Eat Well: BLT-tastic

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I usually like to cook a big dinner on Sunday nights - inevitably, each weekend feels like it should be honored with a closing ceremony to celebrate another great few days spent in this beautiful city. Although this past weekend was fantastic, my husband and I felt like keeping things a bit more low-key this past Sunday night. Rather than grilling steak, roasting chicken, or trying my hand at a new pasta recipe, we decided to make BLT sandwiches.

I was inspired by last June's issue of Bon Appétit, where they featured several unexpected but delicious BLT toppings. Although all the toppings in the article sounded good, we decided to stick with adding avocado (because, of course...) and chipotle mayonnaise (mayonnaise + chopped chipotle peppers). The result was delicious - BLTs will undoubtedly be a cooking staple for us going forward, both on lazy Sundays and on weeknights when we're pressed for time.

As a side, I put together some fresh peas from the farmer's market + burrata with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon zest. Who doesn't love eating their greens alongside the most delicious cheese ever invented?

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DSC_3276We've got a fun week to look forward to, which is good, because hopefully it will limit my sadness of this weekend being over.

It's funny - I always feel like every weekend we spend here can't beat the one before it, and then it inevitably does. We had a great time this weekend staying in on Friday night, making mini-pizzas, drinking wine, and watching Orange is the New Black (so good, by the way). Saturday we enjoyed the sunshine while eating barbecue at 4505 Meats on Divisadero. Having a lunch of brisket + coleslaw + a roll made me feel, just for a second, like I was spending a weekend in Austin.  We then grabbed Bi-Rite ice cream and walked to Alamo Square Park, where we sat on the grass, soaked in the sun, and marveled at the Painted Ladies. We followed that up with dinner with friends at Nopalito, then a trip to a little coffee shop/bar to watch a friend of a friend perform some of his music.

The entire weekend felt worthy of a movie - memorable, scenic, and happy. Which doesn't mean that next weekend won't be even better - on Friday we're flying to Cincinnati for the wedding of two of our close friends, and I couldn't be more excited to get to celebrate with them and see old friends from school. Life is awfully good.

Have a great Monday!

Eat Well: Peach and Gorgonzola Galette

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This past weekend centered entirely around food. There's just something about all the beautiful food that's currently in season right now (nectarines! cherries! fava beans!) that makes me want to eat in a farm-to-table fashion all day, every day.

On Friday night we went to Marlowe, which is one of many restaurants in San Francisco that does farm-to-table very, very well (don't get me started on their fantastic Brussels sprout chips). After dinner, we went and saw Chef, which was completely lovely, completely fun, and completely homesickness-inducing with its few surprise shots of Austin.

Fueled by a Chef-inspired desire to cook, a desire to relax, and a desire to save money, my husband and I stayed home on Saturday night, which gave me the opportunity to finally cook the Peach and Gorgonzola Galette that graces the cover of The Austin Food Blogger Alliance CookboookI have been dying to make this recipe ever since my mother-in-law got me the cookbook for Christmas. I patiently waited until peaches were in season - and man, was it worth it. This recipe is so easy and so delicious that I highly recommend you throw yourself a dinner party sometime soon to create an excuse to make it. You won't regret it!

The recipe can be found here. I followed the directions to a T!

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Enjoy your Monday.

Live Well: Ice Cream, Baby

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 Honestly - ice cream has played a major part in my life lately (as you know all too well if you follow me on Instagram). One of the weirder things about San Francisco is that although it is constantly cold, its residents are also constantly willing to stand outside at night in line for ice cream - yours truly included. The result is stiff competition for the title of best ice cream place in town - and a lot of people who are all too willing to play judge.

While we certainly never shy away from ice cream, having two visitors in town who could easily win an ice cream eating contest gave us a good excuse to compare some San Francisco institutions side-by-side. After having ice cream five times in three days, here are our results:

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First stop: Smitten Ice Cream

Location: Hayes Valley

Pros: Super cool production technique (they use liquid nitrogen!), really smooth texture

Cons: You can't mix flavors (although they do have a few toppings)

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Second stop: Bi-Rite Market

Location: Alamo Square / Divisadero (exact same ice cream as the one in the Mission, but no line!)

Pros: To-die-for flavors that go together SUPER well (pictured above: Salted Caramel & Malted Vanilla)

Cons: I wouldn't mind a waffle cone option

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Third stop: Whole Foods to pick up Three Twins ice cream

Location: Whole Foods, Safeway, the corner store, you name it!

Pros: It's delicious and you can buy it at the grocery store! Win-win. Also, I think their Madagascar Vanilla is the best vanilla I've ever tasted

Cons: You'd have to buy your own cone, it's hard to exercise restraint when you can easily eat an entire pint

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Fourth stop: Lappert's Ice Cream

Location: Sausalito

Pros: Awesome dipped waffle cones, tons of flavors

Cons: A little touristy and crowded, but they do have a good system for getting you your ice cream fast

Not pictured: getting soft-serve at the end of our meal at Zero Zero. They give you soft serve, you can choose your toppings, and you can get a side of doughnuts. YUM.

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One of the reasons I'm writing about ice cream today is because I spent all of yesterday looking like a complete scrub - no makeup, hair in a messy bun, wearing pajamas. In public. I had an eye doctor appointment where they dilated my eyes, so I was working from home. Rather than spending yesterday morning getting dressed and, you know, looking presentable, I decided to come back from the gym, take a shower, and then sleep for an extra hour. I regret nothing. But it didn't yield any great blog photos.

And although my scrubby appearance was probably painful for my eye doctor to see, it didn't affect my vision assessment - I have "pristine" eyes, apparently. Is it sad that even reading the letters on the eyesight test feels like a competition I have to win?

Another accomplishment from yesterday - We finished season 1 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine! We really enjoyed it. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for something to fill your time while all your normal TV shows are on hiatus this summer.

I'll try to return to outfit photos tomorrow. No promises (you never know when wearing pajamas will strike you as appealing) but I will try!

Live Well: DONE With Our Whole 30

graphic via betterbelievefit.com

Well friends, I did it - I finished the Whole 30. How do I feel?

I feel a lot of things.

For one, I feel lighter. In 30 days, I lost two pounds, an inch off my waist, and an inch and a half off my hips. I didn't start this diet in order to lose weight, but it's a side effect that I'm not sad about!

I also feel healthier. We initially committed to doing 30 days without sugar, grains, dairy, etc. because we had been eating so terribly. After 30 days of only putting "whole" foods in my body, I must say I feel really great - there hasn't been one time in the past month where I've felt disgustingly full (that used to be a regular occurrence). Also, my stomach hasn't been upset in the longest time and I just feel better. It's hard to explain.

On the whole, I would highly recommend giving this diet a shot if you're looking for a way to break out of bad eating habits. While I know I'll start adding grains and sweets back into my diet (I'm going out for pizza tonight), I will definitely be adding them back in in much lower quantities than I was taking in before (after this weekend, of course - I'm not holding back on ANYTHING while my siblings are in town!). In a weird way, I'm almost sad that the 30 days are over - it really takes about 30 days to feel like you've got the hang of eating healthy!

I will admit, though - we made some alterations to the diet to make it more workable for a lifestyle where we know we're going to be going out to restaurants, hanging out with friends, and just generally not always in control of how our food is prepared. Here are the allowances we made:

Alcohol: I probably had ~6 glasses of red wine over the course of the diet. All of those were consumed in the company of friends. We just couldn't handle being the awkward ones at the table who refused to drink along with the crowd. So instead we took in a moderate amount, and didn't drink at all if it wasn't a social occasion.

Dairy: I had cheese three times because it was in dishes we ordered and hard to avoid. But I really, really tried to stay away from it as best I could because my body and lactose aren't friends, and I thought taking it out of my diet would be a worthwhile experiment.

Oils/Fats/Cooking conditions, etc: To truly stick to the tenets of the Whole 30, you would need to prepare all of your food yourself. You never know what kinds of oils a restaurant is cooking your food in, so it's safer to make your own. We weren't that stringent. Going out to dinner is one of our greatest pleasures, and we weren't willing to give that up. As a result, I'm sure we took in trace amounts of non-ideal cooking oils...but that's a tradeoff we were okay with making.

All of that said, I didn't ONCE in 30 days eat any kind of dessert. I can't tell you how proud I am of that. My love for dessert is definitely my Achilles heel. When I started this diet, I would crave dark chocolate after meals so badly that it seemed like my whole body hurt. That doesn't happen anymore, and I plan on doing what I can going forward to make sure I don't get hooked again.

So what do you think? Are you tempted to try it? Do you have questions I can answer? Let me know! But first, pizza...