Free Birthday Fitness

Great things about having a birthday:

1. People you haven’t talked to in years will write on your facebook wall to wish you well

2. People you talk to regularly will do something nice to reinforce your mutual affection for one another

3. FREE STUFF

Lots of restaurants give you a free dessert (and haven’t we all misused this perk to surprise an unsuspecting friend on their non-birthday…or just to get a free dessert? nope…just me?), a lovely sandwich shop in Northfield, MN will give you a free hoagie sandwich, and right here in Minneapolis you get the gift of fitness. Gym rats, yogis, and cross fit addicts everywhere know that fitness doesn’t come cheap. Just a few examples…

Cross Fit monthly membership: $170

Yoga Studio Monthly membership: $120

Pilates/Barre Monthly membership: $160

So, the birthday gift of free fitness is really a gift. Instead of paying $38 for drop-in class rates, I received a free class at Corepower Yoga and a free class at Allign Pilatesjust for being born.

I’ll take it! Naturally, I knew right away the only Corepower class I could even consider was sculpt.

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Corepower sculpt, I love you. If only our relationship depended on more than money…

At Allign Pilates, I took a barre class. Holy cow, this was a tough class! Although I wasn’t quite as fatigued as after a sculpt session at corepower, the exercises at a barre class are more unique and make me feel like I’m using totally new muscles (or at least using them a lot more than I’m used to). If your legs don’t shake at a barre class..hats off to you!

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And, since I can’t justify doing another birthday post more than a week after my birthday, the last b-day related pics are from a lovely dinner with friends. Featured dishes: cheese and crackers, sauteed summer squash, and rosemary flatbread from Smitten Kitchen (topped with caramelized onions and blue cheese).

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Grilling in the Rain and Protein Fudge

Yesterday, it rained all day. Slightly tragic for a Memorial Day BBQ, but we were very resourceful:

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The grill was set up on the porch with an umbrella overhead…fool proof. In addition to veggie burgers and brats, we had caramelized onions, cucumber yogurt salad, carrots and hummus, corn salsa, and blue tortilla chips:

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Last but not least, an apple crumble and a birthday cake:

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Everything was delicious.

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And now…time for a protein fudge recipe I made a while ago. I was inspired by a thin mint protein fudge recipe by the Fitnessista. My version nixed the thin mint concept and made a few substitutions.

I combined 2 scoops of chocolate Tera’s Whey protein powder with one scoop of oat bran (I just used the protein powder scooper to measure the oat bran):

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Then, I added two tablespoons of honey peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of truvia, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract:

 

 

 

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Mix it all together:

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And flatten it out in a small tupperware:

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Meanwhile….it’s time to make the frosting! Melt 2 tablespoons chocolate chips with one tablespoon of milk:

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Spread on top of protein mix and allow to harden in the fridge:

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By the time I took these pictures, the fudge was half eaten…sorry. Also, if you are judging my fudge consumption, at least a week had passed since the making of the fudge and the pictures above. So there. 🙂

 

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is one of those great holidays that you can never forget what day it’s on. Unless, of course, you don’t know that cinco means five and Mayo means May. If that is you, you probably should have taken Spanish is second grade.

Cinco de Mayo was last Sunday, and celebration ensued. Although not quite on par with St Patty’s Day, Cinco de Mayo is definitely a boozey holiday, and pretty much every bar around the Twin Cities offered some sort of Cinco de Mayo deal. The bar scene’s not really my style, so the only celebration I partook in was hosted at the lovely apartment of a fun and fabulous friend. This party made every bar in town look downright lame. The decorations were festive:

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And the food was AMAZING. There were blue corn chips and chicken enchiladas:

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Beans with veggies and brown rice:

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And – the essentials – salsa and guacamole:

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The salsa was of the mango variety. Everything (except the chips) was homemade and utterly delicious:

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I filled my plate with chicken enchiladas, beans, and plenty of chips plus salsa/guac:

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Food + friends = smiles all around

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Punch with optional tequila was still present. 🙂

How many people does it take to…

I had a lovely potluck Shabbat dinner with friends this weekend. As my contribution to the meal, I prepared some cabbage that I had left in my fridge from last week’s trip to the farmer’s market. This recipe was quick, easy, and delicious – so a winner all around.

First, I chopped two small onions:

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I sauteed the onions in about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil:

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While the onions cooked, I chopped up a half head of cabbage:

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Once the onions were slightly browned…

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I added the cabbage plus 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and cooked until the cabbage darkened and became soft:

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Right at the end, I added several shakes of thyme and a pinch of salt. Yum! Here’s the full recipe written out:

Ingredients
 - 2 small onions
 - 1 tablespoon coconut oil
 - 1/2 head cabbage
 - 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
 - thyme
 - salt
 Method
Chop onions and cook in a skillet with heated coconut oil until just beginning to brown.
 Add cabbage and apple cider vinegar and cook until cabbage wilts and darkens.
 Add thyme and salt to taste.

See? Sooo easy.

My friends made a delicious tomato and coconut chili with beans, corn, and rice:

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After the meal, it was down to business putting together a new bed from CB2. CB2 is a modern furniture and accessory branch of Crate and Barrel. My friend just bought the CB2 siesta bed, and it required home assembly.

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Are we up to the task?

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There was a slight hiccup with the alignment of the headboard…plus some apparent mislabeling of parts…plus we put some pieces on the wrong way….plus we had one misguided phone call to customer service…but besides that things went smoothly!

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All’s well that ends well:

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After all that hard work, we needed some reward…reward in the form of ICE CREAM. Look for my next post on the best ice cream in Minneapolis. 🙂

Friday Smiles

Given that it’s the end of the week, I want to look back and recognize some of the things that I really enjoyed this week. Sure there was some stress and rocky moments, but when it comes down to it, this was a great week and I am a very lucky person. Here are my top Friday smiles:

1. Morning Runs

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The weather hasn’t been consistently nice yet this spring, and it was nice to have some relaxing (albeit chilly) morning runs.

2. Seeing Michael Pollan Speak

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I – along with 1500 other people – listened to Michael Pollan speak about the significance of cooking for health, democracy, ethics, and development. Meals, according to Pollan, are a shared experience that help to create bonds and love between the individuals who enjoy them together. Speaking of….

3. Taco Dinner with Friends

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Potluck taco dinner with beloved friends = big happiness

4. Art Class

This week I worked on a mushroom value and perspective drawing. Here is the original picture:

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And here is my version:

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5. The Love Fern

Yes, this is ridiculously hilarious creepy girlfriend-ish wonderful…but I have created a love fern to help me survive my anguish while Noah is away in Italy (did I mention I am going to visit in 7 days?!?!?!).

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Bonus: it’s blooming!

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And there you have it, my Friday smiles. 🙂

What are your Friday smiles?