Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Recaps: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

Those of you who are Italian probably know about the "Feast of the Seven Fishes".  Basically, it's a Christmas Eve tradition in which families eat seven different courses of delicious FISH!  Now, I'm not Italian, but my mom's best friend married into an amazing Italian family and we were adopted into their Feast of Amazingness.  Since everyone was obliging enough to let me take photos of EVERY dish, I'm going to share them with you!

Course 1- Fish Stew

Course 2- Tuna in Pasta

Course 3- I forget what this one is (cod maybe?), but was fantastic

Course 4- Fried smelt (weirdly YUM)

Course 5- Bluefish- this was SO GOOD (I won't give away the secret)

Course 6- Scallops in Risotto

Course 7- Baccala

After all that amazing (healthy) fish, we closed the evening with some killer TIRAMISU!

and finally, MY contribution to the evening, a bottle of my favorite, Veuve Cliquot!

 My Aunt Beth (family by friendship, not blood) broke out these hilarious glasses because one of the couples at dinner surprised us by showing up engaged!!  (This proves my theory that if you buy a bottle of great champagne, things will happen that are worth celebrating.)  Cheers to the happy couple!

Many many thanks to the 3 generations of gentlemen who brought all seven fishes to delicious fruition and to the whole family for including my Irish/German/Slovak/English/Extremely American family in this AWESOME tradition.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Favorites: Day 5- COCKTAIL (and a Secret Santa exchange)

Who likes eggnog?  That's like asking who likes ice cream, right?  But let's be real, 1 cup of eggnog has something like 400 calories in it, and with all of the wonderful things to be enjoyed over the holidays, I'd rather spend half of those calories on a cookie and drink something a little lighter.  To get festive, my favorite cocktail is hot mulled apple cider with whiskey.

To make, pour cider into a large pot, add whole allspice, whole cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves and heat, covered on LOW for as long as you'd like.  The cider packs a little bit of Vitamin C, the spices (esp cinnamon) deliver antioxidants, and even with the whiskey, one drink clocks in at about 200 calories. And those 200 calories you saved by skipping the eggnog?  How about a couple of dark chocolate covered pretzels?


Last night my amazing classmates (aka girls who run the world) and I held a Secret Santa exchange to celebrate the end of the semester and the holidays!  I've often found Secret Santas fail miserably, but I guess we all know each other so well (we do spend EVERYDAY in class together) that this was a smashing success.  There was cider and mulled wine (another fave), chocolate covered pretzels, pizza, and lots of festive decorations & heartfelt gifts.  And maybe there was some lip syncing to Adele...

Have you ever participated in a Secret Santa?  How did it go?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Because everyone loves a cat in costume

This is Frankenstein.  He lives in Brooklyn with me, but spends every Christmas at his country home with my parents.  To cover his room and board, he moonlights as holiday entertainment.

Holiday Favorites: Day 4- PRESENTS

Everybody loves presents; getting them, giving them.  Presents give joy to the gifter and the receiver, but THIS present brings joy even further.

Charity Gift Cards!

The "good card" is from Charity Navigator but there are a number of reputable sources that sell these.  I gave my mom one for her birthday and she thought it was the greatest thing ever.  If you already know someone likes a certain charity, you can also make a donation in their name.

I don't know about you, but I don't really need anything, so I love the idea that someone could me give a gift that helps someone in need.

What's the best gift you've ever given/received?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Favorites: Day 3- TRADITIONS

While some of our holiday traditions have changed over the years, this one has stood the test of time (mostly because its so low maintenance).  I LOVE driving around with the family looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.  It doesn't matter if it's just on the way home from wherever we were, we're looking for them and there's something so amazingly peaceful about it.  A close to the madness that is holiday preparation and before the insanity that is Christmas Day.  (More on how Christmas Eve is my favorite holiday another time.) 

Check out some great Christmas lights in Dyker Heights!

photo & linked article from BrooklynBased.net

Where are the best Christmas lights in your neighborhood?

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Favorites: Day 2- MOVIES

I'm cheating a little today.  I have two.  One is a classic, the other is a more recent fave.

A Christmas Story

Love Actually

What are your favorite holiday films?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Favorites: Day 1- SONG

I'm almost done with finals...but I'm not there yet, so I'm going to share some of my holiday faves this week.

Here's my favorite holiday song:


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Finals + Holidays = Sporadic Workouts

While I LOVE the holiday season, I haven't spent much time enjoying it this year.  Unfortunately my finals go up until December 21st, and since the event I'm coordinating at work happens right after the new year, I'm completely slammed at the office.  So right now, my average day looks like this:

7:30- wake up
8:30- leave for work
9/9:30- get to work
5-6pm-travel to class
9/9:30- get home from class
12- Fall alseep on top of my extremely novice architectural model of a theater

Somewhere in all this madness I have to eat, shop for Christmas gifts, and plan my holiday travel.  Needless to say, I am not getting much exercise.  (As in I am FAILING the 30 for 60 Challenge.)  Instead, I'm being careful about what goes into my body, since I know I won't have the opportunity to sweat it out.

Lucky for me, FAGE Greek yogurt was on sale this weekend, so I've got lots of delicious protein to start my days.  I've been eating a lot of these at my desk:

A whole lot of fruit on the run,

And I've allowed myself a couple little pieces of dark chocolate everyday to curb any sweets cravings.

Yum.  Normally I'd get sluggish from only working out once or twice a week, but I'm going on week two of a reduced schedule and I'm still feeling pretty good.  Here's hoping I can keep it up until the semester is over and I can get back to this:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Busy Girl's Guide: The Nut Butter Apple Wrap

Whew!  The past month has been insane for me, and it shows no signs of slowing down until....wait for it....December 22nd.  If you're like me, you have to squeeze all of your Christmas shopping in somewhere between eating and your daily commute, so here's a good eat on the go breakfast/lunch/dinner for that quick hop into Macy's during your nonexistent lunch break.

The Nut Butter Apple Wrap

You will need:

1 Whole Wheat Tortilla
1 Apple, sliced
Nut butter

Spread the nut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, layer apple slices in rows, and wrap like a burrito.  wrap a paper towel around it to protect your food from your fingers and GO!

How do you fit Christmas shopping into your schedule?  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Something to think about when you do your holiday shopping

So, while I come from a family of very political people (both sides of the fence...on both sides of the family), I don't consider myself to be a highly political person.  My personal views tend to fall somewhere in the middle, with a liberal or conservative stance on specific issues.  However, I don't think human rights is a political issue.  It is a human issue, and as a human with lots of rights, I feel I should support the rights of other humans.  With that in mind, I'd like to bring these two articles to your attention during the holiday season. 

One of the most powerful roles we play in society is that of consumer.  We often don't realize how much power we have as purchasers in a global economy.  So please, this holiday, purchase Fair Trade items whenever you can, buy recycled items and antique jewelry, and maybe tell your local jeweler that you'd like to know where the precious goods are coming from.  If we all decide to be mindful consumers, we really can change the world.

From NBC's Rock Center
Fair Trade activists fight for responsibly mined gold

via The Huffington Post
The sad truth about the fight against blood diamonds

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Wild Weekend...of Homework

It's the holiday finals season over here, and I had one wild weekend preparing for it.  I stayed in Friday night just to decompress from the insane week I've had, and to get a head start on my weekend itinerary: work on three final project, study for one final exam and write one final exam for my undergrads. 

Saturday I was lucky enough to get breakfast with one of my favorite people.  I neglected to take pictures, but I had whole wheat french toast with Canadian bacon.  It was delicious, and fueled me through several hours of research, but I hit my focus wall and knew it was time for a distraction.

Cooking!  This is completely unglamorous, but I make food in bulk over the weekend so I don't have to during my busy weekdays.  Cube up some chicken breast, griddle with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and you've got a lean protein to add to any meal all week long!

After cooking up the week's supplies, I still wasn't ready to head back to the books so I hit the gym.  Day 3 of 30 for 60 consisted of 30 minutes of speed drills on the treadmill, followed by 20 minutes of strength training and 10 minutes of stretching. 

Dinner was leftover Chinese with some extra veggies thrown in, with a side of homework.

After a looong day of gettin stuff DONE, I was in no shape to go out, but in serious need of a break.  I learned something very important at my corner bodega, Stella Artois now comes in a can!

I had one of these suckers and was tucked in bed by midnight.  I told you guys, WILD.  I would tell you about how thrilling Sunday was, but you probably couldn't handle all the awesome.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Friday

Holy Moley you guys.  This week kicked my butt.  Anyhow, now it's the weekend I can spend the whole weekend hanging out doing homework.  I've decided to stay in the Borough of Brooklyn all weekend and to walk everywhere I go.  (I'll let you know how I do!)

Friday is the only weekday that I don't have grad classes after work, so I often skip my morning workout with the intention of working out in the evening.  Want to know how often that actually happens?  Yeaa...

I was in no mood to work out so I played Wii Dance instead!  Hello 30 minutes of daily exercise (day two of 30 for 60)!

Afterwards, since I am the model of healthy habits, I indulged myself. 

Hello mini canoli, chocolate mousse tart and Guinness.

How was your Friday night?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day One of the 30 for 60 challenge

Brrr, its (finally) cold outside.  It's also December 1st which means the holiday season is upon us.  The tree in Rockefeller Center has been lit, the windows of Macy's are all aglow, and this New Yorker has big plans to pull her fake Christmas tree out of storage tonight.  Since the holidays are always hectic, I wanted to put a plan in place to help me stay healthy through the New Year.  Since I follow about a zillion fitblogs, I knew I could steal somebody else's plan to help me stay healthy through the New Year.

Hats off to RunCupcake from Because I Can, who started the 30 for 60 Challenge to help out exercisers like me.  The challenge, work out everyday for 30 minutes from December 1-February 1.  Since I'm not training for anything, I think a variety of shorter workouts every day will be a great way to fit fitness into my holiday.

Here's my first 30 for 60 workout:

27 mins- 3 mile run
30 seconds- Mountain Climbers
30 seconds- Marine plank
30 seconds- Side plank right
30 seconds- Side plank left
30 seconds- V sit
30 sit ups

It was a simple mix, but a great way to start the day.  I wore my new sport gloves (thanks Mom), since it was only a few degrees above freezing at 7am.  They have finger pads that allow you to work a touch screen..clearly this is so exciting I couldn't keep my eyes open.
What are you doing to keep up your healthy habits this holiday season?