Post-Christmas salads

Happy [Almost] New Year!

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I had a great but super quick weekend in Chicago. I basically only had time to visit with family but I had dinner at Frontera Grill. It was a highlight of my life. Not only was it my first time dining at a James Beard winner restaurant (I think), I even spotted the chef! Rick Bayless appeared just for a moment, grabbing a coke at the bar behind me. He must have been working hard in the kitchen because he never appeared after that.

The food was amazing as expected:

Frontera Grill chicago

I also did a tiny bit of shopping.

This jacket was on super clearance at one of my favorite shops, Akira. It’s kind of a grown-up Forever 21.

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I saw this Kangol hat at a boutique and thought it was the cutest thing. I already wear a lot of beret-style hats that I knit myself but this one is legit. And it comes with INTERCHANGEABLE BOWS. Then I looked inside and saw that it’s a special Minnie Mouse edition so I was in love. Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to pay $60 for a hat. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the next day saw it on Karmaloop for $24. It’s in the mail!

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I got home Sunday evening and even had time to pick up some food and do a little meal prep. I’m feeling huge from all of the holiday eating so I am craving light, fresh meals.

I made yogurt:
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And a few days’ worth of green smoothies. This batch is banana, pear, spinach, celery:

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And some lunches:

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This week’s tasty salad combination is roast chicken (leftover and frozen from last week) with marinated antipasto olives & cheese that were leftover from Christmas appetizers.

Oh and while the yogurt was simmering I made a ton of hair ties. I intended to give these with my Christmas gifts but the ribbon didn’t get here in time. Now I’ve got a lot of hair ties.

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I can’t believe I did all of that in one evening. Personally, I can’t wait for January to start when everyone is on their temporary weight loss/fitness resolution kicks. It’s nice to have some solidarity and excitement and I want to do my own slim-down cleanse or something. the only thing I hate is that I cannot get into the gym for the first 6 weeks of the year. The treadmills are all taken and the classes are all overcrowded with the fairweather resolution-er people. Don’t you hate that?

Are you participating in any health resolutions or challenges?

Oh and follow me on Instagram @everydayasian and twitter @everydayasian1 to keep up with my adventures.

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Revealed: The 2014 New Balance runDisney Sneakers

Revealed: The 2014 New Balance runDisney Sneakers

Photo Source: Twitter user @goobermonkey78 / goobermonkey.com

Are THESE the 2014 runDisney shoes by New Balance? New Balance and runDisney have been keeping the 2014 design under wraps, intending to do the big reveal when Marathon Weekend begins in 9 days. They even blurred out the mock-ups and designs in the teaser videos. I wonder where that screengrab came from and who

I want them in all their ridiculousness but hesitating on the price. I thought I would be able to pay for them with Disney Gift Cards which would give me 14% off but it looks like they are selling them at the New Balance booth, not the Disney stores.

  • The Cinderella and Goofy 890v4 shoes are $120
  • The Mickey & Minnie 860v4 shoes are $125
  • The kids’ shoes (same versions as adults) are $75

Anyway, what do you think? I think they are an improvement on last year’s red and yellow color schemes.

*edited to add* The official announcement is now up

Marathon training: final run

On Sunday, I set out to my final long run for marathon training. The goal was to get in 23 miles, and I felt so lucky that the weather was a freakish 65 degrees that day. It should have been perfect but it was a big flop.

Short version: I just couldn’t get into it and only jogged 16 miles then completely walked the last 4.

Long version: I didn’t map out my route beforehand, which I did the last few times. I don’t follow/ remember the route exactly but it helps me determine a general direction. So as I set out to run, not only was it just one of “those days” where I was mentally not able to get into it, I encountered a lot of hills early in the route. At one point, I decided I wanted to get to a certain area, so I walked up a very steep hill. I kept slogging along, mentally frustrated and annoyed that I couldn’t zone out, and then at around 15 miles my ankles and feet started to hurt. That was new to me At that point, I was just defeated. Every runner has those days where they can’t seem to move and this was my day. I walked to make it an even 20.

New things I tried, in addition to new route:
– lighter carb loading in the days prior
– more water in the days prior
– eggs & rice for breakfast
– wore compression socks during the run

Food eaten during the run:
– 1 Feed Zone cinnamon roll, 100 calories
– 1 serving of “Energems“, 45 calories – Got these as a sample. It’s supposedly the equivalent of a cup of coffee or an energy drink. I am trying to minimize this crappy stuff but I was desperate for a boost.
– Water + 25 oz of Nuun

In the days following, I was really beating myself up over it. I really wanted to do 23 miles to lesson the pain of the final 6 miles which everyone says is the hardest. I was also mad that I wanted to finish on a high note. I didn’t like going into the marathon knowing that my last session was a big fail. I don’t like being tripped up this late in the game. Today, I suppose I’m over it. I’m disappointed but not as angry. All I can do now is get my game face on and look ahead. It’s more important for me to get optimistic and psych myself up than to dwell on the bad stuff.

I just got the pieces for my costume so I have some more work to do. In less than two weeks (it was 2 weeks from Christmas) I will be getting on the plane for Florida!

Review: The Feed Zone Cookbook

As I finish training for my first marathon, and as my need for weight loss slows down, my big struggle is figuring out how to fuel for long distances without gaining weight. I wanted to read The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes because I wanted to know real athletes do it. I know I’m nowhere near a professional cyclist or a marathoner, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from their tricks. Plus, the book is written by a sports physiologist/cycling coach and professional chef duo (Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim), which is a bangin combination for a nutrition cookbook. Lucky for me, the publishers gave me a copy to review.
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The cookbook has sections that suggest what to eat before, during, and after endurance activities, as well as some treats. There are many grab-and-go recipes that you can prep beforehand so that you have a nutritious breakfast or fuel on the go. Things like a waffle sandwich, burritos, savory muffins, and the popular rice cakes are all things I can have ready in your freezer for early morning race days.

Each recipe also has the basic nutritional breakdown. Since this is a cookbook for athletes, these recipes are not necessarily for people looking to lose weight. The dinner recipes come in at around 700+ calories; not exactly diet foods. If you are an experienced dieter, it wouldn’t be hard to adjust your portion sizes or the amount of carbs to make it fit your diet. I can incorporate the dinner recipes into rest days or short workout days by simply reducing/removing the rice and potatoes. I love that the recipes are totally in line with how I try eat normally – fresh, whole, unprocessed foods, veg-friendly, small amounts of meat. Another thing I like is that the meals are written for 2 servings. It works out perfectly for my house of two.

The recipes themselves have a lot of variety. It isn’t just brown rice, salmon, and broccoli every day. Since the recipes are meant to be fast and easy, I looked at some of them and wondered why I had never thought to put together these simple combinations of ingredients or put them in a different context. For example, eggs and rice were a standard “instant” meal for me growing up and here they appear as an easy to make, easy to digest athlete breakfast. Another “a-ha” is making mini frittatas bulked up with rice or potatoes right in with the egg to make it a small calorie-dense meal perfect for hiking, backpacking, or ultramarathons. The dinner recipes are real, normal food that are full of flavor, easy to make, and low in fat. Some recipes that I bookmarked to make: chicken tacos, veggie burgers (yes, from scratch!), wine and soy mushrooms, grilled chicken skewers with orzo, and spiced bison.

I have already made three recipes:

Allen Lim’s Rice Cakes, which I ate for breakfast before a 20 mile run. (Learn how to make them here) / text version

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Pasta Salad with Blue Cheese and Nuts, eaten for dinner the day before the 20-miler:

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Added to the pasta is chicken from the Whole Roasted Chicken recipe. I am terrible at roasting whole chickens and I only do it a couple of times per year. Brian was in charge of the chicken this time and it came out perfect. He decided that we need to do this more often. Ooh look – the chicken is also a free recipe / (text version). The chicken and pasta meal was so good that we made it twice.

When I read Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-the-Go Food for Athletes, I wondered why the recipes often used rice instead of bread. For example, why make a jelly “sandwich” out of rice cakes instead of just putting jelly between two slices of bread? It turns out that my question was answered in the intro of the first book. The authors spent a season cooking for a cycling team that decided to go gluten-free that year. They already developed many gluten-free recipes during that season and included them in this book. The chefs also had anecdotal evidence from professional championships and the Tour de France, where some athletes had positive results going gluten-free. That said, the authors are honest about the fact that they don’t advocate one type of diet over another. They just point out that gluten-free works well for many athletes while other athletes don’t like it at all. I appreciate these options because, I have noticed that when I started to “carb up” in prep for long runs, I felt bloated from the excess breads. I have been feeling much better now that I’m using rice as a primary carb source. I have cut back on rice in my everyday diet and being Asian, I miss it. At least there is room for it when I’m distance running 🙂

I also followed their advice which said that a slow moving athlete doesn’t need as many carbs as the blanket information given to athletes. I was told that with a long run pace of 13:00+/mile, I don’t have to worry as much about finding quick starches to digest because I’m burning a lot of fat. In practice, I have cut down on the fueling during these long runs and my times haven’t suffered. I used to take Clif blocks for things longer than 6 miles; generally one serving (100 Cal) for every 3 miles. For a half marathon distance, I used to eat 400 calories of Clif blocks (pure sugar) but now I would just take one or two servings (200 Cal total) of a Feed Zone Portable recipe. I think I need to experiment longer to know for sure how this works.

I assumed that this book was written for a “real” athlete, not a slow novice like myself. Whether that’s true or not, I learned a ton of new information about what the body needs to go hard. I feel like I’ve been “dieting” for so long that this book helped me see how I can continue to eat while not being on a diet. This book is so valuable for any athlete – from beginner to advanced; even if you’re like me and don’t consider yourself an athlete.

Check out the Feed Zone Cookbook’s free recipes here

Check out Dr. Allen Lim’s Ted Talk

Josie Maran Escape to Morocco Holiday Lights and Brights Set

I had never tried any Josie Maran products until I picked up this kit (Josie Maran Holiday Lights & Brights), which unfortunately isn’t available anymore.

josie maran 2013 holiday set

Image source: Sephora

I am now a total fan of Josie Maran products. It also helps that I’ve been watching her Youtube videos and she seems like a really sweet woman.

I love almost everything in this set. The Light Argan Oil has replaced Yes to Carrots as my nighttime moisturizer. The Carrot Night Cream is too thick on some days, and I’m sick of the strong fragrance. The argan oil is just right. My skin seems to feel more plump since I’ve been using it. And best of all, it is only ONE ingredient which is the best!

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Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in Spice

My second favorite item is the Argan Color Stick in Spice. It smells like tea tree, just like my many homemade skincare concoctions. I didn’t have much experience using cream blush but now I have the hang of it (I hope?). It does look very natural because it has no glitter or shimmer. It stays on all day too. The shade is too brown to use on my lips. At $22 for the full size product, this is one that I can actually afford to buy again. I have my eye on this set though. Maybe after the holidays if there are any left…

Then there is the Illuminizer. This champagne colored creme is more flattering on me than other highlighters I’ve experienced. The shimmer particles are very fine which give it kind of a candle-light glow effect. I have a miniature of Benefit High Beam and it seems unnaturally shiny. I think High Beam looks great for photo shoots but in real life I feel like it looks too space-age. The Josie Maran Illuminizer is a little more natural. I’m still a little afraid to use it often for fear of looking too sweaty or too done up but I think it gives a nice look. One awesome way to use this to pump a drop in your hand, add a few drops of oil, then mix it up and put it in your hair.

The only thing I did not like from the kit is the Luscious Lips High Gloss lipgloss. I liked the minty fragrance but that was all. The gloss is very thick and sticky. While the color on my lips was nowhere near as bright and rosy as it is in the tube, it certainly lives up to its high gloss label. It reminds me of the super glossy lips that were popular in the early 2000s. It just felt like goop sitting on my lips and my hair was constantly getting stuck.

This set was a steal for $24 during the VIB sale. That’s kinda how it goes right? It’s like drugs. The first one is free/cheap. I don’t know how I’ll be able to afford this habit because the full size products are above my budget. On the other hand, it may be worth paying more for these products. The items have very few toxic ingredients and are cruelty-free, and she claims to use fair trade practices when sourcing ingredients from Morocco and gives a lot of proceeds to good causes. I can’t think of any mainstream brands that would even utter “fair trade.”

I leave you with this confession – I made some profits selling Urban Decay palettes on eBay so I went ahead and bought myself this set too:

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Josie Maran Escape to Morocco – Holiday Hair and Beauty set

This set is all skincare stuff so I’ll get a deeper look at whether the argan-infused stuff lives up to the hype.

Have you tried Josie Maran products? What about other argan oil products?