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?

Happy Halloween!

This has got to have been the.longest.week.ever. Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

megan

Friday started off with the usual coffee (1/2 decaf), lots of emails, and a baked apple with vanilla oikos greek yogurt.

baked apple and oikos

Mid-morning snack: Kashi crunchy pumpkin spice granola bar (‘Tis the season for pumpkin after all!)

kashi

I was workin’ like a mad woman trying to get through my to-do list and by the time I looked at the clock, it was already noon. I debated staying put and finishing up a project, but I knew I’d feel better if I got my blood flowing a bit. I hurried to the gym and made it in time for a “spooky cycling” class at 12:15pm. It was awesome! We listened to “The Monster Mash”, “Thriller”, and the theme song from “Ghost Busters” as we pedaled away. I love going to this instructor’s class because i.have.a.huge.crush.on.him.too.bad.he.likes.boys he always plays the best music!

After spin class, I popped into the cafeteria for a salad.

salad

This yummy jumble of flavors included:

  • arugula, mixed greens, carrots, onions, mushrooms
  • feta cheese, cranberries, pumpkin seeds
  • piece of sweet potato
  • spoonful of rice & beans
  • spoonful of pinto bean salad
  • brussel sprouts + roasted apples

And then some salt & pepper popchips (addiction).

pop chips

Even though it was the day before Halloween, my office was seriously lacking in candy, so I ventured to Duane Reade in search of something sweet. I debated getting some candy corn, but instead decided on a box of kudos. I think the last time I had one of these was in the mid-90′s, but it was surprisingly good! I tried the chocolate chip variety (100 cals, 3.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber) and it satisfied my sweet tooth while being a little bit healthier than candy. At least it’s made with whole grains :-)

kudos bar

I chugged water all afternoon in preparation for hot yoga with Agnes and by 6pm I was ready to do some warrior poses in 95 degree+ heat. Really, it’s fun. However, tonight’s class was just so-so. The instructor wasn’t my favorite (I never like the ones that make us do bicycle crunches…), but in the end I’m glad I went!

After I convinced everyone in my subway car that I was a bum (sweaty mess), I arrived home with a mission: quickest dinner ever!

I heated up an Amy’s Kitchen Veggie Tamale dinner and while it does NOT look pretty, it certainly tasted good!

My photo:

Amy's Tamale

Amy’s photo:

Amy's Kitchen

Umm, Amy wins.

And for dessert – 2% Fage greek yogurt with PB2 and tart cherries mixed in.

fage

Ok, that’s it for tonight. Hannah will be arriving via Bolt Bus from Boston any moment! And I haven’t showered yet. Need to hop to it.

In the News:

Something we probably already knew: music makes exercise easier!

Live in New York? Hungry for pumpkin? Check out these local restaurants that are serving up seasonal fare!

Before you dig in to the candy, start your day off right with some high protein pumpkin pancakes. This one’s for you Holly!

Keep Halloween candy portions in check with this tool.

Did you know that trick-or-treating dates back to the middle ages? Find out more Halloween facts here.

Question: What’s your favorite Halloween candy? I love mini snickers bars!

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:

Pictures 025

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.

Pictures 033

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)?

Yoga in my Toga

I live in New York City and sometimes the “city that never sleeps” can wear on a girl. From my morning commute (you have to be PUSHY to get where you’re going on time) to my after-work grocery shop (Whole Foods at 7pm = madness!) I feel like I’m constantly in overdrive. Sometimes the only things that keep me sane are running and yoga! Even at the city’s busiest studios (where the mats are packed in like sardines), saying “Ohmm” and focusing on your breath can really help you re-connect with yourself. Last night when I got home from a long day at the office and some after-work appointments, I put some laundry in to wash and then took some time for ME. I started dinner by prepping a big pot of chili and as it simmered away, I changed into my yoga toga. Why, yes. I always wear ancient Greek attire whilst I perform my asanas!

yoga in my toga

Anyway, I took some relaxing breaths, worked out the day’s stress through some strong warrior poses, and inhaled the yummy aroma of my yummy veggie chili.

October Fest Veggie Chili (recipe inspired by Skinny and the City!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1  bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes (run your knife through them to break them up a bit)
  • 1 15-ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup no-salt added canned (or frozen) corn
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 12 0z Autumn-themed beer (like Sam Adam’s October Fest!)

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Stir in garlic, onion, carrots, and bell pepper. Add chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Cook for about five minutes or until tender.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add the beer, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for approximately one hour.
  • Stir in the corn, lime juice, and crushed red pepper and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  1. Yield: About 7 servings
  2. Cost per serving: $1.42
  3. Nutrition: 270 calories, 3 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber

October Fest Chili

By the time I sat down to dinner, it was almost 9:30pm! It’s a good thing I snacked on a luna bar and leftover spiced almonds earlier in the evening. Mmm, this fiber-packed dinner is best served with a big dollop of Stonyfield Oikos Greek yogurt. It’s even better than sour cream!

October Fest Chili

Oikos

Bonus: Look at all the lovely leftovers I have! I portioned the chili into tupperware containers so they’re easy to take to work and re-heat.

Leftovers

Today’s Greek Yogurt + Yoga theme is a submission to Stonyfield’s Oikos Contest. A very lucky food & fitness blogger will win a trip to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachussets. For more information, check out Stonyfield’s Facebook page!

How awesome would a yoga retreat be – special workshops, hiking trails, healthy food!!?? Ohhmmmm, this girl needs some yoga R&R. Pick me, pick me!

Question: Does your favorite chili recipe have a secret ingredient? Beer? Chocolate? Pumpkin?

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!!

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.

Just add leg warmers

Monday night I took a new cardio/strength class at my gym. I’m always skeptical of group fitness classes – didn’t they die out in the ’80s?? Anyway, I was looking to mix-up my workout routine and decided to give SHRED a try. Here’s the description from the Equinox website -

SHRED was created by Matthew Waszen. This total body workout will challenge your cardiovascular and strength levels with body weight, free weights, plyometrics and core stability training. Push yourself to new limits by shocking your system and shredding your body fat away just in time for summer.

I chose my spot in the studio and set out my step, 12 lb body bar, medicine ball, and 5 lb weights. We started the class with some medicine ball warm-ups and proceeded on to a choreographed routine of planks, jumping jacks, push-ups, weight lifting, and cardio intervals. HOLY COW. I thought I was going to die. We did this one particulary dificult exercise: 12 jumping jacks, 12 push-ups, 11 jumping jacks, 11 push-ups, 10 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, and so on…until we reached zero. By the end of the 45 minute class, my legs were very tired, but I finished up with an easy 20 minutes on the elliptical. This is weak 2 of my strength building phase and I’m hoping muscles will start to get a little bit stronger!

Tuesday morning was slow going – I could not wake up when my alarm went off at 6:45am. I ended up staying in bed until 7:30am! After preparing for the day and dropping of some dry cleaning, I headed out the door.

Breakfast was coffee with milk, 2 sliced fresh apricots, skim milk, and 1/2 cup Nature’s Path Optimum Slim cereal. The cereal reminds me a lot of Kashi Go Lean and it has similar stats – 9 grams of Protein and 9 grams of Fiber per 1 cup serving. This cereal is a little sweet and a lot crunchy. Two thumbs up for being organic to boot!

Breakfast

I squeezed in a quick mid-day workout: 3×10 lunges, 3×10 push-ups, 25 minutes elliptical, and 5 minutes rowing.

Lunch was my usual salad with sun chips!

salad lunch

sun chips

In today’s salad:

  • romaine and mixed greens
  • carrots, red onion, black olives
  • ~1/3 cup 4 bean salad
  • feta cheese
  • Tbs dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
  • Whole grain croutons

Last night from 6-9pm I attended a Cake & Desserts class at the Whole Foods-Bowery Culinary Center. You might remember the classes I took on pie-making and bread-baking over the past few months. These classes are small, hands-on sessions that focus on a specific kitchen skill. I always leave with a notebook full of tips, great recipes, and yummy food. Stay tuned for a complete review of the class :-)

Since I was busy baking during the evening hours, I had a lot of snacks rather than a regular dinner. I started off with some carrots sticks and a babybel cheese. I kept a baggie of pecans and dried cherries in my apron pocket and nibbled as I went along.

Snack #1

snack #2

And you can bet that I had quite a few samples of the delicious things we baked. On the menu: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Biscuits with Lemon Curd, and Blueberry Cobbler. Yum!!

Vegetables and Muscles

On Sunday evening I had a very good salad from Whole Foods – the variety of tastes and textures kept things interesting!

Lots of veggies

Up closeIn the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • yellow bell pepper
  • steamed kale
  • spicy eggplant
  • roasted apples (with cinnamon!)
  • few cubes of tofu
  • Tbs of chicken salad
  • Tbs black bean salad
  • wheatberry-apple-pineapple salad

This salad fortified me for a long night of laundry :-)

Monday morning started off very slow (didn’t wake up until 8:13am!). Breakfast was coffee, organic blueberries, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, and a cup of cinnamon puffins. Also, my adora calcium disk isn’t pictured, but I have at least one (500mg calcium each) per day.

Breakfast

I took a little walk outside during lunch to stretch my legs. And then around 2pm ate my usual cafeteria salad and unsweetened iced green tea. I’m so boring!

LunchAs usual:

  • mixed greens, carrots, red onions, mushrooms
  • pinto beans
  • feta cheese
  • whole grain croutons
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • dried cranberries
  • roasted broccoli

Throughout the afternoon I snacked on an apple and some yogurt covered pretzels. These little guys are addictive – it’s a good thing I portioned them out in a zip loc baggie before leaving my house :-)

Snacks

Around 6pm I headed to my gym. I started off with a strength-training workout from Women’s Health Magazine. As I try to figure out my hamstring/butt/IT band issues, I’m incorporating more strengthening and stretching exercises into my routine. I find that this type of workout is a lot more effective than “junk cardio”. I’m realizing that a few minutes of dedicated weight training is more important than mindless elliptical. That being said, I still love to watch trashy MTV shows while I elliptisize (is that a word?)

My workout involved “super-sets” which are basically sets of exercises done in quick succession. I did this routine twice without stopping.

Note: All exercises were done with a 9lb weight.

  • dumbbell step-ups (10 on each side)
  • stability ball ab pike (15)
  • dumbbell chest press (10)
  • stability ball leg curl (15)
  • dumbbell row (10 on each side)
  • cross-body mountain climbers (20 on each side)
  • lunges (10 on each side)
  • plank (45 seconds)

After going through this routine twice, I completed 3 x 10 squats, 30 push-ups, and some ab work. Followed up by foam rolling for the IT band and stretching.

And then….30 easy minutes on the elliptical. Pheww!

I was ready for lots of water and a banana by the time I left the gym.

Banana

Dinner was another pita pizza. Tonight’s version was made with a whole wheat pita, organic mozzarella, freshly sliced tomato, sundried tomatoes, sea salt, and cracked pepper. Yum!

Pizza

And dessert was the last two (yes, two!) whole-wheat carrot cake cupcakes that I made over the weekend. More about these later :-)

Carrot Cake

His and Hers

Thursday night’s dinner was an attempt at using up some pantry/fridge staples and it was tasty! I made a salad out of baby spinach, dried cherries, a sunshine veggie burger, TJ’s celtic cheese, and homemade mustard-balsamic vinaigrette. I enjoyed the last slice of chocolate-chip banana bread and iced green tea on the side.

Salad for dinner

Lots of flavor!

Up close

Meanwhile, Nate chowed down on his dinner. His sandwich consisted of a breaded chicken patty, lettuce, & tomato on a sub roll. He remarked that the chicken patty tasted like a McDonald’s chicken nugget. Total guy food! I thought it would be funny to post about our two very different dinners.

Chicken Patty Sandwich

Dude food :-)

Nate chows down

I planned on going to an 8am yoga class, but was just too sleepy on Friday morning! Instead I did 30 push-ups, 30 tricep dips, and some ab work when I (finally) woke up. I also had a tasty breakfast: coffee, raspberries, plain greek yogurt, and cinnamon puffins.

Breakfast
My day was busy, so lunch was at my desk.

In today’s mix:

  • spinach, red onion, mushroom, shredded carrots
  • chickpeas (~1/2 cup)
  • feta chese
  • dried cranberries
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • whole grain croutons
  • little bit of baked salmon
  • Along with an unsweetened green iced tea that I forgot to drink!

Lunch

Afternoon snacks were: chocolate graham bears and a jocalat fruit & nut bar (5 grams of fiber, woo-hoo!)

Chocolate graham bears

Afternoon Snack

I stayed a little late at work and then headed to the gym for quick workout – 30 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, and 10 minutes incline walking on the treadmill. The soreness from Tuesday’s lunges & squats is finally subsiding, but my IT band is still being a b*tch :-(

Dinner was homemade sausage and pepper pita pizza, almost identical to the recipe that I made back in May. I used a thin whole wheat pita, topped it with organic shredded mozzarella, sliced red bell peppers, and 1/2 link of chicken sausage. Along with some diet root beer – it was the perfect Friday night meal!

Homemade pizza

Mmmm.

Oikos: Stonyfield Farm Greek Yogurt

When Kristina from Stonyfield Farm contacted me about sampling their Greek yogurt, Oikos, I jumped at the chance! I’ve been a long-time Stonyfield Farm fan. I practically lived on yogurt and granola during my sophomore year of college. Last week I was excited to discover that in addition to coupons for free yogurt, Kristina also included a reusable grocery bag, a magnet for my fridge, and literature about the importance of organic farming and food. Did you know that Stonyfield Farm Oikos is the only organic Greek yogurt? Organic dairy products are produced in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way AND they are free of the nasty  hormones, pesticides, and toxins that non-organic foods often contain. I consume a lot of dairy (milk in my coffee, cheese on my salads, yogurt for breakfast) so I really value the extra steps that organic farmers are taking to ensure my dairy products are safe for me and the earth. I recently read a NY Times article about the financial difficulties that organic dairy farmers are facing. This article reinforced my belief that quality food products (and earth-friendly farming practices) are worth the extra money. I’m going to try very hard to do my part and only buy organic milk, cheese, and yogurt from now on.

Stonyfield Farm

As I said, I love all kinds of yogurt, but the super-creamy consistency and high protein content of greek yogurt makes it my favorite variety. Greek yogurt is strained to remove some of the whey. This process increases protein content, results in a creamier consistency, and produces a product that is very low in lactose. In fact, many people who are lactose-intolerant can consume yogurt/Greek yogurt without tummy troubles!

Now that we’ve established that Oikos Greek yogurt is good for your body and the planet, I bet you’re wondering how it tastes. Well, it’s delicious! Very creamy and not too tart. I used a container of plain Oikos (80 calories, 0 grams fat, 15 grams proten, 20% DV calcium) and mixed it with 2 Tbs PB2, 1/2 cup mixed berries, and 1 cup of Nature’s Path Heritage O’s. This “breakfast sundae” provided a satiating mix of carbs, protein, fiber, and taste. Yum! The yogurt itself had an almost-fluffy consistency. And unlike some varieties of plain yogurt it wasn’t overly tart or bitter. I think I would have enjoyed it even without the berries and cereal!

Oikos breakfast bowl

In addition to eating the yogurt as a snack or meal, Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream. It’s unlikely to curdle at high temperatures, so you could even use it to replace butter/oil when baking. I even read an article in Men’s Health Magazine about using the plain variety as a dip for hot buffalo wings!

Thanks Stonyfield for the opportunity to try Oikos! It’s going to be a staple in my fridge from now on.

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