Time for the Space Heater

It’s that time of year folks!

Fall?

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No…space heater time! I’ve been using my space heater like it’s going out of style.

My little space heater has so many fantastic uses:

  • keeping me warm when I blog (like right now…yes, it’s actually on)
  • keeping me warm when I work (from home)
  • helping me fight off chills just after a shower
  • warding off goose bumps when I’m getting dressed in the now-quite-cold-house

Btw, I had fun reading about the home chores you dread. I dislike cleaning the bathrooms as well!

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Hubby was a doll and cooked breakfast today: a fried egg and Whole Grain Goodness toast with locally-roasted coffee.

I must say, hubby has turned into quite the fried egg expert. I would even go as far to say that his fried egg is not only better than mine, but better than The Flying Biscuit (at least better than the one I had yesterday).

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Lunch was an adobo pork salad with tortilla chips. I thought I was ordering chicken, but it turns out not so much. Oh well, it was pretty tasty. Plus I got some nice black beans and guacamole.

I also had a pear that met an untimely death by impalement on my water bottle top, which I salvaged and still ate. Ok, it only had a small puncture wound. lol

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I came home to get ready for ZUMBA and had some more WGG toast with some organic PB, plus chia seeds for strength.

I co-taught a 90 minute zumba class and boy was I tired by the end! Phew! 90 minutes is a long time. That’s like running a 14.5 minute mile 10K or under a 10 minute milk 15K!

Anywho, I downed a half scoop of Vega Whole Health Optimizer in Vanilla Chai shaken with water for a post-workout recovery drink. Love this stuff!

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I went with a bunch of zumba friends for sushi after class.

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I had miso soup and salad with ginger dressing.

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California roll.

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Tempura zucchini.

Yes, it’s basically the same thing every time, but it works. It’s cheap, tasty, and relatively healthy.

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I even got to try a bite of Bethanie’s fruit sushi! Yum yum!

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Now it’s time for pre-bed hot tea to get in a sleepier state of mind. This is my new trick for hydrating, especially on a workout day. I find I don’t like drinking water in the morning, but I do like bed time tea. Plus, it seems to be helping me get ready for bed.

How do you stay warm when the weather gets colder? Cozy up in a blanket? Wear extra clothes? Use a space heater? Something else?

Roasted Pear Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Pecans, & Balsamic Reduction

This weekend, I finally got around to making that new salad creation I’ve been dreaming about the last few days.

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Ever since I received those coupons for free Fresh Express salad blends as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, all I can think about are creative salad concoctions.

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Tonight’s salad focused on a fall fruit as the star ingredient – pears! I used Bartlett because I read online they are good for roasting. I chose a nice, firm, organic pear for my recipe.

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And I made some quick and easy candied pecans. These are vegan, too, because I didn’t use the traditional egg white. I actually really like my recipe because it’s easy to make in small batches. You can’t really use half an egg white (unless you use the stuff in the jugs).

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All in all, I’m pretty proud of my little fall salad. I had another turn feeling like a real chef with all my you-can’t-rush-this cooking: the reduction of the balsamic, the roasting of the pecans, and the roasting of the pears.

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It was so worth it for this yumminess!

This salad would be so pretty to entertain with. And if you’re on the fence about trying it because it looks complicated, maybe just go for the roasted pears, but use a store-bought dressing? I’d go with something on the sweeter side if you do that. If you have company over, make extra of the pecans and put them out in a bowl for your guests to snack on. I know from personal experience that they are quite tasty to snack on. ;)

Roasted Pear Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Pecans, & Balsamic Reduction

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 pear, peeled, halved horizontally, seeded/cored (I used Bartlett)
  • 2 cup tightly packed Fresh Express Five Lettuce Mix, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • balsamic reduction, cooled, recipe below
  • candied pecans, cooled, recipe below

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut a small slice from the bump of each pear to help it lay flat on the rounded side.
  3. Place pear wide side down and drizzle with a bit of EVOO.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip. Drizzle other side with a bit of EVOO. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove to cool.
  5. Place salad mix on 2 large plates as your salad base.
  6. Place cooled, roasted pear on top of each salad. Top with gorgonzola, candied pecans, and drizzle with balsamic reduction to finish (use portions to your preferences). Enjoy!

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Add balsamic vinegar and salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, while whisking often. Reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Continue cooking, whisking often, till vinegar is to as thick a consistency as you like. (It should reduce to about 1/4 – 1/2 cup).

Quick Candied Pecans

Easy and Vegan!

These are great for salads, topping for bread or breakfast casseroles, over oatmeal, in cereal, over mashed sweet potatoes, or even served straight up as a party snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans (I used whole)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, cinnamon, and oil until well combined.
  • Add pecans and stir till sauce is well-distributed and all nuts are coated. Pour nuts onto prepared baking sheet and spread out a little so nuts aren’t touching.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pecans. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  • Set aside to cool.

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Nommmmm!

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