Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Desserts

Alternate title: adventures in photoshop elements. That sweet pop of blue on the burgers shows my trouble with layer clipping. NAILED IT. Only took me an hour....

I'm tackling the hamburgers, made from peanut butter cookies, brownies, shredded coconut, and icing, but I wouldn't mind attempting any of the others. Dessert nachos are blowing my mind. 

IMAGE: burgers :: cake pops :: dessert nachos :: ritz.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Precious

It was hard to tear myself away from this vest after I tried it on at UO. It probably had something to do with Vogue or Marie Claire dishin on how to work an all white ensemb at the office. In the end, I couldn't justify the price tag for a an oversized vest with winter a'coming (not soon enough in my opinion). Well guess what, suckas? Dis bish is all on sale over at the website. I'm contemplating just throwing it in my online shopping bag and calling it a day, but after spying this floral blazer and this black take on my favorite leather jacket, think I'll need to swing downtown after champagne brunch tomorrow...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Favorite Cooking Blog

I've long been a fan of Heidi's blog. I love the focus on whole foods and plant-based cooking, and everything (with the exception of a cauliflower recipe) turns out. Even the things you think won't work, like a buttermilk farro salad with radishes and fennel. Sounds awful, smells a little weird, and tastes amazing. Most of the recipes I've pinned and tried have been from 101 Cookbooks.

 I finally took the plunge and bought one of her cookbooks. I've have bookmarked everything. The book is literally just flagged recipes now. I made the Mostly Not Potato Salad for dinner tonight, and ate it before I could take a picture. That good. One recipe I did manage to take a picture of was the Open Face Egg Sandwich. I love hard boiled eggs on a sandwich, and inspired by a breakfast at farm:table, I decided to try my hand. 

Good. So good, in fact, that I attempted to make a small version after I got dropped off from Alex's going away party. Chives EVERYWHERE this morning. Instead of mayonnaise, Heidi uses yogurt and fresh herbs for a healthier take. I am obsessed with it, and mad I don't have anymore eggs to hard boil...she also gives tips for perfecting the hard boil, if you have ever accidentally soft boiled and found out later when you wanted hard boiled eggs on your sandwich. I totally didn't do this, I swear.

Since I'm not 100-percent on the legality of posting recipes from cookbooks (I'm guessing it's totally not legal), you should check out this tweaked take on Heidi's Kale Salad over at Joy the Baker. I make this at least once a week, no exaggeration, and Dom gave it his stamp of approval. Cook this tonight. Or tomorrow, since it's 10 p.m. Just promise me you'll cook it soon, okay? [RECIPE]

Other Winning Recipes from 101 Cookbooks:

I've actually made all of the above, and they've all turned out great. Plus, you can have two servings and not feel totally guilty. Right? Right.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tough Mudder Tuesday: The Last Mile

First off, I ran Color Run this weekend, which was a glorious 5K full of powdery paint you got blasted with every kilometer or so. I'm still trying to get it all out of my ears and nostrils, and I have a giant bruise on my bicep from when I got shoved into a pole trying to avoid bad parents with strollers letting their kids inhale mass quantities of paint.

Secondly, it's over halfway through July and I keep plugging on my three miles and training. I try to end every Tough Mudder circuit training workout with a cool down mile, and no matter how many I run beforehand, that mile is the worst. I remember going to a yoga class a few years ago, and the instructor tried to explain how so much of a workout is mental. Your body usually won't physically give out on you unless you let it. Your legs will keep running; your arms won't fail. Seeing as I'm pretty sure I've actually had my legs fail when I was lifting during a CrossFit WOD, I might disagree with that as an overarching theory, but I do think it has some grounding when we're running.

The last mile is the worst. I get on the treadmill (or I'm a little over two miles into the trail around the reservoir) and I tell myself I only have to do half the mile. And then when I get there I realize it's just half a mile, and it's pretty pathetic if I can't run that last half. And I either sit there staring at the distance on the treadmill or praying that the last park around the reservoir will come up, and eventually it does. A lot of this training has been completely mental for me, and that last mile has been one of the biggest tests of how much I'm willing to put into this ridiculous obstacle course. As opposed to those pull-ups. Those are all physical, and I still can't do them.

Playlist additions: I've started running to Incubus' A Crow Left of the Murder on shuffle, which probably won't do much for anyone unless you are were hugely obsessed with Incubus. There's always Wiz Kahlifa and Willow Smith for when you're doing high knees and burpees. Those have always been two of my favorite songs to box to, and they both work pretty well for plyometrics.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tough Mudder Tuesday: Training with Gumsaba

For work, I was lucky enough to get assigned our fitness write-ups for the Best of the East Bay issue, which meant I got to try this amazing early morning bootcamp called Gumsaba. You can read more about my experience over at Diablo, or you can just know that I loved everything except the wakeup time. I can't deny it felt good knocking out the workout by 6:30 a.m., but I'm a big fan of the snooze button, and workouts get pushed until after work when I don't have a story to write. That being said, Michelle (one of the founders, and the main face for Gumsaba) contacted me wanting to know if I'd like to join the bootcamp's Tough Mudder training this month. 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday felt doable, and so off I went to Oak Hill Park in Danville last weekend.

I got pretty serious about those sandbags (all photos courtesy of Gumsaba).

The training was GREAT. We incorporated 15lb sandbags into three different "stations," each of which lasted for 15 minutes. My group started with a circuit that included walking down a hill with the bags and dumping them by a cone, jogging a trail to another set of cones, five burpees, jogging back to where we left the bags, and running up hill with the sand weights hoisted over one shoulder (alternated each rep). By rep three you really have to push yourself to jog up that last hill with the sandbag. Luckily, that was the toughest station (mentally) for me.

Station two involved 20 assisted pull-ups (I wussed out and went for the super resistant black band for more hoist), walking lunges to two "balance beams" (really, just wood placed off the ground), and then walking the balance beams with a 15lb sandbag in each hand. Balance is one of my strengths, so I rocked through the first set, but pull ups are not, and I really struggled with switching to underhand for the second. But I made it through all of my sets without falling off the balance beams, and hopefully my armpits or whatever are getting stronger.

Last station was rope climbs, jog, and tree sits or squats with the sandbag until the ropes were free. The ropes were always free. My arms were not having it with the rope climbs, but I got about halfway up each time. "Worked on my grip strength," as someone who knows what they're talking about might say. I think if I had hit this stations before the pull-ups I may have been more successful and actually slapped the tree the ropes were tied around, but for now I'll take getting off the ground. 

despite getting sunburned on my hike, still the palest in the land

And that was it! I made it through pretty successfully, jogging the whole time we were supposed to be jogging, and the training just really hammered home the fact that I need to keep working on my upper body strength. Even Michelle admitted she had troubles with the greased monkey bars, so I'm just preparing for a nice swim through those.

Gumsaba's Tough Mudder trainings are pretty booked up for this summer, but Michelle mentioned she definitely plans on growing the program for next year. I'd definitely recommend her normal bootcamps for building strength and adding some of those skills we worked on this weekend, and you can always try shooting her an email to see if there's space in the weekend trainings. It's the only Tough Mudder–specific training I know of going on in the area that isn't linked to a running group or Crossfit gym, and the group is so insanely supportive that you can't possibly feel bad while you're running through the drills. Ok, you'll feel a little bad, but mainly because you're pushing your body, but I've never felt so good as when one of the other members gave me props for my rope climb, even if it was just two feet off the ground. Baby steps, people.

Check out for more information about the training, or stop by for information on the bootcamps, fitness and nutrition tips, and more. And a big thank you to Michelle for letting me participate!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Learning to Relax

Cinque Terre, from SF Girl By Bay

After a long week, which somehow felt longer with the holiday thrown in there, I came home, kicked off my heels (so i can have a pair littering every room), and, like I always do, sat down to my to to-do list. And then I just...stopped. I decided, after nights of Fourth festivities, wishing a friend a happy birthday and another friend bon voyage, it was totally cool if I took tonight for myself. I can't say that I don't feel guilty. I feel totally guilty! But I'm going to (maybe) run off some of that Jack in the Box I had last night (around 1am, clearly the time all good decisions are made), pour myself a glass of wine, and finally tackle the stacks of magazines accumulating on my coffee table. Because I work hard, and I deserve it. You all should do the same.