My New Favorite Day

In college, I used to dread Sundays. I would wake up around noon (still feeling the effects of Saturday night partying) and have a ton of things to do before the day ended: papers to write, chapters to read, lab reports to finish, a long run with the cross-country/track team, and maybe some laundry.  But over the past few years, Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. I’m a total Grandma and don’t really stay out late anymore, so waking up at a decent hour is no problem. I’ve also learned to love long runs because they’ve become something I want to do rather than something I have to do. Oh, and I don’t have homework anymore. That’s pretty sweet! So I’ve decided,  Sunday is my new favorite day!

Favorite day started off with a walk to Dunkin’ Donuts for a latte lite. Love.

morning latte

And then it was time for oats in a jar. I had about 1-2 Tbs of almond butter left at the bottom of the jar, so I made stovetop oats and then added the oats to the almond butter container. The hot oats melted the almond butter and everything mixed up quite nicely!

  • 1/2 cup oats made with 1 cup water, splash of milk
  • sea salt and cinnamon
  • sliced banana
  • 1-2 Tbs almond butter
  • a few chocolate chips

Oats in a jar

My oats were perfect fuel for a long run! The weather was so amazing in NYC yesterday – sunny and 68 degrees when I set off for my run. I stopped around mile 6 to stretch out my ache-y IT band, but other than that I felt strong throughout my 12.5 mile run. I finished in 1 hour, 49 minutes which is about 8:45 per mile pace. If it weren’t for time constraints, I would have run longer! Love this weather. Can we just skip January, February, and March?

Central Park[source]

I foam rolled and stretched and then re-fueled!

  • 1 cup plain Oikos greek yogurt
  • chopped apple
  • 1 Tbs peanut butter
  • 1/2 Kashi crunchy granola bar

Yogurt Mess

And a clif bar on the way out the door!

Clif bar 

I met Katie for 5pm yoga and the same instructor from last week was teaching class. I love, love, love this teacher. Her core sequence is killer, but the deep stretches and the instructor’s mind-body philosophy more than make up for my sore abs. I don’t think it would be cool to take a camera into the studio, but I wanted you all to see what Yoga to the People looks like, so I pulled an image off of their site (thanks http://yogatothepeople.com). If you’re in the NYC, San Fran, or Berkeley areas, you have to check out this studio. I think the instructors are great and I love that the classes are donation based. Sometimes I have more money in the bank account, sometimes I have less, but I can always manage a donation for a yoga class. And that’s a very good thing.

Yoga to the People[source]

*Note for those unfamilar with yoga: this photo makes it look like the class is worshipping an altar or something, but they’re really just in child’s pose (a gentle, resting pose).

After a quick stop at Trader Joe’s (madness on a Sunday evening!), I dashed home to start laundry and dinner. Before I got down to business, I had a small snack: 1/2 whole wheat sandwich thin with Greek olive hummus.

Hummus

And then for the next 2 hours I cooked risotto. Yikes. This recipe was A LOT more labor intensive than I expected. The results were pretty good and I have a ton of leftovers, but I’m not sure I would do this again! But just in case you have a lot of time on your hands, I’ll post the recipe. Note: I improvised and used ingredients that I had on hand, so feel free to use different kinds of cheese, wine instead of beer, or arborio rice instead of brown.

Megan’s Pumpkin and Cheese Risotto (adapted from a Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 Tbs olive oil
  • puree of one small pumpkin
  • 1/2 can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice (use arborio if you have it)
  • 4 oz cottage cheese (or you could use goat cheese)
  • 2 laughing cow lite cheese wedges (or you could use Parmesan cheese)
  • 5 cups hot water (or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs butter

Pictures 004

Directions:

  • Steep bay leaf in 5 cups of very hot water.
  • Heat olive oil in large pot and saute rice, onions, and pumpkin until onions are translucent and rice has nutty aroma.
  • Add garlic and saute briefly.
  • Add beer and deglaze the pan.
  • Remove bay leaf from hot water and discard.
  • While stirring rice mixture with a wooden spoon (vigorously!), add one cup of hot water at a time until rice absorbs all water.
  • This is where I started to freak out – my risotto was taking a very long time to cook. I was stirring and stirring and going to the laundry mat to pick up my laundry stirring non-stop for nearly 50 minutes before everything started to come together. I realized this was because I used brown rice and the original recipe uses white arborio rice which has a much shorter cooking time. This is what I get for trying to be healthy…
  • Anyway, after your rice has finally absorbed the water and is al dente (soft, but chewy), add the canned pumpkin, salt, pepper, and cheese.
  • Before serving, add Tbs butter and stir until melted.
  • Allow the risotto to sit for a minute or so before serving and then enjoy over spinach or mixed greens.

pumpkin risotto

pumpkin risotto

After dishes and laundry folding, I was ready to pack it in. Phew, what a night of domesticity!

I finished up my Sunday with an episode of Mad Men, a glass of milk, and 2 white chocolate pumpkin cookies. Perfect.

cookies and milk

Don’t love running? Neither did Matt until he discovered the beauty of the trails. Check out the new Running Shorts article on True/Slant for the whole story!

Cursing the alarm clock every morning? Read these tips for getting the restorative sleep you need.

Question: What’s the most labor intensive thing you’ve ever cooked or baked?

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17 Responses

  1. I made bagels once and that was tough work!
    I need to check out that sleep article because last night was no good.
    Sunday is so peaceful if you let it be, it’s the best!

  2. That yoga class looks AMAZING, I wish we had one around here that was donation-based.

    I’m dying to make those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies of yours!! That’s on the agenda for next weekend for sure!

  3. If I’m in NYC for school next year I’d love to check out yoga to the people. Sounds like a great idea for broke college students!

  4. I am still really childish about sundays and cannot love them as much at saturdays when I know I have to work the next day!
    Risotto is my absolute fave! Sorry it was such hard work :(
    I also had a GLORIOUS run this weekend. Mine was only 3 miles but the weather was 63 and sunny felt like the best thing in the world!

  5. I love that yoga pic!! When we get back to the states, I hope to go to an actual yoga studio like that instead of my gym! It would be much more spiritual!

  6. I love Risotto soo much, but can’t put in the effort. Good for you – it looks yummy. My most labor-intensive recipe was my first time making chicken marsala and pretty much my first attempt at cooking ever! Now I think making it is very easy, but back then it was a huge process. Maybe the next batch of risotta will be easier.

  7. That risotto looks FAB!!!! OMG so bookmarking it and making it soon. Thanks!

  8. MY famous chocolate cake is pretty labor intensive. If it’s labor intensive though I rarely try to bake it ;) Results are usually worth it though.

  9. Hey Megan!,
    I have a tip for you about making pumpkin puree! If you just cut the pumpkin in half and take out the seeds, then put in in the oven. Once it is fully roasted let it cool and then scoop the pumpkin out from the skin. (the skin will be hard like a bowl) this way you don’t have to deal with the skin!

  10. I love Yoga to the People! Though, lately, due to laziness and not wanting to schlepp on the subway, I’ve been doing their podcasts. Not quite the same as the class, but I get to wear things I wouldn’t dare step outside in and I can fall down without getting embarrassed.

    The most labor intensive thing to come off of my stove top was a vegan carrot bisque, worth every second of work.

    Kudos on both the run and risotto, now that’s real R&R.

  11. Chelsea – do you live in the city? Send me an email – we should meet up for a run or dinner sometime!

  12. Chelsea and Megan – I live in NYC too and am a newbie blogger – I’d love to meet up with you two to chat or go for a run. Sorry – I totally just butted into your back-and-forth with Chelsea. :-)

  13. I love the pic from the yoga studio! And as a yoga instructor I’m pleased to hear you enjoy the mind-body philosophy. I sometimes battle with how far beyond just the physical aspect of yoga I should teach. It’s so much more than stretching!

  14. Tieghan – thanks for the pumpkin tip! I’ll have to try roasting it in the oven next time.

    Chelsea and Lindsey – I’ll be in touch soon about a possible NYC get together :-)

  15. Whoa that risotto recipe is intense! Sounds amazing. I can see why Sunday became your favorite day. :)

  16. risotto is sooo time consuming but soooo worth it! woowoo for your 12.5 mile run girl – that pic of the tree is gorgeousssssss!

    love you :)

  17. [...] had a coke zero to settle my stomach and some leftover pumpkin risotto with spinach and a dollop of greek yogurt for a late [...]

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