Two for the Price of One

I didn’t mean for a whole week to disappear without a recipe. This post was actually written yesterday but just as I was going to upload the pictures our wireless router crapped out.  After chatting with Comcast and buying a new router we weren’t back online until late last night. Oh well, today you get two recipes for the price of one!

Just kidding, everything’s free here. But you still get two recipes.

While out on a walk yesterday morning I stopped in at Starbucks. The line was really long so I turned back around after only a few seconds of waiting. However, as I was leaving the barista yelled “blueberry muffin” to someone and that got my empty stomach growling. I walked the rest of the way home mentally checking off the ingredients for my blueberry muffins, check, check, check, eh, wait, no gf flour or blueberries. Sort of key ingredients.

Plan B, improvise. I swapped the blueberries for strawberries which was easy enough as I have a huge bag of frozen ones in my freezer. But, finding a gf flour sub seemed unlikely, until I remembered a bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake mix that’s been hanging around for a while. Perfect! I think?

Turns out, yes, perfect, better than actually. I prefer these muffins to the original version although I would probably swap the blueberries back in or add them in addition to the strawberries. I also just noticed that I forgot the flaxseed to this version. To be honest, it doesn’t seem to have mattered in the least so we’ll keep it out.

strawberry gluten free muffins

Apologies for the lack of pictures. I was rather absent-minded about it until the batter was already mixed.

Strawberry Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup gf oat flour

1/4 cup gf oats, whole

1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free pancake mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup strawberries, cut into bite size pieces

————

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, oats, almond meal, gluten-free pancake mix, baking powder and salt.

Next add brown sugar, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar to the dry ingredients.

Stir until well incorporated.

gluten free strawberry muffin batter

Lastly, fold in chopped strawberries.

Grease a muffin tin. Fill each cupcake hole about 3/4 of the way up.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

strawberry muffins

Yields 8 muffins.

vegan strawberry muffins vegan strawberry muffins

Okay, that’s one but I promised you two. This recipe is for all you runners. With spring springing and longer runs on the horizon I put together an all-natural, preservative and dye-free energy gel over at WalkJogRun. I used chia seeds as the base and offer a couple of suggestions for mix-ins. Check it out if you’re looking for an alternative to those neon colored gums and goos.

chia seed energy gel

Alright, that’s it for me today. More articles to write, a house to clean and a gym to get to.

Have a wonderful weekend.

As always, Enjoy and Exhale!

Hippie Life: Juice and Meditation

I realize that sometimes this blog makes me seem like a free-loving, bell bottom wearing hippie with all its yoga and veggie talk. This post will do nothing to dissuade you of that assumption. I’ve come to peace with that!

Today’s post is about juice and meditation. Both of which have been pretty non-existent in my life lately.

First, the juice:

I can’t remember the last time I dusted off my juicer. I definitely go in phases with it. Sometimes having 3-4 a week, then waiting weeks before I use it again. This morning I looked in the fridge and realized I had a lot of odds and ends sitting around. This is going to sound ridiculous but I take great pleasure in using up the random broccoli stalks, the last cup of kale or the other half of the pear I didn’t eat with breakfast yesterday. There’s a feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing the food I buy and knowing it won’t go to waste. Sort of like checking off a to-do list.

Luckily, all those bits and pieces ended up making the perfect juice and drinking it out of a wine glass made it all the better.

green juice

Here’s the “recipe”.

1/2 an orange, 1 lemon, 1/2 a pear, 1 big handful of kale, 1 broccoli stalk, 1 cucumber, small knob of ginger, small piece of jalapeno.

Fresh, bright, green goodness. Now, if only I didn’t have to clean the juicer.

Second up, meditation:

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a meditation practice. I want to. I know it would be beneficial but I can’t seem to find the self-discipline, which is incredibly frustrating because I have loads of self-discipline in many other aspects of my life. I have little problem with eating well, exercising often, getting enough sleep. I don’t know why sitting still and clearing out the chatter is so hard for me.

Then, last week, I ran across this on Twitter. A 21-day meditation challenge presented by one of my favs, Oprah! I actually ignored it the first time I saw it, but then it surfaced again two days later elsewhere on the web. It got me thinking that maybe the universe was telling me something. So I signed up and did my first guided practice yesterday.

meditation challenge

The whole meditation took about 15 minutes and wasn’t nearly as hard as it usually is when I go it alone. I’m going to try really hard to complete the whole thing and will report back when I’m through. If you’re interested you can still sign up and start with yesterday’s practice today. If you decide to try, let me know how it goes for you.

With that, this hippie is off the drink her juice, do some yoga and clear her mind. Om shanti.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Quinoa Vegetable Spring Rolls

I made these on Friday after coming back from a super hot and sweaty yoga class. I was in the mood for something light but still filling and frankly I was looking for an excuse to eat a bunch of dipping sauces. These spring rolls were just the thing.

quinoa vegetable spring rolls

I didn’t have any rice noodles so I substituted red quinoa; it added some heft and substance to these rolls. I love how versatile this recipe is. Swap in some tempeh, tofu, maybe even some lentils instead of the quinoa. If you try lentils let me know how it goes, I worry they might not hold together well. You can also mix and match the veggies, I wish I’d have had some bean sprouts, next time.

Quinoa Vegetable Spring Rolls (vegan, gluten-free)

5 brown rice paper wrappers

water for wetting the wrappers

1 cup cooked quinoa, any variety

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1 small carrot, cut into match sticks

cilantro

sriracha

spicy mustard

————

Cut your veggies in long match sticks. Still working on my knife skills. 🙂

spring roll vegetables

Grab your rice paper wrappers. I used brown rice wrappers. They were a little old and kept breaking on me. Buy a fresh package if you’re looking to wow with the presentation.

brown rice spring roll wrappers

Put some water on a large plate, place one wrapper on the plate at a time. If you have plates without the center rim I would use those. If not, make sure to move the wrappers around so the water evenly coats the wrapper.

place water on a plate

The wrappers should be soft but not falling apart. Let excess water drip off before placing on a second plate. Pile with quinoa, vegetables, cilantro and sauces.

veggie spring roll prep veggie spring roll prep

To roll, turn two sides in on the topping. Then roll the far side over the two sides you just turned in until the seams are covered. I’m sorry there aren’t step by step pictures. I’ll try to take some next time I make these.

veggie spring roll prep quinoa vegetable spring rolls quinoa vegetable spring rolls

Eat with additional mustard and sriracha if you’re like me and love sauces. These would also be tasty with my cilantro stem dressing.

quinoa vegetable spring rolls

Enjoy and Exhale!

Week of…

Blogging is a funny thing. I originally set out to chronicle our life here in Boston and share some of my favorite recipes. But like most endeavours, it has turned into something much larger and better than I thought it would. I love sharing my creations and thoughts here with you all, and I love connecting with so many wonderful people, both those I know and those I’ve never met. However, sometimes I struggle with what to write. Some weeks there just aren’t enough new recipes to share or the recipes were flops. Sometimes there aren’t enough Things I’m Loving or enough Little Bits of Random. This is when I contest with whether to write nothing at all or to write about nothing. Yesterday I did the former, today the latter.

I apologize to those of you who follow for the recipes, maybe just skip posts like these? And for those of you who ‘read’ just for the pictures (Sarah, who probably didn’t even get this far), there just aren’t many of those this week either.

Maybe someday I’ll look back on posts like these wishing I hadn’t babbled on about nothing but what can I say, I like to write, I like this blog, I like all of you, so write I will, even without a cohesive theme for this post beyond what happened this week.

Here’s a snapshot.

A Week of Workouts:

There isn’t much rhyme or reason to my workouts. I try to do something active everyday like walk to and from my classes but I purposefully workout five days a week. I try to switch it up and attempt to get in two structured yoga classes a week in addition to my home practice. Running and the gym fall into the other days.

Monday was a rest day except for walking Eli and a little home practice with Guy.

cat yoga

On Tuesday I took to the treadmill. I did an incredibly tedious 4 mile run. I hate the treadmill. Every mile feels like 10 and I’m not one who can cover up the time with a towel and just run. So I watch every minute tick by in agony while I play games with myself like, “run until you hit 1.25 miles then you can stop”, at which point I move the goal to 1.50 miles or to running for 18 minutes or whatever the next milestone is. This trick actually works really well for me but it’s a painful process.

On Wednesday I took a hot hatha class after I taught. It’s pretty much a Bikram class but only 75 minutes and not as hot. I’m not a huge fan of Bikram but it was nice to change it up.

Yesterday I got out for a much more enjoyable run. I headed down to the river and ran 3.25 miles at an 8 minute pace. I thought I was going a lot faster but my watch told me differently. Regardless it felt good to stretch my legs again.

Today I plan to make it over to Baptiste for a power class this afternoon.

A Week of Bites:

I had a lot of Starbucks this week. I’m not sure why but I was craving lattes. This is from Wednesday. Sometimes I like to write and do work away from home, gotta love Starbucks for the free wifi and never kicking you out. It’s also amazing people watching.

Starbucks Soy Latte

I also made a lot of sweet treats.

Beyond these

peanut butter chocolate tart

I also tested a banana cake recipe for my friend’s cookbook. I saved a few slices for myself and shared the rest with my 4:30 yoga class yesterday. I was helping a student with arm balances right after class so I didn’t get a chance to ask how they liked it but the entire cake was gone in two minutes so it must have been good. If any of you are reading from that class please let me know what you thought so I can report back.

banana cake

I also made some banana raisin oatmeal bars. I smothered them with my new favorite Bonne Mamam jam: Apricot Raspberry (Flo, it’s almost as good as the plain Raspberry, almost).

oatmeal bars

Earlier this week I also attempted a not so sweet and not very good cashew cream. I haven’t had much luck with cashew creams. I think it might be my lack of a blender?

cashew cream

Anyhow, that’s about it for the week. Thanks for reading the babble if you got this far.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

All Things Yoga

I did zero cooking this weekend. Usually I’ve done something worthy of sharing but I wasn’t feeling inspired to do more than toast some bread and spread on some jam. I’m pretty sure you’re not interested in that recipe!

Unexpectedly the weekend became all about yoga instead. My weekends are often part yoga but this weekend it seemed to dominate.

On Friday afternoon I took a workshop with Nikki Vilella. She is co-owner of Kula Yoga in Brooklyn and I immediately loved her. She was so knowledgeable and personable. The workshop focused on hands on assists. For those yogis reading you know how wonderful and amazing assists can feel during a practice. My ultimate goal is to get much more comfortable and confident giving them in all types of poses. Those of you regulars in my classes (Joeli!) I hope you don’t mind being guinea pigs while I test what works and what doesn’t.

The workshop definitely didn’t feel long enough but I got plenty of good starters. I also bought this book a couple of weeks ago so I’ll be taking pointers from it as well.

Extra Love: The Art of Hands-On Assists

Saturday morning I taught my Power Yoga class and then headed to another of Nikki’s workshops. This time it was all about back bending. I’m teaching my own back bending workshop next month (March 30th at All One Yoga, join me) so I figured it couldn’t hurt to get some new ideas. It was an amazing! I came home right after and jotted down so many notes my hand started to cramp.

yoga notes

That woman is a wealth of knowledge. I wish I lived close enough to take her classes all the time.

Saturday night we headed to Coolidge Corner for sushi. We tried out FaGaKyu which turned out to be a huge restaurant right off the T. The sushi was good but I don’t think we’d go back. I had a sweet potato and pineapple roll (front) that was really tasty. The second was a garden roll that was okay. Michael had a bunch of unpictured tuna rolls.

veggie sushi

Sunday morning we took a long rainy walk to the Commons with Eli. We both forgot our phones so there are no pictures to share.

We spent the afternoon watching more Dexter and reading while the rain turned to snow. I’m attempting to read one for fun book and one yoga book at a time. I just finished Eastern Body Western Mind which took me months to get through, it was dense! I’ve now moved on to this book my mom bought me for Christmas.

the science of yoga

In the evening I went to a Weekend Warrior class taught by the lovely Kaileen at All One. I’ll be taking over her Sunday classes while she’s on maternity leave so I wanted to get a sense of her style. Wow, her class was so fun! In about 2 minutes she made me realize that I’ve been taking my teaching way too seriously. I need to allow for more joy and celebration. I think I’ve been so worried about getting everything perfect that I’ve forgotten how fun it can be to just move and play on your mat (and off your mat really). Thank you Kaileen for the wonderful reminder.

After class we watched the Oscars and had dinner. Pasta for him, taco salad for her, our individual versions of comfort food. 🙂

I spent this morning with an old work friend in town from Korea so now it’s time to log off and get cooking.

Have a wonderful Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Winter Running and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies

I haven’t talked much about running in the last few weeks but I’m still at it. I try to get out 2-3 times a week regardless of the snow, wind and extreme cold; although I do pay a lot of attention to the weather and try my best to run on warmer days when there won’t be ice on the ground. I’ve found the trick to surviving the cold has been to get a good running hat and layering up on top. Personally, too many layers on my legs is more annoying than helpful.

I can’t say my times have been particularly good but my main goal these days is just to get out there and not worry too much about the pace. Here are some of my latest stats. For some reason I can only get the time on my latest workout to show but I’ve put the pace below the other two.

This was the first run I’ve done without Eli in a long time. I thought I would be faster without him but it seems his excitement fuels us along.

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Run 2. Pace 8.28.

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Run 3. Pace 8.09.

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As you can see, I’m holding steady, not really improving my pace right now. But my hope is that all this winter running will make my summer running faster when the weather improves. We’ll see.

From my love of running to my love of smoothies.

Even with the cold weather I’ve been making a ton of smoothies. They make meeting my daily calcium quota so much easier and the flavors are endless.

The smoothie below has quickly become my new favorite. I’ve made it two days in a row and it was just as good today as it was yesterday.

It tastes a lot like a chocolate milkshake with much healthier ingredients. I’m sure you could add a handful of kale to it as well without affecting the flavor too much if you’re looking for some added nutrients.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 banana

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 cup unsweetened or vanilla flavored almond milk

3-4 ice cubes, depending on how icy you want it (see note)

————

smoothie ingredients

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until combined.

Note: I often have almond milk that is about to expire. When I have extra I freeze the milk in ice-cube trays then store in Ziplocs. I often use a couple of almond milk cubes in place of the ice cubes. If I use almond milk cubes, I cut back the fresh almond milk to half a cup.

Also,the glasses pictured below are teeny tiny, this recipe yields enough for one smoothie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter SmoothieChocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie DSC_0127

 

Dessert for breakfast.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Little Bits of Random 3, Winter

I was going to do a Superbowl recipe roundup today but my dentist appointment ran long this morning, then there was the gym and subbing. Before I knew it it was late afternoon and going through all my bookmarked recipes felt like a lot of work.

Adding some photos to a post and coming up with short sentences to describe them sounded a lot more manageable and fun.

Little Bits of Random 3, Winter

juice prep

Trying to keep the winter germs at bay with fresh juices a couple of times a week. Finally nearing the end of my grapefruit stash.

DSC_0012

A frozen over Charles River looking toward Cambridge.

IMG_3575

Sad swing covered in snow.

IMG_3569

My favorite part of snow, right after it falls and covers the trees.

IMG_3568

More snow.

IMG_3573

A winter playground.

IMG_3546

My guilty winter pleasure. Please don’t judge. I love me some Bachelor.

IMG_3450

Reflections of the city on the water.

IMG_3622

My new haircut and my first attempt to curl my hair with a straightener. I know people have been doing this forever but I’m not very beauty savvy so it’s taken me a while to get with the trends. I’m not nearly as unhappy as I look. 🙂

DSC_0009

A deep conversation with Eli about the Patriots right after their playoff loss.

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Guy looking on as I ‘work’. Aka look at a pet video online on how to clean dog’s ears.

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Playing in the snow during Wednesday’s run.

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Winter run with my favorite pup.

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A lovely soy chai from Thinking Cup that I had earlier this week while meeting up with a new friend.

Sadly, I don’t have any good pictures of Michael that I haven’t already used in the last few posts.

He works too much! 😦

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Yoga. Cook. Run. Football.

As the title suggests, the weekend went something like this. Yoga. Cook. Run. Football. Repeat. Not very different from the rest of our weekends except for the menu. I hope I’m not boring you yet.

Saturday’s run was a short one. I’ve decided to try running this 3.1 mile route around the river once a week for time to see if I can improve my pace. Here’s Saturday’s stats.

Saturday 01.12 5k

My legs were feeling pretty good and it was warm out, although I was still a little congested from last week’s cold. I’m pretty happy with this time.

Saturday night was the Broncos Ravens game. For those who don’t know, Michael is from Colorado, hence a huge Broncos fan. I, being the good girlfriend I am, helped cheer them on hoping for a Broncos Patriots rematch next weekend.

We watched the game from the comfort of our PJs with a bottle of red wine.

wine and football

Michael in his gear, looking fierce.

Broncos Game

Unfortunately they couldn’t pull it together and lost in overtime. 😦

Eli was so depressed he couldn’t even look at the camera.

Broncos Eli

Sunday started with a walk to the Apple Store. I’ve been struggling with my old phone for the past few months and Michael finally convinced me I needed an upgrade. Either that or he was just sick of me talking about how the buttons weren’t working. I am now the proud owner of an Iphone 5!

With the warm weather holding Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t resist another run. Eli and I headed out for a loop around Cambridge.

If you’re interested in times, here it is. A little slower, a little longer. I tried to kick it at the end over the Mass Ave Bridge to Tim McGraw’s ‘How Bad Do You Want It’ but Eli was pooped and I pretty much dragged him the last 250 yards.

Run 01.13

After our run it was time for the Pats game.

My turn for gear!

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The Pats looked good and won their game, woohoo!

Eli is a fair weather Broncos fan. With the Pats win he decided to switch teams.IMG_3491

Here’s hoping for a 49ers Patriots Superbowl.

My cooking over the weekend included these guys. Recipe tomorrow.

Leeks

Hope your weekend was great.

Enjoy and Exhale!

The Calcium Challenge

My mom, in true mom fashion, still wants to make sure I’m eating healthy, sleeping enough and getting adequate vitamins and minerals.  While she was in Boston over the holidays I must have heard her say ‘make sure you’re getting enough calcium’ about 50 times. To be honest, she’s been saying this for years and I’ve sort of brushed it under the rug assuming that the copious amounts of cheese I was consuming were enough. Now that I am eating less and less dairy, I find myself wondering where my calcium is actually coming from. I’ve never tracked it before so I really had no idea.

Before I get into my findings I’ll preface by saying that I am not a medical doctor nor do I pretend to be. Everything below is based on my own research and understanding of said research (which is debatable). As it pertains to your own diet, please use your best judgement. Okay, now that I’m done sounding like a disclaimer for a drug ad, let’s move on.

I know I’m not the only lady (or man) out there who assumes they’ve got this calcium thing covered but aren’t totally sure how. Hopefully this helps.

How much should we be getting?

Most sources recommend 1000 mg/day for all the below important bodily functions.

Calcium Infographic

[Source]

Where can I get it from?

A glass of milk right? Isn’t that what every kid would say if you asked?

The most common misconception is that you should get your calcium from traditional dairy. But, I’ve read enough to know that dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. Many plant-based foods are great options as well. You can get high levels of calcium from non dairy milk and tofu but certain vegetables, seeds and beans are also good sources such as artichokes, kale (hooray!), sesame seeds, chia seeds and hummus.

Calcium Protein Sources

[Source]

There is also the option of calcium supplements but for those of us with family histories of kidney stones, taking supplements isn’t necessarily the smartest idea. Plus, I believe it’s best to get your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible so I won’t talk supplements here.

Below are a couple good lists of plant-based sources of calcium.

One Green Planet

Harvard Health Services (scroll down a bit for the plant sources)

Vegetarians In Paradise (scroll to bottom of page)

What’s my average intake?

Like I mentioned above, I had no idea where a normal day’s diet would put me on the intake scale so I spent a few days doing calculations without changing anything. Here are my totals:

Day 1 900 mg

Day 2 800 mg

Day 3 600 mg

Day 1 and 2 weren’t horrible but they weren’t 1000 mg. They also both happened to include a soy latte. Although this is fairly typical for me, it’s not an everyday occurrence. I have Starbucks 2-3 times a week, mainly on weekends. On days when I don’t have coffee I have tea without milk, which offers 0% of my daily calcium. Without the latte I am severely under my calcium quota. Day 3 reflects this.

The Challenge!

With my new knowledge in hand, I thought it might be fun to create a challenge.

(If you haven’t figured it out already I like to make up fake challenges for myself, see the Sweet Potato Challenge of 2012, ha).

Can I consistently, key word, consistently, get 1000 mg of calcium a day eating only plant-based foods?

Over the next few weeks I’ll focus on my calcium intake more closely. I’ll try to share how I’ve better incorporated it into my day-to-day diet. I’ll work on some calcium rich recipes that will help close the daily deficiency in my diet and possibly yours and I’ll hopefully quell some of my mom’s worries. 🙂

Anyone else up for the challenge?