Cupcakes

Cupcakes

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Cupcakes

Cupcakes

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I MOVED!

I moved my blog.

I am now “The Spoonful of Life” and at thespoonfuloflife.com.

Just a hop, skip, and click away.

See you there!

Don’t forget to resubscribe, so that you will get notified when I make posts from this new blog.

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Eating Eccentricities

Who’s excited it’s Friday??  I’m excited it’s Friday, for no other reason that it seems appropriate to be happy it’s Friday!

After a week of running with my new  Garmin 205, I can officially say I’m in love.  It provides an extra incentive to get up at 4:30am in the morning to go for my runs.  I especially like the interval feature, which notifies me with a “ding, ding, ding” when an interval starts and stops.  Very helpful!

Thursday was my first “scheduled” interval run on my half-marathon schedule.  I ran 6 X 800m intervals with a 400m recovery jog in between.  I would have run with Shari, but her marathon training schedule conflicted with mine.  Thus, I ran my intervals alone, which probably accounts for the subsequent decreases in pace.  I was losing my mojo! It really helps to run intervals with someone who has a pace comparable to your own.  They challenge you to run faster than what you could probably do alone.  Plus, it simulates racing conditions when you will have others running against you.

Warm up:  1 mile
Interval 1:  800m @ 6:14 pace
Interval 2:  800m @ 6:27 pace
Interval 3:  800m @ 6:38 pace
Interval 4:  800m @ 6:58 pace
Interval 5:  800m @ 6:38 pace
Interval 6:  800m @ 6:56 pace
Cool down:  1 mile

TOTAL Distance:   6.32 miles

 

—————————-

I think everyone would agree with me when I say eating is a very fun activity!  I love food – the taste, the smell, the texture, and the art of preparing it.  I would not have a food blog if Twinkies were my fillet minion equivalent.  The art of eating goes beyond the food, though.  My enjoyment of a meal is impacted by the dish I eat off, the silverware I use, and the place-mat I take my pictures on.  There are certain rules I abide by that make my meal 100% more enjoyable…I call these are my eccentricities. 

1.  Always eat AB sandwich with a fork and knife. This makes the sandwich last sooooo mucccchhhhhh looonnnnggggger.

2. Water taste better when consumed out of an old almond butter jar.

3. Use a dessert fork whenever possible. They are cute and force me to eat smaller bites.

4.  Iced tea spoons are the way to go, no matter what you’re eating.


Banogurt Mash

3/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 chilled banana, sliced or mashed
cinnamon
pumpkin pie spice
Option Add-Ins:  Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Toasted Wheat Germ, Blueberries

Mix and Mash.  Serve.  Enjoy.

4. Unusual utensils, such as spoons with holes that say FUEL, only serve to make your food taste better.


[granola, Quaker Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares, puffed millet, blueberries, cinnamon, milk]

5.  Food is more attractive and delicious on unusually LONG serving plates!

[This plate is not a joke!]

This was probably not intended to be used as a dinner or lunch plate.  In fact, I can almost guarantee it was not meant for that purpose.  But I like eating off of cool dishes, and this fit that bill.  My mom found it on sale while out shopping the other day (a mom who knows the way into her foodie daugher’s heart).  It served as the perfect platter to plate my lunch!

Lunch features yet another hummus recipe.  Yes, I have a penchant for eating and making hummus!  This recipe had to be made though.  Several years ago while searching for hummus recipe that didn’t require tahini, I found a recipe called “Super Healthy Hummus.”  In place of the tahini, they used yogurt and extra virgin olive oil.  I have made hummus with and without tahini, and must say this is my preferred method.  The flavor is ridiculously good.  The mellow tasting yogurt allows the garlic and chickpeas to dominate.  I added more garlic to give it more bang.



I spread it on a tortilla and added steamed asparagus, spinach, and tomatoes
.  A delicious combination.  I would highly recommend making a wrap with hummus or avocado, and steamed asparagus.   The steamed asparagus adds nice crunch

——————–

Super Healthy Hummus (adapted from a website several years ago)

This is by far my favorite hummus.  I used to default and buy my hummus from the store, but not after trying this variety.  It is a wonderful balance of flavor, texture, and satisfaction!

1 can no-salt-added chickpeas
1/4 cup yogurt (greek or regular)
2-3 t EVOO
3-6 cloves garlic
1/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t pepper

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.  Taste for flavor and adjust as necessary.  Serve.

——————–

Is there a food or product you prefer to home-make as rather than buy at the store? Hummus, soups, and breads always taste better homemade.  Unfortunately, I’m not Martha Stewart and usually resort to buying store bought bread.  I am going to work on making more of my own bread this month.

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Cooking Because I Can

I loved reading everyone’s comment about what motivates them to exercise.  No matter what your motivation for running, you always finish stronger and more confident that before.  It’s amazing what getting our blood flowing can do.

Today can be summed up in one word picture:

[Nutty Granola Bar and Orange segments]

Eat.  Study.  Repeat.   You know it is mid-semester when assignments and tests loom around every corner!  My workload today would not have been too bad, but my biochem instructor started flying through material.  We hadn’t even taken Test 2 and he was covering material for Test 3!  Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered the art of studying by osmosis, so I have spent the past few days trying to catch up the reading.  In the course of my studying, I found some interesting facts.  Be prepared to have your ego’s boosted.

1.  Humans only have 3X as many genes as a fruit fly.
2.  Humans only have 2X as many genes as a nematode worm.
3.  There is only a 1% difference between the human gene sequence and that of a chimpanzee.

How special do you feel now?  I started asking myself why I was studying if I was almost equivalent to a worm!  Despite these discouraging statistics, we are actually more complex and evolved than the worm and fruit fly.  “Alternative modes of gene expression allow the production of more than one protein from a singe gene- a process that humans and other vertebrate engage in more than do bacteria, worms, or an y other forms of life.” Because if this, we are able to produce more complex proteins.   More complex proteins = more complex functionality = Superiority of the human race! This explains why humans have the intelligence to swat a fruit fly, but the fruit fly can’t even find it’s way out of a open jar!

What is another reason to be thankful we’re more complex than a fruit fly or a worm?  We can make Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic White Bean Dip!


Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic  White Bean Hummus

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 roasted red peppers, skins and seeds removed

4 cloves roasted garlic

2 cloves garlic, not roasted

1 1/2 t lemon juice

1/8 t pepper

1/8 t salt

dash red pepper flakes

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Voila! Use as a dip for veggies, or as a salad topper.

My favorite way to eat hummus, though, is spread on sandwiches or pita.  I love, love, love the creaminess of the hummus paired with crisp vegetables and soft bread!  That is exactly what I have packed for lunch tomorrow, but with a different hummus.  I’ll share the recipe for that hummus coming tomorrow!

Show and tell is not over yet!  I promised you a few days ago the recipe for the most amazing pizza crust that will ever cross the threshold of your mouth.  Well, thanks to Baking Illustrated and the pure genius of Shari, I give you the recipe for Whole Wheat and Flax Pizza Crust.

———————–

Whole-Wheat and Flax Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 t) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 T EVOO
2 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax
1 1/2 t salt
Olive oil or nonstick spray for oiling the bowl

1.  Measure the water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let stand until yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2.  Process flour, flax, and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine.  Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube.  If the dough does not form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms.  Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

3.  The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball.  Put the dough into deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.

4.  Roll.  Top.  Bake.  Enjoy!

———————–

Let me just say that I love a recipe book that has pictures.  I have been drooling over the pictures in the Baking Illustrated book, and am considering skipping class tomorrow so I can bake the day away!  Not only would I be much happier baking cinnamon rolls and Ciabatta bread, but I would save gas by not having to drive to class!

What do you do in such a situation?  Skip class and bake cinnamon rolls, banana bread, soft pretzels….or go to class from 9am to 5:15pm?
As much as I want to stay home and bake the day away, I’m too nervous a student to risk missing a day.  It is tempting given the price of gas, though!

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Cooking Because I Can

I loved reading everyone’s comment about what motivates them to exercise.  No matter what your motivation for running, you always finish stronger and more confident that before.  It’s amazing what getting our blood flowing can do.

Today can be summed up in one word picture:

Eat.  Study.  Repeat.   You know it is mid-semester when assignments and tests loom around every corner!  My workload today would not have been too bad, but my biochem instructor started flying through material.  We hadn’t even taken Test 2 and he was covering material for Test 3!  Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered the art of studying by osmosis, so I have spent the past few days trying to catch up the reading.  In the course of my studying, I found some interesting facts.  Be prepared to have your ego’s boosted.

1.  Humans only have 3X as many genes as a fruit fly.
2.  Humans only have 2X as many genes as a nematode worm.
3.  There is only a 1% difference between the human gene sequence and that of a chimpanzee.

How special do you feel now?  I started asking myself why I was studying if I was almost equivalent to a worm!  Despite these discouraging statistics, we are actually more complex and evolved than the worm and fruit fly.  “Alternative modes of gene expression allow the production of more than one protein from a singe gene- a process that humans and other vertebrate engage in more than do bacteria, worms, or an y other forms of life.”  Because if this, we are able to produce more complex proteins.   More complex proteins = more complex functionality = Superiority of the human race! This explains why humans have the intelligence to swat a fruit fly, but the fruit fly can’t even find it’s way out of a open jar!

What is another reason to be thankful we’re more complex than a fruit fly or a worm?  We can make Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic White Bean Dip!


Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic  White Bean Hummus

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 roasted red peppers, skins and seeds removed
4 cloves roasted garlic
2 cloves garlic, not roasted
1 1/2 t lemon juice
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t salt
dash red pepper flakes

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Voila!  Use as a dip for veggies, or as a salad topper.

My favorite way to eat hummus, though, is spread on sandwiches or pita.  I love, love, love the creaminess of the hummus paired with crisp vegetables and soft bread!  That is exactly what I have packed for lunch tomorrow, but with a different hummus.  I’ll share the recipe for that hummus coming tomorrow!

Show and tell is not over yet!  I promised you a few days ago the recipe for the most amazing pizza crust that will ever cross the threshold of your mouth.  Well, thanks to Baking Illustrated and the pure genius of Shari, I give you the recipe for Whole Wheat and Flax Pizza Crust.

———————–

Whole-Wheat and Flax Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 t) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 T EVOO
2 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax
1 1/2 t salt
Olive oil or nonstick spray for oiling the bowl

1.  Measure the water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let stand until yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2.  Process flour, flax, and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine.  Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube.  If the dough does not form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms.  Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer. 

3.  The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball.  Put the dough into deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it. 

4.  Roll.  Top.  Bake.  Enjoy!

———————–

Let me just say that I love a recipe book that has pictures.  I have been drooling over the pictures in the Baking Illustrated book, and am considering skipping class tomorrow so I can bake the day away!  Not only would I be much happier baking cinnamon rolls and Ciabatta bread, but I would save gas by not having to drive to class! 

What do you do in such a situation?  Skip class and bake cinnamon rolls, banana bread, soft pretzels….or go to class from 9am to 5:15pm? 
As much as I want to stay home and bake the day away, I’m too nervous a student to risk missing a day.  It is tempting given the price of gas, though!

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Bring on the Run

What an exciting start to the week!  The official half marathon training began yesterday, Monday.  I am very excited because I like having a plan.  I also like having something to challenge myself, which this running schedule will do.  My first week looks like this:

Monday:  4 miles (bp)
Tuesday:  6 miles Tempo (7:30 pace)
Wednesday: 4 miles (bp)
Thursday:  5 mile Speed workout (800 m @ 3:15 or faster)
Friday: 4 miles (bp)
Saturday: 6 miles
TOTAL:  29 miles

I am starting out with a relatively low daily and weekly mileage to avoid injury.  I’ll talk more about my running injuries later this week.  In the meantime….look what came in the mail Saturday!  My new Garmin 205!



Yeah baby!  Can you tell I’m excited!  I have to wear it with the screen on the inside of my wrist to avoid it wiggling, but that’s no problem.  I never thought I would want a device that told me how fast and far I had gone.  However, the more serious I became about this upcoming half marathon, the more I thought it would be advantageous.  This will make running intervals, tempo runs, and long runs so much nicer because I don’t have to pre-measure my route and remember mile markers!

I tested the watch out on my tempo run today.  To say I surprised myself would be an understatement.  My times were much faster than I expected they would be, which is a good thing!  It was amazing knowing exactly what pace I was running and how far I had gone.  I will have no trouble getting used to this toy!

Mile 1: 8:12 (warm-up)
Mile 2: 7:02
Mile 3: 7:06
Mile 4: 7:22
Mile 5: 7:05
Mile 6: 7:57 (cool-down)

The key’s to a successful run = Perfect running weather + Focus + Motivation + (an awesome watch?)

With that said, I had better skedaddle to class!  I have to leave in 5 minutes and I haven’t printed out my notes yet!

What motivated you to run (exercise)?
I run to be healthy and to clean my mind. Knowing that I am doing something amazing for my body is enough motivation to get me out of bed in the morning for my run.

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