I’m on a roll: Sun Cafe

Still riding the blogging train: I’m already ready for another post!

James and I typically try to frequently visit new veggie restaurants, but can sometimes get stuck in a rut. Oftentimes you don’t want to take the risk of wasting money on something that is not perfectly tasty.  Well, we stepped out of our comfort zone of eating at the Veggie Grill every weekend and tried something new.  I’m so glad that we did!

Francis, from The Foodess Files (a must read if you love food), had recommended Sun Cafe AGES ago but I never could really bring myself to drive all the way out to the Valley (for non-academic reasons) until this weekend.

Los Angeles was pretty overcast this weekend, meaning that the Valley might be less than 8,000 degrees and tolerable for a lunch visit.  For those of you not familiar with the area, the Valley is typically hotter than the sun and you can expect to be completely drenched in sweat the second that you step outside no matter what time of year/day it is.  Am I being melodramatic?  Maybe.

Back to the point, Sun Cafe was so delish.  It was the perfect place to visit when you want to healthfully indulge without spending an arm and a leg.  Did I mention that I’m cheap?

Now, Francis had recommended their smoothies, specifically the Kale Smoothie, but I decided to save that for another day.  I couldn’t resist the BLT sandwich and raw chocolate chip cheesecake.  James got the Fiesta Burger, which I nearly ate half of by sneaking in bites off his plate.  My sandwich was tempeh bacon with lettuce and tomato served on a yummy sprouted wheat bun.  James’ Fiesta Burger was a SunBurger (their signature veggie burger and so delectable), guacamole, pico de gallo and all of that good stuff.

BLT sandwich with a side of veggies and a Kombucha.  I couldn't resist immediately taking a bite before even snapping a pic. This sandy didn't stand a chance.

BLT sandwich with a side of veggies and a Kombucha. I couldn’t resist immediately taking a bite before even snapping a pic. This sandy didn’t stand a chance.

Chocolate Chip Cheescake.  This is a raw vegan cheesecake so it's made from nuts and other yummies.  Really tasty, but DEFINITELY for sharing.  I'm sad to say that James and I were BARELY able to finish it.  Must-stretch-belly

Chocolate Chip Cheescake. This is a raw vegan cheesecake so it’s made from nuts and other yummies. Really tasty, but DEFINITELY for sharing. I’m sad to say that James and I were BARELY able to finish it. Must-stretch-belly

Besides just having delicious food, the service was great and really quick.  Everyone was really friendly, which is definitely a plus when dining in LA.  We’ll be back!

Thanks for the rec, Franny!

Couldn't resist taking a selfie. I was too shy to ask anyone to take our picture, so J had the brilliant idea of using this storefront window.  It was some sketchy video store, which is even more sketchy given the fact that we were in the valley.

Couldn’t resist taking a selfie. I was too shy to ask anyone to take our picture, so J had the brilliant idea of using this storefront window. It was some sketchy video store, which is even more sketchy given the fact that we were in the valley.

3711 Cahuenga Blvd W
Studio City, CA 91604

(818) 308-7420

Running Rules

Well, James took a short break from looking at motorcycles and I finally got a chance to make a post!  My computer is still dunzo (Laguna Beach throwback anyone??), so I’m stuck waiting for those few moments when I can snag J’s comp.

As usual, I’m still completely stoked about running.  Feeling particularly inspired following my 11 miler yesterday I decided to record a few tips for running.

You can practically smell the endorphins from here. oh wait...maybe that's just what you smell like after an 11 mi run...

You can practically smell the endorphins from here.
oh wait…maybe that’s just what you smell like after an 11 mi run…

These “Running Rules” are just a few reminders for beginners and seasoned runners to be polite and have the most fun possible.  This is by all means not an exhaustive list, just a few things I thought up while on the road yesterday.
Also, I like the play on words because running totally does rule :)

1. don’t judge

First off, don’t judge yourself!  Don’t judge your progress, don’t judge your appearance.  Try your best to relax.  Trust me, 99% of people aren’t paying attention to how heavily you’re breathing, or if your thighs are chafing.  When it comes down to it, we all look pretty silly sometimes when running.

Don’t judge others!  If someone feels like prancing instead of running (google: prancercise), more power to them!  If nature calls and you see someone meeting a friendly tree-DON’T JUDGE.  If you haven’t already been in that position, you will-trust.

1.5 don’t compare

Along with the don’t judge rule, you should also refrain from comparing yourself to others.  This isn’t productive and just makes you feel bad.  Everyone progresses at their own pace, so keep your eyes on your own Garmin.  

2. try not to race…unless you’re actually in a race

Everyone’s been there, you’re trying to pass someone on the road and they keep speeding up every time you get close because of pride.  JUST LET ME PASS.  Racing, or trying to prevent someone from running faster than you just creates this limbo where you end up running alongside a stranger.  I don’t know you, and no offense, but I want to be alone.  This also happens in running groups where someone will run up extra close to you or tries to elbow their way past.  That stuff flies in an actual race, but during recreational or training runs, such behaviour is just rude.  It takes both you and the other person out of the moment, so try something new and if someone is moving up to pass you, just give em’ a thumbs up! This is much more relaxing :)

3. two by two

Speaking of running groups-RUN TWO BY TWO, PEOPLE!!! I’ve been in running groups so I know how it goes, you want to chat with everyone, but running 4X4 is so dangerous.  Just this weekend I was running up a windy road and a massive running group was running at least five people wide!  In order to get past I had to either run in the street or on peoples yards-not cool.  You’re a lot less likely to get hit by a car/piss off cyclists/get a ticket/annoy other runners if you run only two people wide.  Also, this way you can get to know your running buddy extra well without having to yell over people.

3.1 MAKE ROOM

On the topic of running groups and taking up too much space, it’s really important that when running with any group (even just one other person) that you make room for passing runners.  So often I nearly get trampled by running groups running in the opposite direction of me.  This isn’t very courteous of other runners and is also kind of dangerous.  Once I nearly got edged off the cliff of a trail, no joke!!!

Don't let this happen to you

4. smile and wave

I try to make contact with, smile and wave at every person that I see on a run.  I am convinced that this will help keep me from getting kidnapped because that person knows that I’m aware of their existence and that I’m confident (and can quickly run away).  

Greeting other runners/walkers is also just a great part of the camaraderie of being a runner.  We’re all out super early and gettin our sweat on-let’s celebrate that! 

Also, try to smile and wave at any car that you pass or make eye contact with.  Cars are already pretty much out to get us as pedestrians.  Let’s at least come off as friendly and polite, so that hopefully they will follow suit.  If you make eye contact or wave at a car, they’re more likely to see you and less likely to hit you.  

You might make someone smile and are less likely to get hit by a car; definitely a win-win situation.


5.  get the gear

This is especially important if you’re a new runner.  Proper running gear (I’m talking sports bra, socks, shoes) makes a HUGE difference in your running experience.  I wasn’t able to run for more than 1 mile until I got properly fitted for good running shoes.  Try going to your nearest running store for a fitting.  Here, you can also get some good socks and a sports bra.  The less you have to fuss about on a run, the better.  Try and make your life easier and get some good comfortable gear.  

I understand that this stuff can get kind of expensive, so I recommend hitting up amazon, the sale rack at your local running store, or even target!  Just a little bit of extra time sleuthing the internet can save you some serious cash.  I’m cheap as all heck, so trust me on this one.

6. skip the headphones

I too, love jammin out on a run to Rhianna.  However, running with headphones can be awfully dangerous anywhere but the treadmill.  Music can definitely pump up your run, but it also prevents you from hearing approaching cars, passing runners, dogs, or even potential kidnappers.  Not to get creepy, but whenever you hear of a kidnapped runner, they were always wearing headphones! Don’t let it happen to you!…But cars are probably a bigger risk :)

7. keep it short

I’m not talking about the duration of your runs, I’m referring to your long, drawn out description of your run.

I get it, you’re excited about running, but please try and keep from boring everyone you know with a full on detailed run recap.  I’m especially guilty of this; yammering on to my family/significant other about every single mile of my run.  

When push comes to shove, no one cares.  People generally think that running is neat, but most of the time they aren’t really that interested or invested.  Save both their time and yours-keep all running recaps short.  

(Disclaimer: I realize this is hypocritical considering that this is a running blog and all I do is blather on about running.  But you’re reading it, so who cares!)

8. treat yo’self

You just ran! That’s amazing! Indulge a little bit! 

Really though, one of the best aspects about running is how much that you can eat afterwards-this especially applies to marathon training.  You just worked really hard, you just did your body good, treat yo’self. 

Just don’t go too crazy.  I gained 10 pounds while training for my first marathon because I thought that 2 donuts, 2 cartons of yogurt, a bagel with peanut butter, and a microwave meal was just “refueling”…it’s not.

You burn about 80-100 calories for each mile you run, treat accordingly.  Massages also make a good indulgence without having to worry about the “train gain”.

Perfect post-run refueling

9. just walk

We all do it, don’t kill yourself and ruin a run just because you’re too embarrassed to walk.  Walking does not ruin your running cred, it doesn’t make you look un-fit.  Sometimes you just need a quick walking break!

Oftentimes I finish a run much faster and much happier when I take a couple short walking breaks.  Heck! Runners World even published an article about a marathon-run/walker who finishes in under 3:20 which is pretty incredible, and super fast.

So just go for it.  Doesn’t matter if you run for 50 miles or just 1 minute, you’re still a runner and you’re still amazing.

Plus! Walking still makes you 100x more active than most people in the country just sitting on their butts at the computer (like I’m doing right now).

10. have fun

duh!  Running is so much fun and is so good for the body.  Try to enjoy every run and to have fun even on the most grueling days.  If you feel like crap try listing all the things that you’re grateful for: your legs, your lungs, your initiative to get up and be active, your feet, your significant other, your parents, the cars for not running you over. Literally counting your blessings can help really turn a run around and take the mind off.

When it all comes down to it, you’re running-doesn’t get much better than that.

Goodbye computer

So to all 1 people who read this blog that are not my mom (aka. My sweetheart who I added to the subscription list without him asking me to), my computer bit the dust and it took me a good 15 minutes to find the ‘add new post’ button on the WordPress iPhone website.

So! Probably won’t be a post for a bit until I accumulate some cashola for a new comp. but quick update I’ve been in Phadelphia, a city which I can’t help but always refer to as ‘Philly’ even though I’m. Nothing close to a local. The hotel had a bomb-diggity gym that I frequented during my stay. I occasionally enjoy treadmill running because I feel that i can run way faster since it pulls your legs forward a bit and does some of the work.

I would post some photos of me running or something but I’m afraid I might lose this post if I try to so anything too fancy.

More updates soon when I can hog my sweethearts slick massive screened Mac.

I’m Baaaaack!

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So after a month or so long hiatus, I’m back to blogging!  After spring break I got inundated with projects, exams, interviews-the rigamarole.  But hey! Girlfriend got straight A’s and landed herself a summer job! That’s what’s up ;-)

So, to step away from the bragging, I’ve been spending most of my summer thus far cooking, forcing my mom to walk the dogs with me, and shopping for office clothes because as of now, 90% of all my clothes are skin tight and meant to be worn either during yoga or while running.  For a person who has to be in just the right mood for shopping, finding business casual, plus one business formal outfit for a full time job has been somewhat of a challenge.  Oh ya, did I mention that I’m the cheapest person on the planet?  Even Forever 21 prices shock me- $17.99 for a poorly made polyester shirt?!?!! I can do without.

To break from all that shopping stress, I’ve been upping my running inspiration and reading all about famous athletes.  Namely, I’ve just finished Kara Goucher’s Running for Women book, and it’s gotten me sooo excited about running!  If you’re want to get started running,  train smart for an upcoming race, pick up cross-training/nutrition tips, or even just want to get super stoked about running, you should check this book out. 

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Being amped on running, I felt more ~on fire~ during this mornings run….Even though my pacing was pretty much on par with what I always run.  At least I had negative splits! Can’t say my pace was even though ;-)

Here’s what the Garmin had to say:

Image(can you spot James’feet in this one?)Image

 

I’ve been getting more into the habit of fully stretching after my runs, and have been feeling a lot less sore after doing any speed work or long runs.  It only takes about 5 minutes, and I just do the standing stretches from Runners world.

runnersworld.com/standingstretches

And because I want to get stronger, and never do any sort of weights or upper-body strength training, I also did the short 5K workout also by runners world.  This workout called for pushups, and I was able to complete approximately 3 of them.  Do I get a medal now?

runnersworld.com/5kmoves

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post working-out, pre-pancakes

Lastly on the subject of running, I’m really curious about trying the running clothes by Janji.  This company uses a portion of their profits to help support organizations working to end global food and water crises.  What’s cool is that each shirt/short is named after a country, and they tell you how the purchase of that item will help support that country.  

It’s easy to feel guilty when buying athletic clothing, because pretty much every single brand manufactures their product in struggling countries, possibly (probably) in sweatshops too.  So, I think it’s cool that this company is interested in putting their product towards something good.  Plus, how can you not want to support these people-they look so nice!

Imagep.s. I think that the founders are only like 24 or something, WOA!

 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone! If you can, hug a veteran or a current serviceman/woman :)

 

Caramelized Mushrooms and Spelt Dumplings

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling particularly antsy as my spring break is nearly over.

nooooo! :(

This antsiness is what led me to drag my sweetheart out to Malo in Silverlake for cocktails late (9:30pm) friday evening.  I rarely drink more than half a glass of wine, but I couldn’t resist trying some of the fancy looking cocktails.  I had one and a half small drinks and felt HORRIBLE the next day!

I’m not sure if it was the cocktails, or that maybe I ate something funny that evening, but the following morning I felt like crapola.  Regardless, I had to take advantage of my rare free time and enjoy the outdoors to work out.
I was able to drag my butt out of bed by 11 and head to the Rose Bowl to run.  This run just didn’t feel right at all.  I kept it fairly slow but was really happy when it was over.

Garmin stats:

31:48.7

3.74 mi

8:30/mi

380 cal

This was followed by a very low effort Jillian Michaels 6 week Six Pack.  When you work out after an unhealthy evening or day, do you ever feel itchy?  This always happens to me, it’s almost as if my body is getting rid of all the crap I ate.  OR it’s as if my body is punishing me for treating it poorly.  BUT the most likely reason is just that I have super sensitive, naturally itchy skin that isn’t used to salty sweat after taking a day off.

After slothing around, I built up the gusto to make Joy the Bakers Caramelized Mushrooms and Dumplings.  This was SO DELICIOUS!

If you’ve never visited the Joy the Baker blog, you have to head over there RIGHT NOW!  All of her recipes are sure-fire successes, really tasty, and perfect for entertaining.  Also, she has a really readable and witty style of blogging that makes you want to be her best friend.

I veganized her dumpling recipe and cut down on the refined white flour, and this was actually successful!  They were soft, flakey, and super scrumptious.

Veganized Joy the Baker Dumplings
1 cup spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all purpose white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons granulated sugar (or turbinado sugar)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 chopped fresh chives

5 tablespoons earth balance margarine (super cold)

2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax whisked with 4-5 tbs water)

3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

First add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk, this will curdle the almond milk and give it a similar consistency to buttermilk.

In a medium bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  Add the flax egg to the almond milk+vinegar mixture and whisk.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Make sure everything is moistened but not over-mixed.  Pour out the biscuit dough onto a floured work surface and knead together the dough, pressing it out until it’s about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Cut out the biscuits using a 1 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.  Place biscuits onto a a cookie sheet, I covered mine with foil and didn’t need to oil it.  Place into the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Dry ingredients ready to go!

Dry ingredients
ready to go!

All rolled out

All rolled out

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Chop chop

Chop chop

Then I moved on to the rest of the recipe and drooled over how delicious these mushrooms looked for the next hours.

photo 2-7

photo 3-7

Woa-YUM

This was a surprisingly easy, tasty, and pretty healthy recipe.  The entire recipe only had a few tablespoons of olive oil.  I veganized the rest of the recipe simply by leaving out the butter.  This recipe was also perfect because LA has been very overcast for the past few days.

You should give it a try! :)

PopTart Kind of Afternoon

This morning I came to the realization that I only have a few more delicious days of Spring break left.

To stave off the sads about returning to school I stayed in bed for a while to make some headway on The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin.  I love scifi books, especially post-apocalyptic with zombies involved, this book isn’t that, but is still great! I don’t wanna spill too much, but it really makes you look differently at how our society is structured.

This bit of reading was quickly followed by some stress about school, so I pretended to do some bioinformatics work for a hot second, and quickly got distracted by Chocolate Covered Katie recipes.  Perfect way to get away from work!

That’s how these moderately disastrous (not that disastrous) strawberry Pop Tarts happened.

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Yipes!

So, They look worse than they were.  You’ll see in a second that I was very excited to document my baking process.

I typically bake simple foods.  I tend to shy away from most any recipe that requires chilling, or resting, cold ingredients, or is fussy in any way possible.  I’m trying to be more adventurous and am always trying to expand my cooking repertoire.

But! I was not discouraged from this experience (can you tell that I’m proud?).  I’m happy to learn from what I did, and figure out how I can make some delicious, tasty pop-tarts again soon.

And just because these pop-tarts look heck of crazy, that didn’t stop me from burning my mouth on piping hot strawberry filling after immediately scarfing down 5 tarts straight from the oven.

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Off to a good start

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Freshly chopped strawberries and strawberry icing

To make the icing I popped a strawberry in the microwave for 30 seconds and mixed it with some powdered Xylitol (I just blended up some Xylitol with cornstarch as per CCK’s recommendations).


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Notes on Xylitol: I’m a fan of cutting down on, or even eliminating sugar, so I’ve started exploring using Xylitol in cooking.  So far everything has tasted great, and not like chemicals like some other sugar replacers can taste.  Xylitol is marketed as being an all natural sweetener, but it’s not really.  It’s no ground stevia leaf.  Xylitol is naturally found in fruit and fibrous plants, but is isolated by means of an industrialized process.

 

Don’t be afraid of the lab!  There’s this assumption rampant in the healthy foods crowd  that if something doesn’t come straight from the ground, and isn’t exactly how it was 5,000 years ago (news flash: none of what we eat is), that it’s inherently unhealthy.

 

This isn’t true, and this philosophy can oftentimes be anti-science.  Now don’t even get me started on GMOs, that’s another talk for another time. My eyes will literally roll out of my head.

 

Anyhow, xylitol has 33% fewer calories than sugar, it tastes great, so I’ll take it!

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Pre-baking, still lookin good!

 

I was having a lot of trouble with the dough and was quickly reminded of why I usually stick to cupcakes and bread, instead of pastries.

It was so crumbly! I love spelt flour but I think that it might be a bit tricky.

I brushed up these bad boys with some of my special strawberry icing and popped them in the oven.

 

 

 

 

Then, this happened.

photo 4-1

Yikes!

Well, despite looking like some terrible wound one might have after being burned by acid, this pop-tart was tasty as all heck.

There is hope!

Thursday Workout

Run at the reservoir:

I had planned to do a hilly run through Elysian Park, but having parked on the wrong side of the street on street-sweeping day, I decided to take a short drive to Silverlake for a refreshing tempo run.  

Here’s what my Garmin had to say:

36:58.0

4.64 mi

7:58/mi

473 cal

8:36/7:30/7:58/7:48

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Gotta love that consistent pace, hardy har har.  But I did tempo intervals, so my workout consisted of:

5 min warmup

5 min tempo + 2 min recovery

5 min tempo +3 min recovery

I did this until I got to my car, which was 4.64 miles later.

I then drove to my parents house to bring my mom some leftover soup and salad.  Since I don’t have a DVD player, I make sure to take advantage of my time at my parents house by using theirs and doing a Jillian Michaels DVD.  So, after a bit of rest and one Lara bar later I did the Ripped in 30 DVD which kicked my butt!

After a bit more loafing around my mom and I took the dogs on a walk to Starbucks, which is about 1 mile round trip.  The pups were so happy!

Having worked out twice, I was starving so I came home to eat some leftovers from last night.  Mini pita+baked falafel+mediterranean salad. Yum!

 

ImageIs it just me, or does anyone else feel like they have to follow an herby/salty meal with something sweet to cleanse the palate?

Well, I was definitely feeling that way following this pretty satisfying lunch.  So I made those   Chocolate Chip Date Cookie Balls from Chocolate Covered Katie, turns out I did take a picture before I wolfed them all down.  I must have forgotten in my feeding frenzy.  

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Have a great Thursday!