May Wrap Up: We Had Too Much Fun?

Well, I will be the first to admit that the month of May was a big old foodie fail. Or was it? Our goal was to have fun, and it is my personal opinion that we took that goal to the next level, and had so much fun we forgot to write!

My one disappointment is that I did not use avocados, the food of the month nearly as much as I intended. I wanted so badly to try making an avocado based soup! It is definitely staying on my to-do list. Alycia did at least get in the Cinco de Mayo spirit, and shared her healthy chicken fajitas recipe with you.
Since a lack of posting did not actually represent a lack of eating this month, here are some photos of what you missed:
Some delightfully unhealthy grub at Bayfest in Somers Point, NJ
I made the most incredible butternut squash and apple soup!
Homemade eggs and hash – at-home brunch is the best.
Enchiladas on seis de Mayo. I was a day late, but they were just as yummy.
Oyster happy hour for boyfriend’s birthday – $1 oysters from Mermaid Oyster Bar
Some MDW beers, ocean side, of course.
I promise to post some recipes for these delicious images in the upcoming future! Stay tuned for what we have in store for you in June.
Feel good,
Christina 

May Kick Off: Party It Up

Alycia and I have been doing pretty well at eating healthy and making it into the gym, so we decided that our May goal should be a rewarding, simple one: to have fun. And what better a month to do so than May? In three short days it will be Cinco de Mayo, and I intend to let that glorious holiday be the official kick off to a fun-filled month, followed by the best summer yet. Who’s with me?


Obviously guacamole = fun, so we’re honoring the avocado as May’s MVP. 



Check out these stats:

  • Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. 
  • Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. 
  • One avocado contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.

So bust out the tortilla chips and get to snacking! Obviously we won’t JUST make guac though. I intend to enjoy some avocado tomato salad, and maybe even try adding one to a smoothie, or soup! What’s your most inventive avocado creation?

Zeroing in on Our April Goal

For our goal this month, Alycia and I decided that we will refocus on health. First, I would like to share a lovely smoothie recipe from Linda Wagner. Linda is participating in a 10 day raw food cleanse, and this yummy treat was the kickoff recipe. Alycia and I are planning to try a similar raw food cleanse at some point this month. (OK, maybe we’re going to actually mirror Linda’s…we’ll see!). Here is the smoothie:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen mangoes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups Almond Milk Kefir – love this stuff and what it’s done for my body and well being!! I can’t make a green smoothie without it!
  • 2 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia
Blend in a high speed blender until smooth. This recipe makes about 64 ounces so should be enough for two large servings. If you don’t want that much, simply cut the recipe in half.
 
Image courtesy of LindaWagner.net
Now I would like to share what triggered my need to refocus on health this month. This post is a little dense, but completely necessary to create a baseline for my goal.  I personally was disappointed with myself in March, and in dire need of motivation. At the end of March (almost 3 weeks ago) I attended a medical conference in Chicago, and got the push that I needed. The conference had those machines that calculate your weight, blood pressure, BMI, body fat percentage, etc. Let me tell you – the numbers that I saw did not make me happy. My weight was actually the EXACT number that I’ve deemed my tipping point. This is the weight where I stop allowing myself to make excuses, and I get serious about what I eat and how much I exercise.
 
Since that dreadful day I have lost five pounds and my body fat content has gone down a decent amount, mostly due to diet. In the last few weeks I’ve made a point of bringing lunch to work instead of buying, and I’ve started cooking healthier dinners and making my own juices again. I usually only make it to the gym about two times per week, and that didn’t change much in the past few weeks, but I’ve added more weights and more running to my workouts.
 
I would like to lose a total of 15-20 pounds from the number at my ‘bad’ weigh-in. To accomplish this I’ve finally ponied up the money to hire a personal trainer. I know that I don’t self-motivate well, and I’ve worked with great trainers in the past that have gotten me in tip top shape for bikini season. I had my first session today and I am so incredibly pumped. I aim to train twice per week, and go to the gym twice on my  own, which will double my days in the gym.
 
I’ll be sure to check in every couple of weeks and share my progress, along with some healthy, yummy recipes that Alycia and I discover when we try our raw food cleanse. 
 
Do you have any healthy goals this month? 

A Homemade Birthday Dinner

This weekend, my boyfriend Jamie and I packed up our things and ventured down to South Jersey for his mother’s birthday. Her birthday wish? A home-cooked meal. I quickly volunteered to create the side-dishes, knowing I had a few crowd-pleasing recipes up my sleeve: roasted cauliflower with cherry peppers, and our feel-good favorite, kale salad. I was excited to accomplish our goal of eating seasonably only four days into the month of March!


Here we are, chopping away
The entrée was salmon, which we broiled, and Jamie was brave and made Sauce Verte for the fish – which came out incredibly well! I don’t have the exact recipe for the sauce verte, but similar can be found here
Roasted Cauliflower with Hot Cherry Peppers and Breadcrumbs
(recipe courtesy of The Meatball Shop)

THE RECIPE:

Ingredients: 1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into large florets, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup finely sliced hot cherry peppers (stems and seeds removed), 2 tablespoons pickling juice from the hot cherry peppers, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup crushed garlic croutons
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Place cauliflower florets in a 9×13 baking dish. Add the olive oil and salt and toss, making sure the cauliflower is well coated
  • Roast until the edges of the cauliflower beging to brown (about 15 minutes). Toss the cauliflower and continue to roast, tossing every 5 minutes , until tender but firm and well browned all over (about 10 minutes)
  • Remove cauliflower from the oven, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cherry peppers, pepper juice and parsley and toss to throughly combine. Sprinkle with the crushed croutons just before serving to ensure that they stay crispy.
Kale Salad
sauce verte
final product

And what good is a birthday without some birthday cake?

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Green Lemonade

Alycia has me on a juicing frenzy! I don’t think I’m quite ready for a BluePrint cleanse or anything like that, but I am definitely utilizing my juicer to its full extent. I’ve been looking up a lot of good recipe ideas, and especially love Green Lemonade, courtesy of Linda Wagner.
 
 
Here’s the recipe from Linda’s blog:

Green Lemonade

  •  2 cucumbers
  • 4 med size apples – I used fuji
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  •  2 small lemons
Run all ingredients through a juicer and enjoy! (Makes 32oz)
This is by far my favorite juice that I’ve tried! I’ve been enjoying Alycia’s Glowing Green recipe after the gym all week, but the Green Lemonade is my weekend guilt-free treat. What’s your favorite juice recipe?
Christina 

Christina’s Birthday Dinner(s) Recap

If you’re a female in your 20s I will put good money on the fact that you likely celebrate your birthday for three nights or more – it is NEVER a one-day event. I myself am no different, despite my strong effort this year to not make a big deal out of my 25th birthday. I had a total of four birthday dinners, and two big nights out on the town. Here is this recap:

Tuesday, January 31FRIENDS COME TO TOWN.  It wasn’t even my birth month yet, but that didn’t stop five of my closest friends from across the river (and across town for some) to my UES apartment for a mini celebration. Some wanted to do restaurant week, but I opted for pizza and wine in the apartment. Per Alycia’s recommendation, I picked up a couple of bottles of Ménage à Trois vino.

Let me tell you, it was a good choice! All of it – the pizza, the wine, staying in – I hadn’t seen these friends in so long, and being able to have a cozy night in was much better than sitting in a noisy restaurant. We wrapped up the night with some birthday ice cream at Serendipity.

Thursday, February 2 DINNER OUT WITH THE BOYFRIEND. Feeling a little restaurant week deprived, my boyfriend Jamie and I ventured out to City Crab for birthday dinner #2. I had scouted their restaurant week menu, and was honestly just itching for some crab cakes. When we got there and saw the extensive seafood menu we just couldn’t help ourselves, we wound up both straying from the restaurant week options and getting delicious pots of assorted seafood. They had clams, mussels, crab, lobster, scallops and I don’t know what else! So good!

Friday, February 3 – MY REAL BIRTHDAY. On Friday I took the day off from work with three intentions: gyming, shopping and cooking. I accomplished all three. I made my first attempt at stuffed pork chops! I butterfly cut each cutlet, and stuffed them with a mixture of spinach, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and goat cheese, most of which I had chopped very finely with the food processor. I then baked them for about 20 minutes and served with a rice, spinach and mushroom medly. They weren’t bad! The only thing I would do differently next time, is brown the outside of the pork chops prior to baking.

Saturday, February 4 – THE FAMILY DINNER. On Saturday, boyfriend and I trekked out to NJ to have a nice family dinner with my parents, brother and grandmother. I chose Jose Tejas, my favorite Mexican restaurant in this world. I usually (always) get the vegetarian empanadas, but this time Jamie suggested that we share the fajitas for two. Another great choice! I went home happy, and had some of my mom’s homemade chocolate cakes (the best!). Sorry – no pictures!

I would say that I exercised my goal to explore pretty much all birthday weekend. This Saturday I leave for Paris, Prague and Copenhagen, and I guarantee I will have more adventurous eats to report on upon my return!

February Goal: Exploration

Another month means another goal. Last month we embarked on setting new habits for the New Year. I have to say, I think I was quite successful. I joined a Wednesday spin class, and also tripled my time in the gym (easy to do when you’re starting from one day a week)! I started eating breakfast at home, and bringing my lunch to work, which has been lovely for my wallet. I think I will keep the January goal in mind for as long as I can, and keep trying to create good, healthy habits.

Now that the healthy stuff is out of the way, I’d like to introduce our much more fun February goal: Exploration. February is always an exciting month for me. My birthday is on the third (TODAY!), Valentine’s Day is in the middle of the month, and just when you thought you couldn’t handle another full work week: BAM! Presidents’ Day lets your off the hook. Not to mention, NYC Restaurant Week is Jan. 20 – Feb. 20, and I’m going to Europe from February 11th to the 21st. A month of exploring through food it will be!
That’s all for now, but look forward to a “Birthday food” recap at the end of this weekend! Here’s a preview:

xo,
Christina

January Goal: New Habits

Alycia and I have decided that each month we will set a goal together. We will announce our goals on the first of each month, and try to commit to them through our blog. At the end of the month we will recap our progress. We hope that you will participate with us! This month we are focusing on creating new habits – and next month we should probably focus on keeping them!

While we just made this goal today, I can confidently say that it is something I’ve been working at for the past few weeks. My greatest New Year’s resolution is to live a more balanced life. This may be a cliche goal, but it is also a sensible one.

Photo courtesy of gablesindoorcycling.com

My first step in the right direction has been adding a spinning class to my weekly routine. I should tell you that I have an irrational fear of group fitness, so this is not as easy as it sounds. I am also NOT a morning person, so the class being at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesdays does not help my cause either! My biggest hope is that I can break the habit of hiring a personal trainer every time I feel l need to re-motivate, and start the habit of using the resources that are already included in my too-expensive NYC gym membership. The extra spurt of energy mid-week isn’t a bad perk either!

Do you have a new habit you want to start this month?