White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

I’m sure by now it’s no surprise that I LOVE all things pumpkin, so prepare yourself for a few more recipes :-)

When my friend Hannah visited last week she brought me a tupperware full of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that I promptly devoured. Once they were gone, I knew I had to re-create them.

Even though I love to bake, I’m not the biggest fan of measuring/following directions (um, yes – I realize this is usually essential for baking). I went with my instincts last night and the result was healthy and delicious (tooting my own horn, just a bit)!! I based the recipe loosely on these pumpkin cookies, but my final version was modified quite a bit.

white chocolate pumpkin cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3.5 oz Lindt white chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease a large baking sheet
  • Whisk together flour, spices, and baking soda in a medium bowl
  • Beat together the sugar and butter until creamy
  • Mix in applesauce, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla
  • Slowly incorporate flour mixture just until combined
  • Stir in the pecans and white chocolate and dark chocolate chips
  • Drop heaping Tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top

These cookies have a very light, fluffy textures (almost like little pumpkin breads!) and the white chocolate is a surprisingly good compliment to the pumpkin. To assist in her post-marathon recovery, Alma sampled 6 cookies and declared them “delicious!”.

And now….for my next trick, homemade pumpkin puree! Inspired by Christine, I set out to make good use of a small pumpkin that had been serving as a living room decoration. I bought this lil’ guy over a month ago and it was still perfectly edible. Yay, winter gourds!

Instructions:

1) Wash the pumpkin, cut a hole in the top, and scoop out the seeds/innards. Then cut the pumpkin in half and then into medium sized chunks (leave the skin on).

Sugar pumpkin

2) Put the pumpkin chunks in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the bowl from the microwave (be careful! bowl will be hot), stir, cover with new plastic wrap, and microwave for 10 more minutes.

Cooked Pumpkin

3) After pumpkin is finished cooking, allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Then remove the pumpkin rind – I used a spoon to scoop the flesh into a separate bowl. I was doing this around 11:45pm on a Saturday night…real cool, I know.

4) Mash the pumpkin and store in a tupperware or small bowl until ready to use! I have plans to make some pumpkin risotto with my homemade puree.

Pumpkin Puree

This pumpkin was probably one of the best dollars that I ever spent. The gourd served as a decoration for over a month, yielded nearly 2 cups of pumpkin puree, and I plan to season and roast the seeds.

Hooray for pumpkin!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin? In a pie? In a latte from Starbucks? As a jack o’ lantern?

Apples – The Perfect Fall Food!

apple

One of my favorite newsletters comes from an online foodie directory called Food411. Their most recent edition was all about apples! Check out some of this great apple-y info from Food411:

Apple FYI:

  • Fall is here and so are the apples! Apples are in season from late summer to early winter. Many varieties are available year round because they have been in cold storage or imported.
  • There are about 2,500 known varieties of apples grown in the US. The top states that grow apples are, WA, NY, MI, CA, PA, & VA. Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the U.S..
  • On average in U.S., we eat about 19 pounds of fresh apples a year — which amounts to only one apple per week. Of course eating one fresh apple is always good for you, but to get the full nutritional benefits you should eat at least one fresh apple every day.
  • Apples are wonderful for hydration. They are made up of approximately 83% water. The average small apple has only 60 calories. Approximately, 15% of an apple consists of carbohydrates from sugar and fiber. It is important to remember that this is natural, unprocessed sugar that will not cause the blood sugar spikes as refined white sugar can.
  • Fiber is perhaps the most important nutrient that apples provide. A small apple contains approximately 3 to 5 grams of fiber. However, most of the fiber is located in the frui! t’s skin. So, peeling an apple will remove most of this important nutrient. Remember, fiber fills you up, along with an apple’s high water content – making the apple a filling, healthy snack.
  • Many recent studies show apples may provide a “whole-body” health benefit. Lower blood cholesterol, improved bowel function, reduced risk of stroke, prostate cancer, type II diabetes and asthma and a potential decreased risk of cancer and heart disease. In addition to fiber, apples are loaded with antioxidants that are associated with lowering bad cholesterol levels. Apples also contain flavonoids and phytochemicals that may help protect organs like the lungs and colon. They are also a good source of boron, which is associated with improved bone density and a stronger heart. Apples also protect the heart by their high folic acid content.
  • Nutritionally, whole apples are a much better choice than apple juice. Whole apples are richer in fiber and the process of juicing seem to reduce the nutrient concentrations found in the whole fruit
  • Dentists also promote eating apples as a method of preventing tooth decay. Apples have nutrients known as tannins that can protect against plaque and gum disease. Also, eating a water-rich, solid fruit can help clean away bacteria from teeth. Chewing an apple helps stimulate the production of saliva. Saliva kills bacteria and helps prevent tooth decay.

Apples

Apple Tips & Tricks:

  • Choose organically grown apples whenever possible to avoid peeling the skin. Eat apples unpeeled. Two-thirds of the fiber and most antioxidants are found in the peel.
  • Buy apples that are bruise-free and firm to the touch. Bruised apples can decay quickly. “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch”!
  • Unbruised apples, handled and stored well, have a storage life of 90 days, and often more!
  • Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie.
  • Apples are sometimes called “nature’s toothbrush,” They help clean the teeth and massage the gums.
  • Apples float because 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air.
  • Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated. For optimal storage, apples should be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. (Storing them in a plastic bag prevents the ripening of other produce items nearby.)
  • It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
  • To aid in the prevention of browning peeled apples, place in a mixture of 50/50 water and lemon juice
  • Add diced apples to fruit or green salads.
  • Make a quick apple salsa for use over chicken or pork. Diced apples, chopped pepper, onions and lime juice – salt/pepper to taste.
  • Sliced apples and peanut butter make a perfect snack.
  • Sliced apples (either alone or with other fruits) and cheese make an ideal dessert
  • Use Honeycrisp, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Gala, Newtown Pippin and Granny Smith apples for pies and other desserts.
  • Use Newton Pippin and Granny Smith varieties, which are more tart, in savory dishes.
  • Jonathans are good for making applesauce because they are tart, yet sweet.

apple pie

Some of my favorite apple recipes:

Megan’s Maple Apple Crisp

Apple-Basil-Chicken Salad

Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake

Caramel-Apple Butter-Oat Bars

Take this Apple personality Test: What does your fav variety say about you?

Chobani Greek Yogurt

First things, first – I wrote a guest post today for Angharad’s  Eating for England blog. You know you want to see more photos of those half-pound cookies I like. Mmm. And if that isn’t enough to sway you, the recipes that our English lady friend whips up are always amazing – check out her posh mac ‘n cheese dish. Swoon.

True to my word, I decided to tie on my baking apron last night. I had a big bag of Farmer’s Market apples that were just calling my name.

Apples

Megan’s Maple-Cinnamon Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 6 large apples, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • another 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Toss the apples with maple syrup and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and place in a lightly greased 8×8″ baking dish
  • Mix together the ww flour, oats, brown sugar, and second 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Using the tines of two forks (or just use your fingers) cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly
  • Top the apples with the crumbly mixture and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 F
  • Note: My oven is super hot, so you might need to bake your apple crisp for a little longer.
  • Enjoy!

Apple Crisp

This recipe is so healthy (whole wheat flour, oats, apples!) that you could eat it for breakfast. Actually, today I did just that.

But first, I started off with some coffee to-go, a few dried plums, and a still-dark commute to the gym. I do not like waking up before the sun.

Prunes

I hit up a 7:15am spinning class (the music was only half as good as Tuesday) and then finished with a speedy 3 mile run (finished the last 400m or so around 7:00/mile pace). Pheww.

Busy morning at work, breakfast was eaten in parts.

Breakfast #1: Chobani peach greek yogurt

Chobani

Actually, yesterday I received a whole CASE of these little babies. Including the elusive pineapple flavor. Hooray! It’s (almost) better than Christmas. Do you want some of your own FREE greek yogurt? There might be a give-a-way waiting for you at the end of this post….

Chobani

Breakfast #2:

Apple crisp with (another) dollop of greek yogurt

Apple Crisp

Lunch was the LAST of the coconut cauliflower curry. This was delicious, but cooking for one person means eating leftovers for days on end. Yeesh.

Leftover curry

I’m sure I’ll need a lot of mini peanut butter cups a healthy snack between now and the fun pizza dinner that I have planned….stay tuned!

I just found this great new recipe site called FunnySpoon. Bonus: the site offers coupons on featured ingredients. Two of my fav recipes: Halloweenies and 1-2-3 cookie bars.

Live in NYC? Check out the upcoming Boho Bodega where you can purchase “green” products at wallet-friendly discounts. All proceeds from the store will benefit the non-profit New York Council on the Environment.

Pumpkin, Fennel, and Grapes – Check out this Autumn shopping list for more seasonal favorites!

And now…..a fun give-a-way!! I eat greek yogurt almost every day (love all the extra protein) and Chobani has graciously offered to send a reader some samples of their very own.

Here’s what you have to do:

1) Go to the Chobani website and take a look around.

2) Leave a comment telling me what new flavor of Chobani yogurt you’d like to see.

3) Get an extra chance at winning by linking to my give-a-way on your own blog and leaving a second comment telling me that you did so.

You have until noon on Friday, October 16th to enter. I’ll choose the most creative/yummy flavor then! Note: Must be a U.S. resident to win.

Ok. Ready? Set? Go!!

Pumpkin Swirl and Butternut Squash

Highlights of my Saturday so far:

1) Having a conversation about track & field with the homeless guy who hangs out on my block.

2) Finally killing the mosquito who’s been feasting on me all week.

I started the morning with a quick trip to DD for a latte lite (ahhh, newest obsession!) and some breakfast: TJ’s honey greek yogurt, grapes, and Kashi warm cinnamon Heart-2-Heart. I had quite a few handfuls of cereal straight out of the box after I finished my initial bowl.

Latte Lite

After I finished my breakfast, I started to prepare the dough for some delicious Pumpkin Swirl Bread. I based this recipe on MeganNerdRun’s version, but made a few alterations.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of ginger & nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling

  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, ww flour, oats, brown sugar, spices, salt, sugar, and yeast.
  • Stir in the warm water and pumpkin until moistened. Add egg, mix until smooth.
  • Stir in the remaining 1 cup flour until the dough is firm.
  • Put dough in stand mixer and knead using dough hook for about 5 minutes. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with dishcloth, and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Spray the counter lightly with cooking spray and roll out the dough to a 18″ x 9″ rectangle.
  • Spread the melted butter on the dough and then sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
  • Roll up the dough jelly-roll style, starting with the short side. Pinch ends to seal.
  • Place seam side down in loaf pan, cover and let rise for 90 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Dough Rising

Rolling out the dough

During the 90 minute second rising, I headed out for a long run. I didn’t feel awesome, but the weather was ideal (sunny, breezy, and 60 degrees). My legs are STILL feeling the effects of last Saturday and my right knee/hamstring were a bother, but I was feeling great mentally by the end of my 10 mile run (finished in 1:30:10, about 9:01/mile). I think I’m going to take it easy for the next few weeks – lots of sleep, lots of cross-training, and lower running mileage. Hopefully that will put some pep back into my legs!

When I got home, propped my legs up against the wall while I waited for the oven to pre-heat. I’ve found that this trick really helps with circulation/muscle recovery.

And then I popped the bread in the oven. 30 minutes later…

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

I was very pleased with the consistency of this loaf – the middle was perfectly light and doughy with a nice crust on the outside.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

Mmm….a thick slice of pumpkin swirl bread with peanut butter!

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

After finishing up the bread, I was ready for some more post-run food!

A big bowl of brown rice, pinto beans, roasted butternut squash, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese.

Butternut Squash

Rice & Beans & Squash

Now I’m watching a few Mad Men episodes and preparing for a fun dinner in Williamsburg.

Hope your Saturday is going well!

Oatmeal, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, M&M Cookies

Ever since I bid on a batch of kitchen sink cookies during the Healthy Living Summit’s bake sale, I’ve been thinking about creating my own batch of oatmeal-m&m-peanut butter-chocolate goodness. I based my recipe on Michelle’s Montana Whoppers recipe (omg, don’t they look delicious?), but made a few alterations.

First I had to assemble the ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups granulate sugar
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 eggs (organic if possible), beaten
  • 5 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 natural peanut butter chips (I used Sunspire brand)
  • 6 ounces of M&Ms (mini size or any variety)

Candy!

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Once butter has melted, pour it in a very large bowl.
  • With a large wooden spoon, mix in the brown sugar, granulate sugar, and peanut butter.
  • When the temperature of the butter-sugar-pb mixture is warm and no longer super hot, add in the eggs. If you add the eggs when the butter is still hot, you will get scrambled eggs. That would be bad!
  • Next stir in the baking soda, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and M&Ms.
  • Add in the oatmeal, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  • Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for 2 hours – don’t skip this step! Time is needed for the oats to absorb the butter/peanut butter.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with cooking spray.
  • Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake for 6-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. These cookies have a tendancy to burn, so keep an eye on them!
  • Cook the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Mmmm….So good! And since they contain oatmeal, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, they must be a little healthy. Right? ;-)

Cookies

Montana Whoppers

Oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter chip cookies

Are you a Kombucha lover? Whole Foods Bowery now serves it on tap! With all the probiotics and antioxodant this drink has, it might just be my new obsession!

Remember my sweaty soul cycle experience? Well, they just opened up a new studio on the Upper East Side and are offering FREE classes this weekend. People, jump on this. My class cost $32!

Feel a cold coming on? Or just love all things Autumn? Check out this yummy and healthy pumpkin soup recipe. It’s nutritious enough that you can indulge in some homemade apple pie for dessert :-)

Today is the first day of Autumn!! What’s your favorite part of the season? I love going for long runs under crisp blue skies and eating all sorts of apple and pumpkin goodies :-)

8 miles of success

I had plans to run 6 miles on Wednesday morning, but I ended up feeling so good that I ran seven eight miles. Edit: I just used my Nike+ sports band and discovered that this run is longer than originally thought. Woo-hoo! Alma and I ran along the Bridle Path in Central Park early in the a.m. and I had absolutely no pain in my hamstring or IT band. I think the key is running slowly and only running 3-4 days a week. I’m trying to build up the mileage gradually, so that I don’t back-track into injury. I still haven’t decided for sure, but I *might* run the Greta’s Gallop half-marathon in a few weeks. I ran Greta’s back in 2007 and it was my first ever race in New York City/Central Park. And during last year’s Greta’s Gallop, I met Alma! This is one of my favorite races, so it would mean a lot to me if I could do it (even if my time is very slow)!

Pre-run fuel was a cup ‘o coffee and half a luna bar – I’ve noticed a big difference in how I feel when I have a small snack a few minutes before running.

luna bar

IT band problems? Runner’s World has a great tutorial on stretching and strengthening that pesky body part. I’ve tried the stretches and I think they really help   :-)

Highlight of the 9am hour: overnight pumpkin oats for breakfast!

  • 1/3 cup each of oats, greek yogurt, 1% milk, and pumpkin
  • chopped peach, handful of raisins and walnuts
  • cinnamon, maple syrup, honey

Overnight oatmeal

I had meetings most of the day, so lunch was quick. The weather is dreary, so I needed lots of color in my salad!

  • romaine, shredded carrots, red onion, mushrooms, roasted potatoes
  • kidney beans and chickpeas
  • tastings of pasta salad and tomato-mozzarella salad
  • whole grain croutons, feta cheese, craisins
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

Salad

Afternoon snacks were sunchips and some delicious mini-muffins from my co-worker. She used my pumpkin-chocolate chip bread recipe and they were SO good :-)

sun chips

Pumpkin muffins

My early evening was occupied with a top secret baking project (to be revealed soon) and some yoga. I need to go to a formal yoga class ASAP – it always makes me feel so much better. By 8pm I was starving for dinner. I had some leftover homemade pizza dough, so I baked up another mozzarella and tomato creation. This time I remembered to add chopped, fresh rosemary to the dough and it really made the flavors pop. I love when the mozzarella cheese gets crispy and bubbly – the key is to bake the pizza in a VERY hot oven.

Homemade pizza

Tomato and mozzarella

With POM juice + seltzer:

POM and pizza

Dessert was a sampling of my freshly baked goodies. I had to make sure they tasted alright ;-) I can’t share the recipe yet, but I’ll give you a hint: peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and M&Ms were involved!

Candy!

Time to finish up Season 2 of Gossip Girl. I still haven’t watched this season’s premiere!

Question: If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

For me, it would be peanut butter, greek yogurt, and veggie pizza!

Speaking of delicious food, check out this mac ‘n cheese restaurant that just opened up in New York. The Primavera mac with spinach, artichoke, fresh herbs, tomato, parmigianno, and feta sounds soooo good. Any locals want to try it out??

Homemade Pizza and Pumpkin Bread

I was a little sore from Saturday’s 11 miles, so instead of running yesterday, I went to a morning pilates class and a then for a nice long walk.  I also kept busy with a few baking projects. The first was homemade whole wheat pizza dough! I adapted my recipe from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (Makes two 10-inch pies)

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup water lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup ww flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • additional 1  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • additional 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional – finely chopped rosemary or basil to mix into the dough

Instructions

  1. Combine the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 cup ww flour and 1/4 cup white flour in a small bowl. Mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes, until mixture is bubbly.
  2. Combine the next 3 dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the yeast mixture, cold water, and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Using the dough hook of your stand mixer, knead on low speed for 5 minutes. (You could also knead it with your hands if you don’t have a Kitchenaid). Turn dough out into a large oiled bowl.
  3. I let my dough rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator and then took it out of the fridge about 3 hours before I wanted to bake the pizza, but you could also just let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place.
  4. If using the overnight fridge rising technique, allow dough to warm up on the counter for an hour or so. Then divide the dough into two balls and cover loosly with plastic wrap.
  5. Place dough balls back in the bowl and allow to rise for about 2 more hours (until it doubles in size again).
  6. When you’re ready to make the pizza, stretch the dough until it forms a flat 10-12″ circle. Place on a lightly oiled, inverted baking sheet. Top with sauce, cheese, veggies, etc.
  7. Bake in a pre-heated 500 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until crust is crispy.
  8. Note: You could make two 10-12″ pizzas at once or just bake one of the dough balls and store the other in the fridge for a few days.

Making homemade dough sounds complicated, but it’s really not that hard. It just takes a lot of advance planning! But the pizza you eventually enjoy will be well worth the effort :-)

I topped the pizza with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato, sliced roasted red peppers, arugula, and the secret ingredient: silken tofu! The silken tofu was a wonderful substitute for fresh buffalo mozzarella. The consistency was almost identical and once I added basil, oregano, and garlic salt the taste was also similar. Plus the tofu added some vegetarian protein. Yum!

Crispy crust and ooey-gooey toppings:

After dinner, I started on another project:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (makes 8 servings)

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 6 oz low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg and ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil  a 8″ x 8″ loaf pan.
  • Mix first 5 wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until moist – do not over mix!
  • Add chocolate chips and pour batter into loaf pan
  • Bake for about an hour – your bread may take more or less time depending on oven temperature. My bread was starting to get too brown after only 55 minutes, but the original recipe suggests 1 hour, 15 minutes of baking. Keep an eye on the bread!

This pumpkin chocolate chip bread is fairly healthy (ww flour, pumpkin, dark chocolate, yogurt replaces most of the oil, etc.) and is delicious when topped with peanut butter or yogurt. Enjoy!

If you’re avoiding gluten, the girls at Skinny and the City have some delicious gluten-free cookie recipes for you. The chocolate chip and lemon ginger varieties sound amazing!

In the New York area? Enjoy good beer? Check out the events scheduled for the 2nd annual NYC craft beer week.

Real Simple just published a list of the best breakfast cereals. What is your favorite breakfast cereal??

Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake

It’s Thursday, thank goodness! I’m headed to the Healthy Living Blogger  Summit in Boston tomorrow – SO excited :-)

Wednesday began with a cup of coffee and another bowl of overnight oats. Mmm, I can’t believe I waited so long to try this! The heat makes me lose my appetite, so this cool and refreshing breakfast really hit the spot.

In the mix:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Oikos greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbs PB2

I combined everything the night before and then added another 1/4 cup of milk right before eating. Yum!

Frida coffee mug

overnight oats

I took a long walk on my lunch hour and ended up at Whole Foods. I didn’t find any PB&J lara bars, but I did re-stock my Adora calcium supplement supply.

Lunch was put together with ingredients I had at home:

Course #1: chopped tomato, olives, feta cheese, cracked black pepper

Greek Salad

Course #2: blueberry oikos greek yogurt, blueberries, and a baggie of Kashi Go Lean Crunch

Oikos, blueberries, Kashi

Afternoon snackie was a couple of Fig Newmans! These were very yummy – soft and sweet. Would be perfect with a glass of milk or cup of tea.

Fig Newman's

After work, I headed to the gym for a quickie workout.

  • 20 minutes elliptical
  • 3 x 10 lunges and calf raises
  • 3 x 10 push-ups and tricep dips
  • Ab routine
  • Stretching

I had a few prunes post-workout to hold me over until dinner.

Prunes

Nate and I headed to subway for a quick and easy meal. I ordered a salad with spinach, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, sweet peppers, turkey, swiss cheese, and some sweet onion dressing on top. Yum! The veggies at subway are suprisingly fresh and I love how they chop up the turkey and cheese before adding it to the salad :-)

Subway salad

Salad

Throughout the evening, I also enjoyed 3 (!) slices of chocolate-chip banana bread. Yum, I love how moist this is.

Chocolate chip banana bread

I was a busy-bee for the rest of the evening. By the time I finished doing laundry, baking apple cake for Caitlin’s Team in Training fundraiser, and preparing everything for work on Thursday it was after 1:30am! Eek.

My inspiration for Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake came is based on Flour Bakery’s Apple Spice Snacking Cake. However, I made enough changes that I can call the recipe my own. I’m calling it “Marathon Runner’s Apple Cake” because the whole grains, nuts, and fruit are perfect for fueling long distance running!

Making a cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs cornstarch + 1 scant cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • dash of cloves
  • 3 chopped granny smith apples
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins or craisins
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbs butter, softened
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 9″ x 9″ baking pan (I used a smaller sized pan, but use 9″ x 9″ for best results)
  • Chop apples and combine with raisins and nuts in medium bowl
  • Whisk together flours, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, spices
  • Cream together butter and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time, increase mixer speed to high for 1-2 mins
  • Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture
  • Stir in apples, raisins, and nuts by hand until combines – batter will be VERY thick.
  • Pour patter into prepared pan and bake for 45 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Cover pan with foil if top browns too quickly.

Marathon Runner's Apple Cake

Marathon Runner's Apple Cake

Note: This recipe tastes like a combination between apple pie and cinnamon coffee cake. The apples get soft and caramalized in the oven and help the cake remain incredibly moist and tender. The whole wheat flavor, spices, apples, raisins, and walnuts make this a healthy indulgence!

Is pizza better than a salad? Read about these often Misunderstood Foods.

Also, for any of you long-distance runners: MarathonVal is giving away a spibelt! This little pouch will hold a cell phone, keys, etc without bouncing or weighing you down while you run. A MUCH better option than the clunky belt clip I stored my cell piece in during the NYC marathon.

7 Sunrise Miles

My legs feel best as soon as I wake up (i.e. sitting at my desk all day exacerbates the inflammation in my hamtring/piriformis). With that in mind, I woke up at 6am on Tuesday and hit the pavement. After my morning coffee and some stretching, I set out on sunny morning run. The first 15 minutes were pretty rough – I was tired and my muscles felt stiff. However, after the initial few miles, I started to loosen up. I ran to Van Cortland Park (in the Bronx) and back for a total of about 7.25 miles in 1 hour, 10 minutes. I arrived home sweaty and glowing. After cleaning up and re-hydrating with water, I sampled a luna cookie that I received in the mail. I tried the Pomegranate Berry flavor and was not very impressed. The flavor wasn’t bad, but it was ridiculously small. I can’t believe this very tiny “health” cookie contained 140 calories. I ate half and gave the rest to Nate. I like regular luna bars much better!

Luna bar cookie

 
I ate an apple on the subway and then dug into my breakfast when I got to my desk. I think this was the first time I’ve ever made overnight oats and I was very skeptical. Would it be too mushy? Too crunchy? Tasteless? I’m happy to say – my overnight oats were AMAZING! They don’t look very pretty, but they were very yummy. I think the addition of PB2 really pushed them over the top :-)

apple

Overnight oats

The night before I mixed the following ingredients into a tupperware. I mixed in another 1/4 cup of skim milk right before eating.
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned, rolled oats
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbs PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
  • 6 oz. plain Oikos organic yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk

I felt pretty good after my run, but unfortunately I had a lot of inflammation in my hamstring/piriformis muscle throughout the workday. I know it’s from sitting so much! Every 45 minutes or so I try to get up and stretch. I also take walks on my lunch break to loosen up the muscles and I roll my hamstring on a golf ball to release tension. I think I need something a little bigger though – perhaps a tennis ball?? I think a professional massage would help too. Oh, and an unlimited bank account to pay for professional sports massage :-)

Lunch was a cafeteria salad:

Salad

  • romaine, shredded carrot, mushrooms, red onion
  • 1/3 cup chickpeas
  • feta cheese
  • scoop of roasted veggies
  • spoonful of sun-dried tomato pasta salad
  • whole grain croutons
  • Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

Afternoon snack was the rest of my Newman’s Own Organics BBQ soy crisps. I probably had this pile of crisps x 2. I like how crunchy these are – perfect for helping me avoid the 4pm blahs.

Soy crisps

I walked a mile or so up the West side before getting on the subway – it’s amazing how much some walking and stretching can help my leg! When I got home I wasn’t feeling very hungry (strange…), so I decided to bake some banana bread. I had a bunch of frozen bananas that needed to be used up so this loaf ended up being very moist and banana-y.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 5 small bananas mashed (if frozen, allow to thaw)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Baking

Directions:

  • In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips
  • In medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, and mashed banana
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined – do not overmix!
  • Pour batter into a greased 9 ” x 5 ” pan and bake at 35o degrees for about an hour
  •  Bread is done when toothpick inserted into center and comes out clean  – cover loaf pan with foil if the top begins to brown too quickly.
  • Allow bread to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes and then gently tip out onto baking rack. Allow to cool completely.

banana-chocolate chip bread

Dinner was an organic Rudi’s wheat bagel topped with the remainder of my almond butter (maybe 1/4 cup?), raspberry jam, and a banana.

AB & J

As soon as the banana bread cooled a little bit, I enjoyed a thick slice of chocolate chip-banana goodness along with some skim milk.

Milk and banana chocolate chip bread

Cool things of the day:

I want this peanut butter and jelly lara bar SO bad.

Regular yoga practice = eating less?

Get fit for free!

Cardamom Peach Pie

It’s peach season here in the Northeast and ripe, juicy peaches are available in abundance. When I saw a recipe for Peach Cardamom Pie in the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine I knew I had to bake one for myself. I followed the directions exactly (no whole wheat flour substitutions this time…) because baking is so finicky. I think the result came out beautifully! The egg wash on the crust gave the pie a nicely browned finish and the absence of a bottom crust made it just a teeny bit healthier. Plus I used local, organic peaches. Mmm, pie! But let’s rewind – before I started my baking project, I fueled up with some coffee and a bowl of yogurt-y goodness. I chopped up an apple and added 1 cup low fat plain yogurt, 1 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, 2 Tbs Smucker’s Naturals peanut butter, and a dollop of homemade peach jam. Kept me full for nearly 5 hours!

Cereal bowl

I don’t have a food processor, so I always cut my butter into the flour with two forks. This works better than your hands because the heat of your fingers would melt the butter too much. You want to use super cold butter for pie crust because when the pie gets in the oven, the heat creates pockets of steam in the cold butter, and this results in a delicously flaky crust.

Cutting in the butter

I use a wooden rolling pin and a mat specially made for rolling out dough – prevents sticking! Chilling your rolling pin and using plastic wrap between the pin and the dough can also prevent sticking.

Rolling out the dough

Peach filling – I liked that this recipe only called for 1/3 cup of sugar. It allowed the naturally sweet flavor of the peaches to shine through.

Peach filling

I used a heart cookie cutter to cut out the dough shapes. Then I brushed the crust with a beaten egg and sprinkled sugar on top.

Peach Cardamom Pie

After 45 minutes the crust was golden brown and the pie filling was bubbly! Is there anything better than the smell of a fresh, homemade pie?

Beautiful pie

Peach Cardamom Pie

After I completed my pie project, I took a long walk (~4 miles) to the Fairway supermarket in Harlem. It was quite hot and sunny today! I ended up buying mostly cool and refreshing groceries -

  • seltzer
  • dark, sweet cherries
  • little tomatoes
  • fresh, local mozzarella
  • Fage Greek yogurt
  • Breyer’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream (mostly for Nate…)

Fairway visit

After my long walk, I needed a snack! I sliced a banana and added 1/2 cup of yogurt, Tb PB2, and some trail mix to a bowl. This was a good combo of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Yum!

Yogurt with banana and trail mix

Around 4:30pm, I met Agnes for an iced coffee with whole milk and a few hours of girl talk. I made it back home JUST as it began to pour. I kind of like summer thunderstorms :-)

iced coffee

As I started to prepare dinner, I snacked on two Wasa crackers with TJ’s white bean hummus.

hummus and wasa

Dinner was a new creation that I’m going to call Caprese Pasta. I boiled about 1/2 box of shell pasta, sauteed 1/2 onion and 3 garlic cloves in olive oil, and then when the pasta was finished cooking, I added the onions/garlic,  pint of cherry tomatoes, a sprig of chopped basil leaves, and about 6 oz of diced fresh mozzarella. I drizzled olive oil on top and added some salt and freshly cracked pepper. Mmm, it tasted like summer! Luckily I have leftovers :-)

Prep

Caprese Salad

Later in the evening, Nate came over to tell me all about this morning’s triathlon (1st in his age group!) and we enjoyed some of my Peach Pie with vanilla ice cream. The cardamom gives this pie a decidedly “grown-up” taste, so if you’re not into pungent spices, you might want to omit to cardamom or replace it with cinnamon. The cardamom and peaches do pair deliciously with vanilla ice cream, though :-) I’d make this again in a heart beat!

Lawsuit over Sodium

The popular restaurant chain, Denny’s, is being sued over the high salt of its food. Some dishes contain more than twice the daily recommended limit of sodium and many health studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and stroke. It’s no secret that a lot of restaurant food is unhealthy, but what do you think about lawsuits? Should food companies and restaurants be held accountable or should the choice be left up to the consumers?  I think as diners we have the right to choose to eat something un-healthy if we wish, but I also think we should know what we’re getting ourselves into. An ice cream sundae or a plate of fries might be obviously un-healthy, but what about the nearly 1,200 calorie spinach and shrimp salad from Applebee’s? I think that foods like that make calorie and nutritional counts on menus essential. Personally, I think all restaurants should post comprehensive nutritional info (including sodium) and then consumers should be allowed to make the appropriate choice for their diet. What are your thoughts??

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