I’m Eating What?!?

31 08 2010

After a tough on my tight muscles vinyasa practice, I went to lunch with Candice, my favorite yoga instructor in Chicago, hands down.  We went to the Bourgeois Pig, one of my favorite Lincoln Park haunts.  With iced coffee and a hummus plate, Candice and I sat down to catch up on what we’ve been up to.  We got to talking about a cleanse she recently did where she, gasp, ate real food.  No gluten, no dairy, no soy, no caffeine, no alcohol, no processed food.  My first reaction was, “What did you eat then?”.  Answer?  Real, whole foods.  As in, food in it’s original form.  Not an imitation of a food- the real, unprocessed thing.

I’d like to think I have a fairly healthy diet.   I was a vegetarian for a few years but if we’re being honest, I think that was mostly just to piss off the carnivore I was dating at the time.   Growing up, we never ate cows or pigs so I steer clear from that as I just don’t care for it.  I read an article 5 years ago about blood and other gross things in cow’s milk so it’s been strictly Silk for me since then.  I sort of eat meat now.  I love fish and sliced turkey.  I actually started eating meat again just so I could have Subway turkey subs.  I still eat a lot of soy though.  Those geniuses at Morningstar Farms can make anything out of it.  I fed Ryan a soy buffalo wing once and he totally thought it was a chicken nugget.  Don’t ask him though; he’ll totally deny it.

Anyways.  After my conversation with Candice about all the additives and fillers in food, I came home and did some sleuthing through my kitchen.  There is something called Xanthan Gum in my veggie burgers.  And instant coffee.  I had coffee this morning, thankyouverymuch-  I never said it was okay to put it in my veggie burger, my primary protein source for the day.  My Special  K crackers?  Yeah, they have eggs in them.  Because eggs sitting in my cupboard doesn’t make me wildly freaked out.  A few other ingredient readings later and I signed up for Farmer Tom’s.

I will now  pick up a bushel of whatever is local and in season from a pick-up location at a business near where I work.  Produce is pricey in the city and, sometimes, kind of disgusting- yes, I’m talking to you, Dominick’s and those gross-o strawberries and tomatoes you sent me home with last week.  Farmer Tom’s is a Community Supported Agriculture program guided by principles of responsibility, sustainability and “deep reverence for the earth and all life.”  With Farmer Tom’s, I’ll have a big box of fresh, from the ground, not shipped across the country produce that I can make meals with that haven’t been sitting in my cupboard for 2 months.  I’m not going on a cleanse by any means but this is my vote for more conscious eating and living.  I hate days that end where I don’t feel I was actively participating in conscious decisions.  Why should I come home and schlep together a meal with Xanthan Gum and all these other preservatives that I would never consciously choose to go in my food?  Plus,  I think it will be fun to go “Ok.  I have a box of squash, radishes and watermelon-go!”.  Or it could be a hippie-dippie disaster.  Either way, I am going to be cooking more which will be helpful on our wallets, trying out new recipes and possibly meeting some new veggies and fruits.

Get your favorite recipes ready.  When I get a box full of turnips or copious amounts of acorn squash, I’m going to need your great-Aunt Mildred’s neighbor’s recipes for squash frittata.  Or whatever.





Marathon Update

30 08 2010

In 41 days, I will be in that crowd.  In 41 days, I will be a marathoner.  In 41 days, I will probably be more sore than I have ever been in my life.

I’m running the Chicago Marathon in 41 days and I must confess, I am getting nervous.  The reason I began this post with “I will” statements is because I find that by saying “I will” and “I am” and “I have”, I feel like these 26.2 miles are already in the bag.  And to be honest, I need all the confidence I can get.

Because for me right now, “26.2″ rhymes with “Holy Shit”.  When my feet are actually pounding the pavement, I feel like I can run this thing.  I’m out there, I’m doing it, I can muscle my way through the whole shebang.  But in most other waking moments, I have some serious self-doubt.  Like, what am I going to think about for 26.2 miles?  Am I going to like running with people all around me for 4+ hours?  Should I use an iPod?  Should I take Gu or those gummi things?  Well, never mind on that- Gu is all slimy, gooey and gross.  Definitely those gummi cube things.  What if I get tired/hurt/cranky and I’m freaking far from home?

I know, I know, I know- this is why I’m doing long training runs.  Which have all gone well.  But thinking about race day fills me with some butterflies in my tummy.  It was 86 degrees out today so I hit the treadmill to knock out my planned 9 miles.  Ellen was on, thank goodness.  I don’t care about the whole “real runners don’t run on treadmills thing”.  I happen to love treadmills.  And forgetting that I’m running because Ellen DeGeneres is cracking me up.  And positioning a fan so it directly hits me.  The miles were pretty easy today, which was very encouraging.  Chalk it up to Ellen, my endurance or the ideal room temperature…I’ll take what I can get and I needed a shot in the arm of confidence.

So, that’s where I’m at.  Punching out the mileage, trying not to be a huge wimp, thinking positive thoughts.  Basically, every time I go “What was I thinking?!?”, I envision this:

41 days.





Dance! 2.0

27 08 2010

8-9am on Thursdays may or may not be my favorite hour of the week.

That is such a lie.  It is absolutely my favorite hour of the week.

Dance! at Equinox rocked my socks off the first time I went about a month and a half ago.  Since then, I have only missed one Thursday class.  The day I missed, I was so bummed that I texted my friend Bridget constantly for updates on how much fun she was having.  Because here’s the thing: sweating releases endorphins.  Endorphins make people happy.  So to combine some of my favorite people with some of my favorite new friends with rockin’ music and an instructor whose energy just won’t quit makes for an hour you just don’t want to miss.  It’s been a blast getting to know “the regulars” in the class and becoming part of the group as well.  There’s Charlotte, a 90 year old woman who lives in the neighborhood and who attends 5 group fitness classes at Equinox every week, including Dance! where she is front and center in her red tennis shoes.  I don’t know who inspires you but for me, it’s Charlotte.  The only way you get to that age still moving and shaking is to do it every day.  Holy bananas.  Then there’s Marsha, who is in love with Jake and the balance band he wears on his wrist.  And Gary, who comes with his wife and has the moves memorized.  I could go on and on but aside from jumping around and having a great time, I have met some really incredible members of my community that totally contribute to my love for Dance!.

Speaking of dance, a more professional, refined kind of dance is going on in Chicago this week.  The Chicago Dancing Festival is happening all weekend.  I had the privilege of going to the Opening Night Gala with my wildly talented dancer friend Becca, formerly of DanceWorks Chicago, at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Wednesday.

It was an hour made up of 5 acts from 5 different ballets.  To see talent from all over the world on one stage in our city was such a gift.  And that’s the idea behind the Chicago Dancing Festival– to give the gift of dance to Chicago this week.  Tonight is a performance at the MCA called the Dancing Skyline and tomorrow is a Celebration of Dance at Millennium Park.  And it’s free.  Again, holy bananas.  I think packing a picnic, grabbing a bottle of wine and watching insanely talented dancers take the stage as the sun sets behind the skyline that is their backdrop sounds like a perfect way to spend a Saturday night.





Fail.

18 08 2010

I was gone for 3 days and came home to this:

When I went to Michigan last week to visit my family, I left Ryan with very few instructions.  I asked him to remember to feed Luna Bell and suggested it might be a good idea to run a load of laundry because, unbeknown to him, his boxers do not automatically appear in his drawer clean and folded.  He loves our cat beyond words so I knew she was going to be dining on wet cat food all weekend and I figured he’d realize his favorite boxers with little lobsters on them were in the dirty clothes hamper and eventually do some laundry.

I didn’t think to ask him to water the basil plant.

As you know, I have kept Basil alive for 7 weeks now.  Having killed 5 basil plants last summer, this is a HUGE success for me.  I love basil.  I’d live in a house made out of basil if I could.  I love caprese salad and pesto and throwing leaves into pretty much everything short of cereal (I have thought of that though).  When I got home on Sunday and saw that all of Basil’s little leaves were shriveled up and the dirt was as dry as the Sahara, I knew my days of walking to the window to pluck leaves for whatever I was cooking were over.  Ryan, bless his heart, ran to the sink and turned on the faucet in attempt to flood the plant back to life but it was no use.  Down the garbage shoot my precious little basil plant went.

I woke up this morning to a note from Ryan with exactly $2.49 laying on top of it.  “Have a great day, I love you and go buy another one–let’s see if we can keep the next one alive for 8 weeks.”

Best roommate ever.





Cooking and Family’ing

9 08 2010

Exhibit A: Hazel Wegrich.  93. Grandmother. All-Around Amazing Lady.

My 93 year old grandmother got on a place for the first time in years and ventured from Florida to Chicago this past weekend.  A good dinner at Volare (minus the rave that was happening across the street- strobe lights and glow sticks don’t exactly say “welcome to Chicago, let’s have a nice, classy dinner”),  lunch at Luxbar, brunch at Flatwater and a kitchen clambake at our apartment made for a lovely weekend.

I love to cook.  Feeding the people I love is, to me, another way to love them.  With my mom and grandmother in town, it was only fitting that 3 of my best friends came over for dinner.  I am so lucky to have people in Chicago who are every bit as family as those as I am related to by gentics.  It’s also a lot of fun to be in a relationship with someone who loves entertaining as much as I do.  After flipping through The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Man-Friend and I decided on a Kitchen Clambake–potatoes, kielbasa, shrimp, clams, mussels, salmon and crab steamed in white wine and, because Man-Friend got creative, Miller Lite.

Exhibit B: Our pot was not big enough for the mass amounts of seafood we bought.  So we improvised.

Since we have yet to put together our 4th kitchen table chair, we brought over the ottoman and all crowded around the table, digging into the caprese salad, cracking open crab legs, reaching for more mussels, breaking off pieces of delicious crusty bread.

Exhibit C: Finished product.

It was my favorite kind of meal, the kind that are filled with people I adore, tons of food, wine, “remember when” stories and last for hours.  It turns out that exactly 6 years ago, Corey, Amanda, Mike, Linda and I were in car on our way to New York City.  It was an amazing time in our friendship, a time when we were still young enough to have nothing else to do but be together.  That trip will forever be one of my favorite memories.  It was really special to be with those same people (minus Married Mike), celebrating the exciting changes that have happened recently in our adult lives and belly laughing over being 19 and stranded in Long Island at 4am.

There’s a month left of summer and I want it to be filled with nights just like last Saturday- cooking, story sharing, glass toasting and being with family–both the one I was born into and the one I have been lucky enough to have become a part of along the way.





Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon

2 08 2010

5:45am–My alarm goes off.

6:05am–I walk out the door.

6:07am–I realize that I can’t make it another step without a copious amount of coffee and bagels.  Maybe donuts too.

6:15am–I arrive at the CARA (Chicago  Area Runners Association) water station for the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon with a bag of bagels, donuts AND muffins after a Dunkin Donuts stop.

6:30am–25,000 runners start their race.  Man-Friend ran it, as well as several of my friends and it could not have been a more gorgeous day.  I was absolutely blown away by how courteous these runners were!  I know our water station was at mile 3 and people were still pretty fresh but pretty much every runner who grabbed a cup of water for me said thank you, thank you for volunteering.  I don’t know about you but when I run, my focus is on putting one foot in front of another.  These people had 10 miles ahead of them but still took the time to share some love.

After I was done hydrating some rockin’ runners, I headed to Buckingham Fountain to wait for Man-Friend to finish the race.

I watched as the runners met up with their loved ones, locals had their morning coffee and met a nice little Vizsla named Scout.  Ryan did great–he was out of town all week for work and didn’t get back until Saturday evening but got his butt out there and ran the 13.1.  I’m so proud of him!  I’m absolutely on board now to kick up my marathon training.  I have a little over 2 months and as long as I increase my long runs by 2 miles each week, I will be hitting over 20miles by October.  It’s in the bag.

Congrats on the Half Marathon, Ryan, Mike, Lindsay, Christina, Carina, Bill and Giuliana!  (I had to throw Bill and Giuliana in there because I ran into them while I was running down Michigan Avenue this morning so they’re practically my neighbors, ya know?)

High Five of the Day: Our basil plant is now 4 weeks old and alive and well.  This is a record for me.  I am loving being able to walk over to the window and pluck off leaves to throw in our dinner–definitely made our sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper and chicken pasta last night oh-so-delicious.








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