Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Foodie Penpal

Well, after a long hiatus on the blog front, I figured I still needed to post a big thank you to my Foodie Penpal of the month, Cori! The stuff she sent me was awesome!

The Lean Green Bean

I got some lovely homemade pumpkin muffins, some exquisite chocolates from what I gather is a famous store in Buffalo, Coconut water, hot sauce, and some Justin's Almond Butter! Plus, everything was wrapped up very beautifully with the prettiest little card!

And then when I looked at what the chocolates were (you know.... ala Forrest Gump... 'you never know what you're gonna get' and all that) I was delighted! Look at the little guys!

Buffalo from buffalo (and tasty dark chocolate ones at that!) The other candy you see in there were some sort of orange sponge cake coated in creamy milk chocolate. It was a bit of local flavor from Watson's!
I'd never tried Justin's Almond Butter before, but boy, was I in for a treat. The stuff was so authentically nutty, and I also LOVED the whole salt crystal parts that counteracted the sweet maple flavor with their saltiness. Over all.... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm is just about all I can say. A big thank you to Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean for organizing this and of course, a shout out to my pen pal Cori. Thanks a bunch! I loved it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

I've been so busy lately that cooking has just not been something I've been able to do. Mostly it's been peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and some awesome Chobani and granola for breakfast. But after a while, I start to crave something warm and fresh. Especially since, though it isn't TECHNICALLY fall, the chill in the air makes it FEEL like it.

And since it's fall, of course I had to make something pumpkin. Again. For like, the fifth time. Somehow, I just don't get tired of it (so I hope no one else does either, or I'm just being really annoying with all the pumpkin posts...)

Last weekend, I attempted to make my own pancakes, and they didn't go so well. Not to be discouraged, I went for it again this morning when I needed a little pick-me-up. And they WORKED! (cue the bells!)

makes one small, snack-size serving

1/4 cup oats, ground
2 T. Pumpkin Puree
2 T. Egg Whites
2 T. Water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Baking Soda
Sweetener (opt.)

  1. Mix all ingredients together and stir until well blended.
  2. Cook on greased or buttered skillet over medium-high heat until bubbles form. Flip and cook additional 1-2 minutes. (this would make 4 mini-pancakes. Timing will vary with size of pancake you make.)
  3. Top with syrup and chopped nuts or more pumpkin butter! ENJOY!
For those of you who are curious, this little snack is low-calorie and healthy! The entire recipe has only 100 calories, so eat up! If you're making these for breakfast, round out the meal with some scrambled eggs or yogurt and fruit and you've got a nice meal to start your day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dealing with Disappointment (and CHOBANI!)

Today has been a downer. I've been in quite a funk this whole week, trying to get myself on track with school, running, cooking, homework... LIFE. And things just haven't quite been adding up the way I would hope. You ever have those times when you're just about at your breaking point and the littlest things sets you off?

Yup. That was me this morning.

You see, I was going to do my second WIAW post, but as I went to take a picture of my breakfast this morning (which tasted kind of...ehhh. Not really worth sharing...) my camera told me there was a problem with the memory card.

Would you like to reformat? YES.
Reformatting will delete all pictures on memory card. OK.
*Wait three minutes*
Reformatting failed. OK.
Would you like to reformat?................ Cycle repeats. 20 times. Girl almost throws camera out window and starts to cry. Girl turns off camera with a sigh, finishes breakfast, and moves on to go to school.

And then little irritance number two...
I recently bought a bodybugg SP system. It's been okay... kind of fun to know how many steps I take during the day and such and it has been helpful for me to reconcile that I burn more than I would have thought, so I've been eating more appropriately, but today, the app just wouldn't load. I press it... it says loading and then just stops and returns to the home screen.


That's been the kind of day I've had. And it is frustrating.

So here's my advice: we cannot control many of the things which will come our way in life. Irritants, whether they be big or small, are inevitably going to set us back... but only if we let them. Yes, you can get annoyed. In fact, please do. It's unhealthy to bottle up the stress. But after you cry/scream for your 5 minutes, you just have to take stock of things and find a new goal. Put it in perspective. Ask yourself- is the energy I'm using to stay mad about this really worth it?

And then we find new things to make us happy. Like a lovely little shipment from Chobani, courtesy of Lindsay. (Thank you so much! It made my day! Seriously...after what happened today...It was like Christmas!) I managed to get my camera on the non-card mode, which meant it can take a whopping 4 pictures, but here they are:
STEP ONE: The box

STEP TWO: The inflated silver thingy

STEP THREE: the freeze packs

(to ask yourself, although you are free to share) WHAT DISAPPOINTMENTS HAVE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME THIS WEEK?
AND....What's your favorite CHO flavor? What should I try out first?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tofu Mashed "Not-atoes"

Somehow, I've begun to embrace getting up early. It seems a daunting task at first, like, "5:00. NO. We were not made for each other. Why do you even exist?" but then it's not quite so bad. I get so much done early on in the day and feel like I'm prepared and not scurrying around gathering things for school or cleaning or throwing things randomly into my lunch and later asking myself, "Why did I even buy this? It's gross." and then eating it anyway, because, well, I'm a runner and that's what we do. Eat. Because we get hungry :) A lot, haha.

And so some of us try to whip up better things that will fill us up and keep us pounding out the miles. Like, oh, I don't know, a more protein-rich mashed 'potato' recipe that's super creamy and chocked full of vegetables.

Not to toot my horn, but I was actually pretty proud of how this turned out, considering my very meat-and-potatoes oriented father even told me it looked 'like real food'. Oh, Dad... That being said, it is not your buttery, thick and starchy mashed potato recipe. At all. So don't expect that. It tastes different, but it has awesome flavors in itself. I promise. I ate the whole thing :)

I still have a ways to go on the kitchen front, cooking up a storm. I know I'm no professional chef. I know I'm no super-blogger. But I take pride in what I HAVE done. Take that step back in your life and realize that you don't need to compare to others or worry that they'll believe you're not humble and good. You ARE. Do things that will satisfy you, and the rest will come. Others can like 'em or not.

But hopefully you'll like these :)

The view, half eaten, on my dinner plate
3 oz lite firm tofu, drained and pressed once
2 cups steamed cauliflower florets
2-3 T. Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp minced onion flakes
S+P, to taste

Mixed, sauteed veggies
BALSAMIC VINEGAR (You will want this even if you leave off the veggies!!)
  1. Puree the tofu and cauliflower in blender until well mixed and super-creamy. This may take some time, depending on the strength of your blender. Stir a few times in between to ensure that EVERYTHING is getting down to the blades and getting pureed.
  2. Scoop out and add spices and Nutritional Yeast. VOILA! It is done! (I refrigerated mine for about 3 hours prior to eating and it thickened up a little more. Otherwise, if you want them thicker, add more tofu, some greek yogurt, or possibly a tablespoon of ground flax or flour. I did none of these, though, and they were AWESOME!) ENJOY!
*Pictured on top is a little bit of mixed veggies I made which really added to the admittedly bland nature of the mashed tofu/cauliflower. I chopped up 5 mushrooms, a stalk of  celery, and steamed it in the microwave with basil, rosemary, olive oil, and about 1 T. balsamic vinegar (I used not-soaked up vinegar as a drizzle for the not-atoes also.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Rainy Day Calls for Eating Brownie Batter...right?

I can't be alone in hating rainy days, can I? Something about the gray, dark sky just tends to make my mood plummet into the deep, dark depths of despair (yes, I like alliteration!). The good thing about rainy days, however, is the comfort you can get by just trying to ward off the blues. You know... that perfect "read a book, bake some cookies, batten down the hatches and snuggle up with a blanket watching Disney movies" feeling. Why don't we do that on every other day?

Well, in any case, we don't, so at least rainy days give us a reason to really rest and take care of ourselves. Even if we can't shake the blues. (Seriously, I think I really might have weather-dependent moods. Any one else like that?) 

What's an awesome mood-booster? CHOCOLATE! 

It's true... at least for me. There is some science behind it also, but even if there wasn't.... I think I could support this claim on experience alone. And what makes chocolate even better. Oh, I don't know... maybe eating it in the form of

This picture just doesn't do the creation justice!

1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup water/milk or combo of the two
3 T. Egg Whites
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1-2 T. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
Pinch Cinnamon
Sweetener, to taste
(or leave out for DEEP INTENSE COCOA Flavor. It won't be sweet... but...)
  1. Cook oats on stove top by boiling water/milk, then adding oats and reducing heat to medium. Stir occasionally until majority of liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add egg whites and STIR CONSTANTLY while adding. I can't emphasize this enough... otherwise you will end up with some scrambled egg whites in your brownie batter, and that's just not very tasty. After the eggs are incorporated into the oats, continue cooking until even more liquid is absorbed.
  3. Stir in cocoa powder and sugar/sweetener as desired. The cinnamon should help bring out the flavor a bit, especially with the addition of pumpkin
  4. Stir in the pumpkin, and allow to fully heat. The pumpkin is the real 'secret' ingredient here, making this oatmeal EXTREMELY fudgy and brownie-batter textured. You CAN still taste it, which I like because I love pumpkin, but just be aware if you don't like it. You could sub banana for a milder flavor, I would expect.
  5. Serve in a nice little bowl and ENJOY!

Nutrition wise, this is a pretty thick, filling recipe with plenty of protein and some good antioxidants from the cocoa. The oatmeal provides the fiber, and the pumpkin gives you a  little serving of veggies as well! The entire recipe (which can easily be doubled!) is only 130 calories and yields about 8 grams of protein! YUM!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tofu Pizza Crust and Rest Days

Rest days, no matter how annoying they are sometimes, are important. Just saying. I've been starting to feel the load of running, running, running and my body doesn't necessarily like it. My shins hurt, my quads are tight, I can hardly walk up the stairs... and yet my mind says GO. Luckily, I have a very understanding coach who knows that breaks are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It seems to be a pretty common problem among serious athletes, even in high school, to want to stretch the limits and never admit that they CAN'T or at least SHOULDN'T do something. But guess what? It's OKAY to have those days. It's even necessary once in a while.

We, as humans, need to understand that there are limits to our lives and abilities. It's just how things were meant to be. Whether you push yourself in school, at work, on the field, or at a gym, just remember that it's fine to not be fine. Some days are the kind when you need a nap. Some are the kind when you need to scream into a pillow and cry. And don't worry... that still leaves plenty of days for you to smile and skip and work your behind off at practice, if that's what you like to do. But a rest won't kill you. And remember: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

With that sentiment out of the way, we can move on to the fun part of the post. Or at least it's usually MY favorite. THE RECIPE! After seeing a lot about cauliflower pizza crusts and even making one myself, I decided it was about time for another sort of pizza to make its way to my repertoire. I have nothing against real dough, except it usually takes FOREVER to make... with the yeast and the kneading and such. So, I opted for a super crust full of flavor and protein and TOFU.


3 oz firm tofu, crumbled up. DRAINED NOT PRESSED!
1 tsp. flax seeds, ground
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/3 cup diced mushrooms
Onion Powder
Celery Salt
1 tsp oil (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Don't worry if things don't hold together as well as would be expected... the microwaving ought to take care of that.
  2. Lightly butter or spray a microwaveable plate and place mixture onto it. Press together with fingers to form one large pizza crust.
  3. Microwave on HIGH 3-5 minutes until you can get under it with a fork or spatula and flip it without tons of crumbling. Microwave other side up for 1-2 minutes until it holds together well.
  4. Top with sauce/veggies/more yeast/soy cheese and enjoy. I put a big slice of tomato and pizza hummus on mine. YUM!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Banana Bread Pudding and a Long Run

Let's cut to the chase... since once again, I SHOULD be doing homework and am instead writing a blogpost, because the things I made this morning was really, really good.

It was pudding...or maybe more like soft serve ice cream....or a super thick smoothie (you decide!) but it had the taste of banana bread. Really. I kid you not. EXACTLY like it... and then that added cold, frozen dreamy creaminess that 'banana soft-serve' has, for those of you who have just blended up frozen bananas know.

I STRONGLY recommend this. I think it may be my favorite thing I've made thus far! Sweet, refreshing, fruity, and really... banana bready :)

1 frozen banana
1/3 cup almond milk
1/8 cup rolled oats, ground in food processer to powder
Dash Cinnamon
Dash Nutmeg

Coconut Flakes
Chocolate Chips
Chopped Almonds
Peanut Butter
Caramel Sauce

  1. Put everything into your blender and blend on high until you get a creamy, soft-serve ice cream/pudding consistency.
  2. Top with whatever your little heart desires. I went with coconut flakes (overcoming my fear of saturated fats!) and some cocoa roasted almonds, which were awesome because a little bit of chocolate got in there in the almond bites but I also got the plain-banana bread taste in others, which I LOVED. ENJOY!

Here she is! All topped up!
Okay, so I ate the toppings first :)
 At practice today we got the pleasure of getting in a long run. I love long runs, because you can really let loose and get the acid out of your muscles but still get in a bit of a workout. I find that my mind really clears up and I start to get in touch with my body more and more as the run goes on. Plus, you can talk with your teammates! We played a little game in which we speculated where all the people we knew would be in 10 years. It's funny, but according to us, it seems that we will all be doctors or physical therapists or physchologists. That tells you a bit about the kind of girls on our team, but also loving. And smart. I love my team. They are always there for me. Plus, when I shared the embarrassing fact that yes, I started a blog, no one laughed. They were very interested in learning how to make a smoothie taste like banana bread, I'll say that!

Question of the Day: Where do you see YOURSELF in 10 years?