Friday, October 29, 2010

Punkin Love

My love for pumpkin runs deeps. My favorite part of fall is the return of wintersquash, and I get twitterpatted when the organic canned pumpkin appears on the Trader Joes shelves. While I have never had the (in)famous Starbucks Pumpkin Latte, I know I will adore everything that is graced with the presence of said squash. I love it so much that my roommate remarked that I can't even take the time to enunciate all consonants in puMPkin. I have a sincere infatuation with punkin.

So I decided to throw a pumpkin party.

The Eats
I made the famous Isa Chandra's pumpkin pie brownies. Yes they are vegan, no they aren't exactly healthy (although I DID sub ww pastry flour for all purpose) Yes they are DELICIOUS. but apparently I failed to take a picture...
I am currently without a blender or food processor (oh gods of Vitamix, bless me now!) but I really wanted to make Ricki's Curried Pumpkin Hummus so I took TJ's original hummus, added pumpkin and the spices and called it good. and it was. (girl's gotta be resourceful ya know!)
Sarah brought pumpkin whoopie pies, homemade!
Naveen brought vegan pumpkin pie, done two ways
1/2 with cashew cream, whole wheat crust, loved it! He also brought a vegan pumpkin cupcake from Kickass Cupcakes. Naveen always has my back
Olivia's mom could not believe they were vegan they were so good. Once again vegan doesn't always mean healthy... but i love them all.
oh yea and 2 mothers attended my party. it was fantastic
Pam and Julie. As wonderful as their daughters
I also made pumpkin syrup, which didn't get much use during the night, but was delicious in my coffee the next morning
Kerry brought the most amazing pumpkin cinnamon rolls-VEGAN!!! She kindly posted the recipe here, they were beyond fantastic. I've never made my own vegan cinnamon rolls, because I remember the intense cinnamon roll process with my mother as a kid.
The Line-Up

I ravaged 4 of the liquor stores within 1 mi radius of my apartment for their pumpkin beer. (and made the morning of the Star Market Liquor Store cashier buy purchasing a $45 variety of brews. at 8:30 am.)
The Starting Line-up: Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Shipyard PumpkinHead, Southern Tier PumKing, Dogfish Punkin, Post Road Pumpkin Ale.
My fabulous guests added Wolevers Organic, Saranc Pumpkin Ale, Great Harvest Pumpkin Ale, a growler of Opa Opa Pumpkin Ale.
our fridge was full of pumpkin beer. not a bad thing
Won my Heart:
My favorite pumpkin beers were the Saranc Pumpkn Ale, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin and Southern Tier Pumking. Sweet like pumpkin pie! (Full Disclosure-I never claimed to have a refined beer palate, but do have an infamous sweet tooth!) I can't claim to be a real beer reviewer, so if you want to see the "experts" opinions, check it Beeradvocate's Top Pumpkin Ales
The Piece de resistance:
I made pumpkin vodka. (1 L vanilla vodka, 5 cinnamon sticks, 1 sugar pumpkin. let sit for 10 days). It was beyond amazing. Making it again soon, i promise. Silky smooth and no need for mixers.
Cheers! here's to the people that helped make my pumpkin fantasies come true:

Getting so much beta-carotenePumpkin float: Pumpkin beer + pumpkin ice cream. CJ approved.
Did you know pumpkins can be incorporated in your workout?? why notEmily and I

Needless to say, the party was a smashing success (despite the lack of Smashing Pumpkin songs blasting in the background) My belly was feeling pumpkin-wonderful by the end of the night, but not at all sick of that sweet orange gourd.

Any favorite pumpkin recipes? Halloween costume ideas?? I'm a huge halloween lovah, so
Have a Happy Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not: Student Food Rescue

Every Wednesday from 8-10 I join my new friends Erin and Sharrod for Student Food Rescue. The Community Service Center at BU asked that I write a post about it, so even though it's also published here, I thought I'd include it below!

There aren’t many things that will get a college student out of bed at 8am any day of the week. Yet Boston University Community Service Center has committed groups of volunteers that participate in their food runs at all hours of the day, 5 days a week. Letting 15-passenger vans loose on the city of Boston, they rescue perfect food that would normally be headed to the landfill. Local businesses such as Clear Flour Bread, Lyndell’s Bakery, Whole Foods,Starbucks, the GSU, Au Bon Pain and many more donate delicious items that although not sold in the stores are perfectly fine to consume. They just need someone to get these products from the production site to local food kitchens, women’s shelters and foodbanks. That’s where SFR comes in. With a set route in place and a two hour window of time, these volunteers navigate one-way streets, winding roads, and (in)famous Boston Traffic to get the job done. Here’s a day in the life of Student Food Rescue:

7:50 am: Erin picks up the keys from the CSC office.

8:00 am: We all meet up in the Fuller parking lot and slam the doors shut on “Old Red”.

8:01 am: Radio on, DJs got us falling in love again.

8:07 am: Sharrod takes the U-turn in front of Warren Towers, swerving around a herd of freshmen bbm-ing while illegally crossing the street.

8:15 am: All the way up Comm Ave to Washington Street, we get into the Whole Foods parking lot and pull up at the Loading Dock. Admire a huge pile of freshly delivered pumpkins, and get to work boxing up the donations.

8:20 am: 5 boxes of lightly dented packages of everything from brown rice & coconut water to organic fruit snacks & applesauce get shoved into the back seats cause I love you, just the way you are.

8:30 am: Barreling down Verndale Street, we wait on a Traffic Jam at Harvard Ave.

8:40 am: We make our way to Cambridge and Somerville, fist pumping to “I Like It” ala Jersey Shore.

8:55 am: Pass through Harvard, make me feel like I’m living in a Teenage Dream.

9:15 am: Sweet smells of butter and sugar, in heavenly union waft through as we pick up 2 boxes of pastries and a huge bag of bread from Lyndell’s Bakery

.9:16 am: We all show utmost restraint in not sneaking a taste of these heavenly goods. Erin cradles the boxes on her lap so tragedy does not strike.

9:30 am: Somerville to Boston involves a lot of weaving around construction, navigating one-way streets, high ways and a left exit on Storrow Drive

9:45 am: We make it in one piece to the Safe Haven for Women, and a team of their volunteers comes out to help us unload the goods. They are hugely appreciative and “ooo” and “ahh” over our collection.

9:50 am: After another round of Thank Yous we head back down Comm Ave, park the van, swap a round of high-fives and carry on with our day. Cause we’re fly like a G-6.

I have been so extremely fortunate in my life, that I try to give back to my community, and naturally food,-related activities are my favorite form of service! Do you volunteer anywhere?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Love Food

Happy Monday!

Life is feeling very crazy right now, but in a good way. I just need to make sure I am prioritizing the correct things, and getting my work done. So I briefly wanted to point your in the direction of a few posts:

-Surprise, Surprise, I love food! But I love talking with people about and sharing/creating food memories even more. Read My Food Story on Guiltless, and share yours!

But not all love is sweet:-A break up letter to sugar. perfection

_8 Myths about Vegetarians and Vegetarian Nutrition: Busted! oh and Ps-it's cheaper to be vegan. aka Why I can shop at Whole Foods.

-Interested in becoming a vegetarian endurance athlete? Sign up for No Meat Athlete's E-course! (it's free!!)

-listen to Willow Smith's Whip my Hair and watch Kanye West's Runaway. I am slightly obsessed with both. Also 8 Mashup artists that aren't girltalk, but still rock!

-Obsessing over superskinny celebrities can harm YOUR health. let's celebrate all of our beauty!

-inspired by the letterjar I wrote a friend a real letter last night. read this blog-it's fantastic
-I also wrote myself a letter, via I think it's a great way to check up on your own goals/dreams/desires. Also I love this list: Top 10 ways to be reminded of your goals

Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself. -Lucille Ball

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspired by: Expo East

Yea, I pulled the Press line to get into Expo East. Yes It was amazing/inspiring/a lot of fun
And surprisingly, it was a lot more about the people than the food for me. Because as much as I LOVE food, trying new products, and new taste, I love Talking with people about food, and exercise even more. I came across some amazing people this Friday morning.
Meeting my two vegan fitness heros Robert Cheeke and Brendan Brazier was excellent. I adore the entire Vega Team-such a great company and crew! Plus their products are superb (LOVING the Chocolate Shake N Go right now! and I swear by their sports drink-crushes gatorade)
If you want to read Robert's book-check out this great Vega + signed book deal he is offering.

Talked with One Coconut for quite some time.
Interesting Industry stat; 60% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Drink up! They also have a new line of "active" drinks but I prefer straight up coconut water. Plain please. Looking at their website, I actually really liked their "about us" section-cool entrepreneurial story!
Harmless Harvest: Creating Positive Feedback Loops between Man and Wild.
One of my favorite new company nobody's ever heard (YET) of was Harmless Harvest. A very passionate group of young entrepreneurs from Brazil and New York City who had me "taste the forest." I must agree that their young coconut water was the best I've tasted, besides straight from the coconut!
Camucamu seems to be the new "it" indigenous superfood-apparently it has ridiculous levels of vitamin C. Keep your eyes on this team-I think they're going to go very far! (plus, their excellent logo-designed by Justin's sister
Purely Elizabeth
I finally met the lovely Elizabeth of Purely Elizabeth. She's so great and I love her products. (vegan gluten free, healthy baking mixes that taste delicious!)("our story" here)
Get Hot with Prometheus
The dapper gentlemen of Prometheus Springs were there and I fired up my tastebuds with a doublethreat of Lychee wasabi + extra capsaicin.
Rahul with the tincture
A bottle of Prometheus Springs has 3 drops of capsaicin tincture in it. Rahul one-upped that and put 3 more drops in my 1oz taste. Capsacin-delic. Loved it! (Luckily Luna and Larry's vegan coconut milk ice cream was right next store to sooth my tastebuds)

Celeb Sighting: Snagged a picture w Bob of Bob's Red Mill.
yes, THE Bob
I also met my twitterfriend, the adorable EmilyCarterS w Chobani

In other news: Glutenfree is still the buzzword and I heard all sorts of b.s. about sweeteners. (I'm a stevia chick and non-white sugar girl all the way, but don't try to slap a health halo on "evaporated cane juice" you can't slip the wool over my eyes!) The best take-away I got from this was inspiration by all these food companies, salespeople, and representatives. The world is full of entrepreneurs, and now is the time to seize the natural/organic food market. I look forward to seeing what they do next!

Have you tried any fun new foods lately??

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why I'm a Runner

The week after a marathon is always surreal. Your body isn't quite sure what to do with itself. It is simultaneously exhausted but energetic, fatigued and sore by dying to run.
The week has been spent letting my muscles recover, which means only walking, no running, eliptical-ing, zumba-ing, yoga-ing, and stretching daily (+ a trip to the hot tub. best.decision.ever). This downtime, on top of the recaps and responses to friends, family, professors have given me time to reflect on why I do this. Why run 26.2 miles? Why do I enjoy it so? What is this runners high? and more importantly, how the hell did I get to this place??

I know that I think clearest on my long runs. I know the beauty of self-reflection that comes during hours on the road. I'm the driver of a vehicle that sails along at a reasonable pace, allowing me to keenly observe the world around me while learning about my true self. 26.2 is a long ways, mentally and physically, and every time I do it, I feel like I can truly accomplish anything. Running clears my mind, soothes my soul and makes me feel ALIVE.

I'm reading
Once a Runner, and while it is a good read, i was never a runner. In highschool i was on the debate team. I never considered myself athletic. I danced seriously from age 3 to 14. Once that had to come to an end I took up 3 mi runs to get "in shape" for a month-long backpacking trip. I enjoyed waking up early to get a run in before school. I begin to see myself as fit, but even as my mileage increased I've always had a hard time identifying myself as a runner, that elite class of individual, who finds joy in mile repeats, hill workouts and waking up before the crack of dawn to get a long run in. I may not fit the body-type stereotype for a runner. I'm not willowy. My race photos are not graceful. But I'm persistent. I go out there and try my best. And that's what makes me an athlete. I may be 7 minutes away from qualifying for boston but I am still a runner.

This transition hasn't been the easiest one. I find myself wallowing in self-doubt and negative comparisons. "oh I don't want to run with her/him, I'll feel slow, and I don't want to drag them down." In the middle of the race I had to shove these thoughts away. Put them on a far away shelf and dig deep into the strength that I know I have. Because I have no "baseline", because I'm never searching for that "oh well, in 8th grade i had a 5 min/mi" I have to continuously surprise myself by what my body can do. The mind can not comprehend that what it has not yet experienced, and my 10 minute mile jogger self had no idea what it felt like to run 4 miles in 28 minutes. But now I know I can do that. I know that I can finish a sweltering marathon in 3:47 minutes, and not feel sore 4 days later. So what's next? I know qualifying for Boston is right within my grasp. I want to push my boundaries, I want to run faster I want to run further.

Change is a the only constant in life. What changes are you going through?

ps It's Fat Talk Free Week, and next Sunday is National Love your Body day. I would love for you to join me in some self love!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dancing with Graditude

Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.
Sylvia Plath
This past week on Guiltless I wrote about Gratitude. You can read it here, but I just wanted to say that I am oh so grateful for all those people who have supported my various endeavors. Who have never doubted what I can do, even when I questioned my abilities. I know I can't take for granted this love, nor the power of my body. My brilliant little sister said "Gratitude is a goddess that gives without asking for anything in return. Lift your hands and ask her to dance."(you should really read her entire post on graditude here. It will make you cry.)

Have an amazing weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

10-10-10 Chicago Marathon

10-10-10 The Date to Motivate and the day I'd been counting down to for a very long time. The Chicago Marathon had arrived!! After a painless flight Roxie and I arrived in Chicago and navigated the CTA to our Hotel downtown.
We were living the posh life at hotel burnham on the top floor.
Lovin the animal print robes.
Once Teresa got in we decided to walk the 3 miles to the expo center, since I get stir-crazy if I don’t move at all. The walk was gorgeous, perfect weather, and we got to see a bit of Grant Park and downtown Chicago.

I love how open it was. Big and bustling, but not as stressed/anxious as NYC and more big-city feeling than Boston. Plus the people were tall and friendly. I can see myself returning very soon.

I also love race expos. The excitement of picking up your number,

being surrounded by running feigns

and then digging into your swag bag just builds the excitement even more. A lot of great vendors were present, and we snagged some mini larabars, and a whole myriad of the other goodies.

truth-also check out this fascinating article about the diet of kenyan marathoners

Check out this haul!

The people at Tribe Hummus even gave me an “I’m Veggie” T-shirt-LOVE IT! We also just haddd to get a beer mug from Goose Island Brewery, the official brew of the race. We also each decided to register for a Nike Pace Group. Since I totally forgot to submit a race time, I was in an open corral rather than a seeded start, and I figured a pace group was a great way to keep yourself paced right. I knew I wanted to get under a 4 hr marathon so I picked up a 3:55 goal.

We had an excellent dinner at Zapatistos, a busy Mexican restaurant in the Western loop, and then we got to bed early. The night before the night before the marathon (Friday for a Sunday race) is most important sleep-wise. I’m blessed in that I can sleep on and through anything, anywhere, so I had no trouble getting a full 8 hrs sleep.

We were pounding water like it was a drought all day. Saturday we decided to get a little pre-race jog in, and the Green City Market was located a perfect 2.5 miles away, so off we went.

Such a great, year-round market! Thanks Jessica for the recommendation! T got Apples,

Roxie a delicious smoothie,

and I snagged some Kale. Lunch at the hotel and then we wandered around until R’s boyfriend Dan arrived and we went to a Pasta Party some of his runner friends were having. We made sure our outfits were laid out before heading off to bed, trying to subdue any pre-race nerves.

28328 10-10-10 I love symmetry

Race morning arrived, warm. It was 65 degrees when we left the hotel at 6 am, and would only get warmer. I ate oatmeal with chia seeds and a peach for breakfast at 5 am, and then an orange at 6:30 on our way to the start.

sleepy eyes. but we are ready to slaughter this race!!

After checking our gear we waited in an impossibly long line of last-minute porta-potty-ers, and then hurried to the started corral, which was beyond packed. At these point we hugged each other farewell, with good luck wishes, and went to our separate nike pace groups.

I enjoy running with others, but everyone runs their own race, and unless you know you will be running the same pace, I find it difficult to plan on that for an entire race. I tried to find Rebecca Scritchfield, since I knew we were planning on running the same pace, but she was lost in the sea of people. Not very surprising since we started with other 38,000 other racers. At 7:30 the race officially started, but I could barely see the start line from my corral. We slowly walked forward, and watch-less I crossed the start line. Later I would find out we started about 8 minutes behind the official time, but during the race I was never sure exactly what my pace or time would be. I just went with it. I stayed with my pace group for a while, knowing that I would be under 4 hrs if I just stayed with those steady stallions. I was feeling good though, and started to push to the front and pass that group, as we looped around downtown and headed north. I caught the 4:50 pace group around mile 7. I had to make a super speedy bathroom run at mile 9, but sprinted back to that pace group afterward, causing that split to not even deviate from the prior ones. At this same time loudspeakers announced that the “threat level” had changed from green to yellow-moderate threat. In 2007 there were record heats and over 300 runners were hospitalized and one died. After this race officials added more aid and water stations and enacted this “threat” system. I was very glad for the extra hydration, but seeing a threat level rise is not exactly something you want to hear when you’re a third of the way done with your race. Around mile 10 somehow Eric Kaye found me and we ran together for a mile or so. It was great seeing a twitter-friend on the course, and I have no idea how we could find me, since we’ve never met in person. It really made my day though! The course was packed though, and I felt like I was constantly weaving and dodging through people. The entire race. I expected it to thin out a little at some point, but start to finish you were elbow to elbow with other racers. While this was a good thing in that it was very motivating, it was also a bit annoying at some points. 26.2 miles is the shortest length on a marathon course, and with all the dodging and weaving I did over those 4 hrs, I know I did at LEAST 27. My shoes/feet/legs/outfit held up great though!

I really have to applaud the thousands of volunteers and spectators who devoted their Sunday morning to the race. Their efforts were a tremendous help. During the entire race I had three gels, and Gatorade + water at about every other station. I didn’t take any of the bananas or oranges they were handing out (even saw spectators handing out gummy bears, hard candy and pretzels), because bananas and I don’t get along when I’m running. The water and Gatorade were a saving grace, as the temperatures climbed between 86-88 degrees.

Mentally and Physically it was a great race for me. There was so much going on around me I didn’t feel bored at any point, and only had to use my mantras near the very end. The clearly marked miles, and constant cheering really pushed me forward. It was a pretty painless morning. Around mile 22 I was ready for the race to be over, and I ran with a middle-aged man for a while. He came up from behind me and said that I was looking great, and was quite a bit ahead of my pace group. I thanked him, and it really gave me extra confidence that I could finish this race ahead of my goal. I stuck with the 3:50 pace group for the last 3 miles, and gathered all the extra strength I had to push it for the last mile.2. One hill, and a straightaway and I had reached the finish line. My legs felt ready to crumble. Slowing down to a walk with oh so painful. All I wanted to do was sit, but I knew I had to keep moving to slowly cool my muscles down and work out some of the lactic acid. I wobbled to take my medal, grab a banana, bagel, water, and a beer. One sip of that beer was wayyy more than enough for me and I tossed it soon afterward. I just can’t do that run and beer thing. I was oh so lucky and spotted Teresa right there, and we hobbled together to the gear check. Sun rays beating down we just stood for awhile, so excited about what we just did, in the heat, and trying to cool down. We needed to find some shade so we headed to the “27th mile”

Before seeking shade under the Bank of America Pavillion we checked our official times. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that I got 3:47:04! I was ecstatic! For their first time both Roxie and Teresa killed it! I was so happy for them, and I’m so glad they committed to doing this with me. Once again, I have some of the best friends in the world.

We eventually got showered and ate dinner at Goose Island Brewery near Wrigley field. Even though our race came with a complimentary beer ticket, the last thing I wanted at mile 27th was 32 oz of brew. But several hours later, Sweet potato fries and a vegan veggie burger hit.

sweet potato fries with cinnamon and spicy chipotle dipping sauce? divine.

Such a perfect weekend!

What’s next? Well I know that with more speedwork in my training I could qualify for Boston (I would need to run under 3:40). I am looking in to winter/early spring races. I know that I want to keep my mileage high (we’ll see what happens once the first ice storm hits). Perhaps I’ll also attempt some shorter races, since anything under a half scares me, and I need to face those fears. I want to complete a 50 miler before next September and have been talking with some friends that may want to train with me.

What did you do on 10-10-10??? Hope it was memorable!