Apr 23, 2015

Posted by Jo W. 4/23/2015
I was recently sent some samples from Pearls Olives to try and review their Olives to Go! I've seen these in grocery stores before, but had yet to try them. I enjoy olives in things like salads and pizza, but I rarely eat them straight up as a snack. 

Fun fact about me: I actually disliked eating olives for most of my life. However, for some reason, I kept trying them. And they started to grow on me. Now I actually enjoy eating them (good thing, otherwise this review would've been a bust)

This is what I received: four 4-packs of kalamatas, sliced black olives, black pitted, and pimento stuffed. An insulated lunch tote was included as well, which is perfect because I needed one!

Have you ever eaten those fruit cup things that are impossible to open without squirting the juice in your eye or spilling it all over the place? Well, these portable cups of olives are conveniently drained of that water/brine, which makes it mess-free. I really appreciated that. 

I tried the different varieties both straight up and in salads. The portions in each cup was a good amount and it was easy to pop one open and dump on top of a salad. My favorite variety is the kalamata. Love that savory flavor.

I used the black sliced olives as a pizza topping. The sliced olives made it convenient since I didn't have to chop up whole olives. There was also the perfect amount to top a medium homemade pizza.

What I liked:

  • convenience of pre-portioned to-go packs
  • no brine for mess-free eating
  • good portion size
  • long shelf life

What I didn't like:
  • amount of packaging
  • nutrition facts doesn't list values for the entire cup, since there are apparently 2.5 servings 

Feb 16, 2015

Posted by Jo W. 2/16/2015
Quinoa and kale seem to be appearing everywhere on menus these days. You can usually find a variation of a "quinoa bowl" at any salad restaurant, but they run you at least $8. I sometimes get them at a local restaurant chain and shell out about $10 for a healthy and satisfying meal when I'm too lazy to cook. However, making your own quinoa bowl is so easy, and with a little preparation, you can throw one together in just a few minutes.

1. The first step to making a quinoa bowl is to cook the quinoa. Having cooked quinoa on hand cuts down on prep time and you can use the leftovers to make more quinoa bowls or other recipes such as quinoa fried rice. 

Cook quinoa in a 1 to 2 ratio of quinoa and water (1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water). Add a dash of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down low to simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 20 minutes.

2. Next, prepare the kale by removing the tough stems and tearing the leaves into small pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste, then massage the kale to rub in the oil and distribute the salt. You will notice a change in the appearance; the kale will look more "cooked" and tender. Place kale in your serving bowl and top with a serving of cooked quinoa.

3. Add whatever veggies, proteins, and garnishes you like. Below is a list of things I like to add to my bowls for some ideas, but this is where you can customize  your bowl to your own preferences. Prepping these ingredients beforehand, like chopping veggies and roasting veggies, can also cut down on prep time.

4. Finish the bowl with your favorite dressing or sauce. In the one I made above, I made a quick spicy hummus dressing with sun-dried tomato hummus thinned with water and some sriracha sauce. Stir it all together and enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal!

The Base
shredded kale massaged with a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste
pre-cooked quinoa 

The Veggies
roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potato)

The Proteins
grilled chicken
baked tofu
hard boiled egg

The Garnishes
toasted walnuts, almonds, pecans
sunflower/pumpkin seeds
dried cranberries, raisins, figs (chopped)
fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, chives)
shredded cheese, blue cheese crumbles

The Dressing
peanut sauce
tzatziki sauce

What are you favorite flavor combinations? 

Feb 1, 2015

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/01/2015
Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I don't really watch football at all, so today's kind of like a regular old Sunday for me. I'll be busy studying for my exams on Monday and Tuesday. I know, my life is so exciting, right?

When I get super busy, I tend to get really lazy about cooking. Especially when I'm cooking for one, my meals are usually very simple. I made this tuna salad for lunch today and added shredded brussels sprouts to boost the vegetable content. It's actually more "salad" than "tuna". The dressing is mayo-free and made with Greek yogurt for more protein. I threw in some shredded radishes and cranberries for added flavor, but this recipe is really customizable with whatever you usually like in your tuna salad. Try adding some chopped celery, onions, sunflower seeds, etc. I had my tuna salad on an open-faced sandwich, topped with some avocado. Yummy :)

Tuna Brussels Sprout Salad

You will need:

3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1 6oz canned tuna
1.5 cups shredded brussels sprouts, about 6-7 sprouts
4 radishes, shredded
1/3 cup dried cranberries

To make the dressing, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the tuna and add to the dressing. Add the shredded brussels sprouts, radishes, and cranberries and stir to combine evenly. 

Make it vegetarian- use a can of lightly smashed garbanzo beans instead of the tuna. Add dulse flakes if you desire, for a more umami flavor.

Make it vegan- do the same to make it vegetarian, and sub 3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise for the Greek yogurt. 

Jan 28, 2015

Posted by Jo W. in , , , | 1/28/2015
Let's pretend that it hasn't been over two months since my last blog post. And the fact that I am lazy and the only reason I am writing is because I have two snow days in a row due to the blizzard dumping 2 feet of snow in Boston.

The storm started Monday night, picking up early Tuesday morning and lasting throughout the day. I was notified of my school's closure midday Monday, so the evening was spent with plenty of wine and Netflix.

It was windy and nasty-looking out, and while I usually love snow and extreme weather, I didn't feel like venturing out. I kind of wish I did go out and brave the storm yesterday while the snow was still fresh. 

Instead, I finally bundled up this morning to explore the transformed city.

The city did a pretty great job at clearing major roads and walkways. I went down to the river, around Beacon Hill, and the Commons. A lot of the narrow streets were still snowy and cars were mostly buried. 

And now to my soup recipe, the perfect food for a blizzard. I made this on Tuesday and survived, so it's proven to be effective.

Broccoli and Kale Cheese Soup

You will need:

1/2 onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 small bunch green kale, chopped
1 head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons corn starch
2/3 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sweat the onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook on medium heat until they are softened. Add half of the broth and bring to a simmer.

Pour the contents of the pot into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add the cheese and cornstarch and blend again. Be careful to let the steam escape through the lid so that it doesn't pop off!

In the meantime, steam the kale and broccoli with the rest of the broth in the large pot (no need to wash it) until tender. Add the contents of the blender to the veggies and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat for a few more minutes. If you want to thicken the soup, add more cornstarch dissolved in a little water. Season to taste with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, sriracha, whatever your heart desires.

Ladle into bowls and eat, preferably while watching a snowstorm :) I topped mine with a sprinkle of cheese and sriracha sauce because I am obsessed.

Make it vegetarian- sub vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
Make it vegan- sub 1/3 cup nutritional yeast for the shredded cheese

Nov 29, 2014

Posted by Jo W. 11/29/2014
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is enjoying the long weekend. I am back in Maryland for the holidays! I've been home since Wednesday, and have been busy catching up with family and friends.

On Thanksgiving, my family kept up the tradition of going to the annual Turkey Chase 10K. My brother, older cousin, and I ran the 10K, and my aunt and younger cousin ran the 2 Miler. I haven't run a race since Pike's Peak back in April, so it was great to feel that race atmosphere again. I was definitely not running it this year for time, since I am still regaining my running fitness that I lost from my ankle injury.

I started running with my brother, and we kept an easy conversational pace. However, at about 2 miles, he had to stop and walk because of stomach issues, so I went on ahead. Around mile 4, I caught up to my cousin, who started a bit ahead of us in the corals. He was walking, so I slowed down to ask him how he was doing, but then he started running again. I ran with him for the next mile or so, but lost him when he had to stop and tie a shoelace. 

I finished, then my cousin, and brother. My parents were at the finish line to greet us, and we all met up afterwards. I can't believe that another Turkey Chase is over. It's nice to have an annual tradition, and I hope I can come home for Thanksgiving to run it for as long as I can. 

After the race, we went home and I started cooking. Every year, my mom makes the turkey and I make all the sides. I had a seven sides on the menu this year, so I got busy cooking. And then eat. Needless to say, a lot ;)

On Friday, instead of going out shopping at a ridiculous hour, I went to a my old yoga studio for a class. In Boston, I've been trying to practice yoga at least once a week at the weekly Lululemon class. I haven't found another yoga studio to practice at, and I really miss the one at home. The class was 75 minutes with a lot of core work, so I was sweating. 

The only shopping I did on Black Friday was at a bike shop. I needed to pick up some winter gear, since I am going to try to cycle in Boston for as long as I can. I also needed the gear because I was planning on joining the 50 Miles to Nowhere ride with my bike club. Unfortunately, I didn't really pack cycling clothes, and wish I had my jacket. The Saturday ride was pretty cold! It was in the 30's with a bit of wind. Despite that, there was a good turnout. Lately, I haven't been riding much because of school, so I'm glad I got the chance to ride. 

My Thanksgiving break has been fun and relaxing so far. It's so nice to get a break from my studies. Less than a week before the end of my first semester of dental school!

How has your Thanksgiving weekend been? 

Nov 11, 2014

Posted by Jo W. 11/11/2014
It's been so long since I've posted a training log. I haven't raced since... May, which was a cycling road race. For the entire summer from June to August, I was cycling across the country and then I broke my ankle on July 20th. It's been a long journey to heal and get back to where I was before the accident.

Some details about my injury: I broke my ankle on July 20th and found out that I needed ankle reduction surgery. I had the surgery on July 24th, where a metal plate and seven screws were placed in my ankle so that it would heal properly. I was in an air cast and on crutches for 6 weeks, and I progressed to bearing weight and walking in my air cast for another 4 weeks or so. I started walking without the cast around September 25th and have slowly regained the strength that I lost in my left foot. Physical therapy has helped, and I am happy to say that my strength has almost fully returned to normal, though there is still a bit of pain and stiffness.

As you can imagine, being unable to run and cycle has been pretty tough. Especially after moving to Boston, where I see runners everywhere, especially along the Charles. I had to exercise a lot of patience, but I must admit I jumped the gun on my recovery and started doing more on my ankle earlier than was medically advised. Don't worry, everything's still healing perfectly.

Right now, my goal is to get back into running shape and regain my speed. My long term goal is to Boston qualify, because heck, I'm going to be in Boston for the next four years. I'm not sure how feasible it will be, especially since dental school will keep me busy.

As for my cycling, I haven't been able to get out much. I missed most of the fall season because of my ankle, but once I got rid of the air cast, I started cycling outdoors. I actually cycled on my trainer with my air cast! Since moving here, I've met a few cyclists and have gone on a few shop rides with Community Bike Shop. I am trying to do a longer ride at least once a week on the weekends, but it's getting colder and darker earlier, and I am a wimp.

Here's what I've been up to for the past week.

11/2 Sun- 4 treadmill miles, progressive run

11/3 Mon- 30 minutes stationary bike, intervals

11/4 Tues- 45 minutes cycling on trainer

11/5 Wed- 4.6 treadmill miles, pyramids

11/6 Thurs- 5.4 treadmill miles

11/7 Fri- rock climbing

11/8 Sat- 37 miles cycling

11/9 Sun- 60 minutes yoga

Nov 7, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 11/07/2014
I was invited to participate in a fun link-up called Life in Pictures, where I share a bunch of photos from the past couple of weeks. No captions, so you can guess what I've been up to! Hint: there's a lot of yummy food involved. I wouldn't be me if there weren't ;)

Enjoy and happy Friday!

Fit Fed and Happy

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on


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