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Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Syd's Visit To Our Nation's Capital

"BEEP BEEP BEEP," went the alarm! Up and at em at 4:30 am in Los Angeles Sunday morning to take off to DC to visit my boyfriend and to sight-see around one of the most incredible places in our country. As our plane began to land in DC there was a heavy cloud cover and then all of a sudden the Washington Monument was breaking through the sky to my left. I felt a jolt of emotion, because here I am landing in a city where all of our presidents have stepped foot. It's overwhelming even as I write this... I'm going to switch gears for a second here. In California, there is an 8th grade trip to Washington, DC that all students are able to take over Spring Break. When I was in 8th grade, my daddy was very sick with cancer, so instead of taking the trip, I spent time with my family. To be here fourteen years later - for the first time - is deeply emotional for me and I feel like I can appreciate it all the more at this point in my life. As I walked up to the White House tears dropped down my face... I was just overcome with emotion. How amazing to be in front of a home where all of our presents have lived (except George Washington, but he had the place built!) To walk around the National Mall or to stand in front of the Washington Monument, I am walking in history. As my mama said, "you can see it, touch it, believe it...it is not a fable!" It is all real and I am honored to be here...

Yesterday I slept in and slowly woke up to start my day. I looked up various yoga studios around the downtown DC area and found a place called Sculpt DC which is a spin/yoga studio. I popped into a 12:15 pm yoga sculpt class. The studio was super chic and urban. You walk in upstairs and the studios are located downstairs. There are gorgeous bathrooms, showers, and even a lounge area for all the fitness goers to freshen up or relax. I like a booty kicking workout, this particular class was a bit more relaxing but certainly a nice way to start my day.

 

Following my yoga class I popped into Le Pain Quotidien for a fresh lentil salad with a cup of vegan black bean soup, yum!

 

I decided to head to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which is on Pennsylvania Ave and part of the national mall. Most museums here are free, which is a big plus! I could have spent hours in here but having limited time to get all of my sight seeing in, I tried to get as much in as I could before I walked over to the Washington Monument. They had an award winning animal photography section and below were a couple of my favorites.

 

The Washington Monument shines high above all the downtown DC buildings. It's not a city that is built tall like New York or Chicago, but it's architecture doesn't need height to make it beautiful. Here I am in the FREEZING windy weather in front of the Monument.

 

What I love most about being here, is that this city is so easy to navigate. You walk everywhere because you can and in the midst of all the national landmarks you get a 3 to 5 mile walk in! Total health bonus! No wonder DC is one of the fittest cities in the US.

This is just day one here and I have a day and a half to go! I can't wait to see what I can fit in, in just a few short hours...

Love you America!

 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

 

To think there was a time in my life where I didn't like potatoes.

Well let me back up even further...

There was a time in my life where I didn't eat anything Thanksgiving related. This is not a time I am proud of.  I was a picky eater. And not in the refined palette kind of way. In a - I'm going to eat hotdogs for Thanksgiving and ridicule you on that other precious meal you spent hours creating, kind of way. "Stuffing?! Ewww gross! Yelch!! What is that?? Casserole with WHAAAT? Green beans?? It looks like vomitttt!"

My poor parents.

Now as an "adult" (I still give my adulthood air quotes), my tastes have expanded to eating nearly anything (sorry, seafood - maybe one day). If I had a list of my favorite foods - potatoes would likely rank as numero 1. If I were stranded on a desert island and had only potatoes to eat, I would die happy (so long as there was power to charge my iPad on said island).

My love for the tates (copyright, me -  2012) dates back to Friday lunches at McDonalds in pre school where I would shove my tiny face with as many French fries as possible. But I didn't expand beyond the French fry or potato chip until I was about 17 - when I was presented with a loaded baked potato. I was hesitant, sure. But the fact was that this potato was overflowing with everything I was passionate about - butter, cheese, bacon, chives, sour cream, chocolate, flakes of gold... I don't remember exactly what was in there... but the flavor explosion won me over. Big time. And there my love for the tates grew and expanded until I hit an even healthier variety.

Only since moving out to California 8 years ago did my love for the starchy spud stretch beyond your standard white potato. I'm not sure why the words "sweet" and "potato" didn't draw me in sooner. I just ignored people saying my two favorite things mashed into one statement. It's like me turning down a marriage proposal from  Ryan Reynolds-Jon Stewart for years. Idiot!

And just like my childhood, my sweet potato passion began with the fry and swelled into the delight for which we are here to talk about today.

Twice baked sweet potatoes!

Not once. Twice, friends. Let's do this:

TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES from Health Magazine

INGREDIENTS

4 - 6 small sweet potatoes (or yam it up) 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 tsp. peeled and grated ginger 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. sesame seeds Grated parmesan cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until they are tender. This took about 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Slice potato skins open. (Not all the way. We maybe cut ours open all the way. Oopsies! Still delicious regardless.)

3. Scoop out the insides leaving about 1/2 inch layer inside the skins to hold its shape. Add this to a large bowl.

4. Mash those tates in the bowl up. Stir in olive oil, egg, ginger and salt. Beat this all with a fork until it becomes smooth.

5. Stuff that filling back into your potatoes. Bake until the tops are puffed and golden brown - 25 minutes or so.

6. Sprinkle the potatoes with sesame seeds, some salt and pepper and a light layer of parmesan cheese - all to your liking.

And we definitely liked. We stuffed ourselves silly with these potatoes... and let me tell you, we were certainly thankful. Hope you all are having fun planning your Turkey Day!