Food, Sweat, AND Beers! Solid Valentine’s Day.

Oh, it is love.  Love of a day dedicated to love, and love of my friends, family, and studly boyf.  Bust mostly just love.

I apologize if your day was made sadder by my Debbie Downer post yesterday.  If you’re lucky, it really was the Most Depressing Valentine Story you read all day.  If not, you need to stop reading such sad stories on Valentine’s Day, seriously!  I tried to fill my day with productivity at work, listening to romantic songs or scenes from romantic movies, and a solid lady date.  But, really, I just tried to jam pack as much of the good stuff in as possible.  You know the stuff: Food, Sweat, and BEERS!!

Mission: Accomplished.



A sublime spinach salad with black beans, avocado, yellow pepper, salsa, and cheese. Perfect lunch.

Homemade tastes much better

I DELIGHTED my office-mates with my white chocolate-covered strawberries that I whipped up on Monday night. The strawberries tasted much juicier than the ones that I recently had from some caterer.  Thus proving, yet again, that when something’s made with love, it’s gonna be dank.

Not'yo Nachos!

Spanky’s in Chapel Hill, the very first Chapel Hill restaurant I ever visited, delivered quality appetizers tonight for my lady-date with Melissa. The nachos were just the first course.  The quesadilla was so delicious that I didn’t even bother snapping a shot before wolfing down my share. What a feast!!


Tonight’s Zumba class was a class of LOVE!

I got super sweaty, and my Garmin Connect even showered me with hearts my heart rate.  All the songs played featured love (or being sexy and knowing it….)  It was fantastic to get my sweat going.  If that hadn’t gotten my heart pumping, though, I’m sure that the last aspect of the night would’ve…


Rose beers!

Not only did we get to enjoy a cask of Rustic Plow Farmhouse Saison from newcomer Haw River Farmhouse Ales, featuring rose hips and hibiscus petals, BUT that little number in the bottom right (by my OTHER hand) was a pint of Foothills‘ infamous Sexual Chocolate.

As described by the brewer:

A cocoa infused Imperial Stout – Opaque black in color with a dark brown head. Big chocolate aroma with notes of espresso, blackstrap molasses, dark sweet toffee and dark fruit. Smooth dark chocolate backbone with complex notes of coffee, dark toffee and dark fruit.

SRM: 70
IBU: 85
ABV: 9.75%

Translation? Delicious! This beer, like almost all my favorite winter warmers and chocolate beers and stouts and whatever, got better the longer it sat out.  If I ever ask you for chocolate in my life, I probably just mean a glass of this beer, served in a pint glass and let to rest for a little while. There was initially a sharp taste to it, almost like burned hot chocolate, but the longer I let it sit (and focused on my nachos), the more the taste smoothed out to a sweet, creamy chocolate taste.

Get this beer if you can.

All in all, considering my Valentine was over 400 miles away, it was an ideal Valentine’s Day. Hopefully, he thought so too, as I sent him a surprise pizza for his V-Day dinner.  I hope you felt the love as well.  And, if you’re like me, you wore your heart on your sleeve. Or maybe your chest.

to remove the giant black thing from my teeth)”]because I had a GIANT black thing in my teeth)”]Just make believe that I showed up to your door bearing love gifts. I’d be singing, too.  I’d make a GREAT singing telegram.

What was the best food you ate or drink you sipped on during V-day?

Coconut French Toast and Body Attack 75

I’m officially a dirtball.  At this very moment, I’m gearing up for today’s BodyJam class.  But here’s the dirty part: I still haven’t showered from last night’s workout.


Oh, Les, you know my body so well...

As you can see from my Garmin Connect report, it wasn’t just some easy-peasy workout, either.  I was a sweaty mess, my booty is sore, and I LOVED the new release!  However, at track four, a super plyometric-heavy track, my tummy started going nuts.  And that’s when I knew I had to GET OUTTA THERE! It felt like my body was a soda can about ready to explode.

So I booked it.

Moments later, as I was washing my hands, feeling so much better post-bathroom break, I raced back in to finish the tail end of the arm conditioning track. Walking burpees…. not my friend.

After getting home, whipping up a fantastic, cheesey, melty, eggplanty dinner (Save that for later), I realized that the next time I’d leave the house would be for another workout. So I washed my face, did a little mini-body wipedown, and said “Fuggetaboutit!”

Yup.  Next morning, still no shower.  But, at least there’s coconut french toast on the menu.

The cast and crew

My past experiences cooking with coconut oil have been kind of meh.  I realize now that it’s because I was cooking the wrong treats in that coconut oil. I bucked up, grabbed some coconut shreds, and said “Let’s DO THIS!”

Sizzling in coconutty goodness

When I scrambled together my egg batter, I used 2 EB eggs, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, AND sweetened coconut shreds (though it would’ve been just as tasty sans sweetened, I’m sure).  Also, next time, I think I’ll drop a little bit of almond extract in the mix, just for a flavor punch.

Didn’t matter, the coconut was the star of the show. And cooking in coconut oil WITH coconut shreds… can’t beat it.

A taste of the islands

There was coconuts in the batter, coconut shreds on top, chia seeds sprinkled for a nutritional boost, and LOTS of lite butter flavored syrup (it’s all I have left in the apartment!).  Good to the last bite.

Or, in my case, the last lick. Because I licked my plate clean, not unlike an animal.

At least animals don’t have to shower.

What’s your favorite sweet treat for breakfast?

Ryan’s a pancake man, through and through, but I’m ALL about french toast.  Somehow, though, I’m sure we’ll make it work.


The Blog World is a Wonderful World

Long ago (long = 4 months ago, it’s all relative, right?) I started Food, Sweat, and Beers. It’s obviously my favorite place on the internet, but I never really thought it’d amount to too much.  I figured, hey, a place to write about my 3 favorite things (one guess as to what they may be) as well as an outlet to meet new people and try something out. It’s not like I’d never had a blog before.  There was my infamous tumblr when I started Weight Watchers back in March 2010. But I feel like this is different.

Yesterday, I got a triple dose of awesome to remind me how glorious folks have been/continue to be re: my blog.

First off, a package from the beautiful Laura, filled with all the flavors that Texas has to offer.  Since it was through Foodie Penpals, I’ll save that post for a later date, but trust me, you’re in for a treat. And by you, I mean me. Unless a treat for you is being insanely jealous of someone else’s goodies.

Her packages bring all the boys to the yard.

Second up is the package I’ve been waiting for since my Great Tour De Pumpkin (Beer) Tasting . Hannah mentioned that Schlafly Beer put out a pretty sweet Pumpkin Ale that I simply had to try.  Since Schlafly is in St. Louis and I’m here in Durham, I was at an impasse.

Unless this fancy kilt-man from Schlafly's website intends to bring me some...

You know what that violining vixen suggested?

A beer swap!

Well, who am I to say no to beer from far off lands?

Especially from women who dress like pumpkins

Well, after ripping the (incredibly well-packed) box to shreds, guess what I found?

The Halloweeniest!!

Not only did Miss Hannah send me beautiful Pumpkin Ale, but Pumpkin Spice kisses and my ONLY SEASONAL HALLOWEEN DECORATION!!


You should be.

I’ve already made a serious dent in the kisses (and put them in my Saturday pancakes) and intend to drink the beers once they’ve had some time to relax after their long trip.

In other news, from blogging enablers, my beau and friends decided that they wanted my blog photography to be more “artsy”.  You know what that meant?

Black and White Beer Photoshoot!

Oozing with class

I call this one: Sad cork-toothed walrus

Clearly, it's all about the angles

Three cheers to blogging friends, pen pals, lovers of spice and beer and, as always, my friends and loved ones who support my silly, sweaty, boozy adventures every step of the way.

Got any fabulous blog-love stories?

Salutation Nation 2011: Durham, NC

Happy Sunday, Yogi Bears!!

As I tweeted bright and early, yesterday morning:

I was lucky enough to spend the day before 9/11 in a most peaceful setting, and that setting was at the infamous Durham Bull’s Athletic Park during Salutation Nation, a never ending ommmmmm!

Bright and early, I drove into downtown Durham, NC to park and head over to join my fellow Yogis for some Salutation Nation.

Described by Lululemon, Salutation Nation is:

· An annual, international day of yoga
· Complimentary
· Open to all levels
· Led by local yoga ambassadors
· In the Triangle, led by Jill Sockman (Raleigh), Christine Wall (Durham), Tina Ventrella (Cary), and Lori Burgwyn (Chapel Hill).

Invited by my friend Patty, we were pretty sure that the yoga was going to be a class perfect for a newbie like myself. I think that I’ve been to about 5-7 yoga classes before this but hey, outdoor yoga, why the heck not?!

I wasn’t sure if I was definitely going to the right place. Then, I saw this in front of me.

Oh, wait, definitely in the right direction.

I parked and headed over to my first true visit to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Only I never thought I’d be going to do yoga….

Take me out to the ballpark!

A little early for beer, even for me.

The event started at 9 am, so I wanted to make sure I was there to get a good spot.

All set up, and ready for action!

Good spots were at a premium, as some folks came with giant crews of fellow yogis!


I’ll admit, I may have talked a little smack re: my past experiences with yoga not being very enjoyable or, very hardcore, and the fellow next to me was getting a little sassy. I mentioned that it was very rare that I ever had broken a sweat in a yoga class.

“Clearly, she hasn’t been to any of my yoga classes.”


The Lulus, as I’ll affectionately call them, were the lululemon gals and instructors who were in the front of the crowd with loudspeakers blaring. They got us all organized and ready to pose.

Little Lu-whos!

The first instructor had a pretty wordy intro during which we were supposed to find a partner. Well, I guess the karma gods of yoga got back at me by making sure that I was one of the only single gals in the crowd.


Luckily, a dear woman, Martha, scampered over and was my yogi-buddy, joining me on my mat to share an experience pairing our breath together as we were all told the point of Salutation Nation was for all of us to realize we’re brothers and sisters on this planet. It was a nice way to start the practice.

I was thankful for my Toe Sox initially, as the morning dew left me a little slippery.

Slipping is a no-no for this balanceless yogi.

I’ll admit, while I loved doing yoga outdoors, maybe more than I have in any other environment, the North Carolina early autumn quickly heated up.  Definitely got rid of those sox a little early in the game.

The poses were challenging, and although several women and men confessed to having never been to a yoga class in their lives, the instructors went through them very fast and, most of the time, without explanation.

Thankfully, Mr. Sassy Yoga Instructor was right next to me, and he knew everything from Warrior Two to Happy Baby.’

He looked exactly like this. (Click for Source)

I definitely broke a sweat in this 1.5 hour practice, and REALLY stretched out. I held poses longer than I have in the past, my triceps are super sore today, and the sun beat down on me reminding me that, yes, I was out in the elements, being one with nature.

It was pretty fantastic to wear sunglasses during yoga, it was great to hear “Oms” vibrating through the ballpark, and the attitude of everyone was great. We even enjoyed a moment of careful thought about those affected by 9/11, which meant a lot to me, to just relax and think and be both alone and together in my thoughts.

It’s events like these that remind me why I love being part of a community like the Triangle, and Durham more specifically. Afterwards, we headed over to the Durham Farmer’s Market for pizza from Pie Pushers and muffins from Scratch Bakery. It was the perfect way to start my weekend, and the best way to be part of an amazing community event.

Oh, and I got to tree pose with Wool E. Bull.

So flexible, that Bull.

Did you participate in Salutation Nation anywhere near you? 

Have you ever done yoga outdoors?



No Rest for the Wicked (and sweaty and tired!)

Hello friends!!

It’s Hump Day, I know, but it feels like it’s at least Thursday.  And tomorrow (the REAL Thursday) will be jammed to the brim with work, the gym (hopefully), glass night at Rockfish (and a SWEET beer all the way from Belgium’s own Palm Breweries, and then North Carolina Girls’ Pint Out invading Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh (I plan on drinking the heck out of a Dogfish Head Namaste!)

So tonight, as I was eating my snack:

Mottled Avocado and Wheat Thins

I put together a quick little to-do list.

I don't think I've ever had "cook crack" on a to-do list before....

As you can see, much to do tonight!!

I squeezed in a quick ab class and 20 minutes on the elliptical, the last 5 at a SUPER high resistance.  It felt like I was running through mud.

Work it, girl.

Now, I’m focusing on more important things….

Decisions, Decisions...

Any favorite dresses?  Still trying to choose for the HLS Cocktail Party….

Back to running around in an apron, packing, cleaning, and wishing for more time in the day (just not in the workday!)