Archive for December, 2009

Good morning!

Firstly: thank you all soooo much for all of your supportive and helpful comments in response to yesterday’s post. You guys gave me great ideas to combat feeling down during winter, from exercising more and spending time outside, to wearing a cute outfit and primping a bit more (never thought of it!), to drinking more delicious teas, lighting “winter scented” candles, and a lot more. THANK YOU! These are the times when I am so happy I have this blog and so grateful to have so many awesome and supportive readers/ friends in the blogosphere. Especially friends who are experts in getting through the winter!

Anyway, off of my heart-felt rant, onto food!

Last night, Loren and I went to dinner for my friend Ana’s birthday. We were supposed to go to Casuella, a cheese/ wine bar in Midtown West, but the service was really snotty and they basically told us they “couldn’t seat tables over 4 for the night”… Confusing. SO, we got on our phones and started searching for places nearby. None of us felt like walking much because it was soooo cold- and luckily we found a pretty good place nearby. We went to Uncle Nick’s, a Greek restaurant with lots of room for all of us. It had a relaxed, cozy vibe and an open kitchen. It smelled great- always a good sign!

We decided to just share a bunch of appetizers and big plates. We started out with a huge Greek Salad and a Mezze Plate with 4 different dips: tzatziki, a salmon roe spread, an eggplant spread, and a potato garlic spread. They also brought a ton of delicious pita bread to the table.

I had a lot more salad but tried not to overdo it on the bread. I had 3 pita slices with the apps and decided to hold off for the big plates to come to have more. We ordered a whole grilled fish, chicken kabobs, and a big Gyro Plate.

I had bites of each, but the Gyro (made of beef and lamb I think) was definitely the best- so flavorful!

The fish:

And the chicken (really juicy and full of flavor but I was too full by this point so I only had 1 bite):

It was a nice meal- Uncle Nick’s is definitely a place I would recommend for casual group dining in that area. I was also happy that I paced myself throughout the meal and didn’t overeat, which I can sometime do when I split a lot of plates. I didn’t drink any alcohol with dinner and I think that helped a lot to keep my willpower in check!

Now off to enjoy the weekend and the cold BUT SUNNY 🙂 day. Thank you all again for your amazing tips on braving the cold and facing wintertime with a smile!


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Hey guys,

Sorry its been a few days since I’ve posted. To be honest, I have been feeling pretty down/ apathetic about things (seasonal depression, anyone?). Anyways, I am finally feeling more like myself today- and up to posting!  But I have a lot of eats to catch up on:

Wednesday breakfast: 1 egg, 1 egg white scrambled with spinach and feta, rolled up in a wrap. Topped with lots of salsa!

Wednesday lunch: Amy’s burrito and lots of snacks…

Wednesday’s “Lazy Kat dinner”: big salad, turkey hot dogs on a slice of Ezekial.

With some excellent McClure’s relish!

And a TJ’s mini ice cream cookie sandwich for dessert.

Thursday: breakfast on the go- a glass of Emergen-C, a banana, chocolate PURE bar.

Thursday lunch (unpictured) at work- turkey and cheese sammie on whole wheat bread, sliced pineapple.

Thursday dinner: “REALLY Lazy Kat dinner”: 2 chopped turkey hot dogs, leftover Angel Hair and Squash Pasta with Marinara Sauce, sliced veggies and humus.

When I was little, chopped hot dog and macaroni was my favorite meal in the world. Maybe this is why I am feeling better today? Comfort food does wonders for me!

Question: What do you do to avoid feeling down during the winter? Any tips? I am from South Florida, so I spent my entire life until the age of 18 outside every day- swimming, walking, running, staying active. Winter and I just don’t mix. But I live in NYC for now, so I need to do my best to stay happy. I have tried bundling up and taking more walks outside, even when it is freezing. I have also been forcing myself to keep exercising a bit every day so the endorphins keep pumping through my body. I have also given into way too many hot chocolates over the last few days (albeit skim) to boost my mood. What do you do?

I hope you all staying cozy and happy wherever you are!

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Yesterday’s breakfast was the same good ol’ creation I have been making for the past few days. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?

If you need a reminder, it looked something like this:

Yes, Yum!

For lunch, I packed some leftover butternut squash + garbanzo bean pasta, on top of a heap of baby spinach….

A pasta salad, I guess! I drizzled some balsamic on this baby and it was good to go. I like this combination because I got to have my pasta/ carb fill, without eating a whole bowl of just that. The spinach is great for volume/ fullness. And two clementines were perfect for a sweet ending to the meal.

I was very snacky/ hungry during the day, but I tried to eat lightly and stay aware of how much I was eating.

I munched on a lowfat string cheese,

Some watermelon and pineapple,

And finally, around 5:30, I just gave in and made myself an early dinner. I was supposed to go back to work from 6-9, and didn’t want to wait until 9:30 to eat a heavy dinner, so I made myself  exactly what I was craving, “lunch for dinner”, starring a Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sammie on Whole Wheat Bread.

With some pickles, olives, and a little more tomato on the side.

What more do you need when it is cold outside?!?

Oh wait, you need frozen yogurt! I had the biggest craving for a big cup of frozen yogurt on the walk home after work- no idea why. But I walked out of my way in the cold to Red Mango, the closest frozen yogurt shop around, to pick some up. I asked for pomegranate arils and strawberries, and when I got home I added some of my own dark chocolate chips.

So worth the walk in the cold. Once I was back in our cozy, heated apartment, it hit the spot!

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Yesterday was, in my eyes, the first true day of winter here in NYC. It was coooold!

I woke up and headed straight to the gym. I did the elliptical for 30/ 35 minutes and some ab/ strengthening work on the mat. Felt strong!

I made a breakfast bowl when I got back which starred the Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread that I baked on Sunday night. It was so easy (just add eggs, oil, water) and sooooo good! I mixed the pumpkin bread with some cottage cheese, half a banana, and some blueberries. Deeeelish!

I also packed lunch and snacks for the day: spinach salad with shredded carrots, salami, and olives; a string cheese; the last of some brown rice chips; 2 clementines; and the other half on my banana from breakfast.

I also had a skim unsweetened Hot Chocolate (made from real cocoa) on the walk home from work.

I was very proud of myself for the spontaneously creative dinner I came up with last night. I saw butternut squash in the fridge (pre-sliced from the produce shop I go to), and knew I wanted to make something centered around it.

I marinated/ covered the squash in a mix of clementine juice (didn’t have oranges- same thing!), maple syrup, olive oil, black pepper, and lots of cinnamon. After 45 minutes at 400 degrees, the squash was ready. When it came out of the oven, I sliced it up into even smaller pieces.

Then, I put some Angel Hair pasta into a bowl of boiling water for 3 minutes. While the pasta cooked, I sautéed garbanzo beans with the squash in a little more maple syrup and olive oil. At the very end, I added some Cranberry Goat Cheese from TJ’s (—-> SOOOO GOOD!) and, finally, the pasta. Mixed it all up and… Voila!

I was very impressed with myself. 🙂 I liked that it had a light sweet flavor, but not too sweet like “sweet pastas” can sometimes be in restaurants. I think that is because I didn’t use too much maple syrup, and flavored it with plenty of salt and pepper. The cranberry goat cheese also gave it a nice, tangy flavor.

I also made a quick tomato, onion, and cucumber salad to go with.

My portion of pasta (I definitely went back for more!).

I made a TON so there will definitely be leftovers making an appearance in the days to come!

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Even though I didn’t do much this weekend, I feel like it flew by! Why does that always happen?

Yesterday was a perfect Sunday in terms of rest/ productivity- a good mix. I went to the gym in the morning, read my book while I ate breakfast, went out for a long walk and some produce shopping, went to TJ’s with Loren, cleaned up around my apartment, and went out to dinner at the BEST Japanese place with Nishant (houseguest/ friend) and Loren. And then I read some more. The Hours is amazing- I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet. I loooove Virginia Woolf’s work, so the book is perfect for me.

What wasn’t so great about yesterday was going through my winter sweaters and discovering moths/ larvae/ holes in some of my favorite sweaters. And having to throw them out. And pick larvae off my clothes. I did not grow up in the Northeast and had no idea moths could do such a thing. Grooooosss.

Breakfast yesterday was a big bowl of “holiday oats”. Basically, just my usual pumpkin oats with some dried cranberries on top. Festive, no?

I also made one of my favorite lunches: tuna salad with crackers and carrots. It is very simple, but definitely comfort food for me. My mom used to make us the best tuna salad- all the time. It feels like home!

I now use mayo made from olive oil- its very good!

My post-TJ run snacks included some indulgent little goodies:

These mini ice cream sandwiches are delicious and only 120 calories each! (They are also quite small). Perfect for a snack or small dessert.

I also had some watermelon and pineapple slices (I know, I know… I’m bad. Not local, not at all).

And later we went to dinner at Hibino in Brooklyn. The food here, as always, was amazing- but the service last night was really bad- way too slow. And our waitress was not so nice.

But, like I said, the food was awesome!

I got a seaweed salad which had all kinds of seaweed in it (I ate most of it- some were a little too “sea-ish” for me!) and we split  an order of asparagus tempura. Yum!

And I had some “pressed sushi”. One had cooked mackarel with shisho sauce on top; the other was tuna with a bit of avocado and shisho. They were both incredible- so fresh tasting. The tuna melted in my mouth.

Even though the servie wasn’t that great, the food made up for it (and I am usually not so forgiving). Hibino is definitely my favorite sushi joint around!

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Today I spent my entire day in our apartment, in my PJ’s… being really lazy. I read my book (The Hours), watched a movie with Loren (Funny People- very good) and just did a whole lotta nothing. I rarely do this, but it was so gray/ rainy/ cold out today that I had no motivation to get out of my PJs. So I didn’t. And it felt great!

Lots of lounging means less hunger and a need for less food, so we didn’t eat very much today- just two meals. Breakfast was a wrap with scrambled eggs/ egg whites, feta cheese, and avocado. With lots of hot sauce! And some earl gray tea.

I love breakfast burritos- there is nothing better!

I also had 2 clementines. Almost done with half of a giant box!

I snacked on some light TJ’s popcorn while we watched the movie.

Around 7, I started to feel hungry again. I saw some TJ’s turkey meatballs in the freezer that I have been wanting to try. Loren had the idea of cooking up some mushrooms with the meatballs and making a meal of it. We didn’t have marinara sauce, so I just cooked everything in olive oil, tomato paste, and a little bit of red wine (after nuking the meatballs in the microwave for a few minutes).

We also had a salad with EVOO and balsamic vinegar on the side. Loren poured me a little bit of wine but I wasn’t in the mood- didn’t drink it.

We melted a bit of cheese on top of the meatball/ mushroom mix. It was really good!

And I grabbed a slice of Ezekial toast to go with. Tasted like a meatball sub!

After dinner, I snuck a mini Reeses leftover from Halloween.

I would bet good $$ that I will consume another clementine or two before bed.  I love them!

I am spending the night in, taking it easy. Last night was a going out/ drinking night so tonight will just be me, my book, my kitties, and a mug of tea. I hope tomorrow will be a more active day!

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Morning! It is a great day! The weekend is upon us… 🙂

Yesterday was also a pretty good day. It began with a 35 minute workout at the gym- a mix of bike and cardio (my usual) and stretching. I laid off the weights for a couple of days to let the muscles in my neck and back relax.

When I got back, I just wanted something light for breakfast, so I made a bowl of cottage cheese, pumpkin granola, 1/2 a banana, sliced pineapple, and a scoop of apricot preserve. With some earl gray…

I was running late to work, but I wanted to pack something homemade for lunch instead of having to eat out. I saw leftover brown rice in the fridge and threw some of the cottage cheese on top of that (I know, 2 servings in one day!), packed a bag full of veggies, and another PURE bar for snack.

It was actually pretty filling! I think all the fiber kept me full throughout the day.

I was excited yesterday to get an email from Nishant, our friend who is staying with us for 10 days. He is Indian and a really good cook. He said he wanted to make dinner for us and I was psyched. He asked what I wanted and, of course, I said, “Indian, please!”. I know he makes great Indian food and I had never had homemade Indian.

He went out and bought a TON of Indian spices and a really nice dubba (a tiffin) for us for all of them to go in!

How awesome is that?!

We didn’t eat until around 9, so I munched on some Italian salami around 7:30 to hold me over. Nishant made an amazing spread: aloo gobi, a potato and cauliflower sabzi, using onions, tomatoes, red chili powder, cumin, turmeric, cilantro and garam masala spice; yellow dahl using cumin, turmeric, tomatoes, garam masala, and cilantro; and some white basmati rice. I took some pictures of him and Loren in action!


And perfecting…

It was amazing!! What I really liked about the meal was that it wasn’t oily at all- Nishant used a lot of water and spices in the dishes but barely any oil. It was so fresh and flavorful.

I added a dollop of yogurt to my plate to balance the SPICINESS of the meal. It was sooo good!

We drank lots of yummy red wine, too. My tummy was very warm and very happy when my head hit the pillow. 🙂 It was a great night!

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