Posted by: Hil | April 27, 2013

Free Time

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When I have a lazy Saturday or rare free day to myself, there isn’t much I like better than enjoying the beautiful sunshine (there is never enough of that for us office workers!) and visiting some of my favorite local shops.  People say that cities are lonely and impersonal, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case.  The thing about cities is that you have get out and explore a bit.  After awhile, you start to see the same faces at your local yoga class, pet supply store and farmer’s market.  You get to know the flavor of different parts of the city.  After awhile, you have favorite haunts.  Even when you don’t have a friend to spend the afternoon with, you know all the places you can go that will be full of beautiful, unique things and fun people-watching.   

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No free day is complete for me without either a long walk or a workout.  It is such a pleasure to be able to exercise when I’m not either half-asleep or exhausted from a long day of work.  I have lots of energy to burn, and I get to enjoy sunlight streaming in through the windows while I work out.  Incidentally, I’ve figured out that I actually do love exercise—just not running or long workouts at the gym.  I can even do unmodified pushups now!  But that is a subject for another post…

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The used bookstore is always high up on my list of places to visit.  There are few things more beautiful than stacks of books.  Many of my favorite bookstores have closed in the wake of Amazon and the Kindle, but there are still a few great bookstores that I love to stop by when I get the chance.

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The shop owners like to play classical music in the background.  This time, the sound of the music mixed with the happy squeals of children playing behind the building.

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I guess the kids like the sunshine, too!

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To my happiness, I found a copy of an old favorite cookbook: Laurel’s Kitchen.   I love this delightfully old-school, hippie vegetarian cookbook for its simple, frugal recipes that celebrate vegetables and whole foods.  In particular, it has an excellent selection of recipes for 100% whole wheat baked goods.  It’s fairly preachy about its food philosophy and (in the original edition) has some—interesting—things to say about women working outside of the home.  But the authors’ passion for whole foods is obvious and the recipes are tasty.  I have fond memories of attempting to make whole wheat spinach and ricotta canneloni with Blueberry Sis.  It will be a welcome edition to my cookbook collection.

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I also paid a visit to one of my all-time favorite small businesses:  Soaptopia!  This place is amazing—they make high quality natural soaps and skin products that smell to-die-for delicious and work wonders on sensitive skin.  I have a family full of people with very sensitive skin and allergies to many fragrances, and everyone loves Soaptopia’s products.  The soaps are creamy and gentle and smell amazing.

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The 50/50 balm may be my favorite product—think globs of rich moisturizing cream surrounded by scented oils, which you can swirl together and then apply.  Amazing.

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You can buy the products online (or at Whole Foods, if you live in LA), but walking through the store is like an aromatherapy session.  If you come at the right time, you can watch them cooking up the soaps right in front of you.

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One of my favorite weekend eats is whole wheat pita pizza.  It’s quick, tasty and easy to create with whatever you have on hand.  Last night’s version: marinara sauce, feta, canned tuna and fresh arugula.     

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For brunch today, I made savory whole wheat French toast, which the Lemonator and I both love.  I actually prefer it to traditional sweet French toast.  You simply flavor the egg-milk mixture with salt, pepper, fresh herbs and grated parmesan cheese.  This is especially good if you have any stale rosemary bread, but any whole wheat bread will work.  The end result is hearty and flavorful, but not too heavy.  I like to serve it with a simple green salad with lemon and olive oil.

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Bagheera has been eager to join in anything interesting going on.

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But Kimba prefers to nap.

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Happy weekend!

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