Happy Valentine’s Day


The power of the heart is the power to love; to care and nurture all life forms.

May we all support each other no matter what differences we may observe from the outside. May we all remember that we come from the same place and are all part of life itself. When we are born, it’s the love that counts. When we truly live, it’s the love that counts. When we die, it’s the love that counts.

May all hearts be honored as we put aside our difference and just love one another.

This is from Lydia’s Foods’ Newsletter.  Such a perfect sentiment for today!


Hike – 2.12.17

I’VE GOT MY MOJO BACK!  It’s been 7 weeks since I’ve had my Brooks trail running shoes on and have been hiking on the trails.  There was a break in the weather and it was absolutely gorgeous outside!  I encourage you all to get outdoors.  If this isn’t part of your normal pattern, add distance slowly.  I promise you won’t regret it and the Vitamin D is good for you!




There are so many resources when it comes to finding great recipes. A few of my favourite sites have been: Savory Simple, Smitten Kitchen and Style Sweet CA.  They do not disappoint. Another important thing, for me at least, with blogs is that you are not inundated with ads – I loathe them and they seem to slow my computer.  Recipes accessed in a user friendly manner is also important.

I tend to use the same basic recipes repeatedly with the exceptions of brownies.  I am always searching for the perfect brownie.  I wanted to share with you a simple, quick (with easy clean up) recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s blog.  It is brownie perfection! If you are in need of a quick and personal gift, this could be your answer. If you want to read the entire blog: My Favorite Brownies. Is there a better way to spend a rainy day other than in the kitchen baking?  Do let me know what you think.   ENJOY!

My Favorite Brownie

naptime brownies

Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies which you can cut into 16 2-inch squares (shown above), 25 smaller squares, or 32 2×1-inch bites, which is what I usually do.

3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/3 cups (265 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt (about 2 grams)
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides, or foil. Butter the parchment or foil or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan, spread until even. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.

Let cool and cut into desired size. If you’re like me, you will prefer these and all brownies, cold or even frozen. But I bet you’re normal and will just eat them hot from the pan. If desired, dust the brownies with powdered sugar before serving.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Walk – 1.29.2017

It’s been 4 1/2 weeks since the hip surgery and I am able to go on walks just over two miles (two days in a row).  I am super excited to share with you my progress with photos of my walking adventures.  Enjoy them and be inspired to “keep moving” and enjoy the sunshine as January comes to an end. It’s time to start exploring; it’s beautiful outside!

The Biodiversity Museum – Panama City

The building was designed to tell the story of how the isthmus of Panama rose from the sea, uniting two continents, separating a vast ocean in two, and changing the planet’s biodiversity forever.


The Biomuseo, a natural history museum, was designed by renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry (think Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain). The design was conceived in 1999 and it was announced in 2004 that Gehry, whose wife is Panamanian, would donate this to the people of Panama; his first in Latin America.  It finally opened in October 2014 well over budget.


The site is located at the end of the Amador Causeway facing the Pacific Ocean at the entrance of the Panama Canal.  Incredible panoramic views of the ocean and cargo ships entering the canal add the perfect backdrop.


The building’s colorful canopies were designed in reference to the richly diverse flora and fauna of Panama.


There are 4,000 meters of structure and will contain eight permanent exhibition galleries designed by Bruce Mau Design.  The exhibitions are led by the University of Panama and the Smithsonian Institutions and focuses on Panama’s biodiversity, one of the most biodiverse places in the world.


I LOVED everything about this museum and I learned so much starting with the land bridge between North and South America three million years ago and the cross-migration of animals that took place.  This room was fascinating with fantastic creatures carved out of fiberglass and covered with brilliant white epoxy that allowed touching of the exhibits. The sloth was just amazing!  I was never bored as all of this was new information to me.

It’s not finished yet- three remaining galleries need completion.  One gallery is a two-story aquatic exhibit called Oceans Divided.  It was to be completed last year, but when I was there in May 2016 it was far from being done.


Some call it post-modern genius; others a flaming pile of garbage.  What do you think?

Travel Logistics: Flight time from San Francisco is 7 hours; I paid $500 on COPA.  I would recommend staying in Casco Viejo district as there are great restaurants and shops. There is a sightseeing bus for a minimal daily rate that takes you to all the necessary spots.


Everything Pumpkin!


The origination of the word pumpkin is from the Greek for ‘large melon’; something large and round. The French later adapted it to pompon; the British changed it to pumpion and finally the American colonists changed it to pumpkin.  Pumpkin, a winter squash, is thought to have originated in North America with pumpkin seeds found in Mexico dating to 7000 and 5500 BC.  This  vegetable is nutritionally dense and rich in antioxidant vitamins (A, C,E), minerals and B-complex.

Pumpkin’s popularity is not confined to culinary delights as it is the emblem of Halloween not to mention folklore and the supernatural (turning people into pumpkins by witches and the jack-o-lantern warding off evil spirits). Cinderella – we must not forget about how the fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage and back again at midnight!

Typically in the fall, I start getting obsessed with everything pumpkin. Perhaps I have a Vitamin A deficiency and this is my way of satiating it.  I start searching my data base for pumpkin recipes ranging from curry, chili, pancakes, ravioli, soup, pie to a myriad of baked goods!

Another rainy day and I am about to bake my final (sigh) recipes of the pumpkin season: Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Bread.  What do they say about muffins – that they are cupcakes without frosting – I love the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction; it is the perfect muffin and not too sweet, but it has those yummy and tiny chocolate chips which makes everything so wonderful.  She includes a chocolate frosting recipe on her blog if you want cupcakes instead.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


1 and 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup (100 grams) packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (227 grams) pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (90 grams) mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray two 12-count muffin pans with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Add the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT overmix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I’ve made many tea cakes and especially like the pumpkin ones and finally I found a delicious and easy recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It has the best crispy cinnamon topping!  Do believe the recipe and be assured that there is not too much sugar in it; it IS a large loaf.  I have always gotten a few pockets of uncooked batter.  I simply turn off the oven and leave the bread in for a few extra minutes which seems to solve the problem.  And, yes, it is good at tea time and great for breakfast, too!  Try it toasted with cream cheese, jam, crème fraiche or butter.

Pumpkin Bread


1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral cooking oil or melted butter (115 grams)
3 large eggs
1 2/3 (330 grams) cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Two pinches of ground cloves
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
To Finish
1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray.In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinanmon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small dish, or empty measuring cup, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter.

Bake bread for 65 to 75 minutes until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring.

You can cool it in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it, or cool it completely in there. The latter provides the advantage of letting more of the loose cinnamon sugar on top adhere before being knocked off.

Cake keeps at room temperature as long as you can hide it. I like to keep mine in the tin with a piece of foil or plastic just over the cut end and the top exposed to best keep the lid crisp as long as possible.

I do hope that you try the recipes and enjoy them as much as I have.  Let me know some of your favorite pumpkin recipes!

It’s been a long time……


I’m back!  Yes, it has been a long time.  Some sadness, joy, lots of exploring and adventures since I last posted.  The latest news is that I had hip replacement surgery on December 27, 2016.  So, I will no longer be running or entering races yet for now the focus of this blog will not change.  The mantra remains the same: Keep moving!  I believe that is the secret to a healthy and happy lifestyle!

Since many of you have asked, let me share the hip surgery experience with you and offer some suggestions if you should ever have the need for this course of action.  A few years ago on a walk around downtown San Francisco, I felt my right leg give out and I experienced the worst pain.  I couldn’t fathom what had happened and just chalked it up to another running injury. Once I determined where my hip actually was (don’t laugh!), I decided it was out of alignment and had a few visits to the chiropractor.  But, it wasn’t getting better  – time for a doctor’s visit – and the x-ray machine.  Verdict: acute arthritis and I was suddenly on the short list for hip replacement.   But you know me – I thought “I can beat  this”.  I stopped running (last race was the SF Giants 5K, August 2015), went to PT and diligently did all the exercises; to no avail.  The pain was increasing and now occurring during the night – it wasn’t getting better.  Several people I know had waited too long  and were in constant pain and on narcotics for months before their surgery.  This, I didn’t want (first words of wisdom: don’t wait until pain is unbearable – surgery dates are often months out).  I called the orthopedic surgeon and set the date for December.

My health plan is with Kaiser and they require a class  taught by a physical therapist prior to surgery  as their philosophy is to minimize your time in the hospital.  In this class I was given more exercises to do prior to surgery – DO THEM CONSISTENTLY (more words of wisdom) especially the arm exercises.  The exercises are simple ones, but you will be amazed after surgery how important they are.  I also recommend supplementing the arm exercises with weights and walk/hike as much as you are able. Be in the best shape you can.

You will need a walker, cane and raised toilet seat.  I bought a sock assist tool – I could have never  gotten my socks on otherwise.  Think in terms of pants that you can get on/off easily and are loose fitting (you will be swollen and bruised).  I recommend pajama bottoms as the clothing of choice when you leave the hospital.  I also bought a couple of pairs of scrub pants (KOI brand through Amazon) as they are roomy with lots of pockets.  I did not take my knitting or a book to the hospital as I thought I would be drugged and sleeping – big mistake!  I was extremely alert, exercising with a PT hours after surgery (including stairs) and in need of entertainment.  I could not eat the hospital food; if possible arrange for some food to be brought to you – essentials for me were green smoothies, Gatorade and chewing gum. 

My recovery was fast (I attribute this to being in fairly decent shape and doing all the exercises several times a day)- I went home the next morning; took no narcotics once I left the hospital and was out walking around the block four days after surgery and back at work on the 15th day. Since my leg was swollen and bruised, I did take internal arnica with the permission of my doctor.  I applaud Kaiser for their efficiency and their home health care (physical therapists) for their expertise which definitely kept me on track.  I was overly cautious not to dislocate the hip since I tend to move quickly though I am told that is very rare. I read 7 books in two weeks. 

On a final note, be prepared for anything you touch to fall to the ground taunting you to pick it up.  Seriously, anything.  Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?  I thank my friends, Linda and Gary, for sharing their experiences with me; their information was invaluable.

First walk around the block 12/31/15

Any questions, please ask.  I would love this forum to be a way of learning, sharing and networking with each other as we navigate  our course in life. Here’s to new beginnings……….. Be kind! 



It was a beautiful day for a hike at Pt. Reyes National Seashore today.  The conditions were ideal: sunny day, lots of visibility, a slight breeze, a new trail, great views and the last of the Spring wildflowers.  Enjoy!

How many can you identify?  I encourage you to take advantage of these beautiful days and spend some time exploring new trails.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!