Fitness Friday – Half Marathon Training Update #1

Hi everyone and a belated Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a nice time visiting with family and/or friends, eating good food, and enjoying the season. I know I did!

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On Christmas Eve, we drove to Marin County to spend the evening with my Grandma. My mom’s family is Italian, so our own tradition is Italian food on Christmas Eve. This year, we brought that tradition to my dad’s side of family and my mom made an epic lasagna, which we enjoyed before going to church and checking out some Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

On Christmas morning, the rest of the family arrived and we had a Christmas brunch, complete with mimosas (because duh, this is me we’re talking about!) and plenty of eggy, cheesy dishes. There was no shortage of cheese this Christmas hahaha #godblessusEVERYONE!

I got a few nice things this year, but the two best gifts I got were a job offer (!!!) and my parents treated me to a new pair of running shoes.

I went to Fleet Feet to get fitted (they’re the ones putting on my half marathon!). I’d had my old shoes for almost a year, and when I got fitted last time, I told them I was running 3 miles max (which was the truth!)… this time, I made sure to get inserts and running socks as well.

Which leads me to my next subject… An update on my Half Marathon training!

I am currently in Week 4 of my “12 week” training plan. I have 12 weeks of runs planned, with 2 weeks extra in case I need to delay a long run because of travel or sickness. I actually did have a bit of a head/chest cold this past week, but luckily since I stayed in on Friday night and slept 10 hours, it didn’t get in the way of my long run on Saturday.

Last time we spoke, I had worked out a training plan…

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I have since decided to create another spreadsheet showing my actual progress where I can keep track of my pace.

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Any run labeled as “run” is supposed to be at an easy pace, and any run labeled at “pace” is supposed to be at race pace. I have basically been pushing myself to stay under 9 minutes for my race pace runs.

You can see last week my pace SHOT up after getting new shoes and replenishing my fitmixer Clean Energy supply. At this point, I think/hope I can manage a 2:00:00 half marathon time, which would be about 9:10 min/mile. We will of course see if I can keep up my pace as I increase my distance!

Thoughts After 4 Weeks:

aches & pains

I decided I couldn’t wait till Christmas to get new shoes because I had been getting bad blisters and, since increasing to 3 runs per week, a little bit of knee pain. So I went on December 18th, and learned that my right knee over-rotates a little bit, which I think accounts for most of the pain I experience. One of my feet is also SLIGHTLY (like less than half an inch) bigger than the other, which may cause some hip pain eventually. So basically I’m feeling a bit of wear and tear, but I’ve got fingers crossed that it’s nothing that will develop into a more serious injury!

Moral of the story: stretching and icing are my friends right now!

the course

For 5 miles or less, I usually just run loops around nearby Capitol Park or McKinley Park…But as my distance increases, I’m changing up my routes, because it would be a little boring to run around Capitol Park 8 times 😉 This past week, I ran on part of the actual Half Marathon course and was less than thrilled that there were a couple of hills…

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The view was nice though!

It motivated me to go for a bike ride on Sunday for my cross training, and I biked pretty much the entire half marathon route. It was extremely humbling, to say the least. There were way more hills than I expected on the bike trail that the course follows! This definitely solidified my plan to train on the actual course.

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lifestyle changes

One big reason why I decided to do this half marathon was to force myself to make changes as far as diet/lifestyle/etc goes. I’ve already started using my Saturday morning runs as an excuse to stay in on Fridays (and drink tea instead of beer 😉 ) and the result is definitely tangible. Being well rested for my long runs makes a huge difference!

I’m hoping that once I start my job, I will get back on track as far as food goes. I’ve been all over the place: some days eating cookies for breakfast, vegetables for lunch, and going out to eat a lot more than I prefer. Tis the season, right? I’m interested in seeing how much weight I lose post-holidays, if any – I’ve put on about 10 pounds, but am fairly convinced it is mostly muscle!

Tomorrow will be my first “furthest run ever” training run of 7.25 miles, and it’ll be a fun exercise in self control to abstain from adult beverages tonight 🙂

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That’s it for today! I doubt you’ll be hearing much from me until the new year, since we are trekking out to my roomie’s family cabin on the Oregon Coast for New Years. We went 2 years ago and had a fantastic time, so I’m excited to escape to the little lakeside cabin again!

Happy New Year!

Do you have any fun Christmas traditions?

Half marathoners: How did you predict your race pace? Were training runs a good indicator for you?

What I Ate Wednesday – Breakfast Edition

Happy Wednesday! We’re almost over the hump! Although these days the days and weeks are all starting to blend together for me, especially with last week’s holiday. Read on to find out why, and to find out how it inspired today’s What I Ate Wednesday post 🙂

Continue reading

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

CHICKEN. It’s what’s for dinner! 99% of the time.

Amiright?

Chicken was always a staple of our household growing up. Pretty much most weeknight meals at our home consisted of either chicken or pasta. When I started taking an interest in cooking, I soon realized that while chicken is one of the most readily available and easy to cook ingredients out there, it’s easy to fall into a chicken rut.

Don’t take it out on the chicken, Rachael. It’s not its fault it’s boring to eat!

There’s only so many things you can add to a chicken breast before you get sick of it. So you have to start getting creative…

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A little while back, I blogged about La Terra Fina dips and how much my roomie and I LOVED THEM.

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The Chunky Artichoke & Jalapeno was definitely my favorite of the two. It has mild chilies in it that go PERFECTLY with the cream cheese-based spread. Add in artichokes and I’m in heaven.

While I decided that the Chunky Artichoke & Jalapeno was my favorite to go at with chips or veggies, the Spinach Artichoke & Parmesan screamed RECIPE to me.  It’s a bit more smooth than the Artichoke & Jalapeno, and is delicious heated up. And thus this recipe was born.

Delicious dips + boring chicken –> miracle recipe!

Though La Terra Fina’s dips are all made of natural ingredients, are gluten free, and include no trans fat, they don’t claim to be “low-fat” or “light” or any of that nonsense.

So to keep this entree on the healthier side, I used a trick I often do when cooking chicken breasts, which is: to butterfly them and split them in half. One serving of chicken breast is 4 oz (about 140 calories)…Most chicken breasts that you buy in the store come in at nearly twice that size. Unless you’re a body builder, you probably don’t need that much protein in one sitting! Butterflying your chicken breasts makes them a healthier portion size…plus, your chicken will cook faster! With the space you save on your plate, you can load up the rest of your plate with more veggies, salad, whole grains…whatever is your jam.

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PLUS, butterflying your chicken breast makes it much easier to wrap around some delicious spinach & artichoke dip 😉 How bad can that be?

INAAAAAAA. How’d you get in there?!

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast
makes 2 small servings

1 large chicken breast, butterflied & split into 2 separate pieces
2 tbsp La Terra Fina Spinach Artichoke & Parmesan Dip (or your preferred dip)
~1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt & pepper
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. After cutting your chicken width-wise down the length of the side of the breast and splitting into two thinly sliced pieces, season with salt and pepper. Place about 1 tablespoon of dip on the chicken breast, closer to the base of the breast. Carefully roll the chicken over the filling, using a toothpick or skewer to keep the ends closed.

Sprinkle/cover/roll chicken breast in breadcrumbs (If you want, you can coat the chicken in egg wash first, but I found it wasn’t necessary) and place on a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until done. Watch out for dip oozing out of the sides 🙂

Disclaimer: La Terra Fina provided me with dips to review/taste/develop recipes. All opinions, however, are my own!

New Obsession: MixMyOwn Muesli

Did you eat breakfast daily as a kid?

My brother and I sat at the table and eat cereal every morning throughout my childhood. Usually it was something “healthy”, (are Frosted Flakes considered healthy? 😛 ), but every so often we’d get treated to Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Unfortunately, Cookie Crisp never found its way into our pantry. Thanks a LOT, Mom!

When I hit high school and started taking a 7am zero period sophomore year (which I then continued, in addition to a full course schedule, through senior year…seriously, who was I?!), breakfast took the back burner. As anyone in my family can tell you, it takes a lot to get me out of bed in the morning, and I usually prefer to set the alarm as late as humanly possible, then rush out the door. I need my maximum possible amount of sleep!

As you can imagine, the no-breakfast habit continued into college for the most part. My meal plan included 14 meals per week, which allowed for lunch and dinner every day. Sometimes I’d treat myself to breakfast at the dining commons and grab lunch at a cafe on campus, but I by no means ate breakfast regularly.

In France, my breakfasts were usually a coffee and chocolate covered gaufre (waffle) from the vending machine at the university that I snacked on during class. (Oh my god, I miss those!) When I lived in an apartment senior year, my breakfast usually consisted of some kind of chocolatey Pop Tart, or a Luna bar.

Long story short: I had a very unhealthy relationship with breakfast for a long time 😉 Suddenly, I no longer wonder how I weighed nearly 20 pounds more than I do now just 3 years ago when I graduated!

When I moved home after college, to deal with being unemployed and bored, I got myself into a little routine: I started each day with a small breakfast and a workout, followed by a bigger breakfast/lunch. I forced myself to like bananas, because they were the easiest pre-work out breakfast option.

Nearly 3 years later, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t eat breakfast. During the colder months, I eat a lot of oatmeal. During the summertime, I usually have Greek yogurt and some kind of granola bar. This summer’s obsession was toast + Laughing Cow wedges. But when I went to Blend Retreat back in May, I tried overnight oats for the first time made with muesli…and I was hooked. It was basically like cold oatmeal, but tasted soooo much better than that sounds 🙂

In the middle of my recent toast and Laughing Cow breakfast kick, I was contacted by Klara from MixMyOwn Healthy Breakfast, who offered me a free sample of their product. Fresh out of muesli (thus the reason for the toast and Laughing Cow kick!), I jumped at the opportunity. MixMyOwn has a few muesli mixes they create themselves, but the coolest thing about the site is that you can create your own cereal/granola/muesli! And what really appealed to me was that they use all natural ingredients:

By offering nearly 100 responsibly chosen ingredients, including a variety of 100%
natural, unprocessed, organic, non-GMO, preservative free and sugar-free options,
MixMyOwn provides an alternative to processed cereals and snacks.

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So I went to work and Mixed My Own personal muesli…and it was amazing!

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I had no idea where to start…just check out all these options:

“A customer can choose from 31 types of dried fruits including 13 types of freeze-dried fruits, 20 types of nuts and seeds, and other healthy ingredients to add to the bases.

MixMyOwn offers 8 premixed breakfasts, as well, including: Kids Mix, Fitness Mix, Gluten-free Mix, Antioxidant Mix, Tutty Nutty, Very Berry, Strawberry Almond Mix, and Classic Mix, and even these can be adjusted to suit the customer’s unique needs”

I knew I wanted to make my own, rather than going for a premix. So I decided to go for a tropical theme! In addition to oats and various grains, I added: flaked coconut, dried mango, dried papaya, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, and because I still had a little bit of extra $ left, I splurged on a vanilla bean.

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Oh my gawwwd. SO good. I love the variety of textures, and you could tell that all the ingredients were high quality. I’m glad I went with the coconut (even though I’m not a huge fan)… I have always disliked shredded coconut, but I’m now sold on flaked coconut!

I also love that they include the nutrition stats for your mix:

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Look how low in sugar it is! Just 2.5g! I mix about one serving/half a cup of muesli with a cup of almond milk and a few more chia seeds, store it in the fridge overnight, and VOILA! Amazing breakfast.

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I definitely recommend trying out MixMyOwn! Especially if you’re picky about your oats 🙂

PLUS from now until the end of September you can get 20% off your order with the code HEALTHYBREAKFAST. Perfect timing, since I’m about to run out of my mix!

As I mentioned, I received my MixMyOwn mix free of charge…However, all opinions are my own!

What’s your go-to breakfast?

If you eat oatmeal/overnight oats, what’s your favorite combo of ingredients?

Meatless Monday: Zucchini-Corn Fritters

Labor Day is the worst.

For me, it has always marked the end of summer. No more pool days, no more white pants, goodbye 9pm sunsets, goodbye barbeques!

I have had an epic weekend, however, which I will share pictures of tomorrow. Wine, grape stomping, college friends, Sunday Funday, Nutella…If I have to say bye to summer, I might as well send it off right…right?

These past few years, I’ve also begun to love summer produce. Tomatoes have always been one of my most hated foods…but between the months of June and September, I find myself popping fresh cherry tomatoes like candy. Every meal is accompanied by corn on the cob, and I can’t remember the last stir fry I made that didn’t involve zucchini.

Luckily for us in California we get summer produce year round! For a price 😉

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This summer, I’ve been trying to perfect the zucchini fritter. It’s such an easy Monday night meal – there’s minimal prep needed; just scoop together a bunch of veggies and fry ’em up! My ratio was always off, though…too wet, too crumbly, etc. Last week, I finally hit my sweet spot and they turned out delicious! But really, who doesn’t like fried food?

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So make these tonight, make them next week or next month, and enjoy the lingering produce of summer!

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Unfortunately I learned that taking pictures of food isn’t super easy to do with a cast on your thumb…haha.

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#epiclyblurryfoodphotos

Zucchini-Corn Fritters
loosely based on Zucchini Fritters by smitten kitchen

makes 4 fritters

1 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil (fresh) or 1 tsp basil (dry)
1/2 cup corn, removed from cob
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)
oil, for frying

Shred zucchini with a box grater or, if you’re smart and lazy, a grater attachment on your food processor. Place in a strainer and sprinkle salt over the shredded zucchini. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then using a clean towel or thick paper towels, wring out all the excess water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

To the lump of zucchini, add salt, pepper, basil, corn, and egg and mix. Add flour and baking powder and combine until well incorporated.

Heat about a tablespoon (or more if desired) of oil over medium-medium high heat. One at a time, scoop blobs of zucchini batter into the pan. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until brown, then carefully flip to the other side. Once it’s on the other side, you can flatten it out a bit so it has a fritter shape. Let cook on the other side for another 3 minutes and remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately!

Weekend in Photos

Good morning friends!

Hope you all had a good weekend and that your Monday isn’t too miserable. I just successfully replaced our water cooler jug – broken thumb and all – without spilling any water, so it’s safe to say I feel like a rock star this morning. Haha. It’s the little things 🙂

Sorry about the very intermittent posting these past few weeks. It can mostly be chalked up to the aforementioned broken thumb, and the fact that using a computer mouse sucks big time. That all changes soon, though, because I’ve only got 2 days left before the cast comes off. Not that I’ve been keeping track…

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Just imagine I took this picture this morning, and that it says 2 days 😉 I actually do have things I’ve been wanting to post about…like that I registered for a big race in 2 weeks!! But more on that later!

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Just like last week, I kicked off my weekend with what is quickly becoming my favorite no-cook Friday night dinner: crackers, cheese, fruit & wine! Nutella might have made an appearance later in the evening 😉 I also watched 4 more episodes of Orange is the New Black…only one left! Such a great show, I almost don’t want to watch the finale because I don’t want it to end.

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Saturday morning, I suffered through a very long run (my longest yet!)…I had a side cramp for the first 2 miles, but still exceeded my 4.75 mile goal and am hopefully on track to run 6.2 miles in 2 weeks. I followed it up with a protein smoothie: frozen mango, Chobani plain yogurt, vanilla Plant Fusion protein powder, and a little bit of almond milk.

As much as I love change, I realized this weekend that I’ve been following the same Saturday morning run + farmer’s market routine for almost 2 months straight now. It’s nice to carve out a little bit of “me” time every week!

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So off to the farmer’s market I went – I actually didn’t get too much stuff this week, since I went out for lunch a couple times last week and still had a lot of produce left. I did get some flowers for myself, and fresh eggs, which I then whipped up into an massive lunch with ONLY Farmer’s Market ingredients: scrambled egg + squash & eggplant + salsa.

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Lest you think I spend my entire weekends eating clean, running almost 5 miles, and being totally G-rated, I present to you: Saturday night. My friend Danny had an SNL-themed Pub Crawl for his birthday, and Yvette and I dressed up as the Delicious Dish/Schweddy Balls ladies (complete with chocolate balls made by Yvette!). We even found a Pete Schweddy no less than 1 hour into the night! Score! There were some amaazing costumes, our group was definitely quite a sight to see.

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I also decided to wear a few sharpies around my neck and let all my friends sign my cast, since it’s coming off soon anyway. My only rule was “no profanity, but if you must, write it on the underside“…. And of course, I ended up with a dick on the underside. But hey, I got a cute guy’s number too, so it all evens out 😉

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Yesterday was probably one of the best Lazy Sunday/Sunday Fundays in recent memory. Most of the afternoon was spent on the patio at Burgers and Brew enjoying perfect weather and, well… burgers and brew. Haha. Followed by fro yo for dinner, another amazing episode of Breaking Bad, and N*Sync at the VMA’s…it was a good day.

Just a few more days and then I get a 3-day weekend! Even so, I hate Labor Day.. it always marked the end of summer throughout childhood. Time to soak up these last days of summer!

Do you have any routines that you stick to every day or every week?

What did you think of the VMA’s?

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday from cloudy, humid, hot Sacramento?

It’s overcast and 80 degrees outside already, with a high of 103 on the horizon. What the what?! I was going to go for a jog this morning since it would be too hot to go at lunch, but it was just too muggy. It’s never a good sign when the A/C wakes up at the same time you do!

Anyway, I had an excellent weekend doing a whole lot of nothing. After a couple of fun weekends and a whole week of vacation, I seriously just wanted to veg out all weekend, and that’s more or less what I did!

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Since I had kickball on Wednesday and stayed out late on Thursday (dodgeball) I decided to stay in on Friday. I started off the weekend with a post-work workout, and a decision to finally unpack from New York. Little did I know that my roomie had similar plans to clean up around the apartment, so most of Friday evening was spent cleaning! Haha. Add in my ideal Friday night dinner of cheese, crackers, fruit & wine, and I was in heaven!

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Another reason I decided to call it an early night was because I was going on a run with my friend Nicki in the morning (we ran a 5K together earlier this year!). I never run with a buddy, but I think I might have to start.. we went slow and steady, chatting and gabbing the whole way, and before I knew it we had run 4.1 miles! What?!

As per my usual Saturday routine, the morning jog was followed by a trip to the Farmers Market. This week, I went with corn, cherry tomatoes, local cage-free eggs, squash, mushrooms, and some cute little Indian eggplants!

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Another benefit of having a relaxing weekend was that I got to eat some good, clean, homemade food for the first time in a while. Including: badly cracked egg + eggplant + goat cheese in a tortilla, southwestern salad with turkey-quinoa meatballs, Moscow Mules (haha okay not clean, but the ginger beer was housemade at the bar!), and a protein packed black bean-quinoa-egg-sriracha bowl.

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I did some serious damage at the Macy’s Sunday sale yesterday and was worried my bag wouldn’t fit in my bike basket. Crisis averted! I finally succumbed and signed up for a Macy’s credit card…I’m in for it, you guys.

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The perfectly relaxing weekend finished up with a super tense viewing of Breaking Bad at Sam & David’s place. Sam cooked up some amazing quesadillas and guac as we chewed off our nails and stress-sweated through the episode (ok, maybe that was just me…) that had an epic cliffhanger. SO GOOD!

Hope you all had a good weekend as well! I’m going to try to get back to my more frequent posting schedule, but to be honest that might not happen until after my cast comes off…Typing and using a computer mouse with a cast on your thumb/forearm is not the business. 9 more days!

Do you run with friends?

What did you think of Breaking Bad?

What I Ate Wednesday

Though I have been blogging for well over a year now, there’s one typical “healthy living blogger” blog post I’ve never done…until today!

What I Ate Wednesday.

I try to avoid posting pictures of every.single.thing I eat, unless what I’m eating is particularly good looking, great tasting, or if it’s a meal I’m really proud of making. Well, none of the things in this post are good looking or mind blowing recipes.. but I generally don’t eat anything that isn’t delicious 🙂 Thankfully, even if I don’t share it on the blog, I have friends who don’t mind me snapping pix of everything I eat to them on Snapchat (Hi Linda Li!)

I’ve also been known to post what I can actually eat/make with a cast, and this time around is no exception! Actually, I’ve found that eating might be even harder with this broken thumb than it was with my broken hand. Though I eat with my left hand, I require my right thumb to chop veggies and hold a spatula. Also, washing dishes is interesting:

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(wearing a rubber glove, Grocery Outlet bag, and a plastic produce bag)

Without further ado, here’s what I ate yesterday.

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My standard breakfast for, like, the last month is 2 slices of Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted toast + Laughing Cow Smooth Sensations cream cheese spread. I won 5 wheels of the stuff in a Twitter contest back when I was at Blend, and I am still working through them! Pictured is cinnamon (left, SO yummy) and strawberry.

I am also really loving Alvarado St. bread at the moment. You can find it at Trader Joe’s (I got their Essential Flax bread there), but my trusted Grocery Outlet discount store recently started stocking it for way cheap! I usually get the California-style complete protein bread, or sprouted whole wheat. They’re the perfect size, pack some protein, and are only 80-90 calories a slice!

And since we’re on the subject of breakfast…

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I was so stoked to be able to make my overnight oats in almost-empty nut butter jars TWICE in the past couple of weeks! Although that also means I’m out of peanut butter and almond butter 😦

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This morning, I had an epically fruity yogurt bowl. Banana cream pie yogurt, fresh pineapple, blueberries, and a dollop of my grandma’s apricot jam. The apricot jam and banana yogurt were actually a really yummy combo!

Since Friday, I have also been having either a calcium pill or multivitamin with breakfast 🙂

Snacks during the workday for the last 2 weeks have not changed:

SO ADDICTIVE!

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I only grab 3-4 at a time, but I always end up eating 2 servings (20 pretzels) worth in a day, haha. I have stopped trying to fight it, but I at least limit myself to one serving before lunch and one after 😛

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As is somewhat normal for me, I did a short workout at lunch. I lifted one small (5 lb) weight and, after realizing it was kind of painful, decided I probably shouldn’t risk injury. So, I’ve relegated myself to the sorority girl workout: elliptical and abs! I’ve made it my goal to have a 6 pack by the time my cast comes off in 4 weeks, haha. Yesterday, I did 20 mins on the elliptical, followed by a 1 min plank, 30 sec side planks, 2 sets of V-ups and Stability Ball sit-ups, and a little bit of work on my obliques.

Also, related note: be glad you’re not friends with me on Snapchat 😛

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Lunch was part 2 of the summer stew I prepped on Sunday: onion, garlic, zucchini, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, lentils, and bell peppers. Aaand a La Tortilla Factory 100-calorie tortilla. LOVE those. 100 calories, 8g of fiber, and they’re huge! I was kind of ravenous after my workout, so I also found an Oats n Honey granola bar to tide me over till dinner.

Last night was laundry night so I was at my parents’ house for dinner:

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BLT’s are probably my family’s most common summer meal, since my dad grows so many tomatoes! Mine was 2 slices of 12-grain bread, 3-4 slices of juicy garden tomatoes, 3 slices of bacon (the real kind, not turkey…my brother’s request) and lots of arugula. On the side was honey dijon Kettle chips, pineapple, and a Lagunitas IPA! Seriously, perfect summer meal.

After dinner, I folded laundry and watched Breaking Bad (I’ve been catching up for almost a year, and am finally on season 4!)

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…while snacking on peanuts and tasting some sangria my mom bought. Yum!

Do you take pictures of everything you eat?

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Any ab/core workouts to recommend?

Meatless Monday: Vegan “Caprese” Pizza

If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook you probably saw this picture on Friday:

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I went to the store after work intending to buy white wine and avocados (standard Katie-Essentials) and somehow 2 bottles of kombucha and a tray of tofu found their way into my basket (um, not so standard Katie-Essentials). Most normal people, when strolling through the grocery store, will pick up “impulse purchases” like chocolate….cookies…chips…

Me? I’ve apparently gotten to a level of healthy blogger status that my impulse purchases are tofu and kombucha. Really…who am I?!

As far as the kombucha goes, I’m trying to incorporate more non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages into my diet. I realized when filling out that Healthy Living Survey on Friday that the only drinks I consume on a regular basis are water, tea, wine & beer. Whenever I sit down to read blogs or watch my TV shows in the evening, I often pour myself a glass of wine out of boredom more than anything else. Apparently, I can’t just sit and watch tv – I need to be sipping on something! I figure kombucha is a healthy alternative, since I don’t drink soda or juice.

The tofu though…I can’t really explain. I guess I was just buying it as an experiment and a challenge, since I’ve never cooked with it before. I also might have been inspired by Becky’s BBQ Tofu Pizza. 🙂

I am actually often not a fan of tofu. I used to actually pick out the slimy pieces of tofu in my miso soup as a kid, the slippery texture really freaked me out. However, I’ve challenged myself to figure out a way to cook it in a way that I like, and I’ve discovered it’s actually really easy!

My first trial involved the stove and I tried sauteing it in a stir fry – not so great.

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My second try was a success, and made its home on this pizza. I decided to let tofu stand in for the more traditional mozzarella cheese and call this baby a caprese pizza! It does have all the other traditional ingredients – giant tomatoes from my boss’s garden, and a kick of basil in the [cheeseless] pesto. I drizzled a little balsamic on top and voila! Vegan pizza.

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Baking the tofu in the oven gives it a nice crispy exterior and an all-around firm texture. Plus, it’s a perfect meal for one that will be ready in less than 30 minutes. Winner winner chicken tofu dinner?

Vegan “Caprese” Pizza
serves 1
inspired by Becky’s BBQ Tofu Pizza

1 whole wheat tortilla or pita
2-4 tablespoons vegan pesto (I whipped one up that did not include cheese)
2-3 slices tomato (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick)
5 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Begin by preparing your tofu – preheat oven to 375F and grease a baking sheet. Place tofu on baking sheet (if you’d like to roast the tomatoes, you can add them too) and bake for 20 minutes, flipping all the pieces once halfway through.

Meanwhile, prepare your pesto (if making yourself) and the balsamic drizzle. Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and boil for about 5-10 minutes, until it becomes syrupy and reduces in size by almost half. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

Place tortilla in oven for last few minutes of baking the tofu. Remove the tortilla and tofu (slash tomato) and start assembling: spread pesto on the tortilla, and top with tomatoes and tofu. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into slices and eat like a pizza, or just dig in!

Have you ever cooked with tofu?

Healthy Living Survey

I’m totally copping out today. I saw this survey a couple of weeks ago on Christina’s blog and thought it looked interesting since all the questions have to do with healthy living! Enjoy.

1. What did you eat for breakfast? overnight oats. Muesli Fusion, almond milk, & chia seeds!

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2. How much water do you drink a day? Probably not enough. On a regular day, I’d say abouuuut 60 oz? I drink more now that it’s hot, and on dodgeball nights (mostly to avoid hangovers the next day)

3. What is your current favorite workout? I like running because it makes me feel really strong and capable.. but since it’s been too hot to run lately, I’m getting into upper body stuff…I LOVE triceps kickbacks! Burns soo good.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks? Definitely mixed nuts. Or anything dipped in hummus.

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6. What do you usually eat for lunch? Usually some kind of veggie and protein mix with a tortilla or side of toast. If I eat out, I get a salad or sandwich.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train? Arms, abs/obliques

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train? Probably lower body. I figure my legs get enough exercise biking every day and running!

9. What are your “bad” food cravings? Chocolate, wine and cheese. Hands down. I also justify eating too much of things like almond butter and avocado because it’s “healthy”, but the ungodly amounts I eat probably cancel out any health benefits!

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10. Do you take vitamins or supplements? Like Christina, I buy a ton and forget to take them. I have Calcium/Vitamin D, B6 Vitamelts, and a women’s multi vitamin that I actually sometimes take. We got tons of swag at Blend, and of all the products we got I have started taking Fitmixer Clean Energy before workouts, and I have tried Onnit’s New Mood supplement.

11. How often do you eat out? 1-2 times per week tops! I go out for drinks w/o food more often.

12. Do you eat fast food? Pretty much, no. I’ve had Chipotle 3 times since we moved into our apartment that’s 1 block away from one… I do occasionally frequent food trucks 🙂 And In-N-Out on road trips!

13. Who is your biggest supporter? My parents and my best girl friends from high school and college.

14. Do you have a gym membership? Kinda- we get free access to the [pretty low maintenance] gym in my office building!

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cool exposed brick, amiright?

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 7-8 on weeknights. And if I’m lucky, 9-10 on weekends haha. I really love sleep.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day? No. I cheat every day. <– Word.

17. Do you drink alcohol? Yes. In fact, the only beverages I drink regularly are water, tea, beer and wine. And the occasional whiskey. Is that bad?

18. Do you have a workout buddy? Not really. I have suckered my friend Lisa into working out with me before dodgeball a few times, though 🙂 Who wants to start running at Capitol Park with me??

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle? I feel more confident about my physical appearance, and more confident in general about what I am capable of physically. Life becomes a lot less complicated when you feel good about what you see in the mirror.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did? I worked out on Monday and Tuesday, and I played kickball on Wednesday and dodgeball on Thursday. Even though kickball and dodgeball are usually followed by several beers, I feel like it’s still healthy 😉

Have a great weekend!