Thursday, September 30, 2010

Love and Pumpkin. Preferably both.

I love this girl.
She is Steve's sister, and is alternately called Teen, Bean, Tina, and Christina. If you ever walk into a hospital and see her in the white coat, you thank your lucky stars because you've landed in the best medical care you're ever gonna find. She teaches me so much about how to assemble myself in a semi-cute way, what fearlessness looks like, how to shake off the words others sometimes throw at you, and how to be confident in myself--just the way I am.
For all these things and many, many more: I just adore this girl. I love her so much, I wanted to make her favorite cookies on her most recent visit home. Howeva...

I love her so much, I could not bear to make her cookies with 2, count 'em, TWO sticks of butter. That's like 1/2 a tablespoon of butter per cookie.

Teen's Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies.
  • 1 C. white flour
  • 1 C. wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 C. steel cut oats
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 C. sugar
  • 2/3 C. brown sugar
  • 2/3 C. applesauce
  • 2 T. agave nectar (or honey!)
  • 1 T. ground flax
  • about 1 C. fresh pumpkin puree (or you can use the canned stuff, I just happened to have the real deal in the freezer)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • chocolate chips in the amount of your liking (I used about 6 oz.)
Combine the flours, oats, spices, baking soda and salt in one mixing bowl. In another, mix the sugars, applesauce, agave, flax, pumpkin and vanilla just until combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, about 1/3 at a time. Add the chocolate chips, then spoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or not. I like p. paper because it makes clean-up a breeze and I think it keeps the flavor a little more pure, but that's just my craziness.). Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 and try not to burn your tongue.

Here's the best part: I baked about 12 cookies, which was about half the dough, then rolled the rest up in some wax paper, froze it, and sent Teen on her merry way back to NYC with some ready-to-bake, stuffed-with-love, just-a-touch-on-the-healthier-side cookie dough. Or she doesn't even have to bake it--no eggs! Eat it raw if you want to, Teen! I won't tell anyone!

And speaking of 1%... These cookies can swing either way! If you're working your way slowly into the quinoa side of life, tinker with the flour and sugars a bit. If your personal pendulum is presently swinging the way of the pizza, go all in! Use 2 sticks of butter! I promise I'll still love ya.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1% change, volume 1

Hey friends! Hope ya'll are doing well today. 
Here's a new idea. 
In the past few days, I've gotten a few emails/comments on facebook/had a few conversations about questions people might have if they're more on the pizza side of the equation, rather than the quinoa. Which makes complete sense. Two years ago, my family and I ate basically only two fruits, three or four vegetables regularly, and most meats and processed foods. We considered ourselves healthy eaters because we didn't eat fast food twice a week, but I didn't know or care much more about the vast world of nutrition and TASTE that was untapped for me. So, here's a quote from a friend...

I am writing this to reach out to people that are eating healthy and passionately.  As friends, you know me and understand me.  I love reading your food blog but it seems soo foreign to me.  I watch the simple suggestions on The Biggest Loser and think  "well it would be nice if I ate any of those things..."

I am hoping that you might offer blog support to someone that is still stuck in the "pizza phase" of "pizza to quinoa."  I would love to know some basic tricks of the trade, ways to integrate healthy flavors in simple textures, baby steps for those of us that eat from boxes and cans.....

So her email, mixed with other conversations and comments got me thinking.
A few weeks ago, I heard a radio program about healthy living where a doctor was encouraging patients to make a 1% change every day. Don't try and be a yoga-going, coconut-water-drinking, vegan overnight. Who says that is even the healthiest BEST thing for you? Don't go to the grocery store and  in one day decide that you're going to stop buying anything but fruits and vegetables? But for goodness sakes, I'd be sad if this blog or the idea of healthy eating made you look at your cabinets, get overwhelmed and give up. 
So, one percent changes. Those are easy. 
I'm still into making those changes myself. 
And how great would it be if instead of hearing a health expert/doctor/coach from the Biggest Loser lecturing you about, "DON'T EAT THIS!" or "DON'T DO THAT!", you hand a friend/fellow mom/non-expert internet acquaintance to say, "maybe just try this! it's delicious!". I think that sounds muuuuuuch better. 

So you guys keep reading, we'll start brainstorming some 1% changes to post about once a week and we'll keep in mind that while some people are healthy living experts who could whip up a quinoa dish to make us cry (happy, yummy tears), there are plenty of people reading while eating some pizza from a box and needing some basic steps. 

And, are you ready? Here's your first one! 
Go to the store and get some pears. 

A few reasons why. 
1. Anytime you can eat a whole food, non-processed item for a snack - you're doing good. It naturally has things to nourish your body, do good things for your blood sugar, your skin, your hair. On and on and on. 
2. They're in season. Fruits in season are cheaper cost-wise, their flavor is at it's peak (they're the most DELICIOUS), and you know you aren't eating a fruit that was modified or fed weirdo chemicals to make it ripen out of season. PLUS you've put less of a strain on the environment by eating something that hasn't had to come from six countries away since pears are in season right now in the US. 

So, you've bought some pears. Eaten them instead of snickers or chips or wheat thins or beef jerky. Which, you know, were not saying are bad - but you've done something BETTER! And in buying and eating a pear, 
you've made a 1% massive change. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

my new almost favorite workout

Here's the situation, I needed to run today. I'm on this schedule, blah blah blah. 
Something you should know about me, is when I make a plan or a schedule - it is VERY hard for me to back out. It's like planners guilt or something. 

But you know how it goes, it was raining all day, the kids got up super early, on and on and on. All of a sudden it was 4:30pm, I knew I had to make dinner and I knew I wouldn't run after eating dinner - plus the whole act of wrestling three children into bed usually exhausts me to the point of inability to exercise. Enter wonderful Nonny, my mom, who decides to whisk the kiddos off to the grocery store and out for dinner. Husband is still working, dinner is mostly prepped. 
I seize my chance and run out in the drizzle. 

And I'M BOOKING IT. No ipod, no watch, nothing but me and a few miles. 
I literally kept thinking, "wow - I can't believe I've finally reached this point in running where I don't constantly think about wanting to stop!" What a feeling! And then, I hear a thunder of death resound through all of South Carolina and basically shake the pavement beneath my feet. 
Poop. The sky is about to open up. As I round the corner after my first 1.5 miles and embark on the next, I see my husband pulling out of the driveway - coming to get me because it is obviously too unsafe to run in this kind of end-of-times thunder & lightning. 

So what did I do? 
Make up a hilarious new marriage workout. Indoors. 
Turned on some music and decided I would move, move, move until my body gave out. 
Cardio for a few minutes, weights for a few minutes, yoga pose. Repeat. 
jumping jacks. bicep/hammer curls. pigeon. 
alternating front kicks. shoulder press. half moon. 
When I ran out of ideas, I asked Nick to yell out new moves. 
This was not the wisest idea. His suggestions were always too hard. But when your husband is standing over you, WATCHING YOU, (and then taking pictures of you!?), how can you not complete his suggestions? His last suggestions was 20 complete cycles of the running the stairs at my parents house. Around number 13, I think I yelled, "you're putting the kids to bed!"Around number 15, I croaked, "puh-lease get me some water!"

Not as good or as fun as my semi-successful-seming run, but it was a blast to get drill-sargent-barked-at by my husband. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

getting you through the day

It was one of those mornings. 
This morning, I woke up, and felt the burden to be a good wife/mom/lady - but no ability to do any of those things. I was just too burnt out.
The only remedy I knew was some quiet time reading and praying and nutella pumpkin pancakes. To be honest with you - it didn't HAVE to be nutella pumpkin pancakes. 
It just needed to be something that I could make that would feel like a celebration for my family, something I could make well and figuratively just give them a little hug though their tummies. 

It worked. 

Not vegan. Not low-fat or low-calorie. Not light on love either. 
I even used half and half instead of almond milk. 
Because it was one of those days that I needed to use cuddling over "please-watch-the-tv-while-I-do-blank" and on those days, lavishing your babes with pancakes seems fitting. 

What is for you, today?
What's the extra excitement that will add inspiration? 
What can you do well to make the world a little fuller? 

If it's nutella pumpkin pancake's - here's my recipe: 
Nutella Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour of your choice
1.5 cups milk of your choice
handful of dry oats
.5 cup of canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey
2 tablespoons baking powder
sprinkle of salt
squirt of vanilla
dash of cinnamon, nutmeg
3 tbs oil of choice
generous, generous dollop of nutella

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kohlrabi Latkes. Trust Me.

Ever seen one of these beauts?
It's okay, I hadn't either, until my brilliant CSA farmer gave them to me. It's called kohlrabi, which means "German turnip," although it's in the cabbage family. I first tried slicing and eating these raw on a salad. Really not a fan. But I think we've discussed here how much guilt I carry about wasting food. I'm also a touch on the competitive side, so the idea of being beaten by a vegetable just doesn't suit.

Now, there's an added challenge here: my sweet boy has a tendency to distrust vegetables. Something about an apple pie that was actually zucchini... I don't know. It's his emotional food baggage, I respect that. But I also need some help eatin' all these dang vegetables.

Well if there's 2 things I love, it's hanging out with people in my kitchen and promptly feeding them. So when our dear friends Nick and Kara returned from a long vacation recently, I was way too excited to have them over to play Medford's Test Kitchen. Luckily for me, Nick will eat anything and Kara is way too polite to ever tell me no. Ever. So together we tested an idea I had for using up these kohlrabi: kohlrabi latkes. We ate, critiqued, and tried again. Here is what we came up with:

Peel and grate these.

Finely chop this.

Do this to those. (You may want to squeeze them out with a couple of paper towels. If you don't get enough water out, you'll have soggy latkes. Gross.)

Crack these into a bowl with the grated business, plus a handful or two of breadcrumbs. (Or try Jessi's fab trick of making your own oat flour!)

Add these to the taste of your liking.

Do this in that. (I used canola oil. I use olive oil for everything, but I was frying these at medium-high, so I didn't want the oil to burn. Pick your favorite oil. Then tell me how much you love it!) Try 3-4 minutes on each side.

This made about 12 little pancakes, which was sufficient for two dinners for 2 people. I ate mine with soy sauce the first time we made them. This time I used sour cream and some Trader Jose's turkey chili.

Monday, September 20, 2010

banana splits & the v word.

deliciouso snack of the day. banana splits.

split banana, drizzled in sunflower seed butter, honey, and sprinkled with granola.

I wanted to follow up a little bit about yesterday's blog, and my big declaration.
Not just were the comments fun to read, but I also got some emails and chatted with some people who wanted to talk more about the whole veganism switch so...
Here are a few things I left out/want to respond to.
a) Despite my use of hyperbole, it's not really a big declaration. In general, we're not talking huge life change - more cutting out the occasional egg and not nibbling on pepperoni's while I make pizza for my kids. But this is a food blog, so you kind of have to make big deal about food:). Or at least, I think it's fun to.
b) The problem with using hyperbole for fun is that it makes it seem like food is sooooo important, which don't get me wrong - I mean, I do write a food blog:). But community trumps food, family trumps food, real life wins out every time. I've never told someone who's had me to dinner that I don't eat gluten and if my husband just begs me to eat frozen yogurt with him, well - goodness gracious, I don't want to hurt our marriage. But no matter what happens in my kitchen, food is still a miniscule piece of my life that brings me joy and causes me to worship the Lord who created it - rather than worshipping the food itself.
c) I love what Kara said - "don't think about what you can't have..". That is absolutely my philosophy. I wake up each morning and when it comes time to eat, I think - what is the most delicious, healthiest thing I can eat?! And it usually ends up being some vegan oatmeal. When it comes to lunch, my body genuinely prefers a massive salad or a veggie burger or some roasted carrots with hummus.
d) I love everyone who's worried about my protein intake:) I'm the same way and worry about everyone else's protein intake but never my own. But here's why I don't get too worried. a - I think Americans in general are too hyped up about protein. Self included. b - I eat an insane amount of nut butter:) And also many many other foods that provide lots of protein. Almonds, almond milk, oatmeal, granola, legumes, veggies, etc. But I promise if I start looking sickly, I'll take myself aside and have a serious talk.
e) Faythe, I wish I was there with you while you ate your string cheese and meatballs. I'm a big fan of meat/dairy eaters and I think they should eat them to the glory of God:). I would never pressure or really even encourage someone super close to me, (much less a stranger!) to make food changes like this. That is not my thing. I'll still be making my family burgers sans beans, pies when necessary and needed, as well giving my kiddos string cheese during grocery store meltdowns. This blog is still a celebration of food - not a weight to sit on anyone's shoulder and make them feel bad.

So there are my thoughts. Do you have any more? Let's keep talking.
I like this:)

Maybe tomorrow I'll announce I'm going to eat only beets for the rest of my days just to continue the conversation.

the meal that made me a vegan.

hunkle josh eating a bodacious bacon beef burger.
it gives people the crazy eyes.

For the past few years, I knew it was coming.
I even told Nick sometimes, told my friends - "I think I'll eventually be a vegan."
Why? Who knows, it just seemed like something lingering inside.

I guess because I'm a little bit of an extremist and to me, the extreme of clean eating seems to be veganism. But maybe not even, because maybe the extreme is raw foodism. But come on, I REALLY like my veggies cooked. In the back of my head, the idea of meat and dairy lingering in my small intestine has just bothered me a little. I know that a good grass-fed burger is entirely good for your soul and not so bad for your body. A yummy organic greek (homemade, even!) yogurt parfait makes me smile to think about. It's all good, all permissible, and I think even beneficial for us. And yet still, somewhere in the back of my head - I knew this was coming.

I was sort of playing around with it as it was. Though it sounds stupid and obnoxious to say, I already considered myself a ovo-flexitarian-who-didn't-eat-dairy. I eat eggs and occasionally eat meat, but don't eat dairy because of an allergy. Unless you're talking about frozen yogurt, and then I'm willing to make myself silk to ingest that stuff. So I wavered. Until this meal.

A simple black bean burger. Roasted Veggies. Staple salad.
But it was so good. So good. So good I groaned a few times.
I'd made bacon-beef-bodaciously-awesome burgers for the rest of the crew, and I wasn't even jeal. Cause come on, look at that BEAN BURGER.
I took about three bites and thought this is the meal that will make me a vegan.
Because if I can eat this and be fully satisfied, I have no business eating meat or dairy.

But here are some more solid reasons for those of you who haven't
tasted a black bean burger than changed your life:
- The "cheating" or unclean eating I do, is always meat or dairy. So being official about stopping consuming them will hopefully only clean up my diet further.
- I'm hoping it will make me more creative with fruits and vegetables in the kitchen.
- A good experiment makes me excited about life.
- Did I mention I like extremes?
- Because in all honesty, there is a big part of me that hopes if I keep running, eating clean, and doing yoga - I'll feel better when I'm thirty than I do at 26. And maybe I'll feel better at 36 than I do at 26. And if not eating dairy or meat helps that, I'm on board.

So, I'm giving it a try. Maybe for a week. Maybe forever.
Are you a vegan? Ever thought about it? Think it's stupid?
I'll be your guinea pig. I'll let you know if I feel better after a week or after two days or if it really stinks and if it's actually just impossible to give up fried eggs, bacon, and goat cheese.

While we're on that subject though, here is the list of foods I already miss:
- eggs
- goat cheese
- bacon

Hm. we'll see how this goes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Can't Run With 'Em...

Can't run without 'em.

That's not entirely true. I'm attempting to transition to barefoot (or minimalist) running. The concept is polarizing and there is a wealth of information out there. If you're interested, join the debate. I may start talking about it here some day, but not today.

Today I just want to talk about my shoes.

About 6 months ago, I switched to these bad boys.
Nike Frees. Holler.

I'm using them to strengthen my feet. You see, I'd love to just jump into a pair of Vibram's, but my smart, talented, beautiful cousin Michelle recommended that I take a half-way step to strengthen my foot. I've always run in motion control, stability shoes. Mizuno Waves, to be specific. There are a few ways to find out what type of shoe best fits your arch. I'm a little bit of a pronator.
Ya don't say? Look at that right foot!

It's not entirely an issue of weak feet, either. I pronate for another very simple reason: I am slew footed. When I stand with my knees pointed directly forward, my feet do this:
No lie. Ask my Mama.

So last weekend, I headed out for a run, but I couldn't find my shoes. Don't ask me how I lost them; I wear them at least 3 times a week. But I couldn't find them. So I resorted to my old Mizunos. I didn't think it would be a big difference.

They don't look too different, do they?
PS-See all the dirt on my Frees? Yeah, that's from Fenway. It's okay to be jealous.

What was I thinking?
Let's start with the heels.
Look at that bad boy! We're talking about 2 inches of sturdy foam that for two years kept my foot from ever feeling my heel strike.
These puppies have taught me to strike on my midfoot, a little closer to the way human feet were designed to run.

Then there's the flexibility.
Try doing this to a traditional running shoe...
I did. It didn't work so well.

So after a mile, my fifth metatarsal (yes, I did look that up) was screaming. Honestly, my everything hurt. How was this possible? I was wearing a more supportive shoe; shouldn't I feel better?

It seems my feet have gotten pretty strong! They're strong enough that the rigid structure of my old shoes was too stiff for me. My feet have gotten used to flexing and arching and, well, working.
My only complaint about the Frees? Those cute little massager nodes? They were not designed for the blister prone.

So what do your feet love to wear?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Figgy Pudding? No way.

It's Fig Jam!
It's about jam time!
Oh, jam it all to heck...

(I'm sorry, my mother got the better of me.)

Last fall, Mrs. D. made this amazing fig jam and I have been desperately waiting for Papa Joe's fig trees to start raining.
The time, my friends, has arrived.

Here we go...
  • 12-14 good-sized figs, washed and quartered
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Dissolve the sugar into the water over medium heat, then add the figs, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick and simmer.
Let 'em get to know each other.
Very well.
Very, very well. The recipe I was given suggested 1 hour. Perhaps my clocks were broken. 1 hour was much more like 2, but we all know how good I am at making mistakes, so I could have had the heat all wrong.

Wrong never tasted so right...
I assure you, that jar has been cleaned of all salsa flavors and aromas.

So I made some toast, spread some jam and discovered something:
I'm not a huge fan of figs.

What's a girl to do? Like most fruits, I like the flavor of figs, but am not too wild about them in high-density forms. But I do love Fig Newtons! I remembered seeing a recipe on one of my new favorite blogs, Peas and Thank You, for something like a Nutrigrain Bar. Perfect! I made a few modifications, and here you have it:
  • 1 1/2C. wheat flour
  • 2 1/2C. TJ's steel cut oats
  • 2t. baking powder
  • 1/2t. salt
  • 1/4C. sugar
  • roughly 1C. applesauce
  • 1/4C. vegan "butter"
  • Fig Jam!

Couldn't find the jam in the fridge? That's probably because it was hiding in a salsa jar.

Lessons Learned:
1. I need a rolling pin. The two doughy halves were very thick and a little dense.
2. The applesauce is a rough estimate because you just need to get the dough wet enough to be workable. You mix the dry, then the wet, then combine. If it's too dry, add more applesauce a little at at time. It's kind of like making play dough. Who knew all those years teaching preschool would come in handy?

Now... Can anyone think of a fun way to make Fig Newtons my own? I mean, Paul Newman got lucky. Fig Newmans? Too easy! How the sheez am I supposed to do that?

Fig Newt-agriffs?
Fig Carissatons?
Cafigsa Hanewtonagriffs?

Monday, September 13, 2010

the building blocks.

I go through phases like it's no ones business.
I can't help it. To say I'm a creature of habit is putting it VERY lightly.
Food is the place in my life where this ABSOLUTELY manifests itself.

For two years, I ate eggs for breakfast and a turkey burger almost every day for lunch.
(I didn't even realize this until some friend started joking about how whenever they'd come over, I'd always offer them a costco turkey burger.)
Then, during the summer of 2009, twice a day I consumed some sort of frozen berry/granola concoction.
Then there was the black bean soup craze of spring 2010. I burped up so much black bean soup during afternoon workouts, I still can't enjoy it.
And Oh gosh, don't get me started on the ice cream during my third pregnancy.
Benjamin is essentially made of ice cream. If you cut him, he bleeds chocolate ice cream.

But always, always - salads have been a massive indicator of my habitually habits.
I use three or four salad building blocks for a few months at a time and then move on.
If you came for a playdate anytime between November and March of this past year, I offered you a spinach salad with dried cranberries, apples, balsamic, and honey.
Amen - Marilee, Lauren, Kim, and Annie?

The months after that, the building blocks changed to tri-colored mini peppers, roast beef, and tomatoes. Asian dressing and honey. Right Janel? Liz?

And now. I'm on a spinach, roma tomato, cucumber, and sesame seed combo.
That I insist on arranging in a semi-floral decor.
After the building blocks, it can go nuts. Eggplant, tofu, avocado. You name it.
Asian dressing, Italian, balsamic, just honey. Whatever you like.
Just as long as you start strong with the tomato, cucumber, & sesame seeds.

Please, please tell me you're as crazy with food habits.
Please. Or at least tell me what you put in your salad so I'll know where to head when I'm ready for some new building blocks:)

non-intuitive eating

So I tried an experiment.
It failed.

In the healthy food/eating/diet blog world there seem to be two camps.
a) calorie counters and b) intuitive eaters.
The calorie counters believe that the most logical way to lose weight is to consume the right amount of calories (from good, whole, healthy foods) and exercise appropriately as well. Simple math. Put in less of what you put out. If it takes your body 1700 calories a day to live, eat 1400 and exercise off 300. Repeat. Something like that.

The intuitive eaters tend to view calorie counting as restrictive and as a negative process that makes you feel yucky about healthy foods and how much you should have of them. Intuitive eating says instead, that if you go with your gut (no pun, obvi) about what you want/how much of it you want and you're eating healthy/whole foods - no counting should be necessary. Read more about that here.

Well, I tried an experiment to see if I could be an intuitive-eating-person-still-losing-weight.
To see if I could eat till I was almost satisfied-never full, exercise until I felt like I had truly pushed my body, and let the chips fall where they may. Well, the chips fell and my weight sure didn't. I haven't counted calories or been very intentional about planning my exercise for about three weeks and I've somehow stayed the same weight, but my body feels very different. It feels bloated and jiggly and uncomfortable.

So while I think both ideas are profitable and eventually I would prefer to be an intuitive eater again, for now - I'm back to my calorie counting/intentional exercise game plan.
For most people who read this blog, I'm assuming that healthy eating is just about good plain healthy food and a love for it. But are some of you like me? Is there an underlying desire or need to lose weight and if so, what is the wisest, healthiest way for you to go about it? Are you just doing it intuitively or do you have a plan?

Friday, September 10, 2010

running for dummies, part 1

Happy Saturday, ya'll!
I hope you're doing something wildly fantastic or relaxing or luxurious.
If you're a runner - I hope you're going on a 12 mile long run that makes you feel like a winner:)

So I've been loving Carissa's good words on running these past few weeks and wanted to share my side of the story. Back, way back when (you know - two months ago), when I wrote this blog secretly. I also wrote a little about a decision to start running. Have you ever started doing something with very much doubt that it would go well? That was me and running.
I truly loved the freedom that it seemed to offer in exercise, the challenges that it would bring, but it just didn't seem like it would ever be possible.

Now - I'm about two months in and I've signed up for my first race.
For some reason, I decided that normal goals were for wusses and I skipped right over the 5k and went straight for the 10K. On October 11th. bahahahahahahahahaha.
(that's me hysterically laughing because I'm so nervous)

So I've been running two or three times a week, slowly building up my distance and not worrying a darn thing about my pace. Seriously - sometimes I run a mile in 8mins, 30. Sometimes it's like over ten minutes. Somedays I pump out 3 miles and some change without thinking about it and other days running a half a mile feels like the hardest thing I've ever done.

But here are my observations so far, from an absolute dummie-newbie-runner:
- If I push through the first mile and the first awful feeling of "I-absolutely-cannot-do-this", the rest is always much better.
- Music is very helpful. I absolutely need it. Unless I have someone to run with which is MUCH better.
- Cute running clothes help.
- Planning the meal I'm going to eat after the run is also a good coping mechanism for a hard run. If it's in the morning, I try to spend my second or third mile plotting out my post-run-oatmeal.
- On that note, anytime I try to run any time after 7am, it doesn't go so well. But maybe that's because I'm currently running in the dirty (and still quite hot) south.
- In general, I really like running. Way more than I thought.

I have to be honest, I'm still a little shocked each time I go out for a run and make the distance I intend to. I just never thought it would be possible. I have to get in a good schedule where I can find time to run consistently, do yoga, and do some weight training/circuit training because I can feel my body getting weaker in some ways - but once I get a little more settled - I think it will be better.

Tomorrow, I tackle 4.2 miles.
With my sweet husband by my side.
And - on this beauty.

"secret" french toast

i had to laugh at jess' post, when she mentioned posting my recipe for cinnachip french toast. because there was no recipe.

i think, generally, for mainstay things like french toast, pancakes, or i don't know..pasta, everyone knows how to make them, right? or at least has an idea and can google for further instructions.

so..why not pull every weird thing out of your pantry and give it a try (if it tickles your fancy). just experiment, and if it's bad, oh well. you'll know better next time.

okay, so let's start at the beginning. what do you know you'll need for french toast?

maybe some vanilla?

are we all in agreement? okay, good.

the bread=cinnachip bread from the great harvest bread company. find one near you [here].

i was not at my house last saturday, so i did some digging in rachael's pantry (hollllaaa) and found some honey, cinnamon, poppy seeds, and something else that i can't remember right now.

grab three eggs, and pour in your milk of choice (i used soy, almond, and a splash of half and half so maybe 3/4 cup to 1 cup total of milk), squeeze in some honey, sprinkle in the cinnamon, and i added in a little bit of orange juice (a couple of TBs).

whisk well to incorporate eggs.

i usually pour the egg mixture into a casserole dish and start soaking my first round of bread (it's best to have a 2 and 3 year old help you in this process).

go ahead and turn your attention to your pan. turn your heat to a medium-ish temperature, and drop in about 1/4 stick of butter. watch it carefully, you don't want it to brown quite yet, just bubble.

once the butter is bubbling, add in your soaked bread (however much you can fit comfortably in the pan). make sure the heat isn't too high, and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.

the connolly/hogan crowd likes our french toast a little on the gooey side, but again, that's your call, little chefs.

add some berries, maple syrup, and a mug of coffee.
and you've got yourself a sunday morning breakfast, folks.