How To Have A Staycation

Posted on May 22, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Staycation: A vacation spent at home or nearby(merriam-webster)

Did you know Italy could be in the town right next to yours? And later in the freezer? Italia est mi amor.

At The Colosseum

At The Colosseum

On The Ponte Vecchio

On The Ponte Vecchio

The Vatican On Palm Sunday

The Vatican On Palm Sunday

I’ve been there twice and both times have been pure magic. Looking back at the pictures makes me want to go again. Of course, all of this was pre-foodie days so there’s no pictures  of the mountains of pizza I consumed.

Last night, I decided we’d take a staycation to Italy. Really, do you have to go 1000s of miles to eat good food, overindulge, and open your wallet? Not really. You can do that all at home!

Tomasso

Tomasso

Dinner took place at my favorite Italian restaurant nearby: Tomasso Trattoria. This place is the real deal; I was listening to twitter updates from them all day about how they got a fresh pig in and were roasting it. Heaven.

Roasted Pig With Fennel And Local Greens

Roasted Pig With Fennel And Local Greens

For my Secondi I ordered the special: roasted suckling pig stuffed with garlic and fennel sausage, radicchio in agrodolce, local field greens. With a Contorni:

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted fingerling potatoes with sage. Yes, I am 110% a meat and potatoes person. The fennel was too vinegary for my own taste so I passed those off. I loved how rich and fatty and well cooked the meat was; a little salt and it melted in my mouth. And I think white potatoes are my true passion; these were divine. Another great meal in Italy, err… at Tomasso’s.

Starbucks Sumatra Decaf

Starbucks Sumatra Decaf

All good Italian desserts start with a good cup of coffee. This was to die for. I swear, this Sumatra blend didn’t even need sugar or stevia or any sweetness. I won’t say that about a lot of hot drinks!

Scharffen Berger Bittersweet

Scharffen Berger Bittersweet

For dessert, there was a little dark chocolate. I don’t think I’d tried this one before. Tres magnifique!(yes, I know that’s French). But I think the price and smaller portion will have me not buying this one again.

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Finally, it was time to get my Italian gelato. I picked up this brand on this blogger’s recommendation. I love how they add a little lemon for a vanilla flavor–so Italian!

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Dreamy. Creamy. Deliciouso. Do you know the difference between gelato and ice cream? Ice cream legally has 10% or more butterfat, whereas gelato has less. It’s also churned at a slower rate, meaning less air is added into it and the product is denser. That was my Italian history lesson for the day.

Gluten-Free Biscuit With Walnut Butter And Sea Salt

Gluten-Free Biscuit With Walnut Butter And Sea Salt

On the flight home, we had a layover in the South, so I ate one of their biscuits and topped it with Artisana Walnut Butter and sea salt. I hate layovers, but I love these biscuits so I went ahead and ate another.

Oats In A Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Jar, Plain Oikos With Local Honey

Oats In A Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Jar, Plain Oikos With Local Honey

The best part of a staycation? No jet lag. No unpacking. And only a slight sense of “OH, I really need to hit the gym now after that”. Yes, I do believe I’ve found a love for staycation, along with my pre-existing loves for local raw honey and butter toffee peanut butter. Speaking of Naturally Nutty, you can win some in Averie’s giveaway! Let’s recap:

How To Have A Staycation

1. Pick the cuisine. Italian? French? Hell, you could take a whole tour across Europe if you want!

2. Find the local spot. Look for the best “authentic” restaurant. Now is not the time to drive around and stop at the first place called “Georgio’s” only to find it’s a greasy pizza joint.

3. Plan the night out. From dinner to dessert, just have a plan and things will run smoother.

4. Make use of groceries. Now might be a good time and excuse to buy that French wine you’d been eyeing that was out of your budget. Like my gelato, the food frontier doesn’t just have to be in a restaurant.

5. Forget about the costs. Since a staycation is meant to be taken in place of a mini-vacation, treat it like one and let your worries go for the time being.

6. When in doubt, take a rain check. Didn’t get reservations at the restaurant of your dreams? Unless the staycation needs to be taken that day, put it off until you can do it right.

Where do you want to take your next staycation? I think Greece is on the travel plans for me.

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What 2 Semesters Have Taught Me

Posted on May 19, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

To be honest, I wasn’t sure about doing a post like this. Would I be flaming any fires? Would I or anyone be amused? If ever pen was going to be put to paper(or fingers to keyboard), it was going to be when the memories are fresh. So I dove right in…

What I learned…as a blogger

  • I kicked off the year buying my own domain and haven’t looked back.
  • I’ve learned that you might get anonymous commenter telling you you eat too much broccoli, but that really you couldn’t possibly eat too much broccoli
  • You might also commenters telling you your nights are lackluster and plugging their own blogs. But if you enjoy your time, and someone is sitting at a computer screen reading things they don’t even like, who’s really losing out?
  • I had my first blogger meet-up.

What I learned…as a student

  • I learned some really really dirty words in Latin between Catullus and Petronius.
  • I’m a much better essayist than I give myself credit for.
  • Acing a class you take without a grade might be a kicker, but the more important part is taking a class stress-free and for fun.
  • Sometimes, you need to devote a whole week to mental health.

What I learned…as a runner

  • The treadmill is not the dreadmill to me; to me, it’s a friend
  • You meet good people at the gym, some of whom you might inspire.
  • You can always achieve your goal with enough effort(and fuel).

What I learned…as a foodie

  • Grezzo’s first inspired me to eat more raw, and then it closed.
  • I can now cook a mean hash.
  • With an oven, eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard; it just takes time.
  • Garden Grille and Nick’s On Broadway will both be getting my business next year.
  • The Whole Foods salad bar makes the best… everything.

What I learned…as a person

  • It’s OK to walk through a room of people playing beer pong in your PJ’s to get ice cream.
  • Emma Watson can be pretty elusive.
  • The Today Show has become my number #1 and only source of news.
  • If you want to go to bed at 9:30, who the hell is stopping you?
  • I fell in love. Not with anyone, but with Rhode Island. The smallest state has taken a big place in my heart, much like it has for Heather and Sabrina. I don’t know what to say; I didn’t expect for this to happen. I’ve lived in the same house 17 years and this was the first time I could see myself living anywhere else and being happy.

Regrets?

Well, here are my regrets from the last 12 hours.

Almond Milk Chocolate Attune

Almond Milk Chocolate Attune

I regret not eating this Attune Almond Milk Chocolate bar for almost 3 months, because it was delicious. If you’ve ever had a hershey’s almond bar, that’s exactly what this was like, except all-natural and with probiotics. Rich and creamy with a nutty crunch–yum!

Dagoba Chai Ginger Milk Chocolate

Dagoba Chai Ginger Milk Chocolate

I regret thinking I must be a milk chocolate person now and ever buying this. You’d think it’d be good, right? Well, the chai was just too strong, and there was hardly any ginger. Don’t get me wrong: I ate it, because even when chocolate’s bad, it’s good. But I’m just not blown away by Dagoba.

365 OIAJ

365 OIAJ

I regretted pouring hot oats into this jar the second I noticed it starting to slant. But I’m willing to throw caution to the wind and risk a little melted plastic every once and a while. I know; I’m a rebel 😉

Empty Nut Butter Jar

Empty Nut Butter Jar

I regretted waking up to this and thinking it was like a one night stand.

Oatmeal With Almond Butter And Slivered Almonds, Fig YIAJ

Oatmeal With Almond Butter And Slivered Almonds, Fig YIAJ

I regretted not planning out the slivered almonds beforehand, so that when I went to grab them everything fell out of the cupboard and a bag of guar gum even fell into my oats. After a little clean-up, I was good to go with Earth Balance almond butter.

Yogurt In A Fig Jam Jar

Yogurt In A Fig Jam Jar

I regret not getting plain greek yogurt more often, because how good does it taste when you get to add your own jam, really? It’s even tastier when you get to add your yogurt to the jam jar instead of the other way around 😀

But, in general, no regrets. How could anyone live a certain way for the better part of a year and regret it? That’d be a nightmare. I don’t regret that my greatest intake of alcohol over the year has been from vanilla extract. I don’t regret not joining some god awful chorus group that meets past when I want to be in bed. I don’t regret the amount of time and effort I put into things. I just don’t live with regrets, and that keeps me happy. My first day of freedom is cold, and rainy, but I’m pretty sure that makes it perfect for movies, popcorn, and staring at the piles of things to put away thinking “Well that’s just not happening today.” What’s the weather like where you are?

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Cinnamon And French

Posted on April 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good morning! Thank you for all of your kind words. I feel 75% better and will probably head back tonight for classes tomorrow. To clue you in on what went down, yesterday during the day I coughed a lot and it had that “bacterial” smell/taste to it. At 4:30, I started coughing more and more, and then for 2 hours could not stop shivering to the point where I couldn’t do anything productive. EMS came and checked me out, but there was nothing apparently threatening and I signed a release waver. I did decide, however, in those hours I was shaking that it was important to go home. I couldn’t even cook myself a hamburger last night, had no appetite, and needed not to have to fend for myself like usual, you know?

Apple

Apple

Like I said, I had no appetite; even on rest days, that’s not like me at all. I tried taking a bite of this apple while I was waiting but the solid foods were not my friend and I couldn’t eat any more :-/

Mango Tango And Cinnamon Cookies

Mango Tango And Cinnamon Cookies

We stopped at Whole Foods before leaving town where I picked up what clearly was the dinner of champions(/sarcasm/). The Mango Tango was exactly what I wanted/needed and went down smooth. I was craving some easy to digest carbs, which was really hard to satisfy when you’re in a rush and eating gluten-free. I also wanted something cinnamon, which is why I picked those cookies. I ate 4 but once I realized the solid food was making my fever go up, I stopped.

So Delicious Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

So Delicious Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Finally at home, I took 3 scoops of So Delicious snickerdoodle ice cream and went directly to bed. I must have been sick, because the little cookie dough balls weren’t even my favorite part; what’s up with that? Of course, I tried getting as much sleep as humanly possible, but probably clocked in around 8 hours.

OIAJ, French Vanilla Yogurt With Fig Jam

OIAJ, French Vanilla Yogurt With Fig Jam

Finally, “real food” started to seem appealing. It was even more appealing because it was in a jar; something tells me Brandi would be very jealous of this 😉 Being home meant slim pickings on the yogurt availability.

French Vanilla Yogurt With French Fig Preserves

French Vanilla Yogurt With French Fig Preserves

I found a French vanilla Stonyfield in the depths of the refrigerator and some fig preserves i picked up on a trip to France I took over a year ago. Oolala! The fig preserves were homemade; it was more like a figgy syrup with whole dried figs in it, but it definitely wasn’t bad. I love picking up things like preserves on trips because then you really get the “flavor” of the destination.

What do you eat when you’re sick? I’m all about the juice! Especially when I just don’t want to eat solid foods. Would anybody answer Greek yogurt? If so, here’s a Oikos giveaway!

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Chocolate For My Morning And How To Do To-Do

Posted on March 24, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who else watched the Biggest Loser last night? I loved that the contestants got to see their families and had so much support. And I totally thought Jillian was going to bust out of that big box and whip them in to shape. Anyone else? While I was watching that, I was writing an essay on my midterm about the gripping effect sugar had on England between 1600 and 1800 and how that pushed slavery. Yikes! Scary stuff. So I made a resolution to eat without added sugars for a bit.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

An apple fit that bill and made me feel healthy for the time being. “I’m on a roll!” I thought.

Emmy's Organics' Lemon Ginger Raw Macaroon

Emmy's Organics' Lemon Ginger Raw Macaroon

And then, whoops! Fell off that train 🙂 I had a hankering for a lemon ginger macaroon by Emmy’s Organics. I think choosing raw desserts sweetened with agave nectar is a pretty good compromise for sugary goodness 😉 The hint of spice here from lemon and ginger is so nice! It was a perfect treat for sending in my take-home midterm.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And French Toast Almonds

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And French Toast Almonds

And then–ipso facto–sugar never counts when it’s on top of oatmeal 😀 I had pumpkin oats with some butter toffee peanut butter from Naturally Nutty and my own homemade french toast almonds to seal the night off. This made me thing homemade nuts would be a great thing to make for Easter lunch. The only thing is I’m not sure if/which flavors would work. Suggestions?

I listened to not 1 but 2 of my mental health tips. First of all, after I sent that paper at 9:15 it was me-time all the way. I spent it with television and mindless games. It’d be more fun if me-time were, say, during the day, but I’m glad I snuck it in at the end. I also didn’t set my alarm this morning, got 8 and a half hours of sleep, and decided to postpone any run. Even if I end up running to the bickering of Kathy Lee and Hoda, the sleep was worth it.

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Quinoa Chocolate, OIAJ

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Quinoa Chocolate, OIAJ

Breakfast in bed had to be a little bit more “desserty” than usual, right? The first thing that came to my mind was pre-flavored greek yogurt; this always tastes like a dessert, but totally passes the “healthy” bill. I grabbed a pomegranate Chobani and added some Dark Quinoa Chocolate from Alter Eco. And then what could be better than oats in a chocolate peanut butter jar?!

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Oats With All-Natural Fluff

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Oats With All-Natural Fluff

In the bowl jar was my standard 40g oat blend, what was left of the white chocolate cherry almond butter from Naturally Nutty, and some all-natural fluff. I was worried because the fluff stuff was rock hard at room temp(it’s an old container), but it seemed to melt well over everything and add a smooth vanilla tone.

To-Do It Right

To-Do List: Homework

To-Do List: Homework

Last night’s Mental Health Week tip was all about decluttering your workspace; now I want to talk about how to work! While we could try to juggle everything in our mind, why? All that remembering and forgetting easily adds stress. The first step is to put it down in writing. I use Google Tasks because it goes wherever I go, and I can have different lists. Above was my homework list circa 11am yesterday morning, but I also have them for everything from blog stuff, to television shows I need to watch online, to my grocery list, etc. And my favorite mental booster is to cross off–not erase–tasks gone by; seeing things with a strike through them will remind you of what you’ve done and make you feel more accomplished. Do you keep a list? If so, where is it?

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