Tag Archives: winter

monday brain exchange 26: extreme weather

14 Feb

Monday Brain Exchange time!

Do you deal with any types of extreme weather where you live?  Heat warnings, a lot of snow, frequent tornados?  How do you keep your workouts fresh and fun when you are stuck indoors?

Lately, it’s been all about the indoor workouts in New England. Last week was the first week this year I didn’t have to work from home one day due to bad weather. I’ve run outdoors once or twice so far. I live in the suburbs, and we were hit with a big ol’ blanket of snow that melts a bit then freezes into giant ice patches. We’re just starting to be able to see out of our driveway over the snow banks.. maybe once that visibility is better I’ll hit the streets again.

To compensate for the lack of outdoor running, I’ve amped up my cross training and weight lifting. I spend most of my time taking classes at the gym, and begrudgingly running 2-3 miles on the treadmill. When I’m totally snowed in at home, I have EA Sports Active for the Wii, and Nike Training Club on my iPhone. Side note: the NTC workouts are surprisingly tough and get your heart pumping. A really great free app if you have an iPhone running iOS 4.

winter sadness

3 Feb

I’m pretty sure the lack of glorious sunlight makes me feel like a horse’s butt for the entirety of winter after January 1st.

My mood progression throughout the day:

  • wake up groggy, but with a good plan for the day
  • go through my morning routine, lay out any needed fitness gear for later, go to work
  • super productive morning, always looking forward to snack time (apparently I’m a preschooler)
  • lunch/read through RSS if time allows/maybe a short blog
  • finish off the morning’s tasks and any remaining to do items
  • on my commute home, think out the evening’s tasks
  • get home, melt into a puddle in my chair with no motivation to move or do anything

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Three Things Thursday

11 Feb

Thanks for all your feedback on my Giveaway post! You guys really helped me out a lot :) I hope to have more details on the giveaway soon.

ONE

The snowpocalypse did not happen in Boston. We barely got two inches. Big hype over nothin’! Though I was pleased by the decreased number of cars on the road (all state/government offices in Boston were closed).

TWO

I leave for Orlando three weeks from tomorrow. Eeep! The race waivers just became available online, and the race expo kicks off in 22 days. I also have not run outside in over a week, so I’m itching to get outside over here. We’ve finally broken the barrier of sunrise times… 6:45am sunrise, what what! Still not early enough for me to get in a good run from my house, but the promise is there.

THREE

Join in on Tall Mom‘s Virtual Race as a part of her Marathon for the Cure fundraiser. Wherever you may be on March 27th, get out there and join others across the country in a fun race for a great cause! If you aren’t a runner/can’t run, then feel free to walk or just plain donate. More details at Tall Mom’s blog here.

Happy Thursday!

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins and Winter Squash Soup

3 Feb

Oh yes, friends. I made these two items this weekend. And they’re amazing.

I’ll start with the…

Winter Squash Soup

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Serves 8

Soup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 cup milk

For soup: Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

* If you are not confident in your knife skills or lack a very very sharp one, I’d suggest roasting the squash, halved and seeded, on a baking sheet coated lightly with oil at 425 until soft, scooping it into the pot, and cooking it the rest of the way there. Peeling, seeding and chopping raw squash is not the easiest endeavor. Alternatively, you could buy butternut squash already peeled and chopped in many stores. Haven’t seen acorn yet.

Oh my gosh this soup is amazing. The ginger and cumin really make it sing. I didn’t read down to the asterisk, so I chopped and peeled the acorn squash just with my knife. Yeah, please do the roasting method if you can’t find pre-peeled acorn squash. It’s tedious as hell to peel it by hand.

Next up:

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins

I originally got this recipe from my gym’s monthly newsletter, but they forgot to include the instructions! So I was left with a delicious-sounding list of ingredients and no knowledge on the cooking time/temperature. Thank goodness for Google, because I was able to track the recipe down from Eating Well.

Makes 2 dozen mini muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (I used 1/3 cup of jarred roasted red peppers)
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I upped this to 2/3 cup and omitted the all-purpose flour)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives (I used Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade instead

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, oregano, sugar, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Stir milk, feta, egg, tomato paste and olives into the onion mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups two-thirds full.
  5. Bake the muffins until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

These are a perfect little snack and taste almost exactly like a bite of pizza! The texture is very light and fluffy, so you don’t feel weighed down at all.

Bonus Recipe! Spicy Roasted Squash Seeds

Oh please, you weren’t going to throw away those precious squash seeds, were you? They’re another amazing snack! And there’s a lot of freedom to season them however you’d like.

  • Start by preheating your oven to 275°F
  • Scoop the seeds out of your squash and remove all the stringy residue. Give them a quick rinse and pat dry
  • Put the seeds in a bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil (I used about a teaspoon for all the seeds in an acorn squash)
  • Season with salt, garlic powder, chili powder… whatever you’d like! I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Give them a good mix and spread out on a baking sheet
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. I like mine really crispy, so I put mine in for another 5-6 minutes.

The end result? A healthy snack that tastes like tiny little potato chips! Never ever let those seeds go to waste.

I have some AWESOME elliptical news, but I’m first going to wait and see what part 2 of my elliptical adventure brings for me tonight.

If you make these recipes let me know what you think!

Three Things Thursday

28 Jan

Just three things today. No thirteen like last week.

1. Holy moly it’s snowing rather angrily outside today. Nothing is sticking, but Boston is a giant, angry snowglobe. Right now I see it blowing in 3 different directions. Ouch.

2. Tricia at Endurance Isn’t Only Physical is giving away a Nathan’s Hydration Belt. Their products are pretty sweet, so definitely enter if you want to snatch one up (or just buy one, that works too).

3. Dailymile user Go Pre Go posted this video clip a few days ago for motivation. It’s Ryan Hall and Josh Keflezighi doing a 31 mile training run in Mammoth Lakes, CA. With consistent splits hovering around 5:30. If this isn’t motivation to kick ass then I don’t know what is.