Beet Smoothie

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Never have I ever gone skiing.

Never have I ever shaved my eyebrows (People do that, right?).

Never have I ever slipped on a banana peel.

Never have I ever done a cartwheel.

Never have I ever run a marathon.

And never have I ever thought I would ever call myself a runner, but after demolishing one pair of shoes and successfully killing a 5K with a time of 24 minutes, I’d say it’s about time I put away the notion that my bones are “too weak” for running or my body “isn’t built” for a marathon.

I mean, I’m not doing today’s Boston Marathon. Because that’d just be crazy. But maybe this time next year, my Never Have I Evers will be a little different.

You know, “Never have I ever ridden a unicycle” or “Never have I ever done a triathlon” or “Never have I ever hung out with a sloth.”

Oh my god why haven’t I hung out with a sloth yet?

Start to cross off your nevers.

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That’s it. Beets, bananas, flax. And some almond milk. Maybe some honey if sweetness is what you crave before a run. Or after? This could be a great recovery drink, too.

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Blender, where would I be without you? My mornings would be smoothieless and filled with other breakfast things like cereal and donuts. Thanks to you, I’ve made coworkers drool and effectively woken up my roommates at 7 a.m. to the sound of your engine.

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Yes, that’s a sparkly pink straw.

Beet smoothie.

1 medium beet, roasted or boiled and chopped into cubes
2 ripe bananas, sliced and preferably frozen
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon honey, to taste

Blend it together and what have you got?

Enough for two runners-but-not-marathoners on a Monday morning.

Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins

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Let me tell you why throwing something out is a trillion times worse than ripping a bandaid.

I’m a reuser. I’m a recycler. My roommates have mentioned on more than one occasion that they’re sick of drinking from jars. We…might be drinking from glasses formerly known as candle holders.

And it’s not just that.

Having three pennies in my wallet for those times when the total is $7.48 gives me probably the greatest joy in the world. The red sneakers I got seven years ago will have their comeback.

Call me weird. Call me a pack rat (Except I’m not really a pack rat because I really have very few things and I give stuff away all the time and I don’t want you to think my room is full of what you’d find on an episode of Hoarders.).

But being this way has its advantages, guys. Especially in the kitchen.

Did you know that you can save your  vegetable butts (onion skins, carrot greens, celery ends) and make some amazingly delicious broth? And brown bananas are the perfect excuse to bake something. Duh.

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Or like those times you get 67 bananas instead of just four because you want potassium something awful?

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And then you’re all “I’m gonna smash you and turn you into muffins, bananas.”

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I’m not much of a carrot eater. But when a bundle of organic ones are on sale, I have to get them, right?

While the rest of the girls are compulsive lip gloss buyers, I’m busy getting far too many vegetables.

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So, some oats are going in these. You’re lucky this round didn’t get flax seeds.

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Can I also just say that repurposing string to hold up jewelry is the best?

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So stop throwing things away. Make some broth. Something about lemonade.

Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas until only a few chunks remain. Add the vanilla and almond milk and mix with a fork. Whisk in the brown sugar until no clumps remain.

In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients. Fold into the banana mixture about half a cup at a time.

Add the oats and grated carrots, lightly folding until fully incorporated.

Put batter into muffin tins or ramekins, filling only about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

Makes enough muffins for you to resist leftover Easter chocolate. For…maybe 5 more minutes.

Steel Cut Oats with Strawberries, Bananas and Peanut Butter

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I made a daring getaway. I only just got out of there with my life and dignity.

It was at the bargain basement of Urban Outfitters. There were sales. There were $5 t-shirts. The clothing racks were spaced about six inches apart and it was the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday. Lines to the registers were 10 deep.

I lasted five minutes. No amount of printed tights, patterned pants or polka dot shirts could keep me there.

I scurried up the stairs and didn’t look back, for fear of being turned into stone.

And to calm my nerves, I ran straight into the hardware store next door and made purchases that either make me out to be a dude or, at the very least, someone who is obsessed with coffee. 200 filters. A pour-over brewer. Batteries. I almost bought that pooping pig keychain. Remember those?

Shopping is stressful and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

But I do recommend a full serving of steel cut oats every morning.

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Steel cut oats are my jam. And so much better than plain old rolled oats. They’re dense and slightly crunchy and, best of all, are re-microwavable. You can make a big vat of them on Sunday and have it last you for the rest of the week.

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Bananarama! Strawberrypalooza! Fruits! Vitamins!

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Guys I just put a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter in that bowl. It might even be two tablespoons. A dollop. A lot.

Steel cut oats with strawberries, bananas and peanut butter.

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
3 tablespoons ground flax
1 banana
3 strawberries
dollop of peanut butter

In a large pot, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the oats and stir continuously to make sure none of the grains get stuck to the bottom. Reduce the heat to a simmer and keep on stirring every minute or so to prevent a skin from forming. Continue to do this for about 30 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the oats have a porridge-like consistency.

Turn off the heat and quickly incorporate the ground flax.

Add sliced bananas, strawberries and peanut butter dollop. You can also add any other fruit or topping your heart desires. Make it a breakfast dessert with chocolate chips. Throw in some mango. Get some jam in there.

Makes enough for an apartment of 4 people or just enough to last you until Wednesday.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

All right, fine. Maybe germs are real after all. I don’t even want to talk about it.

And I totally had a second chance to watch grown-up Fantasia (following the unfortunate fire alarm incident from a while back) and ended up leaking from my eyeballs as the conductor flipped out during the grand finale, urging the orchestra to play just a few beats longer. Stravinsky, you have my heart. Use it wisely.

But let’s talk gardens. Because mine is in bloom and I want yours to do the same thing.

Gardening has everything to do with food. In a few months, I’ll be making kale chips up the wazoo. Zucchini quiche like nobody’s business. And herbs will always be fresh.

I know very little about gardening, other than the few tidbits I’ve picked up from blogs, friends and trial-and-error. The best advice I can give you is to love your seedlings. Keep their soil moist. Keep them warm. They love the sun (more than you do). And, most of all, don’t be bummed if you have to let some go. Not all of them will make it through the first few weeks of life. It happens. Plant s’more!

And always, always get excited when they first start to sprout. They need all the encouragement they can get.

In the meantime, keep on baking things with peanut butter.

I’m super obsessed with ramekins. It…might be intervention time.

Yeah, okay, I know, I’ve made a lot of peanut butter things lately. Live with it.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips.

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup vanilla yoghurt
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup ground flax
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (always)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 bread baking pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, fluff the flour, baking soda, salt, flax and spices with a fork.

In a large bowl, whisk bananas, peanut butter, melted butter and sugars until the peanut butter is fully incorporated. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, making sure that everything is mixed before adding the next.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry before adding the chocolate chips and oats. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour (it may take more time), or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 1 pan of bread, good enough for about a week of sweet, delectable breakfast.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Sandwich

My hair is greying.

Not just a few. It’s got highlights. White highlights. Highlights that I wish would just clump together so I could call them a skunk stripe and be both Rogue and Mrs. Robinson at once. Any maybe fly and have super strength. While seducing adolescent men? Maybe I’ve gone too far.

When someone caught me drinking three cups of instant coffee, watching Top Chef while painting my nails and heating up more waffle fries for dinner, I had to make a self-intervention.

I went to bed early. I woke up 30 minutes early and made tea. And home lunch, the way Mom used to pack it.

Although I grew up jealous of my friends’ cool Lunchables with their mini sandwich meats and bite-sized cookies, or even the SPAM musubis, my white-hair-clad, nine to five aging body is grateful for the comforts of home. This time, the kids were jealous of my lunch.

No recipe required.

This is fancy bread. It’s got rye. And cranberries and pecans.

Creamy? Chunky? Bananas? Apples? Jam? Honey?

Everything but the brown paper bag.