Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm Still Here

Yep, still here!

Yes, at the beginning of 2014 I had every intention of blogging up a storm. However, shortly after setting that goal I decided to apply for grad school. Then I actually got into grad school! Fast forward to October, I've got 4.5 months of grad school (while working full-time) under my belt. 

This is my life until December 2015. I'm busy and I'm loving it. So far, I still have time to do most everything I need and want to do. I did have to let some things go, to make room for the addition of school. One thing was this blog.

Scratch that. I haven't completely let go. Now that I'm 4+ months into my grad program, I've got a good work-school-life flow going and plan to post more often. 

Stay tuned. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Recipe: Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Potato Pizza

Potato on pizza?!

Yes!


We had something similar to this at a Yelp Elite Event a few months back and I loved it and bookmarked the idea in my brain. In addition to being delicious, this recipe is fairly quick which makes it a good weeknight meal.

I would like to point out that this is dairy free, as in no cheese. NO CHEESE. I mean, I love cheese. LOVE IT. But these toppings are good to go on their own. My honey and I discussed this fact while eating it and decided that it really doesn't need any cheese. If you can't imagine enjoying a pizza sans cheese, throw a little shredded parmesan on top before slicing and serving...but I seriously don't think it needs it.

A few tips...

Slice those potatoes super duper thin. I used a mandolin. We have one like this


Layer everything as evenly as possible.


Put the minced garlic in between the layer of potatoes and brussels sprouts...that way it will get cooked but not too brown in the oven.


Basil is awesome on this pizza but you could sub fresh parsley.
Just use something fresh. It adds great flavor and color.


Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Potato Pizza
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
  • 1 pizza crust, prepared according to package instructions (I used the wheat pizza crust dough from Trader Joe's)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound baking potato, sliced as thinly as possible (see tips above)
  • 6 ounces brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped

Directions:
  1. Cook the bacon: Place bacon slices on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 15-20 minutes in a 400º F not pre-heated oven, until the bacon is almost as crispy as you like it. (It will cook a bit more on the pizza.) Once bacon is cooked, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Increase oven temperature to 425º F. 
  2. While the bacon is sizzling away in the oven, prepare your other ingredients. 
  3. Toss the extra thin slices of potato in a bowl with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. 
  4. Place potato slices in a single layer on the prepared pizza crust.
  5. Sprinkle minced garlic evenly over the top of the potato slices. 
  6. In the now empty bowl, toss the shredded brussels sprouts with remaining olive oil and layer brussels sprouts evenly over the potato. 
  7. Crumble the cooked bacon over the top of the pizza. 
  8. Bake pizza on a pizza stone or parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, until crust is browned and potatoes and brussels sprouts are softened. 
  9. Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan, if using. 
  10. Slice and enjoy!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Recipes: Oven Baked Eggs & Egg White Salad on Toast

Sooooo that blog once a week goal? Not going quite as planned. I start grad school (yay!) at the end of this month, which I anticipate will be fantastic but will add another priority to my life. A priority that will definitely come before my blog.

In the meantime, I will try to post more over the next few weeks. Up now...two ideas for super easy and healthy breakfasts.

I have three words for you:

Oven.
Baked.
Eggs.

I know it may sound strange but coming across this way of preparing eggs was seriously life changing. I make up a huge batch and have hard boiled eggs for a week. A hard boiled egg or two plus some fresh fruit is my favorite workday breakfast.

Now, I realize that making hard boiled eggs the traditional, stove-top way isn't particularly difficult but these are so super duper easy and are mostly hands off, freeing you up to do other food prep. Also, they are always cooked perfectly and nine times out of ten the shell just comes right off.

Below are the instructions for oven baked eggs, as well as a specific (delicious) use for two of them.

Oven Baked Eggs


What you'll need: 
  • An oven, preheated to 325º
  • A muffin tin
  • However many eggs you'd like to make (preferably a few days old as they seem to peel easier)
  • A big bowl filled with ice water

Directions: 
  1. Place however many eggs you'd like to make in the muffin tin -- one egg per section. 
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.*
  3. Remove from oven and immediately place eggs in the bowl of ice water to cool.
*30 minutes is perfect for our oven. You may want to test a few smaller batches to figure out what works best for you.

Egg White Salad on Toast
Serves: 1


Ingredients: 
  • 1 slice wheat sourdough
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, whites only, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • A few dashes hot sauce, optional
  • Sliced avocado, optional

Directions: 
  1. Place the bread in a toaster or toaster oven.
  2. While the toast is toasting, combine the chopped egg whites, greek yogurt and mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add a few dashes hot sauce if using. 
  3. Once the toast is ready, top with the egg salad and slices of avocado, if using.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ass & Abs -- Personal Training Update

I have met with a personal trainer twice now...and have lived to tell the tale!

First session was a few weeks ago and was a get-to-know-you type thing. We talked about my goals and he walked me through warm up cardio and stretching. Then he had me do a bunch of exercises that focused on quads and shoulders. I was sore for two days...maybe three. Not mild sore either. Super duper sore.

This morning I had my second session. I walked to the gym (3+ miles), did some stretching and a little more warming up on an elliptical. Apparently today was ass and abs day. My personal trainer called it something much more professional like "gluts and core" but, regardless, my ass and abs are now yelling at me. My trainer had me do 10,000 squats (approximately) and then had me end my workout on a rowing machine.

"Just like House of Cards!"

I don't think he's seen the show.

After another 3+ mile walk home, I'm sitting down and worried that I won't be able to stand up again. (Wish me luck.)

I may be a bit slow at the Cystic Fibrosis "Great Strides" Walk tomorrow. At least it is a walk and not a run.

Ow.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Recipe: Romanesco Cauliflower Mac


No idea what romanesco cauliflower is? Don't worry, you definitely aren't alone. (My spell check doesn't even recognize it.)

Some people call it romanesco broccoli.

Or fractal cauliflower. 

This is what it looks like: 

Pretty.

We had our first experience with this veggie fairly recently, when one arrived in our CSA box. We discovered that it is great straight up roasted with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I think it tastes more like broccoli than cauliflower but also much nuttier. It really has its own flavor altogether.  

You should try it! 

I was ready to try something new this past Monday so, using Martha Stewart's Broccoli Romanesco and Parmesan Puree recipe as inspiration, I decided to whip up a veggie and cheese mac for Meatless Monday. 

This could also be a fun St. Patrick's Day dish. You know, because it's green. 

Romanesco Cauliflower Mac
Serves:

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head romanesco cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces small macaroni
  • Fresh parsley, for serving

Directions:
  1. Cook macaroni to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid before draining.
  2. While macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the romanesco cauliflower and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown.
  3. Add water, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the romanesco cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. 
  4. Drain any remaining water from the skillet and transfer the romanesco cauliflower to a blender or food processor. Add milk and process until smooth. If needed, add a bit of the pasta cooking liquid to get the sauce to your desired consistency. 
  5. Combine the pasta and sauce. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of parmesan and chopped parsley. 

Nutrition:
Based on my calculations, this is approximately 350 calories/serving.

Disclaimer: I don't believe in hiding vegetables to get children to eat more vegetables. Primarily because they don't learn that vegetables are awesome and that they actually LIKE vegetables. However, if you have a particularly picky eater on your hands, child or adult, this may be a good way to sneak in some extra good green stuff. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Goals Update! Vacation, Running, Grad School??? OH MY!

I wanted to do a quick goals update, since it has been a while since I have posted. For the most part, I've been blogging much more frequently this year. I did take a little break when I went on vacation last week. We went to Disneyland for four days and it was absolutely wonderful. It rained on us nearly the entire time but I'm not complaining because we were having fun at Disneyland!

MONORAIL! This was the view from our hotel room. Love.
Milk & Cookies.
Mickey beignets at Cafe Orleans in Disneyland.
Out there having fun, in the warm cool California sun rain.

In addition to my various goals (see updates below) I found out on Friday that we received a grant award at work for the biggest (money-wise) proposal I have ever written. YAAAAAAY! This is particularly fantastic because it secures resources for critical prevention, intervention and youth development services. A selfish reason that I was keeping my fingers crossed for the grant award is because it means I will most likely not have to submit another proposal of that size until 2016.

Oh, and if that isn't enough excitement for a couple weeks, I hit 'submit' on a graduate school application this morning. It is for an innovative, accelerated program that will allow me to complete my master degree by December of next year, all while maintaining my current full-time job. For now, I wait....

Goal Updates 

Home: 
  • Complete January Cure.  
  • Blog January Cure and goal progress minimum 1x/week. 

Fitness/Health
 - Reach Goal Weight & Maintain:
  • Hot Chocolate 5K (January); Fight for Air Climb (March); Great Strides 5K (April); Stars & Stripes 5K (July); Fall 5 or 10K TBD.
  • Hikes 1x/month minimum
  • Schedule and track all fitness. 
  • Complete five personal training sessions. 
  • Group gym classes 2x/month minimum. 
The hiking goal has been one that I have really enjoyed accomplishing and we have easily exceeded it. My big hike this month will be with a childhood friend. We don't see each other all that often and she is a lover of the great outdoors and will be a wonderful hiking mentor.

I recently restarted my Couch-to-5K training -- mainly because I wanted to get back in the habit of running every other day and work up my running stamina. This past week I ran every other day. So far, so good!

Woot.

My first personal training session is scheduled for this Friday! I will report back on how that, and any future personal training sessions, goes.

Cooking/Health:
  • Track all food and pay attention to portion sizes. 
  • New recipes 8x/month. 
  • Meatless lunches/dinners 4x/week minimum. 
The new recipes goal has been especially easy...and fun! I use Paprika which makes finding, importing and organizing recipes super duper easy. I also use it for our weekly meal planning and grocery lists. Meatless meals have also been easy and fun. Keeping it up at much as possible! I will post some of our favorite new recipes soon. 

Fun: 
  • Read 12+ books. 
  • Dates with friends 2x/month minimum. (May be combined with fitness fun.)
  • Daily Challenge by me you health. (Overall well being.) 
I'm still working my way through the two books I started this year, A Confederacy of Dunces and Tattoos on the Heart. Both are very good but I honestly haven't been making reading a priority. I do want to work on that, even if it means just a little bit each evening. 

We have been having a lot of fun with friends so far this year -- next up is a dinner and game night at our house this Saturday. We'll be making a vegan paella. Mmm... 

Last, but not least... I've completed all of the Daily Challenge assignments since January 1...68 days and counting! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Goals Update! February Hike: Bay Bridge Trail

Perfect Poppy. Our state flower. No filter needed.
Seriously...this is straight up iPhone camera.

Every two weeks or so, my honey and I both have a Friday off together. I have coined these days our "FriDATEs" and I love them. Sometimes we use the day for crossing things off our to-do lists, such as car check-ups, hair appointments, errands... Sometimes we use the day for fun. Most times we use the day for a combination of the two.

This past Friday was one of those days and we decided to do the Bay Bridge Trail, after dropping my car off with our mechanic for an oil change. If you aren't already aware, this is the new span of the bridge that connects Oakland and San Francisco. It is also the one that had a piece of its upper deck collapse during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Old Bridge.

It was neat to walk right between the old bridge and the new bridge. It will also be neat when the old bridge is gone and the trail is extended to the island. Oh, and the third neat thing! We passed a few other walkers/bicyclists but for the most part we had the entire 8+ miles to ourselves.

Old Bridge. New Bridge. Husband.

One of my 2014 goals was to do a hike a month. We have hike #3 planned for this weekend...so I'm ahead on this one!

Nope. I won't stop.