Weekend in Photos

Good afternoon, blog land!

I am currently coming to you in between coffee jitters. For some reason I’ve been craving hot (and iced) coffee lately, even though it gives me stomachaches and makes me tweak out. I generally drink tea, but I love the taste of coffee. I also just love having a hot drink with me in the morning…it was 45 degrees outside when I woke up this morning! So I had 2 cups of coffee and have switched to decaf so I don’t completely crash before lunchtime 😉

On to the weekend!

october

I took a short (not even half) day at work on Friday and started it off right – got a pumpkin latte from Peets (actually probably better than S*bucks if you ask me!), bought a pumpkin, and since they don’t have pumpkin kombucha I settled for the also very fall-like cranberry flavor. It wasn’t my favorite, but it’s good to add another flavor into my not-very-expansive kombucha repertoire.

october1

I took the short day at work because my dad and I decided to go to the Bay Area to hang out with my grandma, as it was the 1st anniversary of my Papa’s death. Some of you may remember my Papa passing suddenly last year (see that post here) and that my dad and I went to be with family that day. I baked pumpkin bread for everyone who was mourning with us that day, and decided to keep up the tradition this year, roasting up the pumpkin I bought that morning and making it into pumpkin bread (it totally stuck in the pan, so Grandma and I went at it with a fork! 😀 )

I also made us a simple little ravioli & tomato sauce dinner. I had a great time catching up with my grandma, and especially enjoyed our obligatory Happy Hour where we talked about life and boys while watching her favorite Westerns on TV 🙂

october2

My dad and I made it back that evening, so I called it an early night. I woke up well-rested, knowing I wanted to run at least 5.5 miles…after 3, I was feeling fantastic and decided to go for it- I ran another 10k! I also beat my race time by a whopping 3 minutes — I attribute this to the fact that I a) have been keeping up with my long runs and b) ran on my regular completely flat running path. Afterwards, I went to the Farmer’s Market for and picked up just a couple of things. (Flowers, brussels sprouts, greens, and my favorite salsa)

october3

After my run, I refueled by making a smoothie with my new NINJA ULTIMA BLENDER!!! Thanks to Becky, who tagged me in an Instagram contest at the Healthy Living Summit, I won this beaut! It created probably one of the smoothest smoothies I’ve ever made, and the single serve cups are awesome. I loaded it up with frozen bananas, plain greek yogurt, a spoonful of peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, and some almond milk.

october4

Not so smooth…. was my phone falling out of my pocket while biking on Saturday night. No insurance + no AppleCare = looks like Katie’s gonna be payin at least $140 to get it fixed! Anyone have an old AT&T iPhone they don’t need? 😉

october5

After less than 5 hours of sleep, I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning (7:30am!) stressed out about life and my phone and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I did the only thing I was sure would make me feel better – went to the gym and watched Food Network! I was the only one at the gym at 9:30am on Sunday morning…. quelle surprise 😉

october6

I had a few hours to kill before our first Sunday dodgeball game of the season, so I did some food prep! Not much, but it is enough to keep me eating clean for at least a few days. I thawed a chicken breast, made roasted tomato salsa (also with my new Ninja!), chopped up veggies for stir frying throughout the week (um, shredding brussels sprouts with a mandolin is amazing!), and made a pot of brown rice. Easy peasy!

I’m pretty proud of myself for exercising a fair amount of moderation and working out both days this weekend, especially after the debauchery of last weekend. To be honest, I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress at work and in some aspects of my personal life, so it’s nice to know that there’s something I can control that makes me feel good!

What’s your favorite smoothie combo?

Any advice on the shattered iPhone screen?

Did you food prep this week?

Advertisements

Lunch Lately & A Super Easy Taco Bowl Recipe

Before I get to pictures of my lunches lately, a few PSA’s:

I announced a winner of my Food Should Taste Good giveaway! Was it you?

Remember my Muesli Protein Bars? They were selected to be a finalist in the Muesli Fusion Recipe Contest! Please click here to go to the Facebook Poll and vote for me! All you have to do is click “Muesli Protein Bars — Blonde Ambition Blog”. First place AND runner up get a prize! Thank you so much to everyone who has already voted!

Ahem. Back to our regularly scheduled programming 😉

Last month when I went to Park City to attend Blend Retreat, I often found myself the recipient of the question, “So what is your blog about?” In fact, I get this question a lot in everyday life. I think most people expect me to say that I think I’m some gourmet foodie, or that I make really elaborate dishes. The truth is, this blog is about making healthy living seem more accessible to busy twenty-somethings (or even just busy people in general!).

Now, I get that when I say “healthy living”, the image that comes to mind is someone who must be 100% preservative-free, organic-only, homegrown, or following the ever so trendy gluten-free diet. (“I’m pretty sure gluten is just anything that is bad for you” hahaha Seth Rogen in This Is the End) But I know that’s unrealistic for most people, myself included.

For me, one of the most important aspects of healthy living is limiting my meals out each week — especially lunch. There aren’t a lot of healthy options close to my work, and salads get old fast. So I aim to prep food on Sundays, or even throughout the week when I have time in the evening, so that I have quick grab-and-go meals to bring for lunch. On days that I’m not working out at lunch, I sometimes have time to bike home and cook a quick meal. I suppose that’s a luxury of living only 7 blocks away from my office 😉

But there are plenty of days when I have to grab an “emergency” burrito out of the freezer, or grab a salad or sandwich from La Bou. And that’s okay! I try to abide by the 80-20 ratio…80% good healthy eats, 20% indulgence. So if I go out to eat or mack on a frozen burrito one day out of the week, that’s not so bad.

Here’s what I’ve been making lately!

20130619-092441.jpg

My Lemony Rice & Spring Veggies – perfect for a non workout day, but could work for a workout day too…just add chicken!

20130619-092451.jpg

There was one week where I spent about 20 minutes on Monday night cooking up a few sausages and peppers, and had lunch for 3 days. One day I ate them on a tortilla with broccoli, another day with bread like a sandwich. Very versatile!

20130619-092429.jpg

Salad is super quick to put together either the night before or in the morning. This one had romaine lettuce, beets, broccoli, and bell peppers…I think some pinto beans were hiding in there too. Make or store your dressing in a mason jar and add when you’re ready to eat!

20130619-092435.jpg

You wouldn’t think so, but pasta is actually a great quick meal to make in the morning to bring to work…Especially if you use spaghetti (which cooks quicker than most pasta). Just cook the spaghetti, toss in some veggies like broccoli and kale, plus a squeeze of lemon and some parm…And you have a perfectly portable meal! Plus, the hot spaghetti will wilt the veggies.

20130619-092457.jpg

On days when I have time to go home and make lunch, my meals typically look like this. A bunch of sauteed veggies with a side of avocado toast. Can you tell there were beets in this stir fry? Haha.

20130619-092446.jpg

evol Burritos are probably my favorite frozen burrito. It doesn’t hurt that Grocery Outlet has been selling them $1 off for a good 2 months now 😉 They are a little heavy on the tortilla, but I read that evol recently took that feedback and changed their recipe to include smaller tortillas. This must be why Grocery Outlet has so many – getting rid of the old product! My favorite is the Bean, Rice & Cheese.

DSC_0600

Now that I’ve totally inspired you to make your own lunch everyday… 😉 Here’s a recipe for an easy lunch (and what I’ve been eating for lunch this week! These Chicken Taco “Bowls” are easy and quick to put together (you basically just layer the ingredients in a bowl/tupperware) and are a really hearty meal. They’re easily customizable, too, so if you don’t like the ingredients I included, sub in whatever you want! I made these Monday night in about 30 minutes, providing me with two grab and go lunches this week!

20130619-092501.jpg

Chicken Taco Bowls
makes 2 bowls (but is easily doubled!)

1 large chicken breast
juice of one lime
salt & pepper
chile powder
cumin
garlic powder
oil, for sauteing

1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup black beans, drained
1 small summer squash
1 handful baby kale (if you use regular kale, you will probably want to cook it a bit with the squash. Baby kale is much more tender)

Combine chicken breast with lime juice and spices in a plastic bag. Squish around all the spices to make sure chicken is coated. Let sit while you prepare remaining ingredients. Cook rice according to package directions if not already cooked. Drain and rinse black beans, and cut squash into half moons.

Heat saute pan over medium-high heat. Add desired amount of oil, turning the pan to coat. Add marinated chicken to pan. Cook about 6 minutes, then turn. Once you have turned the chicken, add the squash. Cook an additional 6 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring the squash occasionally. Remove from heat and let chicken rest on a cutting board while you assemble the bowls.

In two tupperware containers, layer ingredients: 1/2 cup beans, 1/4 cup rice, small handful of kale, and half of the squash. When chicken is cooled, cut into cubes and evenly split between the two tupperwares. You’ll notice the heat from the squash and chicken will wilt the kale, eliminating the need to cook it separately. Store in fridge until needed, and microwave for about 1:30 on high before eating. Eat alone, or with a tortilla!

DSC_0601

20130619-092507.jpgWhat is your go-to lunch at work?

How often do you eat out during the week?

Weekend Food Prep

Soo I wasn’t so great on the healthy eating thing these past four days.

photo 1

the Six Pepper Pizza at the Dodgeball league bar – pepperjack cheese, jalapenos, pepperoncinis, bell peppers, pepperoni, and crushed red. SO GOOD.

photo 2

got a hankerin’ to bake m&m chocolate chip cookies on Friday night… so i DID!

photo 3

had an epic picnic for two on Saturday. sandwich fixins, cheese, crackers, mango, MORE cheese, hummus, and carrots/bell peppers for dipping

photo 5

this is how much cheese T-Man put in our eggs yesterday morning when i requested “not too much cheese” haha

It was bound to happen, since I had an insane week at work and was too busy enjoying a baseball game last Sunday to do any food prep.

Meanwhile, I’ve been quite good and have kept up with 1 gym trip and 1-2 runs per week, and due to T-Man’s work schedule I’ve been biking to work 5 days a week (holy mother my quads are getting BIG!), so I’m not too concerned about a few days of “gluttony”, if you can even call them that.

It’s not the worst mess-up in the history of people-trying-to-eat-healthily, but all the same I feel a bit guilty. Actually, that feeling might be indigestion 😉

In order to avoid similar mistakes this week, I made some food yesterday.

DSC_0484

A lotttt of food.

So here’s the thing: I don’t like to meal plan. There, I said it. I know some people get off on it, but it’s just not my bag. I am very finicky when it comes to deciding what I’m in the mood to eat (especially for dinner). It gives me anxiety to imagine choosing what to eat more than a few hours before the meal happens, let alone FOUR DAYS. But what if I’m not feeling like chicken that night? What if someone cool wants to go out to happy hour and grab a bite to eat?….you get the picture.

I can, however, get down with prepping a bunch of food that can go together in different ways throughout the week. Yesterday, I made a couple of plain chicken breasts – this week I can shred them up for tacos, slice one to put in a sandwich, or just saute one to eat with some veggies and oven fries. Three different options already! And the best part is, once I decide what I want to eat on Wednesday night, I’ll already have done most of the work days before. I like this food prep business.

Here’s what I did this week:

DSC_0465

I started soaking some dry black beans while cleaned the kitchen. Cleaning is my #1 procrastination tool. If I ever have a big task ahead, you bet your ass I’ll find something to clean before I can get started.

DSC_0461

Lots of clutter… which, with the help of awesomely bad music….

DSC_0467

DSC_0468

Became slightly less clutter. (also, all the dirty dishes in the sink that I didn’t tell you about are now clean. Boom.)

DSC_0472

DSC_0473

I put the beans in the Crockpot for two hours thinking that would be long enough. Hahaha, silly Katie. I used it as a timer to see how long it took to prep the rest of the food. The result: everything was finished in less than 2 hours! (except for the actual thing cooking in the Crockpot of course.)

First course: Breakfast. Frozen Yogurt squares it is!

DSC_0475

Yogurt, fruit, oats, honey, mix mix mix.

DSC_0476

DSC_0477

I’ll deal with you later.

Next, vegetables. I decided on a kale and mushroom saute, and instead of spending 35 minutes making rice, I decided to get creative with my cauliflower.

DSC_0479

DSC_0480

Cauliflower rice! I’m kind of excited to try it.

DSC_0478

Meanwhile, crappy music was still blasting on my iPad.

DSC_0481

Kale and mushrooms were sauteing.

DSC_0482

And a couple of chicken breasts were poached.

Let’s break down the results.

For breakfast:

DSC_0485

I am set for the week! I have 2 leftover Oikos, which I pair with Fiber One brownies. For the rest of the days of the week, I’ll have a Frozen Yogurt square paired with Fiber One bars. (The FroYo squares are fewer calories than a yogurt cup, so I pair them with a higher cal bar to even it out)

Next: protein!

DSC_0487

Two chicken breasts, and nearly 2 cups of black beans will be readily available to me this week. I also made a batch of my spicy peanut sauce. I kinda just want to dip everything in it. Is that bad?

DSC_0486

I split the kale and mushroom saute into two servings – I’m thinking I’ll pair one with beans (on a workout day, for protein) and the other with cauliflower rice.

Obviously this won’t last me all 5 days this week as far as lunches and dinner goes. So far, I only have evening plans on Wednesday and Thursday this week, so I will have enough time to make a normal dinner most other nights. Some other things I have readily available in my fridge/freezer that I can use for meals this week:

  • Enough Spring Mix for a big salad or 2
  • Sprouts and bread for sandwiches
  • Soup cup at work
  • A serving of frozen ravioli + like 4 servings of my mom’s pasta sauce in the freezer. It’s my emergency pasta stash, y’all!
  • Lentils + veggies and a can of diced tomatoes = lentil stew (if I have time. Plus I can make enough so I have leftovers!)

Do you meal plan or do food prep? If so, which is more helpful to you?

What is your go-to lunch to bring to school/work?

Convention Weekend in Photos

What. a. weekend.

Last year, T-Man and I went to San Diego for the convention and it was a pretty good time, but there’s nothing like having it in your own city! Being involved in some of the planning made it all a lot more rewarding too.

This morning is kind of weird at my office since we just got switched over to this new system…I mentioned on Friday that we’re switching to Windows 7, which is fine and dandy…but we’re also in this new “virtual desktop environment” now which is taking some getting used to!

Anyway…check out the photos of the weekend 🙂

20130415-093605.jpg

Our set up at the Masonic Temple on Friday! I was in charge of the dessert bar.  The bottom picture is of the offerings in our VIP area. It was *supposed* to be exclusive…however, when you put a volunteer in charge of manning the list, exclusivity kinda falls by the wayside, as we learned. I stayed up there most of the time, not indulging in the beverages so much as I was doing damage control, haha.

20130415-093610.jpg

The theme was the “Progressive Era” and my roomie Hanna and I decided to dress the part! Near the end of the party, the parking lot was transformed into food truck CENTRAL. And later, at Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s bash, Suchin Pak of all people (of MTV fame) introduced the Lt Gov before he spoke.

20130415-093635.jpg

Checked out the General Assembly on Saturday afternoon and heard some pretty good speakers, though we missed all the elected officials like Nancy Pelosi, John Chiang, Gavin Newsom, etc.

20130415-093617.jpg

After the General Assembly was the Taste of Sacramento event put on by Senator Steinberg’s office (who I interned for for almost a year before my current job). Local beer, local wine, and pizza from a wood fire oven!

20130415-093623.jpg

Saturday night was the night for hospitality suites, and from the balcony of one of them you could see my office 🙂 Aaand photobooth fun from our party!

20130415-093642.jpg

My “recovery” day on Sunday involved cleaning the heck out of my room. You can imagine 2 days of hurrying home to change and hurrying back to the Convention Center left my room in some disarray…

20130415-093650.jpg

I also did some Food Prep in anticipation of a hectic week! Made a pot of brown rice, a couple of servings of a kale + chickpea saute, roasted a red pepper for veggie sandwiches, and prepped some fruit to be frozen for smoothies! Not bad…Not bad at all 🙂

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever been to a political convention?

Weekend in Photos

Happy (?) Monday, everyone. For once, I feel somewhat rested today — I kept it low key this weekend because next weekend is the Democratic Convention here in Sacramento and I am sure to get zero sleep 😉

Let’s start with Thursday night, shall we?

20130408-094001.jpg

I felt this series of photos was worth sharing.. I asked T-Man to take a picture of me (just one!) with our new team socks on…And he started shooting away as fast as my little iPhone camera could go. There were actually 15 more pictures of me total. As soon as I realized what he was doing, I ran and hid behind a chair. Apparently, I’m a little camera shy 🙂

20130408-094006.jpg

It was my boss’s birthday on Friday and he was out of town celebrating, so I finished my workday by starting to re-watch the last few episodes of the last season of Mad Men in anticipation of Sunday’s finale! – On my way home, a very nice {and possibly homeless} man gave me a rose picked from a nearby park and told me to have a nice day.

20130408-093954.jpg

T-Man’s brother flew in from San Diego on Friday night (Hi Nick!) to spend the weekend in NorCal, so we took him to Bonn Lair, our favorite pub.

20130408-094013.jpg

I woke up on Saturday and only had one goal for the day……to purchase an iPad! I’d been on the fence for a while {I don’t have a laptop, so my phone is my only portable electronic}, but after mailing in my tax return and being promised a hefty refund, I decided to go for it. I love it so far!

20130408-094021.jpg

Dinner on Saturday was pretty snacky – crispy asparagus a la How Sweet Eats and a perfect poached egg {#yolkporn central, amirite Theresa?}, sweet potato fries, lots of leftover Easter candy, and a couple of glasses of wine while I binged on the rest of Mad Men Season 5. {I was really into Mad Men this weekend ok?}

20130408-094026.jpg

Sunday was Convention party shopping. I’m on the planning committee for the Sac County Young Dems welcome party…it’s tough work, guys. In ~2 hours, we hit up: Party City, JoAnns Fabrics, Michaels, and finally ACE Hardware for cheap mason jars. Our party is gonna be awesome.

20130408-093935.jpg

Next was food prep for the week. I ended up with 4 Frozen Yogurt Bars and 4 quinoa/black bean/veggie stuffed peppers. Along with other ingredients in my fridge, that should tide me over for breakfast and lunches this week!

While making stuffed peppers, I thawed out pizza dough that I made last weekend – it was weird because I winged it on the recipe, but it made a fine vehicle for jarred tomato sauce, beef & jalapeno sausages, {more} jalapeno, storebought shredded cheese, and a little arugula on top! Just call me Sandra Lee, I’m apparently the queen of Semi-Homemade 😛

Afterward was the moment I’d been awaiting: Mad Men premiere!! I thought it was pretty solid, though not much happened. Mad Men is usually like that though – not much action in the first few episodes of the season, but it builds and builds and then sh*t hits the fan. My biggest question: what’s up with all the facial hair?

20130408-094033.jpg

Now that I have an iPad, I’m hoping to get back into reading a bit more. You can get all these apps on the iPhone, but why? Such a tiny screen.

First up, I am a big fan of Baz Luhrmann films (Moulin Rouge is one of my all time favorites) so I’m going to try and re-read The Great Gatsby before the movie comes out next month. I “read” it in AP English in high school, but don’t remember a damn thing. Also, I’m hoping having the NY Times on my iPad will make me more likely to read the news when I wake up in the morning, rather than Twitter. Anyone else just read social media on their phone in bed for the first 20 minutes after waking up?

Do you watch Mad Men? What did you think of the premiere?

Are you an eBook fan, or do you prefer the real thing? Recommend me some eBooks/magazines!

St Patrick’s Day Weekend in Photos

It’s never until I sit down to write these Weekend in Photos posts that I realize how much fun my weekends were. Maybe this is why Mondays are the worst for me…I’m focused too much on how great the weekend was! How about next week I just have a great weekend then post a Meatless Monday recipe instead of photos, then I will not spend Monday morning thinking about how great the past weekend was. Though I might just get hungry instead. Hmmmmm.

20130318-104345.jpg

One of my bosses was out of town on Friday and the other was barely in the office, so I took a half day…but instead of napping the day away, as I anticipated, I cleaned the house instead.. And ate a Bahn Mi.

There was a reason for this though!

march18

My roomie invited over a bunch of girl friends that night for what we called “Wine @ 9”. She made everyone wine charms, bought some fabric and burlap to decorate our tables, and we borrowed our boyfriends’ cheeseboards for serving a plethora of cheeses with our wines. Great success!

20130318-104355.jpg

Since I was pretty much experiencing what I’d call a dodgeball hangover (symptoms include bruised quads, sore legs, and the embarrassment of defeat), I skipped my run on Friday and went Saturday morning instead…clad in the most annoyingly green clothes I could find. I was running at a really slow pace, so I decided to go for extra distance and broke 3 miles! For the first time since before Thanksgiving! 😀

20130318-104409.jpg

Our friends were having a party on Saturday, so we decided to do our St Patricks celebrating then. Green drinks, Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, and…a Pikachu hat? The host of the party wears this infamous Pikachu hat every year at our dodgeball league’s Flip Cup tournament and I couldn’t resist snapping a pic with it. Please don’t judge me for posting two mirror pictures in the same entry…

20130318-104414.jpg

Another hilarious gem at our friend’s house — Me with a green beer, though it just looks black — and House of Cards, of which we watched ~7 episodes this weekend (and finished!)

20130318-104624.jpg

On Sunday when everyone else was taking their turn to celebrate St Patty’s day, we took it easy. We watched, um, more House of Cards…Played board games outside while barbequin’, and I did some food prep for the week. I basically made my lentil stew sans chicken, bagged up some leftover chocolate PB banana muffins I made on Friday, and I made a pot of brown rice to use throughout the week. These things won’t last me the entire week, but they definitely made it easier to wake up and go this morning!

I still haven’t needed to go grocery shopping since my Trader Joe’s trip, except to pick up a few yogurts and Fiber One bars for breakfast! Boom!

Hope you all had fun and safe weekends celebrating!

What did you do for St Patrick’s day? Did you celebrate on Saturday or Sunday?

Do you prep food for the week on Sunday night?