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Dear Cruise Travelers, You might remember that our agency, Hibiscus Travel / Kerstin’s Travel Inc. is working hard to provide the best service for our clients. That includes our continued communication with the cruise lines to make sure that sign language interpreters are provided

Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato and Kalamata Olive on Wasa Crispbread

Ingredients

2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
4 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
½ tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced lengthwise into quarters
1 tablespoon fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 pieces WASA Multigrain Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Toast pine nuts in small skillet until lightly browned, set aside.
Place 1 ounce mozzarella on each crispbread.
Sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of basil, 2 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Kalamata olives, ¼ teaspoon pine nuts. Serve immediately.

TIP: Substitute any nuts for pine nuts. Substitute feta cheese for mozzarella if desired.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 279
Total Fat 14 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 36 mg
Sodium 584 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 17 g
Calcium 456 mg

Yoga Wagon

Kerplunk!

I fell off the yoga wagon.

Haven’t been to a class in over two weeks. My life is shifting right now, causing my schedule to bumble around. First, my spouse and I are preparing to move to Virginia. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we are now, but we still need to pack up and load every dish, book, and piece of furniture. I’ve been donating stuff and shredding files like crazy. I started playing tennis again, and I’m adding a writing class as well as a writing workshop to my week. Not to mention my freelancing is picking up, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen due to Clean Eating, and my husband and I are dealing with the emotional turmoil of fertility issues as we try to start a family. The yoga studio is a good 30-minute drive from my house. No wonder I haven’t been making it over there lately.

I remember when I was a law student I was particularly stressed out one semester. At the time I was debating adopting a puppy. “Try to minimize the stress in your life,” my parents cautioned. I adopted the puppy anyway, but I thought it was good advice. Even though I’m excited about the events in my life (moving, taking a class, more work assignments), change takes its toll. What can I do to minimize the stress?

I let go of a column that I enjoyed writing but that didn’t pay. I asked my husband to take over some of the dinner duties (grilled salmon, yum!). My parents are going to help with the move. Also, there is a yoga studio that is closer to my current place. I’ll try it out next time. I feel calmer already.Š

Honeymoon Phase

The work day was coming to an end. I was at my home office working on an article, and any moment I expected to hear my husband put his key in the lock and walk through the front door.

I adore this time of day.

I used to dread it, but I’m in a honeymoon phase. Dinnertime is almost here and I’m so in love with cooking.

Oh, sure, I’m thrilled to see my husband too. I enjoy hugging him and kissing him and sitting down together to talk about our days. But not that long ago, early evenings felt a little burdensome. Inevitably one of us would look at each other and ask: “So what are we going to do for dinner?”

Ugh! What a dilemma. We were usually at a loss because our cupboards were bare and besides, we were sick of the two recipes that we rotated through night after night after night after night.

Ever since we committed to making fresh, wholesome meals from scratch (or mostly scratch), our evenings have changed drastically. Our kitchen, for the first time ever, is abundant. We have fresh fruits and muffins, ingredients for homemade pizza, and spinach lasagna ready to reheat. We have a refrigerator full of red lettuce, apples, cherries, and tomatoes. Also we have a huge bowl of salsa because I’ve been on a salsa kick. (Basically, for the salsa I use the recipe from this book, combining corn, tomato, onion, pepper, carrots, black beans, parsley, garlic powder, and paprika. Then I add a little lemon juice, raw honey, and Dijon mustard for the dressing. I use it on everything – on top of mixed greens for a nice salad, as a topping to a veggie sandwich, on top of brown rice, as a dip for baked tortilla chips, etc.).

This week I’m experimenting with a variety of homemade salad dressings. When it comes to salad dressing though, my forever favorite is simply balsamic vinegar on top of baby spinach. I usually throw in pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and sautéed shitake mushrooms. The original recipe (which I copied from a menu in a restaurant whose name is slipping my mind) also called for bow tie pasta (I use tri-colored).

Tonight for dinner we’re having taco salad, and I’m going to mash up some avocados to make guacamole as a veggie dip. I’m excited about this.

People! How come no one ever told me cooking can be so fun?

Dance of the Warrior

As few weeks ago, we had a substitute teacher in yoga class. He had us do a series of poses where we moved from one warrior position to another to another then back to the first one. And so on.

The Dance of the Warrior, he called it.

The dictionary defines warrior as “one who is engaged in or experienced in battle.”

The battle in yoga, I suppose, is with the anxious, unstable, and not-so-Zen side of myself.

Can I learn to stay centered in the face of fear?
Can I find my balance when life seems to be throwing me in loops?
Can I take action with insight and compassion?

In other words, can I find the way of the peaceful warrior?

As I moved through the series, my muscles trembled, my body wobbled, and my breath labored. At least, part of the time it was like that. At other times, I was calm(er) and stead(ier) and moving in rhythm. Slowly, I’m learning the dance.

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