Saturday, November 16, 2013

There's What in the Cupcakes???

Beets.  Yes, there are beets in the cupcakes.  As you may recall from my ideas about what to do with all that summer share produce, beets have been a tricky one for me.  First, I don't like them....or rather, I used to not like them.  Second, I find them terribly messy to prepare.  Yes, the color is beautiful but I don't need it all over my hands, the dish towels etc.  I can barely keep up with the cleaning as is.  Lastly, I am the only person in my house who will even attempt to eat beets.  I have failed in all persuasion attempts to the four year old about the beautiful purple vegetable. 

Despite all of this anti-beet talk, I keep reading and learning about how incredible they are for you.  They are high in vitamins and minerals, cleanse the body, purify the blood and even contribute to increased energy and help prevent cancer.  So, I really wanted to like beets.  I put a peeled and washed beet into one of my green smoothies and it was fine...I could get a hint of beet taste but nothing overwhelming.  Then, I read this recipe on Food Babe about beet French fries so I whipped a batch of those up- I enjoyed them and will definitely do it again.  The family has still not joined me with the beets as of this recipe though.

Then there is the recipe that takes the pun intended.  While reading one of my weekly farm newsletters, I stumbled across a recipe for beet chocolate cake.  Hmmm....never heard of such a thing.  Weeks later, I decided to check out Pinterest for some ideas and sure enough, beets and chocolate seem to be like two peas in a pod.  I gave it a try with this recipe here.  I made a substitution of olive oil for the vegetable oil.  I also would suggest, in the spirit of trying to add more nutritional value to the recipe (if that's what you are going for), to swap out the flour for a white whole wheat flour and swap in some honey or maple syrup for the sugar.  I just didn't have any of these things on hand at the time (except the olive oil) and I had a pile of beets to use.  As for the beets, I washed them, trimmed the ends off and roasted them in a foil covered baking dish for about an hour.  After they cooled, I used a knife to peel the skins off and then pureed them in my Vitamix with a tiny bit of water added.  The result....quite tasty if you ask me!  I don't taste the beets...just chocolate cake! Yes, this recipe has sugar and should be enjoyed as a treat but it's a nice way to use a vegetable and hide it on the little ones.  Ok, I may have washed one down as a quick breakfast one day this week but I was in a rush.  I just got this week's farm share basket and guess what?  There are beets and I am prepared this time!

On the running front, I am finishing out week 3 of my 16 week half marathon training plan.  So far so good.  My "long" run is up to 6 miles.  Although still chugging along significantly slower than pre-pregnancy, it feels great to see some miles start to add up and feel like a runner.  I have been splitting my runs between the gym treadmill or outside early in the mornings.  I like running outside, but I am not a fan of needing a head lamp.  Even though the lamp provides visibility, I feel like I still can't distinguish uneven pavement very well and just don't feel too graceful on the feet.  Anyone else have this issue or is it just me? It's probably just me!  The trusty treadmill is at the gym for me once the icy roads settle in, which is great but I just need to factor in the car warm up time and 7'ish minutes ride there and back.  20'ish minutes is a lot of time in the mornings!

Anyone like running with a head lamp?  Would you prefer to run with a head lamp over the treadmill or vice versa?

Have a great week!
Saturday, November 9, 2013

Should We Talk About This?

Should we talk about this?  You know, the famous "What's Your Excuse?" photo that went viral over recent weeks.  I have been thinking about this photo off and on for several days and here is my humble opinion.  Let's talk....

 At first, my reaction to the photo was not good.  As a mother of two girls, my gut interpretation of the image was that it sends a message that this is what women should look like and I don't want my girls growing up with that focus.  We all come in different shapes and sizes.  We all have different strengths.  After years of participating in running events, swimming events and triathlons, I have seen amazing athletes in every shape and size. Some athletes are lean and toned.  Some athletes are not.  Some athletes are tall.  Some athletes are short.  You get the picture.  Regardless of these differences, we are all athletes.  As someone who muddled through the teenage years with a lot of body image issues, I don't want my girls growing up with those thoughts. 

Behind my gut reaction, there was a piece of me applauding Ms. Kang for her no nonsense, get it done type attitude.  I once heard a quote something like "If it's important you will find a way.  If it's not you will find an excuse."  I try to remember those words to remind myself to control what I can control when it comes to setting the priorities of my life.  Truthfully, I need a little boot in the you know what sometimes when it comes to my fitness goals.  There are days when the alarm goes off at "it's too early" o'clock in the morning and I have been up at night with a sick little one, need to be on my game at work all day and there is a real need to sleep a little more instead of getting out for that run then.  But, guess what?  There are also days when the alarm goes off and every reason why I should not get out of bed seems logical, convincing and compelling but it's garbage.  I am making excuses and Ms. Maria Kang's photo then seems simply like an inspiring reminder to stay focused on my individual fitness goals.  It's a call to challenge myself and be honest about what I really can and can not get done each day.  There will be times in my life when my fitness goals will not and can not be where they are in the present day priority pecking order.  That's ok, but Ms. Kang's photo also reminds me that I set those priorities.  I won't set my workout time as a higher priority than family or going to work (and I am not implying that she does either) but I can certainly prioritize it over TV....internet surfing....and maybe even the dishes (who wants to do those anyway?).

One of my favorite books that I often revisit is "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff."  One chapter of this book discusses the concept of seeing the innocence in everyone's behavior when something feels offensive.  This chapter pulled together my conclusion on Ms. Kang's photo.  Yes, it struck a nerve.  I personally would not have chosen the word "excuse," but that's just me.  I know there are moms out there that have circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from being able to even consider making time for themselves a priority and I understand why many felt Ms. Kang's approach is harsh.  That said, I believe her intentions were truly to be inspirational, not bullying or shaming.   After reading some of her statements and media coverage, I think she truly believes in trying to motivate others to make their health and fitness a priority and is not trying to put forward a message that every lady out there needs to look similar to her.  And let's face it, who couldn't use some inspiration from a highly motivated person every now and then, right?

Motherhood can be tough enough.  We all don't say the perfect thing at the right time in the perfect way. I think we should try to see the good intentions of inspiration and be supportive of all moms, including Maria Kang....maybe I will get out for another run this week after all!

Have a great week!