Tag Archives: smoothies

Camera Shy

You may have noticed a decline in the quality of the photos I have been posting recently. Not that they were ever going to compete for any awards or anything, but at least they had resolution. Unfortunately I recently turned my camera on and discovered it was not willing to open its lens cover completely. A sudden bout of modesty? Well, I don’t appreciate it.

Exhibit A: Ready-to-bake ginger cookies, from the viewpoint of your tongue as you open your mouth to take a bite?

I’m going to have to take it over to the people at Best Buy who speak its language, and hopefully they can remedy the situation. Or replace it if it comes to that- it should still be under warranty

In the meantime, pictures will come in the form of grainy iPad photos. Because, as Emily has said, bad pictures are better than no pictures.

Exhibit B: The above cookies, all done.

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These cookies are the best ginger cookie recipe ever. I’ll post the recipe sometime. We served them for dessert with vanilla ice cream and a pear-bourbon compote. I had some of the leftover compote on my peanut butter toast this morning.
Edit: Okay, Mary! The recipe is at the bottom of the post now 🙂

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It’s hiding under the coconut. (And no, the date on the jar does not reflect the date the compote was made. It used to be a jam jar.)

The smoothie on the side was banana-blueberry-spinach with a little yogurt. Very refreshing.
And the sun came out, so the picture actually looks okay!

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Ginger Spice Cookies
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine all ingredients and mix until you have a soft dough. I usually mix the dry ingredients together, then put the egg, oil, and molasses on top, then stir. One bowl recipe!
2. Roll into small balls (diameter of about an inch).
3. Roll the balls in granulated sugar.
4. Place 2 inches apart on on an ungreased cookie sheet, then bake for 6-8 minutes. They should be only very lightly browned on the bottom so that they come out with some chew.
5. Cool on the cookie sheet. Eat. Or vice versa 🙂

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iPost

For Christmas, my parents asked if I might like a smart phone. I had been thinking about updating from my archaic flip phone, but also have been long contemplating the sad fate of my laptop, which sometimes is so slow it gives up on itself completely. These days almost anything is possible where technology is concerned. What do your get when you cross a smart phone and a computer? Why, a tablet! And so, without further ado, meet my Christmas/birthday present: an iPad.

This is a test post. The iPad has a camera, which is very convenient, but of course the pictures are not very high quality. It’s still a handy tool to tell a story, though.

Here is the short story of a smoothie (one of the many virtues of smoothies- shortness!). I have been on a green smoothie kick, especially since I was fighting a seasonal bug of some sort. Apparently the weather changes have been causing problems in respiratory systems other than my own… I have friends and coworkers who have reported congestion etc. over the past week. Well, to all those who ail, see below.

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Into the blender: baby spinach, pear, banana, blueberries, and avocado.

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Blended and topped with pomegranate seeds…

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…and blueberries…

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…and granola!

This was exactly what I needed. I credit it’s nutrition and the 10 minute nap I took that day for my speedy recovery.

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Marathon Day

A first marathon is something that can only happen once.  Okay, obviously.  But it was a significant first for me, a milestone (haha?) that has been at the back of my mind for the past few years.

I usually imagined it like the pictures in the running magazines: roads, crowds, costumes, Gatorade, bagels…  What I got yesterday, though, was a simpler and perhaps more pure incarnation of the event.  We ran next to trees on a trail that used to be a railroad bed, the view occasionally opening to a small river.  There were about 450 people running, and it seemed like even fewer to me, but I’m not a good judge of quantity.  It was an out and back course, which was very useful mentally; once you hit the turn-around it feels like counting down the miles rather than adding them on.

I actually found the first half more frustrating than the second half.  I was trying to pace myself because I had no idea what to expect for miles 20 through 26.2.  My stride didn’t feel totally smooth and I actually started to get a little ache in one of my hip flexors, which has never happened before.  But as soon as I turned around and felt like I had license to start moving, the kinks started to work themselves out and the juices started flowing.  At that point, I had also just finished my caffeinated gel (chosen for the flavor variety it provided rather than its caffeine content… gel-picking gets complicated), which might have helped with the juice-boost, but it lasted for the 2nd two hours, so I’m thinking it was more runner’s high than caffeine high 🙂  I actually felt absolutely fabulous from mile 14 through 21, and then just a little less than fabulous from 21 to 26, when the quad-pounding came into play.  I think the tightness in my quads actually helped me keep the pace up, because it forced me to think about my form and the movement of my legs.  If I pictured myself moving efficiently and aligned my body according to that image, my legs hurt less and I ran faster.  Or at least, that was what I told myself, which is all that really counts because it kept me pushing!    By mile 25 I was ready to be done, but at that point what’s another mile?  It really was a rush, and I loved it.

Okay, enough with the runner gushing. I promise this is still mostly a food blog.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food I ate.   Bonnie and Chris came and met me at mile 20, then stuck around for the finish, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen with my parents after.  It made the day at least 7 times better to have them with me, probably more… Thank you so much for being there!  And of course my parents… the most enthusiastic and supportive long-distance-running-event-spectator parents I ever did see 🙂  Chris left after lunch, and the rest of us got gelato.  In the restaurant I had been watching some close-by kids eat sundaes and thus developed a need for one of my own.  I got a 2 scoop sundae with bacio (chocolate hazelnut: SO good) and tiramisu (which tasted chemically to me; I don’t know if it was due to their attempt to mimic some sort of marsala flavor in there?  It didn’t work for me, though…) which totally hit the spot, even after splitting it with my dad.

I have lots of pictures of food from today, including a Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Sundried Tomato Lasagna my mom and I made… but I’m done in front of the screen.  My brain is making a very convincing case for sleep.

To prevent a photoless and minimally fooded post, here’s today’s breakfast:

Pumpkin oats, cranberry sauce, pear, walnuts, Toasted Almond Squares (crushed), and coffee flavor Brown Cow yogurt.

With a simple green smoothie: spinach/banana/pear.  I especially like to have green smoothies the day after a long run because I feel like the antioxidants and vitamins are going into my muscles and doing repair work.

And here’s what happened after I finished the first layer of toppings…

Peanut butter and pomegranate seeds.

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Green Power

Today was a bits and pieces (or, as my English aunt says, “bits and bobs”) kind of day.

Energized by green:

That’s banana, pineapple, and spinach.  I added pear later.  I love the texture pear adds, and of course the flayva.

Half way through eating I realized how many circles were involved in my breakfast.  Let’s see, from left to right we’ve got plum jam, green smoothie, water, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, raisins, green tea, sunflower seed butter and cinnamon.  I add to my toast on an almost bite-by-bite basis so that I can maximize the variety of flavors 🙂

Powered by green, I:

  • Did laundry
  • Made some phone calls
  • Finished making yogurt
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Ironed
  • Planned my 20 mile run (!!)
  • Made cookies

It felt good to spend a big chunk of the day getting some home things in order.  Now I won’t be ironing my shirt 5 minutes before I leave for work!  Doing it ahead of time makes for much more leisurely ironing.

Posts about the yogurt and the cookies coming soon…

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Marriage and Porridge

Weddings are such a great time.  I’m running out of engaged friends… who’s next??? 🙂  It was a beautiful evening and everything was swell: happy couple, happy friends and family, fabulous celebration.  One of my favorite parts of weddings is witnessing how much my friends’ chosen partners love and appreciate them.  I know they deserve it, and I’m just so pleased to see that other people recognize it too.

I thought that I’d be super sore yesterday, given the combination of my long run and running around/dancing in heels for hours, but I’m actually experiencing close to zero aftereffect.  Last weekend it took a few days for my calves to feel normal, so I’m pleasantly surprised by the lack of tightness in my muscles.  I suppose it’s because my body is adapting.  Good job, body.  When I got back from my run I was rushing around to get ready for the wedding, but I did make time for this  recovery smoothie, based on the Banana Tahini Cardamom Maple smoothie I had in California.  It’s a variation using honey instead of maple syrup.  It was so good.

Here’s what I blended:

  • Half a banana
  • ~1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (but any milk will work)
  • ~1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • ~1 tsp honey
  • ~2 tsp tahini (If you don’t have/like/are allergic to tahini, I’m sure peanut butter would be delish.  I’d probably then use cinnamon or nutmeg as the spice.  Though cardamom could still work, I’m sure!)
  • ~2 tbsp oats (They add texture and a subtle, earthier sweetness.)
  • ~1 cup ice

Sorry for all the ~, I wasn’t measuring.

Last night I had work, but today I am completely free!  I’m going to use the day to get some odds and ends done, go for a run, and then cheat on Growlers with Dogfish Head for dinner with my family (we have a coupon!).  I started the day with some pumpkin oats.  Pumpkin has been playing a big part over at KathEats (one of my role model blogs), given that she had 4 pounds of it to finish, and she has been tempting me to open a can of my own.  So here is this morning’s result:

I cooked up some oats, then stirred in pumpkin puree (equal to the volume of dry oats I started with), a little maple syrup, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  It’s topped with raisins, sunflower seed butter, and some of a pear ginger muffin my mom made yesterday.  If I’d had cranberries, I would have done those, and while I was finishing I decided the perfect topping would be some toasted pecans.  Next time.

Pumpkin!  Autumn!  October!  October is my favorite month.  I’m excited for the more seasonal weather we are supposed to get at the end of this week… bring on the cool and crisp 60’s!

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Recovery is Key

First things first: my vibrant breakfast from this morning.

That’s a smoothie on top of soaked oats, with a dollop of plain yogurt.  The smoothie was half a frozen banana + blueberries + strawberries + a splash of almond milk. Oh, and if you look closely you can see sneaky evidence of the sunflower seed butter and peanut butter that are sandwiched in between the oats and the smoothie.

Now we can move on…

Sunday I did my long run on trails with Julia.  We went to Seneca Creek State Park and ran on the Greenway together, then she ran a mile of the lake trail with me before turning back (she wasn’t planning to run the whole thing since  she has a bunch of school work to do), and I finished the lake trail.  The whole run was about 14 miles, and I was only starting to feel tired at the end, so that’s a good sign!

I even felt good at work that night, even though I closed.  I started feeling really hungry around 9:30, but I had some almonds & dried fruit in my bag, so that helped me through.  My energy was probably sustained by my post-run feast:

Smoked Salmon and Sauteed Spinach Omelette (SS&SS!)

Served with an enormous salad with sweet potatoes, green beans, tapenade, and more.

I really love sweet potato on salads.   I topped it all with my new favorite speedy salad “dressing”: tahini and plain yogurt mixed together, with a little salt and pepper.

I also tried an ice bath for the first time after my run.  I was motivated by my experience in the Sierras: we swam in an alpine lake after a long hike, and the next day was the first day since we began the trip where my legs felt completely fresh.  Though the bathtub is way less cool (in both senses of the word) than an alpine lake…but it definitely felt good on my legs, and I haven’t had any soreness, so it seems to have had a similar effect!   (Of course, mere hours later I read in Runner’s World that ice baths decrease the storage of glycogen in your muscles during recovery… so it sounds like you can’t really win).

I went for a 4-mile run this morning and felt pretty good, so I think I recovered well from that run.

What I would really love, though, is if the weather would recover from this rainy/humid/blech system.  Bring on Fall!

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Sun Run

Whew! It has been a busy week.

Saturday I didn’t have to work, so I ran a race instead 🙂 It was the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Women’s Half Marathon Trail Run in Fountainhead Regional Park, VA. The rain had finally given up, and it was a beautiful morning: the humidity was a small price to pay for the blue sky and sunshine! Over 12 of the 13.1 miles were on the trail through the park; the only pavement was maybe 3/4 of a mile at the beginning. Trails are fun to run and they keep your mind busy, but they are tiring! Up and down, navigating roots, up and down, jumping streams, and oh, did I mention up and down? Of the 5 half-marathons I’ve run, 2 of them were on trails, and both took 20-25 minutes longer than the races on roads. That’s a 2 minute/mile difference, and the effort was about the same.

First time someone has photographed me mid-air; most of the time I get an awkward push-off photo...

Julia and I ran most of the race together, but she was having tummy trouble, so she made a pit stop with about 4 miles left and told me to go on without her. The hills in miles 10/11ish were pretty arduous, but I actually started to get a little more energy in the last mile or so. I think it got less hilly, and I was inspired by thoughts of the finish.

El Fin!

My constructive criticism to the organizers of this race is regarding the food. They did have frozen (then mostly thawed) fruit, which was actually excellent because it was cold and sweet.  But other than that it was cookies, donuts, and chips with, salsa, hummus, and guacamole. I guess they were thinking women like snacky/sweet things, which I often do… but after a half marathon I’m looking for FOOD food.  I made do with the fruit and some chips and hummus/salsa mixed together.

Needless to say, when I got home I required something like this:

Colorful complex carbohydrates and protein! Not that I think the organizers should provide a salad bar. I just need something that will fill the hunger hole!

The morning after the race I continued the veggies trend. Not many people (well, Westerners, I guess) eat vegetables for breakfast, but one health trend that seems to be catching on in America is the Green Smoothie. I actually first tried one during the Americorps term I just finished. (I was the Healthy Lifestyles Associate at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tioga County. It was mostly nutrition education and outreach with kids, and I had a great experience.) We had a couple of groups of kids make Tropical Green Smoothies: grapes, pineapple, frozen banana, vanilla yogurt, and baby spinach. They were always repulsed by the idea of spinach in a smoothie, but of course would still put it in because they loved the process of following a recipe, and I suspect they were curious too. And since they had made the smoothies, they tried them, in all their green, spinachy glory!  Every group loved the smoothie and agreed that they couldn’t taste the spinach.

So, without further ado, let me introduce my kale smoothie from Sunday morning: I promise it doesn’t taste like kale!

Raspberries, blueberries, yogurt, soy milk, frozen banana, flax, and kale...

Blended!

I used to not enjoy smoothies much; they were just cold food that you drink, so they were gone too fast and I wasn’t able to appreciate their flavor.  Then I was enlightened by Kath of KathEatsRealFood- she eats them with a spoon! It’s so much more satisfying.  And you can put toppings on them!

Topped with figs, granola, and crumbled banana muffin.

Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it 🙂

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