Fit Friday: Eating Fit

One thing I think that can be hard about being fit isn’t just finding time to work out (or getting motivated to do so) but also eating right – especially as we move to the holiday of candy, followed by all the Thanksgiving/Christmas reading. I personally believe in the “everything in moderation” philosophy. I partake in desserts when available and I enjoy a good glass of wine. But I try to compensate by eating healthy the rest of the time.

Many people believe that eating healthy can be time-consuming and expensive. It can be but I think you can make it work. I have the added challenge that the only meat I eat is fish, and well fish can be pricey so I have lots of no-meat days. Typically I start my days out with a filling but not-to-big breakfast (either some Greek yogurt and homemade granola) or a piece of toast with an egg. I try to eat a filling lunch and an easy, but good dinner.

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And to help you make a quick, easy, and healthy dinner, here is one of my favorite salad recipes (I don’t really measure so good luck with that).

Kale Salad Mix (I like the Harvest Sensations Brand, includes carrots, cabbage, and kale)
Red Onion diced
Heirloom Tomato (or your favorite kind of tomato) diced
Slivered Almonds
Canned Tuna (drained)
Avocado (1/4-1/2, cut up)
Crumbled Feta
Olive Oil
Basalmic Vinegar

Mix together everything except the olive oil and vinegar. (When I’m in a rush, I just throw all the ingredients into a plastic bag and shake!) and then drizzle with a little olive oil and Balsalmic vinegar as a dressing. I like to add a little pepper too. It’s delicious and filling.

Yum!

Yum!

What’s your favorite quick & easy healthy meal?

Easter Baking

Sometimes people ask me why I run so much. And yes, I run because I like to challenge myself and see what new goals I can meet. But I also run because I really love to bake and eat delicious food. We had a pretty low key Easter Sunday, but I did make some carrot cupcakes (recipe from Smitten Kitchen). Here are some photos of the process and the yummy outcome!



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Happy Easter!!!

Make Your Own Power Bars!

Recently, I joined a running club, Santa Cruz Endurance, to help me become a faster, stronger runner. This has been one of the best decisions I have made recently, not just because of all the running I have been doing but also because of the fab people I have met. One of these is an amazing woman, Shoshanah, who not only is a fast little runner and triathlete but also has great recipes to share. One of these were the delicious power bars that I’m sharing with you here. And you can modify to make them the way you want!

To make these tasty little treats that make a great snack or post run treat, you will need the following:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
3 cups raw oats
1/2 cup ground flax meal (or hempseed)
1/2 cup chopped nut (I mixed peanuts and walnuts)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or your favorite dried fruit, I used raisins this time)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips (mini are best)
Mixer (stirring all this is hard stuff, see my video below)

Directions: Mix well and then press in a pan. Put in fridge for one hour before eating. That’s it! How easy, right? I put the dry ingredients in first and it worked great. I was even a little short on honey but they still turned out great.

Here’s the photo documentation of the process:

Ingredients

Pre Mixing

Ready to go in the fridge!

yum!

Try making these and let me know how they turn out. What nuts and dried fruit will you use?

A Little Pasta, A Little Pesto…

Today was a very productive day. I edited two weeks worth of lecture notes and their corresponding power point presentations. The syllabus is almost complete, just waiting on the new edition of the book to make sure the assigned chapters are still correct. And Paul (our visitor for a few weeks) ran 8.75 miles with me. (On a side note, having a running buddy for the past few weeks has been so awesome! We’ve run four or five runs together and having someone with you makes the miles and the time fly by!) Oh and we took the pups to the beach. Gus LOVES the beach! So as a reward to a productive day, homemade pasta & pesto was on tonight’s menu!

I love homemade pesto! I love it more when it comes from my basil plant. To whip up this tasty pasta sauce, I used the following recipe. No pine nuts this time, saved a little cash and the pesto tastes almost as yummy without!

Basil Pesto (modified from Food Network recipe)
2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic (mine was from Gilroy, yay for local!)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (not to be confused with the just plain old virgin stuff!)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Put the basil and garlic in the food processor. Once all chopped up add the olive oil. I also just mix the cheese right in there but feel free to add it in by stirring by hand. On a special note, I used the salad spinner and food processor I got as shower gifts in this preparation (thanks Sarah & Susan!).

Well, I had to have something to put the pesto on, right? Oh yeah! So of course I opted for fresh, homemade pasta. I really don’t know if I can go back to the box stuff, so spoiled :) Here’s the recipe I used.

Egg Pasta (modified from Kitchen Aid recipe)
3 1/2 cups flour (you should sift, but I find it doesn’t make that much of a difference)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon water
a pinch of salt
several pinches of dried Italian herbs (for a little extra something, something)
Mix all the ingredients (I use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer). Then use a kneading hook in your stand mixer for 2 minutes on speed 2. Hand knead for a few minutes and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Separate into four sections and flatten. Then use your handy-dandy pasta cutter to flatten out and then cut into your preferred pasta style (I chose traditional spaghetti). If you don’t dry your pasta, it takes about 2-3 minutes to completely cook. Another special note, I used my new 5.5 quart Le Creuset French oven from the wedding registry to boil up the pasta  (thanks mom!).

I save some of the boiling water to mix with the pasta and pesto sauce (thanks Barefoot Contessa for the tip!). Then I serve with some freshly grated Parmesan.

I drank a glass of Yellowtail Merlot and found the meal to be a perfect end to the day. The boys chose to pair beer with their pasta feast, to each their own.

And now for an episode of the Misfits (if you don’t know about this show, you should!) Perfect day!

Summer Recap

I know, I’ve been a bad blogger.

It’s been a long, long time since my last post. I’ve logged in and started to write posts but didn’t know where to start. Well, I figure no time like the present to get caught up on my blog. I thought about doing a separate post for all the events/things we have been doing, but instead here’s a bit of what we’ve been doing since May (yep it’s a long entry).

Wedding Planning
Not surprisingly since I’ve been out of my course work for the summer I have been focusing on the wedding. We finally have a DJ (yay!) but still have lots to do. I had my first dress fitting a few weeks back (and will have another one on Friday) as well as talked flowers and decorations. My mom, Susan, Olivia, and Tara have some AMAZING ideas!

Engagement Photos
In June, my amazing friend and mom-to-be Punam took engagement photos of Kevin & me. They are great. Here’s a teaser shot, but you can see her blog post on them here.

Bachelorette Weekend
The weekend after the engagement photo shoot, four of my close friends and I went to Sonoma County for my bachelorette weekend. It was perfect, complete with beautiful views, hiking, dogs (you know I love dogs!), delicious food, and wine… lots of wine! One of my best friends, Tawny, planned the whole thing and I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better time.

We’ve Been Here, There, & Everywhere (yeah, I totally used one of my favorite Beatle songs here)
Kevin & I have been traveling all over the place this summer. I think one or both of us was gone every weekend beginning in mid-June until, well, now. As mentioned earlier, I was in Sonoma County in June, Kevin’s sister and his niece and nephews visited the following few days, then we flew off to Texas (more about that later), then we drove up to Washington (with a pit stop in Oregon to see one of my best friends), Kevin’s uncle visited for a week or so, then I went home to wedding stuff, Kevin went off to Taiwan for work… and now we’re laying low. Of course, we’ll be traveling here and there again soon :) During that time, Kevin also celebrated the big 3-0!!

Showers
While we were in Washington, Kevin’s family threw us a wedding shower. And when I was in So Cal my best friend threw me a bridal shower. Both parties were so much fun and it was great seeing everyone. We really appreciate that everyone came out and celebrated with us. Plus, my mom brought an old high school photo album that my girlfriends and I had a good laugh at!

                                 

Dan & Juliana’s Wedding
As I mentioned earlier, Kevin & I went to Texas this summer. Why? To attend Dan and Juliana’s wedding of course! I love this couple, they are fun and sweet and a perfect match for each other. I also got to catch up with some of my old high school friends, as well as visit some of the best that San Antonio has to offer: Alamo, River Walk (ok we barely did this), San Jose Mission, Cavender’s Boot store, and some serious BBQ (the boys ate it, I just stared in amazement).

The newlyweds

Outside the cathedral

The boys & me outside of the Alamo

BBQ!

Summer School
In addition to traveling, planning, and partying, I also worked as a teaching assistant for the first session of summer school at UCSC. I had the pleasure of working with an amazing teacher and fellow grad student who I definitely look up to. This was a class I had TAed for before, but I learned a great deal from above-mentioned-instructor and her great teaching style.

Cooking/Baking
As usual, I’ve spent a great deal of time cooking and baking. I made a yummy batch of cookies-n-cream/cookie dough ice cream (yes together, in one delicious, sugary bowl!). I failed at my first scone making attempt (that’s what I get for last-minute recipe modifications). And I made homemade pasta for the first time, yum!

Drying pasta

Running
I’ve still been running with a few races here and there. Since my last post, I ran 4 races (see my results here). I did take 1st in my age group for one of them, always a nice feeling! And tomorrow, I’ll be running the 1st half of the San Francisco Marathon. Since running the Big Sur Marathon I’ve been pretty slow on my long runs, so I’m not expecting to be very speedy tomorrow but I think it will be a lot of fun. And I have to admit I’m pretty darn excited about getting an Irish Coffee after the race, now that’s a treat I can look forward to post-run (the run is early, like 5:45am early, so I’ll ready for that warm beverage!). Here are some photos from my recent races.

Silly me, throwing my hands in the hair! Crossing the finish line at She.Is.Beautiful 10k on May 22

Post race at Nisene Marks 5k, very rainy race :)

Coming up to the finish line in the San Lorenzo Train Run 10k

Pre-Race Wharf to Wharf 6 mile (surrounded by 15,000 other runners!)

Well, I think we’re all caught up. I will try to get back into my normal blog routine in August.