Have a Lovely Friday!

geese family

Excuse the minimal posts this week. Between the holiday and work events and hanging out with lots of amazing people, I haven’t had as much time for writing as I would like!

1. Need inspiration for a blank wall? My faves are #2 and #10.

2. Immortality by Stephen Cave has been added to my reading list, this quote’s got me hooked.

“The American novelist Susan Ertz says, “Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” I think there’s a lot of truth in that: Actually, it’s the fear of death rather than the love of life, often, that’s motivating us. If people complain that they don’t have enough time, why do they watch so much TV? It doesn’t seem, actually, when we look at the way people behave, that lack of time is their problem. On the contrary … when you look at how much time we waste, [it seems] that life is already too long — so long that we become complacent and we waste great swathes, so many hours. And, in fact, being conscious of the fact that our time is limited is what makes us really value and appreciate the time that we have.”

3. Can’t workup the motivation to get going? Two 90-year old men run a 100 meter dash. I hope I’ve still got it when I’m in my 90s.

4. Never be bored again! 100 DIY ideas.

5. The Oakland Museum’s Gallery of Natural History is having a grand reopening this weekend. They’ve spent the past year+ re-imagining it, and it’s going to be awesome. Even better, this Sunday is free admission!

6. Try something new! Starting June 5th at Jack London Square, Les Mills will be hosting “Workout Wednesdays“, hour-long complimentary classes in anything from martial arts to strength.

7. I would take these wedges in all of the color combinations, but the coconut tan is my fave.

8. OMG. This music video is ridiculous, I couldn’t take my eyes away. NSFW.

9. Treadmill running vs. Outdoors running

10. The new season of Extreme Weight Loss has started, and the first episode features twins. I think this show is a bit too scripted/cookies and milk/unrealistic/try hard, but I find it inspiring to see what the human body is able to accomplish. Anyone who takes determined, focused actions to change their lives for the better in any way deserves major props.

Our friends are getting married this weekend, and I’m so excited that we’ll be there to help them celebrate their love and committment. Have a great weekend!

Always, Sierra

What do you have going on this weekend?

Do you prefer treadmill running or running outdoors? Does weather change your choice?

Do you watch Extreme Weight Loss?

No-Bake Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bar Recipe

One of my goals this year is experimenting in the kitchen with the idea of food as fuel. I’m asking my body to do things it’s never done (hill repeats, intervals, moving faster than a snail’s pace) and I’d like to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help it succeed. I’m not a picky eater, I like to stuff my face with all the food, but unfortunately not all the food makes my body happy.

I thought I’d start my experimenting with something that sounded simple, and it doesn’t get much simpler than no-baking. After researching online and finding endless possibilities, I decided to throw something together with what we already had on hand: dried cherries, dates, shredded coconut, flaxseed and almonds.

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1. Spread the almonds out in a single layer, and toast at 350F for 12-15 minutes. When they’re done, the almonds will get darker in color, and smell toasty and delicious. (Sidenote: that’s my expensive pizza stone I bought right before the Mr. and I got off our our homemade pizza kick #failsauce)

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2. While the almonds are toasting, combine the dried cherries, dates, coconut flakes and flaxseed in a food processor.

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3. When the almonds are toasted, remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Add them to the food processor.

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4. Start processing!

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5. Realize that you crammed the food processor just a little too full, and remove half of the mixture. Continue food processing in batches, a few minutes for each batch. Keep an eye on the dried fruit as it tends to clump together. The consistency of the mixture will become slightly sticky with small bits of nuts. It’s okay if some of the bits are larger than others, because all the bits are delicious.

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6. Line a pyrex dish or baking tray with parchment paper, and empty the mixture into the tray. Press the mixture down flat, creating a level layer.

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7. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. I left them in for 2 hours and they came out firm and easy to cut. I portioned them into 16 small squares, and promptly popped one  in my mouth. I was not disappointed…tasty!

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8. I portioned out half for the freezer, and half for the refrigerator. I put parchment paper between bars to more easily separate them and grab individual bars as needed. The longer they’re out of the fridge before you eat them, the gooier they’ll get.

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What I’d do differently: Find a way to work more protein into the bars. Add more flaxseed, probably a 1/2 cup total. For a stronger coconut flavor, I’d up the amount of shredded coconut to a 1/2 cup.

When I’d eat these: During a hike, before or after a long run, as a snack when I’m craving a large cookie, on a random Tuesday afternoon. The dried fruit puts them on the sweet side so they also work as a healthier dessert option.

Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bars

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup dates, pitted
  2. 1 cup dried cherries
  3. 1 cup almonds, toasted or raw
  4. 1/4 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened per taste
  5. 1/4 cup flaxseed

Toast almonds. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process for 2-5 minutes, until consistency is sticky and well mixed. Press mixture into a parchment-lined tray, creating a level layer. Chill for 1-2 hours, cut into desired portions and enjoy!

Nutrition Info for 1 bar, 16 servings total (using online calculator): Calories 130, Fat (g) 5.9, Carbohydrates (g) 18.25, Protein (g) 2.8

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite brand of energy bar?

Do you ever make homemade ones?

Memorial Day Weekend: Camping in Tahoe

The mountains are calling and I must go.    – John Muir

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Camp was established.

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Fishing commenced.

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Some were released.

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Some were eated.

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Nature was enjoyed.

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P1000472The nights were chilly, the days sunny and brisk. Cell phones were turned off, emails, blogs, and social networks forgotten. There were quiet moments alone basking in the sun, and shared moments of joy over fish caught and full moons. Captain Crunch was consumed and tasted of childhood, fresh trout were consumed and tasted of clean wildness. Carving moments of bliss out of busy schedules is what life is all about.

Always, Sierra

How was your Memorial Day?

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

When’s the last time you went camping? Where’d you go?

 

Have a Lovely Friday!

have a lovely friday

1. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the tornado in Oklahoma. I had tears in my eyes watching this video.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147264n

2. I’d snap this swimsuit top up in a heartbeat…if only they had my size.

3. Looking for fun workout gear? Sunsetsigndesigns etsy shop has tanks for when you’re feeling it, and tanks for when you’re not.

4. Summer’s coming, and this looks like a tasty salad for picnics.

5. The awesome Hungry Runner Girl blogged about this event. Fighting childhood obesity is such an important cause. This would be a great 5K to bring the whole family out for, especially since kids 12 & under are free!

prevent obesity

{source}

6. It’s Carnaval this weekend and there’s a German Beer & Sausage Festival. These are the kinds of choices that can change lives.

7. In My Dreams, I Live Here: A Cabin in Vermont Yes. Yes to all of it. Yes to that bedroom, yes to the neutral paint swatches by the fireplace, yes to the claw foot bath tub, and especially yes to the cozy reading nook. Genius.

8. One of my goals for this year is to get more involved with the causes I’m passionate about. One f those causes is wildlife conservation, and I’ve been researching volunteer vacations. How exhilarating would it be to study sharks? Or to gain the trust of and help rehabilitate wild mustangs?

9. Curious about chi running? If you’re in the Bay Area, check out this great deal on LivingSocial.

I hope you enjoy your three days of freedom this Memorial Day weekend! May they be filled with fun, sun, and your beverage of choice.

Above all else, remember to be safe. AAA has a Tipsy Tow program that offers free tows if you’ve had one too many, and you don’t even have to be a member. The number is (800) 222-4357, use it if you need it!

Always, Sierra

Quick Dinner Recipe: Build Your Own Wraps

I love to dance around my kitchen with a glass of wine cook. Sometimes I spend hours in the kitchen, dirtying all the pots and pans, creating a masterpiece of a meal with an interesting and complex favor profile, worthy of judgment by any Chopped chef. 

And sometimes I’m so hangry I just want food in my stomach as quickly as possible.

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{source – my bearded pigeon etsy shop}

When I’m focused on making a speedy meal, I worry less about putting together a “composed” dish, and more about making sure I’m getting a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats. (I’ve been told I over think things once or twice.) Build your own wraps are a great way to do this and a fun way to be creative in the kitchen.

1. Take stock of whatever veggies you have, and chop ’em up.

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I had zucchini, carrots, onion and red bell pepper. Turns out a red bell pepper is just a green bell pepper that has had time to fully ripen. Being ripe makes red bell peppers sweeter and a thousand times more delicious, and explains why the green ones cry at night when no one’s looking.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high, and saute veggies, five to ten minutes. Season with salt.

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I went with two pans to saute in because I had so many veggies and I didn’t want to overcrowd my pan. Overcrowding can mean steamed mushy vegetables instead of lovely sautéed vegetables with a bit of color on them.

This is a great place to add variety. I kept it simple by seasoning with a little salt, but feel free to get jiggy with it. Other ideas: sriracha, red pepper flakes, cumin + nutmeg, herbs de Provence, fresh herbs, etc.

3. While the veggies are sauteing, gather your sides and start building!

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Two wraps for me because I like to eat all the things. I used blue corn and flax seed tortillas, and spread one with Sabra Hummus, and one with a quarter of an avocado.

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Next, lay down a bed of spinach, or any greens, and top with a protein of your choice. I added half a leftover chicken thigh and half a hard-boiled egg on each. You could also use tofu or tempeh.

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4. Check on the veggies, which should be done by now. Combine them in one pan to let the flavors mingle for a minute, especially if you got fancy with the seasoning.

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5. Pile on the veggies and you’re done! I like to stuff my wraps so full they can’t actually be wrapped. The tastiness will not be contained!

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Don’t want tortillas? Try using quinoa, brown rice, or a baked sweet potato as a substitute.

And that’s a wrap! (Come on…you knew it was coming.)

Always, Sierra