A Day in Pittsburgh

I spent yesterday visiting my little sister Heather in Pittsburgh, where she lives, works, and goes to school.

She just moved into a really nice apartment with an amazing view of the city, and we wanted to take advantage of her finally having a kitchen and access to cheap produce markets by cooking together!

For breakfast I wanted to see if I could duplicate the guacamole omelets I had in Costa Rica using the leftover guacamole we made the night before:

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It wasn’t *quite* as good as the omelets from Costa Rica but still pretty delicious!

After breakfast we headed downtown to Pittsburgh’s Strip District. There was a fish market, bakery, produce stands, and lots of little shops. My favorite was the tea store!

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We must have spent 20 minutes smelling every kind of loose tea before deciding on chocolate chai and acai berry. I also bought a box of chocolate mint–I love chocolate teas and they’re hard to find!

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Later Heather tried bubble tea for the first time:

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Both of us liked the tea but not the bubbles!

I also discovered a new kind of zero-calorie water–I am a sucker for any zero-calorie drinks and always looking for new ones. This was delicious!

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For lunch we opted for frozen yogurt at a self-serve place called Sweetlix. I mixed all four flavors: original, orange sherbet, vanilla, and red velvet. It was some of the best fro yo I’ve eaten!

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We also bought scallops, shrimp, vegetables, bread, and white wine to make mango salsa and scampi for dinner.

It was JUST starting to rain when we got back to Heather’s apartment around 4:30, so we decided to hang out, watch Forrest Gump, and make the mango salsa.

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ThIs is super easy to make: just dice all the ingredients in tiny pieces, mix together, and let sit for the flavors to absorb. (You can find my recipe here: Mango Salsa)

We also made brownies:

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Heather didn’t have vegetable oil so I modified the recipe using plain greek yogurt, water, and 1 egg. They turned out more fudge-like than brownie like so I cut them in tiny pieces and put them in the freezer as fudge!

After the movie was over, I went to the gym in the basement of Heather’s apartment to get in a quick upper body workout while she hung out with her boyfriend. The free weights only went up to 30 lbs and there was only one bench, so I used a stability ball in lieu of a bench to make the exercises slightly more challenging.

Upper Body Workout:

  • Chest press on stability ball: 30 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • Chest flies on stability ball: 25 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • Military press on stability ball: 20 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • One leg bench dip: 8×5
  • Dumbbell flies: 10 lb dumbbells, 8×5
  • 10 pushups alternated with 30 second planks, x3

We were inspired to make shrimp and scallop scampi for dinner because Heather had a spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash looks like a normal squash, but when you bake it and pull out the insides they look like spaghetti! It is a great substitute for regular spaghetti and can be used in lieu of pasta in any recipe. It has less carbs and calories and tastes much more flavorful in my opinion (I may be the one person in the world who genuinely doesn’t like pasta, didn’t even as a kid). The seeds taste good too!

The squash takes about an hour to bake, so we gave it a head start and had the mango salsa with a whole-grain baguette as an appetizer in the meantime:

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We based the scampi on recipes we based it on scampi recipes we found online, but modified it to accommodate the vegetables we wanted to cook with. The scampi took about an hour altogether to make, during which time we drank chardonnay and watched Accepted (the movie about the kid who makes his own college–very funny!)

The scampi turned out AMAZING! Probably the best tasting thing I’ve cooked myself (granted not all by myself–things never seem to turn out right when I cook solo which is why I like to cook with my parents/sister/friends.) We sprinkled parmesan cheese on top and had more of the baguette on the side.

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Afterwards I ate a couple brownie pieces and fell right into bed!

It was really fun to spend some time with my sister and see Pittsburgh. This was my second time visiting her; the first time was in April 2011 when she was still living in the dorms and it was still cold outside so it was nice to be able to stay in an apartment and see the city in nicer weather! She also booked plane tickets to visit Ft Lauderdale for a week in July, which I’m so excited about–I’m already planning out activities for us to do!

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