Indian Summer

The recent weather in NYC has been unbelievably sunny and warm (remind me of this in a few months…). After the usual 1/2 decaf coffee yesterday morning, I set off to Central Park for a sunny, Autumnal 4 mile run. Considering Sunday’s 12 miler, my legs felt surprisingly OK. Yay! I made sure to stretch and foam roll afterwards – I want to keep them feelin’ good.

Breakfast was plain Oikos greek yogurt with PB2 and a chopped apple mixed in. And then I crumbled an Honest Foods granola plank on top. The maple nut flavor was really good! It had a consistency similar to Kashi Go Lean Crunch – very crunchy. The granola plank was rather caloric, but packed with nutrition – (380 cals, 12 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 600 mg omega 3’s). It kept me full until after 2pm!

Oikos and granola plank

Honest Foods Granola Plank

Lunch was from the salad bar. It was Monday – I needed something exciting!

  • arugula, shredded carrots, red onion, mushrooms
  • roasted acorn squash
  • wild rice stuffing
  • bit of potato salad
  • pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, feta cheese
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

Salad

And then the afternoon snackeroos – decaf cappuccino and chocolate vita muffin

Cappuccino

vita top

Around 4pm, the work really started to pile up and I knew it was going to be a late night in the office. Luckily, I had prepared and brought along a whole arsenal of healthy snacks for the week. When I’ve been sitting at my desk for hours on end and my stress levels are high, it’s so tempting to reach for candy (we have M&M dispensors in the pantry!), so that’s why I plan ahead. I know I’ll feel much better if I have a piece of fruit or something with a little protein & fiber.

Around 8pm, I broke into the almonds and they helped me power through the rest of my work.

Healthy Snacks

I took a car home from the office (that’s one benefit of overtime!), but since I never drive anymore (subway and walking only for this lady) I actually got a little car sick. It was kind of funny in retrospect…

I had a coke zero to settle my stomach and some leftover pumpkin risotto with spinach and a dollop of greek yogurt for a late din-din.

pumpkin risotto

Dessert was a white chocolate pumpkin cookie while I worked on some exciting blog updates – to be announced SOON! And then I attempted to get some zzzzz’s….

Pictures 005

Unfortunately I was too wired (coke zero, damn you) to fall asleep easily and I tossed and turned for quite a bit.  At some point I realized I was hungry and in need of a snack. I stumbled to the kitchen and munched on a clif bar. That seemed to do the trick – I was finally able to get to sleep! Lessons learned: don’t drink caffeine after 9pm and always have a snack at the ready!

clif bar

If you’re tense or angry, you’re more likely to get injured. Read this Runner’s World article on how to run safely under stress.

Check out this NY Times article about a woman who walks up to 43 miles per day!

What healthy snacks do you keep at your desk? Fruit, nuts, and vita muffins are my go-to choices!

Birthday Cake, I like it.

Tuesday was a beautifully cool, sunny day. It feels like Autumn! I started it off right with a hot cup of coffee and a 3 mile run in Central Park with Alma. My leg felt good! Hooray!

Alma and I looking very morning-ish. Note the massive amount of un-packed boxes still in the living room…

Post-run

After a quick shower, it was off to work (my commute is only 25 minutes from my new apartment!). Once I got to my desk, I chowed down on a sliced banana, Wallaby low-fat vanilla yogurt, and about 2 servings of Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise cereal. This was yummy and gluten-free (if you’re into that). The cereal was made of Indian corn, Amaranth, and flax. Bonus: it’s loaded with Omega-3’s! The nice folks at Nature’s Path sent me a box of samples awhile back and all have been great. I finished the Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch in 4 days…

Mesa Sunrise

Mesa Sunrise

I was a very lucky lady today -

Cute Kate Spade stationary from my co-workers:

Gifts from Co-Workers

And flowers from my Mom and Grandma. So pretty!

Flowers from Mom

My boss generously offered to treat me to lunch and around 1pm we headed over to Remi, a restaurant specializing in Northern Italian cuisine. I didn’t take my camera, but I found some photos of the restaurant and it’s dishes online. It was a very indulgent AND delicious meal :-)

Remi

I started off with a piece of crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

bread

We split the Caprese salad as an appetizer – I enjoyed two slices of tomato, a slice of fresh mozzarella, and some basil. Love this combo!

caprese

My favorite type of pasta is Pappardelle (wide, flat ribbons), but since this variety is usually homemade it’s not easy to find or make at home. Since it was my birthday, I indulged in this amazing dish: Homemade Pappardelle with mixed wild mushrooms, garlic, and truffle oil. Ahh! So good! The sauce was decadently creamy and the homemade pasta was delicious. Yummmm.

wildmushroom

My tummy was starting to feel pretty full as I neared the end of my pasta dish, but I saved a tiny bit of room for dessert. I ended this fabulous lunch with a small cappuccino and a biscotti cookie. What a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday, hooray!

cappuccino

After my big lunch, I wasn’t hungry for my usual afternoon snack, so I just worked-worked-worked until 5:30pm. After I left the office I enjoyed a nice lonnnng walk back home.

After some more un-packing and organizing, I broke for a quick dinner – spinach with olive oil and vinegar and two slices of black olive & jalapeno pizza. Yum!

Pizza and salad

And then it was time to open some presents and eat cake!

Some of my favorite gifties:

Presents from Nate

  • Waffle maker, compression recovery socks (for after long runs), a ped egg (yes, I actually really wanted this), a t-shirt from Dogfish Head Brewery, a Greek cookbook, and a Whole Foods gift card.

Presents from my mom will be opened tomorrow! I like to stretch out the celebration :-)

Cake – from box to plate. don’t drop it!

Birthday Cake Megan

with ice cold milk!

Buttercup Bake Shoppe Cake

Also, I’m the proud new owner of second-hand cowgirl boots – thanks Alma!

Cowgirl boots

From the NY Times: Tips for cooking with garlic and olive oil.

Sleep = Time Management Tool?

Question: How many hours of sleep do you get per night? I need at least 7!

Cardamom Peach Pie

It’s peach season here in the Northeast and ripe, juicy peaches are available in abundance. When I saw a recipe for Peach Cardamom Pie in the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine I knew I had to bake one for myself. I followed the directions exactly (no whole wheat flour substitutions this time…) because baking is so finicky. I think the result came out beautifully! The egg wash on the crust gave the pie a nicely browned finish and the absence of a bottom crust made it just a teeny bit healthier. Plus I used local, organic peaches. Mmm, pie! But let’s rewind – before I started my baking project, I fueled up with some coffee and a bowl of yogurt-y goodness. I chopped up an apple and added 1 cup low fat plain yogurt, 1 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, 2 Tbs Smucker’s Naturals peanut butter, and a dollop of homemade peach jam. Kept me full for nearly 5 hours!

Cereal bowl

I don’t have a food processor, so I always cut my butter into the flour with two forks. This works better than your hands because the heat of your fingers would melt the butter too much. You want to use super cold butter for pie crust because when the pie gets in the oven, the heat creates pockets of steam in the cold butter, and this results in a delicously flaky crust.

Cutting in the butter

I use a wooden rolling pin and a mat specially made for rolling out dough – prevents sticking! Chilling your rolling pin and using plastic wrap between the pin and the dough can also prevent sticking.

Rolling out the dough

Peach filling – I liked that this recipe only called for 1/3 cup of sugar. It allowed the naturally sweet flavor of the peaches to shine through.

Peach filling

I used a heart cookie cutter to cut out the dough shapes. Then I brushed the crust with a beaten egg and sprinkled sugar on top.

Peach Cardamom Pie

After 45 minutes the crust was golden brown and the pie filling was bubbly! Is there anything better than the smell of a fresh, homemade pie?

Beautiful pie

Peach Cardamom Pie

After I completed my pie project, I took a long walk (~4 miles) to the Fairway supermarket in Harlem. It was quite hot and sunny today! I ended up buying mostly cool and refreshing groceries -

  • seltzer
  • dark, sweet cherries
  • little tomatoes
  • fresh, local mozzarella
  • Fage Greek yogurt
  • Breyer’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream (mostly for Nate…)

Fairway visit

After my long walk, I needed a snack! I sliced a banana and added 1/2 cup of yogurt, Tb PB2, and some trail mix to a bowl. This was a good combo of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Yum!

Yogurt with banana and trail mix

Around 4:30pm, I met Agnes for an iced coffee with whole milk and a few hours of girl talk. I made it back home JUST as it began to pour. I kind of like summer thunderstorms :-)

iced coffee

As I started to prepare dinner, I snacked on two Wasa crackers with TJ’s white bean hummus.

hummus and wasa

Dinner was a new creation that I’m going to call Caprese Pasta. I boiled about 1/2 box of shell pasta, sauteed 1/2 onion and 3 garlic cloves in olive oil, and then when the pasta was finished cooking, I added the onions/garlic,  pint of cherry tomatoes, a sprig of chopped basil leaves, and about 6 oz of diced fresh mozzarella. I drizzled olive oil on top and added some salt and freshly cracked pepper. Mmm, it tasted like summer! Luckily I have leftovers :-)

Prep

Caprese Salad

Later in the evening, Nate came over to tell me all about this morning’s triathlon (1st in his age group!) and we enjoyed some of my Peach Pie with vanilla ice cream. The cardamom gives this pie a decidedly “grown-up” taste, so if you’re not into pungent spices, you might want to omit to cardamom or replace it with cinnamon. The cardamom and peaches do pair deliciously with vanilla ice cream, though :-) I’d make this again in a heart beat!

Lawsuit over Sodium

The popular restaurant chain, Denny’s, is being sued over the high salt of its food. Some dishes contain more than twice the daily recommended limit of sodium and many health studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and stroke. It’s no secret that a lot of restaurant food is unhealthy, but what do you think about lawsuits? Should food companies and restaurants be held accountable or should the choice be left up to the consumers?  I think as diners we have the right to choose to eat something un-healthy if we wish, but I also think we should know what we’re getting ourselves into. An ice cream sundae or a plate of fries might be obviously un-healthy, but what about the nearly 1,200 calorie spinach and shrimp salad from Applebee’s? I think that foods like that make calorie and nutritional counts on menus essential. Personally, I think all restaurants should post comprehensive nutritional info (including sodium) and then consumers should be allowed to make the appropriate choice for their diet. What are your thoughts??

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