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The Craziest Museum+Surprising Cooking Win

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.

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I kicked off my wild Friday night with some coffeeshop studying. I was sitting next to some pre-meds working on a chem lab report. Felt like home. I went there for dinner, which was a Mediterranean salad, with delicious warm GF bread on the side. Plus a GF cookie. I’ve had so few GF baked good since coming here, so I went to that coffeeshop just for that.

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I had been putting off a quiz for my online class, and decided I just needed to bite the bullet and take it Saturday morning.

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Saturday morning, I taught my usual 8am spin and then headed to the store. My Target trip had 2 highlights: lightbulbs (my room was super dark) and these cookies:

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I don’t care if you’re GF or not, you should buy these cookies. They’re AMAZING. I’ve had this brand in other flavors (a highlight is the key lime), so I was expecting nothing less! I guess my post-spin 10am time is turning into my “try new pumpkin products” time? Last week it was pumpkin ice cream. I only have one serving of these cookies left, they’re that good.

For lunch, I made a simple egg sandwich with cheddar, and a side of extra bread, an extra egg, and asparagus.

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That afternoon, I walked down to a strew festival happening in my neighborhood. There was a bouncy house, and a bunch of local restaurants selling food and drinks. Since it was scorching out, I got salted caramel ice cream from a microcreamery.

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The main event of the weekend though was a trip to City Museum with my coworkers. We went downtown and trapped dinner at Pi Pizza first.

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This was super delicious. I can’t even remember the last time I had pizza!

Then it was time for City Museum.

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This is certainly not your typical museum. It’s usually described as a giant playground for adults. There is an indoor and outdoor portion that consists of all kinds of structures and tunnels to climb through and lots of slides, including a 10 story slide.

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This included climbing through caged tunnels many stories off the ground. It was a workout, and involved a certain level of strength to pull yourself up through tight spaces. I think the most terrifying thing was actually the 90 degree drop slide. It wasn’t that crazy high, but you had to essentially drop straight down into a hole, and couldn’t see what the slide looked like on the bottom.

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We unintentionally ended up pursuing tickets to the roof portion, so we climbed the 200+ stairs and 12 stories to the top.

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We enjoyed the view of the city while waiting in line for the ferris wheel.

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Being on a ferris wheel 12 stories up was also slightly terrifying. Again, amazing views though.

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After the museum, we went back to one of the intern’s places and watched a horror movie, since I had never seen one before. Honestly, I didn’t find it scary because it seemed so incredibly unrealistic. It was an exorcism type of movie, and it just seemed a little ridiculous to me. I think I would find a psychological horror movie much more frightening.

Sunday morning I lounged around a bit before heading to Forrest Park to run. Honestly, it was not a good run. My legs felt like bricks. Possibly from all the stairs and crawling/climbing the previous, night, I don’t know!

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For lunch after 3 miles, I made a simple egg white omelette with garlic and herb laughing cow, and had it with a nectarine and of course some more of those pumpkin cookies.

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That afternoon, I went out for coffee and to work on my online class. I’m playing around with a few different study methods to see if I can increase efficiency. I figure this is a good time to play around with these things, before grad school. I went to another coffeeshop on the list, Park Avenue Coffee.

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It was a little disappointing. Not bad, but not on the same level as my top contenders. I would rank this second to last on my list. It should be noted though that this wasn’t their original location, so it’s possible it’s different? Also it definitely needs to be noted that they have tons of delicious looking kinds of gooey butter cake. Gooey butter cake is a St. Louis thing (that and pork steak?), and while I haven’t tried it, I think it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like! It looked amazing.

After working for an hour or so, I ran some errands and braved the Sunday night grocery crowd. I was a little frazzled by the crowds, and apparently had some major slip ups.

For dinner Sunday night, I planned on totally winging a ginger chicken soup recipe. Basically, through things in a pot and hope. Slip up #1 was forgetting to buy spinach. Slip up #2 was buying cucumber instead of zucchini, which I realized when I started to cut it. The sad/embarrassing thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve done that. Also, I really hate cucumber…

So instead, I worked with what I had on hand, and it surprisingly turned out amazingly well.

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Here’s what I did:

I started out by boiling a bag of carrots and a little asparagus I had on hand in chicken broth. Meanwhile, I sautéed mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, and soy sauce. Protip: you can buy garlic paste in a tube, as well as other herbs, and it’s amazing. I also got tubed ginger (it’s fresh still), because I want to keep all my gingers an dither’s no way I could mince it finely enough to pull off.

Then, I shredded up rotisserie chicken, and added everything together, along with squeezy ginger, the juice of a lemon, pepper, and soy sauce.

It tasted SO good. The ginger gives it the perfect amount of spice, and despite the unplanned addition, the carrots really worked. And, I have TONS of leftovers!

For dessert, I mashed up half a banana with cocoa powder and served it with vanilla Halo Top and whipped cream.

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It’s also possible I found my way back to the pumpkin cookie bag. So good…

That was my weekend! I’m excited for some actual cooking this week. Also on the menu is vegetarian chili, which I also will be winging.

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Guess What?

Hello! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I have some weekend fun as well as some news to share! Let’s get into it, shall we?

Overall, my weekend was a good mix of fun, active, and relaxing. It’s SO nice to not have so much going on right now. There was lots of this involved:

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Friday at the zoo I was outside for 5 hours in crazy humid heat, so I was looking forward to a night of air conditioning, netflix, and kitties!

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Plus, I wanted to be well rested for Saturday morning! I had a spin teaching audition at a local studio. I wasn’t sure if I was going to try and teach while I’m here, but when I looked around for some classes to go to, I found that the studio was looking for instructors. Perfect! Saturday morning I taught a class as my audition, and I got the job! It was a blast, and even though it hasn’t really been that long, it was great to be teaching again (it’s been <2 weeks…).

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I’ve always wanted to teach at an actual boutique spin studio, and I have my own weekly class+subbing. One adjustment though is that the classes are an hour long, and I’ve actually only taught 45 minute classes. I had to pace myself a little bit there! I was pretty beat and hungry after the 9:30 class, so I found the nearest Starbucks in hopes they had my favorite chocolate smoothie. Not all Starbucks have the chocolate banana protein smoothies, but they’re delicious! I got it with some cheddar chickpea chip things for carbs.

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Afterwards, I cleaned myself up and relaxed for a few hours before braving the heat at the Festival of Nations, one of the best festivals (and free!) in St. Louis every year. It’s a really cool international festival in Tower Park, and there’s food from every country pretty much that you can buy, plus music and crafts. I went with my roommate and her friends who are all Brazilian, and we arrived just in time to see the Brazilian band play.

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I got Brazilian food, of course. I don’t remember the name of the dish, but I got chicken over rice with cashew gravy, collard greens, and some type of yuca based side.

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As you might recall, it’s still unclear if I’m minority allergic to cashews or not, so maybe this will be a good test!

We stayed at the festival for quite a while, and then the lightning began. No rain though!

We all headed home to clean up a little bit before going out to dinner and drinks somewhere in the Tower Grove area, I believe. I’m REALLY trying to figure out what all the neighborhoods are!

Sunday morning, I was up pretty early to go back to the spin studio to take another instructor’s class. I’m trying to drop in to a few classes to get a sense for the different instructor’s styles. It was a fantastic class, and I found myself working VERY hard! Lots of time in the saddle, which I tend to love.

After class, I went back to Starbucks for another chocolate smoothie. It’s the perfect thing after a workout, during that awkward 10:30am between meal times hour.

I actually felt like today was a day I was almost constantly eating. After dealing with my rental car stuff, I came home for what I guess I would call lunch? I kind of pieced together what I wanted+what I felt I needed. I had a little appetizer of spinach and cheese. Why not, right? Plus frozen grapes.

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And then had a chocolate chunk flapjacked muffin. I’m a big fan of these, especially now that I discovered when you undercook them slightly, they taste like lava cake!

Then, a little later I had half of a big Bobo’s Oat bar, in Cinnamon Raisin.

I spent the afternoon doing little things around the house (like laundry) before deciding I should at least get out a little bit. I decided to grab my book and check out another coffee shop on my list. Today’s choice was Rise Coffee House in the Grove area.

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It had a nice atmosphere. It had the feel of a good quality coffee shop, but less hipster than Blueprint.

Of course, I had my standard drink, a decaf cappuccino. I’m trying to stay consistent for my first pass through the list to be as objective as possible. Plus, that is by far my favorite drink!

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The verdict? It was good! It was not quite as deep and complex of a flavor as Blueprint, but I could tell it was quality. I would say I liked Blueprint more, but if you want a less strong flavor, you might like this better!

Finally, it was time for dinner. I made an omelette with goat gouda, italian herbs, and spinach, and served it with sunbutter and jam on toast and a salad with goat cheese, craisins, and balsamic vinaigrette.

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Other snacks for the night included a Yasso sea salt caramel bar, and one of these new Target finds, a chocolate chip granola bar. It’s simple, but delicious! For some reason, the flavor reminds me of a donut!

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And that’s a wrap! I have a pretty active day planned tomorrow. I’m making my triumphant return to Crossfit post-busted hand (it’s definitely still quite limiting but I think the workout should be doable), and then in the evening I think I’m going to drop in on the spin class I will eventually be taking over!

What is your favorite ethnicity of food?

WIAW: #Bootlife Nostalgia

Today on the way to teaching spin at my undergrad campus, I listened to an album that I listened to a lot last spring. Immediately it took me back to all my boot workouts: grinding it out on the bike, learning new leg machines, endless dumbbell presses. I actually miss the boot in some strange way. Obviously, it’s nice not having a broken foot. But many good times were had in my boot. While wearing a giant boot with a broken foot was painful and made it hard to get around, I didn’t let it hold me back from doing anything I wanted to do and from enjoying my senior year. And not going to lie, I definitely felt super tough doing some of the things I did in a boot. I tried to make the most of it and have fun with it. Protip: if you go out and don’t want people to step on your broken foot, lighting up your boot works fabulously. The big silver lining of #bootlife was that I spent 2 months working on pull ups like a mad woman, and now I’m busting them out in workouts like it’s no big deal. (I did 50 kipping pull ups on Monday in sets of 5 the whole way!) Being optimistic is who I am; I may be sarcastic and pessimistic about humanity, but on a case by case basis I always look for the bright side.

But again, I think a lot of the good times that were had in the boot were because of the awesome people I was with. I’m missing my college friends like crazy now, and while I’m excited for a new opportunity in a new city, I’m sad I won’t see them every day. I think it’s finally getting real that I won’t be going back to Stanford this fall.

Sigh.

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(Featuring: Boot goes to the beach, boot goes win tasting in Napa, boot goes to the Giant’s game, boot goes to senior nights, boot goes to a Stanford baseball game, boot ‘graduates” from my sorority, and boot does murph.)

After that absurdly long introduction, let’s get into WIAW, shall we? Thanks as always to Jenn for starting the fun all those years ago.

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For breakfast, I had a few crackers alongside a smoothie bowl. I recently bought Quest salted caramel protein powder, and so far I don’t hate it. I want to try it in waffles/pancakes at some point though!

In the blender went 1.33 bananas, milk, cocoa powder, and protein powder. I topped it with some KIND Raspberry granola.

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I taught a noon spin class on campus. It was a class I made when I had a broken foot, and it was fun to actually be able to do the full class for real (I couldn’t stand before).

I had some business to attend to on campus, so I packed a lunch because I knew I would be hungry post-spin. I had a Trader Joe’s chicken, goat cheese, and beet salad, and a few crackers.

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When I got back, I had snack part 1: a farmer’s market peach that was absolutely delicious.

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Snack part 2 was a new purchase: a Flapjacked muffin. I saw these the other day and actually am not allergic to anything in them, so I was excited to try them out! Plus, given my physical activity for the day I knew I wanted plenty of protein, and these pack 20g in.

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I overcooked it a tiny bit. When I originally took it out, it seemed too soft still so I added a few extra seconds and apparently that was too much. It was good though! The cinnamon chips were a good touch!

Before dinner, I attended a spin class. Normally I would never double up spin, but since it’s my last week and I had one spin credit left to a local studio, I wanted to go to one of my favorite teacher’s classes. It was a fun one! I always like her music.

For dinner, we had roasted corn and spaghetti squash mac and cheese.I haven’t had mac and cheese in forever so I was excited!

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I love the idea of using spaghetti squash. Honestly, I’m not a huge pasta person. I’m all about the sauce! And who doesn’t love sneaking in extra veggies? This may be my favorite way to eat spaghetti squash thus far!

For dessert, I had my final 2 leftover grad cupcakes: chocolate with caramel frosting, and caramel with chocolate frosting.

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A little while later, I had another snack. Because, hello, 2 spin classes, I needed the calories! Another thing I was super excited to try? Pumpkin spice cheerios! We finally found them! Yes, they are good. And I’m ready to dive headfirst into pumpkin. I was crazy into pumpkin a couple of years ago, but less recently. I think I’m due for another year of being crazy into pumpkin. And clearly I’m starting off strong with 2 pumpkin items in one day!

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I also had a few milk chocolate chips to cap it off.

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Have you had any pumpkin yet? What’s you favorite fall food?

I love pumpkin bread!

WIAW-The Best Ice Cream

Happy WIAW Friends! (As usual, huge thanks to Jenn for starting this link up way back when!).

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This week has been surprisingly low-key. Which is some ways is actually unfortunate because I know I have a lot of craziness coming up that I can’t get ahead on!

Anyways, WIAW. One thing that wasn’t from my full day of eating that I still want to share because it was definitely the best thing I’ve eaten all week was this ice cream.

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Tin Pot’s TCHO chocolate. Yes, here in the Bay Area, we have designer chocolate. This is hands down my favorite ice cream in the world. The texture is perfectly smooth, and the (local, SF) TCHO chocolate flavor is dark and rich. Tin Pot also has a lot of other awesome flavors but I can never bring myself to get anything but my favorite! My friends and I decided that gourmet ice cream needs to be a more regular thing, given we’re also extremely close to Smitten (Nitrogen ice cream).

Back to a full day of food, the regularly scheduled programing!

Pre-workout:

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I went home for dinner on Monday, which meant that I returned with a delicious set of snacks. This lemon poppyseed bread was a GF version of this recipe. The flavor was on point, but the texture was a little weird. A little dry? Maybe from using GF flour, or maybe because I cut down on the sugar. I think I’m going to try combining the flavor of the lemon poppyseed with the texture of the cranberry orange bread I’ve been making lately.

Workout:

Crossfit was a doozy. Apparently we’ve been killing arms lately. I’m still recovering from pull-ups on Thursday. Strength was sets of 3 hang power snatches. My shoulder is finally feeling strong stabilizing overhead, and I worked up to 75# which I think is the most since my injury!

WOD: 3 5 minute AMRAPS, 1 minute rest of the following:

60 calorie row

50 pull ups

40 burpees

30 push press

20 push ups

I barely made it to the push ups and my arms were done!

Breakfast:

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Plain nonfat Greek yogurt, cherry+blueberry fruit blend, sunbutter. Plus an assortment of crackers.

Lunch:

I had leftovers from dinner at home. I’ll share that picture first because it’s much prettier, and then show the reality of tupperware lunches.

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This was a fennel and spinach soup with roasted red pepper yogurt sauce that I found on Cooking Light’s top soup recipes. Last night, served with corn tortillas broiled with parmesan and herbs. At lunch, served with GF everything crackers.

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Mid-class survival:

Since I have to eat lunch on the early side, I packed a few crackers to eat in my last class so I wouldn’t be crazy hungry when I got home.

Snack:

A bite of quesadilla:

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And a honeybell (grapefruit crossed with tangerine)+ one of my custom raaw macaw bars. This one has a date, sunbutter, and oat base, and contains chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

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Workout #2: Teach spin. The air system was broken so it was a completes sauna in there. Everyone was sweating buckets—the spin studio was at least 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the gym! I made sure to drink lots of water.

Dinner #1:

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Grilled chicken breast (not bone in, which was exciting), salad with caesar dressing, grilled veggies. Plus an AMAZING gluten free brownie. The chef recently started making more desserts gluten free! The brownie had a slight tinge of cinnamon, and it was salty, gooey, and delicious. I would have loved a second one but my caffeine tolerance couldn’t handle it sadly!

Close up:

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Dinner #2:

The other part of the quesadilla from earlier, plus half of my other flavor of raaw macaw bar (double workout days=more food!). This one has a cinnamon sunbutter base, and has sea salt, chocolate chips, and tart cherries,

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And that’s my day of eating! It’s only 9pm but my bed is looking awfully enticing already…

What is your favorite baked good?

Mine might be muffins (like real muffins, not the healthy kind)—love the blueberry muffins from the box, with fresh blueberries thrown in, and then topped with sugar. Even better in bread form.

WIAW-The Magic Number

And it’s almost Wednesday again. GUYS. I am halfway through my last year of college. (Well, undergrad. Plenty of schooling left for this girl.) How crazy is that? I’m trying to make each moment count, and I am actively trying to remember to enjoy myself each moment because there’s not much time left here! I’m trying to get away from watching the clock until X or Y is over, because then time is passing that I will never get back.

Well, that wasn’t where I was planning on going with that. Where I was planning on going with that was WIAW with Jenn (and friends).

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Pre-Workout:

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Cranberry-Orange bread from the freezer. Currently my favorite pre-workout bread, and also the only one I have in the freezer right now. I have my eye on this recipe though for possibly the next one, although I usually like to keep the pre-workout breads a bit lower sugar.

Workout:

UGH. We’ve been doing these yucky sprint intervals at Crossfit that I’m pretty sure are really good for me but they stink.

We started out with 5×3 power snatches. I did those at 55#, and then a set at 65#. I’m pretty sure that’s the heaviest I’ve gone overhead since my shoulder injury! The weight felt easy, but I’m still weak stabilizing at the top so I’m definitely not going to push the weight anytime soon.

WOD:

Every 3.5 minutes for 5 sets:

200m run

7 push press (I used 55#)

5 over bar burpees

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I actually really enjoyed the running portion, because I felt fairly fast compared to other people, especially by the end. In general, I’m definitely not the fastest but I’m pretty consistent! Every set was within 3 seconds of the others.

Breakfast:

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I’ve been really loving my fruit compote with yogurt again lately. This week’s combo is a real winner: cherries+peaches. On top of full fat yogurt and a side of sun butter. In terms of yogurt, I basically just eat whatever my house/dorm buys. I much prefer Greek plain, but otherwise I could go either way full fat vs. fat free and tend to switch week to week.

Lunch #1:

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Leftover sweet potato, pear, leek soup with GF croutons, and a side of roasted veggies, mainly sweet potatoes. I think those were leftover veggies from diner at the house last night, and I was able to snag the last bit!

Lunch #2:

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A turkey sandwich on GF bread that was from lunch at the house (which I missed due to class) and a Honeybell. Honeybells are a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit, and I’ve been really enjoying them this past week!

I also had a few bites of other things—some snap pea crisps and granola, and a Ghiradelli raspberry dark chocolate square.

My gastroparesis has been better lately (knock on wood), but even when it’s not flaring, I have to be really careful about how much I eat at once or I’ll get a (moderate comparatively) stomachache. I think I’m finally honing on what this amount actually is, although the content of the food also has a big effect! After lunch #1 today, I actually felt really good. Like, normal. Perfect even. Lunch #2 ended up being a little too big (with the random bites). For the most part, I think the magic number is 400 calories. 400 calories and below for a meal, and I seem to be good (assuming I’m not in a bad flare). 400-500 is usually okay, but I don’t feel as good. Over 500 and I’ll have some problems. 600 or significantly above and I start risking a flare up.

Obviously, that’s not very much in one meal, hence why I have lunch #1 and lunch #2 (and the same for dinner). I honestly think I can get a lot healthier as I start to figure this out more, but it can be really difficult to stick to, especially when the food is especially delicious, or if I’m at restaurants. It’s going to take some practice, as well as remembering that I CAN eat everything, I just need to come back to it in a few hours. It’s also difficult if I get a lot of sugar/carb cravings, but the more I stick to what makes me feel good, the fewer I have (because my blood sugar is much more regular).

Workout:

Teaching spin! Lots of hills today, including a 4 song hill (I normally do 3 song hills). I also wrote tomorrow’s class this afternoon, which includes HIIT in place of a second hill. We’re going to do 5 rounds of 1 min max effort on/1 min recover.

Dinner #1:

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BBQ chicken leg, red beans, rice, kale.

I also had some frozen mango and another Ghiradelli raspberry square.

This dinner comes back to the perfect number theory. Unfortunately, I was a little over the magic number and am feeling it a bit. But it’s all a learning process and I do think I’ll get there!

Dinner #2:

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A new to me bar. Sesame products can be really hit or miss but this was good!

Do you eat 3 square meals or more snacks/mini meals?