Loading Up on Vitamin D

My day started off pretty well. I woke up around 9am and made a bee-line for Dunkin’ Donuts. Mmm, coffee. After my daily dose of crack caffeine I made breakfast. I mixed 2 Tbs of PB2 with a container of plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of berries, and 1 cup + of Heritage O’s. The combo of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates held me over for hours. Plus it tasted delicious! I love adding PB2 to yogurt – it makes the yogurt taste very decadent and the addition of berries reminded me of a PB & J.

a.m. beverages

Oikos breakfast bowl

After breakfast, I headed downtown to Central Park. I found a sunny spot and read my new library book while catching some sun rays. I started The Queen of Bable by Meg Cabot last night and finished it this afternoon. It was the perfect light reading for a summer day. Every girl needs a little chick lit in her life :-)

Reading in the park

After my reading break, I met up with Alma. We chatted while walking down Central Park West. After our stroll I headed to my gym for 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by LOTS of stretching and strengthening exercises for my IT band/knee. I also used the foam roller until I couldn’t take it anymore. Dear lord, that thing makes mince-meat out of my leg muscles. I’m really hoping it helps my angry (and very tight!) IT band. One of these days I will take photos of the strengthening and stretching exercises that I do. ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) is such a common problem among runners – I’d be happy to share any tips that can make it better.

After my gym visit, I reemerged into the bright sunshine. Time for some Tasti D-Lite! I was very excited to see that the Flavor-Of-The-Day was Oreo-Peanut Butter. So good! Apparently this stuff only contains 85 calories per 4 oz serving, but it tastes a little too good to be true!

Oreo Peanut Butter Tasti D-Lite

After a bit more walking and window shopping on the West Side, I decided to head home. After all day in the sun I was looking for something to cool me off. A smoothie seemed to be just the thing I was craving.

smoothie

In the mix:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • tsp honey

I originally used 1/2 cup of frozen berries, but after sampling the mixture I realized I could taste the spinach! I added more frozen berries and another squirt of honey and this solved the problem. Sweet, frozen, and delicious.

I finally finished up the other half of my grilled chicken wrap – it held up surprisingly well in the fridge and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Leftovers

After dinner I spent a few hours writing. Around 9pm I tried a new variety of Honest Tea – Citrus Spice Decaf. I also had 1/2 bag some of the very addictive Trader Joe’s Righteous Rounds. At least they contain broccoli!

Decaf spice tea

Righteous Rounds

Now I’m off to bake another chocolate-chip banana bread. Last weekend’s loaf disappeared in record time!

Route 66 Cafe

Last night Nate and I enjoyed dinner at the Route 66 cafe (located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan). The restaurant was an interesting mix of motifs. The design of the restaurant featured modern lighting, cozy tables, and a bit of Route 66 nostalgia by way of old license plates and maps. The menu was extensive and offered casual sandwiches and burgers as well as more upscale entrees.

We started off with a basket of fresh bread – I tried half a slice of the ciabbatta with butter. This was quality bread – a rarity in complimentary bread baskets!

Bread basket

To drink, I ordered a Stewart’s Diet Root Beer – so frosty and good :-)

Stewart's Diet Root Beer

For my entree, I was drawn to the California Wrap. My sandwich featured grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, lettuce, avocado, and salsa in a whole wheat wrap. The blend of flavors was great! I really liked the balance between the crisp lettuce, sweet peppers, soft avocado, and savory chicken. I enjoyed a side order of extra crispy french fries, yum! I saved half of the wrap and look forward to leftovers later this weekend.

The California Wrap

So good!

Nate decided to go with the roast leg of lamb. He thought about getting pasta, but I convinced him that lamb was the better choice. We can easily make pasta at home, but lamb is a special treat! He enjoyed his protein packed dish with a side of fresh broccoli and mashed potatoes.

Nate's lamb, broc, and mashed potatoes

We were both pretty stuffed by the time we were finished eating, but the dessert menu looked so tempting! We decided to get a slice of the chocolate ganache cake to go. By the time we made it back to my apartment, I had found a little room in my tummy for dessert. The cake was good, but the slice was so small!  I guess I’m used to the giant cake portions that Buttercup Bakery and Magnolia provide :-) Nate snapped a photo of me licking the cake’s take-out container. Check out my chocolate-covered face. Ahh!

Licking the take out container

Chocolate lover

Although the service at the Route 66 Cafe was a little slow and inattentive at time, I’d definitely go back for the food. The restaurant also serves breakfast – I already have my eye on their multi grain waffles and fruit smoothies!

Busy Thursday

I really did not want to get up when my alarm went off at 5:53am yesterday. For a few minutes I laid in bed and considered skipping the gym. However, I wanted to do some errands after work and I knew a morning workout would leave me with more flexibility in my schedule. After a cup of coffee (with milk) from the coffee cart, I hopped on the subway and headed downtown.

Coffee #1

I made it to my gym in time  for a 7am cycling class. The instructor was a little crazy – he jumped around and yelled “pedal faster, go harder!” for nearly the entire class. I was very sweaty by the time we were done! After class, I hopped on the elliptical for 20 minutes, and finished up with some stretching and lifting. By this point, I needed coffee #2 (ice coffee with soy milk) followed by a banana (on the go!)

Coffee #2

banana

My morning was pretty hectic, but I managed to eat some yogurt and peanut butter granola at my desk. Excuse the blurry photo. I barely had time to eat, let alone photograph :-)

yogurt and granola

Around 1:30pm, I took a break for lunch – an apple and my usual salad from the cafeteria.

granny smith

Salad

Today’s mix included:

  • mixed greens, red onion, mushrooms, tomato, carrots
  • ~ 1/3 cup kidney beans
  • feta cheese
  • Tbs craisins
  • whole grain croutons
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
  • A bit of tri-color orzo
  • A few sliced beets

Afternoon snack was Annie’s graham bunnies (love these so much!)

Bunny Grahams

Check out this interesting NY Times article on running, injuries, and Sports Medicine.

After work, I headed down the madhouse that is Trader Joe’s. I had space to navigate the aisles, but the line was insane! After I left, I headed to the subway for the looong ride home and snacked on a newly purchased Babybel cheese.

Babybel

After settling in and unpacking my groceries, I was more than ready for dinner. I whipped up a smoothie using 1/2 cup 1% milk, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen berries, Tbs of ricotta, big handful of spinach, and a few ice cubes. It was yummy – so many fruits and veggies! However, I was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g afterwards. I need to save smoothies for when the weather is sweltering :-)

Smoothie

I toasted up two slices of my homemade wheat bread and topped it with peanut butter and honey.

toast with pb & honey

For dessert, I finally tried a Trader Joe’s molasses chew cookie. So soft and yummy!

Cookie

I way up pretty late reading and listening to music, so around 11pm I decided to make myself some herbal tea and sample a few Trader Joe’s Righteous Rounds. These little guys reminded me of Chips Ahoy, however they are no ordinary cookies. In addition to the the usual baking ingredients, the cookies contain soy flour (fiber & protein) and vegetable extracts. I like how broccoli is actually  listed as one of  the ingredients! 5 cookies have 130 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Furthermore, they aren’t heated above 75 degrees  in order to retain vitamin and nutrient benefits. Read more about the cookies here!

Righteous Rounds

Do you have any favorite Trader Joe’s products?

TGIF! I hope your Friday is a good one :-)

College Graduation – 2 Years Out

Last night I was looking through some old photos and I realized it had been exactly two years since I graduated from Wesleyan University (May 27, 2007).  A lot has happened in the time since commencement – 1 internship, 2 jobs, 3 cities, 2 marathons, and my first apartment! Since I’m feeling nostalgic I thought I’d post some photos from 2007 and a few from 2008 (when I went back to Wes to watch Hannah graduate!).

44 Home – This is where my housemates and  I lived from August 2006 until May 2007. It was a great house!

                              44 Home Ave

Cookout/BBQ at Hannah’s Parent’s House – May 2007.

Senior Picnic at Hannah's

Ever since freshman year AnjaLi and I vowed that we would go “drinking through the rooms” which means: as a senior you go back to your freshman, sophomore, and junior dorm rooms and have a drink to reminisce. Somehow we ended up making a pit stop in the stacks of the library :-)

Library Antics

     I look sad in this photo, but there’s actually a funny story behind my facial expression. After a few cocktails at the Senior Formal I pushed the wrong button and deleted almost all of the photos that I had taken during Senior Week! Nate thought it would be funny to capture my reaction.

                                           Deleted all my photos

Nate and I at the Senior Formal – May 2007.       

Senior Formal

Night Before Graduation Tent Party – May 2007

2007 Tent Party

Cross Country/Track Team Photo – Graduation Day 2007.

                           Team

                                44 Home housemates – look at our giant cake!!

Graduation Day!

In May 2008 I went back to Wesleyan to watch my very good friend Hannah graduate.

Megan & Hannah

This babka cake featured prominently during my visit.

Babka Cake

A weekend of many cakes – May 2008!

Hannah Graduates!

Night Before Graduation Tent Party – May 2008 (I think it’s funny that it’s so similar to the 2007 photo.

Tent Party 2008

(Future) President Obama was the 2008 commencement speaker – the security detail was crazy during the graduation ceremony. This photo is kind of blurry, but I felt lucky just to be in the audience. Hannah’s mom was very clutch in procuring seats and providing sunscreen and snacks. It was a very fun day!

Obama speaks at 2008 Wesleyan Commencement

Farmer’s Market Brunch

Farmer's Market Brunch

Jesse’s Farmer’s Market Brunch!

Jesse says: I took a trip to the Falls Church farmer’s market and decided to make brunch with the food I picked up there. I love cooking with fresh, locally produced food! All of the vegetables (except the garlic) in these recipes came from the market.

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Garlic, topped with Caramelized Fresh Onions:

  • 2 eggs beaten with salt, pepper, and a splash of milk
  • 1 bunch of fresh chopped spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small fresh onion sliced into rounds
  • olive oil and a bit of butter

The first step is to caramelize the onions. This turns them into an almost sweet, slightly crunchy treat! Heat some oil in a wide sauté pan to medium high, add the onions, and sauté them for about 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. They should come out a bit golden and crispy!

While the onions are sauteing, chop up the spinach and prepare the eggs. Once the onions are done and out if the pan, add the butter, squeeze the garlic into the pan through a press, let that sauté a bit then add the spinach. Once the spinach is most of the way cooked pour in the eggs and scramble away!  I enjoyed the eggs with hot sauce, though some prefer ketchup.

Megan says: Check out this recent NY Times article about the popularity of sriracha hot sauce!

The other part of this Farmer’s Market Brunch was Sauteed Asparagus:

  • 4-5 stalks asparagus (make sure to cut off the bottom end or it’ll be stringy and chewy!)
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

This delicious and simple alternative to steaming asparagus keeps it from getting mushy. Chop the asparagus into short pieces, put it in the hot, oiled pan with garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté it on medium high heat for a few minutes until it’s cooked enough for you, I like it crunchy!

Finally, I rounded out my brunch with a slice of “Country White” bread from a baker at the market. I think it has some sourdough in it, but I can’t be sure. Regardless, it was delicious toasted with a little butter!

Megan says: The highlighters and books in the background belong to my hard-working Med student friend, Jen.  Good luck on your upcoming board exams!

Inspired by The Orangette

I’ve talked about my admiration for Molly Wizenberg’s writing before and yesterday’s food choices were much inspired by her blog “The Orangette” and her recent book. On Sunday evening, I baked chocolate chip-banana bread and I think it was one of the top 3 banana breads that I’ve ever eaten (tooting my own horn, just a bit!) The recipe is based on Molly’s ginger-chocolate chip banana bread, but I made a few modifications. I omitted the crystallized ginger, used whole wheat flour instead of white flour, and used non-fat greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt. The results were divine – the bread was extremely moist, just sweet enough, and the addition of whole wheat flour makes it (almost) healthy.  I ate this bread (covered in chunky peanut butter) for breakfast, lunch, and dessert yesterday. So good!

banana-chocolate chip bread

My dinner was another Orangette-inspired meal. According to Molly, the French often eat radishes with butter, salt, and baguette.  I was a little skeptical of this (radishes? butter? for a meal?!!), but the Farmer’s Market had some great looking radishes this weekend so I decided to give it a try. The result: Delicious! I mean…any combination of butter and baguette has to be at least a little yummy. I sliced the radishes, spread hunks of bread with butter, sprinkled on some sea salt, and made little sandwiches. The radish variety that I bought was called “French Breakfast”  and they were lovely, long, and rosy pink.  The creamy butter and salt really complemented the peppery bite of the radish. If you’ve never been a fan of radishes, this technique may change your mind. Buy some fresh butter, a crusty baguette, some lovely radishes, and pretend you’re French for the day :-)

From above

Unusual dinner

Up close

Sunny Sunday

Rachel and I were up bright and early this morning. Before we headed downtown, I enjoyed a quick breakfast of Stonyfield Greek yogurt, banana, 1/2 cup peanut butter granola, and a calcium supplement.

Breakfast

We arrived at the South Street Seaport around 10:30am and retrieved our (free!) bicycles. The New York City Downtown Alliance is offering free 2.5 hour bike rentals all summer long. Pick-up is at the South Street Seaport, but you have the choice of dropping the bikes off a few other places. Check out this web site for more info. We rode our bikes along the greenway for about 45 minutes and it was a lot of fun! We took in some great views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the weather was sunny and perfect.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge

After we returned the bikes, my stomach started to growl. Time for lunch! We walked about a mile or so to the LES and arrived at our planned lunch spot, 88 Orchard. However, the place was super tiny and crowded. We decided to try a funky little cafe across the street. The Wall’s slogan is “Healthy Food for Busy People” and it was delish! Rach and I split a honey-sweetened lemonade and I chose the portabello mushroom sandwich for lunch. The whole wheat bun was topped with grilled portobellos, tomato, basil pesto, and melted manchego cheese. The pesto was suberb and this was probably one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in New York. Rachel enjoyed a bison burger. Two thumbs up!

Lunch at The Wall

Up close

We proceeded into Chinatown and decided that we needed to stop at the famous Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. At this point, the sun was shining in full force and I needed something to cool me off. I chose a kiddie cone of Zen Butter (Sesame Seed flavored ice cream!).

Chinatown

Zen Butter

It’s no secret that this place is one of my favorite spots – Nate and I stopped there during our foodie tour of Manhattan.

As the afternoon wore on, we walked through Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, and ended in the W. Village. I re-hydrated with an unsweetened mint green tea while I picked up some goodies (a new stainless steel frying pan, placemats,  and salt & pepper grinders!) from Crate & Barrel. Oh how I love that store. By 4pm our feet were very tired, so we hopped on the subway and headed back to my apartment.

Mint Green Tea

After a refreshing shower, I snacked on some cherries I got from a street vendor – 2 lbs for $4.00 What a deal!!!

Cherries

By 6pm our day full of activity had us ready for dinner – I called the local Indian Restaurant and ordered in. My plate (yes, it’s a paper plate with an easter bunny) contained whole wheat naan, brown rice, chicken tikka masala, cabbage, onion chutney (red container), and coriander sauce (green container). It was delicious as always and I really enjoyed the whole wheat naan and brown rice. I washed it all down with an iced cold diet root beer.

Indian Food

It’s been a long day, but I have some over ripe bananas that are calling my name so I might bake some banana bread. Have a great Memorial Day!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers