WIAW: Sips in the Heat

As someone so eloquently put it on the news, this past week has been like “living in a dog’s mouth”….

Personally, I’d like to move on from living in a steam room, from my makeup melting off my face, from the sleepless nights in a hot bedroom, from the sad reprieve of my air conditioned office, from weighing the opportunity cost of a trip down the street. This Florida girl did not move to DC to spend her summers 10 degrees hotter and more humid than back home. But I digress.

 

There have been countless smoothies and juices flowing over here. It’s the only thing that sounds moderately appealing when you’re sweating away your fluid intake for the day. The roar of the blender has been music to my ears, and my mornings have looked a little like this:

 

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Add: Almond milk, pineapple, strawberries, coconut

 

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Insert: Whirllllllll  and blurbles of the blender

(Optional) Mute: if roommates are sleeping

 

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Pinch: handfuls of spinach and Amazing Grass Chocolate (review to come)

 

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See: a specimen of a smoothie

 

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Swim: in this refreshing goodness

Here’s What I Do Know

I may be a neglectful blogger and have abandoned you all for a few months, but don’t let that discredit a few of the lessons I’ve been taking the time to absorb. We’ll be back to health, food, and fitness in no time but bear with me.

 

I do know:

  • It will take more than 24 years and 5 months to cultivate the savoir-fare and gumption needed for life’s constant waves
  • People love you and believe in you. And it never hurts to ask to hear that
  • Fresh sheets will change everything. That and a bouquet of pink peonies
  • Good friends and family are there through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take the time to appreciate them
  • If all else fails, sit down with a cup of tea and a good book
  • Sundays are just as disheartening now as when you were a child
  • There’s nothing more wonderful than the morning, when it’s just you and the still world
  • Crying on your yoga mat will help more than you realize. And it will happen more than once…
  • No matter how perfect you think someone’s life is…it really isn’t
  • A lot of things will knock you on your butt. It’s okay to wallow, scream, and kick before getting back up
  • A bar of dark chocolate with crystallized ginger is an appropriate dinner
  • Love is the most powerful thing we will feel in our lives
  • A good surge of endorphins will transform your mood and perspective. Albeit maybe temporarily
  • If you really want to do something for yourself, take the time to meditate. It will change you
  • Where you are in this exact moment is exactly where you need to be. Trust in that

 

Sandwiched in between spin class and green smoothie blogging, there may be more rambling. More impulsive introspection. More altruistic encouragement. More of practicing grace.

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When No One Was Watching…

I read up on this popular, little bulbous seed. The Chia Seed.

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The one everyone and their mother’s earthy friend has been raving about. The same one that every fitness, vegan, and gourmet magazine has deemed the year’s hot new ingredient. And for you recluses who haven’t hopped on the omega train, here are the Chia facts:

Also known as the Salvia Hispanica, the Chia, is a flowering plant from the mint family, Lamiaceae. And yes, the ch-ch-chia is a cousin of the seeds you used to grow atop your clay pet. It was a major crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C and was cultivated well into the 16th century, AD, but after the Spanish conquest, it was banned due to its close association with the Aztecs–said to have been the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors.

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber). The seed is also rich with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

I work with chia fiends and after seeing endless bags of chia seeds on our office conference table, I decided to do experiment with this wonder food seed. My secret experimentation produced a delicious though very unpicturesque dessert.

Dolce Chia Pudding

  • 2-3 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup-1 cup almond milk
  • 1-2 TBSP of Stevia, brown sugar, agave, or sweetener of choice
  • Many dashes of cinnamon
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight to allow pudding to thicken. Top with fruit and shredded coconut. Enjoy!

Before

Before

After

After

What’re your thoughts on chia?

Growing Up

How can something be so exhilarating, momentous, and painful all at the same time? A time that we can feel utterly jaded and bitter while still having so many niceties and lessons to come. During this confusing time the best years of our lives, there’s a constant learning curve. We begin to grow up regardless of if we really want to. A new realization every step along the way

 

-I’ve yet to see the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, so dad’s shoulders still might be the highest place in the world. Even if they’re not, his arms are always open, welcoming a hug and cry.

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-Being employed in the real world is a little different than that summer job at the ice cream parlor you use to have. You’ll have a cry session in the office bathroom and get papercuts and see an optometrist three times in a month because you forget to blink at your computer screen (true story). But you will also befriend coworkers, stifle uncontrollable laughter during your Monday meeting, and have more than three digits in your bank account–at least until you pay rent. And as many keyboard shortcuts and impressive Excel outputs as you’ll learn, you’ll still be more perplexed by that coworker, the sole person on the planet who manages to not gain a pound at her desk job.

 

-There’s no longer any excuse to be on, at, or near the floor. Ergo, my taking up yoga and training for five months. Sitting in sukasana on my mat is now socially acceptable, who knew? The days of cart wheels and handstands and tumbling around the grass are gone. Though if you learn to do handstand pushups you can have some fun while looking super hardcore at the gym. And then of course, you’ll instagram it…

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-Doing taxes for the first, second, or fourth time will not make the process more inherently clear. I guess keying away at Turbotax is a right of passage. A right I look forward to delegating to my accountant.

 

-You’re going to dislike things you shouldn’t, love people who are wrong for you, and miss opportunities you should have valued. Understand the mistake, the frustration, the loss. And move on from it. Work to be happy and feel it in every cell and fiber of your being. Remember that life will go on.

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-Proclaim you’re going through a quarter-life crisis. To multiple people, on a myriad of occasions. It happens.IMG_3100

 

-Choose comfort over style. I’d like to be advising you that pain is beauty but come on. As many times as mom told you to wear sneakers with your jeans and tennies with your dress for those long walks, you may argue that she was institutionally insane or just plain pragmatic. That barefoot walk through the Meatpacking District may just be the smartest decision of your life after a night of too high a heel and too close of a fractured toe.

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-Unless you hire a sous chef, you will not have the bountiful, fresh fruit salads of your childhood. Ones in which you picked out the ripest of blackberries as your dad and mom chopped away. Instead you will rely on the simplicity of biting into an apple or finding diced mangoes on extreme sale. It’s a sad truth right here.

Mangoes on saleee

Mangoes on saleee

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-You’ll learn to wake up on your own. Without the pour of water over your head or the slight touch of a head rub. You’ll wake up to the garbage truck terrorizing your street at the same hour before dusk every day. You’ll wake up with the approximate 19 minutes you need to commute to work without breaking into a frantic run. You’ll wake up early (gaaaasp) because you’ve come to adore the quiet, reflective time the morning allows you.

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-Take the time to see beauty. Subjective beauty at that. It’s never too late and you’re never too inexperienced to just create. To pour your thoughts out onto paper, to imagine colors that were never “meant” to be paired together, to fulfill your dream regardless if it fits the mold. We did it in our coloring books on the floor of our bedrooms, so why not now?

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-Host a dinner party just because. Because you have your own kitchen, because you no longer have a curfew, because you have a semi-functional albeit rusty cutting knife, and because you need your wine cabinet restocked. They’re the dinner parties of your parents that we you watched from your bedroom. But with a few more paper plates and liquor bottles.

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-Call in sick to work, so that you can fly home just to have waffles and sit by the pool. There’s more validity in that than you know.

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WIAW: Spring Obsessions

Spring is in the air. And I may have a few slight obsessions…

Morning/Noon/Evening Obsession:

Chobani sent me a delectable gift. And now my fridge is a vision of gold–well a vision that is dwindling considerably. I’ve been enjoying these babies solo, with fruit, with granola, and atop protein pancakes. I’m hooked. The pear is not overly sweet and has perfectly sized bites at the bottom. I need one now.

 

Beautiful sight

Beautiful sight

WSJ and breakfast

WSJ and breakfast

Work fuel

 

I was four years old, lying on my stomach with my chin in my hands and feet kicking in the air, watching Saturday morning cartoons. My dad lay down next to me with a simple offering to the pickiest eater on the planet–it was a plated sliced pear. After much a bit of reluctance to try out the foreign food, I was pleasantly surprised. The sweet, crisp, and juicy pear won me over. And twenty years later but with less of a pixie haircut,  I can still be found kicking my legs up with a pear in hand.

 

Salty Obsession:

Seaweed wraps. Okay, let me explain. Envision nori sheets filled with lettuce, tomato, hummus and/or cottage cheese, and tempeh. Perfect summer lunch in my book. And I’ve been making my way through the pack of 1o sheets a little quicker than I’d like to admit.  This is a winner folks, get going on it.

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Supper Obsession:

The spring king himself. The asparagus. Is that not the ultimate spring vegetable or what? Wait, are you telling me it’s not standard protocol to rate your seasonal vegetables? Well, you all have another thing coming when summer heirloom tomatoes come into season. This blog will be a vision of heirloom red and yellow. Donations are welcome.

Wine is a year long obsession

Wine is a year long obsession

 

I fell in love with these long stemmed beauties my first summer home from college. I learned from Wonder Woman herself about the glories of roasting your asparagus. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and a broiler. Done and done. I’ve recently come to learn that my secret little method of preparing asparagus is more common knowledge than I realized.

 

My WIAW takeaways are three-fold: 1) grab yourself a pear chobani 2) roll out a nori wrap and 3) crisp up some asparagus. Happy Wednesday!

Schweatttty Downpour

For those of you more in tune with the weather and less predisposed to be stranded at the gym in a gusty downpour circa 7am. Extra points if you were also in spandex shorts for the first time in 6 months, because of course its spring and was 90 degrees less than 12 hours ago…

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So if you plan to avoid the cold, biting rain and puddle-filled sneakers but still want a workout today then I have a treat for you. After spending some time on the Stair Master this morning, I figured I needed some HIIT exercises back in my life to get that heart going and metabolism active. I have a love-hate relationship with burpees–hurts so good.

I performed the below at the gym but you can do so in the comfort of your own, dry home. No equipment needed and you’re sure to be sweaty as can be.

 

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Let me know if you try it out!!

WIAW: Baking Away

Well, thankfully for my waistline and digestion I didn’t eat all of what I’m posting today. A girl’s gotta bake though. And that’s exactly what I did. I derive a significant amount of enjoyment being in the kitchen–creativity brewing, flour flying, and music bellowing. It’s for that reason alone I love to bake and cook for others–therapy session in the works.

Now if I could only do so in a kitchen with exposed brick walls, a copper hood, and a Wolf Range….or at least have some decent lighting and a sharp set of knives? #cookingwoes

If you know me, you know of my sweet tooth. I try to keep it at bay most of the time. One sweet you’ll never catch me ordering is a citrus dessert. Blech. No judgement if you love them–most people do. Ergo, I decided to bake the below dessert/loaf/treat/breakfast. I’m a people pleaser, what can I say. It’s not the healthiest recipe in the least, but I have to throw you a few curve balls now and then to indulge in. Perfect hostess gift, coffee pairing, or ice cream base.

Glazed Lemon Cake (Adapted from Ina Garten)
Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes., Add the eggs, one at a time.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

 

Softened butter

Softened butter

Eggs and sugar

Eggs and sugar

Flour

Flour

Grease

Grease

Evenly pour

Evenly pour

Voila

Voila

Glazed

Glazed

Any exciting eats or bakes recently?

The Weekender

We spend the majority of the day at our desks wishing away our week, drumming our fingers, and imploring the clock to turn faster. And then the weekend is gone before we begin to unwind a single degree from the maddening week.

A productive and inspired weekend adds an extra degree of elation to the reprieve from work. And the sudden appearance of spring  sunshine and transition from my puffer jacket to light cardigan within days, may add to the delight.

 

Pilates and a wonderful yoga class with some lovely ladies.

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Union Market explorations. We were a bit overwhelmed with where and what to eat.

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Reading and more reading.

 

Cherry Blossom 10 miler. And PR for this distance.

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Brunch on brunch to refuel.

 

Meal prep for the week. Hello, less rushed mornings

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Protein pancakes Protein pancakes

Mangoes on saleee

Mangoes on saleee

Hummus central

Hummus central

 

 

Discovering an amazing oasis in DC. I couldn’t even believe I was still in the city–lounging in the grass doing Acroyoga to the beat of the Drum line. IMG_3034IMG_3040IMG_3042IMG_3045  IMG_3043

 

Tell me about your weekend

WIAW: Breakfast Style

I think I have to proclaim breakfast as my favorite meal of the day. Growing up I was a banana pancakes kind of girl and could not be force fed eggs of any sort (much to my parent’s chagrin). The texture gave me the heebie jeebies. And now that I don’t have my dad to wake me up with morning smoothies, I’ll have to starve concoct my own. Sigh. How nice was it having someone else make breakfast before school? Double sigh. Those were the days.

So back to reality… now the morning fare ranges each day according to my mood. After morning yoga or a fast run, all I’ll want is a juice and then I’ll move onto a heartier meal. Sometimes my sweet tooth is ravenous and needs to be tamed before I even get dressed for the day. I do love me some egg scrambles, ergo those are usually saved for the weekend given the time expenditure and my penchant for hurried mornings.

 

Protein pancakes in the works. New spin on my old banana pancakes

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Juice on juice on juice

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A little chocolate fuel to start the day

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And sometimes new, wild, and filling dishes. ..

Almond Porridge
2 eggs or 4 egg whites
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons flaxseed
½ cup vanilla almond milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk
2) While skillet is heating, spray with oil or butter (your preference) and pour mixture into pan. Allow to cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring when needed
3) Remove from heat and top with additional almond milk, toppings, and sweetener if you choose

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I think I may have added too  many eggs my first time around–kind of like sweet eggs.  I’m still processing my feelings on it and how frequently it’ll make an appearance in my kitchen. Round two is the charm?

 

What’s your breakfast of choice?