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Weekend Eats

I did a lot this weekend. I saw a lot of people. I did a lot of reading. I did a TON of cleaning.

For whatever reason, though, I only really took pictures of the food I ate. No big deal. This is half a food blog, anyway!

I took this picture because I thought it was funny.

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All three are in my cabinet right know. Think maybe I’m on a Cheerios kick?

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My Saturday morning breakfast combined two of them — Peanut Butter & Chocolate. Delish! Though I will say that the PB Cheerios are far, far superior to the chocolate ones.

I had an amazing lunch that day. I ordered this sandwich from a place called Olive & Thyme in Toluca Lake.

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In case the picture doesn’t do it for you, here’s a description:

“Oil packed tuna with sliced egg, arugula tomato, tapenade & pesto mayonnaise on baguette.”

Granted, they also gave me red onion (which I had to pick off), but it was still a wild success. And it was huge. I couldn’t have finished it if I’d tried.

I went to dinner that night with my friend Shivani at a restaurant called Ciao Cristina, right across from the WB lot.

Even though I went there craving pizza, I found myself seriously craving vegetables while were there. So, I got this huge (and gorgeous)grilled vegetable plate.

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Isn’t that amazing?

And, of course, I repurposed the leftovers into my favorite and versatile comfort food meal: upgraded mac ‘n cheese.

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Duh. Like you expected anything else.

I also took my friend Lauren out for a celebratory/ thank you dinner last night. We had an Indian feast:

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I got Sag Paneer and we split rice and potato-filled naan.

I left a very full and happy girl.

As you can see, I went out to eat quite a bit this weekend — and actually, that doesn’t even include my dinner out with my friend Tyler on Friday night or my coffee/ second breakfast out with my friend Becky on Saturday morning.

My wallet needs a break, but my tastebuds were thrilled. 🙂

Did you eat anything fun this weekend?

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Healthy Goals for March

February was a month of major ups and major downs. More on that tomorrow. Sort of.

Anyway, it made me think that maybe I need to set some simple, healthy and reasonable goals for myself to focus on throughout the month of March.

1. See my friends more.

I had the pleasure of seeing all of these smiling faces last night, which in turn put a huge smile on my face. I spent so much of February sick that I ended up being holed up in my apartment for most of it. No more! I’m happiest around my friends. And gosh, they’re great.

2. Get back into my fitness routine.

Between a very busy work schedule and losing my patience with my ever-frustrating knee, I’ve been in a phase in my life in which fitness has been on the back-burner. I so miss the fitness side of myself (and of this blog!).

Fortunately, I talked to my Physical Therapist about this last night, and she decided that we’re going to come up with a consistent fitness routine for me that I can keep up even with the knee problem.

Right now, we’re leaning towards Pilates. While this would be an expensive decision to make, I also feel it would likely be one I wouldn’t regret.

3. Master the art of painting my own toenails.

Random, but it’s a solid budgetary goal. I’ve already mastered the art of painting my fingernails (you have no idea how long of a process this has been). Any pedicure tips?

4. Cook more.

Especially, cook more foods like this:

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Those were dishes cooked for me last night at the dinner party with those wonderful people you saw pictured above. So delicious and so healthy! Specifically, those foods are salad, Vegan Ragu, and Kale, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Amazing.

The Vegan Ragu recipe was created by my friend James and the Kale recipe was created by my friend Brian. I convinced each of them to email me their recipes. I will post them this month!

So, some sub-goals…

4a. Cook and post about the Vegan Ragu.

4.b. Cook and post about the Kale, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Now that they’re specifically listed out like that for the world to see, I can’t get lazy about it. 🙂

Oh, we also ate this delicious Apple & Almond Cake last night. I’ll be making this at some point, too!

I don’t know if that’s a March goal, but itwill happen.

5. Get more sleep.

I make this goal every month. I rarely follow through. Doesn’t mean I won’t try this month.

6. Take my vitamins every day.

See Goal #5. 🙂

6. Take some me time.

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I don’t know if I’m quite the type for Meditation or anything, but I do know that I need to find some balance in my life. I work a lot. I love the work I do — and all of the jobs I have — but I also stopped finding much time for myself. Not having the gym be a daily part of my life these days took away time that used to be my “me time.”

Lately, I’ve been taking my hours off to watch TV or read scripts for work. While these are great ways to escape, I think that’s exactly what I’m doing — escaping. Maybe I need to take time to write in a journal, or something. I’m not even sure how to spend “me time” anymore.

How do you spend your “me time?” And what are some of your goals for March?

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Fresh and Easy Wine Snapshots

On Thursday night, I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in one of Fresh and Easy‘s wine tasting tweet-ups.

Once again, even though this was a Valentine’s Day wine tasting and the holiday + wine should have together suggested a romantic evening might have been in order…

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… I spent it with my friend Lauren.

I also spent it with her boyfriend, Gabriel.

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Honestly, though, it was lovely.

And plus, I’m not sure I had a romantic evening in me. Look how tired I look!

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On second thought, don’t. Ignore how tired I look. Pretend I’m pretty.

We started with the Chianti (the wine Lauren and I are both posing with above), which was definitely my favorite of the night.

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It was smooth and strong and tasted much nicer than the very cheap price tag would have implied.

We also tried a bubbly wine, which was super bubbly. I loved that part of it, but the wine was a little too sweet for me — especially after that nice Chianti.

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Ignore the lemon. We thought it was funny at the time. I blame the wine.

However, on a citrus note, I do think the above wine would make for nice Mimosas.

The third wine was a chocolate wine, which I thought I would love but actually very, very much disliked. I thought it tasted like someone had poured Hershey’s syrup into wine.

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Lauren liked it, though. And, judging from the tweet chat, so did most people! It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

… or, you know, glass of wine.

We also had to fill ourselves with food to balance out all that wine, so we ate the Fresh and Easy Margherita pizza, which I’d picked up when I’d gotten the wine.

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The rest of the evening was spent in shenanigans with Lauren and Gabriel’s dog Spot, who thinks he’s a lapdog.

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He totally isn’t. That’s why it’s hilarious. Duh.

Did you try any new wines this weekend?

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Super Bowl Sunday

I’m not going to to lie to you… this weekend was a MAJOR blogger fail.

You see, I had every intention of having my Monday “Snapshots” post be all about the Superbowl and the so-themed party I was going to attend on Sunday. Therefore, I cut myself lots of slack throughout the rest of my (crazy busy) weekend, which included many fun things.

I won’t bother you with the details. I have no pictures, so I wouldn’t want to be a tease. 🙂

Anyway, the Superbowl party came and went and I honestly was just too distracted with people, food, the commercials, and everything else (note that I didn’t say “the game”) to take pictures.

If I’m being really honest, I just sort of straight up forgot.

I did capture one beautiful picture of the game.

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I know. Award-worthy. Riveting. Heart-stopping. Shall I go on?

I also captured a shot of the host, Daniel, with the “world’s biggest pizza.”

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He was very excited about it. He hyped it up at least a few times. I definitely went into the party ready for pizza.

This humongous pizza was about four regular pizza’s worth, and was quartered into cheese, pepperoni, Mexican and vegetable. The vegetable corner would have been my top choice, but it was covered in crushed garlic. Not my thing. So, cheese it was.

The party was lots of fun and I’m sorry I didn’t capture more of it on my camera (okay, phone). That being said, I’m sure most of you have roughly 20 Super Bowl party recaps lined up in your readers, so… I can’t imagine you mind that much, right?

Let’s call this refreshingly brief… or something.

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Vegan Food Crawl

A few weeks ago, my lovely friend Lauren sent me a link to something called a Vegan Food Crawl, asking me if I wanted to go with her.

Yummy, probably healthy, vegetarian (vegan, even!) food, all along a long walk, alongside one of my best friends? Sign me up!

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When we showed up, we were each given a bag with the Urban Food Crawl label on it.

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I thought this was a cute touch, though it definitely made me think we’d be getting more nibbles-to-go than we did (since we didn’t get anything to-go unless we didn’t finish what we got at each location).

We got a menu in these bags, however, which let us know what we had to look forward to.

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As the menu suggested, our first stop was Malo.

20120130-094203.jpgThere, we got Vegan Chipotle Soyrizo Tortas (and burritos, actually) with avocado, lettuce and tomato.

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Once splitting was all said and done, this is what my plate of tastes looked like:

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This location, being the first, was also the first where I got a real sense of what this food crawl would be like. We were all kind of sitting around at a table and rather than being treated like this was a professional food crawl. We were instead kind of like a big, distant family, especially given that we got plates to split with each other. We also waited about 20  minutes for our order to come, as it seems they didn’t put the order in until we got there.

Once we ate and the hosts paid, we moved on to the next location, which was across the street: Garage Pizza.

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This place offered the same kind of deal, where we all sat at tables there and waited for our food, which we split up.

At Garage Pizza, we got the Vegan Calzone, which had Daiya cheese, mushrooms, vegan sausage and red onion. It’s actually supposed to come with bell peppers instead of mushrooms, but one of the hosts had a personal preference that led her to change the official order.

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My piece:

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At this point, only two stops in, I was already kind of full!

We took a break part-way through to stop at a spice station. It was a cool location, but definitely added to the very slow pace of the food crawl.

Next up: Berlin Currywurst

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This was, by far, my favorite location. Not only was the food good (and plentiful), but this was the only stop that really seemed to “get” what we were there for. The staff of the restaurant told us about their food and why they brought it to Los Angeles from Germany, and also told us about how they came to offer vegan options.

One of these options involved these amazing french fries, which we dipped in curry ketchup.

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So good.

The other was a surprise favorite of mine: vegan kielbasa (tasted real and I had no problem with that, even though I’m not a meat fan!). There were a variety of flavors, but to me, the clear winner was one that had both orange and curry flavors. It was to die for. It also came with German bread, which was a really nice touch.

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The next stop was Naya, an India restaurant.

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This place was kind of weird, since they definitely did not seem to get that we were on a food tour. They crowded us around low tables at a bar and asked for individual orders, which was odd.

Their food, however, was good! Two Samosas each — one spinach & tofu and one pea & potato.

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The pea and potato Samosa was one of my favorite things we tasted all day.

Sadly, this is where the tour stopped for Lauren and me. While this mostly can be chalked up to a personal call I got that basically forced me to leave, I can also say that I wasn’t all that sorry to go. As much as I loved the food tour, I was a) completely full at this point and no longer wanted any more food and b) sort of over it. This was three hours in, we’d been to four stops, people were ordering drinks, and I just didn’t want to spend a fourth hour of my Sunday on a food crawl with strangers.

I think this food crawl could be awesome and I know it’s through a new company, so I’m hoping they’ll keep improving the tour. I seriously encourage any of you fellow LA-ites to check it out, but I’d also encourage them to change things. For instance: they should cut down the amount of food at each stop, the amount of time spent at each stop and the amount of time total. If the tour was something more expected by each location (say, “we’ll be here at 2:15PM, so please be ready with these dishes”), the food was already paid for, and there was a little more information about the food at each stop, it might feel more like an actual food crawl.

That being said, go check their website out if you’re in LA!

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The First WIAW(T)

Hello and welcome to my first What I Ate Wednesday!

So, it kind of occurred to me that it’s not really going to be “What I Ate Wednesday” if I actually want to post in a timely fashion on Wednesdays. Whoops. However, you don’t really care what day I actually ate my food on, right? (‘Cause, if you did, that’d be sort of weird…). What I figure is that I’ll post on Wednesday mornings but write about my Tuesday eats. NBD.

Well, I’ll start with my workout: I began the morning with an arms strength training set and all of my knee PT exercises. I’m getting so much stronger! Thank goodness for that.

Now for the food. There’s a lot of sickness going around my office these days, so I’ve decided that I’m jut going pack myself full of lots of fruits and veggies to naturally get as many vitamins into my body as possible right now.

To start my day off right in that sense, I made myself a smoothie — even though it was so cold out yesterday!

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Into the mix went: (gosh, remember when I used to write that daily?)

  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbs whey unflavored protein powder (from the bulk bins — SO much cheaper!)

I really wanted spinach, but I didn’t have any on hand.

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Very easy and healthy breakfast-on-the-go for a busy girl like myself!

Speaking of meals on-the-go… lunches, at least for the next three months, are almost exclusively going to have to be prepared meals (unless I happen to have leftovers). I’m so busy right now  — I have two jobs, one of which is an 11-hour/ day job and the other is before and after that work day.  So, at least for these three months, I’ve just decided to be okay with prepared lunches.

That being said, I’m doing my best to find healthy options in a variety of places (especially so I don’t get sick of anything).

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I got this Southwest Quinoa Salad at Fresh & Easy the other day, thinking that F&E had never failed me before. Sadly, however, this might have been the time. There’s a first for everything, right?

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It certainly wasn’t terrible (I ate all of it!), but I chose to warm it up (it’s supposed to be served cold) and flavor it with salt & pepper. I might not be the target audience for this meal, though — I loathe the taste of raw red onion, which was a fairly overpowering feature of the dish.

I’ve decided to treat my post-lunch sweet tooth with chocolate in vitamin form. Adora has become my lunchtime dessert.

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Whoever came up with that idea is a genius.

I’ve totally gotten out of the habit of taking pictures of my food. I didn’t remember to take a picture of my snack (a banana and peanut butter) until I’d almost finished it!

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Dinner was the most exciting meal of the day. Do you remember Parvin, the girl who gave me P90X? Well, she lives on the east coast, but she’s visiting for the week. I was lucky enough to be included in a dinner she and another friend of ours from middle school, Christine, hosted. They even made a vegetarian option for me! How nice is that?

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On my plate: vegetarian Thai fried rice, garlic blackened brussels sprouts and salad.

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I had second(small) scoops of both the rice and the brussels sprouts. So good!

Speaking of good, Christine and Parvin made these delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Their secret ingredient? Ground cloves! Though Parvin made me a little nervous when her clue to the secret ingredient was “you can smoke it.”

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However, that might have made it a little easier to explain why I had not one, but two. Oh well.

Here’s the group:

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They were all so much fun! I’d only ever met Christine and Parvin before, so I got to talk to lots of new people.

Alright, so, let’s hear it: What are you eating this Wednesday?

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New York For A Day

While I was home I was lucky enough to head into New York City for a day.

I actually hadn’t been planning on going. Sometimes going into the city feels like more of a hassle than it’s worth. However, between an opportunity to meet someone on the other coast for work, the chance to see the tree at Rockefeller Center (which is something I’m pretty sure I have done every year of my life?), and the offer to get together with one of my best friends, I just couldn’t turn New York down.

So, I hopped on a train and was on my merry way.

As soon as I arrived in Grand Central, I was so happy I was there. I looked around and sighed happily and thought, “home.”

I started walking toward my destination (Rockefeller Center) and started just taking pictures of the city because I was so happy to be there and so excited to share it with you guys.

When I got to Rockefeller Center, I remained picture-happy.

I think this is in part of Home Alone 2?

Either way, it says Christmas to me.

But not as much as this does:

Oh, and just in case any of you are wondering, that big building behind the tree is 30 Rock itself. This one:

Isn’t it majestic? This is at the front of it, when you walk in:

I love that. And I love that building.

…Which is why I took this dorky picture:

This is the gorgeous view from that exact location:

Isn’t New York beautiful?

After a while, I decided to explore the area a bit more while I killed some time.

Thankfully, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is right around the corner.

One of my favorite things that I used to do as a child, when I went into the city, was to light the candles at this cathedral and say prayers or make wishes for people in my life.

So, I did. I made a lot of wishes. I’m not a religious person, but this tradition still speaks to me.

I wished for luck in the new year for all of my readers, by the way.

(And a lot of other things, like health and happiness for my family and friends, etc.)

I then went to my meeting and had a bit of time to kill before meeting my friend Sarah for a (late!) lunch, so I kept myself busy by taking more pictures of the city during the holidays.

Sarah and I had a wonderful time grabbing lunch and walking around the city together.

And then, sadly, it was already time to go home.

I miss New York already!

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