Scenes from Fiji Kava

Today was a slow, exhausting day at Fiji Kava tea bar. Slow because barely anyone showed up, and exhausting because I didn’t get out until 3am last night and I had to open at 9am this morning. I spent most of the day reading and trying not to fall asleep.

The day took a more eventful turn at 5pm when I found this unexpected visitor in the sink:

We caught that sucker and liberated him into the outdoors…adios iguana!

Now I’m just hanging out killing time until my shift ends at 6.

Later tonight I’m meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner. They’re vacationing in West Palm Beach and had plans eat at a tropical/Hawaiian restaurant in Ft Lauderdale which turned out to be just a couple miles away from my apartment. Unfortunately my boyfriend is working so they won’t be able to meet them, but I’m glad I’ll get a chance to see them!

Last but not least, I discovered these “Healthy Protein Cookies” at the convenience store next door and have become obsessed with them. Each cookie has 230 calories, 26g protein, 20g carbs, 5g fat; and they’re delicious! I’ve been eating one pretty much every shift.

Well that’s all for now! Hope you all are enjoying as great weather as we’re having here in Florida–after a week of rain from Tropical Storm Debby we finally got beach weather, and I’m excited to enjoy it on my day off tomorrow! Along with shopping for khaki pants and black shoes for my first day waitressing. And GOING TO THE GYM!! No excuses 🙂

Work and Life

 

  1. I picked up another job waitressing at Aruba Beach Cafe! I’m so excited because I’ve wanted to work there since the first time I ate there back in May. It’s a great place to work: been around for 30 years, right on the beach, always busy, and amazing food. And now I’m officially ITB (In The Biz ie the service industry) which is sort of like joining a sorority/fraternity–everyone knows each other, hangs out, and parties at each other’s restaurant/bars. I start training at 8:30am Sunday morning–a little rough because I work at the Kava bar until 2am, but such is life.
  2. Fiji Kava, the kava tea bar that I’ve been bartending at, has been SO slow (summer is the off-season here in Florida.) It’s a chill job because I can read, go on my laptop, etc, but we work mostly for tips and I’m just not making enough money to work here five days a week. So I cut back my shifts to Wednesday daytime (9am – 6pm) and Saturday nights (6pm – 2am). I think this is the best of both worlds because I can keep that connection for if/when business picks up, while still making real money at Aruba. And I’ll have two days to read/write/tumble, which is the perfect amount.
  3. I’m actually at work right now–I switched shifts with my coworker Liz since today was her birthday. The good news is that she brought a ton of her friends in to celebrate so I actually made good money tonight–almost $50! And it was fun working with a big crowd of people here. I also volunteered to cover daytime tomorrow which means I have to be back here at 9am tomorrow–I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh well…
  4. A couple more job-related irons in the fire right now, but I’m keeping them under wraps until I see what pans out. Right now I’m just trying to make money, keep busy, and have fun.
  5. I must get to the gym, I must get to the gym, I must get to the gym. I didn’t go yesterday or today, and I probably won’t tomorrow because I’m meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner after work (they’re on vacation in West Palm Beach), but definitely Friday and Saturday! No excuses!

Backyard :)

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My backyard! I still can’t believe I get to LIVE here.

Ft Lauderdale Update

  • Worked at the Kava Tea Bar 6-2am Sunday and 9-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I don’t think that job is going to work out for much longer though, because it’s too slow so I don’t make enough. I talked to the owner and he understands–I’m going to cut back to one day shift and one night shift most likely.
  • Speaking of jobs, I was approached and hired by a promoter to promote clubs, brands, products, etc. I’m starting with email promotions but eventually will be out promoting clubs in Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Over the past 2 days I made $100 cash for 3 hours work. I hope this pans out because it’s the easiest money I ever made.
  • I might also start swimsuit modeling. Not that I’m going out of my way to try and model but if someone hands me an opportunity paying $250-500 for a three hour photoshoot I am not going to turn that down! More details later if it ends up working out.
  • Finally, I have a couple irons in the fire with restaurants for waitressing or bartending through connections with Billy’s friends. That pays really well too. Again more details later!
  • I STARTED DRIVING AGAIN!!! This is kind of a Big Deal because I hadn’t driven since my accident last August. Now I love it. I feel like it’s opened up a whole new world. For example, I didn’t know there was a mall 3 miles away from me!! And now I can do all the apartment shopping that I’ve been desperately wanting to.
  • There is SO much to do here. Billy’s apartment is in a hotel, and the lobby has a restaurant, salon, and 24 hour coffee shop. Walk out the door and there’s the beach, along with a pool, hot tub, and tiki bar. Branch out a couple miles and there’s tons of shops, restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, bars, salons, etc…everything you could possibly need is in a 5 mile radius. Downtown Ft Lauderdale is 15 minutes away. Miami is 45 minutes away. Orlando aka Disney World and Universal Studios is just 2-3 hours away–I’m trying to go to Harry Potter World when my sister visits!
  • Not to mention I have a million other things I want to do! Finish adding to the apartment. Get a library card. Hang drapes. Check out the used bookstore. Take a yoga class on the beach. Check out the other classes at my gym. Print out and display pictures from Costa Rica. Start Shaun T Insanity again (finally I have space!) Clean out the car. Go sailing. Learn to surf, dive, and paddleboard. Rent a jet ski. Go kite-surfing. Find mango and avocado trees. Start running again. Start drawing again. Photography. I don’t think I’ll ever be bored here.
  • Last night was a lot of fun–we went downtown to celebrate the Miami Heat win. I DD’d. Even though I wasn’t drinking I had a lot of fun. I met a bunch of Billy’s friends and I’ll actually be able to remember them. Same thing Tuesday night–we hit up three or four local bars and I DD’d and met a ton of people. I think I like going out sober sometimes.
  • Speaking of Billy, things are amazing. Better every day. I am beyond happy.
  • We didn’t get to bed until 5am last night and consequently slept through most of the day…oh well, it was rainy anyway. Now I’m going to clean and FINALLY go to Target to shop for the room. So excited! Probably hit the gym after that. And Billy’s working at the tiki bar right at the hotel tonight, which makes me happy because I can just run down and visit him. Bye!!

High-Protein, Low-Carb Foods

Anon: what are some high-protein, low-carb foods I can eat?

Here are some suggestions:
  • Fish/seafood
  • Chicken
  • Any meat
  • Eggs
  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Whey protein powder
  • Tofu
  • Unsweetened soymilk
  • Some meat substitutes (check the label)
  • Some protein bars (check the label)
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Almonds/walnuts/other nuts

Any forms of animal (fish, chicken, turkey, ham, steak, etc) will be high-protein and low-carb. Eggs are great too!

Some meat substitutes have good amounts of protein relative to carbs, others are full of carbs and basically devoid of nutrition. Read the label and use common sense: avoid things like breading, bbq sauce, etc.

“Unsweetened” is your friend. Look for the plain/unsweetened versions of soy milk, almond milk, greek yogurt etc. Unsweetened versions have less calories too: (70 vs 140 for soy milk, 35 vs 90 for almond milk)

“Low fat” is not your friend. Usually that means they’ve compensated for removing fat by adding sugar, making the food higher in carbs, equal if not higher in calories, and crappy-tasting to boot.

Whey protein powder is a good way to add in protein and I’ve also found that it’s crucial for getting my smoothies to blend!

Some protein bars can be good sources of protein, although they’re not usually low-carb. I try to find bars with about or at least 1 gram of protein for every 10 calories, and not much more than 1 gram of carbohydrates for each gram of protein. I like Met-Rx Protein Plus bars (310-340 calories, 30-34g protein, 33-37g carbs) and ThinkThin bars (230 calories, 20g protein, 25g carbs). Cliff bars are the worst in my opinion–with 240 calories, 46g carbs, and only 10g protein you might as well just eat a bagel!

Cheeses are also good sources of protein–some have up to 8-10g protein for an 80 calorie serving! I avoid low-fat or fat-free cheeses because they taste nasty, and often less protein too.

Natural peanut butter/almonds/walnuts/other fats are primarily sources of fat, but they do have some protein–usually 5-10g a serving–for a small amount of carbs.

* * * *

Depending on your goals, you can choose proteins with a high amount of fat (salmon, steak, whole eggs, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, 2+% greek yogurt) or lower amounts of fat (chicken, egg whites, tilipia, tuna, whey powder, lean cuts of meat, 0% greek yogurt).

I personally believe animal proteins are superior, but you can also find protein from non-animal sources (tofu, soy-based meat substitutes, soy milk, peanut butter, nuts)–just be careful not to eat

As always, you want to think about the balance in your diet overall. Almost any food can fit into your desired macros if you make room for it, and ultimately, your overall ratio of protein, carbs, and fats on a daily and weekly basis is more important than the content of any individual food! 

Shrimp and Scallop Scampi with Spaghetti Squash

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Spaghetti squash is a great low-carb, low-calorie alternative to regular pasta. One cup of spaghetti squash has only 30-40 calories and 10g carbs, compared to 220 calories and 43g carbs in a cup of cooked spaghetti. In fact, you could eat an entire spaghetti squash for only 150-200 calories! It can be substituted for spaghetti in any recipe and is a good option for anyone who is low-carb, Paleo, gluten-free, counting calories, or just finds regular pasta to be too boring. The seeds are good roasted too!

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 lb scallops
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Basil
  • Pepper
  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half, place halves facedown, and bake at 375 degrees for about one hour (you’ll want to give it about a 30 minute headstart)
  2. When squash is baking, prep other ingredients: peel shrimp; pat shrimp and scallops dry on paper towel and cover them with pepper; cut up onion, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms
  3. Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter on stovetop on medium heat and sautee shrimp and scallops until translucent but not brown (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add another 1/2 tbsp of butter then add in succession: garlic and onions, then tomatoes and mushrooms, then spinach; sautee for another 2-3 minutes
  5. Add wine, lemon juice, and an additional tbsp of butter (optional), cover, and bring to a boil. Once liquid boils, reduce heat to low, uncover, and let simmer until about 1/2 the liquid cooks off
  6. Meanwhile, remove the squash from the oven, scoop off the gunk and seeds (you can eat the seeds or roast them further if you want), and scoop out the insides (ie the spaghetti part) into a bowl. Stir in the pesto, using a fork to help separate out the spaghetti strands.
  7. Once the shrimp/scallop/vegetable mixture is done cooking on the stove, pour on top of spaghetti squash, add basil and pepper to taste, stir up, and enjoy!

Note: The butter and pesto are great sources of healthy fat and you should not be afraid to cook with them! However, if it fits your nutrition requirements better, you can reduce the fat and calories by eliminating the second tablespoon of butter and some or all of the pesto (if you do so add extra basil). You *can* cook with olive oil instead of butter if you don’t eat dairy products; however in general butter is better for cooking scallops so I highly recommend butter for this recipe even though I normally cook with olive oil. (DO NOT use butter substitutes ever because they are unhealthy and nasty. Period. )

Strawberry Salad with Grilled Chicken

Strawberry Salad with Grilled Chicken

Yesterday I really wanted to eat lunch at Aruba, a nearby beachfront restaurant, so I could have their “Strawberry Fields” salad with blackened chicken, which I am obsessed with. But we didn’t get up until 3:30pm and my boyfriend had to work at 5 so there wasn’t time. At first I was really upset (hello PMS!) but then I realized I could probably recreate it myself and save some money too!

I bought a container of mixed spinach and argula; added strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, feta cheese, and pre-cooked grilled chicken strips (which I heated in the microwave); and tossed it in lime juice. Then I brought the container down to the beach with me to eat!

This salad was delicious and very easy to put together! The precooked chicken strips are a good choice if you don’t have an oven, and tossing the salad right in the spinach container saves on cleanup and makes it easily portable. It would be a good meal for someone living in a dorm room!

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