You know you are staying at a bachelor pad when…
The only spices/seasonings in the cabinets are salt and pepper.
The only pan for baking is a pizza pan.
The kitchen drawers are filled with wires/cords, pens, paper, and take-out menus.
The only thing in the freezer is a frozen pizza.
There are no kitchen towels or oven mitts.
The spoons are the size of serving spoons.
There are no measuring cups or spoons, but plenty of bottle openers and shot glasses.
All the cookbooks have a note from who it was given from on the first page.
There is no olive oil, vinegar, or other stapes, but there is vodka.
With the lack of what I would call kitchen essentials, I am sticking to quite simple meals these days. There are a few things I’ve picked up, but because we are aren’t in our own place yet, I am waiting for our real move to stock up. Around the holidays, it seems like we will finally be able to pack up all of our apartment goods, to ship west.
Of course there were three things I picked up for my morning steel-cut oats: himalayan pink sea salt, organic vanilla, and organic cinnamon.
The fourth addition…organic canned pumpkin (just one can, I swear).
I don’t know how I remembered to drive west with my chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and the Newman’s Own Organic Berry Blend dried fruit, but not the cinnamon and vanilla.
These strawberry oats were my first attempt without the two, and that morning, I decided that I just couldn’t last these two months without them.
Oh, I have been without my favorite raw almond butter, keeping to peanut butter on my morning bowl. It just isn’t the same. I will probably cave soon.
Ironically, I bought a bunch of these art deco iced tea spoons in Amarillo, TX during the road trip. I love how long iced tea spoons are, they remind me of sundae’s. I don’t think I ever actually used an iced tea-spoon for tea, but they are the perfect spoon size. It is funny to see which spoons V and I choose for soup dinners. I always reach for the smallest so that I can’t savor the flavors longer, and he opts for the largest so that he can get the most in at once.
I don’t know what it is about the California air, but I’ve been all about the hiking and yoga. I admit, part of the reason I started hiking was because it was the only place I could get cell service in Topanga, but the other is the peaceful feeling I have above the city. I can see the ocean and the skyscrapers in opposite directions. The first few hikes left me pretty sore considering they were seriously steep inclines, but I’ve been sure to do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day to stretch out my legs. Rodney Yee’s Ultimate Power Yoga is a great workout. I’ve worked my way up to doing four of the five twenty-minute segments at once. My friend who is out-of-town (and letting us stay here) has the Yoga Burn, which I have yet to try, but am excited for. Although I am missing running dearly, I can tell my knee is not yet healed. Our location in Topanga Canyon makes it almost impossible for me to attempt a run. The first few 4 miles would be all hills and therefore painful, so I am almost grateful that we are this deep in Topanga. The plan is to drive to the water and park along the beach when I feel ready to run again. I can’t wait to run along the coast, it is one of my favorite places to run, with a nice cool breeze and the sound of crashing waves.
For now, I am eating my California Veggie Sandwiches on my Yoga Mat. Okay, not really, but I loved the green on green action. This was a sprouted wheat bagel filled with tofutti cream cheese (without the partially hydrogenated oil), cucumber, avocado, sprouts, and cherry tomatoes.
Yesterday’s was even better with my favorite vegenaise instead of the “cream cheese” and tempeh bacon, a California style BLTA of sorts.
I’ve gone out for Indian and Chipotle (with wardrobe friends and bosses) but haven’t been inspired yet to travel with my camera, especially when meeting a director I may potentially work with. All in all, things are pretty good over here, minus the fact that I missed the Foodbuzz festival over the weekend for work prospects. Sometimes we all need a little reality reminder.
How upsetting is this early darkness caused by Day Light’s Saving…it really is a buzz kill for food photography in the evening. But I wanted to show you an example of the simple dinners I’ve been eating. I used to love eating Macro bowls at Souen when living in NY, and this is a re-creation of sorts. I don’t eat macrobiotic meals that often, but when I do, I feel wonderful after eating them. LA seems to have many macro restaurants as well. Most of them are vegetarian friendly restaurants on my growing LA restaurant list.
-Have you ever tried Macrobiotics? At a restaurant? Cooking yourself? How did it make you feel?
-What is your favorite veggie sandwich combo?
-Do you have any recipes with minimal spices? I am thinking of buying a few for the next month but have such a hard time choosing. So far I am leaning towards curry powder and cayenne. I also love roasting veggies with rosemary and thyme.
I’ve hiked behind our temporary Topanga Canyon home (also happens to be where I get cell service),
I’ve had mexican from the only mexican restaurant in topanga canyon,
I’ve eaten sushi from the overpriced local organic grocer (at least the sushi was cheap),
I’ve sweated out toxins at Yoga Desa
and followed the class with “The Best Veggie Burger Ever” from Waterlily cafe (the chipotle vegenaise sauce…died).
Have I gone for a run. I am still treating myself well and every day I have to tell myself this.
After all, it is pretty refreshing to wake up and look out the window to this.
I’ve never heard this much wildlife in my life. Each morning, I hear an incredible amount of birds, squirrels dropping nuts on the roof, and then scurrying into the trees.
I hike up to the top of the mountains and it is just me and the lizards, birds, and bugs. After being pent-up in our Detroit Loft when not working this past year, I heard no wildlife, just the sound of the slow-moving train. My body is still on east coast time so I have no problem waking up with the rest of the living creatures in Topanga Canyon. Each day, I’ve been sitting on the porch with my morning bowl of steel-cut oats (still searching for raw sprouted buckwheat). I am sure things will soon start to get hectic, but for now, I am soaking it all in.
Of course, it is now 9:30pm and I feel like it is past midnight. Instead of curling up in bed, I’m heading out for my third night of Topanga Mexican food (talking business with a former boss-fingers crossed).
I promise I’ll venture out for some more Veggie meals in LA soon. Vegan Mofo is still fresh in my mind (Happy 4th Day!), and I’m compiling a list of places I hope to visit for the special vegan month of food. Here is what I’ve come up with so far:
le pain quotidien (Lynn wrote about the Avocado, Chickpea, Alfalfa Sprouts and Tahini Tartine and I am dying to try it)
-Do you have any LA vegan food suggestions? It doesn’t have to be vegan only, but vegan friendly would be lovely.
I am usually a fan of the fashion choices of miss Gwyneth, but when I saw her in the Proenza Schouler pre-fall ensemble at the premiere of “Two Lovers,” I was not too sure about the fit of her bottom half. Yesterday, Fashion Indie beat me to the runway to real way, and I would have to agree with her opinion on this outfit choice. We all know Gwyneth does a wonderful job of taking care of her physique. I have even mimicked her routine on occassion. For a more hands on way to experience some workouts from her trainer, Tracy Anderson, click here. The lower body moves are pretty great.
Getting back to some pre-fall clothes; here are a few of my favorites.
rag & bone
I love the return of the flare and the small and delicate peaked shoulders in the burberry. The slouchy but tailored fit of the chloe purple jacket and high-waisted pants looks effortlessly put together. I also loved the pleated minis from proenza and those suede shoes, love! The bomber would look great with all bottoms from skinny jeans to some super wide legs. I am always a fan of the belted cardigan and I have yet to actually wear my super-long gloves. Rag & Bone is a continuous favorite of mine. They always construct such clean and simple garments like this vest which I think I would want to wear with some of those burberry flared trousers. New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2009 has officially begun, happy fashion week!
p.s. the vegan Candle Cafe chocolate mousse pie was out of this world and I will try to photograph the part which hasn’t already been consumed today.
There have been times in the past where I have kept right up to date with all that is going on in the fashion world. My younger sister, the budding fashion designer, is a great resource, letting me know what check out on style.com when I am in need of a little runway recap. She is really on top of her game and I have definitely fallen behind, almost entirely missing the recent Spring 2009 Runway Collections. Cathy Horyn’s New York Times Runway Reviews are another fabulous resource I resort to often. She is not afraid to bash the usual favorite fashion houses. A few weeks ago she wrote on two of my ultimate favorites, Dries Van Noten and Jil Sander. In order to read up on the New York Times website, I recommend getting a free online account. Be sure to check out T Magazine, the style guide. The videos are just too good to be true and feature some of my favorite men: the actor Matthew Goode, Lanvin’s designer Alber Elbaz, and Third Rock From the Sun’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am also always a fan of Tara Parke-Pope’s Well blog and Mark Bittman’s Bitten blog.
But no worries, I will be sure to write up a fashion post sometime in the near future.
Looking through my iphoto earlier, a little nostalgia came to surface when I saw that this rather silly photo taken of me exactly two years ago from today. Oh how I miss living in the Netherlands…
As you see, I am an avid water drinker, especially while at the bar between glasses of wine. The little light weight in me knows how to make it through a night of drinking.
Another Amsterdam photo where I am in one of my favorite seasonal hats. The expression on my sister’s face is priceless. This was when my family came to visit me for Thanksgiving.
When it was finally time to say goodbye to my parents, my mother almost got stuck on the train with me as she gave me one last hug. She had a few tears streaming down her cheeks and it was a beautiful moment in my life. She didn’t want to leave me!
Some other things that I have been of interest recently from the foodie world:
I have been eating a lot of these ravioli, the Spinach Florentine and Garlic & Roasted Veggies version to be more specific. One other vegan variety I have yet to try is the Mediterranean Garlic & Herb. One day I will make the Sweet Potato Ravioli with Tofu Ricotta from one of my favorite new blogs, Method.
Part of me is waiting until I graduate to venture into new food areas such as baking bread, even if it can be as simple as this.
There has always been a soft spot in my heart for Williams-Sonoma. It was one of the catalogs I never wanted my mother throw out growing up, and I would read through it creating a mental checklist of all the items I hoped to someday possess. Fall is the perfect time to head over to the store and I did on Thursday. A panini press will be on my Christmas list this year. After reading about the love for Pumpkin butter on multiple blogs, I had to buy my own. Although I was planning on heading over to Trader Joe’s for a less costly one, I couldn’t help but snatch this up the second I saw it. The Pecan Pumpkin butter was fabulous mixed with some greek yogurt, kashi golean, and almond butter for breakfast. Next I will try it with oats or simply as a spread on my favorite hearty ezekiel english muffins.
Another Williams-Sonoma food item I aim to recreate myself is the Apple Orange Cranberry Relish. It can’t be too difficult, right?
Sunday is dedicated to apple picking (and studies) and probably apple chips.
I must admit I always felt that Cook’s Illustrated looked a little too old fashioned for my taste, however. recipes like the Creamy Creamless Tomato Soup make me want to get a subscription immediately, or maybe just an online one.
Tomorrow I have a personal training appointment and I told the trainer that I like to be sore after I worked out muscles I’ve been accidentally avoiding working out. It shall be interesting to see how tough she is on me. With running races out of the picture recently, I am a little antsy with my workouts. If the plan she makes me is of interest to anyone, I will be sure to post it. The core is probably one of my favorite areas to work out (apart from running) and I could definitely add new moves into my current strength regimen. I am also hoping to go to a heated yoga class tomorrow afternoon for a relaxing Saturday cardio session and some time off of the elliptical. This is only if I am not already completely fatigued from personal training. We shall see. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!
*Sorry for not including new photos, I cannot find my camera charger. I think it may be in storage. Oh, no!
It happens to be one of those gray days here in Boston today and I can’t say I mind it one bit. With a busy day ahead, I decided it was the perfect occasion to get in a few miles before the city wakes up. Standing in the courtyard outside my apartment building, I took in the fresh air and memories flew into my head of High School Cross Country camp. Running twice a day may seem crazy to some but there is nothing better than enjoying two of what I consider to be the best times of the day, early morning and early evening. My former coach would pile us into a van and head out to a park with wood chip trails and dew still on the grass. I missed the paths and tree lined dirt roads of the Midwest. I missed my best friends who I told my deepest and darkest secrets as we ran mile after mile. I wondered how I could make it all come back or maybe just recreate it to the best of my ability. Although it is only August, I could smell the Fall approaching as I ran along the Charles river at seven this morning. The drizzle began as I finished my the last few strides and I remembered something one of my best friends and high school teammate said to me.
“The perfect weather for running is when it looks like it might rain.”
Early September will bring about a change in my current environment. Moving outside of the inner city of Boston, I will be going back to the suburbs for my last few months of college. Of course I will be returning to the city for class everyday but still I can’t help but feel a small amount of excitement for the parks, paths, trees, dirt roads, and early morning runs.
Being injury prone since my young start, I was eager to buy this book about the famous FIRST approach to training. Published my Runner’s World, it had to be a respectable purchase and it has made me think about my health and fitness in a new light. Recommended workouts in the book insist on quality over quantity to insure you steer clear of overuse injuries by focusing on less runs a week. My injury of choice (not really choice, but you know what I mean) is the shin splint, which develops into stress fractures. It can be caused by too much too fast which I assumed was the first reason they started about eight years ago, but because they have come back over and over again, I know it is just something I will be dealing with forever. Knock on wood right now though, I am safe so far this summer. One trick I learned from a former captain is to use a dixie cup (not exactly green friendly, I know). Fill up a few cups with water and pop them in the freezer. After a tough workout, rub the mouth of the ice filled cups up and down your shins and as they melt, peel away the sides. The way the ice forms to your leg is great and I have relied on it for injury prevention. Trust me, it feels much better than an ice bath.
The post run fuel was a half a small tortilla with almond butter, half a banana, flax meal, and a small amount of agave nectar. My advice is to think of food before and after your run as fuel. The ideal ratio of carbs to protein after an endurance sport is four to one. Maybe I don’t always stick with it but I try my best. Honestly, the best way to reach this ratio is with yogurt (try these) or milk (almond for me), cereal (with protein and fiber-KASHI), topped with berries and half a banana. The muscles need this to recover properly and you are doing more harm than good if you skip a post workout snack. These are just some tips that have proven to work with me over the years.
Stretching in the gym this morning, I caught Matt Lauer talking about Michael Phelps’ 200 meter freestyle win last night. In a short interview after the swim, he said he didn’t feel that well but that definitely didn’t hinder his performance. What an amazing athlete he is.
One last photo to close with is another to prepare for my Martha’s Vineyard arrival on Friday…
Here I am sailing on Lake Tashmoo with two of my cousins, Tom and Dinah. Early High School I wore this red bikini all summer. I wonder where it is…
As I jumped into the elevator this morning I heard someone getting out giving his friend some advice.
“The secret to weightloss is cutting carbs.”
The girl replied, “I just can’t do that.”
I wanted to scream “You don’t have to!”
Instead, I went upstairs to make french toast, one of the best pre-run meals in my opinion. I was incredibly lucky to have a mother who made french toast for breakfast often and well into high school. This morning, I decided to try a recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch (written by those tough-love vegans). Collecting cookbooks is the easy part, but actually cooking most of the recipes is a true task. There are quite a few books piling up on my amazon wishlist.
Instead of posting a recipe that is not created by moi, I searched via web for a way of sharing it with you. Strangely enough, I found it on the Ellen recipe database, and here it is: Pecan Crusted French Toast.
Although the photograph doesn’t serve them justice, they were really delicious. The tough part was trying to get the chopped pecans to stick to the dipped bread, and I almost have failed to do so. Next time, as in tomorrow, I will use the leftover almond milk mixture but dip the bread into a shallow bowl of shredded coconut.
Returning back to the topic I started with, I think that quick fixes for fitness and weight loss are quite silly if you resort to eating poorly after a brief stint with a diet. Instead, it is really important to be motivated by eating healthy and to look for inspiration for working out and keeping fit. Here are a few quotes that get my legs running:
“Running is one of the best solutions to a clear mind.”
“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
Lastly, since this post is already pretty scattered. I will leave you with some of my favored writing resources:
These collections of feature articles range from The Atlantic Monthly to GQ.
The Elements of Style is a classic given to me by my aunt. It really helps with all issues from grammar to principles of composition. In Jeffrey Steingarten’s, The Man Who Ate Everything, he brings you along in his journey to become the food editor for Vogue.
The images in my edition of The Elements of Style are beautiful.
Shoes will be the topic of discussion tomorrow. Happy Monday.
The last of the swiss chard had to be eaten tonight.
A post-run dinner is always a leftover or something extremely quick and easy to prepare. I marinated tofu for thirty minutes after pressing it dry with paper towels and a heavy cookbook for an hour. The constant craving for asian flavors wasn’t going away any time soon. I had this marinated tofu served with chard, water chesnuts, and shiitake mushrooms. I would double the marinade for vegetables added next time and add 1/2 of the sauce with cornstarch and water to the pan while cooking.
Simple Soy-Agave Marinade
2T soy sauce
1 ½ t rice vinegar
T agave nectar
½ t sesame oil
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
Slice half of a 14 oz package of extra firm tofu in half and reserve half for later use. Cut tofu into one-inch cubes and place in whisked marinade. Refrigerate tofu in marinade for thirty minutes. Heat medium pan and one tablespoon of sesame oil (peanut or canola work well too) on medium-high heat. Sauté for two minutes each side, until browned. Serve with stir-fried vegetables and eat immediately. (serves 2)
Broccoli (broccolini or broccoli rabe)
Toasted Sesame Seeds
I am excited about this right now:
Recently I have been focusing on running injury-free. After years of shin splints resulting in stress fractures, I know that I have overdone my training too many times. One workout to rely on is the Tempo Run. This run, focusing on intensity would be an 8 out of 10 on exertion level. It is believed that tempo runs should be a slower mile warm up, 2-4 miles at tempo pace, and a nice one mile cool-down at an easy pace. The tempo run increases your lactate threshold level, which challenges your capacity to keep a faster speed for a longer amount of time. Instead of trying to run farther every time, try a fartlek or tempo run next time.
There are many things I love about breakfast. My most memorable breakfast occasions occur at my summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. It has been years since I have picked fresh blueberries while walking down the mile dirt road that separates my extended family from the town of Vineyard Haven. Another pathway called blueberry trail for that reason alone is a boardwalk that stretches from the road to the beach. The blueberry pancakes we have been made from these berries over the years have to be the best that I’ve ever had. I am sure everyone has at least one delicious breakfast memory. What are some of yours?
OK, before you question why this pancake looks burnt, I have to let you know that the secret ingredient is cocoa powder. Erica’s blog, Sweet Eats, keeps my stomach growling for pancakes, waffles, and french toast. I decided to make her Triple Chocolate Indulgence pancakes with a few modifications (lack of ingredients) and wow, I was truly full. This recipe was chock full of ingredients from the flax meal to the almond butter. The recipe called for chocolate hemp milk, however I only had vanilla almond milk, so I suppose my pancakes were only Double Chocolate Indulgence pancakes. The other modification was that I added a tablespoon of coconut flakes and decreased the almond butter to one tablespoon. These were the perfect way to satisfy my chocoholic cravings. There are two pancakes left for another serving tomorrow, can’t wait. Yes, I ate these for dinner but don’t worry I had a veggie filled lunch.
This is a simple salad of an organic spinach and romaine blend, chopped tomato, julienned carrots and raw zucchini, and one quarter of an avocado dressed with a homemade balsamic dijon vinaigrette. I just mixed a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of dijon mustard. I was in a hurry to fit in a few miles before it began to rain, so I paired the salad with butternut squash soup from Pacific Natural Foods. The butternut is the only vegan soup if anyway was interested in trying it. Before I began this vegan adventure, I did enjoy the roasted red pepper and tomato soup and I plan on making my own vegan recipe soon.
SOME WORKOUTS FOR YOU:
Here is a good slideshow for anyone interested in weight training, specifically your arms. It has always been a struggle for me to keep muscle in my arms but I feel it is truly important to work on strength training. In high school, I was always very slim and weak in my upper body, but just two to three times a week over the past few years in college has really paid off. Here are a few other favorite moves for both the upper and lower body:
- The Quadraped (called the Bird Dog in the video below) works your abs and butt (glutes) at the same time.
- This video by an elite runner, Josh Cox, shows a typical workout I include in my routine: planks, push ups, and a pelvis/hip lift that works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
- The Scissor Ab crunch or bicycle is my go-to ab workout. I do this at least three times a week. It may be best to start with three sets of twenty but try to make your way up to 60. Also, try not move too fast because that is why regular crunches don’t often work.
- The Reverse Crunch flattens your lower ab muscles but make sure not to use your arms on the ground to lift your body.
- Triceps are definitely one of my favorite muscles and the Tri dip, also called the chair dip, is one move I have been doing since I was a freshman in high school with my Cross Country running team. Put all the weight in your arms, not your thighs and glutes.
At the GYM:
- The Cable Press-down is great if you have a machine with the rope attachment. This is another Tricep move.
- The Lat Pull-down for back strength helped me over the years with soreness I have had from running with my arms too high causing a sore back and upper shoulders.
- The Leg Curl with a stability ball is great. It is similar to the hip lift I mentioned earlier and its extra difficult when you lift your pelvis with your abs as high as you can. When I first began this workout I would shake because my hamstrings were too weak. Try to move up from one set of ten reps to three sets of ten.
- The Tricep Extension here uses a band but you can also use a weight. I do this at home with a ten pound dumbbell.
- Another back move is the Back Extension. It is important not to go past straight when you are moving back up. If you go too far, you may be sore the next day in your lower back. You can also do it on a stability ball.
As of now, this is my basic strength routine. I do not put much emphasis on lower body moves because I run so often. I hope you can try some of these. Let me know if you have a favorite gym move that you think I should try.