Month: June 2013

Time to Fly, Ciao Italia!

You know when it’s official when you buy the flight tickets. There it is; date set, time set. My sister and I are going to visit our families (on our paternal and maternal side) in Italy for the first time! I can count on the many site-seeing excursions, but the most exciting part will be experiencing a regular day through the eyes of the Italians. With the guidance of our native families, we will partake in scenic hiking, ravioli making and cappuccino sipping. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most — living like an Italian. Some of you may be seasoned travelers and buying flight tickets are a breeze, but if you’re like me, it’s an intimidating process. What’s the best departure/arrival times, best price, best city to fly into and the best airtime. Basically, I want the best flight. Just a few changes can get you better flights, while also staying with your plan: Kayak, Orbitz, eDreams Value-conscious traveler? These flight finders source any and all tickets (I especially like the feature that pulls …

Coffee 101: Home-Brewed Right

There is certainly more to it in making a great cup of coffee. It’s easy to pour whatever is available around you; it can satisfy the “kick” but not always the taste you crave. If it’s good coffee, for me, it doesn’t even need the milk and sugar. If you’ve ever had that perfect cup, you know what I’m talking about! Like any creamy dark chocolate (rich in cocoa flavor, complimented by fruity or nutty notes), coffee can be enjoyed in the same way. Of course it needs to start with the right coffee beans and your pick of roast, but nutty and fruity notes can also be savored in coffee. My favorite cup is Peet’s Coffee’s deep roast, Guatemala San Sebastian, and the dark roast, Uzuri African Blend. Every time I go in to get my soy café au lait, dry, it’s heaven in a cup. I just tried making coffee this morning and well, not so heavenly (even when using a great brand)! So, I set out to see what can be done at home …

Running Pains; the Next Step

Last week I shared my story about my leg injury and now I have some answers. Recap Running Pains: After 7 months of reoccurring pain from an ankle sprain and peroneal tendon strain at a San Francisco half marathon, a jump off a swing sent me to the couch with a bag full of ice. However, not keeping off my injury really did the damage. Last week, I left the doctors office with a diagnosis: a strained peroneal tendon and torn Gastrocnemius muscle. The bruising and swelling around my ankle is not a sprain but drainage from a calf tear. So at least now I know where to ice my leg, not on the bruises, but right at the source of the tear. I’ll have to keep off of it for 2-4 weeks and my Groupons for gym studios will have to wait (including the rock climbing adventure —bummer)! With two physical therapy sessions under my belt, I know a lot more than from my general doctor. Both my peroneal tendon and an inner-foot stabilizing tendon were torn. Makes …

Mini Peach Dutch Baby

Happy Friday! There’s nothing like a Saturday brunch to start off the weekend right. I have fond memories of watching cartoons on a Saturday morning with my sisters while Mom baked a Dutch baby in the oven. The anticipation of brunch was always exciting (and still is)! I’ve taken a huge risk modifying my mom’s recipe, since it is already so delicious, but I am curious to try substitutions that make it gluten-free and healthier. Here it goes, my little Dutch baby experiment! A Dutch baby is a German pancake, much like a sweet popover. It’s light and moist, and makes a wonderful breakfast (or even a dessert, if you add chocolate and strawberries). I always had it served with fresh peaches, sour cream for a cool and tart contrast, and dusted with powdered sugar. This recipe is so simple and doesn’t take long to cook. The original recipe uses white flour, milk, butter and sour cream. But today I experiment with gluten-free four, almond milk, olive oil instead of butter and plain yogurt as a substitute for …

Chicken: Top It, Bake It, Eat It!

It’s a work night and approaching 8:00 PM. You could either go drive and get something to eat or scrounge around for a snacky dinner. Most likely both are not your optimal choice. One involves going in the car and driving again, and the other will leave you hungry for a ravenous midnight “snack.” This was my dilemma last night and since dinner was only for one (my sister was out for dinner), I wasn’t about to make a gourmet meal. So what to do? I have a simple, tasty recipe that provides protein to satisfy hunger and is easy to make. I usually have a bag of Trader Joe’s Chicken Tenders in the freezer so I luckily didn’t have to go to the store. A chicken topper, like Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic, is a wonderful thing to have on hand that quickly adds flavor. It lasts a long time in the fridge and at only $1.99, it’s a real lifesaver! Recipe Preheat oven to 350°F. Defrost chicken breast and place on a lined baking sheet or an oiled …

Running Pains

When Your Body Screams “TLC!” It’s Health Tip Tuesday and I’m sharing a personal tip that may seem like a “no brainer” to most, but regardless, it happens! Don’t run on an ankle you THINK is sprained. This was a mistake that cost me big time. Proper care for full recovery is definitely a key factor if you don’t want to be revisiting the same injury for the next 8 months. Lesson Learned After a sprained ankle during the October 2012 Nike Half Marathon (which is an awesome event, by the way), I was on the couch for a week icing and resting. Once I felt better, I couldn’t stand being a couch potato one day any longer! I eased my way back to my usual workouts. Facing months of on-and-off pain, I finally went to a shoe specialty store (Road Runners Sports) where they recommend proper shoes after a foot assessment and customize insoles. Presto! The new insoles and Asics seemed to do the trick. Now we’re in the month of June and a simple …

Summer’s Frozen Delights

Summer is just around the corner and these tasty treats will satisfy your frozen dessert cravings! Somehow when it starts getting warmer, everything seems new and exciting. After surviving the cold for about 7 months, the sun seems sunnier, flowers seem prettier and frozen treats taste yummier. My sister and I have been on the lookout for a healthy frozen dessert that is naturally sweet without fake sugars. Since we love the creaminess of frozen yogurt and the richness of chocolate, we knew this chocolate banana recipe would be just right. Recipe Slice up bananas and simply freeze those babies up! I like cutting them up into small pieces to eliminate that painful “brain freeze.” Make them extra tasty by dipping them in melted dark chocolate. (Note: freeze the bananas before dipping to keep the chocolate from sliding off). Then add sprinkles or crushed nuts for a little more dazzle. Tip: If you let the bananas warm up a bit before you take a bite, the consistency is more like the creamy Trader Joe’s Ice Cream Bon …