Indian Summer

The recent weather in NYC has been unbelievably sunny and warm (remind me of this in a few months…). After the usual 1/2 decaf coffee yesterday morning, I set off to Central Park for a sunny, Autumnal 4 mile run. Considering Sunday’s 12 miler, my legs felt surprisingly OK. Yay! I made sure to stretch and foam roll afterwards – I want to keep them feelin’ good.

Breakfast was plain Oikos greek yogurt with PB2 and a chopped apple mixed in. And then I crumbled an Honest Foods granola plank on top. The maple nut flavor was really good! It had a consistency similar to Kashi Go Lean Crunch – very crunchy. The granola plank was rather caloric, but packed with nutrition – (380 cals, 12 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 600 mg omega 3’s). It kept me full until after 2pm!

Oikos and granola plank

Honest Foods Granola Plank

Lunch was from the salad bar. It was Monday – I needed something exciting!

  • arugula, shredded carrots, red onion, mushrooms
  • roasted acorn squash
  • wild rice stuffing
  • bit of potato salad
  • pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, feta cheese
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

Salad

And then the afternoon snackeroos – decaf cappuccino and chocolate vita muffin

Cappuccino

vita top

Around 4pm, the work really started to pile up and I knew it was going to be a late night in the office. Luckily, I had prepared and brought along a whole arsenal of healthy snacks for the week. When I’ve been sitting at my desk for hours on end and my stress levels are high, it’s so tempting to reach for candy (we have M&M dispensors in the pantry!), so that’s why I plan ahead. I know I’ll feel much better if I have a piece of fruit or something with a little protein & fiber.

Around 8pm, I broke into the almonds and they helped me power through the rest of my work.

Healthy Snacks

I took a car home from the office (that’s one benefit of overtime!), but since I never drive anymore (subway and walking only for this lady) I actually got a little car sick. It was kind of funny in retrospect…

I had a coke zero to settle my stomach and some leftover pumpkin risotto with spinach and a dollop of greek yogurt for a late din-din.

pumpkin risotto

Dessert was a white chocolate pumpkin cookie while I worked on some exciting blog updates – to be announced SOON! And then I attempted to get some zzzzz’s….

Pictures 005

Unfortunately I was too wired (coke zero, damn you) to fall asleep easily and I tossed and turned for quite a bit.  At some point I realized I was hungry and in need of a snack. I stumbled to the kitchen and munched on a clif bar. That seemed to do the trick – I was finally able to get to sleep! Lessons learned: don’t drink caffeine after 9pm and always have a snack at the ready!

clif bar

If you’re tense or angry, you’re more likely to get injured. Read this Runner’s World article on how to run safely under stress.

Check out this NY Times article about a woman who walks up to 43 miles per day!

What healthy snacks do you keep at your desk? Fruit, nuts, and vita muffins are my go-to choices!

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

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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?

8 Miles, 10 Miles

First and most importantly, Happy Friday!

Secondly, thank you for all the kind and supportive comments yesterday. Hearing from readers and knowing that my running and cooking adventures provide inspiration is why I write this blog! It should be noted that the author of yesterday’s email did apologize, however I received another not-so-nice email when they realized I discussed the issue on my blog. All I can say to that is…Oh well! I use this blog as way to discuss issues that affect my quest for a healthy lifestyle and I think yesterday’s blog post was beneficial for me in that respect.

My daily eats and running mileage have been MIA lately, so prepare for a monster recap! I’ve tried to keep it balanced :-)

I woke up feeling wayyyy tired on Wednesday morning and kind of headache-y, so instead of running right away, I hydrated (decaf coffee and water!) and ate breakfast first.

I made a delightful bowl of oats:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water
  • chopped apple
  • sea salt and cinnamon
  • tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs (or a lil more!) almond butter
  • sprinkling of chocolate chips

oatmeal

After waiting awhile for digestion (and downloading the new Jay-Z/Alicia Keys song..) I was ready for my run! The weather was brisk (50 degrees), but sunny so I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt. 90% of me was comfortable, but my hands get cold no matter what!

I was feeling quite sluggish for most of this run, but my legs finally perked up around the 5 mile mark. I finished the 8 miles in about 1 hour and 12 minutes (9:00 per mile pace). After a quick shower and change, it was off to work!

My tum was feelin’ a little off (I think I might be getting a cold), so lunch was a little lighter than usual:

  • 1 cup oikos plain greek yogurt
  • sliced banana (it’s hiding in there somewhere!)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

pumpkin seeds

And a vita muffin + cappuccino for a snackeroo (do you like that word? I think I made it up!):

vita top

Cappuccino

Worked, worked, worked throughout the afternoon and then came home for an easy dinner: apple cider, Campbell’s Selects onion soup with lentils, and a whole wheat sandwich thin with arugula and mozzarella cheese.

french onion soup and sandwich

Andddddd I was still hungry. I got a new container of hummus (Sabra’s greek olive – LOVE) and was going to have it with some pita chips, but then I decided that another sandwich thin would be a better option. More whole grains and fiber!

arnold sandwich thins and sabra's hummus

I finished up some work on the computer, chatted on the phone, and finished the night off with half of this lil’ guy: a Trader Joe’s PB&J bar! This brilliant creation featured milk and dark chocolates, raspberry jam, peanut butter, and crushed potato chips (!!). And while this is definitely a treat, 1/2 the bar only had 150 cals, 4 grams of fiber (not shabby!), and 3 grams of protein. Plus a lil calcium and iron. Sweet :-)

pb & j bar

I woke up feeling a little under the weather yesterday, so an early a.m. gym visit was just NOT going to happen. Instead I spent some time in bed reading emails and catching up on google reader.

And then off to work for me! I’m running low on fruits and veggies in the kitchen, so breakfast was two bananas and a packet of Nature’s Path Flax Plus instant oatmeal made with 1/2 water, 1/2 skim milk. This oatmeal presentation wasn’t nearly as beautiful as yesterday, but you get the idea…

Flax Oatmeal

Lunch was another sweet potato with lentils, mozzarella cheese, and hot sauce. I know this is boring, but it’s so quick and delicious! I heated everything up in the microwave for about 90 seconds to get the cheese melty :-)

Lentils & Sweet Potato

Afternoon energy: decaf cappuccino and a vita muffin top.

Cappuccino

vita top

Things got pretty crazy in the office around 4:30pm and the next few hours were go-go-go. I had a plain whole wheat Arnold sandwich thin sometime around 5:30pm. Too busy to snap a picture, so this stock photo will have to do:

sandwichthin

I really like these sandwich thins. They’re perfect for all sorts of sammies – pb & j, hummus & veggies, deli meat, etc. Or you could top with tomato sauce and mozzarella and make a mini pizza!

I left the office a little before 8pm and was feeling hungrryyy, I debated going straight home, but instead I had a snack in the elevator, and headed directly to my gym. I’ve found that if I don’t allow myself any internal debate (and just GO to the gym or a run), I’m much more likely to get it done. So I snacked on an Honest Foods cranberry lemon zest bar (oh my goodness, so delicious!) and was on the treadmill 15 minutes later.

Honest Foods

Must have been the energizing carbs, protein, fat, and fiber in my snack – I ran 10 miles in about 1 hour and 28 minutes (yes, all on the treadmill). I originally planned on going to a road workout with my track club, but due to the late night in the office, that didn’t pan out. By the time I was free to go running, it was dark and I would be by myself, so I made the decision that the ‘mill would be safer (although more boring).

  • Miles 1 – 9:20 pace
  • Miles 2 – 9:20 pace
  • Mile 3 – 8:55 pace
  • Mile 4 – 8:55 pace
  • Mile 5 – 8:34 pace
  • Mile 6 – 8:34 pace
  • Mile 7 – 8:00 pace (faster effort #1)
  • Mile 8 – 9:13 pace
  • Mile 9 – 7:20 pace (faster effort #2)
  • Mile 10 – 9:13 pace

“Dinner” was rather late, but yum. I had about a cup of plain, non-fat Oikos greek yogurt left in the big tub, so I mixed in about 1.5 Tbs of almond butter, a chopped apple, a dollop of pumpkin butter, and some pecans for a garnish.  I think that mixing the nut butter thoroughly through out the yogurt really put this flavor combo over the top.

Yogurt Mess

Clickety-clack went my keyboard into the night – a little bit before 1am I toasted up 1/2 a whole wheat sandwich thin and slathered it with Sabra’s greek olive hummus.

Hummus

Finally, finally, I finished up all I needed to do and hit the sheets. Phew, what a day. Thank goodness it’s almost the weekend!

Don’t have time for a gym visit – Check out these 5 Fun Ways to Workout at Home.

We all get in grumpy moods sometimes, but according to a recent study it can actually be GOOD for us. Interesting…

And the best part of Friday – a new Running Shorts article from me and Matt!! Are you excited?

Question: What’s your strategy for fitting in exercise to a busy work/school/social life schedule? Do you wake up at 5am to run? Take a walk during your lunch break?

Big Apple Buzz

After my late Halloween night, I was feeling a little less than stellar on Sunday morning. But with some coffee and a big glass of water, I rallied enough for a run alongside the West Side bike path. Hannah and I ran about 5 miles (~43 minutes) and then came back to my apartment for breakfast!

Non-fat Dunkin’ Donuts latte, toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with goat cheese, and a sliced apple with almond butter. Full of stabilizing protein, healthy fat, and carbs. Oh yeah, and a mega-dose of caffeine.

cinnamon raisin bagel

Approximately 10 minutes after finishing breakfast, Hannah and I hit the road for another run. In order to get to mile 19 (1st Ave/115th St) in time to see our marathoning friends, we had to jog (walking takes too long!). I was a little worried about the coffee + breakfast + running and I wouldn’t do this every day, but it actually worked out fine. We were able to see the the runners at mile 19 and then again at mile 22. I wore my Nike + to record the distance and we ended up running/jogging about 3 extra miles throughout the early afternoon.

Female NYC Marathon winner: Derartu Tulu (love her!)

derartu_tulu

It was fun cheering with the crowd, but I’m not going to sugar coat it – the whole atmosphere of the NYC marathon has been kind of rough for me. I was entered in the marathon this year, but when I was side-lined by injury this summer, I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to participate in the race. It was a really hard decision to defer my entry, but I know it was the right one. If I had attempted to run yesterday, I probably would have only exacerbated my IT band/hamstring issues. I’m finally able to run again (for which I’m incredibly thankful!), but there are still days that my hamstring/knee bother me a lot and I’m always worried the injury will come back in full force.

All of the well-meaning co-workers who asked “are you running the marathon?”, the bombardment of Marathon ads on the streets and subways, and the general running buzz throughout the city have been constant reminders that I spent the better part of 2009 injured. I’m glad to be building mileage again, but I’m also frustrated that I can’t run as much or as fast as I’d like to. But it’s not all doom and gloom – there are some positive things that have come from my running struggles this year. I don’t think I will ever take a run for granted. I appreciate each mile that I’m able to complete. I’ve learned to enjoy new activities like cycling and yoga and I’m very excited to experiment with an indoor triathlon (January 10th!).  And being injured has allowed me to have a deeper understanding my body. I am more attuned to aches and soreness and fatigue, but I can also appreciate how good a pain-free run can feel. So as 2009 comes to a close I hope I can start moving forward, focusing on what I will be able to do and not the races that I’m missing out on.

Ahh, my heart feels better already. Thanks for listening.

I downed some Kombucha when I got back to my apartment and felt full of energy all afternoon – I was even motivated to sweep & mop the floors and take out the recycling!

Kombucha

My stomach started to growl around 3pm, time for a mini-meal of pineapple chobani greek yogurt and sliced banana.

Pineapple Chobani

Oh yeah, and a cupcake the size of my head. Earlier in the morning Hannah and I made the very wise decision to scope out the selection at Make My Cake – the cake shop (!!) next to my apartment building. I went with the red velvet cupcake, a Southern Classic. Not only was the cream cheese frosting rich and tangy, but the cake was incredibly moist (Magnolia, you could learn a few things from the folks Uptown). The red velvet had spicy undertones, so if you’re looking for a classic cupcake taste this might not be for you, but I really enjoyed it. I nibbled on this cupcake all day long and devoured every last crumb!

Red Velvet Cupcake from Make My Cake

Mmm, cupcakes.

cupcake hannah

After I said my goodbyes to Hannah (sad), I met Katie in the East Village for quite possibly the best yoga class ever. The teacher’s style definitely wasn’t traditional, but I loved her the mind-body philosophy, the fast pace of the asanas, and the intense core sequence at the end.

Pretty hungry by the time I left class and in need of groceries, so I stopped at Whole Foods. Ahh! Salad bar twice in one weekend! So good, but so $$. Will cook tonight.

Whole Foods Salad Bar

My take-out container included:

  • base of romaine lettuce
  • roasted mushrooms
  • collard greens with pineapple
  • roasted beets
  • roasted apple
  • wheatberry salad
  • tuna salad with apricots and celery

Worth every penny. Yum.

After too many a few hours of email writing, photo uploading, and organizing for the week ahead, I was ready for a snack.

Lucky for me, my yoga buddy had gifted me with a container of vegan peanut butter & jelly bars. I can believe that they don’t contain animal products, but I’m pretty sure they contain crack. So delicious. Hopefully I will have the recipe soon. You’ll have to make your own, because I’m not sharing :-)

Cookies!

Were humans “born to run”? Check out the newest Running Shorts post and see what Matt has to say!

Question: Have you ever had a sports-related injury? How did you deal?

Welcome to the Speakeasy

What a weekend! Prepare yourself for a monster recap :-)

Saturday started off with the usual cup of 1/2 decaf and a banana. Perfect prep for a long run with my beantown running buddy.

Quick breakfast

Hannah and I ran a lovely 9 miles through Central Park and I was pleasantly surprised at how good my IT band/hamstring felt (must have been the day off from running on Friday). As soon as we finished I had to shower and hustle out the door for a meeting downtown.

I grabbed an apple and a vanilla Chobani for the subway ride. I got some weird looks for taking photos of the food in my lap…

chobani

I had a morning meeting with some folks from Nike – a shoe designer and some marketing reps. A small group of NYC runners met with the Nike team to discuss training shoe design – and I snagged a free pair of racing flats! These babies won’t go on the market until January, so I was psyched to get a sneak peek.

Nike Prototypes

My stomach started growling mid way through the group meeting (hello, 9 miles), so I snacked on a clif z bar and some raisins.

snacks

And then I met up with Ms. Hannah and a blog reader (Hi Rachel!) for a tall skim decaf 1 pump pumpkin spice latte. It was even better (and more high maintenance) than usual.

Starbucks

Hannah and I procured some very essential Halloween accessories and then walked across town. We were in need of a mini-meal and the Whole Foods salad bar seemed like a good option. I filled a small take-out container with lots of veggie goodness. I don’t remember exactly what I put in there, but it was a mix of beans, beets, brussels sprouts, and other roasted veggies.

whole foods salad bar

The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for Halloween night!

A princess, a marathon runner, and a flapper.

Except Alma’s ensemble was for real – she ran the marathon this weekend!

Halloween

We ventured to the E. Village (dodging a 7 foot tall hamster wheel costume on our way…) and met a few friends at a place called Quantum Leap. The restaurant is famous for their veggie burgers, so I made Hannah stand under the sign (in the rain). What a good sport :-)

Quantum Leap

Our dining companions were Mario and Luigi.

Mario and Luigi

Quantum Leap

Along with a pumpkin ale, I enjoyed the “fire rock burger”. My juicy veggie burger patty was topped with jalapenos, onions, mushrooms, tomato, and chipotle mayo. The burger also came with soy bacon, but I took that off because I think it kind of has a weird texture.

Pumpkin Ale

Plus a side salad and the BEST garlic fries ever.

Quantum Leap

We were all pretty full after devouring our burgs so we ordered another round of drinks and lingered at the restaurant for awhile. In true prohibition style, I ordered a diet coke and slipped in some of my own Jack Daniels.

And then it was time for more Halloween celebrations. The village was absolutely crazy last night – the weather was beautiful and the costumed crowds were out in full force. A bunch of us found our way to Mud Coffee – coffee shop by day, bar by night. I really liked that we were able to hang out and talk without having to shout. It was a very chill atmosphere and the scene reminded me of a speakeasy – a perfect pairing for my flapper costume and smuggled whiskey.

Maddog and Jonah

Flapper

Halloween

Speakeasy

Mud Coffee

Hannah and I got home pretty late and after chugging some water and nibbling on some (un-pictured) pumpkin cookies, I crawled into bed. It was a very fun night, but it definitely involved a later bedtime than I’m used to!

Stay tuned for part 2 of my weekend recap…Marathon spectating, a GIANT red velvet cupcake, and quite possibly the best yoga class ever.

Surviving the Treadmill

If you’re worried about running through snow, sleet, and icy darkness this winter,  you might want to consider taking your workout indoors. Check out my newest article on True/Slant for tips on treadmill running!

Happy Friday! I’ll be back with a longer post later tonight :-)

Running Machine

Phew, these last few days have been busy! Since I left the house early yesterday morning, I didn’t have time to pack lunch. Luckily I was able to find a veggie-packed meal without even leaving my office building.

  • romaine, red onions, mushrooms, shredded carrots
  • roasted cauliflower & bell pepper
  • sprinkle of feta cheese, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and croutons
  • spoonful of black bean & corn salad
  • spoonful of farro & almond salad
  • spoonful of mediterranean bulgar wheat
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

salad lunch

I LOVE when my salads contain a bajillion different ingredients :-) I had a diet crack coke and some sunchips on the side.

Lunch was on the later side (nearly 3pm!), so I didn’t need a snack before I left the office. Around 6pm the rain finally started letting up and I was able to enjoy an easy 3-mile run through Central Park. Sometimes my brain feels so fried by the end of the day and I just NEED to do some physical activity to put myself in a better state of mind. I finished up with some stretching and foam rolling and then headed home in a much better mood :-)

Din-din was leftover maple syrup roasted sweet potatoes and tofu wrapped up in whole wheat lavash bread. With hot chili sauce. Is that weird? Yeah, probably, but I like my food to have a little kick!

sweet potato wrap

After catching up on some Mad Men (almost done with season 1), I headed to the kitchen for some extra special baking.

I was contacted by the cherry marketing institute the other day about the Red Recovery Routine, developed by world-renowned Sports Nutritionist Lesli Bonci M.P.H. R.D. LDN CSSD.

Check this out:

Recent studies suggest cherries may have powerful pain relief benefits for marathoners and other athletes of all levels.  This research revealed that powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give cherries their bright red color, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect muscles and joints even before an athlete laces up, thereby reducing post-exercise pain.

With the fall miles piling up and an upcoming marathon for many, improving post-run recovery seems like a win-win situation!

Using this Smitten Kitchen recipe as inspiration I baked up a batch of Tart Cherry-Dark Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Blondies.

blondies

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • dash of salt
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • big handful of each: shredded unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate chips, dried tart cherries, and raw pecans

Directions:

  • Mix together the melted butter and sugar until combined (I used a wooden spoon, but you could probably use a hand mixer)
  • Stir in the egg, salt, vanilla, and flour
  • Add in mix-ins (chocolate chips, etc)
  • Pour batter into a buttered 8″ x 8″ pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

My “blondies” turned out more like crispy cookie bars, but that’s probably because 1) I don’t like to measure and 2) the temp on my oven is a little off. But don’t worry – these treats were definitely still delicious. I sampled my fair share just to make sure ;-)

If you’re looking for more recipes that use cherries, check out the Choose Cherries recipe index!

I had plans to run with Alma after work tonight (i.e. no early a.m. gym visit), so I was able to get started on a freelance writing assignment. I had almost 2 full hours at home this morning before I had to leave for work. It was kind of weird! I (almost) felt like it was a Saturday or something…

Breakfast:

oikos

Stonyfield Oikos Greek yogurt (plain) along with a VERY ripe banana and a baked apple.

And lunch was eaten at my desk (I think this is going to be the theme for the next few weeks…busy time):

Almond butter, pumpkin butter, and banana on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread

Pictures 005

And two (yes, two) bags of popchips. I’m normally not a fan of “100 calorie packs”, but I give pop chips two thumbs up. Especially the salt & pepper flavor. Mmm.

popchips

Oh yeah, and since it’s Halloween week – a fun size snickers!

snickers

And I’m off – I have plans for a run in Central Park in a bit!

Check out this article from the NY TimesHumans Built for Distance 

So if we’re born to run, why are runners so often injured? A combination of factors is likely to play a role, experts say. Exercise early in life can affect the development of tendons and muscles, but many people don’t start running until adulthood, so their bodies may not be as well developed for distance. Running on only artificial surfaces and in high-tech shoes can change the biomechanics of running, increasing the risks of injury.

Love veggies more: If you like potatoes, you should try sunchokes.

Question: What’s your favorite vegetable? I could eat sweet potatoes and arugula every day!

Speedy Wednesday

Thank you for all the well wishes on the new True/Slant endeavor! Matt and I are both really excited :-) If you haven’t read our first piece, check it out!

So remember yesterday when I said I’d probably need a snack? Well, actually I needed 3!

Homemade trail mix (pretzel nuggets, chocolate chips, cranberries, pecans) around 2pm:

trail mix

1 cup of Heritage Heirloom whole grain flakes at 4pm:

Heritage heirloom whole grain

And a luna bar before I left the office (I just could not get full yesterday afternoon!):

luna bar

After some errands, I got busy in the kitchen. I had a package of tofu that needed to be used up ASAP, so I after pressing out some of the water (put the tofu on an inverted plate and place a heavy pot on top), I marinated the slices in a mixture of canola oil (1 tsp), soy sauce (2 Tbs), maple syrup (1 Tbs), salt and pepper. As I was waiting for the tofu to soak up all the yummy sauce, I cleaned up a sweet potato + brussel sprouts and tossed them in a mixture of 1 Tbs canola oil + 2 Tbs maple syrup. I arranged the tofu and veggies on a baking sheet and popped it into a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes (flipping everything after 10 minutes).

marinated tofu

sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts

All together (with a splash of red wine!):

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tofu, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts

While I was prepping dinner, I also put together some baked apples. I cored 3 Macoun apples and filled each one with: tsp butter, Tbs maple syrup, sprinkle of cranberries + pecans, and a dash of cinnamon. I baked the apples in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or so (until fork tender). I enjoyed one as a healthy dessert :-)

baked apples

Besides a delicious (veggie-packed) dinner, the best thing to happen to me yesterday was a shipment of 14 (yes, 14!) cookbooks compliments of fellow-foodie and blogger Matt (find him @ EatWithMe).  I’m super excited about all the vegetarian volumes and the Pie cookbook is just calling my name. Yay. Thanks Matt!

cookbooks

cookbooks

This morning, I woke up early, early with plans to complete a speedy workout (my first one in awhile!). I started off with a banana and half decaf coffee. The usual.

Quick breakfast

I wanted to be sure of my pace throughout the workout and the weather was pouring rain, so I opted to run on the treadmill. This might sound strange, but when I’m doing speed workouts, I kind of like the treadmill. It helps me stay super focused.

I got the inspiration for this workout from Runner’s World:

The Speed Demon Workout (appropriately named for Halloween week,  eh?)

I warmed up easily for 2 miles (9:15 pace) and dropped the pace a bit for the 3rd mile (8:30 pace). Then it was time for the intervals!

For miles 4 thought 6, I ran 4 x 3-minute repeats at 6:55 pace alternating with 3 minutes easy running (9:15 pace). I finished up with a mile cool-down (9:15 pace).

Total: 7 miles in 1 hour, 7 seconds.

After I finished I was a sweaty mess, but luckily my gym keeps a mini fridge stocked with towels soaked in lavender water. Oh my goodness, that cold towel was SO refreshing. What a wonderful idea!

After I finished up in the locker room, I braved the rain + wind and headed to the Jamba Juice near my office. I had a coupon and I redeemed for some steel cut oats with blueberry topping and brown sugar. Yum, Yum. Steel cut oats are less processed than instant and old-fashioned oats, so they take longer to digest (i.e. you feel full longer!).

steelcut oats

And later on, I sipped a (NOT decaf) cappuccino and some dried fruit (energy!) because my early morning was making me quite sleepy:

Cappuccino

Dried fruit

Questions:

1) What’s your go-to gym bag snack? I’ve been really liking prunes/dried fruit lately. Antioxidants + long shelf life + instant sugar = excellent!

2) Do you have a favorite cookbook? I really enjoy the Mollie Katzen/Moosewood Cookbook series, but I’m excited to test out the newbies I just received!

Running Shorts

Before I get down to business and chat about my running and foodie adventures, I have some exciting news! Matt (NoMeatAthlete) and I are the newest contributors for the online news network True/Slant. The focus of our column will be on all things running: gear, races, nutrition, athletes in the news, etc. We’re still figuring out the direction for Running Shorts, but we’re open to suggestions. Check out our inaugural post and let us know what you’d like to read about!

I totally had a case of the Mondays yesterday, boo. But I did begin the day with a 3-mile run with Alma. That helped get the week off to a good start!

Breakfast was a cappuccino and overnight oats. The overnight oats won’t be winning any beauty contests, but they were filling and yum!

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup Fage 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • sliced banana
  • handful of cranberries
  • LOTS of cinnamon

overnight oats

The options for a bag-lunch were slim pickings (need to go to the grocery store…), so I hit up the salad bar at lunch time. I enjoyed this beauty outside in the sun (probably one of the last days I can eat lunch outside this Autumn!).

salad

  • romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, red onion, mushrooms
  • stalk of baby bok choy
  • spoonful of white bean & artichoke salad
  • feta cheese, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, croutons
  • sample of a tostone and a spoonful of rice & beans
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

And then some pop chips! They were handing out samples of these little 50-calorie bags near Columbus Circle last week. Score!

popchips

Dessert was a (surprise!) magic bar from a co-worker. Coconut, graham cracker, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, mmm. It’s a good thing the portion was small – these little babies could be dangerous!

magic bar

And then around 5pm, I poured myself a bowl of Heritage heirloom whole grain flakes with skim milk.

Heritage heirloom whole grain

I was feeling kind of bored/blah after I left the office, so I headed back to my gym for some easy elliptical. I pedaled away for about an hour while I read my newest book: The Nineteenth Wife

After some stretching, foam rolling, and showering (still having hot water problems at my apartment, ugh), I headed uptown.

My mission for dinner: Assemble something healthy and tasty with whatever ingredients I had on hand.

I heated up a black bean veggie burger and rolled it up in a whole wheat lavash wrap along with hummus, mozzarella cheese, hot sauce, and shredded carrot. It was surprisingly good!

whole wheat wrap

Dessert came from the fridge & freezer: a warm vita brownie topped with almond butter. Protein? Check. Fiber? Check. Vitamins? Check. Delicious? Absolutely!

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As I finished up Mad Men, Season 1, Disc 3,  my tum started to grumble. Solution? Wallaby vanilla bean yogurt! With a satisfied stomach and sleepy eyes, I set my alarm for an early wake-up call.

wallaby

Ok, the sun needs to get its act together and start rising before I do. When the alarm beeped at 6:20am, it was still veryyy dark (and rainy!) outside. I dragged myself to the kitchen for coffee (half-decaf) and dried fruit and then set off for the gym.

Prunes

I went to my favorite 45 minute spinning class (yay, 80’s music!) and then finished up with a increasing speed 4 mile run.

  • Mile 1 – 9:20
  • Mile 2 – 9:15
  • Mile 3 – 8:00
  • Mile 4 – 7:45
  • Total – 34:20

Breakfast at my desk was a decaf cappuccino (perfect after my rainy, chilly commute), a banana, strawberry chobani, and 1.5 cups of Kashi Honey Sunshine.

banana and cappuccino

chobani

The morning was a whirlwind and before I knew it, my stomach was MORE than ready for lunch. I just finished the very last of the leftover octoberfest veggie chili (wahoo!) and a cornbread vitatop. After this morning’s long gym session, I’m sure I’ll be needing a snack soon. 

Leftover chili

Can’t wait until tonight – I have a yummy dinner recipe in the works. Stay tuned!

Who knew pumpkin seeds were so healthy? 85 seeds contain 126 calories, 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, Omega-3’s, and zinc. Now if we could only make them taste like candy corn…

Autumn Miles

Despite Saturday’s rain and wind, I managed to fit in quite a few fun activities. I started the weekend early with some coffee and a 4.5 mile run mostly around the reservoir in Central Park. I was a little sleepy for the first 20 minutes, but I felt much better after that. I returned home to try out the new pineapple Chobani greek yogurt flavor! I enjoyed it with a sliced banana and 1/2 Clif mojo bar (the other half was eaten quite awhile ago…).

chobani

Mojo

Then Alma and I grabbed our yoga mats and headed downtown for 60 minutes of vinyasa flow. I was really challenged during the lunge asanas (especially crescent moon, yikes), but I felt sooo much looser and relaxed after class. I enjoy running much more than other activities (yoga, spinning etc.) so it’s always a struggle to find motivation to cross-train. However, I know how important stretching and strengthening are to my running, so that gives the activities a defined purpose. Plus, I’ve found that the more I do an activity (like cycling!), the more I enjoy it.

After class, Alma and I treated ourselves to pumpkin spice lattes! I ordered a no-whip decaf skim latte with 2 pumps of pumpkin spice syrup. My order was so high maintenance that the barista accidentally made me the iced version. Hot or iced, I enjoy all of the overpriced beverages Starbucks has to offer :-)

latte

When I got back from yoga class, I was h-u-n-g-r-y! I plated up some sliced apple with almond butter and a slice of whole wheat toast with (more!) almond butter and pumpkin butter. And then awhile later I dug into a multi-bran vitatop with pumpkin butter.

Almond butter

vitatop with pumpkin butter

An friend from college was visiting the city this weekend and I agreed to run a few miles with him that afternoon (um, yes, that would be run #2 for the day). We ran for about 3.5 miles at 8 minute pace. After this morning’s run and then the hour-long yoga class, my legs were feeling pretty dead. I made sure to snack on some tasty treats to refuel.

peanut butter lara bar & spiced almonds:

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and then a Sam Adams Octoberfest beer!

beer

After a few hours of being lazy, it was time for dinner! We braved the winds and rain and ventured to a restaurant called Turkuaz on the Upper West Side. I’ve been wanting to try this place for awhile and it didn’t disappoint. The interior was really cool – the main dining room reminded me of a tent in Middle East. The space was cavernous (by Manhattan standards anyway) and the ceilings and walls were draped in canvas fabric.

Turkuaz

Dinner started with some warm flatbread while Alex sampled a Turkish beer.

Turkuaz

For my entree, I actually selected something with chicken! Now if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may remember my 30-day Vegetarian Challenge. At the end of the month I announced that while I wouldn’t prepare or consume meat at home, I might partake at certain restaurants or on special occasions (Thanksgiving). Lately I’ve been putting in some serious time at the gym/on the roads, so I felt like I could use the extra protein and heme iron.

Anyway, back to the entree: I ordered a chicken kabob dish that contained roasted tomatoes, char grilled peppers, yogurt sauce, and toasted bread cubes. It was so delicious! I would definitely go back to Turkuaz and order this again.

Turkish food

The rest of my evening was pretty low key. Alma and I opened a bottle of red wine that we had leftover from our housewarming party and I enjoyed some dark chocolates along with a few small pours of vino. Antioxidants!

red wine

I was having trouble sleeping on Saturday night (mosquito attacks), so around 3am I headed to the kitchen for a small (un-pictured, sorry!) bowl of cereal. The carbs + milk helped me drift of to sleep – finally!

After my late bedtime, I didn’t wake up until after 9:30am on Sunday. It was kind of awesome – I never sleep that late anymore!

spiced pumpkin pie clif bar

After the requisite coffee and 1/2 clif bar (new pumpkin pie flavor!), I headed out the door for a long-ish run. I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel after my high volume week of training, but I was pleasantly surprised. The weather was absolutely gorgeous  – 60 degrees and sunny. I’m sure that helped make my run so good! I ended up running 12 miles in 1:46:37 (a bit under 9:00 per mile pace) and I felt strong throughout. My IT band started aching a bit after 5 or 6 miles, but it wasn’t too bad. After the run I downed some water and a banana and jumped in the shower. Thank goodness our hot water was working again (ughhh…so many problems with the boiler in this apartment building).

banana

Around 2:30pm, I headed to brunch with my friend. At this point I had been awake for 5 hours and had run 12 miles, but had only ingested about 250 calories. I started feeling pretty yucky. On the subway I had 1/2 of an un-pictured fruit and oat bar (free sample from the HLS!) and that made me feel a teeny bit better.

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Once we arrived at our brunch locale, I immediately ordered a big glass of OJ to get my blood sugar back up. Once the food arrived, I was ready to dig-in! I ordered the goat cheese and spinach egg white omelette that was accompanied by country potatoes (with lots of ketchup, of course) and a slice of sour dough toast.

Megan

omelet

It was just what I needed – I felt 100% better after eating! Post-long run brunches are fun, but I think I just need to skip the  shower next time. Food should come first in my book :-)

Oh! And the restaurant featured this amazing sandwich as one of their specials: french toast sandwich with ricotta and nutella filling, covered with strawberry jam and honey. OMG. This sounded so good. If I wasn’t craving salt and protein (eggs + potatoes!), I think I would have ordered this sammie.

Brunch Specials

I wanted to enjoy the Autumn weather for the rest of the afternoon, so after running some errands, I popped into a Starbucks and ordered a decaf skim misto with 2 pumps of pumpkin spice syrup. FYI: Mistos are 1/2 milk, 1/2 coffee and are about $2 cheaper than lattes! But I think they taste pretty similar.  I enjoyed my warm drink while walking around my neighborhood.

Starbucks

Once I was back at my apartment I basically crashed. Late bedtime + 12 mile run = sleepy Megan. I was able to enjoy a little nap and it was awesome. I wish I could do this more often!

My stomach felt a little off all day, but around 8pm, I knew I needed to eat something. I toasted up a slice of whole wheat bread and topped it with almond butter and 1/2 banana. I rounded out dinner with some veggie chili and ate it with a generous dash of hot sauce and a dollop of greek yogurt. Perfecto!

Toast

Veggie Chili

The rest of my Sunday was very chill – Gossip Girl watching, tea sipping, vita brownie (with almond butter!) snacking, and preparing for the week ahead.

vita brownie

Fingers-crossed, I think the  hamstring/IT band injury might be almost 100% better…

Last night I tallied up exercise totals for the week: 46 miles of running, 2 x 45 minute spinning classes, 50 minutes elliptical cross-training, and a 60 minute yoga class. Holy cow, I had no idea that I’d been that busy this week! My legs are a little bit sore from the increase in mileage, but this is the most positive (and pain free) week of training that I’ve had since last fall. Hooray!

Check out these healthy, Halloween cookies (they’re kind of like personal apple pies!).

Question: What’s your favorite thing to eat when you go out to brunch? Sweet (waffles and french toast) or savory (omelettes)?

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