Beating the one-car-family blues

I spent allll winter waiting for warm weather so Beatrice and I could finally get outside and enjoy our gorgeous summer city, something I never really got to do when I was working in Chelsea.

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After a couple weeks of lovely weather, however, I realized that we had done all we could do on foot. Continue reading!

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Well. I just ran my first and last trail race.

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(Those were my brand-new shoes. They’re broken in now.)

Erin Gunn, Sarah Whiting, and I spent the morning up at Bear Mountain for The North Face Endurance Challenge. Erin and I ran the 10k; Ting (short for Sarah Whiting) ran the half. To be more specific, while Ting was enjoying a little 13+ mile jog (just kidding — Ting, you’re amaaaaaaazing and I think maybe superhuman!!), Erin and I painstakingly tried to run 6.3 miles of hiking trail through muddy rivers, slimy rocks, and steep inclines.

I’m actually pretty pleased with how I did. I was expecting to end up walking the whole thing because I haven’t really been able to run since pulling all my leg muscles at the end of March. For this race, I focused on keeping my pace verrrrrrry slow, and the treacherous nature of the course forced me to walk for quite a bit of the race to pick my way “over the river and through the woods” while remaining upright!

** Edited 5/12 to add these pictures from the race website.

Feeling energetic early in the race:

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Finish line in sight, yet still so far away (all of 50 feet I think):

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Happy (?) finish line dance:

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I finished the race in something like an hour and 35 minutes (I was second to last!!! I was kind of disappointed when I heard someone else finished after me. If I was going to be last, I wanted to be last), but I finished running! Surviving this race actually gave me a lot of hope for the Brooklyn half at the end of May. Ting finished about 10 minutes after I did (but to be fair, the half did begin an hour before the 10k). Here we are at the end:

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There was a tent with cut fruit and peanut butter. I had many pieces:

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Erin and I were cold and tired and sore and wondering how the heck Ting had roped us into over 90 minutes of voluntary torture. We agreed we don’t have to do this again next year. Ting stuck around with some of her other friends to watch the 50k runners start to come in; Erin and I busted out of there to head to her apartment for showers and lunch. Which leads us to the food …

Featured Contributions: Thursday through Saturday

Thursday’s linner: homemade tortillas with homemade chicken mole and beans left from the Parent & Me cinco de mayo event at work on Wednesday:

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Ginger chew from Beryl on Friday:

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A chopped apple, an orange, cool whip, and peanut butter left from Myrna and Mildred’s afternoon group:

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(I had another orange and seconds of cool whip and pb later, too!)

I headed straight up to Yonkers after work, and Erin Gunn picked me up for some bridesmaid dress reconn at David’s Bridal, followed by Indian food, her treat šŸ™‚

Papadum and chutneys:

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Baingan Bhartha (eggplant):

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Channa Saagwala (chickpeas and spinach):

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We ordered spicy. We needn’t have. The spiciness necessitated lots of tissues and lots of rice:

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Anise crunchies on the way out:

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This morning, I made us pre-race breakfast cookies with the contents of Erin’s cupboards.

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Each cookie included 1/2 cup oats, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 mashed banana, 1 tbsp chocolate chips, 1 tbsp sweetened coconut, 1 tbsp mixed chopped nuts, and cinnamon.

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The frosting involved plain yogurt and half of this baby jar of heaven:IMG_9396

Our post-run lunch was Indian leftovers with tons and tons of yogurt to cut the heat:

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And a very very exciting treat from work yesterday:

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Rosey’s mom (who I think is Puerto Rican) made pasteles — kind of like tamales but with plantain on the outside and meat on the inside — this past week, and Rosey brought them in to share on Thursday. I missed this first delivery because I don’t work on Thursdays, but Nydia gave me a couple of hers yesterday since it was my last day until June, and they all wanted me to be able to try them! I brought my tied-up package to Erin’s with me, boiled it for an hour in salted water per Rosey’s instructions, and set to unwrapping it.

In paper:

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In banana leaf:

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Finally ready:

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Mmmm, it was yummy. I loved the texture of the plantain on the outside. Here’s the filling:

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I dozed off a bit after lunch, and then Erin deposited me at the subway. Two hours later (grrr, construction), I was finally home.

Now, “vacation” is over, and it’s time to rededicate myself to the finals: one paper due Monday and one due Thursday. Then, I will be free!! (Errr, for two weeks until it all starts again …)

To conclude, here are Ting’s battle-scarred legs:

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Would you ever in a million years choose to spend your day off participating in a trail race?

Nuts, balls, and freebies

So last, night, even through I was all caked up, I managed to have one last little snack before I went to bed: the last 1/2 cup of my chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt (unfrozen) from a couple nights ago.

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So so so so so so delicious. And there’s not even anything junky in it! Maybe I need to start having chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt at every meal …

This morning, I woke up at 6:30 even though I had time to sleep until 8. I love waking up to sunlight because it’s so easy — I just wish the sunlight didn’t arrive until at least 7:45 on weekends! Around 8, I made a too-much-cake-upset-tummy-settling bowl of oat bran:

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On the stovetop, I whisked 1 egg, 1/4 cup soymilk, and 1/4 cup water over low heat until it thickened custard-style. At that point, in went 2 tbsp oat bran, 1 tbsp ground flax, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 cup pumpkin, and a chopped Medjool date. Once it got “mealy,” I immersion blended to make it creamier:

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Around the outside is 1/3 cup of yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp PB2 (and sprinkled with unsweetened coconut):

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With soymilky celestial seasonings almond sunset tea:

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After breakfast, I headed up to Physique 57 for for the first of my two free classes with the coupon that Melissa handed out at the blogger brunch last month. I was quite a bit nervous for this class because I’ve been reading the reviews of it by some of my other NYC ladies — Ashley, Diana, Dori, Missy, Sara — and they scared me with their talk of quivering thighs and name-brand designer gym clothes! But, the class ended up being much more manageable than anticipated. Granted, I had sweat running down my face and I was certainly quivering at points throughout (I was also convinced my legs would burst into flame at any moment) but always had time to recover — and no one laughed at my four-year-old gym clothes from Target šŸ˜€ The instructors were helpful, patient, and encouraging, and I really enjoyed the class. I’m going back next Saturday for #2. Thanks, Melissa!

From Physique, I headed up to meet Vani at Penn Station, where we had planned to collect Danielle from the NJ Transit for our lunch date. Collection was successful, and the three of us enjoyed a summery (apparently, there will be no spring in ny this year??) 30-ish block walk from there to Peanut Butter & Co for lunch. Now, I’ve always wanted to eat at PB & Co. … yet I’ve somehow never managed to do so despite living in the city for nearly nine years, four of which were spent within a five-block radius of the darn place!

It was so airy and bright and cute inside:

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We ordered our food and then took pictures of it (though I think the best part of this picture is the random crazy child in the background) šŸ™‚

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I got a The Heat Is On sandwich with whole wheat bread, spicy pb, pineapple jam, and pieces of chicken breast:

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The sandwich came with chips and carrot sticks, but I don’t like chips so I got it with extra carrots instead:

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Mmm, simple on the outside but full of bite and zing on the inside. I kept offering Vani bites by accident and then forgetting she was vegan. Even though I couldn’t share with Vani, she shared some of her sampler platter with Danielle and me:

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What a great deal — all 8 flavors with plenty of extra to take home! I had some on a celery stick:

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And some on a melba toast:

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When we finished at PB & Co, Danielle requested we make a pit stop at Tasti-D since she’d never been. While there, I had a sample of their peanut butter flavor (because there’s no such thing as too much pb!).

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Vani and I spotted some balls across the street, so we raced over to get in on that action. I ordered an unsweetened almond milk tea. We posed with our treats:

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Next, we made a super-exciting stop at CVS so I could buy a box of band-aids since my feet were struggling to adapt to their first flip-flop experience of the season. Once I applied about 30 bandages, we were off again … this time to the Union Square Greenmarket. Somehow, I managed to get my hands on a million samples as we strolled the grounds. I don’t know how that happened. Scoring samples is very unlike me šŸ˜›

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Vani, caught in the act:

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All in all, it was a super fun day full of sunshine, perfect company, and peanutbuttery food.

In your opinion, what are the three most necessary components of an excellent day?

I’m off to take a very necessary shower and get ready for dinner. My mom and stepdad are passing through the city tonight as part of their massive East coast return road trip — Providence to Atlanta and back, all driving, stopping at several points along the way to visit family and friends — and staying overnight in Brooklyn. I need to think of a good place for us to go. Hmmm …

Right on schedule

Well, everything’s back to normal with a full internship day on the horizon followed by class tonight. I spend 13 hours straight away from home on Mondays, and at least 3 of those hours take place on the subway! Sigh. Maybe I’ll have a car someday.

Breakfast this morning was more creamy oat bran with prune groatmeal topping, mmmm.

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Since I’m out of tofu, I made the oat bran a little bit differently last night. As usual, I cooked 1/4 cup oat bran with 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk on the stovetop, but I also added in 2 tbsp ground flax and an extra 1/4 cup water and let it boil for a minute. Once again, it thickened up successfully in the fridge overnight and reheated perfectly in the oven this morning.

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I topped the groatmeal with a spoonful of homemade sunflower seed butter and a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut:

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With a soymilked almond sunset/black tea combo on the side and a tall glass of water:

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I also went to this gym this morning and managed to enjoy it tremendously! My body has clearly missed it the past several days. I jogged there and back — the jogging still hurts, but I tried some of the simultaneous knee/butt kicks that Amy recommended to me last week, and they actually minimized the pain a bit and made me focus on lifting my legs up instead of just throwing them out in front of me … although I probably looked less than sane while doing them. Here are stats from the crazy jog, 20 minutes on the Stepmill at Level 11, two sets each of hip adductor, abductor, and glute machines, and 15 minutes on the elliptical cross-country program: 1 hour and 15 minutes, 588 calories (still WAY higher than normal), 145 average heart rate, 183 max (also higher than normal).

Some extra things to note:

First, biscotti bites are everywhere! Kelsey, winner of the jasmine tea biscotti bites in Meghann‘s bake sale, has received them and reviewed them here!

Next, To Be the Whole Package is hosting this week’s BSI contest. Go check it out and start thinking about your recipe!

Next next, enter the HangryPants Stonyfield giveaway by midnight tonight!

Finally, I’ve been tagged by Mara at What’s for Dinner? to complete this “Survey of 8s,” so here goes

8 Things Iā€™m Looking Forward To:

  1. income (start date of this is questionable …)
  2. the end of this semester
  3. the weekend!
  4. lunch
  5. Erin Gunn‘s wedding in October!
  6. consistently warm weather
  7. a life of traveling the world saving babies
  8. my next chance to sleep

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

  1. traverse the east coast (or at least the stretch between NC and NY)
  2. eat pancakes
  3. rock in a rocking chair
  4. take 3 trains (thank you, track construction) to get home from the airport
  5. cook
  6. nap on a plane
  7. unpack
  8. blog

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

  1. live alone
  2. use a car for errands once in a while
  3. run without pain
  4. travel the world saving babies (any ideas?) and eating fun food
  5. move south right now
  6. relax
  7. lie on a beach
  8. live closer to my family

(Note: I just realized that several of these wishes conflict! Hmmm, I am going to have to figure this out.)

8 Shows I Watch:

Is it completely terrible that I stopped watching TV when I started grad school in June 2007? There’s just no time! Sometimes I have the Food Network on for background noise.

8 People I Tag:

Many of you have probably been tagged already, so I’m just going to open the survey up to everyone reading this post! Let me know one thing you did yesterday, one thing you are looking forward to, and one thing you wish you could do (or more, if you feel like it!) šŸ˜€


I’m back …

But not forever! My trip to Charlotte was perfect — as has been every trip to the “south” I have ever taken — and I am pretty confident that I’ll be heading in that direction again once I am done with grad school next year.

Wife and I woke up this morning to the sound of coffee beans grinding and pancake batter stirring! Kristin and Dustin were hard at work in the kitchen above us šŸ™‚

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I topped my two blueberry pancakes with ICBINB and lite syrup:

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And while we’re on the topic of Kristin and Dustin’s aboveness and beyondness as hosts throughout this entire trip, there’s more! Wife’s car wouldn’t start yesterday when we were on the way to the wedding, so Dustin drove us the 30 minutes to the wedding and dropped us off so we wouldn’t be late. Later, he and Kristin drove back out with both of their cars so that they could leave one for us to use for the rest of the night!

While waiting for AAA to arrive this morning, we all relaxed in the kitchen with our tea (and coffee for the others), our pancakes, and the pretty birds right outside the balcony:

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Because Wife had to wait for the towtruck (and her car was out of commission, obviously), Kristin had to drive me to the airport. Add another star to the list of aboveness and beyondness!

I am so aware that I keep gushing about everyone on this trip … but between Kath‘s tour guiding and company on Friday, Wife’s willingness to drive up from GA and incur the wrath of the evil automobile spirits to go to the wedding with me, and Kristin and Dustin’s generous and fun hosting, I have never experienced such a hefty dose of hospitality in my life!

Once I got through security at the Charlotte airport, I finally got to enjoy some of the luxurious rocking and free wireless that I kept hearing about:

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As I rocked and blogged, I oranged with the orange that I had initially packed for Friday’s flight:

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And granola bar’d with this peanut butter granola bar that Kath and I scooped up from a free samples basket at Earth Fare on Friday:

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And chocolated with this Ferrero Rocher that Wife brought for me from GA, courtesy of Ted:

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An impressively well-rounded airport lunch if I do say so myself!

On the plane, I had a 1 oz. package of JetBlue cashews while I worked my way through Gastropolis:

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I’m a fan of the JetBlue unlimited airplane snacks deal (obviously). From the two flights, I collected four more bags of cashews and one mini-bag of chocolate chunk cookies:

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The other goodies that came back with me include a jar of PB2 from Kath and a belated Christmas present from Wife of a cupcake potholder (in the back), key lime jam (!!!) from her trip to Madison, and homemade black raspberry jam from Ted’s aunt. Thanks for the treats, ladies (and JetBlue)!

Due to the usual weekend subway delays, detours, and cancellations, I didn’t get home until about 6 and had to rush to unpack my suitcase, pack lunch/dinner for tomorrow, and make dinner for tonight. With no time to hit the grocery store, I had to rely on the freezer, a can, and a couple of promotional items I have received recently:

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While I sauteed the three grain tempeh in a pan with olive oil and minced garlic, I dumped the mushroom “agnolotti” that Foodbuzz sent into a saucepan with boiling water and half a box of frozen peas I found. I mixed everything together at the end (minus the pasta water) and then made a crazy sauce from 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 2 tbsp sofrito, and a splash of unsweetened soymilk (for thinning). I saved most of it for the week’s lunches, but I had to sample a little scoop topped with homemade parm for dinner:

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The tempeh gave good texture and chew, and the wild mushroom flavor held its own. Plus, there’s pretty much no way to go wrong with pumpkin or sofrito separately, so why not put them together?

My main dinner event consisted of about 1 cup of fruit salad (mango, blood orange, strawberries, and blackberries), an overturned container of honey Oikos so that the honey took on an “icing” role (loved how this flavor was still plain yogurt with the honey on the bottom of the container), and a tbsp of ground flax with cinnamon:

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Now I have to race to get ready for bed. This is going to be a week for getting back on track — and it starts with getting eight full hours of sleep tonight!

What’s your goal for this week?