• Welcome to Beth’s Journey!


    Hey! I'm Beth - a 27 year old foodie living and working in the Washington, DC area who has lost almost 90 pounds through Weight Watchers. I love good food, wine and getting creative in the kitchen, and then balancing that out with running, The Shred, and yoga. Please feel free to browse around and hopefully you'll find some ideas, recipes and motivation!

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One Person’s Trash

Don’t forget – it’s the last day to enter the Larabar giveaway!

I went to the CRAZIEST (non-alcohol related) event last night. Well, it was at a bar so I’m not sure it was entirely non-alcohol related, but I didn’t drink at least!

A clothing swap hosted by The Swapaholics!

I’d never been to one of these events before, and it was definitely fun, but very intense. The way it works is you bring a big bag of lightly used or almost new clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, hair dye (!?) or whatever else you want to trade in. Here was mine:

That’s a HUGE bag, fyi. Though I’ve done a relatively good job of getting rid of clothes as they get too big, I still had a ton of things in my closet I never wear or that don’t fit quite right. Not anymore!

After you get to the event, you hand over your ticket (which was $20) and your bag of clothes and the organizer takes the bag and dumps it into the swap area. A group of volunteers organize the clothes by item into piles of dresses, skirts, jackets, shirts, shoes, bags, etc. so that it’s a little easier to find things, and then everyone at the event hangs around waiting the 8pm swap time.

Lining the bar:

And another entire room filled with ladies eager to trade clothes.

Once 8pm on the dot came around, one of the organizers came of the swap room, and I should have realized when she said “Be nice and courteous to each other” that things were about to get insane.

Ready, Set, Swap!

Some people literally sprinted into the room, and it was soooooo overwhelming for me. Each table was piled high with tons of different clothes of all different sizes, and each table was surrounded by fashion-hungry girls.

It was INTENSE. Here’s a view from the stage in the room that doesn’t do the crowd much justice. Each concentration of girls in this photo is surrounding a table or rack full of clothes, and the advice I was given was “be a vulture!”

That said, after getting over the initial shock of it all, I did manage to find some SUPER cute clothes. I was shocked by how many size 10s there were – I was worried it would mostly be size 2s, and while there were many of them, I found tons of things in my size. One thing I did notice was that I kept picking up clothes that were in sizes far too big for me – 14s and 16s – thinking they were my size until I looked at the label. Still getting used to it my size, I suppose!

I did end up meeting up with Katie at the event, so we had a blurry picture snapped in front of the Swap sign.

After the clothing swap was done, the organizers got up to give away some prizes! I was also glad to find out that all the leftover clothes would be donated to Goodwill.

Unfortunately I didn’t win anything, but was not happy for those who did.

After I got home, I realized I did in fact make out with some pretty awesome clothing. Check it out:

4 skirts, a suit, several tops, two jackets, and some unpictured jewelry and shoes, all for the price of the $20 ticket and some used clothes! You know what they say – one person’s trash is another’s treasure – it really is true.

Have you ever been to an event like this? Would you go to one?

I would definitely go to something like this again, especially now that I know what to expect. Next time I would think a bit harder about what I wanted before I went so I could go into the room with a strategy, but I am pretty happy with what I came home with this time.

I’d also think it could be fun to host a small event like this so its not quite as intense, though I guess sizing could be hard if it’s a small group of people.

Stuffed Eggplant

I’m glad to see you guys are loving my Larabar giveaway! Because there’s been so much interest, the kind people over at Larabar are allowing me to pick a second place winner who will get a 4-pack of bars on top of the first place winner who will get the variety box! Keep those entries coming up until midnight tomorrow and good luck!

Now I know many people are hesitant to turn on their ovens right about now, but I promise you it’s worth it for this.

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

Recipe yields 2 servings, 5 pts+ each. Printable version here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup white beans (or other beans)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 oz part-skim mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, cut your eggplant in half length-wise.

Make diagonal slits through each half of the eggplant, staying about 1/4” (or so) away from the edge like this:

Now, make slits going the other way so they crisscross:

At this point, you want to remove the flesh from the middle of the eggplant halves. You can do this with a spoon:

Or you can pull the pieces out with your fingers. I did a combination of the two:

Don’t fret if you mess up and make a little hole in the eggplant shell like I did:

You can just patch it up with a little piece of eggplant from the middle like so:

No one will ever know.

Take your two eggplant shells and place on a greased baking sheet (or sheet pan if you don’t have a baking sheet like me…)

And bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes while you make the filling.

Chop up your veggies:

And also chop up the meat of the eggplant a bit so it looks like this:

To start the filling, heat a pan up over medium heat and then use some nonstick spray before adding in the onion.

After 3-4 minutes, the onion will start to get a little translucent and then you want to add the rest of the veggies – garlic, shallot, and eggplant.

Stir everything around and then cover it and let cook for about 10 minutes. You want all the veggies to be cooked through and the eggplant to start looking a little translucent:

Once it looks like that, add in your beans and some salt and pepper:

Mix to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds until heated through.

By now, your eggplant shells should have cooked for 15 minutes and are ready to be stuffed.

Divide the veggie mixture between the two halves:

Then top each one with half the cheese, 2 tbsp panko crumbs, and a touch of salt and pepper:

Now they are ready to go back in the oven, so place them in there for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. After those ten minutes are up, turn the oven up to 425 and let them cook for another 10 minutes until the top is browned and the stuffed eggplants are cooked through.

And then they are ready to eat!

These are seriously so delicious and filling, that I didn’t even eat anything on the side and I was satisfied for hours. They also hold up amazing as leftovers, and were just as filling for lunch the next day. The panko crumbs gave it a nice crunch, and the cheese got all melty and tied everything together.

Every bite is full of flavor and deliciousness, and the possibilities for flavor combinations with these are endless.

You can try them with different veggies, different protein, different cheeses, different spices, and I’m sure any way you do it they will be amazing, filling, and super healthy.

Enjoy!

Do you ever turn on the oven in the summer or do you tend to mostly do stovetop or no-cook meals?

Larabar Love Giveaway

There has always been a lot of buzz about Larabars and just how great they are, and for a long time I was honestly a little scared of them. I used to eat light granola bars with 90-100 calories in them, so when I saw that many Larabars had over 200 calories, I was hesitant to say the least.

Then, one day last year after a race, they were giving them out in the finishers area and it shouldn’t surprise you if you know me at all – I shoved several into my jacket/pants/bag to try. They were the mini versions, and I could not get over how amazing they tasted. The texture is not at all like a granola bar – they are dense,  chewy and so flavorful considering how few ingredients they contain.

So I was definitely won over by the flavor, but I was also completely won over by how filling they were. When I used to eat those bars with 90 calories, they wouldn’t stay with me at all and I’d be hungry again before I even finished chewing. Larabars are not only way more delicious, they are also WAY more satisfying, and make a great pre or post workout snack, afternoon snack, dessert, or supplement to lunch. I love that they are obviously very portable, so I often keep one in my bag when they’re in stock in my life so that I have something healthy and easy on hand.

So when Larabar offered to send over some bars to try and review, how could I say no? I knew some bars on the way, but I didn’t know THIS was coming too!

Please disregard my messy hair and the bags under my eyes… long day. Winking smile

A Larabar t-shirt!!

Besides the t-shirt, I got excited to see this box in the package:

I opened it up…

So many Larabars!

16 to be exact.

My two favorite flavors so far are the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

And the Coconut Cream Pie (!!!!)

It’s kind of unbelievable how spot on the flavors are, considering this:

Dates, Unsweetened Coconut, Almonds, Cashews, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

That’s it!

Most bars contain 5-6 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers, and are SO worth every last one. And here comes the exciting part…

One lucky reader will win a variety box to sample courtesy of Larabar!!

The giveaway ends at Midnight EST on Friday, July 15th and I’ll announce the winner over the weekend or on Monday. There are three ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Larabar flavor OR the flavor you’d most like to try!
  2. Tweet about this giveaway using @bethsjourneytt and @larabar, and leave a second comment saying you did.
  3. Leave another comment with a suggestion for things you’d like to see here or have me talk about on Beth’s Journey!

Good luck!!

Detox Time

After having an overly indulgent several day stretch both food and alcohol wise last week, my body is craving a break. I use the term detox loosely, because for someone like me who is majorly prone to overdoing it, in no way do I restrict myself while getting back on track. I’ve written about this before, but it’s really important for me to make a conscious effort to forgive myself immediately once I’ve overdone it, so that I can move on rather than keep a destructive cycle going.

For me, step one in “detoxing” is going to the grocery store and stocking up on healthy foods. Having a stocked fridge with lots of options helps me to get back on track, with a special focus on fruits and veggies. On Sunday, despite being pretty worthless after Saturday night for most of the day, I dragged myself to The Teet to do some shopping so I could start the back on track process.

First up, the produce:

  • White Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Melon
  • Bananas
  • Vidalia Onions
  • French Green Beans
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Blueberries
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Have you ever seen this kind of melon before?

It’s called a crenshaw melon, and I’d never seen or heard of it so decided to pick one up since it was sharing a bin with the cantaloupes. Though the shape is slightly different, the inside looks very similar.

And the flavor is completely delicious. It tastes vaguely of cantaloupe, but has a slightly sweet and unique flavor that I highly recommend if you’re looking to try a new kind of fruit!

Besides the produce, here’s everything else:

  • Black Olives
  • Eggs
  • Shrimp (3.99/lb!)
  • Sashimi grade tuna (6.99/lb)
  • Nature’s Own Sandwich Thins
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • Cottage Cheese
  • 2% Swiss slices
  • Tofurky
  • 2% Mozzarella Shredded

Side note, this brand of sandwich thins has just 2 pts+, even though most of them have 3 pts+ now, and they are actually quite good.

Even though I felt like I got a lot of pricey stuff, I ended up staying under my budget of $75 per week:

$57.86, with $15.21 in savings just from shopping the sales.

Here’s my meal plan for the week, which I’m actually quite excited about:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Greek yogurt, banana, granola Tofurky + Avocado on sandwich thin, veggies Stuffed Eggplant (recipe coming Thursday)
Tuesday Cottage Cheese + strawberries, banana Leftover stuffed eggplant Shrimp + Veggies with peanut sauce
Wednesday Waffle Sandwich w/pb + banana Leftover shrimp + veggies w/peanut sauce Potato crust pizza (!)
Thursday English Muffin w/cottage cheese + fruit White Bean and Tuna salad over greens Buffalo Tofu w/blue cheese crumbles
Friday Smashed banana w/peanut flour on toast + banana Buffalo Tofu over salad with blue cheese + celery Chilled Potato Leek Soup

In case you’re wondering where the tuna went, Wil and I ended up making a delicious nicoise salad on Sunday night with grilled tuna instead of flaked, and that’s where the french green beans and olives went, too!

Also, please note, I never include EVERYTHING I eat. I almost always have dessert plus snacks during the day. Most of these meals will be served with lots of fruits and veggies on the side to help clean out my system. Here’s what I have packed for work-eats today:

Melon w/blueberries, carrots + celery, leftover stuffed eggplant, plain greek yogurt (this brand is great and very cheap too!), cottage cheese w/frozen strawberries, banana. And always just in case, I have snacks in my desk, too.

Besides eating tons of fruits and veggies this week, I also will be refraining from alcohol completely and drinking tons of water and tea to flush out my system. I plan to try to work out 4 times this week, but that’s pretty standard for me, and is completely necessary for my training schedule for the marathon. I also have some big news I’ll be sharing later this week which is another main reason I have to look and feel my best by Saturday morning…

Have you tried any new-to-you fruits or veggies lately?? Did you like it?

Birthday Craziness, Continued

What a fun and crazy weekend I had! It felt like I was back in college, and had a really great time hanging out with friends and going out on the town.

Saturday started off with an all day pool party at Capitol Skyline Hotel.

It was seriously the craziest thing I’ve ever seen – I felt like I was in Vegas or LA or somewhere crazier than Washington, DC. Check this out:

The furniture was cute and there were bars all around the pool making delicious drinks. The pool itself was literally full of people sitting around it on the edge and in the middle on flotation devices. The water was questionably warm and cloudy, but it was SO hot out that I did manage to go in once or twice for a few minutes at a time. We had a great time, but man – so not my scene.

That is Parker, Lianne, Rachel, Jess, and Me sitting in our chairs when we first got there.

And Leah was in town from NYC!

After spending most of the day toasting in the sun, we went out with a group of six girls for a birthday dinner at Perrys.

I had been to Perrys once for dinner before, but it was ages ago so it felt like a new-to-me restaurant. The food was amazing – we split fried green tomatoes and calamari for appetizers, and then everyone got a salad or soup (I had a seaweed salad). For the main course, we shared a ton of sushi, including a spicy tuna and spicy scallop roll, eel avocado, and a Perry’s roll. It was perfect! The menu had so many things that I loved the sound of, so I was happy to get to try so many things by sharing.

Me, Leah, Elena, Lianne, Jess, and Amber

After dinner, we ended up wandering up to the rooftop bar of the restaurant and had a bunch of our other friends meet us there. I didn’t end up taking any photos, but trust me we had a great time. We ended up being out until around 3am (!!!!) which I hadn’t done in AGES. Yikes.

Yesterday ended up being a recovery day on all fronts – recovery not just from my seven miler, but from all the drinking that’s been going on lately. I literally lounged out by my (much calmer) pool all day, did a little cleaning and grocery shopping, but mostly just laid very low.

While I did have SO MUCH FUN over this past week of birthday craziness, I’m pretty glad I don’t live like that every weekend anymore. Between last week’s birthday happy hour, a random night out Friday, and then Saturday’s birthday celebration, I drank heavily 3 days out of 4 nights! I am definitely not beating myself up over it since it was all in the name of celebrating 2-7, but I do plan to take a little time off drinking and take it very easy this week to give myself a break.

At restaurants, do you like to share food with other people or do you prefer to order your own thing?

If I’m with someone with similar tastes to mine, I LOVE to share so that I can try a bunch of different things from the menu. Sometimes I’ll also order a few appetizers for my meal instead for the same reason. I just like to eat too many things! =)

Slow and Steady

Happy Saturday!!

Just a quick post to share that I ran SEVEN miles today!!

Plus

Equals

Yay!

It’s funny.. I think regardless of how many races or years I am running for, I will always be proud of myself after a long run, whatever “long” is at the time. I haven’t run seven miles since my half marathon in March, and this morning was HOT. I was also out too late last night, so didn’t wake up at 7am as planned. I did wake up just after 8, but it was almost 9am by the time I got outside and was already almost 80 degrees and so sunny. There was also far less shade on the trail than I remember!!

The first mile was really hard because I think I was pushing myself to go too fast despite the heat. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through all seven, but it got easier as time went on because I took all pressure off myself to run fast, and just kept repeating “Slow and steady. Slow and steady.” That mantra helped me make it through all 7 and run the entire time, albeit a bit slower than I’m used to. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Mile 1: 9:49
  • Mile 2: 10:20
  • Mile 3: 10:36
  • Mile 4: 10:37
  • Mile 5: 10:30
  • Mile 6: 10:31
  • Mile 7: 10:21
  • Total: 7.0 miles in 1:12:51 (10:24 pace) – 838 calories burned

Yay!

I’m off to the pool for the day! What are you up to this weekend??

Birthday Craziness

All over the place. That’s me, and this post. Enjoy.

Even though I feel like I’ve already over celebrated my birthday with going away to Shenandoah Valley for the weekend AND a happy hour on the day of, I have more celebrating to do! One of my best friends from college, Lianne, has a birthday three days after mine, so we are doing a joint pool party/dinner/night out tomorrow to top it all off. AND, one of my other best friends from college, Leah (who I visited in NYC a few weeks ago) is coming down, so I am so excited!

July Birthday Babies Lianne and Me from Wednesday night:

A few other photos from the night…

My good friend/coworker Emily and me (the one who brought you microwave risotto!)

Me and Matt:

Jackie, Emily and Me

And you know once I start making this face, it’s time to put the camera away and call it a night.

Also, almost every single time I go out drinking, I think ordering Domino’s pizza will be an excellent way to end the night. It always turns out that its not in fact the best idea. Without fail, I wake up the next day with the worst stomach ache – I don’t know WHAT they put in that pizza but something isn’t right. This situation occurred the night of my birthday after happy hour, and yesterday morning when I had pizza (and macaroni and cheese breadbowl – yuck) sloshing around in my stomach, I got to work and our A/C was broken and it smelled like burnt rubber. Wonderful day.

What did YOU do to celebrate your last birthday?