Saturday, January 25, 2014

Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins and Long Run Update

I am forever on the quest for recipes to make fresh baked goods that I can feel good about and get the attention of the little ones.  I recently encountered a day at home with little flour in the house and I wanted to bake something on the healthy side to grab and go between morning runs and out the door.  I realized that there is a whole functionality of my Vitamix that I have practically ignored since I purchased it: grinding flour!  So, I processed my first batch of oat flour by grinding organic oats in the dry container and worked out this recipe for some grab and go muffins.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins
Dry Ingredients
~1 cup oat flour
~1/2 cup coconut flour
~1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
~1 tbs aluminum free baking powder
~1/2 tsp baking soda
~1/2 tsp salt
~3 tbs unsweetened coconut
~3/4 cups chocolate chips of your choice
Wet Ingredients
 ~1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
~1/3 cup honey
~3/4 cup full fat plain yogurt
          ~1/2 cup coconut milk (I used full fat)
       ~1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Pre-heat over to 425 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients (except the coconut and chocolate chips) together with a mixer.  Add wet ingredients and beat on low to medium speed until well incorporated.  Fold in coconut and chocolate chips.  Spoon into greased muffin tin and/or use muffin liners (I used silicone muffin liners).  Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake for approximately 18 minutes.  Remove from oven, let sit for at least 10 minutes
 and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  This recipe made 12 regular size muffins and 3 larger size muffins.  Enjoy!
The yogurt I used for this recipe is a new product of the farm from where I have been purchasing meat since last April.  It is delicious.  It worked great in this recipe and I have been bringing it to work with frozen pineapple chunks and chopped almonds.
As for running, my long run crept up to 9 miles this week and I felt pretty good during the run.  Just about one month to go before this first 1/2 marathon- eeks!  Admittedly, the balance of getting my running done with the little ones, work etc. is harder than I thought it would be.  I feel like I just barely get it all in each week but it's getting done and I am very lucky to be able to do it.
How was your week?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Treadmill Pace, Green Smoothies & Dessert

Our treadmill was delivered shortly after my last post.  Hooray!  We have had it for about 2 weeks and I feel like I can't imagine life without it now.  The convenience of a treadmill being in the basement combined with Netflix and Hulu at my finger tips have been making it much easier to stick to my training plan.  I still have to plan for the runs in the early morning or late evening as our basement isn't finished and I can't set the kids up with entertainment down there yet, but it has made running 5 days a week much easier to fit in and has especially opened up some time for me on these winter weekends before the husband heads off to work.

As for the specific model of treadmill, I went for the Sole F80.  There are so many treadmills out there, which made it hard to decide.  I used the treadmill doctor website and read the posted reviews, best buy recommendations in each price range and used their treadmill buyers guide.  I found this website incredibly helpful.  So far so good.  This treadmill had good reviews for durability but I played it safe and bought the extended maintenance plan to ensure it is maintained properly.  Mechanical maintenance is not exactly a strength of mine!

My first post-baby half-marathon is coming up at the end of next month.  Although I decided to approach this race without a time goal and focus on building mileage and getting used to running distance again, I have been surprised at my paces thus far.  Surprised, as in, they have been slower than I thought they would.  Pre-pregnancy, 10 minutes per mile was my comfy, stroller-less running pace.  Thus far, I have been struggling keeping a pace of 11 minutes per mile on the treadmill.  My long runs, which is up to 8 miles as of this week, have been in the 11:40 per mile or slightly slower pace range and I can't say those runs have felt easy.  I am not upset about it- just surprised.  I thought I would be faster, especially on the treadmill where I am not using the incline or contending with the elements. 

With these paces in mind, I had an opportunity yesterday to run outside in the afternoon.  It has been weeks since I ran outside and I guestimated my iphone would be telling me a pace of 11-12 minutes per mile based on how my workouts are going.  To my surprise, I finished my snowy, icy and a little bit hilly run in exactly 10 minutes per mile feeling good. Huh???  Does anyone else find significant differences in their treadmill versus outside pace?  I always thought treadmill pacing tends to be slightly faster.  Perhaps this was a fluke run or just a really good one for me lately.  I guess we will see when this half marathon rolls around!  Paces aside, I am feeling good getting regular mileage in.  I am up to about 22 miles per week and aiming to head for 30'ish as training progresses.

On the food front, I have been keeping up pretty well with the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge.  I did miss 1 or 2 days, but most of my mornings are starting with a breakfast like this:
For those that may be on the fence about green smoothies, give it a try!  They do not taste like spinach or kale or avocado.  The fruit dominates the taste of the drink and I am loving them.  It's great heading out for the day with 5'ish produce servings already consumed!  For those busy mornings, I have been making the smoothies in batches of 2 and storing the second smoothie in a mason jar in the fridge so it is ready to go for the next day.  Just add a straw and DONE!  Any old blender will work to try them out!
Oh- and on the dessert front (as you know, I can not forget dessert!), I had a chance to meet up with some girlfriends at a new favorite place of mine, which is a bakery/pastry shop/cocktail bar that makes homemade hot chocolate, desserts etc. etc.  Check out this beautiful apple tart:
So pretty and so delicious and fresh.  I want to go back!
Any treadmill pacing thoughts?  Favorite green smoothies?
Have a great week!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all of that stuff!  How was everyone's holiday season?  We had a ball over here.  It felt super busy and I am somewhat relieved to get back to a regular routine and hopefully regular sleep schedules.  It's amazing how all of the holiday excitement totally throws the little ones off.   

And speaking of being thrown off, I am ready to get back to the regular diet.  The holidays were incredibly fun with a lot of events, gatherings and of course deliciously baked goods, but eating as healthy as usual when the schedule is so crammed can be tough.  There was the night I had a hunk properly portioned piece of brie cheese for dinner because the thought of making something and re-dirtying the kitchen after I had just got the kiddos to bed made my stomach churn.  There was the night I made these from scratch and I am pretty sure I just scarfed down excess know, to make sure everything turned out ok for my loved ones' dessert :)
And my family is well versed in the fact that I am a chocoholic and I was spoiled with a lot of my favorite stuff for gifts.  It has been a great few weeks but I am ready to restore a little more balance to the indulgences! 
I do have a few New Year's Resolutions to share and I would love to hear your resolutions too.  Here goes!
  1. Eat more produce.  Instead of focusing on what things to stay away from, which can be overwhelming, I want to focus on cramming more produce into the daily diet.  I'm going to aim for double digits of produce servings and my guess is that I will be staying away from more junk with filling up on that anyway.  To start, I signed up for the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge.  I have loved green smoothies ever since I got my Vitamix and need to keep those as a regular thing.  They taste great, provide a lot of energy and all sorts of great vitamins and health benefits.
  2. Slow down the morning routine.  Mornings are so hectic getting the family out the door so everyone can get to daycare, preschool and work.  I know slowing it down sounds counterproductive but the reality is that we aren't fleeing a burning building (thankfully) so I think a more relaxed start might get us all off to a better day.  We prepare a lot of our stuff at night and I think with a few additional night tasks and some tweaking, we will be off to a better start.
  3. Smile.  I'm getting too serious.  Maybe it's because the days feel tight with work, little ones etc.  Maybe it's from worrying too much.  Regardless, it's happening and I don't like it.  Life is too short.  Maybe I need some SNL re-runs once in a while....maybe a catch up with an old friend.  Maybe more running (more on that soon!!).  Whatever it is, smiling more is high on my priorities this year. Remind me when I forget please!
On the running front, I am only 7'ish weeks away from post-baby 1/2 marathon #1.  Eeeks.  I felt that my first 4 weeks of training went great.  These last 3-4 weeks have not been great.  The combination of my better half traveling for work for a couple weeks, the holidays, my own work schedule and some expected fevers, colds etc. with the little ones has resulted in missed runs.  My longest run to date is 7.6 miles.  I think I can recover in time to finish this 1/2.  I will be giving it my best and I am definitely approaching this first event as a training race.  There is no chance of a PR for this one!  I also have very exciting news that is going to greatly help with my running. 
Drum Roll. 
We are getting a treadmill! Yeehaw.  I'm spoiled- I know.  I am very lucky that my family is supportive of this.  Running seriously helps me to have a great day and I was struggling to get my runs in.  The time before work on the weekends isn't an option anymore with the ice and darkness.  I use the gym at 5AM on a few week days but need to be home for 6'ish and can't squeeze in the distance during that time.  Evenings don't work until about 8:30PM and the gym closes at 9 anyway.  I am very, very lucky and so excited.  Delivery is tomorrow.  More updates later!
How were your holidays? Any resolutions for 2014?
Have a great week!