Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Walnut Bread

Today’s Happy Note: Baking.  I love baking.  Never fails to make me feel better.

Marathon Training: I did my yoga class and 4.5 miles with strides on Wednesday.  Yesterday I started the 30 Day Shred and then USB got here so I didn’t finish.  Today I did 20 minutes of hip-opening yoga before work, and 6.5miles after work.

For the first time in a long time my legs felt great!  It felt like I was gliding along.  I felt light but also strong.  Win.  I did 6×400, two per mile for miles two, three, and four.  It was spectacular!

I am starting to think that all of my hard training may have paid off!  Hopefully the rest of taper keeps going this smoothly.

And now, a recipe!  It’s been a while since I have come up with anything.  And to be honest, I didn’t exactly create this myself.  It comes from my Uncle John!  So, thank you, Uncle John!  It’s in our family cookbook.  It’s really cool!  It has pictures of my grandparents, an extended family tree, and recipes from everyone!

Caronae’s Pumpkin Walnut Chocolate Chip Bread

Adapted from John’s Banana Nut Bread

  • 1.25 C Wheat Flour
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C pureed Pumpkin
  • 1/3 C melted Butter/Earth Balance
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 C Milk/Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C chopped Walnuts
Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add in wet ingredients.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake it all at 350 for about 50 minutes.  Let cool before removing from pan.
It’s pretty!  Look!
I shall be back with deeper thoughts tomorrow!
Any exciting weekend plans? I plan on a trip to the farmer’s market, some pumpkin carving, and lots of friend time!

Middle of The Week Blues

Today’s Happy Note: Free food.  Seriously, what is better in this world than free food?  Okay, I will admit that I am kind of a free food snob — I won’t eat anything that looks suspicious, greasy, etc.   But still.  There are a lot of options.  Today alone I garnered a piece of pineapple cake, hors d’oeuvres, and a fudgy brownie.  I am a free food expert.

Ooof.  I am suffering from those middle-of-the-week blues.  I can’t seem to get in gear.  My brain feels foggy.  My body feels tired.  For some odd reason (warning: sarcasm ahead), I have no interest in wading through 800+ pages of Ibn Khaldun…

But enough of my complaining!  When I am feeling down or overwhelmed, I remember how many good things I have going for me. Here are a few:

  • I have a pantry and a fridge stocked with delicious, wholesome foods.   Right now I am loving TJs sesame honey cashews, frozen blueberries, and fresh mozzarella (not all together though!).
  • I got an A on the first paper of the semester that I have gotten back.  I never get A’s on papers, so I was super thrilled about this.
  • My laundry is clean.
  • Lovely fall weather.
  • I am going to be running a very exciting marathon in less than two weeks.  I have two legs that do amazing things!
  • I have kind, sweet friends and a loving, thoughtful boyfriend.
  • I have an awesome, if a little bit crazy, family.  My mama might be coming to visit me for my birthday/marathon weekend (I turn 21 on Saturday November 6th and run the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday November 7th)!
  • I’m resilient!
  • I write well.  I’m working on an essay right now about the color red.  The entire thing consists of different ways of saying “red”.
  • I have a lovely long weekend to look forward to, full of baking and friends and USB and five whole days of no school.
Much better. 🙂
Marathon Training: Yesterday as a rest/cross training day, as Mondays always are.  I was too antsy to rest, so I did Level 1 of the 30 Day shred in the evening followed by 10 minutes of kettlebell swings and yoga.  Easy peasy 30 minute workout.  I love reminding myself that sometimes, it is so not necessary to spend hours working out.  Today I did 7.5 miles: 2 warm-up, 4 Tempo, 1.5 cool-down. The Tempo part went really well, and I felt like I was flying.  Afterwards I felt dead though.  The cool-down was pretty much a joke.  I looked like a dying animal staggering home.  Meh.
It’s taper, and weird things happen during tapers, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Food time!
I have been craving a ton of snacky food lately — I’d rather have a handful of nuts or yogurt with pumpkin and blueberries than real meals.  Sometimes I wonder if I should try eating less frequent, bigger meals, instead of constantly being snacky all day.  But at the same time, I like being snacky: it means I get to eat a wider variety of delicious things more frequently!
Hmmm,  decisions, decisions.
I don’t really plan on doing any fooling around with my diet until after the marathon, so I have a week or two to think things over.  I’m seeing endocrine soon (FINALLY) and can’t wait. I don’t like being poked and having tests done and whatnot, but it will be worth it to figure out what’s going on!
I know I promised a post about the way I eat last week.  Stay tuned, I promise it’s coming this week!
Oh, and the jeans I mentioned the other day.  I figured I should share (by the way, I am morally opposed to mirror pictures and would never take one outside of the context of trying to show you guys what something looks like when no one else is around to take the picture.  I hope you will forgive me):
They’re super comfy and make me feel confident.  A winning purchase, in my book.
Anything you want to complain about?  Middle of the week got you down? Let me hear it!
What do you have going for you?  How do you make yourself feel better when you’re feeling blah?

Veinte Tres

Today’s Happy Note: Completing the third longest run of my life!

(photo credit goes to Ada)

So. Today. (Hint: “Veinte Tres” means 23 in Spanish):

I have eaten multiple pumpkin smoothies.

I have spent most of the day in bed (but wait!  Some of it was productive because I was cuddling with USB!)

My hips and ilio sacrum are not happy with me.

I have a headache.  And I have to pee.

BUT most importantly I FINISHED.  More accurately, WE finished.   Yup, I had a special friend to do this run with!

Ada!!!!!!

Seriously, this run would not have happened (or I would have wimped out by mile ten) without the lovely Miss Ada. She was a lifesaver.  I always forget how nice it is to run with someone.  We chatted, motivated each other, and just generally collaborated.  It was spectacular!  She even knew a really fun route that I have never done before: we went down the West Side of Manhattan, along the Hudson, around South Street Seaport, back up the East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge.  We then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn then came right back into Manhattan on the Manhattan Bridge (such creative names, really genius).  Then we continued up the East River to the Williamsburg, crossed that into Brooklyn and continued North in Brooklyn towards the Pulaski Bridge.  We crossed the Pulaski into Queens, ran to the Queensboro Bridge, and made it back into Manhattan.  We then followed E 61 street to Central Park and headed Northwest to West 72nd.  We ended at 72 and Broadway.

Total: 23 miles.

Time: About 4.5 hours (we did a few breaks)

That description probably makes no sense if you don’t live in NYC.  You can get a rough idea of the layout of the bridges and the boroughs from this map:

One of the best things about this run was that a lot of it followed the route for the NYC marathon (which is officially less than three weeks away!!!!).  So now I feel like I have more of an idea of what to expect in the outer Boroughs.  Yay!

Overall, I was really happy with this run.  I had already run 46 miles this week so my legs were pretty tired (I ended up with 69 miles — easily the highest weekly mileage of my life).  And you know what?  They still performed.  They still worked.  They were sore in some parts and creaky in others, but they carried me through.  Thank you, legs.

The last five or so miles were tough, but not undoable.  They could have been much, much worse.  I am right on track to make my goal of covering the whole 26.2 in just under 4:30.  🙂

I think I did a good job listening to my body in terms of food today.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted.  And most of it was pretty clean, delicious, simple food.  Some of today’s epic eats (FYI: this is most definitely not everything I ate!):

I ate toast with PB and banana (I have discovered I can eat a small amount of PB before running) before starting.  I ate one package of shot blocks during the run and two diluted gatorades (bought one during the run).

I find myself insanely thirsty during long runs — like, I drink five or six bottles of water thirsty. Is this weird?

This cheddar and spinach panini was FREE.  And it was tasty.  A winning snack, in my book.

Many of these (leftover cookies!) were consumed.

I made a delicious dinner for USB and I.  The above was for both of us.  I am very poor and only own one plate.  I know, sad.

I cooked salmon with peanut/maple/ginger sauce, roasted cauliflower, and steamed delicata squash topped with cinnamon and avocado.  It was all really good but I only wanted a few bites — most of the avocado, some cauliflower, some salmon.  I have leftovers.

USB is 29 years old and has NO idea how to cook.  It’s kind of cute, actually.  I’m teaching him.  He is a very good learner and is quite useful in the kitchen!

I saved room for dessert a few hours later though.  This was a pumpkin/peanut butter/banana smoothie topped with more PB, chocolate chips, and a crumbled cookie.  It was epic.  That is all.

Lots of exciting things on the horizon this week:

-How I Eat Post

-Therapy Thursday

-Something involving bacon, I suspect (I have been craving it obsessively lately)

School is pretty light this week, which will be a nice break.

See you all tomorrow night!  Thanks for being in my life, bloggies. 🙂

Marathon Training Thoughts And Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today’s Happy Note: My hair.  Even though it annoys me sometimes, I’m really in love with it.  It’s dark, wavy, and mysterious, and I like how it looks sexy down or up.

Marathon Training: I was super tired after work yesterday (which is sad considering I didn’t start until 11) and fell asleep afterwards.  One of the things I despise most about fall and winter is the loss of daylight in the evenings.  I mourn that loss.  As a runner — and a lover of evenings in general — I need that space.  I’m not asking for full-blown light after 6:00 or so, just a sort of twilight.  It is pretty tricky for me to run safely after 6:00 or 6:30.  Blech.

So, when I woke up from my nap at 6:45 I thought all was lost and started getting mad at myself for missing a run.

But then I realized that a run was still possible if I stayed on the main streets, rather than going into any parks.  I try not to do this too often, but my legs were itching and I really needed to clear my head.  I promised myself a trip to Whole Foods afterwards too. 🙂  I ended up getting in 7.5 miles. “The plan” called for 8 hilly miles, so it might not have been perfect, but it was the best I could do and I’m proud of myself for getting out there.

I did 5.5 miles this morning. They were not pleasant.  I was sllooooowwwww.  I hope that means my body is saving up lots of energy for tomorrow morning’s early 22 miler!  Wish me luck!

Sometimes I get tired of talking about running.  Of thinking about it, even.  When you start training for a marathon, you know (or at least you should know) that running is going to take up a hell of a lot of time.  But no one tells you that it will somehow manage to take up all your non-running time too: when I am not running, I am thinking about when I will squeeze my next run in, that I need to stretch, that X body part really hurts because of running, how many miles I have run this week, what the running plan for next week is, and, most importantly, when will my next meal be.  And how I will ever make it big enough to fill my constantly-hungry belly.

Now that we’re on the subject of food…

These, my friends, are chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.  Tasty, tasty cookies.  I haven’t baked in a while and was feeling in the mood.  Sometimes ya just have to bake, ya know?  I made this recipe from Tasty Kitchen.  Momma2Girls, you rock!

I will always have a soft spot for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  My freshman year of college, I turned 18 in November.  I had made two really good friends by that point and had some more acquaintances.  I am not great at making new friends or adjusting to new circumstances.  I was feeling lonely and sad on my birthday.  A week or so beforehand my mom had asked me if I wanted her to send me a birthday treat and I gloomily acquiesced.  A few days before my birthday, it arrived.  I can’t remember if I opened it then or waited until my birthday. But it was pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They were soft and fresh and made me so happy.  I ended up crying myself to sleep that night; those cookies felt like the only bright spot of the day.

Time to go night night.  I have a very early wake up call for my 22 miler!  I’m doing it with a friend so hopefully that helps.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?  Do you like pumpkin or do you think it’s just a silly blogger obsession?

Goodnight friends!

An Exhausted Pumpkin Seed

Today’s Happy Note: My new string of fake pearls!  My cousin recently moved from NYC and gave me some things she wasn’t taking:

I am NOT normally a take-my-picture in the mirror girl, but I made an exception for this necklace. 🙂

A few notes…

I’m getting to a point in the school year where I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed.  I have a lot of schoolwork and reading.  I’m a history major which means that I spend a lot of time, well, reading history.  History is long. Historians are verbose.  School has to be a big priority in my life.  It’s feeling like I have a million priorities right now.  I certainly like being busy, but I also know that I do need to devote myself fully and passionately to the things that I do.  All this is the long-winded explanation for why blog posts will be inconsistent for the next two to three or so months.

Inconsistency upsets me, so I might like to have an actual schedule of inconsistency.  That makes no sense, but whatever.  Perhaps every other night?  I’ll see what works.  But, especially during the school week, I need evenings to focus on schoolwork.  Last night I went to the library for the first time all semester.  That needs to happen more often.

Another note: Marathon Training. It’s getting annoying.  I’m exhausted.  I originally was planning on rearranging my runs for the week, but I quickly realized that I’m just too tired.  I have some weeks where I am more tired than others (both sleepy-tired and physically-tired) and this is a very tired week.  I took a four hour nap this afternoon.

I’m coming to understand that I need to be flexible with the plan and be gentle with myself.  My body is not some sort of crazy marathon-running-automoton. It has aches and pains, wants and needs, tired moments, lively moments.  I need to listen.  I ran 57 miles last week and so far, this week, I have done four (last night — an easy four with 6×100 strides in the last mile and 20 minutes yoga).  I skipped out on 14 miles worth of speedwork.  I am really struggling with feelings of guilt.

Any other marathoners out there who can relate?

I want to not feel guilty, but it’s there. I know that, at this point, I have a solid enough running ability and cardio-base built up and that I need to take a break when I need to.  So this week I’m taking it easy.  So there.

Onto some fun eats from the past few days!  Many of which have involved pumpkin, hence the title of this post.

Guess what?  Tonight, I do not want to run.  I just don’t have it in me.  So I’m going to do what I do want to do, which is swim!

I really want to be in the pool again.  I miss it!  I used to swim hardcore in high school.

I refuse to let marathon training get in the way of what my body really wants to do. I have a history of over-exercising and I will not get into that cycle again.  I will not do what my body does not want to do.  I have a feeling that this will pass and, in a day or two, I will be ready to run.

Until then, I shall be a little fishy.

Super Spectacular Really Good Yummy Pancakes

Today’s Happy Note: Spending time with my wonderful cousin before she moves to San Francisco.

Today felt both really busy and really lazy, at the same time.  Do you ever have days like that?  Sort of an odd feeling, I guess, but also kind of pleasant, because I wind up feeling both energized and relaxed.  I spent the morning making (and consuming) awesome pancakes,  the afternoon teaching a band of very sweet high schoolers, late afternoon with my cousin and her husband and then LSAT studying (mostly the dreaded logic games), and the evening working out.  I squeezed some grocery store shopping and tv watching in there and that was my day!

I like to procrastinate my schoolwork until Sundays. 🙂

Let’s start with the pancakes!

I made these up on the spot and they turned out splendiferous.  They were soft on the inside (that “ohmygoshthisissopillowy soft” not that “thisissosoftitmustberaw soft”) but crisp on the outside.  Thick, with plenty of volume.  And made with totally wholesome ingredients, and not a lot of added sugar at all.  Basically, these are love, in protein pancake form (I am only calling them “protein pancakes” because the “base” is mostly protein-y and not carby — they are not some weird health food or anything, I promise!)

I was stupid and didn’t measure things out precisely or write the measurements down but this is roughly what it was:

1/4 C peanut flour (yes, I know this is a blog “fad” but it is an awesome fad that I actually like)

2 Tbsp oats

1 scoop vanilla hemp/whey protein powder (half serving)

1/2 Tsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp flax meal

1 whole egg

1/4 C pumpkin

Water (as needed) to thin out

Earth Balance or butter, to coat the pan with

Combine all dry ingredients, then add in wet ingredients until pancake-consistency is achieved (I know, I am really scientific).  Heat the butter in the pan (you don’t need more than a teaspoon, at most) and when it starts to pop, dollop on your batter.  I made three generous ‘cakes.

Top with more butter, real maple syrup, and fruit or nuts of choice.  I used sesame almonds!

Don’t let this up close picture fool you.  These pancakes are generous.  Also, far more nuts than that were involved. 🙂

This morning meal made my day.  Bonus: it kept me full for five hours of teaching bleary-eyed high school seniors. I needed a meal with some serious stamina and this was it!  I have not made a “real” weekend breakfast in a long time. I forgot how much fun it is.  It’s nice not to have oats or yogurt or a smoothie for once!  Mmmmm.  Now I just need some bacon and we’ll be all set…

I got home from my afternoon shenanigans around 6:00.  I was technically supposed to run 8-10 miles, since I had skipped out on yesterday’s run, and tomorrow’s run isn’t going to be very long (10-12 miles).  But I just was not feeling it.  I don’t think it was a matter of laziness, either.  It was a matter of “I need to have some oatmeal with nut butter and lie on my bed and read blogs and snuggle up in my fleece blanket right now“, in all actuality.  And so that’s exactly what I did.

I find it sort of odd that oats with nut butter and melted dark chocolate and maple syrup are my comfort food.  But hey, there are worse things.  These are all whole foods.  Delicious whole foods.

What’s your idea of comfort food?

BUT after a few hours of winding down, which my brain/body needed, I felt ready for a workout.  Normally, I am an all-or-nothing girl and I either feel like I have to “waste” my day by eating poorly and not working out or have a hardcore workout and eating perfectly.  Silly, right?  By this point, I genuinely wanted to run, but was feeling anxious about it, because of said all-or-nothing mindset. I felt like, “how can I go run now if I have been lazy all evening?  Aren’t the two mutually exclusive???”  Um, no.  Duh, Caronae.

I ended up having a lovely workout!  I lifted (arms and abs) for about 30 minutes then ran a slow, easy five miles, which was exactly what my body needed.  Sometimes I just need my brain to shut-up so that I can listen to my body. 🙂

All in all, a lovely Saturday.

And I’m looking forward to making tomorrow a lovely Sunday.  And then having a lovely week.

Thanks for your support yesterday about my “busyness” — for lack of a better word.  I truly don’t think I could do it without you all as friends. 🙂

On the schedule for Run Write Therapy Life this week:

~Long run (tomorrow)/Long run eats

~Easy college student dinners

~Mental/Physical Health Intersections

~A fun announcement about the site

Should be a fun week!  Stay tuned, friends.  Goodnight for now!

Sweet-Potato Pumpkin Soup and Yoga!

 

Today’s Positive Note: I am independent and (mostly) mature.  I was alone a lot in high school, and I learned how to take care of myself.  I think I am perfectly functional in a way that many young people are not.  I go to school, work, the bank, the grocery store.  I get things done, and I like this about myself.

I made a very tasty recipe last night.  I’m quite proud of it, actually.  I make decent food most of the time, but it’s not always sophisticated.  I think this dish is sophisticated.

Sweet-Potato Pumpkin Chili (Or soup.  Or stew)

1 medium sweet potato

1.25 C pumpkin puree

1 small yellow onion

3 large carrots

half of a large bell pepper

1 C warm water

1 tsp salt (plus a little more to add at end)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp crushed red pepper

chili powder and paprika to taste

1 C Black beans

1 C Pinto beans

1 C corn (I used canned)

Steam the sweet potato for five to six minutes in the microwave.  Meanwhile, chop up carrots, onion, and bell pepper.  Measure out pumpkin and water.  Add pumpkin, water, and veggies to a pot on medium-high heat.  Stir around a bit.  When sweet potato is steamed, roughly cube it and it to the pot too.  Add seasonings and stir some more.  Put the lid on, turn it down to a hair below medium, and simmer for an hour or so (onions should be transluscent and carrots and peppers tender), stirring ocassionally.  Add corn, black beans, and pinto beans.  Stir some more.  Add more of the spices if you feel like it.  Serve hot with shredded cheddar chees on top, if desired.

  I didn’t take a picture of the whole pot, so this is just my bowl of it tonight.  As you can see, it is stuffed with vegetables.  Yesterday I served it with a spinach side salad.  Today I had it with half of a leftover flat bread pizza and steamed spinach.

It was absolutely amazing.  I ate it for dinner last night and lunch and dinner today, and I’m honestly not sure if I’m tired of it yet.  Try it!

I did end up getting my groceries yesterday and having a decently fun run, and I survived.  There was nothing to be anxious about.

 

These things are pretty much my staple items.   I got some chocolate Whole Foods brand animal crackers as a treat and they are awesome.  Kind of like a cookie and a cracker in one.  With chocolate.  Enough said.

Today was a cross training or yoga day on my schedule.  I went to a 90 minute vinyasa class after work.  The teacher was really nice, but the class wasn’t hard.  That said, it was still a good workout, with plenty of fun poses.  In the last few weeks I’ve been discovering new poses practically every class, so I guess it just felt weird to already know everything.  It made me feel very comfortable and calm though.  And I had an awesome headstand.  The studio is very nice, but expensive.  Does anyone know of any well-priced but still high quality yoga studios in NY?

All in all, a happy day, with happy food, and happy friends.  I wanted to put in a poem about my dad, but it’s on my computer that’s being fixed right now.  😦

Looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend, involving lots of books, some running, a blog meetup on Sunday, and lots of writing time.  What are you looking forward to this weekend?  Also, because I’m kind of sick of hearing positive things about myself, what is something you like about you?  Don’t be shy!

Happy weekend!