Keeping Up Appearances

On Friday night I met my friend Kristy at a bar near downtown for happy hour. It was definitely an after work kind of place with lots of guys in suits and girls in pearls. Most of which were checking emails while having a much-needed drink and talking to their co-workers. True multi-taskers.

Trade

While looking around at everyone, I mentioned to Kristy that one of the disadvantages of working from home and teaching for a living is that I never really get dressed anymore. Not even just dressed up, I mean dressed. I spend all my time in yoga pants with my hair in a bun. I haven’t worn more than a little mascara in months, my blow dryer died two weeks ago and I’ve yet to replace it and the only laundry I’m ever doing is spandex and sports bras. It’s become a problem.

Part of the problem is that I save my workouts for the afternoons, after I’ve written a blog post or an article. Which puts off doing my hair or showering or any of the other things normal people do in the morning. It’s left me feeling rather disheveled, frumpy and lazy.

Time for an intervention.

This morning, right out of the gates, I laced up my new, very awesome running shoes and headed out for a run with the pups. It was a cold morning but it felt really good to be out and about that early. We made a loop by the river and then came through the Commons. We did about 4 moderately paced miles (I didn’t actually track it) with a little time spent saying hi to all the other dogs out for their morning walks.

Morning run

Spring is coming, I don’t care what anyone says.

Eli

We stopped off at the grocery store afterward to grab green smoothie fixings and some peanuts, more on that later this week.

Once home, I showered, changed into real clothes, straightened my hair, put on some makeup and felt like a new woman.

These are obviously not ground breaking events, nor really all that blog worthy, except that they made such a big difference in my day and helped to remind me that keeping up appearances shouldn’t be for the sake of someone else. Looking good can just be for you!

Eli and Me

And maybe the dog, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care that I straightened my hair!

With that, off to make some food. I have a bunch of new recipes I want to try out. I’m hopeful that some will be good enough to share this week.

Happy Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Two for the Price of One

I didn’t mean for a whole week to disappear without a recipe. This post was actually written yesterday but just as I was going to upload the pictures our wireless router crapped out.  After chatting with Comcast and buying a new router we weren’t back online until late last night. Oh well, today you get two recipes for the price of one!

Just kidding, everything’s free here. But you still get two recipes.

While out on a walk yesterday morning I stopped in at Starbucks. The line was really long so I turned back around after only a few seconds of waiting. However, as I was leaving the barista yelled “blueberry muffin” to someone and that got my empty stomach growling. I walked the rest of the way home mentally checking off the ingredients for my blueberry muffins, check, check, check, eh, wait, no gf flour or blueberries. Sort of key ingredients.

Plan B, improvise. I swapped the blueberries for strawberries which was easy enough as I have a huge bag of frozen ones in my freezer. But, finding a gf flour sub seemed unlikely, until I remembered a bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake mix that’s been hanging around for a while. Perfect! I think?

Turns out, yes, perfect, better than actually. I prefer these muffins to the original version although I would probably swap the blueberries back in or add them in addition to the strawberries. I also just noticed that I forgot the flaxseed to this version. To be honest, it doesn’t seem to have mattered in the least so we’ll keep it out.

strawberry gluten free muffins

Apologies for the lack of pictures. I was rather absent-minded about it until the batter was already mixed.

Strawberry Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup gf oat flour

1/4 cup gf oats, whole

1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free pancake mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup strawberries, cut into bite size pieces

————

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, oats, almond meal, gluten-free pancake mix, baking powder and salt.

Next add brown sugar, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar to the dry ingredients.

Stir until well incorporated.

gluten free strawberry muffin batter

Lastly, fold in chopped strawberries.

Grease a muffin tin. Fill each cupcake hole about 3/4 of the way up.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

strawberry muffins

Yields 8 muffins.

vegan strawberry muffins vegan strawberry muffins

Okay, that’s one but I promised you two. This recipe is for all you runners. With spring springing and longer runs on the horizon I put together an all-natural, preservative and dye-free energy gel over at WalkJogRun. I used chia seeds as the base and offer a couple of suggestions for mix-ins. Check it out if you’re looking for an alternative to those neon colored gums and goos.

chia seed energy gel

Alright, that’s it for me today. More articles to write, a house to clean and a gym to get to.

Have a wonderful weekend.

As always, Enjoy and Exhale!

Yoga Updates: Article, Workshop and New Classes

Just a couple of exciting updates to share today if you haven’t already seen them both on Facebook.

My first article for WalkJogRun went live last night. In it I outline the benefits of yoga for runners. If you run and are dabbling with the idea of adding yoga to your training, hopefully this will give you the extra push you need. If you’re not a runner, feel free to check out the article anyway, I’d love your support as I continue to build my writing career.

WalkJogRun Article

Secondly, if you’re in the Boston area on Saturday, March 30th I’m teaching a Fearless Back Bending Workshop at All One Yoga from 1:30-3:30. We’ll working through the fears associated with back bending to deepen your practice.

Back Bending Workshop

Lastly, my teaching schedule will be changing in the next few weeks as I add some classes at All One and shift classes from Crossfit Back Bay to a new studio in Jamaica Plain. I’ll update my teaching schedule page when everything is final and sorted.

Self promotion done.

Back to the food tomorrow. I’m currently working on a millet dish and a quinoa casserole that has huge flop potential but might be worth the gamble.

Have a great Wednesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Weekend Happenings

I find my weekend update posts the hardest to title. I wish I could think of something more clever.

This weekend flew by, like they usually do. We made more of an effort to get out and about, mostly because the weather cooperated. It was nice to get outside and enjoy the city.

However, Friday night we did our typical thing and stayed in. We made pizzas and a huge garbage salad with miso dressing, drank some wine and watched Dateline. I have a crazy fascination with who-done-it shows and Dateline is my favorite. Michael always obliges me in watching an episode on Friday nights. Now that’s true love. 🙂

pizza night

Saturday I taught and did some work. I also took a luxurious afternoon nap before we headed to Kristy and Erik’s for game night. They live in Somerville and it was our first time venturing out there.

We were greeted by their new rescue dog Tucker. He’s so loving and wonderful, the perfect addition to their family.

tucker tucker

We ate sushi and then set out to play some games. First up was a game called Dirty Minds, which turned out to be incredibly complicated. Kristy’s face pretty much sums up how all of us were feeling (what?!).

game night

Next we moved on to ImaginIff which was way easier and way more fun.

game night

Lastly we plated Uno. I used to play this all the time when I was a camp counselor in high school but it had definitely been a while. I still managed to call a few Uno’s on Michael though.

game night-Uno

After a later than usual night, yesterday morning we slept in and then made our way to the Friendly Toast in Cambridge for brunch. This might be my favorite restaurant in Boston. They have a ton of veggie friendly options and amazing gluten-free pancakes. Win-win for both of us.

Friendly Toast Menu

I had the BLT with faux bacon. I’m not much of a faux meats person but there’s something about Morning Star’s bacon. The sweet potato fries were also delicious. Michael had the chocolate chip pancake seen right and an unpictured scramble of some sort.

veggie blt and sweet potato fries

We left full and happy to hit up Whole Foods, spend way too much money at Target on nothing and take Eli for a bath.

Here he is in a brief moment of happiness, he does not like baths. You’d think he’s being tortured. I try to tell him how lucky he is to have two people basically massage him for 20 minutes. This doesn’t seem to matter to him.

Eli in the bath

We also went on a 5 mile run yesterday afternoon. We stopped and started a lot but our average pace was 8.29. Michael doesn’t usually run longer routes with me but he killed it and beat me handily on the sprints.

We rounded out the weekend with burrito bowls and some lounging and napping on the couch.

burrito bowls

Perfect end to our Sunday.

Back tomorrow with quinoa filled spring rolls.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Week of…

Blogging is a funny thing. I originally set out to chronicle our life here in Boston and share some of my favorite recipes. But like most endeavours, it has turned into something much larger and better than I thought it would. I love sharing my creations and thoughts here with you all, and I love connecting with so many wonderful people, both those I know and those I’ve never met. However, sometimes I struggle with what to write. Some weeks there just aren’t enough new recipes to share or the recipes were flops. Sometimes there aren’t enough Things I’m Loving or enough Little Bits of Random. This is when I contest with whether to write nothing at all or to write about nothing. Yesterday I did the former, today the latter.

I apologize to those of you who follow for the recipes, maybe just skip posts like these? And for those of you who ‘read’ just for the pictures (Sarah, who probably didn’t even get this far), there just aren’t many of those this week either.

Maybe someday I’ll look back on posts like these wishing I hadn’t babbled on about nothing but what can I say, I like to write, I like this blog, I like all of you, so write I will, even without a cohesive theme for this post beyond what happened this week.

Here’s a snapshot.

A Week of Workouts:

There isn’t much rhyme or reason to my workouts. I try to do something active everyday like walk to and from my classes but I purposefully workout five days a week. I try to switch it up and attempt to get in two structured yoga classes a week in addition to my home practice. Running and the gym fall into the other days.

Monday was a rest day except for walking Eli and a little home practice with Guy.

cat yoga

On Tuesday I took to the treadmill. I did an incredibly tedious 4 mile run. I hate the treadmill. Every mile feels like 10 and I’m not one who can cover up the time with a towel and just run. So I watch every minute tick by in agony while I play games with myself like, “run until you hit 1.25 miles then you can stop”, at which point I move the goal to 1.50 miles or to running for 18 minutes or whatever the next milestone is. This trick actually works really well for me but it’s a painful process.

On Wednesday I took a hot hatha class after I taught. It’s pretty much a Bikram class but only 75 minutes and not as hot. I’m not a huge fan of Bikram but it was nice to change it up.

Yesterday I got out for a much more enjoyable run. I headed down to the river and ran 3.25 miles at an 8 minute pace. I thought I was going a lot faster but my watch told me differently. Regardless it felt good to stretch my legs again.

Today I plan to make it over to Baptiste for a power class this afternoon.

A Week of Bites:

I had a lot of Starbucks this week. I’m not sure why but I was craving lattes. This is from Wednesday. Sometimes I like to write and do work away from home, gotta love Starbucks for the free wifi and never kicking you out. It’s also amazing people watching.

Starbucks Soy Latte

I also made a lot of sweet treats.

Beyond these

peanut butter chocolate tart

I also tested a banana cake recipe for my friend’s cookbook. I saved a few slices for myself and shared the rest with my 4:30 yoga class yesterday. I was helping a student with arm balances right after class so I didn’t get a chance to ask how they liked it but the entire cake was gone in two minutes so it must have been good. If any of you are reading from that class please let me know what you thought so I can report back.

banana cake

I also made some banana raisin oatmeal bars. I smothered them with my new favorite Bonne Mamam jam: Apricot Raspberry (Flo, it’s almost as good as the plain Raspberry, almost).

oatmeal bars

Earlier this week I also attempted a not so sweet and not very good cashew cream. I haven’t had much luck with cashew creams. I think it might be my lack of a blender?

cashew cream

Anyhow, that’s about it for the week. Thanks for reading the babble if you got this far.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Winter Running and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies

I haven’t talked much about running in the last few weeks but I’m still at it. I try to get out 2-3 times a week regardless of the snow, wind and extreme cold; although I do pay a lot of attention to the weather and try my best to run on warmer days when there won’t be ice on the ground. I’ve found the trick to surviving the cold has been to get a good running hat and layering up on top. Personally, too many layers on my legs is more annoying than helpful.

I can’t say my times have been particularly good but my main goal these days is just to get out there and not worry too much about the pace. Here are some of my latest stats. For some reason I can only get the time on my latest workout to show but I’ve put the pace below the other two.

This was the first run I’ve done without Eli in a long time. I thought I would be faster without him but it seems his excitement fuels us along.

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Run 2. Pace 8.28.

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Run 3. Pace 8.09.

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As you can see, I’m holding steady, not really improving my pace right now. But my hope is that all this winter running will make my summer running faster when the weather improves. We’ll see.

From my love of running to my love of smoothies.

Even with the cold weather I’ve been making a ton of smoothies. They make meeting my daily calcium quota so much easier and the flavors are endless.

The smoothie below has quickly become my new favorite. I’ve made it two days in a row and it was just as good today as it was yesterday.

It tastes a lot like a chocolate milkshake with much healthier ingredients. I’m sure you could add a handful of kale to it as well without affecting the flavor too much if you’re looking for some added nutrients.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 banana

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 cup unsweetened or vanilla flavored almond milk

3-4 ice cubes, depending on how icy you want it (see note)

————

smoothie ingredients

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until combined.

Note: I often have almond milk that is about to expire. When I have extra I freeze the milk in ice-cube trays then store in Ziplocs. I often use a couple of almond milk cubes in place of the ice cubes. If I use almond milk cubes, I cut back the fresh almond milk to half a cup.

Also,the glasses pictured below are teeny tiny, this recipe yields enough for one smoothie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter SmoothieChocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie DSC_0127

 

Dessert for breakfast.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Little Bits of Random 3, Winter

I was going to do a Superbowl recipe roundup today but my dentist appointment ran long this morning, then there was the gym and subbing. Before I knew it it was late afternoon and going through all my bookmarked recipes felt like a lot of work.

Adding some photos to a post and coming up with short sentences to describe them sounded a lot more manageable and fun.

Little Bits of Random 3, Winter

juice prep

Trying to keep the winter germs at bay with fresh juices a couple of times a week. Finally nearing the end of my grapefruit stash.

DSC_0012

A frozen over Charles River looking toward Cambridge.

IMG_3575

Sad swing covered in snow.

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My favorite part of snow, right after it falls and covers the trees.

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More snow.

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A winter playground.

IMG_3546

My guilty winter pleasure. Please don’t judge. I love me some Bachelor.

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Reflections of the city on the water.

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My new haircut and my first attempt to curl my hair with a straightener. I know people have been doing this forever but I’m not very beauty savvy so it’s taken me a while to get with the trends. I’m not nearly as unhappy as I look. 🙂

DSC_0009

A deep conversation with Eli about the Patriots right after their playoff loss.

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Guy looking on as I ‘work’. Aka look at a pet video online on how to clean dog’s ears.

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Playing in the snow during Wednesday’s run.

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Winter run with my favorite pup.

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A lovely soy chai from Thinking Cup that I had earlier this week while meeting up with a new friend.

Sadly, I don’t have any good pictures of Michael that I haven’t already used in the last few posts.

He works too much! 😦

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Yoga. Cook. Run. Football.

As the title suggests, the weekend went something like this. Yoga. Cook. Run. Football. Repeat. Not very different from the rest of our weekends except for the menu. I hope I’m not boring you yet.

Saturday’s run was a short one. I’ve decided to try running this 3.1 mile route around the river once a week for time to see if I can improve my pace. Here’s Saturday’s stats.

Saturday 01.12 5k

My legs were feeling pretty good and it was warm out, although I was still a little congested from last week’s cold. I’m pretty happy with this time.

Saturday night was the Broncos Ravens game. For those who don’t know, Michael is from Colorado, hence a huge Broncos fan. I, being the good girlfriend I am, helped cheer them on hoping for a Broncos Patriots rematch next weekend.

We watched the game from the comfort of our PJs with a bottle of red wine.

wine and football

Michael in his gear, looking fierce.

Broncos Game

Unfortunately they couldn’t pull it together and lost in overtime. 😦

Eli was so depressed he couldn’t even look at the camera.

Broncos Eli

Sunday started with a walk to the Apple Store. I’ve been struggling with my old phone for the past few months and Michael finally convinced me I needed an upgrade. Either that or he was just sick of me talking about how the buttons weren’t working. I am now the proud owner of an Iphone 5!

With the warm weather holding Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t resist another run. Eli and I headed out for a loop around Cambridge.

If you’re interested in times, here it is. A little slower, a little longer. I tried to kick it at the end over the Mass Ave Bridge to Tim McGraw’s ‘How Bad Do You Want It’ but Eli was pooped and I pretty much dragged him the last 250 yards.

Run 01.13

After our run it was time for the Pats game.

My turn for gear!

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The Pats looked good and won their game, woohoo!

Eli is a fair weather Broncos fan. With the Pats win he decided to switch teams.IMG_3491

Here’s hoping for a 49ers Patriots Superbowl.

My cooking over the weekend included these guys. Recipe tomorrow.

Leeks

Hope your weekend was great.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Weekend Update

Weekends are just the best. Even though I ‘work’ on Saturday mornings they are still so much better than the rest of the week. This weekend was no exception.

Friday night we laid low. We are obsessed with a little Thai restaurant in Allston called Brown Sugar Cafe that happens to deliver. The food is so good that we’re basically on a first name basis with the delivery boy. I had the veggie rolls with peanut sauce and the vegetable curry which is spicy but not too hot. Michael had the tofu pad thai which is pretty much the same thing we always order. What can I say, when it’s good why mess with it?

Brown Sugar Thai

Saturday morning I taught. I’m starting to get some regulars in my classes and it’s so nice to see familiar faces every week. I love sharing a part of the weekend with such lovely people. I’ve said it before but Saturday morning classes are extra sweet. Everyone’s mood is a little brighter and the energy is so positive.

Saturday night we headed to Somerville to meet up with our friends Kristy and Erik.

Kristy and Erik

We watched the playoff games at the Thirsty Scholar which happens to also be where they shot scenes for the Social Network. It’s a pretty awesome little restaurant but they do make it out to seem much more glamorous in the movie.

The bar was filled with Packers fans and after a half of listening to them hoot and holler we headed over to Kristy’s sister and husband’s house. We ended up playing the world’s greatest game, Apples to Apples, until way too late.

We had a game group in SF that we miss terribly so it was really nice to find some friends to play with out here. As the night wore on the winning cards started to make less and less sense. This is just an example of the winning cards…spiders are glitzy? I know this means nothing if you haven’t played before but trust me it’s as nonsensical as it seems.

Apples to Apples

We slept in late Sunday morning, an anomaly for me, then went for a coffee walk.

It was sunny and warm this afternoon and by warm I mean in the 40s (I can’t believe my definition of warm is this warped) so I took Eli out for a run. We did our usually loop along the river at a moderate pace with a couple of stops in between for puppy sniffing.

01/06 Run

It sort of surprised me but parts of the Charles have frozen over; I assumed it was too deep to freeze. It gives the river a surreal quality.

Boston winter Boston winter

The rest of Sunday has been spent watching football and looking for a decent vegetable stew recipe. Haven’t found one quite right yet so I’ll be experimenting on my own version tonight. If it’s any good I’ll share this week.

Hope your weekend was lovely.

Enjoy and Exhale!

New York New Years

Our new years eve started out great. We went on a long run in Central Park with Eli. We did a bit of exploring and walking during our run so it was on the slower side. It’s so easy for the distance to add up in the city. We ended up covering way more mileage than we’d planned.

NYC run

After our run we went to Le Quotidien for breakfast. I had a tartine with black bean hummus and spicy tahini and an English breakfast. Michael had an unpictured omelet.

Le Quotidien breakfast

In the afternoon, we headed to Grand Central and then Bryant Park with my sister. There is a really cool market in Grand Central with just about anything you can imagine.

SpicesGrand Central market

Sarah Horvath in Grand CentralMichael and Sarah in Grand Central

We’re so lame. But had to do a reenactment of Gossip Girl while we were there. Spotted.

GG

Then we headed over to Bryant Park to check out our third skating rink of the trip.

Bryant ParkBryant Park

My sister had to work the evening shift last night so Michael and I walked down to Chelsea for dinner at Blossom.

Empire State Building

Here’s a pic of the menu but as you can see it was super dark in the restaurant so the rest of the photos aren’t worth sharing. It was a tasty dinner but I much preferred my meal at Candle 79 a few months ago.

Blossom Prix Fixe

After dinner we tried to find a place to ring in the new year with little success. After walking around for almost an hour we stopped in at a speakeasy called Middle Branch in midtown which was perfect. Great specialty drinks, a small manageable crowd and a cool vibe. We spent the last bit of 2012 writing down our resolutions and reminiscing about our favorite memories of the year.

Middle Branch

Sarah met us after midnight with a couple of her work friends before we all called it a night.

Sarah and Friends

We spent most of today in the car and are now happily home watching School of Rock while lamenting the end of the holidays.

Onward and upward to a busy January. Recipes to come again soon.

Enjoy and Exhale!