Hellooooo party people!
Well, if you’re not here you might not be partyin’ too much, as it is January and in a lot of places it is freezing cold and the ideal party would include fuzzy socks, blankets, and hot chocolate. Not that I don’t enjoy myself that kind of party from time to time.
In any case, I hope you had an INCREDIBLE weekend, because I sure did! For those of you who are unenlightened, it is carnival season here in New Orleans! You see, Mardi Gras is a several week-long affair here, with weekends full of parades, beer, and insanity. The bigger parades happen on and around the actual day of Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 12 this year) but there are smaller ones happening even now. This weekend, I attended three! Well, four, but two were in succession. I attended some pretty normal ones on Friday, then two silly ones on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was “Chewbacchus”, a take on Bacchus, one of the big fancy parades on fat tuesday that is sci-fi themed. So. Weird. But so New Orleans. Awesome. Sunday I went to Barkus, another Bacchus joke, which is a parade for DOGS!
But even aside from the parade action, this weekend was amazing. Saturday was the best. It started out with a 6AM run (I was greeted by the biggest moon EVER as I pulled into the park) somewhere between 10 and 12 miles that went like this: 10 minute warm up, 6×1-mile pickups at 6:55 pace with 1/2 mile rest in between, 10 minute cool down. Since I was running with four boys, three of whom are definitely a little crazy and too fast for their own good, we ran the pickups faster than that. Whoops.
After the run came yoga at Reyn Studios, which I got to do for free thanks to one of my running buddies having a one free class card (!!) This is significant folks, classes at Reyn are not inexpensive. And they are awesome. I have heard a lot of buzz about this yoga studio and I was pumped to get to try it and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed! I felt so happy to challenge my body in a different way, especially after such a tough run. It was relaxing and difficult at the same time. Not to mention the day was perfect and sunny and the light coming through the windows was just gorgeous. I’m a sucker for a little sun.
Lucky for me, the studio was right across the street from the Crescent City Farmer’s Market! I’ve talked this place up in the past, but I haven’t been in months. I started working a lot of Saturday mornings, then I went home, had long runs, or was otherwise distracted from my weekly local produce browsin’. It felt so good to be back! One thing I could get used to about Louisiana’s climate is that it allows for a wintertime strawberry and tomato season. Delicious!
The little cherry tomatoes were always my favorite offering at the market in Amherst. When I lived in town, I would walk there every Saturday, buy a pint, and eat them for breakfast as I browsed the stalls. So perfectly sweet and juicy – these ones did the trick! PLUS I needed something to bring to my next exciting event of the day – international day!
You see, January 26 is Australia day. I have a friend, Jo, who is Australian. She lives and works with a lot of people from all over the place. So instead of just celebrating Australia, they decided to have a party that celebrated everyone’s nationalities. Aka a party where we eat everybody’s food. Of course, as a dietetic intern, I was told I had to make the token “healthy” thing. I decided a simple green salad would do, and those tomatoes would be perfect for it.
I said simple, but I didn’t say boring.
And here it is, the BEST salad EVER!
Lauren’s Simple Salad
– 1 bag romaine lettuce
– 2 handfuls spring mix
– juice of half a lemon
– 3ish tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 a cucumber, quartered (or halved, depending on girth) and sliced
– 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1-2 palmfuls of preshredded parmesean cheese (this is the economy version, you could get fancy if you wanted)
– Fresh ground (no subs) salt and pepper
Put lettuces in bowl, and add vegetables. Squeeze lemon juice over. Grind pepper and salt over the salad. Drizzle olive oil (not all of it at first, this is a delicate process of adjustment), toss cheese in, and mix it all up well. Taste to make sure the balance is correct. The lemon and salt should be prominent, with a fruitiness from the olive oil.
If you’ve got it right, it’s the most delicious, fresh tasting mix. The crunch of the Romaine is essential, but I like to add spring mix for extra nutrients – you could leave it out all together if you so desired. If you’ve got it right, people will ask: “what kind of dressing is this? It’s delicious!” and you will smile to yourself as you tell them: “Oh, it’s from this little kitchen boutique that I found in the French Quarter, but I can’t remember what street it was on…it was really expensive.”
And now the one picture I took of the gorgeous day: