Thursday, August 22, 2013

Staying Focused and Pushing Myself

I mentioned awhile back that I have been trying Weight Watchers again and has some moderate success for a few weeks before Vegas. I knew Vegas was going to derail my eating plans, but I had no idea it was going to be so hard to get back into a really strict devotion to tracking my food again! While I haven't exactly done well in shedding any pounds recently, I will say that the habits that WW ingrains in you, have stuck with me. I tend to eat a lot healthier now. Much smaller portions. Less sugar and focus most of my food during the day to be fruits or veggies. I am proud of myself for these changes, as it is never easy to break a habit, especially when it is "easy" and "convenient" to continue your old habits. While it is a bit more involved to make sure we have fruits and veggies (and to cut them up before work!) on hand, it has become more second nature, and when I do have to rely on eating out, or throwing in a frozen pizza, I am making much  better choices. 

In addition to eating better, I have also tried to turn my attention to getting to the gym. The last few weeks have gone really well, making gym time a priority, and not dreading it to the point where I make up every excuse under the sun. My goal is to get back up to running like I was about 2 years ago now, and slowly, I am making progress towards that goal. 

What makes this all so much easier, is that my friends are there with me. Some are trying to get back in shape, some are trying to lose the post-college weight, and some are just amazingly supportive by telling me how great I look these days! 

While I've had a few off weeks now, I am hoping that telling you all about the progress I have had so far will motivate me to keep going, and to really get back on the healthy eating bandwagon and cutting out all of those 'treats' I have been sneaking in. I've seen, and felt the progress, so I know this is worth it, and makes me feel 100% more comfortable in my skin!

I've also been thinking about little (non-food) rewards to motivate me to keep working towards my goals. I have shoes, clothes, accessories that I have been eyeing, and am trying to use those to keep pushing me. My next milestone gift is up for debate, but I am fairly certain I am going to treat myself to a brand new handbag when I finally reach my overall goal. 

What are you working towards right now? How do you stay motivated? Do you reward yourself for the little milestones?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cooking 101: Pinterest Culinary School

Another Pinterest win on the books. This one was even a single serve (easily scale-able for Sunday night dinners) but with having my freezer stocked with Costco salmon- this was an easy, quick and delicious meal.

I swear that Pinterest has become my cooking 101 class! I have had more success with Pinterest recipes than I have ever had in my life!

Anyways. Make this salmon. Paired with some rice, sauteed spinach, it was the perfect post-workout dinner!

Baked Salmon with Garlic and Dijon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Skill Level: Easy
Cost To Make: $10 – $12
Serving: 4
  • 1.5 lbs salmon
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 large OR 3 small cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ cup mild olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon slices
Preheat the oven to 450° F and line a rimmed baking dish with foil.
  1. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, 2-3 cloves pressed garlic, 1.5 tsp Dijon, ½ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, ⅛ cup olive oil and 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Mix well.
  2. Cut salmon into even portions and lay them onto your lined baking dish skin side down.
  3. Generously brush all sides of your salmon with the sauce and top with fresh lemon slices.
  4. Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Don’t over-cook or your fish will be dry. Voila! Easy, excellent dish.

Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo

One of two things is going on with my social media habits. 

1) I am either a really good pinner. (You can find me here)


2) Pinterest really does have a plethora of really amazing and fantastic ideas and recipes.

Let's go with both so I can give myself a pat on the back. I've tried a few recipes that I have found interesting from Pinterest, but to-date, the most recent endeavor triumphs over the others.

Cauliflower. Fettuccine. Alfredo. Yes....CAULIFLOWER. 

It was epic. Creamy. Flavorful (and not tasting like purred veggies), garlicy, rich, filling, and at the same time didn't make me feel like a brick after I had eaten a nice size bowl. It also kept WAY better than traditional alfredo and didn't just break down into a whole bunch of oil. This was boyfriend and dude-friend approved. I can't stop raving about it.

I followed the Pinch of Yum recipe with a few minor modifications.

Serves: makes about 5 cups
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5-6 cups cauliflower florets ( I used one full head of a decent sized cauliflower)
  • 6-7 cups vegetable broth or water (I used one box, and seemed to cover my cauliflower, but was only about 4-5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
  • ½ cup milk (more to taste)- I had some cream on hand, so I used that instead, but a little less than 1/2 cup
  • I added two types of cheese- Freshly grated peccorino and parm- I think this is what made the dish! I used probably 1/2ish in total.
  1. Garlic: Saute the minced garlic with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned (browned or burnt garlic will taste bitter). Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cauliflower: Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.
  3. Puree: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth or cooking liquid, sauteed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Serve hot! If the sauce starts to look dry, add a few drops of water, milk, or olive oil.

So I also have to say I am bit embarrassed to admit this...but I was so enamored with this sauce, that I had woofed down almost my entire bowl before I thought to take a you get a photo of my half eaten pasta. Glamorous. Not. (Also please pardon the blurry photo--again I was too involved with eating)

 I also had been having a cake craving. Which is pretty odd. I usually never crave cake. We even tried a cupcake to see if that would satisfy my did not. So I whipped up this little gem. An easy cake recipe, that completely hit the spot and satisfied that nagging craving!

 Has anyone else found some amazing recipes on Pinterest? I am excited to try this baked salmon!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Holy Smokes! What a Week!

Holy smokes* what a week!

I'm telling you- I feel so excited for this Friday evening and the weekend that stretches ahead. Despite it being summer in DC our weather is still absolutely lovely, and I have been doing my best to take full-advantage of this less-than-common DC summer by having lunch outside, walking home (and taking the long way), sitting by the pool to catch the last few rays of sun for the day, and just taking a few moments to appreciate the bluer-than-normal-sky.

This week was the very definition of an "emotional roller coaster". If I didn't have gray hairs before, I certainly do now.

But all's well that ends well, right?

And if I am not jumping the gun, all has ended well.

Remember talking about the Life Trifecta a la SATC? Well, I'm here to say it is back on my mind. Thinking about that tripod of wants. Work, Living, Love. I feel like I just made a radical step in making one of the legs on my tripod super stable this week. But pesky living. Living is, and always has been, the messy part. That ache of homesickness never seems to cease and desist. While it its nagging voice does get a lot quieter at certain times, I always know it is there.

Which makes this rare DC summer all the more special. It is the closest "like home" summer I've had, and at times it makes those waves of gut-wrenching homesickness come in full-force, but it also and calmed that yelling in my heart. With being able to do things outside, enjoying the long hours of sunlight, and savoring those weeks where summer slowly slips into the briskness and coziness of fall.

* Well onto more about home, and smoke. Idaho is burning up right now. With crazy forest fires threatening the Wood River Valley, my favorite place in the world. My heart is in a little clenched up ball worrying about the safety of my loved ones, the community and the ski mountain. My prayers are about hoping they get this under control and soon!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What is Going On?

The weather here has been nuts! By nuts, I mean awesome for DC in AUGUST. Last weekend we picnicked! Laid in the grass, basked in the sun! My shins didn't sweat! I am telling you--strangest, but best DC summer ever (or in my DC tenure). Granted we are back to the regularly scheduled humidity and hot days, but considering this summer has been a breeze compared to years past---I take it as a win. 

Views from our picnic on the Potomac last weekend

I know I just up and let you all here. I've started probably a dozen or so posts, and just couldn't get into them. I don't force my blogging here, because this is my hobby, and as much as I would love it to be a hobby and a job of sorts, it just isn't, and I try my best to keep this something I enjoy, rather than something I associate with a "to-do" item. 

I always wish I would write more. Document more. Share more. I feel like not only is this such a great resource for myself to keep track of my life in a diary-esque manner, but I love the thoughtful and meaningful comments and interactions I have from this space. I am hoping that I can clear my head, and some more time for this blog.

Moving on.

Last weekend also resulted in a trip to Ben's Chili Bowl to introduce some visiting family members of our friends to the goodness of Ben's. We even got a professional tourist photo taken of us!

We have a doozy (dozy? doozie? hm.) of a few weeks coming up. Preparation for weddings, my SO's Birthday, getting to go home, hearing back on something I've been waiting on for awhile, and hopefully fitting in some last summer hurrahs (hopefully with some more crazy nice DC weather). 

So there it is. A post after a hiatus. Hopefully this is the start of some regular time here!