Weekly Wishes: Part VII

I'm a day late (and more than several dollars short due to tolls) but it's time to start discussing the goals for this week!

Had a bit of a later start than I had wanted Sunday due to a dog deciding it was a good time to run off into the woods and disappear for an hour or so.  After we got going though the drive was relatively uneventful other than Charlie (dog) vomiting all over a couple of my paperbacks.  He gets carsick so we always put towels down over the seats but he seems to be quite skilled in somehow finding other non-covered areas to project onto.

Once in the city it's been fairly nonstop (no surprise there!).  Sunday we unpacked most of the car and I spend the rest of the evening finishing up homework assignments for class.

Yesterday I took care of all the paperwork for the new school so I can eventually register for spring classes and was able to meet with my friend Pear, who was visiting from Thailand.  We haven't seen each other in over 8 years (we met in Japan- she was also an AFS student) so it was wonderful being able to catch up!

Latte with Pear

Like a proper New Yorker, we met in the city and had some coffee.  Then we traveled down to Brooklyn.  She was interested in seeing Williamsburg and since her flight was that evening I didn't want to go too far in so we just went to the Bedford Ave stop.  We wandered into a bunch of different  antique shops and saw some interesting things...

Creepy Dolls
Tin
Treasure Chests
Vase

Now it's Tuesday here and I'm meeting with some people later today.  I'm still adjusting to my new schedule and habits here (and still organizing the apartment) so I apologize for not having any recipes up yet.  It's going to be a bit busy...

Anyway, on to Weekly Wishes!

The Nectar Collective

Last week's goals were as follows:

  1. Start packing: This eventually happened (basically last minute, of course).
  2. Make 2 more Thanksgiving recipes: I was only able to really get one Thanksgiving recipe together.
  3. Organize/Update Workout Plans: I was able to meet with my posing coach and she was able to assess where I'm at currently and put together a workout plan for the next few months to get things up to par before I start cutting again- I'm excited!

This week's goals will be:

  1. Be thankful: I usually like to be very specific with my goals, but seeing as Thanksgiving is Thursday, I'd like to just focus this week around being thankful for what I have.
  2. Post twice this week: With all the traveling happening (tomorrow we head to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and will be returning on Saturday) it'll be a struggle to post but I don't want to give up on posting this week entirely.
  3. Start new training program: I've been getting lazy recently and only going 2-3 days a week.  My new program has me going in 5 days a week (which I should be doing anyway) so I'm excited to get started and start making progress again!

 

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Today marks my last official day in southern Maryland.  Yesterday was my last work day and it was a glorious one.  The weather warmed up enough so I didn't spend the day freezing and my coworkers even had a little going away party.  My boss bought me a beautiful red growler filled with pumpkin ale from the nearby brewery,  (And just to be official, no, I did not spend the rest of the afternoon drinking it. Nope, not me.  No way.  I'd never do such a thing...)

My coworker brought in cupcakes for everyone and a pumpkin loaf just for me- no sharing!  

It was a pretty fun work day but what really topped it off was the arrival of Christmas trees.  There are only 3 weeks in December before Christmas this year because Thanksgiving is so late which is why we got them before the holiday.  Several hours later than expected, a giant truck as tall as our building arrived, full of Christmas trees.  Fraser Firs were all tied up, lying on their sides and stacked at high as the eye could see.  I was able to climb up to the top and help unload for a while and it was magical.  I was surrounded by trees, 50 feet in the air.  The sun was setting; the air was crisp and everything smelled like Christmas and I was able to look around at all the land from an entirely different perspective.  It was a wonderful moment, even if I was sent back down to help with the register pretty soon after.

I will miss being in Maryland quite a bit but I'm working to remind myself to look forward to the changes that are coming.  Mr. C can't wait for me to arrive and I know that as a couple, we will make a better experience of New York this time around.

So, all this being said, it's time for some holiday roundup recipes.

Roasted Beet Salad with Creamy Goat Chèvre with Pomegranate
Let's get started with this simple, hearty Roasted Beet Salad with Creamy Chevre and Pomegranate.
Curry Spiced Cauliflower
And while the curry spices don't necessarily scream "Thanksgiving" flavors, how about trying things a little differently this year? You know- keep things excitng with this Curry Creamy Spiced Cauliflower.
Holiday Inspired Cheesy Beans
Moving towards a more traditional route, give these Holiday Inspired Cheezy Beans a try. Veganized, for your convenience!
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
And for another set of greens for your table, try out these Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Lemon, Spice (and everything nice!) Cranberry Sauce
What holiday is complete without some cranberry sauce? Don't pass up this honey sweetened Lemon Spice and Everything Nice Cranberry Sauce.
Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffed Delicata Squash
And of course, how about a main dish for your non-meat eaters? Vegetarian, but easily veganized by swapping out butter for a non-daiy variety. Enjoy this Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffed Delicata Squash.
Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Sage, Mushrooms and Toasted Pecans
And one more side- just for good measure 'cause you should never skip potatoes! Please pass the Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Sage, Mushrooms and Toasted Pecans!
Apple Crumb Pie
And finally- no skipping dessert! Impress your guests with a homemade Apple Crumb Pie.

Apple Crumb Pie

Pies.

Who doesn't love a good pie?  

I mean, really?

In my family we make a lot of pies.  We always have no less than 3 homemade pies per family gathering (usually more though).  One pie in particular, is a requirement.  No fall or winter gathering is truly complete without it.

I'm talking about, of course, the apple pie.

Apple Crumb Pie
Apple Crumb Pie

Now, I used to think I enjoyed making pies.  

After all, I love baking.  

I love pies.

So obviously I like making pies, right?

Wrong.

I realized I really kind of suck at making pies.

The dough doesn't stick together...and then it sticks to much...and then it makes a mess all over your countertop and the rolling pin and you fight to scrape off sticky dough from everywhere.

Once you've wrangled the dough together into a pie mold and smushed into some semblance of a crust then all in it's all about the filling.  No biggie there, except if you don't have enough thickening agent and don't wait long enough for it to completely cool down before cutting it...well the you might as well just made a gooey apple crumble.

I've done all this many a time before.

I've long since given up on making any sort of fancy lattice crust.  I mean, I can't even handle making a simple pinch crust.

Remember that scene in Snow White where she's making a pie and all of her woodland friends come and help?  The crust rolls out so simply and a bird helps to flour it?  Then she just carefully places the crust on top and trims the edging before the birds once again assist?  Yeah, totally not how it works in my world.  My world involves cursing and sweating rather than singing gayly and dancing while I make them.

I've improved since some of my earlier attempts at pie making but I still have a lot to learn to create acceptable pies.  These days though, like to call them "rustic" rather than ugly.

Apple Crumb Pie

See?

Rustic.

Anyway, this recipe is a tried and true family one and quite honestly, if I can make it (rustic or no), so can you!

Don't be afraid- try making a pie from scratch this Thanksgiving.  In fact, it holds up beautifully so you could make it the day before and have one less thing to make on the big day!

Apple Crumb Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Crust

1 1/4 C Flour

1/2 C Crisco*

1/2 tsp Salt

4+ TBSP Chilled Water

Pie

10-12 Apples (granny smith, cameos or fujis are good)

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 C Sugar

Zest of 1 Lemon

Topping

1/2 C Sugar

3/4 C Flour

1/2 C Butter

*I typically use chilled butter instead of Crisco

Crust:

Start by mixing flour and salt.  Then cut in Crisco (butter, if using) until it resembles small beads.  Add chilled water 1 TBSP at a time, mixing with your hands until dough sticks together.  If you're skilled at rolling out dough, then go ahead and do so now.  Otherwise, take 2 large sheets of wax paper, dust with flour and sandwich the dough between.  Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until 1/4 in thick.  Carefully peel off wax paper and place into pie dish.  If you're more skilled than myself, go ahead and pinch the dough around the edges. (this can be covered and refrigerated until ready for use)

Pie:

Peel and slice apples thin.  (While I'm preparing all the apples I typically place them in a large bowl or two and cover with water and a tsp of lemon juice.  Then, when I'm ready, I drain the apples and pat them dry.)  Toss apple slices together with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest.  Carefully arrange your apples into the pie crust and mound them up high. 

Topping: 

Combine sugar and flour.  Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Cover apples with topping.

 

Preheat oven to 425°.  Place pie onto baking dish (don't want anything to drip!) and bake for 35-45 minutes.  If topping starts to get too brown, cover with some tin foil.

Once pie is done allow it to completely cool before cutting and serving.

Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie (with MCT Lean)

Tropical pumpkin smoothie- wait what??

Yeah, I don't get it.

Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie

Like, it's not crazy "tropical"-y with tons of fruit and stuff but when I drink it, it reminds me of something I'd drink in the summer.  

Pumpkin and all.

Which is something I can deal with because last week the temperature plummeted out here.  Considering I work outside right now it's not the most fun.  I like cold weather, but not when I'm standing outside all day.  Saturday I wore 5-6 layers of clothing and was still cold.

Maybe I'm just a wuss or maybe it's a sign I'm getting old (or something) 'cause I don't remember getting so chilled easily.

Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie
Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie
Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie
Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie

But hey, right now, it's cool (or more accurately, it's "warm") 'cause I'm inside on the couch typing this up for you and sipping on my delicious tropical smoothie.

Yesterday was chest and tricep day so I'm kinda super sore so of course, this is a protein smoothie (do I make any other type?  Not often...).  

A while back MCT Lean was kind enough to send me some of their products to sample, including their chocolate and vanilla protein powders. (They also sent some wonderful MCT Oil but to be honest, I'm kind of trying to save it a little longer until I start competition prep again- I think it'll be very helpful when I'm leaning out)

I love that their vanilla protein powder has an almost "vanilla bean" flavor to it which is why I chose it for this smoothie.

Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie
Now I actually kind of posted this recipe on my Instagram and Twitter earlier in the week but I figured I'd give it an official "recipe space" with official recipe pictures to share with you all.

Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie

Makes 1

3/4 Cup Cooked Hubbard Squash (canned, pureed pumpkin would work just fine as well!)

1 Date, pit removed

1 Cup Milk (or non-dairy variety such as Almond Milk)

1/2 Banana

1 Scoop MCT Lean Vanilla Protein Powder

Blend awayyyyyyyy

And enjoy!

 

Disclaimer: MCT Lean sent me their products to sample and review for the purpose of making recipes- no other compensation was received..  All opinions are my own.