Monthly Archives: December 2011

On the Eve of New Year’s Eve

Since Jason has to work until 11:30pm tonight, we decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve last night by going out to dinner and then getting a few after dinner drinks. I knew that I wanted to go out in Decatur and a quick Yelp search told me that there was a new restaurant that sounded good – Harbor Bar and Fish House.

Unfortunately, this restaurant is in a sort of doomed location. Isn’t that weird how that happens in every city? There will be locations that restaurants just can’t stay open in. This space is cool, it’s an old house, but in the past maybe 5-7 years it’s been an ice cream shop, a Mexican restaurant and I think something else. I didn’t even know that it had been changed into a seafood restaurant. Nevertheless, we decided to give it a try.

Sorry for the terrible photos. I don’t know how to shoot pictures in a restaurant without using the flash or bumping up the ISO until they look incredibly grainy, which is what I did here with my point and shoot.

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Jason started out with oysters. I don’t like oysters but I tried one to make sure. Yep, still don’t like them. I don’t particularly like them cooked either.

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For my meal, I had the Thai Shrimp Salad. It was huge and came with eight pieces of shrimp. Nice.

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While the food was good, our only problem with this restaurant was that they didn’t really have a lot of grilled seafood and what they did have was on the expensive side. All in all, a decent choice though.

After dinner, we decided to stay out and have a few drinks. We walked over to Mac Mcgee’s on the Decatur Square where some friends joined us.

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I texted Alayna to see if she and Jeff wanted to join us since they live in Decatur and like to go to a lot of the same places that we do. Turns out they were on their way out the door to go to a different bar, so they changed their plans and met us instead.

I had three drinks at Mac Mcgee’s before calling it quits. Not exactly as wild and crazy as some of my New Year’s Eves in years past, but just as fun.

Nike Workout App

My original plan was to take advantage of the temperatures in the mid 50s this afternoon and go for a run. My original plan did not happen. I was in a pissy mood all day. Partially because I ordered some jeans online that arrived and were a tad too small but mostly because I was bored and frustrated that there were no new job postings all week. So, instead of running, which probably would have made me feel better, I took a nap.

By this time I woke up and took Murphy for a walk, it was around 5 and getting dark out. I knew that the gym would be crowded and didn’t want to deal with that, so I decided to work out in my basement instead. A few weeks ago, Jen told me about this free Nike Workout app. I’ve used it twice and it’s really cool.

The app has a bunch of different workouts categorized into four different goals – get lean which is high interval cardio drills, get toned with is light weights and intervals, get strong which is increased weights and reps and get focused which is shorter workouts that target specific areas.

Once you pick your goal, you choose from beginner, intermediate or advanced and then from six different workouts, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. I chose the Fire Drill workout from the intermediate Get Lean category.

The workout was 45 minutes long and had three circuits doing the following (after a warmup):

• alternating medicine ball push up – 1 minute
• squat arm curls – 2 minutes
• ski jumps – 1 minute
• squat jumps – 30 seconds
• split jumps – 1 minute
• plank – 30 seconds
• recover – 1 minute
• two feet lateral hops distance – 1 minute
• russian twists – 1 minute
• froggers – 30 seconds (these were hard!)
• tuck jumps – 30 seconds
• bicycles – 1 minute

The great thing about this app is that you can listen to music while you do it. A voice will come on over your music and tell you when it’s time to change exercises or any other directions you need to know. The phone displays a timer which tells you how long you have left of the entire workout and of each specific move. If you don’t know how to do a certain move (I had no idea what a frogger was!), there is a video that you can play when each new move comes up.

This was not easy. I felt like I was going to pass out by the end and I think I’m in okay shape. Whew. I worked up an appetite though and dinner did not disappoint. I went into my recipes folder on my desktop and picked out Sweet Pepper Curry with Tofu.

I make curry on a pretty regular basis and like to try out different recipes. This one was pretty easy. You start off sauteing some tofu and pepper in olive oil.

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Then you add some spices.

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And add the coconut milk and let it simmer for a while.

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Finally, serve over a bed of rice. I realized when I typed this that I forgot to use the lime and cilantro. Oops. It was good anyway.

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Do you use workout apps? Any recommendations for me?

Drinkable

Today’s eats have been mostly of the liquid variety. And I’m not talking alcohol, although that would have made for an interesting (albeit regrettable) Wednesday, I guess.

I started my morning off with a cup of coffee. I didn’t even really drink coffee until last year. We used to have Starbucks runs at work which got me started and then when I gave up Diet Coke (confession – I’ve had one here and there since then), I needed an alternate source of caffeine.

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I used to drink my coffee with my breakfast, but since I’m between jobs and have no place to be, I’ve been making the whole thing a more leisurely affair. Yes, I just said leisurely affair which sounds ridiculous, but I can’t think of another word that goes with leisurely that conveys the same point. Anyway, so I’ve been drinking my coffee and chilling for a while before even thinking about breakfast.

I normally have eggs or sometimes yogurt, but today I decided to put the Vitamix to the test and make a smoothie.

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We’ll pretend it’s that color because it’s chocolate. I’m normally not a big smoothie person, primarily because my old blender sucked and I would find large pieces of ice in my drink. But also because they are never very filling to me. The Vitamix solved the ice chunk problem, but I was hungry an hour later. I should have put some protein powder in there at least. Coconut milk, mixed fruit, banana and a little bit of spinach does not equal a filling meal.

Lunch today was the third drinkable thing that I had. It’s been pretty cold here in Atlanta and one of my favorite things to eat in the cold weather is soup. Soup is one of my favorite things to eat in any sort of weather to be honest, but it’s especially nice in the cold. For some reason, Jason prefers canned soups (what?), so I like to make homemade soups on days when I’m fending for myself. I was smart this time and scaled down the Pickle Soup recipe to two servings.

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Yes, that soup had pickles in it and yes, it was awesome. It tasted like a lentil soup with just a hint of pickley goodness.

Maybe I should have a cup of hot chocolate for dessert, you know to continue the drinkable theme. Dinner, by the way, was not drinkable, hence the reason it’s not mentioned.

Early Resolutions

I have a confession: I really like New Year’s resolutions. I know that if you want to change something in your life, there’s no time like the present and January 1st really is just an arbitrary date, but there’s something about a new year, with it’s totally blank slate, that appeals to me.

If you read a lot of blogs, you’ll probably be annoyed with posts about resolutions come this time next week. That’s why I thought I’d get a little bit ahead of the game and post mine now. Normally, my resolutions have to do with workouts, weight loss or cooking and while I do want to set goals in those areas for the upcoming year, I wanted to make some resolutions that have absolutely nothing to do with health too. Though being healthy (eating well, running, etc) plays a big part in my life, it’s not the only part of it.

1. Keep the house cleaner. This is something that Jason and I have always really struggled with. I probably make this a resolution each year and don’t really keep up with it, but our house has started to really come together this past year and I hate that our home decor and everything that we’ve worked on is overshadowed by mess.

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Ignore that ugly tv stand. We need to get a new one.

2. Dress better. This is also a recurring resolution for me. While I don’t think I’m going to be nominated for What Not To Wear any time soon, my style could use some work. I tend to buy most of my clothes from Target or Old Navy and while there is nothing wrong with shopping at those stores, I think that having a wardrobe that’s 90% composed of cheap pieces isn’t doing me any favors. I’m not going to go out and buy a bunch of designer stuff that I can’t afford, but I do want to incorporate some nicer items into my wardrobe. I also have a tendency to wear stuff that’s too big because it’s more comfortable (maybe I should be on WNTW after all). It’s hard not to do that when you’re not happy with your body, but again, I don’t think boxy sweaters and jeans that are saggy in the butt after a few hours are doing me any favors either.

The aforementioned saggy butt jeans:

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So there you have it: my two non-health related resolutions. I suppose getting a job should be on there too, but I think of that as a given, not something that I need to strive for.

Jewish Christmas

When I was a kid, I didn’t like Christmas Day. It felt like the rest of the world was having a party and I wasn’t invited. If I was lucky, Hanukkah fell on Christmas (like it did this year) and I could open a present too, but if it wasn’t, the memories of opening my gifts (there weren’t always eight, by the way) had faded and I felt left out. Not many stores were open, adding to the glaring obviousness that I was different.

I know several Jewish friends who actually did celebrate Christmas as kids. I didn’t. I wished like hell that I did, but we just didn’t. I used to beg my mom for a Hanukkah bush, as if such a thing really exists. I would decorate it with blue and white lights to show that it was not a Christmas tree, but in fact, a Hanukkah bush. My wishes were shot down. We didn’t celebrate Christmas. As as adult, when I try to explain this to my friends, they don’t always get it. “Why don’t you just spend Christmas with your family anyway?” they ask. I do sometimes go to Maryland for Christmas, since I have time off. But the day would be filled with movies and Chinese food, not gifts and fancy dinners.

Now, it doesn’t bother me so much. I’ve learned to embrace the quiet calm of the roads, and now that presents aren’t such a big part of it, time with my family. You don’t have to have gifts under a tree or a big dinner to have a tradition. My Christmas Day tradition is similar to other Jews. (Jason was at work. If he was home, or if we had kids, I think it might be different.)

My mom came to visit me. We went to the movies…

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went bowling (that was a fluke high score. I don’t think I broke 100 in any of the other games.)…

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and got Chinese food.

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It takes a long time to figure out that traditions can be different and not as extravagant but just as special.

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