Bar None

Given my historical predilection for the stuff, I thought that I’d be constantly daydreaming about peanut butter during my week of PB purgatory. Happily, I’ve discovered that with enough delicious new recipes thrown into the mix, old familiars don’t beckon to me quite as convincingly.

I started simple for lunches, just to make the weaning process less painful. Mark Bittman’s hummus, in all its lemony and cumin-spiked glory, pairs perfectly with pita wedges and sliced vegetables. For dinner, I’ve made things more interesting: I roasted a chicken and turned the leftovers into a burbling pot of soup, complete with dill, celery, carrots, and brown rice. I spiced up a head of broccoli by roasting it with olive oil and garlic, then tossing in toasted pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest (run, don’t walk, to Ina Garten’s recipe). I made a pan of roasted tomatoes from the same cookbook, magically turning the sad winter produce into concentrated pockets of garlicky, balsamic-y flavor. They’ll be amazing on sandwiches, over pasta, or alongside scrambled eggs.

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Head in the Game

I have a bit of a magazine obsession, but at least reading Runner’s World (as opposed to, erm, Us Weekly) offers more than mindless entertainment. Even though I’m just coming back from a long break from the sport, reading its articles has kept my head in the game.

Coincidentally, their March 2010 issue has a fantastic piece on the mental component of running, a subject I’ve had all too much time to consider lately. Kara Goucher, America’s bright new hope for the marathon, has been much busier training, but Bruce Barcott writes about the numerous mind games that often hold the key to her success or failure in a race. I was impressed that a professional athlete would let the public into her psyche, and shocked to learn that some of her weaknesses had plagued me — the consummate amateur — too. View full post »

Blue Plate Special

Way back in October, I invited a few friends over for dinner. I contributed a pan of lasagna and a green salad, and my friend Emily brought a shiny blue plate piled high with Bailey’s-spiked brownies. We were busy laughing and chatting, and the blue plate never made its way back to Emily’s apartment.

yellow on blue

Somehow, October turned into February, and I figured that I owed her the plate plus interest. I paid that interest in the form of lemon bars. And after taste-testing them, I can assure you that they made up for the delay.

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Curl Up With a Good Book

I’ll admit, being a perfectionist can be a useful thing: my bills are always paid on time, I never miss a work deadline, and my meticulous measuring skills usually lead to successful batches of cookies and brownies. On the other hand, there are plenty of times when that perfectionism is problematic, such as when I refuse to buy furniture until I find exactly the right thing to complement the blue shade of the walls, and the other furniture I already have, and no no no, that chair is too boxy and that one’s seat is too deep!

Are you exhausted yet? Care to sit down on a comfortable reading couch? I am, finally. This oversized chair arrived today, and I’m so excited to sprawl out under a fleece blanket and just read. Here’s what’s on my must-read list right now.

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All of My Love

Since Valentine’s Day is traditionally a recognition of romantic love, many people rightfully have strong feelings about the day, based on whether they’re single or coupled. But I enjoy thinking back to my elementary school days, when the holiday recognized platonic affection too. Surely you remember buying little valentines for everyone in your class, and receiving about twenty-five others in return? I do. Back then, Valentine’s Day was a pure, sweet, childlike celebration of love — and it needn’t have to change as you grow older. This year, I made sure to recognize all the kinds of love present in my life.

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