Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012

Really, isn't a new year actually just the next day? Life goes on and every day is a new day. Somehow though it always means a time for reflection and dreams. What do we want our lives to be? What kind of person do we want to be? What changes do we want to make happen? I've been giving a lot of thought to both sides of this - both my personal goals, and questioning why 1/1/12 is all that different from 12/31/11 - it's really just a new day. Something we get every single morning! Still, I've taken the prompt of a fresh new year to reflect and have in mind things I'd like to do and goals for becoming the person I'd like to be. Whether I will get there in 2012 or not, I'm not so concerned about, but it is nice to have a clear mind about where I'd like to go.
  • I'd like to continue to find ways to support and inspire others in their own healthy goals - whether it's weight loss, healthy eating and cooking, or improving themselves in other ways. This may be in a public way or in a personal one, it might be big, or it might be a kind word or two of encouragement.
  • Define a way of being for myself and do my best to practice it every day - this is huge! Being present in the moment, not comparing myself to others, being kind to myself, being confident, not making assumptions, being positive, being compassionate, patient and listen.
  • Practice my own healthy lifestyle - eating whole foods that will improve my body and health and being mindful of what I put in my body; practicing yoga every day (or as often as I can!); cardio 2x week (jazzercise, walking, running).
  • Attend a Level 1 Baptiste Yoga Bootcamp in 2012 - both for the personal experience and growth in my practice, and to work toward becoming a teacher.
  • Run a 5k this year. I've never been a runner, but have enjoyed the challenge and feeling of accomplishment the times I've pushed myself to run further. I will need to train when the weather gets nicer, but I'm confident I can do this.
  • Lose the rest of the excess weight I'm still carrying around. I don't want to put a definite number on it for now, but it's at least 20lbs.
  • Simplify our lives. (I know, my new Iphone 4s is a step in the other direction since it's added a larger phone bill and created even more dependancy on technology, but it has also brought me much joy!) I'd like to continue to go through items in our house to sell or donate and make concious decisions in buying anything new.
  • Be mindful of our spending and saving. We both want to go to a bootcamp this year and a vacation would be wonderful too - to the tune of several thousand dollars. My goal is to put my entire paycheck into savings so we are only living on Thad's and put away $1000 each month of his into a longer term savings.
  • Create and keep to a schedule of cleaning and organizing our home.
  • Meal plan each week and shop specifically for what we will eat. Take the time to plan when meals must be made in advance so we are not tempted to spend unnecessary $ on meals out, waste food we have at home, or eat unhealthfully.
  • Make time for each other and for friends. Stay in contact with long distance family. I think I do pretty well with this, but it's something I'd like to be sure to keep in mind.
  • Volunteer. Help make a difference in someone else's life, whether it's someone I know, for a local organization, or donating to organizations that are improving lives in the world.
  • Record life! I'd like to blog more often and take photos more often because I think there is much to learn about ourselves by looking back and seeing where we've been, in order to understand more clearly where we are today.
  • Read a book each month about either yoga or personal growth

Friday, December 30, 2011

Torta Caprese

I went looking for a fabulous Italian dessert to serve to friends along with my Kale Lasagna. And I found it! a flourless chocolate cake, called Torta Caprese. This recipe was from a blogger who shared recipes from her favorite meals while in Italy. Unbelievable! and made better served with Talenti Sea Salt Caramel gelato on the side.


Torta Caprese
serves 12

Ingredients:
  • 9 ounces (255 g) good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used Intense Dark 72% cacao bars by Ghiradelli)
  • 1 cup (225 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (25 g) cocoa powder (I used Hershey's special dark cocoa powder)
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 ¼ cup (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups ground blanched and toasted almonds
  • 6 eggs, room temperature

Directions:
    1. Toast the almonds in a dry pan on top of the stove or at a high heat in the oven. Grind them in a food processor.
    2. Preheat oven to 310°F and line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
    3. Combine chocolate and butter in a microwavable bowl. Use melt chocolate function on microwave to melt chocolate. Be sure to stop it and stir along the way. (of course you could also melt it with a double boiler or very low heat and a heavy pan, but this works great for me with my microwave) 
    4. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together the melted chocolate mixture, the cocoa powder, almond extract and sugar until combined. 
    5. Add the ground almonds and whisk until combined.  
    6. Add the eggs one at a time, adding each egg after the first has been incorporated into the mixture. 
    7. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan.  Make sure the mixture is level and smooth on top.  Bake for 50 minutes. (start checking it at 45 minutes, it should be firm in the middle).  
    8. Cool, flip cake over onto cake plate and serve with chocolate spirals or shavings and powdered sugar.  Serve with gelato or whipped cream. 



    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    2011 Photo Shoot

    This year we did a photo shoot for our Christmas card around town in South Lyon. These photos were done by our neighbor, Jackie, in early December. Izzie tried to be cooperative and at least we got one nice one with her looking at the camera! (the bottom one is the one we used for our cards)







    Carrot Citrus Juice

    Usually it's smoothies in the morning and they're always green. However, it's Christmas and this juice sounded like the perfect complement to the Gingerbread waffles I made. It was! YUM! Will definitely make again. Have I said lately how much I love my Vitamix?


    Carrot Citrus Juice
    makes 3 large glasses

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup cold water
    • 5 clementines, peeled
    • 1 apple, cored and sliced (peel on)
    • 1 inch thick slice of pineapple (core included)
    • 2 medium carrots, chopped
    • 2 cups ice cubes
    Directions:
    1. Add ingredients to Vitamix in order listed.
    2. Blend at high speed for 1 minute (start at variable 1 and increase)
    Nutrition:
    123 calories, .4g fat, 30mg sodium, 564mg potassium, 31g carb, 4.6g fiber, 22g sugar, 2.3g protein


    Gingerbread Waffles

    Christmas morning means a special breakfast! Thad, Cindy and I enjoyed Gingerbread Waffles this morning (and this recipe made enough for us to enjoy them again tomorrow!). You could call them wholesome, but probably not particularly healthy with the stick of butter in there. This recipe is adapted from a blog who adapted the recipe from Rachel Ray.



    Gingerbread Waffles
    makes 12 square waffles on my Cuisinart waffle maker

    Ingredients:

    • 3 cups unbleached white ultra grain flour (something new I bought at Costco and have been using in all my baking this month)
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2/3 cup Sucanat (you could use brown sugar)
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (you could use almond milk or any kind of milk)
    • 1/3 cup molasses
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
    Directions:
    1. Preheat waffle iron
    2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk and set aside.
    3. In your stand mixer bowl, beat the eggs and Sucanat until they are fluffy. Next beat in the pumpkin, buttermilk, molasses, and melted butter.
    4. Stir the dry ingredients into the mixture until just moist. Do not overstir. 
    5. Spray your waffle iron with nonstick spray or brush a little butter. Use a 1/2 cup measurer to scoop mix into each square on iron. It will be thick, I used the back of a wooden spoon to spread it out. Cook until crisp/browned.
    6. Serve with toppings of your choice - I used walnuts, butter and 100% maple syrup. 

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Christmas Dinner Recipes

    Christmas Dinner Recipes

    Almost a repeat of Thanksgiving, but have changed up a few things:
    • cranberry sauce - I found one on Whole Foods that used clementines and whole cinnamon I wanted to try, so it's on the stovetop right now!
    • Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus by Giada De Laurentiis - makes the perfect Turkey every time. Thad has mastered making turkeys and this is his go to recipe.
    • Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes by Pioneer Woman - it's a given! Thankfully Thad has now mastered this recipe and pretty much makes it on his own. We make them the night before, put in crock and today they'll just warm up all afternoon and be ready for dinner.
    • Mushroom Stuffing with Shallots and Fresh Herbs by Whole Foods Market - everyone loved this recipe at Thanksgiving so it's now my staple stuffing recipe! This time I used a loaf of high 5 fiber bread from Great Harvest, cubed it up the night before and left it out to 'crouton' up!
    • Squash Bisque Soup - instead of making sweet potato anything, I opted for soup!
    • Roasted Asparagus - just roasted in oven with olive oil, salt and pepper
    • Cindy's chocolate pie - Thad's favorite! I now have the recipe, will post soon!

    Florida Pre-Christmas visit

    Since Thad couldn't take time off, I went to visit my family for a week before Christmas. The weather was beautiful and I got to spend a lot of time with my niece and nephew. Got yoga in twice, and even ran 2.33 miles (longest I've ever run continuously without walking in between!). Did some Christmas shopping, made a gingerbread house, wrapped presents at my parents, had a party at my parents house, and went for a walk on the beach. A very busy and fun filled week that flew by! Here's a few photos from the week:

    Christmas music on arrival at the airport in Ft Lauderdale

    Avery with her berry smoothie at my favorite Whole Foods

    silly! Brandon & Avery

    PJ Day at School

    PJ Day at School

    Wrapped presents at my parents'

    Bonfire and Smores at Christmas hayride

    Avery & Julia with Santa

    Avery playing soccer

    Santa and palm trees at Brian & Debbie's house

    Avery and me at the beach

    oh how I love the ocean!

    Debbie & Avery

    Perfect sand for playing in, it wasn't hot!

    Gingerbread chalet

    Expert decorators!

    Avery was so excited to use her EZ Bake oven we got her

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Christmas Baking



    Christmas Baking 2011

    Candy Cane Kiss Cookies - using the small Pampered Chef scoop, this recipe made 6 dozen cookies for me. This means buying two bags of the Hershey's candy cane kisses. (45 in one red container in downstairs freezer)

    Pecan Sandies - I doubled the recipe, used 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour, and ended up with 52 cookies using the small Pampered Chef scoop, baking for 13 minutes. I did end up chilling the dough after having some cookies spread too much. Ended up with too many 'mistake' cookies with this batch. Maybe subbing that much of the flour was a mistake! they are yummy though.


    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip with Fleur de Sel - one of my most requested cookies! I know it doesn't scream holidays, but they are SO good, I only make them at the holidays. Chocolate and sea salt - such an amazing combination! I doubled the recipe and used my large Pampered Chef cookie scoop. It made 48 cookies.

    Snickerdoodles - believe it or not, this recipe is from Cooking Light. Thad declared them his favorite cookie. Using the small pampered chef scoop, you can get 64 cookies out of a double batch (5 min in oven). Using a large scoop you can get 30 cookies out of a double batch. (7 min in oven) I made some of each size this time - the big ones to save for Thad to snack on.



    Molasses Cookies - I've been making this recipe for about 15 years!  This time I used the small Pampered Chef scoop and it made 36 cookies. (usually I make them smaller and get 5 dozen).


    Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread - yes, 4 sticks of butter! that's why they melt in your mouth. Using small Pampered Chef scoop, this recipe made about 6 dozen small cookies.


    Pistachio & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - a new recipe for me that I printed out last year and never made. They are crispy and chewy at the same time - which makes for a perfect cookie in my book! Using the small Pampered Chef scoop this recipe made 42 cookies. They baked perfectly at 9 minutes for me. Since I was almost out of pistachios (after the ones that went in the dough) I used just a couple on top of each cookie for garnish. Next time I'd do more like they did with the original recipe.


    Coconut Jays - with coconut, butter, powdered sugar, cherries and chocolate, you just can't go wrong! another favorite every year, it's really more a candy than a cookie. This time I used some bittersweet chocolate rather than unsweetened chocolate, so the chocolate was a little different consistency. I don't think anyone will complain though! A double batch made 44 cookies using the small Pampered Chef scoop.


    Chocolate Rolo Cookies - this batch made 48 cookies using the small Pampered Chef scoop. I had a great helper, my neighbor's daughter, Savannah. Baked perfectly in 8 minutes.


    Noel Nut Balls - Martha Stewart hasn't steered me wrong when it comes to cookies. These use pecans and bourbon and lots of butter! yum! Made 36 of them, maybe a little on the large side, and I know I definitely need to make another batch!


    Super Easy Fudge - seriously, super easy!


    Belgian Waffle Cookies - this recipe is from a family friend, however I used a pizzelle iron for it. photo shown before powdered sugar is sprinkled on top before serving.
    Recipe:
    1 lb butter
    6 eggs
    1 T vanilla
    1 tsp salt
    2 1/2 cups Sugar
    4 1/2 cups flour
    (note - I used 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups white sugar instead)

    there were no written directions, but basically - let butter soften, then whip it in your mixer with the sugar. add in eggs and vanilla and mix again. in separate bowl combine flour and salt, then gradually add to sugar/butter/egg mixture, mixing just to combine. Then put in either plastic wrap or in a bowl with a lid and chill for at least 6 hours. Then heat your iron and put small balls of dough in center of each cookie spot on the iron (mine has 3). Press down and the iron will tell you when they're done. I use a small plastic spoon to peel them off the iron and put on cookie rack to cool. I also try to cut off excess around each one so they look better, but messy tastes just as good! 

    White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - a new cookie for me this year. Delicious and pretty too :) Using Small Pampered Chef scoop, made 42 cookies, baked in 12 minutes.


    Raspberry Pinwheel Cookies - This is the first time I made a cookie of this type and we all loved them! buttery, crispy, and you can taste the nuts, coconut and jam. 

    Nanaimo Bars - These were AMAZING! OMG I could not stop eating them. Gone so fast that I didn't even get a photo. Okay, not really, but still, no photo!


    Peanut Butter Dog Treats - can't forget our best friends! 

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Squash Bisque

     I wanted to make this soup but my Thanksgiving menu was already full. Today we roasted a squash (a HUGE one) that we had gotten at the farmer's market this fall. I have probably 24 cups of puree now in the fridge! So, I threw together this bisque tonight for lunch tomorrow. Of course we tasted it, and it's delicious! spicy and flavorful! Even better, it's from the inspiring Kris Carr (crazysexylife.com). This recipe was a contribution to the NYTimes. I've adapted it for squash instead of pumpkin, used white wine instead of sherry and yellow onions instead of white (it's what I had). I also used regular garlic and sauteed it with the onions, I'm sure roasted garlic would add even more depth to the flavor.


    Squash Bisque
    makes 6 cups
    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups squash
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 cup yellow onions, diced
    • 3 cups vegetable stock
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • Cracked black pepper, to taste
    • Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
    • Pumpkin seed oil for garnish (optional)

    Directions:
    1. Steam or boil the pumpkin or squash until tender.
    2. Sauté onions over medium heat in olive oil until translucent. Add minced garlic and sautee 1 more minute.
    3. Using a high-speed blender, combine pumpkin, onions, stock, garlic, wine, maple syrup and spices and blend until smooth.
    4. Warm soup in saucepan. Serve hot, garnished with pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil, if desired.
    Yield: 4 servings.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Thanksgiving

    We had a really nice day yesterday! So much cooking was done in advance and in the morning that there was plenty of time to watch the parades on TV, watch Miracle on 34th Street (one of my favorite movies!) and even start reading a new book. Thad and I were happy to have Vern and her mom join us for dinner. They arrived with gravy and rolls from Rocky's (still warm!). It was strange to have a holiday without my parents and aunt here, but we still had a great day and I was happy to know they were enjoying themselves in Florida with my brother's extended family.

    My plan for dinner turned out really well - the only thing I didn't make was the healthy mashed potatoes. With 5lbs of the PW ones, I felt like I should eat those instead of potentially wasting food - and I was kinda sick of all the cooking and dishes! I would actually say that the Alton Brown green bean casserole was loved more than the Pioneer Woman recipe I made last year - so it's the new keeper! And this recipe from Whole Foods for stuffing turned out to be the best I'd ever had.

    One thing that really made the day go smoothly was using the 3 crockpot server my parents bought us last year.  The potatoes heated up and stayed warm, and the stuffing and green bean casserole went into the other two as soon as they were made. All were kept warm until dinner which meant as soon as the turkey was ready, all the food was still hot!




    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Thanksgiving Recipes

    I've been sharing a few of my favorite recipes with friends over the past few days. We've been hosting Thanksgiving for many years now and have several tried and true favorites. I always like to try something new each year too. This year will be a small Thanksgiving for us - now that my parents are in Florida, it's just Thad and me, and we're having Vern and her mom over as well. I don't really know how to cook a 'small' Thanksgiving, so we will have a lot of leftovers (I don't think I'll hear any complaints!). We did get a small Turkey this year though, and luckily Thad is the one that cooks it! I probably won't be eating any of it since I don't eat meat anymore, but I have tons of delicious sides to enjoy!

    Thanksgiving Recipes:


    • Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus by Giada De Laurentiis - in years past we've tried brining with Williams Sonoma's mix, and while excellent, this recipe by Giada got more rave reviews AND was easier too! Amazing aroma with the fresh herbs and citrus.
    • Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes by Pioneer Woman - full of creamy high fat deliciousness, these are worthy of a once a year holiday - and trust me, make them the day before, put in a casserole and just reheat the big day with some more butter on top - heaven!
    • Best Ever Green Bean Casserole by Alton Brown - I made this one a couple years ago and everyone loved it. It's pretty quick to make yet no soup is involved. I do sub French's fried onions for the panko bread crumbs in the topping though because everyone expects them. My favorite recipe ever for green bean casserole though would actually be Pioneer Woman's Green Bean Casserole - but it takes a bit more work, and uses bacon which I'm no longer eating. If you have the time and want to go all out, definitely give it a try, you won't regret it!
    • Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce by Pioneer Woman - I'm using her recipe as a base, but adding in 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8tsp ground cloves and 1/8tsp ground allspice and a pinch of kosher salt, from a recipe I used last year from thegalleygourmet.net.
    • Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Kale by Two Peas and Their Pod - this is a NEW recipe I'm trying this year and I have high hopes for it - it has all my favorites - quinoa, sweet potatoes, kale - so it has to be delicious! It's also a healthy recipe which I feel good about having on the table. I'm a savory sweet potato fan and never liked the overly sweetened versions of sweet potato recipes.
    • Mushroom Stuffing with Shallots and Fresh Herbs by Whole Foods Market - this is another new recipe I'm trying, but Whole Foods hasn't failed me yet! I wanted something vegetarian that didn't use bacon or sausage, and I love mushrooms and hearty bread. I'm using some fresh whole grain bread cube/croutons I bought at Whole Foods along with some sourdough bread I got at a local bakery (Blue Apron).
    • Healthy Mashed Potatoes by fANNEtastic food - I wanted to have a healthier alternative, even if I'm the only one that eats them! I have not been a fan of cauliflower in the past, so this is a 'new' thing for me, I'm willing to try!
    • Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie by Martha Stewart - I've been making this recipe for a few years now and  it is absolutely delicious - and super easy too! I shortcut and buy whole wheat frozen pie crust shells at Whole Foods, but have also made the crust from scratch before too. 
    • Pecan Pie aka The Pie That'll Make You Cry by Pioneer Woman - truly, it's so good it might bring tears to your eyes. This pie is the reason for healthy mashed potatoes being on my menu!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Let your light shine!

    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  - Marianne Williamson


    I ran across this quote this evening and just had to share. 


    Let your light shine!

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Stuffing Stuffed Squash

    One of my favorite recipes last fall was a stuffed Moroccan Acorn Squash - however it used ground beef and I'm no longer eating meat. I ran across this recipe on fakefoodfree.com and decided to make it tonight for dinner. Verdict = yummy! I don't think I've met a squash I didn't like. And now I may even experiment with that Moroccan acorn squash substituting some quinoa in for the ground beef. Well that will be for another day. Today I want to share with you the cranberry orange quinoa stuffed squash I made tonight. I used another kind of squash (not acorn, but shaped similarly) that I had gotten at the farmer's market last month. So, feel free to substitute almost any squash for this recipe!

    Stuffing Stuffed Squash
    serves 2

    Ingredients:

    • 1 small acorn squash or similar
    • 1 TB olive oil
    • 1 TB butter
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 2 ribs celery (or 4 ribs celery hearts), sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • zest and juice of one lemon
    • 1 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
    • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
    • 1/4 tsp celery seed
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 cup cubed dried bread/croutons (I used whole wheat)
    • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1/2 cup - 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, remove seeds. Drizzle and coat with a little olive oil Place in a greased baking dish and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Put in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
    2. In a large skillet, melt the butter and 1 TB olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Next stir in the orange zest, poultry seasoning, dry mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute.
    3. Turn off heat and add the bread cubes and cooked quinoa. Stir in the orange juice and then add the broth starting with 1/2 cup. The amount you need will depend on the type of bread you use. You want the stuffing to absorb all the liquid but be moist enough so that you can firmly stuff it into the squash. It should be able to hold its shape when pressed together.
    4. Once broth is added and absorbed, stir in the pecans and cranberries. 
    5. Once the squash has cooked for 25 minutes, remove and use a spoon to transfer the stuffing into each half and pat down. Bake for another 10-15 minutes (depending on size/type of squash - you want to be sure it gets cooked thoroughly and isnt hard, but you don't want the stuffing to burn). 
    6. Let it cool at least 5 minutes before serving, squash will be very hot! 
    This would be a great recipe to serve to company too, it's so pretty. I know, where was my camera? 

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Amazing Weekend!

    Thad and I with Clara, who Thad met at Level 1 training last month
    We got home yesterday from an amazing weekend spent in Chicago. Although really it's not the location that made it amazing - while Chicago is a great city and we enjoyed spending time in such a vibrant place, it was amazing because of the people and community we shared it with at the Baptiste yoga immersion. I was nervous for weeks!! seriously, weeks! As in, debating in my mind (and okay, with Thad, too) if I should really be going, nervous! So much self doubt and worrying about whether I was good enough. Yes, Thad and my teachers told me that's not what it's about and I had nothing to be nervous about - but call me stubborn or perhaps just human - I needed to experience it for myself to really understand that. The day turned out to be absolutely awesome! Baron was so incredibly insightful and inspiring and I came away from the event with so much to think about and feeling so great - and feeling that energy from the inside out! I am also thankful to have been able to share the day with Thad and about a dozen people from our yoga studio. I really enjoyed getting to know them on a deeper level and sharing with them.

    The morning started with some discussion, then moved to about 4 1/2 hours of yoga practice. There were pauses in between as he stopped to demonstrate or talk about certain poses, so it was not as daunting as it sounds. I learned a great deal and only wish I was one of those people who has a photographic memory so I could rewind and see what I missed while I was thinking about one thing or another. For my practice, I came away with the concept of True North in every pose, and the awareness that it really is true that the last wheel can be your best - even after about 8 of them, that last one felt the most open! But so much of what Baron talks about is really personal development. Finding the blocks in our lives and what we can do to make transformations. I took away a real appreciation for the concept of living in the now, that the past is gone and the future hasn't happened yet. While I do think that is something I have moved towards over the past two years as our lives have gone through so much change, believing that at heart in everything you do is a step further. It was empowering to learn that so many others came there with feelings in their lives around not being good enough. It is something I have really struggled with and I think it holds me back in many ways. We talked about giving up those things that limit us - such as the concept of not being good enough. Making those statements to the world, putting it out there, helps to make you live it.

    So, I went into the weekend nervous and not feeling good enough - and came away inspired, energized, lighter inside and wanting to spend a week with Baron at bootcamp sometime next year! Yoga is so much more than the physical practice and while I 'knew' that in my mind, I now truly 'believe' it too in my heart. I also know that I wouldn't be in that place now if it weren't for my supportive and loving husband and my supportive and inspiring teachers. I would love to give the gift of this feeling to everyone I know!

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Light Pumpkin Pie Custard

    Pumpkin pie minus the guilt! This recipe makes the house smell amazing, but may try your patience as you wait for it to finish baking and then cool. It mixes up quickly though, so make it, pop it in the oven and go watch your favorite tv show. A great way to use up some extra pumpkin from another recipe too. This is another recipe adapted from bloggingoverthyme.com

    Light Pumpkin Pie Custard
    makes 2 large ramekins or 4 small

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup original almond milk (or you can use skim milk)
    • 1 whole egg
    • 1 1/2 egg whites
    • 2 1/2 TB sugar
    • heaping tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    • maple syrup
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 325F. 
    2. For large ramekins, pour 1 TB maple syrup into bottom of each and swirl to coat. For small ramekins, use 1/2 TB each.
    3. Whisk together egg, egg whites and sugar. Add pumpkin, vanilla, salt and spices. Gently whisk in milk. Pour equally into ramekins.
    4. Place ramekins into a baking dish (I used a glass pyrex 13x9 pan) and fill with boiling water until 1/4 of the side of the ramekins are covered.
    5. Bake for 60-70 minutes (for large ramekins) or 45-55 minutes (for small ramekins). They are done when the middle of the custard is set and does not wiggle when lightly tapped. Let cool completely, cover and store in refrigerator (that is if any actually make it to the refrigerator!). We enjoyed them while still warm, but they'd be just as yummy cold I'm sure!

    Healthy Carrot Pumpkin Whole Wheat Muffins

    These were so delicious, I just may need to make another batch today! On Monday I received a jumbo muffin pan that I had ordered on Amazon, and decided this was the recipe I'd try. So glad I did! There's something about jumbo size muffins that just taste better than the little ones to me - more moist perhaps? And they look like they were bought at some fancy bakery (only mine are healthier!).  Anyway, I may only make jumbo muffins from now on. This recipe is adapted from one found at bloggingoverthyme.com. They were perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert (plus they look so pretty, I surprised my yoga teacher with one.)

    Healthy Carrot Pumpkin Whole Wheat Muffins
    makes 6 large or 10-12 regular sized muffins

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
    • pinch of ground nutmeg, cloves & ginger
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 cup carrots, grated
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • 2/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar, which is a raw sugar, fewer calories, less processed, more moist, and adds a molasses-like taste similar to brown sugar. It can be substituted for white sugar in many recipes.)
    • 3 TB canola oil (next time I'm going to substitute 2 TB applesauce and 1 TB canola oil)
    • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
    • 2 eggs (next time I may use 1 egg and 2 egg whites instead)
    Directions:
    1. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
    2. In another bowl combine the carrots, raisins and walnuts.
    3. Using a mixer, combine the pumpkin, canola oil and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
    4. Reduce speed and slowly add in the flour mixture, only until dry ingredients disappear.
    5. Gently stir in carrot, walnut and raisin mixture.
    6. Divide into lightly greased muffin tin.
    7. Bake at 375 for 28-32 minutes (for jumbo muffins), or 22-25 minutes (for regular size muffins).




    Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mushrooms

    Would you believe I'd never even had split pea soup when I decided to try making this recipe? Last year I had bought some yellow split peas for another recipe I had that I never ended up making. So when I ran across this recipe I decided it was time to try them. I loved this soup (and so did a woman I work with who I shared it with!). I definitely want to make this again soon! This recipe was from elanaspantry.com.

    Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mushrooms

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup yellow split peas
    • 3 cups water
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
    • 2 TB canola oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, sliced
    • 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 quart vegetable stock
    • 1 cup kale, chopped and steamed
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    Directions:
    1. In a medium sauce pan, bring split peas, water, bay leaves and paprika to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 1 hour, until peas break apart.
    2. About 30 minutes after you get the peas on the stove, chop the veggies. Then, in a large sauce pan, heat oil and saute onion over medium low until translucent, 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until tender. Turn to low.
    3. Remove split peas from heat, discard bay leaves and place peas in Vitamix or food processor. Puree on high speed until smooth. (I added about 1 cup of the stock to the Vitamix to help it along.)
    4. Combine peas, stock, kale and salt into the onion and mushroom mixture. Heat and serve.

    Caramel Apple Bars

    One of my favorite blogs I read daily is loveveggiesandyoga.com. She has great healthy recipes and discussion about food, but she also makes no excuses for loving and making sinful desserts! I had a bunch of apples in the fridge and ran across this recipe and knew I had to make it. Apples, caramel and chocolate all together? some of my favorite things. It is delicious! I made them and after eating 3 bars, decided I had to freeze them or else! I did share with some neighbors first too :) Here's my version adapted to what I put in mine.

    Caramel Apple Bars

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or blend 1 apple in Vitamix, which is what I did with her suggestion)
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 2 cups whole rolled oats
    • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 TB cinnamon
    • 1 TB vanilla extract
    • 1 cup apples, diced and peeled
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1/3 cup raisins
    • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (ice cream topping caramel sauce works! I used Sanders')
    Directions:
    1. Combine applesauce, peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add oats, sugars, cinnamon and vanilla and stir. Fold in diced apples, white chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts. 
    2. Spread batter (very moist) into a foil lined and sprayed 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
    3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The bars may still look a little underdone but they will set up as they cool. They'll be bubbling rapidly. Let bubbling stop (about 5 min) and then carefully drizzle caramel sauce over top. Allow to cool completely before slicing. You might even put in freezer for 15-30 minutes to speed it along. Slice into bars. Store extras in fridge or freezer in airtight container. I divided layers with wax paper as the caramel sauce stays soft.

    Barley, Kale & Butternut Squash Soup

    I made several great recipes this month and have been slacking in posting them on my blog. I know I'll want to have them handy to make again, so watch for several posted today! This recipe was adapted from one at tastefoodblog.org.

    Barley, Kale & Butternut Squash Soup
    10 servings

    Ingredients:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 leeks, trimmed, green parts discarded, thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, finely diced>
    • 2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 cup barley
    • 10 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus additional stock as necessary>
    • 1 – 14 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
    • 1  2-inch chunk of rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 2 bay leafs
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 cups shredded kale leaves (from one bunch)
    • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
    Directions:
    1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. 
    2. Add leek, garlic, onion and celery. Sauté 2 minutes. 
    3. Add butternut squash and barley. Sauté one minute. 
    4. Add chicken or vegetable stock, tomatoes, cheese rind, bay leafs, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until squash is tender and barley is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning. 
    5. Stir in kale leaves; simmer until kale brights in color and just wilts, about one minute. Ladle into bowls and grate cheese over the soup. Serve immediately.
    This recipe also froze well!

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Feels like FOREVER!

    Thad comes home today! I feel like it has been forever that we've been apart. First two weeks in California, home one day, and then gone 8 days to Austin for Level 1 Baptiste Yoga teacher training. This last week has been very difficult for me, more than I anticipated. We are used to spending a lot of time together, and even when he's gone for work, we talk or email pretty frequently. While at training I talked to him for literally 2 or 3 minutes every afternoon and that was it. I tried to stay busy but still found myself with my cell phone glued to my side from 3pm on! In some ways it was exciting to have that anticipation and excitement to see his name come up on caller ID - like that feeling you have when you're just starting to date.

    I also think it's been difficult for me because I feel like I'm missing out on sharing something so big with him. We've been married 10 years and together almost 13 now and have gone through so much - always together - whether it's something exciting and positive or sad, or stressful - life changing events we've shared. I really believe that our experiences in life are what shapes us and makes us who we are. So, a lot of anticipation today about seeing him again and hearing all about the experience in the hopes of sharing it in some small way.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Become the Message

    We have to become the message and then we beam light and joy, people are attracted to it like a moth to the flame. - paraphrased from Tom Shadyac, Director of "I Am".

    This really stuck with me – we must act in line with what we believe in and open our true selves to others to make a difference. What we do reflects who we are and what we stand for. Something to remember in everything we do, every day.

    After watching a Q&A with him, I really want to see this film – it’s out on video in Dec/Jan – it’s a documentary where he asks reknowned thinkers and doers “What’s wrong with our world and what can we do about it" – with a focus on what we can do to make it better.

    He goes on to say, “You cannot believe what is waiting for you, if you walk into your passion, your truth, deeper and truer and more authentic”. So profound and inspiring!

    Harvest Ragout

    This recipe came together based on what I had in the fridge and what sounded good together to me. Figured I’d better write it down after I just devoured a bowlful!

    Harvest Ragout

    serves 3-4

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup butternut squash cubes – 1/2inch
    • 1 cup turnip cubes – 1/2 inch
    • 1-2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, halved or quartered
    • 2 stalks curly kale shredded
    • 1 yellow onion chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 14 oz can tomatoes (I used whole and chopped them)
    • 1/2-1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • olive oil

    Directions:

    1. Toss squash, mushrooms and turnips with 1/2 TB olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.
    2. Heat 1/2 TB olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Saute onions until transparent. Add in garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
    3. Add in tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, cayenne pepper and kale. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Reduce to simmer and allow kale to wilt, about 8-10 minutes.
    4. Stir in cannellini beans, mushrooms, turnips and squash. Combine well. Add in cooked quinoa. Combine. Serve and enjoy!

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Embracing Change, Again!

    Over the past couple years I’ve had to learn to embrace change, accept it and whatever new path came along with it. I actually feel a sense of freedom in knowing that I can and have done this. I won’t say I don’t have some anxiety from all the uncertainty we’ve lived with, but letting myself let go has made a huge difference for me. And more change is afoot .  . .

    After several months of wondering if Thad’s employer was going to follow through with a promotion and relocation for him, he decided to stop waiting around and put some feelers out outside the company. And so last Thursday was his last day! Next Monday he starts a new job with another company that will allow him to telecommute! I think he is going to be happier (and that makes me happy!). It also means that we will stay in Michigan for the near future at least. Many of our friends were thrilled to hear this news!

    With this decision also came the opportunity for Thad to pursue a dream. As I type he is in Austin, TX with Baron Baptiste for Level 1 yoga Teacher Training bootcamp! I am so incredibly proud of him and excited for him. And missing him terribly too! I know this will be a life changing experience for him and a part of me is sad that I am not there to share it with him. I look forward to hearing all about it in detail when he gets back.

    I know this is not the end of big changes in store for us, but I do feel it is a positive step forward and hope for more good things to be coming our way!

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

    I’m on my own this week with Thad in California for work and find it very different to cook without him here to share it. I had some pumpkin left over from the pumpkin bread I made last night so decided to whip up some pancakes this morning. The good news is that with Thad not here I have a few saved and get to have them for breakfast again tomorrow! I really love pumpkin and all the spices in these pancakes are delicious.

    This recipe is adapted from a squash pancake recipe found on the eatliverun.com blog.

    ppancakes

    Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
    serves 2

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup plus 2 TB whole wheat flour (I actually mixed some whole wheat flour with a bit of leftover buckwheat flour I had from another recipe)
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 TB melted butter
    • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, melted butter, milk and squash. Mix well.
    3. Add wet to dry and fold together til just combined. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.
    4. Heat skillet to medium, spray with cooking spray. Measure out batter with a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spread with back of spoon. Flip when pancakes have bubbles.
    5. Serve with maple syrup, banana and walnuts.

    Vinegary Coleslaw

    Last week I made a batch of black bean burgers to enjoy throughout the week for lunch. I’m always looking for something different to go with them on the side and happened across this coleslaw recipe. No mayo, not creamy, and full of flavor. Armed with a head of cabbage and a couple carrots from the local farmstand I made up a batch. Definitely will make again! This recipe is from Eating Well.

    slaw

    Vinegary Coleslaw
    serves 2

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • pinch of celery seed
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
    • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
    • 1/4 cup slivered red onion

    Directions:

    Whisk vinegar, oil, sugar, mustard, celery seed and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and onion and toss to coat.

    Nutrition:

    per 1 cup serving: 101 calories, 7g fat, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 138mg sodium, 248mg potassium

    Zucchini Basil Soup

    3 sad looking zucchini stared up at me when I opened the fridge this morning to figure out what to make for lunch. They had to be used today! I’ve been very much in a soup mood, so I went searching for some zucchini soup recipes. Found a few and came up with my own. I was a little nervous, but thrilled it turned out so yummy. It made two generous servings for lunch.


    Zucchini Basil Soup
    Ingredients:
    • 3 medium zucchini, chopped (about 1 1/4lb)
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
    • 1/3 cup basil, chopped
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 TB olive oil
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 TB lemon juice
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
    • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
    Directions:
    1. In a heavy saucepan heat oil over med-low. Saute onion until translucent, about 8 minutes.
    2. Add chopped zucchini, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Add wine and lemon juice, cover the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.
    4. Add vegetable broth, salt and pepper to taste and simmer partially covered until tender, about 10 minutes.
    5. Remove thyme stems. Pour soup into blender along with chopped basil and add milk slowly. Puree and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Possibilities

    Just open yourself to the possibilities and you will be amazed at where you can go and what you can do. It sounds so cliché, but when you truly believe it in your heart is when the world opens to you. Yoga has brought me to this place and I can only dream where it will take me. I was contemplating this last night after my yoga class. I had one of those nights where everything felt ‘on’ – whether it was or not really didn’t matter as much as how it felt to me (and that is one of the things that makes yoga so awesome!).

    A few weeks ago I was in Florida and practicing yoga at American Yoga in Deerfield Beach when at the end of a long tough class I tried for wheel – and got it! I seriously was almost in tears during savasana I was so happy. I always swore it was not enough upper body strength (and secretly thinking I still weighed too much and maybe in another 10 lbs I’ll be better able to lift myself, etc). Teachers told me it’s all in the legs. They said don’t think, just do it. I got tips on different ways to try to make it work. Legs closer in, arms wider, arms closer, try a strap, the list goes on. Well all it seemed to take was a bit of exhaustion and a ‘what the hell!’ attitude and I just went right up! And the next day I did it again. O. M. G.! Talk about feeling like I could take on the world!

    So I returned to Michigan and for one reason or another didn’t have the opportunity to do wheel in class for at least a week. I knew to not set myself up to be disappointed if I didn’t get it again, and so earlier in the week when wheel didn’t happen and felt like a struggle, I gave myself a pep talk that it would happen again, I just had to be open to it and confident. Last night I went up into wheel not once, but twice! Interestingly, after class I was talking with my teacher about it and she commented that she saw me pause and really think about it before going up into wheel – what I realized later was that I was actually pausing to talk myself out of thinking too hard about it and to just give it a shot and try to be confident that my body now remembers the pose. I was so excited, I felt like I could conquer anything after that! Taking that feeling away from my mat I’ve had just a fantastic day today. Who knew a simple yoga pose could mean so much and deliver so much? What a freeing feeling it is.

    Pumpkin Date & Walnut Bread

    This chilly wet weather has put me in a Fall baking mood. I suppose being the last day of September, you could say it’s about time! I do try to find somewhat healthier recipes, and while this may not be the healthiest, it is fairly wholesome and terribly delicious! mmm! the house smelled so delicious I could hardly wait for this bread to be done. (shhh! it was so good I even had two pieces!).

    This recipe is from honestcooking.com

    Pumpkin Date & Walnut Bread

    makes 1 loaf

    Ingredients:

    • 3/4 cup all purpose flour, unbleached
    • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon of cloves
    • 1/3 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/3 cup canola oil
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/3 cup chopped dates

    Directions:

    1. Mix all the dry ingredients (including spices) together in one bowl. Mix the milk and the vanilla together in another bowl or container.
    2. Mix the sugar and the canola oil in a mixer until it is completely blended. This will take about 2 minutes on medium speed.
    3. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the pumpkin and blend well.
    4. Add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just blended. Stir in the nuts and dates.
    5. Place in greased 9 X 5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done. Test for doneness with a toothpick, when it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs the loaf is done. This is a very moist bread.
    6. Let the loaf rest in the pan for 10 minutes or so. Remove from pans and place on cooling rack for 30 minutes before slicing.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Fresh Zucchini Tomato Herb Pasta

    As what happens often these days, this recipe started with one ingredient and a Tastespotting search. My starting ingredient was Pappardelle pasta, and I looked for anything with fresh tomatoes – after all I ended up with a mini crop of heirloom tomatoes in the garden upon my return from Florida last week! It took a bit of time to chop all the fresh herbs and prep everything, but it all went quickly once I started. The result was delicious! Recipe originally from frugivoremag.com.
    summerpasta
    Fresh Zucchini Tomato Herb Pasta
    serves 4
    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 lb heirloom tomatoes
    • 2 zucchini
    • 1/2 bag pappardelle dried pasta
    • 1 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
    • 1/4 cup red wine
    • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme, oregano and italian parsley)
    • 1 cup italian basil leaves, chopped/shredded
    • sea salt and black pepper to taste
    • ricotta cheese (about 2 TB/plate)
    Directions:
    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place tomatoes in pan for about 30 seconds, remove with slotted spoon. Allow to cool. Remove skin and chop. Set aside.
    2. Trim ends of zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler and shave zucchini vertically until the seeded core appears – discard core. Set shaved zucchini ribbons aside.
    3. Cook pappardelle pasta until al dente. Drain with cold water. Toss with 1/2 TB olive oil and zucchini shavings. Set aside.
    4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 TB olive oil. Add onions and green bell pepper. Saute until onion is translucent. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, stir for 30 seconds – do not let garlic brown or burn.
    5. Add chopped tomatoes and their juice, red wine and 1 cup of fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce to a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add in the basil and turn heat off.
    6. Place zucchini/pasta combo on plates/in bowls. Spoon tomato sauce on top. Place ricotta cheese on top of each.

    Dancing the night away!

    Friday night Thad and I went to a wedding in downtown Detroit at the historic Book Cadillac Westin for my coworker Robin. She was beautiful (as I knew she would be!) and the reception was lovely! Our tablemates were all coworkers and their husbands – a fun group of 60 and 70-somethings who drank wine and danced the night away along with us to the best wedding band ever!

    robinswedding1


    robinswedding3
    I loved my dress and my shoes!! You can’t tell here too well but they were sparkly heels – and unbelievably comfortable all night too. I’ll always look for the Kelly & Katie brand in the future – I had another pair of heels by them that were great too (another DSW find).

    robinswedding2Here’s my coworker Sue and her husband Ron. While these ladies are my coworkers, we really don’t often work together as we are all Sales Greeters – if Sue isn’t working, I am. It was so nice to get to know them better! Sue and Ron offered us their season tickets for Saturday’s Michigan football game and we made plans to go out soon.


    Detroit made such a beautiful setting for wedding photos for Robin and her husband Joe. This one in front of the Fox theatre is my absolute favorite!!
    307041_10150438715591102_812426101_10728224_2116264604_n


    Thad and I missed the ceremony since we were both working, but I love this photo too.

    311128_2409808964290_1223198043_32938317_68232914_n
    What a great evening!