Roasted Veggie + Tomato Hummus

>> Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another kid + adult-friendly recipe today. I think you'll be seeing a lot of these as we attempt to expand Ada's will-eat list. It's not that children can't eat the same foods as adults, but -- well -- really, they can't.

Since I started my love affair with cooking, I've gotten salt and seasonings heavy. Specifically with spice and heat. When I'd attempt to serve Ada some of our favorite foods, I'd quickly realize I shouldn't have added that 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, for example. Or that glug of Texas Pete. Oops.

But taking the spice and salinity down a notch doesn't mean eating bland, boring foods.

I'm thinking hummus.
Does that sound good to you?

If you don't have tahini in the cupboard (likely the case over here), you can improvise.

A can of chickpeas + a few pulses of the food processor . . .


What you'll need . . . 

  • 1/2 cup (heaping) roasted veggies*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
* If you don't have roasted veggies on hand (we just eat them ALL the time), simply cut up eggplant, portabellas, bell peppers, onions, etc. into large chunks. Toss in some olive oil and a little bit of salt and pepper and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees F for around 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until well browned.

Method . . . 

  1. In your food processor, toss in your veggies, chickpeas, and olive oil. 
  2. As you pulse, add in the strained tomatoes a couple tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week (though ours only lasts a couple days!).

You may remember from the Boozy + Bold Tomato Sauce recipe that I've signed on to take the Pomi challenge. This month's mission? Using Pomi with eggplant -- I think this is a delicious combination!

Do you ever make hummus without tahini? What's your favorite mix?

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Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

>> Monday, April 29, 2013

Ada has reached the age where she's interested in all the food on OUR plates versus her own. As if  you all didn't know it already, I have a cookie habit. "What's that?" she asks me, ignoring her peas. "Cookie," I say -- hoping to distract her with a book or puzzle.

"Cookie. Cookie. CoooooooooOOOOOOOOOkie!" she cries.

And that's how Ada's cookie habit began. But what she doesn't know is what I give her is actually pretty tame on the sweets spectrum. So, young or old -- this one's sure to please. The chocolate topping is optional (those ones are mama's cookies!)

makes just over a dozen

What you'll need . . .
  • 4 tablespoons honey or maple syurp
  • 1/2 cup crunchy or smooth peanut butter (homemade to really control sugar + salt content)
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons hot water 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
* I imagine a gluten-free substitute or other flours -- spelt, buckwheat -- would work well, too, since it's such a small amount.

Method . . . 

  1. Preheat your oven to  375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the peanut butter, Earth Balance, and honey/maple syrup.
  3. In a separate, small bowl, combine the flax meal with the hot water and let sit for a couple minutes. Then add the mixture + vanilla extract to the bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined. Then scoop heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake between 9 and 11 minutes, depending on the sweetener you used (honey tends to brown sooner). Let cool before serving.

I make these cookies naked for Ada and she easily polishes off half of one at a sitting. I, on the other hand, could eat quite a few.

To make it a mommy (or daddy) cookie, just melt 1/4 to 1/3 cup dark chocolate or bittersweet chips with 1/2 teaspoon Earth Balance on the stove, stirring constantly. Then use a spatula to haphazardly drip chocolate on top. Or artfully, whatever you think it is.

YUP. I'll probably be one of those moms who brings chocolate-tofu pie to snack time at preschool. I'm owning it. Honestly, I'll do anything to get my kid to eat, even if it means crafting low sugar or seemingly strange concoctions. But they taste great, so who cares what's in them?

Happy Monday!

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Weekend Things

>> Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Friday, another sneak preview of a treat you can look forward to on Monday. I don't mean for this to be cruel. I have a lot of recipes in the queue, but I'm bumping this one up in order.

As someone on our Facebook called them, they're my Jackson Pollock cookies.

// Natural Goodness //
I can't give up sweets entirely, so I'm baking without with less sugar.
Here's some Sweetener Comparisons: Honey, Agave, Molasses, Sugar, Maple Syrup.
I'll have this nearly sugar(s)-free peanut butter cookie recipe for you Monday!

// My Mouth is Watering //
Homemade Ginger Ale? Why, yes! Please!
Gorgeous Root Chips using beets, sweet potatoes, and yucca root.
Grape Leaves stuffed with goat cheese, figs + walnuts.

// Plant a Tree (Or Something Else) // 
Check out these Top 10 Gardening Apps.
I am extremely tempted by this 4' x 4' cedar raised bed kit.
And who doesn't absolutely adore supple succulents?

// Warm Weather Cool //
I broke out my Saltwater Sandals today!
40% off Ray-Bans -- I love the Round Wayfarer in Gold.
Striped maxis, skirts, and dresses. Stripes are my favorite.

// Allergy Relief //
Pollen: It's getting the best of me.
I love this DIY rice bag with essential oils to soothe sinuses.
Erin's Allergy Tea recipe is also extremely intriguing.

// From the Outside . . . In //
The beauty on the inside is what counts, but our exterior/entry needs help.
I am loving these dutch front doors, trellis overhangs,
Earth-tone paint colors, and built-in lockers.

// Workout Tools //
Some of you have asked what my favorite online running resources are.
I use this Pace Calculator all the time.
And this training pace calculator is great for planning workouts.

// Reading Help! //
Things have been a bit crazy this week.
I'm not up on my reading.
Any suggestions for articles to check out?

And here's what you may have missed this week on Writing Chapter Three. Talk of toddler gardens, dwelling small, disposable diapers, and more.

Have a great weekend!

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

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Reader Question: Juice Fast + Training

>> Thursday, April 25, 2013

Briana asks:  

"I finally watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead a couple weeks ago and Joe's journey with juicing has inspired me. My own eating habits aren't the best especially since I have increased my mileage. I am training for my first half marathon that's in late May. What I'm wondering is if you have any experience with juice fasts combined with regular running?"

\\\ /// \\\ /// \\\ ///

I wrote back to Briana right away because I don't have any specific experience with fasting -- with or without food -- so I'm not the best person to ask. However, her question stuck with me because I think it's a common one these days. I see variations of fasts popping up in my Pinterest feed almost daily.

I've dabbled with juicing, even going to great lengths to make juice at home using my blender versus buying a juicer. In my own experience, when I've had fresh juices -- plain carrot is a favorite -- I feel this amazing rush. Whether that feeling is psychosomatic or not, I don't think anyone can deny adding juice to the everyday diet can be a good thing.

But can it stand alone? I'm not so sure.

And support running? I'm really skeptical.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, a juice fast is when a person chooses to consume only 100% fresh fruit and/or vegetable juices for a set amount of time. I've seen fasts from a few days to months at a time. Proponents claim a number of benefits, including a cleansed and regulated colon, a strengthened immune system, increased mental clarity, increased energy levels, and more (source).

A lot of these quick detoxes or more long range plans look enticing, but when combined with an athletic training plan, my first thought is: BAD IDEA. Since I don't have any first-hand knowledge, I thought I'd toss this question out to you guys.

First, here's some information/personal experiences:

Do Juice Cleanses Work? 10 Truths About the Fad (Huffington Post)
My 14 Day Juice Fast (HighExistence)
How I Ran 20 Miles Whilst Fasting (Running On Juice)
Beginner's Guide to Juice Fasting (Living Green) 
Burning Runner: Preparing for a Juice Fast (Competitor)
The Juice Clease: A Strange and Green Journey (New York Times)
10 Tips for Before, During, After a Juice Cleanse (MindBodyGreen)
Intense Exercise During Juice Fast? Is it Even Possible? (Nina Cherie, Ph.D)

I am inclined to keep eating a balanced diet while training -- complete with all the food groups -- adding in juices for an extra boost.

Briana's question inspired me to make a fresh batch of juice at home last night. I combined 3 apples, 2 blood oranges, and 8 carrots with a good amount of water + blended in my Ninja blender (or, as we affectionately call it, the poor man's Vitamix) + ran it all through some cheesecloth to strain. 8 cups of juice in all.

I guess my (somewhat ignorant, but I don't mean in the pejorative sense) answer is that I don't think drinking ONLY juice while training for a half marathon is a good idea. I think adding juices to your diet might help you clean up messy eating habits and give you some of the benefits without having to make a drastic change. I'd wait until the race is completed to try a full-on juice cleanse.

What's your take on this question?

Can you smash 20-mile runs drinking only juice? I'm not promoting or condemning the practice. It's such a massive trend these days, I think it's an interesting topic for discussion!

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Breakfast Quiche + Rosemary Crust

>> Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I've tacked the word "breakfast" onto this tasty quiche recipe, but it's really appropriate no matter the time of day. Or year, for that matter. I have some more spring-like recipes coming up, it's just been a tough transition from all the comfort dishes I've been making.

Let's dive right in . . .

individual servings made easy using a muffin tin!

What you'll need for the crust . . . 

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup cold Earth Balance
  • 2/3 cup almond milk 

What you'll need for the egg mixture . . .

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup red or green peppers, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk 

Method . . .

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease the cups of your muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, salt, and butter/Earth Balance until it becomes coarse meal.
  3. In a bowl, mix with the almond milk until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, divide into 12 equal pieces of dough. Roll into balls and then flatten or roll flat. Press into the muffin tin cups as you would pie crust.
  5. Gently whisk together all ingredients for the egg filling. Then distribute into the cups, making sure to leave some space at the top for expansion (if you fill them too much, they will spill out and make a mess of your oven, I know this from experience!)
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until eggs are set and lightly browned. Let cool before serving.
  7. Serve immediately or can be refrigerated for a few days and eaten warm or cold.

If you'd like to freeze these guys for a convenient grab + go, simply:
  • Let quiches cool completely. This part is important when freezing most things. I even place mine in the refrigerator to make the process faster. 
  • Wrap individually in plastic wrap and then place in a large freezer bag. Choose your freezer spot carefully so they aren't crushed. 
  • Consider defrosting first in your refrigerator when it's time to re-heat -- though they can be reheated from a frozen state. 
  • Also consider topping with aluminum (if reheating in the oven) so they don't brown too much. Choose microwave setting carefully to avoid hot spots.
Oh, and please top liberally with hot sauce. My favorite lately always is Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. It goes especially well with eggs fried in coconut oil. And on pizza. Anything, really.

Any suggestions? Hot sauce is my favorite condiment!

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Half Marathon Training Update

>> Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I have less than two weeks till the half marathon, and I've begun a slight taper so my legs will be fresh on race day.

M: 12 miles long // didn't take watch
T: 3 miles easy recovery
W: 4 sets squats + 1 hour yoga at gym
R: Rest
F: 4 miles, first 3 @ 7:30/mile sustained + cool down at 8:30
S: 6.35 miles -- Run for Boston
S: Rest, home alone during Stephen's 77.7 mile relay race

I've pushed my long runs to Mondays for a variety of reasons. What's not on this chart is my last real long run that I completed yesterday: 13.1 miles in 1:50:00, 8:23/mile. Phew. I'm glad that's over. Thankfully the distance/my endurance is coming back, and I'm feeling much less worried about upping my mileage for my fall marathon (Wineglass).

Overall, I'd say my training this cycle has been relatively consistent and strong. Just to help recap, here's a look again at my plan, which I didn't follow exactly . . . but was pretty close:

Cross-training, specifically swimming, was going to be a new focus for me this time around. What I didn't anticipate is that our gym would be working on our pool for several weeks, so I've been unable to log those yards, ultimately taking an extra rest day. I'm not thrilled because swimming has really helped with my cardiovascular training, but I'll survive.

I have done at least one good 1-hour session of yoga each week, whether it was at the gym or at home. Between the stretching/strengthening and running 4 days a week versus 5, I'm feeling much less injury-prone. It's also helped with our family/life balance -- it's hard when both parents are training, but somehow we're making it work.

Last, I've been impressed with how I've actually completed the hard pace workouts and have even pushed the times I outlined in this plan. I have stuck with it, which I'm hoping gains me some results -- as in a sub 1:45:00 finish.


And at the same time, knowing that I have tried + devoted such energy to my training is mentally psyching me out. I usually put in a good effort, but either can't quantify it (don't wear a watch or time myself) and/or don't stick to those key workouts. Then I have a convenient excuse on race day if things don't go as planned.

Honestly, I've poured my heart into this training. If my time is stagnant or even slower, I'll be crushed and somewhat disheartened. Frustrated. And maybe even angry. I feel like by now I should be able to accomplish my goal. I guess we'll wait + see.

There's safety in not trying, right? It's been my method for most races. I'll put in the miles, but -- ultimately -- it's a gamble race day if I PR or not. It's worked for me. I've gained faster race times at a lot of events and, at others, had a safety net for my ego.

And maybe mentally this method helps because race morning when everyone is lining up and nervously chattering before the gun goes off, I can say "well, I didn't really TRY, so we'll see how I do." It takes the pressure off somehow.

Do any of the rest of you share in my experience?

Do you train really hard and gun it for your personal bests? Or, like me, do you like to just see what happens?

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Celebrate with Pie

>> Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day, everyone! I hope you had a gorgeous weekend. The weather here was chilly, but sunny -- so, I'll take it. As I mentioned in my latest Weekend Things post, I recently made a kick-ass pie. I thought Earth Day would be the perfect occasion to share it with you.

We all need some chocolate on Mondays anyway. And this pie has no refined sugar (or weird substitutes) + is simple enough to make after work and indulge in after dinner. Tonight. You could make this tonight!

Please do.

vegan, gluten-free (option), no refined sugar, and quick to make!

What you'll need for the crust . . . 
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pretzels (use gluten-free if you like or even replace with more nuts)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
 Method . . . 
  1. In a food processor, briefly pulse the almonds, walnuts, and pretzels together. I prefer a chunkier crust, but if you like it smoother and more uniform, just keep pulsing.
  2. Then add in the maple syrup, vanilla, Earth Balance or oil, and cocoa powder. Pulse until well combined.
  3. Then press crust into a tart pan (the removable bottom helps get the pie out once it's all done + chilled)
  4. Set aside while you make the filling. Try not to eat too much of it while you wait. It will tempt you.

What you'll need for the filling . . .
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (fresh-squeezed is best)

Method . . .
  1. Get a clean tea towel and place your tofu cube inside. Then squeeze and ring out all the excess water. (You can also use a plate to press out the moisture -- I've just been doing it this way lately.)
  2. Then place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  3. You can adjust the taste by adding more maple syrup or lime juice, etc.
  4. Then pour into your tart pan and spread evenly with a spoon.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to your refrigerator for a couple hours until firm.

I'm not terribly enthused with the photos I got of the finished pie. I starting shooting in the evening as the sun was low in the sky. By morning, there wasn't much photo-worthy left over between what we all ate (Ada included!).

If this recipe looks good to you, I have a few similar variations in the archives:

Chocolate Dream Pie w/ No-Roll Crust
Chocolate-Coconut Pie
Nutella Pie w/ Strawberries


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Weekend Things

>> Friday, April 19, 2013

I know you guys can't keep yourselves from coming back to this blog time and time again. For recipes and my witty banter, of course. But in case you need some convincing, here's what's on tap for next Monday.

// Sneak Peek //
No-bake chocolate + lime pie with a chocolate almond-walnut-pretzel crust.
Simple + vegan + option for gluten-free + sweetened with maple syrup, not sugar.
(Go buy a few limes this weekend in preparation!)

// Good Reads // 

// Earth Day Reads //
8 Simple Ways to Live Greener via For the Love of Food
Organic Gardening Tips w/ Christy Wilhelmi (author: Gardening for Geeks

// Smart Ideas //
I love this 30 Piece Wardrobe concept -- maybe start small + shoot for 50?
Converting the upstairs closet into a laundry station like this one.
For summer trips -- 14 days in a carry-on bag.

// Fashion Finds //
Deep discounts on these Lucchese boots + bags.
Spring basics by American Apparel -- my favorite.

// Homemade Skincare //
Olive Oil Face Wash via Clumsy but Balanced
Skin Brightening Toner via Shwin & Shwin
Anyone develop a homemade La Mer cream yet?

// Spring Cleaning Update //
In the past week, we've cleared out 17 bags of yard waste, 8 bags of donation clothing/items,
a van full of items to sell at a yard sale, and tons of random recycling + garbage.
So much progress! I can't wait to share some of our tips.

// Grocery Cents //
Considering starting to buy bulk ingredients online.
Specifically organic baking ingredients I go through so quickly.

//  Tasty Treats //
Tomato Soup w/ Poached Eggs via Martha Stewart Online
Thai Mango Salad via Veggie Wedgie 

// Giveaway Winner //
And the winner (Nayonaise) is #39 . . . Kiley!
I'll be in touch with you soon. In the meantime -- make those Gluten-Free Waffles!
And buy a waffle maker, because I'll be posting a savory waffle sandwich next week :)

Here's what you may have missed this week on Writing Chapter Three -- talk of naps, baby #2, weaning, and free outdoor fun:

Have a great weekend!

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


Gluten-Free Waffles + Nayonaise Giveaway

>> Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When I went gluten free for 28 days, I missed a lot of breakfast foods like french toast, pancakes, etc. I tried various homemade flour mixtures to try and make a suitable waffle, for example. And, though I know it can certainly be done + will continue tooling around, my favorite attempt was with gluten free all purpose flour.

But we'll get to that in another post because I have a savory sandwich -- that's right, a waffle SANDWICH, people! -- version of these guys that's to DIE for. Maybe Friday or early next week?

Till then, breakfast!

(adapted from this recipe on Bob's Red Mill)

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1-1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1 tablepoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
 Method . . . 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder + soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a small dish, combine the flax meal, hot water, and vinegar. Let sit for a couple minutes.
  3. Then add the flax mixture along with the rest of the ingredients into the bowl with the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.
  4. Let sit for a few minutes while you preheat your waffle maker.
  5. Then cook as directed, dividing the recipe into about three parts, as -- at least for our waffle maker -- this recipe makes 3 sheets . . . or 6 total . . . waffles.
  6. Serve immediately with the following toppings or freeze them for up to a few months.

// Grill slices of an apple on the stove over medium heat until browned on both sides.. If you have a grilling pan, that is. If not, you can just pan cook them with a bit of Earth Balance until browned. There's no real science to this.

// What makes this combo so special is the sauce . . .

It's a mixture of peanut butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a "secret" ingredient. Oh, I'll just tell you. Nasoya recently sent me some of their Nayonaise to try out, and I couldn't resist trying to make something a little different with it -- we use vegan mayo on almost all our sandwiches, too.

For those of you unfamiliar, Nayonaise is a vegan alternative to mayonnaise. It's made from expeller pressed oil, it's cholesterol-free, and it's a good source of vitamin B12 and Omega-3 ALA.

makes enough to generously top two waffles or six, if you're less indulgent

Combine the following in a small bowl.
  • 3 tablespoons Nayonaise
  • 1 (heaping) tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons maple syrup
  • dash or two cinnamon

You could also just use plain peanut butter instead of a sauce, but where's the fun in that?

/// \\\ /// \\\ GIVEAWAY /// \\\ /// \\\

The folks at Nasoya have been generous enough to giveaway some free Nayonaise to one of you as well! Just leave a comment with the word "YUMMY!" below to be entered. Make sure there's some way to contact you, too.

I'll choose a winner Friday morning (4/19/13).

And if you're in the mood for more waffles:

Peanut Butter + Banana Waffles
Green Egg-Topped Waffles
Applesauce Freezer Waffles

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!


Thoughts on Boston

>> Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I can't write another post about running without first sending our deepest love + sympathies to the runners, spectators, volunteers, etc. impacted by yesterday's tragic events in Boston. As much as the attack has stunned us as Americans . . . we, as runners, are far more disheartened than we could have imagined.

Marathons -- especially the Boston Marathon -- are events rife with energy, pride, and soul. I don't even need to explain to other runners the strong sense of unity, of camaraderie among all people of all shapes/sizes/colors/genders/beliefs that arises before, during, and after those 26.2 miles.

At most races, for that matter.

It's a spirit so absolutely antithetical to the motivations behind terrorism, which makes the whole thing even more difficult to reconcile. (As if these sorts of things can ever have sense made of them.)

You may be watching the news. But if you'd like some less sensationalized thoughts to mull over:

(The New Yorker)  

(Runner's World) 

(Runner's World)  

Heroes on Boston Marathon Day
(social media collection)


(Washington Post, great quote by Kathrine Switzer)

Now I don't feel like writing much about my training, but I'll give a brief overview because it's been two full weeks since I've updated my half marathon training cycle.

In NYC, I planned to run very little but managed two 6-milers and a 4-miler. I'll write a post about sightseeing via running another day (it was going to be my focus today, but things change). Overall, a good week, though with all the walking we did, I was spent and skipped my long run.

Last week was fine. Two high notes: I got in a difficult workout I've been dreading. 4x1600 at 7:20/mile, a total of 7 miles in 55 minutes. Felt speedy and really happy I'm making the effort to actually do speedwork this time around. Then I ran a 12-mile progressive long run yesterday afternoon and felt surprisingly strong, which is a huge improvement from last year's training cycle where I definitely was building mileage again after my pregnancy.

Then last night Stephen pointed out that I somehow haven't been living in real-time and that I actually have another week of training before the race (my training plan wasn't dated and I kept thinking the race was earlier than it actually is). I am going to repeat last week's workouts this week, so round 2 of 4x1600 is on Thursday. Phew.

I think that's enough for today, all things considered. I know many of you would like some notes on my new shoes, the Brooks Pure Connect, so I'll try to do that soon. I have run in them exclusively for the last several weeks and feel like I wish I had switched sooner.

If you have thoughts to share (or poignant + anti-CNN or FOX news articles -- I absolutely hate that they are sharing the carnage in such graphic detail) about Boston, leave them in the comments below.

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!


Coconut Jasmati® Rice: Review + Giveaway

>> Monday, April 15, 2013

Rice. I love rice. It's something I always want on the side but rarely make ahead of time. Of course I know there are (simple) ways around this, like cooking in bulk for the week, however -- to me, rice doesn't taste as good unless I make it on the spot.

So, when I was given the opportunity to try out RiceSelect's Jasmati rice, I had no excuses.

Jasmati is a "long grain American grown jasmine rice”. It has almost exactly the same sweet, enticing aroma and subtle nutty flavor of exotic Thai jasmine rice. The grains are "snowy white, soft and tender" -- perfect to accompany any stir-fry or even as a centerpiece to a meal of its own.

You can read more about this tasty grain on the RiceSelect website.

Here's what I made with it:

* would work with whatever is your favorite rice, too

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup RiceSelect Jasmati rice
  • 1 can (15 ounce) full fat coconut milk 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup reduced fat coconut flakes (regular works, too -- this is all I had in the pantry)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Method . . . 
  1. Place the rice, coconut milk and water in a pot and bring to a boil (or, as Stephen always says, a "Susan Boyle").
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20. Let sit off the heat -- still covered -- for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff + then add in the other ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

I also added peas for some extra flair. About a cup -- and Ada absolutely loved this as part of her lunch the next day. Gobbled it right up!

Now, I'm not a rice expert, but I feel like a lot of the kinds we have around the house take at least 40 minutes to cook (brown rice, maybe? am I just doing it wrong?). I like that this cooks in about half the time and has so much flavor. It will really liven up our meals.

Have you tried Jasmati? How would you incorporate it into your dinnertime routine? Share your answer in the comments below and you could win a $100 Visa gift card.

\ \ \ / / / Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments \ \ \ / / /

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b: Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c: Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d: For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 4/15/2013-5/15/2013

Be sure to visit the sponsor's brand page on where you can read other bloggers reviews and find more chances to win!


Weekend Things

>> Friday, April 12, 2013

This is the scene on our back patio. It's a lot of take in, I know. Last fall's leaves. Good Will + Salvation Army donations. Waste from our small kitchen renovation. All sorts of other clutter. More than will fit in this tiny square photo.

Much more.

// Spring Cleaning //
We're all about it this weekend. I'm sure I'll recap sometime.
Here are some fantastic articles I've been reading on why Less = More.
This job is far, far overdue.

// Just Don't //
Here are 4 Questions You Should Never Ask at a Farmers Market.
You know you've heard people inquiring before. But YAY for market season!

// Cup-O-No //
Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out. Other times not.
I don't drink coffee -- never have. Sensitive to caffeine, I guess.
Here are my favorite herbal teas -- what's your morning beverage of choice?

// Homesteading Links //
Check out Chrissy's amazing chicken coop -- major envy!
Drool over this beautiful raised-bed veggie garden.
And get a jump start on homemade citronella candles.

// Speaking of Gardening // 
Have you seen these super easy raised bed gardening kits?
I'm tempted to get one. Or perhaps this fancier, tiered version -- gorgeous!!!
Trying to do the analysis to see if DIY might be more expensive in this case.

 // We're Watching //
Bomb Girls via streaming on Netflix.
I'd also like to watch all my favorite Lifetime Movies again. Hahah!
And I can't wait to see The Great Gatsby.

// Fashion Finds //
Lightweight sweaters + cardigans perfect for spring chill or summer air conditioning.
Color-blocked retro lingerie + accessories. -- my favorite

// Taxed Enough Already //
I can't believe I haven't finished our taxes yet. I'm 85% done.
Talk about last-minute. Anyway: here's 5 Myths About Taxes.

// Good Reads //
Thug Kitchen -- healthy eating with some major attitude.
How to Be a Minimalist with Kids -- and BONUS: I love Zen Habits
Park Slope Wonderplanet -- mommy blog satire + after visiting the city, frighteningly believable!

// I want to Live with Ellen //
I know you've already got Portia, but c'mon, Ellen.
Can I -- pretty please -- stay in a spare room with you in your lovely home

And here's what you may have missed this week on Writing Chapter Three!

Have a great weekend!

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



Some of you might have heard of the new online magazine, Daily Mom, that just launched last month. It's an amazing resource of posts and articles for the modern woman and mom. Imagine Pinterest worthy posts with useful information about all aspects of life - from parenting to beauty, fashion, green living, health, fitness, and more. Once you visit Daily Mom, you will be hooked - jumping from one post to another.

I have partnered with Daily Mom to host one of their giveaways as a part of an extensive 50 Days of Giveaways campaign to celebrate their launch. For 50 days, they will be giving away one awesome prize a day to thank their new readers.

/////// \\\\\\\ ////// THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS \\\\\\\ /////// \\\\\\\

So today we're giving an opportunity for one lucky reader to win a large, 80 page, softcover book from Artifact Uprising. Artifact Uprising books have a minimalist design with maximum impact.

For a photo book that really lets your gorgeous images shine, you have got to admire the beauty of Artifact Uprising photo books. Such clean, modern design with an environmentally responsible focus that saturates who they are. These are not just photo books, they are heirloom quality photo story books of your life.

Be sure to check out their products on their website, and follow their Facebook and Twitter for updates. And of course, enter to win it below. You can read Daily Mom's feature on Artifact Uprising and see the beautiful photos that writer, Megan V., took of the book that she designed.

The giveaway will run for a week, and there are only two mandatory entries with many optional ones.

All you have to do is follow the directions below in the Rafflecopter widget. This giveaway is open to legal US residents only. And be sure to visit Daily Mom tomorrow to see what new item they are giving away and to enter previous drawings! The prizes range from strollers to high chairs, monitors, diaper bags, fashion items, baby clothing and photography products. There is something for everyone. a Rafflecopter giveaway
After you've entered the giveaway, be sure to browse Daily Mom and check out some of my favorite posts! I'm loving:

Some of the other giveaway Daily Mom is running this week:
  • Fairhaven Health fertility set
  • Artifact Uprising 80 page photo book
  • AmyKathryn diaper bag gift card
  • Svan Signet high chair
  • Cocoagraph Photo Chocolate
  • Fairhaven Health Pregnancy set
  • BabyDeedee sleep sack
  • Casetagram custom photo cell phone

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