Tag Archives: banana

Double Take + A Request

Since I’m behind on my lunch posts, today you’re getting a two-for-one special.

That’s double the lunches. It’s your lucky day. ;)

But you’re only getting one breakfast.

I was in the mood for cereal. In the bowl: a combo of Weetabix and Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, topped with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, banana slices, frozen blueberries, and a sprinkling of hemp seed.

I don’t eat cereal often, but sometimes it’s all I want!

Onto my last week in lunches. Which are really from the week before last. As well as the the week before the week before last. Okay I’ll stop now; I’m confusing myself. Ha.

MONDAY I

Apple. Wrap with Creamy Hummus, greens, cherry tomatoes, lentils, a couple chopped olives, and toasted sunflower seeds on an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla. Trail mix with peanut butter filled pretzels, raw cashews, dried tart cherries, and carob chips.

Lentils in a wrap may sound strange, but it is delicious. Trust.

MONDAY II

Mini Luna bar. Salad with greens, butter beans, carrots, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, chopped dinosaur kale, toasted sunflower seeds–dressed with minced garlic, olive oil, a bit of balsamic, lemon, s + p.  Apple. 

The salad was a monster, and so hearty. 

I also packed a ball (one of these guys) for a morning snack. 

Chewy and subtly sweet. If you like coconut, almond, chia seeds, and dried tart cherries, you would most likely enjoy these.

TUESDAY I

A Back-to-School No-Bake Granola Bar (recipe here). Tofu-Avocado Wrap (what else is new?). Apple. There was nothing about this lunch I didn’t love, not gonna lie.

TUESDAY II

Half a whole wheat wrap with Creamy Hummus. Salad with greens, grape tomatoes, cucumber, chopped kale, artichoke hearts, toasted sunflower seeds, chickpeas–dressed in Gena’s hemp pesto + balsamic. Apple.

I also packed the last of my Banana Oat Breakfast Muffins (recipe here), fresh from the freezer (a little freezer burn never hurt anyone, right?). 

By the afternoon it was perfectly thawed and, smothered in PB&Co., delectable.

WEDNESDAY I

Plum. Tofu-Avocado Wrap (yes, again!). And the same trail mix as above.

If it works, it works!

WEDNESDAY II

Apple. Salad with greens, chopped kale, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds, chickpeas–dressed the same as the salad above. I heart hemp pesto. Another Back-to-School No-Bake Granola Bar. 

I also packed some Creamy hummus with whole wheat mini pitas and carrots–but didn’t get around to eating this snack. So it became the appetizer to my dinner. 

Crunchy and creamy.

THURSDAY I

Thursday I was traveling, so instead of sharing my lunch here are some of the snacks I packed…

Pita chips, hummus, and carrots.

As well as the usual suspects: peanut butter packets and Larabars. Never leave home without ‘em. And a whole wheat tortilla with almond butter and banana slices

Classic.

THURSDAY II

The usual trail mix. Whole wheat wrap with Creamy Hummus, Gena’s hemp pesto, greens, chopped kale, artichoke hearts, cucumber, chickpeas, and toasted sunflower seeds. Apple. 

Okay, chickpeas are officially awesome in wraps. Scratch that: they are just plain awesome.

FRIDAY II

Don’t ask what happened to Friday I. I got nothin’. 

This is a total double take from Thursday’s lunch. Very fitting, no? More trail mix (obsessed much?). Pretty much the same whole wheat wrap as above. Apple. 

Whew. 

Had enough lunch? Well, there will be more. I’m requesting a picture of YOUR best packed eats so I can put together a post made up of reader lunches. I tend to stick with what works, which often means same old, same old. But I know you guys are full of yummy lunch ideas that I would love to see and share.

Email me at unmitigatedgrub@gmail.com with a photo(s) of a favorite recent packed lunch, and include a brief description of its contents. And you don’t have to be a blogger to submit. Yes, taking a photograph of your food might feel a little strange. It is, admittedly, totally awkward. But DO IT! ;)

I look forward to seeing your eats!

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Feeling Loopy

I’m behind in sharing my long runs with you. I’ve dutifully followed my training plan, but not my blogging plan. Oops. ;)

Since I last updated you, there was a 17-miler, a 13-miler, and last week the New York Road Runners 18 Mile New York City Marathon Tune-Up run in Central Park.

I won’t bore you with a detailed breakdown of each (yawn), so let’s cut to the 18-miler, yes?

Set up like a race, it is meant to serve as a training run for the marathon (although some people run it as an end in and of itself). I was strangely nervous and excited beforehand even though it wasn’t a race race. But I also felt ready to run the distance. I was up at 5:00 am, fueling up with a banana topped with a peanut butter-raw cacoa nibs-sea salt mixture of goodness. It was too early for pictures, but I will say it was perfect.

And then I was off to Central Park for not one, not two, but THREE loops around the park. Hilly ones at that.

I don’t know about you, but lots of loops are not my ideal running situation. The only thing worse would be the treadmill. But I figured it would be good training to really tackle Central Park (again…and again…and again), so that when I reach the finish during the marathon (if all goes according to plan, that is), I will be able to dominate those final 6.2 miles. (If you’ve run a marathon before, feel free to laugh at this last statement.)

Anyway. Bring on the loops.

I had a new gel to try–a chocolate Clif Shot Energy Gel–and hit this up around miles 9 and 14. It was great. I like the flavor of the chocolate Gu a little more (it seriously tastes like brownie batter to me), but this was tasty, too, and with better nutritional stats. There’s no bad chocolate in my book.

And I brought my water with lemon/agave. There were water stations along the course, but I figured since I’ve been training with my own, I might as well stick with it.

The run felt great–and the loops weren’t so bad; it became a mental game of creating goals for myself and passing markers. It was also nice to be a part of a group of runners. Even though I didn’t run “with” anyone, I wasn’t running alone.

And guess what? I actually placed! In a race with 3,800 runners. Who knew? I was 8th in my age group for women.

This pace was a titch faster than my long run norm–and to be honest, my goal has been to slow down to reach a more reasonable “marathon” pace–but it happened. Clearly, I’m still finding pacing a bit of a challenge; having never run a marathon before, it’s hard to know how fast or slow I should be running my long runs.

Pacing issues aside, the run was fun. Afterward I stretched my life away in Central Park and enjoyed a chia seed recovery pudding I’d packed.

It hit the spot.

Chia Seed Recovery Pudding

DIRECTIONS:

Mash banana in jar (or bowl). Add chia seeds, almond milk, Vega, blueberries, and almonds. Mix and refrigerate overnight.

Grab and go on race day!

Also enjoyed: TJ’s Roasted Seaweed. It makes for a fabulous post-run snack because it’s nutritious and salty (i.e., replaces your lost sodium).

I’m a fan.

So what about this week’s long run? For the first time since I started my training plan, I’m dropping a long run. I was scheduled to run 19 yesterday, but instead opted for 13. Along with the extra recovery time I needed from the 18 mile marathon tune-up, I also had a busy week with school and was exhausted. And I knew I didn’t need the 19; I trust missing it won’t negatively affect my marathon.

So, I listened to my body. And I think it was the right move.

Would you rather run in loops or, also challenging, complete a straight there-and-back run?

Roasted seaweed: tasty or gross? 

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The Swing of Things

I’m starting to get into the swing of things as my new role as student.

And, really, my lunches are not that different from my days as a working woman. Aside from the fact that I no longer have an overflowing snack drawer available (which is, admittedly, a loss), I eat my usual.

Who knew? 

Before I share this week’s lunch post, breakfast. I kept things simple and delicious with a good ole’ Hippie Smoothie with kale.

A lovely start to the day. Easily digestible plant-based protein, lots of fruit, antioxidants, dark, leafy greens…you can’t go wrong!

In fact, this has been my breakfast almost every morning this week. I usually make it the night before and store it in the fridge because I don’t have the time or energy in the A.M. to use (read: clean) my food processor.

Grab and go.

And now on to my last week in lunches. Which is really my lunches from two weeks ago, as I missed posting last Monday. And this Monday. Ha.

Better late than never, right?

MONDAY 

Tofu-Avocado wrap (original recipe here) on a whole wheat tortilla with alfalfa sprouts.

Nothing new here, but tasty as always.

I also whipped up some back-to-school special no-bake granola bars, based on Gena’s Five Minute, No-Bake Sunflower Seed Oat Bars

As much as I love Larabars, I like to keep my bar consumption to a minimum for a couple of reasons: 1) I prefer to eat real food where possible and 2) I like to keep my wallet in tact.

So I gave these bars a whirl–with a few changes of my own.

Back-to-School No-Bake Granola Bars

Adapted from Gena’s Five Minute, No-Bake Sunflower Seed and Oat Bars

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnut baking pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup raw cacoa nibs (can replace with carob/chocolate chips)
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • a couple grinds of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup cashew butter (any nut/seed butter would do)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter (any nut/seed butter would do)
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • generous 1/3 cup brown rice syrup

If this ingredients list seems slightly overwhelming, check out Gena’s version which is even simpler! And feel free to make the recipe your own; you can go a lot of directions with these bars.

DIRECTIONS:

Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix nut butter(s) and sweeteners, then stir into dry ingredients until well-combined. Press mixture down into a baking dish. Cover with saran wrap to really push down evenly without getting your fingers sticky. Refrigerate for at least four hours before cutting into squares and wrapping individually.

They are totally delicious. My only complaint is that they are a bit sweet for my taste–but it’s hard to get around this as the sweetener is necessary to hold the bars together. So they are a total treat.I store them in the freezer and by the time lunch (or snack time) rolls around, these are ready to enjoy! Yum.

TUESDAY

Half a sprouted grain tortilla with Creamy Hummus (recipe here). Salad with greens, white beans, cucumber, chopped kale, artichoke hearts, leftover millet, avocado, toasted sunflower seeds–dressed with Gena’s hemp pesto mixed with a bit of olive oil and a balsamic vinegar. No-bake granola bar. Apple.

WEDNESDAY

Veggie pasta salad. Apple.

The pasta salad was made from leftover whole wheat penne and veggies from the night before–with broccoli, onion, garlic, peas, and carrots. In the morning, I added white beans, toasted sunflower seeds, and dressed it with a bit of olive oil and balsamic.

Delicious–and such an easy lunch!

Dessert was a no-bake granola bar.

Yep, these are yummy.

THURSDAY

Apple. Salad with greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, white beans, garbanzo beans, leftover millet, chopped kale–dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, s + p. Half a sprouted grain wrap with peanut butter and banana slices.

This salad was simple–but so good. Sometimes everything comes together so well.

Here’s an inside look at the wrap. Love.

FRIDAY

TJ’s roasted seaweed snack. Almond butter and banana sandwich on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread. Apple.

I went with the AB&J sandwich because I was out of groceries–but it ended up hitting the spot.

A great note to end on.

What’s your favorite on-the-go snack to pack in your lunch lately?  

(Or am I the only one that gets super excited about snacks?! Feel free to sound the nerd alert. ;) )

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On Banana Bread

Good news!

I can be in grad school and bake at the same time! 

Perhaps my use of exclamation points and bold font above is excessive–but for me, this was a revelation. I knew grad school would take over my life–and it certainly has–but I also wanted to hold onto some of the things that make me happy. Like baking.

So when I found myself with a bunch of overripe bananas on my hands, I seized the opportunity to whip up my favorite banana bread.

And less than a week later, it disappeared. It was all me, too; Tom isn’t a big banana bread fan (I know; I don’t get it either!).

Needless to say, it was delicious. In fact, it’s a recipe I’ve perfected over the past few years, so I’m pretty confident it’s awesome.

Before I share, I think it’s important you hear my banana bread philosophy.

Yes, I actually do have one. Don’t judge. ;)

In my opinion, a good banana bread should contain a very limited amount of sweetener and/or oil. Why? It’s simple: the banana is a naturally sweet and naturally moist fruit. If you allow it to shine, the banana will do all the work of making your bread delicious. Why mess with a good thing? I cringe at recipes calling for copious amounts of oil and sugar. There is no need! It’s a bread–not a cake.

Does this mean I’m against decadence? Given my crisco track record, that would be a no. ;) But there’s a time and a place! And I don’t now about you, but I like to enjoy my banana bread at breakfast–and have it not only nourish my body, but taste like heaven.

Who’s with me?? :)

I share this philosophy so that you know that, yes, this is a “healthy” recipe. But that does not mean it’s lacking in taste or texture.

It also doesn’t mean it’s “healthy” enough to eat half the loaf in less than 48 hours. But that’s a whole other story. Ha.

Flaxseed Banana Bread 

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (or wheat germ)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash cloves
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave)
  • 2 flax “eggs” (2 Tbs ground flaxseed + 6 Tbs warm water, mixed)
  • 1.5 cups very ripe banana, mashed (about 3-4 large or 4-5 small)
  • 1.5 Tbs coconut oil (canola oil would work)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (I used baking pieces)*

* Optional add-in: 1/2 cup of chocolate or carob chips. Mmmm.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (I used coconut oil).

2. Mix flour, ground flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, mix banana, maple syrup, flax “eggs,” applesauce, coconut oil, nondairy milk, and vanilla.

3. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture, and stir until combined. Make sure all the flour is mixed in–but do not over-mix. Fold in the toasted walnuts carefully.

4. Pour dough into oiled dish and bake for 50 minutes.

5. Place a sheet of tin foil over the top, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

6. Let cool completely before digging in.

Enjoy!

This goes beautifully with my homemade cinnamon-raisin peanut butter.

Just sayin’.

It’s also heavenly with a bit of Artisana walnut butter.

This banana bread makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert. And I definitely took advantage of all three.

For breakfast I liked to couple it with my protein-packed Strawberry Blonde Smoothie, as the combo held me over longer.

Good morning indeed. Maybe this will make up for the fact that I have been MIA in the blog world as of late? ;)

Do you prefer your banana bread healthified or dessertified? 

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And So It Continues

Although I will be blogging less often, I do still eat lunch. Almost every day. True story. ;)

So when I have the time (like today), I will continue to share my lunch posts.

Which begin with breakfast. And because it was so delicious, I’ll share yesterday’s breakfast.

Yes, it was from a jar.

But that’s not what made it delicious. I attribute the yummy factor to the oats, chocolate, peanut butter, and banana combo. What can I say–it’s my comfort food. I had to write a paper (yes, already!), so it was a must.

It all began with a mixture of 1 ripe banana with 2 Tbs peanut butter, set aside.

In a separate bowl, I added 1/3 cup oats, 1 Tbs chia seeds, 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder, and 1 heaping Tbs cocoa powder. I let that gel up for 20 minutes or so.

Finally, I layered the pb/banana mixture alternating with the chocolate/chia seed mixture into a jar, then topped with raw cacoa nibs. I refrigerated the concoction overnight to enjoy in the morning.

Normally, I’m the type to prefer my nut butter on top where I can see it. That way I can have a little bit with each bite. However, this jar was brimming with peanut butter so it worked.

Moving on to my last week in lunches:

MONDAY

A big ole’ salad. In the mix: greens, carrot, cucumber, onion, artichoke hearts, adzuki beans, toasted sunflower seeds, fresh basil–dressed with a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Gena’s amazing hemp pesto.

It was delicious. I also snacked on carrots and TJ’s edamame hummus.

I am a huge edamame fan, so naturally I’ve been loving this hummus.

TUESDAY 

Pink Lady. And another salad beast! In the mix this time: greens, white beans, alfalfa sprouts, carrot, cucumber, chopped dinosaur kale, toasted sunflower seeds–all with the same hemp-o-licious pesto dressing as Monday.

For a snack/dessert, I enjoyed two dates stuffed with peanut butter. Normally a pre-workout treat, but it turns out it’s also delicious post-lunch. ;)

And in between classes I grabbed a green juice–with celery, spinach, parsley, ginger, pineapple…and I can’t remember what else. But it was green. I mean good

My veggie quota for the entire week may or may not have been filled on Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY

If the week before was the week of wraps, this week is shaping up to be the week of salads. Another salad the size of my head.

In the mix: greens, white beans, avocado, cucumber, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, chopped up dinosaur kale, some leftover sundried tomato marinara, and toasted sunflower seeds with yet another pesto dressing. Have I told you it’s delicious?

I also had some Creamy Hummus (recipe here) on half an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla.

Delicious–and oh-so-creamy.

In the afternoon, I snacked on an apple with cinnamon.

Classic.

THURSDAY

Apple. And the wrap is back: Tofu-Avocado Wrap (recipe here)–this time on a sprouted grain tortilla and with the addition of alfalfa sprouts. Sprouts and avocado were made for each other, were they not?

I also packed snacks for later. Creamy Hummus, carrot sticks, and whole grain crackersThis held me over perfectly.

FRIDAY 

Anddd the “Week of Salads” would not be complete without…another salad. In the mix: greens, chopped dinosaur kale, alfalfa sprouts, carrot, cucumber, avocado, toasted sunflower seeds, leftover quinoa, white beans, and my usual dressing (see Monday through Wednesday).

This also happened.

And I ended on a sweet note–with a slice of my homemade banana bread. Recipe to come. Get excited. ;)

Happy Monday Tuesday! (Is it Tuesday already? I love long weekends!)

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Halfway There

In terms of my marathon training plan, I’m officially halfway there.

Livin’ on a prayer. Actually, not really–I just have Bon Jovi in my head. And now you do, too. You’re welcome. ;)

Fittingly for my halfway point, I ran 13.1 miles yesterday–the distance of a half marathon–no big deal. It was a great way to unwind after my first week of classes.

I’m sure you’re getting slightly tired of the whole redundant long run routine, so I’ll breeze through the grub then share some of my general training reflections up to this point.

There was carbo-loading–yada yada yada. You’ve all seen carbs. They’re a beautiful thing. I’ll leave the veggie burger up to your imaginations.

Pre-run, there was more peanut butter-banana-cacoa nibs-action. I also added a grind of sea salt to counter the sodium I’d lose through sweat.

During the run–which was a lovely tour of Brooklyn, featuring the Brooklyn Bridge, the promenade, and Prospect Park–I fueled with some Hammer Gel.

This time I went with the vanilla flavor. I liked it, but it was a bit too sweet; I much prefer the banana flavor I had last time. Hammer Time happened around mile 11. I probably could have done without fuel, but I figured a boost couldn’t hurt. I also brought along some water with lemon and agave to stay hydrated.

And post-run, I enjoyed a recovery pudding–based on this version.

In the mix: 1 frozen banana, 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup frozen raspberries, 1 Tbs almond butter, 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder, 1 Tbs carob powder, a grind of sea salt, and a splash of lemon.

It was refreshing–but a bit sweet for my tastes. I’m not sure where my sweet tooth has gone!

All in all, the run went well. It was a lovely day and I was feeling strong.

So what about marathon training as a whole?

Here are a few observations I’ve gleaned from my experiences.

For the love. I’ve discovered I love distance running. Love. I mean, I’ve always loved it, but I’m even more smitten now that I’m getting into the longer distances. I look forward to my long runs every week. They’re actually really fun!

And it’s probably a good thing that I’m loving distance running, considering I have to somehow work up to 26.2. I’m still not totally sure how that will happen, but I trust the training. ;)

It hurts! Since I’ve started training, something pretty much always hurts. Not badly, but enough that I notice. One day it’s my left hamstring, the next my right groin muscle. My right calf hurts during the run, my left toe afterward. I’m in a constant battle with my body. Often it takes the first 4 or 5 miles of my run to warm up and feel totally great. And even when I do feel amazing during the run, as soon as I stop a new ache or pain reveals itself.

Luckily, I haven’t dealt with any serious, lasting pain or injury [knocking on wood], and I will of course take the necessary precautions should something develop. But the bottom line is that training is not easy on your body–and I’ve learned to live with a little discomfort, to test my body’s limits. It comes with the territory.

Rest is the best. Speaking of pain, I love my rest days. Like today. And I mean 100% rest–no working out. They allow me to completely recover so that when I head back out for a run I feel mentally and physically replenished.

What’s cross-training again? As it turns out, I define “cross-training” quite loosely. When I first began training, I would go to the gym and try out a machine other than the treadmill and/or lift weights on my cross-training day. Lately, I’ve thought more creatively about it. I do yoga if I have the time. But I’ve also counted a Jillian session as cross-training. And “running errands.” Even boat rides. Ha. And I’ve also abandoned any pretense of cross-training during weeks where I need the extra day of rest.

Don’t get me wrong–I think cross-training is important (and an area I undoubtedly need to work on), but I also believe listening to your body trumps all. And if life is going to get in the way of my training, I’d rather it be my cross-training days than, say, my long runs. Priorities people.

Pacing. So, I’m not the best at sticking to my “marathon pace” during my long runs yet. When I’m feeling good, I run accordingly. I realize this way of thinking is not going to help during the marathon; if I run too hard too soon, I will hit a wall. And that would be bad. So my goal for the next phase of training–for the 18, 19, 20 milers–is to focus on running a somewhat consistent, reasonable marathon pace. It might feel slow at times, but that will probably mean I’m doing something right. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Literally. Ha.

I make my own beats. As they say, training runs are the time to experiment–with fuel, running gear, clothing, etc. I’ve talked a lot about grub–but I haven’t mentioned that I’ve been running sans an ipod. Yep, that means no music.

(source)

Why? I didn’t want to carry my ipod. It’s an old clunker–and even when I put it in an arm strap, I find myself constantly adjusting it so it’s comfortable. The thought of dealing with that for 9, 12, 15 miles was too much. And truth be told, I like being alone with my thoughts, and the world around me. I like hearing my own breath. I like feeling like I don’t need anything but myself to power me through.

With that said, I’m certainly not opposed to music–and used it for all my half-marathons in the past. And if things start to get desperate, I haven’t ruled it out. But so far, I’ve really enjoyed leaving the ipod behind.

When you run and/or work out, do you listen to music or leave the ipod behind? Why or why not? 

Do you embrace your rest days, or feel guilty when you don’t work out? 

Also, if you have questions that I didn’t cover, feel free to ask! :)

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The Week of Wraps

Remember lunch posts? That little series of posts I dedicate to what is arguably the most mundane meal of the day: packed lunch?

Don’t feel bad if you have no idea what I’m talking about; I barely recall those weekly wonders. ;)

Well today I’m back to share my last week in lunches.

And apparently I’m really into wraps right now. I mean, I’ve always loved a good wrap–but last week I took that love to a whole new level with a wrap nearly every day.

But first things first: breakfast.

Overnight oats brimming with blueberries and vanilla.

In the bowl: 1 mashed banana, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 1 Tbs chia seeds, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, a dash of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries, a few raw almonds–all topped with a Tbs of almond butter.

Delicious!

Have you tried adding frozen fruit to your overnight oats before? Do it–it’s wonderful.

Anyway. On to lunch the wraps…

MONDAY 

A classic combo: whole wheat wrap with Creamy Hummus (recipe here), spinach, tomatoes, and toasted sunflower seeds.

Simple, but tasty–and highlighted the hummus so well!

I also snacked on an appleWhat else is new?

And in the afternoon, I picked up splurged on a Two Moms in the Raw bar–Goji Berry Granola.

Love. 

TUESDAY

Okay, you caught me: I splurged on two Two Moms in the Raw bars–and this time enjoyed the Blueberry Granola flavor. Essentially the same wrap as Monday–Creamy Hummus, mixed greens, tomatoes, and toasted sunflower seeds, served on an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla. Apple.

It doesn’t get old.

WEDNESDAY

Carrot sticks with TJ’s edamame hummus. And for the wrap, I went with another classic: a Tofu-Avocado Wrap on an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla. Apple.

Layer one: a titch of vegan mayo along with mashed avo, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. 

Layer two: greens, TJ’s savory tofu, and toasted sunflower seeds. 

Creamy, crunchy, and awesome.

THURSDAY

Thursday, I deviated from the Wrap Week. Lunch was to be provided by my grad school for orientation, and knowing that the vegan options would be limited, I packed an apple and blueberry muffin Larabar (amazing flavor, by the way)–which held me over perfectly.

When I got home in the afternoon, I enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner consisting of a salad beast and a sprouted grain wrap with hummus

A deconstructed wrap, in a way. ;) It was totally amazing. I could eat this every night in one form or another and never get sick of it.

The wrap was spread with more Creamy Hummus

And in the large-and-in-charge, protein-packed salad: mixed greens, cooked adzuki beans, carrot, chopped onion, cucumber, hemp seeds, peas, chopped olives, a dollop of leftover sundried tomato marinara sauce, and toasted sunflower seeds–dressed with a mix TJ’s edamame hummus, ume plum vinegar, minced garlic, and a titch of olive oil.

So. Good. Filling and full of varying flavors and textures. Hit the spot.

FRIDAY 

Apple + whole wheat wrap.

This wrap was a little more creative than the earlier ones. In the mix: more Creamy Hummus, a dollop of leftover sundried tomato marinara, cooked adzuki beans, chopped olives, cucumber, sliced tomato, avocado, and toasted sunflower seeds. Random, but totally hearty and delicious.

So am I sick of wraps yet?

Nope! I’m ready for more. :)

What’s a food or meal you never get sick of? Salads and wraps for me, because there are a million ways to create them–and change things up! I’ve also never gotten sick of oats or nut butter, and I can’t see that happening.

P.S. I survived the storm unscathed. Many thanks for your well wishes! 

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Calm Before the Storm

So, apparently Hurricane Irene is on its way to NYC. She must mean business, because the subways have shut down. That never happens!

And on Tuesday we had an earthquake.

WTF, New York?

To be honest, I have not done much to prepare for the storm–aside from picking up a couple cans of Amy’s soup yesterday at my local bodega. Not sure if that counts. Or if it will even prove useful? My plan today is to stock up on bottled water and track down a flashlight before Irene arrives, as power outage is likely and the only flashlight in our apartment is Tom’s iphone app. And he’s out of town.

Though I’m lacking in storm prep, I have been preparing for my impending marathon. This morning, I got in a 15-mile run. It was a lovely route along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan–and a lot of New Yorkers were out, presumably taking advantage of the decent weather before sh*t hits the fan.

So let’s talk fuel.

Last night, I had carbs, of course–topped with more of Gena’s delicious hemp pesto along with some leftover sundried tomato marinara from Thrive.

Dueling sauces.

Mix mix mix.

Delicious. 

And I for my pre-run fuel, I went with a banana and peanut butter, sprinkled with cacao nibs for a tiny bit of caffeine.

It’s a tried and true combo that I know works. And in light of my digestive problems last week, I also waited nearly two hours to fully digest before heading out the door.

During my run, I tried a new gel packet: Hammer Gel. I had been looking for Clif products (which come highly recommended) when I stumbled across Hammer. It has a pretty decent, natural ingredients list, so I decided to give it a go!

This time, I went with banana, which actually contains banana puree–no shady “natural flavorings” here.

Hammer Time, as I like to call it, happened around mile 8 or 9–and it was a great boost and flavor. Very banana-y. I’d definitely use this again–which is a good thing because I bought a few.

I also experimented with some dates.

I love dates as a pre-run snack, but I’m wary about anything that requires chewing while I run. Since training runs are the time to figure out what works for me–and I’m in search of more natural approaches to fuel–I gave these a try at around mile 13. They were great! Chewing was a non-issue; I didn’t have to stop running. I also love the super sweet taste of dates, and I definitely felt a little boost from the glucose. Luckily, I didn’t experience any digestive issues either.

Success!

Post-run, I had Brendan’s recovery pudding per usual–this time with extra berries, Sunwarrior, and no carob powder.

For whatever reason (maybe the extra berries?), this batch was fluffier–and kind of reminded me of ice cream.

Or maybe I was experiencing post-run delusions. Quite possible. ;)

I’m off to pick up a few supplies in anticipation of Irene. For all those on the East Coast, STAY SAFE!

Which do you prefer on your pasta: pesto or marinara sauce? 

If you’re on the east coast, what have you done to prepare for Irene? 

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Back in Action

I’ve been home from my little vacation (a.k.a. Midwest tour) for a little over a week now, and slowly but surely, I’m getting back into the swing of things. I really missed the city!

And by “city” I actually mean my kitchen.

And by my “kitchen” I’m really just talking about my food processor. Ha.

I’m kidding! Kind of. I mean, I missed New York too. And Tom, of course (love you, honey!). But my food processor…it had been weeks since I processed, pulsed, or pureed anything! The horror!

(Except for this deliciousness using my mom’s processor. But still.)

Naturally, I busted it out before I even stocked up on groceries.

Ice cream for breakfast anyone?

This is what happens when you’re craving peanut butter + banana but don’t have fresh fruit in the house. A pretty tasty solution, if I don’t say so myself–especially topped with cacoa nibs. Mmmm.

And of course there was this amazing pizza sauce.

I also whipped up a batch of Creamy Hummus–freshly cooked and shelled chickpeas and all!

There is nothing like homemade hummus. Especially this one, which has quickly risen the ranks to become my go-to hummus recipe.

I made another batch of cinnamon-raisin peanut butter as well. Just ‘cuz.

Love.

And I’ve recreated Brendan’s Recovery Pudding a couple of times–after my 14-miler as well as last Wednesday’s 7-mile run.

The perfect post-run treat.

I have to say, as much as I loved a change of scenery while I was traveling, it’s great to be running all my old routes again. What was once tired now feels familiar–and even welcome. Plus, it’s fun to run them all with my new garmin.

I’m slightly obsessed!

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point: If my food processor felt abandoned during my time away, I believe I have more than made up for lost time this past week.

Home is where the heart food processor is. As they say. ;)

The Cuisinart aside, I’ve also made sure to get my daily dose of oats–hot and cold.

Mostly, I just wanted to show you a few pretty pictures of oats. And on that delicious note, I will leave you.

Do you miss your kitchen when you travel? A weekend away I am happy to do, but after a couple weeks I really start to miss mine.

What’s the one kitchen appliance you couldn’t live without? I think mine’s obvious. ;)

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All Things Running + Pasta Primavera

Good news: I’ve added a new page to Unmitigated Grub! Can you spot it?

Yep, it’s the Run tab.

As you’ve probably deduced, Run is a space for all my running-related posts–including pre- and post-workout fuel, nutrition, injuries, marathon training, gear, and more–meant to serve as a resource of sorts. The info is certainly not prescriptive; it’s all based on my personal experiences, but hopefully having it all in one place will come in handy. Check it out!

Speaking of which…

Saturday I completed another long run for my marathon training. And by long I mean 14 miles–longer than any distance I’ve raced before (a half marathon being the longest).

I was slightly nervous about the run–but it went really well. In fact, I loved it. I mapped out a run that took me around the Prospect Park loop, through two boroughs (Brooklyn and Manhattan), across two bridges (the Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Bridges), and back home.

It was a total adventure. :)

And now that I’m getting into the long long distances, I’ve started experimenting with how best to fuel my body for the marathon–before, during, and after.

The morning of my run, I woke up early to have a chia seed pudding concoction I had created the previous night–complete with chia seeds and almond milk (for hydration and healthy fats), dates (quick energy), banana (quick energy + potassium), a splash of lemon (alkalizing and aids in digestion), and sea salt (to counter the loss of sodium through sweat). I also drizzled some blackstrap molasses over it all (for quick energy + an iron boost). Agave would work well, too.

This might sound like a strange combination, but I wasn’t going for the Most Delicious Breakfast Award.

Or the prettiest. Ha.

I was going for what would get me through the run. And it was actually tasty–sweet and light. Here’s what I did.

Pre-Run Chia Seed Pudding

  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a couple grinds of sea salt
  • a drizzle of blackstrap molasses or agave syrup (optional)
  • a small spoonful of almond butter (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mash banana in bowl. Add chia seeds, milk, chopped dates, lemon, and sea salt. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or until it gels up into a pudding, at least a half hour).

2. If desired, drizzle molasses or agave and top with a small amount of almond butter. Enjoy!

I ate this about an hour before I took off–and to be honest, I don’t think that was enough time for me. Let’s just say I had some digestive issues early on in the run. I will spare you the details.

You’re welcome. ;)

Aside from the aforementioned issues, the run went smoothly and felt great. I had my water bottle filled with water, a bit of lemon, and a touch of agave. I also brought a chocolate Gu packet.

I’d like to find more natural methods of fueling during my runs–and hope to make my own gel or quick energy bars–but, I must say, I do love Gu. It tastes like a chocolate brownie and for whatever reason that does not gross me out while I’m running. I busted it out around mile 10 or 11 and it provided a nice boost of energy.

And after the run I enjoyed a lot of water, stretching, and Brendan’s Recovery Pudding–this time with Sunwarrior protein powder instead of Vega.

It hit the spot as usual. So delicious!

The night before the run was all about carbs.

I’m a big fan of carbo-loading. And loving. ;)

I whipped up a veggie-filled pasta dish based on this recipe–and whatever I had on hand. Plus hummus because that makes everything more delicious.

Vegan Pasta Primavera

Serves 4 (or more as a side) 

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup kale (or 3-4 stalks), stems removed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 pepper (I used green)
  • 1-2 cups almond milk (I used about 1.5)
  • 3 T whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (optional)
  • sea salt + freshly ground pepper, to taste

* Note: Any veggies would work in this recipe, so use your favorites!

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add onion, garlic, and pepper and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add flour, dried basil, some s + p, hummus, and the almond milk–1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly over medium-low heat to form a sauce. Stir in nutritional yeast.

2. Meanwhile, lightly steam broccoli and carrots, then add to the sauce. Toss in the frozen peas and kale and stir until kale is wilted and peas are heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add more s + p as needed.

4. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, reserving a bit of cooking liquid. Combine veggies/sauce with pasta and stir well. Add in pasta liquid for desired consistency (I added about 1/3 cup; for a thicker sauce, omit). Top with fresh basil, if using.

5. Enjoy!

Lots of veggies. Lots of carbs.

What’s not to love?

What’s your favorite thing to eat before you workout? 

Runners: What’s your fuel of choice during longer runs? 

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