Monday, June 29, 2009

For the Benefit of Mister Kite....

there will be a show tonight! ~The Beatles

This post will be for your entertainment purposes only...ok, most if it will be anyways.
I was reading Kath's posts from the weekend and she whipped up a tasty looking avocado and navy been soup-you know what a sucker I am for both avocados and soup so it totally got me drooling....and then laughing. Why laughing you ask? Well, I'm so glad you brought it up. I was recalling the corn and avocado soup adventure that my then roomie, and Orlando Bestie, Jenna got into about a year or so ago when we still lived in our college apartment....oh and we had ghetto college appliances, like the blender. (see where I'm going yet?) Anyways, Jen is a avocado nut too (haha, see what I did there?) so one night I decided to try a new RR recipe: Chilled Corn and Avocado soup....well, our blender seriously sucked, and had a big crack in it, (yeah, it was one of those plastic-congrats you just opened a bank account deals) so I had the brilliant idea of using the hand mixer with the chunked up avocado and chicken stock in a pot. So, not my best idea ever. Next thing you know I covered in green goo and yelling for help to Jenna. She did her best to follow my hand around the pot using the lid as a screen (it was like a saber and shield really) but by the time we were done we had chunky green soup, goop in our hair (not to mention clothes) and I bet the new tenants are still finding specs of avocado across the kitchen. I know that I found green for MONTHS afterwards. But, it was good soup. And it makes a great story. I think I'll have to make it again now that I have a sweet blender!

In other news: well, there might be some big changes coming up in the world of Jess, but I'm going to have to leave you hanging on the cliff for that one since I don't want to spill beans that aren't 100% yet. But I'm excited for the possibilities.

Love to all,
~A list making Jess

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some say tomato.....

...I say Lazy Weekend!

Hi, anti-social Jess here. You know how I was gripping about going to that work function on Friday night and how I got lectured into going? Well, I went....and made my 35 min appearance in which I had a few awkward conversations, turned down a glass of wine (because I really don't want to drink with not only my co workers, but the whole division!) and then ducked out as the "wonderful dinner" was want to know what it was? (keep in mind that this is the same place that we had a cold lunchmeat buffet for our Christmas Luncheon) Dinner was a make your own taco bar! Seriously? That's the best that $40 a head can get at the Yatch Club? Count me out.

I came home and went for a run....because it felt good! Yes, I Jess, Queen social eater, oped out for a free meal to go running in the Florida humidity. It was sweaty and wonderful! I forgot my watch, but I know I was faster this time and ran for longer stretches at a great.

I wasn't a complete homebody this weekend though (even if I did sleep in and read 2 novels on my couch....perfect!). My buddy from college who is finishing up his Master's at USF came over Saturday night and we hit up my favorite bar in St. Pete, The Independent. He likes it because they have German Beer on tap...I love it because they have Long Coast beers and a really great Dry British Cider on draft. Best of both worlds. Yum. I was good though, since I was the driver...just one LC stout and a cider to sip the rest of the night. The night really flew by, since there is so much entertainment downtown....he and I are so rotten about picking apart everyone's outfits as they walk by, plus all the street people come by to try and tell your fortune or sell flowers. Love it. If I end up having a career change that takes me from this part of the state I will miss that. But I won't miss this part of Downtown:Yes, that is a rat (ok, it's more of a mouse, whatev). There were actually 3 of them scurrying around under the tables at the late night quick serve next door: Burrito Boarder! Yuck.

To get our minds on a more pleasant subject, here is my newest Operation Beautiful Story: (I didn't get a pictures, my camera literally died as the shutter closed. Anyways, I left a note on the scale at Publix that said: No matter what I read out, you are always beautiful. As I was packing up my dead camera an older man walked up and said, "oh is it broken?" since he had just seen me "looking" at the note. I replied that it wasn't, but that he should check out the note. I couldn't stop smiling as I walked away.

Ok, here are a few shots of my eats from this weekend:
I had been lusting over Ali's (of Green Dog Wine) Ruby Slippers. Which are her take on a Green Monster, but she subs the banana for cherries. It turns out beautiful.
Mine. Well, not so beautiful...not sure why mine didn't turn out lovely like Ali's. Maybe because I used fresh cherries? (she used frozen). Oh well...I did taste really great. The cherries add a wonderful sweet/tartness. I made this a breakfast/lunch combo since I was eating at 11:30am, so I paired my swamp monster with this loveliness:My favorite way to decimate a baked potato: top it with steamed brock, a light sprinkle of cheese, ranch and honey mustard dressings (both lite). I seriously could eat this everday. Yum. I sided it with 2 of MorningStar's Chikin Strips (I fell in love with these a few year ago at a friends house, and didn't even know they were all veggie until I started buying them myself!).

And I just finished my "dinner" as I write this post:Dark Chocolate Gelatto (Publix carries gelatto now! So exciting!), fresh cherries and sleepytime tea. Yes, that is my dinner and yes I'm eating it at 10:30pm. I had a huge "lunch" of leftover enchiladas from Father's Day last weekend at 4pm and it stuck with me the rest of the evening. This was a great dinner though!

Now it's time for me to wrap up a few things and call it a night and end of a wonderful weekend.
Love to all,
~A rested Jess, who is looking forward to a short week! (Love long holiday weekends!)

PS. I kept getting distracted to write up my little MJ memorial, but long story short I adored him as a first record (yes, darlings:Vinyl!) was Bad! and I have a taped from TV special with him and Oprah and I can quote lines from it. Love the man. Anyways, my Orlando Bestie has her own blog now (she wanted to be cool like me! hehe) and she wrote something better than I could crank out. So please check it out.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Quickie!

Hello Loves!
Hope that everyone has had a great week and is about to bask in whatever weekend wonders are headed their way! Yesterday I couldn't believe that it was Thursday already, probably the first time I 've had a week at work fly buy since....August? Oh wait that wasn't when I started my job or anything was it? haha. PS. It totally didn't hurt that I only worked a 4 days this week either! hehe.

I'm about to zip outta here and let puppero out, then I have to come back down to the Yatch Club for a work function....I've got to admit that I'm not super psyched, but it might be fun...cross yo finger? Pleezzze? (thanks!- and I have no idea where this gangsta speak is coming from today-but it's kind of fun? Maybe I've been reading too much of the adventures of two lovely San Fran ladies: Snackface and Homegirl). Plans for the weekend are not quite worked up yet, but I'm cool with that...might be grabbing some drinks with TBW at the Independent tomorrow's good to have friends who enjoy beer as much as myself! I also want to figure out how to get 2 good runs in without dying of heat stroke (I sleep in on the weekends, with it!). Mother Nature told me that I would be having 2 rest days in a row this morning by throwing on hell of a temper tantrum in the Bay Area this morning.

Ok, time to pack it up. Stay tuned for the book review I've been promising, as well as some thoughts on why we (or I) blog. Oh and some good eats (finally!) I went grocery shopping and have some yummy meals in mind...yaya.

Love to all,
~A frustrated I have to socialize with my co-workers...didn't I just see them all week, Jess

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's like living in a Hairdryer!

Hi all-Greetings from the sweltering West Coast of FLA!

I saw a hilarious play at the Hippadrome in Gainesville this weekend called the Great American Trailer Park Musical and they used the phrase that living in Florida was like living in a hairdryer and kids, I couldn't agree more (also-if you are in Gville anytime in the next three weeks go check out that play-it was a hoot!) But in spite of the heat I got up this morning to go for a run-it is just too blazing when I get home from work in the evenings so this is really the only way I can get a run in-since I've determined once and for all that the treadie and I don't get along! But damn was it miserable. I didn't get the exact time, but I think I did my 1.8miles in 25mins give or take a few so my time was faster but it didn't feel like it at all. All I could think was "I hate this-I hate this-I hate this" I was drowning in my own personal sweat sauna, the dog leash was sticking to my legs, I couldn't catch my breath in the 100000% humidity. But, never the less I'll be out there again tomorrow morning, because I'm the fool who decided to train for a 5K in the middle of summer! haha. I sure hope that my morning runs will feel nice come fall, because unlike Annabel who said that part of being in the "runners cult" is being a masochist I can't quite agree. Yes, I'm pushing myself through the uncomfortable part of being a beginning runner, because I'm trying to make a lifelong change in my health, but I sure don't like the hurting part-and yes, feeling like I can't catch my breath is painful to me. Hence my mantra this morning of "I hate this"....but some days I feel strong when I run, so I'll try to focus on that instead!

Ok, enough running are some recent eats- One from Last weekend and one from This weekend:Creamy, delish and nearly "guilt free"-I took my Mom (that's her hand in the background) to my favorite gelato place on Beach Drive, last Monday for a break and cool down between apartment visits. My bowl contained Lemon Custard, Almond and Grapefruit! So refreshing!This beauty was my first encounter with tempeh. Mom and I picked up one of my best friends from undergrad who is now going to Vet School at UF for lunch on Monday, before my heart check up at Shands. She hadn't been to the Pizza Palace so we had to break her in right! The Pizza Palace had been a fixture in Gainesville for nearly 20 years (my mom knows the original owner!) when it closed about 5 years ago-but last fall it reopened under new management and while they kept the original name and still serve us some great pizza, they make all their own breads, sauces, oh and tempeh! So, I knew what I had to try this time around. OMG-so good...I'm a fan for sure, even if Mom and my animal luver weren't' quite so sure about it. Oh and that bread was sooooo amazing. Again, if you are in or near UF go check out Pizza Palace and then go see the show at the Hipp!

I also spread some random acts of kindness during my long weekend in Gville, gladly joining the Operation Beautiful movement:
I posted this one in the "primping mirror" in the bathroom at St. Augustine's Catholic Church and Student Union before the Saturday 5:30pm mass.And this one went up in the downstairs ladies bathroom at The Swamp Restaurant-where my parents and I had stopped to grab a few drinks before our night out on the town! It felt so good to know that my notes might make some else's day. I can't wait to put more up!

Now I'm off to bed, so I can get up and go for another steamy run in the AM.
Love to all,
~a tired but content Jess

PS. Stay tuned for my review on Pilate's Wife by Antoinette May later on this week!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mismichmatchedy Kinda Feeling!

Hi all,
I have a lot of thoughts bumping around my old brain today so hang on tight.

Before I dive into the cranial abyss though I have to share a funny thing that just happened to me-as in 30 seconds ago. My fave co-worker (and by fave I do mean the only other young person I work with who happens to be a cool guy-but we aren't besties or anything) just rolled over to my desk (well, he sits right behind me-so it was like 2 feet!) with a can of mixed nuts and just sits there for a second. I was like, "hey-what's up" he proceeds to stick the can out and ask if I knew what each of the nuts where! haha....turns out the silly boy has never had mixed nuts before and could only pick out peanuts! I love this kid!

Anywho- quick weekend recap before I wander into some other things. Orlando was a blast as always-I didn't get on the road as quickly as I had hoped as I got super held up at work (again!) but once I arrived and then dropped YogaGF off with her friends (we carpooled over but each had our own agendas for the weekend) and finally arrived at my BESTIE's House! It had been nearly 2 months since I'd seen her and almost 3 since my last O-town trip and that is just ridiculousness-especially considered we were only a every other weekend visit for a bit-just like joint custody kids-or in my case joint city love! haha. She is amazing and had 3 bottles of champagne waiting my arrival plus some whole grain penne and an amazing Fra Diablo sauce by Archer Farms. I soooo adore their products-get to your nearest Target and try anything by them out. Yum! Again-sorry for the lack of photos but I get caught up in the moment a lot and don't want to stop the flow of things to snap a pic. Anyways 1 and 1/2 bottles of wine (Cold Duck and then we stitched to this yummy "cool red" that is meant to be served chilled) and a jar of pasta sauce down plus a few hours of gossip we called it a night knowing we would have a busy day soon arriving filled with inflatable waterslides and a house tour!
Saturday morning OrlandoBestie and I drove over to the house she and her bf have a contract on so I could see the place. It's an amazing historic craftsman house that is quite the fixer-upper but I am completely supportive of their decision and if all goes well can't wait to spend many nights at their new place grilling out and and enjoying many a glass of wine on the huge front porch! But wait, you might be saying-what was this about a waterslide? Oh, yes-oh yes! The "family" (I love that I'm a part of most of the family parties now!) threw a party for her little bro for graduating fire college and passing his FireFighter and EMT tests and we rented this huge waterside:
Of course I don't have any actual shots of us enjoying this beast- they are on someone else's camera, but it was AMAZING. I totally got a full body workout and didn't feel bad for choosing an extra hour of sleep that morning over taking advantage of the great running track in Waterford. I even went down this badboy face first and for those of you who know what a fraidy cat I am-that is pretty alcohol involved either! We had considered going out to a wine bar or something that night but after 7ish hours of climbing-playing king of the mountain-slipping and siding (especially after we all got dosed with the economy size softsoap by the dad of the house) we were pooped and passed out by 10pm!

The next morning I slipped out quietly (well as quietly as one can with a 100+lb dog who is REALLY, I mean REALLY excited for a car ride) and made the quick trip back to St. Pete to meet up with my wonderful Mom who is off work for the summer and came down for a long weekend with me! It was so beyond amazing to spend some quality time with my mom and we just poked around vintage shops (I got a sweet old frame for one of my posters-I'll take a pic once I have it framed to share with you guys!) and then got some home stuff at Target to spice up my new couch...again the pictures are on their way-I just have to rearrange some wall art and I'm done! Love it though-the pillows we got for the couch look like they came together and really just makes the whole room pop! LOVE IT. My BFF from HS also rolled into town that night-as I had promised to take her to the airport the next morning- and she is like a second daughter to Mom so the three of us trooped out to my fave Mexican place here in St. Pete- Red Mesa!
Seriously- this place rocks my socks off. And they just opened a Cantina downtown so if you are anywhere near St. Pete come check them out! We got the ceviche special (which changes all the time-always for a good treat) that was shrimp, calamari, and sweet potato all served up in a super spicy creamy chipotle amilura sauce. Divine. Oh and two pitchers of sangria too. :D It was so great just to gab it up with 2 of my favorite ladies.

After dropping my girl off at the airport on Monday morning (I took the day off) Mum and I had a lazy morning that included an incredibly HOT morning run (it wasn't even 9am yet, damn!). Ok, well I ran-she walked and then I limped because my right knee hates me-more about that soon. After some hasty showers and a yummy pepper and onion scramble made by yours truly we toured a few downtown apartments. But alas I think I will be staying on the north end of St. Pete for now, as much as I love downtown and would really benefit from walking to work (not to mention getting away for my lunch breaks too!) but I can't afford the nice places and everything else is small or I would be giving up the great amenities that I have now (IE w/d in unit, dishwasher, pool, parking space, etc) so I'll just hang tight for now. After a superhot day of walking around in the downtown heat we hit up my Monday night yoga class with Denise which I am happy to report Mom LOVED. Not that I was worried, she practiced yoga when she was my age and even did baby yoga with me when I was born, no wonder I love it too! She said she was so inspired to start practicing at home again (My parents still live in the same rural community I grew up in so one would have to drive at least an hour to get to a studio). After class we hit up my favorite downtown bistro, Z-Grille
I stumbled across this place a few months ago and was smitten. Any place that has daily deviled egg specials, fresh oysters from multiple locations across the country and amazing soups has my vote. And it turns out Mondays are 1/2 off bottle nights, so Mom and I spilt an amazing 2007 Argentine Malbec called Tila. Neither of us had tried this grape before and I have to tell you, it may be my new fave! It was a great night and we may have had some trouble sorting out tip percentages but worked it out in the end......Silly bottle of wine! ;)

So, now that a new weekend is hoovering on the horizon you finally are up to speed on last weekends fesvtivies!
On to the jostling thoughts in my brain: I've had an up and down week-mostly due to work but I am on the cusp of starting a new phase of my life (I hope, atleast!) that I will share with you all once I have more concrete info-but I've taken a big step out of my comfort zone and am excited to see what happens.
As usual when I'm feeling nervous about something I've been clinging to my ipod like life support and right now nothing makes me happier than the beautiful voice of Anthony Raneri of Bayside. I've had their album Acoustic on loop for a few days now and it hits the spot. Beautiful. Sexy. Poignant.

In other news I don't have any fun foodie things for you-I've been living off leftovers from the weekend and week 2 of my groceries (a whole unopened spinach bit the dust-or rather turned to mush, on me though....serious bummer since I've been craving GM's like mad, but I must stick to my 2 week shopping rule or I will go in the red and that would be worse than being spinachless) but I have been thinking a lot about my fitness goals, especially after reading Angela's post on goals. So, in a very particular order, here they are and a time scale:

2-Run a mile: soon!
3-Race the 5k: August 12th
4-Up my cycling/possibly get a road bike: ASAP but probably not until Sept.
5-Start swimming in open water :(do you see where this is leading......?): see above
6-Compete in a triathlon: Sometime 2010!

So, whatdoya think about dat? I realized as I was pumping out 12 miles on the kickback bike yesterday after my knee said "hell no, bitch" to running a mile on the treadmill that it is not likely that I will ever be a long distance runner, like Meghann, who does marathons and inspirited me to start seriously training to run in the first place, I just don't get the bliss out of it like others do, but I do love to swim and, as you can see by my goals I want to have a solid 5k so I can work on doing a tri, cause lord have mercy I want to be a competitive athlete! I really do.

But did any of you notice that number 1 is missing on my list? That is because I need some help from all you real runners out there. My right knee is really giving me trouble, and first I thought it was from this one move on the 30 day Shred, so I stopped that for a few days-no help. I could still run on it, bit really only hurts when I'm doing stairs and I'm aware of it when I'm walking but it doesn't "hurt" per say, I just can tell it feels different than it usually does/the left leg. Then after yoga on Monday I decided it must be due to a over tight hamstring and calf muslces, since I was having difficulty fully extending my leg (I'm actually this is very strange for me) but even when I get them all nice and lose, still no go. But as I mentioned, I was still doing my run/walks around the neighborhood with no real difficulty. Last night I went to the gym with YogaGF and was bound and determined that I would run a mile on the treadie (which I don't enjoy running on, because I tend to wander when I run and that is hard to control on the mill) but after 0.5 miles my caves were super tight-to the point of pain and my knee was screaming. So I hopped off and stretched it out only to rexperience the same thing 0.2miles later. I called that a night and banged out my 12miles of hills on the kickback bike instead. So, what gives? Is it just the treadmill that is causing the calf tightness? I had it on a 1.5 incline as to not drive down. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!

I think that is enough jibba jabba for one day.
Love to all,
~An achy-breaky-knee'd Jess

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm still here....

Hi Kids!
Hope everyone had a great weekend....I did, filled with traveling to O-town and back and then an extended 3 day weekend with my Mom back here in St. Pete, so I've been enjoying the time with my friends and family, not the computer. Also, I was pretty pathetic at using my camera too....oh well, this is why I'm a general blogger, not a real food blogger! (or at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) I'm pretty wiped tonight and after another nasty day at the job front not in the best of spirits so I don't want to blog away and sound dull-dull-dull since I did have an AWESOME weekend........

and with that teaser I bid you a good night and sweet dreams...I'm hoping for sweet dreams or no dreams. I've had some doozies the last few nights, think I Am Legend meets V for Vendetta. Yipes. Great material for a Sci-Fi thriller novel, but not really for a restful night eh?

Love to all,
~A hopeful for a better start tomorrow, Jess

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sound of Music to the Resuce?

Well, the dog didn't bite and the bee didn't sting, but I was feeling pretty sad today....but luckily I knew I had a few of my favorite things waiting once I could just be free of work (which wasn't until 7pm tonight....where are you my darling, Friday?). And it really is true, as awful as my job can be and is really been showing it's colors as of late, I do LOVE my life. As soon as I get in my car, roll the windows down and then blast my music home, the wind blowing in my hair (that sounds cheesy, but it really makes me feel good) I just leave it behind. So without any more delay, here are a few of my favorite things, right now:
Receiving my first issue of AP!
A great sweaty workout (thank you Jillian)
The first night of competition on SYTYCD
A couch to relax's SO amazing
2 nights of delicious, but diverse meals, made with 90% the same ingredients.

What was that? You want to to see these fabulous dinner? Oh, well....since you asked.
Tuesday night:
I was able to get some great fresh produce shopping this weekend so my fruit and veggie baskets are overflowing right now. Anyone who knows me would see this bowl of beautiful tomatoes, avocado and onion and knows that a batch of my famous gauc is on it's way....This wonderful mess is 1 Hass avocado, 1/2 chopped tomato, two finely chopped/grated garlic cloves, 1/4 of a chopped sweet onion and a handful of chopped cilantro, sea salt and black pepper. I think the key is to mix it mushing up my avocado, please! [for a kick I sometimes add a fresh chopped jalapeno and some lime juice, but I was out of both last night]. Alas, you can't make a meal of gauc alone...I mean, I could and I have before, but that's not really a balanced meal eh?
Oh, but this looks like one, right? A fish soft taco (using the other 1/2 of my blacked fish from Monday night) with green pepper, onion and a sprinkle of mexican cheese and of course a side of my other favorite food: black beans! So, simple but tasty...infuse a tiny bit of EVOO with a ton of grated garlic cloves, then add a drained can of beans, heat and mush them up a bit then add a huge handful of chopped cilantro at the end...are you seeing a theme in my favor combos yet? :D Oh and a dollop of 2% sour cream-hands down (and this is coming from a devoted sour cream eater for years!)
The guts of my taco. I like to spoon the sides on it as I's messy but wonderful. Apparently I am a very entertaining eater, as I often keep my friends fascinated with how much I play with my food, much to my Mum's dismay!

Now to dinner numero dos. Use up the left over guac and black beans....I give you:BlackBean-Turkey burger topped with guac (and some goat cheese up under there too!) and a side of sweet potato "steak fries." I also had a side of "salad" which was really just a bowl of alfalfa sprouts with a drizzle of light ranch...oh and a tiny glass of Vanilla Almond Breeze...I'm not giving up my moo-cow milk, but this stuff is aMAZing!

So, see how a bit of creativity (and some ground turkey!) goes a long way...literally. I can have this meal again, since I used 1/2 lb turkey and a whole SP. I can't cook for one, no matter what I do! oh well, lucky for me (and dogface) that I like leftovers...and if I get sick them-then doggie darling gets them!

One more thought before bed, since I'm going to get up in the morning to's been too hot to go right after work this week. Since I was working in the hood and on the flow pretty much all day I was listening to my ipod nonstop too. And admittedly I'm getting tired of some of the stuff on there, but it never fails to amaze me when I finally pick up a lyric of a favorite song. For example: Fall of Troy's song Quarter Past has always been my favorite on their Manipulator album (2007) but today for some reason this line jumped out at me:

Keep it together for another day
Come to my window, I'll scream you to sleep

I just loved the image of a modern day Romeo serenading his rocker chick. And you wonder why I love my hardcore music. ;)

On that lovely thought, good night to all.
Love to all,
~A dreamy Jess

PS. I'm not retarded, I just can't get the italics to turn, maybe I am a re-re? le sigh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

This bandwagon's full....

....please find another!~ Fall Out Boy from Infinity on High

So, I'm usually behind the times a bit and always do my best to stay away from the normal I said, I'm your nearly typical girl next door and I think not being quite with the "in crowd" makes me- well, ME! But I must confess that 2 items have been circling the blog world and I can no longer stay off the wagon.

So, without further adu here is a photo summary of my first green monster experience:

This is what went in: ~1 cup Vanilla Almond milk (which I would drink just as dessert-yum!), a huge handful of spinach leaves-probably a 1 1/2 t0 2 cups and 1/2 a banana. Also I ended up adding 1 handful ice and about 2 teaspoons of my dark chocolate cashew butter-not pictured.
Read to rock and roll! I love my pretty. Like I said, my gparents spoil me-it's fun being the only girl in the family!
Serve her up!
First taste! PS. My eyes look greener than usual...I guess it's working already! ha.
Consciences says: YUM! as does the empty blender. Totally adding more of these to my weekly menus. It reminded me of a slightly crunchy version of what I used to make in the dinning hall in college that I called "Monkey Juice" which was really just soft serve vanilla ice cream with a banana and some milk blended together-or rather a really runny banana milk shake. I'm going to add some mango to my next one-hello they were on sale for 10 for 10 at Publix this week and I got FIVE! I love mango-like whoa! I plan to cut a few of them up and freeze them, so those will make great add in's for my GMs!

And for my second bandwagon leap: I started JM's 30 day Shred yesterday. I have been reading how it's best to have some weight training in your exercise routine, so I thought it would be a good way to start-since A-I am not a gym member and B- even on the rare occasion you find me in a gym I don't really know what to do with myself except play on the elliptical and kick back bike. I'll let you know how it goes, of course. Day 1 was pretty good. I had just gotten back from my nearly 2 mile run/walk (notice I can put the run first now! yay!) with puppy, so I'm not going to lie that doing the butt kicks and invisible jump rope really hurt my shins, so I alternated with some skipping around my living room instead. Hope no one was looking up in my window...I'm looked like a real goober!

After a great work out and such a productive weekend I made a fancier than normal dinner based on a recipe I'd seen on RR's 30 Meal's recently. I'm not sure what she called it, but it's a quick chicken ragu.First, I browned up some turkey bacon (she used panchetta) and deboned chicken thighs and then added sliced onions and grated 2 cloves of garlic right into the pan. After the onion had browned up I added some black pepper and fresh rosemary (I have a plant of it on my great to walk out the door and pick some. I think I need to do take-2 with the cilantro!) and then deglazed the pan with a mildly sweet red wine (RR used marsala, but I was out). I usually wouldn't cook with the wonderful wines from Thistle Meadow Winery that the girls and I discovered in NC a year ago on our summer hurrah, so I poured a glass for myself too. Mum is coming to visit this weekend so I'm sure she will help me finish this lovely red off myself.

To digress from dinner prep a bit, seriously if you are ever in the West Jefferson, NC area (near Boone-which is a bit more known) go visit! They don't actually grow the grapes on site, but import them from all over the world and therefore have one of the best selections I've ever experienced in a small winery. That and the owner, Mr. Tom totally wanted to marry all of us...probably at once! haha.Here we all are in the wine tasting room.
The girls with the infamous Mr. Tom....ok. Back to dinner:

Once you have deglazed and let the wine reduce a bit add a drained can of whole tomatoes. I mashed them up a little with my potato masher and then tossed in some colored spiral pasta. This would probably be great with just steamed brock or asparagus, but I haven't had pasta in a while and figured a good run plus day 1 with Jillian could earn me a carbo night!All served up with a tiny Cesar salad (it's in a big bowl...but my romaine had gone slimy-ugh!- so it turned into a little salad) and a hunk of fresh french was a carb fest for sure. A true Sunday dinner- along with the end of my glass of wine. Yum-O!

So, this is officially a mega post- since that whole portion was supposed to go up during my lunch break-but it was more hectic than usual today, so obviously that didn't happen!

More good eats to round out the day, starting with a pretty fresh breakfast of another GM (not pictured...I actually took it to go with me to sip on through out my morning) and this:Kashi Heart 2 Heart Honey Wheat waffle with almond butter, nectarine, raspberries and 2%Fage (Publix was out of 0% so the 2 is a yummy treat this week!)

My crazy work day finally winded down a bit at the end and I had time to get a wonderful snack in about an hour before my yoga class. Normally I wouldn't need to eat before this class but since YogaGF and I have been running at Crescent Lake park afterwards I am STARVING when I get home so....I normally don't photograph bars, because we all eat them and you either like one or you don't, etc...but this was AWESOME. Seriously tasted like a decadent PB sandwich...yum, yum, yum. Cliff certainly found their MoJo with this bar! Paired with a cup of CS Peppermint tea (and yes, kiddies, I've been going sugar free with all my herbal teas! yay!) it made the perfect afternoon snack/workout fuel. I kind of wish I had bought more than one of these bars....I'm getting a box next time! :D

Lastly, dinner. I had picked up a fillet of talapia this weekend and had been dreaming about, well this:Spinach with blackened talapia, strawberries, chopped walnuts, goat cheese crumbles and a spray of raspberry vinaigrette (it's one of those wishbone spritzer thingies).

And now, my loves...I am finally off to bed and dragging my tired runner legs with me, into work early for a meeting with the boss-yay. Or not.

Love to all,
~A steadily improving, runner-to-be Jess

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Working at the CarWash...oheoheOH!

Hi loves,
Hope everyone has been having a great weekend thus far. Mine would seem boring to most, but I've gotten a lot of things done this weekend already:
Wash Car [check]
Wash dog [check]
Wash Clothes [check]
Wash Hair [check]
To explain that last one: I'm a compulsive shower-er. I often times take two (and a few times-three) showers a day. I guess I'm like my college friend Austin, who recently discussed this in his blog, that while I don't mind being flat out filthy-which often happens when I'm at the barn or working on the cars with Dad- but I don't like being slightly dirty. I'm a compulsive hand washer too, but not a germ-a-phob interestingly enough. But I digress about the dirty hair...while I have showered this week (haha) I hadn't washed my hair in a few days, because it's much easier to get dirty hair up...and trust me it's been so bloody humid here that wearing my hair on my neck and my charming bangs on my forehead ain't gonna be pretty!

Other things accomplished not related to water: throwing out the rest of my nasty over a year old nutrasystem food (it's a long story, but don't let other people's success influence how you should fuel yourself for healthy eating) and organize the cart that is my pantry...that project has been on my list for MONTHS and it only took about 5 mins but felts sooooo good to get it off the to do board! Also, I got my couch today! Whoot. A friend of mine is moving into a smaller space so she needed to get rid of the larger sofa of her living room set. It just happens to go with my color scheme (which has all be wonderfully karmatic!) and was a really great price too. Yeah, it's not my dream couch and it's had some wear, but I'm psyched. Once I get my living room rearranged the way I like it, I will post pictures!

And now, the review of Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell that I've been teasing about. This book is a straight up harlaious tale of a midwest girl who becomes one of the Hollywood Starlets in about 3seconds. I was cracking up from about page two, and while the surface of this book seems to be just "beach read" the more I thought about the body image issues that stem from the "starlet images" fed to our society by the Hollywood scene it got me thinking. This book does address that body image issues, but the lead character gives into them (for a while-I don't want to do any spoilers, so please read the book to get the full message) and even has a stylist offer her a bag of coke to stay slim- luckily she turns down that offer! The book also jokes about airbrushing of photoshoots for magazines, etc. While I was drooling over the salary and swag bags I am relieved to live in "my world" filled with supportive people, like my family and friends, and the blog world who have the right positive images of what makes a sexy, healthy woman. I think if more people realized how not only Hollywood influences us, but in return we hold this stigma on how all the stars should be crazy slim and then the rags call them "fat slobs" when a candid picture is taken at the beach-it's a crazy catch 22 that has been created. I'm just glad to not be caught up in the skinny rat race. I know that was a little rambly at the end, but please read the book-for fun and for a good perspective on the craziness of being the "it" girl in H-wood!

In food news, well I dont' have any exciting to share other than this:
I present to you....JustJess' first nut butter! Dark Chocolate Cashew. Thanks to the fact that my grandparents have spoiled me with a few top of the line kitchen items, including my blender I decided to make a batch of nut butter and choose cashew because they are softer than almonds and just wanted to make sure that my Breville could really handle it. It wasn't as easy as the grinders that I got my Cashew Butter from at the Decatur Farmers Market that spoiled me so, when I lived in the ATL but it worked....1lb dry roasted cashews (would have been better with fresh I'm sure, but I couldn't find them) and about 1.5oz dark chocolate. I added a teaspoon or so of veggie oil, but didn't want to weight it down with oil, so then subbed the rest of the oil with just worked! Yum. Thick and creamy, with an amazing mouth feel. Can't wait to mix it in oatmeal or just have as a snack on some pretzels.

Now my dears I have just enough time to get ready for mass!
Enjoy your Sunday!
Love to all,
A busy bee Jess

Friday, June 5, 2009

Countdown 3-2-1st......

....First Friday that is! Yeah baby. And let me tell you, kids this evening could not have come at a better time. I seriously need to work out getting a 4-10 work week because I can't keep having Friday's like this one, but let's not get into nasty work talk.

Once I was free of my paying prison I sluggishly drove home debating if I would make this my true rest day, as my back and shoulders can tell you all about the workout that darling Dave gave me last night. But I decided that both the doggie and I could use some timeout side since we are both cooped up in respective locations all day and once I laced up my shoes I already knew I had made the right decision. Today was for sure my best run. Yes, my shins are still yelping at me, but I channeled yoga instead and focused on my breath to run through it all. Now mind you I'm still not running more than ~2 minutes at a time, but it felt....good? Yes. I might be a runner after all, yay! While my stats still aren't super impressive compared to all you long legged lovelies but I did my 1.87mile route around the block (according to MapMyRun) in 25 minutues which is about a 13 min mile and includes puppy pee breaks and squirrel chasing time, so not to shabby.

Dinner was ghetto fabulous. I am pretty low on protein in my house and was far too hot for leftover soup so I didn't really know what to whip up until started thinking about the nearly overripe pear in my produce basket. So I give you: Ghetto Waldorf Salad!
This quick salad consists of cut up turkey lunchmeat, pear, raisin/crasin mix, onion dressed with Fage and lemon juice with a dash of pepper, dill and celery salt. Pretty tasty, folks.
With a side of 1/2 mashed sweet potato...dressed simply this time with just sea salt and pepper. Yummmmmmm.

Time to hit the town. Have a great weekend everyone!
Love to all,
~a ready to relax and let loose (a little) Jess

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Jess Night In

Hi all,
It's a stormy kind of Thursday night here on Tampa Bay. I realized my normal, Plan A-a quick run/walk and then Hatha with Denise-, for Thursday night wasn't going to happen when I left work late (again....sigh) and headed out to my car under a darkening sky. I manged to get the pup out for a quick potty walk before the skies opened :(
At least my porch looks really pretty when it's wet out. I know these look like it's light out, but it's just my poor photography skills...there was a sheet of water coming down the front of the balcony. At least I enjoy the rain and on the positive note my shins enjoyed the day off! Another strange twist to my normal Thursday evening was the lion living in my tummy. I was genuinely starving when I left work, so I knew I needed a real dinner-not just my normal larabar and chug some water. So, on that note, knowing that I couldn't cook-eat-digest and get to yoga in less than an hour- I opted for plan B! A light dinner of Cambell's Select Harvest Tomato with Basil soup (topped with a drizzle of buffalo sauce...don't nock it, kids and of course Fage!), a side salad and the crumbled end of a bag of Stacey's Pita Chips. While all of the above was super delish, it wasn't super photogenic. But seriously, try to buffalo sauce in tomato soup. Yum! After I digested and watched a little Man Vs. Food on the Travel Channel (I HAVE to go to Portland to hit up Voodoo Donut-find that episode and watch it if you don't know what I'm taking about) I had a date with a funny, sexy, strong man. None other than Dave Farmar, of course!

[NEWSFLASH: I really want to go dune buggy riding on the beach! I'm watching Bridget's Sexiest Beaches.....what a fun job!]

Ok, back to my hot date. Well that is a man who knows how to leave a woman feeling weak in the knees-well thighs- and all hot and.....sweaty? Yum. Thank goodness I just did a 60mins session. I will admit that I'm not so great with all these audio-postcasty things yet. I got lost a few times but just made up my own flow until I could rejoin what he was directing. I highly recommend one of his podcasts to any fellow yogis out there!

Once I was a sweaty pile of rubbery limbs I flopped out with dogface to watch the top 20 dancers get picked for SYTYCD! So psyched that a classical ballerina got on this year! Whoot. Now I just have to get a DVR stat, because they don't show reruns on the 'net and I typically miss Thursday because of yoga and have started doing girl's nights with YogaGF who unfortunately isn't a dance affectionato like myself. I'm seriously calling BrightHouse tomorrow...I'm that addicted to this show I will pay (well, if it's not too expensive) for a damn DVR.

Speaking of girl's nights YogaGF and I had a night in a her sweet pad last night for dinner (grilled chicken and veggies) and a movie (He's Just Not That Into You). Dinner was great-thanks for cooking girlie!- and the movie was lots of fun. It was a bit more chick-flicky than I expected, but with such an all star cast I think anyone would enjoy it. And I totally have some new quote I want to bust out! yay!

So, my dinner might not have been super photogenic but my breakfast was for a change. Check this beauty out:A fried egg topped with american cheese sandwiched between 2 whole grain Kashi waffles with a smear of low sugar raspberry preserves. Super Yum. And pretty. If I say so myself.

Oh, one last thought! I have a new love: (Ok, the cool logo I was trying to copy in is apparently copyrighted, so drumroll please....) Celestial Seasonings Herbal Teas! I'm a hard core black tea drinker. (unless I'm getting Thai food- seriously best iced green tea on earth!) I drink a lightened, sweetened cup of Twinngs Irish Tea nearly every morning like the good little Irish-Italian girl I am. (no worries I love me a good espresso too, but only as a treat on weekends!). But my throat has still been bothering me this week (yes, I am just as annoyed about being sick for over a month as I'm sure you all are tired of reading about it. I'm so perplexed- I NEVER get sick and on the rare occasion I do it usually passes in a day or two-oy!) so I needed something to sip on to relieve it at work. Lo and behold on my Publix run for lunch today CS was on sale 2-4-$6! I got a sampler pack-including the SleepyTime blend I'm currently sipping as we speak-and a whole pack of Honey Vanilla Chamomile which even though I haven't tried the other favors yet, I'm pretty sure is going to be my favorite and I'm so glad I have a whole box of that variety! Do you drink CS? What is your favor and why?

Now it's time for be to drank my bum to the shower and bed!
Love to all,
~A sleepy and satisfied Jess

Oh one more PS! I was inspired by the braids that Scarlet Johnson was sporting in the movie last night and was pleased to discover that my hair is long enough to get up in a messy french again! Yay.
I know this is a funky angle but check out my stubby little braid! And the pin to hold my bangs back...they won't stay braided yet! ahh the challenges of short hair! Brings me back to my summer at camp working in the horse barn-had to get the hair off the neck but under a helmet...course that braid hung down my back those days! Night darlings!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hold ya horses, Honey!

Hi all,
I'm going to try to make this quick as I am wrapping up my lunch time with a blog break. It's been a busy day already. I splurged on some sushi today from Publix and am enjoying it at my desk so I could catch up on some websurfing-mostly blog reading! Warning, this is going to be a bit of a mega post though, since I have back logged a few days worth of food photos and thoughts. Also, still working on the review of HollyWood Car Wash if I have mentioned it to anyone. Stay tuned for that.

Out the gate first, Monday! I had a mega workout on Monday. Yoga with Denise (of course) followed by some real running time at the park afterwards with YogaGF-who if you haven't realized yet is also my training buddy for the 5k we are running this summer. August 12th, baby! Yoga really kicked by bum, but I'm not quite sure why, since we didn't add any real new challenges. Maybe it was all the beer and laziness from the weekend still having an effect. Did some great, deeper warrior 1 and 3 though, so that was a good accomplishment, even if I was a bit distracted by my rumbling tummy though out class.
So, yeah, about that running at the park. We have been training separately and up til Monday YogaGF and I hadn't run together; we have just been walking at the park since I've has this blasted respiratory crap for over a month now. But I've decided that since it doesn't want to seem to go away, I'll just work through it. Well, let me tell you how this silly little beginning runner made an ass out of herself. We start running and I'm trying my damnedest to stay at the same pace as her, but I keep pulling ahead, so I figure what the hell, she can catch up, right? Oh she caught up alright, about 1/3 of a mile in I'm dying and she just trots right by me and then has to keep calling back, for me to catch up. I did, eventually....after I'd stopped wheezing for a few minutes. Moral of the story is I really need to slow it up until my stamina builds. We did a few more laps running slowly and/walking. Probably got in 1 mile of running total. A three.three mile circuit all together. I wish I could just have some stamina NOW. Cause let me tell you I do NOT like running slowly. Hell, it's hardly even running, I can powerwalk faster than we were going-but I will admit the muscle set is different. I'm a fast and furious kinda gal; I drive fast, walk fast, talk fast, think fast, read fast, type fast...I think you get the point. Probably the only thing I don't do fast is eat. Because I want to take that all in. So for now I'll run slow, but trust me I can't wait to run fast!
Yesterday my legs were telling me about the running we did the night before (but not my knee, yay!) so I transferred my morning session to a late after work on (plus I didn't get to go to Bikram, sniff, because I didn't get out of work til late. say le vie?) so the pupster and I took our usual 2 mile track around the block but at a more leisurely pace. Or as leisurely as these little legs would allow...he was still puffing by the time we finished!
Which leads me to a bit of a rant. I'm sooooo tired of people being afraid of my dog. Yes, he is my security which always me to live alone and to train in the mornings before the sun comes up, but come on, he isn't scary! On more than one occasion I've had people back away from him, etc and he doesn't get it because he is a huge people-person, or people-dog? Whatever. So, yesterday we are strolling around the block and this older lady is coming the opposite direction with a baby carriage. I smile and nod and keep going about my walk. She stops. Chub is busy sniffing a tree so I say something to the effect that "It's ok, you can go past." She doesn't respond and continues to look past me, to the dog I guess, in quiet horror. At this moment Chubby decides that the tree isn't worth is time and come running up to me in his usual spazy way, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, classic silly, happy dog. The lady with the stroller actually gasped and started going in reverse. Seriously? I'm annoyed now, because this isn't the first time this has happened and now I still have to past her, because she wouldn't walk by and is now taking up the whole sidewalk, which is fairly narrow to being with. I bring Chub onto the grass and as we pass I snipped, "He's not going to hurt you." Turns out she doesn't even speak English. Sigh. What could possibly be scary about this face?Minus the Twin's cap of course....this was from over the weekend. Minnesota Hubby was trying to sway my doggie...but he's a Ray's fan, just like his Momma-roomie!

On to the eats quickly, before I have to go do the B-Cell Panel that is so sweetly calling my name.
Last night was a quick clean out of veggies about to go past their prime/pickled food fest:

A "garage salad" which consisted of mixed spring greens, huge green olives, the end of the black bean corn salad (which lasted through three huge meals!) about 1/2 cup of sprouts that were on their last leg and a dollop of Dukes. Yum. (I LOVE Dukes and don't care about the calorie content-sorry kids, not going to talk me out of this one.) Plus 1/2 a "baked" sweet potato (it was microwaved) topped with Japs and some shredded pepperjack and 2 pickled orka. Yum. Guess my body was craving salt or something? Why else would I have randomly ended up with so many pickled items in one sitting? Oh and I had 2 mini dill pickles at lunch that day too. Go figure! I got the jalapenos and sweet potato idea from Meghann but this batch of pickled japs is sooo spicy it kind of ruined the mildness of the potato. I really prefer fresh jalapenos. I'll stick to just salt and pepper on this one for now on.

I mentioned how long the black bean corn salad lasted and here is another meal I made with it on Friday. These pictures got missed over my weekend post, but better late than never right? I was craving a quesadilla, but all I had was Flatout Wraps and while I've used those in lieu of tortilla before, it wasn't my favorite substitution. So I got a little creative.
It started out as a Mexican pizza. Flat out topped with the salad and some shredded cheese all under the broiler:
I topped it with some 0% Fage, some homemade gauc and more of the spring mix and rolled it up to create: Super Huge Mexican Wrap!
This thing was seriously a beast! I even though I was starving when I made it I only finished about 2/3 of it. Luckily DogFace, aka the FourLeggedFurry Garbage Disposal was there to help me out when I hit the wall! :D

I hope that is enough to keep you lovelies entertained for a bit! Back to work I go. (Actually I've been zooming back and forth between the hood and my computer towards the end you didn't even notice, huh? haha).
Once I'm free at 5:30 (or at least I hope I am done on time today!) I have a light run, at a slooooow pace, planned then a girls night in with YogaGF! Yay for healthy dinner and movie rentals.
Love to all,
~A multitasking Jess