Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Delicious Healthy Thing

A good experience at the Subaru dealership (no pushy "what number do you need to see to buy a car today?" nonsense) plus pizza and wine for dinner is making me feel much more relaxed.
The best part about my pizza is that it is pretty healthy. We got the Sonoran (with artichokes instead of mushrooms) and some cheese sticks from Naked Pizza. I haven't had Naked Pizza before, but I am pleasantly surprised. The crust has all sorts of whole grains, fiber, and probiotics and the nutritional information isn't too shabby. 161 calories and 7 grams of protein per large slice is better than some protein bars! :) The crust definitely had a whole wheat taste, but I really like whole wheat pizza, so it was fine by me. Not only did I have pizza for dinner, I had guilt free pizza. Yum!

Driving Myself Crazy

I tend to become obsessed with whatever new goal I set for myself to the point that it consumes my every waking though. Healthy, I know. The current task at hand, shopping for a new vehicle, has started creeping into my dreams for the past two nights as well. This is getting old fast. The worst part is that I really am not enjoying car shopping at all. I don't like researching cars, I don't like dealing with car dealers, I don't like walking around in the hot sun looking at and test driving cars, and I just plain old don't like most vehicles! I am not a car girl!
I am rather fond of my beloved '97 Ford Explorer Sport. If only it would stay in good condition forever, I wouldn't think of parting with it. However, it's currently only in fair condition, and it is just a matter of time before it becomes unreliable. It is time for a new car.
Given that I must get a new car, I do want to address a few issues I have with my car. I'd like more fuel efficiency, better ease in parking (i.e. a smaller vehicle), a lower center of gravity (so I don't have to white knuckle it on the turns on the I-10) and I'd like to be able to seat 3 rather than 2 people in the backseat. I also want my new car to be safe, reliable, cute, fun to drive, and not too pricey.
I've been test driving cars for the past 2 weekends and researching for a few weeks longer than that and I'm really stressing myself out about it. I think after a test drive I have today, I may take a break from it for a few weeks. The cash for clunkers program kicks in in a couple weeks, which makes getting a new, rather than a used, car a real option for me, and even if I don't take advantage of it, more time spent waiting translates into more money saved for my down payment.
So far, I am really liking the Subaru Forester, but I haven't decided if I want a 2008 or 2009. (They underwent a significant redesign in 2009.) I drove the new one this weekend and will be driving the 2008 today.
On another subject I had the most delicious cocktail this weekend at The Swizzle Stick Bar. It was a combination of gin, lime juice and ginger beer called a Gin Gin Mule. I feel like I could drink a few of those right now. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mom Bread

My parents' garden has been absolutely overflowing with produce this summer, and as a direct result, I found myself with more zucchini than I can possible eat this week. I decided to rectify this situation by making zucchini bread. When I was looking for recipes for zucchini bread (b/c I've never let not knowing how to cook something stop me), I happened to find one that used both zucchini and blueberries. Of course, I have a bunch of frozen blueberries from my parents' garden as well- so I had to try it out!
Happily, not only was my bread tasty, it was also quite healthy. The recipe substitutes greek yogurt (and we all know how much I love greek yogurt!) for oil, and uses whole wheat flour for part of the flour. I also modified it a bit from the recipe I found online by adding ground flax (to make it even healthier), a little extra zucchini and some water- as well as increasing the amounts of cinnamon and vanilla because that's how I roll. :)
I took most of the bread to work today, and I got very good response from my coworkers. Several people called me or came to my desk to tell me how much they enjoyed it.
Since the star ingredients came from Mom's garden, I'm calling it "Mom Bread."
(Please excuse the sideways nature of my picture, I can't seem to make blogger upload it correctly!)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 small zucchinis)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water

Grease a bundt pan with baking spray. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In another large bowl combine the grated zucchini, eggs, yogurt, vanilla and sugar.

Gently toss the blueberries with 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture. This will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.

Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. If the batter is too thick or too dry, add up to 1/4 cups of water to moisten.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool completely before slicing it.

Heat Wave

It is HOT in the city! Today the heat index is 110F. Despite this, I just signed up to do a trail run in the middle of July. I've been told that it is really hot, gruelingly so, but also really fun. Other advice I've been given is to wear old shoes and tie them tightly. Apparently you run through a mud pit during the race and people have been known to lose their shoes!

Adding to the list of random things I want:

A good exercise headband because I haven't found one that stays on my head. Maybe this?

This shirt.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Dinner tonight was grilled yellow squash and zucchini; as well as chicken, tomato, bell pepper, red onion, pineapple, and bbq sauce shish kabobs. I am full and happy. :)
Tomorrow we are driving to Gulfport to hang out with my parents, go out on my dad's boat, and eat watermelon.
I love the summer. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Glorious Gluttony

I am currently traveling for work, and one of the biggest benefits is that my boss is as much of a foodie as I am- so I always eat well when I'm in Houston. And by eating well, I mean, of course, eating decadently.
I went to a great Latin Grill for lunch called Las Adas and had white fish, salmon, and shrimp sauteed in their "house sauce" (which tastes like coconut milk and delicious spices) with onions and red bell pepper. I also had a number of plantain chips with chimichurri sauce.
Tonight I intend to get the Landaise Pizza (duck confit, roasted garlic, and caramelized onion) and a salad from Bistro Provence.
Friday, I will be back in New Orleans, and have plans to take advantage of a "3 appetizers and 1 glass of wine for $28" special at Ralph's on the park. The menu options look amazing and of course I'm planning my choices in advance because I love reading online menus and getting excited about my upcoming meal.
I think I'm going to go with the Sweetbreads (yes, I know it's thymus), Beet Duet, and Wild Mushroom Ravioli....but the Creole Tomato & Red Pepper Soup, and the Jumbo Shrimp also look very tempting!
And after all that good food, I will be grilling veggies (fresh summer squash from my parents' garden!) and going for a long run on Saturday!

Great Speech

Michelle Obama's speech regarding American's eating habits.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009


Our vacation to Maine was absolutely wonderful. It was, unfortunately, flanked on either end by weather related flight delays, but the time spent in Maine could not have been more perfect.
The weather was amazing until the last half day of the trip (when it cooled down and rained)- sunny and 70 during the day, and cooling into the 50's at night.
On Saturday we drove from Portland to Bar Harbor. (We were supposed to drive up Friday afternoon but we didn't make it to Portland until midnight!)
Route 1 was very scenic, and we stopped and took some pictures along the way.
For lunch, we stopped in Trenton to eat at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. We shared steamers, a lobster, and blueberry pie à la mode. Everything was wonderful. Once we got to Bar Harbor, we checked into our B&B, the lovely Coach Stop Inn. After unpacking, we drove to Acadia National Park to fit in a little hiking before dinner.
First we stopped at the Jordan Pond House for tea and popovers, then we began to hike around the Jordan Pond and up a trail called the South Bubble Trail. We had asked a ranger for trail suggestions and she specifically mentioned that the hike to the top of South Bubble was "easy."
Apparently her definition of "easy" involves 500 feet of boulder scrambling up the side of a mountain. It was really fun, just not what I expected my first hike to entail! And we do think that there was an easier trail to the top that we must have overlooked because we saw a family with a toddler at the top, and there was no way they would have been able to come up the way we did!
We thought that the way down was going to be the easy trail that we had missed, but it was just as difficult as the way up. Ultimately though, I really loved that hike because I felt so proud of myself for being able to get through it. This entire trip, especially the hiking, made me feel so thankful for my strong, healthy body!
The next morning, we returned to Acadia and hiked the Great Head Trail. This trail was completely different. The Jordan Pond and South Bubble Trails had great views of the pond and woods and mountains, whereas the Great Head Trail had lovely views of Sandy Beach, the ocean, and sea cliffs. It was also a lot easier than the South Bubble Trail. The picture I've posted was taken as I'm lying on a rock above the sea cliffs listening to the waves crash below. It was amazing and totally relaxing. (We also took a million more pictures so feel free to check them out on my facebook page.)
After our hike, we went into Bar Harbor for lunch and wandered around the downtown area. We then drove to Portland to our second B&B the Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast. We ended our day with dinner and local microbrewed beers at the Sebago Brewing Company Brew Pub.
(We actually tried several different microwbrewery beers over the course of the trip. My favorites were the Bar Harbor Brewing Blueberry Ale, and the Sebago seasonal wheat beer.)
On Monday we drove around and saw a bunch of lighthouses in and around Portland, including the lights at Two Lights State Park, the Portland Head Light, the Spring Street Light and the Bug Light. We ate lunch at Duckfat (truffle ketchup is the bomb!) hen spend the afternoon wandering around the Old Port district. We ended the day by taking a sunset cruise in Casco Bay. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out at the last lighthouse before Portland, so I didn't actually take any pictures of Portland or of the Casco Bay Cruise. It was very pretty though. Basically, we just got tickets on the ferry that services all of the small islands in Casco Bay. There was no description beyond the island names, but the 2 hour ride was beautiful and I was really envious of the people who get to live on gorgeous islands off the coast of Maine! The other notable fact about the sunset cruise is that it was windy and cold on the water, especially after the sun went down! After we got back to land, we warmed ourselves up with bowls of chowder.
On our last day it was cold and raining, so we spent it indoors as much as possible. We toured the Wadsworth Longfellow House and the Portland Museum of Art.
After a tasty lunch at the Public Market House, we drove to the airport because our flight was at 4. Unfortunately, we ended up having to stay in Washington D.C. over night and didn't get home until Wed. morning.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip and I would love to go back to Maine some day. I also want to continue hiking. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I'm so excited! In less than 24 hours, I will be on a plane to Portland, Me!
Of course, I still have to pack after work, and I will be getting up WAY too early tomorrow, but I am extremely good at napping on planes. :)
After we land in Portland, we'll be driving to Bar Harbor for the first two nights of the vacation. We will spend the last two nights back in Portland.
I'm celebrating this fact by wearing my hiking shoes (And jeans! On a Thursday! Gasp!) to work today. I'm so bad!
(In all fairness, lots of people wear jeans every day at my office, although I typically wear them only on Fridays.)
It is really hard for me to sit still and focus today. Not only am I excited about my trip, I am also thinking of my dear boyfriend who is taking his boards for med school today. I'm pretty eager to hear from him once the test is over!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Relatively Healthy Dessert

My dear boyfriend recently informed me that he owns a set of ramekins. I've always wanted some ramekins, so I was very happy to find this out!
Tonight, I was craving a baked dessert, so I decided to use a ramekin to make a single serving. I adapted a blackberry crumble recipe to make it tiny and as healthy as possible. It turned out lovely, so here is my recipe!

1/4 Cup Frozen Blackberries (Thawed- I stuck them in the microwave for 2 minutes, actually)
1 drizzle of Agave Nectar (or a little sprinkle of sugar if you don't have this)
1/8 cup oats
1/8 cup whole wheat flour (or regular flour if that's what you have on hand)
1/8 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp of cinnamon (this is approximate, I just added this to taste)
1/2 tbsp of butter (putting the "relatively" in "relatively healthy," haha)
1 tsp ground flax seeds (omit this if you don't have it)

Placed thawed blackberries in the bottom of the ramekin. Add a drizzle of agave nectar and stir. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is crumbly. Add to ramekin, on top of blackberries. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes.
I enjoyed my blackberry crumble topped with a little cream. Ice cream would have been tasty as well.