Scrambled Egg Bites

>> Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There are few breakfasts that are easier to prepare than scrambled eggs. But when I have time, I like to add a bit more flair to my favorite meal of the day. These bites make a filling solo breakfast . . . but I also think they'd make a great brunch appetizer!


SCRAMBLED EGG BITES

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • Handful chopped onions
  • Handful chopped arugula
  • Handful shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pepper, to taste

Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8 cups in a mini muffin pan with some olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and mustard in a small bowl.
  3. Then fold in the onions, arugula, and cheddar.
  4. Season with some pepper.
  5. Evenly distribute the mixture into the 8 cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

Serve immediately. Tastes great with ketchup (yeah -- I'm a ketchup and eggs girl) or hot sauce. And feel free to swap out ingredients and use peppers in place of onions, spinach in place of arugula, or Monterey Jack in place of cheddar.

NOTE: You can also make a full pan of these bites by increasing the eggs to 6, the yogurt to 3 tablespoons, mustard to 3 tablespoons, and so on.

SITE CHANGES:

Just FYI -- we recently added all the posts related to running while pregnant to our Running page. We also changed the navigation a bit on the Recipes page. And we're nearing the end of setting up our new blog. Hope to launch it next week!

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Cornmeal Cake with Chocolate Neufchatel Frosting

>> Monday, February 27, 2012

I hadn't made a frosted cake in what seems like f.o.r.e.v.e.r. Well, unless you count my love affair with the Richard Simmons'-inspired doughnuts over the holiday season.

(Baked Chocolate Doughnuts, Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts, Chocolatey Peanut Doughnuts)


They were very cake-like. What inspired me to bake a cake this weekend had nothing to do with these sweet treats, however. We just had some Neufchatel cheese my mother-in-law gave us that was nearing its expiration date. And I hate to waste food.

So, I went with it!


CORNMEAL CAKE

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw (or regular sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment (aluminum foil also works in a pinch -- just spritz with a little oil).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk/sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flax meal and hot water. Let sit for five minutes.
  4. Add the flax mixture, olive oil, almond milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Pour into your prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the middle (you can test with a toothpick -- it should come out clean).
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.

CHOCOLATE NEUFCHATEL FROSTING

(You may also substitute cream cheese in this recipe -- there is a difference, but in the US, it's slight. You can read more about it on The Kitchn.)

What you'll need . . .
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance or butter
  • 3 ounces neufchatel cheese
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 to 2 (or more) cups confectioners’ sugar
Method . . .
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the Earth Balance/butter with the Neufchatel cheese until smooth.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla. Then add 1-1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar.
  3. Continue adding confectioners' sugar until you reach your desired frosting consistency.
  4. Frost your cake and enjoy it while it lasts!
Yeah. Confession time: During the shoot, I sort of ate two pieces (and the other 3/4 of the cake was long gone -- the afternoon after making it).

Then there was one . . .


And then . . .


You all know desserts rarely last in this house. If you browse through our recipes, I'd love you to find one that has lived in the kitchen for longer than two days. On a positive note, I still had half a package of the Neufchatel. Be sure to look for another frosting variation (and cake recipe) later in the week!

If you follow (never home)maker, baby! (or even if you don't, because this is a great way to get caught up), I collected all the posts for the 4th trimester -- that is, those from Ada's birth forward -- in one convenient place. Feel free to browse our weekly updates and other musings.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Fried Naan for Dessert

>> Thursday, February 23, 2012

If yesterday's Smoked Chipotle Bean Burger recipe didn't entice you, today's dessert using its leftovers will. And even if you have absolute no intention of making the burgers, I beg you to fry up this magic . . .


It's unbaked naan. Fried in olive oil and tossed with cinnamon and sugar. Served with banana ice cream. Drizzled in chocolate sauce. Remind you of anything? Well, here's a hint: You'll likely want to take a siesta after you've cleaned your plate.

That's right! It's majorly inspired by Mexican fried ice cream.


FRIED NAAN

What you'll need . . .
  • Naan dough from the Bean Burger recipe.
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Vegan Banana Ice Cream (optional, but highly recommended)

Method . . .
  1. Shape naan dough into rounds and flatten as you would making the regular bread. Instead of baking it, cut it into strips and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large fry pan on high heat until sizzling, but not smoking. (You may need to lower heat a bit so your naan doesn't burn.)
  3. Place strips in the pan and fry on each side until golden brown.
  4. Toss in a bowl of cinnamon and sugar. (NOTE: The measurements of sugar and cinnamon will vary depending on how much you make. I made one piece at a time -- yielding about 6 strips -- and used 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Play around to find the right proportions for you.)
  5. Make the banana ice cream. You can follow this recipe -- but all you really need to do is take a frozen banana and process it in a food processor until creamy.
  6. Top with your favorite chocolate sauce.

You can enjoy this recipe as a semi-healthy dessert. Or perhaps for breakfast as I did on Sunday morning. Now that I look at these more, they sort of remind me of those dessert breadsticks Pizza Hut makes. And now I have a whole world of new ideas for this recipe.

I love when that happens!

If you follow (never home)maker, baby! -- you know I've been feeling zapped. Today I wrote Part II of the breastfeeding SUCKS post. It's all about what I'm doing to get my energy back.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Smoked Chipotle Bean Burgers

>> Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bean burgers are an easy way to get in a solid vegetarian meal. But how you season them can make or break their tastiness. Stephen's brother gifted us some Smoked Paprika-Chipotle seasoning for Christmas . . . and I knew the minute we opened it that it'd be perfect in tons of recipes, but especially burgers.

You can spice these patties anyway you like. But if you're going for a semi-authentic taste (but let's be real -- I'm not trying to replicate meaty burgers), try a smoked variety. I've noticed more and more smoked spices popping up on grocery shelves. They're great for soups and stews, too!


CHIPOTLE BEAN BURGERS

What you'll need . . .
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (Frank's RedHot Kickin' BBQ)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika chipotle seasoning (or whatever seasoning you want)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (we used a habanero-infused variety!)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can canelli beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional, but fun!)

Method . . .
  1. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of water with the red quinoa until boiling.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Set aside.
  3. Continue cooking and stirring until all the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through.
  4. In a food processor, combine the garlic, BBQ sauce, olive oil, chipotle seasoning, and maple syrup.
  5. Then add in the black beans canelli beans, breadcrumbs, chocolate chips, and quinoa. Mix until incorporated, but still a bit chunky.
  6. Form into 12 patties and place on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes on each side. The outsides of the burger will be crisp while the insides remain somewhat smushy (but tasty).

NAAN

I used this quick and easy naan recipe, but modified it in the following ways:
  • I made only a half batch, as I froze half of the burgers this recipe makes.
  • I used half white bread flour, half whole wheat flour.
  • I omitted the sugar.
  • I let the dough rise for 30 minutes, but skipped the second 1-hour rise with wonderful results.
  • I portioned out the pieces so it made 8 small naan versus only 5 as the recipe specifies.
  • I used olive oil in place of the Ghee.
  • I imagine if you'd like to make the recipe vegan, you could use a flax egg (see our handy conversion chart) in place of the egg.

If you'd like to check out some of our other burger recipes, try these:

Chickpea Burgers
Vegetarian Juicy Lucy
Black Bean-Tempeh Burgers
Black Bean-Spinach Burgers

And if you follow (never home)maker, baby! -- today I wrote about why breastfeeding SUCKS. No, it isn't another rant.

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Running on a Budget

>> Monday, February 20, 2012

We've always been careful with our spending. But now more than EVER, we've been examining our finances. Recently, this has taken shape as several meticulously maintained spreadsheets in Excel tracking our monthly expenses.

The fixed.
The variable.
The emergency.
And the sneaky extras.


Running falls into the "extras" category as -- theoretically -- we feel we should be able to slap on a pair of sneakers and set out for next to nothing. In fact, we've always regarded the relatively cheap cost of the sport as a plus. No fancy equipment, like bikes, to maintain. No particular gear, like wetsuits, required.


But then . . . those sneakers get worn out and we need to buy new pairs. (Stephen's closer-to-nature, "barefooting" habit is particularly pricey, ironically enough.)


Tons of fun local races pop up as spring approaches, so we spend cash on those faster than we can remember.


Then there are those big destination races that require hotel stays, eating out, and higher participation fees.


I don't know exactly how much money we've spent in past years on all these items (and more, if you add in doctor visits for injuries, gym memberships, clothing, etc.). I do know it was a lot. And we no longer have room in our budget to continue at anywhere near the same rate.

How much have we allotted in our new plan? $800 a year (roughly $66 a month), which sounds like a lot . . . but ultimately equals two pairs of $100 shoes for each of us twice a year and $200 each for race costs. So, actually not much to go around at all, yet I still think we're being overly generous and could cut more, which we might do.

How do we plan to stick to it?
  • Keep it local. Smaller races around the neighborhood are far less expensive than those larger ones in cities. The gas and hotel money adds up while traveling, too. We plan to do one "big" event each year, likely in Philadelphia where we have family to stay with.
  • Train for specific events. This is versus running everything that arises. It's easy to add up all the races we've participated in. But I could run 10,000 races and not do well at them. In which case, I question: Why does it matter? No. It's not the number of races that's impressive. It's the quality of our participation in those events.
  • Resist flashy workout wear. This one's hard to do because we both have some serious buying habits related to running clothing. But when we dug into our closets, we found we have way more stuff than we ever thought. No need for anything new in the foreseeable future.
  • The same goes for shoes. Like I wrote above, we get two pairs of sneaks each year. Hopefully they'll be less than the $100 amount we've allowed leaving more room for racing!
  • Spend our allowances. For all things that fall outside these guidelines, we each have a modest monthly allowance (yeah, flashback to middle school days!). Oh, and we also have weekend money but -- again -- not much. But we have to keep in mind that these funds serve as a safety for all other overages we might encounter in other areas of the budget.
How much room in your budget do you leave for running/sport-related expenses? Have you ever thought about it? And if you're doing so for the first time, are you shocked at how much you spend? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Banana Bites FAQs

>> Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seriously? Are we searching for content or what! Well, by far, the most popular page on (never home)maker is our Frozen Banana Bites recipe. Understandably so. It's one of the quickest, tastiest, and healthiest desserts we've ever whipped up.


We've received a lot of comments and questions about these ice cream-like treats, so we thought we'd post to answer the most frequently asked:

Did you find that the bananas turned brown in the freezer?

For us, they don't. I think in part it's because they never, ever last long. But April commented: "I freeze peeled whole bananas in a Rubbermaid container and use them to make ice cream like smoothies and they don't turn brown unless I leave them for many months. I think they would turn brown if they were mushed up because it's like bruising them."

If I don't have vegan chocolate chips, what kind do you recommend to use for this recipe?

Any kind will do. Some readers said they used milk chocolate and they turned out just fine. I've also made them with semi-sweet and bittersweet. I've used other nut butters, too. Almond butter is particularly great with dark chocolate. Some readers said they used soy nut butter. I imagine sunflower butter would also be a great substitute.

I'm not a big coconut fan. Any other suggestions to put on them? Or are they OK by themselves?

They aren't OK without coconut. They are AMAZING. I've also chopped up dry-roasted peanuts and rolled them, chocolate sprinkles, and even crumbled Reece's Peanut Butter cups. Go crazy!

What is a good way to dip the pieces of banana into the chocolate and have them come out "pretty?" Mine were kind of a hot (delicious) mess.

Hahah. I love it. Mine are never terribly pretty. But since posting this recipe, I came across a similar one on Bon Appetit. They have some good instructions -- and their bites are gorgeous!

I wonder how could I make this recipe Weight Watcher Approved?

I'm not up on Weight Watchers rules, but I'm tossing this one out to the crowd to see if we can get a response. I imagine there's got to be a way to make it work.

How long will the banana's last in the freezer?

Again, they never last a long time in our house because we eat them quickly. But I could see them being good for at least a week or 2. Longer they might get too hard or brown. But, again, I'm not sure.

These are gross! The bananas freeze like stone and you end up breaking your teeth on them. If you defrost them, then the bananas go soggy and are yuck!

I've actually never had either of these scenarios happen with this recipe. So, I'm sorry you experienced this problem! And I'm not in the habit of posting recipes that don't work. Anyone else have this experience?

Want another way to enjoy frozen bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter?


Try the Ultimate Vegan Ice Cream! We got the idea for banana ice cream from The Kitchn and went with it. This tasty recipe utilizes all the same ingredients, but in a different way. And, as mentioned above, you can substitute in your favorite chocolates and nut butters or substitutes.

If you guys have any other questions about these sweet treats, just let us know! And if you follow (never home)maker, baby! -- you can head over there now to read Ada's 3 month update.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Simple Hummus Wrap with Arugula

>> Friday, February 17, 2012

The fresh produce included with our frozen CSA share this month is some peppery arugula out of Ithaca, NY. I'm not usually a fan of lettuce-like greens, they make me think of grass and leaves from outside.

(Shameless excuse to post some outdoor photos I took this morning.)


But I do enjoy baby spinach, arugula, and kale. Sometimes collards, but late in my pregnancy with Ada, I developed an aversion to them that has stuck around. A lot of my friends and family don't understand why, as a vegetarian, I don't love all vegetable meals, especially salads. Obviously it's just personal preference, but I guess I can see why it seems strange.

Anyway, we've wasted no time finding a use for it, since we regard arugula as a bit of an extravagance. It adds tons of flavor to a tasty hummus wrap.


We don't need to tell you how to make a lunch wrap. Ours included homemade hummus, arugula, and mozzarella cheese. But the hummus recipe would be helpful if you're looking to go without store-bought. Stephen's parents gave us a tub of grocery hummus this weekend. It was good, but we're so used to making our own that it was almost too intense with salt and other flavors.

Here's our latest favorite:
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt, optional
  • Water, see below

Toss everything into a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread a generous amount on your wrap, but save the rest in the fridge for up to 1 week. Add water -- one tablespoon at a time -- until you reach your desired consistency.


One other tip: Use a smart wrap. Stephen's parents also brought us some whole wheat Mission wraps that have 26 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein per serving (1 wrap)! Unfortunately, we can't find this exact type around our part of the country, so we'll be stocking up on our next trip to NJ.

Happy Friday! We'll be celebrating Valentine's Day this weekend -- if you'd like to read about how our actual V-day flopped, check out (never home)maker, baby!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Running and Oat Bars

>> Thursday, February 16, 2012

Workout numbers one and two on my half marathon training plan are complete. Crossed off. And they really did feel great. It's strange how something as simple as printing it off and sticking it on the fridge helps. But it does. Tremendously. Today's run number 3. I can't wait. (Really!)

I've also decided to start cross-training. I always have the best intentions to exercise is other ways besides running, but whatever I end up doing is usually short-lived.


For X-mas, I got a spinning workout DVD. I've decided that Mondays are it. I don't know who else of you all spins, but there was one summer several years ago when I took three classes a week along with running . . . and my 5K time was so fast, I haven't been able to dip into the 22s since!

I made another variation of the Chocolate Love Bars from Monday's post. Lower in sugar and higher in protein, too!


PEANUT BUTTER HUG BARS

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 1/3 cup warm almond milk
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment (or grease lightly).
  2. In a small bowl, heat up almond milk in your microwave (or stove) until it's wrist temperature. Mix in the flax meal with a fork and let sit for a couple minutes until thickened. Set aside momentarily.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine the olive oil and peanut butter. Then add the flax mixture. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well moistened.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Then pour mixture into your baking pan and flatten.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

If you missed it, you can check out our Valentine's Day post for Ada over on (never home)maker, baby!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Chocolate Love Bars

>> Monday, February 13, 2012

I don't have much success making vegan brownies unless I follow recipes written by other bloggers and bakers. My all-time, absolute favorite recipe recently disappeared from the internet for some odd reason. Depressing.

So, this isn't a brownie recipe at all. It's more of a chocolate cookie bar. Sort of. It doesn't need a label because it's just plain good, especially with fruit on top. A great way to treat your sweet without being too sugary.


CHOCOLATE LOVE BARS

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 1/3 cup warm almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment (or grease lightly).
  2. In a small bowl, heat up almond milk in your microwave (or stove) until it's wrist temperature. Mix in the flax meal with a fork and let sit for a couple minutes until thickened. Set aside momentarily.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flax mixture with the honey/maple syrup, and olive oil. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well moistened.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Then pour mixture into your baking pan and flatten.
  6. SEE OPTIONAL STEP BELOW . . .
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Then check to make sure the center is done. You may need to continue baking for another 5 or 10 minutes so it isn't gooey.

OPTIONAL:

You can add a thin layer of fruit topping, like we did, by simply taking 1 cup of frozen fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.) and heating it over medium heat in a small pot. Sweeten with a teaspoon or two of sugar, honey, or maple syrup, if you like. Five minutes should do it with constant mixing. Just spread mixture atop your bars before putting them in the oven.

And today on (never home)maker, baby! it's all about being 12 weeks postpartum.

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More Running Struggles

>> Friday, February 10, 2012

It's so helpful to read all of your experiences coming back to running after injuries, pregnancies, and other breaks. I think part of my trouble is that I'm in a m.a.j.o.r motivation slump with my training.


For a long time, I was able to feel excited about runs because I was pregnant and keeping fit. Each time I could get a couple miles in was fulfilling, and I knew each run could have been my last before baby.


After pregnancy, I felt motivated to get back into shape after delivery. Each run was sort of like "Hell YES I just ran and had a baby X number of weeks ago!" I'd be tired, but still bundle up to go out in the freezing cold and end up feeling fantastic.


Now that it's been 12 weeks since Ada was born (check out that GIANT baby!), the novelty of being a bad-ass postpartum runner has worn off. I am finding it difficult to rush out the door. And not just mentally. The lack of motivation is sucking my energy, too.

I figure part of it is because I had made a training schedule that ended up being too conservative. So, I've been winging it for well over a month. Ada is playing more during the days (which I love) -- so by the time Stephen gets home from work, I'm drained. And trying to schedule workouts with a baby is much harder than Stephen and I had anticipated.

As I think and read through everything I've written, I can pinpoint some methods that might help.

#1: I need to follow a training plan. Like print it out, stick it on the refrigerator, and cross off my completed runs. I also need to start writing down my workouts or tracking them in my Daily Mile.

I now have 12 weeks to train for the half marathon coming up in May. That time period is perfect for Hal Higdon's Intermediate Training Plan.

#2: I need to keep my energy up during the day so I'm not too spent when it's my turn to run. I definitely think a large part of this is dietary. I'm still finding my way with what and how much I should and shouldn't be eating while breastfeeding. I go through periods where I'm eating healthy foods in reasonable portion sizes. Then other times when I'll snack on Goldfish crackers all day and realize that's what I ate for lunch.

Now that Ada has consistently been sleeping well, I may even need to consider trying to run in the mornings before the tiring day begins. I was stuck in a mode where I was trying to get as much shut-eye as possible, but I realize I've been banking 9 or 10 hours of sleep a night. Even taking one hour off this total would give me an hour to run AND still have enough sleep.

#3: Stephen and I need to work together so we get fair training time. A couple days ago, we sketched out a plan of who runs when because Stephen was obviously getting the better time slots and never missing workouts. On the other hand, I had missed three of my runs for various reasons.

It was at that point I also realized that unless I get my time to run, I don't get any alone time. Any break! So, training is important to my mental sanity as much as it is for my physical wellness.


Eventually I always find my motivation again. But until that happens, I know training will be difficult. If you have any tips that might help, please share them with me!

And if you'd like to read Ada's 11 week update, head over to (never home)maker, baby. The lack of posts this week is due to setting up the new blog. I am getting closer and closer, so regular posting will resume soon.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Becoming a Long Distance Runner (Again)

>> Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, I ran my longest run since the 15K I completed when I was 20 weeks pregnant. By the way, I totally thought I was showing back then -- looking back at this photo, I had no idea how much I'd grow in the next 18 weeks.

I'm pretty sure my gut sticks out farther than this now:


[[[ End of pregnancy flashback. ]]]

Anyway, I entered the double digits, too! 10 miles exactly, and I enjoyed each and every stride. Today, I feel great!

NOT.

Truth time? This long run d.e.f.i.n.i.t.e.l.y taught me something, and it was certainly the most physically demanding thing I've done since giving birth. Today, I am feeling it. Soreness city.

I had an hour and a half alone, which is rare. And hour and a half to think back to when I trained for my last marathon. When I completed a couple weeks made up of two 5-milers, two 10-milers, a 22-miler. Wow I'm a long way away from doing that ever again.


Three hours of running? It sounds insane to me.

What this long run taught me is patience. Though I ran through much of my pregnancy, I am super far away from being in the kind of shape I was in a year ago. And that's OK with me. My mind hasn't quite caught up to this fact, however. In my head, I still think -- in an almost cocky way -- that 10 miles is relatively easy. Then I read back through my old posts. I find myself sounding totally obnoxious, writing about completing an "easy 10-miler" or similar distance.

At some point this afternoon, my mind and body connected: Easy? Please! I can hardly walk today!

Then I decided to cut myself some slack. Pain or no pain, I'm psyched for the half marathon in May. And in a way, I'm excited to embark on the training journey again. It's evident reading through my training journal that I took being in year-round half marathon shape for granted. Now, I feel like a novice again, starting from scratch, which is sort of cool and frustrating all at the same time.

I guess I just wanted to share. Have any of you ever come back to running after a long injury, pregnancy, or other hiatus? How did you deal with the mind/body disconnect?

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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News and Curried Celery Soup with Mint

>> Monday, February 6, 2012

We're starting a new blog in addition to (never home)maker. It will replace the (never home)maker, baby! blog -- which has chronicled my pregnancy and postpartum period -- with all our family updates. But you'll be happy to learn it won't just be a barrage of baby pictures. It's an opportunity to share our lives in a new way. We had a back-log of reader questions to answer, too. Best of all, it's an opportunity for me to fine-tune my cooking. New recipes (among many other new things) will be a primary focus. And they'll pull ingredients from a streamlined, budget-friendly pantry.

I've also spent more time on the photography, which is an area I admit I've neglected lately. Here's a preview of some things to come:


If you're wondering, the answer is NO. (never home)maker is not going away. Instead, we'll go back to our roots as solely a fitness and exercise blog with related workouts, race recaps, foods (like energy chunks, high-powered smoothies, bars, etc.), and other healthy living tips.

We recognize topics have strayed from our original focus, so we're excited to get things back in order.


Now for a recipe. We threw this soup together out of pure desperation. I had bought mint to make something that required peas . . . only to return home and find we didn't actually have any peas. What I did find was some celery nearing the end of its shelf life in our fridge . . .

CURRIED CELERY SOUP WITH MINT

What you'll need . . .
  • 1-1/2 pounds of celery, washed well and chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method . . .
  1. In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add in the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add in the chopped celery. Cover for 10 minutes, but continue to stir.
  3. Add the curry and onion powders and sweet potatoes. Cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Then add in the water and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool for 10 minutes. Then toss it into a blender or food processor.
  6. Add the mint and pulse until the soup is smooth.
So, enjoy the soup and please stay tuned for more updates on the new site, which we hope to open in March. If you have any suggestions (like printer-friendly recipes, more vegan recipes, better comments section, etc.), please email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

We hope you'll join us!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Superbowl Party Eats

>> Friday, February 3, 2012

The Superbowl should be an interesting event this weekend. We're not partying anywhere this year -- just hanging out with Ada in our living room. Stephen's a huge Giants fan, though, and I have absolutely no allegiances. However, according to Stephen I SHOULD cheer on the Giants since I live in NY state. I also SHOULD because it's his family's team. They get pretty heated about games throughout the season, I'm told.

For this reason, I'm rooting for the Patriots. It gets under his skin in this hilarious way. In reality, he and I both know I don't care much at all. I watch the ads, surf the internet, and drink lots of beer eat lots of bread and cheese. (This year I'll probably stick to one drink with the breastfeeding and all.)

Here are some of our best recipes to help you pig out on Sunday whether or not you enjoy football. Any excuse to eat gluttonous foods is a good one in my book.

TOFU WINGS


Fried tofu slathered in your favorite hot sauce. We used to order a huge plate at this great place on State St. in our college town, Ithaca, NY. When we learned to make our own Tofu Wings, it quickly became a party go-to.

VEGAN SLOPPY JOES


Super-filling and good-for-you, these Sloppy Joes are a general crowd pleaser for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. They are also quick to throw together if you're like us and find yourselves throwing dirty laundry into closets before guests arrive for the party.

BEER-CHEESE FONDUE


Melted cheese. Bread. The combination is irresistible. We don't just have one recipe for this favorite. Try take 1 and take 2 varieties. And get creative. Any beer-cheese mixture that sticks to the basic ratios should work out just fine.

THE LOVER


Would you think we're crazy if we told you we eat this sandwich -- THE LOVER -- weekly? When you break it down, the different components aren't that insane. Together -- watch out. Inspired by Man versus Food, you might find yourselves as hooked on this sammy as we are.

DEEP DISH VEGGIE PIZZA


In reality, any of our pizza or garlic knot recipes would be great for the weekend's festivities. Grilled pizza -- especially -- has always been a favorite at our parties. But this Deep Dish stands out because it's extra-filling. Customizable, too.


That's lots of food. I suppose, then, it's no wonder that I'm whining about my nonexistent weight-loss at 11 weeks postpartum on (never home)maker, baby! Oh, well. I'll do lots of squats with Ada during the half-time show.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

Read more...
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