Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You had me at goat cheese.


I have recently discovered that I love goat cheese. Whenever I'm out for dinner, I immediately gravitate towards anything on the menu that has goat cheese in it. Whenever I'm reading other blogs, I stop and drool at any recipe/picture with goat cheese in it. And most recently, whenever I'm at the grocery store, I actively search for, gently caress, and contemplate purchasing goat cheese. Goat cheese is pretty expensive. I suppose it's common for good cheese in general to be expensive. And you know, cheese in general is delicious. But, you see, I have great difficulties digesting most cheese. Me and cheese, unfortunately, do not get along. Goat cheese, however, seems to be an exception - probably why I seem to be so infatuated with it as of late. Nevertheless, each time I linger in the grocery store, goat cheese in hand, I ultimately decide to put it back. "I don't need it," I say.

Until today. Today, after being let down by Walmart for not having Clifbars in bulk (when I specifically biked all the way there to purchase Clifbars in bulk because I saw them at a different Walmart a few weeks ago and didn't buy them then and have regretted it ever since), I decided to splurge on a super small block (or roll?) of goat cheese for $3.97.

Best idea ever.

AND I discovered tonight that I can and will make it last, because even using just a little bit at a time makes a huge difference to a meal.

Like my dinner tonight:

Brown Rice, chopped spinach, red kidney beans, steamed broccoli, and sunflower seeds. Topped with a few squeezes of lemon juice and a few drizzles of olive oil. It tasted pretty good...
And then I remembered the goat cheese I had just bought, and it took it over the top.

And yes, I took the picture after I was halfway done eating the deliciousness.

Anyone else goat cheese fans?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Speed demon

Ahhh! I'm so giddy!

I just came back from an AMAZING run. I was feeling really tired today, and kept putting off this run. I planned to do a tempo run today after not having done a real tempo run in about 5 weeks.

Let's put some things in perspective:
For my last tempo run (5 weeks ish ago), I ran 8k including warmup and cooldown, and the middle 5k I ran at 5:16 min/km (or 8:28/mile).

Today, I ran 7 miles (11.25km) including warmup and cooldown, and the middle 5 miles (almost 8km) I ran at 4:56 min/km (or 7:56/mile)

Where did that speed come from?

I've been so down on myself lately with the upcoming marathon, feeling like my long runs are so hard. Last Sunday, at the end of my 35km run, all I could think was that I felt like absolute death and that I had no idea how I would be able to run 7.2 more km in 5 weeks time (at the same pace, in order to be under a 4:30 marathon). I've been reading marathon forums like crazy, freaking myself out that I haven't trained enough or properly and that I'm doomed to fail at the marathon. I've been so focused on all this negative thinking, that I haven't really been able to enjoy my runs. Which is silly really, because the reason I wanted to run a marathon in the first place was because I loved running.

Today, I felt amazing after (and during) my run. This is why I run. This is why I'm running a marathon. This shows that not only has my endurance increased over these past few months, but my speed has too! And I can run faster for longer!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cake

So clearly school has begun again. Between all the moving, the school work, the social gatherings with friends I haven't seen all summer, and all the other things that go along with living on your own, oh and not to mention freaking out about marathon training, I haven't had much time to devote to this little project of mine.

Nevertheless, I haven't forgotten about Running Through Peanut Butter. I've still been running, and I've still been going through lots of peanut butter.

In fact, this morning I was planning on running, but decided to instead enjoy a nice breakfast (with peanut butter, of course), and to save my run for later in the day. It's nice that now that the temperature has dropped a little, I can have an afternoon run, and not melt or die.

Ever since seeing Ashley's Buckwheat Bakes, I've been intrigued. I've made many oatmeal versions because I never had buckwheat (nor was I really sure what it was). But the other day at Bulk Barn, I went for it and purchased some Kasha, or buckwheat groats. Then I came home, read over Ashley's early buckwheat bake entries, only to discover that I got the wrong kind. Kasha is toasted buckwheat, and I needed the non toasted kind - which, I might add, bulk barn didn't have.

So, back to the oatmeal bakes it was, but I managed to find a way to incorporate the kasha! It added a nice crunch!

You'll notice that I used the microwave for this baby rather than the oven - because I'm lazy and impatient in the mornings and want to eat breakfast asap. I also didn't grind the oats, and Ashley suggests, because that is yet another step that I don't have time for. I also kind of like the chew of rolled oats. So there ya go.

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cake:
1/4 ripe banana, mashed
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 T whole wheat flour
1 T kasha
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 T chia seeds
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup egg white
1 T raisins

1. Mix everything together in microwave safe bowl
2. Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, checking every so often to make sure it doesn't rise over the top of the bowl.
3. Top with whatever you so desire. (Preferably PB and Greek yogurt)

This is just barely sweet (from the banana), so you might choose to add sweetener. I imagine maple syrup and/or molasses would taste delicious!

Tell me: Who else is on the buckwheat bake train? What's your favourite version?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cauliflower Bean Mush

I know, the title just screams sophisticated delicious food.

The pictures aren't exactly stellar either..

But, at least I remembered to take pictures this time!

This lunch came together by me looking in the fridge, and using up all the veggeis that were left.

You know how sometimes people avoid eating the last of some sort of food, either because they don't want to have to throw out the garbage that comes with it, or they genuinely feel bad about using it all up? The milk bag in the fridge with a drop of milk that could really only be used in a cup of tea (except that no one living in your house takes milk in their tea). Or the one lone cookie at the bottom of the cookie jar/box, which is pretty useless because who ever eats just one cookie?

Eating the rest of the veggies was not like that for me. I justified it to myself because I was moving back to London (Ontario) the following day and since I'm the one in my family who eats most of the veggies, I might as well eat them up so that my family doesn't let them go bad! Imagine, what a waste that would be.

There wasn't even that much really, just half of a pepper that didn't know if it wanted to be red or orange or green, and half a head of cauliflower. Good enough for me!

It also helped knowing that my dad was about to go out and buy groceries, so I knew I'd have some veggies to eat for dinner.

Cauliflower Bean Mush

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 a greenish orangish pepper
1 TBSP sunflower seeds

Juice of 1/4 lime
1/2 TBSP Olive oil
1/2 tsp seasoning

1. Steam cauliflower for 3-5 minutes, then add frozen corn and continue to steam for 2-3 minutes
2. Stir in beans and chopped pepper and simmer for a few minutes as you make the dressing
3. Make dressing by comining oil, lime juice and seasoning
4. Add dressing to pot, stiring thoroughly, so that it starts to look like mush
5. Enjoy with tortilla chips, crackers, or with a fork!

If you're feeling really adventurous, mix in some grated cheese and enjoy the stringiness of the cheese as you eat.

^^^check out that stringiness! mmm

Friday, September 2, 2011

No hummus? No problem.

Growing up, I ate everything very plain. I didn't like butter or mayo on sandwiches, I didn't like ketchup, mustard or relish on burgers and hotdogs, I didn't like sauce on my pasta, no dip with my veggies or dressing on my salad.

People thought I was weird. (okay, so I am a little weird..)

A lot of those things I still don't really like. But now, instead of eating everything super plain, I replace those condiments/sauces/dips them with things I DO like. For example, hummus. Oh hummus, how did I ever live without you? Why did I ever eat carrot sticks plain?

Sometimes I buy hummus, sometimes I make hummus, sometimes I have no hummus in the house and want to eat carrot sticks and don't feel like getting out the blender. What's a girl to do?

Answer: Make Tahini Dip!

Super simple to make. I made this up as I went, as I do for pretty much anything. I kind of tried to mimick making hummus - without the chickpeas.

Together in a bowl went:
1.5 TBSP tahini
juice of half a lime
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP plain greek yogurt
salt, to taste

Blogger fail #1: These measurements may or may not be completely accurate because I did not measure. Solution? Just add the ingredients a bit at a time and keep tasting until it's exactly what you want.

Blogger fail #2: I didn't take a picture until I was almost done. Solution? Make it yourself to see what the full portion looks like!


Did you eat things super plain or eat any weird combinations of food as a child that made people think you were weird?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The calm after the run

While I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle in all senses of the word "healthy", one area I often forget about as it relates to my health is stress. Stress is something that I frequently experience, a lot of which I bring on myself. I've been feeling quite a bit of stress these past few days, in between having a cold, moving, getting ready to go back to school, and all of the life changes that go along with that(my school is 2 hours away from my parent's house, where I've been living for the summer).

I set a lot of expectations for myself, and accomplishing things is often what helps me get through the day. I'm not sure where I picked up the idea that productivity is a requirement to living a happy life (okay, so I totally picked it up from my parents), but like it or not, that belief is ingrained in my head. As a result, I stress out when I'm not accomplishing anything productive. Not having a job this summer really brought this out into the open. Z said it best: "You're stressed when you're working, and now you're stressed because you're not working".

Some of the expectations that I set for myself revolve around exercising and marathon training. I don't follow a strict training plan, but I try to follow a loose outline. I caught a cold last week after my crazy 35k run (weakened immune system, much?) and since then my exercise routine has been minimized. My longest run since had been a slow 5k.

Since I was already stressed about other things, I began also stressing that I wasn't training enough for the marathon. I worried that running a slow 5k was a struggle and that I should be able to run longer and faster at this point in my training and that I'm only going to have less time once school starts up.

Today I set out to run 20k - my short long run (short long run because it was still long, but not as long as last week!) I started off by having my eyes almost glued to my Garmin and thinking negative thoughts about my pace. But, as I continued to run, I decided that I would focus on running the distance and that pace didn't matter. Those 20k were a struggle, but I finished. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, but more than that, having gotten all of that exercise really helped ease my mood. As the day has passed, I've become much more calm and content and I no longer feel stressed.

While pushing myself to try to fit in exercise almost everyday can sometimes lead to stress, not exercising can make me even more stressed - because I'm not accomplishing that task AND because exercising (particularly running) calms me!

I think the most important thing is to find a balance of what works for each individual. I'm still working on the balance thing, but it's always nice to be reminded of yet another reason that I run.