Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cabin Fever --> Spring Fever

What can I say?  I want to write something clever and scintillating this morning, but the fact is this: I have been trapped in my house with my baby for going on 3 days, with very limited contact with the outside world, and I don't really have anything earth-shattering to share.  If I thought you would be interested in the details of me alternately lying on the floor letting the baby crawl all over me and poke me in the eyes, or obsessively checking my dog's flight to St. Louis, or even more obsessively pouring over the Boston Craigslist housing listings, all while wearing the same gray pair of Babson College sweatpants day in and day out, well, I could write a novel.   I could tell you about my work, or how I opened and closed the refrigerator 20 times yesterday considering whipping up something gourmet, but ultimately served Quorn Patties with barbecue sauce for dinner.  I could lament about hopping on the scale this morning, certain that all the running miles I logged last week would have finally put that elusive number back between the 1 and 0, but how I in fact weighed the EXACT same thing I weighed last week.  Argh!   Or, I could tell you about how Baby J and I may need to construct a boat and sail out of here if the water moves any closer towards our house.
However, all of those stories would show a very poor attitude, and I am bound and determined to keep it positive!  So, instead, I am going to cling to the hope that the weather guy wasn't lying when he promised only "scattered" showers this afternoon, and get us out of here before Baby J starts riding his tricycle around the house and seeing creepy twins (Shining reference, anyone?).
On the brighter side, the sun is supposed to return tomorrow, and then we are supposed to have weather in the 70s with bright sunshine this weekend.  So, I'm trying to stay focused on the spring fever instead of the cabin fever, and to that end, I am thinking about what might make the perfect mama uniform for the coming hot weather season.   I am thinking dresses in comfortable fabrics and forgiving cuts are going to be the secret to my success this summer, and there are many cute options out there.  Some of my favorites so far:
CP Shades Pema Dress (although obviously not in white... it comes in a lovely gray that I'm admiring)
Priced much more reasonably than the above and available in petite sizes is this Gap dress...intriguing.
And finally, the Patagonia Kamala dress, because I am always a sucker for the Patagucci.
What will your summer uniform be?

Monday, March 29, 2010

DIY Dogwash

Since our pup is about to have a major lifestyle change from backwoods dog to highbrow city-hound, we thought we'd better get him gussied up for his travels.  Dog owners, have you ever been to one of these do-it-yourself dogwashes?  Now that I've tried it, I'll never go back.  We always used to wash our dog in the tub, but that really turns one tough job into two: the scrubbing of the dog and the scouring of the bathroom, not to mention the extra laundry and the chasing of the wet dog around with towels before he can shake himself off and cause further messes.  Since we are currently without our own bathroom in which to wreak such havoc, I headed to Club Canine on Saturday to give Louie a serious scrubdown.
Let me tell you, this was worth every penny.  For $18, you get access to these great tubs, a ton of products, and pile of nice clean towels.  The tubs are elevated, so no stooping over a low tub killing your back, and the dogs get clipped in, so no wrestling match to keep the little scoundrel in the tub.  You get to first go to town with a Furminator, which is now the top item on my Christmas list this year: I seriously got an entire dog's worth of hair off of Louie with this super-professional grooming tool.  Then you get to go to scrub away with special shampoos and conditioners.
Last but not least, a lovely spa attendent comes around and gives the dog a blueberry facial.  No, I am not kidding.  Yes, I wanted one myself.
Finally, you get access to tons of towels and a high-powered doggie blow-dryer (sorry, no photo, I was pushing my luck with his time in the tub by this point).  The best part?  You get to leave the dirty tub and towels behind.  I did not a lick of clean-up!  Just gave the dog a complimentary cookie, and headed out of there with one saucy looking pup.
Nana and Grampa, get ready for one shiny, foxy, ginger-scented canine to arrive on your doorstep.
He's so petable now, you cannot resist his charms.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Mantra

let go
have faith
forget regret
health is wealth
gratitude is everything

Friday, March 26, 2010

Urban Grotto

Moving from Vermont to Boston is going to be an adjustment in many ways, not the least of which is going from having massive front and back yards to a likely much smaller outdoor space.  A lot of the places we've been seeing have small yards or tiny balconies.  Rather than feeling discouraged by this, I'm actually feeling challenged and inspired.  I think of apartment buildings in European cities with plants hanging down from wrought iron balconies, and wonder what I could pull together for my own little urban grotto.
I love the idea of taking a very small space and making the most of it, with flowers, a cozy table for two, and great color.
Even in the most diminunitive spaces, a dedicated griller (aka, The Husband) will find a way to squeeze in a BBQ.  You can gain space with window boxes for flowers, and I love adding interest with quirky fixtures and beautiful plants. 
All photos below are from one of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy
Creating an urban oasis calls upon the most resourceful and creative corners of my nesting-brain, and I can't wait to rally up some herb pots and glass lanterns and make a space feel like ours. 
Small is beautiful, simple and zen.
Right now, I'm daydreaming about sipping wine outdoors with my family in our very own grotto.
Now we just have to find it.
Care to come by for a drink?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Random Products from my Day

Happy Thursday!  It's a day for sharing the random and fabulous products that are making my day a little better.  Let's begin, shall we?
1) It seems I'm holding a bit of tension in my shoulders lately.  That, and my return to the roads after a 10-day rain-and-real-estate-induced running hiatus have my muscles really talking to me right now.  I've recently discovered Biofreeze and I LOVE IT.  Biofreeze is a Pain Relieving Spray made with natural menthol, Arnica, Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Juniper Berry, and White Tea and lots of other natural and magical ingredients.  Spritz down with this stuff after your shower, and you feel like you've just had an amazing deep-tissue massage.  Biofreeze helps me recover from my runs more quickly and eases all my muscle tension.  Whether you are a stress-case, an athlete, or both, I reccommend you give this stuff a try.
2) We're flying our doggie out to Missouri next week to stay with his grandparents until we're a bit more settled (THANK YOU J & D!).   I had a long talk with our vet yesterday about how to soothe his nerves on the tarmac and in the cargo hold, and she assured me that Pet Calm would keep him feeling nice and mellow for the duration of his journey.  Apparently dogs drink more when they are nervous, so spiking his travel crate water bottle with some of this stuff should help him relax for the whole flight.  A few drops of Pet Calm and a half of a regular OTC Dramamine and our buddy will be cool as a cucumber.  Now I just need something for my nerves...
3) A salty din last night and a hurried, coffee'd morning sans water bottle have me feeling very dehydrated after my run.  My favorite natural sports drink for situations like this is coconut water, and this Zico Coconut Water with Mango is particularly yummy.  Some quick facts about coconut water:  it has five essential electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, low acidity, no fat and no sugar added.  It leaves you with the refreshed and hydrated feeling you get after chugging a Gatorade, but without the sugary jitters, or the shame in having just drank something the color of anti-freeze.  Two thumbs up... feeling better already.
4) Finally, one of my favorite new mamas is about to go back to work and embark on her first adventures in daycare.  Her inquiry this morning reminded me of a great product to share: we love these BumpyName Orbit bottle labels from Inchbug.   They are dishwasher safe, fit snuggly on any bottle, provide a little grippiness when the babe is ready to hold his bevvie himself and, unlike sticker labels, these bands never fade, fall-off or leave a gummy residue.  I thought they were a great find, and figure they'll come in handy for years, moving from baby bottles to sippy cups to hockey game water bottles, until they are so blatantly uncool that Baby J "loses them" at school. One day at a time, Mama C: everything is going to go swimmingly, I promise!
What product is making your Thursday better?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Like Hot Beverages

After a brief summer teaser this weekend, monsoon season is back.  It is literally raining buckets, and I can't justify dragging the babe out into this weather for a run.  Sideways snow is one thing, drenching downpours are another.  So, as cabin fever sets in once more, I'm doing what I can to remedy The Shining symptoms and keep us feeling cozy and happy.  On my list: a hot shower with good products followed by a facial mask, some extra special grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch (homemade bread, sharp Vermont cheddar, hothouse tomatoes, lots of love), and lots of yummy hot beverages.   My favorite soul-soothing bevvies to combat the cold?
If you're feeling virtuous...
I love Yogi Teas, and this is my favorite one from their line.  Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life is supposed to "support healthy weight loss" and as my quest to Lose the Baby Weight soldiers on, I need all the help I can get.  This tea contains a natural appetite suppressant called Garcinia cambogia, and when I feel the need for an afternoon snack approaching, sipping a mug of this seems to quell the craving.  Even without that maical addition, I love the flavor and the energizing punch you get from the a antioxidant-rich green tea, and ginseng-eleuthero extract.  There is also a hint of hibiscus, which is a flavor I always love.  Even if you aren't dieting, I highly reccommend this tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. 
If you're feeling a little naughty...
When you're stuck inside with a teething baby all day, sometimes you need something a bit more decadent than diet tea.  When the chocolate craving strikes, I love Equal Exchange's Organic Hot Cocoa.  It is made with non-fat milk powder, so technically you only need to add water, but adding it to hot vanilla soy milk really pushes it over the top.  If you had some marshmellows on hand, all the better.  This is a fantastic company that I love to support... check out their mission here.
If you're feeling downright devilish...
This drink was my grandmother's special nighttime remedy for colds and coughs: a nice, stiff hot toddy.  Even if you aren't sniffly, this drink is lovely sipped just before bed in front of a fire with a good book.  You squeeze the juice of two lemons into a mug (Meyer lemons would really give it some oomph), and add a healthy shot of bourbon or scotch (okay, 2 shots) and a generous squeeze of honey.  Fill the mug with boiling water, and stir.  The citrus is edifying and the bourbon just makes everything better.  Raise your mug to my Grandma Martha, and then ease off into dreamland.
Rain, rain go away.  Seriously.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Scenes from a Monday

Good morning.  I'm feeling rather flat today; like the human equivalent of a rock, just sitting, being.  I'm going to roll with that, as it is the first time in days that I haven't woken up and needed to start going at a dead run until my head hits the pillow again.  There was no cooking this weekend, just a lot of looking at Boston real estate.  This is quite an educational process, and one that requires more patience, good humor and vision than I ever thought possible.  We did see one little place that I can't get out of my head... I can actually see the husband outside the kitchen window grilling, with Baby J pulling out the grass in the yard by his side.  It is lovely to feel like there are potential places out there that might one day be Home.  It was a weekend for loving the GPS, soaking in the sun and the city, and eating too much sushi with good friends.  Now, it's a Monday for reflection. 
The gray sky and calm ocean have a melancholy feeling, but there are plenty of things to brighten the mood.
I'm enjoying two of my favorite things... strong coffee and pretty toes.  I've had the feet of a 100-year-old man lately, and can't tell you how lovely it is to look down and see little jewel-nails.  Ahhhh.... womanliness.
Also enjoying these gorgeous flowers in the kitchen.  They're brightening up the whole house.  Don't you love that curly green piece shooting out of the top?
And what brings joy moreso than good products? I have to share my new favorite for curly hair: Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray. Makes you feel like you just spent a day frolicking at the beach, and now your hair has that tousled, wavy, salty feeling and you're about to go have a rum drink at sunset.  All that in one little bottle: not too shabby!
My mama cheffed up a big pot of lima beans to cure what ails us.  You know you are a grown up when you actually crave lima beans.
On the flip side, there are the endless piles of laundry that never seem to go away.  But at least folding warm, soft laundry on a cold day has some element of comfort, right?  Or am I just really reaching at this point?
Plus, with a helper this cute, who can complain?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pushing Yourself

In life, it is so easy to seek the quiet comfort of what is known and familiar.  As we age, we find our sweet spots: at work, in our relationships, in our marriages, and as parents.  We know what works for us and what doesn't, and seeking the path of least resistance, we tend towards What We Know.  As we garner praise and encouragment in the areas where we excel, it becomes ever easier to turn our backs on the new and the different.  This is the stuff of success, of focus, and of routines which enable us to stay grounded and move forward.  It is also the stuff of ruts.  There are but a few letters separating routine from rut, and this is no mistake, I feel.  When we feel the most entrenched in what is comfortable, this is the time to break out and try something new.  This is what wakes up the soul and makes us vital.  This is the stuff of the adrenaline and exhiliration which keep us feeling alive!

Today, I want to honor my amazing mother who, at 63, keeps pushing herself into ever new adventures.  She's always been a writer, but only very recently started writing poetry.  She took on this new hobby with a passion, enrolling in a class, writing constantly, and studying every type of poem from pantoums to Sapphic odes.  She brought down the house at my sister's wedding last summer when she read the most gorgeous love poem that she wrote for my sister and her new husband.  She literally took my breath away that night; I was choking back tears.  Tonight, she is taking a huge leap, and reading publicy at a special Beat Night at a local bar.  She was invited to be a featured reader after reading one poem at an open mic there, and this evening she'll be sharing 7 poems, backed up by a band.  I am so proud of her, but more than that, I am inspired by her.  I hope that when I'm 63, I'm strong enough and fearless enough to embrace a new pursuit, one that takes me out of my comfort zone, with this much courage and zeal.  While it is anxiety-producing to dive into the unknown, the sense of accomplishment and victory on the other side are so very sweet.  I can see the anticipation and the nerves washing alternately across her face this morning, and I can't wait to see the pride and relief she'll certainly glow with over our celebratory martinis tonight.

Mom, your fearlessness is epic.  You are a role model for us young women, standing on the cusp of a time in life where it is easy to fall into the routine/rut cycle, and forget the things we want to try, we need to try, we must try to keep ourselves in the game.  I'll always be a gamer because of you, and I love you for it. 
When not writing, my mom makes these cool cairns all around their property.  Love 'em.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm facing down another week of deliquent blogger-hood.  I am just all over the place this week.
Places I've Been
1) Lost in Boston.  So lost in Boston.  Saying words I should never say in front of my child again on flipping roundabouts in the outer suburbs of Boston.
2) To Best Buy for a beautiful new Garmin GPS to ensure that I never say such words in front of my son again (at least in the car... I make no guarantees about what will happen next time I burn myself on a hot pan).  I've never had a GPS before and can't wait to take this baby for a spin.
3) To Starbucks for my favorite drink of the spring... a shaken iced Tazo Passion Tea.  Hibiscus-y and not too sweet.  Delish.  You must try.
4) To my favorite local running store where I got new kicks to help me train for my half-marathon in June!  My old shoes had way too many miles on them.  I can't believe the difference.  So excited!
5) Sitting in the rear entry hall of my parents' house (aka, the farthest possible place from the sleeping baby's room), simultaneously reorganizing my work bag (which the hub had commandeered as our on-the-go filing cabinet) for a trip up to my office in Vermont tomorrow, while leaving voicemails for friends I've owed calls for way too long who most likely hate me now.  Sorry, friends!
6) To the best Mexican joint around, with my cousin who is about to have a baby at any moment, her adorable 2-year-old daughter, and Baby J.  There were lots of quesadillas thrown on the floor, rounds of Old Macdonald sung, and the wonderful kind of random conversation that you squeeze in between dumping hot sauce on your salad and trying to stop your child from hurling himself out of his highchair and onto the cement floor.

Places I am Going
1) Vermont!  Tomorrow!  At 5am!
2) To my favorite espresso joint in Montpelier.  Can't get there fast enough.
3) To my office for the first time in six weeks.  Can't wait to see the running team! 
4) However, only popping in there briefly, en route to my next super fun stop: The Dentist.
5) After which I'll drive back to Maine.
 How cool is this Vermont nighttime driving shot from Flickr?  Love it.
6)  Back home in time to hit the pub to celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite Irish gals!

Whew.  Suffice to say, you may not hear from me until the end of the week.  Till then, I'll be out on the road, heavily caffeinated and singing along to the Dixie Chicks.  Send me strength!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chickpea and Spinach Stew

I've got a case of cabin fever like you wouldn't believe.  After getting in such a great running groove in the past couple weeks, the hurricane/monsoon hitting the east coast feels especially claustrophobic to me.  Make no mistake, this is not a light and invigorating mist that you could sprint through feeling hearty and hardcore; this is sideways rain and gusting winds that would surely blow Baby J and me out to sea, never to be heard from again.  So, we remain inside, at least until tomorrow when the sun should blessedly return.  And what do we do inside?  We crawl around opening kitchen drawers, removing all their contents and banging them on the floor (Baby J) and we cook up a storm (Mama J).  On Sunday evening, I made one of my all time favorite healthy soups: Chickpea and Spinach Stew. 
To be fair, this recipe is not mine.  However, I've had it for so long that I can't even remember where I got it originally, so I fear I might be doing some copyright infringement here: if you know where this recipe came from, please let me know!  All I know is that it has been a frequently-requested item in my kitchen for a long, long time.  The recipe is baed on the Spanish dish called Garbanzos con Espinacas, and has an amazing subtle saffron flavor.  With the protein in the chickpeas and the iron in the spinach, it is a nutritional powerhouse as well.  This recipe is perfect for the cold month of March, where you're ready to lighten your meals a bit, but still want a warm and comforting stew to ward off the monsoon. 
Chickpea and Spinach Stew
2 cups water
20 ounces baby spinach (sounds like a lot, but it shrinks down to nothing)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
Kosher salt
Large pinch of saffron threads
4 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Large pinch of ground cloves
Freshly ground pepper
4 15-oz cans chickpeas with their liquid
1/4 cup EVOO
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1) Pour the water into a large, deep pot and bring to a boil.  Add the spinach leaves and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing hard on the leaves to extract the liquid.  Coarsely chop the spinach.
2) Using a mortar and pestle (if you have it, if you don't try a bowl and the side of a large spoon), mash the garlic to a paste with a teaspoon of the salt and the saffron.  Add the paprika, cumin, cloves, and black pepper and mash until combined.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the chickpea liquid.
3. Wipe out the pot.  Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and tomato and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occaisionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the spiced garlic sauce to the onion and tomato and cook for 1 minute.
4.  Add the chickpeas and their liquid to the pot.  Add the raisins and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the spinach, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 8

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Best Part of Waking Up

I think I've found my new favorite super-quick brekkie:
Yes, I am having a torrid love affair with toaster waffles.  I bought some to put into the breakfast rotation for the baby, and the smell of them toasting was so irresistable, I had to get in on the waffle love myself.  Some mornings, you need a good breakfast, but you don't even have time to scramble an egg.  These babies are in and out of the toaster in a flash, and with some good toppings, make a dreamy breakfast.  
I love these Nature's Path Organic Buckwheat Wildberry Waffles, and so does Baby J.  I topped one with a small amount of The Nutty Vermonter's Maple & Cinnamon Triple Nut Butter, which has almonds, cashews and pecans and is so amazing that it is definitely worth mail-ordering.  With a little raspberry jam, it was heavenly and ready in about 3 minutes flat. 

I needed a quickie breakfast to jump start this busy day ahead.  Today Baby J and I are going to run 4 miles, pick up some steaks to grill tonight as the temp here hits the mid-50s (woo hoo!), and work on creating a brochure for Vermont Law School's Energy Summer Program.  All in a day's work, people.
What are you fueling up for this fine hump day?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Fever: Shoe Edition

The warm weather continues, making me think about salads and open-toe shoes and all things summer.  Last year at this time, I was weeks away from my due date and my feet were swollen beyond recognition.  As summer progressed, I stuck to flats, not trusting myself to navigate the roads of life in heels due to my advanced state of sleep deprivation (combined with natural klutziness= deadly combo).  In fact, I even wore flats (gorgeous, fun, bejeweled sandals, but flats nonetheless), to my sister's wedding last June, causing me to look like an Oompa Loompa next to my sisters, with both of them rocking 4-inch heels and looking like Amazonion vixens.  At 5'2", I really need all the help I can get, and so I am happy to be back in the heel game this summer.   I've found the perfect shoes for everyday mommy-ness and they are at the top of my list for Spring. 
Have you heard of TOMS shoes?  I've loved them since I first saw them on my friends Kelly and Vicky, but have yet to own a pair.  These little stripe-y wedge numbers may change all that.  I love the fresh-off-the-ferry-to-the-Vineyard stripes, the reasonably sized heel, and most of all the TOMS mission:
TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: with every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about. The TOMS One for One business model transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support. Why shoes? Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:
•A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.
•Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.
•Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential.
Photo and Mission Statement from TOMS website
I love the whole concept behind this company, and I love the shoes!  I want to wear these with a little linen sundress and go get an iced coffee.  Spring fever total has me in its clutches.
What's on your list for Spring?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Salad Niçoise Bar

I love composed salads and I love the Oscars!  Last night, the two went hand in hand beautifully.  We had some extra gals over for dinner to play amateur Joan Rivers with us, and I wanted to make something a little special, but still easy and healthy, for dinner.  The weekend's warm, sunny weather put me in the mood for a summer dish, so my mom and I put together a DIY Salad Niçoise Bar... one of my very favorite dinners in the summer months.
I stole this idea from my idol, The Barefoot Contessa, basing my version loosely on the Grilled Tuna Niçoise Platter concept in her original cookbook.  You basically take all the components of a traditional Salad Niçoise, brighten and modernize them a bit, and let your guests construct their own plate.  This dinner is always a hit!  My version contains the following elements:
Seared tuna steaks (about 1/4 lb per person)
Hard boiled eggs (figure on 1 per person)
Haricots Verts (tossed with a bit of Champagne Vinaigrette)
Cherry tomatoes
Roasted potatoes
A generous wedge of yummy blue cheese
Niçoise olives
Baby greens and Boston Bibb lettuce
Champagne Vinaigrette

A couple notes to ensure the success of your salad bar:
1) Searing is a tricky business.
Searing is a simple method of cooking, but it requires a leap of faith.  You have to crank up the heat under a pan all the way to high, heat a splash of olive oil until it sizzles when you toss a bit of water at it, and then put the fish (or scallops, or meat, or whatever it is you are searing, but in this case it was tuna steaks seasoned with salt, pepper, parika and garlic powder), in and DO NOTHING.  That's right... for 5 minutes you do nothing.  Don't touch it, don't smoosh it, don't lift it; this is where home cooks often mess up when searing things.  If you lift it too soon, it will just stick to the pan and be a mess.  Be patient, have faith and DON'T TOUCH for 5 minutes.  Then flip the steaks and do the same on the other side.  With tuna steaks that are about an inch thick, you should come out with a perfect sear - carmelized and cooked on the outside, almost raw and pink on the inside.  Thinly sliced over the top of your salad, it is a perfect protein.
2) Take the time to prepare a pretty presenation.
This is a simple dinner, really, so part of what makes it special is making everything look beautiful.  Quarter the eggs and the tomatoes lengthwise.  Use a mix of red, white and blue new potatoes for colors that pop on the plate.  Create a bed of Bibb lettuce with a handful of baby greens over it on each plate, and then let your guests choose their own toppings.  It's the little things...
3) Make a killer dressing.
You want a dressing that ties the whole dish together and makes each flavor pop.  I adjusted the ingredients in this one about a dozen times, and in the end it was probably the best part of the dinner, but any exact recipe for it would only be a guess.  I think the best I can tell you is to throw a mix of the following in a food processor and adjust each ingredient until you love what you taste:  extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, torn fresh basil, dijon mustard, honey, chopped green onions, sliced shallots, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, fresh ground pepper.  The bright green color and sweetly acidic flavor made this the showpiece of the buffet!

Et voilà! Salad Niçoise Bar!  Perfect for an Oscar party, or any warm evening when you want a tasty and unique dinner for guests. As for the Oscars, with my new mom status, I hadn't seen a SINGLE ONE of the movies that were nominated, but that didn't stop me from soaking up all dresses and the pageantry, or from enjoying tearing apart every look to come down the red carpet (Charlize Theron, what's with the purple boob circles, lady?!). With this yummy dinner, a passion fruit cheesecake from Beach Pea, and some Spanish white wine, it was a perfect Oscar night in Maine.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sun + Run = Fun

The sun came out today!  It was so beautiful outside that I was inspired to bring my camera along and share some scenes from a run in Maine with Baby J.  Check it:
Getting geared up.
Snuggled in and ready to go... conditions way more favorable than yesterday.
Beautiful creek and wetlands on our route.
Sparkling sun on the water... such a nice counterpoint to all the gray lately!  Loving it.
I've always loved this old barn.  My vision for it?  New windows, wide-plank pine floors, great heating system, big wooden sign reading The Yoga Barn.  Wouldn't this make a gorgeous yoga retreat?  And then in the summer you could do a little farm stand outside with fresh juices, organic veggies and prepared healthy foods for post-class yoginis.  Oh, my ideas for this one are endless...

And now, the obligatory lobster-related shots:
Lobster traps.
Lobster buoys.
Little guy with lobster.
Lobster pier.  This place has the BEST fresh lobster in the summer months.  Can't wait!
This concludes the shellfish portion of our run.
View from the bridge... can't get enough of that blue sky!
Finish line/stretching area.  Ahhhhh.....
It's supposed to stay sunny and warm all weekend.  I am thrilled beyond words. 
What a difference a day makes, eh?
Happy Friday!