*Fuel Friday ~ Baked Apple Oatmeal*

For the second week in a row, I’ve been plagued by some sort of illness or ailment. Last week it was a pinched nerve in my shoulder (which is still giving me some grief). This week, food poisoning.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I was really excited to hear ultrarunner Krissy Moehl speak on behalf of her new book, Running Your First Ultra, this past Wednesday. Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I made an afternoon/evening of it and ran some errands in the city before the event, including a stop at a well-known Mexican restaurant for a little happy hour treat.

The fish taco was a bad choice.

Not long after Krissy began her presentation, I began feeling ill. It progressively got worse and I turned to my husband and whispered that I wasn’t feeling well (hot, sweaty, faint, nauseous) and had to leave, asap. I needed some air! So we quietly got up and left before she finished. Without getting my darn book signed!

The ride home, the rest of the night, and all day yesterday were pretty unpleasant, to say the least. And, it’s my third bout of food poisoning in 7 months! WTH? (My Mister didn’t have a taco, fortunately.)

So you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about food poisoning on a Fuel Friday post, right?

Well, because I feel a ton better today but I’m still feeling really depleted and low on energy. I’m carefully bringing solids back into my diet because I need to get some nutrients into my body. I whipped up a delicious late breakfast this morning that I thought I’d share.

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1 serving (1/2 cup oats) oatmeal, cooked

1/2 an apple

1 egg

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

Cinnamon to taste

Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the oatmeal and set aside. Chop the apple into small, uniform-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine all the other ingredients then stir in the cooked oatmeal and apple. Transfer the mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray, top with a little additional cinnamon (optional), and cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

I added another little drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of almond butter to mine. Such a treat!

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Have a happy (Fuel) Friday!!

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*Fuel Friday ~ National Cookie Day*

Did you know that today, December 4, is National Cookie Day?

In my world, it pretty much ranks right up there with National Wine Day, National Margarita Day, and National Peanut Butter Day! Oh, and I can’t forget National Chocolate Day!

But back to National Cookie Day. Like we need an excuse, right? This time of year we can’t avoid seasonal favorites whether it be at the office, holiday gatherings, or leftovers after Santa has had his fill.

I do love a good cookie but I also prefer to indulge in the cleanest variations I can find. I’d like to at least think that there is some nutritional value in whatever I’m popping into my mouth. More often than not, I look for recipes that include oats, almond, or almond flour (meal), dried fruit, and natural sweeteners. Good fats… coconut oil, eggs, and peanut or nut butters that add some extra punch are nice too.

I have a couple of go-to recipes but this one is a favorite. I’ve shared it on Fuel Friday before but it pretty closely meets all of my criteria in a cookie, minus the brown sugar. Though I’m sure that if I played with it a little, I could find an alternative sweetener that would work. (It is the holidays after all so a little indulgence never hurt anyone… in moderation!)

National Cookie Day Almond Oat cookies

Almond Oat cookies

Almond Oat Cookies

I’ve also “pinned” a couple of recipes that have caught my eye…

Bourbon Maple (Bacon) and Pecan Cookies (minus the bacon for the vegetarians, such as moi.)

Fourless Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Vanilla Chai Energy Cookies

Happy *Fuel* Friday and National Cookie Day!

 

*Running: moving rapidly, in a certain direction*

With the weekend quickly coming to a close (boo!), I’ve been marinating in the experiences that made it a pretty great one. (Allow me to insert my regular aphorism: It Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking!)) Looking back, I feel so dang stoked for such awesome partnerships, rad people, future tribe members, and this crazy sport that I love so much!!!

Saturday was a pretty incredible day and I’m still feeling the effects of the inspiring people who I was privileged to be surrounded by.

I spent several hours yesterday working alongside the creator of Left Coast Raw. David (center) has been so supportive of me! He has provided me with an awesome source of fuel that I used not only throughout my months of training for the Boston Marathon, but beyond. He is so passionate about spreading raw, vegan, plant-based, whole-food nutrition that it is contagious. I had a ton of fun pouring samples, talking about my experience with the product, and helping introduce Veg Fest Portland attendees to such an amazing source of nutrient-dense food in a portable, convenient shake.

Left Coast Raw at Veg Fest Portland

Sharing Left Coast Raw love at Veg Fest Portland!

After I was finished at Veg Fest, I headed to Rainshadow Running‘s Film Festival Tour showing in Vancouver, WA. I will be the first to admit that there is a whole other world of running out there that I’ve barely scratched the surface of during my exploration of the sport. It’s not a secret that I love trail running and aspire to do more of it, including races, but it is still not as accessible as I wish it were. That said, one simply cannot watch a series of short films about trail running and not get amped up! I’m like SUPER AMPED UP!

Rainshadow Running Film Festival Tour

Rainshadow Running Film Festival Tour

Not only that, I had the incredible opportunity to chat with the owner and creative spirit that founded Territory Run Co. They are a trail running/lifestyle apparel company based in Portland, Oregon that I’ve had on my radar for a while now. Not only is their art stunning, they also source local artists for hand printing their apparel. But what really stands out to me is the culture and community vibe that they are building based on the common love of running and the wild playground just beyond our 9-5’s.

Territory Run Co. raglan tee

You had me at Raglan tee. Well played, Territory Run Co.!

The sport of running is constantly evolving for me as I discover new tributaries that branch off from the basic concept of what it is: moving rapidly, in a certain direction. I’m hopeful that my experiences this weekend will continue to build momentum and that I will always be as in love with running as I feel I am right now!

Have a great week, friends!

*Green, lean, and full of protein*

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David Cascadden, the creator and owner of Left Coast Raw. I connected with David earlier this year while I was training for the Boston Marathon and shortly thereafter, started using his three super shake blends for post-run recovery during the remainder of my training. One PR an a BQ later, and well, I’m a believer! These shakes ROCK!

During our conversation, David explained to me that they’ve made a few tweeks to the original shake blends I was taking this spring and have made them even more nutrient-dense. Not to mention, higher in protein! I was drawn to them in the first place because of their high nutrient values but also because all three blends are vegan, raw, and gluten, soy, and dairy free.

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Special delivery! Nutrient-dense super shakes for the win!

One of the cool things about the upgraded blends is the addition of some amazing super foods. And I’ll be completely honest here… while I’m a serious holistic health nut that loves learning about new and unique super foods, I had never heard of sacha inchi or baobab. If you haven’t either, let me enlighten you!

Sacha inchi is a seed that grows in the mountains in Peru and is praised to have some of the highest levels of essential fatty acids, proteins, and amino acids over all other recommended sources. According to www.undergroundhealth.com:

The Inca Peanut is one of the few nuts (though they are actually seeds) that offers a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as protein, vitamin A and alpha-tocopherol vitamin E (the most beneficial form of vitamin E), while being 96% digestible and 100% irritation free.

It is said to help improve circulation and blood pressure, as well as strengthen the cardiovascular system, reduce inflammation, and improve your mood!

Baobab is derived from a tree that grows in Africa and contains some of the highest levels of vitamin C known to man. It is said to be a powerhouse of minerals and is considered to be beneficial in the support of liver function, weigh loss, preventative treatment for heart disease, and can assist in the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that support the skin.

So how cool is it that LCR is using these amazing and very beneficial super foods in their blends?

Yeah, I’m pretty excited and so grateful to be partnered with a company that is helping to deliver these amazing, nutrient-dense ingredients to the masses. I love the passion behind these products and their mission to help you maintain a vigorous lifestyle through whole-food, nutrient-rich shakes that are portable and made for an active lifestyle!

These shakes offer the perfect post-run recovery fuel! Full of protein, vitamins, minerals… and they taste so good! Bottoms up!

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Green goodness! Post-run fuel at its finest!

*Meet Left Coast Raw*

So a guy walks into a bar…

(Don’t all of the best stories start out that way?!)

… where I happened to be enjoying a little Friday afternoon happy hour with Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking a few weeks ago.

The guy, a friend of my husband, joined us and conversation ensued leading to discussion about his company, Left Coast Raw.

Left Coast Raw Logo_FINAL_RGB

I don’t know about you, but this is what I’d like to think of as serendipity at its finest!

Left Coast Raw, based in Sherwood, Oregon, produces super nutritious shakes consisting of raw, whole-food fruits and vegetables. They are non-GMO, vegan, gluten, soy, dairy, egg, peanut, and preservative free, and are made with high-quality ingredients. Most of which are organic!

The three blends they offer, Cascade Berry Bliss, Produce Row Blend, and Farmer’s Market Blend, boast 13-15 grams of pea protein per serving. Plus 35 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, lots of vitamin C, iron and a multitude of other vitamins and minerals, and all for just 170-180 calories. They offer single serving pouches (perfect for traveling… oh, to say like BOSTON!) and multiple serving tubs.

If you’ve been following my journey, you already know that whole-food nutrition is near and dear to my heart. I couldn’t help but immediately want to know more and see if these super food shakes could play a role in my fueling strategy to optimize my training and recovery.

I loved what I discovered! And through the process, I’ve began to build a relationship with the company. So much so, that I’ve partnered with Left Coast Raw to help spread the word about their outstanding nutrient-rich blends that help support an optimal state of health. They aim to help their customers “maintain a vigorous life style” and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Left Coast Raw team and for them to be a part of mine!

Of course I’ll be sharing more in the days, weeks, and months to come but check out their website and if you’d like to give Left Coast Raw a try, they offer a Raw Sampler pack (with free shipping!) for just $9.99!

*Fuel Friday ~ Banana raisin nut muffins*

These might very well be the best muffin I’ve ever made. They were inspired by two, nearly decaying bananas on my counter yesterday afternoon, and the need for a portable snack to take to a cross-country meet this morning. (No one else ever has over-ripe bananas sitting around, do they??? I’m sure it’s just me.)

Recent muffin recipes I’ve created have resulted in a really great tasting muffin but after cooling, or sitting overnight, became a little dry. I think in part it is because I like to use almond meal as a substitute for other flours. Not entirely, but mixed in with a combination of other flours for some sustenance and a boost in nutrition. These however, as I discovered this morning riding a bus with 15 middle schoolers, did not dry out after cooling. They were perfect. I call that muffin success!

Ingredients:

1 cup of raw (dry) oats

1/2 all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour)

3/4 cup almond meal/flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (I measured before I chopped)

1/4 cup raisins

**Plus a little reserved brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin tin by either coating it with cooking spray or lining each “cup” with a cupcake paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, all-purpose flour, almond meal, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Using a separate bowl, mash the bananas. Mix in the eggs, followed by the brown sugar. Combine so that the sugar begins to dissolve a little and then pour in the oil.

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Ready to add the wet to the dry.

Once the “wet” ingredients have been added to the “dry” stir to incorporate everything and there are no traces of anything “dry”. Next, fold in the walnuts and raisins. Be sure to reserve about a tablespoon of the chopped walnuts to sprinkle on top.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin and then add a pinch of brown sugar, the remaining walnuts, and a dash of cinnamon to the top of each muffin.

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Adding a little extra pizzazz!

Pop the muffins into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Check to make sure they are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of a muffin. It will come out clean if the muffins have completed baking.

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Autumn muffin making makes me happy!

This recipe makes a dozen yummy muffins. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, while being entertained by 15 middle school runners!

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Moist, nutty, slightly sweet. Perfect.

*Fuel Friday ~ Chocolate zucchini muffins*

If you aren’t up to your eyeballs in zucchini, I’ll assume you live A) in Antarctica, B) under a rock, or C) in some other desolate region of the world where either it doesn’t grow or you live more than 200 miles from any other form of human civilization.

Joking.

But if you aren’t growing it yourself, I’d confidently bet that you have at least been given, or offered, some zucchini from a friend, neighbor, or over zealous new gardener that had no idea how much zucchini a single plant will produce in a season.

I love zucchini and it kills me in the winter and spring months when I have to buy it from the store because this time of year I eat it nearly every day. It is such a versatile fruit. Yep, if you didn’t know that, zucchini is technically a fruit but I still consider it a vegetable as do most in the culinary world.

There are so many fantastic ways to prepare it, and perhaps I’ll share a few of my favorites in the coming weeks, but as I discovered a few years ago, zucchini and chocolate pair together wonderfully!

First, let me give you a couple of tips on selecting, and preparing a zucchini to use, specifically for baking purposes. Smaller zucchini, like the size you find in the store, are better suited for eating raw (zoodles!) or in stir-fry’s and such. Home-grown zucchini often is left to grow a little larger than ideal so you’ll often get really large ones and they are great for baking with.

When they are larger, the skin tends to be a little tougher and they will be seedy. The skin is edible, and I did leave some on when I grated it, but I tried to use more of the fleshy insides. I don’t own a food processor so I grated it by hand. I cut off the ends and then cut it in half both lengthwise and across. I then scooped out the seedy part with a spoon. This recipe calls for roughly two cups of grated zucchini which was 3/4 of the one I had on hand. It will vary depending on the size you use.

CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE-CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

Ingredients:

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tbsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup agave

1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Prepare the zucchini following my tips above and set it aside.

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The grated zucchini will be added last.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix together. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs together and then add the remaining “wet ingredients.

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Dry ingredients: flours, oats, cacao powder, etc.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly mix together until well combined. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips last. Transfer the batter to the muffin tin, filling each space nearly full.

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Ready for the oven.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, they have finished baking and can be removed to cool. If not, let them cook for another couple of minutes, keeping a close eye on them.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to finish cooling on a rack. This recipe will produce a dozen muffins.

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The final product.

These muffins are slightly dense and while they are fairly moist right from the oven, they may dry out a little. I would suggest warming them up before serving. As a straight-up muffin, I added a little drizzle of coconut oil to mine before eating it. (Butter or nut butter would be an option too.) But then I did this:

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Oh yes.

Remember my Guilt-free Chocolate Sauce recipe a while back? You’re welcome!