odwalla bar

It’s true what they say

“Home is where the heart is”

Yup.  It’s true.  Lucky for me, I consider both the Bay Area AND Santa Monica “home.”  So even though it was a total joy to spend the weekend with my parents and sister, I’m glad to be back with Kyle.  Win win. 

Eventually I will recap the wedding in more detail (so fun!), but for now, I’m trying to get organized for work tomorrow (reality check…wah wah).

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I had leftovers from Patxi’s for Saturday brunch.  I had baby carrots a la mode because I enjoy fiber.

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Even day old Daiya still makes for excellent pizza

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I took to the streets for some cardio after I had enough time to digest.  Guess who joined me?  Milo (he’s the German Shepherd).  Aside from his trips to the dog park with Kona (she’s the idiot Golden Retriever) he rarely gets the opportunity to go on distance runs.  So it was high time the big man got some exercise.

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He was pooped when we were done.  🙂

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My parents had a dinner date already planned, so I was on my own for la cena.  I made a Thai style egg/veggie scramble with a curry and almond butter sauce.  I’ll post the recipe at some point.  It was fantastic. 

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I had millet bread with sunflower butter to round out the meal, and then baked some quinoa granola while watching the UCLA game. 

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My parents’ pantry lacked some of the ingredients I typically use (chia seeds, coconut butter, etc.), but I made do.  It was a bit hard to get off the tin foil, but otherwise I think it was a winning recipe.

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I’ll share later this one later too.

Sunday morning flew by…my dad treated me to a guest pass at their gym, so I ended up getting in some quality time on the elliptical (while watching football of course), followed by a big girl weight lifting sesh.  I felt pretty good afterwards.  My guns don’t grow on their own.  😉

Unfortunately, the length of my workout left me with minimal time back at home to get my hair and face did.  And FYI, I have wavy hair, which requires straightening.  Given it’s current length, it’s a non-negotiable.  So we may have left a tad later than we had hoped because of moi. 

Fortunately, google maps grossly overestimated the traffic, so we arrived with more than enough time to spare.  Hence the family photo shoot outside the wedding venue. 

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I like sparkling wine.  And generous bar tenders. 

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Oh what a night. 

Anyway.

I hit the road Monday morning and snacked on my typical faves as I made my way back down the I-5…

The time went MUCH faster thanks to the podcasts I downloaded.  OMG, I am SUPER obsessed with Colleen from Compassionate Cooks.  Her podcasts are on iTunes (vegetarian food for thought) and they are superb.  Seriously.  Inspiring and amazing.  Definitely check them out!!

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Even though I was exhausted when I finally made it back to the Westside, Kyle and I had a dinner date planned, so I put on my game face and did my best to stay awake until 9 pm. 

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We went to A Votre Sante in Brentwood which I will review in detail later.  So many future posts I’m teasing here!!

I was mega wiped out when we got home, so it was a good thing I had already packed up the following goodies for work…

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What do we have here?

First up, breakfast. 

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Banana, soy yogurt, home-made quinoa granola

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Next up, lunch.

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Spinach, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, corn, quinoa, cashews and almonds topped in Bragg’s liquid aminos

I hereby deem this quinoa and veggie crunch salad my new favorite.  Is there anything better than roasted nuts on top of fresh, crunchy greens and grains.  Negative. 

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Side note: I ate so many nuts while making this salad.  Salt.  Gets me every time.

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Snacks: corn nuts, sweet & salty peanut odwalla bar

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Dessert: Nana’s GF chocolate cookie

And that’s that.  

T minus twelve

What a day.  Full of a bizarre mix of emotions.  I’m not sure I can totally put it into words, so for now I’ll just stick to the photos.

Well, what do we have here? 

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My last work lunch for a while included a big salad with a side of carrots and Livin’ Spoonful raw crackers, along with 2 apples, a vegan oatmeal raisin cookie from Candle, and a tupp ‘o zuppa

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This was the other half of Amy’s Southwestern Veg soup bulked up with extra frozen veggies (corn and broccoli). 

As for the cookie, well, it wasn’t exactly love at first bite.  It was good, I mean it IS a cookie after all!  But not sweet enough for my taste buds.  I only ended up consuming half at lunch (but I had the rest later that night). 

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Salad of champions: spinach, carrots, cherry tomatoes, dried cranz, pepitas, chickpeas, and raw crackers.  Holler.

Work was bittersweet.  Saying goodbye to people was such a weird feeling.  I mean obviously I will still be in touch with my close friends, but the truth of the matter is, more likely than not, I will never see a majority of these people again.  Ever.  That is so weird, and it still hasn’t totally hit me yet.  I mean, I have a few coworkers that I will definitely still keep in contact with (and hopefully see again in the future), but the rest of the staff – the people I saw on a day to day basis, the people who shaped me as a nurse, the people who witnessed a major transitional part of my life (moving to a new/foreign city, getting engaged, etc.) – will be over 3,000 miles away from me.  Odd. 

I think the reason it’s so hard for me to put my feelings into words, though, is because I wasn’t particularly close with my coworkers (in fact I did a fairly decent job of keeping my work life separate from the rest of my life).  And yet, in terms of the influence they had on me professionally…it’s indescribable.  Without a doubt, they will forever be a part of me.  But because I was leaving them (after they invested years of training to mold me into the perfect ICU nurse), I was nervous that they would see it as me abandoning them and moving on to bigger and better things the West Coast.  In the end though, I felt nothing but genuine support and happiness.  It was a really nice feeling when people were giving me heartfelt goodbyes and wishing me well.  All in all, the perfect way to bid the unit adieu. 

Don’t get me wrong though, the day wasn’t all teary hugs and kisses…I definitely worked my a$$ off all shift long (still saving lives here people!), but for the most part, it was a good last day. 

After work I met a few nurse-y friends (Kyle’s term) who weren’t working that day, plus Kyle and Ethel for drinks at SideBar (a few block from the hospital).

“What’s on tap?  I’ll take it!” – Elise (girl on a mission)

In addition to the double order of beers I guzzled down, we also ordered a few apps, including two three orders of hummus (with a side order of crispy chips) plus an order of guacamole (again with a MEGA order of chippies).

Ethel has all the photos…so once she’s back in CA she may get a post up.

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Q: What’s worse than absent-minded wandering through Union Square WF? 

A: Wandering through WF when you’re a bit tippppsy. 

Talk about a difficult task!  I combined the above seaweed salad with a spiralized zucch/squash mix, baked ‘fu, and sweet potatoes.

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Multiply times dos.

Followed by the aforementioned 1/2 of my vegan cookie from Candle.

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And then, some late night cravings kicked in HARD core…

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Which could only be satiated by a super milky tea and a choco-walla bar

Sadly, Ethel was West Coast bound in the AM, so I had to say goodbye to my girl.  Talk about a jam packed visit though.  We had SO much fun. 

Fortunately, parting wasn’t too tearful because in weeks (!!) we will be neighbors once again in the City of Angels. 

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Oh, college.   🙂

Fair weather fan

Saturday started with the ordinary: coffee, blog, tv, yadda yadda.

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Eventually I made a brunch platter (of the not so ordinary nature).

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Maybe carrots and apples seem weird for breakfast the first meal of the day, but it’s what I was craving.  And if you think I had these without hummus, then you clearly don’t know me at all.

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I finished off the rest of the (just opened) tub with a 7 grain roll, followed by grapes.  Nothing like 8 servings of chickpea heaven to get the day started right.

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After a hearty mug of tea I headed to midtown to pick up my race day packet.  For all those who were wondering, yes, I was entered in the More/Fitness half marathon.  But I’ll get to that non-event later…

Since I walked 40 blocks to get there, and another 40 blocks to get back home, I didn’t feel that a gym sesh was truly necessary…it was about a 5 mile walk so I think that’s a workout in and of itself.

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Back at the apartment, I made a big a$$ green monster…which was accompanied by a bowl of almond joy (aka almonds and carob chips).

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At this point Kyle and I settled into the couch with HBO on Demand…which turned into a very bizarre viewing afternoon viewing of Basic Instinct.  Talk about an odd movie.  Neither of us had seen it, and, well, yeah.  Uh.  Interesting.  Not exactly your typical mindless weekend flick. 

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I don’t like testing new things on my stomach the dinner before races, so I went with the tried and true, savory oats.

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If I recall, it had 2 cups of dry oats, edamame, red bell peppers, hummus, and more nutritional yeast than most people use in their lifetime.

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It was a big one.  And I polished off the entire thing (duh).

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For dessert, I had popcorn in the name of carbo-loading (the rest of the year, I just call it normal eating, but the day before races you can eat anything and suddenly there’s a specific reason).  This isn’t the reason I run, but it’s a nice perk 😉

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Before bed, I laid out all my clothes for the next day…

Well. 

Sunday didn’t go quite as planned.  In fact, it didn’t go AT ALL as planned.

Issue #1 was the weather.  Issues #2 – 7 were the times I woke up in the middle of the night. 

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to put two and two together.  I skipped the race.  I was up at 6 am anyways though, listening to the pitter patter and wondering if maybe just maybe the rain would come to an end in time for the 8 am start.  Not so much.  Instead, I seized the opportunity that my early wake up call allowed and headed to the gym to log some productive miles on the treadmill.  Not quite the same, but what can I say, I’m a fair weather runner.  I’m clearly meant to be in California.  If this isn’t a sign, then I don’t know what is.  April showers bring May flowers flights home.  That’s what I thought…

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Suck it Mr. Weatherman.  After one(ish) cup of java, I hit up the gym…I really wasn’t excited about it, but guess what, I still pushed myself through an entire 13.2 miles (aka a half marathon).  In case you were previously unaware about just how stubborn I am, now you know.  Damn it, I was determined to complete a half marathon rain or shine, even if it meant crawling the last few miles on the treadmill.  So in a way, I DID finish a half marathon (it just wasn’t THE half marathon that I entered – and paid for).

The funny thing about Sunday was that while I skipped the NYRR race, I did enter (and participate in) another race…The Amazing New York Race that is…

It is like a scavenger hunt all over Manhattan, which was sooooo fun.  Here are a few highlights:

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Playing on the FAO Schwarz piano.

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The Daily News Building (aka Daily Planet headquarters from Superman).

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Hanging out with Morgan Freeman.

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Treats at Economy Candy.

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I had packed goodies (an apple and a Super Protein Odwalla bar) for along the way because we were so hard core we didn’t even stop for Starbucks (now THAT is serious business).  We went everywhere from the South Street Seaport to the Upper East Side between 2 pm and 6 pm and out of 31 teams we came in 4th!!! 

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Celebratory beers at Dave & Buster’s 🙂

By 7 pm I was a bit buzzed and ready for dinner, so Kyle and I hit up WF on the way home.

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Guess who finally got her hands on some seitan chimichurri!!!  I guess all you have to do is blog about something being MIA and (reverse) Murphy’s Law brings it back!

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I bought a pound of it thinking I would save the leftovers for lunch the next day…but we all know how this story ends (of COURSE I finished the whole thing).

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My salad bar creation had a little bit of everything: spinach, carrots, bell peppers, green beans, peas, and an avocado massaged kale salad.  YUM!

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I had a dessert plate of cinnamon-y apple slices and then called it a night.  What a weekend, right?  I feel like I ran 4 marathons – I went to bed soooo exhausted.

Work lunches and champagne

Sorry to go AWOL on you all this weekend…I was livin’ it up in the hospital (or a less fun sounding version of that story).  Either way, I was packing lunches, eating on the fly, and here’s the quick and dirty…

Saturday

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Salad, fruit, veg, bacteria coated baggy, super protein Odwalla bar. 

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First at bat, a salad with spinach, red bell pepps, edamame, raw cauliflower, and dried cranz (with a heavy handed pour of Bragg’s liquid aminos on top).

On deck, a bag of carrots, and a bag of pretzels (and by the way, I never mention this but I buy 365 spelt pretz), pepitas, sunflower seeds, carob chips, more carob chips, and raisins.

Delicious AND nutritious.

Sunday

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More bars (super protein Odwalla, apple cinnamon Luna sunrise), more apples, Chai tea, carrots, and two different tupperwares of yum.

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On zee left, spinach, carrots, edamame, dried cranz.

On zee right, hash browns Idaho potatoes (steamed with salt, pepper, and paprika), red bell pepps, and corn.

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After I packed this, I thought I might want a little somethin’ somethin’ more (since Saturday had me turning to $$$ Kombucha and copious amounts of coffee to completely satisfy me)…so at the last minute I threw in another pretz/carob/nut/seed mix.

More to come tomorrow…but since I’ve been teasing you for a few days now…

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I figure…

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Maybe an explanation is in order…

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Maybe in the next post.  ;)  Such a tease!

In the mean time, a few reminders:

  • Today is the LAST day to get a 15% discount at my OpenSky shop on the Measure-Up bowls using the code HUNGRY15 at checkout.
  • Tomorrow I will announce the winner of my Nature Made giveaway, so if you missed it, enter now (or forever hold your peace).

Curry cravings

***Holy crap you guys like oats!  I’m loving all the entries to my giveaway, so keep ‘em coming!!***

Well, if yesterday I forgot what the gym was, today I forgot what work was…

Apparently, several days off in a row –> Reality check!  [Ouch]

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At least I remembered how to pack a lunch…look at all the colors!  I literally think my work eats managed to rep’ every color (can we count the dried cranz as purple?).  It may be a stretch but I’m calling it poetic license.  Deal.

Apple. Apple. Bar. Bar. Bar. Salad. Carrots. Pretz. Coffee. Tea. Tea.

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Salad with spinach, corn, edamame, red bell pepps, and dried cranz.  Both the corn and edamame were still frozen when I put this bossy ensalada together, but it had plenty ‘o time to thaw by the next day.  Trust.  Imma pro.

As for the new bar…this was the third 18 Rabbits bar I’ve tried and sad to say, it didn’t stand up to the others.  Previously I tried the Belle Bananas Foster and the Funky Figs and Cherries, which were both excellent, but the Nibble A Sultana flavor wasn’t quite there.  I’m not even sure what flavor it was supposed to resemble because the name doesn’t reference any food whatsoever (more importantly – am I missing the clever pun/reference here?).  The most notable issue I had with this bar was the way-too-obvious (read: not well enough hidden) presence of walnuts.  I’m really working on expanding my palette to include more nuts, but I am not up to speed with walnuts in any way shape or form.  Aside from the walnut flavor, there wasn’t much else I could taste.  I detected some apricots and maybe a hint of pumpkin, but if you asked me what the bar should be named based on the flavor…well, I’d draw a blank (I guess that’s why it’s called Nibble A Sultana…).  Anyways, I still finished it 😉

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Foggy treats: pretz, carob chips, pistachios, raisins, pepitas.

Beyond my slowness in getting back into the nursing swing of things, the day was actually pretty nice.  The only downside of the day occurred at 1500 hours when I bite into my second apple and after the first delectable bite DROPPED IT ON THE GROUND.  The 5 second rule does not apply when you are at all near the nursing station sink.  It’s nas-tay with a capital NAS and I don’t even think I would honor a 0.000005 second rule.  C’est la vie.

I got home and my sweet curry tooth was calling to me.  While “prepping” dinner I munched on Mary’s Crackers to keep my stomach happy, as well as get it in an Indian state of mind.

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To be honest, this was the second mediocre product of the day.  They were too hard, which made them taste kind of stale almost.  Also they just weren’t very flavorful.  Not impressed.  I’m not sure the exact problem with them either, I just didn’t really like them…which is a shame since I’ve heard such great things about Mary’s Crackers.  Maybe I need to try another flavor? 

Anyways, the Indian cravings didn’t stop there…

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Amy’s Indian Dal Curried Lentil soup!  Amy never lets me down.

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I actually bulked the soup up with extra chickpeas.  The rest I poured over a steamed sweet potato.  I dipped some of the curry Sticks ‘n Twigs into the soup, but again, I just didn’t like them that much.  Not sure if they are salvageable…maybe crumbled atop a spicy salad?  Hmmm…I’m open to ideas, so feel free to leave your input.

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I also had a big bowl of couscous with peas, cranz, and pepitas.

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2 cups worth to be exact.

Which reminds me…have you taken advantage of the discount I’m offering on these Measure-Up bowls?  It ends 3/29, so keep that in mind. 

While skyping with Kyle in Brazil I felt the need to indulge.  Which means medjools.

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And then my eyes started drooping…tomorrow I have a hot date with my monthly dinnah gals after work.