limbo.

Some like it cold…

Verry Berry Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • toppings: sunflower seed butter and Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a mixer and top with your favorite add-ons!

And some like it hot…

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 small/medium apple, diced small
  • 1 cup milk + 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • toppings: walnuts and Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  1. In a large dish, microwave all ingredients together for 5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Top with your favorite add-ons!

Me?  I haven’t really decided yet.  The weather isn’t officially feeling like spring.  But it doesn’t quite feel like winter either.  Yep.  Here in New England, we’re in a serious state of limbo.

QUESTION: What have you been eating for breakfast?

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enjoying a rainy day

I used to hate rainy days.  It meant being stuck inside with nothing but homework and reading and things like that.

Nowadays, I look forward to being stuck inside with nothing but homework and reading and things like that. 😉

(source)

Today, however, I enjoyed my rainy day.  Outside.

It was pouring outside.  Absolutely pouring! Umbrellas were pointless and even rain boots would have been a futile approach to staying dry.  And so, when I arrived to the local 5k to cheer all the brave runners on, I gave up on my umbrella and decided to just embrace the rain.  I could feel the runners’ energy.  I clapped and hollered, urging on the tired runners.  To keep on going.  To not give up.

My favorite moment was when an older woman with a bright smile shouted, “this is my first!”  This was her very first 5k!  This was her marathon.  I loved that I was able to share the moment with her as she thanked me for the motivation, running on to the finish line.  It made me want to go out and run! 😀

If you’ve never volunteered at a road race, I highly recommend it!

“Breakfast of the Week”

A fruity bowl of oats sprinkled in coconut, walnuts and a dollop of raspberry jam.

Delicious.

A Fruity Bowl of Oats

Grapes are fabulous with oats.  The heat brings out their natural sweetness.  A healthy dose of coconut, walnuts and your favorite jam pull it all together.  Sigh.  What a beautiful morning.

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed flax
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 sweet banana, sliced
  • 3-4 strawberries, sliced
  • handful of grapes, cut in half
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • toppings: walnuts, coconut, Trader Joe’s raspberry jam
  1. Combine oatmeal, flax, milk, 1/4 cup water, fruit and spices in a microwave safe bowl.  Stir.  Place in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, heat for about 5 minutes or until desired consistency.  Top with your favorite mix ins and ENJOY! 😀

Question: Rainy days…Yay or Nay?

 

a “heart”y breakfast

 

Speaking of Valentines Day, I’m kind of obsessed.

Obsessed with strawberries and bananas and coconut, all dipped and dunked in chocolatey things.

 

 

Obsessed with eating chocolate for breakfast.

How indulgent.  And healthy.  Indulgently healthy. 

(Those two words, I think, should always coexist.)

 

A ‘Heart’y Breakfast

Dark chocolate’s antioxidants, walnut’s omega 3 fatty acids, and oatmeal’s cholesterol lowering fiber—all coming together in one deliciously, heart healthy bowl.  Who says you can’t have chocolate for breakfast?

I’ve been following the microwave procedures for making oatmeal lately, since busy mornings require it.  I also kind of like the way that the overnight sit lets the banana sweeten up the oats.  However, you could just as easily make this the morning of, if you prefer.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax (optional)
  • 1 cup milk
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 very ripe banana, sliced
  • toppings: coconut, dark chocolate chips, sliced strawberry, and walnuts
  1. In a large, microwaveable bowl, combine the oats, flax, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberries and banana.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning, add 1/4 c. of water to the bowl, stir well, remove plastic wrap and microwave for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Pour into bowl, cover with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

You know how when you’re a kid, running and playing in a new pair of sneakers makes you instantly feel like an athlete?

 

 

Yeah.  Well.  Some things never change. 

I swear I ran faster today. :mrgreen:  Best of all, no knee pain.  There is definitely some truth to replacing those running sneakers at least every 500 miles.

 

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles

Week 7: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles

Week 9: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16:  Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY!!

 

Question: Have you ever trained for a race/walk before?  What were some of your toughest obstacles?

…OR…

If you haven’t yet trained for a race/walk, what do you think would be your toughest obstacles to overcome?

a rest day.

 

Sometimes it feels good to just say “no.”

Sometimes it feels good to turn my back on responsibilities.  Homework.  Chores.  That long list of to-do’s.

Not all the time, of course.  But sometimes.

 

 

Sometimes it feels good to Just. Do. Nothing.

No demands.  No places to go; no people to see.  No urgent to-do’s.

Nothing but those simple little things of life, like eating breakfast.  Or running.  Shopping, laughing, and hanging with my two besties.

 

 

Normally, I consider myself a very merry morning person; I’m the one who bounces out of bed with a slightly annoying burst of energy. 

But this week has left me dragging.  Absolutely dragging.  Staying up too late combined with a couple of ridiculously early mornings—I’ve decided—is just not healthy for a person. 

(I don’t know about you, but I’m really not much a fan of feeling like a zombie seeking out a caffeine IV.  😉 )

 

But today?  That feeling of having nothing on the to-do list except shop, eat, run?  Today.

Sigh.

I savored each and every scrumptious moment.

 

 

(p.s. I completely forgot how much I loved that feeling of an early morning, winter’s run.)

Calm.  Peaceful.  Quiet.

 

 

The good news: I feel completely revived.  Rejuvinated.  Fresh and ready.

The bad news: the only cooking I did today (and yesterday, to be honest) was in the form of overnight oats.  I think my kitchen needed the rest. 😉

Question: How do you recoop after a particuarly busy (crazy!) week?

Over A Bowl of Oats

It was over a bowl of crunchy cashew banana oats, that I officially began my New Years Resolution.

 

3 

Each new year, I like to plan out what my important goals will be.  Sometimes I fall flat on my face and realize that I did nothing to achieve my resolutions.  Other years I’m overwhelmed by all that was accomplished. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to make my goals entirely achievable.  Which explains why “travel to Paris” isn’t on the list.  Maybe next year.  😉

What was on the list, was the goal of reading one book a month for the entire year of 2011.  Today, I finished January’s book: Brooklyn.

1 

At first I didn’t much like the book.  It was—what’s the word?—simple.  Almost too simple.  But then I realized that it was simple because Elise was simple.  She was a young girl who knew nothing outside of her hometown in Ireland.  She thought nothing would ever change.  That her sister Rose and her mother would always be right there.  That life would continue on, just as is. 

And then things change.  The book becomes more complex.  Elise travels to America to find work, and the book has an undertone of fear.  Fear of the unknown.  And then, when she meets a young Italian man in America, the book become becomes light.  Frivolous, even.  Exciting. 

The book keeps changing, as each part of the book holds a new tone.  It’s rare to find a book that can change a character—change the entire tone—while still holding true to the personality of the original character.  The book is raw.  Simple.  Complex.  Sad but real.  Honest. 

I loved it!

 

2

 

I think the key for pulling through with New Years Resolutions and goals for me, is to break them down month by month.  It holds me accountable, and I absolutely love the fresh start that each new month (each new DAY, for that matter) brings. 😀

Crunchy Cashew Banana Oats

I’ve been eating this standard breakfast for the past week or so.  I love the sweetness of cashew butter and bananas, and I love the crunch that granola brings to the table.  It’s a wonderful, winning combination.

You could make this stovetop, of course, but preparing the mix the night before and microwaving it the following morning produces very similar results.  Letting the oats sit in the liquid for a nights course softens them right up; you will have a deliciously creamy bowl of oatmeal in 3-5 minutes flat.  Enjoy this warm treat on even the busiest of mornings. :D 

  • 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed flax seed
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
  • 2 Tbsp. cashew butter
  1. In a large, microwaveable bowl, place oatmeal, milk, water, banana, flax seed and spices in a bowl.  Stir, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning, uncover the bowl and microwave for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Top with granola and cashew butter and enjoy with your favorite book.

Question: Do you make daily/monthly/yearly goals for yourself?  How do you make them achievable? 

the sweeter side of life and oats

I very rarely add any form of sweetener to my morning bowl of oats.

Bananas, I think are plenty sweet enough.  Blueberries add their own form of fresh and sweet.  Cinnamon with apples is simple but lovely.  And so—most of the time—I turn up my nose to brown sugar, honey, agave and even maple syrup. 

Most of the time.

But yesterday I found myself walking through Whole Foods with a bottle of blackstrap molasses jostling around in my basket.  I didn’t quite know why or what I planned on doing with the jar (or how it managed to get there in the first place,) but buying it and bringing it home seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Blackstrap molasses (not to be confused with the regular ol’ molasses seen in the baking isle,) is a by-product of processed sugar cane.  It retains many of the vitamins and minerals that regular sugar doesn’t have.  One tablespoon has about 45 calories, and offers 20% of the recommended intake for calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.

I like to think that it’s basically a health food. 😉

With its rich, dark flavors, I do believe that this jar of blackstrap molasses is slowly converting me to the sweeter side of life. 

The sweeter side of oatmeal.

Creamy, Spiced Banana Oats with almond butter and blackstrap molasses

If you like your oatmeal to be on the sweet side, try adding a drizzle of blackstrap molasses!  A little goes a long way with this dark, rich treat. 😀

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • toppings: almond butter and blackstrap molasses
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and water to a boil.  Add oatmeal, spices, banana and flax.  Stir, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 4-6 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency.  Stir well every couple of minutes to enhance creaminess.
  2. Drizzle with molasses and top with almond butter.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you regularly add sweetener to your morning bowl of oats?  What are your favorites?

just a few days

Within the past few days of being on vacation, I have…

…brought all of the recipe pages up to date, which hopefully will make it easier for everyone (and me!) to find past recipes! 😀

…consumed a very full head of kale.

…worn my apron like it’s the latest accessory item.

…made three big bowls of “un”overnight blueberry banana oats.

(because, obviously, having just one day to eat your favorite breakfast is never quite enough!)

…enjoyed one, two, three lovely New England walks with my parents.

…and trotted out 5 pain free miles through a sunrise.   Which, by the way, I haven’t done before my knee injury.

I always seem to flirt around with the idea of entering a race come spring, but I’ve also been indulging in the sheer pleasure of just heading out for a run.  Just because.

No clear training goals in mind.    

No drills.

No speedwork.

No 12-mile long runs in zero degree weather.

Just running.  For the pure and simple reason that it feels delicious on my legs. 

When life gets busy and crazy with the dietetic internship and everything else, nothing brings my pace back to normal quite like a brisk morning run.  It slows me down.  The half marathon is still on my horizon.  But for now, my heart belongs to just running. 

Just because.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Warm Kale Salad

If you’re still sitting on the fence over kale, try this recipe!  The flavors are subtle but bright, with the sunny addition of lemon juice.  Aside from kale chips, this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

Kale won’t wilt like spinach does, and stands up quite well against all of the heat and stirring.  Even still, the kale will be tender and soft, making it a wonderful accompaniment to any and all of your favorite meals. 😀

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • at least 4 large handfuls of chopped kale
  • a few spritzes of lemon juice
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a carrot, grated
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onion until tender.  Add chopped kale, stir, lower heat slightly to medium low, and cook until wilted and slightly tender.
  2. Add lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and grated carrot.  Continue cooking on low for another couple of minutes.
  3. Serve warm and ENJOY! 😀

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Un”Overnight Blueberry Banana Oats

The “un”overnight oats resemble their close cousin, the “overnight oats.”  The main difference is that there’s no soaking or waiting involved with this version.  It’s are made the same morning that you want to eat it, which is nice for those of us who frequently change our minds on what we want to eat, come morning. 😉

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cortland apple
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. almond butter
  1. Mix together all of ingredients except almond butter.  Stir well.
  2. Top with almond butter and ENJOY! 😀

 Question: If you had an entire day to do only the things that made you happy, how would you spend it?

a typical day.

If you have the chance, check out my guest post at Ashlei’s blog (aka, the Vegster.)  Ashlei was nice enough to ask me to write a guest post on anything that I wanted, so I decided to put up together little ‘photography post.’ 😀

Good Morning! 😀

Tea and oats were eaten in standard form this morning, while sitting in front of  the Christmas tree.  I had exactly 15 minutes to eat, but it still felt incredibly enjoyable with the dazzling drama and glitz of a few colorful lightbulbs. 😀

But I still think it would have been useful to have just a bit more than 15 minutes to clear away any early morning brain-fog.

Look how I almost walked out the door!!

Not that I didn’t mind spending more time in a warm pair of Uggs and striped fleece pants, but…

…phew.  That was a close one. 😉

I managed to get myself out the door in one piece—and wearing a work-appropriate outfit—with a fun, smart lunch packed away in my backpack.

Homemade Baked Beans!

And a raw kale salad!

  • a couple handfuls of raw kale, shredded with hands
  • 1/2 carrot, grated
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a few splashes of fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Snacks included a red orange…

…honey roasted peanuts…

…and an apple, crackers and a cheesestick.

Plenty of snacks.  I’m finding this works best with my internship schedule, since I never quite know when I’ll have the chance for a “quick” bite.  Normally, I can’t go longer than 3 hrs without feeling tired and/or hungry, so having a little something to eat on hand is an absolute must.

Packed last night. 

Ready to-go this morning. 

Munched on throughout the day.

The 9 hrs. at work f-l-e-w by today!

This week’s internship rotation is going to be at a Long Term Care facility.  Today I visited a local nursing home, and I really, really liked it.  I grew up volunteering in nursing homes and working as a food service worker in an assisted living facility as a high school student, so I tend to feel at home in places like this.  And I love talking with the patients.  Their life stories are so fascinating!  Where else would you hear about living in Holland?  Or being born on a ship while having a father in the navy? 

I love it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dinner; kept simple!

I’m on such a scrambled egg kick lately.  Usually I’ll opt for a veggie-styled omelet, but tonight I wanted straight up—pure and simple—fluffy eggs.  Nothing but a touch of salt and a splash of soymilk.

Crisp veggies were saved for the side, with a dollop of artichoke hummus.

And then I blasted the radio, flicked on the Christmas lights and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my way through tree poses, downward dogs and plenty of planks.  A delicious end to a typical day. 😀

Time to catch the final show of the Biggest Loser!!

Question:  What is the most enjoyable way that you stay active?  I change my opinion all the time.  Obviously, my true love is running.  But I also love a good long walk or a deep, energizing yoga session.  These days, I’m even enjoying strength training, which is competely new for me! 😀

over a bowl of oats

This morning, there were two things on the brain.

First, breakfast. 

I don’t normally like to eat and read all at the same time, but I did just that today. 

Well.  That is, if you count studying the t-stops to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston as “reading.”

Part of the dietetic internship involves traveling to various places and listening to different lecturers and speakers.  Today, Beth Israel Hospital in Boston was having a day-long lecture on the topic of Obesity (and how to best manage it,) self esteem issues in the adolescent, and more. 

This all brings me to the second thing on my brain: making my way through Boston.  A solo journey.  Normally, this kind of thing is deemed as fun and exciting, and it really doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  If I get lost, I get lost.  What’s the worst that could happen, really?  I end up in Canada?   That’s okay.  I like Canada.

(FYI, this is not my own picture.  And Boston is not currently seeing this much sunlight. 😉 )

(source)

Even though I’m not afraid of getting lost, I do hate, hate, hate showing up late to any sort of event or conference.  It’s one of my own personal little pet peeves.  And so, with a time schedule looming over me, I felt slightly anxious and nervous.

That was when my dad asked me with a smile, “Sarah, it’s not a big deal.  What are they going to do if you show up a little late?  Yell at you?”  I thought about this, realizing how silly I was for worrying about things that were completely out of my control (what if the T is running late???  What if I get a flat tire and can’t make it on time?  What…)

I thank my dad for always having the ability to just shrug something off, because that is exactly what I decided to do from that point on.  And then I just enjoyed the trip into Boston.  Reading during a 30 minute ride on the subway.  People watching.  Feeling deliciously independent as I walked into the lecture hall of Beth Israel Hospital (completely on time, I might add.)  Soaking up all the little bits of information like a sponge.  Walking home with a tall soy gingerbread latte from Starbucks.

Delicious.

Lesson Learned: Relax.  Breath.  And realize that it’s okay to not always have control over everything.  This is what makes life interesting. 😀

Question: How do you handle life’s little stresses?   

ready (or not) for winter

Dear winter, I’m not really ready for you yet.  I love your sparkly flurries, your rush of cool air, and yes, I even love your fierce and bold personality.  But…I’m just not ready for you yet.

It was only about 10 months ago, when I was out running 11 miles in the middle of a blizzard.  My face felt numb.  My feet felt like…well…they actually felt like nothing at the time.  And I had a smile plastered on my face, as if I had just been botoxed.  And, I truly loved every second of the experience.

Now, fast forward 10 months to the present:  December 8, 2010.

The moment I stepped my sleepy self outside and onto the front porch, I wanted to run back and hide under my warm, dreamy blankets.  Into my dark, cozy room.  For just a few more moments.  *Sigh.*

It was 16 degrees out this morning with a blustery wind that immediately burned my cheeks.  But I wasn’t out running 11 miles.  There was no snow on the ground.  I could feel my feet.  Life wasn’t really that bad after all. 

And so I kept on trudging.  One foot in front of the other until I began feeling warm again.  This happened on the last stretch home as I covered a nice gentle 3 mile run.  Sometimes getting out of bed and facing the cold is a major challenge for me, but it’s always so well worth it in the end. 😀

Overnight Oatmeal

If you plan on working out in the morning, it’s important to not give yourself any available excuse for getting out of it.  Especially in the winter, when we need all the motivation that we can possibly get. 😉

This preparation method saves you the trouble (and time) of putting things together in the morning.  A quick pop in the microwave, and your breakfast is ready.  And finally, after fueling yourself with a warm bowl of hot oats, head out and get your workout in.  You’ll be glad you did. 😀

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 T. flax
  • 1 c. milk + 1/4 c. water
  • toppings: about 2 T. peanut butter
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together except for the peanut butter.  Place in a high topped (to avoid boiling over) microwaveable dish and put in fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, place dish in microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Heat another 1-2 minutes and top with peanut butter. 
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you ready for winter this year?  What are some of your favorite activities in the winter months?