This morning started off with some eggies:

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Coffee with skim and TruVia, 3 egg whites and LC Garlic and Herb on WW toast, half a granny smith with cinnamon

I ran some errands, did a whole lot of nothing, and eventually made lunch.

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Spinach bed with green beans, carrots, Veggie Patch falafel balls, tzatziki, and Frank

A few episodes of Cold Case and loads of laundry later, I snacked on my last mini Clif (this calls for a Target trip) before heading to the gym.

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  • 1 hour of ellipticalling up and down a mountain
  • 10 minutes of stair mastering some rolling hills

I came home to find a package waiting for me!

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What’s inside?

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Those look fun!

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Cherry Pie, Tropical Fruit Tart, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Key Lime Pie

Woo! 3 flavors I haven’t tried and PB Cookie – so good! I commented on a Larabar blog post last week and got sent these. Makes me love them even more!

Dinner was quite voluminous:

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Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, parm, and garlic salt + spin and hummus sammie on Nature’s Pride WW

I was still snacky an hour later, so I had a random quarter of an apple from the fridge before I showered. Yep, I waited til after dinner to shower. I’m gross. But food often trumps cleanliness. Almost always, in fact.

I’ve spent the evening wasting my life by watching Wind Chill on Lifetime .. I have absolutely no idea what is supposed to be going on, but I like Emily Blunt. But wtf was she thinking? I also snacked on a yogurt bowl:

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Peach Chobani with Kashi Heart to Heart

I really wanted the blueberry Chobz I had in the fridge but it was mysteriously gone. Oh, the perils of introducing good food to your family. I also think I’m going to hide my TruVia packets soon …

Good night!

Oh wait, I am!

Currently I am sitting at my kitchen table, having just finished a warm and delicious breakfast, sipping coffee, and listening to Christmas music from my family’s creepy stereo that likes to turn the volume up on its own. Cool. But it is, because I am ECSTATIC to be home for 4 glorious weeks! Last night, as I was having a wonderful night of sleep in the most comfortable bed in all of the land (mine), I actually woke up and thought about how happy I was in that moment – to be home and cozy, warm, and comfortable in my cocoon!

Last night I couldn’t wait til dinner – not surprising considering I literally ate only fruit yesterday. Dinner wasn’t going to happen until 5:30 and at 4:20 I was HANGRY and ate my last apple, a Fortune, to tide me over. It did the trick until an hour later when I was once again ravenous. My little, grand little, and I intended to get dinner at the restaurant at the Student Union, but the wait was over an hour, so we just headed down to the food court. Nothing was appealing at all, so I just had a large side of my fave balsamic grilled veggies. I headed home straight after – and fast, as my bladder, stomach, and hatred of nighttime driving were screaming at me the whole way. I had serious thoughts about stopping for some Whole Foods salad bar along the way, but my mom sealed the deal with the promise of Veggie Patch falafel balls and tzatziki waiting for me in the fridge at home.

I barely made it through the door before whipping up this salad beast of my dreams:

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Green leaf lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, falafel balls, pools of hummus and tzatziki + Frank’s, of course
NOM. Just what I wanted/needed. Every taste in there is such a great combination. Please, please, try and enjoy. And thank me.
Oh, and my citrus addiction manifested itself in two dessert clemmies:

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I concluded my night with a cup of English Breakfast tea. Ironic, yes.
My early waking hours this week effected my internal alarm and I was up by 6:30. I laid in bed a while but knew I wanted to start my morning and my Christmas break with some yoga. I whipped out my mat and did 30 minutes of Vinyasa On-Demand. It was boring, since I’ve done this video before, and nothing super challenging or new. Yet, my shoulders are still shaking from Warrior 2 = success. My body is so so tight from sitting and hunching all week. I might do more yoga later today, although I promised myself a 5 miler on the treadmill at the gym – it’s too frigid here for running, my lungs would be shot. Breakfast was an improved-upon repeat.
it started with come Christmas blend:

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Then I washed a Gala with this much-neglected product:

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Chopped ‘er up:

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Microwaved, mixed, added cinnamon and TrueVia, microwaved again, added skim, microwaved again, added Kashi Heart to Heart and:
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SO GOOD and warm and comforting! But it was missing something – I think I might add raisins or peaches (from my frozen stash) tomorrow. Since I know this’ll be making a repeat.
In other fun news, I got my first Christmas present yesterday! From my little:

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A new Pandora charm! The faith, hope, love one – with a cross, anchor, and heart. It’s a sorority thing. I added it to my sad and pathetic Pandora bracelet, which is now still far from complete with three beads:
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I’m getting lunch with my dad later too! I told him yesterday I wanted Indian, but now I think that might be too heavy for lunch? Maybe Mexican. We’ll see. It is freezing, I kind of just want soup! Also later, find out what this monstrosity is:
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Have a great day!

… and had the best dinner ever. But let’s start with breakfast, which started last night:

With some of this:

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And some of this:
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Plus everything you see here:
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1/3 cup oats, handful raisins, tablespoon peanut butter, 1/8 cup skim, part of a banana, and a lot of cinnamon
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Smooshed onto Santa’s face to make my first breakfast cookie!!!
I woke up with a headache .. sad, for my not-even-a-glass-and-a-half of wine, but I just really don’t drink. After some coffee and nana:
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I ran a 5k at the gym (too windy for the trail) in 28:59 and spent 15 minutes with the Stair Master.
Treadmill:
  • 5 minutes @ 6.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 2 minutes @ 7.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 5 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 2 minutes @ 7.0 mi/hr, 2.5 incline
  • 1:59 minutes @ 6.5 mi/hr, 2.5 incline

Stair Master:

  • 3 minutes, level 3
  • 2 minutes, level 4
  • 3 minutes, level 3
  • 2 minutes, level 4
  • 3 minutes, level 3
  • 1 minute, level 5
  • 1 minute, level 4
  • 1 minute, level 3

Then I came home, had this:

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and thanked God for Gina.

Seriously delish. I might add some Truvia or honey next time for a little more sweetness, but it really was like a giant oatmeal raisin cookie!

After a brief trip out with mama, I came home on the verge of being hangry! I was craving falafel and sweet potato fries. So I made both. While my “fries” were baking, I made this Hugh Jass salad:

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It was a beast containing:
  • The remainder of the spinach container (3 cups?)
  • The last 3 Veggie Patch falafel balls
  • Brocc
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki
  • Frank’s

It was delicious and devoured. Then these were done:

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Half of the potato in here, half in the fridge to take back with me.

We had plans to go to a Cuban restaurant in New Haven, but they couldn’t seat us for a while, so my uncle suggested Barcelona, a tapas and wine bar. I’ve been DYING to go here since the summer. There is one closer to us, in Fairfield, but we were meeting my stepbrother and he lives closer to New Haven.

Fail: no pictures. I REALLY wanted to take them, but my I’m still to shy in public :(.

I started off with a white wine, a 2007 Albarino from Pedro de Soutomaior in Rias Baixas, Spain. It was really great – refreshing, crisp, fruity – but not sweet. My mom and stepdad had the red sangria but I didn’t try it. It was really really hard to choose what to get to eat. For tapas, aka “small plates”, you can get a few tapas for your meal, or a tapas as an appetizer and an entree – there’s probably thousands of combinations you could make.

I ended up choosing 3 tapas for my meal:

  • Warmed Cana de Cabra (goat cheese) with Port Figs and Green Apple
  • Spinach-Chickpea Casserole with Cumin & Garlic Confit
  • Pulpo a la Plancha – Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes, Smoked Paprika, and Celery

Yes. It’s okay to be jealous.

My stepdad got the Boquerónes (fresh marinated anchovies) and something else I can’t remember. He and my mom also split the the Roasted Chickpea Puree with House-Made Pita Chips, the Homemade Cumin-Scented Chicken Empanadas with Avocado Puree, and some roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and bacon (not on the online menu so not sure of the exact name/ingredients). My mom also ordered the Albondigas (meatballs). My uncle was at the other end of the table, so I’m not sure what he ordered, but my stepbrother and brother both ordered the Pepper-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes, Brandy Reduction, and Crispy Onions.

After we ordered, fresh loaves of bread were brought to the table and olive oil was poured. As it was white bread, I didn’t have any, but everyone said it was delicious and very warm and fresh. The tapas were brought out as they were ready. I got my goat cheese, fig, and apple platter first, on a long white platter, each ingredient perfectly separated from the other.

OH. EM. GEE.

Warm, creamy, amazing goat cheese. Port-soaked juicy, chewy, sweet figs. Crisp, tart, refreshing slices of Granny Smith. Really there are no words except Gina’sFOODGASM. And the perfect dish. The best thing I’ve ever eaten (in America).

The spinach and chickpea “casserole” came out next, in a small, shallow round dish. Whole chickpeas were covered in the most thinly sliced spinach I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I couldn’t taste any cumin, and only got the taste of garlic a few times throughout the dish. It was good, but if those two flavors had been more pronounced, it would have been great.

Then the warm octopus salad came out. It was in a small, shallow, rectangular dish with octopus (flesh and tentacles), whole fingerling potatoes, celery slices, and red onions. The octopus was perfectly cooked – chewy, but not rubbery at all, and very savory. The potatoes were great too, but overall, the dish was WAY too salty. I actually didn’t finish it. Shocking – I know. Also, there was bacon in the dish, which I tasted before I saw. This was not indicated on the menu, and if it had been, I probably wouldn’t have ordered it. I would also be concerned for pescatarians/flexitarians/quasitarians/whatevertarians here – octopus would might be okay for them to order, but the bacon wouldn’t be! Also, I’m not sure if octopus is known to be fatty (?) but one of my pieces was entirely fat. I actually spit it out into my napkin .. conspicuously, I promise.

I tried the brussel sprouts my parents ordered – amazing. I also had two of the home-made pita chips with the chickpea puree (okay, let’s just call it hummus, because that’s what it is). The chips were visibly oily (ick), but perfectly toasted and crunchy with a great not-too-salty taste. The hummus was RIDICULOUSLY good. It had such a unique taste – including lots of garlic, which I love! I finished it off with a fork. Yup, just me and forkfuls of hummus at dinner. So classy.

It was all plated beautifully, brought out quickly, and with great service. That is, until we ordered dessert. I just got a cup of decaf (plus I still had some wine), but my uncle and brother ordered the Churros y Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce and my stepdad got the Warm Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Ice Cream – mostly because my mom and I wanted just a bite. After we got our coffee, our once-attentive serve virtually disappeared and we waited 20 minutes for our dessert. It was obvious we had been forgotten about because when it was finally brought over, the ice cream on my step-dad’s plate was melted. At least plate a new dish to make it look like it hasn’t been sitting out, waiting.

I had just a bite of the carrot cake – and I’ve had better. There was no frosting on it – I guess the ice cream is supposed to serve as the frosting, but I didn’t want any. It was good, but not great. Carrot cake is my favorite so I would have been disappointed, but I’m glad I just tried it. I didn’t try the churros, but I guess they were just okay too.

Overall, it was a really great experience! My family and I had never had tapas before, so it was fun to try together. Definitely my new favorite restaurant. So so good. The atmosphere is great – very laid back, dimmed lights, nice ambiance. Modern, but welcoming. There’s so much more I want to try – and from what I can tell, things change seasonally and they use some local ingredients – woo! Go!

Back to school tomorrow for two weeks of class and a week of finals 😦 I have so much to do it’s not even funny. Normally I would feel bad about neglecting so much work over break, but I needed just that – a break. It was AMAZING to just lay in my bed all day, run when I want to (not just when I have time), spend time with my family, and have a lot more eating freedom .. especially discovering tapas. Hopefully I’ll finish my laundry tonight – nothing like waiting til the last minute! Then tomorrow I’ll get up early, run/gym, pack, and peace. With a special trip to cheer myself up on the way back to Storrs …

What’s your favorite thing to get at Whole Foods? I always love trying new foods! As much as my blog does not reflect that …

Hello bloggies!

We have a lot to catch up on! After posting Wednesday night I had this bowl of grapes and dried apricots:

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My approach to Thanksgiving was simple: to treat it like any other day. I woke up, had a couple bites of banana and some coffee, and set out for the trail to run. I was very pleasantly surprised to wake up without any soreness from my 6+ miler! I ran an easy 3 miles in about 29 minutes, came home and had this:

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A strawberry Chobz with a cup of Kashi Heart to Heart.

We were supposed to be at my dad’s at noon, a family friend’s right after that, and my aunt and uncle’s at 1:30 to eat at 2 – but my family is never on time. I know that, but I still get anxious and stressed out when they’re late. I knew I had the massive stash of bars I keep in my purse and grabbed a gala as well, since I couldn’t gauge my hunger or eating schedule.

After we left our family friends’, I ate my apple, figuring I would just switch out my lunch and afternoon snack. We didn’t end up eating until 4:30, which was fine since I had eaten. I was full from the apple all afternoon and just had a few random shrimpies before the big meal.

I didn’t take any pictures, but here’s what was on my plate:

  • Spinach and mixed greens salad with olives, shrooms, and yellow pepper
  • Roasted brussel sprouts
  • Roasted parsnips
  • Turkey
  • Mashed winter squash (not sure of the type – when I asked, I got “yellow” as a reply)

Trust me, it was a large meal. For dessert, there was chocolate Tofutti ice cream, vanilla and eggnog ice creams, plus an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. To be honest, I was satisfied with my meal and really didn’t want any dessert, so I didn’t have any.

It was nice to see my family, hang out with their doggies, and talk about Farmville with my cousin, but I wasn’t in the best mood all day. Thanksgiving is nice, but Christmas is by far our family’s (at least, my dad’s side) favorite and biggest holiday. By the time my brother and I got home at 7, I was STARVING – figures. I made pure deliciousness (better than Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps …)

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Corfu pocketless pita, Sabra tzatziki, Veggie Patch falafel balls, and FRANK’S.

Frank’s was a delicious and perfect addition – as it always is.

A little while later, I popped some popcorn with added cayenne and cinnamon and had a hot chocolate.

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Perf!

Although yesterday was Thanksgiving, today was the day that I actually felt like it. As much as I love my extended family, there’s a lot of things that make me anxious at/about family stuff (I’m sure you all understand). My mom, stepdad, and uncle spent the holiday yesterday with my stepdad’s family, so my Mom and I planned to make tonight Thanksgiving in our house!

I took the day off from exercise, and made a delish and light yogurt bowl:

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Last of my plain Chobani with raspberries and some banana + vanilla extract.

Then I picked up one of my best friends who I haven’t seen since AUGUST for lunch at Chef’s Table, where my mom and I had lunch the other day. Today my amazing salad consisted of:

  • Romaine
  • Grilled chicken
  • Kidney beans
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Shredded carrots
  • Fat free balsamic

So amazing. Salads always taste better when someone else assembles and mixes it up for me! I came home intending to do work, but instead I read blogs and watched That 70’s Show all day. Oh well, it was my holiday. I also had a Granny Smith with cinnamon:

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Then I helped my mom start to cook! I peeled tomatoes, rinsed and prepped green beans, and other small things that wouldn’t affect the taste of food if I messed up, considering I burn toast.

The six of us had enough food for my entire dad’s side of the family (20 people). We made:

  • Turkey
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mashed butternut squash
  • Steamed green beans
  • Peas
  • Mashed white turnip
  • Mashed yellow turnip
  • Stuffing
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy

My mom, stepdad, and I had some of this Viognier (white wine) while we were finishing cooking and setting the table. I laughed at the company name, Cono Sur, which apparently comes from the region of Chile the wine is produced in, but I thought was a play on “connoisseur.” ANYWAY, it was pretty good – crisp and fruity, but not overly sweet at all. I also had a splash more with din. My plate had:

  • Turkey
  • Mashed potatoes (I asked my stepdad to make me a small portion of pure potato – no butter or anything mixed in)
  • Butternut
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Yellow turnip

Everything was SO GOOD. My favorite thing is to get a forkful of peas, mashed taters, and turkey all in one – best taste combo for the holidays! The yellow turnip was my favorite dish by far. It has such a great taste and texture, sweet but nutty, chunky but smooth. Yum! Obv went back to seconds this Thanksgiving – of turkey (this time with hot sauce!!), mashed taters, peas, green beans, and turnip). Now I’m super stuffed. I actually can’t remember the last time I felt this full, which is great because I’ve really learned to stop myself from overeating. But, it was a holiday, all delicious and amazing, and all WHOLE foods! Like really, I ODed on veggies – it’s fine. Sadly, we didn’t have any dessert, but since my stomach is carrying a small child of produce, it’s probably not a bad thing. Now that it’s officially Christmas season, I’m sipping some Candy Cane Lane (hoping the green tea jumpstarts my metabolism to relieve the food baby pressure) and watching ELF!! YES – I’ve been dying to watch this all week. Good night!

P.S. My new bangs and I are still trying to work things out – haircut picture when we stop our argument.

Last night, I had a bedtime snack of some unpictured dried apricots.  I’m crediting this smart snack decision with this morning’s best run ever, which included a new PDR – 6.34 miles!

I woke up, tried to talk myself out of running, made some coffee and had half a Chocolate Hazelnut Jocalat bar (camera battery was dead this morning), made a bangin’ playlist, threw on my new Lululemon Wunder Unders and Brisk Run Headband (and a shirt for good measure – long sleeved, to be exact), and drove to the trail intending to do the whole loop of a little over 5 miles.

As usual, I tried talking myself into settling for 3 miles, then at least 4, but as I passed the half-mile mark, I knew I would run the whole valley.  I felt so so good.  My legs and hips felt great, and mentally I was in a glorious place – the place of knowing I was having an amazing run.  I’m sure starting the best run ever with this Lady didn’t hurt either.

Early on, I told myself not to push it – I really have a problem pacing myself.  It’s a learning process that not every run has to be the fastest, that I need easy days too.  Consciously slowing down was a huge factor.

Just after I turned around at the halfway mark, I was thinking how much I want to run 6 miles and when I would be able to do that.  I wondered if my friend Emily would run it with me.  Then I realized that I was having a great run, mentally and physically – so why not just do it today? When I got to the end of my run (the beginning of the trail), I could just turn around and tack on another mile by running to the half-mile marker and turning around again.  Amazingly, I didn’t try talking myself out of it.  I even considered making it 7 miles, but I knew that was pushing it and that I should have brought some extra fuel for 7 miles.

My knees and hips started annoying me around mile 4, but I just kept going.  When I got to the end of the trail, I turned around and did another quick mile. Total = 6.34ish miles in 1:02.

Maybe it’s because it was on a looped route, but it didn’t feel like that big of a deal.  But it is.  But it doesn’t feel like it.  Does that ever happen to you – you reach a new goal and you don’t feel accomplished?

I actually wasn’t hungry for a while when I got back and ended up eating an hour and a half later.  Sometimes exercise does that to me.  I ended up making some yumminess for brunch though:

1 egg + 2 egg whites omelet with spinach and feta with Frank, half an apple on a Pepperidge Farm 7 Grain Deli Flat with cinn

It’s true.  I’m cheating on Arnold with the Pepp.  Stop & Shop only had rye sammie thins left and I’ve been digging the multigrain goodness so I decided to try the deli flats.  I think I’ll go back to Arnold after these are gone.  My omelet was great though – spinach and feta is one of my favorite types!

On our 29823498th grocery shopping trip of the week, I had a hazelnut coffee with skim and Sweet & Low (ew) – I was exhausted all afternoon.  I also sampled some cranberry cheese on a Dr. Kracker.  If only both items hadn’t cost my first born (okay, so $11 and $8, but still).  Major nomminess.

Before dinner I snacked on some grapies and then devoured this amazeballs plate:

Corfu pockletless pita with 4 Veggie Patch falafel balls and Sabra tzatziki, plus sugar snap peas, carrots, and brocc with hummus

Lighting sucks and I was too hungry to maneuver around my house for a decent photo.  First time ever having tzatziki and wondering how I ever dressed my balls without it.  Could have used some Frank’s, but I was too lazy.  Wish the pita had been whole wheat but it was amazing so whatever.  Apparently have become too lazy to use pronouns.

Haircut (to debut later).

Snack:

Siggi’s Plain Icelandic Skyr with Stew Leonard’s Cranberry Fitness trail mix

That trail mix is my favorite, but me and trail mix are a problem.  The problem being that a portion size equals an entire bag.  Luckily, they started making snack packs.  Our love is reignited.  It has peanuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas and maybe cashews and more?  I’m not sure.

Mmmm look how thick!  Like soft serve …

Siggi’s Icelandic Plain Skyr Opinion
Taste:
Tart, tangy, delish.  5/5.
Texture: As thick and creamy as soft serve, fo realz.  5/5.
Fill Factor:
Again, I didn’t eat it alone, but I think alone or with mix-ins, it would be a great snack/large meal, depending on your choice of toppings and hunger level.  4/5.
Ingredients: “Pasteurized skim milk, live active cultures, vegetable rennet.”  As to close to perfect as it could be.  5/5.

I’m hungry again.