First week of summer

This time of the year is always strange.  My brothers are still in school for another month, summer training hasn’t really picked up yet, and my internship doesn’t start until the end of the month.  Every year, I have trouble with the transition to summer mode because I’m the type that gets anxious if I have “nothing to do” on a given day.  I tend to feel guilty and unproductive even though the ability to relax is just as important for overall health as things like sleep and exercise!  So the beginning of this past week was hard, but I’ve been able to enjoy the leisure time more each day!

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Highlights of this week:

Miles run: 16
Minutes cross trained: 70
Number of times I went out to eat: ZERO! (I’m really proud of that- trying really hard to be more frugal.)*

*Okay, I did go to Starbucks twice, but only because I had a gift card!

The few miles that I did run felt good.  There was some bunion pain, but the rest of my body didn’t feel as lethargic as I’d thought it would!

One day, a friend and I went on a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  Another day, I went hiking with another friend.  I read a cliché summer book (The Vacationers) in one three-hour sitting.  We ate dinner outside as a family and tried fruitlessly to keep the mosquitos away with Citronella candles (didn’t work).  I spent hours and hours outside, soaking up the Vitamin D and beautiful weather.  One night brought a counterintuitively peaceful summer thunderstorm.

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I’m trying to cook even more (and be more creative in the kitchen), and my brother has been helping with the food photography because he has a nice camera 😉  This week, I made the pancakes mentioned in the last post…

Lentil stew stuffed sweet potatoes from The Cutting Veg

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Topped with yogurt and fresh basil (sounds weird, tastes incredible)

…and I also sauteed turnip greens for the first time, so as to not waste them.  Yum!

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Roasted turnips and sweet potatoes, fresh tomato, sauteed turnip greens, mushrooms, green onions, and garlic with chicken

I also made copycat Levain Bakery cookies!  I’ve never actually been to Levain Bakery, but these cookies turned out incredible.

Last but not least, I cooked my first live crabs yesterday.  I love crabs and hadn’t eaten them in years!  They were delicious.  What a cool experience.

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Now that I’m at home, I have access to a plethora of foods that were much more difficult to access at school.  We have the seasonal vegetables from our CSA.  Turnips, radishes, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce…all local and much fresher and more flavorful than anything you’d find at the grocery store!  Amazing farmer’s markets.  A semi-stocked pantry (although with two teenage boys and a college runner, nothing lasts long in this house).

This is allowing me to continue to develop my passion for cooking, for which I am so grateful!  It’s also been easier to avoid going out to eat and be more innovative and think of what I can make with the ingredients that we already have in the house.  Three cheers for saving money and eating cheaply, but healthily!

I’m itching to start training for real, but reminding myself to be patient!

First race in uniform! + Thanksgiving, finals, and other things

I am currently smack in the middle of my first set of college finals, along with my running break.  So far, I’ve taken my microeconomics final (fine), bio 220 final (HORRIBLE), and I just turned in my final paper for my freshman seminar.  Next Wednesday, I have my Spanish final exam and final paper due.  After that, I head home for a month of running, sleeping, holiday cookie baking, dog sitting, and friends!

Thanksgiving break was pretty fun.  Although I did not repeat the Thanksgiving debacle of 2013, I did gorge myself pretty heartily over the five days.

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My brother and I after a solid hour of eating

Every lunch and dinner that I ate from Thursday to Sunday was leftovers.  Whoops.

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I also met up with my three best friends from high school for some holiday cookie baking on our last night home.  It was a lot of fun!

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After a nightmarish journey back to school due to post-Thanksgiving traffic, my roommate and I decorated our room for Christmas!

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Last Saturday was my first race in uniform- the 3k!  In the two weeks leading up to the race, I started experiencing pain in my lower right leg and foot, which I think was due to a combination of dead shoes, transitioning to the track, and just overall accumulation of training since June.  Also, I hammered easy runs and training in general over Thanksgiving break…oops.  There was one maintenance run especially where I ran with my (ALL-AMERICAN! YES, SHE GOT IT!) teammate and other speedy teammates, and I was dying.  Not fun.  I forced my legs to survive until the race, so they were less than 100%.  Oh, well!

We got to the venue around 3:15 and warmed up around 5:45 for 20 minutes.  It made me so happy to be back in the indoor track environment; I love indoor so much!  Even though it was a different venue with college teams instead of high school, it still made me really nostalgic for those hours spent sitting on the nasty yellow bleachers at the PG County Sportsplex in high school.

My coaches seeded everyone really fast so that we would be in the faster heat.  The first heat went off, and we did strides while we waited.  It was my first time wearing buns!

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We lined up and the gun went off.  I knew I was going way faster than I’d be able to keep up, but I just settled in and decided to enjoy it even though I knew I was going to die.  By lap 5, the bothersome pain that had been bugging one of my legs decided to flare up exponentially worse.  Both of my legs were on fire.  It felt like my shins were being ripped apart, and the feeling was getting worse every lap.  I tried to ignore it and focused on working with one of my teammates, and we came through the mile in 5:33.  The next seven laps were a struggle, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but yes, I ended up running in last.  Oh, well!

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The burning in my shins was horrid by the end of the race, but I finished in 10:47.  Not a terrible time for my first race in uniform!  I know I’m in much better shape than that, though.  After the race, I cooled down, then iced my shins for awhile, then gorged myself on Panera and chocolate chip cookies.

This break from running has been good to my legs so far, and I’m looking forward to getting back into training and doing all the little things that I’ve slightly neglected recently.  I love running.  I love indoor track.  I am so excited to race again. 🙂

 

Chocolate is greater than homework (and everything else)

I have lots of physics homework.  I have a math quiz tomorrow.  Most importantly, I have a 25-minute oral presentation for English that may happen tomorrow.

But am I currently working on any of this?

Nope.

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To be fair, I was doing my homework.  I’ve typed up five pages of a script outline for my presentation, but I can never concentrate for more than an hour without eating.

So…chocolate!

On Friday, I really, really wanted brownies.  I arrived home from school at 1 pm (it was an early release day) and opened the baking cabinet to find…

No chocolate chips.

No baker’s bars.

No unsweetened chocolate.

Gahhhhh!!!

I did, however, find a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt in the refrigerator.  I can’t stand vanilla Greek yogurt by itself, but then I thought: “Can I use this in brownies?”  I found a recipe online (granted, it called for stuff that I didn’t have), made a few tweaks, and waited to see what would result.

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Success! A fudgey yet cakey brownie (sans chocolate chips) made with vanilla Greek yogurt!

Recipe:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
*Optional: 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. In a mixer, combine butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; mix until incorporated.  Slowly add flour mixture, followed by yogurt.  *Add chocolate chips if using.  Spread into an 8×8 pan and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I would have preferred if they didn’t have butter and whatnot, but they were definitely not as unhealthy as they could have been.  They turned out delicious and I probably could have taken them out of the oven a couple minutes earlier, because they did continue to bake while cooling.  Leaving them be (in a sealed container) for a day makes them much sweeter and gooier.  Yay!

This weekend has been a mixture of chocolate, boredom, exercise, and schoolwork-related death.

Today, I decided to make hot chocolate truffle cookies, after failing at making these last week.  This time, it was a success!!

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They aren’t very photogenic… but they taste amazing!  Another plus is that they have zero added sugar.  (They have dates in them)

Yes, I did take pictures of cookies on a windowsill.  But I think their truffle-like decadence makes up for it.  Seriously.  They are so good.

I’ll admit they’re a tiny bit dry, but that makes them all the better for dipping in milk! Yum! Or even better– eating with vanilla ice cream!!

All this chocolate consumption has me worried for regionals on Wednesday…… I’ve officially decided to run the 2 mile! Eek!