Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Productivity Comes First ... Then the Cubs

Wowsa, here we are on the last day of August. I'm sure I'll lament about this some more tomorrow, but this time of year always takes me back to starting school.  It's that's feeling of getting a fresh start, you know? With my current unemployment situation, I feel like I need to be starting anew as well. :)

Today was fantastically busy with various networking duties and deadline tweaks, so I cannot complain. I don't think I left my computer most of the day, other than to kick some butt on the elliptical trainer for 45 minutes.

I kicked off breakfast with some more Love Your Man Steel-Cut Oatmeal was plenty, too. I paired that up with some fresh strawberries, a banana, and an iced coffee.

For lunch, Ryan and I had our final helping of Bethenny's Asian Chicken Salad. This one is a good one and I'll definitely bring it back. Also, I have to give a shout out to my dear Michigan State Spartans, hence me including my glass in the photo. Ha! We're just five days away from the best day of the year: the first day of college football! YAY!

I also snacked on some nectarine slices after lunch, and eventually had myself some part-skim mozzarella string cheese.

Ryan and I had our second Cubs game of the summer and start time was 7:05, so dinner was quick. We had a mixed greens salad with carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, and shredded BelGioioso parmesan cheese. For our main entree, we had spinach-cheese tortellini from Buitoni, served with with tomato and basil pasta sauce from Rinaldi. Love this back up meal!

Ryan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June and I went the traditional route of sticking with the "paper" theme. We'd just moved to Chicago and both of us had always wanted to see the Cubs play at the historical Wrigley Field, so I purchased us two tickets to see them play against the Pittsburgh Pirates, plus it was free hat night!

Even though my first trip was two weeks ago when my Dad visited, it was awesome to go with Ryan and experience the Cubs games underneath the lights. Did you know that "The Friendly Confines", which was built in 1914, didn't have night games until 1988?


Unfortunately, the Pirates held off the Cubs 14-7. It was still a blast to be there, though! Our third and final Cubs game of the summer will be on Sunday.

When attending sporting events or concerts, how do you keep it healthy?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Inspired by Bethenny

Happy Monday everyone! I hope your week is off to a good start. This week is another busy one, but good busy with assorted deadlines, Tuesday's Cubs' game, and dinner with Sarah on Thursday. And this morning I was determined to get back on track with working out.

I revisited one of my growing favorites for breakfast, Bethenny Frankel's Love Your Man Steel-Cut Oatmeal, which is featured in her Skinnygirl Dish book. This time, I added a quarter-cup blueberries and also had my regular iced coffee. I am in love with my bowl, too, which is from one of my favorite stores in New York City, Fish's Eddy. Super cute designs, a lot of funky vintage glass and ceramic items, and great prices.

I guess it's just a Bethenny kind of day, as we opted for one of her Skinnygirl Dish recipes for lunch. This time, we went for the Asian Shrimp Salad and it was fantastic! A nice mix of spinach with napa cabbage, and shredded carrots, snap peas, and scallions. The Asian Dressing paired up ginger flavors with dijon mustard accents. Gorgeous colors all around, too.

Well, I'm not thrilled to admit it but snack time got the best of me today. I should have gone for a nectarine or a peach, but instead I had a Cybros multi-grain flatbread with a banana, chia seeds, and a tablespoon of reduced fat Jif. Can't feel too guilty, as I did rock the elliptical trainer for 45 minutes today and completed 10 sets of 10 dumbbell routines.

Lastly, for dinner we enjoyed herb-crusted sesame chili tilapia with almond green beans, my third and final Bethenny installment for today. The green beans were spot on in crunch and flavor. I know I'll be picking up some more at Green City Market on Wednesday.

The first of two reunion shows for the Real Housewives of New Jersey is on shortly, woo hoo! Back at it tomorrow. Thanks for reading xx

Running with the Weekend

When it comes to the weekend, is it challenging to keep things on track? How do you keep your meals healthy? Do you exercise consistently? I have struggled with keeping a weekend routine ALL SUMMER LONG! It's not that I'm not eating healthy because I am ... for the most part. I have also squeezed in some quality cardio time throughout my summer weekends. But I feel like my weekends are just not as organized as my five-day week. Maybe it's summer, maybe it's the gorgeous weather, the barbecues and baseball games, I don't know. This weekend wasn't any different. Ryan and I opted to explore some more of Chicago in search of open houses and houses for sale. Am I really this old to be doing this? Haha! I feel 16!

This recap post is going to be very much like the theme in above paragraph: random. Please forgive me! I am trying to keep myself accountable for my weekend nutrition and exercise and I know I have failed miserably with posting on the weekends. But moving on ...

Saturday breakfast included a spinach omelette with cherry tomatoes. Ryan uses one egg with two egg whites when making this dish. I also had some homemade carrot, celery and apple juice and an iced coffee.

We spent much of the afternoon in our car, so we went to Qdoba for lunch. I kept things lite with a naked burrito with black beans and pico de gallo. For dinner, we tried The Village Tap, where I had chicken tacos. These were very clean and satisfying with lettuce, salsa, and corn tortillas. The chips were also baked.

We hit the pavement again on Sunday and once more we found ourselves eating out. Ugh. But for breakfast, I filled up on a two eggs on a multi-grain sandwich thin from Arnold and some watermelon with blueberries. Ryan and I also had a small glass of carrot, celery, and apple juice and an iced coffee.

Subway was our lunch option, where I had my signature six-inch turkey on wheat with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mustard. We also stopped by this *awesome* coffee shop in Andersonville called The Coffee Studio. The sleek, modern decor was a lovely match to its health-friendly menu. Very cute place! I wish I'd taken some photos, but it was a quick stop in before an open house.

After several more stops, Ryan and I switched up to our usual Sunday grocery duties. We called it a day at Whole Foods. We were both too tired to cook anything. I had a salad with veggies, plus some lemon dill tuna and some lime and cilantro quinoa. I cannot pass up the tomato basil soup either.

How was your weekend? Thanks for checking out Fighting the Pudge!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gettin' My Yoga On

When walking to my 8 A.M. yoga class on Friday, I was greeted with this fabulous chalk art. Awesome, right?

It felt great to be back at yoga. I'd missed four weeks and I don't want to go that long again. Yoga really does get your mind in a positive space. Before class, I did grab a bowl of coconut granola.

For lunch, Ryan and I headed outside for a break. We almost always eat in for every meal, especially with my recent changes this summer. But the weather was so perfectly warm and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We have a cute area nearby that has a handful of shops and restaurants, and many of which we have yet to try. We opted to check out Kitsch'n on Roscoe for lunch.

It's a fun spot with plenty of pop culture decor inside. It reminds me a bit of Igloo in my old neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. Anyhow, I ordered the spinach salad with chicken, feta, mandarin oranges, and bacon and a side of raspberry vinaigrette. It was big enough for some leftovers to bring home, but I also had a side of Kitsch'n's famous rosemary mashed potatoes.

Ryan and I also stopped by the nearby Starbucks for iced coffees. This new coffee habit ... yikes, I don't know. It's becoming quite the ritual.

In between job searches and bio edits, I stumbled on the Hot Chocolate 15k run via Joanna's 40 Day Kedge blog. Hooray! Another fun and exciting Chicago event that I can participate in. I'm doing the Chicago AIDS Run Walk in October, so why not get involved in another, right? The Hot Chocolate 15k does allow walkers for the 5k, so that's what I'll be doing come November 7th at Grant Park. I'm really excited! Registration fees will benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Well today was as healthy as it was going to be with eating out for lunch, but the hubs and I reached for a pizza for dinner. We did keep things on the healthy side however and some of my farmer's market findings
with the last of my green zebra tomatoes and mini bell peppers. We also used an organic multi-grain crust from Rustic Crust, part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, plus some fresh basil from my herb garden. Ryan did top his portion of the pie with some chopped salami. I stayed away from that side of the pizza. :)

Pizza is one of my very favorite things in life. It will always be there. YUM!

Happy Friday everyone!

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite bloggers, Brown Eyed Baker, has a fantastic recipe for Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made these for my Dad when he was visiting Chicago last weekend, as he's the world's biggest cookie connoisseur. They were a big hit and you can't eat just one. Last night Ryan was looking for a dessert, so I decided to whip up a batch since I already had all of the ingredients on hand.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.

4. Use a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Her recipe says it makes 16 cookies, however I was able to make 24 total cookies. Pretty yummmmmmmy! Thanks to the Brown Eyed Baker for allowing me to reprint her recipe. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite cookie recipe? Please share! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stuck ... Sort Of

Sometimes, when you're really hitting your stride with exercising, life flows pretty nicely. You're happier and some of the negative stuff just bounces off you a helluva lot easier. Things just seem a bit brighter. Am I right? But what do you do when everything comes to a screeching halt because of a small setback?

My workouts have seriously taken a back seat the last two weeks. My schedule is pretty packed and I'm thankful for that, but somehow working out hasn't happened as planned. Grrrr.

I'm brushing it off and looking toward Friday. I'll be at yoga come hell or high water at 8 A.M. Count on it.

Today, I tried something new for breakfast: chia seeds! I've heard about these foxy little herbs for a while now and Carrots N' Cake frequently mentions them. They come from the mint family and are helpful in several area. Not only do they reduce your blood pressure, but they're loaded in Omega-3 goodness and aid in making you feel full. This morning, I added mine to an open fruit sandwich with bananas, strawberries and a tablespoon of reduced fat Jif. With some Arnold bread, it was pretty scrumptious if I do say so myself. I also had a cup of watermelon and an iced latte. Woo!

Lunchtime also saw the return of Chef Meg's Taco Soup. This time I had some multi-grain saltines from Nabisco and 10 cherries. With being back in the Midwest, I'm able to get my hands on some sweet cherries!

Once I wrapped up a few things, I decided to give pickling a try. Eating Well's guide to pickling various vegetables is quite thorough. I totally thought the process might be intimidating, but in the end it was quite easy and quick. Here's the scoop on making dill pickles:

I pulled out four cucumbers from Wednesday's trip to Green City Market and sliced them up accordingly. I had saved an old glass jar to use and only ended up needing two of the sliced cucumbers. Eating Well suggests the spears (at 3.5 pounds) be cut into quarters or eighths. I just eyeballed what looked right. Haha.

Next up, I prepared the sour pickle brine by combining 2 cups of white distilled vinegar, 1 cup cider vinegar, and 3 cups of water in a large saucepan. (*Note: Eating Well's directions called for 3 cups of one particular vinegar, but I combined the amounts of what I had on hand and it seemed to work out just right). Add 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sea salt and 2 tablespoons sugar to the pan. Bring to a boil and stir until salt has dissolved. Let it boil for 2 more minutes and remove from heat. This sour pickle brine yields 6 cups.

From there, I added about six small cloves of chopped garlic, ground black pepper, and fresh dill to my glass jar and added my cucumbers spears and the brine. Overall, all of this preparation totaled about 20 minutes, tops. I am sooooo looking forward to trying one of these pickles in the A.M., as Eating Well suggests refrigerating for 24 hours.

I also pickled some of my purple haze carrots, as I had a lot of leftover brine. I've never had a dilly carrot before, but I figured why not give 'em a try. I bet they'd be good on a salad. I'll photograph those this weekend.

Once pickling was done, I returned to my computer to work on some additional edits on a press bio. I also snacked on a fresh peach.

Our Roasted Ratatouille Tart also made its final debut this evening during dinner. It was still as zesty as it was when I first made it, however, the crust didn't hold up as expected.  I'll definitely be trying the cornmeal crust next time. In addition, we had some herb lettuce with some farmer's market cherry tomatoes and cucumber. I want more of these yellow and orange cherry tomatoes. They are just too good!

As the evening winded down, I chatted with my blog partner in crime Raina and made some Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies for Ryan ... more about those tomorrow. I also chatted with my friend Alyssa and she told me how I need to watch the Jersey Shore. I know, I know ... it's super lame that I haven't seen a full episode. But I come from the era of the first six seasons of the Real World. Anyways, Thursday has come to a close. How was your day?

As always, thanks for reading!