Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IP: what's in your fridge?

Ok, I guess that could read "what's in my fridge?" but whatever.

Why are you posting about what's in your fridge? Well, some of my fabulous bloggie friends have been posting about what's in their purses. My purse is really boring, especially considering the fact that today I'm using a wristlet. Do you know how much stuff fits in a wristlett? Money, keys, iPod. I guess I could put my phone in there too, but I like my phone in my pocket.


Having a boring purse, and really not being very fun and girly in general (aka I don't have lots of fun random stuff in my purse except maybe receipts...), and loving food way more than the contents of my purse, I've decided to post what's in my fridge. Maybe it'll give you some ideas of what to buy at the store next time you go, or maybe you'll just think I'm crazy.

<---my fridge. No, I'm not super tall. My fridge is super tiny. It's the size of a dishwasher! Fits under the counter. Quite a struggle for someone who has a grocery shopping problem. Anyway, this is what my fridge looks like after a trip to Tesco (where I stuck to my list, thank you very much! Well, except for the oranges. And the butternut squash. Those weren't on the list. Stupid impulse buys...)

So here's what I've got. I'll even organise it by shelf for y'all.

Freezer (see the "fragile" tape? It's holding my freezer door shut. This will help explain why the list is the way it is):
*frozen green beans. If you ever come over, I would definitely advise against eating said green beans. They've been thawed and frozen several times, and they smell a little. I use them as my ice pack after running. They haven't been used in a couple months, but back when icing was a twice daily ritual, they were in and out well, twice each day.

Top Shelf:
*fresh sage
*fresh basil
*farm fresh eggs (the best kind. If you like eggs and haven't tried farm fresh (cage-free, of course), you definitely have to find them. If you have a farm nearby, they're even comparable in price to what you'll get in the store)
*brussel sprouts (thanks to Jen, I decided I need to give these babies another chance)
*Arnold's sandwich thins (yes, I brought a pack with me from the States!)

Middle Shelf:
*My favorite red pesto from the olive stall at Borough
*Murcia al vino (drunken goat's cheese), from the Spanish market at Borough
*HP sauce
*yellow bell pepper
*there's also a jar of harissa and a jar of chili sauce in the back

Bottom Shelf:
*the last of last week's Murcia purchase
*sliced mushrooms
*low-fat plain greek yogurt
*loaf of wholemeal bread (I never go through bread fast enough to keep it on the counter)

*white asparagus
*heirloom tomato (yes, just one left)
*red bell pepper
*snap peas

*fresh butter
*dijon mustard
*light mayo, for those random BLT and egg salad cravings
*grainy country mustard
*Madras paste
*hot sauce
*skim milk
*mango-passion fruit smoothie
*Frank's red hot

*butternut squash

This is nowhere near all of my food. My cabinets above the counter are chock full of dry goods. I used to shy away from using dry goods because of the time commitment, but they're cheaper and really not labor-intensive. They just take planning. Sometimes I go a little crazy in the bulk section of Whole Foods. Now that I'm only here for another month, I better get crackin' on eating this stuff!

Speaking of bulk goods, ever since reading the first few chapters of the book Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, I've been craving beans and rice. Today I finally got around to buying some rice, so guess what I had for lunch? Beans and rice! (That was really difficult, wasn't it?) At the suggestion of the guy who wrote the chapter on beans and rice, I first sauteed garlic and onion in the pan, before adding my black beans (tip: cook a bunch of beans at once if you buy them dry, and store in the fridge for quick meals). I also added a small tomato and some center-cut (read: lean) bacon, since they needed using. Once everything was all hot and cooked, I served on top of brown rice and cut up an avocado to go with. Totally SFT and totally scrumptious! Just in case you were wondering.

Up tonight: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! That makes 2 shows in one week, with 2 more before I've reached my goal for my list. I ♥ the West End.

Monday, August 30, 2010

the weekend in pictures

A lot happened this weekend. It was a good weekend. Instead of describing it in painstaking detail like I typically do, I decided to give you guys a break and just show you in pictures. With a few captions. Because I love to talk. Let's get started before I give it all away and make the pictures less fun!

Friday, as you know, Lauren and I had our afternoon of fun, which involved Korean BBQ:

On top we have appetizers and side dishes. Kimchi, bean sprouts, miso soup and a veggie/seafood pancake. On the right is the glorious bbq. Shrimp, pork belly, spare ribs and mushrooms. There was also a scallion dish which was super yum. I loved this food so much, we're going there on Wednesday again for my BIRTHDAY! Going to a restaurant twice in one week hasn't been seen since.......a few weeks ago when I went to Mussel Bar twice in one week. Now I'm drooling over the thought of vanilla sweet potato fries....*sigh*

<----Elisa, me and Lauren at my happy place, Borough market, for Elisa's birthday! I can't tell you how friggin' thrilled I was when I was told all Elisa wanted to do for her birthday was go to Borough. We spent a lovely 3 hours there. I should be a tour guide for that place. For serious. Elisa wanted to wear the hula skirt for her birthday. So she did. Love this girl.

best.sandwich.ever. They asked what we should eat, what my favorite thing was, and I answered immediately with the mouthwatering lamb kofte sandwich from the little grill place at the back of the market. They have a few other grill choices, but this is the third time I've had this sandwich, it's so good. I haven't repeated any other food at Borough (save the chorizo sandwich which I've had twice). Not that all the food isn't spectacular, but I like to try new things. This thing is pure heaven. Especially with the homemade sauces - harissa, salsa verde and aioli. What more could a girl want?

Unfortunately I have no pictures from Saturday night's spectacle of a meal. But here's the skinny: breads from Whole Foods, meats and cheeses from the Italian stall at Borough, homemade Spanish tortilla and bruschetta made lovingly by Elisa. Quite a fabulous spread, if I do say so myself. We were definitely fat and happy by the end of Saturday, to say the least.

Sunday was boring. It was perfect. We stayed in all day. (Did I mention I lived at Lauren's the entire weekend? I'm allowed to speak of the house as "mine". Even if I'm not, I do it anyway. People definitely think I live there. I help play host when people come over. They're confused when I talk about leaving...)

Finally, Notting Hill Carnival. Definitely an experience worth having once in your life. Crowded, colorful, festive, and slightly (read: unbelievably) dirty. It's like they removed all of the bins in Notting Hill. Seriously. Regardless, it was a good time! We went today (Monday) because there was the main parade to watch. So many colors! I have a bunch more pictures but I thought just a couple would be good for now. This bad boy is 20 miles of closed off streets in the outskirts of London's city centre, and let me tell you, it is packed. In some places it was difficult to breathe, let alone walk. The music was so loud, and the base so strong, I could feel my insides shaking with the beat. Good day. Glad it's over.

And now, some quiet time.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Check another item off my list! That's right folks, I've been busy, having fun!

Actually, it wasn't planned.

Which really, is the best kind of fun!

Ok, maybe part of it was planned.

But still, it was a great time!

Want to hear about it? Ok ok I'll tell you!

So I met up with Lauren today to go shopping. We really love shopping, but try not to shop too much because well, it's London. And not only are we spending lots of $$$, but we're spending £££! Which is more than $$$. But today, we actually had a reason (excuse?), so we trekked over to Oxford St to do a little damage.

Let me tell you something about Oxford St. It's friggin' crowded as heck. I believe I read somewhere it's one of the most (the most?) crowded shopping areas like, ever. Or maybe in Europe. Or in the UK. Clearly I need to recheck my facts. Anyway, it's super busy! Think Black Friday shopping crowds all year long. Yeah. Way fun. Unfortunately, it also has the greatest concentration of fabulous stores. Which I guess is why it's so stinkin' crowded.

So. Lauren needed a birthday present, and I needed shoes. Shoes to go with the pants I bought earlier in the week, which are too long. Unfortunately I bought a pair of shoes that would have been perfect for this purpose (and were in fact bought for this purpose) and left them at home. So of course I needed another pair. Darn. In case you were wondering, I was successful! I bought these.

After the shopping we randomly decided it would be fun to go to a show! This is why I love London. We walked down to Piccadilly and started perusing the streets for shows we might want to see. We came across Hair, and were pretty much sold! So we bought some tickets. No big. While waiting, we went for dinner at a Korean bbq place we had passed on our way there. Neither of us have had Korean before, so we decided to give it a whirl. It was so delicious! We definitely want to go back.

Anyhoo. The point of this post is that I checked another thing off my list! I've seen 1 show now (and have another one coming up on Tuesday!). Yay!

Sorry I don't have any pictures to post. I promise I took some, but my computer's being funky and won't read my camera card so maybe I'll post some pictures randomly with no post or captions or anything because I know you really want to see pictures of the food we ate tonight. Because I already showed you the shoes.

Anyhoo, It's like, 1am. Shouldn't I be sleeping?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

V&A and leftover bread deliciousness

Yes, that sounds random. But I have two things I want to talk about and I don't really feel like making two separate posts. Deal.

Firstly, I accomplished one thing on my list! This afternoon I took a trip (well not much of a trip considering it's 3 tube stops or a 30 minute walk from my flat) to the V&A museum.

<----proof #1: really cool glass sculpture mobile thing in the main hall

<------proof #2: me standing in front of the really cool glass sculpture mobile thing on the balcony of an upper level. I'm just really awesome at self portraits...now if only I was a bit more photogenic...I kind of look like I'm in pain...

So the V&A was good! I went around to the different architecture exhibits, as well as a really cool glass exhibit on the top floor. It's pretty awesome reading the how-to on glassblowing and thinking to myself "hey, I actually know how to do that!" (Sidenote: I went to a totally awesome summer camp called Buck's Rock where I learned different arts, one of which was glass blowing! Pretty cool, huh?)

The one exhibit I'd like to go back for is the Grace Kelly one, but it was super crowded today since I went later in the afternoon. I really didn't feel like dealing with the crowds, so I think I'll wait until the tourists are gone and head back over in a few weeks. Every time I think of this exhibit Mika's song "Grace Kelly" starts playing in my head.

So what were you saying about croutons and what does that have to do with a museum?

Absolutely nothing.

So I love bread. It's just so wonderful and bready. One of the things I never understood when people started diets was the whole "I'm cutting out bread!" thing. I don't plan on ever cutting out bread. I believe in moderation, but not cold turkey (unless it's actual turkey. Cold turkey isn't so bad...like on a sandwich. With some really good bread). So I bought a tasty ciabatta loaf on Saturday at Borough market and by today the last of it was quite stale. I used part of it for my breakfast (when you toast bread it doesn't really matter if it was stale...imagine that!), and the very last bit I cut into small cubes, tossed in some olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and threw on the pan with my breakfast bread (I use my oven most times because my toaster is lame). I baked the pieces for probably 5-7 minutes (until golden and crispy) at about 200C (so somewhere around 400F) and voila! Homemade croutons!

<-----crouton goodness

I could probably make them smaller next time since each one seemed to be a mouthful, but the bread was pretty friggin' stale and it looked like my knife was going to snap and not only is that a sign your bread's pretty stale but it's also a sign that your cutlery is complete crap. Sometimes I dream about my good kitchen knives waiting for me in boxes at home. For serious.

Monday, August 23, 2010

45 days

45 friggin' days until I leave London. What?

You know that saying "time flies when you're having fun"? Horribly cliche, but also horribly true.

I'm really excited to go home, but I've also come to the realization that I've done way less than I should have in terms of taking advantage of the wonderful city I've been living in for the past (almost) year. So I've decided to make a list. Well, I talked about making a list but thanks to the fabulous Shanti, I've actually made the list. And, at her request, I'm going to (try to remember to) take a picture while accomplishing each thing on my list. I'll keep y'all updated here with each item!

So here's the preliminary, rough list (it may change as I think of more things):

1. 3 West End shows
2. 1 Southbank Center performance
3. 2 Day trips
4. Brixton Market
5. Golder's Green
6. 4 Museums

I feel like this should be accomplishable (definitely not a word) in a month and a half...

Tomorrow I'm ticking one museum off the list, the V&A. They've got a few really interesting looking architecture exhibits, and an exhibit on Grace Kelly and her fashion idol-ness (also, not a word). It features 50 of her outfits! I'm pretty excited. Not sure what my picture will be, but I'll be sure to take at least one!

So, that's it for now. I'm tired.

PS I had a successful SFT day today! Care to know what I ate? Even if you don't, I'm going to tell you! Because this is my blog. Not yours.

ciabatta topped with spinach, avocado and drunken goat's cheese (all baked to melty crispy goodness), topped with a fried egg. Nom! Oh and a cup of Innocent smoothie. Double nom!

quinoa with mixed veggies and some grilled chicken (picked up from school)

another cup of Innocent smoothie (gotta get them while I still can! These babies aren't available in the US.......yet...)

mixed veggies in Thai curry sauce over brown rice.


Friday, August 20, 2010

things i've learned

Ok so I'm "packing" right now, aka doing everything but. In my defense though, I'm almost done! Pretty impressive, considering I'm like, a master procrastinator. I'm not just good at it, I'm friggin' awesome at it. If procrastination was an olympic sport, I would totally have the gold medal.


I'm leaving for London today. HOLY CRAP. 6 weeks has gone by already? Yep.

I'd say overall this trip was a success. I wouldn't necessarily call it a vacation, though. But wait, aren't trip and vacation the same thing? No, no they're not. At least not in my family. We like to distinguish between the two. A vacation is relaxing, no schedule, do what you want, yadda yadda yadda. A trip is a removal from your usual place/town/whatever of residence, but it isn't generally relaxing or full of lots of down time. I have been super duper amazingly busy these past 6 weeks! Not that it's a bad thing; I've loved every minute of my crazy packed schedule. Well, maybe not every minute. But most of them. I've definitely loved every day. I got to see lots of wonderful friends and family, I worked and saved some money (probably to be spent in London. Shopping, anyone? Just kidding dad...)

Update: I procrastinated. Shocker. I'm now in London. And now back to our regular scheduled programming...

So. I was going somewhere with this post title. I learned a few things while home.

1. I learned that it's way easier to follow an eating plan when you're cooking for yourself all the time. Adding uncertainty and delicious pizza definitely doesn't help. Especially when you have little to no willpower since you were deprived of said delicious pizza for 9 months.

2. Eating this food in moderation actually works. It satisfies cravings without overloading my body and causing successive massive gains. It's amazing what proper portion control can do.

3. I learned that I'm not always going to have the kind of free time and/or weather that I have in London, and exercise needs to be a priority. I really should schedule it in now, even when I don't have much of a schedule.

4. Getting to/from the airport with multiple bags is a pain. Getting to/from the airport with multiple bags when your tube stop only has stairs, and no elevator/escalator? That's like, a million times worse. No lie.

5. I really love living where I do at home. Being away for so long (have I mentioned this already? Whatever) has made me realize that I really want to stay in the same area that I grew up in. It's just...home. Other cities are awesome, but they're not home.

My brain hurts. I'm going to Borough.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

stuck in the mud

...that's what I feel like right now. Like I'm stuck in a big puddle of mud and I kind of want to get myself out but it's way easier to just sit there because I know when I leave the mud I'll have to like, clean up and make an effort to walk and move around and whatnot. That's kind of what my WLJ feels like right now. I've been stuck in the same friggin' decade since January, but I didn't even realize that until recently (which I've probably mentioned once or twice or a brazillian times but whatever it's my blog and you just have to deal with it). I made a small effort for like, a week, which is just not enough, in case you were wondering. Apparently weight loss is an ongoing effort? Who knew.

Now, I need change.
I'm ready to get out of the mud.

Tomorrow is my WI. I've decided to try Simply Filling finally. My eating habits, in terms of choices, are pretty in-line with Simply Filling anyway. The hardest part will be portion control, but even that I think I've gotten a much better handle on lately. If for no other reason than I just can't physically eat as much as I could 50lbs ago, I have better control over my portion sizes nowadays. If I try to conquer a large amount of food I just feel miserable afterwards and who wants that? It kind of negates the awesomeness of the meal.

I know it'll take a bit more effort on my part, but I just need to shake things up. I've randomly got some new motivation, and I'm going to take it without any questions. Don't question a good thing, right?

ps: see that picture there? That was taken 3 years ago. See that dress I'm wearing? That dress took my friend and I roughly an hour (ok maybe not that long, but it felt like it) to get zipped all the way up. See my arms? They're pretty gross. I was pretty uncomfortable that day, but I was so dang determined to wear that dress.

Well, I have a wedding coming up this weekend and guess what? I'm wearing that dress. It took me about 10 seconds to zip, and that's only because I caught my side in the zipper when I wasn't paying attention. Yes, I'm awesome. Pictures to come after the event! Being able to zip the dress was a great feeling. I have other items in my closet that I would love to fit back properly into. That's some good motivation right there.

You know what else is good motivation? Shopping.