The Meaning of Namaste and a Scrumptious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Muffin Recipe

DSC_0753My daughter Hannah and I were recently treated to a restorative day of yoga and relaxation. A good friend and fellow dance mom hosted our ballerina daughters and their non-stop mothers to a private lesson in her home. The low winter sun shone through the windows of her beautiful living room, warming us on our mats as we focused on being present and the gift of time with our girls.

 

An imperative goal this year is finding balance – mentally, physically, emotionally. And for that hour, I felt all three come together in such a restful way. I now see quite a bit of yoga coming to my life in 2016! Though I’ve attended many  classes, no one had ever explained that namaste can be translated as “the light in me honors the light in you.” Isn’t that lovely? Something to remember.

Now for the recipe. I offered to bring a healthy snack to the retreat, and wanted to create something both mothers and daughters would love. These muffins were a huge hit! They are protein packed and honey kissed – a perfect post workout snack or breakfast on the run.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Muffins

makes 20

Spelt is a highly nutritious, easily digestible whole grain that is high in both fiber and iron. Though it is not gluten-free, many with gluten intolerances do well with spelt. If you cannot find it, substitute whole wheat or all-purpose flour.

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered peanut butter (found in most grocery aisles next to regular peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola  oil
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled to room temperature quinoa
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with 12 paper baking liners and another tin with 8 liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered peanut butter, baking powder, and kosher salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  4. In a small saucepan, warm honey, natural peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, and canola oil over medium-low heat. Whisk until butter has melted and brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  5. When honey mixture has cooled, pour it into bowl with egg mixture and whisk to combine. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until blended, being careful not to over mix.
  6. Stir in cooked quinoa and chocolate chips. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds of the way full and bake in center of oven until a wood toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of a muffin, 14-17 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before enjoying. Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thank you, Suzanne and Courtney, for such a special and relaxing day!

 

This Weekend: Bike Races, Food Trucks, and 16 Candles – The Glencoe Grand Prix

The forecast is 80 degrees and sunny for this Saturday’s 8th annual Glencoe Grand Prix!  Come to picturesque Glencoe for the bike races – both amateur and professional – and stay for the food and fun.  Or come for the food and stay for the races and fun.  One of the great additions to this year’s event is the presence of twelve food trucks, and the good news is: they’ll be around for the entire event.

Start the day by cheering on riders while noshing on doughnuts and biscnuts (a doughnut/biscuit hybrid…um, dying to try this) from Endgrain or gourmet egg sandwiches from Eastman Egg.  Before stopping by the highly popular kid races at noon, you can lunch on just about anything – Lillie Q’s barbecue, The Salsa Truck’s classic Mexican street food, Grill Chasers’ chicken, Tamale Spaceship’s authentic Mexican cuisine, or Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese from Chicago Lunch Box.  And don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth with cupcakes and gelato from Flirty Cupcakes and Gelato Italiano!

Though you can visit any food truck at any time during the event, I’m planning to save Chicago Pizza Boss’s wood-oven pizza and arancini, Chubby Wieners’ hot dogs and fries, and gooey gourmet grilled cheese from Toasty Cheese (with gluten free options!) for my evening and late night meals.  I’ll need to pre- and post-dance carb load for the can’t miss 80’s cover band 16 Candles who will perform at the event-closing Block Party.  Don’t fret if you haven’t stepped foot on a dance floor since the actual 80’s – a beer from Goose Island or a glass of wine from The Bottle Shop in Wilmette will help you lose your inhibitions.

Click each link within the post to view corresponding food truck information and menus.  Prepare to get extremely hungry.

Click here for the full schedule of Glencoe Grand Prix events and here for a story I wrote two years ago on the history and evolution of the Glencoe Grand Prix and the event’s founder, Jon Knouse. 

The funds from the Glencoe Grand Prix directly support the Glencoe Schools and their technology initiatives.  Illinois Bone & Joint Institute is this year’s title sponsor.

Photo via the GGP website.

 

Detox

This is clearly not the lemon tart recipe I promised you last week.  To be honest, I haven’t been taking great care of myself since my mom died four weeks ago.  The boot camps, running, cycling and personal training that make up my weekly fitness routine have come to a screeching halt.  The 80/20 balance I normally strive for in my diet (healthy/indulgent) has been looking more like 20/80 on the days I am eating at all.  I see the results of this slipping everywhere – in my skin, on my body, under my eyes.  Seriously awful.

Many women I know have done juice cleanses and say they feel incredible when it is all over.  I’ve always thought the idea sounded terrible, mainly because I love to eat and also because I need coffee to survive.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Do you think I could put this one in a pretty glass and pretend it’s a cab?

So here I sit, half-way through day one on my 5-day no-caffeine-all-juice-no-food-no-wine adventure, a little worried that I’m going to miss the act of chewing and a lot worried I may kill someone from the lack of caffeine.  It’s gonna be tough sledding.

all photos via the aesthete and the dilettante

Gratitude

This is not an easy post for me to write.  After months of training and anticipation, the final result of my first triathlon was not what I had hoped.  Please don’t misunderstand – I am proud of completing the course and thoroughly enjoyed (most of) the race, which should be all that matters.  But I did not come close to the time goal I had set for myself and I’m having a terrible time letting it go.

So I have decided to focus on the overwhelming gratitude I have for my family’s cheers and support and for my close friend Fronzie who was by my side throughout the entire race.  And I am tremendously grateful for the journey.  There were many lessons learned from the day I decided to register to the moment I crossed the finish line, and I will take them with me into the next one.  After I relax.  For a few weeks at least…

Waiting to dive in. Fronzie is next to me in the white swim cap.
Toward the end of the swim. By far the most difficult leg of the race.
My little sister and my son looking concerned.
My daughter and husband walking the shoreline.
My niece Lily.
Seriously one of the top five happiest moments of my life was exiting the water.
Transitioning to the bikes. I lost a full three minutes trying to maneuver my wetsuit over the time chip on my ankle. It was almost comical. Except it wasn’t.
The bike was hands down my favorite part of the race. It was a gorgeous and hilly 25 mile ride through the countryside. Please note the aforementioned time chip on my ankle – it’s so big you’d think I was under house arrest!
Taking off on our 6.2 mile run. The fact that we are smiling clearly shows we cannot feel our legs yet.
Heading to the trail. Also very hilly.
Getting ready to cross the finish line. My father, stepmother and sisters are on the left cheering while my daughter slips under the fence to join us.

I didn’t cry until I hugged my mom.
The end of the chapter. Not the end of the story.

running in style (or not)

This morning I went on what will probably be the last run before my triathlon.  The alarm woke me at five a.m. so I could meet my friend and running partner by six in order to beat the oppressive heat hanging over Chicago.  Bleary eyed, I reached into my drawer and slipped on the first thing I laid my hands on – an old pair of black Nike running shorts and my requisite white tank.  A few sips of coffee, a splash of cold water on my face, a quick braid and I was out the door.

I returned, sweaty and exhausted, to find my daughter sitting in the kitchen eating her breakfast, regarding me with a puzzled expression on her face.

Hannah: Where did you get those shorts?

Me: I have no idea, I’ve had them forever.

Hannah: Why is the waist band so high?

Me: Not sure, they were made a long time ago.

Hannah: You should at least roll the waist band down so they don’t look…like that.

Me: I’ll remember that next time.

Hannah: Who were you with?

Me: Mrs. Roemer.

Hannah: Where did you run?

Me: Mrs. Roemer’s neighborhood.

Hannah: So it’s POSSIBLE that somebody saw you.

Me: Alright, in the goodwill pile they go.

I should have known this day would come.  Being embarrassed by your parent in some way or another is a rite of passage, isn’t it?  I remember once begging my mother to please not stand on the front porch in her fuzzy pink bathrobe and wave to me as I boarded the bus.  For some reason, I just didn’t see today’s pink bathrobe moment coming.  Shopping, anyone?

Where to Go This Weekend: The Glencoe Grand Prix

This Saturday the Sixth Annual Glencoe Grand Prix will take place in scenic downtown Glencoe, Illinois.  Experience the thrill of pro cyclists flying by, have your children participate in activities created just for them, watch the Chicago Sky’s McDonald’s Fly Kids tumble, enjoy great food and drink, and dance the night away at the block party with 16 Candles, the best cover band in Chicago!

My friend and cycling mentor Jon Knouse created the Glencoe Grand Prix six years ago to raise money for the Glencoe Educational Foundation in a way that the whole community could participate in and enjoy.  He married his love of racing with his passion for the community and as a result, the Glencoe Grand Prix has become a signature event for the Village of Glencoe and a wildly successful amateur and pro cycling race.  When I caught up with Jon recently, he shared with me why he developed the GGP, how it has grown, and what it means to him.

When Jon started racing regularly back in the early 2000’s, he thought Glencoe would be the perfect venue for a bike race because of its small town feel and its lovely downtown area.  It reminded him a lot of the scenic towns in Wisconsin that hosted the criteriums (short course bike races generally held on closed-off town or city streets) he was racing in.  When he decided to pursue the idea, the Village of Glencoe found a way to say yes.  It has, along with the community and many other Glencoe organizations, continued to provide great support to the race.  Knouse’s cycling friends also supported his efforts in the beginning with donations to the foundation to help make the event go.  Without them, he said, it would have never gotten off the ground.  Six years later, he loves that though the GGP has grown exponentially it has managed to maintain that small town feel.

Jon said that in the end, the Glencoe Grand Prix is about community.  It is an event where everyone comes together, has a great time, and shares with the outside world how wonderful Glencoe is and what it has to offer.

The Sixth Annual Glencoe Grand Prix takes place this Saturday, June 2nd.  Amateur races run from 8:15am – 3:45pm.  The BTIG Women’s Pro Race begins at 4:30pm and the AT&T Men’s Pro Race begins at 5:30pm.  Great activities run all day. To find more detailed information about the race and its surrounding activities, visit http://www.glencoegrandprix.com and choose the flyer option in the menu.

Photos 1 and 4 courtesy of Josh Dreyfus at joshdreyfus.com, photo 2 courtesy of Andy Rogers, and photo 3 courtesy of Brian Lee.

And one more thing…

I was thrilled to be included in the GGP pre-race event held at Alberto’s Cycles in Highland Park with actor Matthew Modine.  Modine (appearing this summer in The Dark Knight Rises, the latest installment in the Batman Series) is an avid cyclist who created the foundation Bicycle for a Day with a mission “to help empower individuals with tools which they can use in their everyday lives to make a measurable, tangible, difference to our community, our environment, and our personal health.”  It was a great evening filled with talk of movies, biking, and global issues that touch all of us.  Visit bicycleforaday.org for more information about Modine’s foundation and to find out how you can become involved.

The Top Ten (May Edition)

Ten things I am loving this May…

1. The gorgeous color and heady scent of lilacs in bloom.

2) Nars Super Orgasm Illuminator.  I have never been a big make-up girl, but when I tried this and saw the nice (ahem) glow it gave me, I was sold.


3) My Garmin Forerunner 310XT.  Attractive it is not, but essential to my current life as it keeps track of rides, runs, and swims.

4) J Brand Luxe Twill Skinny Jeans in soft lilac.  AMAZING.  They look great with navy, grey, white, aqua, blue chambray, heels, sandals….pretty much anything you pair with them.

5) Paris in Color is a magical, fresh, cliche-free voyage through the most beautiful city in the world.  Fair warning: perusing this book will induce pangs of desire to travel immediately.

6) Farrow & Ball paints.  We are planning a major color change for our home’s exterior, and we love these high quality, naturally derived English emulsions.  Right now I am thinking a light stone/cream on the wood siding to match the stonework, and a deep, rich, dark green on the trim, windows, frames and sills.  But check back because I have already changed my mind at least half a dozen times!

7) Siggi’s Icelandic style yogurt (skyr).  It has a blissfully low sugar content and is super thick and creamy.  I do not love it plain, but doctored up with granola, almonds, chopped dried fruit or fresh berries and a good dose of honey or agave, it is luscious.

8) My snakeskin iPhone case from J.Crew.  (I found it in a fabulous French blue not available online anymore, but it is still in stores.)

9) Stripes in any form.  It’s an obsession.  My favorite is the one below from chance co.  It really is embarrassing how much I have worn it.

I also fell for this one because she looks amazing, no?  So somebody please tell me why, when I wear it, it reads Seussian rather than sexy?!

10) My new summer fragrance, Hermes un jardin sure le toit. It is light, summery and undeniably sexy.  Kind of like the girl in the striped shirt.