Monday, August 30, 2010

Afternoon Arugula Salad

I never really had the intention of posting meals that I have throughout the course of my day, but I feel so strongly about this salad that I need everyone to know about it!

My love for arugula has grown over the past few months, and I've created this salad around that love. This salad is almost too easy to make and can be switched up to suit your individual taste pallet.

All you need is:
  • Arugula (I like this leaf because it has a distinct taste and goes great with the other ingredients)
  • Craisins (If you haven't had these yet, try them. You will love them)
  • Walnuts (Because everyone loves nuts in their salad)
  • Cheese (I usually use fresh mozzarella, but today I had leftover goat cheese so I used that, and feta works just as well!)


Red Onion
Olives? (I'm not a fan, but if you like them, more power to ya)

I never measure out the ingredients for this salad. I feel that the amounts of each you use depends on how much you like each ingredient. So just start tossing some of each on a plate, you'll know when enough is enough :)

Dress it up

Because this salad is so refreshing and light, I never like to use a heavy, creamy dressing. I usually use oil and vinegar, but I ran out of vinegar, so I replaced it with this awesome balsamic I had in the cabinet. It's actually a Vanilla Fig Balsamic, and I suggest everyone go out and buy it now! I know it may sound odd to some people, but I actually got this at Marshalls for $5.99. My uncle, a restaurant owner in Florida, told me to buy it, and I am so glad I did. The flavor of this balsamic is sweet with a little bite to it. Paired with oil to calm it down a bit, it's perfect over this salad.

So there you have it, my favorite salad of all time. I hope everyone likes it just as much as I do! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

(Beautiful) Wordless Wednesday

Now isn't this beautiful...

Outer Banks, Duck, North Carolina

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Run Like a Diva

Monday night while at work at the restaurant, a co-worker of mine mentioned a half marathon that she will be taking part in in October. She also "mentioned" that I should run it with her...

I've been talking to Kelly, a young 31 year old (I still don't believe her), for about a month now about our exercise regiments, and she seems to have the same mindset as me: exercise is healthy, soothing, and most of all - vital. We both belong to gyms, have done exercise classes, and can't imagine a workout without a good sweat.

So when Kelly told me about the Diva Half Marathon in Long Island in October, I eagerly said yes! Not knowing what the Diva's Half Marathon was really about, I turned to the handy-dandy Internet to find out.

The Diva's Half Marathon (and girl's 5K) is held by Continental Events and Sports Management and is being held in Long Island, NY on October 3rd of this year. "Run Like a Diva" is their slogan, and that is exactly what they want you to do. The Diva's Half Marathon is not a charity event, but more just a "yay women!" run. Here are the highlights:

So after reading about this half marathon and looking over the highlights, I'm in! Boutiques, feather boas and tiaras, roses, champagne, and a hunk to meet me at the finish line... tell me ladies, could it get better?!

Mind you,
I have never ran a half marathon, and I am not, whatsoever, a long distance runner. But for me, this is a challenge I want to put my mind and body towards (plus, I think I get a car magnet for bragging rights! hehe.)

It's only Thursday, and the thought of running 13.1 miles all at once has been occupying my brain every second of every day. Can I do it? Can my body do it? Do I have enough time to train for something like this? WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!

(Deep breaths, Sammy...)

Kelly and I are in the same boat (sigh of relief). She's not doing this for time, nor has she ever ran a half marathon. She's training at the same level as me, and she has confidence that she can do this.

Confidence. Confidence. That word holds a lot of meaning. I hate to get all sentimental on you people, but in all seriousness, that is what's holding me back from truly believing that I can do this. So right now, I am stopping self-doubt, and Kelly, I will run to that finish line with you and claim my hunk and glass of champagne! note: Chris, you know you're my only hunk ;)

I'm psyched about this. If not for anything else, I want to prove to myself and my body that I can do this. Stay tuned for tips and on how my training it going!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday!

So this is my first wordless Wednesday (woohoo!) and I've thought all day about what image I could put here. With very little time left in Wednesday, I found the perfect photo that I needed to share:

I know this is a little off topic from what I usually write about, but this scarf is so beautiful, I just had to put it up here. Check out the link to find out more about Betsie Withey, the creator of this and other fiber art designs. (I know I'm not abiding by the "wordless" rules, but I'll get better at that with time.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Restaurant Review: Cafetasia

Cafetasia on Urbanspoon


So I haven’t yet mentioned how much I love Groupon. I LOVE GROUPON. There it is people, my true feelings about the group-coupon website. Groupon (because not many people actually know what it is) is a website that features daily deals on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in a variety of cities across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. You buy what is basically a gift certificate, for a percentage off the actual amount of the gift certificate. Follow?

My boyfriend and I receive daily emails for the New York and North Jersey Groupons, and came across a restaurant that sounded quite appetizing, so we bought the Groupon. Chris (the boyfriend) paid $15 for $30 worth of food and drink at Cafetasia in Greenwich Village, NYC. So we received 50% off the actual amount we got.

I could honestly write an entire blog post on how great Groupon is, especially if you want to try out new places without spending a boatload. But this post is about our Cafetasia experience.


Cafetasia is located on East 8th Street, near NYU and Broadway. The dimmed lights and sleek ambience gave off a young, hip vibe. Mirrors lined the walls and tall taper candles decorated the thick wooden tables. The middle of the restaurant held long wooden tables and benches, where couples or groups would sit comfortably next to each other. The tables lining the walls were single tables, holding parties of two, but very close to one another. Cafetasia combined cafeteria style seating with an NYC attitude.

Chris and I arrived around 6:30pm, just in time for happy hour! While we should have been armed with our printed out Groupon, we weren’t, because Chris forgot it at his office (looks like we’ll just have to go back!). Unfortunately, neither of us own an iPhone, so we couldn’t just show the purchased Groupon on our phone. (Groupon has an application for iPhone, so you can just bring the Groupon up on the phone and they can scan it right there and then. For those of you who don’t own an iPhone, like Chris and I, you have to do it the old fashion way, print it out.)

So Chris and I were seated and greeted by our server. The service was decent. Waters were brought to us without asking and dishes were cleared away when appropriate. We ordered drinks off the happy hour menu (which, unfortunately, Groupons are usually not applicable for). I ordered a Mai Tai at $4 and Chris ordered a bottle of Amstel Light at $3. Happy hour was only until 7, but the drink prices were good. We were also able to order off of the happy hour dinner menu which was a fabulous deal. An appetizer, entrée, and beer, wine, soda, or tea all for $10! Of course the happy hour menu was limited, but it still consisted of popular menu foods.


I ordered Gyoza as an appetizer, grill salmon topped with 3 flavor sauce served with mix vegetables as my entrée, and a glass of merlot as my drink. Chris had fried calamari as an app, pad thai as his entrée, and a draft of Brooklyn lager as his beverage.


My gyoza was yummy. It wasn’t like any other gyoza I’ve ever had though. This seemed to be fried or baked because it had a somewhat crunchy, thick shell and was filled with a dark meat (probably pork). Three of these dumplings were served over soy sauce.

I thought it was kind of strange that Chris would order fried calamari at an Asian restaurant, but boy did they do that calamari right! It was crisp and crunchy, laid over lettuce, sided with a spoon full of green sauce with a dab of red in the middle. To be totally honest, I have no idea what the sauce consisted of. To us, it tasted like a combination of honey mustard and duck sauce; but it was green! (If anyone has any idea of what it could be, please, enlighten me!) Whatever it was, it was delicious.


When my meal came out, it looked delicious, I just wish I could say it tasted as delicious. I am in no way a picky eater, but this salmon was just so… bland. The 3 flavor sauce seemed to be a combination of sweet chili sauce, hot sauce, and another ingredient I can’t seem to put my finger on. The vegetables were nothing special, and the rice was simply white, which I guess was used to soak up some of the sauce. The salmon was cooked well, maybe even a little overdone. Chris had a taste and said it tasted like dish soap. I’m not quite sure that was the other ingredient, but it did have a little bit of a weird taste to it. I’d stray from the salmon and 3 flavor sauce.

Chris’s pad thai on the other hand was excellent. Traditional chicken pad thai done right. The noodles were soft, the sauce was just right, and that peanut-y flavor stood out fabulously. We both thoroughly enjoyed this meal.

All in All...
our Cafetasia experience was refreshing. The chic ambiance, good location, great prices, unique food, and tropical selection of drinks will definitely bring us back.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Endorphins: c’mon be happy

It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I really started to love exercising. And right around 18, I really started to love cooking and baking. Throughout my youth, I was an avid cheerleader and I played the occasional rec softball and soccer (which helped me learn early on, I was just not athletic). I was lanky as a kid, and even well into high school I was a mere 100 pounds. I straight-up lacked athleticism. In high school I continued with the cheerleading and decided to join the lacrosse team. Needless to say, lacrosse and I did not mix. I stopped that after only a year and half because I absolutely dreaded running. And that my friends, is a complete 180 from where I am now.

I loveeee to run. I love to sweat, I love to put on my new Nike sneakers (which I’m sure I’ll blog about in the future), my gym clothes, and just run. Running is my remedy. It took me a while to figure out that running wasn’t a chore, or a demand like it was at practice. Running is now relaxing, a time for me to forget about all the other stuff in my life.

And I won’t lie -- there are times when the thought of running is absolutely dreadful. And I do have my days that I would just rather lay on the couch for hours eating a pint of ice cream. But I’ve come to realize (and studies prove) that running helps me snap out of those dreary moods.

It all comes down to endorphins (which come from the words "endogenous + morphine."): powerful, hormone-like chemicals produced in the brain, and released during such activates as laughing, eating chocolate, sex, and exercise.


When thinking of exercise, endorphins are mostly linked to running, however they are produced during other various aerobic activities. Endorphins help increase pleasure, reduce physical and mental pain, improve your mood, and make you feel better overall. They are also known to boost the immune system, reduce stress, and postpone the aging process.

Endorphins are also linked to the so-called “runner’s high” felt after continuous exercise. A runner’s high lets your mind take over, while your feet are still moving one in front of the other. Endorphins hit a certain point in your workout that make you feel, well, high. Most of the time, this runner's high is felt after an extensively long run, 20 miles sometimes. But don't sweat it! Endorphins are produced even during a 45 minutes walk.

Personally, a 2-3 mile run around a lake will instantly boost my energy level and mood. I don't think I've ever experienced this sought after runner's high, but I have experienced times during my runs where I feel like I could run forever.

The amount of endorphins released is different for everyone, and the feeling varies between each individual. But universally, when the feeling of sheer contentment kicks in, we can be sure to thank endorphins. (I think Forrest Gump was a very happy man)