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Hiking the Dipsea

Posted: May 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

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One of the goals that my study group is holding me accountable to is doing one fun exercise activity each week. This can be something new – a spin class, rock climbing, walking to some crazy new destination, etc. For this week, I chose a local bay area hike – the Dipsea – 679 steps + a 6 or so mile hike out from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. I recruited my friend Sondy, a Bay Area native, and friend from college to lead the way.

The trail is outrageously beautiful, and includes sections through woods, out in the open, around big hills, and up and down them. Not for the totally out of shape hiker, but not particularly challenging for someone in shape.

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I wore my Vibram Five Fingers, odd looking shoes certainly, but supremely fun to wear. And to meet people with – I must have been asked about them five times by hikers on the trail. Sondy, the amazing woman she is, did about 6 of the 7 miles *actually barefoot*.

As for food on the trip:

Before the hike: Oats in a jar – steel cut oatmeal, in the bottom of an (almost empty) Barney Butter jar with a tablespoon of Nutella. Portable and easy for my commute to Mill Valley. (MUNI and Golden Gate Transit).
During the hike: Dried dates – you know, the little date pieces that look like worms. (About 1/2 a cup, total). Water. A piece of dried mango, offered up by another hiker.
Post hike: Meal at the Sand Dollar – a (small) hamburger with cheese and no bun, fries, a pickle, and lettuce.
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After lunch, we wandered around Stinson Beach until the Stagecoach came and picked us up to head back to Mill Valley. When we arrived, we walked the mile and a half back to our car. Yeehaw!

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More Candlelight Yoga

Posted: March 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Last night during Sunshine cleaning, I munched on some more trader joe’s high fiber oh’s and a tiny square of oh-so-delectable Lindt coconut white chocolate. I try not to snack after dinner, but sometimes it just happens. As soon as I finished, I signed myself online for a yoga class this morning so I couldn’t back out of it.

So : Candlelight Yoga round two this morning!

But not before checking in at Ritual Coffee Roasters. My stomach was just slightly uneasy, so I opted to go to yoga without breakfast (I rarely do this). But I did have a mug of earl grey tea with a tiny side of steamed soy. They got these adorable new tea contraptions at Ritual that I really enjoyed!

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Normally I like a cup of their drip coffee that they make in this great copper contraption, but too much coffee before yoga is no good!

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Me – post yoga! I felt really, really good! Nothing like an hour and twenty minutes to totally kickstart all of your systems. I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many people are around in the morning for yoga! Maybe one day I’ll do the 40 day practice…

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After yoga, I had three hard boiled eggs. Normally this is pretty excessive, but I was starving, and craving eggs, so I went for it. These are farm fresh eggs from real chickens that have more growing space than I’ll ever have. And you can certainly taste it in the egg! They are the best eggs I’ve ever eaten.

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Finally, lunch: I actually stole some of Devon’s spaghetti with turkey bolognese that he made in bulk to take to work. It was tasty and filling.

I also had a really delicious lemon bar that the most lovely Kristin made, from the recipe in the Tartine cookbook. (Tartine is one of my favorite bakeries in the city, and the cookbook is pretty spectacular.) These lemon bars burst in your mouth with flavor. I was a very happy camper!

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Time for some work, and maybe some dinner planning!

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Predator, Sesame Noodles, and a Good Workout

Posted: February 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Pantry staples | Tags: , | No Comments »

This afternoon when I got off work I was itching to get some good exercise in. It’s been raining all day, so I decided on some quality gym time instead of sitting on my couch, the other likely alternative. Before working out, I went home and had a late lunch – a tortilla with a poached egg topped with salsa.

This is one of my favorite snacks or light lunches.

First I grilled the tortilla on the stove.

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I top it with a poached egg (made in 50 seconds in my microwave egg cooker).

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Top that with salsa, wrap it up, and eat! For more of a meal, I might add some melted cheese, sliced turkey, or turkey bacon, avocado, or extra vegetables, but usually I just eat it plain like this.

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Then I headed over to work out on the treadmill. On my drive over I was listening to a particularly interesting NPR story about taking an eighth grade class on a field trip to a mosque as part of their world religions class. My drive to the gym is just eight minutes, about enough to listen to a good story on NPR, and get inspired to work out. I used to be a member at a gym within walking distance, but this new gym is only $20 a month, with a myriad of machines, and I actually am more motivated to work out if I have the short drive to pep me up for it, rather than walking and having to walk home post workout.

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I hopped on this guy, and plugged in my headphone to watch some TV. It happened to be Discovery’s ‘650 lb. Virgin’ a reality show about a man who lost over 400 pounds naturally, and is now learning how to date. If that isn’t good enough inspiration to work out, I’m not sure what is.

Now, given that I haven’t been into the gym in a while, I did a lighter workout:

My Workout:

At an incline of 1.0:

  • 5 minutes at 3.8
  • 5 minutes at 5.0
  • Alternating 30 seconds between 5.0 and 5.5 (5 times)
  • 15 minutes at 4.0
  • 10 minutes at 3.8
  • 15 more minutes at 4.0
  • 5 minutes at 5.0
  • and a 5 minute cooldown.

For a total of 60 minutes and roughly 4 miles.

This is me in my sweaty glory, trying to cool down:

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When I came home I was HUNGRY. I put together an easy meal made out of pantry staples, and ready in about fifteen minutes.

I’ve been on a general Asian food kick, so I decided on some Sesame Soba Noodles, and some quickly braised celery. First, I boiled the water, made each sauce, and put them in bowls while I prepped the celery and soba. I roughly chopped up the celery, and steamed them for a just a few minutes in a covered pan with some soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a dash of chili oil. (The idea was another one from ‘Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys’)

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I then cooked up the two bundles of soba noodles in about 7 minutes, and then rinsed them well in cold water until they were cool. Soba noodles, made of buckwheat, pack a great nutritional punch, and are quite filling.

The sauce for the soba noodles was made with tahini, rice vinegar, almond butter, maple syrup, sesame oil, and ground coriander – a recipe from ‘Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods‘ a simple cookbook that I love to flip through for recipes and inspiration to keep myself on track with healthy eating.

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I added in some chopped scallions to the noodles, and then topped it with the sauce, and gave it a good toss. I put mine in my favorite tenmoku glazed bowl that my best friend Sara made for me when she was working at Kitt Cornell Pottery in Exeter, New Hampshire. There is something incredibly mindful when you eat out of a dish or bowl that you really love.

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Then I added in some of the celery. It’s a great new way to cook celery and eat it as a vegetable – particularly when you have a lot of leftover celery from making a soup, etc. without having to eat it raw.

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After dinner, I treated myself to sliced pear and mango, and a melted piece of bittersweet chocolate. A perfect ending. While watching……..

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PREDATOR!!!

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Another 80’s movie that somehow I had missed out on.
Now for a little bit of reading, and then bed!!!
‘Night Everyone!

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Sunny Eggs with Spinach, Cheese and Salsa

Posted: February 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Lunch Recipes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Hooray for productivity! Laundry done, dishes loaded, posts written, some cookbook research done. I was going to go to the gym this afternoon, but the car went to the shop for a check-up because of the check engine light, and it’s not going to come home until later, so I’ll do some walking instead, and hope it doesn’t rain down on me!

I’m going to a wine tasting with some food friends tonight at Solano Cellars in Berkeley, so I made a light lunch to balance things out.

Let me introduce you to this useful product: pre-peeled organic garlic cloves from Christopher Ranch. I hate to admit it, but I’m a sucker for pre-peeled garlic. I use a lot of garlic, and saving even five minutes that it takes peeling five cloves makes quick meals a lot easier. I also have whole garlic heads in my kitchen, but this stuff is great in a pinch.

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In a pan, I put a teaspoon of olive oil, some minced garlic (about four small cloves worth), and three large cups of baby spinach. I grated in some fresh pepper, and gave it a good stir.

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I let it wilt just slightly, and then added in two farm eggs, from pastured free-range chickens. A good quality egg is really important – the flavor is incomparable to the stuff you pick up in the supermarket. Even more than a week old, these eggs are about 20 times better because of the grass, bugs, and other goodies that the chickens get to feast on.

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Once the eggs are just set, I added an ounce of grated Cabot pepperjack, covered the lid, and turned down off the heat until the cheese just melted.

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Once it melted, I gently transfered it to a plate, and then topped it with some fresh salsa!

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On a hungrier day, I might eat it with toast, or a tortilla. Just look at that yolk!!

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A few more errands, and then I’m off to BART, taking as roundabout way as I can to get in my 10,000 steps, and maybe even a few more for good measure.

There are rumors that we are going to have a stop at Gordo taqueria for a pre-wine snack, and maybe to the Xocolate Bar for some chocolate zen experience. It’s going to be fun!!

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Some Hard Yoga, and Weeknight Indian Meat Curry

Posted: February 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I love the fact that you can now sign up for yoga and fitness classes online, and pay with your credit card. This is really great for anyone who is tempted to flake out on their exercise classes, (erm.. me) because you can sign up for the class when you are feeling good and motivated, and once you pay, you can’t cancel.

After watching all of the recorded Dr. Oz episodes on my tv, I decided quickly that I should get off my backside and get in some exercise before I turned into a couch potato. So I immediately signed up online for an afternoon class at Yoga Tree in the Castro so I couldn’t make any excuses. It was misty, so I took the bus, getting me there a little early so I could chat with people, and take some photos of the studio.

I hadn’t taken a yoga class in more than a couple of months, so I was a little bit nervous as to what I was getting myself into.

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Despite several encouraging recommendations, I had never been to Yoga Tree, and I was a little apprehensive as I walked up the stairs. When I got into the warm and peaceful studio I was immediately assured that I was in the right place. The studio is a large room, with beautifully lit (unscented) candles around the perimeter. I’ve never actually seen candles studio, but I thought it was a nice touch. There is a raised platform which does double duty as both a little shrine, and an elevated space for the instructor to demonstrate poses.

There was also a good music selection, including some light Cat Stevens and music that might be on my indie/folk playlists! I can’t stress how refreshing this was – a big problem I’ve had in other studios has been when I can’t zone out or focus because I’m angry at what I like to refer to as “generic zen-elevator music”.

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My class was a community vinyasa class, taught by Erika, who was actually a sub, and doesn’t normally teach at the studio. She was great, and I’d love to take another class from her! The levels were mixed, and I definitely felt out of shape and creaky! A little bit extra downward dog and child pose time than normal!

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I got in a great workout, and left there a bit of a sweat-ball. Always a good thing! I decided I’d snap a post-workout photo to document that I actually got through it! And, I signed up for their $20-three class trial. I have to use it in the next two weeks, so hopefully it will motivate me to actually get in there and start a little yoga streak.

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After class, it was still misty, but not actually raining, so I took my chances and walked over the really big hill to 24th street, to stop for a drink and head to the market. I went to Starbucks and got my new favorite – a Tazo Refresh Tea bag, steeped in steamed soy. Usually I just get a large tea with a splash of soy, but a soy steamer is a nice post-workout treat.

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I like watching people study and work in this particular Starbucks. Everyone is so focused.

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I had a cookbook in my bag, so I whipped it out to join the fun. I took this book – ‘5 Spices, 50 Dishes‘ by Ruta Kahate – home a few months ago, but haven’t actually cooked anything from it, even though several of my friends have recommended it. I thought that this would be a good book to review, so I’m going to be cooking through it for the next week or so. I made my little shopping list, finished my tea, and then headed to the store.

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Ultimately, my first dish was an outstanding success. I made the Indian Beef Stew, with some grass fed beef stew meat I picked up. The dish is slow cooked, but largely unattended, and the result is this really unctuous meal, with really tender meat and potatoes, with classic Indian spices including coriander, ginger, and garlic.

I served mine over a heaping pile of baby spinach, because I was feeling the need for some greens, and a Trader Joe’s Tandoori Naan bread. There are a couple of good looking bread recipes in the cookbook, but they will have to wait for another day.

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All in all, a pretty great day. I took a new class, got in 6000 steps, and made a completely new dish that got two thumbs up from both myself and Devon.

And now, winding down time with the Celtics vs. Lakers! We are a mixed household – I’m for the Celtics, he is for the Lakers – it makes for an interesting time watching the two teams play head to head. We are being mostly polite, and nobody is doing any rude cheering. At least he isn’t a Yankees fan, I wouldn’t be able to deal with that one.

Good night everyone!

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