Let’s Make That Workout Happen

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it: When you’re just out there running for fun, it’s a lot easier to get “bored” with running than if you’re motivated by a race, or weight loss, or have some crazy deal where you get paid per mile you run(If I had a deal like that, I’d be out there all day). The truth is it’s just hard to love a tough workout 100% of the time. Here is how I get workout-ready in my morning.

I always start the day with a big breakfast, workout or not. My perfect trifecta is oatmeal for fiberous carbs, peanut butter(cinnamon raisin swirl PB & Co. here) for healthy fat, and greek yogurt for protein. To be completely honest, I don’t love Greek yogurt here always; a lot of days I’d be happiest with 2 huge bowls of oatmeal and nut butter. But greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein. And starting your day with protein has been shown to boost metabolism and curb you late-night hunger. I can certainly scoop some Fage for that.

When I know I’m about to run, I always steal some chocolate from my stash. Call it a bribe; it’s as natural as putting on my shoes. “Rituals” lie this can keep you on a regular exercising route.

Today, my workout motivation as music. I just downloaded Telephone(I know, I’m terribly behind) and Love On The Inside by Sugarland and made a big playlist out of them. I definitely couldn’t have gone so far without that energy pumping through me. For some, it’s music. Other times, it’s whatever’s on the TV at the gym. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful nature of the outdoors. Whatever it is, distractions can be some of the greatest ways to make a cardio workout enjoyable.

Afterwards, it’s important to hydrate. In fact, I plan this beforehand by sticking water and anything else I might want in the fridge and knowing just where it is to grab it to drink while doing stretches. Without stretches, the next workout might not be as enjoyable…

And, of course, you need to refuel. There was a lot of hype last Summer about chocolate milk being the “perfect drink”. Really, what you need is food. Drinking carbs is certainly one way to get energy back in to your system. That just doesn’t fit me, personally. For myself, I made a “dream salad”(as in, I dreamed this up all run long): Spinach, avocado with lemon juice, sauteed onions, and toasted cashews. If this doesn’t work for you, feel free to go back to the chocolate milk.

And it never hurts to have a little more running motivation. Sundae Friday, anyone?

No matter how difficult it is, there is nothing that tastes better than homemade ice cream. Can you see the vanilla bean specks and thick chunks of organic dark chocolate? Maybe I got hit by a car on my run and went to heaven and don’t know it yet.

Flash forward to 2 hours later when I hadn’t sat down at all and realized it was one of those 2-lunch days.  Now I’m relaxing with oatmeal and cashew butter and a pineapple Chobani. Glorious, no? I’ve been trying to churn up a real good dessert. It’s been a battle so far; we’ll see how it comes out tonight. We’ll see…

How do you stay motivated to work out?

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I’m The MacGyver Of Baking

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, my parents went to see our relatives while I stayed home studying. My aunt, ever-thoughtful, sent back some cupcakes for me. It was really thoughtful; but there was something that worried us. If you asked her what they were, she’d say “organic, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, nut-free…” the list goes on. She did the same when I made my cousin these cupcakes. And they didn’t seem gluten-free. In fact, after a little investigating, it seemed likely they weren’t and she just got confused. Well I was OK with that and letting my family have them. Except then I wanted cake. I really wanted cake.

Simple Chocolate Cake

Simple Chocolate Cake

I broke out the Sweet Utopia cookbook sent to me by Book Publishing Co. and flipped open to the first recipe in the book: a simple chocolate cake. Perfect. I made a few alterations to the recipe(switching to gluten-free flours, almond milk for soy milk, and olive oil for canola oil), and 28 minutes later I brought life into this world.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Isn’t she a cutie? But I wanted cake fast so I cut a slice and stuck it in the fridge to cool quickly. While that was cooling, I made a 2-minute buttercream frosting by mixing earth balance, powdered sugar, and vanilla powder in a small dish with a fork. It was almost too easy.

Cake With Frosting

Cake With Frosting

I went from thinking I’d have a chocolate bar for dessert(but not really happy with that) to 1 hour later having a vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake with vegan buttercream frosting all with whatever ingredients I had on hand. I think that qualifies me to be the MacGyver of baking.

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

After that excitement, I just couldn’t sleep; this happens almost every Saturday night and it’s so annoying. I figure this last time just might be because of my last final. But I definitely needed more fuel than usual for the 2+ hours I was awake. I’m not even sure when I got to bed, but this morning I stumbled out of bed late and just hungry.

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

I’m still trying to find out the secret to making a really amazing maple peanut butter. It’s harder than you’d think! And the secret ingredient is not coconut oil as it turns out. Oh well. This bowl was still really good with crunchy maple butter. And now I’m eating a Chobani as if it were a parfait–not stirring the jam up first. It’s pretty good this way.

What do you hate most about restless nights? In the time I’m awake, all I can think about is the stuff I could have done with that time rather than lie in a dark room and toss and turn. And here’s a fun chocolate giveaway to enter.

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Unplanned Is Better Than Not As Planned

Posted on May 10, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In case you missed the weekend:

I live off to-do lists and plans(you should see my to-do list for today. Yikes!). It should then be understandable that I’m no happy camper when things don’t come out 110% like I planned.

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Vegan Tiger Fudge

The “new recipe” I alluded to was vegan tiger fudge: a layer of vegan chocolate fudge with a layer of peanut butter fudge on top. After a few hours, the top never set, so while this was tasty, it wasn’t wholly “fudge”. Boo 😦 It’s back to the drawing board for that recipe. On the bright side, my vegan chocolate fudge tastes as good as ever.

As opposed to not-according-to-planned, things that are unplanned have seemed to have great success recently. Betty White never planned that she would actually get on SNL, and she was hysterical. Amy Adams in Leap Year didn’t plan to fall in love with the Irishman she hired to take her to Dublin(even though it was the most predictable plot-line ever), and that worked out for her. And this dinner, while completely made on the fly, was fantastic:

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

How could something so simple be so good? This was just sweet potato chunks roasted and then seared in a little olive oil with the chickpeas added at the end to finish them off in the oil, and heaped on spinach. It was 5 ingredients with the salt(gotta have the salt), and that was all this needed. Best of all, it combined two of my favorites: sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Love it! Anyone else want to boast a kitchen success story out there?

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Cascadian Farms Organic Vanilla Chip Bar

Cascadian Farms Organic Vanilla Chip Bar

Maple Sugar Maple Leaf

Maple Sugar Maple Leaf

It was certainly unplanned that I turn in to the carb king between dinner and breakfast this morning(add in the tiger fudge from before and you’ve got yourself a few meals there). And I’ll admit: It had me feeling a little down. Until I realized what those unplanned carbs could do for me.

12.1 Miles In 1:46:48

12.1 Miles In 1:46:48

As a sort of “Last Hurrah”, I ran on the treadmill watching The Today Show and my other morning television for a strong and unplanned 12.1 miles. Hurrah! My entire gym set up is a luxury of convenience I will sorrowfully miss over the Summer.

Mighty Maple Oatmeal, Pineapple Chobani, Gingerade Kombucha

Mighty Maple Oatmeal, Pineapple Chobani, Gingerade Kombucha

After all that, I’m happy to be sitting and having a well-balanced, moderately-sweetened breakfast with Mighty Maple and a pineapple Chobani. And, yes, that would be a Gingerade Kombucha at breakfast no less. It’s the only thing keeping me sane today between my to-do list and walking up and down 3 flights of stairs to cook and do laundry.

What do you do when a recipe’s a flop? My gut response: Call the neighbors over. If it’s something bready, I can usually crumble it over yogurt and call it granola. But with anything chocolate and sweet, just hand me a spoon and let the pity party commence.

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March To The Beat Of Your Own Drum

Posted on May 6, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s one of the simplest things to say, but the hardest to do. And yet, if we can do it in the little places in life, can’t we master it when it matters, too?

Vivani Dark Chocolate With Ginger

Vivani Dark Chocolate With Ginger

Vivani Dark Chocolate With Ginger

Vivani Dark Chocolate With Ginger

Oatmeal With Chocolate Hazelnut Butter And Hazelnut Agave

Oatmeal With Chocolate Hazelnut Butter And Hazelnut Agave

Madhava Hazelnut Agave

Madhava Hazelnut Agave

Snickerdoodle Purely Decadent Ice Cream

Snickerdoodle Purely Decadent Ice Cream

We define “serving sizes” all the time. Don’t tell me to eat 10 pieces of ginger Vivani chocolate when they’re made 4 blocks to a row. I know math and that just doesn’t work out unless I’m willing to put a little effort into it. Likewise, there’s no such thing as a tablespoon of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter or Madhava’s hazelnut agave. There’s a scoop and a squirt and how much that is is how much that is. And ice cream? A serving’s what I left in the pint after the last time I at some. I don’t need a measuring cup, and I don’t even need a cup–just hand me the spoon.

But what if I told you to get to that snickerdoodle So Delicious soy ice cream I had to walk through a room of people drinking and playing beer pong in front of the fridge? And that I was in my pajamas? And that I really didn’t want to be doing that? Fact. Fact. And you bet your booty. It was one hell of an awkward minute I felt like a fish out of water. But what would have been the argument against getting the ice cream? There wasn’t really one, so in the end I knew what was “right”. Besides, the joke should be on them: It was Cinco de Mayo and I saw no margaritas. Really, guys, really?

Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

Pineapple Chobani With Maple Glazed Cashews

Pineapple Chobani With Maple Glazed Cashews

So where does that leave me, on this most Holy of days, Seis de Mayo. Well, I know a few things. I know I was hungry way before class today and ate my breakfast of Mighty Maple oatmeal and a pineapple Chobani with cashews early. I know I’ll watch Bear Grylls in just about anything and everything he wants to do in his career(see Worst Case Scenario). And I know that I should throw away fears and do what I really want to do more often, because at the end of the tunnel there just might be a pint of ice cream. Now, if I may quote different strokes

Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum.
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
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Rough Night And Maple Talk

Posted on April 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Ugh, I don’t know where to start. Aren’t Sunday mornings when you’re supposed to wake up feeling fresh and rejuvenated and ready to tackle on another day? I definitely was not able to get enough sleep, and my throat’s soar so I’m drinking tea like there were a fire there and I could put it out :-/ On the bright side, my Saturday night started out promising.

Walnut Date Boomi Bar

Walnut Date Boomi Bar

I sat down with this Walnut Date Boomi Bar to watch Anchorman and get some serious work done. You’d think the two wouldn’t work together, but they did. Every time I see that movie, I like it more(I hated it to begin with so that doesn’t have to be saying much). The bar as also not a disappointment; I loved how it tasted simply of walnuts, dried fruit, and a touch of honey. I think there could have been the raisins left out and honey brushed up a bit, but overall this was fantastic. And hand rolled?! Did I read that right? Amazing.

Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Mint Chocolate

Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Mint Chocolate

I wasn’t hungry for much, so I just finished off the night with the rest of my Alter Eco dark chocolate mint. I can’t believe 2 night-time snacks and this bar is already gone 😦 I’ll have to get another; I love the bits of whole sugar in here! It’s definitely a textural and taste sensation.

I also managed to write and submit a full rough draft of my before going to bed!! That was the one thing I’ve had looming over my head all weekend, and to be honest I thought it would take a lot longer and I might not get it down with all my other work. But now I feel like I won’t be chained to books until Tuesday night, and that’s a very good thing 😀

2 Apples

2 Apples

Around 2:45 was when the trouble began; I woke up to go to the bathroom and couldn’t get back to sleep 😦 There was a loud party downstairs that kept me up probably until 4:20. I ate an apple around 3 and then another around 4. I get that people want to party, I do. I can’t really blame them. But last night was absurd. At one point, a girl got her feelings hurt apparently and took it upon herself to run around screaming and crying and banging. After some random person wrote on my door, I locked things up.

But the past is the past.I slept in a bit extra, woke up with a sore throat, and finally had an appetite for breakfast. Food tastes so much better when you really, truly want it. And all I wanted was a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter.

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Homemade Peanut Butter And Maple Butter

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Homemade Peanut Butter And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Homemade Peanut Butter And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Homemade Peanut Butter And Maple Butter

And a big bowl it was. I upped the amount of grains and made a special peanut butter out of Teddie’s, sea salt, brown sugar, and maple butter. I wanted to try and remake Garden Grille’s, but this wasn’t quite that good. On the side, I had a pineapple Chobani, hoping that the probiotics in there will help prevent anything I might be coming down with.

Maple Talk

As if you can’t tell by the maple butter dousing my oatmeal, I’m a maple freak. But it occured to me that not everyone grew up in New England with lumberjack grandparents who feed a maple addiction, so I thought I’d give a little lesson on the different kinds of maple. I’d also like to take now to unveil my review page Justin’s Maple Almond Butter; I’ve had this in my pantry almost a year now and finally got around to writing about it.

Maple Syrup: The most common form of maple available, the sap from the tree is cooked down to a syrup, making for a pure, unrefined sweetener thinner than honey and involving no animal by-product.

Maple Taffy: This is the product of cooking down maple syrup a bit more. More moisture is taken out, leaving a rich, thick taffy. Unsuitable for pouring over breakfast goods, this is reserved mostly for use on ice cream or even snow.

Maple Sugar Leaf

Maple Sugar Leaf

Maple Sugar: The sugar is the maple with all of its moisture removed. It is solid at room temperature and has a brown, rich flavor to it that regular sugar doesn’t. It can be substituted in any recipe at a 1:1 ratio with regular sugar.

Maple Butter: With a slightly higher moisture content than maple sugar, maple butter has to be kept in the fridge lest it melt into a thick taffy. Maple butter is granulated and perfect for spreading on toast. Note: It involves no real butter and is 100% maple.

Clearly, we New Englanders have a religion around maple products. Don’t try to tell me the “maple flavored syrups” or “sugar free maple syrup” are any kind of real food; they aren’t. You just can’t go wrong with the pure, true stuff itself. But if maple syrup isn’t your thing and chocolate is, check out Avery’s Chocomize giveaway!

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