Go Take a Hike!

I've lived in Southern Cali for 9 months.  And in all that time I haven't been hiking. 

I know!  I can't believe it, and neither could my dad.  

Thanks Dad
I've noticed that hiking is a big deal around here.  Most likely because there are a hundred amazing spots to get your hike on.  There are so many in fact, that I had no idea where I wanted to go.  Luckily I have some awesome co-workers who were more than happy to take me to, the waterfalls!

I had been hearing about this beautiful hike for a while and am so happy it was my first hiking experience!

 As far as the eye can see, sprawling mountains
 I wish I could capture the vastness in these pictures!

 There were 3 streams to cross.

 Barefooted it across the streams and in between.  Felt so refreshing!
 We made it to the much anticipated waterfall!

We were not prepared to jump in.  Can you spot the tiny people on the side rocks? Yes, they were jumping in and we plan on returning and jumping in as well!

Instead we found a spot on the rocks, dunked our feet in, and ate some granola bars.  But not just any granola bars, these are super awesome, due to the super foods hidden inside.

{Super Awesome} Sweet Potato Granola Bars
With an abundance of roasted sweet potatoes sitting in my fridge, these perfectly sweet and satisfying granola bars were born.  Perfect for a hike, they pack a punch with energy inducing super foods!

2 c. oats
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. craisins
1/2 c. raisins
2 tbsp chia seeds

- Preheat oven to 350.
-Mix ingredients in bowl.  Set aside.

1 cup small sweet potatos, roasted, peeled, and pureed
2/3 c. crunchy peanut butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp vanilla almond milk

- Process sweet potatoes in food processor until smooth.
- Add all (except almond milk)  ingredients to medium sauce pan and stir on low-medium heat.
- Adding the almond milk a tbsp at a time, stir until ingredients are combined and reach desired consistency.  This is the "glue" and it will be thick.  See pictures below.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with spoon until all dry ingredients are coated.
- Press into lightly greased dish.  I used a 9x13 cake pan, but only used 3/4 length.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until edges begin to crisp.

1 cup puree = about 2 small sweet potatoes

The "glue" is wet, but not too liquidy (there I go making up words).

Mix until all the ingredients are coated.

I made my bars about 1/2 an inch thick.

So I only used about 3/4 of the 9x13 cake pan.

You can cut them like bars. I wrapped some individually and put them in the freezer.

Or you can cut them into mini energy bites.

Either way you cut it, er them, they're super awesome!

Now go take a hike already!


Running SWAG

I'm pretty sure everyone likes free stuff.  SWAG is pretty great.  And when you talk about running swag, those t-shirts and bags and mini sized food samples are totally worth the hundred dollar entry fee.  ::wink  wink::
 Sweeeet, free energy drink!
What's not to love about free stuff?  I happen to love it.

And Skinny Runner knows it.

GU, compression socks, BIC Bands, oh my.


No, Shane and I did not go out partying on a Sunday night.  Who do you think we are?  Well, if you want to get all technical, Sunday is actually Shane's Saturday...but let's not bother with that right now.

The point is, that we didn't go out and party.  Instead we had our own Sunday night Mexican fiesta!

ondelay, ondelay, arriba, arriba!

I randomly bought 2 poblano chili peppers at Henry's the other day.
Exhibit a:

And another random chili, the jalapeno:

Exhibit b:
I just had no idea what to do with them.  This is sort of a trend for me.  I tend to buy veggies without knowing what I'll use them for,  or what they are!

 Exhibit c:

This my friends, is a jicama, pronounced hee-kuh-ma.

Whenever I encounter, and buy, a veggie that I have no idea what to do with, I turn to Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  Bittman says that jicama is a crispy, sweet, edible Mexican root veggie that sort of looks like a turnip.  Jicama are native to Central America and can grow up to 5 lbs!  But we never see any larger than a rutabaga here.

Jicama have a light tan skin that must be peeled off.  Underneath you'll find the white flesh, which is similar to that of a raw potato or crunchy pear.

Buying and storing: Look for firm and unshriveled jicama.  Store in a cool, dry spot; the fridge is fine and it will keep for about a month.

Preparing: Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the skin.  Chop, slice, or shred the flesh as you like.

Best cooking methods: It's best raw; quickly sauteing or stir-frying is also nice.

Let's get this party started.

I roasted the chilis, using Sara, over at Among the Tortilla's how-to.

Shane sauteed some red peppers and onions.
We then added the roasted chilies, brown rice, and corn.

Took them up a notch with some TJ Salsa Verde Salsa and Tapatio.

Then wrapped them in heated up tortilla's.

And you can't forget the jicama "fries".  Raw, sprinkled with lime juice and chili pepper.

Now that is what I call a Sunday night FIESTA!


Homebody Weekend

How is it already Sunday night?!  This weekend really flew by, but I enjoyed every minute.  I didn't get out much, but sometimes you just need a couple days to be a complete homebody!

And staying in has it's advantages.  Like my apartment is sparkling clean.  I'm tan, yay self tanner!   I finished a book. And I'm all caught up on my shows.  

Saturday started off with an 8.5 mile run, which to be honest, I didn't think was gonna happen.  All morning I moped around, dreading the impending miles.  I was a complete slacker this week and only got in one 4-miler.  It also doesn't help that since the mud run, I find dirt in between my toes after wearing my sneakers.  

But that's no problem, because being a homebody also allows you to online shop.  So my new kicks arrive in 4-5 days, I can't wait to try them on!

After my run I tried coconut water for the first time.  I wasn't that thrilled by it, maybe because I was expecting something sweeter, perhaps more fruity.  Next time I'll have to try a flavored kind, since the nutrition stats rock and I want to like it!

Part of what got me through my run was the thought of pancakes.  Isn't that why everyone runs?  I had 8.5 miles to think of a way to incorporate sweet potatoes into pancakes.  I came up with 3! 

Each pancake mix started with the same base: whole wheat flour, baking powder, flax meal, and vanilla.

#1 sweet potato, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

#2  sweet potato, cinnamon, brown sugar
#3  sweet potato, cinnamon, maple syrup

Looking good so far...
These could work...

Nope.  I didn't get the ratios correct, so no matter how long the pancakes were on the pan, the insides would not cook!  I will get these ratios correct because these have the potential to be sooo good!  I have some ideas for other add-ins as well. 

The rest of the day I chilled out ...a m a z i n g.

After din, leftover Pho, Shane and I had a little banana soft serve topped with chocolate chips
[process frozen banana in processor until smooth]

and watched some Demetri Martin.

Sunday I revisited my sweet potato pancakes after yoga.  And they were super yum after a night in the fridge.  Topped with PB, chia seeds, unsweetened coconut shreds, and maple syrup.

so good.

Good night bloggies! Sleep tight!


Banana Envy

So I'm pretty sure I'm not the only runner out there who has certain race day and even long run training day routines that you just. don't. mess. with.

Help a sista out.  Tell me I'm not totally crazy.  
For real,  just keep reading and then tell me...

My story begins in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, if you need to brush up on your geography.

To be more exact, a freezing cold, pitch black,  November morning around 6 amThis was the morning of my first 1/2 marathon, so I was understandably a little tense.  

Let's rewind to the night before real quick.  I laid out all my gear, attached my timing chip, pinned my bib, and packed a bag with water and bananas.  I went to bed early and of course couldn't sleep a wink with all of my excitement.

Back to the frigid, early November morning...  Shane and I arrived, parked, and made it to the race site with time to spare.  Somewhere in between the line for the porta-potties and my corral I realized I had forgotten my banana in the car!  

And I swear, at that moment, this girl walked by us with a bunch of bananas.  I kid you not. In that instant I felt banana envy for the first time in my life. 

And then I took a trip to melt down city.

Poor Shane had to deal with my little freak out.  I was sure that not eating my pre-run banana would have dire consequences.
I'd have no energy.
I would feel tired.  
My muscles would cramp up.  
I wouldn't be able to finish.
I'd be a failure.  

Thankfully Shane kept his cool and reminded me of all the hard work and training I had done to get there.  And he wondered aloud if my body would even be able to turn a banana into energy for the race.  I bought it and told myself the banana was pointless and it was a mental thing.  

Although I was still a little envious of banana bunch girl.   But whatever, I could run 13.1 miles with out no dang banana!
And I did.  And it felt awesome.

But I learned my lesson.  I don't want to experience banana envy ever again.  So now I always make sure to bring my bananas.  And Shane likes to remind me too...just in case.

Do you have any running/ race day routines that you stick to?

Have you ever had race day fiasco?


Nom, Nom, Nom

If you like Girl Scout Samoas 
but didn't get a chance to buy them
even though you work in a school and you had plenty of opportunities
go here and make them yourself!

your welcome.

Oh, and if coconut isn't your thing...

The shortbread cookie + chocolate = amazingness

(and is a lot easier since the caramel coconut topping is super sticky and a pain to spread!)


Time to Get Muddy!

Going into the mud run I only had two expectations: have fun and get muddy!  Those expectations were met, and I learned a couple other things along the way. 

Race day always begins with a PB and nanner sandwich.  Today I added an extra oomph...
chia seeds!

No matter the distance, 5k or marathon, I always bring a banana and eat it at the race site about 30-45 minutes before running.  Funny story about that...

Duct tape is key at a mud run.  Not only do you look hardcore, it really keeps your sneaks on your feet while your trudging through the mud.

Thankfully the race organizers realized not everyone would be in on this little secret, so they had a Duct Tape Station, complete with volunteers to duct tape our shoes for us!

 Look tough in a few pictures.  This is a mud run after all.

 If you see them using a hose to wet down the course, realize they will be using that hose to wet you down as well.

 Remember to take a mud free picture!

 Wear shorts or running tights, that are super tight.  I wore old, flared yoga capris because I didn't want to ruin my newer running tights.  Can you tell in the picture below that they're down to my ankles instead of just below the knee?  Mud + water = heavy clothes, so...
less is best and tight is right!

 While your waiting in line for someone to take your bib timer, don't even look at the clock.  It's a mud run, not race (at least this was my mentality).  I had way more fun taking my time and laughing about the obstacles with friends, than trying to push my way through the the other runners. 

 Be proud of your accomplishment!  A mud run is so different from straight up running.  Climbing through never ending mud pits, crawling through tunnels, scaling a slippery hill with a rope, and getting blasted with a hose engages way more muscles than a normal run!