Friday’s Five

a trip St. Louis Zoo – 3rd best in the country, 4th best in the world!

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taste tasting locally brewed St. Louis Beer

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 the most perfect fall apple

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a friend’s fall wedding in gorg Long Island

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my favorite kind of donut

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Thank goodness it’s Friday!

I have a long weekend and am going to take the time to do all those projects around the house that I perpetually put off and get organized! There also may be some plaid, snugglin’ on the couch, and maybe – just maybe – a run. ;)

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

All the food and fitness magazines often pump up protein into the magic element in your diet that will boost your metabolism and make you magically skinny.

I’m in to it.

I am personally not a huge meat eater, so I am finding myself more and more paranoid about getting enough protein. Not quite sure the hummus with lunch is going to cut it if I want to focus on weight loss and building muscle.

And lord knows there is only so much crock-pot chicken breast I can eat.

Enter: the pepperoni pasta bake.

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This recipe was adapted from HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 30 pepperonis, sliced into halves
  • fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 °F.

Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta.

While pasta is cooking, add olive oil in a skillet on medium-high. Toss in chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally Remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot.

Stir in onions/garlic and the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, most of Mozzarella, and the pepperonis. Mix.

Transfer the pasta mix to a greased baking dish.

Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes.

Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas at Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Friday’s Five

just a lil’ jug of green juice

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Alex reading my fav Born to Run in Orange is the New Black

I know how to cook enough that I can just throw stuff together 

(FYI, the world is coming to an end now)

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reminiscing about our Miami trip a few weeks ago

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cheers

pretty

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crossing off the menu and eating leftovers instead, story of my life

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TGIF!!!! Yaaaaaaaay.

P.S. Get ready for some serious healthy new recipes and workouts coming soon….I am back on the eating clean bandwagon after summertime!

Summer Food Trucks

So this summer has kinda of involved a lot of food. Good food.

I am currently obsessed with the ever-so-trendy mobile cuisine craze, aka FOOD TRUCKS. 

Food trucks have come a long way from the original ice cream man truck. There are sooo many different kinds and they are even  starting to show up in surprising locations.

When we went to Texas for a cousin’s wedding earlier in the summer, it was evident that the multitude of unique food trucks fit right in with the quirky charm of Austin.

Tuna’s fam and I were watching some bands at a bar in downtown Austin one of the nights and we ended up wandering out of the back patio. Best thing to find in the backyard of a bar after a evening of drinks: gourmet grilled cheese, made to order.

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Almost everyone in our group ended up ordering one of the Thrilled Cheese sandwiches.

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Of course my picky self chose the tried and true “Nana.” Probably the best grilled cheese I’ve had in my life.

If you’re ever in the Austin area, make sure to find Thrilled Cheese on Twitter HERE and find out where they’re at!

Wandering home that same night we stumbled on a bunch of food trucks hanging out on the side of the main drag. We couldn’t resist stopping and checking them out.

One of the guys ordered a dish of Chicken Biryani (chicken and rice with creamy yogurt and intensely flavorful Indian spices) at a truck called Taste Fro(m) India and let us each have a bite. It was my first time trying Chicken Biryani and it was AMAZING.

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We went back the next day and I got a whole plate for myself. : ) I like Indian food now because of this food truck! You can find their Yelp page HERE. 

A few weeks ago when I was visiting my friend Nancy in Baltimore, we went to a festival called ArtScape, which is a huge arts festival but also had a whole food truck section.

There were a TON of choices, but we finally settled on Cruisin’ Cafe because it had a lot of good Maryland crab options.

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We had to wait a little while for our food, but in the end it was definitely worth it..

Behold: the “crabby fries.”

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They were warm, crabby, and delicious. But even though Nance and I shared them, it still was a little too much for us. We thought it could have used a little more fries and less of the creamy crab dip.

What I REALLY loved was my crab cake BLT. It had the perfect texture and I wish I had the sauce to put on everything I eat from now on.  Mmmm….

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Obvi we had to end the tour de truck with a sweet treat, so we shared some salty caramel ice cream from the Taharka Bros. truck.

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good friends = will pose mid-bite for you

This is a special food truck for many reasons. Not only did it launch by Kickstarter,  they have an awesome story with some goals that I definitely support.

From their Kickstarter page…

THE TAHARKA BROTHERS STORY

Back in ’10 we were talking about the lack of job opportunities for young black men in Baltimore. We discussed the idea of owning our own business and paving our own path. We, repping various parts of a city steeped in struggle, thought hard about friends, families, futures, hopes, ‘hoods and heroes. We asked ourselves some hard questions. Could we promote peace, social and economic justice to the people of Baltimore through starting our own business?

Taharka is majority owned and operated by urban young men, all under the age of 24. We are a Benefit Corpration (for-profit) and for-community enterprise which uses it’s award-winning ice cream and business initiatives to help bring about a better, brighter, and more “taharkafied” world.”

Their ice cream is really good too.

We couldn’t get enough of the trucks, so we went back the next day for more.

Can’t go to Greece? Me either. The next best thing – gyros from Greek on the Street food truck.

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I was super impressed with the speed that they pumped out the hot and juicy gyros.

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But the best part was definitely the “most amazing pita shell ever” (said in a Gordon Ramsay-esque  voice).

They were ridiculously fresh and the chicken in it really melted in your mouth.

Moral of the story: if you see a food truck – wherever your are – stop and order something from it to eat! I have yet to have a bad food truck experience.  You really can’t beat the convenience, plus the price of the food is usually a lot less than it would be for the same thing in a restaurant.

The only con I can find with food trucks is a bit of a big one: the healthiness factor.  I don’t really want to know the calorie count of the crabby fries because I’m sure I would be horrified. Food trucks definitely aren’t an all day/every day way to eat, but fun for a special occasion or on vacation.

It would be nice to add nutritious to the the convenience and price of food trucks food – along with the quality of taste, of course.

My next mission – find a DELISH, HEALTHY food truck. The big question is, does one exist?

Tell me: what are your thoughts on food trucks?

Have you tried any especially good ones?

Friday’s Five

  The Bachelor finale date with the girls + zoodles + oatmeal dark chocolate chip fro yo cookie sandwiches

 

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tomatozoodles

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pretty runs outside

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I like hamburgers now

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my Garmin getting location but not starting! boo. does yours ever do that?

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a snazzy dinner out in Old Town for a friend’s bday 

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Woohooo, it’s Friday, and it’s the summer! 

I am doing lots of fun things this weekend – I hope you do too!

Electric Run

I already knew a little bit about the Electric Run when one of my BFFs, Nancy, suggested we do one together!

Nancy found us a GROUPON for it in Baltimore (where she lives) which helped take a little bit off of the price.  Entry fees are kind of pricey but they do donate a portion of the funds to charity, so that’s good.

Fun runs like the Electric Run seem to be all the rage right now. They are short enough in distance (5Ks) that any active person can participate without too much training. They also highlight the camaraderie that has been taking over the forefront of the running movement lately.

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I usually try to pretend to be cool and not wear the race tee during the race but these ones were nice tech quality and super soft so we had to.

The run was off/under one of the main highways in Baltimore but in a pocket of the neighborhood that the Ravens M&T Stadium and Orioles’ Camden Yards is in. I saw them setting up for the race earlier in the day when I arrived into town. It seemed like a really big event and got crowded pretty early in the evening. Apparently there were 15,000 people there.

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A lot of people wore crazy costumes and neon tutus so Nancy and I felt a little under-dressed. Luckily one of the goodies in our Electric Run packet was a light up wristband. It will also be useful in the future for runs in the dark, especially in the winter.

It was also cool that FitBit is one of their sponsors. I still love my FitBit. 

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The group of people at the run was a little different than running events I’ve done before. There were mostly college-age kids and families. A bunch of people brought their kids to it – I think they participate for free.

For all you distance runners out there, the Electric Run is  produced by the Ragnar Relay Founder. I was thinking the symbols everywhere looked Ragnar-esqe!

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They stuck us in a chute of sorts to wait in line to start the run in waves. We waited about fifteen minutes or so to start. It wasn’t too long to wait though because crazy techno music was playing and people up on balconies were chucking glow sticks everywhere.

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All the blow up things kept changing colors. :)

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Once we started, we saw how the course was laid out. Each section of the race was a different world, with lit up bigger-than-life decorations. The first world was “Under the Sea” themed and was filled with jellyfish and seaweed with some bubble makers on the side.

Gotta love the jellyfish.

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The next world seemed to be sport themed as we trotted through the two sports stadiums. I had never been to a Ravens game before, but I liked running through Camden Yards since I went to games growing up (before the Nats existed).

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But my favorite world was Candy Land with the the giant gummi bears.

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We ran most of the time, but a bunch of the people were actually walking and taking in the sights.

Once we finished we walked straight into a finishing shoot which led to the after party.

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We just bopped along until for a little while with our newly-caught glow sticks.
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The Electric Run was my first night running event. I don’t ever run at night since it’s not safe (unless with a buddy of course) I loved running in the dark!

It wasn’t a super serious race but it was a fun night with a lot of positive energy.

The run was a fun way to get a workout in. It wasn’t an mileage intense run but it sure did help me get a lot of steps in that day.

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Though they are a little expensive to do all of the time, fancy fun runs with a lot of flair are definitely a winning way to work out. I think I’ll continue to do one every now and then to pump me up to keep movin’!

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(sweet collage cred to Nancy)

 

ProCakes Review

I was so excited when I found out I got to review ProCakes’ protein pancakes. Healthy protein pancakes were one of the first foods I had at my friend’s place in Hawaii when I started eating clean. They are basically a staple in the clean eating world.

Here’s a little bit more info about this special yummy pancake mix…

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ProCakes is a high protein, carb smart, gluten free pancake mix with no added sugar.  It’s uniquely designed to help satisfy hunger while enhancing your diet with the protein your body needs to stay lean and healthy.  It’s comfort food for the fit inspired.

I especially love the no added sugar aspect of ProCakes. I am definitely trying to cut down on added sugar lately, as I keep reading more and more about the effects of sugar on our bodies (source).

ProCakes is even cooler because it is a fitness inspired company run by a very awesome blogger, Caren, at The Fit Habit. The company’s products are mindfully macro-balanced, which is sweet. A macro-balanced diet = a healthy dose of carbs, fats and proteins, which serves as building blocks for a strong, lean body.

Pancakes with side of strong, lean body for me, please!

I’m also glad the protein isolate ProCakes uses is whey protein. Whey protein is my protein of choice in all of the smoothies and protein bars I make. Here’s a good article on why to use whey protein.

Another great thing about it is that it is GLUTEN FREE. A lot of my friends and family are gluten free these days.

*****

I made my ProCakes test kitchen run last Saturday morning. Ok…late morning.

The ingredients part of the recipe is super easy to do: no food prep needed, just quick and painless addition of TWO little ingredients.

1 EGG

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(FREE RANGE, of course! An organic tip: to really make sure your eggs are coming from happy and healthy chickens, don’t just buy cage free eggs – buy free range – where the birdies can roam around on the farms and have plenty of livable space.)

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1/3 cup MILK

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Unfortunately, I kind of botched the test kitchen run.

Meaning my pancakes turned out not so pretty. Obviously I need buy some more so I can redeem my sad little guy. Just blame it on my lack of pancake making skills.  I am thinking a round cookie cutter would serve just fine as a shaper next time. #testkitchenfail

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Even though my pancakes didn’t quite do ProCakes visual justice, they TASTED good!  ProCakes’ protein pancakes have a little more of a sweet cookie-ish taste than usual plain pancakes, which is definitely a plus. The dash of cinnamon in the mix goes a long way. ProCakes are totally not your run of the mill, bland health food.

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YOU can buy your own protein pancake ProCakes HERE!

ProCakes sent me the product to review. All opinions are my own.