Monday, April 21, 2014

The little runner me has just burst outta her shell!

This morning I signed up for my very FIRST half marathon! I'm both excited & nervous for a few reasons but to name a few for you here they are, in a totally random order:

1. I've always admired runners and have wanted to run for hours on end, sorta like Forest Gump, and I promised myself that one day I'd be running for hours on end!

2. I like running because it gets my brain running like a hamster on its wheel. Once I get going, the world's problems always get solved in my head!

3. Although I've always wanted to run, I'm terrified because I don't know if I truly can run-walk-run 13.1 miles ... I really need tons of music on my iphone to keep me in the zone!

4. I don't know what a cool runner is or looks like, so I'm hoping that I'll figure this out soon. *side note: does this involve having cool running clothes?*

5. I hope to learn the "runner language" ya know what I mean? "on your left" AKA get outta my way before I shove you to the ground. Right? No? You mean runners are nice? WHAT?

6. I get to learn what a runners high really is. What is it? Am I like lifted up to the sky or something?

7. I finally get to join the cool kids club! I get to brag to everyone I know about how I ran a half-marathon ...with my eyes shut, running backwards, dancing the Macarena, while wearing a tutu. HECK YEAH!

8. Do I get to put one of those 13.1 stickers on my car now?

9. I can't wait to get stronger after this. I mean seriously folks this is a HUGE challenge for me to even consider, so here goes me breaking down all those Princess Yekta walls. Le Sigh....

10. My Physical Therapist will get to know me on a love-and-hate relationship since I'll need her to help me prep for the many injuries my willy knees and obscured back will endure. Like my hubby teaches me mindfulness, I'll invite the pain but kick it's ass out the door!

11. Oh yeah, last but not least my new personal trainer Karl is gonna kill me getting my core & gluteus strong. I'm gonna come out of this whole challenge a machine ready to rip the pavement with every step!!

So here goes me, training for the Rock & Roll half-marathon that will happen in six months in Los Angeles! October 26, 2014 here I come!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cake Pop fun!

So one of my closest friends Mine (pronounced Meen-ay) is pregnant and I threw her baby shower a few weeks ago, and the first thing I wanted to make were cake pops! I asked Wendy who writes great blogs and makes tasty recipes how to make cake pops and she sent me a great link that I've provided for you below.

We made the blue box out of Styrofoam wrapped in blue tissue paper and ribbon glued on. These held the cake pops in and kept them sturdy.
 
This recipe is awesome and really easy! It took me no longer than an hour to make about 20! Here is her recipe, scroll down to her "Sunday" blog post and see her step-by-step guide. I used the entire Oreo cookie package and added a tad bit of cinnamon to the mix. It's important to buy Styrofoam to use when you dip your cake pops in the coating mix because they dry super fast and if you put them on a plate they will stick to the plate and then you're screwed because they will break in half!
 
Mine decided to make Marshmallow pops too. Buy jumbo marshmallows, no refrigeration needed, just make them when your Oreos are ready. Use the melted coating and dip your stick into the mix and into the marshmallow (at this point it should bond with the marshmallow) and then dip halfway through your coating mix again and stick them in the Styrofoam to cool.  At this point you can decorate the tops or leave them as is.

 
There are tons of recipes on Pinterest especially for decorating your cake pops. To make the cake pop isn't as difficult as it seems so try it and see for yourself! They are such a great treat to make for parties of all kinds or just to make to bring into the office and share with your buddies!

I made these this past weekend for a get together but I didn't have any Styrofoam and they came out with flat tops and the rest stuck to the plate and I had to throw them out because they dry onto the plate super fast. I found a great idea on Pinterest for decorating them but I didn't have any Styrofoam so they shifted around a lot and came out ugly - but tasted good so I heard!



 
 
 
If you have any recipes please share!

I made kotlet!

I made Kotlet! Yup, yup, yup! I made my very first Persian food dish and they came out SO good (after 6 tries)!
 
My Persian Kitchen has a great how to and great step-by-step pictures to see how she makes her kotlets.

I made my kotlets the healthier version, I did not fry them, I baked them, I used walnut cooking spray (vegetable oil isn't the best oil to use)

You're going to need a food processor, although I used my blender because I've got an awesome 5 sharp blade system thing where it can be used as a food processor. A great chefs knife to cut your onions & garlic, and a food mat/board to use, and hand gloves for food handling (I don't like touching meat or food when I cook).

The ingredients I used were:

Ian's Gluten-Free bread crumbs which were bought from Whole Foods. I suggest these because they're the healthiest on the shelf. There's absolutely nothing in them that could flare up my food allergies or anyone else's for that matter!

 
one pound ground buffalo, again I bought this from Whole Foods mostly because I only trust meat that comes from Whole Foods for so many reasons. If you're interested as me why and I'll explain. Also buffalo is the most leanest meat, and I recently read that it is leaner than chicken!


1 egg white, from an egg, because it tastes better than egg whites in a carton - DO NOT USE THE ENTIRE EGG. I am not a fan of egg yolks EVER and will never use them for several reasons, but I d eat egg whites because they taste better than the carton egg whites.

2 tablespoons of lemon juice, again from a fresh lemon

1 onion chopped as much as possible

1 entire garlic bulb, we love garlic in our home so we love the overly abundant "garlic" flavor in food. So this is really up to you, if you're not a garlic fan don't include it or put as many as you want in the food processor

Paprika, seas salt, pepper or you can use Mrs. Dash, the product line is salt & msg free

*also as a side note, if you don't have onion or garlic you can easily use onion and garlic powders, they'll do the job too, but the real whole vegetable is better!

*****

So the first thing I did was blend/food process all the ingredients; I don't like to add salt to my food with all the spices I used so I didn't use any but again this is all up to you, including how much spices you put in the blender. I did about 5-6 dashes of paprika and a small dash of pepper. I turn on the blender and wait and wait until I feel like it looks like "mush"!

 
I used a plate for the breading and made my kotlets in my hands then rubbed them in the breading and put them down on the sprayed ones.


 
I turned the oven on earlier so it was heated up but I left it on 350, and put all three of my kotlet dishes in the oven for 20 minutes and then flipped them all and then put them in for another 20 minutes and then took them out to cool down. They were SO tasty, crunchy & garlicy ... YUM!
 
Let me know if you have any questions and let me know how yours turn out! Like I said it took me 6 tries to make them good, and I enjoyed the process!
 
These will go great with Persian pickles (yes they exist), tomatoes, cucumber and maybe some hummus and quinoa! A great lunch/dinner dish!!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Easy to make meals are the best!

Tonight I made pizza!  I learned really quick that even though you have premade dough in a package you still need some oil or even wax paper so the dough wont stick when it gets a bit burned.
 
I used a premade package found at Whole Foods, Monte Bene pasta sauce (it can be used as pizza sauce!), Daiya mozzarella cheese (I don't do dairy and this is a nondairy cheese), packaged veggies at Whole Foods and in the over on 425 for 30 minutes.






 
So I left the dough out for a good 20 minutes pre-bake and then dressed it with the sauce, veggies, garlic powder, a dash of paprika, and ended with Daiya, in for 20-25-30 minutes, you can see the dough and judge for yourself.  Although I forgot an "after" picture, be assured it was amazing! 

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Yekta
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

first annual ugly sweater xmas party!

This year I really wanted to throw a Christmas party and I knew it had to be filled with lots of crazy things that everyone would enjoy.  So why not have an Ugly Sweater Xmas Party! So we did it, we totally pulled it off, it was one of the most fun I’d had in a long time and our first party in three years! 

This is what I did. I went on Pinterest and found a really cool couple of pins and I went bananas!  I kind of have a mustache thing, so um, I incorporated that into the party with finger mustaches, mustaches on a stick for the photo booth (oh yeah me and Michelle made one!), and I wore a candy cane mustache! Don’t get me wrong I am really girly but when it comes to mustaches I go insane because they’re SO cool!

I bought everything from d├ęcor to food from Walmart which was so much more affordable than going elsewhere.  There was so much fun had when we went shopping, I mean we couldn't eve fit anything into our car ride home!  I'm so glad we had the party it went better than we planned and so many people came over!

In the evite I asked everyone to bring a gift under $7 wrapped or wrap something from home you didn't want for the white elephant exchange.  I let people know that if they didn't want their gifts or sweaters after the party they could leave it because I was going to donate everything to the Salvation Army and I had a bunch of stuff left over, so it was a success!



 
This is the process we went through to make our version of the photo booth!  Buy your materials from Walmart it will be so much cheaper!  2 boxes cost us $3 instead of the $25 from the moving/storage store.
 








 
So then the day came and my two lovely friends AJ and Michelle came early to help me set up and get things ready.  It was awesome to have them around, they're so helpful!


Everyone got a finger 'stache! Greatest idea ever, found them cheap on Amazon!

Michelle and her finger 'stache!

AJ and her finger 'stache!


Our super ugly xmas sweaters!


Everyone had a great time mingling & eating!

Mine, her mom and her hubby John in the photo booth!

Us playing with the photo booth!


I love these girls!
Now that we had an awesome party, we decided we need to do this more often and have a Christmas party EVERY year!  Looking forward to our next party!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Home for the holidays 2013

For Christmas we decided to go to my hometown in sunny & beautiful San Diego, California! Ahhhhh the sunshine, which is how I remember the holidays!
 
 
What we did was fly from Seattle to Los Angeles, it’s much much cheaper that way because for some reason flying into San Diego is about $200-300 more. No problem, I love being in California, it is a much prettier place in my opinion and the people are SO awesome! (I’m not biased or anything!!!)

 
Santa was at the Seattle airport to give out candy canes & holiday cheer to travelers and the cute kids who ran up to him with such glee!
After we landed, the drive from LAX was so easy, no traffic!  That’s probably because we landed at 9:30am and got on the 405 southbound with one stop in Irvine, at Wholesome Choice for the hubby who loves Persian food (that’s an understatement because if it were me and a plate of homemade kabob, he’d choose the plate of food)!

 He enjoyed his kabob koobideh and mast-o-kear very much!

Although we didn’t get off the 405 we have done a longer drive before by just taking the 101 South. The coast is amazing, it’s so awesome to see the beaches and the water on the way down.  It takes longer but it is also filled with lots more sightseeing than just the plain old freeway.

Let me tell you about the hotel we stayed at, The Hyatt in Mission Bay.  It was the quiet season and so t wasn't very busy which is good and bad.  That just means we had a lot more space to sit down by the pool!  What was cool was that since I use Foursquare to check in everywhere, the moment I checked in at the hotel there was a special that I cashed in on, free Wi-Fi for a day, woohoo! I love free things!  Use Foursquare and/or Yelp, I swear you'd be surprised by the amount of coolness on these websites!

 
Our view when you walk out of the hotel, the boats were so cool!
 
This is how I remember Christmas...sunny, warm & awesome!
 Christmas day was great, it literally came and went fast.  My family and I exchanged gifts and that is always fun!  I love opening presents! I got mustache pjs. If you know me well, you know my love for mustaches!  My cousin had over 50+ people in her house so that meant lots of food! Check out the array of food below!  It was basically all gone by the end of the night!
 
Christmas Day!

Look at all that food!

 
Another fun activity we did as a family is make gingerbread houses and a truck!  It was so much fun! We went on Christmas Eve (of all days right?) and searched a few places, Trader Joe's was sold out, Whole Foods didn't have anything and Ralphs had them half off so we bought two gingerbread houses for me and my little cousin and a truck for my hubby!  It was a lot of fun putting them all together, plus we bought extra candy to make it more fun and decorative!  We put the pictures up on Facebook and my cousin won because her sparkly house made the top of the list! 
 
It was so simple and fun!

Look at all that candy!

Which one do you like? The one on the far right won!

The gingerbread 'truck' my hubby made haha!!!

What an awesome sparkly house!

This one was mine! Check out the xmas m&m tree on the side of the house.
One of my all-time favorite things to do is go to the After Christmas sales. Oh yeah, I brave the malls and go check out the sales. It’s worth the wait in line, the crowds of people and the piles of mess to swift through to find what you want for so much cheaper than you saw it pre-xmas! So worth it! This year my little cousin and I went to LF in La Jolla, they never have a sale but they had some cute stuff and then we headed over to Fashion Valley mall.  SCORED SOME GREAT DEALS!!!!!!! I was happy and so was she! A great day indeed!

My hubby wanted to see the USS Midway. Now let me tell you, the whole time that I lived in San Diego never once went to see this ship!  It was such an awesome delight to experience it with him! I love history and I love learning about everything that has some part of history so I highly enjoyed this day trip!  I can't believe so many people were on this ship!  If you have a chance, go on it, you'll like it I promise you! 


What I really love about traveling is trying out new workout studios.  I love the Barre Method in Point Loma, they are such a great studio through-and-through.  From the front desk staff to the instructors you are sure to want to come back every day for the positive vibes and amazingly hard-core but oh so fun workout!  Plus you can walk around the Naval Training Center for a tasty breakfast or lunch and take in the great history of the place!

If you haven’t heard you need to try out Fit Wall in La Jolla if you’re up to a challenge!  No kidding, this place will kick your butt! Bring your workout gloves or borrow someone’s because I blistered so badly when I didn’t have mine!  When you’re all done with the 40 minute sweat session make sure you take one of their coconut water shots!  Walk over next door to The Cottage and have a delicious breakfast and make sure to ask for the patio!
Breakfast at The Cottage with friends from high school! So nice to know they were also in town :-) and great to play catch up!

I love being home, all the memories and my family and friends make it such a worthwhile trip!  I can't wait to go back!