What a difference a year makes

This week, after recovering from my birthday stomach flu, I weighed myself and discovered that I have lost 20 lbs this year! Tonight I’ve been on my computer (live tweeting etc.) and I ran into some pictures that were taken around this time last year. I thought I would share them because the difference is kinda epic.

August 2009- Just before law school started, moving into my apartment in LA with Izzy Cat. I had just eaten my way through Boston and had just stopped going to Bikram yoga. I was super flexible but had gained some weight. I don’t remember myself looking this big. I remember being happy, thinking I looked like I probably had for years. Izzy has lost weight since that picture and I will be devoting a page to Izzy’s slimmed down figure at some point.

Me, with my BFF Catie, August 2010 (last week in fact). I have to say that I am literally in awe of my body right now. If you told me one year ago that I would be running 7 miles with ease I would have laughed in your face. Beauty is about happiness and I believe that I have always been beautiful. Look at my smile in both pictures! But now I feel much more fit and confident. I got chills last night when I was running thinking about how strong I am right now.

Anyways, I thought the change between these two pictures taken a year apart were pretty radical and I thought I’d share. Thanks to all the people and the healthy blogger community who have supported me this year! 🙂

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The Emmy Awards!

If you know me you know that I am a pop culture junkie and that I live for awards shows. I love everything about award shows. I love the dresses, the suspense, the surprise moments and the montages. That’s right, I live for a montage. And when I watch an award show I am watching the WHOLE thing. From the pre show on E! to Ryan and Guiliana on the red carpet for E!, the entire show, snippets of the after show and the Joan Rivers Fashion Police the next day. Can I also just say that I miss Joan Rivers on the carpet? Yes, now that I listen to him on the radio Ryan Seacrest has grown on me a little bit but no one can replace Melissa and Joan. Love them!

This morning I went to Yummy Yoga with Molly (great studio and awesome, sweaty class) and got back just in time for the pre show and red carpet. In LA they start at 2 pm! As the show was starting I made this delicious pizza, of which I only ate 1/2.

On this pizza: whole wheat dough, heirloom tomato, garlic, sun dried tomato, capers, S&P, onion, goat cheese and prosciutto. I’m already excited for lunch tomorrow!

nom.

After a while I decided that it was time for a mid show cocktail.

Your St. Germain fun fact of the day: each bottled is numbered and has the year on it. Here is mine:

Today I made a simple cocktail: a mix of prosecco and st. germain.

Ah the sweet glow of TV. That would be Kyra Segwick picking up her award. The Daily Show just won. Clearly I have to get back to my show and live tweeting! Click on the side bar to follow me if you don’t already!

It’s Cocktail Time!

Oh my friends, I have had a day.

My beloved iphone was snatched out of my purse while I was perusing heirloom tomatoes at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. After panicking and running back to the last location I remember having it (JCrew, obviously) I realized that it was really gone. After a trip to the AT&T store I realized that there was no way to get another iphone. There were no iphone 3gs’ in LA. I ended up with a HTC Aria, which is a smart phone that operates on the andriod system. It’s not my iphone. The idea of my baby being violated by someone that isn’t me makes me sad but new year, new hair, new phone I suppose.

I rallied this afternoon with an amazing 7 mile run. I felt incredible and strong. After running and getting treats at Cheesecake Factory with Danielle I decided it was time to make a cocktail with my St. Germain. I decided to make a French Gimlet.

First things first, collect your ingredients.

St. Germain is a made from Elderflower in the French Alps. The blossoms are taken down from the hills on bikes by 50 men. This is the entire collection for the entire year. The flavor is kind of fruity and floral but not at all sweet or sour if that makes any sense. It is used in many cocktails and is exquisite.

You need one parts St. Germain.

Two parts dry gin.

and lime! I used a new instrument to squeeze them…

My mom sent this to me. Love that she is always looking for new bar ware.

Combine all the ingredients in the martini shaker and mix it up. Pour into a martini glass.

Mmmm. I love a twist on a gin cocktail. Adding St. Germain only makes gin more delicious.

Crisp cocktails are amazing. Study up on St. Germain here. There will be more cocktails to come, and possibly a pop quiz on St. Germain’s many uses.

Finn McCool’s with ABC University

Yesterday I went out with Emily, Leanna and Adam (err I mean Frank) to Finn McCool’s in Santa Monica. ABC University is a group of young professionals exploring the bar scene in LA one letter at a time. Yesterday was bar “F”. Those with “F” first names got appetizer specials. Overall, ABC University is just a good time.

I spy specials:

Finn McCool’s is your typical Irish Pub. It’s on Main St. in Santa Monica, an area I really need to explore more, and has tons of space.

We were sad that no one in our group had a “F” first name but then in a moment of brilliance Adam changed his name tag and became “Frank”. He even got to wear medal!

When you go to ABC you have to wear a name tag with your name and major. Here is mine…

Obviously I majored in gin martinis. I mean, that is what I’ve studied since I’ve been 21. Last night, however, I ordered a beer. Hey, when your in the Irish bar you should really order a beer, right?

After drinks we were having a good time and we decided to make an impromptu trip to the bowling ally around the corner!

Holy throwback! I haven’t been bowling in SO LONG! I cannot even remember the last time I went.

Of course, if your going bowling there is a pit stop that you have to make before hitting the lanes.

Little old me didn’t know that bars in bowling alleys are customary, but they are! Apparently in Chicago there are also laundry mats in bowling allys?! That is amazing.

Bowling is so much more fun with margaritas (on the rocks with salt) so obviously we got margs before hitting the lanes.

I have to say that I am a terrible bowler. I did, however, manage to bowl a spare and a strike. I only bowl well when Foreigner or Cutting Crew is playing. Unfortch, they only played two songs that fall into that category.

Here is the evidence of my bowling suckage:

Can’t win them all! At least I have my sense of humor (and a 31!). Overall, an awesome time was had by all. Definitely check out ABC University on facebook!

How to get yourself to study on Friday

How do I get myself to actually be productive on a Friday afternoon?

Easy. Coffee from Espresso Profeta. Specifically, their Pacific Northwest Macchiato.

I love when people take coffee seriously and these people take coffee seriously. The barista even said that I should let him know if the taste was off because the macciatos are different when they are decaf. Love that! Of course it was delicious and helped me power though my Critical Race Theory reading.

Tons of updates coming tonight and some behind the scenes baking is underway!

A Preview

I made my bev mo run today and I have a preview of what is to come this weekend. Let’s just say I picked up a little French friend.

Apologies for the poor photo quality- this has been blogged via iPhone because my camera battery died.

I ate nothing I prepared myself today because I went to student group gatherings for lunch and dinner. May I just say that If you are at UCLA LAW youshould join outlaw and CRS. Great organization and specilization with cool people and they also have superior quality meal items like Thai and Indian food.

I have to go now- I am a slave to evidence.

Primitivo

Is there a better way to end a weekend than with Sangria Sunday? I don’t think so! My friend Kelly feels the same way so we decided to finally try out Primitivo last Sunday.

Primitivo is a tapas restaurant and bar located on Abbott Kinney in Venice (one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles). Sangria Sunday is essentially their happy hour menu. Kelly and I tried items off the happy hour menu and the regular price menu. We go all out.

The decor in Primitivo is eclectic and they have a great bar that appears to have a wonderful wine list.

There is also this interesting painting of a glittery tiger drinking from a pool. Good eye Kelly.

But lets focus!

We were here for two things:

Sangria:

So good. It was somewhat fruity and had a distinct red wine flavor. It was pretty strong, but I’m also kind of a cheap date.

Aside from sangria, we also came to Primitivo for delicious tapas. We were not disappointed. We ordered several items off the Sangria Sunday menu and one special item off the full price menu. One of the many reasons that I love tapas is that you can order a few dishes and then add more throughout the meal.

First we tried one of my favorite dishes, bacon wrapped dates with chorizo.

Sweet and smokey. Can’t go wrong with bacon wrapped dates.

We also had heard good things about the sliders:

Moroccan Lamb with pine nuts and tzatziki (def the favorite of the two) and BBQ Short Ribs with cabbage. The short ribs were also very good. These sliders were some of the best sliders that I have had in recent memory.

Because the short ribs were so good we decided to order short ribs with cheddar mashed potato. It was so good that I dug right in and forgot to take a picture until it was half gone. Whoops.

Blogger fail!

Moving on. We decided at this point that we were still hungry. We got more sliders, another round of sangria and our favorite tapas dish of the entire meal: Tiger Shrimp with garlic, lemon, white wine and chili flakes.

Lets take another glamor shot:

So yummy! The shrimp was sauteed to perfection but the real star of the dish was the sauce. It was so good that we refused to give up the broth after the shrimp was gone. The waitress clearly has seen this kind of hording of sauce before and brought us a bread basket to use as a mechanism for eating the rest of the sauce. The buser than tried to take it away and we had to stop him. He gave us a raised eyebrow, quasi judgmental look but it was totally worth it for the rest of the sauce.

Last we ordered calamari. It was pretty good. The standout of this dish was the pesto aioli. It would also have been great on the bread.

Overall, Primitivo was fantastic! Definitely try and go during Sangria Sunday. It isn’t that busy and lots of the best dishes are marked down. The only downside is finding parking, but its Venice and isn’t $4 sangria worth it? I think so.

New Obsession

Post run I was craving gelato so I got my fix from Whole Foods.

I have a new favorite gelato.

I cannot tell you how much I love to see this on a label:

Creamy and delicious. Clearly I had to top it off with Chocolate Chips!

MMM. Washing my gelato down with a viewing of “If God is Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”. Education yourself about post Katrina NOLA people! Ignorance shouldn’t be an option. Hoping it’s a good follow up to “When the Levees Broke”. I’ll probably be crying into my gelato in about 1o mins.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Corn and Roasted Potatoes

If there was one meal that I loved as a child it was chicken with honey mustard sauce. The sweet and tangy honey mustard has continued to be a favorite as I have gotten older. Obviously I am not eating chicken fingers with honey mustard all the time but I decided to try a more “adult” variation on the theme of chicken fingers with honey mustard.

I got my recipe from the Trader Joe’s cook book. It’s a great resource for easy recipes with a limited number of ingredients.

This is where I got my honey mustard chicken recipe from. Then I collected my ingredients.

This is what you need:

First things first: start the potatoes. Like I always do, chop up, add S&P and EVO. Toss and place in an oven heated to 350 degrees. Let it be while you prep the other food.

Then you have to prepare the chicken. In a small bowl take 1/8 a cup of flour and combine with salt and pepper.

Mix it up and coat both sides of the chicken. Make sure the excess is knocked off.

Then take out a pan, place one tablespoon of EVO in the pan, heat it up and brown the chicken on both sides.

And now, while it is browning, it is time to multitask! This is when we make the honey mustard. It’s super easy.

Take a 1/2 cup of mustard, and 1/2 cup of honey and some basil. I’m sure you could increase of decrease as you need to.

Super easy! Taste test and adjust as you need to. Side note: I had leftovers and put it on a turkey sandwich and it was ah-maz-ing.

At this point the chicken should be done browning. Take it off the heat and into a pan that can go in the oven. Spread over the top of the chicken and place in the oven for ten mins. Save some HM to apply to the other side of the chicken later.

While you are waiting for the chicken to cook uncork that bottle of wine.

I tried a petite syrah the other night. It was pretty good. I love red wine and I am quickly becoming an expert on the cheap side of the TJ wine section. If its a vino under $6 and its red, I’ve probably taste tested it!

While I cooked Isala watched and “commented”.

She’s such a character!

OK. Back to work! Take the chicken out and flip it after 15 mins. Apply more HM sauce and put back into the oven for 15 mins. Time to get cracken’ on corn.

As a Midwesterner I am skeptical of CA corn. However, my mother was with me last week at the FM and taught me how to evaluate corn to determine if its good. Mostly you want to see that the kernels are large and in a row. You also want the husk to be damp. At my FM some of the corn was already shucked which I was told is bad and will dry it out. Shucking corn isn’t that hard, don’t buy it pre-shucked.

It should look something like this:

Very good. Bring unsalted water to a boil and put the corn in until it seems done.

At this point, your also going to want to take out the potatoes. I have to say, the potatoes were roasted to perfection! Maybe its because I used a lower heat than I usually do to roast (350 as opposed to 425).

Holy Yum!

At this point the chicken should be done as well as the corn. Literally just take the corn out of the water and plop it on the plate. You, of course, want to make sure your chicken is fully cooked.

Yum. The potatoes were delicious and the chicken was super moist. As stated above, the honey mustard was delicious and simple. Great to use on sandwiches or as a dip! The corn was good. It’s not Midwestern corn but it isn’t half bad. A meal I will be making again and a great adult twist on a classic.

Brentwood Farmer’s Market

Normally I am very faithful to the Santa Monica Organic Farmer’s Market but today I decided it was time to branch out a little bit. I was on Montana in Santa Monica to attend a cooking class taught by my friend and cooking pro Scott. After learning how to make butter (!) I hit the Brentwood Farmer’s Market.

The Brentwood Farmer’s Market has more prepared food and gift items than Santa Monica. I got the essentials and then I wanted a small lunch. There were so many stands to choose from but one caught my eye.

All the sandwiches looked good but I really wanted to try the smoked salmon special! I heart smoked salmon and it was available in a half size which is perfect for me. I have early Sangria Sunday planned for later so I really only needed a small portion to hold me over. I placed my order and had to wait 15 mins. While I waited I watched the sandwich maker. I was completely entranced.

I grabbed the sandwich and made my way home to do some reading and enjoy my lunch.

I enjoy coming home because I can use my own supplemental food, rather than buying more while I’m out. My sandwich did come with a side of olives!

So delicious.

The sandwich had arugula, smoked salmon, dill and a cream cheese on whole wheat.

Worth the wait! This sandwich reminds me of one that I used to get all the time at Flour in Boston. The spiciness of the arugula and creaminess of the cream cheese with the cool smoked salmon was a great combination.

Overall, I love SMFM but I will probably go to Brentwood FM occasionally if the Saturday FM run doesn’t work.