Fave Cold Weather Running Gear

Happy Hump Day, all! I did my 5 mile loop this morning and the weather was a chilly 27°F / -4°C outside at 5 am. Brrrr! It’s actually starting to feel like November in Boston.

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When the weather changes significantly (or in weather conditions I’m unsure about), I religiously check Runner’s World What to Wear Running tool. The results of this tool seem more like a suggestion than a tried-and-true fact. More than half the time, I disregard their advice and usually just pick my outfit out on the fly. I feel like they really favor “light jacket, long sleeve technical shirt, tights and sports bra” as their main cool weather outfit. I mean, come on – they don’t even include VESTS in their tool, one of my favorite things to wear running when the temperatures drop. Also – which tights should I wear? The thin ones? Medium thickness? Lulu tech fleece? Brooks Utopia Thermals? I may spend too much time thinking about these things, but being comfortable while running is important to me. I am usually a victim of overdressing, which slows my pace down because I’m either too hot, awkwardly carrying my layers, or stressing about what hooligan is going to steal them out the bushes I’ve stuffed them into. So, I have rounded up my favorite cold weather running gear to share with you.

Ear warmer

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Hats are too warm for me unless we are talking arctic circle temperatures. I like to keep my ears warm, and still be able to put my hair in a pineapple on top of my head (although, there are cute ear warmer headbands with cutouts in the back for your ponytail, if that’s your thing). They are easy to slide up if you’re getting too hot, or even take off and stuff them into a pocket (that almost never happens to me – keeping my ears warm is a MUST). It’s also a bonus that this Lululemon Run and Done ear warmer features 360° reflectivity.

Running gloves

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I found these Mountain Hardwear gloves a few years ago, and I have been obsessed ever since (they have even made an appearance on one of my Friday Faves). This pair has features that I couldn’t do without – every single finger (not just thumb and pointer finger, as is standard with most running gloves) is touch screen compatible (yes), they feature fleecy cuffs to keep cold air out (yes!) and they have a fleece nose wipe patch on the back of the thumb (double yes!). Sadly, I’ve searched the internet high and low for this year’s model, and they must not be out yet. If you’re in the market, keep these features in mind – they are super useful. Also, it’s great to get running gloves with reflective features, as you want to be as reflective as possible when running in the dark to stay safe.

Fleece Running Pants

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Lululemon Toasty Tech II Tights

Let’s be honest: my buns get really cold when I’m running outside in the late fall and winter. To keep ’em warm, I am partial to Lululemon Tech Fleece pants, which have sadly gone up in price (UGH). They are great for 20 – 30°F, but if it’s colder than that you definitely want to pull out the big guns: Brooks Seattle Tights. These are the tights to wear when you won’t skip your run because it’s snowing and blustery outside. I have an older pair (Brooks Utopia Tights) that are so warm, I save them for the coldest days. The Brooks Seattle Tights feature windproof and waterproof panels, zips at the ankles for easy on/off and if you get hot, and are meant to be worn below 20°F.

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Brooks Seattle Tights

Marmot Kitzbuhel Insulated Vest

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This Marmot vest is my favorite vest for cold weather running. It doesn’t look like much, but BOY is it warm! It’s thin and lightweight, but the insulation packs a punch. It has quilted insulation and stretchy fleece panels down the side for warmth and movement. Of course, the zipper helps you regulate your temperature as you warm up or get cool, which I really like. Bonus: it’s not actually for running, so you can wear it in real life too. 😉

Rulu and Wool Everything!

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I love Lulu’s Rulu fabric, but this year’s batch has been thinner than normal and not so great (womp womp). On my quest to move on to bigger and better, I’ve discovered Oiselle Wazzie Wool. Merino wool is nature’s answer for warmth, water-repellent, stink-free and breathable running gear. Oiselle has this super cute side-zip merino wool running top that will definitely be on my Christmas list this year. You can’t go wrong.

Speaking of wool…

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I am obsessed with merino wool running socks. There are lots of great options out there, but SmartWool is a fave. These PhD running socks are actually my favorite, and I wear them for every race (if you have small feet, you’re in luck! They are on sale at REI).

Safety First!

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In Boston, it gets dark really early (at like 4 pm). Nathan has some awesome products for visibility in low-light conditions. I have both the StobeLight and the Pulsar Stobe, which both hook on to your clothes or running shoes and provides visibility to cars, people and bikers. They are super bright and lightweight (so you don’t even remember they are there). It important to be visible so you stay safe while you are logging your miles.

Welp, I hope this helps, at least for now! I’ll be back with more of my favorite gear as the temperatures drop even more and as the snow comes to New England. 😀 This isn’t really a popular opinion, but late fall and winter are my favorite times to run outside. I actually LOVE running in the snow (you can take the girl out of Western New York, but not the WNY out of the girl). It’s much easier for my asthma lungs to breathe without pollen, and I like the cold and quiet since no one is half as crazy as I am and out running in the Baltic temps at 5 am. 😀

I hope you all have a booyah-filled day! Happy Hump Day, all!

With warmth,

L

Fall Booyah Salad

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Hi All! As you may have noticed, I’ve been a little behind the scenes recently. The reason? I’m moving! I am moving to another state and going to graduate school in January. I am really excited for all of these life changes, but of course with all those life changes comes stress and anxiety…which has done a number on my normally healthy lifestyle. Like, I ate toast for dinner twice last week. Yikes. The struggle is real!

What else can you do but get up, dust yourself off, and put your best foot forward to get back on track? 🙂 I started off by making this amazing fall salad, full of my favorite fall flavors and topped off with a maple-balsamic dressing to DIE for. It’s the perfect make-ahead, so you can bring these salads for lunch all week, or combine together as the perfect starter for your Thanksgiving dinner. I tossed together fresh kale, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate-infused craisins, walnuts and tempeh bacon to create a one-0f-a-kind salad that will make everyone happy. Since I’ve been super busy, I bought a lot of pre-packaged ingredients to make my life easy as pie. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Fall Booyah Salad

Ingredients

Salad

1 48 oz package of cleaned and cut butternut squash

2 16 oz package of cleaned and cut kale

3/4 cup of pomegranate-infused craisins

1 1/2 cups of roughly chopped walnuts

2 8 oz packages of tempeh bacon (I used Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon Strips)

Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1 – 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F. In a large glass baking dish, toss your butternut squash chunks with a drizzle of olive oil, until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle with Herbamare (seasoned sea salt) and pepper. Roast the squash for 50 – 60 minutes, or until tender and the edges are browned, stirring halfway through. IMG_4508
  2. While the squash is roasting, whip up your dressing. Create an emulsion by whisking the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard and maple syrup while slowly adding the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. IMG_4521
  3. Cook your tempeh bacon. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) over medium-high heat. Place the tempeh bacon strips in the pan and fry until the edges are browned. Carefully flip them over and fry the other side, then transfer to a paper towel over a dinner plate to cool. IMG_4519
  4. Once your butternut squash is done roasting, assemble your salad. In a large bowl, combine kale, squash, craisins and walnuts. Toss the salad with the maple-balsamic dressing. Tear the tempeh bacon strips into smaller, bite-sized pieces and add to the salad. Re-toss, transfer to a serving dish and enjoy! 😀 IMG_4525IMG_4528IMG_4531IMG_4530

 

If you’re not a veg like me, you can easily substitute a different protein. You can always add extras if you’re not vegan, like goat cheese for a rich complement. I thought it was perfection as is, and found it to be the perfect lunch: full of protein, fiber, veggies and vibrant colors, enough to make you smile. I hope that you guys enjoy this as much as I did! I am looking forward to making it again for my family over the Thanksgiving holidays.

Fitness update: my gym bestie R got me into this 20 minute twice a day workout by Amanda Bisk, an Australian pole vaulter. I did my first 20 minute workout this morning with R and D and HOLY COW it was no joke! Now I can see why Amanda is super jacked. I’ll tell you all about it during this week’s Friday Faves. 🙂

I hope everyone is having a happy, healthy week so far! Sending you all lots of BOOYAH to get your week started right. 😉 xo.

With warmth,

L

 

Narragansett Half Marathon Race Recap!

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Good morning beautiful people of Booyahville! I’m so sorry if you all have been feeling a little neglected, between crazy work hours and not feeling so booyah last week, I’m still here! Bad news though: I’m traveling for work to the great state of Alabama tomorrow (I’ve never been – anyone have any suggestions of must do/must see?) and the Booyah Updates may be erratic (brace yourself, and stay turned!).

As you may have gathered, I was going into the Narragansett Half not at prime booyah level, and had kind of fooled myself thinking, “I’ll do the normal race prep. I’ll fall asleep, I’ll wake up and I’ll be running sub-9 minute miles like an OG.” Did that happen? Uh, no.

Strike number one against my sub-nine pace goal: I was fooled by my lack of fever that I was completely “better.” I did start feeling better later in the week, and despite my dad’s vehement protests I was set on running the half marathon regardless. I called up the “home phone” – the one that’s plugged into the wall like it’s 1994 – to give my parents an update on how I was feeling the day before the race. While speaking with my mom, my dad picked up the phone in another room and yelled, “L*****, you need to withdraw from the race! Forget it, you’re sick! Call them up and withdraw!” (Dad doesn’t really understand that there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of race participants and they aren’t going to wait for L Booyah to show up in order to start the race. But okay, dad!). I did all the pre-race things: I laid out my outfit, put together my “Go Time” Bag, made pasta and sauce to carb up, and then tucked myself into the couch and started marathon watching The Real Housewives of Orange County on my best friend’s suggestion.

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Pre-race bowl of pasta and sauce #2 with a Tofurkey Spinach and Pesto vegan sausage, sprinkled with red pepp flakes and Dr. Bragg’s nutritional yeast. NOMS.

Strike number two against my sub-nine pace: I didn’t sleep well. It was one of those frustrating evenings where you toss and turn and all you can focus on is the internal countdown until your alarm goes off at 4 am. I was tired, but I was nervous and excited, and I remember looking at the clock at 2:36 am thinking “Nooooo, I only have an hour and a half to sleep!” What a bummer.

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Race day outfit and essentials! Lululemon speed tights, CRB, swiftly long sleeve & ear warmer, New Balance FreshFoams, Camelbak handheld water bottle, Mountain Hardwear running gloves, Smart Wool PhD running socks, Bodyglide, Clif Energy Gel in Mocha, GU in Chocolate. 😀

Strike number three against my sub-nine pace: It was FREEZING. It was 33°F / 0.5°C at the start of the race! Brrrrrrrrrr! The outfit I chose to wear for the race ended up being perfect for the temperature (long sleeve over a raceback tank, tights, gloves and ear warmer), but it took until Mile 3 for my muscles to feel warm and my feet and hands to start thawing.

The course itself was beautiful; you really did get to enjoy the New England fall foliage. The rolling hills were a fun change from the normal flat road race, I don’t think the course was ever flat for more than 0.1 mile. However, going up and down those rolling hills was tiring. I felt like the first 6 miles flew by, and then we got to mile 8, 9, 10 – those last miles were tough. I was having trouble breathing, and my asthma was acting up. I just felt…exhausted. Usually in a race I’ll get to my zoom zone and I’ll just fly, blocking everything out but putting one foot in front of the other. I never found that mind space, I just felt beat. The silver lining of driving the struggle bus at the end of the race is that my running soul sister (and sorority sister) Ariel stayed with me, despite my serious struggs, and that helped to encourage me forward.

I finished with a still-solid time of 2:02:51, with an average pace of 9:22/mile. I wish that I could have felt stronger, but I’m still proud of my time! I finished the race, didn’t give up and that is an accomplishment in and of itself. I feel like with every one of these race experiences, there is a life lesson in there somewhere. The one I learned from this race is that the time on the clock is much less important than the experience of running, and taking pride in putting your best foot forward, regardless of how you feel/how well you feel you did/the numbers on a board. Nothing can diminish being proud of your accomplishments if you place the important on the experience as a whole, not just on the outcome. Onward to the next one: Seacoast Half Marathon on November 8th! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Have a great week, everyone!

With warmth,

L

Friday FAVES!

Hello darlings! Sorry for the dearth of new recipes this week, I’ve been eating my mom’s pasta and sauce for leftovers all week long – the perfect way to carbo-load as a half Italian! 😉 What a crazy week, I feel like it has flown by. Tomorrow I’ll be getting down and dirty in the Great Northeast Tough Mudder – I’m wicked nervous and excited! I can’t wait!!

Let’s get to it: what I’ve been feeling this week 😉

  1. C9 Champion® Women’s Tech Tee

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Um, I picked up one of these bad boys up at Tar-gay for $3.88 (!!!!!) from the clearance rack. WHAT. I know that this sound pretty hypocritical coming from the girl who almost always wears head-to-toe Lulu to workout in, but you CAN find super cute workout clothes without spending a mortgage payment. I’ll be wearing this bad boy for the Tough Mudder tomorrow. 😀

C9 Champion® Women’s Tech Tee, Target $12.99

2. Michelle Wie’s Rainbow Hair

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#HairGoals! SO COOL! I love the Michelle is shaking things up in the generally conservative golfing world. The most impressive part? She colored her hair HERSELF!! Check out her Instagram for the proof. So rad.

Michelle Wie on Instagram

3. Sephora’s Ombre Seamless Hair Ties

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I just chopped a solid 3+ inches off my curls because they literally felt like straw and I was over trying to detangle my weave every morning. The worst part was trying to pull out my hair elastic after getting sweaty at the gym – it felt like it was impossible! I highly recommend these elastics from Sephora that won’t rip or damage your hair – and that’s coming from a girl who wears her hair in a pineapple on the top of her head every day (when I’m not at work/trying to look super cute, of course).

Ombre Seamless Hair Elastics, Sephora $9

4. Harbinger Women’s Flex Fit Weight Lifting Gloves

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Omg you guys, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about these!!! I love these training gloves! I got them this summer – I finally caved because my hands were covered in calluses and looking pretty ratched (not the first impression I want to make when I shake someone’s hand). They are AWESOME. They have leather and gel-filled pads on the palms to help with grip, and the backside are mesh so that you hands can breathe. And they are PURPLE, hello. They stay put, protect my hands and help me push through workouts without tearing up my palms. Stellar all around, I highly recommend them to gals who are training/lifting.

Weight Lifting Gloves, Amazon $19.72

5. These Astronomy Photos

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If you guys have been following along, I’m pretty amped about astronomy and what we can see in the night sky – it’s fascinating. Check out this article on io9 for more of these beautiful images. Stunning.

What are you guys up to this weekend?? I’ll be doing the Tough Mudder bright and early tomorrow, eating a whole (vegan) pizza afterwards and then passing out at a sufficiently Grandma Hour, then Sunday I’m giving myself a FULL rest day before I get back into training for my next half marathon in 23 days! Also, I’ll probably be totally beat. 😉 Tell me what you’re up to this weekend in the comments!

Think of me tomorrow at 9 AM EST! I’ll be diving into the mud right about then.

With warmth,

L

ROC Half Marathon Recap

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Hey all! As you know, I ran the Rochester Half Marathon on Sunday. It was awesome! The course was challenging – several tough hills, but beautiful sights and a mix of trails and roads. It was the perfect day weather-wise: the sun was out, there was a light breeze, and it was cool. There was a drum circle at Mile 5 (amazing), spirit-filled water stations, spectators decked out in Bills gear. Awesome race all around! B and I ran together as Team Booyah. Let me tell you – running alongside your best friend > running alone (way less boring). This was our third race together, and it feels pretty stellar to finish a race and accomplish something momentous (such as running a half marathon) next to your sister from another mister! Girl power!

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I’d also like to say this. When I told my Boston friends that I was running alongside my best friend for this race, a majority of the responses I got were “ugh, I hate doing that!” and while that may be my feeling the majority of the time (I’m a highly competitive lone wolf; I’ve promised my brother-in-law/friends that I’d run with them and then leave then in the dust and totally peace out unintentionally, when my competitive nature gets the best of me) there are times when sticking it out with someone you love and care about is more important. B set this trend first. When I was one of the last people out of the water during my first sprint triathlon in 2012, B was there, standing on the shore, cheering me on and waiting for me in her super cool orange swim cap before heading to the next portion of the race. When she was riding a super fast road bike and could smoke me on my non-fancy but perfectly functional bike (hybrid tires/mountain bike frame) during the cycling portion of the race, she waited for me to catch up. When I couldn’t run and had to walk during the 5K running final leg of the race, she walked right by my side, and told me not to feel bad. She encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit – and she was the sole reason why I didn’t quit. And, she ran right next to me all the way up to crossing the finish line at the end of the race. (If you want to read more about my first race experience, check out my post Guys, it’s my Raceaversary!). That’s what you do for friends. You encourage them when they think they can’t, when it feels everything is working against you, when you’re having a sh*tty running day, when you are exhausted and want to give up. That’s when you need your best friend by your side, telling you that you’re strong, not to quit, not to give up, that you can do it. And they will be right by your side to the bitter end. Sometimes it’s easier, in both life and races, to leave your friends/family behind so you can get ahead. But it’s not always the right thing to do.

There will be plenty more races for me to try and PR. In fact, I have two more this fall, and the next one is 26 days away. But, there is only one B (and she is WICKED special: she’s the one who will listen to your life drama for the upteenth time, stick by your side through the worst of the worst, the only person you want to talk to when you’re having a sh*t day, can communicate only using eyebrows, the one you remember all the good stories with and laugh until you bust a gut and/or pee your pants kinda friend). And she’s more important to me than numbers on a board. I’m proud to accomplish something I never thought I’d be able to do next to my best friend. You’re the friendship love of my life, B! I’m glad the stars aligned and we crossed paths in Organic Chemistry Lab a million years ago.

So, the race was tough and challenging. But I was next to my best friend, and that made it okay. 🙂 And we ate an amazing breakfast afterwards at Jines on Park Ave in Rochester. Hello, pumpkin pancakes (not vegan – I cheated).

IMG_3806And then I watched the Buffalo Bills unfortunately lose to the Pats (not nice comment redacted, so please don’t give me any football hate! I’m already surrounded by Pats fans, I can’t take anymore 😉 ) . 😦 WOMP! But I had an awesome local hard cider, the Flower City Blonde by Blue Toad Hard Cider, Zubaz pants (#BillsMafia) and CEP compression socks, so all was well.

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Flower City Blonde hard cider: A crisp and fruity cider, using a blend of the finest local Golden Delicious, Empire and Crispin apples. A light cider that is pale straw-colored and clean-tasting.

How was everyone’s weekend?? Tell me all about it in the comments. (I’m still catching up on responding to all of your wonderful comments from last week, but I promise I will respond to your comment today or tomorrow!) 

Happy first day of fall, everyone! I have lots of good recipes coming this week, so stay tuned. 😉

With warmth,

L

xox ❤

Vegan No-Bake Brownies

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L’s Vegan No-Bake Brownies topped with hazelnuts. YUM.

The weather in Boston doesn’t know it’s September yet. Or, it’s on Team L and is in complete denial that Labor Day came and went and it’s now back to school/back to the grind time – summer’s over. To help me cope with that, I turned to chocolate. Not just any ol’ chocolate but these awesome vegan no-bake brownies that I created over the long weekend. They are way healthier than regular brownies, and full of fiber and nutrients and deliciousness. YUM. Not only that, they are are super easy and can be made on the fly, as most of the ingredients should be laying around your pantry. The recipe takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and there’s no need to turn your oven on (so when it’s 95 degrees, like it will be here today, you don’t have to turn your kitchen into an inferno). They are dairy, egg, soy, gluten* and refined sugar free. And, you can substitute sunflower seeds for the nuts if you’d like to make these bad boys nut free. If you are paleo you can omit the oats and roll them into balls and enjoy them as “power bites.” There are a million and one ways to change this recipe up to suit your own needs, so feel free to do so!

*They are only gluten free if you use gluten free oats.

Vegan No-Bake Brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 12 dates
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup of hazelnuts and/or coconut flakes for topping

Directions

  1. Add oats, nuts, cacao powder and dates in a food processor. Blend thoroughly – this will be your “flour” base of your brownies, so make it as fine or a chunky as you’d like the final brownie texture to be.

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    Here are all the “dry” ingredients in the food processor before blending

  2. Add the bananas and pumpkin to the food processor and blend until you form a “dough.”

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    Here is the “brownie batter” after mixing all of the ingredients.

  3. Spray a 7 x 11 inch pan lightly with baking spray (this makes the brownies easy to remove). Using your hands, press the “dough” into the pan to the edges, trying to remove any air bubbles.

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    The brownies spread out using a spatula (and fingers) into a 7 x 11 pan.

  4. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top, lightly pressing the nuts into the top of the brownies and flattening out the top.

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    Top with hazelnuts or coconut, and lightly press the toppings into the brownies so they stay put. Cover and place into the fridge!

  5. Stick in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy! 😀

This is the perfect dessert to pack in your kid’s lunch, your take-to-work lunch, or indulge in after dinner. They are chocolate-y and fudge-y without being overly sweet, nourishing and filling (so you don’t feel the need to eat the entire pan while watching Netflix in your bathrobe). They taste best cold, so keep them in the fridge until right before serving. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

I hope you guys had a great Labor Day weekend!! I did a whole boatload of fun stuff: training, wandering around Boston, long bike ride, yoga, and a full day at the beach. It was perfection.

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Boston on Saturday night.

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Biking all over Massachusetts 🙂

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Mango Sorbet in Lexington, MA

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Literally the best $42 I’ve ever spent – the infamous sun shelter! C and I spent all day at the beach lounging/reading/eating/chatting in the shade – no sunburns here 😀 😀 😀

How did you guys celebrate Labor Day? What did you guys do this weekend? Tell me about it in the comments!

Hope your week zooms by! I’ve got my first race in my six fall races this weekend – here we go Fall racing season! So stoked 😀

Race countdown:

Fells – 6 days

Rochester Half – 13 days

Tough Mudder – 19 days

Tufts 10K – 35 days

Narragansett Half – 41 days

Seacoast Half – 61 days

With warmth,

L

Balls-to-the-Wall* Curried Butternut Squash Soup

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup, garnished with freshly ground black pepper and a lime slice.

*Balls to the Wall: Meaning: intense, extreme, to the max. Although the origin of this expression is relatively benign, most people assume it is a reference to testicles (I mean, that’s fine too, if you’re into that). It’s actually from fighter planes: when accelerating quickly, the throttle is pushed all the way to the panel and the throttle lever (ball) actually touches the panel (wall). Hence, balls to the wall. 😉

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Butternut squash (local from MA!), ginger root and potato are key players in this amazing creation.

Last night I made a butternut squash soup that was out of this world. The creamy texture of the butternut squash makes this soup silky smooth and feel really decadent, even though a 1-1/4 cup serving has only 182 calories (say WHAT!!!). Also this soup is vegan, gluten-free AND paleo (win all around). Pureed soups always seem a little intense to me (my general feeling is “Ain’t nobody got time for that”), but this one was really not that labor-intensive. It consists of shoving a butternut squash and baking potato into the oven, walking away for ~75 minutes, sauteeing some onion and spices and putting it into a blender, removing the stuff from the oven, and pureeing the sh*t out of it. The most difficult part is waiting for it to be ready. And, not eating all of the butternut squash before you can puree it, because gotDAMN it is good! 😀 Without further ado…

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Ingredients, plus a butternut squash and a potato. I’m looking at you devil onion, for making me cry more than any of my ex-bfs.

Balls-to-the-Wall Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped*
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (~ 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 heaping Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 medium-ish butternut squash, quartered
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 1 baking potato
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can of light coconut milk
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

*I used a red onion and balled my eyes out, feel free to use whatever you have on hand if you don’t want mascara running down your face into your soup. It was intense, man!

Directions:

Step One: Prep your squash. You can cut it into two and just roast the halves if you’d like, I simply quartered it because it was easier, and as I’ve mentioned before, I like to avoid chopping off any phalanges. I poked a fork into it a few times because it was making weird noises in the oven, but I don’t think that’s really necessary. You definitely need to poke your baking potato with a fork on both sides, or that little guy will explode and make a mess of your oven. Ain’t nobody got time to clean up after that.
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Quartered butternut squash ready to go into the oven. Roast at 425F for 90 minutes.

Step Two: Bake squash and potato at 425°F for 90 minutes (Yeah, that seems like a really long time, but you want to be able to easily scoop out your squash and potato to puree it. I started the next step about 75 minutes into roasting time. It’s kind of nice to have a solid 75 minutes to do something you enjoy, like RELAX!).
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Butternut squash after roasting. You should be able to (VERY) easily insert a knife into the squash.

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I used a fork to hold my squash in place while I scraped out the roasted flesh. If you try to hold it with your fingers, like I did, I promise that you WILL burn them.

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Like your squash, your baking potato should be soft enough to easily remove from the potato skin after roasting.

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This picture is here to illustrate why you should 100% line your pan with aluminum foil – you can roll up the zombified remains of your squash husk into a foil swan and toss when you’re done! Ta-da! Easy clean-up.

Step Three: Sauté onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste in a large saucepan (There are other things I’d like to do with my time than wash dishes, so I sauteed the above ingredients directly in the pan I was going to use later to re-heat my soup after pureeing. If you want to achieve orange-y creamy butternut-y perfection, use a small skillet, otherwise you may get little flakes of whatever’s left in the saucepan in your soup. Eh, there are worse things in life, amiright?!). Cook the ingredients about 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. When it’s all cooked up, transfer to a blender.
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Sauteed onion, ginger, garlic and curry paste ready for blending.

Step Four: Blend. Once your squash is soft enough to scoop out of its rind, scoop about half of the squash and place into the blender (And/or say a prayer: it was my first time using a Vita-Mix unsupervised!). Add about half of the veggie stock, and blend until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan if it needs to be re-heated, or directly into a large bowl. Repeat for the remaining squash and the potato (removing the potato from the skin, of course).
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Don’t forget to add about half the veggie broth for puree-ing!

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This Vita-Mix is a magical creature, like a kitchen unicorn. It is amazinggggggg!

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Blend until smooth and there are no weird chunks hiding in your soup. Make sure you allow the steam to escape while blending by removing the center piece of the lid. You can place a clean towel over the opening in the blender lid to avoid decorating your kitchen butternut-orange.

Step Five: Combine. Once all of your butternut squash, onion mixture and potato are pureed into velvety goodness, add the coconut milk and lime juice and stir. Reheat on low, if necessary.
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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Step Six: Enjoy! Sprinkle with extra black pepper (it makes the flavors really pop). You can garnish with a lime wedge, and cilantro, if desired.
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So delicious. I ate two bowls.

Choose-Your-Adventure Alternative Ending: You can make this soup using all of the same ingredients in a crock-pot (ahem, I’m sorry, “electric slow cooker”). Skip straight to Step Three, then transfer the onion mixture into a 6-quart crock-pot. Add the squash (~8 cups chopped and peeled), potato, and veggie stock. Cover and cook on low for 6 -8 hours (or until squash is tender). Then continue at Step Four. It’s always good to have options. 😉

This is a really fantastic soup. It tastes really impressive, because the flavor profile is pretty bangin’, but it is not that difficult to make. Totally worth it – I am definitely a convert to the pureed soup arena. I hope you like it as much as I did! And the best part: no balls were harmed during the making of this soup. I’m actually pretty stoked to have a bowl after my run tonight, now that it gets dark so early, it will be an extra special warm treat when I come inside!

Enjoy, enjoy! And happy HUMP DAAAAAAAAY!

Full throttle,

L