Monthly Archives: August 2011

I Love (Meat) Balls

I like balls.

….

Meatballs! Come on guys, stop being dirty.

Libby and I made the most delicious sun dried tomato basil meatballs for dinner tonight, courtesy of a recipe from Janetha over at Meals and Moves. Holy yum is all I can say. We followed the recipe exactly, except for three tiny substitutions. We used extra lean ground turkey, instead of plain ole’ lean, and we  didn’t use parmesan cheese because Libby can’t have dairy and there wasn’t a dairy-free option at the grocery store tonight (lame). And then we forgot to pick up chicken broth to keep the balls moist while they were in the oven, so we just used water. They. Were. So. Good.

I don’t want to repeat the entire recipe since it’s posted on Janetha’s blog, but I will share the photos I took from our little adventure. As you know, I hate cooking, so Libby was quite impressed with my burst of productivity when I kept pushin’ her to move along so we could cook up a storm. While the recipe isn’t difficult in the slightest, I’m still proud of myself for this little creation. I will definitely be making these again.

Oh, and just so you know, I totally blasted Glee from my iTunes the entire time and sung my little lungs out. That makes the cooking experience 10 times  better. In case you were wondering.

Let the journey begin…

"Our food processor is too small!"

Processed ingredients.

"I got it to work. Yay!"

Squish, squish, mix, mix.

I like to get my hands dirty.

All rolled up.

Sizzleeee

Pop 'em in the oven.

Dinner is served!

As you can see, I piled the balls on top of some pasta. Gluten-free pasta, to be exact. Libby monitors her gluten intake and it’s all we had in the house, so it works. I piled the side of my plate with peas. Yum.

I have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, too! I can’t wait for my co-worker’s to smell this deliciousness (muahaha!)

Do you have a favorite meatball recipe I should try? Or any favorite recipe I should try (simple increases your odds of me actually cooking it). 

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Surviving Hurricanes

Nothing like a hurricane to give you the little push you needed to go visit your brother in Philly, right?

Oh, and in case any of you were wondering: it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia. Lies.

See? No sun in that picture. Or this one.

But let’s rewind a bit.

So Libby and I scooted out of work a little early so we could quickly pack our bags and catch a Megabus out to Philly on Friday. It was a really long wait.

A really, really long wait.

We got hungry.

But we had fuel on hand. Gummy worms are awesome.

After a 2.5 hour wait, we snuck on an earlier bus and rode the quick two hours over to Philly. The one good thing about Megabus? The ridiculously cheap prices. Only cost $12 on the way over and it’ll cost $8 on the way back. Doesn’t get much better than that.

It was a quiet night once we arrived, and then we hit the streets the next morning before nasty weather hit. First up, the Italian Market.

Then we made sure to hit up Reading Terminal Market for lunch. My brother told me I had to get pulled pork from DiNic’s, and I remembered it being featured in Man vs. Food, so why not?!

It was greasy and delicious. So, so good. But so big, I couldn’t finish it all. My brother polished off my sandwich for me.

And then while Irene partied outside, we had some fun of our own to celebrate a roommate’s birthday.

White trash theme, anyone? Nice photobomb, broha.

We were lucky that the power stayed on the entire time and everyone just had a good time. The pictures at the beginning of this post show the worst of the damage here in Philly. Main Street was flooded for a while, but it’s already receded and walkable once again. I’ve received word that my apartment back in New York is in tip-top shape. Buses aren’t running into New York until tomorrow though, so I’m camping out on an air mattress for one more night before I head home. I can’t wait to see my bed!

How were you affected by Irene? Hope everyone is safe and sound! 

Natural Disasters Galore!

Hey everyone! So things have been crazy here in NYC this week! First we had an earthquake in the middle of the day, making my entire building feel like we were bouncing up and down on a trampoline (my office is on the 25th floor), and now everyone is running around like wild banshees preparing for Hurricane Irene!

At first, I didn’t really give two hoots about the storm because well, it’s NYC and hurricanes never hit here. Seriously. In the past 100 years, only six have unleashed their wrath on the Big Apple, and that includes Irene.

I stocked up on necessities.

But then I started to get phone call after phone call. After phone call. After phone call. They just kept coming. From family members, friends and Dustin. So many people were worried about me (feelin some serious love, thanks guys!) and telling me to get the heck out of town. Nearly everyone offered me a place to stay. Some even offered to come pick me up, while others said they’d pay for my travel expenses.

So I listened. Not only to give everyone piece of mind, but to make sure I’m not a sitting duck. I still don’t think my apartment will be affected drastically, but we’ve taken the necessary precautions just in case. But it’s very likely that power will go out and no public transportation will be running. I don’t know about you, but I think that has the potential to turn really boring, really fast.

So I made some calls, priced my options, and hightailed it out of there. My roommate, Libby, and I are currently on the Megabus on our way to Philadelphia to stay with my big brother for a few days. Yes, they’re supposed to get hit too, but not nearly as bad as NYC. Plus I was due for a visit to my broha anyway.

I have family in various areas across the U.S., including New Hampshire, Tennessee, West Virginia and Oklahoma, but the costs were just too high to go to an area with nice weather. Hangin out with my bro suits me just fine 🙂

You know what else suits me just fine? The fact that my new iPod came in the mail yesterday. I ordered a shuffle on Amazon because I needed a new one for running, and it came just in time for my impromptu adventure.

Please don't stop the music.

Isn’t it cute? I think it is.

So that’s all I’ve got for you. I’m hoping the weather is nice enough one day for me to go for a run around Philly, but we’ll see what happens. I’ll be sure to post when I can, but if you’re looking for more immediate feedback, make sure to follow me on Twitter!

Everyone have a safe weekend!

Is the hurricane hitting your area? If so, how are you preparing?

Food Survey

It’s time for another fun survey here on Check My Pulse! I originally saw this on Matt’s blog over at The Athlete’s Plate, but I also hopped over to Cait’s blog at Beyond Bananas and saw her version, too. Turns out, all three of us have a lot in common. I love surveys, and for some reason I really love surveys that incorporate the alphabet.

So let’s get on with the show!

Apples or oranges?

Hands down, apples wins this contest! I have to be in the right mood for an orange, but I’ll gobble up an apple the second you put it in front of me. Plus it keeps the doctor away, the rhyme says so.

Beans or lentils?

Beans! I like basically any type of bean. Chick peas, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, whatever. They’re all yummy in my book.

Cereal or oatmeal?

Oatmeal wins this round. I never get sick of it, but I get tired of cereal from time to time. Both are delicious, but I love me some oats.

Dates or raisins?

I’m gonna have to go with raisins on this one, but only because I’ve never actually had a date. (A joke could be made here about my romantic life, I’m well aware of this 😉 )

Eggs or milk?

Eggs, please! I love egg sandwiches, dippy eggs, eggs in salad, etc. I. Love. Eggs.

French toast or waffles?

French toast. Particularly peanut butter french toast. Mmmmm.

Garlic or salt?

I don’t really use salt when I cook and I don’t like overly salty foods, so I’m gonna have to go with garlic on this one. And I love garlic bread!

Honey or maple syrup?

Honey! I love putting it in my tea and sweetening up things with the stuff. Did you know my uncle used to be a bee keeper? Fun little fact for ya.

Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Umm, is this a serious question? FROZEN YOGURT! Have you not seen my abundant love for 16 Handles, along with other fabulous fro-yo shops?

Jam or toast?

Toast wins this one. I love a good, homemade jam (my stepdad whipped up some fresh batches today, actually!), but I’m a sucker for bread. I make toast with peanut butter quite frequently.

Kale or spinach?

I’ll usually choose spinach if given the two options, but I do like kale once in a while. My roommate, Victoria, keeps making kale chips to find the perfect balance of ingredients with them, and they’re getting mighty delicious!

Lemon or lime?

Lemon makes an appearance in my diet more often. The only time lime really does is if I’m drinking a margarita…

Muffins or cupcakes?

Cupcakes win, 100 percent. I don’t like huge, heavy ones though. But give me something with either peanut butter, chocolate, or red velvet and I’m yours. I’m actually not really a fan of muffins.

Nut butter or jelly?

Again, is this a serious question? Jelly doesn’t even stand a chance. I have peanut butter every. single. day. I love almond and other nut butters as well, but peanut butter will always hold the number one spot in my heart.

Onions or peppers?

Blech, both of these are not ideal choices. But peppers win because I absolutely cannot STAND the taste of raw onions. Whenever Dustin doesn’t want to share food with me, he purposely puts onions in it because he knows I won’t eat it…what a meanie.

Peanuts or almonds?

In solid form, almonds win. In butter form, peanuts. Duh.

Quick bread or yeast bread?

I honestly can’t even tell you the difference between the two. Oops.

Raspberry or blackberry?

I love them both! But I think blackberries have a slight edge over the raspberries. I don’t know why. They both taste good. Declare it a tie?

Sweet or savory?

Most of the time, the answer is sweet. This girl needs her chocolate fix!

Tea or coffee?

Coffee = gross. Chai tea = freakin’ phenomenal.

Udon or spaghetti noodles?

I’ve never used Udon noodles, so I can’t really judge. I love pasta though, so it’s time to check it out!

Vanilla or chocolate?

Uhh, chocolate. Every time. No doubt about it.

Whole wheat or white bread?

Whole wheat. I can’t stand the taste of white bread. Mama raised me right 🙂

Xanthum gum or guar gum?

I prefer xanthum, but don’t have anything against guar.

Yogurt or pudding?

Greek yogurt! I usually eat one every day.

Zucchini or cucumber?

I can’t stand the taste of zucchini. But I sure do love cucumbers!

Your turn! Pick a letter (or five) and answer in the comments. Or if you do this survey yourself, post a link in the comments!

Hilly Miles Are My Friend

I tackled three very, very hilly miles on Saturday, after running six miles on Friday, as part of a recovery run. Smart, right? I thought so.

I knew I wanted to get the miles in while I was away for the weekend and well, I was in the country, which means there was no escape from the miles. Where I was specifically located, there were a lot of rolling hills that looked like this:

Fun! The run was tough, but my legs felt surprisingly strong. I was eager to tackle the hills and although the sun was beating down on me pretty heavily, I pushed hard to overcome those mini mountains.

And then I realized something.

I actually like hills.

….

Say what?!

I know it’s crazy, but it’s true. I like running hills. Yes, I want to scream half of the time, but I get a surge whenever I’m running them and I get a little giddy when I see a hill workout on my training plan. My favorite part of spin class is when the instructor tells me to crank up the resistance, close my eyes and push. For some reason, I love the slow, intense movement and I thrive on the burn in my legs. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

So I pushed myself as hard as possible on Saturday and conquered three miles of constant hills. I finished in 29:15 and was proud of that time. I walked once or twice, but never for very long and very rarely on the uphill.

That’s another quirk about me: I’ve discovered that for me to get through hills, I just need to power through them. I used to mentally quit and walk halfway up, which would annoy me because then it would take even longer to get to the top. Now when I see one coming, I brace myself and run faster. I tell myself, “the faster you run, the quicker it’s done.” When I get to the top, I revel in victory and treat my legs to a nice shakeout on the downhill.

When times get really tough, I remind myself of the benefits I’m getting from a hill workout. My legs are becoming stronger and more prepared for those 26.2 hilly miles I intend to conquer in Nashville in April. Even though it’s a long way off, every little bit helps. When that doesn’t work, I take a second to forget about what I’m doing and just look at what’s surrounding me.

Not a bad view, right?

This is why I love my country roots. You just can’t get this in the city.

In other news…

I finished reading The Help this weekend, and even though I’m probably the last one on the planet to read it, I’m recommending it just in case someone hasn’t. If you’re one of those who hasn’t, go pick it up now! It’s so, so good. I haven’t read a book this good in a while. I got sucked in every time and was constantly irritated when I’d have to put it down. And I was very happy with the ending. Usually I feel like something is left unfinished when I end a book, but this one left me feeling satisfied. All the signs of a good book!

Source

I’m going to see the movie this weekend with Libby and will have a review later! My girl-crush Emma Stone is in a starring role, so my hopes are high!

Do you like or loathe hill workouts? Have you seen and/or read The Help? Let me know what you think of each! 

Amity Hall Gets A Gold Star

Note: This post was written on Friday while I was traveling on a bus. Unfortunately, the bus broke down before I could post and I lost all free wi-fi access. I finally have access to Internet again, and my new power cord has arrived, so enjoy!

***

Last night I ventured down to Union Square with good ole’ Libby to cash in on a Groupon we had purchased about a month ago. Before I get into the nitty gritty details, can I just tell you how much I love Groupon? And Living Social. And Tippr. And any other discount site that gives you sweet deals on fun stuff to do in your city. My poor little bank account greatly appreciates these websites, as does my social life.

But back to the topic at hand…

Libby and I met up in our favorite area of NYC and strolled down the streets until we reached Amity Hall, a fun-looking restaurant/bar that instantly made me feel like I was in for a good time.

Our Groupon gave us an appetizer, two burgers and two draft beers of our choice. No price limit – holla! So we perused our menus carefully before making a selection.

To start, Libby ordered a Delirium beer and I sipped on a Bluepoint Blueberry. Delicious! Mine had just the slightest hint of blueberry and it went down really smooth. Libby says she’s usually seen them with actual blueberries in the beer. I wish they had done that with mine. I think it would’ve tasted even better and given it that special touch.

Double fisting?! I promise I’m just acting as Vanna White. But Libby did let me have a sip of hers and it was quite tasty. I’ll probably order that next time. Oh, and please excuse the crappy quality of the photos in today’s post. My camera’s battery was dead so I had to rely on the powers of iPhone.

See those cool elephants on Libby’s glass? From her vast amount of knowledge, she told me that the name Delirium tremens is Latin for “trembling madness” and those who suffered from it saw pink elephants when they would hallucinate. Cool, huh? Nice little learning lesson for ya.

Anyway, it should also be known that Libby can’t have any dairy, so we immediately eliminated any of those options on our menus. We ended up selecting some good ole’ Buffalo wings as an appetizer.

We ordered them hot, but these would definitely only be categorized under “mild.” They were really tasty, but lacked the spicy kick we were both craving. Oh well.

We both ordered turkey burgers for our entrée, but these were not any ordinary burgers. No siree. They were turkey burgers with apples, walnuts and mango chutney.

Holy goodness. These had just the right amount of sweetness and the meat was yum-tastic. Libby ordered hers with a side salad, but only because the waitress mistakenly told us that she couldn’t have fries without the Asiago cheese that came with them. I ordered mine with fries and when they came out, there was so little cheese on them that Libby ended up nabbing at least half of ‘em. Sharing is caring 😉

I didn’t nab a picture of the fries unfortunately, but they were good. They had a lot of seasoning on them, but I would definitely order them again if the salty cravings hit me.

We walked through Washington Park afterward because well, we were right there and the park is pretty. See?

I was so delirious from food-stuffing that I decided to stretch out on the fountain and listen to the tunes playing all around me.

Clearly the picture is prettier when I’m not in it.

It’s okay, I’m not afraid to admit it. You can’t distract from the natural beauty of the park!

We walked around for a good while before our sweet teeth kicked in. Yes, we both have multiples. How to remedy the situation? Libby sheepishly asked if I wanted to get 16 Handles.

My response: “Is that a serious question?!”

I was feeling fruity, so I got the strawberry flavor with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries on top. And of course I added peanut butter cups at the last minute. Because who can go to 16 Handles and not get peanut butter cups. Not I, not I.

And that was my night! Lots of good food with great company. Not to mention it was great fuel for this morning’s six-mile run. I’m working from home today, so I squeezed my long run in now because I’m traveling this weekend. But yeah, the run went swimmingly (runningly? Is that more appropriate?). My legs felt fresh and I set out to maintain an average 9:30 pace, and when I clocked the last mile, I saw my average pace was 9:32. Mission accomplished!

My mile times fluctuated a little bit more than I would have liked, and it’s really clear where I was running uphill and downhill, but hey, a girl’s gotta start somewhere!

Here’s how the mileage broke down:

Mile 1 – 9:25

Mile 2 – 9:15

Mile 3 – 9:50 (7/10’s of this mile was uphill!)

Mile 4 – 8:50 (what goes up, must come down)

Mile 5 – 9:29

Mile 6 – 10:00 (One more big hill)

Overall, I’m very pleased with this run. Running success!

Now I’m off to get some more work done before heading out for the weekend! Catch up with y’all later!

What discount sites do you love? Any fun plans this weekend? 

More Personal Questions

Hi, everyone! Hope you all had a fabulous Tuesday. I know mine was busy, busy, busy! But I’d rather be busy than bored 🙂

Caitlin posted another round of personal questions on her blog last week, and I really like the series, so I’m going to continue it over here at Check My Pulse! If you’re interested in round one, you can check it out here.

Let’s get crackin’!

What are you really good at? What are you really bad at?

I’d like to think that I’m really good at:

  • writing
  • staying organized
  • taking care of people
  • multitasking
  • sweating

I’m not so good at:

  • math
  • navigation
  • delegating
  • being patient
  • calling people to check in on the phone (mostly because I hate talking on the phone for no reason)

Have you ever been in a car accident? What happened?

I have been in two car accidents, both of which were not my fault. First, I was T-boned by a drunk driver when I was 17 and on my way to work at 6:30 a.m. I was waiting for a car to pass so I could make a left-hand turn, and as I turned, the driver behind me tried to pass me on a double-solid line. I saw her car fly into the nearby field, I bashed my head against the window and saw chunks of my car fly, and then I blacked out. Luckily, both of us were okay. The sad part is the girl was under 21 and had just gotten her license back two nights ago for driving under the influence. I didn’t go into work.

Three weeks later, I was riding with my friend Brittany to softball practice when a huge truck backed out into the street (a main road, which is illegal) without looking. She flew out right as we were passing, so she hit my side of the car (go figure) and crushed it in. Fortunately, I was able to see this one coming and moved my legs over enough so they weren’t crushed by the impact. There were three of us in the car and we went flying into the ditch, but none of us were seriously hurt.

I avoided cars for a little while after that.

Why did you attend your college?

It was the one that won me over. I visited, fell in love with the whole place, and knew it was where I wanted to go. It helped that Oswego is a state school, so tuition was much more affordable. I already had some friends there and they all loved it, including the communications department. Plus it was only about 2 hours away from home, so I could always drive back on short notice if ever necessary.

Describe your morning routine today.

My alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. and I quickly threw on my workout clothes, washed my face, brushed my teeth and blended up a fruit/protein smoothie to take with me. I was out the door by 6:15 a.m. with breakfast in hand so I could hop on the subway to go to spin class. I had class from 7-7:50, showered and got ready, then got to work by 8:45.

Have you ever snooped through someone else’s things? Did you find anything interesting?

I totally check out people’s bathroom medicine cabinets. So if you invite me over, beware. I don’t know why, but for some reason it’s a compulsive need.

What do you think happens when you die?

I was raised in a Christian home and I do believe that God exists. I won’t say that I’m religious, but I definitely have faith. I believe in Heaven and Hell. I believe I’m going to Heaven when I die.

Are you superstitious?

Eh, not really. I’ll make a wish on 11:11 if I happen to catch it, but that’s about it for me.

Do people think you are younger or older than you actually are?

People always think I’m older! A bunch of us were talking about this at the office the other day, and my boss told me I have a very mature demeanor, which I’m going to assume is a compliment because she was saying it in what seemed like a positive way. She followed it up with “I never would have guessed that you’re only 21 because you don’t act like a typical 21-year-old.” Yay for professionalism!

It’s funny that this question is brought up now — I took Bikram yoga yesterday and at one point in the class the instructor asked how old I was. When I told her, she said she thought I was 16. That’s the first time that has happened to me. Ever.

How did your parent’s relationship influence you?

My parents got divorced when I was very young and it was not a happy parting. Watching all of it unfold, I’ve learned that marriage is something that should be taken very seriously and I want to know for sure that I want to spend the rest of my life with someone before I say yes to his proposal. I don’t want to get divorced because I don’t want to put myself through it and I don’t want to ever have to put my kids through it.

That said, both of my parents are happily remarried now, which has taught me that new beginnings are possible and can be amazing. You just have to wait for the right one to come along.

What were the three happiest moments in your life?

The three happiest moments in my life so far are:

  1. The day I found out I was accepted into the ASME summer internship program in NYC.
  2. The moment I finished my first half-marathon.
  3. The day my best friend got married.

Play the game with me! Answer one (or more) of the questions in the comments!

Foodie Fun

Seems like I’ve been talking about food a lot lately, huh? I can’t help it when I’ve been noshing on some delicious treats and just want to share! So without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days…

Thursday night I went to a fantastic fundraising event to support Ali as she’s raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America while training for her very first marathon.

Ali had a ton of stuff going on that night, selling awesome T-shirts (that I bought), raffles (bought again), trivia (that I played) and free food and wine.

Free food and wine? I’m there.

The whole event was great. I love the T-shirt and she had pretty sweet prizes being raffled off. Although I didn’t win anything (eh hem, Ali… 😉 ), it was fun to be surrounded by so many fellow runners and bloggers.

I also realized that I am not nearly as good at ’90s trivia as I thought. I only knew the answers to most of the Boy Meets World questions. Apparently she asked FRIENDS questions, which you all KNOW I would have dominated, but I had scooted out before that round of trivia popped up. Drat.

Ali also just found out that 16 Handles caters events, so she’ll likely be having another fundraising event with her favorite fro-yo company in attendance. So if you’re in NYC and don’t want to miss out, stay tuned! And if you’re not in NYC but want to see what Ali’s fundraising efforts are all about, check out her website. If you feel inclined to donate to her awesome cause, you may do so here.

I popped over to 16 Handles afterward with my roommate (how could we not when we were so close!?) and then hopped on a subway home. When I arrived, a fantastic package was waiting for me.

I love Amazon! I ordered the goodies inside on Tuesday and they were here by Thursday. Love fast service. But I love what was inside the package even more.

My second book for my personal training certification! That’s right people, I now have two out of the three study materials and I have plans to purchase the final one with my next paycheck. I’d say I’m doing a good job keeping up with this August goal, don’t ya think?

But I can’t let you think I purchased this book myself because I definitely didn’t. A huge shout-out and thank you to one of my creative writing professors at Oswego, Donna Steiner, who sent me a gift card to Amazon to buy the book! How sweet is she?! She sent me a message on Facebook after reading about my August goals and said she wanted to invest in my future. I almost cried.

This is why I love Oswego. The people there are amazing. Even though I’ve already graduated from college, my professors still keep an interest in me, stay in touch and offer to help me succeed in any way they can. You don’t get that everywhere and I couldn’t be more grateful for having these wonderful people in my life. Thank you again, Donna!

Friday was a calm night, but I did get to go running in new running clothes, courtesy of a fitness fashion sale at work. Love getting a new running tank, shorts and sneaks all for less than $10.

Is it weird that I don’t get nearly as excited for regular fashion sales as I do fitness fashion sales?

By the way, I didn’t realize it until after I went running, but I feel like I’m ready to go to cheerleading practice again in this outfit. For some reason, this screams cheerleader to me and it’s something I totally would’ve gone to practice in back in the day. But alas, those are running sneakers, not cheer shoes, my friends. Don’t be fooled.

I also had some delicious eats on Friday, starting with breakfast. It started off normal with a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries, but then I eyed Libby’s batch of peanut butter cookies that she made based on a recipe from Julie. I quickly snatched one up and breakfast went from great to oh-my-word delicious.

I love peanut butter in the morning.

I didn’t know what to make for lunch, so I just grabbed random things from my fridge and threw them together, hoping they would taste good together. I ended up with a salad consisting of:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chickpeas
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

Yum! I was nervous about the chickpeas and blueberries together, but it worked well. It was a sweet-tasting salad, but I think that’s mostly because of the dressing. I would swap that for something else next time, but this is the only dressing I had on hand. I’ll count this lunch as a winner!

I’ll also declare my nighttime dessert a winner…BlueBunny’s White Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt alongside another peanut butter cookie.

Saturday involved a lot of foodie fun! Libby and I went to the farmer’s market and fell in love all over again. While Libby was figuring out which crazy concoction she wants to cook  up next, I stared at the pretty boxes that held jam. Mmmm, jam.

And contemplated which bottle of wine to purchase.

But I did actually buy some other good stuff. Along with a bottle of delicious wine from the Finger Lakes (for only $8, thankyouverymuch), I got two ears of corn, four boxes of blackberries (smoothie time!) and a jar of black raspberry jam. There were plenty of other things I wanted to buy, but I needed to stick to my weekly budget. I’ll be headed back down soon to pick up more goodies though, that’s for sure.

Then Libby and I went to Lululemon for new sports bras and Jack Rabbit to have our running gaits looked at. Turns out my new kicks are perfect for my feet, and Libby knows exactly which pair she’s picking up next.

Quite a productive few days, if I do say so myself. I went on a three-mile run in the rain this morning, which made me miss soccer like crazy. All of my best games were played in the rain, and I was scouted by a college while playing a phenomenal game in the rain. But alas, I’m not playing anytime soon 😦 Instead, I’m cuddling up with my Kindle and reading The Help. Not too bad, if you ask me.

What fun foodie quests have you been on lately? Any new recipes? And have you read The Help – did you like it? Libby put me on a deadline to finish it so we can go see the movie!

Whole Foods Summer Blockbuster Food Tour

Hey guys, happy Thursday! So sorry I”ve been gone for so long, but I have bad news. My power cord has bit the dust and my computer will no longer hold a charge, so I haven’t been able to blog 😦 I would blog during my lunch break at work, but things have been so incredibly busy there that I haven’t been taking a legit lunch break so I can fit everything in before deadlines! Luckily, my beloved roommate Libby is letting me borrow her computer tonight because she’s seen me suffering withdrawals. So blogging will be sporadic until I get a new power cord, but I’m still connecting via Facebook and Twitter, and reading comments, I promise!

Now that we got that out of the way, I thought I’d share what I was up to last night because it was quite fun. At least it was in my opinion and that’s what counts, right 😉 (Just kidding!)

Anyway, once I got out of work I hightailed it over to Whole Foods on the Upper West Side because my co-worker Karla blogged about this event. Free food based on Blockbuster hits? Sign me up! I rallied my entourage, which only included Dustin and Nina this time around, and prepared for a night of wonderful eats.

How it worked: Stations were set up throughout the store with signs referencing which movie they were representing. Employees gave us sample sizes of each treat, and the ingredients used to make them were at the stations so you could see exactly what product it was in case you wanted to buy some. First stop, kettle corn!

This was one of my favorite stations! I’m seriously addicted to kettle corn lately, and this stuff was extremely delicious. There was no movie to base this off of, but I think that’s because it was the first station, so it was like entering a movie theater and getting the obligatory popcorn treat.

Next we went to The Jungle Book station. I was seriously excited about this because I LOVED The Jungle Book when I was growing up. “I wanna be like you-oo-oo!” Best song ever, right?! I eagerly bustled over to the station, but sadly found out the treat was mango curried soup. Mango makes me sick, so I opted out. Dustin gave it a go…

So did Nina…

Neither were fans. One strike against Whole Foods on this one.

Then it was time for an intermission, but only because I saw the sushi section was giving away samples of California Rolls. YUM! It wasn’t part of the tour, but I snagged one anyway.

It was delicious and completely worth the tour break. Now back to regularly scheduled programming…

Eat, Pray, Love was represented next with a spaghetti-like dish. The employee took forever to make each sample because she was so talkative and at certain times I was screaming in my head, “Please give me my food!” But the wait really wasn’t awful and was well worth it. This was my favorite actual dish of the night and I took a recipe card home so I can recreate it.

I’ve never actually heard of Like Water for Chocolate, but Whole Foods gave ’em some love with a soy chocolate almond smoothie. My entourage cheered and we downed it like a shot.

Sweet Chili Salmon was next on the menu, representin’ Ocean’s Eleven and it was phenomenal. I took a recipe card home for this one. I’ve been craving salmon like crazy lately and was so glad to get a little taste of it last night. I definitely want to try this dish at home soon.

Doesn’t it just look good cooking in there? I’m telling you, it tasted phenomenal.And they used this sauce, which I’m excited to test out myself.

Nina’s favorite station was next because for some reason she’s highly addicted to pepperoni. Channeling Mystic Pizza (Another that I haven’t seen…is this bad?), Nina downed five or six pieces while Dustin and I respectfully stuck to two.

But it’s ok, this is a judgement-free zone 🙂

And last but not least, a station was out for Julie & Julia. How could they not have a station for this! They had a simple spread of a flatbread cracker with cheese and blackberry jam. Holy sweetness yum. Give this to me when I’m having a bad day and I will eat it all in a hot second.

And that was the end of the tour! Overall, it was a lot of fun. You weren’t corralled anywhere, so you could go to any station whenever you wanted and as many times as you wanted. Nina did this multiple times with the pepperoni. And the kettle corn…

But I followed her to the kettle corn. I’m not sorry.

It was a fun, cheap way to be out on the town and get some food in my belly. Plus I got some new recipes to try at home (which means I really need to start cooking) and a free dinner. Although I did munch on two scoops of ice cream later. Regardless, it was a ton of fun and I would definitely recommend it!

What wasn’t so much fun? The subway ride home when the doors in my car REFUSED. TO. OPEN. FOR. TEN. MINUTES. Not cool. Nina and I kept telling each other jokes so we wouldn’t start hyperventilating. Dustin just shook his head at us in shame.

Once the doors finally opened, we promptly switched cars and made it home safely.

And that was my free-food-filled Wednesday night! I have a great story about my Thursday night too, but we’ll save that for another post (hopefully tomorrow).

Has your computer power cord ever died? Recommendations on where to get a new one? What fun food finds have you discovered recently?

Celebrating Food

I love food. I’m sure you love food. Food is just amazing.

I went to this awesome new (to me) restaurant last night that served me some incredible Mexican food for an even more incredible price. No, it wasn’t purely authentic, but dang was it good!

Where did I go? After work I met up with Libby at Penn Station and we strutted down to Lucy’s Cantina Royale in Midtown.

It’s a quaint little restaurant with a very amicable atmosphere that totally sucked me in the second I walked through the door. Very laid back with fun colors and decor that instantly put you at ease after a hard work day. Seems like the perfect place to enjoy some happy hour grub, especially if you can get a table on the rooftop.

Libby and I are both strapped for cash, so we decided to go the inexpensive route and split a meal. We ordered chips and tequila-laced salsa with a side of guacamole to start, then split a three-taco entrée. Delish!

We also ordered a round of red berry sangrias to take the edge off.

That was quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Libby says so, too.

The tacos were stuffed full of pulled chicken, salsa, tomatoes and lettuce. There was also a hint of lime juice throughout the meat, which really brought the meal to the next level! I enjoyed each and every bite.

We spent less than $20 each! My only complaint was that the tortilla got soggy really fast, making this a difficult taco to pick up and eat. But I usually complain about that anyway so I tend to err toward hard shells.

Either way, I highly recommend Lucy’s if you’re in the NYC area and looking for a cheap yet delicious Mexican meal. I’ll definitely be back!

Now I didn’t title this post “Celebrating Food” for no reason though. I wanted to talk about Lucy’s, but knew I needed to celebrate National Watermelon Day too!

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Isn’t it funny how many strange national food days we have? Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day. No complaints from me, I’m just sayin’!

Watermelon is probably my favorite summer fruit of all time. It’s so delicious and I never get sick of it. If someone offers me watermelon, I don’t think I’ll ever say no. Could you?

Anyway, in honor of this fabulous holiday, here are some fun facts about the tasty fruit, courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board: 

 

  • Watermelon is 92 percent water.
  • The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. (Never would’ve guessed that)
  • Its cousins are cucumbers, baby squash and pumpkins. (Again, who knew?)
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  • The largest watermelon ever (so far) weighed in at 262 pounds.

Now I’m salivating like crazy. Great. I think I’m going to enjoy one of these delicious-sounding cocktails this weekend to continue the celebration, too.

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Good night!

What’s your favorite summer fruit? Know of any NYC restaurants I must try?