the ingredients are ready to go.
I followed the directions for another smoothie in the cookbook that had ice and set the speed to Variable, and then quickly turned the level from 1-10. It blended for about 20 seconds.
Um...WOW. There was not a trace of ice in this thing. Perfectly blended and pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.
I want to be fair and give the negatives about this blender as well, so if I had to come up with one gripe about the thing - it would be the noise. It terrified my dog so much that I had to coax him back downstairs with a treat. Maybe add a noise muffler on there?

As I sipped on my morning smoothie, I kept thinking that I could totally open my own smoothie shop with this thing. Or better yet, come up with some new, healthy smoothie recipes that my corner coffee shop could start selling. Then, I could be a guest smoothie maker on the weekends...using my new blender. I could also set-up stands at different post-race celebrations to get the word out. Fun!
I wonder if Smoothie King would want be cool if I opened up a spin-off called, Smoothie King's Daughter. I think it's catchy. Dibs on this idea. ;)



After-Christmas Present (12.29.2008)

Sunday morning, I woke up to some balmy weather. It was in the low-60s. In Maryland. In December. Craziness.

I knew that this weather called for a run outdoors. Kevin, Oscar and I decided on a 4-mile loop up around Patterson Park, through Fells Point, and then back to Canton by way of the harbor-side path. It was a great run and the warm breeze felt awesome.

I am so happy to say that I didn't feel my hamstring at all. This is a first because I have been "feeling" it during my runs and workouts since the marathon - back on November 9th. What a nagging injury!

My time off from longer distances, pushing my pace and races has really helped it heal. Lets hope it stays away for good!

I have been researching some races for 2009 and will be posting my plans soon. To make sure I stick to everything. Not sure if I am ready to commit to another marathon...yet, but I am definitely up for some half marathons and an off-road duathlon!

On to some exciting news. I was contacted a few weeks back by Vita-mix to see if I wanted to try out their Vita-Mix 5200 blender. um - of course I said I would LOVE too. How cool was it to get the blender in the mail a few days after Christmas!!?! The COOLEST thing ever!!

"The Vita-Mix 5200 is built to outperform and outlast any other kitchen appliance on the market."

I am itching to get outta work today, unpack this powerful thing, and put it to work!

It is a short work week for me - just two days - and then another 5-day weekend. For new years eve, we are heading down to the beach to celebrate with friends. Looking forward to a few days away to relax...

What are your new year's eve plans?!



Holiday Fun (12.27.2008)

Whew! What a great Christmas...filled with lots of great food, family, friends, and even consistent workouts!

My family celebrated Christmas Eve at my sister's house where we exchanged with her family and had a nice dinner. I brought the appetizers - Chipotle Shrimp Cups - from Cooking Light. They were a hit and a light appetizer to have before our big meal.Sipped on a bud light with lime - which went well with the shrimp cups.Our main meal was a Let's Dish creation called Beef Roulade which is flank steak filled with a mixture of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, cheese and breadcrumbs then rolled up and baked until delicious.

Served with colorful fingerling potatoes that my mom roasted with a little olive oil, rosemary and garlic. It was cool eating mini purple potatoes. My sister also roasted up some asparagus. Perfect meal.We opened presents and the men immediately started putting them togetherwhile us ladies took pictures in front of the tree...Then, we moved on to the important stuff. DESSERT. My mom made a pecan pie, my sister made festive chocolate chip cookies and Santa's Macaroons, and I brought the Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf. The santa's macaroons are not safe around me. Basically you mix corn flakes with the rice krispie treat marshmallow mixture, add almond extract, and sliced almonds to create an irresistible treat.Christmas Morning at my parent's house was a relaxing one. My mom made Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls that we served with fresh raspberries and half a banana.Had a snowman cup of Sumatra blend coffee I brought from my corner coffee shop. Obsessed with that stuff.Also had a clementine.After opening presents, we decided to take the dogs on a hike/run at a park near my parents' house. It was a chilly, sunny morning and felt good to get out there.

Max (my parent's black lab) was not happy I wanted to take a picture before our run...and Oscar looks like the walk from the car tired him out. But after a nice jog through the woods...
Max was eventually tired enough to sit still for a picture.Christmas Afternoon/Evening celebration is always a open house style thing at my parent's house. Family and friends come and go and we always have TOO much food.

Appetizers included pistachio crisps and multi grain tortilla chips served with regular and edamame hummus. This was the first time I tried both of these type of chips/crisps and they were both great. (My mom found them at Costco)What Maryland celebration would be complete without crab balls?! My dad picked them up from Pappas Restaurant in Parkville, MD. His friend's family owns the place. These things are great - made from lump, back fin meat with barely any filler and then dusted with corn meal. Delish.I contributed to the main meal by making Mac & Cheese, roasted brussels sprouts and steamed carrots with brown sugar and butter. We also had a jello salad, green bean casserole, turkey, ham, Rolls, cheesy scalloped potatoes, spinach salad, and a wide assortment of desserts.The view of my plate that I tried to cover mostly with spinach, which I topped with the jello salad. I stuck with all side dishes this year.Dessert was a slice of sweet potato pie. No one minded that I had a slice before hand. :)

Woke up the day after Christmas and went to the gym for a hard work out. Did 45 mins on the arc trainer and then 30 mins or arm, back, and shoulders lifting. I was a sweaty mess, but it felt so good to burn off some of the food!

After the gym, I decided to make some of MacDuff's Chocolate Truffles to take to a party we were going to later at my boyfriend's cousin's house. They were very rich - and one bite probably put back on all of the calories I worked off at the gym earlier. Totally worth it though...:)
Hope everyone else had and is having a great holiday - cant wait to catch up on all of your blogs soon!



Alien Aminals Holiday Greeting (12.24.2008)

Last night I went to the gym, but wasn't feeling very motivated, so I decided to take an hour spin class. When I don't feel like pushing myself - it is nice to have someone else do it! Unfortunately, the class was just OK. There were two instructors who each did a half an hour and it wasn't very challenging, so I kept my resistance pretty higher to try and get a better workout.

I came home and baked butternut squash fries and had a bowl of regular puffins with skim milk.I also had two of these darling clementines. Light dinner, but I still felt pretty full from lunch.
I finished all my wrapping!While I was wrapping, I put a Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf in the oven, courtesy of Tina over at Carrots 'N' Cake. I changed her recipe only slightly by using all whole wheat pastry flour and I had to bake mine for an hour until the middle was completely done.I tried a piece immediately with a little smart balance and it was amazing. Great recipe. This stuff is scrumptious, especially the little pockets of chocolate.This morning, I woke up and had another bowl of Puffins with skim milk before going on a 3 mile run with Oscar. It was a pretty mild morning weather-wise, so the run felt great.

Came home and had some more of the Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf while I mixed together more batter to make another! :)

Currently roasting up more butternut squash fries, but I was hungry immediately, so I mixed some ricotta with cinnamon/sugar, vanilla extract, and fresh raspberries. The raspberries were so fresh.My cute little bowl was a impulse buy at Anthropologie. I freakin love that store. Can I have one of everything? I wish. I got these 4 little things.For Christmas Eve dinner at my sister's house tonight, I am making an appetizer. I found a recipe for Chipotle Shrimp Cups using wonton wrappers and I am so excited to make and taste these.

Oscar and Lucy wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holiday! Check out their matching glowing, alien eyes...Have a great night!



Christmas Shopping is DONE (12.23.2008)

This morning was very relaxing. I took off from work because I wasn't feeling so hot yesterday. Sore neck, headache, and sore throat. I woke up at my normal time, but then was able to go back to sleep until 10am. It was great and I think the extra sleep helped me feel tons better.

Breakfast was an effort to use up more veggies. Sauteed mushrooms in a little smart balance and 1 garlic clove, chopped. Threw in a splash of Sherry Cooking Wine and let that deglaze. Set those aside, sprinkle with grated parmesan, and cover.

In the same pan, I cooked up some egg whites. Meanwhile, I threw a "sausage" patty in the oven. While I am not a vegetarian, I read a lot of blogs written by vegetarians/vegans, so some of the products intrigue me.More of the festive square plates...love these things.Topped the cooked egg whites with the mushrooms, and had a "sausage" patty on the side.I must say that the patty was pretty good. I was surprised because I honestly thought I would hate it.

I stopped for coffee on my way out to finish Christmas shopping. Which, by the way - I am completely finished!!! Just need to start wrapping everything now...

I didn't get hungry for lunch until around 2:30pm, so I stopped off at Rosina Gourmet, which is a great little sandwich shop in Canton square - a few blocks from my house. I ordered the Traditional Turkey, which is smoked turkey with provolone, parmesan, romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion, chopped hot peppers, oregano and red wine vinaigrette on an Italian ciabatta flat sub roll.I ate the entire thing because it was that good. They use Boars Head lunch meats, which are my favorite, and the bread is always extremely fresh.

I just got back from a frigid walk in the park with Oscar, who was groomed today and is very fluffy with cute little clean-shaven paws. He kept trying to roll around in the grass and mud to wipe the "clean" smell off.I am headed to the gym to do some cardio and lifting before going to the grocery store to get all the ingredients for the recipes I am making on Christmas Eve (at my sister's house) and Christmas Day (at my parents). Going to be a busy next couple of days...but all fun!

Enjoy the rest of your day!



Vegetarian For A Night (12.22.2008)

I cant believe I haven't written in 3 days! Where did the time go? I guess I was busy doing lots of Christmas shopping, sushi eating, wedding going, race spectating, waffle eating, and Nutcracker watching.

Instead of doing a huge recap, I just want to highlight one weekend event - the Celtic Solstice 5 miler!

Unfortunately, I didn't run in the race because I didn't want to re-injure my "not-fully-healed" hamstring from the pressure of being in a race. I did go cheer on my dad, sister, and others. It was freezing, but the fun part about this race is that a bunch of people wear kilts - my dad included. :)

My dad and sister, before the race. I had runner's envy.Kevin and I brought Oscar and decided to run around Druid Hill Lake until the front runners from the race caught up to us. That was fun to see because I have never in my life been up with those folks. I liked this sign at the start/finish line. We kept running through the park and saw a long line of runners looping through the park - there were around 2,600 people in the race. I figure that we ran about 4 miles.

My dad's co-worker (Becky) lives about 5 mins from the finish line and her husband has been making waffles for everyone afterwards the past few years. The coolest part? He makes them in an antique cast iron waffle maker!That huge batch of batter was flavored with cinnamon, pecans, and walnuts. It was served with butter and hot syrup. mmm. Kevin and I decided to split one of these, but I ended up eating 3/4 of it. It was incredible.Had to throw in a picture of Becky's two sweet Chihuahuas with my sister's friend Terri, who said that she reads the blog.HI TERRI.

Tonight's dinner was a vegetarian feast. Kevin whipped up a vinaigrette for the salad:

  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • drizzle of agave nectar
This tart and refreshing salad included green leaf lettuce, toasted pecans, goat cheese crumbles, and the mustardy vinaigrette. It really woke up my taste buds.Steamed edamame, sprinkled with coarse sea salt.Baked tofu bites using the following recipe which can be found here. I will definitely be making this tofu again. The marinade was the best I have tried yet.
It was a pretty random dinner and we actually ate each dish about 5 mins apart because we did not practice good time management.

My sweet tooth is now screaming at me. I was lucky enough to pick up a pie from a former co-worker of mine today. Her mother makes the best sweet potato pie I have ever tasted. The problem is that I am supposed to bring this for Christmas Day.
No one should mind if I take my slice a few days early, right? Maybe I will just blame it on someone else...Muuuuaaaaahhhahaha.


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