Huevos Rancheros [Made Healthier]

Yesterday, I had the most irresistible craving for huevos rancheros. Weird, right? I mean, chocolate cravings make sense, so do chip/dip cravings, but huevos rancheros – who craves that?! This girl apparently. You see, when my best friend was visiting the other week, I did what any good New Yorker (yep, that’s right – I just called myself a New Yorker…more on that later) would do and took her to my favorite, guilty-pleasure brunch spot. The pancakes there are ridiculously good. Seriously, no joke. I’m not even a person who orders pancakes for breakfast/brunch. But they are THAT good. Ahh, the suspense is killing you, isn’t it? What is this magical place, you ask? It’s Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant, the (unofficial) brunch monarch of Alphabet City. Anyways, we did what any smart best friends would do and split two dishes rather than each getting our own – best of both worlds kind of thing. Now, I’ll be honest and admit that I was a little reluctant at first to share my precious pancakes, but truth be told, it was worth it.

clintonst2

Our delicious, guilty-pleasure brunch!

My friend ordered the huevos rancheros and since I have never had it before, I didn’t know what to expect, but man was it good! I’m a fan of a smorgasbord of flavors and textures in my food, which is exactly what huevos rancheros delivers. If you don’t know, huevos rancheros (at least the one I devoured at Clinton St. Baking Co.) consists of sunny-side up eggs (which we substituted with scrambled eggs) with red beans, guacamole, jalapeno sour cream, salsa picante, and pepper jack cheese on a flour tortilla. Now you know why I was randomly craving it.

So, I vowed to recreate huevos rancheros in a healthier way.

huevos5

Huevos Rancheros [Made Healthier]

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

¼ red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, diced

½ green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

½ cup black beans, canned, drained (preferably no salt added or low sodium)

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp sriracha (optional)

2 6” whole wheat tortillas

2 large eggs (organic and cage-free, preferably)

½ half Haas avocado, sliced

1 lime wedge

1 Tbsp cilantro,diced.

2 Tbsp salsa (optional)

Directions:

In a pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, or until they appear translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the green pepper and tomato and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the black beans and spices and cook for about 3 more minutes. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and cook the tortillas, one by one, for about 2 minutes. Afterwards, fry each egg as desired. Layer the vegetable and bean mixture onto the tortillas, dividing evenly and squeezing the lime on top, followed by the eggs, avocado and cilantro. And if you want more kick, add salsa on top. And voila, you have a (healthier) huevos ranchero dish!

This dish is great as a weekend breakfast or brunch, or if you’re like me, it’s also delicious as a light dinner. Hope you enjoy! Do you have a favorite huevos rancheros recipe?

Advertisements

My Summer of Fitness Kick-Off

Since I moved to the city, I have been on a fitness roller coaster, starting at the top and then dropping so low that it was hard to get the momentum going to get back up on the workout wagon. I used every excuse in the book (to myself, of course) – mainly that I was too busy balancing school, work, and life to workout. Well… My mind listened, but my body did not. Not only did I gain a few pounds, but I became really sluggish. So I decided to change that this summer.

With my blogging internship for FiTMAPPED, and just being in New York in the summertime, I’m gaining the momentum that I need to make fitness a bigger part of my life. Luckily, living in such an expensive city has its perks – so many things are free! Whatever you’re into, there’s a festival or some kind of event geared for it. And with NYC being such an active, fitness-obsessed city, there’s fitness and healthy lifestyle events all the time, especially in the summer. And because of that, I’ve dubbed this summer my Summer of Fitness. And hopefully next summer and the summer after that.

And since the summer officially started last Friday, I’m proud to say I’ve been on quite a roll:

Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind over Madness, which you can read about here.
Ballet Class at Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance (as part of Dance Week)
Buns n’ Biscuits Bootcamp and Brunch (you can read about my experience here.)
Pilates Mat Class at Ballet Academy East (as part of Dance Week)
Outdoor fhitting room class (as part of FITiST & Lole Showtique Summer of Fitness at Hudson River Park)
Mid-workday lunch-hour run
Pilates Circuit Class at Studio Anya (as part of dance week)
A nice, 3-mile run passing the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges (talk about a view!)
Real Ride spin class at Revolve Fitness
One last evening run along the East River (to top it all off)

My favorite workouts of the 10-day kick-off, other than the ones I’ve already written about, would definitely have to be:

the fhitting room’s FHIX class at Hudson River Park

fhitting room - Hudson River Park

(source)

This high intensity training class was challenging and fun at the same time. Eric and Ben, the trainers, made sure to introduce themselves to everyone (this is quite impressive given that there were about 70 people in the class), and double-teamed to make sure we sweat ALOT. Interspersed with burpees and planks was a relay-race including sprints, crab walks, bear crawls, you name it. It felt like I was back in 4th grade again, only this time my gym class was filled with fitness fanatics and the “gym teachers” made sure you gave it 110% effort. Of course, I’m sure their classes at the actual studio are even more intense, and I would love to try them out there as well.

IMG_20130701_104053

(a sweaty and wide-eyed me with the trainers)

Pilates Circuit Class at Studio Anya

The minute I walked into Studio Anya, I was captivated by the zen atmosphere. The Pilates Circuit class was no joke, and I’m not proud to say my former experience in Pilates classes and the reformer did not prepare me for this, probably because my core hasn’t been worked like this in quite a while. Pilates has a fabulous way of activating muscles from their very core, rather than on a superficial level. The circuit class included exercises on the reformer, wall, and chair, all which worked different muscle groups and in different ways. Following the class,  I had a greater sense of my alignment and more control of my core.

Studio Anya(source)

Real Ride spin class at Revolve Fitness

This class was INTENSE! Taught by Kristin Kenney, who is HUGE in the fitness world, this class was no joke. I was dripping sweat almost immediately. She led us through a stimulated route in Sicily, and we alternated between high resistance and high speed. There were times when I was struggling, but Kristin had a great way of motivating everyone to keep going, so I tried my best to give 100% effort throughout the entire workout. 

Revolve Fitness(source)

What I’ve learned from the past 10 days: always give everything you do 100%. The best workouts I had was when I stopped holding back and just went for it. I never realized how strong my tendency was to hold back and conserve energy, but what I realize now is that its not worth it. There’s a fine balance between conserving energy for endurance and going all out for intensity.

This is just the start to my Summer of Fitness, but I’m confident that it will give me the motivation I need to keep going. Are you making this YOUR Summer of Fitness as well? Let me know!

Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness

IMG_20130621_063459

(All my fellow Times Square yogis)

Can you believe it’s already summer? Where has the time gone? It feels like I just moved to the city a few weeks ago, not months ago. Ahhh! I kicked off my the first day of my (first!) summer in the Big Apple by taking off of work early and heading to Times Square to do some yoga. In the middle of Times Square. Yep, you read that right. In the middle of the mayhem, part of the hectic, tourist-invaded Times Square. Mind over Madness, right?

IMG_20130621_084351

(My sweet new yoga mat from Athleta)

Athleta teamed up with the Times Square Alliance to provide free yoga classes led by master yoga instructors throughout the day, in honor of the first and longest day of summer – the summer solstice. The first 1200 people received a free yoga mat and an Athleta goodie bag (hence me leaving work early). The yoga areas were sectioned off so that tourists couldn’t walk all over us while we were doing our savasanas, but that didn’t stop them from taking pictures – I can only imagine how many random Facebook albums I’m going to be in doing a Warrior pose!

But once the session started, the tourists were forgotten about, and my mind started to take over the madness. During my session, I was lucky enough to have Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee leading the yoga class. They were great teachers and complemented each other in a very harmonious way. And since we were in the middle of Times Square, their voices had to be projected via jumbo-trons, which almost reminded me of the Hunger Games (don’t ask), but in a good, peaceful, meditative-Hunger Games kind of way. I guess a better way of describing it would be that the sky was telling me to breathe in and out as I flowed through the poses. Still weird? Oh well, you get the drift.

At one point, Colleen said, “You have to be grounded in order to fly,” and this definitely resonated with me. How many times in dance class have I been told to be more grounded? Too many to count. And I feel like, in life, everyone could benefit tremendously from being more grounded.

All in all, it was an amazing experience, leaving me rejuvenated as I battled my way out of Times Square.

IMG_20130621_084143

(Mind over Madness)

How did YOU spend the first day of summer? Let me know in the comments below!

The Weekend Update with Alena

Happy Friday everyone!

Though the weather in New York is anything but pleasant at the moment, this weekend is swarming with fitness events happening in the city. You can read all about them in my blog post for the FiTMAPPED Blog here.

I, myself, am planning on attending the Buns n’ Biscuits event, which combines bootcamp and brunch (who can say no to brunch?) and the Wanderlust Yoga in the City event, which features outdoor yoga classes taught by local instructors, live music, and post-savasana dance parties, taking yoga to another dimension.

What fitness events stand out to you? What do you do to keep fit on the weekends? Comment below and let me know!

The 5-Minute, Out-the-Door, Summer Salad

Think you don’t have time in the morning to prep your lunch for the day? Think again.

I must admit, I’ve been lacking in the “food-prep-the-night-before” department this week. Sure, on Sunday I had good intentions and cooked a large batch of wild rice meant to last an entire week, chopped up a few fresh vegetables, and bagged up pre-measured carrots and almonds to grab as hunger-striking snacks throughout the week. But alas, it is Thursday and and no, yesterday I neither prepped my breakfast OR my lunch for today. Yikes! Eating out for lunch today certainly didn’t fall into my [NYC-dwelling, NYU-student] budget so I had to think fast. And that I did. I grabbed the cutting board and the most accessible vegetables in my refrigerator and went in a chopping frenzy. All together, this salad literally took 5 minutes to throw together.

IMG_20130607_103327

The 5-Minute, Out-the-Door, Summer Salad:

Makes 1 salad
1 small cucumber, diced
2 radishes, sliced 
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup light feta cheese, cubed
1 Tbsp Tessemae’s Lemonette Dressing*

Layer the ingredients in a to-go container as follows (from bottom to top): dressing, cucumber, radishes, tomato, feta cheese, spinach. When you’re ready to eat, shake the container with all your might (or just shake it normally…the end product is the same).

*Usually I make my own dressing, but Tessemae’s dressings are a great alternative to homemade dressings. They’re all vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free (READ: paleo-friendly), and can be found in select Whole Foods stores.

If you want to make your own lemon dressing, however, no need to fret. It’s simple and easy:

In a small dish, combine 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 lemon (juiced), 1 clove of garlic (diced), and a pinch of black peppercorn. Whip the ingredients with a fork, and you’re good to go. See, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

From start to finish, the salad took me less than 5 minutes to put together. And, might I add, it was delicious, filling, and healthy, just like lunch should be.

What are your favorite quick and healthy lunches? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Recap of Last Week: Michigan Comes to New York!

The lack of posts last week can be attributed to the fact that some of my greatest friends from back home came to visit me in the big city. They made a 12-hour trek to get here, and boy am I thankful for that green dragon that got them here. As amazing and exciting as the city is, it is very very easy to feel a little lonely and homesick sometimes. Thankfully, my friends came here before the homesickness settled in too much.

I think one of the biggest worries (for me especially) of moving away is the fear that people will forget about you – that the friendships and relationships you built will dissolve, and you’ll be replaced with someone new. Luckily for me, my friends have smashed that fear and thrown it far, far away – farther than the distance that separates us. Even before I left, my friends threw a surprise graduation/birthday/going-away party for me – a grand feat orchestrated by my boyfriend and two of my wonderful girlfriends. It was

then that I realized that these friendships will continue, they won’t even be paused or slowed down, they’ll push on full-force.

GoingAwayParty_everyone_silly

Yes, we’re goofy…and yes, we’re all wearing I ❤ NY t-shirts. And yes, I miss every single one of them.

So when 3 of those amazing people showed up in New York, I was the happiest girl in New York City. And on a mission to make sure they had the best time in the Big Apple. A great thing about friends visiting you is that you get to act like a tourist and fall in love with the city all over again. We went everywhere, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Union Square, from Times Square to Central Park. And ate so much food – I developed an inverse relationship with my wallet and my waistline – you can guess in which direction.

Some of my favorite grub spots included:

Grey Dog, which had an extensive list of Michigan sandwiches on the menu (more than enough to win us over). This is probably one of my new favorite brunch spots – the service, atmosphere, and foods were all spectacular. I got the Veggie Press, which had spinach, herb goat cheese, roasted artichoke, and roasted red pepper, and a Raspberry Lemonade. Yum!

image

Cheesing now that we are one step closer to having food in our bellies…

And yes those are cheesy fries on our table …I never said I had a healthy week, did I?

Crumbs Bake Shop – Where a delicious Cannoli Cupcake was split between Chase and I.

Madman Espresso – We headed over here on a rainy/snowy day for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Pretty good choice, if you ask me.

image

A cortado beats a latte any day.  Don’t believe me? Try one and you too will become a believer.

Bagelsmith – After hours of dancing at The Woods in Williamsburg, a night is not complete without a visit to Bagelsmith for their tasty bagels. My favorite? Everything bagel with Sundried tomato cream cheese. My friends agreed….and we came back the next day. That good.

So yes, I ate alot of good food with very good friends. We walked until our legs/feet hurt and had a grand ole’ time. Let’s hope they liked it enough to come back soon!

Kale, Pear, & Chia Smoothie: Superfoods Unite!

After a weekend of crappy eating (eg. bagels two nights in a row?! Who am I???), I craved, no I NEEDED something clean. Clean and green. Something light, refreshing, and healthy for breakfast…something like a kale smoothie perhaps? Yep, you guessed right…that is exactly what I had in mind. I have been on quite the kale kick lately (for example, my Lemony Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Shrimp & Quinoa dish the other night). And honestly, that’s nothing to be ashamed of…the two bagels this weekend, however…now that is something I should be worried about. Nonetheless, my bagel-consuming weekend led me to this smoothie in the end, so I can’t be too upset.

Kale, Pear, & Chia Smoothie:

Makes 1 nutritious smoothie

1 heaping cup of frozen kale

1/2 banana, sliced

1/2 pear, chopped

6 oz non-fat Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp Chia seeds

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp honey

Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until you get a creamy, smooth consistency. It’s that easy!

A few tips:

  1. Put the yogurt and banana in first – that way the blender doesn’t freak out when you throw in the frozen kale.
  2. If you have fresh (not frozen kale), use a frozen banana. No frozen banana? No problem! Just use a couple of ice cubes and omit the water.
  3. If this isn’t sweet enough for you, add more honey. Or omit the honey if you’re looking for a sugar-free option. The choice is yours.

P1030861

 

So there you have it, folks – my first kale smoothie! And hopefully you’ll be brave enough to try it too.

What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?