Friendly Food – Mediterranean Feta Lamb Burgers

This was mFriendly Food Logoy second “Friendly Food” and I have to say that I really think I am on to something here. Catching up with great friends, learning new cooking skills and recipes and getting to feast on tasty food is as close to a perfect night as it gets in my book.

This particular night had me at my friend Ariane and Darren’s house. I have known Ariane for over ten years, we became fast friends at work and even had the opportunity to travel to Spain together. I have known Darren for approximately the same amount of time, having met him through mutual friends. I remember going to a birthday party for these mutual friends and seeing Ariane walk through the door, color me confused! It turns out two spectacular people in my life found each other and were soon to be married, become parents to Sienna & Blake and have me over to cook dinner with them!

After some cuddle time with Baby Blake and a scene which had Darren giving Sienna a mint in the other room without us knowing and then us chasing after her to get the “little blue pill” that she had just popped in her mouth we decided to get down to some serious cooking business.

Ariane had laid out all the ingredients in little dishes which again had me mentally pretending I was on my own cooking show. We started by making homemade tzatziki sauce out of greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, cucumbers and dill. We tested the mixture before deciding that it could use a little more garlic which I remedied with four more cloves, perhaps a tiny bit of overkill. I was next instructed to put on gloves to dice the jalapeno pepper and mix the ingredients into the lamb. I have NEVER liked the feeling of raw meat on my hands or the burning of my eyes after rubbing them after playing with peppers, these gloves are brilliant! We rounded out the meal with sweet potato fries and a everything but the kitchen sink salad.

I left with a full stomach and a happy heart and some new tricks up my cooking sleeves.

Big thanks to Ariane and Darren!!

XOXO

Ariane & Darren

Lamb Sliders

Tzatziki Sauce

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

 

What is Friendly Food?

“Friendly Food” is a blog feature; combining social hour with hands on learning that culminates into a well crafted meal, an expanding recipe collection and ever growing knife skills.  I am inviting myself over for dinner at friend’s houses (or at least heavily hinting until they invite me), asking them to pull out their favorite healthy recipe and playing the role of sous chef.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Friendly Food!

Friendly Food Logo

What may at first seem like me inviting myself to dinner is really a solution to more than just my hunger. I often times find myself scheduling happy hours to socialize with my friends while the healthy groceries I purchased over the weekend sour in the refrigerator, and when I do make it home I am at a loss of what to make for dinner. Enter my brilliantly designed “Friendly Food” blog feature; combining social hour with hands on learning that culminates into a well crafted meal, an expanding recipe collection and ever growing knife skills.

I am inviting myself over for dinner at friend’s houses (or at least heavily hinting until they invite me), asking them to pull out their favorite healthy recipe and playing the role of sous chef.

Up next…my first “Friendly Food” experience with my friend’s Marco and Jayden Godina. On the menu…Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks and Eggplant Pizza!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know Your Body

Know Your Body…..I am almost forty years old and I am still trying to figure it out, you can imagine I was excited for the opportunity to meet and chat with Joanne DiMauro, Founding Director of Know Your Body, when I was recently in New York City. Joanne was introduced to me by one of my friends in Seattle who danced with her as a member of the Rockettes in NYC.

Prior to meeting Joanne I reviewed her website and immediately was intrigued when she spoke of intuitive eating. I have never been able to approach food in an intuitive manner, I find myself struggling to figure out satisfying meals staring blankly into the refrigerator or slowly walking grocery store aisles hoping that my cart magically fills itself. Learning how to be more intuitive in my eating is very….appetizing.

I met Joanne at her home office and quickly relaxed into conversation with her. We spoke of my personal journey, past, present and future and her history with health and nutrition. Joanne approaches a healthy lifestyle through a natural and holistic approach which is a path that I am trying to align myself more with since starting this journey. A common theme I have heard when researching and speaking with health and wellness professionals is “clean eating” which I know even by its name is the right way to eat, clean!

During our conversation we began speaking about meditation and I excitedly told her how I learned from a Reiki practitioner years ago how to “ground” myself, using it many times over the years to calm myself or to aide a sleepless night. When I spoke she smiled in response and told me that my entire face lit up and my eyes sparkled when I spoke about the practice.. It reminded me that I need to spend time healing not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

I continue to be blessed in meeting so many people along this journey!

Joanne D2

Facebook

From Stressed to Stretched

I took a deep breath before entering the building. I have said this before and nothing has changed I am always nervous to try a new workout. Classes in New York have an even greater level of intimidation to me, but there really is no reason, I have had only one uncomfortable experience when I was told by two incredibly skinny 6 foot model types that I was doing an exercise wrong and I have been scared ever since.

This day I was trying Lastics, a class designed by Donna Flagg, that consisted of various stretching techniques. I’ll be honest, I chose this workout because I thought I would breeze through with little sweat and exertion, I was wrong.

Within moments of the first stretch I was shaking, it was as if all of a sudden my legs were plugged in to an electrical outlet somewhere. We were seated on the floor, legs stretched out in front of us,  instructed to push our legs down until they were flush to the floor, no matter how hard I tried to push the back of my wobbly knees to the floor I couldn’t. Donna was very in tune to what everyone in the class was doing so I couldn’t hide. She came over and pushed gently on my knees helping them to finally touch the floor, she told me to keep them there and when she let go they popped back up, I had no control.

At one point we were instructed to pull our leg up behind us with our heel touching our butt, I struggled, leaning against a wall trying to grab at my ankle. I know from plenty of workout classes that I am one of a few who can’t successfully do this without holding on to a wall or kicking my leg up behind me and praying that my hand connects with my shoe laces so I can hold on to something other than my actual foot to do this stretch. What makes this move so difficult for me? I have no clue, could be extra padding, could be lack of flexibility, it’s definitely a lack of coordination.

There were plenty of other moves that were equally as challenging for me but in the end I left feeling good, my muscles were awake, I had exerted plenty of energy and had learned a new form of exercise.

Donna is a no nonsense instructor who calls you out when you aren’t hitting the perfect form, needless to say I got a lot of attention. I normally would have been embarrassed by so much attention but I was not alone and while direct, Donna is very friendly.

The workout is meant to aide your body in creating lean, limber and elongated muscles. I knew that taking one class wouldn’t get me to a dancer’s body but I am definitely intrigued. If you have interest in learning more about Lastics you should check out Donna’s collection of books and dvds for home practice.

The images below were taken from Lastics.com

lastics-class_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aqua Cycle NYC

Taken from Aqua Cycle on Facebook

Taken from Aqua Cycle on Facebook

I had my eye on Aqua Cycle in New York for over a year. A spinning class done in the water on submerged bikes seemed pretty spectacular, couple that with an ambiance of classical music and candles and I was sold.

I had several awkward moments, the first happened before I even got to the pool. I was trying to sneak by a naked woman in the locker room without rubbing up against her and I fell against the wall hitting the light switch which in turn cast part of the locker room into darkness. Thankfully my friend Emily was with me and I got to share a laugh with her, one of many to occur in the hour long class.

It’s rare for me to purposefully put myself in a situation where I am in a swimsuit in a pool with strangers. I remedied this by wearing a tank top and workout pants, which worked fairly well until the crotch of my pants snagged on the seat during a move that had us placing our hands on the bike seat and and lifting ourselves on to the bike from behind.

The class instructor Emma Galland, is a certified holistic health coach and nutritionist as well as the author of “Feeding Success” and the owner of Goji Fitness, and if that wasn’t enough she has also co-created a vegan, organic superfood protein powder called Zenberry. I was very impressed with Emma, her entrepreneurial endeavors as well as the way she effortlessly led our class with a cast on her arm.

She adjusted my bike for me, and due to my height I stuck out of the water far past my neighbors, it felt a bit like I was back in elementary school towering over my classmates in our school picture.

The bike has no resistance dial like in an above water spinning class, the resistance is solely up to the rider, at first it felt like riding a bike with a broken chain with my pedals spinning fast and in an uneven jerky sort of pattern but soon enough I got into a rhythm and must have been doing something right because my leg muscles were on fire! We moved our way through three positions, sitting, standing and finally pedaling while floating behind the bike.

Aqua Cycling is popular in Europe but currently the only place to spin in a salt water pool is in TriBeCa. The classes are a bit pricey but if I lived locally I would try to find a way to support the habit.

Follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

And she’s back!

I know, I know you haven’t heard from me in quite awhile, for that I apologize. My trip officially ended when I drove into Seattle at the end of June. I was a mix of emotions; nervous, anxious, ecstatic, scared, happy, sad, excited…the list could go on.

The drive across the pass into Seattle highlighted the end of an amazing year, the completion of a huge goal.  I had found success in so many ways; navigated my way across the US, stretched my trip from the original six month plan to a full year, lost weight, met new and old friends, saw parts of the country I had never seen and yet there was still a small cloud of disappointment that it was all over.

When I left for this trip I had very distinct dreams of what this trip was going to mean to me and how it was going to end. I was going to come back refreshed, with a clear idea of who I was and what it was I wanted in life, oh and I was also going to be 80 pounds skinner and tan.

The reality was that my year on the road allowed me to step out of my daily routine, give some time and attention to the emotions I had surrounding the loss of my Mom and the resulting changes to my family. It allowed me to connect with amazing people, revisiting important relationships, moving them beyond the superficial occasional text and Facebook updates to a deeper connection.

I didn’t come back to town knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up but I did come back with the knowledge that what I do for work is just a small part of who I am, it is a tool which provides me a means to the end goal…living.

And since this blog is called “Losing Weight Off the Interstate” I should report that I lost 45 pounds, not the 80 I had dreamed of but 45 stubborn, difficult to lose pounds.  I am maintaining this loss and working towards losing more but for now I am going to stop apologizing that I only lost “45 pounds” and be proud for the huge accomplishment of this past year. Oh and if you were wondering, no, I am not tan either. I guess the next round of “Losing Weight off the Interstate” will be in warmer climates.

Until then, I will update my blog with more frequent posts about life and loss and most importantly…Living.

Up next: A trip back to NYC! (I type this as I am sitting in “my” apartment in Chelsea)

XOXO

 

A New York State of Mind

NYC Empire State Building 1

I have always dreamed of living in a big city and this trip seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a taste. I will be in New York City from now until the beginning of December.

I have quickly learned some of the rules to big city living. The toughest for me has been to quit smiling at strangers on the street. I can’t help it, I am a friendly lady. It turns out that those smiles here are more of an invitation to interact than they are at home. I have successfully wiped the smile from my face but I didn’t throw it away because I am planning on smiling at strangers again after my departure.

I have had the opportunity to catch up with some amazing people with hopes to catch up with even more. Some of my favorite people live here and being in the same city as so many wonderful and supportive people has been very good for my soul.

Working out and healthy eating are still very much at the forefront of my mind, I am taking two separate fitness classes this week and will be excited to share my experiences with you. I am reaching out to various food and fitness professionals and hope to stack the deck with some amazing experiences and some more weight loss!

Chat soon!

NYC Collage Friends 1

I saw a Banksy my first weekend here!

I saw a Banksy my first weekend here!