Weekend in Photos

Hello and happy Monday!

This weekend I decided to make a conscious effort to take more pictures (or at least more than usual) so that I could document the weekend. The interesting thing was, this was the first weekend in 4 weeks that we actually stayed in town the entire weekend with nothing planned. Since we went to New York the second week in July, I think there have only been 2, maybe 3 weeks that we haven’t been traveling or out and about. That’s summer for ya, right?

Without any real set plans, I still ended up having a pretty fun weekend, with some relaxation sprinkled in 😉 Continue reading

Friday Favorites

Hi all, and welcome 2015! Sadly I haven’t updated since I took a few minutes to look back on 2014.

For the most part, I was too busy enjoying my holiday break to keep up with posting…And then, back to reality I went! Having a break between Christmas and New Years was nice, even if some of that time was emotionally draining (after she passed away on December 22nd, we had a memorial service for my grandma on January 2nd).

It sure has been rough getting back into the swing of things (I came down with a gnarly chest cold my 2nd day back in the office and haven’t ran or worked out since 🙁 ), but a few things have been keeping me sane that I want to share with you today. In true Run Now, Wine Later fashion, they are mostly all either fitness or food related 😛

1. PERSU Collection

PersuJessica1

A few of my friends from high school had been posting on Facebook and Insta about these amazing fashionable and functional gym bags and I eventually realized that they were created by a girl I went to elementary and high school with! Steph is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first round of production of her two bags, the Jessica bag (above) and the Tom bag (below): Continue reading

What I Ate Wednesday: NYC Edition

Today I’m coming to you (a week late) to share what I ate during my weekend in NYC!

Hosted by Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, What I Ate Wednesday is an opportunity for wannabe-foodies-slash-voyeurs like me to see what other bloggers eat. Such an awesome way to think of ideas to get you out of a food rut.

Unfortunately, I totally chose the wrong week to display for Love your Veggies Month (as you’ll see, not many veggies were consumed during my mini vacation!). However, y’all know I’m a veggie lover the rest of the time! If all my pictures of stir fry and produce on Instagram are any indication… 😉

20140226-131940.jpg

I had a long day of travel ahead of me (starting at 4:30am Cali time, and I didn’t arrive at Arielle’s apt in NYC until after 6pm!) So I made sure to load up on lots of healthy snacks for the trip. I ate pretty much everything except the Detour SMART bar, which I saved for a pre workout snack the next day, and the Ring Pop (LOL waaait…how’d that get in there?!)

20140226-131951.jpg

During my layover in Chicago, I also found a healthy (albeit pricey) chickpea salad at Starbucks, which I paired with a Dirty Chai Latte..bc sista was workin on 3 hours of sleep!

20140226-132039.jpg

Then, I arrived in NYC, surprised my best friend, danced the night away, and came home to her apartment w/her roommate and ate half of this cheese pizza from 7/11. People, I am not exaggerating. Alex only had one slice of what you see gone above. You’ll also notice I decided I wasn’t going to eat the crust…probably so I could fit more cheese and tomato sauce into my stomach.

Needless to say, my New York family was extremely disappointed in me for eating pizza from 7/11 when I was in NYC, which boasts some of the best and cheapest pizza in the world. I am also disappointed in myself, but I REGRET NOTHING. #zerofucks

The next evening, Alex and I enjoyed dinner at Butterfly in Tribeca, where I got bratwurst sliders and a side of some of THE BEST brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. (Hey look at that! Veggies!)

20140226-132112.jpg

Alex was still hungry after his ravioli, so we ordered some fries. I have become something of a fry connoisseur recently and have been trying them EVERYWHERE I go. These thick cut steak fries were perfectly cooked- nice and crispy on the outside and actually cooked all the way through. I was definitely a fan!

After dinner, we stopped at Whole Foods and I picked up a variety of cookies, including the famous Black & White cookie. It was so good. I am a sucker for frosting 😉

20140226-132247.jpg

Speaking of french fries…We went to Sixth Ward in the Lower East Side for brunch on Joanna’s actual birthday, and they were out of homefries, so we all got french fries with our breakfasts instead. No complaining here!

20140226-132210.jpg

In fact, because Rebecca & I were still hungry, we ordered more….

I’m telling you guys. I have a problem. And it involves deep fried potatoes.

For dinner/dessert, we went to the famous Max Brenner’s in the Village. We weren’t particularly hungry for dinner, but hadn’t eaten anything since brunch and didn’t want our dinner to be just chocolate, so Joanna & I split a chicken panini. Oh and again…french fries. You can never go wrong with waffle cut!

The real reason to go to Max Brenners, however, is not the dinner food (which was just so-so), but the CHOCOLATE.

We ordered 2 different kinds of fondue: the classic european (white chocolate, milk chocolate, & caramel, which came with fruit, brownie & cookie bites, and marshmallows) and the churro fondue (white chocolate, milk chocolate, some kind of raspberry sauce, and churros of course!)

Oh my god you guys.

I don’t think this amazingness requires any more explanation.

The next day was my last, and I was super excited that I was able to meet up with my Aunt Jeanne and her husband Mike. I had heard about Eataly and suggested it to them for lunch, and everyone jumped at the opportunity (Joanna included)!

Eataly is basically a giant Italian market/group of restaurants/shop/cafe/PLANET in the Flatiron District. We decided on the Pizza & Pasta restaurant (they also have a wine bar, a couple of really high end restaurants, and like 5 other assorted restaurants).

20140226-132329.jpg

We started with a formaggio misti, which was a cheese plate. There was goat cheese, some kind of parmesan, and a cheese made from cow/sheeps milk (? i think?) alongside some kind of chutney.. I don’t think I’ve ever met a cheese I didn’t like, so you can guess how I felt about this part of the lunch 😉

20140226-132341.jpg

We also ordered 2 pizzas and I finally got to make up for the 7-11 incident! Both were margherita-type pizzas, and sooooo so good. Love the thin crust!

20140226-132356.jpg

To finish, the 4 of us shared gnocchi with lamb. I don’t know if I’ve ever had gnocchi with a texture so light and fluffy. The lamb was super tender as well.

Overall, an AMAZING meal!

20140226-132420.jpg

We spent a lot of time looking through the whole complex, which had a bakery, grocery store/farmers market, kitchenware section…

20140226-132445.jpg

AND GELATO! I was trying to choose between salted caramel and hazelnut…The salted caramel had an amazingly creamy texture, but the hazelnut tasted too much like Nutella to say no!

And that was that! Luckily for me I got in a good work out and 3 of my 4 days were 10,000+ step days, because if not I probably would have returned home with a bit more meat on my bones than I’d like! Either way, it was worth it!

Have you ever been to New York City?

What is your favorite style of pizza? I love anything thin crust, so New York style is right up my alley!

Weekend in Photos

Hello everyone and happy Thanksgiving week!

Sorry for the brief hiatus…suffice it to say, there have been a lot of changes in my life lately. Luckily for me, said changes have actually resulted in a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Thanksgiving is coming at a perfect time for me – I feel very fortunate for everything I have right now. And I’ve only got good things coming! How’s that for vague? 😉

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year because Thursday is my dad’s 60th birthday! My mom and I are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for {almost} my dad’s whole side of the family. That’s 14 people… BRING IT! I’m so excited to cook for and be with the family on Thursday! Not to mention I’m doing Run To Feed the Hungry (my second 10K) that morning. Am I overachieving? Maybe… 😉

photo 1

On to the weekend! It started early for me when I went to Jamie’s Broadway Grille for lunch on Friday with Dave. I had never even heard of this neighborhood gem, which has been on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We had amaaaaazing French Onion Soup (See above, the photo doesn’t do it justice! It was SOOOO good!) and split a steak sandwich, which was cooked perfectly. I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to check out a classic Sacramento spot!

Jamie's Broadway Grille on Urbanspoon

That evening, I watched Catching Fire with Yvette, Lisa & Kristin. No pictures of that…because we were so ENTHRALLED by the movie! It was seriously good! I read all three books and don’t remember being as satisfied and impressed with the first movie. I thought it was excellent all around. Definitely recommend!

photo 2

After the movie, we met up with friends to grab drinks. At one point Yvette and I were super awkward and decided to hide beneath our jackets/scarves to avoid being seen by people we knew. Haha. Is anyone else there really weird about running into people they know in public? No? Just me? Ok.

The night ended with the most glorious piece of pizza from Luigi’s. Just look at how adoringly I’m gazing at that thing. Glad Kristin insisted on pizza, because it soaked up the IPA’s I drank and allowed me to wake up the next morning feeling well enough to….

photo 3-2

…run 6 miles! Who am I?! I wanted to get one last really long run in before my 10K on Thursday, and that I did. I have been switching it up lately with my route and running to McKinley Park (~1.5 miles away) instead of Capitol Park (.5 miles away), which has forced me to increase my distance. I’m feeling great going into my 10K, and really hoping I can break 1:00:00!

I’m also only 9.8 miles away from my 40 mile running goal this month, so with a 4 mile run tomorrow and my race, I’ll achieve that goal!

photo 5

On Saturday night I stayed in and cuddled up with Love Actually and a cup of tea. It was a much needed relaxation night…just to be met with an epic brunch at Limelight on Sunday morning! You can’t beat $7 bottomless mimosas… Especially when you and your 4 friends are apparently thirsty enough to require the server to just leave the carafe at your table 😉

Also, can I just point out that I finished that entire plate of food? Both habanero-chicken sausages, both eggs, both pieces of toast, and all the potatoes. I pretty much wiped it all clean with the toast. I must have still been hungry after my long run the morning before?! I felt like a bottomless pit!

photo 4

The weekend ended with a dodgeball tie (waaah!) and more TV on my iPad. Consider this picture this week’s installment of “reasons why you should be glad you’re not my friend on Snapchat”….

Enjoy your Monday!

What are you contributing to Thanksgiving dinner?

Are you running a Thanksgiving/Turkey Trot race?

Mother’s Day Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend, and to all you mothers out there, I hope you had a special Mother’s Day yesterday. We kept it pretty low key for my mom this year, but I hope she knows how loved and appreciated she is!

My goal for this week is to get back on track with my workouts. I was having tummy issues last week so I went easy on the workouts {A quick jog home and dodgeball on Thursday, an easy elliptical workout on Friday, kickball on Sunday}. I want to be in fighting shape for Blend next weekend…there are a couple of Boot Camps and a hike planned and I anticipate that I’ll probably get knocked out quickly by the elevation in Park City!

Because of the aforementioned stomachache, the doc has ordered me to eliminate a few things from my diet for a few weeks: spicy food, acidic food {tear! my beloved lemons!}, dairy, caffeine and alcohol…I have mostly been good, but as you’ll see in the photos below, I definitely needed some liquid courage to get me through Saturday night, and then I had a few indulgences on Sunday… 🙂 Definitely worth the belly ache!

20130513-100514.jpg

Weirdest workday ever on Friday: neither of my bosses were in, and my big task for the day was to pack up our 30lb postage machine and send it down to our Santa Barbara office. Half a roll of bubble wrap later, I got it 🙂 {oh, the small victories of an administrative assistant!} To celebrate the weekend, I made a really random, but delicious! dinner: Coconut quinoa, roasted brussels sprouts & broccoli, Italian sausage, and T-Man brought some “Gorgonzola gems”, which are basically glorified Jalapeno Poppers. Yum.

20130513-100526.jpg

We then proceeded to our friend Danny’s housewarming pub crawl, which was themed Bros vs Hipsters. Landai & I were definitely hipster’ed out; Cedric’s shirt was a bit of an anomaly…memes are pretty hipster, but the outfit was pretty broish; and T-Man had to get in on the fun by stealing my {lens-free} glasses for a bit 🙂

20130513-100532.jpg

On Saturday night, I did solo karaoke for the first time ever at Danielle’s birthday party. After submitting my 2 song requests, I was surprisingly really nervous, even despite the fact that I am always singing. If I know the words to a song that is playing, you bet your ass I’ll be singing! After the first singers took their turns and everyone was singing along, I was much more at ease!

Top photo: Richard and I singing “A Whole New World”.. except that the roles were reversed and he sang Jasmine’s part 😉 Left: Danielle the birthday girl! Right: my song selection {kind of a lame song to choose cause it is slow and no one knows it, but I still rocked it!} and Reggie being serenaded by our whole group to “My Heart Will Go On. Don’t you see all the hands emotionally thrusting towards him?

20130513-100544.jpg

Sunday was rough. It was forecast to be 94 degrees around the time my kickball game was scheduled. So I hacked off the sleeves of my shirt, packed up my water bottle in a bag of ice {that I later poured over my head, haha}, and slathered on the sunscreen. I only missed one spot on the back of my neck! Pale person victory.

20130513-100618.jpg

While I was playing kickball, my family was off seeing the Jackie Robinson movie as part 1 of Mother’s Day festivities. Part 2 was my contribution: homemade pizza! I made the dough in the morning and told my mom to pick all her favorite toppings. She chose bacon, mushrooms, onions, and olives. I used some of her homemade tomato sauce and lots of mozzarella, and it turned out awesome! My brother bought the ice cream cake. We all clearly loved it.

{side note: that mother’s day card is the most perfect card of all cards that I could have given my mom. Fits our relationship to a T!}

20130513-100627.jpg

I also made a side salad using a few of my dad’s fresh garden veggies! He has lots of beets and chard at the moment, so they both made an appearance. But now I’m pretty sure my insides are dyed/stained red. It’s okay…all in the name of healthy eating right? Can’t wait to steal corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers from him this summer.

Have you ever done karaoke? What is your go-to song?

What did you do for Mother’s Day?

Mess Up Monday

Instead of the semi-usual Meatless Monday, my (belated) post today is a bit different.

Actually I was going to do a Weekend in Photos, because I had some delicious photos from a family barbecue, and of some new boots I bought (but can’t wear yet because it’s still 85 degrees here, WTF mate?) and the like, but I left my phone at home this morning. Oops, first mess up.

In fact, it was the second mess up. The mess up I’m here to tell you about (because I went home at lunch and got my phone) happened yesterday, and looked like this:

This was supposed to be a pizza with a zucchini crust. I got the idea from Lauren’s Latest, and it all started out really promising:

Bake this crust. It will make your apartment smell amazing. Zucchini, egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning? Hallelujah. I actually skimped on the zucchini and it ended up tasting like quiche…but…there are worse problems to have, right?

Anyway, I baked the crust then topped it with tomato “sauce” (AKA a handful of cherry tomatoes from my parents garden blitzed in the food processor), lots of mozzarella, and some roasted red bell peppers. It was all great until I tried to take it out of the oven…

It’s really hard to get cookie sheets/pizza pans out of our oven, since the ends of our oven racks are tilted upwards. It wasn’t until last night that I realized that’s not just “how they are”…..They were definitely put in the oven backwards! D’oh. Totally fixable.

Fortunately, what was left of the “pizza” was actually still extremely delicious. I had it for dinner last night….and breakfast this morning 😉

All in all, I’m not too bummed about it…because my birthday is in one week (I’ll be 24 on the 24th!) and I got an early birthday cake at the aforementioned barbecue this weekend!

My aunt Megan bakes amazing pies, but because we were celebrating my (and hers, and my grandma’s) birthday on Saturday and she knows I love chocolate… she got this beaut to serve alongside her banana cream pie! It was an itty bitty cake with 3 layers – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. Heavenly!

Moral of the story: mess-ups happen. Keep on looking forward!

Aside

Sausage & Pepper Pizza

I think most peoples’ moms had a few signature recipes that they made when they were growing up. In the case of my family, we definitely had our share of Pizza/Fast Food Fridays, or Stouffer’s lasagna or packaged pasta nights (OK, lest you all think my mom is a bad Italian, I must mention that she actually always makes her own pasta sauce. Always.). But 2-3 nights per week, the meal that my mom would have us sit around the table for was all homemade.

Some meals she had in her rotation included awesome Italian stuff (usually stuffed shells), our favorite chicken and rice casserole (chicken cooked with cream of mushroom soup over rice ERMAHGERD), and something she still makes to this day: sausage and peppers.

Sausage and peppers is actually a pretty classic combo. It’s great on its own: saute up a couple of sausage links with some onions and pepper strips, and serve with some rice pilaf! Boom, done. You could also put ’em on a sandwich roll with some provolone or swiss, and boom. Sandwich.

When I won a giveaway at Lauren’s Latest for a free Al Fresco sausage voucher, my mind raced with all the fancy recipes I could make. Jambalaya! Gumbo! But with all the flavors that Al Fresco offers, I wanted the sausage to shine. When I finally found some Al Fresco at my parent’s nearby Nugget Market, I realized that they only had the pre-cooked kind, which limited my options a bit. I picked up a pack of their Sweet Italian sausage with red & green peppers, and when I got a half day on Friday I decided to use my extra time… to make a pizza!

For anyone who thinks it’s hard to make pizza (dough and all) from scratch, I’m here to tell you that I literally did it one-handed. Even with a broken hand, making pizza is really not too difficult if you have the time!

Feed the yeast, let it foam.

Roll it into a ball, then let it rise as the gluten expands.

Voila. Easy peasy, and takes about 1.5 hours total!

I added fennel seed (to enhance the sausage flavor) and a bit of basil and oregano to fancy up some store-bought tomato sauce.

Did I mention I made two pizzas with a broken hand? Seriously! Not that hard! And soo worth it:

Try it yourself:

Sausage & Pepper Pizza
makes 1 Pizza

1 pizza dough (this recipe is my favorite)
1/2-1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 chicken sausage links (I used al Fresco Sweet Italian)
1 medium bell pepper
1/2 large onion
cornmeal

Prepare pizza dough. I usually reverse the amount of all purpose and whole wheat flour, and have had the best results when I follow the recipe directions exactly and add dry ingredients to the yeast water (and not the opposite).

While dough is rising, prepare your ingredients. Cut sausage links into medallion-sized pieces and saute to render out some of the fat (there isn’t all that much in these pretty low fat sausages!). I also caramelized half of my onions before adding them to the pizza.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll (or stretch) the dough into a large circle. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza pan or baking stone before you transfer the dough. Once it’s on, spread a thin layer of sauce and coat with half of the grated cheese. Next, add sausage, followed by peppers and onions. Top with the rest of your cheese and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is slightly browned and the cheese is melted but not yet burnt.

Once you remove it from the oven, let sit to cool (and take pictures). Then slice it up and dig in!

Another Wedding Weekend in Photos

Another weekend, another wedding.

OK, so I know that’s not actually a thing. But it feels like it! Just this summer, I’ve been to weddings in June, July, and now that we’ve hit August, might as well go to another! This time, it was a family affair…my oldest cousin Evan married his beautiful girlfriend Ashley, who has grown to be a part of our family these past 3-4 years — and my grandparents both got to see their first grandchild get hitched!

After getting a half day on Friday in honor of Fiesta, I went to my parents house and hung out with my mom while cooking up some stuff..

Lunch of champions with mom: tortilla chips, pita chips, hummus, guac, salsa, couscous… And a margarita slushie. — Pizzas for all! One special one for which the recipe is coming…& one half veggie half cheese (for my parents’ 6-year old godson)

Parents in the back — Little brother driving — the view from the backyard wedding — the entrance!

My youngest cousin, one of the flower girls — At the “altar”.. check out that dress! — First dance — Little brother sneak attack — Ashley and Evan’s dog, Mollie <3

It was a wonderful day for a wonderful couple. The setting was beautiful and it was all outdoors (the weather turned out perfect!) at a really nice home in Santa Rosa.

Back at home, where our evening bar TV choices ranged from the Mars Curiosity landing to Oscar Pistorius‘s inspiring race.

Hope you all had a fun weekend as well!

Homemade Grilled Zucchini Pizza

Nothing is better than homemade pizza.

I’m talkin’ mixed-the-dough-yourself, waited-for-it-to-rise, then kneaded-the-crap-out-of-it-homemade.

That was a lot of hyphens, so you KNOW this must be good

Now, I’ve made pizza from scratch before. I’ve used this recipe for dough twice, and it served me well both times. This time, I tried a new dough, and after nearly an hour of rising, it looked like a rock. This was not correct.

So I went back to my tried and true How Sweet Eats and used what I thought was that trusted recipe above. Oh no, no. It was this dough, which is more of a pizza-ish flatbread. So when I rolled it and stretched it out to put on the pan, it looked fine, but after cooking, it turned into a monstrously thick crust. Which was okay, because I have a good relationship with my carbs. Plus, it was whole wheat, so, you know…health food.

Do as I say, not as I do, children. Read on for what I’ve found (through the aforementioned trial and error) to be the most successful way to make homemade pizza:

Continue reading

Weekend in Photos

I don’t know about you guys, but the weather was just lovely in Northern California this weekend. It cooled down on Friday (and even drizzled a little!), which made way for a beautiful weekend in the mid 70’s. Made me feel like I was in Santa Barbara again!

Except that I’m not 20 anymore, I’m not in college anymore, I would not touch Natural Light beer with a 10 foot pole anymore, and I can’t just roll out of bed onto my bike to get to class or work anymore whoops, I still do that 😉

Apparently I can still have fun, though, as evidenced by these photos!

Met some friends + T-Man’s coworkers at my favorite bar-that’s-2-blocks-from-my-apartment-&-has-over-200-beers! — There, we caught the end of the A’s-Giant’s game. The Giants had an awesome comeback in the top of the 9th! — Then we went to my place and played a 3 hour game of Carcassone. In-tense. Continue reading