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What I Ate Wednesday #173: Work and Play Weekend

Happy  What I Ate Wednesday ! Hope you’re having a great week so far. Can you believe we’re already coming down to the last few days of July? The past four weeks have been packed with all kinds of craziness, but mostly the good kind. After working so many weekends at the hospital over the spring, it’s been nice to have a few weekends to spend with the “normal” people of the world.

This past weekend was a mix of work and play, as I picked up a Saturday shift but also caught up with friends and enjoyed lots of playtime with Eli, who’s growing so fast it’s insane. eli in the grass

Friday night I had dinner with some friends at Atlantic Grill. I heart restaurant week. Atlantic Grill

Saturday was a busy day at the hospital, but I had plenty of good food to keep me going. Breakfast was a new twist on overnight oats:

coconut flour overnight oats

Proper recipe coming soon, but basically, I have decided that I should put coconut flour in my overnight oats all the time.

Like I usually do when I’m at the hospital, I packed a big salad for lunch. I like that it takes me a really long time to eat. butter bean salad

 

I also enjoyed a pluot and some of these. seaweed snacks

I cannot, for the life of me, remember what I ate Saturday night, and I have zero photographic evidence. After giving Eli a bath, I was totally zonked.

Sunday ended up being quieter than planned. I’d had plans to go to an event but was feeling under the weather, so I stuck close to home. The downtime gave me a chance to do some food prep for the week and to make pasta with fresh basil in it for dinner. My mom gave me a gorgeous basil plant last time I saw her, so I was excited to put it to use! IMG_6805

Also, because PMS is a thing, I enjoyed a square of this after dinner on Sunday: speckuloos bar

I could totally eat the whole thing in one sitting, but I like to space it out over a few days and savor one piece at a time. In my brain, this registers as more chocolate over time, which is definitely a good thing!

What was the best think you ate last weekend?  

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

Restaurant Week: Atlantic Grill

I always look forward to NYC Restaurant Week. The $25 lunch and $38 dinner specials are a great excuse to try a new place or visit a restaurant that’s normally a little out of my price range.

Friday night, a few friends and I went to the Atlantic Grill. All of us ordered the 3-course Restaurant Week menu.Atlantic Grill

 

I started with the green gazpacho with crab meat salad. For my entree, I ordered the salmon, which came with a lovely ratatouille. Of the three dessert options, I went for the sorbet trio because it sounded the most refreshing (and also because the chocolate torte had hazelnuts and was therefore not an option). The flavors were all spot-on for me, and the portion sizes were great—not too big, not too small. I only ended up finishing about half the dessert, actually, and felt perfectly satisfied.

With a drink, tax, and tip, it still came out to almost $60, but it was a really nice treat!

Do you take advantage of Restaurant Week or other dining specials in your city? Any must-go places in NYC? 

 

Music Monday with Ariel Rubin

aatheundertow2_highresWelcome to another Music Monday! In each installment, I’ll be bringing you a different artist talking about how they stay healthy on the road. This series is part of a larger project I am working on in conjunction with the nonprofit, WhyHunger, which works to fight hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment. If you have the time, take a look at their site, and please feel free to share this with your social networks, especially with your music-loving friends!

Today I have Boston-based artist Ariel Rubin talking about how her healthy upbringing has helped her live well no matter where she is. 

Growing up in a health-conscious home with fresh, natural food as the center of daily meals has helped Ariel Rubin of Ariel and the Undertow stick to a healthy routine even on the road.

“I was raised by parents who grow their own organic food and tend to cook from scratch rather than eat out, so living and eating healthy is something I was raised with rather than learned at a later age. I can see how this has given me a big advantage in life when it comes to understanding how the food I eat affects my body, energy and physical abilities and also the confidence to cook for myself and my own family.”Dessert

She adds, “I never grew up with an aversion to many foods because vegetables meant fresh peas, carrots or greens straight from the garden and these were as sweet and delicious as most candy. I also learned to be excited for the seasons, because each summer month had it’s own set of fruit that would come ripe – strawberries, then raspberries, then plums and peaches, finally apples and pears. It made all these foods feel special and particularly delicious.”

Seeing a direct relationship between health habits and performance and stamina, Rubin makes healthy living a priority when traveling.  When asked about her last tour, she says, “I traveled with a magic bullet portable blender and lots of fruit, green powder and other fresh ingredients in a cooler. Each day I would make at least one green smoothie to make sure I was still eating fresh, nutrient filled food.”  She would visit local grocery or health food stores and farmers’ markets to stock up on smoothie ingredients and other basics: “snacks, dried fruit and nuts, coconut water, etc….” Some of her go-to items are Larabars, dried fruit, nuts, bags of apples, carrots, and hopped up veggies and hummus.

“A lot depends on where you are,” Rubin explains,  “but most places seem to have a Trader Joe’s or a natural foods market if you stake it out. I’m a big Yelp fan—I would look up juice bars and vegetarian restaurants. I’m not a vegetarian, but these places tend to have more healthy options.”

“When worse came to worst,” she added, she could usually rely on smoothies from Starbucks or Subway sandwiches. “Subway, while not the best but they’re consistent and you can get a lot of veggies, a policy of keeping things  fresh, you can get a lot of veggies on one sandwich.”

Something she tends to avoid when performing and recording, however, is alcohol.” Musicians are offered booze as part of compensation, but I don’t generally drink much while on tour. I find maintaining my voice for nightly shows challenging enough without adding alcohol to it, so lived off of hot water with lemon and honey most of the tour. Not so exciting, but allowed me to maintain!”

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured on Music Monday, get at me! KeepingItRealFood(at)gmail(dot)com

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy.

I’ve been doing this exercise for two solid months now, and I have to admit that I notice a big difference. I feel much calmer and more grounded. I’m officially a believer in the power of gratitude. I may even keep this up after summer. We shall see…

Here are a few things that brought me joy this week:

1.) The other day, I saw this random  purple feather at the gym where I do pilates. It totally made my morning.

purple feathe

2.) It’s just starting to sink in that I’m heading to Boston in a few weeks for a fun event at the Newbury Street Athleta store. When I was first brainstorming and reaching out to local vendors, mid-August seemed sooo far away. Now it’s right around the corner.

3.) I’ve been reading and writing a lot about breakfast lately, which has inspired me to shake up my own morning routine quite a bit. Of course, because I live alone and don’t have to worry about impressing anyone with my mad culinary skillz (yes, with a “z”), many of these creations are translated into dinner versions. Up until a year-and-a-half ago, I had oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day. That had been going on since college, so I guess that makes about…6 or 7 years of oatmeal—more or less every.damn.day. Until late 2012. Change is good.beach breakfast

4.) Thank god my crappy old desk chair is big enough for me to sit cross-legged in while I work. Eli likes to lie in my lap while I type stuff on the computer, especially at night when I’m drafting blog posts. It may not be the best habit to get into, but sometimes it’s the only way stuff gets done.eli working

5.) I’ve seen this a few times now, but it always cracks me up:

Tom

What’s brought you joy recently? 

 

 

 

 

What to throw in your beach bag

So let me start by saying that I am terrible at going to the beach. Here are a few reasons why:

1.) I am one of those scaredy cats who does not like to go in the water above my ankles. I don’t care how devilishly handsome or persuasive or clever you think are—this is not ever going to change. I do not respond well to being picked up and dangled.

2.) I am ghost-white and just don’t give a f*** about cultivating a tan.  Getting suspicious moles cut out of my body sucks way more than being pale.

3.) I always seem to bring the wrong reading material. I get ambitious and bring, say, a copy of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics instead of a novel. Note to self: the beach is not a place to catch up on your to-do list.

Doing it right back it 2010

Doing it right back it 2010

That said, I do like the beach. I just don’t like dealing with other people’s Jess at the Beach expectations. One thing I’m good at, though, is snacks.

If you’ve got a cooler in tow, go nuts and throw in all the water, sandwiches, salads, and whatever the edible f*** you want. For those of you tossing your stuff in a canvas bag and catching the LIRR out to Long Beach or wherever, here are some heat-proof things to pack:

  • Dry-roasted edamame, nuts and/or seeds. Add a tbsp of dried fruit and call it trail mix.
  • Fruit—bananas and oranges, (anything with a peel) travel especially well.
  • Turkey jerky (or vegetarian versions like Primal Strips)
  • Bars that do not involve chocolate. Look for low-sugar varieties with a short ingredients list that have at least 4 grams of fiber and protein. Larabars and KIND bars tend to be pretty safe. You can even make your own at home in a food processor using nuts and dried fruit.
  • High-fiber crackers.

Before you go, scope out nearby grocery stores or restaurants to see if there are real-food lunch and/or dinner options available—or how many miles you have to walk to get a lobster. Not that I’ve ever walked a great distance for lobster before or anything…

lobster 2013 We all make rookie mistakes.

Do you like the beach? What are some of your favorite beach eats? 

Thinking Out Loud

Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!
Thinking-Out-Loud2

My brain is basically iced coffee and puppies, but I promise there are a few other things kicking around in there!

The Luck Dragon is teething, so the days I work from home look a lot like this selfie-fail, which cracked me up the other day:

selfie fail with eli

But right, other things! Here are some random bits for today:

1.) First off, did you guys see Raechel’s awesome yoga playlist post on Monday? Love her taste in music.

2.) I love Food 52, and I love figs. This post is all the things.

3.) This post on ways to add veggies to breakfast.egg white scramble

4.) My submission to this laugh-out-loud Tumblr just got posted this week. Sorry I’m not sorry. I tried not to write about it much when I was going through it back in late 2011, but if at all possible, avoid living with an ex after you break up. Just so  many kinds of awkward.

5.) Leonard Cohen on creativity, hard work, and why you should never quit before you know what it is you’re quitting.

6.) Jenny Lewis has a new album!

7.) I will never master the art of omelet-making, and I guess that’s just gonna have to be ok. When I made this leftovers-with-egg-whites creation for breakfast the other morning, it totally fell apart when I was transferring it from the pan. Tasted great, though! brussels omelet fail

What’s on your mind today? What music are you loving lately? Any omelet secrets? 

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday #172: Staycation Sunday

Happy Wednesday! This week I have a much more presentable  What I Ate Wednesday spread than last week’s.

Things with the pup are awesome—little dude is a constant source of  amazement and amusement. I love that he’s made his crate into his den. When he needs a break from playing, he likes to lay in there and gnaw on it. Eli chewing on his crate

Weirdo.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to have another weekend where I was not working at the hospital. Saturday was a really mellow day where I went to a great yoga class and enjoyed some tasty foods that were not all salad or messes in bowls. I even made something on the stove! Nothing like a chickpea flour pancake for dinner with tons of veggies and avocado. WIAW 172

On Sunday, my mom came into the city to spend the day with me. The weather was gorgeous, which made us both feel like we were on vacation. Our first stop was Balkanika in Hells Kitchen. I’d bought a Living Social Deal some months earlier. The deal came with two goblets of wine:

goblet of wine

WIAW Jul 20 14…four mezze (we ordered brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grilled mushrooms, and babbaganoush), two entrees (Greek salad and a beef & onion bourek for us), and two desserts. We can out of steam for dessert but were treated to coffee instead.

After stopping at my apartment to take the Luck Dragon out, we grabbed some fro-yo at Pinkberry (my seasonal craving has officially been satisfied) before going to see Chef. It was the perfect movie for a summer afternoon. But wow, so much food porn, complete with porn-y music. My mouth was watering the whole time.

After the movie, we wandered to the Vanguard, a wine bar near the theater, where we made a light dinner of some wine and small plates. If you go, I highly recommend the kale salad, olives, and mushroom tartine.

Neither of us really wanted the day to end—it was so nice to just relax and enjoy the city. I felt like I’d just been on a trip, when really, I’d been hanging out in my backyard. Love that.

How did you spend your weekend? What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

 

Rebel Grrl Yoga Playlist

Hi guys! Today I have a special post from one of my have bloggers, Raechel, of Rebel Grrl Living.

source: http://kstakesphoto.com

source: http://kstakesphoto.com

Hello Keeping It Real Food readers! I am so honored to be guest blogging for Jess. Keeping It Real Food was one of the first blog’s I started following “on the reg.” I loved Jess’s attitude towards food: health-focused, but not obsessive, and without any comments about feeling “guilty” for indulging in chocolate or wine. Instead, Jess’s posts seemed to reflect an approach to life that valued celebration over “discipline”….And, of course, I loved her sassy writing style, and our mutual love of red lipstick!

Jess and I also share in common a love of music and making playlists for our yoga practices. I had been making my own personal yoga playlists for a while, but then I became a yoga teacher and stepped up my game considerably!

When Jess and I were brainstorming what I should do for this post, we decided pretty fast that a yoga playlist post would be in order. Below see two playlists I’ve been working with recently, followed by a basic Vinyasa Flow sequence that I would teach to the music.

Asana Electric: Sexy Flow

This playlist is full of a bunch of electronic-influenced music that I’ve been really digging lately. All of it feels really sexy. You will probably want to go to the club and dirty dance after this. Don’t blame me, blame the hot beats.Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 4.49.54 PM

FolkHeart: Opener Flow

This playlist is more indie rock/folk music inspired. Think dreamy lyrics, and songs that will make you want to sit on a back porch, feel all the feelings, and maybe have a (post-yoga) beer while you’re at it.Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 4.50.36 PM

Below is a basic power vinyasa sequence. Please note that I wrote this for people who have some basic knowledge of the postures and how to transition and breathe safely between them. If you are a new yogi, don’t try to do this based on my limited direction. I included some links, but I strongly recommend trying to work with a certified teacher. A great way to do this is to go to some beginner classes at a studio, many of which offer free weeks for new students!

source: http://kstakesphoto.com

source: http://kstakesphoto.com

Integration:

Start in child’s pose for and begin to engage your ujjayi pranayama breath. Breathe here for at least two minutes. After about two minutes, slowly move to a table top position. Move through some cat and cow poses. Do whatever feels good to warm up your body. Move to adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog) and continue to stretch your body until you feel sufficiently warm.

Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A):

Move through at least three Sun Salutations. Optional variations: mini-back bends; side stretch.

Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B):

Move through three Sun B’s on each side. Here’s a very basic one. (I would also recommend including some Warrior II’s somewhere during your Sun B.) Hold as long as it feels comfortable. Let it feel juicy, let your muscles burn a bit. You can flow through the second sets of Sun B a bit faster, and maybe add on small variations (ex. knee to nose, then knee to nose + knee to right elbow, then knee to nose + knee to right elbow +knee to left elbow).

Anjaneyasana & Parsvokonasana (Crescent lunge series):

Move through crescent lunge, then add on crescent lunge with side twist. Hold here. Twist and rinse it out. Flow through your vinyasa, then repeat on the left side. Move into chair pose and then move through chair pose with side twist. Hold! Twist and rinse it out. Fold forward and stretch in padangusthasana. Move back in to chair pose, then repeat on the left side.

Vasisthasana (Side plank series):

Hold your variation of side plank on each side. Option to take runner’s lunge in between sides.

Balancing series:

Start with a balancing posture of your choice: crow, headstand, handstand, (even down dog!) are all great choices. Rest as needed. Vinyasa through to stand.

Move through standing balancing:

-hold garudasana (eagle pose) for about one minute on each side.

-hold natarajasana (dancer pose) for about one minute on each side.

-hold vrkasana (tree pose) for about one minute on each side.

Flow through vinyasa.

Virabhadrasana I & Trikonasana (Warrior I/Triangle Series):

Move through your Vinyasa then into Warrior I and hold. From Warrior I move into Warrior II then Triangle Pose. Hold your variation of triangle. Repeat on the left side.

Flow through vinyasa.

Spine strengthening:

Move to high plank then lay flat on your belly. Move through one set each of bhujangasana (cobra), salabhasana (locust pose), and dhanurasana (bow pose). Hold as long as your body tells you. After you’ve complete each posture, come to stand on your knees and move into ustrasna (camel pose). Hold for as long as is comfortable (but remember that it’s okay to sit with some discomfort…I promise it’s going to go away almost as soon as you come out of it).

Rest then move into table top. When you’re ready, move into down dog.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (King pigeon):

Move into the best posture of all time (or at least it’s *my* favorite posture!). It’s such a juicy stretch. I like folding forward in this posture, like so. Stay on each side for half of the song, then switch legs and finish the song on the second side. (Note: If you have any knee pain, move into a variation on your back.)

When you’re ready, move back into down dog. Work out whatever needs to be worked out here.

Backbends:

Move through to lie down on the mat. Move through seth bandha sarvangasana (bridge) or urdhva dhanurasana (wheel). Hold as long or short as is comfortable. Do up to three sets.

Surrender series:

Stretch and cool down. My favorites include baddha konasana, side twists, cow-face pose, and forward folds, but do whatever feels good.

Savasana:

Lay face up on your mat, arms out, palms up, breathing returned to normal. Quiet your body and mind. When you are ready to move out of savasana, seal your practice with a bow forward, and….

Namaste.

 

***

Thanks, Raechel!

What kind of music do you like to listen to for yoga? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things: Lobster Ravioli and the Luck Dragon

Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a new series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy.

luck dragon 1.) This probably makes me weird, but I’ve taken to calling Eli The Luck Dragon when posting about him on social media. That whole sentence is weird, actually. I can’t help it, though—Sometimes he just reminds me of Falkor from The NeverEnding Story.

2.) Speaking of Eli, dude finally caught his tail the other day. After taking a few minutes to get acquainted, he rolled all over the floor with it. It must be so weird to be a dog.

3.) Chocolate raspberry oatmeal. So. Freaking. Good. The other day after 7 am hot yoga, I made this recipe but used raspberries instead of blueberries and added cocoa powder before cooking. I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture.

4.) One great thing about having a puppy vs having a child: When I put him in the crate for 20 minutes so I can take a shower and get dressed for work, I never have to worry about him growing up to write a tell-all memoir about what a horrible, selfish woman I am. That said, did anyone read Oh the Glory of It All when it came out a few years ago during the self-destructive memoir craze?

lobster ravioli5.) I’m finally starting to feel capable of creating meals that are not just bowls of random vegetables and protein topped with hummus. This Trader Joe’s lobster ravioli seems way too good to be just $2.99 a container. I kind of don’t even want to know why because I’m afraid it will turn out to be some mob operation or something equally shady. I enjoyed mine with some wilted arugual and roasted asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli. I had no idea what to do for sauce, so I just tossed it all in some garlic-infused olive oil. So many things I love on one plate!

6.) Good Spread. Love this idea.

7.) My 6-month review at the hospital was even more positive than I could have dared hope for. I even managed not to downplay what I’ve worked hard for or otherwise discount what I should be proud of. I am wildly uncomfortable with compliments, so this is a big deal for me. I did take advantage of the chance to say, “Well, thank you for the opportunity to do all these interesting things and have these professional experiences.” I never cease to be amazed at the twists and turns and how they continue to lead me back to the center of why I do what I do.

8.) This last one is not so much an overtly joyous thing so much as it is an important reminder that knowing when to let go of something it important. There are always going to be cranky people who will go out of their way to make you feel like crap and pick at your emotional scabs. You can’t change them. What you can change, however, is how much you let it get to you. What helped me get through an uncomfortable encounter this past week was reminding myself that it must suck to be that person and feel so annoyed by things all the time. Then I went and got a massage.

9.) A beautiful yoga class at Zenyasa on Saturday morning. I may or may not have fallen into a deep trance during savasana.

What’s brought you joy this week? 

Fit-Bottomed Summer Recipes

Hey guys! This morning I have another great post from the wonderful Jenn of Fit Bottomed Girls—enjoy! 

5 Recipes to Make This Summer

By Jennipher Walters, co-founder of FitBottomedEats.com

Happy Summer! And is there any other season that encourages healthy, fresh and clean eating like summer? We think not. So fire up the grill, bust out the fresh produce and get to trying these five summer recipes that make the most of the season!

1. Beer and Bratburger. Can’t decide between having a brat or a burger? Have BOTH with this recipe!

brat-burger

Get the recipe here.

2. Homemade Lemonade. Skip the premade powdered stuff and make your own lemonade from scratch! Flavorful and natural it’s delicious and perfect to wash down that Bratburger. (Plus, a little birdie tell us, it’s also good spiked with a little vodka or rum!)

lemonade

Get the recipe here.

3. Strawberry Pavlova. When it’s summer, you don’t want a dessert that’s heavy and rich. You want something light and airy! And this strawberry pavlova recipe is all of that, plus it makes the most of those in-season juicy strawberries. Perfection!

strawberry-recipe

Get the recipe here.

4. Grilled Watermelon. Ever thrown fruit on the grill? It may sound a little strange, but it’s amazing! A little savory, a little smoky and oh-so sweet, you’ll love it.

A stack of watermelon slices isolated on white

Get the recipe here.

5. Kale Salad With Orange Tahini Dressing. Don’t forget the kale salad! Yes, kale is in everything these days, but this kale salad is bright and pairs wonderfully with warm weather and sunshine!

kale-salad-recipe

Get the recipe here.

What are a few of your favorite summer recipes?

 

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