Monday, April 29, 2013

Stride Right

Dear Readers,

I can't really recall how this all started, exactly, but in my quest to crawl back up the seemingly large and unending hill towards my pre-baby physical self I recently decided to start running.  The positives: no gym membership, no driving and no class times to worry about.  The negative: without an expensive membership or a class cancellation fee to make me feel guilty, would I actually commit?  The answer is (surprise!): yes!

A friend and fellow non-extreme-workout ally suggested I download a "Couch to 5K" app on my iPhone.  This, it turns out, was the best $1.99 I've ever spent since I was literally going from the couch to running (hello, target market!).  The slow pace of the program with three runs a week is ideal and easy to fit into my days.  The app tells you in a perky voice when to walk and when to run, three times a week.

So three times a week for three weeks now I've gotten up early (I do this anyhow), hand the baby reigns to my husband and head out the door with my Pandora set to a great Michael Franti island-like station interrupted only occasionally with a friendly "begin running."  It's bliss.  It honestly feels like a 30-minute vacation.

Whaaaa?  Yes.  First, it's not too hard, so that makes it actually fun (running=fun?  I know...not just for annoying, perky, athletic people).  Second, that solo time early in the morning with no talking, no traffic and with killer views of the mountains (I'm lucky to have a pretty sweet running trail - see below) just makes me happy.  Third and finally, I've found some running shoes I love: the Nike LunarGlide.  They're light and come in a ton of trendy colors, so I feel pretty cool out there even if, let's just admit it, my shoes are the only "cool" part of my mish-mash of Pilates, gym and hiking/ski gear (it was snowing a week ago at 6am after all).

So if you're on the fence or looking for some motivation to start running, download a C25K program, strap on some new LunarGlides and hit the road!  If I can do it - trust me - you can too.

Have fun!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Creamy Goodness

Dear Readers,

Last night I was trying to figure out how what to make for dinner and I came up with a little something I'd like to call Vegan Carbonara A' La Catherine.  Yes, I appreciate I'm going both Italian and French with that name, but stick with me because it's worth it.

OK, so I had some fairly specific criteria for our dinner: it had to be fast,with food we already had on hand and I was craving something comfortable and creamy (because it'd been just one of those days).  With a little vegan cooking know-how and a little online scouting and combining of ideas here is the best weeknight "pasta carbonara" that won't kill your waistline (recipe to the best of my recollection):


2 cups of penne pasta
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen broccoli (or fresh, you know if you have it)
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 cup of unsalted cashews
Olive oil
2 teaspoons Smoked paprika
1/2-1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/3 cup of nutritional yeast


Put water on the stove and cook pasta per directions.  Add broccoli at the end to cook as well.

Put cashews and 1-1.5 cups of water in a Vitamix and blend until you have cashew cream.

In a large sauce pan on the stove over medium heat add olive oil, onion and garlic.  Saute until onion is translucent.  Add cashew cream to the onion and garlic and stir.  Add frozen peas and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring the whole time.  Add cayenne, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper adjusting amounts to taste.  If your sauce is too thick, just add a little water.

Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the sauce mix.  Toss all together and serve with a little parsley on top.

**Something I think would be a great addition is smoked tofu or fake bacon!  But ours has gone past it's prime so after a bit of debating I tossed it.  Don't over-do smoked tofu, but the texture/change might be a great addition!

Et Voila!

(image: Lemons and Lace - my recipe is better)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Dear Readers,

Trying to describe what it's like to be a new mom to expectant friends is difficult because it's amazing, uncharted territory and you can't liken it to anything you've done before.  You can't believe how much you love this little person and how little you look like your "old" self.  And in the midst of the newborn whirl where night and day know no bounds, you start to wonder if life - or you - will ever be the same.  The answer is "no."  It'll be better.  But for now it's a lot.

From one of my fav blogs, WhatWouldGwynethDo, is one of the most wonderful descriptions of what you feel in those early days, and a needed reminder of where you end up after that:

Dear new mother,
I know it doesn’t feel like it now…but you will sleep again.
You will eat in a nice restaurant again.
You will listen to adult music again.
You will wear red lipstick again.
You will drink wine with your girlfriends again.
You will talk – really talk – to your husband again.
You will vacation again.
You will feel less than utterly exhausted again.
You will find time to waste again.
You will read a book again.
You will wear skinny jeans again.
You will look at your body with pride again.
You will stay up past 10pm again.
You will take pictures of things not related to you again.
You will find time for you again.
But you will never love anything more than this again.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


If anything good comes of the inexplicably terrible, it's the reminder that good people, selfless people are out there.  Watching footage of the Boston Marathon explosion yesterday one of the first things I noticed was people running towards the explosion site seconds after the bomb went off.  I watched and wondered: Would that have been my first instinct?  I don't know.  But when we feel down about the state of the world, sometimes it's good to remember all the individual acts of good in the face of what seems like unending violence.  If only it didn't take such a terrible tragedy to remind us.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vodka Cream 4 All!

Dear Readers,

One of the hardest things about being (mostly) vegan is sometimes all your food options either seem really "meh" or complicated.  To avoid the "meh" there's lots of shopping, washing, chopping, blending, etc. and on a weeknight usually all you want in something hot, comforting and quick, not to mention popular (after all, all this effort should not go under-appreciated).  Well my friends, do I have a recipe for you!

This amazing recipe is from Kris Carr, you know the Crazy/Sexy food princess.  Vegan or not, this pasta was a HUGE hit with our entire household.  Muffin in particular loved it, loved it, loved it (and calm down - the vodka in the sauce gets cooked, so he's fine).  Paired with a salad if you're feeling virtuous or on its own with a glass of red, this dinner is super duper fast, healthy and tastes rich and sinful.  Heaven.


Weeknight Vodka Cream Pasta


  • Brown rice or whole wheat pasta (we did farfalle)
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I love the Pomi marinara)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas
  • 2 heaping tablespoons capers
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • ½-1 cup water (to blend cashews)
  • Splash of vodka (2-4 cap fulls or an ⅛ of a cup)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: Italian sausage (regular, veg or vegan - BTW Trader Joe's has an AWESOME Sausage-less Italian sausage that is - sniff sniff - so sadly veg and not vegan because it rocks)
Bring water to a boil and add a dash of salt to keep the pasta from sticking. Once the water is bubbling, add the pasta. Follow the directions on the package; it should take about 12 minutes or so.
To make the sauce, use your favorite jarred marinara as the base. Pour into a saucepan and add the garlic, peas, capers, plus a drizzle of olive oil (if you want) and a splash of vodka.
In a high-speed blender, blend the cashews and water until they turn to cream. Add more or less water to suit your desires. Pour the cashew cream into the sauce and stir.  Add cooked and sliced sausage.
Cook on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes. Pour in pasta, stir and enjoy!
Bon appetite!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Meals on Wheels

Dear Readers,

One of the biggest questions in our household is "what's for dinner?"  When asked after a long day when my heels aren't even off yet I succumb to anxiety and defensiveness:  "I don't know - what are you making for dinner?" or "Good question!"  Alas.  But after much back and forth, Sweetie and I have come to an agreement: I'll be responsible for the food if he's responsible for the laundry since this division of labor suits our current strengths.

So, what does this mean for me?  It means I need to get my act together!  As much as I detest the nitty-gritty and regimen and would prefer to eat whatever sounds best that day, the truth is we need a plan.  I'm not alone: from The Fresh 20 to one of my fav blogs "What Would Gwyneth Do?" everyone is talking about "meal planning."  We all lead busy lives and need healthy, quick and yummy food to keep us at our best.  The key, it seems, is planning for the week ahead and shopping, chopping, and cooking in advance.

Since we're "vegan" now I personally really like Kris Carr's menu planning tips.  I put vegan in quotes because for ease of life we rarely, but sometimes, cheat if it's "cheat or starve" - for example while at an expensive Easter brunch with only strawberries and mimosas on the vegan menu and you want to cry because it's 11am and you are ravenous for more than booze and berries.  This also fits into Kris' "bad/better/best" concept: do the best you can with what you have.  We still stay away from meat but will occasionally partake in a tiny bit of dairy, eggs or fish if we don't have as much control as we'd like over the food served.  Anyhow, back to menu planning a la vegan goddess:

1.  Flip through cookbooks & choose recipes in advance.
2.  Cook double batches & freeze half.
3.  Dress up leftovers with wraps, grains & greens.
4.  Prep your juice and smoothing ingredients in advance (and make enough for a second serving later in the day).
5.  Shop twice per week, for example Sundays and Wednesdays.
6.  Keep snacks handy: hummus, nuts, goji berries, etc.

Even better, she gives you a great meal planning worksheet!  Thanks, Crazy Sexy.  You rock.