apartment gardening & other food sources

As of today, this gardening experiment has survived ants, flies, and my weeklong vacation. I tried to use aqua globes, but only one succeeded. Fortunately, the plants were checked upon and watered

20120710-093502.jpgso there was no major damage done.

Upon returning home, I found that cilantro had sprouted. I’m growing these from seeds. And, a new set of Aerogarden pods had arrived. The newest set is all lettuce. After learning that it will continue to grow as it is picked, I figured it was a good choice.

I also returned home to find that the two basil plants are now flourishing in their new dirt homes. This gave me some home that I would be able to transplant lettuce as well.

For now, the only other new addition is the spider plant shown at right. My mom has been offering these for the past year, and I finally decided to take her up on it.

One of the major perks of living in Downtown Los Angeles is the Grand Central Market. Half of me doesn’t want to publicize it, but I think most people know it exists and just write it off as a valuable source for groceries. Without setting it out as a goal, I’ve started to become more mindful of what I buy and eat. And because it is significantly cheaper to shop here, I have to tell myself that while I’m off work, it’s silly to be too lazy to walk over to the market.

Sunday’s finds: a carton of strawberries, a head of lettuce, 6 bell peppers, a bunch of cilantro, 6 bananas, 8 tomatoes, 2 red onions, and a huge cucumber for $3.94. Can’t beat the price!

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walking times: lunch in #dtla

It was such a gorgeous day today that a walk seemed like the perfect way to spend the afternoon. And, of course, food was involved (I feel like all I’ve done the last week is eat!).

We ended up at Korean B.B.Q on 1st street in Little Tokyo. I ordered the half barbecue chicken-half beef plate. My friend ordered the half spicy pork-half chicken plate. Both meals came with a salad, miso soup, rice, kimchi, pickled cucumbers, and potato salad. The portions were more than generous (I’m glad I only tasted the soup and focused mostly on the meat), and the price was great. [P.S. My friend went to extra care to point out the turtle-shaped skillet that the food arrived in. I have to agree that it was a nice touch!]

We ended up sitting in the restaurant watching a Korean soap opera with English subtitles. I wish I knew the name so I could keep up with it!

We pulled ourselves away from the soap opera and headed back out to 1st Street, where we made a stop at Fugetsu-Do to pick up some Kopiko coffee candy. At $1.50 for the bag, it was a steal and a perfect “light” dessert after the huge lunch.

The mile or so walk back home was perfect after our meal, and we made brief picture stops at St. Vibiana’s (where we found that the courtyard was still maintained), California Water Plaza (after a ride up Angel’s Flight), and Bank of America Plaza (where a once public park–a place I’ve eaten often–was fenced off with warnings against trespassing on “private property”).

St. Vibiana's

California Water Plaza

Gated park at BofA Plaza

train like an athlete. eat like an athlete. (well, kind of)

This is one of those things that a lot of people don’t really want to hear. Anytime I say it aloud, I’m met with “oh, please” or eye rolls or an explanation of how “lucky I am.”

It never occurred to me how much food is required to fuel the body. But the last month or so of workouts have been a little brutal. From what I can track and tell, my daily workouts burn anywhere between 1000 and 1500 calories. With my base calorie requirement, this means I need to be eating between 2500 and 3000 calories. Now, I could eat some french fries and call it  a day.

But when you’re trying to eat only healthy food, that’s a heck of a lot of calories. Take lunch today for instance, in order to achieve 850 calories, I included pasta with basil pesto (which was a majority of the calories, honestly), an egg salad sandwich (2 hardboiled eggs and 1 tbsp of wasabi mayonnaise) on olive bread, and a spinach salad with balsamic vinaigerette.

I think one of the most shocking things running has taught me is how little I  used to eat on a daily basis. It was never with the intention of “dieting.” I always just thought I was choosing healthy foods at small portions.

I realize now that I need to learn to space my eating out and to time it fuel my workouts. Some weeks I do really well, and other weeks–like last week–I fail pretty badly. The fatigue that results is unbearable.

My experiment for the week is to track my food during the work week (when my workouts are the hardest oddly) just to make sure that the final 7 weeks before my race are not an utter disaster.

yup, I’m really blogging about fruit

This is both a public service announcement and glee. And a grateful plug for the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

I’ve been there a couple of times in the past four years, mostly to eat. When I did a photo shoot for Taste Downtown a couple of years ago, the host mentioned that she bought her fresh fruit and vegetables here, but I never thought to do it. Sheerly out of laziness.

But since I have some flexibility with time (notice, I did not say a whole lot of time) and pretty much no money, I decided to try it out. Now, it’s my mission to tell everyone.

So…here goes.

5 red apples
a bunch of asparagus (a technical bunch, not “a lot”)
2 cartons of blackberries (just like the ones at Ralphs)
1 carton of strawberries
3 pounds of cherries
5 roma tomatoes

For a grand total of $3.85.

Pretty awesome, I think.

Salad #2

I scrolled down the list of the New York Times 101 simple salads, past the vegan and vegetarian section I was in yesterday to something with protein. I CIMG5726figured after forcing myself to the gym (yes, forcing) and not having eaten all day, some protein was in order.

This was another very simple salad. I realized that my favorite thing about these recipes is that they aren’t really recipes, per se. They’re just a list of ingredients. So, you’re kind of left to your own devices to make it what you want it to be (sounds exactly like me!).

This one is tuna, apples, red onions, seedless grapes, olive oil, black pepper and cumin.

I used gala apples and green grapes for my version. I like cumin a lot and was pleasantly surprised with the way it tastes on grapes! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a tuna salad without mayonnaise so it was nice to learn that not only is it possible but you can still get a very good tasting salad out of it!

Salad, The First

The New York Times recently published a list of 101 simple salads for the summer. I flagged it when I first saw it, and have been waiting to try out some of them. Part of me would like to say that I’m going to try to make all 101, but I know that will only breed slightly obsessive behavior about completing them all.

CIMG5705My butcher asked me what I was making for dinner, as he always does. I told him about the list, and said I was going to work my way through parts of it and just needed various ingredients. He asked if I had heard about the new movie, Julie & Julia. I have and actually want to see it. He started laughing and said that I sounded like the movie. I guess I kind of did. He made my day!

So, this is the first one. It sounds like an odd combination of ingredients but it has a light and fresh taste. It mixes sour with sweet perfectly and I actually liked it a whole lot.

Tomato and peach wedges. Red onion slivers. Dressed with olive oil, lime juice and red pepper.