Hey, all! I’m more sporadic (the week has FLOWN) but I’m still here! The good thing about my work is the days go by so fast. The bad thing about my work is the days go by so fast! I’ve really learned to appreciate life with all that’s gone on.
Anyway–there are three hundred trillion recipes for “single-ingredient ‘ice cream’” and “banana soft-serve” out there. A few months ago, I decided to try it, myself. Used to be that when I had a banana that was… overly mature, I’d make banana bread. Not only was that more time-consuming than what you’ll see here, but more sugar- and fat-filled as well!
Here’s the quick “recipe” for
Banana “Soft Serve”
1. Peel, slice, and freeze a slightly overripe banana. It should be ready within a day of freezing. I actually like using multiple bananas, since I have a bigger food processor and the blade has more food to work with.
2. Put the banana chunks in your food processor, and whirl away! You may have to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally, but the texture ends up almost… creamy.
**I like adding cinnamon to this. Oops, that’s two ingredients!
Now, as for making it a sundae, I recently made homemade Magic Shell. I remember when this came out (sigh, dating myself)… you know what I’m talking about? The chocolatey sauce that turns hard when you put it on something cold, like ice cream? (I admit, when I was younger, to putting it on spoons, freezing the spoons, and eating it straight….)
Homemade Magic Shell is easy. You’ll need coconut oil, which you can get at Trader Joe’s these days, or any Whole Foods type store. Coconut oil has just the right melting point for our desired effect.
To Make Magic Shell
Over low heat or in a double boiler, melt
2 parts chocolate of choice (dark, milk, white, a combination….)
1 part coconut oil (refined or unrefined, doesn’t matter. Unrefined has a very slight coconut flavor)
Any flavorings, optional (mint extract, cinnamon, chipotle powder, orange extract, be creative….. I’d love to hear what you do!)
Stir until combined. You now have Magic Shell in liquid form. Pour into your desired storage vessel and, depending on your air temperature, it will either be solid or liquid as you store it. No worries if it solidifies, just melt a bit before you use it.
And now, the fun part: pour Magic Shell on your banana soft-serve….. oh, YEAH!
For additional chocolate, put cocoa powder in the soft-serve (and maybe some maple syrup or agave to keep it sweet, to taste). Come up with your own combinations, and let me know!
So, I went away for a while. Weeks became months. And I was ashamed to write this post….. because it had been so long.
But I chose to face my shame and show up here again. In the past three months, I have been in a major car accident (luckily I was driving a safe car and made it out only with whiplash) and in the hospital only to have major surgery to correct a problem that had been building up more than I knew. Suffice it to say…… I am much, much healthier now. It’s a change I should have made a long time ago.
But having dodged two major medical bullets during the month of March (the hospitalization and the car crash were within 9 days of each other), my life’s purpose is starting to become more clear. There’s still quite a bit of fog, but a few things are obvious:
- The little annoyances? They’re just little. Driving through traffic… things like that? In the big picture, who cares. Running out of walnuts for a recipe? Eh, use pecans. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Good friends are priceless. See them as often as you can. You don’t know where you will be tomorrow.
- Life is too short to waste time. I’ve been selling things I don’t care about and clearing my life of clutter, and I make a living teaching private sessions at a Pilates studio. Very gratifying. Once upon a time, I wasted my life in Corporate America…..
- There is a bigger purpose for me out there. No, I’m not getting all woo-woo New-Agey or religious on you, but I have some big projects in mind. On a smaller scale, I help with organization of my community band and have coordinated a few social events–creating a sense of community (sorely lacking these days). I also have a few larger-scale ideas…
- And much, much more! (said in best infomercial voice)
Aside from deep thoughts and finding gratifying work…
I’ve been trying a lot of interesting healthy recipes. Some hits, some misses… but that’s the point of trying, right? I’ll let you know of some of the good ones!
‘Til then, folks… stay healthy!
So, I made it back before the end of the month. Aren’t you proud?
I’ve been slogging through recipes and, as I said before, I’ve been rather uninspired. But one that struck me (ouch! OK, maybe not that hard) last week was another one by the lovely Chocolate Covered Katie. She has healthified so many recipes and adapted them to a variety of special diets–vegan, gluten-free–but that’s not what matters to me. What I care about is that they still taste good, and that she uses real food, not something synthetic!
I won’t steal her thunder, but I’ll post a link to the recipe that I’m going to make again either today or tomorrow (time-pending). It’s a bean-based (yes, you read correctly) pie that really does taste like a cinnamon roll! The only thing that I’d consider remotely unhealthy is the presence of white sugar. Everything else…. I don’t hold back and let myself have dessert!
I make it in a square container (pi R squared…. ha, whatever) and I didn’t even feel the need to add any icing. She does provide an icing recipe if you’d like even more sweet goodness. Here’s the link:
Now, on to point 2, inspiration: I read a lot of books, several I like, but right now, I’m reading a book that I cannot put down. It’s the first book by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, called Pour Your Heart Into It. It tells the history of Schultz’ joining the company, leaving the company, rejoining, etc etc… but he also adds in his inspirational tidbits, phrases such as “what if I hadn’t made that second phone call to convince X that this was the right move? Imagine where the world and the company would be now. I”m so glad I took that risk.” and so on. (I’m totally paraphrasing, but you get the idea!) I think of these types of things all the time, but the way he and his co-author write… really inspire my entrepreneurial side! Great stuff, highly recommended.
So, now you have something to bake and a side of coffee to read this weekend! Get on it!
I’ve been hiding out… hunting down all sorts of new fitness teaching jobs, trying to get back into action. Revisiting my old life, trying out a little bit of new life along the way (preaching some Pilates, since that is truly what has held my body together through poorly-done hip surgery #1, botched recovery, and hip surgery #2).
But but but! If you happen to be a resident of the Seattle area… I know not all of you are, but on the off-chance… I’ve set up a Facebook page so you can figure out where I’m teaching group fitness classes! That’s not the only content; I also add in a few links to recipes I’ve tried, and various other health tips.
Wanna follow along? Here’s the link: Get Fit With Brooke
Meanwhile, I’ve had trouble figuring out more recipes to share with you all. I’ve been cooking up a storm to keep my health in check, but nothing has struck me as wonderful. I have a few more possibilities over the next few days… stay tuned, I promise not to abandon you! I want to try a variation on the quinoa chowder from the beginning of the month with mushrooms, garlic, and artichokes…
Keep on moving!
Happy New Month!
A time to renew ourselves and make new plans, right? Especially since the weather has been shining bright upon us up here. I checked the weather report, and it’s not supposed to rain again until next FRIDAY. Yes, that’s next week. Do I live in Seattle????
I wish I could get in all of my running now! I’m doing my best to train for an April half-marathon. My last major hip surgery was only 11 months ago, so I’m taking an easier path. I’m using one of Hal Higdon’s plans and hope to get to the starting line! I have no time goals, since this is proof of concept that I can actually run one again, but maybe next time I’ll improve my pace!
So, I just made an interesting soup for a lunch group. Interesting? Yes… because I read the recipe and had no idea what it would taste like! So I had to do it. And… it’s subtle but comforting. Fluffy, light quinoa, and the feta melts into the warm soup just enough to make the broth lightly creamy. The texture is light, not too brothy, and hearty for a chilly winter day. Try it!
Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison)
3/4 c quinoa, rinsed
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or more, if you’re me)
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (I used yukon gold), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, finely sliced into rounds
3 c finely chopped spinach
1/4 lb feta cheese, finely chopped
1/3 c chopped cilantro
(1 hard-cooked egg, chopped. I don’t like hard boiled eggs, so I omitted this.)
1. Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.
2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir.
3. Add the cumin, 1 tsp salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water (which smells so nutty and good… kinda like me) and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season the soup with pepper and garnish with the chopped egg (if you’re into that sort of thing).
This is supposedly South American… but I can’t vouch for it. I know! I need to take a field trip there to find out where this soup is native to, don’tcha think?
Enjoy! Happy weekend!
The month is slowly coming to a close… just a few more days! And I’m 7 miles from my running goal this month: slowly, steadily, I’ve been getting there! (Despite our terrible weather–last week’s snow and ice storm–I’ve managed to nearly make it there… and there’s still time! So, I will get there!)
How are y’all doing with your goals? I’m happy to be your cheering section! Aim high! You can do it!
So, no recipes today, but I found a bunch of funny stuff to hopefully put a smile on your face. Even if you’re not having the best day, maybe looking at these sites (and clicking through ‘em a bit more, if you so desire) will get your spirits up… and in the mood for a workout that you hadn’t planned on! Or something like that.
2. I don’t know what this says about me… but this is something I don’t get. I have a chapstick on my shelf that I got in Switzerland several years ago that I’m still going through (it has French and German on the side, so I know which one it is)… maybe I don’t lose them because I don’t carry a purse? I dunno. I just tend not to lose things… No comprendo.
3. The expressiveness of old cars can be amazing!
4. Maybe this is merely anatomy teacher humor (something I’ve previously done)… but it has me rolling. Hopefully you get a chuckle, too!
5. OK… this one’s just a lame pun. But I like lame puns! And hopefully you do, too.
Laughing yet? I hope so! That was my goal today. I read something about laughing burning 40 calories in 15 minutes… eh, who laughs for 15 minutes straight, anyway? We could always try…
Keep on smiling! And, if you haven’t yet, pick a small goal to get you through to the end of the month!
Hey, you guys!
When’s the last time you had FUN working out? Be honest, now……
Have you tried a gym class? (OK, I’m biased. I teach these gym classes, and most times I’m in front of a group, I truly am having fun leading the group!)
When I talk to people at the gym about the classes, one of the top reasons I hear for not trying a certain type of class is….. FEAR. Fear of not doing it right. Fear of feeling too tired. Fear of looking like a complete idiot.
Well, for one… there’s a reason I don’t teach Zumba! (I dance like a white girl. I got rhythm, but…… believe me, my hips don’t got the moves.) But–I’ve gone to a few Zumba classes! And I’m not afraid. Because people aren’t looking at you. People are focused on themselves, and they’re focused on having a good time! So, don’t think that all eyes will be turned in your direction!
OK, so now that your first fear is out of the way, what if you can’t do it? That’s why the instructor is there to help! Just come a few minutes early to class and talk to the instructor. Tell him or her that you’ve never been to this sort of class before, and ask how they can help! Ask how the more challenging moves can be modified, if necessary. Build a relationship with the instructor–we love this! Take breaks during the class if things get too rough, and there’s no harm in leaving early if you need to. Start with 30 minutes the first class, 35 minutes the next week, and within a few weeks–you’ve built up to making it through the entire class! Go, you!
Now for fear number three: what if you can’t do it? OK, y’all: look at any group fitness class. Is it full of perfect people, executing each move perfectly? 99% of the time… NO! So, unless you’re injuring yourself (and, hopefully your pre-class discussion with the instructor has eliminated this possibility) who cares if you look like you belong in So You Think You Can Dance? Just do your thang! Keep on moving–your calories don’t care if you have the choreography 100% perfect, they’ll still burn!
So hopefully I’ve inspired you to run, walk, ambulate in some fashion… to a new group exercise class. Try it out, bring a friend…
And if you’ve had a spectacularly fun experience, talk about it below!