It seemed that this weekend was all about cooking and eating! This post will have recipes for a Green Monster, Blueberry Orange Muffins, and a Tex-Mex soup that is the soup version of a “junk salad.” (A junk salad is a salad that is a bunch of miscellaneous ingredients tossed in a bowl to make a salad.)

In preparation of next week’s 10K and my questionable right leg, I needed to try a run to see what my current situation was. I should have practiced outside, but I didn’t want to get too far from home if I really needed to stop. So onto the treadmill. The goal was 3 miles at a slow steady pace, and I ended up going 5! I was surprised and thankful that something I have been doing this last week is working.

I have told you I am a slow runner, but I ran 5 miles in 55 minutes, which is actually faster than my usual pace. I will keep up with the icing and stretching, and hope that next week goes well! At least I have a little more confidence than the last few days. Sunday I did a spinning class to rest my legs from the pounding.

Onto the eats! After the 5 miles on Saturday morning, I was starving by noon. Like could have eaten anything put in front of me. So I made a Green Monster and a PB&J Sandwich. It hit the spot! My green monster was basic and filling:

Green Monster:

1 banana

lots of spinach (2-3 cups?)

3/4 C milk (i didn’t measure)

1/2 Truvia sweetener

2 strawberries

handful of ice

blend away! it was thick and very tasty. If you have not had a Green Monster and are scared by the green, just try it! It tastes like banana, not spinach. And if you add berries, the smoothie turns purple.

The PB&J was Maranatha Creamy  PB, Crofter’s Superfruit Jam, and  Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread.

I will get better at picture taking.

Onto the next baking adventure:

For Mother’s Day brunch, I made Blueberry Orange muffins by Ingredients Inc.

These muffins were very tasty and had a strong orange flavor. Good strong. The batter was very thick, and they did make exactly 16 muffins. I made them Saturday and served them on Sunday. I thought by Sunday they were a little sticky, but they still got eaten. I have made other baked goods from this website and always freeze them to eat for breakfast. That definitely helps toughen up the muffin or loaf, so I will try that with these leftovers.

The last meal was Sunday night dinner for two. It was a Tex-Mex soup. I almost feel embarrassed to serve this because it requires no effort. A great way to empty your pantry!

Tex-Mex Soup:

2 cans Great Northern Beans

2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 can corn

1 onion

1 tsp cumin

handful cilantro

1 package ranch dressing mix

1/2 pack taco seasoning mix

cheese and tortilla chips for topping

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

Cook chicken first, then mix everything else in soup pot and let simmer until ready to eat. Very spicy!

I served with side salad.

A few other pictures from the weekend:

I want part of my blog to be focused on Houston, so today I list some of my favorite local restaurants and why I think they are so great. I’ve only been here for about two years, so I know I’ll find more fun places. The four below are casual spots. Perhaps a later post will be for some nicer restaurants, but you could find reviews of those in any magazine!

1. Ruggles Green

From their website: Ruggles Green is Green Restaurant Certified by the Green Restaurant Association. We offer delicious menu items that incorporate organic, all-natural, hormone-free, preservative-free, products that are always delicious. We strive to preserve the environment through our actions in recycling, conservation, the use of sustainable products, and simple common sense.

Favorite menu items are their Tofu and Tomato Salad, and the Veggie Nut Burger. Also great are the Sweet Potato Fries, Jenny Dipper salad, and the Hi Protein Hempenadas. Just eating at a Certified Green restaurant makes you feel like you’re doing something right!

2. Stone Mill Bakers

This bread shop and lunch spot is a favorite for an indulgent and carb-loading day. First, huge samples are available of muffins, cookies, or breads. That is always a good start! And their sandwiches are just as tasty as their baked goods. My favorite is Turkey Avocado on Honey Whole Wheat. And the sandwiches come with a cookie! All homemade, all delicious. Not that you want to look, but the nutritional info is listed on their website.

3. Picnic

Another super-cute lunch/dessert place is Picnic. What a cute name! Their website even has a list of local spots to have a picnic in Houston, and your box lunch comes in a picnic box if it’s to go. But 9 of 12 months of the year are too hot for that. Their tuna salad and chicken salad plates are delicious, and again, come with a cookie! All homemade right on the spot. I think homemade breads make a restaurant even better. Cookies, soups, and breads change daily, so you have to keep going back to taste them all.

4. French Gourmet Bakery

I don’t have a picture of the best cookies in town, but their iced ginger and chocolate chip cookes are fabulous. Their phone customer service is not great, and the outside decor will give you flashbacks to the 1980s, but their goods make up for it. They have a lunch menu, but I have never tried it. I have only had the cookies, and they are good!

Inspired by The Healthy Everythingtarian’s  post on her pantry staples, I am giving you my foods that I cannot live without, and what I do with these foods. Many of these products are new to me since following more food bloggers. Foodies know what foodies like.

1. Greek yogurt: Chobani Vanilla or Oikos Vanilla

These yogurts, of which I buy both because I can’t pick a favorite, are fantastic. High in protein, low in sugar and calories, and tasty. I like them for breakfast, to mix into baking, and for snacks with cereal. Deelish.

2. Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter and Co.’s Chocolate Dreams or Maranatha’s No Stir Creamy

I cannot tell you how rich and creamy the PB &Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams is. Its nutritional info is similar to other peanut butters and maybe a little lower (170 cals/2 T, 13 g fat, 6g protein) but this is just so delicious and heavenly. You must go find it. There are other flavors in the brand that I have not tried, like Cinnamon Swirl?! That’s next on my list.

Maranatha is great too for the traditional peanut butter. I like them both with bananas. Ingredients are peanuts, oil, sugar, salt. No HFCS or Hydrogenated Oils. Watch out for those in your peanut butters!

3. Fiber One Original

 

I have been eating Fiber One since before they had multiple flavors and bars. I actually like it plain! But it is best  mixed with a second cereal and yogurt. And Hungry Girl can tell you a million ways to use Fiber One in cooking and baking.

A great way to start the morning with almost 60% of your daily fiber and 60 cals per 2/3 cup.

4. Apples

You know what an apple looks like. These are great for afternoon snacks with item 5. And if you microwave it with some granola and cinnamon, it’s a fake apple pie!

5. Laughing Cow Cheese

At 35 calories per wedge, Laughing Cow cheese in different flavors goes great with apples. Also spreads on breads or bagel well instead of cream cheese. Can be melted into omelettes, and Hungry Girl has a million ways to use these too. Sister brand Babybel is great too, but not for spreading.

I have been trying to be a runner for many years, but my longest distance is about 6.5 miles on the treadmill. Outdoors it was my recent 10K. When running long distances, or running frequent short distances, something always starts to hurt the next day, and this has gone on for years!

My shin, foot, knee, hip. Geez! My legs are just a mess. Yesterday, I may have finally gotten the answer! But first…

I started wearing orthotics years ago to correct over-pronation in my feet. I bought Asics shoes that are deeper to fit an orthotic and help with the pronation. I refurbished the orthotics after regular wear and tear. Still through all this, annoying pain. I even stopped running for over a year because I was tired of dealing with the annoyances and didn’t want to hurt myself more.

But I want to run, I like it, I want to have a goal. I want to be faster, stronger, have more endurance.

I am signed up for a second 10K next Sunday, and have been training very moderately since I know I can complete the distance, just need to keep up the endurance. 4-5 miles for long runs with a short run during the week (3 miles usually). And crosstraining. That should be perfect and painless! So then why are my shin and hip still flaring up enough for me to take notice?!

I don’t know, but I am tired of it. So back to the podiatrist and Google I go. First from Google, I self-diagnosed myself with hip bursitis, occasional Runner’s  Knee, and shin splints. All are bad and can lead to stress fractures if not treated. And what’s the usual treatment? Rest and not running. But I want to run! I don’t want to stay on the elliptical! It’s not the same!

The podiatrist had a new answer that I had not heard of. Limb Length Discrepancy!  Huh? I have one leg longer than the other? I have not noticed this before. Well it makes sense. My right leg is just centimeters longer than the left, so I overpronate even more when I run to make them even. And the bouncing on outdoor uneven surfaces makes it worse. And the foot pronation puts stress on my shin, that goes all the way to the outside of my hip because it’s lopsided from the left one.

If this diagnosis is correct, then a simple heel lift in the left shoe orthotic will even me out. No funky lopsided shoes needed.

I’m sure I will be updating here with what is happening and if the lift fixes the pain. But in the meantime, go measure your legs if you feel pain too!

Galaxy Granola

Bear Naked Granola

  

 

 

 

 

I love granola, but I feel best eating it when I know what’s in it, and that it’s good for me. For a long time, I ate Bear Naked Granola because I liked their story, their grassroots background, and of course the taste. But I always ate it in moderation because it has 7 grams of fat per 1/4 cup serving. That is a lot! I know, good fats, etc. But it can’t be that good. Also calorie dense.Then I recently discovered Galaxy Granola. They bake their oats in fruit, not fat. Their servings are 115 calories per 1/4 cup and only 1.4 grams of fat. That’s a big difference!

On a blind taste test if I didn’t know the nutritional info, I would probably pick Bear Naked. Their chunks are more filling, and I like their Peak Protein product to bump up the protein. It’s also easier to find in regular grocery stores right now. But knowing the nutritional info, I just bought a new bag of Galaxy Granola. Hard to beat better stats for the same serving size. I recommend the Not Sweet Vanilla, and I just bought Raspberry (has real dried raspberries in it!)

Granola has never had a great reputation because of it’s fat content, so Galaxy’s push at lowering the fat wins in my book.

And by the way, my favorite way to eat granola is with cottage cheese.

Question of the day: Have you tried either? Which gets your vote?

 

My favorite thing to do on Sundays is bake and cook. When baking, I don’t have enough people to eat a whole batch of anything I make, so I freeze cookies, muffins, or loaves in single serving size pieces and eat them for breakfast or lunch or dessert. This weekend, I experimented with two recipes I found on other blogs.

First was Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies that I read about on Megan’s blog that she found from another blog. My cookies look different than hers, and the baking time was much shorter. Mine made 32 cookies, and bake time was 6-7 minutes. I had never used teff flour before, and I enjoyed trying it out! I really like to bake with the fewest ingredients possible, and this recipe had no eggs, oil, or sugar. They turned out very dense and tasty.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies

The second recipe was a hummus, and I don’t remember whose blog I found it on! This hummus had avocado and spinach mixed with cannellini beans to make it a mix of guacamole and hummus. Interesting!

Recipe:

1 can rinsed and drained cannellini beans

1/2 avocado

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 C spinach

2 cloves garlic

Juice of one lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Pulsed all together and this is what it looks like.

Green Hummus

If you are wondering why my blog is about food and fitness, read this article in the New York Times from April 7. There aren’t many Texas blogs that I follow, most are in the Northeast. To me, it’s strange to take photos of your food in public! I also started reading the blogs wondering why I cared what people eat for lunch? But I kept reading.

This article explains the phenomenon, and I hope you’ll keep reading as I write.

First Camera, Then Fork

By Kate Murphy

People are showing the world what they eat by taking picture of every meal and posting them online.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/dining/07camera.html

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