Booyah’s Favorite Things

Happy Friday, all! It’s finally here. WHEW. It has been a long, tough week for me, getting back into my regularly scheduled workout routine. I am SORE. Yeow. All I kept thinking when I’ve been working out this week is that these muscles are the ones that will be lifting my couch up three flights of stairs when I move in 17 days…let’s strengthen these babies UP!

Enough about that. I am maybe 46% excited that it’s the holiday season (most of my excitement is being directed toward grad school). I know we are already smack-dab in the middle of Hanukkah, and Christmas is quickly approaching, but I thought I’d share a few of my recent faves that might be the perfect little something for someone on your holiday gift list. Without further ado…

  1. Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve

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This seamless running shirt is cute enough to wear in real life! The fabric is light, soft, sweat-wicking, non-chafing and of course has thumb holes. The perfect shirt for chilly winter runs and wearing to get coffee afterwards too. It has outstanding reviews and is sure to inspire you to lace up your sneaks and get out there. Find it here: Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve.

2. Runner Box

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The Runnerbox is filled with all things having to do with running, perfect for your marathoner friends and family: gels, chews, protein shakes, snacks, personal care, running accessories and discounts. Boxes are sent out every two months and cost between $20 and $25, depending on how many months you choose to subscribe. Hi, who doesn’t want a fun gift to open every two months?! Runnerbox also has boxes devoted to cyclists and triathletes.

3.Β Reach for the Moon Pendant

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This is so CUTE! I randomly came across this collection of necklaces (reasonably priced at around $55 each) with each one having a different meaning. I think it’s such a cute way to wear as a reminder to set your goals high, with a blue moonstone for happiness, blue topaz for joy, love, luck and health; and iolite to open the mind. Adorbs. You can find it at Uncommon Goods.

4. GRID Mini Foam Roller

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I have a serious love affair with my foam roller – it hurts so good! The Grid Mini Foam Roller ($25) loosens tight muscles and helps prevent injuries; it’s a great tool after any workout. This small, travel-friendly roller is easy to store and bring to roll out your legs after you attempt to run off your Chrismukkah feast. It makes the perfect gift for the ones you love. πŸ™‚

5. Garden Jar

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This Garden Jar, although back ordered because it snagged a spot on Oprah’s Favorite Things list, is such a sweet gift idea. It contains three self-watering jars containing basil, parsley and mint. You can grow the herbs indoors in a sunny window and you’ll have fresh herbs on hand when it’s time to throw them in your favorite dishes. SO AWESOME. Find it here: Garden Jar 3-pack.

I hope that you guys all have a fabulous Friday and weekend! The name of the game for me is a) pack it up and b) see friends, so I will be doing that all weekend long. What are you guys up to this weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments.

With warmth,

L

Next-Level Portobello and Eggplant Stacks

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Weather forecast: It will be one billion degrees, and wicked humid.

Me: Yessss! Let’s roast vegetables and boil water for pasta, so my kitchen can be one billion and one degrees.

Sometimes when you don’t have a grill because you live in the city, you have to take one for the team (that would be all of you guys on Team Booyah) to create something extra fabulous to go with your leftover pesto. Yesterday, I said a prayer as I turned my oven on to pre-heat at 500Β°F, because it was already 93Β°F in my kitchen. I knew I had to create something beyond stellar to make it worth standing in that furnace for an hour. Guess what? I did it! I think I also lost 10 pounds in water weight in the process, no biggie.

I wanted to think of a way to showcase the stunning heirloom tomatoes I picked up at the farmer’s market, and somehow combine them with the last little bit of pesto I had, without distracting from the fresh tomato flavor. The answer I landed on seemed simple: combine the fresh tomato and pesto with grilled portobello mushroom caps and grilled eggplant! YES! Except…I don’t have a grill.

The easy way to do this would be to grill the portobellos and eggplant, but since that wasn’t an option, I roasted mine instead. (I recommend you grill yours).

Next Level Portobello & Eggplant Stacks

Ingredients:

  • 4 portabello mushroom caps, destemmed
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • Leftover Ang’s Basil Pesto
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Step One: Fire up your grill or pre-heat oven to 500Β°F. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush both the portabellas and the eggplant with olive oil on both sides.

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Step Two: Grill or roast your veggies. Eggplant will take about 20 -25 minutes, and portobellos will take 5 – 8 minutes.

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Step Three: Create your stack! Stack portobellos, eggplant, and tomato. Drizzle with extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar, if desired. Sprinkle a bit of freshly ground pepper and sea salt over stack. Top with a small dab of pesto.

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Step Four: Serve as is, or add a stack right on top of a bowl of pasta and pesto. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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I served my Portobello and Eggplant stacks with leftover Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and kamut wheat fusilli, and I made a second batch of Spicy Tempeh. I also sprinkled a little bit of Vegan Parmesan Cheeze on top for good measure. It was absolutely delicious. Because of how beautiful and impressive the stacks looked, these would be perfect as apps for a dinner party or dining al fresco with your boo. Lots of bang for your buck here: you’ll be able to pick up fresh tomatoes and eggplant at your local farmer’s market. Both eggplant and tomatoes will still be in season from now until about October (in New England), so keep that in mind if you’re grill-less like me and are relegated to roasting the veggies. The leftover pesto adds just enough flavor impact to this dish, while still allowing the in-season tomato and eggplant to shine. YUM!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! Buon appetito! πŸ˜€

With warmth (but not like, 93Β°F and humid – that’s just too much),

L

Ang’s Basil Pesto

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As I previously mentioned in my Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto post, my grandma Ang was one hell of a lady; brilliant, talented and made the best damn pesto ever. Not wanting to bring shame upon my Italian-American heritage, I invested some serious time and thought into creating the best damn vegan pesto ever, based on Ang’s original recipe. Wait no more, because here it is!

Why is it the best, you may silently wonder, as your eyes skim over the photos of emerald pesto perfection. Well, I’ll tell you. It achieves perfect balance: the creaminess and richness of the cheese (or cheeze), the extremely aromatic brightness and fresh, almost-peppery flavor of the basil, the nuttiness of the pine nuts, and underlying zipiness of the garlic. The perfect dish for summer, and one of my favorite flavors under the sun. Try it, and you’ll see.

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You know this is legit when you adapt a recipe from an actual index card.

Ang’s Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of L’s Vegan Parmesan Cheeze
  • 1-2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, depending on the creaminess desired
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Directions:

Step One: Add all ingredients into a food processor. Blend until smooth.
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Here’s what 4 cups of basil leaves, loosely packed, looks like.

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Here are all my pesto ingredients in the food processor before blending. You can use as much or as little pine nuts as you like – those suckers are expensive. My mom only used 1 Tbsp, but since both my sister and I are obsessed, we put a whole bunch in there. You do you, boo! πŸ˜€

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Here is the finished product in all of its jade-green glory.

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It will start to separate almost immediately; no big deal. Just give it a good stir before adding it on your pasta so ingredients are well distributed.

Step Two: Toss as much as desired (I use about 2 spoonfuls, or maybe about 1/3 of the resulting pesto per 1 pound of pasta) with freshly made pasta. Serve with extra cheeze and/or an extra dab of pesto. Enjoy hot, cold or any temperature in between. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
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I added about two spoonfuls to one pound of cooked fusilli.

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Look at that. The pesto is basically calling your name right now.

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Make sure you serve yourself an extra large helping, or at least as much as any self-respecting Italian-American grandma would.

I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did (which is A LOT, so I’d prepare by loosening your belt one notch – you’re going to want more than one bowl of this because it’s so damn good). It’s really freakin’ delicious. Serve over pasta (wheat, spelt, quinoa, brown rice, any version you like and that suits your needs), use as a spread for sandwiches/paninis, dip a hunk of crusty bread right in there, use as a sauce for pizzas made on the grill – there are so many ways to enjoy pesto. Get creative! πŸ™‚

Ciao,

L

Ridiculously Easy Spicy Tempeh

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Spicy Tempeh served over Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Zood-Noods.

I made this super delicious and super easy Spicy Tempeh recipe to go with my Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, and boy was it GOOD. I knew I wanted something quick – a no-brainer recipe that I could toss together quickly and then turn my focus onto tackling the mound of basil I had purchased and turning it into pesto. This dish was SO freakin’ flavorful, I am definitely adding it into my meal rotation permanently. I’ve previously touted all of the great things about tempeh, but if you want a refresher, check out my Mexican Quinoa and Tempeh Salad post where I sing its praises. This recipe has a long list of ingredients – but fear not, most of them are dried herb/spices and pantry staples. If you’re not as much of a spice lover as I am, you can adjust the seasoning to taste, and swap out the cayenne pepper for a milder chili powder. You can also switch out the Sriracha for a milder hot sauce, or simply use extra mustard in its place. Likewise, if you don’t have fresh lemons, you can use apple cider vinegar (or your favorite vinegar). It’s all up to you and what you like; I feel that this recipe has a lot of room to play around and adjust the flavor to your personal tastes and preferences. However, if you like spicy food as much as I do, you’re going to LOVE the originial recipe I’ve created and shared below. πŸ˜€

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Booyah Tip: I like to whisk my marinades in a Pyrex glass 2 cup measuring cup. Why? Well, my mom always did it, and it makes it super easy to pour over whatever you’re marinating (and measuring, if you’re making a lot).

Spicy Tempeh

Ingredients

  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp low-sodium Tarmari
  • 1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • coconut oil, for frying

Directions

Step One: Whisk together all ingredients minus the tempeh in a small bowl. Add the diced tempeh to a shallow plastic container or ziploc baggie, and pour the marinade over the tempeh. Shake or stir so that the tempeh is fully coated on all sides. Set aside for 30 minutes, or place in the fridge overnight.
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Pour the marinade over the tempeh.

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I simply sealed the top of my plastic container and gave it a good shake to evenly distribute the marinade over all of the diced tempeh.

Step Two: Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the marinaded tempeh to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes, or until it is browned.
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Make sure those edges get nice and crisp. πŸ™‚

Step Three: Serve over pasta or enjoy straight out of the pan. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

I cannot tell you how easy this was. It took only about 10 – 15 minutes to whisk together the marinade, pour over the tempeh, shake, (then it sits around and chills for 30+ minutes), and it takes only 5 minutes to saute it in the skillet. AH-MAZ-ING. I think I ate about half of it directly out of the skillet because it was so tasty. And you would not believe how flavorful it was after only marinading for 30 minutes! That’s just ridic – how easy it was. Maybe I should call it No Excuses Tempeh, because there is literally no reason why you can’t have a delicious, flavorful, filling and nutritious meal with minimal prep time. As I said above, I served this over my Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and (even though the mixture of flavors, pesto + spicy did not seem intuitive) it was BEYOND. The creaminess of the pesto was really balanced by the spicy tempeh, and the boldness of both flavors together was stellar. Best of all, it added a ton of protein to the pesto and zood-nood dish I made. Noms all around.

I hope you guys enjoy this one as much as I did. And seriously – this would be a rad dish for tempeh non-believers because it is just that freakin’ noms-y. Yum!

Happy Thursday, everyone! YAY almost Friday! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Over Zood-Noods*

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So, I know that there are a multitude of vegan pesto recipes out there in the universe, but you can stop looking for the best version – this is The One. After plenty of experimenting, I created this veganized version of my grandma Ang’s pesto recipe. She was sharp as a tack, stubborn Italian-American in the finest, an amazing cook; as well as a very loving, genuinely fabulous person. I wanted to create a vegan version of pesto that wouldn’t put my family name to shame, and I could be proud of. This is it. (Just in case you didn’t get it, we take pesto and sauce very seriously around these parts). πŸ™‚ Making pesto is labor intensive (but TOTALLY WORTH IT!), thus I bought a bucket load of basil at Whole Foods and decided to divide and conquer in order to make two versions of my favorite summer dish. It’s probably one of the only things I like more than quinoa salad. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ Today I’ll be starting off with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, and tomorrow (drum roll, please) you’ll be getting Ang’s Vegan Pesto – aka the best pesto you’ll ever taste, period.

Now, about this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.

One of my favorite things about my hometown in Western New York is going to Aladdin’s, a local Mediterranean restaurant where every dish is super fresh and packs a punch of flavor, and they make literally the best hummus I’ve ever tasted in my life. When I became a vegetarian (a very long time ago), it was always my first choice when asked where I wanted to go out to eat. It was there that I fell in love with Mediterranean food, and to this day still try my damnedest to recreate some of my favorite dishes. One of my top faves was a sun-dried tomato pesto served over freshly made spinach pasta. That dish has been haunting my taste buds for awhile now, I figured it was time to roll up my sleeves (jk I was wearing a tank top because it was 90 degrees yesterday) and recreate it.

The great thing about this pesto, and pesto in general, is that it is perfect for warmer weather. Eat it cold, hot, warm, lukewarm and it always tastes amazing. Serve it over pasta, use as a spread for sandwiches/paninis, dip a hunk of fresh bread in there – whatever you wanna do, boo. My recipe just captures the flavor of a hot July day to me – it’s savory, fresh, satisfying, and little decadent. Best of all, it’s easy, vegan and gluten free. And have I mentioned it’s delicious? πŸ˜‰

To pair with the pesto, I made a super easy, 30-minute marinade for tempeh, which was pan-fried in a little bit of coconut oil to amp up the amount of protein in this dish. Simple, fast and paired really well with the creaminess of the pesto. Check back later today for that recipe. πŸ™‚ I’ll add the link here later.

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*Also, if you’re looking at the title of this post and thinking what the heck are zood-noods?! Don’t worry, I’ll tell you. Last night I wanted both regular pasta AND zoodles – MyFitnessPal said that I had plenty more carbs to eat, so I didn’t want to go full zoodles, but I was really hungry and knew I didn’t want to eat 2 giant bowls of pasta, so I thought – why not both?! I combined a 3/4 package of Tinkyada Brown Rice Fettucini with 3 medium zucchinis, zoodled. Results? Delicious. Ding ding ding, we have a winner! πŸ™‚ The zood-noods are a B & B idea that are based on the concept of Volumetrics: basically, the volume of food that people eat affects both how satisfied they feel and how much they eat. Think of it like this: if you consume less calories per bite, you can eat a larger portion for less calories overall. If you eat 2 cups of lower-calorie mashed cauliflower, or two cups of butter and cream filled mashed potatoes, you will probably feel the same degree of satiety, but obviously 2 cups of mashed cauliflower (with no butter/cream) = way less calories. So, by swapping out higher calorie items with lower calorie replacements, you will lower the calories in each portion of food while maintaining the same amount of food. What’s up, SCIENCE!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Over Zood-Noods

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 package of Tinkyada Brown Rice fettucini (or your favorite pasta)
  • 3 zucchinis

For Pesto:

  • 2 cups of basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 7-oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of L’s Vegan Parmesan Cheeze*
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, to taste (for desired level of “cheeziness”)
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts**
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Maybe a little salt or pepper to taste, if desired

Directions:

Step One: For the pesto, combine all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse the ingredients to get a consistency that still has some texture to it, with definitive chunks of sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and basil.
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Before blending.

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After blending.

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The SDT pesto just maxin’ and relaxin’ in the sunshine while the noodles cooked. I added about half-ish of this to my noodles.

Step Two: Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta. Zoodle your zucchini so it’s ready to go. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, and in the last minute of cooking, throw your zoodles in the boiling water. Β Drain zood-noods, and toss the hot noodles with about 1/2 of the sun-dried tomato pesto.
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Zood-Noods!

Step Three: Serve with a protein of your choice (spicy tempeh recipe to come!) and enjoy! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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Important to Note:

*If you’re not a vegan, you can substitute the equivalent amount of dairy Parmesan cheese here.

**If you’re nut free, you can substitute sunflower seeds for pine nuts (Obv make an adjustment to the cheeze as well – if you want to keep it vegan, you can use Go Veggie! Parmesan Cheese Style Topping in place of my vegan version).

Literally dying this was so good. I will bet you $100 that if you feed this to non-vegans, they will have NO idea that this dish does not actually contain any (dairy) cheese. Completely undetectable! I hope that you guys enjoy this one as much as I did. I think Ang would be proud. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

What’s your favorite way to eat pesto? Tell me all about it in the comments. πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

xo

Guys, it’s my Raceaversary!

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Two years ago today, B and I were probably electric with nerves standing on the shore of Lake Chaunagungamaug (yes, that is a real place, in Webster, MA near the border of CT) before gun time for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon. I had never competed in anything in my life, and my co-worker convinced me that racing in a tri was a fantastic idea for my first race ever. I, in turn, convinced B that she had to do it with me so I wouldn’t be alone crossing the finish line in last place. Earlier that year, I had cranked up my gym rat ways, and started going to the gym every morning at 5:30 am like clock work, but I felt I had nothing to show for my efforts. I wanted to validate how strong I was, and prove to myself that I was STRONG, an ATHLETE, I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR. I wanted a specific, concrete benchmark to hold up, point to and say, “See? I did this.”

After months of training, a new Lulu outfit (the dawn of my obsession with Lululemon!), a carefully planned pre-race breakfast and nerves stretched taut like guitar strings, Race Day finally arrived. B and I lined up with hundreds of women, and as the gun sounded, our swimming-capped herd all went splashing into lake. And let me tell you: the race was hard. Harder than I expected. To be honest, I hadn’t trained properly. I fell behind immediately in the swimming portion when someone clocked me upside the head in the water and I totally lost my steel – I wasn’t mentally prepared, and felt completely hopeless when I saw how far behind I was once I recovered. But B was there, waiting for me on the shore, like the best ever best friend that she is, and we did our best to make up lost time in the cycling portion. We FLEW on those bikes. Still sparkling with adrenaline from passing a few of our competitors, we got ready to run the final leg: a 5K. As I got off my bike, I could barely move my legs (J-E-L-L-O, it’s aliiiiiiive). There ended up being a lot more walking than running in that final leg, and we pretty much lost any of the ground we had recovered, and more (As I write this, I almost feel ashamed. Should I tell everyone how poorly I performed? Yes, because it’s honest and it’s part of the reason I became so committed to running – but we will get to that in a minute). The important thing is that we FINISHED. For my first race ever, completing it and not giving up, even though a sizable chunk of my mental conviction and determination sank to the bottom of Lake Chaunagungamaug in the first leg, was HUGE.

My disappointment with my placement in the Iron Girl tri actually served to propel me forward. “Next year, we are going to do this again, and we are going to actually RUN the 5K,” B and I said to each other post-race. We knew we could do it, we were definitely strong enough – but I personally needed to beef up my mental game, in order to overcome the “This is hopeless, I can’t do this” defeatist voice in my head. When the next year came around, we instead decided to do our first half marathon race. Thus, Bubbles and Booyah was born, to share my experience training, eating and freaking out, and the rest is Bloggy History.

It was that 5K at the end of the tri that sparked my desire to become “A Runner.” I say “A Runner” because I always watched with fascination as those elite 4 min per mile cyborgs ran down Mass Ave in short shorts with thighs as big as my head, and thought I could never be one of them. But really, you’re “A Runner” whether you run a 13 minute mile or a 4 minute mile. (Are you running? Yes. Do you like to run more than you hate it? Yes. Then you’re a runner!). Running wasn’t my forte. I was a sprinter, honed by years of Coach C’s Lacrosse Camp, sprinting up and down the field carrying a lax stick. There were times that I would go for short runs in high school, but really nothing serious. Out of the gate I shot like a cannon, tired myself out and then hated life for the rest of it (usually when I was the furthest point from my house). This time around, however, I clamped my teeth into this goal (become “A Runner”!), and wouldn’t let go.

I believe it’s when you really set your sights on something, and hang onto that goal for dear life, keeping it in your cross-hairs at all times, because letting go would mean you were letting yourself down, that a mental shift occurs. It’s the push that gets you through those last few miles on a hard run, the push that forces you out of bed when you alarm goes off at 5 am even though you’ve only had 6 hours of sleep, the push that gets you to forgo collapsing on the couch after work to watch ScandalΒ and instead lace up your sneakers to go for a sunset run.

I’m sure there will be a day in the distant-to-near future that I’ll stand on the starting line for a second sprint triathlon, to once again prove to myself that I’m a beast, and when I set my mind on something and keep my eyes on the prize, I can accomplish something I once thought was impossible. Since this day two years ago, I’ve run in more 5Ks than I care to count, 2 10Ks, 3 half-marathons and have logged hundreds of miles on my own two legs. With each mile, I deposit a little bit of equity into my internal bank of grit, and that deep-seated belief in what I’m capable of swells a little bit more. I can say with complete candor: I am glad that I “failed” at that 5K. It pushed me to test the limits of what I could do physically, and pushed the boundary far outside of my comfort zone. I refused to accept that “failure.” I told myself that I was in charge of writing my own story, that this “failure” was not curtains on my running career. So my feel-good Mr. Rogers thought of the day: it’s okay if you totally eff up/don’t do as well as you wanted/are disappointed in your performance, just don’t let it crush you mentally. Brace yourself following that experience, and use it to as a stepping stone to move forward. Because when it comes down to it, you’re totally in charge of your own story; you get to choose-your-own-adventure to overcome whatever perceived “failure” happens – it is NOT the end. You get up, you get out there, and you try again (not sure if that quote is coming back to me from some old school sports movie, or is a Coach C original from lax camp that I tried to block out). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

When did you guys first start running?? Tell me in the comments! I’m dying of curiosity.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

With warmth,

L

PS: I hung up the course map of that sprint tri over my desk (basically directly above my computer screen), to remind myself on especially hard days that I did something that I thought was impossible. It’s nice to have those reminders sometimes: you can accomplish great things. ❀

Wicked Easy Quinoa Salad

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My sister has been making this quinoa salad for YEARS – it was her brainchild and even bears her name in a Nutrition cookbook. I thought, however, that naming it the “Wicked Easy Quinoa Salad” on B&B was better than calling it the J[REDACTED]’s Quinoa Salad. πŸ˜‰ Regardless of its name, she came up with it and it’s the ultimate bring to the BBQ/make for a party/take for lunch salad because it’s a) ridiculously easy – if you can chop vegetables, you got this; b) exceptionally delicious (and also full of stuff that’s good for you); and c) vegan (dairy & egg free), gluten free and soy free. YES on all levels. And since it’s about to be 86Β°F / 30Β°C and ridiculously humid today in Boston, it only requires one simmering pot of water – so it won’t turn your kitchen into a furnace. Love that.

Anywho, one of my friends was giving me a hard time about the way I eat (as a veg, you learn to roll with the punches early on or having your eating habits questioned gets really irritating really quickly). For once, it wasn’t the ubiquitous “Omg don’t you miss eating bacon/steak/wings so much?!”/”Where do you get your protein?” (For the record, my new favorite response is “what’s protein?” with a blank look on your face. I’ve found you start to NGAF when you’ve been a veg for over half your life and have heard this shiz for the past 16 years, and as a biochemist, I mean – bitch, please. Don’t even talk to me about protein.)/”Blah blah blah blah” (Because you also start to tune it out after awhile too – my choices aren’t your choices, so you do you, boo. I’ll be doing me over here. BYE!). Okay, I could really go on forever on but I’ll save it for another time. This time, when given a hard time about my eating habits it was more of, “You don’t like cooking multiple dishes, do you? You basically cook one thing and just eat that?” My response: um, YES. Because I’m BUSY dude – I have stuff to do. And as much as I would love to stand around drinking red wine and cooking all day like the vegetarian Julia Child, I have a career, a life and I’m perpetually training for some physical challenge. And I’m pretty content with that. So yeah – the majority of the time during the week, yes. I do just cook one dish and eat it for part of the week: because it’s easy, you don’t have to do a million dishes, stand in front of the stove for a long time after you’ve already been standing in front of a laboratory hood for eight hours, and you’ve got a training run tomorrow at 5 am and have to go to sleep in like 45 minutes. I assume most people feel that way during the week – everyone loves a quick, easy, flavorful, filling and nutritious meal all in one shot, amiright?! Obviously, I love to cook (why else would I be writing this blog πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ ) and when I have the luxury of time I get to go balls to the wall. So, for everyone of you who are too busy loving life to stay chained to your stove – here’s another B&B QEFFN (quick, easy, flavorful, filling and nutritious, whose acronym looks dangerously close to “queefin” – I’m going to have to work on that) meal for you all to enjoy. It’s really, really delicious and shares zero resemblance to any embarrassing scenarios. πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

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Here what you need for this quinoa salad: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, grape tomatoes, quinoa, grated carrot, bell pepper, radishes, scallions and chickpeas.

Wicked Easy Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of radishes, sliced
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3+ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh herbs: basil, parsley, oregano, mint, etc.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Cook your quinoa. Bring the veggie broth or water to a boil and add the quinoa. Turn the heat to love, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the germ has separated from the seed (the tiny spirals that appear when the quinoa is done cooking). While your quinoa is simmering away, prep all of your veggies. Toss all of your veggies into a large bowl.
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Listening to some great summer tunes like Tom Petty is highly recommended.

Step Two: When the quinoa is finished cooking, add the olive oil and stir to coat all of the quinoa. Allow it to cool down to room temperature (or just slightly above, I’m super impatient) so it doesn’t “cook” the veggies.
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You want these veggies to be fresh to death.

Step Three: Combine the quinoa and veggies, stirring well to mix. Add the vinegar to taste.
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Don’t throw the hot quinoa in there! You will have major life choice regrets if you do. It’s so much better to let it cool out. πŸ™‚

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Stir it all up and add salt, pepper and vinegar to taste.

Step Four: Adjust any seasoning and add the fresh herbs. I only added a huge handful of chopped basil, because that is what I had on hand.

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Step Five: Serve with extra chopped herbs as a garnish. Enjoy! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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Here’s what’s really great about this salad: you can serve it with tortilla chips at a party/BBQ/snack time, or you can eat a big ol’ scoop of it plain. Or you can put it on top of your lunch salad, roll it up in a wrap with hummus and veggies, put it on a mezze platter or whatever you are feeling like doing at the moment. It’s so versatile! It tastes fresh, crunchy from the veggies, light and refreshing – perfect for summer,Β  yet it’s still extremely satisfying and filling. And, according to My Fitness Pal, each serving (1/5 of this recipe, if you eat a beastly amount like I did) has 384 calories, 10 grams of fiber, 14.6 grams of protein (wait, did you hear that haters?! It has a bunch of plant protein!!) and is in the 80%s for both your daily value of Vitamin A and C. Whussup, now!

Dude, it’s just really good. I can’t wait for you to try it.

Hope you all are having fantastic hump days!! Also – FOUR DAYS TIL MY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYY πŸ˜€ Woo woo!

With warmth,

L