Tuesday, November 22, 2011

happy feet

Had a great weekend full of activity which was just what my body needed after lot of weekends of "too much" fun.

Saturday, Jill, Norah, and I headed out to Brooklyn for the Rugged Maniac 5K. Nerves were getting the better of us so we chose to drink our free Harpoon ale before the race- great call.  Decked out in some compression wear and my Vibram KSOs, I was ready to dirty. We expected to get mud covered, but apparently mud wasn't an option due to cold I think? Any who after climbing over walls and police barricades, crawling through tunnels, running up and down hills, and plenty of other obstacles we hit FOUR trash dumpsters full of WATER! We scrambled up the side of the dumpster and into waist deep, frigid water. As we hit the water we had to swim under barricades, so not soaking your whole body was not an option. We proceeded to scramble in and out of the dumpsters using ladders, planks, or just our bodies. Once we all got out we ran to the finish (after climbing up a tower and jumping about 8 feet down) and crossed as a team. Such a fun race! Even though it was a bit brutal to defrost after.

Bruised, battered, and sore  Sunday was no rest for the weary- I headed to the final 5K for GOTR. I was so happy to go because I have really missed coaching nice moving into the city. The race was all GOTR and their families (up to 1300 runners expected!) and it was the first final 5K where the race wasn't linked with another community event. VERY cool. Lots of purple shirts and just a really great environment to run in. Crossed the finish line with one girl then I ran back to see if any of my other girls needed encouragement- and ended up crossing with two more. Such a great group of girls- everyone did their best and was as proud of themselves as I was of each of them.

Still working with that runners high I had all weekend and ran 5 yesterday followed by about 4 today in the cold, pouring rain. Happy feet syndrome has hit... now if I can keep it going til that 15K!

Have to head to work so I can't post a recipe as I'd hoped, but I'll post a picture to keep your appetite curious...

Friday, November 18, 2011

little pumpkin

I know I said I'd post a muffin recipe yesterday, but life got in the way. Only a day late though, which is better than I can say for the past few months!

Yesterday I woke up and motivated myself to run which was great because after my 6 miler the day before I finally hit my running groove. I set out to do about 4, but on my way back I bumped into a nurse that started working when I did a year ago (but on a different unit) and invited myself to run with her. Four miles turned into nearly six PLUS I made a new running buddy. Yay!

Then it was off to dinner at Lillie's Victorian with my college roommate Laura then met up for drinks with Liz before heading back here for a sleepover with Laura. Fun Thursday- and just thirsty enough.

Today I woke up at noon- even though I had arms set for both nine and ten. Fail. Tried to make the best of it though because I usually be at myself up for sleeping in. I actually resisted the urge to run and just did some neighborhood exploration with power walking between destinations. My only shopping damage was my first pair of Lululemon pants (they were on sale!) which I am excited to wear to the GOTR 5K on Sunday. With two races this weekend, a rest day seemed like a good idea even though I caught the running bug and just want to get back out there.

Since I slept in, today I ate a decent sized "brunch" which included TWO of the Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins I made earlier this week. I took a short cut by using a TJ's baking mix- which includes some whole wheat flour, rolled oats, cornmeal, and other whole grains- but you could use any flour of your choice, just add baking soda and a pinch of salt to make sure you get a good rise and flavor.

Here's the recipe... make a little fall love.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins 
(makes about 2 dozen)

2 1/2 cups Trader Joe's Multigrain Pancake and baking mix 
(or some combination of 2 1/2 cups flour PLUS baking soda)

1 cup skim milk 
1 egg 
2 TBSP canola oil 
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree 
1 cup fresh whole cranberries 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp allspice (or ground cloves)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins, place muffin liners, or use silicone baking cups (which I used). 
2) Mix egg, milk, sugar, and oil in bowl. Slowly add baking mix. 
3) Once flour or baking mix is incorporated, add pumpkin and spices. Continue to mix, just until pumpkin is incorporated. 
4) Fold cranberries into batter. 
5) Fill cups to about 3/4 full with batter. Makes 22-24 muffins. 
6) Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 
7) Serve or freeze! Tastes great with apple butter, nut butter, or other topping of your choice! 

Note: Applesauce could easily replace oil and some sugar in this recipe. I will work on that substitution next time, but as a novice baker I didn't get involved in that this time!
Another note: Silicone baking cups are so easy to use and eliminate the need for any extra oil. They wash out so easily PLUS these were only $2 from HomeGoods. Should have bought the second dozen!

Now, as much as I dislike baking, I had a good time developing this recipe and an even better time enjoying it! I even felt confident enough to bring some to work- and they were even more well-received than I expected. The muffins are very moist (due to the pumpkin) and fairly sweet. You could definitely cut back on the sugar or oil in favor of applesauce. The spices add a pumpkin pie flavor while the cranberries add some tangy freshness. I froze half the recipe and have been heating them in the toaster oven then topping them with apple butter. For someone who prefers salty over sweet any day, I have been tearing through the bag rather quickly! But, for 100 calories a pop, there are worse habits!

Got back nice and early from drinks with girls from work and now I am off to bed to prepare for the Rugged Maniac 5K tomorrow! Running/Fire/Mud/Music/Beer.... what more could a girl ask for? Pretty sure I will be a mud popsicle by the end but I am nonetheless super excited!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

fake out

Totally enjoyed my day today, despite the iffy weather. I didn't do a whole lot except unpack, some laundry, organize my life, which all felt great. The best part of the day though was my 6 mile run that started my morning! It's funny how I'll sit there and torture myself trying to convince myself to get my sneakers on for a 3 mile run and then I hit 6 miles and want to do more. Note to self: reread this post on those torture days.

I fueled up for my run with two scrambled, 1 oz cheddar cheese, two 45 calorie TJ low carb tortillas, and an orange.  I made little egg wraps and topped them with Cholula hot sauce. Such a tasty breakfast with lots of energy to boot. Only concern: I ate them at 8:45 and had to meet my friend from work at 9:10 to run. Probably should have moved my lazy self out of bed a bit faster to cook.

Lisa, who is also running the 15K in December, showed me around some of the trails in Central Park. Not sure I payed close enough attention, but I'm willing to give it a go on my own now. The run was hard but it was a cool, drizzly day and a good running temperature. Running 6 with company is always better than running it alone and the time flew by. I even had enough energy to end the run with some lunges. 

Post-run I knew I needed to recharge so that I could use my day and let my muscles recover. Chocolate milk and a Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin (recipe to come tomorrow!) topped with TJ's Honey Apple Butter hit the spot with protein and carbs.

Just ate a healthy and filling vegetarian dinner- Spaghetti Squash with some Quick Chick Pea Sauce.
I cooked the spaghetti squash the other day. It was the biggest squash ever and made three dinner sized portions.  If you are new to spaghetti squash, it's a great low-calorie dinner and tastes great topped with any tomato sauce, pesto, or bolognese you like over regular pasta. Now, I'm not saying it will replace pasta, but if you are a sauce person this is a great alternative. 

For the spaghetti squash: 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2) Slice in half. Rub each side with olive oil. 
3) Place on baking sheet, cute side down. 
4) Bake for 40 minutes or until fork tender all the way through. To speed this up, pop whole squash in microwave for 6 minutes before slicing. I am lacking a microwave so I went old school.
5) Cool slightly and scrape out the inside- it naturally pulls right into spaghetti shape!

Serve like pasta, in this case I made my Quick Chick Pea Sauce and added some capers.



I was going to make a salad alongside this diner, but instead went for some sweet potato fries. Gotta love sweet potato fries. Now, off to work for me- last night for the week. Glad to be back to regular life. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

back in town

I know I know, I am full of false promises. I talked about how now that I moved and have more time I would commit more time to blogging. Well, turns out I had all this vacation time and didn't realize so I was off a week, on for my three days, and off again. Poor me, I know.  So, instead of blogging I hit the road (er, air)... this time to San Jose to see Kelly.  It was a blast to see where she's been living for the last year and to be with someone else who likes to be outdoors, get active, eat well, drink plenty, and visit places. Not to mention that when we are together, ridiculous things seem to happen.

Five fun days touring...

Redwoods at Muir Woods... 

including a 4 mile hike. :)

Our trusty rental car. The little guy grew on me.  

San Francisco...

... we could have watched these guys all day if they didn't smell so bad.

Alcatraz from afar... the tour will have to come next time.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Painted Ladies. Or, more importantly, the Tanner residence. Clearly this was the most important part of my SF tour. Not embarrassed of my Full House love. 

We also hit Monterey for the aquarium and the 17 mile drive. The drive had views that were unreal. The only problem is that it made me want to go in the water... being by the beach and NOT being able to go in the water is torture.

After Cali, it was back to my NJ home for a few days before hitting Manhattan on Sunday, which was a whirlwind of cooking, brunch in Brooklyn, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, and work. 

Glad to have a night off and to be back in my place. I love traveling but I am ready to stay home and explore my new neighborhood for awhile. Totally fell back into the cooking and running routine over the last few days, so more updates will come. Now that I am staying put with no foreseeable vacations the blogging life will hopefully be easier to integrate. 

p.s. All these pictures are from my iPhone, and yes I did play with lots of different effects.