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Zucchini Noodles- Italian Style

Without a doubt I’m now on a zucchini kick, which is making me super pumped for when they begin showing up at the Union Square Farmers Market. I made some Asian zucchini noodles for my work lunch Monday and put together an Italian version for dinner tonight. The lighting isn’t beautiful, but it tasted freaking amazing!!! I could have eaten like 10 bowls, no joke. AND it was super simple- I prepared it while making tomorrow’s lunch and breakfast.

Zucchini Pasta

Start by sauteeing half a chopped onion with a bit of salt in a small saucepan. Once the onion is translucent (try not to let it brown) add a small can of plain tomato sauce. At this point you can add your favorite seasonings. I used oregano, garlic powder, a twist of pepper, and a small splash of balsamic vinegar. Now comes the hard part- let it cook for a while. The longer it simmers on the stove the more the flavors meld together and become less “sharp”. While the sauce simmered away, I sent the zucchini through my spiralizer and sliced some baby bella mushrooms. I let the zucchini chill in my serving while I tossed the mushrooms in high heat just long enough for them to get some color. Once the sauce was ready I simply added it to the zucchini and mushrooms and tossed it all together. At the end I added a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for some vitamin B action. By far one of the best dinners I’ve made in quite a while. I might even repeat this meal tomorrow for dinner. No shame.

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Asian Zucchini Noodles

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my parents sent me an awesome spiralizer for my birthday. I used it this weekend to create one of my new favorite dishes, Asian zucchini noodles!

Asian Zucchini Noodles

First, I steamed some broccoli and sauteed some scallops in a light seasoning mix I have on hand. While everything is cooking away on the stove I sent the zucchini through the spiralizer to create the long noodles. For the sauce I simply mixed miso paste, PB2, white wine vinegar, and a dash of soy sauce. A little bit of sauce goes a long way, so be careful! Once everything finished cooking, I added it to the zucchini, poured the sauce over, mixed everything around, and let it sit for a couple of hours. The secret is to let the noodles sit in the sauce for a while to soak up the flavor and become more tender. Such a healthy dish full of flavor that can be adapted to use up almost any type of veggie and protein!

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China and Peru

This weekend was filled with fun and good food. I kicked off by going trying a new kickboxing studio with a Groupon I bought a while back. The class was an hour long and really got my heart pumping. It was even more intense than the last place I tried out! After class ended I headed home to relax and unwind.

On Saturday I went to the morning kickboxing class then made one of the best lunches I’ve had in a while. More about that later, though. Later in the afternoon I met a friend in Chinatown to explore and give her a tour of the area. She had never been and was a bit wary of the restaurants, so we started off slow by visiting my favorite bakery- Lung Moon on Mulberry. We each bought angel cakes, which are so light and airy.

After our bakery visit we strolled and did some shopping. I found some new Asian markets that I will definitely be visiting again. I left with the following: 2 pounds of grapes for $2, a pound of green beans for $1, a pound of broccoli for $1, and a pack of seaweed for soup-making. I also found an awesome arrow bracelet for $5! I love haggling with the shop owners.

Since Lauren had never been to Little Italy either, we did a quick walk-through and visited some of the oldest shops and stopped at Ferrera for a peek of the Italian cookies. It was great getting to explore more of NYC with a friend. Here’s are a few of my pics; a tea shop and some giant Pocky and Panda cookies.

 

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On Sunday I woke up so incredibly sore. I guess my two kickboxing classes caught up with me. Originally, I planned on going for a short run, but since I have another kickboxing class on Monday I decided to let myself rest, especially since I planned on walking through the city again. I had lunch plans around noon, so I decided to go ahead and do my grocery shopping nice and early before the crowds hit ShopRite. Fo lunch I met a friend at Pio Pio Riko in Chelsea, a delicious Peruvian restaurant. The inside is cute, clean, and very friendly. As soon as you walk in the door they treat you to a sample of a purple corn drink that reminded us of Christmas due to notes of cinnamon. We both quickly decided to order ceviche, but wanted to be adventurous by trying the veal heart appetizer. The meat was a bit tough, but tasted very meaty just like a steak.

Pio Pio Riko- Veal Hearts

Pio Pio Riko- Ceviche

Next came the ceviche! I ordered the ceviche mixto, which contained fish, shrimp, calamari, and octopus all marinated in leche de tigre. The portion was a good size and came with the traditional boiled potato, sweet potato, and Peruvian corn. So good! Pio Pio Riko is my new favorite ceviche place.

After lunch the two of us explored Chelsea a bit and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Overall, it was a great weekend!

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Ups and Downs

The only way to truly describe this past week is “off”. Monday brought the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, which really hit me hard for a few different reasons. As a runner that often participates in races, it freaks me out and really saddens me that someone wanted to turn such a joyous, exciting event into a complete tragedy. What sickos. The bombing also meant more to me since I now live in such a big city that’s felt the effects of terrorism before. In fact, I almost cancelled my plans in the city Monday night, but thankfully stuck with my original plan. I met a friend for dinner at Diablo Royale. The restaurant was super cute and the food was pretty tasty too (a bit pricey though, even for the city). I ordered the Ensalada Grande with shrimp, but the highlight of the meal was simply being able to make more friends in my new city.

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On Tuesday I was a bit on edge because my Dad had an appointment with his doctors to finalize his treatment plan. His recovery from the craniotomy went extremely well this time, but the tumor is more aggressive than before which means treatment is the best option.

Wednesday was just….Wednesday. I worked a bit later than normal, so I missed my first softball practice but luckily the weather was beautiful.

On Thursday I was supposed to play in my first CNBC softball game, but the weather was cold, rainy, and gloomy so I skipped out and snuggled in bed instead.

Finally we get to Friday. I didn’t sleep very well the night before, so I had a major case of the blues all morning. Luckily my day turned around by the time I left the office. Oh, and working in one of the largest news studios during a national breaking news event has to be one of the most exhilarating things ever. Everyone was glued to the TVs all day (my network’s stations, of course) and the news room was a prime example of organized chaos. Freaking cool.

Also, my boss and I discussed our need to catch up soon so she planned a super fun event. Boss A, Boss B, and myself are going to take a zumba class after work at Boss A’s studio, then we’re going to have a fun dinner in Hoboken! When the work day ended I rode my shuttle to Hoboken and grabbed a snack at Love and Yogurt before my kickboxing class. It was my first time at this studio and I loved it! It was even more intense than the last place I tried- they gave me legit boxing gloves and a uniform complete with a karate-like belt. I hope I can lift my arms tomorrow for the morning class.

Fun plans are in the works for this weekend, so let’s hope I remember to take some pics.

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Cancelled Plans

Last weekend (my birthday weekend) was so much fun that it made returning to reality extremely difficult on Monday. Needless to say, I struggled. Luckily, the weather was beautiful on Monday and Tuesday (in the 70s!) so I managed to stay happy. Originally, I was supposed to have softball practice on Thursday and kickboxing on Friday, but both ended up being cancelled due to different reasons. So, this week I spent my after-work time relaxing and cooking, some of my favorite activities. In an attempt to provide some more variety in my routine I experimented with poached eggs. I’d never tried one before, so I went a bit cautious on my first try and ended up over-cooking it a bit. It still tasted great, but didn’t have that amazing saucy center that you hear people rave about. So, the next night I made my favorite stir fry with miso sauce and poached an egg to sit atop. It turned out perfectly! Delicious! I’m a fan now for sure. 

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Luckily, I was able to make some plans for Saturday so I started my day with a nice run along the river. I swear I’ll never get tired of this view. 

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After showering and getting everything organized I took the train into the city and began my day with some Chinatown exploring. I bought chopsticks, grapes (2 pounds for $1.50!), Agar Agar (for fun cooking experiments in the future), Asian bakery treats (angel cake and a melon paste pastry). Take a look at these beautiful dragon fruits! 

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Afterwards I walked to Tribeca to meet a friend for brunch at Kitchenette. Such a cute place! I ordered the Albuquerque, grilled polenta topped with eggs, jack cheese, and corn salsa. I ended up getting egg whites instead of regular eggs and I nixed the cheese. It also came with a side salad. I didn’t take a picture, but it was delicious! 

Before hopping back onto the Path for Hoboken I took the subway to Union Square to browse the farmers market. The spring produce isn’t nearly as exciting as summer produce, so I only bought an onion and kohlrabi. I also stopped by Trader Joe’s for a few things before heading back home. A fun-filled day in my favorite city! And check out these regal-looking buildings in Tribeca. There was some sort of ceremony going on in front of one of them, but I had no idea what it was. 

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22

On Friday I celebrated my 22nd birthday. The day started with a free cup of Starbucks coffee, which is always a happy thing. Then at work my coworkers ordered lunch from my favorite place, Cassie’s, and I pigged out on the delicious chopped salad. Overall it was a good day at work- busy, yet I had time to go to the gym for a nice work out. After work I took the train to Holmdel to spend the weekend with my cousins. They took me out to one of my favorite diners, Park Place, on my birthday where I ordered an egg white omelet with shiitake mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and onion. Delicious! Of course I had to order a slice of cake to share with the table!

 

 

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On Saturday morning Richie and I went for a long run to the park and ended up with a total of 8 miles! I definitely didn’t plan on running that far, but felt great the whole way. Although I have to confess I definitely tripped and fell flat on my face on one of the trails. Typical. Luckily the fall only left me with a scratched knee and hip, so I hopped right back up.

After showering and eating lunch I finally got my hair cut. Going to the salon has to be one of the best things ever. My hair feels so much healthier now! As soon as I got back home we prepped food for the family birthday party and headed to my other aunt’s house for the celebration. There were 6 birthdays in the last 1.5 weeks, so we used it as an excuse to get together. The food was delicious and I absolutely love being surrounded by my family. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much! For dessert each birthday “kid” got their own cake and got serenaded by the family’s rendition of “Happy Birthday”. My cake was angel food with strawberries on top- delicious! I could have eaten the whole thing!

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This morning I took the train back to Hoboken and am prepping for the week. I’m not ready for the weekend to end yet!

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Easter Creations

So, I spent last Saturday in the kitchen baking and cooking for Easter dinner. Here’s what I made: 

Light spinach, onion, and tomato quiche with a potato crust

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Sugar Cookie Blossoms

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Lemon Bars

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I also made a big loaf of banana bread, but it somehow escaped my camera. The recipes were all inspired by the links on my previous post, so check ’em out! 

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