31.5.12

Our new obsession

Do you know what happens when we do not have anything planned for dinner at our house? We go to Jason's Deli. It is our new obsession. They have lots of healthy options, the portion sizes are perfect, and the price is great too. 

We discovered Jason's Deli on our way back from Houston when I googled healthy food to eat on the road. We then realized we had one about 5 minutes from our house! We have now been there three times and I have had:
the nutty mixed up salad
a wild salmon-which with steamed veggies
the spinach veggie wrap with salsa


Did I mention they have free ice cream to fill in the cracks? Just a little bit is enough for this girl!
What a great find with healthy food in the south.

30.5.12

2 notes

I do not have much to say today... a rare moment... lets embrace it. I have been working lots, it is starting to get too hot outside for my liking and they say its going to keep getting hotter, oh and I got a haircut yesterday! This is my first haircut from a new hair dresser in about 8 years! It was a big moment for me.

pre straight hair - pre curly hair - post straight hair!

Oh, and I made baked oatmeal. I found the recipe on pinterest, of course! They are delish and well portioned. My toppings included chia seeds, pecans, peanuts, and chocolate chips! They are perfect to throw in the freezer. Just take them out the night before for a healthy breakfast!

See you tomorrow!

29.5.12

Crafting

Sometimes a girl just has to craft. I am not a big fan of terra cotta pots but I found one in my shed that was the perfect size for the succulent B bought me. With some inspiration from Pinterest and the cute pots I saw at West Elm and Crate & Barrel, I knew I could transform my boring terra cotta pot into something beautiful.

 

All I had to do was tape off the top using painter's tape, spray it with about 3 coats of yellow spray paint, and wait for it to dry!


I love the yellow with my recovered chairs in my sun room and the contrast of the glossy yellow against the matte terra cotta.
Its the small touches that are really finalizing my sunroom... the succulent and pot are one of them! I just love crafting so much. I think this turned out much better than something I could buy in a store.

28.5.12

My neighbors flowers

I must admit, I have been creeping my neighbors flowers these past few weeks. I am obsessed with hydrangeas and other exotic flowers. How is she able to grow them naturally in her yard with no effort at all?!?


Aren't they beautiful?
 I am OBSESSED. I stare at them every time I am near.

Maybe someday I will have my own hydrangea plant to photograph like a maniac. For now... I will just be creepy. I do not think my 80 some year old vegetarian neighbor will care! I bet she would be proud of her flowers and honored that I shared them with you.

*for your reference, these were taken from my driveway... no trespassing necessary!

25.5.12

InstaFriday

TGIF! I did not really have a busy week but it felt productive. I did some killer workouts, took time to relax, and started a new craft project!

1. I am still reminiscing about our trip to Houston! It was so much fun! I think I found a reason for us to go back in July! 2. We had a tomato and basil salad this week... all ingredients from our garden. It was amazing. 3. I purchased some local blueberries to add to my greek yogurt for breakfast. Mmmm. 4. I took some time to straighten my hair this week to see how long it is. Definitely need a haircut next week to get rid of the ends that are fried from the heat.

Have an amazing weekend.


24.5.12

Houston highlights #4

On our last night in Houston we wanted to go somewhere nice for a small dinner and wine. B did some research on wine bars in Houston and discovered The Tasting Room. The location in Uptown Park was very close to our hotel so we knew that would be our choice.

The ambiance was calm, modern, and relaxed. We chose to sit at the bar so we would get recommendations and wine samples from the bartenders. Also people watching from a circular bar is always fun! All of their wines were available to sample, by the glass, and by the bottle. The concept of the restaurant is great as it promotes sampling, trying many different wines by the glass, and sharing a few smaller dishes.

We tried some excellent food. We had two types of hummus with pita chips, we really liked the black bean hummus. Next we had "I can't believe it's not foie gras"in a jar with sliced bread. This was definitely my fave. It was chicken liver pate with a bit of EVOO and lemon juice. We finished up our evening with a cheese plate, bread, and pairings. We all know I am a huge cheese fan so I enjoyed every minute of this dish.

We utilized the wine samples to their full potential (they were not small samples) and enjoyed 3 glasses of wine. Staring with a glass of white and transitioning to red, we had wines from many different regions. My fave was Orchid, a Spanish blend of temparnillo, garnacha & syrah.

Of course, I took lots of photos of us enjoying our dinner... it is the best way to get good photos of the two of us! We really liked The Tasting Room and plan to go back next time we are in Houston. Maybe, Stephanie, our bartender will still be there to give us more samples.
 
I loved recapping our vacation! Every post made me want to go back very soon. I did not expect I would enjoy Houston as much as I did. 
I may secretly be a Texan...

23.5.12

Houston highlights #3

Ahh! I am so excited to share this post with you! This was one of the best parts of our trip to Houston. On Saturday after shopping, we went to Central Market, a Texas grocery store chain. We like to take a peek through local grocery stores on vacation. Weird? Maybe! Fun? Definitely! This place was amazing. Honestly, it put Whole Foods to shame, and we all know how I feel about Whole Foods. We did not buy  any food as we did not have a cooler but the experience was worth the trip.

fresh produce - brioche samples - a sale on all French imports

amazing breads and baked goods

cheese - cheese - more cheese - oh, and an olive bar

beautiful flowers - I love hydrangeas!

our purchases - we bough 7 bottles of wine and parchment muffin tin liners - can you tell how excited we were about our shopping trip?

We would be in so much trouble if we lived in Houston. I think I would be at Central Market everyday! The prices were good and the selection was amazing. The environment was different that other grocery stores. It kind of reminded me of IKEA as you follow a path around the store to each section with little shortcuts throughout. We sampled anything and everything including breads, sausage, and cheese with appropriate pairings. Oh and we had wine samples too! I just cannot stop talking about this grocery store and how amazing it was. Next time we go back we will be bringing a cooler so we can buy goodies for our own kitchen. 

Mom, you would love this place! I imagine you will find dad sampling something around every corner.

22.5.12

Houston highlights #2

On Friday night in Houston we went to the Astros and Rangers game. B loves baseball, I am learning to love to go to games, we like to visit new stadiums, and the food isn't too shabby either. Who would have thought this girl would enjoy going to baseball games.

The stadium was small so our $20 tickets really did not seem too far away from the action. There were lots of empty seats but that did not ruin the energy of the game. We loved the stadium and the seats were very comfortable!

I love taking photos of us at games because sometimes that is how I get the best shots of us! I love the middle photo... but I did have to crop it because the guy behind me totally photo bombed us! Did you see our dinner? It was brisket nachos with queso and salsa! They were delish. I always love stadium food. Its fun to try new things and we always like to look for things unique to that location.

We got a great surprise at the end of the night. They opened up the stadium roof and had a fireworks show! The Houston skyline was beautiful and clear for the show.

We were impressed by the fireworks (I guess they do this every Friday). We will have to remember this for the future as I am always up for a fireworks show!

Take me out to the ball game!

21.5.12

Houston highlights #1

If you saw my post on Friday you would have noticed my packed weekend bag! We went to Houston, TX for the weekend to celebrate B's birthday and our two year engagement anniversary! I have been to the Houston airport 5 or 6 times when flying through but never to the city itself. It was fun to explore a new city and see some place that were new to us. 

 The drive was about 4 hours. We saw some great signs like DeQuincy, LA and Gladys Ave! Luckily I am fast with my iPhone to catch moments like these.

 We stayed at Aloft by Sheraton in the Uptown by the Galleria. The location was perfect for everything we wanted to go to, the staff were nice, the pool was small but had great music playing, and the rooms were modern and comfortable. One of the elevators also had a really cool floor with blue water that would save your footprint!

We shopped at the Galleria where we ate breakfast at La Madeline and browsed the many stores. We also went down the street to West Elm, Crate & Barrel, and Central Market. We bough a couple things at Crate & Barrel for our kitchen! We LOVED Central Market... I will tell (and show) you all about it on Wednesday!


Before we drove home on Sunday we stopped at IKEA for breakfast and to pick up some much needed household items! Guess what! IKEA in Houston has legit eggs! Unlike Edmonton who had eggs that tasted like they came from powder. It was a very exciting moment for us. Finally, on our way home we stopped at Rayne, LA at Candyland Cottage. It has the worlds largest gummy bears (obsessed!) and delish ice cream. We each had some ice cream (some more than others) to enjoy for the drive home.

We loved our weekend in Houston. I cannot wait to go back again. Seriously, we said this so many times all weekend. There are so many places to explore in this city and its close enough for a weekend trip! I apologize if you do not want to hear more about our trip... but I will be posting about our vacation everyday this week! I took tons of photos and we went to so many amazing places I could not jam everything into one post!

18.5.12

InstaFriday

This week was filled with productivity, warm weather, and a couple dates! What more could I ask for?

1. I love when restaurants serve wine from Riedel glasses. Everything tastes better from a crystal glass! 2. You'll never regret a workout. The other day I had to make myself workout so I did one of my fave DVDs. I felt very refreshed and motivated after. Thank goodness for Tone It Up and a great workout motto. 3. We went on a bookstore date to Barnes & Noble. During a study break I did some research on restaurants in Houston with winning wine lists! 4. Then I had an oreo dessert, it was sinful but delicious... everything in moderation.

 5. A wine date at happy hour prior to work on a Monday night? It made my Monday complete! 6. Check out this fish at Whole Foods! It is hard to tell in the photo but it was larger than my torso! 7. I also read a new Self Magazine special at the bookstore, I think I may need to pick up this edition as it had some killer workouts. 8. I had a salad at Whole Foods this week... it was loaded with spring mix, cucumber, mandarins, craisins, blue cheese and a tiny bit of avocado dressing! Yum!

9. I have been creeping my neighbors hydrangea bush all week! I finally got some photos of the beautiful flowers. Hydrangeas are my fave! 10. On Thursdays at Whole Foods custom take home pizzas are $9.99! We had Italian sausage, roasted tomatoes, and mushrooms on a whole wheat crust. We will be back for another one of these pizzas. 11. Hey dad, want some bread pudding? He is obsessed and they have it everywhere here... even the hot bar at WF! 12. Packed all my weekend necessities in a Lulu bag. What does that mean? Vacation photos next week!

Have a wonderful weekend! This weekend is a special one for us. It is B's birthday and our 2 year engagement anniversary.



17.5.12

Meatless Monday (Wednesday)

Once again we had an amazing meatless meal last night. I love using my Vegetarian Newlyweds cookbook for meal planning inspiration, but this week the recipe was made almost exactly as the book recommended. What can I say... I prefer whole wheat pasta to regular!

 ingredients:
1/4 c EVOO
4 tomatoes, halved
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 zucchini, thickly sliced
1 fennel, thickly sliced
8 cloves garlic
1t smoked paprika
2T fresh rosemary
2T fresh oregano
1/3 c black olives
12 oz whole wheat egg noodles
2T butter
salt & pepper
grated Manchego cheese

directions:
Preheat oven to 425F. Heat olive oil in roasting pan for 5 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, and herbs to pan. Roast for 20 minutes, mixing after 15 minutes. Remove from oven, add olives, and cover.
Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain well. Return to pot. Add butter and toss well. Gently combine with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve with a glass of pinot noir.

I would definitely cook this for guests because it was quick, simple, and the house smelt amazing from the roasted veggies. Just adding to the reason that you do not need to eat meat everyday. Meatless Monday any-day-of-the-week holds a special place in our lives. Its good for our heart and our waistlines too! The leftovers aren't too shabby either.

16.5.12

Herb prep

We love cooking with herbs. Its a great way to add flavor without calories! We were lucky enough to inherit huge rosemary and oregano plants that were in our yard growing like crazy. I decided to harvest some of each to get the plants under control and to have some on hand for use.

 rosemary

oregano

I like to freeze mine as I feel it preserves the flavor best. All I do is remove the usable parts from the stems (less work when I want to use them), put them in labelled ziplock bags, press the air out, and throw them in the freezer. For the rosemary, I have a great recipe for rosemary meatballs on a stick, so I left 1" of sprigs at the end of each stick and froze those whole. When I get around to making the meatballs I can use the stem to hold three meatballs to change up the presentation! 

Anyone else have good ideas for preserving herbs? We have froze them with water in icecube trays in the past but I find they are soggy when you use them. I use this method with every type of herb I can get my hands on!

15.5.12

J Crew faves

There is a paisley skirt at J Crew I am in love with. I could see myself wearing it so many ways. Here is one way I would wear it:

paisley skirt - striped tee - navy belt - neutral loafers

I am a huge fan of mixing patterns and neutral loafers. Maybe someday I will get this skirt!

14.5.12

Weekend eats

A typical weekend for us once again... yummy food, groceries, yardwork, and I worked. We also went to a great Greek party with delicious food and great people. Sorry, no photos from the party!

This weekend included:
 A salad with tomatoes from our garden (amazing!)... topped with mandrin olive oil (also amazing). The final salad was topped with some scallops I purchased on sale at  Whole foods!

 Grocery shopping at Whole Foods = lunch at Whole Foods! My fave combo is green juice and a turkey, fig, brie, and spring mix grilled sandwich.I love figs. Oh we also confirmed we have a fig tree in our backyard! I cannot wit until those are ready to eat.

Our Mother's Day without our moms dinner. Salad with mozza, kiwi, mango, and avocado. Pork, basil and pine nut sausages. Whole Foods brand chardonnay. For $3.99/ bottle is it surprisingly good.

I loved that our weekend was filled with productivity and lots of vegetables.

Back to my productive morning! I have lots to get done this week and want to do some killer workouts everyday.

11.5.12

InstaFriday

I had a busy week! I just looked through my instagram photos and realized I only took 3! Oops! There was a trend though... my fave drinks:

 green juice... so addicting and healthy too!

SB iced coffee with soy

 red wine... especially when it is on sale. $10/ bottle at a restaurant? the wine was decent too

Oh, and I like to drink water too!

See you next week! I hope to be refreshed and renewed for another busy week and a vacation!



9.5.12

Today, and maybe some other days

Today included this:
data marking
data collection x2
data marking

Tomorrow:
data analysis
abstract submission

Crazy day! It took 10 hours I have nothing else to say really. Actually I do. After all of my hard work B and I went to Reginelli's for dinner. Wine on Wednesdays is $10/ bottle. Yum! What  a great deal... and the wine was decent too!

We also had spinach dip and a sun pie (pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers, portabella mushroom, goat cheese). Also, amazing after a hard day's work.


We biked to and from LSU today. After 1/2 a bottle of wine I wanted to yell at the pedestrians who blocked the entire path (riding on the road is not safe here!). Instead, I restrained myself and told B to pedal faster while going up the steep hill! It was a tough hill tonight.

See you tomorrow... I hope!

8.5.12

For mom

Mother's Day is this weekend. My mom lives far away... she also has not had the opportunity to visit yet. If she did, these are some of the things from the south I would share with her:

1. Green juice at Whole Foods. When I go home there is always juice in the fridge... but never green juice. Maybe I could introduce her to something new. 2. Fresh seafood... at a great price! My mom would love the seafood here. 3. The bread section at Whole Foods. If you know my mom you will know she loves fresh bread. If it is 3 days old, it is no longer fresh. She would love the many options and mini loaves. Oh and she would probably go through a bread club card every 2 weeks. I loved the chalkboard in the bread section "There is no fakery in our bakery. Everything you knead, nothing you don't. " That is very much our style. 4. Justin's almond bar. The woman loves almond butter and chocolate. This would be her kind of bar. She may even buy multiples and freeze them... she is known for freezing chocolate. 5. My homemade gnocchi. She has never had it but would love it. 6. Kiwi... or peaches... or strawberries. She would love the fresh fruit and the open air produce market.

Let's just say when my parents come visit you can probably find us at Whole Foods... everyday. We will buy seafood, bread, and all the random foods you cannot find in Canada.

Mom, have you booked your trip yet? Dad, you can come too. We will go for frozen yogurt.

 

7.5.12

Crazy busy

Its feast or famine around here. I used to be bored. Now I don't have enough hours in the day. Okay, I still have lots of time to sleep, but not enough time for extra curriculars like workouts and blogging the past few days. Boo to that. This past weekend was filled with research at the university, work, and time with B. 

This morning I got groceries and did a Bodyrock workout! It feels like a productive weekend already and it has just started. My workout results include:
burn:
Touch Down’s – 41, 37, 32
Spider Push-Ups – 15, 14, 15
Tuck Abs – 13, 13, 12
Hanging Knee Raises – 16, 17, 17

sculpt:
Bicep Curl – 26
Shoulder Press – 27
Squats – 17
Triceps – 28
Round The World – 12
Upright row – 24
Bent Over Row – 35
Abs – 12 

On a fun note for the morning, here are some of my fave pins on Pinterest lately:


kate spade shoes - milk bottle measuring cup - banana ice cream (does this actually work?) - pink Nike shoes - LOVE bookends - Lululemon just released a new swim line, aren't these bottoms cute?

3.5.12

Flowers make everything better

So I tried to make dehydrated strawberries this week but they did not turn out. Shoot! Anyone have a a good recipe to make dehydrated strawberries without a dehydrator?

Luckily, I have been taking photos of the various flowers around my yard using Instagram that I can share today. We did not plant any flowers when we moved in because I wanted to focus on vegetables and herbs. Luckily, flowers have been appearing around the yard on various plants and where we would least expect. Oh, the beauty of the south!


Aren't they beautiful? Everything is so vivid, even in small quantities. 

Today I did an old Bodyrock workout as a new one was not posted yet. 
Push Up & Twist - 9
Sandbag Swings - 15
Switch Lunge - 20
Bentover row - 27
Side Lunge L - 13
Side Lunge R - 14
Push-Up & Touch Shoulder - 12
Lunge & Twist  - 9
Shoulder Press & Squat - 14
Elevated Push Ups - 11
Mountain Climbers - 48
Reverse Pull Ups - 17
Plank - n/a
Side Oblique Plank L - n/a
Side Oblique Plank R - n/a
Tricep Dips - 17
Goblet Squats - 15

I was very thankful that the Bodyrock host posted the link to this workout on Facebook. I like not having to think about my workout when I am having a busy week. Time to get to my to-do list! I have a busy day planned. This week has been a little nuts!

2.5.12

Baked panko crusted calamari

Ever felt guilty for eating fried calamari? Not anymore! 
There was a sale on squid at Whole Food so we knew we had to make our own healthy version of calamari. It was so simple!


ingredients:
1lb squid tubes and tentacles
1c whole wheat flour
pepper
3 eggs, beaten
3c panko bread crumbs
garlic powder
lemon wedges

instructions:
 Preheat oven to 425. Combine flour and pepper in bowl one. Beat eggs in bowl two. Combine panko and garlic powder in bowl three. A few at a time, coat squid in flour, egg, then panko mixtures. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Some say don't let any touch but I ran out of space so I let some stick together and they turned out fine. Bake in 425 oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through. We found the tentacles took longer the the tubes. Top with fresh lemon juice and enjoy!

We had ours surf and turf style with steak and green bean salad. Sorry for the lack of assembly photos, my hands were a mess! We loved this meal and will be making it again. We finally found a way to have calamari that is not fried!

Just another way to eat healthy in the south... a place filled with large portions and lots of fried food.

1.5.12

My plans

When trying to achieve something it is important to have a plan. Seriously. When it comes to losing weight (you know it is on your mind, summer is coming), part of the plan must be working out and the other is healthy eating.

Food:
Food comes first because if you eat unhealthy you will never show progress with your workouts. We 100 % need to plan ahead every week. Its not that we I am super busy but if I already have a plan I  am less likely to make bad choices. I have these two note pads from Anthropologie that we depend on every week. Run out of something mid week? Put it on the list! Can't decide what to eat? Check the plan and start cooking! No excuses to order pizza (although we do have a stock of our fave frozen organic pizza in the freezer). I love home cooked meals. I am also know for reminding select people to eat their vegetables. Many of our meals are based on what is on sale along with vegetables. Like the tilapia sale at Albertsons this weekend. Fish tacos here we come! You caught me, nothing is planned for food next weekend. Want to know why? Its a new month. That means new coupons and sales at Whole Foods! That means I left it blank on purpose so we can try some new things!


Fitness:
Everyone is different so you must find something that works for you. I love classes but I also love working out by myself or going for a walk with B. Can't afford a gym membership? Well you no longer have an excuse not to workout! Sorry. Here are some of my favorite fitness resources that keep me moving every single day. 

Bodyrock - its 12 minutes a day. Everyone has 12 minutes per day to workout. A new 30 day challenge just started and I will be doing this everyday in May! 
The Fitnessista - cardio and strength workouts you can do at home or the gym... can't decide what to do? Its no longer an excuse. Find a killer workout, kick your own butt, and enjoy every moment of it.
Tone It Up - I love these girls. They post great workouts and healthy meals. I like to do their workouts on Sunday evenings while watching TV. If you have been to our house you know we do not have a sofa (we just have not found one yet) so if you want to watch our non-cable on demand TV (thanks Hulu) you must sit in a camping chair or workout. My option = workout.
Blogilates - I am a strong believer in pilates. A strong core is important for everything you do and to prevent injury... doing everyday things like sitting at a desk all day. Here you will find some great workouts with printables so you can take your workout anywhere! Like vacation... mat pilates so portable and quick!

There you have it. I have not set foot in a gym in 3 months... Is that an excuse? Nope! There are so many amazing free resource online with free workouts and healthy meal plans. I also read 3 healthy living blogs everyday: Peanut Butter Fingers (she works out every morning... great motivation for me), Sweet Tooth Sweet Life (posts great workouts and meal ideas along with other fun stuff to remind you to have balance in your life), and Carrots N Cake (I wish I had the guts to try Crossfit, someday). And if you still don't feel motivated go on the fitness boards on Pinterest. That will motivate you to go do a workout and there are some great ones posted on there too!

Now go get some paper, plans your meals and corresponding grocery list. Then plan your workouts. Not much time? Bodyrock! More time? Go for a run outside or take a class. On average, it only takes 40 day to make something a habit. Conveniently the Bodyrock 30 day challenge started yesterday so you only have plan the last 10 days by yourself. Start a great habit today.

Today's Bodyrock workout:
 intermediate level bodyweight only fit test
Squat Jump & 1/2 Burpee - 15, 12, 14
Superman Push Ups - 8, 10, 12
Elevated Tricep Dips - 16, 18, 20
Elevated Knee Abs - 14, 16, 17 

2 minutes after I finished my workout my new Lululemon tank arrived! What a great reward for my hard work!
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