Meals Lately: MORE Ways to Eat Zucchini

I know I haven’t shared much food lately, but I wanted to catch up on some meals I’ve had lately, hopefully to give you guys some ideas for something quick and easy! We’re going to skip the chit chat and dive right in. Featuring: MORE ways to eat zucchini!

Zucchini noodles with artichoke bruschetta and topped with a giant ball of burrata (burrata is amazing).

Zucchini scramble with whipped garlic and herb cheese (alouette). Plus half a papaya.

Egg+banana in the microwave, topped with cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of honey for breakfast.

Stir fry with lots of zucchini and veggies, plus tofu.

This was a good one. I shredded zucchini and sautéed it up, and then I added Bolthouse Farms salsa ranch and Mexican cheese. This would make a really good cheesy dip with tortilla chips! I also threw some guacamole, apple salsa, and a salmon burger on there.

Super delicious grocery store find! You just heat it up!

Cauliflower gnocchi with sautéed mushrooms, chicken, garlic, and plenty of cheese. Parmesan and mozzarella.

A mini cup of the amazing Jeni’s (that I had weekly in Nashville). I found it at the specialty grocery store here! They only have two flavors but I did order some online the other day….

I’m trying to go for something a little more natural than Halo Top for dessert, so lately I’ve been putting my orange chocolate sauce over vanilla yogurt!

After hurting my wrist, I had this meal a ton because I was on a “no chopping of anything” protocol and couldn’t really use my wrist. I made a chicken-queso type of mixture by heating up chicken with Mexican cheese and salsa ranch dressing. I put that over lettuce with guac and salsa.

Post-5k donuts from Dynamo Donuts in SF. They make amazing gluten free donuts that I’ve been craving for over a year! I got lemon raspberry, chocolate ginger, and carrot cake.

Decaf cappuccino from Bluestone Lane post-race.

With their avocado smash. Honestly I thought the one I had there i nNY was better.

This was a good one! Zucchini noodles with laughing cow cheese and chicken apple sausage. With giant zucchini that I got from my friend’s garden! Jackson below for scale.

Lunch salads still going strong. Peaches, goat cheese, Trader Joe’s grilled balsamic rosemary chicken, and aged balsamic vinegar.

I discovered this amazing smoothie. I have quite a few persimmons that I froze last year, and I recently realized that they make great smoothies! My favorite is a frozen persimmon with salted caramel protein, a touch of cinnamon, and a sprinkle of salt.

And finally, more use fo the burrata in a blueberry burrata salad.

My Message, My Platform

WOW it’s been a while. Things got busy. Nashville adventures. Moving back with my kitty. Starting school. Then, when I finally got settled, I sprained my wrist pretty badly (I jammed a 125# barbell into it doing cleans.) It was bad enough to merit a thankfully negative x-ray, but writing and typing were a struggle so I was not going to use my limited typing ability to write a blog post. In the meantime, I learned about the kidney. My wrist is healing. Last week I could hold things for the first time and pulled a 205# deadlift (heaviest since my back issues of the spring). Today I put a (light) barbell overhead for the first time. The body and its ability to heal really is an amazing thing.Despite not being able to do Crossfit much, I got some good workouts in. I thought my hiatus from blogging would end with a workout post. Or a post about all the new ideas I have for zucchini (stay tuned). But instead, I have some things I’ve been thinking about the past couple of days that I figured are worth sharing.I’m going to intersperse some fun pictures from the last few months while I type this up.

Chloe has been staying with me this week. It’s been a blast. I feel like I’m honestly the best version of myself with her, forcibly. I studied on the first day of the block because I needed to bring her to school to give my roommate’s dog some peace last night. I try to socialize with other people and dogs with her (we organized a friend walk today). I can’t just sit around and waste time on my computer because she will whine and bark. When she does sleep, I feel a lot of pressure/motivation to get work done because I know it is transient. I spend minimal time on my phone because she likes to bark when I’m on my phone.

I have to use my time wisely so I have enough free time to walk her. 2 hours a day. So I’m more active. But those walks. They’re some of my favorite things. I put in a podcast and we go. There are a couple of podcasts I listen to that used to be fitness based and now they’re fitness/social media business/personal development based. They are both inspiring and cause me to think deeply. The things on my mind this week are how to be the best version of myself, and my message and platform. There’s a lot of focus on social media influencers and building their platforms. How to do it. What they want to do with their platform and following. Don’t get me wrong; I have no intention of being a social media influencer or even presence. But I realized, I do have a platform.

And no, I actually don’t mean this blog. My dreams of being a star blogger are far behind me. Honestly most of the time I feel like this blog is a journal for myself (and a medium for cute pet photos). My platform is Cycling Instructor. After taking last year off of teaching spin, I was really missing it and managed to get a job teaching spin at the rec center at my school. Honestly, the university environment is my favorite setting to teach in. You get a huge variety in students.I love seeing their transformations; and I don’t mean physical transformations. Mental transformations. Confidence transformations.

I was thinking really hard about my message. First and foremost, I want my classes to always be a positive environment. I will never, EVER say “Do this to burn XYZ ‘unhealthy food.'” No. Nonono. That’s not why we’re there. I was thinking about my own story. What sports and fitness did for me. Sure, being active and healthy is important. But you know what fitness and sports taught me? Strength. Hard work. Discipline. Power. You put in the work, you feel changes. You push yourself past what you thought you could do, and then learn what you’re capable of.

I truly believed I gained so much confidence from this. And I’ve seen it happen in my students. I remember one older gentleman specifically. His first class, he tentatively came up to me for help with bike setup, in the back of the class. By the end of the quarter, he was crushing it at the front of the class. His whole demeanor was different. It is my job to push people to their limits, past what they believe they’re capable of. That being said, it’s a fine line. I want my students to learn to respect their bodies and listen to their bodies. If something is off on that day, do what you can. But know when that’s really the case and not when it’s an excuse. That room is their space. Their space to work through their sh** and grow. I remember the summer before I started vet school, I went to IDEA World in Vegas and was cycling 3 hours a day, taught by the best instructors out there. At the time, I was really nervous about what vet school would bring. And as I was biking my little heart out, I realized this: “I can do hard things.” And I knew I would be okay in school.

And that’s my message. I really think now that I have a truly defined message, it will make me a better instructor because I have an added purpose. It’s kind of like I’m using the same principles that social media influencers do to grow a following, but for me to “grow a following” and hopefully a community in my class. I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that humans connect best through stories (why else would we read blogs about a random person’s life) and that’s an element I want to bring to my classes. Personal connection. Sharing my message and my heart through stories. Getting the most out of my students and getting the most out of myself. Because we can all do hard things.

Day in the Life Summer 2018

I’ve really tried to do a day in the life for every quarterish while doing this blog, so I wanted to keep that going with my schedule and life here in Nashville! Here’s a semi-typical workday.

5:15am: Alarm goes off

I take my vitamins and snuggle with Jackson.

Throw on clothes and then do a 15ish minute workout in my bedroom. I had screen shotted it a year ago when it was programmed for crossfit, and then it came up on my time hop last week so I gave it a go! I subbed push ups for kettlebell swings. It was nice to get a little sweat on!

5:45: Clean up and go make breakfast. Today I have a flapjack muffin and watermelon.

6:05: Give my roommate’s kitty his pill and feed everyone. Then, I get ready to go. I am actually running a little bit early, so I snuggle Jackson a little bit before I go.

6:40: Leave for work.

7:00 Start work. This morning I’m assisting with surgeries, which mainly consists of prepping patients and anesthesia monitoring for dental procedures. Today we ended up spending a really long time with a patient due to a difficult dental extraction so lunch doesn’t come until 1:30. This is super unusual. Usually lunch is at 12 on the dot. We are sustained by cupcakes—mini bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

In terms of gluten…it variably affects me right now. I didn’t have much issue with brain fog with this, but I did have a mini corn muffin after lunch and that hit me fast and hard with the intense tiredness. So I don’t really get it. I definitely didn’t feel my best from all the sweets today though.

1:30: Eat my packed lunch.

Salad with chicken, nectarine, blueberry goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. Same lunch every day, with some form of GF cracker-y thing on the side. I usually eat lunch outside with a book (unless it’s 100 degrees. Only 90 today).

The snacks I bring for the afternoon are grapes (which I eat right after lunch) and a Luna bar.

2:30: Back to work! I finish some surgery stuff and run various labs, as well as clean. Later on I shadow some, and then do closing duties. I have my Luna bar around 4.

7:10: Off work! I come straight home.

7:20: Greeted at home by my baby!

I start to make my dinner while munching on some crackers.

7:40: Dinner came together super fast because my squash was already cooked. I heated up spaghetti squash with parmesan and garlic, and topped it with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Yum!

I’m currently watching season 14 of Grey’s Anatomy.

Dessert is a chocolate covered greek yogurt bar and a piece of chocolate.

8:30: I still want a little something so I go with a bar.

8:40-9:00: Work on this blog post. After this I’ll probably read and get ready for bed. I’m usually going to sleep around 10. Honestly, this is not my greatest day of food, but for 11 hour workdays it is what it is. Plus I only have a couple of weeks left here, so I’ll enjoy what comes!

Back at it again tomorrow!

4th of July in Nashville

I know the 4th of July was a while ago at this point, but we’re just going to roll with it. My parents were here for the 4th, and we had a really fun couple of days!

Of course, as soon as they arrived and when I got off work, we headed to Tailgate!

This time, we tried their cauliflower crust pizza! It was good, but honestly a little too cheesy for me; I prefer their regular GF crust!

We lucked out with the weather for Tuesday. It was on the cooler side (low 90s), so we did all the outdoor Nashville things.

We went downtown and walked the pedestrian bridge, visited Goo Goo candy, then drove by the parthenon.

Before too much sweating, we broke for lunch at Edley’s BBQ, my favorite of the BBQ I’ve tried thus far. I got a salad with smoked turkey on top. It also had smoked gouda, and it was delicious! A great way to get my BBQ fix while getting some greens in.

While in 12 South, we took the iconic picture and visited Jeni’s ice cream. I’m obsessed with the gooey butter cake flavor.

Next, we headed to the Belle Meade Plantation for a historical tour of the mansion and wine tasting.

I really enjoyed learning the history of the family that lived their. They had a huge horse business (it wasn’t actually a plantation) and basically owned the entire area. I love seeing a taste of what life was life in a different time and place.

We all enjoyed the wine tasting as well. I was able to try all whites. Tennessee wine is a lot different than CA wine. Very similar to Missouri wine. Fruitier, but refreshing.

After the tour, we spent a little time at home with the kitties before driving down south. This happened.

Yes, my mom and I both went home with our first pair of cowboy boots! Apparently this is what a month in Nashville does to me.

We went down to Franklin (30 minutes south of Nashville) for dinner. This was the meal I was most excited for. We visited the Honey Tupelo Cafe in Knoxville when I lived there, and I remember it being SUPER good (Southern Food). I also remember the amazing looking table biscuits. I was super strictly GF at that point and couldn’t try them, so now that I’m healthier, I was especially looking forward to those. They did not disappoint.

We also got some smokey veggies to share (including okra).

For my meal, I got a salad with goat cheese, blueberries, grilled chicken, and sweet potato puree.

After dinner, we planned on going to see some fireworks at Tailgate, but we severely underestimated how big of a deal it was, and when we saw the line of cars attempting to park blocks away, we gave up!

On 4th of July, I slept in and then took a spin class at KrankFit. It was America themed, and a fun way to start the holiday! My parents and I met up for an early lunch at Frothy Monkey. I got a salad with grilled salmon and goat cheese.

Then, we walked across the street to Five Daughters Bakery so my mom could try the 100 layer donut. We split a maple donut.

As temperatures were climbing into the mid-90s, we decided to cool off and see a movie that afternoon, which was definitely a good choice!

Before heading out for the night, I had to put Jackson’s festive bandana on and take some pictures. He’s the cutest.

For my mom’s birthday, I promised her a brewery tour in Nashville. I didn’t account for how many breweries would be closed, or would close early, for 4th of July! We had to change our plans a little bit, but Nashville (especially the Gulch) has no shortage of breweries to choose from. I think our favorite of the day was one that wasn’t even on our radar before!

First up: Southern Grist. These beers were super interesting. They had a lot of interesting fruity beers.

We then stopped for dinner at ML Rose, a burger joint. My mom and I split a chicken burger with cheese that tasted remarkably like an actual cheeseburger (in a good way!). Then, it was back onto the tour! We raced over to Yazoo (one of the main Nashville breweries) to split a beer before they closed for the night. We got the Dos Perros, and it was one of my favorites of the evening!

After Yazoo, we drove half a mile away to New Heights, a brewery we found just based on proximity (although it turns out I had tried one of their beers before). My mom and I got a flight with all kinds of interesting things, including an Aztec chocolate, a non-dark coffee beer, and a raspberry s’wheat tea.

We ended up getting a glass of the Swheat Tea to share.

Our last brewery was Tennessee Brew Works, which I had actually been to with my sister.

Finally, it was time to head downtown!

It was definitely crowded for 4th of July, and all of Broadway was closed off for a giant (free) concert. All of the rooftops were packed! I took my parents to some of my favorite spots. We were at a bar and suddenly everyone left, so naturally we followed them out to see why. The fireworks started! The fireworks show was awesome. It was set to music, it was so close, and it went on forever! At least 45 minutes! We were all very impressed!

We spent the rest of the night enjoying all that Nashville has to offer!

They left the following evening, so we spent the day not doing anything too crazy. We went to a coffeeshop for lavender vanilla lattes and a GF pineapple carrot muffin for me.

And then spent some time with kitties.

Finally, we went to an early dinner at Hattie B’s, Since it was still early and we weren’t super hungry, I ended up with lots of delicious leftovers!

It was so nice having them here to see my new city!

Blast from the Past+My Kitty’s BFF

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last few weeks have been CRAZY. Lots of work+every single day off I had, I had visitors! It’s been a lot of fun, but very exhausting! So today is my first day off without visitors in a while…and it’s not exactly going to be a restful day because I’m going to a music festival! More on that later. For now, it’s 8am and a maid service is already at our house, so I vacated to a coffeeshop to blog. I already got my Crossfit in for the day as well!

Like I said…it’s been a minute. Let’s back up.

A few weeks ago I went to my first BBQ joint in Nashville, Martin’s. I went to the downtown location. I got a turkey platter.

It was good! Not my favorite style of sauce though. It was thin and vinegary. Good, but not what I consider to be the classic. There are a lot of different BBQ places with different styles of sauces around here, and I feel like it all comes down to personal preference. I also tried a 100 layer donut from Five Daughters Bakery, which is basically a hopped up cronut.

I got the salted chocolate. It was good, but it was SUPER rich and a little too salty in my opinion. I promptly went home to nap with my cat after eating this.

On my last day off without visitors, like 2 weeks ago, I went to a random event I saw in a magazine while waiting for our tour at the whiskey distillery. It was called “Breakfest,” basically a breakfast themed music festival.

It had performances from bands/lead singers of groups I loved in my youth, so this was quite a blast from the past!

A lot of the food lines were really long, so I actually ended up just getting a really delicious beet juice, and later a GF chocolate cookie.

I didn’t stay for the whole event my any means; I was there from 9am until just after noon. It was definitely a fun event to randomly find!

The next day, one of my best friends from back home came to visit me! She had been in town visiting family, and since I was working a long day, she arrived at my place hours before I did and bonded with Jackson. This is a really big deal because he’s SUPER shy with people that aren’t me, so the fact that they were snuggling and playing melted my heart! She sent me this picture; he looks so happy!

When I got home, we went to Tailgate for GF pizza and sunset beer.

We did a ton on our first full day! I went to 6am Crossfit (it’s hard to fit my workouts in on the days I work long hours so I have to try and do a lot on my off days), and then we went to Franklin Juice Co. for açaí bowls for breakfast!

Mine had the açaí base with granola, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, hemp seeds, and honey.

We explored 12 South and had to take the picture.

Then we went downtown to walk the pedestrian bridge.

After that, we stopped by the Parthenon.

For lunch, we went to the Nashville-must, Hattie B’s, for hot chicken! This was my second time there, and this time I tried the grilled hot chicken (mild because I’m a baby). It was delicious, and also made great leftovers to go in my lunch salads!

This location happened to be right next to Bobby’s Dairy Dip, a soft serve place I had seen on several lists of things to do in Nashville. Naturally, we had to try it out!

We both got dipped swirl cones! They were delicious but definitely high risk…so much dripping and mess!

After a little bit of downtime and a trip for the bookstore, we went to dinner at EIO, another place on my list. It’s healthy-style. I got a salad with beets and delicious rotisserie chicken.

That night, I had to take her out on the town.

We ended up getting stranded at one bar downtown around midnight because it just started pouring like crazy, out of nowhere. There would definitely be worse places to be stranded!

After a late night, we rolled out of bed early for Goat Yoga! We went with Nashville Goat Yoga, which is in Brentwood. It was a blast. Goat yoga will never stop being awesome.

If you ever get a chance to do goat yoga, DO IT.

After class, we headed to brunch at FIDO, a place I went when I visited Nashville 2 years ago! I got buckwheat blueberry pancakes with cheddar grits. I think they were my favorite grits in Nashville so far!

We took a break for naps before debating what to spend the afternoon doing. After some waffling, we decided to check out the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, and we were both glad that we did! They had a really cool exhibit going on throughout the grounds and in the top floor of the historical mansion.

The plastic animals were made out of 100% recycled material, and were partly intended to promote awareness of recycling, which we thought was really cool. We debated trying to see more of the grounds, but the rain clouds looked incredibly threatening, and about 5 minutes after we drove off, the skies fell!

Our next stop was dinner. We went to Edley’s BBQ in 12 South, and I had a turkey platter. This place came highly recommended and I liked it a lot!

After dinner, we of course had to stop at Jeni’s ice cream. I got the watermelon buttermilk frozen yogurt (so good and unique!) with milk chocolate.

Sadly, she had to leave the next morning, but it was so fun to have her!