Surrounded by Love

Happy Friday Folks!

I am looking forward to a fun filled fall weekend with friends and family! There is lots on tap for this weekend: gym, farmers market, pumpkin/apple picking, wine tasting, costume making, a halloween party and of course a little yoga!

Image I found this photo on an acroyoga site (link included if you click the photo) and felt it embodied this idea that’s been swirling around my mind and came up again yesterday during another inspiring lunch with Kristin Ritter.

Kristin has been an incredible asset during my journey and is a constant cheerleader for all I am looking to accomplish. We spoke about how supportive friends and family can be but also the challenges that crop up in those relationships. Family and friends love and support you doing whatever makes you happy but might not always be on the same page or agree with everything you have to say, which is TOTALLY OKAY…

BUT that’s why important to surround yourself with like minded people too! When you start to feel like the crazy health nut its paramount to have a circle of people who are trying to accomplish the same things as you – it helps keep you inspired!

No matter what its all love, just in different ways!

Surround yourself with love each and every day!

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Seasonal Soup

Happy Hump Day! Nothing spells rainy day comfort food like butternut squash soup! This season is about embracing all that fall has to offer, and today’s homemade butternut squash soup with spicy tofu and rosemary toasted walnuts is no exception!

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I wish I was better at taking pictures during the cooking process (I’m working on it) because I had a lot of fun coming up with this concoction!

I used butter (2tablespoons), onions(half-minced), shallots(one minced), garlic(3 cloves minced), carrots (1 cup shredded), ginger (1 tablespoon grated), white wine (1 cup), stock (5-6 cups), butternut squash(1 1/2 med-large squash peeled, cubed, lightly roasted), seasonings (1tbsp cumin, 1/2 tbsp coriander, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp cinnamon), salt, pepper, and 1% milk (3 cups) for the soup.

Starting with the butter, onion, shallot and garlic until they cooked down a little, then adding the carrots, followed by the white wine and seasonings. After the base was well combined, I added the stock and shortly after the squash. I let this simmer on the stove for an hour before blending the mixture in batches until smooth. I then added it to the 3 cups of warm milk on the stove top, let that simmer for about 30 more minutes, and canned the silky soup into 16oz mason jars.

For the tofu, I dried and cubed a block of extra firm tofu, seasoned it similarly (adding a bit of cayenne, chili powder and paprika), and baked @ 400 for 25-30 minutes. I tossed raw walnuts in some salt, cayenne, ginger, rosemary and olive oil to toast for about 10 minutes @350 after I finished the tofu.

The combo of textures as well as sweet, spicy and savory flavors makes for a delightfully decadent dish! I love playing with textures and flavor compliments and this soup is fun filled as well as nutritionally fortified!

Snag a spoon and sink into some sensational seasonal soup…enjoy!

Snooze Struggles

Its Tuesday on week two of my ‘body back’ journey and workout one for the week is complete; though I barely made it! I used to be able to roll out of bed and walk down the street (literally a block) to my Tuesday morning spin class but since I’ve moved its more like a 5-7 minute drive (or 25 minute walk).

I made it onto the bike and starting pedaling by 6:03am…not EXACTLY on time but I was there so I am counting it as a win, especially with all my snooze struggles this morning!Image

I hit the snooze button 3x this morning, totaling 24 minutes and surely angering my boyfriend who both hates every alarm tone I use and the fact I can never get out of bed…sorry Phil!

Am alone in my snooze struggles??!?! I’m going to start putting my alarm in the bathroom so I’m forced to get up to turn it off…hopefully this won’t lead to me just grabbing it, hitting snooze and climbing back into bed, hahaha, but we’ll see!

Anyway, spin felt great and I am happy to be kicking off week two well! I feel stronger with each workout and look forward to a few weeks from now when I will be back into my routine!

Market Mornings

Happy Monday! What a wonderful weekend! The weather this weekend was fabulous – perfectly crisp and autumnal! Though the weekend had a lot of highlights – dinner at a lovely French restaurant, brunch at a seasonal farm to table favorite, quality time with my marvelous man, etc.. – my favorite part of almost every weekend is Saturday morning at the farmers market! Image

I should have taken some shots myself this weekend but I pulled this from an awesome Philadelphia website  that did a spotlight on the Rittenhouse Farmers Market not too long ago.

There is always an energetic buzz around the market no matter what the weather’s like and vendors from all over the greater Philadelphia area bring the farm to the city! There is something about putting a face with the food that makes every bite that much better!

Everyone always has a smile, offers insight into their process – for everyone there its a passion, not a job, and it shows! I can’t think of a better way to kick off my weekend than a stroll through the farmers market stocking up on organic, seasonal, local produce!

I love my market mornings!

Balance Back…

YogaI wasn’t setting the world on fire at yoga class last night,  but I definitely feel like I am getting my balance back.

My Thursday class is a higher difficulty than my Tuesday class so I was seriously concerned heading in. I’ve been attending this class regularly for awhile and was nervous I wouldn’t be able to keep up!

I was pleased to see there were a ton of new faces in class….not too many people who would judge me if I couldn’t quite get into full lotus. I know, I know, yoga isn’t about judgment or whose better than who but come on, its inevitable to some degree.

As we began to flow I felt the resistance in my joints, the strain in my muscles and the general discomfort that comes along with trying to force your body to do something it isn’t ready to do. Instead of getting frustrated, I just backed off and allowed my body to slowly warm up. As my internal fire increased, things became easier and my shaky balance steadied.

By the end I was feeling strong and even though I didn’t hold all my warrior 3’s for as long as I should of, practice was absolutely a success!

2 down, 1 more to go….

Let Them Eat Meat

Happy Friday Folks!

As a fun little experiment, I cooked my boyfriend a yummy steak dinner…Image The only reason I have chosen to mention this is because I haven’t eaten meat in over a decade! Yes, this 12+yr vegetarian decided the carnivorous man in her life deserved some meat for keeping a mostly vegetarian diet, without complaint, since we started dating!

Now this isn’t just any steak, no no no…after all the lectures and videos in school I don’t feel right buying anything other than organic, grass fed beef.

And will you look at that PERFECT med/rare…Image

..if you couldn’t tell, I am quite pleased with myself!

Now, I’m not going to stand on my virtual soapbox and go off about how, as a society, we consume way too much animal protein and the methods employed to keep up with the demand are unethical, unimaginably cruel, and harmful for both the consumer and the consumed because I myself am not pure. In a pinch I buy regular eggs, milk and butter which all contribute to the same practices. However, just like anything else, I believe we should enjoy responsibly and in moderation!

Everyone’s body needs something different…what is amazingly delicious nourishment for some if disgusting, deadly poison for others.

Figure out what your body needs and enjoy…

On my way…

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The weekend is almost here and I am in a particularly good mood because I got a great workout in this morning! Even though I incorporated my alarm into my dream resulting in a few more hits to the snooze button then I wanted, I still made it to the gym a few minutes before 6am.

The beginning was a little rough: ‘Why am I doing this? My body hurts!’  were the thoughts swirling in my head for several minutes but with a quick flip of the Pandora station, I got into a groove. After about an hour I wanted to do more but that thing called a job, and the shower required to show up, was calling my name!

I am going to start taking pictures once a week…not to be posted until I see actual results…as an additional motivation and encouragement. I am already feeling better after a few days which helps me know I am on my way!

We’ll see how yoga goes tonight!