Monthly Archives: August 2013

Zucchini Pancakes

One of my best friends went home to visit her family last weekend which is good news for me because every time she takes a trip home, she brings me a load of fresh vegetables from her dad’s garden! 🙂

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Check out that huge haul of veggies! I actually knew it was going to be a challenge for me to eat them all myself. Luckily, my mom is coming into town for Labor Day weekend and I know her and I will eat up a ton of them! My friend also brought me some zucchini bread which I had never had before and is absolutely delicious. It takes like dessert to me! In addition to the zucchini bread, she also gave me two of the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen! I hope the picture does them justice – they were each literally the size of my forearm.

So one of my first challenges was to decide what to do with all this zucchini! I already had zucchini bread – so I was looking for other ideas. I decided on zucchini pancakes, or latkes or zucchini fritters – whatever you want to call them. I’ve seen them called a bunch of different names on the internet. Basically, they’re very similar to potato pancakes.

First thing, I shredded up about a zucchini and a half (I saved half and diced it up to use in a frittata). I was a little wary of the task of shredding up that much zucchini, but it actually went pretty easily – probably because the zucchini has such a high water content. Because of that, I didn’t want soggy pancakes so I put the shredded zucchini in a strainer with a little salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then, I squeezed it out in a water towel. I’m glad I did because a ton of water came out!

Next, I mixed the shredded zucchini up in a bowl with granulated onion, granulated garlic, eggs, and a little flour.

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I heated up a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet and dropped in small, silver-dollar sized pancakes of batter and cooked over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides.

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I drained the pancakes on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

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Ta da! These are delicious. They really remind me of potato pancakes, and a little bit of hashbrowns. They would be great served up with ketchup, or sour cream, or even apple sauce (which is traditional for potato latkes). I definitely saved up the leftovers for my mom and I to enjoy for brunch on Friday!

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Zucchini Pancakes
Makes approximately 12 pancakes, depending on size.

    – 2 cups shredded zucchini
    – 2 eggs
    – 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
    – 2 teaspoons granulated onion
    – 1 tablespoon flour
    – 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and sauté a few tablespoons of batter (small pancake size) in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, approximately 5 minutes per side. Serve for breakfast or brunch.

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Running Update: The Start of Training

Next week officially starts my training plan for my 10k in November and then my half marathon in February. Although running was the first step I took down this fitness road, I took a break from it for the past month or so. I absolutely fell in love with weight training (i.e. my Body Pump class) and started really dedicating myself to yoga a few times a week – so running just fell by the wayside. I was feeling burnt out to the point where I didn’t want to go for a run, so I didn’t want to push it on myself and grow to hate it. I’m not sure if it was the hot and sticky weather here in DC, or if I just needed a break – but now it’s time to go back.

And I’m ready to go back. I am sad to be giving up my two days a week of yoga and weight lifting but I’m ready to run again. I find myself looking forward to it. I was scared that taking a break would leave me dreading running again, but instead I feel refreshed and ready to take on the open road. I’m sure the cooler fall weather is helping with that too! 🙂

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In fact, it turns out that my friend Heather can’t run the Disney Princess Half Marathon with me. She had pre-existing plans that weekend, which makes me sad but I also didn’t sign up for the race intending on running it with anyone else so it’s not completely heartbreaking. Sidenote: if anyone happens to be running this race and wants to meet up there and/or virtual train (or actual train if you’re nearby) I’m totally game! Running is always better with a friend! 🙂

On the other hand, Heather really wants to run a half marathon too, and the idea of training and running one together just sounds too awesome to pass up. So, when the Rock’and’Roll Half Marathon comes to DC on March 15th, 2014 Heather and I are going to run it. It’s soon enough after my half in Florida, that we can basically train together until then. Running two half marathons that close together might not be the best plan on my part, but I figure there’s always a few long runs in the last few weeks before the taper of training plans so it won’t be much different than that. After all, my goal is just to finish and have fun – and I think that’s an attainable goal.

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What races do you have coming up?

Pumpkin Granola Recipe

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was jam-packed with fun activities. Friday night Heather and I got dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant then went to see The Mortal Instruments. Heather was a big fan of the books, which I’ve never read, but I thought the movie was pretty good. Saturday morning we went to Body Pump where I managed to stay up on my toes for all 10 push-ups in the shoulder track! 🙂 They weren’t full-on 90 degree “real woman” push-ups though so I’m not counting it as something I can cross off my bucket list just yet!

On Saturday, we went to the Toby Keith concert and had absolutely beautiful weather. Toby Keith is one of my all-time favorite performers to see in concert. He just puts on such a show, and you really can’t compete with someone who’s been making hits for 20-ish years. Heather and I did lots of dancing, and really enjoyed ourselves.

On Saturday I also decided to make some more granola (because I ran out) and decided to make a pumpkin version to celebrate the fact that I found canned pumpkin in the grocery store! I used the same basic recipe as before, but changed it up a little to accommodate the pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spices. It turned out delicious! It’s a different type of granola than my last recipe though. The last recipe was very crisp and not very clumpy – but this version has a lot more chunks and the chunks are crisp on the outside but chewy in the center, because of the pumpkin. I think it’s a delicious new texture for granola!

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Pumpkin Pie Granola
Makes 5 1/2 cups.

    – 4 1/2 cups oats
    – 1 cup pecan bits, or chopped pecans (optional – but they just seem to go with pumpkin to me!)
    – 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    – 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    – 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    – 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
    – 1 can pumpkin puree
    – 3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup or other sweetener)

Mix all ingredients together. I found that because of the pumpkin it takes a while to really get it all incorporated. Spread the mixture onto a greased baking pan (I used coconut oil), breaking up any big chunks as you go. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crisp.

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I added pecans to this granola because pecans and pumpkin seem to go hand-in-hand to me. I think it’s because every year for Thanksgiving my mom makes a pecan pie (because it’s my stepdad’s favorite) and a pumpkin pie (because it’s my favorite). Either way, it turned out delicious! 🙂

Friday Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been post-less the past two days, mostly because there hasn’t been anything new to say. I think I may move to posting three times a week, rather than everyday. I’m not about posting just for the sake of it – I want to post when I really have something great to share with you all. My cooking hasn’t been particularly exciting (or at least not anything new) this week, as I continue my mission to eat some of my ridiculous food stores. This week I’ve been eating some delicious burritos using my Mexican rice recipe as well as some defrosted homemade refried beans. Topped with some avocado, they have been filling and absolutely delicious!

Instead of focusing on recipes, I decided to share some things I’ve been loving lately! I’ve seen this theme on some other blogs, as well as blogs that do a “Friday Five” so I thought I’d incorporate both of those ideas here.

1. My new workout gear from Target’s Champion line.

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I recently ordered a ton of new stuff from Target because I felt like I was always doing laundry, plus my workout wardrobe had some serious holes in it (like a distinct lack of shorts). My new stuff is pictured above, but I’ve always been a big Target workout-gear fan. I have two pairs of running shorts with attached compression shorts from there that I think I’ve worn in every race I’ve run so far (you can see them in my recaps here). The line is filled with good-quality workout clothes (as far as I can tell), at a great price. As much as I love (and lust after) some of the Under Armor and Rebook gear, I just can’t swallow the prices. As I clicked over to Target to grab the links for some of my favorite items, I found out that they also just released a new ‘C9 Yoga’ line – which means I’m going to be all over picking up some new gear.

Some of my favorites that I already own:

Women’s Premium Run Shot – just based on the picture I wasn’t expecting much of these but they are seriously my favorite shorts now, I almost just bought another pair while I was grabbing the link.
Women’s Cardio Tank – my favorite tank. Great fit and great compression. Goes well with the shorts above.
Women’s Performance Short Tight – love the length of these shorts, they aren’t super-short and are great for yoga.

2. My blender bottle.

Blender Bottles

I finally stopped by GNC and picked up a blender bottle and some protein powder. I’ve been absolutely starving after my workouts, and I needed a quick and easy way to get some protein in my system (especially after Body Pump). I love that this bottle has the built-in whisk-ball to mix up my drink. I was also really thankful for this bottle because I left my regular water bottle in Heather’s car on Sunday so I’ve been using this one (sans whisking-ball) to drink water during my workouts all week.

3. The new Backstreet’s Boys CD.

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As I mentioned on Monday, I am absolutely in love with the new BSB CD. I love that the group has been able to grow and mature together over the years, and still make great music. At the concert, the boys mentioned that this year is 20 years since they formed the group which 1) makes me feel old and 2) is amazing for them! The CD is definitely worth a look if you’re into that kind of music.

4. The final episodes of Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad

I’ve mentioned it before, but I absolutely love Breaking Bad. So far, these last eight episodes have been the tense, dark, ride that I expected them to be as everyone affected by Walt’s actions over the past 4 seasons falls apart. I can’t wait to see how it ends! I have my theories, if anyone is interested in talking about the show feel free to tweet me or leave a comment on this post. I’m sad to see such an amazingly-written, amazingly-acted show leave the air, but all the actors have said they are really satisfied with the ending.

5. My “Simplify My Life” House-Cleaning Mission.

I’ve mentioned it in passing, but I’m thinking of writing a more detailed post on it. I’m currently going through my apartment one section at a time and donating/reorganizing/trashing a lot of things. I just feel a little buried in material possessions. There’s no reason for a single girl my age to have a two bedroom apartment, that is legitimately packed with things. There are so many extra things that just sit in closets and aren’t adding anything to my life. For example, my project this week has been to go through my CDs and make sure they are all burned into iTunes, and then donate the actual CDs. I’m also going to get rid of my stereo, which I’m pretty sure I haven’t turned on it two years. Instead of going through the trouble of selling it, I may just donate it to the Salvation Army along with everything else. I mean, do people actual buy stereos anymore?

I also went through my absolutely too large stash of makeup, hair products, and hair supplies. Considering the only makeup I wear on a daily basis is a little brown eyeshadow and mascara, there was no need to keep my store of neon eyeshadows and random lipsticks that I’ve had since college and have never really used. I threw out a bunch of stuff, and set aside some never-used things to see if my sister wants them. I had a rather large stash of scented lotions/sprays/etc that were gifts that I don’t use since I don’t like scented products – and my sister will definitely like them.

I’m going to continue my journey into my closet to get rid of clothes/shoes/etc next week – I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great weekend! And here is an article I found interesting and wanted to share:

8 Vegan Rules Even Meat-Eaters Should Follow (Fitbie)

Peachy Green Smoothie

This morning I changed up my usual green smoothie a bit. Yesterday, I tweeted out an article about various ways to eat Greek yogurt. One of them was to use it as the base for a smoothie with juice – what a great idea! While I usually use a tablespoon or so of Greek yogurt in my smoothie, I have never used it as more of a main ingredient. So this morning I whipped up this tasty peach smoothie.

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I’ve also started using a new technique for incorporating Greek yogurt into my smoothies. It may just be in my head, but it seems like the kale blends smoother when I wait and add the Greek yogurt to the blender once the smoothie is already pretty well blended. It doesn’t take much to incorporate the yogurt so it works well (hence no yogurt in the picture). This smoothie turned out to be so creamy (thanks to the yogurt) and had a great peach flavor. It would also blend to a nice peach color, if it weren’t for all the kale I add to every smoothie. Feel free to leave the greens out if you prefer!

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Peachy Green Smoothie
Serves one.

    – 3 cups kale, loosely packed (or spinach, or omit)
    – 1 1/2 cups apple juice or green tea
    – 1/2 cup frozen peaches (if you use fresh, add some ice cubes to get the smoothie to the right consistency)
    – 1 frozen banana
    – 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

My other smoothie recipes:
Tropical Mango Green Smoothie
“Chocolate Milkshake” Workout Recovery Smoothie
Berry Green Smoothie

Other links that might interest you:

~13 Biggest Fitness Myths(Women’s Health)
~Strength Training Cheat Sheet(Women’s Health)

Weekend Update

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was busy – but packed full of so many fun things! Friday night I had a sushi date with a good friend and her brother and it was so nice to catch up and share our favorite food. I’m a big sushi fan and haven’t had any in a while so we stuffed ourselves. Delicious.

On Saturday I did my usual Saturday morning Body Pump class and then ran some errands – first to GNC for some protein powder and a blender bottle and then to Michael’s for some craft supplies. Lately, I’ve been picking up protein shakes at the grocery store to drink after Body Pump and they were really starting to add up. Having some protein powder of my own will help cut costs, as well as help my muscles recover after I put them through the wringer in class. At Michael’s, I picked up some quilting pins to use as a part of my latest craft project.

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I’m a big fan of wine, and especially Virginia wineries. Since before I could even drink wine, I’ve traveled around with my mom to local wineries for a tasting and to enjoy the views. Back in the day, some of the winery staff would even give me juice in my own wine glass so I could “play along.” I’ve continued this hobby as an adult, both with my parents and on my own and I’ve built up quite a wine collection, and been to numerous Virginia wineries. A few weekends ago, I modge-podged the 2013 Virginia wine map onto a canvas and this weekend I picked up the pins to mark the wineries that I’ve been to. I’ll Instagram a picture of the finished project, the pictures above are pre-pins! I think it’s a good addition to my very wine-themed dining room.

Saturday afternoon I went with Heather to the Shirlington dog park so her dog Kyleigh could run around. It was a gorgeous day, warm without being too hot, so I knew I had to find something to do outside. Plus, I’m a HUGE dog lover and I can’t have one of my own so I love hanging out with other people’s dogs. We also discovered that there’s a great fitness running/biking trail right next to the park that has various workout stations spread along it. We’re already planning a return trip to run and try it out! Update: I still cannot do a pull up/chin up (can’t cross that off the fitness bucket list just yet).

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Kyleigh having a grand ole time

While at the dog park we also spotted this guy who I couldn’t help but photograph and turn into a Meme. He just looked so serious!

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On Sunday night I fulfilled a childhood dream – I went to the Backstreet Boys concert in Bristow, VA. Technically, I’ve seen them once before (a few years ago when they did a joint tour with New Kids on the Block) but this was a full-fledged BSB concert. Amazing. They did a great mix of their classics with their new material. I have to confess, before the concert I didn’t download their newest CD but now I definitely have. Their energy on stage was infectious, and they truly seemed to be having the time of their lives. Especially Nick Carter, who was dancing like a mad man. His dancing reminded me of the kind of dancing you do when you’re alone in your house and just absolutely jamming to the music. I couldn’t help but smile watching him.

In my spare time this weekend, I worked on cleaning up and reorganizing my house. I’ve realized lately that I have way too much stuff, and I have a strong urge to cut down on my material possessions. First up: my stereo/CD collection. I’m pretty sure I haven’t turned on that stereo in over 2 years – and I mostly listen to music on my iPhone rather than CDs. So I’m currently sorting through my CDs to determine what’s already on my computer, burning the rest to iTunes, and then donating the hard copies. Clutter – be gone!

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My planned workouts for this week look pretty similar to last week. This is one of my last weeks before I officially start training for the 10k in November – meaning I have to return to running. Ugh. I’m so nervous to get back into it because I’ve been loving my current schedule. But for now I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts…

Monday: Cycling
Tuesday: Body Pump
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: Rest day – hair cut appointment.
Friday: Short run, 3 miles
Saturday: Body Pump
Sunday: Yoga

Finally, here’s a little something to brighten up your Monday…

20 Fittest Male Celebrities (Women’s Health) – I mean, you’re welcome.

Recipe Roundup: Slow Cooker Recipes

Happy Friday everyone! Yesterday afternoon was absolutely beautiful here in the DC area, so I decided to skip the working-out part of my day in favor of laying by the pool catching up on my Entertainment Weekly magazines (however, the stack of Time magazines on my coffee table remain untouched). It was really peaceful and a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Then, I decided to be super blog-productive in the evening and make myself a new header, courtesy of Pic Monkey. What do you think? I think it’s a big improvement over the old one!

Today I decided to do a recipe roundup post (inspired by Julie at PB Fingers and the Healthy Living Blogs weekly emails). I’m hoping to make this a monthly post (each with a new category) as a chance to highlight some of my past recipes, and to give you all an opportunity to share some of your favorites.

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Slow Cooker Recipe Round-Up

slow cooker recipe roundup

Cincinnati-Style Chili

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Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

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Indian-Spiced Lentil & Vegetable Stew – Vegan and Vegetarian!

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Slow Cooker “Refried” Beans – Vegan and Vegetarian!

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Each of the pictures above is linked to the post with the original recipe. Feel free to share your favorite slow cooker recipes in the comments! 🙂

Also, I found this very applicable article from Prevention about making a pork roast in the slow cooker – then using it in recipes for a whole week!