Holi-daze

10 Dec

Well, this post was supposed to appear yesterday, but apparently my internet had other plans…so this is technically from last night:

I’m currently sitting on the couch watching a movie as I write this post.

You’re probably wondering why I wasted a minute of your life with that boring detail…but I felt like it was something I had to document because I honestly don’t remember the last time this happened. Backing up a bit…the last few weeks have been complete chaos, as usual, but I am FINALLY done with classes for the semester!

The roommates and I decided that it was finally time we throw a party, and a holiday game night seemed like the perfect excuse… so yesterday was a shopping, cleaning, apartment rearranging, cookie baking, Jello shot making kind of day. The menu for the evening consisted of peppermint Schnapps hot chocolate, rum spiced cider (recipe courtesy of Emeril), an interesting pomegranate gin concoction, and, of course, holiday-themed Jello shots. Amidst the hustle and bustle of party prep, I tried a delicious new pre-long run recipe…pumpkin French toast. Let’s just say it became an instant favorite. Recipe to follow. The festivities commenced around 7:00 pm and included a hilarious game of Apples to Apples, lots of cookie-eating, and an epic game of Jenga. Later that night, I was needed as a bartender for a Model United Fundraiser, and it was a great way to end the evening. I learned several new cocktail recipes and improved my bartending and dancing skills at the same. I finally made it to bed around 3:30 am…and woke up to my 6:00 am alarm for Marathon Team. Totally worth it, though, and surprisingly, I had a great 14-mile run.

We ran along the coast from Dockweiler Beach to Redondo, and the weather was absolutely perfect. A few highlights/lowlights/notable moments of the run:

  • A HUGE sign that read: “Christmas isn’t happening. You should move on to egg-dyeing.”
  • Realizing that I had forgotten to bring salt…major oops.
  • Seeing an ambulance and police car racing across the sand
  • Discovering that there had been a shooting along our route

It was definitely an eventful morning, but we all made it back safely, and for many of my teammates, it was the longest distance they had ever covered. To celebrate a successful 14-miler (and finally spend some time together without smelling/looking/feeling abominable), we had a team dinner at Margarita Pizza, which was delicious. I’m currently working on the last of my assignments for my writing class, and then it’s on to a week of hardcore physiology. I can’t wait to put this semester behind me!

IMG_0762 - Version 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin French Toast (pic coming soon)

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices whole grain bread (I used Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread)
  • 2 T. pumpkin puree
  • 2 T. egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Lots of pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves)

Directions:

Combine pumpkin, egg whites, almond milk, and spices, and mix well. Add bread slices, and soak until coated. Cook on medium heat until golden brown and delicious 🙂

*I topped mine with agave, acai-blueberry-pomegranate jam, and a banana. YUM.

Nutrition Information:

  • Calories – 210 (will vary, depending on bread type)
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Nostalgia

22 Nov

I was about to apologize for my complete blogging failure this month…but then I realized that I’ve started my last several posts with that same sentiment. Oops.

It’s a work in progress.

On a brighter note…I was finally able to resume my duties as captain of the USC Marathon Team and lead my first long run of the season. My IT band recovery has been a long process, but I have been trying to take it easy and not make the same mistakes as last year.

As we drove along the 110 Freeway on our way to Manhattan Beach, it hit me how much I had missed this part of my life… The quiet 7:00 am conversation, the fleeting glimpse of a traffic-less LA, the peacefulness of good company…

As we neared our destination, it started to pour, and I wondered momentarily why I was not back in bed enjoying a lazy Sunday morning. The sky cleared when we reached the trail, however, and the moment my feet hit the ground, I knew there was nowhere else I would rather be. I wrote a post about this very same run a year ago, just after my recovery from my first bout of IT Band Syndrome (otherwise known as the devil of all running injuries). I was hit with a sudden bout of deja vu, and the memories of two marathon seasons came flooding back, despite my best efforts to suppress them throughout my recovery.

I had no idea how I would make it through a 10-miler after months of barely running at all, but somehow everything fell into place. The damp wood chips were a welcome break for my knee, and an intoxicating pine scent filled the air, mixing with the salty sea breeze. I got lost in conversation, lost in music, and lost in thoughts, and the miles seemed to drift by. When I arrived back at the trail head, I was tired, sore, and completely satisfied…the best combination.

I owe part of my successful run to the night before, however, and that’s where these come in…

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes with Vanilla Protein Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 2 T. granulated erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T. almond milk
  • 2 T. egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. coconut oil, melted

Directions:

Prepare dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, and combine until just mixed. Make pancakes! (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop batter).

*I topped mine with 1 T. vanilla protein powder mixed with almond milk…YUM. I also added a little agave.

Nutrition Info:

  • Servings: 1
  • Calories: 320 (add 25 for protein frosting)

These were delicious, and I will definitely be making them again for future long runs!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! More pumpkin recipes to come 🙂

Halloween…and Green

2 Nov

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Whether you stayed in and watched movies, handed out candy (and scared small children), or braved the party scene, hopefully it was an enjoyable night for all. I went out for dinner and drinks with a friend at Anthology, and then we went to investigate the downtown club scene. It was definitely an interesting experience, and we saw some rather…ummm, unique costumes, but we had a great time!

Cats take on downtown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even our drinks are Halloween-y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, on the other hand, has been of those days where just about every possible thing has gone wrong :(. At 10:00 pm, I realized I was starving and still hadn’t made dinner, but I honestly just didn’t feel like cooking…which is where my brilliant green plan comes into play. I’ve been reading about the concept of Green Monsters on several blogs, but I’ve always been too afraid to try one. I was feeling bold tonight though, so I decided to give it a shot. Despite it’s strange color, this drink was DELICIOUS! Just like pumpkin pie in a glass 🙂

Heaven in a glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Green Monster

Inspired by Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup Arctic Zero (I used Maple Vanilla), or non-dairy ice cream for vegan version
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 T. vanilla protein powder
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (or pumpkin pie spice)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glass, don’t think about the fact that it’s green, and enjoy. 🙂

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size – 1 smoothie

Calories – 200

I topped mine with Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal and unsweetened coconut flakes. YUM 🙂

Don’t believe me???? Your loss…

Escape…and Cake

30 Oct

Hi everyone!

I apologize for my lack of blogging, but I’m hoping to post more often from here on out (plus, I have tons of new recipes to share!)

The craziness does not seem to die down for a second, but tonight I took a much-needed break and escaped to Urth Caffe with Sydney. It was wonderful to catch up, and we reminisced about rainstorms, warthogs, and of course, our beloved bucket showers. Ghana already seems like a lifetime ago.

I can’t believe it’s already October, and the official Marathon Team season is kicking into gear! On the running front, I finally met with the athletic trainer and discovered that my nagging knee “strangeness” is just residual tightness from my IT band injury last year. There hasn’t been any pain, but I’ve been trying to steer clear of another 6 months on the couch…so I’ve been taking it easy. The athletic trainer gave me permission to start up again though, and I’m armed with a new set of exercises to strengthen the major running muscles. Hopefully, I will be back to my coaching duties within the next few weeks.

Today was one of those days that left me feeling like finding a small crevice to crawl into…but since there aren’t any of those around, I decided to make a cake. A delicious, gooey, chocolatey cake-in-mug. It was delicious, and it satisfied both my chocolate and crevice cravings.

Chocolate Cake-in-a-Mug (after I took it out of the mug)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cake-in-a-Mug

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. spelt flour
  • 2 T. chocolate protein powder (I used whey)
  • 1-2 tsp granulated erythritol (or coconut sugar)
  • 1  tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 T. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 T. egg whites/egg substitute (omit and add 1 more T. almond milk for vegan version)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (spelt flour through salt) in a small bowl and wet ingredients (almond milk through coconut oil) in a separate small bowl. Mix until just combined, and fold in chocolate chips. Spray a coffee mug with cooking spray, and pour batter into mug. Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on how gooey you like your cake. (Less time = lava cake, more time = birthday cake).

Insert spoon into mug. Insert cake into mouth. Repeat. 🙂

Nutrition Info:

  • Serving size – 1 cake
  • Calories – 190

Happy Monday! (or Tuesday rather, given that it’s 1:42 am). Hope everyone has a great week!

 

 

Stressed out? Make fudge!

8 Oct

I can honestly say that I don’t think my life has ever been crazier than it is at this moment… BUT, it’s all ok because I made fudge 🙂

I’ve been brainstorming quick post-workout snack ideas for the gym/shower/run-out-the-door turnaround, and I randomly dreamed up this protein fudge recipe. It’s still in it’s initial stages and will likely undergo some revisions, but here is version number one.

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Fudge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut butter/coconut oil
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1 T. granulated erythritol

Directions:

Combine coconut butter and mashed banana in a bowl. (I heated both for 10 seconds to make sure that the coconut butter didnt’ harden.) In a separate bowl, combine protein powder, powdered peanut butter, and erythritol. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Pour into a baking pan (or any type of flat container), and freeze until firm. Then devour 🙂

Nutrition Information:

*Based on 16 squares

  • Calories – 53
  • Protein – 3 g.

This week has been absolutely insane, but I did have a chance to (finally) catch up with a few of my Ghana fellows last Thursday. Sydney made a delicious eggplant curry, and we reminisced about our adventures over wine and chocolate…which brings me to…my new favorite wine glass:

She had a different jar for everyone – cute AND eco-friendly!

So creative!

Parking lot shenanigans

 

Well this was a lovely break, but I’m off to read about telomerase and replisomes. YAY! I hope everyone has a great week 🙂

Oh, and one more thing…For anyone in the LA area looking for an amazing night of dancing, come to Paso de Oro’s Blue Room event on October 20th! We will have salsa and bachata lessons from 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm, followed by social dancing from 10:00 pm – 2:00 am. Here is the link to the event page:

PDO Blue Room

Be there… It will be epic!

29 Sep

Escaping to this song tonight…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost

“Forget the peace inside
You’ve given way to the gods of destruction
Full of desire
You feel afraid that there’s nothing left

Oh oh, oh no
Oh oh, oh no

The ocean is dry
Do you feel hollow?
Nowhere to hide
And nothing to swallow

And when you can’t recognize
Anything solid
Where do you turn?
When you can’t buy it?

What can you believe in now
With no love to follow?
Now that you have lost yourself
Oh, can anything help you now?

Just let your fears go
You might find your way back home
Let your fears go
You might find that you’re not lost

Just let your fears go
You might find your way back home
Let your fears go
You might find that you’re not lost

What did you learn?
What was it worth?
What did you yearn for?
Everything’s lost now

And not alone and not alone
And not alone and not alone
And not alone and not alone
And not alone and not alone

Just let your fears go
You might find your way back home
Let your fears go
You might find that you’re not lost

Just let your fears go
You might find your way back home
Let your fears go
You might find that you’re not lost”

-Sunlounger, “Lost”

Life Update…and Brownies!

23 Sep

First of all, I’d like to apologize for my serious lack of blogging the past few weeks…

It’s been a crazy start to the year so far, but I have lots of news to share (as well as a delicious, chocolaty creation)

Today marks a milestone that I have been working towards in one form or another since I was four years old. After weeks of essay-writing, editing, studying for the GRE, and filling out forms until I couldn’t see straight…I finally submitted my applications to veterinary school! More so than the possibility of being accepted (which is basically zero), I know that this is one step closer to my future career and to the dream I have hoped to pursue since I put on my over-sized scrubs for the first time so many years ago.

Other news of the past few weeks…

  • I tried out for a competitive Latin dance company called Paso de Oro (Steps of Gold)…and somehow made it onto the team!
  • I had the opportunity to hear Walt Cunningham, an Apollo 7 astronaut, speak about his journey to the moon
  • I became an account signer for USC Marathon Team…officially in charge 😛

On the running front, things have been a little shaky, and my knee is acting up again :(…so I’m taking it easy right now and hoping that it will be better for the start of the season next month. PLUS, I got an awesome new pair of shoes, and I’m dying to try them out on an actual long run. I’ve been wanting to go the minimalist route for quite a while now, but I have heard mixed reviews on the stability of the trendy Vibrams that seem to show up on every other page of Runner’s World. After trying on all of my options, I settled on the Minimus by New Balance, which has a Vibram sole but more stability and protection. They’ve only gone on a few short runs so far, but I absolutely LOVE them (even though they look a little like elf shoes). I also got a pair of Asics minimalist racing flats, and they just so happen to be the shoes that Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall wore during his record marathon finish.

Minimus by New Balance

Since running hasn’t been an option for the past few weeks, I needed another stress-reliever… so that’s where the brownies come in 🙂 Meet the newest rendition of my Pumpkin Protein Bars… CHOCOLATE Protein Brownies (picture coming soon).

Chocolate Protein Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate protein powder
  • 2 T. coconut sugar
  • 2 T. granulated erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 2 T. dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine spelt four through salt
  • In a separate bowl, add remaining ingredients, except for chocolate chips
  • Add wet to dry, and mix until just combined
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Pour batter into oiled baking pan, and bake for 18 minutes

Makes 8 brownies

Nutrition Info:

Calories – 90

That’s all for the moment…happy first day of fall! (well, second now since it’s 1:40 am)… 🙂