WIAW: eliminating the excess (except for margaritas)

Welp it’s hard to believe but it’s Wednesday again! One random thing I’m happy about is that the hump day jokes have stopped for the most part. The camel commercial was funny the first hundred times it was referenced and then it just got tired. One thing that hasn’t gotten old yet? WIAW!

Thanks again to Peas and Crayons for hosting. I can’t wait to check out what everyone’s been snacking on!

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Breakfast

Like I previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to, well, not diet, but make little cutbacks here and there. I think the reason I feel a little heavier since winter is because I spent the duration of those four months making little concessions, like “Oh I can eat a bagel sandwich with cheese and eggs” or I need cream in my coffee on the daily”. And while there’s nothing wrong with those things, I was making more excuses than I was good choices. Soooo I’ve decided that I need to start my day on a lighter note, most days of the week. Insert Kashi cereal. I’ve been topping it with frozen fruit, chia seeds and almond milk. That plus a huuuuge cup of coffee on the side keeps me full just as long as those bagel sandwiches did.

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Lunch

I snacked on some in-shell peanuts in the late morning to hold me over until lunch. Lunch was deliciously delicious as usual because I made my favorite sandwich: hummus and veggies with a slice of swiss cheese. I use Trader Joe’s basil white bean hummus and don’t think I’ll ever get sick of how great it is. It tastes like pesto!

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Fruit salad and sparkling water on the side. Side note: I hate sparkling water. Never again.

Snacks

Snacks throughout the day (before/after dinner) were hard boiled eggs, plain greek yogurt mixed with truvia and blueberries, and a fiber one bar. They’re basically candy and so filling (especially if you put a little peanut butter on them).

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Dinner

For dinner I threw together some leftovers from Easter–frittata!

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I had another slice of frittata after I took this photo because, let’s be honest, I’m not a rabbit. Salad on the side with balsamic dressing.

The best part about yesterday was that I came home from work and Zain suggested we make some margaritas! It was so random for a Tuesday night but we had a ball blending up some pineapple drinks, listening to music and chatting about our days. So much for eliminating the excess, huh?

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So there you have it…margaritas are a superfood and therefore should never be limited.

Questions:

  • What’s the best thing you’ve made to eat lately?
  • Do you like margaritas? Are you convinced they’re a superfood?

 

Easter 2014

Happy Easter Monday! Does anyone have the day off? I have to say that was one of the best parts about going to Catholic school for most of my life…we had such a long Easter break!

Friday was an incredible day – we got an email around noon that the office would be closing at 2:00 for the holiday weekend – a complete surprise! I still had some work to do so I didn’t leave until around 3:00 but it was a beautiful afternoon to be outside. Zain was able to get off early too so instead of heading home for the weekend at night, we were home by 7:00 (just in time for dinner. boom).

What’s the best way to wake up? A run, of course.

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60 degrees and sunny. It was a perfect, albeit slow run. I went out with friends the night before so I wasn’t exactly in prime running condition.

My mom surprised us with a delicious french toast breakfast. I like french toast but I always add eggs on the side too for a protein-packed punch. Solely-sweet breakfasts don’t keep me full for very long.

ImageSaturday was full of shopping for Sunday’s Easter brunch. Zain and I stopped for a drink and some food in the afternoon for no reason other than we just felt like it :)

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I always love the way drinks like that look (so cool, right?!) but I never end up finishing them. But the fried asparagus? I had noooo trouble finishing those. 

We spent Saturday night watching Now You See Me. It was a pretty good movie! Really entertaining, but they really pushed the romance part of it. I don’t understand why movies always have to have a love story…if it doesn’t go with the plot, quit forcing it, people! The magic part of the movie was suuuper cool though.

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Sunday was spent the best way possible: dyeing Easter eggs, going to a beautiful Easter mass, eating lovely brunch food and taking long, slow walks with people I love.

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Instead of a dessert I ended up making a delicious frittata from Daphne Oz’s cookbook Relish. I’ll be sure to share the recipe soon because it was hearty and healthy – full of black beans, monterey jack cheese, shredded potato, and onion and topped with a homemade salsa fresca. 

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From frittata – clockwise: hashbrown muffins, deviled eggs, mini strawberry coffee cakes with orange glaze, hardboiled eggs, strawberry salad with poppyseed dressing, tuna salad, and potato rolls alonside ham and swiss cheese. For dessert we ate more of the coffee cakes and mini cheesecakes that my aunt brought. 

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So. much. great. food.

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It hit 80 degrees yesterday so we enjoyed brunch outside. The great food, mimosas, sunshine and family made it a great day.

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Aaaaand now it’s back to work. But hey, it’s officially spring here so I’m going to enjoy as much time outside as possible. I’m one of the lucky few who gets to walk to work, a little blessing I truly appreciate.

Questions:

  • How was your weekend?
  • What was the best thing you ate all weekend? I could never choose :)
  • Do you like magic shows? I never have but after watching that movie I’m reconsidering!

spring recipes + that time I just kept running

HAPPY FRIDAY! Anyone else feeling particularly sunny this morning?

Happy spring days make me crave country music like no other. I know country music is pretty polarizing – you either love it or you hate it. But I love it and you’re reading my blog so listen or keeeeep scrolling :)

I had such a great night last night! I got off work and knew I needed to go for a run. I rushed home, changed my clothes, and headed out to the lake.

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It was one of those runs where I really pushed myself. Not in speed, but in distance. I set out to run four miles but just kept going! Six miles in the books. It’s exactly what I said a few days ago – get me outside and my running potential soars. And we all know good runs put us in the best mood, so I woke up with a lingering runners high.

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In other random news I’ve moved passed egg sandwiches and am back on the Kashi train. Kashi + tonssss of fruit + chia seeds + almond milk is the way to go in these upcoming spring/summer months.

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And I thought I hid it pretty well that I didn’t shower yesterday but look at that ‘do. Hair errrywhere.

I’m pretty excited for this Easter weekend! It’s going to be so fun to spend the next two days with my family. We have cooking, bowling, and brunch plans so it really doesn’t get much better than that. After hours upon hours of Pinterest-hunting we have our final menu put together, but since I wasn’t able to include all the deliciousness that I found I figured I’d share the recipes with you. If you’re celebrating Easter this weekend or are just in the mood to try out a new recipe, check these out.

Spring Recipes

Cheesecake Fruit Salad

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Carrot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

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Croque Monsieurs

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Creme Brulee Muffins

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Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Frozen Butterfinger Mousse Pie

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Primavera Quiche

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Is your mouth watering yet? Food-centered holidays are the best, aren’t they?

Have a great Friday!

Question:

  • What are your plans this weekend?
  • Do you like country music?
  • Which of these recipes looks the best?

Tomato-Basil & Havarti Grilled Cheese (recipe)

You guys, it would be a sin, a downright sin, if I didn’t share this recipe with you. I’ve never been an easy girl to please in the grilled cheese department. If you hand me some Kraft singles in between Wonder Bread I’ll shoot you a stink eye like none other. That kind of simplicity just doesn’t do it for me. But hey, I’m an American, so of course I love throwing cheese, butter and bread together and calling it a meal. Here’s the quick, easy, and did I mention cheap recipe I threw together last night. PS whatever you do, do not be afraid of Havarti. It tastes like butter. It’s basically a butter and butter sandwich. So just make it.

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Tomato-Basil & Havarti Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Loaf of fresh Italian bread
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 bunch basil (3 leaves per sandwich)
  • Butter
  • 2 slices of Havarti cheese

Directions:

  • Heat skillet to medium heat
  • Soften the butter so it’s spreadable
  • Slice four pieces of Italian bread, about ½ inch thick each
  • Spread the butter on one side of all four pieces of bread
  • Once the skillet is hot, place two slices of bread butter-side down in the pan
  • Layer each piece with the cheese first, then topped with the tomato and three leaves of basil
  • Top the sandwiches with the final two slices of bread, butter-side up
  • Put lid on top to help the cheese melt
  • After about three minutes, check if the bottoms of the sandwiches are crispy and light brown. If so, flip ‘em over!
  • Press down on the sandwiches periodically. It’s not a Panini but the cheese and veggies will mesh perfectly together with just a few nudges
  • Once the other side is light brown and crispy, you’re all set!

I ate my sandwich in two minutes. So there’s that. Enjoy!

Question:

  • What’s your favorite style of grilled cheese? For me, there has to be tomato in there.

let’s talk about foooood

Remember how we’ve been talking about how spring makes you want to eat lots of veggies and lighter foods? Well, I’m definitely not at the point when I wake up every morning jonesing for a spinach smoothie and a kale salad, but I’ve been loving some greens lately! I deserve some credit considering winter seems to have poked it’s head back after a 75 degree weekend. I have no freaking idea how this keeps happening, but yesterday I left work and had to walk home IN THE SNOW. On April 16th. Granted it’s less than an inch but seriously? Seeing white on the ground after a weekend spent playing outside in shorts and a t-shirt isn’t just depressing, it’s downright mind-boggling. I’m not an environment fanatic but these dramatic changes within days is pretty scary. Hopefully spring gets it’s act together asap.

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Moral of the story is, maybe if I keep eating my greens I’ll FORCE spring to come. Yeah, that’ll happen.

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Greens with roasted butternut squash, pecans, apples, craisins, blue cheese, and a white wine vinaigrette

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Omelet with spinach, red pepper flakes and cheddar cheese

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Makeshift salad with black beans, corn, green peppers, tomatoes, avocado and topped with garlic salt and cumin

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My new favorite snack: roasted sweet potato and peanut butter

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Cheese fries – wait, who put that there? Not green in the least but I can never say no to Portillos

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Blueberry banana oatmeal and TJ’s green juice (delicious, by the way)

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Cobb salad with salmon and Mediterranean vinaigrette

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TJ’s Multigrain “Cheerios” with chopped dates

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The best grilled fish tacos I’ve ever had!! Plus tots. The perfect meal

Okay and now I’m HUNGRY. Breakfast time :) Have a great day!

Question:

  • What are you eating for breakfast today? Inspire me!

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get-me-outside plyos workout

In an attempt to shake things up, Zain and I went outside recently to put together a new workout.  I’m pretty good and getting caught up in workout ruts, so having the chance to put together something new was a blast! I felt like Jillian Michaels, Jr.

We wanted to do something short and intense instead of the typical slow, steady sweat session that I sometimes get caught up in. Zain grew up in Texas and played football in high school so needless to say we had a whole arsenal of plyos workouts to choose from. I also have experience with plyos from back in the day when I played varsity basketball and our team would join the football players for their outdoor plyos workouts. I remember being on the football field running ladders and sprints and some of the guys would end up throwing up. Wimps! But it shows you how tough plyos can be.

What are plyos, you ask?

In short, plyos are a type of high-intensity training that taps into energy stored in muscles to encourage muscle development, agility, cardio functioning, stamina, and speed. The exercises require tons of energy in order to perform them, so they torch calories in a short amount of time.

In other words, poor man’s Crossfit.

I love plyos because they really break up the monotony of “hey should I run or go on the elliptical today?” Plus they are perfect for when it’s nice and sunny out and you want people to look at you and your boyfriend skipping in the park wondering what the heck you’re doing.

ImageFeel free to Google any of these exercises, but I think for the most part if you’ve done any team sports in the past you’ll recognize most of the warm ups. Warm up is a pretty lax word here – these exercises are half the workout! Dynamic stretching is great because it allows your body to stretch and move at the same time – it’s one of the key components to true athleticism, because it propels the muscle into an extended range of motion. Feel free to do any types of dynamic movement you want – jump squats, jumping jacks, just something to get your heart rate up and get your body moving.

For the 4 cone drill, we just grabbed 4 objects from the apartment and set them up in a square about 20-30 feet from each other. We then used that square for a bunch of exercises!

  • 4 cone drill: stand in the middle of the four corners and have your partner point to random corners that you have to run to. Return to the center after touching each corner. Make ‘em sweat by telling them the same corner sometimes! Your body won’t be expecting to spring back and forth but the toughness will pay off.
  • 20 yard shuttle run: start in the middle between two “cones” set up about 20 yards between them. Remember the shuttle run from your Presidential fitness test? Recreate the fun! (I say that with total sarcasm because this is my least favorite)
  • 4 corner shuffle: Start in the bottom right corner of a four cone square. Sprint forward to the top right cone. Continue by side shuffling to the top left cone and then back peddling to the back left cone. Shuffle from the back left cone to the back right cone and repeat three times through.

Hopefully those descriptions are easy to visualize – it was a blast and we ended it with a run along the lake. If you’re more of a picture-person here are some awkward photos of me doing the cone drills. Look at our “cones” aren’t we professional?

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Now that spring is pretty much here, try this workout outside! It’s the perfect excuse to get moving and get people to look at you like you’re a crazy person, especially when you’re bounding.

 

 

freeze tag, froyo and beach-dreaming

Alright alright alright! Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s always tough to jump right back into posting about everyday life so let’s just play a quick game of “get you up to speed”. As many of you know I started a new job last week. I still work in public relations as a paid intern, but now at a global agency downtown. Yes, I’m still an intern, but you know what? These days you gotta do what you gotta do. Plus I’m finally getting paychecks after eight months of 9-5 work with no money so who can complain? I certainly can’t, not with this view:

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There are a ton of perks of working in the John Hancock building. For one thing, employees have access to a gym and grocery store. I could basically sleep under my desk and be just fine, no need to leave. And that picture above? That’s North Avenue beach you see. I’m telling you…this summer is going to be pretty perfect. I’m pretty sure working the whole day is a lot easier when you know that there’s a beach waiting for you only a few blocks away. Plus, look how official I look:

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Another perk of this city when the sun finally comes out? Beautiful runs. I’m so happy to report that this will finally turn back into a running blog thanks to the Lake Shore path. I didn’t get much traction on the blog until late in 2013 so I’m sure many of you don’t remember, but I actually do like to run haha. However, I am NOT a treadmill lover. I can knock out maybe four miles on the treadmill before I feel like a hamster on a wheel. So the minute I saw the Lake Shore path full of runners last week, I absolutely HAD to join in. I mean look how beautiful it is?!

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I’ve also been able to spend much more time with Zain and my friends on the weekends now that I’m not working a second job. Weekends are now spent how they are meant to be spent: getting brunch, playing freeze tag, sitting on rooftops, going to trivia nights, drinking fruity drinks, and eating fro yo.

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Of course it’s not all fun and games. Working at an agency as huge as the one I’m at is quite the change from our 10-man team over at my last job. It’s one of those places where you can easily get lost in the shuffle, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for someone like me, someone who is pretty shy until I get to know people on a personal level. In this case I’m going to have to be outgoing from the start in order to even begin to get to know my coworkers. But it’s an opportunity to grow.

Well it looks like rain today, but do we expect anything more from a Monday? I just hope it stops in time for me to get a run in after work, otherwise I have a date with the treadmill. I’m looking forward to this weekend because I’m going home to the suburbs for Easter weekend! We’re having brunch this year (so obviously I’m not disappointed in the least) and I’ve decided what I’m going to contribute:

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The Pioneer Woman’s Individual Key Lime Pies! I had a mini-Food Network binge this weekend and Ree is officially one of my new favorites. I used to be a Giada-fanatic but Ree now has my heart. These little individual pies are adorable and I’m hoping I can find some mini mason jars to put them in. It may be a small family gathering but why not make it as Pinterest-y as possible?

Questions:

  • What’s your favorite spring dessert? I’m all about the citrus once it starts warming up
  • What was the best part about your weekend? Mine had to be the fro yo and biking throughout the city with Zain