Category Archives: Food

Dear Daina

Dear Daina,

My typical morning routine usually includes the dull sound of the news in the back ground as I piddle around my house or hotel room getting ready for the workday.  This morning I discovered that I could connect my phone to the Bose surround sound system in my  room. A solo dance party ensued, which may or may not have included some jumping on the bed.

The inner child in me may have been set loose when I attempted the traditional  Indian style dining etiquette that involved eating with my hands yesterday. What?! Well, to be fair it was a combination of cutlery and my fingers as I found out that I am even more clumsy with my hands than with chopsticks. After a bit of a stroll through the bazaar where the aroma of Indian spices and fresh flowers mixed in the air, I stumbled upon The Banana Leaf Apollo where the dining experience began. As a part of tradition, food is eaten from a Thali rather than a plate, which is simply a large banana leaf.

indian-food

It was a bit precarious navigating the narrow streets, where people darted in front of moving vehicles and moving vehicles seemed to swerve in the direction of people. Horns honked, people shouted, street-side sewing machines buzzed, fresh garlands of roses and marigolds mixed with the aromas of curry and turmeric, bright-colored silk sari’s brushed your skin in the bazaars as the coastal winds blew –  my senses were on high alert.It’s exactly how I imagine the culture of India.


I learned that local Singaporeans stay away from Little India on Sunday’s, as it is the only day of the week in which the  Indian community does not work. It was also very early in the day by Indian standards the crowds were on the slim side. I can’t even imagine what its like when the action really gets going.



It’s the celebration of Deepavali right now, a Hindu festival of lights that honors the triumph of good over evil. They have said it’s a magical site to see the glow of lights after dark, so I am hoping to make it over another evening this week to see for myself.

Next stop, Chinatown. A very different, but equally impressive experience.

Much love,

Amy

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday to Me

birthday sparkliers

December 27, 2014

I rolled out of bed around 5am, stumbled to the coffee pot while the sky was still dark. Up early to get ready for a run with a friend. In preparation for another half marathon, we set out in the muggy morning air on a 10 mile jaunt. (Err..take note that we are loosely training during the holiday feasting season. About as loose as the elastic  on the yoga pants I live in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But 10 miles is still considered training, right?!) We opted out of our normal hilly neighborhood run and headed to the flattest of all the local trailheads we could find. Despite all of the sugar, wine, pasta, cookies, and everything else delicious it was a good run. A strong run. An inspirational run. A happy run. A run with an inspiring and encouraging friend. A run that covered ground while our conversation covered ground. Everything under the sun, from timing of the north winds that were due to blow through anytime to remembering a fellow runner that neither of us knew but lost her life in the very park we were running almost a year ago to peeing your pants. Yes, it really gets that serious and it can be that random. But there is so much beauty in the randomness.

The north winds blew in about a minute after we took the last step of that run, dropping the temps about 20 degrees in a matter of seconds. Nature amazes me.

As any reasonable person would do after going for a 10 mile run, I headed out for a piping hot pizza. Only today was special, because I got to share some time and piping hot pie with my mom. We ate, we shopped, we invested in a little pampering at the nail salon and had some good old fashioned mama-daughter time. It was a day of memory making for sure. Spending this time with her made me a bit reflective and I began to think about how this incredible woman shaped me and molded me into the person I am today. She demonstrated for me how to simultaneously make a home, build a career, and rear children. She is a picture of tenacity and perseverance. I’ve faced some giants in my life (many of my own doing, but giants none the less) and credit my mom for teaching me not to let fear get the best of me.

My evening ended with a date. It’s only been recently that I have made a re-entry to the dating world, which by the way has enough content for an entire blog. But to protect the innocent and not get too off track, I won’t divulge that many details. However, I will say that this was the perfect ending to my day. THE date itself, not to be confused with my date for the evening, was a little glimpse into my future. A hope for new beginnings and things to come.

This day goes down in the history of birthdays as one of the best yet. It could not have been a more amazing collision of past, present, and future.

#lovinlately

1. ProCompression Socks and all their amazing  support and fun colors. My calves are happier on those long runs.

Procompression

2. Lancome Definicils Mascara – I’ve been on a lifelong search for the just the right mascara. This one suites my makeup style just right. Being more on the natural side, this mascara defines more than it thickens and lengthens.

Mascara

3. I “heart” my Jawbone mini Jambox speaker. It makes my iTunes come to life.  I made the purchase on a whim about a year ago not exactly sure how this little device would fit in my life. Currently I find myself working more late nights and weekends, so I crank it up loud in my office and it makes those extra lonely work hours feel more like a solo party. I’m baffled as to why more people don’t want to join me during those hours.

Speaker

4. White chicken chili recipe care of Eat Live Run. The winds have shifted and the cooler temperatures are starting to roll in around these parts of Texas. That means it’s soup time in my kitchen.

white chicken chili

5. Cooler temperatures mean it’s time to pull out the running tights. I saw these compression tights in a fashion show at our local iRun store a couple of weeks ago and discovered they feel like butter. Who wouldn’t want to go for a long run in a pair of pants that feel like butter? I mean, really.

NUX tights

6.Kendra Scott earrings have been all the rage lately, only I had no idea how extensive the collection was until I made a store visit for a fundraiser a couple of weeks ago. The statement jewelry fad is fun and amazing, but not really my thing. However, this dainty little jewel made it’s way to my jewelry box and I have worn it almost every other day since. Besides the amazing jewelry, the Kendra Gives Back philanthropy efforts warm my heart. They hosted a fundraising event for my beloved Girls on the Run local council and donated 20% of the proceeds one evening back to us. It was like a charming event complete with Champagne and snacks.

KS necklace

9. Fall TV shows  are on and I am one of the biggest  Parenthood fans out there! If you haven’t seen this show, it’s a must. The current story line on Amber’s unplanned pregnancy hits very close to home and it has sparked a walk down memory lane for me. As hard as it is to believe, I will be an empty nester in less than a year. Oh my soul!
parenthood

PS. You should know that unplanned pregnancies are 100% preventable.

10. Girls on the Run. It always makes the list. This week I had the opportunity to sub for one of our coaches. My experience with GOTR started in coaching and the direct interaction with the girls is something that I really miss doing. Although I know it takes a village to make the organization run and I am a part of that village, when I have the chance to visit, run, and hang out with the girls it makes my day.

Coach Lindsey led a lesson that encouraged the girls to explore their personal values.

boerne gotr

Through a variety of games and thought provoking discussion, the girls learned more about what they each believe in and how it might be different from their peers. They covered topics like honesty, compassion, healthy living, and respect. Girls on the Run really is so much fun!

boerne gotr 2

11. YOU! As a bonus to my list, I am adding each of you. I am grateful for your visits to this page and the virtual support for my interest and love for GOTR. You can support me and this organization further by donating to my fundraising campaign here, SOLEMATES PAGE.  The race is just about 6 weeks away and I am $365.00 short of my goal.

fundraising dashboard

P.S. Training is moving right along. Last week’s long run was 12 miles and went much smoother than the 11 mile run. So much so that we finished just shy of the time we clocked for the 11 miles. Celebration time!!

 

#Instalately

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Girls jumping for joy!

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Girls running with their mamas.

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My boy smoochin’ on a girl.

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A boy smoochin’ on my boys mama.

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Sweet stuff to celebrate sweet friends.

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Sunshine runs.

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Success.

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Hats, horses, and mint juleps day.

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Getting out of my comfort zone.

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Book club fun.

Weekly Breakfast Plan

The crockpot is crockin’ some oatmeal  and the oven is baking up a batch of granola bars at this very moment. I’m sitting on my haunches, watching a little Texans football and thinking about squeezing in a little post-game workout.

My breakfast usually consists of oatmeal, greek yogurt, and a piece of fruit. Traditionally, I’ve grabbed a packet of instant oatmeal and headed to the office where I could eat while I sadly waited AT LEAST the fifteen minutes it takes for my work computer to start-up and log in.  A couple of months ago, I decided to change it up a bit. So steel-cut oats found their way to my crockpot. And it was love from the get go.   

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats

1 cup steel-cut oats

1 1/2 cup of almond milk

1 1/2 cup of water

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cored and chopped apples

Add everything to crockpot that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and cook on low for 6-7  hours. This recipe makes about 8 servings, which I re-heat during the week with a small tab of butter and a couple teaspoons of water. Perfect, quick, and easy breakfast on the run.

It’s smelling good in here. I think I need a snack.

Now, let’s talk about crockpots. Do you have one of those fancy digital timer ones?

crockpot

I. do. not. It’s manual, two-speed all the way in mi casa, friends. How much would I love one of those fancy digital timer ones, though???

this much

 

A day of indulgence

My day began with breakfast treats that included a melt-in-your-mouth cream puff, pork tamales, chips and queso, and one more melt-in-your-mouth cream puff. I couldn’t stop. It was nothing less than,  a party in my mouth (phrase coined by dear friend who has as much of a passion for tasty food as I do)!!

I managed to get by lunch relatively unscathed, but those sweet people who provided such a glorious breakfast sent us on our merry way with chocolate treats. They were my afternoon indulgence.

A late afternoon lull convinced me that I did not have it in me to make it through that cardio-resistance class I had planned at the gym. Now, I am comfortable in my leggings with a full belly from the plate of lasagna I just ate and relaxing with a little vino watching terrible Christmas movies on Lifetime Movie Network.

I am blaming this wash of a day on the cream puffs. But, they were sooo worth it!

And so I am thankful for the 3.5 mile run on Sunday and the 2 miles and 20 minute core class from Monday. But, there is no room for slacking on workouts the rest of this week or I will definitely end up on the naughty list. So, the rest of the week looks something like this:

Wednesday- lunch time spin class

Thursday- lunch time strength class and post work run

Friday- lunch time run

Saturday- spin class

Sunday- run

On a more interesting note, Saturday was the end of the season Girls On The Run 5K and man… did we have fun!

Here is our team modeling their finishers medals with each of their running buddies!

gotr 5k run

Their smiles tell such a sweet story. The little lady to the left was my running buddy this year. She’s an amazing girl with a beautiful soul and all she wanted to do was hold my hand the entire run. About mile 2.5 she looked up at me and said, “you know why I like running with you? because you encourage me to keep going.”  My heart melted, but only because she has NO idea how SHE has been the one to encourage. In some very real times of need this season, her tenacious and lively spirit has lifted me up beyond anything I could ever imagine. From the bottom of my heart, I love that girl!

On a closing note, I think I’ll have a Christmas cookie now because if I started with cream puffs, I might as well end with cookies.

Griffin and his girlfriend made some tasty treats the other night.

christmas cookies!

Although, they look a little more like Halloween treats, they will do.

scary christmas cookie

Foodie Friday

This Foodie Friday is dedicated to my sister, who keeps asking me to post recipes.

I am not sure I actually consider myself a “foodie,” but I like food. I like eating food. I like preparing food. And in the right places, I like shopping for food.

Meal planning comes and goes for me and this week was totally one of those weeks where it was gone. I stopped by the grocery store on Sunday evening, but was too tired  to really put much thought into what I was picking up. So I grabbed a little of this and a little of that and hoped for the best. Fail safe purchases are always a gallon of milk and a gigantic box of cereal.

Sometimes the best dishes are prepared in my kitchen on a wing and a prayer, though. Mid-week, I took some talapia filets out of the freezer but I was clueless until I walked in the door from work and saw that beauty of a squash sitting right on the kitchen counter. Big, fat, yellow goodness.

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Other than preparing risotto, spagetti squash is my next most favorite thing to cook. There is a fun factor involved that no other food can claim. So I scliced it in half, scooped out the seeds, and popped that baby in the oven on 375 for about a half hour.

Near the half hour mark I threw some butter and olive oil in a pan and sauted some garlic and mushrooms, added a little white wine and threw in some asparagus. While the asparagus cooked in the simmering pan, I dug in with a form to have some spagetti squash fun. If you have never prepared spagetti squash before, you really should. It will bring a smile to your face, I promise. Just grap a fork and start scraping and “wha-la!” you have the most beautiful pile of noodly looking squash you have ever seen.

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Picture from Steamy Kitchen.

I mixed my sauteed veggies in the white wine sauce with my spagetti squash and added a little salt and pepper for a tasty side with the pan seared cajun spicy talapia. It was the perfect compliment and made for a great standalone leftover lunch dish the following day plus a side dish another night to grilled porkshops. Spagetti squash comes in abundance and with only two mouths to feed, it lasts a while in my house.

Do you have a favorite thing to cook? How do you use spagetti squash? I am always looking for new things to cook and ways to mix up the regulars.