Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My First 5K!

So, I did it! I ran my first 5K - the Purple Stride run, for Pancreatic Cancer. It was awesome. So much fun, and it got me totally excited about running.

I've blogged before about how I really don't love to work out - I'm always looking for motivation since I don't love the gym, and I really used to dislike running as well. It seems that signing up for that 5K was the best thing I could have done, though, because I genuinely enjoyed training for it and the race itself was really a great time. I ran the race with some friends from law school (and one friend who I know through a law school friend). The three of them had all run races before (one has even done a couple of marathons). I was the beginner in the group, but I held my own! We are even planning on running another race in a few weeks in Brooklyn!

My sister came to cheer me on, and surprised me by bringing my mom too. They took this picture as I rounded the last corner towards the finish line.

Right after that, racing to the finish line:

And here I am right after I finished.

I was proud of myself!

So let's talk about timing. I usually run a 10 minute mile. I happen to think that's amazing, since I'm really not the athletic type and I've never been a runner. I've been getting faster - one day I even ran a 9:40 mile! I know I'm getting faster and that just amazes me. But anyway, the first mile of the race was really crowded and so nobody could really run so fast. It was about a 12 minute mile (according to my MapMyRun app).  After that first mile though, I was able to run my normal pace- right around 10 minutes per mile. My official time was 33.59. That isn't really reconciling correctly with my app, so I don't really know which to believe. Either way, I know I usually run faster than that official time. At least now I know that the first part of races may be really crowded so I shouldn't expect to get off to a very quick start.

Have you guys ever run any races? Did you find that the beginning was really slow? 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tight pants

My pants are tight in the waist. It's not cute. I have a hunch that its because over the last few weeks I've been adding some healthy fats into my diet. I've heard a million times that "fat doesn't make you fat, sugar makes you fat." But, I'm starting to think that fat may be making me fat.
I've been using 1/4 of an avocado as a base for my smoothies in the morning. I used to use banana but I switched to avocado in order to get some healthy fats into my diet. I also experimented with coconut oil in there (didn't like it), and chia seeds (was fine, so I use them sometimes). I'm not thrilled with the tight pants, though, so today I went back to banana. I've also been eating nut butter with an apple as a snack.
This nutrition thing is so tricky. It's not even that I want to lose weight, but I definitely don't want to be gaining weight, especially right before summer! So, for now, I'm cutting down on the fats. I wont totally cut them out, but I will not be having them every day. No more avocado in my smoothies, and I'll continue to have some nut butter with an apple as a snack, but I'm going to cut down a bit on how much nut butter I use.
In other news, its absolutely gorgeous outside in NYC today, so I took Lucky for a long walk after work. I would have gone for a run, but since I've only been running once a week and my 5K is this Saturday, I was reluctant to mess with my routine. We went to the dog park, but Lucky was too intimidated by the other dogs to enjoy it. He just sat next to me/behind me/on my lap. At one point he did approach another guy, so I was excited that he was at least comfortable enough to leave my side, but then these two dogs were playing rough and came really close to Lucky, and so he crawled onto my lap.  Poor guy. He did enjoy the walk though, and is now relaxing on the couch. Cutie pie! (but he does need a haircut!)

Making Mexican for dinner tonight - big taco salads with black and pinto beans, tomato, onion, lime juice, salsa, nooch, and soft corn tortillas on the side. YUM! Have a wonderful night!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Update on my fitness routine

I've been doing really well with my running lately and I've been excited to post about it. Then today, when I heard about the explosions at the Boston Marathon, I couldn't decide whether or not to post about my measly few miles. It seems so insignificant. But, I decided to post anyway.

I went to college in Boston and have extremely fond memories of Marathon Monday. We used to have parties that went all night, ending with breakfast at a friend's apartment who lived on the 25 mile line of the marathon. We'd sit outside and cheer on all the runners. I remember the weather being beautiful, spending time with my friends, and feeling a great sense of community. Marathon Monday was like a magical day in Boston for me. What happened today makes me so incredibly sad and angry. I dont understand why people do things like this. I feel so awful for the victims. I cant imagine what they are going through. I listened to NPR my whole hour-plus way home from work today and they were doing a great job with coverage, but there are still so many unanswered questions and it's really upsetting.

Anyway, I wont dwell.  I just had to get that out.

As for me, I've been running. :) A couple of months ago I signed up for a 5K, which is on this coming Saturday in NYC.  This was a big step for me, because I've tried to get into running before, with little success. I think that actually signing up for a 5K was really helpful for me. It gave me great motivation. I really have only had time to train on the weekends, but even with that, I've been doing great. Improving every week, for sure. This past Saturday I actually had my best run ever - I ran 3.38 miles without stopping! My first mile was 10 minutes and 3 seconds, my second was a bit slower, and my third was a bit slower. My average pace for the whole run was 10:29 which is way better than I thought I would be able to do at this point. So I'm really happy! I'm not sure if I'll run that fast during the race, since I'm running with friends and I definitely cannot keep up a conversation at that pace. We are really doing the race for fun, and to do it together, so I'm not going to try and beat that time or anything. I will probably sign up for another race later on this summer though, and run that one alone and see how I do!

So like I said, I haven't been able to run more than once a week, but most weeks I've been able to squeeze in Jillian Michael's 30-day shred. It's short - only 20 minutes, so there are kind of no excuses. It's a great routine though - running on weekends and doing a whole body workout during the week. I feel great and I love that I'm getting stronger! Just in time for summer, too!

Tonight for dinner I'm making a yellow lentil soup, roasted brussel sprouts and some quinoa. I'll also bring that for lunch tomorrow to work. Nice healthy start to the week.

Hug your loved ones tonight, friends. I know I will. Lots of extra love to anyone reading this in Boston. xo <3

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fun things I've made recently

I cannot believe how absent I've been. For quite a few weeks I've been thinking about blogging again. I really stopped for a while there because I started a new job back in October and frankly, it's exhausting! I love it and I'm really happy, but I just dont have the energy at night to cook anything too original, take pictures, edit the pictures, and write blog entries. But I miss blogging a lot and I think I have to work something out. We'll see where this goes.
Here are some recent food-related highlights, though.

I made pad thai! Well, I made the "Cheater Pad Thai" from Happy Herbivore Abroad, by Lindsay Nixon (my favorite cook book author). It was fantastic! I added veggies to it (I bought a giant bag of stir fry veggies from Costco, which makes adding veggies to recipes very simple!), which was really easy. Here was the end result. I even added chopped raw peanuts as a garnish, which were fabulous.  If you don't have the book, go buy it now.
Speaking of Costco- we're trying to make our way through this baby.

We don't usually buy salsa like this - we are very careful about the salsa we buy because we watch our sodium intake. But Santosh's dad had this gigantic vat of it, and wasn't going to use it, so we took it. It's good, but I miss the fresher varieties. Isn't it so funny though?
I also made some super delicious brussel sprouts. I sliced them really thin, sauteed them in a bit of olive oil, added some salt, pepper, lemon juice, and chopped walnuts. Holy moly, these were fabulous. I even made them again mixed into a quinoa for Passover. I just added more lemon juice to the quinoa when I mixed it all together, and it was incredible!

So there you go. I'll write more later. I miss this so much!
Eat your greens! (I've been eating a ton lately - I'll fill you in soon!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time flies...

I can't get over the fact that it's already December. It feels like yesterday it was summer. I love the fall so I'm bummed that it always goes by so fast. Before you know it, you're bundled in hats, scarves, gloves and boots.  But today it's nice and warm in NYC and I'm really excited because as I told you before, I don't work on Mondays (new job = awesome schedule).  So today I'm going to do a little workout at home, meet an old friend for lunch, and then head into Manhattan for some holiday shopping. All in 58 degree weather. Not bad for December!

I know it's a little late to be posting about Thanksgiving, but since I don't post as often as I used to, I wanted to share a couple of recipes that I made on Thanksgiving because they were really, really good. The first one is butternut squash and ginger soup. It was really good and I think you all should try it!

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup
4 lbs. peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance
1/2 tsp. salt plus more to taste
8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
about 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced

Directions -

  1. Halve, seed, peel and cube the butternut squash. Set aside.
  2. Dice the onion and garlic.
  3. In a large pot, over medium heat, add the earth balance and onion.  Season with salt.  Stir occasionally and cook until the onion is soft (about 3 minutes)
  4. Add the garlic and cook about one more minute
  5. Add the squash, ginger, and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender to blend until the soup is smooth.
  7. Add more salt to taste, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  8. Garnish with more red pepper flakes, if you like it spicy!
This soup was really delicious, super healthy, and really easy to make. Everyone loved it. 

The other recipe that I made for Thanksgiving which I totally loved was the Engine 2 Diet's Vegetable Lasagna. This lasagna is vegan and is incredibly delicious and nourishing. I first saw this recipe when I was watching Forks over Knives and really wanted to try it. I don't have the Engine 2 cookbook (yet!), but I was happy to see that they have this recipe online so I took it from there. It was easy and fun to make. There are tons of vegetables in it - even sweet potato. The sweet potato was fantastic in it. I highly recommend this recipe!

image source
We had a great Thanksgiving and these recipes were fun, easy and delicious.

I hope to be posting more often again really soon. Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cookbook Review: Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, by Dreena Burton

Hey everyone. I took a bit of a break from blogging but I really missed it! It was mostly because I kind of ran out of good ideas. I still don't have lots of new ideas yet, but I did make a couple of recipes from Dreena Burton's Eat Drink & Be Vegan and I really want to share them with you. This is a fabulous cookbook. Although it has been out since 2007, I only got it last year, as a gift. I made a couple of recipes in the last month or so and I truly loved both. So I just had to review it on the blog.

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First, I made the "Leslie's Bad But Good Bars" (page 199), which are delicious dessert bars with ingredients like pecans, coconut, and oats, and that have an icing-type topping made from chocolate chips, tofu, and nut butter. I mean, seriously - these totally hit the spot. I absolutely loved them. I loved having a little bit of them after dinner as a dessert, or as a snack. You need to try these.

Then, one night for dinner I made the "Lemon Garlic Pasta" (p. 130), which I made with gluten-free pasta. It was fantastic. The sauce was super fresh. It was mostly lemon juice, garlic, and a bit of agave, and the dish is topped with roasted pine nuts. I served it with some roasted brussel sprouts and green beans and it was a wonderful light dinner. The lemon mixed with the pine nuts, garlic and pasta was addicting. It made great leftovers, too, which I brought to work with me for lunch!

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The other recipes in the cookbook look fantastic. There are a bunch of recipes for different kinds of hummus. I want to try some of them very, very soon. There are lots of main dish recipes like "Sweet & Sour Chipotle Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes" (p. 147) and "Zucchini Chickpea Tomato Curry" (p. 151).  The desserts all look amazing too, and have the most fun names! Some highlights: "Chocolate Sin-namon Cake" (p. 189), "Lime Sucker Coconut Pie" (p. 200) and "'You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate' Cookies" (p. 215).  I want to try them all!

I'd definitely recommend this cookbook to anybody, vegan or not. The recipes are creative, healthy and easy to follow. What more could you ask for?! Dreena Burton has other cook books out as well: The Everyday Vegan, Vive Le Vegan, and Let Them Eat Vegan.  You can see her page on Amazon here. She also has a great blog called Plant Powered Kitchen which I just love. She has great recipes on there and updates often (more than I do!) Definitely check it out.

One last thing - sorry about using pictures that are not my own. I took pictures of the recipes I made but the photos just didn't come out well at all since the lighting was bad (fall and winter are not good times of year for food bloggers!) I couldn't make the pictures what I wanted them to be, so I borrowed from the internet instead. Not my first choice but I didn't want it to stop me from posting this review!

Have a great weekend, everyone! It's good to be back!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homemade Falafel

Homemade Falafel! I did it!

Falafel is honestly one of my most favorite things ever. I've been wanting to make it homemade for a long time now and on Sunday we decided to give it a shot. We ran into a slight bump though, because after I had prepared all the ingredients and then the recipe said to let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for "several hours."  At 7pm on Sunday night, I was obviously not willing to wait several hours. So, I put it in the fridge and we decided to finish making it last night instead.  So, if you're going to make this recipe, make sure you plan ahead and allow a few hours for the mixture to sit in the fridge!

Making the batter was really easy. You simply put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix them all up. Then, once you take them out of the fridge, form the batter into small balls.  Fry them up, and serve with pita, hummus, salad, whatever floats your boat.

Here is the recipe I used, from Epicurious.  It was pretty simple. I had never fried anything before ever, and I was able to do this easily, by myself. And they really came out perfectly. Crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. I even re-warmed some in the oven for Santosh later on in the evening.

A few pointers:

  • I found it really helpful to read the reviews of the recipe before I started. A few people gave tips on frying (make sure to turn on the vent fan - good tip!) and some people altered the recipe slightly. 
  • The only change to the recipe that I made was that I used whole wheat flour instead of regular flour.
  • Wear long sleeves when you fry. Some oil will splatter when you drop the falafel ball in. Protect your arms!
  • This recipe made a lot of falafel (the pictures below only show half of what I made).  Santosh and I definitely wont be able to eat it all.  If you're only cooking for 2 people, you could half this recipe and have more than enough for 2 people.  I'll probably freeze the leftovers.

So - pictures!
Here is the dough right before I put it in the refrigerator over night.

Here are some of the falafel balls before I fried them.

Here are some of the falafel balls post-frying.

And here was my dinner plate!

I had half of a whole wheat pita, some falafel, salad, tabouli (store bought) and tahini sauce.  We made the tahini sauce by mixing one part tahihi to one part water, and adding lemon juice, garlic powder and salt. I also had some hummus on the side (store bought).

Santosh and I both loved it. If you love falafel as much as we do, definitely try this. Have a great night everyone! xo