Saturday, September 28, 2013

Loving Fall

This is my favorite time of year hands down and we are just a few short days away from my favorite month.  Don't get me wrong- I love a summer beach day, but October's sweater and rosy cheek weather is ah-mazing.  I love the fall fashion.  I love the fall running weather.  I love the fall food.  I love the fall brews. I love the fall coffee. It's all good. 

Like most fall enthusiasts, we headed out for some apple picking a couple weekends ago and of course that brings on some baking and some "oh I need to do something with all of these apples quick" moments.   Once again, thank you to my Vitamix.  I am not a fan of peeling apples.  I was looking at my bag of apples standing in the kitchen one day this week and just decided to wash them, chop them, throw them in and see what happens.  Apple puree in moments!  So, I call this my Lazy Lady's Apple Sauce.

Lazy Lady's Apple Sauce
8-10 apples
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 cup brown sugar (optional- or substitute maple syrup)
Wash and chop apples into small chunks.  Place in Vitamix or other high powered blender (I had to process my apples in 2-3 batches).  Turn onto low, use the tamper to press the apples into the blender and blend until desired consistency.  Pour apple puree into a crock pot.  Add sugar or other sweetener(optional) and cinnamon stick.  Set on high for one hour and stir occasionally.  Reduce heat to low for an additional hour and stir occasionally.  Let cool and store in a jar or container in the fridge.  As a bonus, this recipe also makes your house smell incredible- no candle required!
After I made this, I then searched the internet and my Vitamix books for other recommendations (I should have done that first!).  Vitamix calls for a recipe of adding some lemon juice to the apples while blending and skips the crock pot/sweetener step, which could make for an even quicker version, especially for those who do not want added sweetener.
My next fall favorite with my applesauce on hand is overnight oats!  Have you guys heard of these recipes?  A friend of mine told me about overnight oats and then I also came across a bunch of great recipes for them over at My Whole Food Life.  You have to check them out because they are super easy, make a great breakfast on busy mornings or a mid-morning snack at work, taste great and pack some nutrition while keeping you full. 
As usual, I never have all of the exact ingredients on hand so I substitute.  There are a ton of varieties you can make once you get going.  Here is a quick base recipe for you to create any of your own flavors or be inspired by the amazing varieties from bloggers such as My Whole Food Life.
Overnight Oats Base
1/2 cup oatmeal of your choice
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1-2 Tbs Flavoring
1-2 Tbs Nutritional boost
I generally use unsweetened vanilla almond milk for my milk choice.  For flavoring, I have used unsweetened cocoa, peanut butter and unsweetened coconut for a decadent version that rivals a dessert and I imagine is similar to these Almond Butter Overnight Oats.  I also used my apple sauce as flavoring for this week's breakfasts and my oatmeal tasted like apple crisp.  For a nutritional boost, you can add things such as flax meal, chia seeds, whey protein powder or wheat germ.  Mix the oats, milk, flavoring and nutritional boost into a jar or container and store in the fridge overnight.  Then you can eat the recipe cold or heat it up the next morning, top with your fresh fruit and enjoy!  I highly recommend sliced banana on the version with unsweetened cocoa, peanut butter and unsweetened coconut- dee-licious.
Now that I have rambled on about food, I have a quick running update.  This week was great-  I am on track for a 12-14 mile week with a couple strength workouts in between.  Baby girl had her first spin in the jogging stroller this week too!  I have a couple of 5Ks in mind to get back out there- more on those another time.
How was your week?
Saturday, September 21, 2013

Just go with the flow...

I get busy and then I feel like I fall off track.  It's a vicious cycle.  These past few weeks have been great and busy.  I tackled the transition back to work from maternity leave- go me!  I felt like I had a few hiccups but overall it all went well.  The wee one tackled the transition out of her co-sleeper and into her own room- go baby! And then my mileage tanked with all of that commotion. There was not a whole lot to "tank" from, but it had taken a decent amount of work to get up to my 12 miles per week after not running at all through the second half of my pregnancy. It took pretty much all of my 12 weeks of maternity leave to be able to tackle some of the hills on even the short 2-3 mile runs, but I was making progress and happy about it.

I have been back to work for 3 weeks now and the running has dropped to 2-3 runs per week of 2-2.5 miles each with a circuit or two in between running days.  My head was spinning as to when else I can squeeze more mileage in and I was obsessing over my pace when running to the point of frustration.  My better half and I have different days off from work so we can't trade off the kiddos on the weekend days and night feedings are still in effect- our oldest bundle was sleeping through the night by now but #2 has her own plan and she is sticking to it!  I started feeling stressed about it and decided to stop my insanity.  I remembered this awesome quote from a fantastic book, Born to Run:

“Ask nothing from your running, and you'll get more than you ever imagined!”
~Christopher MacDougall

Those words are exactly what I need to remember right now.  I too often take my hobby, outlet & "me-time" activity and turn it into stress when I fall short of my expectations.  I love structured training plans and working towards a goal like a particular race or finishing time, but it's just not that time for me right now and that's ok.  I'm going to enjoy running! I am going to get as many running endorphins as I can, let the rest go, soak in the fall air and see where it takes me.  I just got back this morning from an early and quiet 3 miles.  I was able to arrange the feeding and work departure schedules to squeeze something in at 6.  I love early morning runs.  Hooray!

Oh- My boss likes my new philosophy...

 She's the cutest, right?

Do you ever feel like you need to throw in "the plan" & just run for fun or go with the flow of your fitness endeavors?

Have a great week!