The Glory of a Day Off

It has been a very long time since I've had a day off that was not scheduled-to-the-hilt.  Today was such a day, and I spent it in fashions Most Glorious.

It started with... well, okay it started with sleeping in.  But after that (and, um, some breakfast), it started with a little Kitchen Experiment.  Last weekend Nathan and I invested in a lovely tetsubin, along with settings for five, and ever since we brought it home I've had a hankering to have a few ladies over for a tea party.  Of course you have to have more than just tea at a tea party- you have to have finger foods, too!  And what immediately sprang to my mind for finger foods were bacon-wrapped dates- except that one of the girls I want to invite is vegetarian, and I want to make sure that she can have delicious finger foods, too.  So last week I was brainstorming with my mom about how to make a vegetarian version of bacon-wrapped dates, and here is what we came up with:

No fancy name for them yet- perhaps Golden Dates?
Basically what I did was stuff ten dates with chevre, coat them in a batter made from one egg, one cup almond meal, and 1/8 cup honey, and bake them at 375 for 10 minutes (when they started to brown at the tips).

The astute observer might note that there are twelve dates in this picture- but I only ended up with enough batter for ten, so two were sacrificed to the gods of nom.
They were quite tasty, kind of like Super Cookies, but I don't feel I'm "there" yet- I wish the coating had more crunch to it.  Nathan claims I am so there (he loves the not-quite-done-ness of the batter), but I'm not yet satisfied.
Please no one tell my grandmother how chipped my fingernail polish is.

I think next time I might just dip them in eggs and then roll them in the almond meal, rather than making a "batter".  And I think I can omit the honey entirely, and honestly I feel like it should have some spice to it- maybe cinnamon and cayenne?  Or maybe even just straight black pepper, to harken back to the bacon-wrapped dates... more experimentation is called for!

Anyway once all of that was done, we decided it was high time to go on our first hike of 2013!  So we bundled up ourselves and the dog, and headed on up to Moulton Falls, a place we'd heard was lovely, but had never actually experienced for ourselves.
See?  All bundled.
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you to learn that our hikes are pretty leisurely- after all, Nathan is a photographer, and photos take time.
Time being taken.
 And since his hands are taken up with all the camera gear, it falls to me to keep possession of the pig.  Now, Isis loves to hike- and, unfortunately, when Isis loves to do something, she often wants to do it with the entirety of her being.  Her 65 pound (for now), no-fat being.  Which can lead to a great deal of enthusiastic pulling on her leash, which takes some muscle on my part to resist.  What I'm trying to say, here, is that our hikes for the past year have involved a lot of brute strength on my part to keep Isis close by.

But all that changed today, because today we made use of a Gentle Leader harness.

Holy crap, you guys.  Best invention of all time ever shut up about the wheel and sliced bread this wins.

She didn't pull at all.  At all.  I don't mean, "she tried to pull and was thwarted"- I mean she did not pull.  Loose leash walking the entire time.  It was the least stressful hike I've been on in almost year, and it is entirely possible that I am going to have to kiss the woman who suggested it to me when I see her again.
Cold but happy but cold.  And Nathan is Zoolander, I guess?
Once we got back from that little adventure Nathan set to work in the kitchen making his modestly-famous chili, and I immediately headed over to the rock gym to meet up with KB and get some climbing in.  We've recently come to the conclusion that we need to get a little more focused with our climbing- actually start training- if we want to really progress.  Now, truth be told I don't really care about progressing that much (as long as I'm having fun I'm fine) but I also don't not care enough to keep me from putting forth more effort to keep pace with my bros.  Did that double negative make sense?  Anyway the point is that we spent two hours doing drills that challenged us in a variety of ways, and ended the session with a series of pull ups and planks.

Oh yeah, my core needs some serious work.

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