New Season: No Excuses, No Apologies, No Time Wasted

This summer has literally been a blur, and looking back, seems that I may have been slacking a bit…with blogging, working out, exploring things on my own. I have the best intentions at the beginning of each week: wake up a half an hour earlier, greet the day with yoga, or a run, get out in the evenings to explore my new city (Denver has SO much to do – free stuff, culture, restaurants, art, music, bars, trails, lakes, comedy, the list goes on & on!).

Well, that hasn’t happened as much as I would have liked this summer and I’m pretty disappointed with my efforts. Again, my thirst for drinking in everything in my path exceeds the norm. But if I’m not pouring my self a ‘drink’, putting effort into quenching that thirst, well shame on me, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been sitting on the couch eating chips (we don’t have cable anyway!) and I do appreciate those days and nights that are filled with the necessities and nothing else (cleaning, laundry, working, demoing, yard work, emptying the dishwasher.). Life doesn’t need to be one long series of activities without down time built in; it’s what makes you appreciate new experiences.

Spaghetti Squash bowls

The one thing that hasn’t waned: cooking. There is a constant there.

I’ve come to realize I need to stop using excuses though, there aren’t any. I need to stop apologizing for things I want to do but don’t. And I really need to stop wasting time. When you commit to yourself, hold yourself accountable. It’s important to fulfill your own wish lists, even if it’s as small as ‘check out a new hiking trail’ or ‘go to the local farmers market’. Knowing when to give your body, mind and soul a rest is just as important. Finding a quiet, peaceful moment for yourself doesn’t mean you’re wasting the day. Be present with where the day takes you and honor yourself. There are 24 happy hours in a day, so use them wisely. A new season brings with it new chances for new adventures!

Here are a few things I’ve spent my hours on this summer…and this didn’t even scrape the surface!!

Trying two new restaurants in Cherry Creek & two new DOG-Friendly breweries in Edgewater (Hogs Head & Joyride Brewing)

Red Rocks, Denver

Getting back into working out with the help of Pearl Street Fitness & Asana Studio

Demoing our Retaining wallWall demo

Demoing (helping) our outside retaining wall, watched as it was reconstructed, then helped put 4 tons of rock into the side for drainage!

Evergreen Off-Leash Dog Park

Scoping out Evergreen Lake & Elk-Meadow off-leash dog park with the doggies

Zucchini Fritters

Cooking several new recipes (red bean meatballs; citrus & honey brussel sprouts; zucchini, kale & LightLife ground ‘meat’ Stromboli; Tofu fried rice; Zucchini fritters; Spaghetti squash bowls with faux meatballs,  Zucchini ‘lasagna’, Barley veggie soup to name just a few!)

Bird of Paradise on Mt. Sherman

Climbed my first 14’er (Mount Sherman!) and visited Leadville for the first time

Leadville, Colorado

Participated in a 21 day Yoga Challenge – amazing – tomorrow is day 21 so I’ll blog about that experience later this week

Mountain Biked for the first time at Table Mountain

Phish, Dick's Sporting Good Stadium

Went to my first Phish show, did my first public handstand, and visited shakedown street for the first time. Yikes!

Lots more to list….but even more to come. Can’t wait for fall!

Some San Diego Perspective

I just spent the past four days at the San Diego NACHC CHI 2014 conference. A National Association for Community Health Centers, they focus on healthcare for the undeserved, often un-insured, population. A wonderful group of people commit themselves to this cause, often with little funds or resources. Needless to say, it’s always a great conference and this year I’ve taken away quite a lot of perspective.

Seaport Village San Diego Run

While there, I was able to get out early to run along Seaport Village (there’s something magical about running by the water!) and after long conference days, got on the floor and did some hotel yoga to stretch out my limbs.

Hotel Yoga

One of the sessions I attended really blew me away: Customer Service and Work Life Balance in Healthcare. It’s not a topic you usually hear about in healthcare – or in the corporate world. As one of my colleagues so appropriately pointed out: It’s a term that we like to throw around, but not necessarily implement.

In a nutshell, the presentation was delivered by a charismatic Dr. who had, throughout the years, become extremely passionate about providing good customer service to his patients, which in turn helped with his overall outlook on life. Treat people with respect. Live each day as it may be your last. Have fun and give yourself permission to have fun…and take that mentality to wok.

His energy, his passion for living! It was truly inspirational!

I tried to think of his day to day…seeing sick, tired, unhealthy, terminal patients who look to him for reassurance, medical advice, therapy, often a miracle. And he does it all with compassion, respect for those he works with along with his patients, and a thirst for life that is truly rare. He stressed living your dash – you can’t control when your dash starts (your birth date) or when your dash ends (your death) but what you choose to do to fill the space in between is under your control.

It made me think about how I live between my dash…since gathering the courage to move to Denver, I think I’ve filled my dash with the right things. Things I’m passionate about, things I enjoy, things that improve the quality of my life. What am I doing to inspire? To give back? To contribute to the things I’m so passionate about?

We’re all on our own path, but if everyone contributed more to their own happiness, filling their own ‘dashes’ with positive, fun activities, spreading positivity – what would that world look like!?

All-in-all an amazing conference….and I took away a fabulous lesson: Fill your dash with as much positivity, happiness, fun, excitement, adventure as possible!!!

Fun in San Diego for NACHC CHI 2014

Let me Entertain You: Simple recipes to feed a crowd

Entertaining is fabulous, something I absolutely love to do and cook for! I was recently asked by a friend,what to serve for a party – she didn’t exactly want to serve dinner, but wanted hearty enough appetizers, as the party was going to be held from 6-9pm .

Below is a list of hearty, simple recipes I’ve made in the past to entertain. I always try to have an array of foods, with different flavors, shapes and sizes, so the spread is aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious.

Happy entertaining!

White cannellini bean & Garlic dip

1 can of cannellini beans
2-3 cloves of garlic
Juice from Lemon wedge
Salt, Pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp of olive oil (try a walnut oil, will add a ton of good flavor)
Parsley, chopped, for garnish

  • Blend all together in blender or food processor, serve with pita chips.

Caprese & Pesto Toasts

Loaf of crusty bread (Baguette would work best), cut into slices
Fresh Mozzarella balls, sliced thinly
Bush loafs with a tiny bit of olive oil & toast at 350 for 5-8 minutes
Once toasted, brush with pesto, top with a slice of mozzarella & a halve of cherry tomato

Home made pesto

Handful of basil leafs, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts – blend in a food processor

 

Homemade pita chips

Pack of whole wheat tortilla wraps (the smaller ones)
1 tblsp of olive oil

Use a pizza cutter to slice into 4 pizza size slices – brush (lightly!) with olive oil. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until crisp.

 

Guacamole Mouse with a pepper salsa

1 large has avocado
1 lime
½ red onion
3-4 garlic cloves
olive oil
Tomato, diced
Green pepper diced
Red pepper diced
Kernels from a corn on the cob, cut off

Put whole avocado, half of a lime (juice) 2 garlic cloves, 2-3 tablespoons of veggie broth in a blender – whip! Scrape into a bowl.
Sauté red onion in a bit of garlic for 3-5 minutes, add peppers & corn. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, until peppers are a bit soft. Put into a bowl & add tomatoes. Serve side by side with tortilla chips.

Panzella Salad  

Summer Panzella salad
3 tomatoes cut into chunks
8 stalks of asparagus
2 tablespoons of capers
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1//2 loaf of bread (I’ve used sour dough in the past)
1 teaspoon Oregano & Italian seasonings

Cut bread into crouton sized pieces, toss in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil & seasonings – bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Put into a bowl and cover – do not refrigerate.

Grill or broil asparagus – cut into ½ inch pieces
Put tomatoes, capers, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, balsamic, asparagus more of the seasonings in a big bowl. Mix together and put in the fridge.

Right before you serve, mix bread in with the wet mixture. Serve immediately.

 

White Pizza with Roasted Broccoli

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Truffle Oil
½ head of broccoli chopped
4-5 leaves of basil
1 cup of ricotta cheese
Italian Seasonings
2-4 tablespoons of Romano cheese
Buy a pizza crust or frozen pizza dough – Sprouts has them in the freezer section

Toss broccoli in 2 tablespoons of oil and minced garlic – roast at 350 for 10-12 minutes, stir halfway through.
Roll out dough, brush with a bit of oil. Mix ricotta & Italian seasonings together then spread onto pizza crust. Mince basil, and sprinkle onto ricotta. Put broccoli mixture on top of the crust, sprinkle with Romano cheese & bake as directed. Slice into extremely thin slices (once cooled off) and serve.