Thursday, June 30, 2011

this month i...

Discovered some incredible land to let loose and ride my bike

I had some time to myself this month and one day I went east on Shaker Blvd as far as it could take me. I have never realized that, not 10 miles from my house, there is so much incredibly beautiful land! As I was riding along Shaker, I hit a hill that went down forever and about halfway down, as I was thinking how nice it was to cruise downhill, I realized "damn, I have to ride back UP this hill."

Fell in love with wine again (largely thanks to groupon and living social)

I had been on the track of drinking a lot of beer lately. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE beer. So, we went on an incredible bike and wine tour of the Conneaut Creek Wineries earlier in the month, thank you living social. Then, we bought $75+ dollars worth of wine with a groupon deal as well. That makes for lots of good wine. I'm generally a dry red wine drinker, but there's something about a cool glass of white wine on a hot day... 

Decided to become a yoga teacher

I have been thinking about this for a while, but it's been singing to my soul much more loudly in recent days. I am going to start by going to different yoga studios in the area and immerse myself in different types of yoga. I have a pretty good idea of the types of yoga that truly sing to me, but I want to hear/see/feel/taste/touch it all before I make any decisions. I am going to start a post series of my "research" experiences at all the studios I visit. 

Made a commitment to start a grocery budget

I've got some good ideas on how to start, which you'll be hearing about very soon. I just have to actually go food shopping to try them out. Going through my expenses and making the commitment to budget was the first step though. I know it's possible to eat like kings and queens on a dime, and we're going to make it happen. 

Celebrated my 1 year anniversary with Brandon!

If you haven't read about how we met, <--- check it out. It's hard to believe that happened over a year ago. Our first "play date" was on the fourth of July last year, we went to the pool! A lot has happened since the Dave Matthews Band concert last year and our pool play date and I'm looking forward to making more new memories and having new experiences in the coming year and for many, many more after that. Brandon, I absolutely love you...and I'm pretty sure I was the one who wooed you with my hippie dance.

Tomorrow is July already! What did you do in June? Anything fun planned for July?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

P2P Training

I just realized that since I announced that I was going to ride the Bike MS Pedal to the Point ride, I haven't once updated you on my training.

That's because there really hasn't been much of it. I was doing good with getting on my bike for a while, but then life kind of got in the way. And, as is always the case when I don't have a plan, exercising got pushed to the back burner.

So, according to my Garmin, I've ridden 42.5 miles in the last 30 days. Considering I'm planning to do 150 miles in two days...that seems a little under par.

Also, apparently my average speed was 6.7 mph. Wow, I'm slow. 

I think I'm having a tough time with this for a few reasons:

  1. This is my first summer since I moved to Ohio not training for a big (marathon or half) RUNNING race
  2. I don't want to set an actual training plan out...I want to just roll with it
Sometimes for me not having a plan is a sure path to not training, but I'm also finding myself wanting to do more running than anything else, even without training. I kept finding running races that I want to do and it finally occurred to me, that we should probably be focusing more on doing bike tours for training...not running.

Wait, running = cross training??? That's new. 

Ok, so the fact that my mom is coming into town and we're trying to get the upstairs of our house painted has a lot to do with training taking a back burner for the last couple of weeks. So this week I've taken a whole new approach.

Lunch time training!

I know I only have an hour at lunch to get in a workout, so it's going to have to be a quality one. Lucky for me, I work in beautiful, hilly Medina. It's a great place to ride! Here is my attempt at putting together a {very} loose training schedule for the next two weeks:

The '27 miles' next Monday is a ride in Medina that we're going to do. Friday, I'm hoping to get my mom out for a walk with the dogs, as she's not much of a runner, plus I have plans with a coworker at lunch to go buy some herbs to grow in the office so we can have fresh cilantro with our lunches!

After the fourth, I anticipate mostly running and yoga, because I'll be traveling to L.A. and Chicago. I'm not going to make any set "plans" to run though, we're just going to go with the flow and see what happens. At this point, I just don't want training to consume my life so it's going to continue to be a "play it by ear" "go with the flow" sort of thing. Expect to see some ride recaps instead of race recaps coming up though!

Do you prefer training with or without a training plan? How the hell do you train for a 150 mile ride??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reigning in the Budget, part 1

Don't worry. This isn't going to be a political rant about the government "reigning in the budget"

I'm going to talk a little today about reigning in my budget.

Brandon and I went through our expenses last night to see what the bare minimum we  need to be making to live off of was. The results were alarming! The worst part of it was, the only thing that we could really work on "reigning in" was our grocery and gas bills. Everything else were things that need to be paid for. 

Um, helloooo adulthood!

That was even a look at our expenses WITHOUT fun money! It's not like we both don't have jobs and can't afford our expenses, but what if we want to make any big changes in our lives? Switching jobs, moving, having kids...those are all things I've never really thought about until now.

So, since groceries and gas are really our only {fairly} liquid expenses, I'm going to do some work on budgeting and pulling that number down. For now, gas is a given for me, since I work 35 miles away from home, but groceries can really be worked with!

Soooo, I need some suggestions!! How do you guys do it? I mean, we eat well and that's not something I'm about to compromise, but I know we can eat well on a budget! I've decided on a couple of steps to take to start saving money on groceries

  1. start saving all our grocery receipts and keep track of what we are spending
  2. list all the necessities, as I'm sure there are frivolous items in our grocery carts
  3. determine all the things I buy that could be made at home - this is a big one, I know I can do much better at this with a little effort
  4. Start planning a week of meals, make a list, buy ONLY what's on that list
With some luck, and hopefully some good suggestions, this will be the first in a series of posts on reigning in our budget. But this is my first serious budgeting adventure (is that weird? I'm pretty sure I've been an adult for a while now...) so, I'm going to need some help. Please shoot feedback, suggestions, comments, ideas...ANYTHING over to me.

Any accountants out there with magic solutions and tips? I can't wait to hear some thoughts!!

...haha, you thought I lost my signature didn't you? GOTCHA! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Recap: A Most Excellent Race

Just kidding!

This post should be a race recap, but I didn't end up running it because I was violently sick the night before. That was the best post title I could think of though. Other top contenders were:

Why I Only Lasted 6 Days On Raw Foods
6 out of 10 ain't bad
How Raw Foods Dominated My Toilet

Yeah, that last one was a little too graphic, even for me. I think you get the gist though, we're cutting our raw foods cleanse short by 4 days.

This weekend was going really well until I came down with a fever on Saturday evening and proceeded to get sick every hour, on the hour, beginning at 8 p.m. Needless to say, we didn't run in the 10k the next morning (bummer deal) and I woke up with zero appetite for raw food.

I don't want to give you the impression that I was "defeated" by this challenge. I am simply listening to what my body is asking of me. It was beginning to be more of a burden than fun for that's why we decided to end it early. Every time we do a raw food cleanse, we learn a little bit more about it and about ourselves. Some key takeaways this time around:

  • We are going to incorporate more raw food in our lives by doing one raw meal every week
  • I've been able to learn my body's limits, especially when I am only putting raw food into it. At least for the first few days, I generally don't have enough energy to exercise.
  • Raw food prep can take a long time. If we weren't prepping a meal, we were thinking about what we needed to soak or dehydrate for our next meal. That, in itself, is exhausting. 
So, last week was really tough for me. I wanted to run, ride or practice yoga but basically didn't have the energy (or time - we needed to make ourselves food!) Then, by the time Sunday rolled around and I had lost just about everything that I ate on Saturday, I just had no appetite for raw foods anymore. There was no sense forcing my body to do something that it didn't want to...and with that, enter cheese and crackers back into my life. 

I love cheese.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 4: More Energy!

Today I think I'm finally getting back into the groove here! I took yesterday off, as far as physical activity goes, but also because it's becoming a desperate situation...we need to get our upstairs painted!!! So we did that instead of running or biking.

We also got in bed at 10ish, so I am catching up on sleep. I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday! Minus having the energy or motivation to run at lunch. Well, at least tomorrow is the weekend and I can rest, practice yoga, paint, go to the farmer's market....ah, the list goes on.

What I ate today:

BREAKFAST smoothie: mango, avocado, blueberries, banana and kale, served in a bowl and sprinkled with homemade raw granola
LUNCH leftover stuffed pepper, and a whole tupperware-full of homemade trail mix (almonds, cashews, raisins, pepitas, sunflower seeds and apricots)

DINNER zucchini noodles with pesto, sprinkled with some salsa (sorry I didn't take a picture of this one!)
SNACKS banana with almond butter, almond hummus and salsa and peppers, lots of dried berries

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 3: Homemade {Raw} Granola

Day 3 of this raw cleanse has been tough for me. I'm exhausted.

Days 1 and 2 were late nights, with Brandon's gig and the Tribe game...pretty sure it was well after midnight on both nights before we got in bed. So the lack of sleep is weighing me down, not to mention I'm asking my body to do all of the same things on a very different diet. 

So, right now it's tough to tell if my exhaustion is coming from eating differently or because the lack of sleep has caught up with me. It's probably a little bit of both.

Here's what I'm eating today:

BREAKFAST smoothie, something with kale, almonds and lots of berries. I put it in a bowl, topped it with some nuts and ate it with a spoon. Again, please don't mind my messy desk...there is just no way around it right now. This kept me satiated until lunch...nice job, Smoothie!

LUNCH leftover tomato, avo and corn salad with some lettuce from our garden and some more homebrewed kombucha

DINNER red pepper stuffed with a sprouted buckwheat/sprouted sunflower seed/miso mixture with a few apricots

SNACKS ants on a log with bananas instead of celery (banana topped with almond butter and raisins), apple + almond butter, trail mix, homemade almond hummus and green peppers (wow, I snacked a LOT today!)

This raw granola recipe is a PL&B original, based on some raw granola that we got at the farmer's market (from Good n' Raw). The process is a little involved because you have to soak the grains and then dehydrate, but it's oh so worth it!

raw buckwheat granola
4-6 servings
prep time: overnight
dehydrate time: overnight

  • 1 1/2 cups raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkins seeds)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 10 apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  1. soak the buckwheat overnight
  2. mix the rest of the seeds together and soak for 15 minutes to an hour
  3. after everything has been soaked, drain and rinse
  4. in a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients
  5. spread plastic wrap across dehydrator sheets (if you have an old dehydrator like me, the newer ones come with teflex sheets so nothing can fall through)
  6. dehydrate overnight or just until the granola is still sticky enough to clump together, but not too dry that it all falls apart

I was actually surprised that the granola came out so well. I am going to play around with some different flavors and maybe add some fresh juice next time for a different flavor bolt. Maybe even some other grains to add as the base. I'll keep you all updated on the tweaks until we find my favorite!

Do you have any suggestions for additions/substitutes for this granola? 


Last year, when I was still living with Emily, we threw a winter beer olympics party in honor of the winter olympics. We had a whole bracket set up for beer pong, corn hole, speed quarters (the only game that we actually finished) and flip cup. What we didn't have planned to play was Beersbee.

Beersbee was the game that was played excessively while we were at the beach in Port Clinton last weekend (for the Medina High School class of 2001 Reunion, by the by).

It involves two poles, some solo cups, a frisbee, and your beer. My goal today, is to enlighten you with a little know-how so you can take beersbee to your next summer barbecue (hey, the Fourth is coming up!)

what you'll need to play...
  • 1 regulation frisbee
  • 4 poles (any material, just something that you can shove into the ground)
  • 4 solo cups
  • 4 able and willing participants
  • 4 beers (NOTE: Beersbee can also be played with water, for you designated drivers)
  • setup poles to form a long rectangle (as shown in beersbee pitch figure below). The space between the poles should fit the entire diameter of the frisbee, plus one inch on either side. Like so:
  • place a solo cup upside down on each pole
  • length of the pitch is left to the discretion of the players and often depends on size of game play area and ability of frisbee-throwers
  • NOTE: Beersbee should not be played inside

the object of the game...
score points by throwing a frisbee in between the two poles or knocking cups off the top of the poles, first team to 15 points wins!
NOTE: 15 points is a subject of debate, you can really play to whatever point total you desire.

rules...well, Brandon's rules...
  1. one team on either side of the pitch
  2. if your throw knocks a cup off of the pole, you get 1 points
  3. if you throw the frisbee between the poles without touching them, you get 3 points
  4. if the defending team catches a cup that has been knocked off the pole, they get 1 point. cup must not touch the ground to get the point.

Beersbee is still a lot of fun if you don't know how to throw a frisbee (I speak from experience). Just be aware of your surroundings and try not to break any windows or dent any cars. 

I hit the house last time I played. Thank god for plastic siding!

We use plastic poles that were purchased from home depot. So minus the cost of any beverages, it's a cheap, fun and active drinking game. It's definitely a crowd favorite at any parties that involve Medina High School graduates.

What's your favorite drinking game? Are your Beersbee rules any different from Brandon's?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Raw Corn Chowder

...or maybe the chowder would be more aptly named "Avocado Chowder" as Alex noted last night.

Brandon had an awesome gig last night! He helped out with percussion for The Luckey Ones, a band made up of some friends he knows from high school. They are a an incredibly talented bluegrass band. Absolutely check them out:

The gig was on the rooftop of a warehouse that overlooked downtown CLE. Talk about a view!

Soooo...raw food cleanse day two! Today has been tougher for me, I had a good breakfast but I have been hungry just about every hour! Thankfully I have a bunch of nuts, sprouts and other snacks.

What I ate today:

BREAKFAST homemade raw granola (that's another recipe I'll post soon) with strawberries and almond milk. Oh yeah, and HOMEBREWED KOMBUCHA!

LUNCH leftover raw corn chowder
(don't mind my messy engineer desk!)

DINNER tomato, avocado and corn salad with cashew cheese dressing
(yes, that's the jake in the background)

SNACKS sprouts, a peach, walnuts, cashews, dried apricots, almonds

We went to the tribe game tonight and had a glass (glasses?) of wine. I have found that I am the least hungry when I drink wine. Probably because wine has no fiber in it and isn't rushing right through me. I haven't had any good poops yet though, which I'm highly disappointed about...

...but don't worry, you'll hear about it when a good one happens!

On that note: recipe!

raw corn chowder
serves 2 (or 4 as a side dish) | prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 0 minutes


  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (approximately 4 large ears)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 avocado, cut in chunks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Corn kernels
  • Sunflower sprouts


In a blender, combine the corn, almond milk, avocado, cumin, minced onion and salt. Blend well. Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a handful of corn kernels and some sunflower sprouts. Serves 4.

Have you ever eaten raw corn before? I didn't even know you could eat it raw...but it's delicious!

How To Sprout Mung Beans


Today is the first day of our raw foods cleanse. So far I'm actually surprised that I've stayed satiated from breakfast all the way through lunchtime. I am also loving taking pics of my food in my office...the lighting is much better than my kitchen!

I am feeling great about this cleanse, granted I'm only a day in. Brandon, I'm afraid, has not been so lucky. If you read about eating raw, you'll find that many people go through a period of serious cleaning out, to put it nicely. I'm talking poop, vomit, acne...the works. I was spared all that in our last cleanse, but Brandon felt some of those effects. Unfortunately, this is a case of same smell, different day.

Here's what I'm eating today:

BREAKFAST green smoothie: frozen mixed berries and bananas, 1 piece of kale and a few spinach leaves, almonds and almond milk. all blended together in my magic bullet.

LUNCH salad: mixed greens courtesy of Woolf Farms with strawberries (also Woolf Farms), peaches, avocadoes and almonds. dressing: balsamic, olive oil and dijon mustard with oregano and basil, all mixed together. cherries on the side

DINNER raw creamy corn chowder topped with corn kernels and sprouted sunflower seeds <-- recipe later, I promise!

SNACKS/DESSERT apple with raw almond butter (thank you Trader Joe's!), mung bean sprouts, dried apricots and a spoonful of honey (because my throat is feeling itchy)

I have a little how-to for you today: SPROUTS! Sprouts are a raw food essential for me for so many reasons

  1. you can eat them, just as they are, they make an awesome snack
  2. you can dry/dehydrate and grind them (specifically wheat berry sprouts) and make a nutritionally packed flour
  3. you can add them to just about any meal to add flavor, texture and a nutritional BANG
Sprout People is probably the best sprouting resource ever, and it's where I learned to sprout on my own. For the most part, sprouting is similar for all grains, seeds, beans, etc. But there are a few that require different soaking or rinsing times. So I usually check Sprout People before I sprout anything new. I am going to talk about sprouting mung beans, but if you want to try something else, check out their directions first.

what you'll need...
  • a jar
  • a rubber band
  • cheese cloth
  • a sprouter
and don't forget your
  • mung beans (you can get them at almost any grocery store)
  1. put 1/4 cup of mung beans into the jar or sprouter
  2. cover the beans with anywhere from 3/4 to 1 cup of water
  3. let soak for 8 hours or over night
  4. IF SPROUTING IN A JAR: cover jar with cheese cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Flip the jar over and let all the water drain out. Then, rinse the beans and place the jar (with the cheese cloth cover ON) upside down so any excess water can drain out
  5. IF USING A SPROUTER: just rinse the beans
  6. rinse 1-2 times a day (I usually do it before and after work) until your beans have sprouted to your liking (i.e. sprout length or flavor). Tasting a few every time you rinse will help you decide when you want them to stop so you can eat them up
  7. store in a jar in the fridge, they will keep for about a week

What is your favorite type of sprout? What dishes do you use them in?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Raw Food Cleanse

Starting tomorrow, Brandon and I are going to celebrate the transition into summer by eating only raw foods for ten days! This is the second time we are going to embark on this type of "cleanse" (hopefully with a bit more ease this time) and personally, I'm thrilled to use this as a way to usher in the summer!

Lets talk a little about what eating only raw foods entails, because I know some of you are thinking "you're going to eat raw meat?!?!"

According to wikipedia, a raw food diet consists of raw plant foods that have not been heated above 105 degrees (F). According to your source, that number can fluctuate between 105 and 120 degrees. The idea is that below that "transition temperature" (for lack of a better word), the heat does not break down essential enzymes, antioxidants, etc. Essentially, it is food as nature intended it.

We struggled the first few days last time we attempted a raw food cleanse for a couple of reasons

  1. We were unprepared. Most raw foods recipes require overnight soaking of nuts or grains and a little advanced planning
  2. We were unprepared...for the change to our bodies. Mostly in Brandon's case, there was a lot moving through him, to be euphemistic.
  3. We didn't really know exactly what was considered "raw". In the case of "to eat or not to eat" when we didn't know the answer, we just wouldn't eat...and that left us HUNGRY. 
  4. Sometimes it's difficult to figure out how food is prepared. Example: oats. Are they raw? You can buy raw oat groats, but rolled oats are heated when they are rolled. Not raw. Also, Bulgar is generally parboiled before it is packaged. 
Alright, so I'm (hopefully) not going to run into those issues this time around. There are a lot of resources out there for raw food recipes, tips, etc. Here are a few:
  • Choosing Raw: Gena's wonderful blog has a lot of raw food recipes, as well some that are not-so-raw and posts about a plethora of other things
  • Rawmazing: a really awesome resource for lots of raw recipes! 
  • The Raw Chef: Some of these recipes are seriously gourmet raw food
  • The Raw Food Coach: Not just recipes, but advice, tips and tricks, stories, coaching and classes.
I am going to be using my blender and my magic bullet and my dehydrator a lot in the coming days. You guys can look forward to a few new and interesting recipes and "cooking" techniques. Oh, and I'm sure you'll hear a lot about one of my favorite foods: 
(sorry, I really enjoy this that weird?)

Avocados are a staple in the raw world. Thank god.

There are a few exceptions to the completely raw rule that we are going to employ in the coming week and a half:

  • iced tea - sometimes the ingredients are roasted, but I'm only going to make it with already cold water
  • almond milk - last time we made our own, but this time I bought a few half gallons, because it was on sale. Honestly, I don't know if they cook it for any reason...but it's entirely possible they do.
Personally, I think the most important point you should take out of this post: I consider wine to be raw. Beer going through a boiling process before it is fermented, but wine does not. Hence, raw.

Good thing I bought that Groupon for $75 worth of wine!

Do you eat any high raw meals? What is your favorite raw food?

Friday, June 17, 2011

DIY Vegetable Garden: Plants in the Ground!

Here is my third (and final...maybe...) installment of the DIY Vegetable Garden series. I've learned a whole lot in my gardening endeavors this year and have a lot to take into next year from it. 

Since it was so rainy this spring, we weren't able to put anything in the ground until almost June!! Hopefully that doesn't have too many adverse affects on the harvest this summer, but now it's just a wait and see game. 

HOME GARDEN STEP FOUR: (Finally!) Put your plants in the ground. 

For both the raised beds and the in-ground garden, we put soil on top of the weed-blocking tarp, for aesthetic purposes. Neither Brandon nor I want to look at black tarp all summer.

So, in order to place our plants, we first had to cut through the soil/tarp and then dig our holes. This was actually pretty easy, because most of the time the spade was adequate to cut through the tarp. 


Well, except the rosemary. We are keeping that one potted so we can bring it inside for the winter and have year-round rosemary!

So what did we decide to plant this year?
  • 20 pepper plants, some sweet, most of them hot
  • 15 tomato plants, all different varieties
  • Mesclun lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Thyme (regular and lemon)
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Lavender
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (three whole rows!!)
  • 2 potatoes...but we want more!
  • Red cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet corn (this is a big experiment for us)
  • Watermelon
  • Butternut squash
  • Eggplant
  • Cilantro
  • Onions
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Asparagus
Phew! I think we're going to start our own CSA :)

Here are a few things I've learned about gardening:
  • Spring greens need to get outside early because they like it cooler (ahem, broccoli!) so if you can't put them in the ground, pot them and put them outside. Broccoli will go straight to seed if it matures when it's too warm. 
  • If you don't have enough room for all the seeds that you started in your garden, expand your garden!! We didn't have enough room for the vine plants so we added on to our in-ground garden in an area that is still separate from the rest of the plants, so the vines don't take over. 
  • Asparagus takes 2+ years until you get a harvest out of them. Just be patient. 
  • Next year, I want to try rolling "seasons". Essentially put in spring plants early, and once they're harvested the summer plants will go in, then once those are harvested, late summer/fall plants will go in. Might be able to catch the tail end of this idea this year. We'll see. 
Does anyone else have a garden at home? What did you plant?

In case you missed them, here are the other two installments of my DIY Vegetable Garden posts:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garbanzo Bean Burgers

I heard a very interesting story on NPR about Cleveland this morning.

Basically, they said that Cleveland should be a perfect place for young, tax-paying professionals to flock to (and for many, to come home to). The cost of living is incredibly low, you get the arts, the night life, incredible parks, a [decent] public transit system, even though it may not seem like it, there are actually jobs here.


They said that Clevelanders are Cleveland's own worst enemy. It's not that we don't believe in a Cleveland revival, we're just very skeptical. So like, when someone actually does move to the area, people ask "why?" instead of welcoming them!

As a (semi) recent Cleveland transplant, I know this to be 100% true. When I first started meeting new people in Cleveland, and even now as I meet new Clevelanders, one of their very first questions is always ", why the hell did you move here?!" 

No lie.

Not to mention, the most popular tourism video(s) makes fun Cleveland, and points out all the reasons why someone would NOT want to move here. I hope, for Cleveland's sake, that we can all change our attitude about that. This place has so many good things going for it. I know we are [mostly] all 100% behind our city, and I know everyone is really just being sarcastic when they as me why I'm here.


A lot of truth is said in jest. If we're going to change everyone elses' less-than-positive view on life here in CLE, then we have to first change our own. We should be telling the world how wonderful it is here. It shouldn't be "why would you move here?!?" but "It's GREAT that you moved to Cleveland! It's such an awesome city! Welcome home."

Ok, I'm off my soap box.

The real topic of my post today was to show off some pictures and an awesome summer recipe...

These are a genius invention of Heidi Swanson's (yet again, I am swooning over her recipes!) It's a vegetarian bean burger but she had the brilliant idea to use it as the bun, instead of the burger.

You can find Heidi's recipe here. My only changes were green garlic and green onions instead of cilantro, because that's just what I had. 

I filled my garbanzo burgers with avocados, sprouts, tomatoes and cheese (oh! and hot sauce!)

(don't judge my brown-ish avocados! They are totally still good!)

Some other filling ideas:
  • typical burger fillings; tomatoes, lettuce, onions
  • fried eggs (mmm, or poached with a runny yolk!)
  • if you're not anti-meat: chicken breast or sausage
  • strawberries and peaches, topped with some honey (disclaimer: I have never tried this, so I can't attest to it's deliciousness. Though I don't know

So go on...get your garbanzo burger on!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meet the Band: FireSide Symphony


In the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to see FireSide Symphony play live at a few different venues.

As you probably know, I happen to be dating the lead singer. What you might not know is...well, anything about the music. {Side note: don't judge me for using my blog to promote my boyfriend's musical aspirations, but I'm going to because I think he's incredibly talented and the world deserves to hear his music!} So here is your chance to get a little bit of background on just WHO FireSide Symphony is!

IMG_2273 IMG_2298

Who is FireSide Symphony and what is the music like?
FireSide Symphony begins and ends with Brandon, but includes many many musicans from all different walks of life.  It's not the "Brandon Kocher Band," because this music is created from many different muses, influences and artists.  The focus is the music and the vibes that move you.  If FSS had a mother and father, the offsprings genes would sound like Dave Matthews Band meets Simon and Garfunkel.  Acoustic instruments, percusively driven and sweet sweet harmonies.

How long have you been playing music?  
Music has been with me since I was a boy.  My mom and dad wanted me to play piano (starting around age 5 or 6) and then I picked up the violin in the 4th grade and joined the orchestra.  Set those instruments down by my sophomore year of high school and picked up the bass guitar and started a band with my friends.  By my jr. year of high school mom and dad, as a birthday gift, gave me my first acoustic guitar and I immediately started writing my own music.  And the rest is history....


What made you decide that you wanted to pursue music as a career?  
Freshman year of college at John Carroll University, I spent a LOT of time by myself, soul searching, and finally realized how much joy I find playing and writing music and sharing that with others.  My communications degree, which I graduated with in 2005, then became my life's backup plan and music has since been first and foremost.  


What instruments do you play and what is your favorite?
Oh favorite instrument is my voice.  I love love LOVE to sing!  In the wise words of Jason Mraz, "when you sing, you pray twice."  I will play any guitar you hand me, acoustic, electric, or bass.  I have a new princess, a beautiful Ukulele, which I named Lilly and nose flute, traditionally called ohe hano ihu, which both are hand crafted from Hawaii and quickly becoming my favorites.  I also really enjoy playing percussion on my djembe' and bongos!  


What is your favorite FireSide Symphony song?
Favorite?  That's like asking a father of 20 children, "which child is your favorite?"  There is not just ONE favorite, but I will say, my excitement for different songs peak at different times.  Right now, it is "A walk this morning" and "priority,"  as i've spent ample time working on them in the recording studio.  

Who are your biggest musical influences?
I've been following Dave Matthews Band since my freshman year of high school.  Dave and the band will always be #1 in my musical heart and soul.  It took me 18 DMB concerts, but I finally found the woman I love most, hippie dancing right next to me at a DMB concert at Blossom!  Thanks DMB!  Other artists which have a very potent influence in my music writing are (in no specific order) Xavier Rudd, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, ALO and Bob Marley.  I could ramble on about all the music I listen to, but these are the best of the best.  

Make me a mix-tape of some of your favorite songs:
I like to call this one "I Love Music"
  1. I Love Music by ALO
  2. Crush by Dave Matthews Band
  3. To Travels and Trunks by Hey Marseilles
  4. Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti and Spearhead
  5. Down by Jay Sean
  6. Leave a Trail by Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band
  7. Better People by Xavier Rudd
  8. Lying in the Hands of God by Dave Matthews Band
  9. Shiver by Xavier Rudd
  10. When I Go by Brett Dennan
  11. Let Me Be by Xavier Rudd
  12. Proudest Monkey by Dave Matthews Band
  13. Journey Songs by Xavier Rudd
  14. Angel/Better Together (Live) by Jack Johnson
  15. Pig by Dave Matthews Band
  16. Suspended by ALO
I could add much much more, but I think "I love music" sums it all up.  

What are your plans for upcoming albums/gigs/etc.?
Currently recording my next 5 track EP.  Hoping to generate a LOT of excitement and some income to turn a 5 track EP into a full album.   I took some time off from playing live, but am back in full swing!  I'm working with many different artists in the CLE and am happy to be apart of their gigs, as well as, including them in my own gigs!

A HUGE thanks to the love of my life, Rebecca, "PeaceLoveAnd(hopefully our)bagels"  For giving all that she is to this world every single day.  Becs, you are AMAZING and I am inspired by you every single day.  I LOVE YOU!

Love, peace and happiness!


Just for you guys, I'm going to give you a sneak peak of some of the new music that Brandon has been working on in the recording studio. Here is the studio version of "A Walk This Morning"

Welcome to the FireSide Family :)
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