good things : confidence

I’m not a huge NBA fan. That’s probably a generous description for someone who watches the Finals and selected ESPN highlights. But what I am a fan of is confidence in action, something that has been vividly on display in three recent games. Watch these clips:

Do you think any of them doubted for a second that they could make those shots? If they had second guessed they would have missed. There was no time to doubt. They just had to take confident action and follow through.

so true

And there lies the only life lesson I’ve learned from basketball that is not related to Coach Wooden. Maybe I’ll watch a few more games this season (or maybe I’ll just continue to watch old NFL clips while counting down the days until preseason begins).

beka stays intelligent : how to love an american man

Every time I say the title of this book I feel obligated to add, “and it’s not as racey as it sounds!”

But really, it’s not as racey as it sounds.

I selected this book first for the one book a month goal based on Jenna’s glowing review on Eat, Live, Run. Here’s the synopsis, from the publisher:

Krissy Gasbarre made a New York career of dating driven, inaccessible men. Her solution—relocationg to Italy for her new English beau and to research the background of her lovably alpha-male, Italian-American grandfather—seemed perfect, until her boyfriend took off for the Middle East…and her grandpa suddenly passed away.

With nowhere left to go, Krissy returned to her small hometown for the first time in a decade to help care for her grandmother—a refined, private matriarch suffering early dementia along with the loss of her husband. In her reluctant agreement to share the nearly-lost love stories and transformative lessons from her rich, 60-year marriage, Krissy’s grandma became the one offering comfort as she coached her granddaughter through the fear of loving and being let down. Grandma’s unapologetic femininity and secret giving spirit would open Krissy’s eyes about relationships, teaching her the single most important requisite for loving a man: first a woman has to learn the power of her own unique beauty.

Like any other sensible female, I was intrigued by Krissy’s hot doctor love interest story of self-discovery (but the hot doctor didn’t hurt the plot, either). I think it’s hard to be a girl in 2012. Sometimes it seems as if there are only two prototypes for today’s successful woman: the CEO or the model. You’ve truly arrived if you have a powerful position of authority or a face/body that lands you on a magazine cover. There are, of course, many exceptions to this rule (just look at all of the wonderful things the Making Things Happen ladies are doing!). And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a CEO or a model. But it can be discouraging at times to see some of the most important traits women possess becoming less and less valued.

Those facts made reading Grandma Glo’s perspective on love all the more refreshing. What stood to me the most were the elements of self-sacrifice so absent from our culture, the idea that you have to know yourself first before you dive headfirst into knowing someone else, and that real femininity is not weakness. It is, in fact, the opposite. Also refreshing: the resurfacing of strong, decisive, caring men. We’ve missed you here in the 21st Century.

This book is a great read for anyone who wants an antidote to the cultural message that women need to be aggressive, in love or any other endeavor. As a popular song states, “Love is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for.”

Thanks, Krissy (and Grandma Glo!) for sharing your story. It was a great way to kick off 2012!

(And thanks for being a writer who graduated from college and traveled and nannied and moved back home while struggling to find work. It helps me sleep at night.)

P.s. I’m undecided for a February book. Thoughts?

good things : breakfast quinoa

There are 10 other posts sitting in my drafts folder just waiting to see the light of day…but this one just can’t wait any longer…even though it’s a repeat.
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This meal is magical. Honestly. It’s guaranteed to make you feel better about life. Maybe it’s the brown sugar melting into the cinnamon. Or maybe it’s the burst of blueberries in the dead of winter. But whatever it is…it’s good, soul-warming, comfort food. Perfect for the last Monday in January!

Breakfast Quinoa

lightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living, February 2010

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk, plus more for serving (I’ve been using Almond Milk and it works wonderfully!)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving

Directions:

  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries.

inspired : 1.29.12

60 must-read health blogs

foodimentary: this website is SO interesting! love all the food facts!

hello brit: great mix of creative topics

love these quotes becky posted from stepping heavenward

in a perfect world i’d eat these for breakfast: peanut butter fudge pretzel brownies

story of my life: tips for socially awkward party goers from promise tangeman and jasmine star

go harvard! this healthy eating plate is wonderful!

this is my team. i love them.

pin of the week:

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pinned here via here

beka stays hungry : weeknight curry

Well, I finally had a flop.

It’s highly unfortunate too, since the recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Super Natural Every Day. I’m 100% certain that the flop was my doing and not the recipe’s. Heidi Swanson is a culinary queen.

Here’s The Rating:

Difficulty: Easy (or at least it should have been)

Preparation Time: Quick (or at least it should have been)

Dumpster Dinner, Not Bad, Good, Really Good, or Unbelievably Amazing: Not Bad. It was just too thin for curry; I couldn’t get it thick and creamy.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5, but I’ll definitely try it again in the future. Maybe Round Two will be more successful!

good things : child-like wisdom

Story from the Huffington Post featuring a letter to Kyle Williams, the 49ers receiver who fumbled the ball on a kick return to set up the winning field goal for the Giants in overtime of the NFC Championship game, from seven year old Owen Shure:

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Dear Mr. Williams:

We just watched the Playoff game. I feel really bad for you but I wanted to tell you that you had a great season. you sould be very proud, so I wanted to say thank you.

I am your #1 FAN!

Owen Shure
Los Angeles, CA

p.s. your awsome

Kids are smarter than adults. (And to Owen’s parents: keep up the great work!)

beka stays relational : celeste, karen, julia, lauren, carloyn

Perhaps I need to reevaluate this goal.

And perhaps I need to actually remember to take pictures when I’m out being a social butterfly.

(Or perhaps I’m too occupied because my friends are just so interesting!)

But absolutely, not perhaps, I have a lot of wonderful friends.

Thanks, everyone (EVERY one! Near and far, seen and unseen, and YOU!).

You make my life full and rich. And I’m so grateful!

good things : sugar coma

Dessert and I…we’re BFF’s.

One time I was at a wedding sitting next to someone I didn’t know. We were making small talk when it was announced that the cupcakes were about to be served. “Oh my word…” I started, “I can’t wait to try these!!!” I then listed in order which ones I was most excited about (probably overkill). To which she replied, “Oh…I’m not really a dessert person.” To which I replied, “I don’t understand. What do you eat?” To which she replied, “I like cheesy things.”

And then I decided that we couldn’t be fake wedding friends anymore.

If you are in the cheesy camp then this post probably won’t make any sense to you. However, if you are normal are in the dessert camp, then you’re going to be inordinately excited about what follows (and I wholeheartedly support that!).

Yesterday I realized that I’ve been pinning/bookmarking quite a few desserts lately. And not just any desserts…over the top indulgent desserts. Since I do not wish to be thrice my size and/or instantly obtain diabetes I can’t make all of these recipes come to life at one time. It’s the sad truth.

But I can share them with all of you!

Here’s what I’d be making in the next 24 hours if sugar suddenly took on the nutritional properties of spinach:

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these caramel brownies

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these brownie cookies with peanut butter frosting (OH MY WORD…)

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these homemade snickers bars

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these chocolate peanut butter cup cookies

these chocolate chip s’mookies

these salty caramel oat bars

this mocha coconut fudge

and…most definitely…these risque brownies

I think I need to go for a run.

beka stays in rochester : the gate house

Just so we’re clear, all of these In Rochester posts are going to be about restaurants.

I mean…what else is there?

This month’s new place : The Gate House.

It was my first time there. It will not be my last.

What I Loved:

  • The Menu. It’s pizza and burgers with class. And lots of healthy options, too!
  • The Atmosphere. Relaxed but stylish. Perfect for a night out that feels more special than most but not so stuffy that you’re afraid to laugh out loud.
  • The Fact That The TV’s Are Tuned To The Food Network. (Say no more…this place is a winner.)

What I Loved Less:

  • I had the Manhattan Square salad – spinach, apples, avocado, bacon, and honey sherry vinaigrette. It was so good! I just wished there were more of the toppings since it was mostly spinach. BUT…it came with two cheese-filled breadsticks…so that made me forget about my longings for extra avocado.

What I Ordered:

  • Split an order of Sweet Potato Fries with Carolyn. They were thick-cut and crispy and even more flavorful when cooled to room temperature!
  • The Manhattan Square salad described above.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Any suggestions for next month’s outing?