Vegan Quinoa Chili

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This vegan quinoa chili has become a common dinner – easy to pull together, and makes great leftovers [plus 17 grams of protein per serving]- it’s hard not to love it. My meat-eating boyfriend devours this, apparently not missing the meat. Head on over to DailyBurn for the recipe.

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Reflections on Running [Part 1]

Nearly two years ago, I had a dangerously close call at the Boston Marathon. People who I hadn’t spoken to in years came out of the woodwork, wondering if I was okay. My professors called, saying they alerted the deans that I was running and “would you just call us back?”

My heart shudders when I think of this. Two minutes slower, my life would have been very different or non-existent.

I ran the following year as a member of the Tufts Medical Center team. My father works for the Dental School, for patients with developmental disabilities, and Tufts is the closest hospital to the finish line. The symbolism was incredible motivation, pushing me to raise thousands of dollars.

What is most interesting is- I don’t remember last year’s run, or at least not clearly. Sure, I have photographs. Family, co-workers and friends all cheered me on. I do remember the armed policemen on the roof of Hopkinton High School at the start, and I do remember meeting up with friends at a hotel near the finish. Certainly I remember the sunburn on my right arm, and my right arm only. But what lacks is any significant memory of this race. I didn’t run my fastest, though it was my fastest Boston run. I didn’t want to vomit as much as I had wanted to in 2012 when it was 80 degrees outside. I crossed the finish line and swiftly moved into the area to receive my medal, almost as if I were on a conveyor belt. Perhaps I was delirious, but I didn’t feel a thing. My muscles hurt, yes, but my emotions? Where were they?

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Climbing Heartbreak Hill in 2014

Fast forward to October 2014. I ran the best race of my life at the Chicago Marathon. I PR’ed but not only that, I felt great. I smiled the entire race, meandering through the different neighborhoods of Chicago, trying to soak it all in. I was healthy, fast, strong- and not in Boston. My boyfriend and I coordinated where we would meet up after the race – “not near the finish line,” he said. I think I have internalized this for more than he meant, but I couldn’t help but think he was just as scared as me to hang out near the finish line.

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Chicago Marathon 2014 – my face says it all

And now, I am currently preparing for the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT on May 24th. Training hasn’t been easy with this winter weather (plus a sprained ankle, a head cold, etc.), but I’m doing it. For myself, my health, blah de blah.

The Boston marathon is approaching, though. April 20th. I can’t get that out of my head. It’s not that I wish I were running (I am actually glad to be taking a year off), but suddenly the emotions that I should have felt in my 2014 run are gushing out. Most likely this has to do with the press coverage of the trial. It’s hard to avoid it. I run through a crowd, and I can’t help but think, is that person on their phone about to detonate something? It’s unreasonable, irrational, and sad that I have these thoughts. I have told myself that I can’t watch this year’s race, even though I believe spectating is sometimes just as important as racing.

As I prepare for the Vermont City Marathon, I will try to flush these emotions away. I am scheduled to run the Chicago Marathon again in October. I qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon, and pending that I get accepted into the race, I’m going to make sure that that race becomes the best race of my life. Perhaps I’ll be speedier, maybe just stronger, or perhaps I’ll finally be able to just let go.

Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here–life took over for a bit. Don’t worry, I’ve still been cooking. In fact, I’ve written a few pieces for Daily Burn including my favorite White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini [recipe]:

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But for today, I’ll leave you with a fantastic muffin recipe that will knock your socks off. Thanks to my co-worker for the recipe suggestion, I made these Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins in an attempt to use up overripe bananas sitting in the freezer. Damn are these satisfying. The yogurt is a great binding ingredient, replacing much of the oil but retaining the moisture. I added some chocolate chips, because, well…everything is better with chocolate. You only live once, right?

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Makes 20 muffins, or 40 mini-muffins

Adapted from Averie Cooks

3 medium ripe bananas [frozen bananas work well, just make sure you let them thaw]

1 large egg

1 5.3oz container banana Greek yogurt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour muffin pans. 

In a large bowl, mash banana. Add egg, yogurt, oil, sugar, vanilla and spices. Whisk well. Add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin tins until three-quarters full. Bake for 20-22 minutes (10-11 minutes for mini muffins). A toothpick should come out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Thai Cabbage Salad

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Need a salad that will keep for the work week? Want a salad that is too good to last through the work week?

This Thai Cabbage Salad does the job.

With a slight kick and a peanutty crunch, the salad is best a few hours after making it, creating a tantalizing slaw-like salad. Check out the recipe at Epicurious.

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Mom’s Greek Salad

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This past month has been one of the most tumultuous months of my life, from a terrifyingly close call at the Boston Marathon to my graduation from *gasp* college. The vast number of uncertainties and changes in my life is daunting. One thing that will always be a constant in my life is this Greek Salad with Hardboiled Eggs and Homemade Croutons.

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Greek Salad with Hardboiled Eggs and Homemade Croutons

Salad

4 cups romaine or butter lettuce

1 bunch scallions, chopped

4 cherry tomatoes, chopped

3 button mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 hardboiled eggs, sliced

Black pepper, to taste

Dressing

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

1.5 tbs neutral oil

Croutons

Stale bread, such as ciabatta or French baguette

Olive oil

Sea salt

Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice and cut bread into cubes. Place in a large Ziploc bag and drizzle olive oil over the bread. Close bag and shake croutons. Place bread onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For Salad, place vegetables in large salad bowl. Spoon feta on top, and then add hardboiled eggs and croutons. Grind black pepper on top. 

In a small dish or salad dressing container, mix lemon juice and oil. Pour over salad.

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Smooth Start to Summer

You will feel healthy when you drink (or slurp, or scoop) this smoothie.

You will feel your skin glow.

You will be proud of the fact that you ate spinach for breakfast.

You will be satisfied.

Whenever I eat a healthy breakfast, I feel like I’ve given my body good karma for the day. This is one of those breakfasts. What an awesome way to jump start your day with a full serving of vegetables, as well as a boost of sugar and filling fiber.

All you need to do is cut up a banana, grab some frozen mangoes and peaches, a handful of spinach,  2-4 ice cubes, and a glass of water. Start by placing the fruit and vegetables into a blender. Process for a few seconds and then pour in a bit of water (a few tablespoons). Add ice, if needed or preferred. Essentially, keep adding water and/or ice until you get your perfect consistency. Additional fruit can be used depending on the flavor you want, and of course, other fruits work well too. I ended up using two small bananas for a creamier consistency.