Monday, December 15, 2014

Recipe: Chicken & Leek Pasta

I've got a new recipe to share! Even with full-time work and grad school, I have tried to keep up with meal planning and home cooking. (Luckily, my honey is a great cook and has been helping on the cooking end.) This is important for our physical AND mental health. 

A few weeks back, we received some lovely leeks in our produce box. I promptly decided to play Iron Chef in our kitchen and came up with this pasta dish! 

Butter + Leeks = mmm...
Some sauce stuff.

Chicken & Leek Pasta
Serves: 4

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 small leeks, cut in half lengthwise & then white and light green parts cut into thin half moon slices
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup half-n-half
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 8 oz pasta, such as fusilli or penne 
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Bring pasta water to boil. Add pasta and a bit of salt and cook al dente, according to package directions. 
  2. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add leeks. Cook leeks, stirring often, until they have softened and are starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Add white wine and cook until liquid has evaporated. 
  4. Add the chopped chicken, lemon juice and zest, and capers. Cook for a minute to heat through. 
  5. Stir in half-n-half and parmesan. Cook for another minute or two, until the sauce is bubbly and delicious. Season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour in the sauce and give it a good stir. Dish up, top with a little more shredded parmesan, and enjoy immediately. 

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?!


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 from OXO.

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

  • 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

  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:


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

  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

  • 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

  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.


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: 


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

  • 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

  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. 

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 

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

 - 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!


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

  • 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. 

  • 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 I'm ahead on this one!

Nope. I won't stop.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Recipe: Balsamic & Bacon Brussels Sprouts

This one time when we were out to lunch with friends, they seemed a bit hesitant of our decision to order a brussels sprouts appetizer. The brussels sprouts arrived, looking and tasting incredible. All four of us chowed down, with our friends gladly accepting the last bites.

I don't blame them for taking so many years to realize that brussels sprouts are awesome. I mean, I didn't know I liked them until I was in my mid-20s. My parents don't like them so I never tried them until a very nice friend showed me the light.

Ready to be roasted.

Shredded with olive oil, lemon juice and avocado.

Shortly after our lunch, I received an e-mail from one of our friends with a brussels sprouts recipe he had just made at home and loved. I quickly added it to our list of recipes to try. After a couple batches, I think I've found the combination of ingredients that we like best. 

Feel free to adjust the amounts to your liking. For example, I won't judge you if you use an entire package of bacon. Promise.

Balsamic & Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Serves: 4* 

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 400º. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the brussels sprouts, red onion and bacon and toss to coat. 
  3. Dump everything onto a large, lined baking sheet. 
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the brussels sprouts have softened and bacon is nice and crispy. 
*Or less, depending on how much you like Brussels Sprouts. My honey and I can easily finish off a batch, just the two of us.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

San Francisco Adventure Part Two!

If you have been following my blog for a while, you may recall that this past September I went on a really long walk around San Francisco. 14 miles. You may want to start by checking out my recap of the experience here.

Up to date? Great! Now read on to hear about our next 15 miles...

My honey and I got up nice and early to meet our friends at our starting location.

Waiting for a BART train.
Cable car!

We opted to take the cable car, where we sat by a charming Australian couple who I would guess are in their 60s. I was chatting with the wife and she asked where we were visiting from. I told her that we live near the city. She lowered her voice and whispered, "why are you on a cable car?!?" My first thought was, "why not?" but I explained that, although more expensive ($6/each) than taking the bus ($2/each), it was the most direct and quickest route to where we were meeting our friends.

We hopped off at the end near Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf and walked maybe half a mile to the Marina.

We met up with our friends at the Safeway and quickly got on our way. After all, we had 15 miles to go! Oh, and one of the first stops was for caffeine and donuts. We weren't messing around.

Here is a link to our (approximate) route for the day -- Google Maps.

Before caffeine and donuts we visited the Wave Organ. Although we weren't there at an optimal listening time, it was still really neat.

Aquatic Acoustics.

After a bit of listening, we ventured back to pick up donuts, granola and yogurt and caffeine at Dynamo Donut + Coffee. I zeroed in on the maple donut with bacon on it (obviously) but limited myself to a bite (or two) and stuck mostly to the granola and yogurt. And an espresso. My honey didn't mind eating the remainder of the donut.

Let's take a look at the donut.

Nom Nom Nom.


Then we got back on our way!

I thought this sign was awfully specific:

South of the sign is fine.

From there, we made our way to one of my favorite San Francisco landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge. We saw it from many different angles that day, but one of the best views was from Fort Point. Fort Point is a National Historic site and protected the San Francisco harbor from attack during the Civil War. Yay, history! None of the planned activities at the fort fit with our schedule (we had just missed the cannon demonstration. damn.) so we did a little self-guided tour, mostly to climb to the top for the fantastic photo opportunities.

San Francisco, open your Golden Gate.

So yes, that view above was my favorite. But this view, once we had walked the trail that takes you under the bridge and further along the coast, wasn't too shabby either.

It is moments like these when I feel so grateful to live in such a beautiful place. The weather was also INCREDIBLE. Like, short-sleeves-and-still-a-little-warm-in-January weather. We are spoiled.

The weather was great until we hit Land's End, that is.

We found Lands End!

We stood at the edge, looking at the water, and literally watched the fog roll in and take over.

Fog moves fast, FYI.

Up next was a much needed lunch stop at the Seal Rock Inn.


With out bellies filled, we got right back on the road. Actually, the Great Highway. This was the last 1.5-2 hours of our journey and it was cold and foggy. Once we reached the Zoo, we found our way to a bus stop to take us to BART and our (thankfully seated) trip back home.

We found winter on the Great Highway.

I asked our friends if we could walk from the Zoo to Bayview/Hunters Point. We're not sure if it is physically possible, at least along the outer edge of the city, but if it is, you know we'll find a way. We also decided about halfway through our 15 miles that we should work on making our way through the middle of the city next. Always planning...

Thanks to our adventure (and some intentionally stepping later), I got my first 35,000 step badge on FitBit! Woot.

35,000 steps!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Cure Updates -- Happy February!

Happy February! It is raining here today. Although that has put a damper on our plans to go for a hike, it is desperately needed and welcomed.

I suppose when I decided to do this project again, I underestimated how full my calendar already was last month. There were many days where I made others things a a 15-mile hike through San Francisco. (Blog post coming soon!).

Below is a list of the January Cure Assignments as well as my updated project list (with all of the completed items crossed off) . I know that I will have the opportunity to cross a lot more off during the remainder of 2014!

January Cure Project. DONE. Got these photos printed for less than $20.

Apartment Therapy's January Cure 2014 Assignments: 
  • Jan 2: Make a Project List 
  • Jan 3-5: Flowers, Floors, Green Cleaners
  • Jan 6: Get a Fresh Perspective
  • Jan 7: Set Up Outbox
  • Jan 8: Select One Project from List
  • Jan 9: Choose a Piece of Art to Frame
  • Jan 10-12: Flowers, Kitchen Organization/Cleaning, Make Yourself a Meal
  • Jan 13: Get Your Get-Together Together
  • Jan 14: Create a Landing Strip
  • Jan 15: Try a Media Fast
  • Jan 16: Work on Your Goal Project
  • Jan 17-19: Flowers, Bedroom Organization/Cleaning
  • Jan 20: Get Papers & Files in Order
  • Jan 21: Exercise a Little Cord Control
  • Jan 22: Bathroom & Medicine Cabinets Cleanout
  • Jan 23: Declutter Books/Media
  • Jan 24-26: Flowers, Living Room, Lighting Refresh, Empty Outbox
  • Jan 27: Catch Up Day
  • Jan 28: Hang Artwork

Art hung in our entryway. DONE.
  • Jan 29: Spruce Up & Surface Clean
  • Jan 30: Show for Get Together
  • Jan 31-Feb 2: Relax & Celebrate!

Our January Cure Get Together was a small dinner party at our house last night. We had three friends over, stuffed our faces with homemade Indian food and played a few rounds Cards Against Humanity. As for the Indian food, we made:
  • Chickpea and Okra Coconut Curry (Vegan) -- I used this recipe as the base but subbed light coconut milk for the yogurt and added a bag of frozen okra slices.  
  • Grilled Chicken Tikka -- We just made the chicken, not the tomato chutney, from this recipe. I chopped the chicken into bite-size pieces and marinated it in the yogurt mixture for a couple hours before my honey grilled it up. We served a mango chutney from Trader Joe's on the side. 
  • Saag Paneer (Spinach with Indian Cheese; Vegetarian) -- I have made this recipe a couple times before. It is yummy and, although she provides instructions on making your own paneer and garam masala, I always pick those up at our local Indian market.
  • Brown Rice and Naan -- I sliced big pieces of naan from our local Indian market in half and my honey warmed them up on the grill with the chicken.

Project List: 

Completed in 2013
Not Completed
Completed in 2014

Clean out/reorganize hall closet
Paint front door
New door mat
Deep clean floors
Clean out/reorganize hall closet

Living Room/Dining Room
Print Cuba photos for large frames in dining room
Order, frame and hang art print
Print, frame and hang photos in living room
New coffee table (glass top)
Fireplace insert
Entry table/cabinet/hooks/something?
Screen door
Deep clean floors (these are the same ones as the entry)
Deep clean living room
Put away holiday decorations
Reorganize china/booze cabinets
Hang mirror


Organize pantry cabinets -- containers for dry ingredients
Deep clean floors (see above)
Deep clean kitchen
Hang NOLA signs above stove
Hang paper towel holder
Purchase/hang light(s) above sink -- Hang second light.
Hang photo canvases

Family Room
Screen door
Clean out/re-organize DVDs/Blu-rays
Paint shelves -- Get second shelves for other side of couch or new side tables?

Clean out/reorganize closet
Hang diplomas
Hang guitars
Fix closet doors
Declutter and reorganize books/shelves
Declutter and reorganize paperwork

Guest Room

Guest bed and side table
Move elliptical
Small TV -- hang in front of elliptical
New light fixture
Hang Bosnia photos
Clean out/reorganize closet
Hang mirror


Hang Croatia photo
Jewelry organization
New light fixture
Wedding photo - printed and framed
Deep clean bedroom
Reorganize dresser
Print, frame, and hang photo(s)
Clothes and shoe repairs


Deep clean bathroom
Declutter and reorganize under sink cabinet
Purchase/hang new towel rack(s)
Purchase/hang wall cabinet -- shelf/counter?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Opportunity to Support the Fight for Air Climb or Great Strides Walk!

As part of my 2014 goals, I will be participating in two events that are both perfect combinations of fitness, fun and fundraising!

If either (or both) of the causes below resonate with you (and you are able), please consider making a small donation. I would greatly appreciate it, as I know the respective organizations will as well.

American Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb

In March, I am joining hundreds of others in the important fight for children with asthma, teens who are pressured to start smoking, people with lung cancer and emphysema, and everyone who wants to breathe healthy air.

I will be climbing the 52 flights of stairs to reach the top floor of 555 California in San Francisco. Yes, 52 flights! That's 1,197 steps! I did this event last year, when I was completely out of shape, so needless to say I am super excited for take two.

Bottom line? I am climbing because I CAN.

If this cause is meaningful to you, and you are able, please click here to make a donation.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides 5K -- April 12, 2014

I am participating in this walk to support one of our newest and littlest friends, Buster! Buster was born on May 3, 2013 and he has cystic fibrosis. That means that he cannot digest his food like you and me, any infection is very serious for him and he takes several medications, breathing treatments and chest physiotherapy daily.

I am walking to support Buster and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which funds and supports the development of the drugs and treatments that can give Buster, and thousands of other people living with CF, as many tomorrows as possible.

If this cause is meaningful to you, and you are able, please click here to make a donation.

More on Cystic Fibrosis (CF): CF is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. In the 1950s, few children with CF lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Cure 2014 Updates! Days 7-14

I may be a *teeny* bit behind...and/or doing things a little out of order. Oh well. Also, in working on this blog post, I accidentally deleted my "Days 3-6 Updates" post. *groan* I'm a little sad about its disappearance but I'm not going to try to rewrite it...

Moving on...

This post is going to cover a lot of days. So get ready. Pour a glass of wine, get comfortable...

Day 7: Friday, January 10 and the weekend of January 11 & 12
Assignment: Flowers, Kitchen Organizing and Cleaning
See full assignment here.

This was a particularly busy weekend, and our poinsettia from the holidays is still alive and well, so purchasing more fresh flowers didn't happen. Neither did a kitchen cleaning but much of that was taken care of later. Like cleaning out and reorganizing our "pantry" cabinets. I took care of that on my day off on Monday. Among many other things...

Day 8: Monday, January 13
Assignment: Plan a Get Together!
See full assignment here.

I contacted friends who we have been meaning to get together with for ages and set up a dinner date at our home on February 1. Now to figure out what we will be cooking. Indian food, perhaps?

Day 9: Tuesday, January 14
Assignment: Create a Landing Strip
See full assignment here.

We generally use the corner of our kitchen counter as our landing strip, which is near our garbage and recycling cans and with a paper shredder conveniently located nearby. I'm thinking about getting a little mail organizer thing where we can put paperwork that needs to be taken care of in some way. In the process of looking online for something that may work, I found this pantry organizer thingy on Amazon and I think it could add some storage space to our hall closet. Hmm...

Day 10: Wednesday, January 15
Assignment: Media Fast
See full assignment here.

I like this one. I want to do this more often. It is nice, and good for me, to disconnect every once in a while.

Day 11: Thursday, January 16
Assignment: Project Progress
See full assignment here.

We have chosen the two photos that we plan to print and frame! One is of the most beautiful window I have ever seen.


Day 12: Friday, January 17 and the weekend of January 18-19
Assignment: Flowers and Bedroom Cleaning
See full assignment here.

Bedroom cleaning was successfully completed and flowers did happen this weekend! Make that two bouquets of pretty pink flowers that I turned into four...

Day 13: Monday, January 20
Assignment: Organize Paperwork and Files
See full assignment here.

A work in progress...

Day 14: Tuesday, January 21
Assignment: Clean Up Cord Clutter
See full assignment here.

This is one that we are fairly good at already. Whew.

To learn more about the January Cure, check out Apartment Therapy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Goal Updates! My 4th 5K & a Recipe Roundup!

*My full list of 2014 goals can be found below. 

2014 5K #1: Sunday, January 12 -- Hot Chocolate 5K. This was a fun one, although very crowded. So crowded that I couldn't run at the pace I wanted until at least the Mile 1 marker. There were a few spots in the beginning where I was trying to run but realized that I could walk faster than the people "running" in front of us. (Really, they were just bouncing slowly along with the crowd...) What is it with people walking four- or five-wide across a narrow path, sidewalk, etc? (This annoyance obviously extends beyond this event.) Shouldn't this be like driving? Slower people to the right, faster people to the left...right?? Sorry for the mini-rant but I needed to get that off my chest. I feel better now. Now on to the good stuff!

Waiting to start.

This run was in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco (like the Awesome 80s 5K) and although it was really cold at 7:30 was a gorgeous day and Golden Gate Park is an incredibly beautiful place to be, running or otherwise.

I ran this 5K with my honey (it was his first!), my friend from my first 5K in July and my friend from the Awesome 80s 5K in November. We were a good team and all finished within a couple minutes of each other. My final time was 38:19. Not my fastest (that was the Temecula 5K) but over two minutes faster than my last 5K in November. Not too shabby, seeing as I didn't run much prior to this one.

The especially cool thing about the Hot Chocolate 5K is that they give you hot chocolate (hence the name) AND fondue at the end. The chocolate was surprisingly good and I thoroughly enjoyed it with the dippers they provided -- a banana, marshmallow, rice crispy treat and a wafer cookie. It was all served up in this cute finisher's mug.


In addition to running a 5K, we walked 3-miles roundtrip to and from the event from our friend's home and another few miles to and from brunch. We have established a nice 5K + Brunch tradition and I am loving it. Here's a photo of what I stuffed in my face that day -- fresh crab, avocado and a perfectly poached egg on an english muffin with salad on the side. 


New Recipe Roundup! January 10-15, 2013:
  • Spaghetti Squash Primavera from Skinny Taste -- I may have used a little extra cheese. Healthy and delicious. I highly recommend this one and you can make the spaghetti squash the day before for an even faster dinner.
  • Mom's* Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole from Cooking Light -- Our milk had gone bad (whoops) so I subbed low sodium chicken stock. I also added a bit more liquid and stirred in 2 cups of cooked brown rice and heated it all together before pouring it into a baking dish, topping with cheese and broiling. I just had the last of the leftovers for lunch today. I really liked this one but my honey didn't really care for it. I don't think he likes the "just chicken" from Trader Joe's. He thinks it tastes too processed. I think I will try this recipe again, but with rotisserie chicken. 
  • Balsamic & Bacon Brussels Sprouts. Recipe from a friend. -- The combination of ingredients in this dish is incredible. We ate it as a side dish with bun-less burgers topped with a little gruyere cheese. I will be making it again soon to fine tune a few things and then I will post the recipe here. Stay tuned!
I am already at seven new recipes so far this month and I am making a new mushroom and barley soup recipe tonight and we have a new pork tenderloin recipe scheduled for later this week. Overall, I feel like I have been doing really well with my 2014 goals and posting updates here has helped keep me accountable. Lots more work and fun ahead...

*Not MY mom.

2014 Goals
  • 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.
  • Track all food and pay attention to portion sizes.
  • New recipes 8x/month.
  • Meatless lunches/dinners 4x/week minimum.
  • Read 12+ books. 
  • Dates with friends 2x/month minimum. (May be combined with fitness fun.)
  • Daily Challenge by me you health. (Overall well being.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recipe: Ginger Chicken & Bok Choy Soup

As promised...a recipe for the Ginger Chicken & Bok Choy Soup I made last week!

I'm going to crawl on out on a limb and assume that some of the people who read my blog live in places that are actually cold right now. I, on the other hand, do not happen to live in a place that is currently experiencing winter appropriate weather. It is supposed to get up to 70 this week. 70! In January! Needless to say, I won't be making any soup this week.

However, if it were cold outside, I would make this soup. It is super duper yummy and cozy but you can have your fill without feeling too stuffed. It is based on a Martha Stewart recipe but my version is less labor intensive, perfect for a weeknight, post-work dinner.

Ginger Chicken & Boy Chok Soup
Inspired by this recipe: Poached Chicken with Bok Choy in Ginger Broth

Serves: 4-6

  • 8 cups Miso Ginger Broth 
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 10-ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • 3 green onions
  • Unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Sriracha

  1. Bring the miso ginger broth to a boil in a large stock pot. 
  2. While broth is coming to a boil, cut your chicken and bok choy into bite-size pieces and slice up your green onions. 
  3. Once broth is boiling, add the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Add in the boy choy, mushrooms and green onions and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are nice and tender. 
  5. Ladle soup into individual dishes and season each with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sriracha, to taste!
  • Our Trader Joe's carries Miso Ginger Broth but if you can't find any, you can make the broth in the original recipe (link above).
  • This soup saves and reheats well. Perfect for dinner one night and then taking to work the next day for lunch. 
  • Feel free to experiment with ingredients! I am going to try grilled or roasted tofu (instead of chicken), extra veggies and some rice noodles next time.