Awesome Speed Workout/Awesome Food

Today’s Happy Note: finding pomegranate tea again!  Haven’t had any in so very long, and it is one of my favorite herbal teas.  It was accompanied by lovely conversation, more importantly!

I have to be a speed blogger tonight (haha, NOT my forte — I like talking, in case you haven’t noticed) because USB is coming to visit.  It is going to be such a nice night for a walk!

Marathon Training: I really wanted to do my speed workout and weights today, for some reason.  I knew there was no way both were going to happen before work, since I didn’t go to bad until after 2 (bad Caronae!).  I start work at 11 on Fridays.  This is sad, I know.

I tend to become more of a morning person as the semester wears on, oddly enough.  Anyways, I dragged myself out of bed at 10 and headed to the gym for a half hour of arm weights. Sometimes a half an hour is all you need to get your muscles nice and sore!

I followed that up with a delicious, steamy, spicy chai tea latte (made with soy — I was not feeling the dairy today) and an apple with honey PB:

A delicious bite of cinnamon roll from the guys at the mail room was also had 🙂

I am fully aware that the icing on my hands in this picture does NOT look like icing.  It is, I swear.

I had a late afternoon lunch-snack of a chocolate chip muffin, in honor of Cookie Friday.  Sometimes I think muffins are better than cookies.  I think they *might* be my favorite baked good!  Shhh, don’t tell the cookies that I told you that.

I came home after work and lazed around.  I just did not want to start my run at all.  I was feeling very grey, I suppose.  I finally had a Luna Bar and got my butt out the door around 6:00, only because I knew that if I waited any longer it would be dark by the time I finished and I didn’t want to get mugged in the northern end of CP (which is a wee bit isolated/quiet at night).

The run ended up being wonderful! I felt really fast and strong and smooth.  Some runs you just get into a rhythm and other runs…well, you don’t.  I definitely found my groove today, which was nice after Wednesday’s sucky run.

2 Miles warm-up (10:00-10:30 min/mile pace)

4 x (1 mile “Cruise” Pace, 1/4 mile easy)

2 Miles cool down, easy

I don’t know what the difference is, necessarily, between “fast” and “cruise” and “tempo” and “speed.”  And to be honest, I don’t particularly care.  I have a few paces: 8:30, 9:00, 10:00, and slower than 10:00.  I go based on how I feel.  I think that the important thing for me is just practicing speeding up, learning how to move my legs faster.  I definitely accomplished that today — I would say I was maybe running 8:45s?  Hard to tell, but I worked hard and felt fast on the miles, so I was happy! 🙂 Nine miles in total.

Dinner later on was the giant burrito that I wanted yesterday but didn’t let myself have!

What, you don’t have your giant burrito with a side of steamed broccoli and roasted carrots/okra doused in TJS spicy peanut vinaigrette?

Inside the burrito: green peppers/onions, pinto beans, barbacoa meat (beef), corn salsa, a little cheese, lots of lettuce.  It needed some spicier salsa, but other than that it was divine!  If you ask really nicely at Chipotle, they’ll let you have the peppers/onions (which are normally for the vegetarian burritos) instead of rice.  Rice+burrito+beans would be way too many carbohydrates for me to handle at once.

I love having the options of multiple fats at Chipotle: cheese, sour cream, or guacamole.  Do not fear the fats ladies!

I had a few squares of plain TJs dark chocolate after dinner (which I learned form Averie’s post today might be Scharffen Berger????), followed by about five gallons of water — I can always tell when I haven’t had enough to drink throughout the day based on how thirsty I am in the evenings!

Now onto a little activity inspired by the lovely Janetha G.! A few days ago she did a list of her favorite food for each letter of the alphabet.  I got really bored in Harlem Renaissance Literature the other day and started my own. 🙂

This is a really fun and oddly soothing thing to do.  I might just have to go back and expand the list one day so that I can include all my favorite foods.  For example, I feel like “avocados” and “almond butter” got left out on A.  I don’t want to exclude anybody!

A: apples

B: bananas

C: cupcakes

D: dark chocolate

E: eggs

F: fish

G: gaz (a Persian candy made with rosewater and pistachio and AMAZINGNESS)

H: hummus

I: Indian

J: jumbo shrimp

K: kiwi

L: linguine

M: muffins

N: nuts

O: oats

P: peanut butter (duh)

Q: quinoa (blended, preferably)

R: raspberries

S: spinach

T: tofu

U: upside down cake (it’s a tradition in my dad’d family — a tasty, tasty tradition)

V: vanilla

W: whey protein

X: xantham gum

Y: yogurt (especially2% plain Greek)

Z: zucchini bread

Thanks for the idea Janetha!

What is your favorite baked good?

How do you know when a run (or workout) is good?

In A Day’s Eats

Today’s Happy Note: I was feeling a lot of anxiety last night and sent my therapist a rant email and she sent me back a very soothing message.  She really is a major comfort.  It’s pretty sweet that she is there for me even on the weekend.

Thank you everyone for your kind, insightful comments yesterday. One thing that a lot of people pointed out was that I am still me, regardless of my size.  Additionally, most people on the beach are not looking at me at all!  They have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body. And in fact I have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body!

I feel like I have been lazy today.  The weird thing is that I can’t decide if this is actually true.  I mean, I did stuff, I just feel like it wasn’t enough stuff. I feel like Sundays should be devoted to getting-things-done.  I didn’t even workout (although I did walk maybe two or so miles).  Meh.  I guess maybe some Sundays are meant for total relaxation, perhaps?  What do you prefer — crazy busy Sundays that prepare you for the week ahead or lazy Sundays?

I did manage to pick myself up off the couch for a quick Adventure to the farmer’s market and the Cathedral. Fresh local peaches from the farmer’s market in summer are truly heavenly.  They might be my favorite food, ever.  I can’t even eat store bought ones anymore.  Other finds: crunchy cucumbers, rainbow chard, pea shoots, and mixed lettuces.

Started the day with a giant, real NY bagel (seven grain) with walnut raisin cream cheese (which, by the way, is cream cheese perfection).   I feel like bagels are a traditional NY Sunday brunch, so how could I say no?  I went with the family.  I am not a big bread person, but I really like a good bagel once a week or so.  And the cream cheese is wonderful because it’s so full of fat and keeps me full for hours.  I had this around eleven and didn’t even begin to think about eating again until after four.

My late afternoon snack was a SIAB made with vanilla soy milk, a splash of kefir, vanilla hemp/whey protein powder, lots of ice, frozen blueberries and frozen cherries.  Toppings: kashi heart to  heart cereal and Justin’s maple almond butter.

I also had a tiny bowl of cereal afterwards to satisfy my  giant cereal craving.

At some point between this and dinner I had a tiny handful of nuts and a piece of chocolate.

Dinner=meat. Dear meat, I love you.  I will never, ever leave you.

This is a multigrain wrap stuffed with home made meatballs (from farmer’s market ground beef), jarlsberg cheese, and baked yellow squash.  I made my meatballs with EVOO, salt, lemon pepper, garlic, and dried basil.  I had lots of cukes and carrots on the side.

At this point in my life, I know that eating meat (of all varieties — red, poultry, seafood) is the right choice for me.  I physically feel so much better with it in my life.  I have more energy, stay fuller longer, and I feel healthier on the inside too.  I try to eat red meat once or twice a week, along with a few servings of fish/chicken/turkey/shrimp, etc.  I know that some people may have trouble digesting meat or they just don’t like it or it does not work for them in some way, and I absolutely respect that.  But I crave and need protein.  And not just any protein: meat protein. And if I have learned anything about my relationship with food in the last few years, it’s that denying what my body wants is asking for trouble.

Phew, glad I got that out.  After dinner I had two spoonfuls of Maranatha dark chocolate peanut spread before making my real dessert.

Coconut peanut butter protein ice cream!  Topped with dark chocolate.

So pillowy.  I also had a Godiva dark chocolate truffle.

I won’t continue posting all my meals for long. It’s just something that I think I need to do for myself for a few days. I am getting used to “closing the kitchen” after a small-ish dessert, and not mindlessly munching my way through the evening.  I am hoping this will become a habit!  There are so many other things I like to do in the evening instead, especially reading.  There is never enough time for all the books I want to read, sadly.

I am a little nervous about working again full time this week.  I have lots to do, but hopefully I will give myself a break if need be.  I also need to make sure I get enough sleep.  Goodnight friends!

Happy Sleep, Happy Eats, Happy Self

Today’s Happy Note: I just saw the cutest commercial ever.  It was for chiquita bananas and showed a little baby banana traveling to our stores….adorable.

Seeing commercials for things like bananas makes me happy!  Better advertisements for bananas than Lucky Charms and Double Stuf Oreos.

Speaking of produce. Go read this article.  It talks about organic vs. non-organic produce in terms of pesticide contamination.  Holy wow!  Many common produce items contain 47-67 pesticides!  Egads.  I think the best option is local; I get as much produce from the farmer’s market as possible.  After that, I get organic when affordable.  Some organics are priced similarly to conventionals, while others are a bit outrageous (like grapes).  One of the scary things about this article was that it put forward the idea that some pesticides can’t even be scrubbed off of produce — the chemicals actually seep into the entire plant.  Yuck.  As a student constantly on a budget, this is something I worry about.  Do you worry about this? Maybe it’s not worth the worrying.  I do the best  I can.

No workout today!  I read a post on Fitnessista the other day where she mentioned she woke up tired and skipped a morning workout.  So simple (and obvious –duh Caronae) but so brilliant!  I often drag myself out of bed in the morning to get a workout in before the rest of the day takes over.  Today I opted for the sleep.

Early morning wokrout pros:

  • It’s over and done with
  • Energizes me for the rest of my day
  • Cool outside, not too humid
  • Leaves time in the evening to relax
  • I can’t put it off

Late afternoon/evening workout pros:

  • Sleeping in a bit
  • Leisurely breakfast/morning
  • Less likely to be late for work
  • Makes me tired for bed

In my mind, morning workouts work better for me.  The only problem is that I need an inordinate amount of sleep.  It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this.  I’m not one of these 6-7 hours a night people.  I need 8-9 hours if I am going to be functional and energetic during my day.  I’ve been doing well going to bed early, but sometimes I want to be out with my friends.  I think this is something I’ll have to play by ear; some mornings are going to be more inviting than others.

Lots of happy eats today!

Dinner: exactly what I was craving.  Vanilla Almond Butter and raspberry jam with a side of apple slices.  Disordered eating fact: I have a secret fear of eating fruit (as opposed to vegetables) with dinner.  Fruit has more calories and more sugar, obviously, but it is also perfectly good for you.  And I had plenty of veggies with lunch.  Tonight I was really craving an apple so I went for it!  Perfect little side dish.

Notice the little G&B?  Green and Black’s 70% is my go-to dark chocolate.  Never fails.  Creamy but also deeply chocolaty.

Mental Health Note: No therapy this week (L on vacation)!  Makes me a little nervous.  I’ll probably do some journaling tonight, maybe a little bit of stream of consciousness type of stuff.  I need to at least get some thoughts out; sometimes in therapy I just spew and spew and spew.  I’ll miss L’s insights and kindnesses this week.  But that just means I’ll have to come up with my own!  Here’s to being kind to myself!

Adventure Friday: Milk And Cookies And Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Listening to my body.  I had this whole big workout planned for the evening, but when I got home from work I realized I wanted to do something a bit simpler!  At first I was nervous to ditch my plans for an hour long run followed by an hour yoga class.  I just went to the class and am so glad I did.  It was the perfect amount of movement!  Often, I am afraid to do a shorter, less intense workout (although yoga is actually pretty hard!).  But my body knows when it needs a break and I’m proud of myself for listening.

Perhaps a long run is in store for tomorrow.  We shall see.

I also walked a few miles today all over the place.  I went in search of dumbbells at TJMaxx but was unsuccessful. Where else should I look for low-priced sports equipment?

Announcements, announcements, announnnnnncements!

I have decided to stop tracking my calories!  May not sound like a big deal but it seems significant to me.  I’ve been doing it for a few months and I think I’m at a point where I have a better idea of what portions should be, what kind of food combinations keep me full, and how much I need on different days.  SparkPeople was definitely useful, but I think that if I go too much further with it, it might become obsessive and I do NOT want that.  I have become more intuitive with my food choices and am excited to improve even more, learning how to eat when I’m hungry and nourishing myself well.  With things like raspberry sorbet, of course.

So what was that splendiferous looking dessert from yesterday?

Warmed-up brownie (that I somehow burnt in the microwave) topped with raspberry sorbet and crunchy peanut butter.  That’s it.  So simple, yet so splendid.  I feel like this was a really eloquent dessert.  Does that make any sense?

I used this kind of sorbet:

It’s called Talenti and the flavor is Roman Raspberry.  Smooth, icy, sweet, deep.  Yum.  Okay, so I have a story now.  And I like to talk so I am going to tell it to you.

I thought that I didn’t like sorbet — I mean why not just go for the Ben and Jerry’s, right?  But when I was “home” (in MI) at my mother’s house, she bought this about two days before I left.  She bought it especially for me and I didn’t get a chance to try it (I was out for dinners, didn’t want it for dessert, etc.).  For some reason, this sorbet took on a massive emotional meaning for me.  I literally got to my apartment in NY and cried over it.  I wanted to be with my mother, eating it in the backyard in the evening, watching the peonies open.  I still want this.  But I live here, in NY, by myself right now.  And I confess: I am lonely.  I bought the sorbet a few days ago because it made me feel closer to “home.”  I’ll probably make a picnic for myself for the holiday.  And eat alone in the park.  My friends aren’t here right now.  Loneliness is a terrible feeling.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Being lonely and anti-social has, time and again, proved to be one of the worst things for my mental health.  I seriously spent like ten minutes talking to the cashier at TJ’s this evening.  I will have to find ways to be social and meet new people this summer.  It’s not really an option.  I need people.  Making friends as an adult is hard.

Eats hodgepodge!

I like it when egg yolks get golden yellow, and they’re somewhere between drippy and solid.

Adventure Friday

Being that today is Cookie Friday and Adventure Friday (as every Friday is, I suppose!), why not combine them?  I wanted to run to a new bakery, but just was not in a running mood so I combined a trip to Milk and Cookies with my visit to Yoga Vida. It was a pleasant little end of the week adventure.  Not too strenuous, but still invigorating.  When are cookies and yoga not invigorating, though? 🙂

Milk and Cookies is a bakery near Union Square that is pretty well known for their cookies.  I think Ada first told me about it actually.  I went to their smaller branch which is actually inside of another store.  The woman behind the counter was really warm and welcoming.  She smiled and let me take my time and even pulled the rack of cookie sheets closer so I could get a good look at my options.  So far, so good.  I thought chocolate chip caramel, chocolate mint, and chocolate chip peanut butter sounded good.  I settled on the latter.

The good: Nice chunks of chocolate and peanuts, not too thin or too thick, decent flavor, perfect size.

The bad: The texture was off — there was no chewy, gooey soft factor and the flavor was just okay.  Too dry.  Peanuts were bland.

Overall, I think I’d rather have a bigger, undoubtedly more calorie dense cookie like the one I had from Levain.  This one was just okay.  My home made ones are definitely better.  With that said, I would love to go back to Milk and Cookies and try some of their other flavors, which may be better. Anyone else been there?

I would describe the flavor as dense, slightly chewy (but not enough), too typical, and not sweet enough or bold enough.

Therapy Thoughts, Sluggish Running, BYOV

Today’s Happy Note: Blogging from the NYPL.  How did I not know this place was beautiful.  In general, I adore libraries.  I have always been drawn to their calm, quiet, but also quirky and smart nature.

That said, the fact that I’m blogging from here means no internet at the apartment yet…but I do have a very nice new colleague who is coming to help me tomorrow!  If that doesn’t work, I might cry. 😦

Onto healthier things!

I have always considered hobbies and passions a major part of a healthy lifestyle.  For many people, hobbies keep them active (dancing, walking, swimming, playing with friends).  My favorite active hobbies are climbing trees (although I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble if I do that in city parks), swimming, walking with friends, and exploring new places in any way possible.  I think yoga, strength, and running are more passions for me.  Whatever.  What I wanted to say is that I have other hobbies too!  Writing, drawing, taking pictures, blogging, planting things, baking, collecting bird pins, studying birds and trees, and READING.  Seeing as I’m in a library right now, I’m going to talk about that last one.

Hobbies keep me healthy because they keep me sane.  No amount of running or working out or eating delicious healthy things can be perfect.  They help keep me sane, calm, and focused, but I need other things that aren’t as explicitly related to my health.  Things that are pure fun.  I think words and pages and lyricism is fun.  So I’m going to do a little feature for the summer called “Caronae’s Shelf.” Every week, I’ll tell you what’s on my metaphorical shelf!  I would love to hear what you guys are reading too.  We can have a mini virtual book club!  Sometimes I might share thoughts, sometimes not.  If you don’t like books, I’d love to ehar about anything else you like to do that keeps you happy, healthy, and sane!

Week of 05/23:

1. Women, Food, and God (by Geneen Roth): Interesting.  I recommend it.  It isn’t necessarily the most straightforward book (there is no precise plan of action), but that’s kind of the point.  I feel like I absorbed a lot of things that made me question my relationship with food and God, and that’s definitely a good thing.  I believe in questioning ourselves and our beliefs.  It helps us grow.

Source

2. 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food (by Susan Albers)

My response to this just turned into my Therapy Thoughts for the week…

So far this has been really wonderful.  It is geared toward emotional and stress eaters, which I sometimes am, but the tips and discussions are helpful to anyone who is often anxious and unsettled.  I had no idea, but as I was reading,  I realized I have virtually no ways of soothing myself .  I didn’t realize that other people did!  I want to talk to my therapist about this.  I think part of the problem yesterday (I ended up sobbing and feeling unresolved and angry) was that I felt overwhelmed going into the session, and as I began feeling and talking about (reluctantly) some painful things, I had no way of soothing myself.  Isn’t that a beautiful word?  Just the sound “soothing” makes me feel calmer.  I think that going forward, therapy will be easier if I actively work to soother myself when I start feeling or talking about difficult things.  I actually am glad that yesterday seemed to go so badly and that I borrowed this book from my therapist because it led me to this realization.  My therapist has always told me to “be” with my feelings and I always felt like “well, I am!”  But it was never comfortable.  Then she would tell me not to judge myself and to just relax, but it never clicked.  Now it’s clicked and it feels so liberating.  I was always wildly upset when feeling painful things, which, since that was most of the time (both in therapy and in my life), meant that I was often deeply uncomfortable and unsettled.  Sometimes just focusing on my breathing or holding my baby duck Leland or naming different things that I sense around me (“I see pollen on those yellow flowers”, “I feel how soft my sheets are on the bare skin of my back”) makes me feel soothed and calmer.  When I feel calmer, I can deal with things and, eventually, be okay talking about them.  This sounds so simple but it has, apparently, taken me over a year of therapy (eight months with my current therapist) to figure it out!

The biggest thing I got out of yesterday was how upset I feel when I feel lonely.  That’s the place where the upset-ness was coming from.  It brings me back to feeling like no one wants to play with me, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world.  People do want to play with me though!  My friends, my sister, my new co-workers at the non-profit (who I really like, by the way), blog friends.  There are plenty of people to play with.  I know this, and when I do find myself alone, I need not worry so much.  People do like me.

3. Unaccustomed Earth (by Jhumpa Lahiri): excited about this; haven’t read any good short stories or fiction in a while.

That’s this week’s edition of  “Caronae’s Shelf”.  What’s on your shelf?

I did another simple five miler this morning.  This time with ten minutes of abs thrown into the middle (done in some very itchy grass in CP that was in need of some serious mowing).  I felt sluggish again.  It wasn’t painful, but it was slow and groggy.  I don’t know why I feel this way on my runs lately.  I’ll probably run again tomorrow and then do something else on Friday.  I need the running blues to go away.  I like running!

Eats hodgepodge:

I have been craving ice and frozen fruit so badly this week.  I cannot stop.  I had sorbet and frozen mango for dinner last night and about two more servings of frozen fruit (berries and mango) with breakfast today.  I seriously crave it.  Like, when I think about ice, I begin to salivate like other people would over cookies.  I want to chew the ice and the frozen fruit.  And yes, I know it’s bad for my teeth.  I asked my dad what this might mean (I suspected it represents some sort of nutrient deficiency) and he said that a lot of women with iron-deficient based pica crave ice to chew on.  I think maybe I should get my blood tested.  Has this happened to any of you? I have not had a lot of red meat at all lately.  Usually I have it once a week.  I told my dad that I eat my weight in spinach and other iron-rich dark green leafy veggies daily and he told me something interesting: many times, plant-based iron is barely absorbed by our bodies or not absorbed at all.  This is very scary and I did not know that at all!  He is an extremely good doctor who is not biased against vegetarians or vegans at all.  Have you guys ever heard this?  Do you get your iron levels checked?

I had a seven hour meeting this afternoon/evening.  No joke.  Seven hours of presentations and materials and dialogue.  It was important stuff though!

I wasn’t sure what food would be served so I BYOV — brought my own veggies!  This was a good idea as there wasn’t much produce.  I feel better when I eat plenty of fresh produce and I don’t feel weird bringing my own at this point.  That giant container of carrot and asparagus lasted me through lunch and dinner!

Snack was this bar and half a small chocolate chip cookie.

They actually had really high quality pizza for dinner with fresh, yummy sauce.  Yes, I hate tomatoes.  And yes, I like pizza sauce (and ketchup).  Do not ask me why.  I was hangry and had another slice.

I might have more frozen fruit and/or a brownie for dessert.

Because I don’t have Internet at the apartment and, well, I mostly have to do work at work, I haven’t been reading or commenting very much.  I promise I still love you all and will catch up as soon as the Internet is fixed!

I miss you all already!  What’s happening in your life?


Perfect Winter Stir-Fry

Today’s Mini Goal: Forgive myself.  I am okay.  I am a good person and I deserve not to constantly carry around guilt over silly little things.

The past few days have been super busy, and as a result I feel like I haven’t eaten healthfully enough or haven’t exercised enough.  I walked and did yoga and abs yesterday and more walking today; breathe Caronae.  This is enough.  You are enough.  And the fact that I have eaten a few bowls of cereal as dinner the last few nights is also okay.  This will not kill me; I have eaten plenty of healthy things like grapefruit, oats, eggs, carrots, peppers, and almonds too.  I am okay.

Anyone else ever feel like a few days of less-than-perfect-health will kill them? The funny thing is, my idea of less-than-perfect-health is probably not all that bad, especially for a college student.  I don’t have to spend hours running everyday to be healthy.  Part of my guilt comes from not following my NYC half-marathon training plan precisely, but I know this is illogical; I ran 40 miles last week, I could get up and run 15 miles right now if I had to, and I have run distances longer than 13.1 miles dozens of times.  Two days sans running was a good mental break for me.

I went to a fun poetry/song/music event tonight with some friends.  I read a piece I wrote in 2007.  I wish there was more of a close-knit writing community around me; I miss the friends and support I had through my writing in high school.  That said, I know I’ll always have a need to write, and I don’t terribly mind it being a very solitary activity now.  It’s funny to think I’ve been writing since 2003, the summer before I started high school.  I don’t remember what my first piece was about, but I know I used the phrase “tangerine sunset” and I was so proud of myself.

I ended my busy day with a fun, healthy recipe!  I love making big stir-fries once or twice during the week; that way I have two or three servings of leftover veggies ready to go for lunches and dinners later on in the week when I don’t have time to make a healthy meal from scratch.

Sweet And Spicy Winter Stir-Fry

1 teaspoon (ish) butter (could also use coconut or olive oil)

1/2 a large sweet potato

3 big washed carrots

1/2 a huge bell pepper

1 big apple (pretty much any variety will work)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger

Melt butter or oil on medium-high in a non-stick skillet.  While it’s heating, chop roughly dice sweet potato, making sure the pieces are relatively thin.  Add sweet potato to pan and give it a quick stir.  Dice pepper and carrots (into thin rounds) and add in to pan.  Shake the mixture around a bit.  Dice apple and toss that in to.  Let it all cook for a few minutes while you make the sauce, stirring occasionally.  To make sauce, simply combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until a paste forms.  Drizzle paste over veggie mixture and stir so that the mixture is evenly coated.  Give it another five or so minutes until everything is cooked through and slightly tender.  Serve immediately; store leftovers in the same container used to make the sauce (don’t wash it).

I know the flavor combination probably sounds a bit funky, but trust me, it works!  The veggies get nice and caramelized and absorb the spices.  Yum.  I’d serve it with pinto beans and squash or baked tofu and brown rice for a simple, flavorful winter meal.

I am a messy individual:

Sauce all over my shirt 😦

This is my “really, Caronae?” face.  Ugh.  More laundry for me.

Alright, Q and A time!  What’s your favorite stir-fry combination?  Other favorite way of cooking or eating your veggies?

Lauren, the Biochemista, gave me the Honest Scrap Award!  It made me so happy; I’ve only ever gotten one bloggie award before (from Stef) but never got around to doing that one.  This one, however, involves talking about myself, which you all know I am very good at doing.  So I’m sharing.

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Best Meal Ever:  Probably this Italian dinner I had somewhere on the Upper West side this past fall (oof, I can’t remember where!).  My mom’s friend was in town and she took me out and everything tasted like it had been served directly from the pasture/cow/wheat field/tomato vine directly onto my plate.  Best cheeses and pastas I’ve ever had.  I’ve been to France twice, but I honestly think this was better than any of the wonderful authentic Parisian food I’ve consumed.  Although genuine cassoulet is a close second.

Best Sleep Ever:  I have serious sleep issues so this is actually pretty tricky.  Probably when I took time off from school and was home last spring/summer.  I had very little to stress about most of the time, and some nights I would crawl into my mom’s bed and sleep next to her (yes, I am indeed 20 years old).

Best Romantic Moment:  Not a lot of these thus far.  I’ve only ever gotten flowers from my father or mother.  Can it be someone else’s romantic moment?  If so, then probably at my cousin’s wedding in Paris a few springs ago.  She got married in this park on the most beautiful day and she literally arrived at the wedding on a rowboat.

Best Childhood Memory:  My mom wasn’t usually home when I got out of school, but one day I came home and she met me in the driveway and made me a snack and I was totally thrilled.  It was cookies and cream ice cream with a side of sliced cucumbers.  She always had to healthify things!

Best Moment in Life:  Coming back to school this past September and falling in love with New York for a second time.

Best Revenge:  I’m really quite passive and don’t really do revenge.  But I don’t mind knowing that my wonderful life is just beginning while all the mean popular girls from high school have mostly already seen their greatest days.

Best Thing I’ve Ever Done for Someone:  I try to do little things on a regular basis; I don’t know if I’ve ever done any big things.  I like to bake cookies or other delicacies for friends who are in distressed, and when I’m home I like making dinner for my family so that they can come home from work and not have to stress about cooking.

Best Life-Changing Moment: There are a couple here.  Realizing that I needed to take time off last year was big, as was my trip to NY in 2006 with my poetry team.  That trip made me realize how important writing was to my selfhood, and that week was honestly the closest I have ever felt to other human beings.  Also, being published in The New York Times last year (you can see my essay here) made me understand that I can actually take my story and my writing somewhere and not just help myself, but help others.

Okay, so I have to nominate five other bloggers now!

1. Pen from Pen At Peace

2. Kate from The Eggplant Executrix

3. Joanne from Eats Well With Others

4. The Empty Nut Jar

5. Maggie from Say Yes To Salad

Alright.  It’s 1:30 AM and I have ten billion things to do tomorrow so I’m off!  Happy Friday everybody!