Winner winner chik’n dinner

The fella and I have been doing swimmingly with our vegetarian eating the past few days.

Well, I cannot tell a lie: I had a tiny slip up at Dunkin Donuts yesterday morning following our ginormous walk. I, on complete autopilot, ordered my usual egg white flatbread with turkey sausage. In my defense, it’s healthier than the other breaky sandwiches I really wanted and not a sugar-laden donut, which is too much sweet for breakfast for me. But still. I own up to my flub and vow to not let it happen again.

As for dinner, the fella made chicken parm using MorningStar’s Italian Herb Chik Patties and, as you can see in the pic below, IT. WAS. SO. GOOD.

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Today, I’m off for a walk with a friend then popping into Whole Foods to hunt down some vital wheat gluten to make the seitan the fella and Girl Child are kind of sick of hearing me talk about. It’s damn hard to find VWG at a regular store, which is super annoying.

Have a tremendous day!

Nikki

‘Let’s go vegetarian,’ he said to me

The past few weeks have been madcap to say the least.
The Girl Child officially moved in with us, and we moved to a two-bedroom in the historic (and gorgeous) Sugar Hill section of Harlem, and there’s been some … let’s just call it “life changes” … that have occurred. Though they may cause things to be a bit dodgy here and there, a huge negative force has been lifted from our lives, and I finally feel like myself again.
The “more fun, laid-back and spontaneous” me, to quote the GC.  

Between all these factors, plus the constant motion of moving and unpacking, I’ve lost 10 pounds the past week and a half, which really helped me kickstart my mindset. I’m eating better and taking daily walks again, which I love, especially with a whole new neighborhood to explore.

We have a huge kitchen in the new crib, and I plan to get back into cooking some of the dishes I’ve written about on this blog in the past. I’m looking forward to it, and so is the fella, I think, because that will relieve some of the feeding duties from him. I don’t know if my excitement about doing more cooking is what spawned what I’m about to write, but I’ll take it either way.

Before I say what I am going to say, are you sitting down?
What about now?
OK.

sb10062327o-001The fella looked at me yesterday, ever so pensive (and maybe a little bit sad), and said, “Do you … think we should go vegetarian during the week?”

I almost shat on a turtle and immediately said a resounding yes.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of RNR, you know that I’ve written plenty about going veg during the week, especially when the fella and I were doing the long-distance thing a few years back. 

Since we moved, our family dinners have mostly consisted of making vegetarian versions of our meals for the GC, who has been vegetarian for almost a year, save for a sausage meal we all ate with Tofurky sausage. Well, the fella said that it “just makes more sense” since we it would save us money from not buying two versions of our meals, time from not making two meals and help us (he and I) finally eat healthier — all magic words if you ask me.

Tonight, we’re having stuffed peppers with meatless crumbles, and I’m going to pick up the ingredients to make seitan this week, and we’re going to fill up our new, bigger fridge with lots and lots and lots of veggies and fruit. The fella and I are going to start walking during the day while the GC’s in school, and I started using my yoga mat yesterday to stretch out before my hour-long walk and do some abs for the first time in a year.

I’ve — err, we’ve — got a long way to go, and I know my guy is going to need a steak every now and again, but the fact that he’s ready and willing to take this step now means the world to me.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives — and it’s going to be a healthy one. And I love that I’ll be living a lifestyle that I’ll be proud to actually talk about here on RNR.

Nikki

A successful Week 1

I think this week was a huge success in my new diet, err, lifestyle change plan.

To start, I felt quite a bit better both bodywise and moodwise because I wasn’t eating as much processed crap. Sure, I ate some less-than-stellar non diet-friendly food (I’m talking to you, delish gourmet hot dog from Los Perros Locos), but I actually planned for them to be part of my day, so I ate a lighter breakfast and lunch to leave more than enough calories to have them without feeling (too too) guilty, and made sure to get in a number of good walks on lunch and after work with the fella.

Last night was the best, actually, and not just because it was finally the end of a highly stressful week.

The fella and I ordered in from our favorite Chinese place, and I filled up on edamame before digging into the meal we planned to share, so I didn’t pig out on the rice and pork, which was a great feeling. Then later on, we had a hankering for something sweet, so we walked from our apartment on 131st to Rita’s way down on 92nd.
What, you’ve never walked nearly 40 blocks for a craving?

Instead of getting a gelati, which is ice mixed with custard (and my usual order when we’d frequent Rita’s back home), I got passionfruit ice, which was sweet and yummy — and a great way to cool down from our power walk. We ate the ice sitting on a bench on the median on Broadway, and it was just a simple moment that was easily my favorite of the week. The breeze was cool and comfortable, I had my favorite person beside me, and we just people and dog watched for a while as we talked.

The next few days are going to be hectic, and I’m going to try to plan accordingly with my eating.
Today, I’m heading out to buy a scale — and step on it for the first time in almost a year.

I’m a nervous wreck because I know the number isn’t going to be something I’ll be proud of, but I know it’s a necessary evil at this point, especially as I’ve made such a conscious effort this week to really begin changing my habits. I’ll be a brave girl and step on, and I know when I step off, I’ll be that much more inspired to make myself the person I know I can be.

Nikki

My pal and My Fitness Pal

fitnesspalOne of my dearest friends whom I’ll call … Tiffany … has long been the one I call or text when I’m feeling super down about myself. We talk other times as well, mind you, but we both know the other will listen unconditionally and help give us the push we need to get back on track when we’ve gotten off track.

Tiff’s always been there to offer up any tips she’s learned along the way or to wager a friendly challenge, such as the one we just started today. We’re going to keep track a food diary via My Fitness Pal, and I think we’re both going to try to give up (as much as possible) a beloved food we’ve often bonded over: Cheese.

Today I logged back into the app for the first time in God knows how long, saw a bunch of comments from my brother playfully yelling at me for being MIA, and vowed to make checking in on it a daily habit, like my obsession with my beloved Instagram, which just so happens to be right next to MFP on my phone.

I vow to be honest and smart about the food I eat, and to become that healthier version of myself I know I can be.
And when Tiffany and I meet at the end of next month at another dear friend’s baby shower, we’ll raise a toast to ourselves at how good we’ve been, how much better we feel, how we can always count on each other for support and how we’re just getting started.

Let’s do this!

Nikki 

Vixen in the Kitchen: My first at-home brunch

I’ve been thinking about kale a lot lately, mostly how much I miss it, so when I happened upon a recipe for kale salad with dates, almonds and Parmesan in the December Self, I promptly ripped it out and vowed to make it ASAP.

Since I knew the fella and I wanted to have an at-home brunch this weekend, I decided to tackle most of the meal myself, so I prepped the kale last night, as per the recipe, to soften the hearty greens.

I thought quiche would be a perfect companion, and since we love us some sun-dried tomatoes, I Googled around and found this recipe for a sun-dried tomato

and spinach quiche. The fella thought a nice fillet of salmon would make a fine addition to the salad, so we picked up a really nice piece on our Whole Foods run yesterday.

I think between prepping the quiche and its 45-minute cooking time and cooking the salmon, which the fella drizzled with honey and dusted with brown sugar, brunch took less than an hour and a half.

To make it a true brunch, at least for us, we made Bloody Marys with a bacon-salt rim that rounded out the meal perfectly.
We got both the mix and the salt at the Whole Foods on Houston Street, and if you like a spicy Mary, you’ll be pleased with this bottle for sure!

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The food was super filling and definitely ultra-healthy, which I’m stoked about (sadly, I can’t say that about some of our normal brunch choices). During the whole meal, the fella could not stop raving about brunch, and that made me really happy!

I can’t wait to make these dishes again … and enjoy the leftovers, of course!

What are your go-to at-home brunch dishes?

Nikki

Vixen in the Kitchen: Craving curry

Stop the presses: I cooked.
I honest to goodness cooked.
And it wasn’t my trusty tomatoes parmesan recipe.
I know, right?

Nope, from the moment I saw the Thai chicken curry recipe in the latest Bon Appetit, I was mad-craving curry, and finally just up and made it last night.

Ingredients for last night's curry.

Ingredients for last night’s curry.

I had every intention of making the recipe as is with chicken thighs (minus the onions, of course), but once I got to the store, I thought tofu would be a really good substitution, so I got that instead. I also decided to throw in some chick peas because I’ve had a hankering for them lately, too, and could always use the extra protein.
Ever since I got the flu over Christmas, I’ve been seriously craving healthy food – and I love it and have been sticking with it as I’ve been convalescing.

I started cooking (which smelled amazing, by the way), and found another can of chick peas, so I made the executive chef decision to just use them and not the tofu.

It was incredible.

Up close and delicious.

Up close and delicious.

Since it was yellow curry paste, there was a subtle heat that played on the tongue, but it wasn’t a “holy shit” heat. I am so excited to have another recipe to add to the repertoire, especially another vegetarian one that the fella really liked, too!
In fact, I’m pretty sure that my version was vegan, which is an added bonus. 

Next up on my cooking docket is a kale salad recipe I can’t wait to try from Self, so stay tuned for that one!

Nikki

Resolution check: September

Even though I’m not really keeping track in my Exercise Log Book anymore, I still feel compelled to do the resolution check posts.
I’m a terrible creature of habit and really want to be able to say, “I kept tabs on myself all year long” come Jan. 1, 2013.

When I last wrote, I made a pact that I was going to ban chips and fries, and I’ve really made good on it. Even though it now seems everywhere I go, there are, like, a million more bags of chips in funky flavors just an arm’s length away.

It also seems that every fabulous little restaurant I meander past has been practically shouting its availability of truffle fries on its sidewalk menu board. I say, “Hmmph” to them, and walk a little faster.

It hasn’t been easy, but I guess at almost two weeks in, it’s pretty doable.

This month’s challenge for myself is to really, seriously, truly get back to eating vegetarian as much as possible. For reals this time. Especially because I’m in the city, where a vegetarian-friendly restaurant or fare is a Metro card’s throw away.

I think I’m up to the challenge … after all, it wasn’t so long ago that I immersed myself in eating that way, and loved the result.

I’ll keep you posted, my friends. Have a spectacular Saturday!

Nikki

Chips, ahoy!

OK. I’ve been neglecting Run, Nikki, Run, this I know.

But as I’m halfway through Week Three of living and working in New York, I feel like I’ve got some sort of schedule down. And after enjoying foraging for food on lunch down in the FiDi and discovering fabulous new places to dine with the fella, I’ve neglected my eat-well plans.

Sometimes, you just have to not eat one. Or 100.

Until this week, when I made the conscious effort to ban what had quickly become a daily lunch staple: Chips. And, given that the fella and I are burger connoisseurs, I felt I needed to add fries to the banned item list.
What can I say, I’m taking a cue from my new mayor! He he. 

After just these past three days, I notice a big difference; I feel better, and my clothes feel looser.

I’m still getting killed by all the subway steps, especially getting out of the Fulton Street station, but they’re not as bad as they were just a few weeks ago.

New York really is my gym. I mean, every morning for work, I’m walking four blocks to the subway and about eight to work twice a day Monday-Friday, plus more when the fella and I meet near his office for our weekly date night. And on the weekends, now that we’re finally done traveling to Pennsylvania for the next few weeks, we’ll be walking a lot with the boy and girl childs, and I can’t wait. I absolutely love having to walk everywhere.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m fixing to make some miso soup before taking another walk. Midweek work holidays are the best!

Nikki

Miso a Vixen in the Kitchen!

After buying mellow white miso paste a few weeks back, I came home from work tonight with the intent to make, you guessed it, miso soup.

I’d been craving miso soup like all get out lately, so before last night’s visit to my local grocer, I consulted Robin Robertson’s “Vegan Planet” cookbook that a former coworker had kindly sent my way when I started this wanting-to-go-veg journey. In it, right there on p. 76, was a recipe for miso soup with tofu and baby spinach I’d been meaning to make since the book entered my possession.

Armed with all my needed ingredients, I set out to make the soup, expecting some sort of catastrophe like the first time I made quinoa the other night (don’t you dare ask!), but just about 20 minutes later, dinner was served!

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And it was so. damn. good! And filling to boot! Plus, I got to use my fancy Chinese soup spoons!
Because I was craving them, too, I added part of a bundle of buckwheat noodles to my bowl before putting the soup in, but they really weren’t necessary.

There was so much to love about this recipe, how the mushrooms added such a hearty quality to the broth, that I was eating tofu but it wasn’t my old stir-fry standby, the wilted spinach which is always yummy and then there was that taste of the miso, mmm.
Its smell was very much like beer to me, by the way. Weird – or isn’t it?

I plan on having the soup for breakfast tomorrow and have enough leftover for lunch and dinner as well. It was so simple that it’s definitely going to become a standby in my fridge for just in case.

If you have “Vegan Planet,” what should I make next??

Nikki

A perfect 10

Yesterday’s trip to the gym at 6 a.m. was my 10th day of exercise in a row, making today’s at-home Pilates/yoga/calisthenics mash-up day No. 11!
Is it weird/narcissistic I keep counting the entries in my Exercise Log Book 1. To make sure that I counted right and 2. Because I am pretty proud of myself? 

Plus, since starting this new regime last Monday, I’ve lost four pounds from this regular exercise and, of course, cutting out all the shitty foods I had been turning to.
Also: I’ve only eaten meat twice (and a very little amount at that) and kept the dairy to a minimum.

Both are a pretty big milestone for me – especially since my regular readers know how I’ve been pretty lax and down about myself the past two months. I added some interval jogging to my treadmill routine the past few visits, which is getting me closer to my goal of putting the run back into Run, Nikki, Run – at long last.

I feel pretty damn good – inside and out – and wore a fabulous new outfit yesterday that I felt really smashing in.

Here’s to the next 10 days and the 10 after that and the 10 after that …

Nikki