At the risk of sounding totally cliche, HOW the heck is it December
6th 8th already?? (Of course I am two days late finishing this post.) I partially blame the time lapse that is my life the past few months on my job. The rest is sort of a mystery. I swear yesterday was October-something and I still felt like a total newbie in L.A. and like I’d never get my bearings at work. Suddenly it all feels completely different–family has come and gone, I’m finally in a routine, and this place is really beginning to feel like home. The arrival of December is pretty shocking and it seems like there’s too much on the to-do list before the days finish dwindling down.
I’m one of those people that enjoys making lists for the sanity it brings me, so I figured it would be a nice time to come up with a few things to focus on to keep me grounded over the next few weeks.
1. Try as many new fitness classes as possible. And squeeze in runs, brisk walks, and tabata drills when the gym isn’t nearby. My awesome friend Elise and I have made a pact to be workout buddies and explore the enormous calendar of classes at Equinox where she teaches. Equinox has a great reputation nationwide, but the Santa Monica location is particularly stacked with a bunch of really talented instructors. I just joined last week and cannot wait to try some new-to-me things!
And when the gym isn’t accessible, like when I’ll be home in Atlanta for ten days later this month, I’m planning to head to one of my old favorite running routes to fit in a little sweat session.
2. Cook at home. I’m taking a cue here from The Fitnessista. We all know the holidays are loaded with lots of opportunities to commune with friends and loved ones to eat (no surprise that I love this time of year), which is why it’s also a nice opportunity to create some balance by whipping up some easy, healthy meals at home. See the end of this post for snack ideas!
3. Read a book. Ideally this will occur in the ultimate holiday setting…crackling fire, mug of spiced cider, wrapped in something toasty and cozy, and lost in a book. I haven’t prioritized reading at all lately, so I especially cannot wait to snuggle up with several books as soon as possible.
4. Make time with loved ones quality. It’s a given that the holidays are about spending time with family and friends, but now that I live on the west coast, I’m even more excited to be with my Atlanta people for Christmas and celebrate with L.A. friends here beforehand. December is also the month of Joshua’s and my anniversary as well as my mom’s birthday. Certainly a whole lot to celebrate!
5. Make travel plans for 2013. Joshua and I both love traveling and are really looking forward to making a few trips next year. There’s nothing like having something exciting to look forward to marked on your calendar. I’m counting this as a jump-start on New Year’s resolutions!
Now for some healthful snack inspiration involving fries and chips…and sweet potatoes and kale! Contradictory? I think not.
I recently went to Cafe Gratitude for the first time and had probably the best sweet potatoes ever. I absolutely love sweet potatoes and roast them all the time, so it was fun to make my own version of their delicious roasted potatoes.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
ingredients & tools: 2 sweet potatoes, brown sugar, oil of choice, sea salt, baking dish
- Preheat oven to *375.
- Scrub and then chop two sweet potatoes into large pieces (big enough to be two bites per piece). Alternately, you could chop them into the shape of fries if you’re looking for more authenticity.
- Place the potatoes in a shallow baking dish. Coat with about 2 tbsp of oil (vegetable, coconut, or olive would be fine), a generous sprinkling of sea salt, and about 1-2 tbsp of natural brown sugar. Stir to make sure everything is evenly coated.
- Roast in the oven for about an hour or until nice and caramelized, stirring halfway through.
- Serve hot with yogurt dipping sauce. Makes plenty for two.
Chili Lime Garlic Yogurt Sauce
ingredients & tools: plain greek yogurt, 2 garlic cloves, Sambal chili paste, fresh cilantro, lime, small bowl
- Mix 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt with 2 minced garlic cloves, a generous portion (3 tbsp or so) of minced cilantro, the juice of a lime, a pinch of salt, and Sambal chili paste to taste.
Easy and so incredibly delicious! Maybe they’re not fries on any level, but they are absolutely just as good…or better!
Next up: salt and vinegar kale chips. Mine turned out a bit too salty so I am eliminating salt in the recipe. These were crunchy and addictive, just like the fried potato version.
Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
ingredients & tools: a head of curly kale, nutritional yeast, ume plum vinegar, oil of choice (olive or coconut would be great here), baking sheet & foil or parchment paper
- Preheat oven to 325*. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil or parchment.
- Clean the kale in a salad spinner. If you don’t have one, get one, because it will make your life so much easier.
- Place the kale directly on the baking sheet and top with 1-2 tbsp of oil, 2-4 tbsp of nutritional yeast, and 1-2 tbsp of vinegar. Thoroughly massage the seasonings into the kale.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy, stirring halfway through.
- Dare yourself not to eat the entire batch, though it’s enough for two. 😉
Have a happy Saturday!