Friday, January 31, 2014

Truths about Spinning




People with spin shoes purposely clip in then find a reason to get up and clip in again just to show off their spinning prowess. 

The instructor’s mic NEVER works.  But they will insist on trying to fix it for far too long after class begins.

My bike is calibrated heavier than the others, because there is no way a full turn only brings me from a 5 to a 6. Try a 5 to a 9.

During sprints, most people are going downhill over a bunch of small speed bumps placed only a foot apart.

There is always a large male sitting way to low on his bike.

The person who continues to “ride hard” after class has ended and the rest of us are stretching needs to be told to just stop.  It was plenty of cardio and you are making us feel bad.

Your butt may hurt the first couple of times.  But don’t worry it will callous.

Please wipe down your bike!


Any one else experience any of these truths?  

Do you have any to add?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Whiskey

Whiskey was the theme for my weekend.  It all started with a movie night at my neighbor James' apartment.  James is a funny guy - he has quite the home bar, which includes draft beer, gorgeous glassware, a variety of liquor and fancy back-lighting.  I cooked dinner for him and my boyfriend and he repayed the favor by hosting us to watch a movie and drink whiskey at his place.  After the movie and after a few too many drinks, we had the grand idea to do a blind whiskey tasting.  I am definitely no whiskey expert, so it really helped me learn what I like. 


The next night by boyfriend and I went to our favorite spot, District Kitchen, for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks.  Steve the bartender was friendly as usual and I was tipsy, as usual... :)  So I asked him to explain the differences between whiskey and scotch.  He was very informative and even gave me some tastes of two different single malts.  Here is how I have since come to understand it:

Whiskey is any booze distilled from fermented grain mash. Whiskeys are differentiated by the different types of grain used for the mash.

Scotch - Malted barley is used.  Must also be made 100% in Scotland.  Required to age in oak barrels for at least 3 years.
Bourbon (my personal fav) - Bourbon whiskey must be made from a grain mixture which is at least 51% corn.  It must be produced in the United States. (Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Knob Creek)
Tennessee Bourbon - Bourbon made in Tennessee.  People in Tennessee will argue it is much more than that, but really, it isn't.  Gentleman's Jack...pfff. (Jack Daniels, Benjamin Prichard's)
Rye - Made with rye mash, though many rye whiskey's are made with corn mash in addition to rye.  In Canada, if there is even just a little rye involved, it can be labeled as rye whiskey.  Those Canadian's are so much more chill than the rest of us.  In the US, rye whiskey has to be made with 51% rye mash.
Irish Whiskey - Who cares. (Jameson)
Fireball - A new refined whiskey made primarily of sugar, taking the world by storm one bro at a time (shhhh..I am actually a sucker for this crap).

And now I leave you with a little song I found during my research -

Whisky or Whiskey
A Scotsman who spells
Whisky with a n ‘e’,
should be hand cuffed
and thrown head first in the Dee,
In the USA and Ireland,
it’s spelt with an ‘e’
but in Scotland
it’s real ‘Whisky’.
So if you see Whisky
and it has an ‘e’,
only take it,
if you get it for free!
For the name is not the same
and it never will be,
a dram is only a real dram,
from a bottle of ‘Scotch Whisky’.

Any other ladies drink whiskey?

Which kind is your drink of choice?






Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Thoughts on "Hungry for Change"

This past weekend I watched the documentary "Hungry for Change" on Netflix.  The film opened my eyes to the extent of the harmful effects of certain foods like MSG and sugar as well as the huge hoax that is the diet industry in America - duping people with false promises and using guilt and shame to make us feel bad about our bodies (although I kind of knew that already).  I liked the focus on the idea that diets should not deprive us in any way - that we should just be putting more and more of the really good foods into our bodies, which they say will eventually cause us to not want the "bad" foods. I also liked the way the movie explained that our bodies are actually just starving for us to treat them to the nutrient-rich foods they crave.  Overall, the film was average in my opinion, a little corny and a little extreme.

However, I was slightly bothered by some of the messages in this film:

1) The idea that some foods are labeled "bad" for you and should be avoided because of their very harmful effects.  There should be a spectrum.  It is OK to eat pizza sometimes, I don't think foods should ever be off-limits, white bread is delicious and sugar cravings are not the worst kind of cravings you can have ;)

2) Juicing. The film REALLY pushes juicing and detoxification.  But there are certainly other ways to kick-off a healthy diet.  Plus I don't have a magic bullet and I get WAY too hungry for a liquid diet to sustain me - I will slap somebody. 

3) That you have to go "all in" and become some sort of crazy, vegan health nut.  There are small steps everyone can take to add more nutrients into their diet.  Hell, I am going to grab some chia seeds, nut butter and kale next time I am at the grocery store thanks to this movie.  But I am also going to grab egg rolls from the freezer section.  I love egg rolls.

I will say that one of the best messages I took away from this film was that we need to love  ourselves and our bodies unconditionally as they are RIGHT NOW.  The film has inspired me to say that to myself in the mirror more often.  I do believe that once we love our bodies unconditionally, we will want to treat it to the best foods it needs... which might occasionally be an order of french fries and some sugar-laden treats.

Anyone else seen it?  What did you think?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pasta-Making Secrets

It started with a double date on Friday night to a restaurant I had been dying to try called Corduroy.  We went with the chef's tasting menu which consisted of pumpkin soup with foie gras and pancetta, lobster salad, a seared scallop with cheesy grits, roast chicken, Kobe strip steak and several desserts including a chocolate torte, apple pie, flour-less chocolate cake and pumpkin torte all with ice cream.  After that much food and three rounds of drinks, we weren't done.  We headed to the bar next door called Baby Whale - same owners, cute, right?  After a spicy margarita, it was time to hail a cab and head home.

Saturday was more relaxing.  Travis had a guys night with some friends, so I stayed home, made my favorite dinner of chicken breast with barbeque sauce, caramelized onions, roasted veggies and a sweet potato with soy sauce smothered in Greek yogurt.  SO GOOD.




Then I listened to music and painted my nails.  I was so impressed with myself, my nails never come out that good!  I also watched a movie called Hungry For Change about the billion dollar diet and food industries in the US.  I had some mixed feelings about it and will write about it more later this week.



Sunday I was ready to indulge again, I think I was overly excited that it was a three day weekend.  We watched some football in the afternoon then made pasta from scratch (a lot easier than it sounds), shared a bottle wine, feasted on on our seafood pasta masterpiece, then drank lots a of whiskey.  A few pasta making tips I finally have down:
  1. 2 eggs to every cup of flour - this amount is plenty for two people
  2. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky
  3. Don't be afraid of the flour, sprinkle more on whenever you need it
  4. Add a BUNCH of salt to your boiling pasta water, it gives the noodles a lot more flavor
  5. Don't cook the noodles for more than 2 minutes, those babies can pass al dente before you blink and eye

Now for the finished product...

TA-DA!


After the delicious pasta (once you have had hand made, you will never want to go back to the store bought stuff) we drank several old fashioneds...


Then topped off the night with some drunkin' 1am yoga in our living room


It was his first time... but his tenacity was impressive.




Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend Recap

Just want to share some random thoughts and happenings from the weekend.

Picked up some lovely tulips at Trader Joes - along with enough food to feed an orphanage for a month.

 

Got a set of beautiful new dishes.  Love.




Stumbled across an awesome and inspiring blog post from Carly.

Drank a great cocktail of rye whiskey, grenadine and cherry at a cool new basement bar in Penn Quarter - Jackpot (yes, I hit a Jackpot with this find, but it also happens to be the actual name of the bar!)



And to end the weekend we will be indoor-tailgating and rooting on the Chargers.  My man created these amazing commemorative koozies for the event.  He made me an extra special one with hot dogs on it - which every one knows is my favorite thing about watching sports.



Go Chargers!!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seared Cod

I have not had much luck in the past when it comes to cooking any fish other than tilapia and salmon.  And with those two, I stick to my tried-and-true method of roasting at a high oven temp for a short period of time.  Overcooked fish is my worst nightmare, so I have been hesitant to try any new methods that I am uncomfortable with.  I am not much of a risk-taker (obvi), but I knew it was about time I stray from my routine.  And man was it a success!


Seared Cod
(4) 4 oz. cod fillets
Olive oil
½ cup soy sauce
Teaspoon of vinegar (I used apple cider)
Garlic to your liking
Tablespoon of something sweet (I used a sesame ginger salad dressing, but you could use sweet and sour sauce, some hoisin sauce, teriyaki, honey, brown sugar)

Whisk together the mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and sweet sauce of choice. Be sure to taste it to make sure it’s delish!  Pour it over the fish and let them sit for about 5-10 minutes (be sure to save a little sauce to pour over the fillets when they are done).

Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil.  When it is nice and hot, sear the fish for about 3 minutes per side.  They will loosen from the pan when they are ready to flip.  Don’t over-cook, these puppies are quick.

Remove from pan and pour the rest of the soy sauce mixture over top.

YUM!

In other news…I have added another new treat to my collection of afternoon snacks.  These Quest bars have changed my relationship with protein bars – which I had sworn off in the past for being too calorie dense and unnatural-tasting.  But these have really altered my perspective.  And thanks to some other bloggers, I discovered this secret - if you pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds you have a warm, gooey, perfectly sweet treat.  I ordered a variety pack from their website and I am so anxious to try all the flavors.  So far my favorites have been the “banana nut muffin” and any with peanut butter (of course).  You can also find them at Whole Foods.  They each have about 150-200 calories and they really keep me full throughout the afternoon.  When I used to skimp more on my afternoon snacks, I would arrive home from work completely famished and would end up snacking throughout the evening and while I made dinner.  But these bars keep me satisfied – they have made me a much nicer after-work companion.  My boyfriend can second that statement :)

Anyone rely on a any other fool-proof methods for not over-cooking fish?
Ever tried a Quest bar? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's 2014!

I spent this New Year's Eve with my favorite people in my cozy apartment in DC.  We had lots of champagne, cheese, dips, and bacon-wrapped treats.  Probably drank a little too much, and the spraying of the champagne at midnight was slightly unnecessary, but it was the perfect night of great conversations and a lot of laughter.  On nights like that I am able to let go of any inhibitions and anxieties just enjoying being with the people I love.

And now the new year begins.  I absolutely hate the diet obsession that is inescapable this time of year, it really gets to me.  I hate how crowded my gym gets - my spin classes fill up, there are lines at the showers, no available treadmills.  Trying to just ignore it and focus on the positive.  I have a few resolutions that are definitely NOT diet friendly:

1)  Blog more.  It is such a release for me, I just need to find the time to sit down and write more posts.

2)  Listen to my body.  Sometimes I force myself to go to the gym when my body is screaming at me for a rest day.  This poor guy has seen way too much action lately...


3)  Cherish every moment.  I get so set in my routine, sometimes I miss the beautiful, simple moments like these...


4)  Tell this guy more often that he is the best thing that has ever happened to me...


Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?