July challenge

The July 100 Challenge is over, and I rocked in 140 miles! It's mostly exciting because I'm not sure I've ever had that much mileage, and really enjoyed all the miles while doing them!

And last night I noticed that I do indeed have the start of little beans growing off the stalks. Finally! Hopefully they'll make it to full growth and not be ravaged by the squirrels.

We're off to Chicago this weekend for Mark and Lauren's wedding. Will maybe post a picture or two next week!



I've discovered a little bit more about why my zucchini plant has not been faring well: squirrels. I came out the door this morning and found a squirrel sitting in the pot. Of late the plant has been looking like it's being uprooted... and now I think I know why. Dang squirrels are digging in there.

I have yet to produce beans, and they're looking a little bit like the squirrels have been frolicking around in there, too. Oh well. At least my herbs are staying strong.

Tomorrow is the final day of Kelly and I's 100 mile July challenge. I'm over 100 as of right now, and excited to see what my total will be tomorrow after I run.

Tried a sundried tomato and white wine risotto in the crockpot last night... for how awesome it sounds like it would be (you can't go wrong with any of those ingredients) it was mostly just average. I want to keep trying other recipes with risotto though. It's got such a delicious texture.

Off to enjoy my favorite breakfast: honey nut scooters. :)


donkey exercises

Found these exercises the other day:

I did part 1 today after my run (I didn't find part 2 til later, with some help from my sister). Most of them felt pretty easy, but I could feel it stretching or working my muscles. The donkey whips were pretty difficult. I also love that there are exercises called donkey whips. It makes me want to do them even more.

I think I'm finding that I have my best runs first thing in the morning. I'll get up and have some coffee and read for a bit, then hit the road. Yesterday I dawdled around, had coffee, read, read some more, emailed with my sister, etc. When I finally ran it was a good run, but felt kind of stiff and uncoordinated. Today I had coffee and read and then got out there, and it felt better. I feel like if I wait too long my body gets settled in a different mode, a slower one, and runs feel more forced and awkward. But if I go before my body has really set itself for the day, it falls into a pace more naturally, and the run is often much smoother and flowing.

And a recipe from Dave, that I happened upon him eating when I came home from the store:

Do It Yourself Reese's:

One small bowl peanut butter
Chocolate chips

Stir and enjoy.


black bean spinach burgers

I recently found the blog www.enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com, by Camilla Saulsbury, and have really liked looking through it for recipe ideas. I saw black bean burgers in there and remembered how much I liked them, so decided to try them tonight. I also decided to read the recipe, but then kind of wing it in the kitchen. With somewhat mixed results...

I had some spinach in the fridge and thought it sounded good paired with the beans, so I decided to use it in the burgers, despite them not being in Camilla's recipe. I threw spinach and a few red pepper slices (instead of carrot, like Camilla) in the food processor, along with salt, red pepper flakes, and worcestershire. Once that was blended I added a can of black beans, drained and rinsed. I pulled the goop from the processor and mixed it together with bread crumbs until it held, then formed patties. Fried them up in olive oil along with some veggies - onion, peppers. Then served them on wheat buns with salsa (and cheese for Dave). I overprocessed after adding the beans and the mixture got too smooth (almost like hummus), so they didn't stay as firm as I would have liked, but still ended up being delicious. I think I'd like them even more without a bun, just cut up with other veggies, like a stir fry almost. I loved the black bean flavor. And the onions were delicious with a little salt, just getting sweet and caramelized... yum!

Camilla's burgers were an estimated 250 calories, and I would place these about the same, considering I didn't change much except add spinach and not use as many spices. We used the Arnold whole wheat sandwich thin buns - which are delicious! Try them!


I've been thoroughly enjoying trying some new things this summer - gardening on the fire escape with pots of zucchini, green beans, oregano, basil, and parsley - an increase in running with the addition of sprints, pushups, and crunches in the regimen - and trying new recipes, or seeing how well I do at making recipes up. As in all things, sometimes I win and sometimes I fail.

The garden is doing moderately well - the zucchini clearly needs more space, which I don't have to give. So far it has only produced 3-4 inch long zucs. The beans are tall but have yet to grow actual beans. The herbs, which admittedly I bought and just replanted in a box, are doing rather well, as far as I can tell. I've loved adding them to sauces, making pesto, throwing them in the crockpot.

Recipes sometimes turn out great - generally anything with olive oil and garlic is off to a great start - and sometimes are clearly missing the magic. But I'm gaining confidence in the kitchen and learning more about tastes and complimentary flavors... and also more about how much I enjoy the tangible, sensual (as in sense-filled) experience of the kitchen.

And running has been awesome this summer, happily. Recently I read Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall, and it was pretty big in changing my thoughts about running. I've always enjoyed running, but this book somehow brought that joy alive, or maybe just showed me what it looks like in others more dedicated to the sport than I. In any case, I've really been focusing more on running - not for any other reason other than the enjoyment. Sometimes I run to be fast, sometimes I run an easy, open run, just to hear my feet and breath. Sometimes I run to see how far I can go, how tired I can get. Sometimes I go because I need the energy. In any case, it's really helped me connect with my body, in a mysteriously healing sort of way. And adding in sprints (I'm by no means fast) has helped increase my pace on regular runs. I'm really loving pushing myself and seeing new results, not for competition or personal gain, but just in a kind of marvel at my body and what it's capable of, what it's created for.

So this blog is an exploration of some of those things, and more, I'm certain. Less of a day to day, maybe, and more of the little things I find along the way.