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!

Caronae’s “Lasagna” Make This.

Today’s Happy Note: I was feeling really unproductive in the morning, but all the sudden I realized “it’s never too late to turn the day around” and ended up getting lots of things done. 🙂

Good evening friends! Yesterday was just one of those days where my energy was zero (yet somehow I felt the need to consume massive amounts of cereal), my output was zero, and well, it was just icky.  I couldn’t seem to do anything.  I went to a performance in the evening with friends and a (boring) academic conference in the morning, so I guess I did some things.  But if I don’t work out, eat healthfully, and get school work done, I feel terribly unproductive.  And a part of me still translates this lack of productivity into worthlessness.  And then another part of me hates that part of me.  And then I feel like I’m at war with myself and I try to solve it by eating cereal (I never really “solve” my problems with other foods, oddly enough).

Lesson? It’s okay to have days where you do nothing.  Productivity is not measured in how much I exercise, precisely how many vegetables I have consumed, or whether or not I spent six hours at the library.  Sometimes it’s valuable to take a nap or rest day or spend an hour lounging in bed with my journal and hot chocolate.  I feel like I keep coming back to this lesson again and again.  I think it’s just something I need to keep telling myself, albeit gently, until I get it.

Somehow that feeling from yesterday began creeping into today, but I turned it around!  I was so proud of myself for this.  Geeky, I know, but when I’m in a bad mood or just a general funk, I tend to consciously keep myself in that place and make myself miserable.  Not today!  I didn’t get everything on the to-do list done, but I covered a lot of ground: I ran, did all readings for one class and am starting a paper for another, called my grandparents, washed clothes, cleaned room, prepped veggies for rest of week, cooked an awesome dinner, chatted with two friends, picked up my class shirt, and blogged.  Sounds like I have actually gotten quite a lot done.

Conclusion: Dear Caronae, please stop being so hard on yourself.  You are enough.  You are beautiful and capable and strong.  Smart and productive and friendly.  Smile!

I may go to the second most stressful college in the country (proven fact), but I don’t need to be stressed all the time!  Although with that said, this week is going to be mighty busy.  My goal is to take that stress and find healthy outlets — not hating on myself, eating emotionally, or moping around!  Here’s what has to get done this week (I’m only talking about schoolwork here):

-outline, research, and write 15 page paper on Arabian Nights

-outline and research 15 page paper on Amartya Sen vs. basic needs

-write prose poem

-read Virginia Woolf book and Foucault book

-read history textbooks

Okay, time to stop boring you all, seeing as this is not a homework blog or a stress blog!  Onto the fun stuff!

Exercise: I did the same workout I did earlier this week — a six mile run with 25 minutes of abs/yoga sandwiched in the middle.  This workout is actually really fun!  It’s nice to have a break in the middle, and I used a bench by the Hudson River to do the abs and yoga, so it was quite scenic.  I got to stare into the water and the coast and the various wooden docks; it seemed to help my focus for the yoga, and made the ab work more enjoyable.

I am looking for more “fun” stuff to do in terms of workouts for the next month or two (or possibly more).  I have no upcoming races or events to train for and I definitely want to cut back on the running a bit.  I have been doing strength and HIIT twice a week which is nice.  I want a class or a new form of exercise though.  I’m getting bored.  Anyone have any ideas or favorite classes or recommendations for stuff in NY (inexpensive)?

Eats: I consumed many delicious things today, as usual, but I will only be sharing one thing with you now.  Why is that?  Because it is the most delicious, fanciest, awesomest dish I have ever cooked and probably in the top five I have ever consumed.  That is why.  And it all started off as an experiment!

Caronae’s “lasagna” (serves one; cannot be easily doubled or tripled because it would probably fall apart) :


about 10 large stalks of asparagus

about 1.5 C baby bella mushrooms

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

basil (dried or fresh)


1 egg

1/2 ounce very finely diced or shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and dry the mushrooms and asparagus.  Cut asparagus spears (horizontally, not lengthwise) into two even pieces.  Thinly slice the mushrooms.  Toss the asparagus and mushrooms with the EVOO and salt.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, measure out the rest of your ingredients.  When asparagus and mushrooms are finished, removed from oven.  Using a glass baking dish, make a little “raft” of asparagus — I used about eight half-spears for each layer of the raft.  Top this first layer with mushrooms and then half of the ricotta.  Sprinkle on a bit of basil.  Repeat the process again.  Top the upper layer of ricotta with a few more pieces of asparagus, if desired.  (Sidenote: I realize I should have taken pictures of this process, but it’s pretty much the exact same thing you would do when making a real lasagna). You may have extra veggies, if so, set aside for another day.  Cook this stack for 5-7 minutes.  Meanwhile, crack egg into a bowl and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds.  Remove the egg and, using a spatula or other utensil, carefully work your way underneath the egg so that it is separated from the bowl.  Try not to break the yolk.  Lightly wash the spinach using a damp paper towel.  Do NOT submerge or soak; you need it to become dry and crispy.  When the “stack” is done, remove.  Top with the spinach (it should be pretty thoroughly covered; don’t worry because the spinach shrinks down and dries up), the egg, and the dices/shredded cheddar.  Cook for five more minutes.  Remove and eat.

I can’t really say anything about this dish — you just have to try it.  I don’t know if it was the richness of the ricotta and the EVOO or the combination of the smooth mushrooms with that distinct asparagus flavor.  Or the tiny bits of cheddar melting into the crisped up spinach.  I don’t think any individual component of this dish made it what it is; everything worked together.  That’s why the “stack”/”lasagna” format works so well for these ingredients; they can easily be consumed all in one bite.  I rarely post the recipes for my “experiments”, but this experiment was one serious winner.

Your plate should look like this afterwards (I actually licked mine)…

It’s actually fairly healthy too, probably because it’s made with a vegetable base.  Lots of healthy fats, yummy protein, and plant matter.  Totally fresh.  I might be gushing about this little creation for several days.  You have been forewarned.

This dinner was probably my weekend highlight.  What was yours?