Aperol Spritz Slushee

My (and everyone else’s) summer drink, the Aperol Spritz, has been consumed in many different ways.  But I think I have found my favorite… the slushee.   I may never drink anything else again: this slushee is the most incredible, light, fruity, delicious, buzzing, refreshing, oh-so-good drink. It is truly perfection.

 

It is even better than it looks. SERIOUSLY, so good.

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Marathon Training

I am currently in the process of training for two fall marathons (Chicago Marathon in October, and NY Marathon in November where I will be running as a guide for a disabled runner). Although the training is tiring, long, and challenging, it is also my favorite part of the whole marathon. In all of my previous marathons (10 overall), I have had different techniques / training / ideologies and approaches. Here is what I am doing THIS time around.

 

Mid long run stretch. I think between miles 14-15. I sometimes takes breaks to drink / eat / breathe / rest.

 

Like most marathon runners, I am competitive and type A. Typically when I run a marathon, I care about my time and have a strong desire to get a personal record (PR).  There have also been marathons where I have not focused on time (NYC last Fall and Boston this Spring) and simply run. But for the most part, I go out there to prove to myself that I am doing my best and getting faster.

 

Training in Oregon is great with its beauty of all the trails and rivers.

 

So how do I prepare? It takes MONTHS to get ready to run a marathon. I tend to start 16-18 weeks ahead of the marathon to get ready in prime marathon shape. All of this to say, that to prepare for a marathon you RUN a lot. I know that this is stating the obvious, but I usually run between 45-60 miles a week, each week. But in every run, I vary the intensity, the distance, the course, and the overall effort.

 

I am lucky to have a good friend, Nancy, who is 60 and a marathon runner herself, who will often times get on her bike to pace me and keep me company in those long runs in the early morning. Makes the biggest difference!

 

So I run 6 days a week with one rest day. During these six days of running, I have some easy runs (at a slow pace), a long run (with varied speeds, some with progressively getting faster and faster and faster), speed runs on track, speed runs on pavement / trails / roads, and tempo runs. There are days when I feel like I have had the best run and days when it is a challenge and I want to throw up. All of these runs make me faster, stronger mentally, and up for the challenge of facing the day.

 

Eugene is filled with lots of runners (a ton of elite runners train out here) and the neighbors lare all runner-friendly. Makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, and helps me on those long runs!

 

Basically, I am stating the absolute obvious, but to prepare for a marathon, you simply RUN. RUN A LOT. But short story, you mix up those miles and change here and there, and then finally, wam bam 16 weeks go by,and it is marathon day! So, Fall marathons, I am getting ready for you and can’t wait — but also enjoying the current state of preparation.

 

I did a progressive run this past weekend – 4 miles at an easy pace, 4 at 8 min pace, 4 at 7:30 min pace, 4 at 7:00 pace, and last mile HARD. I was super nervous leading up to the run, but I gave it my all. And I did it. Super hard work that I am really proud of myself for doing.

 

If anyone has specific marathon questions, let me know. I love talking about running (kind of like some people talk nonstop about their jobs or kids, well, I can do that with running!). Hope you are off to a great week and enjoying August!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Sour Beer

For the first time since college, I started drinking beer this past week. The last time I drank a beer was probably when I was shotgunning it just so I could get alcohol in my system rather than because I enjoyed the actual taste. But during our Orcas Island week, I was introduced to Sour Beer by my brother and sister-in-law. It is a perfect combination of Kombucha and Beer — makes you feel like you are drinking kombucha but with an extra dizzying aspect. I love it and recently have found myself craving them in the afternoon….

 

Luckily, Oregon is known for its microbeers, and here is a picture of the SOUR BEERS in the local grocery store. As a novice, I had no idea what to get or what to buy….so I picked this one.

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Summer 2018 Orcas Island

We just finished up a full week in Orcas Island (a part of the San Juan Islands) with my family. It was a super fun filled week of hiking, biking, swimming in lakes, swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, roasting marshmallows, and breathing in the super fresh air. Orcas Island is an incredibly hilly island (made my runs extremely challenging….) but with ridiculous beautiful views and scenery. I can’t wait to return again and hope to make it an annual trip. Enjoy the pictures!

 

We rented a house in Rosario, one mile away from Moran State Park. This meant great access to hikes, trails, lakes, and views. At the top of Mount Constitution, there were breathtaking views of the other San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains, and all the lush greenery. HEAVEN, truly heaven.

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Butter Culture

As many of you know, I love butter. Not just ‘like’ butter, but LOVE butter. It is actually my go-to snack. I smother it on bread, croissants, rice cakes, anything… And because of this, I am a butter snob.  And here in Oregon, the land of hand batched, artisan everything, there is GREAT butter. Thanks to Butter Culture, I am now eating more butter than ever.

 

Butter Culture. Not only does it taste great, but the packaging is spot on.

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Aperol Spritz

Although late to the game, I am now fully invested in the summer “It” drink, the Aperol Spritz. Last year, I saw the bright orange drink everywhere I went, but never tried it. I started during our recent trip to Europe, and now I can’t stop. Aperol Spritz is made with aperol (a liquor), prosecco, a splash of soda, and some fresh orange. It is refreshing, zesty, sparkly, and basically makes you feel like you are drinking an orange Fanta. OH SO GOOD.

 

Yes, I am a dufus. But can’t stop, won’t stop.

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Summer 2018 Paris

Greetings from Europe!  I was just in Paris with the kids and we had so much fun. I am a lover of anything French, especially Paris. And it makes me so happy and excited to have the ability to show the kids a city and culture that I love so much. There is a je-ne-sais-quoi about France that I just feel so strongly about. Here are some pictures of our adventures:

 

Paris, oh Paris. You forever have my heart. Everything about you is dreamy, romantic, lovely, and grand.

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La Colombe Black and Tan Coffee

Last week, one of my biffles introduced me to La Colombe “black and tan.” And now, I can’t stop thinking about it. Literally, every morning and afternoon, I dream of getting a black and tan from La Colombe.  Although there are 30 locations nationwide, and 8 in NYC, none are in my neighborhood.  So when I was talking to her the other day complaining about how much I wanted this drink, she said that I should take the canned version and create my own version of it. And then she made fun of me about how I was going to make a blog post out of it — and even got the exact phrasing and thought process of how I write blogs. And so, YEP, she knows me well. And so here we are, and I am doing exactly that. I am writing a blog post on my new favorite drink and thanks to Fresh Direct, I can create it without going downtown. Thanks, B, for being my editor, content contributor, and supporter of my caffeine intake and the Josie Girl Blog.

 

Dynamic Duo.

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OurHarvest – Organic Grocery

Every September when I move back from the West Coast, I make a list of Fall goals. Every year, I say that I am going to go to the Farmers Market to get fresh, local produce, fruit, and any other random goodies. And yet, every year, I fail miserably and never make it to one.

 

Way back when, Good Eggs, existed. But that was short lived in NYC and didn’t last long (and it didn’t deliver to the Upper East side of Manhattan). So I was thrilled when I randomly came about (via instragram stories, nonetheless) OurHarvest. It is an online New York farmer’s market and gourmet grocery with local, farm-fresh, organic ingredients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island. It has existed in NYC since 2014, and even though I am late to the game, I am  so thrilled to have found it NOW! IT IS AMAZING bold italic exclamation point. It is coined Manhattan’s Farmers Market, and I get it. It is a farmers market that delivers throughout Manhattan. GENIUS.

 

The prices are good, the selection incredible, and the products themselves are the best. And the online platform is super easy, beautifully laid out, and great to work with (unlike instacart which I hate with all my might). There is so much to choose from and everything is fresh and local. You can get meat, fish, dairy, produce, fruit, pantry items, baked goods. Anything and everything.

 

I can’t get to a store without getting a fake sweet. Meaning, I love dessert, but want to curb my sweets so anytime there is a date sweetened goodie, I am a sucker for it.

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Grizzlies Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola

My favorite food in the world for any meal or snack is granola. And not any granola, but granola from Grizzlies who just happens to be from my hometown of Eugene, Oregon. This granola is THE MOST AMAZING GRANOLA IN THE WORLD. It has the perfect amount of sweetness, chunks, flavor, and nuts. The granola, Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola, is a staple at all the grocery stores in Oregon. But guess what — they ship! In the past, I have always requested (demanded) that my parents ship it to me (along with my favorite Oregon coffee). But now, I go straight to the source and order a 5 pound bag from Grizzlies website. I am apparently a grown up now.

 

One of the many canisters that are filled with my beloved granola. It is like precious gold to me. Only true granola snobs can eat it — which in my family is me and my daughter.

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Banana Date Shake

I am always looking for something sweet that doesn’t have much sugar, so when I found this recipe in my new favorite cookbook, Healthyish, I made it right away. And since last Friday, I have made it officially seven times (#obsessed). It is super easy, delicious, vegan, and curbs my sugar craving without involving sugar! Win win win!

 

This is not the banana date smoothie. This is a vanilla milkshake — which is what it is supposed to be similar to. Kinda. Sorta. Similar. Maybe not. Ish. Still great.

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The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

I have never been good at making the perfect hard boiled egg, so thanks to my good friend Katie Kaiser, I now know how to make them. Thanks Katie for the guest blog post!

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I’ve developed this method over the years combining tips and tricks I’ve read or heard about from various sources. The trick is four simple principles:

* Eggs that are room temperature and not too fresh

* Baking soda in the water – it somehow helps separate the internal lining of the shell from the boiled white of the egg

* EXACT timing in two segments (on heat and off)

* Ice bath immediately after boiling

 

All you need are eggs and baking soda. But here is the first tip: if the eggs are too fresh, they will be harder to peel. Eggs about a week old are usually perfect. You also want them room temperature.

 

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Chocolate Buttons

My favorite chocolate bar is the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate bar. It reminds me of childhood trips to Europe. So this past week, I was craving a fruit and nut chocolate bar, but didn’t know where to get one. So instead, I made little chocolate buttons with fruit and nuts in them. While you can’t go wrong with your fruit/nut choices, I used cranberries, raisins, almonds, and hazelnuts.

 

A new and improved version of the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar.

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Grapefruit Beer

I haven’t drunk a beer since college when I would chug them, so I was pleasantly surprised to try a grapefruit beer and actually like it. Love it, to be honest. It is girlie, refreshing, and tastes like grapefruit soda with a hint of beer. So you lose a little edge but still hydrate — win win!

 

I have actually had two different kinds of grapefruit beer: from a can (as pictured) or from a bottle. Equally good and crisp!

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Currently Loving April 2018

So here we are in April. It snowed here in NYC on Monday. I thought April was SPRING for GOD SAKES? In any case, need to stay positive, so here is what I am currently loving for April 2018! Take a look.

 

1. Amy’s Andy Dandy Candy

 

It is made with organic chocolate, so it’s healthy, right???? Yeah right, but somehow, it makes it taste better, like the organic chocolate is better for your body and your body knows that. And if you are going to indulge, then might as well indulge in some organic chocolate (or that is my rationale….)

 

Creamy or Crunchy? OR BOTH?

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Royce’ Chocolate

In the past month, we have been gifted Royce’ Chocolate by two different couples. I had never heard about it before and now I am a fan. Made in Japan, this chocolate is unique, beautiful, and delicious. Definitely different than a normal chocolate bar — more special and rich, making it a great hostess gift.

 

This one is one of their specialties: Ghana bitter.

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Angel-ed Eggs

As discussed last week, one of my favorite new cookbooks is The Wellness Mama Cookbook. This week, I took on my first recipe: “Angel-ed Eggs” — avocado deviled eggs. Although I love deviled eggs, I have actually never made them myself…so I loved this take on deviled eggs with a healthy angle of avocado in them (good fat). They were super easy to make and uber delicious:

 

And who doesn’t love green?

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Delhi Street Food Tour

On the last day of our recent trip to India, I left early, but Ken had time to kill as he had an evening flight to Manila. Friends we made at the wedding invited Ken on a street food tour in Old Delhi. While “street food” and “Delhi” and “right before an international flight” may seem like a terrible combo, Ken enjoyed the day, and for the most part, emerged unscathed (depending on your definition of unscathed.) Enjoy the pictures!

 

The tour was conducted by Delhi Food Walks and it was legit. The guide was a Delhi resident who was trained in culinary school, and he took the group from street vendor to street vendor, explaining the food and negotiating along the way. This was the meeting point. Legit Old Delhi.

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Favorite New Cookbooks March 2018

Happy March! It feels like it was just January.  Time has flown (probably because of my recent travels to Italy and India) but in any case, here we are!  I was just gifted three new cookbooks by two dear friends and I love them all so much (both the friends and the cookbooks) that I wanted to share.

 

I am officially my mom: a collector of cookbooks.  I have more cookbooks than real actual books! And I love it……

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Currently Loving February 2018

My favorite month of birthdays and Valentine’s Day! Here is what I am currently loving in this love month:

 

1. Natori Magnolia PJ

 

I can’t wait to get my hands on this silky, frilly, and oh-so-beautiful pajama set. It is perfection. And no, you can never have too many sets of pajamas. Especially if they are Natori pajamas.

 

Floral flirty fun.

 

2. Light pink tape dispenser

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Go-To-Kale Salad

One of my biffles is an amazing cook — even though she claims she hates cooking. She can easily throw together a five course meal for her family where *everything* tastes divine. Although she likes to experiment and try new recipes, she also has a set of ‘go-to’ recipes that she makes throughout the week. This is her go-to-kale salad. It is so good that this past week, I made it THREE times. So easy, and so delicious!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

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Chana Masala

Ken recently read the book Eat to Live, and as a result, has been a little insane so far in 2018.  I have never seen him eat so many vegetables and beans (and so little meat and dairy).  Not sure what’s in the book, but it has really made a change in his diet, and he is enjoying it too.  In the spirit of vegan bean dishes, we decided to make Chana Masala the other night.  It was both of our first times making Indian, which was fun, if not without its challenges.  But we put together a tasty (and healthy) meal.

 

Ingredients

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Firenze 2018

I just returned from an incredible four day trip to Florence (Firenze), Italy with a big group of girlfriends. As you can imagine, there was never a dull moment with lots of food, wine, no sleep, and lots of activity. The trip was incredibly planned and I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to this beautiful city.

 

We stayed at the most beautiful place. This is the view from one of the apartment’s kitchens. DUOMO. Stunning.

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