Friday, April 27, 2012

pictures from our weekend away

craig and i spent last weekend up in the lake george area of ny to celebrate his 25th birthday.  (the trip was his b-day gift.)  we stayed in the same b&b that we stayed at 6 years ago when we first traveled there together.  we had a fabulous weekend...despite the i thought i'd share a few highlights from our trip.

every afternoon the innkeeper made homemade goodies for the guests -- behold our ganache tarts

street in lake george, ny

me and craig

craig enjoying inn at erlowest's bar/lounge

drinks at bistro la roux

snapped this while driving -- yes, that is a gorilla dragging a vacuum...

our breakfast at the b&b

course #5 of our five course gourmet extravaganza.  cinnabon pancakes = divine!!!

market in saratoga springs

it goes without saying, but we had an awesome time -- and way too much food : )

Thursday, April 26, 2012

foodie: portabella tacos

last night i made portabella tacos for dinner.  for whatever reason, i rarely prepare mexican-inspired meals, but finding some corn tortillas while grocery shopping inspired me.  i surveyed the fridge and found the makings for what turned into a rather yummy dinner.

here's what you'll need for tacos for two...

1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 ear of corn, kernels off cob
2 portabella caps, sliced
1 tbsp garlic
1-2 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
olive oil
6 (6 inch) soft corn tortillas


chopped tomato
smashed avocado with garlic, lemon & salt
shredded cheese
chopped lettuce

1. saute onion, red peppers and portabellas in olive oil.  season with salt, garlic and spices.  cook until onions are slightly caramelized.  at the end of cooking, mix in fresh corn.

2. as veggies cook, chop tomatoes & lettuce and prepare smashed avocado.  gather up whatever toppings you would like.

3. once the filling is done and the toppings are prepped, the last step is to lightly "toast" your tortillas in a pan for 10-15 seconds per side to heat them.

prepare your tacos as you see fit, and enjoy your scrumptious meal!  (as you can see, mine was overflowing with fresh deliciousness.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the danger of all-or-nothing thinking

credit {here}
i have to admit, i have a tendency to fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking from time to time.  the idea that something either has to be executed perfectly or you might as not well try at all.  does that ring any bells for you?  if you, too, are one of the many who find themselves thinking this way - i ate one cookie, might as well have 5 more - you know, inherently, the problems that arise when you see things in your world as either black or white.

for me, an area where i have been experiencing all-or-nothing trip-ups lately is with my business - CALM yoga.  i'm looking to build up my teaching experience, while also seeking to form a private client list.  for whatever reason, i find that reaching out to and networking with potential clients is always at the end of my to-do -- and too often i find myself with little time to devote to it.  and, then i catch myself thinking, "ugh, i only have 15 minutes -- that's not enough time to accomplish anything.  might as well move it to tomorrow's to-do list".  but, the thing is, if instead of stopping myself before i even begin, i could use those precious 15 minutes and put them to good use -- doing whatever i could to further and expand my business.  and, over time, all those 15 minutes would add up to hours and hours of good work.

i wouldn't consider myself a negative person, but the thought process i just outlined is a totally "glass half empty" way of thinking.  and that's not how i want to live my life.  i want to see opportunities and possibilities everywhere i look, not obstacles and challenges.  but, finding boundless good fortune in front of you starts with how you perceive your world on a day-to-day basis.  so instead of seeing 15 minutes as not enough time, i need (and want) to see it as the perfect amount of time to make a difference -- even if it is small.

black and white living leaves no room for flexibility, growth or change.  and it cuts possibilities off mid-sentence.  if you want to see this way of thinking evaporate from your life, it must start with mindfulness.  notice the internal dialogue you're playing in your head.  if you have a propensity to lean in the all-or-nothing direction, allow some logic to seep into the equation - isn't 15 minutes of working on your passion, exercising, meditating, or whatever it is for you better than 0 minutes?  i think so.

meditation for your journal or cushion:
where in your life do you notice all-or-nothing thought patterns?
what is a way you can handle it differently next time you find yourself thinking that way?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

foodie: roasted eggplant with avocado salsa

the other night, with craig's request for a "light" dinner, my mind went to a salad.  salads can run the gamut from boring to brilliant, and this one fell more toward the latter...if i do say so myself.  to make our "light" dinner a little heartier, i roasted eggplant and made a chunky avocado salsa to add richness and texture to the dish.  served atop fresh baby greens, this meal was a winner!

what you'll need...

1 medium-large eggplant
1 avocado
2 plum tomatoes
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp grated or shredded parmesan
olive oil
salt & pepper

preheat your oven to 375-400 degrees

1. slice eggplant into 1/4-1/2 in slices.  try your best to keep them uniform, so they cook evenly.

2. lightly coat a baking tray with olive oil and lay out eggplant slices side by side.  mix 1 tbsp garlic with a bit of olive oil, and brush slices.  season with salt and pepper.

3. cook eggplant for 10-15 minutes, and then flip the slices - the underside should be nicely golden brown.  cook for another 10 min or so.  keep an eye on them so they don't burn!

4. in the meantime, roughly chop the tomatoes and avocado and mix together.  season with the remainder of the garlic and a bit of salt and pepper.

5. once the eggplant is done cooking, sprinkle the slices with parmesan - the hot slices will begin to melt the cheese - yum!

serve over baby greens, and feel free to add in other toppings like chopped nuts, minced red onion, or whatever else sounds good to you : )

bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

bringing balance back

credit {here}
in last week's post, i talked about how things can spiral out of control (or at least feel as if they are) when we let negative emotions get the better of us.  negative thoughts breed more of the same, so it's easy to find yourself stuck in a rut.

it's funny how when we're stressed, or frustrated, or angry, we often let other aspects of our life - not just our emotions - get out of whack too.  we don't eat as well, we skip going to yoga class, and we toss and turn all night running through our to-do list or replaying events from the day.  sound familiar?

to bring balance back to your life, sometimes working from the outside-in is the best approach.  instead of getting down on yourself for feeling blue, take better care of yourself.  be gentle and kind.  as if you're your own best friend.

start your day with a few moments of quiet, whether you're lying in bed or seated.  take some deep breaths, and feel how the breath begins to settle - and balance - the body.  then, feed yourself a balanced breakfast like overnight oats or a scrambled egg to get your body going.  if your usual breakfast is sugary cereal, a bagel or donut, or nothing at all, feeding yourself a wholesome breakfast can be a real treat (in a different kind of way). 

continue to move purposefully throughout your day, with the intention not to rush.  whatever you're working on or talking about - be there.  give yourself the gift of presence.  if you can, take the time to do something you love that may even feel a bit selfish - read your favorite magazine, go to that awesome yoga or pilates or zumba class that you haven't been to in months, or take a luxurious bubble bath.  often when we feel off-balance, it's because too much of our energy is focused outward, and we get burnt out.  instead, turn-in, and see if balance begins to find you.  to complete your day, make a real dinner (no frozen lean cuisine, please), and sit at the table to enjoy it.  i guarantee that after a day or two of what i've prescribed, you'll feel balanced, calm and at peace.

in yoga we talk about the balance of effort and ease.  no pose should be all work, or all chillin' out.  there should be a balance - an ebb and flow.  life's like that too.  you need the yin and the yang for the sense of balance to come.  and, just to clarify, we're talking about "balance" in the fluid, breathing, moving sense - not in the static, holding sense of the word. 

i know the tips i mentioned above may seem obvious, but the truth is, even through we all know to some degree what will bring us greater balance and peace, so often we still don't do it.  we all need a little reminder sometimes to take time for ourselves, feed our bodies well, and move them a little bit, too.  simple practices such as these can really make a world of difference.

feeling more balanced yet?...

meditation for your journal or cushion:
what is something that you continue to do that you know takes you out of balance?
what is one thing you can do today that will bring you a sense of calm and balance?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

foodie: birthday egg strata

craig's birthday was last friday, so for saturday morning breakfast, i thought it would be nice to have a yummy, home cooked meal.  craig adores anything will eggs for his morning meal, so i decided to make a strata (i.e. an egg casserole with veggies and cheese).  the great thing about a strata is that you can make it a day or two in advance and then just reheat it the morning of!

here's what you'll need...

1 loaf of bread (i used rosemary focaccia)
8-10 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese (i used an italian blend, but something sharp like swiss, gruyere or cheddar would work well too)
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 zucchini
1 packet knorr bearnaise sauce, prepared with heavy cream
2 tbsp rosemary and thyme, chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil

preheat oven to 375.

1. chop and saute veggies in olive oil until tender and lightly caramelized.  season with salt and pepper.

2. roughly tear bread into 1 inch cubes and put 1/2 into a buttered casserole dish.

3. top with veggies and 1/2 of cheese, and then add in the remainder of the bread.

4. mix eggs with bearnaise and chopped herbs and pour over bread mixture.  press bread with the back of a wooden spoon to make sure it soaks up the egg mixture well.

5. top strata with remainder of cheese, a few more herbs and salt & pepper.

6. bake for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and bubbly.

if you're making the strata in advance, allow to cool completely and then cover and put in the fridge.  to reheat, put in oven on 275-300 degrees for approximately 1 hour.

as you can see, this recipe lends itself to improvisation - so have fun with it and make it your own.

bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

there's just too much to do!

this past week was just one of those weeks where it felt like there wasn't enough hours in a day.  i constantly felt 2 steps behind, as simple tasks turned out to be not-so-simple at all.  don't you love it when things that you believe should only take minutes, take far longer, or, better yet, don't work out at all?  and i noticed, that the more i let stuff get to me, the more things arose that i found agitating.  coincidence?....i think not...
when sh*t hits the fan. credit {here

the thing is that your reaction to life's events will affect experiences that come up for you later that day, that week or even that month or year.  and, the more you dwell on the things you wish wouldn't be a part of your life, the more you attract them to yourself.  ever notice that?

well the good news is that it's all within your power to change.  instead of focusing on how "nothing's going your way", and getting peeved when the woman in line in front of you at CVS recruits the only cashier to help her print out photos, you can choose to breathe your way through it, let it go, and perhaps even bring a subtle smile to your face.  (easier said than done, i know.)

if you're having a rough week, and are rolling your eyes at what i just said about smiling and letting it go, just take a brief moment to consider your experience with this phenomenon.  did you ever notice that when things are going to sh*t and you lose it, that generally more things tend to go to sh*t and you lose it even more?  it's a self-perpetuating cycle.  on the other hand, when you're feeling positive and happy, more positive, happy things come your way.  hmmm.....

the truth is that like attracts like.  if you're putting out crappy energy and negative thoughts, crappy, negative things will be more drawn to you.  but, if you choose (yes, it is a choice) to look on the bright side, and let things roll off your back, less agitating events will come your way.  and ultimately only good things will be drawn to you.  very cool.

i'm not telling you to take my word for it.  give it a try yourself.  play with it.  and let me know how it goes.

meditation for your journal or cushion:
when you're feeling particularly negative, do you notice that more negative things come your way?
when you're happy, do you notice that you attract more positive things?

Friday, April 6, 2012

happy 25th, handsome!

today is my handsome husband's 25th birthday! in honor of his 1/4 century of existence, i've planned a romantic weekend getaway for the two of us to a b&b that we visited when we were first dating. 

below is the powerpoint i created to deliver the gift : ) 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

foodie: cauliflower steaks

the past few weeks, every time i go to the grocery store, i come home with a head of cauliflower.  this vegetable that i used to despise as a child has now become one of my new favorites to play cook with.  it's mild, tender flesh is buttery and is a great "vehicle" for a number of flavors.  a few days ago, craig and i had my sister, hannah, over for dinner, and i was inspired by a recipe that i saw on martha stewart's show earlier that day - cauliflower steaks.  using martha's recipe for inspiration, i added my own twist to it to create a yummy meal that was both delicious and satisfying!

what you'll need...

1 head cauliflower
olive oil

1. from the cauliflower head, cut four 3/4-inch-thick "steaks". (save the end pieces for another meal.)

2. in a large skillet, heat approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. once oil is hot, add 2 cauliflower steaks, sprinkle with salt and curry, cover, and cook until the underside of the steaks is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  next, flip the steaks, season with salt and curry, cover, and cook until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

3. transfer the steaks onto a baking sheet, loosely tent with foil, and keep warm in the oven until you're ready to enjoy them.

4. repeat the process with another tablespoon oil and the remaining 2 cauliflower steaks.

reviewing martha's recipe
i served our "steaks" over couscous and topped them with a roasted red pepper and caramelized onion chutney.  they were delicious!!!

credit {here}

bon appetit : )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

trust your gut

credit {here}
recently, my husband and i were looking into purchasing a home.  we convinced ourselves that we had “outgrown” the cottage that we’ve called home for the past 2 and a half years, and were in need of a bigger place where we could really start living.  we put in an offer on a home that was a pretty good deal – a short sale that met 80% of our must-haves.  though a few things were missing, we trudged forward, putting in an offer, negotiating, and eventually getting an accepted offer.  the funny thing is, at different points along the way, we both had doubts  - wondering if this was truly the right thing to do at this point in time.  when we finally talked about it, and crafted a good, old-fashioned pros and cons list, we were finally able to see that this was not the right decision for us at this point in time.

if we got the house, we would be house-rich, cash-poor.  we’d have a cute place to entertain friends, but no money to do so.  not much fun.  our monthly expenses would be significantly higher, and we would  be barely able to save; not to mention, there would be no date night outs or weekends away for quite some time.  so, even though our cottage (which we’re lucky enough to own) is a bit small, it affords us so much more than the new place possibly could.

sometimes, there’s real value in honoring that subtle feeling that surfaces in your gut.  that deep-seated wisdom that gently nudges you in the right direction, but unfortunately it’s so easy to ignore.  craig and i both felt it – our inner “knowing” was letting us know that purchasing this place might not be the best idea for us, but we both suppressed it initially.  instead, favoring the thought process that we should get a bigger house now that we’re married. 

my yoga teachers are always saying to “honor your wisdom”, “listen to your inner knowing”, “trust your body”, and i try my best to do so while on my yoga mat, but this off-the-mat, real life lesson has enlightened me to the applicable power of this teaching.  once we “trusted our guts”, and walked away from the deal, craig and i both felt instantly lighter.  and that lightness only comes when you know you are truly aligned with what is best for you and for others.

because we honored our inner wisdom, we now will be able to save substantially for a bigger, better place in a few years, have money for the future (i.e. kids, retirement, investments), travel to all kinds of awesome places, and still enjoy date nights out.  and, for us, spending time together doing things we enjoy is what makes our life beautiful! 

next time your gut tells you something, try listening for a change – you may be surprised by the doors it can open for you.

meditation for your journal or cushion:
what does your “gut feeling” feel like in your body?
when was the last time you listened to your gut?  did it pay off?

Related Posts with Thumbnails