Friday, July 27, 2018

101 in 1001 Update: July Update

I am slowly but surely crossing things off my 101 in 1001 list. I have 2-3 things from the list planned in August and will make a blog post on those soon! In the meanwhile, check out my adventures of the past few months.

Take a beer making class or understand more about the brewing process.
When people come to Milwaukee, it is obligatory to take them to a brewery as Milwaukee is the city of breweries. I took my best friend to Lakefront Brewery - arguable the best brewery in town. They started gluten free beers, organic beers, and some nifty fruit beers before any other craft brewer got into the market. I love taking the tour and learning about how beer is made - each type has different recipes, different fermentation times, and tastes which is such an interesting experiment to trial and taste. I cannot wait to learn more about beer in other brewery tours!

Take A Self Defense Class 
I took a free self defense class and it was really helpful to me. When I was in Europe, there was an incident with a racist man that really scared me. I wanted to take some self defense classes to make sure that I could always defend myself. This free class taught us a lot on how to get out of wrist grabs and how to use your body weight to get free of an attacker. I booked 3 jiu-jitsu classes in the upcoming months to keep working on these skills and get them to be as second nature to me as fighting can be to a pacifist. 

Attend a fashion show or walk in one!
Once a year in Milwaukee, there is a Beauty in Bloom Fashion show, where all of the outfits are made from flowers. The tickets sell out very quickly but with a little bit of luck and lot of checking the site, I snagged a standing room only ticket and got to watch the show. It was amazing to see what the floral arrangers were able to do with flowers. The woman in the picture not only had a fabulous walk, but an awesome outfit. She has dress with a train, all made of flowers. I cannot wait to go next year if I get a chance. 

Create a cute bar cart area in my new apartment!
When I first moved got permission to move in to my apartment, I bought this cart to use as a bar cart. I love to display all the interesting alcohols that I have collected in my travels or new finds at the local grocery stores here. Every time I have friends over, it provides us libations, liberation, and lots of laughs as I can pretty much bake a cake with anything on here to enhance the flavors. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

101 in 1001 - March Update

In the past two months, I've slowly but surely been crossing things off my 101 in 1001 list. With a year of the 2.75 down, I have crossed off 36 things or about a third of the list! I cannot wait to share what I have been up to below as learning is the greatest thing for the soul.
Creating a Gallery Wall and Fresh Flowers Once a Month 
I have been slowly framing all of the postcards I have collected, maps I've saved and odd things from my travels. It is finally come together and while I love what I have up, I cannot wait to keep growing this montage of my past on the wall. I sometimes forget all of the the interesting things that I've gotten to do so far in my life and it makes me so grateful when I see all of these items on my wall each day when I come home from work.

I recently got into the habit of buying some flowers for my "coffee" table or my bedroom and I love how festive it makes the apartment feel. When I see the orange gerber daisies I got last week, it instantly puts a smile on my face and that makes the cost of them worthwhile for me.

My Favorite Sports Bra
I have been working out a lot recently with a fitness groupon that I love. I pretty much always keep a workout set of clothing in the car but I found that my favorite sports bra I own is an old one from Old Navy. What I love about it is that it hooks like a normal bra in the back but really supports you in intense movements or during a gentle yoga class. This one linked is pretty similar.

Sky Diving 
I never thought that I would actually go skydiving but my coworker J invited me to go as that is his hobby. I was a little nervous but with some reassurance from other coworkers that had already went, I drove to the site and did the darn thing. I was really calm the whole plane ride up (thank you yoga breathing!) but got super nervous when I put my feet on the strut of the plane to jump. My tandem instructor just pushed me after the count of three and we went flying! It was such a rush! It was super cold in March to go but honestly, it was one of my top 5 things I have ever done in my life. I am totally going again when it is warm!!

Knife Skills Class
I wanted to do something low-key for my birthday because I went skydiving earlier in the month. In every city I lived in America, Sur La Table has a knife skills class. I never took it because it didn't fit with my schedule. This year, it just so happened that it fell on my actual birthday! I booked the class immediately and went to learn more about cutting my food and why technique is so important. Chef Michael taught me that my current knife skills leave a lot to be desired but my main takeaways were not to be afraid of the knife, curl your fingertips underneath your hand to keep them safe, and trust your cutting instincts to increase your speed. I already signed up for two more classes at the store - Cast Iron Cooking and Homemade Gluten Free Pasta. I am so excited!

Extra: Cooking Class at the Milwaukee Art Museum
I saw a flier for this class at the museum during the monthly yoga class and I figured it would be an interesting way to learn how to cook something new. The Spring Cooking Class at the museum was more of an instructional class than a hands on class but I loved it anyway! Chef Zack, the executive chef of the museum, made us a full spring dinner party menu complete from appetizer to dessert. Compound pea butter on crostini with cardamom, watermelon radish and spring veggie salad, lamb with salsa verde and a berry poke cake rounded out the menu. It was all delicious and I cannot wait to make this for my friends and family. They will have another one in the fall so be on the lookout!

Monday, March 12, 2018

How Italy Changed The Way I Eat

As part of my intentions for this year, I wanted to work on healthy eating habits. I have a ton of them but I would say other than reading French Women Don't Get Fat, my time in Italy did a really good job of getting me to eat better and recognize some more mindful eating habits. Here are the 5 main things that I have noticed that have changed in me from a year ago to now.

1.  Drinking a coffee or a tea after lunch is a part of my daily routine. The daily crash that we all experience in the afternoon after a good lunch is part of life. What I did not know is that ingesting caffeine after a large meal slows that absorption of the caffeine so that you will not crash later in the evening. In the US, I do not have the perks of an in office espresso machine but a cup of tea or a run to Starbucks on a stressful day makes the afternoon a whole lot better. I do stop ingesting caffeine after 3 or 4 pm so that I can sleep better at night.

2. Cooking and grocery shopping with the season's produce has become a norm to me. First, it is cheaper and tastes way better than anything grown in a hotbox or shipped 1000s of miles. Right now it is winter, so most of the veggies that I would use to make salads are expensive or taste way less flavorful. I've been cooking a lot of stews that incorporate beans and heartier veggies like onions, sweet potatoes and squashes. Above is the start of a veggie based "meat" sauce that had lentils, onions, tomato sauce, and squash - all things that you would have in the kitchen in the winter :)

3. Adding meat to a dish as an accessory and not the main meal. I was fully vegetarian for 5 years and starting eating meat  again about a year ago. I am very used to eating food without meat so reincorporating meat back into my diet has been a challenge. A lot of dishes have meat as the main focus and while they are good, plants still make me feel better. While in Italy, a lot of things I ate had a hint of meat like bacon or beef but still used a lot of plants to make them filling and delicious. Above, I cooked up some veggies, black beans and turkey to stuffed into a bell pepper. The turkey was a nice addition to the veggies but did not overpower the dish.

4.  Good quality carbs are not the enemy! I used to think that eating bread or pasta was really bad for you and that using my daily calorie allowance on simple carbs was a waste. In Italy, you can eat a lot of really delicious pasta and bread or desserts, but I find that eating them regularly helped me remember that while delicious, they are not terrible for you. Dessert has always been a weakness of mine but by incorporating it regularly into my diet, I find that I can eat it in moderation and not crave them all the time.

5. The simplest things are the best - 4 or less ingredient meals are my favorites. One of the easiest ways for me to eat a healthy dinner is to keep a couple of things around that I know I love together and throw them into a quick meal. Above, I tossed the bok choy in cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and then roasted it in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees along with the sausage on a sheet pan. For a quick dinner, it was filling and nutritious while fast and easy to clean up!