Weekend Things

>> Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Friday! Starting off the weekend with a slurpable smoothie made with green beans. We have a ton of frozen green beans on hand these days as part of our frozen CSA stock. I was out of spinach one day, but wanted a green smoothie . . . so I figured why not?

Like with all sneaky smoothies, you don't taste them one bit.

// Chocolate Green Bean Smoothie // 
1 cup frozen strawberries + 1 cup frozen green beans + 1 medium banana
+ 1 cup almond milk + 1 tablespoon almond butter + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + coconut flakes (optional)

// Sole Mate //
I finally, FINALLY found my marathon training shoe.
Traded in the Saucony Virrata for the Brooks Pure Flow.
Review soon! I'm psyched. They're so comfortable + fit really well!

// Cherry Pie + Damn Fine Coffee //
Been watching Twin Peaks on Netflix. An old favorite.
We also watched This is 40 -- 10 more years, but hilarious!

// Swiffer Sweeper //
Why didn't I find this tutorial sooner?
Make reusable + washable Swiffer covers for $1.

// Frugal Fashion Finds //
Sale on Fjällräven Kånken backpacks!
Awesome basics + separates to build any wardrobe.
Eco-friendly, organic dress-up wear.

// Words To Live By //
"Successful people never worry about what others are doing."
"What we see depends mostly on what we look for."
"Instead of looking outside the box, get rid of the box."

// Runspiration //
My two favorite running bloggers these days:

// Spring Ahead //
Looking forward to spring/summer running and lighter gear.

// Fried Egg & Cheese //
Gluten free month is soon over. I'll write more soon.
This Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwich looks great right about now!

// (Kitchen) Tools //
So, if you like to cook. I have a secret for you.
One-piece silicone spatulas are the ONLY way to go.
I only learned this recently. They're all I use. For everything.

// Reading Assignments //
"My Vegan Marathon" by Christine Frietchen via NYTimes
"9 Very Specific Foods Vegetarians Miss Terribly" via BuzzFeed (I don't really agree -- haha)

Writing Chapter Three was relatively quiet this week due to some technical difficulties. But I did write about our little daredevil's very first emergency room visit (re: battery mention in last week's post) and a funny book for parents called Parenting: Illustrated by Crappy Pictures.

Have a great weekend!

Psst: You can check out more Weekend Things here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here.

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Boozy + Bold Chunky Tomato Sauce

>> Thursday, March 28, 2013

I've signed on to take the Pomi challenge and cook a delicious tomato recipe using wine. Oh, please. I don't need a challenge to use wine in cooking. I'm always looking for a chance to add a little beer or other beverage to our eats.

Here's what we're working with -- tomatoes, from Italy, in a box, not a can:

And here's what I did with it:


What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 package Pomi Chopped Tomatoes (or about 28 ounces of your favorite brand) 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup white wine (cheap Pinot Grigio like in this recipe)
  • salt to taste

Method . . . 

  1. Put all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. I used our smallest burner on the gas stove.
  2. Bring to a simmer and continue stirring -- never covered -- often for a half hour (chunky pasta sauce) to an hour (chunky pizza sauce).
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

I loosely based this recipe off my Butternut Squash Pizza Sauce recipe, but made it vegan and kicked up a notch with the red pepper flakes. In the past, I didn't pay so much attention to sauce. Usually just threw a few things together . . . but WOW does taking a little extra time/energy make a huge difference.

Please let me know if you try this recipe. If you don't like wine, you could consider adding a little sugar + water to the tomatoes. Or even white grape juice might add a nice flavor.

And never underestimate the power of sauce.

* means VEGAN

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Marathon Training Plans

>> Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I know I keep talking about this marathon like it's happening, well, TOMORROW. Fall feels so far away. Thing is, the training for this beast will start before I know it (likely the beginning of June). I don't need specifics yet, but I am going crazy trying to figure out the best plan to follow this time around.

For my first marathon, I followed Hal Higdon's Novice II plan blended with the Intermediate I plan, with 5 days of running versus 4. With the exception of getting sick for a full week of training during the taper period, I didn't miss many workouts.

// I felt pretty good lacing up to the start and finished the race. Not at the time I wanted, but finished. Good enough the first time around.

For my second and third training cycles, I used the Intermediate I blended with Intermediate II. The honeymoon phase with the distance was over. I felt exhausted. I missed many more workouts and felt like I was constantly lagging behind.

// I'm not blaming the training plans, but for whatever reason, I experienced major burnout. I DNFed Wineglass and didn't make it to the start of Philly 2010 due to a nagging IT-band injury.

So, yeah. I'm sort of extremely phobic about choosing the wrong plan, getting injured, DNFing, and having to take another 11 weeks off from running.

If you ask 10 marathoners the "right" plan to follow to do a decent job in a marathon, you will likely get 10 different answers. "High mileage, building a strong base, is the only way to prepare," says one. "Psssh! You can do it in just 3 runs a week and PR," says another. "16 miles is the longest you'll need to run -- no joke," says yet another.

And what it all boils down to is personal experience (iffy and there's baggage there), goals (sub-4:00 WITHOUT injury, please), and individual ability (steady + strong, but not necessarily at high mileage).

How to Choose the Right Marathon Plan? I don't have the answer to this difficult question, but here are the plans I'm considering . . . and why.

// Hal Higdon's Novice II:

It worked for me once, it could work again. I default to Hal's plans because they have gotten me over the finish line more times than not and with continual PRs. Versus what I did my first time around, I might even heed the 4-days running "rule" with a fifth of cross-training and play it on the safe side. I would likely bump up one of the long runs to 20 so I could complete two of that distance before race day.

The plan is 18 weeks in all, topping off at only 35 miles, though. Compared to the 55 I did in my last training cycle, I am both extremely relieved and majorly skeptical. I could play around and make some of the mid-week runs longer, possibly blending it -- like I did in my first marathon -- with the Intermediate I plan.

// F-I-R-S-T:

A couple of you have shared this 3-day/week "less is more" plan with me that I actually remember first reading about way back in 2005. There's a book, Run Less, Run Faster, too. Honestly, this schedule is looking more and more appealing, as it emphasizes "hard" cross-training (think spinning classes, ashtanga yoga, and mile-long swims in the pool) to keep up cardiovascular endurance and keep bones/joints/etc. happy.

This 16-Week Plan that includes targeted, "quality" workouts (speed, tempo, long run) in, again, just 3 -- t.h.r.e.e -- days a week.  Some people have noted that, despite the name, FIRST isn't a beginning marathon program at all; the workouts are all focused effort. And others have told me that the only way to do well in a marathon is running, even if it's those junk miles. Could just three days a week cut it?

// Train Like a Mother:

My friend Nicki let me glance at her copy of this book last weekend at this plan that promises you'll "Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity." I like the idea of flexibility. There are "finish it" plans and "own it" plans for beginning to expert runners. Though with a race of this nature, I don't know how much flexibility would be good before I'd start that slippery slope into skipping too many workouts.

I'll write more about choosing the right plan soon. It's a big deal in my head these days, and for good reason. It will basically be my bible for 16 to 20 weeks, dictating much of what I do, eat, and experience (pain-wise, that is!). I actually got some excellent advice yesterday after I wrote this post, so I'll share that, too.

What I will say is this:

In my searches far and wide on the internets, it seems like everybody and his/her brother has written up "the best ever" plan. Heck -- I know people who have run sub 4-hour times with even the more nonexistent of buildups! Please respect the distance and be careful when choosing your own plan, modifying multiples, etc. I usually stick with the big name people with credentials. But that's just me.

How do you choose your training plans? For any distance, really, but especially for the marathon? Any plans to share with me?

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Bars

>> Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I've been making a point to have these in the fridge at all times. Especially with gluten-free month, it's been a necessity to have something easy to grab and go. Oh, Ada calls them "cookies" . . . and they're simple enough for me to feel fine about giving them to her.

(Healthy) cookie!

Using a muffin tin is optional, but highly recommended to make them feel more like a bar. I gobble up energy balls like crazy. Before I know it, they're all gone. These flattened rounds seem to last a bit longer. Or satisfy better.


* you can easily substitute in whatever "nut" butter you choose

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (I only had reduced fat on hand, but I'm sure regular works)
  • 1-1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • coconut oil (optional -- for greasing muffin tins)

Method . . . 

  1. Place all ingredients in your food processor -- save 1/2 cup of the oats.
  2. Pulse 5 to 7 times, then add the rest of the oats and continue pulsing until well incorporated, but still somewhat coarse.
  3. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls into a regular muffin tin. Then flatten with your fingers -- but I also found that a round spice container covered in plastic wrap was the BEST tool to flatten uniformly and easily.
  4. Store in the fridge until hardened, about an hour. Then store in an airtight container for a week or two, maybe longer -- but they won't last that long.

These are vegan, gluten-free (if you use GF oats), and -- as I mentioned above -- can also be peanut-free. I made them with homemade almond butter and they turned our fabulously. I am also sure you could use dates in place of raisins. And maybe honey for the maple syrup.

There's opportunity for variations, that much I know.

And I plan to play around and give you some ideas soon. These bars are perfect for pre- and post-run fueling. I think I may try to craft the perfect combo for my marathon training. I hate gels and other store-bought energy aids.

Happy Tuesday -- you have time to make these NOW!

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Running Recap

>> Monday, March 25, 2013

Here's last week in running. Definitely was a good one.

M: 3 easy miles (I was sick, but felt good to get out)
T: 3 treadmill miles at 8:30/mile + kettlebells and squats
W: 1 hour Ashtanga yoga DVD
R: 4 x 800s at 7:30 pace w/ warmup + recovery = 5 miles in 41 minutes
S: Tempo run -- 4 miles at 7:57/mile = 32 minutes
S: 15K + extra miles to add up to a long run of 12 at 8:16/mile = 1:40

= 27 miles total

This week I committed to running actual speed and tempo workouts outdoors. I have always been intimidated by these types of runs. I would dread and dread them . . . and now I know why. I set the paces too fast! Trying to do sub 7-min mile pace for whatever reason. Too hard!

So I worked with Stephen to slot the appropriate times down for my half pace goal of 7:55/mile. Surprisingly, these runs were difficult, but not at all impossible. I'm hoping they pay off, but I did start them late in the training cycle. We'll see, I guess!

I'm a bit disappointed I didn't get in my mile swim, but that's just icing on the cake.

I had originally intended to run yesterday's race as an actual race. Try to dip under 1:13 and PR for the 15K. But I had two things going: 1.) I am still recovering from a chest cold and have been getting coughing fits after hard efforts 2.) I haven't run more than 10 miles at a time since October and, with my half marathon is fast approaching, I wanted to run 12 miles, not race 9.3.

So, a half mile or so in, I settled in with some of my running buddies, and we decided to run as a comfortably hard long run. It was awesome to chat throughout the course, take our time at water stops, and finish with huge smiles on our faces despite some hills at the end. Our time was 1:16:59 (8:16/mile), not a second longer.

Stephen did great, though, and set a new PR of 52:32 (5:39/mile) + came in third overall.

Otherwise, this weekend Stephen played shoe matchmaker for me (it's been 6 months -- my shoes are dead!) and -- for once in the past 2+ years -- they aren't Nike Frees. I still love that shoe, but with marathon training on the horizon, I wanted something minimal . . . but with more cushioning.

So, I got the Saucony Virrata.

I haven't run in them (planning to do a slow three later today), so I'm not sure if I'm keeping 'em yet. But I hope to do a review soon if they agree with me. If you'd like to read more about them, Michele (NYC Running Mama) did a review recently.

How was your last week in workouts? Anyone run a race or PR this weekend?

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Weekend Things

>> Friday, March 22, 2013

I missed my yoga class Wednesday in an unfortunate incident involving a battery + ER visit. I'll share the story next week -- everything is completely fine, by the way. Still, I needed a good, non-running workout. Jillian Yoga has been great, but I never feel the stretch/relaxation I crave. I treat that DVD more like body weight strength training.

I suppose the relaxation part is hard, too, when a nosy toddler is patting my butt during downward facing dog.

// Yoga: I found it! //
So, yeah. I found the yoga DVD I've been looking for: Ashtanga by Gaiam
It's EXACTLY my old power yoga routine. Not hard, but not for beginners, as the title suggests.

I use a lot of herbs in cooking, but admittedly . . .
It's more experimentation than expert. This chart helps.

// Marathon Plan //
Thanks for your support with my fall marathon decision!
I'm nervous about injury. And some of you have asked . . . I'm being conservative.
I'm hoping to follow Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan. 4 days running, 1 x-training.

// Food, food, FOOD!!! //
I have SO many new recipes to share with you over the upcoming weeks.
In the meantime, here are my culinary picks on Pinterest, general and gluten-free.

// Watch it //
I've been using Stephen's Garmin 210 for months. I need my own watch.
Trying to choose between the sleek Garmin 10 + newer but $$$ Garmin 610.

// Pandora's Lunchbox //
I happened upon a great piece on "how processed food took over the American meal."
Here's Part 1 (interview w/ Melanie Warner) + Part 2 (truth about soy protein).

// Undecorate //
I don't have the book, but I saw it when I browsed through the home section at B&N this week.
Even just the word "undecorate" got me thinking. It's now my mantra for spring cleaning.

// Pack It Up //
I'm at WAHM/SAHM, and yet I still pack a lunch. Is that weird?
Here are some great packed lunch ideas + a gorgeous bento box gallery.

// Fashion Week //
I was surprised that you guys like my (frugal) fashion picks!
This week, I'm digging striped dresses, colorful canvas totes, and crochet Toms.

// That's Sharp(ie) //
Wow. Sharpie Easter eggs. What could be easier than that?
I love these colorful, naturally dyed eggs, too.

// Technical Note //
I changed the way you visit links on this site in response to suggestions.
Now links open new windows. Please let me know if this works well for you or not.

And here's what else you may have missed on Writing Chapter Three:

Have a great weekend!

Psst: You can check out more Weekend Things here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here.

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!


Does the 26.2 Sticker Expire?

>> Thursday, March 21, 2013

I recently had to renew the registration on my car, which led me to tip-toe outside one night + write down my license plate number (I can never remember it!). Anyway, I had somehow forgotten that I'm proudly sporting a 26.2 sticker on my bumper.

And yet it's been years since my butt has finished a full marathon or even trained for one.

My parents often proudly talk about their marathon-running daughter. They recently told me how impressed their neighbor was about the whole thing, and I was super quick to correct them. I was actually quite embarrassed, too. "I run half marathons," I said, almost scolding them.

Yes. I have completed that major feat on one occasion (Philadelphia 2009). It is an amazing accomplishment/milestone. Right up there with graduating college, getting my first job, getting married, having a baby. I DNFed at another (Wineglass 2010). I didn't make it to the start of yet another (Philadelphia 2010).

Three training cycles in all.

I have sweated out more 18-20-mile runs than I can remember. 
I have been injured.  Many times. Many ways.
I have been proud of my 8:45 long run pace, only to run well over 9 on race day. 
I have felt lousy when sickness made me miss "important" runs. 
I have simultaneously loved and hated the 40 to 50 mile weeks.
I have felt like a rock star -- mega-confidence and self-esteem.
I have said many times I never, ever want to run a marathon again. 
I have also been frustrated at not breaking 4:00 and vowed to do so.

So, should I take this sticker off my car? I'm not sure. As you can see, it brings me more conflicted thoughts than simply positive ones. I have no current plans or desire to run a marathon either. Well, aside from that beating the 4-hour mark. I go back and forth on "needing" to do that every few months. *** See my added "news" below!

In many professions, people are made to re-test and keep up certain licenses, titles, or other requirements. Otherwise, they are stripped bare. Is this much the same thing? Am I a runner who has run a marathon, not a marathoner? I think that sounds accurate.

What are your thoughts? Does the 26.2 stick or "marathoner" title expire? If so, when? If not, why do you think so?

I actually have some news that I'm hesitant to share. Yesterday I registered for this year's Wineglass Marathon (image source). Stephen and I went back and forth and back and forth about doing a marathon. In the end, we figured it'd be something good to "get out of the way" before we consider baby #2.

It's my DNF course, and I'd like to finish it this time around, you know? The race is the first weekend in October. I will be sharing much more as I train (my plan starts June 2nd), so I hope you'll come along for the ride. 

Using my half marathon time, pace projector says I can finish in 3:42. I'd just like to finish and break 4 hours. Oh, yeah. And not get injured during the race or training. That's my biggest concern.

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Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

>> Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thing is: Green Curry Stir-Fries are fantastic. But even with all this shifting of my "ideal" dinner, I still crave pizza. At least every Thursday. I tried my hand at a gluten-free pizza crust in the past and the results were horrible. I share them anyway, but we haven't gone near that recipe since.

I have also adapted several of our other pizza crust and naan recipes using a bag of Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour. I had a coupon to try some out, but I am trying to offer up recipes with ingredients you don't necessarily have to buy special.

Cornmeal + flax. And you will see that quinoa flour is in this recipe. A special ingredient. We have some left over from a Food for Runners: Quinoa post we did a while back.

I have read that you can make your own at home. Here's one tutorial using a food processor + here's another using a coffee grinder. I hope to try each out soon.

serves 1 to 2, depending on appetite

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons warm water 
  • 1/3 cups cauliflower or pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup organic, stone-ground cornmeal, plus more for pizza stone
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Method . . .
  1. In a small bowl, proof your yeast by sprinkling it over the 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Combine the yeast with the puree (I just boiled frozen cauliflower and ran it through my food processor) and olive oil. Mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, cornmeal, flax meal, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add the wet and dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Form into a ball and cover for a couple hours.

To bake . . .

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, placing a baking stone inside the oven to preheat as well.
  2. Flatten the crust into a circle right onto the hot stone, being careful not to burn your fingers. (It happened to me.)
  3. Then bake for 5 to 7 minutes, take out of the oven and carefully flip over.
  4. Top with your favorite toppings. We used my Butternut Squash Pizza Sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  5. continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese -- or whatever else you've topped it with -- is warmed/browned and bubbly.

What's your favorite gluten-free pizza crust recipe? Any one I should try out that's particularly "authentic" or particularly NY-style? 

And click here to read more about my adventures with gluten-free foods.

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Half Marathon Plan + Reader Question

>> Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lauren asks:

"So many of my friends and so many bloggers I follow seem to do races almost every weekend. I have done a few 5ks in the past, but I don't have any plans to do anything soon. I don't enjoy racing much, though I have been happy with my finish times. I don't have the money either, as I am in graduate school at the moment. Do any runners run, but not race or race infrequently?" 

Interesting question. I haven't talked much about my race plans for spring. That's probably because I don't have terribly many. I used to love lacing up to the start, getting in a good effort, and enjoying that feeling of success after crossing the finish. For whatever reason, I just haven't been enthusiastic about racing this year. 

There's really no reason I can think of. It's been a bit less convenient and more stressful adding Ada to the mix. Trying to get childcare and getting in consistent training. Money has been an issue for us, too. When we added up what we used to spend on racing, we were floored to say the least.

In my opinion, I don't think there's any requirement to run races as a runner. It may feel like you're missing out, and in some ways you are and you aren't. Racing gives you an opportunity to connect with other people who are passionate about the sport, to put yourself to the test and see hard work pay off, and to have something to work toward with your training.


I don't think there's anything wrong or lame or silly about running for fun. Even if that "for fun" includes some serious speedwork and long distances. There's no reason you can't run for your own goals and aspirations without having to prove it somehow to the running gods on a specific day or course. And if you want to connect with other runners, you can do that with a running club or friends.

My own racing frequency has gone down from running maybe 20 races a year to just a handful. I'm still running or beating my old times and still holding onto a consistent running schedule. I feel great and I have little plan to change or do more in the near future.

I also have a hell of a lot more free time on the weekends and just a little more money in my pocket, which I'll take at this stage in my life. That all being said, I'm running a half marathon the first weekend of May.

Here's my training plan.

At the time when I wrote this post originally, I was all set to run Saturday's 5 and Sunday's 12. Then i got super sick. So, I'm already seeing that I'll need to bend/adapt. It's possible to still be OK and miss key runs, but it's not ideal.

My goal is to run under 1:45. I don't know how well I will be able to stick to those pace runs because that type of training is new to me + as I mentioned, things just come up. And I have opted to include a nice chunk of cross-training because I am loving the pool and the opportunity to take yoga classes through our gym.


It also gives me some flex if I do miss a long run or other important workout, I can skip the cross-training and replace it with whatever I missed. If you have kids or other large responsibilities at work or school, you likely understand how stuff comes up. Ada and I both have nasty colds this weekend (must have caught it from Stephen last weekend!), so I may have to push my long run back, etc.

If I have unlimited time to work out, I'd probably do a bit more running and fit in the cross training by doubling-up. I used to spend hours working out, but time is at a premium. I am really happy Stephen and I been able to find a relatively good balance.

Thanks to Lauren for her great question. I'd love to know your thoughts, too.

Do you love running, but hate racing? Or is your budget tight and not allow room? Or any other similar circumstance?

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Green Curry Tofu Stir-Fry

>> Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm discovering that the easiest gluten-free dinners to prepare don't revolve around specific gluten replacements or fancy flours and baking methods at all. Instead, they require me to look outside the bread box and redefine what dinner means to our family. We used to eat a ton of stir-fries.

I think we fell out of practice when I was pregnant and many veggies turned my stomach. I got in the habit of eating lots of bread-centric foods  because they went down the easiest. They also continued being a favorite when we were busy with a newborn and they were easy to grab.

Newsflash: We don't have a newborn anymore. So, back to stir-frying!


What you'll need . . .

  • 1 cake tofu, drained well 
  • 1 large head broccoli 
  • 1 white onion 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1 red pepper, sliced (we were out, but usually use one) 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste 
  • 15 ounce can low fat coconut milk
  • Juice of half a lime

Method . . .

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the green curry paste and coconut milk until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Drain your tofu using this method. Cube and set aside while you warm a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large fry pan. Cook the tofu until well browned on all sides.
  3. In another, larger pan over medium-high heat, add your oil and onions and garlic. Cook until glassy + fragrant.
  4. Then add in the broccoli and red pepper. Cook until softened, but still a bit crunchy. Then add in the mushrooms and cook a few minutes more.
  5. Add the coconut curry mix to your veggie pan. Cook for a few minutes, until bubbly.
  6. Add the tofu to the veggie/curry pan . . . then cook covered over low heat for another 15 to 30 minutes. Then squirt in the lime and stir.
  7. Serve over rice (should make two large servings) and add basil or another garnish as desired. 

I'd say coconut curry stir-fries are our favorite. They aren't quite as authentic as ordering out, but the flavor is more interesting than our other go-to, which is mostly soy sauce mixed with sesame oil. We pretty much go back and fourth between the two.

Here's a Red Curry Stir-Fry recipe we made a while back (with photos taken in the day! sorry about that . . . ). And we sometimes make this tasty marinade, bake the tofu, and serve with roasted veggies. Just another way of making a similar meal.

If you've gone gluten-free or have been trying to eat less gluten, do you try to replace those bread-y foods you used to enjoy or do you shift to eating entirely different sorts of meals? Or maybe a mix?


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Weekend Things

>> Friday, March 15, 2013

Please allow me to be vain for a minute. (Or eternity -- this is the www, after all.) I try my best not to be t.o.t.a.l.l.y obnoxious on this blog, and sometimes I fail. But I have had four -- FOUR -- consecutive awesome hair days this week. This one was my favorite, though I need to trim my bangs.

"Yeah, you look great, Ashley . . . moving on now . . . "

// I Wanna Be Dirty //
Or just have better hair. Second day is always the best, as I'm finding out.
(Never longer for me, though. I'm slick. And by that, I mean oily.)
I use this dry shampoo + a cheap-o boar bristle brush I've had for years.

// No More Face Wash //
File this with the No-Shampoo Method. Naturally clean!
A way to clean your face using only baking soda + coconut oil.

You aren't dreaming. This is a real book of vegan, GF deliciousness.
From Mac and Cheese to chocolate cupcakes!
Check out Un-junk Your Junk Food, too.

// Beer Pizza Dough //
We've actually made something very similar before.
But if you can't wait for our post, check out this one.

Tofu = food I didn't think you could freeze. From bad, bad experience.
But there's a right and a wrong way. Here's how.

// Race Pace //
Do you use online race pace projectors?
Plug in a current race time and see how you might do at another distance.

// Watch //
Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry?, especially the Green River Killer episode.
And I'm hoping to finally catch Life of Pi one of these days.

// In (Gluten-Free) News //
"Utah company seeks funds for gluten-free culinary institute" (Salt Lake Tribune).
"Why we're wasting billions on gluten-free food" (TIME Magazine).
"Gluten-free diet appeals to 30 percent of adults, survey says" (Huffington Post).

// DIY Inspiration //
Here are a few things I would love to make.
Seriously, Pinterest is the best (and the worst!).

// Swimmingly //
I've replaced one of my running workouts each week w/ a 1-mile swim.
Still kicks my butt, but gentle on my legs. Here's some swimming memories of mine.

Do you have kids? Do they wear clothes?
Check out Writing Chapter Three for a cute giveaway.

And here's what else you may have missed on my other site:

Have a great weekend!

Psst: You can check out more Weekend Things here + here + here + here + here + here + here.

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6 Habits of Highly Annoying Racers

>> Thursday, March 14, 2013

I feel like I already wrote this post . . . twice. But really, I'm just easily annoyed. Especially when exerting myself, like in my most recent 4-miler. It's something I should work on. And I'm sure I've been guilty of a few of these habits in the past. Anyway, here are 6 of the most eye-roll inducing things I see racers doing these days.

(And just so there are no hard feelings, I also think it's annoying to continually share workouts as they are happening. Yet, I do it all the time. Case in point: #yay4milerun)

#1: Starting In the Wrong Spot.

I can give some leeway with this one because -- especially at smaller races -- it can be hard to figure out who's running what pace. But if you run 13-minute miles, it's not smart to start in the first 1/4 of the group. Instead, ask those around you generally how they are planning to finish and try to line up accordingly. And if you never run and are just participating for fun -- please refrain from sprinting the first quarter mile and dropping to a halt, getting in the way of practiced runners. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly tripped over people or have seen others trampled in the crowd.

#2: Expressing Negative Thoughts.

I've heard anything from "Seriously? Only 8:30/mile? Ugh!!!" to "Oh, GAWD. Just LOOK at that huge hill!!!" If you have nothing nice to say, it's best to keep your mouth shut. Or if you just have to blab, try to find something positive to chat about. Maybe there is a killer mountain up ahead, but it's better to say something like: "Alright, guys. We can do this!" Something to keep the group going strong.

#3: Tweeting or Instagram-ing Mid-Run.

This one gets a double eye-roll. Posting before or after the race is fine. Jitters and nerves get the best of me, too, so a little shout for good luck is sometimes in order. And sharing a great finish time is always on my list of priorities -- after I cross the finish line. The way I see it, if you signed up for the race + have time to tweet in the middle, you're not running hard enough. 

#4: Blatantly Disregarding Race Rules.

Maybe it's my inner-goody-two-shoes, but I hate, hate, hate when runners ignore race rules. Examples are no dogs, no strollers, etc. And the ever-popular no head-phones. It means you can't wear headphones -- for your safety. Also: So I don't have to listen to muffled Selena Gomez crap my whole race. If it's hard to run without music, try doing it at least once a week so race day won't shock your system.

#5: Passing Someone RIGHT Before the Finish.

We all try to get the last kick in at the end of a race. Feel free to breeze past those people with little gas left in their tanks and feel good about it. But if you are within like 5 feet of the finish, don't trip someone to move up a place in the overall lineup. It's not worth it. It's just lame and rude. And you could seriously hurt someone. I actually saw a human collision once; it wasn't pretty.

#6: Disrespecting the Race. (From Stephen)

If you disrespect the race, you're indirectly disrespecting the racers. Yeah, you might only be doing this half marathon as a warmup to your epic full marathon. But we don't need to hear all about how above it you are. And runners: If you encounter someone like this, don't give in and say something like: "Oh, well I'm only doing the half today . . ." Self-deprecation isn't necessary. You're awesome and "real" runners run all sorts of speeds + distances.

What annoys you at races? Am I being too harsh? Probably.

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Half Dozen Gluten-Free Chippers

>> Wednesday, March 13, 2013

After this success in gluten-free baking, I'm confident that many all of my small batch cookie recipes can all adapt. I actually had several trials before I decided to stop trying to use lots of ingredients + just keep it simple. That meant using simple pulsed oats in place of flour.

Many of you have expressed concern over the use of oats -- we use the Bob's Red Mill kind that are marked as gluten-free. So, please bake carefully if you have sensitivity.

So, add these to the list of my other half dozen recipes.


What you'll need . . . 

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1-1/4 cups GF oats, pulsed into flour
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • handful or two chocolate chips

Method . . . 

  1. First you'll want to pulse your oats in a food processor (this is the one we have) until flour-like. Takes just a few minutes. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  3. Cream together the Earth Balance and sugar using the paddle attachment on your mixer. Then add in the vanilla extract, flax meal, and water. Until fluffy.
  4. Mix on low adding the oat flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and let rest for just a couple minutes.
  5. Then bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let cool completely before eating (they set nicely this way).

I suppose I don't need to make a big fuss about these being GF -- really they're just tasty oatmeal cookies made entirely of oats. The texture is wonderful, too. Moist (I hate that word, but that's what they are), but crisp. They'll be a new regular in my rotation whether or not I continue my GF adventures.

Have you made your own flours at home?

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