Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yoga at Home

I love practicing yoga at a studio, but sometimes it just doesn't fit my schedule. I've been thinking about practicing on my own without yogadownload or an on demand source. I have a vacation to Mexico coming up in about 3 weeks and my plan is to stay active on the trip (between laying poolside and spa activities!) I thought staring out my mornings with some yoga on the beach would be great, and maybe even a short jog to warm up. I also plan to take swim breaks from being completely lethargic next to the pool!

So on Friday, I made a yoga playlist including some Enya, Dido and slower Incubus tracks and rolled out my mat in the living room. I chose sequences that I like from classes I've taken and just by what was feeling good at the moment. I practiced for about 35 minutes and it felt great...I could have kept going. I am confident that I will have no problems practicing solo on the beach in a few weeks. I think it will be a great way to start the day and hopefully keep my somewhat on track!

After my practice, I set up the camera to capture a few of my favorite poses. I didn't include all of them, but it was neat to see what I look like and a good way to make note of corrections in form I can work on.

Ps. that is a new shirt from Lululemon that I absolutely LOVE! it's not great for yoga because it moves too much, but is great for cardio and/or weight training. I think its great to wear with regular clothes as well. In fact, I wore it to work with jeans and a blazer...I just love the pale yellow color this spring!

Are you comfortable practicing yoga on your own, or do you need instruction? What is your favorite pose? I also like dancer pose because I am getting better at it, but didn't take a phot of that one!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lazy Saturday Lunch

This Saturday was warm and sunny here in Seattle. I took advantage and spent the majority of the day out and about. The morning was busy with yoga and shopping and once I got home I was tired of driving places so I decided to walk somewhere for lunch. Luckily right down the hill is the Essential Bakery Cafe (my favorite place to buy bread and macaroons!) It always amazes me how many people are out walking or riding bikes when it's nice here. I never felt the need to be outside when I lived in Michigan! The cafe has an outdoor patio as well!

I went with a raspberry jam cookie to was so yummy!

For my lunch I got a 1/2 size portion of the Pacific Northwest Salad, which had greens, balsamic, Gorgonzola and marinated mushrooms and a 1/2 roasted yam and leek sandwich on rosemary bread. This combo so so delicious and filling. I also had a Moroccan mint iced tea.

I could eat lunch here often, everything tastes so fresh and it's always buzzing with people. I often stop here after morning spin to grab coffee and a pastry or bread for the week...since its 7 am and not picked over yet!

After lunch, I went for a long walk in the Washington Park Arboretum to play with my camera during the spring bloom. Here are some of my favorite shots:

Do you sometimes take a long walk over a run? I just wasn't feeling the running this weekend, but did enjoy two long walks about 1 hour 40 minutes each!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cornbread and Chili

Sprouted Kitchen, one of my favorite recipe blogs (and the blog that inspired me to start playing around with food photography) posted this recipe for Cast Iron Cornbread that I have been wanting to try ever since I read it! The ingredient list wasn't too long and it was actually pretty simple to prepare and wow, it was the best cornbread I've ever made. I will definitely be making this again. I think the best part was the sprinkle of cheddar cheese that crisped up on the top...and the nice crust that the cast iron pan gave it!

We paired the bread with a chili recipe that we made as we went (to taste). The ingredients included extra lean ground beef, kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, chopped onion, stock, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, salsa, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, honey. This seems like a lot of spices, but the flavor was so good...there was a little spice and a little sweet at the same time. I can't wait to east left-overs tomorrow! We topped the chili with a spoonful of sour cream and chives with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar.

Yum, the meal was comforting and delicious! I went back for another sliver of good!

I ended up going for a 3.5 mile hilly run after work while the sun was still shining. I did the same loop as last Friday twice and the second time was pretty tough, but I pushed through and only walked half-way up one hill and once crossing a street...not bad! My pace was around an 11 minute mile, and I am hoping to get it down to a 10 minute mile by summer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunny Weather

It's been so nice in Seattle lately and I have been pretty busy making the most of it. With the time change, it seemed like the afternoon when I got out of work last Friday! I changed into workout clothes and hit the pavement while the bf hit the elliptical. I did a short 1.8 mile hilly loop in a sub-10 min/mile pace, which is pretty great for me! I really liked the loop, I had beautiful views of Lake Washington and Mt Rainier. After the run, I met the bf back at the gym and we did a full body strength training workout. It felt great!

When we got home, we both felt like eating out and have been wanting to go back to Dahlia Lounge since we ate their for NYE and decided it was time. We started with oysters and cocktails (I got champagne). Then I had a winter white salad with cucumber, endive and a truffle dressing. My entree was the Alaskan salmon with morels, mashed potato and roasted asparagus...yum! We spilt a dessert and called it a night! This was an awesome splurge of a meal and we had so much fun!

Saturday was a beautiful 68 degree sunny day and I started out with a heated flow yoga class at 8 am followed by a veggie juice and huge bowl of oats! We watched the St. Mary's game then went for a long hilly walk to grab sandwiches for an outdoor picnic in a park. It was fun and I soaked up as much sun as I could! Later I had a massage and it was painful, but so so great. I took a nap after and we made steak, sweet potato and salad for dinner and met some friends out for drinks. I had 2 glasses of wine out and one glass at dinner...I think I am going to try and cut back on the alcohol again!

Sunday was great...I took a restorative yoga class and relaxed the rest of the day. We also made all our meals in which doesn't happen often on a Sunday!

It's been sunny this week so far and is supposed to get to 68 again tomorrow. Yesterday, I took a yoga class, but had the itch to go out running so I am going to make up for it today! I am planning to take advantage of the sun and go for a run after work...probably that same loop as last week x2. I hope to get in another run tomorrow at lunch.

Do you ever feel like you NEED to be outside when it's nice? I feel like I'm wasting a nice day when I don't go out and do something!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rack of Lamb Feast

During weekends we like to cook a more time-consuming meal with fresh meat from either Whole Foods or Pike's Place Market. One last weekend's menu was rack of lamb. We haven't cooked this in a long time and I don't have a recipe to give because the bf knows the recipe by heart and cooked the whole meal himself (I opened the bottle of wine!) We went shopping at Whole Foods and picked up all the ingredients we needed.The lamb was seasoned with salt and pepper and coated in dijon mustard, then bread crumbs and wrapped in aluminum foil before baking.
We steamed asparagus and boiled/mashed some gold potatoes to serve alongside the lamb.The sauce was made from stock, port, raspberry and mint sauce.
The rack came out of the oven perfect...I took 3 bones, he took 5:)
We garnished the plate with fresh raspberries and a glob of mint jelly. I wasn't a fan of the mint jelly because it overpowered the taste of the lamb. This meal was delicious!
We drank a bottle of Cuvee Rutherford from my favorite winery in Napa - Rubicon Estate.

Have you made any good weekend dinner's lately?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breadbaking Class

I was inspired by Megan at The Runners Kitchen to try out a cooking class. I've been wanting to learn to bake bread, so when I found a class at Cook's World which featured the founder of the Essential Baking Company (my favorite bakery!) I signed up right away! The teacher was really great at explaining the science behind bread; we learned a ton of technique and went home with some raw dough to bake the following morning. Here is my bread in the oven this morning: TA DAAAA! My first loaf of homemade bread!

I cut it open and it was perfect! I used a couple slices to make a sandwich for lunch and it was so chewy and really great flavor. I had another chunk with my dinner tonight and topped it with some creamy camembert and black cherry preserves...divine!

Dinner was full of yuminess...I baked some wild alaskan king salmon and served with a dried cherry and sunflower seed kale salad dressed in EVOO and the slice of bread I described above. I mixed a little maple syrup with a dash of dark soy sauce and EVOO and spread over the salmon, baked at 500 for 12 was perfect!
Mmmmm, that bread with cheese/cherry combo was so tasty!

I'm kind of lame and didn't do anything for St. Patty's Day. I used to look forward to green beer once a year, but I haven't felt much like going out drinking lately (unless its wine!) Instead, I took a 90 minute hot vinyasa flow and made the delicious dinner above:)

Did any of you do anything fun for St. Patty's Day???

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Food Blogger Goodies!

After reading so many blogs that feature a various array of nut butters and other healthful goodies, I decided to stock up and try out some new things in my meals! I came home a couple weekends ago with 5 nut butters (fresh ground almond, coconut, cashew, maple almond and chocolate peanut butter), chia seeds, nutritional yeast, raw crackers, raw food bars and shredded coconut. I haven't tried all of the nut butters or bars yet...too many new things at once!

I do have to say that coconut butter and chia seeds will become a staple in my home moving forward! I love adding the seeds to my oats and plan to play around with more recipes I have been seeing on other blogs. The coconut butter is also SO good on oats, but also on fruit, pancakes, muffins, straight out of the jar...the list goes on! I may also try to make my own once I get a food processor (also seems to be the new rave!!)
The shredded coconut has been going into my oats and I used the nutritional yeast in a salad dressing and topped some eggs and kale chips with it. I may try adding to pasta next time. Its not bad, but I don't see go thru large quantities at a time like the coconut butter...

I have been adding the Dark Choclate Dreams to fresh sliced fruit for dessert, but I could also eat that on anything (or just straight from the jar!) It is so delicious! I don't think that tub will make another week:)
What is your favorite nut butter??? I have yet to try the cashew butter, but my altime favorite is fresh ground almond because it still has littel chunks of almond in it (and its fun to grind at the store!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fresh Produce

My New Roots box came last Wednesday and I must have gone veggie crazy this week because I only have some of the fruit and a few zucchini left!!! But look at this box o goodness...everything was so fresh and tasty! The carrots, asparagus and sweet potatoes were huge!

I had a pretty amazing weekend. We went to happy hour for some appetizers before seeing Alice in 3D. The movie was entertaining and really fun to watch in 3D.

Saturday ended up being a really nice day. I started out with a huge bowl of oats, then went morning vinyasa yoga. After yoga, I got a green juice from Healeo and the bf and I went downtown for brunch at the Dahlia Lounge and did a little walking around and shopping. I had the most amazing orange cinnamon french toast with bacon and a huge fresh fruit cup...mmmm! There was a St. Patty's Day parade going on, so lots of people in green:) We picked up some groceries at Whole Foods and made dinner at home and watched The Hurt Locker. The movie was good, but I still would have picked Avatar for best picture:)

Sunday we made a big breakfast of eggs, toast and sliced pear with raspberries and OJ. I went wine tasting with the girls in Woodinville (only took a sip here and there because I still wanted to workout!) There happened to be cheese tasting too, and that was basically my lunch...a cheese plate! I bought this double cream local was delicious! After wine tasting I went to the gym with the bf and lifted chest, tris and a little shoulders and did 20 min on the elliptical at a a high resistance (ranged from 10-20!). It was tough and I was sweating hard!

We then went to dinner at Restaurant Zoe to try out the Dine Around Seattle menu and got 3 courses for $30 each. This was a pretty good deal considering an entree is about $26-30 itself! The meal was awesome. I started with a celery root apple soup, then had pacific cod with mussels for my entree and a mango/banana /white pepper sorbet for dessert. The sorbet was awesome! The bf got the brownie sundae and I also stole a few bites of that:)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Glazed Chicken Heaven

I've posted before that we tried this recipe by Rachel Ray: Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken and I'm not kidding that this is probably my new favorite chicken recipe! It is really not that difficult to prepare and it is so tasty! She suggests serving over a lemon risotto (which is what we made last time-great, but a little labor intensive) or you could serve over rice or pasta. We went with pasta:) You basically cook the chicken, add liquids and reduce to a glaze. We wanted to amp up our egg noodle pasta a bit so we chopped up some Italian flat leaf parsley and tossed the pasta with a little melted butter and parsley until coated. We don't go crazy on the butter, just used a pat.
This combo really amps up the flavor of plain egg noodle pasta. It is creamy and delicious with a little herb tang from the parsley.

The pasta paired really well with the chicken and we steamed some broccolini on the side. This was a pretty big serving...I actually only ate about half (and all the broccolini) and took the rest for lunch the next day:)

I started today off with a Green/Purple Monster (Tbs ground flax, 2 cups spinach, 1/2 banana, 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries) and a 45 minute spin class at 6 am. This early rising thing is getting a lot easier:) Breakfast part 2 was coconut oats (1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup milk, dash of sea salt, dash of vanilla, 1/2 banana). I cooked the oats on the stove until thick and creamy, then topped with a tablespoon of chia seeds, tablespoon of shredded coconut and a drizzle of coconut butter. This is definitely my new favorite!

I packed a salad with green leaf, sliced strawberries, walnuts and poppyseed dressing and a whole grain sandwich (that I will panini cook on the foreman at work) with goat cheddar and sundried tomatoes. Snack will be yogurt and a small pink lady apple from the CSA box.
Tonight we have tickets to Alice in Wonderland in 3D with the bf's family and may do a little happy hour beforehand. We also get to cat-sit his bro's 2 adorable cats for the next 2-3 weeks because he is going on a business excited to have the furballs for a bit!

Saturday (if my wrist feels better) I am going to my favorite yoga class and will probably make an appearance at the gym for some cardio and strength training. We have plans to try the Dahlia Bakery for breakfast/brunch, but I'm not sure which day we are going to go. I am hoping to get some reading in on Saturday as well.

Sunday I have plans to go wine tasting with the girls! A friend of mine has a membership at Columbia Winery in Woodinville, and they are having an event called the Tastes of White. We went to the Taste of Red a few months ago and had so much fun. There were local food vendors including, bakeries, chocolatiers, BBQ, dips and cheese.
Do you enjoy going out to breakfast or brunch on the weekends? What's your favorite thing to order? My favorite thing to order is a veggie omelet and I love places that serve complimentary muffins or scones:)