Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
First things first - on Friday I received my first Foodzie tasting box! I've only sampled two things from it so far - the Kale Chips and the coconut milk caramels - but they were both delicious. I'd never even tried kale chips before but... they were completely gone within 15 seconds of opening the bag. I even turned it upside-down to dump the crumbs into my mouth, and I'm not even embarassed to say it. Plus, 15 calories per serving and tasting like delicious parmesan cheese...what??!?
Other items include: flavored salts (pepper and sumac)l blue cheese and fig crackers; chocolate with goji berries and himalayan sea salt; hot chocolate on a stick. I think I'll have my hands full for a few days ;)
On to the next - here are a few pictures from a weekend at the cabin with some girlfriends from school. I'll just let the pics speak for themselves - sometimes what happens in Nisswa stays in Nisswa. Not that we got TOO crazy, just that the hilarity is impossible to re-create out of the context of late-night Catch Phrase...
Friday, March 25, 2011
I was talking to one of my yoga buddies after class, and he said "So... I did a google search the other day for Minneapolis Anusara Immersion and clicked on the first link I saw, and there was this picture of you looking all crazy and holding a knife!"
... so that is how people find me in google searches apparently.
Also, I don't normally look as crazy as I do in that picture...
And with that, I'm off! Have a fun weekend everyone, I'll be back on Monday with updates, recaps and probably recipes since I am running out of food in my fridge...
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I really did plan on going to my Anthropology class today. But, when I'd been waiting for the bus for 45 minutes past its scheduled time, I realized that even if it came right that second I would still be at least 30 minutes late for class, so I decided to cut my losses, go home and get some work done. By that point I was also really, really cold - you know that feeling when the cold goes all the way through you and you can't get warm? Pretty awesome. I really did not want to leave the building for as long as humanly possible, and having been out of town for a week my fridge is pretty much cleaned out, so I wrapped myself up in a blanket and pulled up the Pizza Luce website to order some lunch. Unfortunately, Pizza Luce decided they weren't going to deliver today... really? Abandoning your people just when they are most in need of hot, toasty food delivered directly to their doorstep? What kind of nonsense is this??
I decided it was best to go outside again before I'd fully warmed up, so I trekked over to the grocery store to pick up a Kashi frozen meal and a bottle of Guava Kombucha.
Back home with tea, red chicken curry (served in a bowl because I hate eating frozen meals from the plastic containers - feels much more like real food), I watched a couple episodes of Dexter and had a very productive afternoon! I worked on some travel arrangements for the honeymoon, did a couple hours of work on one of my projects and finished my reading for class tomorrow. This whole wedding thing is really sneaking up on me - I know the next three months are going to totally fly by, and I'm not sure I've totally processed the fact that this is going to be a huge adjustment. Don't get me wrong, I am really excited but going from long distance and living on my own to living with someone is going to be a big change.
Off to do some reading and then sleep - happy Wednesday!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
But seriously enough complaining - I'd been thinking about going for a run this afternoon, but with the freezing rain that obviously wasn't happening, so I took tonight as an evening in - finished a paper I was working on, watched a couple episodes of Dexter, and whipped up some homemade almond butter! I've been meaning to try homemade nut butter ever since finally getting a food processor last month, but for some reason I felt too intimidated to actually do it. Then I was inspired by Amie's delicious looking recipe last week and decided to take the plunge.
We had some jar spillage...don't judge.
I hesitate to even call this a recipe - it's just nuts and oil, and possibly magic. But here it is anyways!
- 2 cups roasted, unsalted almonds
- 1/2 T vegetable oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2ish tsp cinnamon (Sorry! Didn't measure this, I just sort of went for it, recklessly like the rebel that I am.)
Process the almonds in the food processor until finely ground/starting to clump, add the oil and any other ingredients that sound good to you at the moment (within reason obviously) - and just let the little choppy blades do their work for a few minutes. Seriously, it's that easy.
I'm sure you could also add salt, or maple syrup, or some other spices, or flaxseed meal... the possibilities are endless, this is just a blank canvas.
Monday, March 21, 2011
And in other news, Shiva is cool.
Well, back to the daily grind! We have a marketing network event tomorrow morning that I'm really excited for, and some more project work...and my Business Ethics class starts this week! Our professor referenced Harry Potter in the syllabus, likening his class to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Love it already. Have a great start to your week!
Friday, March 18, 2011
I wouldn't say that I ever drank excessively, but I definitely used to drink more than I do now. In college and, maybe even more so in the 2 or 3 years following graduation, I drank more for the express purpose of getting drunk than because I actually enjoyed what I was drinking. Jager shots were usually the quickest way to accomplish this (I actually struck fear and respect into the heart of a guy I was dating at the time by asking him to buy me a Jag shot as my first drink on my birthday). I just want to stress that I did not have a problem with alcohol - I'm only bringing this up to illustrate the difference between how I used to drink and how I drink now. My very heaviest nights of drinking usually consisted of about 3 drinks.
Over time, these habits just started to change. I became interested in wine and good beer, and was lucky enough to have groups of friends who enjoyed sitting around playing board games or watching movies and chatting as much as they enjoyed going out to bars, so we always had other options. It was a gradual transition, but now I'm really a one beer or glass of wine kind of girl and I like my life better that way.
I had a converstaion with two fellow yogis at the immersion last weekend who had gone through similar transitions, but have a lot of friends where the culture of drinking is pretty heavy. During one of these conversations, we both reflected that when we were younger we were so self-conscious that we drank to feel more like ourselves in social settings. Now that I'm older and feel much more secure in who I am and what I stand for, having too much to drink actually makes me feel more uncomfortable and less like myself.
I'm not trying to be judgemental of people who drink a lot as part of their social life - whatever makes you happy is fine by me as long as you aren't harming yourself, and like I said, I love beer and wine. What really bugs me though is when the culture of drinking is so strong that people make others feel bad for not drinking, or for not drinking excessively. Yesterday afternoon I went for a run and obviously there were a ton of people outside drinking, several of whom yelled things like "Why are you running on St. Paddy's??" or even sarcastic encouragement like "yeah, you go girl!" it made me feel really weird...until I saw a couple of fellow runners going the other way down the same street. Solidarity. But seriously... drinking all day is not good for you. Why should I feel bad about wanting to go for a run on a beautiful afternoon just because it happens to be St. Patrick's day? Is it REALLY that important to everyone that I drink green beer wearing a green t-shirt?
The more I got into yoga, and became more focused on nutrition and living a balanced, healthy life and listening to my body, the less I found I wanted to drink. I just feel healthier when I keep my drinking to a minimum - I never sleep through the morning, which is my favorite time of day, and I am never too hungover to practice yoga or go for a walk in the morning. I also try not to take in too many empty calories, so I feel like I should treat drinking the same way I do desserts and junk food - have a little, enjoy it, but keep it to a minimum because it doesn't add much nutritionally. Plus, drinking is EXPENSIVE! I didn't realize how much it was costing me until I looked back on my bar/restaurant spending from previous years versus now - and honestly, I would much rather spend that money on a new pair of shoes, a few yoga classes, or some good books instead of a night or two that I barely remember.
OK so that being said... here's what we've been up to in BG!
I found a neat organic foods store called Squeakers that sells all kinds of fun stuff - I'd never had vegan cookies before so I gave these a shot, and I honestly could not tell they were vegan! I also picked up a package of Newman's own licorice (unfortunately they didn't have my favorite flavor, Tangerine), and I tried something new....
...yup, that's right I had never tried Kombucha before! I'd been warned about the weird taste, and I think this is one of the stronger/more vinegary flavors but it was the only one Squeakers had in stock so I decided to just go for it. Honestly, it does taste pretty weird but supposedly they are great for digestion and are definitely full of B-Vitamins so I'll take it. I'll probably stop by Whole Foods or The Wedge for some other flavors when I get back to MN. We've also been doing quite a bit of cooking...
I'm so lucky to have a man who trusts me with a giant knife. We made a sesame-ginger shrimp with cabbage that was delicious. The recipe is from Ellie Krieger's So Easy - which is a pretty great cookbook. Everything in it is healthy, fairly simple to make, and I have yet to find a recipe in it that I don't like.
...and somewhere along the way I learned to smile in pictures like a normal human. This morning I went to the campus Starbucks for coffee and ended up trying one of their new desserts - cake on a stick! Cake on a stick is a concept I can definitely get behind. This is the Tiramasu flavor - I really wanted to try Birthday Cake but they were out. All of the new mini-desserts look fantastic, and this little chocolate-covered gem was quite delicious.
I followed up my dessert-breakfast with a little fruit and yogurt cup - Fage 2% Greek Yogurt, some raspberries, a sprinkle of oats and honey. Made me feel better about starting my day off with cake :)
Also, if you're looking for new music I highly recommend the new album by The Civil Wars - I've been listening to them a lot and made a mix with some of their stuff, some Bright Eyes (new and old), Band of Horses and Bon Iver.
So that's what I've been up to... anyways, feel free to share your thoughts on heavy drinking. I know some people will probably disagree with me, but I know this is what works and feels best for me in my life. Happy Friday!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
In other news, I've been seeing this accent video floating around the blogosphere and thought I'd give it a go. Since my other attempts at making a video have been perfect and totally devoid of awkwardness, I decided to see if I could act halfway normal for five minutes. Turns out not. If you all you've ever wanted in life is to see me rambling incoherently about the weather in Minnesota, yoga, and my strange and brief stint as a Californian look no further:
Words: aunt, route, wash, oil, theater, iron, salmon, carmael, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, pajamas, syrup, caught
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that curls into a ball when you touch it?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What are gym shoes called?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call a spider with an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call the wheeled contraption you put your groceries in at the store?
What do you call the contraption you change the TV channel with?
We were fully armed with a delicous bag of snacks: Lara Bars, Cadbury Mini Eggs, homemade banana bread, apples and other deliciousness....
... which still didn't stop me from grabbing my second cup of crappy gas station coffee after less than two hours of driving. Road trips are the only time I ever drink bad coffee... it just seems appropriate for some reason.
We also packed sandwiches from Lucia's for a mid-day treat. I always feel it's important to have a lunch you look forward to, and you never know what you're going to find at a roadside stop so I like to play it safe.
We are having a great time so far, I'll be back with more updates!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sorry everyone! I've been so busy with the immersion and road tripping that I haven't had any time to write since Friday, but I'm 99% sure you all managed to survive the weekend sans my shenanigans. Boy do I have a lot to catch up on, though! First, Anusara Immersion... we'll get to the road trip eventually.
On Friday night, Ali mentioned the importance of fueling Iccha (desire) in both the head and the heart - the head gets its juice from knoweldge and certainty, and the heart from mystery and uncertainty. I know I am definitely guilty of taking care of my head more than my heart - I'm one of those people who makes an hourly schedule for my day even when they have nothing planned. Some call it anal - I call it being prepared...? Anyways, in my practice my head has a tendency to get in the way, allowing fear to creep in, and causing me to spend most of the first immersion going "OMG do I totally suck? What if I do totally suck and Ali and Ronna are just too nice to say anything? Should I even be here?? What am I doing??!?" Just lots of unnecessary anxiety. Quite similar to my first year in B-school, actually.
So when our teachers told us to set an intention for the weekend, I knew right away what mine would be. I actually had two - the first was to find a better balance between my head and heart, stop overthinking everything and just let myself be and feel in the moment. The second was no fear.
I really can't describe the weekend, and I think I just need to hold it in my head for a while, but there was really a world of difference, for me, between the first immersion and immersion 2 weekend 1. My mom says that "worrying is just suffering advance" - but I actually think it goes beyond that. Worry and anxiety can also be a self-fulfilling prophecy and often end up making the thing you're worried about even worse.
Sutra 1.2 of the yoga sutras, "yogas chitta vritti nirodaha," is often translated in the classical yoga tradition as "Yoga is the restraint of the modifications/fluctuations of the mind." But in tantra, the word 'nirodaha' is translated not as a barrier or restraint, but instead as the power to make skillful choices. Instead of stopping the vrittis, we learn how to align with the flow through our choices, saying no to the things that are not life-affirming and yes to the things that are. I know this is super cheesy but... say no to fear and judgement, so you can say yes to diving in with your whole heart.
the melody of the mind
& the harmony of the soul
create the symphony of life
Friday, March 11, 2011
Advaita Vedantya: Advaita Vedantya is non-dualist, and maintains that only the spirit is real - the body and this world are an illusion, and by practicing yoga we can see the true nature of the world.
Classical Yoga: Classical yoga is based on the dualistic view that both the spirit and body are real but the spirit is superior. By practicing yoga, you can still the fluctuations of the mind in order to overcome your body and mind to see the reflection of the divine.
Tantra: Tantra is also dualistic, but believes that the body is not inferior to the mind - in Tantra, the physical world is a manifestation of the divine, and we practice yoga to remember our true nature, which is divine.
Anusara is a Tantric form of yoga, but one of our teachers said she would encourage everyone to go out and take classes from teachers in different schools to gain a deeper understanding of where Anusara fits into the bigger picture. By experiencing and engaging with other viewpoints, we can more fully understand our own.
This brings me back to last Saturday and my dinner with friends after the Con reunion. We had a really lengthy discussion on the current political situation in Wisconsin, which turned into an even deeper discussion about educational policy and the feasability of public sector unions. All of us were coming from different places, and a pretty wide spectrum of political viewpoints was represented - but because we love and respect each other, we listened without judgement and were even able to see similarities and harmony between the various sides of the argument. And, I think we all came away with a deeper understanding of where those that disagree with us are coming from.
In a way it reminds me of Gulab Jamun.
... this makes sense I promise. Maybe.
Gulab Jamun is an Indian dessert that is basically a squishy ball of dough soaked in sugary syrup. I was totally convinced that I hated Gulab Jamun, even though my friend Amanda kept telling me it was delicious. Today, I went to Bombay Bistro with Ben, and they had Gulab Jamun at the lunch buffet... remembering Amanda's insistence that I "probably just never had good Gulab Jamun," I gave it a shot....and... I liked it! It turned out, Amanda was right - in all my previous experience, Gulab Jamun had been cold and flavorless, but these were warm, just the right amount of squishy with a nice rich flavor. Still not my first choice in a dessert, but at least now I understand the appeal.
In a way, a lot of our political discourse is like bad Gulab Jamun. It's easy to think someone is a total nutjob for liking Gulab Jamun when you've only had terrible ones, or even to think you hate hamburgers if you've only eaten MacDonalds - and often, we only hear the other side of the argument filtered through its worst forms by extremely biased media outlets. "Republicans hate babies and kittens," or "Democrats are just a bunch of crazy communists!"... of COURSE no sane person could agree with the other viewpoint the way it's presented in the media, but people generally don't bother to actually engage, converse with, or attempt to understand people who disagree with them.
So where was I going with this?
Yes. Talk to people you disagree with - you might find you have something in common. And try a food you think you hate...but make sure to ask the experts first so you don't get something terrible :)
Thursday, March 10, 2011
We all know what this means in baking land... BANANA BREAD!! Preferably with peanut butter. And as long as we're abandoning all reason, let's throw some chocolate chips in there too. In full disclosure, I did not have regular PB on hand so I used PB&Co's White Chocolate Wonderful and cut down the sugar.
The resulting bread is moist, substantial and delicious. It is also officially guy-approved (if I weren't already engaged to Ben I think this bread would have done it). Seriously, make this now. NOW. DO IT. Sorry for being so demanding, I just want the best for you.
I couldn't handle waiting for it to cool before cutting it, so some of the slices turned out more like piles. Delicious, toasty piles of banana-chocolate awesomeness, but piles nonetheless. By the way have you seen my Harry Potter mug? I think it's probably the greatest thing ever.
I also apologize for eating half the slice before getting a picture of it, but what can you do?
In other news, I now have a sink full of dishes. In OTHER other news... I won't have to deal with sinks full of dirty dishes much longer because... drumroll... we are moving to a NEW APARTMENT! With a DISHWASHER!!! I honestly can hardly contain my excitement. We won't really officially move until May when Ben gets back, and my current lease isn't up until June but the credit checks are clear and the lease is ready to sign!
I'll put up pics as soon as I can...and get ready for lots of geeking out over new furniture and rugs. Can't wait!!
And I guess you will probably be wanting that Banana Bread recipe.... :)
PB-BANANA BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS
Adapted slightly from Joy the Baker
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or regular WW flour)
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
3/4 tsp baking soda
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp ground allspice
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (if you come out slightly less than this amount, as I did, fill the remainder with applesauce or yogurt)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
1/2 or so bag of chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
In a less-large bowl, mix together the banana, PB, yogurt and melted butter. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and sugars until no clumps of sugar remain. Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together with a rubber spatula.
Add in the chopped nuts and chocolate chips and mix until incorporated (but do not overmix). Pour into a buttered and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before running a butter knife along the edges and removing to a wire rack to cool completely**.
This bread will last well-wrapped at room temp for around 4 days, or alternatively if you have leftovers (doubtful) the loaf can be wrapped and stored in the freezer.
** I did not follow this step.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
About 12 years ago today, I walked into the library at my high school to study and sat down next to my friend Paul, who was dilligently studying for a math test. Before I'd even said hi, I noticed a big, black smudge on his forehead. In an effort to be a good friend, I blurted out without thinking: "hey you have a big black smudge on your forehead." You know, the same way you would tell someone they have spinach in their teeth. Instead of thanking me, Paul just looked at me like I was the biggest moron to ever walk the planet. "It's Ash Wednesday."
I'll be honest, the whole concept for giving things up for lent has always confused me a bit. I get that the point is to experience suffering as Christ suffered, but I guess I don't totally see how a bunch of privaleged white college girls nobly declaring that they are giving up chocolate is in any way comparable to fasting in the desert for 40 days. Maybe my lack of understanding is due to the fact that I'm agnostic, which I've been told means that I just can't make up my mind about anything.
I'm also not really a big fan of self-punishment in any form. I feel like if you're going to give something up, why make it something totally meaningless chocolate or potato chips? Why not give up something that actually changes the world for the better? Why not give up gossip, or negativity - equally as difficult to give up as cookies, if not more, but with an actual point besides our own struggles. Anyways, just something to think about.
P.S. The Green Tea and Lemon Whoopie pie is delicious.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Good thing I didn't eat lunch beforehand, because I had no idea they were basically going to serve us three entire meals. We could have split everything between my mom, Ben and I and probably still had leftovers... the 9x13 box pictured above is about 2/3 of what we ended up going home with. First we tried a salad with strawberries, blue cheese and a vinegarette dressing, followed by an italian vegetable torta for the veg option and salmon fillets with creamy dill sauce.
Wowza! You can view the whole article here: http://www.decocatering.com/images/martha2002.pdf
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The theme of the Con's birthday party was "What is Happiness," and the day centered around a lecture by Ed Langerak. Ed has a deep voice full of wisdom, and likes to spout off such gems as "always look inside yourself to find the truth...unless you're a weirdo," and, "we all know that relentlessly chipper people are annoying." He is a philosophy genius in the guise of a bearded, twinkly-eyed grandpa and has always been one of my favorite professors. I took no fewer than four classes from him in college, and always brought my rough drafts to him so he could rip them to shreds before I turned them in. I've gone to a couple of his lectures post-graduation and we're always happy to see each other. For some reason, he's decided that I am OK - beats me.
During the lecture and post-lecture discussions, we tried to answer two questions: 1) what is happiness, and 2) how do se pursue it. The epicurians (contrary to the misrepresentation presented by websites like epicurious.com) espoused that tranquility and moderation, not pleasurable experiences, were the source of a happy life. If you had a lot of peak experiences, they belived, the valles would be just as deep and twice as wide. Aristotle, on the other hand, belived that happiness was living the virtuous life (he then proceeds to tell you what these virtues are) - and that ultimate happiness lies in the life of contemplation, aka being a philosopher like Aristotle. Brilliant. We also discussed Jeremy Bentham, who claimed to have discovered an exact algorithm for calculating happiness (it terrifies me to think what this guy could have done with an excel spreadsheet), and the utilitarian John Stuart Mill who belived that happiness was the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
After the lecture, Professor Groton, another of our favorite profs, handed out door prizes - Ben was lucky enough to win one by being the person closest in age to the Great Con. The "prize" as it turned out, was a brick from the old Ytterboe building. During a break in the action Professor Langerak hurried over to proudly tell Ben that he had actually stolen the brick from its prior position of helping to hold up a statue on campus. Actually he told us that he had "liberated" it.
Then we broke out into small discussion groups - technically we were assigned to groups, but Ben, Tessie, Evan and I decided to just stick together and go to whatever room we felt like, so we just followed Professor Groton to join her group even though we were supposed to go to a totally different room. The theme that came up again and again during our conversation was that family, friends and community are a huge part of what makes us happy.
Ed mentioned in his lecture that joining a social group that meets once a month can increase happiness the same amount as if you were to double your income. I think our society seriously overvalues money and undervalues time and people. No amount of money should be worth letting our relationships with friends and family slip - but just think of how often that happens, and how often it is seen as totally justified. Past a certain point - I think it is $77K for a family of four (although some adjustments should probably be made for cost of living), the amount of money we make has no bearing on our happines. Why, then, do people strive for more prestigous jobs with higher paychecks that require them to work 80 hours a week and make them miserable, and give up the things that would make them happy?
This got me thinking about what a fantastic community the Great Con itself is. I met many of my best friends in those classes, including my fiancee, and got to know some of the most amazing professors and mentors I have ever encountered in my life. I also found out that Rick Fairbanks, who led my Con-affiliated study abroad session, passed away two weeks ago from cancer. I hadn't known he was ill, and it was a little rough to learn about his passing during a slideshow commemorating the professors the program had lost. One of the other profs told me she'd tried to contact people by e-mail before the event so we wouldn't find out this way, but hadn't been able to get in touch with everyone. It just made me think even more about how much we need to cherish our time with the people who are important to us.
The friendships, community and common language of the Great Con creates a sort of family that spans generations. I was amazed at how easily my friends and were able to jump into very personal conversation with alums from 1985, and how we knew their thoughts on happiness and the meaning of life before we found out their last name or what they did for a living. Fake bullshit networking sessions can suck it, as far as I'm concerned.
After the event, we all drove to Tessie's house for dinner with her and her husband Mark, also an Ole and a good friend of all of ours. As we made homemade pasta, drank wine, and talked about every subject from Lybia to the protests in Wisconsin to what we would invest in if we were Unicorns (don't ask!), I realized how lucky I am to have such amazing friends, who are smart and thoughtful, and who think that sitting around eating delicious food and talking about politics and unicorns is the best Saturday night ever.
Like any good day at the Con, yesterday's events helped me get a little closer to figuring out the answer - happiness is good friends and great conversation. And a brick from Ed Langerak.
Friday, March 4, 2011
It's understandable that wedding nightmares exist - after all, it's a very stress-inducing situation with a lot of anxiety and expectations around it. Everyone wants their wedding to be perfect, but no wedding ever is and that's what makes them fun. One of my mom's friends recently told her that what you really remember from your wedding day are all of the funny things that went wrong.
For example, the only story that comes to mind when I think of my parents' wedding is how one of my dad's friends got beat up cowboys at this hole-in-the-wall bar in Red Lodge Montana after the reception, and the whole wedding party ended up hiding the hotel as these guys drove around looking for them to...finish settling the disagreement I guess.
Anyways, the basic premise of my nightmare was that my wedding happened this week. Somehow, all these balls got rolling and the next thing I knew we were at the church, my hair and makeup weren't done (but somehow I was wearing my dress and my photographer was there), and the ceremony happened and then it was all over. I told my mom we HAD to get the July 9 date back because this wasn't how I wanted it to happen at ALL, and she was like "well, I don't think it's really realistic to have two weddings." This made me very upset.
I think the most interesting thing about nightmares is that they tell you a lot about what is really important to you. Obviously even in the dream I was happy that Ben and I were married - but to be honest, the thing that I'm excited for with Ben is the relationship and the marriage, which are and will be awesome independently of the wedding. What the wedding really represents, for me, is a chance to share that excitement with all of my friends and family and to celebrate our future with everyone we care about. What upset me in the dream wasn't that we didn't have flowers, or cupcakes, or that my hair and makeup weren't done (I actually remember thinking I looked quite awesome in my dream-pictures) - it was that the whole thing had gone down without any of the people I really wanted to be there, and now that gathering would not happen.
It took me a good 20 minutes after waking up to realize that the dream wasn't real, I was not married, and everything with the wedding would go forward as planned. But still, an interesting insight into my wedding-psyche.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
When your sister is laid up in the hospital post-appendix.
When you are inexplicably awake at 5am and don't have to be anywhere for three hours.
...why not make some muffins?
I promise you won't regret it. These are really, really good - not too sweet, and just a little different from your average muffin. The inspiration comes from Smitten Kitchen's Ricotta Muffins but these are totally different, mostly because I had to make do with what I had in my fridge. Like many great things, such as the wheel, Milk Duds and Post-it Notes, these muffins were born of necessity and small accidents.
Things the recipe required that I did not have:
- Fennel (which is probably OK because I'm not a huge fennel fan)
- 1.5 cups of yogurt
Things I had instead:
- Random mascarpone left over from a party (and seriously, what am I going to do with a tub of mascarpone? Make Cannoli?? Let's get real here. Cannoli is just not practical. It's what one leaves when one takes the guns, or so I've heard)
- Cinnamon and Vanilla
- 1 cup of yogurt and some whole milk
- Several jars of almost-finished jam
- Sheer willpower
BERRIES AND CREAM BREAKFAST MUFFINS
3 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (I may have accidentally used 3/4 Tablespoon... so keep that in mind)
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/4 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda together to combine. Make a large well in the center and pour in the yogurt, milk and oil. Whisk the liquids together and gradually draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until imcorporated. The batter gets thick so you might need to switch to a wooden spoon or spatula partway through.
To prepare the filling: place the mascarpone in a small bowl, with the vanilla, stir together to comgine and keep stirring a little to warm it and make it more spreadable.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners, and fill each one about 1/3 full with batter. Deb suggests using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off. I imagine this would have worked perfectly - however I had neither of these things in my kitchen so I went with the failsafe method of "spoon what you think is probably the right amount of batter into the muffin tin and then squoosh it down with your fingers until it covers the bottom." Worked like a charm.
Spoon a little less than 1 tablespoon of the mascarpone, vanilla mixture over the first layer of batter, and cover that with 1 teaspoon of your filling of choice: jam, fresh fruit puree, fruit butter, nut butter (ooh! just thought of that... that could be delicious). Spoon the remaining batter into the cups to cover the filling, and sprinkle walnuts and brown sugar on the top of each muffin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are beginning to turn golden brown. Be VERY CAREFUL not to overbake these... the batter is naturally a very light color, so when they start to turn a little golden they are done. Finished. Etc.