F&F Friday Favorites ~ 7.18.14

Holy moly, it’s Friday already. This was a super short week for me since I only had three days at work, and I spent any spare second I had either exercising or PARTY PREPPING for more bachelorette festivities.

This weekend is all about this dainty lady:

NYC 2011 072EricaErica and MeErica 5Cape Cod Weekend 2011 037

Before I head out with my friends Bridget and Ashley, here’s all my link love for the week!

Friday Favorites

F&F Posts You Might Have Missed

Fitness

Recipes

Foodie

Inspiration

Self Image

Humor

–Let’s chat–
Tell me about your weeks and what you have planned for the weekend.

I think it’s safe to say there’s going to be a lot of this in my future:

Erica Collage

Off to Newport!

Summer 2014 CSA: Weeks 4 and 5

Time to talk produce!

I skipped my CSA recap last week because Tim and I slacked a bit on using our week 4 farm share ingredients while we were on our staycation. I mentioned that we made sure to wash and store everything properly so that it wouldn’t go bad while we were away, and last week we focused on trying to combine items from both weeks into our meals.

Our week 4 stash included strawberries, squash, collards, lettuce, purslane, broccoli raab, spring onions, green chard, beets, lemon balm, and cucumbers. Our week 5 stash included lettuce, cabbage, escarole, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, spring onions, garlic scapes, parsley, kale, bok choy, and kohlrabi. I’m pretty sure we also had a few items left over from week 3, and one staff member also forgot to have someone pick up her produce while on vacation, so I snagged a few items from her. It’s been produce overload for sure, but that’s a good thing in my mind.

Summer 2014 CSA Week 4

We used the cucumbers for our 4th of July contribution, the almost Mediterranean chickpea salad I posted last week.

Almost Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

On the last night of our vacation, we threw together a salad to use up the butter lettuce that we had still from a previous week. We topped it with tuna steak from the farmer’s market and added tomato, avocado, and feta. We also used the lemon balm from our farm share to make a homemade salad dressing.

Summer 2014 CSA: Tuna steak salad

For lunches on our first day back to work, we combined the red leaf lettuce and purslane for a salad base. For toppings, we used barley, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, walnuts, and goat cheese. I’ve never heard of purslane before (did you know it’s a weed?!), and it was to die for. I need to find it again.

Summer 2014 CSA: Purslane Salad

Next on the list was tackling our zucchinis and squash. I recently posted this recipe for spiralized raw zucchini salad with edamame and avocado in one of my Friday Favorites, and it was the first thing that came to mind when brainstorming meals. Tim used our mandolin to slice the zucchini really thin, and we added grilled shrimp and feta to round out the meal. .

Summer 2014 CSA: Shrimp zucchini edamame salad

Our second squash/zucchini meal was steak skewers, squash, zucchini, and red onion. We enjoyed the skewers on top of more greens with tomato, grilled garlic scapes, and our last cucumber. I can’t remember if this was our escarole meal or not? I have a hard time differentiating between regular lettuce and escarole.

Summer 2014 CSA: Grilled Steak Kabobs

Our dinner on Thursday and Friday night last week was the grilled version of this chicken and black bean casserole, using farro instead of rice. We also threw in the collards and Swiss chard into this version so they wouldn’t go to waste. And yes, that’s MORE zucchini you see there. It’s peak season for sure!

Summer 2014 CSA: Chicken and black bean casserole

To use up the beets, we made our own version of this roasted beet and chickpea salad.

Summer 2014 CSA: Chickpea and Beet Salad

Unpictured in this post are the scrambled egg breakfasts Tim made for Erica, Chris, and I on Saturday morning before Erica and I left to get our nails done for Slesh’s wedding. We had a ton of eggs to use, and our mix-ins were mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, collards, chard, and spring onions.

When we got home from the wedding, we got creative and grilled some cod, then topped it with a kohlrabi and cabbage slaw. On the side? More chard! It’s so good when simply sautéed with a little garlic. Tim plans to eat the rest of this slaw with some BBQ pulled chicken when I’m away this weekend.

Summer 2014 CSA: Cod with kohlrabi and cabbage slaw

Finally, here’s what I’ve eaten for lunch this week. Lots of simple salads over the past two weeks because we’ve been so busy!

Steak Salad

I won’t lie, we ended up tossing the broccoli rabe this week because we simply don’t like it as much (and it went bad). Our parsley went bad too, but I think we’re doing pretty well considering how much we’ve been away. This week is crazy for me since I’m focusing on party preparations for the weekend, but thankfully Tim is taking care of everything in the kitchen. I’m hoping next week I’ll be able to contribute more (I always feel bad when I don’t), and I think we’ll be pretty caught up by the time next week’s farm share delivery rolls around.

Let’s chat about zucchini and squash! What are your favorite recipes and ways to cook these summer staples?! Also, what do you tend to eat during busy weeks?

For more on my summer CSA experience:

Five Move Upper Body Burn

Hi friends!

Today I have a new workout for you that I think your upper body will appreciate.

Five Move Upper Body Burn

Links to the exercises:

The rep schemes I provided in the workout graphic are just a guide. I recommend heavier weights for the first three moves, but you may need to decrease the number of reps depending on how heavy you go. Make sure to do a dynamic warmup before jumping into the circuit, and modify as needed. A warmup + three rounds of this should take you about 30 minutes! If you do four total rounds, it might take a little longer, but it’s something to work up to.

If you give this one a whirl, I want to know about it. Post your upper body burn pics on social media and tag me @fitnessandfeta. I would love to see you guys in action!

–Let’s chat–
What’s upper body exercise always leaves you feeling the burn?

Don’t forget to enter my New Balance giveaway for new sneakers and a fitness bag if you haven’t already!

Fitness & Feta Turns Three! {New Balance Giveaway}

Can you believe it was three years ago (from Saturday) that I shared my first blog post with you guys?

I certainly can’t.

I think most bloggers can relate to this, but I always cringe laugh when I look back at some of my past posts. The waaaay too wordy workout descriptions, the awful pictures, and just the way I wrote some things? Borderline embarrassing. No wonder only my mom and my roommates read at the time. <—because I forced them to.

But it’s all part of the learning process. Through this hobby of mine, I’ve definitely become a better writer. I’ve become more confident. Through healthy living blogging, I have become healthier. Stronger. And I’ve definitely expanded my network, established some awesome connections, and made some great virtual AND real life friends.

By far one of the best connections that I’ve established through blogging is my relationship with New Balance. I always say I love the brand and what it stands for, and it’s been great to work with them on different fitness events, product reviews and promotions, and more. Today I’m teaming up with New Balance again so that we can celebrate F&F’s third birthday with a really awesome giveaway.

Ready?

One lucky F&F reader will win these two fabulous items:

Fresh Foam 822 Trainer
Inspired by our best-selling Fresh Foam running shoe, the Fresh Foam 822 women’s trainer bring the science of soft to the gym with a high-tech, high-comfort midsole and flexible yet supportive fit. The innovative midsole design helps provide lateral stability and cushioning during high-impact workouts — and foam pillows on the tongue and heel add even more plush comfort. And so you can move freely from studio to gym to boot camp, this women’s shoe flaunts flex grooves in the outsole that help your shoe and foot move as one.

Fresh Foam 822 Trainer

Wellness Tote
The New Balance Wellness Tote is the perfect bag to go from work to workout, accommodating your workout gear, laptop, files and more. Separate compartments for apparel and shoes keep you organized while a removable, washable cinch sack holds smaller items in place. The tote also features a padded laptop sleeve, cord organizer pockets, a document pocket, and straps to hold your jacket or yoga mat.

NB-6000 -D Wellness Tote

To enter the giveaway, you must do TWO things:

1. Leave a comment on this post answering either question A (what would you like to see more of on F&F in year four?) or question B (what is one of your favorite F&F posts from years past?).

2. Leave a second comment on this post after sharing the giveaway on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram). Example social share: I just entered to win some awesome fitness gear from @fitnessandfeta! Happy 3 years of blogging! http://wp.me/p1GYjo-3v2

This giveaway will be open until Friday 7/18 at 11:59 EST. The winner will be announced early in the week of 7/21, so make sure to check back and see if you won! A huge thank you to my friends at New Balance for donating these products for the giveaway.

Good luck!

For extra related reading material today, check out:

F&F Friday Favorites ~ 07.11.14

Hello, hello! What did you guys miss this week (and last) on F&F? Anything?

What about on the rest of the blogosphere?

Friday Favorites

Fitness

Foodie

Recipes

Inspiration

Oh, and the best link that was sent my way this week: Hilary Knight in the ESPN 2014 Body Issue. Take a few minutes to watch this video. It’s a great reminder that strength and muscle is beautiful!

–Let’s chat–
Tell me about your weeks, how you feel about the Hilary Knight feature, and/or what’s up for the weekend.

I’m working from home today, and then packing for Slesh and Will’s wedding weekend! It’s going to be an awesome few days ahead! I’ll catch you guys on Monday for a REALLY awesome giveaway. :)

Slesh’s NYC Bachelorette Party

Um, I can’t believe I still haven’t recapped Slesh’s bachelorette party that was two months ago. I suppose I should now since her WEDDING is this weekend! Ahh!

Slesh’s bachelorette weekend was in NYC, so I took that Friday off to hit the gym and do some last-minute things in the morning. Bridget picked me up in the rental car (don’t ask), and we loaded it up to the max.

Slesh's Bachelorette Party: Leaving for NYC

Whenever Bridget, Erica, and I are involved in party planning, you can pretty much guarantee an excessive amount of snacks and party props. Check out the bachelorette survival bags I put together!

Slesh's NYC bachelorette: survival bags

The ride to New York was pretty awful. There was SO much traffic because it was a big graduation weekend, and it was raining. By the time we arrived, we were definitely ready for a drink!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette

We got ready and enjoyed some adult bevvies in the room (we stayed at The Andaz Wall Street where Erica’s wedding is in September) before heading out to our first stop of the night, Beauty & Essex.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Beauty and Essex

Beauty & Essex was probably the coolest restaurant I’ve ever been to in my life. It looks like nothing from the outside, and it looks like a pawn shop when you first walk in (where we are standing in the picture above). But once you walk through the next door, boom. Fancy shmancy, loud music, fun vibe. The best part about Beauty & Essex though? Free champagne in the bathroom.

Slesh's NYC Bachlorette: Beauty & Essex

As you can imagine, we had to pee a LOT throughout our meal. ;)

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Beauty and Essex

When we weren’t in the bathroom, we were enjoying the small plates we ordered to share among the table. I love doing this so everyone can try many different items on the menu. My favorite were these lobster tacos!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Beauty and Essex 2

My least favorite? The lemon drop shots.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Beauty and Essex 3

After dinner, we headed to our next stop, The Delancey. We had a table reservation for 12:30am after dinner, and we also got table service.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

I’m pretty sure that our group literally jumped around and danced all over the place right next to this table for the rest of our night out.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: The Delancey

We took some HILARIOUS pictures afterwards in the hotel room with our “party prop,” but Slesh probably won’t appreciate me sharing those in the blogosphere, so I’ll just leave it to this.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette

On Saturday, we somehow managed to wake up bright and early for our next bachelorette activity: wine tour! Our limo picked us up at 9am, and we headed out for the drive to three different vineyards on Long Island: Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, Puglise Vineyards, and Vineyard 48.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

We thought these three vineyards made the perfect lineup for the bride to be because the first had animals, the second had pretty scenery and lunch, and the third had a DJ with dancing potential if we wanted it! We kicked off our limo ride with some classy mimosas, enjoyed straight out of the cute cups Ashley put together for everyone. Bachelorette straws were a must!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette Straws

Since we had two hours to kill before arriving at the first vineyard, we played a fun game. Everyone brought Slesh some type of underwear, lingerie, or pajamas, and she had to guess who gave her each item. This was pretty funny, especially when we got to the granny panties!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour Limo Ride

Note the shirts that Bridget had made for us to wear. They said “Keep Calm and Marry Will.” They were a hit throughout the day!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

Here are some more pictures from winery #1:

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette Party: Wine TourSlesh's NYC Bachelorette Party: Wine TourSlesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

Winery #2:

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour Slesh's NYC Bachelorette Party: Wine Tour

And winery #3, where we ran into another bachelorette party from the same hometown as Slesh! What are the odds?

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine TourSlesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette Party: Wine Tour

If you are planning a bachelorette party, I would highly recommend something like a limo wine tour for an outdoor spring activity. We had perfect weather, and it was a great time! Our ride home definitely wasn’t as eventful or full of as many activities as the ride there was though. We were tired!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: Wine Tour

After we got back from the wine tour, the festivities continued. We only had about an hour of downtime before dinner, so we took a quick power nap and got ready for the second night. Our dinner reservation at La Palapa, a Mexican restaurant. Lots of tacos and margaritas were consumed!

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: La Palapa

After dinner, we spent the rest of the night bar hopping between three different places.

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette: BarsSlesh's NYC Bachelorette: BarsSlesh's NYC Bachelorette

Each bar was much lower key than Friday night was, but that didn’t mean our night was any less fun or crazy! All in all, I would say Slesh’s bachelorette weekend went off without a hitch, and our almost bride to be had a great weekend… clearly! ;)

Slesh's NYC Bachelorette

The ride back to Boston on Sunday was probably one of the longest and worst car rides of my life (so much traffic, we were all SO tired and cranky, headaches all around, etc.), but it was totally worth it for my friend’s celebration. I also think it took me until the following weekend to recover from how little sleep I got! I guess that’s a late twenties kind of thing. There’s no quick recovery anymore.

I am so excited to celebrate Slesh and Will at their big day this weekend!

–Let’s chat–
I want to hear more about the bachelorette parties you’ve been to. Anyone done any similar types of wine tours, etc.?
Who else takes a week to recover from a fun weekend now? What would you put in a bachelorette survival kit?

After Slesh’s wedding weekend, it’s time for Erica’s bachelorette! So many ACTIVITIES to be excited for. :)

Almost Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

I’m calling this one the almost Mediterranean chickpea salad because I didn’t include olives. If you read yesterday’s post, you know what I’m talking about!

Almost Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Almost Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • Three 15 ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crumbled feta

Directions

Toss all ingredients together in a big bowl, serve, and enjoy!

Almost Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

I threw this together on the 4th of July for my family BBQ, and it was a crowd pleaser. I guess that’s not saying much considering I served it to a bunch of Greeks, but this is a delicious and healthy salad to pack for lunch, bring to a party, or eat at the beach. I’ve even enjoyed it in all three settings within the past month! The chickpeas are also a good source of protein to help you feel full and curb cravings later on.

Almost Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

For this salad, I used the cucumbers that I received in last week’s farm share, and everyone kept commenting on how fresh the cucumbers tasted. My uncle even said, “who knew cucumbers had a flavor!” Organic and farm fresh for the win.

Almost Meditteranean Chickpea Salad

If you give this one a go, I would love to know how it turns out!

–Let’s chat–
Tell me about your culinary creations for the 4th of July! Anyone make any festive treats? What are your go to ingredients for a Mediterranean salad?

No CSA recap this week because we didn’t use as much of our stash due to vacation, but I plan to double up on next week’s post for weeks 4 and 5. Tim was a gem and washed/stored all the produce properly so that it wouldn’t go bad while we were away. A handful of people have made comments about receiving too much produce through the CSA, but to me it’s really a matter of putting a little extra time and effort into planning. My advice is to plan meals that utilize multiple ingredients at a time instead of just one. I know it takes a little creativity, but it can be done! Also, just plan for an extra 20 minutes a week to ensure the greens don’t go bad with proper storing. No need to be wasteful!