California Niçoise Salad

Hello! Here I am, posting another day in a row! GO ME. I have on day of work left! I really do love my job, but it will be nice to have some time off to prepare for what is sure to be a crazy year. I also have a recipe/salad idea for you all today!

My morning today started with a 3 mile run on the hills around my neighborhood. It’s good for me because I’m currently training for the Nike Women’s Half in SF which is hilly. Did I ever mention I was doing that? Well, I’m officially in training mode now. The run went well-I’m getting much stronger on the hills (my first few runs this summer were ugly).

I started work at 8am today, so everything occurred rather early.

Breakfast was a new to me yogurt that I’ve been meaning to try for a while-sweet potato! I liked it-the flavor was subtle and it wasn’t very sweet at all. I topped it with sun butter and had a few dates from the farmer’s market on the side.

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Today at work my position was room nurse, which means I get to room the clients and discuss what is going on with their pets. It’s a lot of fun to interact with the ‘parents’ but the position can get a little slow when there are not a ton of appointments. Around 10:30, I broke for a quick snack and ate the Vans gluten free crackers I packed in my lunch.

Lunchtime was at 12:30, and I chatted with my coworkers while enjoying my typical salad.

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I also ate a piece of blueberry banana bread that I pulled out of the freezer.

Then, at around 3 I had a small piece of ice cream cake. On the last Friday of every lunch at work, we celebrate the birthdays from the month with the treats of their birthday people’s choices!

After work, I wanted to go to Crossfit, but I got out of work a few minutes late and couldn’t make the earlier class. I was a little hungry and already ate my snack for the day (oops) so I stopped by CVS to pick up a bar. It was just ok, and I didn’t love the ingredient list, but given my nut restrictions it was the best option I could find.

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Crossfit was a fun one! My of my favorite types of workouts-short and heavy. As a warm up we did zig zag agility drills, which were a lot of fun and a great way to mix it up! The strength portion was 5 sets of 5 presses, at 55, 60,70, 80, and 85 percent.

The WOD I was looking forward to-7 minute AMRAP:

5 push ups

5 front squats (I used 105#)

7 knees to elbow

I got through 4 rounds plus 10 reps.

My shoulders are weak and creaky. I’m terrible at push ups for some reason and most WODs I choose to do them on my knees. This was few enough reps though that I was able to grunt out chest to ground, elbows in, real push ups. In terms of the creakiness, I can’t really do multiple days of overhead work without my shoulders being cranky, and I think it’s because I’ve gotten weak and stiff. I started going to yoga again, and I’m really hoping that helps things out! Yoga is so great for shoulder strength!

Dinner was a salad I dreamed up on the plane back from New York, and it came together beautifully. I suppose I’ll call it the California Niçoise?

(Side note-I learned last week that to get accented letters on a Mac you press down on the character and hold….I took Spanish for 5 years without this knowledge….)

This salad is fun because it’s full of all kinds of flavors and textures-my favorite way to eat a salad.

California Niçoise

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(Note that this is not given in terms of exact quantities.)

-2 grilled chicken breasts, marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper

-roasted asparagus

-roasted red potatoes (I used creamer potatoes) in olive oil, salt, and pepper

-truffle goat cheese (you could use regular goat cheese)

-a sprinkle of truffle salt on top of all of that

For the dressing (adapted from Cooking Light)
3 T red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T minced shallots
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 t Dijon mustard
1/8 t salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed

The process is simple-whip up the dressing, and then toss everything with the exception of the goat cheese, which is crumbled on top. Yum!

Dessert was also sort of epic. It was a Cooking Light recipe from the latest edition-Hasselback Apples. They’re basically apples sliced hasselback style and then roasted, topped with an oat, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar mixture, and then broiled. Words cannot describe how amazing these were!

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And since my picture truly doesn’t do it justice, here’s the shot from Cooking Light.

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I highly recommend giving these a try!

 

Are HLBs Becoming Obsolete?

Today’s topic is going to be a bit on the touchy side. Plus, we’ll do some food catch up because I like to actually call this a food and fitness blog, right? I’ll intersperse the food to keep us all entertained!

It’s no secret that I haven’t been blogging as much lately. Partly it’s time. My work schedule has been pretty crazy this summer, and when I get home I have no energy to crack open my computer. (Sidenote-these past couple of days of blogging, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy putting words on the screen and creating something, when I have the time and energy to put in).

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(Blueberry banana bread remains one of my favorite healthy pre-workout snacks.)

But at the same time, I feel like I’m running out of things to contribute to the world. Maybe my own healthy habits are waning (definitely true), maybe I’ve moved on to other topics of interest, but lately I’ve felt that I’ve already put everything out there that I have in me to contribute. I’ve been blogging for two and a half years now. My life is so different now than it was then, and I’ve had all kinds of life experiences in between. My blog viewership has also changed quite a bit, not specifically in terms of numbers, but I feel like I have a different set of readers now than I had 2 years ago.

I also used to be better about commenting on other blogs. I still read other bloggers’ posts, but I never seem to take the effort to leave a comment anymore. Maybe the quantity of blogs I read now is higher, that my quality as a reader decreases.

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(Panini on a gluten free ciabatta with basil, mozzarella, tomatoes, mushroom tapenade, and a sprinkle of truffle salt. Side salad: balsamic vinaigrette, crumbled feta, dried cherries).

At the same time though, I feel like there are so many blogs out there that have grown stale. Not to be putting anyone down at all, but I’m just not enjoying reading the posts of some of the big bloggers who started it all anymore. I guess after reading hundreds of posts over several years, things kind of blur together to be and the posts seem repetitive. There are so many blogs these days, that how much information is left to gain or be given out?

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(I made my pumpkin banana bread and sprinkled cinnamon cream cheese on half. It’s never too soon for pumpkin.)

Maybe I’ve just become so set in my workout routine that there’s no time to try new things or workouts I find online. Maybe I don’t cook as much as I used to, and don’t get the same inspiration. Maybe I don’t have that “healthy living” spark anymore. Maybe my passion is faltering, and maybe I haven’t put enough effort into my health lately to have the energy for these things to excite me.

The healthy living blog world exploded as a result of some key bloggers, but does anyone else feel like it’s dying a bit? Other social media platforms are starting to take over, partly as our population’s attention span decreases. Instagram, vlogs, twitter. Is this the future of the healthy living world? Quick inspiration? Or has everything that there is to say on the topic already been said?

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(Still obsessed with this lunch. Side of Vans Gluten Free everything crackers.)

What can I say or write about to inspire myself and others? What can I contribute to an internet that is already so crowded with the thoughts and ideas of others?

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(Chicken noodle soup and a cheese pupusa. Pupusas are my latest obsession-cornmeal exterior, stuffed with anything from cheese and spinach to kale and pinto beans.)

I hope to post more soon. I think my blog posts tend to be better when they are a more regular thing. I also want to talk about some vet stuff and let you guys know what is going on in my life now and in the future.

Tell me-are HLBs obsolete?

Giant’s Race 2015

Hello! Guess who did a race this past weekend?

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The Giant’s Race finishes in the Giant’s ballpark. It’s awesome. It was my first ever race! This year I did the 10k, not the half like I did the past 2 years. I had a hard time with my training for my April half because I was so sick, that I was just not up for it. That, and I had no time or energy to train with work. This summer I was on my feet 8 hrs a day, and half marathon training plus that would have torn up my feet!

So, I settled on the 10k.

It’s so crazy to me. 4 years ago, I ran this race for the first time.

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I was about to start my freshman year of college. Where the heck did the time go?? When I ran it 4 years ago, I actually won my age group. I was in my best shape of my life at the time, and followed a strict training schedule to work up to that distance (at the time a PDR). This year, I ran the race about 7 minutes slower. Instead of moaning about how much slower I’ve gotten, I’m appreciating how my body has changed to allow me to run this distance without issue, essentially without training.

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I didn’t have any expectations for the race. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to run a decent pace. I was actually a second away from my last minute goal time. I mostly just wanted to enjoy this race. It’s an amazing course-along the Embarcadero, under the Bay Bridge, and out past Fisherman’s Wharf. Bonus-the 10k is flat. The half marathon course actually goes to Chrissy field, with a fantastic view of the Golden Gate.

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The energy of the runners is amazing as well-lots of like-minded people (aka Giant’s fans). Plus, finishing on the field never gets old. I definitely enjoyed this race!

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After the race, I met up with my mom and grabbed a complimentary post-race beer, just because I could. Yayy for 21. I only had a few sips though because we had other plans for beverages that morning!

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There was also a little sandbag toss, for prizes. Of course, I had to take part. I nailed my first 2 bags right in the whole. I still have some softball player left in me, and walked away with some new sunglasses!

After my coffee exploration in New York, I figured I should use a trip to the city as an excuse to try some of the best San Francisco has to offer! I picked out a place, and it turned out they had gourmet and gluten free doughnuts! Dynamo Donuts. We arrived minutes before they opened.

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I had a chocolate raspberry and a lemon buttermilk gluten free donut. Both were delicious, and you definitely could not tell they were gluten free.

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Plus, OF COURSE a cappuccino. Excellent as well. Good coffee is just so much smoother, and without the bitterness.

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Overall, it was a great morning!

Tell me-where’s the best coffee?

NYC

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I last blogged, hasn’t it? Between my trip and my crazy work schedule since the trip, I haven’t had the time or energy to even open up my laptop! That being said, I only have 2 more days of my summer job, so expect all kinds of posts coming up!

When I caught you last, I was hanging out on my friend’s couch in New York City!

Now, it’s time to update you on our adventures since! It was a whirlwind 1.5 days-I think I got a taste of pretty much the whole city! It was disgusting weather-HOT and humid-super muggy. The air was thick. We had a very busy couple of days, full of walking. We probably walked 10-15 miles on Monday alone. One thing I will say is that being on my feet 8 hours a day at work has seriously conditioned my feet and legs. My feet didn’t bother me at all, and my legs didn’t feel tired! I’ll take it! (I also owe you guys a post about my summer job.)

Stop 1-laying eyes on the Statue of Liberty!

We walked from the Subway to Battery Park.

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From there, we walked to Ground Zero. It was very moving, and taking a picture for me felt disrespectful.

Our next stop was lunch-I wanted to get some NY pizza! We found a place with gluten free crust and stopped there. There was a deal for 2 to split a small pizza and a salad, so that’s what we did!

The salad was excellent-chicken, cheese, truffle, pear, and a balsamic dressing. Our pizza of choice was margarita.

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Although the crunchy crust of the pizza was not the typical New York crust, everything was delicious.

After lunch, we hightailed it to our reserved time slot at a cat cafe (in Chinatown). I was SO pumped for this. We were cutting it a bit close on time, and my friend kept laughing at my power-walking pace. I wasn’t going to miss those cats!

The kitties were very mellow and spent most of the time sleeping. Near the end of our timeslot, they released 3 black kittens! I think I need to open a cat cafe later in life. I need an outlet for all the kittens that are sure to find me working at a vet.

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After our time with the kitties, we stopped at a gluten free bakery, where we split a banana-chocolate-caramel cupcake and a frosted donut. Both were excellent!

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On our way to finding pizza, we spotted the following sign outside of an interesting looking coffeeshop:

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If they have cappuccinos on their sign, they must be good! I was sold. After some further research, we learned this little place was on the list of top coffee in NYC! My friend has been on the search for the best coffee this summer in NY, so we had to go.

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The verdict? Yes. Just yes. Milk foam quality was high-nice and smooth. The espresso had no bitter aftertaste either. I didn’t even care that the outside temperatures were brain meltingly high!

After that busy day in the sun, I needed a nap and air conditioning to rally before heading out again. We convinced my friend’s sister to come with us to a gluten free Italian restaurant. Upon getting off the subway, we found the Friends’ fountain! Definitely a highlight of the trip.

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We also found the cafe the Central Perk was based off of (according to Google).

For dinner, I had a delicious dish of grilled chicken, roasted veggies, and garlic mashed potatoes.

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Then, we headed off for a truly New York experience-a rooftop bar in Times Square. I should mention-I’ve never been to NYC before so this was quite the experience!

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We each had a glass of champagne before calling it a night!

The next morning, we set out fairly early to fit in as much as possible before I had to leave for the airport at 1pm. It was a busy morning! We started with authentic NY bagels. I had an everything bagel with herb cream cheese, and we split an egg bagel. Yes, NY bagels are as good as everyone says. They were amazingly chewy, and perfectly toasted. Plus, there was an abundant selection of cream cheeses. There must have been 15 choices!

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Our next stop was the Chelsea Highline, an elevated platform to walk on.

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By the end of the walk, I was sweating buckets and could not resist an iced latte when we found a Blue Bottle Coffee. I know Blue Bottle is an SF thing, but can one really complain about excellent coffee?

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We then went to Chelsea Market (similar to the Ferry building in SF)-an indoor market with little stores that sell high end food. I came away with truffle salt, garlic infused olive oil, and peach balsamic.

For my final meal in New York, I knew I had to try the avocado smash. Apparently NY has quite a few Australian cafes, which have 1. really good coffee and 2. avocado smashes.

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I couldn’t pass up iced latte #2 of the day (but don’t worry-they were decaf!). Fantastic.

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My friend and I split an avocado smash on gluten free bread, with 2 poached eggs on top.

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This ended up being perfect-a full smash probably had over an entire avocado on it, and one smash had 2 slices of bread.

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(Can you guess which picture is mine, and which is my artsy friend’s?)

This was delicious, and will definitely need to be recreated!

I know I mentioned a lot of gluten free products on this trip. This is partly because my friend has a gluten sensitivity, and partly because my stomach isn’t 100% and I think going gluten free, especially when my stomach is sort of flaring up, tends to help. I felt a little sick on this trip, and really had to watch what/how much I was eating to manage it. However, this definitely didn’t hold me back, and I had an amazing first experience in NYC!

What it your favorite thing to do in NY?

 

 

Coming Home

I am currently sitting in an apartment in New York City! It’s my first time here, and I’m visiting my college BFF.

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I just got in tonight and my friend has doe work to do, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to catch up! I came to New York from a daily trip in DC. We had a family reunion trip for my grandma’s 80th birthday, and of course I suggested DC. I got to play the guide for the weekend and shepherd the group through the metro. Also-I had $20 on my metro card from last summer and I actually remembered to bring it! Score!

Last summer, I fell in love with DC. When my plane landed at DCA, I felt like I was coming home. I can’t explain the feeling, but I feel like I left my heart here and this is where I belong. I’ve never felt such a strong pull to a place. Last summer was the best summer of my life, and I knew I’d be back.

The first thing I did on Friday morning was take a short jog. We stayed in Pentagon City, so I only saw the Washington Monument from a distance.

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The first stop of the trip was the zoo-my grandmother and grandfather went on their first date there, so our family sort of originated from that!

How’s this for a little transformation Tuesday? Last summer there were baby pandas, and I believe this is the same panda, now 1 year old.

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After the zoo, we stopped at a restaurant on the way to the metro where I got a delicious beet salad with goat cheese, avocado, and chicken. I’m trying very hard to make myself enjoy beets, and I think this salad helped bridge the gap!

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Next up was the American history museum, which was one I didn’t spend much time at last summer.

And finally, we went on a moonlight tour of the monuments.

(Free champagne in the lobby with my cousin!)

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The monuments at night are beautiful, and I loved getting the history and background of various spots.

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The rest of the night was spent catching up with family, including my long lost sister who I don’t see enough!

Saturday morning was another early day-we started with the botanical gardens before it got too hot.

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Followed by the Air and Space museum. That might be my favorite Smithsonian. I didn’t really explore Space last summer because I got too burned out on Air (I had my long training run that morning+the Natural history museum on that day), so it was cool to see that stuff! I really like all the space stuff. In middle school I actually thought I might want to do aerospace stuff as my career (that didn’t last though-I am no engineer).

In the afternoon, we went to high tea at the Ritz.

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Apparently high tea is a big thing in DC!

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They treated us very well, and brought all kinds of extra food. I’m avoiding wheat right now (which is insanely complicated and probably deserves its own rant) so I ate the innards of the sandwiches, plus a few bites of the current scone (which was fantastic). The sandwiches were egg salad, lobster, and cucumber with herbed cream cheese. A lot of the desserts had nuts, so they brought out a special plate for me that was nut free, including lemon creme brûlée!

We had a nice dinner planned late that evening, but the rest of the afternoon was dedicated to an important task. There were 2 things I wanted to do on this trip. Run the monuments, and get cupcakes. I consider myself a DC cupcake expert. For our poison of choice, I chose Baked and Wired. I’m not about that line at Georgetown Cupcakes, and Baked and Wired is spunky and unique. We took the Metro to Foggy Bottom (my favorite area of DC) and then walked to Georgetown so I got to show my family my old stomping grounds!

One of the necessary qualifications of a cupcake shop in my book is having dietary restriction friendly fare, and Baked and Wired has several gluten free options (as well as vegan options). I went with a gluten free chocolate strawberry, which was chocolate cake with strawberries in the batter, topped with vanilla buttercream.

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For dinner, we got all fancied up and went to a French American place near L’Enfant, Central.

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If you go there, ORDER THE CHEESEPUFFS. Amazing. I only had a few bites, but amazing. I shared a delicious goat cheese caesar salad with my dad for dinner and had the rotisserie chicken, which was perfectly cooked. I also pretended to be classy and had a glass of Rosé.

Sunday morning began with my other goal for the trip, a monument run. I had originally planned to run from Arlington metro stop across the bridge to the monuments, but the blue line metro was about a 20 minute wait, so we instead got off at L’Enfant and made our way to the National Mall, past the Washington Monument and Lincoln, and over the bridge to Arlington Cemetery and back. It was a fun run-I managed to drag 4 other family members with me, which is a definite first! It was getting bit warm though at 10am!

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Our last stop of the trip was the Native American History Museum. The cafeteria there was Native American food, and it was delicious!

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Blue corn creed, cedar plant salmon with beet puree, and root salad with heirloom carrots.

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Quinoa plantain cake with a dulce de leche center.

Then, it was off to NY!

This DC trip was awesome, and it made me even more sure that I want to spend my gap year here. This weekend, my fears of graduating and only having one year left of college melted away because I know there’s something amazing to look forward to after college. (That being said, should I do a life plans update post at some point??)

What city do you call home?