November 18, 2011

Cinnamon bun explosion

I think I have a baking problem. Seriously, it’s way too fun and such productive procrastination:).

My latest creation is a cinnamon bun explosion! The buns were so bursting with deliciousness that they literally exploded out of the pan. Pretty crazy.

I’ve also been experimenting a lot with making my own granola. Cereal is just too expensive. It’s also  healthier to make your own. You then control how much sugar goes into it. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own granola. Just mix whatever you want... oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, coconut, dried nuts… then add some oil, vanilla, brown sugar or maple syrup... bake for 45 minutes (mix every once in awhile) at 300°F. Voila, granola! You can mix in any dried fruit at the end (don’t add before baking, it will burn, not that I know by experience…).
Yes, the most proper way to serve cinnamon buns is on a pig platter

My favourite creation so far has been gingerbread granola. Just add gingerbread spices (ginger, cloves, nutmeg), cut up fresh ginger and use molasses and brown sugar as the sweetener. Really good combo, especially during the colder months.

Now I’m just trying to figure how to get it to create big clumps like in the cereal boxes, any tips?

November 9, 2011

New Beginnings..

Hello world!

As some of you might have read, Colavita will not continue as a team next season. Very sad news:(. A full article explaining some of the more in depth reasons is available here.

Regardless of all the politics behind cycling teams, I just want to use this post to reflect upon my experiences and celebrate the success we achieved as a team this season! I could not have asked for a better introduction to professional racing. I'm so grateful for all the amazing sponsors that made the team possible this year!

By the end of the season, the team was ranked #1 in the US. We held the top 3 individuals in the NRC rankings, had 41 victories and over 100 podiums. Pretty impressive eh? It was the absolute best season the team had ever had.

One thing that constantly came up in our team meetings was how our excellent team dynamics kept leading to success. Everyone truly cared and believed in each other, and we were all 100% committed to any race plan. I think one of the coolest things was that we were not always working for the same people on the team, those podiums and wins were distributed across all members of the team. Everyone had a chance to demonstrate and use their strengths to their full potential.

I’m back at University and currently taking a social psych class. The other day, we had a guest speaker come to talk about her experiences as a group facilitator, and she also spoke of some of the current theories in group dynamics. A simple one that I think can apply to the team is the Tuckman theory. It basically indicates groups will go through certain stages before working optimally together. These stages are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Mourning/Adjourning.

Basically you start at the forming stage, everyone is getting to know each other, basic introductions, impressions.. It then moves onto storming when the group knows each other well enough to voice any frustrations. (We never really had much of this, thank goodness). Norming is when you’re starting to trust each other. Everyone starts to understand their roles and responsibilities in the group. Performing is "characterized by a state of interdependence and flexibility. Everyone knows each other well enough to be able to work together, and trusts each other enough to allow independent activity.  Roles and responsibilities change according to need in an almost seamless way.  Group identity, loyalty and morale are all high, and everyone is equally task-orientated and people-orientated.  This high degree of comfort means that all the energy of the group can be directed towards the task(s) in hand"( I think this is just a perfect description of the team.

Mourning/Adjourning occurs when a group has reached the end of their time together, but don't want to stop working together. There is happiness in what was accomplished, but still a sense of loss. I think everyone on the team felt this way at the end of the season. Kinda cool when I can relate things learned in school to real life experiences!

Despite not being able to continue that same group dynamic with the team ending, I’m sure it’s possible to reach that level again. I do have plans set up for next season and will announce them in the next few weeks! Next season will be a time for new beginnings.

Leah :)