Monday, July 26, 2010

Bite of Seattle

I took my friend that was visiting 2 weekends ago to the Bite of Seattle foodie festival for lunch. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and we walked through the grounds admiring all the choices. We decided on purchasing a $10 ticket for The Alley sponsored by Tom Douglas where 95% of proceeds benefited Food Lifeline, a local hunger relief organization in Western Washington.

The menu was stellar as seven local restaurants showcased a bite of their delicious food. Here is my plate of goodness:
The menu included:
Etta's - Rub with Love salmon with cucumber slaw.
Purple CafĂ© - Gorgonzola stuffed dates with pine nuts. Al Boccalino, Seattle’s Little Italy - A cold soup with oven toasted beets, balsamic vinegar, orange juice scented with thyme. John Howie Steakhouse - Sliced filet mignon (I didn't get the description on this one, but it was fabulous!) Roxy’s Diner - Hot pastrami on rye with mustard. BARRIO - Achiote rubbed prawns with spicy red sangrita. Sand Point Grill - Peach Shortcake - Washington peaches, gluten-free nutmeg cake, honey yogurt whip and tart berry syrup. I couldn't believe how much food we got for $10...I definitely did not expect it! They had this going on all weekend and I may have had dreams about that salmon and pastrami sandwich! I thought about going back, but the crowd was pretty intense! As we meandered the rows of vendors, we each picked up a mango lemonade...YUM! I also got a nutella crepe and it was just meh, ok...
I was glad that I did not get the strawberry shortcake like this lady below. Now that is some SERIOUS food coma!!!
Have you been to any good festivals lately? What is your favorite festival food?

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Nice Day in Seattle!

Seattle is so much nicer when the sun is out. It seems like everything just looks better, tastes better and is just that much more enjoyable. I had a wonderful weekend with my friend as it was her first time visiting and I got to play tourist! So here are some pictures from our adventures!
We had a lot of fun going to the Seattle Bites food festival, which I will share pic of our yummy eats in a separate post. We hiked, kayaked, drank wine and ate a lot of good food! Pike's Place market is so cool, but sooo crowded! I want to go back and pick us some fresh flowers and some fresh fish...that salmon is HUGE! We even got to see them throw some fish, good times!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roasted Beets and Best Dessert EVER!

Hi all - I've been a bit MIA this week, and have been pretty busy! I had great bootcamp workouts Monday and Wednesday and some running and yoga on Tuesday. I am feeling pretty beat up, so I've decided to take the day off from working out and get 90 minute massage after work (and a pedicure at my lunch hour!) I love rest days! I do plan to walk to/from the pedicure and massage to get in some activity:)

The other night I decided I wanted to replicate a dish that I often order at restaurants...the beet and goat cheese salad.

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad:
2 small-medium beets, peeled and chopped
2 tsp EVOO, divided
pinch of rosemary, salt & pepper
1-2 TBS pecans
drizzle of maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups salad greens (I used spinach)
1 oz goat cheese

1. Massage 1 tsp EVOO onto beets, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping half-way through. Beets should be a tiny bit crispy at edges.

2. Coat pecans with the maple syrup and cinnamon and place in the oven with beets when there is approximately 10 minutes left.

3. Drizzle remaining EVOO over salad greens and top with roasted beets, candied pecans and goat cheese.

The flavors were so great in this salad, I hadn't made candied pecans before, and they were delicious!

I decided a couple hours later that I was still hungry and wanted something sweet. I've been seeing late-night oat dishes on blogs and since I had an early morning workout planned the next day, I thought I would give it a try. I stocked up on some Trader Joe's supplies that day and picked up some cinnamon grahams and mini peanut butter cups...which became my inspiration!!!

Cinnamon & Peanut Butter Cup Oats:
2 Cinnamon Graham Crackers
1-2 TBS mini peanut butter cups
1/4 cup dry Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup water
pinch salt

1. Combine dry oats, water and salt and cook over medium heat until water is absorbed

2. Crush graham crackers

3. Top hot oats with crushed grahams and mini PB cups

4. Devour

These oat were ridiculous! The peanut butter cups melted into the gooey, yummy swirl and it was just an amazing desert...very filling with the oats. Also, this late night desert was great fuel for my early morning workout. I usually have half a bar or a piece of toast in the am, but I didn't need any food...just drank a little coffee and was good to go. This may become routine.

Do you eat before an early morning workout? Do you find it better to eat that morning or the night before? What is your favorite fuel for a workout?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lunch on the Lake

Woops - for some reason this didn't post last Thursday...So here it is late!!!

Yoga on the roof was great last night! There were clear skies, a nice breeze and a great group of yogis! Once I got home, I made a refried bean wrap with sauteed peppers, portabellas and corn from the cob and dipped it in this new salsa from Trader Joe's - Avocado delicious!

My favorite instructor teaches on thursday mornings at 6:30 am. I went last week and felt amazing afterward, so I decided to go again this week. Well...after two hard bootcamp classes and 2 power yoga classes already this week, it was pretty tough! My mind really wanted to give it my all, but my muscles and lower back were so sore. I took it pretty easy during the warm up and modified the vinyasas when I needed to. About half way through, I started feeling better and put a bit more into it. I think my body finally started accpeting what I was trying to do with it!

Needless to say, I felt amazing afterward and was STARVING! A green monster wasn't going to cut it this morning, I needed carbs and almond butter, stat! I whipped up a pot of oats with 1/2 cup old fashoined oats, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, dash of salt and vanilla extract with half a banana (other half for instant gratification!) I added one egg white at the end and stired until cooked (this as well as the half cup of milk makes the consistency much creamier and added some needed protein). I topped with chia seeds, almond butter and blackberry was glorious! It was a huge bowl (I almost finished it) and it kept me full through lunchtime.

For lunch I packed the leftover refried beans and mushroom/pepper/corn stir-fry over lettuce with the avocado salsa as dressing. I also brought a small bag of popchips for scooping! It was such a nice day, so I took my lunch down to Lake Union, which is a few blocks from my office. I need to do this more often! It is so relaxing down there watching boats go by and seaplanes take off. There were even a couple dogs playing catch with their owners! I love when dogs swim...its so cute! I snapped a few photos on my phone...I will have to remember to bring a good camera down there next time!

Tonight I plan to do some cleaning because I have a friend coming to visit and she's flying in tonight!!! We have an exciting weeked planned with hiking, kayaking, shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!!!!!, visiting the Space Needle, Pike's Place Market, A foodie festival, some fun restaurants and bars and drinks out on the deck of my apartment building overlooking the city! Can't wait!

What are your plans for the weekend? What is your favorite thing to do with visitors in your city?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rooftop Yoga

My yoga studio (Mountain Flow Yoga) offers roof top yoga when it's nice outside. And today it is very nice out...77 degrees with clear skies. Once I'm done with work, I plan to bolt out of here to the studio for some much needed warmth and sun (my office keeps the AC on way too high!!!) I forgot my camera, but the next time I go to class on the roof, photos will follow! It's so beautiful practicing with views of Lake Washington, Mt Rainier and the Cascades in the background. I also love the sounds of the breeze, birds and children playing across the street at a playground. It's nice to take all these sounds of life in and be thankful.

I am excited to practice, however am very sore from an amazing bootcamp class I had this morning! I can't get over how much more fun and energizing it is working out when the weather is nice:) We did tons of strength training drills and sprints and my whole body is sore, it was a complete total body workout.

I have been rocking the wraps and salads for lunch lately and am loving the combo of hummus and salsa instead of a traditional salad dressing. I try to pair a big flavorful salads with some sort of protein like beans or left-over chicken with a small piece of fruit. Here is one of my lunch creations:

Green leaf with avocado, green onion, pico de gallo, and hummus with a piece of left-over chicken and a small apricot from the CSA. I find it's much more fun to have a voluminous lunch rather than something more calorie dense.

My other favorite in blog-land is the infamous banana soft serve. It's great because you can try so many variations. This one has 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, chia seeds and topped with cacao nibs for a little crunch. I could eat this! MMmmmm!

Note - I made this around 9 pm for dessert...and it's still so light out! Have I mentioned that I love Seattle summers!?!?!

What's your favorite summer dessert?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekend Brunch

There is something about brunch on the weekends that makes me so happy! I love breakfast cooking them and also love ordering them at restaurants. It seems like breakfast during the week is so fast-paced...I typically chug my green monster just before heading out the door to work. Weekend brunch, however makes me appreciate all the extra time I have to enjoy it on the weekends.

When cooking at home during weekends, I will usually make a egg/toast/fruit combo such as an omelet, scramble or over-easy. Once in a while there will be french toast or blueberry pancakes involved! My favorite places for brunch in Seattle are Cafe Flora and Dahlia Lounge.

On a recent visit to Dahlia Lounge, I encountered what I must call my all-time favorite breakfast! It started with a mimosa...

For breakfast, I ordered the mushroom and goat cheese omelet and subbed the biscuit and potatoes for their pecan flax toast and a huge cup of fresh fruit...bliss!

This is likely the best omelet I have ever eaten and I loved all the fresh fruit. The toast was served with homemade rhubarb jam that was perfect. I can't wait to go back here...I will be ordering the exact same thing! I had a very happy tummy:)

What is your favorite brunch or weekend breakfast ritual?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yoga For Hope

Saturday morning I walked down to the Seattle Center to participate in an outdoor yoga class sponsored by City of Hope, which is a program dedicated to patient care, cancer research and new treatments. The yoga event was from 10-12:30 and cost $30 to participate and participants were encouraged to raise additional donations. The registration fee went directly to research and the treatment of patients. All together there were approximately 350 participants and over $30,000 raised!!! Plus we made a world record of the largest outdoor yoga class:)

The experience was absolutely amazing. I met up with a few friends from Mountain Flow Yoga and we lined up our mats in the center of the field.We practiced 108 sun salutations under the sun. It was intense! They had 9 yoga instructors from studios around Seattle lead the group in 12 sun salutations each, totalling 108. I thought this was a great idea, because each instructor had a different teaching style and that kept things interesting and fun as we went along. They provided sunscreen, water and snacks throughout the practice, which was necessary with such a hot sunny was about 80 degrees with maybe 1 or 2 clouds in the sky! As the 7th instructor began her sun salutations, I started to feel the effects of the practice. I took it easy by drinking lots of water and practicing child's pose to regain some strength. This really helped me to end the class on a positive note with a yoga high! I felt so great afterward I practically skipped home!
I got home a little after 1:00, changed my clothes and headed out with the boyfriend's family for some kayaking. Since it was the first sunny weekend in Seattle this summer, the place was packed. We waited in line for an hour (with water and sunscreen!) and finally got up to the front only to realize that his little bro and sis had to be accompanied by an adult since they are both under 18. Since we had a group of 5...I had a solo kayak. I was soooo sore and tired from 2+ hours of was rough! But I guess the beautiful view of Lake Union and downtown made up for it. We kayaked for an hour and then had some yummy Mexican food. We all inhaled a nacho appetizer, then I got tacos with yams, peppers, onions and avocado good!

I ended the day with some reading out on the deck of my apartment and we BBQd some buffalo burgers with corn and asparagus and a beer. It was a great end to such a fun day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Healthy Cooking as a Hobby

I was inspired by Angela's post on Oh She Glows about my relationship with my kitchen after the transformation to healthy eating. As one who tries to incorporate as many homemade meals as possible, that means lots of food prep and cleaning. I use my blender every morning for green monsters, pack a lunch and snacks for the office and cook meals throughout the week for dinner. During the week there is a lot of planning and prep and endless dishes, but I have found that cleaning as I go makes clean-up much more manageable. We do have a few meals out on the weekends, but also enjoy the extra time to cook a more time-consuming meal.

I want to mention that I would not be as excited about hanging out in the kitchen if I didn't have a good layout or appliances. When my boyfriend and I moved, the first thing we were looking for was a nice kitchen since we both enjoy cooking. We lucked out with a brand new building with an amazing set up. The space is an open floorplan with higher-end appliances (we bought the island from IKEA and added the shelving unit for more storage).
I also don't mind the view out our HUGE windows as I definitely makes for a pleasant experience:)
View of downtown Seattle.Mt Rainier from my really is such a beautiful mountain and so much bigger in person...the camera doesn't do it justice!

The island is where we spend all of our time preparing and plating meals. It doesn't look like a ton of counter space, but I've found it's perfect for us two. We try to cook one meal a week with an expensive piece of protein from whole foods. Last week it was New York Strip with roasted yukon golds and steamed green beans from our CSA.

Don't these green beans have great color? They were so crisp and delicious. I'm not sure I've tasted a better green bean...great raw and steamed!

The steaks had great flavor, but were huge...I had half of one and it was the perfect amount.
Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals?

Last night I came home and changed into workout clotes and complete some HIIT on the treadmill...WAY too hot to run outside. I warmed up for 5 minutes, then did 20 minutes with 1 minute intervals (1 minte @ 4.0, 1 minute @ 6.0 to 7.5...worked my way up) and cooled down for 5 minutes. It was pretty intense as I haven't been keeping up with my running in a few months. I hope to build my endurance back up over the next month and then work on my speed.

After my run, I walked down to Barnes & Noble to get the new Steig Larsson novel...I am super obsessed and can't wait to read the whole thing! I also picked up a huge unsweetened iced green tea from Starbucks for the walk home. We cooked an awesome dinner of balsamic chicken with couscous and braised swiss chard from the CSA box. I was soooo tired...I probably could have gone to bed at 9:00...I blame it on the cardio since I really push myself when I do HIIT. Here's to hoping it gets easier as I keep consistent!