Sunday, October 30, 2011

Greek Quinoa Salad

Hi everyone! Sorry I have been so MIA lately. The meals I've been making haven't been very blog worthy. Either that, or I've used recipes in cookbooks, which is not fun for you!

Anyway, tonight I had fun experimenting in the kitchen and created...

Greek Quinoa Salad

Ingredients
-1 cup quinoa
-1 medium cucumber
-1/2 onion (red would be best but I used vidalia)
-1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes
-feta
-ingredients for this Greek dressing

Directions
-Cook 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water until the water is gone. Always remember to rinse the quinoa first!
-Chop half an onion, cherry tomatoes (halved w/seeds squeezed out), cucumber (small pieces), and kalamata olives (halved).
-Add quinoa and veggies together in a large bowl.
-Mix dressing separately (to serve 8) and pour dressing over the salad.
-Top each individual serving with feta.


I'm not even kidding when I say this is the best dressing and Greek-style salad I've had in a long time!! It's so refreshing. This would be a perfect spring/summer dish, but who says you can't have it in the fall? :)

In other news, I got my little lovebird, Rainbow, some millet today while I was running errands. Millet is her FAVORITE treat. And when I say favorite, I mean I can only give her 1/2 a piece at a time because she will eat it all in one sitting! Here is a picture of Rainbow after eating her entire treat. She looks like she's about to go into a millet-induced coma! ;)


I'm off to finish some Sunday things, have a great night!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I'm Loving- Monday

1. Pumpkin beer bread and homemade chili



2. Catching up with my fave sorority sisters.

3. This video:


ahhh so good!

5. Becka Pimenta. Especially her song "Free."

6. Getting The Washington Post daily.

 
I guess this makes me a true NOVA citizen.

7. Watching my cute lovebird take baths in the sink...just like this one!:



If that's not the cutest thing you've ever seen, I don't know what is!

8. Trader Joe's. Enough said.

--

What are you loving today?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Welcome to Miami

I was in Miami Beach last weekend through the middle of this week for work. Tough life, I know. Although I had 14 hour days, I really enjoyed my time there! It was nice to get a taste of summer just as things were getting cold here.

I had this song stuck in my head the entire trip:


No joke.

The best part of the trip, besides the beach and weather, was my hotel! I stayed at the Fontainebleau. Such an incredible hotel. Talk about swanky. Every night, there were lines wrapped around the lobby to get into their hot restaurants and clubs.

Here are a few pics that I took:

Nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in!






 Balcony view




 Cool outside deck area. You have to "reserve" those canopy lounges. Some have TVs and AC! That's a little too much for me. Beaches are supposed to be relaxing and hot!


I believe this was a huge suite below me. They had a legit patio with a mini pool!






I did get to go to a few restaurants while I was there. One was called Sushi Samba. We ended up doing a 5-7 course meal because we had a big party. For a sushi restaurant near the ocean, their sushi was okay. Definitely better than store bought, but I've had way better sushi at quite a few places in Virginia Beach. I will say that I liked that they made their California roll with king crab meat, instead of imitation crab meat. Overall, the meal was good, but nothing I would be dying to have again.

I also went to Pizza Rustica. It had really good reviews online and seemed to be a popular spot. I think how good your pizza is depends on how recent it was made and the type. It was one of those that had all the pizzas made and they reheat it. I'm generally not a fan of reheated pizza, so I should have known it wouldn't be the best. I'd recommend getting one of the specialty pizzas, especially the Caprese pizza. The Margherita was a little boring (what I got).

I am extremely happy to be back to my routine. I was in zombie mode for a few days right when I got back which is why I haven't gotten around to posting until now. I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend catching up with friends! Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mission: Unplug

Hey bloggies!

Do you sometimes feel that you can't unplug? I do. Every day.



Let me give you a glimpse of my schedule as of late.

6:30am: alarm goes off
6:40am: alarm #2 goes off [just in case]
7:00am: check e-mail after showering
7:50am-4:00pm: sit in front of a computer for 8ish hours at work and occasionally check my phone (blogs, facebook, etc.)
4:00pm-10:00pm: call family/friends to catch up, watch episodes, read blogs, etc.

My face is either glued to a computer or my hand is glued to a phone for over 12 hours a day. This folks, is a problem.

This inability to unplug started in grad school. I would spend from 7am-7pm on campus in class or working. After that, I would come home, eat dinner fast or in front of the computer, and proceed to do my homework [typically on the computer...hello SPSS] until 11pm or later!

There is a teeny tiny difference between then and now. I don't have to be glued to electronics once the clock strikes 4pm. If I don't want to sit in front of a computer, I can choose not to.

So here it is...Mission: Unplug.

I will unplug for a few hours a day by doing different non-computer/cell phone/TV related things. Such as...
  • Eating dinner at the dinner table (no phone allowed)
  • Reading a novel when I get home
  • Getting together with friends (when schedules permit)
  • Exercising
I accomplished night #1 of eating dinner at the dinner table in complete silence. It was glorious.

Simple Spaghetti
  • Saute 1/2 cup of chopped onion in EVOO until translucent 
  • Add 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can tomato paste, and 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Add garlic, basil, pepper, and salt as needed
Garlic "Bread" Pita
  • Butter pita, grate Parmesan cheese over top, sprinkle garlic powder and paprika, toast






I challenge each of you to unplug at least once a day. Experience peace and quiet. Allow yourself to actually process your day. Whether it's turning your cell phone on silent for an hour to sit in thought or spending one less hour in front of the TV, that's a start. And that's huge.

Keep me posted. Let me know how you unplug, and I'll do the same.

Have a relaxing and unplugged evening, y'all!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Love HIIT

Hey friends!

I hope everyone's hump day has been going well! I'm surprised I even remember what day it is. With work being so busy lately, the days are speeeeeding by!

You will be happy to know that I semi-battled the break room munchies today. I got out with only a mini kit kat and snickers, then ate them + an apple at my desk. I didn't even touch the doritos and cheetos as they stared me down on my way out...dun dun dun...;)

Once I got home I decided to get a real workout at the gym in my complex. While the equipment is better than my previous complex's gym, it's definitely a downgrade in terms of the amount of equipment! There are only 4 treadmills and 4 ellipticals, 6ish weight machines, and no dumbbells! Apparently students work out more than adults? Now I understand why guys splurge for gym memberships because there definitely aren't enough weights to work all of your muscle groups. I think I'm going to start using my bands at home and doing some P90X arm and leg workouts to supplement my cardio workouts.

I am going to be hurting tomorrow after today's HIIT workout. That's the abbreviation for High-Intensity Interval Training. Basically, you're alternating high and medium intensity exercise. To get myself back in the HIIT groove, I did the following workout:

*First column is minutes and the second column is speed.

1-2          6.0-6.5
2-4          4.0
4-6          6.0-6.5
6-8          4.0
8-10       6.0-6.5
10-12     4.0
12-14     6.0-6.5
14-16     4.0
16-18     6.0-6.5
18-20     4.0
20-30     4.0

To me this is my favorite way to get me back into running for longer lengths of time. Once I'm back in the running groove, I try to do a HIIT workout at least once a week. The coolest thing about the treadmill I used was that you could program your own workout, complete with intervals and speed and elevation changes! This way, I wasn't able to talk myself out of hitting the speed up when my running interval came. ;)

I'm off to make some hummus and eat dinner! Remember, 2 days until the weekend begins!

--
Do any of y'all have a good HIIT workout that you like?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Battling Breakroom Munchies

Hey everyone! Sorry I went so MIA this weekend. Although I want to create a regular blogging schedule, sometimes you are just too busy living life to write about it :) Don't worry, I'll catch you up to speed later.

Tonight I want to post about something relevant to all of us: battling the break room munchies. You know what I'm talking about. From time to time, sweet treats find their way into your office's break room. Usually this isn't a normal occurrence. These treats could be leftover from a business luncheon or brought in by a coworker who decided to whip up a batch of her famous brownies over the weekend.

Currently, I'm battling the break room munchies. Big time. So, we have a huge event that we plan every year at work. This event is happening soon, so right now it's crunch time. As a reward to get us through the last few hills, there have been some mysterious snacks that show up in the break room every afternoon. Chips, candy, fruit, you name it! And you know I don't grab the fruit when there's chocolate and carbs involved!

After indulging the first few days I thought to myself, "Okay, only 2 twix bars tomorrow" or "Swap your beloved Doritos for pretzels instead!" Let me tell you friends, a trend was started and it won't end easily. I have definitely noticed a difference in my quality of sleep and energy throughout the day. I rarely eat processed/junk food, and my body realized it. I definitely needed to make a change and create more satisfying meals that contained a lot more fruit and veggies. This way, I'm not as tempted to grab snacks at work.

After work today, I loaded up on veggies at the grocery store to make some awesome lunches, snacks, and dinners! This was probably the first legitimate shopping trip that focused around meals I planned to make. Here's what I made with the ingredients:

Lunches: whole wheat pitas stuffed with red bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and hummus
Snacks: fruit and/or cheese
Dinner: Back on Track Cilantro, Lime, and Wheatberry Salad (AMAZING, you must try this). I added more cumin and substituted a vidalia onion for a red onion.

I'm excited that I now have more satisfying meals and snacks that will help me battle the break room munchies! If all else fails, I'll avoid the break room! ;) How have you battled them in the past?

I'm off to watch the finale of Bachelor Pad and call it a night!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy Days

Hey everyone! Are you tired of the rain or what? It has poured and poured...and poured here! This is how I've felt:



source

Gotta love LOLcats :)

Although rain typically turns me into a hobbit, I ventured out last night so that my social life didn't take a hit. I successfully navigated thought parts of NOVA at night, in the pouring rain, and without a GPS. Well, successfully on the way home. I missed a few signs on the way there. ;) I'd say that's pretty successful! I have to admit, I've become pretty reliant on my GPS like most people my age.

On rainy days I just want to make comfort food. Specifically, this chili, these cookies, and all of these. I also want to curl up on the couch in my pjs and watch tv...or Bachelor Pad on Hulu. That's an extremely guilty, and embarrassing, pleasure...I know.

I don't have any new recipes for you all so far this week. Unless you call scrambled eggs with mushrooms, spinach, and pepper jack cheese a recipe! I'm sure I'll come up with something soon. But until then, make one of those comforting recipes to brighten your mood!