Ballet Body Fusion

Good Morning! The countdown is on and we’re only TWO days away from my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving). And I got ahead of myself yesterday and decided to make vegan spinach balls based on this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with these little beauties.

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Needless to say I promptly devoured about 10 of them right off the pan before forcing myself to save the rest. (Which Michael demolished when he arrived home.) Spinach balls were always my favorite Thanksgiving appetizer when I was still eating cheese and when I tried out this vegan version of the recipe last year I knew it was a keeper. Everyone loves them as much as the original and aren’t put off by their “vegan-ness”.

After eating my body weight in spinach balls I knew it was time for me to find a gym in Atlanta so I could get back to working out. (It had been over a week and granted I was sick most of last week, but I was not happy about it!) I drive past a Lifetime Fitness nearby all the time and because of its proximity I decided to give it a try.

I am so glad I did! This place is amazing! I took a tour of the facility which includes a rock wall, basketball courts, cardio, weight training, a yoga retreat, group fitness, saunas, and three—yes, three—swimming pools. My tour guide and I decided I’m going to start training for a triathlon. Yes, about two years ago someone bet me I wouldn’t be able to do a triathlon and I made a deal that I would do one before I was 25. I don’t want to be a liar, so here goes.

But last night I started out with a Ballet Body Fusion class. From their website:

Ballet Body Fusion is a total body conditioning program that blends classical ballet exercises and Pilates with a guaranteed special focus on core fitness. Enjoy a fun, invigorating workout that develops muscular endurance, dynamic balance, flexibility and of course core strength. No dance experience necessary – non-dancers are welcome!

The class sounded a lot like the barre classes I took briefly in NC before moving to Georgia so I was surprised when there were actually a lot of dynamic dance moves involved as opposed to slow and controlled movements like I had done previously. I am not coordinated. I dance like a mother. Who can’t dance. (My best friend tells me so.) It was a little iffy at first but I got the hang of most of it. I promise I didn’t look graceful like a ballerina but I really enjoyed the chance to finally fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a ballerina! (That I quit when I was three. That’s the only thing my mother ever let me quit though so I have an immense respect for commitment!)

Which bodes well for my triathlon training… hopefully! Hope the holiday prep is going well, I’ll be moving my belongings from NC to GA this weekend and I can use all the luck I can get! That’ll be a fun recap….

To Be Or Not To Be… Vegan

This question has been on my mind for a while now. After watching Forks over Knives, Food Inc., Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, and countless other documentaries about food and the food industry on Netflix I’ve wondered if I could take it all the way to lead a life free of animal products.Vegan.

The word “Vegan” has a lot of connotations associated with it, “Granola,” “Hippie,” and “Naturalist,” are all words stuck to the vegan lifestyle by Omnivores and often by Vegans themselves. Sure, it takes a certain kind of person to eat chia seed pudding and goji berries, but what about everyday foods that everyone enjoys? It’s usually simple enough to make them vegan as well. So why the stigma?

But anyway, I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a while now and have come to the conclusion that I’m going to stick to as much of an animal-product-free lifestyle as I can while I’m at home especially but I’m not going to beat myself up about having the occasional frozen yogurt or even a crab cake when I’m out to dinner. For now I’m going to be as creative as I can with my meals and explore all that Veganism has to offer. I could go more into the way I eat but that would be a very long post. I’ll get to it eventually.

So, as far as vegan cooking goes, lunch was quite a treat. I found this recipe on Pinterest last night and tweaked it for my lunch this afternoon.

Spiced Lentils with Kale, Shiitake, and Fiddlehead Ferns

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I overheard one of the Trader Joes’ employees talking about Fiddlehead Ferns today and had to give them a try. I love new green things. So I scooped them up along with some shiitake mushrooms and a couple bags of kale (I go through them way too fast) and whipped this meal up in under 30 mins.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lentils
1 package shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup veggie broth
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
half a bag of kale from TJ’s (basically as much as you can fit in your skillet)
About 15-20 Fiddlehead Ferns (can be omitted if you cant find them)

  1. In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat half of the veggie broth. Add the shiitake and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and starting to brown, 5 minutes. Add the remaining veggie broth along with the garlic, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 minutes. (Kale took a bit longer because it is so hearty)
  3. Add the lentils and their cooking liquid to the mushrooms and simmer for 3 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup of water if the lentils are too dry.
  4. To the pot that the lentils were cooked in, add the Fiddlehead Ferns and cover with water. Boil approximately 8 minutes or according to package instructions, strain and add to the saucepan.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

I found the Fiddlehead Ferns had a softer texture than expected but they still held their own in the dish. They complimented the kale very well as another green element and added some whimsy as well!

Off to grab the last thing from my house before saying goodbye to it forever… homage will be paid at a later time.