Geekin’ out

November 1, 2011

What did you do this weekend?  As promised, a small sampling for you of the weekend with my parents.  Cliffnotes version:  I made crackers and served a late dinner of  delicious savory root vegetable shepherd’s pie (sorry, no pictures) and…

tried my hand at Ohsheglows amazing chocolate pumpkin pie dessert (see the recipe here http://ohsheglows.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6001732  – check out her recent cracker recipe too, serves as a great base for the crackers I made for “happy hour”).  It was simple and fun to make, amazingly delicious and best of all?  Not one person at the table knew it was Vegan!  Served again the next evening to Brandon’s mom, it still got an “oooh yum” seal of approval.  I’m almost afraid to let the secret out!    I LOVE the combo of flavors and the beautiful fall layers!

Although I love my savory Shepherd’s pie, it tends to be fairly time consuming to make.  What I would recommend, is if you’re going to make it, prep it the night prior so that way, all you have to do is mash the potatoes/celery root, throw them on top of the good stuff and into the oven it goes!  Here’s the recipe – its just too good NOT to share! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vegetarian-Shepherds-Pie-355994#ixzz1cVBioJF8  because I don’t think it needs it with the cremini mushrooms, I leave out the Seitan.  I’ve also found that leaving out the “fake stuff” makes vegetarian meals a little more palatable to the weak of heart :).  Do NOT skimp on the red wine reduction – this makes it SO tasty, but keep an eye on it, because it will (and HAS for me) go from “reducing” to “bitter sludge” oops.  But it gives the pie a deep purple color and rich flavor.  My other piece of advice is to definitely make an effort to add the celery root to the mashed potatoes.  It adds a unique flavor and subtle twist to the standard Shepherd’s pie topping and really helps tie the dish together, I think.  It takes a bit to throw together, but is a great dish to serve to non-vegetarian friends/family and not have them asking “where’s the meat???”.

The next morning, as I am loud and proud about being from Lancaster (no, I’m not Amish), I made some baked oatmeal with smashed bananas and raisins for breakfast.  I snuck in Almond milk to replace the regular milk in the recipe and I have to say this came out better than it would have with regular milk.

It got the ULTIMATE seal of approval when my dad said “now THIS I’d pay for at a restaurant”.   You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face if you tried.

I’m glad I didn’t do much cooking at the end of last week because I spent the majority of my time in the kitchen for the weekend – but it was so much fun!

If you’re wondering if I managed to keep up with my training over this busy weekend, I am proud to say I did! 🙂  I was really worried that after last week’s sluggish fest show my body put on, I wouldn’t be able to push through a 4 mile (gulp) run outside, but dutifully I set out my route on Friday and luckily Brandon offered to join the run on his bike.  It ended up being a beautiful sunny fall day, crisp and cool.  The run took us back through some of the neighborhoods across the street from our apartment with some beautiful houses.  I came back from the run feeling strong, happy and able to take on the world if I wanted to, but content to be satisfied with my accomplishments, and was even more surprised to see I had ran half a mile longer than planned!  There were a bunch of hills in this run (unexpected) and I definitely felt the last big one – but its really amazing what our bodies can do when we decide to do something.  Suffice to say though, I was perfectly happy to spend the remaining Sunday on the couch watching football, giving myself a manicure, reading and being under a blanket.    The cat’s were pretty tuckered too…a weekend of treats and playing with feathers and strings can wear even the best of us out…

Monday and today were pretty typical.  Had a good lifting workout last night where I upped my weights for a tough workout.   We lifted a full body circuit focusing on as many muscle groups as possible.  This means we did squats and dead lifts, worked our delts with DB flies, lateral raises, pushups, abs and obliques, triceps and biceps and the chest.  Serious lifting and my muscles were definitely fatigued, but that’s what feels the best!  This morning I pushed through wanting to stay in bed on our heated mattress pad (so.nice) and ran a tough 4 mile run with speed intervals (think warmup, 3 minutes at 6 mph, 1 minute at 7 mph, 3 minutes at 6 mph, 1 minute of 8 mph and repeat).  Knocked the 4 miles out in 39:30 and it was ROUGH.  For it being my first workout run at that distance, I’m pretty happy with it.   The intervals were definitely hard to do and by the end my body was tired and ready to be done.  But again, it allowed me to push it farther than I have before and I had a great workout in the end.  Best part about it?  It freed up my evening to come home and enjoy the chili that had been cooking in my crockpot all day, with no where to go but my couch to cuddle with my cat.  We’re watching Off Limits and right now he’s in Hawaii exploring old abandoned sugar plantation/factory bit, an old resort where people like Sinatra or Elvis stayed, Pearl Harbor, etc.  If you haven’t watched this show – do it.  Its SO interesting and you learn crazy things about the history of different cities that you don’t really get to hear about otherwise.

 

In retrospect, saying today was “pretty typical”.  I am seriously geeking out at how many new things I learned today.  Did ya’ll know why the Sciatic Nerve isn’t considered Kosher?  Neither did I.   I’ll spare you the explanation, but suffice to say – it was really interesting to learn about.  I love hearing about other religions and their traditions.   Secondly, this show blows my mind every time I watch it, for serious.

I think though, my favorite part of the day was finishing a great book i’ve been reading where I learned so much about a figure in history that has always intrigued me.  Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough is about Theodore Roosevelt.  In particular, there was an excerpt of a speech he gave in Dakota on an anniversary of July 4th.  It was a beautiful speech and almost haunting, even now.  I can’t help but think that its relevancy is stronger now than it was then.

“…Much has been given to us, and so, much will be expected of us; and we must take heed to use aright the gifts entrusted to the care…So it is peculiarly incumbent on us here today so to act throughout our lives as to leave our children a heritage, for which we will receive their blessing and not their curse …. If you fail to work in public life, as well as in private, for honest and uprightness and virture, if you condone vice because the vicious man is smart, or if you in any other way cast your weight  into the scales in favor of evil, you are just so far corrupting and making less valuable the birthright of your children…”

~Theodore Roosevelt

xo

 

 

 

 

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