Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 19, 2008

Big Changes

Wahhhh I miss the blog world! :( Tear….

I have not had the chance to comment, let alone READ anyone’s blogs for alomst a week! This saddens me greatly.

However, not all is bad. The reason I have been MIA for a while is because 1. I am still congested, and 2. As James hinted earlier, there has been a BIG development in my life this week. So… as you can imagine, my life had been a bit hectic.

But I love all your blogs, and can’t wait to get thoruoughly immersed in blog world again! :)

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 17, 2008

Cough, cough

But this is a good thing that I’m coughing. I feel like I’m finally being able to cough up some of my congestion now. I took a day and a half off of work becasue I was feeling very much under the weather. I slept for 14 hours yesterday! It was the first time I’ve slept that much since like, ….high school! But it is absolutely amazing what a DRAMATIC difference a SIMPLE act like sleeping can make. I woke up at  (gasp!) 2pm yesterday, and felt soooo much better. Now I amback at work today, and though I’m still not 100%, I do feel much more like myself. I just want to get better so I can get back on track with my 10 K training! I haven’t been able to get off my butt for a while now!

And since I was on my butt all day yesterday, guess what I finally had a chance to do?

Build a Gingerbread House! James got me a gingerbread kit as my Get-well-soon, don’t-be-too-bored-today kit. Seriously, how sweet is he? Thanks James, you totally made my day!

Julias gingerbread house

Julia's gingerbread house

Who knew gingerbread houses are so hard to make? I didn’t realize I had to sit there holding the walls together for a very long time before I could let go and start decorating! haha. And I got so full from eating the candies and frosting that were supposed to go ON the house before they actually made it there, heehee ;)

an edible house

an edible house

It’s not the prettiest of photos, because I had to build it inside the box it came in, so it wouldn’t fall down, and I decided I needed to take photos before the entire house came crashing down. I couldn’t take the risk of waiting for the house to dry and fall apart before I snapped some pictures! But I am glad to report that the house is still standing tall and proud! Quick Question though; are gingerbread houses still edible when they’ve been sitting out for a week?

And more on the food front; I finally found a way to enjoy ricotta cheese. Baking it. Yeah, I know it sounds obvious, but I hadn’t tried it yet. I made a cheesy macaroni bake with leftover pasta and spinach and cheese I had, and it turned out great!

Cheesy goodness

Cheesy goodness. And yes, I did use a cake pan to bake the macaroni in. Hey, a girl's gotta get crafty sometimes! :)

Julia’s Leftover Macaroni Bake
Ingredients: (no measurements; use however much of each ingredient as you like)
Macaroni
Dried Basil
Garlic Salt
Pepper
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ricotta Cheese
Fresh Spinach, chopped
Can of Pasta sauce (Buy the store brand Canned sauce, it’s even cheaper than the jarred!)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 370 degrees F
2. Boil Pasta
3. In a baking dish (hopefully you won’t need to use a cake pa like me, haha) layer pasta, garlic salt, chopped spinach, dried basil, pasta sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat.
4. Top with more Parmesan cheese, and some cheddar cheese, or any cheese you like. Bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
5. Eat.

No, its not a cake

No, it's not a cake

So, um….. clearly, I need new/more kitchen utensils! haha. I think that is going to be my Christmas present to myself, along with a set of dishes and cups. Wiat, make that a set of MATCHING plates and dishes. Yeah, that would be awesome! :)

So now that I am starting to feel better, I hope to catch up with all of your lovely blogs! I haven’t really had the energy to do that for the last couple of days, and I must say, I do miss reading up on your good eats and daily lives! So hopefully I will be out and about in the blogworld again soon. In the meantime, I am giong to drink some more tea to stay warm! Happy Humpday!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 16, 2008

Monday Abs

Lots of rain. Lots of chills. 

That pretty much sums up the kind of day we were having in Santa Barbara today. It was actually supposed to rain over the weekend, but the sky decided not to start dumping water on us until late Sunday night. Which is fine, I guess, cause I’d rather have a sunny/cold weekend and a rainy Monday than the other way around. I hope everyone around the country is staying warm and dry! Guess what’s around the corner next week….!!!! :) And guess who’s excited???? (answer: ……meeeee! ) ;)

So I tried to work out yesterday, but one minute on the treadmill and my body was angry with me. It told me “no! Don’t do it!” So I tried doing some crunches and some squats. Again, my body yelled at me “What do you think you’re doing?” Yes, yours truly is still very much feeling under the weather. I really thought some light exercise will get my blood going and help me get out of my funk, but my cold would not let me. I think I am having a rather hard time adjusting to this new cold weather we are having. By cold I mean that it has finally dropped below 60 degrees. I’ve been bundling up like crazy and drinking a lotta OJ and green tea. Though not at the same time haha :)

But I DID manage to take some exercise photos. I’ve been meaning to do this FOREVER, so I’m glad that I was able to accomplish SOMETHING. 

Clam Shell Crunches

clam crunch

clam crunch

exhale

exhale

  1. Lie on your back with your knees spread out and heels pressing into each other. 
  2. As you exhale, press your heels into each other as you crunch up and lift your shoulders off the ground. 
  3. Lower as you inhale, but do not let go of the tension in your abs and heels. Repeat.

This is a great ab exercise. By pressing your heels in together, you will notice your so-called “lower abs” working. Go ahead, try it without pressing your heels together. I guarantee you will notice a big difference! And also make sure you don’t relax your muscles each time you lower back down. You want to make sure your gut is doing maximum work the entire time. Adios gut jiggels! haha :)I like to do about 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

The CS Holiday Party was a lot of fun last night. I took my No-Oil Pumpkin Coconut Cake with Butternut Squash Butter, and it was a smash hit! Every one told me how fantastic it was! It made me very happy to hear that. For some reason, my co-workers didn’t believe me when I told them I like to cook and bake. So I felt like I was able to ‘prove’ that yes, indeed I DO bake, and I CAN make yummy things! :) We played Scattegory, which was a lot of fun. I had never played that game before, but I really enjoy games that challenge your brain and make you think. I consider myself to have a fairly good command of vocabulary, but I was surprised at how few words I was able to come up with on the spot. For instance, for the letter “i”, the only word I could think of for the whole three minutes was ‘ink’. ‘Ink, ink, ink, ink, ink.” That was the one and only thought I had for three minutes!! ;) How strange. It’s really interesting all the different processes our minds go through. 

Question: What’s your favorite board game?

I like the game Taboo.

As far as food goes, I don’t have much to report on, except that I discovered that my local Vons now carry Larabars. (Finally!!!!!!!) I was way excited, naturally. Also, I discovered I love this yogurt; 

Yopliat Raspberry Cheesecake.

Yopliat Raspberry Cheesecake.

 YUUUUUUM. Tastes like dessert for only 100 calories. Nice. 
I know I promised my life would be more thrilling soon, but it has been tame and relaxing as usual. And you know what? I like it that way. :) I like being chill, relaxed, calm and cool. Throw in a few adventures here and there, and a few challenges here and there, but when it’s cold, and when I’m sick, I just like to take it easy, ya know?

So I am going to go do more of the same – bundling up in my bed with a crazy amount of blankets and warming my body and my soul with a cup of tea. Soothing.

I wish you all warmness and coziness! ‘See’ you tomorrow, bloggies!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 14, 2008

Julia to the rescue

Hooray for the weekend! :) Weekends are truly the greatest, aren’t they? Even though my throat is burning and my nose is trickling like a broken faucet (haha, lovely image, no?) I am happy! I even got to sleep in today till 9. It felt so great to get some extra sleep. I even took a nap (I actually didn’t plan to nap; I just fell asleep ;) )

But reeeeeeeewind to Friday. I actually did decide to work out. I knew that being cooped up in the office all day, and then going home and being cooped up at home would NOT help me feel better. I knew that a little exercise would get my blood pumping and make me feel better. I told myself that I would run an easy 2 miles, but once I got on the treadmill I felt energized, and actually ended up running 3.27 miles in 30 minutes. Isn’t it funny that once you start moving, you feel so much better? The hardest part is actually DECIDING to exercise. Once you’re past the mental part, I find that the physical part isn’t that hard. I suppose my ‘mind‘ is actually the hardest ‘muscle‘ to train. I would say it’s even harder than the jiggly parts of my gut! My mind can talk back at me and be stubborn and resistant. At least my pooch doesn’t get snappy with me! haha

I also did 50 minutes of core-centric strength training. I did a bunch of ab circuits and triceps and hamstrings. Take that, booty! :) 

Friday grub:

I was over at James’, and he had not had dinner yet. His pantry was looking a little empty, but he had some frozen chicken tenders, pasta, and corn. “What are you gonna do with them?” I asked him. “Ummm, microwave the chicken tenders, and boil the pasta, and heat up the corn.” He said. “What? Don’t you have some sauce?” I ask. “No.” says James.

Poor kid was gonna eat plain chicken tenders, plain pasta, and plain corn

Good thing I was there to spice up his meal!

From his sparse pantry, I whipped up some Mexican inspired pasta that turned out mui delicioso!

Julia’s Caliente Penne:

Caliente Penne

Caliente Penne

Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Penne
Almost one whole bag of TJ’s Fire Roasted Frozen Corn
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
TJ’s Pasta Seasoning
Chipotle Seasoning
Rosemary and Garlic Seasoing
1 tablespoon TJ’s Red Chili Sauce (Or tabasco) 
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon crushed garlic 

Directions:
1. Boil pasta.
2. While pasta is doing its thing, heat some olive oil and crushed garlic in a pan. Add frozen corn and cook, adding in as little or as much seasoning and chili sauce as you like. James likes it hot, hot, hot, so I added a LOT of Chipotle seasoning and Chili Sauce.
3. Drain pasta, and add to corn and seasoning in pan. Mix thoroughly and add more spices as necessary. Eat

ssssspicy baby

ssssspicy baby

 I had no idea what a Mexican Inspired pasta would taste like, but this was hot, spicy, flavorful, and was a delight. It had just enough heat to wet your appetite, but not too hot to put flames of fire in your mouth. It was just so flavorful from all the different spices! I was actually quite impressed at my impromptu culinary skills :) And of course, it was wayyyyyyyyyyyyy better than plain pasta and plain corn! Most importantly, James enjoyed it very much. He even told me it was the best sauce-less pasta he’s had! :) I am so delighted by this recipe I am definitely making this again sometime soon. It’s even good cold. I think the key here is using whole wheat pasta, because the nutty flavor of the WW can take a lot of heat and flavor. I think that if I had used regular pasta, it would have ended up being too spicy. I think shrimp would also be a good addition to this dish. Yum.

This post is gonna be quick. But I did want to leave with this one thought I was having today. I was having a conversation about the silly games we used to invent and play when we were kids. (Before the age of Nintendo and X-box. Man, we still had to play tag in real life, not virtually! haha) I used to play this game called Cockroach, where my friends and I would ‘scuttle around’ and try to crawl into small places and holes and be kind of creepy, like cockroaches.  Looking back, I fail to find what was so entertaining about this game…. I mean seriously…. roaches? Ew. We also played this game called Pee Pee Mat, which was ridiculously fun. (Don’t ask about the name……haha) 

Question: What sorts of games did YOU invent and play as a kid? Do you think little kids these days are better off or worse off with all this new technological/virtual games?

Happy weekend! Enjoooooy it while it lasts! Tomorrow, I have a Conditioning Specialists Holiday Party, so hope to have some fun photos to share ;)

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 12, 2008

To run or not to run. That is the question.

Sooooo last night I was gonna go to BootyCamp SB, but I started getting a headache and throat ache. I know from experience that those are the signs my body sends me when I’m about to get sick, so I decided to take it easy and go sleep at home. And yup, sure enough, I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a woozy feeling in my head. Oh, not to mention the sniffles. I know, I know, my sexiness is undeniable. Haha :)

So the question becomes do I run tonight or do I take it easy again? I don’t feel too awful, and I doubt that I’m gonna have time this weekend. So I’m leaning towards working out, but lightly. I guess I’ll just see how I’m feeling in a few hours.

When I used to work at Jamba Juice, I would make myself a ginormous cup of OJ whenever I thought I might be getting sick. The fresh OJ and all the Vitamin C rarely failed to make me feel better. I think I’ll go stock up on some OJ and some green tea tonight.

Speaking of ‘night’, look at how crazy the sky was yesterday at 5pm!

crazy sunset

crazy sunset

Doesn’t it look like the sky is BURNING? I’m so glad I had my handy dandy camera to capture this!

And now finally, I present to you the recipe for my super duper incredibly amazing (if I do say so myself. :) )EASY pumpkin bread recipe.

Julia’s No-Oil Coconut Pumpkin Addiction

I tried very hard to make it look buuuuutiful

I tried very hard to make it look buuuuutiful

Ingredients:
1/2 package Spice Cake mix
1/2 can pumpkin puree (NOT canned pie mix)
2 oz plain apple sauce
1 egg
Pumpkin pie spice
cinnamon
shaved coconut (sweetened or unsweetened.)
splash of milk (only if the batter is too thick)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bread baking pan.
2. Mix all the ingredients together. I like to use a LOT of cinnamon and a LOT of pumpkin pie spice, but since everyone’s palates are different, you can add as much or as little as you need.
3. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle some more coconut on top. The trick is to take a spoon, and swirl the sprinkled coconut into the top layer of the batter. This will prevent the coconut from burning into a crisp.
4. Bake for 30  minutes (longer depending on your oven). THE TRICK here is to take the bread out of the oven BEFORE it’s done baking. When you insert a toothpick into the center, it’s OK if you still have a little bit sticking to the toothpick. The bread will continue cooking even out of the oven. Clearly, you don’t want it to be gooey and runny, but when you’re at the point where you think it could maybe use a couple more minutes, take it out! This will ensure a ridiculously moist bread. OMG.
Per serving: 161 calories, 4g fat

up close and personal

up close and personal

So yah. I’m kind of addicted to this. I’ve baked three loaves in five days and ate it all by myself. I devoured it with so much passion I didn’t even have any left over for James to sample (Sorry James, I’ll make you some one of these days!) It’s so incredibly easy. I think next time, I am going to add some canned butternut squash puree to it as well, maybe even omit the egg too, and see hat happens. Oh, and the brown dollop on top of the bread is Butternut Squash Butter. (Recipe to come in the future)  So if you need  a quick, cheap, easy gift idea for the holidays, this is it! :)

And I apologize if my recipe is so imprecise. I never measure when I cook. I never measure when I bake, either. Even when I’m baking from scratch, I don’t measure. They say baking is a science, and that you MUST measure, but I dunno. I don’t and 8 times out of 10, they turn out great! I think those are pretty good odds, no?

So it’s finally Friday afternoon and I am stoked. Even the sniffles can’t bring me down on Fridays! :) I have a fun weekend planned, with lots of baking, and even a holiday party with all the trainers at Conditioning Specialists. Maybe I can even throw in Gingerbread House Making into the mix? I saw that they sell kits at Costco, and I’ve been wanting to do it for a while now. Since I grew p in Tokyo, I’ve only made gingerbread house ONCE, in elem. school, at a friend’s house. Do many American kids grow up making these things? I’ve always had this (stereotypical) image of American girls growing up learning how to bake, in their HUGE kitchens with their mommies and grandmas. And it always made me jealous, because although my mom is an AMAZING cook, she HATES to bake with a passion. Haha. Well anyways, that’s the image I have in my head.

I wish all my great blogging friends a great Friday. I would like to give a shout out to Coco from Balance, Joy and Delicias! for giving me this amazing award:

I would like to pass this on to
Caroline of Consider This!
and
Maggie of Say Yes to Salad (ps – she is giving away Pumpkin Pecan Butter, so go check it out!)

Have a joyous Friday, all!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 11, 2008

Practicing my running

Ohhhhhh man I cannot wait till the weekend! I know I say this every week, but I honestly do wish for the weekend all week long. Tell me I’m not the only one! ;)  I mean, not that my weekdays are hard and stressful, (they aren’t) but the weekned means I can take naps if I want to, work out when it’s actually light out, and do a bunch of cooking! I seriously will not complain if they start mandating three day weekends! :) haha.

Wednesday Workout:
I ran again last night, and finished 4 miles in 38 minutes. I experimented with a bunch of different running speeds, and I discovered that I’m comfortable running at a slightly faster pace. So next time, I think I’m going to do a shorter, but faster run, to see how that feels. I had a question though; is it better to increase speed or distance first? Does anyone know the answer to that?

I also did an hour long Battle of the Bulge Class again. I’m really enjoying these classes a lot. You get a tough, comprehensive, full-body workout in one hour. And we do different exercises in each class, so you keep challenge your muscles in new ways. Excellent. I was for sure feeling the burn last night! :)

….and since my life is lacking in the “thrill” department currently, I will give you a couple of protein bar reviews. Because as you know, I can’t get enough of these buggers!!! (But I’ve been good. I only bought one full price. My challenge to not purchase junk food this month is going well!)

thinkThin chocolate Fudge flavor:

thinkThin Chocolate Fudge flavor

thinkThin Chocolate Fudge flavor

This thinkThin bar cost me a whopping $2.39. I wouldn’t buy it or eat it even if it was only 50 cents. Ick! It had that unmistakable chalky texture prevalent among protein bars, and a cardboardy/powdery taste. It didn’t taste anything like chocolate fudge! I was drawn to this bar because of it’s name and stylish appearance. But with 240 calories, 8g of fat, and only 1g of fiber, there is nothing “Thin” about this bar! The only things I liked about this bar was its chocolate coating, 0g sugar, and it’s chewy texture. But simply put, it did NOT taste good. Protein bars don’t HAVE to taste like protein, in my opinion. I’ll stick to my Promax bars.

Info:
240 calories, 8g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 20g protein, 0g sugar, 15g sugar alcohol, 1g fiber, 25% calcium… click here for more info

Clif Bar Carrot Cake Flavor:

Clif Bar Carrot Cake flavor

Clif Bar Carrot Cake flavor

No offense to anyone who’s a fan of this Clif Bar flavor, but I give it a Doubleick!” How should I describe its taste….. Kind of like, if a bunch of scientists got togehter, decided to chemically re-create the taste of a carrot, then inject it with a bucket of sugar and rice krispies. Get the idea? I had great expectations for this flavor, esp considering how yummy carrot cakes are. But this o tasted artificial and chemically to me. No wonder; carrots are listed at #20 out of 28 ingredients.

Info: 240 calories, 4g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 10g protein, 5g fiber. Click here for more details. Nutritionally much better than the thinkThin bar.

So there you have it folks. I am going to another BootyCamp SB class today to take notes on cueing. After teaching my first circuit on Saturday, I figured out that the hardest challenge for me is going to be saying the right things at the right time. In other words, how to communicate the proper form and technique. So I am really going to pay attention to learn how to say stuff! It’s gonna be hard for me, because I tend to communicate a lot through body gestures and onomatopoeia. And ononmatopoeia is NOT a great way to teach exercises! Imagine; “And your legs go like boom, and them you go swoosh and woosh!” Yeah. That makes no sense. Learn to speak in ENGLISH, Julia! haha.

Hopefully my life will start to get more exciting soon. So here is my question of the post: What one “risky” adventure would you want to go on one day?

My answer: Reverse bungee jumping! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! :0

Edited to add: I forgot to ask another question. Inspired by Coco and Maggie, I finally bought some Ricotta Cheese. BUT, I have a problem. I don’t mind the taste, but I can’t stand the texture! What do you do to make it tast good?

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 10, 2008

Monday / Tuesday Shenanigans

I’ll do a double post to get all caught up!

Monday Workout:

In preparation for my 10 K on New Year’s Day, I decided to hop onto the treadmill to see how far/fast I run. I have never kept track of my speed, time, or distance before, so I wanted to know where I was at. I’ve always just kind of ran “half an hour”, or something totally vague like that, and I have absolutely no idea how far I usually run.
I did a little over 4 miles in 40 minutes.

I could have run faster and longer, but I thought that was a good starting point. The other reason why I didn’t run more was because I was going to do a one hour “Battle of the Bulge” Class right afterward. The class was taught by Jesse, and it was so much fun that the hour flew right by! I thought that we were at the half way point when Jesse said “Now we’re going to stretch, and we’re done after that!” It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. :)

Oohh also I made one of Gina’s famous B-fast cookies:

b-fast cookie

b-fast cookie

I know it’s not the prettiest of photos, but it was tasty! I used 1/2 cup oats, a spoonful of vanilla protein powder, 1/2 banana, splash of milk, and crunchy PB. I really think the trick is using CRUNCHY PB to change up the texture a bit.
I like this recipe, because it’s very similar to something I’ve been making for a while. Jesse (same guy who taught the class) always eats yogurt and oats with PB. So I’ve been kind of making a similar concoction without flattening it our into a cookie. I’m also a little weird and only like oats when they are UNCOOKED. Cooked=yucky! I think I like it better with vanilla yogurt (esp greek yogurt) than milk. Yum :)

Tuesday:

Tuesday’s random act of fitness: Lugging a 3(?) 5(?) pound bag of ice for a mile. Long story.

Workout:

All was going well until half way through the practice, I had shooting pain in my right hip. :( I have no idea why it started to hurt, but it was so painful I had to stop at 45 minutes. Yikes! I hope this pain is not going to last long! I stretched it out a bit, and just stopped, since I don’t want it to get in the way of running!

Oh and guess what came in my mail!

free sample!

free sample!

I got a free Bear Naked Granola Fruit & Nut Sample in the mail! :) A while ago, I had signed up for a free sample on the website, and it finally came! I’ve signed up for a few of these freebies, and I was impressed because this is the first and only one that has ever come :)

My Review:
Though I was impressed that it came, and I’m so happy I got to try it out, I was not amazed. Sure, it was tasty alright, but it was so normal. It didn’t taste like anything special. Just granola. I don’t think the taste is good enough to justify it’s ridiculous price. A bag of Bear Naked sells for $6.19 around here! I mean, sure, it’s made of natural ingredients, but the granola I make at home is also all natural, and waaaaay cheaper! Also, I don’t really like that it’s 140 calories for a mere 1/4 cup! That’s a TIIIIINNNNYYYY portion size! So although I do enjoy the taste, I don’t think I will buy it, because of it’s outrageous price.
If you want to try a sample yourself, go to their WEBSITE HERE.

So that’s my Monday and Tuesday in a nut shell. I also did some cooking and baking, but since this post is already long enough, I will post them later! :) Hope that everyone is having a fantastic humpday!

Question: ooohh! Did anyone catch Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods last night? He went to Japan, and I was so excited cause I’ve eaten some of the things from that show! What is a bizzare food item you’ve eaten?

I’ll end with another photo of my lovely smiling face ( :) jk) for my family back in Japan, who I bet are eating bizarre foods as we speak!

birds of paradise in full bloom

birds of paradise in full bloom

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 9, 2008

My big running challenge

Wow! My Monday FLEW by! But since I still have a bunch of the weekend to go over, I will start with a Sunday recap too. (hopefully I will be all caught up soon!)

Sunday:
James woke up feeling kind of icky. He must be allergic to something because the poor boy was sneezing all day. So we decided to take it easy and enjoy a lazy kind of Sunday. We went grocery shopping in the morning and had quite the fiasco when the paper bad ripped and James dropped a bottle of sparkling apple cider on the floor and it exploded everywhere. Oops! :) We then had a leidurely brekkie of apple fritter, donut holes, coffee, chocolate milk, and yogurt with granola. Healthy, I know :)

Sunday afternoon was a date to Spoon, and ice cream (gelato, to be exact) shop I had been eyeing for a few months now. Somehow, I never really had the chance to go there, so I was stoked to finally check it out!

yummy. I am so happy right now

yummy. I am so happy right now

OMG icecreamgasm. Soooooooo friggin awesome. OMG. mmm!
I had the Tiramisu flavor and the Disaronno Amaretto flavor. The two flavors were amazing on their own, but they were out of control when combined. Heaven. Sooo rich, creamy, indulgent, and decadent. I was surprised at how much FLAVOR they were able to pack into their gelato!

James had the Blood Orange Sorbet and the Raspberry Sorbet.

James with his cone

James with his cone

James’ sorbet flavors were equally amazing as well. I’m usually not the biggest fan or sorbets because they aren’t creamy and indulgent enough, but this was very delicious. It had so much fruity flavor, and a nice, creamy consistency.
And I loved how he got the light sorbets, and I got the super indulgent and rich flavors. ;)

It could be a problem that I live so close to Spoon. I can see myself getting addicted.

Sunday Dinner:
As I said, since we were having a lazy day, dinner was comprised of leftovers and microwavable food. Again, healthy, I know ;) We had some leftover mashed sweet potatoes and salmon. We also made some English muffins with ham and cheese. And my favorite; Japanese Curry Rice!

Curry Rice

Curry Rice

This is comfort food for any Japanese kid. We all grow up eating this stuff. Apparently, it always makes the TOP 3 of kids’ favorite foods in Japan. Japanese curry rice isn’t as hot or as spice-y as Indian or Thai curries. It’s very thick as well, almost like a stew. It usually contains potatoes, onions, carrots, and a protein like chicken or beef. I can’t even count how many times my mom makes this dish in a month! Yumm! But since this was just microwaved and not actually prepared by me, I think I will make Curry Rice soon and post the recipe!

And now for my big running announcement!
On Sunday night, kind of on a whim, I decided to sign up and run a 10 K on January 1st, 2009! This will kick off a year of training for running either a full or half marathon in 2010! My goal is to run the Disney World Marathon with my Dad. My dad is an avid racer, and has run 2 marathons, and countless half ironmans and running races.

I’m really excited about this challenge! I’ve been running for a couple years now, and running a marathon is something I’ve always been interested in. I also wanted a goal to work towards in 2009, and training for a marathon, is going to be the perfect goal. I think it’s going to be tough, and I may want to give up in the middle, but I’m going to see how far I can take my challenge! I hope to be blogging about this too, so please cheer me on! I am telling everyone so that I will be held accountable, and won’t be able to back down!! And since I’ve never posted a photo of my dad before, here it is

My little brother (although hes not so little anymore,) me, my Dad at my graduation

My little brother (although he's not so little anymore,) me, my Dad at my graduation

So there it is. Don’t let me whimp out! :)

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 8, 2008

Such a fun, relaxing weekend!

Woah….. three days. I have been MIA for too long! Sometimes, whenI’m having such a fun, nice, relaxing day, I can’t break out of the rhythm to blog. I definitely missed it, but it was also nice to just be in the moment and enjoy it. Since there is so much ground to cover, I will keep everything short and sweet.

Friday Night Workout
I had the Conditioning Specialists gym all to myself to workout Friday night. I ran on the treadmill and did a circuit training session, while watching the Santa Barbara Holiday Parade go b. Because the treadmill is facing the main street, I probably got as many people watching me as the parade! haha. I worked out for one sweaty hour. It was awesome.

Friday snack

I had a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar, and look what I found!

a whole almond!

a whole almond!

Haha, oh the simple pleasures of lfe. This is why I love Larbars; you know they’re made of legit stuff! And when you find whole almonds in there, you know they aren’t skimping on the good stuff!

Saturday

Saturday morning began with another BootyCamp SB class. I was shadowing, but got to teach my first circuit! It was very exciting. Here was my circuit (I had to come up with it on the spot; I had no idea I was gonna actually teach!)

  • Sumo squats with sumo squat jumps
  • Clam crunches
  • Triceps with resistance band
  • Mountain climbers

We did this circuit twice. I really enjoyed my first time teaching! It came more naturally than expected, and I’m really happy because I can now see myself doing this! I can’t wait to get better and start teaching my own classes.

After the class, I met up with James for brekkie. We went to this Cafe I had been wanting to try for a while, called Cafe Bianco. Boy oh boy am I glad I found this place! It’s tucked away in Victoria Court, and it’s a small, cozy, friendly breakfast and lunch joint. Oh, and did I mention they have the best scone I have ever tasted?

Cafe Bianco Blueberry Scone

Cafe Bianco Blueberry Scone

It was insanely heavenly. It was perfectly crunchy on the outside, but sooooo ridiculously moist on the inside. It was so fluffy in fact, it was almost like a cake! My experience with scones it that they are generally dry and crumbly (athough very tasty.) So the fluffiness of this scone was impressive. And it’s baked from scratch, right on the premises! That is impressive too, since many cafes just order their baked goods from other places. This place may become my new favorite breakfast place!
I also had some coffee

at Cafe Bianco

at Cafe Bianco

at their pretty courtyard

pretty water fountain

pretty water fountain

Great new find! After that James and I walked over to the Farmer’s Market. And look at this cute little builing, all covered in snow!

Its a winter wonderland
Its a winter wonderland

It’s a little barber shop, but how adorable is this? It’s kind of funny, since it’s still like 70 degrees out, and far from being covered in snow. I can’t figure out how on earth they managed to transform their building into a winter wonderland?

Saturday Night

I look a bit too happy

Since James didn’t need to work on Sat, night, he insisted we hit the town. Though I was hesitant (I can be SUCH a homebody…!) we went out and had a blast! We were just kinda wandering State St when I heard some great live Jazz music coming from one of the bars. The music was too good to pass up, so we went into James Joyce. It was my first time there, but it was really nice! It had a cozy atmosphere, free peanuts for everyone, and the most amazing live band! I loooooooove live music. There was this lady singing jazz in such a smooth, sultry, sexy voice. Loved it! Can’t go wrong with that! I had 1/2 of a Malibu Coconut with Pineapple juice, and about 1/4 of Aboslut Vodka with Gingerale. (If you’ve never had this combo before, you should try it out; it tastes just like a creamsicle!)

Question: If you could be a super fab singer, what kind of singer would you want to be?

My answer; Definitely jazzy stuff, kind of like Norah Jones. I just think it’s so earthy and sexy.

Wow, I still have a lot of weekend to catch up on and recap, so look for another post about my Sunday! (it includes some amazing ice creammmmmmm)

How was your weekend? I hope it was nice and relaxing. And I hope your Monday has been bomb-tastic so far as well. As for me, it’s a coffee kinda morning, but has been good so far. Onlly five more days till the weekend!

Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | December 5, 2008

My job has perks

My job pretty much has me sitting in a chair all day, but yesterday I got to go on a really fun and exciting assignment. I was contacted by a local restaurant to come check them out to write about them! Clearly, since I am interested in food, any assignment that had me going to go see food was quite the fun adventure!

The restaurant, called Silver Greens, has been a staple in my college town, but now they have opened up another location downtown, near my office. The great thing about Silver Greens is that they offer fresh and healthy sandwiches, soups, and pastas. And you know it’s healthy, becasue the owner prints the nutritional value of your meal on your receipt! How great is that? The system, called Nutricate, customizes how many calories/fats/protein/etc is in your meal, so you know exactly hat you’re eating! The receipt also comes with quick healthy tips and pop quizzes.

Another great perk is that I got to sample a free meal! (yessssss!) I got the Chicken Pesto MBT, which is a sandwich with grilled chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil, marinated red bell peppers, and fresh pesto sauce.

Chicken Pesto MBT and fresh fruit salad

Chicken Pesto MBT and fresh fruit salad

Mmmm. It was delicious! The red bell peppers were sweet, and the chicken was moist and juicy. The pesto brought all the flavors together, and the fresh tomato added a nice and refreshing taste. It was very filling too, and my receitp informed me that I had saved 170 calories by choosing this instead of the chocolate chip cookie. Fantastic!

a close up

a close up

I loved how they didn’t skimp on the chicken! Yum. Thanks Jay!

Another really cool part about this new Silver Greens location is that they are the first certified “green” restaurant in Santa Barbara. They have biodegradable bags, some of the interor is made with recycled products, and they use environmentally building codes. Impressive.

I am going to be writing an article about them soon. It was way neat to go on such a fun assignment. I wish I could do this all the time! My dream job is to be like Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel, and go around the world going to local restaurants and eating interesting foods. That would be crazy awesome!I wonder what I have to do to get started in a career like that?

Question: What are your dream jobs?

Thursday Workout

  • 8 minute abs with Jamie from yogadownload.com
  • Level 2 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels
  • 20+min abs DVD (Workout with Jackie Warner)

I really do think it’s possible to get in a fantabulous workout without even leaving your room. Hopefully, this weekend, I will have time to photograph some cool new at-home exercises for you all! Stay tuned!

I am super stoked itls finally Friday, and almost the weekend. There is going to be some sort of night-time Holiday themed Parade through Downtown Santa Barbara tonight. I heard it’s not really all that worth it. I wonder why they are having a holiday parade already? It’s only the first week in December….. NOt sure what I’m gonna do tonight, but I’ll keep ya updated! Have a lovely one!

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