December 23, 2017

Weekend Recap: A(pple Cider Vinegar), B(urpees), and C(ookies)

I mistakenly thought the last week of work before holiday break would be slow, but it was in fact crazy as I tried to get everything done before Christmas. So while I started writing my recap of last weekend on Monday night, it’s now Saturday morning and I’m still trying to finish. Oops! But I’m really enjoying doing these weekend recaps, which allow me to look back on what I did each week, diary-style. Remember when that was how most blogs were, rather than always trying to be informative bulleted lists? I’m going to make sure my blog, at least, goes back to that format.

I started out last weekend feeling a little under the weather. You know how you get that tickle in your throat, where your throat doesn’t actually hurt yet but you know it’s the start of something bad? I woke up with that on Thursday morning, and mostly chalked it up to my project holiday party the night before, since enjoying a few cocktails meant I didn’t get the best night’s sleep. But on Friday morning, I woke up feeling the same, even after a good night’s rest. When I met with my Champa House mentee that afternoon, she said that was how she felt the week before… right before she got really sick for a few days. Yikes! I forced myself to have a shot of apple cider vinegar, and spent most of Friday laying low. It might not have been the most exciting Friday, but I ended up staving off the sickness and I was pretty psyched!

Saturday morning, I went to a Fitbit Local workout. These are free workouts organized by Fitbit ambassadors in different cities. This month’s Denver workout was called “Brews, Burpees, and Backbends”, and it was held at the Blue Moon Brewery downtown. I’ve been on Fitbit’s mailing list for a while, but this was the first time I actually went to one of their workouts – and it wasn’t at all what I expected!

I had thought there wouldn’t be a lot of people, but in fact, there were probably close to 150 attendees. A fun crowd, but it did drop my chances of winning one of two Fitbits they were giving away at the end of the workout 🙂 However, it was still a win for me, as the workout turned out to be half bootcamp and half yoga. I rarely do yoga (and can’t remember the last time I took a class?), so it was good for me to get forced into doing it, at least for 25 minutes or so. And during the yoga sequence, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my core is a lot stronger than when I’ve done yoga in the past. I was able to easily hold a few “advanced” moves that I never would have attempted before! I’ll credit that partially to Orangetheory, and partially to my pushups/plank leg lifts that I’m still doing daily.

We wore headsets for the entire workout, which allowed us to easily hear the instructor over the music (which was being mixed live by a DJ). Cool use of technology!

After the workout, I met up with two of my good friends, Hillary and Chad, for a lunch at a new fast casual restaurant downtown. Five on Black is kind of like a Chipotle for Brazilian food, in that you go down the line and pick a base, meats, toppings, etc. I love that assembly-line style of restaurant, because it allows me to customize my meal exactly the way I want it… and I wasn’t at all disappointed with my bowl. It was delicious!

My bowl was a little bit healthy… but a lot delicious 🙂

Five on Black was definitely more of a casual place than I was expecting, so I’d normally suggest it more for a weekday lunch than for meeting up with friends, but Hillary, Chad, and I had the place to ourselves so we were still able to stay for a while and catch up without feeling bad for taking up space. (There is also a Boulder location, for those locals who may want to check it out.)

Next: home to do some cleaning and cooking. I hosted my annual holiday cookie swap on Sunday, and there were a few things I had to make ahead of time. I decided to attempt this Pinterest-y recipe for peppermint holiday wreaths, but I found that they were incredibly time-consuming to shape. Plus, the melted marshmallows were burning my fingers in the process of making them! After making two wreaths (that did look pretty cute), I gave up and turned the rest into triangular “Christmas trees”, which I could more easily shape with spatulas and save my hands.

These didn’t come out looking too terrible, and they tasted delicious, but they took forever. So – half a Pinterest fail?

Finally, I wrapped up my Saturday with a night out in Boulder. Although I hadn’t made a reservation, the wonderful staff at Oak on Fourteenth managed to snag me a table after only one drink at the bar. A holiday miracle, considering they were originally quoting a 90 minute wait! The food was delicious, but I was most impressed by the cocktail I had, The Direct Flight. The ingredients: Absolut Elyx, Leblon Caçhaca, Galliano, apple cider, lemon, and sweet potato. The sweet potato and apple cider had cinnamon notes that seemed appropriately festive for the season. Highly recommend it!

Sunday morning, I woke up before my alarm feeling surprisingly well rested… and still not sick. Hooray for apple cider vinegar, and good thing, as I was signed up to run my town’s Superior Stocking Run before the cookie party! I knew that the race course was incredibly hilly, and also that this race tends to attract runners from all over Boulder (and not just my little town), so I set my expectations appropriately low and then met them exactly. Better that than not living up to them!

I headed home in a great mood thanks to both the run and the holiday music at the finish line… and continued blasting holiday songs once I got back. And at last, it was time for one of my favorite Christmas traditions: my annual holiday cookie party! 🙂

I always struggle with what to serve besides the cookies that everyone brings. I know I don’t really need to have anything, but I like having something savory to mix it up. This year, I found a Pinterest-y recipe for a cheese ball that looked like a Christmas tree. I used that recipe for the cheese ball itself, but copied some other recipes in using parsley for the outside rather than olives. I got a lot of compliments, and I think it came out pretty great!

Pro tip: if you use mini pepperonis or something else flat to decorate, put those on before the parsley. It was tricky to get them to stick after the parsley was already on!

I also made this garlic bread pull-apart wreath, which was super simple and tasty. Made even simpler because I bought the pizza dough pre-made 🙂

The cookie party was a huge success – about 30 people attended, and that meant a lot of cookies! I love having a packed house and this is one of my favorite parties of the year. In addition to eating cookies and snacks, we also enjoyed some festive drinks, including the cha cha chai I learned how to make last weekend. I am all about the festive winter cocktails lately!

And on that note… it’s Christmas Eve Eve, and I’m psyched to be cozying up in upstate New York celebrating with my brother, sister-in-law, and all her family. Time for me to get offline and break out the Christmas cocktails here, too! Merry Christmas Eve Eve, y’all 🙂


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