oatmeal, take 3 and 4

Who knew I was such an oatmeal fan?  (Especially considering our current heat wave…)

I mean, I know I’ve gotten way more into oatmeal since I discovered Kath’s blog, but that’s not saying a whole lot since it was never more than an occasional winter breakfast for me before.

I found a recipe for Baked Oatmeal on Nourished Kitchen’s website and have been meaning to try it ever since.  It intrigued me that I could make oatmeal in bulk, essentially, and freeze ‘grab and go’ portions for busy mornings.

It calls for an overnight soak, so I prepped that the night before and whipped it up (along with eggs, grapefruit and cut-up Trader Joe’s Mango Chicken Sausage–which Andrew didn’t eat) for breakfast yesterday.  Sadly, I didn’t take any photos.

I did, however, take some (dark) ones this morning at O-dark-thirty when I was up having the leftovers before swimming.

Here’s a side view–you can see the square shape.  I topped mine with a little peanut butter and half a banana for added energy in the pool.  A drizzle of maple syrup topped it all off.

You can see the hunks of dried apricot and cinnamon on top.

I made a lot of notes on this one.  Andrew liked it (his exact words were “I would eat this again” without being overly excited about it), so I definitely filed it away.

It calls for steel-cut oats, but I was hoping for a creamier texture (as opposed to their chewy, crumbly texture), so I think I might use rolled oats next time and skip the overnight soak.  Also, apparently Andrew isn’t a fan of dried apricot (it calls for cranberries as well), so I think I might go the traditional route and use chopped apple and raisins next time.

Other than that, it was great.  Relatively easy with fantastic results.  We were both able to have breakfast yesterday, breakfast today (well, Andrew will when he gets up) and three more servings went into the freezer.  (And that was only half the recipe.) Hurray!

Is it crazy that I’m making MORE oatmeal tomorrow?  I found “citrus-scented oatmeal with apricots and orange zest” in my Ancient Grains cookbook

can food incite feelings of naked-ness?

Or, rather, the lack of food?

OK, what I’m really getting as is that feeling you get when you forgot to wear your watch.  You know, that naked/’I forgot something’ feeling?  I was thinking about it the other day, and I feel that way about my fridge sometimes.  As in, if I’m out of certain things, all is not right with the world.  I feel like we have no food.  I feel like I cannot cook or clean or anything until I get to the store.  Most are probably obvious, but others, not so much.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  Spinach – I probably eat this stuff at least once a day, if not more.  I’ve started trying to eat my salad FIRST, because I think if I did that, I would eat even smaller portions for dinner.  The trouble is, it makes sense to eat the hot food first, as it will eventually cool down, whereas the salad won’t.  Dilemmas, dilemmas.

2.  Yogurt – I make my own, which means I need some leftover yogurt as well.  Andrew is a huge fan of Kefir, so I like having that around for his breakfasts.

3.  Bananas – I use half to sweeten my oatmeal and have been known to slather them in peanut butter, too.  I used to hate them once they got really ripe, but now I don’t mind so much.

4.  Fruit – Right now it’s citrus, as well as these tiny organic Honey Crisp apples I found awhile ago.  They are THE BEST.  I don’t care that they are $5.99 a bag.

5.  Coffee creamer – Duh.  Although, I’m seriously entertaining thoughts of switching to one of the Silk or Coconut Milk flavors once I finish this bottle, or even one of the more “natural” ones.  Anyone have any thoughts?

6.  Eggs – I don’t eat them very often by themselves (although I LOVE a good omelette!), but the lack of them means no baking, which would put me in a tailspin.

7.  Cheese – I usually have a block of parm, as well as a container of something else like feta or blue or gorgonzola.  They go in eggs, on top of salads or even with fruit.  Cheese sticks are an essential item; I pair one with an apple for a snack.

8.  Nuts – I have a giant bin I keep in the freezer of just about every nut around (three varieties of almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds…) for baking, making granola or topping salads and oatmeal.

9.  Seltzer – I’ve started drinking flavored seltzer sometimes when I just want something other than water.   I used to absolutely hate the “flavor” (it’s carbonated water with a tiny hint of flavor, but not sweet), but it’s something I’ve gotten used to.  I’m vehemently opposed to drinking my calories (except infrequent sodas and small amount of honey in tea, and, of course, beer and wine), and at 89 cents for a large bottle, I figured I should try to like it.

10.  Ice cream – I’m actually on the fence about this one.  I am an ice-cream-aholic.  I am.  Except that I don’t eat it that much; if I did, I’d have more room in my freezer!  Seriously, I have like five pints of Jeni’s and Graeter’s ice creams we’ve brought back from Ohio, plus a christmas flavor of Perry’s I bought thinking Andrew would like it.  He doesn’t, which means I’m stuck finishing it.  What I need to do is learn to have just a small scoop each night–the problem is that even when I use a small bowl, once I start scooping, it’s like I can’t stop.  I think I need a 12-step program…

Well, that’s probably about it. I also like having the ingredients to make things like hummus and granola on hand at a moment’s notice, so I guess I could include oats, real maple syrup and honey on that list, too.  Oh and dried cranberries (as well as other fruits) and nut butters.  I guess I could just keep going…

The good news is that I’m all stocked up right now and feelin’ good!

a (half) marathon kind of morning

Whew!  It’s not even noon and I’ve already done so much…

I decided to go for 13 miles this morning; it’s been quite a while since I’d run a half-marathon (last September, perhaps?) and the weather outside was perfect: mid-70s and overcast.

I’m not sure what came first; my eyes popping open at 6:18 a.m. or me hearing Hadrian’s collar clinking as he awoke.  After taking him out and caffeinating myself, I powered up with this:

Kath would be so proud!   It was 1/4 C oats, thinned with my new find So Delicious Coconut Milk, 1/2 banana, 1/2 C sliced strawberries, 4 oz. strawberry yogurt, 2 tbsp Wegmans granola and some flax seeds.  It was awesome!  I was a bit worried it would be a little heavy in my tummy for my run, but I had to fuel up somehow.

I devised a plan that would allow me to not carry anything on my run.  I hate holding stuff, like a water bottle, while running.  I would do 4-5 miles outside, then 3-4 miles inside on the treadmill while eating and drinking, then finish up the remaining miles outside again.  I set my towel, water bottle and snack out by the door and headed outside.  I did my 5-mile residential route near the hotel in 40:30 and quickly let myself back into the hotel.

I grabbed this, along with my water bottle and towel:

Susy found these awhile back and we ended up splitting a box of them that she ordered online.  I only have two left!  Instead of a goo or a gel, these are nickel-sized gummies you can chew while running.  I’m not sure which I prefer (sport beans, goo or chews), but these certainly take a little while to eat.  Goos are often thick and a little chalky, so I have to have water immediately after, but the upside of goo is that it’s super quick to take.  I’ll have to do some recon around here to see where I can find an assortment of refueling options and pick up a couple soon.  I used to think I didn’t need a gel or anything unless I was running a full marathon, but in reality, anytime I run ten or more miles, I make sure to take something around mile 4 or 5 to help keep me going.

Anyway…  I hopped on the treadmill and set it for 7.7.  I’m not sure what that equates to (this machine didn’t tell me what my pace per mile was), but I ended up doing 5 miles in 39 minutes–FAST!  Thankfully, I got to talking to the guy next to me, who just relocated temporarily from Florida, so that helped kill the time.

I quickly dropped my towel and water bottle back off in the room and headed out for the remaining 3 miles.  My legs were tired after such a fast pace on the treadmill, but I smiled to myself as I left the parking lot for the second time this morning, because I felt so good and strong and healthy.  Despite my fatigue (ten-plus miles will do that to you no matter how well you refuel), I was definitely on a runner’s high.

I slowed a bit to about a 9-minute mile for my remaining three, but still felt good.  It’s not often I run 13 miles.  On a whim.  By myself.

I was soaked, obviously, so I stretched and changed my clothes once back in the room, then headed BACK out to take Hadrian on a slow jaunt around the hotel.  I downed a cup of the coconut milk and took this to go:

I was craving something chocolate-y and decadent after that run and knew I needed to start eating soon.  I LOVE Luna bars.  They taste great, and with only about 180 calories each, they are great snacks without being too much.

I figured out my time for this morning, and it is my fastest yet!  My last actual half-marathons have all been almost exactly 2 hours, to the minute.  My first one at that time was great, but later on I’d been training faster yet always crashed mid-race.  Needless to say, my last couple half-marathons have been very disappointing.  My time today:  1:46!  As in ONE HOUR AND FORTY-SIX MINUTES!  Holy cow!  How did that happen?  Well, losing 18 pounds doesn’t hurt, and I think I’ve come up with the reason I was always crashing.  I always went out fast with Susy, and I just couldn’t maintain her speed.  I’ve gotten faster, but I have to keep my pace strong and even to have energy left to finish the distance.  For me, that’s about 8-minute miles, max.

After the walk, I whipped up some smoothies for Andrew (who got up just as I returned from my run) and myself:

I used the remaining half of my banana, 1/2 cups each of pineapple and frozen peaches and mango chunks, 1/4 C plain yogurt, 1/2 C coconut milk and flaxseed meal.  YUM.  Andrew got a strawberry-banana one with oats and flaxseed meal.

I’ve still to shower; between shake-making, dish-doing and now blogging, I feel kinda lazy right now!  Well, I suppose “lazy” might not be the right word to describe me…

We’re having a low-key day today 🙂  Andrew has already fallen asleep on the couch in front of a gangster movie, and after a late lunch we’re going to head into EA to visit Abigail at work and borrow a cooler from his parents.  Some friends of Andrew’s from work have invited us on a “beach” trip tomorrow, so I’m going to try to find a bathing suit today–all of mine are a bit big!  Wish me luck…