Fun: Beer Brewin', Phase 1

Something I’m not sure the blogworld knows about me yet is that Alex and I brew our own beer! Everyone in Denver homebrews it seems. Soon after Alex moved here, he bought the equipment and we’ve been brewing ever since.

We’ve brewed 5 different batches so far – a porter, a pale ale, a stout and a pale ale with orange & pomelo juice. Yum! It’s a lengthy process – usually 4+ weeks from start to drinkable finish – but the tasty beer at the end is worth it. And it’s especially cool to drink beer that WE made!

So far, Alex has been the master brewer and I’ve been the faithful assistant. This time, I wanted to be master brewer. So last week, we went to the beer store, The Brew Hut, to pick up supplies for the recipe I picked out. I decided to brew a Nut Brown Ale.

With Alex’s help, I picked out and measure the right amount of grains that the Nut Brown Ale called for – Toasted Barley, Chocolate Malt and Roast Barley.

I filled a brown paper bag with all 3 grains and then took it to the grinder.

Next, I picked up the malt extract, hops and yeast.

We are also out of sanitizing solution (very important for brewing!) and corn sugar (adds carbonation in phase 2 of brewing).

Last night was my brewing night! Brewing is done in two phases – creating the basis for the beer, then after 2 weeks of fermenting, the second phase is bottling and more fermenting. Each batch makes about 5 gallons of beer – usually 40+ bottles.

It typically takes about 4 hours for the first phase of brewing – to boil the grains and create the wort.

We have a giant stock pot, 5 gallons, that we use to brew. The thermos next to it is a full-sized thermos.

To start, I filled the pot with 3 gallons of water, brought it to 150* and then it’s grain time.

The grains steep for about 30 minutes before I removed the pot from the heat and removed the grain sock from the water. While removed from heat, it’s time to add the malt extract!

The liquid is now called WORT. As Alex says, the liquid has the potential to be beer but isn’t yet.

After adding the malt extract, it’s time to bring this wort to a boil and add the bittering hops. For my recipe, all 3 packets of hops were for bittering.

We use hops pellets but some brewers prefer the fresh hops, like you see in beer commercials. The Brew Hut sells both versions of hops. Whichever hops are used, they must be kept refrigerated so they don’t spoil!

Once the hops are added, the liquid boils for another 60 minutes and immediately after those 60 minutes, it’s a mad rush to bring the temperature of the liquid down from boiling to less than 70*. We have a very cool chiller that helps us do that – but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fit on our faucet so it’s a bit of a challenge.

One of us holds the hose to the faucet (it should just screw on to connect but we have a janky faucet) and the other swirls the copper tubing around to cool the wort as quickly as possible.

Whew! We’re almost done!

Once the beer has been cooled, it’s very important from this point on that EVERYTHING touching the beer is sanitized. One little germ or Philly hair could contaminate the batch and render it undrinkable.

Sanitizing is simple – water + sanitizing solution! Then just add any equipment into the solution and presto! Sanitized.

Back to the beer – After the liquid is cooled, I racked the beer into the sanitized fermentation chamber. (This is Alex racking because he wouldn’t take a photo for me).

Once in the primary fermentation chamber, it’s time to pitch the yeast and wait till it hydrates and drops.

The yeast will get heavy and drop to the bottom. Then the lid goes on, I sanitized my thumb to cover the hole on top of the lid and shake the 5 gallon bucket for four LONG minutes. It’s an arm workout! (Making beer counts, right Nike?)

To ensure no air or contaminants get into the beer mixture, I put in the nifty little air lock. it lets the air created by the yeast out but doesn’t let anything in.

And now, we wait!

The beer will sit in this fermentation chamber for 2 weeks at 65* (ideally). Since we live in an apartment with central air, on the top floor, we don’t have too much control over the room temperature but we try to keep it as cool as we can. Someday, we’ll do this in a basement.

Taking charge of this batch of beer was an interesting change of roles – usually, I’m much more passive in the process, just helping when needed but I really enjoyed finding my own recipe, following the directions and putting my sweat and tears into this one. Though, not literally. #contamination

We’ll see if I still feel that way in 4 weeks after our first tastes of the Nut Brown Ale…

Fun + Fitness: Colorado Center for Health & Wellness Tour

Have you heard of the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference? It’s a conference for Fitness and Health Bloggers (clearly!) and will be held in Denver, Colorado this year. As a local Denver blogger, I was invited to attend a special sneak peek of the very new Colorado Center for Health & Wellness. The Colorado Health & Wellness Center will host the conference this year. 

I mention sneak peek because the Center actually opens tomorrow!

The Colorado Center is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus and is the leading research facility for obesity and wellness.

The group of about 20 bloggers ranged from personal trainers to registered dietitians to green living bloggers to foodie bloggers to runner bloggers. It was really cool to meet bloggers in different spaces than my own!

The group met after work on a Friday – we enjoyed meeting each other and tasting some delicious snacks before the tour started.

First – Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Lime drizzle; next – Pita Bread with Black Bean Hummus and Goat Cheese; Last – Roast Beef  and Sauteed Onions on Bruschetta Bread.

The food was created and made by the Center’s onsite restaurant, Bistro Elaia. The concept of this restaurant is to provide fast, healthy, delicious food and to show people that healthy food can taste GREAT!

Bistro Elaia uses its own homegrown herbs, too.

After we all had a chance to try the food, it was time to get started!

The entrance to the Center is beautiful! Depending on what angle this glass is viewed and how the light hits it, the colors change.

Our tour started with an overview of Bistro Elaia and the capabilities of the kitchens. The Center is first and foremost, a research facility so while the public can come in and enjoy Bistro Elaia food, sometimes seating may be closed off because the center is conducting a research study that day.

The Center has 2 kitchens – a demonstration kitchen and a metabolic. The demonstration kitchen is for cooking classes (recorded and placed on the Center’s website, broadcast throughout the Center on their TV station) and to show how easy healthy cooking can be. The metabolic kitchen is to teach, hands-on, study participants how to cook their food. If a person participates in a weight loss program, they may need help learning exactly how to measure their foods and cook it – that’s what the metabolic kitchen is for. It’s also for RDs and scientists to develop menus and new food for special diets (GF, lactose intolerant, etc) or to study how athletes eat and process food.

Next to the kitchens, there’s a test grocery lab – this wasn’t completely finished when we toured but it will be a smaller grocery store set up. It’s intended to teach study participants about how to grocery shop (where to shop in the store, what to look for on food labels, etc) but will also be used to study how people shop.

(NOTE: visitors to the Center are only studied if they sign up for a study – there isn’t 24/7 video monitoring to observe and uses your behaviors without your consent.)

We then moved onto my favorite part of the center – the Fitness Center!

This gym is state of the art to the MAX. Not only is all of the equipment new, it’s all TechnoGym brand. Each piece of equipment has a system  enabled to record your workouts… on a USB/flashdrive.

If someone is participating in a weight loss or athlete program, they can be set up with a flash drive with a prescribed exercise routine loaded on. When the participant gets to a machine, they pop in the flash drive and they’re told how many reps they’re supposed to do.

The flash drive is tricky too because it also records progress – how many reps actually done (vs. prescribed), how fast they were completed.

All data can then be uploaded to a user profile so the participant can access the information and their progress anywhere in the center, at home, on their phone. Pretty neat!

The fitness center also has rooms for (and a schedule of) group fitness classes. The fitness center is open to any of the general public – students and staff at the medical campus are allowed a discounted rate and non-student/staff users are offered a reasonably monthly rate.

We then moved into the clinical part of the center. This clinic has it all – private rooms for screening, shared common area for doctors and clinicians to collaborate and share their studies, phlebotomy lab and athlete/body analysis labs.

I was most interested in the Human Performance Lab. Any athlete – from Olympic to regular ol’ runners like me – have the option of utilizing this service (for a fee, of course).

The staff can analyze the efficiency of your body while exercising, what’s going on internally by taking blood while you’re exercising, resting heart rate, when your body starts producing lactic acid and beyond! Staff can then help you train for next race better and more efficiently or can give you tips to improve your overall health and athleticism.

The Center also has the ability to accurately test and record your body composition.

Finally, after the clinic, we made our way upstairs to the beautiful meeting space that the Center offers. It was past sunset when we got up there but the outdoor rooftop space looks incredible – the doors to the outside open completely, rendering the meeting space far more open and airy than any meeting space I’ve seen. This meeting space is open to the public – and completely free! – so anyone can stop in and hang out to read, work, whatever!

Also on the rooftop is a green roof – the Center has planted grass and plants on the roof for a very unique and picturesque place to relax or meet.

As I mentioned, the Colorado Center for Health and Wellness opens tomorrow. It’s the first facility of it’s kind and is changing how scientists observe and research health and wellness. I was so honored to be included in this initial walk-through – our blogger group was only the second group to tour, the first being national news media! – and I’m proud to know that this facility exists right in my backyard. Having a center like this will help increase wellness and health awareness within our community, then our city, then our state, then our country.

If you’re in Denver, I absolutely encourage you to stop in and check this place out – it will blow your mind! And if you’re coming to the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference, you’re in for a real treat! Not only is the Center hosting but participants will have full access to the fitness center during the conference.

Will you be attending the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference? I’ll see you there! 

Fun: Girls Night at Canvas and Cocktails

This could also be called – Making Friends On The Internet. Who doesn’t make friends on the internet these days??

I’ve met some really great ladies on The Twitter! (here and here) So when I wanted to go to Canvas and Cocktails, I didn’t think twice about asking a few of my favorite internet friends to join.

I have a very deep (and expensive) love affair with Canvas and Cocktails. But for good reason! I have at least 8 paintings at home, painted 4 as gifts… and keep coming back for more!

Canvas and Cocktails makes painting FUN. It’s an adult art class where the focus isn’t on perfection but enjoyment. Oh, and they serve beer and wine. Very important!

It’s an extremely popular class in Denver – so much that last year, Canvas and Cocktails expanded to a second location and most weekend evenings (and popular paintings like Starry Night) are quickly sold out. At both locations.

 I picked a Wednesday class for us to go to because there was a better chance of the class having many open spots and it was a painting of the ‘Denver Sunset’!

The way these classes work is pretty cool – each night, a different painting is featured and instruction will be given for how to paint it! All canvas, paint, smock and clean-up are included in the painting fee (usually $35-40). At the end of the night, you leave with your finished masterpiece! Calendars are online but also posted on giant boards in each storefront.

Now, I know ‘instruction’ sounds really scary but it’s not at all. Canvas and Cocktails has gained its popularity because it makes art accessible  and FUN.

 The instructor stands at the front of the room on a little stage and shows each step of the painting – how to mix the colors, how to get certain textures with your paint (ie – looking like waves, grass or sky), how to paint the details. In between instruction, the instructor plays loud, fun music. Everything from today’s popular songs to Sweet Home Alabama to Michael Jackson.

I spy: Stacey, Heidi, Mary, Paula, DianaTiffany and Kristen!

I also spy a Nike Fuel Band! Mary snagged one recently.

And this is Diana STANDING and me sitting on the chair. #stilltaller

Canvas and Cocktails is always a fun night but Wednesday was especially fun because a bunch of girls who follow and talk to each other on Twitter, blogs and Facebook regularly finally met in person and get to know each other IRL (in real life)!

 

(Thanks for the photo, Tiff!)

For more Canvas And Cocktail fun:

Fun: A Ryan Gosling Easter

I know Easter has come and gone but I read this on Sunday and had to share.

I’m a big fan of Ryan Gosling (who isn’t?!) and all the funny hoop-la that surrounds him. (See here, here, here)

Apparently, on Eastern in NYC, an advertising copywriter named Jenna Livingston had set out 200 plastic eggs, each with a photo of Ryan and an Easter message. @GoslingEaster was tweeting hints about where to find the eggs and interacting with those who’d already found an egg.

All the fun stuff happens in NYC.

Happy (belated) Easter, Ryan Gosling!

 

Wedding Wednesday: Non-Traditional Registry Options

**Wedding Wednesday is a feature on my blog documenting our wedding planning process – thoughts, reflections, ideas, milestones. Follow along as we plan a wedding in our home city of Cincinnati while we live in Denver.

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Long time no wedding post!

That’s because… well, we’ve been having too much fun doing other things to worry about planning a wedding! So it’s been a bit slow on the wedding front. However, we did recently cross a bit ‘to do’ off our list – we started to register! Talk of bridal showers lit a fire under my butt to get thinking.

I know registering is supposed to be a super fun part of wedding planning but, for me and Alex, we’ve struggled with it! To be honest, it’s been hard to register because for our small apartment, we have most everything we need - when Alex moved in 6 months ago, he brought with him many of the kitchen/bath/bed stuff I was lacking – and we don’t plan to move for a while.

And truthfully, we aren’t big ‘gift people’ – this isn’t to say we don’t appreciate a gift we receive but for us, the gifts aren’t the highlight of this whole experience. For us, it’s the start of our lives together, it’s the time spent with our families and friends. It’s the love. As corny as that sounds, it’s true! To have a great day, laugh and dance with my (soon-to-be) husband, family and friends I love so much is the only thing I want for our wedding. But at the same time, I know wedding guests want to give a gift so it’s better for us to register and select gifts that we’d prefer to receive so those who want to give a gift can and know that it’s something we’ll use and love.

So! Back to registering. For a while, I’d been stressing about what we’d register for but recently had an epiphany: We don’t have to register for traditional kitchen/bath stuff – we can register for gifts that suit our lifestyle as well as our home! So I thought I’d share some less-traditional registry ideas that we’ve considered.

  • Donation to charity. I hadn’t considered this as a registry idea until I browsed wedding websites for registry tips/ideas. If there’s a favorite charity you’d like to donate to, this is a great option in lieu of gifts. We’re opting to support our charities in another way during our reception but that’s another post.
  • Honeymoon/house fund. I love both of these options – our family and friends can give us money to use towards our honeymoon or to put a down payment on a home. Alex and I are paying for our wedding ourselves so a honeymoon fund would be a great way to splurge a little on our honeymoon and celebrate. There are websites set up to help facilitate this: HoneyFund or HatchMyHouse. (TIP: be sure to look into additional fees that the website might charge)
  • Sporting good/lifestyle stores. Registering for an outdoor/sporting goods store makes a lot of sense for us - we love hiking, camping, skiing and all things outdoors so gifts that help us explore the playground that is Colorado is right up our alley. And the store we’re looking at, REI, has an online registry makes it easy for our guests to select items for us without being in the store.
  • Amazon. Amazon does everything, doesn’t it? Amazon has a Wish List feature that acts as a registry – anything that you can buy on Amazon can be put on the Wish List. My family (hi Dad!) likes to use the Wish List for Christmas gift shopping.
  • Wine Registry. Woohoo! Found at WineEnthusiast. This would be so fun! But, unfortunately, wine is not a shared love between us. However, if there was a beer homebrewing or beer of the month type registry…

What did we decide to do?

We’re started registries at a few national stores with online registry options and are still looking into the honeymoon/house fund. I’ve also decided to post our registries on our wedding website so guests can easily find links to our requests.

I want to hear from you: What did you do for your wedding registry? Traditional or non-traditional? Any tips or suggestions for us?

Fun: Rugby at Infinity Park

When I moved into the apartment I live in now, I noticed a field and stadium nearby but wasn’t quite sure what it was. I soon learned it is Infinity Park, a sports/entertainment/events center with rugby specific stadium, park,  just minutes outside of downtown Denver. This is the nation’s only community owned rugby specific stadium, too!

Infinity Park has rugby games most Saturdays during the spring and fall seasons – women’s at 4 p.m. and men’s at 6 p.m. I watched a few men’s rugby games before Alex moved to Denver but since he’s moved here, we’ve been to most games this spring season.

The stadium is very beautiful and clean – it’s a relatively small stadium but fills up quickly for the men’s games on mild Colorado evenings. And for a very reasonably priced ticket – $4 for Glendale residents, $6 for all other adult tickets – it’s an inexpensive way to spend a Saturday evening. The best part of the ticket price, though, is that there is a buy one get one coupon on the back!

Last season’s coupon was for Chipotle, this season is for a new restaurant in Denver called ModMarket .

The rugby games are a lot of fun to watch because it’s somewhat of a combination of football and soccer but with a very different set of rules. Because Alex played rugby in college, I understand the very basics of the game but Alex can answer the rest of my questions.

For people who attend that don’t have an Alex, this year, Infinity Park has implemented an initiative to help fans understand better: Rugby 101 representatives!

These people – many of which are players on the women’s team – walk around the stands answering any of your burning questions about rugby. From the origins of rugby to why some men wear the ‘helmets’ (scrum cap) to what the scoring system is, these folks can answer it all. Because many people who come to the games that aren’t family or friends of a rugby player don’t know specifics about the game (me), this is a great way to help educate fans about the game.

The men’s team, the Glendale Raptors, are a really great rugby team - as in, Glendale finishes at the top of their league each year and many of their players are on the national team – so many games are blowouts. Like, Glendale wins 69-3 or 85-12.

We’d gotten an insider tip that this Saturday’s game would be better matched against Utah- and it was. The game was much more exciting to watch and Glendale still came out on top, 56-24.

If you’re looking to experience something different (and inexpensive!) in Denver, I absolutely recommend coming to a rugby game. The spring season is through June (schedule here) and will then start up again in late fall. You know I’ll be there!

Fitness: Pure Barre Class & DOMS

Ouch! Today I am super duper sore.

My friend Mary and I went to a Pure Barre class on Friday during our lunch hour. We’d bought a Groupon deal for 3 classes and this was my first class at this studio. I’d been to a similar class once before at Bar Method so I knew kind of what to expect but I still wasn’t prepared for how TOUGH these classes are!

What is a Pure Barre class? From the Pure Barre website:

“Pure Barre is intelligent exercise. The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk. The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up.”

It’s a low-impact, ballet inspired fitness class that uses mostly body weight (some light hand weights) to achieve a full-body burn. This class is all about tiny movements to work those little muscles that we rarely use in everyday life.

It’s definitely a tough class but it’s a class that all levels can do. The instructor describes what to do and walks around to help re-position participants, there is energizing music that helps keep your energy and spirits up. As our instructor told us at the end of class, the great thing about Pure Barre classes is that it never gets ‘easier’. The class will always be challenging and you will always be learning and feeling the burn. I’m not sure if that’s a great thing.. but it’s nice to know that you can keep coming back to class and keep toning and firming your body.

Pure Barre is a great lunch-time workout because it’s not a high-cardio, high-heat class so while I definitely sweat during the class, it wasn’t so much that I needed a full shower before heading back to work. I just used a baby wipe while I changed back into my work clothes to freshen up.

But today, my arms, shoulders, thighs, hips, booty, EVERYTHING is sore! It’s the best kind of sore – when you know you worked hard the day before. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a real thing (more here) but man, isn’t the day after always the worst?

To me, a sore body means only one thing – it’s time for yoga!

Fun: Fun. Concert & Obama Sings Sexy And I Know It

Fun. Concert @ The Ogden

Like I mentioned before, I absolutely love music and concerts. So far this year, I’ve seen Ryan Adams, Mat Kearney, The Fray, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Last night, I added another one to my list: Fun. You probably know their song, We Are Young. At least in Denver, it’s all over the radio.

The moment I heard this song, I instantly recognized the singer’s voice – Fun.’s lead singer used to be the singer for The Format! Anyone else listen to The Format years ago?

My friend Kristen asked me if I wanted to go with her last week – unfortunately, the show was sold out so she spent a lot of time trolling Craigslist for tickets. Somehow, she was able to find someone selling for $35 a piece – most were selling for 50+ a ticket – and considering the original ticket price was $25ish, she immediately jumped on buying tickets.

We saw just a few songs of the opener, Sleeper Agent, before the Fun. started.

The show was rockin’. So much energy, so much personality! I didn’t know too many of the songs but it didn’t matter – each song was such a joy to watch and experience live.

During the encore, the lead singer, Nate, sang a somewhat emotional and empowering song and took a pause at the end of the line for emphasis. Well, Denver got the emphasis. For probably 5 whole minutes, the ENTIRE Ogden Theatre was cheering and clapping louder than I’ve ever heard before – it was fervent and full of love for this band. I’ve never seen anything like it!

After the encore, the theatre erupted in applause and more cheering and would not stop! Fun. came out for a DOUBLE encore. It was incredible! This band has so much heart and passion – Nate sang his lungs out and gave such an enthralling (and fun!) performance.

It was absolutely one of the most fun (Fun.) shows I’ve been to in a while.

Obama Sings: Sexy And I Know It

And this, my friends, is pure silliness. I saw this on Twitter last night and had to share. It is too good!

This is President Obama ‘singing’ Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO.

No matter which side of the political spectrum you align with, you can’t tell me that you’re not smiling now.

Do share! What fun music or videos have you found recently?

 

Food: How To Make Stove Top Popcorn

Holla to my popcorn lovers! A few asked for tips and tricks for popping popcorn on a stove so this morning, I’m going to share just that.

Popcorn can be a really healthy snack if done correctly. We’re not talking movie-theater-extra-butter popcorn or most of the pop-in-a-microwave-bag variety. I’m talking about the very simple, very basic homemade popcorn. It’s inherently low in calories and fat when cooked solo. Where as most microwave popcorn bags are covered with chemicals, seasoning and ‘butter’ flavor plastered to the inside, you free yourself from that when you make it at home.

So whether you’re like me and don’t own a microwave or are looking for a healthy alternative to your commercial popcorn, popping on the stovetop may be your answer.

Stove Top Popcorn

Ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 1 Tbsp of Oil
  • 1/4 c of basic popcorn kernels
  • Salt, to taste

For equipment, you’ll need:

  • A stove burner
  • A pan – I use a medium sauce pan but anything with a wide surface area and is a bit deep will work
  • That pan’s lid

To start, you’ll add your oil to the sauce pan and turn the oven on to medium-high heat (I use setting 8 or 9 out of 10).

Then add 3 kernels to the pan. These will act as your ‘alert’ kernels. Cover the pan with the lid – the lid will be on for the rest of the cooking time.

As the oil heats up, these kernels will pop to alert you it’s time for the rest. Once the first kernel has popped, the other two will be right behind it.

Some people prefer to add all kernels at the beginning so they’ll heat up together – I’ve never tried this but I’m sure it works the same. I prefer to do 3 at the beginning so once they pop, I know the heat is right to pop the rest.

Now it’s time to add the rest of your kernels! I use 1/4 c for just me. It’s kind of a lot but I really love popcorn.

And now, you wait! Since you’ve added the kernels once the oil is already hot, it will only take a few minutes for the popcorn to fully pop.

As it’s popping, I like to shake the pan by holding the lid down and tossing the kernels. To me, this helps keep the already popped popcorn from getting stuck on the bottom and burning.

Just like with a microwave bag of popcorn, once the popping has slowed down, it’s time to remove it from the heat.

Next, I add a quick sprinkle of table salt to the pan and shake a few more times to move the salt around.

Once you’ve shaken your popcorn with salt, dump into a serving bowl and enjoy.

I’m enjoying this popcorn this afternoon at work. Yum!

A few additional tips:

  • Popcorn for more than 1. This is how I make popcorn for just me. If I’m making popcorn for me and a friend, I’ll use 1/3 or 1/2 c of kernels. But be sure that you up your oil and pan size too – you need enough oil to coat all of the popcorn kernels and the pan should be big enough to give them ‘breathing’ room. If not, as your popcorn pops, you’ll wish you had more space!
  • Fancy vs. store brand kernels. I’ve tried both Orville Redenbacher’s kernels and Kroger brand kernels and there really isn’t enough difference to justify the price for me. I only buy store brand now.
  • Buttery taste. We all know and love the buttery popcorn of movie theaters. After you’ve popped your popcorn, you can make your popcorn buttery but still be healthy.
    • Usually I use canola oil in the pan but if I’m feeling frisky and want a slightly buttery taste, I’ll use Orville Redenbacher’s oil. This can be used to cook the popcorn and as a buttery adhesive for the salt, post-popping. Use in moderation, post-popping. You won’t need as much as you think. 
    • Another way to get that buttery taste is to melt down a bit of butter in a sauce pan and pour over the popped corn. For me, this takes too much time and I don’t care too much about the butter taste so this step isn’t really worth it for me.
  • Add your favorite topping! Go crazy here! You can add spices and seasonings to your popcorn to add interesting taste without adding calories – use cinnamon, pepper, buffalo seasoning, ranch seasoning, etc. You can also add sweet toppings (but usually not sans calories) – chocolate chips or candies, melted caramel, syrup or sauces, etc.

That’s it!

Now, go pop and top your corn and enjoy your healthy snack.

Food: Buffalo Popcorn & Fitness: 2 Mile Run Again

A few weeks ago, I got a very special surprise from one of my best friends, Sarah.

This is a combination of two of my favorite things: buffalo sauce/seasoning and popcorn!

Sarah and I share a love of buffalo sauce – on chicken and on french fries. She also knows that popcorn is one of my favorite snacks – I eat it for ‘dessert’ most nights at home. I was so excited when this little gem showed up in my mailbox!

I broke it out tonight to give it a shot.

First step – make popcorn!

I make my popcorn on a stove because I don’t have a microwave.

I usually make 1/4 cup of popcorn (measured from unpopped kernels). It makes a full mixing bowl of popcorn. I lightly salt in the saucepan before dumping into my mixing bowl.

All for me!

I sprinkled in some buffalo seasoning, mixed it around and devoured!

The seasoning was tasty! It added a hint of spicy to my salty popcorn. I won’t use it every time I make popcorn – sometimes I just need a salty treat – but I love the slightly spicy popcorn.

FITNESS

In other fun news – I ran 2 miles last night! It took until today for my legs to not feel ridiculously sore. I’m getting that muscle strength back! Same route as Sunday and I felt a lot stronger than Sunday. Slowly but surely!

It’s amusing that once upon a time, 10 miles was a long run to me. Now, 2 miles is a long run. It’s all about perspective.

PS – Are you on DailyMile? I’m using DailyMile to log all my workouts – yoga, swimming, running, hiking, etc! Let’s be friends – I’m here!