Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Secret Ingredient

I have to tell you guys something I discovered- it's not really a new food or a new workout, but more of an old classic.  I haven't bought it in years and this past weekend it finally made its way on my grocery list for my Project Food Blog EntryButter.  Let's say it again- BUTTER.  Somewhere in this whole healthy eating adventure, I decided butter was a no-go in our cart, each and every week.  Something about bad fats and other mumbo jumbo made me find all kinds of replacements for it in baked goods.  But you know what?  Butter makes delicious things like brownies.
All you do is combine it with this Trader Joe's Truffle Baking Mix, a couple of eggs, and water, and magic happens.
Half of the pan brownies are gone, and I am not even the responsible party. Sorry husband- you have been missing out for years.  I might have to go browse some Paula Deen cookbooks to make up for lost time.

Happy Birthday Papa

Today is my dad's birthday.  I'm not sure he would appreciate if I told you how old (young) he was but I will tell you a few things.

He is the best grandpa ever. Just ask my nephew.

 He can suit up like nobody's business.

 He's athletic and can lift quite a load of weight ;)

He loves to dance and has his own trademark dance-off moves.

He does everything he can to help and support his family.  He bought me those acid washed jeans when I was 7- no judgment.

Finally, my dad is someone I look up to.

Happy Birthday Papa.  I know I'm a brat and sometimes (usually) give you a hard time, but it's only because we are so much alike ;)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Taking the Hard Way Out

First- I wanted to thank you all again for voting for me to make it round 2 of Project Food Blog.  I was not going to enter at all (you'll see why later) and I really appreciate the effort you take to vote for me.  For real.

Taking the Hard Way Out
Yesterday I woke up, finally in my own bedroom after being away from home for a work trip for three days.  I was tired, I was cranky, but I knew I wanted to get a yoga class in and planned to go to the intermediate class this afternoon.  I did a few errands around the house, grocery shopped, made my blog entry, (which took longer than anyone would imagine) and of course was running late.  Well, being perpetually late doesn't work for me since my studio locks the doors exactly when the class starts.  Fashionably late is not an option here.  And guess what?! I got locked out of the intermediate class. 

I panicked and started walking to my car, but remembered the advanced vinyasa class that started just ten minutes later.  I took this class once before and it was hard, like really hard.  I sucked it up and went to the class.

Did I excel?  Heck no.  I used all of the tools- blocks, straps, extra padding with the blanket, and even had to come down to child's pose to rest.  I lost my balance a lot and I sweated like a chubby kid in front of a chocolate cake.  The teacher, a man who looks like Genie from Aladdin (if he were a real person, of course), came over and corrected me- stretching my screaming tight hamstrings.  Have I mentioned I'm the least flexible person, like ever?  It's true.  In the end, it was one of the best classes I ever took and I appreciated the experience more than my comfort zone classes. 

If left to my own devices, I take the easy way out when it comes to physical activity.  Every hard hike I ever took with my husband began with many excuses, bargaining, and exit strategies.  I even started making future excuses for our upcoming trip- a trip we have been planning for over a year. 

I'm still trying to figure out where these actions and excuses come from.  I'm at a healthy weight, fit, and have been exercising pretty regularly for about 14 years.  I'm no longer the fat kid faced with the dreaded mile in middle school, I'm no longer the slowest kid in class, and I can probably do a lot of stuff if I just took the hard way out.  I am making a goal to push myself out of my comfort zone- in my workouts and in other aspects.

Question for you: What have you done lately to take the hard way out?
For me, it was this yoga class, and going to grad school while working full time and planning a wedding

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project Food Buzz Challenge #2: Getting My Crepe On

I am so pleased to be able to post another entry for Project Food Blog.  With the opportunity to move on to Challenge #2, I'm thrilled to step out of my comfort zone to present you with a classic recipe outside of my own culture.  I grew up with Russian food- borscht, beef, potatoes, sausage and a meat jello like you wouldn't believe. Now I gravitate towards either Asian or decidedly California style cuisine in my daily cooking.

Having grown up with past generations of women in my family who cooked under the motto of "a pinch of this and a handful of that" I have to admit that I am incapable of following a recipe.  I should have probably stated this caveat at the onset of this contest, but I'm fessing up now.  I cringe at the thought of following an entire recipe, for no other reason than my own stubbornness.  My challenge was to not only create a dish from another culture, but follow a recipe while doing so.  In order to attempt this, I picked the cuisine that I usually shy away from- French food.

Most people who know me can confirm that French food and I just don't mix.  Being on the healthy end of the blog spectrum, I have to admit that I did not own a stick of butter or white flour, and truly had no idea if I ever tried creme fraiche.  Not only was I clueless, but I decided that if there was any culture that would least tolerate my lack of butter in the kitchen, it had to be the French. 

If there is anything that comes to mind as classic French, it's crepes.  Butter, flour, milk, pinch of salt, and sugar.  I borrowed a crepe maker and I was on my way.  Such simple ingredients, and so much potential.  Crepes can be served sweet, savory, and everything in between and that was the approach I took.

I began by using a recipe for crepes from this Examiner article:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • water, as needed

*I doubled the recipe exactly so that I could make approximately 20 crepes.

 Ratatouille Crepes
The first crepe I made included another classic- ratatouille.  I used a recipe from Easy French Food and it was exactly that- easy.  I used the following ingredients, following the recipe exactly, but omitting green bell peppers:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 3 small garden tomatoes pounds tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh dill for garnish

Once everything softened and sauteed together, I was ready to get my crepe on.

Creme Fraiche Lemon Crepes
The next crepe I made was savory and sweet.  Most of the recipes I read for fillings called for lemon rind or creme fraiche, so I combined the two.  My star ingredients really made this dish.
A garnish of fresh California figs made for a fresh take on this dish.

Classic Nutella Crepes
Perhaps the biggest challenge in this entry is not devouring the Nutella jar in one sitting. 
A classic filling used by the French and perhaps the most recognizable way to enjoy crepes- this is savory, buttery, and completely indulgent. 

The best part of this challenge was the taste test and I can assure you that I would gladly put aside my butter, white flour and sugar rules for this meal.  It was also worth tearing my kitchen apart.  I'm off to tackle that Nutella jar.  Challenge accepted.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Project Food Blog- Who Is One Healthy Apple?

Remember when I wrote a little post about Who Is One Healthy Apple?  It was all for the Foodbuzz Project Food Blog.   This is the first competition for featured publishers and I thought it was too cool to not even give it a try!  I blog because I truly enjoy it as a hobby and as a way to interact with the blogging community.

There are 400 spots to move on to the second competition and I would love to be one of them- but only with your help! 

Please vote for me here:My Project Food Blog Entry

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Impressive Lunch for Cheap

Happy Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on where you are reading!  This week has been absolutely insane.  I know school ended and everything, but my day job keeps me incredibly busy so here I am at 9:30 just settling in for the evening.  I took a flow yoga class tonight that had me silently screaming from all the sun salutations but LOVING every minute of it.  I'm sick like that.

I'll keep this brief, but I wanted to share my latest lunch obsession- wraps.  Wraps are so easy and cheap to make at home but have a great presentation.
I simply used a sprouted wheat wrap from Trader Joes, chipotle peppers (just a couple for extra zing), laughing cow cheese, lettuce, avocado, and herb roasted turkey.  I paired it with my garden carrots and had my coworkers asking me where I got it.  My house, yo!  The key is to use foil to keep the whole thing together. Once you have that, you are golden.

I have also been enjoying a hybrid blogworld snack: My beloved Pink Lady Apples (hello- a shout to my blog name.  I really did used to eat 3 apples a day) with Greek yogurt, peanut flour, cocoa powder, and almond butter.
Mix up the yogurt with all the powdery goodness and the almond butter and it tastes like the creamiest mousse ever!

Welp, I'm off to finish off my glass of wine and get settled in for the night for real :)

Let's get through the rest of the week and bring on the weekend!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Say Cheese

Thank you guys for all of the kind comments of congratulations and for sticking around.  This weekend was great!  I spent time with the hubby, got in some yoga, bike rides, a little running, and housework.  Of course there was food- because that's really what I'm all about.

On Saturday we hit up Costco.  In addition to the time and money I'll never get back, I did come out with a really cool product- this local to me, organic cheese. Disclosure: I was not paid to talk about this product and purchased it with my own money because of my own beliefs.
This cheese is from the Sierra Nevada Cheese Company and they are located in Northern California, about an hour away from me and comes from happy California cows.  So far we have tried the garlic & herb flavor and it was great.  I used it to make the husband a quesadilla for dinner tonight.
We also had another local product- carrots grown in our backyard garden.
This week is going to be another busy one- I'm making a better effort at cutting down my stress by being a little more organized and planning better.  Let's see how it goes!

Questions: Do you have any favorite local products?  What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thank You Ma'am I'm Done. Uh Huh

I have been keeping a low profile all week because I was off studying for my last set of finals and papers due.  That's right- I finished my MBA program and I don't know what's next. I finished this past Thursday and I still can't believe it.  In fact, I was downplaying it, but my amazing, supportive family made a big deal out of it with cards, flowers, and cake.
I came into our house and my family had planned a surprise party for me.  My lovely in-laws couldn't make it, but they made sure to make a big deal out of it too!  There is no way I could have gone to school without the support of my family- my husband, both sets of parents, and my bro and his family for dealing with my meltdowns, constantly cheering me on when I wanted to quit, and taking all my study excuses for ditching them the last two years.

Here is some of the party planning committee:

And the head party planner
There were hats and signs guys!  My husband got this cake made for me:
And it was completely devoured...with leftovers for breakfast.
So what's next?  Well, hopefully more regular blogging, more time to get my house in order, and of course more workouts and yoga :)  Now there is something to update on my blog 'About Me' section that I need to get to!

Signing off for now-

One Healthy Apple, MBA

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 2009 vs. September 2010

This time last year, I was awaiting the weekend with excitement, anticipation, overwhelming happiness, and my typical impatience.  This time last year, I got married.  It was the best weekend of my life. Ever.

This weekend, we are celebrating one year together and eating our anniversary cake!  It's been a great year and I can't wait for many, many more.

We froze it and it still maintained some of the details.
And all of the taste
Instead of wearing these outfits
We wore our sweats.  Trust me, it's better to eat cake wearing sweats anyways.  That's what being married is all about, right?

Happy Anniversary Hubby.  Thank you for a wonderful year. Thank you for supporting me no matter how neurotic I can get, always opening the mail and making sure our bills are paid, and for encouraging me to grow a pair and stand up for myself.

P.S. here is what we looked like eating cake last year courtesy of my big bro.  Yes- I am that awkward in real life ;)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reasons Why My Yoga Studio is Better Than the Regular Gym

I have decided that I wanted to run and potentially run a 5K in the near future.  Nothing in particular brought this on, except for the fact that I'm impulsive and saw a sign for some random race while on a bike ride this weekend.  Dare to step inside my brain- you will get lost!

I did go to the gym today to get in some dreadmill time to see if my foot could handle it and to get started.  It was fine but I realized why the regular gym is a kick in the pants.  Here is my list of why the gym sucks.
  • They are now fingerprinting in my gym.  Seriously WTF?!?- while some people may require it on a normal basis to like stay out of jail and stuff, I don't want to feel like a criminal while going to get my elliptical on with a little Gaga on my iPod
  • Waiting for a treadmill takes forever, especially while the runner guy needs to finish stretching ON the treadmill
  • There were women putting on makeup in the locker room BEFORE going to workout.  What is that?  I won't even talk about the blatant plastic surgery on display because that would make me a hater
  • Grunting, snorting, and panic attacks over a lack of the type of supplements available in the gym's store.  Really?
  • Abundance of d*bags.  Waxed eyebrows, tribal band tattoos, spiked hair, obvious use of 'roids.  No thanks.  And please don't look all tough or try to talk to me. I don't make eye contact with people at the gym and I know how to use the weights.
  • The place smells. Nuff said
I finished my jog/walk and skidaddled over to my happy place to take my class. It was clean and I didn't feel like I'd catch something.  I felt like a human again but looks like I'll be back to the zoo soon enough.

Tell me your gym stories.