Posts tagged ‘relaxation’
My original plans for the weekend before last were to drive to NJ to see a certain little someone turn a year old. Mother nature had different plans though!
Guess 24.9 inches of snow in 24 hours is pretty impressive… but still doesn’t help my restlessness from being snowed in! I decided to use my housebound time fruitfully: I finished my FASFA, did some paperwork for school, cleaned, and cooked… a lot. And I proved to myself that there is still a chemist left in me! I successfully made homemade bagels on my first attempt! I dutifully followed the recipe as closely as possible, but had to do a lot of converting since I don’t have a functional kitchen scale. (Anyone know where to buy weird batteries?) I found this really helpful chart that made the recipe possible. I was a little worried when the dough was really dry and tough initially, but the final result was impressive! A good-sized, fluffy bagel with a crunch to the outside and a soft fluffy interior! If I can bake bagels, I am convinced that anyone can! I had fun with the toppings – sesame seeds on 6, and chia seeds on the other 4. I can’t choose a favorite, both are so good! Nothing better after a morning of shoveling than a hot, fresh bagel sandwich waiting for you.
If you have a kitchen scale, follow the original amounts. It will most likely have even better results, and more evenly sized bagels. If you don’t, I included my conversions below to save you some work!
Question: How did you spend your snowed-in time?
Honey Wheat Bagels
original recipe from here, makes 10 bagels
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups + 1 tbsp bread flour
1 3/4 cups water (80F)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant dry yeast
Please see original recipe for instructions. A few notes: the recipe is a little too big for most food processors. You can mix and knead by hand! I also had to add a few drops of water to get all of the dough to combine.
Happy Wednesday everyone! I have had the best few days at home and have thoroughly taken advantage of my vacation from school. For anyone still facing 2 more days at work, keep that sweet holiday vacation in the forefront of your mind… Christmas will be here soon! My days have been filled with baking Christmas cookies, making awesome meals with my mom and sister, crafting, gift wrapping, and relaxing on the sofa. I could get used to being this spoiled with so much free time pretty quickly! Here is a peek into my day that isn’t spent hunched over textbooks for hours on end. Be sure to check out Peas and Crayons and the WIAW link party for other weekday meal ideas.
I enjoyed sleeping in and waking up to no alarm. I caught up on some blog reading from bed on my phone, snagged a handful of peanut butter pretzels, and then went out for a short run. I am finally over the worst of my head cold and was itching to get outside. I only made it a mile, but it felt good to just get out and get moving. After a short set of free weights and a shower, I made eggnog spiced oatmeal. I am not a huge fan of eggnog because it is too thick and sweet, but like the way this hints at the Christmas time classic. A little banana for natural sweetness, with vanilla and rum extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg for eggnog flavor. I loved it the way it was, but my sister added a bit of brown sugar to make it taste more like classic eggnog. A great and filling holiday breakfast either way!
My mom is much better stocked with salad veggies and fun condiments than I am, so I enjoyed making a killer salad for lunch. Red leaf and romaine salad, carrots, radishes, snap peas, roasted broccoli, goat cheese, and black bean and corn salsa – salad heaven! With a slice of bakery bread on the side, I could barely finish! My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I had to sacrifice a few of the snap peas.
I spent the rest of the day at my friend’s house for a crafternoon. I am really excited about what I made, all out of recycled magazine pages! The top is a coaster, then a pair of earrings, and what will soon become a necklace. I was Pinspired again, and was happy to have a few hours to kill making a craft. It is much easier than it looks, so check out the tutorial and give it a try.
My mom and I love coming up with dinner creations based on what we have lying around the fridge and pantry, and tonight’s meal was a definite winner! We sauteed up about 1/3 head red cabbage, 1/2 head green cabbage, 1/4 of a large red onion, and 4 grated carrots in some sweet ginger sauce, and then made vegetarian dumplings out of them. A quick boil to cook the shell, and dinner was ready! Enjoyed with some shelled edamame and what was left of the dumpling filling for a delicious, vegetarian meal! (My dad has had
vegetarian vegan dinners 3 nights in a row now without too much complaining – now that’s a good dad!)
My sister and I made our last batch of Christmas cookies, so of course some taste testing had to happen! We like to create characters out of our Gingerbread men, so I chose to eat the “Running Man Gingy” since I love to run! These were our best ever Gingerbread men, and our best looking ones too! If you are looking for Christmas cookie recipes, check out my posts from earlier this week, and stop back tomorrow and Friday for the last two!
Question: Are you on vacation yet, or are you still counting down the days?
New England fall – beautiful leaves, crisp air, and unpredictable weather. You learn quickly never to trust the weatherman up here, but it always a disappointment when the weather refuses to cooperate with your plans. What do you do when the camping adventure you had been planning for weeks gets rained out? You make the best of what you can!
We had planned to visit Wompatuck State Park for an overnight camping and day hike adventure. We were so excited for ‘smores (which my phone can’t spell and caused a few giggles at “snores”) and campfires, stars and fall foliage. If it rains after you have set up, it is manageable. But if it is raining continuously for the afternoon evening, with high chances of thunderstorms, it is no fun. We decided to change our plans, and “camped” in my apartment instead! We cooked dinner together, planned our hiking adventure for the next day, made ‘smores over the gas burner of my stove, and watched the beginning of my favorite 80’s adventure movie, The Goonies. No campfire, no stars, but just as much fun.
We got up early the next morning for the long drive. Since we couldn’t camp, we decided to go somewhere a little more exotic, like New Hampshire! Some of the best hiking in New England is in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and the drive was totally worth it. The fall foliage was at a peak, and the scenery even along the interstate was breathtaking. We literally stopped mid-conversation at times to verbally appreciate the beauty of the majestic surroundings. The parking lot for our trail was 7 miles off the interstate along a winding, bumpy park road. We left our car and were surprised at how much cooler it was just a few hours north of the city. We hoped we would stay warm enough hiking!
We followed the trail to Mt. Osceola, one of 48 four thousand footer’s in NH. The beginning of the path was treacherous, and we even questioned if it was the path. One of our friends fell immediately because of the wet leaves and rocks. She assured us that she was fine and wanted to keep going, so we forged ahead. We questioned the wisdom of continuing once again when we quickly reached a waterfall that we had to cross. A little more of a challenge than we had bargained for, but we were determined to have our hiking adventure! There were more stumbles and slips, streams to cross and boulders to climb as we made our way slowly up the mountain, but we persevered. A little less than 3 hours later, we made it to the top. It was worth the hike! The views of the surrounding White Mountains were breathtaking, especially with the fog rolling through the distance and the sunshine making feeble attempts to pull through. We were freezing (literally, it was probably only 30 degrees at the summit), but we explored the overlook for as long as we could stand it. We found a little bit of rock face that was more protected from the wind so we could enjoy our PB&J, and only headed back for the trail when we couldn’t feel our fingers, faces and toes. Note to self: next time, bring a hat!
Our original plan included the second summit, East Osceola, but our later start, cold fingers, and poor terrain told us to turn around. We descended the mountain much more quickly, but still had to be careful of the slippery rocks. It began to hail almost immediately after we left the summit, so we were really happy with our decision to cut our loop short. The hail stopped and the sun came out for a few more brief periods, allowing us to enjoy the full beauty of the colorful carpeting that seemed thicker around us than we we began the climb. There truly is nothing like New England fall.
Safely back at the car, we stretched our hurting knees (we’re too young to feel old!) and refueled on some snacks. The trail mix combo for this trip was a hit! Cinnamon Puffins, cocoa roasted almonds, peanuts, raisins, and honey roasted soy nuts. Even after this tasty snack, we were still hungry less than halfway through our drive home! We had covered quite a few miles that day (6.4 to be exact!) and a lot of elevation! We rewarded ourselves with a stop at a Manchester legend, the Red Arrow Diner. This place was tiny, and it was hopping! We had to wait for a bit for a table, but once again the patience was worth it. We all feasted on breakfast for dinner. The guys had the King’s breakfast, which took up two plates each! The girls were more modest in portion sizes, but still enjoyed homestyle eggs, hashbrowns and toast. No night drive would be complete without a little car karaoke on the way home, and a few stars viewed from the
sun moon roof!
Lesson learned from this weekend: you can plan all you want, but you can never fully be in control. So learn to go with the flow and enjoy the time in the company of great friends!
What could be a better birthday present than an entire day spent outside with great friends? I can’t think of any! Med school tried to steal my birthday thunder by having our Infectious Disease exam the day after my birthday, so I decided to steal the rest of the weekend for birthday celebrations. To celebrate turning 23, I spent Saturday hiking in the Blue Hills Reservation just south of Boston with three of my friends.
We chose the Blue Hills because it was close and none of us had been there before. Sure, Boston is close to great hiking destinations like Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, but day hikes in these scenic New England locations often require 5am wake up calls to beat the masses to the trails. The Blue Hills Reservation was literally a 20 minute drive, and a 9am departure was much more friendly for this brain-dead med student. We hiked the Skyline trail, one of the more challenging in the reservation. There were at least 4 hills that we climbed, giving us a pretty good workout without being too much to handle. We made it to the Great Blue Hill in two and a half hours, and lingered over breathtaking views of the city skyline in the distance.
We found a rock just beyond the lookout to enjoy our lunch. Homemade peanut butter with Nutella on homemade whole wheat bread (a gift from my friend Vince) with apple slices (from my friend Sam’s parents’ backyard in CA) and trail mix. Such a great lunch! We lounged on the rocks for an hour, soaking in the sun and the calming silence of nature, interrupted only by random thoughts or fits of laughter.
Our hike back was marked by silence, since Marie and Mere were fast hikers and had pulled ahead, and Sam and I were brain-dead from the exam and were enjoying the thoughtlessness of walking through the woods.
I loved the Blue Hills, how close it is to Boston, and how restorative a hike can be for your mind and soul. I am really looking forward to heading back when the leaves start to change! Fall is definitely the best season in New England, and captivates me enough to not remember how harsh the northern winter that will soon befall can be.
After a whole day outside, I got to enjoy an evening outdoors as well! My friend Jon has been trying to host a BBQ for months now and has previously had 2 rainouts. Third time was the charm! A bunch of friends gathered and spent the beautiful, crisp evening outdoors.
Jon was quite the grill master, making veggies skewers and asparagus spears, as well as tons of grilled chicken and the hit of the night – bacon wrapped chicken bites filled with jalapeno cream cheese. He is quite the cook/host! The night ended with a birthday cake by Vince, not pictured because it was too dark outside. Somehow, he managed to figure out my favorite cake combo with no direction from me other than, “I just want a cake!” He made a fluffy white cake, split into four layers and filled with a strawberry mousse, and then iced thinly with the best chocolate frosting I have ever eaten.
My friends made me feel so loved, from my community group’s surprise cake on Thursday to all of the birthday phone calls and messages to my hike and BBQ on Saturday. I am so grateful to have so many incredible people in my life and am looking forward to another fantastic year!
Our daily life in Orebic was all about relaxation. We would run along the ocean in the morning, then walk to the market for fresh bread and any odds and ends we needed for the day. After a breakfast of fresh fruit and bread with nutella, we would make sandwiches and pack our picnic lunch for the beach. We would spend hours relaxing in front of the beautiful Adriatic Sea, alternating between swimming, reading and napping. Put best by Melissa, “The extent of my planning right now is to finish this chapter, turn over, and then take a nap.” If that isn’t relaxing, I don’t know what is!
There is pretty much only one type of bread in Croatia, just baked into a bunch of different shapes and sizes! One of my bakery transactions was solo, since Azra was picking up something at the pharmacy next door. I stood in front of the wall of bread trying to figure out what to get, when the woman informed me that they were all basically the same and it was impossible to make a bad choice. How true that is when the bread is freshly baked each day! We got huge round rolls one morning, which were bigger than my face! Another morning, we decided to get the longer sandwich rolls.
The sandwiches were pretty simple – tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese, and ajvar. But they were oh so tasty! Ajvar is an Eastern European spread made of roasted red peppers and tons of spices. I miss it so much! It took what is a pretty plain sandwich to a whole new level! I either need to find somewhere in Boston to purchase this or figure out a way to make it on my own… any recommendations? ;)
We also got to enjoy picnic lunches while on the beach in Italy, and were quite adept at pulling together to-go meals for long travel rides. Simple meals of bread and cheese can be really satisfying when they are good quality, and eaten by starving travelers! Some fresh fruit on the side for balance and you have yourself a simple, portable and satisfying lunch.
Question: What is your idea of the perfect picnic?
Today was a really long day at work. It was a myriad of factors that coalesced into a perfect storm of exhaustion and frustration, leaving me completely beaten down by the end of the day. I wasn’t feeling well, I was tired and sore from sleeping on the couch (9 people in our modest house is a lot!), and the day started with an ominous tone. Our first patient clearly did not want help. They were angry at being old, and refused to face the truth about their manageable illness. By the end of our ten minute encounter, I was questioning what the point of the visit even was. Luckily, the next patient had a complete and opposite countenance, giving me some hope for my future to actually help people as a health care provider. However, the tone in the office was yet again sobered by a visit from a less-than-friendly representative from a state-run charity program that my doctor participates in. By lunchtime, I wanted to bury my head in the sand, and was so exhausted that I took a ten minute nap on the steps outside of the building. I never nap, so that can tell you about my morning! I felt energized for the afternoon for the next hour, but exhaustion soon hit again when I realized that we were completely overbooked. Somehow, twelve patients were scheduled within our last hour of the day – an impossible feat when each person is designated a minimum of ten minutes. This kept us in the office for an extra hour! While it was a long and busy day, I did learn a lot – I even got to remove my first set of stitches! My excitement for the day’s events was simply dampened by my fatigue.
I got home and was in need of some serious recovery. My grandparents and mom greeted me with a glass of red wine on the back patio, and let me vent about the day. That was the first step in my cure for a long day. I suddenly felt energy enough to pull together a fantastic dinner (which I will tell you all about tomorrow!) I knew that dessert was in order, and but wanted something light. Good thing for me that my lovely friend Helen had sent me a message a few days ago about a fantastic dessert she had been hooked on. Glazed peaches over ice cream? What could be more perfect! Helen, I can totally see how you have been making this so many nights in a row! I’m going to have to get more fruit to make this again… so simple and perfect. Step two in my recovery. Finally, after dessert, I sat down for a little bit of yoga. Usually, I am too energetic and hyperactive to quiet my mind long enough to practice yoga. However, it was exactly what I needed tonight. It was relaxing, energizing, and a great way to stretch my muscles that are always sore after being on my feet for 8-10 hour days. I want to continue to try yoga at least once a week this summer, and see if I can incorporate it into my normal exercise routine. I know how great the stretches are for running recovery, and really think this might be a good way to help me learn to relax as well!
Question: What do you do to relax at the end of a long day?
Balsamic Glazed Peaches
serves 5-6, recipe adapted from Helen
3 – 4 peaches
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp agave nectar (or sub 1 tbsp vanilla)
vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except for peaches. A thick syrup should form. Cut the peaches into thirds or slices, and dip in the syrup. Add to a pan coated in cooking spray and cook on low heat until peaches begin to get soft. Once peaches are a desired texture, turn the heat in the pan up so that the syrup begins to thicken and fully bubble. Serve peaches over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, with the remaining syrup as a crunchy drizzled brittle.