WIAW #7

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!

Here is a look at what I ate yesterday — Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

Breakfast: Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt with Peach and 1/3 cup maple and cinnamon granola

IMG_20140506_083104441_HDR IMG_20140506_083834947_HDR

A weekday breakfast staple! (I raved about this combo at length on WIAW #1.)

Lunch: Leftover Chicken Fajitas from Lauriol Plaza and 1/2 cup blueberries

Until about 5 years ago, I was convinced that I didn’t like Mexican food. Then along came Chipotle — we had it catered for work the first time I tried it — and my life was changed forever! Now I can’t get enough of Mexican food, especially fajitas! Lauriol Plaza, in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of D.C. — one of my absolute favorite Mexican restaurants and one of the best in the city — is within walking distance of my office, and I enjoyed Cinco de Mayo lunch there on Monday.

One of the greatest things about cutting my portions is having more restaurant leftovers! Before I started consciously watching my intake, I would often eat an entire restaurant meal in one sitting. But since I paid attention to my hunger signals and kept my portions in check on Monday, I was able to take some of the deliciousness back to the office for lunch yesterday!

IMG_20140506_122723307_HDR

Although only one is pictured, I had two leftover fajitas with flour tortillas, about 2 ounces of chicken, about 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese, and a few fajita vegetables. On the side, I had about 1/2 cup each of refried black beans and Mexican rice. (I put some of the black beans in my fajitas, too.)

I think the chicken is one of the things that I like the best about Lauriol Plaza’s fajitas. Unlike when I make them at home, using marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Lauriol Plaza uses pieces of skin-on rotisseried whole chicken for their fajitas. You can definitely tell the difference! (My homemade fajitas are a close and inexpensive second, though.)

My other favorite thing at Lauriol Plaza is the refried black beans! I could eat bowls and bowls full of them. While I’ll usually eat any form of refried beans, refried black beans are definitely my favorite — but also much harder to come by for some reason.

To top off my leftover Mexican lunch, I had about 1/2 cup of blueberries:

IMG_20140506_124410683_HDR

These were so much better than the ones I bought a few weeks ago!

Dinner: 1 pouch Campbell’s Spicy Chorizo and Pulled Chicken with Black Beans Go Soup and a Pepperidge Farm Artisan French Roll with 1 Tbsp. Land O Lakes Butter with Canola Oil

I wasn’t in the mood to cook a big meal last night (which has been happening more than it should lately), so my hubby and I each selected our own easy-to-prepare items from the fridge or pantry. He heated up some leftover Chinese food that he had ordered on Monday night when I was out of the house, and I decided to heat some soup and a dinner roll.

IMG_20140506_183607341_HDR

I’m a huge fan of both of these items, and you can typically find them in our house at any given time.

IMG_20140506_184232607_HDR

This soup also feeds my black bean addiction!

On a side note, I read in a Forbes article a few years ago that Campbell’s started making these soups in a pouch in order to appeal to my demographic. (It seems that their efforts are working, because I am consistently buying them…) Apparently millennials don’t think that canned soup is cool.

I also need to give a shout-out to this butter:

IMG_20140506_183817031_HDR

I’m a butter addict, and I’m not sure what exactly it is about this particular kind, but it is fantastic. I’ve actually started measuring out my butter before I eat a dinner roll at home in order to make sure that I’m not using too much. That is how much I love it.

Dessert: Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg

I was definitely craving sweets after dinner — especially cookies and milk — but I knew that I didn’t actually need that much. I settled on one of these 90 calorie mini peanut butter eggs from my Easter basket instead.

IMG_20140506_200443636_HDR

It fed the need without the guilt!

***

It was definitely another good day of eats!

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

***

Do you prefer flour tortillas or corn tortillas? Flour tortillas all the way for me! I know that corn tortillas are supposed to be the healthier choice, but I just can’t do them (unless they are in chip form).

Have you tried any of the Campbell’s Go Soups? So far I’ve only eaten the chicken and chorizo variety, but I have a Thai curry one in the pantry to try, too.

Friday Favorites #6: Week of May 2, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to my 6th Friday Favorites link-up, courtesy of Heather at Housewife Glamour!

Housewife Glamour

Here are some of the things that I am loving this week!

1. My city girls umbrella

It rained like crazy for the better part of the week here in D.C., to the point of setting records. This fun umbrella by Nicole Miller, which I’ve had for 8 or 9 years now, made these dreary days a little bit better.

IMG_20140502_072516164_HDR (1)

2. Seth Godin’s Blog

Seth Godin is a marketing guru, and I’m a huge fan of his blog posts, which I receive daily via e-mail. This post from Wednesday has been making me think since I read it:

“I didn’t have time”

This actually means, “it wasn’t important enough.” It wasn’t a high priority, fun, distracting, profitable or urgent enough to make it to the top of the list.

Every few days, Twitter and Facebook soak up a billion hours of ‘spare’ time. Where did that time come from? What did we do before social media was here? Weren’t we busy five years ago?

Running out of time is mostly a euphemism, and the smart analyst realizes that it’s a message about something else. Time is finite, but, unlike money, time is also replenished every second.

The people you’re trying to reach are always recalibrating which meetings they go to, which shows they watch, which books they don’t read. The solution has nothing to do with giving people more time (you can’t) and everything to do with creating more urgency, more of an itch, more desire.

If you work in marketing, fundraising (like me), or sales — or if you just want some good insight from Seth every day — I recommend signing up for his blog!

3. Fantastic free lunch for attending a lecture

I will occasionally attend lectures over my lunch break — one of the perks of working in a city filled with so many interesting organizations. The organization where I go most often always assembles thought-provoking panelists speaking on great topics — I even heard Bill Gates speak a few weeks ago — but one huge incentive is the incredible free lunch!

Complementary lunch is often provided at these events across the city, but usually that means sandwiches and chips — which are good, don’t get me wrong. However, this particular organization that I went to on Tuesday has an in-house caterer and provides a full spread, free of charge! On Tuesday, I had top round roast, baked chicken, steamed asparagus, and slices of French baguette. On top of all of that, the discussion on Biblical solutions to poverty was excellent and challenging. Definitely a great way to spend my lunchtime!

4. Cajun cheese and sea salt crackers

As we were exploring the town during our day trip to Culpepper a few weeks ago, we came across the Culpepper Cheese Company and decided to look around. A woman near the front of the store was offering free samples of several cheeses, and of course I had to have a taste. One of the samples was of this incredible Big John’s Cajun Cheddar from the Beehive Cheese Co. in Utah. My hubby tried it, too, and there was no way we were leaving the store without it! We also bought some sea salt flatbread crackers to go with it.

IMG_20140502_071729082_HDR

IMG_20140502_071759684_HDR

Yummy cheddar inside, delicious cajun spices outside!

The piece was pretty big, and we’ve been snacking on it since we got it. (We even served it as an appetizer to our feast on Easter Sunday.) I’m definitely going to buy it again! I know of several artisan cheese shops closer to the city, but if all else fails, I discovered that I can order it on the Beehive Cheese website — hooray!

5. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

After one of my best friends told me last week how much she loved the movie Heaven is for Real, which is an adaptation of a bestselling book by the same name, I had to see for myself what it was all about. I decided to read the book before seeing the movie, and I couldn’t put it down! I’ve been having trouble focusing on reading lately, but I read this in 3 days!

IMG_20140502_090347178_HDR

I love the instant gratification of my Kindle, but it can be dangerous…

The story about a 4-year-old boy and his near-death/out-of-body experience during surgery is beautiful but also thought-provoking. I plan on posting more about it and my thoughts next week.

What are you loving this week?

Weigh-In Wednesday and Weekly Goals: April 30, 2014

Hi friends! I’m a bit off of my normal posting schedule this week, and I unfortunately ran out of time to write my weekly “Weigh-In Wednesday” update last night. So, here it is one day late. Better late than never, right?

I was shocked and thrilled when I stepped on the scale yesterday morning! I’m down another 2.2 pounds, for a total loss of 14.8 pounds since I started in February!

IMG_20140430_062637354_HDR

Even if I don’t always make the best food choices, I think my body is happy with the portion sizes that I’m eating. (I’m still totally hooked on tracking everything in MyFitnessPal!) I think that building some muscle has something to do with these successes, too, since muscle burns more calories than fat when at rest!

***

Progress toward last week’s goals:

  • Goal: Lose 1 pound. Status: Totally achieved!  Hooray!
  • Goal: Try 1 new recipe. Status: Unfortunately, I did not achieve this goal this week. I really wanted to make these Italian Meatball Sliders from Cooking Light — I put them on my weekly “menu” and bought all of the ingredients on Saturday — but we went to a family party on Sunday and — you guessed it — had meatball sandwiches. (They totally hit the spot, though!) For that reason, I decided to hold off on these until late next week. I’m happy that I already have everything I need to make them!
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Status: Sadly, I only worked out once last week. I’m still stuck in a rut. I’m think that what I did for my goal below will help…
  • Goal: Finalize a weekly exercise schedule and stick to it. Status: I finally sat down to finalize a revised version of the weekly schedule that I made in the fall. (I apologize for not posting about it this past weekend like I promised.) I feel like this weekly schedule incorporates our existing routines more realistically than the one that I made before.

MASTER 24 Hour Schedule

I’m so schedule-oriented most of the time that I’m really hoping this will motivate me to stick to a routine. (I have heard that a routine is what is going to keep you going when motivation inevitably fades, as it seems to be happening with working out for me.) I think it will be best for me if I update this on Sunday nights and tailor it for each coming week — which I will do for the first time this weekend.

Probably the day that I am most apprehensive about is Thursday… I really want to get in two BodyPump classes per week, but going on Wednesday night is just not feasible with our existing dinner routine. The next best solution is going to Sport&Health for the 5 a.m. class on Thursday morning, in addition to Saturday at 9:30 a.m. I may find that I actually like going to classes that early… I guess I won’t know until I try! There is something about the thought of getting up at 4:45 that makes me want to cry, though.

***

Goals for the next week:

  • Goal: Lose 1 pound.
  • Goal: Stick with my new daily routine, including exercise! I need to get back to training for the Fit Foodie 5k in June!

I’m not going to make a recipe goal for this week because most of our dinners until next weigh-in are already accounted for.

***

Overall, I’m thrilled with my progress and the lasting changes that I have made in regard to my eating habits. Now I just have to get back on the exercise wagon!

Do you find that you are schedule-oriented? My family all makes fun of me, because I’m the keeper of the calendar. I’m basically the master scheduler for my husband and me.

WIAW #6

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!

Normally, I will post on Wednesday morning about what I ate the previous day (Tuesday), but I completely forgot to take a picture of my lunch yesterday. So, I decided to showcase what I actually ate on Wednesday (today)!

Breakfast: Thomas’ Bagel Thin sandwich with 1 egg seasoned with Goya Adobo, 1/4 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles, and 1 slice Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheddar, with 1 cup Tropicana Orange Juice

IMG_20140429_070515091_HDR

The sausage crumbles look like raisins from here!

I love making variations of my favorite breakfast sandwich. In the place of my standard avocado, I decided to use some turkey sausage crumbles that I bought a few weeks ago — similar to what I did last week with leftover Easter ham.

The sausage crumbles are a little hard to keep in one place, even when I try cooking them right into the egg, but the slice of cheddar acts like glue and (mostly) solves the problem. And this is definitely a delicious combination!

Morning Snack: Mott’s Natural Applesauce Cup

IMG_20140430_105210761_HDR

I was feeling a bit hungry mid-morning, so I had one of these applesauce cups — one of my go-to snacks right now.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but using the avocado on my breakfast sandwich instead of a breakfast meat tends to keep me fuller for longer. On those days, I tend to not need a snack before lunch.

Lunch: 1 serving of Pesto Pasta Skillet and 1 cup steamed broccoli

I love, love, love pasta! I’ve also developed a love affair with pesto sauce and sun-dried tomatoes. Luckily, all three of these are incredible together!

IMG_20140430_113117981_HDR (1)

I’ve dubbed this concoction the “Pesto Pasta Skillet,” and these leftovers are from when I made it on Saturday night. When I make it — more like throw it together — I use 6 ounces of cooked farfalle pasta; about 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts; 8 ounces of sliced white mushrooms; about 1/4 cup (or so) of sliced sun-dried tomatoes with basil;  a jar of Wegmans Basil Pesto Sauce; and some grated Parmesan cheese. I used to make my own pesto, but the recipe that I use to make it always provides much more than I need, and I actually think this kind from Wegmans tastes better.

I saute the chicken and mushrooms together in a 12-inch skillet with some garlic-infused olive oil and Italian seasoning, and then add the sun-dried tomatoes when the chicken looks about done. Once the pasta is done boiling, I add that to the skillet, and finish it off with the contents of the jar of pesto and some Parmesan cheese. I heat everything just a bit longer to warm the pesto, and then dinner is ready! I love how easily this comes together, and it provides 4 to 5 servings.

IMG_20140430_113148174_HDR

I felt like I needed some kind of side with this — I made it with garlic bread on Saturday, but I thought that I should have a vegetable today — so I brought about 1 cup of leftover steamed broccoli that I also made at some point last week.

Dinner: 1/2 Wegmans Medium Cheese Pizza

I really wasn’t in the mood to cook tonight, and I’ve been craving pizza, so I decided to pick one up at Wegmans when I stopped there after work to get a few groceries. (Wegmans is the king of all supermarkets and makes fresh pizzas to-go in the store! They also have several hot food bars, a hoagie station, and even a small seafood restaurant.)

IMG_20140430_183626010_HDR

Unfortunately, the pizza slid around in the box a bit before I made it into the house, but it still tasted good!

The medium size was perfect for the two of us — we each ate our halves (plain cheese for me, pepperoni for the hubby) and didn’t have to contend with leftovers.

IMG_20140430_185325894_HDR

I did feel like it needed a little something extra, so I sprinkled on some Italian seasoning.

The price was right for a made-to-order pie — $10.99 — and it satisfied my craving. Definitely a win!

***

As usual, this day of eats did not disappoint! I definitely went over my calorie goal for the day with the pizza, though. That’s okay — I believe that it is important to enjoy what you are craving before the craving gets out of hand, and I’ve definitely done worse damage (in the recent past)!

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

***

Do you have a go-to food or restaurant when you don’t want to cook?

Friday Favorites #5: Week of April 25, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to my 5th Friday Favorites link-up, courtesy of Heather at Housewife Glamour! (Happy birthday, Heather!)

Housewife Glamour

Here are some of the things that I am loving this week!

1. Outdoor C25k training

I was definitely hitting the gym a lot when it was colder, but now that it is getting nicer and warmer, I love walking and running outside. I only worked a 1/2 day on Monday, and before I went in to the office, I completed one of my C25k training sessions in the glorious weather. I definitely need to take a cue from how much my mood improves when I sneak in some time outside during the day, like I did on Monday, and make sure to get outdoors a bit during the normal workday.

2. A fresh haircut

I got a haircut over my lunch break on Tuesday afternoon, and it was glorious. Even before it is styled, there is just something great about the feeling of a fresh haircut. And as for styling  — I wish I could have a glam squad to do it for me everyday! My stylist showed me exactly what to do to rock a curly/wavy style this time, and I left the salon with the products he recommended, so we’ll see how it goes.

3. Pants that are getting too loose

I put on a pair of pants this morning that I bought around Christmas, and they are getting a little baggy in the waist! I can tell that I am losing weight, but nothing compares to the confirmation that some of my clothes are getting too big.

4. “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore

There is something about this song that just makes me want to get up and dance!

5. Easter candy

I’m trying to moderate my consumption of sweets now that Lent is over, but I’m definitely loving the Easter candy that I filled these cute containers with last weekend! Current favorite: Reese’s mini peanut butter eggs, which are only 90 calories each.

What are you loving this week?

Weigh-In Wednesday and Weekly Goals: April 23, 2014

Happy Weigh-In Wednesday, everyone!

I achieved a huge goal from last week — I didn’t gain any weight over the Easter holiday!

IMG_20140423_062334220_HDR

I now weigh 164.4 pounds — 12.6 pounds down from my starting weight of 177, and 0.2 pounds down from my official weight from last week. I’m thrilled!

I ate quite a bit in the past week — definitely more indulgently than I normally would, with lots of Indian food, macaroni and cheese, and cupcakes — but at no point was I sickeningly full. I didn’t even measure or record anything that I ate on Easter Sunday. Maybe I’m just finally getting the hang of knowing and sticking to reasonable portion sizes.

***

Progress toward last week’s goals:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. Progress: Achieved! Hooray!
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Progress: Did not achieve, unfortunately. I only worked out two times (Saturday and Monday). I really need to make this a priority again. The bright spot here: I registered for a 5k to be held June 21st! Now it’s time to get back to training in earnest.
  • Goal: Develop a set weekly exercise schedule. Progress: The past week was so busy that I haven’t focused on and completed this yet. My plan is to do this on Saturday — I actually don’t have any definite plans for the day — and I’ll post about it over the weekend.

***

Goals for the next week:

  • Goal: Lose 1 pound. It’s time to get back to losing! And I’m on my way — I stayed within my calorie goal set by MyFitnessPal for today!
  • Goal: Try 1 new recipe. Now that Easter is over and things have calmed down a bit, I want to get back to trying more new recipes. I have my eye on these Italian Meatball Sliders from Cooking Light.
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Tentative work out days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
  • Goal: Finalize a weekly exercise schedule and stick to it.

***

Overall, I’m thrilled that I thoroughly enjoyed a major holiday without gaining any weight. My progress and success so far is so motivating! I would love to hit a total of 20 pounds lost by the time we go to Virginia Beach on June 6th. (Come to think of it, I never did decide how I want to reward myself once I achieve my 20 pounds lost milestone…)

Do you measure and weigh your food to ensure proper portion sizes, or are you pretty good at estimating? I still weigh and/or measure a lot of things, but I’m definitely getting better at knowing sizes or weights just by looking.

WIAW #5

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!  Here is a look at what I ate yesterday, April 22, 2014.

Breakfast: Thomas’ Bagel Thin sandwich with 1 egg seasoned with Goya Adobo, 2 ounces leftover Honeybaked Ham, and 1 slice Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheddar, with 1 cup Tropicana Orange Juice

Yesterday I enjoyed a variation of my favorite breakfast sandwich: instead of using avocado, I added 2 ounces of leftover Honeybaked Ham from Easter dinner. So delicious!

IMG_20140422_071551319_HDR

And, of course, no breakfast sandwich is complete without 1 cup of this:

IMG_20140422_072901465_HDR

I have serious brand loyalty and typically only buy Tropicana Orange Juice.

Lunch: 2 cups Harris Teeter Organics Moroccan Lentil Soup with Chick Peas and 1 cup sauteed green beans

I made a special soup run to Harris Teeter a few weeks ago, and I decided to give this new-to-me one a try, especially since I love the Moroccan Lentil soup from Pret so much.

IMG_20140422_072827898_HDR

This soup is low in fat and calories and is packed with fiber and Vitamin A. It is very flavorful and actually a little bit sweet. You can even see distinct chunks of veggies within it, in addition to the lentils and chickpeas.

IMG_20140422_121010205_HDR

It was very good, and I will definitely buy it again, but I must say that Pret’s lentil soup still has an edge.

And of course, no WIAW lunch is complete without my favorite sauteed green beans, leftover from Easter dinner!

IMG_20140422_073218723_HDR

Afternoon Snack: Mott’s Natural Applesauce Cup

I was feeling a bit hungry before I went home from work and knew it could be up to 2 hours before dinner, so I decided to eat a small cup of Mott’s Natural Applesauce.

IMG_20140422_165301833_HDR

These little containers always make me a bit nostalgic for my grade school lunchbox.

Dinner: 2 ounces leftover Honeybaked Ham, 3 1/2 ounces leftover Roasted Turkey Breast from Honeybaked Ham, 1 cup Trader Joe’s Garlic Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce, and 1 cup sauteed green beans

IMG_20140422_183627911_HDR

Since I didn’t really feel like cooking last night, and we still have so many leftovers from Easter dinner, I decided to just quickly make a side dish and use what was already prepared.

If you haven’t tried the roasted turkey breast from Honeybaked Ham, you are seriously missing out. It rivals the ham in deliciousness, and that’s definitely saying something.

This was the first time that I made the Garlic Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce from Trader Joe’s, and they were just okay. The ones that got really crispy in the frying pan were good, but overall they needed more flavor — especially more salt. I think if I buy them again, I’ll add some more Parmesan and some spices while they are cooking.

The green beans made an appearance again — that’s twice in one day!

Dessert: Peanut Butter Fudge Cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake and 1 cup 2% milk

We still have some cupcakes leftover from Easter dinner, and I decided to enjoy one for dessert last night. This peanut butter and chocolate combination is one of my favorites.

IMG_20140422_193741087_HDR IMG_20140422_193830748_HDR

I’ve been a Georgetown Cupcake fan for years, even before they had a TV show (which I’ve actually never seen). We even had Georgetown Cupcakes at our wedding in 2010!

(Side note: it just doesn’t feel right to me that Georgetown Cupcake is now in other cities, like Los Angeles and New York. It’s called Georgetown Cupcake for a reason! Okay, rant over.)

Balancing my love of sweets will be more challenging now that Lent is over. I felt like Lent gave me extra power behind me to say no to them, since I was consciously abstaining, but it also proved to me that I can.

***

I walked quite a bit yesterday — over lunch to get my hair cut, and then after dinner with our dog — and because of that, I was able to stay within my calorie target for the day!

Overall, it was a great day of eats! (I feel like I say that every week, but I’m almost always enthusiastic about my meals.)

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

Are you brand loyal? Sometimes I feel like my brand loyalty arises out of nowhere, when in reality, I’m probably just succumbing to the subversive tactics of marketing professionals. Case in point: I have noticed that even after I’ve stopped clipping and using coupons, I continue to buy the brands that I once purchased using them.

Have you ever been to Georgetown Cupcake? Are you into the cupcake craze? I can’t get enough. I will admit that I’ve waited about 45 minutes just to get into Georgetown Cupcake to get one. (Yes, the line is consistently that long!) I pre-ordered them for Easter, though, and you don’t need to wait in the long line when you just go to pick them up.

Easter Weekend Wrap-Up and an Exciting Fitness Announcement

Happy Easter Monday, everyone! I hope you had a blessed Good Friday and Easter. My weekend was super busy but fantastic.

I took off from work on Friday to prepare for the weekend’s feasting and to spend some time at church. The Good Friday service that I attended was more liturgical than the ones I normally go to on Sunday, but I loved it. One of the recitations from the Book of Common Prayer, the guide for Anglican services, really stood out to me:

We glory in your cross, O Lord,
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
for by virtue of your cross
joy has come to the whole world.

May God be merciful to us and bless us,
show us the light of his countenance, and come to us.

Let your ways be known upon earth,
your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

We glory in your cross, O Lord,
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
for by virtue of your cross
joy has come to the whole world.

It reminded me again how much God wants to bring us into fullness in our health and humanity through Christ!

On Saturday morning, my husband and I ventured to Culpepper, Virginia, which is about 70 miles from D.C., where my accountability partner lives. She was teaching for the launches of the new cycles of BodyPump and BodyCombat at her gym, and I was so glad to finally get to see her in action! The classes were fantastic — especially the music for the new BodyPump release. After our workout, we met up with our husbands for brunch at a local diner and walked around the extremely charming downtown, which is full of specialty food shops and boutiques. (I love when the character of historic towns are preserved, and when they thrive!) I definitely want to go back!

My parents and brother and sister-in-law came into town on Saturday afternoon, and we all went into D.C. for dinner at Rasika, one of my favorite restaurants, to belatedly celebrate my mom and sister-in-law’s birthdays. (It was the first time my parents had ever been to an Indian restaurant, and it was a success!) After the delicious meal, my husband gave everyone an impromptu tour of the city by car, and we ended up at the Pentagon Memorial. I had never been there before, and it was very beautiful and moving, especially as the sun was setting.

Sunday morning was a glorious celebration of the Resurrection! My whole family went to my church for the 8:30 a.m. Celebration Service, which was a huge blessing. The sermon was fantastic and focused heavily on God’s grace. (I really want to listen to the sermon again when they post it online, hopefully today.)

The rest of the morning was spent preparing for a delicious feast! I love holidays and especially the fantastic meals that accompany them. I hosted last Christmas and again yesterday for Easter, and both times I’ve gotten ham and turkey from Honeybaked Ham. Nothing else comes close!

One of my favorite things about our Easter celebration was the candy boxes that I prepared for everyone. It’s not Easter without Easter baskets, and I thought that these came pretty close.

IMG_20140420_125012445_HDR IMG_20140420_125004037_HDR

No one was allowed to open them until we sat down for the meal, and everyone was surprised and excited about the stash of goodies inside!

IMG_20140421_095551510_HDR
Following the meal and some fantastic desserts — Georgetown Cupcakes (another holiday splurge) and my mom’s homemade mini cheesecakes made to look like birds’ nests — we dyed Easter eggs. I love still participating in holiday traditions that we enjoyed as kids!

My family ventured back to Pennsylvania soon after we finished our egg coloring, and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing from all of the celebrations. I fell asleep watching a movie with my husband on the couch and wasted no time falling asleep in my bed soon after. I decided to take the morning off from work today, to allow a little time for extra sleep, and I’m so glad that I did. I feel energized now and ready to take on the week!

***

And now for my exciting fitness announcement!

I’ve officially signed up for a 5k race on June 21st!

The_Fit_Foodie_logo

Last week, an email arrived in my inbox advertising the Fit Foodie 5k. I looked into it a bit more, and decided that it would be perfect for my first race of this journey, because it embodies everything that I am trying to achieve — a balance between healthy living and loving food!

The concept of the Fit Foodie was born out of the idea that a healthy lifestyle and delicious culinary experiences don’t have to be separate. Calories burned, calories earned, right?? Life is about balance and working hard so that you can indulge in those things that you are passionate about. When delicious food, working out, and good friends are all combined, it is a beautiful culmination of all that life has to offer.

Sponsored by Cooking Light and Health magazines, the event is only being held in three cities, and Fairfax, Virginia, is one of them! The race location is 20 to 25 minutes from our house.

Following the race, I get to indulge in delicious tastings and fitness demos!

Cruise across the finish line and get ready to celebrate your success in style. At the Finisher’s Village, you’ll enjoy a post-event celebration where runners can enjoy refuel stations, celebrity chef demos and tastings, fitness demos at the Power Systems stage, beer and wine tastings, giveaways, and delicious bites from participating restaurants, sponsors, and more! 

I think this race is going to be perfect for me, and I can’t wait! I think it will also be great motivation to continue with my training plan! (Thanks to my friend Kelly for the suggestion, and to Carli for the Lululemon gift card! I’m going to get a new outfit with it, just for this race.)

What was your favorite part of your Easter celebrations?

Besides the C25k plan, how else should I prepare for my Fit Foodie race?

Weigh-In Wednesday and Weekly Goals: April 16, 2014

Welcome to this week’s installment of Weigh-In Wednesday!  Let’s get right down to it.

By some miracle, I’m down 1.8 pounds!

IMG_20140416_062706067

The scale is actually playing tricks on me again — I got a few readings of 164.4 — but just to be safe, I went with the higher number as my official weight.

I’m not really sure how this loss happened, because (as planned) I wasn’t overly vigilant about my eating habits this past week, and I barely worked out (which wasn’t planned). I will definitely take it, though! (I do think that one of the things that really helped was travelling over 25,000 steps on Saturday, mostly due to my time at the Cherry Blossom Festival!)

***

Progress toward last week’s goals:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. Status: Exceeded! I’m elated!
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Status: I actually fell very short here — I’ve only exercised once in the past week. I’m finding it very difficult again to get out of bed in the mornings to work out, and my weekends have been very busy. I just need to stop making excuses and get back to it.

***

Goals for the next week:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. Just like I mentioned last week, I know my eating in the coming week is going to be a bit more indulgent than usual, because my family is coming into town, and it’s Easter. I want to enjoy myself this weekend without worrying too much about my intake, so I’m going to moderate expectations and just aim to not gain anything.
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. I think this is actually very achievable this week. I already plan on working out on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Monday morning. I think getting back into an exercise routine will help me keep my weight steady after eating a lot this coming weekend.
  • Goal: Develop a set weekly exercise schedule. A trusted adviser of mine recommended that I do this, and I know she’s right, because it will get me in a rhythm. I developed a weekly schedule last fall, but I didn’t stick to it. I think it’s time to take a second look and develop a realistic plan that I can really implement.

***

I couldn’t be happier with the results of this past week, however undeserved.

Do you give yourself the freedom to indulge on holidays, or do you still try to eat healthfully? Maybe it’s the wrong approach, but I’m all about letting loose! Each holiday only comes once per year.

Do you have a set workout schedule that you follow each week?

WIAW #4

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!  Here is a look at what I ate yesterday, April 15, 2014.

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

Breakfast: Thomas’ Bagel Thin sandwich with 1 egg seasoned with Goya Adobo, 1/2 medium avocado, and 1 slice Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheddar, with 1 cup Tropicana Orange Juice

IMG_20140415_072234665_HDR

This is another breakfast staple of mine, especially on the weekend. Sometimes I will make it during the week if I have time, like I did yesterday. (I was also super hungry when I woke up and didn’t want to wait the additional hour until I made it to work to eat.)

I stole the idea from Au Bon Pain, which has a very similar sandwich on its menu. (It’s much cheaper to make myself!) This sandwich will usually keep me full from breakfast until lunch because of the healthy, satiating fat in the avocado.

Lunch: Roti Mediterranean Grill Rice Plate with salmon, double hummus, roasted vegetables, and 1 pita

Wow, that's a lot of hummus!

Wow, that’s a lot of hummus!

The Mediterranean trend from last week continues!

The weather in D.C. yesterday was about as terrible as it comes, but my new co-worker and I ventured out for lunch in the torrential rain to a place we both love, Roti Mediterranean Grill. Roti is a fast casual restaurant with locations in D.C., Chicago, and New York. My husband actually first discovered Roti near his office and raved about how good it was. Luckily, they put one just a few blocks from my job not long after!

(Side note — I just want to say how much I love my co-workers. I work with so many great people, and getting to know them has by far one of the biggest blessings of my job.)

Like at Chipotle, you choose the ingredients for your rice plate or sandwich down the line at a counter, starting with protein choices and progressing through sides and toppings. While their Steak Roti, Chicken Roti, and Chicken Kabob are all very good, the salmon is my favorite. It comes on a skewer with a tiny wedge of lemon on the end.

As for sides, I particularly love the roasted veggies and the hummus with fresh pita. I ordered extra hummus yesterday, because I didn’t think the first scoop I was given was substantial enough, but by asking for more, I think I got way too much! I ate all of it, though, of course.

Dinner: About 2 oz. bistec encebollado, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup red beans, and 5 tostones

IMG_20140415_192255765_HDR

I had an appointment after work yesterday, so I got home a bit later than usual. My husband assumed the cooking duties for the evening and made a fantastic traditional Puerto Rican meal!

This steak  is very thinly sliced — I buy sirloin already cut this thin at our local Hispanic/Latin grocery store — and marinated for the better part of the day. It is then smothered with onions and cooked in the frying pan with the lid on. It cooks in no time and is so delicious!

I can’t get enough of red beans and rice! I wish we made the combination more than we do. The beans are actually very simple and quite healthy — basically just kidney or pink beans, tomato sauce, water, sofrito (the base for almost all Puerto Rican cooking), and a little bit of sausage, cut into small pieces.

Tostones are twice-fried green plantains. The skin of the plantain is removed, and the inside that is left is cut into pieces about a 1/2 inch thick. These chunks are thrown into the fryer for several minutes and then removed and smashed with small contraption designed just for that purpose. The flattened pieces are then put back into the fryer to finish cooking for a few more minutes. For some reason, it took me longer to embrace tostones than any other Puerto Rican food, but now I can’t get enough of them!

***

I definitely ate a lot yesterday — probably too much! I intentionally ate a bit less for dinner than I normally would, because I was still pretty full from lunch. It was a fantastic day of eating, though!

Do you have a go-to place for weekday lunches? I tend to pack my lunch most days, but I do like to go out once or twice per week.