Running, Eating, and Traveling: Bay Area, CA

The fiance and I went to the Bay Area in June to see some friends. First we stopped by to see my friend J. who lives in El Cerrito. We had lunch at Bistro 1491 where I had a salad with duck comfit. Then we went for a walk by the Richmond waterfront where the Rosie the Riveter Museum is located. Very interesting part of history: we learned about Richmond’s role in WWII. J. and A. have a beautiful garden with artichokes, pumpkins, carrots, kale, etc. We grilled burgers and some items from the garden and had a wonderful time with them. We finished the night watching Game of Thrones for the first time to see what the fuss is all about. I will have to watch a few more episodes to see if I really like it or not.

Then we were to off to San Francisco for a couple of days, but the first stop was at Emeryville’s Public Market – one of the fiance’s favorite places to eat because of all the different world foods. To keep my running going, we went to Golden Gate Park, but upon seeing Ocean Beach, I decided to run on Land’s End trail because of the amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The fiance just chilled by the beach while I did my 6 miles. The best part of the trip was the food, of course. With my friends J. and J., we went to a French restaurant called Chez Maman. It was quite the feast: roasted garlic, cheese,  fries, escargot, ratatouille, mussels, and lots of wine. The next day we stopped by  Zachary’s Pizza to pick up a couple of Chicago style pies. I don’t think 6 miles was enough exercise for all that food!

Running: Spring 2015

After Antarctica, I actually took a few weeks off and didn’t exercise at all. But with all the eating going on, I had to get back into it and it has been pretty enjoyable. I started with 2-3 miles at a time and now I’m up to 6-7 miles at a time, running 4-5 days a week. That’s an average of 25 miles each week and I’m so proud of myself! Of course having summer’s off as a teacher helps a lot: I’m able to walk the dogs every day, go on my runs in the evening when the weather is cooler and I even got back to yoga classes and my yoga course, which included a Sanskrit workshop with Shanti Shanti.

Besides running on the trails by my house, I have been going to the Truckee river downtown and when it’s too hot in Reno I drive to Tahoe to enjoy a cooler run and the beach. One day I even took the dogs on a 6 mile walk/run by the beach, but the next day Parker couldn’t even walk. I have been taking them on 3 miles max now. Hopefully I’ll do more hikes with them, like the one to Mt. Rose waterfall. The weather has been a little too hot for my taste, but I’m not complaining about the sun and the beautiful clouds. Better hot than rainy (well, better for me at least, not for the drought in CA/NV…)

Eating: Baked Turkey Meatballs

My favorite recipe of the Spring was this super healthy turkey meatballs. It makes so many that you can use them for different things or even freeze them. Because of the fiancé, this recipe has no eggs, but with lots of veggies and no frying, it is healthy, easy, AND delicious!

Turkey Meatballs ready to be baked

Turkey Meatballs ready to be baked

Baked Turkey Meatballs

½ tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup mixed greens

1 cup tomato sauce

1 lb ground turkey

1.5 cups bread crumbs

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix it with your hands. Make golf ball size meatballs and place them on a cookie sheet with tin foil. Bake them for 40 minutes. For a crispier outside, bake them at 425 degrees for the last 10 minutes.

You would never know there are 3 cups of veggies in here!

You would never know there are 3 cups of veggies in here!

Makes 24 meatballs of 65 calories each.

Eating: Chicken Marsala

The fiancé bought mushrooms the other day and when I asked what I was supposed to do with them, he said “chicken Marsala”. When I looked it up, I was thinking he was crazy to give me such a difficult task, but when I tried to make it, it was actually not too bad and I even flambéed for the first time! He totally approved of my chicken Marsala, even though I used white wine and brandy instead of Marsala wine.

Chicken Marsala over Pasta

Chicken Marsala over Pasta

Chicken Marsala (adapted from Tyler Florence)

2 chicken breasts (about 1 lb, cut into cubes)

Flour (about ¼ cup)

Salt and Pepper

¼ cup olive oil

10 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and halved

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup Marsala wine (or 1 cup white wine + 1 shot of brandy)

1 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoon cornstarch

½ cup chopped parsley

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound with a meat mallet until they are ¼ inch thick. Put some flour on a dish and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Dredge both sides of chicken in the flour and fry them for 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to another platter.

Lower the heat to medium and sauté the mushroom with the onions for 5 minutes. Pour the Marsala wine and tip the skillet a bit in order to flambé the wine and cook out the alcohol. Add vegetable stock and simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the butter and return chicken to the pan to reheat. If needed, add cornstarch or flour to thicken the sauce, but Marsala sauce can be runny. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley. Serve over pasta.

Makes 4 servings of 375 each (without pasta).

Restaurant worthy meal

Restaurant worthy meal

Eating: Scrambled Eggs

Since the fiancé can’t have eggs, I have been using ground flax seed instead, but the days the fiancé is not home I actually make some eggs for myself. My new obsession has been adding cornstarch to my scrambled eggs: it adds so much texture!

Look at the twin eggs!

Look at the twin eggs!

For each egg, just add 1 tablespoon of milk and ½ teaspoon of cornstarch. Mix well. Then, in high heat, cook the eggs, stirring them for 15 seconds. Yes, that’s it: 15 seconds and done.

Scrambled eggs with cornstarch

Scrambled eggs with cornstarch

Eating: All-Bran Muffins

The fiancé loves to have muffins for breakfast, so I’ve been playing around with some recipes lately. Unfortunately the carrot muffins where I used grated apples as applesauce went bad right way, but everything else has worked out. One of our favorite healthy muffins is actually the traditional All Bran recipe.

All Bran Muffins

All Bran Muffins

All Bran Muffins (from

2 cups Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal

1 ¼ cups milk

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed steeped in 2 tablespoons of water

¼ cup oil

1 ¼ cup flour

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Combine cereal and milk. Let stand ½ hour. Add flaxseed and oil. Stir well. Add rest of ingredients and stir until combined. Put into muffins pans. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 servings of 170 calories each.

Eating: Bread Pudding

I had a lot of left over buns from my birthday barbecue, so each day I tried to use up the bread. Who knew hamburger buns made for delicious garlic bread and croutons? (Just brush them with butter, salt, and herbs and bake it for 20 minutes!) My favorite recipe though was the bread pudding one. So good I ate it all before even taking a picture of it!

Just chilling

Just chilling after eating

Bread Pudding

2 cups milk

¼ cup butter, melted

3 eggs, slightly beaten

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 cups soft bread cut in cubes (about 6 buns)

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, spices, salt, vanilla. Stir in bread. Stir in milk and butter. Pour into 9×9 pan. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Makes 9 servings of 252 calories each.

Eating: Dine The District 2015 and Spring Home Cooking

In May there was an event in downtown Reno called “Dine the District”. Basically you pay $20 and walk to 20 different restaurants downtown for a small sample. It was an awesome experience: food, drinks, nice weather, and walking. Some of the participating places were Pignic (a new “bring-your-own-food” bar where we had a Mint Julep since it was Kentucky Derby Day), Fuego (nice Spanish guitar), Noble Pie Pizza (best pizza and friendly service), and Crafted Palette (new wine and paint restaurant). Even the gay dance club Five Star Saloon joined the food event and served cheesecake pieces. At the end of the event there was a drawing and, guess what, the fiancé won a gift certificate for Reno Provisions!

Surprisingly, I have also cooked A LOT this spring. Lots of firsts for me: seared ahi, all bran muffins, raspberry muffins, vegan pancakes, Brazilian panqueca (crepes), Brazilian flan, scrambled eggs with cornstarch, chicken marsala, healthy turkey meatballs, baked French fries, croutons, bread pudding… I’ll be posting my favorite recipes soon! We also went to a couple of kid’s birthday parties and baby showers and had lots of cake. Man, do we eat!

Eating in Reno – Spring 2015

I don’t even know where to start – we ate out so much the in last three months! I’ll just make a list and try to remember the highlights.

Jazmine – An Asian restaurant with lots of options, but we had sushi. It was good, especially the ones they sear with a torch.

Sushi from "Jazmine"

Sushi from “Jazmine”

Kimmie’s Coffee Cup – Super cute place for brunch.

Salad from "Kimmie's"

Salad from “Kimmie’s”

Lucky Beaver Bar and Burger – Small casino/bar in Reno with great food specials.

Slides from "Lucky Beaver"

Slides from “Lucky Beaver”

Reno Provisions – Another restaurant by chef Mark Estee, but cafeteria style.

Reno Provisions

Reno Provisions

Flowing Tide Pub – another bar in our neighborhood with good happy hour specials.

Chicken Tacos from "Flowing Tide"

Chicken Tacos from “Flowing Tide”

Twisted Fork – love this restaurant near our house. The beet ravioli is to die for and they have a cocktail with bacon in it!

Drinks from "Twisted Fork"

Drinks from “Twisted Fork”

Super Taquería – awesome burritos.

Burrito from "Super Taqueria"

Burrito from “Super Taqueria”

Centro Bar & Kitchen – new upscale restaurant in Reno from the same chef as La Vecchia. Can’t wait to go back.

Lamb tacos at "Centro"

Lamb tacos at “Centro”

Uncork’d – their ratatouille is the best!

Ratatouille at "Uncork'd"

Ratatouille at “Uncork’d”

Miguel’s – new location (Summit Mall) of this established Mexican restaurant in Reno. We went there for Cinco de Mayo with friends and although they were extremely busy, they did a good job.

Cinco de mayo at "Miguel's"

Cinco de mayo at “Miguel’s”

BJ’s – we went there for Mother’s Day. Great avocado spring rolls and, of course, we had to have a Pizooki (their cookie with ice cream dessert).

Avocado Egg Rolls from "BJ's"

Avocado Egg Rolls from “BJ’s”

My Thai – restaurant in Tahoe that I went with a friend and her newborn daughter. Really good Pad Thai.

Spring Rolls from "My Thai"

Spring Rolls from “My Thai”

Silver Peak Restaurant – although I had been to the Silver Peak downtown several times, this was my first time at the midtown location. Lovely terrace. Then crafted cocktails at Z Bar was calling us.

Drink from "Z Bar"

Drink from “Z Bar”

Sierra Gold Casino – this place near our house has a 50% off pizza special every night. Always full and always delicious.

1/2 off Pizza at "Sierra Gold"

1/2 off Pizza at “Sierra Gold”

Tahome Gelato – one of my Spanish students started this little booth in Tahoe and served this bark-like gelato. The presentation is super cool as they make it right in front of you, but it was also very tasty and refreshing. They don’t have a specific location but participate in several Farmer’s Market.

My student making Gelato at the Ski Run Farmer's Market

My student making Gelato at the Ski Run Farmer’s Market

Oyster Bar – a small bar at the Hard Rock Café in Tahoe that serves creole food. I loved the oyster and the fiancé, who is picky with his New Orleans inspired food, loved the gumbo. Surprisingly authentic.

Bouillabaisse from "Oyster Bar"

Bouillabaisse from “Oyster Bar”

More: Birthday 2015

My birthday this year fell on Memorial Day, so we had a barbecue at home to celebrate – burgers and hot dogs! One of our friends had a selfie stick and we took lots of pictures. Although it had rained for three days straight that weekend, the afternoon of my birthday was beautiful!

Now, the real treat was what the fiancé did for me the day before: he cooked a whole complete meal for me. We had shrimp scampi, salmon cakes, filet mignon with blue cheese sauce, and he took me to Twisted Fork for dessert. To end the day, I had a warm bubble bath and relaxed with a magazine and port wine.

But wait, the birthday celebration didn’t stop there. Since the weekend of my birthday the weather wasn’t good, we waited to spend a night in Tahoe to celebrate even more the week after. We started with drinks at my old job, the restaurant 19 on top of Harvey’s and then we had dinner at Edgewood, by the lake. Beautiful views and incredible food.