Weekend Happenings

I find my weekend update posts the hardest to title. I wish I could think of something more clever.

This weekend flew by, like they usually do. We made more of an effort to get out and about, mostly because the weather cooperated. It was nice to get outside and enjoy the city.

However, Friday night we did our typical thing and stayed in. We made pizzas and a huge garbage salad with miso dressing, drank some wine and watched Dateline. I have a crazy fascination with who-done-it shows and Dateline is my favorite. Michael always obliges me in watching an episode on Friday nights. Now that’s true love. 🙂

pizza night

Saturday I taught and did some work. I also took a luxurious afternoon nap before we headed to Kristy and Erik’s for game night. They live in Somerville and it was our first time venturing out there.

We were greeted by their new rescue dog Tucker. He’s so loving and wonderful, the perfect addition to their family.

tucker tucker

We ate sushi and then set out to play some games. First up was a game called Dirty Minds, which turned out to be incredibly complicated. Kristy’s face pretty much sums up how all of us were feeling (what?!).

game night

Next we moved on to ImaginIff which was way easier and way more fun.

game night

Lastly we plated Uno. I used to play this all the time when I was a camp counselor in high school but it had definitely been a while. I still managed to call a few Uno’s on Michael though.

game night-Uno

After a later than usual night, yesterday morning we slept in and then made our way to the Friendly Toast in Cambridge for brunch. This might be my favorite restaurant in Boston. They have a ton of veggie friendly options and amazing gluten-free pancakes. Win-win for both of us.

Friendly Toast Menu

I had the BLT with faux bacon. I’m not much of a faux meats person but there’s something about Morning Star’s bacon. The sweet potato fries were also delicious. Michael had the chocolate chip pancake seen right and an unpictured scramble of some sort.

veggie blt and sweet potato fries

We left full and happy to hit up Whole Foods, spend way too much money at Target on nothing and take Eli for a bath.

Here he is in a brief moment of happiness, he does not like baths. You’d think he’s being tortured. I try to tell him how lucky he is to have two people basically massage him for 20 minutes. This doesn’t seem to matter to him.

Eli in the bath

We also went on a 5 mile run yesterday afternoon. We stopped and started a lot but our average pace was 8.29. Michael doesn’t usually run longer routes with me but he killed it and beat me handily on the sprints.

We rounded out the weekend with burrito bowls and some lounging and napping on the couch.

burrito bowls

Perfect end to our Sunday.

Back tomorrow with quinoa filled 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!

Things I’m Loving 2!

If you missed Things I’m Loving 1 you can find it here.

I sort of love this series. It gives me the chance to find awesome things on the internet or in the world that don’t make much sense to share on their own and make them into a cohesive post.

1.) First up, a birthday gift from my lovely friend Kate. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it. A gold kale leaf! It’s now become a permanent part of my key chain and I smile every time I open the door. Thank you Kate!

kale leaf key chain

2.) I know we’re like 8 years behind the times but we just started the Dexter series and can’t get enough. It’s such a good show, I don’t know how I can root for a serial killer but I love him. Michael C. Hall is brilliant! If you haven’t already watched it, you should.

Dexter

3.) This mini-workout. I found it on Pinterest the other day and did it after a run. It was fun to add a little something different to my usual routine.

Victoria Secret Workout

4.) This book. Unbeknownst to me I downloaded it from the library before realizing it’s about 800 pages long. I’m about 50% through, finally, and although sometimes it can be slow I’m now very invested in these Hungarian characters.

The Invisible Bridge

5.) These Athleta yoga pants. I have been a big Lululemon fan for as long as I can remember and really love their stuff but the prices are a little high, especially on a teacher’s salary. Now that I’m teaching some community classes at Athleta, I thought I’d try out a pair. And then another. And another. I’m loving their pants. They fit great, don’t ride or bunch and are less expensive than Lulu. I also bought a pair for my sister for Christmas and she’s a huge fan for running. Worth a try, you can return after a workout if you hate them, no questions asked.

Athleta pants

6.) The city by the bay. Tickets are booked! We’ll be home the first weekend in April. Let the countdown begin. Napa, Urban Flow, Gracias Madre, fog, friends and family here we come.

Golden Gate

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.

IMG_3747

Run 2. Pace 8.28.

IMG_3748

Run 3. Pace 8.09.

IMG_3750

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!

Garden of the Gods

Happy Cyber Monday. Hope you’re online shopping instead of working this fine morning. 🙂

I purchased my first gift about 20 minutes ago. The holiday season has officially begun. But before we get all Christmas-y let’s finish up Thanksgiving.

After stuffing ourselves with delicious food on Thursday, Michael and I got up super early on Friday for another run around Colorado Springs. We ended up at Starbucks where we met Michael’s brothers Andy and David. We then leisurely strolled home with Andy while he told us the history of Colorado Springs.

After our walk we got ready to meet Michael’s dad and his wife for lunch at the Tavern in the Broadmoor Hotel. The Broadmoor is a beautiful old hotel with stunning views of the mountains. We took a little stroll afterward for some pictures.

The rest of Friday was a blur but we did take a lovely long nap in the afternoon. Love holiday weekends.

On Saturday morning we got up and went to the Garden of the Gods which is a collection of huge sandstone rock formations. I’ve been to Colorado Springs a few times now but had never made it there before. It was unbelievably pretty and only about 15 minutes from Jim and Linda’s place.

We got there on the earlier side to avoid the crowds but the sun was already shining and hot!

Hello hotness!

This formation is called Kissing Camels because of the two rocks at the top.

Beautiful view looking north over the garden.

An awkward self portrait. Love the camera shadow.

Posing.

View from the top of the garden looking toward Colorado Springs. It was so peaceful and there were a bunch of hiking trails around the formations. I wish we could have spent all day hiking and exploring.

After Garden of the Gods we went into the little town of Manitou. We walked around for a bit and stumbled on the penny arcade, where we proceeded to play 6 rounds of Skeeball. So much fun, especially since I won every single game! My years of practice at Chuck E. Cheese’s finally paid off.

Soon it was time to head back to the airport.

We had such a wonderful time in Colorado. Thank you to all of Michael’s family for such a fun holiday. We’ll be back soon.

 

Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Bars

As I sit here and type this I’m not actually sure by the time I get to the end of this post that there will actually be a recipe to share with you.

I set out to make carrot cake breakfast bars. I was attempting to replicate the carrot cake flavor from Clif Bar. One of my favorite flavors. But as the bars cool they are looking rather soft so I may end up with more of a crumble than a bar. Regardless, the ‘dough’ tasted delicious so all is not lost.

Before I get into the recipe I wanted to recap yesterday’s race. My friend Amanda and I ran the Tuft’s Health Plan Women’s 10k yesterday. It was a perfect day for a race. I heard there were over 8,000 participants and I believe it. Most of the time races open up early, but we were jam-packed until at least mile 3.

I started the race feeling sort of sluggish. Too many beers at the Pats game on Sunday 🙂 But there’s something about racing that gets my adrenaline pumping. After mile 2, I was feeling pretty good. The race started at the Commons, sorry there aren’t pictures, I intended to take some but got distracted. We then looped around Cambridge, came through Back Bay and back into the Commons. I finished the race in 51.18 (8:16 pace). I actually don’t know if I’ve ever run a 10k before, but if I have I don’t remember my time so we’ll make this my new PR!

Here’s a pic from the finish line.

Okay, the bars have cooled. They’re still not hard but there more bar like then I thought they’d be so I’ll give you the recipe, with some pointers on how to make them better if you recreate.

Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Bars

1 cup shredded carrots, about 2 big carrots

1/2 cup cashews

1/4 cup almonds

10  Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled (optional)

pinch salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

————-

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, add nuts and dates. Pulse until fairly fine, don’t make too smooth though.

Add shredded carrots, coconut, cinnamon, powdered and fresh ginger, salt and lemon zest to the mixture.  Pulse until everything is incorporated.

Next add maple syrup and vanilla. Run processor until dough creates a ball.

Spread mixture evenly into a greased bread pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

You might be able to make these raw if you use a dehydrator but I do worry that they might not gel.

Two things I’d suggest you do differently than me.

First, I added the raisins in with everything else but they got sort of lost once they were chopped so fine. I would fold the raisins into the batter if you like their whole texture like I do.

Second, I think this needs a binder. Hence the reason my bars are on the wet side. I’d suggest a half cup of gluten-free oats or maybe even uncooked quinoa could be added. I’ll try both soon and revise this recipe accordingly.

I would also add more fresh ginger but then again I’m a ginger lover.

If you try these with the binder let me know how they turn out.

I will say they taste pretty darn good as is and great for snacking on while putting off a recovery run.

Enjoy!