Scenes from a Vacation

Hello, from Winter Park. Today, we head off to Steamboat. The past few days have been wonderful – good friends, good food, and lots and lots of sunshine.

a peanut butter oatmeal breakfast

After a peanut butter oatmeal breakfast and a hard 6 mile run, JO and I made a stop off at Sprouts, which is only my favorite grocery store. We got lunch – a salad and kombucha – and loaded up on groceries to take to our friends’ house. My favorite part was the delicious strawberries – 2.50!! – and the local goat cheese that were fashioned into this gorgeous salad.

juicy juice

Not all of our meals have been so healthy and light. For instance, JO and Steve, JO’s best friend from college,  made a bacon-wrapped steak last night for dinner for me and Jackie, Steve’s girlfriend, who were busy watching the series finale of The Bachelor!

yum.

Now, I’m off for a third high altitude run. I have some tips for high-altitude running coming your way soon!

 

 

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We Made It.

Wahoo, we made it! We’re in SUNNY Colorado about to take off on an adventure to visit two of our good friends, Steve and Jackie, in Winter Park for a few days.  Here’s a recap of the past 24 hours:

Friday night, we made dinner for our neighbor, Wendy, while she and I tried to cast the spring play. Having cut the 45 students who auditioned down to the 25 roles in The Goonies was difficult.  We used the rest of the contents of our refrigerator to make cheeseburgers and 1 garlic roasted sweet potato to split between the three of us. The recipe for the sweet potatoes came from dailynibbles.com , a beautiful blog.

a lone sweet potato and 1/2 glove of garlic

After dinner, it was: OPERATION PACK. I thought an hour would be sufficient, but I didn’t take into account the fact that I a) am the world’s heaviest packer b) have a penchant for packing 27 sundresses, because I LOVE dresses c) would have to pack for chilly Winter Park, balmy Boulder, an interview in Utah. Grr, JO challenged me to fit everything for a 10 day trip into a carry-on.  Just to avoid him gloating, I did it. But not without some sweat and tears. And also, maybe, some snide comments along the lines of, “Oh, JO, you think you’re so superior, don’t you, fitting all your stuff into a small gym bag. Well, let me tell you something: efficiency of packing is NOT correlated with moral superiority. So there.”

Here’s my completely stuffed bag:

Here’s the discard pile:

Yes, I wanted to bring 3 strapless dresses to Colorado in March. Don't judge.

Between the two of us, JO and I had the following:

not bad, eh?

I got up at 4:30 yesterday morning for some yoga before our five hour drive to New York City. I was sure to pack some healthy snacks to avoid the Oh- hello- Dairy- Queen- Blizzard- Phenomenon. Some scenes from our drive:

Key Lime Greek Yogurt is delicious.

Are you still lecturing me about my voluminous back?

Even if JO still was harboring some ill feelings towards my bulging bag, I didn’t care. Why? It was sunny.

Yay, bug glasses!

And I got to pull out JO’s Christmas present for the first time.

Adorable grey suede and purple tennies. Okay, I forgive you, JO.

When we got to the airport after a five hour drive and an airport shuttle, I was craving something crunchy. Cosi salad it was.

During our five-hour delay in Chicago, I picked up an unbelievably addicting book.

So good. Buy it now. I can't wait to do a book review. I also amused myself by taking about 50 laps around the concourse. JO and I stopped at the O’Hare Bar for some vino and brew and a few chicken wings.

I am quite pleased, despite the long travel day and my disheveled eyebrows. Perhaps it's time for a wax.

I’m off to Winter Park and Steamboat. Hello, Spring Break!

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“Mmmm, Something Smells Like Waffles” or Thoughts on Why I Won’t Give My Children Sugar or Have 14 of Them at Once

Spring break started rather inauspiciously on Wednesday morning. JO and I volunteered to chaperone the charter bus to New York City, where many of our students were meeting their parents. Originally, I felt a little bit of guilt of having school put us up for the night in the city, but my guilt diminished within five minutes of getting on the bus. Why? Well, of course, there was the usual whining: “We want to watch a movie.” “Okay, all we have is Up.” ” I don’t want to watch Up.” “Fine. No movie. ” “Nooo, that’s so unfair.” “Okay, then Up it is.” “Why can’t I eat my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?” “Because Matt* is deathly allergic to them.” “So?” “So!?!? So, I’m not TAKING A TRIP to the ER. Therefore, you’re not eating those Reese’s. Fork them over. NOW.”

Beyond the usual whining, there was vomit, and, to quote an old nanny, “I don’t do vomit.” I’m a sympathetic puker, which means if I see or smell it, I puke. Within 20 minutes of departing school – so 20 minutes into a five hour trip – Nate*, a usually adorable 7th grader, started puking. Apparently, despite always getting motion-sickness, he decided to tempt fate and a) not take Dramamine and b) sit mid-way back the bus on a ridiculously windy section of road. The bus reeked of vomit, but I didn’t start dry heaving until, Ty*, who is easily the most spacey kid I’ve ever encountered, said, “Mmmm. Something smells like waffles.” Not only did Ty* not notice 30 of his classmates retching, he also found the smell appetizing. Insert: OPERATION CONTAINMENT. JO had to use brown lunch bags to sop up the vomit as it was running down the aisles and latching on to students’ backpacks. When we finally found a gas station and could use actual disinfectant, I thought the ride would be smooth-sailing.

Not so.

I actually felt more nauseated watching Alvin*, who was sitting directly across from me, stuff his fists into a jar of nutella and smack each finger as he licked them. His face was covered in grease, and he had nutella underneath his finger nails, on the backs of his hands, and in his hair. I asked him to put away the nutella until he had proper utensils. He refused. I declared to JO that I would “never allow my children sugar and that was why”. My boss (who was along for the ride until Albany) told Alvin to put the nutella away. He said, “You don’t have a good reason.” After hestitating, she said, “It’s really disgusting.” When your boss, the queen of diplomacy, tells a kid he’s being “disgusting,” you know something’s seriously awry.

Five hours later, we reached NYC, and thoughts of gluttonous children and vomit melted away as soon as the last of my students was picked up. New York City was fabulous! We met one of my best friends, James, for dinner near Gramercy Park. JO and I elected to walk the 2.5 miles to the restaurant and enjoyed people watching.

the view from our hotel...or not much of a view:)

views from our walk...

a delicious Venezuelan restaurant: Caracas

Dinner was WONDERFUL. It was so good to see James – he was my “work spouse” for two years – and the food was delicious. I tried the Venezuelan national dish of shredded beef and plantains, while JO and James tried a bunch of arepas, a corn-based sandwich meal.  JO and I enjoyed the 2.5 mile stroll back to the hotel. I live 7 miles outside of town, so it’s rare that I can really “walk” to a destination. Strolling in New York City reminded me of my semester in Paris. Note to self: must return soon!

only in New York...

huh?

We rounded off the night with a glass of wine at a restaurant right next to the Empire State Building and with a visit to PINKBERRY! I had been craving some frozen yogurt, and Pinkberry didn’t disappoint. I got a small blend of chocolate and original flavors topped with yogurt chips and coconut. JO had a small chocolate with raspberries, almonds, and coconut.

yum.

darn good.

Yesterday, we departed bright and early from Penn Station to catch the Adirondack train.

Penn Station

a cute dog and lots of police officers

After 7.5 hours on the train with few refreshments, I was ready to be home.

my studious beau

Silly me, I should have packed more snacks

JO and I take off for ten days in CO tomorrow very early. So, I’m spending the day packing and tying up some loose ends. I can’t wait to be in Boulder!

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I’ve Been Slacking…

but I’ll be back tomorrow with an update!

Promise.

Until then…

Ciao, bellas.

 

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Summer Envy

OH BOY. We have several FEET of snow on the ground. I have major summer envy. I miss:

flowery fields

hiking in the woods in a teeshirt

sunsets like this

warm, quiet mornings and long docks

summer sports and butterflies

sunglasses and smiling outside

I miss summer, and I miss Colorado, where I lived before I moved here. TWO MORE DAYS until spring break, and JO and I are off to Colorado for 2 weeks. Wahoo!

Since I’m brand-new to this blog thing, I figured I’d introduce myself using the ABCs I’ve seen featured on other sights. I feel a bit ridiculous, since my readership pretty much only includes family members, but…..here goes:

A. Age: 26

B. Bed size: queen – that was one thing JO and I bought when we moved

C. Chore you dislike: folding laundry – if left to my own devices, laundry would sit unfolded for weeks

D. Dogs: my childhood golden retriever, Sam, died in July.

E. Essential start to your day: EXERCISE – I either run or do yoga nearly every morning. I’m a nutcase if I don’t move early and often.

F. Favorite color: periwinkle, ever since I was little, but I also like green.

G. Gold or silver: Silver, silver, silver – I can’t pull gold off.

H. Height: 5 feet 6 inches tall – I swear I’ve grown 2 inches in the past two years, though JO says that’s impossible

I. Instruments you play(ed): I played clarinet in 5th grade because my best friend, Lauren, had started band, and we always copied each other in everything. My foray into the clarinet was short-lived, however. There’s a great story attached to my musical history…but it’s too long to write right now:). I SING, and I recently took up the djembe drum.

J. Job title: 4th/5th grade teacher, houseparent – ie: I raise other peoples’ children.

K. Kids: I’ve got 11 raucous boys to deal with in the dorm for which I houseparent. That’s enough. I definitely want my own kids later on. I may or may not have their names chosen already.

L. Live: the snowy North Country…for now. I spent 2 years in Steamboat Springs, CO, and I grew up in Wisconsin.

M. Mom’s name: Holly

N. Nicknames: SBH, Sarbear

O. Overnight hospital stays: none – except the night I was born! (knock on wood)

P. Pet peeves: SLOW WALKERS. I CAN’T. STAND. THEM.

Q. Quote from a movie: “For every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and SNAP! The job’s a game.” – Mary Poppins; “I’m Leisl. I’m 16 years old, and I don’t need a governess.” – The Sound of Music (my favorite movie of all time)

R. Righty or lefty: lefty – officially, but really I’m ambidextrous. I write with my left hand but cut and eat with my right hand.

S. Siblings: two younger brothers ages 23 and 21.

T. Time you wake up: between 5-5:30 on weekdays, and 7:00 on the weekends. I can’t sleep in to save my life, and it drives my boyfriend nuts.

U. Underwear: Yes. Except maybe after Bikram yoga.

V. Vegetables you dont’ like: mushy tomatoes

W. What makes you late: JO.

X. X-rays you’ve had: my femurs – 3 times (MRI’s actually – stress fractures from running); my clavical (broke it tobogganing); my shoulder (broke it when I tripped down the icy stairs of the dorm)

Y. Yummy food you make: My butterscotch oatmeal cookies are pretty out of this world. Recently, I’ve been accused of being simultaneously evil and heavenly due to these cake balls .

Z. Zoo animal favorites: I love dolphins, though these are technically aquarium animals. Once, I even got kicked out of the Shedd Aquarium for copying the trainer’s moves in the dolphin show. I was “agitating the dolphins”. I was 13. Sue me.

Now that I feel entirely self-indulgent, I’m going to run. I’m finishing my grading and helping kids pack for spring break.

Happy Monday.

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Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Sauce

"Coconut cream pie"

Looky, looky. Hungry yet? Oh, don’t you wait, I’ll get to the recipe, one that emerged from a bit of cabin fever. It has been snowing. all. day. long. So, this morning after a latte

YOU are pretty tasty, but you aren't quite Dogwood.

and some homework at Starbucks (because our beloved coffee shop, Dogwood, isn’t open on Sundays), I was antsy. I decided to brave the horrific driving conditions to get a run in. It was a white-knuckle kind of drive. Thank goodness for studded snow tires is all I have to say; I saw so many accidents along the windy road. Also, thank goodness for “The Splendid Table” which took my mind off the sketchiness of the road. After running 5.12 miles at a 7:47 pace, I was STILL feeling a bit unsettled. I knew just the thing to do: BAKE. It always calms me. I came across THIS MOST BEAUTIFUL RECIPE and knew I had to try it. I pulled out my unsweetened coconut milk

and got to work.

Here’s the recipe with my substitutions for a sugar-free coconut cream pie (I say pie, because I baked it in a pie pan…but you could also call it a blondie):

Coconut Cream Pie (nearly sugar-free, gluten-free)

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup sugar 2 ripe, mashed bananas
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour (Like Evan, I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut I was out of this and wasn’t about to venture out in the snow, so I omitted it
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips 2 tablespoons of the darkest chocolate chips I could find
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a pie pan.

2. Mix all the ingredients together with an electric mixer.

3. Pour into pan, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through.

EASY AS PIE*, right? Pun intended.

While it was cooking, I made some of HEAB’s Chocado Pudding. I took an avocado,

Avocado

a rounded teas tablespoon  of unsweetened cocoa powder,

a rounded tablespoon of cocoa powder

 

and threw it in the blender with 1/4 cup of water and some stevia powder.

Delicious.

Jared and I each had a slice of Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Sauce.

Heaven on a Sunday afternoon.

So stinking good.

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A Review of my Eats + New Goals

All in all, this past week has been a successful one in terms of balance. My re-commitment to reducing the amount of sugar I eat coupled with my re-commitment to yoga had demonstrable effects on my eating this week.  Further, this was a very active week, which helped me smartly load up on vegetables, oats, and proteins to fuel me. I danced 18 hours, ran 14.65 miles, power-walked for an hour, and practiced yoga for 6 hours. Wow. Did you hear that? I’m patting myself on the back for this one.

My goals: As I head into a very busy week – we leave for NYC on Wednesday and Colorado on Friday – I’m going to reiterate my commitment to eating smartly and to reducing my sugar intake. I’m also going to front-load the week with lots of yoga to prevent burnout and stress as I finish up the winter term, write a bazillion cover letters, and prepare for some interviews in the next week.

The nitty gritty of last week’s meals:

February 27th:

breakfast: oatmeal with almond butter and bananas (1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 banana, 1 rounded (tea)spoonful of oatmeal, and 1/6 cup of apple sauce); snack: 1/2 gluten-free, sugar-free banana, peanut butter muffin; lunch: 1/2 container of TJ’s salmon + 2 pieces of string cheese; snack: serving of blue corn tortilla chips, orange dinner: salad of carrots, arugula, yellow peppers, cucumbers, steak, and tahini dressing, 1/2 cup maple yogurt, 1 glass red wine

workout: 4.15 miles run at 7:40 pace and 90 minutes of Bikram yoga

February 28th:

breakfast: 1 cup of almond milk, cup of rice crispies + 2 tablespoons Udi’s granola + 1/2 banana, and coffee with cream; snack: orange; lunch: salad with arugula, carrots, 1 tablespoon rice, and 2 slices of turkey and olive oil; snack: 1 serving of blue corn tortilla chips; dinner: a cereal bowl of airpopped popcorn, pickles, 1/2 apple, and a banana peanut butter muffin

workout: 1 hour of yoga, 3 hours of African dance and drum!

March 1st:

breakfast: 1 piece of cinnamon toast (gf) with smear of butter, 2 hardboiled eggs, coffee; snack: orange, chamomile tea; lunch: salad with shredded carrots, tablespoon of feta, tablespoon of garbanzo beans, and olive oil, a serving of tortilla chips, grapes; snack: larabar + 1 piece of string cheese; snack: soy latte; dinner: steak, roasted root vegetables, cabbage, banana

workout: 3 hours of African dance and drum workshop + 2 hours of dance class!

March 2nd

breakfast: 1/2 cup of oatmeal with banana, 1 teaspoon of almond butter, and 1 cup almond milk; lunch: bowl of chicken & veggie soup, 5 glutino crackers, apple; snack: think thin bar dinner: big salad of spinach, carrots, garbanzo beans, feta, and sausage with sprinkling of olive oil

workout: 1 hour of yoga, 3 hours of African dance and drum

Thursday, March 3rd

breakfast: 3 gluten-free pancakes with sprinkling of maple syrup and butter, coffee; lunch: big salad with carrots, garbanzo, feta, beef, and balsamic vinegar, small piece of pineapple, kombucha; snack: think thin bar dinner: 1/2 cup of tuna salad, grapes, 1/2 cup of ricotta with tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, plus 1 stevia package

workout: 1 hour of yoga, 1 hour of walking, 3 hours of African dance and drum

Friday, March 4th

breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 banana and 1 spoonful of almond butter; snack: tall latte lunch: salad with carrots, feta, beef, celery, cucumber, and balsamic vinegar, cup of butternut soup; snack: homemade kombucha dinner: mini moroccan burger, rice, salad, and chocolate ricotta mousse with a handful of white chocolate chips

workout: 6 mile run at 7:40 pace, 3 hours of African dance and drum

Saturday, March 5th

breakfast: bowl of Irish oats with blueberries and raisons, 2 sausage patties, latte; lunch: think thin bar, kombucha; snack: kombucha; dinner: bowl of tortilla soup with melty cheese, glass of white wine; snack: banana “ice cream” and a glass of red wine

workout: 4.5 mile run, 90 minutes of Bikram

 


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