Special Delivery

Good news, everybody! The FAA furlough seems to have reached some sort of agreement, temporary or not, so it looks like I’ll be able to start my new job after all! Huzzah! Let’s celebrate with some on-the-parents sushi, shall we? Oh wait, I already did.

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My parents and I met up with some family friends for lunch yesterday at Hoang’s. The sushi combo I got for lunch was really good, though still not quite as amazing as my precious Koi Koi sushi. But hey, I’m biased.

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Thanks for venturing down to join us for lunch, Uncle Gil & Aunt Linda!

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The lunch combo consisted of miso soup, a california roll, a salmon roll, and an eel & avocado roll – what a deal, eh?

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My mom also gave me a taste of her shrimp pad thai. Thanks mom!

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You can see where I get my adorableness, huh? Bahaha.

So I have been the recipient of some exciting deliveries as of late. First up, my order of the amazingly fantabulous Mama Pea‘s new cookbook finally arrived!

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If you’ve read her blog at all, you already know what a hilarious writer and great mom she is (and she and her adorable family reside in my dad’s hometown of Salem, OR!) and her cookbook channels that exact same energy. It’s full of witty anecdotes and fun family photos, as well as (duh) delicious vegan recipes. I haven’t even bothered making any of the items in the book yet, I’ve just been poring over the sidebars and general hilarity – but I can’t wait to!

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The other special delivery that I was super-psyched to discover on my doorstep? Observe:

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In case you didn’t see my tweets about it yesterday, JALAPENO POPCHIPS HAVE ARRIVED!!!

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I’ve been waiting on these babies since hearing about the impending flavor at the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference I attended. I am so excited! Jalapeno is my favorite flavor of Kettle Chip, and I was thrilled to hear that my beloved Popchips would be following the trend. And so after doing a little happy dance and deafening my roommates upon discovering the basket on my doorstep, the tasting commenced:

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I love ’em! They are definitely spicy, so be aware of that, but the zing is delicious. They’re not *quite* as flavorful as their Kettle Chip counterparts, but they probably have a lot less salt which I guess would be a contributing factor (but probably makes them better for you overall.) Salt & Vinger flavored Popchips might have to watch out… a new contender for favorite is on the move!

Happy Friday, folks!

FHBC: LiveBlogging!

So! As part of the Fitness & Health Blogger’s Conference, we are participating in something called LiveBlogging: essentially speed-dating between bloggers and brands. Apologies in advance if the rest of this post is incredibly disorganized, but there are 7 different companies having us taste and try their products. Exciting! First up is one that I think you may have seen me talk about just a few times before

1. Popchips!

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We did a blind taste test of a chip, which OBVIOUSLY I was able to identify immediately. Salt & Pepper! You guys already know that I feel pretty strongly that despite being a processed food, Popchips are an awesome replacement for those of us who suffer from cravings for chips/fries/salty crap. They come in pre-portioned 100 calories single-serving bags, and they are undeniably much healthier than other chips! They’re also gluten-free, which is something that I didn’t ever really think of (in case that’s an issue for any of you out there.)

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DOUBLEPLUSBONUS: They’re coming out with Jalepeno flavor in July! EXCITE!!!

2. Recharge

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Powdered sports drink mix that comes in pre-portioned packets to pour into your water bottle. 10 calories per packet. Flavors: Orange, tropical, grape, and lemon. Sweetened with stevia, no HFCS. Tried the orange, tastes pretty good, super sweet, reminds me of tang. I guess you could equate it to a healthier Crystal Light, or an alternative to Gatorade. Obviously water is still the best choice, or a high-calorie refueling drink after hardcore exercise, but if you’re looking to quickly rehydrate or are concerned about calories then it’s definitely a viable option. 8-packs sold for $3.99.

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3. Detour Bar

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Their bars we were meant to sample unfortunately didn’t arrive, but they provided a different product for us to try instead to give us an idea of the quality of the product. Based on the principles of whey protein, has 15g of protein (the equivalent of 2 eggs) per 170 calorie bar with only 3g of sugar. However! It is sweetened with sucralose, i.e. Splenda, which obviously there are some issues with the use of artificial sweeteners and the fact that the bars are specifically made to taste indulgent and like candy bars, which could make you crave more candy bars.

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4. Cascadian Farm Organic & Larabar

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Larabars: 2 – 9 ingredients, all-natural ingredients, super awesome. Amazing breadth of flavors.
@larabar

They do not have the indulgent taste of a candy bar so I’m not sure if I would say they could replace them, but they do make fantastic snacks – they are fairly high calorie, but very satiating because they come from fruit & nuts.

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Cascadian Farm Organic: Started on a farm in 1972 that is still open and still running. Focuses on cereals, bars, granola, and frozen fruits and veggies!
@cascadianfarm

5. Casa Noble Tequila

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Ummmm, HELLO! Skinny margaritas? YES PLEASE. 3-ingredient tequila that makes it “skinny”: an average margarita can be anywhere between 250 and 400 calories, whereas this recipe is 48 calories an ounce!

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Recipe:

2 oz. Casa Noble Crystal (138 calories)
1 oz fresh lime juice (7 calories)
3/4 oz. agave nectar (36 calories)

Certified organic and sustainable tequila brand. Delicious! And strong! Ruh-roh…

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6. Jovial Foods

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A line of einkorn pastas. Einkorn is an “ancient grain” that is “nutritionally superior” to today’s regular whole wheat pastas. A natural source of B vitamins! It’s similar to spelt, and the grain has never been modified or messed with. They also produce gluten-free brown rice pastas. 4.1 grams of fiber per 2 oz. serving! 9g protein, 200 calories. Available at Whole Foods! Also produce a line of einkorn and brown rice cookies!

7. Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery
@rudisglutenfree

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Bread, bread, bread! I’ve never been a fan of gluten-free breads in general, because, you know, they don’t generally taste good. Hahahahaha. And while I will say that I still don’t think I would opt for gluten-free bread myself if given the choice, for those that are gluten-intolerant or follow a gluten-free diet I think it’s a wonderful option. The texture is a little more crumbly than traditional wheat bread, but for a loaf made out of potatoes and rice, it’s really quite good! 90 calories a slice, partially-organic ingredients. You can find it in the freezer-section, and it’s recommended that you store it in the freezer as well. Sold nationally in both natural food stores (like Whole Foods) but also in conventional stores like Safeway!

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Okay! So there you have it. And now I’m going to go, ’cause my half-Asianness + Boulder elevation + this skinny margarita = I’m getting wasted. See you tomorrow! 😉

Bloggers of DC… Unite! (Giveaway!)

Sorry this post comes a little late this morning. I’m a little off. Let’s just say that my day has already included taking an hour to drive 4.5 miles (stupid downed power lines!) and spilling coffee down the front of my white t-shirt. Womp womp. ANYWAY!

When I first started blogging, solely for the means of keeping myself accountable for my weight loss, I had no idea how vast and expansive the healthy living blog community was. Sure, I read a few here and there, but I really had no idea how many amazing people I would meet through the blogosphere (haha, I really hate using that word — so nerdy! — but unfortunately it’s true.) And more than that, I had no idea how many of those awesome people would be so close by! I’ve officially decided that turning virtual buddies into real-life friends is awesome. And thanks to incredible organizer Amanda, last night I was able to continue the trend:

At the Nats vs. Cardinals game last night! Thanks to Stephanie for the above pic. I’m pimpin’ it from the middle of the back row!

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Running late as always, I met Amanda at The Bullpen, the beer garden just outside of the main gates at the stadium before heading in. My brother Ben’s band plays the 4th of July gig here every year, so it was fun to get to see what he was talking about, ahaha.

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I’d be lying if I said I paid a lick of attention to the actual baseball game (did we even win? Ahahahaha) but it was so much fun! My only regret is that I wish I didn’t have to work so stinkin’ early so I could have stayed later.

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Megan and Sana even trekked down from Columbia to share in the festivities! I heart these girls so hard. 🙂

It did start to rain pretty hard at one point, but thankfully our seats were covered! I guess that’s the bone they throw to people who have to sit up at the tippity top of the stadium, hahaha.

Rainy Games.

Sure that ain't snow?

And okay, okay, this is the last time. Just one more shout out to Amanda for taking the initiative to plan the whole thing. Lovelovelove:

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I so desperately wish I could remember everyone’s name (and blog!) from last night but unfortunately I am super terrible with remembering, um, anything. So! If you were at the game last night, please make sure you leave a comment letting me know!

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Also, and this may come as no surprise to you if you saw last night’s daily eats post (or if you just know me at all, haha), I had french fries for dinner. It was glorious.

All in all, a wonderful evening, which is why the debacle that has been this entire morning hasn’t gotten me down. I’m still in such a good mood! I hope there will be many more meet-ups like this to come.

Sunset Over Nationals Stadium

I know what you’re thinking: how does my good mood impact YOU on this Friday morning? Well my friends, the answer is: in a very chipper way.

Day 163 - Death by Pop Chips

Popchipper, that is! Bahahahahaha. GET IT?!

Remember how I was bragging about getting a post-Fitbloggin’ case of Popchips and then how you were like, “Aw man! I wish I had an entire case of Popchips to nom on, too!” Well, your wish = my command. One of you lucky readers is going to get a MONTH’s supply of Popchips!

What to do:

1. Like Popchips on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

2. Leave a comment back here saying you’ve done so!

Easy as pie. You can also submit additional entries can be done by doing one (or all!) of the following:

1. Retweet this giveaway, including a link back to this post and the usernames @shrinkinggretch and @popchipsdc.

2. Link back to this giveaway post on your blog.

3. Just leave a comment talking about what you would do with a month’s supply of Popchips delivered to your door (hopefully you won’t follow my lead as depicted above and be killed by them, hahaha.)

Make sure you leave separate comments for each thing you do!

I’ll be randomly selecting a winner and announcing it in Tuesday’s post (the 21st.) Happy Friday!

Sorry, Donald

Donald, you would be ashamed of what I did last night.

Donald the Duck, Scared :(

I’m sorry, buddy, but it’s true.

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I had peking duck last night, and it was incredible. As it always is.

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As you may remember, the Powell clan attempted to go to the Peking Gourmet Inn on Sunday night to kick off our little mini-reunion week. Weeeell, that didn’t turn out so well, since the restaurant had lost power! Sad. But as you can see, thankfully we got to work it into our schedule after all! I wasn’t feeling well earlier in the day too, so I’m glad that by the time we went out to dinner things had settled and I could partake in the deliciousness.

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(In case you’re wondering, my Chinese zodiac sign is the Dragon. So pretty much the best one. Boo-yah. ;))

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Peking duck, it’s a style of cooking duck so that the meat is tender and moist, the skin is crispy, and it’s served with little pancakes, spring onions, hoisin sauce, and sometime cucumbers to make wraps with!

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The ducks are cooked whole, so they cut up and serve the meat right at the table!

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Dinner and a show!

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Deeeeelicious! I had three. Heeheehee. My mom ordered a few other dishes for dinner as well, but the duck was clearly the star, for both the Peking veterans…

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… and newbies alike!

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And to top off what was already an excellent evening, look what was waiting for me when I got home:

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My Fitbloggin’ Popchips arrived! You guys have seen me consume these 100-calorie-bags-of-deliciousness numerous times on the blog, and I am super excited to have received a GINORMOUS box of them (actually two, since Ben got one too!) from the very generous Popchips peeps that represented at the Fitbloggin’ conference.

I really believe they are a great way to satisfy those pesky chips cravings without going overboard with your calories (I used to be able to put away an entire bag (yep, full-sized) of Ruffles by myself! Yech.) And while yes, they are still a processed food, you have to admit that it’s nice to have a healthier (or at least, lighter!) substitute for when the craving hits. I think this pic that Ben took tonight pretty much sums it up:

Day 163 - Death by Pop Chips
Death by Popchips. At least Daxter looks sad to see me go! And as you can tell by my expression, I’m okay with it. 🙂

If you have tried Popchips, what’s your favorite flavor? Mine is a three-way tie between Salt & Vinegar, Barbeque, and Salt & Pepper. Do you have a favorite healthier/lighter substitute for your snackfood achilles heel? Have I asked this question before? Oh well, even if I have, I want to know again! Hahahaha. I hear a lot of talk about Arctic Zero as a low calorie substitute for ice cream, though I’ve never tried it. I do love my frozen desserts, so maybe I need to give it a go!