inspiration in the smallest of places

As a fitness instructor and former one-legged crip, I hear people tell me on a regular basis that I inspire them.  And usually my response is, “really??  Little ole’ me?!” and THEN I think, “if they REALLY knew me, there is no way they could be inspired.”  It seems like that can’t be true, such a failure and a sinner on a regular basis!  But a sweet friend nominated me on her blog!  So here it goes!

inspiringblogaward

My job now to is to do the following for my fellow bloggers and friends.  I am going to follow loosely…

  • Display the award image on your blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • State 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their sites.
  • Notify the bloggers that they have been nominated and link to the post.

7 rando facts you never cared to know, but now you do:

  1. I HATE onions.  Or do I.  I have spent 30 years and some change hating onions.  When I got my tonsils out at age 8? 9? (Mom? When was it??  Actually I don’t think my mom reads this….Let’s go with 9).  So.  When I got my tonsils out when I was 9, the anesthesiologist told me the gas would taste like onions.  It did.  It most CERTAINLY did.  So.  The taste was always associated with a not-so-great young memory.  And as I didn’t eat onions, I didn’t eat celery or water chestnuts.  (Think about it…SAME texture).  BUT they say your taste buds change every 7 years, right?  Or that your tastebuds simply die from old age.  BUT I find myself being able to add onions, IF AND ONLY IF they are cooked beyond recognition and I don’t have to chew them.  And they must be cooked in butter/ghee or coconut oil.  So yeah, I still hate onions.  And if its a raw onion – I won’t be eating whatever dish they are in.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I do have to tell you the best part about this – my sweet friends love me MORE than I deserve.  When they know I am eating with them, they take onions out of EVERYTHING – salads, dips, sandwiches, you NAME it.  The same people who will share a meal out to eat and make sure it doesn’t have onions on it.  Not even my own family will do that!  But it is one of those strange little things that means more to me than a birthday present.
  2. I love exercise   I mean LOVE it.  It took me about oh, say, seven years- maybe even 10 years, to realize that people really don’t love it like I do.  I thought for the LONGEST time that maybe they just weren’t doing the right things.  Maybe if they just TRIED ___________ (insert activity here – Yoga, spinning, ride a bike, hike, kick-box  BodyPump, Pilates, CrossFit…..) SOMETHING different, because SURELY there is something you like.  And yeah, there is – most people just like their couch.  AND then most people aren’t built like me – hit the ground running at 4:40a and schedule days like a BOSS. Using every minute possible to get as much done – including 10+ hours a week working out.  I recently added 3 workouts a week doing something for myself, instead of teaching fitness classes.  One of my friends called me crazy for doing MORE.  But – it is TRULY what I love to do.  Its the only thing that has EVER been consistent in my life.
  3. I hate to shower. Or wash my hair.  And I swear if I could live on a commune and be a hippie I could.  And while this fact probably grosses people out, I’m sorry – my skin and hair just cant handle it.  Plus, as a woman, have you EVER tried to dry long thick hair?  You did read that part above in where I state scheduling every minute of every day?  And drying my hair for 30 minutes a day just DOESN”T fit in there.
  4. I’m weird and crazy. and I am ok with that.  No, really I am totally ok with that.  There isn’t much in my life that embarrasses me or that I want to change.  Sure, some days I wish I had thought a little more about that statement I said out loud.  But those people who think I am too __________ just haven’t taken the time to really get to know me.  I am OK with that.  And if there is something I want to change, I do it.  Fortunately, I am in the segment of people that believe someone CAN change.  And have seen people do it.  Trust me, its usually NOT without God.  But I do think change begins with basic habits.  
  5. I know NO lyrics to ANY song.  And have no idea how to spell I*N*D*E*P*E*N*D*E*N*T when its in a song.  It usually comes out like I*N*D*E*E*E*P*E*N*N*T.  Or I sing lyrics that are KINDA like what the real ones are… (shut the door versus closing the door.)  I am much more into CONCEPTS when it comes to lyrics than the actual words.  I mean, seriously.  Ask my sister.  Well, actually ask BOTH of them.  I am TERRIBLE.  Oh, and ask me quote a movie?  Uhhh, no thanks.  I can hardly remember the name of the movie or the actor that plays in it.  Quoting it is WAY beyond me.
  6. I need sleep.   I wish more people would understand the importance of sleep.  I love http://www.whole9life.com because they are BIG TIME pushers that SLEEP comes before ANYTHING.  It is more important getting a workout in.  It is more important than watching your favorite TV show.  IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A DRINK AT THE BAR.  If you are looking for the one thing that will help you live a better life, it is sleeping.  Not sleeping by a glass of wine or medicines, but actually training your body to sleep better.  Turn off the electronics.  Purchase some dark curtains (or old-school foil your windows if you are cheap!).  And allow your body to tell you what is going on.  It makes a difference.
  7. I don’t watch TV.  Well not really in the way most people do.  It is part of the reason that I get so much done.  I generally catch up on shows from Hulu, etc when I am cooking, getting ready for work, or cleaning my room – half way listening to them, but not even really watching.  Last week, I watched Scandal while I julienned some zucchinis.  But as far are just sitting down and watching TV – i don’t really care to do it.  And if I do, I usually fall asleep.  There has NEVER been a show that I *HAVE* to make it home for.  And I never really understand that – when people say that they HAVE to be home to watch a show!  Why would you want to be at home watching someone else’s life so you can make a comment on Facebook regarding instead of actually making a new memory with friends!

I don’t have 15 local users that I want to tag….But I am going to list blogs that inspire me – to be a better version of myself!

Faith

  1. (in)courage me
  2. A Holy Experience
  3. Ni Hao Yall

Food

  1.  Chasing Delicious
  2. David Lebovitz
  3. Spoon Fork  Bacon

Friends

  1. Amelia Strauss, genius photog
  2. Indie and Chic, jewelry designer extrodinaire
  3. Family Snodgrass, makes motherhood of three look dreamy

Those I don’t know that I wish I did

  1. Eggton 
  2. PaleOMG
  3. Well Fed
  4. Whole 9 Life
  5. Nom Nom Paleo
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foodie challenge!

So I read this awesome site by Clay and Zach, called The Bitten Word.  They are witty, funny, a little bit sassy but all in ALL I love that no matter WHO wrote the recipe or where they found it, these boys will write the most honest assessment of the recipe.

Like, *ahem* the “Best Dish of the Year” – which we ALL know we love Kale, but seriously THAT was the best dish they could come up with??  Or this cake which I JUST need an excuse to make (since it is mentioned more than just once…..)

Towards the end of September, they offered up a challenge which is laid out here to which I immediately jumped on board for.  I mean, cooking, which I LOVE and team work! (Hello?!  Have you met me!  I hate to do ANYTHING alone.)  I commented on the post as soon as I read that I would like to participate, and then PROMPTLY forgot about it.  Cue a week later and I have to admit, felt a little like OMGTHEYPICKEDME when I got an email assigning me a dish.  Now, let’s be just BRUTALLY honest.  Those who wanted to cook a dish GOT to cook a dish.  BUT I LOVE these bloggers so it was a little cooler to me.  In fact, I didn’t even tell ANYONE about it because of COURSE I was blowing it out of proportions.  Who cares.  I was excited and I liked my dish assigned.

The Dish

So I was assigned “Creamy Braised Parsnips with Sage” – totally excited about it because I’ve never cooked with parsnips before.  As in, polled Facebook to see what the best place in Birmingham was to get them.

Side bar:  I should have just asked my two roommates.  I forget that they are like SO eco-friendly and like SO KNOW EVERYTHING about gardens veggies and the like.  The one roommate was writen up in the Birmingham News with her work in the Community Garden, and the other planted a veggie garden last week on the fly and would like to build us a chicken coop.  And me?  Please see the sign that is newly posted above the trash can.  I asked is you could recycle Styrofoam.  I mean, i remembered that it was either WAY YES or WAY NO. Just couldn’t decide which one it was.  Now it is clear.

Back to the dish.

Recipe for the delicious parsnips is below, featured in Everyday Food (October 2012) (and at this point, wishing that I could remember punctuation, citations, and things that avoid plagiarism  WHY can’t I remember things.  Please don’t tell me its the drinking…) (Bet you didn’t know that’s how you spell plagiarism.  Yeah, I know you don’t because I was trying to argue with Chrome that it should NOT be squiggly-lined red.  I was wrong.  Point for Google Chrome)

So.  I made two versions.  I made it EXACTLY the way Martha says to.  And then I made one with my own tweaks and cooking thoughts.  As most of yall know, I cook a LOT by smell and taste.  Pinch, handful, some, more, less.  Not by measurements.  First version I followed the recipe like OMG super compliant.  Have to admit, it was tougher than I thought!  And it was decent.

Cast of Characters – Whole Foods was RIGHT by the Colonnade and my Wednesday night RPM class and my Publix didn’t have Parsnips.  So I just grabbed everything else there.  Ended up being about $14 ($5 for parsnips  $2.50 for cream, $2.00 for chicken broth, and $4.00 for sage.  I didn’t end up NEEDING two containers, but I always get worried about not having enough.  Blame it on my mother.)

I have to tell you – Parsnips are PRETTY. But, no matter how much they look like a carrot, they are IN FACT NOT one.  And quite bitter.  Fun Fact from the roomie – if you let them sit underground under winter, that would not be the case.  The sugars build up and become a REALLY great veggie.  When they are picked in the fall, they are IN FACT QUITE BITTER.

VERSION ONE

It was ehh, good.  I added EXTRA salt, etc.  And as the recipe suggested would have been VERY good with a salty meat.  BUT I was determined that I want this side dish to stand on its own!

VERSION TWO

  1. Pulgra (Belgium) salted butter instead of Olive Oil. And where the recipe asked for 2 tsp, I probably put 2 Tablespoons of butter in.  Whatever. Did you WANT a good dish or not.
  2. Garlic – 1 clove
  3. Sauteing – instead of “lightly brown” I let them cook until they were a good caramel brown, closer to chocolate (which, coincidentally is what I had for dinner last night).
  4. I reduced the amount of broth by probably 2 Tablespoons – maybe even 1/4 cup.  What I did is started with 3/4 cup, let it cook out, add a little more, cook out, etc.  Like you do with risotto.
  5. Upped the sage – its SAGE and PARSNIPS.  That IS the recipe….I mean besides the cream.  So why would you not want to taste the sage.
  6. I am PRETTY sure that I upped the cream.  But, I am a cream girl.  And this is almost the same way that I cook Israeli Couscous, except for different spices.


Second one was my FAVORITE. It was good enough to stand on its own two little parsnip feet.  And then, TOTALLY better magic with letting it cool about 5, 6 minutes, and letting the flavors meld…and then I’m pretty sure out of 3 lbs of parsnips, I ate 1.5 lbs.  Yes….

So I guess the question is for you – do you want to just *have* a side dish that is there or do you want something that you can’t keep your spoon out of.  The recipe as is IS GOOD. I mean, quick and tasty. But, it also serves as a REALLY good base for change! I see this with poached eggs (Ok, I KNOW I see everything with poached eggs), and next time I am changing cream up for coconut milk and the butter for coconut oil (then the WHOLE recipe would be Paleo).  That with the sage…maybe a little sausage…Pork tenderloin…Yeah.  It’s good.

What I got out of this:

  1. Cooking outside my normal realm of comfort! Fun for me!
  2. Umm, do I EVER follow a recipe to the tee?  I suppose when I bake cakes…but even cookies (except for soda, flours…) I guestimate vanilla, chocolate chips, add-ins.  MAN. I am not a rule follower am I?
  3. Photos? Yeah, I suck at those.
  4. I still don’t know if I should have thrown away the plastic bags and herb container that I did.  I wonder if one of my roommates will pull them out of the garbage.
  5. I DID however put the peels and remnants of the dish into the compost pile.  The one that kinda freaks me out?  Yeah.  That one.  Did I mention my roommates are SO much more in tune with eco-friendliness?  Yeah.  They are.

{lawdy, I suck at pictures.  Lighting, people.  LIGHTING.}