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.

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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.

Strawberry Coconut Flax Muffins

Sometimes waffle fries for dinner happens.  Sometimes you crochet all night and forget to sleep.  And eat.  Sometimes those shoes you were waiting for in the mail show up four sizes too small and in the wrong color.  Sometimes you borrow clothes and lose them.  Sometimes the Italian parsley plant you were trying to save finally succumbs to its untimely death.  Sometimes you get a mediocre haircut.  Sometimes you steep too long.

Sometimes the toothpick doesn’t come out clean.

And sometimes you wear your snow boots when its 50 degrees just so you can splash in the melted puddles left from last night’s frosting.  Sometimes rolling on a foam cylinder feels better than an hour of yoga.

Sometimes you set your alarm just so you can make muffins.  Sometimes you still press snooze.

Sometimes you substitute canola oil with coconut oil.  And the pig approves.

Sometimes you pulverize flax seeds for added fiber.

Sometimes you’re not sure if it’ll work.

Sometimes the dishes suck.  All the time.  Dishes suck all the time.

Sometimes you eat one before they’ve even cooled.  Then you eat another.

And sometimes everything is pretty delicious.

Strawberry Coconut Flax Muffins.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed, ground to a powder with a coffee grinder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
1/3 cup milk
6oz greek strawberry yoghurt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 3×4 muffin pan or use cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, flax, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

To soften the coconut oil, measure first then heat for about 15 seconds in the microwave.

In a small bowl, whisk the coconut oil, milk, egg, and yoghurt.  Add to the dry ingredients and fold until fully incorporated.

Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Granola

There’s nothing more empowering than to walk down to the sketchy grocery store with a newly conditioned pair of leather boots (my first!).  Especially because I never wear heels and even an inch makes me nervous.  And I’m a heavy walker.  And they’re still breaking in, so I’ve got about two and a half blisters on each foot.

So really, there’s nothing more embarrassing than to walk down the street, tripping over each curb, stomping with each step, and limping/wincing with pain.

But damn, they’re nice boots.  And they were $6.

And the trip through the fog/rain was worth it.  I got all the ingredients I needed for this sweet and savory granola.

Mountains of fiber!

Do you know what’s cheaper and more effective than a KitchenAid mixer?  My hands.

Plains of grains!

You know, I originally had an elaborate set-up for my “finished product” shot.  There was a tea pot.  And crystal mugs of earl grey and milk.  Even a cup full of fresh sage.

But granola isn’t fluffy.  It’s hearty.  It’s rugged.  It’s rough.  It goes well with leather boots.

Also, granola is perfect for hiking.  Someone take me hiking.

Granola.

2 cups rolled oats (don’t use quick oats)
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throw the dry ingredients into a bowl and toss until the seeds are spread evenly.  Add all of the wet ingredients and mix until all of the grains, seeds, and raisins are covered.

Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for half an hour, tossing the mixture after 15 minutes.

Makes about 5 cups of granola.