Monthly Archives: April 2010

Breaded Goat Cheese, Gelato and Toga

I need to start coming up with more interesting blog titles! Anyway, this weekend was pretty good! The weather was nice on Saturday, and that was a major plus! I started out Friday night with a delicious dinner with some lovely ladies. After work I headed to the Midtown Tap & Tea Room, one of my favorite places in albany for after work dinner and drinks. The girls and I shared a bottle of delicious Riesling! I started with the Breaded Goat Cheese with Honey and Carmelized Onions. The best. thing. ever. I am IN LOVE with anything goat cheese, and this was the most creamy, delicious goat cheees I’ve had. Yum. And the honey really added to it.

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For my main meal I got a salad:  Pan-Fried Eggplant with Mixed Greens, Tomato, Red Onions, Cucumber, Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, Feta, Homemade Croutons & Lemon Vinaigrette. It was perfect, since after the goat cheese app, I didn’t want to over do it with a bigger meal. I’ve never had eggplant on a salad before, so this was excited to try this. Since eggplant doesn’t have much of taste, it was pretty good fried, nice and crispy, but a little too greasy for my liking. Otherwise, it was a great salad.

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I was actually pretty full by the end of dinner, but we decided that going down to Lark for some gelato at Crisan would be a must for dessert. I got two $2 scoops of gelato: chocolate and chocolate oreo. I swear, I could live off of this gelato. I ate it too fast and didn’t take a picture. My friend and I also shared some flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache icing. Baked goods are my downfall. I parked in Washington Park on my way to Crisan, and all the flowers were blooming, so I snapped this picture as I walked through:

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The weather forcast for Saturday was looking great, so my sister and one of my friends decided to go to Saratoga for the day to get lunch and visit the 2010 Adirondack Summer Sports & Fitness Expo.  First, we had lunch at Bailey’s Cafe.  I started with some tea: coconut mango oolong.

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And then ordered the soup and panini combo. A cup of Lobster Bisque Soup, and I probably ate about 3/4 of it. It was SO rich and creamy.

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And then The Congress: Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Peppers, Spouts, Lettuce& Tomato with Pesto Herb Mayo. A delicious toasted sandwich filled with so many great veggies! And the bread was super tasty and crisped just right. So good! It came with chips and I was pretty full so I didn’t eat them.

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I really enjoyed eating at this little cafe, and we got to sit outside in the sunshine. For some reason, eating outside when the sun is shining makes everything better!

After lunch, we headed down to the Expo, which I was looking forward to. But after wandering around for about 30 minutes, and stopping at the booths, I realized it was kind of a let down. I was hoping to see more demos and workout gear. There was only 1 station with hiking supplies, a couple of stations with bikes, and a few for canoes/kayaks. The only running stations were the ones advertising running groups and upcoming races. Mostly people just wanted to sell you things, rather than inform you about the upcoming events. It was rather disappointing. Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything. But we did attend a seminar! The coach of the Saratoga’s running club gave an hour presentation on “how to get faster” and it was pretty fascinating.

Some of his tips included:

  • Make sure you start with a basic mileage of 20 miles a week (I just got to this mileage this past week)
  • Include one long distance slow run into your workout routine, anywhere between 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minute long run.
  • Work in hill workouts and tempo runs into your routine
  • Speedwork (the most confusing of all to me), and the most important if you want to be a faster runner.
  • RUN FAST!

The weather was wonderful when we left Saratoga, so when I got home I headed straight for my bike! I biked my good old loop 8 miles around my house. AND I made up the monster hill without getting off! Yes!! The ride is so scenic. And there are lots of trees.

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Overall, I’d say it was a good weekend! This Sunday is my birthday, so expect a birthday related post to come soon!

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Confessions of a Chocoholic

So, I have to admit something. I’m a chocolate addict!!! For the longest time I avoided all candy and chocolate (while I was in the process of losing weight) but once I hit my goal, I decided to splurge once in a while and have a piece a day. Eventually, one piece turned to two, and two to three, and on and on. Now I usually eat 3-4 pieces a day. I know, this is not good of me, I need to stop. I need to only eat chocolate when I’m seriously craving it, and need that chocolate  fix.  So this is my current short-term goal: cut back on chocolate!!!

Anyway, since we’re talking about chocolate, I had a small piece of chocolate cake yesterday, for a co-worker’s birthday. It was from Walmart, and it was really good! Nice job, Walmart! There were even sparkles on it!

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As always, I felt a bit guilty of partaking in the cake-eating, even though I had a run planned for the evening. I had plans to run with my friend, Sarah, who is currently on Weight Watchers!! She’s lost 30 pounds already, so congrats to her!  Anyway, our plan was to go to our old high school and run at the track, but when we go there, there was a track meet going on! So, we decided to run around one of the soccer field’s behind the middle school. And being back there brought back memories of middle school recess! It was really random. But I ran for about 45 minutes, and I’m not sure how many miles that equals out to, but after searching on google, apparently 5.5 laps around a soccer field equals a mile. I have no many laps I ran around, but I figured I ran about four miles. So, I was starving when I came home, so I had a spinach salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and craisins. (to make up for my cake eating earlier in the day!)

So last weekend, I went to one of my new favorites places for dinner, Cafe 217. The first time I went there, I ordered the chocolate chip pancakes and they were under cooked, so I was a little weary of ordering them again. But the second time I went there I got the raspberry crepes, which turned out delicious! On Friday, I tried the pancakes again, instead of chocolate chip I got the raspberry /granola ones (with fruit instead of home fries).  The granola was nowhere to be found, but the pancakes were great otherwise. I’m pretty sure pancakes just might be my favorite food. Anyway, the thing I like about Cafe 217 is that its never crowded there, and they have a really cool ambiance, and you can order drinks! (I had a glass of Ravenswood Shiraz, Vinters Blend with my pancakes! It was so tasty!) And the glass of wine was huge! Also, I like they are open literally all weekend, 24 hours a day.

I was also in the mood for dessert (I’m actually always in the mood for dessert) and because I had been running a lot and ate pretty good during the week, I decided to order the Samoa Ice Cream Sandwich. Samoa you say? Like the girl scout cookie? YES! The ice cream sandwich was between two Samoa cookies (my favorite girl scout cookie) with ice cream rolled in graham cracker crumbs between them. The best. idea. ever. literally. The dish came with three little sandwiches, and I ate two! Yummy.

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Needless to say, after eating like a fiend this weekend, I’ve been pretty good this week (minus the cake yestereday), and the afternoon sun is calling me. I’m off for a lunchtime run! Later!

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Pizza, Banana Bread Failure & Other Random Things

Happy Friday!! Can’t wait for the weekend, even though the weather is supposed to be crappy. Oh well, what can you do? Last night I had the best homemade pizza. My mom’s! I came home from work, starving, to this:
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White pizza with broccoli, spinach and ricotta. Yum. The mozzarella and ricotta were both made with skim milk, but the crust wasn’t whole wheat. I got over that, fast! It was so good, and I was so hungry, I had four pieces.

After dinner I had planned on baking banana bread for dessert. I loved how it came out last time and had been craving it ever since.  I had the whole batch made and my mom found some sugar in an unlabeled container. So, I had the batter all ready in the bread pan, and licked my finger to taste it, and it tasted extremely salty…I thought I had gotten salt on my finger. So I tried, the batter again, and it tasted like SALT! Needless to say, my mom gave me SALT instead of SUGAR, in the unlabeled container. I had put 1/3 cup of salt in, instead of the sugar it called for. I had to throw the whole thing out! AND we were out of sugar, so I couldn’t even make another batch! It was SO depressing. All of my ingredients, down the drain! Oh well, what can you do?  Kitchen disasters happen. Major banana bread FAIL!

Anyway, Wednesday I had a 6 mile run outside planned with my friend Sue. I drove her house after work and went for a run around her neighborhood. The 6 miles did not get any easier than last time. In fact, it felt harder! We did the route backwards, which felt better at first, but by miles 4 and 5 my legs were so tired. There was a monster hill at what I’m guessing was around mile 5 but it was downhill this time! And the view at the top made it worth it. We could see to the mountains across the river. Gorgeous! And the weather was perfect running weather. I love running with Sue because she’s faster than me, so it forces me to keep pace with her.

So, I’ve been itching to run another race, since I haven’t ran one since the Troy Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving 2009, so I googled some upcoming races in Albany. I found some, along with some other cool fitness related events. So I made a wishlist of sorts of things I want to do this spring/summer:
April 24-45Adirondack Sports & Fitness Expo
May 23SPAC Rock & Run 5K Race
June 5Freihofer’s Run for Women (Already registered!)
September 18Warrior Dash of the Northeast (this is a month before a half-marathon I’m hoping to train for, and this dash looks CRAZY, so I’m not sure if I want to do it just yet! It looks SO fun though.
October 10Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon (OK, as of TODAY, I have never run more than 6 miles at once. The prospect of running a half marathon is daunting. I want to try to start training for it, so I know by July that I can do it. I think this is the biggest goal I have set for myself so far, which INCLUDING losing weight.)

I’ll update the blog on the status of these events as time goes by!

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Sweet Potatoes and Banana Froyo

Good evening everyone!! I just made a pretty awesome dinner and it was quite filling, actually. When I got home my mom was boiling sweet potatoes on the stove, so that gave me an idea to re-create the amazing sandwich I had in NYC! I put some sweet potatoes on whole wheat toast with some crumbled goat cheese spread on the bread, and grilled it in a pan to crisp it up. Not too shabby. I also drizzled some honey on the sandwich to make it even sweeter. It was pretty tasty. I also put some extra sweet potatoes on the side, and had some corn after. I’ll admit, my sandwich wasn’t as good as Pecan’s, but it was still rather tasty. I ate half the sandwich before I took the picture. 🙂
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For dessert I tried out my new food processor, and used a recipe that came in the booklet with it, for Banana Frozen Yogurt. This morning I sliced up a banana and stuck it in the freezer, so it would be ready when I got home from work. I put the banana in the FP and mixed it on high until the banana was crumbly, and then added 1/2 cup of fat free vanilla yogurt. It quickly came to an ice-cream like consistency. Amazingggg! I love my new FP!!! SUCH a handy kitchen tool, I swear. How did I live so long without one? The froyo was SO good…I will definitely be making this all summer.
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froyo in food processor
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froyo in a pretty dish, with crappy lighting

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Oats for Dinner!

I was definitely in need of a good workout this morning, as yesterday I didn’t eat too healthy!! (Pizza from Smitty’s Tavern, and a mango margarita and bbq tofu taco from bombers, and some chocolate cake from Crisan…as well as wine on Friday night… :-D)
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But today I definitely did better! I had some cereal for breakfast (I usually eat Special K Protein Plus, with some toasted wheat germ and soy milk) and then headed to the gym to do some running. I consider Sundays my long run days. I know I need to make up for bad weekend eating and try to stick to healthy eating on Sundays. Anyway, I ran 5.5 miles on the treadmill, with an average pace of 10:30. Not too bad!

After the gym, I headed to Hannaford for some grocery shopping. I was in need of food, bad! So when I got home I made a protein smoothie for lunch, along with a Morning Star Farms chickn patty. Yum!


Here’s what I put in my protein smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup of light plain soymilk
  • a handful of frozen strawberries
  • a scoop of chocolate protein powder.

I bought some steel cut oats the other day to try out…I had them in NYC and have been wanting to make my own, while I was doing dishes I boiled water on the stove to cook the oats. I made about a cup, so I have some left over for breakfast this week. They were delicious! I had 2/3 cup of oats, about a teaspoon of almond butter, and a teaspoon of sweet cherry butter! I found the cherry butter at Hannaford today and I wanted to try it since it looked amazing, and let me tell you, it was! So tasty with the oats! I also put a sprinkle of granola on top for some crunch. Yummy dinner! One of the things I like about Hannaford is their selection of natural/organic foods. They also sell local foods! The cherry butter comes from a place in New York! Awesome.

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catskill cherry butter!
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tasty oats for dinner!

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New York, New York – A Foodie’s Dream, Part 1

So, let me recap my lovely/rainy trip to New York City. My cousin Liz, and our friend Beth, and I took the train from Albany to Penn Station. Let me just say, I love food. This is the reason why I had to lose weight to begin with, I loved food too much. But since I’ve started eating healthy, I realized just how much I DO enjoy food, and how to control my eating and to still eat what I enjoy, but not go overboard. When I eat out, I try to pick the healthiest thing on the menu that I know I will like. I almost NEVER order pasta with a creamy (fattening) sauce or fried food. I stick to mostly vegetarian options, sometimes, seafood or chicken. So, one of the best parts of NYC is all of the GREAT food options, something I wish Albany had.  So let the fooding begin!

Monday

Monday morning can’t remember what I had for breakfast, I just remember packing apples and Luna Bars for the train, because I know sometimes eating habits get screwed up while traveling, and I didn’t want to ever be STARVING (thankfully that never happened) so I didn’t need to eat any except on the train. Here is the view of the train tracks from our hotel room.

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Anyway, Monday afternoon we got to the city and had to trek from Penn Station to the subway to the hotel where we were staying, the Travel Inn. It had a LOVELY view (note the sarcasm) of the Amtrak train tracks! And it really looked grimy, because of the rain. But despite our view, the hotel wasn’t too bad. I would say the only negative aspect was the walk to and from the subway stop, about flourish blocks, which sucked hardcore in the rain. (Thank God for rainboots and a raincoat from Target).

So we were pretty much famished by the time we got back to hotel. We had plans to meet the girls’ friend Emily at her art school in Tribeca, and she knew of a great little place for sandwiches, called Pecan Café.

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I LOVED this place. It was so awesome. And the sandwich was the best thing I’ve tasted in a LONG time! (maybe because I was insanely hungry at the time?) But I ordered a green tea and a sweet potato sandwich. The description from the website: roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, red lettuce and chives with sweet chili mayo on a French baguette. Toasted. DELISH!!! I would actually go back to NYC again to get this sandwich. Yummy. I wish I had taken a picture of the sandwich. (Note: I need to get over the fear of photographing my food in public! I’m always afraid people will think I’m a freak…I mean who takes pictures of all the food they eat?)

So after sandwiches, Emily wanted to take us to a bakery down the street, called Billy’s bakery. It was the cutest place. I ordered the chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, and the frosting was out of this world!! Extremely satisfying. And I got my cupcake fix! I am a SUCKER for baked goods…and I have an extreme sweet tooth, NOT a good thing! But it is extremely difficult to withhold eating cupcakes when everyone around you is eating them, I usually give in and make up for it later.

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A little later on, we met up with Liz and Beth’s friend…and she took us to Saint’s Alps tea house in the East Village. I’m slowly getting used to the different areas in New York…maybe next time I will be able to find my way around by myself! It’s just one big grid. I swear, one day it will click! Anyway, this place was really cute and had a lot of different kinds of tea. I got the strawberry black tea, which was served cold. It was like sipping strawberries!! VERY sweet, so I don’t even want to know how many calories were in it.

For dinner on Monday we decided to hit up a Sushi Samba!! There are two in New York. I’ve been to the one in Miami and LOVED it!! The one in New York had a lounge dining area, which was where we decided to sit, and it was incredible. The lighting is awesome, and the music was so fun. Liz just wanted to get up and dance! If you look at the menu, they describe their food as a fusion of Japanese and Brazilian cuisine. It’s pretty cool, and the food is REALLY good.  I ordered a Pacific Samba Roll, which was king crab, avocado, asian pear, soy paper, wasabi-avocado crema. And a side of roasted veggies. Let me say, the veggies were WAY better than the roll!! I like sushi, but it’s not my favorite. The veggies were so good.  Liz and I decided to split a dessert afterward, and we got the warm chocolate banana cake, maple butter, banana chip, vanilla rum ice cream, divine!!!! Needless to say, I felt a bit guilty about eating too many sweets in one day, but I have to give in sometimes, especially on a trip like this! After dinner we were exhausted and headed back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep!

And so, this was our first day in New York. I will continue the next post with Tuesday’s happenings!     

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New York, New York – A Foodie’s Dream – Part 2

Okay, since I’m writing this post two months after my NYC trip which I took in April so I’m going to do my best to re-cap the rest of the trip. Here we go!

Tuesday

Tuesday morning we wanted to some shopping. Liz had a meeting with her agent, so we went to a Starbucks around the corner for breakfast. I got one of their spinach and feta egg white wraps, which was a perfect healthy breakfast! We sat inside to warm up and get away from the rain.

Beth and I then walked around Bryant Park while we waited for Liz. We had lunch at Pax Wholesome Foods. It seemed like an okay place to get a quick lunch. They had tons of different foods on display behind glass windows (with the calories posted! yay!) I’m pretty sure I ordered a turkey sandwich. I remember the bread being really tough to chew. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had that’s for sure, but we weren’t too familiar with the places to eat around here so we settled for Pax.

After a quick lunch, we wandered around more, and found Le Pain Quotidein, a cute little cafe/eatery right on Bryant Park. Little did we know they had a place to sit down and eat real food! If only we’d waited and walked around the corner. Oh well! We went in anyway and sat down for some dessert. This place was so cute!

I ordered a chocolate mousse cake. And it was to die for. Here it is already half eaten.

chocolate mousse cake in new york city makes me very happy

Beth and I hung out here for a while and chatted (away from the rain) and when it let up a little bit we walked around and did some window shopping. I think we went to Gap and Barnes and Noble where we then met up with Liz.  Time to go back to the hotel and take off the rainboots for a little while.

We ended up meeting a couple of their friends at a cute little Thai place not too far from the hotel called Aura, which was nice. I ordered the lemongrass chicken: grilled marinated chicken with lemongrass sauce served
with a side of papaya salad and sticky rice.
This was seriously some good chicken! If I were still eating chicken, I would order it again if I ever happen to go back to this place. I also tried the plum wine. It was a little too sweet for me, and that’s saying something! It kind of tasted like juicy juice! For dessert I tried the Fried Honey Banana with Coconut Ice Cream. Divine! I only sampled a bit of it though, but it was tasty.

After dinner we decided to see what kind of bars were around the area, and since we were staying in Hell’s Kitchen, we walked by tons of them. We decided on one that looked really cool called Zanzibar. The music in there was really funky and the lighting was cool. And it wasn’t too crowded, probably because it was a Tuesday night!

We sat down on the little couches and ordered our drinks. I got a Riesling.

I realized I am obsessed with huge wine glasses. 🙂 And Riesling. We hung out here for a while, but we were tired from walking around in the rain all day so the hotel bed was seeming nicer and nicer…

Wednesday

Today was the day we wanted to go to the museum! First we needed breakfast, so we went to a cute little cafe around the corner called Bis.Co. Latte. You can always find something good around the corner in New York.

these bright colors would wake anyone up in the morning!

It was lovely! We needed caffiene so I ordered a green tea and the girls ordered coffees.

For breakfast I tried my first bowl of steel-cut oats. It was love at first taste.

Sitting in this cafe on a New York City morning was delightful. I enjoy New York.

So, after breakfast, we went to the Jacques Torres chocolate shop! Mmm chocolate, my love. Jacques Torres was actually there at the shop too so it was kind of cool to see him! At first I only wanted to buy one thing, the breakfast bar! I was trying to be healthy! But a ginormous chocolate chunk cookie was calling my name, so I bought one and ate the whole thing! No regrets! I saved the breakfast bar for another time. 🙂

After chocolate, we headed over to the Rubin Museum of Art to see the Himalayan Exhibit, and that was really interesting. There is something relaxing about quiet museums. I don’t know what it is.

I’m pretty sure we fit lunch in there somewhere…I believe we went to this place called the Hollywood Diner, where I ordered a healthful veggie burger with no bun. But I remember it being pretty good.

We ended up going back to our hotel after the museum to get our stuff because we had a 4:00 train back to Albany. It was an awesome few days in the city! However, it does seem to rain every time I’m there. I’m really hoping the next time I go, which will probably be sometime this summer, it will be warm and sunny without a rain cloud in sight! 🙂

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