A number of things

I’ll start with scenery.

My kitchen looked pretty in late morning sunlight:

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And flowers were blooming out my bedroom window:

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In all the spring excitement, I went for my first real run in about a week and a half, and it was glorious! I ran in capris and no sleeves because Brooklyn decided it would let spring visit for a day. Again, I felt some groin/gluteal (ugh, how much longer am I going to have to say that?) discomfort and found that I had to take much shorter strides than normal, but nothing was overly anxiety-provoking. I ran slowly and carefully and pictured the yoga string pulling the crown of my head straight up 🙂 Stats: 3.83 miles, 46.5 minutes, 352 calories, 145 average heart rate, 171 maximum heart rate. I came home, did the 20-minute Yoga for Runners #1 from yogadownload.com, and then iced for 20 minutes. I’ve got a bit more of a limp now than I did pre-run, but that’s to be expected.

Look what I encountered during my cool-down walk home!

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This is what I love about my neighborhood. We’ve got this unofficial swap system. If you don’t want something, you just leave it out on your stoop. It will be gone within the hour 😀 I went through everything and picked out and washed what I wanted. The remainders will go back out on my stoop. Here’s what I’m keeping:

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(You can’t tell from the picture, but there are nine plates there: 5 with the design, 1 plain blue, 2 white, and 1 clear glass. I feel like I just got back from a shopping spree at Crate & Barrel.)

I had a lovely lunch today. I sauteed the last of my asparagus and portabello with curry butter with spinach stems, roasted red pepper, and 1/4 cup of steak left from Nydia’s lunch at work yesterday. I also added in a tsp of sofrito that I made the other day using Inginia’s recipe (cilantro, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, ancho, onion) and a packet of magic seasoning that Vianni donated. This is what helps all my coworkers feed me deliciously authentic Dominican delicacies 🙂

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Final product:

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I had the sauteed mix on a bed of spinach and arugula with four Newman’s spelt pretzels crumbled on top for crunch:

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Arugula, how I love you.

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I also spent a large chunk of today whipping up a batch of jasmine tea biscotti bites to send to Kelsey, the highest bidder on these in Meghann’s bake auction. Some of the cookie dough did not make it into the oven. Instead, it garnished my dessert: a pile of pineapple with a dollop of plain Oikos and a sprinkle of cardamom (on a new plate!).

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Picture that cookie dough times about 4. That’s probably closer to what I actually consumed.

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I spent a different chunk of today baking a Passover-friendly sponge cake to bring home this weekend. Details on that will come later. In the meantime, there was batter:

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Rest assured, the batter is now gone. Phew. I will let you use your imagination to figure out where it went. Hint: it did not go down the drain. Where did the batter go? And are you in charge of making anything exciting this weekend?

Win some salmonella-free pistachios!

Dessert again?

Since I had cupcakes for dinner at work yesterday, I only had room for dessert last night.

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Wait is that some cupcake in there? How did that happen?! 😛

The platter (aka teacup saucer) included a slice of healthy cheese cake and two itty bitty pieces of cupcake that “didn’t fit” in the freezer container last night, along with a Newman’s prune and dried apricot and 1/3 cup of fresh pineapple.

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(Ugh, I hate the lighting in my apartment at night. Yellow always ends up looking so yellow.)

This also happened:

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Those are strawberries stuffed with cashew-almond butter and not chocolate. I’m aware that I’ve started to make this distinction every time the butter makes its appearance. I think it’s probably more to remind myself that, while I may have eaten an entire tub of chocolate frosting yesterday, these strawberries played no part in the incident.

img_75931I also mixed up today’s breakfast last night (and licked the bowl several times along the way). I’ve been wanting to try the Bob’s Red Mill extra thick rolled oats for ages since I love “bite and texture” in my food … and this package promised to deliver both of those critical elements. (I usually opt for steel-cut or whole oat groats because I know they’ll give me the right chew.) Would this extra thick variety would be any different from regular old-fashioned rolled oats?

Into the mix went 1/4 cup extra thick rolled oats, 1/4 cup  yogurt of the week, 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk, 2 tbsp PB2, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tbsp Newman’s dried berry blend. After a quiet night in the fridge and a quick stir, my overnight oats definitely passed the visual thickness test:

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They were so thick, in fact, that I actually added another splash of soymilk this morning (along with chopped strawberries and unsweetened coconut):

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And they were chewy, thank goodness! I can tell right now that they will be ideal breakfast cookie material. I’ll have to experiment further to see how the “extra-thickness” holds up on the stovetop.

On the side, I had a seven-legged creature made out of an oven-toasted slice of pumpkin muffin (from my freezer’s bread bag) with a melty tbsp of cashew-almond butter and more sliced strawberry:

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With soymilked mexican sweet chili tea:

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I’m enjoying my leisurely mini-break so far — no class today because of Passover and no work tomorrow because of Good Friday. There’s quite a bit on my list, but I’m fine with that since most of it is enjoyable!

Next on the agenda is my triumphant return to outside running! The sun is shining, my leg is feeling strong, and so am I 😀 I’m going to digest for a few, and then I will be gone with the wind. Just kidding. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Are you slow and steady or fast and furious?

(Do you like nuts? Go enter my Pistachi-YES giveaway!)

A day without cake …

… is apparently a day I will never have to know for as long as my internship continues! I think I have had more cake in the past seven months than I have had in my entire life. There has been birthday cake, baby shower cake, rum cake, tres leches cake, banana bread pudding cake, smiley face green-frosted st. pat’s cake, DIY cakeand that’s just in the past two weeks!! Obviously, I’m building up to the fact that I ate more cake today. But obviously (or maybe not so obviously, haha), it was not the first thing I ate at work today. Nutrition does play a part in my life, too.

My strawberry-banana-apricot-papaya-cardamom-nutmeg yogurt kicked things off a little bit after 11:

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There was also some Newman’s ginger mint action (x6?):

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Lunch happened around 12:30. I brought along about three cups of a fresh spinach and arugula mixture and used it as a bed for my two heated “entrees” which included the last cup of Mediterranean chicken pasta:

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And 1/2 cup of asparagus and portabellos in curry butter:

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On the side, I had 1/3 cup of the chicken and rice Vianni made for me (I also brought home a full cup of it for another time, yum!):

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For dessert, I had about 1 tbsp hershey’s kissables and a baby guava hard candy. I did not know dessert x 1000 would be arriving later.

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Around 3:30, a serving of Newman’s spelt pretzels came out to play with the last 2 tbsp of Inginia’s guacamole from Friday:

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Just after 4, I heard Deborah calling my name from down the hall in a familiar mischievous tone that was scary and exciting all at the same time. The next work out of her mouth? Cuuuuuuuuuuuuupcaaaaaaakes!!

Deborah had fortuitously come across some inside knowledge in the course of traversing the building. Our City Harvest delivery had arrived and, along with it, boxes upon boxes of cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop that we could not give out to the families! Obviously, Nydia and I flew down the four flights of stairs to round up what we could for ourselves and the other ladies on the floor.

I came back upstairs with a sampling that included German chocolate, chocolate chocolate, devil dog, and red velvet:

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The crumbs started flying:

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I meant to have just a couple little bites, but I think I ended up having about two cupcakes’ worth of bites!

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Ahhh, well … just another day in the life 😛

At the end of the day, there were still 2.5 cupcakes left on the conference room table next to my desk, so I packed them up to bring home for the freezer. Here’s a little peek into one of my many freezer-organizing systems:

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On the left are a couple stacks of the healthyish cheesecake I made last Friday night; on the right are today’s cupcakes cut into manageable portions for easy extraction in a dessert emergency.

Do you manage extra dessert items by tossing them, storing them, or eating them right away? Or is there a fourth option you prefer?

And if you are in need of safe pistachios, make sure you enter my giveaway here!

Rating the day

It was a good morning!!!

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I am SO happy today because I had an excellent workout this morning for the first time in 11 days 😀 I never thought I would miss exercise so much! As I was going to bed last night at 9:30, I took two naproxen in the hopes that they would hold me through this morning since I didn’t want to have to take one on an empty stomach. I also set my alarm for 4:50am so that I could get the heating pad going on my “right gluteal muscle” for a few minutes before I had to move. I was out the door by 5:13 and did a 4.5 minute jog to the gym very lightly. It hurt a bit, but now that I’m not as worried about tearing something, the pain didn’t really bother me and seemed stable rather than worsening.

At the gym, I spent about 1/2 hour doing month 1 of the 2009 Self Challenge strength workout. I tore it out of the magazine at the gym a month or so ago (shhh) and decided now would be a good time to start because a few of the exercises involve lunges and squats like the sports doctor recommended yesterday. I did all of the exercises as written, though I had to do the “make it easier” option for the “arm accentuator” and the “total transformer” because they did seem to aggravate my groin and glutes in a way that made me nervous.

I followed the strength with 20 glorious minutes on the Stepmill at Level 10, 7 minutes of leg stretching, and the 4.5 minute jog home. Again, mild discomfort, but nothing seemed to be worsening! Of course, that’s what I thought when I was running those 10 miles two weekends ago and the pain all of a sudden got much stronger. But anyway, I’m not planning to go quite back up to 10 miles yet — I might give 3 a shot tomorrow — and I’m also running very slowly and paying loads of attention to my posture and form. Hopefully, I am on the mend for good. And I so appreciate all of your support. Reading your stories, opinions, and advice has been super helpful, so please keep it coming!

Breakfast today was more overnight millet:

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I’m really loving the texture. Some of you commented yesterday that you were surprised this worked with millet without any cooking. Again, the texture is still a bit crunchy, but if you try to bite a grain of raw millet, you’ll see it’s pretty easy to do even without the benefit of an overnight soak. Just to reiterate the process, I mixed 1/4 cup dry millet with 1/4 cup yogurt/ricotta/dried apricot blend and 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk and left it in the fridge overnight. This morning, I gave it a stir and topped it with pineapple, strawberries, and unsweetened coconut. See the little millets?

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If you try it, let me know what you think!

On the side, I had two teeny pieces of toasted pumpernickel baguette and a little raisin-walnut toastie topped with 1 tbsp cashew-almond butter (not chocolate) and more coconut:

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Plus, my new Yogi Mexican Sweet Chili tea with a splash of soymilk.

I feel so satisfied now — I’m full of good nutrition, and I finally got my morning sweat going again 😀

On a scale of 1-10, how was your morning?

If you missed it earlier, check out my pistachi-YES giveaway!

And another contest I am DEFINITELY entering with all of this leg drama is the one for McDavid Compression Wear going on now at Run to the Finish. Go check it out!

Pistachi-YES (aka another giveaway!!)

Are you sad that pistachios have been recalled? I was, too, until I found out that the pistachios from Everybody’s Nuts are safe! Even better, Everybody’s Nuts has offered to send a prize pack of three bags of their yummy nuts to one lucky reader. Check the bottom of the post for more details!

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Dinner last night was more delicious Mediterranean pasta mix on top of about three cups spinach and arugula (looooooove arugula!). And love the parm:

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I chopped my pineapple and ate the core plus what I could salvage from the scraps for dessert. (The dark blob is not a turd. It is a fingerful of cashew-almond butter!)

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And, now for the giveaway! Like I said, Everybody’s Nuts is going to send three bags of their safe and salmonella-free nuts, each in a different flavor, to ONE lucky reader! To enter, all you have to do is:

1. Leave me a comment on this post telling me why nut recalls make you sad

AND

2. Link back to this contest from your blog OR email me at talesofexpansion@gmail.com to let me know that you are blogless but still want to enter!

The contest will run until 6pm EST on Monday 4/13 to give you ample time to recover from any holiday-ing this weekend. Go nuts!! (I had to do it. Could not help myself.)