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Posted on Feb 19, 2014 in Dear Diary, Food | 7 comments

Eggs & Lightning

As you may already suspect based on the title of this post, this is very likely to end up as a bit of a haphazard and non-sequiter post. But seeing as how it’s been quite a few days since my last post, and I find myself slipping dangerously into non-blogging mode, I figured I’d at least update you on a few things.

So, obviously Valentine’s Day was Friday. Let’s talk about that. Sean took me to Me Jana, a lebanese restaurant in Arlington, and dinner was delicious – you probably know very well by now that I love sharing food! So tapas, mezze, small plates, family-style dining, sushi… anything sharable is pretty much the key to my heart. I know, I know. I’m sure that some of you are shaking your heads at me talking about yet another occasion where I went out to eat and indulged, and I’d totally come up with some sort of justification or provide my reasoning (which is basically just that it was Valentine’s Day, duh) but ehhhh, at this point, what am I really gonna say?

I’m always gonna go out to eat, I’m always gonna want to celebrate occasions at restaurants. But I promise, I really am learning. I mean, sure, there was not a small amount of cheese involved in dinner that night, as well as a glass of delicious and sweet white wine sangria, but aside from that I was actually quite restrained and ate relatively well. Seared scallops, a salad with salmon on it, I resisted the siren call of the pita bread basket (well, I mostly resisted it)… really I think I did quite well! Snaps for me, hehe.

The other bonus points for the evening, of course, come from the fact that it was the perfect occasion to wear my latest Stitch Fix acquisition:

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I really love the wrap dress that I was sent in my box this month — the neckline is kind of vintage/forties-inspired, and the pattern is like part-chevron, part-Mike & Ike. Plus it went perfectly with the Seychelles heart shoes that have been hanging in my closet, yearning for their V-day release.

ANYWAY, back to the food thing: Aside from Valentine’s Day dinner, as well as a late-night post-Valentine’s dinner grocery store run to get dessert which resulted in me purchasing two things of Lunchables, I’ve actually been feeling pretty good on the food front! I’m really into eggs lately, which is semi-weird for me, because I used to hate eggs (except the fried egg sandwich that only my mom knows how to make perfectly, of course). But I pretty much throw an egg on errrrverything now, which is an amazing way to turn any kind of leftovers into breakfast food, by the way. I’m really not sure why I went so long living without thinking of breakfast pasta.

It actually really works out that pretty much every time I wander into the kitchen looking for something to eat, I just end up putting a bird an egg on it, since eggs are good for you (protein!), crazy easy to make (microwaved egg sandwich, anyone?), and easy to fit into my daily intake (70 calories per egg).

The protein thing is particularly important, since I am basically clawing my eyes out trying to maintain a good protein ratio in my diet. Even on days when I feel like I’ve eaten really balanced meals, my protein percentage is still at like… 20%. I don’t get it! Aside from having like an entire steak for dinner every night, I don’t know what else I can do to increase my protein ratio. Aside from, well, eating less carbs to lower that part of the formula, I guess…. hahahahahaha. Please. C’mon, serious suggestions only.

Other updates from this past weekend include starting and, subsequently, finishing my newest video game — Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. (Just in case you guys forgot, I am a HUGE nerd.) And I somewhat suspect that all that binge-playing may have had something to do with my other news, which is that I changed my hair color… again. And I did it aaaall by myself this time.

Don’t tell my hairdresser.

Lol, JK, he already knows because we are friends on Facebook and there is obviously no way I can prevent myself from posting every single thing I do on social media. He said it looks good. 🙂 Anyway, it’s kind of hard to see with the bad bathroom lighting, but I bleached the purple out of my hair (bye for now! I’ll be back!) and now it’s a super pastel, soft pink. Just like Lightning.

Going about dyeing my hair on my own this time was very interesting, incredibly educational, and SUPER scary. This is probably deserving of a longer post at some point, but suffice it to say that I had no idea what bleaching the already bleached-then-purpled parts of my hair would do. Well, as it turns out, putting bleach on already bleached hair, even if it has color over it, takes like half a second to get it back to the pre-colored blonde. Seriously, it seemed like the SECOND I put the bleach over my lengths, the color lifted out. Which kind of made me freak out, because I didn’t want my hair to snap and fall out from being over-bleached, so I ended up washing it out after only like 10 or 15 minutes, and so my roots only lightened a tiny bit. But oh well — consider my lesson learned! #themoreyouknow

Aaaanyway, and that about catches us up! In addition to a post on the necessary magic needed to dye yourself some pastel locks, I also owe you an update about how my lingual braces are going (they are MUCH, much, much, much, much better), as well as some exciting things that will be happening soon for my job. Plus, you know, all the regular weight loss stuff and pictures of my food and definitely some humblebragging about how many times I made it to the gym this week (twice so far!). So, you know, good stuff ahead… stay tuned!

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Posted on Feb 15, 2013 in Food | 10 comments

Kushi Sushi

Happy February 15th, friends! I realize it lacks some of the fanfare and pizzazz of February 14th, but hey, at least it’s Friday, right? And hopefully at least some of you are still riding the wave of a lovely Valentine’s Day–I know I am! Not to brag (even though I totally am), but I’m preeeetty sure I had the best Valentine’s Day ever.

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When we left off yesterday, I told you all that Sean had planned some big Valentine’s surprise dinner, and wouldn’t tell me where we were going. And I expressed my love-hate relationship with surprises (mostly love, I’m just really impatient, haha), and my anticipation over where we were going. Well, as I found out about an hour before we left for dinner, our destination was…

KUSHI!

Kushi is a sushi restaurant in downtown DC that I have wanted to go to for FOREVER, and never had. I was SO excited to get to finally try it out. But before we were off to dinner, Sean had another surprise for me first:

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The generous son of a gun got me a Michael Kors watch and roses for Valentine’s Day! Ughhhhh, why is he so good to meeeeee? I LOVE it. I’ve had an MK watch on my wishlist for a loooong time (no, like, literally on my Amazon wishlist) and while the one I originally had on there is not available any more, Sean picked this beauty out for me. And that makes me love it even more, because he chose it himself! Eeeeee, my first fancy watch! I feel like such a grown-up. Though I am just realizing that talking about this makes me seem more like a spoiled teenager than an adult… and I don’t care. 😀

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My preeeeciousssss…

What was I talking about? Oh, right, dinner. Heh. So! New bling dangling off my wrist (I need to get a few links removed for it to fit properly, but I couldn’t NOT wear it!) and off we went to Kushi.

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I started off with a Sake Blossom cocktail while we were waiting to be seated. It included lime juice, sake, St. Germaine’s (I still don’t know what this is, haha), and vodka. Needless to say, it was entirely too delicious (spoiler alert: I got kinda drunk last night, bahaha). Then we were seated–admittedly, the seating in this restaurant doesn’t give off a super romantic vibe because everything is set up VERY close together, but I didn’t really mind.

Because it was a special occasion, and also because it was the first time there for both of us, we both opted for Kushi’s Tasting Menu rather than ordering things a la carte. (Apologies for all the iPhone photos, but I just didn’t really feel like dragging my giant DSLR around with me on Valentine’s Day, haha.)

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The tasting menu includes a sampling of basically all the various food types that Kushi offers. While they obviously do have sushi on the menu (thank goodness), the restaurant’s real “thing” is Yakitori–grilled meats and vegetables on skewers. It’s essentially classed-up Japanese street food. The menu started out with some sake (see where that whole “I got drunk” thing comes in?) and then a choice between three appetizers. Both Sean and I opted for the spicy peel-and-eat shrimp. Then, we both got to choose two kinds of yakitori from the menu.

We chose all different yakitori types so we could try the highest number of items, of course (love working as a team!) and got the pork belly (amazing!), duck with scallion (delicious!), pheasant sausage (the surprise winner–SO good!), and a rather lackluster chicken with plum sauce. Despite the chicken being disappointing, the other three were absolutely scrumptious.

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After the yakitori we were served some miso soup, which was good but pretty standard, and then… a sushi sampling! The sushi at Kushi (heh, that’s fun to say) was very fresh — I was very excited to see how thick the salmon sashimi was, because it’s my faaaaaavorite (it’s like buttah). We also got tuna and yellowfish nigiri, and three pieces of a wasabi scallop roll. The sushi was very good, although I almost wish it had been a little bit more of an adventurous selection, given that we weren’t able to pick the kinds of sushi included in the tasting menu. Even so, this was definitely my favorite part of the meal because, well, sushi is my favorite thing ever. Duh.

We were given an option between three things for the main entree of the meal. I opted for the hangar steak, while Sean got the pork tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet). My steak was cooked very well (medium-rare, even though they didn’t ask how I’d like it cooked) and had a really smokey flavor, but I actually liked Sean’s more. The pork was just so juicy! I got a salad on the side, and Sean got Japanese fried rice. They also both weirdly came with some kind of Asian potato salad, which was good in a culturally jarring kind of way, hahaha.

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Oh, before I forget, we also ordered one a la carte item off of the menu in addition to the tasting menu. As soon as I saw they carried a brussels sprout dish, you know I HAD to get it! It was advertised as being cooked with garlic butter, but I have to admit that these were pretty disappointing. They were smokey, but otherwise seemed unseasoned. Sean said he liked mine much better, hehehe. Still, I never regret ordering brussels sprouts, so all’s well that ends well, I guess!

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For the last part of the tasting menu, dessert was included. We were offered two gelatos or a bowl of seasonal fruit, and since I made the unfortunate decision to give up sweets for Lent, I was forced to go with the fruit option. I was actually kind of looking forward to it… until it arrived. Instead of a bowl of different fruits, which you kind of would assume based on the wording, I got one giant bowl of cantaloupe. So, I basically ate an entire cantaloupe for dessert, hahaha. Not the granded cap on a good meal, but oh well.

So! Overall I really did enjoy my meal at Kushi. I’m glad we did the tasting menu and I got to sample a bit of everything, but I think I might have built it up in my head a little bit much though, because I wasn’t utterly blown away by it all. The service was good–I really liked our waitress–and almost all the food came out in a very timely way, with the exception of our main entrees. If I lived closer, I might want to go back for more yakitori (that pheasant sausage really was insanely good!) but I will be sticking to my beloved Koi Koi for my sushi cravings.

So there we go: my epic and romantic Valentine’s Day celebration, complete with good food, an entirely-too-generous gift, and quality time spent with my love. Cheesy, I know, but so am I so… suck it up. 😉 Of course, I haven’t even mentioned the final good thing to come out of this, which is that when I awoke this morning–blessedly NOT hungover, huzzah!–my makeup still looked totally boss. Hence, the whole happy February 15th jazz from the beginning of this post, hahaha. Never doubt the utility of a good eyeshadow primer!

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This makeup brought to you by last night.

I hope you all had a wonderful V-Day, and will have an equally wonderful weekend! Tomorrow evening, I’m meeting back up with the fabulous Lauren from Oatmeal After Spinning, and Kelly from Kelly Fiore Writes (who I met for the first time last weekend at the Frederick Restaurant Week sneak peek) and we’re going to Founding Farmers in Bethesda. I had a not-so-great experience at the Founding Farmers in DC when I went there for my birthday a few years back, but I am excited to give this location a shot!

<3 <3 <3

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Posted on Feb 14, 2013 in Dear Diary | 9 comments

Happy <3 Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

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Harry and Daxter got to spend a large chunk of yesterday at their favorite place in whole wide world: the groomer! So they came home sporting gentlemanly beards and heart-spotted Valentine’s bandannas. Oh, how I love my tiny old man dogs. Heeee. 😀

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Why did you do this to me?

Valentine’s Day is one of those “holidays” (I use the term loosely) that I’ve always really liked, even when I wasn’t romantically attached. I know a lot of single people rally against this day, but I dunno. I guess that even when I wasn’t in a relationship, I just liked what the day stands for. Love, y’know? Because, let’s be honest, I am a huuuuuge drippy romantic cheeseball at heart. (This should really not surprise anyone though. I mean, you guys have seen how into weddings I am. I am pretty ridiculous.)

Sean is keeping me in the dark about our Valentine’s Day plans tonight, the wonderful jerk. He absolutely LOVES planning surprises and I am the wooooorst at waiting patiently for them. I have a love-hate relationship with surprises, actually. I love the IDEA of being surprised, but I also want to know everything ever ahead of time (I’m the kind of person who actually loves reading spoilers for movies, haha). So all I know is that we have dinner reservations SOMEWHERE in DC. But other than that, zilch. Hopefully he a least got the memo about me giving up sweets and desserts for Lent though (what unfortunate timing!) and forewent the box o’ chocolates this year. I wonder if an Edible Arrangement would count against my Lenten sacrifice? 😉

Anyway! Since I have no idea where we’re going or what we’re doing, I guess I’ll report back in tomorrow with the V-Day celebration. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Just remember to bask in the love, mon amis–whether that’s relationshippy love, familial love, or–the best love of all–the canine kind.

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Posted on Feb 15, 2012 in Food, Weigh Ins, Weight Loss | 29 comments

Steak Niiiight! (Weigh-in)

Steak errrrverywhere! As if taking me to Ray’s the Steaks on Saturday wasn’t enough of a Valentine’s Day celebration, right? Well, last night the new man in my life also showed off his culinary tactics with a homemade steak dinner!

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Seriously impressive, right? Sean really went all out. The surf ‘n’ turf menu included filet with a balsamic & red wine reduction, sauteed shrimp, loaded mashed potatoes, and green beans. It was all him, too! The only thing I helped with was a modicum of slicing and dicing.

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Though, to my credit, the clove of elephant garlic that I minced was a total beast. See the size comparison to the QUARTER next to it? Biggest effing garlic clove ever!

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Steak Niiiight

Since I was, for once, not the one bustling about the kitchen (a gift in and of itself!), I spent my time getting giddy over last night’s episode of Glee (I know how bad it is, just let me love it, mmkay) and ogling myself in the mirror. I made my first attempt at doing a true smokey eye with makeup, so I was very proud of myself, ahaha. I felt mildly whorish when I was putting on layer after layer of eyeshadow (there’s like 5 different shades going on here!), but I really like the final result. Not bad for my first try, right?

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Anyway, in addition to the incredible meal that I got to enjoy, Sean also made a delicious from-scratch dessert: chocolate mousse!

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I died. So yummy, but nice and light after that decadent meal. Of course, my enjoyment of the meal was slightly mollified by the thought of my weigh-in in the morning. Pairing last night with the wine festival from Saturday didn’t put my hopes very high. As it turned out, however, this really is my week! Observe:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 192.6 lbs
This Weigh-in: 191.4 lbs
Difference: -1.2 lbs

Huzzah! Another pound down and another pound closer to my pre-holiday weight. Not sure if it’s just because my body hasn’t registered all the extra wine weight yet, but I am most certainly NOT complaining! I’m also sure that this loss will be rapidly undone by this weekend’s impending trip to Harry Potter World (SQUEEEEEE!) but we’ll cross that magical bridge when we come to it. After all, you know there’s no way I’ll be able to (nor would I want to) pass up a few butterbeers and cauldron cakes! And at least I’m heading to Florida on a high note!

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Posted on Feb 14, 2012 in Food | 24 comments

The Perfect Pie

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I hope that yesterday’s announcement of Ben & Taylor’s engagement helped put you in a romantic mood — it certainly did for me! We did most of our Hallmark Holiday celebration over the weekend. In addition to taking me to the DC Wine Festival, Sean took me to Ray’s the Steaks (technically, to Retro Ray’s next door which is its new walk-in only brother restaurant) and it was AMAZING. Seriously. DC-ites, Northern Virginians, and Marylanders alike: you must go. You get complimentary mashed ‘taters and creamed spinach with your entree, so the value is awesome for a steak joint (where you normally have to pay for every side individually). Get the crab bisque and the filet with brandy mushroom sauce and thank me later.

Sidebar: I also got this gorgeous Valentine’s surprise yesterday afternoon!

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Aaaand we’re back! Sunday night we played it a little more low-key and made pizza! You already know how much I love putting my Christmas-given pizza stone to use, but you also know from past attempts how poor my dough-handling skills are.

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Well, I’m sad to report that nothing has changed there. Misshapen pizzas still unfortunately seem to be my thing, and this margarita pizza definitely got struck with my ugly ‘za skillz. Luckily, in contrast, Sean seems to have unearthed a hidden talent for pizza shaping. Check out the perfectly circular pie he whipped up!

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I was seriously jealous impressed. We determined that a factor may have been letting the dough sit OUT of the bag (we used the ready-made Trader Joe’s dough, like always) before shaping, instead of letting it sit in the plastic. We’ll have to do a strict comparison next time!

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The second, perfect pie also had perfect toppings. It was like Hawaiian (my favorite) to the max: canadian bacon, bacon, mozzarella, feta (!), and pineapple. We may or may not have tucked cheese into that gorgeous crust, too. Heh. Not to worry! I exercised portion control only made it through a couple slices.

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We both decided that if we did it again, we would cut the pineapple down smaller so you could get more of it in each bite. Delicious, nonetheless, and it made for the best leftovers ever!

On the docket for today is a cookie exchange that I’ve organized for my office (you better believe my disaster cookies are making an appearance, so brace yourselves for another earthquake!) It’s my first cookie exchange, so hopefully it goes smoothly. Hopefully my roommates will be happy that I’ll be bringing home a smorgasbord of sweet treats too — I’m counting on them to help me eat them so I can stay on track…ish! 😉

What are your V-Day plans? Alternately/in addition, what’s your favorite pizza topping combination?

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