Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting Colorful

What a crazy week last week was! After eight straight days of music and theater tasks, I was so happy to get to Friday, and a rare evening free! Of course, I spent the evening catching up on laundry and trying desperately to be able to see, since I had endured my vision exam at the optometrist that afternoon, and he had insisted on dilating my eyes. Eye phobias + doctor induced near-blindness is a recipe for disaster!

Fortunately, on Saturday I knew I was in for a treat. The Color Run came to Baltimore, and for the third time in a year, I was there to throw myself into the full spirit of "The Happiest 5K on the Planet!"

Mari & Kelly, after the last Color Zone.
*Photo courtesy of Donna Smith
OK, for those of you unfamiliar with The Color Run, it's an untimed 5K (approximately 3.2 miles) race that you can either walk or run. Most people, at least in Baltimore, tend to walk it, as the course is narrow in a few places that makes it difficult to bypass slower folk in front of you or parents with baby strollers. You'd be amazed at how many strollers there are.

The catch is, you pass through "Color Zones", where volunteers pelt you with colored cornstarch. Hence, the "color" in "The Color Run". My understanding is that most cities have 4 color zones. Baltimore somehow rates a 5th color zone, since the course goes around both Camden Yards, our ballpark, and M&T Bank Stadium, our football stadium, where we get the special Purple zone.

The Color Run also partners with The Cool Kids Campaign, which is a charity for pediatric cancer patients. Every year, they have one zone where the volunteers are all cancer survivors and oncological staff. It definitely puts a positive spin on supporting a worthy cause!

This was my third Color Run, and by far the coldest. When I got in my car to pick up my teammates, the thermometer read 25 degrees! Plus, we had our first snow of the year on Thursday, so there was no escaping the cold! Although I'm originally from the chilly state of Montana and used to love the winter cold, the further into adulthood that I venture, the less enamored I am of the white stuff.

Donna, Kelly, & "ninja" Mari, bundled up and ready to go!
*Photo courtesy of Donna Smith
Due to unforeseen personal circumstances beyond my control, I went with a different group of friends than the past 2 outings, but it was no less fun. Mari, who grew up primarily in the Middle East, doesn't handle the cold well, and was wrapped up like a ninja. Somewhat ironically, I kept losing track of her, even when she was standing right next to me! Donna, was similarly bundled up, and kept wanting to take pictures with her phone despite being hampered by her giant mittens.

Side note - I often get envious of Mari & Donna, both of whom I adore and look forward to spending time with. Since they live next door to one another, they have a lot of random shared experiences that I only get to hear about secondhand. Like last week, when their husbands got together to build trebuchets for launching pumpkins as part of a project for Scott's Boy Scout troop. I want to live on the same street as the cool kids!
At the finish line!
*Photo courtesy of Donna Smith

Anywho, you start the run all pristine and white, and cross the finish line coated in blue and pink and purple and orange and yellow, with cloud puffs rolling off of you with each step. Plastic baggies of MORE color (I got green this time!) are handed to you at the finish line, and then the chaos begins. As you move closer to the stage area where "The Color Festival" is held, the MC counts down from ten to a color toss, where those who have finished toss the powder from their baggies in the air, on each other, and at total strangers.

Our tradition is to go to lunch afterward. Even though I come prepared every time (no color smudges are going to happen in my car!), it's never possible to get ALL of the color off of your skin short of scrubbing in the shower - the blue is the worst. It's kind of fun to go to some of Baltimore's hot spots afterward and be able to pick out your fellow Color Runners.

The three of us headed over to Canton, to Dangerously Delicious Pies. It had been almost 10 years since I've been there, but the name is still apt. Seriously, being reminded how close this is to my turf is a dangerous thing ... to my waistline. We each got a savory pie slice for lunch, and a dessert pie for, well, dessert. The Sausage Tomato Fennel pie was absolutely divine, and the bite I had of Donna's Crab & Cheddar Quiche was eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head fabulous. The Mobtown Brown pie, which is basically pecan pie with an enormous layer of Swiss chocolate and caramel on top, undoubtedly undid all of the good that the exercise of the run did earlier, but was well worth it. It's also fun to watch the staff preparing all of the mini pies that they sell. I've been thinking about getting a second job when I'm not in show-mode, but I think this would be a dangerous place to work!
Sausage, Tomato, & Fennel Pie
at Dangerously Delicious Pies in Canton.
To die for!

All content and images are ©The Casual Diva, except where otherwise noted. Content may not be republished without prior consent of the author.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Spinach and Mozzarella Quiche

Bet you thought I forgot about you, huh?


Last Monday, my Internet was down for the better part of the day. (This would not be a problem if I could get my act together and write my blogs on Sunday evenings, but, well, if I didn't stall, then I wouldn't be me.) By the time I was reconnected to the rest of the universe, I was already caught up in other things. Like, I don't know, my job.

But what about Friday, you ask? Well, by Friday, I was just feeling lazy about writing, since so many other things were happening that day. I had some fires to put out at work (a couple of them are still smoldering in the background, just waiting for me to relax before flaring up again). I was getting ready to record a Christmas CD with the choir. And I had a first date.

You don't really want to hear about any of that, though.

Starting this week, I'm throwing myself whole-heartedly into a crazy schedule. On top of the normal round of show rehearsals and choir rehearsals, I have multiple auditions. One is really close to home; the other is really close to my parents' home (which is not all that close to MY home).

One thing I always try to do leading up to an audition is to eat healthier. I really should have started sooner than the day before auditions start, but, hey, procrastinator on board (see above)! For one thing, no one wants to see a bloated diva on stage. While there's no camera to add 10 pounds, there's still a panel of people scrutinizing you, and I carry enough self-consciousness about the rest of my performance to wonder if my belly is jiggling while I dance.

The other reason I eat healthier in the days leading up to auditions is that it gives me more energy, and directors like energy, or so I've been told. So I'm cutting back on carbs and red meat (although I'm not completely eliminating either from my diet), and focusing instead on lean protein and produce.

I made this quiche a few days ago for dinner, and I'm really liking how it feels like a power food. The leftovers make for a really nice and quick power breakfast!

Spinach and Mozzarella Quiche (Crustless)


1 T olive oil
2/3 cup onions, diced
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
6 eggs
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Slowly heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and sauté at medium heat until softened. Add spinach and cook until excess moisture is gone.

  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until thoroughly mixed. Fold in spinach mixture until blended. Spoon into prepared pie plate.

  4. Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes, or until eggs have set (the quiche will show light browning around the edges). Serve warm.

All content and images are ©The Casual Diva, except where otherwise noted. Content may not be republished without prior consent of the author.