Category Archives: Food

Checking Out Chobani SoHo

I’m a big fan of Greek yogurt. Like, a really big fan. I have some every single day, either as a snack or mixed into a meal. It’s one of those foods that’s easy for me to grab when I’m scurrying around like a mad woman, and I know that I’m still putting something in my body that’s really good for me.

So when I heard that one of my all-time favorite Greek yogurt companies had opened up a yogurt bar in SoHo, I was just a tad excited. As in, I couldn’t wait to make the hour-long trek from Astoria down to SoHo so I could get my hands on some of the delicious goodness.

Lucky for me, Chobani was kind enough to extend me an invitation to a recent blogger event to test out all of their creations. I even got to bring along this fun girl I know:

That’s Chloe. She was an ASME intern (like me!) at Parents for the summer and I was her mentor. I shared what little knowledge I have about the magazine industry with her, and she sang my praises. Sounds like a win to me.

Once at Chobani SoHo, we learned about the different sweet and savory combos they make, the history of Chobani, where and how it’s made and then taste-tested it all. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the savory flavors, the sweet ones were a major hit.

Out of the nine yogurt creations, I narrowed it down to a top three. Drum roll, please…

1.) Fig + Walnut: Turkish Figs, Walnuts and Honey.

I blame it on my obsession with figs. This was unbelievably delicious.

2.) Peanut Butter + Jelly: Peanut Butter, Jelly, Grapes and Peanuts

Come on, are you seriously wondering why? It has PEANUT BUTTER.

3.) Pistachio + Chocolate: Pistachios, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Oranges and Mint Leaves

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this when it was delivered, but it was OMG-fantastic. I seriously considered moving it up the list, but couldn’t cheat on pb like that. It’s already upset about the #2 spot.

Even though those are my top three, I really liked the majority of them. The only one I strongly didn’t like was the Plain Chobani + Olive Oil. But if you are a fan of more savory dishes, this may be right up your alley.

So whenever I’m down in SoHo, I know I’ll be making a stop here. It’s only $3.50-$3.75 for one of these tasty treats, and if you bring the glass container that it’s served in (after you’ve gone once, of course), then you get 50 cents knocked off. Not too shabby.

Have you been to Chobani SoHo yet? Do you have a favorite Greek flavor? If someone finds the Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk, BUY ME SOME. I can’t find it and seriously want to try it.

{Disclaimer: I was invited to this event free of charge, but was not required to write about my experiences. All opinions are my own.}

Healthy On the Go

Ever since the last weekend in June, I’ve been traveling every single weekend. First things first, I’ve moved apartments!

Dustin, Libby and I still live in the same area, just a smidge closer to Manhattan. But man, it was quite a trip getting us from point A to point B. After working a crazy week, we moved boxes and furniture on the last Friday of June until 2:00 a.m. We grabbed a quick cat nap for three hours, got up and cleaned our old apartment until 8:30, then hightailed it over to Enterprise so we could exchange cars. Swapping the moving van for a car was a breeze because of Dustin’s job, thankfully, and we were on the road by 9:00 a.m. to drive upstate six hours for a wedding.

The wedding was TONS of fun – I loved watching Dustin’s entire family boogie down on the dance floor after his cousin tied the knot. Everyone was super sweet, and I really feel like I’m becoming part of the family. I love them all!

After staying up entirely too late (we made it to 2:00 a.m. again!), we crashed in the hotel, then hit the road by 11:00 a.m. on Sunday to make the trek back. Whirlwind weekend, that’s for sure!

Fourth of July came and went, and Dustin and I kept things simple – we unpacked more, bought an AC and hit the movie theater because it was 1,000 degrees outside. Then last week, we packed up again and headed to Boston!

As a devoted Sox fan, I’ve been dying to go to Fenway for a game this season. Since Dustin is a Yankees fan (boo!), obviously we decided to nab tickets for a game with both our teams. People may think we’re crazy, but I love that our teams are huge rivals. Provides some friendly competition and keeps things interesting, if you ask me!

So that brings us to the present. I have this weekend off (phew!) and then I’m busy for every weekend through the end of August. Yes, my summer is quite packed. I’m not sure what I was thinking when planning it all. I guess the words “no” and “relax” decided to disappear from my vocabulary. Oh well, I’m young! Now’s the time to make some badass memories, right?

Anyway, with all of this traveling, it’s been crucial for me to plan ahead to a.) keep my sanity b.) keep my workouts in check and c.) not go crazy on food when it often feels like “vacation mode.” I don’t know what it is, but when I’m gone for the weekend, I always feel the urge to just let all  my healthy-eating tendencies go out the window. Luckily, I’ve mastered a few tricks to help keep my waistline in check:

  • Packing snacks. It sounds simple, but it can be easily forgotten. And when you’re spending so much time in a car, the fast-food stops start to look extremely convincing. Don’t fall for it. Case in point: The one time I didn’t pack a snack, we desperately stopped for McDonald’s. It was my first time eating the stuff in nearly three years. I was sick for the rest of the night. Lesson learned: easily packed snacks like string cheese, pop chips, granola bars, cereal and veggie sticks are the way to go. I love bringing carrot sticks.
  • Eat off smaller plates. For me, portions are a huge struggle. I live with a boy who eats a ton and doesn’t gain an ounce. For a while, I fell into the trap of eating the same amount as him. NOT GOOD. Now he eats off big plates, while I find a small one – usually a dessert plate – to eat my meals off of. I see a full plate and feel satisfied when it’s finished. If I ate the same amount on a big plate, I’d feel deprived.
  • Drink water. Having at least two bottles in the car keeps us from picking up sodas (him) or chai lattes (me) during the travel portions of our trips. And at long events, like the wedding, I alternated a glass of wine with a glass of water. Drinking less booze = no hangover = happy Sam. Plus it always allowed me to have a drink in my hand, so I didn’t feel weird when everyone else was sipping on something.
  • Get active. You don’t necessarily have to do a planned workout. Incorporate exercise into your day! At the wedding, I busted a groove and danced the night away for at least four hours, if not more. Did I feel like I was working out? Not a chance. In Boston, we opted out of a cab and explored a big portion of the city on foot. Way more interesting. And for long road trips, stop every two to three hours and stretch! I have to do this because of my blood disorder (can’t stay seated for more than two hours because it increases my risk of developing a blood clot), and I like looking for scenic overlooks or grass-y rest stops to stroll around for just a few minutes.
  • Indulge a little. Because seriously, life is way better when Fenway Franks, wedding cake and ice cream from a baseball helmet are involved 🙂

And there ya have it! These may not be genius, innovative tips, but a friendly reminder every once in a while never hurt anyone.

Now you share your secrets: what are your go-to’s for busy travel days?

Fig & Olive

I love the fact that it’s Sunday and there’s still one more day to relax and soak up the sunshine. Aren’t holiday vacations a beautiful thing?

While I have some fun stuff to let you guys in on soon, I had to let y’all know about a new-to-me restaurant I dined at this weekend with my foodie partner-in-crime, Libby.

Source

Fig & Olive. Word to the wise: if you’re in NYC and have a bit of money to spare (or you’re just willing to spend a bit more), pay a visit to this restaurant. I’ve been craving figs for a while now, but didn’t have the ambition to cook anything for brunch on Saturday. So Libby and I pulled ourselves together and made our way to the Lexington Avenue location (they have five venues) to give it a whirl.  Best. Decision. Ever.

We walked in thinking we would enjoy a mimosa, but immediately changed our minds when we saw numerous people drinking bubbly with strawberries. After a quick glance at the menu, we ordered the priscine – a blend of white wine and strawberries. I had to keep myself in check so I didn’t suck it all down before my meal arrived.

I glanced at the menu before leaving for the restaurant and decided I wanted to order the fig & walnut pancakes to satisfy my fig craving. Unfortunately, the menus must be different at each location because the brunch menu that was handed to me didn’t have the pancakes as an option! Majorly bummed, I wasn’t sure what else I wanted. Determined to get my fig fix anyway while simultaneously satisfying Libby’s craving for bread, we ordered the bread basket that came with an array of fig jams. Unfortunately, we didn’t specify that we wanted the $3.50 basket and ended up paying for the $9.00 one. Womp womp. So if you do go to Fig & Olive, make sure you specify what you want.

I had a few slices of bread with the fig jam and it was oh-my-god delicious. The jam had just the right twinge of sweetness and hit the spot without sending my sweet tooth into overdrive. And by the time the waiter arrived for a third time, I knew what I wanted as my main entrée: the French toast with strawberry puree and whipped vanilla cream.

This is by far and away the best French toast I have ever eaten in my entire life (sorry, Mom!). It was warm, soft and my fork sliced through the stack with ease. The waiter gave me syrup on the side, but I never used it because it simply wasn’t needed. There was so much moisture and sweetness from the strawberry puree. Oh, I took the whipped vanilla cream off too because it was a bit too heavy for my stomach. I mixed a small forkful of it in for the first few bites, but scraped it off after. My tummy wanted simple yet decadent, and that’s exactly what it got.

Overall, the meal was a bit pricey, but the service was great and the meal was absolutely delicious. I won’t make Fig  & Olive a regular stop by any means, but I’ll definitely keep it in the back of my mind for special occasions when I’m willing to splurge.

Your turn: What’s your favorite brunch food? I’m a sucker for pancakes, but love French toast if it’s made right. This definitely was.

Smoothie Roundup

I’m truckin’ along on my #smoothieaday goal this month, slurping down a hearty serving of fruits and veggies every day. But because I’m blending  up my meal every day, dumping the same thing into the blender can get really boring, really quick. So I’ve been a bit experimental in the kitchen lately and wanted to share my most recent recipes, in case you’re looking to change up your morning (or afternoon, or dinner….) routine. 

The Basics

  • Some type of frozen fruit (if it’s in season, I’ll buy it fresh and then freeze it myself)
  • Spinach
  • Chocolate whey protein powder
  • Almond milk
  • Orange Juice
  • Cocoa powder
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Chia seeds
  • Greek yogurt (I prefer Chobani)

I usually make sure I have all of the above in the house, then mix and match to whatever I’m craving that day. One of my favorites is in the picture above.

Berry Goodness

  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 5 large strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • Handful of spinach

I noted above that I use frozen fruit –> I do this so that I don’t need to worry about making sure there’s ice in the freezer. It’s thick enough without it!

Some other tasty treats: 

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup almond milk 
  • Handful of spinach

Peanut Butter Raspberry

  • 1 cup raspberries 
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup almond milk 
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds

Peanut Butter Banana

  • 1 1/2 bananas
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • Handful of spinach
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

Strawberry Banana 

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 6-oz. container of strawberry banana Chobani
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds 
  • Handful of spinach

Super citrus-y flavors don’t treat my stomach well, but you can always swap out my love of berries for pineapple or mango to make a lighter, beach-y smoothie. Other things I’ve learned to enhance my smoothie-making skillz: 

  • If you want a really creamy smoothie, add more banana. 
  • If you don’t like bananas, definitely add in the Greek yogurt. I’ve used crazy flavors, like apple-cinnamon Chobani with the peanut butter smoothies, and can’t taste the apple cinnamon. But it does make it much creamier. 
  • Other fruits, like apples, taste yummy, too. 
  • Don’t be afraid of the spinach. You really can’t taste it, I promise. If it’s on hand, toss it in. 
  • I know a lot of people toss avocado in, too. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s an option!
  • Use orange juice or milk (I prefer almond) as your liquid base. Orange juice is a bit tangier,but still tasty. 

Your turn to share: What are some of your favorite smoothie creations? I still have 11 days to go! 

My Week in Pictures

Sprinkle in a little running and physical therapy with a lot of work and icing my foot and you have my week! Oh, this too:

What have you been up to? Who’s racing this weekend?

After the Race

Once I crossed the finish line, I was all about refueling. Feeeeeeed meeeeeeee.

Dustin and I trekked back to the hotel, I showered, he watched the SU game and we checked out by 1pm. Our first stop of the afternoon: Pizzeria Paradisio, recommended by Emily.

Holy mother effing yum. Everything I had at this place was fan-freaking-tastic. My mouth is still watering just thinking about it. From the Dale’s Pale Ale that I started with:

To the bruschetta Dustin and I split as an appetizer:

And ending with the delicious individual-sized pizza (or at least individual-sized for an athlete) that I gobbled down in a hot minute.

It was all delicious and so, so good. The bruschetta had perfectly-ripe tomatoes and super fresh mozzarella, and the olive oil coating was so amazing. The pizza had a ton of delicious Parmesan cheese, the crust was the perfect amount of thin and fluffy (I opted for the whole wheat variety) and of course there was more olive oil to soak up. Seriously, just as Emily warned, it was love at first bite. I’m salivating right now.

You’d think after eating all that, I’d be done. But you’d be wrong. Because you can’t go to a new city without testing out their fro-yo. And since I’m a huge supporter of self-serve so I can pile on as many toppings as my heart desires, we walked around Dupont Circle until we arrived at FroZenYo.

While it was good, 16 Handles still holds the #1 spot in my fro-yo obsessed heart. The variety of toppings didn’t compare and the flavors were a little too sweet for my liking. Dustin, on the other hand, loved the flavors. He doesn’t like the options 16 Handles often has (because he’s crazy) and FroZenYo had all of his faves.

Did I finish mine anyway? You betcha.

We had some time to kill afterward and since we were sufficiently stuffed, we figured walking a bit would be good. Unfortunately, we had to carry all of our bags while we trekked across the city.

Yes, I always look this sexy while playing tourist, thankyouverymuch.

Dustin had never been to D.C. before, so we visited the White House so he could kill two birds with one stone and see the Washington Monument behind it. And since we didn’t feel like walking any more with our bags, we copped a squat in the little park by the gates and hung out for an hour or so. Which was perfectly fine by me since it was such a gorgeous day out. And ya know, my legs kind of wanted to relax.

Later we went to Rosslyn for a quick blogger meetup before catching our bus back to New York City. It was so fun to meet up with so many people, even though it was only for a few minutes, and match some awesome faces to their equally bomb-tastic blogs.

So yeah, it was a whirlwind 25 hours in D.C.! But I had a blast, grabbed a PR and had some of the most delicious pizza I’ve ever tasted. Weekend win!

Feel-Good Friday: Colors are Fun

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I’m standing here outside your door…

Juuuuust kidding about the hangin’ outside your door part. I’m not that creepy. Swear.

But my bags really are packed and I’m ready to go. In fact, I’m already on my way to D.C., courtesy of the big ole’ Megabus. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that everything operates smoothly and we arrive in Union Station on time — I have a small window to get my butt to the expo and pick up my bib!

But instead of stressing about things that might go wrong, let’s focus on happy things. Because it’s Feel-Good Friday and you know it’s the best part of the week. Usually I like to list a bunch of things that have been making me feel fabulous, but I noticed a trend this week: color! It’s such a wonderful thing and when it’s paired with gorgeous weather, it really doesn’t get much better. So invite some color in your own life, alright? You can put it in lots o’ places, like…

Your food.

I discovered Wafels and Dinges‘ waffelini in Central Park this week. Holy. Yum.

Your clothes.

What pose am I making? Please excuse the temporary insanity.

Your nails.

I am festive and ready to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day.

And on your roommates.

Ok, so I didn’t actually dress Libby, but I really like her cardigan. And for the record, I was wearing my orange jeans that day.

Now you tell me: where are you finding color these days? 

Feel-Good Friday: Colors and Cashews

Why, hello there. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Man, I’m a doofus for disappearing like that.

Sorry for the unexplained absence, but things have been a bit chaotic these days. And to be honest, I’ve been bumming pretty hard lately and didn’t want to get into it on the blog until I knew more information. Which I still don’t have, so I probably shouldn’t even have said that much. Someone get me a censor!

Source

Anywho, enough of the talk about stuff that makes me sad. I’ll get into it more next week, when people who are smarter than me lay down the law and tell me what’s going on with my life for the next few months. And when I say my life, I really mean my running. Because that’s what life is all about, right? Right?

Ok, maybe not. But still.

So instead of focusing on the debbie-downers in life, let’s chat about the uppie-uppers (I couldn’t think of a female name that would go with uppers…). Here are some things that have been making me feel fabulous over the last week and a half. Maybe they’ll coax a smile out of you, too. 🙂

Conversation hearts. Yes, Valentine’s Day is waaaay over and St. Patrick’s Day is looming, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have these sugar-y treats hanging around. I told you, I like to read them. Not a huge fan of actually eating them. I don’t think the company cares, they still got my money.

I love that one of them says, “Tweet Me.” Oh, social media.

Compression socks. I got a hot pink pair from CEP about two weeks ago and hot damn I think it was love at first sight. I love the bright color (I’m extremely into bold colors right now) and they’ve helped my varicose vein tremendously. I put them on when my legs are all swollen and usually just fall asleep wearing them. They’re not too tight, so I don’t notice. Which is weird because I never used to be able to sleep with socks on. If I ever tried, I’d wake up with them kicked off. Maybe it’s because they’re too tight to kick off?

Anyway, when I wake up, my legs look normal again! They’ve also helped a lot with my recovery after long runs. No major muscle soreness? I can deal with that.

Manicure Mondays. So I didn’t do it this week, but one of these Mondays Libby, my friend Nina and I treated ourselves to mani/pedis at a salon near my apartment. We hadn’t gotten our hands done in forever, and it had been even longer since our feet got the tender treatment, so it was time to indulge.

I’m so glad I did! My manicure lasted over a week! That never happens. I’m one of those girls who has chipped nails less than 24 hours after a manicure, so it was like magic on my hands whenever I realized my fingers were still chip-free.

Actually, I was really sad when I discovered the first flaw. The magic was over. 😦

Cashews and lots o’ veggies. I know I’ve professed my love before, but I have been a veggie machine lately. All I’ve been craving is vegetables and some fruits here and there. Keep the meat away from me and the carbs. Ok, don’t really keep the carbs away. I’ve been eating all of the fuel I need for running, but my palate has only wanted the veggies. I’ve indulged in the work salad bar many times over the last two weeks and I just can’t get myself to think it’s a bad thing. My favorite add-on though? Cashews. Something about that nut gets me every time.

YUM.

Sparkles. I’ve been planning my outfit for the National Half on St. Patrick’s Day (D.C., here I come!), and let me tell you, it’s full of sparkly goodness. And green, obviously. I might don some gold too, so Dustin can recognize me and so I’m representing Oswego! Whaddup, Lakers!

No, I won’t wear that scarf. But isn’t it pretty? I got it about a month ago and have worn it here and there. My affection for it kicked up a notch last week and I look at it every morning wondering if and how I can incorporate it into my wardrobe. Le sigh.

And there ya have it! Some feel-good fantastic-ness for you on this Friday. Who else is happy it’s Friday? I feel like it took forever to get here. I’m so excited about it, I might even dance to the Glee version of that awful “Friday” song by what’s her name. Now that’s saying something.

You know it’s your turn. Tell me about what’s been making you feel good this week!

Gyro Goodness

Thank God for Pinterest, is all I have to say.

Source

It’s been a serious lifesaver when it comes to whipping up quick, delicious meals for dinner. Dustin pulls up my “Dinner Desires” page when he’s wondering what I might like because it’s already been approved! After a quick check of what ingredients we have on stock, we pull something together fairly quickly without any unnecessary nonsense. And that’s very important to someone who doesn’t really like to cook all that much. (If you’re a new reader, that’s me, not Dustin. Heh.)

So when Dustin and I were craving something Greek, I instantly went for these gyros. I made a few tweaks and came up with something magnificent.

Here’s how it all came together:

Chicken Gyros

Tzatziki sauce:

8 oz. plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)

1 regular cucumber, peeled and diced (you can seed it, but I didn’t…lazy)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon alcohol-removed  chardonnay

Juice of one fresh lemon

Salt and pepper

Chicken prep:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Juice of one fresh lemon

2 teaspoons of alcohol-removed chardonnay

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 oz. plain Greek yogurt (Again, I used Chobani)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 1/4lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

Other ingredients:

Whole wheat pita pockets

Fresh tomatoes, diced

Red onion, chopped

Directions:

Chop the cucumber in a food processor, or if you’re like me, just chop it up yourself. Wrap in a towel and squeeze to remove all excess water. Mix together all other ingredients for tzatziki sauce. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour (I was about 40 minutes) before serving so all of the flavors can blend together.

Combine all of the ingredients for the chicken prep, except for the chicken. Mix well. Add chicken and coat well with mixture. Transfer to skillet, until chicken is completely done. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat pitas. Top with chicken mixture, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and chopped onion. Serve and enjoy!

This definitely satisfied all cravings for a Greek dinner, and we had enough leftovers to turn it into a salad – I just dumped the chicken mix on top of a bed of spinach and added a dab of tzatziki sauce. Yum.

What easy dinner recipe are you loving these days? Feel free to send me links!

Surprise, Surprise

Remember how I said all you need is love on Valentine’s Day, and that Dustin and I never really celebrate? Well, that’s true…for the most part. We usually don’t pull out a ton of fancy stops. Instead, we acknowledge that it is in fact Valentine’s Day and make sure that we keep our calendars as clear as possible so that we can simply spend the evening together.

This year, Dustin kicked it up a notch. Kicked it up so much that he managed to surprise me, which he is never able to pull off. He can’t keep a secret – he gets too excited and then blows his cover. The reason he pulled this one off? He later admitted to me that he pulled it all together that day, so as long as he didn’t text me (which he actually avoided my texts), then he was safe.

I still smile every time I think about it, so I figure it’s worth sharing. When I got home, I was greeted with this on the front door of our apartment:

The note says, “Samantha, follow the roses.”

I opened the door and found another taped to the side of the fridge.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted another one hanging on our bedroom door.

This one reads, “I told you I love you.” Silly boy.

By this point, I’m looking around waiting for Dustin to pop out and scare me. With him nowhere in sight, I opened the door and saw this fun little trail:

Conversation hearts! Yes, I read them all.

That sugary path led straight to the TV, where one more rose was resting.

The final note reads, “Samantha, turn me on…the TV.” I giggled at that.

So I flipped on the TV, and this was awaiting me!

Wahoo! We have a tradition: he buys me all of the Twilight movies, and I buy him all of the Saw films. Both series seem to be ending soon, so it’s worked out well for us.

Dustin came up behind me, greeting me with a kiss and dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. Yum! We ate it as we watched the film and enjoyed a quiet evening together. It got me excited all over again for the next film! I don’t think these are any major works of art, but I enjoy the mindless entertainment. Why not, right?

I also had mail from my mom, which included these treats:

Can’t get enough of the Reese’s. Dustin’s mom also got me a giant Reese’s heart. Sugar coma = commence. Luckily, I’ve managed to space it all out and only indulged on a nibble here and there throughout the week. Talk about control.

So that was my Valentine’s Day, where I was definitely feeling the love. It was still quiet, but Dustin took that extra special step and I couldn’t have been happier. The most important part is that we all tell each other how we feel every single day.

Have you been feeling the love lately? Tell me your stories.