31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Image by Fresh Starr Fish, of Inside Out by Soraia Almeida

Are you big into New Year's Eve parties? Did you get dressed up and go to a great party? Dinner out? I've never really gotten into the whole New Year's Eve party hoopla. It's nice to spend the evening with people you love, a good meal and some laid back fun. It's also nice to cozy up with a movie and hit the hay before the stroke of midnight. I had a great day just going with the flow.

I cleaned up the house a little bit. Starting the new year with a clean house...literally and figuratively is a good thing. Out with the old (whether it's the stacked up recycling or old thoughts that no longer serve you well) so as to make room for the new.

The weather in Michigan has been odd today - rain and in the hight 40s! I was all suited to go for a run in my neighborhood. It wasn't raining when I was getting ready, but when I stepped out onto the porch - the rain was coming down pretty hard. I skipped the run, but did about an hour of yoga. I haven't practiced yoga in several years, it felt really good to be on the mat again. A good way to start off the new year too, getting grounded.

However you celebrated, here's to much goodness, positive energy and sparkle in 2011! Happy New Year to you!

27 December 2010

Banana Muffins

Oh, hello, muffin! I whipped up these Banana Muffins out of the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook (one of my favorites!) over the weekend. I usually make banana chocolate chip bread when I have some bananas about to turn over to the dark side. I wanted to try something new though and so here we are.

Banana Muffins

1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup oats
1 egg white
1 egg
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup mashed ripe banana (I used 2 1/2 smaller bananas)
1/2 cup plain nonfat (or lowfat) yogurt
(optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins

Get all your ingredients in line. Preheat oven to 400. Line a 12-muffin muffin pan with liners, cooking spray or light coating of oil. I prefer using muffin liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Run the cup of oats through a food processor or blender until you have something the consistency of cornmeal. Add the oats to the dry ingredients.

Flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg.

Oats after a good spin through the food processor.

In another bowl, beat the egg white for three minutes until foamy and increased in volume, but not stiff. Stir the foamy egg white and the additional full egg, oil, mashed banana and yogurt and chocolate chips or raisins if you're using them. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until just combined.

One whipped egg white, plus one egg.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin. I added a handful of chocolate chips to six of my muffins at this point just to see how they'd turn out. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy.

Mmm...wholesome and delish!

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you!! Whether you're knee deep in family, alone or with friends I hope you're having a wonderful day. I'm spending the weekend celebrating with different groups of friends since my family is scattered out east.

Christmas Eve afternoon I dropped into the Broadway Bar on the West Side of Grand Rapids. If you live in town and haven't been, you MUST go! It's like walking into a Christmas extravaganza, every inch of the place is covered with Christmas gear! One group of friends has been doing Christmas eve afternoons there for several years. Whenever I'm home for Christmas, I make sure to get over there. The family that runs it, is great...they ask you your name when they take your order and proceed to call you by name until you cash out. My big tab: a diet coke and the lovely grilled cheese and onion rings you'll see below!

Miracle on 34th Street was playing on TV (after they let us channel surf for something holiday appropriate!)

Twistin' Santa!

This is just one wall...pretty much covered with Christmas kitsch! The Broadway is wall-to-wall Christmas!

Anyone else have grilled cheese and onion rings for their Christmas eve lunch?

I've got a run planned in a bit, gchat with the family out East and dinner with running buddy A and her family tonight. When I decided the weekend was too short to travel to be with family for Christmas, I was bummed out. Not to get all spiritual on you, but Christmas is about so much more than shopping and the hustle and bustle. No matter what you believe, if you believe in a power greater than yourself, there's a peace in knowing that although you may be "alone" you're never truly alone. I made that spiritual connection this week after spending a couple days bumming about not being with my family. My heart is filled with so much love for them. I do miss them, but I'm with them in spirit and all is well. I'm creating my own special holiday joy here at home!

May the peace, love and joy of Christmas fill your heart today.

17 December 2010

Why don't you just tell me...

...which movie you want to see?!

Every so often I check out the movie trailers at Apple.com. I had heard the trailer for "Water for Elephants" came out this week, so I had to check that out! Looks ah-mazing! I loved the book and can't wait to get lost in the movie.

And this movie "Hood to Coast" probably won't come to the theaters here in Grand Rapids, but being a runner, I want to see it. Grand Rapids does have a pretty giant running community, so maybe it will come here in conjunction with River Bank Run or one of our other bigger races.

Have you seen any good movies recently? Anything new that's got you wanting to head to the theater?

16 December 2010

Hair Do Well

Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance were on Charlie Rose this week to promote their upcoming film "Blue Valentine." Not only am I so excited to see this movie because I thoroughly enjoy both actors' work, but the story is probably going to rip my heart out. Hearing some of the back story on the making of the film makes me want to see it even more.

fuckyeahryangosling on Charlie Rose

Michelle Willams on Charlie Rose

Plus...plus will you please look at how darling Michelle looks with this hair cut and color?! I so want her hair. Do you think I'd have more fun with this hair? It's just the cutest ever! My hair may be holding me back...

Oh, and if you actually watch the interview, you'll also get to see Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and director David O. Russell talk about the movie "The Fighter." Looks like another film I want to see.

14 December 2010

Oh So Quiet

Been plenty quiet in these parts.

Sorry about that.

There's been a lot going on in my head that I do not want to put out into the world via this blog. A general blah kind of mood struck me sometime on Thursday and hung on pretty tightly all weekend, much as I tried to shake it. It's too early for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) isn't it? Anyway, with the sunshine that was out today, the blah mood seems to be lifting and I'm ever grateful for that!

Hoping to get back to posting more regularly soon.

07 December 2010

Too Cute Boots

Need vs. Want. Since I'm probably not buying, let's just say (pssst, Santa are you listening?) I wouldn't be mad if any of these found their way under the Christmas tree this year! My favorites are the Greenwich and Athens. I almost bought the Athens boots on super sale over on Gilt.com last week, but since I don't "need" them I didn't pull the trigger. I also saw them in brown at TJ Maxx this weekend. So now at least I know that an 8.5 would, indeed, fit in case I come across them again on sale! Never pay full price, there's always a sale on the horizon!

06 December 2010

Kitchen Dreams

[Photo: Kate McElwee, Dwell]

My brother and sister in law have a very minimalist kitchen that employs under-the-counter refrigerators. I'd love to do away with my giant fridge and go with an under-the-counter version. My sister in law, an architect, redesigned the kitchen in their flat. This one in Dwell reminded me of theirs. Click here for an short slide show and a walk through of this particular redesign. Very cool!

05 December 2010

Oh, Sweet Potato

Isn't it fantastic that sweet potatoes are so good for you and are so versatile? I love making sweet potato fries, but tonight I whipped up some mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of Earth Balance vegan "butter", cinnamon, cloves and a sprinkle of brown sugar. It was like dessert, but I was eating veggies! Absolutely fantastic!

04 December 2010


The weather has definitely turned to winter here in Michigan. I'm bundled up, but still feel a little chilly. So I'm blogging about things that make me think warm thoughts! Here are a few!

Zydeco music. Maybe not the first thing you'd think of, but it always sounds warm to me and I happened to be listening to American Routes, and they had a Creole Cowboys segment in the second hour featuring some great zydeco. If you click the link you can listen to that particular segment to get a taste!

SmartWool socks. I'm trying to remember my first pair of SmartWools. They were either from my brother and sister in law as a Christmas stocking stuffer a couple years ago or they were my SmartWool running socks. Anyway, if you haven't tried SmartWools, they're the way to go, so warm and comfortable. They're a treat for the feet!

Roaring fire in the fire place. This isn't my fire place (or even my picture!), but I promise once the chimney sweep comes this week and the fire is actually roaring, I'll be sure to post about it!

Beach. This was taken at Oval Beach in Saugatuck, MI, one of my favorite beaches. It's beautiful and close enough to home that it's easy to get to, but just enough of a drive so you feel like you really went somewhere. Wish I was basking in the sun there right now!

Cozy Bed. My mom, aunts & uncle and I went to Helsinki, Finland in 2005. We stayed at the Helsinki Radisson Royal SAS (now apparently called the Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel!). This was our room and the beds there were the most comfortable in the world. The sheets were amazingly soft, probably like 1000 thread count or something, seriously! High thread count sheets, alterna-down comforter and tons of pillows is the way to go!
The North Face. Nary a winter goes by that I don't mention being on Team North Face. I know EVERY one wears it now, but I don't care because I've been wearing it for years. It's the ultimate all out warm gear and with every piece I acquire, I usually say something like - this is the warmest EVAR - really! I'm even wearing one right now.

What warm things do you turn to or think about when the weather turns cold?