Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rainy weekend thoughts

The weekend is here, and somehow it doesn't seem to restful. AR and I both worked late last night. I came home and cleaned like crazy. It is always a sign of a hectic weekend when I just want to clean my apartment on Friday night.

Today we dropped my car off at 7:30, grabbed some coffee, and went our separate ways: AR to work, me to school. What happen to our weekend of lazy brunch, long runs, and relaxing afternoons? Somehow, life gets to crazy and I am exhausted and a little burned out.

So the words above are my thoughts for the weekend. Gratitude. I am blessed beyond belief. Recognizing that is the most empowering thing I can do.

Goals for the weekend:
- Take time for a long workout tomorrow
- Rock my oral arguments this weekend at law school
- Cook and eat a peaceful dinner for just AR and I (first time in over a week!)
- Prep more exciting meals for the upcoming week

What are your goals for the weekend?


Friday, March 28, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Weekend! I'm linking up with Natasha for 5 on Friday, which I love.

1. New Make-up from Target - Eyebrows!
I made a Target run earlier this week and grabbed a few products because I haven't had time to get to Sephora recently.

I used the Benefit brow filler compact for over 2 years, but I got this NYX one for only $5. I chose the blonde shade and I am in love. It is lasting throughout the day much better than my Benefit one, and it is a fraction of the price. Such an awesome fine.

2. New Make-up for Target - Powder
I also tried the NYX HD powder. I really love the Makeup Forever HD powder, but I read some reviews that said they were the same. Both contain the same ingredient and so far, they seem the same! Time will tell, lets see if I break out at all.

3. Peanut Butter
Ive had a major PB craving this week... I don't know why. Last night I was taking the recycling out and decided it was my duty to eat the eat bite from my PB jar so I could put it in the recycling. I am so noble.

I pulled out another jar and made a batch of these gluten-free pb cookies to satisfy my pb craving.

4. Meals this week
I did a really sad job on the meals this week. I think I ate steamed vegetables and a baked sweet potato like 3 times. And the same pot of veggie soup the other days. If you read my WIAW, you know lunch wasn't much better. Here's to making up for it this weekend!

5. Hair Washing
Do you wash your hair every day?
I have read like a million articles saying I shouldn't wash it daily, but I run and feel gross. Ideas? I am still washing like 5 days a week :(
Olivia Palermo's hair
This is my dream hair. Never. Gonna. Happen.

Have an awesome week ad thanks Natasha

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chicago Marathon - maybe?


This would be our third marathon together :) Wish AR and I luck on getting in!


Friday, March 21, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday! I hope your week is going well. Linking up with the beautiful Natasha for some 5 of Friday fun to share some randomness.

1. Yay for Friday! This evening, I am excited about finally getting some chores done. My life is so exciting. Does anyone else do you on the weekends? AR has been working out of town and won't be back until late. I plan to put of some music, comfy clothes, and clean tonight.
This is how I feel today!!
2. Tomorrow is Barrister's Ball with the Law School! I am doing a big dinner with a bunch of friends and then to the event. I am really looking forward to a fun evening and a break from school. We are going to this amazing restaurant and people keep inviting more people. I cannot call and change the reservation again, so we will be sitting in each other's laps.

3. I am wearing a long gown to the event which I *love*. My mom brought me a bunch of  my dresses over spring break so that I could pick one. Some were old pageant dresses and I laughed so hard. Any past pageant girls? floor length, orange, with sequins, is only okay is so many situations. ;)

(Now all I can think about is how much I want to watch this movie tonight. love it)

4. I didn't run until 7pm last night (yay for almost 5 miles!) and ate scrambled eggs for dinner. How embarrassing. Then I started my reading for the next day. At like 8:30. It is like my life is falling apart.
She asked how I get it all done. Coffee and vodka, honey. Coffee & vodka.
5. I've been doing some vegan baking this week and playing with a black bean cookie recipe. Do you think some recipes don't taste good purely because you know what is in them? I'm trying to blind test people and get their thoughts on the treats before I tell them the ingredients...


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Vegan English Muffins & Tuesdays

Happy Tuesday!

I'm back in class after a relaxing spring break in Savannah with my family. Why isn't spring break like 2 weeks long? I need more time to recover from my last legal brief.

Anyways, I'm linking up with the wonderful Becky at Olives n Wine for a little Treat Yourself Tuesday. I love the idea of showing simple ways to treat yourself during the week. This doesn't have to be shopping trips, decadent dessert, or manicures.

For me, taking a break from the day is a real treat. Especially after a long Monday. Yesterday after a day of classes (and 200+ pages of reading to do), I decided to take a break for a few minutes. I walked away from my 30 item to-do list and enjoyed the kitchen.

The result? These fabulous clean eating, whole wheat English muffins.

I used wheat flour, olive oil, unsweetened almond milk, and salt to make these lovely treats. Aren't they yummy looking? You can find the recipe I used here. My kitchen smelled amazing afterwards and the resting time was the perfect study session.

Did you know that English muffins cook on the stove top, like pancakes? I used my cast iron griddle to cook a bunch at once... and burned the last one when I forgot about it (oops). But the rest turned out perfect. And once I finished them, I was much more energized to head back to my desk.

AR and I are already planning to make breakfast sandwiches with them in the morning :)

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Groceries: Eating organic on a budget

I  LOVE grocery shopping.

Not even kidding. 

I love looking at new food items, and coming up with new ideas, and sampling yummy treats. Unfortunately, my wallet doesn't love grocery shopping as a hobby as much as I do. I eat organic, consume tons of fresh produce, and buy very little processed foods. 

And yet, I am a law student with a very limited budget. How does that balance out? 

Here is a snapshot of this week's grocery finds, and the meals I plan to make with them.

General: organic broth, organic ground chicken and chicken breasts, small organic cows milk, 3 cans of black beans, ricotta cheese, wonton wrapers, almond milk, greek yogurt, organic oats, chia seeds, organic eggs, organic turkey bacon, dried navy beans, maple syrup, organic turkey bacon, organic diced tomatoes. 

Produce: (all organic) potato, onion, bananas, apples, oranges, kale, cucumber, bell pepper, broccoli crowns, asparagus, fresh parsley, small head of lettuce, avocado.

Total: $91

For 2 people, that looks like about $45.50 per person - not bad, in my opinion. Here is what I am cooking this week. 

- chicken and cheese stuffed ravioli with homemade white sauce and roasted asparagus. 
- navy beans with tomatoes, collard greens, and turkey bacon, served with brown rice.
- home-made black bean burgers (vegan)
- grilled chicken salads with avocado and veggies. 
- Baked potato topped with broccoli and black beans (vegetarian) 
- Black bean chocolate cookies (vegan)
- whole-wheat english muffins (vegan)
Tips for saving money (and time) when buying organic

1. Shop the perimeter of the store.
Produce, dairy, eggs, meats, and grains are much lower priced than packaged items. Skipping the pre-made granola bars and snack foods will save a bundle - and you can always substitute healthier items (apple and peanut butter> granola bar). 

2. Know your store.
Staying consistent with the same store lets you know when they put new items out and when the sales usually start. Keep this in mind when grocery shopping. 

3. Plan your meals and snacks for the week.
I am not a rigid meal planner, but I pick out the dinners I want to have each week. I also pick any snack items to make for school and plan on 1 leftover night. I do leave things like veggies and fruits open in my meal plan. Then I can buy what ever is on sale and looks good. 

4. Do a leftover night.
Or take them in your lunches. Planning a leftover night insures things get eaten and nothing goes to waste. This is the biggest money saver in my house! To make the meal seem less recycled, I plan a fresh veggie to go with it, and often make drop biscuits to serve along side. 

5. Limit your meat consumption. 
AR is not a vegetarian, but as you can see, many of our meal items are vegetarian. Using meat less frequently will save you a significant amount of money - pick lower cost proteins like eggs and beans for the non-meat days.

Where do you shop? 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

An elegant grilled cheese

Grilled cheese. 

I love the sound of it. And the smell: warm bread, melty cheese, frying butter. 

And there is something about biting into a grilled cheese sandwich that perfectly couples crunchy and gooey at the same moment. 

On Monday night, I left after an afternoon of volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House (more on that later), and stopped by Whole Foods. Something about bread and gouda jumped out at me, and I began craving a grilled cheese. 

When I make a grilled cheese sandwich, I don't play. I picked up a rustic whole wheat olive bread and fresh gouda cheese. At home, I got to work. After roasting some squash and bell peppers, I made my amazingly delicious sandwich. 

Let me share some thoughts on the whole sandwich front:

-Bread needs to be thin-ish. In order for the cheese to melt and the crust to get decently crispy, the bread cannot be too think. 

-Cheese. Don't go too crazy. Think quality over quantity. A bit of sharp cheddar is better than a mound of bland cheese. I love gouda, cheddar, and swiss. 

-Add-ins. Don't be shy. roasted veggies, fruit jams, fresh tomatoes, spinach. I could go on and on. 

-Method: Heat a non-stick skillet on low. Either spray the pan with olive oil, or butter a slice of bread. Place butter side down in the heated skillet. Top bread with some sliced cheese, add toppings, and sandwich more cheese. Top the entire thing with another slice of (buttered) bread. Continue grilling on low until the cheese is melted and the bread on the bottom is golden brown. Flip and let the other side of bread brown. Serve and enjoy!

Classic Combos:
1. Mozzarella + tomato + fresh basil 
2. Swiss + blackberry or strawberry jam
3. Cheddar + spinach + tomato


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Exploring Savannah (Part 1)

Hello All!

Last week I was a little absent on the blog... I had a final paper due that took over my life and then I just crashed once the weekend hit (literally. Hit submit, went home and slept on the new couch for 2 hours. It is comfy).

Now I am in SAVANNAH with my family for a few days. Have you ever been to Savannah? I feel like I am living in a Southern Living magazine. It is absolutely stunning.

Today we explored an old cathedral, several parks, and a neighborhood full of stunning homes and boutiques. I deserve an award for my ability to window shop and ooh-and-ahh over spanish moss.

Tomorrow we plan to see the Andrew Low House, eat at Lady and Sons (yes, Paula Deen's restaurant), and take a ghost tour.

My love of subway tile knows no bounds.
Best meal of the day: decaf americano with soy and a spicy chocolate cookie at the Foxy Loxy coffee shop. The cookies was amazing and so spicy that it shocked you. Yep, I studied at a coffee shop on spring break. Hashtag lawschoolproblems. I also had some excellent lime chicken and goat cheese enchiladas for dinner. Yum!

Workout of the day: 3 miles at the gym this morning, a 20 minute ab workout, and miles of walking!

How do you stay fit on vacation?
Do you try  to fit in runs/workouts?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mardi Gras recap #2

Hello all! I started my New Orleans trip recap yesterday during WIAW, but I am here to finish. If you missed the first part, read here.

On Saturday afternoon, we were exhausted (and a little over heated) but mid afternoon. We decided a nap was in order! After napping and cleaning up, we changed clothes and headed out for Endymion, which is a huge parade on Saturday night.

One of our friends was fortunate enough to manage a building downtown on Canal Street, which had a fenced in plaza. This meant we had reserved parking and a HUGE empty plaza on the corner to enjoy the parade from.
Our pretty view!
If you have ever been to mardi gras, you know this is awesome. The whole this is messy and crowded, so having open space to watch the parade is seriously amazing. I was also pleased to have access to a nice bathroom :P (can I get an Amen??)

We brought chairs, drinks, and snacks for the main event. We sat outside for the parade from about 5pm-10pm, enjoying watching the crowd and crazy floats. The krewes on the floats seemed to think that throwing things into our plaza was a fun challenge, so we got bags and bags of beads, cups, etc.

After the parade ended, we waited for traffic to clear out and thought about dinner. Fyi, NOLA needs to step up the late-night eating scene. Lots of drink available, little food. We walked around downtown to Bourbon Street and the group asked if I wanted to go down. I was the only mardi gras newbie and totally appalled by the smell, trash, and push of people. I love Bourbon on a regular weekend, but this was too much. I said I'd pass, haha.

We grabbed some dinner and headed home for a much needed shower and bed time.

On Sunday, AR and I headed out on out own for breakfast. Due to parades, we had to walk to brunch and stumbled upon Surrey's on Magazine Street.

What Luck!! This place had excellent coffee, a vegan/vegetarian menu, and little wait. I enjoyed a balsamic-roasted veggie omelet with wheat toast and coffee while AR got biscuits and gravy.

We headed out for more festivities throughout the afternoon and could not stop marveling at the sunshine. Tank tops and flip flops? Heck yes. Towards late evening, we headed out to meet AR's mom for a yummy dinner and share out adventures from the weekend.

Have you been to Mardi Gras? What did you think?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WIAW #25 : Mardi Gras recap!

I am back from New Orleans! Mardi Gras was an absolute blast - not what I expected, but even better. I'm sharing a bit of my recap today along with What I Ate Wednesday.

As usual, I am linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for WIAW - thanks for hosting, Jenn! If you are new to WIAW, head on over to her blog to read about it!

On Friday, AR and I headed to Louisiana after my morning class. It is a bit of a road trip, so we packed lunches and snacks for the car ride (Salad for me, turkey wrap for AR). On Friday night, we met up with friends from a crawfish boil.

Yep, that thing is a crawfish. It has taken me a loooong time to feel comfortable eating them, and I still wouldn't say I love it. But it is a fun, very Louisiana, thing to do.

Saturday morning was the start of my Mardi Gras parades! Our friends live right in Uptown, so the parade was outside our doorstep (literally). We started with the Iris parade and continued on with several others throughout the afternoon.


The parade was not what I anticipated... it was so family friendly and fun! Lots of fun music, crazy floats, and unique beads. We caught beads, danced to the music, and enjoyed the amazing weather. Seriously, I could not have gotten better weather for the trip.

Tomorrow I will tell you about our crazy-awesome seats on Saturday night, my thoughts on Bourbon street, and Sunday morning brunch fun. For now, I'll share my eats for Fat Tuesday :)

After a crazy trip (filled with cookies, popcorn, and alcohol), I was craving whole foods and fresh veggies. While I make an effort to prepare snacks and eat healthy while traveling, it is not the same as being at home.

iPad out for some blog reading!
Breakfast: A classic. Oat bran cooked with a banana and cinnamon, topped with peanut butter and served with coffee and almond milk.

Snack: None! I wasn't hungry yet.

Lunch: Totally a snacky lunch: sliced apple, LOTS of carrots and celery with hummus, whole wheat crackers, and greek yogurt. Not pictured: A mini kit-kat from my professor's office :)

Snack: After class, I had a small bowl of Quaker oats with almond milk to hold me over until dinner time.

Dinner: Leftover black-eyed peas with veggies and turkey bacon. I made these in the crock pot last week and froze left overs. They were so yummy and well seasoned. I served it with quinoa and sautéed spinach and arugula with parmesan cheese and garlic.

Glad to be back home! Be sure to check in tomorrow for more from Mardi Gras (including my epic seats for Enymion!). Have a happy hump day!