Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fitness Instructors

So I had been talking with my middle sister about how I wanted to start incorporating yoga into my workout and I got this lovely care package in the mail.

A box of some of my favorite things from organic body scrubs, my lemon Luna bars, tea, and a brand new yoga mat with matching water bottle. Isn't she the best? So I had to out the yoga mat this weekend.

I was fortunate to enough to catch a yoga class at the gym I go to and actually got a seat. (Those things fill up fast.) The instructor walked in, and let me try to say this tactfully, but I was not too impressed with her. Is it just me or do you think you fitness instructor should have a body in which you want to train for? You want to have that confidence that they know what they are doing and you can tell from the way they look. This also happened at the pilates studio I tried going to a few times back down south in Laguna Niguel. The instructor would instruct but her body looked a little soft. One morning she went to show us a move, just one move, and was out of breath! I stopped going after that because I believe you should practice what you preach. Overall I was glad I went as I got to stretch out my sore muscles and felt I got a little work in on my shoulders. I just wish that the workout were more intense and that I had broken a sweat in the hour long class. Just wondering if you guys agreed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche Tart

I am not going to lie, this was sooooo tasty. After my short reprieve I am back on the vegetarian train. I just like how I feel when eating this way. So I have been challenging myself to eat things I normally wouldn't such as broccoli. I bought tons of it this past week and have steamed some to have with dinner but really had a lot left over. I have been itching to make a quiche lately and decided to combine the two. I whipped up a quick pie crust and tossed these veggies together. Made the mixture next and popped it into the over. A little over 20 minutes later this beautiful quiche popped out of the over. I plugged it into and calculated that each slice (1/6 of the tart) is only 250 calories. Easy to make and so delicious. Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, October 23, 2009

From seed to harvest

What did you do today? I planted my seeds. I know, I know, it is pretty late in the season to be planting, but better late than never. As you might recall from The ups and downs of today that I planted some seedlings purchased from the farmer's market recently so at least I have that going for me. Now I wanted to try growing vegetables from seed to harvest. I planted cauliflower, more spinach, butternut squash, and yellow beets. (For some reason I really like yellow version of popular vegetables. Examples: yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes, and yellow beets.) As I was planting I was referencing the back of the seed package to know how deep to plant them in the seedling containers and also how far apart to plant them when I transplant them into my garden. Tip: bring your glasses when purchasing. I just noticed that the squash plants need to be 6' (feet) apart as opposed to 6" (inches) apart which I originally thought I had read. Great, those are going to fit too well into my SFG. I however, planted the seeds and am going to try to find a new place in my backyard for them.

Pictures (t to b) (l to r):
1. Labels for my plants. (Thank you roomie for being a school teacher and having these on hand.)
2. All the tools I needed to plant minus my Brita bottle to water.
3. The seed packages. Thanks Jenny for the gift of the yellow beets.
4. Four tiny cauliflower seeds I planted.
5. The dirty bird watching me plant who better NOT get to my plants.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Restaurant Review - Dynamo Donut & Café

I flew back to northern California and since I was in San Francisco I HAD to stop by Dynamo Donut & Café. You see, I watched this program on the Food Network called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Bacon" because, well, I love bacon, and they talked about this place in San Francisco that incorporated bacon AND doughnuts. The world's two best (and unhealthiest) foods! I had found out about this place before I had committed to my 30 days no meat and knew this was the date I was going to be in SF and it was now or never (well not never, but longer than I wanted to wait). So my 30 day no meat was to end with a bacon doughnut and I was going to do everything I could to make that happen.

I had to overcome quite a few hurdles to get this bad boy. As I was taking BART from the airport I called to see what time they close. They close at 5pm on Tuesdays so I was going to be cutting it close. I got to the hotel and checked my bags and asked the doorman if he knew where it was. He did not so I looked it up on Google Maps on my phone and he informed me that it would be a 20 minute taxi ride to get there if not a little more as it was 28 blocks away. Shoot! It was already passed 4:40pm and I really wanted these doughnuts. I called my sister and she said to at least try, you never know. She was right. I started running. Literally. It is so hard to find a cab in SF so I wanted to get as far as possible as soon as I could. I called the store and the guy working to ask if they shipped the treasures. No. Darn it. I told him I was in town for a day and was at least 20 minutes away. He asked my name and what I wanted and then informed me that he would leave the door open for me. Praise Jesus! I had gone about 10 blocks when I lucked out and found a cab driver. I hopped in and told him my dilemma. He said that we wouldn't make it by 5pm but he would get me there as fast as possible. Man, he was great! We got there a little before 5:10 and just as the guy had promised the door was still open. They had cleaned up but there on the counter was the promise of heaven wrapped in a box. He even threw in an extra bacon doughnut and a spiced chocolate doughnut for me. The tag line for the store should read "Great ideas. Great doughnuts. Great people." I thanked and paid the angel and left.

My heart was pounding a million miles a minute from the adrenaline rush so I wanted to calm down first so that I could savor ever morsel that touched my lips. As I left the store I realized I now needed to get back to the hotel in Union Square and had not even thought as to how this was going to be accomplished. I looked down and I was wearing my gray flats, not quite walking (or running) shoes but how else could I justify eating a doughnut. I started the 4 mile trek back. I might have stopped a few times to open the box and just look at the masterpiece. Wouldn't you? But I made it back and sat in Union Square relishing every bite. I was licking my fingers as my fiends called. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect late afternoon.

Sites seen on the way home. There were tons more but I was too preoccupied to remember to take pictures.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The ups and downs of today

Well I took my second section of the CPA exam today. It is a 5 hour test and just the next hurdle in my life that I need to jump over. I wanted another week to study as I was two weeks behind due to expired software but it would cost me an additional $107.33 to reschedule or $250 to re-take it. Everyone around me said to just take it and so I ignored my instinct and took it. (I have a habit of doubting myself which I am trying to work on but apparently failed in this test.) Speaking of failing tests, that is sure what it felt like when I left the testing facility this morning. Just a heavy, pit of my stomach feeling that I just wanted to rush back in the doors and say "I can do better, I promise!" but there would be no point. I study until I can't focus or read anymore. I study and memorize things that are not even on the test and things that are on the test my book neglected to even address. Ugh! Just a bad feeling, but...I did take it. I took a risk, am prepared for the consequences, either good or bad.

I decided the test is done and over with (for now) and I just need to focus on the positive. So what did I do? I went home and cooked and cleaned and am taking the day off before flying back down south to visit with an old client and family. I waited for a pause in the rain (something I am not used to being from Southern California) and went out and planted my seedlings. Apparently you can fit 9 spinach plants in one square foot. Unfortunately I only had 6 seedlings so I am going to go buy some seeds and try from scratch on my own. But they are planted and I really hope they grow and flourish and nourish. And look, I had already forgot about that stupid test and you will too once you see my lovely pictures. (And yes, I will put the dividers in soon.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quote to inspire

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
- Thomas A. Edison

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The prissy, weak, and lazy need not apply

So I was going to go for a quick run on Sunday morning before getting started with the rest of the day when I stepped outside and it was sprinkling. Bummer. I didn't really want to go for a run in the mist and didn't want to drive to the gym so I opted to start my gardening early. I got my soil Saturday night around 11pm so needless to say I didn't have time to start it earlier.

Pulling on my sweatshirt and arming myself with gardening gloves I stepped into the backyard. I began mixing the peat moss, vermiculite, compost, and soil together in small batches to ensure equal parts and adequate mixing. For mixing I started out trying to mix with a shovel which last about all of 1 minute before I drudged in there and began mixing with God's tools, my hands. I would mix the 4 compounds together and then evenly spread them into the box. I interspersed layers of compounds with watering to help weight the soil down and give each layer enough moisture. It took about 8-10 batches to do all of this. Man, am I glad I lift weights at the gym because these bags were heavy. The task was laborious and repetitive but well worth it.

All in all I say it was a good trade off. I got tons of squats in , some dead lifts, and a bunch of other weight lifting moves you never realize you do in everyday errands. Gardening takes time, effort and attention plus you really can't be afraid to get yourself dirty. (I am pretty sure I carried about a pound of dirt back into the house with me. Oh well, that is what washers and vacuums are for.)

Now I just need to let it sit before planting my seeds and seedlings. Can't wait!

Try a new recipe

As you might recall from one of my first blogs, I heart Donna Hay, I really adore her cookbooks. There are a few recipes I have tried and are now a home staple in my cooking. Recently I was talking with my oldest sister about trying new recipes and showcasing the trials on our blogs. Well it looks like I got the chance to start sooner than later. There was an impromptu bbq tonight and my roommate and I were asked to bring dessert. I had some pears that I was given that needed to me eaten soon and so thought, pear tart/pie. I started looking online before I realized, hey I have Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2 cookbook and should check in there.

I made the crust and pie according to her recipe....well almost totally according to her recipe. As the pie had been baking for about 5 minutes before I realized I forgot to add flour to the filling mixture. Oh well. AS it turns out it still tasted amazing (but next time I will add the flour).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting stuff ready for the week

What a day. Woke up and started cleaning the house. After all that is what my mom taught me to do a growing up ad somehow it is ingrained in me. Then J & S stopped by and I gave them a tour of the home and they helped me move my SFG box to the appropriate place in the yard. (It is very heavy to move on your own. Thank you!) Then we took a stroll to the farmer’s market the is literally right across the street from me and goes all year long. I had to take a picture of these as it brought me back to the Paris farmer’s market days.

Then I purchased little romaine lettuce, baby (bibb) lettuce, and spinach seedlings to plant. I eat tons of salad (one of my favorite foods) and love to juice spinach, which actually is my favorite food of all time. (Juiced, steamed, raw, creamed, you name it I love it.) And I bought some already grown romaine lettuce for this week. One head at the farmer’s market is the size of 3 or more at the grocery store. Talk about a steal!

Back home I started to roast some tomatoes and onions to make roasted tomato soup for the week.

Cut up and washed the lettuce for the week as well. It took four washing before the water ran clear. Of course I used my lettuce spinner that my sisters bought me. (Best gift ever!)

Cleaned out the frig, washed some dishes, then off to go mix the soil so that I can plant tomorrow (giving it time to rest and absorb the water). Plans for the rest of the day include studying, going for a jog, shower and then bbq tonight at friend’s house down the street.

All in all it was a good productive morning.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ooo, look at the garden...

Ok, I must start off my saying that this is not m backyard garden, but isn't it just lovely? I having been trying to find time to take pictures of my friend's garden and just decided that I needed to do it now. True, this was probably not the best time to take pictures as it is the end of the summer crops and beginning of the fall crops, but