Hi folks! Today I decided to share with you some of the things I’m loving lately – maybe something will spark your interest too 🙂 Please leave a comment and let me know what’s catching your interest these days!
1. The Dinner Party Download Podcast – This Podcast is entertaining, informative and free! The triple threat! You can download it onto your iphone. I listen to the podcasts while I’m at the gym or on roadtrips etc. The premise is a show set up like a dinner party – let me elaborate… The show starts with an “ice breaker”, where a famous person tells a joke. Then onto “small talk”, where you learn of an interesting current event (not something you’d get in mainstream news). The show continues with “a history lesson with booze,” a “main course” – a food segment, a “guest of honor” – celebrity guest, the “guest list” – where an interesting person lists some interesting things (literally, makes a list), an “etiquette lesson” – compliments of a celebrity – sometimes serious, sometimes not, and a “tune for the road.” Those are the main points, at least. I always enjoy the show and at the same time feel that I have learned something new, albeit not entirely useful in real life but definitely useful if I ever find myself in a trivia death match 🙂
2. The Mindy Project – Have you seen this show?? It is HILARIOUS! I probably find this show particularly funny because I feel that I am frequently involved in the type of comical mishaps and awkward moments in which the main character, Mindy, often finds herself. My husband has started calling me Mindy in such moments as a result of this show. The “About the Show” section on Fox’s website describes Mindy as able to quote every Meg Ryan movie every made and is “determined to be more punctual, spend less money, lose weight and read more books” – check, check, check, check and check. The show is in its first season and stars Mindy Kaling from The Office – only my favorite show OF ALL TIME.
3. Boot Camp – Gettin’ ripped! Just kidding. But I am loving my boot camp lately. It’s just once a week, but I look forward to it every week and it’s the class I’m most likely to consistently make it to. The instructor is high energy without being in your face or yell-y. The set up of the class changes every week but I’d say overall it’s alot like P90x in that its a mix of toning exercises with quick cardio drills done on short time intervals. I’m a cardio girl, so this class helps me incorporate weights/toning exercises into my workouts and even helps me to stay motivated to do more toning work throughout the week. My new thing (once I finally get my butt in gear and go do it) is going to be swimming – there’s a great pool at our gym and I think swimming would be another way to get some tone without hitting the dreaded weights! It also doesn’t hurt that when you’re swimming, you can do a flip in the middle of your workout 🙂
4. Immersion blender – I’m a newcomer to this very useful kitchen tool. In the past, I would flat out rule out making something that I wanted to make because I didn’t want to get out the blender and have to take it apart and clean all up in the blades and half the stuff gets caught in the bottom of the blender. And there was the time that I tried to blend a frozen banana and the blender shattered and a piece of glass flew past my face (no physical harm, only mental trauma!). You can use the immersion blender right there in the soup pot, or in the mixing bowl, and the piece of the apparatus that does the blending goes straight in the dishwasher. Bing, bang, boom – seems a pretty accurate summary of my feelings about the immersion blender. I got mine at publix for about $30. I’ve used it to make pestos, sauces, soups, smoothies, hummus etc. (see hummus recipe below!). The only time I didn’t have much success was when trying to blend ice. I had to wait and let the ice partially melt and even then it was slow goin’.
5. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy – I’m about 2/3 of the way through this book and it’s absolutely charming! The book largely takes place in Ireland, but the characters are from all over. The book is very Love Actually-esque in that it follows the story line of multiple characters whose lives are all somehow crossed or linked. The real action of the book takes place at a quaint B&B on a cliffside in western Ireland. I was looking for a good book that was light-hearted and this book easily fits that description without being superficial or silly. It’s really well done. My only issue is that the few American characters in the book seem to speak in a European style – their language was more formal and polished and just didn’t ring true to me. The reason this bothers me is that when I’m reading a book, I like to feel like I’m inside this world that the author has created and that the book’s reality is reality – but that doesn’t work if the book’s reality doesn’t seem real. This small snafu aside, its an enchanting read!
6. Midtown Olive Press – Midtown Olive Press has started to turn me into an olive oil snob. I swear you can really taste the difference when you use quality oil! Shopping in this oil & vinegar specialty store is an experience. They have about 50 different varieties – and you can sample as many as you like, free of charge. And there’s little explanation cards that go along with each oil/vinegar and often pairing and recipe suggestions too. Of course there are some varieties that I don’t like as much as others, but I always find something in there that’s really good! Then you pick the size bottle that you want, and they bottle it up for you. Right now, I have an herbs de provence olive oil, an arbequina olive oil, a white truffle oil, and a red apple balsamic vinegar. There are two store locations – in Raleigh and Greensboro, NC. I’ve been to both locations and both are lovely. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit!
7. Edible Perspective blog – A friend sent me the link to this blog a few months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Most of the recipes are vegan & gluten-free or at least include a v/gf option. The recipes are all right up my alley – healthy sweets, breads, and veggies. Today, she posted a recipe for orange glazed sweet potatoes with forbidden rice. Yum! The photography is also really well done too – just don’t read her blog when you’re hungry – you’ll want to eat your screen!
8. BEETS!!! Ok, so beets aren’t just something I’m loving lately, they’re something I love all the time! I juice them, I boil them, I roast them, I mash them into hummus, I bake them into desserts, I throw them on salads, I incorporate beet pulp into snacks and pastas and the list goes on. (Insert Forrest Gump quote here). Oh and you can use beet greens too – saute them or juice them. I just love beets. They are super good for you and also super versatile. I’ve posted on this blog lots of beet recipes – check them out and start eating your beets!
In honor of my love for beets, I’m sharing with you a GREAT beet recipe. I first had beet hummus at Weaver Street Market in Chapel Hill, NC – seriously good stuff! I think this recipe can give any beet hummus recipe a run for its money, though. Not only does it taste good, but the bright pink color makes this dish a pretty one too!
- 1 large beet, sliced (mine was a little bigger than a baseball)
- 16 oz can chickpeas
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 T tahini
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Boil the beet slices until cooked through, about 30 min.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
3. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (or a regular blender or food processor).
Beet hummus can be eaten on toast or pita, in sandwiches and wraps, on salads, or for dipping vegetables. Enjoy!