Giving Thanks in NYC

Well it’s sure been awhile since I shared a full day of eats but how about a little bit of what I ate on Thanksgiving?  Thanks for Jenn’s link-up where we can drool over everyone’s Thanksgiving meals yet again.

Since I have been traveling over the past few years, there really isn’t anything that would make the day “normal” for me.  Not to mention, a “normal” Thanksgiving from my childhood includes a 5k in 70F weather.  Hm, after arriving in a snowstorm and waking up to a bed of snow in a small lake community, I doubt that was going to happen. Ah well, maybe next year.

IMG_7269

Yep, this is far from what a Southern California Thanksgiving looks like.  My roommate, Gaia, and I traveled through Wednesday’s storm out of the city and into a small New Jersey town for the holiday.  But, with a little luck, good timing, and four-wheel drive, we made it safe and sound.

IMG_7297Truth be told, I get a bit nervous when I stay over in someone else’s home.  This is simply because I love to work out in the morning and I don’t always know the protocol on making noise as I jump around or unlocking the door to go for a run.  Problems, problems, problems.  Since I’m still trying to rest my foot, running outside wasn’t even an option (not to mention I didn’t bring any snow-stable running gear).

So with a quick workout (thanks to the WOD deck of cards app) + Coffee + Thanksgiving Day Parade = Perfection.

thanksgiving 2014

Here we have Anna and Gaia (Gaia’s my roommate), both of whom are from Italy!  We were staying at Gaia’s family friend’s house and it was Anna’s first Thanksgiving.  Hopefully we didn’t disappoint (or shock) her.

There was some snacking that occurred throughout our preparation but I was trying (and trying hard) to save up for the big meal. I may have overdone it here because once I finished dinner, I don’t think I could move.

IMG_7312

Not a bad Thanksgiving view (~3pm).  We had woken up to a snowy morning but by afternoon, the skies had parted.  I bet this lake is gorgeous in the summer! Since I’m quite the spring/summer child, that’s immediately where my mind goes to – warm weather.  I would much rather prefer sitting outside in the warm sun rather than chilly air. 🙂

IMG_7327 Food was prepped all throughout the day and by 4pm we were ready to chow down.  This was the first time I had ever had stuffing that was cooked inside the turkey and yes, I know it may not be as sanitary but boy was it tasty!  It’s safe to say that the stuffing + kale side dish had my heart.

I was so thankful for Gaia’s family friends to open their home to all of us.  It’s not the same as being at home, but it’s a new experience for the record books.

IMG_7296

Fall Eating Fun

Well what do you know?  It’s October 1st.  Let the foodie partay commence.

BREAKFASTS

IMG_1034

When I’m not throwing together a hodge-podge of oats + nut butter + banana, it’s off to smoothie bowls and yogurt cups, all topped with any granola I can get my hands on.

IMG_6478Coffee all day every day.  I’ve tried to be better about brewing my own cold brew at home or sticking with the cheap basic sort in the office.  But, every now and then a little treat is necessary, especially when it’s so-called National Coffee Day.  If you insist 🙂

IMG_6376

My first time trying Dannon Greek and I have to say, I was quite a fan.  Plus the chocolate + cherry was a little bit like dessert (or so I like to tell myself…it will work eventually)

LUNCH TIME

Probably my least favorite meal of the day, mostly because I hate feeling sluggish or tired at work in the afternoon.  I try to bring lunches from home, packing in the veggies or grilled chicken breasts.  Let’s just say it’s less than exciting here.

IMG_6396Oktoberfest in Madison, Connecticut

IMG_6458The one and only special sauce made by a friend’s mom.  Apparently it’s a Sunday tradition and boy was it tasty.  The sauce was packed with veggies and turkey meat and I practically dumped it all over my salad.

SUPPER TIME

IMG_6505Eating out at Eataly
~ Spaghetti Squash Bruschetta ~ Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad ~ Cabbage/Greens Salad ~ Gnocchi ~

IMG_6232We’ve been cooking up a storm most weekends and I have to say, this mac and cheese is HIGH on my favorites list.  Packed with cheese and cheese and cheese, you really cannot go wrong.  Although, I let Lindsay take the lead on this one as I’m bound to cut corners and butcher the recipe.

IMG_6350Making dinner with friends every Wednesday night makes the week go that much faster and oh so enjoyable.  Lately we have been on a pizza kick but I think we’ll be implementing some good ‘ol Tex-Mex tonight with enchiladas and chips+guac.  I mean, 95% of the group is from California anyways…

Sweet Treats

Let’s see if you notice a trend here

IMG_6408Fall flavors at Oktoberfest – Pumpkin + Chunky Apple Crisp

IMG_6473Baskin + Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake (this store is a bit too close to our apartment, which could be dangerous)

IMG_6336

The grand finale.  Why go out when you can enjoy the season’s most popular flavor at home?  Who knows, maybe I’ll turn orange by the end of the season.

Have you jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon?  Have you ever been to Oktoberfest?

California Vacation Eats

Home sweet home.  Sure NYC has some of the best restaurants around but home is where the endless supplies of groceries and snacks are at.  I tend to skimp on my groceries here in the city, so arriving home to all my favorites (skim milk, celery, granola) was simply a treat.

My vacation last week consisted of a short time at home, a trip to the mountains and the Tuolumne River, and finished with a quick visit at the beach.  I didn’t manage to snag all my delectable eats and treats – mostly because I was trying to stay off my phone (harder than I thought!) and also because my family liked to tease me every time I whipped out the camera or my handy-dandy iphone.  Yeah, they are cool like that. 😉

So here’s a look at some of what we indulged in while soaking up the California sun.

IMG_5483 Lemonade lunch out with grandma, mom, and Megnan.  Lemonade is one of my favorite spots in Pasadena and I’ll make any excuse to take a trip there.    The selection my mom and I picked out was not at all photogenic.  So we shall settle on my grandma’s delicious monthly special – a mix of romaine, chicken, onions, pecans,a nd cheese. Mmmmmmm

IMG_5485

I selected a guava-Arnold Palmer out of their 8 or so choices and we all split a mega lemon macaroon and black-bottom brownie.

IMG_5491

Meghan and I took a picnic dinner to our Friday night Dierks Bentley concert.  While the Greek Theatre has some food booths, we felt a little more comfortable with our Trader Joe’s selection.  Our wallets didn’t mind saving either. 🙂 As you can see, there is a NYC black & white cookie in the shot, which was in fact transported from the famous Ess-A Bagel.

IMG_5495

Saturday’s hike was followed with a Juice-It-Up acai bowl with the girls.  Smoothie perfection on a warm day.

IMG_5500 Iced coffee on the road to Mammoth Mountain.  I have no clue if McDonald’s knows what a iced coffee is because this was definitely sugar milk but it was pretty tasty.

IMG_5588Breakfast on the deck with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and Meghan’s zucchini bread.  I keep forgetting how delicious and naturally sweet all of California’s produce is!  That and the fact that “seasonal” is not an issue in California. Oh the lessons I learn from living back east.

IMG_5587 Whenever I say that I’m going to “quit sugar”, don’t believe me.  I couldn’t help but throw this in the cart when my mom was checking out of VONS.  Luckily it had a 50% off tag because the original price was around $10 and I don’t think she would have let that fly.

IMG_5609Just a typical family hike – up a trail that seems to have disappeared in a flood and then getting caught in a freak rainstorm on the way down.  If I didn’t know better I would have thought that we were in New York with all the humidity and rain.

Packed in my clutch Organic Valley pack was a PB sandwich and carrot/celery medley. I also couldn’t resist the Cliff ZBar that had been packed for “emergency”.  Usually I end up eating whatever I packed, hungry or not but thankfully the 8 mile hike had left me hungry.

IMG_5610Looney Bean is one of our favorite coffee stops in town and if you have a real hankering for something sweet, I recommend the Looney Latte (iced or hot!) – latte with whipped cream and chocolate covered espresso beans.  It’s practically a milkshake but let’s just say “morning coffee”

IMG_5532There are some rafting eats missing here but that’s not because they weren’t delicious.  We were just so ravenous that I forgot to take a picture.  Also combined with the fact that we were with 20 or so other people, most of whom were high school boy scouts and probably wouldn’t understand the necessity desire to photograph every morsel of food. Goodness, we food enthusiasts can get such a bad rep.

Breakfasts: (1 – purchased pre-launch –> ; 2 – at camp site –> vegetable egg scramble, cheese-infused potatoes, fruit salad, bacon, and sausage)

Lunches: solid spread for sandwiches –> pastrami, turkey, egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, hummus, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, four different breads, tortilla chips with salsa/cream cheese dip

Dinner: Steak/chicken, fajita vegetables, Mexican rice, black beans, grilled tortillas, w/ additional fixin’s

But anyways, the guides made sure we weren’t starving and in fact, we probably all gained a few pounds from the spread.  The entire group was able to polish most of the food off and I’m not sure if that was because we were hungry or we felt bad that whatever didn’t get eaten was thrown away.

IMG_5603

Finished the trip off with coffee and scones with my grandpa and then a beach “burger bash” with my dad’s side of the family.  I swear there is a burger underneath all that fresh California fruit. 🙂 Just alongside a tasty vegetable orzo salad.  I’ll have to test out the recipe, an Ina Garten classic I believe, and share it before the end of summer.

With that my friends, wraps up my California summer eats.  I’ll be sharing a few more west coast adventures in the days (and maybe weeks) to come.  Until then, it’s back to the big city!  For more WIAW fun, hop over to Peas and Crayons. Aloha!

What I’ve Been Eating This Summer

Goodness gracious.  It’s been ages since I shared some good ‘ol WIAW eats and I thought it would be fun to share some worthy summertime goodies of late.  Bon appetit!

BREAKFAST

IMG_5347

Most days I have been creating my own sort of parfait with frozen blueberries + frozen peaches + oat bran/granola + fage yogurt

IMG_5229Stuffed French Toast

IMG_5337Ess-A-Bagel
~ whole-wheat everything w/ blueberry schmear + iced coffee ~

IMG_5282

iced coffee for the win

LUNCH

Most of my lunches are quite forgettable.  No really, either “eh” or just pictureless.  Salads from our cafeteria, trips to Dig Inn, sometimes a splurge at Whole Foods, or just leftover snacks from my fridge.

DINNER

Balance between the usual salmon + grilled veggies and oodles of kale + omelet at home and cooking up a storm with friends

IMG_5319summer produce cooking w/ some new friends

~ watermelon + feta + argula salad ~
~ spinach + blue cheese + pecans + dried cranberries salad ~
~ grape tomatoes + sautéed peaches + corn + squash ~
~ string beans + caramelized onions ~

IMG_5317

Nectarine Pizza w/ Basil and Mozzarella
Recipe inspired from here

Ingredients
1 bag Trader Joe’s pizza dough
1 large nectarine
buffalo mozzarella
handful fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (we used reduced-fig flavor for extra fruity punch)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425F
Let dough sit at room temp ~ 20 minutes
Roll out and set on an oiled baking sheet (flip once so both sides are rubbed with EVOO)
Slice mozzarella and layer on top of dough
Alternate nectarines + basil
Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust starts to brown and the cheese has melted.
Dig in

 DESSERT

IMG_5318it’s cherry season folks…good ‘ol fashion pitting party

IMG_5298the finished product = gluten-free cherry cobbler

IMG_5188blueberry pie + ice cream

3aa02d323a28fc95e34bc2d01449511f

What have you been enjoying during these summer months?

Day in the Life

IMG_3331Yes, I’ve picked up some of the best fashion tips by living in New York City.  This is one of my very best looks when I’m trekking through the subways on my way to work.  Attractive, no?IMG_3323Breakfast the most important meal of the day and pretty much always eaten in front of my computer.  I’ve been on a yogurt kick and even keep a bag of granola in my desk to top it all off.

Work, work, work.  Meetings, excel, phone call, powerpoint, screenshots, tracking reports, phone call, AIM (throoooowback), meetings, etc.  I’d actually much rather be busy than bored.  The thrill of accomplishing your work and checking off lists.

IMG_3324

Recently there hasn’t been much time for the hour lunch in the cafeteria so I’ve stuck to grabbing a quick salad and hopping back to my desk for more work. With March Madness around the corner and Nascar races picking up, my schedule has been packed.

Lunch – Risotto, cauliflower, tempeh, carrots, and brussels sprouts – so much more fun than packing my own bland salad.  It’s the little things that get me through the day and I swear it tasted much better than it looked.  Salads and hot bars get a bad rep because they aren’t as photogenic as sandwiches.

I may have said this before but I used to make fun of the people who were so stressed they weren’t hungry or forgot to eat.  Well, I know what it feels like and realized the times I eat more are actually when I’m bored or trying to avoid a task. IMG_3325As of late I leave the office between 6:15 and 7, heading south to my gym for an hour or so and then walk home for dinner around 9.  I’ve realized that this probably isn’t the best idea seeing that I eat lunch at 12:30 and I’m starving by the time I get home.  Luckily I don’t run into anyone on the walk home because by this point I hit the “hangry” stage.  Slight exaggeration but all is good and well once I’ve eaten 🙂

Dinner – This cheeseburger was uhMAZING with grilled onions, melted cheddar and paired with carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and a hippo pretzel.  Yep, I made a pretzel in the shape of my spirit animal.

IMG_4565

Dessert – I’ve been in a hot chocolate phase, using a generic Nestle brand in my cup of skim milk.  Perfect for ending the night on my new couch.

With that my friends, I leave you with the most clear and concise WIAW post yet.  

“Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best.”
– Marva Collins

Lent, Eats, and a NYC Anniversary

Well, well, well.  Not only am I back for this week’s WIAW party at Peas & Crayons, but it marks my 6th month anniversary in the concrete jungle!

  • Manhattan is not just Manhattan.  In fact, there are tons of little neighborhoods that people refer to all the time.  Yeah, I definitely was not an expert at this when I was looking for housing.
  • Don’t expect to leave the house and not spend at least $20.  I’m lucky during the week because I pack most of my meals, stay in the office, and my gym membership is paid off at the beginning of the month.  Weekends are an entirely different and often scary story.
  • More than half of your paycheck will go to rent.  That is unless you work in finance.  Then your work hours suck so I guess it’s worth it.
  • The people who operate the subway are not always happy people.  You can hear their lovely voices screaming for you to “stand clear of the closing doors”.  But, I understand why they get annoyed when citizens feel the needs to thrust themselves into the already packed car, making it look like a can of sardines.
  • The winter isn’t that cold if you have the right gear – I’m talking one of those Metropolis North Face coats and Uggs or Sorels.  Sure we’ve had some snow storms and sub-zero days but hey, spring is on its way.  Maybe because I spend most of my time in a warm office building or run on the warm side, but I haven’t been affected (knock on wood).
  • Stay out of Times Square and Macy’s if you don’t want to be trampled by tourists.
  • Definitely try the bagels and pizza.  I’m not an expert on bread products, that is my sister’s area of expertise, but New Yorkers do know how to make their bagels and pizza dough.  I think it has something to do with the water used, but whatever it may be, keep it going.
  • Even though there is quite the hustle and bustle, there is a great deal of chivalry still alive.  It’s rare that a man does not hold open the door for women, which is something I thought long gone.
  • You can buy your groceries pretty much anywhere but make sure you have cash on hand.  Those ATM fees are not fun.
  • There are so many hidden gems in the city – from food to fashion to plain ‘ol people watching.  You just need to get out of your apartment, stop looking down at your phone and take a look around.

So, as you may have read, the last six months have been quite a journey.  From finding roommates, housing, an internship, and landing a job, I’d say that’s only a part of the success I’ve had as my first big steps into the adult world.

As for work, now that we are approaching March Madness, the load has picked up significantly.  I have never had so many e-mails come in, be flagged, and left outstanding at the end of the day, which is sometimes late.  All in all it’s been a great experience so far – very taxing at times but helpful to learn and grow.  I also love working in such a close knit group.  My colleagues are definitely part of the reason I love my job.

I now understand what it means to be so stressed you don’t feel like eating or plumb forget to eat. Below is a look a my more recent food choices, most of which occur at the office.

IMG_3169_Fotor_Collage

Breakfast – Yogurt, granola, and berries

Lunch – Leftover eggplant lasagna with arugula

Snack – seemingly gross but actually delicious green juice from the overpriced Whole Foods

Dinner – eggplant lasagna with salmon and arugula (I’m not usually a fan of leftovers but Sunday’s cooking extravaganza lasted me quite a few meals)

Dessert – my new favorite coconut milk mint chip ice cream with whipped cream and strawberries

IMG_2013

Today also happens to be Ash Wednesday.  For the past four years I’ve been able to attend Ash Wednesday service at the Santa Clara mission, but obviously that’s bit difficult to achieve this year.  I also usually plan to give up some sort of food during the Lenten season, what my family jokes is the “Lenten Diet” as my sister and I have very little religious education.  When I thought about what I could abstain from, I realized I don’t eat that much junk food, have gotten smart about my desserts, and haven’t been drinking since I’m training for a half marathon.

I’d like to consider ways to stress-less and instead focus on the good things in life.  Maybe I’ll make a point to do one random act of kindness each day or just smile more.  Although, that could be creepy, so only the future will tell.

IMG_3187Have a fabulous Wednesday!