Today's Rant: Unhealthy Airport Food

I’m back from DC and pretty darn tired – blah! I’m actually feeling pretty “fat” right now too, considering I sat in a meeting for most of the day and then sat on the plane coming home. I am so looking forward to my run tomorrow morning. 

OK, now for an airport/travel RANT…

Why is it that Washington Reagan Airport – I’m sure one of the busiest airports in the US – has such terrible food options???? Maybe it was just the terminal/wing I was in, but I seriously had 4 options for quick-service food, and only one that I would even consider as edible (Potbelly). Plus, no Starbucks in site after you pass through security. Sure, there was a Starbucks before going through security, but I would have had to chug my drink or throw it out before going through – what gives DC??

O’Hare – you have set the bar so high that I’m spoiled for life.

That’s all I got. Until tomorrow….

A Dessert Triple Play

Hello everyone!

I just came back from a fabulous dinner with my friend Prachi! Prachi is a Washington, DC, local so she is very in the know when it comes to restaurants. During our conversations, she had mentioned a local hotspot called Matchbox, so tonight, Matchbox it was! Matchbox is a DC favorite that is a mix between bistro and Italian cuisine. Naturally, dinner started with little bit of vino…

Then it was time for some appetizer action. Because I don’t eat beef or seafood, there was only one option left for an appetizer… fried mozzarella with tomato and basil – aka a fried caprese salad!

But I was not disappointed AT ALL with my choice. This was fantastic – but of course, it was fried, so how could it NOT be good, right?

For our actual dinner – we split the Q special pizza with grilled chicken, mozzarella, red peppers, and mushrooms…

Pretty good but I stopped at two pieces because it had a little too much cheese for me. Plus, I wanted to save room for this baby…

What could be better than one dessert? How about THREE desserts! I really didn’t want to get this huge monstrosity of a dessert, but Prachi made me ;-). Apparently, she does not eat enough dessert at home and wanted to make up for it tonight! He he! The trio included a banana chocolate chip bread pudding…

This was much lighter than bread puddings I’ve had in the past and had a great flavor. Next up, the molten chocolate cake…

At one point in time, I considered myself a molten chocolate cake expert – tasting expert that is. So, I had high hopes for this cake. I was disappointed – the best thing about this was the vanilla gelato on top. Nuff said. Finally, the cinnamon doughnuts…

As most of you know, I am not a huge doughnut fan, but these little pastries reminded me of beignets, complete with kahlua creme dipping sauce – lovely and calorie-free I’m sure. Just to ease your curious minds, we did NOT eat all of the desserts, we both took a few bites of each and then called it quits. And believe me, that took some willpower. 

OK, I have a date with the hotel treadmill in the AM, then it’s off to a 7 hour meeting for me! Have a great night everyone.

Washington, DC: Congress, Coffee, and Cupcakes

Hey all!

I’m blogging from Washington, DC! Before landing, I enjoyed my go-to airport breakfast nourishment….

This was actually a combination of breakfast and lunch. The  yogurt cup is actually a pretty healthy choice as far as airport food goes. 

Upon arriving at the DC hotel, I was overwhelmed at how many “suits” were in the hotel lobby. I actually felt quite out of place in my jeans, so I hustled up to my room without looking at anyone. But then, I decided to venture off for a little 30-minute walk to find my next cupcake destination…Red Velvet Cupcakery

Don’t let the plain jane box fool you. Because when you opened it, there were these two lovelies inside…

My signature cupcake, the Red Velvet, and the Lemon Coconut cupcake. Hmm…so yummy! And, I would know because I ate both of them while sitting in my hotel room working. That’s what happens when I don’t eat a real lunch. Plus, on the way back from the cupcake shop, I stopped off to pick up a skim mocha…

This, unfortunately was NOT very good. It had a funky taste so I drank about 1/3 of it and thew the rest out. Blah! But hey, I didn’t have to pay for it!

Now, I’m off to meet my friend Prachi for dinner! I’ll be back later to fill you in on our dinner escapades!

Pretty in Pink Cara Cara Oranges

Hey out there,

Fitbloggin Info: If anyone is going to Fitbloggin, you may want to book your room at the Marriott ASAP. I just booked mine tonight and was told they had no more rooms left under the designated block. She finally “push it through” and gave me the conference rate. It looks like there are about 75 people signed up so far – at least there are 75 people with Web sites. Can’t wait!

As some of you know, a couple days ago I tried my first ever pink orange. I was at a loss for what kind of orange would be pink (kind of an oxymoron) but thanks to one reader, I now know where these pinkies come from. As quoted from the Sunkist Web site:

Cara Cara oranges, a type of navel grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, are available January through April. Their outward appearance is similar to other navels, but their interior is a distinctive pinkish red and has an exceptionally sweet flavor with a tangy cranberry-like zing. Cara Caras are a rich source of Vitamins A and C, fiber and Lycopene. A perfect snack served as wedges, they’re also a colorful addition to beverages or squeezed into a vinaigrette salad dressing.

It just so happens that I had another pink orange today, and sure enough, when I looked on the sticker, it said Cara Cara!

Scott started teaching his night class again, so I was on my own for dinner tonight (well, actually with two kids in tow). So, it was a sandwich for me…

I put a few slices of lean ham and reduced-fat salami on a piece of double-fiber Brownberry bread, plus a little Swiss cheese for good measure. Apparently, when Mr. C saw the cheese, he had to know where cheese came from. I replied, “from milk that comes from cows.” He was satisfied with that answer. But when I added, “or milk from sheep,” he said, “but sheep don’t drink milk”. Not entirely true because sheep do drink milk, but it’s still funny, especially when that is my only entertainment for the night.

After dinner, I enjoyed one of the last pieces of the Trader Joe’s apple bread…

I am sorry to see it go so quickly, but luckily gingerbread is next.

2010 Trip #2: Washington, DC

As you’ll recall, two weeks ago I headed to Phoenix/Scottsdale for my first work-related trip of the year. Tomorrow, I leave for the second – to Washington, DC. My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…or so the old song goes. I am heading out a little earlier in the day to avoid the rush in the evening. Also, I really don’t like getting into a new city in the dark. I usually feel a little uneasy taking a taxi or public trans at night, particularly when I’m by myself. Fortunately, I am meeting an friend for dinner. I haven’t seen her in a year so it will be fun to catch up.

Off to bed now, but stay tuned for Bloggin from the Capitol!

Saved By Gift Cards

Hey All,

Hope you all enjoyed your MLK day! I took advantage of the day off and slept in a little (until around 7 AM). It wasn’t until I got out of bed that I noticed something strange in the house – it was super COLD!!! Apparently, the heater went out sometime in the middle of the night. We were all walking around the house in hoodies and bathrobes until the heater guy came to fix the problem.

I did warm up a little in the interim with a 45 minute interval run on the treadmill, followed by a kick-ass ab workout! After waking up to the cold, I wanted something warm and fuzzy for breakfast…

So, a little Trader Joe’s apple bread hit the spot! I only had one small slice (watching portions ya know!) so a little later I munched on a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with a few walnuts…

A little Greek yogurt sure goes a LONG way, especially when you add MUFA-filled nuts. Tazo Awake tea was also on the cold morning menu…

Whenever I drink tea at home – which is quite a lot lately because I’m trying to drink more of it – my kids always ask for some. They are very young, so I only give them a little herbal tea to drink. They take a few sips then forget about it. This morning, I jokingly complained to Scott – why is it that whenever I make tea, no one drinks it? He responded with “that includes you” as he pointed to my mug full of cold tea. Touché!

I tried to get fancy for lunch by making my first ever butternut squash soup. Ok, honestly, it was Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup, but it was still my first time having it at home…

I hate to admit it, but at first taste, this soup was a little bland. But I added a few pieces of granny smith apple and some walnuts and it was much better. At just 90 calories a cup (without the garnish), this soup really is a great low-cal lunch.

I worked for a few hours this afternoon (it never ends, does it 😉 ) then we were off to IKEA to buy some shelves. Whenever I go to IKEA I am completely overwhelmed by the size and number of products in the store. We finally decided on some shelves after an hour, but when we finally located them in the “pick up” section, we realized the box would not fit in our car! OK, that was a wasted trip – blah!!!

But, not to despair, we ended up eating at Maggiano’s for dinner. For all of you wondering about our restaurant diet – we used our gift cards! Woo hoo – gotta love those gift cards. After eating what seemed like a whole loaf of bread, Scott and I split the house specialty – rigatoni D, with mushrooms, onions, chicken, and rigatoni all mixed in a marsala cream sauce.

When we lived in the city, we would go to Maggiano’s every other week, or so it seemed. And, we would most often order the Rigatoni D. But after a while, I just stopped liking the dish and stopped ordering it completely. After more than 5 years of being rigatoni D free, we decided to give it a try tonight. It was good, but then I realized why I really stopped eating it 5 years ago. Within an hour after eating, I felt sick, no doubt due to the cream sauce. No more rigatoni D for 5 more years – that’s it!

I’m actually still feeling sick right now, so I’m turning in early. Have a great night everyone!

Lunch with the dinosaurs

Hey all!

Hope you had a relaxing Sunday! I started the day with an interval run on the treadmill for about 40 minutes. I started at 7.0 and then maxed out at 7.6. What a great workout! The run was followed by more squats and lunges – so great for the toning the legs which I totally need for my upcoming trips to Florida.

Breakfast was rather light – only a 1/2 Luna bar and 1/2 a pink orange…

This was the first time I’ve ever eaten or even seen a pink orange! The sign for the oranges didn’t give any indication that they were pink so their color really took me by surprise. Does anyone know why oranges can be pink sometimes???

The rest of the day was spent at the Field Museum (aka home of Sue the dinosaur) in downtown Chicago. I was really itchn’ to get out of the house for some reason, so going to a museum seemed like a good plan. When we arrived at the museum, we immediately ate a packed lunch so as not to buy any of the expensive (and mostly unhealthy) food there…

It was a PB&J sandwich made with all-natural peanut butter on whole grain bread, with a few chips, pretzels, and carrots/celery on the side. We ate in a little cafe area which had a great view of some of our new best friends…

I am not a huge natural history fan – I’m more of an arts and artifacts kind of a girl. But, the museum is great for kids and is not too expensive as far as admission. After about 3 hours at the museum, I had had my fill of dinosaurs and stuffed mammals. 

Dinner, again, was on the lighter side. I had a small salad with:

  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Tri-color bell peppers (sauteed)
  • Red onion
  • Bacon, 1 slice
  • 1/2 hard boiled egg
  • 1 oz of white cheddar cheese

I topped it all with a little spritz of olive oil and a bunch of balsamic vinegar. Super yummy and healthy! But of course, I just had to throw in something to off-set that healthiness…

Scott and the kids actually had hamburgers/turkey burgers tonight. I just wasn’t in the mood for a burger, but these oven-baked fries sure hit the spot!

I’m off tomorrow for MLK day – woo hoo! But, because I’m only in the office on Tuesday and Friday this week (due to my trip to DC), my two work days will be jam-packed.

Time to get studying – see you all tomorrow.

7 Reservations in 7 Days

Evening everyone! Hope you’re Saturday was fun. My day was pretty lazy. I did not end up going to yoga this morning – blah!. After running 6 days this week, plus adding weights, lunges/squats, and an office yoga session, I was pretty tired this morning. But, I did have a fantastic breakfast…

This is my second day of oats in a bowl – although today it was in a ramekin = paired with Tazo Awake tea…

Check out my new tea/coffee cup from Anthropologie! It has my initial, of course, which I absolutely love, and it looks so French. Plus, it was only $6! I could have spelled out my whole name for that price, but I really did not need 8 more cups.

Lunch wound up being a sandwich again, although this time I actually slowed down enough to enjoy it…

Much of the day was spent lounging but also doing a little vacation planning. We’re heading out the Disney World in a few weeks and we’re anxiously planning/making all of our dining reservations ahead of time. I’ve actually been making reservations for the last 3 weeks, so today when I called the dining hotline, the customer service rep told me I had over 20 reservations made under my name. Yikes! I better cancel some of those. And so, I spent over an hour trying to reconcile the reservations, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to give up. As of now, we have reservations at:

  1. Le Cellier (Epcot)
  2. Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  3. 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)
  4. Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)
  5. Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary)
  6. Whispering Canyon (Wilderness Lodge)
  7. Wolfgang Puck Cafe (Downtown Disney)

I seriously can NOT believe we will be eating at all of these restaurants – 7 top restaurant reservations in 7 days! We will definitely be making up for our Restaurant Diet!

And, except for Boma, all of these restaurants will be NEW for me – and that’s saying a lot considering I used to work for Disney. If it isn’t obvious by the reservations, we are doing the Disney Dining plan – for the first time. I’m really not sure how much money we are saving by doing this, if we’re even saving any at all. But, since we go to Disney once a year, we thought we’d give it a try.

Anyway, dinner was a brand new creation – a recipe/serving suggestion taken from the February issue of Real Simple magazine…

The magazine featured 10 ways on how to doctor up plain cheese ravioli. ALL of the serving suggestions sounded delicious, which prompted me to try one tonight. I started with Trader Joe’s mini cheese ravioli..

Which I cooked according to the directions. Then I added a mixture of cream and Trader Joe’s pesto…

I mixed the sauce and noodles together then put that into a glass baking pan. It was topped off with parmesan cheese and baked for about 20 minutes, until browned on top.

This was a great dish to make on the fly, although I’m not sure how healthy it was. I’m eager to try more of the serving suggestions the article suggested.

OK, I’m starting to fall asleep. Take care everyone and chat with you all tomorrow.

$5 Homemade Pizza

Happy Friday everyone! I’m going to make this quick because my head is hurting right now. I had a great 30-minute interval run (ranging from 7.0 to 7.6) on the treadmill, followed by lunges and squats. I know I’m going to feel that tomorrow! 

BREAKFAST

After seeing many of you starting your day with oatmeal, I’ve been craving it for days. I usually can’t find time to make it on a true workday, so I saved all of my oatmeal wishes and cashed them in today…

I actually made TWO bowls of these because Miss M quickly spied my yummy oats and wanted some. How could I say no to her big blue eyes?

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a very important call today about an upcoming, nationwide project for my company. Well, that one phone call turned into three phone calls and several emails. Taking calls on my day off can be a little tricky, especially when I’m watching the kids. Thankfully, my mother-in-law drove a hour to stay at our house while the kids napped. I was really afraid the kids would wake up while I was on the call which would make the situation very awkward. They ended up sleeping through all of the calls!

LUNCH

Lunch was not very healthy today for two reasons…1) I didn’t have time to make a decent lunch because I was on the phone (or prepping for the call) from 12:30- nearly 2:30 and 2) I ate my lunch super fast because I was starving after the calls…

  • Veggies? NO
  • Fruit? NO
  • A big cheesy roll with salami? YES

Again, not so healthy.

DINNER

I made up for it at dinner though. Earlier this morning I picked up some fresh whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s and all of the pizza fixins’…

Could I have made pizza dough myself? Probably. Do I have time to do this? Take a guess at that answer. Trader Joe’s pizza dough is actually quite good – it IS Trader Joe’s after all. And, it’s only 99 cents. Why would I want to make my own???

Since we were splitting the pizza four ways, I had to be very careful of the ingredients. I like all types of pizza (when it’s good pizza) but tonight, I topped my portion with sauteed bell peppers, spinach, red onions, turkey pepperoni, and cheese. Sauteing the peppers, onions, spinach, and pepperoni ahead of time really helps bring out the flavors.

I think the whole pizza – which all of its ingredients, only cost about $5. Not bad for a family of four – healthy and cheap!

Almost forgot to mention…prior to pizza, we all grazed on some Trader Joe’s spinach dip…

I can seriously eat a whole bowl of this stuff by myself (but of course I would never do that ;-)). I took a few bites and then pushed it aside to save room for pizza — thankfully.

Gotta run for now. I’m going to try to make it into the gym for the 8 AM yoga session – we’ll see about that!

In a Carb Funk…

Exercise Schedule Thursday:

  • 4-mile interval run on the treadmill
  • 15 ab workout
  • 50-minute yoga session

Hello All!

Today, I learned that we are getting closer to signing a major deal that would fund a huge project – a project that I would be leading! I am so thrilled to be heading up such a major initiative (sorry, I can’t reveal what it is just yet) but I’m really nervous as well. If and when this deal gets signed, I could very well be traveling all over the country throughout the entire year! Yikes, I’m already traveling a ton this Spring – my kids and husband are going to forget what I look like 🙁 I hope to reveal a few more details as they unfold in the coming weeks.

After my anxiety-filled day at work, I stopped to pick up the kids and dinner on the way home. I did NOT get take-out – which would clearly be breaking the self-inflicted rules of the restaurant diet – but rather picked up a rotisserie chicken from The Fresh Market…

I paired the chicken with roasted potatoes and sweet carrots. It was actually a very light meal which is perfect for me because I hate eating a ton when dinner is at 7 PM. However, no one else at the table seemed to like the food – Scott turned down the chicken because it was lemon flavor (come on – who doesn’t like lemon chicken?) and the kids didn’t like anything I gave them. Oh well, more leftovers for me.

I think I may have jumped the gun a little when I said this was a light meal. What I should have said was that this could have been a very light meal…until I added some major carb action. Along with the chicken, we had some awesome cheddar cheese rolls from the bakery…hmmm, so good, even without butter. I admit, I had two of these and quickly fell into a weird carb funk that just about left me in a coma.

Despite my carb overload, I was eager to try another little goodie I picked up from the bakery…

Ahh, yeah! Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! If you’re going to do sugar and carbs, do it right and enjoy it! This cupcake may look normal size, but it was actually quite large. I ended up having 1/3 of it and repackaging the rest. I’m also dying to try a little somethin’ somethin’ I picked up for Scott…

It’s a chocolate chip cookie sandwich with buttercream frosting in the middle – OMG – can this get any better? Haven’t tried it yet, but I am getting very close….

Ok, gotta run so I can review a few documents for top-secret call tomorrow. Stay tuned….

Toes Are Free To Run

Hi All! Glad to see you’re all intrigued by the concept of barefoot running. One reader, Neal, mentioned a very unique type of running shoe/sock that is supposed to allow the foot to move in a more natural way but still gives you protection from the road/trail and related elements. Neal wrote…

I’m a big proponent of the Vibram Five Fingers. You should give them a try if you are serious about exploring the barefoot running thing. 

I have to admit, when I saw this “shoe” it kind of creeped me out a bit. But then it also reminded me of the toesie socks that were so popular a few years back! It really makes sense though – having all of your toes “free” allows them to flex and grab the ground, hence making it easier to balance and putting less stress on the ankle and legs.

I’m sure we could talk for hours and hours about this, but let’s move on for now. My morning started off with a quick treadmill run. Wednesday is usually my day off, but after last weekend’s indulgences, I felt like I needed an extra day of calorie burning! Running was following by a little Cheerios for breakfast…

1.13.10 Cheerios and blueberries

Ahh…so healthy and colorful! On my way to work, I was really wanting a Starbucks but resisted the urge and temptation (after all, I am into Week #2 of the restaurant diet!). Instead, I tried out my office’s coffee/hot chocolate machine for a little frothy, chocolaty milk…

1.13.10 Hot Chocolate

Adequate, but not Starbucks quality. I had back-to-back meetings this morning (you haven’t heard me say that in a while!) so, on a break, I managed to snack on a lemon Luna bar…

1.13.10 Lemon Luna bar

I LOVE lemon cookies, cakes, etc, so I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of this bar. It’s also a nice change from chocolate and peanut butter – whoaa, did I just say that?

Lunch happened to be an unpictured bowl of Trader Joe’s shells and white cheddar followed by TJ’s vanilla Greek yogurt in the late afternoon…

1.13.10 Greek Yogur and Tazo Tea

I mixed in some homemade granola and blueberries for an tasty and protein-filled treat. Plus, a little Tazo Awake tea to keep me going. I’ve discovered another new feature of my office’s gourmet coffee maker. It has a frothed milk option! So, I fill up a mug about 1/4 way with frothy milk then fill up the rest with hot water. I add my Tazo and voila – instant Tazo Awake Latte – not bad for spending no cashola!

Dinner was quickie because I was not in the mood to cook…

1.13.10 Minestrone soup

I’m so thankful we had minestrone soup still left in the freezer, otherwise I would have probably resorted to peanuts.

We are nearly out of all things chocolate in our house, except for the chocolate/peanut butter Cliff bar that I put in Scott’s Christmas stocking. He was not very willing to share his treats, even though he ate most of the chocolate truffles from my stocking – blah! He needs to go back to kindergarten. 

Ok friends, I must be off to bed. I have a date with the treadmill in the AM as well as a yoga session at noon. Have a great night!