August 2012 archive
I attempted to make Tina‘s Two-Ingredient pancake for breakfast today, but it didn’t end up looking much like hers.
It tasted okay (I forgot how sweet grilled banana is!), but I don’t think I’ll be making it again….I’d prefer a regular scrambled egg and banana on the side.
My coffee hit the spot today though. And still, it’s always fun to try something new.
Tried any new recipes lately?
On Sunday, my cousins from New Jersey were in town, so my parents hosted a bbq with a few other family members.
I said I wouldn’t post photos unless I told everyone they would be on the blog, so you’ll have to settle for a drinks photo (yes, they still drink soda…)
I baked cookie brownies and my mom made an amazingly delicious lemon-raspberry cake that I just had to share with all of you. If you like lemon desserts, you really should try this.
Lemon-Raspberry Cake (from Sunset Magazine, not my recipe, I just cut and pasted it here)
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup lemon curd
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 3/4 cups raspberries (about 18 oz.)
- 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9- by 13-in. baking pan. In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, salt, vanilla, yogurt, milk, and lemon curd until mostly blended.
- 2. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder to bowl and beat until smooth. Spread half of batter in pan and scatter half of raspberries on top. Gently spread remaining batter over berries. Scatter remaining berries on top.
- 3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour; if cake begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil. Let cake cool about 1 hour, then dust lightly with powdered sugar.
I have three days left of staycation week.
Noooooo…….don’t ever end!! It’s been interesting being around all week and changing my normal routine—
Here are some things I’ve noticed from being off work and bumming around the City all week–
1) There are a LOT of people hanging out at coffee shops during the day and bumming around the city like me. Do they work? Work from home? Did they made a ton of money from a start-up and retire at age 25? Or are they just taking a few days off work like me? What’s their story…so curious.
2) I learned that not having to sit in the car for 2+ hours every day makes me incredibly less stressed. I start getting anxious just thinking about commuting. Ugh.
3) I learned that I wake up at 6:30am on the dot even when I don’t have to. And that a 20 minute nap int he middle of the day makes me feel amazing.
4) I learned that even when I’m not at work, I still get hungry for lunch at 11am.
5) Charlie sleeps a lot during the day (I mean, I always knew this, but I’m not usually around him for a full week 24/7.)
6) Wearing yoga pants or shorts all day every day is really, really nice.
7) Getting a haircut, manicure, or going to the gym is MUCH less crowded if you go at 1pm on weekday rather than after work or on the weekends. I guess that’s obvious, but it’s been so nice to experience this.
8) The house gets much more messy when I’m home all day. I already had to vaccum three times.
9) There’s really nothing on tv during the day.
10) Sometimes, it’s hard to fully relax. I found myself filling my day with all sorts of things and actually had to force myself to lay on the couch for most of the day and not think about anything.
Maybe most of these were obvious, just what’s going through my head on this Friday morning.
All in all, it’s been a wonderful week. Today’s plans include the beach and happy hour downtown (which I never get to do because of commuting and dinner out). We’re going down to LA for the day on Sunday, but sticking around Saturday and Monday.
Happy Labor Day! Enjoy the last weekend of summer!
– What’d you learn this week?
– Are you good at relaxing?
– Do you like lemon desserts? Any good recipes?
– Labor Day plans?
And just like that, August is practically over and summer 2012 is coming to a close. I really like autumn and all, but I wouldn’t mind if summer stretched out a little bit longer. I’m still in the middle of my staycation though and enjoying every second of sunshine, so no complaints by me.
It’s Wednesday, so don’t forget to check out Jenn and all the other fab WIAW posts!
Today’s WIAW is a day of MINI MEALS! Some days, I tend to eat 4 or 5 mini meals scattered every 3 hours or so. Do you do that? Or do you eat 3 big meals?
My day….(this is from Tues)
6:30AM- I woke up hungry and craving veggies, so made a green smoothie (kale, banana, cherries/blueberries).
Sorry, I tried but I just couldn’t make my smoothie look appetizing
7:30AM- SWIM! Then short dog walk (with still wet hair)
9:30AM- Coffee and a greek yogurt mixed with unsweetened cocoa powder (whcih doesn’t really have any taste, but I still put it in sometimes). I ate this in bed while reading a book. Ahh, love staycations.
What’s on your nightstand?
12:30PM Lunch #1. Ezekiel toast with earth balance, avocado and salt. A sparkling water.
3:30PM- Lunch #2. Rice cracker with almond butter and jelly. An orange.
7PM: Dinner. Salmon, brussel sprouts, and a salad.
A handful of chocolate chips to end the night…….And that’s it!
– What’s on your nightstand? Clock? Book? Photo? Nothing?
– Do you tend to eat 3 meals or 5 mini meals?
– What’d you eat for dinner?
– Doing anything summery in the next few days?
The house in the background look familiar?
We spent a few hours at the Full House park, catching some sun. Charlie met a dog friend and they chased each other around for quite a while….the other owner and I were thrilled that they were tiring each other out. Like promised, I didn’t change out of yoga pants yesterday. I call that a good day.
I did manage to make this hefty lasagna though. Someone (aka the Ironman I live with) is working out a ton and not eating much lately, so I thought some “man food” was in order. Recipe coming in another post.
And now to talk about happiness…………
I was reading an article on happiness the other day from Prevention Magazine (I think Julie of PBFingers posted the link) and found it really interesting. The article was about the science behind what makes us happy. They equated happiness with a deep contentment for life. And not surprisingly, it isn’t about close relationships, money (duh), or a career success.
Here’s what they said about the three things that make for happiness:
“One is the pleasant life, full of pleasure, joy, and good times. The second is the engaged life, in which you lose yourself to some passion or activity, experiencing what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, calls flow. And the third is the meaningful life: It may not have many high moments or blissful immersions, but it is packed with purpose.”
These three things are rather simple, but reading it made me think. Bringing joy into our lives, the little moments like laughing. Engaging and really living, not just standing to the side analyzing or going through the motions. And then there’s having a purpose. I really agree with the last one– the times in my life when I felt the most purpose, I felt the most happy. I’m happy, but I think I don’t have enough faith in my own purpose at the moment. And I don’t think I lose myself and fully engage enough either– I’m way too focused on just getting things done and going through the motions (aka, get through the workday, make food as fast as I can so I can get to the next thing on my to-do list, etc).
Easy to engage in the moment when you’re playing on the beach at sunset
Anyways, they also had an interesting article in April about Everything You Know About Happiness is Wrong. Check it out.
I like reading articles like this because more often than not, they encourage me to stop the rat race and remember to focus on the things that matter. That these are the things that truly count. They encourage me to keep finding that purpose, to fully engage when I can, etc.
–What do you think? Secrets to Happiness?
–Do you agree with the three things they mentioned about being the most important thing to deep contentment in life?
– Do you like reading articles like this?
It was America’s Cup weekend! America’s Cup is the big sailing race (duh, I’m sure you’ve heard about it) and it took SF by storm this weekend. There’s been buzz about the race for at least a year and everyone (ok, maybe not everyone…but def me) was excited to watch it. This weekend was the semi-finals and then they’ll come back in April for the finals.
It was totally exciting! I went on Saturday. We walked down to Chrissy Field and easily found a seat on the beach, right near the start of the race.
The Bay was filled with boats, both the America’s Cup boats, the race officials’ boats, and then individuals who wanted to get a close-up view of the race.
Oracle’s team has won in the past and they were, of course the favorite. Italy’s team was sponsored by Prada, which I thought was kinda cool and so italian.
The race started with a gunshot and holy moly, they were going SOO fast. These two were neck and neck in the beginning.
See Alcatraz in the background?
They disappeared out-of-sight to go down the Bay for a bit, but came back to view for the end. I should have looked up the rules before because I wasn’t sure exactly what they were doing, but oh well.
So we sat and watched for a while. Charlie was being good.
As long as I bribed him with treats, of course
These Trader Joes’ treats are pretty good– the ingredients are “real” (no animal byproducts- gross!) and pretty natural. They’re a little dry, but for an oragnic dog treat, you can’t beat $2.99. He was happy with them, to say the least.
And then finally, when we got so cold, we couldn’t sit there any longer, we we finally left. I hear the race on Sunday was much warmer. Oracle won.
I always wanted to learn how to sail. I sailed a little at camp and took a class in my town, but sailing wasn’t very big where I grew up so there weren’t that many opportunities. It looks like so much fun to be out on the water with the wind in your face like that!
And then because I feel the need to include a food photo…
My wild-and-crazy Saturday night was spent eating Japanese food delivery (sashimi, miso soup, and seaweed salad) and watching a movie with my sis.
We were way overdue for a sisters’ night, and it was a lot of fun.
And now for my first day of stay-cataion!!!!!!
– Do you know how to sail? And if so, where’d you learn?
– Have you ever watched a sailing race?
– If you have a dog, what kind of treats do you feed them?
Friday. I’ve been seriously counting down the days since Monday. I’m taking all next week off for a stay-cation. It was a last minute decision, but I have too many vacation days saved up (I have no idea how that happened! I feel like I’ve been going away a lot lately) and they won’t all carry over when the fiscal year starts Sept 1…hence the last week of August vacation.
I need it. I’m ridiculously burnt out. My desk at work looks like something out of the TV show Hoarders. I haven’t blow-dryed my hair in over 2 weeks. And no matter how many hours I sleep at night, I always feel like an exhausted mess during the day.
photo from Folsom…pretty, huh?
I don’t handle stress very well. The last 8 weeks have been super stressful at work, but I think I made it even more stressful than necessary because I just tend to be a worrywart, over think the little things sometimes, and take some of my stress home with me (aka, the night before a big work event, I can’t think about anything but the event, can’t relax, etc).
It’s a really bad habit. This constant state of stress lately is so unhealthy. Even though I plan to spend vacation week hanging out in yoga pants, watching the Today show, and getting some extra workouts in at the gym…I think I need more permanent stress solutions because I know me and this feeling is bound to return. Yoga, exercise, and sleep help. So does accepting and letting go (things I have trouble with). But what other things do you do to relieve stress and make sure that you don’t bring work/school stress home with you at the end of the day? Or is is just inevitable during certain extra-busy times of the year?
Curious what you guys do. Enough about that though.
On a lighter, IT’S FRIDAY note. I saw a fun survey on a couple blogs this week (and we all know how I love blog surveys) and I felt like sharing this one.
Here we go:
Thin crust pizza or Deep Dish Pizza?
Thin crust. Deep dish is just too heavy, I don’t feel good after I eat it.
Cake or Brownie?
I’d probably pick cake because I love the frosting, but I make amazing brownies. It’s my one signature dessert. If you ever need to-die-for brownie recipe, email me.
Mexican or Italian?
Mexican! Burritos, soft tacos, guacamole, enchiladas…..I love so many Mexican dishes! We have so many good buritto shops in SF that I think I’m extra spoiled.
Chips or Fries?
Fries! I used to not like chips, but Jared eats a lot of them, so I started snacking on them with him occasionally and they’ve grown on me. But at the end of the day, I’ll take sweet potato fries (dipped in tons of ketchup) any day!
Strawberries or Blueberries?
Blueberries, of course. You’re not surprised about that one, I’m guessing.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. But I am trying to drink more green tea throughout the day.
Chicken or Steak?
Chicken. I do like the occasional good steak once in a while. And even though this isn’t an option, I would really pick fish anyday over the other two.
Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?
Dark. Esp dark chocolate covered almonds.
Almond Butter or Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter. I’m trying to like almond butter more (there’s the whole- peanuts are legumes and not that easy to digest thing…..and I get a lot of stomach aches, so think it might help), but I still love peanut butter so much. Apples and pb, celery & pb, graham cracker & pb, banana & pb, carrots & pb, rice cracker & pb…..you name it, I love it. Crunchy, no added sugars or salt, please.
Pb on a rice cracker….love that breakfast
Apple or Orange?
Orange. It’s funny, my friend and I just had this conversation on Monday. She’s apples all the way. But I’m really into oranges these days.
Ok, I love reading your answers soooo…..
– Have you ever taken a stay-cation?
– Mexican or Italian? Apples or Oranges? (or answer another one)
– Is stress just inevitable sometimes? Or do you have some good de-stress advice?
– Do you think you stress more than necessary often? (like me) or are you good about letting go and managing your stress.
It’s Wednesday and I didn’t do a WIAW post. I meant to– but yesterday, I completely forgot to take any photos of my lunch or snacks…and so by the time dinner rolled around, I didn’t even bother. Whoops. Hate missing it, but I guess there are worse things.
By here’s the jist of it this week— I’m back into my green smoothie kick.
I’m loving kale salads for lunch with Annie’s Goddess dressing (holy amazing-ness).
Every day at work, I stop for a fudgesicle break. I got these at Whole Foods the other day and they are the best afternoon chocolate snack.
And dinners have been all over the place. Tonight’s will hopefully involve some quinoa.
In other news…..
My goal in August was to have a more regular schedule at the gym. And I know it’s only the 23rd and too early to say I’m sucessful, butttttt….I will say so far, so good! I’ve been sticking to yoga on Monday nights (liking it more each time…I wasn’t a huge fan of the teacher at first, but she’s growing on me). Tuesday mornings, I swim in the pool. The post-dinner yoga to pre-breakfast swim though isn’t giving me much energy…next week I need a snack or something inbetween. And Wednesday mornings I tried a Zumba class…..but it ended at 7:15 and made me too late to work, so instead I just try for 30 minutes on the elliptical. The rest of the week isn’t as scheduled, but I manage to get in another 3 workouts between Thurs and Sun. All in all- it feels more like a schedule, it’s de-stressing, and I’m happy about it.
So at yoga this week, we did this weird thing where we breathe out of our noses, one nostril at a time (yes, weird I know)….AND I discovered that it’s sooo much easier for me to breathe out of my right nostril. It’s like my left is clogged or something. Really weird. Try it.
Workwise, I got a raise today! Our fiscal year starts Sept 1, so I had my annual review today. It’s not a ton…and will probably allow me enough for an extra cup of coffee every month, but hey, no complaints here.
And, here’s a creepy photo of me. Not sure what’s up with my hair or extra big forehead— I took it when I was bored/tired/relaxing in Folsom over the weekend. BUT just showing you– I have a ton of freckles! Most people who only see farther-away photos of me don’t realize. But I have a lot, not just in the summertime, and they’re not going away.
Speaking of my weekend in Folsom….I left my hair straightener in the hotel room. Major bummer! I use it everyday– not to make my hair super straight– but just to look more put together. Still hoping to find it somewhere.
– Have you ever left anything in a hotel room?
– Do you have any freckles?
– Do you have annual reviews or your job or not?
– Yoga? You go regularly, occasionally, or never?
Hey peoples! My weekend in Folsom was really nice. I didn’t have very high expectations, but it ended up far exceeding all of them. We pretty much spent two days at the lake….doesn’t get better than that.
The race (a half-ironman) was at a really pretty spot. And T1 and T2 were at the same places, so I didn’t have to move around much to see Jared pass by. The day started early (of course), but it was already 72 degrees at 5:30am.
The swim, bike, and run all went well. Jared did awesome, esp considering he had been so sick these past 3+weeks.
I played the part of good spectator. Took lots of pics.
Read a book and layed in the sun
And just hung out….which was really nice, because I was still exhausted from the week and feeling a like I was starting to get sick. It was sunny and nice out.
Sorry, I think I played with the coloring of this photo too much, but….oh well.
And Sunday was more lake, plus brunch and pooltime with one of my college friends who lives nearby. Ahhh, a relaxing day. We kept saying how much the weekend felt like SUMMER finally…I think it’s because SF is too cold to seem like real summer. During the 2 hours driving home, the tempatrue dropped a whopping 40 degrees. It was 95 in Folsom….and by the time we got to SF, it had fallen to 55. Yikes.
Oh yeah, and the weekend included Mexican food. Enormous plates of Mexican food, that is. YUM!
And a margarita, of course. But that photo must have gotten eaten by the camera.
Ok, weekend over. Have to go back to work.
– When’s the last time you ate Mexican food?
– Any lakes near you?
– What was the temp where you live this weekend?
Friday Friday Friday! I am so excited. I have the day off (we’ve worked so much the past few weekends and evenings, that we closed the office today) and really needed a 3-day weekend. We’re off to Folsom for another race. It’s HOT there…and there’s not much to do except sit by the pool (which is fine by me!).
In other news….
This week, my parents were out of town…again….so I house-sat for a night (they were gone a week, but I just slept there once, and got the mail, did laundry, etc). I took the nicest evening walk that helped my stress go away! The ‘burbs are so much more peaceful than the city.
House-sitting also meant that I got to raid their fridge. I love doing that because they alays have much different things in there than I do…and I usually find something really good! They’re pretty healthy, but keep enough treats that I know I’ll always be able to find some chocolate in there.
This time around, I made a top 5 from of my fridge finds:
1) Chocolate Almond Butter– YUM! It tastes like nutella. I can’t buy this at home because I would put it on everything and it would be gone in a day.
2) Salted Caramel Sauce from Williams Sonoma– I actually bought this for my mom because she loves salted caramel…but this was the first time I got to taste it. DELICIOUS! I ate a spoonful…but I guess you’re supposed to put it on something…not necessary, it’s delish on it’s own. I just saw something like this at Trader Joe’s too.
3) Bacon Chocolate Peanut Butter– This one’s def different. I wasn’t that surprised to see it in the fridge though because my dad’s a peanut butter-aholic….loves bacon…and chocolate’s just an added bonus. I tasted it…Yuck. You could taste the bacon and to me, it just doesn’t go with pb. But I’m guessing some of you bacon-lovers out there might really love it. (and since the jar looks 3/4 gone…I’m assuming he likes it too). (feel free to comment on this, dad
4) Olallieberry Jam- Olallieberry might be my favorite word ever. And the jam’s pretty darn good too. It’s the same company as that apricot one they gave me a few weeks ago. I spread this on my toast in the morning and it was delish.
(this is technically a freezer, not a fridge find….)
5) That chocolate coconut ice cream that I featured on my WIAW post this week.
Oh my goodness. Thankfully there was only about a serving left because it was addictingly delicious! I would buy this in a heartbeat (and probably will!)
So fun to have open access to other people’s fridges. When I used to babysit as a teen, I’d love making dinner for the kids because I’d get to use their foods (and stuff I probably didn’t have at my own house). You too? Or is that weird?
And…my parents out of town meant that my “dog sitters” were gone too (they usually keep the dog mon-thurs…i know, super nice of them), so Charlie hung out with us all week. He came to work during the week and was such a good boy! Sat under my desk most of the time all cuddeled up with his toy. Proud of him, so couldn’t resist posting a photo.
I have to admit though, dropping him off so we could go away for the weekend is a nice break.
–Whose fridge do you like to raid?
–Find anything good lately?
–If you work, does anyone bring dogs to the office? I’m surprised how many companies allow it here….but I think it’s because SF has so many start-ups and just a general relaxed work atmosphere everywhere.
And btw– loved reading all the comments about choosing to tell friends and fam about blogging or not– so interesting to see what everyone does!
Have a good weekend! Will post sometime this weekend during/after the race probs….so see ya then!
It’s Wednesday, so I’ll just get straight to my eats (cause that’s what you’re here for anyways!). I photographed them on Tuesday and ate a ton of summer fruits all day long! Berries are just amazing right now, don’t you think?
Check out all the other WIAW posts for summer eats
On Tuesday mornings, I get to the pool at 6:30 for a swim. The pool was empty and it was so nice to have a lane to myself.
After the swim, I was really hungry for breakfast.
Coffee (i needed a lot today….), a smoothie (kale, spinach, blueberries, blackberries, and a giant strawberry), and a rice cracker with peanut butter. The smoothie was full of my farmers market goodies and tasted so fresh and yummy.
I spent the morning at an off-site meeting and then stopped at home for lunch and to grab a few things before going to the office. I used more of my farmer’s market stuff (i’m so afraid they’re going to go bad! i want to eat them quickly. jared bought me sooo much good stuff). I stir-fryed zucchini, squash, celery, and swiss chard in coconut oil. Did I tell you I mention that I am so into my coconut oil? Love the way it tastes on everything. I added a little chicken to the mix and a dash of soy sauce.
A few hours later at the office, I ate a yogurt and a peach….plus a half handful of trail mix.
And then I had a work event from 6-7pm and was hungry! There was the most beautiful summer fruit platter that someone made– check this out! I snacked on some
It’s too pretty to eat!
Unfortunately, by the time I started driving home, I had an awful stomach ache. I’m not really sure what I ate today that caused it (the fruit?), but it didn’t feel good.
I was still hungry for dinner though, so when I got home I had a big bowl of cereal with a handful of raisins in it. This tasted so good! Cereal for dinner just works sometimes.
And then, there’s always room for dessert. Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream…Umm yum. This is delicious.
I think you could mix up my meals today– my dinner was more like breakfast. My lunch could have passed for dinner. And my breakfast could have been lunch. Haha, agree? Ever do that?
I followed up dinner with a walk..so pretty outside….
and then watched dvr-ed Real Housewives in bed. Ahh, a good night.
– Ever eat breakfast for dinner? Or leftovers for breakfast?
– Tell me something fun about your day
I have a guest post up! Check me out on the MommyPage. No…I’m not a Mommy, but I still love their site.
My blogging schedule has been off lately- the time of day I post, my photos, etc- but luckily, my work craziness is over mid-next week so I’ll have way more time.
And question– Has anyone been a Girls on the Run coach? I am so interested in doing it– but they matched me at a school that is really far from me…..so before I committ, wanted to hear personal stories– tell me about your experience!
And now…to my hike on Sunday.
My friend Allison organized a group of us girls for a hike on Sunday. 8 of us ended up coming! We crossed the bridge, leaving foggy SF behind, and went over to Marin to hike Mt. Tam.
We hiked (mostly straight uphill), girl talked, and finally got some sun on our pale SF skins
The views were fab
Charlie came along
And finally….the best mid-hike reward ever– we reached the West Point Inn for their monthly Pancake Sunday! One Sunday a month during from April-October, they host a Pancake breakfast.
Yeah! We reached the Inn
The place was packed, but we found a table in the shade, luckily. And indulged in sweet, yummy pancake goodness.
And after we had very full bellies, we hiked down the shady way for a total of 5.5 miles. It was a great way to spend the day…and we were back in the city by 2!
I’ll hike for pancakes anyday!
– Ever been a GOTR coach? Tell me about your experience…
– Do you tell all your friends that you blog? And if not….do you put people’s pics up without asking them? I try not to, but just curious what other people do (cause I have some good people photos, but….)
– What was the last hike you went on?