Monthly Archives

September 2016

Good eats

What I ate

September 29, 2016

This past summer, I participated in my first CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically, you pay for a share of the farm, and once a week you get a box full of fresh produce. We split a box with some friends, which was a great introduction to what to expect, and I’ve absolutely LOVED having fresh produce each week and trying to figure out what to make with ingredients I’ve never used before, or finding new ways to use familiar ingredients (I’m looking at you, eggplants!).

At the suggestion of a friend, I thought I’d do a “what I ate” post this week. I managed to take a few photos of my food, though I definitely missed a few meals, and forgot until about halfway through with others. Still, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been eating lately.

I started the week off with a bang on Sunday and had a delicious homemade brunch. Hand-scredded hashbrowns (yes, my shoulders were very tired, but it was totally worth it) and eggless benedict, a recipe from the Minimalist Baker cookbook. Eggs benedict was one of the meals I miss most as a vegan and let me tell you, her hollandaise sauce kills it! Absolutely delicious.

A Beautiful Mess inspired the marinated tempeh, chimichurri sauce and wild rice. I’ve been obsessed with chimichurri since adding it to my tofu tacos at Forager, and it’s so freaking easy to make at home. You’re going to be seeing a hell of a lot more chimichurri around here.

We’ve gotten an abundance of eggplant in our CSA this summer, so it’s been interesting trying to find exciting ways to use it. I’m a huge fan of eggplant parmesan, and so is my husband, who likes anything with pasta and tomato sauce.

A sneak peek at my go-to breakfast item, mashed avocado on toast (or english muffin or bagel) with sriracha on top. Bonus if you add some Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzey’s.

These potato nachos were out of this world good! Their inspiration came from a bunch of green onions I grabbed at the farmer’s market this weekend, and the vegan queso (from Minimalist Baker…what can I say, I’m a huge fan!) was insane!

And finally, I made this espresso chocolate torte on a toasted hazelnut crust for a get-together this week. It comes from the Oh She Glows cookbook, and I’m excited to dig into it tonight.

So there you have it, a glimpse into what I ate this week! This was kind of fun, so maybe I’ll do it more often (if I remember to take some decent photos).

Yoga

Living in the moment

September 20, 2016

Since my half marathon is over, I have made it back to the yoga studio more and more. And every time I’ve been, I’ve felt enlightened. Not that I’ve learned something new necessarily, but that I’ve been reminded of a fundamental piece of life that I forgot or took for granted. I’ve been mulling these thoughts in my brain for a while, and thought I’d share them here, in hopes they inspire or enlighten someone else.

My first insight came at one of my first classes back. For whatever reason, instead of rushing through trying to get from one pose to the next as quickly as possible, I took my time. I breathed slower, moved slower, and concentrated on the transition. I let my breathe guide me, let myself feel how each movement was different from the one before and the one after.

Yoga isn’t about hitting the pose. It’s about finding your breath and moving with your breath, your teacher, your guide. The transition from one pose to the next is just as important as the pose itself. Sometimes even more important, I would guess, as it teaches you acceptance of the in-between.

My self-talk was different. I found, after consciously choosing positive self-talk at the end of my half-marathon, I’m speaking to myself differently. I don’t feel I ever used overtly negative self-talk before, but it was never inherently positive. In this class, for the first time, I told myself “I am beautiful and strong.” Over and over, I repeated this mantra. Self-speak is so incredibly important, and even though I don’t feel I was ever berating myself, in yoga or in life, I never was fully uplifting myself either. I think it was mostly a “good job, you did it, now what’s next” type of self-talk. I’ve noticed a change in myself, a conscious effort to recognize the wild within, the strength within, the endurance, the ability of my own flesh and soul, and to celebrate that within myself.

A second insight happened yesterday right in the middle of class. It was time for ab work. Our instructor changed the music, brought the jams, told us our task: crunches, bicycle, break. Crunches, bicycle, break. And one more set, crunches, bicycle, done. Sounded easy enough. I got to it. I crunched, and crunched, and crunched. And she said nothing, leaving us crunching. It seemed like forever, why weren’t we moving on to bicycle yet?

And then, as we continued crunching, she spoke. “We are promised nothing,” she said. “Not next week, not tomorrow, not even tonight. All you have is this moment. And in this moment you are on your yoga mat. Are you giving this moment your all? If not, why not?”

And holy shit, did it light a fire within me. We talk all the time in yoga of living for the moment, giving full attention to each breath. But despite that, our minds continue to wander. And we practice bringing them back. For some reason, those words, in this moment you are on your yoga mat, were so simple and so powerful, I almost felt punched in the gut.

Partway through the second set of crunches, she asked the class, “Why aren’t you sitting all the way up?” And I thought, “Because I can’t, duh.” And then it hit me—I’m the only one saying I can’t. Why can’t I? No one else in the class is watching me, it’s only me telling me I can’t. My self-talk immediately shifted, and I remembered the fact that my body, the same one doing crunches, had completed a half marathon, had hiked the Rocky Mountains, had carried me through the wilderness on Voyageurs. If I could do all that, I could do these crunches. And I crunched harder (though I definitely could not completely sit up. I’m not that much of a baller). I told myself I was a bad ass, I ran 13.1 miles, I could do a few sit ups. Because I was a bad ass. And I repeated my mantra and I did it. That moment was all that mattered.

And sure, I’m sore as heck today. But the feeling of giving my everything to that moment, to every crunch I did, made it worth it. And every time I wince today, I remember that feeling of finishing, and remember that in this moment, my body is sore because of what I have accomplished.

That’s all well and good, but how does any of that translate into real life?

I’ll tell you my experience how. Today was a really tough day at work. So many projects are all happening at once, I feel as if I’ll never get my head above water. But hour after hour, I kept telling myself, be in this moment. Take whatever you are working on, and give it your all. There will always be more work to do, but you only get to do this project once. So do it to the best of your ability.

And I tried. It definitely didn’t work all the time, and there were a few hours when I was definitely stressed out to the max and that yogi wisdom was the last thing on my mind. But I always returned to that moment yesterday on the yoga mat, giving my all to those stupid crunches. And if I could do that, I could do whatever task was at hand.

Yoga has been such a rock in my life the past few years. As I’ve built a regular practice, I find it has begun to penetrate into my daily life. I can hear my instructor’s voice and wisdom as I go about my day, recognizing situations in life that I have encountered on the mat as well. One of my favorite things about yoga is that it is considered “practice.” I have a yoga practice. I am not a yoga expert; every time I get on my mat, it is to simply practice. Some days, practice goes better than others. But it’s okay, because there is no judgement, only the fact that I showed up for myself.

And isn’t life a bit like that? We never truly master is, but day in and day out, we practice. Some days are better than others, but all that matters is that we show up, we give our all, and we try. Every breath, every moment, is another chance to show up for yourself, and to practice being alive.­

Projects

Basement makeover

September 9, 2016

As I mentioned in my last post, the husband and I have been knocking out house projects like it’s our job. Not only did we tackle the backyard, we went full speed ahead with updating the basement.

Here’s what the basement looked like before (please excuse the paint samples and clutter, I got a little enthusiastic while drinking wine one night and wanted to see the colors and get moving):

basement_before1

basement_before3

Our eventual plan for the basement was to get a bar, since we really enjoy entertaining and having friends over and I’ve recently gotten into making handcrafted cocktails. My dad gave me the bar fridge for my birthday, so it was only a matter of time until the bar followed for the husband’s birthday! Once that was purchased, it was time to paint.

Thankfully we already had the colors picked out. While the light blueish color with the white trim and fireplace is popular in home decor magazine and on Pinterest, it was definitely not our style. The basement living room was the only room in the house (besides the bathrooms) that we didn’t paint when we first moved in. It was time to change that.

We went with a deep red with brown tones and paired it with a brownish tan, pulling colors from the rug we had, since those colors were also in the bar. We decided not to paint the trim or the fireplace, and I think it was the right choice, since the white pops and brings some lightness to the room. (Don’t mind the cat, she wouldn’t move.)

basement_finish3

basement_finishwall

basement_finish5

basement_finish6

basement_after2

You can see the new bar and pub table, and how the room looks totally different now that it has some depth of color to it.

Future projects down here include updating the light fixtures (bye-bye boob lights) and figuring out what artwork to add to the wall behind the couch.

Wow, no wonder I feel so tired all the time! Looking back, we’ve tackled so many projects over the last few weeks. But they’ve made such a big difference in making the house feel even more like home. It’s a place where we can have friends over to hang out in the hot tub, grill and have dinner outside, have a SuperBowl party or host a game night. One thing I love is how these projects bring my whole family together, from my husband to my mom and dad. It’s such a great feeling stepping back, looking at something you love and knowing you made it happen with your own hands.