Seasonal Sunday

Hello friends!

It has been three weeks since I have had a regular weekend in LA.

First I went to Chicago and ran a marathon!

Then I went to San Francisco.

And I ate my face off.

While I had so much fun the past few weekends I was really looking forward to hanging in my hood this weekend and getting back into my routine.

Routine on Sundays means breakfast, iced lattes, farmers markets, and enjoying my hood.

It’s starting to cool down in LA. We don’t have a traditional change of seasons but the weather does crisp up a bit which is nice. I’m going to go ahead and count that as a change. Mmkay? With cooler weather comes oatmeal!

Doesn’t that picture just look like fall? I actually put vanilla in the oatmeal while I cooked the oats. Then I topped with granola, cinnamon, and obviously brown sugar. Oats without brown sugar? I would never!

Then I took to the streets and stopped at one of my favorite LA coffee shops, Café Luxxe.

Cafe Luxxe has several locations on the Westside and our former governor has been known to frequent them (and I’m not talking about Gray Davis).

I got my usual, an iced non fat latte. I pretty much never get a hot drink unless it’s below freezing. Even then, I prefer cold. My Mom does the same thing and I think it might be genetic.

After I moseyed on over to the Farmer’s Market. So much has changed since the last time I was there! It’s a whole new season!

What’s in season now?

Squash! I love butternut. Some of my favorite butternut squash recipes are butternut squash risotto, butternut squash potato pancakesbutternut squash ravioli, and honey roasted butternut squash.

Kale


Pluots


Persimmons


Grapes and Pomegranates


Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites!


Yams


Peppers and Swiss Chard


Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

I love eating mostly seasonal produce because I can really tell when the seasons are changing. If I’m eating butternut squash, it’s fall!

After the FM I walked home through an art festival! I love my new neighborhood for having stuff like this just randomly happening on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t buy anything but I got freebees from Pirate’s Booty!

Last night I also went back to yoga. Sunday just isn’t complete without yoga for me. Since I do yoga every Sunday I kinda feel like yoga resets by body, if that makes sense. I haven’t done yoga since before the marathon. Last night I felt like I was wringing my body out post marathon. This is going to sound so weird but I felt like I could still feel the marathon in my body. I felt a little bit heavy in my inversion but I think it’s because my arms haven’t been properly worked in a while.

I know the blog has been a little “food light, running heavy” recently but I’ve been baking and I hope to start bringing more food content back to the blog this week. I also have more marathon related writing to do, so there is a lot to look forward to.

What is your favorite fall food?

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One dish dinner & an apartment update

What with marathon training and enjoying my summer I am all over simple dinners that I can bring to work for lunch. I found this gem when going through back issues of Real Simple.

One Dish Bulger, Asparagus and Lemony Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup bulger
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375. In a baking dish combine water, bulger, salt and pepper in the bottom of the pan. On top, layer the asparagus in a thin layer. Salt and pepper the salmon and place them on top of the asparagus. Squeeze lemon on top and place the lemon, just like so…

Cover the pan with foil.

Place in the oven and back for 30 mins. When you take it out you will have two perfectly cooked meals!

In the words of Ina, “how easy is that?!”
So easy. You have no excuse not to make a fantastic dinner tonight. I don’t cook a ton of meat but salmon is my protein go-to. And the reheated lunch was delicious and didn’t have that fish-ey thing that you get with shrimp.

Apartment Update!

If you follow me on Twitter you already know that my application was accepted for apartment #2! I sign my lease on Saturday and my lease starts on July 2. I am totally getting a celebratory treat on Saturday from Tavern, since I can WALK there from my new apartment! Oh yes. You thought there were a lot of Tavern and Susie Cakes and NY Bagel on the blog last year. Just you wait.

In the meantime, here are some other pictures from the apartment for interested parties…

Living Room

The other side of the kitchen. Words cannot adequately express how excited I am to cook in this kitchen. Seriously people. See the counter space near the oven? That’s what I’m working with NOW and I don’t have a full size oven either. And there is a window. It’s love.

Love the funky knobs in the bathroom.

More than a little excited about a yellow tub. So funky. There is a matching yellow shower.

A bedroom with its own door that closes and is TOTALLY separate from the living area. I’ve been dreaming of this for years.

I cannot wait to get into my new apartment and work on decorating!

What is your décor style? I had a decorator but my style is definitely eclectic.

The Great Apartment Hunt Begins (and I self medicate with Susie Cakes)

Its official: I can no longer live life on the opposite side of the 405 from Susie Cakes.

While there are parts of my current apartment I love (huge studio loft with tons of light) there are aspects of it that I just can’t deal with anymore (excess of undergrads in my building, small kitchen, proximity to school). Thus I made the decision to move. My lease isn’t up until August 1st but I would love to move before then. I also want to move now because, this time next year I will be buried in bar studying and definitely won’t have time to move.

Saturday kicked off the grand hunt. Truth? Apartment hunting totally stresses me out! Its fun in theory but waiting for applications to be accepted, looking at place after place and trying to find an apartment that will accommodate this critter…

just stresses me out.

So in an effort to make this more bearable, let’s play a little game called Apartment Hunter! Yes, I love House Hunters. I watched a TON of House Hunters with my Mom whenever I’m home and I not so secretly would love to be on the show. With no further adieu…

Here is my Must List:

  • 1 bedroom
  • Allows my cat
  • Bigger kitchen than I have now (a full size oven would be nice)
  • Quiet neighborhood, quiet apartment
  • Decent light
  • Parking
  • Refrigerator (not always included in apartments in LA)
  • Walking distance to Tavern (I’m totally not kidding. How else would I pick a neighborhood?)

And my Want List:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Dishwasher
  • Air conditioning
  • Bath tub
  • Outdoor space
  • Community space
  • Laundry onsite

Truthfully, I totally don’t expect to get everything on my want list. If I were able to get two of them or even none of them, that would be fine with me if it’s the right place.

Last Saturday I looked at three apartments.

Apartment 1 – Above my budget, no fridge.


Pros: good size, hardwood floors, quiet building with lots of community space, parking and allows cats

Cons: above my budget, no fridge

Apartment 2 – Quiet location, great kitchen



Pros: quiet, secure building with parking, a nice kitchen, plenty of space and some community space. Dishwasher (!)

Cons: No a/c

Apartment 3 – Lots of light but on a busy street


Pros: allows pets, lots of light, friendly manager, parking, beautiful pool, nice size in the apartment

Cons: small kitchen, bedroom window looks out on loud and busy street

In the end I put an application in for Apartment 2 and am just waiting to hear back so cross yo fingers! If it’s not accepted this week get ready for Apartment Hunters Round 2 starting this weekend.

All of this back and forth is crazy stressful for me so I walked to Susie Cakes after looking for apartment and bought myself a little reward. June is strawberry month at Susie Cakes so I got the seasonal cupcake: Strawberry with White Chocolate!

Oh yes, apartment hunting was worth it to enjoy this cupcake. This was slightly different than other Susie Cakes cup cakes. The cake was white and the center was strawberry and crème! The frosting was white chocolate. It was soggy, in a good way, and completely melted in my mouth. Definitely worth trying if you like cup cakes, Susie Cakes, or strawberries. Cup cakes like this should be mandatory for apartment hunters!

What are your apartment must haves?

Getting Ready for San Diego

For the first time in my life I’m packing more socks for a trip than I am shoes. I have more “things” than I have tops and bottoms. I’m packing snacks. OK, so I always pack snacks. That isn’t so different but I am packing some serious Gu.

Seriously, how do I know which pair of running socks I’m going to want on Sunday? Clearly they all need to make the trip. I’m still working on my playlist for the race and I will post it in my recap. I also am packing copious amounts of body glide because chafing is bad.

LCCDad arrived today and I met up with him after work for cocktails poolside at the W and an amazing dinner at Pecorino in Brentwood. Oh my goodness it was good. I had a grilled eggplant appetizer, pappadelle with fava beans and pesto for an entrée (the same that I had over spring break) and pear gratin for dessert. It was fantastic! Didn’t blog because I was catching up with my Dad and didn’t want to feel like I was working (plus I have an insane blog backlog right now).

LCCDad brought me a little something which I know LCCMom had a hand in picking out…

A running hat and a running watch! Pretty much the best gift ever. I need the hat to keep the sun off my face while running. The California sun is hot and this hat will prevent sunburn and wick sweat. I have never run with any kind of watch and I don’t plan to wear it for the half. Running with something new seems like asking for painful chafing but I will need this for marathon training. The watch is small and it will be nice to finally be able to track my runs. You can also see my packing list, which has pretty much every possible item I could even possibly need to run. Running takes so much more than just clothing and shoes.

Tomorrow morning I head out with my Dad for the drive south. We will probably meander down the coast, drop in at the expo and then pool hang in the afternoon. We’re staying at the Coronado which should be beautiful! I can’t believe I’m running another half marathon in 48 hours. Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you!

In the meantime, if you want to read about my training and race goals, click here!

Lemonade: Brentwood

This little vacation of mine has been perfectly timed! I saw a tweet on Tuesday night that Lemonade in Brentwood would be opening for lunch on Wednesday. Because I had the day off I decided to check it out!

Lemonade has several outposts in LA including in Downtown, Venice and West Hollywood. Yesterday they opened one in Brentwood (which is super close to where I live, very conveniently located). The concept behind Lemonade is that the food should be delicious, simple, and is served cafeteria style. It’s like a grown up lemonade stand! This has been on my to dine list for a while and I was so excited to check it out on opening day!

Loved the décor. Super clean, white and crisp. I got there around 1 and they were busy but I was able to get a great table. Before I sat down I went to the counter and picked my meals. Lemonade serves a combination of salads, proteins, soups, entrees, and sandwiches. Because it was my first visit I tried 1/2 portions of several salads and one of the proteins.

I have to give credit to the staff at Brentwood Lemonade. They were fantastic! They had great recommendations, made sure that I knew what I was doing because it was my first visit and were very attentive and chatty after I sat down. They made my dining experience wonderful.

This was my plate:

4 salads:

  • Brussels sprouts, shaved parmesan and balsamic
  • Drunken soy chicken, soba noodles, peanut, creamy sesame
  • Sweet potato and pistachio
  • Roasted parsnips, rosemary red onion, honey and blue cheese

Plus 1 protein

  • Seared Ahi Tuna with a crushed orange ponzu (in the middle)

All of the food was delicious. I love the idea of being able to split portions and try different things. The sweet potatoes and the drunken chicken were my favorite but they were all tasty.

Obviously, Lemonade serves several types of Lemonade. My server recommended watermelon rosemary and who am I to argue with a tasty sounding recommendation?

Holy yum. This might be my favorite lemonade, ever. It was crisp and not too sweet. Plus the rosemary flavor gave it a little something extra. Normally I am a black, unsweetened iced tea girl but this drink is the exception to my rule (bonus points if you get the movie reference).

As usual, I couldn’t resist getting dessert. I opted for the peanut butter milk chocolate crunch bar.

Can you blame me? The peanut butter was creamy, the rice krispy was, ah, crispy (?) and the chocolate smoothed the whole thing out. I only ate half while I was at lunch because I was so full! There were so many other treats that I want to try soon.

Overall, I am glad Lemonade has moved into my hood. The staff was friendly and the food was delicious with plenty of variety. This is definitely going to be one of my go to places in the future.

Vay-cay!

Fact: everything is better when you’re on vacation.

After having two majorly lazy days (and when I say lazy I mean literally not leaving the couch until 1 pm) I woke up today ready for action. I decided to indulge in some of my favorite things: the farmers market, running, coffee, and the Sunday paper.

In my opinion, there is only one paper on Sundays:

Cover to cover, this is my favorite thing ever. I have a method: I always start with the Style section, move to the front page, and then read Week in Review before reading anything that is especially interesting. Then I wrap up with everything else. And I when I say I read everything, I mean everything. I might not closely read the whole thing but I make sure the scan every page. You never know what you’re going to find.

Today this was interesting and in a section of the paper I generally barely touch:

An article about food products claiming health benefits and, legally, what they can claim or not claim. It bothers me when products claim to be very healthy when really it’s just more processed crap. Unprocessed food all the way! It made me think I should take food law.

In that spirit I hit the farmers market. I didn’t go last week and in the week since I last went it seems like the market has totally blossomed!

Beans and peas are in season.

Beets are still around, at a great price.

Here is something new: Apriums! That would be an apricot and a plum hybrid. I hadn’t had them before so the stand owner gave me one for free. The one I got was a bit too ripe (if that is possible). I loved the flavor but the consistency wasn’t my thing. If you live in So Cal snap these up fast, they’re only going to be in season for a few weeks.

The strawberries were amazing today! I didn’t buy any but I indulged in a liberal number of samples. Cherries are also in season finally and I did end up buying some. I even broke my own rule and bought something because the sheer size was impressive. Let’s just say I’ll be putting fresh dill into everything I make this week. I had a long list because I have a ton of awesome meals planned for this week. I cleaned out my fridge yesterday and went on an epic shopping trip to Whole Foods. Vacation means that I’m going to get back into blogging with a vengeance. Let’s just say the Flour Cookbook is going to be making repeat appearances this week! Chocolate Chip macaroons: it’s happening.

Now that I’m getting back into my blogging groove are there any special requests for what you’d like to see on the blog? I’m open to suggestions for restaurants, recipes etc. You name it, I’ll try it!

Things to be Thankful For

Hey Blog World! Today was a good day. I have had such high energy this week and today I was reflecting on all the wonder things I have to be thankful for.

For example: I have great friends, I can run 10 miles and will soon be a half marathoner, I get to study race at a top institution with a one of the kind program, I can and do make choices to make myself happier everyday, I help those around me, and I get to blog for fun. How lucky am I and how is this my life? Things always turn out so much cooler than I could have ever imagined.

And on top of that I sorted out my situation for next summer and took a job offer. Wahoo! This demands a celebration so I went to Susie Cakes (obviously).

Seasonal Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

Soft and moist, with light seasoning. The cream cheese wasn’t heavy at all. Simply delicious. The best celebration treat ever!

I might have gotten a cookie for lunch tomorrow to. So shoot me.

Its just too cute.

So you’ve had a cupcake treat, what are you going to make for dinner? Answer: a creation from the brand new, yet to be released Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. This book is completely vegan and emphasizes local, pure food. What do I mean by pure? No preservatives. While I am not vegan I do eat mostly local (all local produce) and eliminated almost all preservatives from my diet in order to lose weight and fuel my runner’s body.

I used the pasta that I had, cut down the recipe, and substituted some major ingredients but I kept it vegan and let me tell you: best white wine sauce ever! In the past when I made white wine sauce I’ve use butter. Let me tell you, this is better. Did I just say better than butter? Why yes I did.

I don’t want to post the recipe because this book literally just came out. Buy it here! I will say that the sauce had grape seed oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, spinach (swapped with arugula), white wine, and vegetable stock. I wouldn’t have thought about the veggie stock but it was a great addition and gave the sauce a lot of flavor.

So the deal with the pasta: I didn’t have spaghetti. It ended up being a mash up of whatever I had left over but I think it looked pretty good.

As I mentioned above, this white wine sauce was better than the sauce I made in the past with butter. I am still in disbelief and will most definitely be making more from this book. If you are a vegan or just want to eat delicious wholesome food you should get this cookbook. There is tons of basic information about healthy eating and living a more healthy lifestyle. Left Coast Approved!