pace

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my running pace recently.  After deciding to forego my longer runs to focus on my form, I have seen a dramatic increase in my pace (specifically on my Saturday 5k runs + 5k walk back).  The first weekend doing this workout I finished in 30:00 – over a minute and a half faster than my previous pr on my Nike+, and a whopping 4:30+ minutes less than my 5k pace at my one and only 5k race this past fall.  I was shocked at my ability – and this past weekend?  I blew 30:00 out of the water with under 28:30!.

Granted, this is not a speedy speed for a lot of runners, but it is for me.  I can tell that I am working harder running the faster speeds, but it helps knowing I only have a little over 3 miles to keep it up.  I remember I used to wish I could run 3 miles even just last summer – and I was unable to.  And now I am running the entire thing and running it fast!  It still shocks and amazes me of what our bodies are capable of.

Now, speaking of capabilities, I am not currently capable of running a 1/2 marathon.  Well, I might be, but it wouldn’t be pretty.  Good thing I have until January for my first at Walt Disney World!  (By the way, check out my guest post on Healthy Disney today!).  Since this is my first 1/2 marathon, I know I should not have a set goal time in mind, but that’s not always how I work.  I am usually competitive and it frustrates me that even though I want to be competitive at running – I will never be a great runner.  I’ll get over it… maybe.

Kinley decided to sign up for the Clif Bar Pace Team for the Disney race – to see what it would be like with someone else pacing you rather than having to think about it yourself.  Well, even though I signed up for a slower pace time, I decided I would contemplate running with a pace team as well.  What’s really nice about the Clif Bar Pace Team is that it is FREE, and it has absolutely no obligation – meaning if I didn’t want to run with them come race day, I wouldn’t have to.  I could also switch my pace group I was running with the day of the expo in case I find my speedy marathon legs within the next few months.

Something else that’s awesome about the Clif Bar Pace Team??  They send you FREE products to try and I just to happened to get my first on Monday!

It included a Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Clif Bar, a Raspberry Clif Shot, and a Cran-Razz Clif Block.  Can’t wait to start my training and increase my distance so I need these!  Speaking of training – I should probably think of what training plan I’m going to do and see when I’ll need to start!

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a dozen years old

Time certainly does fly.  I cannot believe my little pup, Crosby, is TWELVE years old already!  Well, he rung in his dozenth year quite well – pretty sure I’ve never had a birthday that could top this one ;).

Birthday Morning Pancakes (Funfetti Style with Sprinkles!) in the shape of his face… or hearts.  You can choose.

He went sailing – although I don’t think he would actually pick this activity on his special day… he still got some quality snuggle time with Kinley!

One particularly gluten free friendly restaurant allows dogs on the porch – but more on this later!

Yes, he got his own birthday cake… the main reason was actually Kin and I have had an incurable sweet tooth lately.  Well, I am happy to say it is cured (and there’s still some in the freezer for later!).

Finally?  On his actual birthday (the 29th), he had Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting.  Yummm – and decorated with hemp seeds!

This little guy is definitely sad his birthday weekend is over.  But we’ve got a THREE day weekend coming up to spend some more quality time with the old man!

Aren’t we are such horrible pet owners?!

best sister ever

My sister has a nice streak in her.  She lets it out every once in awhile… ;).  One instance of her niceness is that she let me live rent-free from February through July this year when I first had an unpaid internship, and then I was unemployed after graduation.  See what I mean?  Nice streak.  Well, I had said I would eventually buy her something once I was employed to thank her for those months of “free” living (although I did buy mostly all of the groceries to still help out).  I decided a blender was something nice to buy and definitely not something she would treat herself to (see, she’s a money hoarder).

Well, a marvelous Kohl’s 30% off coupon came to my mom so I thought this was a great opportunity to buy a blender – so I purchased a Ninja, thinking it would be somewhat comparable to a Vitamix.  I was definitely dreaming of nice and smooth green smoothies!  Unfortunately, the ninja did not live up to its name at all… I like ninjas and this thing could not do any superhuman ninja moves.  There were two too many stringy smoothies coming out of the kitchen…  Even the Magic Bullet beat it times 100.

Sadly, my hopes for a new blender went away with the Ninja as I did not have a ton of money still to make a bigger purchase like that.  Well, the morning Kinley and I went to the State Fair, she could not get the Vitamix out of her head!  She said she almost bought one right then and there but held off (money hoarder getting not so hoardy).  And then we get to the fair… and this happens.

Yup.  Exactly.  Who knew there were Vitamix stands at the Wisconsin State Fair?!  And TWO of them!  Although we did not make it past the first one…  Kinley buckled.  She bought the Vitamix.  She even got an extra year added to the warranty (a total of EIGHT years) and a free dry mixer thing too (to make your own flours – a $150 value).  She then proceeded to walk through the fair toting this around, and I kept saying Green Spinach Smoothie so people would give me weird looks.  I love it when I make people think I’m more of a freak than I actually am in real life, although I do love green smoothies.  And they should too!

So I basically got out of buying a blender at all.  I think I’ll just not say anything and hope she forgets I offered to buy her something…  Aw man, she probably just read this in her Google Reader….  But anyways, is the Vitamix everything I dreamed it to be?  Well, just look at the green smoothie and you tell me.

Spinach, almond milk, banana, frozen mango + pineapple.  Beats the looks of my previous creation by about a million.  More smoothies recipes coming soon!

out and about in mke: thai-namite thai bistro and sushi bar

I love ethnic food, especially asian cuisines.  I am not really very adventurous when I go to restaurants – mainly sticking with my favorites, but it never gets old!  In fact, when my parents uprooted me in my middle-school years to a new town, one thing that consoled me was the fact that there were 13 Chinese buffets in one county.  Thank you, Wisconsin.

My first experience with Thai food, however, was in London.  I went to a little shop called Monkey and Me and I had the most delicious meal there ever – and proceeded to go back many, many times.  I had both their noodle dishes as well as their regular entrees served with coconut rice – which is the best rice product out there.  But that has nothing to do with Thai-namite since they do not have coconut rice…  Anyways, we grabbed dinner there a few weeks back and it was absolutely delicious and gluten free friendly.  We even brought up our concerns with the waitress and she came back with a menu that she had highlighted all of the gluten free dishes (she had been bored one shift and went through ALL of their ingredients to make this master menu!).

I had actually just gotten home from my weekend in Sonoma and was in the mood for a nice, hot meal.  Although I started out cold with an appetizer: Fresh Rolls.  Fresh rice wrap sheet with stuffed tofu, fried egg, rice noodle, and carrot served with chef special sauce (substituted for plum sauce that was gluten free) and ground peanut.  Loved these!

For my entree I went for the good ol’ Classic (Veggie) Fried Rice.  Tasty rice stir fried with egg, white onion, green onion, and tomato.  I contemplated the Hawaiian Fried Rice, but stuck with typical flavors instead.  This was so good and I ate every last bite!

I even had two of Kinley’s maki.  One Kappa (cucumber) and an Avocado.  These are not necessarily gluten free because of the vinegar they use in the sticky rice?  I had never heard this before but Kinley decided to risk it.

All of our meals were incredible.  Mom and Dad ate with us as well but I didn’t get pictures of their food and I have no clue what they got!  A chicken dish for sure with jasmine rice – they both said it was really good but I didn’t have a bite, but it seems like they do a really good job with all of their food and the wait staff is definitely knowledgable about gluten free dining – a real plus when eating out at a new place!  If you’re looking for some delicious Thai food in Milwaukee, you should definitely check out Thai-Namite Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar!

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Thai-namite Menu
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things that make me smile

I usually always have a few things that I look forward to each and every day.  Whether it be random products or websites, or (obviously) different foods and beverages.  Here are a few of my favorite things right now:

1. Iced Coffee (and Coffee in general).  I had stopped drinking coffee over the summer because I was getting a little too much sleep and therefore I was unable to fall asleep when I wanted to some nights.  Thank you working and getting up between 4:30 and 5:30 every morning to justify my daily coffee habit!  I am especially enjoying the iced variety – making it (or making meanie sister make it) the night before and keeping it in the fridge overnight.  Morning perfection!

2. My new Michael Kors sunglasses that were FREE.  That conference I worked at a couple of weeks ago in Sonoma?  I walked away with three pairs of Michael Kors sunglasses + a pair of Coach.  I love the look of the coach by themselves, but they don’t look as good on my face… but I will definitely wear them at some point in the future :).  And the best thing about the MK ones?  I got TWO pairs of the style I like!  One in black and one in red.  I haven’t worn the red ones out yet, but oh, their day is coming!

3. Babycakes – I have never been to Babycakes, but I am counting down the days until my Disney 1/2 Marathon in January so I can stop over at the Downtown Disney Babycakes location!  I had been a bit skeptical as to whether or not I would like their gluten free goodies since I am not a fan of Bob’s Red Mill mix – but this past weekend I had a gluten free cupcake with the same ingredients and it was FANTASTIC.  I think me not liking the mix had more to do with me not wanting to add a lot of sugar and oil to make the baked goodies taste good with the different flours.  I also would not mind a trip to Sweet Freedom Bakery.  Maybe a weekend trip to Philly is in order?!

4. Crosby.  Hard not to love him.  Especially when he is so sweet and cuddly most days.  He also has an obsession with coming along with us everywhere we go on the weekends… he just can’t be alone!  It is also his birthday on Monday… hmm what to do, what to do?

5. Postcards from friends in amazing places.  Aloha from Hawaii!  One of my good friends from college took a teaching job out there and I got a postcard in the mail from her today!  I should really work on sending her something back – and I also really want to try and figure out a time to see her when I go to Hawaii in November.  Unfortunately I will be going to two different islands than the one she’s on, but we’ll see if something will work out!

6. Phone calls that make me laugh.  First, this one was more of a chuckle than a laugh but a grown woman said “duuuh” to me on the phone today… turns out SHE was the one who did not know what she was talking about… hmm so I was laughing more about her than with her ;).  Another one?  Well, referring back to #3 and #4, Crosby is one lucky pup.  He is getting a custom-made gluten free cake made.  Yes, he gets a small piece (he absolutely loves it), and the rest is for us!  Bahaha.  So I was talking to the bakery and we were going through the decorations.  Male or Female?  Male.  Adult or Child?  Child (snicker).  Decorations?  We have swirls and dots, balloons, rainbows?  (Me talking to Kinley – they could do rainbows – couldn’t hold in my laughter and the guy on the phone was laughing with me too).  Oh any poor boy who would get a cake with a RAINBOW on it… this little guy is getting blue and green swirls and dots.  He’s excited.

7. Cake Batter Cashew Butter.  Can you tell I have birthdays on my brain?  I immediately ran to the grocery list and added “cashews” and “sprinkles”.  Yup, definitely making some this weekend for a special birthday breakfast ;).

A random thing I missed today?

Ice skating.  I figure skated for 8ish years when I was younger and for some reason I just really wanted to lace up my skates and go!  Unfortunately it’s a wee bit hot out for that… ;).  I got my butt kicked by sister instead for my second “personal training session”.

What things are making YOU happy today??

changes

This post is not meant to offend anyone.  And if it does, I’m sorry, but first and foremost this blog is for myself (I’m selfish like that) and I have to be honest.  Things have changed, and it’s hard for me to admit it, but here goes…

Let’s start at the beginning.  I have had a lot of dietary changes in the last year.  I had come home from studying abroad with 25 extra travel pounds on me.  Too much indulging, not enough exercising.  Sure, there was walking around the various cities but my love for chocolate muffins greatly surpassed my caloric burn.  I obviously was not too happy when I returned.  I jumped right into a full-time internship and managed to get exercise a part of my life again, but my eating habits stuck and I was eating way more than I needed to and way too much sugar.  A little over a year ago, Kinley and I decided to try out the South Beach Diet to start losing weight – I was so desperate that nothing was working a crash diet was all I could think of to get me back to “normal”.  I did manage to lose weight, putting a good dent into what I had to lose but it stopped after the two week “Phase 1”.

It took me until the end of September, my birthday to be exact, for me to figure out what my next plan would be.  I decided on calorie counting (restricting) and stuck with it for quite awhile… Sure, there were plenty of “cheat” days, but I was doing something right because I was losing weight every week.  I also started running at this point and was being successful overall – I felt better about myself and my pants were starting to fall off (that was a good thing 😉 ).  Because of the obsessive behavior I developed associated with calorie counting, a lot of foods in the household ended up being packaged – so I could weigh it out and know exactly how many calories I was consuming…  At the beginning of January was my first experiment with being a vegetarian.  Kin and I went to NYC for a long weekend and as an effort to save money we decided to not eat meat – and it was very, very tasty.  Boca crumbles came in a nice little package with the nutritional facts on them, and they were cheaper than beef so we subbed them in for a lot of our regular meals, so they were a win-win at that point.

In February, I stopped losing weight.  I thought I was doing everything the same and still had a ways to go with my weightloss and nothing I did seemed to help.  Lower calories, increase calories, increase exercising, decrease exercising….  So many things were attempted and nothing was working.  Combine that stress with the stress of an internship and the stress of my last semester of college (completing my BS and MBA) and needless to say I was a bit high strung, which probably wasn’t helping either.

In March, we decided to give up buying meat but I would still order it out occasionally, but not often since we didn’t go out to eat much.

April was a big change.  No meat and we gave up all processed foods.  Clean eating, if you will.  The first week eating clean and I was feeling better than ever.  After a few weeks I was not feeling the effects of eating well anymore, and I also made the jump to give up dairy.  I never thought my body was the biggest fan – I would get a rash around my mouth when I was little and my mouth would itch occasionally when I would have ice cream – and I never drank milk anyways so that was not a tough transition for me.  Almond milk was my friend!

At the end of May, I had been off dairy for a month and for my graduation party I had (quite a bit) of the buttercream frosting.  The whole next day was miserable.  I was sooo sickly feeling and I could barely eat and absolutely nothing tasted good.  It got better after a few days but I was pretty certain dairy was not my friend.

June I kept feeling not so good, weird stomachaches quite a bit but it was generally better than what I had previously, and nowhere near as bad as the day after my grad party.  Mid to Late June Kinley and I used a Groupon for some Breadsmith bread – which is a delicious bread bakery around here.  After having quite a few slices over the course of the weekend, Monday was quite miserable.  Headache, stomachache, just all around nausea.  Gluten, are you doing this to me?  I had been eating primarily sprouted bread rather than regular and the Breadsmith loaf seemed to set me over the edge.  So, goodbye bread of any kind for a couple of weeks to see if that helps.

It did help quite a bit, less stomachaches but they were still lingering but headaches were gone.  July 4th we cooked out… and decided to split a half of a sprouted wheat hot dog bun.  It was so delicious after not eating wheat for a couple of weeks but within a half hour, my body was definitely not happy.  Our “diets” became extremely limited very quickly.  No meat, dairy, processed foods or gluten.  I felt good after giving up gluten, but one thing I was not happy about was that I had been GAINING weight and for no apparent reason.  I was eating good portions of healthy, whole foods and doing what I thought my body wanted.  Something was still making it tick!

That’s when the thoughts started… I wanted to eat meat.  Life would be so much simpler but I would feel like a horrible person – giving up on what I believed in.  But the thoughts never went away and instead of cringing when I would see meat being served, I would want to be served it as well.  It’s really strange, but Kinley and I came to this realization on our own.  That we needed more protein.  Yes, vegetarians and vegans can get an ample amount of protein, and I was trying, but my body, for some reason, was not liking the semi-vegan food I was feeding it.

It was a hard decision.  I had worked to fuel myself with plants and to be better for the environment, but my body was not happy, and for once in the past year I actually decided to listen.  No more fad diets, no restrictions (except for the necessary gluten + some dairy) and fueling myself to live and thrive.  It’s been almost two weeks now that I have been eating meat again, and meat will by no means take over this blog, but I might occasionally put a recipe up containing meat (although I will always give the option for the substitution of tofu and tempeh).  Mondays will always be Meatless Mondays and I do enjoy a ton of Vegan dishes.  I am finally feeling “normal”.  No more inexplainable weight gain, extremely few stomachaches (although those were mostly to do with sneaky gluten) and I am running faster than ever.  I realize I might lose readers and followers by making the switch, and it’s understandable, but for once I am doing what is right for me.  And I am still keeping the environment in mind as well and being as mindful as I can be about where everything is coming from (Lorganic, if you will).

I tried.  I failed.  It was a tough learning curve.  I am finally listening to my body and giving it what it needs right now – whether to repair the damage I have inflicted on myself over the past year, or for some other reason.  It was a personal decision and it was a struggle to get there… now here’s to hoping I continue to recover and feel better.

Thanks to anyone who made it through the end of the post :).

meatless monday fiesta

I like simple things.  I especially like simple things that are really, really good.  You know what else I like?  Creating a whole meal out of things you (could) have on hand any day.  I also like gardens.  Surprisingly, our garden had not given up just yet.  A few things have had to be “removed” due to their size and productivity level.  The heirloom tomato plant looks pathetic… and yet we’re still getting tomatoes.  Lots and lots of heirloom tomatoes that have been made into delicious pasta sauce, put into weekly salads, and made into delicious and fresh salsa.  Actually that last one is a lie… or it actually hasn’t happened yet (but it will).  The tomatoes I used in this particular dish came from a co-workers garden as did the peppers.  So absolutely incredibly fresh and delicious it had to be made into a meal.  So here, for your Meatless Monday, you get two recipes.  Salsa + a base.

Simple Salsa

  • tomatoes
  • jalapeno peppers
  • salt
Cut up tomatoes and jalapeno peppers and toss in a bowl with salt.  I cut off the tips of the jalapenos and took out the seeds and the salsa ended up bring pretty mild, but delicious.  I also do not have measurements because I used what was left!
Tostadas
  • brown rice tortilla (or a corn tortilla)
  • refried beans
  • cumin, to taste
  • lettuce
  • salsa
1. Preheat the oven to 400′.
2. Put a tortilla on a baking sheet and pile on the beans and cumin.  You could also have some cheese if you’d like.
3. Bake for 10ish minutes until the tortilla is crispy and the beans are hot.
4. Top with whatever toppings you’d like!  I was pretty simple because we didn’t have a whole lot to put on top, but it was sooo good.  We’ve always had these as tacos where the tortilla was a shell, but it always ended up breaking apart.  This way there was no breakage until I purposefully dug into eat ;).

And if you’ve already eaten dinner tonight?  Taco Tuesdays sound pretty fantastic as well…

Yay for one of the toughest days of the week being over!  Only 4 more days til the weekend :).

a new kind of cookie

I have a major sweet tooth.  But I’m sure if you’ve read this blog before you’re aware of that fact ;).  But the strange thing is that when I switched to eating unprocessed foods, my tolerance for sweet things went waaay down.  I used to almost always choose milk chocolate over dark in a Russell Stover box – obviously I needed the higher sugar content.  I have even on more than one occasion (I refuse to count), made this Martha Stewart Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe using two – yes, two cups of sugar.  And then proceed to eat the whole batch (well, not by myself obviously) over the course of a weekend.

Now, I am more likely to eat dark chocolate than even semi-sweet, and never milk chocolate.  Sugar in baked goods has gone down (or become non-existant) in all of my recipes.  Oh, and my love for coconut has increased significantly.  I used to think unsweetened coconut was, well, unsweet.  Now?  Oh my, it’s absolutely delectable.  Coconut flakes are pop in your  mouth good and coconut butter tastes like frosting.  Last night, Kinley and I purchased Coconut Flour for the first time.  Now combining all of my previous ramblings into one recipe?  Don’t mind if I do.

Gluten Free Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies makes 2 dozen

  • 3/4c sorghum flour
  • 1/4c + 2T coconut flour (Let’s Do… Organic®)
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1 stick earth balance (or butter)
  • 1/4c organic natural sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2t vanilla
  • 1c semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard – made in a gluten free facility!)
1. In a small bowl, mix together the sorghum flour, coconut flour and baking soda.
2. In a large bowl, combine room-temperature earth balance and sugar with a handmixer until fluffy and smooth.
3. Mix in the egg and vanilla until combined.
4. Add the flour mixture and mix.  One of the best things about gluten free flours is that there is no chance of you over-mixing!
5. Time for the chocolate chips – so, so good.  Put them in and mix.
6. Scoop and roll (these won’t change much during cooking so what you put in will look pretty much like what comes out) and place these on a baking sheet and put in a 375′ oven for 8-10 minutes.
These cookies are a nice change from the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies I have baked recently since they used oat flour as the base (as did the Wheat Free Chocolate Chip Cookies).
I do kind of love how the non-rolled ones look like coconut macaroons.  I have big ideas for the not-so pretty and semi-crumbly ones but I’ve got to talk the sister into going along with it ;).

minimalist

I briefly touched on the running shoes I was running in a couple of months ago.  I had gotten them at a running store where I ran on the treadmill they had set up and then assessed my form while running.  When I first started on the treadmill, I remember the worker saying my feet were pretty good and that I would probably just need a lightly supported shoe.  Well, like four pairs of shoes later I walked out with one of their most supported contraptions.  I felt good about it.  I thought that I was going to be a much better runner now that I was fitted and prepared!  I didn’t actually notice much difference from my previous shoes, except I could tell the old ones were wearing out so I desperately needed new ones.  These were nice and sturdy and I was able to transition straight into them and didn’t have to ever go back to my old shoes.

I never thought twice about my shoe choice until reading the book, Born to Run.  Kinley recommended it to me after she read it and I couldn’t put it down.  Although it probably helped that I was able to spend a big chunk of my day reading!  Needless to say, the idea of going barefoot was stuck in my mind.  I even became very self-conscious wearing my older shoes because I didn’t want to end up de-strengthening my feet and they all of a sudden felt so weighted down!

One thing I knew was important was easing my feet into minimalism.  I started transitioning before I even had a new pair of shoes, mainly by taking barefoot walks around the block with the pup (around 1/2 a mile).  I didn’t technically need another pair of shoes at the point of me reading the book, so this was a good alternative and starting point to get my feet strengthened!  I finally decided to purchase a new pair of minimalistic running shoes when I found a flier in Kinley’s swag bag from the Summerfest 1/2 Marathon she ran in July for a new natural running store that just opened in Wauwatosa, Revolution Natural Running & Walking Center.  One of the following weekends we ventured there and I picked up my new kicks, a pair of Inov-8‘s.

These are classified as a transition minimalism shoe – meaning they still have some support and the variance between the height of the heel and the height of the sole is greater (regular shoes = 12mm differential, barefoot = 0mm).  These shoes are a 6mm drop, so half way down.  Revolution also offered inserts for the heel of the shoe (3mm) to increase it to 9mm to make the transition easier.  I am currently still in the 9mm stage but can’t wait to drop down!

The hardest change for me has been focusing on my running form.  I hadn’t ever put any thought into running – heck up until last fall I never ran so what did I care?  So my form is pretty typical to the average person – a total heel striker.  Meaning?  My stride goes from heel to toe, heel to toe… and that form is not ideal for keeping your legs and joints in tip-top shape.  Rather than running without thinking about it, I now try to actively make myself focus to run on the soles of my feet – no touch of the heel required.  Sounds easy, right?  Well I’m here to tell you it’s not.  The transition can be painful.  I did go to a running clinic offered by Revolution (free with the purchase of a pair of shoes!) and I got to see myself run in slow motion (scary) and also take a look at my form.  We ran by the camera twice.  First, with shoes.  Next, completely barefoot.  And you know what?  When I was running completely barefoot my form was perfect without me even having to worry about it.  It’s just that darn gravel thrown across the ground that makes me wary of going too far!

It’s harder for me to get a nice form with shoes on, but I’m trying.  I am still easing into it to avoid calf pain (I was a little overzealous the weekend of the running clinic and overdid it a bit – my calves were sore for over a week).  I am running once a week in my new shoes – especially focusing on my form.  Just a short distance – around 2miles but sometimes 5k if I’m feeling up to it.  Eventually I want to do all my running in these shoes but I am pretty much starting from scratch in terms of my running with the new form so slower is definitely better.  Plus, I still have plenty of time to work up to wearing these shoes 100% by the time I run my 1/2 Marathon in Disney!  I also really would like a pair of Vibrams so I can take longer barefoot walks :).

See, Cinderella wanted to run barefoot too!

I don’t ask questions very often, but I’m curious.  Have any of you tried a minimalistic running shoe or are you loving your ‘normal’ shoes for running?

You know what else goes well with running?  Granola. (The gluten-free version was made tonight 🙂 ).

granola for friends

I love granola much more than I should.  Yes, it is healthy, but not eaten by the handful like it so commonly is (in this household anyways).  After the gluten episode this past weekend we were forced to re-evaluate our oat consumption.  I was going on a nice streak there for a while where I had oats every breakfast – and I mean each and every breakfast.  Sure, there were a couple of other things thrown in their occasionally, but usually it was oats.  Regular oats, steel-cut oats, oat bran, overnight oats, dough-boy smoothies…  Because of the sheer consumption of oats and a new employee budget, gluten-free oats was not something that I even wanted to think about.  Yes, I will pay $2 for more oats and avoid paying $6 for just making sure they’re not cross-contaminated with wheat.  Well, as I now know – gluten-free oats should be the star of the show here.  Unfortunately we had over half of a big tub of good ol’ quaker oats to use up and I was not going to throw away any more food.  And there’s no better place to use up food you can no longer can eat than on your friends!  I surprised one of my good friends with a big ol’ bag of this granola.  And I will definitely be making it again for myself and sister with gluten-free oats.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Granola adapted from Coffee & Tea Warehouse 

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2c light brown sugar
  • 1/4c oat flour (or whole-wheat)
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/3c grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1t vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 300′ and get out a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Place rolled oats into a large bowl and add in the brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.  Mix to distribute.

3. In a small sauce pan, heat up the oil and honey until they just come to a simmer.  Take off heat and add vanilla.

4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

5. Put on the baking sheet and bake for around 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.

This recipe is incredibly versatile.  You can add nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cacao nibs… anything your heart fancies.  This was always my go-to granola recipe a few years back and I am not quite sure why I ever gave up using it!  I always added 1c of sunflower seeds in with the oats and it was awesome.

I highly recommend making this and having a bowl full of granola with the milk of your choice.  Just doesn’t get much better than that.

Want a more natural and gluten-free version?  Here’s what changes I will make next time for us!

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2T sucanat
  • 1/4c oat flour
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/3c grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1t vanilla

I would consider decreasing the oil a bit as well… but it is just so darn good I don’t think I want to mess with it too much!  But I think decreasing the amount of sweetness and using sucanat instead of brown sugar will be the perfect alteration for our taste buds.

Now where are those gluten-free oats…