Sunday, December 18, 2011

Compulsive Blog Post

There's a couple things I like about winter here.  And maybe I can say that now because winter really hasn't even started yet, but as I sat eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee this morning I did realize these two appreciations.  I've noticed that Norwalk has an abundance of sunshine during the winter.  I always picture my mornings getting up in Arkansas - the cloudy chill of a winter day to great me.  Here Mr. Sun makes an appearance almost every day.  However, this will not stop me from taking Vitamin D supplements all winter because alas the only time I get to see the sun is on the weekends (hate you daylight savings).  That brings me to my second appreciation: I love how the sunlight cascades across my apartment.  That has to be a number one requirement for me when I live somewhere - well lit.  This morning the sun burst in over my living room lighting up my tv (my closest friend Netflix calling my name) and my little mini Christmas tree (presents waiting to be opened with my family on Skype later today).  It makes getting up early on a Sunday morning enjoyable.  I have not fully opened my home to the outside world by opening the blinds yet because my head still hurts from last night's play.  Sorry Mom and Dad, I don't go out that often, but when I do I somehow revert back to the fish I was in College..

Because my head and liver hurt I was more than happy to whisk myself across the street to my coffee shop for a little hangover cure.  Yes it is now MY coffee shop because I go there at least twice on the weekend and they have updated the decor with one of my favorite objects.  I grabbed a coffee, rye bagel with a side of peanut butter and a biscotti for later :).  (It's Christmas time - desserts aplenty right?)

I performed a little test to see if I could bring nut butter into my house again.  Apparently not :).  I ate that apple only because I still at PB left after I finished my bagel.   My impulsive nature does present some challenges :)  I am impulsive in many ways (job in CT 1500 miles from home - SURE, buy a $500 plane ticket for a one night trip home to surprise two of my best friends - SURE, eat the entire stock of Peanut Butter - OF COURSE!)  It is good and bad :)
One tasty compulsion
Now if only I could impulsively get out of this chair and go do something more productive with my Sunday.. Like try to finish another season of How I Met Your Mother? :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

December in New York

This same time last year I was slowly packing boxes, having lots of "lasts" with friends (although really there turns out they were not "lasts" at all) and preparing for my trip to visit my sister in France.  It was great to spend time during Christmas in Europe. Every city is festive, cold and centered around a Christmas Market.  I think that was my favorite part about my trip to France - I mean besides getting to see the sis of course ;)

That's one of the reasons I am feeling festive about living so close to New York City during December.  I've been in the city during Thanksgiving and January - I've seen the window displays, lights and trees.  But there's something special about the weeks leading up to Christmas.  I can't say I like the hustle and bustle so much but I can certainly deal with it for some hot apple cider, winter cheer and rosy cheeks :)

So this Sunday I went into the city to do some Christmas shopping.  I found a couple really good catches for an "alternative to retail" experience.  Most of the stores REALLY do it up in terms of "retailtainment" and decoration for the holiday.  While I had to stop in at Bloomingdales (wow!), I scouted out two Holiday markets as well - hoping to get a taste of last year's European Christmas.

Columbus circle was my first stop.  It was amazing how such a small area can turn into what seems like an endless maze of shops and goodies.  There was a lot of handmade jewelry, winter hats and natural soaps/skincare products.  There was also a lot of apple cider :)  And chocolates and baked goods and tea too.  Although it was cold I didn't feel up for apple cider - would have made the shopping a little easier.  What I really missed was Vine Chaud!  mmmmm  I also tried a sample of something called Peppermint Magic Bar and I almost bought the entire stock!

I got terrible pictures..but all I had was my phone and my fingers were cold.

The second place I went to was awesome X 3.  Craftacular put on by Bust Magazine, a kind of power to the females cultural mag.  It was $3 to get in and wander through 2.5 rooms of vintage lovers heaven.  I know several of my friends who would have LOVED it..and therefore I was kind of overwhelmed with Christmas gift ideas.  Paralyzed is more accurate..  I bought one item from a couple who makes sugar and sea salt body scrubs - espresso body scrub.  My bathroom smells like espresso chocolate now..not gunna complain.  Naki Nagi is the company.  It was pretty cool to see so many hand made creations and the people who have been able to make a successful living at some level out of them.

Clocks, Door hangers, light switch covers and frames

Mason Jar Christmas Decoration

Cool Necklace

Little green worlds
I think I might be going vintage for Christmas - much  more unique and fulfilling way to shop.  Either way,  my train home may not have been coming from Paris but I certainly had the spirit in me.  Until the kid across the aisle threw up all over the train...yah.... oh well :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sugar 1 Lindsay 0

So, I failed the 2 week sugar challenge.  Not that I was ever 100% - I gave myself a little slack.  But I've come to learn that the body gets what the body wants, one way or another.  And for the most part it is out of your control-your body may even revert to auto-pilot and when you come to you realize there was mutiny on the ship and you are no longer the captain.  Whether it's passing out when you least expect it after hours of insomnia, somehow driving to the park instead of your intended destination of Bed, Bath & Beyond or last night returning to Grand Central in an excited frenzy- influenced by 2 pitchers of "Razorback Ale" and celebrating your home town 1600 miles away from it - and grabbing a Peanut Butter Cliff Bar for the ride home it's bound to happen one way or another.  Granted this is a small slip up.  But after another autopilot incident on Friday involving an inhuman amount of questionable peanut butter from the coffee shop across the street I'm going to go ahead and call it.  But it's okay, I'm still going to finish out as planned through Tuesday and I can definitely say I learned some valuable things by focusing on this challenge over the past week and a half:
1. I can survive without sugar or sweets - in fact I don't even seem to crave it (except when I saw this delight)
2. I no longer chew gum 24/7 at work
3. Eating fruit throughout the day keeps your blood sugar and energy at a steady level.  Which is important for me as I lose focus pretty easily.
4. Green breakfast smoothies are awesome
5. I think when my body is deprived of sugar it just craves bread 50X more - but this could be a fall/winter thing too
6. When life becomes busy it's much harder to focus on treating yourself well.  The last week work has brought on some late nights and stress and suffice it to say I have neglected treating myself well, cooking and posting updates to this blog

It's a beautiful Sunday morning -a 60 degree sunny fall blessing. I took it slow this morning and enjoyed a delicious bowl of banana, almond oats with an egg white & almond milk on the side.  I was supposed to go on a bike ride, but when you get out of the habit of riding it's much harder to get the gear together and out the door.  I did the next best thing and ran 3.2 miles (a PB since the IT Band struck in the Spring) watching locals take Sunday strolls and make stops at the local bakery.  Now if I can just peel myself out of this chair and into the shower I'm going to stroll on over to the local coffee shop myself.  I do love sunny Sunday mornings :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


It's been a crazy week.  One of those weeks where is starts to hurt to look at a computer screen and you're no sure if you have the strength to hold your neck up with the weight of you head.  I've had similar feelings towards the end of a 50+ mile bike I guess you could say it was a marathon of a week, something like that.

My house is finally starting to shape into a home.  Tonight, as a guy FINALLY installed a new ceiling in my bathroom, I went town on the new TV stand I bought.  I was so focused in on it I couldn't stop, even to partake in beloved food or water.  But now, I am happy to say I have finally unpacked my LAST box.  I did it in under a year (barely).  So I'm pretty proud...
It looks pretty, but I definitely am no craftsman - I had to unscrew and re do multiple parts..  But I'm pretty confident by my next piece of furniture I'll be a pro.

Sugar (less) Sweet Update!
I'm happy to say I've made it clean the last two days.  I even made it through Thursday pub night without indulging in one of these pretty ladies:

Today's breakfast smoothie was definitely my favorite:
1/2 Banana, 1/2 Mango, Almond Butter, small slice Avocado, Soy Milk and unsweetened Cacoa Powder - YUM!

The real test will come this weekend.  I'm heading into the city for Saturday night and Sunday.  The ultimate place on indulgence :).  Of course there are many things to indulge in besides sugar...we'll see..  I'm going in to catch a Dance Festival Performance at the NYC City Center.  It's called Fall for Dance Festival and features performances from different dance theater companies.  Definitely interested to see what it's all about.  While I'm there I'll also get to see a college friend and the NYC Marathon on Sunday morning.  Glad I get that extra hour on Sunday!  Wonder if any runners will forget to change their clocks and show up at the wrong time?

This time of year, getting close to holidays..talking about making my house a home..and seeing this picture go viral on Facebook definitely have me feeling a bit nostalgic for home.  I am finally starting to feel the bitter truth of the approaching winter.  I'm not sure I'm ready for it.  I was counting on this amazing Northeastern Fall - Come on CT, LOOK, AR is stomping your leafy style!  I have one weekend before Thanksgiving that I am reserving for a hiking trip to Vermont(hopefully).  If anyone has any suggestions on places I should go, postem to me!
Home Sweet Home
Stay beautiful my southern friends

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sugar is Evil - Day 3

So suffice it to say I have not been 100% successful at no sugar challenge after just 2 and a quarter days.  Day 1, I forgot I had a make up Rum & Coke taste test for our tasting panel at work.  Which is sad because in any normal day of my life I don't consume either of those two things(thank you college for ruining rum for me).  Day 2, dinner out with a friend...Beer + Bread, general weakness/love of mine :)  We'll assume the bread had no sugar added(right?)  But, I'm not considering this a total failure as I'm pretty happy with the success I've had otherwise and I'm going to push forward.

One part of this challenge, as I mentioned it's done by another blogger at, is to substitute 1 meal a day with a nutritional smoothie.  I chose breakfast because, let's face it, a smoothie just is NOT going to cut it for me for an entire meal at any other point of the day.  The first two days were pretty so much.

Second best option
Day 1: Smoothie: Banana, Soy Milk, GoodBelly Probiotic Coconut Water, Kale, Bee Pollen
Day 2: 1/2 Banana, Blueberries, Almond Milk, Slice Avocado, Kale, Almond Butter, Bee Pollen, GoodBelly
Day 3: 1/2 Mango, Kale, Slice Avocado, Green Tea, GoodBelly, Flax, Bee Pollen

I think you really need some sort of milk or yogurt to make a morning smoothie any good.  That and really blending up the Kale is essential.  Today there was just way too much chewing involved when drinking my smoothie.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Funday - In the Kitchen!

So two posts in one day is a bit uncharacteristic of me but I just had to revel in the delights of my evening's experimentation in the kitchen.

I'm not sure why I got hungry tonight, considering my mid afternoon giant cookie and iced coffee delight, but I think I was inspired by the afternoon of food blog surfing and daunted by the next 2 weeks of this No Sugar Challenge I said I am about to embark on.  I started to think I should probably do a little preparation (or maybe I just wanted a distraction from my homework).
Armed with some quinoa from a local restaurant, Catch a Healthy Habit and some fresh baked whole wheat sourdough from down the street at my local bakery I decided to put the blog inspired ideas floating around in my head to work.
Experiment: Quinoa "burger" sandwiches
Quinoa, the most magical grain in my opinion.  It's loaded with nutrients and protein (it's a complete protein actually!).  I love its chewy, nutty fluffiness.
I freeze my fresh basil - it may look ugly, but it still smells and tastes great!
1 Stem of Kale

Cooked Quinoa - 1/4 measured uncooked

Approx 3/4 cup egg white
I didn't really measure here, but that's pretty close probably.  It's an experiment, like improv - "yes, and"!
Add some dried parsley, pepper and basil and mix it all together.  
You basically cook it on a skillet like you would a pancake
Scrape the excess egg away as it cooks
After 5 min or till it looks sturdy - Flip it!

My mixture made 3 patties.  Perfectly sandwich convenient :)
Topped with Cucumber
And the best part as always.  Leftovers!!

Also, with this whole upcoming no sugar challenge I started to think of what during my week I would have to give up.  One of the things I've recently become obsessed with at work at the little starbucks cafe is a soymilk chai tea latte.  I get it a little differently, basically my chai latte is just steamed soy milk with a bag of chai tea - tastes just as good as a real chai latte without the sugar.  BUT with this challenge I can't have ANYTHING with added sugar.  And I'm pretty sure the soymilk they use at work is full on sugarfied.  So I tried to create it tonight after dinner at home to see if I could make it myself using unsweetened soymilk.  The lady who works at the cafe told me her grandfather always used to warm up milk and shake it and it turns out just like frothed steamed milk. In fact, it DOES!  I used a Mason jar to shake mine.  It came out with about an inch of froth..mmm..

Perfect end to the evening :)   The only thing I can't quite get down is how to make it HOT like steamed milk. I put it in the microwave for 2 minutes and it was hot but definitely not the same.  Longer than 2 minutes seems excessive..but I may have to try.  The flavor of the tea would probably be stronger if it were hotter.

Don't get Comfortable - Visits, Transitions and a No More Sugar

Today is an attempt to be productive.  This weekend we had our first snow of the season.  It's more than a month early so it has thrown me a curve ball.  Instead of the BIKE RIDE I had planned today, I have spent the day inside slowly getting some work done, cleaning things and taking a couple of breaks to venture out for food.  I've discovered two things: I have a coffee and sugar problem.  Both of which are some of the many reasons I could never work from home.   So let's see if I can write this post while I'm literally bouncing uncontrollably in my chair...
THE SUGAR and COFFEE PROBLEM.  Why do I think I have a problem?  Well when you can't even walk home from lunch without stopping in for a black and white cookie and coffee number 3(thank goodness this one was decaf)...could be a sign of a bit of an addiction.  I have no problem with sugar or caffeine in general.  But I do like the idea of being able to control cravings for overall health.

Since this is my "explorations and food" themed blog I decided to come clean with my uncontrollable obsession.  I don't diet, I like food too much.  My general idea is to "eat clean" - foods as close to their natural state as possible.  With recent travels, visitors and still having the desire to get out and try local flavors I have swayed from this lifestyle more than I would like.  This Black & White debacle is only one example.  So, my black and white cookie is going to be my last sugar for the next 2 weeks.  I have decided to follow along with a blogger I follow regularly at Gracious Pantry and take part in a 2 week No Sugar Challenge.  This means no added sugar, only natural occurring sugar.  There are a few other rules, but sharing all the details isn't important.  I'm going to use this blog to help me get through the 2 weeks.  My hope at the end is not really anything more than just feeling a little more cleansed and in control.  

Last weekend my sister came to visit me.  Visitor number two over the past 3 weeks.  I was driving home from yoga after she left, lost in my yoga thoughts, reflecting on her visit.  It's amazing how having an outside visitor into your familiar surroundings can shift your perceptions.  Bringing people from back home into my new home is strange but a lot of fun because it not only allows me to get out and do some exploring I might not have done otherwise but also provides a chance to see their perceptions my northeastern home and get a fresh perspective.  In the end I think I feel like they have left me feeling more myself up here - rather than attempting to reconstruct myself to fit my new surroundings I feel like having familiar friends and family with me here, even briefly, helps me to feel more comfortable as myself in an unfamiliar place.  To sum up Kelley's visit:

"homegrown CT" (beaches, trails, vineyards, arboretums, organic food)
shopping (Greenwich Ave, 5th Ave)
the City!(wanderings, book stores, childhood friends, subways galore)
Food (I think I had seafood with every meal).

She was a pretty good sport, being drug all over CT and NYC.  We travel at pretty different speeds.  She takes her time and I am more frantic, moving from place to place with a quick pace. Both can be pretty exhausting in their own ways..but we managed to do a little bit of both types while she was here.  Below is a look at some of our culinary experiences :):   If I knew how to embed a slideshow in this blog..I would..

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Northeastern Fall, Southern Sentimentality

So my next blog post has existed as an eminent task in the back of my mind over the past week.  I'm not sure exactly quite why I have been avoiding it, but possibly because I have so many things to share I haven't been able to sit down and formulate them into organized words.  And now of course I have waited and even more has happened and thus I am overloaded with blog ideas!  So, one thing at a time - good philosophy.  I'm not very good at following this myself. I am a big fan of lists, to do lists.  But these lists aren't very effective when you have 5 different lists in 5 different places and 0 accountability.  I'm working on a solution to this though.  I'm starting to experiment with Task lists in Microsoft outlook and Evernote.  We'll see which one works out.  Centralization is key. If anyone has any recommendations, currently seeking any and all!

So, tonight I decided to finally sit down and write.  I know that I won't really get the opportunity to much over the next couple of weeks because I will be traveling and receiving travelers and celebrating holidays and let's face it I have no problem with having no time to WRITE about life because I'm out EXPERIENCING life.  That and I am recently fueled by some drink experimentation with a friend for an upcoming party involving the espresso drink, Cold Roman, I mentioned in this post Farmers Marketeering.

Over the past week I've been lucky enough to experience two of the best weekends I have had all year, in both Arkansas and Connecticut.  Fall is my favorite time of year.  This weather we have had lately (in both Arkansas and Connecticut) is warm and fresh and bright and generally inspires everyone to get out and play.  Kind of like getting some last hoorahs out before the doom and gloom of turning the clocks back and the heaters up.  This is my first fall up here and I have heard good things about fall in the Northeast.  I hope to explore the foliage filled areas more in November.  The leaves are just starting to change and the pumpkins and seasonal Pumpkin Ales are bountiful.  Everyone has a sport to follow, even those not interested in sports can get some fun out of all that this time of year has to offer in sports entertainment. This weekend I introduced two of my Connecticut friends to the culture of Arkansas football.  They met me out at the Arkansas Alumni NYC chapter sponsored sports bar Saturday night for the game versus Auburn. They loved it!  It was great to feel like I was welcoming some outsiders into my "home", even though it was in New York.  And it was especially warming to me to be around some Arkansans after I was just home last weekend.

So, if you can't tell already, I'm pretty sentimental.  Fall brings it out in me and maybe it's my southern roots coming out to shine, but I can't help it.  This weekend, after a good dose of farmers market, hot yoga and beautiful northern CT driving I could have burst at the seams!  Although, this morning I woke a little bewildered after my night in the city last night.  I quickly recovered though and did something I've been meaning to do all Summer.  I typically like to do a long bike ride on the weekend, but with my muscles sore from Hot Yoga and too many Pumpkin Ales still in my system I decided to take a more leisurely option.  Rosalita and I cruised on out to Doc's Cafe, about 5 miles east, to enjoy some quiet time.  I liked the place.  They have a lot of tasty options for breakfast and morning drinks.  It's also a popular cyclist stop, which is how I found out about the place.  I think about half of the customers that stopped by while I was sitting there were wearing the tell tale tights.
I need to go back and figure out what the connection to Texas is..

More charming than cozy, unique atmosphere

My breakfast selection.  Apricot Blueberry coffee cake and PB + Banana..yes I just got the banana because I was craving peanut butter..
That might have been my last chance to ride for the rest of the season (I hope not) but I might be perfectly okay with that.  Cycling doesn't always have to be about racking up the mileage.

Cook's Corner
Life has been pretty hectic lately.  And it's only going to get worse.  Needless to say, convenience has been key as of late.  I haven't had much time to try anything new in the kitchen but I've been surprised at what I can whip up on the spot now.  My tip to all if you are busy, keep frozen veggies or meat in stock at all times.  The below dish I whipped up in <30 minutes.  I call it Indian Quinoa Scramble! no eggs were involved though..
1/4 cup Quinoa
Frozen Spinach
1 Chopped Carrot
Frozen Corn
Garam Masala
1/4 Cup TVP
If I would have had more time I'm sure I could have made things a little more shnazzy - but this worked and it was very tasty.
Saute the veggies in magical saute pan, add spices

Add cooked/spiced quinoa

Peace Love and Fall to you all!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Couch Time and Sweet (Potato) Revenge

Seems checking in with you folks has become a Sunday evening tradition.  It's nice to form traditions in your life :)  I just finished with my weekly Overnight Oat making tradition for the week.  I tried 4 different mixtures (non too extravagant) of oats, groats, egg white, cocoa powder, cinnamon, flax, bee pollen, wheat germ etc.. If only I had some almond butter.  Honestly, you aren't doing yourself right if you don't try a spoonful in your next warm bowl.

This weekend saw a lot of couch time.  Which I can honestly say is less rare for me up here than it used to be but still not exactly my favorite thing to do too much of on the weekends.  Couch time can be good though :)  Although Netflix, I have to say you are making it far less enjoyable..

But despite keeping the couch warm, I also got to do a nice and challenging 42 mile ride with the Sound Cyclists as part of both a world wide event called Moving Planet and a dedication to a section of a newly constructed portion of the Norwak River Valley Trail bike trail in Wilton.   Members of the club I ride with every so often led different distance rides all ending back at the beginning with a picnic and a ribbon cutting ceremony which I never caught.  My ride group was small, about 6 people. We were the faster group doing the 37 mile distance.  Some of the roads I had ridden before, but others were new and fabulous and showing early signs of fall.  We missed a couple cues on the route that gave us both some extra mileage and some extra HILLS.  Ouch!
The cycling Gods must have a deal with Mother Nature.  Rain filled the skies all of Friday, but the clouds parted Saturday morning just in time for the ride!  However, the fate of the clumsy prevails in all situations and my clumsy self locked her keys in her car just moments before the ride.  Luckily, I at least had all of my biking gear, so I didn't have to miss the ride and someone THANKFULLY lent me some glasses to wear.  Due to the rain the roads were very wet..and when you're following someone 6 inches off their tire in a pace line everything off of their back tire..well goes pretty much up in your face.  I would have been pretty miserable with chunks of sticks, leaves and rainwater in my eyes for 42 miles.
Post ride muck
Following the ride and the keys rescue from AAA I was PUMPED for some Razorback football.  There just happens to be someone in my office is from Alabama.  So I had rallied him and a few people from work up to meet at a local sports bar down the street to watch the game.  Though I need to head back into NYC to the Madhatter at some point because it's just more fun to watch the razorback game A. With Sound and B. with a least ONE hog call.  Sadly, the Razorbacks let me down and so did the delicious sweet potato fries I indulged in at the bar.  But that's a different story...and why I ended up on the couch for evening #2 of the weekend.  FAIL!

So in part because I didn't make it to the grocery store and because I was bummed about staying in, tonight for dinner I decided to take revenge on the cursed sweet potato fries.  And how? By making my better and far more delicious home made sweet potato fries.  Sweet potato fries are a blessing and curse to me.  They are so delicious! And irresistible! Whenever I see them I have the undeniable urge to EAT them all!  But, unless you make them yourself, anywhere else you get them most likely destroys them(and your stomach) with mysterious oils and batters.  Not that I haven't had some tasty sweet potato fries at restaurants before..but you never know what you're going to get.
My sweet potato fries are baked, topped with Chilli Powder, Cumin, Salt, Pepper & Paprika (but this time I used Tumeric).  They cook over rosemary (preferably fresh, but I'll take what I can get) and are sealed with olive oil spray.
My mother taught me how to cut sweet potatoes. She'll be happy to know I didn't lose any skin.
ze spicy medley!
I don't know how people can eat regular potatoes.  Honestly, they have no flavor and are far inferior when it comes to texture.
At first I had them cut into bigger pieces.  Then I thought, "Hey, if I cut these into smaller pieces there will be MORE of them and they won't be gone so fast!".  Brilliant!  There definitely is an optimal size but it really depends on how you like your fries.  Also, some like to peel the skin, which I think works pretty well, especially for sweet potatoes.  But I just can't seem to bring myself to discard the nutrient rich skin.
Easy and Delicious Hot dinner for one.  Obviously I was focusing on the more IMPORTANT part of the meal
I was inspired to make this after catching this recipe over at another blog edibleperspective: sweet-taters-beer.  But sadly I had no beer to bathe my little guys in so they were good, but obviously not nearly as awesome as they possibly could have been.  I'l have to put that on the list for next time I make em.

The week ahead of me is filled with more than my brain seems to want to handle at this point.  A lot of stuff going on at work this week but at the end of it a lot of fun!  I haven't begun to prepare for my trip home as well as for my two rounds of visitors that will follow upon my return.  Forgive me my friends if you find me scatter brained.  But if you know me I'm sure you wouldn't be expecting anything else.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hit that Line, Hit that Line. Keep on Going!

Post 65 mile slaughter on my legs!
I'm tired.  Body is aching.  I can hardly lift my limbs.  This couch is the only place I belong right now.  But, this is the good the good kind of hurt.  Yes, hard earned PAIN.  Some might wonder why one would "punish" themselves in such a way.  But if it is possible to feel exhilarated by your exhaustion, then that is how I felt today after completing 65 miles for Bike the Beach from Jennings Beach in Fairfield.  And THAT is why I endure the pain.  For 3 years now I have done 1 or 2 crazy long rides each year on my bike.  I love them.  I still can't imagine doing a full century, unless I road more often, but with no official training regimen I'm pretty amazed that I can complete as far as I've gone.  It feels like an all day adventure.  The movement of pedaling feels more than natural after a while.
And today was PERFECT for riding.  It started out a little cool and I wore WAY too many layers as usual but throughout the rest of the day, it was a sunny, breezy mid 60s fall like day.  The ride went along several of the beaches from Fairfield to Darien and then took a climb up into the hills and winding roads of New Canaan.  I mapped what I think the full route was here: Route.   For the most part it wasn't too challenging except for a few climbs half way through.  The wind gave us a run for our money, especially near the water.  But I road with a bunch of guys who did a good job keeping a pace line going for the most part.  I found myself repeating the Razorback Fight Song in my head as we rode, having just watched the game the night before.  I'm just glad I kept up!  We road along the beach, past McMansions, under railroad tracks, OVER railroad tracks, past my house, up into small town wooded neighborhoods, through a couple of high trafficked towns, busy churches and on around back down to some pretty inlets before heading back along the shore the way we came.
The WORST part was the last 5-10 miles.  This seems to be the case with all of my long rides.  Your legs just run out of steam and you've run out of food fuel and you're way past the last rest stop.  All you have is the short distance to the finish and it seems twice as long as the entire rest of the ride was.  They were the SLOWEST 5-10 miles.  This is probably the worst shape I have ever been towards the end of one of these long rides.  I think it was a mixture of the type of fuel I used (mostly sugar/gels, no salt) and the fact that the wind was against me and I had lost my pack.  I broke away with one guy in our group, kept up with him for a while and then lost him as my legs started to give.  At that point I was left behind our lead guy and somewhere ahead of the other 3 who road with me.  It's a long, lonely road as a lone rider on the final stretch.  I passed by a few other cyclists on the ride, but my focus could not be deterred.  I was a lone rider, repeating "Don't pass out, Don't pass out" over and over in my head.  The first thing I did when I arrived at the finish was sit down on the ground, take off my shoes and lean over in exhaustion.  If the rider ahead of me hadn't come up with some salty potato chips, I don't think I could have made it to the food tables.  Almost immediately I started to recover..even though my legs were tighter than ever.  In the end we finished in a  little over 4 hours (5-6 if you count rest stops).
Post ride we hung out around the cars and had some cold brews, subway sandwiches, cookies and hummus and recounted the GLORY of the day having forgotten that we were all most likely cursing ourselves 30 minutes prior. And I made sure to stop on the way home to get myself some more treats.  Custom Fro Yo, it's been too long :)

The kind of Guinness you can drink after riding a bike all day
Every topping imaginable!

So, on the cooking front, I did not really do much of today..frankly I didn't do much of anything except ride a bike, eat and lay on the couch.  For the first time in a LONG while, I indulged in a nearby restaurant take out.  (Might be regretting the Indian I drink Ginger tea..)  
BUT to indulge you, because I can.  Here is a small dish I tried from a recipe over at The Gracious Pantry.  It's basically baked sweet potato and apple, glazed with an agave, orange juice and clove sauce and topped with almonds.  Very easy to do and the first time I ever used an Apple Corer!
I see you! Through this sweet fuji apple
I boiled the sweet potato for about 45 minutes, then pealed the skin off.  I skinned the apple and de-cored(word?) it.  Sliced them up and baked for about 20 minutes as I heated up the sauce on the stove. One potato and 1 apple ended up making 2 side servings.  Tasty!

Layered food is always the best kind of food, am I right?
Until next time.  Enjoy the happy times my friends/family, many of you I will see soon.  Also, keeping with the theme of creating things from scratch.  Head on over to my pal Cassy's site, Knit the Hell Out and see her grand early Birthday creation she made for me!  <3