Rest Days

My body loves rest days. Mentally and physically. Today I was planning on running but I woke up to snow, wind, and a sore body from my tempo run yesterday. Rest day it is. Just means I mentally have to get up before work to run tomorrow. I can do it... This morning I finished some homework before going to my dermatology appointment. Starting last year I have been getting an annual skin check. To be honest, I could have been better about the suntan lotion growing up (hello sunburn in Martinique...) and my beautiful blue eyes and skin tone put me at a higher risk. I am also one to be into taking preventative measures so why not, right?

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After my appointment I came home and decided to whip up some protein balls to have during my travels next week. I also always do my cooking the day after vacuuming...why, Megan, why?

Anyways, I loosely followed Anne's recipe for Salty Maple Nut Energy Bites using what I had on hand. I always have peanut butter on hand and never have nuts, but I have found that using less nut butter than the recipe calls for nuts tends to work (i.e. this recipe called for 2 cups of nuts and I used maybe 3/4 cup of nut butter). I also used a combination of the last of my cereal and wheat bran for the dry ingredients (I still have so much wheat bran). Instead of dates I used rehydrated raisins which I promptly spilt all over my counter and heard water dripping, but couldn't figure out where...it happens. Life of a tiny kitchen...

The batter (is that what you call it?) stuck together perfectly although it is a bit oily. It made 16 balls of a pretty decent size and I am so looking forward to these for snacks and running fuel! Look for my altered recipe below!

After getting those situated in the refrigerator I roasted an acorn squash and some brussels sprouts to have for dinner the next two nights. I get home from class late on Tuesdays and Thursdays and am never in the mood to cook. I am also trying to use up the food in my refrigerator before my parents come this weekend and I take a quick trip to Portsmouth/Portland/Boston. Talk about crazy next few days for me!

Sitting down now to do some homework before getting up to campus for class (it feels like so much effort...)

Maple Peanut Butter Chia Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup nut butter of your choice
  • 1 cup rehydrated raisins (soak in water while getting other ingredients ready)
  • 2 cups dry ingredients (I used 1 cup of cereal and 1 cup of wheat bran)
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Method

  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse into mixed together thoroughly.*
  2. Form into balls. I made about 16 energy balls of a good size (one seems like plenty for me, but some days I will definitely need 2 depending on my hunger).
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

*This was a lot for my small food processor to handle and I actually had to pulse it together in two separate batches. Can cut the recipe in half if need be. 

 

References:

  1. Anne. Salty maple nut energy bites. Fannetastic Food. http://www.fannetasticfood.com/salty-maple-nut-energy-bites-recipe/. Published September 17, 2015. Accessed March 9, 2017.

What I Ate Wednesday

Guys, I forgot to take pictures of what I ate yesterday so that I could post this this morning. Oops. And then I vowed to take pictures of my food today and definitely forgot to take a picture of my snack...well one of my snacks and my lunch. It's a make shift What I Ate Wednesday post today. I woke up super well rested at 6:30 this morning. I washed my sheets yesterday and my bed was so comfy last night. It's the little things in life...My stomach was still feeling a little bit off so I stuck with toast this morning (one slice with butter and jam and the other with peanut butter). I also had my first tempo run and needed the carbohydrates for fuel and I will not let any of my Great Harvest loaf go to waste. Thank you to Kath for getting me addicted to Great Harvest bread. Luckily I live in a place where a bakery exists. Where I work there is an indoor farmers' market and Great Harvest sells there and I love it.

Side note about my stomach being a bit upset lately. I had a physical on Monday and my doctor asked me if it could be from something I have been eating. My job is to pay attention to what people eat and how it affects them and yet I don't do the same for myself. The only food that I have recently been eating more of which I don't normally eat are bell peppers. They were on sale this week and I bought four...impulse buy. So then my doctor starts telling me that peppers are high in a type of carbohydrate that isn't easily digested in the small intestine...blah blah blah... I just look at her and I ask, "Are you going to put me on a low FODMAP diet?" She starts laughing, realizing that I am in the nutrition profession and that I have known what she was hinting at all along. She shook her head and suggested that maybe I food journal though. Isn't that my recommendation as a future RD?! I felt put in my place. But I had better plans to take pictures of what I eat...although clearly I am slacking.

Moving on to that tempo run! I decided to run on the treadmill because the weather yesterday said freezing rain this morning (no...just no) and because then I could be sure that I was running at the right pace. I can't wait for my running watch to arrive. It's pink...insert emoji with the waving hands...Do you guys know which one I am talking about? It's my favorite and I definitely abuse it.

I went into the run thinking that 5 miles on the treadmill would be absolute torture and so I aimed for 4, cutting my warm up and cool down from a mile and a half to just a mile. However, I needed the full mile and a half to warm up. Then I cranked up the pace until it said 8:06 being careful to not look at the level until I hit my target pace because anything over 7 freaks me out a bit (anyone else scared of shooting off the back?). Two miles at level 7.4 went by so fast. That's a lie. The first mile went by so fast and the last mile dragged and I kept staring at the mileage. My sister's mantra stuck in my head, though. "Run the mile you're in" she wrote on her blog. While running I also listened to an episode of Food Psych about orthorexia which had me captivated. By the time the mile and a half cool down came around I figured why not finish out the full 5 miles?!

I spent the rest of the day doing homework with my friend. I brought leftover spaghetti and a blood orange to her house for lunch. Before I left I had a snack of a yogurt topped with some cereal. I have come to the conclusion that I love yogurt but without something else it just doesn't fill me up. I went to the store on my way to her house and picked up some Uncle Sam's Raisin Bran cereal. I chose an on-sale brand and it has only four ingredients, winning! I love adding some crunch to yogurt and extra carbohydrates for marathon fueling.

I spent the afternoon shopping at Michaels for scrapbooking supplies and totally got sucked in...does anyone else go into Michaels and purchase everything in sight? It's like Target...

I am currently making dinner while I type up the body of this post. I had a date-less energy ball while I was cutting up a sweet potato because I knew I wouldn't make it to dinner without getting "hangry" and nobody wants to experience that. Even now I feel hungry again. Those hard runs really get my metabolism going...I think tempos are harder than long runs. I will let you know if my mind changes after Friday when I do my long run at 6:30am after a late night on Thursday...

Dinner tonight consisted of roasted sweet potato nachos. I have really been loving Mexican-inspired meals lately. It could be the cheese. I love cheese and salsa and beans and guacamole. I love it all. I decided to take a break from enchiladas tonight since I've had them three days this week already. I should have roasted the potatoes longer but some were getting dark. Others were still a bit soft but still delicious.

Later tonight I am going to watch This is Us with my neighbor and I cannot wait. Anyone else loving this show? It has some really great lessons and inspirational messages. Not to mention Milo...

Side note...I need to start taking better pictures...

 

 

"Date-less" Energy Bites

Energy balls. Energy bites. They are everywhere you look on Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, etc. I've tried a few recipes here and there and like the general idea of a nutrient-dense snack. However, like with most cooking and baking I am still trying to find an easy, versatile recipe that I can make over and over again in a tiny space. In the fall, I had been making my own granola bars to take with me to my rotations. After buying a mini food processor (I can't fit a large one in my kitchen, nor do I need one too big) I have been looking for new recipes to try. It started with energy balls which I adapted into granola bars. I also realized that you can use raisins as a substitute for dates as long as you soak them for a bit to make them easier to grind up. I generally follow the method outlined by Laura Fuentes, but just soaked and drained the raisins without saving any of the water. After a few months, my granola bar recipe needed a makeover. Something simple. Something versatile. Something nutrient-dense and delicious.

I had a general idea of what is needed for an energy ball recipe. You need a binder like dates or raisins in my case. You need something sticky with protein and healthy fat - choose any nut butter you like. I also think nut butter should be in any snack recipe for the added nutrition! And you need a fine grain to pull it all together so that it's not overly sticky.

img_5379 Any recipe that I come up with usually is inspired from another recipe, which I then adapt. The recipe that inspired these energy balls is from Well Plated. Follow the hyperlink to her recipe for Fig Almond Energy Bites.

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My version of energy balls are "date-less" because... well I can't be the only single girl out there that thinks it's a funny pun.

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"Date-less" Coconut Walnut Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup nuts - I used walnuts (or about 1/3 cup nut butter)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 to 1 cup wheat bran (depends on the stickiness)
  • 1/4 cup coconut (extra for rolling)

Method

  1. Measure the raisins into a measuring cup. Pour water over the raisins and let sit while you grind the nuts.
  2. Measure the nuts and add to your food processor and grind until creamy. If you do not have a food processor use nut butter instead.
  3. Drain the water from the raisins. Add the raisins to the food processor and grind (I find it easier to grind the binding ingredients before adding the dry ingredients).
  4. Pulse in 1/4 cup wheat bran at a time until the mixture comes together easily and does not leave much oil on your hands (very scientific, I know).
  5. Pulse in 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut.
  6. Using a 1-tablespoon measure, roll into a ball and cover with more unsweetened coconut.
  7. Place energy balls on a small plate/cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  8. Put in the freezer until hard and store in a freezer safe ziploc bag until ready to eat.
  9. Pull out two and bring with you for an easy, on-the-go snack.

 

These energy balls are perfect for an afternoon snack, a quick bite before a morning workout or just whenever you find you stomach asking for a little something. There's healthy fat and protein from the walnuts, whole grains from the wheat bran, and the raisins provide carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals which our bodies need. Athletes especially need carbohydrates since your body uses carbohydrates primarily for fuel.

 

References (in the order they are seen):

Fuentes L. Raisin paste: An awesome substitute for dates. Laura Fuentes: Fresh Living. http://www.laurafuentes.com/raisins-substitute-for-dates/. Accessed January 2017.

Erin. Fig Almond No Bake Energy Bites. Well Plated. http://www.wellplated.com/fig-almond-no-bake-energy-bites/. Posted January 26, 2015. Accessed January 2017.