Archive | January, 2010

Winter makes me lazy

25 Jan

I woke up at 5 a.m. today and it took me about 15 minutes to roll out of bed.  I couldn’t find my work out clothes and my throat was dry.  I was about to go back to bed when I remembered that I can’t give up so easily so I looked some more and finally got dressed.  As I was standing on the treadmill I thought to myself why not just run 10 minutes and stretch?  I was about to start walking when I felt like a ninny so I sped up to my usual running time.

Eight minutes, nine minutes, nine and thirty seconds… I couldn’t keep my eyes from going back to the timer; it was as if a vicious compulsion kept my eyes darting back and forth from the timer to the morning news time display.  And you can imagine which option is more scintillating: morning news or treadmill timer?  Too bad the treadmill doesn’t come with cable. I really need to get audio books on my iTouch.

 Well I made it until 16 minutes. I jumped off as soon as I stopped it and headed to the weight room for some more torture.  I managed to put in 200 crunches on that ridiculously fun looking bouncy ball and I headed out the door as soon as my 20 minutes were up.

This weather makes me feel like holing up in bed with hot tea and snacks- plenty of snacks.  So I guess I should feel good about getting out of bed to work out.  Maybe by posting here I will feel guilty if I don’t?

Feel free to share your work out tips and regimes.

Happy Sweating!

Running and Walking

13 Jan

So here is my daily dose of exercise- give or take a few.

I wake up at 5 a.m. and go down to our gym and run 20 minutes.  It’s harder to run right after you woke up because your body is still half asleep so I only recommend it if there is absolutely no other time you can squeeze it in (my case); otherwise I would suggest waiting until you are fully awake after your morning routine. 

When I started running again in a regular basis I only ran 3 times a week for 20 minutes and averaged 10 minutes a mile which I though was pretty darn good for a self-professed running-hater.  I hated running with a passion. I mean what is so pleasant about sweating, feeling old and tired, your body swollen and sore, your muscles tangled with all sorts of weird bumps that hurt when you touch them.  Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit but you get the point- most of us agree running sucks. 

So I suggest finding a running buddy or someone who is also running and will motivate you to keep going- or at least make you feel guilty when you don’t go.  That person for me is M, he makes me feel like a pansy when I don’t run and although I dislike him at the moment (I’m not above swearing at him in my head while he runs ahead of me when we run up Grand Ave.) I appreciate that it works. 

Now I run 20 minutes 6-7 times a week and average 7:30/7:45 a mile which is a big improvement.  I have also learned to not hate it as much and actually like it sometimes- weird!  Sometimes when I’m running outside I feel so free and relaxed that I spread my arms and run around like an airplane.. Don’t knock it until you try it. 

The point is that although I may still feel disdain for running, nothing beats all the benefits that I have felt in my body and daily routine since I started.  When I get to work I feel like I can take on anything; I feel alert, motivated and very awake.  I don’t worry about my weight because I am burning those extra 350 calories every morning.  I don’t crave candy or frosted treats; instead I crave apples, bananas, and hearty healthy vegetables.  It’s amazing! 

I should market running as the latest drug, or crazy super healthy berry like the Acai berry fad- I would make millions…

If you absolutely feel like you can’t  run anytime soon then you should walk.  I walk most days (when M doesn’t give me a ride) to the bus which is 0.4 miles, we take the A Dash to 1st./Central and walk to their school which is 0.3 mi away.  I drop them off and walk to work 0.6 miles.  That’s 1.3 miles of walking that you don’t even notice.  In the afternoon I walk back to the school and repeat the process in reverse which gives me more than 2 1/2 miles a day in walking.  When I feel like taking my time we walk home from the school.  We walk more and get to chat while we look at the shops and restaurants on Spring St., Broadway, and 7th St. 

The lesson here is that you can sneak in exercising throughout your day.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator even if it’s only for a couple of flights.  If you’re craving something you shouldn’t eat, go for a walk and when you get back if you’re still craving it then go ahead and indulge but after your heart rate speeds up- your body will probably decline that Snickers bar. 

So there you are, simple things for simple beginnings.  Eat less, exercise more.  Calories Burned – Calories Eaten = Whether you lose, gain or stay at the same weight! :)

I love my neighborhood

10 Jan

How awesome is it when you live in a neighborhood that people are learning to love and yet it is still underappreciated.  It means that you enjoy the growing number of restaurants that have sprouted throughout downtown’s micro-neighborhoods without reservations (except for that darn delicious Church and State – you always have to call a few days in advance unless you want dinner at 10:30 at night), there is always something to do whether it is visiting one of our many museums, a movie at the new Regal Live, or Pee Wee Herman at the Nokia, AND you get to enjoy nice runs on Bunker Hill without any car congestion on the weekends.

I could go on and on about why I love downtown.  The truth is that I have loved it for years- it was love at first sight when my mother brought me as a little kid to shop at the callejones (Santee Alley) for affordable wares.  For years I looked up at the then empty buildings (or full of sweat shops) and yearned to live there.  In high school I used to skip school (which is not a good idea kids!) and take the Metro 68 to downtown to stroll along Broadway, Spring St., and study at Central Library (I could spend hours reading books I would never find at the local library).  It feels like it has been a long distance crush relationship; as I got older and started working at City Hall I used to drive home to Boyle Heights over the 7th St Bridge and sigh as I left downtown behind me.

Now I live here with M, a four-year old and a five-year old and my life is in a completely different place that I envisioned.  A lot has happened in my relatively short life making me feel far older and hopefully wiser in the process.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is that I love downtown and now I am incredibly lucky enough to live here with the three best companions I could ever dream up of having (at least after two of them were potty-trained). 

Downtown is changing just like its inhabitants (myself included) and as I explore it further my love grows. 

It makes life so much easier when you can walk to a dinner date or to meet friends for drinks after work.  When your kids can go to a preschool that is a few blocks away from work, and when you can get home in less than an hour (by walking!). 

So whether you are a downtown cheerleader or a naysayer you have to admit that downtown Los Angeles sucks you in once you live here.  Whether you are having dinner in Little Tokyo at Spitz with a sangria – or two, or indulging in Rivera’s late night happy hour you have to admit that we are all incredibly lucky to live here. :)

Seared Ahi Tuna

10 Jan

Seared Ahi Tuna

 

Best part of cooking is leftovers!

 

 Seared Ahi Tuna  

Ingredients: 3 steaks of Ahi tuna, 1/2 cup of soysauce, 1/2 tea-spoon Chinese five-spice (I found it at Ralphs), 3/4 tea-spoon Chesapeake Bay seasoning (great for all types of sea food), 1 table-spoon wasabi (depending on how spicy you like your food you can add less), 1 tea-spoon olive oil  

In a large container pour soy sauce, 1/2 tea-spoon of chinese five-spice, 3/4 tea-spoon of Chesapeake bay seasoning, wasabi, and olive oil.  Use a whisk to mix well until it’s slightly foamy.  After you rinse your steaks and pat them dry place in the marinade and close container.  Refrigerate for 1 hour (you can do 1/2 hour but the longer you marinade the juicier your steak will be).  

Heat skillet to medium-high heat and spray a light layer of cooking oil.  You can use avocado oil, canola or olive oil.  Place your steak on skillet and turn over 1 1/2 – 2 minutes on each side. (I like my steaks seared and raw on the inside so you can do less or more based on preferences but you should do no longer than 2 1/2 minutes of your steak will be dry and fully cooked.)  

Remove from skillet and serve to your soon to be happy guests! :)

Tossed and sautéed Kale

10 Jan

Kale

Tossed and sautéed Kale

Kale is really healthy and a great anti-oxidant. Try this nutty-flavored recipe for a great side dish.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of Kale
Handful of Pine nuts
1 medium-sized red onion
3 small Roma tomatoes
1 tea-spoon minced Garlic
Coarse sea salt

Rinse kale, tomatoes and onion. Chop red onion into slices and separate into strands and toss in a mixing bowl with half a tea-spoon of olive oil. Place on pre-heated medium-heat pan along with your minced garlic (mix well) and stir occasionally for 3 minutes.

Chop kale and mix in bowl with pine nuts. Toss into your pan. Mix with onions (which should be lightly browned) and sprinkle sea salt. Cover and turn heat down to low for 5 minutes.

Chop tomatoes into fourths and toss into pan. Cover for 3-5 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

Golden Brown Brussels Sprouts

10 Jan

This easy recipe will have your kids asking for seconds! Tender, juicy and crispy on the outside Brussels sprouts.

15-20 small Brussels sprouts (choose closed-leafed, tightly wound- it will prevent them from falling apart)
Extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tea-spoon in a small dish) and 1 tea-spoon for pan
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tea-spoon of grated parmesan cheese

Rinse Brussels sprouts really well making sure to peel loose or brown leafs.  Cut off stems.

Cut Brussels sprouts in half (from top to bottom).  Rub the inside of the Brussels sprouts with olive oil.

Heat sautéing pan to low-medium heat and add a tea-spoon of extra virgin oil.  Place Brussels sprouts facing up on pan (single layer not touching), sprinkle sea salt and cover for 5 minutes.

Turn Brussels sprouts over, sprinkle parmesan cheese (very lightly to flavor and not overwhelm taste), sprinkle sea salt (again) and black pepper and cover. Turn off heat after 5-7 minutes.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Shrimp Ceviche

8 Jan
Ingredients:
2 lbs of Wild Caught Tiger Shrimp (Vietnam)
10 limes
1/4 orange
Crushed sea salt
Crushed pepper
Cilantro
roma tomatoes (look for firm bright red tomatoes)
1 purple onion
2 cucumbers
1/2 orange bell pepper
2 – 8 oz can tomato juice (unsalted)
2 ripe avocados
tostadas

1. Slice lemons in half and squeeze into a bowl
2. clean shrimp in ice cold water while removing the shell
3. rinse and devein (some shrimp may come deveined already to make it easier)
4. rinse and slice shrimp in half length wise (you may slice smaller if desired)
5. place clean shrimp into bowl with lime juice and add salt and pepper to taste (lightly and add as desired)
5. Slice a few strips of onion and toss with the shrimp
6. cover and store in refrigerator for minimum 1 hour to chill and “cook” shrimp in citrus
7. Dice onion, tomatoes, cilantro, bell pepper (finely) and place in your veggie bowl
8. skin cucumber and dice into small squares
9. chop cilantro finely and mix with rest of vegetables – season with salt and pepper- cover and chill in fridge
10. drain almost all of the lime juice from the shrimp and squeeze quarter of orange onto shrimp
11. mix in vegetables, two cans of tomato juice, keep stirring and mixing
12. cut avocados in half, remove seed, scoop out slices of avocado onto ceviche and mix
12. Taste (remember to add salt and pepper sparingly and increase to desired taste)
13. serve over tostadas and Enjoy!

shrimp ceviche tostadasNothing beats ceviche with homemade white sangria

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