Labor of Love

We’re back in the tundra!

“Tundra” meaning New York, meaning below freezing temperatures, meaning I’ve been warming up by standing next to the crock pot and wrapping my face in laundry straight out of the dryer.

Florida has made me soft.

Fortunately, we had smooth travels on both the auto train (a train running between Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL both ways that takes you and your car!) and on the drive back home from the train station. The auto train had some snazzy food for dinner that was quite impressive. Mom and I both tried their salmon with pesto, rice pilaf, and steamed veggies.

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Not the least bit shabby for train food, I’d say!

On our drive back to New York from the train station in Virginia, we stopped by Woody’s Crab House for some crab cakes. We were in Maryland, so why not? These were some fantastic crab cakes too!

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shared house salad to start

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my crab cake sandwich with coleslaw and steamed veggies // mom’s two crab cakes with sweet potato fries and corn on the cob

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she wanted me to take a picture of the copious amount of lump crab meat in those cakes

We picked off each other’s plates (I helped her out a good bit with those sweet taters) and agreed that the crab cakes were phenomenal. It was worth going backwards 10 miles to this place just because Yelp told us it had stellar reviews. The labor of love for good food.

Speaking of a labor of love, we are also willing to go the distance to get a sweet taste of one of the most time-consuming fruits out there.

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massacre

Pomegranate! It takes a good 10-20 minutes to get all the arils out of that sucker, while it takes only 10 minutes to consume all of it if we really wanted to. Especially when you eat it with a spoon like my dad and me.

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But after my moves last night, which consisted of this cute (yet challenging) gymnastics core routine and the 500 rep workout from Purely Twins, I went for a more classy route of eating the rubies I harvested.

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atop plain Greek yogurt sweetened with cherry vanilla stevia + BelVita biscuits for dippin’!

My friends and I always used to call pomegranate arils juicy little explosions of flavor. If you have never tried pomegranate, you must experience the tiny yet amazing explosion! Even if it means taking every single aril out of the rind. Or just buying pre-harvested arils.

P.S. we’ve already finished that whole pomegranate.

Breakfast this morning was a delicious “dough boy” smoothie inspired by Kath Eats!

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Last night I combined the following ingredients in a blender (just stirred them, not blended) and let them sit overnight in the fridge.

  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1/2 c. quick oats (regular rolled oats would work too)
  • 1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 heaping tbsp. peanut butter
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

This morning I added another 1/4 cup or so of almond milk and then blended it all up! The result is a thick, doughy, creamy smoothie that will make you smile. Unless you don’t like happiness in a mug.

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topped with cereal (times five) for crunch and eaten with a spoon!

I came to the realization that I want to make so many breakfast recipes before going back to college on Friday that I might just have breakfast for every meal of the day. #WinterBreakBreakfastMission isn’t over ’til it’s over.

I am currently blogging from my parents’ desktop computer because my laptop froze last night and will not start up, even after letting it load up throughout the whole night. I might have to take it to the Mac Store if it doesn’t cooperate. Meep.

Have a splendid day, folks! Here’s an awesome list of 25 ways to stop feeling overwhelmed and overworked, which is something we all need in life, especially as we get back into our working routines.

So tell me:

Is there a food for which you are willing to make a “labor of love”?

Do you like pomegranate?

Have you ever tried an overnight smoothie?

What are you doing today!?

I am going to pick up a new graphing calculator (my previous one got soaked in my backpack when it rained in Boston…I’m having the best luck with technology recently), pack and prepare for going back to school, work out, and see Daliza tonight!

My First Spa Day

All good things must come to an end!

That’s been our motto for the past couple of days as everyone staying at our Florida home has been going back to their real homes for work and school. Mom and I were the last two left, so we spent Saturday cleaning and packing up the house and all our belongings. Despite “closing up shop”, it’s been an awesome (and super long) vacation, so there is absolutely nothing to be sad about.

Friday

Especially when you end the vacation with a spa day! This was my first spa day since I’m eighteen years old now. All my little girl dreams came true.

Pre-spa breakfast was avocado toast with a dippy egg and a banana on the side.

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We went to the Ritz Carlton spa for the day (ooh la la, I know), and the staff was incredibly kind (like, sometimes I was uncomfortable with how nice they were). They even allowed my day at the spa to be free of charge since my mom and aunt were both paying for day passes and facials.

Four thumbs up for customer service (I’m counting my toe thumbs)!!

Our spa day started with moves at the fitness center. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill and then completed Hillary’s arm and ab superset workout with 10-20 burpees after each superset instead of kettlebell swings.

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Thanks for creeping on me during my workout, Madre 

I was feelin’ weeeeak by the end of my workout, so a nourishing lunch afterwards was just perfect.

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“Bento box” with seared ahi tuna, mixed greens, three bean salad, and farro salad

I savored every last bite of this plate since it was all so delicious and fresh. The price was also great for all this food (look at all that tuna)!

Following lunch, we showered in the snazzy spa showers, put on the classic white robes, and then chillaxed.

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You bet I had some of those yogurt pretzels

I attempted to go into the sauna, but I only stayed for 5 minutes because I felt like a baking cookie. And the steam room…lasted 5 seconds. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t breathe. Nuhthanks.

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The jacuzzi on the other hand…

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…yeah I could do that. I’m such a juvenile.

I spent my time in the jacuzzi for a bit, but I dried off and headed back to the empty studio in the fitness center to stretch while my mom and aunt were getting their faces lathered and massaged. I also kept snacking on the complimentary apples and snack mix, as well as the infused water. Alllllll the day. Strawberry-infused water was my favorite!

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I had a wonderful stretching session by my lonesome, and I even did a tiny bit of ballet at the barre. Oh how I miss it!

Is it sad that I was sore from stretching the next day? I guess I deprived my muscles of oxygen for a little too long during my deep stretches (after not having stretched in forever).

Eventually, our rejuvenating spa day came to an end. (Not that I really needed rejuvenation after a two-week vacation in Florida…) We later joined the dudes for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant.

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Rice vermicelli with grilled shrimp and abundant herbs and veggies

Then we went home for ice cream to balance out all the greens eaten throughout the day. 😉

Saturday

Florida was super chilly (by Florida standards), so hot oats hit the spot for breakfast!

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½ c. quick oats cooked in ½ c. water and ½ c. 2% milk // half a sliced banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, vanilla protein powder, pinch of salt stirred in // glob of peanut butter on top

As I mentioned at the top of this post, mom and I spent the day cleaning and packing while also dropping off family members at the airport for their respective flights. We did take a shopping break at TJMaxx in the late morning though!

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I’m season-confused. I got a sweater and three pairs of shorts, and I’m going back to single-digit temperatures in Boston. Spring will come soon enough, right?

A clean-out-the-fridge lunch was in order that afternoon: avocado toast with our last egg + practically half a box of spinach with tons of feta cheese. Plus an unpictured clementine and a million veggie straws aka one of the most addicting snacks out there.

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Oh my goodness, too many leaves in my stomach. But I enjoyed this simple lunch nonetheless!

After a long day of cleaning (and church in the evening), Madre offered to take me out to dinner at Seasons 52, a restaurant we had both been wanting to try for a while. I gratefully agreed!

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To start: grilled chicken pesto flatbread

The flatbread was to die for. Everything was packed with flavor but not too salty— a balance that is hard to come by!

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Mom’s order: pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash and roasted vegetables

She shared a good hunk of pork tenderloin with me, and mannnn was it delicious. I think I closed my eyes at one point as I savored the tender, flavorful piece of meat. Dishes like these prevent me from becoming a vegetarian.

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My order: “Winter Vegetable Tasting” that included citrus farro quinoa salad, a black bean & veggie soft taco, roasted golden beets, broccoli rabe, and grilled tofu with fruit salsa

There was not a thing on this plate that we didn’t enjoy! The citrus farro quinoa salad was our favorite though. We must re-create it at home!

I totally saved room for dessert, since we kept seeing waiters and waitresses walk around to other tables with plates of dessert shots.

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They brought out an assortment of mini desserts in shot glasses from which you could choose. If I remember correctly, they had: carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter mousse, pecan pie, s’mores, caramel macchiato, strawberry cannoli, key lime pie, blueberry lemon custard, and raspberry brownie.

Talk about tough life choices.

Without much hesitation, I chose the carrot cake, and mom chose the raspberry brownie. I ended up eating all of mine and most of hers. They were mini, so it’s a little more acceptable to eat 1.5 desserts, yes?

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Thanks for the fabulous dinner, Madre!

Sunday

Since we went to church on Saturday evening, mom and I got to sleep in before doing some last minute cleaning of the house.

I was also able to squeeze in some moves outside as it started to drizzle a bit: 5 minute jump rope warmup + Purely Twins’ crazy burpee leg workout (loved this!!!) + 8 minute ab tabata.

The ab tabata was 4 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest of weighted Russian twists, modified V-ups, crossover knee to elbow planks, and spiderman planks.

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I washed that shirt before wearing it again, promise.

As always, a day of travel calls for overnight oats!

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Now we’re en route to New York, but this time we’re taking the auto train rather than road tripping like we did on our way down to Florida. There’s snow in the northeast and I’m not sure if our bodies are ready for the temperature shock.

I’ve obviously been spoiled silly on this vacation, but I am looking forward to school, schedules, and just feeling productive. Nevertheless, I am beyond thankful for the family time and amazing experiences we’ve had in Florida!

P.S. I used so many parentheses in this post. Sorry, I love asides apparently.

So tell me:

Have you ever had a spa day?

Have you ever gotten sore from stretching? Please say yes.

What is your favorite cold-weather food?

Which of the dessert shots would you choose?

Italian Food and Soccer

Hi!

My mom, Daliza, and I are currently Florida-bound! My dad is joining us at the end of the week, but we’ve been traveling a couple days via auto train, which is basically the coolest form of transportation on the east coast (it transports you AND your car!). They also feed you, and we all know how much I would appreciate that.

Daliza and I did some fun activities with our friends before saying farewell to New York for three weeks though!

On Friday night, my parents, Daliza, Jordan, Michael, and I (after prom crew!) went to La Festa Italiana at a local church. It was a cute little carnival with games, fantastic Italian food, and fun music. My parents were burning up the dance floor the whole night while I pretended I didn’t know them…. Just kidding, they’re actually fabulous ballroom dancers, and they looked so adorable!

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We didn’t win anything at all.

  The best part was definitely the food (you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?). I actually had my mind set on the meatball wedge alllll day long.

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Craving satisfied.

Except Jordan and Michael kept staring at me while I was eating it, which made me quite uncomfortable because I probably looked like a barbarian trying to fit the huge, saucy, meaty sandwich in my mouth. Thanks, dudes. ‘Preciate it.

It was obligatory to get some sort of Italian dessert too:

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Lemon Italian ice, baby!….

…followed by a food baby.

On Saturday the four of us played soccer along with Daliza’s cousins. I should say that they played soccer, and I was a disgrace. I don’t play soccer (I wish I could!), so it was a big mistake whenever my teammates passed the ball to me. The only thing I was good at was running to get the ball whenever I kicked it out of bounds.

Hey, I was giving 60% effort, 4000% of the time (<— such a funny video).

Nevertheless, it was a really fun time! It was also pretty dang hot, so we cooled off with ice cream at Baskin Robbins afterwards. Ice cream #becausefutbol.

And now, we start our adventure in Florida! I’ll be updating you all as much as I can while we’re there! Daliza and I are as stoked as two little girls going to Disney for the first time. Well, I’m excited to go to Publix Supermarket. 😉

Have a fantastic day, everyone!

So tell me:

Which Italian food do you crave?

Are you good at soccer?