Monday, January 28, 2013

the silence found in the grey

An early morning walk into a monochromatic world left me longing for a little color.  Heavy fog made the skies grey and the exposed bones of the trees danced in the air like a silhouette against a mist colored curtain.  It was silent outside, only my footsteps hitting the pavement and the birds calling out for the sun.  I took a deep breath and drank in the heavy air, the silence, the fog.  I felt a cleanse and peace was lifted into a colorless world.  Happy Monday everyone.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

a wholesome update

Two weeks ago I challenged myself to eat healthier, focus on my food and really think about what I put in my body.  I am not going to lie-it takes time, care and forethought...and time (didn't I already say that?).  I wake up eating oatmeal sans brown sugar, avocado on multigrain flatbread, citrus fruit salad topped with unsweetened flaked coconut with a side of almond milk, or a wild rice pudding.  And guess what...I have survived and I am better for it.

Lunch is usually a kale or spinach salad topped with a small amount of leftover protein or tuna and beans.  Snacks could be anything from a smoothie or lassi to an orange and almonds, pear with goat cheese and honey or an apple spread with almond butter (my favorite).

If anything, dinner has introduced me to energy-dense, nutrient packed, high fiber sides that will keep me satisfied longer.  Nightly, I settle to a plate that is half vegetables, a portion of complex carbs or whole grain, and a lean protein.  This wholesome way of eating is literally my meal ticket to feeling my very best.

I'm not going to lie, there have been temptations and cravings and head throbbings from the withdrawal of sugar.  I miss candy bars and Parmesan Goldfish Crackers.  I won't deny sneaking in a nibble or two.  But because of this drastic change in eating I am better for it.  Not only have a dropped a few pounds, but I feel better.  I sense that my mood has drastically changed-I don't feel stagnant.  I have a boost in energy, which helps me keep up with my hyper-active child.  And I have been sleeping more soundly-some of the best sleep I have had in years.
Orange & Coriander Scented Pork Loin
I have been pleased with the results, especially those that are happening from the inside, the heart healthy, energy and mood boosting results.  I love exploring new flavors and foods as well, it keeps it interesting and holds my attention.  I enjoy preparing colorful, beautiful, healthy, yet satisfying food and being able to share this journey with you.

Thanks for checking in, I'll keep you posted as I trek on.

Friday, January 18, 2013

music to my ears

photo source:  austincitylimits

Just a few little shots of what my evening looked like last night.  Keane (pictured above), is my all time favorite band and I was lucky enough to have them perform only 20 minutes from my home.  His voice is amazing!  If you would like to see the performance you can watch it here!  Lucky you!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

a care package from the noisy plume

One hot summer day I found myself daydreaming of mountains, of the cool summer air becoming a tad bit colder as you ascend to the summit, the smell of pine carried by the breeze, and the winding roads that eventually lead you to your destination.  Suddenly, I found myself longing for one particular mountain-a mountain I had visited on any given day whether it be greeting her by daybreak atop Red Hill or me perched from its top peering down below.  Scout Mountain sat south of the little town of Pocatello, where my husband and I had once lived and it always welcomed our escape to be amongst nature.  I miss that escape, I missed Scout that hot, Texas summer day.

I found myself googling for images of Scout, though I had many, I had grown tired of the same old views.  Google led me to The Noisy Plume.  Jillian, at The Noisy Plume shares the same love for Idaho as I do.  She captures Idaho through her lens so beautifully, so natural and breathtaking that I am easily transported to that portion of the world, recognizing peaks, streams and ridges along the way.  Her words are as profound and beautiful as her photos and The Life and Times of The Noisy Plume has become a (if not THE) favorite blog amongst my readings.

In December she led her readers to a blog based Advent Calendar hosted by A Butterfly In My Hair (another great blog) and sponsored one of the days of the giveaway.  A talented artist, she gifted handcrafted spoons made from enamel & copper and I was one of the lucky ones to receive the green Winter Spoon.  I love it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

wholesome bee-lunch and a delicious quinoa recipe

Wholesome Lunch: Baby Kale Salad with Tuna & Cannellini Beans, Quinoa with Pistachios & Parsley

Toss four cups of baby kale with a champagne vinaigrette, add half a can of tuna (2.5 oz) and 3/4 cup cannellini beans.  For inspiration go here!

We are WILD about this tuna!  The best canned tuna I've ever had!

Quinoa with Parsley & Pistachios
serves 4
source:  Bon Appetit January Issue 2013

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup raw, unsalted, pistachios, chopped
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots, salt and pepper and saute until shallots soften, about 5 minutes.  Add quinoa and cook, stirring often, until quinoa begins to toast and has a nutty aroma.
  2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Give a quick stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in pistachios and parsley into quinoa.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve heated as a side for dinner or at room temperature along side a nice salad for lunch.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

rainy days...

are few and far between

but welcomed and needed

you will find us at A Cozy Bee soon!!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

wholesome bee-a food awakening

My toe is tickling the line of a starting point.  After weeks of reading, a little inspiration, a little self assurance, I have decided to begin eating differently.  Whole.  Healthy.  No, I was not nudged by the new year.  In fact I was asleep by 10 and woke up to the new year just as I had any other day.

After turning the pages of the January issue of Bon Appetit and reading about their annual food cleanse, I became intrigued.  Not because it promoted eating healthy and wholeful foods but because it offered something different-and I was drawn to that.  I have been stuck in a rut for way too long and needed the boost.

My first food awakening was at the age of 25.  I had enrolled in culinary school, taking it very seriously, learning everything I could because knowledge is power but most importantly I had learned to love vegetables.  I came from a household where my leafy green was an iceberg lettuce and broccoli was steamed in the microwave from its previous frozen state and drenched in cheese.

The first class you must take in culinary school is a skills class.  You are taught the importance of proper cookware, knife skills and cooking techniques.  It was there, in that kitchen, when broccoli changed my whole perspective on vegetables; blanched, a quick shock in ice water and a light reheating tossed in olive oil, almonds and garlic.  The color-vibrant, the texture-crisp but tender, the taste-layered and delicious and far from the steamed mush I knew from childhood.  It opened a whole new world for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I have decided...a change.

She slowly walks up the steps that lead to the stage.  She stares at the shiny maple floors, for a moment that is the only thought that races through her mind, how do they get it so shiny?  She adjusts the mic, taps it, there is a screech from the feedback, she peers out into the audience, it is dark, lonely, and only a few fuzzy figures are at attention.  Umm, she clears her throat, I have decided to go a new direction with my blog.  Awkward silence.  Does anyone really care?

This is how I feel.  For those of you out there who visit me regularly, yes, the two of you, Baking For The Boys is about to change.  A new look, new name, a new blog address and an exit from my four year old blog.  The recipes will still be here, just under a new name.  The handful of fuzzy figures out in the audience may be curious and I'll explain.

When I began this blog, four years ago, I had envisioned it being solely a baking blog.  A cute little blurb, a picture and a recipe.  But my interests have changed, I have grown, and because of this, my blog needs to reflect, well, me.

Don't get me wrong, I still love to bake and cook, and will always feature recipes.  But I love nature and photos of leaves and sky.  I enjoy knitting and hand sewn felt projects.  It is taking me eons to decorate my house.  And I have a family.  But you, my fuzzy figures sitting in the audience, don't know that...I rarely share this with you because, after all, this is a "food" blog.

On a separate note, I personally feel that food related blogs have become saturated.  To me, in the beginning, food blogging meant sharing great recipes, food experiences, forming friendships from afar, but now it is filled with over styling, product pushing and motivated by the almighty dollar and incentives.  Because of this, I have grown tired of some of my favorite blogs and that saddens me a bit.  Ironically, this was published at a great time as I have felt this way for months.

A while back I titled a post, "A Cozy Bee," and thought the title to be quite clever. Whether it be a freezing January night or a triple digit sizzler in the summer, you will always find me under my favorite quilt.  Soft, supple, worn, torn and ripped, I find comfort under that tattered quilt...I am cozy.  And bee...well my first name means "honeybee".  As I stewed over the thought of changing Baking for the Boys, I felt the name A Cozy Bee seemed fitting for the new direction I craved.  So, within the next few weeks I'll be making the transition.  I hope to see you there.