Tuesday, September 28, 2010

hi, have we met?

Readers, meet boyfriend. Boyfriend, meet readers. I felt compelled to post a picture, since I don't think I have yet. And this blog is all about me, right? All of the above?

It can't all be about food. But he likes food, so he can be my guinea pig when I make lots of yummy recipes for y'all. Which is why I like him.

Monday, September 27, 2010


That's how I feel today. Let me explain.

I've made some really good friends on the Weight Watchers message boards over the last year (has it been a year already?). We chat almost every day, and motivate and encourage each other in a way that other people can't - because we're all in this together. We've branched out from the message boards and are now challenging each other on dailymile, which is a kind of athlete's social networking site where you can track your activity and that of anyone you're friends with. You can also join challenges, or create one! A few of us were talking the other night about how we're kind of in an exercising funk, and we decided to setup a walk/run challenge for the next month. Whoever gets the most mileage in, wins! Sounds simple enough, right? We figured if we were competing against each other, we would be more motivated to get out there and pound the pavement, so to speak.

Well, for the first week I was a total lazy bones. I logged like, 2.5 miles. Lame. I had been making excuses to not go out for runs, and I was falling behind in the challenge.

This morning, something clicked. I was looking at the challenge board (I often check in the mornings because I'm 5hrs ahead of these ladies so when I go to bed they're just getting out for their exercise. Oh also, I'm obsessed with looking at the challenge board. I'm a nerd.) and noticed that Bebe was at 16 miles already. 16! I was at 2. I wasn't really in the mood to run, but I had to do something, because this gap was only going to get wider and it would be impossible for me to catch up. So I decided to walk. I started out around my neighborhood, turning when I felt like it and ogling at the nice houses that I don't live in. Eventually I found a park and I knew I was at least a mile from my flat, since I've looked on a map for parks before and there really aren't any close by. I decided I wanted to run. I like running in the park, and I was in a park. So I ran through the park. On the other side of the park? A footpath on the River Thames! Sweet. Not only was I running in the park, but I was running in the park with a view. Before I knew it, I had run 15 minutes and still didn't feel tired. I felt like a rockstar. Then I turned back to go home and got slightly lost, so by the end my mileage looked like this:

Yes, that reads 9.54km. This would be an appropriate time for one of these: (((LTE)))

Oh yeah, and some of these fabulous ladies have blogs! I read them, and you should, too. Thanks to JB, Di, Kate, Bebe and Kelly (and the others who don't have blogs) for always giving me a swift kick in the behind when I need it most!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

blog award! yay!

Aw guys, I feel so loved! Thanks to friend and fellow WWer Bebe for this blogger award! Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave me the award.
2. Share seven things about myself.
3. Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs.
4. Let nominees know about their award.

7 Things you may or may not know about me depending on who you are...
1. I have green eyes
2. I've developed a recent love for fashion
3. I'm 4k out of 7k-ish words through my dissertation!
4. I'm one of those people who treats dogs as people. Life's just more fun that way.
5. I've never had a pumpkin spice latte
6. The best color for me to wear is a toss-up between green and yellow. Bright or dark, no pastels.
7. I hate socks

15 blogs that you should read too and haven't been nominated yet (to the best of my knowledge):
1. The Bloggess
2. Diana's Daily Dish
3. Can You Stay for Dinner?
4. Braise the Roof
5. Citron et Vanille
6. Miss Mary Mc
7. Trixie Weighs In...
8. A Girl In Her Kitchen
9. Jessica's Jaunt
10. Life With Megan
11. Woman vs Food
12. 27b/6
13. Jewelry by Jillian
15. The Broad Broad's Expedition Into the World of Weight Loss


This video and I go way back. Like, we've known each other longer than I've known most of my friends. That makes us tight, yo. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and meet my friend. If you've already met, maybe this is the perfect time to catch up. Because my friend is hi-larious.

That's all. I'm in the middle of writing my dissertation so I should like, focus or something.


Friday, September 24, 2010

it's the most wonderful time of the year...

No, it's not Christmas. Hello, it's only September! Sorry if I got your hopes up. But for realz, you should know it's not Christmas yet.

Fall is my favorite season. I love chilly weather and all that comes with it. Fall clothing, Fall foods, colorful leaves, all that stuff. One of the things that I'm most excited for is the annual soup making weekend at my parents' house. Every year, my dad gets out the stock pot and makes chili, chicken soup, and mushroom barley soup, and freezes a bunch for the fall/winter season. The house smells incredible for those few days, and I look forward to the first taste of each. But of the three, the one I look forward to the most is chili. I'd say it's proportional to the amount of effort that goes into the cooking. Chili is quite a production in our house. There are multiple cookbooks laid out on the kitchen counter, each contributing a bit to the chili. You see, cookbooks aren't so much a necessity in our house for turning out delicious recipes, as they are inspiration for creating our own dishes. The chili is no exception. (sidenote: if the recipe calls for 1/4tsp of cayenne, for the love of all that is good do not quadruple that amount! You'll burn your face off. For serious.)

Since I moved out of my parents' house, I've started experimenting with my own chili recipes (even though I always have a couple servings of dad's chili in my freezer. Except for right now. Because mailing chili to the UK may not go over so well, for so many reasons). Since I'm going home (!!!) in a few weeks, I've started trying to figure out ways to use up all of my pantry ingredients. One of the ingredients I have copious amounts of is lentils. I just keep forgetting I have them. So last night, I decided a great way to use them up would be to make chili, and use lentils instead of beans. Since it turned out pretty well, I figured I'd share the recipe with y'all. Because I'm just awesome like that. Oh and as an added bonus, I went through all the trouble of measuring out portions both in weight and in cups so that I could give you WW points. Don't you just love me?

Beef and Lentil Chili (Makes six 1 1/4C servings, 7pts each)


1 medium onion, chopped (I used 3 small onions, since that's what I've got)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

A small palm of cumin

A small palm of oregano

A large palm of chili powder. Just go crazy with the stuff.

A dash of cayenne. More, if you're feeling adventurous. I like to live on the edge.

1C lentils. I used brown. Make sure to rinse these bad boys before cooking.

2 cans (I believe these were 15oz) of chopped tomatoes.

1lb ground beef.

1T olive oil (no, I don't have a picture of that one. So sue me.)

Directions: First, get the lentils in a pot. They're going to take about 45min to cook fully, so you want to start them before anything else. Bring the water to a boil and skim off any of that foam on the top. It won't kill you if you eat it, but it's a lot nicer without the stuff! Bring water down to a simmer, cook until tender.

About 20 min into the lentil-cooking, pour olive oil into a large pot. Heat on medium, add garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add onion and sprinkle with salt to help the sweating process. Once the onions are translucent (about 5min), add beef and mix it all together. Dump in the spices. Once the meat is browned a bit (it took maybe 7-8min), add canned tomatoes. Don't let the meat fully cook before adding the tomatoes, because it'll get dry. No one likes dry meat. Unless you do. Then you're weird. Anyway. Let everything simmer for another 10-15min, and add the lentils in when they're cooked. Taste to make sure the spices are to your liking, season with salt and pepper, yadda yadda yadda.

That's it! So simple. Usually I make chili with black beans, but like I said before, I have a crapload of lentils that need to be used up. The process would be the same (except if you buy canned black beans, which you probably will, you don't need to cook them beforehand. Duh. Just make sure to drain them well).

**Note: I put a dollop of light Greek yogurt on top, which isn't accounted for in the points.

Stay tuned for more recipes! I really crave baking in the fall, so you'll probably get a few pie "recipes" (aka I'll do my best to give you a recipe but really I just throw a bunch of stuff in the pot and taste as I go so it comes out delicious anyway). Maybe some cupcakes, too. Since some people don't like pie. (I see that shocked look on your face. Believe me, I don't understand it, either).

Do you have any fall traditions? Do you love chili as much as I do? Do you have an awesome recipe you want to share? Huh? Huh? Do ya? Do ya? DO YA? <----if you can name that movie, I'll give you a prize. Or a hug. Probably the latter. Definitely the latter. Not that a hug isn't a prize. It totally is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

i has internetz!

...but I'm too lazy to blog. It's 1am. I just felt this burning desire to write a little note. Maybe increase the anticipation for a real post, or something like that. I've got pictures! Loads of pictures. But it's 1am and I think sleep might be more important. Especially since I was up until 2am last night watching Gremlins. Oh yeah. You heard me right.

I'll tell you all about my week later. Just remind me, k?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

update on the london list

So I realized the other day that I haven't been really good at keeping y'all updated on that list I posted a couple weeks ago of things I want to accomplish before I leave in just under 3 weeks! (holy crap.)

So. Here's the list, in case you're too lazy to go back to the other post (I understand, I was almost too lazy myself):

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

Here's what I've done so far:

1. 4 shows! With 2 more booked! Not all of them are in the West End, but 4 of them are.
**Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
**Bedlam (at Shakespeare's Globe.... =/= West End)
**Design for Living (at the Old Vic, Kevin Spacey's theatre!)
2. Haven't been to the Southbank performance yet, but I've got tickets for the London Philharmonic Orchestra this coming Wednesday.
3. I'm going to Manchester tomorrow! So that's 1 day trip. Except I'm going for 2 days. I'm going to try to get somewhere else in the last remaining weeks, but it kind of depends on whether I can finish my work on time.
4. Not quite
5. Nope, not yet
6. 2 museums down, so far. V&A and Tate Modern

So all in all, I'd say that's pretty good for 4 weeks!

This post has been brought to you by the letter P, for procrastination!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

lesson learned.

Yesterday was less than perfect. It started out well enough, but kind of went downhill. No, nothing's seriously wrong, but I just didn't plan the way I should have. In my efforts to be super OP, I may have starved myself a little unintentionally.

See what had happened was, I went for a run in the morning. Yay me! It felt so stinkin' good to get back out there. This was only the third time I've gone running since being back (please, put away your stones! Pretty please?), and the first time I went out for 5k (my happy distance) since the Beach House. I tried all afternoon to get that snapshot thing of my run like all the other cool Nike+ users out there, but I was having a bit of trouble...finally, I think I got it! Let's see...

HA! Genius. I always thought it was so cool that people could do this, and now I can do this. I think I may start posting these run recaps on here to hold me accountable. I also have no idea why the distance is all wonky (wonky = possibly my new favorite word). See how it's all upside-down? odd. Oh well. You can deal, since it displays all the stats at the bottom.

Right. I was in the middle of something. Why my day wasn't super fabulous like it should have been.

So as I generally do when I go to uni to work, I packed some food. I was all excited for my couscous with veggies and my orange! But I got really hungry before dinner because I never really ate my lunch because I ate my pre-workout snack and then when I got back from my run it was noon which is lunch time but I hadn't eaten breakfast so I ate my breakfast and then brought my lunch - the couscous - with me for dinner but my breakfast wasn't a good lunch so I got hungry. Then I had a piece of cake. Totally not worth it. By the time I got home last night it was 9pm and I was lazy and really didn't feel like cooking. So I had a big mug of this delicious smoothie drink I buy over here, which I thought was enough. I was full. For the time being...


At about 3am, after trying to sleep for a good 4hrs but not succeeding because I was too hungry, I realized that smoothie =/= acceptable dinner. So what did I do? I had more smoothie. But this time it wasn't because I was lazy, it was because it was 3am and who needs to be eating real food at 3am? I finally fell asleep at 4. And woke up at 8. Which I think accounts for the general lack of punctuation in this post. I make no apologies (because I'm stubborn like that).

So why is today better? I learned my lesson. I ate a nice filling breakfast this morning, and I packed lunch and two snacks! I've got the same veggies I made yesterday but this time I'm having quinoa instead of couscous, which is way more filling. I have some hummus and bread, and an orange.

I'm prepared, yo.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

my first blog award!

Look mom, my very first blog award! I feel so loved. Really! Thanks to dear friend Bebe for totally making my day! So the rules are once you're tagged, list 10 things you like, and tag 10 bloggers who deserve this award! How fun is that?

So here goes...10 things I like:

1. Potatoes. Seriously, best food ever (and it wouldn't be my list if I didn't start with food, right?).
2. The smell in the air before it snows.
3. The way new clothes feel. Seriously, sometimes I wear them out of the store.
4. Family dinner. Not just for the food, but the general hilarity that comes with it.
5. Being around friends and family.
6. Weekend sleepovers at Lauren's.
7. Singing along really loudly with my music.
8. The way I feel after a really good workout.
9. Cooking for people and knowing they enjoy what I've made them! I feel so accomplished and loved.
10. Grocery shopping. It's one of my happy times.

And now, 10 bloggers who make me happy!

1. Jen at Woman vs Food - From Korea to India to England and now the US (and back to England again eventually!), great recipes and stories!
2. Kristen at Conversations with My Inner Skinny Chick - another fabulous WWer now in the UK!
3. Jillian at Jewelry by Jillian - she makes fabulous jewelry!
4. Jess at Jessica's Jaunt - absolutely hilarious, and prepping for her first marathon! So excited for her!
5. Julia at Keeping Up With Goliath - funny, inspirational stories about running and life!
6. Meagan at Meagan Likes It - can't wait to see what she has in store for us now that she's married!
7. Kate at The Bumblings of KT Bee - the only Irish dancer I know - that makes her awesomesauce!
8. Lisa Marie at The Broad Broad's Expedition to Weight Loss - humor, truth and inspiration. Love it!
9. Rachel at Fit, Fun and Fabulous - fun recipes and constant motivator to just get out there and exercise!
10. Megan at The Shenanigans of Megan and the Liz's - hilarious daily recaps of, well, shenanigans! With lots of pictures of fro-yo. I love fro-yo!

So there you have it! Everyone should follow these ladies. Because they're awesome! ♥

Monday, September 13, 2010

black bean pocket

So what happens when you leave me to my own devices in the kitchen? I mix together a whole bunch of things and hope it tastes good! I mean, generally it does taste good. Because this is me, we're talking about. Duh. So y'all better appreciate what I'm about to do: I'm going to share with you! Because I measured everything, I can actually post a recipe. This is such a rarity, we're going to take a minute and cherish it.

...ok that's enough.

This morning I noticed I had some black beans that were just begging to be eaten. I also bought some lovely crusty bread at Borough this weekend (pugliese, for anyone interested), and I'll make up any excuse to eat good bread. At first I was thinking toast with beans and a fried egg, so I pulled out a pan to toast the bread and thought to myself "hmmm heating the beans will just use up another pan. That means more cleaning for me. That's not cool" so I decided to get creative. I now have tin foil in my arsenal since I needed it for my brisket last week, so I decided to use it for heating the beans in the oven. No cleaning! I also scratched the egg, and went for a completely no-clean approach. So here goes!

Black Bean Pocket (WW points = 6)

1/2c cooked black beans (mine were from dry, but you could use canned)
1 1/2oz avocado, diced
1 small tomato (like, a roma/plum tomato), diced
1tsp olive oil
1 slice crusty bread, cut in half (my slice was 1 1/8oz if you're pointing this)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 hot pepper (optional)
2TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. While oven is preheating, prepare the food: Drizzle the 1tsp olive oil over the bread. Grab a sheet of tin foil and mold it into a small bowl. Put beans on the foil. Top with the tomato and cilantro, and sprinkle with a little salt to bring out the flavor. Place garlic cloves in the mix, and top with the pepper (it will cook down and mildly flavor the mix so it's not too hot. If you want more kick, you can cut up the pepper and mince the garlic. But then I would reduce the garlic cloves by 1). Close up the mix in the tin foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Add the bread to the baking sheet and bake another few minutes, until the bread is toasted to your liking. When opening the foil pouch, be careful! There will be a lot of steam in there and it could burn you. So open slightly and let it air out a minute. There will also be a bit of liquid at the bottom so just drain that into the sink. Put the bean mix into your bowl, top with the avocado, and place the bread on the side. Enjoy!

This was super filling and delicious! I could definitely eat this more often. I'm excited! Oh also, sorry I don't have pictures. I was just so excited I ate it and then realized I hadn't taken pictures. I'll get those to you soon. I promise.

Update: if you read this when it was fresh you'll notice I changed the points. That's because I brainfarted and added in the points for an egg which I didn't actually eat or add into the recipe. So now it's accurate. Promise.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

silver lining

So you know how you see things in movies all the time or maybe even hear about them in real life (but usually it's in the movies) and think to yourself "oh man, that sucks! But that would never happen to me" and you laugh at the TV screen (slash person telling the story) because hey, it's happening to someone else.

Today, I was the person on the TV screen.

The story:

I went for a run this morning to the post office for stamps. I've decided that if I need to run an errand that doesn't involve carrying lots of stuff back with me (aka grocery shopping), I'm literally going to run the errand! So today I ran to the post office. Anyway. After the post office I needed to go grocery shopping, so I came back after the post office and then set out with my reusable bags. I contemplated showering in between, but decided not to since I was going for a walk and it was actually kind of warm outside (ok like upper 60's). While I was at the store, it rained. It looked like it was going to rain when I left, but I went anyway because I want my brisket! And I needed tin foil to make this dream come to fruition. But that's another story. You're probably pretty confused by now, what with me telling you about my hygiene and talking about brisket with no prior information. Or, more likely, you're just ready for me to finish this story. I'm almost done, I promise.

So it had stopped raining by the time I left Tesco, which is good for someone who just bought like, 500lbs of groceries. Or like 25. Same difference. Anyway. I was walking back, feeling happy because the rain was nice enough to stop before my walk home, when SPLASH! A car driving in the left lane went through a massive puddle and completely showered me and my groceries. I think I would have preferred walking in the rain. That way at least I knew what I was in for, ya know? It was totally like you see on TV - the water came out of nowhere and when it hit me I stopped, threw my arms out and gasped in shock. Cold, dirty water-induced shock. Ew.

So why are you telling us this, and what the heck does it have to do with silver linings?

I've been making the effort lately to see the silver lining in every situation. It kind of helps, looking for the positive in a generally negative situation. Makes it more bearable. Anyway. The silver lining in this situation? I was still in my running clothes (except for my sneakers, thank goodness. I changed into flip flops. I would have cried if my sneakers got soaked because I'm the kind of person who just loves wearing new-looking sneakers) and hadn't showered yet. So I was already hurtin' for a shower, and I wasn't wearing clothing that could have been ruined.

So yeah. Silver linings are cool. People think I'm weird sometimes for bringing them up, like how can you possibly be seeing a positive side to this story? You're just trying to make me feel better. But you know what? It usually works. So take that. I win!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

birthday review

So, I'm 25. Yikes.

As the girl celebrating her 25th in the restaurant where Carrie was waiting for her friends who didn't show up for her birthday dinner for various reasons and she got really upset, said, F*** I'm old!

So after I was really lazy and did nothing for the first half of my day (perfection), I went up to school to meet with some fabulous ladies...We had a tiny photo shoot! Because they're fun. Here's just one of the pictures (the only one with all 3 of us. It's hard to take a picture yourself so that everyone's in the shot!)

After this, Lauren and I went for coffee because I desperately wanted some and we were both kind of hungry except that she didn't end up eating anything, saying something about not wanting to lose her appetite? Whatever. I had hummus and it was deeeeeelicious. The reasoning for her avoidance of food pre-dinner will become apparent in later pictures. Be patient!
Lauren and I met up with Elisa for dinner and headed over to the restaurant. On our way, we passed a bar/grill/whatever that had a deal we couldn't resist - 50% off everything until 7! But wait, our reservations were for 6:30, and it was....6:30. We pushed dinner back and went for some champagne. Because it was my birthday! And birthdays call for champagne.

That's me and Elisa, cheesin' for the camera (or really me cheesin' and Elisa doing something else. After drinks we went to the Korean BBQ place (remember that place? I just talked about it like, yesterday). nom nom nom! The food was terrific just like last time, and we really enjoyed ourselves. We even made friends with a couple who was waiting for a table. Yay social (that's for you, Jamie)! The best part of the night was when the staff brought over boxes from Hummingbird bakery, which has some amazing stuff! We've baked cakes (well multiple of the same cake) out of their cookbook before. Not only was there cake, but there was a card. And guess who the card was from? My parents. They love me. They ordered a cake allllllll the way from home (well, the bakery's in London. Duh) and coordinated with Lauren to get the cake to our dinner!
^^^me 'n my spoils
So I had a deeeeeeelicious cheesecake for dessert (there were cupcakes too, in case someone didn't want cheesecake) ((see why Lauren didn't want to eat the hummus now?)), and Lauren and Elisa got me the bakery cookbook! So now I can make the deeeeeeeelicious cheesecake for y'all. And the chocolate cake. And all the cupcakes that I have yet to try. Drool.

I feel loved.