Thoughts on the Gym

When I moved to Boston in 2008 I had just graduated from law school, had no job and was studying for the Oregon bar exam (that's a story for another day).  I was probably in the best shape of my life after living in Eugene and walking miles and miles every day in the woods.    There's a lot of free time when you are a 3L in law school.  I knew I needed to join a gym to keep myself sane while studying and luckily there was a woman's gym about 2 blocks from my apartment in Brookline.  I joined and was a member there until 2015 when my son was born, my credit card expired, and I ignored the gym's calls to give them a new one.  Oops!   I loved the classes the most and did step aerobics, bootcamp, a weight class and yoga almost every week.  I still gained about 15 pounds because nothing can combat all the baking and wine drinking I did back then but at least I was strong.  After I had Camille I had a hard time fitting classes in but I would still go to the elliptical and spend an hour reading a magazine or watching their TV.  A luxury when you have a baby. Flash forward to 2017 and the beginning of my sabbatical from work and I knew I needed to do something to get more exercise.  My old gym had just moved into a new space which invigorated me to join again.  So many things are still the same and I have been surprised at how comforting and familiar it is to be back there.  Most of the teachers are different so I am learning which ones I like and don't like.  On Friday mornings I noticed there was a Zumba class that you had to sign up for, which meant it was really popular.  I decided to give it a try and I was in love.  The teacher is a young man, obviously a dancer, with an insane amount of energy and a light that would make anyone happy.  After one class another class goer said, "this class is better than any drug to improve your mood," and I had to agree.  It was probably only my second Zumba class ever so I was way behind and flailing all over but at the end I was tired and happy.  Unfortunately, I go back to work tomorrow and will not be able to go to the Friday morning class anymore so I'm going to try out the 7pm Thursday class which I'm expecting will feel even more like a party.

In addition to Zumba I have tried some of their yoga classes including one with a teacher that said things like, "as you go into this pose, remember your destination is infinity..." with a completely straight face and what sounded like a fake accent.  Whoa boy.  Otherwise the class was good so I'll probably go back.

Since joining I am surprised at how much I actually look forward to going where I used to kind of dread the classes, even though I would always feel good afterwards.

Huh, I guess they were right about this working out thing. It does make you feel good!

Another book about Happy

There seem to be hundreds of books with some version of "Happy" in it and I've read maybe three or four.   The Happiness Project was a great one, and even though I read it a couple of years ago I still use, or strive to use, tips from there.  The Secrets of Happy Families was a good one also which I obviously need to read again because our family could use some tips right now.  Especially about bedtime. This is the most recent Happiness book I've read and while it did not give me any life tips, it did make me cry and be grateful for what I have.  Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After is about a child that was born with a blood disorder and how her parents handle the situation.  It was very gripping and I read it in one day.

 

Next up is a book that was recommended to me by a colleague.  It's called Chemistry, by Weike Wang.  I'll let you know how it is!

More Apples

I am up to my ears in apples (is that the right expression?) so yesterday I peeled a bunch and made applesauce and apple cake.  We still have a ton of apples so if anybody has any thoughts on new ways to use apples please let me know.  I am still not in the habit of taking pictures of everything but here are the recipes.

Slow-Cooker Applesauce

  • 6-10 apples, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sprinkle of salt

Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook on low for about 5 hours or until all the apples are broken down.

Tips:  Two cinnamon sticks led to it being very cinnamon-y so next time I would probably use one.  I used an apple cutter, like this one, for the apples and did not cut them more than that.  It worked great.

Apple Loaf

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal (I used Trader Joe's flaxmeal)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled and diced apples, any kind

Topping

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • sprinkle of salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed.  Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix until all incorporated.

Stir together the dry ingredients and add to butter mixture.  Mix until just incorporated and then fold in apples.  Pour into 9x5 greased loaf pan.

Mix all topping ingredients and cut in butter until mixture resembles a course crumb.  Sprinkle on top of cake batter.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean.