Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Elves Kicked Me Out Of Our House

Alternate title: An Early Christmas Present 

Alternate title #2: My Husband Is A Bad Liar 

About a week ago, I received an event invite on the calendar that I share with Mal. It said: “Tina gets out of the house while Christmas elves put together her present.” Hmm… very interesting. I accepted the invite, but, of course, I wondered what the heck Mal was planning. And as soon as he got home, I asked him about the “Christmas elves.” He just smiled and told me that I needed to find something to do on Saturday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Well, ok then. I knew he was excited about whatever he had planned, so I didn’t ask anymore questions.

On Saturday morning (yesterday), I packed up my things, said goodbye to Mal, Quinn, and Murphy, and took off for the day. #peaceout

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First stop: CrossFit for a fun partner workout. My partner and I finished it as prescribed just under 30 minutes.

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After class, I took a quick shower at the gym, swung by Coffee Shack for an iced coffee, and then got a manicure (color is OPI The Thrill of Brazil) at Gel Polish Bar. FYI for the locals: Gel Polish Bar gives the most amazing manicures. I usually destroy mine in less than week, but theirs last about two weeks for me, which is UNHEARD OF when it comes to my manicures. And, honestly, I’d probably let it go longer. It’s just that my nails start to grow out and it looks kind of weird, but the gel lasts forever!

snowy saturday

After that, I headed to the Derby Street Shoppes. I figured with Whole Foods, plenty of shopping, and restaurants, I’d keep myself busy! 🙂

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I was pretty hungry after eating an early breakfast and working out, so I popped into Whole Foods for second breakfast. I grabbed a table, pulled out my laptop, and got to work while I ate and finished my iced coffee.

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I worked about 1.5 hours before I met Kerrie next door at Rustic Kitchen for lunch and drinks (and, of course, plenty of Designed to Fit Nutrition talk). I ordered the Harvest Salad with chicken breast on top and, holy cow, it was delicious. Listen to this combo: Baby greens, housemade granola, apples, butternut squash, cranberries, cheddar, and cider vinaigrette. OMG. Loved it.

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Kerrie and I spent a couple of hours chatting over lunch before she needed to leave for a family get-together. It was nearly 3:00 PM, so I sent Mal a text to see if I was “allowed” back in the house yet. His reply: “3:15.” Well, ok then. I had my meal plan/grocery list for the week ready to go, so I went back to Whole Foods and did our shopping before heading home.

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As soon as I walked through the front door of our house, I immediately noticed the new light fixtures in our kitchen!!!

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Our electrician friend (with Mal and Quinn’s help) replaced the dated (i.e. ugly) chandelier in our dining area as well as the lighting over our kitchen island.

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Oh my goshhhhh, I love it so much!! What an improvement, right?! Our kitchen is a million times brighter, lighter, and cheerier now. And it seems so much bigger!! What an awesome “surprise” from my family!

kitchen fixtures before and after

I actually caught on to Mal’s little “elf surprise” awhile ago…

My suspicions started a few weeks ago when he asked me approximately 8,000 questions about kitchen lighting. He even pulled up Houzz on his laptop (on more than one occasion) to try to figure out what styles I liked. I thought it was a little strange, but I had mentioned getting recessed lighting in our kitchen, so I thought maybe he was just excited about a potential home project. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Mal acted all sketchy when texting our electrician friend. Again, I thought it was weird, but I thought they were just plotting a guys’ night out. But, when Mal told me that I needed to leave the house because Christmas elves were coming, all of the pieces came together! 🙂

Even though it wasn’t a true surprise, I love, love, lovvveeee our new lighting (it really does make our kitchen look different) and, of course, I LOVE that my husband is so incredibly sweet and thoughtful and coordinated such an awesome Christmas present for me!



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Weekend Link Love – Edition 431

weekend_linklove in-lineResearch of the Week

Researchers reverse aging in mice and human cells. I’d take an immortal pet mouse. Why not?

Flickering light could help Alzheimer’s patients.

Spanish tapas, circa 1.2 million years ago.

Eccentric training (lowering the weight) increases flexibility by decreasing muscle stiffness and increasing tendon stiffness.

Resistance training in a low-oxygen environment enhances strength gains.

Eating more than a serving of red meat per day still isn’t associated with cardiovascular disease.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

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Episode 147: Stuart Tomc: Host Elle Russ hangs out with Stuart Tomc, a science expert with extensive experience working with natural health supplement companies. He’s currently with CVSciences, the makers of a new CBD oil product. Today, Stuart fills us in on the emerging science of non-psychoactive CBD oil.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

What separates “bad” from “good” dietitians?

This Australian guy ate just potatoes for a year. You’ll never guess what happened next. No, really, you might be surprised.

Media, Schmedia

The reason we see so many hexagons everywhere.

People don’t want healthy Pepsi products, they want chips and soda.

Everything Else

Incredible to think that the guy from The Social Network is the pinnacle of human evolution.

Surprised to see Scientific American engaging in Star Wars viral marketing.

Is self-control really just empathy for your future self?

How to identify a happy rat.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Article I’m pondering: Should we “hack” Stoicism? Hell yes. I detect a modicum of envy that Ryan Holiday has been so effective in packaging and making actionable an obscure ancient philosophy.

Post that I liked: The one where some guy from Malibu asked “Are you a fat-adapter or sugar-burner?”

News I’m happy to share: Men’s Fitness just named the PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Coconut Cashew Bar the #1 protein bar of 2017.

Resource I have to share: A very special issue of Nutrients in which we all share a few cries, have a few laughs, and learn an important lesson about the health benefits of eggs.

Recent food technology that can’t possibly have unforeseen consequences: A new way to hydrogenate soybean oil without producing trans-fat.

Photos that struck a chord: Evolutionary wonders.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Dec 19 – Dec 25)

Comment of the Week

Kimchi is super easy to make. I use Napa cabbage, diakon radish, and leeks. Chop the cabbage, use a peeler for the radish, and strip cut the leeks. Chop off the green and save for stock. With the base intact, run a knife up front the base to where the greens were in 1/4 inch strips. Put the whole lot in a large bowl and rinse several times. When drained mix it all together with a table spoon of fine sea salt. Pack it as tightly as possible in a mason jar with an air lock. I use dried alleppo pepper to give it the authentic red color because my Asian market does not carry the authentic Korean peppers. If I want it spicy I add siracha when serving. Not when preparing because the preservatives in siracha will inhibit the ferment.

– Sounds lovely, Jack Lea Mason. One question, though: What is alleppo?

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Holiday Cranberry-Vanilla Panna Cotta

Panna cotta might sound intimidating, but I like to think of it as an elevated version of Jell-O. To me, it’s a perfect dessert option: quick to assemble, practically foolproof and stunning to serve. This version is a lighter take on the typical whole-milk version. Thick Greek yogurt keeps it luscious and creamy, but with about half the calories and fat of traditional recipes.

If you can make Jell-O, you can make panna cotta. Bloom the gelatin in a bit of cold water, then add to a simmering pot of cream and fresh vanilla bean. The gelatin keeps the filling wonderfully delicate and wobbly. Since vanilla is the primary flavor here, it’s worth seeking out whole beans. Most well-stocked grocery stores will carry them in the spice section, though they can also be found online and in specialty grocery stores. Slice the bean lengthwise, then carefully open to reveal the fragrant seeds inside. Use a small paring knife to remove as many of the seeds as possible, then add both the bean and the seeds to the cream mixture.

This cranberry-vanilla panna cotta is a gorgeous option for any holiday gathering. Made ahead of time, the panna cotta will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Holiday Cranberry-Vanilla Panna Cotta
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons cold water
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 cups low-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh cranberries

Place the cold water in a small bowl, then sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the cream, sugar, and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Whisk gently, taking care not to overheat. Remove from heat, then stir in the gelatin until melted.

In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt until fluffy and smooth using a whisk or hand mixer. Remove the vanilla bean from the vanilla cream mixture, then gradually whisk in to the yogurt bowl. Pour the mixture into six 1/2-cup ramekins, then place in the fridge until set, at least 3 hours.

An hour before serving, combine the orange juice and cranberries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the berries have broken down and the liquid is reduced, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

To serve, loosen the panna cotta by running a clean butter knife around the inside of each ramekin. Set a plate on top of each ramekin, then invert the panna cotta onto it. You may have to tap the ramekin to loosen the panna cotta fully. Spoon cranberry compote on top and serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories 218; Fat 8.3 g (Saturated 5.2 g); Cholesterol 31 mg; Sodium 50 mg; Carbohydrate 31.7 g; Fiber 0.8 g; Sugars 29 g; Protein 4.7 g

Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge (delishknowledge.com), a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their “Happy Weight.” 



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