Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Roasted Mushrooms & Broccoli

I find that, when Duff Man is out of town, I often revert to a vegetarian diet.  It's not for any particularly noble reason--I'm just too lazy to thaw out meat when I can cook a perfectly delicious meatless meal as soon as I get home.

Earlier this week, I took a look around my kitchen to figure out what I could make for dinner.  I had pasta, broccoli, pumpkin, mushrooms and all the usual pantry staples.  So I threw it all in a pot and made Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese with Roasted Mushrooms and Broccoli.

It was delicious and I had plenty of leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week.

My friend Kate kindly pointed out that it's not actually macaroni.  But really, just use whatever past you've got laying around.

I will also note that I didn't actually measure anything so... well, your results may vary.  I'm also doubling the recipe since I used 1/2 lb of pasta and that just seems silly to put into a recipe.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Roasted Mushrooms & Broccoli

12 oz crimini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 cups pureed fresh pumpkin (yes, I really do keep this in my freezer)
1 lb. macaroni, shells, or whatever other pasta you desire
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Grapeseed oil (or canola or vegetable oil if that's what you have)
Optional: 1 tsp cinnamon & 1/4 tsp nutmeg OR chopped fresh sage

Preheat the your oven to 425 degrees F.  Toss the mushrooms & broccoli with a few tablespoons of oil--just enough to give them a light coating.  Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet (I lined mine with a silpat) and roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway.

In the meantime, put on a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Once the water has boiled, add a heft pinch of salt and then cook the pasta until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  When the bubbles have melted away, add the flour and whisk until there are no lumps.  Continue stirring and allow the roux to cook for about 5 minutes.  Slowly add in the milk and continue to whisk until thickened.  Add the pumpkin and stir until smooth.  A handful at a time, whisk in the cheese and stir.  Once the first addition has melted, add the next until all of the cheese has been added.  Season with salt and pepper (and any other herbs/spices you'd like to add.)

Add the pasta to the pumpkin cheese sauce mixture.  If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water until it reaches the desired consistency.  Stir in the broccoli and mushrooms (or just pile them on top!)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Strength, Vulnerability, and Grace: Natarajasana

In person, I'm not a really "touchy feel-y" person.  Oh sure, I'm passionate and opinionated.  But the big things, the emotions I need to sort out within my own head and heart, the important things--I don't let on how I'm processing those.

Except in yoga.  Yoga is where I learned to process those emotions, to acknowledge them and let them go.  At my studio, we often joke about the "yoga mumbo jumbo," our affectionate term for the spiritual and emotional lessons we give and take through our practice.

To me, a pose only feels truly authentic when I know why I'm practicing it.  What is the lesson I should learn from the asana?  As a teacher, when I approach class planning from this standpoint--by starting with why--I nearly always end up with a class I'm proud of.  

So in planning this week's class I turned to my emotions.  And lately, I've felt conflicted.  One of my dearest friends is, at this very moment, moving 2,000 miles away from here.  I am thrilled--over the moon--for her and the opportunity she has for herself and her family.  But I am also deeply saddened that I won't get to see her nearly as often.  The two of us have talked (a little... she's not particularly touchy feel-y either) about that conflict--the excitement and apprehension of such a big move.

So that's where I started planning my class this week.  Excitement and apprehension.  The need to feel secure balanced with the need to take a risk.  I needed a balance pose where I could root into the earth but still engage my core and open my heart.  

I settled on Natarajasana.  

My friend and teacher training classmate Sarah in Natarajasana
Natarajasana, also known as "dancer," "king dancer," or "standing dancer," requires a strong connection to the earth, an engaged core, and an open heart.  Finding a strong connection from my standing leg into the earth grants me security both physically and energetically.  Engaging my core not only protects the low back and stabilizes the pose, but also enlivens the third chakra--responsible for my personal power and sense of self.  While I feel less secure standing on one leg, a strong core allows me to safely open my heart through the physical backbend and to the emotional challenges provided by changes in life.  

I chose Natarajasana because it requires strength, flexibility, an open heart, and a little bit of grace. Natarajasana allows me--and my students--to find the inner strength to open our hearts and let them fly.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Old Married People

Hi friend,

It's been a while.  You see, when I get busy (which, if you're read my 3 other posts, you realize happens often) I prioritize and the blog is one of the first things to go.  But now I'm on summer break, heading in to my last week of grad school for the summer, and am back from vacation.  Likely, there will be another post (or two!!) coming your way soon.

The real reason I'm writing (albeit an hour or so too late) is because it's my anniversary.  

You see, at some point in the previous millennium I met this guy.  We started "hanging out" in October of our freshman year of college, although our first real date wasn't until November 20.  
First date photo. I think he enjoyed my sparkling personality.  And also my sparkling boobs.
Somehow we survived four years in college together.  After 4 1/2 years together we finally got engaged, and 17 months after that we finally got married.  
This was probably at the exact moment the pastor went on a tangent about spousal abuse ("knockin' each other around") and divorce during the ceremony.
It actually was kind of funny.
Or maybe you just had to be there.

That day we got married?  It was already 7 years ago.

Let me tell you, Mr. Toad's got nothing on this Wild Ride.  I've written a little bit about the ups and downs we've had along the way.  But here we are, still laughing and joking and quoting movies and being silly, 7 years later.  

Don't get me wrong, it's not all sunshine and roses.  We bicker like old married people.  He gets irritated that I don't keep the coffee table tidy and I get irritated that he throws my salad dressing away and moves my shoes.  But then one of the dogs farts or a movie we love comes on and we forget about why we were arguing.  And then we laugh when we see our couple friends bickering like old married people like us as well.  
Not-so-glamour shot - Eating our anniversary dinner on the deck - July 9, 2012
Personally, I think that being old married people is a pretty awesome thing. 

I love you, babe, and I'm so grateful to have you in my life.  Here's to many more years of eating, drinking, laughing, bickering, being silly, and continuing to grow old together.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Curbside Cookoff: Trucko de Mayo... Part 2

And now...the rest of the story.

(Did anyone else listen to Paul Harvey while they were growing up?)


After our first round of savory offerings, it was time for a little snack.  We wandered over to Popped! Republic, a new truck which rolled out for the first time at Trucko de Mayo.  Popped! Republic offers hot air popped popcorn in a variety of flavors--traditional, kettle corn, Capital Caramel, cheese, and some specialty offerings too.  They a variety of sizes from mini to jumbo and you can mix flavors if you'd like.  

Duff Man & I chose a mini-sized bag of Capital Caramel.  It was delicious--crunchy and sweet.  Even better is that it was only $2.00 (and some of the other flavors were only $1.50 for the mini bag.)  This place is definitely a great stop for a snack.  Next time I might see if their "Obama Mix" (Capital Caramel + Congressional Cheddar) holds up to the infamous Chicago Mix from Garrett Popcorn.  If you get the plain stuff, it's probably pretty healthy too--but where's the fun in that?

After our snack, our group split to wait in two of the longest lines--Curbside Cupcakes and TaKorean via Pleasant Pops.  

The line for Curbside Cupcakes was pretty long, but at least it moved pretty quickly.  They had over a dozen flavors from which to choose (although several had already sold out by the time we got there.)  We decided to get a mixed pack of 6 ($15) and brought them home with us.

Top row: Tequila Sunrise, Banana-Chocolate Chip, Strawberry
Bottom row: Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese frosting, "Black" Cupcake (dark chocolate), and Snickerdoodle
All of the Cupcakes were delicious--moist and flavorful.  I'm a huge fan of frosting, and I enjoyed the generous amount on top (although I know that not everyone does.)  

While Duff Man was waiting for cupcakes, our group hit up Pleasant Pops ($2.75 each or 4 for $10).  They used to set up at my local farmer's market, so I skipped them this time.  The folks in my group liked them, although one commented that the Mango Lossipop from Fojol Brothers was better.

I wish I had taken a photo of the lines for TaKorean and the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck.  Insane.  I've been to the Lobster Truck before (DELICIOUS, but pricey), so we decided to try TaKorean.

TaKorean makes Korean BBQ tacos.  They come with your choice of protein (Bulgogi Steak, Tangy Chicken, or Caramelized Tofu), your choice of slaw (Napa-Romaine or Kimchi), and are topped with Sriracha (hot sauce), lime crema, sesame seeds, and cilantro.  

We stood in line for a long time--at least half an hour.  Since we were already pretty stuffed, Duff Man & I decided to split a Bulgogi taco ($3.50 each or 3 for $9) with Napa-Romaine slaw.  The taco was good...  but only just that.  I'm not a huge corn tortilla fan anyway, but the meat didn't have a lot of flavor and the whole thing was doused with so much Sriracha that it was hard to discern any of the other flavors.  It wasn't bad, but I think it's overpriced and the wait was too long for what I got.  

Overall, Curbside Cookoff: Trucko de Mayo was a great event--well-organized, good selection of trucks, ample parking, and the lines generally moved pretty quickly.  The only real down side was that the bands I heard weren't particularly engaging.  Ah well, you can't win them all.  

Trucko de Mayo was a fun and tasty way to spend a Saturday, and I'd gladly do it all over again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Curbside Cookoff: Trucko de Mayo... Part 1

A little over a week ago, Duff Man & I met up with some friends down at RFK stadium for Curbside Cookoff: Trucko de Mayo.  The event promised over 40 food trucks, music, beer, and more.  

All this AND free Sombreros, courtesy of D.C. United!
General overview of the event: 
The good: Great site, free parking (and metro accessible), traffic police to ensure you didn't get run down by stray food trucks,  great selection, generally short lines (with a few exceptions), lots of seating, no entry fee.
The bad: lousy music, HUGE lines for a few trucks, not much to do other than eat.  Then again, maybe that's a pro.

Through the course of the day, we tried food from about 6 different trucks.

We started at Big Cheese, which offers gourmet grilled cheese made from all-natural ingredients (and tomato soup too, if that's your thing.)

Between our group of friends, we tried the following ($6.50 each):

  • Mt. Fuji:  MT Tam brie, fuji apple, honey on multigrain
  • Midnight Moon:  goat gouda, caramelized onions on multigrain
  • Thrilled Cheese: chipotle cheddar, jalapeƱo, guacamole on sourdough
I wasn't a huge fan of the Thrilled Cheese--I thought the spice overpowered the flavor of the cheese--but Duff Man loved it.  Other than that, the Mt. Fuji and the Midnight Moon were both winners (and I'm not a big goat cheese fan.)  All of us agreed that the bread was amazing on all of our sandwiches.

After we finished our sandwiches, we headed to a barbecue truck (which he seemed to enjoy, but I didn't pay attention to because I'm not a big barbecue fan) and then headed to the real reason I wanted to go to this event.

Pepe is the food truck run by Jose Andres, D.C. chef and entrepreneur.  The reviews I've read have been nothing but good and I was excited to try it out.

Pepe makes "flautas"--delicious sandwiches on long, narrow rolls.  Duff Man & I tried the Jamon Serrano y Queso Manchego (Serrano Ham & Manchego Cheese with olive oil) flauta, while other folks in our group got the Butifarra "Burger" (Spanish pork burger with alioli and brava sauce).  Both sandwiches were delicious; simple, but clearly made with high quality ingredients.  The flautas cost about $10 each--which I thought was worth it, based on the quality.

Parked next to Pepe was Fojol Brothers of Merlindia: A Traveling Culinary Carnival.  It's like a circus car and lunch all in one!

You could get full-size food offerings, but I really liked the fact that you could buy a $2.00 "Dingo Bite" if all you wanted was a little taste--which is what we did.  Duff Man got a Dingo Bite of Butter Chicken over Basmati Rice, while another friend got the Spinach & Cheese (also over Basmati Rice) with a Mango "Lossipop" popsicle.

Screen Glare = Bad photo.  Sorry!
The Butter Chicken was good, but nothing outstanding--just your typical offering you'd get at your favorite local Indian take-out restaurant.  My friend enjoyed her Spinach & Cheese, but RAVED about the Mango Lossipop for another hour.  If I was near Fojol Brothers, I'd definitely eat it again--but I'm not sure that I'd stand in a long line or go out of my way to track it down.

That's definitely long enough for one post.  I'll cover the rest of the trucks we hit up tomorrow!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Is this thing on?

Ok, it's been a while.  Life has been crazy and I've been, well, living it instead of posting.  

I think it's been the right choice.

However, now that my Spring Concert is over (woohoo!)  I'm going to try to squeeze in a few posts before things pick up yet again.  Friday's a nice easy day to start--so here are your Random Friday Vrittis!

1.  Pineapple coconut water tastes WAY better than the regular stuff.  

2. Yes, I know there's a jump rope in my drink.

3.  I love having new yoga clothes.  (More about that in another post.)

4.  If you ever catch up to these folks, wait in the line and order.  Amazing, and worth every penny.  (More about this in yet another post.)

5.  I was doing a GREAT job eating well for about a month... and it's all gone to pot in the last week and a half.  I'm working on getting back on track though.

6.  I'm *still* thinking about getting clipless pedals.  And it still scares the crap out of me.  

7.  I like subbing yoga, but I think I want to teach a regular class.  I just need to figure out how to fit it into my schedule AND maintain my own practice AND still have time to hang with Duff Man.

8.  We're going on vacation to Chicago this summer.  I've been there a zillion times, but always in winter (except for St. Patrick's Day last year.)  Any suggestions?

9.  I desperately want to eat at minibar.

10.  I was in a food rut for a while there, but not anymore!  I have lots of recipes I'd like to try out, or to try again so I can tweak them.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  I hope you take the time to enjoy the beautiful weather outside!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meatless Monday: Spring Vegetable Risotto with Balsamic Asparagus & Portabellos

A couple of years ago, Duff Man bought us tickets to the International Food & Wine Festival at the Ronald Reagan Building.  While we were there, we caught a cooking demonstration with Todd Gray from Equinox.  What I remember most was his discussion of risotto which boiled down to "Fight the power!  Don't stir it!"

I pump my fist with you, Todd Gray, and I pledge my allegiance to your cause: delicious risotto sans sore arms.

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Balsamic Asparagus & Portabellos

For the Risotto:

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 leek, halved and sliced thinly (light green & white parts only; float them in a water bath so the silt falls to the bottom, then scoop the greens from the top and pat dry with a tea towel)
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. arborio rice
1/3 c. dry white wine
3 1/3 c. vegetable stock, brought to a boil and then turned down to simmer on low (I cheated and used chicken stock because I had some fresh stuff on hand.)
2/3 c. English peas
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. mascarpone or cream cheese (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Basil or your favorite herbs, chopped

For the Grilled Veggies:
1/2 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1-2 portabello mushrooms, wiped clean and gills scraped
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 T. grill seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced

Heat a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat and add the olive oil & butter.  Once the butter has melted, add the leeks, onions, and garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the rice, coating the grains thoroughly, then add the wine.  Simmer while stirring, 2 minutes.  Add 1-2 ladles (about 1/3) of hot stock into the rice, stir to combine, then let sit.  (Fight the power!)  

Once the rice has absorbed the stock, add the next 1/3, stir, and wait some more.

While you're waiting, fire up the broiler or grill to high.  Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grill seasoning, and garlic in a small, airtight container.  Shake vigorously to combine.  Pour the marinade over the asparagus and mix well--then arrange on grill or broiler pan.  Repeat with portabellos.  Grill/Broil for 4-5 minutes.

Add the rest of the stock, then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and peas; season with salt & pepper to taste, and then--you guessed it--wait some more.

Pull the veggies off of the grill and set aside.  Once the risotto has absorbed the last of the stock, stir in the parmesan, mascarpone or cream cheese, herbs, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Add the risotto to your serving bowl and top with asparagus, and sliced portabellos.  Garnish with extra parmesan and chopped herbs.  


Friday, April 13, 2012

My Mala Beads

On a cold, dark November morning, my teacher training classmates and I rolled out of bed before dawn and hiked up to the main house of our retreat center out in the countryside of Virginia.  We had a mala practice scheduled for the day.  However, the group's physical and mental exhaustion led Padma substitute our 108 sun salutations with a different type of mala practice.

We sat in a circle, lit only by a few flickering candles, with a needle, a length of cord, and a number of small slips of paper in our place.  We sat in the dark and passed around little glass spheres--our "guru" beads which formed the beginning of the malas we created.  The beads were all a little different--slightly bigger or smaller, smoother or more coarse, and different colors.  They represented the teachers we would become--sharing common traits as teachers while each expressing a different style.  Once we felt we had settled on our guru beads, we threaded them onto the cord.

Over the course of the next hour or so, we sat in the dim room.  We took turns going around the circle and sharing the words written on the slips of paper in front of us.  There were 108 words total, words representing the qualities of a good teacher.  Creative... Caring... Inspiring... Dedicated... One person would read a word, and then we would each reach into the center of the circle and pick up another bead--these ones were wooden.  They came in different sizes, shapes, and (although we couldn't see it at the time) colors.  They represented our students.  As a teacher, you don't know what your students will look like--you teach those who come to you.

108 words later, we tied off our cords and completed our malas.

Yesterday, as I was getting dressed I saw my mala beads on my dresser and I put them on solely because they were a good accessory to my outfit.  As the day went on, though, I remembered how and why I created them.  

This has been a really hard week for me, professionally speaking.  Every day this week, I have had someone tell me they were angry at me, that their student hated me, that their student thought I hated them, that I'm doing X well, but I still need to work on Y.  Every day this week, I have had someone implicitly or explicitly tell me that they think I'm a bad teacher.  It's been exhausting.  I feel like a failure, I feel frustrated, I feel like I can never win.  I can't live a balanced life AND be as professionally successful as when I was working until 10 or 11pm every night and never saw my husband or did anything outside of my classroom.  And yet, when I was spending that much time at school, I was a miserable person--miserable to be around, unhealthy, unbalanced.  

So this morning, I put my beads back on as a reminder of why I do this.  A reminder of what I can be, not in the yoga world, but in the public school world.  A reminder that I need persistence and determination and discipline in addition to kindness and compassion and creativity.  A reminder that "perfect" was NOT a word that anyone thought about when describing a good teacher.  A reminder that, somewhere along the way, I thought I was a good teacher. 

Today, I'm wearing my mala beads in hopes that they help me remember why I thought I was a good teacher... and maybe as a reminder of the things I need to do to feel that way again one day.

Hopefully sooner than later.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Random Friday Vrittis

...formerly known as Random Friday Facts

1)  I've got about five blog posts written in my head--good ones, at that--that I never made time to write over Spring Break.

2) I always intend to do work over break, but for the past few years I've focused more on relaxing.  I don't regret it.  (Ask me how I feel about this on Tuesday and you may find a different answer.)

3) I ate peas for the first time in a long time yesterday and I didn't totally hate them.  

4) I've spent most of this week hanging out with friends and taking (and teaching) lots of yoga.  It's been pretty great.

5) I've also made lots of tasty food.  

6) Earlier this week I decided that, if I ever organized a formal cycling event, it would be called "Slow Girls with Helmets."  Because that's who I am and that's who I care about.

7) A couple of my friends are starting to dabble in the world of triathlon.  I think that's amazing--but I could never do it because of the swim leg.  

8) There was a time when I defined myself almost entirely through my work.  That's no longer the case--and that's a good thing.

9) I downloaded Instagram this week.  It's pretty cool, but not quite as awesome as I had hoped.

10) I found out yesterday that I was accepted into grad school (again.)  I'm hoping to take 2 or 3 classes this summer so I can have a lighter class schedule during the school year.  Mostly, I'm really happy that I can finally start planning out my summer.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Random Friday Vrittis

In yoga, vrittis are the passing thoughts and movements of your mind.  Sometimes they're conscious, sometimes they pop into your head at the most random (and sometimes inopportune or inappropriate) times.

I had the realization last night that my Random Friday Facts are really nothing more than passing thoughts that don't always happen in a logical sequence.  Random Friday Facts are really just vrittis in disguise!

Here are my Random Friday Vrittis!  This week, most of them revolve around diet.

1. My thoughts on diet, health, and weight loss have changed drastically in the past few years.  I no longer believe that calorie-restriction is the way to go--but I also am not quite sure what I SHOULD eat (and in what proportions.)

2.  I used to have a goal in my head that I'd like to lose weight so I'd get back to 120 lbs.  Now, I'm pretty sure that if I lost that much weight I'd lost muscle mass as well--which I have no interest in doing.

3.  After a lifetime of preconceived notions about diet, I still have a hard time convincing myself that fat is not inherently bad.

4.  I have never really believed in "diets," but instead strive for lifestyle changes.  

5. Duff Man wasted money paid to have Millie's DNA analyzed.  Yeah, I know.  Here were the results.
Shetland Sheepdog
Black & Tan Coonhound
EQUALS (allegedly)
 6.  I hope he can get his money back.  I think the tests are clearly wrong.  They also said that Millie is a boy. 

7. Paying to have your dog's DNA tested means you have too much disposable income to spend on stupid shit.  Or maybe just that you spend your disposable income on stupid shit.  I dunno.

8.  I really want to ride my bike this week... but I really don't know where I should go.

9. I made pizza this week.  It was AMAZING. 

10.  Spring Break starts in 2 hours and I just can't wait!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carrot, Quinoa, and Ricotta Muffins

The other day, I was browsing the internets in search of some "Meatless Monday" inspiration when I came across a recipe for Carrot-Quinoa Muffins from Fresh365.  The premise was intriguing--a couple of nutrient-rich foods packed into a moist and portable muffin.  I habitually run late in the morning, and grabbing a couple of muffins has allowed me to eat breakfast on the run every day this week.  This is a HUGE step for me!

When I first mixed the batter, it seemed really thick so I added water until it thinned out a little bit.  It wasn't anything runny or pourable, but just enough that I'd consider the mixture a "batter" instead of a "dough."

The results were fantastic--moist and a little bit sweet; substantial without being too dense.  This muffin recipe is definitely a keeper, although next time I might try brown sugar and possible substituting applesauce for half of the butter to bring the fat content down.  I might also try the same concept using pumpkin instead (and maybe adding some cinnamon and nutmeg too.)

Carrot, Quinoa, and Ricotta Muffins

makes 1 dozen
1 c. cooked quinoa
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar, plus 1 T for sprinkling (I used Hawaiian vanilla sugar for sprinkling)
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
1/2 c. fat free ricotta cheese
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

1/4 c. water
1 c. grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients (quinoa, both flours, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine the sugar, butter, ricotta, vanilla, eggs, and water.  Slowly add wet ingredients to the flour mixture, mixing until well combined.  Fold in carrots until just mixed.  If the batter seems to thick, add more water and stir until it reaches a "batter" consistency.

Divide batter evenly among the paper cups (I like to portion with an ice cream scoop), and then transfer the muffin tin to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle reserved sugar over the top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.)

Store in an air tight container.

Nutritional Info
It's not the "healthiest" recipe, if you judge "healthy" by low fat/low cal at least.  But hey,  aren't muffins really just glorified cake for breakfast?  

I think that tweaking the recipe to replace some of the butter with applesauce or pumpkin will lower the calories and reduce the fat by about 3-4 grams per muffin while maintaining a decent amount of protein.  I'll update if/when I try it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriends were Hot (and Smart and Funny) Like Mine?

This weekend was simply fabulous.  

For the last few months, a bunch of my girlfriends and I have been planning to get together to see "The Hunger Games."  

We even took our nerdiness to DEFCON 5 and wore matching t-shirts.  
Afterwards, we went to The Liberty Tavern for cheese, cocktails, dinner, and more conversation. 

A note about The Liberty Tavern: The menu is full of fresh, creative fare and I had a hard time deciding what to get!  We started with a sampler of six cheeses (actually, two 3-cheese samplers)--some house made, all amazing.  I had the steamed mussel and the gnocchi--both of which were to die for!  My girl M's pizza (The Vermont: white cheddar, granny smith apples, caramelized onions, prosciutto, and sage) looked amazing and I'm going to try my take on it later this week.  I must say, I'm going to find some excuse to go back! 

During dinner, we realized that every woman at the table not only holds a college degree, but holds an advanced degree as well.  Not that we needed to whip our our credentials to confirm that my friends are among the most intelligent, beautiful, funny, and simply awesome women on the planet--but it was a pretty cool realization.

After dinner, we parted ways and then regrouped (somewhat) on Sunday morning for breakfast, more chatting, and a little bit of yoga.  

Since we were all together and hanging out, I couldn't resist throwing in some partner poses

I never realized how shiny my butt looks when I'm wearing yoga pants.
Afterwards, we ate some delicious carrot cake pancakes and discussed the movie and life in general.  

It was awesome getting to regroup with my fabulous friends (although I was sad that a few of my girls had to cancel at the last minute.  Boo!) We don't see each other very often, but when we do we have a great time.  Before we left, we were already talking about the next time we'd be able to get together--which certainly won't be soon enough!

(Thanks to M remembering to take some photos!)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Random Friday Facts: Jam-Packed Weekend Style!

I had an entire post dedicated to what I did last weekend that I never quite finished--so it's turned into my Random Friday Facts.

Duff Man hopped a plane to visit a friend in Atlanta last weekend, so I decided to get some things done around the house while he was gone.  With the amount I got accomplished, you'd think I had a time-turner or a TARDIS laying around.  Here's what happened:

1.  Last weekend, I taught one yoga class (Fun Friday!), assisted a class, and took 3 classes.

2.  My girl The Doctor posted on Facebook that she was going to the salon to get a hair cut.  I ended up meeting up with her and got my hair cut too.  Afterwards, we spent some quality time with her kiddies and husband.

3.   This was one of the kidlets' toys.  It reminded me of many a weekend in college.

4.  I cleaned the basement for the first time since this mess started--keeping in mind that Duff Man didn't cover anything in plastic before he started ripping things apart.  Cleaning up construction dust sucks.  

5.  I ripped out about 8' x 15' of floor tile so that Duff Man would agree to install laminate flooring in the entire basement living room/kitchen area.  I also down a wall of wallpaper.

6.  I cleaned the entire upstairs of my house.  I vacuumed/mopped the living room, dining room, kitchen, guest room, and bathroom, washed 7 loads of laundry, swapped out the winter duvet for the spring quilt, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the kitchen, dusted EVERYTHING... and I'm sure there was more too.

7.  It took me so long to clean everything that I've decided to use the pennies I'm making at the yoga studio to hire a cleaning service.

8.  My total activity levels worked out to something like 6+ hours of yoga, 12 hours of construction work, and 5 hours of cleaning.  I made up for the calories burned by consuming Rita's, Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream w/ crushed Skor bar, Swedish Fish, and Girl Scout Cookies.  I'm not even a little bit sorry.

9.  I only slept about 9 hours over the duration of the entire weekend.  Are you surprised?  

10.  This weekend is going to be AWESOME because I am going to see a bunch of my college girlfriends in the same place.  We're planning to see The Hunger Games (complete with matching t-shirts), go to dinner, and do some yoga together.  I'm SO excited!

Have a great weekend!