Monthly Archives: November 2011

Nob Hill Holiday Shop & Stroll

*Update!  Due to those terrible winds on December 1st, there will be a make-up of sorts:  the Nob Hill Park and Shop on Thursday, December 15th.  Lots of merchants will have great one-day sales and parking up and down Central is free.  Please see the Nob Hill Facebook page for more information.  Cheers!

The annual Nob Hill Holiday Shop & Stroll is upon us!  On Thursday, December 1, 2011 from 5pm to 10pm Central Avenue will close to vehicular traffic from Girard to Montclaire (5 blocks east of Carlisle).  Central will fill with shoppers, fire jugglers, carolers, old world/vaudeville entertainment, gift wrappers, cuddly dogs and cats available for adoption, food trucks, and of course all the unique shops in Nob Hill.  It’s a chance to get out of the stuffy malls, walk around in the fresh air, and enjoy the vibrant holiday atmosphere that is Nob Hill.

This is a lively event where you can people watch with a cup of joe from Satellite Coffee, stroll with a Boba Tea,  dog watch with a pint on the patio at Tractor Brewing Co., or work on your shopping list at places like the A Store, Zap Oh!, Getrude Zachary, Dawg Gone Good, Masks y Mas,  Tres Boutique, and Beeps!

The only downside is that navigating the area to find parking can get a little hairy.  I suggest parking on streets north of Central because of the construction going on with the Lead/Coal streets south of Central.  (Also, a couple of blocks on Silver will be closed.)  You can also take the ABQ Trolley to get to Nob Hill.  Last year, and likely this year, the pick-up/drop-off locations are:

Central & Girard
Central & Kelly’s Brew Pub area
Central & Serafin’s Restaurant area
Central & Desert Fish area
Central & Washington

By the way, throughout the evening of the Shop & Stroll many shops will be collecting canned goods for the Storehouse.  So bundle up, bring some canned goods, and get into the Christmas spirit!

I hope to see some of you out there this year!

~R

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3.1 miles and a turkey dinner later

The weather was absolutely perfect for the 11th annual Turkey Trek!  The sun warmed me up, the skies were clear, and there wasn’t any wind.  Over 1300 runners and walkers particpated this year.  This included the stroller derby contingent, happy walkers, casual runners, and elite racers.  Not to be forgotten are the many race organizers and cheerful supporters.

Alas, the perspective on this photo reveals my start position - pretty much at the back of the pack :)

I think the one mile Fun Run for the kids was conducted twice:  once soon after the 5K was over and then again at the scheduled time of 10:45am.  Other than this little hiccup, the morning appeared to be a success.

Approaching the turnaround at Mountain and 12th Street.

Granted, I’m not responsible for preparing a Thanksgiving feast, but it was still a great way to jumpstart my metabolism for the day.  I must say it was especially fun this year because of so much of my family that paricipated in race:  husband, sisters, nieces, in-laws, and cousins from out of town.  I definitely recommend this for next year!

~R

Blissborn Class Update

A few weeks ago I wrote about the birth education/preparation class that I’m taking, BlissBorn.  Today, I’ll let you know what the classes were like and in the new year I’ll get back to you with how everything turns out.

So we took five one-hour classes over five weeks.  I learned how to quickly enter a state of deep mental and physical relaxation (hypnosis).  In just a few moments I can dial down my chatty conscious mind and allow my reptilian brain (subconscious) to take over.  I’ve got about six weeks to continue practicing the techniques that I learned before the real deal requires me to use them.

Simple tools for hypnosis

One of the most fascinating parts of the course was the fourth class where we learned some pain control techniques.  Not surprisingly, this is the most anticipated class.  As part of the class, I placed a clothespin on a somewhat sensitive area (my earlobe) and experienced the discomfort out of hypnosis and then again after going into hypnosis.  What a difference!  Neither was outright painful but I was much more attuned to the discomfort out of hypnosis.  Under hypnosis, I pretty much forgot all about the clothespin pinching my earlobe.  This particular class was definitely a confidence booster.

Listening to the hypnosis tracks on my mp3 player.

One of my favorite classes was the session on fear.  With this class we identified and spelled out our fears about pregnancy and childbirth and learned to transform them into peace, relaxation, and comfort.  We were guided with specific instructions to identify our fears, talk about them with our partner, develop a strategy to deal with them and transform them into positive affirmations, and then use hypnosis to imprint these positive thoughts onto our minds.  This provided an excellent opportunity to really think about the things that made me nervous or worrisome, talk about them with T, and then work through them.  This class gave me more confidence in my ability to handle the unexpected situations that can arise during childbirth.  Basically, I feel less panicky and more prepared.

Best of all, this class has given T an important and defined role for labor and delivery.  Before the class, T was sure that his main job would be make sure I had a steady supply of ice chips.  No joke.  Frankly, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted him to do either.  Now, he feels much more confident in his role in supporting me and talking with the medical staff.  Better yet, we have a mutual understanding and agreement about our entire birth plan.  T still jokes about the ice chips, but thankfully, now it’s just a joke :)

What things did you or your partner do to prepare for labor and childbirth?  I’d love to hear all about the classes you may have taken or some of the books that you enjoyed (or hated) reading!

~R

The Petrified Forest National Park: Part II The Painted Desert

some of the spectacular scenes from the Painted Desert

Visiting the Petrified National Park was fun and it was neat to see huge forest trees in the middle of the desert.  About half way through this park there is another scenic area of badlands, mesas, and buttes called the Painted Desert.  It reminds me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting because the colors are just amazing.  When I think of a desert landscape I think of brown barren land that is boring and desolate.  The Painted Desert is nothing like this.  It is vibrant, beautiful and full of life.  The colors range from yellow, orange and red to purple, gray and black.

I wish the sky would have been blue this day to make my photos perfect, but you get the idea of the landscape.  I love seeing how all of the different minerals were laid down over time.  This place was like no place I have seen before.  One of my favorite scenes was the Teepees (see below), a cluster of teepee shaped badlands that protrude out of the landscape.  All of these are different but similar at the same time.  I have a new found appreciation for the desert landscape.

The Painted Desert Teepees

Other places to visit inside the Petrified National Park…

Painted Desert Visitor Center and Park Headquarters
Latitude: 35.06543746738773
Longitude: -109.78153824806213

Rainbow Forest Museum
Latitude: 34.81517743163217
Longitude: -109.86576497554779

Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark
Latitude: 35.08343319608185
Longitude: -109.78861391544342

Do you have a favorite place like this you would like to share?

S

The Petrified Forest National Park: Part I

answering a question in his jr. ranger pamphlet by counting his steps

Let me start off by saying “this is a true story.”  On our way back from a nice weekend in Scottsdale and Phoenix my husband thought it would be a good time to stop and enjoy the scenery.  Ok, really… We had been forced to take a detour through Payson Arizona because Flagstaff had 6 inches of snow and we were in a car that didn’t have 4 wheel drive :)  Nevertheless, Payson had 2 inches of ice and we were totally freaked out and needed to decompress.  That is how we ended up in the Petrified Forest

some of the vibrant colors

The scenery is fun for little ones and it is nice to get out and stretch your legs.  They have a Jr. Ranger program where your children can earn a badge and a patch for answering some questions while walking through the park.  There are fossils and huge logs of petrified wood with amazing colors!  There are also native grassland, and displays of over 200-million-year-old fossils, this is a surprising land of scenic wonders and fascinating science. He especially loved the large black Ravens we encountered.  We entered the petrified forest from the south end of the park (see map below).  The petrified forest spans twenty-some miles and drops you right off at 1-40.  So, if you have  an hour to spare on your way home from Arizona stop by this little gem.

Details…

Petrified Forest National Park is located in northeastern Arizona, about 50 miles from the New Mexico border on Interstate 40.

Private Vehicle: Driving from Phoenix you have several choices, depending on your location in the greater Phoenix area:

From eastern side of greater Phoenix, travel Highways 87 North to Payson, 260 East to Heber, 377 North to Holbrook, and 180 South to the park (215 miles).

Driving from Albuquerque travel 204 miles west on Interstate 40 to Exit 311.

Area Map of Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park stretches north and south between Interstate 40 and Highway 180. There are two entrances into the park. Your direction of travel dictates which entrance is best for you:

Westbound Interstate 40 travelers should take Exit 311, drive the 28 miles through the park and connect with Highway 180 at the south end. Travel 19 miles on Highway 180 North to return to Interstate 40 via Holbrook.

Eastbound Interstate 40 travelers should take Exit 285 into Holbrook then travel 19 miles on Highway 180 South to the park’s south entrance. Drive the 28 miles north through the park to return to Interstate 40.

S


Cut the Thanksgiving calories by running the Albuquerque Turkey Trek!

almost to the finish line

Last year was the first time I had ever run in a race.  My husband, in-laws and numerous friends joined in on the fun.  We ran the morning of Thanksgiving in the Turkey Trek!  The run took place in Downtown Albuquerque and was a flat, fast paced (but not for me) easy run.

running with the kids in the 1k

The race was perfect for me because I HATE running and it was a short 5K run.  Don’t laugh, but my goal was to make it in 45 minutes.  I met my goal on my first race despite loathing running.  I also thought it would be a great way to enjoy a semi-guilt free Thanksgiving feast.  Everyone finished before me, but cheered me on as I reached the finish line.  My son also ran in his first 1K race.  He loved

a happy kiddo

it!  This is perfect for the entire family – you can walk, run and bring your jogging stroller!  So, if you need some advice on how to cut your calories on Thanksgiving, all I can say are two words…. Turkey Trek!

The details…..This year it will be taking place in Old Town

When:  Thursday, November 24, 2011  @ 9:00 am

event address:  800 Rio Grande NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

Click here to register and for other finite details.

Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

S

Local Retailer Highlight: NM Tea Company

*Hello Readers!  I just wanted to let you know that this isn’t a sponsored post.  I’m not being compensated for this post and I’m not related in any way to the NM Tea Company or its owners.

NM Tea Company

One of my favorite local shops is the New Mexico Tea Company located near Old Town in Albuquerque.  The owner, David Edwards, is so friendly and whenever I wander in he is usually there to chat about the various teas, explaining the health benefits and providing recommendations.  Tea is great for its health benefits, aroma, and relaxing vibes.  The shop itself is in a great location tucked in among Old Town casitas and down the street from several museums and Tiguex Park.

Organic Mother's Tea

These days I’m drinking Mother’s Tea which is a blend of various organic herbs.  It contains raspberry leaf which by itself is rather boring, but this blend includes peppermint leaf and tastes minty fresh.  T is drinking various rooibos (african red tea) blends which are rich in antioxidants and Hawthorn leaf for heart health.  NM Tea Company carries many different teas from the straightfoward like chamomile and peppermint to the exotic like Sgt. Peppers Rooibos and Thai Lemon Ginger.  They also carry medicinal teas like The Healer Tea for colds, allergies and headaches and Kidney and Bladder Detox Tea.  Some teas are imported but they also carry tea from right here in New Mexico.

Organic Hawthorn Leaf and Flower

I’m not a huge tea fanatic, but NM Tea Company affords me the opportunity to shop for something that is way more interesting in a small shop setting rather than mindlessly grabbing a box of tea based on the package design under the unsexy flourescent lights of a grocery store or big box discount chain.  I find it way more enjoyable to walk into this warm, cute shop located in a sweet, old neighborhood, breathing in each tea and sampling others before deciding what to buy.  Plus, I can buy just the amount I want without committing to a huge box of something I might not care for.

Cascadia Licorice Rooibos

I wish you could take in a deep breath and smell the wonderful scent of these teas.  It’s a beautiful bouquet of fragrant aromas.

Organic Green Rooibos

Part of the fun is examining the physical make-up of each tea:  berries, leaves, twigs, peppercorns and all.

Sergeant Peppers Rooibos

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a huge proponent of shopping local, especially during the holidays.  When I shop locally, more of every dollar that I spend stays in this community.  According to a 2004 study, for every $100 spent locally, $68 is returned to the local community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.   A study in Austin showed that for every dollar spent at local book and music stores returned 45 cents to the community while a dollar spent at Borders returned only 13 cents to the Austin economy.  Buying local also means encouraging vibrant shopping districts, supporting retailers that know your name, and supporting stores with local character.

Organic Chopped Hibiscus Flower - T mixes this with hawthorn leaf to boost flavor.

So, have you been to NM Tea Company?  What are your favorite local shops?

~R

Making Red Chile From Scratch

Growing up, I loved both green and red chile, but I think I favored green. As an adult, I prefer red – especially homemade red chile. It’s true, there’s nothing like the convenience of red chile in the frozen foods section or jarred and ready-to-eat red chile from the “Hispanic Foods” aisle at the grocery store. (I still find that amusing that in NM grocery stores still have such an aisle.)  Thing is, I’m kind of picky.  I think frozen chile often lacks in flavor and texture and the jarred stuff can get expensive when you like to smother everything in red chile. For me, nothing beats the silky smooth texture and pure taste of red chile that’s made from scratch and ground through a food mill.

For whatever reason, it takes me practically all day to make the stuff. In the end though, it’s totally worth it. I’ll have jars of homemade ready-to-eat frozen red chile in my basement freezer just begging to be poured on top of cheesy enchiladas and fresh tacos, stirred into piping hot posole, added to shredded pork for tamales, or simply spooned over papas and a fried egg.

Of course, there are health benefits associated with red chile: the capsaicin in red chile fights inflammation, it helps to clear congestion, it’s a good source of vitamins A and C, and it may speed your metabolism, among other benefits. You can brush up on your chile terminology here.

So without further ado, here’s how I do it:

20111103-105111.jpg

Remove the seeds and stems

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After soaking pods in water for at least a couple of hours, puree the pods with some of the leftover chile water.

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After blending I strain the chile using a chinois and pestle to get an extra silky texture.

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After straining, I add a little bit of oregano, garlic, and salt and lightly simmer for about 20 minutes. Then the chile is poured into jars ready to be frozen.

This is a basic recipe for red chile and allows me to thicken (with flour) or add more flavor with broth or other spices when I’m ready to use the chile.  What’s your red chile recipe?

Enjoy!

~R