Friday, August 26, 2011

My Favorite Things Today

It has been a long and rather draining week here for The Kathmanduo, so in honor of Friday, I thought I would share a few random things that are making me very happy at the moment. In no particular order, these are:

1. My new tea mug.

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Friends, family, and former co-workers probably know this already, but it bears stating here -- I love my coffee and tea very hot. Back in the days when I had a microwave, I would heat up my coffee at least three times before draining the cup. Don't get me wrong; on a hot summer day I also love iced coffee and iced tea. But a lukewarm beverage that is meant to be hot? Yuck. I find few things more detestable.

Now that we are sans microwave in Nepal, my new tea mug solves this problem for me with a clever lid.

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I know that an insulated travel mug would work just as well -- maybe even better -- but those seem so workaday to me, while this pretty blue and white number makes my morning or afternoon tea feel more special. Oh, and while we're at it, I'm also loving peppermint tea.

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This pose has always been one of my favorites because it usually comes at a point in a yoga practice when I am completely spent from rigorous vinyasas and challenging standing poses, and tree pose, by comparison, feels deliciously restful. I have come to appreciate it even more, as it amazes me that in this pose I can feel even more balanced while standing on one leg than I often do standing on both. There is probably some larger life lesson that I could draw out here -- like, sometimes you have to force yourself off kilter to find true balance in life (in fact, that one sounds pretty good) -- but I think that I will just leave it at this simple statement: I'm diggin' tree pose. Give it a try and see for yourself.

3. Philip Urso's "Sweaty Vinyasa" podcast.

Sometimes I feel unsatisfied by yoga classes that are 60 minutes or shorter. Sometimes I feel that classes over 60 minutes are just too long. Of course, it depends on the day. But Philip Urso's 60-minute "Sweaty Vinyasa" podcast (recorded on April 23, 2011, in case you want to download it for yourself free on iTunes) hits it just right. The challenging class is fast-paced and packs in a lot, so it flies by without leaving you feeling unfulfilled. It makes for a great way to start my day -- followed by my peppermint tea in my new mug, of course.

4. iPhone Scrabble.

I don't have my own iPhone (yet), but that does not mean I cannot have fun with Brian's. Lately we have been playing one head-to-head Scrabble game after another, and I love it. Particularly when I win.

5. Chickpea "cookie dough" balls.

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Remember my Peanut Butter Banana Hummus? Well, I recently discovered a variation that is even better. Take that basic recipe and make the following adjustments: add one more cup of chickpeas and 2 teaspoons vanilla to the food processor. Combine all ingredients until smooth. Then fold in a handful of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks. Roll into balls -- and yes, the "dough" will be sticky and a little messy to handle -- and refrigerate, uncovered. In the fridge the dough balls stiffen on the outside but remain soft inside. They are delicious. And they make me very happy indeed.

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