WIAW on Monday

I missed WIAW last week simply because I forget to take pictures of my food some days (gasp...I know). Anyways, I am back at it this week with pictures of what I ate on Monday. Breakfast was my usual staple of oatmeal with peanut butter mixed in. BUT this morning I stirred in about 1/2-1 tablespoon of maple syrup because I am overflowing in this stuff (pun 100% intended). I actually used to fear maple syrup because I love this sweet stuff so so so much. I remember dumping maple syrup on my pancakes and waffles when I was a kid. Like if it wasn't drenched then I was not pleased. And we were a pancake and waffle family, none of that egg stuff for breakfast. No sir. Anyways, I always found myself craving sugar for the rest of the day when I had maple syrup for breakfast and would consequently devour all sweets in sight. It wasn't until I realized that I needed some protein for staying power and that by restricting myself of maple syrup (and other sweets) except for weekends made for a heavy pour when I "could" have it. So now, after a maple weekend I am trying to incorporate a little bit of maple syrup here and there to satisfy my cravings in smaller amounts more frequently. I also had some maple candy that Julie's BF made when I visited her and that stuff pretty much melted in my mouth. This is similar to my approach with chocolate these days. By allowing myself some sweets everyday and any time during the day I usually can better control my cravings. Most days I have 1-2 squares of chocolate or incoporate it into my snack (trail mix) or a meal (oatmeal) and other days I have a few handfuls of chocolate chips. It's a learning process and nobody and no body is perfect (Thank you Hannah Montana).

After walking up to campus in the rain I met up with Molly to grab coffee before starting work. We got to the cafe at the hospital and I noticed they had Black Forest Speeder and Earl's coffee. I turn to tell Molly and her response was, "Today is our day, Megan." So true. So so true. This coffee is for real, what dreams are made of. I also bought an apple to have as a mid morning snack. I have been finding with increased mileage (I hit 41.5 miles last week) that I get hungry mid-morning. I have been trying to have some fruit when the hunger kicks in to increase my total carbohydrates as well as antioxidants.

Lunch consisted of kale and shredded brussels sprouts massaged with Trader Joe's Goddess dressing. Go buy this stuff. Seriously. Get up right now and go buy it. It's is so creamy and delicious and has a subtle mustardy, vinegary taste to it. Molly and I love it. She actually introduced it to me. She dressed a salad with it last week and I fell in love and my salads have not lived up to it. Teach me your ways Molly. Today's salad (with not enough dressing) also had two clementines and a handful of peanuts and a handful of almonds for protein. I wasn't in the mood for beans today and am finding myself limited in the protein department (why don't I buy more animal protein...my body needs the iron right now). I had pretzels on the side for my grain.

After working on our project for 5 hours straight (hello productivity!) I headed over to the gym for a quick run. I knew I needed to shake out my legs today after 17 miles yesterday especially since I work quite a bit this week. Unfortunately I did not give myself enough time to get the full 4 miles in before class, but I did manage 3.75. Julie should be happy with that...

I got to class 2 minutes before it began and was nice and sweaty. I have turned into that person. Just don't sit next to me. I proceeded to eat a Siggi's yogurt with corn flakes mixed in (see above picture). This week at the store I bought corn flakes because I was craving them (go me!). I imagine a bowl of yogurt, cornflakes, peanut butter, and banana slices in my near future. YUM!

I walked home from class and tried calling my sister but she didn't pick up (shocker...note the sarcasm). It was a dreary day, but some music helped a little bit. What helped the most was cooking dinner! I forget how much I love putting some effort into a meal. And honestly, not following a recipe is so much more enjoyable to me. I like zoning out and just going with the flow. Although I was disappointed when I forget to saute an onion tonight. I recently bought a bag of onions to increase their usage in my meals. Tonight I made sautéed eggplant and mushrooms and finally figured out the trick to perfectly cooked eggplant! Start with a little extra oil and just keep cooking over low to medium heat. The longer they cook the better. I usually get worried I am going to burn my pan and stop too early while the eggplant is still a little crunchy. No es bueno. I also cooked some whole wheat gnocchi, which literally cooks in under 4 minutes (once the water is boiling). The day I found this box in the pasta aisle really changed my world for the better. While all of that was cooking I microwaved some turkey sausage. When everything was done I portioned out the gnocchi, saving some for leftovers, and mixed with more oil and some parmesan cheese. Then I added the turkey sausage and veggies before topping with some crumbled mozzarella. Seasonings included garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. It wasn't a colorful meal, but it was SUPER tasty. I really wanted a glass of red wine to go with it, but didn't end up having any. I was feeling a bit dehydrated and didn't think that would be the best choice. Instead I ended the meal with two squares of chocolate and zero guilt. As my professor said today, it's okay to have dessert every night. It's okay. Grant yourself permission and see what happens. It's all about curiosity and being open to change.

(Sorry it's not prettier, but the taste it a-okay)

I am spending the night drinking Trader Joe's Organic Ginger Turmeric tea and working on a study guide for a test I have this week. Wish me luck! It's going to be a long week of homework, studying, and working, but next week I have off from work and JULIE COMES TO VISIT!!! I may spend more time working on our bucket list for the weekend. Topping the list is going to see Beauty and the Beast (and eating movie theatre popcorn).

The Golden Weekend

I was once told that in the healthcare industry having the entire weekend off is called a Golden Weekend. This weekend has only just begun but I can already tell you that I love weekends off, although I do spend a lot more. I have been looking forward to this weekend for a few weeks now, ever since I found out about Boyden Valley's Maple Fest. It was like Christmas this morning because I was so excited. I got dressed to go for a quick run and walked outside and came right back in...nope not a good morning to run outside. There is a thick layer of slush on the ground which had become pretty icy too.

Molly and I met up around 11:30am and started the drive to Cambridge. Once we got to the winery all of the great memories came flooding back. We ran into Colleen right when we got there! I love running into people I know at great events that support locally owned businesses. Molly and I started our day with some BBQ from the Smokin' Butts BBQ food truck.  I got the pulled pork sandwich and added some maple and spicy maple BBQ sauce. It was so delicious! It also came with a coupon for 1/2 off a cider of your choice. Molly and I both went with the honey cider. I tried the bourbon barrel aged cider last year and loved that one as well.

After sitting down for lunch in the upstairs dining "hall" with its beautiful wooden beams, we headed over to the free maple tasting. We tried the maple creme liquor, the apple creme liquor, the maple reserve wine, a maple dessert wine, and their bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. I loved their maple syrup. It's so so so flavorful and a great thick consistency.

Next up we did the cocktail tasting. We had the pleasure of trying four different cocktails. A maple martini, a manhattan, a moscow mule, and a coffee flavored cocktail. The moscow mule was my absolute favorite. I love anything with ginger.

We then split a wine tasting. Molly tried quite a few that she had been wanting to try and I tasted the blueberry again (I love blueberries), a black currant dessert wine, and a black currant based cider. The wine tasting came with a maple cupcake which Molly and I split. It was so rich in maple flavor, which was fantastic. We then ate some pretzels that I had brought rather than buying some sides from the BBQ food truck (i.e. maple carrots and cornbread).

Once we got home I headed to the gym to run 5 miles while watching Grey's Anatomy. Mentally this was challenging, but my legs felt great. I ended the night watching The Finest Hours which was filmed in the town next to mine and was so fun to recognize places!

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Sunday I woke up at the ripe hour of 5:45 to fuel for my long run with Rebecca. Two slices of PB&J toast later and I was on the road for my run! It was a gorgeous morning and although it started out cold, there was no wind and lots of sunshine! I love these runs with Rebecca! I had negative splits almost the whole time too so that made me happy (stay tuned for a recap).

17 miles later and I ended at Switchback where I quickly ate a banana, chugged some chocolate milk and changed into yoga clothes. The brewery was a very chilly (although I was also sweaty), but the yoga class was great! It's exciting when you find an instructor who you really like and would love to continue to go back to. Marta (my neighbor) and I loved the class. At the end we enjoyed a flight of Switchback beers and I tried their new smokey beer which was great in addition to their IPA, brown ale and another ale. I decided to try the three seasonal beers because they aren't always there and the IPA I just really enjoy.

By then Marta and I were getting hungry so we went home to change before walking downtown. We tried Penny Cluse because breakfast food is always a good idea, but there was a long wait so we ended up at American Flatbread. I ordered a Conehead to start and Marta got a Bloody Mary. For our pizza we did half of the maple fennel sausage (hello, it's maple weekend) and half eggs benedict. Let me just tell you that their brunch breads are amazing. It was great to finally have time to hang out and catch up with Marta.

A few full days left me ready for a nap and I happily obliged. Now it's time for me to snuggle up and do some homework before going to bed (probably around 8:30pm...)

I also need to find some recipes that include maple syrup. Let me know if you know of any!