Happy Whole30 Day!

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Today’s the day we start a Whole30 food challenge… more like detox, really.  Considering I’m competing in the CrossFit Open and a Tough Mudder in the next few months, it’s time to buckle down and get my nutrition back on track.  I’m allowing for a few modifications so that my husband won’t strangle me with all these new food rules, but otherwise it will be a pretty strict 30 days of eating clean.  I’m hoping to keep a log here of recipes and what I’m taking in, just to have a little more accountability.  And we end just in time to go meet Joy and cause some trouble in the Windy City!

Travel Tuesday: Colorado by Instagram

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I went to Denver for a long weekend in October to visit college friends & had a blast!  Just a few pics from my phone, will share more eventually!

View while hiking Mt. Sanitas

Hiking

Denver while stuck in traffic

Downtown Boulder

Pike's Peak

Picking pumpkins at the Happy Apple Tree Farm

Travel Tuesday: Kaffee and Kuchen

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Last week I talked about my love for European cafes.  It was on my trip to Germany that I fell in love with the mid-afternoon coffee and cake break.  Pretty much Kaffee and Kuchen was my and Danae’s lunch every day while we were there.  It was great!  We ate and drank our way through the northern half of the country so here is our daily coffee break.

In Hamburg we didn’t get cake, but we did make a stop for Balzac Coffee.  We needed coffee, but mostly we just wanted to giggle over the name Balzac.

In Gottingen we stopped at Cron & Lanz.  This is where we started ordering kaffee mit baileys, which just improved the experience.  We both agreed these were the best desserts of the trip!  Their chocolates were incredible as well, it was very upsetting when I finished my last one a few weeks after we got home!

The next day in Gottingen we had an hour to kill before our train left.  So of course we found an outdoor cafe in the city center and ordered a round of kaffee mit baileys to enjoy while we people watched.  German fashion and German daddies (we were amazed that they took their kids places) were the main topics of conversation.

In Sababurg we stopped at the biergarten inside Tierpark Sababurg.  There was cake involved, but we got beer instead of coffee.  And it was a good thing we did with the whole getting attacked by a baby donkey thing.

Paulaner-our fave!

Our first day in Kassel we stopped for another round of kaffee mit baileys and kuchen.  Well, atleast Danae did.  I decided to get real food but somehow ended up ordered soggy toast with tomatoes.  Life lesson learned-always order cake!!

On our last day we were at the Bergpark Wilhelmshohe waiting for the Hercules fountain to be run.  We sadly took one last afternoon break for beer and cake.

Just a small sampling of our unofficial food & drink tour of Germany!!

Browned Butter and Caper Tilapia

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I ate at Paris Club a few months ago and I ordered the skate wing with lemon, capers, and brown butter.  I didn’t even really know what skate wing was, but it was on the seafood menu and I was feeling adventurous so I just ordered it.  And oh my goodness was it delicious!  Sadly I didn’t take any pictures that night, but I knew I would have to recreate the flavors later on from home.

Trader Joe’s carries a good selection of frozen, individually packaged fish-perfect for cooking for one!  This became one of my go-to recipes for cooking tilapia over the summer.  Just add some veggies and it is a quick, delicious meal!

Browned Butter Tilapia

Brown a few tablespoons of butter.  Pour over tilapia fillet in small ramekins or foil pouch.  Add a tablespoon or so of capers and squeeze lemon on top.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until flaky, or a little longer if the fish is frozen.  Enjoy!

Manifesto

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Melissa over at The Clothes Make the Girl posted this video this morning.  Sums up my take on 2012 completely.

Do what you love and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life – STOP.They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop overanalyzing.
Life is simple.
Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people.
We are united in our differences.
Some opportunities only come once – seize them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is – share your inspiring dream with them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short – Live your dream and share your passion.

In other news, I’m back! And also, happy one-year CrossFit anniversary to me! 🙂

Travel Tuesday: Patisserie Valerie

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I spent an awesome week in London and Paris over Thanksgiving!  One of my favorite parts of Europe is the little cafes they have everywhere.  It is so relaxing to sit and enjoy a coffee and dessert.  It’s even more relaxing with if you add Baileys to the coffee, but that is a story for a different day.  Europeans really do understand leisure better than Americans, and this is the perfect example.  There is no feeling of being rushed.  In fact, it is usually hard to flag someone down when you do want to leave!

I was excited to discover Patisserie Valerie in London!!  Valerie must be a more common name in Europe because I saw another store that included it in the name.  I passed it on the way to Piccadilly to shop with my whole (huge) family so clearly I had to go back.  My sisters and I went for coffee and dessert a few days later and it was delicious!  We tried the chocolate mousse and the eclair, both were amazing!!  If only America would pick up this tradition!

 

Chocolate mousse with cream puff on top

Pumpkin Pie

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I absolutely love pumpkin pie!  Actually pretty much anything with pumpkin. In the fall I made it my mission to make a pumpkin pie completely from scratch, which I had never done before.  This was only my second time making homemade pie crust so it was a good challenge.

The crust tasted good but I didn’t roll it out enough so it was too thick.  Eventually I will make a perfect pie crust!!  But it didn’t matter that the crust wasn’t the best because the inside of this pie was heavenly!  Seriously the best pumpkin pie I have ever had.  And I have eaten a lot of them.  I think roasting my own pumpkin made a huge difference in flavor compared to the canned stuff.  I may never go back!

I looked up a lot of recipes but none of them seemed quite right to me, so I just combined them all and the result was amazing!

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups roasted pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Make or buy pie crust.  I suck at it so can’t give any good directions.  Combine ingredients.  Don’t worry if it is super watery compared to pie from canned puree.  Bake for 50 minutes at 375.  Enjoy!