Bring it, Week 3

So the first 2 weeks of my internship have been awesome!  But they’ve also been a struggle, healthy living-wise.  I have not run in weeks.  I had beer, tomato soup, and Cheetos for dinner Friday night.  Not my finest hour.  But this week, I am ready!  I have a meal plan, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and these delicious snacks:

Anne P’s Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

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and Figgy Apricot Spelt Bread.

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I made a few changes to this one, swapping the spelt flour for a mix of whole wheat and white, and subbing golden raisins for the apricot.  My house smells amazing right now!
I’m also going to try really hard to run 2x this week, do my “pull-ups” 3x, Bodyrock 2x, and do something fun this weekend, like hike or mountain bike.  I miss being outside so much!  These 9-hour days (plus a 1.5 hour round-trip commute) are really cramping my style!  But I’m learning a lot and it will be SO worth it.  I hope!  :)  I did sign up for the gym through my work, and new classes start next week – I’m hoping to take some strength training and maybe even try a new-to-me TRX class.

Has anyone else started a new job recently?  Any tips on how to plan meals and exercise while transitioning to cube land?

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Back in the Groove Saturday

As much fun as I had visiting T and my family down in central Arkansas, and as much delicious food as I ate while I was down there (grilling on the back patio, biscuits and chocolate gravy, The House, Star of India – what?), I missed my kitchen and cooking!  So yesterday, I did my best to get back into my usual healthy eats and thought it might be fun to share with you guys.  Now, I don’t always eat this well, but I didn’t have any real obligations so I got to eat pretty ideal meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For breakfast, I made Heidi Swanson’s Muesli out of her new cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.  I would highly recommend this cookbook – it doesn’t have too many “fancy” or difficult-to-find ingredients, and most of the recipes look very simple.  This muesli definitely was – you mix up a quart at a time, then just add thinned-out yogurt and a splash of maple syrup and let it chill in the fridge.  I was a little worried that they might be like overnight oats (yuck!) but they were really good.

I forgot to take a picture, but trust me, it looked just like Heidi's ;)

For lunch, I had an open-faced sandwich with avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, and honey mustard on toasted Ozark Natural Breads honey, flax, oats, and sprouted wheat.  I also had some blueberries, a Laughing Cow light queso fresco and chipotle, some Stacy’s garden veggie medley pita chips (both new finds for me, and both are awesome), and a few Wonder Mints.

Love all the colors in my lunch

You want me to help you with that sandwich?

For dinner, I roasted up some asparagus with olive oil and some fancy salt my mom gave me a while back, baked some tofu with a marinade of maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, tamari, and spices, and made Molly Wizenberg’s skillet carrots with onion and thyme.  The carrots were definitely the best part.  They tasted kind of like the carrots and potatoes I used to eat when my mom would make a roast and I would pretend they didn’t have meat juices all over them.  I didn’t have any fresh thyme, so I used dried and it worked fine.

So glad I like tofu now =)

I also had a few hundred of these for dessert.  Yum!

Crack Mints

Today, I picked up my CSA box, which contained salad greens, shiitake mushrooms, strawberries, mint, beets, and carrots.  I decided to go ahead and bake something with the carrots (since I still have skillet carrot leftovers), so Anne P’s Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Muffins just finished baking and are cooling right now!  These will be perfect snacks to bring to work this week, since I don’t really know what the food situation will be like yet.

These smell so good right now.

I plan on bringing my lunch, but the first two days are orientation and lunch will be provided.  Having been a vegetarian for 20 years now, I’ve eaten my fair share of weird, sad lunches (white bread with American cheese and lingering ham juice that I pulled off before eating, baked beans on a bun at BBQs, iceberg lettuce with ranch, etc.) but these days I like to be a little bit more prepared by bringing a healthy lunch and snacks.  I even got this awesome new lunchbox - 20% off!  It has a little pocket inside and is neoprene (insulates for 4 hours) and machine washable!

And it's PURPLE! I tend to get obsessed with colors, then burn out on them. Look out, navy, you're next.

If anyone has any good ideas for other lunch/snack ideas that travel well, I’m all ears!  I’m stocked up on fruit, hummus, pita chips, sandwich fixings, and now muffins, so I think I’ve got a good start, but would love to get your suggestions!  Hope you all have a great week!

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May Madness

May has definitely been a busy month around here!  Rather than try to catch up on every little detail, I’m just going to hit the highlights.

  • I saw Lucinda Williams in concert with my mom and friend S. in Fayetteville.  She was awesome, as usual.  The concert ended with Lucinda telling us the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed and playing Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth.”  Very moving.
  • I finished a couple of knits – one was Tora Froseth’s design, Little Sister’s Dress, for my good friend’s baby shower.  I used Rowan 4-ply cotton in a beautiful teal color, and found really cute rainbow-colored (but mostly red) buttons for the top.  I think my friend liked it a lot!

for baby Norah

  • I also finished a project I had been working on for myself – the Purl Bee’s Big Herringbone Cowl in Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted (the color is called ecru).  I had waited for a LONG time for this yarn to come back into stock because the pattern was so popular that demand just overwhelmed Blue Sky.  It was definitely worth the wait, though – this yarn is SO soft and wonderful.  I love the cowl, but I’ll be saving it for cooler weather because this baby is WARM!

Love it!

  •  T and I invited our moms (plus his dad) over for a Mother’s Day brunch and had such a great time.  T made his famous Ozark hash (sweet, Yukon, and red potatoes, and onion, seasoned and pan-fried).  I made a roasted vegetable quiche (recipe available here, but I used white cheddar instead of gouda) and Smitten Kitchen’s mom’s apple cake.  We also had coffee and orange juice screwdrivers.  T’s mom brought some beautiful flowers from her garden and I bought peonies from the farmer’s market.  So pretty!

brunch

  • I went on a jam-packed trip to Little Rock to visit friends and family that had many ups and downs.  First, the fun stuff:  T and I went to Memphis for my college friend K’s wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding and they had a really fun reception downtown at Central Station with a great band and delicious food.  I also got to see my cousin T since we stayed the night at her house.  We also ate some Indian food and did a little shopping.  Since T was nice enough to go to JCrew and Anthro with me, I went to TJMaxx with him, and SCORED on a beautiful camel-colored Theory suit (the whole suit cost less than the original price of the pants, and if you’re familiar with Theory, you probably know that that’s a sweet deal).  We came back to LR and did a hash run (the Little Rock Hash House Harriers was started in 1974 and is one of the oldest chapters in the country).  I enjoyed meeting all the hashers and we did a nice trail run (about 5 miles).  They are serious about their traditions!  It was a blast.  Toby and I ate dinner at the Town Pump.  I had a veggie burger with onion rings (and some of T’s hush puppies) and enjoyed the sweet 80s and 90s music they had playing.  The next day my mom took off work to help me shop for some work clothes.  We found some great deals!  It was definitely one of the most successful shopping trips ever.  We ate dinner with T at The House just off Kavanaugh.

me and Mom refueling after a hard day of shopping

my burger

I ordered the house-made vegan burger (black bean, barley, and pumpkin seed) on Boulevard Bread 9-grain with sweet potato fries and a Diamond Bear Presidential IPA.  So good.  T and I also visited the Diamond Bear tasting room to get a growler of the IPA.  Glad they’re moving to a bigger location – there weren’t too many seats, but the beer was awesome!  I also visited with my Mamaw and Papaw and learned how to make biscuits and chocolate gravy (let me know if you want the recipe; it’s super easy)!  Now, for the not-so-fun stuff.  My mom and I had to have my 20-year-old cat, Nadia, put down.  She had been struggling with pain for arthritis for a while, and most recently a bad wound on her face had not been able to heal.  The vet said it could be an abscessed tooth, a tumor, or a bad infection from a poisonous insect bite, but that given her other problems, it would be nearly impossible to give her more time with the quality of life we wanted for her.  We just didn’t want her to be in any pain or suffering at all, so we made the difficult decision to let her go.  We buried her in my grandparents’ garden with our other pets that had died many years ago.  We will miss her so much, but are glad she is not in pain anymore.

  • Now I am back home, getting ready to start my internship on Monday!  I got my hair cut, reorganized my closet, donated a ton of old clothes, stocked my fridge with good healthy stuff (and am getting another CSA delivery today with lettuce, carrots, strawberries, mint, shiitakes, and beets), and I think I’m ready to start!  Oh, and last night, inspired by Katie (and the leftover pie crust in the freezer that really needed to be used pront0), I made these Lazy Girl Homemade Pop-Tarts last night.

Pop Tarts?

I made one raspberry and one brown sugar-cinnamon.  Ready for the recipe?  Here it is.  Take one already-broken pie crust from freezer and let thaw.  Make into four approximately equal rectangles.  Fill with Wilkin & Sons Tiptree raspberry jam or a brown sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Put the halves together and crimp edges.  Bake at about 450 for 7-8 minutes.  Ta-da!  Homemade (but don’t confuse that with healthy) Pop Tarts!  The brown sugar-cinnamon one was a little dry and cracked a bit at the end; I think I should’ve probably added a little liquid (like maybe maple syrup) but they were both delicious!  I ate them (yes, both) with some scrambled eggs and called it dinner.  Whoops.

Hope you guys are having a fun May and enjoying the warmer weather.  Wish me luck for Monday, and I hope to be back posting a bit more regularly!

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Camping @ Dixon Ford and a 5K PR!

Last week I hinted that T. and I were headed for an Ozark adventure.  I wanted to go to one of our favorite spots, Boen Gulf near the upper Buffalo, but we had a wedding to go to during the day Saturday and wanted to go floating Sunday, and didn’t feel like the hike into Boen Gulf would be worth it if we didn’t have time to visit all the waterfalls, etc.  So instead, we camped at another favorite, Dixon Ford.  It is at the very headwaters of the Buffalo.  Some super-badass kayakers actually put in here when the water is really high, but it’s out of our league, to put it nicely.  So here is a very rare photo of us in our “fancy clothes” that Toby’s mom was nice enough to take of us before we headed to the wedding.

We clean up alright, huh?

It was a beautiful ceremony for one of T’s former coworkers and his now-wife and took place at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, which is a beautiful local garden that hosts weddings, farmers markets, and other events.  Afterward, we loaded up the truck with the canoe (check out the website if you want to see my boyfriend modeling fishing in his new boat) and all our camping gear and headed out of town.  After a quick river forge to get to our favorite spot, we set up camp.

I still can't believe our spot was open - must have been kismet!

Well, Toby set up camp.

Keep up the good work!

I did this.

Diamond Bear Presidential IPA

T. joined me down by the river for a while, then we made a fire and enjoyed some Amy’s tomato bisque and leftover lentil loaf.  (I used Angela’s recipe this time and it worked so well – didn’t fall apart at all when I sliced it!)  And, of course, some roasted marshmallows.  The next day, we got up bright and early to go float the Mulberry.  We floated about 12 miles from Wolf Penn down to Redding and it was glorious – what a great day!  I was a little bummed when the float was over because T. was headed straight back to LR, but it was such a great weekend!

Beautiful night @ Dixon Ford

Last night was the Cow Paddy 5K at Gulley Park.  My friend S. (who I ran the race with) just got diagnosed earlier in the day with fibromyalgia.  I knew she was bummed and would’ve understood if she hadn’t run the race, but she still ran it!  She walked a little bit because she had a headache, but I was so proud of her for still completing the race!  With strength and resilience like that, I’m hopeful that she will succeed in managing this new challenge with grace and maybe even inspire others to keep staying active and not let it get them down.  We are now on the lookout for a Fibromyalgia 5K, so let me know if you see any!  I ended up having a GREAT race – my time was 27:19.2.  That’s almost 3 minutes less than my current PR!  I was really pleased to see that all my Hogeye training paid off after all, even though I didn’t PR at that race.  My time averaged out to an 8:49 mile, which is crazy fast for me.  I think I might actually switch my focus to speedwork and some shorter runs for a while and maybe shoot for another half marathon in the fall.

I also got my 2nd CSA box yesterday – it had lettuces, local honey, bok choy, radishes, garlic chives, and kale!  I’m going to make Aarti Sequeira’s massaged kale salad with mango.  I’m also planning to attempt a freestyle stir-fry (using the bok choy) and Mama Pea’s Mmmm Sauce that I keep hearing so much about!

CSA loot

Today, I am enjoying a relaxing Saturday off, doing some knitting for a friend’s baby shower, schoolwork, and baking a homemade version of these.  I LOVED Danish wedding cookies when I was a kid (pretty sure I’ve put down an entire box of these in one sitting before), but thought surely I could find some without 50 million weird ingredients.  Success – this recipe has only six!  Now, I’m still not saying they’re healthy exactly – there’s plenty of butter and sugar! – but they are only 81 calories apiece and that’s including the dark chocolate chips I chopped up and added to the mix!  If you like the pink box version, you will seriously love these – I actually think they are better!

Fresh out of the oven and awaiting their powdered sugar bath!

Yum!

Well, I’m going to end this post here before it gets waaay too long.  Hope you have a wonderful Sunday tomorrow – and happy Easter for those celebrating!

What was your favorite cookie as a child?  Have you ever tried to make them from scratch?

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New Races Page

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know that I made a new page to keep track of my race times.  I have now run 7 races (and another one is coming next week!), and don’t want to forget the details!  Just for fun, here is a picture from the Hogeye 1/2 Sunday (my second half marathon).

Going strong - almost done!

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Spring Break in Austin

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Better late than never, right?  My mom and I went on a really fun trip to Austin for spring break and had a blast!  We always do – my mom’s my favorite travel buddy!  Here are some highlights from our trip.

We stayed in this cute apartment in Hyde Park.  It even had a kitchen, so we got to cook when we wanted to!  And the best part was a delicious apple pie, hot out of the oven and waiting for us on the table when we arrived!

Kitchen - note the apple pie!

The first night we decided to eat dinner at Kerbey Lane Cafe, which we both loved.  We both got pancakes, apple whole wheat for me and blueberry for Mom.  This may have been my favorite restaurant we visited!

My mom at Kerbey Lane - she was excited about her pear being cut all cute =)

On Tuesday, a friend’s mom who lives in Austin gave us a nice tour and we did some shopping on South Congress.  I got to visit Hill Country Weavers and got a beautiful skein of Brooklyn Tweed’s new Shelter yarn.  I was in yarn heaven – it was one of the most amazing yarn shops I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot)!  We ate lunch at the Magnolia Cafe and dinner at Artz Rib House (I got a veggie burger, don’t worry).  We also got some yummy Amy’s ice cream – dark chocolate and Mexican vanilla with Junior Mints for me!  My mom and I also scouted out our plan for the rest of the week!

Yarn!

Wednesday morning we got up bright and early and headed downtown.  I ran 6 miles around Lady Bird Lake while my mom visited the nearby Zilker Botanical Garden.  I loved the dirt path with the beautiful views around the lake and my mom had fun looking around in the garden (although she said it can’t compare to our beloved Cheekwood in Nashville).  Afterward, we met up for brunch at Flip Happy Crepes!  We split two crepes:  the awesome roasted vegetables with feta buttermilk sauce and the vanilla pastry cream with fresh berries and berry sauce.  Yum!  Wish we had one of these in Fayetteville!

Lady Bird Lake view from my run

Best Little Creperie in Austin

During the afternoon, we shopped till we dropped, hitting up Whole Foods (the original), Waterloo Records, Anthropologie, BookPeople, Lululemon(!), Free People, Roadhouse Relics, and Anderson’s Coffee.  After all that, we somehow found the energy to go see Hot Club of Cowtown, a bluegrass band, at the Continental Club, and made it to Whip In for a late dinner.  Whip In had live music, Indian food, and the best beer selection on tap I’ve ever seen in my life – no joke.  I was in heaven.  I drank a 512 IPA and a Wytchmaker Rye IPA at the suggestion of the bartender and loved them both.  My mom split two rice bowls and some naan and enjoyed listening to the music.

Part of the beer list at Whip In. Namaste, y'all.

Organic Dark Sumatra from Anderson's - and don't be jealous, you can totally order this online (we already did!)

My big purchase of the trip - a running skirt and 2 running tops!

Thursday morning, we made a big breakfast because we knew we had a long day ahead of us:  we were going north to Round Rock to go to Ikea!  It was my second time to visit an Ikea and my mom’s first.  We spent hours wandering and looking for ideas for my mom’s new house but didn’t go too crazy.  I only bought 2 glass jars to make these someday soon.  After we got back to Austin, we had a late lunch at Mother’s Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant in the neighborhood.  We enjoyed our lunch and my mom brought home a bottle of their signature cashew tamari dressing.  On the way back to the apartment to rest up for the evening we stopped in at the Hyde Park Market to pick out some local beers for Toby – they had an amazing beer selection!  And they were super nice too, even helping me load the beer into the car.  We finished our evening with an artist talk and tour of the New Art in Austin exhibit at the Austin Museum of Art and a late dinner at the Odd Duck Farm to Trailer.  We split several small plates and enjoyed them on a picnic table outside.

Breakfast of Champions - shopping champions, that is

Friday morning, we started the trip back home, stopping in West, Texas to see what authentic kolaches are like.  I had a cherry one and my mom had a traditional meat and cheese one.  I thought it was good, but nothing super special.  I was, however, blown away by all the different varieties and brought back some jalapeno cheese beer bread for Toby.

Kolaches from the Czech Stop in West, TX

We had SUCH a great time in Austin, and I can’t wait to go back!  I still want to try the grilled cheese at the Blue Star Cafe (recommended by Jenna here), get a cupcake at Hey, Cupcake, and see the bats!

Have you been to Austin?  What was your favorite part?

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Hogeye and Baking

Well, you can’t win them all!  So I ran the my second half-marathon yesterday (my first was the Hogeye last year), hoping to beat my previous time of 2:12:37.  I started out running pretty hard, making it up the biggest hill of the race and arriving at the 6-mile marker with an average pace of <10-minute miles.  It was absolutely gorgeous outside, but the wind was pretty strong and it really picked up around maybe the 8-mile marker when we started running up the Scull Creek Trail directly into the wind.  By the 9-mile marker, I was still just barely averaging <10-minute miles, but I started to struggle during the last few miles.  My pace had slowed and there was one last significant hill to contend with.  I was running out of steam and my legs were starting to cramp up a bit.  I did my best, but ended up coming in with a time of 2:14:35.  I had a great time and really appreciated the support of Toby, friends, and strangers all along the race.  I’m still a little bit bummed that I didn’t reach my goal time, but I guess there’s always next year!  I think that I will most likely use a different training plan next time, however, making the following changes:

1.  Longer long runs – my plan peaked at 10 miles, and in retrospect, I wish I would’ve done at least a 12-miler before the race.

2.  Different speedwork – This plan called for a LOT of speedwork, and I found myself really dreading these runs.  If I skipped a run one week, it was always this one.  I think I would prefer to do them on a track or treadmill so that I can hold myself more accountable and perhaps not schedule quite as much speedwork.  In other words, “work smarter, not harder.”

3.  Do speedwork with a speedy friend – I did a 4-mile run with Toby a few weeks ago, and it really helped to push and encourage me to go faster.  I don’t always push myself enough when I’m on my own.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to run a 5k in a couple of weeks with my best friend S!  We have been friends since she moved next door to me during the summer before 7th grade.   She was a runner in high school (and I think still has some state records in the hurdles!) while I was definitely NOT athletic, but now that we are both into running, it will be fun to do a race together!  It’s called the Cow Paddy Run and is a historical Fayetteville run created in 1989.  The original race helped to create Gulley Park in Fayetteville, and the race is being resurrected to benefit the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation.  There will be music too and the sponsor list is amazing.  I’m really looking forward to running a shorter race and maybe even PR-ing!

On the home front, I’ve been doing a lot of baking/cooking lately, making Angela’s amazing hummus, Emily’s whole wheat muffins (although I used raspberries – I am that weird girl who doesn’t like blueberry muffins), and Jenna’s sunflower chip cookies!  All of these were delicious – thanks, ladies!

Post-race sunflower chip cookies!

Whole-Wheat Raspberry Muffins

Hope everyone has a great week – I’ve got a busy one ahead, but am looking forward to a possible actual Ozark adventure this weekend!  If the weather holds out, T and I are planning to go camp at Boen Gulf – for those of you in the know, that is where it all began for us!  I am SO excited to get out in the woods and away from it all, see some beautiful waterfalls, eat some roasted marshmallows, and maybe even hit up a river if I’m lucky!  See you soon!

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