Picture worth a thousand words?

Let’s test the theory in my first post after almost a week hiatus!  One thing is for sure – there is never enough time in the day…or the week…and ESPECIALLY the weekend!

I’ll let the photos do most the talking 🙂

Highlights from the week:

Tuesday = spin at 6am (gotta get to the gym at 5:30am to snag a bike – Kathy’s class is one of the most popular!), Casa de Luz after work then shopping for wedding attire for the guys!

Post boot camp smoothie from the gym, only a once in a while treat – a little high in calories for breakfast at 350.
Tuesdays at Casa!
For the groom (with a matching grey jacket)
And for the groomsmen (again, with a grey jacket)

Wednesday = boot camp (weights & cardio!), another trip to JuiceLand, wedding invitation stuffing & enjoying the company (& help) of some very fabulous ladies!

Another Tri-pinnicle – my favorite!
Left to right: Amber (MOH), me & my mom – Nicole snapped the picture, so she is missing 😦 VERY productive evening!

Thursday = the highly anticipated Farmhouse Delivery/LaCondesa dinner in the Schneider Flour House (underground dining room!). Dinner was amazing – on the menu:

  • Assorted Amuse :: trumpet mushroom soup, pâté with tomato jam and turnip with local honey & yogurt glaze
  • Salad :: green romaine, pea tendrils, white turnips, roasted squash, crispy dino kale, farm cheese
  • Rabbit :: braised texas rabbit, farm egg, arugula, quinoa cracker, garlic puree
  • Pork :: whole roasted pig, oysters, chinese broccoli, red pepper, rice
  • Postre :: Round rock honey pie, boozy fruits, hopelessly bleu, goat milk ice cream.

Dinner was amazing – not that we weren’t expecting it to be. Farmhouse Delivery dinners are always top notch and LaCondesa is one of our favorites in Austin. The Flour House was such a treat!  I’d highly recommend getting down there if you ever have the opportunity.  We did inquire and the room can be rented for meetings or private dinners with a minimum headcount.  It will be at the top of our list next time we’re planning a group dinner!

Fantastic friends also make for a fantastic dinner!

Friday = my lack of sleep & weekly go-go-go catching up with me. I had a headache most the day and felt very rundown 😦 We stayed in and I made my second attempt at my new favorite cauliflower recipe, worked on our wedding to-do list and hit the hay early. Lessons learned in my second attempt? Use parchment paper instead of cooking spray, use more riced cauliflower and less cheese in the crust, oh – and always take pictures of all your fresh ingredients!

Voilà! I can’t wait to continue to improve this recipe and switch up the toppings as my our farm basket vegetables change with the seasons!

Our party favors/wedding bar glasses came in the mail today too! SO cute!

Saturday/Sunday = a low key weekend exercise wise, was still not feeling 100% and had a big Saturday planned with hair & make-up run through for the wedding. VERY excited with how it went – she did a perfect job!

Saturday night dinner was at Foreign & Domestic with pre-dinner drinks at Tigress bar, both were spot on!

Since Saturday was spent mostly outside the house, Sunday was spent mostly at home 🙂 we had a late lunch at Elizabeth Street, our first planning meeting with our dear friend and officiant then a quiet afternoon spent working on more wedding to-dos and enjoying some down time and trash tv (my trash of choice? Law & Order SVU marathon!)

Individual press for my Vietnemese coffee – LOVE! Not too sweet, the perfect milk to coffee ratio!
I tried the daily special, Nimen Ranch pork belly fried rice, with an egg and avocado (I added the avocado) Very happy I did, it perfectly complimented this dish! Made for great leftovers for dinner!

Challenges/goals for the week:

  • Mon/Wed/Friday boot camp, Tue/Thurs spin + weights
  • lights out (computer & tv off) by 9pm each night this week (got to get my sleep schedule back on track)
  • Salads/vegetable based dishes for dinner every night this week (again, to aid in a better nights sleep!)

Here’s to a fantastic week!

…nighty night!

Is it Friday yet?

I don’t know about you, but I find myself asking that question every Monday morning…

Weekend recap:

  • 6 mile pace (+ additional mileage to get me to a total of two hours) trail run on the greenbelt – Check! Came in at 6.45 miles at a 11:20 min/mile pace – plus the extra time at a slower pace, to get me to two hours.
  • More down time at home w/the kitties –Check! Friday we stayed in, Saturday we were in by 10:30pm, I consider that success!
  • Brunch w/some fabulous peeps Sunday morning – Check!
  • Spa day – Check!
  • Wedding to dos: finish website, email to guests re: lodging, start organizing wedding invitations & call seamstress re: non wedding dress she is hemming – eh, one outta 4 isn’t too bad I guess? Must finish the rest this week!
  • Keeping my calorie deficit between 300-500 a day – Friday – Check! Saturday – Check! Sunday – no check, but I did break even. I’ll take it!

Saturday after my run, all I wanted to do was have a repeat of the Saturday before – Bouldin Creek Cafe with a fabulous friend chatting about our weeks, blogs, work, business ideas – sippin’ coffee and enjoying a delicious breakfast.  Lucky for me, she was down for it too!  Last minute plans are the best! Post brunch/hangout I had another last minute date come up – this one included champagne cocktails and delicious Vietnamese snacks at Elizabeth Street with the fiance and some more fabulous friends – double win!  After snacks and drinks, we headed to our usual wine spot, Aviary to check in with Marco and see what kind of trouble we could get into.  Lucky for us we found this (below) and focused more on this project than drinking 🙂

And so it begins...at this point the boys are into Jenga, girls all about the Jersey Shore puzzle

Let the time lapse begin 🙂

I finally discovered the flash, borders complete!

...getting closer!

Voila! One two hour time warp later, puzzle complete!

There was really no topping this, we managed to time warp past dinner, I even had an ignored glass of champagne go flat! This is unheard of, for those that know me. We called it a night shortly after, I mean, wouldn’t you?

We accidentally went to Elizabeth Street again on Sunday for dinner – believe me when I say it’s really, REALLY good – a little proof below:

Shrimp & avocado spring roll

Octopus salad

Chocolate caramel macaroons - delicious doesn't begin to describe these! PS - how cute are these plates?!

Today’s highlight? A fresh new recipe! Homemade kale/chicken pizza with a cauliflower crust! It’s ok to be skeptical – I have been wanting to try this cauliflower crust for over a year now, I finally got up the nerve after receiving a cauliflower the size of my head last week in our farm basket. Game on.  I combined two recipes, one for the cauliflower crust and another for the kale/chicken (ok, all I really got from this one was to marinade the chicken breast in fresh lemon juice, I didn’t use their amounts for cheese and I omitted the olive oil). The chicken breast were “happy chicken” from Dewberry Farms, the lemon & kale (both organic) & cauliflower were locally sourced and received in our Farmhouse Delivery basket and the tomatoes (organic) came from Whole Foods 🙂

"Riced" cauliflower - basically grated into a fine, rice like texture

Crust mixture (cauliflower, egg whites, mozzarella cheese, oregano & garlic) pressed onto greased pan, for baking

Post baking at 450 for 12 minutes - it smelled amazing!

I super wish I would have taken photos of each layer, lesson learned for next time. I started with sliced tomatoes, (baked for a minute), then added the kale, (baked for two minutes), then added the grilled chicken (1 breast, chopped) & about 1/2 a cup of mozzarella (baked for 5 minutes or so)

This with no doubt be making an appearance in our kitchen again soon - easy, low-cal and a fantastic use of farm veggies (especially cauliflower - which I am NOT usually a fan of!)

Do you have any favorite new recipes?

…next up: BRICK (55 min spin/15 min core with Kathy at 6am), lunch date with one of my most favorite ladies & MOH, Casa Tuesday & Groom/groomsmen attire shopping!

Nighty night!

Happy Friday!

Fridays are my favorite – especially around 4pm-5pm – the moment when the weekend begins and the longest distance from when you have to return to the “grind” Monday morning. Love!

This morning was a great success!  Warm cozy bed = 0 : Allison = 1 🙂 I wore 3 layers and two different ear & head warmers, luckily the temperature wasn’t quite 29 (more like 32 or 33) and there was zero precipitation or wind, which equaled a win for all us peeps who showed up to brave the cold at boot camp!  Friday workouts are always outside, this morning we ran with dumbbells and headed to one of the parking garages near the gym.  Warm up drills, 30-35 flights of stairs, lunges, shoulder presses, backward up hill hops, speed skaters, more stairs, more shoulder presses, more lunges, hammer curls, step ups, more step ups & a jog back to the gym.  Very sweaty and awesome way to start the day!

One of my goals for 2012 is to become a regular at my local juice shop, in lieu of my local coffee shop.  Gyms days are great for this, since it’s on the way to work. Two weeks in I’m happy to report I’ve been 100% successful!  My regular visits to JuiceLand have thus far earned me: two free upgrades in drink size (which is kinda jackpot, as a small veggie juice is about $7) and a bonus healthy breakfast muffin.  Very cool.  I LOVE being a regular at my favorite places. Today I had a Tri-Pinnacle (coconut water · avocado · spinach · kale).

Don't be afraid of the color - it's 12 (or in todays case about 16) ounces of pure heaven!

The work day flew by (yippie!) and tonight we stayed true to our goal of staying in & treating ourselves to Dai Due hot dogs, homemade sweet potato fries and some much needed down time.

Goals/plans for the weekend:

  • 6 mile pace (+ additional mileage to get me to a total of two hours) trail run on the greenbelt – training for the Napa Valley Trail 1/2 Marathon & dress wearing in March 😉
  • More down time at home w/the kitties – going into the weekend with very little commitments, hoping to keep it that way…
  • Brunch w/some fabulous peeps Sunday morning
  • Spa day with the fiance! (not really spa “day”, but I’ve got my monthly facial and he is joining me for his first massage at Milk & Honey, so we can pamper ourselves together)
  • Wedding to dos: finish website, email to guests re: lodging, start organizing wedding invitations & call seamstress re: non wedding dress she is hemming
  • Keeping my calorie deficit between 300-500 a day (so far Friday was a “check”!)

…next up: more on those 2012 goals & recap of weekend!

Nighty night!

Shazam! Fastest.week.ever.

Ok, not really, but geez, I gotta get better at making time for blogging!  SO many ideas to share throughout the day, weeknights just didn’t cooperate with me this week – meh!

Tuesday highlight: Vinyasa at Black Swan with Lilyana after work and dinner at Casa de Luz with the fiance. That combination makes for a very happy Allison and a most enjoyable evening, Casa Tuesdays are kinda my favorite!

Nutritious AND delicious!

Wednesday highlight: Boot camp to start the day (work, blah, blah) then our 5th anniversary celebration!  Our first date (second first date actually, more on that later) was at Uchi, so we returned to the scene of the crime for our little cele!  The good thing about a g’paw dinner reservation (5:30, eeep!) we were able to take advantage of their amazing happy hour (or “sake social”) specials!  We shared several small plates, including: machi cure smoked baby yellowtail (yucca crisp٠asian pear٠marcona almond٠garlic brittle) hama chili baby yellowtail (ponzu٠thai chili٠orange supreme) bacon steakie pork belly (watermelon radish٠citrus٠thai basil) walu walu (oak-grilled escolar٠candied citrus٠yuzupon٠myoga), I enjoyed a lovely glass of bubbles and the fiance sipped some tasty sake.  We inhaled the first 4 dishes before I realized I forgot to snap pics 😦 Next up: Uchi shots (a la our first date) and the wagyu beef hot rock – interactive food at it’s best!

Uchi shot (off menu treat) = sea urchin, champagne & a quail egg. Not for the faint hearted...searing your own wagyu beef on a scolding hot rock? Yes please.

Time for some larger dishes and pieces!  We opted for a few items off the nightly special menu, the tako to konsai (octopus٠marble potato٠radish٠fennel٠yuzu yogurt) and the wagyu yaki (short rib٠gai lan٠eryngii mushrooms٠yuzu kosho٠lobster broth). The short rib was more for the man, so I added a piece of red snapper, toro (bluefin tuna belly) and spicy scallop. Again – hunger got the best of me, so I only managed to snap about half the dishes…oopsie!

Octopus dish - I'm happy to say the taste was as enjoyable as the beautiful presentation. I LOVE the little flowers in the mix!

Bluefin tuna. 'Nuff said.

Scallops with avocado & spicy sauce - I can't go and NOT get this one. Yummy!

And the grande finale, jizake crème caramel (brown butter sorbet٠
ginger), one word: amazeballs. It reminded me of the crème caramel from Chez Nous, but with a twist. The ginger and brown butter sorbet paired perfectly.  Needless to say it didn’t take long to make this one disappear!

The dish had the most perfect "nook" for the sorbet and ginger reduction, their attention to detail always amazes me!

Since we managed to finish by 7:30, we decided to continue the celebration at Aviary (our most favorite local wine bar). It was “Wine-down Wednesday” (1/2 off all bottles of wine) and that meant live music. I can’t remember the name of the duo, but there were flutes involved, perfect lounging music – and extra points for working the bed into the set 😉

The most awesome/dangerous feature of Aviary? Having the ability to purchase every piece of furniture in the store!

I.love.champage.glasses. (not flutes) glasses! Bubbles for the lady, IPA for the gentleman...

Thursday highlight: Eh, today was pretty boring. Work (blah, blah), fundraising meeting, waxing appointment then my attempt at a lyonnaise (french inspired) salad (sans bacon).  I love poached eggs, especially on salads, so I took advantage of our fresh farm lettuce, avocado and spring onions and created my own twist on another one of my favorites at Chez Nous (dang – second mention in one post? Maybe my belly is telling me something?). I added a few anchovies for some extra flavor 🙂 This salad totally hit the spot!

Just like the meal presentation at Uchi! (not.)

And that catches you up on my last few days.  I’m working to get better at a daily update, to keep my readers reader (hi Nicole!) entertained and my butt in bed at a descent hour!

PS: 29 degrees manana? Send me as many happy vibes as possible – getting up & out at 6am for boot camp is going to be a challenge to say the least…burr!

Nighty night!

….next up: weekend plans, 2012 goalutions (see what I did there?) and wedding invitations!!!

Hello world!

Well hi there!

I am Allison and this is my blog 😉 It’s been on my “to do” list for about the past 6 months and I’m ecstatic that I finally did it and that you’re here to read it!

Fun facts about me & insight to what you might find while reading:

  1. I am engaged and in full wedding planning mode (eeep – 54 days to go!)
  2. I love exercise – specifically boot camp 3 days a week with my trainer, running on the greenbelt & practicing yoga
  3. I love food & eating healthy
  4. I keep a daily deficit journal (tracking food intake & calories burned) to maintain a healthy weight
  5. I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (but for now I’m settling for an HR professional)
  6. I love kitties! (and we have two tabbies)
  7. I love Austin, I feel very fortunate to live in such a great community
  8. I love challenges – whether it’s training for races or weight loss – I like working toward a goal
  9. “Friends are your chosen family” – it’s a motto I’ve always loved and while I have a most amazing family – I also have most amazing friends. We spend a lot of time together and have amazing adventures! (ugh – easy on the amazing already, huh?)
  10. I am an activist. Before I went back into the HR field, I spent a few years working for Equality Texas, the only statewide organization that lobbies on behalf of equality issues. While I’m not employed with EQTX, I still serve on their fundraising & event committees.

I am very happy to be here writing and tickled that you’ve continued to read this far! I’m looking forward to sharing (and learning) from like-minded souls as yourself and the journey that this blog creates!

…stay tuned!