Gratitude Attitude: List 2

This week was a lunar eclipse- I think it was called a blood moon? I don’t really follow astrology, but sometimes I can’t help buying into it just a little. There were warnings that this week might be more chaotic and confusing as a result. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that, but if your week did feel a little of whack (like ours did), chalk it up to mars being in retrograde and make a list of everything that was good, big or small.

Trevor:

  • I’m so grateful that four years ago today I asked Tess to be my girlfriend. It was the capitol of Vietnam’s millennial anniversary. There were millions of people in the streets outside our dorm, fireworks going off all around us. I knew it was the start of something special.

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  • We’re spending our wedding anniversary weekend up near Mt. Katahdin- I’m so grateful for our buddy Paul’s generosity in letting us stay at his family’s cabin.
  • FALL BREAK. I’m 100% grateful for a long weekend and a break from grading papers and studying.

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Tess:

  • Despite the crazy price (our jaws are still on the floor) I’m extremely grateful to have our Subaru fixed up and safe again. I don’t have to worry about it breaking down on Trevor anymore.
  • I’m really grateful for my team at work- these two guys are extremely supportive, creative, and help me get through the tough stuff.

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  • I’m grateful to be back at the gym- it’s starting to get really dark when I get home, so the gym will start being my primary workout space again. As much as I’ll miss the outdoors, there’s something about the gym that makes me want to work a little harder. The quote on the wall says “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

gym(I promise not to start taking gym selfies on a regular basis)

What were you grateful for this week?

Easy(ish) Crème Brûlée

Last week felt like a hard week. It was the kind of week where your car breaks down and the price to fix it is almost as much as the price of a new used car. It was the kind of week where you set out with a strict budget and then promptly go out to breakfast. And lunch. And…dinner too.

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It was a week with a lot of driving and realizing we’re spending a bajillion dollars on gas every month and there’s nothing we can do about it. And that it really might be time to re-think the whole “no internet” thing. And that we miss our friends, and our family, even though we’re only a couple hours north. Last week just felt too hard.

So. We made crème brûlée, and drank champaign with friends.

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Meet Blair and Ian, our amazing buddies from Cape.

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They came up for an overnight visit. We had a blast catching up, playing drunk bananagrams, fishing…

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…and, most importantly, cooking. These two don’t mess around in the kitchen. (Make sure to check out Sea Salt and Chambray, Blair and her sister Hayley’s stunning blog.)

If you’re having a tough week, I highly recommend taking a whack at this crème brûlée recipe. It’ll make you feel super accomplished when it all comes together. There’s nothing more satisfying than when you crack that perfectly crystalized top.

Easy Crème Brûlée

(from Williams Sonoma)

  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 2 cups heavy cream or whole milk (we used raw whole milk from a local organic store.)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 3-4 Tbs sugar
Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready. Line a baking panwith a small kitchen towel (this is to prevent slippage…trust me on this one…not a step to skip!)Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the cream, stir to mix and set the pan over medium-low heat. Warm the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface (5-7 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to steep, about 15 mins.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt and the 1/4 cup sugar until smooth and blended, 5 minutes. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking until blended. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve (we used cheese cloth) set over a bowl. Divide the custard among four 5- or 6-oz. ramekins and place the ramekins in the baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custard is just set around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. (Make sure they’re not too “jiggly”- ours didn’t quite set long enough.)

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the sugar evenly over each custard.

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Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar. (If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can get a similar effect by broiling these under your stove. The torch makes you feel like a kitchen wizard though!)
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Bon appétit!

Catching Peak

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This weekend, Trevor and I were fortunate enough to attend Maine Huts and Trails’ second annual Harvest at the Huts: a five course, sustainable, local meal served at Stratton Brook Hut. It’s a three mile hike up a hill with stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bigelow Mountain range.

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We were utterly blown away.

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The guest chef, Jordan Rolleston, outdid himself. Every ingredient was brought up to the hut from a local Maine farm. No course was quite what we expected- the oysters were paired with a blueberry vinegar, the “salad” was made from pickled apples and squash, the rabbit dish was served with pine nut breadcrumbs.

Each course was paired with an exceptional wine. The 30 or so other guests there were warm and rugged (our two favorite qualities.) It was a weekend to remember, and repeat.

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veggies

Our favorite course was the lobster veloute- a rich and creamy soup studded with big chunks of Maine lobster and dotted with chive cream.

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Though the rabbit pappardelle and the honey cake dessert were close runners up.

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Our sommelier was knowledgable, attentive, and friendly. He’d come around with every course and tell us small info-bites about each wine and why it was chosen:  “It’s got a fresh ripe overtone with an undertone of butter,” “The perfect example of what a Sauvignon Blanc should be,” “It has a velvety smooth taste which pairs well with the velvety smooth rabbit.”

Our favorite description was, “If I had to characterize a Syrah, it would be a cowboy wearing a tuxedo!”

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We paired up with another newly wed couple, Ben and Petra, and deemed ourselves the kids table.

cheers

We slept in bunks that night, waking several times to marvel at the stars. Trevor pointed out the Andromeda galaxy- a cluster of bright infinity.

The next morning we woke to coffee and blueberry pancakes with local syrup- and somehow managed to keep eating. We enjoyed a slow and easy hike back to our cars, stopping at every viewpoint we could find.

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Since we were right next to Sugarloaf, and becuase it was the Great Maine Outdoors weekend, we decided to indulge in a lift ride up Sugarloaf mountain on our way home to take in the views one more time.

On our way down the mountain, our lift guide told us, “You guys are lucky- you just caught peak this weekend.”

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We are indeed exceptionally lucky. My advice to all Mainers? Take some time this week and go someplace quiet where you can completely revel in this color explosion. There’s something about the energy in the woods this time of year that lets you be your best self- surrounded by nature, free from worry, and filled to the brim with gratitude and love.

Gratitude Attitude: Week 1

It’s too easy to get sucked up into the culture of “not enough.” It seems like we walk around with a perpetual wishlist in our heads of everything we want that will  finally make us happy. That new sweater, just perfect for Fall. The latest iPhone. A faster car. A bigger house. A better life.

sweater weather

These wishlists can consume us if we’re not careful. Ultimately, they’re just temporary distractions from a larger place of unrest within us. By focusing on what we’re grateful for instead, our wishlists diminish, and we’re able to focus on a more pure source of joy.

Here’s what we’re grateful for this week:

Trevor:

  • I’m grateful for my body this week- it’s strong enough to carry me through whatever crazy workout I put it through, which is mostly yoga these days. I’m working on regaining the flexibility I lost hauling sails and not stretching all summer.

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  • My mind- I’m at grad school at UMaine for Mathematics, and I’m so grateful I have the ability to keep up (mostly) with these complex classes.

crazy math

  • My heart- it lets me love Tess so much!

Tess:

  • I’m grateful for this amazing dinner Trevor cooked (on a night I couldn’t feel LESS like cooking.) 

dinner

  • My wonderful band and my friends and family who came out to support me last night- we rocked a full house on an early Thursday evening!

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  • Not having wifi- it’s encouraging me to read more, cook more, talk more, and build a slow yet growing resentment towards a certain someone who refuses to stop winning at Rummy 500.

trevor

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What are you grateful for this week?

Lift yourself

It takes 3 weeks to break (or make) a habit- this is something I learned during my rowing days.

row

3 weeks of devoted practice before it becomes routine- before it becomes just a little bit easier (even if it’s still kind of hard.)

Good news: there’s an app for that.

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Our good friends Jill and Joe turned us onto Lift, a free app that prompts you to “succeed at everything.” No pressure.

The premise, though, is simple: Lift utilizes coaching, community, and data to help you reach your goals. You set goals, find a community of peers working towards the same goal, sign up for push notifications reminding you of your goal, and regularly check in to tell the app whether or not you completed it.

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Easy peasy. Let’s give this a shot.

I’ve decided to start with three goals that have been on my mind for a while now- but I’ve been lacking motivation to get myself into gear. Here they are:

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  1. We’re trying to tame our sugar cravings. My goal is to limit myself to 1 “treat”/day. I’m defining a treat as 1 serving of something that with extra sugar or alcohol in it. Common examples: A cookie, a bite-size peppermint patty (there are about a million still lurking in my freezer), a glass of wine, a gin and tonic, a mug of hot cocoa, a handful of chocolate chips. Just one for the day.
  2. We’re tackling running. This goal has already been put into place, but I’ve been slowly (emphasis on S L O W) ramping up my routine. These next 3 weeks, my goal is 4 runs/week, working up to a place where a 6 mile run feels do-able again.
  3. Last of all-this one’s the toughie. This one scares me way more than it should. It should be really easy. It should be already happening in my head every day, but it’s not. Say “I love you” in front of a mirror, every day. Extra points if you say it mid-change, without the tummy sucked in, in a confident voice that you really believe. The end goal? I’d like to be this kid.

I’ll check back in with you in 3 weeks and  let you know the results. If you’ve got goals you’re looking to kick-start, let’s connect on Lift! They can be as big or as little as you want- popular ones are “tell my wife I love her every day” or “write down three things I’m grateful for” or “floss more.”

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Let’s succeed at everything! (Or, maybe just in loving ourselves a little better. That feels like an important one.)

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