Post-Pace Run Thoughts

Haven’t been very amped for running or marathon training the past few weeks (mentally and physically), but being out this morning in perfect mid-50s temperature with my best friend reminded me that I still do love running, and helped me finally find a rhythm again. Thanks babe.

Holy yums, this is good!
Creamsicle Green Smoothie3/4-1 navel orange 1 cup unsweetened almond milk1 scoop Vega vanilla protein powder1 drop of lemon extract2 generous handfuls of butter lettuce
BAM.

Holy yums, this is good!

Creamsicle Green Smoothie
3/4-1 navel orange 
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop Vega vanilla protein powder
1 drop of lemon extract
2 generous handfuls of butter lettuce

BAM.

V v. V

Hello world! 

In my first post back from hibernation, I’d like to address a pressing matter in the context of racing. My dear boyfriend has just gifted me a marathon as part of my Christmas gift (that he will train for and do with me!!!), and I’m super excited! However, it’s a bit of a “choose your own adventure” scenario, and he has narrowed it down to two races that are ideal in terms of timing and weather: Vancouver USA (in Vancouver, WA) and BMO Vancouver (in Vancouver, Canada). We want to register fairly soon since both races are capped, and registration fees will increase, but I’m torn between the two.

Here are some lists I put together…don’t have a strong rating system for them yet, just kinda listing facts that seem relevant. As you can see, there are a lot of positives to both, and some pretty arbitrary stuff as well.

Vancouver USA: June 15, 2014
- loop course, so will pass some of the same things twice (is that extra motivating? or boring?)
- flatter of the two
- Runner’s World recommended it as a great new race
- probably a bit hotter (5 weeks later and further South)
- cheaper (both the registration fee and travel)
- near Portland, which Jeff & I both really like!
- more of a buffer between this race and Tough Mudder (April 12 & 13), which my friend Emily wants me to do with her
- marathon fee includes free admission to Vancouver’s 3-day Summer Brewfest…which might be nice for Jeff if it were not coinciding with his first marathon (??)
Promo video: https://vimeo.com/70754520
Reviews: http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=3638140615


Vancouver CAN: May 4, 2014
- out and back, scenic course…won’t see the same thing twice
- still pretty flat, but some long rolling hills that are apparently a lot harder than they seem
- Forbes-recommended destination race
- likely cooler but still nice running conditions
- Jeff and I can both run 26 miles when we’re 26 years old! (this is within the small time frame when we are the same age)
- I hear there are lots of porta-potties at the start :)
- in a cool city that we’ve never visited (though probably won’t get to explore much; gotta rest up!)
- mile markers every 5 miles since it’s in Canada (every km is marked)
Reviews: http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=21140504

Both seem to have provided good, healthy bagged lunches after the race in the past, are pretty small (capped at 5000), have fairly mild weather, and are Boston qualifiers.
More comparison here.

Has anyone done these races? Which do ya’ll think I should go for?
(photo courtesy of my old triathlon team, Zoom Multisport, and many teammates who ran or watched the race)
In honor of Boston, a resilient city I love, and home to even more resilient people and a racing community that won’t be broken <3
"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Violence is never justified.  Wishing everyone safety, love, and peace, and sending many positive thoughts back East!

(photo courtesy of my old triathlon team, Zoom Multisport, and many teammates who ran or watched the race)

In honor of Boston, a resilient city I love, and home to even more resilient people and a racing community that won’t be broken <3

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Violence is never justified.  Wishing everyone safety, love, and peace, and sending many positive thoughts back East!

Speaking of Chloe…here’s my review of her new book on Chic Vegan!  See original article here: http://chicvegan.com/theres-something-about-chloe-review-of-chloes-vegan-desserts

There’s Something About Chloe: Review of Chloe’s Vegan Desserts

There’s Something About Chloe: Review of Chloe’s Vegan Desserts

Those who have never heard of Chloe Coscarelli might very well do a double take if they stumble upon her latest book, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, while browsing the desserts section of their local bookstore. Upon closer look, a slew of thoughts run through their minds: “Who is this beautiful lady who looks like she is positively radiating with happiness? Are those mint leaves and flowers on those delectable-looking cupcakes? These are all vegan? I want them (all 16 mouth-watering photographs on the back cover alone) in my mouth right now!”

Those who have heard of or seen Chloe speak already know she has the charm and enthusiasm to match that big glowing smile, as well as the kitchen saavy and creativity to win all three rounds and the grand prize on Cupcake Wars back in 2010, making her the first vegan chef to ever win a Food Network Challenge. She won over many viewers and food lovers alike with this and subsequent TV appearances, sharing her genuine passion for making accessible, animal product-free versions of comfort foods without ever compromising texture or taste.  Indeed, her debut cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way, earned VegNews’ 2012 Cookbook of the Year Award.

Her latest book, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, continues to reinforce why this young Californian chef has found so much success. Not only is the book filled with gorgeous photographs of moist, decadent desserts, it includes everything from classic birthday cupcakes to mud pies, cobblers, mojito cookies, chocolate babka, and everything in between (more than 100 recipes total)—all “veganized.” There is also a section dedicated to baking basics, including recipes for coconut whipped cream, pie crust, pastry crème, and more.

The recipes are all, frankly, quite ridiculously easy to follow, making this cookbook awesome for beginners and efficient veteran bakers alike. Besides the fact that one is spared from the messiness of baking with eggs and dealing with dairy and other potential allergens, Chloe’s desserts do not contain many of the vegan baking substitutes—applesauce, egg replacer powder, tofu, etc.—that many people assume are necessary for creating vegan desserts that rival their non-vegan counterparts. To accommodate readers who are gluten intolerant or want to cut back on wheat products, Chloe also includes special ingredient notes on how to substitute wheat flours for gluten-free flours and xanthan gum in her creations.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and Raspberry Swirl Coffee Cake...both hit the spot!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and Raspberry Swirl Coffee Cake…both hit the spot!

I’ve been fortunate enough to try out many of the recipes in the cookbook already, and they are a hit. Every single person has raved about the cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cobblers, and cakes that I’ve created thanks to Chloe! That’s a pretty impressive feat, seeing as my taste-testers hail from different nationalities and included quite a few picky non-vegans. Based on my experience with the book’s directions, the baking times listed can vary quite a bit, so set the timer for less than what is called for and check on your recipe every few minutes thereafter until you find the best configuration for your oven.

I also noticed that her recipes are easy to tweak if one is short on ingredients (type or portion), and when ready, are still promptly devoured by anyone within smelling range. So if you only have olive oil instead of canola, or decide to substitute whole-wheat pastry flour for unbleached all-purpose flour, things will more than likely be deliciously a-okay!

It is important to note that Chloe’s Vegan Desserts is NOT a health book. Chloe does incorporate a few predominately fruit-based desserts, as well as some treats containing natural sweeteners like dates and agave. But for the most part, those looking to cut back on sugar and oil will not necessarily find their match here; these desserts are meant to, after all, taste indistinguishable if not better than classic cream and butter-laden pies, cupcakes, and donuts (it’s still a wonder to me how Chloe stays so slim despite spending her days concocting these!). However, the sheer fact that Chloe keeps her ingredient lists short and free of any animal products automatically does make it a more healthful option than choosing the aforementioned cream and butter-reliant desserts, and trust me—you will not miss those ingredients one bit! But don’t take my word for it…try one of Chloe’s recipes for yourself! Below, with permission from her publisher, is her breakfast and dessert-friendly Tiramisu Pancakes (which also happens to be Chloe’s favorite recipe from the book).

Chloe's Tiramisu Pancakes

Chloe’s Tiramisu Pancakes

Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs instant espresso powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup water
¼ cup maple syrup
1 Tbs dark rum
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
Canola oil, for greasing
Powdered sugar, for serving
Coconut whipped cream, optional

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the water, maple syrup, and rum.
3. Add the liquid to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should have some lumps in it.
4. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or griddle and heat over medium-high heat.
6. Pour ¼ cup batter onto the skillet. When bubbles appear in the center of the pancake, flip it.
7. Let cook on the other side until lightly browned and cooked through, about 1 minute more.
8. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet as needed. If the batter becomes too thick, add a little more water, 1 tablespoonful at a time.
9. To serve, dust the pancakes with powdered sugar and top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream if desired.

Copyright © 2013 by Chloe Coscarelli from CHLOE’S VEGAN DESSERTS published by Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

To purchase the book and see a list of Chloe’s other publications (as well as other great recipes), please check out her website.

Connect with Chloe via Twitter and Facebook.

St. Patrick&#8217;s Day Chocolate Beer Cupcake with Avocado Whiskey Cream Frosting
My second year attempting a version of Chef Chloe&#8217;s Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Buttercream.  Try as I may to stick to recipes, I inevitably always deviate a bit (sometimes because I don&#8217;t have all the right ingredients) or end up adding my own twist.  This year, I made two big batches of these bad boys to share with friends and neighbors, many who are in the midst of stressful grad finals, and added a literal twist by topping them with avocado-based frosting (and a sprinkle of cocoa powder, not pictured).  It&#8217;s always such a joy cooking/baking something new (more so than actually eating it!), and this was no exception.  My friends from Mexico were especially enthused by the avocado frosting&#8230;they could not get over the &#8220;dessert guacamole,&#8221; haha!
Ingredients(make 12-13 cupcakes* and frosting to cover about 20 cupcakes)
Cupcakes (same as Chloe&#8217;s but used different flours):1 cup unbleached pastry flour½ cup whole wheat pastry flour1 cup brown sugar1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (check out Food Empowerment Project&#8217;s Chocolate List for chocolate/cocoa that isn&#8217;t sourced from areas where chocolate slavery still exists)1 tsp baking soda½ tsp salt1 cup stout beer (check out Barnivore for vegan-friendly stouts)½ cup canola oil2 Tbs apple cider vinegar (can also use white vinegar)1 Tbs vanilla extract

*The extra batter resulted in a 13th cupcake that didn&#8217;t fit into my cupcake pan.  I gave it a clover and dubbed it the drunk cupcake&#8230;see below ;)
Avocado Frosting:2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted (should be soft to the touch and bright green when opened!)2 cups powdered sugar1-2 Tbs whiskey or scotch1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions
1.  Whisk dry cupcakes ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cocoa powder) in a mixing bowl until well combined and no clumps appear.  2.  In a separate bowl or large mixing cup, whisk wet ingredients (oil, apple cider vinegar, stout, vanilla extract).  Add to dry ingredients and whisk together until well combined, being careful not to overmix.3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners or a thin layer of non-stick spray, and fill about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way with batter. Try to make them as even as possible so they bake evenly!4.  Bake for 14-20 minutes, depending on your oven (mine took about 15-16 minutes).  The cupcakes are ready when a toothpick comes out clean with a little bit of moist center sticking to it.5.  While cupcakes are baking/cooling, place powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.  Add in avocado in chunks, then remaining ingredients.6.  Mix by hand until ingredients are well combined and sugar is well incorporated into avocado.  Then, use a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer to beat for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Store covered in the fridge if not using right away.7.  When cupcakes are totally cooled off, frost them by either spreading a layer of green on each cupcake with a knife, or using a cupcake froster.  Devour right away or store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days (not in the fridge!  It won&#8217;t kill them but they won&#8217;t be as moist). Frosting may start to darken after a few hours/the next day, but will remain green&#8230;that&#8217;s what happens when you use nature&#8217;s colors, yo!

St. Patrick’s Day Chocolate Beer Cupcake with Avocado Whiskey Cream Frosting

My second year attempting a version of Chef Chloe’s Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Buttercream.  Try as I may to stick to recipes, I inevitably always deviate a bit (sometimes because I don’t have all the right ingredients) or end up adding my own twist.  This year, I made two big batches of these bad boys to share with friends and neighbors, many who are in the midst of stressful grad finals, and added a literal twist by topping them with avocado-based frosting (and a sprinkle of cocoa powder, not pictured).  It’s always such a joy cooking/baking something new (more so than actually eating it!), and this was no exception.  My friends from Mexico were especially enthused by the avocado frosting…they could not get over the “dessert guacamole,” haha!

Ingredients
(make 12-13 cupcakes* and frosting to cover about 20 cupcakes)

Cupcakes (same as Chloe’s but used different flours):
1 cup unbleached pastry flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (check out Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List for chocolate/cocoa that isn’t sourced from areas where chocolate slavery still exists)
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup stout beer (check out Barnivore for vegan-friendly stouts)
½ cup canola oil
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar (can also use white vinegar)
1 Tbs vanilla extract

*The extra batter resulted in a 13th cupcake that didn’t fit into my cupcake pan.  I gave it a clover and dubbed it the drunk cupcake…see below ;)

Avocado Frosting:
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted (should be soft to the touch and bright green when opened!)
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs whiskey or scotch
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1.  Whisk dry cupcakes ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cocoa powder) in a mixing bowl until well combined and no clumps appear.  
2.  In a separate bowl or large mixing cup, whisk wet ingredients (oil, apple cider vinegar, stout, vanilla extract).  Add to dry ingredients and whisk together until well combined, being careful not to overmix.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners or a thin layer of non-stick spray, and fill about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way with batter. Try to make them as even as possible so they bake evenly!
4.  Bake for 14-20 minutes, depending on your oven (mine took about 15-16 minutes).  The cupcakes are ready when a toothpick comes out clean with a little bit of moist center sticking to it.
5.  While cupcakes are baking/cooling, place powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.  Add in avocado in chunks, then remaining ingredients.
6.  Mix by hand until ingredients are well combined and sugar is well incorporated into avocado.  Then, use a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer to beat for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Store covered in the fridge if not using right away.
7.  When cupcakes are totally cooled off, frost them by either spreading a layer of green on each cupcake with a knife, or using a cupcake froster.  Devour right away or store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days (not in the fridge!  It won’t kill them but they won’t be as moist). Frosting may start to darken after a few hours/the next day, but will remain green…that’s what happens when you use nature’s colors, yo!

Drunk cupcake

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was hooked on Pudla!  Here’s some of the leftover breakfast batter from last night incorporated into a yumdelish dinner:  pudla, yellow lentils with ginger, onions, and sundried tomatoes, and an adapted version of Colacannon from Beer Advocate magazine (classic Irish dish with ale, potatoes, kale, leeks, cream).  

I don’t really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but having lived in Boston and loving to experiment in the kitchen, I’ll take an excuse to cook St. Pat’s-themed food  :)  Later on today, I’ll reattempt Chloe’s Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Buttercream…nom nom.

erinwyso:

Shiitake bacon! Recipe at www.olivesfordinner.com.

So making this soon!  Olives for Dinner is a great blog…big loving shout-out :)

A new brunch/anytime go-to!  Found this idea on a blog I follow and I think I’m hooked…they’re so quick @ easy to make, super customizable, and uber nutritious!  You can use your choice of seasoning, stuff them with your favorite veggie combos, and top with your favorite sauces or condiments.  This really hit the spot after a hard workout this morning.

Pudla! (version 1)

Ingredients
(makes 4-8 servings)

1 3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 - 1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vegetarian bouillon mix
1 cup scallions, finely chopped
1 large beefsteak tomato, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
Dashes of cumin, coriander, turmeric, Everyday Seasoning, 21 Seasoning Salute, and ground black pepper

Directions

1.  Mix dry ingredients together witha spoon or a whisk.
2.  Add in water slowly while mixing until pancake batter consistency is reached.
3.  Mix in scallions, beefsteak tomato, and mushroom slices.
4.  Spray a pan witha little bit of oil (optional…my batter didn’t stick to the pan at all!) and let heat up on medium setting.  Scoop spoonfuls of batter into the pan.
5.  When batter starts to bubble and become golden at the edges (1-2 minutes), use a spatula to flip your pudla!  Heat on other side for slightly less time.
6.  Enjoy plain or with your favorite toppings.  I had mine with slices of avocado and a tiny sprinkle of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos…two big thumbs up!

Nutrition facts per large serving of about 3 big pancakes (not including toppings) — this is pretty ridiculously healthy
Calories: ~288
Fat: ~5g
Sodium: ~385mg (can omit salty add-ins, like the bouillon powder, to cut this number down even more)
Carbs: 
~49g
Fiber: ~14g (fills you up!)
Sugar: ~9g
Protein: ~16g (keeps you full!)

Culinary adventures and training updates of a plant-based fitness & health enthusiast-turned-triathlete.

My interests include holistic health, cooking/gobbling up fresh produce, exercise, and contributing to a healthier, happier, and more compassionate world!

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