Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart

For my last day of work, I wanted to bring in a special little treat for the office. I really didn't feel like bringing a cake, and cookies just felt to boring.

Thank God Martha Stewart saved my life on this one and introduced me to the most AMAZING dessert I've ever tasted, the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart. You need to drop everything and make this now.

Warning: It did take quite a long time to make with all of the cooling and freezing, so make sure you've got a long afternoon or evening for this one. And my peanut butter marbling definitely didn't turn out as good as this, but it was easier than I thought with a wooden skewer.

And don't worry about the nutrition info. on this one. Just don't. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • For the Crust

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • For the Brittle

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) cocktail peanuts, finely chopped in a food processor
  • For the Filling

    • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate (61 percent), chopped
    • Pinch of salt


    Make the crust: Whisk flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with cream and beginning and ending with flour mixture. Shape dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before rolling.

    Roll out dough into a 7-by-16-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Fit into a 4 1/2-by-14-inch rectangular tart ring ( on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Push dough into corners of ring to create sharp edges; trim so that dough is flush with top of ring. Prick dough all over with a fork. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line crust with parchment, pressing so that it is flush with dough, especially in corners. Fill with pie weights or dried beans; bake until edges are set, about 20 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    Make the brittle: Bring sugar, butter, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until golden brown. Stir in baking soda, salt, and peanuts until well combined (mixture should be the color of peanut butter). Immediately pour onto a nonstick baking mat, spreading out as thinly as possible with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Finely chop half the brittle with a heavy knife to yield 1/2 cup. Reserve remainder for another use.

    Make the filling: Heat peanut butter in a microwave until fluid, about 30 seconds. Pour 1/2 cup into crust, and top with chopped brittle, pressing it into peanut butter. Freeze tart until peanut butter is firm, about 10 minutes. For ganache, bring cream to a boil; pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Add salt; let sit 8 minutes.

    Meanwhile, fill a disposable pastry bag with remaining fluid peanut butter (if peanut butter has thickened, microwave it 10 seconds), and snip off end. Whisk ganache until smooth, and immediately pour into tart, smoothing with a mini offset spatula if necessary. Pipe peanut butter in continuous diagonal zigzag lines down length of tart. Draw a wooden skewer perpendicularly through peanut butter lines in a zigzag motion down length of tart. Then draw skewer in a continuous sideways loop pattern down length of tart to create swirls.

    Refrigerate tart until set, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Cut into wedges, and serve.

    I woke boyfriend up Tuesday morning with a square of this tart and he was sooo happy. I then told him I was taking the rest into work and he turned into grumpy boyfriend. I'll have to make it again, just for him. And you should make it too!

    And the brittle is delicious. Use the extra brittle as a topping over ice cream. Boom.

Pure Bliss...Sort Of

I'm taking the rest of the week off before starting a new job next Monday, and had all sorts of plans to do absolutely nothing. Ahhhh.

Until about 2AM this morning, when a car alarm in the parking garage across the alley started going off. And it went off ever 20 minutes. It just stopped about one hour ago...

So I'm up. And I took advantage by making this delicious white spiced coffee from Country Living. A great recipe for spicing up a weekend coffee. Or an excuse to forget about the blaring alarm across the street.

It tastes like a coffee-laced chai latte, and made my morning ten times better. 

Also on the agenda today: 
-Watching The Artist for the first time
- Catching up on some knitting
- Baking an extravagant cake (flavor yet to be determined)
- Taking a long bath with a magazine or two :)

Ahhh. Days off lying on the couch with the sun coming through the windows. Soaking that up fo sho!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ready to Slooooooow Down

Yikes Bikes!
Ever been to Ukiah, CA? It's a gorgeous town filled with lovely people, and I just filmed my last job with a company that I have been a part of for three years...I started here as an intern in college. And Tuesday is my last day. It's weird, but I'm moving on to a new opportunity, a time to embrace growth and a new challenge.

It has been a whirlwind of a week, and before I start my new gig, I'm looking forward to just a few days off. I've already got a full menu planned to make up for my lack of cooking the past few weeks, and a calendar filled with extra group fitness classes to sub. A time to relax, do what I want to do, and refresh before tackling a new position head on.  I need a few days to slow down before I speed things right back up. Go! Go! Go!

Before I left town, I made a DELICIOUS recipe I found in Bon Appetit over a year ago. These chicken skewers with tarragon-pistachio pesto tasted absolutely fresh with the grilled veggies. A great dish for summertime grilling, but I made them on the stove just fine. 

You'll need some bamboo skewers (metal skewers will also do)


  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted natural pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 1-inch pieces red onion (1/3 inch thick)
  • 16 1-inch squares red bell pepper
  • 8 lemon slices, halved
  • 1 pound chicken tenders (about 8 large)
**You can also use dried tarragon, works the same if you can't find fresh. I swear I bought pistachios at the grocery store, but I couldn't find them for the life of me. I substituted the pistachios with pine nuts, and the pesto was delish! 


  • Puree first 5 ingredients in processor. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and blend until slightly coarse paste forms. Mix in 2 tablespoons water. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer 3 tablespoons pesto to small bowl (for brushing chicken and vegetables); reserve remaining pesto.
  • Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush grill with oil. Thread 1 onion piece, 1 bell pepper square, 1 lemon slice half, 1 chicken tender (lengthwise), then 1 onion piece, 1 bell pepper square, and 1 lemon slice half alternately on each of 8 skewers. Brush vegetables and chicken on skewers with olive oil, then with 3 tablespoons pesto from small bowl. Sprinkle skewers with salt and pepper. 
    Grill until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are slightly softened, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve with reserved pesto.

     Look at the pretty colors!

    I would recommend that you cut the chicken into as equal sizes as possible so that they cook easily. Also, if you're cooking these in a grill pan over the stove like I did, make sure you use a pan large enough to fit the skewers so that all meat and veggies lay evenly on the pan. These took forever to cook because I didn't really take these two things into account. I grilled them for a LONG time (at least 15 minutes each side) and the chicken still wasn't cooked through, so I popped them in the oven to finish off. But if you cut the chicken to equal sizes and use a large enough cooking surface, you shouldn't have this problem.
    • Nutritional Information

      One serving contains:
      Calories (kcal) 432.7
      %Calories From Fat 62.4
      Fat (g) 30.0
      Saturated Fat (g) 5.4
      Cholesterol (mg) 46.5
      Carbohydrates (g) 23.1
      Dietary Fiber (g) 2.8
      Total Sugars (g) 2.4
      Net Carbs (g) 20.3
      Protein (g) 18.1
      Sodium (mg) 518.7

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Double Duty Frittata

A few weeks ago, I cooked up this delicious mushroom, leek, and fontina frittata from Bon Appetit February 2013.

If you've never made a frittata, you need to start incorporating them into your weekly menu. They can be made quite healthy by choosing a low-fat cheese, or you can eliminate the cheese all together (but why would you want to do that, really?) An egg souffle filled with veggies (and meat, if you want), this dish packs a huge protein punch, and if you're trying to add in more veggies to your life (like I am), a frittata is a great way to do it.

Even better, this frittata can be served hot or room temperature. You can eat it for dinner during the week and grab a slice of leftovers for a quick breakfast. Double-duty meals? Yes, please!

Try this super savory mushroom, leek, and fontina frittata this weekend.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, whites and pale green parts only, chopped
  • 8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, crème fraîche, and parsley in a large bowl; mix in 1/2 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. 
Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven. Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute mixture. Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes. 
And in case you're wondering, here's the nutrition breakdown:
6 servings, 1 serving contains:
Calories (kcal) 300
Fat (g) 21
Saturated Fat (g) 9
Cholesterol (mg) 460
Carbohydrates (g) 9
Dietary Fiber (g) 1
Total Sugars (g) 3
Protein (g) 18
Sodium (mg) 330

We Deserve Something Pretty!

Holy Moly Batman! I've had a crazy few weeks. I'm changing jobs, but had committed to two more shoots for a casting demo that I thought I should see through. I flew in to Hollywood, FL on Monday morning and came back Wednesday around midnight - quick turnaround! Just enough time to do our shoot, not enough time to have much fun on the beach :(

Whenever I come home from a shoot, I'm always tempted to spend LOTS of money and buy myself lots of pretty things. Maybe it's because being away from home is never all that comfortable, or it's the long hours, eating out every meal, all of it, I think I deserve a little treat. Are you ever a victim of stress shopping? Or ever play the "I deserve this (and this and this and this and this)" game? Does buying something pretty really work to make you feel better? I think it definitely lifts my moods.

So this time when I came home, I hit up Sephora and Anthro for all things pretty: 

I picked up these Fresh SugarBath Lychee Bath Cubes after reading about them on another blog (I'm sorry I can't remember which one it is!) Made of brown sugar, they're slightly sweet-scented and definitely luxurious. I dropped 3 of these little cubes into my tub Thursday night, and I stayed there for practically 40 minutes (woops!) and felt so great afterwards. My skin felt softer, and I was completely relaxed. Several sales associates at Sephora had never even seen these in their store before, and didn't know what they were, but I highly recommend you splurge on a bottle when you're stressed :) A quiet bath fixes everything. You should get these. Now.

Because Anthro is just next door on State Street, I had to hit up their sale section. Oh Anthro, how I've missed you in my efforts to spend less money. Sigh. It's good to be home :)

I scored what I though to be two awesome deals...

I had reservation about this blazer on the hanger, but I've been looking for a casual blazer with a little more give so I thought I'd give it a whirl. And I was pleasantly surprised! The white colorblocking stripes under the sleeves have a very slimming effect. The fit is great, the fabric is soft. This will be a great addition to my spring wardrobe. It's shown as not available online, but there were SEVERAL of them at the State Street store. If you're looking for a less corporate, more sassy blazer to add a little jazz to your workplace wardrobe, this blazer is a perfect fit. And it's on sale for $79. That's still a little bit of a splurge for me, but you can never have too many blazers. 

This Deletta top I found on sale for $10! $10! Seriously!? It must have been a lucky return find, because there was only one in the sales room, it was a size small, and oh yeah, it was $10! I'll admit, the scrunch in front feels a little weird. But I never have enough long sleeve shirts. And this gorgeous blue for $10. Boom.

I may or may not have also hit up a little extra 25% off sale at J.Crew Factory for some spring wear...more on that later.

Did I mention that 100% of this shopping occurred during a 2 1/2-hour lunch break? Double woops.

I'm heading out to San Francisco tomorrow for my final shoot before starting my new job, so I'll probably be a little MIA. But hopefully after that, I can figure out my routine.

Have a GREAT week!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Sunday : Week Ahead!

Sunday is easily my favorite day. Saturdays are filled with teaching, errands, chores, and friend commitments. But Sunday is the day where I find the most time for myself.

After taking Spinning and CXWorx this morning (hey, instructors should keep taking class, too!), I dashed over to my local Lush on Armitage to pick up some lotion. BUT THEY WERE CLOSED! :( Sad face. Lush on Armitage is closed up for some remodeling, and it doesn't like like they'll be back until March. I'll have to make a stop at one of the downtown locations, I suppose....

A little perusing at some great consignment stores in the area, and then home to bake. And now I'm deciding what to do next: taxes or Spinning continuing education...

Both are obvious obligations. Neither sounds fun right now. So maybe I'll procrastinate. A new issue of Bon Appetit made it into my mail box the other day. Don't you just get so excited over a new magazine?! It's the happiest day ever! And I still have my Anthology magazine to get at, PLUS I've got Anna Quindlen's Every Last One winking at me. If you haven't yet, add this one to your reading list!

Looking ahead this week:

Monday - Turkey and Pesto Paninis, simple and delish.
Tuesday - Hoisin glazed salmon burgers...I'm a little skeptical about this dish, but we'll see...
Wednesday - Moroccan Chicken with Kale
Thursday - Work Dinner
Friday - TBD
Saturday - TBD
Sunday - TBD

Monday - Teach Spinning 6AM
Tuesday - Teach Body Pump/CXWorx in evening
Wednesday - Yoga @ 7PM - I need to do yoga more regularly, I need to STRETCH!
Thursday - Possible Day Off
Friday - Teach Spinning
Saturday - Teach Body Pump
Sunday - TBD

Have a relaxing Sunday evening!

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Slow it down with coconut macaroons

Do you ever feel like your week was crazy but you're just not sure why? I feel like my schedule has been a little off, like I've been super busy, but I really haven't done much out of the ordinary this week, I don't think. Maybe I've been trying to cram too much in and it's starting to catch up with me? Who knows. But thank goodness it's Saturday!

I spent the better part of my morning cleaning up around the apartment, and snuggling in with my little Ellie, but I did have time for a nice, relaxing bath with this limited edition bath bomb! And it was just what I needed...relaxing with a hint of refreshing citrus to wake me up!

How cute is he?! He's called "The Ex-Factor," I guess because you get to watch him explode in the tub and feel vengeful? I just felt calm.

I taught my usual bodypump class this afternoon. And since I have to head to Florida this week for a demo shoot, I figured I needed a pedicure. I should totally feel relaxed, right?

But what really slows me down amidst the giant weekend to-do list is a nice spot of baking. And what could be more delicately calming than coconut macaroons?

My only past experience with macaroons was sneaking them from the kitchen of the country club I worked at in high school. Man were those good cookies!

And these ones from Real Simple's 2013 magazine came pretty darn close! Made with not much more than coconut, sugar, and egg whites, you probably have everything you need for this quick recipe already in your pantry.

Here's the game plan:


  • large egg whites
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 5 cups)


Heat oven to 325° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Vigorously whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until glossy, foamy, and the sugar is mostly almost dissolved. Fold in the coconut, stirring until evenly combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop the batter in mounds (about 2 tablespoons each) 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes; let cool completely. The macaroons will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

I was impressed at how much body these cookies had without any flour in them. Slightly delicate and subtle taste, and all sorts of gooey in the middle. These ones were definitely a winner.

What do you do when you need to slow down? Is baking ever a go-to?
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Lentil Stew w/ Mustard Greens and Sausage

Hanging out in the kitchen, my typical Sunday around here. I'm waiting for my mushroom, leek, and fontina frittata and some coconut macaroons to finish up in the oven when I realized I hadn't posted this delicious recipe from a few weeks ago. 

I got the recipe for this lentil stew with mustard greens and sausage from Real Simple's February 2013 magazine. In my opinion, Real Simple recipes can be hit or miss, and this one was definitely a HIT! Boyfriend love it and asked for more.

Here's what you'll need:

1 T olive oil
**3/4 lb Italian sausage links, casings removed
2 med. onions chopped
**2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 C. low sodium chicken broth
6 C stemmed and torn mustard greens or kale
1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 C dried lentils
salt and pepper

**I used chicken sausage links from Trader Joe's and slipped them out of the casings with a little knife slide down the side.  I used Trader Joe's frozen chopped garlic cubes, a great way to save time if you know you'll be sauteing or heating the garlic up enough for the cube to melt.

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 8-10 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until more fragrant, about 1 more minute

Add broth, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, lentils, 1/2 ts; salt and 1/4 tsp pepper to the pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer partially covered until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender, 30-35 minutes.

This recipe is a little high-calorie, so watch those serving sizes. And you can substitute a less fattening chicken or turkey sausage, like I did. You can also skim the fat (looks like foam) off the top of the stew as it cooks to remove some fat. And watch how much salt you add to the stew.  BUT you're getting a lot of fiber from those lentils!

Calories 508
Fat 17g
Sat Fat 5g
Cholesterol 32mg
Sodium 1,003mg 
Protein 33g
Carbohydrate 56g
Sugar 12g
Fiber 14g
Iron 8mg
Calcium 251mg

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Needed: Relaxation!

What a busy week!
With our new season of My Strange Addiction premiering on Wednesday,  Valentine's Day on Thursday,  a potential new job interview, and picking up a few extra classes this week, things have felt a little crazy!

Boyfriend surprised me with a delicious dinner and flowers on Thursday and a gorgeous homemade card...he's the crafty one!

I'm so thankful it's the weekend...sleeping in until 7:30 and catching up on cleaning and laundry...something feels so good about getting chores done, doesn't it? One step closer to peace and order on my home.

On board for today I've got some teaching BodyPump and drinks with a girlfriend. Hopefully in there some tax organizing will take place...hopefully.

So I'll leave you with a delicious, healthy recipe from Real Simple. Trying to eat more fish? Definitely try this one and make it a staple.



  1. Steam the potatoes in a large pot until very tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, thyme, crushed red pepper, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the halibut with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a separate large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. To the skillet, add as much kale as will fit and ¼ cup water and cook, tossing frequently and adding more kale when there is room, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper.
  5. Serve the halibut with the potatoes and kale. Drizzle with the lemon-thyme vinaigrette.

Hopefully I'll have time to upload some more photos and get back to posting more regularly! Have a great weekend!

And no checking your work email until Monday!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Looking Ahead!

What a busy week it's been. On top of my 5 regular classes, I ended up subbing 2 extra Body Pump classes for an instructor who is out of town. So today after I taught, I needed an epsom salt bath like woah. I think I did the hardest lunge track ever, two days in a row!

I made some Valentine's Day cupcakes to bring to work, and I had so much left-over hot pink frosting that I made some heart-shaped sugar cookies with a new pack of cookie cutters I picked up at The Chopping Block in Lincoln Square. The set of 5 cookie cutters was just about $6, and they come in a great little tin to keep them together.

Looking forward to a new episode of "Once Upon A Time" tonight, I think! They've had a bit of a hiatus the past few weeks and I'm hitting withdrawal mode.

And guess what!? I JUST discovered Downton Abbey! Can you believe it's taken so long? I'm on season 1, and I'm hooked. I've been watching it in the kitchen while chopping veggies for the week. I need to get me some cute dainty gloves and a hat, STAT.

Did anyone check out the Prabal Gurung for Target line? It came out this morning, and from browsing online, there area quite a few great pieces.

I really love this dress on the left. Not sure if it'd work for me, but super cute. 

These shoes are only $29.99. Size 7, please!

And quite a few others worth a try-on. I didn't stop by today, trying to resist the urge to spend money. But if I'm not too busy tomorrow at work, maybe I'll take a little lunch-time walk and see what's left. 

On the menu this week: 
Monday - Spaghetti, simple, easy, cheap. I'm planning on a slightly hectic day at work. 

Tuesday - Chicken Coconut Curry from TJs - they were sampling a new frozen dinner, and this one was delish. I never feel bad about a frozen dish from Trader Joe's because they're usually not crazy with the sodium and on the healthier side. Not your typical frozen meal, for sure!

Wednesday - Turkey and Pesto Paninis - keeping it simple this week is key! PLUS, I have to keep dinner tonight quick because guess what premieres...Season 4 of "My Strange Addiction" on TLC. Outside of teaching group fitness, I work in documentary/reality television, and I did the casting for this series. It's weird, I wouldn't suggest it for your kids, but please tune in!

Thursday - Valentines Day, but because of boyfriend's class schedule, we're staying in with this mushroom, leek and fontina frittata

Friday - We'll see how we feel!

I hope you're all able to finish up your weekend with some time to relax



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Get Your Greens!

What a great week of cooking! Three easy, healthy recipes really hit it out of the park for me. I'll definitely be stealing a few of these techniques and flavors for more weeknight menus.

And I have to give the credit to Real Simple and their "Green is Good" Feb. 2013 feature. I had forgotten how much I LOVE sauteed spinach, kale, all those leafy greens! And if you're not usually a cauliflower fan, try roasting it for 20 minutes, it releases a meaty, slightly buttery flavor when toasted.

Here's what you'll need:
1/4 c. pine nuts
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets (you can also buy pre-cut florets, if you're really crunched on time)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 T olive oil
1/4 c tahini (sesame seed paste; I couldn't find tahini, so I actually used a teriyaki marinade in my dressing, and added less water)
3 T fresh lemon juice (I ended up using a bit more than 3T)
10 c. stemmed and chopped kale or torn escarole
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c raisins

Heat over to 350 and toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet until golden, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Increase heat to 450. On the baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the cayenne, 2 T of oil, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/4 t. black pepper. Roast, tossing half way, until golden, 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together tahini (or marinade of choice), lemon juice, 2 T oil, 1/2 c. water, and 1/4 t each salt and black pepper. You can add more water until you achieve a creamy consistency, if using thicker tahini. Add the kale, onions, raisins, pine nuts, and cauliflower and toss to combine.

This salad was super healthy and surprisingly filling. It also held up for lunch the next day. Boyfriend was a BIG fan, too. Always an important critique from him ;) Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Phenom Giveaway!

I usually don't enter into blog giveaways because I never think I'll win anyways, but I was surfing through bloglovin' this morning and came across this:

$400 Giveaway to Zara!?

Say what?? Hellzz Yeah! This I can get behind. And I need a new work wardrobe. Plus some fun stuff. And whatever the heck else because it's $400 to Zara! What do you want/need? I bet this gift card would help. To enter, follow the link above and follow these amazing bloggers via Bloglovin', Instagram, Twitter, and wherever else you can follow them - and not just because of this awesome giveaway, but because these ladies have major style.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MAC Archie Collection

I like makeup, but rarely do I ever get PUMPED about makeup...I'm not THAT high maintenance.

But for some reason, I'm super stoked for this new MAC Archie collection to come out. According to my closest MAC Pro store on Armitage, my favorite place to buy MAC (I won't go to Macys or Nordstrom for MAC anymore...), it's going on sale TODAY in their store!! I'm debating if I should sneak out on my lunch hour or wait until after work to stop by. I only want one thing, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

This eyeshadow quad called "Caramel Sundae" contains Caramel Sundae, Cheryl Chic, Dreammaker and Showstopper. I love the pink and yellow, and light brown, and would definitely use that dark brown for an eye liner. I can easily see this being my go-to Spring eye palette. And $44 is a pretty decent deal for 4 eyeshadows. 

And because I'm crazy about this new collection, I just have this feeling that other people will be to. I don't want this palette to sell out before I can get to it tonight! I'm nervous! Who ever thought eyeshadow could make a person nervous!??? I think I have a problem...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Anthology Winter 2013 : Americana!

The best feeling in the world is coming home to a mailbox stuffed with my new Anthology magazine.

Haven't heard of Anthology? It's a quarterly (4 times per year) magazine that really focuses on interior design and style, which is told through interviews and personal stories of unique individuals. There are always a few recipes, a few cute outfits, maybe a DIY or two, and LOTS of gorgeous pictures. The photography in this magazine is beautiful. And a few of them look great stacked on my coffee table. And each issue has a theme: comedy (interviewed several people in that field), music, and now, Americana.

Just glancing through the contents, I'm looking forward to:

Seaside Sanctuary - A former sea captain's house on Cape Cod is the perfect getaway for a New Yorker and his friends
Collected Works - A Colonial-style home becomes the setting for its owners' eclectic objects and art
Well Cast - Comforting skillet dishes will hit the spot, even on the coldest winter days
Cabin Fever - A move to a woodsy enclave of Southern California proves to be life-changing

If you don't have a subscription, you should sign up for one now. Otherwise, you can pick up the issues individually at Anthropologie and a few other random stores throughout the US. You can check out what might be near your home here.

*All photos taken from Anthology's blog. Thanks!

PS. How delicious does this look!?!?

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Ballet Buns! (And abs and arms)

Yesterday, the athletic club I teach at offered a free training for "Ballet Burn," a new class we're bringing to our schedule that incorporates basic ballet moves with weights, equipment, and weight-bearing exercises.

I'm so excited!

I haven't practiced ballet in several years, but quickly the plies, tondus, and changements quickly came back to me.

Ballet Burn finds its origins in the New York City Ballet Workout, with the addition of light hand-held weights and any other fun equipment you can dream up, as long as the exercises are based on basic ballet positions and moves. It's NOT meant to be a ballet class. It's a FITNESS class :) Think 32 releves, hitting the calves, glutes, quads, even the arms and shoulders with all that port de bras.

Here's a great video to give a good idea of "Ballet Burn":

The great thing about possibly teaching this new ballet burn class for the instructor is that it really encourages creativity, modifying known exercises to incorporate the grace and fluidity of ballet, and creating combinations of plies, tondus, bat mas, etc. to challenge balance and strength. It's a much softer, almost pilates-like counterpart to the high-intensity Spinning and BodyPump classes that I'm used to teaching.

Does your gym have any ballet-inspired fitness classes? If so, do your instructors use any great combinations or exercises that you love? I need some inspiration in creating my first Ballet Burn class!

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