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!

Love And Spaghetti Squash And Jeans

Today’s I am proud of myself because: of how open and brave I was that day in the park when I met USB.  At that point in my life, I was truly convinced that I was unlovable, romantically speaking.  That no one would ever want to be with me. Sure, there were parts of myself that I liked.  But I thought that I was just too weird for anyone else to ever like those elements of me.  I wanted to meet someone.  I was 20 years old, about to start my senior year of college and had never had a serious relationship.  I had made out with a few boys.  But that was about  it.  Nothing ever clicked.  With USB, everything clicks.  I didn’t know it then, but I think a big part of the sadness I have felt over the last three or four years — the constant aching in my chest — was simply because I wanted to share my life with someone.  And now I do. And it is even more wonderful than I imagined.

I didn’t do a happy note!  It was really hard for me to change, lol.  But sometimes change is good, as USB has taught me. 🙂

Just wanted to say hello quickly and hear about your weekends!  I haven’t done any full workouts yesterday (Friday) or today.  The social time is infinitely more important for my health.  I probably walked a few miles both days anyways.   I also got in plenty of studying.

Other exciting things:

My first spaghetti squash!

Believe it or not, spaghetti squash has always been a secret fear of mine!  I steamed it in the microwave for about 10 minutes (cut in two halves, with the flat side down).  At first, I took it out and didn’t see any spaghetti!  I freaked out, thinking that I was a spaghetti squash failure.  That, or the farmer had simply sold me a different type of squash by accident.  But then I noticed about a teaspoon worth of “noodles” and scraped those out.  Lo, and behold, the scraping produced more noodles.  So I kept scraping and more and more noodles appeared!  Slowly, a giant smile crept onto my face.  It was great fun.  Seriously, if you’re ever super stressed, try scraping the noodles out of a spaghetti squash.

Totally unrelated, but relevant to the blog as a whole: yesterday, I went shopping.  Clothes shopping.  Clothes shopping is not easy for someone who hates every little part of her body.  I went to a bunch of different stores and kept telling myself over and over again, “you will look fat and horrible in that; you should not even try it on.”  I was starting to get really down on myself.  Eventually, I wound up in a designer jeans section at a discount store.  I am NOT a clothes elitist — I don’t have the money to be — but I truly believe that with things like jeans, and dresses, a really nice brand can sometimes look and feel better, making it worth the price.  I got into my determined mode and said “Caronae, you are going to try on some jeans and find a pair that you like and you will look beautiful and you will buy them.”

And I did.  I found a pair of jeans.  They are Seven brand.  I have never had a pair of Seven jeans before, but these really are quite nice.  I like them a lot, and a tiny part of me thinks I look decent in them.

So there. Take that, jeans.

Time to go find USB! 🙂

What are you all up to this weekend?

Crazed Runner Thoughts

Today’s Happy Note: Getting started on schoolwork.  This is “happy” because it has been a big source of anxiety for me over the last few days and now that I finally have just started it doesn’t seem so bad!  I will have lots and lots of reading this semester, some interesting, some not.  Right now I’m reading about Harlem Renaissance Literature!

Marathon Training: Yesterday was a very lazy day.  I ate a lot.  When I wasn’t hungry.  Then napped.  Then remembered that I had to run five miles. Crap.  Had to do it on the street because it was already getting dark.  Boring.  Sweaty.  Came home and did 20-30 minutes of yoga. Felt better afterwards.  Marathon training really screws with your metabolism/hunger cues.  I want chocolate.

Sometimes I don’t even understand my thought process surrounding running. 🙂

Today I had to tackle 16 miles.  It’s funny how sometimes a long run can be wonderful (like last week) and sometimes it can really, really suck. Unfortunately, this week was of the sucky variety.

I decided to sleep in, rather than waking up at seven on a Sunday (contrary to popular belief, I am still in college and sometimes I do partake in college-like activities on weekends….).  This meant that I had to go to yoga before my long run instead of after.  Meh.  It was a really nice class, actually, although I probably tired out my legs a bit too much.  I love when we focus on mediation and emotional balance in tandem with the physical asana practice.

I set out for the 16 miles right after yoga, heading down the Hudson river, around Battery Park City, and back up the East River.  Thoughts:

Mile 1: Why do my calves hurt so much?  Why are they so tight?  I can’t think of any explanation for them feeling like this.  This does not make logical sense.  Oh wait, sometimes running makes no logical sense — I am running 16 miles and my friends are eating bagels and cream cheese in their PJs.  Ugh.

Mile 2: Now my calves hurt and I have to pee.  Okay, that’s sufficient discomfort to merit a quick stop.  I peed (in a bathroom, of course) then did some calf stretches, which helped.  It’s drizzling.  I like drizzling.  A little water never killed anybody.

Mile 3: Calves are easing up.  Good.  But now my hip and hamstring hurt.  But not a lot.  Just a little.  I should keep going though.

Mile 4: Why did I decide I was going to keep going, again?  I jsut ran four miles and now I have twelve more.  Also, why is there a random festival taking place on the running/walking path?

Mile 5: There is clearly a sign that says dogs are not allowed in this part of the park.  So why is your dog here?  Oh crap, it’s raining harder.  But I only have 11 miles left and it would be wimpy to stop now, even though the trajectory of the degree of raininess is clearly increasing.

Mile 6: I’m in Battery Park City, by lots of 9/11 monuments and memorials and such.  This is very sad.  I have never been able to fully organize my thoughts surrounding 9/11.  I didn’t live in New York then, but I do live here now.  I’m scared, sometimes.

Mile 7: Why in God’s name is anyone taking the ferry to Ellis Island and Liberty Island right now?  Why is the Staten Island Ferry orange?  It’s officially pouring.

Mile 8: the Lower East Side is unnecessarily confusing.  When am I going to get to Houston?  Shouldn’t I be at Houston already?  Why can’t there be real beaches in Manhattan?  I want to go swimming in the East River.  That would be really gross.

Mile 9: I do not like running up stairs.  I think my body wad not built for stairs — seriously, I get exhausted after a single flight.  Damn UN tourists.  Damn UN traffic.  I don’t like the streets on the Upper East Side.  The avenues should have been better organized.  If I were a municipal politician, I would be so good at organizing streets.  But I don’t think I would make a very good civil engineer.

Mile 10: Snacktime!  I don’t like cranberry flavored stuff (I also do’t like tomatoes, beets, olives, pickles, ham, american cheese, or white chocolate) but these cran-razz shot blocks are pretty good.  Like really sugary juice.  What classes do I have tomorrow?  Do they involve food?  Maybe I should make my own energy gels with dates and stuff.  It would be cheaper.  And healthier.  And I am far, far too lazy for that. It’s.  Still.  Raining.

Mile 11: I miss USB.  Crap, I can’t miss USB because I saw him 36 hours ago.  Pull yourself together, Caronae.  Wow, the water is really swirly and choppy here.  Good thing I took a class about the history of the city — I know exactly why it’s choppy!  It’s because there are a bunch of channels merging in this area and lots of people have drowned here.  I hope I’m not one of them.  I hope this creepy man doesn’t push me over the edge.  I can swim really well though, so at least I have that going for me.

Mile 12: There are many bridges on the East Side.  I can never remember which comes first.  My NYC bridge knowledge sucks.  My NYC street knowledge is, however,  excellent.  For example, I know that the hill pathway under the Queensboro Bridge at 60th Street is closed; therefore you have to go up York Street to 63rd in order to cross over FDR drive and get back onto the East River Esplanade.  sometimes I am so smart.  Other times I am terribly, terribly dumb.

Mile 13: I want to eat a burrito tonight.  Or maybe a taco.  Something Mexican.  Except I am feeling sort of queasy so that might not happen.

Mile 14: I am so soaked that my face is cold any I have officially gained about 7 pounds via the water that is weighing down my clothing.  Yup, I can see my yoga pants flapping about at the bottom because they are officially too heavy to stay put.  I am eating the rest of these shot blox now.  There are lots of homeless peopler under these bridges and overpasses and archways and such.  I feel bad for them.  It’s rainy.  I would give them my hot chocolate, if I had any.  I should have some hot chocolate when I finish this.

Mile 15: I am pretty much dragging my left leg at this point.  I look like one of those people struggling to finish an Ironman.  Except I have only done 15 miles, which is approximately 1546 times less hardcore.  Hip.  Hurts.  I hope this doesn’t derail my marathon training.

Mile 16: I have never loved the sight of Central Park so much.  I am almost hooommmmmeeee.  Except wait.  There are three giant hills standing in between me and home.  Yuck.  At least there are more runners here, who are also soaking wet, so maybe I don’t look like such an idiot.  I wonder what kinds of birds stick around for the winter.  Definitely swallows.  I always see swallows, everywhere.  But not cardinals or robins or blue jays.  Those only come back in the spring.  But they haven’t left yet because there is a blue jay, right there.   I think bird migration patterns are really cool.

End of Mile 16: This is the longest block of my life.  Look, there’s the hospital I was in!  I am glad I am not there anymore.  I want to have some sunflower seed butter now.

There you have it, 16 miles of one crazed runner’s thoughts.

Food from the weekend!

A fig and hazelnut scone.  Definitely…interesting.

That wrap was an excellent combination of TJ’s cilantro-jalapeno hummus, cheddar cheese, avocado, and yellow pepper.

Tomorrow is gonna be a long day.  Blech.  Morning workout, doctor’s appointments, work, class (yoga is starting!!!!), job recruitment meeting (with a company I really don’t want to work for but they would not stop harrasing me so I’m going because I feel bad), more class, activities, reading, laundry, dinner, more reading.

I need to remind myself to smile.  Nothing is ever so bad when you smile. 🙂

Happy Monday to all of you, my loves!

Tell me about your weekend!  And feel free to share any crazy-runner-thoughts, if you have them!

What Healthy Means…

Today’s Happy Note: Today was just a really happy, full-but-not-too-full Sunday; a perfect day to close out the summer.  I ran, talked with friends, had a blog meetup, unpacked, decorated, talked on the phone with mom and then with USB (Union Square Boy), rested, cleaned, ate delicious food.  Productivity+Relaxation=Good Sunday.

Taking care of me=healthy.

Marathon Training: Yesterday began with 5 easy miles and an hour long vinyasa yoga class.  The run felt sluggish, but whatever, it was only five miles so I didn’t really get that worked up about it.  I spent the rest of the day moving, which is always a workout in itself.

Today began bright and early (kidding — I had to drag myself out of bed at 9:30) with a long run!  I was feeling anxious about the 15 miler I had planned.  Not so anxious that I couldn’t get out the door, but anxious enough that I felt physically “tight.”  That went away after the first mile or two and I ended up feeling wonderful!  My legs and lungs felt strong and I maintained a 10:00-11:00 minute per mile pace.  I think there were times (especially towards the end, oddly enough) where I was between 9:00-10:00 minutes per mile.  I conserved energy in the beginning, which was definitely a wise choice.  There ended up being some construction along my planned route — I remapped it once I finished and discovered I had actually covered 16 miles. Go me.

Long Run=Healthy (for me).

I have a tiny but nagging pain in the back of my right hip — almost under my butt.  It’s hard to describe.  It feels like a simple overuse injury that can probably be cured with sufficient ice, rest, and stretching.  I’ll be careful, I promise!

After the run, a shower, and a giant brunch, it was time to head off for a blog meetup with Meghann.   Some of my best blogging buddies were there as well — Gabriela, Ada, Ashley.  Love these girls!

We met at Stogo, a vegan ice cream place in the East Village.  The East Village never fails to impress me — there is something new and unique and exciting around every corner.  We all spent a good ten minutes staring at the options and sampling and, of course, photographing before deciding.  I got a scoop of key lime (coconut base) and a scoop of peanut butter fudge (soy base).  Both were excellent and surprisingly creamy!

Socializing=healthy.

We match!  Left to right: Ada, Ashley, Me, Gabriela.  I had a lovely time, as I always do with blog friends.  I truly love blogging, and making (and meeting) new friends is one of the best parts about it.

We had a wonderful, refreshing conversation about ways of eating.  We basically agreed that food and eating and healthy living are such individualized things. We all take care of our bodies in different ways — and this is okay.  It sounds silly, but it is important to remember that no two bodies have identical nutritional or activity needs.  Some individuals might need to eat more than me, some less.  Some people run more, some less.  Some people don’t run at all.  Some people walk.  Some people eat more vegetables.  Some people eat more fats.  Some people have not struggled with mental/emotional health in the exact ways I have.  All of this is okay — I love the healthy living blogging community for exactly those reasons — we are each unique and exciting.  For example, I love the way Kath lovingly prepares delicious, home-cooked dinners so often.  But I also love my own, easy, student-friendly dinners, which often consist of combining just a few things.   And I also love  Mama Pea’s awesome family-friendly vegan creations.  Or Sophia’s hearty, meaty dishes.  Or Gena’s inspired, fresh raw cuisine.

My point here is that being healthy is a journey.  A delicious, fun, active journey that is unique to each person.  So thank you, ladies, for reminding me of that this afternoon! 🙂

Stimulating conversation=healthy.

A lot of my things arrived from storage today.  I had to unpack and set up my whole room (I slept in my sleeping bag last night).  I don’t have the best sense for design, but  I think I did a decent job.

For newer readers/anyone who is curious: I am about to start my senior year of college!  I study history and human rights and creative writing.  I live in NYC. 🙂

But before the unpacking could begin, I had to set up my fridge, of course.  I didn’t have time to do a full grocery run today, so I just picked up the essentials (pictured above).  Priorities, people: peaches and apples from the farmer’s market, spinach, yogurt, a muffin, and dark chocolate.

I could have done worse. 🙂

Good (nutritious and delicious) food=healthy.

The room before, strewn with suitcases (notice the sleeping bag on the bed!):

And after (left side, then right side):

Much better.  It feels homey already.  I don’t have quite enough shelf space for all my books, but I think I did pretty well.  I get so comforted by the sight of books. I have them organized into sections: poetry/prose, fiction/novels, history, writing/academic instruction, Middle East, human rights, and cooking/baking.

The kitchen space, so far:

There are approximately 25 people on my floor.  There are seven cupboards in the kitchen.  I have usurped two of them.  BUT I don’t feel that guilty because no one at my school cooks.  Literally no one.  Last year I think I saw three other people in the kitchen the whole year.

It’s way too small.  Le sigh:

So that is the living situation right now.  I am glad to be settled in, to have a roof over my head, and to live in a consistent space that is mine and mine only.  I am very grateful — many, many people in my own city (not to mention the world over) do not have such nice accommodations.  It may seem small to me, but it is clean, warm, and safe.  I have lovely clothes, books, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a soft bed.   I am grateful.

Gratitude=healthy.

What are you grateful for right now?

Anyone else out there about to head back to school, or just moved in?  Tell me about it!

In Which Caronae Has Fun

Today’s Happy Note: Raspberry herbal tea — just bought some the other day (it’s Stash); it’s somehow creamy yet subtle. Also, I made my evening a mini spa event — got a 15 minute massage after work and just made myself an oatmeal face mask using this recipe. It felt really wonderful and scrubby.  It would be great for a girls’ night.

Social Life: I went out again last night, to a friend’s birthday party.  What has come over me?!?!  I’m having fun, being social, being open.  This is crazy, but in a good way.  I am pretty sure I’m being a normal twenty year old.  It’s summer.  I was talking to someone important to me the other day and all the sudden realized (out loud) “fun is allowed!”  Being with friends and connecting with the people in my life is really important right now.

Marathon Training: Yesterday was a rest day — I ended up with three miles of walking and 20 minutes yoga.  Today was a speed workout on the track.  I put it off all week because speedwork overwhelms me.  But it ended up going really well!

2 mile warm-up

4 x (1200 “fast cruise pace”, 400 easy)

2 mile coo-ldown

I did the 1200s in 6:15, 6:16, 6:13, 6:15.  I was happy with that, especially since these were not all out by any means. It totaled 8 miles. I also did weights this evening for 30-ish minutes.

Eats:

Just got a new batch of sweet cherries.  I have been loving fresh fruit this summer!  Faves: blueberries, peaches, cantaloupe, raspberries, and cherries.

We had a birthday party at the office yesterday!  I had a cupcake yesterday and today.  I wasn’t weird about it at all! I didn’t agonize over eating the cupcake nor did I eat one and proceed to eat ten more.  I had one yesterday and one today, because, well, there were leftovers and I couldn’t let them sit there over the weekend, could I?

I have been trying to lose about 10 nagging pounds that crept on over the summer, especially while I was in the hospital.  I think I have maybe lost 2?  I am stressing a little bit about it and am not really sure what to do.  I refuse to go down the obsessive path — it does NOT work for me.  I have been working on eating intuitively.  I don’t think it is making enough of a difference in my actual food consumption for me to lose weight, but it has helped me feel better emotionally.  It’s nice to sit down in the evening and realize “okay, I want a few bites of chocolate and that’s it” or “hmmm, I just made a giant bowl of oats but I don’t think I am hungry for these last few bites.”  These are small accomplishments.

Another thing: I really want to switch up my healthy fat consumption. Confession: I had a smoothie and several spoonfuls of sunflower seed butter for dinner tonight.  When I crave nut butter like this, it usually is because I am in need of some fats.  So I’m going to make it a goal to diversify my fat intake: avocados, EVOO, 2% yogurt, lowfat milk, raw nuts, eggs.

Anyone have any favorite healthy fats suggestions?

Time to get to bed.  I may or may not be going out again tomorrow!  Crazy.  I think I like this side of me. 🙂

Weekend Update

Today’s Happy Note:

Hello hello hello!  I have to blog and run because I have more work to do before tomorrow’s (procrastinator much?) early morning long run.  Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I reaallllllyyyyy suck at time management.

Marathon Training:

Yesterday I had five easy miles on the schedule.  I did that along with about 40 minutes of arms and abs.  My leg strength training falls by the wayside whenever I am training for a race.  My legs are tired enough from running so many miles, I can’t bear the thought of putting them through sets of lunges and hamstring curls and calf raises.  I have decided that I officially love lifting weights.  It is almost as fun as running and yoga for me.  Makes me feel strong, powerful, confident, and sexy, in a weird way.  I ended my run at the Union Square Farmer’s market.  That is the absolute best way to do a Saturday morning run — then you can have a little snack when you get there and sit in the sunshine in the park and think about sunflowers and sunshine and other sunny Saturday morning things.

There was a chocolate chip coconut scone (yes, you heard that correctly) with my name on it at the FM!  With a side of honey-vanilla yogurt.

This was the best scone I have ever had.  I am normally totally a muffin person, but I think I am becoming a scone convert.

So.  Something really good and awesome and happy happened at the farmer’s market after I ate my scone but I don’t want to tell you all about it because I don’t want to jinx it.  So I kind of just told you, without really telling you.  So there.

If you’re a blogger, are you ever afraid of jinxing something by “saying it aloud” on the blog?

Today was supposed to be a Sunday long run day, but I didn’t want to wake up super early, then it ended up raining the whole day anyway.  I moved around my scheduled runs for the week so that I can do it tomorrow (hello 6 AM).  I love Google calendar because it lets you drag and drop events from one day to another.  I ended up doing a 30 minute abs class at the gym today followed by a six mile run that included 4 fast 800s (half-miles).  The 800s were hard but not killer hard.  I used to flat-out hate speedwork but now I think I have more of a love-hate relationship with it.  It feels so goooooood afterwards but during it I just wanna die (usually).  Regular running never gets my heart rate up or makes my face red or anything.  Today’s speedy 800s sure did though!

It ended up pouring for the whole second half of my run.  Somehow I don’t have a problem running less than an hour in the rain.  I just couldn’t face two hours.  Not sure why.

Enough running!

Eats hodgepodge:

Yogurt with a warmed peach and honey and granola.  Afternoon snackage perfection.

I’m pretty sure I ate an entire half of a big cantaloupe over the last two days.

Dates, carrots, PB, and more PB plate.  I am loving dates lately!

Pasta, lots of veggies, and tofu.  With a side of more veggies with guac.  One of the smartest things my mother ever taught me: you can never have too many vegetables.

Good eats (although maybe a little too much last night?  It’s so hard to tell with marathon training!).  Good running.  Good friends.  Good adventures.

Good weekend.

Update me on your lives my friends!  What’s going on where you are?

All Grown Up

Today’s Happy Note: An excursion to the new Trader Joe’s in Chelsea!  It was awesome; spacious and calm and totally the opposite of the Union Square Trader Joe’s.  Not frenetic and crazed.  Loved it.

Pretty good day.  Busy but not overwhelmingly so — those are my favorite kind of days.  I won’t lie though: I may be 20 years old, a senior in college, and holding down two “real” jobs, but there are moments when I wish I was twelve again, reading in my backyard and running through the sprinkler all summer long.  I used to have the house all to myself everyday of summer from when I was about twelve on.  I would make brownies, reread the whole Harry Potter series, and dance outside when it rained.

I kinda want that back.  Being an adult is hard.

Today started with a brunch for Second Job, which ended yesterday.  I feel really sad about it actually.  Organizing and overseeing within the framework of a non-profit has been something I have truly fallen in love with.  My students are my babies, my coworkers are heroic.

Also: I love huevos rancheros.

Cookie the size of my head.

That is oats topped with chocolate and peanut butter.  I know many bloggers have said this before so it kinda isn’t original but: PB and chocolate is my favorite food combination in the entire world. No questions asked.

Other favorite food combinations: hummus and cheddar cheese, carrots and almond butter, mango and coconut, salmon and asparagus.

Your favorite food combos?

I ended the day with a nice little workout: 20 minutes of arm strength and a 6 mile run with lots of hills.  Currently watching movies, snuggling in bed, and thinking of fun things to do this weekend.  Any suggestions?

I need an Adventure!  This is my first free weekend in a while.

What are your plans?

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