Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Tour of the World!

Hello there! I hope everyone's week is going swell! Mine has been a bit of an adjustment after being off for a few days!! To brighten up the week, I thought I would share with you my "Tour of the World" I had with my family this past weekend....

To start, on Friday evening (after seeing Harry Potter 7, which was incredible!!) my parents, Evan and I went to Border Cafe to indulge in a little Tex Mex.

Started with some yummy chips and salsa

and (of course) a Margarita!

However, my stomach felt a little upset and I could not finish the margarita. I guess I was still nervous that the Death Eaters were coming after me (haha!).

For my entree I ordered the Catfish fajitas with a mango salsa. YUM! I was unsure if I was going to like catfish, but I was in the mood to try something new! And I was sure glad I did because these babies were GREAT!

From Mexico, we headed to Greece and dined at Byblos on Saturday night.

My family and I started with hummus, olives and pita. WOW, does hummus taste different in a restaurant (authentic Middle Eastern one) versus in a container from the supermarket. I LOVE the oil and herbs in the middle

Of course we had a bottle of delicious wine (x2)!

And Greek salad!

For my entree, I had shrimp kabobs. MMMMMMMMMM, enough said!

For our final destination we visited China!

The Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown, which had a line out the door!!

We started with wanton soup for the table!

Chinese watercress (with garlic and a house sauce - best pick of the night, maybe even on the whole tour!)

Vegetable Dumplings that were VERY disappointing and had a weird spice to them.

Kung pow chicken

and beef with string beans (my second favorite dish)

My belly is quite full and satisfied after this trip! However, it's back to the States this week.....

What is your favorite type of ethnic food? What is your favorite dish there?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Tips

After having a very indulgent few days, I went in search of articles on maintaining weight over the holiday season. Here are two I liked best:  this article and this one. These are the tips I took away and will try to use this holiday season:

1) Prioritize Exercises: Exercise in the morning (or when you have the most energy) and add an extra walk or workout in on days when you know you have a party or will be engaging in lots of indulgent eating. If you only have a short amount of time (I know this is a busy time of the year), do a more intense work out (faster or steeper) to max out the benefits of your workout. I feel that, especially at this time of year, working out is key. I am not a fan of denying yourself any of your favorite holiday treats, but to just keep moving, so you can make room in your stomach for more!

2) Try to maintain "normal" eating as much as possible: If you have a party that night or go out for brunch in the morning, DON'T deny or starve yourself before or after the event. Instead try to eat as "normal" as possible with good nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, oatmeal, etc. The more you starve or deny yourself the more you will over eat the indulgent foods.

3) Choose "special" foods to indulge on: Don't waste your time with foods you can eat anytime (like a donut from DD's), but instead treat yourself to a homemade pie or your favorite side dish a relative makes or your favorite holiday beverage. If you are going to indulge, MAKE IT COUNT!

4)  Enhance family favorites: As you plan your meals and treats for the holiday season, look for creative ways to cut calories and boost nutrients in your favorite recipes.
  • Spice sweet potatoes with nutmeg and cinnamon rather than brown sugar.
  • Make sure to prepare a few vegetable dishes, such as roasted Brussels sprouts, sautéed spinach and garlic or an arugula salad.
  • Use dried fruit for half the chocolate chips in cookies and pumpkin or banana bread.
  • Cut cookies and bars into smaller bite size pieces
5) Control Alcohol Consumption: Most events that you attend this season will include alcohol beverages; you do not have to omit drinking (unless you want to), but instead try to keep the alcohol consumption to two drinks throughout the night and alternate with water. In addition, MAKE IT COUNT the drinks you choose. Don't just drink Bud Light because it is there (unless you like it), save the calories for a drink you really, really enjoy.

6) Get off the "See Food Diet: We see it, we want to eat it. This time of year, the "See Food Diet" consists of cookies, pastries, candies and fudge. Not to mention all of the leftovers, gifts and party favors. Change what you see, and you will change your body.
  • Bring a beautiful bowl of fruit into the office.
  • Place a bowl of nuts on the shell on your desk. You'll eat fewer when you have to crack them open yourself.
  • Put cut veggies front and center in the fridge; use hummus or herbed ricotta as a healthy dip.
  • Always bring a healthy option to dinners, parties and potlucks.
  • Gift your office or home with an opaque candy dish or cookie jar. When you don't see it, you're less likely to eat the treat.
  • Get rid of leftovers. If you throw a party, clean out the house the next day. Host a dinner? Send everyone home with leftovers or have a "part 2 dinner" the next night.
7) Have FUN and ENJOY yourself!!! The holidays only come once a year!!!

In light of tip #1, I did a lot of moving (and eating) this holiday: Thursday I ran 4.5 miles, Friday I walked 3.5 miles with my mom, Saturday I ran 6.7 miles and today I did a 90 minute hot yoga class. 

Hope everyone had a nice vacation; back to the grind tomorrow.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Like a "Rhino"

I hope you all had a GREAT Thanksgiving with family and friends! I had a very nice day enjoying time with my family. I am very thankful for all the great people I have in my life (including all of you who view the blog).

Yesterday morning I woke up and ran 4.5 miles around my parents' neighborhood in about 39 minutes. My Ipod died right before I started, so I unfortunately had NO music for the entire run. I thought the run would be torturous; however, it was actually quite enjoyable. I was able to really push myself and concentrate on my breathing. In addition, I was able to enjoy the scenery and say "hi" to fellow runners and walkers. Maybe I will incorporate more musicless runs into my routine.

Now back to the food: Our first stop of the day was my dad's brother's house for "lunch." They had all the usual fixings with the addition of lasagna.

Here is my plate:

Turkey, yams, butternut squash, mashed potatoes, brussels, lasagna, eggplant parm

I then had x2 on the squash, yams and brussels. I also had a second Leffe throughout the afternoon. I LOVE Leffe!!!

Next up dessert!

Carrot Cake, Banana Cream Pie and Fruit
The main event of the afternoon was a food eating contest. A friend of the family is a world class eater (one time he ate 4 hamburgers and two hot dogs in one sitting). So my uncles proposed a Thanksgiving challenge to him: He had to eat a half of sheet of lasagna in 10 minutes.

Here is "Rhino" in action:

The clock is counting down....

Slowing down.....

And, unfortunately "Rhino" didn't even come close. He only finished about 1/3 of the plate. It was a HUGE let down! Oh, well maybe next year. In this battle of man vs. food, food won!

In addition to a very nice afternoon at my uncle's, it was also the first time my dad and all five of his brothers were together in a VERY long time!! As well as my grandmother, who lives in Las Vegas.

Here are all 6 fine gentleman and my grandmother:

On our way home, we made a stop at my cousin's house to wish my Mom's family a Happy Thanksgiving and munch on a few more desserts. I had a few bites of cheese cake, pumpkin pie and various other delicious foods.

Oh, how I LOVE Thanksgiving!!!!!!!! Now on to the shopping............

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preparing the stomach for Thanksgiving!

Well the big day is almost upon us and my stomach has been hard at work, working overtime in preparation for the big event.

Let's start with Sunday: My family had a pre-Thanksgiving meal at my grandfather's house. Here are some pics of my stomach at work:

Shrimp and Broccoli rice dish
Spinach Casserole
Green Beans
Meat Cookies
My Plate (The ham and turkey were unphotographed)
Workout #2: Cheese Tortellini with Spinach, Mushrooms and Vodka Sauce.

Boil some of these guys:


Saute some spinach and mushrooms in garlic and EVOO

Then heat up a little of this vodka sauce

All together now:

OH MY, my stomach is hard at work!!

Some last minute training included: Steak Tips, Coconut butter Butternut squash and broccoli

I grilled pre-marinated teryaki Steak Tips

Steamed Broccoli

and prepared some butternut squash according to this KERF recipe. It came out great!!

I am not sure if I am quite ready for the big day, might have to do a little extra training, I think ice cream should do the trick!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Recap

I hope everyone had a GREAT weekend!!! Mine has been wonderful with good food, friends and drinks! Lets start where we left off last....

I met Evan at Stoddard's Fine Food and Ale Friday evening for a second "light" dinner and some beer!

Stoddard's is designed to replicate a 1920s "speakeasy," with creative cocktails and upscale pub food. I ordered a Golden Monkey to start,

and a root vegetable bisque to eat as my second dinner of the night (the first was Dragon Sushi),

with some yummy, yummy homemade bread!

The bisque was great and totally different from others I have tried! I highly recommend the food and drinks at Stoddard's. In addition, the wait staff was very nice, attentive and helpful! Afterwards, Evan and I met up with some friends from his work for a few more cocktails at a local pub.

Needless to say, I woke up Saturday with a bit of a headache from the beers. However, it did not stop me from a nice run around the Charles River. Here are my stats:

Distance: 6.21
Duration: 52:10
Mile 1: 8:43
Mile 2: 7:45
Mile 3: 8:16
Mile 4: 8:21
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:40
Mile .21: 1:45

Surprisingly I felt great during this run. I started out a little weak and tired, but after about a mile I picked up my speed and flew to the end. It is funny though, as the weather is getting colder I am noticing that my knees are starting to hurt a little more. I wonder why?

Does anyone else notice joints starting to hurt more in the colder weather?

After working up an appetite, Evan and I met some friends at an Asian Fusion restaurant: Myers + Chang.

It was a very cool restaurant with an upscale diner-type feel.

Evan and I have been waiting to try this restaurant for a few years now because of all the great reviews it has received.

I started with a Rioja upon recommendation from the waitress:

It was nice and spicy, just the way I like it! For food, Evan and I started with Shitake and Asian Greens Dumplings:

Brown rice

and Clams with Black Bean sauce. I, unfortunately, was too hungry and excited when the clams arrived that I totally forgot to take a picture. Oops! All I can say is that everything was delicious, fresh and somewhat different tasting (in a good way) than a traditional Chinese restaurant.

For our entree, Evan and I split two meals: Pan roasted soy glazed salmon and Triple pork mushu stirfry.

I LOVED the Salmon, but was not too crazy about the stir fry, it was a little to salty for me. However, Evan and the other couple LOVED the stir fry and Evan proclaimed it was a top five meal in the city!

Fun night and good food with friends! We will definitely be coming back to Myers + Chang!

How was your weekend?

I am off to prepare for two BIG presentations I have tomorrow morning. Have a great night!