Let’s be real: exercise can be boring. It’s the main reason I love group fitness classes and change up my routine regularly. Between boxing, barre, and yoga classes, I rely on my iCal to remind me where I need to be. Since changing up my routine a few weeks ago, I’ve become re-energized—and it applies far beyond the gym. It’s affected my personal life, what I’m whipping up in the kitchen (two new recipes to share with you!), and my mood at the office.
Last Saturday, I met up with one of my TNT teammates (Shout-out to my boy AARON!!) for a run. We’re training together for the Marine Corps Historic Half on May 17. I broke in my new pair of kicks (see below) and was reminded of how much I enjoy running with a buddy. Chatting helps pass the miles, and before I knew it, we’d already cleared five. In total, I pushed out 7 solid miles on Saturday and felt pretty damn good. No ankle pain. No hip pain.
After a good run or workout, that boost of adrenaline and release of endorphins really kick-starts the metabolism and improves mood. I’ve found that I’ve become more creative in the kitchen. I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free and vegan recipes out of curiosity, and have found a few I think you’ll enjoy.
Gluten-Free, Vegan Breakfast “Cookies” adapted from Kumquat blog
1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 TB golden flaxseed meal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried currants
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (if frozen, thaw before using)
1/4 cup coconut oil, warm enough to be a liquid (I used a three-oil blend as a substitute.)
1 TB agave nectar or organic honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, use cooking spray.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
4. Place a 2.5-inch round cookie cutter on the baking sheet. Press 2 TB of the mixture into the cookie cutter. Continue with remaining mixture.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Let cool on baking sheet.
6. Store in airtight container for up to one week.
NOTE: Next time I make these, I think I’ll add some cacao powder, since I love my daily dose of chocolate!
This next recipe makes a great side or main dish. Add some fresh mixed greens for a yummy salad option.
Roasted Red Pepper and Green Bean Quinoa Salad adapted by Closet Cooking blog
1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 red peppers, seeds removed
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 TB olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
Goat cheese and more fresh thyme (for topping)
Splash or two of sherry vinaigrette (as dressing)
1. Place red peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet and broil for about 10-12 minutes (until skin starts to blister). Remove from oven and place in a seal-able container to steam (about 20 minutes). Remove skin and cut into 1-inch pieces.
2. In a large bowl, mix green beans with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. In a single layer, spread beans on a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
3. As the green beans roast, cook quinoa according to package directions.
4. Mix beans, red peppers, and quinoa together. Before serving, toss with sherry vinaigrette and a pinch more salt and pepper. Combine well. Top with a little bit of goat cheese crumbles and thyme.
I hope my little does of inspiration in the kitchen (and out on the trails) will help you stay motivated too! Eat well. Be well.