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Happy Post-Halloween!

Unfortunately, we live on a long dead-end (bwa-ha-ha… appropriate) and get no trick-or-treaters. I went to a few events, both yesterday evening and Saturday night, though, and rocked my punny costume: I bought a bag of Smarties and taped some to my pants, making me… wait for it… Smartie Pants! Ha ha!!! (Best of all, it was a cheap costume, and one we could eat afterward!)

Anything fun that you all did for Halloween?

I continue on my rehab path… (which one? you ask. recovering from the hip surgeries is the most straightforward one.) I set a pretty lofty running goal at the beginning of October, and I met it on Saturday! Go, me! I remember at the beginning of September, I hadn’t even tried running (post-op) at all, and I didn’t even know if it was an option anymore. Now, after only 6 weeks back at it, I’m able to finish 30 minutes of run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute intervals!! It’s not easy, but I also imagine I’ll be able to run 30 minutes nonstop before the end of the year… just set your mind to it, and you can do it!!!

The holidays are soon upon us!! (for better or for worse…) My link list today is all food-oriented, but with a healthier spin. Let’s all vow to not gain the Holiday 10!

1. This is a Mark Bittman article that I have printed out as a reference on my cookbook shelf… 101 Simple Salads. It also teaches you to cook by eye and by taste, as he doesn’t give precise proportions. Trust your brain and tongue!

2. Halloween may be over this year, but this is one I’ll have to remember for next year, because it’s so darn cute: Frozen Boo-nana Pops

3. Can’t avoid pumpkin spice lattes during the holiday season? This healthy pumpkin spice latte looks yummy!

4. It’s totally soup weather (just went for an 11am run, and it’s in the high 30’s outside!), so here are a few healthy soup recipes.

5. And I’m intrigued by this one. If someone tries it before me, let me know what you think… ??? 100 calorie moist chocolate cupcakes It looks like they’re bigger than a thimble, so that’s not how they get away with the calorie count.

Finally… for those who have done any traveling like me, if you have been to the Cinque Terre in Italy, sadly, two of the towns were devastated by flooding last week (see photos here). I’m thinking the restaurant and the market were ones I visited and enjoyed. One more reminder to go out and see the world while we still can.

Stay strong and healthy!

OK. You caught me.

I was a bit absent last week. Mea culpa! But I orchestrated a big event, for me: I rented a neighbors’ cabin out at a lake, invited 6 friends (one of them being a yoga instructor), and we held our very own yoga and hiking retreat. I planned and cooked all of the food. I’d say it was a success–and everyone else has been saying the same! I was thoroughly swamped last week, and I’m still catching up, but I can cross the “host a yoga retreat” goal off of my “40 things before 40” list.

Or… maybe now, I could try to create retreats for strangers… hmmm… ???

Anyway, I’m back! I was inspired by a recent post at Carrots and Cake to start listing, in each of my posts, a few things that just make me feel happy. (The idea being… that you, as readers, do the same thing–whether it’s on paper or in your head!) So, here are a few things that make me happy today:

  • My dwarf Japanese maple just starting to change color–he is gorgeous!
  • Satsuma lotion from the Body Shop (it smells like summer)
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice after a run

Think about the little things that make you happy… I’d love to hear about ’em!

And now, for a few more things to make you happy…

1. Cute teapot.

2. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin recipes! But what do you do if you’re left with only a tiny bit in the can? Ideas for that last bit of leftover pumpkin.

3. The artist’s/creative’s credo…

4. You are what you eat…

5. One last Halloween food idea to decorate your cheeseburgers (or garden burgers, or whatever burger you choose…)

Have a great rest of the week, and remember to think about the the little things that make you happy! Report back here! 🙂

Howdy!

I’m finally resurfacing from reading the virtual piles of Steve Jobs articles, here to see you all again. As a business owner, I very much admired his keen sense of really knowing his clients, and especially knowing what his market wanted before they themselves knew. He truly changed the consumer electronics game especially in the past 15 years.

I read an anecdote on a site in the past week, where an author described having visited a big box electronics store in 1999, when the iMac came out (you know, the ones that came in different colors). The author overheard a customer expressing her disappointment that the store was out of the tangerine-colored iMacs, since they would best go with her drapes. Now… that’s design innovation.

Enough of the business chatter–but before I move on, I’ve used these events as motivation to expand my corporate fitness clientele. One seems like it’s going to be a sure bet (though lots of paperwork on my end) while the other may take some convincing. But–stay outrageous, my friends, in this one precious life that we have. What one step are you going to take today to change your life?

(It can be simple… eating one more vegetable serving than normal, exercising when you didn’t feel like doing so… trying a new exercise class and maybe making it a part of your ongoing routine… calling up an old friend that you haven’t talked to in ages…)

Here are some ideas to get you started, including some healthy and not-so-healthy recipes: (hey, you gotta just have fun sometimes)

1. Healthy crockpot recipes at Skinny Crockpot

2. And now, for something less healthy: cookie dough recipes that are safe to be eaten raw.

3. Awwww! Totally cute.

4. Ohhh, so many fun indoor Halloween decorations! (You didn’t think I was done with Halloween last week, huh?)

5. Recipes for homemade condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, chipotle sauce)

OK–now, it’s time to go and do something outrageous with your life! What’s it gonna be?

OK, peeps, it’s October. That means I can officially share some fun Halloween things and not feel like the retail industry… you know, where they start Easter right after they pack away the Happy New Year goodies? I figure if it’s the same month as the holiday, it’s fair game. And Halloween’s a fun one, so why not think of fun times? 🙂

But before we get there: it’s getting colder (at least here), so I’m bundling up more. Less motivation to show some skin, which for some of us means less motivation to work out. How do you keep yourself going as the weather starts cooling down? For me, it’s actually more comfortable to run in slightly (I said slightly) cooler temps, so until mid-November or so, it still feels great to be outside. And the weather inside the gym is the same, no matter what. As for the deeper motivation–my joints and orthopedic problems won’t stay happy unless I treat ’em well every day, and working out is their treat. If I slack off, they let me know. I do it for my joint and bone health!

Speaking of bones and skeletons (what a great segue!)…

1. Anyone out there expecting? Here’s a great pregnancy Halloween shirt.

2. Look out for skeletons climbing on the outside of your house! (They’d get washed away here, sadly)

3. Some ghoulish ways to do Halloween veggie platters

4. Is that a spiderweb in your soup?? 😮

5. What a great way to serve your guac at a party!

So, does that give you ideas for your Halloween party? Get those brains going now….. ’til then, stay safe and healthy!

Hey, gang!

Hope everything’s well! My theme of the day (week?) is gratefulness. My body has been through so much the past 18 months or so… including two major hip surgeries (the first one didn’t go so well). No one really knew how I was going to recover, but I was given the green light to do anything, as long as it didn’t hurt beyond the usual residual soreness.

Guess what–this former marathoner has been RUNNING for the past two weeks!

(OK, so right now, my definition of “run” is “walk 3 minutes, run 2 minutes, repeat to total 30 minutes”–and it’s really hard for me–but after so much time away from running, this is my way to build back up.)

I am so GRATEFUL that my body is able to do this! I had no idea if running was ever going to be an option again. I’m taking it slowly and not jumping ahead toward marathons yet–thinking of 5K’s in my future, in case my body isn’t up for distance–but I’m just happy to be moving the pavement under my feet.

Here are some interesting tidbits for this week!

1. Ah, how stalking has changed.

2. Oh boy. What our pets do while we’re away.

3. Fruit salsa with homemade cinnamon chips–great healthy recipe for a party (or…. to mosh the whole thing by yourself)! I’d love to try this with regular salty chips, too, since I love sweet/savory combos.

4. It’s getting to be that time of year–how about some homemade pumpkin butter?

5. Have you tried oven-roasted chickpeas? If not… you’re missing out. Cheap, easy, healthy snack! Here’s a recipe for an Indian-spiced variety of chickpeas.

Have a great rest of the week! I’d love to hear what all of you are grateful for! It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our day-to-day lives–let’s think of things to be thankful of in the grand scheme of things!

Good morning! (Well… it is here…) In fact, it’s Saturday when I’m posting my Recipe Friday, again. However, first of all, spent more time at medical facilities yesterday, and secondly, after last night’s dinner I made for friends, I changed my mind on the recipe for this week!

I guess the biggest excitement is that the treatment that the UW people are giving me is significantly helping my voice problems… going from 2 1/2 months of nothing to finally being able to make sound is incredible! (I might sound sometimes sultry and sometimes like a 12 year old boy, but–I’ll take it over nothing!) Such a huge breakthrough…

On to the recipe: we’re experiencing one last round of summer up here. It was actually almost unbearably hot here yesterday–80’s and really sunny–so when I made plans to have friends over for dinner, I didn’t want the stove on too much.

Additionally, many of our grocery stores are selling wonderful late-season peaches, and I wanted to take advantage. So, I found a lovely salad, posted by Mother Thyme on her website:

Spinach Peach Caprese Salad

Her pictures are superb. I made the following changes:

  • Used red instead of yellow tomatoes, just due to price/availabilty. I imagine she uses yellow mostly for aesthetics.
  • I used all spinach, no arugula. I love arugula, but I’ve found that this year, it’s had too woody a texture, here. I thought it would detract from the softness of the peaches and the mozzarella.
  • Not a change that I actually made, but I might actually up the lemon:balsamic ratio next time, and reduce the amount of liquid added. Too much dressing, and the greens were threatening to get soggy. Maybe I didn’t reduce my balsamic enough…

All together, this was a wonderful salad that even Bruce ate! (though I know he was going through the serving bowl to find the cheese) and I loved the flavor of the whole basil leaves mixed in with the spinach.

So, make this NOW while there are still a few fresh peaches around! You will not regret it! It definitely got me out of the ritual “peach cobbler”, “peach smoothie”….. etc etc…. hum-drum recipe mode.

Wow, it’s almost the end of Friday, and I’m finally posting this! Between scoring a last-minute sale on a collectible item and having to drive to deliver it, then having a dental emergency this afternoon, the day is gone! (At least we scored on the old archery set… yay!)

It’s nights like tonight that I want to throw something together that’s nutritious, flavorful, and fast. I have an answer for you! It’s a bean salad, but not the overly-marinated, lifeless bean salad of our parents’ generation. (Ick.) This has fresh vegetables in it! (Which also means… it really only keeps one day, so eat it up fast!)

Mediterranean White Bean Salad
loosely based on a Mark Bittman recipe

3 c cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 c chopped tomatoes
1 c chopped cucumbers (seeded)
3 tbsp finely minced red onion (I like to soak slices in ice water for ~15 minutes, first. Takes the bitterness out.)
1 tsp dried, or 2 tsp fresh minced mint
1 tsp dried, or 2 tsp fresh minced oregano
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
Juice of one lemon (about 3 tbsp)
About 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Place the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

2. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, mint, oregano, and paprika. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while still whisking, aiming for emulsification. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and whisk again.

3. Pour dressing over bean mixture, and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) to taste.

There–less than 15 minutes if you’re a quick chopper! Again, I recommend finishing this within a day, to keep the veggies crisp.

**If you’re really daring… add some crumbled feta. Sometimes, I live life on the edge like that.

Anyone else have a favorite quick bean salad variation? (I have another one to share later–think Moroccan spiced chickpeas…)

Have a great weekend! I’ll be out playing with the band both days…


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