Friday, December 5, 2008

How to keep pink cheeks in the winter ti dah.

Holy hooligans, it's been a while! Winter has settled in here in the Twin Cities. The sky today is perfectly white, the trees are naked but for the pines and a few stubborn maples, and the ground is brown and frozen. Get out of the city, you might mistake yourself for living in the tundra.

To survive Minnesota winters requires one to mindfully nurture a special resilience and odd admiration for the bitter cold. It's a skill that I work on every year. What keeps me smiling through the winters? Mostly small things...

1. My favorite coats: big pockets, high collars, horn buttons, elegant embroidery. It sounds trite, but lovely clothes can brighten my day! A nice coat is well worth the dollar.

2. Getting outside: I try to spend at least thirty minutes outside each day. A walk with Rachel, walking to the bus stop, going running (if it's above 20 degrees), walking on my lunch break at work. Once you get moving...the cold is a little more bearable.

3. Planning dinners with friends and dates with my boyfriend: Being with the people I love is the fastest way to warm up a room! Cheesy but true. Just last night, we invited a lovely pair of friends over for dinner, wine, and yuker (yuchre? yucher? Alas, it's a favorite Minnesota card game.)

4. If I didn't get a good walk or run outside, I go to the gym. I absolutely must work up a sweat to keep those endorphins sparking.

5. Drinking lot of tea, working on craft projects (like the enormous scarf I started two years day Mike will have a nice gift!), and reading reading reading with Rachel curled up next to me. Not a bad way to spend winter evenings.

6. Plan a trip to somewhere tropical! Oh boy! Central America!

I promise more soon from this tundra front...especially recipes. Lately, our dinner menus have been sorta unoriginal. However, we're having a holiday party in a few weeks so I need to get cracking on the menu and decor planning!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

food to satiate the running heart

I getting all amped up for the half on Sunday. This week I cut back my mileage severely. Though I feel good, I just want to get out there! I've always felt this way; I hated HATE that count down before the gun goes off. Still, I'm thrilled to run through my city (ah, my city, that feels so right). I simply cannot imagine a more perfect route: downtown, the chain of lakes, minnehaha creek parkway, lake nokomis...I end there, and the rest of the marathoners will keep trudging on. In the back of my mind I sometimes wonder if I'll want to keep going after thirteen miles. I told Mike to make sure I stop...I don't know if a firm grip at mile 13 will be necessary or not. We'll see on Sunday.
In the meantime, we've been making some stellar meals. As Mike pointed out, "We finally learned how to cook together." I don't know if I would exaggerate finally like its been decades...but, I do agree with him that we've vastly improved since our initial attempts to cook together. Our tastes and food histories are often on opposite ends of the spectrum; its outstanding we can find common ground at all.
Yesterday, we improvised a version of "Moosewood meets Cooking Light" spanakopita. You really can't go wrong with fresh feta, spinach, a couple eggs, a lot of butter, and phyllo dough. Steam the spinach, mixing it with the feta and eggs. Then, layer the phyllo dough, butter, and spinach in a casserole dish. Cook for 35 min at 375 or until the first layer is crispy brown. Cool for a bit and eat! I paired it with my nightly glass of merlot.