Sunday, June 30, 2013

Taco Weekend

And another Austin weekend is in the books, but this is my first low-key weekend in that not much was planned. The first weekend I was back in town, I completed a triathlon, the next weekend I went to a beautiful wedding, the next weekend I completed my spin certification orientation, and just last weekend I got to spend wonderful weekend with my friend Amira. All of those weekends were absolutely wonderful, but I also enjoyed a low-key weekend, filled with lots of delicious food, and even better company.

We left off on Friday before I got off of work. At approximately 2:00pm, I quickly changed into Nike shorts and a t-shirt and headed down to the SRD gym. Though I have given plenty of tours that have been through the fitness center, I hadn't worked out in there since last summer. I was going to complete a Pinterest workout, but I ended up just staying on the treadmill for 45 minutes, alternating five minutes of running with five minutes of walking. Nothing too crazy, but I was nice and sweaty by the end of it.

I hurried home so that I could shower and give myself enough time for my hair to dry without having to blow-dry it. I think I've mentioned before that blow-drying my hair is just one of those things I don't enjoy doing. Dylan had a surprise dinner date planned for us, and we made our dinner reservations just in time. I have mentioned before that we sat down and made a list of Austin things we want to do together, and one of my contributions was Jack Allen's Kitchen. I had heard nothing but good things about it, and upon my first steps into the restaurant, I already loved it. Dylan and I both agreed that the atmosphere was excellent, and the waiters and waitresses were so friendly and attentive.

A five-star rating before we even looked at a menu. Jack Allen's Kitchen is a sort of upscale Tex-Mex restaurant, and we both had a hard time deciding what we were going to order, as everything looked delicious. I ended up going for the Green Chile Pork taco plate, and Dylan went for the Slow Roasted Chicken Tinga taco plate. Both of our meals were excellent, and we both absolutely recommend this restaurant. It is worth fighting the ever-present Austin traffic.

After dinner we tried to go to Lick, because though he teases my lactose intolerance, he is truly very thoughtful and took that into account when thinking of where we would go for dessert. Unfortunately, there was no parking to be found, so we went to a different vegan ice cream parlor - Sweet Ritual. I got a combination of cookies and cream and chocolate chai, but dessert just didn't compare to our delicious dinner. You live and learn, right?

Saturday I worked all day, so I was more than ready to put on some cute clothes and celebrate one of my roommate's 21st birthdays. Katie turned 21 on Monday, but as she is working as a camp counselor this summer, she was unable to come home on her actual birthday. She was able to get Saturday night off, so she came back to the Clubhouse for the night, and her parents drove in from Dallas and took us to a delicious dinner at Santa Rita. Santa Rita is probably my favorite Mexican restaurant in all of Austin, and I knew right away that I was going to order the Tacos Al Pastor. I wavered a bit after looking at the rest of the menu, but I stayed loyal to my original choice, and I did not regret one bite.

It was an excellent evening, and we even managed to get seven of the ten current and future Clubhouse members all in the same place at the same time.

Early this morning, Austin received a bit of unexpected (to me) rain, which made me want to stay curled up in bed all morning. However, Dylan and I had plans to make plans to decorate his back deck, so we ran a few errands before ending our time together with a delicious meal at Hyde Park Bar and Grill. I unfortunately forgot to snag a pic of my meal, but I ordered the blackened tilapia tacos, rounding out my very taco weekend. Dylan went for the Chicken Guacamole B.L.T., which he said was wonderful.

After a quick swim, and a 5:00pm church service, I ran a few errands and am currently baking for a YoungLife teammate who is about to head to Nepal for the remainder of the summer. We are all having dinner together tomorrow night, so some baked goods are definitely necessary.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and if you live in Texas, stayed out of the extreme heat!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Adventure That Wasn't

Once again, I apologize for another blogging hiatus, but it has been a pretty low-key week for me, and I can't say that I hate it. I love being busy and having fun things to look forward to, but there's also something to be said about being in your pj's at 7:30pm, putting in a Nicholas Sparks movie, and perusing through Pinterest for fun Fourth of July recipes.

Sarah and I did have a fun adventure planned for last night, but it ended up getting canceled about three hours before it was supposed to take place. It was a very belated 21st birthday celebration for Sarah, and it will have to be just a little bit more prolonged, as Sarah and I are both going to alternate being out of town for the next two weeks. Though I won't tell you what the adventure is going to entail, I will give you a hint. It takes place on the water, and it is a very "Austin-y" thing to do.

Instead of the adventure we had planned, we opted for a familiar dinner at La Madeleine, a quick trip to Barnes and Noble, and a light dessert at Pinkberry before calling it a very early night in Suite 1. 


I work the 8am-2pm shift at SRD today, so I came over a little bit early to eat my favorite yogurt breakfast before work. It's been a while since I've talked about that, huh? I have been in a breakfast rut lately, in that I haven't been excited about any of my current breakfast options, so I am taking full advantage of being able to enjoy breakfast from SRD before figuring out what my next breakfast obsession will be.

Vanilla yogurt topped with walnuts, raisins, and coconut
Travel Questionnaire

And I know it's not Sunday, but I stumbled upon this short questionnaire this morning while reading my favorite blog, and since it might be the most exciting thing you will read on this particular post, I am going to post it today. Nothing like a Friday travel survey to make me wish I was going somewhere exciting this weekend!

  • Travel Essential: Before I purchased a Kindle, it was a backpack full of books. I am already a pretty voracious reader, and while I am traveling, I tend to read even more than usual. But as long as I have my Kindle with a full battery, I am one happy traveler. 
  • Item You Pack That Reminds You Of Home: I almost always pack a big sweatshirt and a pair of comfy socks, so that I can curl up under a blanket with a good book, and that certainly reminds me of home.
  • Strangest Item Ever Packed: I don't know if this is "strange" necessarily, but I have packed full jars of peanut butter before. You just never know when you will be stuck somewhere with a peanut butter craving.
  • Last Souvenir Purchased: I guess the last time I traveled anywhere was when I was coming home from Barcelona (which was almost a year ago, crazy)! I do recall scrambling all over Barcelona to find last-minute gifts for friends and family, and I think the last thing I purchased for myself was a pair of earrings, handmade in Barcelona.
  • In-Flight Snacking: I usually pack almonds or some type of energy bar to eat on the plane. I did one time take an entire box of Thin Mints with me on the plane, and I was probably the most popular passenger.
  • Drink of Choice While Flying: Just plain old water. I don't really experience any air sickness, so I don't need anything to calm down my stomach. Plus, it's so important to drink water while flying, as it's very easy to get dehydrated.

There you have it. Have a very happy Friday. I get off work at 2:00pm, where I might squeeze in a quick workout before getting ready for a surprise dinner with Dylan. All I know is that I better be hungry tonight, which really shouldn't be a problem for me!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Track Morning

I apologize for once again disappearing from the blogging world for a couple of days, but Sunday and Monday were both fairly busy days for me, and I didn't really have much to blog about. Amira left early Sunday morning after a three-mile walk around Town Lake and a JuiceLand run, where I indulged in my first green smoothie. I ordered the Hawaii Five Green smoothie, which contains pineapple, mango, spirulina, and lemon. Neither Amira nor I knew what spirulina was, and upon further investigation, I learned that it is some kind of algae. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the fact that I just drank algae, but it tasted great, so I guess I can't complain too much.

Yesterday was a busy day full of work and hanging out (literally) with some of my YoungLife girls, and though I feel like I was running all over Austin, it was a very good day.


After a good night's sleep, I woke up this morning around 7:15am, planning to head to Town Lake to complete my favorite three-mile loop before a 10am Body Pump class, but as I excited the freeway, I changed my mind a little bit. Austin High School is located right across the street from Town Lake (lucky them!), and I decided instead to complete a very simple 2-mile track workout. In my opinion, sprinting is the hardest workout I can put myself through, so my decision to complete two miles of sprinting the straightaways and walking the curves was a tough one, but a good one. I started really feeling it in my legs by about the sixth lap, but I pushed through to the end. I finished the entire workout in about 25 minutes, which allowed me just enough time for a walk around the lake before heading to 24 for Body Pump.

I never get tired of this view
I would love to make that a regular part of my workout routine, eventually getting to the point where I can add a little bit of distance each time, but we'll see how well that plan holds up!

Body Pump was also great, and the fact that this class is always wall-to-wall people says a lot about how great the instructor is. She is easily my favorite instructor at 24, as she also teaches my favorite Austin spin class. She is sassy but encouraging, while still putting us through a challenging workout, all at the same time. I anticipate some soreness tomorrow, mainly because I do not do Body Pump on a regular basis. I am hoping to change that this year, though!


After a shower and a couple of errands, I headed over to SRD for the afternoon shift. I came over a little bit early so that I could make myself lunch before my shift began. Potato crusted cod was on the menu for today, which I normally love, but I opted for another one of my grilled chicken salads with a side of fresh strawberries. My lunch was both delicious and refreshing.

And now I am going to finish up my shift here before deciding what the rest of the evening holds. I am thinking something low-key, but you never know what might pop up! Have a great rest of the day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Austin Adventure

What a Saturday! I don't think I have crammed this much activity into one day in a very long time. Amira and I are both exhausted, but we both agree that it has been a great day. Let's start from when she got into Austin last night. She knocked on the Clubhouse door around 8:00pm, and we sat around talking for a bit before heading over to Town Lake for a late evening walk. We were met with a beautiful view, as well as a very strange parade of some sort (keep Austin weird, right?), before coming back to my house and deciding where we would go for breakfast in the morning. We are both big-time breakfast lovers, so we knew it had to be somewhere good.

Kerbey Lane is an Austin original, and it is essential for out-of-towners to try at least once. Amira had never been before, so we knew that was where we had to go. We woke up around 7:15am this morning, got ready fairly quickly, and drove over to the original Kerbey Lane Cafe, located on Kerbey Lane. After much deliberation, I opted for the agave granola, and Amira went for the Denver Omelet, which included mushrooms, green bell peppers, green onion, ham, and cheese, with a side of fruit and whole wheat toast. Both of our meals were absolutely delicious, and both of our plates were wiped clean by the end of the meal.

After a quick stop back at the Clubhouse to pick up our rollerblades, we drove down south to the Veloway, a bike and rollerblade only trail. Amira is my fellow rollerblading friend, and we both believe that it is a severely underestimated workout. Anyway, the Veloway is a 3.1-mile loop, and we completed two of them. We agreed that it is the perfect blading trail, with only a few inclines that caused us a few very minor issues.

We were nice and sweaty by the end of our 6.2-mile blade, which meant we were more than ready for the next activity of the day: SUPing, or Stand Up Paddleboarding. We came at the absolute perfect time because we beat the mid-afternoon crowd, and we spent a beautiful morning on Lady Bird Lake. Unfortunately, I didn't take my phone or camera out with me (for obvious reasons), so there are no pictures of this part of our adventure.

We then headed back to my house to freshen up, and to decide where to go for lunch. I briefly mentioned Galaxy Cafe, and after looking at the menu, Amira was sold. Galaxy is one of my favorite Austin restaurants, probably because it reminds me so much of my Houston favorite - Hungry's. Everything at Galaxy Cafe is so fresh and delicious, that it's hard to find a bad item on the menu. I ordered a house salad with grilled chicken and a side of fruit, and Amira decided on the grilled chicken sandwich, which is another one of my absolute favorite items. Our meals left us very satisfied, and ready to tackle an afternoon of adventure.

Their table numbers are always the most creative 

Since we were so close, we first went to Castle Hill, a somewhat hidden spot in downtown Austin that is home to constantly changing graffiti art. We managed to find the secret gate to the top of the hill, and we were awarded with some spectacular views of Austin on a beautiful summer afternoon.

Amira is a big-time music lover, and unlike me, actually knows most of the bands that come to ACL each year. Though she has never been able to make it down for ACL, she wanted to see the park in which it takes place. We drove over to Zilker Park and were again awarded with a beautiful view of the Austin skyline, as well as a seeing many people hammocking, playing soccer, and even playing in a mini beach volleyball tournament.

Next up on our list was South Congress. Last time Amira came to Austin, I was really excited to take her into Big Top Candy Shop, this old-timey candy shop with lots of sweets to choose from. Unfortunately, the line was pretty long, but we had fun walking around the store, pointing out differences between old candy and current candy. We continued walking around South Congress, and we wandered into a store in which I found an antique typewriter that I seriously considered purchasing. I called my parents to see what their thoughts on that particular purchase was, and as usual, they managed to talk some sense into me, telling me that if I still want one in a few years, there are plenty of ways to go about finding one.

Remember to Smile :) 

It was about 3:00pm at this time, and we were more than ready for a refreshing afternoon snack. We are both frozen yogurt lovers, but last night Amira mentioned something about ice cream, and I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to visit Lick - a vegan-friendly ice cream shop. Now, I am no vegan, but my being lactose intolerant limits my ice cream intake. Lick was the perfect place to go, because it offers regular ice cream, as well as vegan flavors. I decided on a cup with one scoop of spicy coconut and peanut, and one scoop of coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate swirl. It was light and delicious, and I will most definitely be returning. Amira went for a flavor called Texas Au Lait, which she described as being coffee and caramel flavored, and that is right up her alley. We were both raving about our ice cream for far too long after we had finished it.

We then parked my car at SRD and spent some time walking up and down the Drag. We made a pit-stop in Tyler's, American Apparel, and I finally managed to snap this iconic picture.

Right now, we are relaxing (and cooling off) from our very long, but very fun, day, before we go to Whole Foods for dinner and watch the sunset at Pennybacker Bridge. I am so thankful for a day off of work, and a wonderful day spent with a wonderful friend in a wonderful city (that's a lot of wonderful, huh?). We still have a few things left to cross off of our list, and I will be sure to report on them tomorrow. Have a great rest of your Saturday - I know we will!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Free Throws Win Ball Games

Happy Friday! I can't decide if I think this week went by quickly, or if it seemed to crawl along. It moved slow at the beginning, yet here we are, another Friday, and I am finishing up my third week of work. Next thing we know, it will be July. Anyway, like I said, I am working the 2pm-6pm shift today, and then one of my very good high school friends, Amira, is coming up to Austin for the weekend. She was the one who came to Austin with me back in January, but I am excited for some warm and sunny weather that will allow us to partake in as many outdoorsy activities as possible. I anticipate lots of Austin-y things, and lots of good food. I will be sure to give you guys a full report of our day tomorrow night!

Yesterday after I got off work, Dylan and I made a quick lunch stop at Central Market before he got on the road to go to Friendswood for the weekend. Dylan went for a bacon and cheese hamburger, while I opted for the tilapia plate. It was delicious, and it just reaffirmed my belief that Central Market is never a bad idea. There's something for everyone!

After lunch I biked over to Gregory for a late-afternoon swim. I hadn't swam (swum?) in a few days, so it felt good to get those muscles working again. After my swim, I battled rush-hour Austin traffic driving over to Town Lake for an evening walk around the lake before coming home to shower, eat dinner, and watch game seven of the NBA finals. I'm not a huge basketball fan, but this series was by far one of the best that I can remember. Though I was heartbroken to see the looks on the Spurs players' faces, game seven was all that any sports fan could have hoped for. It was back and forth all game, I never saw either team get more than four points ahead of the other, and it came down to the very last seconds. King Lebron just proved to be a little too much for the worn out Spurs. Truth be told, I thought the Spurs were going to take the title in game six, but a couple of missed free throws toward the end of the game did them in. That reminded me of a movie my mom and I watched years and years ago, and the main girl's dad drove this motto into her - free throws win ball games. Of course, in a dramatic championship game, this girl was fouled, and forced to shoot the free throws to win the game. Her dad's voice was on repeat in her head, and if I am correct, she made the free throws to win the game. I have a similar story, though it did not end quite as nicely.

When I was in seventh grade, I was playing in the championship basketball game against our rival school - Spring Branch Middle School. The game was being played on my birthday, so just keep that in the back of your mind as you read the rest of the story. It's a short story, because I am still a bit traumatized to this day, but we were down by two points, and I was fouled with two seconds left in the game. What line do you think I had running through my mind as I walked to the free throw line? Anyway, to end the suspense of this story, I missed the first free throw and made the second, causing us to lose by one point. If that wasn't dramatic enough, it was the day of the 13th birthday, so I just thought that was the end of the world. My coach kindly reassured me that it was absolutely not my fault, but I am clearly still unable to fully let go of that game.

And now that you have that story to hold over me, let's move onto today. I slept really well last night and didn't wake up until about 8:00 this morning. I immediately grabbed my tennis shoes and headed out the door to Town Lake. I intended to just walk my favorite three-mile loop and maybe go for a swim or something later that morning, but after I finished my walk, I decided to run a loop as well. My legs were feeling a little heavy, but I managed to complete it, and I had a very sweaty shirt to show for it!

After my run, I set out to make two batches of my banana-oatmeal-almond butter muffins, before making myself comfortable with a good book before work. I ended up falling asleep for about an hour, before making myself get up to do some cleaning before I left for work. I came over to SRD just a few minutes early so that I could make myself a grilled chicken salad, identical to the one I ate the other day, and once again, it was delicious.

Have a very happy rest of your Friday - make sure to do something you enjoy, you deserve some relaxation after a long week!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Capitol Picnic

Remember my special trip to the grocery store that I talked about the other day? Well, it was so I could get all of the necessary ingredients to prepare a delicious picnic lunch. A couple of weeks ago, Dylan and I sat down and made a list of "Austin-y" things we want to do together, and one of my contributions was a picnic at the Capitol.

It was my turn to pick what we would cross off, so, as I am sure you all could guess by the title of this post, I chose a picnic at the Capitol. I love picnics, and I also love preparing food, so I took this one completely into my hands. I wanted to make something more fun than sandwiches (but don't get me wrong, sandwiches can be very fun), and I already had a lot of what I would need to make quesadillas. Additionally, Dylan frequently teases me about not being able to eat cheese, so I decided to surprise him by preparing what is typically a very cheesy dish.

Here is what our picnic consisted of -
  • Chicken and pineapple quesadillas
  • Homemade guacamole and pita chips
  • Grapes and baby mandarins
I have pinned healthy quesadilla recipe after healthy quesadilla recipe after healthy quesadilla recipe, but I have never before acted on them. Yesterday was finally the day, and I have to take a moment and brag on myself. I lightly followed a few quesadilla recipes, but the finished product ended up being something of my own creation.

Yesterday, while perusing Pinterest, I found a chicken and pineapple quesadilla recipe. That screamed "summer" to me, and I knew I had some pineapple slices in the refrigerator at home, so I decided to go for it. I cut them into smaller chunks, before sautéing them like I would vegetables. I didn't have a grill handy, so sometimes you just have to work with what you have.

I put the pineapple chunks aside while I got to work on sautéing the chicken. I used two thin chicken breasts, and cut them into long slices, similar to what you might see in a restaurant quesadilla. I sauteed them like I normally would, topping them with my favorite lemon pepper.

After putting the chicken on a plate, I got out my low-carb FlatOut Multigrain with Flax wraps, lightly sprayed the frying pan with cooking spray, and put one of the wraps in the pan. For my quesadilla, I covered half of the wrap with dairy-free cheese, grilled chicken slices, pineapple chunks, and red and green bell peppers. I almost forgot to add in the salsa, but I remembered last-second. Phew. Dylan's quesadilla was exactly the same as mine, though his included real cheese, and a bit more of everything. Once I had everything loaded onto one side of the wrap, I folded over the other half and let it cook for a few minutes on each side, until the cheese was completely melted.

With the quesadillas taken care of, I set to work on the guacamole. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I had never before made guacamole, so this was also a new recipe for me. Before even cutting open the avocados, I cut up part of a white onion, a red onion, half a tomato, and some more pineapple chunks, before setting all of that aside. I then cut into two avocados and scooped the flesh into a bowl. I mashed the avocado with the back of my fork, and then threw in the extra ingredients, mixing them well. I then added a dash of lemon pepper and squeezed two lime halves on top of the guacamole in order to keep it fresh.

Next time I would be sure to add cilantro, but that completely slipped my mind until I walked out of the grocery store the other night, and I just didn't have it in me to go back and search for it. However, I would say I did a pretty good job for my first attempt at guacamole!

All of the food preparation took about an hour, and I absolutely loved doing it. It's been a while since I have tried a new recipe, and this one was fairly easy, fun, and delicious (at least, I thought so, and Dylan is too nice to say otherwise). We had a very nice picnic on the Capitol lawn, managing to stay somewhat cool in the middle of a warm Texas afternoon. Dylan even got to cross feeding a squirrel off of his bucket list. Austin squirrels are probably the funniest animals you will ever see - they are fearless, yet very friendly.

I ended my day on one of my favorite notes - a sunset walk on Town Lake. I attended my favorite Austin spin class earlier that afternoon, but it was too perfect of a night to pass up, plus, all of my roommates were out and about, so a walk seemed like the perfect way to kill  some time before they got home. I sure am thankful that I get to live here, enjoying views like this daily.

And now I'm back at work after a wonderful day off. Have a great Thursday, and Go Spurs Go!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

College Student Grocery List

Happy Tuesday to my favorite readers! Because I am working from 8am to 6pm today, and I wasn't quite feeling waking up in the 5:00 hour today to squeeze in a workout before work, I have something else on the blogging agenda for you today.

The word "fro-yo" may be included in my blog name, but I am generally a very healthy eater (I am all about the occasional indulgence). I love food, and I love creating healthy variations of my favorite dishes. In addition to loving food, I also love going grocery shopping, though I am not sure many of my roommates feel the same way. The only downside is the fact that more often than not, I find myself at the grocery store with none of our reusable grocery bags in sight. I really do appreciate Austin's effort to "go green," but selfishly, I find it a little frustrating at times, though I am sure there are plenty of ways to combat my forgetfulness.

But that is beside the point, and the subject of reusable grocery bags is not enough to keep me away from the grocery store. I love making grocery lists each week, which often includes special ingredients for a new recipe, but it also always contains nearly the same staple items each and every week.

I never buy all of the items on this list at one time, but they are just a sample of what I might have available to me in my pantry or refrigerator at any given time. The fruit found on my list may vary depending on what is in and out of season, but apples and bananas always make my list. I just recently discovered an apple that rivals the Honeycrisp, which is perfect timing, because Honeycrisps are just about to go out of season. I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried about my daily apple intake! The vegetables rarely change, though if I am feeling adventurous, I might opt for some asparagus as well. However, as I am sure you are all aware, I love my dairy-free pizza, and I need all of the vegetables listed in order to make it.

Hands down, my favorite snack 

Peanut butter is obviously one of my very favorite things, and I probably have it every day, in some shape or form. I am also very partial to black beans, corns, and salsa, because any kind of meat can be added to it, and I have a delicious meal ready in just minutes.

As for the extra virgin olive oil, I use that to sauté absolutely anything, and I generally top anything I make with lemon pepper. Meats, vegetables, eggs, pizza - it all tastes good, and when I use pepper, I am not tempted to sprinkle salt on top of anything. Not that I ever really crave salt, but still, lemon pepper is that good that it makes me forget about salt altogether.

So, there you have it. A look into a college student's grocery shopping. The amount I spend varies each week, but I will admit that it is close to $70, depending on what I might need to stock up on that week. Many of the items on this list last for many weeks at a time, while others, mainly produce, have to be restocked each week. I am very lucky to have parents that give me grocery money so generously, because they know how important healthy eating is to me. I also try and honor their generosity by not eating out as often as I used to, and using up the food in my refrigerator before it goes bad. My mom gets on me when I let food go bad at home, but I rarely let it go bad when I am at school.


And speaking of food, let's talk about lunch today. One of the perks of working at SRD is getting to enjoy their delicious meals, but often times, I prefer bringing my own lunch, or bringing a tortilla to make a healthy wrap. Today, however, I went downstairs around 2:00pm and made myself a grilled chicken salad, topped with tomatoes, green bell peppers, black olives, and balsamic vinegar. It was delicious, and I am hoping it, along with a slew of other snacks, will fuel me through these last two hours of work.

I am hoping to squeeze in either a run at Town Lake or a swim at Gregory after I finish here, followed by a trip to the grocery store for a few special items. Have a great Tuesday!