Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keepin' Cool with Summery Treats...

Adorable, right? This little dude SCARED ME TO DEATH- I was washing dishes and looked up to see him staring at me. 

Minty goodness, anyone? So simple and refreshing! I used lime juice, mashed mint leaves, Sun Crystals (or any other sweetener) to taste and water. Ahhhh....

Last night's dinner- fresh tomato, low fat mozzarella and a whole wheat tortilla from La Tortilla Factory pressed on our panini grill! :)

I also made KALE CHIPS! :) I rinsed and de-veined (mostly just the big stems) some fresh curly kale, tossed with a bit of olive oil, curry powder, onion flakes and garlic powder, and baked on an aluminum-foil lined tray  at 300 for about 20 minutes.

Ahem... Umm... There's no "after" picture because my husband and I ate the entire batch off the tray as soon as they came out of the oven... Oops... They were THAT good. *Disclaimer* I usually HATE kale. 

ANNNND some Homemade Chocolate Banana Ice Cream! This is probably the easiest and most delicious thing to make EVER. Cut up some ripe (or slightly overripe) bananas, toss them in the freezer for a few hours (if they're frozen solid, let them thaw a few minutes unless you want a blender freak-out like I experienced), throw them in the blender and have patience. You'll think it's not working for the first few minutes. Blend. Stop. Stir. Repeat. Add some baker's cocoa if you'd like (I did!) and magically, vegan, GF chocolate banana ice cream apears! I added a small scoop of frozen Cool Whip and peanut butter (Joe went with chocolate chips).

This morning I hit the gym for a quick 3 mile run- this half marathon training schedule is throwing me for a loop... I've been doing 6 milers, so cutting back and working on speed is sort of weirding me out... I'll get  used to it! :)

I recovered with some fresh pineapple, granola and greek yogurt. Mmmm....

I have a list a mile long of recipes I want to try in the coming weeks- I read some DELICIOUS blogs! :)

These are calling my name: 

What are you craving now?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Food Prep Day and Green Housekeeping

Nothing like some frozen mango chunks, raw almonds and greek yogurt to wake you up in the AM! :)

Today has consisted of A LOT of food prep. Soaking navy beans-check. Slicing up delicious pineapple- check. Brewing iced coffee- check. Grocery shopping- check. Still to do: make kale chips (YESSS), make a refreshing pitcher of something using the bunch of fresh mint I got at the grocery store...

Mmmmmm... A slice of tropical paradise! :)

I also picked up some new dish detergent (our apartment is too small for a dishwasher so we do ALL our dishes by hand). I decided to give Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena Dish Soap. It was on sale, and I'm slowly but surely switching over to non-toxic household cleaners, so I figured I'd give this one a shot (I'll let you know how it works)! 

I've been using a few drops of Tea Tree Oil (which has antibacterial, antisceptic and anti-viral properties) and Eucalyptus Oil (a natural insecticide) mixed with water in a spray bottle as a household cleaner... I LOVE the smell, simplicity and affordability (the oils aren't terribly cheap but a little goes a long way)...

Today's sweat session brought to you by my FABOOSH new 14kg kettlbell- a birthday gift from my trainer/ surrogate mom/ business manager- Ellen Stein!

It's a strength/ flexibility day on my half marthon training schedule (I'm following Hal Higdon's intermediate plan), so KBs and yoga fit the bill! :)

Kettlebell Workout:
KB Swing Ladder (15 reps with 14kg, 12kg, 10kg, 8kg)
KB Dead Clean+Press (5 reps/ arm, 12kg bell)
KB Windmills (10 reps/ arm, 10kg bell)
Side Planks (10/ side)


Plus a few sunrise salutations! :)

Do you have a food prep day? What foods do you prep for the week ahead?

Do you use any green household cleaners? Recommendations/ reviews?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wedding Recap- PHOTOS!

A picture is worth a thousand words! Here's our big day in photos!

The Glove Theatre put us on the marquis!

Ceremony gown.

Reception Dress.

From L to R: Corey (one of my best friends since 6th grade!), Genevieve (I'm in her wedding this summer!), my middle sister/ Maid of Honor- Kieren, Kira (we went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts together), Inga (my pageant homegirl- she was Miss Manhattan when I was Miss Brooklyn- we've been obsessed w/ each other ever since), Liz (my new SIL), Christina (our hubbies met in college and we've been friends for years) and my youngest sister and other Maid of Honor, Courtney

My hubs plus our studly groomsmen!


Yep. We got married on a stage.

With my sisters and parents on the red carpet! :)

Hi-5ing our precious ring bearer and flower girl!

Wafels and Dinges catered our desserts! DELISH!

And naturally there was some Irish dancing...

It's possible we crowd-surfed to Teenage Dirtbag...

The day was perfect! :)

Birthday Celebration Part 1

Busiest birthday ever! I was up with the sun to head to the Bronx (a nearly 2 hour commute from my Brooklyn apartment) to teach 4th and 5th graders creative writing and performance. I headed back to the train, returned to Brooklyn, came home to eat lunch and arrived to a small box sitting in front of my door. My initial thought was "Wow, I'm so glad no one stole that." (It's happened before, thanks to UPS's annoying habit of leaving thinks in front of people's homes. I live in BROOKLYN, for goodness' sake.) I bent down to pick it up and quickly realized why it hadn't been stolen- it's a 14kg kettlebell! A gift from my surrogate mom/ confidante/ trainer/ inspiration, Ellen Stein. SO PSYCHED to use it! I then spent the afternoon disciplining my Brooklyn 4th graders. Ugh. I LOVE that group of kids, but they can be divas. After teaching part deux I rushed into Manhattan for an audition and then met up with the hubs for a quick birthday dinner!

We decided to try a new joint near Union Sq. 

We walked in and immediately noticed that the air-conditioning was broken- it was BOILING in there, but it smelled awesome and we were both tired and too lazy to go find someplace else.  The set up is like Katz's Deli, but modernized. Each person gets a "Chip Card" upon entering. You sit wherever you'd like, and then visit the various stations- pizza, pasta, salad, bar- order what you'd like and swipe your card and then pay when you leave. Everything is made fresh at each station. 
I started off with a side salad- nothing life changing, but the dressing was nice- a tangy vineagrette.

Montepulciano for Joe, iced water for me...

We shared a whole-wheat Pesto e Spinaci. Pretty delish.

Annnndddd.... A Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pizza. Mmm...

Wearing the sweet necklace Joe's mom got me for my birthday!

I like him. 

We finished off the night with Cookie Dough and Half-Baked Cupcakes from CRUMBS. Epic success.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Suppose I'll Keep Him...

That's my cute hubs. We won't get to see each other much tomorrow (my birthday!) so he came home from work with flowers, cake from The Chocolate Factory (O.M.G) AND I got my present early- an iPod Touch! 

I've been rocking a FIRST GENERATION iPod Classic for the past five years... no joke. We've been through some crazy workouts together, the Classic and I... It has some pretty annoying glitches, though, so I'm happy to have the new addition... :)

Tomorrow will be my busiest birthday ever. I teach two classes in the Bronx in the AM, then head back to Brooklyn to teach two more classes, and then I have to run into Manhattan for two auditions (a short film and a music video). Oy. Vey. I'm tired just thinking about it...

My iPod Has Identity Issues.

If you read this blog often, you may have gleaned that I'm a relatively random person. My taste in music keeps quite well with this characteristic. During my 6.29 mile sweat session today, I put my iPod on shuffle. During my cooldown, I got these songs in this order.

Do you have super random favorites?

Putting It Out There...

I'm a pretty happy girl at the moment. 

I've got an amazing husband.

I have an incredibly rewarding job.

I have the most wonderful family imaginable. 

I've got some pretty insanely awesome friends.

I also have an exciting two years journey to look forward to (I'm returning to school to get my MFA in Acting in the fall).

Not to mention clothes on my back, a roof over my head and enough food to eat. I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for all the good things I've got going for me. 

Buuutttt... if you're like me, you're curious about everything and always taking new opportunities as they present themselves! I love challenges, and I'm never satisfied, which is why I'm setting two VERY BIG goals for the summer!

Summer Goal #1: 
To Run My First 1/2 Marathon!
I've never run any distance of timed race before, but I've done Tough Mudders ranging between 8-12 miles, so I figured I should challenge myself and aim for a 1/2. How long do you usually train before a race? Do you have an "off-season", or are you an intense runner year round? Know of any great training regimens I can find online? 

Summer Goal #2:
To Finish Study and Take My ACE Personal Trainer Exam!
I've had the materials for over a year now, but it keeps getting pushed aside because new and exciting opportunities are popping up. I honestly don't know how much I'd actually work as a trainer once I'm out of school, but having the knowledge and the certification, even if only to help out friends, is something I'd love. Are you a CPT? Who do you hold certifications with? Any advice for studying for the big exam?

Thanks for the support, pals! :)

P.S. Yesterday's workout was not really as planned- I was psyched to do a nice long run... And when I got there, there were NO treadmills. At all. And three people waiting for them. Ugh. So I hopped on the elliptical.

I did some kettlebell work at home (swings, snatches and squat presses) plus some pushups and ab work. Sassy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Running Shoes: Suggestions Needed!

Happy Tuesday pals! I hope everyone's having a great day! 

Yesterday's run was a little rough for me. It was early. I hadn't eaten much (I don't usually for early AM cardio). I was doing fine until my cell phone fell off my TM at around mile 2.5. I stopped the machine quickly and hopped off to pick it up and felt like I was going to PASS OUT. I don't know if I stood up too quickly or what, but it was scary. I pushed through the next 3.5 miles feeling like I was going to fall asleep while running (the weirdest sensation ever...) and finally called quits a little after 6 miles...

Dinner last night was DELISH! Balsamic tofu and leftover leaf-less salad!

Awwww yeahhhh....

If you've ever read this blog before, you'll know that I am TERRIBLE at providing recipes, mostly because  I measure nothing and don't pay much attention to what I'm throwing in a dish... This one was super simple, though. Slice tofu, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or whatever other spices you enjoy- this would be great with some fresh minced garlic) and bake, uncovered at 450 degrees until... ummm... it looks good?

I mixed things up with today's smoothie- water, frozen mango chunks, kefir, Macro Greens Green Powder (love), Jarrow Rice Protein (don't love so much, but don't want to waste), fresh strawberries and raw spinach! I've seen so many other bloggers putting spinach into their smoothies and I've been curious/ nervous to try it... Admittedly I only put a handful of leaves in, but honestly, I couldn't taste it at all...

Don't worry- I'm aware of how incredibly disgusting this looks- I swear it tasted swell! :)

I hit the gym early this AM for an hour on the elliptical and did some squats, lunges, chest presses, shoulder presses and kettlebell work at home. I'm trying to acclimate to working out out at home, because I'll be freezing my gym membership when I go back to school in the fall, A) because I'll be a poor student and the gym membership at my school is only $20 for the semester and B) because I'll be spending so much time at school between classes, rehearsals and workstudy (hopefully) that it'll just be easier to workout there.

Suggestions for at-home fitness essentials that DO NOT take up space (I live in a TINY Brooklyn studio apt)? I have kettlebells, a jump rope, resistance bands and some light hand weights...

I need new running sneakers! I have knee issues (16 years of Irish Step Dancing will do that to you...) so I need some serious cushioning but I don't like clunky feeling sneakers... What shoe do you run in? Why do you like it?

I'm off to teach and then I have to book it over to Brooklyn College for my first official meeting with my department head and the six other students in the class of 2013 MFA Acting program! So psyched! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekends make me go "AHHHHH"

 Is there anything better than spending a weekend with your friends and their adorable children?

I had Saturday AM plans to take a Bikram class, but I didn't manage to drag myself out of bed in time... Instead I did a few quick circuits at home (lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, pushups, squats...etc.)

 In the afternoon I enjoyed a picnic in Central Park with my friend Christina and her adorable son, Ronnie. Christina was one of my bridesmaids and I hadn't seen her since I returned from the honeymoon, so it was great to catch up!

 Tea Bites from Argo Tea Company. SOOOOO delicious!

We hoofed it to the west side of the park to grab some delicious wafels from Wafels and Dinges (and to see my cute hubs...). On the left- a liege wafel with speculoos ice cream and nutella, on the right, a liege with strawberries and speculoos ice cream. AMAZING.

After walking Christina and baby Ronnie back to the west side, I headed down to Columbus Circle to meet the hubs for a quick dinner at Whole Foods... He refuses to make nice faces for pictures...

I hit the gym early this AM for a run... I'm admittedly a little out of running shape, so this 6.25 miles was challenging for me! Felt goooood, though! :)

After the gym, Joe and I joined our friends Jon and Maya and their adorable son Christopher (our ring bearer) for a field trip to the Red Hook Soccer Fields! On weekends from Easter to Labor Day, the fields are home to some raucous soccer games and AMAZING Latin food!

Christopher sizing up a huarache...

Horchata the size of my head...

Plantain chips, pupusas (chorizo and pork) and pickled cabbage... MMMMMmmm...

Joe chowing down on some fried plantains with sour cream...

We changed Christopher's name to Cornstopher (because of his obsession with roasted corn). He proposed to me with that ring pop and even asked my husband's permission to marry me. Thoughful kid.

It was a little chilly out, but still a great day!

I Skyped with one of my best friends for FIVE HOURS when we got home... How does that happen? Time FLIES when you're chatting face-to-face (sort of). 

Dinner was quick and light- Joe whipped up a leafless salad and some pomegranate/ seltzer spritzers!

 Celery, pear, carrots, strawberry, green peppers and avocados with lemon juice! Mmm...


How was your weekend? Do you ever make leafless salads?