International Eats

Here’s a few things I love about LA:

1) You can go to a bridal shower in the morning and eat fancy watercress sandwiches with scones and clotted cream and lemon curd

and then

2) You can go to Pasadena and eat Taiwanese food with your Chinese friend who has to order in Chinese for you (and if you’re like me you have to sheepishly ask for a fork because you can’t use chopsticks – someone teach me how!)

Taiwanese Food

3) And then you can order a Mango Snowy, which is a gigantic pile of fluffy frozen ice drizzled with sweetened, condensed milk on top of a heap of ripe, sweet mango

Crazy eyes for mango snowy

and then

4) You can go to a wine bar with some other friends and try a bubbly rose moscato

and then

5) You can have a cheap late night snack of pastor, asada and carnitas tacos from a food truck that’s humming from a generator at 1 AM, surrounded by happy people of all different cultures and ethnicities. There are tubs of diced onions, cilantro and tomatoes waiting near vats of different fiery salsas, and you can dress up your taco any way you choose.

So what is it exactly that I love about LA besides the food? The cultures! My tummy is never bored, and neither are my eyes. It’s so cool to try so many different types of foods and get a little immersive experience from each culture depending on the cuisine. I still need to try Ethiopian food and Argentinian food, but I’ve ticked off a big list of ethnic cuisines since I moved to LA – Serbian, Armenian, Taiwanese, Japanese, Antiguan, Egyptian, South African, Creole, Iranian… So far the only ethnic food I haven’t loved is Korean BBQ, and I think in general that’s because I’m not a big meat eater to begin with and I’m not fond of anything pickled besides, well, pickles.

It’s still fairly easy to eat well too even if you’re eating ethnically and creatively – for me, MyFitnessPal keeps me on track and I just remembered that I can taste a little bit of everything but there’s no reason to finish everything. I can always take something home and enjoy it again later. So – do you share my flair for the multi-cultural? What’s your favorite ethnic food?

Weekly Weigh In

Yummy Mini Cupcakes at Amy's Shower (I only had 2!)

Hi everybody! How was your weekend? Mine was awesome and very busy with seeing Dark Knight (surprisingly loved it – I’m not a big action movie person but I really liked the storyline), attending my sweet friend Amy’s bridal shower, getting a mani/pedi with my buddy Jenny, and then heading to Pasadena to have dinner and birthday drinks with our girl Hilda. It was a super social weekend and jam packed with fun. I haven’t done a weigh in post in awhile because I figured you all see the ticker on the right hand side of the page, but it seemed like a good time to check in with you all!

As of this morning I’m holding steady at 7 pounds lost – not as far along in my weight loss journey as I’d like, but certainly better than losing nothing or worse – gaining! There’s one major obstacle standing in my way. I’m getting better and better with the eating, especially portion control – but what I’m struggling with is exercise. By the time I get home from work and clock some thesis hours, I’m too tired and lazy to go to the gym. Does anyone have any tips for me? I have my gym bag packed and in my car so tomorrow on my way home from work I can go right to the gym, and with my new job, I have no excuse because I will seriously drive right past it. I’ve also debated exercising in the morning, as I’ve heard that getting that early morning endorphin rush can help set the tone for a great day. Any early bird fitness freaks out there? What do you think?

I know if I can get my butt back into gear, the weight will start sliding off. Today I had a major “WHOA” moment when I realized Matt and I head to Thailand in 4 short months and 23 days! I have about 14 pounds to lose until my first mini goal, so I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to safely and slowly shed that weight without having to abandon some of my favorite things. I’ll already be celebrating two major things in December – my 10 year dating anniversary with my husband, and graduating with my MA. How awesome would it be to celebrate those things just a little bit healthier and with a little more energy? Sounds awesome to me.

If you’re watching your weight, how’s it going? Any challenges? Successes? Non-Scale Victories? Chime in!

 

 

Plus-Sized Pretty: Professional Edition

Hi everybody! How are you doing?

I’ve started my new job and love seeing all of the beautiful clothes women wear to the office. It’s got me thinking that it’s time to go shopping! Feeling put-together and primped always helps me feel on top of my game. Here’s a few looks I’d love to grab to update my work-wear wardrobe. Do you have any go to outfits for work? What are they?

 

This faux two-piece dress has an adorable pink and white bird print that I think is so fun and playful. With how trendy birds are lately, I feel like it’d be spot on with fashion trends but also comfortable and casually chic at the office. I love the little tie at the neck – very Mad Men!

Source: eshakti.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

While I’m on Eshakti.com, I couldn’t help but pin another cute bird dress! I love the birds on the line and the vintage cut of this dress, which would be flattering on chicks with “birthing hips” like myself!

Source: eshakti.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

While I wouldn’t wear this ensemble with white pants, I love the pop of purple underneath this fun dalmation print cardi. You’d certainly stand out among the cubicles in this peppy puppy print.

This shirt is adorable and $7! Um, sign me up! I love lightweight and airy tunic tops like these because they’re casual, yet flattering, and match well with almost anything. Wear a tank underneath to make sure there’s no scandalous slippage and you’ll be in good shape.

I have one blazer and can tell I need to drastically improve my collection. I like this one because the sateen gives an ordinary outfit a bit more shine, and the shorter sleeve length is nice for offices with stuffy air conditioning. One thing I’ve noticed though, it’s crazy hard to find a cute plus blazer that isn’t super boring! Anyone have any tips for me?

 

I need to get out of my black pant rut, and I think another go-to look for a work wardrobe is a nice pair of khaki slacks. This will go better with some lighter blue and green colored tops I have.

That’s all I can find for now, but tell me – where’s your favorite work wardrobe shopping spot? I’m definitely disappointed at the lack of cute plus-size blazers I’m finding, so if you have any good ideas, please please please let me know!

 

Weekend Wrap Up!

Toffee at rocket fizz

Hey everybody! I had so much fun this weekend, despite the 102 degree heat in my hometown…  Friday night, Matt and I had dinner at our favorite local Indian food place, Clay Oven. I ordered Matar Paneer in honor of my paneer-flop from the night before. It was deeeeelicious! After dinner, we went next door to Rocket Fizz, a soda and candy shop! We sampled a couple different types of toffee and I tried a low-cal rootbeer, sweetened with honey. It was only 30 calories and so refreshing to try a soda made with natural ingredients as opposed to buckets of aspartame, nutrisweet, sucralose, etc.

Pre-lobster snoozing on the sand

On Saturday, I went to water aerobics with my buddy Virginia and did some aqua-cardio for an hour. The fun in the sun didn’t stop, because Matt and I headed out to Zuma beach in Malibu where he boogie-boarded in the waves while I read and accidentally fell asleep on the sand. Note to self, and helpful hint for everyone else: If there is even a SLIGHT possibility that you will fall asleep on the beach, RE-APPLY SUNSCREEN. I am stupidly suffering from my mistake and cringing every time the crease of skin behind my knee cap moves, which is often. My legs seriously look like I’m wearing red tights, and the best part is how white my bum is in comparison. My lower half looks like a peppermint. No, it’s not sexy. Who says wisdom comes with age?

After the beach we went and saw Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is a very interesting film. Slightly depressing, but really interesting to see and learn about the people of Louisiana who live in the impoverished “bathtub” and choose to live free from modern civilization. It was a phenomenal acting job by the 5-year-old who played “Hushpuppy”, but it’s not a movie I’d pick again for a feel-good Saturday night flick.

Shelley and I rock the golden togas

Today, we went to a Golden Christmas in July party! My sweet friend Merrie hosted with her friends Brian and Erin at their gorgeous house in Thousand Oaks. The party was catered with amazing turkey, ham, roast potatoes and cheeses, and I kept well hydrated on the free flowing lemonade and iced tea. Because my friend Shelley is a creative genius, she came up with these gold togas and hair flowers for the party. Aren’t we cute? She’ll be selling homemade toffee soon… it’s out of this world, you can bet I’m going to link it as soon as her site is up!

Sweet, sweet watery relief.

 

One of the highlights of the party, besides the wonderful people and amazing food, was the crystal clear pool. I waded in and it felt like a chorus of angels singing sweet cooling relief to my sun-chapped calves. Don’t I look ecstatic? At this point Shelley and I had changed out of our stylish gold togas, because while as glittery and beautiful as they were, we quickly learned that Lamé does not breathe. It was a fabulous party, and after several hours I had to peel myself away from the cheese tray and head back to the ‘burbs to work on my thesis.

This weekend was jam packed with fun times, and while I had some food challenges (cheese tray, popcorn, birthday cake), I didn’t majorly overdo it and managed to squeeze in some exercise. I’ll be posting a weight-in post soon, but if you’ve been following the My Fitness Pal counter on the side of the blog, I’m down about 7 pounds when the scale is accurate kind to me. The past week has been a little wacky and I’ve been yo-yoing a  bit, but I think that’s more due to some salty choices and weird heat than actual weight gain, because my jeans are feeling loose. (I LOVE that feeling. Such a good feeling.)

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week! I start my new job tomorrow, so send me some happy first day vibes, please! :) What did you do this weekend that was fun?

 

 

 

Belly Flop in the Kitchen: Paneer

You know how there’s always that one thing you want to try in the kitchen, but you never get around to? Well, today I attempted something I’ve wanted to make for a long time – homemade Indian Paneer! Paneer is a very simple farm cheese made from milk and some sort of acid component – you can use lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt. The steps were simple – heat 2% milk until boiling, add yogurt, and stir until curds separate from whey. Then drain the mixture in cheese cloth. This part was easy enough, and I felt like Mario Batali with boobs as my homemade cheese drained in the kitchen sink.

The cheese drained and then I got ready to cut it into cubes – so far so good.

Freshly made paneer

Like any good chef (or hungry person), I sampled the fruits of my labor and was pleasantly surprised with the simple, milky taste of the cheese – and the fabulous squeak squeak as I chewed. I cut it into cubes to use in my recipe for dinner.

Paneer was a success! ... So far.

I decided to follow the Paupered Chef’s Matar Paneer recipe, and I diligently ground up ginger, onion and garlic in my trusty food processor. Do you have a food processor? If you don’t, you should get one, because my food processor is hands down one of my top three favorite kitchen accessories/appliances; along with my lime squeezer and OXO vegetable peeler. I browned the paneer and set it aside, continuing to mix all of the other ingredients. The recipe was coming together nicely, filling my house with aromas of India.

After everything was cooked and mixed, the recipe said to add the paneer to the mixture and let simmer gently for 20 minutes. I placed the paneer in and noticed it was starting to crumble a little bit, but I didn’t think too much of it. Unfortunately before I even knew what was happening, the paneer fell apart and disentegrated into tiny little crumbly curds. Sad, sad, sad. The curry still tasted fine, but it definitely wasn’t good. I was so bummed! There’s nothing worse than putting a lot of time and energy into a new dish and then having it be a total belly flop at the end. I ended up tossing the whole dish, because I just couldn’t get over the grainy texture and mismatched flavor. Lame.

The finished product - Matar Paneer

However, I did have one kitchen success today – homemade salsa with veggies from my garden. Lime juice, green pepper, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, tomato, garlic, salt – that’s all you need for an amazing homemade salsa.

Garden Grown Salsa Saves the Day

So yeah – unfortunately my first paneer recipe was a flop. I’m going to try it again though, and this time, let the curds and whey soak longer, and avoid cooking the finished product as long in a recipe. I hate it when a new recipe turns out sucky, but I have to remember that that’s part of learning the cooking and kitchen process. Stuff gets screwed up all the time – and even master chefs have belly flops every once in awhile. (Usually all my belly flop recipes come from Pinterest!) What was the last kitchen belly flop you had?

What I Ate Wednesday!

Hey everybody! Today I’m participating in a link up called #WIAW – What I Ate Wednesday!

I started the day with some Special K Red Berries with milk and a sliced banana. I’m not a huge cereal person, but this was on sale at the store and I’ve been getting sick of my Greek yogurt/English muffin combination. This was tasty and light enough not to weigh me down.

Breakfast

I have a couple days off before I start my new job, so I cleaned ALL DAY. Whew. If you ever want to work your booty off, bust out the shop vac and start sucking up the corners of your house. I never knew that much cat hair/spider webs/dust was possible. (Yeah, yeah, I know – who has a day off and cleans? This girl.) When I was sweaty and gross from cleaning, I had some lunch… a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with a side salad with fat free ranch.

Lunch

Then I did some errands and some more chores before having a mid-afternoon snack of rainier cherries and a Hansen’s soda. Rainier cherries may be prettier than Bing, but I don’t think they’re any tastier. I’ll stick with my blood-red cherries, thank you very much.

Cherries and Soda

Dinner was a little bit of a treat – something way heavier than I usually eat. Matt and I picked up some sourdough bread from Boudin on our way home from Lake Tahoe, and we paired it with Italian beef with sweet peppers. I grew up eating this Chicago classic – a pot roast cooked all day in a crock pot with onions, green peppers, garlic and Italian seasonings. Spoon it over some toasted bread with melted cheese and you’re in Heaven. This sandwich came in at about 475 calories… high, but worth every bite.

Knife N' Fork Italian Beef Sandwich

Then, Matt and I watched the first episode of this season’s Breaking Bad… (OMG! Anyone else watch?! CRAZZZZZY!) and then I needed some dessert. I settled on this mini Cadbury Caramello ice cream bar at 160 calories.

Image used from Goodhousekeeping.com

I ended the day with 97 calories leftover, and I’m pleasantly full. Today was a good example of how eating for weight loss doesn’t always have to be a drag – I got to eat plenty of food that was delicious and yummy and stayed within my calorie count. I’ll now be weighing in Fridays at my awesome RD’s suggestion (my weekend bloat can screw up my whole “healthy eating” mindset if I weigh in on a Monday). I’ve also gotten some good workouts in this week, so I’m excited to see what next week’s weigh in looks like!

So, now it’s your turn – what did you eat on Wednesday? If you want to blog it, visit Peas and Crayons and don’t forget to link up!