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.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendly Food – Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks & Eggplant Pizza

Friendly Food Logo

I am constantly inviting myself over to my friend’s Jayden & Marco Godina’s house for dinner so I thought this would be the perfect first stop for “Friendly Food”.

I walked into a kitchen prepped with the ingredients in little bowls, it felt so official, the only thing missing was the camera crew! We quickly got down to business, they entrusted me with a knife and I was soon sous “cheffing” my way through the meal. I chopped eggplant, cauliflower and basil before hopping over to the food processor and “ricing” the cauliflower into small bits for the bread sticks. I was only asked once to hand the knife over for a knifing tutorial.

The meal was wonderful, quite easy and something that I would definitely make again, you can find the recipes at the bottom of this post.

This was the perfect launch of “Friendly Food”, I spent quality time with two great friends, learned new skills and some new recipes. I didn’t win at the game of Life but I certainly feel with nights like this that I am winning at Life.

A huge thank you Jayden & Marco! XOXO

J&M

My fabulous hosts: Jayden & Marco Godina

Ingredients

The friendly ingredients

Eggplant

Eggplant slices, salted to remove moisture and wiped clean, ready to bake in the oven.

Marco Instruction 1

Friendly lessons. Marco instructing me on what 3/4″ really looks like.

Sarah Smiles

Patting the cauliflower mixture into the pan to bake, apparently this is funny.

Bread

Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks ready to be “sticked”

Pizza

Eggplant Pizza

 

 

 

Lunchbox

Lunchbox chewing on the sandwich I brought him.

LIFE

Friendly Food turned into a Friendly Game of Life.

Cauliflower Bread SticksEggplant Pizza

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Reiki

Saturday night, dimmed lights, relaxing music and lit candles…..and me laying on a massage table in the middle of my friend Jenny’s living room.

Jenny recently completed her certification in Reiki and invited me over for a session. Typically, the two of us get in a room and its all puns and giggles but this time there was business to be done. I settled in to the bed and immediately relaxed, closing my eyes to let her do her magic. She started first by placing her hands on my stomach and ensuring me that she would not be touching me in any inappropriate places, phew, that was a concern!

I first encountered Reiki about six years ago and really enjoyed the experience but with a limited budget didn’t make it a part of my regular routine. I did take away the practice of “grounding” myself though and have used it countless times in the years since.  When I was in New York I met with a nutrition counselor and the subject of meditation and grounding came up and when I told her how I had learned to ground myself in a Reiki session years ago she told me that my whole demeanor changed, that my face lit up when describing the practice. It made me realize that I need to spend more energy on things that effect my energy.

Back to the scene, Jenny is moving through my chakras and asked if I wanted to hear what entered her mind while working on me. Penny for your thoughts…or in this case Jenny for your thoughts! She asked me if I had seen the movie or read the book “Wild“. I indicated I was in the middle of the book, she told me that while she was up at my throat chakra she couldn’t stop thinking about “Wild”, she tried to clear her mind and it kept creeping back into her thoughts. Throughout my journey I had several people tell me that my story reminds them a bit of the book and now the movie. I haven’t finished the book to know but I believe the similarities lie in having lost a mother and going on a journey to focus on one’s personal health and growth. I have thought throughout the past year about writing a book and it is still on my list of things to do (really though, don’t we all think we have a book in us?). When I shared this with Jenny she told me that the throat chakra (Vishuddha) represented my voice which immediately initiated chills and since our appointment I have heard from no less than three people that my story reminds them of “Wild”.

On my list of things to do, finish reading “Wild” and write a book. No problem!

Jenny is working towards opening her own practice, until then I hope to be on her table as often as she will have me. Once she is up and running I will let you all know where you can find her.Jenny O

JennyO

I love this lady!

 

chakra_poster

Image taken from yogaloftblog.wordpress.com

 

 

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

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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.

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