Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Overnight Oats Success!

I had a 5-mile run scheduled for today. I fueled a little better when I woke up (a sandwich thin with maple cinnamon almond butter and sliced banana) and tried to hydrate a little more than usual (without drinking so much that I was uncomfortable during my run). I made sure to especially focus on my breathing during the first mile and was able to find a comfortable rhythm much earlier. This run was so much better than yesterday's!

Yesterday, I worried on the phone to my mom that I didn't feel as strong as I did two weeks ago, and she reminded me that I intentionally started training for the half-mary super early because I knew I was going to have some travel time that disrupted my training and it was OK. And she was right! As long as I am running consistently and gradually adding distance, I'll be good to go at the end of August. Here are today's run stats:
  • Total Mileage: 5mi
  • Total Time: 44:25
  • Average Pace: 8:52min/mi
I walked an additional mile after I finished (my goal was the water fountain 1/2 mile past home!). The weather was beautiful and perfect and I was just really enjoying being outside.

I made it home eventually though, because I knew this was waiting for me in the fridge:


That's right, my first ever bowl of overnight oats! I was planning to make these all day yesterday and then got distracted last night while watching The Bachelorette with my sister-in-law and completely forgot. I was all ready to go to sleep (in bed, reading, etc), when I suddenly remembered and headed back into the kitchen to assemble the goods.

In my inaugural batch:
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 banana, mashed
1T ground flax
1.5T vanilla
This morning I added:
maple cinnamon almond butter (I should have made a double batch!)
fresh strawberries
I didn't really know what to expect since, even though everyone and their mother has been raving about overnight oats, the thought of cold, swollen oats kind of grosses me out. However, I am happy to report that I actually kind of liked them! It's a bit heavier than what I normally consume in the morning (I know, I know, breakfast is supposed to be the biggest meal of the day. I just can't handle it, OK?), but since I didn't actually eat these until 11:30 when I finished running, yoga-ing, and showering, they definitely held me over for quite a few hours.

In other news, I am seriously missing my sweet husband! This is the longest we have been apart since we got married last summer and I am ready for him to be home tomorrow!


P.S. I made Angela's Time Crunch Vegan Enchiladas (except, um, not vegan because I used real cheese) and they were amaaaaazing! I made my own enchilada sauce (3T vegetable oil, 1T flour, 1/4c chili powder, 2c stock, 10oz tomato paste, 1t dried oregano, 2t dried cumin, 1/2t salt - simmer, simmer, simmer) and doubled the recipe, freezing half for when the hubs gets home. He loves him some enchiladas!


Motivate Me

I need a lot of motivation to get out on the trail and run. I mean, I love running, but I love doing other stuff (like reading by the pool, drinking iced coffee, listening/singing along to show tunes) too, sometimes a lot more! During the school year, it's hard for me to come home and run after dealing with students all day long. During the summer, it's hard for me to get up early and run (to beat the heat) because I just want to sleep in for once! Here are few things that keep me motivated to run, run, run!

Music I know this is true for a lot of you - if I forget my iPod, I am so not willing to put in extra miles. Music helps me keep a steady pace and it also helps me zone out and forget that my quads are screaming. I especially look forward to running when I have new music. Some of my favorite songs to run to (right now) are:
  • Ain't Nothing Wrong with That - Robert Randolph and the Family Band
  • California Girls - Katy Perry
  • Lying from You/Dirt off Your Shoulder - Linkin Park/ay-Z
  • Numb/Encore - Linkin Park/Jay-Z
  • Map of the Problematique - Muse
  • Rawk Fist - Thousand Foot Crutch
  • Remember the Name - Fort Minor
  • Sugar, We're Going Down - Fall Out Boy
  • Sweet Disposition (Dirty South Remix) - Temper Trap (I like to cue this one up about halfway through my run, when I'm not doing speed work)
  • Tonight - PAX 217
Clothes First, I always want to run if I have new gear! I buy my running clothes at places like The Sports Basement or even Marshall's because I don't like spending a ton of money on stuff I'm going to get super sweaty. Right now I am loving these tanks from Nike that I scored for about $12/each at Marshall's.

Technically they are tennis tanks, but I like the coverage and that they are not super tight through the torso.
Second, sometimes just changing into my workout clothes (even when I don't really want to workout) is enough to get me out the door. During the school year, this means changing as soon as I get home from work, even if I need to run a few errands or assemble dinner or veg in front of the computer for a few minutes (During soccer season, this is even easier. As a coach, I change as soon as school lets out and then I can just come home after practice and hit the trail!). Just having those clothes on is enough to remind me not to get too comfortable!

Rewards I'll admit, I am a sucker for external rewards. And yes, these are usually in the form of food! I'll tell myself, If you go out and run today, you can go to Yogurtland after dinner instead of making banana soft serve! or If you cross-train today, you can give in to Brian's pleas for dinner at The Counter!

I also try to reward myself during a run, especially if I'm having a rough one. I'll tell myself, If you run a solid next mile, you can walk for 1 minute or If you run to the top of this hill, you can take a short water/stretch break at the top. In the world of education/child psychology, we call rewards like these external motivators. They aren't enough to sustain your work, but they are usually enough to give you a little boost!

Numbers, Schedules, & Goals Unlike rewards, this motivator is totally internal. I am obsessed with tracking numbers and statistics, so keeping a log of how long I worked out, how far I ran, what my average pace was, etc is a good motivating factor for me. I also like having a workout schedule so I can tell at-a-glance what I am supposed to complete that day (keep me from cheating!). Finally, I am super goal-oriented. Before I started doing races, I had a hard time keeping a consistent running schedule because I felt like What am I doing this for? What is my purpose? When I have a race to prepare for, it gives me a goal to work towards, which keeps me motivated because I hate not completing a goal.

Trickery & Deception This might say a lot about me, but I'm easily deceived. That's not to say I'm totally gullible (you cannot be gullible as a high school teacher!), but it's not too hard for me to trick myself. For example, if I'm doing a 5-mile out-and-back run, I will actually run about 1/2 mile the other direction before heading out to my actual destination (see possibly confusing diagram below - I am not a visual learner!).
 This way, when I hit the turnaround point, my brain thinks I've got 2.5mi left, but I actually only have 1.5mi to complete 5mi!. This makes the run home seem so much easier. Of course, I finish my 5 miles with some distance left to cover before I get home, so this sometimes motivates me to run even farther! It seems silly, but it works for me! (It also might work for me because there are lots of numbers involved, which automatically confuse me...)

Today's Question: How do you motivate yourself to get out there and sweat?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feed the Warrior!

I was scheduled for a 3-mile run yesterday, but took the day off to rest my legs after Sunday's race (Tuesday is normally my rest day). Since I have been a little inconsistent with my training lately, I decided to do 4 miles today instead. I waited a little late to head out and it was getting pretty warm. I also had a hard time finding my breathing rhythm again. Does anyone else have this problem? My legs feel fine, but I just can't seem to get into a comfortable breathing pattern and it just throws off the whole run. I completed the run, but it was not as easy as it normally is. I hate having a frustrating workout. To redeem the morning, I did Polly's Yoga for Runners. Good for the body and the soul!

Here are my run stats:
  • Total Mileage: 4mi
  • Total Time: 36:01
  • Average Pace: 9min/mi
I enjoyed this simple lunch while watching the Spain v. Portugal game:

¡Viva Espanã!

The white bean pasta salad was left over from dinner last night and consisted of: spinach fusili, tuna, cannelini beans, artichoke hearts, capers, red onion, parsley and a red wine vinegar dressing. I had a hard-boiled egg on the side along with a smoothie made with frozen peaches, fresh strawberries, plain yogurt and a little agave nectar. That smoothie was enormous! I saved half in the fridge for later.

Also, how cute is that straw? I found a package of them in drawer and was so excited to see they are reusable! I must have received them with a gift and completely forgotten about them.

For dinner I made Emily's black bean burgers (recipe here):


WOW. These were so flavorful and delicious! The recipe made 6 patties, but I was eating alone tonight, so I cooked half and froze the rest for a quick dinner later on. I can tell that these are going to be a big hit with the husband!

Has anyone else tried these Oroweat Sandwich Thins ? I am completely addicted to them! I don't like sandwich bread/hamburger buns much to begin with (I'm more interested in what's inside!), so these are perfect! I like them toasted in the morning as well. In fact, I'm planning to have one tomorrow morning before my 5 mile run with a little Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter that I whipped up this afternoon and half a banana. Feed the warrior!

Banana Berry Breakfast Parfait

Ooooh, this was just too good to wait to share with you later today!

Doesn't that look incredible?! What a perfect start to my Tuesday morning!

Banana Berry Breakfast Parfait
1 frozen banana
~1/2 cup frozen berries
~1/3 cup soy milk
+cereal and fresh berries for layering

1. Toss the banana, berries, and milk in the food processor and let it go to town. Hint: if it gums up or does not want to break the frozen fruit down, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add a little more milk. You will be able to tell when you get it right because it will almost instantly turn creamy. Mine took 2-3 minutes this morning, because my berries were frozen too.

2. Layer the soft serve with cereal and fresh berries


Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Banana Soft Serve!

The idea of Banana Soft Serve has been kicking around the blog world for a while. I first read about it on The Kitchn, but wasn't entirely convinced until Angela started raving about it on Oh She Glows (I love her blog!). I don't normally keep bananas around the house, but this might change my shopping habits! This stuff is seriously good.

The variations are endless, but I've been sticking to a peanut butter/chocolate vein. I can totally see using strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc for a more fruity soft serve. Yum!

Tonight I made Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve for my mom:
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • A glug of milk (dairy, soy, almond, etc)
  • 2T peanut butter 
Put it all in the food processor and let it do it's thang - the frozen banana gets creamy and a little gooey.

I like to stick it back in the freezer for a little while to let it firm up a bit. Yum!

At home, I have been adding 1-2t cocoa powder (sometimes with the peanut butter, sometimes without). I am totally addicted!

We are both so stuffed from dinner though, we might have to save this for tomorrow morning as a breakfast treat before our pedicures!

Vibha Dream Mile 10K

I just woke up from a nap after getting some sun in my parents' backyard - what a life! Here are the stats from my race this morning:

Total Mileage: 10.5K (6.52mi)
Total Time: 1 hour, 2 min
Average Pace: 9.38min/mi

The distance marked at the race was off from the distance on my iPod the entire way. I'm not sure if the race was marked incorrectly or if my iPod needs to be re-calibrated. I'll have to look into that. I checked the time when my iPod hit the 10K mark and my time was 1 hour even. I didn't quite hit my goal, but Brian reminded me that coming in under 55 minutes would have required shaving almost 15 minutes off my previous time and, even on an easier race, that would be been pretty difficult.

Edit 6/30: They finally posted the results! 

39/147 - Women Overall
21/78 - Women 21-29 

This was a really well-organized race, definitely the most organized race I've done this summer. We picked up our race packets on Friday, so all we had to do was show up and run! I did this event with my mom and three other teachers from her school. They walked together while I ran. Here is the race map through Shoreline Park:

It was a pretty, scenic run with plenty of aid stations, but I wore my water belt just to be safe! My run was not as strong as I would have hoped - I had to stop and walk more times than I would have liked to. I attribute this to a couple of things:
  1. The length of time since my last long run (over 1.5 weeks due to travel). I was scheduled to do 8 miles today, but 6.2 was all I had in me! 
  2. It stank! The tide was out and mud was exposed - sludgy, rancid, algea-infest mud. Shoreline also used to be a landfill. Blech! I had a hard time breathing at some points and never really found my breathing rhythm.
  3. The last 2K were super crowded! The 5K course intersected with the 10K course, which also doubled back on itself at the end. At this point in the race, I wanted to surge forward, but got bottle-necked with the 5K runners as well as the 10K walkers who were way behind.
There were some pretty impressive runners out there today. The race winner completed the 10K course in 35 minutes! There was also this woman pushing a huge double jog stroller who completely smoked me on the trail! I want to be able to run like that!

After the race, we stopped at the Lakeside Cafe for fruit salad, zucchini bread, and coffee. We sat on the outdoor patio - it was beautiful outside!

Brian is at an AP Physics convention in Monterey this week, so I'm spending today and most of tomorrow with my parents. We are having steak for dinner with fruit salad and spinach salad (my parents own a grocery store - more on that later) and then I'm going to teach my mom how to make banana soft serve. I'll try to remember to take pictures!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ashland Day 3

We woke up on Friday and packed up camp pretty early since we wanted to get on the road as quickly as possible. But first, we had to make a quick stop at Dutch Brothers! When I was living in Sacramento and teaching in Woodland, I got coffee at a Dutch Brothers at least 2x a week. I don't know what it is about their coffee, but it is so smooth and delicious! I don't miss very much about Woodland, but I do miss Dutch Brothers! It was nice treat before a very long drive home. I got a nonfat latte and Brian got a chai.

Yay, Dutch Bros!

And then we drove for about 6 hours...

We made a pit stop in Vacaville for lunch at Panera and a little outlet shopping and were home by 4pm. Whew!

While the first thing on my mind when we got home was to take a long shower to wash off the camping grime, my wonderful husband convinced me to get a workout in. I have a 10k race tomorrow (Sunday) and while I have been training diligently for my 1/2 marathon in August, the last week and a half have been rough for working out. We spent 5 days in Oklahoma with my grandparents before going to Oregon, so the last real run I did was a week and a half ago! I decided to get in at least 4 miles, but was not expecting a very productive run. I popped two or three Gu Chomps to give me a little boost and headed out to the trail.

The first mile was a little rough, but I got into a groove around mile 2 and sailed through the rest of the run. Brian said he was surprised that I was so close behind him the whole way (he usually leaves me in the dust!), so I guess that week off didn't hurt me too much. Here's the run info:
  • Total Mileage: 4.16m
  • Total Time: 36:55min
  • Average Pace: 8:52/mi
I am still trying to find a way to determine my mile splits with Nike+. I know you are supposed to be able to do it through SlowGeek, but I can't seem to get my username to work and I have been on the computer for too long tonight. Frustrating!

I am running the Vibha Dream Mile tomorrow morning at Shoreline. It's my third 10k this summer and I am hoping for a smoother race than the last two. At the beginning of May, Brian and I ran the Los Altos Hills Pathways Run and it was brutal! I had just started training for the 1/2 marathon, but I thought I could do 6 miles no problem. Unfortunately, it was super hilly and I was not adequately prepared. I finished, but it was unpleasant! Then, about three weeks ago, we ran the 2nd Annual Hook and Ladder 10K at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. This was a much less hilly course, so I thought I would do a lot better. However, it was already 85+ degrees when we started at 8am and then they ran out of water! I got to the second aid station around mile 4 or 5 and there was no water! The irony that this race was sponsored by firefighters was not lost on me... I finished, but was seriously dehydrated and only shaved about 2 minutes off my crappy time from the Los Altos Hills run! I am hoping to finish under 55 minutes tomorrow - wish me luck!

Ashland Day 2

We woke up a bit late on Thursday morning, since we did not get back to our campsite after Merchant of Venice until nearly midnight! We ate a nice camp breakfast of coffee, oatmeal, and White House Muffins before heading back to the festival for our Folio Viewing, where we got to see a beautiful original of Shakespeares First Folio (published in 1623) on loan from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection and learn about the history of the Folio and printing practices of the time. Fun (and nerdy)!

Brian was especially happy to get this parking spot (he called it his winner spot), because we were right across the street from the theaters and didn't have to pay for parking all day!


After the viewing, we went to lunch at our #2-most-favorite-restaurant-in-all-of-Ashland, Pangea! I have eaten at Pangea every single time I have visited the festival. It is so yummy!

Brian checked the soccer scores while we waited for our food.


We split a Squirrel Nut Salad (organic field greens with sprouts, slivered carrots and grilled foccacia, topped with goji berries, chipped coconut, sunflower, pumpkin and any other seeds or nuts that catch our fancy. Served naked with lemon-sesame tahini on the side - Brian talks about this salad all year long!). Brian ordered the Ethiopian Wrap special and I got The Tempehst (spiced tempeh, caramelized onions, grilled and marinated zucchini, roasted sweet peppers and garlic aioli).

I had never eaten tempeh before, but I don't know what I was waiting for! This was incredible (and so much yummier than tofu, which I merely tolerate for the sake of being healthy). Tempeh is awesome! I did a little research and learned:
Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids. The soy protein and isoflavones have many health benefits. Isoflavones strengthen bones, help to ease menopause symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers. Tempeh maintains all the fiber of the beans and gains some digestive benefits from the enzymes created during the fermentation process. [Source]
Sounds good to me!

After lunch, we frolicked around Ashland for a while, grabbed lattes at Key of C (I got the Tiger Eye - a chai latte with a shot of espresso!), read/napped in Lithia Park, and before we knew it, it was time to eat again! For dinner, we tried a new (to us) restaurant, Hana Sushi. We ordered an enormous bowl of edamame and some gyoza for appetizers, and then ordered three sushi rolls.

veggie roll, spicy salmon roll, spicy tuna roll

They were all delicious, and left us with just enough room for dessert, so we grabbed frozen yogurt at Yogurt Hut!

mango fro-yo with fresh kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, and coconut flakes

With our bellies full, it was time to see some more Shakespeare! I don't think Hamlet really needs much introduction, does it? I taught Hamlet to my very first class of twelfth graders in 2006, but have never seen it live. I knew that this was going to be a great show, but I was not prepared for how unbelievable it would be (and it did not hurt that we had front row seats!).


Dan Donohue was indescribable as Hamlet, the prince of Denmark. He received the only standing ovation I have ever witnessed at the festival!

[photos by David Cooper - source]

I don't really even have words to adequately describe how flawless this production was, I am still a little amazed by it. Needless to say, it made the entire trip worth it (and I would make the trip again just to see Hamlet again). You can watch some video of the production here.   

Ashland Day 1

We left for Ashland around 9:30 on Wednesday morning (after watching the US beat Algeria in the final minute of stoppage time! If you missed the game, you must watch the highlights here). Our first stop was less than 5 minutes from our house - Psycho Donuts! This place is crazy (no pun intended), and we save it for road trips only. Otherwise, we would be eating donuts every day and each weigh about 500 pounds! I got the Fudgie, their vegan donut of the week. It was a cake donut with fudge frosting, rice crispy cereal, and peanut butter drizzle. Yum!


Brian got the Mood Swing, a cake donut with chocolate frosting topped with half peanuts, half coconut. Also delicious!


After that, we were off! We stopped once and made it to our campground around 3:45 in the afternoon. We set up camp as quickly as possible and then headed into downtown to pick up our tickets at Will Call. We splurged on more expensive tickets this year, so we decided to only attend two shows: The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet . I also bought tickets for a Folio Viewing, which I did several years ago when I went to Ashland for a week-long teaching seminar. I thought it was really neat and wanted Brian to experience it as well.

After picking up our tickets, we decided to grab dinner at our #1-most-favorite-restaurant-in-all-of-Ashland, Dragonfly. Once again, we were not disappointed! We ordered two appetizers, a roasted veggie platter, and the Ahi wontons. They were excellent (even the wontons, and I don't even like raw tuna).

100_2199.JPG   100_2200.JPG

For dinner, I ordered an Imperial Bowl, and Brian ordered the Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos Three Ways.

Me and my Imperial Bowl - I must learn how to make these ASAP!
(big bowl of steamy lemongrass and coconut milk broth with shiitake mushrooms, brown rice, steamed zucchini, bean sprouts and julienne vegetables)


Brian and his fish tacos
(three mahi mahi tacos, topped with cabbage slaw, avocado, tomato salsa, and pineapple salsa with a side of beans and rice)

For dessert, Brian ordered a Coconut Flan (which I happily helped him finish!).


After dinner it was off to the show! The Merchant of Venice is one of the (few) Shakespearean plays I am unfamiliar with, having neither seen, taught, nor read it before this festival. It's most famous for the phrase "a pound of flesh" and the character of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. I enjoyed watching a play I was not familiar with, because it allowed me to go into the show with zero expectations. As usual, the OSF company did an incredible job. The show was done outdoors in the Elizabethan theatre and we had second row seats (!!). It was great fun to see Anthony Heald (who played "William Shagspeare" in the world premiere of Bill Cain's Equivocation at the festival last year) steal the show as Shylock. I also really enjoyed the costume design, which was so ambiguous it made it impossible to determine what time period the story was taking place in. This worked especially well for Merchant, I think, because the themes of prejudice and alienation are so universal. Taking the play out of any identifiable time period allowed those themes to really shine through.

OK, enough English teaching talk for tonight! I am trying to get caught up from the trip so I can take a few days off to visit my mom while Brian is at a teaching convention in Monterey next week. Lots to do!

Road Trip Prep!

For the past three years, Brian and I have road-tripped up to Oregon to attend the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. This is my most favorite thing to do in the summer! It's a long drive (6 hours!), but completely worth it. Every season is exciting, innovative, and beautifully executed. It doesn't hurt that Ashland has awesome restaurants (more on that later)!

To fuel us on our road tip, I packed a few snacks for the road, including two new baked treats. The first came from Julie at The Family Kitchen. Her Camper's Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies with Dried Cranberries sounded like something my husband's sweet tooth would appreciate, and I was right! I made these slightly larger than I think the recipe intends and got about 18 cookies. I gave half to my father-in-law as a (late) Father's Day gift and Brian dutifully munched on the rest during our trip! Julie says that the recipe is easily halved and that the dough freezes well too. I am tempted to whip up another batch and freeze the balls of dough, but that might be downright dangerous! These cookies were seriously good. Dense and flavorful, they made the perfect road trip snack! I imagine they would be equally delicious with white chocolate or peanut butter chips. Yikes! Definitely not super-healthy, but decidedly super-yummy!

Campers Chocolate Chip Cookies with Granola and Dried Cranberries
adapted from The Family Kitchen

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 large egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda 

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups granola

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add the granola, cranberries, nuts and chocolate chips and stir just until blended.


This dough is delicious! I had to eat a peach to keep me from eating all the dough before it got in the oven!


Drop spoonfuls of dough an inch or two apart onto cookie sheets that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until barely golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


My second snack came from a recent Food & Wine article on Spike Mendelsohn (from Top Chef!). We saved these for breakfasts since, this year, we camped in Ashland! I liked these muffins, but I'm going to try them again with a few additional modifications. First, I added raisins this time, which I liked, but I think I might try dried cranberries next time instead. Also, they were a bit dry (even for my healthy tastes!), so I might substitute part (or all) of the canola oil with applesauce next time to add some moisture. Overall, though, I really enjoyed these muffins. They were not too sweet, but the honey (I actually used half honey, half agave because I realized too late I didn't have enough honey) adds a nice subtly sweet flavor.

White House Honey-Oat Muffins
adapted from Food & Wine

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375°. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, coriander and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the honey with the buttermilk, canola oil and eggs. Pour the honey mixture into the dry ingredients; mix just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 18 minutes, until they're golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Finally, here's a quick picture of all the snacks we took with us, just for fun. Oatmeal, coffee, and muffins (for breakfast), pitas, apples, peaches, cookies, muffins, carrots, cucumbers, and hummus. Just tryin' to keep it healthy on the road!


Jacked Up Pasta Sauce

I got the idea from this sauce from two places. First, a tomato soup recipe from Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave” that called for pureed carrots in addition to tomatoes and second, from Angela over at Oh She Glows who uses a similar method to add extra vegetable servings to regular jarred pasta sauce. I love this recipe because it’s great for A) clearing out your veggie crisper and B) jacking up your veggie intake for the day. Since Brian and I are leaving for Oregon tomorrow, it was the perfect way to get rid of some extra produce I had lying around (and compensate for the amount of eating out we will be doing!).

I started with Krieger’s Easy Tomato Sauce recipe (I use an immersion blender to smooth it out – I don’t like chunks!). I had used half of it on pizza last week and it was languishing away in my fridge. I knew it wouldn’t be enough for pasta on its own, so I pureed 1 carrot, 1 red bell pepper, and ½ can of garbanzo beans left over from last night’s salad. I added the puree to the sauce and heated it over the stove top with about ½ lb of chopped crimini mushrooms and a little water to thin it out. Meanwhile, I crumbled and then sautéed two spicy Italian sausages.

I divided the sauce and added the sausages to Brian’s half. We ate it on top of whole wheat spaghetti with some warm ciabatta bread out on the patio. Quick, easy, and healthy!

I'll be back later tonight with some of the baking and other prep I've been doing today to get us ready to road trip up to Oregon tomorrow AM!