Showing posts with label granola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label granola. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Wilde Half Marathon

This weekend, all of my weeks of training culminated in my first half marathon!  It was six weeks ago that I decided to sign up for and seriously train for 13.1 miles through Central Park.  I have always wanted to complete a half marathon.  I realized that I would never train for it, unless I made the commitment and signed up for a race.  It was paying that entry fee that made me stick to the training schedule. 

Boyfriend and I woke up at 6:00 am, Sunday morning, and got dressed in our finest running gear.  Boyfriend was not officially signed up for the race, as it was a ladies only half marathon, but he planned to run along with me as long as he could.  I loaded up my running belt with Clif bloks and lip balm and tossed extra clothes and water in my tagged baggage.  We headed off into the sunrise toward New York City.

You want to head into the city?  There really isn't any traffic at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.  You might be a bit early for brunch though.  We parked our car around 72nd st (right near the finish line of the race) and walked into the park with hundreds of other ladies, already wearing their running bibs.  By 8:00am BF was waiting at mile 1 for me and I was waiting at the starting line, nervous energy coursing through my body.

When my seed corral was finally at the start line, all 1,000 women were packed tightly together.  After I crossed the starting line I was ready to go.  The first mile I spent on the outer edge of the course, passing everyone in my corral.  Apparently I underestimated my running pace at 9:40/mile, after my six weeks of training I was running closer to 8:20/mile.  I spent the majority of the race passing everyone in front of me, it felt good.

BF met up with me at mile 1 and kept up until his shoes came untied around mile 4.  I was on my own, with 10,000 women, running the Central Park loop.  The loop is 6 miles around, which meant I would be making two full loops and one mile of a third.  I knew that once I passed the 6-mile marker, I would be much happier the next time around.

And I certainly was.  I was so thrilled that I reached up and tapped the mile marker, only 1.1 miles left to run.  Gradually I increased my pace until I was at a full out sprint to cross the finish line at 1 hour 55 minutes, five minutes shy of my two hour goal.  Do I think I could do better?  Yes.  Do I plan to run more half marathons?  You bet.

Finally, my heart goes out to those that have been affected by the tragic events at the Boston marathon yesterday.  It's unbelievable what occurred and so surreal that something like this could happen.  I have several friends that were running in the marathon this year and thankfully have heard from all of them.  Here's hoping for a swift recovery for those injured yesterday as well as the city of Boston.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Homemade Granola

I love commuting on the train, but it's days like these that make me really wish I drove to work.  Or that I owned a car.  My imaginary car would have a fancy remote starter so that I could warm up the car (and of course its heated seats) while I finished primping for work. 

Instead, I pile on layer after layer of sweater, jacket, scarf, earmuffs, hats, gloves and mittens.  Yes, it takes me at least five minutes to get ready to go outside.  This is funny actually, because I spend as little time outside as possible.  NJTransit has this fancy "departurevision" section on their website.  It tells me how much longer I can stay in my warm apartment before the train rolls into the station.  Love it.

So what has this winter brought me?  A smaller pants size!  Seriously.  I spent two months out of this winter completely ill.  Bronchitis, sinusitis, cold after cold.  I spent two months eating soup and orange juice, or nothing at all because "eating takes too much energy."

The cold weather has helped me keep those ten pounds off.  How you might ask?  It's too cold to go out for lunch!  Why leave my cozy office and go outside to pick up a (fill in your favorite unhealthy lunch here) when I could stay in front of my (illegal) space heater eating a salad I threw together at home.  I'm thinking I'll put back on those pounds I lost during the summer, when it's warm enough to go and get piles of Thai food for lunch.

A girl does not stay full on salad alone though.  Around four o'clock, after running around the lab for a few hours, I indulge in... yogurt!  I know, I'm so bad.  But you should totally get yourself some yogurt and make this granola. 

Can you believe that in my year of homemade everything challenges, I'm only now making my own granola!  I feel like you can throw anything in with a whole ton of oats and you've got granola.  You could be all - "Hey, I made this macadamia nut, coconut and dried jalapeno pepper granola, it's so good for you!"  Or "What?  You haven't tried the new beef jerky and fried plantain granola?"  Just put some oats with anything and BAM - granola.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why Bother? 2012 - Granola Bars

Yes, the Why Bother challenge has spilled over into the new year!  I'm finally over a long bout of bronchitis and have drained nearly all of the congestion from my head.  Nobody is happier than I am, except maybe the hundred or so people I share my train car with.  No more loud coughing from me!  So many of my friends and family have been battling with some virus, bacterium or other, this season.  And after a month of being sick, I'm happy to count myself among the healthy again.
With the bronchitis I was battling, I had to push of the last few challenges of the Why Bother? challenge.  This January we will complete the challenges with granola bars, crackers and soft cheeses.  I'm excited to finish all of the challenges that you gave me over a year ago, so let's get started with snacks!

Most foodie friends that I know are highly unlikely to venture down the cereal bar aisle in the grocery store.  You bakers out there probably have your own go to recipe for granola bars, perfected after many tries in the kitchen with different grains, nuts and dried fruits. 

I want everyone else out there to have a go at the bar.  Or in this case, the cup!  I love making granola bars at home.  They change every time I make them, depending on what I have in my kitchen.  Sometimes they are heavy on the nuts, sometimes I have an odd assortment of dried fruits.  You should feel free to adapt each granola bar recipe in the same way.

Today I bring you a baked granola bar recipe (Saturday we'll have a no-bake variant) that combines some of my favorite flavors.  Peanut butter, cherry and oats.  It's like a PB&J sandwich!  Don't have any dried cherries in the house?  Substitute the dried fruits for whatever you have lying around!

Granola Bar Muffins
Adapted from Snack Girl

This recipe was given to me (via my mom) from a fitness fanatic.  She loved that these bars are low in calories, high in protein and packs major flavor.  With no added sugar, these bars are great to feed your kiddos or yourself!

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup mixed dried berries (mine included raspberry, cherry, cranberry & blueberry)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Mix peanut butter and mashed bananas with a fork.  Add nuts, dried fruits, oats and vanilla.  Stir until it all comes together.  Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture into each muffin cup and lightly press into the pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove granola cups from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snack Week! - Granola Bars

Monday passed in a bit of a fever-induced haze. You know how it goes, you’re sitting at your desk, staring at the computer, then it’s an hour later and nothing has sunk in. My brain is boiling, or something like that. All I wanted to do was go home and curl up in bed, the lab is so cold! Or it’s the fever.

I’m so glad that I spent the weekend cooking and baking, because right now I have zero energy. I think that I’m running on negative energy, the world is pulling the energy right out of my body. I’m also jazzed that I decided to make these granola bars for snack week. They are chewy, delicious and filling. Adapt them according to what nuts and seeds that you like. I’ve made them with raisins and walnuts instead of craisins and soy nuts. I’ve drizzled them in chocolate on my more crazy days. I think that I’ll have one of these for lunch. Eating sounds like a lot of work today.
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