Thinking Out Loud: Shopping Mindfully

Thinking-Out-Loud2

 

This Thursday, I’m sharing my thoughts with everyone on a little challenge I set myself earlier this year. In February, I resolved not to buy any new clothes, shoes, or accessories for a month. I realized that I have so much already, and that no matter how many times I clean out my closet, it always seems like there’s a collection of items I never wear gathering at the back. And although I’m conscientious about thinking through purchases before swiping my credit card, online shopping has definitely made me more prone to impulse buys. So I wanted to give myself time to take a step back and prune the piles once and for all, and also to give my student wallet a break!

 

I've got an extra Minnie's Bakery Rice Krispies Treat, a shiny medal, and a pair of Mickey kicks to keep me going until the next race!

My Mickey kicks – so worth it!

The last time I purchased any wearables was Friday, January 9. The day before the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I found a cute pair of Mickey sneakers at Disney and made them my one non-running souvenir of the trip. So I started February with a few weeks logged. And then February turned into March. I didn’t consciously make the decision to extend the challenge, because it turned out not to be much of a challenge. Rather, in the days and weeks after I decided not to buy anything, I just wasn’t putting myself in shopping situations much anymore.

 

 

Not much need for fashion over here

Not much need for fashion over here

 

It was freezing and snowy outside, so my friends and I weren’t hitting Bloomingdales for frozen yogurt and a spin on the shoe floor. And my daily uniform of leggings, boots, and cable-knit sweaters, covered by a parka, hat, and gloves, wasn’t exactly inspiring me to think much about fashion. But I wasn’t really paying attention to online sales or anything either – shopping just sort of fell off my radar. There was never a time I felt like I had nothing to wear. Instead, I found myself picking up a top I hadn’t worn in months (or even a year) and heading off feeling like I’d scored a find from my own closet.

 

 

 

 

Welcome arrival for my ponytail

Welcome arrival for my ponytail

My decision to make the first purchase back wasn’t a big deal either. I was finding myself looking at spring and summer running gear after a long winter. I went through a phase of losing most of my hairties (which happens to the best of us). So last Friday, April 3, I went to Twistband’s website and bought a bunch of new hairties. Not big-ticket items, but things I needed. I could have gone to Duane Reade for regular black hair elastics, but the Twistbands don’t break my hair when I ponytail up for runs, so I save on haircuts? And they’re just more cheerful. I feel like there’s a good balance between saving and spending, and allowing yourself a few little luxuries here and makes life more colorful.

 

 

 

Twistband snag-less success

Twistband snag-less success

I think the takeaway from all this for me was more mindfulness when shopping. I will definitely take more time to think about why I’m buying something, and likely end up bringing home less in quantity but more in quality. I’ll still make running-related purchases, both when I need to replace my shoes or shorts and when there’s something I’d really like to wear on the go – because some new running gear can really brighten up a regular workout!  The key is to decide what is really worth your time and energy, since that’s what money is. That stuff is special for me, so it’s worth it!

 

 

With all the time I saved shopping, I also managed to figure out Twitter and Pinterest! Follow me at @Runner Girl 1991 and Renaissance Runner Girl on Pinterest. And that’s all for this Thursday!

What do you think about your own shopping habits? Any tips and tricks for thinking through purchases?

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

WIAW #5: Some Serious Salmon

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

 

Welcome to another WIAW, with Jenn at Peas and Crayons! Below are my eats from Monday, when I ate salmon at three meals without any intentional planning (I also had a bunch of smoked salmon left over from the weekend). I do love salmon, so it isn’t a surprise. And it comes in so many delicious forms. This day featured smoked salmon at breakfast and lunch and a filet of fresh salmon at dinner, but might just as easily have included a salmon burger or sushi. I try to think about sustainability since I prefer wild-caught salmon, but hopefully I’m doing okay!

 

Breakfast: One of my smoked salmon scrambles stuffed into a gluten-free wrap, with cucumber slices on the side. I paired this with a cup of berries for a filling morning meal. I also snacked on two slices of Muenster cheese while I was making the scramble.

A smoked salmon scramble wrap

A smoked salmon scramble wrap

This scramble is ready for its close-up!

This scramble is ready for its close-up!

 

 

Cinnamon and cream cheese

Cinnamon and cream chees

 

Morning snack: I grabbed two of my apple cinnamuffins and a smear of cream cheese to take to school, and munched on them around 11am while in class. I usually go for Greek yogurt or peanut butter on my muffins in a hurry, but the cream cheese paired nicely as well, especially with the cinnamon flavor. Kind of like cheesecake frosting!

 

 

 

 

Le Pain Quotidien Jams

Le Pain Quotidien Jams

 

The only thing that would have made it even more delicious was a dab of jam, because I love that combination – sadly, I did not have the means to cart a jar around in my purse, though I had picked up a jar of the Blueberry Jam at Le Pain when I was there for brunch last weekend.

 

 

 

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Four Month Blog-iversary and an Apples n’ Peanut Butter Muffin Recipe

I can’t believe it, but today is my four-month blog anniversary! The past few months have been a whirlwind with family and friends, running and recipes, and of course law school and everything leading up to graduation. But I’ve really been loving every moment I’ve spent on the blog. I had forgotten how much I missed writing for fun, about whatever is on my mind, since I started law school. After all, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for it! But I’m so happy I made the time, because writing, and reading other blogs, and beginning to feel like a part of something in the healthy living community, have all been fantastic little pieces of the journey so far. That said, on to today’s post – a new muffin recipe combining two of my favorite things.

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

I’m constantly experimenting with new flavor combinations for my muffins because I whip up a batch weekly for breakfast, brunch, an on-the-go snack or a running pick-me-up. Honestly, they’re practically a food group for me (just look at what I eat on a typical day!) These little dollops of deliciousness are what would happen if my Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins and Peanut Butter Cuppins had a muffin baby. Apples + Peanut Butter = Yum. Every time. Plus, I had an excuse to try out my new silicone muffin pan – I usually stick to a regular stainless steel pan, but lately mine has been getting tough to clean and the muffins have been sticking even when the pan is greased well, so I decided to give this cute red one a try. It’s a little trickier to remove from the oven without bending, but I’m happy to announce it was a successful test run! If you slide a knife carefully around the edges of each muffin before removing, they’re easy to pop right out of the pan.

 

Muffins in their new baking home

Muffins in their new baking home

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt)

2 Tbsp milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

2 large eggs

2 tbsp peanut butter, melted (My favorite Peanut Butter & Co)

2 tbsp powdered peanut butter (I used PB2 Original)

1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped (I like using Braeburn apples to bake, they’re the perfect twist of sweet and snappy)

1/3 cup applesauce

1 Tbsp butter (you can sub extra applesauce if you prefer)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray (to grease the pan)

 

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Ode to Oats: Snickerdoodle Success

Happy Monday! Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start. I’m thankful the sun is shining, birds are singing, and spring is firmly in the air. While that means I’ll be munching on fresh fruits and veggies more than ever, I won’t be neglecting my oats anytime soon. I’ve shared the story of how I accidentally created my oatmeal cakes. These are a staple for me, usually eaten two or three or even four mornings each week! More in winter, a little less in summer. I still much prefer them to regular bowls of oatmeal because they’re more substantial, and it takes just as much effort to cook oatmeal on the stove when you factor in time spent standing over a pot, so why not have your cake and eat it too instead?

When I started blogging and reading other blogs, I discovered the phenomenon of so-called ‘overnight oats’ and literally hundreds of recipes. I tried a few of them, thinking that it combined oats with Greek yogurt, which I love, so it must be good. Truth be told, I was not blown away. The most promising combination basically tasted like those Chobani Oats yogurts, which is to say, oat-y yogurt. It was fine, but not what I was expecting. And overnight oats without yogurt did not float my boat, because I definitely prefer anything where oats are the dominant flavor to be served warm.

I’d also seen a few recipes for “growing” your oatmeal. I didn’t want to stand over the stove, so I ignored them. And then I found Chocolate Covered Katie’s voluminous oat trick. I gave it a try, and though my microwave is so touchy that I need to stand in front of it pushing start and stop for a few minutes, the whole cooking process takes about five minutes! However, though an awesome trick and one I am thankful to Katie for sharing, the resulting bowl of oats was a little too pudding-like for my taste. I stirred a little Greek yogurt in next time I tried, and that worked better for me. The third time, I hit the jackpot, by adding in some egg whites as well, and a bit of ground flaxseed. Together, these extra ingredients gave the oatmeal a slightly fluffier but more substantial consistency, and there was an extra punch of protein. I consume a bit more protein than average and can definitely feel it when I don’t have enough in the morning, so this was great.

 

Trying Katie's trick

Trying Katie’s trick

 

Finally, I discovered Peanut Butter Fingers, a blog I found because I was Googling to find deals on peanut butter (don’t ask, I’m a fiend, and I like peanut butter that happens to be a little bit pricier than average!) Julie’s recipe for egg white oatmeal provided the last tip I needed for a truly great bowl of oats. Her instructions included stirring every so often, which I had not thought to do when I reheated my oats the next morning after removing them from the fridge. So I ended up taking some ingredients and instructions from each recipe, and combining them to create the bowl that works best for my breakfast needs. There’s a saying about how all art builds on other art, and I think that’s true for cooking too – but I want to give credit where credit is due, so many thanks to both Katie and Julie! Below is the recipe for my Snickerdoodle Cloud Oatmeal Bowl. I wouldn’t have perfected it without them!

 

A cinnamon snickerdoodle cloud

A cinnamon cloud

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

Scrumptious snickerdoodle spoonful

Scrumptious snickerdoodle spoonful

1/2 cup milk of choice

1 cup water

1 egg white

2 Tbsp Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp flaxseed

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar or other sweetener

 

Instructions:

1. Use Katie’s voluminous oat trick the night before by stirring together all the ingredients and microwaving in a large bowl or measuring cup. But my recipe includes some extra thickening ingredients, so you will only want to microwave for 3 minutes or so (depending on your microwave) and if it’s anything like mine, you’ll need to stop/start more often! Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Leave the mixture in your fridge overnight.

3. The next morning, take out your oatmeal and microwave for 2 minutes, stopping halfway through to stir.

4. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

 

Have you tried any tricks from other bloggers and stumbled upon a new favorite recipe? 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Sunny Sunday ramblings and a scrumptious scramble

I hope everyone is having a lovely Eastover weekend, filled with family, friends, food, and fun (Easter + Passover = Eastover. It’s the new spring edition of Chrismukkah). For me, a satisfying Saturday gave way to a sunny Sunday, making this a perfect couple of days. It was also perfectly alliterative…yes, I’m still at it with the S’s! I’m on a roll after sharing Sasha’s story with you yesterday. Anyway, yesterday was sunny but extremely windy, so while my run was in a pretty green Central Park, it wasn’t exactly picture perfect. I literally had to hold on to my hat! This morning’s walk was much more peaceful, though when the wind is crazy it does feel like a bit of an adventure.

NP on Wednesday morning required a headband and gloves...this weekends workout was short sleeves and shorts!

NP on Wednesday morning required a headband and gloves…this weekends workout was short sleeves and shorts!

I did 9 miles at an easy pace, the wind insistent but stopping short of blowing me down. With 5 miles on Tuesday, 6 and change on Wednesday (4 at November Project + 1 and a bit there and back), and 6 on Friday, my grand total mileage for the week was just about 26.2. If only I could make up my mind to commit to that in one day – I’m getting there! For now, I ran against the wind with a smile, and a squint when the leaves and sediment swirled up too close. I especially enjoyed it when the song ‘Saturday Morning’ by Eels came streaming into my headphones. I have an iPod shuffle that I wear while running, since I don’t like carrying my phone, so each song is a surprise. This song fit perfectly with the moment as I headed down the park path near the Great Lawn, and was also a little bit of a throwback, since it was on one of the O.C. albums that I bought for my first iPod at 13 or 14 – meaning, nearly a decade ago, which is just head-spinningly crazy!

When I got home, I decided to whip up a scramble for my post-run breakfast. I had brunch plans with friends around 2, so I didn’t want to refuel to the point of being stuffed. I just needed something to tide me over, and I’d already eaten oatmeal for my pre-run morning snack. I like having smoked salmon on the weekends, because it reminds me of weekend morning breakfasts when I was little.

Back then, I scarfed down cereal or Eggos before school (oh, for the days before my wheat allergy was diagnosed, and all I had to worry about was avoiding almonds and oranges…). But on weekends, my mom would sometimes make us pancakes with maple syrup, chocolate chips, and a delightful topping called Strawberry Piggy Sauce that Stonewall Kitchen discontinued some years ago to our chagrin, because after asking at the company store in Maine, we were told we were the only ones buying it. Other days, my dad would head over to the deli to pick up a dozen bagels to pair with cream cheese and lox. Of course, my bagel days are long behind me, but I still love lox, or smoked salmon, which stayed a crucial part of my diet in college (the Brits enjoy smoked fish just like the Scandinavians and New Yorkers) – and I’m always finding ways to incorporate it into breakfast dishes. Which brings us to yesterday’s smoked salmon scramble, just like the lox ‘n onions scrambled eggs you’ll find at any diner. Make a big batch for an Easter or Passover brunch (sans wrap, it’s kosher for Passover) – or whip up a portion later in the week for a quick and tasty gluten-free breakfast!

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‘Happiness is a warm puppy’

So said Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts. I am in complete agreement. My dog Sasha, a beautiful yellow Labrador, is the center of attention in our family, and in return she is loving, loyal, and always ready to snuggle. She is a consistent source of comfort and joy in our lives, and I don’t know what we’d do without her. So although I’ve shared a few photos of her before, I wanted to take today to give you a proper introduction!

A winter puppy

A winter puppy

 

Our first dog when I was growing up was Shayna, another yellow Labrador, who was a member of the family before my brother or I were even thought of. She was a wonderful dog, who definitely behaved according to her place as our predecessor, watching over us like a guardian who slept between the doors of our two bedrooms at night. Sadly, she passed away when I was in middle school. A few years later, we decided it was time to bring another puppy into our family, and Sasha was born on Valentine’s Day of 2006.

 

 

 

We got the call from the breeder while watching the figure skating competition of the Torino Winter Olympics. My mom and I both loved Sasha Cohen’s routines, and thus came our Sasha’s name! I like to joke that it was already in the cards. Shayna came first in our family, but before her, my parents’ respective dogs when they were younger were named Sparky and Socky. It was a totally unintentional tradition, but Sasha carried on the S initial.

 

Taking over the armchair in the library

Taking over the armchair in the library

She grew from the most adorable little puppy into one of the cutest adult dogs ever. It’s funny, but she seems to know her place in our family just like Shayna did – except her place is that of the baby, who came into a household with two teenagers and was doted on by everyone. And she still has a puppy face, even at age 9. When Sasha is in a room, she commands the attention of everyone present. She has her spot on a choice piece of furniture in every room of my childhood home, whether it’s right in the middle of your bed or on the center cushion of the living room couch.

 

 

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Five Things Friday #2: Flinging Myself Into Spring

The five things I’m really loving this Friday all have to do with the real arrival of spring in NYC this week! From food to fitness to fashion, it was hard to narrow it all down (so keep an eye out for next week’s post when some of them might make the cut!) And without further ado…

Blueberries for brekkie!

Blueberries for brekkie!

 

1. Fruit: Of course, I’m a little obsessed with all the springtime fruit spreads out on the city streets and in markets and grocery stores. I like to eat apples and bananas (like the song says!) but after a long winter, fresh colors and tastes are a welcome arrival. From plump berries to juicy peaches, I’ll be nibbling fruit by the fistful and using it in springy recipes. This week, I feasted on a Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal Cake AND a PB&J Oatmeal Cake to showcase some blueberries. Also, on a somewhat related note, I was watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix this week, and can’t stop twisting the word ‘fruit’ around in my head because of that episode where Lorelai and Rory come back from Europe without a gift for Luke, and Lorelai tries to pass off that ‘Fruits de la Terre’ jam as French!

 

 

 

Cute store window

Cute store window

 

2. Foodie Find: There’s a shop called Food Passion on the corner of 88th and Park with a name I love that I hadn’t dropped into until this week. Park Avenue above 61st Street is almost entirely residential, with approximately three retail shops for the next thirty blocks. I really like this because it means walking up Park is much more peaceful and less crowded than on neighboring Lexington and Madison Avenues.

 

 

Menu

Menu

 

It’s mostly a catering company, but there is a small breakfast and lunch menu – you can get an omelette and a coffee or juice for under $10, which is almost impossible in this area of Manhattan. I rarely buy lunch out, preferring to pack my own, but I forgot to take my lunch out of the fridge yesterday and realized my mistake on the way to school, and had a nice cheesy omelette and cup of coffee to tide me over.

 

 

 

3. Fast(er) Feet: I run for body, mind, and spirit – not for speed. But, my body is a little achy-er than a 23-year-old’s should be, due to various injuries (broken right ankle, tendinitis in the right knee, and strained right hip flexor) that often mean I’m sore on the right side or overcompensating on the left. One way to combat this is trail running instead of pounding the pavement. The bridle path in Central Park was covered in a solid sheet of snow and ice all winter, and while my Due North spikes are great, there was simply too much slip-and-slide action going on. So I’m glad the paths are finally cleared and the packed dirt awaits my happy feet!

The reservoir a few weeks ago...

The reservoir a few weeks ago…

...reflecting beautifully once again!

…reflecting beautifully once again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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