Category Archives: holidays

Thanksgiving Side: Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

First and foremost, THANK YOU so much. The Face of Fitness contest continues, and new VOTES can be put in every day until November 27th. As of this morning, I’ve bumped up to #14 thanks to you – please keep it coming!

Lululemon Run Ambassador photo 1

Click here to voteVegetarian BQ Marathoner!

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Now, let’s dine! Tomorrow is a day of family and feasting for those of us in the States. This morning’s yoga class was a “tribute to the birds” – we did crow, bird of paradise, eagle & pigeon – as we casually call this holiday “Turkey day!”.

The class was great – love me some arm balances and hip-openers! – but the Thanksgiving-Turkey association? Not my thing. I have a menu of bird-free eats lined up for D & I, largely thanks to holiday recipe roundups from Ashley (Edible Perspective) and the Peas clan.

One dish will be new to us, and is thanks to Lindsey’s post on Nutmeg and my recent kitchen salad experiment.

Sautéed Nutmeg Kale Salad

kale nutmeg salad 1

2-3 cups raw Kale
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 block tofu, chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp. e.v. olive oil
1/4 cup pepitas
Seasonings: nutmeg, black pepper (~1/4 tsp. each)

Heat oil over medium in a large/deep sauté pan. Add onions, peppers and tofu, cooking and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and seasonings, continue stirring and sautéing until all vegetables are soft and tofu is starting to brown (if applicable).  Toss in raw kale leaves to coat and cook slightly; mix in pepitas and serve warm.

kale nutmeg salad 3

The Nutmeg flavor tasted so good with this mix of vegetables; I never would have thought to throw that seasoning on a salad, but I am so glad I did. Now I know it’s delicious in treats and healthy eats! Its flavor is reminiscent of holiday baked goods and oatmeal cookies, making this salad the perfect healthy complement to your Thanksgiving day dining!

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What’s healthy on your holiday menu? What’s your t0tally-worth-it splurge/indulgence?

Happy dining & celebrating!

2 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, holidays, lunches, recipes

Capturing Christmas

If I can’t be with my family in our home, having D + my parents here, in our home city, is the next best thing.

With only a few moments to spare for relaxing, many more were spent indulging and exploring. The District seems to be asleep, and blissfully empty, during this holiday weekend. We put on our Tourist hats with our festive dress-up clothes, and had a great time.

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The weekend was kicked off in style on Christmas Eve; we attended this season’s very last Nutcracker performance at the Warner Theater, walked to the historic Round Robin Bar at the Willard Hotel (famous for their original Mint Julip and coining the term Lobbyists) for a drink – try the Poinsetta, refreshing & bubbly – and continued our stroll by passing the White House (Aloha, Obamas!) and landing at the Hay Adams’ Lafayette Dining Room for dinner.

Yes, D is one heck of a festive evening planner.

Photos, slightly blurry, courtesy of D lending over the iPhone to my hands.

2011 Xmas Nutcracker Date12.24 Nutcracker
12.24 Warner Theater

12.24 Willard Hotel12.24 Willard drinks

12.24 Hay Adams 212.24 Hay Adams 4

See the White House, behind that bright light? Our dinner-time neighbors.

12.24 Lafayette Dining Room12.24 Hay Adams Tree12.24 Dessert

We ended the night by joining hundreds of other people seated in rows and ready to sing – at the National Cathedral 10 p.m. service.

National Cathedral Xmas Ticket
National Cathedral Xmas 2National Cathedral Xmas 4

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Finally, the big day comes & goes…

Christmas Apartment 2011Xmas 2011 Breakfast Spread
Xmas 2011 Gifts
Xmas 2011 1Xmas 2011 Family

Mt Vernon Xmas 3Mt Vernon Xmas 4
Mt Vernon Xmas 5Mt Vernon Xmas 8
Mt Vernon Xmas 10
Mt Vernon Xmas 16Mt Vernon Xmas 17

12.24 Cookies close up 2
Xmas 2011 Dinner Spread

It was a gorgeous day in the city – middle pictures: we spent the afternoon at Mt Vernon, along with throngs of other people who had the same idea  – and a fun challenge to put that dinner spread together! Tiny kitchens have nothin’ on me + the Mom-help.

All in all? This DC-style Christmas was one for the books. It will probably be a while before we spend another holiday like that in the District, so I’m glad we checked the boxes.

*****

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Filed under DC, family, holidays

Christmas in the Capital

Within my immediate family, we’re all branching outside of tradition for this year’s Christmas celebration. The three kids will be spread out in three different locations – New Mexico, Kentucky, and DC!

I won’t have my sister to decorate all of the presents with an almost-obnoxious, but actually adorably endearing amount of ribbons, bows & tape. We won’t get ready together, join the ranks & grab the pets for a big family photo, and we won’t head to the usual Christmas Eve Candle-light service, wherein my brother makes it a game to blow out each of our candles at least twice.

Yes, we’re all in our 20s. I know.

But, my parents will be here (tonight!), and our weekend is full of the things you can only do in this city. We do have our tree up, stockings hung & gifts wrapped.

We also have Christmas music playing via Pandora’s Tchaikovsky / Classics station, or the radio’s fun mix, nonstop.

Our xmas apartment 2011White House ornament 2011
StockingsGifts

And to keep some traditions in check, our fridge is stocked with sparkling wine, winter ale, and the means to make a Christmas feast!

Oh, yes, that menu is finally settled. AND we have groceries. Success!

On our Christmas Dinner Table:

Turkey (for the rest of the crew. We selected a “Vegetarian Diet Fed”, hormone-free, organically raised Turkey. It has been well over a year since I’ve purchased meat, but I think Whole Foods served us well.)

Sweet Potato Casserole (ahem, candied yams)
Homemade Stuffing (using inspiration from Mama Pea’s recipe)
Balsamic-glazed Green Beans (a la Cooking Light)
Spinach Salad, with pecans & dried cranberries

Peppermint Mocha Cookies & Pumpkin Pie

We will be cozy in our humble apartment, happy to be with my parents and well-fed.

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Happy Holidays!

12 Comments

Filed under DC, family, food, holidays, weekends

Setting the Priorities: Ignore Shiny Things

When I’m crunched for time in the morning, my mind immediately goes to every little thing on the to-do list and mulls it over at high-speed. I try to tackle everything at once, instead of one at a time. I try to control the six windows I have open on my internet browser, as I eat breakfast, drink coffee, get dressed, start a blog post, fix lunch, go back to the six open windows, catch what’s on Morning Joe, finish the blog post (on most days…), and take another bite of breakfast.

See, how that works? Right; it doesn’t.

When we sit down to read, watch a show or movie, or just chat and catch up at the end of the day, my mind immediately tells me to check my phone, write something on the to-do list so I don’t forget, check my phone again, check in with what we’re doing (movie? show? what’s that you said?), and then I’ll probably check my phone…again.

Does that give you a headache, just trying to understand the logic?

Me, too.

ADD Cat 
{It took me a good 10 minutes just to choose that picture; “Lol Cat” searches always create a time warp.}

Today, we talk Priorities. Do you have them? Do you set them – seasonally, weekly, daily, hourly? All of the above?

Tuesday night we watched “Miracle on 34th Street” (the new version, because Mara Wilson was an adorable toddler). It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, and yet every time that upper right corner of my blackberry started blinking that shiny red, I immediately checked to see what it was.

Standard behavior.

Then I walked that blinking phone into the room, plugged it in to charge & turned it on silent. Watch the movie, just relax for an hour and leave everything else alone.

I intend to do that more often, ignoring the fact that I’ve set that intention multiple times before. This time, it feels more pressing. For whatever reason, I’ve suddenly realized what a crutch it is. And it’s annoying.

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Wasn’t there a time when hardly anyone had internet on their phone? We were able to shut “it” off, go about our days and get other things done – tend to other priorities. And didn’t we all get by just fine? Yes, I think so.

It may be a little late in the season, but better late than never. I’m setting daily priorities, making sure items get done and crossed off, and I’m putting my phone “away” (and shutting it up) when I need to.

Yesterday, I cooked some kale, sweet potatoes & fennel for lunch (using up groceries!) instead of sitting down to hash out a blog post. I went to happy hour with some friends and put my phone & purse in the corner, where I didn’t think about it for the rest of the night. I got up for yoga this morning and only let my brain think about breathing, tight muscles (ouch) and holding a pose.

I’ll “publish” this, answer some e-mails and keep one window open on Firefox the entire time I work – finishing tasks without shiny distractions.

I’ll wrap the last few presents for the tree, meet a friend for lunch, head to a meeting, and then head to the grocery store so we’re all stocked up for the holiday.

Tonight, with all of the above done & checked, I’ll turn the phone off again and enjoy a date night with D, to kick off the holiday weekend.

*****

What are your priorities today? For the hour? For the rest of the week?

Are you a phone-obsessor, or do you have the {now rare} ability to ignore it?

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Filed under about me, holidays, learning, things that make you go Hmmmm

Just a Few Things: Winter Holiday Edition

Confession: I have been listening to the Christmas radio station, nonstop, for about a week now. Last Christmas season I got a FULL dose (and then some) of holiday music at the store, and I honestly thought I may never want to listen to the stuff again.

Well, I was wrong.

And I’m totally okay with belting out Jingle House Rock in my car, while in my head I think about the Mean Girls’ dance moves.

lululemon run for it tight Obsession: My {growing} collection of lululemon running tights. I had a gift card to the spend from Denver (yes, I hoard gift cards and wait way too long to spend the money), and I finally picked up what I needed – the Run For It Tight.

“High-rise thermal running tights will give you the warm n’ fuzzies. Made with super soft & breathable tech fleece for ultimate muscle support & moisture control.”

Love. That’s all.

{Side note: Lulu, put some running shoes and a shirt on this chick. No one is wearing running tights barefoot and without a top. So strange.}

Realization: I love classical music. Yup, the stuff my Mom used to put on the radio when we were younger as we cringed and immediately changed it back to Pop. The stuff that makes holiday music sound that much better. The stuff we danced to in ballet class, and played on the piano.

I once thought it must only enjoyed by the older and wiser (and that may still be true). Yet, I can’t get myself to change Pandora off of “Tchaikovsky Waltz”.

Want: A finalized holiday menu! I am procrastinating on this, 100%, and it is too close to crunch time! Apparently I will be that person who shops on the 23rd of December –  joining the ranks! – to stock up the kitchen and get everything ready at the very last minute.

Now I understand why Martha, Paula Dean and the likes have all of those books, tips and even entire shows devoted to the art of hosting. It’s no easy feat.

Need: Our kitchen to double in size, just for Christmas Day.’

A piano would be nice, too (along with the wall-space for it). Reasonable requests, I know.

Do it Now Up: The number of checked boxes on the to-do list! I have one small present left to get, and wrap; one menu to finalize (yeah…that…); Mt Vernon tickets to secure and a few days left on the countdown to the Parents’ arrival!

Down: Average pace and my attitude towards waking up in the morning! Last week it was a struggle, every day. This week, it’s still that love/hate alarm clock tango, but Kate and I have had two good runs in a row (defined by a speedier-than-it-feels pace) and I’m thanking the legs for cooperating, as always.

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What’s going on in your holiday-frenzy world?

{ For non-Christmas celebrators: Happy first day of Hannukah! }

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Filed under distractions, holidays, Lululemon, random, running gear

You Can’t Beat Home Sweet Home

We’re staying in DC for the holiday. We have all of the city Christmas things on the agenda, and it will be so relaxing to be sleeping in and lounging on Saturday, vs. attacking the traveling crowds and flying across the country (i.e. my “normal”). This time, my parents will be flying to us, and I can’t wait to have them here!

But, something about Christmas tells my nostalgia that there should be a warm house, a large tree, and a few days out of the city and in the small town atmosphere where you have no obligations (and not much to do, anyway).

Stress wasn’t invited to the party, and I let the door hit it on the way out. Breathe, relax, pack the car and hit the road!

We visited D’s family for the weekend, in North Carolina, and it was just what this season needed to feel like it is definitely Christmas time!

NC Xmas DecorationsNC Xmas Tree

Yes, this.

We hung around the house, sat by the space heater, ate a few too many handfuls of holiday M&Ms and candied pecans, opened gifts, cooked dinner and went to a movie. I also joined Mrs. C for Zumba – when in NC, right? (Zumba is a blast, by the way.)

Broccoli may have been the only green thing that I ate all weekend, and that dancing class may have been the only time my heart rate exceeded “resting”. And that’s what a holiday weekend is for.

NC Xmas Dinner 1NC Xmas Dinner greens
NC Xmas Dinner 2NC Xmas Dinner plate

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NC Xmas D giftsNC Xmas D 3

One Christmas celebration down, and one to go! We’re very lucky to have the families that we do – and lucky to have two weekends in a row to spread some holiday love around.

Happy Holiday weekwhatever it is you’re celebrating!

13 Comments

Filed under about me, holidays, things that make me Happy, travel, weekends

Overslept & Salvaged

For the time being, the weeks fill up quickly and I take on the challenge of having at least one or two nights per week at home – to do nothing. I love a good mix of days where I’m busy, meeting up with friends, heading out for group runs, stretching out at yoga, and then just cruisin’ straight to the couch with my laptop & sweatpants.

The latter really balances out everything else.

Monday I swapped an outing for a run around the ‘hood with Kate (which was exactly what both of us needed on that day); Tuesday I kept the slate clean, no plans and nothing but “relax” on the agenda.

Last night I was out n’ about, and thanks to the 20 minute wait for the Metro, I got home around 10. Now I realize that hour isn’t breaking any records or shocking anyone, by any means, but when you have a 5:20 alarm coming for you and haven’t had dinner by 10 pm….well, “do as I say, not as I do”, says the late-night-eating, early-alarm-setting RD.

Today, when the clock struck 5:20 and my phone let out that obnoxious squeal, my brain and legs didn’t meet me in the middle.

Nope. The brain turned off the alarm; the legs stayed put in bed.

Tired Cat

An hour later, I woke up with a jolt, knowing I left the Run-buddy hanging.Gah!

Overslept? Okay, fine. Not a great start to the day. Getting another hour of sleep? Okay, body, I hear you. I demand balance, you demand some shut-eye!

Done.

For a solo adventure (unusual, for me and these running legs), I quickly* mapped out a new route, got dressed and headed out the door in the sunshine (also unusual, for me).  It was a relatively warm morning, the route was great, the muscles agreed with all aspects of this plan, and I had a good run.

Six miles later? Morning = salvaged.

*"Quickly” creating a new route may not be your best move. You may forget where exactly to turn, and what exact street you’re even looking for. Just don’t get lost.

Balance = restored.

I came home to the radio on blast and Christmas music filling up the living room. (and a certain someone loving every beat). These holiday weeks might be a little crazy, but man, they’re fun.

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How’s the week shaping up for you?

Keeping things in check, in balance, and in the holiday spirit?

8 Comments

Filed under early morning, good days, holidays, running