weekends

There is something to be said for easy going days.

I had a rather emotional Friday. No need to go into details…and everything has worked itself out, but by the time I climbed into bed, I was toast.

Luckily, Saturday was stress free. I had an ordinary day at work with an ordinary lunch from Subway.

Toasted Roast Beef on Honey Oat. Swiss cheese. Deli mustard. All veggies except for banana peppers and jalapenos. Baked Lays. CSA apple.

After work I went to Starbucks for the second time that day. The first trip I got a Grande Nonfat Misto with 1 pump of Pumpkin Spice Syrup. I really liked that combination….not as damaging as a Pumpkin Spice Latte, yet still with a bit of a seasonal feel. I also got an Egg White, Spinach and Feta Wrap. The second trip to Starbucks I tried a tall Eggnog Misto. I typically hate eggnog, as I find it too rich and sweet. I had curiosities about what it would taste like mixed 1:1 with coffee….I kind of liked it!

(Sorry there are no Starbucks pictures, but, well, you know what Starbucks red cups and wraps look like…it was raining…)

While waiting for my Eggnog Misto, my phone rang and Maya informed me that she and her family were heading back into the city. After a bit of back and forth, it was decided that I would head to Glen Park BART station and they would fetch me from there. Fetch me for what, you ask?

For dinner, of course.

I have known Maya since I was 12 (well, there is a debate about this…I claim that I met her when I was in 7th grade and she was in 8th….she claims it was the school year before. In either case, it was the early-mid 90s and a long time ago!). We went to the same middle school, high school, junior college and university. We have spent a lot of time together over the years and when we were younger, I spent a lot of time at her house.

For some reason, when you are a kid, it is always best to stay at someone else’s house. Truth.

Anyway, despite the massive amounts of time I spent with her while growing up, I’ve never eaten her father’s cooking. It seems amazing that I managed not to. I’ve heard tell of these things called “fry jacks” for years. You see, Maya’s father is from Belize and fry jacks are a staple of Belizean cuisine. It’s essentially fried dough….Maya’s mom pointed out its similarities to Native American Fry Bread…and various Latin American countries have a version.

Since Maya was in the country (she now resides in Tokyo), her Dad was frying up a batch, so Maya suggested that I come over and partake.

Since the alternative was me cooking, I  decided to go for it.

Well, I wanted to see my friend too, of course.

So here come the fry jacks. My pictures aren’t too good, but I assure you that the meal was quite delicious.

Bowl full of fry jacks. There were plain ones (which is traditional) and the ones right in front were filled with cheese. Let’s face it, I liked the plain ones, but I really liked the cheese ones. Maya’s mom believes that she and Maya’s dad created them. She told Maya to Google it. I chose not to Google it, as I don’t really care either way. I just want to eat them!

We also had beans. My bowl presentation is a little messy, but you know, I was too preoccupied with the thought of food consumption to care.

This picture is hideously dark. Sorry.

Cheese fry jack, beans and a cabbage…slaw? Don’t remember what they called it.

An incredibly tasty night. Hooray for a day that wasn’t stressful. Finally!

What did you do on Saturday?

Edited to add: Just read on a website that the plural of Fry Jack is Fry Jack….so, I would go and correct all of those Fry Jacks…but it’s even in the title. So. Um. Oops.

I awoke Tuesday morning, suffering from a case of deja vu:

Why is there no food in my house??

Okay. Fine. One more OIAJ day, since I had leftover oatmeal from Monday.

In the mix: Steel Cut Oats w/banana & ChiaFresh, three halved strawberries and a sprinkling of Scharffenberger cacao nibs. Nutella jar full of win.

After breakfast, I pretty much did nothing for several hours. I knew I should get up, exercise and do some chores, but I definitely had a case of the blahs. Sometimes I feel guilty about not accomplishing anything on my days off, but I have to remind myself that tons of people do nothing on Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday are my weekend, and if I’m burned out from my work week, there ain’t no shame in vegging.

After some guilt, I decided that I would allow myself to wallow for most of the day, as long as I got up and did something active for at least an hour. I thought about what it would be and then I decided. While Monday wasn’t the right time for it, Tuesday was. I was going back to the gym.

For a class. A Zumba class.

I haven’t done very many group exercise courses at the gym. It was one of my goals in 2008 to incorporate them into my routines, but other than Cardio Kick, I never really got myself to show up. I can’t help it. Group exercise intimidates the heck out of me. I’m not coordinated in any sense of the word and I have a hard time getting the moves down. This is why I prefer to exercise on my own. I run alone so I don’t have to feel bad if I’m not as good as my running partner. I work out at the gym alone so that I don’t have to feel competitive or embarrassed. Group exercise definitely is outside of my comfort zone.

On the other hand, group exercise, when I can make myself attend, can be really fun. I had a pretty steady ritual with Cardio Kick for a few months in 2009. I was never any good at it, but the time went by quickly and it certainly kicked my butt when I stepped up the moves with jumps and higher kicks. With this idea in mind, I made myself go to Zumba. I told myself, while you may be a total spazz, you will at least be getting exercise and who knows, you might even have fun.

Aside from watching a few youtube videos of gym based Zumba classes from some gym on the east coast, I really had no idea what to expect from a Zumba class. I really am not a research, study, make detailed plans kind of exerciser. I mean, sure, with running I’ve read up some…as I have with strength training (not that I strength train….but, you know, I’ve read about it…). When it comes to classes, however, I might just look at an example of what a class might look like, and then decide if I think it would be fun. I don’t expect group exercise classes to burn tons of calories…I just assume that it’s something to get me off my butt for an hour. No matter what, that can’t be a bad thing!

My Zumba class was taught by this really energetic guy. I guess there are a lot of regulars in the class, as when he came in, he started greeting people by name and explaining to them that he had a new routine to try out. He also giggled and showed the class that he had notecards, explaining that working out a new routine makes him a little nervous and he wanted to be sure he didn’t mess it up. I thought that was kind of cute and endearing.

We started off with some warm ups, with arm movements and hip swaying. I must admit, I felt a little awkward. I have no dancing skills, whatsoever. I don’t really ever….shake….anything. At least not intentionally. I got over the weirdness pretty fast though, as everyone just seemed to be having fun. We moved from the warm up into several numbers….some hip hop…some more pop….some traditional. The teacher showed us each of the moves, broken down slowly, several times before we took things at tempo. I was really appreciative of the fact that this was a new routine week, as everyone needed a few extra tries before moving up to tempo. After every song, the class would clap and we would receive praise for our efforts. That was cool. I like praise. My ego is fragile, you know.

All in all, it was a fun way to kill an hour. I never really got my heart rate up too high, but I attribute some of that to the fact that I was still struggling with the moves a little bit. I think I would do it again. It was a fun, comfortable environment with everyone moving at their own level. I need to be able to move at my own level. Seriously. Afterwards, I debated running upstairs and trying to get in on that Intro to Yoga class that I always mean to attend. Problem was that I wasn’t sure if it had started yet, and I didn’t want to walk in all sweaty to a class that was already getting their zen on. Maybe next week.

Afterwards, I did this:

What? You don’t end your workout routines with giant cups of frozen yogurt? Your loss!

In the mix (wow..two mixes, one post. can you dig it?): Mostly tart froyo with a dab of cake batter, raspberries, mint chocolate cookies, a couple of hunks of cheesecake and crushed almond rocca.

I actually had no intention of having this much…but the yogurt and topping dispensers sort of exploded into my cup. Oh well. Sorry for the unattractive picture, but I was in a mall, armed only with my iPhone. Plus, DIY froyo just typically isn’t all that pretty.

It tastes good though.

I meant to post this last night, but I was still feeling kind off. I had no interest in the internet so I opted for watching The Biggest Loser, Parenthood and a ton of episodes of Glee from Season 1. It may’ve not been a productive evening, but it made me happy.

Feelings on group exercise — yay or nay?

 

 

Today, I ran out of yogurt. Well, technically, YESTERDAY I ran out of yogurt. This meant that I could not enjoy my typical granola bowl for breakfast this morning. I decided that I would allow myself to have a bagel. I love bagels, you see. Garlic ones. With cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts and avocado. I love them perhaps a little too much. There was a period in there where I was seeking out the perfect bagel every morning. I couldn’t help it. Bagels are delicious.

I wasn’t in the mood for a “fancy” bagel today. Just something simple. For this reason, I skipped going to the cafe that serves my favorite bagel combo and instead just went to the local bagel shop. The bagel shop’s bagels are very tasty, but not the best. No matter. I didn’t need the best. I just needed breakfast.

I placed my order and then it occurred to me that I had my camera in my purse and if I was a good blogger, I would take a few pictures. I tried to take a picture of the available bagels box, but unfortunately, it was a little humid in there and the box seemed a little “steamy”:

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I then tried to take a picture of the cream cheese/toppings counter when an employee with a heavy accent gruffly told me, “It’s not allowed!” I shrugged and put my camera away. Truth be told, I didn’t understand why pictures wouldn’t be allowed. I wasn’t taking pictures of the lady making my bagel. I wasn’t taking pictures of the menu. Of the front of the establishment. Of anything except for bagels and cream cheese. I didn’t notice a sign forbidding me from taking pictures either. I mean, there COULD be a sign in there someplace, but I haven’t noticed it. I could understand if this restaurant was really popular and had amazing, scrumptious delights that they were concerned would be stolen by competing establishments.

Kind of like what happened when Slugworth stole confectionary secrets from Willy Wonka:

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(Source)

**In case you haven’t seen the Gene Wilder version of the movie, this guy turned out not to be Slugworth, but instead one of Mr. Wonka’s own employees who was helping him figure out who really was the child who deserved his factory. Just pretend it really is Slugworth, okay?**

As far as I can tell, this bagel shop’s secrets consist of:

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Bagels, your choice of cream cheese…

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…and tomatoes for an extra $0.50.

Have there ever been restaurants or businesses that rained on your picture taking plans?

Work was tough today. Mentally, that is. All day I dreamt of a trip to one of my favorite dessert spots:

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Normally, I hit up Loving Cup for the rice pudding…they have five different flavors everyday:

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The first flavor I ever had was Cookies n’ Cream:

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But today, I wasn’t interested in rice pudding. I needed FroYo. Stat.

At Loving Cup, you pick a base flavor, and then they actually blend in whatever you want. Kind of like the Cold Stone of FroYo:

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Today, I got a chocolate base with raspberries blended in. Topped with just a tiny bit of granola:

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It was fabulous.

Then I was ready to tackle my CSA box haul. I decided to make an “Eggplant Burrito”. Often times when I get a lot of produce, I prep it (clean, chop, etc.) ahead of time, so as the week goes on, I can easily grab a handful of this, or a handful of that. It makes me less likely to say, “Eh, cooking is too much work…let’s have pizza!” So while I got everything ready for dinner, I decided to chop up all of my bell peppers and one onion and one eggplant for usage this week:

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After the chopping was done, it was time to make my burrito filling. I started by sauteing garlic and onions in some extra virgin olive oil. Then I added the bell peppers:

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Then I added the eggplant and let it cook. Once it was almost ready, I added liberal dashes of chili powder and cumin:

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Then I grabbed a Flat Out wrap, topped it with a handful of spinach and half of the eggplant–the rest is for lunch tomorrow. Then I made it even more awesome by adding a dollop of Fage greek yogurt, 1/4 of an avocado, 1 small chopped heirloom tomato and a sprinkling of mexican blend shredded cheese. The tomato was the BEST tomato I have EVER tasted in my entire life. It was perfect. Such flavor. Such sweetness. I want to marry it and have its babies:

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Sorry. I was casting a shadow, but trust, me, it looked awesome.

And it tasted awesome, as just after this shot, I rolled it up and consumed it in about 30 seconds. Tasty!

Now I’m off to geek out with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Happy Saturday night!

As I have mentioned before, I work weekends and holidays. Most of the time, I don’t really mind, but on occasion, I am just not feeling it. This is one of those days. I felt pretty great when I woke up this morning. Energized. Ready for my day. Then once I got to work, I started to look like this:

Not a very attractive look, is it? So what does one do when you have just started your workday and you already feel really miserable, grumpy and unmotivated? My answer was to take a breakfast break. Sure, it’s probably bad to take a break in the first hour of your shift, but for me, it does help.

Plain Nonfat Yogurt, Nature’s Path Organic Vanilla Almond Flax Plus Granola, 1 Banana, 1 travel cup of coffee + a smidge of milk

I still don’t feel great, but it is certainly an improvement. I am at least willing to fake a little optimism now that I’m full:

Now I’m about to head back to work, but my question for you is:

What do you do to get motivated at work? Especially on days when you just really, well, aren’t…..

Oh!

P.S.

I really do wear Chucks to work!

Everywhere I look this morning I see people grumbling. “Oh it’s back to the grindstone…,” they say. Maybe they have a busy work week ahead of them, or maybe they have classes to attend. Whatever. The point is that these people have places to go and they are not happy about it in the least. I, however, can’t comment on how that feels anymore, as today is my “Saturday”.

I’ve worked for the same company for 10 years now. For someone in their 30s or 40s, that might not be very impressive (or maybe it would…hard to say these days!), but I am only 28 years old. I started work at said company 1 month after I turned 18 and graduated from high school. Now, I haven’t worked the same job, or anything. I’ve had several positions and am in a managerial position now (or trust me, I wouldn’t still be there!), but I haven’t left. The company is in the tourism trade, so our business is significantly busier on weekends, holidays and during the summer. Due to this fact, I have missed the last 10 years worth of my friend’s BBQ’s, birthday parties and weekend shenanigans.

When I was in college, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. College students run on a schedule that is far crazier than people working 9-5 jobs. I still did get excited for different holidays and days of the week though. I was always excited about Friday and devastated about Monday. It wasn’t for the same reasons as the other students, as I had to work all weekend anyway, but the energy and happiness that comes from knowing you survived another academic week and could cross it off your syllabus’ calendar (I really did this…marked off each week of the semester…winter/summer break countdown! Woo!) really did bring a smile.

Now college is 5 years in the rear view mirror (ohmygoshwhendidigetold), and the weekend and holidays essentially mean nothing to me, aside from the fact that work will be crazier. The tourists will be swarming, asking me how to get to Ghirardelli Square , how much the Cable Cars cost and where can they find those adorable sea lions? Now the days I look forward to are Tuesdays and Wednesdays…my weekend. Sure, there are no swinging parties to go to, but stores and other places are emptier. I can go to the gym in the middle of the work day when everyone else is at their desk, starting to get frazzled.

And when everyone else complains about heading back to work after a three day weekend, I can hug my coffee cup a little closer to me, smile and snuggle down under my comforter. I do believe I will stream some Leave it to Beaver from Netflix…oh that Beav….always getting into trouble!

Speaking of coffee:

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Colon, MI is the magic capital of the world. Betchya didn’t know that!

My exceptionally unphotogenic breakfast; ugly, but tasty!

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Steel Cut Oats w/banana and chia. I made a whole pot yesterday, so for the rest of the week, only toppings will vary.

Today, I mixed a bit of Nutella into my bowl of oats and then topped with 1 tbs of TJ’s Sunflower Seed Butter and 1tbs of Fage greek yogurt. Then, I crumbled one Biscoff cookie on top, because that’s how I roll!

Now to finish up some computer things and perhaps hit the gym. If I can get my lazy behind down to the Ferry Building before 2pm I can hit the lunch time farmer’s market…one of my favorite things!

Have an amazing Saturday Tuesday!