Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some days, it's too early to run...

And sometimes, microwaves are not healthy.

I cannot stress enough how much I love hydration. (I love a lot of things, don't I?) I've gone for very few runs without some form of water; those runs have been enough to encourage me not to do it again. Whether it's 110 degrees or 10 degrees below zero, I always need water. If I'm running 10 miles or more, I also need some form of solid food. Enter my favorite water bottle...
This is what my favorite water bottle used to look like.

Wasn't it so pretty? I loved the soft handle that kept the bottle snug on my hand so I didn't have to squeeze it. The pocket was the perfect size to hold my keys, a fuel gel, and (on my really ambitious work days) my T pass, building badge, and driver's license. It holds 16 ounces of water, which is enough for about 13 miles, depending on the weather.

Well, now I need a new hydration system. And with this 26.2-miler looming ahead of me, my old 16 ounce water bottle doesn't seem like enough. I plan my routes to pass public drinking fountains so I can refill if necessary, but those will be shut off in a month or so. Enter my new favorite water bottle(s)...
There are MANY models of fuel belt on the market and I did a fair amount of research before I bought this one. By "research," I mean watching what other runners were using. For every other type of belt I saw on the road, I saw 5 of this one. That sold me.

What I love about this belt is the lack of bells and whistles. There are belts with comfort grips, but a friend who used one got bruises from the bounce. Some other belts have clip-closures with adjustable widths, but another friend said that hers kept loosening on her runs. My belt has no bounce and the stretchy, velcro closure is easy to fit to almost any body. It holds four 8-ounce bottles, which can be replaced fairly inexpensively with a 6-, 10-, or 12-ounce model. The pocket in the rear is my favorite part. I can fit three, count 'em, three fuel gels in that bad boy and still have room for my keys!

I'm going to have to think of a new excuse to delay my long runs... :) In other news, I'm up to 17 miles on the weekend! I'll try 20 this weekend and let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kitchen Things

My sweet, sweet boy knows me so well. After 6 years, I should hope so, but ya never know ;)

This was his gift to me for our recent anniversary:
I love it!

Let me tell you, friends, this baby has more uses than I ever thought possible. We had one growing up and we made banana chips and beef jerky. The end.

This weekend, I made fruit leather! 3 apples, one small pumpkin, some lemon juice, honey and agave, then 6 hours at 135 degrees... So good!

I think this is going to be a great tool for me next summer when we do the farm share again. We get so much fresh produce and can't get through it all. Besides, it would be wonderful to have some of that bounty to enjoy when the earth is frozen and less giving. What I love most about this is that I am taking whole foods and processing them myself, so I am in complete control over what goes into them. And honestly, y'all, this fruit leather was just delicious.

But it doesn't end there. There's fruit chips. Dried herbs. Soup mixes. Various dried meats. Craft projects. Dog treats.

Pictures and recipes to follow soon. Along with some holiday gift ides... :)

In other news, my sweet, sweet Mama sent me this little wonder:
It's a whisk-ula!

Seriously, it's a whisk with a rubber, spatula-type edge! It's great for those baking projects where you want to get every last morsel into the pan (or in your mouth). And it's fun to say.



What's your favorite thing in your kitchen?

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Have you discovered wordle?

I'm in love.

Wordle is a program that generates a word map in which the size of words is determined by the frequency of their use. You can copy and paste text or paste the URL from any website with an RSS feed (like this one). Give it a try!

I ran this wordle from my last running post on Tuesday...
And this wordle is from just entering the blog URL.
How fun is this???

There's been a lot of discussion in the healthy living blog world about what message we're really presenting. I've seen some sort of response to the Marie Claire article on almost every blog I read. Maybe wordle is a fun accountability measure? It's silly, I know, but it sort of makes a great point. I mean, do we really talk about butter that much?

And if nothing else, it makes for a fun graphic.

So what would your wordle say about you?

*Side Note* I ran a wordle on some of my favorite blogs and was a little disappointed. Peas and Thank You, however, did not disappoint.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I have a dream - the perfect muffin

I have a dream. 
Maybe it seems silly to you. 
I'd just like to make a fantastic-ly delicious and healthy muffin. 
That is huge and beautiful. 
That I can recreate and eat for breakfast. 
I would prefer that it be vegan and have a minimal amount of gluten.
But I'm ok if it's a little bit of gluten. 

Muffins just seem like the key! The perfect breakfast when I don't have time to make oatmeal or fruit just isn't enough. Grab one of your big healthy perfect muffins and head out the door! Or, instead a banana or pretzels for the kids when they get up from naps, "grab one of our perfect muffins, guys - it will fill you up longer and get some fruit in your body!". 

I know bakeries make perfect muffins but they have loads of stuff I don't want.
Whole foods makes PERFECT muffins with the PERFECT amount of ingredients, but I want a whole batch of mine to cost $3.99 (another great reason to make them), rather than just one. 

I've been googling how to make the perfect muffin. 
It's hard. 

Here are the tips that seem quite important: 
- Actually measure. This is a new one for me. I'm more of a "dash of this" kind of baker. Apparently to get the perfect muffin, I need to not only measure but document what it is I'm measuring. 
- That whole thing about mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately - that is actually important. Who knew? 
- I read somewhere to spray only the bottom of the muffin pan, not the sides. This helps the muffin to rise better. 
- I think I'm going to need one of these bad boys. Mere, that amazon gift card you gave me for my birthday, I've been hoarding it for the perfect thing but I think it's going to go to that muffin tin, this candle, and this book. THANK YOU! 
- And here's the deal, I think if I want overflowing muffin tins, I'm going to have to straight up overflow those things myself. Anyone able to make those beautiful overflowing muffins? HOW do I do it?! 

While I'm on my quest to find the perfect muffin, you can benefit from my success and failures of recipes. I made two batches today - one FAIL, here was the success (minus the non-overflowing top): 

dark chocolate/ peanut butter / apple / oatmeal muff: 
1.5 cups oatmeal
1 cup wheat flour
2 tspoons baking powder
2 tspoons salt (i like 'em salty)
.5 cup sugar
1 cup almond milk
1 chia egg (1 tbs chia seeds mixed with 6 tbs water)
1/3 cup oil (I prefer coconut) 
1 tsp vanilla
mix in: handful of dark chocolate chips
peanut butter chips
3/4 chopped apple 

22 minutes at 375. DELISH. 
Do you have a perfect muffin recipe? I don't care if it's not vegan, I'll adapt it! Hand it over sister! Share the wealth!
And especially if you know how to get those babies to overflow, spill it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I am training for a marathon.

I am not a person who likes to make big statements like this. I generally think things through considerably and only make definitive statements when it is FO. SHO. I am also a person who sometimes ignores what is happening to me right now because it's easier. I'm a bit of a bull in a china shop. If things are tough, I just put my head down and ram through it. Shoot first, apologize later. I'll process my emotions some other time.

The reality of what I'm preparing for, however, sort of necessitates a big statement, I think. I've thought it through. I've paid the registration fee. This is FO. SHO. Unless injury or catastrophe physically prevents me from it. I can't ignore it. I can certainly ram through it like I do everything else, but then I think I'd be denying myself an opportunity for something awesome...

I don't know if I've made this clear yet, but I love training. I do! It's crazy, but I love the roller coaster. I love how every run feels different. I love that I can share it with a friend or run it alone and enjoy either way. I love running to music; I love running in silence. I love testing different fuel methods; I love seeing how far I can run without eating Cliff Shot. Mostly, I love how predictable it is. I have a plan. I put things on my calendar. Sometimes I need to skip a run. I plan around my runs. But I know what's coming and I love it.

This time, I have a plan. I'm using the same program I always use, only it's for a marathon. My oldest brother is doing it too. We're running a marathon together. We check in with each other sometimes. We're accountability partners...for a marathon. I mean, the emotional and intellectual gravity of it just overwhelms me.

Now, I know that thousands of people run marathons every year. It's not solely an elite event anymore. It's becoming an everyman sport. And I sort of love that. But I also love the sanctity of the marathon for the folks for whom this sport is still an elite event. The folks who work for years in order to qualify for Boston. The people who fundraise for organizations that matter to them. The ones who run for those who can't, who run for survivors, or the ones we've lost. I'm honored to be in their company.

So this is my statement: I am training for a marathon. I want to have fun and be proud of myself, but I also want to be worthy. So I'm asking you all to help me. Hold me accountable. Help me forgive myself when I fall short. Remind me what I'm running for when I forget.

Monday, October 11, 2010

1% change, volume 2

Are you ready, pizza lovers?! Quinoa haters? 
Well come on, it would be silly to hate quinoa.
It didn't do anything to you and hate is a SUPER strong word.

But here is your second 1% challenge.
What are you buying that you could easily be making?
Here are a few examples: 
pancake mix, pizza, cookies, crackers, bread, salsa, hummus, need I go on?!
Now don't try and make them all in one week - just pick on that you often consume and try an easy recipe.
Literally google, "easy hummus recipe" or "easy wheat bread recipe".
Play around, have fun, and don't be scared!

The thing is - most of these packaged or processed foods are coming packed with high fructose corn syrup, extra salt, additives, preservatives, fake colors, you name it. And there is an easy way to make all of them - so try it! A while ago, our family made this 1% change with pancake mix and started using an easy base recipe that we now both know by heart and make sometimes up to four times a week! It's super cheap, we can double it if needed, add fun ingredients, and we know exactly what our family is consuming!

Here is is: 
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of some sort of milk (almond, soy, cow's, shoot - try some chocolate milk for fun!)
2 tbsp of baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tbsp of honey or sugar
1 egg (or a chia seed egg for vegans)
1 tbsp of butter or oil
try some add-ins: blueberries, bananas, pears, apples, walnuts, pumpkin, dark chocolate! you name it!
Combine dry ingredients & wet ingredients separately, mix well.

griddle up those bad boys. 
to these, I believe I add pumpkin & nutella. 
and yes, I think I already blogged about them. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some days...

...I just can't get excited about vegetables.

These days are rare; I would guess I feel this way less than 15% of the time. But some days...

Some days I eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner. Some days it's a nice, healthy, PBJ smoothie. But some days it's just the good old classic.

Some days I eat mashed potatoes for lunch. I usually add butter, cheese, and maybe some facon. Or turkey bacon. I don't always feel bad about it.

Some days I cannot count the vegetable servings I've had all day, because I haven't had any. Or I've had too few to really count.

On these days, I usually trust my cravings. I rationalize, "Well, obviously my body needs something and it's telling me through my cravings." Nice try. I don't think my body needed that potato ravioli with the smoked pancetta and apple cream sauce at Anthem the other night. On these days, I give in. And my taste buds enjoy it oh, so much.

Today is one of those days. I'm going to blame it on this endless rain. (Hey, Milli Vanilli said I could.)

What do you eat when your body and your brain want two different things?