Friday, August 31, 2012

Savory Oats?

The idea has always turned me off, quite honestly. I mean, I love my oatmeal and my porridge, but I don't get much savorier with it than plain. I guess that's the natural thing to expect from someone with a huge sweet tooth...I swoon over chocolate, peanut butter, cookies, fruit, and coffee (ok, so that's not really sweet at all. But it deserved to be included). And funfetti. I just devoured ate the final funfetti protein oat cake tonight, and they do get better with age after freezing and then thawing in the fridge, FYI.
Here's that little oatfetti cake again! YUMMY!

I've been eating slowly through my butternut burgers all week, but I was starting to get tired of them. Luckily, when I looked today, there was only 1 left (I usually eat them as a pair, so of course I had to find a different use for it!) What could one do with a little lone veggie burger? The real question seems to be: what can one do with just about ANYTHING?

Oatmeal. The answer is ALWAYS oatmeal.

But for a burger? Really? Was I going there, after all this fuss about keeping my oatmeal sweet and fruity? Apparently....yes. I was.

Because it's me, I had to make it high-protein, to give it even more staying power, but in this situation I doubted vanilla or chocolate protein powder was really going to work. What savory option did I have for a good low fat, high-protein addition to oatmeal? It's another miracle ingredient, folks:

EGG WHITES. Among other things, of course. Enough chit chat, though. Here's what I did.

2 and 1/4 cups water or milk
2/3 cup rolled oats
6 T. egg whites
1 leftover Butternut Burger
Dash Ginger
S+P, to taste

  1. Heat water on stovetop to boiling. Add oats and reduce to medium.
  2. Cook until most of the water is absorbed (it may take a while.) Stir every 3-4 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Once liquid has been absorbed, add in egg whites and stir constantly, or you will get some scrambled egg bits in your porridge. Because it is savory, this will be okay, but you want most of the egg to go to making a thicker liquidy part of the oatmeal.
  4. After another 2 minutes, and all liquid absorbed, remove pot from heat and turn off stove. Crumble up the burger into it and add ginger and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, and pour into 2 dishes to serve (or makes one hearty serving, like I did!)
*ANOTHER NOTE. You can refrigerate this for about 3 days after cooking both for thickening purposes and if you just aren't ready to eat it yet. Make sure you heat it up, of course, and ENJOY!
So, it doesn't look very yummy. I'm well aware of that. But it was actually pretty good. I was surprised at how much I actually liked it. I still prefer my sweet oats, but,'s worth a try if you haven't been brave enough yet!

Finally Friday: and Some Healthy Chocolate Bread!

It's been a long week. The first week of school often is, of course, but this one seemed especially lengthy. Maybe it's because it's Junior year and I'm starting a whole bunch of new classes and receiving a tornado of new information that I have to keep straight. Maybe it's the difficult XC workouts we've been starting the season out with (they've been pretty monotonous, and I certainly feel the burn. I've also been told by my coach not to put our workouts on the internet for fear that other teams will get I can't actually tell you WHAT we did. Just that it was hard and tiring). Maybe it's the sad fact that I haven't had time to update my blog as much as I really would like to. Or maybe it's a combination of all those things. (I think my vote's on the last one!)

Today is going to be a time to catch up on all the blog posts. It was also a night to spend in the kitchen, experimenting with this and that and whipping up more delicious recipes...or at least I hope they're delicious. It's been hard to try out new concoctions, because I'm paranoid that my recipes are going to fall flat, literally and metaphorically.

The first one tonight didn't.

Chocolate Almond Protein Bread
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup egg whites
1 oz. cocoa roast almonds
1/3 cup almond milk
1 scoop vanilla (or chocolate) protein powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. almond extract
1 T. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Sugar in the Raw or Agave
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grind almonds to powder, then keep grinding to a bit of a wet paste in a food processor.
  3. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  5. Cut into slices and remove from pan. Can be frozen and kept well that way! ENJOY!
*A little note here. This ENTIRE loaf of bread has only 735 calories. I cut mine into 8 slices, which came out nice and THICK, and each one has only about 95 calories! And it tastes AWESOME. I'm not kidding. Especially warm....and a little bit gooey....ahhhh

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What's your favorite thing to cook, or at least type of cooking? Mine is probably sauting and stir frying, because it's so involved, but it would have to be followed closely by baking, as you might be able to tell!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running Shoe Shopping

If there is one thing that I love to buy, it would have to be shoes. Flats, converse... and of course, running shoes. I love the bright colors, testing out the soles, trying to figure out all the new technology. But somehow today, despite all the wonderful options available, I did the only thing a girl could do: go with the classic. I'm an Asiacs girl. I think the past 5 or 6 pairs I've owned have all been Asiacs! This time, though, I actually ended up with the exact same pair. Yupp. THE EXACT SAME: color, size, design, model... the only difference of course, was that I hadn't been wearing them! I figured it was a new season, so it was probably time to get a new pair, but I couldn't help feeling a little foolish. Why was I dishing out another $90 to get something I already had? I don't know... oh well. I trust these shoes. They've been like old friends, carrying me through hard workouts and hikes and rainstorms and adventures in the woods...and I definitely just used a run-on sentence. Once again: oh well.

I sadly haven't had a whole lot of time in the kitchen due to school starting up again (technically I really should be studying right now for a test in AP Bio...on the second full day of school no less!) so no new recipes to report. I did, however, whip up something a little yummy quite some time ago which I brought up on Averie's site here. Pumpkin peanut butter. Maybe it sounds like a strange combination, but I think it's heaven. A great fall twist on an old classic at the very least! Here's the super easy recipe:

Sarah's Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1.5 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash Pumpkin Pie Spice
1-2 teaspoons raisins
1-2 teaspoons chopped walnuts or pecans
2 teaspoons almond milk
Sweetener to taste (I don't use any)
*Optional- a handful of cacao nibs or chocolate chips :)
Note: this isn't a picture of my recipe. I don't have one. This image came from here. But mine looks just as good, if not better!

Simply stir everything together and keep in the fridge. Serve on sandwiches, with graham crackers, apples, bananas, celery, bread, on oatmeal....whatever your heart desires. Or even eat it with a spoon, because it is THAT good. Especially with the chocolate. Shhh. I won't tell anyone.

I've really been into pumpkin lately, in case you haven't noticed. In fact, I ate it with every meal today! (pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin pb sandwich, pumpkin burgers, pumpkin pie banana protein shake...the list didn't end!) Something about it just warms you from inside out, though. And I needed some motivation at practice today. We ran 800 reps with medicine balls/agility ladders/strength in between each. And we increased the speed by 10 seconds with each round. We only did 3 800s total, but of course we had the 15 minute warmup run and all of that strength, so in the heat it made for a pretty tough workout. Plus, I had conditioning in gym, and I worked HARD with lunges and on the weight resistance machines. I'm going to get MUSCLES this year (my goal, at least....)

Question of the day: What is YOUR shopping addiction? Do you have a go-to exercise apparel or shoe that you just can't let go of? 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Daily Grind

School, you shall be taking over my life for the next 10 months. I submit. With 4 APs, a couple of clubs, and afterschool sports, I officially have no life again.


It's a good question. And I have really no idea. Basically, since it's just the first day, we don't have any homework yet, so I figured this would be one of the last opportunities I would have to make a longish post of any kind. Not that I have anything life-shattering to share today... I was sitting in a seat for 6 hours after all!

I woke up late this morning, due to an alarm clock that decided NOT to go off at 6:00AM. My bus supposedly comes at 6:52, and when do I wake up (no thanks to YOU, unhelpful alarm clock)? 6:45. I panicked, of course, because that seems to be what I do best, but because I had already packed my bag the night before, everything turned out okay. I threw on clothes, shoved contacts in my eyes (again...not a good decision. Sorry, corneas!) and grabbed a Nature Valley Bar package for a breakfast to go. (I was pretty bummed because I REALLY wanted more of my pumpkin protein oats...they're awesome. Really. Check out this for the recipe:YUMMM
And my stomach was DEFINETELY rumbling by the time lunch rolled around 3 hours later. Note to self: even if in a hurry, grab something in addition to the granola bars. They don't have the staying power! Before a workout... yeah, but only because you eat AFTER it too. B-fast? No can do.

We were also informed of the school's new policies during each one of our 8 classes that day: you will lose credit for a class if you miss 12, you will lose points for being tardy 3 times, you need a swipe card to the bathrooms...blah blah blah.

Wait. A swipe card to the bathrooms?
Yup. It's real. Apparently, to handle any possible vandalism, this way the school can track who's been using the bathroom at different times to pinpoint the students behind it. Sounds like a good idea, except for MY concern.... what about if you lose the card and you just GOTTA GO? I think any one of you can see why this might be a slight worry... I have noticed that runners need to pee way more than the average person!

Practice was enjoyable. A 40 minute run at different speeds every 10 minutes. In the 100 degree weather. Which equals lots of sweat. And some really hot, thirsty teenage girls! To celebrate surviving, one of my friends and I headed to Starbucks and got some nice, cold drinks to refresh us. Like I said, it's okay to indulge yourself from time to time!

And that coffee frappacino was worth it.

Here's a nice quote today for anyone getting more active and hesitating to embrace 'the athlete identity':
I AM A RUNNER because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far. I AM A RUNNER because I say I am. And no one can tell me I'm not.
John Bingham, author and runner

Question of the day: What's your breakfast on the go or breakfast in a rush? AND... how do you feel about the identity of being a runner? Are YOU?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quinoa and Squash Bake (and a note about beauty)

In all honesty, today has been a struggle. My depression cropped up randomly, as it does most of the time, and I just didn't feel like doing much of anything. I felt really detached from myself as I was running and do so even now as well. The eating disorder thoughts tend to come on pretty strong whenever I fall into this familiar pit, so I'm just a little unhappy and withdrawn.

But I'm not going to let that be the end of it. No way will this get me down. Despite that voice in my ear telling me how ugly and fat and gluttonous I am, I will prevail. (I hope.) For anyone reading this, know that I believe in you and the beauty of you. There is something worthwhile in every person. And it is NOT what you look like or what you eat or what you weigh. I just need to practice what I preach now.

And on to lighter things.

Ahh. Time for that funny little grain to rear its head again. I think the only thing better than eating the quinoa is just saying the name. It's so fun! Just try it out loud for a bit! "Keen-wah. Keeeen-waaahh." The first time I heard about quinoa, I had absolutely NO idea how to pronounce it and made a bit of a fool of myself trying. I kept telling my friends about this awesome "Kwi-noh-aa" salad I had, and they were totally stumped as to what I was talking about (then again, I'm not sure they know what quinoa is either so it's all good)

Because it's just so loveable, quinoa gets to be featured AGAIN. Along with some of its squash buddies, Mr. Butternut and Mr. Zucchini, which have been hanging out in the fridge for some time now and were just DYING to get used up. (Okay, so I personify things a lot. We can add that to my Looong list of quirks)

QUINOA SQUASH BAKE,  inspired by Oh She Glows
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa 
1 c. roasted butternut squash, mashed
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
3/4 c. milk of choice
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 medium Zucchini, sliced into thin strips
Basil, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa (boil 2 cups water, pour in quinoa, reduce heat to medium, cover, and let cook for 12 minutes. NO PEEKING :)  )
  3. Meanwhile, in blender or food processor combine butternut squash, yogurt, milk, and some salt and pepper. This is your 'cheez' sauce for the bake.
  4. Slice zucchini into thin strips and lay out on the bottom of  a small casserole dish. Drizzle with a little but of olive oil and salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Combine cooked quinoa with cheez sauce and pour on top of zucchini. Bake for 30 minutes until everything starts to set and come together a bit. ENJOY!

Butternut Burgers

There is STILL leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin palooza I had the other day, and I was perusing various ways to get rid of use it. One of the more intriguing was in a veggie burger recipe seen here at Oh She Glows, one of my new favorite blogs. But after reading the assessment and careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't willing to let go of my precious pumpkin for burgers. It needed to be used AGAIN in some oatmeal :) But I still needed something for some burgers...

To the cupboard! And almost as if it were magic, a BUTTERNUT SQUASH appeared (not really. It was already sitting there, but...) This would do. This would do.

(made 8 small burgers)
1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 stalk celery, chopped
2/3 cup mashed roasted butternut squash (can be done in microwave. Cut squash in half, microwave one half, cut side down, in casserole dish for 8-10 minutes on high and remove seeds. Mash up flesh to use for recipe)
2 T. Flaxseed
1/2 tsp. ginger
Dash cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees 
  2. Mash up your chickpeas using potato masher. Add chopped celery and mashed up squash.
  3. Grind flaxseed into powder and add to bean mixture. Add spices.
  4. Form into patties and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, then flip. Bake additional 25-30 minutes until the burgers stay together in burger form. ENJOY!

Happy Banana Day! (Celebrate with a Smoothie!)

Did you know that today, August 27, is National Banana Day? Don't worry, I only discovered this recently, too. But bananas deserve some recognition, don't you agree? I mean, their versatility is praiseworthy! Banana 'Ice Cream'! A base for pudding! A link in vegan baking! An essential piece in the Elvis sandwich! A boat for every kind of sweet deliciousness!

Yeah. I love bananas.

Plus, as if it couldn't get any better, my XC team calls ourselves the bananas (although the high school mascot is the viking. Don't worry... no one could cheer 'MASH THOSE BANANASSS!' at our football games. Our football team needs no help...) We sing a little song before every meet which goes like this:
I AM A 'B'.
I AM A 'B-A.'
I HAVE A 'B-A-N-A-N-A' IN MY 'M-O-U-T-H' AND I WILL 'E-A-T' A 'B-A-N-A-N-A' Every Day!

It's a little silly, but I love it. No race is complete without the banana song, even if the challenging teams stare at us and try to spell out in their head to figure out what we're babbling about (we sing it pretty fast).

So...Bananas. Gotta love 'em.

I tried to make something with bananas today as a celebration, but the only thing I really made was not all that creative or original. It DID taste exceptional, however (imho), so I guess I'll share :) 

MY GO-TO SMOOTHIE (Chocolate Banana!)
1 Frozen Banana, Split in Half for easier blending
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 Scoop Chocolate Designer Whey Protein Powder

Do you really need instructions for this? Throw everything in the blender and have at it! Vary your milk content to get either a thicker or thinner smoothie, based on your taste. ENJOY! I like to eat mine with a spoon, because I just don't really like drinking smoothies...

Question of the day (please leave a comment!): Did you do anything to appreciate bananas and their awesomeness today? Even if not, what interesting things do you use bananas for? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Much Deserved Decadence

Ahhh! Putting up your feet, soaking in a hot tub, getting a nice massage in those amazingly comfortable beds under the heated blankets...that's bliss. Sadly, I haven't done ANY of those things lately. Bummer.

I firmly believe in the power of stress-reduction. For those of you who haven't read my page about my food philosophy, what you need to know about me and stress is: we're best buds. As in...frenemies. Stress is constantly on my back about something or another, but I wouldn't exactly say I like it, that's for sure! I think we all spend WAYY too much time rushing around, trying to do everything at once and attempting to make 30 hours out of a 24 hour day. Things like that are the reason that people get so anxious and tight. Let's face it. We've all had one of those days where we're tired, irritable, and everything gets under our skin. I think taking a break is the best way to head those off before they come!

And what do I do when I need to relax (if I have no access to a lovely massage, that is!) ???
What's MY go-to food?

Can you guess?
CHOCOLATE! Especially with some peanut butter and gooey marshmallows!

Like I said, it's okay to indulge sometimes. For the most part, I do eat wholesomely, but part of eating healthy is actually having some 'fun' food. Bodies need the fat for insulation and your brain is actually made almost exclusively of fat! Plus, it's good emotionally. If you overdo the health food thing... well, it gets unhealthfully obsessive. And I know first hand about that.


1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 (7.4 oz ...or so...makes 6) pack instant chocolate muffin mix + 1/2 cup milk

Extra Drizzle of Milk
3 T. PB, melted
About 2 servings chocolate goldfish grahams
10-12 jumbo marshmallows, flattened
10-12 big chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to whatever it says on chocolate muffin package. Combine muffin mix with milk and pour into graham cracker crust. Bake for15-20 minutes, until done but still gooey.
  2. IMMEDIATELY, poke a few holes in brownie portion and drizzle a little bit of milk over pie. Place goldfish on top and drizzle on the peanut butter. (first picture)
  3. Turn oven to BROIL. Place flattened marshmallows over pie, pressing 1 chocolate chip into each. Broil about 1 minute to toast up the marshmallows, remove, and let everything cool (or enjoy warm for a delicious little treat!). ENJOY!
Question of the day: What's your comfort food?

Saving the World with FUNFETTI!

Boy do I have something special to share. I think I may burst with the excitement of holding it in. This kind of thing can't be kept to ones self, after all. Not when funfetti is involved. The whole world needs to know. Funfetti just seems to make everything better.

Lately, I've been really swept up in all the funfetti craze. I've been pinning recipes right and left: funfetti puppy chow, funfetti blondies, funfetti cookies, funfetti milkshakes, funfetti dip... it doesn't end. But the one thing I haven't seen are a lot of healthy funfetti adaptations. Especially protein-chocked ones.

A girl's gotta have her protein.

So I was in a dilemma. Often, all my recipe creations are inspired by other things I have seen or heard about. But with the funfetti...there was nothing. It was an open market. I was on my own. So, with much trepidation, I went off to the kitchen to concoct

Baked Oatfetti Protein Cups!
Makes 4 mini cakes
2 scoops (27g) vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 c. funfetti cake mix
2/3 c. oats
1/2 c. almond milk
3 T. Egg Whites
1/3 c. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Extra Sprinkles
*Optional: for a topping, you could put on some frozen Greek Yogurt, ice milk, whipped cream, or try Katie's Vanilla Fudge Frosting or Creamy Dreamy Frosting (add some sprinkles in it to make it funfetti of course!)

  1. Combine Dry Ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another (no extra sprinkles yet)
  2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ones and mix very well until batter begins to thicken as oats absorb a little bit of liquid. (If you wanted, I bet you could just increase the milk amount and cook on the stove to make funfetti protein oatmeal!) If there doesn't seem to be enough sprinkles, add some more (and let's be honest... are there EVER enough sprinkles in the world? No. So go ahead and pour 'em in)
  3. Transfer mixture into 4 individual (4oz) ramekins.
  4. Bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until no longer gooey in center. Dig in and ENJOY!
Now, I don't always post nutritional data, but you might want to see it for this. Prepare to be astonished. In each individual oatfetti cup, you get: a whopping 12g whole grains and 11g protein, and ONLY 4g fat and 185 calories. Yeah. I know. Mind blown. So what are you doing still at your computer reading this post. GO! Make some oatfetti cups! They're calling your name!

Alert about Bananas for Vegans!

Just thought I ought to share this! Know what you are eating!

A Plethora of Pumpkin

School starts this week, and I cannot believe it! People always say that summer flies by... but they's be right about that. It's a sad, sad story for those of us who want that extra time outdoors in the sun, getting tan and eating ice cream at the beach (by now it's back to being too cold for good old Long Island Sound).

But I'm still excited. I mean, it's my Junior year! Okay, so I'm about to become one BUSY girl between XC and AP homework, but this is going to be the year when you really start to have fun at school: prom, spirit week, SATs, and just being an upper classman! But I'm nervous to see how I do keeping up on the blogging. It's a lot of fun, so I don't want to give it up.

I just hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

What was I doing to prepare? Oh, you know... cooking.

Lots and lots of cooking.

I figured I could make a plethora of freezer meals/ already cooked oatmeal that will get super thick and creamy in the fridge so I will have another 5 minutes here and there to do other things. It better be worth it...I was cooking for 4 hours. (Who am I kidding? I loved every minute of that four hours. It was like my little present to myself. OF COURSE it was worth it!)

One of my favorite flavors, next to chocolate and peanut butter, would have to be pumpkin. Especially since school is starting up, I can finally say that it's "fallish" enough to start putting the pumpkin in just about everything. Plus, I was trying to be economical by buying the GIANT 40oz can, only to realize that most recipes don't call for more than 1/2 cup or so...

Oh well. All the more pumpkin-y items to make!

Here are the recipes that inspired my little pumpkin party:

And best of all... I still have about 1/3 of my can of pumpkin left! Looks like there will be more baking in store for today! Now the awful dilemma as I decide what I want to make... (I'm trying to make things that will keep well or can be frozen so I can heat them up for a speedy pre-school breakfast or workout snack! See my post about what makes good pre-workout fuel here.)

Here's what I did to adapt the recipes:
  • Doubled the Pumpkin Oats Recipe so I could eat it TWICE, it was THAT good. Also, substitued 1/2 cup Kashi GoLean for the bran flakes to give it some more clusters, added 1 tsp dark chocolate cocoa powder in at the end, and substituted brown sugar with honey. Also, by leaving it in the fridge overnight, it got MUCH thicker and creamier, so I added another 1/2 cup almond milk before heating again and it was AWESOME. Even better than before, if I do say so myself. You could also eat cold as a pudding and I bet it would be great.
  • For Katie's muffins, I actually quadrupled the recipe so I could make 4 muffins and freeze them. Instead of chocolate chips, I added raisins, chopped walnuts, and coconut flakes. As a side note, I had to bake for longer because there were more muffins (about 20 minutes instead of 12).
  • For the Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, I subbed Greek Yogurt for the cottage cheese and also added 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder to the mix. I added 1/2 tsp baking soda because I wanted my pancakes even fluffier (it worked!) and then, because I'm a naughty girl, I added chocolate chips to the batter (no measurements here!)
  • The Chobani Bread was slightly more work to recreate since I was totally changing the flavors, but I proceeded with as much confidence as I could muster. HA! Recipe, you shall not phase me! Instead of cinnamon, I used pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have this on hand, combine some nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger). I subbed the agave with molasses for a different, deeper flavored sweetener (I used 1/4 cup). Instead of apple cinnamon yogurt, I used plain with 2 drops stevia, and then instead of the applesauce I used 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. I STILL used the softened apple in the bread because pumpkin-apple is actually a very nice combo and it gave the bread the extra lightness a midst a more dense cakey-part. As an attempt to be creative, near the end of the bread's baking I mixed together 1/4 cup oats, 3 T. chopped pecans, and 2 T. brown sugar and took the bread out to sprinkle these on. I then turned the oven to broil and waited to get a nice crust on top. Yumm!
Phew! Well, now you know how I spent a good portion of my day. How was your Saturday? Do you ever get really caught up in the kitchen just going around like a whirling dervish and trying to make 10 things at once? Tell me your story!After all, as I had to remember when trying to make adaptations:

What do you think of today's quote? Tell me!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Practice of the Season

XC has finally begun! I am officially in season! Woo Hoo!

Well, I'm going to start off with some nice tips about running in honor of such a glorious day. Because the sun is shining, I've already done my workout, and I'm just feeling AWESOME. Do you ever get those days? Where everything is just, well... AWESOME. I'll say it again. That's how today is for me.

If you haven't figured it out by now...I'm a sarcasm machine. And I love little humorous pictures like this :)
TODAY'S TIP: Pre-Workout Fuel
Let's be honest: this has us all a little puzzled sometimes. You want to eat enough so that you're not passing out with exhaustion at mile 2, but you don't want to feel like there's a rock in your stomach. (Or that you're about to throw up...) So what do you eat? Especially if you're in a time crunch, as I was this morning, rolling out of bed at 7:30 for a practice beginning at 8:00.

My tips:

  • No matter what, you need some carbohydrates.  If you can not scarf down anything else, JUST GET THE CARBS. Try and get a mix of just a few simple sugars, but you want more of your carbs to be complex. This will help sustain you over the miles. You want a few simple sugars, however, to give you available energy for bursts of speed or just to get going initially. Too much sugar, however, can upset your stomach or will be burned off more rapidly than you would wish, and you will start to feel sluggish later on.
  • Get some easily-digestible protein. Foods with lactose are NOT going to be your go-to's at this time, despite their easy to chug down nature and good protein content. I steer clear of the milk and yogurt before a run. Aim for something with a small amount of fat, also, as this helps it 'stick to your ribs' and allows you to absorb more of the available nutrition.
  • Drink something! Before you run, especially if it's in the morning, you need to be hydrated. Even 1 8oz glass of water can be enough for a 3 or 4 mile run. I find that if I don't drink something, I get achy, sweaty, and develop a huge headache. This 1 glass should not lead to any cramps as it is more for hydration purposes. DO NOT overhydrate (ie, chugging down a 20oz water bottle): this will only make you feel nauseated and will lead to cramps.
A Couple of Good Pre-Workout Snacks
  • 3 Fig Newtons and a small handful almonds
  • Packet of Nature Valley Bars
  • Banana (extra good because of the potassium) with 1 T. Peanut Butter on top of a slice of toast
  • Scrambled Egg in Half a tortilla
  • Trail Mix!
  • Dry Cereal with Coconut Flakes, Chocolate Chips, Craisins, and Nuts
  • Raw Veggies with Ranch Dip and Ritz Crackers
  • Graham Crackers with Nutella and PB
  • Protein Bar- Check the labels!
None of this was super revolutionary, I realize that, but I think it's a helpful tip from someone who has tried the whole gambit of running foods to optimize my performance. Which is NOT to say that I am a wise or running wise. As you can see...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Daddy's Birthday Dinner

Okay, so it's not REALLY his birthday yet, but it's close enough to cook him a new creation, right? Plus, since I have to go back to school the same day as his REAL birthday, it works out pretty well to just make something now while I've got the time on my hands. And maybe, quite possibly, it's my not-so-subtle attempt to coax him into getting a new food processor. But I'm not saying anything. These are all speculations, of course.

Today just felt like a lazy day. Despite much caffineated bliss, I didn't really feel like doing anything but sitting at the computer and drooling over blogs. Working out? Well...

But ALAS! Be proud of me! I got on that elliptical and sweated it out for 30 minutes before deciding I had paid my dues. It was time to get fancy in the kitchen.

So I looked all over my newly cleaned cupboard (hooray!) and figured I'd make a nice, spicy Indian dish for my Dad. He LOVES Indian food. Me? Sorry folks, I've never been able to get on that bandwagon. Curries are NOT my thing. It's blasphemy, I know. Do I get kicked out of the vegetarian blog world now? (Please NOOOO)

Serves 2-3

For The Patty
1/4 Cup Homemade Chickpea Flour (I finally used it up!)
2 tsp. Kebab Paste
1/2 tsp. Djion Mustard
1/2 tsp. Flax Oil
Pinch Cinnamon
Pinch Cardamom
5-6 Sweet Potato Chips, Crushed

For Quinoa Flatbread
1/4 cup uncooked Quinoa + 1 cup water for cooking
1/4 Cup Flour (can even use Quinoa Flour again for GF)
1/4 Cup Water
1 tsp. Almond Oil
Kosher Salt

For Chilled Yogurt Sauce
1 HEAPING Tablespoon Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Water
Pinch Curry Powder
Pinch Garam Masala
Pinch Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Kebab Paste

Lettuce and Tomato
More Kebab Paste for Sandwich Spread

  1. Mix Up all your ingredients for the patty. You may want to add some egg white depending on how dry your flour is... mine was still a tad moist so I didn't need to.
  2. Heat up small skillet with oil and lightly pan fry patty until golden and beginning to dry out a little bit. OR if sweet potato chips begin to blacken. Flip and repeat on other side until cooked. Set aside. Mine started to crumble all over but it still worked fine as long as you get those crumbles out of the pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook quinoa: (boil water, add quinoa, stir, reduce heat to medium and cover. Leave alone for 5 minutes before returning and fluffing it with a fork. Cook until water mostly absorbed, though still damp.
  4. Mix all other flatbread ingredients, except salt, then add cooked quinoa when it cools. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Grease a baking sheet and insert into oven for 1-2 minutes to heat it up. This will help the flatbread to not stick. When it comes out of the oven, lay your 'batter' out in small rectangle, about 4 inches by 10 inches or so (thickness should be maybe 1/4 inch). Put back in oven and bake 9 minutes until it starts to bubble. Take out, flip over, and cook additional 5 minutes if still gooey on other side.
  6. When fully cooked, cut in half and toast each slice. Put aside.
  7. Mix everything up for your yogurt dressing. Chill at least 5 minutes, or if you make it right ahead of time, there's no need :) Just be sure it's cold when serving.
  8. Put everything together; spread a little bit of yogurt sauce and additional kebab paste (if desired) on the bread. If desired, also use lettuce and tomato. Fill with patty/crumbles and top with other bread slice. Serve warm (except for yogurt sauce. If reheating, leave that out of sandwich while heating other elements and then add on).

P.S. I will continue to be stalking drooling over reading all your blogs out there! Thank you to everyone for making such delicious recipes!

Question of the Day: Do you ever have a 'lazy day'? What's YOUR favorite thing to do when you get in that mood? Mine used to be curling up with a book and then going on Pinterest for hours. (Now it appears to be salivating over blogs. Same difference)

First 4F Challenge: a Healthy Coffee Coolatta

Breakfast today was a fail. I tried making some Overnight Oats last night, because my oatmeal obsession is still going strong, but they remained liquidy and kind of tasteless. I even tried adding some yogurt pre-overnighting and it didn't help. Anyone have any advice? Oh, well. You win some, you lose some. And since the oats lost, something else could win...

An awesome mix of strawberry Greek Yogurt and Delicious Kashi GoLean for protein, fiber, and staying power! (I also had an apple, because I love them, and some fruit seemed to be needed for this meal.)
Plus, the good thing is I am really lazy today could put my cereal straight in the yogurt cup and had NO CLEAN UP! After yesterday, I was in no mood to clean (though I could go for another cauliflower pizza today!)

So I mentioned in yesterday's post that I wanted to start another Foodie Blogger Challenge. THE 4F!

'Fast-Food Fantasy Friday' ('for foodies'. Maybe the 6F?) That's right. Take a favorite dish that you like to get out at a restaurant, preferably a fast food or at least a chain, and then remake it so it is more economical, healthful, and maybe, dare I say it? TASTIER. Try and post nutritional information and cost for both original and your versions for a comparison. And if you do take on this weekly challenge, please link back to me or at least post a little gadget thing (I'm working on designs!) Thanks to everyone!

I myself have a coffee weakness. I love the stuff black, but also in iced form with oodles of sugar and milk. Particularly Dunkin' Donuts "Coffee Coolatta" (although I wouldn't snub my nose at a Starbucks frappacino or a Peet's Blender either. Or a DQ moolatte... the list goes on on and on.)

It's an interesting story, actually. The idea for 4F came up a while ago, but I wasn't actually intending to make my submission when I was creating this marvelous little beastie. I wanted ice cream. I wanted Katie's Vanilla Frosty (seen here)
Well, I didn't have the tofu, so then I decided I was just going to change it to one of her ice creams. HA! Luck was against me again. Because I can be a little bit ditzy (and because I had no option- I have no ice cube tray. What is this madness?) I froze all the milk in a LARGE dixie cup. I took it out and I have this HUGE, 16 oz frozen milk cup. There was no way my little blender could handle that. So dutifully, I began to try and mutilate cut it into smaller cubes.Not really working out either. At last, it thawed enough that I was able to take the knife and 'shave' the whole thing. Like an icee or a slushie in consistency, if you will. And it probably took a good 25 minutes. But during that long stretch of time, it came to me. This milk-mistake was not meant to be ice cream- although that would have been lovely. It was meant to be my first 4F, forever something near and dear to my heart. It was meant to be...

2 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
2 packets instant Hazelnut Coffee, or any flavor variety for a variation
3-5 Packets Zero-Calorie Sweetener
In the mixin' bowl
  1. Freeze the nondairy milk. I DON'T recommend doing it all in one cup as I did, because the shaving will be hard. Try doing it in several small ice cube trays.
  2. After at LEAST 2 hours, or when frozen, take out your milk and 'shave it'. This can be done if you have one of those Italian Ice Shavers, or I bet you could use a food processor also. What I did was take a large, very sharp knife and kind of 'grate' the sides of the ice so it sort of peeled off. You could also do some chopping up if you chop it very fine. (Those chunks in my picture? Not good)
  3. Throw ice milk shavings in a bowl or large measuring cup (see Pyrex in background of picture). Do this as you go so that your ice shavings don't melt completely all over the place.
  4. Pour in instant coffee and sweetener to taste. Mix it all up and let it melt just the tiniest bit so there is a coffee brown liquid, and then stir again to re-coat everything. This gives it that optimal melty slushy thing that DD and the Bucks have going on.
DUNKIN DONUTS Small Coffee Coolatta: 350 calories, 22g fat, 40g carbohydrate (35g sugar), 10% DV Calcium, 3g protein. Cost: $2.75
Sarah's 4F Coffee Coolatta: 70 calories, 3g fat, 5g carbohydrate (4g sugar), 90% DV Calcium (I used the extra calcium almond milk.), 3 g protein. Cost: 80 cents


Today I found an amazing quote that I thought I'd share, for running and for life: 
SUCCESS ISN'T HOW FAR YOU GOT, BUT THE DISTANCE YOU TRAVELED FROM WHERE YOU STARTED. -Steve Prefontaine (if you don't know who he is...well, look him up. Probably greatest American Distance Runner ever. A hero of mine!)

So think about that next time you're considering whether or not you succeeded. No, you didn't meet your 7:30 split at the 5K. No, you had to walk that last mile because you thought your shins were going to give out on you. But metaphorically... you've traveled beyond your past limits, and THAT, my friends is success.
*Other note- official XC practice starts tomorrow. Wish me luck!!!!*

Question of the Day: How far have you come in YOUR journey towards success? And what would you say being successful is?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza and Cleaning the Cupboard

Hooray! I did it! My OCD has been temporarily assuaged, until another family member comes along and moves something, of course, but I'm hoping that doesn't happen.
Just like Sonia and Heather challenged today, I reordered my kitchen cupboard. It looks a ton better and should help me cut down on some waste from buying extra packages when I already have some lying around!
See Everything in disarray? The open packages? The similar items on TOTALLY different shelves? Well, it bothered me. It may not look so bad, but IT WAS!
 So, after an intense hour in which I took out empty packages, combined half-full ones, sorted goods by use and flavor, and cleaned some disgusting sticky/moldy junk out (yes...I know. It made me sick to think that was in our cupboard. Maybe take a peek at what's hiding in YOURS...) it was much better.
You can't tell that much has changed in this picture...but it has

The Canned Foods all sorted out
Nuts and Nut Butters...
And a nice little section for the Asian Food!
 I also discovered some nifty things that I didn't realize we had. I'm going to have to find uses for them, obviously :)
Sour Cherry 'Spoon Fruit'
Tikka Masala Mix- okay, so not 'weird' but I could do so many things with this...
Well, after cleaning everything out, my stomach was telling me it was time for dinner. Something that had been intriguing me for quite a while was Cauliflower Crust Pizza. Since we had a head of cauliflower on hand, I decided to give it a try. HOWEVER, I neglected to check and see if we had every ingredient necessary (no eggs or cheese, which make up a good portion of the ingredients!) so I had to make some modifications. Surprisingly, they worked! I felt so proud and creative I almost cried. I'm learning how to actually cook! I never thought I'd see the day!

Not Your Momma's Hummus

Despite terrible nausea last night, I buckled down to a goal I set for myself: try something completely new in the kitchen. Which was easy to do given the plethora of new things I've bought in the past several weeks to make accommodations for vegetarianism and a blog... Over here Heather asked about what everyone's pantry looks like: well, mine is kind of a mess. (Today's mission...organize it!) I have beans strewn over several shelves, the flour and sugar are way in the back and I have to push through boxes of crackers to access them, there are duplicate open packages of things (arggghhh), the nut butters are in disarray... it's a train wreck.
Plus, it leads to those feelings where you walk up looking for a good snack, can't immediately see anything you like, and maybe end up heading over to Dairy Queen for a blizzard. Maybe. (My freezer's not banana ice cream could be made D:  )

NEVER FEAR! Sarah is on the job! Or maybe I should say... Beanie is. I've already had a rant about his superpowers here, so I won't repeat, but let's just say that he's magical. Maybe even more so than Harry Potter. (Not than Hermione, however. That would be stretching it. Sorry, sorry, geek reference!)

My first new creation looked something like this:
Or, because we had nothing I could dip into it, like this:

(Makes 3/4 cup of flour)...And WAYYY economical- half the price of store-bought!
*1/2 Cup Dried Chickpeas, rinsed and cleaned
*3 cups water

  1. Cook the chickpeas! What was once 1/2 cup dried should now give you about 1+1/3 cups. Drain off all excess water and transfer chickpeas to small bowl.
  2. Here's the annoying part... and probably the reason that most people would just BUY flour. Pop each chickpea out of its little skin and put in separate bowl. Throw skins away. Don't get too frustrated if you can't get every little piece of the skin off or if you slaughter smoosh the chickpeas when doing so. You'll have a chance to get skin off again later, and chickpeas need to get smooshed anyway.

Little Demons Chickpea Skins

3. After you've gotten off all or nearly all of the skins, mash up your chickpeas with a fork or the back of a spoon. Or even use a food processer (like everything else I own, mine seems to be broken). HOWEVER, I think the little chunky texture is good especially if you prefer a beany taste so I do recommend the fork/spoon method.
4. At this point, my 'flour' was fairly dry so I called it good. Remove any other visible skins you see. If you are really a perfectionist, however, or if for some reason your bean mash is still pretty wet, use paper towels to squeeze out the excess moisture.Makes about 3/4 cup flour. AND YOU'RE DONE!

*Note, you could just prepare an entire package of dried chickpeas (1 lb) to make more all at once. I didn't because, as I said, this was an experiment, and my Dad didn't want any waste in case it didn't turn out! 

*Homemade Flour (3/4 cup) - about 25 cents
*Store-bought Chickpea Flour (3/4 cup) - about 45-60 cents