Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Figgy Finale

Saturday night's dinner was the culmination of two and half days of cooking my way through a batch of twenty fresh figs (and some dried ones, as well). Ever since my friends Meghan and Lindsay took me to Sfoglia to celebrate my birthday (the day before -- twas a week full of celebrations), I have been obsessed with a dish the chef, Ron, actually came to my former employer to cook: Pasta with Figs, Brown Butter, Basil, and Hazelnuts. I had a bag of handmade, homemade pappardelle in my freezer. More figs than I could eat in one sitting. And some fresh basil I had been growing for the past two weeks in a NY windowsill.

I started the evening off making a red wine-fig vinaigrette with a 1/3 full bottle of one of my favorite red wines (Heitz Cabernet -- loved visiting this winery!) and five dried figs I had on hand. I tossed this with some baby spinach from the greenmarket, and voila - a healthy dose of greens!

I then proceeded to finish cooking off my pasta and browning my butter. I added the fresh figs and basil, with a pinch of salt, to the browned butter and tossed them together, cooking them til the flavors
melded. To that I added my cooked pasta with about 1/4 c pasta water. Brought the mixture to a gentle boil and tossed the ingredients together while the sauce reduced slightly. Served with a healthy dose of grated gruyere, and a garnish of sauteed spicy Italian sausage (I had no toasted hazelnuts on hand, but the pasta is very good with plain, roasted, salted mixed nuts), it was a delicious dish to end a busy day.

Spicy Italian sausage

The finished dish, pasta atop greens

Red Wine Fig Vinaigrette

1 1/2 - 2 cups red wine
5-6 dried figs, quartered
6 demerara sugar cubes
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
Grapeseed oil (I used about 1/4 c)

In a 8" saucepan, bring figs and wine to a boil and reduce until about 1/4" deep (1/2 cup of liquid, or thereabouts). Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour wine mixture into a jar and add oil and vinegar, shaking to homogenize. Season to taste.

Fig, Brown Butter, Basil Pasta
Serves 2

6 tbsp salted butter
8 figs, quartered
1/2 c basil leaves
Salt to taste
Pappardelle, or another thicker noodle, enough for 2 people
2 spicy Italian chicken sausages, cooked and sliced on the bias, optional
Toasted hazelnuts or mixed nuts, optional
Freshly grated gruyere to taste.

Boil water for the pasta. While the water comes to a boil, heat a 12" sautepan over medium heat. Add the butter and cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter begins to brown and smells nutty. Take the brown color to a dark chocolate color, remove the pan from the heat and add the figs and basil. Season to taste. Cook the pasta as instructed, draining all but 1/4 c pasta water. Add the pasta and reserved water to the sautepan (if it fits -- if not, add to pasta pot).  Toss gently and bring to a boil to reduce the sauce slightly. Plate the pasta, garnishing with chicken sausages and freshly grated gruyere. And basil chiffonade, if you please!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Molasses Madness

Everyone who reads this probably knows I'm a little nutty for granola. So, surprise surprise, I'm out of granola here in NYC and nothing storebought compares to my own.

The pantry here is very minimal, but I have the proper ingredients (oats, nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon, coconut) for my crunchy concoction. And a couple of new but effective -- and essential -- ingredients: blackstrap molasses (reminds me of my childhood, when I apparently was fed a teaspoon nightly. It's nutritious stuff, a concentrated liquid produced when refining sugar cane into (evil) white sugar, and an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, potassium and copper), coconut oil (again, VERY good for you, and helps boost your metabolism and helps moisturize your skin from the inside out. It's helped rid my hands of eczema in the winter!), and nutmeg (ever since my trip to the BVIs, I've fallen in love with this spice, freshly grated, again).

Couldn't resist sampling!

Molasses - Coconut Granola

3 c rolled oats
1/3 c flaxseed
1 c angelflake coconut
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 of a nutmeg, freshly grated (about 1/4 tsp I think)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c coconut oil, heated til liquid
1/2 c blackstrap molasses
1 c walnuts, raw
1/2 c mixed nuts
1 1/2 c dried fruits (I used dried figs, halved, and some dried sour cherries)

Toss the oats and spices together well. Combine and stir together oil and molasses with the salt and 1/4 c hot water. Pour over dry ingredients and combine well. Place on silpat lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, tossing every 15 minutes to make sure the granola is toasting evenly.

Remove from oven and let cool. Pour into bowl and combine with dried fruits. Store in airtight container or in a freezer ziploc bag. And take a sample immediately to taste -- soo good!

A Figgy Weekend

So, it's the end of August -- one of my favorite times of year, not just because the sun at 5pm in RI is golden and lovely. Nope, not cause it's almost fall, when it's someone's birthday and the leaves change color and fall. And no, not because the days are getting shorter.

Instead, one (of many) reasons why I love this time of year is because the produce in the greenmarkets is amazing. The colors. The fragrance (yes, just walking past the Union Square Greenmarket, I can identify what is fresh from the ground with my eyes closed. It's intoxicating, especially when it is tomatoes and basil). And those magical figs.

This past week, I had the luck of hitting the figs just right. I brought home 20 figs, about 10 Kadota (large and green -- looks like Calimyrna, but is an American version of an Italian favorite) and 10 Black Mission (deep purple color and a rich flavor, planted by Spanish missionaries) fresh figs. Figs are known for their fiber, but also are a good source of calcium, potassium, and iron (a good treat after the killer workouts I've recently subjected myself to).

Fig 101: 8-10 o'clock are Kadota figs;
3-5 o'clock are black mission figs

Black Mission figs

Kadota figs

I usually buy dried figs in the market, as here on the East Coast, fresh figs are a rarity (I used to have a coworker who had a fig tree and would bring her bumper crop in to share with us. Heaven!). So, when I see fresh figs in the market, I buy a box or two and have lots of fun. I love figs with arugula, a maple-shallot dressing, proscuitto and shaved gruyere salads. Or a triple cream cheese, goat or cow with wheatmeal crackers and sliced figs. A favorite restaurant in CT serves figs with chorizo, piping hot, in ceramic cazuelas. It is SO good, that, with a couple of slices of their steaming hot bread and olive oil, I can call it a meal. I blame that dish for my recently purchasing their cookbook. Oh, Barcelona I love you.

Back to my twenty tender morsels. What, you ask, did I do with twenty whole figs and just my mouth to feed? Created some colorful, healthy, and yummy figgy dishes. I guess I can share my secrets with you!

Thursday's dinner - and my favorite: Arugula with maple-shallot dressing, aged goat cheese, proscuitto, sliced figs, and a couple of wheatmeal crackers for good measure.

Friday's breakfast: cinnamon oatmeal, topped with chopped fresh and dried figs, with some flaked coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Friday's snack: Molasses/walnut/dried fig granola with a fresh fig (more details on this here)

Friday's dinner: More arugula with maple-shallot dressing, sliced figs, and shaved carrot, with some sauteed spicy Italian sausage.

Saturday's brunch: Chopped fresh figs with greek yogurt, more molasses-fig granola, and a bit of honeycomb on top.

And for le piece de resistance? Saturday's planned dinner (you will have to check back for the full report): attempting to make a fig-red wine vinaigrette to serve with spinach and wild arugula. Serving this with a riff on a recipe from one of my favorite Italian restaurant's in NYC, Sfoglia: homemade pappardelle with brown butter, figs, gruyere, and basil, and possibly some italian sausage tossed in there for protein!

We shall see how this turns out -- so stay tuned for another post later this week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ride for a good cause

I've wanted to participate in this event for a while now, but never seem to be a) around or b) available. I'm making it a goal of mine to participate this year. 75 mile, relatively flat ride from Horseneck Beach in Westport, MA to Woods Hole, MA. Multiple stops with rest areas and sustenance/hydration. All for a good cause -- to support The Coalition for Buzzards Bay and to keep our waters clean!

Magnificent Meal under Moonlight

Every summer, my parents mastermind monthly moonlight kayaks on one of the beautiful rivers near our home in Rhode Island. It's been a tradition for them for as long as I can remember (well, at least 12 years now, as that is how long we've had our ocean kayaks). These magical evenings consist of 5 or so couples meeting either at our "yacht" club in Westport, MA, to kayak up the East Branch of the Westport River, or at Little River over in South Dartmouth, MA, to kayak up the Slocum River. Going with the tides, they go up the river to a pre-determined meal spot, where they are greeted by candlelight, cocktails, and a delicious, summery 3 course meal (appetizer, dinner, dessert). They then strap on their glow sticks and return to their starting point, later in the evening, under the light of the moon.

Now, this is a strictly parental event. Us "kids" are the labor. My mom sets the menu and helps prep what is needed for the Typically, my baby sister orchestrates the set-up, service, and break-down for the meal portion of the event (dear-old-dad is in charge of the kayaks, picking them up, strapping them on our trailer, etc). However, this summer a family friend and I orchestrated the July kayak on the Westport River. And the August kayak? Well, all of us living in the Northeast know what the weather has been like the last few days. Last night was the full moon here, but it wasn't dry. It wasn't even cloudless! So, in anticipation of the lousy weather, we celebrated the full moon with a kayak Saturday night -- and my sister and I (eldest and youngest) were even allowed to paddle one leg of the trip!

Saturday's event was a kayak on the Slocum. My mom and I set up the dinner, while my baby sister and father kayaked the first leg. We set dinner up near some picnic benches, with torches creating a lovely ambiance under the tree tops. The menu?

To start: proscuitto and mortadella with Cleron cheese and fresh baguettes from Seven Stars Bakery, and a homemade onion tart I made (inspired by Alice Waters and an earlier tart I made; recipe below)

Dinner: Alice Water's Ratatouille (I've made this one before, SO good!), Grilled Marinated Flank Steak (a family favorite), Ina Garten's Fresh Corn Salad, along with a hearty green salad courtesy of a family friend, and plenty of Seven Stars bread and butter to go around. And vino, of course!

Dessert: Local peach blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream.

The evening was a magical one. The food was delicious, company divine, and the paddling? We could have used a bit more moonlight, but we all had fun. I certainly did. Was having fun testing out the stability of my kayak while waiting for others to catch up. Rocked a little too far left and rolled the boat! After escaping the cockpit (wish I was wearing a skirt...) and not attempting a roll, I had lots of fun taking on water while trying to get back in. Laughter all around, but lesson learned. Don't try to roll your boat after 10pm at night!

Recipes (will be updated later tomorrow)

Onion Tart, adapted from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food
Makes 2 tarts, serves 16 for appetizer

1/2 stick butter
4 onions, peeled and sliced thin (1/8" or so)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 c flour
2 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1 stick salted butter
1/2 c ice cold water

Heat the butter in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until translucent. Add the rosemary and cook for about 45 minutes, until the onions are golden, super tender and sweet. Set aside and let cool.

For the tart dough, add the flour to a bowl and mix in herbes. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and cut the butter into the flour, until about pea sized. Add in water, 1 tbsp at a time, until dough almost comes together. Turn out onto floured marble surface and knead for a couple of minutes, until it comes together. Divide into 2 pieces and let rest, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for 30 minutes. When ready, roll each piece into a 13" circle, about 1/8" thick, and place on silpat-covered baking sheet. Add onions to the center, leaving a 3" ring around the onions. Fold the sides of the dough over the onions, a la rustic crostata. Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden, about 45 minutes.

Ratatouille - see my earlier post here

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak, from The New York Times Country Weekend
Serves 25

4 cloves garlic
4 onions, peeled and quartered
6 tbsp peeled ginger, cut into chunks
1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
1 1/4 c soy sauce
1 1/4 c honey
1/2 sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil!)
1 c canola or peanut oil (I like a neutral peanut oil, preferably organic)
12 lbs grass-fed flank steak

Using a food processor or Vita-Prep (my new favorite toy at home), blend the marinade ingredients together. Place steak in a large bowl or baggie and let marinate for 24 hours, turning occasionally. Grill the meat, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips.

Fresh Corn Salad, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
Serves 6

5 ears fresh corn, picked that morning preferably (I'm a huge fan of Coll Walker's corn)
1 red onion, finely diced
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves, julienned

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn until fragrant and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool. Once cool, cut off the kernels with a serrated knife, cutting close to the cob. Toss the corn with the onions, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Right before serving, stir in the basil.

Peach Blueberry Crisp
Serves 12-16

Fresh peaches
Fresh blueberries (love wild Maine blueberries)
4 tbsp melted butter
1 c rolled oats
1/4 c flour
1/3 c light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Slice peaches and toss with blueberries in a baking dish, about 9 x 13". Mix together topping ingredients with fingers and crumble over the top. Bake at 350, until the topping is slightly golden and the fruit is bubbly. Serve with vanilla or ginger ice creams. **You can adapt the ingredients as you wish -- it's a lot of fun to experiment with crisps!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Spinach

I love spinach. Preferably baby spinach, as it is tender and more sweet (I think) than the older, wrinkly spinach leaves one finds near chard and collards in the market. It is also quite good for you, with ample amounts of fiber, iron, folic acid, vitamins K and C, carotenoids, flavonoids, and lutein. It is also quite versatile, as you can serve it raw, either whole (baby leaves) or julienned/chopped (larger leaves) in salads or pestos of all kind. You can also cook it, whether sauteed, steamed, fried (yes, I've had this at a restaurant named Baang in Cos Cob, CT. Amazing), or dehydrated.

So, luck be have that Martha Rose Shulman recently wrote about quick and light summer dishes using fresh greens readily available at grocery stores and greenmarkets. After spending the greater half of my weekend last weekend playing in Fairfield County, CT with my good friend Amanda, I was exhausted and in need of some food for the refrigerator for dinner Sunday night, and the coming week. Luckily, I have a bunch of fresh spinach from my absolutely favorite health food store, other than Whole Foods, in New York: Lifethyme.

My plan for dinner that night? A little breakfast. Gently saute the spinach with a bit of olive oil and set aside. Blend two eggs and pour into my omelette pan, add the spinach, a healthy grating of gruyere cheese, and a couple of finely chopped scallions, and give it a gentle stir before letting the omelette set. Serve with a piece of whole grain toast smeared with homemade muhammara, a roasted red pepper/walnut/pomegranate molasses dip, and I've got a very healthy, and tasty, balanced meal.

What are some of your favorite dishes to make with spinach?

Facing Fear

I guess I should preface this all with what I'd rather not share on this "public" site. I'm a fearful person. I'm terrified of thunder and lightning, even at my near-30 age (embarrassing!). Past injuries and bad experiences hold me back from doing the same, or similar, things and activities. And, often, I'm afraid of putting myself out there. 

So, since August 1st, I've taken it upon my self to focus a little more on challenging my fears and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Task #1 at hand? Go to a good yoga class 2 times a week. I used to do yoga regularly, certainly in college when I had ample time to do so, and even last fall when I was near the BEST studio ever (Elements in Noroton Heights, CT). I've always had weak shoulders, hip flexors, and core, so tackling lots of warriors, headstands, and planks in class is the remedy to my situation for sure. And it's working. I walk down Broadway after class, feeling strong and invincible. And then there is crow. I used to be a crow pro. Really!!! Then, one time I must not have been paying attention, or my mind was elsewhere, distracted (a no no in yoga), and my perfect crow tipped over. Yup, MAJOR faceplant. Teeth into skin above my chin. A lot of pain, and (more painful) a lot of shame.  It's been at least 13 years since I've been able to do one again.

The first weekend of my new life outlook, I faced another one of my fears in the face -- running in a 5k, even with a little dizziness issue. I'm in pretty good shape, between regularly biking 40-50 miles on the weekend, and a couple of spinning classes or the gym most days of the week. But, I've been slacking off on the running outside thing, as I have a pinched nerve in my brainstem that causes me to get vertigo when I (only!!) run outside (one of my most favorite things to do). So, when my dear friend Amanda (La Bonne Vivantella; @Bon Vivantella) invited me to join her in a "Sunset 5K," complete with margaritas (many of you know, one of my most favorite things), I could not resist...except it required competitive running. And the morning started with some serious yoga on the beach at Calf Pasture beach in Norwalk, thanks to my fave workout wear company, Lululemon (they make the BEST and super-flattering tops...and my girlfiends and I are obesessed with the groove pants. @lululemon, can you make office attire comfy, too?!). 

Now, I'm supremely competitive. It's a problem. Especially with family. With friends, I try to take a step back, as I value my friendships highly. But, it's still there. It's a battle I've learned to artfully balance. So, add into the mix this little dizziness issue which causes me to stop a couple of times after the 15 minute mark to force my head into a state of vertigo for it to go away (and thus lose precious time), and I'm already my own worst enemy.  

Yet, my philosophy this August is to just go for it, in whatever I do. So, for this race, my goal was to run and have fun (especially since I had not run outside in about 2 weeks). I love running outside, and the day we were given was the most perfect day in over a month. Cloudless, a beautiful 70 degrees. The result? If it wasn't for the dizziness (yeah, stopped 4 times), I would have rocked this race! My real time was 29:50, but there were at least 7 minutes of stopped time tending to my fuzzy state. Regardless of the time, I had a REAL blast and felt so good running and finishing that I can't wait to run the next race, even with my supremely frustrating condition. Doesn't the smile on our faces say it all?


I was on a high coming off of last weekend, and continued my new routine with passion this week. A killer spin class Monday. Yoga on both Tuesday and Thursday, and a full load of friends each night in between. Come yoga class Thursday, I felt like a new person. I mustered up all the physical and emotional strength I have and faced my crow fears smack in the face (irony intended), getting up on my hands not once, but twice! And my headstand took leaps and bounds in progressing towards a perfect pencil. I'm not quite all the way up, yet. But I've got the stable foundation built, and it feels GOOD.
I've taken a lot of risks over the past year, and various events have reassured me that these choices were the right ones. Some did not turn out as anticipated, but what I've learned has been invaluable, and I've come out a stronger, wiser, and more confident person. Even when my days turn bad (um, I seriously had a case of Friday the 13ths details, but it was bad. I may now start being wary of superstitious days) there are always good events that take place, even amidst the bad ones, that keep me moving forward, working and moving towards my dreams and wishes. 
Here's to an amazing weekend for me -- and for ALL of my readers! Follow your heart (and gut instincts)...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

As promised...

So, last week I mentioned I was planning on running in a 5k race with my friend Amanda. Well, luck be have it, my schedule allowed me to take a much needed escape to cool, sunny, and gorgeous CT (ok, no need to convince me of CT's beauty as a former resident).

I'm still getting my act together in writing about the experience, but since she clearly has more time than me to write at the moment, check out her site (along with some inspiring healthy recipes, and inspiration for your day). And check back for more from me, soon (I promise)!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Inspiration for the week

As I prepare for the week ahead, I came across something that made me smile.

As you go ahead this week, creating your own fulfilling, rich life and "cultivating radiant brilliance," look for the genius and excellence in the people around you. It will help you uncover that inherent intelligence within you.

Want more? Click here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

When did you last let yourself go?

So, I don't know if you are like me, one of the many women in the world who read, no, scratch that, devoured Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat Pray Love. If you aren't, maybe I can change that. And if you are, well, I'm sure you are already eagerly awaiting next Friday!

The Eat Pray Love buses here in NYC have been passing me all week, but it wasn't until just now that I saw the trailer. And I got chills. I'm pathetic! Yes, I've taken my own little journey of a lifetime over the past year, so much of what she talks about resonates. But, it also reminds us that nothing is ever certain, already determined, will keep you safe, and keep you happy. Remember who you are, live in the moment, and live your life the way YOU want it. Feel your feelings, feel alive.

If you haven't already let yourself go, check this out.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A perfect summer's dinner

To say a cooking tizzy took me over Saturday is an understatement. For me, music and cooking in the kitchen is therapy, and I needed a solid dose of busy-ness with both hand and mind. A full afternoon and evening in the kitchen was just what the doctor ordered -- and I needed -- and got. To hear that the dinner was amazing (by even my harshest critics standards, too!!!!) was the icing on the cake. Oh, so proud of myself.

To start, I made my ever favorite and popular Coastal Granola for a breakfast treat. I had been craving carbohydrates and knew this would hit the spot without sending me running towards evil sugar. This time, I made it with raw almonds and walnuts (then toasted), lots of cinnamon, flax seed, and coconut. And to finish, chopped dried plum halves and dried cherries. When there is only 1/4 c of oil and honey in the whole ENTIRE batch, this is super healthy granola. Oh, tasty, too. One does not need to know how much I've devoured in the past 24 hours!

Next up: dinner for my sister and her friend. Given we were in coastal Rhode Island, with an abundance of fresh, organic, locally grown produce and harvested seafood, I resorted to what my sisters and I have now turned into a Saturday night tradition. Locally caught and fresh harpooned swordfish (just off the boat), fresh Coll Walker's corn, fresh garden swiss chard sauteed simply with garlic and olive oil, and a hugely abundant green salad with greens from our garden, local pea shoots, mango, avocado, and roasted tomatoes from local farms. 

Our delicious salad

Swiss chard, from the garden, sauteed with garlic

Coll Walker's corn, simply steamed

Allie's Roasted Tomatoes

Now, I'm not much of a griller. I'm not quite sure why it intimidates me, but it does very successfully. I've, til now, resorted to it being the man's job, but it's just me now, so I've got to swallow my fear and go for it. To say I slammed the nail on the head is an understatement. MAJOR homerun with Saturday night's swordfish!!!! It was nicely blackened on the exterior, and oh so tender and moist and juicy inside. My mom, the ultimate critic, even commented on how delicious the food was, about 4 hours after it was cooked. I'm still smiling all over...

My marvelous swordfish

I marinated the swordfish with a marinade that is a favorite of my siblings: some organic brown mustard, soy sauce, couple of garlic cloves, and a bunch of chiffonaded fresh basil. Rub it all over the fish filets and let sit for an hour or so. For the corn, fresh is key. I chose butter and sugar variety over white corn, and boy, did I score a homerun. I have NEVER had a sweet ear of corn like Coll's Saturday night!!!!!! I tossed the salad and acoutrements with my favorite dressing, a relatively low fat maple-shallot-champagne vinegar mixture. Oh, so so so good. 

I hope you enjoy these special recipes, below:

Mustard Marinated Swordfish

1/4 c grainy, organic brown mustard
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
A handful of basil leaves, chiffonaded
1.5 to 2 lbs fresh swordfish

Mix mustard, soy sauce and oil together til smooth. Add garlic and basil and mix. Rub over fish and let sit an hour or two before grilling. Grill til cooked as preferred, making sure to gently shake off excess marinate. 

Swiss Chard

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 - 4 tbsp olive oil
4-6 cups swiss chard, washed and chiffonaded
Salt to taste

Quickly saute 3 cloves of garlic in about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add in a heaping bunch of washed chard. Gently cook until steamed and wilted well. Season with salt to taste. 


Buy fresh corn and husk, making sure to remove as much of the silks as you can. In a large saute pan (with a lid), heat about 3/4" water til boiling. Add corn and cook until fragrant and tender (you might have to taste the corn the first couple of times you do this. It should be tender and flavorful). Serve with pats of butter on 1.5" slices of bread and salt.

Allie's Roasted Tomatoes

2 pints garden fresh cherry or Juliet tomatoes
2-3 healthy pinches of salt

Toss tomatoes with salt in a 9x13" glass roasting pan. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and roast for about 15 minutes, until skins start to burst. Lower heat to 250 degrees F and roast until wrinkled skins and any juices begin to reduce in pan. Cool and serve.

Southwest Cafe 5K

So, let's just say it's been a rough weekend. Some not-quite-truth telling and deception. Needless to say, I'm riding this storm out quite well. I'm relieved and oh so very proud of myself. But it's not easy.

I've been thinking about my plans for next weekend. I need some serious TLC, some girl time. My dear friend Amanda (@BonVivantella) recently talked about a 5k run in her hometown. With margaritas involved... YES. Running and margaritas. Two of my most favorite things. And this invitation to join her is coming at the most divinely necessary moment in my life. Girl time, pool time, running races, and a margarita. Almost better than therapy.

So, I think I've decided what I'm up to next weekend. No, it's not my Little Compton retreat, but right now I need my girlfriends and some healthy competition. Ah, and a marg is the perfect cherry on top. Wish me luck!!!!!

Check out my friend's post here