Watermelon Banana Smoothie

40 days of yoga.

For years I’ve wanted to participate in this program at Baron Baptiste, but I’ve always had some half marathon or triathlon or other crazy athletic adventure that got in the way. No way could I spend 40 days doing yoga… I have to run, swim, bike, jump, lift, etc., etc., excuse, excuse. Then this fall as I went to sign up for my next race I realized that every half in my area was sold out.

Took another look at the 40 days program. “Well it’s kind of expensive” I told myself. “Yea but so are tri’s and half’s and now you’re not doing that.” Valid point other half of my brain. What sealed the deal for me was that my favorite teacher was leading the 40 days. I often go through the motions when I go to yoga, listening, but not really retaining much. But when this one teacher speaks… I actually hear her. What she’s saying makes sense and I can apply her words of wisdom to my life. Revolutionary for someone who goes to yoga mainly cause it kicks my butt.

Part of 40 days along with the daily yoga and meditation, comes a 3 day fruit fast/cleanse half way though. As a runner I fundamentally opposed this at first. “But I NEED my carbs!” I thought. “True, but you’re not running right now… you’re doing yoga” said the other half. Also, I can do anything for 3 days. It’s just 3 days. Right?
Adapted from Kimberly Snyder.
Serves 3.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped watermelon
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • handful of raspberries

Place the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until completely combined.

I substituted coconut water because milk of any kind isn’t allowed in the cleanse. But I’ve made this before with almond milk and it rocked!

Sonoma Chicken Salad on Focaccia

Swim team season has started for me once again. After work a few days a week, and one day over the weekend I help coach some of Arlington’s finest swimmers at the Boys & Girls Club. The start of swim team is exciting. It marks the return of old friends you haven’t seen all summer, the return of smelling like chlorine all the time, and the return of outdoor adventures with the head coach Mr. D!

A couple Sunday’s ago Mr. D invited a bunch of us to go on a hike up Tully Mountain. The description of the day was “Meet at 10am. Pack a lunch. Home by dinner.” He’s a man of few words, but that’s what makes his trips exciting. You never know what’s going to happen haha.

Since it had been kinda cool out, I decided to go with a chicken salad sandwich figuring it would be pretty safe. Of course after I bought all the ingredients and made it, the temp skyrocketed to the mid-80s. Cautiously I threw in a few ice packs and that seemed to do the job =). I loved the flavor of the rotisserie chicken and the crunch of the pecans and celery. Sometimes I find chicken salad a little boring, but definitely not this one!
Modified from Whole Foods.
Serves 6.

Ingredients:
Dressing:

Salad:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  • 2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • Loaf Focaccia
  • 5 oz. bag baby arugula
Pull all of the usable meat of the rotisserie chicken. Every time I do this I hate the process, but flavor of the chicken is totally worth it. Add chicken, pecan pieces, grapes, and celery in a large bowl.
In a separate small bowl, mix together mayo, yogurt, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper. Using yogurt in chicken salad is an idea I borrowed from my Grandmaman to cut down on fat and sodium. She goes all in with the yogurt but I still wanted a little bit of the mayo taste. Pour dressing into chicken and stir until well mixed.
Slice focaccia and put together with chicken salad and arugula.
View from the top of the mountain!

Fall Almond Cookies

Annnd I’m back after unannounced summer break. Have you ever just wanted to cut out all distractions and soak up the last bits of summer, and then your computer dies, and then your camera dies, and then your computer dies again? That happens to people right =).

These cookies remind me of running cross country in the fall and sitting in the back of the bus going to away meets. See, H and I would always make cookies for the team when we were traveling. We’d meet at her house the afternoon before the big day, after an easy or no practice and bake up a storm. One time while gathering all of the ingredients she took out the almond extract instead of vanilla. I was shocked and a little taken back.
me: “Almond instead of vanilla?”
H: “Yup, my mom and I do this sometimes for a different flavor. It’s nice trust me.”
me: “But that’s not what the directions say.”
H: “Haha, you don’t always have to follow the directions word for word Jo.”
A wise one that H.
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 TB almond milk

In a large bowl or standing mixer beat butter, sugar, and baking powder until fluffy. Add in the egg, almond milk, and almond extract and beat until well combined. Beat in as much flour as you can. (At this point I started a raise an eyebrow… as much as I could? What about the rest?) The original recipe said after you couldn’t beat anymore, to just stir the rest in. The dough was looking a little dry so I added a little more milk and continued to use my mixer haha. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Divide the dough in half so you can work in batches. Sprinkle a large cutting board with a little bit of flour. Take the first half of the dough leaving the second in the fridge, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8 in thick. Using your favorite fall cookie cutters cut the dough in shapes! Carefully place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 7-8 minutes. Place the unused dough back in the fridge and repeat with the second half.

When cookies are done transfer to a wire sheet and let cool. Perfect time for the icing. In a bowl whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and the almond milk. Once the cookies have cooled completely, brush with icing and sprinkle festively!