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!

Transition Stress/Long Run/Meat

Today’s Happy Note: My day involved plenty of chocolate.  Always a good thing.

Mental Health Note: Transitions, of any sort, are always stressful and tricky for me.  At this point in my life, I have come to accept that, and instead of trying to pretend that the stress isn’t there (and thereby making it much, much worse), I just acknowledge it and do my best to soothe myself.  I find moving around — which, unfortunately, happens a lot in college — not just physically exhausting, but emotionally draining as well.  I get attached to places.  I go back and forth between NYC and Michigan (and sometimes Canada) quite frequently.  I am in NYC right now, but have to move back into my dorm.  I’m also making a shift from full-time worker to full-time student and part-time worker.  My life patterns are not all that different during the school year, which helps to ease my mind.  I know that I will still eat oats with nut butter or smoothies for breakfast.  I know that I will find some time in the day to squeeze my run in and that I will make time for friends and life outside of school.

All this is to say that the stress is creeping up on me already — I can see and feel it. It sort of drapes its way around me and sits on my heart and body like a heavy scarf.  I move into my dorm room on Saturday and start classes Tuesday.  I have been mentally preparing myself.  One thing I find very helpful is finding room for extra sleep during my day/night.  Stress often leaves me sleepy-tired, and if I can either sleep 9 hours at night or 7-8 hours at night with a nap in the late afternoon, I am much happier and calmer.  Other things that help include lots of self-care (doing stuff like painting my nails, getting a massage, strolling in the park and looking at the flowers, etc.), reaching out to people I love, and eating delicious but clean foods.

How do you deal with life transitions — physically or emotionally or occupationally?  How do you relieve the stress/anxiety/tension? I love consistency, but I understand that, for the next few years, my life will not necessarily be straightforward.  I am learning how to find the excitement in this.

I got my run in this evening!  It was way too hot at the beginning, but eventually cooled down with a nice breeze. I did ten miles and actually felt really great during it.  I held about a 10 minute per mile pace, but was probably around 9:30 at some points.  I feel like I may finally be back up to pre-hospital strength!  Yay!  I also lifted weights for a quick 30 minutes.

Long run eats:

I’m not showing everything because I think it’s boring.  But I have done a good job keeping track.  And I don’t have a picture since I only just made it, but I am currently eating a delicious chocolate banana smoothie with TJ’s dark chocolate in a nut butter jar.  Nut butter jars make everything better. Seriously, I would be so thrilled if I got my Christmas and birthday presents in (clean) nut butter jars from now on.  It would be so cute!  I’m pretty sure my relatives already think I’m a weird foodie though, so I probably will go ahead and *not* make that request…

Lunch was kinda epic: steamed carrots/yellow squash, green grapes/cherry mix, and a turkey/cheddar/avocado wrap on a TJ’s multigrain tortilla.  I have a lunchtime sandwich fear, for some odd reason.  But on longer run days, I find it helpful to have a sandwich for the extra carbs/calories.  It works out perfectly fine because, when eating more earlier in the day, I eat less in the evenings.

Awesome new snack!  TJ’s (do you see a TJ’s them here?  Hmmmm….) peanut butter crunchy granola bar.  This was a tad sweet but definitely tasty.

Dinner involved more meat — apple chicken sausage, in honor of my sister (it’s one of her favorite foods, but I also really like it as well) with a GIANT salad of romaine, peppers, avocado, and TJ’s peanut vinaigrette (LOVE).  I had okra fries a la Meghann on the side.  They were actually really good.  When I cut up veggies like carrots, squash, or, in this case, okra, into fry form and bake them, I am not intending them as a fry replacement.  I just like roasted veggies.  But these were actually legitimately fry-like!  I coated them in salt, pepper, and EVOO and baked at 400 for about 30-ish (maybe 40?) minutes.  Okra=my new friend.  Oh, and if you are wondering why it’s dark in the above photo that’s because it’s purple okra!  I love veggies in fun colors.

Hello, okra.  You can come over for dinner anytime you want.  Have you had okra?  Do you like it?

Meaty talk:

I don’t eat a lot of meat.  But I think it can be a very healthy part of a diet and I will probably never go vegetarian. I do believe in ethical, moderate meat consumption.  I get as much of it as I can from the farmer’s market or other local, natural, and/or organic sources.  I just realized, while posting, that I had meat twice today! Turkey at lunch and chicken sausage at dinner.  And you know what?  I feel great. The protein and fat really work wonders for me.

I like all kinds of protein sources.  My favorites: salmon, shrimp, steak, turkey, tofu, lentils, black beans, tempeh, whole grains, greek yogurt, veggie burgers, cottage cheese, nut butters, and certain protein powders.

Your fave protein sources?

Bedtime for this stressed chica.  Goodnight friends! 🙂

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?

Eating Things In Jars

Today’s Happy Note: Lots of time talking with an awesome friend tonight. 🙂  Sometimes that is exactly what you need!

Looooonnnngggggg day.  Started at 8:00 AM and ended at 10:00 pm.  In and out of the apartment, at the store, at the office, on the phone, frantically emailing, on the bus, to another store, picking up bagels, on the computer, entering data into spreadsheets, organizing last day of classes for second job, crazy, crazy, crazy.

Mental Health Note: I practically didn’t have time to breathe.  But I have learned something really valuable about myself in the last year or so: when I have days or moments like this, frantically, overwhelmingly busy, I tend to wind up sad, anxious,  and depressed.  I tend to get riled up and never get un-riled.  So I like to plan out something nice for myself in advance!  okay, so I didn’t really plan today.  But  it worked out, because I got to spend some quality time with two great friends.   Talking and giggling and wondering and smiling and just knowing each other.  I love that.

No time for a workout today!  I thought about getting up at 6 to run but I wasn’t in bed until 2.  I slept in until 8 instead, which was definitely the better choice.  I was on my feet all day though; definitely walked several miles.  And lugged around several pounds of juice and bagels all over the city.  This is what my job entails.

I made a most excellent food discovery today!  You all know I love my OIAJ.  Well, introducing…

Stir Fry In A Jar!

Last night I wanted something easy to make and portable to take.  I had an almost-empty Mighty Maple pb jar in the fridge.  The cogs in my head started moving…I love maple and peanuts in a stir fry.  I had everything I needed on hand: tofu, salt, EVOO, lemon pepper, green bell pepper, carrots and rice.  I sauteed everything together and steamed the rice then combined.

Holy moly this was wonderful!  Like, maybe life-changing-wonderful.

I would do this with regular PB or perhaps even AB as well.  I want to try it with pad thai next.  Yum yum yum, nom nom nom.

Also eaten in a jar: dessert.

A bit of coconut gelato and various chocolate pieces.

I shall have to experiment with eating more things in jars!  Ideas?  Thoughts?  Do you like food in jars?

Goodnight friends.  Happy Friday!

Dear Men At The Gym

Today’s Happy Note: Saw a beautiful pink and blue sunset during my evening run.

Workout: Three easy miles with 4×100 strides and about 40 minutes of full-body strength training.

So.

This is an open letter.  To certain members of my lovely NYSC gym.  Members of the XY chromosome variety. Members who are more likely to have a rather higher concentration of testosterone.

Dear Fellow Gymgoers (of the mostly male type):

Hi there!  My name is Caronae.  I am a twenty year old woman living in the wonderful city of NY.  I am about to start my senior year of college.  I also work in an archive and for a non-profit.

I am kinda geeky.  I love books, poems, writing essays, and history.  I like learning new things about the world and the ways people relate to one another.  I like going to class, most of the time.  I am a pretty good thinker.

Other likes: running, yoga, peanut butter, movies, laughing with friends, massages, smoothies, blogging, swimming, cooking, baking, muffins, human rights, and social justice.  My favorite TV shows all involve hot doctors.  I like flowers and trees and am generally pretty girly.

Of course, you do not know any of these things about me, which is fine.  Most of the people I encounter in a typical day don’t know these things.  But, because you have presumed a certain level of intimacy with my body,  I thought maybe you might want to learn a little bit about the rest of me.  Let me explain.

Boys: I am not a piece of meat.  I am a woman who has a body. I have thoughts and feelings and dreams.  I have virtues and flaws.  I may have a somewhat ample chest and slightly curvy hips.  I may have long, feminine hair. And maybe you find all of these things attractive, when scoping out a potential mate.  Maybe.

But.  I am not at the gym for your viewing pleasure.  I know that the cardio area tends to be mostly female and the weights area, well, mostly male.   I know that when a woman crosses this line it might be a little scary for you.  I have entered your domain.  I have entered the land of grunting, lifting, and sweaty barbells.  But I have some important news for you: I have as much of a right to be there as you do. And I also have a right to get my lift on free of your wandering eyes, I’m pretty sure.

I have never quite understood why men stare hungrily at my body.  I am young, I suppose.  I have a certain type of figure.  I think that it is socially acceptable for men to be with — to date, to love, to marry — thin women.  I am not saying this is the only acceptable sort of union.  But the idea of the thin, beautiful woman as the ideal partner has certainly pervaded our system of social conditioning.  And I am not that woman.  I am kind of the opposite.

I am not disparaging my body or my looks at all.  What I am saying, rather, is that my body has a very distinct appeal to men — one that is only free to surface in the completely public, mostly male sphere: places like the weight room at the gym. Men are socially confined and encouraged to be with women who have a certain look.  But biologically, let’s face it: curves mean something.  I think males are hardwired to see something, hungrily, in females who look like me.  But that doesn’t give them free license to constantly visually exploit me.

It’s so simple.  Just.  Stop.  Staring.  If you want to say “hey, great job!” or “you’re looking really strong today” or “how about we get coffee sometime” that would be lovely.  I would love to engage with you on an intellectual (or at least verbal) level. I would love to hear about your hobbies and your work and your feelings.  But until you stop staring and we start having meaningful interactions that don’t leave me feeling ashamed and exploited, none of this can happen.

So this is a plea of sorts.  I know that I am not the only woman who feels this way.  And perhaps there are some men who feel exploited as well.  I don’t know what the answer is, really.  All I can say is this: when you stare long and hard directly at my chest (and yes, I know you are not looking deeply into my eyes — I know perfectly well where my head is and it is not that far down), it isn’t good for either of us.  You perpetuate the stereotype of the crude, promiscuous male.  And you make me feel like crap.  So please: stop.

Sincerely,

Caronae

I hope that didn’t come across as all feminist-ranty.  I just feel like it is my basic right to have a calm workout at the gym in which I don’t have to be on the lookout for wandering eyes every five and a half seconds.  If you have thoughts on this issue, I would love to hear them!  I know I cannot possibly be the only woman who experiences this unfortunate phenomenon.

Tomorrow is going to be a crazy day.  I might now be in.  But I shall be back in blogland in full force next week!  Promise. 🙂

Food And The Future And Other Things

Today’s Happy Note: I’m currently snuggled up in my bed watching romantic comedies (does anyone else love Julia Roberts), dreaming about falling in love and just feeling generally content with the world.

No pictures today; my camera died just as I left the house this morning.

I did an easy 3.5 miles this evening, with 4×100 meter strides (fast pick-ups) and another mile or two of walking.  I worked from 9-5; for some reason that always just drains me completely and I don’t want to do anything else.  Good news though: I convinced my favorite bagel shop to donate their leftovers to me for Second Job, which is a non-profit. We don’t have much money for food, so this was very exciting.  There will be 50 happy high school students tomorrow morning with bellies full of bagels.

I wish I could give them fresh fruit and vegetables and almond butter and oats and Greek yogurt.  But this job has taught me that good, healthy food is so expensive. It’s quite unfair.  In my mind, it borders on discrimination: I work very hard, but I also have the luxury of having two cushy jobs and two well-to-do parents who give me money all the time.  For a single mom who has to choose between paying for an ER visit for a sick kid and vegetables from the farmer’s market — well, you can guess what the priority is.  It saddens me greatly.  At the beginning of the summer, I asked a few farmer’s market vendors if they ever have any extra apples or carrots at the end of the day and they said they really don’t.  It is so sad that farming has become so difficult; I don’t blame them for our national healthy eating crisis.  I guess I don’t really know who to blame, but I know that it isn’t fair.  And I see the victims of this every day in my neighborhood and at my job.  I am no more deserving of cage free eggs and free range beef and fresh chard and organic cherries than anyone else.  Yet, quite simply, I have it and other people don’t.

Some days I just want to move to the prairie and start a totally new life that has nothing to do with money or power or my fancy Ive League education and everything to do with connecting to the land around me and producing for myself.  The array of options at the farmer’s market never fails to astound me — everything from blueberry jam to goat cheese and chocolate milk and sunflowers and sweet potatoes. You could live off of it.  And some days, I want to.

I’m kind of trying to say a lot of things at once here, so perhaps I could be more clear: there is something terribly wrong with the way our nation produces and disseminates and consumes food (or in some cases, you might say “food”).  And the victims of this crisis are those who are already most vulnerable.  Poverty and obesity (and, I would imagine, a host of other life-shortening factors) go hand in hand.

Another thing I’m trying to say is that I have had a realization.  I know whole-heartedly that I want to be a lawyer — I have to be a lawyer.  Why?  Because I want to be able to advocate for a variety of organizations that help people.  I have fallen in love with Second Job this summer.  It is the second non-profit I have worked for.  I guess I want to be a legal advocate for non-profits.  Is that an actual career?  Who knows.  But I’ll make it into one.

It’s kind of exciting to have a slightly more concrete idea of what I want. At the same time, I am open to change and other directions.  I can see myself in a human rights or civil liberties organization, or a group like the UN.  But again, I think that all comes back to advocacy, non-profits, and helping people.

I have every intention of having a high-powered and powerful career in which I get to boss a lot of people around and Do Important Things. But I also have a heart.  A big one. More and more, lately, I am realizing that that’s what defines me.

In a weird way, I’m getting a little bit excited to take the LSAT and apply to law school…

Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Getting out of the city!  Got to go visit a college in PA with my babies (aka high school students I work with).  It showed me that I am a capable leader and mentor.  Plus, it was kinda nice driving through the Poconos.

This has gotta be a major quickie; I might just have the busiest day of my life tomorrow — including a sweet surprise that I promise to blog about (with pictorial evidence, of course)!

Yesterday workout: 6 miles (2 GP — general pace –, 2 tempo, 2 GP) plus four accidental walking miles.

Today was not the best day in terms of eating OR marathon training.  With the training, I was supposed to do an easy three miles with strides; I just decided to swap that out with Friday’s rest day.  I am so busy during the middle of the week.  Hopefully that settles down once school starts.  I walked a few miles and did some gentle stretching.  Eating: I did take pictures of everything, and most of it was relatively healthy, but it was too much.  I know I wasn’t hungry for all of it.  Do you ever just feel like you desperately need to eat even though you aren’t hungry? Oh well.  Tomorrow is a new day, and there are far worse things in life than consuming extra calories via almond butter, fruit, yogurt, and dark chocolate.

I am proud of myself because, even if my eating is still not perfect, I am beginning to recognize my patterns. I know Monica is working on this right now too and it is harder than it sounds.  Am I hungry?  Sad?  Ecstatic?  Confused?  Do I eat a lot in the evening?  Do I feel fuller when I have PB for dessert or cereal (PB!)?  Am I lonely?  Am I restricting and then overcompensating?  Am I eating enough to fuel me through a six or eight mile run — or am I using that as an excuse to eat too much?

I DON’T have all the answers, but I AM realizing that the journey is pretty fun.  I am learning so much about myself.  For example, I just noticed something important today: computer troubles=eating troubles para Caronae.  Nothing stresses me out quite like a computer problem — even if it’s something really small.  So I have noticed this, and I know that I have an arsenal of alternative tools (i.e., not emotional eating): beautifying myself (painting my nails, eyebrow plucking, doing my hair, getting a massage), and curling up with tea and a stack of magazines.  Those are just two little things that make me happy right now!

A few eats:

Bacon has been involved.

Yum!

Therapy Tuesday

Today was characterized by our shared laughter.   I don’t really know how this happened — certainly not everything I said (or L said) was funny — but it happened, and once we started finding humor or joy in things, we couldn’t stop.  It was lovely.  I had two main announcements to make (both of which you already know):

1. I am applying to law school in the fall and,

2. I am going to be running the marathon come November.

I honestly just haven’t had a chance to tell L either of these things yet.  I started with number one.  I was a little bit surprised by her reaction, which was not one of warmth, and undying support.  Looking back, I guess I didn’t really need that anyways.  Sometimes I feel like L knows what’s best for me even when I don’t know what’s best!  Anyways, she basically encouraged me, but also reminded me that I am young, that I can and should do more research, and that I should think about what exactly this means to me and what I want to do with my life.  These are big questions that I am not necessarily ready to tackle, but I am glad she reminded me that, at the very least, that can be floating around in the back of my head.  I was mildly annoyed at her because I sort of thought she was lecturing me and sounding exactly like my mom does about school stuff.  I felt as though she was telling me that I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m a baby and blah blah blah.  I told her this and she sort of gently pointed out what she really meant and noticed that I was doing a bit of projection of my mother onto her.  Point taken.

But I was feeling a bit wound up, unsettled, and anxious at this point.  But: I let her in.  I let L know about this, about the turmoil that was mounting inside me over such a small thing.  And one of the things she said actually comforted me quite a lot: I stated that when this happens — when I get anxious and panic in the moment of therapy — I feel like I’m wasting my(limited) time with her, and she said that this is my life; this is real and these are my feelings and what better thing than for them to happen in the moment with her, so that she can help me figure them out?  Brilliant!

She sort of walked me into talking about the marathon, even though I didn’t want to.  And guess what?  Again,  I ended up feeling better.  She is so damn smart sometimes it scares me.

L was happy for me about the marathon.  Sometimes I wish she could be more involved in my real life.  But it was nice today to have that brief moment where my real life and therapy sort of merged.  That was new.  And to have everything be sort of light — I actually don’t think I cried at all, which is highly unusual.  It was just like the littlest things about our relationship became humorous; like we know each other so well that we can laugh about each other, at each other.

So today was new.  Refreshing.  Intense but calming.  Funny, real, jarring.  Wonderful in many ways.

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