Monday, March 28, 2011

Brain Freeze

This weekend, like most, went by way too quickly.  And I didn't even do a ton of stuff.  Friday, after Bar Method, LC and I met his family out for pizza and a glass or two of vino.  We were in bed by 10:30 p.m.  Awesomeness. 
On Saturday, I woke up and did some major cleaning.  Like 3 hours worth.  Our apartment needed it badly.  After my cleaning extravaganza, I did an Insanity workout and it kicked my butt.  I was in desperate need of a good cardio session and this was just I needed.  I did Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs. My calves and hamstrings still hurt today.  Insanity is a 60 day plan where you follow a schedule, 6 days a week for 2 months.  Insane.  I tried following the plan for the one week and I couldn't handle it.  Partly because it is really challenging (the people of the video even have to stop) and secondly, because I get bored working out in my living room.  Now, I just do them sporatically when I need a break from the apartment gym.  On Saturday night, LC and I decided to stay in and make dinner at home and watch The Fighter.  Really great movie!  LC enjoyed the boxing part of it, while I enjoyed Mark Wahlberg shirtless. Besides the eye candy, the story about the boxer was really fascinating and Christian Bale definitely deserved his academy award.

On Sunday I woke up a really sore from my Insanity workout, so I hopped on the bus and headed over to Lululemon for a complimentary yoga class.  I have a wedding coming up so free yoga is good yoga. Right? Wrong, when hosted at a cute athletic clothing store.  The yoga class cost me a t-shirt and a pair of capri pants. BUT they will hem my groove pants for FREE!  I have to go pick them up Friday and I must. resist. the urge. to buy a super cute hoodie that I saw there.  I do enjoy going to Lulu events like the Vino and Vinyasa I went to a few weeks back, but for yoga classes where I need unwind, stretch, and just relax, I will be heading to a studio.  It was kind of odd practicing yoga, while shoppers pressed their faces to the glass to get a better look into the store.  Now I know how zoo animals feel. 

And here we are today.  Another manic Monday.  With all this sunshine that's been happening around me, my brain is in spring mode despite the 30's/40's temps we've been having here in Chicago.  So this morning for breakfast I made a smoothie and sipped it on my way to work.  In my parka.  And Uggs :-) It was de-lish!

Apple Pie Smoothie
1/2 C greek yogurt
1 medium apple sliced
1/2 c milk
1 Tbsp granola
1 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
a dash of cinnamon

*blend and enjoy!

I can't wait for the spring temps to match this spring sunshine.  I'm looking forward to my first run of the year outside.  What are you looking forward to?


Friday, March 25, 2011


This week has been a rough one.  Work has been insane this week, so I am VERY happy that it's Friday!  Tonight, we're going out for pizza with LC's family.  My sister was on spring break this week, so she drove in on Tuesday and I took a 1/2 day at work.  We spent the day drinking Bloody Marys, getting manicures, and eating pizza from Lou Malnati's.  Despite the rainy and weather, we managed to have a good day.  

This morning, I set my alarm to get up and do some cardio, but that didn't happen.  Yesterday, I ran and did the elliptical in the morning and went to bar method after work.  Needless to say, I was in much need of sleep this morning.  For breakfast I made a really tasty smoothie and topped it with Jessica's granola-Vanilla Maple.  Mm mm good! I found the recipe from a facebook friend and thought I'd share it with you. 

Banana Berry Smoothie
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries (I substituted blueberries)
1 banana
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup almond milk

Blend & enjoy!

For lunch I made myself a tasty, little Mediterranean wrap.  This idea came to me after having lunch last weekend.  The wrap that I had at Swig was just so good, that I had to have it again.  So I tried to recreate it, minus the chicken.  I took a piece of whole wheat naan, spread it with plain hummus, topped it with alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, avocado, and feta cheese. When I went to go roll it up, it was a bit full, but it was very tasty! Not quite as good as Swig's version but it did the trick.    

Happy Friday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Girl and the Goat

As I mentioned earlier, this past weekend, LC and I had a very special date night.  He took me to Girl and the Goat located here in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood.  It is ran by Stephanie Izard, who was the winner of Bravo's Top Chef in 2008.  She opened up Girl and the Goat in the summer of 2010.  When LC called to make a reservation, the only time they had open was 11:45 PM!!  The hostess said their next available reservation was in about a month, BUT if we just walked in, we would have to wait for the next available table.  Not knowing how long we'd have to wait, we took our chances anyway.  We're crazy like that :-) 

We got to the restaurant around 8 o'clock.  The wait was about an hour and 15 minutes.  I wasn't loving that wait time, but we parked ourselves near the bar and ordered some drinks.  Two people that were sitting in front of us at the bar, got up to leave and we took their seats.  The bartender asked if we wanted menus for food. I'm not crazy about eating dinner at the bar, but with an hour left to wait, we weren't going to turn it down.  So we sat at the bar and had exceptional service and thankfully, we didn't have people reaching over us to get their drinks from the bartender.

The food was absolutely phenomenal! There are no other words. The menu changes based on what's in season and the restaurant works with local farmers to support the community. From Girl and the Goat's website, "Stephanie likes to see how the animals we use in our kitchen are raised before working with a farm, as not all farms have the same practices."  Awesomeness! 

The food was served small-plate style, so LC and I shared everything.  The bartender recommended about 6-8 plates for a couple.  For our starter, we ordered a bread called, squish squash.  It was warm and pre-sliced and it came with pecan butter and apple pear oil to be used as spreads.  They were both really good, but I preferred the pecan butter, which had real pieces of pecan in it. 

The next plate that was brought out to us were the oysters.  The oysters consister of
raw shibumi, radish mignonette, and tarragon.  They tasted really fresh were very flavorful, but the best oysters I've ever had were in New Orleans. 

After oysters came heaven in a bowl, AKA Sweet Potato Gratin.  In the mix with the fluffy sweet potatos was rogue river smokey blue, topped with crispy onions.  This was so good, that I'm going to try and recreate something like this.  I have to have it again!    
After heaven in a bowl, I stopped and had a refill of my wine, The Girls in the Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was definitely one of the better cabernets I've had and I will be on the look out for this bottle on our next trip to Binny's.

Next, we have my favorite....SCALLOPS!  Next to lobster, probably one of my favorite sea foods ever :-)  It contained brown butter XO, goat sausage crumbles, white shrimp, shiitakes, and winter squash.  I take back my previous statement, THIS was heaven in a bowl! My mouth is watering just reading back the ingredients!  The only downfall of this dish- there were only two scallops and I had to share with LC.     

Our second to last dish was the calamari.  When I read the description, I was under the impression they were going to be breaded and fried.  Thankfully, they weren't.  This was the second best calamari that I've ever tasted in my life.  The calamari I had in Turkey from the Mediterranean Sea tops the list!  This calamari was stuffed with lamb sausage, sweetbread crisp, sweet garlic, and currant saor.        

And our grande finale of this culinary feast: roasted pork shank.  It was topped with truffled apples, spaghetti squash & truffle tapenade.  The pork was so soft, that it could be cut with a spoon.  It was a good blend of flavors and wasn't over taken by anything else on the plate.           
Overall, LC and I enjoyed our experience at Girl and the Goat.  Between the atmosphere and the small plates, it was the perfect place for a date night.  I could also see going there for a girls night as well.  We will definitely be back here again, probably sometime in the summer after the wedding.   

Tasty Chicken Pesto Pizza!

Happy Monday! My weekend was a blast and I'm sad that it had to come to an end. BUT, my sister's coming tomorrow to visit for the day, so that makes me happy.  I had a weekend filled with great food, good company, and a little bit of wedding planning. On Friday, I came home from work and made a chicken pesto pizza, all from scratch.  For my first pizza attempt, I'd say that it turned out to be a success. I think the only thing wrong with it was that I got a little pesto happy :-) I just love it so much.

Here's the recipe along with some pictures:

Ingredients for pizza dough
 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ and salt. Make a well in the middle and add honey and yeast mixture. Stir well to combine. (I also added in some shredded parmesan cheese and basil)  Cover and set in a warm place to rise for a few minutes.  Roll dough on a floured pizza pan and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved.(I didn't bake it until all the ingredients were on it).

Pesto Sauce
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or more to taste

Directions:Place all ingredients in a small blender or food processor, and blend/process until a smooth paste forms. If you like, add additional salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. For this recipe, I kept it out until I needed it.

For the chicken, I just cut it up into bite size pieces and cooked it on the stove with a little bit of garlic and pepper.  After the chicken was done, I spread the pesto sauce on top of the crust, then sprinkled on some shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesean cheese.  Then placed the chicken, as well as sliced mushrooms on top of the cheese.  After the chicken and the mushrooms went on, then I sprinkled a little bit more cheese.  I didn't use any specific measurements for the cheese or the chicken, just good judgement :-) After that I put it in the oven and baked it for about 15 or so minutes or until the cheese started to bubble.

This is something I would definitely make again.  I was a little hesitant to make my own crust, since I've never worked with yeast before, but everything worked out. 

On Saturday, I woke up super early in the AM, and drove up to Milwaukee.  I was scheduled to meet my mom at Pier Wisconsin for our table mockup at 10.  Since I got to Milwaukee a little early, I ventured around Milwaukee Public Market

And had a green giant juice (apple, cucumber, lime &wheatgrass)

After our table mockup, my mom and I enjoyed lunch at Swig.  I love coming here for lunch when I'm in Milwaukee. They have amazing food and even better service :-) I had the Mediterranean chicken pita- seasoned grilled chicken breast, feta, hummus, kalamata olives, cucumbers and sprouts with cucumber yogurt dip.  Very good recommendation made by our waitress!  

Later, I drove back to Chicago and LC and I got ready for our date night at Girl and The Goat.     

It is, hands down, one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago.  So much so, that it deserves its own post :-)  

After our wonderful dinner, we met up with some of our neighbors at English and reunited with old friends.    


On Sunday, LC and I made breakfast and snuggled on the couch and watched movies. It was the perfect rainy Sunday to be lazy.  I was supposed to go to a special Bar Method class they were holding benefiting Save the Children of Japan, but the rain kept me on the couch. I still made my $20 donation though, so the money went to a good cause anyway, even if I didn't make it to the workout class, right? Right!

Friday, March 18, 2011


On Thursday, we celebrated St. Patrick's day, just like any good "Chi-rish" person would do.  Well I am considered "Chi-rish", LC's actually Irish.  To celebrate this day, we made an Irish themed dinner and invited his family over.  Two things I've never done before: Make Guinness Beef Stew and entertain the future in-laws.  Both went off without a hitch.  The beef stew was so tasty and full of flavor.  I would definitely make this again.  The only problem with it was that I should have made more.   
I found the recipe on the Cooking Light website.  I made a few modifications to it, such as more Guinness, less beef broth :-) Here it is! 

Total: 3 hours, 18 minutes
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)


  • 3  tablespoons  canola oil, divided
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  pounds  boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 5  cups  chopped onion (about 3 onions)
  • 1  tablespoon  tomato paste
  • 4  cups  fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1  (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
  • 1  tablespoon  raisins
  • 1  teaspoon  caraway seeds
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1 1/2  cups  (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices carrot (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2  cups  (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices parsnip (about 8 ounces)
  • 1  cup  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled turnip (about 8 ounces)
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and beef.
2. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return meat to pan. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

LC thought it was necessary to pick up mini-cupcakes from Jewel...he gets an A for effort :-)

And of course, it wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without a taste of Guinness. Sláinte!



In Thought & Prayer

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vino for Me, Water for Elephants

Last night, Lululemon hosted an event called, "Vino & Vinyasa" at the W Hotel in downtown Chicago.  I went to Bar Method and then walked over to the event.  It felt amazing to stretch my muscles after exhausting them at bar.  My friend, Kristine, joined me for some yoga and vino :-)  It was a lovely event, followed by a nice glass of wine and good company.  3 different instructors from various yoga studios from around the city taught the class.  It was nice to see the different styles among all of the instructors.  I've only been to yoga at Corepower, so this has inspired me to get out there and try out different yoga studios and other types of yoga.

Yesterday, I also finished one of my favorite books, Water for Elephants.  I started this book back in January and why it took me so long to read, I have no idea.  It was a great read right from the very beginning.  Without giving too much away, the book is set in the 1930's and is about an older man reliving his time with the old circus.  There are some unexpected twists and turns in the book and once I got further into it, I found it hard to put down (hence finishing it at work).  I'm really excited for the movie to come to theaters! Next up on the Nook, The Paris Wife.  I've heard a lot of good things about this book and I'm hoping it will fulfill (for now) my desire to travel to Paris.       

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crazy, Sexy!

Yesterday was my grandpa's 74th Birthday.  I called to wish him a happy birthday and to see what he's up to.  He responded with, "Working. You know Maria, So many people retire and just sit. You have to stay active and work. I go to the gym every other day..."  And he continues on about how good his health is.  So for my 20-something body, there is just no excuse not to workout. Unless, I'm sick or injured. Only then, working out is generally a no-go.

So, my fitness goal for next week is to attend The Bar Method 5 days, run 3 days, and practice yoga 1 day.  I've never done 5 days of Bar in a row, but after talking with one of my favorite instructors, who is in awesome shape, I learned that when she first signed up as a client she went Monday-Friday and it helped her get better at the moves.  So that's what my goal will be.

Last night, LC and I sat down and watched a documentary from Netflix.  I really love watching documentaries.  Call me a geek, but Food, Inc. was probably one of the most interesting movies I've ever watched. Anyway, last night we watched Crazy, Sexy Cancer. It was a documentary about a woman named Kris Karr who was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of terminal cancer.  Through changing her diet and lifestyle, she was able to keep the cancer at bay.  She was diagnosed in 2003 and she's still alive today.  Her outlook on life was so inspirational.  When others would have broken down from the news of cancer, she persevered. I'm in the middle of reading her book, Crazy, Sexy, Diet right now and it's definitely one of the better "diet" books I've read.     

I really haven't been eating anything too exciting this week.  I'm really looking forward to making my St. Patrick's day meal tomorrow so check back for that recipe.  I have found that if I eat a bigger breakfast with some sort of carb, I'm usually pretty satisfied until lunch time. Last week, with working out in the AM, I was just so ravenous throughout the day and nothing would fill me up. This week I'm taking a different approach. Big breakfast and then smaller meals through the day.  It seems to be working so far. 

Tonight, I'm going to a Lululemon event with my friend, Kristine.  The Michigan Ave store, here in Chicago, is hosting a yoga and wine night.  I'm pretty pumped for it!  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Classy Cupcakes for Classy girls

This past weekend, I went home for my cousin's 21st birthday.  We started at my sister's house with some cupcakes and cocktails.  

We sang happy birthday...

And headed out to the bars...

We consumed an assortment drinks, including some green beer.  We only made it to three bars on our pub crawl, but that was plenty.  I'm proud of my cousin because she handled herself very well, not like other people I know on their 21st birthday.  It could have something to do with the fact that both of her parents were at the bar...

I, on the other hand, ended my night like this:

Only one of the best street vendors in the U.S.!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Friday!

This morning, I woke up at 4:30a.m., tied up my gym shoes, and hopped on the elliptical.  It was tough getting up this morning but I did it.  Normally I listen to some upbeat music to get me going but today I decided to watch the morning news. (I didn't even know it was on that early!) My heart goes out to all the people in Japan.  I can't imagine going through something so terrible and having no control over the situation, much less no warning.  Here, in the Midwest, we have your occasional tornado or snow storm, but we know about these things before hand. I can't imagine having the Earth shake below my feet, what a scary feeling. 

After my workout, I showered and got ready for work.  My wonderful fiance woke up and made me breakfast!  An egg white (he even knew how to separate them!) scramble with pepperjack cheese and pico de gallo.  It was delicious and nice to have a filling breakfast after a little workout.      

After work, I walked over to Bar Method for my Friday workout.  I was not feeling it today and while we were doing seat work, all I could think is "This hurts, this hurts..." I didn't want to go today, but I'm glad that I did.  

When I got home there was some Garrett's popcorn waiting for me...This has got to stop! I love LC, but the unhealthy snackies need to cease.  Yesterday cupcakes, today cheesy/caramel corn?!  But I do love me some Garrett's!

So thankful that today is FRIDAY!!! What are your weekend plans? Im going to Milwaukee tomorrow for my cousin's 21st bday and then making sure I get my but to yoga on Sunday.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Count It!

This morning I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. to get up and run before work and that did not happen. I was exhausted.  Running and doing bar method in one day really kicks your bootay!  For right now, I will do these two a-days every other day.  Back to back is just too much.

For breakfast, I had a banana with some Justin's almond butter and my leftover fruit juice smoothie.  Lunch was pretty simple, herb and garlic tuna, veggies and hummus.  And for dinner, I had chicken, a baked sweet potato, and some steamed broccoli.  LC has a yummy treat for me waiting when I got home today; a mini cupcake from Sugar Bliss! It's only my favorite cupcake store in Chicago. 

Did you know that Starbucks made a size smaller than "tall"? They do! It's called "short" :-) and it's only 8oz. They just don't advertise it on their menu, those sneaky devils! It's the perfect size for me because, as much as I love Starbucks, I can never finish a whole tall specialty drink and it just goes to waste.  I had the cocoa cappuccino and it was the perfect blend of chocolate and coffee, deeeee-lish!  

One thing that I've noticed since I've started running again in the morning, is that I'm hungry throughout the whole day.  I've been more conscious about what I'm eating and I've been loading up on lots of veggies and fruit, but I'm definitely eating more and therefore not losing as much weight as I'd like.  Since March 1st, I've lost two pounds.  Which leaves me with 6-8lbs left to lose to reach my monthly goal.  In the past, one sure thing that has helped me is calorie counting.  It works, but I hate it with a passion! I was using an iPhone app called lose it and it definitely helped me stay on track, but there's more to a balanced diet than just calories (hello carbs, proteins, & fats!) Enter Spark People.  It's a website that's more than just calorie counting, it's a whole online community for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.  When you log in your food, it tells you what your "goal" should be for calories, proteins, carbs, and fats.  If anyone uses this, my username is Lavidasana, so "friend me"! We can motivate each other.  We'll see how this goes, hopefully the calorie restriction won't leave me feeling faint during my workouts, that would not be awesome.

This weekend, I'm headed back up to Milwaukee (my second home).  My little cousin is turning 21 and what better way to celebrate than with a St. Patty's day bar crawl?! Hmmm...last weekend brewery tour and fish fry.  This weekend, bar crawl? Two lbs lost? I might be seeing the problem here!       

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Back On Track

Today, I started my morning out (4:45am) with a little run on the treadmill.  I can't wait until it starts getting nicer outside so that I can run outdoors.  Spring is coming, I can smell it in the air.  After my run, I made myself a little juice smoothie.  It consisted of an apple, blueberries, spinach, cinnamon, truvia, and a 1/2 of a grapefruit.  It was gewd!!! It was enough to make two servings, so I will be adding it into my meals at some point tomorrow. I can't do just juice breakfasts two days in a row, especially when running.  I get too hungry throughout the day.

Today for lunch, I just had some left overs from last night's Mardi Gras feast.  Just as good as it was last night!  After work, I walked over to The Bar Method.  I've been going to this class steadily for about a month now and it is one of my favorite toning classes.  I've seen some change in my arms and upper body as well as my thighs.  I took measurements the other day and I've lost inches!  I love this class because you don't use heavy weights, just a lot of repetition and exhausting your muscles.  My legs shake from holding moves for so long, and it's encouraged.  When the instructor sees your legs shaking from exhaustion, they say, "Nice shaking Maria!" So it encourages me to keep going even when I don't want to. I hate life while I'm doing thigh work but it feels oh so good afterward :-)     

For dinner tonight, I ate Alexia spicy sweet potato fries and a Mediterranean turkey burger from Whole Foods, along side a glass of wine.    

Fat Tuesday Feast!

This past weekend LC and I headed north to Milwaukee for our drill weekend.  While in the land of beer and cheese, I did what any good Wisconsinite would do on a Friday night: Brewery tour and fish fry.  Lakefront Brewery has always been a favorite brewery tour of ours.  Reason being, you can drink while on the tour!  So we drank some beer, learned more information about brewing beer, and enjoyed our fish fry.    

*Bottling Line*
*beer eyes*
On Saturday, my mom and I went to visit, Janie, the woman who is doing my dress alterations, and I got to try on my dress.  I didn't want to take it off!  Good news is that it will need very little alterations.  Janie, also does table linens and and centerpiece set ups.  Through all the wedding planning process, this has been one of the most troubling for me to figure out.  Janie has been so helpful in giving me ideas, I am so greatful for her.
 This is one of the mock ups she did for us-LOVE!
On Monday, I took the day off to rejuvinate from my drill weekend.  LC and I did taxes, worked out and met his mom and dad at a restaurant to plan wedding shower #2. 
Yesterday was Fat Tuesday! To celebrate this day, I picked up some Paczkis for LC (he loves them), made jambalaya along with a side of cornbread and a Lakefront Big Easy. So, so so good! I found the recipe from Cooking Light.  It was simple to make and good to the palate.  The cornbread was made from Bob's Red Mill gluten free Cornbread.  The cornbread was great considering it was gluten free.  It was not dry at all like some gluten free items can be.  I would definitely recommend it.     
*our feast*

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yoga = Ahhhh-mazing!

Look who got a haircut!! It was very much needed.  Oliver could barely see out of his eyes.  Poor little guy. I hope that it starts warming up in Chicago, because he's going to freeze.  But until it does, he has many sweaters to choose from.
Today's eats were pretty good.  This morning, I ate half of a huge grapefruit sweetened with truvia.  I know that's not much of a breakfast but I think I was still full from last night's dinner.  Yum!  Because I was running late for work again today, I didn't have time to pack a lunch, so a co-worker and I feasted on Chipolte.  I had a salad which included chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, cheese and guacamole.  I'm not a big fan of their salad dressing, so what I bascially had a chicken burrito bowl, hold the rice and sour cream and the soft, warm tortilla.  Even without the tortilla on the side, it was very satisfying.
I also discovered a new midday snack attack.  Brown Rice cake with Justin's almond butter, honey flavor :-) The crunchy, salty, sweetness is just enough to satisfy me in the after noon.  Pretty much anything topped with this almond butter will taste great.  

After work, I headed off to CorePower Yoga.  I was in need of a good stretch session with the running and bar method classes that I did this week.  It felt ahhhh-mazing!  I took the Introduction CorePower Yoga 1 class with Lisa B.  The class was a lot more active than I had anticipated.  I have taken a hot yoga class at this studio before and it was just a lot of stretching.  In the Intro class, we definitely worked our core.  The website describes this class as, "vinyasa yoga done in a warm environment, with a slower paced flow than CorePower Yoga 2..."  It was a challenge and it was a relief to stretch out my muscles so I would definitely take this class again.  However, I will be driving or riding my bike from now on, because the CTA going home, let's just say there were some shady characters on that bus.  

When I came home, I heated some soup and caught up on all of my e-mails for the day.  This soup was really good but I didn't taste any apple in it, which I guess is what I was expecting having "apple" in the title in all.  It wasn't my favorite flavor, it was a bit spicy.  Not hot spicy, but filled with a lot of different spices. 
This weekend I am trekking back up to Milwaukee for drill.  But this time I get to relax and take the Amtrak there.  LC is up there already and is meeting me at the train station.  After that we're going to Lakefront Brewery for a brewery tour.  Also, this weekend I get to try on my wedding dress and she's going to start making alterations to it!! I'm so excited. I would post pictures, but SOMEONE comes to this blog to see what I'm chatting about, so the pics will have to wait until after the wedding.  But the dress is stunning :-)

Marathon Inspiration-Quote of the Day

"Instead of focusing on all the things I can't control, I am enjoying the moments in front of me.  The marathon is going to be an amazing journey and I get the chance to write the ending." Shalane Flanagan, 2nd woman finisher at the 2010 New York City Marathon.

Happy Thursday! :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fiesta, Fiesta!

Waking up this morning to run was a bit easier than yesterday, now that I have the Chicago Marathon hanging over my head.  I didn't really have a goal in mind this morning.  I guess my goal was to just run, which I did.  I like working out in the morning because it gives me so much energy for the rest of the day and it's one less thing I have to do after I get out of work.  I can't wait for the weather to start warming up here in Chicago, because I hate running in the cold and I hate running (training) on treadmills.  I think they're the worst.  I did a little bit better today with the little time I had. 

Today's breakfast was eaten at my desk at work.  I love oatmeal, especially on a cold morning.  I picked up these GF instant oats at Whole Foods over the weekend.  I ate the apple cinnamon flavor this morning with a 1/2 cup of almond milk.  And it was by far the BEST instant oatmeal that I've ever had.  It had a lot of flavor, what tasted like real chunks of apple, and it left me very satisfied!  I would choose this brand over Quaker any day.   
Tonight I went to bar method with my friend, Hollie.  She introduced me to this class back in December and I instantly fell in love with it and signed up for a month unlimited.  After the month I pondered on whether or not I should invest in the 6 month bridal package.  The decision wasn't an easy one because these classes are not cheap and I had a gym membership at the time.  Luckily, I was able to transfer my gym membership to LC so then I didn't feel so bad signing up for bar method.  Now, I work out in our fitness center in our apartment building.  It's not the best, but it has everything that I need and it's never crowded.  After a month of consistently (3-4 times a week) attending bar method, I've already lost some inches off of my waist, hips, thighs, and arms.  During February, I didn't do a ton of cardio and I still lost inches, so I'm excited to see how my body will change this month with adding running into the workout! 

Tonight is Fiesta Wednesday at la casa de Maria :-) On the menu we have goat cheese and shrimp quesadillas, black bean salad, and whole grain mexican rice.  I found the recipe for the quesadillas on another blog, Eat, Live, Run.  And to drink (because what kind of fiesta would this be without some bebitas?) we have my favorite, Skinny Girl Margaritas!!

Here's the recipe for tonight's main dish:
Shrimp & Goat Cheese Quesadillas
serves 2

4 flour tortillas
8 raw shrimp (frozen or fresh, deveined with tails off)
1/2 cup frozen sauteed pepper and onion mix
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
pinch of chili powder
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne
salsa and avocado slices for serving


Heat up the frozen bell pepper and onion mix in a skillet over high heat for about a minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, spray with cooking spray and crank up the heat to high. Add the shrimp and cook quickly for about thirty seconds. Add the cayenne pepper, salt and chili powder and toss to coat. Immediately take off heat (shrimp cook fast!).

Scatter pepperjack cheese and goat cheese on two tortillas and then top each with four cooked shrimp and a little bit of the onion and pepper mix. Lay other tortillas on top and cook each in a greased skillet over medium heat until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are golden brown and crispy.

Let cool and then cut into four slices with a scissors. Serve with avocado slices and salsa.


10 minutes

Morning Inspiration

I found this floating around the internet and I thought I'd share it.  I thought it gave very good advice!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Long Road Ahead

Today, I woke up at 5:30 this morning, went downstairs on my treadmill and ran.  I ran for 25 minutes and then hopped on the elliptical for about 15 minutes.  At no point during my run did I think I would be running a full marathon this year.  By lunch time today, I was entering myself into the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  Dear Lord, what have I done? 

This is something that I've been thinking about doing for a while.  It's on my "list". Last year I ran 2 half marathons, which is something that I never thought that I could do.  The only thing that was holding me back from signing up this year was my lack of time.  I thought that I'd be stressed out with the wedding and everything else going on this summer, but I figure (and hope) this will be my escape from the stressful events in life.  Right? Right.  I still have knots in my stomach as I think about it, but I had those same feelings when I signed up for the Rock N Roll half marathon last August.  As you can see from the picture above, I have a long road ahead of me.  I'll be back at it tomorrow morning! 

Today, I had a good day of eating.  For b-fast, I had a protein shake after my workout and then an Odwalla fruit smoothie at work.  For lunch, LC met me at my office we ran some errands and then we went to Mista. I had the margherita pizza on whole wheat flatbread.  For dinner, I made tilapia (prepared from whole foods) asparagus and zesty risotto.  Oh so good! Also, add in a Reece's peanut butter egg and a glass of red wine for dessert.  

Holy Balls!

I just signed up for the 2011 Chicago Marathon. I guess my love affair with running will be rekindled whether he likes it or not.  I ran two 1/2 marathons last year, but what did I just do?