the dailies : 10.31.11

daily word: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

daily sweat: CrossFit! Great way to start the day.

daily dish: I’d say it was the fall oatmeal we talked about earlier this morning…but it was actually the shoo fly pie I ate for lunch this afternoon. For real.

daily miles:

Day 54: crap

Day 55: the curse

(Totally forgot about the guy with the bird stuffed into his shirt. That detail was lost among the more colorful memories of the day.)

Day 56: beauty is a many splendored thing

beka stays healthy : hot or cold fall oatmeal jars

(That title makes me laugh. None of those words go together.)

There are people who like to believe that some things never change. But I like to believe that anything can change. Case in point: my passionate feelings toward oatmeal.

Just one short year ago, I hated oatmeal. It literally made me nauseous to think of eating hot mush at breakfast or any other time of day. And then I went on a 3 month road trip around the country. And it was not fully funded by the Travel Channel. So there were times in which eating whatever was cheapest was the best option. Slowly, reluctantly, I choked down my first few bowls of Gas Station Oatmeal: a fine delicacy created by heating a 50 cent package of oatmeal with hot water from the gas station. Desperate times call for desperate oatmeal.

Somehow, I literally don’t know how, this odd beginning forged a deep and meaningful relationship between me and oatmeal. One year later, I eat it nearly every day. But I don’t drive to the local gas station for the 50 cent variety anymore. No siree. Nowadays, I am all about elaborate oatmeal creations. My most recent favorite is this fall breakfast in a jar.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

For the oatmeal:

  • ¼ cup Rolled Oats (I Love Scottish Oats!)
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk

For the toppings:

  • 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Butter
  • ½ Tablespoon Walnuts
  • ½ whole Banana
  • ⅛ cup Roasted Apples

To make the oatmeal, combine one quarter cup oats with one half cup water. You can cook it on a stove top over medium heat until thickened, but I am usually rushing to get out the door in the morning standing over a stove for 10 minutes is less preferable than throwing something in the microwave. So I microwave the oats for 4 minutes while I finish getting ready for the day. It’s a win/win.

Once cooked, add in spices and milk. (You can also add in protein powder, which I usually opt for if this jar is accompanying me to the gym in the morning.) Scoop the oatmeal into a medium sized mason jar.

Next, layer your toppings. For this jar: pumpkin butter, walnuts, banana, and roasted apples (don’t tell…but I just used a scoop of apples from recently made apple crisp). Top with a lid and run out the door!

Now, here’s the beauty of this particular recipe. It’s delicious hot, but it’s also delicious cold! Unconventional, but so true. When heated, it takes on the warm and comforting notes of banana bread. I usually stir everything together when I eat it hot. But when I eat it cold I like to keep the layers separate. The flavors are so distinct and refreshing!

I’ve made this for breakfast for three days straight – four, if you count tomorrow. Four hundred, if you count every day for the next year or so. I’ll probably still be eating this for breakfast by the time next Christmas comes around.

And, in a spontaneous burst of wisdom, I realized this morning that if I just make a huge batch of oatmeal on Monday morning and divide it into jars for the rest of the week, life would be so much easier. (Um, duh.) So I boiled a cup of oats with two cups of water. When it was just about done I mixed in 4 tablespoons protein powder, 4 tablespoons almond milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Then I divided it into 4 portions (I figured it would probably behoove me to have one oatmeal-free day this week) and topped it with a bunch of random stuff which I am too lazy to list out right now but will probably regale you with at a later date.

Me and Oatmeal. BFF’s. Who knew?! Just goes to show there’s always room for change. (That right there is a superfluous life lesson tucked into a post about breakfast. Wow. Must be Halloween in the air.)

beka stays creative : unconventionally inspired

So this is the spot where a new inspired post would usually live…but due to circumstances that are completely under my control…I’m just choosing not to post a new list today! Mainly, because it’s slim pickings on the inspiration front this week. Not because it was a bad week, because it wasn’t, it was just a tad on the busier side of busy, which left little room for browsing the interwebs. I mean, I’m inordinately inspired by shoo fly pie (for those of you with roots outside of Pennsylvania, definition and recipe here) since my mom made one for me and brought it out during their visit this weekend, but that doesn’t really seem like the beginning of a valid list. Other invalid things I am inspired by: my new desk, which means my laptop has a home that is not the floor and my living room is actually starting to look lived-in; the Packers having a bye week so I can have a game-stress-free Sunday supplemented by lots of other great games (way to go, Buffalo!); outrageously beautiful leaves which I strung together with a needle and thread and hung across my bedroom window; and did I mention shoo fly pie? That too.

That’s all she wrote, folks.

(But I’m sure I’ll also be inspired by CrossFit in the morning since I now have 10 lbs of pie to work off.)

beka stays relational : questions and answers

Annie is one of the kids I nanny for. She’s 3 years old. And as a 3 year old, she has many, many, (MANY) questions about the world. Almost every sentence ends in, “but why?” And the ones that don’t end in “but why?” end in just plain “why?” I like coming up with creative answers to her questions that will make her think even more about her (inevitable) next question. Half because it’s good for her imagination and half because it gives me an extra few seconds in between questions. But this time around, she was the one who made me think about my own questions and answers. We had this conversation while tying shoelaces last week:

“Beka?”

“Yes, Annie?”

“What’s your daddy’s name?”

“My daddy’s name is Don.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s what his parents named him.”

“But why?”

“They must have really liked that name.”

“What does Don do?”

“Well…he helps people.”

(The best way to avoid an answer that involved prison, inmates, and other details that would have boggled a 3 year old mind.)

“How?”

“He gives them Bibles, and teaches them lessons, and tells them about Jesus.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s important for people to know how much Jesus loves them.”

(Momentary pause to think it all over.)

“And what’s your mommy’s name?”

“Her name is Martie.”

“But why?”

“Because that’s what her parents named her.”

“What does Martie do?”

“She helps kids in school.”

“How?”

“She helps them get on and off the bus and she feeds them lunch and she makes them smile.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s important to help kids and make them smile.”

And in her simple stream of questions, Annie helped me understand fundamental truths about my parents that I’d never given much thought to before: I was born into a family of helpers, to parents who care more about doing something that matters than doing something that makes money. Besides raising me in a home that put faith first, it’s the most important lesson they’ve ever taught me, and it was never once spoken. It was enacted.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for living lives that reflect your values and for imparting those values to me. And thank you, Annie, for asking an incalculable number of questions throughout the day. Especially ones like these.

the dailies : 10.28.11

daily word: This is not in the least bit meaningful, but this conversation with a guy at the return desk at Target tonight made me laugh:

Me: Hi, I’d like to exchange this blanket please.

Employee: Is there anything wrong with it?

Me: Nope, I’m just a woman.

Employee: I’m sorry?

Me: I can’t do anything without changing my mind 18 times.

Employee: I want to laugh…but I don’t know if I’m allowed to.

daily sweat: The return of the 6 mile run. It felt GREAT. I can’t believe I used to run like that a few times a week…and now I do it once or twice a month. No more! I really want to get back into the habit of long runs. Life feels so much better afterward.

daily dish: A slightly healthier take on yesterday’s dessert frozen banana cream – this time with milk, cocoa, protein powder, peanut butter and granola. SO GOOD!

daily mile:

Day 53: it’s my roadtrip and I’ll cry if I want to

(This really was such a sad day.)

beka stays healthy : pumpkin pie cups

As you flip through this blog, you may be under the impression that I have an affinity for pumpkin.

You would be correct. Apparently it’s a prerequisite in the blog world to wax poetic about pumpkin this time of year…and apparently I’m in with the in crowd. If something has the word “pumpkin” in the title, there’s a better than 99% chance that I’ll make it/order it/purchase it.

Except for one thing. There’s one pumpkin item I just can’t stomach.

Pumpkin pie.

I know. I shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving. Exile me from New England. I don’t deserve to live here anymore.

But it’s not without just cause! I had a traumatic childhood pumpkin pie experience!

So when I was all of 6 or 7, I became obsessed with the idea of pumpkin pie. I mean, it looked so good in books and on TV! So I asked my mom if she could make one. And, because she’s amazing, she did. But in the process of making the pie, she sliced her hand open on the can of pumpkin. And was bleeding profusely. And had to be rushed to the hospital by my dad. Who was stopped by the cops on the way there. At which point I started howling in the back seat because I thought they were going to arrest me for involuntary hand slaughter.

Because, as previously mentioned, my mom is amazing, she ended up seeing the pumpkin pie through to completion even after her fight with the can. And when she proudly served the pie with a dollop of whipped cream and I took my much-anticipated first bite…I found out that I didn’t like pumpkin pie after all.

My poor mom.

This led to a good 15 years of pumpkin embargo. I was under the impression that I didn’t like pumpkin, when in reality, I think I was just scarred from the whole unfortunate pie experience (as was my mom…literally).

Slowly but surely, pumpkin started to make a comeback. At first just in seasonal coffees. And then in pumpkin rolls because they just looked so delicious and reminded me of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. And then in muffins. And then in roasted seeds. And then in soup. And then the rest is history.

But still, to this day, I can’t get on board with pumpkin pie. I blame it on the cops.

Last weekend though, I made some progress. I made Pumpkin Pie in cup form. Pumpkin Pie encased by white chocolate. Which isn’t really pumpkin pie at all, but it’s close enough for me.

I think that this recipe for White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups from Lauren at Healthy Food for Living is about as close as I’ll get to actually eating pumpkin pie. But I’ll take it as a victory, and a delicious one at that! Be sure to check out the recipe!

the dailies : 10.27.11

daily word: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9

daily sweat: 6am power vinyasa yoga! love it!

daily dish:

IMG_7146
This made me so happy.
1/2 a frozen banana + 1 Tbsp cocoa powder. Blend until creamy in a food processor. Top with a small dollop of peanut butter and a mini peanut butter cup.
It’s my favorite flavor of ice cream…but healthy! I’m so excited!

daily mile:

Day 52: keep moving forward

(A year later, same television programming. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! A classic bound to make any day better.)

the dailies : 10.26.11

Random notes before we get started:

Last night would have been ideal timing for a middle-of-the-night emergency since I went to bed fully clothed, as I discovered this morning when I woke up to bobby pins working their way into my skull. I’m not entirely sure how this happened, or how I ended up half-covered in a blanket from the couch, or how I forgot to put on pajamas but remembered to set my alarm.

For the greater part of the day I’ve looked like a cow licked the side of my head. But luckily he moseyed over to the other side to even things out. This effect might have been caused by the fact that I used deodorant as hair spray this morning. Wonders never cease.

I put chocolate chips in my cereal tonight. It probably goes without saying that this, unlike my deodorized scalp, was not accidental.

My cheeks kind of feel like they’re going to slide off my face.

Moving on:

daily word: “Maybe we’re all just sick to death of taking three steps forward and two steps back. Call me a math wizard, but isn’t that still one step forward? Isn’t that still some pretty big progress…And if we don’t lose ground, aren’t we on our way somewhere new? Willing to take three more steps – even if we lose two?” – Beth Moore

daily sweat: CrossFit bootcamp workout #2.I definitely had more spring in my step on Monday. Today, I was springless. But I still loved it, and I’ll take making the effort to go and complete a respectable workout as a 50% victory. Looking forward to going back again on Saturday!

daily dish: Cold oatmeal. Only because I made it last night, packed it with my lunch, and was too hungry to heat it up this morning post-workout. But it ended up being so good that I’m planning on doing it again tomorrow! It’s so much better than it sounds. Post to come in the “future.” “Hypothetically.”

daily miles:

Day 50: the joy of victory

Day 51: my hobbies were lobbying

beka stays healthy : roasted stuffed delicata squash

Foreword: I started writing this post and had a good 2 – 3 paragraphs done…when I realized it seemed awfully familiar and checked my drafts. Good call. Already written and waiting to be published. Sanity: 1, Beka: 0.

I wasn’t always so in love with fall/winter vegetables.

Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, parsnips, PUMPKIN…these are all recent discoveries in my world. And how bleak life must have been without them! I can’t image how I got through even a single week sans root vegetables and gourds! They now compile my favorite genre of foods. (Excluding desserts. Which probably went without saying.)

I usually get my weekly stash of vegetables from the Brighton Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, I bolt out of church (which is extra-holy, I know) and speed to the Market so that I can shop for 10-15 minutes and still get home in time for the FOX NFL Pregame Show (it’s my favorite one! I can’t bear to miss it!). It’s an unconventional process, but it works for me.

A few weeks ago I invested 5 minutes of my 15 minute allotment to talking with one of the squash vendors. I was looking for something new to add to my repertoire aside from the usual tried and true varieties. The vendor recommended delicata squash.

The vendor is now one of my favorite people.

The idea for this meal was actually born from a feature in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. The recipe was for turning a baked sweet potato into a meal by stuffing it. Since I had this squash burning a hole in my pantry, I decided to give it a go with a few different ingredients!

Roasted Stuffed Delicata Squash:

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

  • 1  Delicata Squash
  • 12  Brussels Sprouts
  • ¼  Red Onion
  • 1  Large Chopped Kale Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Cherries
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 ounce Goat Cheese
  • ½ Tablespoons Raw Pumpkin Seeds

To get started, wash and dry the delicata squash. It’s usually still carrying some old baggage, namely dirt from the field. Once he’s clean and shiny, cut in half (perk: delicatas are easier to chop through than most of the gourd family) and scoop out seeds.

If you like your vegetables steamed, you can just combine the stuffing ingredients and add them to the squash before baking. But if you like things a little crispier, I’d recommend roasting the stuffing on a separate pan. Either way, combine Brussels sprouts, red onion, kale, and cherries. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add the mixture, either divided between the two halves or spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 15-20 minutes. If you’ve been roasting the stuffing separately, add it to the squash now. At this point you also want to add the goat cheese and pumpkin seeds, both sprinkled on top. Continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

This meal is the ultimate fall comfort food. I was on the fence about the goat cheese, but I’m so glad it made the cut! It really added something special to the mix. But this is totally customizable – you can add or subtract anything you want! Shallots, pecans, wild rice, cranberries, carrots…you name it. Have fun experimenting and finding your favorite flavor combination!

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

the dailies : 10.24.11

daily word: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

daily sweat: My first CrossFit bootcamp workout! I seriously loved it. More on this later.

daily dish: Another “more on this later” item – a soon to be posted sandwich! You’re going to love it!

daily mile:

Day 46: the shaft

Day 47: creep, crawl, conquer

Day 48: holiday preview

Day 49: behind door number three…