Saturday snack #1: Banana Bites and a running update

Hello there friends! Sorry for the hiatus…again. I promise I was not hibernating. Although, the weather here has made me want to lately. 😦 I’ve just neglected blogging after a busy month of graduate school, work, observation hours (for my graduate program), working out, and occasionally socializing. 😛

Running update

Anyway, I was somehow convinced to run a 5k race this morning with my boyfriend outside, which is not my idea of hibernating! Luckily, today was the warmest day of the week at a whooping 20 degrees and I only needed two pairs of gloves to run outside. You would think after 8 years of high school and college cross country and track I’d be a pro at cold weather running, but that is not the case! I still dread it and sometimes don’t know how to properly dress for my runs…

Fortunately, I survived the race, had a bit of fun in the process, and only my face, hands, and feet lost feeling from the cold. 😛 I ran the race unofficially in 20 or 21 pain free minutes, which is great considering I haven’t run more than 10 miles per week or done any speed work since December because of my darn IT band…unfortunately my IT band hurts post race :(. On a happier note, my boyfriend who has been training more than me won! We thought he missed first place by a second or two because he was out kicked, but we were wrong. The race was chip timed and since he started further back he won. 🙂 This race has me excited for running again and yearning for my faster glory days in college. Maybe with some actual training I can prove to myself that my faster days are ahead of me, not behind me. Finger’s crossed that my IT band heals soon… I definitely need some time off and more strengthening and stretching because that race aggregated it. 😦 Hopefully a week or two does the trick so I can increase my mileage and train for races again.

Banana Bites

Now, I have a short recipe to share with all of you.  Looking for a snack that is sweet, healthy, tasty, easy, and quick to make?! Look no further! Banana bites are your answer. You most likely have the ingredients on hand at your house. They are full of healthy fats, protein, and just the right amount of sweetness. They will keep for a few days in the freezer.

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Yield: variable depending on how many bananas used (I made 8 bites)

Ingredients

1-2 bananas

1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1-2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

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1.  Mix the peanut butter and Greek yogurt together on a plate

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2. Chop the banana(s) into slices

3. Spread the Greek yogurt/peanut butter mixture onto half of the banana slices

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4. Form sandwiches by using other half of the banana slices as the top slices

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5. Put the banana bites into the freezer in a covered container and let freeze for approximately 2 hours.

6. Enjoy! Keep any leftovers in the freezer. They should keep for a few days.

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Have a wonderful night friends and I hope you enjoy this simple, healthy snack! 🙂

Question of the day: Have you been running lately? If so inside or outside?  Any fun races?

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Motivational Monday #6 & post-collegiate running

Good afternoon friends and happy Monday!  🙂 For those of you who have not run yet, but are planning to (myself included) I have some Monday running motivation coming your way!

Before starting this post, I had just gotten back from 3.5 hours of nutrition classes and as I laid out all my human anatomy notes to start a study session I thought to myself “I wish I was running now instead of studying, I feel unfocused anyway”. Now, I was planning for today to be a rest day as lately my goal has been at least 3 days of running per week with 1-2 days of cross training and rest days as needed. After yesterday’s run I thought I’d need a rest day, but today my body is telling me just the opposite. I am craving a good, mind clearing run down by the lake and through some crunchy leaves. So I am going to listen to my body today! I know that I will not have a productive study session unless I run first. This quote I found on Pinterest shares what I am feeling today more eloquently than what I just said above. Maybe it will also inspire some of you wanting to run right now to just get up and GO! I will be doing that as soon as this post publishes. 🙂

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what running is like for me now after 4 years of collegiate XC running

It has been so weird this year to not have a college cross country season to train for and instead of running 50+ miles per week I am lucky to run 15-20 miles per week now. I’m in such a different place than last year with harder classes, a commute to and from class, and a part time job, but I will always be a runner. I think I just thought I would continue to run a lot of races post college and have more time to train than I do right now. In college I just had to attend class, study, go to mandatory cross country practices, and work 10-15 hours per week (but it was on campus work study so I could do my homework). Also, I was not expecting to get such a nasty case of IT Band tendonitis after my first half marathon in June. Since my injury healed in August, I feel like I have been struggling to get back into long distance shape for the last two months (but again this is coming from a girl who was used to running 5-10+ miles at 6-8 min/mile pace nearly everyday in college).

I have so many running goals that I have yet to achieve and I do not want college to have been my prime running years! In fact, yesterday, my boyfriend and I were even talking about how we’d like to run the Chicago Marathon next year if possible even though we will both probably still be working part time jobs and still in school. I think since we are volunteering at the Chicago Marathon this Sunday and watching his mom run that will really inspire us to pursue the goal of running it in 2015! It would be my first marathon and my boyfriend’s second. Regardless I cannot wait for Sunday!

Right now, though, I just want to stay healthy and IT band tendonitis free. I had four wonderful years of injury free DI college cross country running (although track is an entirely different story- a lot of injuries there) and for that I am grateful! For now my running goals are simpler and that is ok. I just want to get out there as much as possible. Currently, I run for the stress relief,  a break from studying,  beautiful scenery, and the fresh air. I will jump back into the racing scene later this fall or next spring at the latest.  Well, have a great Monday everyone. It’s time for me to lace up my shoes and run. 🙂

What are your current motivations for running (or working out in general)?

Rice, veggie, and bean bowls & Monday motivation

Hello friends, I’m back! I hope you all had a lovely labor day, week, and weekend. Sorry for the 1.5 week hiatus- school, studying, and more hours than I anticipated at my part time job have been keeping me busy, but regardless that’s no excuse. I’ll TRY to update this blog at least once a week from now on! 🙂

Today, I wanted to share my  go-to quick week night dinner (or lunch) recipes. As many vegetarians already know, convenience food is OFTEN tailored to meat eaters. And yes, I know this is not completely true as there are veggie burgers, chickenless nuggets, faux hot dogs, and microwave vegetarian meals. Yet, just like their meat counterparts, vegetarian convenience food CAN high in sodium, calories, fat, and somewhat low in nutrients. Also, vegetarian microwave or convenience meals tend to be pricier than meat based convenience meals. So what’s a hungry vegetarian student who is trying to balance a part time job, attend class, be a part of school activities, and study all the bones in the human body to do? Okay, okay that last part about the human bones is specific to my nutrition course work, but you all get the picture. 😛

During the week busy and hungry vegetarian students need nutrient dense, healthy, quick, and budget friendly options for dinner so they do not turn to veggie convenience food all the time. Considering black beans are one of my favorite foods I hope it comes as no surprise that I used black beans in this recipe I am sharing with all of you. You could definitely use other types of beans you just may need to use different spices than I used then.

Now as a forewarning, the following recipe I am sharing is not super glamorous and may even be bland in some of your options. I personally love turmeric and garlic powder together, but feel free to substitute any spices you’d like. As a side note, toping with salsa and/or using cilantro are also both wonderful additions to this recipe! Benefits of this recipe: It is quick to prepare, easy to make for yourself or a few people, a complete protein, high in fiber, and the vitamin C in the peppers should help you absorb the plant based iron in the black beans more efficiently.

Rice, veggie, and bean bowls

ingredients:

1/3-1/2 can of black beans (or any canned beans you like)

1/2 cup-3/4 cup frozen sweet peppers or frozen mixed veggies

1/2 cup jasmine rice (or any kind of rice)

turmeric & garlic powder (or any herbs or spices you want)

optional: whole wheat wraps

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1. Rinse the jasmine rice using a mesh sieve. Then, cook the rice according the package directions.

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2.  While the rice is cooking, microwave the desired amount of peppers or mixed veggies with a tablespoon of water and covered with plastic wrap or using a covered microwave safe dish.

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3. Also while the rice is cooking, rinse the 1/3 can- 1.2 can of black beans and then cook in the microwave for approximately 3 minutes or on the stovetop, also covered. Store the remaining black beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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4. Once everything is thoroughly heated/cooked mix the rice, black beans, and veggies together in a bowl.

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5.  Add the turmeric and garlic or any spices you want. Sometimes I also eat this mixture in a whole wheat wrap topped with salsa for a bit of a heartier meal. Both the bowl and wrap are delicious and quick options so give them a try! 🙂

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P.S. Here’s some very late Monday motivation. Use it to motivate you for tomorrow morning’s run (or tonight for those of you who are evening/night runners). I went on a lovely run this morning and while it was extremely hard to get out of bed early after working Sunday night I was so glad I did! I’ve been trying to keep up with morning runs so I do not use work or studying as excuses to prevent me from running later in the day.

I  got up, ran, and finished all before 8 am and  had plenty of time to eat and shower before for my 45 minute commute to my 11 am class! I love how morning runs make me feel, what about you guys? Today’s motivation is one of those “reasons why I run posts” and this one seemed especially fitting.  🙂

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What is your go-to quick and easy vegetarian weekday meal (or meatless Monday meal for those non vegetarians out there)?

Motivational Monday #4: Don’t let the weather stop you

Good morning friends! I hope all of you had wonderful weekends. I had a great one, but it went by way too fast. :/ I went home Friday morning to visit my family and my boyfriend’s family (we are from the same home town) and then I had a family reunion on Saturday in Wisconsin. It was a busy weekend full of boating, time outside, bonfires, bags, and eating (of course)!

Unfortunately between Friday and Sunday, I only ran yesterday when I got back to Chicago. I am upset with my laziness now that my IT band is healed. I The weather was not even rainy like it is today so I had no excuses (although weather is a poor excuse). I had busy days with my family and my boyfriend’s family, but I could have woken up early to run! I thought for today’s running motivation I thought I’d pick a quote to remind us that the weather is never too snowy/rainy/windy/bad enough to skip a run (plus there’s always the treadmill :P).

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I hope all of you have excellent runs or workouts today and do not let the weather stop you. It could always be much worse than rain. MUCH. WORSE. It could be the polar vortex with a balmy high of –15 degrees. Remember that when you think of skipping today’s work out.

I am still  trying to take it slow so I don’t reinjure my IT band, but two days in a row off of running (unless I am cross training) are no longer part of my plan. I’m aiming to get back to running 5-6 days per week and cross training on the 7th day or taking a rest day when needed. Today calls for a 4 mile easy run this evening. I am running in the evening to give myself 24 hours between consecutive runs. I do not worry about run timing except after a recent injury. I am hoping to get up to 5 miles or so without IT band pain by the end of this week.

Well, it’s time for me to grocery shop and then go to a coffee shop before my run tonight.  My boyfriend is going to read for his summer class and I am going to read for fun since I’m finally done with my summer class! 😛

What kind of run or workout do you have planned today?

Thursday Treats: vegetarian/vegan pancakes

To be honest today’s treat started out as an experiment. I had a serious craving for pancakes this morning, but my boyfriend and I were completely out of eggs so I was curious if it would be possible to make delicious pancakes without them. The answer is 100% YES! As a vegetarian who still eats eggs, I normally make pancakes with eggs, but now I’m thinking that this eggless pancake recipe will be my new go to recipe. They are that good (in my opinion)! 😉 As an added bonus, they cook faster than pancakes made with eggs! If you use maple syrup instead of honey as the sweetener these can even be made vegan!

This recipe is from The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by  Judy Krizmanic on pages 16-18. The only change I made was using 1 cup of all purpose flour instead of a half cup wheat flour and a half cup white and then I used light vanilla almond milk instead of soy or dairy milk. I also made two of the six pancakes with dark chocolate chips as a little treat for my boyfriend and I.

For pancake toppings I personally like high protein toppings such as vanilla Greek yogurt and mixed berries or peanut butter, while my boyfriend prefers the classic maple syrup. The pancakes taste good with any of those toppings!

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vegetarian/vegan pancakes

yield: 6-8 pancakes (serves 2-3 people)

ingredients:

1 cup  all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

dash of cinnamon (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup light vanilla almond milk (or soy or dairy milk)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup or another liquid sweetener)

steps

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

2. Combine the almond milk, vegetable oil, and honey in a separate bowl.

3. Mix the dry ingredients and almond milk mixture together just until combined.

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4. Grease a non stick skillet with cooking spray or a little vegetable oil and put the stove on medium heat.

5. Pour the pancake batter onto the skillet into circles about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. Put dark chocolate chips in the batter during this step if desired.  (I cooked two pancakes at a time since we have a pretty small skillet).

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6. Cook for about one-two minutes on one side or until bubbles start to form. Then flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook for another minute or two on the other side. The pancakes are cooked when they turn golden brown. This should take four-five minutes total.

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7. Once fully cooked serve the pancakes and top with your favorite toppings. We made 6 large pancakes with this recipe.

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running update

A few hours after breakfast I went on a wonderful solo run along the beach. Today was my furthest run to date post IT Band injury. It was just shy of 4 miles. It’s so good to be back to injury free running, but I’m definitely going to keep up with my IT band rehabilitation exercises and yoga in the coming months to prevent a relapse. I felt a little sore from yesterday’s run for some reason, but I still ran a decent pace even without my boyfriend to push me. 😛

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I’m hoping to try out a five miler this weekend and slowly start to increase my pace during my runs again in the coming weeks. Maybe I can start thinking about signing up for a late fall race now! Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂

Today’s question: What is your favorite pancake topping?

Lollapalooza recap and What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) #1

Good evening friends! Sorry for the several day hiatus from the blog, I was at Lollapalooza all weekend and had a test and final paper due for my summer class due yesterday  (although it’s not like many people read this. haha). Regardless I am back! I hope all of you have had wonderful weekends. 🙂

Lollapalooza 2014 recap

Man, this past weekend was fun, crazy, and exhausting all at the same time! It was great to see my sister, my boyfriends sister, and a friend from college as well as some of my favorite artists though. It’s really difficult for me to pick my overall favorite act so I’m just going to share my favorite acts for each of the three days. 😛

Friday

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As far as seeing artists, Friday was packed. It also rained on us once, but it was a very brief downpour so it wasn’t bad. Sunday is a different story though. We all saw many shows back to back and did a lot of walking back and forth between both ends of the park on Friday. We saw Temples, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jagwar Ma, Portugal. The Man, Chvches, Lorde, and Artic Monkeys.  Jagwar Ma was my favorite act on Friday and they only have one album so I was lucky to hear all my favorite songs live. 🙂

The weirdest thing I saw all weekend was on Friday. This guy in front of us was wearing a skirt and had his BABY with him. He was dancing with the baby basically the entire time.The baby had a set of headphones thankfully, but I’m still not sure that it’s really a good place to bring a baby…This baby was super cute though and everyone around me was taking pictures so I’m not surprised they made the news . I thought I snapped a picture of the baby too, but apparently I didn’t save it so here’s a picture of the baby from ABC.

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(Source: http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/wls/images/cms/080414-wls-lolla-7-img.jpg)

Saturday

The weather on Saturday was by far the best of all three of the days. It was warm and sunny the entire day. I saw The Districts, Jungle, The Temper Trap, Grouplove, and Foster the People. I was also supposed The Head and the Heart, and then Cut Copy or Calvin Harris. I went home early, though, with my sister who got a bad migraine during the festival. I felt so bad that she was not feeling well because she really wanted to see Calvin Harris, but thankfully no headaches for her Friday or Sunday!

Overall, what I liked a lot about Saturday was discovering two new bands (The Districts and Jungle) that I didn’t listen to before Lollapalooza. I think it’s a great thing when you got to a festival where you can discover new music and listen to some of your favorite acts all in the same day. My favorite act on Saturday was Foster the People. They sound great live and it was a fun and upbeat show. Also, they played all my favorite songs from their two albums so I was happy.

Sunday

Oh gosh, I cannot give a recap of Sunday without first talking about the endless rain. It rained four or five times throughout the entire day and just when you were starting to dry off it rained again, go figure. Many people embraced the rain at the festival by having mud fights dancing in the rain, other people found creative ways to stay dry such as hiding under picnic tables. By the end of the night no one had dry or clean clothes or feet! Grant Park also took quite the beating. :/ I somehow did not take any pictures of the mud, but I did manage to get a picture of our muddy feet. 😛

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Despite the rain we stayed the whole time and saw all the acts we planned on seeing. We saw NONONO, London Grammar, Cage the Elephant, The Avett Brothers (from afar), Young the Giant, and Skrillex. Picking  my favorite act on Sunday is tough and nearly a tie between Cage the Elephant and Young the Giant. I’d have to say I enjoyed Cage the Elephant just a little bit more though. The crowd was fun and I love that the lead singer embraced the rain and was all muddy just like the rest of the festival goers. I’m just sad they didn’t play my favorite song (Hypocrite), but it was still good and it seems like they stuck to all the fan favorites. We ended the night with Skrillex and while I can confidently say I am not a huge fan and will probably never see him again, but he put on a cool light show that I snapped a picture of.

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All in all it was a good end to a crazy and fun weekend with some of my favorite people. 🙂 Also, if anyone wants a hilarious recap of Lollapalooza this buzzfeed article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattbellassai/28-things-you-learn-at-lollapalooza

What I ate Wednesday (WIAW) #1

Now, on a completely different note from Lollapalooza, I wanted to do a WIAW post. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers do this and I think it’s a great idea! It’s a good way to see how other people eat and to possibly get ideas for recipes or snacks.  I’d especially love to see what other runners and vegetarians eat. It was tougher than I expected to take a picture of everything I ate today, but maybe that’s because I snack a lot. I’m more of a snacker/ several mini meals a day than a three meals a day kind of girl.

What I do want to emphasize now is that WIAW is a no judgment zone. I am not here to judge what others are eating and I do what to be judged by what I ate today. Everyone eats differently. I am a vegetarian that still eats eggs and dairy products and you might be a vegan or someone that eats meat. I respect that so please respect me back! Also, this is just a snapshot or peak into how I eat on a daily basis, not how I eat everyday. We all have good and bad days. As a person who strives to eat healthy, I know that it is a process and I believe in the motto “everything in moderation”. Some days you eat a lot processed foods or chocolate chips out of the bag. That is ok. 😉 Without further ado, here’s what I ate:

~9:15 am. A quick granola bar before grocery shopping (they say to never grocery shop on an empty stomach!)

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11:00 am. Egg in the holes, Silk light vanilla almond milk, and coffee for a late breakfast.

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1:30 pm. A short run with my boyfriend! My GPS watch would not connect for this run so this is his black watch. haha. Looks like the ol’ IT band is healed and I can start building up my mileage again! 🙂

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3 pm. A super late, but light lunch. This is a combination of mixed berries, Oikos vanilla Greek Yogurt, milled Flax seed, and some vegan maple granola. (here’s the recipe I posted a few days ago if anyone is interested: https://blackbeanqueen.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/thursday-treats-vegan-maple-granola/) . I also had a couple handfuls of dry cereal.

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4 pm. Some caffeinated tea as an afternoon pick me up. I highly recommend Trader Joe’s mango black tea!

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5:15 pm. Snack number two was  nearly an entire bag of Simply Salted popcorn. It’s basically the only microwave popcorn I’ll eat. It’s only about 100 calories for an entire bag and it’s not mini, plus it doesn’t have a million ingredients like other popcorns.

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7:30 pm. For dinner I had last night’s leftovers. It’s a Mexican pasta with beans. It has kidney beans, tomatoes, sweet peppers, pasta, and spices. I’ll try to share the entire recipe in the future.

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I hope all of you have great nights. 🙂

My question for all of you: If you have ever been to a music festival, such as Lollapalooza, what is the weirdest thing you have seen there?

Thursday Treats: vegan maple granola

Today I have a treat for all of you! I made homemade maple granola and it was way better than the granola I made a few weeks ago. It’s sweet, but not over powering and this recipe forms those wonderful granola clusters. I don’t know about you, but my favorite granolas have clusters rather than small little oat pieces, but maybe I’m just picky. 😛 Did I mention that it’s super duper easy to make too?  My boyfriend agrees that this granola is really good (but maybe my taste tester has to say that)! I hope all of you agree, though. 🙂

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vegan maple granola

This recipe was adapted from the Easy Homemade Granola recipe on page 13 of The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic. It’s easy to make, portable, tasty, and vegan. Try it on a peanut butter sandwich, with some almond milk, or even by the handful!

yield: approx. 12 servings

ingredients:

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup cashews

3 cups oatmeal

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar plus 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup  raisins or other dried fruit if desired (added after baking)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 in glass baking pan or 2 cookie sheets.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except for the raisins.

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3. Spread the mixture into the glass baking pan or on the 2 cookie sheets.

4, Bake for about 25 minutes or until the granola turns golden brown (It took me a little over 30 minutes when I used a 9×13 baking dish). Make sure to stir the granola as it is cooking.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Add raisins to the granola if desired and store in a Tupperware or other airtight container.

Running update

On a completely different note, I am back to pain free running! My darn IT band seems to be fine after a few runs in a row. FINALLY! Also, the strength/rehabilitation exercises I have been doing for the last month and a half are paying off as the right side of my body is feeling stronger. And maybe, just maybe I am starting to feel a little bit more flexible because I have been doing yoga a few times per week.  I still wouldn’t call myself flexible, but I am better than I used to be. 😉 Yesterday I went on a lovely, pain free run with my boyfriend and it was the furthest I have run since my half marathon in the beginning of June!

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Yes, 3.63 blissful miles was “far” for me, but not one twinge in the IT band so I’ll take it.This girl is happy to be running in general! I cannot wait to go back to running higher mileage and training for a race, but I know that I must go slow and be patient. I hoping to run a 10k or half in October or November, but for the time being my next mission is to try a 4 miler and a 4.5 miler.

Lollapalooza

The time is finally here! Tomorrow through Sunday I will be at Lollapalooza and I’m super pumped.  I cannot wait to see several of my favorite artists live as well as my sister and a friend from college I haven’t seen in a while. 🙂  This means I may not update this blog for a few days, but I’ll see what I can do.

The weekend is ALMOST here! Anyone have any exciting plans this weekend? 🙂

The biggest waves I have ever seen and a breakfast quinoa recipe

Good afternoon friends! Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days- I had class on Tuesday and yesterday was a bit crazy. We had to do some homework, grocery shop, clean up the apartment before my boyfriends roommate from college got here, and deal with the  several hour long water outage in our entire building. I did manage to get a run in yesterday, though, and it was my longest run post injury!

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Yesterday, before cleaning up the apartment we made some breakfast quinoa. Lately, my boyfriend or I cannot get enough of the stuff so I’ll share the recipe with all of you below. After breakfast, we went to get some groceries. Then we both did some homework. I went for a run on the Lakeshore path while my boyfriend continued to do more homework since he had some readings due later in the day. My IT band felt a little tight during the run and after, unfortunately, but that did not stop me from enjoying the amazing views. I ran a nice loop of just over 3.5 miles, which had me running close to the beach and I have to say that have never seen such large waves before!  Lake Michigan was crazy yesterday! The waves were so large a beach hazard warning was given and people were advised not to swim. I willingly ran close to the waves and I honestly felt like a kid when I ran through them with a goofy grin on my face. I saw some other runners smile when I ran and jumped through the waves that reached the path, but I also saw others jump up on the rocks to avoid the waves altogether (those were the wimps! Jk! :P). I’m pretty sure I inspired a few runners to run through the waves/puddles, though, so I’d say it was a successful run! The pictures below don’t even do the waves justice. They were tall, powerful, and beautiful. I think my boyfriend regrets taking a day off of running yesterday (even though he needed it) because he missed out on some great views! 😛

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After the run, my boyfriend and I finished cleaning up the apartment and then he went to his class. His old roommate from college arrived here while he was in class so I took him around our neighborhood to kill some time. Once my boyfriend’s class was over we had dinner and then checked out a bar in our neighborhood. It was a lot of fun to go somewhere new and catch up with my boyfriend’s old roommate. It had a nice relaxed atmosphere, some very strange, but cool artwork, and was reasonably priced (for Chicago ;)) so we will definitely be back there!

today

My IT band is feeling sore/tight again  today, so I’m adjusting my training plan for the week. I am sticking with one day of running, one day of rest or cross training instead of the initial plan of two days of running in a row, one day of rest or cross training. I’ am incredibly frustrated with my IT band because it hasn’t hurt for a few runs, but I am hoping another day of rest from running is all it needs and then I can run tomorrow. :/ On a brighter note, tonight we taking his roommate to the Cubs game and I’m really excited- it should be a good game and a fun night! My boyfriend and I are also going to the Cubs game on Sunday with our friend from high school who had extra tickets so we get a lot of baseball action this week! 🙂

breakfast quinoa

As promised, I am sharing the recipe for breakfast quinoa.  Not only is quinoa tasty for breakfast, it is very nutritious. It is a good source of iron, fiber. gluten-free, and actually is a complete protein. Lately I can’t get enough of it and have had this for breakfast nearly everyday this week! 😛 It is especially good for vegetarians, such as myself, due to the iron content and the fact that it is a complete protein.  I have adapted this recipe from the Spiced breakfast quinoa  recipe on pg. 23 of the Runner’s World Cookbook by Melissa Lasher and it is completely vegetarian (vegan if you don’t use honey).

yield: 2 servings

ingredients:

1.5 cups water

2/3 cup of quinoa

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 chopped apple

handful of raisins

optional: seeds, nuts, and/or honey

1. Rinse the quinoa with water.

2. On the stovetop combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Turn the heat on medium.

3. Bring the quinoa to a simmer on medium heat and then cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for fifteen minutes.

4. In the meantime, chop the apple.

5. After fifteen min add the chopped apple and cinnamon and cook for an additional five minutes.

6. After five minutes, add the raisins and cook for one more minute.

7. Turn off the stovetop and serve. Top with honey and sunflower seeds, cashews, or any other nut if desired. ( I also think it tastes awesome with a little almond milk mixed in and highly recommend it!).

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What is your favorite way to eat quinoa?

Taste of Chicago recap and small victories

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to the Taste of Chicago. It was his first time going and my second! At all the different entrances to the park they had these giant archways that say Taste of Chicago on them so naturally I made my boyfriend take a picture with me. 😛 Unfortunately the sun gave the picture kind of a weird glare :/.

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Once we got inside Grant park I had to take a picture of the iconic fountain (of course!)

Then, we met up with one of my friends from college and her sister who were both in the city for the day. Since the last time I went to the taste was over ten years ago I had forgotten how big it was! We took a lap around before making any purchases (well several laps for me, one for everyone else :P).

My friend from college and her sister  had already been at The Taste for a few hours so they had already grabbed a few bites. They were raving about the Fried Ravioli so my boyfriend decided to try that first.

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(Fried Ravioli from a place called Punky’s Pizza and Pasta)

Next, my friend mentioned that they serve smoked alligator and that she was curious about it… As a vegetarian and somewhat picky eater I’d never in a million years try smoked alligator, but I supported my group in the search! We decided to hunt for the place that served it. Once we found it my friend said she  had already filled up on too many other things and changed her mind.  Or maybe she was too scared to try it Smile with tongue out (If you are reading this now, know I am teasing and I’ve never, ever try it either! ). My brave boyfriend decided to try it though! He said it tasted like sausage and wasn’t bad…hmmm.

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(My boyfriend’s smoked alligator from Chicago’s Dog House)

After my boyfriend tried the smoked alligator, we all wandered around to see what also they had, check out the concert stage, and take some pictures by the lake shore across from the park.

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(Man I could get used to this view. Smile )

Then since my friend  and her sister commuted to Chicago from a suburb and it was getting semi late, she headed back home. My boyfriend and I stayed to get some more food and checkout the free Janelle Monae concert. At that point we still had 8 tickets left and I had to find something to taste still! We compromised on two more items, some jerk chicken for him and a mini frozen chocolate covered banana for me!

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(My boyfriend’s jerk chicken with red beans and rice from VV)

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(My mini frozen dark chocolate covered banana from The Fudge Pot).

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(The free Janelle Monae concert, sorry for the bad quality pictures of the screen-I was pretty far back).

My boyfriend liked everything he tried, even the smoked alligator, but said his favorite by far was the Fried Ravioli. I loved my frozen dark chocolate banana and highly recommend it. I’m hoping to go to the Fudge Pot later this summer to get one again. Smile My friend and her sister also liked the Fried Ravioli the most. They said the frozen banana from Mariano’s comes in a close second though.

One of the things I was most impressed about with The Taste, besides the sheer amount of food available, was the diversity and options. As I vegetarian I had options, there were several places that served veggie burgers, bean/lentil dishes, pasta, and salads. Furthermore, there were healthier options too for those people who wanted them. I personally think The Taste is a good time to indulge a little though Smile with tongue out.  Also, many different types of cultures and their cuisines were present. I highly recommend the Taste of Chicago to all of you and can’t wait to come back next year!

small victories

Now, onto today’s happenings! My boyfriend commented earlier today that I “need to celebrate the small victories” and I really liked that so I wanted to share it with you all! As many of you may already know, I currently have IT band syndrome, one of a runners’ worst nightmares.  So, today my small victory was getting a 2.83 mile run with my boyfriend in and only being in minimal pain several hours after the run. I have been keeping up with yoga, rolling out, IT band rehabilitation exercises, and cross training so hopefully I’ll be better soon. I just long to be able to run everyday again and to go for longer, effortless, pain free runs and start training for another half marathon…  Sad smile Oh well, I need to stay positive and continue to look for the “small victories”.

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Well, I hope you all have a great rest of your Friday and have something fun planned for tonight!  Later tonight my boyfriend and I are thinking of getting some deep pizza and/or  maybe grabbing a few beers (everything in moderation, right? Winking smile). Then, tomorrow morning we getting up bright and early to check out the Farmer’s Market and I’m probably way more excited than I need to be!

Have you ever been to the Taste of Chicago? If so what was your favorite thing you tried? Also, what was your “small victory” today?

My IT band story & how I stay positive during a running injury

Good morning everyone! As I sit here enjoying a delicious bowl of homemade apple, nut, and dried fruit oatmeal with almond milk I cannot help, but feel a little sad about not being able to run. Right now I am home and we live near a beautiful bike path.  Today started out as a warm, sunny day and I’m sure many people are outside running, walking, or biking. I cannot help, but feel a little jealous of the runners.  At least the apartment I am moving to next week is also located near a beautiful bike path since I will not be able to run on the one here  for a while:/ .

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My IT band syndrome story: 

I ran my first half marathon two weekends ago and around mile ten of the race I felt the familiar tightness and pain on the outside of my right knee. I knew my IT band was hurting, but I made myself finish the race and I just promised myself would stretch really well. I took a week off after the half and used the foam roller and did yoga-I was sure I’d be okay. I decided to go for a short three mile run and was excited when I felt no pain…until mile 2. IT band syndrome has a KNACK for striking in the middle of the run rather than the beginning. I should have known better…This is my third case of IT band syndrome.

I had my first case on my left side during my freshmen year of college right before the track season. For that case I went to a PT, learned some rehabilitation exercises, and spent most of the season in the pool swimming and aqua jogging. I took me until the summer to fully heal and I kept up with the rehabilitation exercises during the summer which is probably the best choice I could have made. I did not really think twice about IT band syndrome again until I got another case on my right side in the middle of my junior year indoor track season. To heal, I spent a lot of time cross training and performing those rehabilitation exercises I learned my freshmen year. That was a little over a year ago and now I have yet another case. In all cases, I probably increased my mileage too fast and did not foam roll or stretch enough, but for the last two cases I know that my main mistake was not keeping up with my rehabilitation exercises. I clearly have tight hips and glutes and it appears that my right side of my body is somewhat weaker than my left, so if I kept up with the exercises that would have helped strengthen my right side and I may have not gotten hurt yet again. Well, at least I have experience with IT band syndrome so I know what I need to do to get better this time around.

The top 4 ways I stay positive during a running injury:

1. Be proactive. This could mean something different for you, but for myself this means that I should do my rehabilitation exercises year round-at least once a week when I’m not hurt and more often when I am. The exercises I perform are different TheraBand exercises such as side shuffle and a few other body weight exercises such one legged bridges. The routine I do only takes 10-15 minutes, but I still dread it. This also means lots of foam rolling, stretching, and yoga. My favorite yoga moves for IT band relief are pigeon pose and runner’s lunge.

2. Find an alternate form of exercise. When a runner can’t run they tend to get antsy and I’m no different. The way you exercise will depend on your injury. For IT band syndrome, I find that the first week or so I have to stick to swimming or aqua jogging, but as I start to heal I find that the elliptical and bike do not aggravate my IT band. You may even discover you like other workouts besides running Smile with tongue out (what a shocker, right?). Last summer when I was hurt I learned that I actually kind of like yoga (it’s not just runner torture!).

3. Try something new. During an injury is a perfect time to try something new or go on a fun trip because you can afford a few days off from exercising. You may also find that without running and training you have extra time so this would be a great time to try a new hobby! For myself, I decided to try something new and start this blog!

4. Read running magazines, books, or blogs during your injury. While this can make you a little sad or jealous I find that overall for myself reading about other runners pumps me up for my return back to running! Who knows, you may even stumble upon a story of a runner suffering from the same injury you are and you can see what that did to get better or stay positive.

I hope I can continue to stay positive during this injury and if any of you have an injury that is keeping you from running or performing your favorite workout, I feel your pain! Sad smile

Well, today is looking like a somewhat lazy Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to some time to read for fun. Smile I recently finished Orange is the New Black on Netflix with my boyfriend, so I decided to start the book that inspired the series! Have a great Sunday everyone!

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