Monthly Archives: July 2011

Green Lakes State Park

I went to Green Lakes State Park today to get my run in! I’m getting bored of running on treadmills and tracks and don’t always feel comfortable running alone on our roads. Green Lakes had plenty of other runners, walkers, and bikers so I felt safe and was able to completely focus on my workout. The weather was beyond gorgeous (if not a little hot) and I deemed it almost as good as running in Central Park!

While driving out to the park I sipped on a High Country ginger kombucha:

Although I love GT, this brand is on sale for $1.99 at Wegmans and is actually really good!

Anyway, the first part of my workout consisted of a 5.42 mile run at a 52:29 pace on the lake trails, through the woods, and on the park roads. There was one really steep incline that seriously worked my legs, heart, and lungs… Whew!

I had a quick refuel of GoGo Squeez apple banana “applesauce on the go” before moving on to the second part of my workout.

The rest of my workout included both hiking and jogging with another super steep climb; 3.03 miles in 46:11 minutes.

So in total I covered 8.45 miles and was extremely hot, sweaty, and craving an iced coffee when I finished! I headed over to Strong Hearts Cafe  to grab and iced latte made with almond milk. They used to offer only soy as an option but if I wanted a soy latte induced belly ache I could just go to Starbucks. Almond milk is much easier on my GI system! Oh, another plus? Their coffee is organic, fair trade, and locally roasted! Love that.

After being sufficiently caffeinated, I went to Wegmans where I picked up a cold bottle of water, some honey roasted pecans to snack on, and a pint of Almond Dream chocolate ice cream, on sale for $2.99! Seriously people, can you tell I love sales? Until they decide to make the healthy foods cheap and the processed junk expensive I will be scoping out the sales. Oh, and I’ll also be scoping out shoe sales!

Emily ❤

Question: Do you get bored with your running locations? Have you gotten any really great deals lately?

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Sew What?

Before work this morning I went for a 3 mile run with the pup. This pic was snapped around mile 2:

During our cool down walk we found a four-leaf clover:

I’m hoping it brings me some good luck!

Work was the usual. I packed a ton of veggies, hummus, and Amande strawberry yogurt for lunch.

Is that the biggest baby carrot you’ve ever seen or what?

In other (somewhat but not much more exciting) news, my sewing project is almost complete! Here is the almost final product of what I’ve been working on lately:

Sorry the picture quality isn’t stellar, my room isn’t well lit and I’m using an iPhone. The dress needs to be hemmed and adjusted a little and then it will be completely wearable. I love it!

Emily ❤

Question: How is your weekend going? Are you a crafty person?

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

What’s a girl to do on a rainy day off from work? Baking would’ve been a good option, and I had high hopes for making something today. But this girl turned on the oven a total of zero times today.

After my 4 mile run at the gym I instead came home and worked on my sewing project! I made some good progress and can’t wait for it to be finished. Later in the day, Jerod and I went to see Friends With Benefits which was fantastic. Seriously, I loved it so much. If you haven’t already, go see it!

Lest you think I’ve misled you with the title of this post, I did bake yesterday and I do have a chocolate zucchini cake recipe for you! To use up some of the massive zucchini we have (which are not bitter at all, yay!), I decided to bake with some of it!

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cake flour (or white or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
Greek yogurt (I used a 100g container of Chobani Honey-Nana)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup melted butter
1 TBS pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a baking dish, loaf pan, or cupcake tins (bake times will vary). Whisk together the flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa. Mix the zucchini, yogurt, sugars, butter, and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry and pour into the baking dish. I used a large glass rectangular baking dish and the cake was perfectly done after 30 minutes.

While the cake was cooling, I made a batch of buttercream frosting using just butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and the magic of the electric mixer.

So it’s obviously not vegan (although Earth balance or oil and almond or coconut milk yogurt could easily be used), but it is pretty healthy for a cake. Especially with the amount of veggies, whole wheat flour, and antioxidant-rich cocoa in there. Because I’m not a dairy fan and Liv isn’t a chocolate fan, I nominated Jerod as the official taste tester. He described them as “good” and “deceiving.” I guess hiding veggies and whole grains in a moist, sweet, and chocolately cake is pretty sneaky!

I sent him home with a plate of half frosted and half non-frosted cake pieces and he reported back that his family has already happily dug in! I do however, have plenty of slices staying fresh in the freezer to give to my grandparents when I get a chance!

Emily ❤

Question: Have you ever made baked goods with veggies? From zucchini bread/cake to sweet potato rolls to carrot cake to pumpkin baked goods… I most certainly have!

When Life Hands You…

Yikes! This whole week has been a non-stop blur. I had an average of 20 students (give or take based on attendance) at the program I work at. Just for comparison, the kindergarten instructor has 4 students. Individually, or even in small groups, the kids are wonderful, unique, creative, and well-behaved and I love them all. But 20 second graders trying to share glue sticks, keep chocolate milk inside the cartons and their mouths, prevent thunderstorm and bee freakouts, and avoid trips and falls while learning choreography and running around outside (all while trying to have fun) proves next to impossible. Not to mention I have a student who desperately needs one on one attention which isn’t feasible when I’m only one person trying to keep track of 19 other kids. God bless teachers. And their aids.

On a brighter note, I have some ridiculously huge zucchini! I’m sure they don’t taste very good but I’m seriously amazed at how big they got in just the few days that I was away. Literally, they are the size of my legs!

Running also usually makes me feel better!

Yesterday’s workout was a good 4 miles at an 8:52 average pace! Since I’m working one job at a time right now, I’ve started going to the gym after work because it lets me sleep a little longer and I still have plenty of time left in the day when I get done working.

Another positive aspect of life right now? These flats from Target:

No joke, they were on sale for only $6.42! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a pair of shoes so inexpensively!

And lastly, good food is always a plus! For last night’s dinner, I topped about a cup of cooked whole wheat spaghetti with the most delicious tomato I’ve ever tasted, chopped and steamed zucchini, plenty of fresh chopped basil, and some salt and pepper. Everything but the pasta and S&P was from my garden!

This is the perfect summer meal! I could probably eat it every day and be happy.

So, moral of the story blog post: when life hands you 20 obnoxious second graders, marvel at vegetables on steroids, get your sweat on, turn to retail therapy, and eat good food.

Emily ❤

Question: What do you do when life gets stressful?

NYC & Long Island Weekend

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long post!

Saturday morning I caught a bus to New York to spend some time with friends for the weekend. I managed to pack extremely light using just my Longchamps tote and Michael Kors bag. I brought only dresses to wear because wearing anything else in 100 degree weather would’ve been insane.

Snacks consumed on the way there:

Mmm, salty

Veggies, hummus, and Mama Pea’s zucchini hummus

On sale at Wegmans for $0.99!

Entertainment included listening to music and NPR and texting. Amongst the most entertaining of texts? This one from my Mama:

Hahaha.

The bus ride was seriously fantastic. Sometimes it’s super sketchy but this time the bus driver was a nice old man who happened to know my Grandpa! Small world right? Another plus was that nobody sat next to me! Although that could’ve been because I put my bags on the seat next to me and proceeded to give off extremely strong don’t-sit-next-to-me vibes (karma is probably going to get me now). And to top it all off we avoided all traffic coming into Manhattan and actually got there 15 minutes ahead of schedule, woo!

Once I was in the brutally hot city, I met Lizzy and Mary to head uptown for dinner after, of course, making a much needed pitstop at Starbucks to bask in the frigid air while sipping passion iced tea.

Instagram-ed photo

I purchased a Groupon a long time ago for V-Note so Saturday night was the perfect night to put it to use! We started with the Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a sage cashew cream sauce. Upon its arrival we immediately dug in and I didn’t manage to snap any pictures! I assure you it was beautifully presented and insanely delicious.

Mary’s Caulier blonde Belgian beer (alliteration much?)

For our entrees, I ordered the Mushroom Walnut Ravioli, Lizzy ordered the Seitan Scallopini, and Mary had an alternative pasta dish to the Pasta Paccheri because for some reason they weren’t serving that menu item.

Amazing ravioli

Fantastic seitan scallopini

I didn’t get a picture of Mary’s entree but it was beautiful and colorful with spinach pasta, tomatoes, mushrooms, and numerous other ingredients. I tried a bite and it was fabulous!

So even though by then we had consumed enough food to sustain a small army, we went on to order the best part of the meal, dessert! The three of us shared the Dark Chocolate Fondue with fresh banana, pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, and cookies (with all that fruit, I’d consider this dessert selection to be remotely pretty darn healthy) and the Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Cake.

To. Die. For.

While perusing the menu and even after our food had come out, Mary (who is lactose intolerant) couldn’t believe that everything on the menu was dairy free! I think she was most impressed with the “cream sauces” and “cheesecake.” Lizzy and I assured her everything was vegan but we verified with the waiter just to be 100% positive she would leave with a happy belly!

So overall, the food was great, the portions were larger than what we had expected for the price (that means go hungry!), the atmosphere was enjoyable, and our waiter was perfect! We all decided we have to return to V-Note in the near future. It doesn’t top Candle 79 in my book, but it’s definitely on my list of favorite restaurants!

After leaving, we grabbed a cab downtown to Penn Station (at 9:30 it was still in the 90s so we couldn’t fathom a walk and a wait in the sauna-like subway station!) to catch a train out to Long Island. Since our train wasn’t until after 10:00, we explored the K-Mart in the train station.

After spending some time at Lizzy’s house, Mike picked me up to go to his house. I was there for probably all of 10 minutes before I fell sound asleep!

On Sunday we went to a street fair and the farmer’s market where I bought some special treats for Cheya (I’ll post more about this later) and then to Trader Joe’s to get food to barbecue.

Also purchased at TJ’s were these peach pops:

Yum!

Along with some banana bread mix. Instead of using eggs, we used a mashed banana and cinnamon applesauce. The outcome was beyond awesome! Seriously, if you live near a Trader Joe’s go get that mix ASAP and add an overripe banana instead of eggs. It’s easy, all natural, and most importantly addictively delicious.

Aside from eating banana bread cupcakes, we had a few people over for a cookout which included burgers, grilled veggies, a pasta salad made by moi, and chips and salsa. A simple and satisfying menu. Eventually we all piled into cars and headed to Jones Beach to see Michelle Branch and the GooGoo Dolls!

Kan Jam in the parking lot

Free binoculars from Ford

I don’t have much to say other than that the concert was great!

Monday morning Mike and I headed back into the city to grab lunch before I hopped on the bus back home. We went to Fresh & Co. where I ordered the falafel salad with spicy tahini dressing and a half and half iced tea lemonade.

Before getting on the bus, I stopped at Duane Reade for some bus ride snackage:

My Sister picked me up from the station and we decided to go out to dinner to King David’s where I got my second falafel fix of the day.

The weekend flew by, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!

I am glad to be back at work and the gym though. Today we had “Dan the Snake Man” come in to show the students some animals! I’m not a big fan of snakes or lizards but I can totally appreciate the cute baby tortoises!

After work I came home for a little while because I had a stomach ache. It was nothing some kombucha and laying down for a few minutes couldn’t cure though. Once I got to the gym I ran an enjoyable 5 miles at an average 8:51 pace. It felt good to sweat (and not because of the weather)!

Emily ❤

Question: What was your favorite part of your weekend?

Why I’m Worn Out Wednesday

Happy hump day! Actually with Fridays off, the hump of my week was more like yesterday around 12:30pm, but who’s counting? Anyway, today’s schedule was a lot like yesterday’s save for the fact that I miraculously hopped out of bed by 5:15am! I got to the gym and pounded out a comfortable but sweaty 5 mile run on the treadmill with my newest exercise preoccupation, the NPR iPhone app!

I listened to Morning Edition for a solid 45 minutes and got up to speed (ha, no pun intended) on the Rupert Murdoch happenings, calorie count discrepancies in restaurant meals (are people really that surprised?), the debt ceiling debate, NASA’s future and commercial space “taxis,” NBA players signing contracts to play in Turkey, the NYC gay marriage lottery, and a bunch of other stuff. All that made the 5 miles seem super quick!

Job #1 was good, albeit hot. Maybe the title of the post should be “Wacky Weather Wednesday?” I cannot wait until tomorrow’s 99 degrees hits (enter sarcastic tone of voice here), I’m sure my 2nd graders will be thrilled by the lack of AC at the school!

Job #2 was good as well, albeit freezing. They crank the AC way up in that place! It was slow today so I spent most of my time reading PacMan, a biography about Manny Pacquiao.

I’m about 3/4 of the way through and I have to say, it’s really good! Some parts of the book I wasn’t too in to but his story is incredibly interesting.

Moving on! Actually there’s not much to move on to. Now that I’m home I’ve snacked on fresh fruit, veggies and hummus, almond butter and banana on a whole wheat tortilla, a mini bundt cake which I had stashed in the freezer, and the most delicious iced coffee ever (about half almond milk, half coffee, some ice cubes, and some vanilla NuNaturals stevia drops). Ohhh yeah, and now I’m relaxing to the max!

I apologize for the lack of photos, seriously what kind of blog is this? I’ll be sure to post some more interesting photos in my future posts!

Emily ❤

Question: What’s been happening in your world? What’s the weather like where you are?

(Almost) Picture-less Post

Happy Tuesday! Even though it’s almost over. Anyway, my day went something like this:

5:00am: First alarm goes off.
5:05am 5:10am 5:15am…: Snooze, snooze, snooze anddddd you guessed it, snooze again.
6:00am: Finally roll out of bed.
6:10am: Coffeeee and blog reading.
6:45am: Run around grabbing clothes, work items, and food.
7:00am: Finally off to the gym.
7:15am-8:15am: 30 hard minutes on the elliptical while multitasking (aka watching CNN) plus abs, shower, and getting ready for job #1.
8:30am: Arrive at job #1.
9:00am-12:00pm: Language, drama, snacks, emergency bathroom runs, science, art, minor meltdowns, and running around outside with children.
12:10pm: Change into appropriate clothing and rush to job #2.
12:15pm-5:00pm: Boxing related stuff, eating lunch, reading up on Manny Pacquiao, reading up on the news, and doing isometric exercises.
5:15pm-NOW: Drive home, garden, feed my belly, and relax!

It sounds like my day was jam packed and stressful but in reality it flew by and I stayed positive and happy all day. And a huge plus? No work on Friday means the week is half over!

These zukes and tomatoes (from the plant my Grandma gave me) came out of my garden today!

Emily ❤

Question: What did you do today? Do you have a garden and if so what’s ripe?