Ugh. We are officially into that time of year that I can’t possibly have dinner made while it’s still light out.
I didn’t meal plan this week because I never really found the motivation. Instead I just stocked up on produce and decided to wing it with what was in the pantry (a bunch of different beans and grains).
This was a dinner I threw together after my second run of the day, and it was great because there really wasn’t too much active time. After I pick Ellie up from daycare, she pretty much wants ALL of my attention so long and involved cooking projects don’t really mesh with that. I just had to chop up some stuff and put it in the oven, and the salad was very quick to assemble.
I sometimes feel weird about buying fake meat, but we really only eat it every other week or so, and it’s perfect for quick and easy dinners. Plus, Field Roast is freaking delicious and they’re not even paying me to say that.
I made the nutritional yeast kale chips again and we gave a couple to Ellie.
One bite, one loud “MmMMMM!!” and then she immediately pointed to the plate for more. There’s not much this kid doesn’t eat (and I know that will probably change in the next year or two, so we’re embracing it while it lasts).
She also wanted most of the goat cheese off the salad.
Although I usually don’t buy packaged salad greens (too much plastic), I picked some up this week and I kind of love how convenient they are. I can’t let this become a habit, though, because honestly, washing, tearing, and spinning a head of lettuce really isn’t that intense.
So all this rambling leads us to dinner:
- Potatoes, diced and tossed with olive oil, rosemary, and salt and baked at 400 F until tender.
- Field roast sausages, cooked for a couple minutes on each side in a skillet
- Salad with greens, goat cheese, diced cucumber, and cherry tomatoes, with super simple balsamic dressing: 3 T olive oil, 2 T balsamic, 1 T maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp mustard.
- Kale chips with nutritional yeast
view from my long run in Alameda
I felt really good about this week. I think only running 4 days a week (and cross training 2 days a week) is really helping keep my legs from feeling totally dead.
Monday – REST
Tuesday – was supposed to be 11 miles, but it turned into 12 when I discovered the path I usually take was closed for repaving. Thanks to the map on my phone I found my way home on the streets. I felt so good at the end that I ran the last 3 miles in 7:34, 7:34, and 7:29!
Wednesday – 45 minute spin…on the trainer, watching Jon Stewart.
Thursday – 8 miles with 4 at Lactate Threshold pace. Ran one mile to the gym and hopped on the treadmill, one mile warm-up, 4 miles at 7:08 min/mile, one mile cool down on the treadmill, then one mile home.
Friday – 45 minutes Vinyasa yoga. I did a video from here and it was awesome. I hadn’t done yoga in months, but Teri’s post inspired me to do it again
Saturday – 6 miles easy (9:00/mile) with the whole family. Mike and I eached pushed the stroller 3 miles.
Sunday – 15.1 miles (8:49 pace) A nice, relaxed long run with my dad around Alameda
Total: 41 miles
Although I miss my old students like crazy, I’m getting to know my new kids (it takes a little longer when you only see them every other day) and they are pretty awesome. One of my sixth graders is an origami pro and made me a mouse.
The temperature finally started to drop and it’s amazing how much more enjoyable afternoon runs are when it’s under 90 degrees.
12 glorious miles on Tuesday evening! I was feeling kind of burnt out on running, but as soon as my training plan started, I got super motivated and the last two weeks have been amazing. 4 miles after work felt endless a couple weeks ago (possibly partly because of the heat), but now I can do 2 or 3 times that without issue. I’m sure my motivation will start to wane around week 7 or 8, but for now, I’m stoked.
This dinner is not particularly attractive, but it’s simple and filling, and I need to mention the kale chips. Kale with lots of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, sprinkled with nutritional yeast, and baked at 375 til crispy. Eternal thanks to Daily Garnish for the idea… I’ll never eat plain kale chips again.
So basically you mix up some beans and mushrooms in homemade barbecue sauce. You can eat it on toast, or over grains, but I highly recommend kale chips on the side!
Barbecue Beans with Mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces brown button mushrooms, quartered
- 3 cups (or about 2 15-oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained)
- 1 15-oz can tomato puree
- 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- honey (optional), to taste
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium, and add the mushrooms, onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook over low, covered, for 15 minutes, then taste and add adjust salt and add honey if you like your barbecue sweeter.
First and foremost, Ellie’s first birthday party was on Saturday!
I reserved a picnic area at a nearby park, Mike stocked up on chips and dips at Trader Joes, and I made a chocolate cake. There was no theme and no fancy decor. But there were great friends, beautiful weather, and plenty of presents. Ellie also got her first taste of cake!
She was surprisingly restrained and seemed almost unsure about the whole cake and frosting situation. For the adults, there was a chocolate cake with this milk chocolate frosting.
I still can’t believe my little girl is already a year old!
I wrapped up my first week (of 12) of CIM training this week. It didn’t go exactly as written, but I ended up with 35 miles of running, which is right where I need to be.
Monday – REST
Tuesday – 8 miles total (1 mile to the gym, 6 miles on the treadmill, 1 mile home…by 6 AM!)
Wednesday – 5.3 with Mike early in the morning
Thursday – 1600 meter swim
Friday – 5.7 miles after work
Saturday – 5 mile run with Mike and Ellie
Sunday – a VERY hot and VERY hilly 11 mile run on the trails with my dad (was supposed to be 13 but it just didn’t happen).
In 365 days, my baby girl went from this
An exuberant little person who has found her voice (and loves to use it, particularly on airplanes and at the grocery store)
who loves fruit more than any other food,
who thinks that unloading the dishwasher is pretty much life’s ultimate thrill
who is delighted with pulling stinky running shoes off the shelf and playing with them
who proudly claps, waves, blows kisses, and signs “more” (pretty much constantly)
who is just beginning to stand on her own and couldn’t be more pleased with herself
and who makes me laugh multiple times a day, even when she’s just flung food from her high chair all over the room.
I love you Ellie Jane.
One year ago today, I woke up, made a batch of muffins, and headed in to Labor and Delivery to be induced.
Today was slightly less exciting. I woke up at 4:30, ran 8 miles, and headed in to work.
I’ve posted a few raw kale salads before, but this one is a little bit different, thanks to the mushrooms. I had no idea lemon juice and soy sauce could make mushrooms taste so good, but oh how amazing these are. The kale itself isn’t too bad either, but it’s the mushrooms that make this salad. I served it over quinoa to make it a meal, but that’s optional.
Marinated Kale and Mushroom Salad
- 2 cups thinly sliced brown mushrooms
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 cups thinly sliced kale
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Start by making the mushrooms: heat the oil in a medium skillet and saute until soft. Toss with the lemon juice and soy sauce and set aside while you prepare the salad.
- Combine the kale, carrots, and cucumber in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Toss the dressing with the kale and mix well.
- Drain the mushrooms and add to the salad, along with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
(adapted from I Am Grateful)
I kicked off this weekend with another girls night at Aron’s (with Page and Alyssa). I made these for dessert, and sampled a couple of them before heading over. I am pretty sure they liked them as much as I did. They have malted milk powder, chopped Whoppers, and mini chocolate chips (I left out the walnuts) so how can you go wrong?
Saturday was our fifth anniversary, and of course I have no idea how 5 years have already gone by.
We decided to hold off on any elaborate celebrations until the babysitters (aka my parents) move to the area (this week), so we took a day trip to Sacramento to see our friends and the cute house they bought. We spent most of the time there hanging out under the huge, gorgeous sycamore tree in their front yard and missing the days when we lived right across the hall from each other in a huge old Victorian house in San Luis Obispo.
By the time we got home we were way too lazy to make dinner, so we had Indian food delivered, watched an episode of Suits, and called it a night. Not the most romantic anniversary ever, but we appreciated the simplicity of it. Plus, it was great to discover that there’s decent Indian food nearby.
On Sunday we decided to make the trek into the city (which really isn’t a trek on Sunday mornings, thank God, because pretty much any other time the combination of tunnel + bridge traffic makes me never want to leave our little suburban bubble) to go to our beloved Rainbow Grocery.
Ellie has become significantly more challenging to shop with, but we stocked up on all the things you can’t get in bulk at our nearby Whole Foods.
Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped in at Sightglass for coffee.
When we got back to the suburbs, we decided we both needed new running shoes, and I ended up with these obnoxiously loud Brooks Pure Connects. I ran in Pure Cadences for months and loved them, but wanted something a little more minimal and these definitely are.
We went for a quick 4-mile run and they felt awesome (SO light!) I kind of wish they weren’t so bright because I feel like you need to be pretty fast to pull off that color.
CIM training kicks off today in the most anti-climactic way possible (rest day) but Tuesday I’m going to attempt to squeeze in 8 miles on the treadmill before leaving for work at 7 AM. I’m SO HAPPY to be training for something again after a few months of aimless running.
Malt and Chocolate Blondies
- 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp malted milk powder
- 14 tbsp butter, cut into 1" chunks
- 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped Whoppers (or Maltesers)
- 3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 13 x 9" baking pan.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, malted milk powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
- Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition, then add the vanilla.
- Stir in the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Gently stir in the Whoppers and mini chocolate chips.
- Spread the dough evenly into the prepared pan (it will be pretty thick).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place the pan on a wire rack until completely cool, then cut the blondies into squares to serve.
(barely adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
There are a ton of good places to spend Labor Day weekend, but we said an unofficial goodbye to summer with Mike’s family in San Luis Obispo.
It’s hard to come up with just one favorite thing about SLO (a big piece of my heart is there after living there for seven+ years), but Poly Canyon is one of the final contenders.
I clearly remember the first time I ran this loop on a Wednesday morning a couple weeks into my freshman year of college. It will forever be one of my all-time favorite places to run because it’s got challenging hills, a few cows here and there, and is a perfect 10.5 mile loop from downtown SLO. I happily ran it twice during our 3-day visit.
Another contender? Avila beach. When I first moved to SLO, there was pretty much nothing there but a couple shacks, and I’m kind of sad about how much building has happened since then. But the beach itself is always nice, and Ellie really likes it.
Mike’s parents babysat so we could live it up on Sunday night (which means a nice dinner, two drinks, frozen yogurt, and in bed by 10). We tried sidecar, which is a newer place in town.
First of all, they bring you truffle popcorn when you sit down. That right there earned them a ton of points. They also have lots of fun drinks (I had a cucumber gimlet) and a bunch of seasonal, locally sourced small plates which were mostly vegetarian. The highlight was clearly the tater tots made with Vermont cheddar (ok, so not everything is locally sources), which came with house-made ketchup and bleu cheese dressing. The crispy brussels sprouts with garlic aioli, balsamic reduction, and bleu cheese were a close second with a perfectly balanced mix of flavors and textures. We also got grilled ratatouille with poached eggs and polenta cakes, which were okay, but not our favorite.
It was a short trip, but so much fun. Unfortunately summer is pretty much over now, and with marathon training starting Monday, this is happening:
Until next year, summer. You’re my favorite!
I survived the first day of school, and only messed up my schedule once! (Didn’t realize which period I had lunch and went to eat, not realizing my kids were lined up outside my room. OOPS) Fortunately I was corrected quickly and only missed about 3 minutes of actual class time.
My pre-back-to-school activities involved stress baking these brownies, and getting up way too early to squeeze in 5 miles before the day started. My parents are here right now so Mike and I got to run together in the morning, which was awesome.
I knew I couldn’t show up empty-handed on the first day of work, and these quickly disappeared in the staff room. I’m really excited about all the teachers I’m working with this year (although I am missing my old school a lot too.)
I pinned (and made) this recipe last week, but wasn’t in love with the bar part of it, so I just switched to a brownie base and loved the result. Just the right mix of chocolate, salty, and sweet!
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter
- 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 oz milk chocolate, melted
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped thin pretzels
- 14 caramels, unwrapped
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- Grease a 13 x 9" pan and preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water. Stir until smooth.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and stir in the sugars.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
- Gently stir in the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
- Sprinkle the pretzels over the brownies and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Set the pan on a rack to cool.
- Drizzle the melted milk chocolate evenly over the pretzels.
- Combine the caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the brownies and let rest for at least an hour before cutting into squares.
(base adapted from the Joy the Baker cookbook, toppings from The Hungry Housewife)
Life is about to get real. I worked every day last week making copies, planning lessons, and prepping my room but now the school year and marathon training are starting and I’m going to have 240 students (and all their work) to keep track of.
It’s a good thing I like to be busy.
The key to the next couple months is going to be PREPARATION. No more dawdling around all morning and then deciding to go on a leisurely stroller run at 11 AM. No more abandoning meal planning because I can drop by the grocery store (it’s around the corner) any time I feel like it. Time will be precious and there is a LOT to squeeze in now! I need to get everything done and make sure I have time to hang out with my favorite people.
Right now my bike is set up on its trainer, my outfit for the work day is ready to go, and my lunch is packed. I’ve talked about my Sunday prep before, but I’m back at it again now (today I baked tofu and cooked up a ton of quinoa). It took me awhile to realize it, but I’m able to get so much more done when my schedule is heavily booked, so I’m actually looking forward to having so much on my plate.
The beauty of this salad is that it’s quick to prepare, and it’s great to make ahead for lunches throughout the week. It’s a little lacking in fresh vegetables, so I serve it over a big bed of greens (unpictured) for a healthy one-bowl meal.
- 1 lb whole wheat or brown rice pasta
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 can (1 1/2 cups) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp white wine venegar
- generous pinch salt, pepper, and sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Pour the cooked pasta into a large colander and rinse under cold running water.
- Drain well. Place in a large bowl with remaining salad ingredients.
- Add the dressing and toss well.