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….

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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?

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