breakfast

I know I have introduced you all before, but I have an pick up affair going on with the #11 bagel from The Grind Cafe.

I may go days or weeks without visiting with my boy, but he is always there for me when I come back. He doesn’t care if I’m acting like a jerk or if I’m feeling over emotional. He’s ideal. I mean, he doesn’t even get mad if I cheat on him with oatmeal or pancakes.

He’s not the jealous type.

I mean, look, sometimes he even brings friends to our clandestine meetings.

I don’t think anything will ever come between us.

Our love is forever. ❤

***

In other news, I can’t believe that I didn’t notice there was a hunk of something or the other on my floor and in my breakfast shot. Just looking at it is driving me bonkers.

Where the heck is my swifter….

***

Still working on figuring out all of my plans, but I did one good thing yesterday. I really, really, really didn’t want to go to the gym. Or walk to work. Or get out of bed. But I did get out of bed and I pulled on my gym clothes and headed to the YMCA. I did a tradmill workout. There was no real method…I just made it up as I went along.

It went something like:

400 meters – Warm-up walk. I started off slow at 2.5 mph, and every so often I bumped it up until it was up to 4.0 by the end of the “lap”…I say lap, as my favorite treadmill at the gym has an option to view a little track on the screen, so you can pretend you are doing a track workout.

400 meters – 4.6 mph jog

400 meters – 5.2 mph

400 meters – 6 mph

400 meters – 6.5 mph

400 meters – 7 mph

400 meters – 3.0 walk

Around this time I started to feel really super miserable. I was tired. I didn’t want to be on the treadmill. I wanted to go home. My plan had been to do the same build up one more time, but I was having trouble convincing myself. I ended up doing the following:

200 meters – 4.6 mph jog

200 meters – 3.0 walk

200 meters – 5.2 mph

200 meters – 3.0 walk

200 meters – 6 mph

200 meters – 3.0 walk

200 meters – 6.6 mph

200 meters – 3.0 walk

200 meters – 7 mph

200 meters – 3.0 walk

200 meters – 7.5 mph

200 meters – 3.0 walk

200 meters – 8 mph!

100 meters – 7 mph

100 meters – 6 mph

100 meters – 5.2 mph

300 meters – 4.6 mph jog

400 meters – Cool Down.

I know 8.0 (7:30/mi pace) isn’t that fast, sprinting wise, for some of you, but seeing as I normally run an 11:30-12min pace, it’s darn speedy for me. Somewhere around the 200 8.0 meters, I started to feel strong. Don’t misunderstand me. I still didn’t want to be there and mentally I still felt like crap on toast….but physically, I was feeling good.

Part of what I need to work on is pushing through even when my head is NOT in the game. Although I didn’t feel too excited about the workout, even when I was through, I got it done.

A step in the right direction!

If you are a treadmill runner, what kind of workouts do you do to keep it interesting?

I have to tell you all:

I am the jealous type.

It’s a rather unattractive trait, I know, but when other people are having fun and doing things that I deem more interesting than what I’m doing, I have a habit of becoming green with envy.

This is how I felt during the Food Buzz festival last fall. Now, normally, I wouldn’t care all that much about a foodie convention. Sure, I love food…but I’m not really a food blogger, per se. My palette isn’t all that refined. I mean, you’re talking to a girl who ate KFC after going to the race track last Thanksgiving. How elegant an eater can I be?

The thing that got me was that the festival was here in my hometown of San Francisco. The people whose blogs I read everyday were right there, and I couldn’t partake in the festivities.

You might ask, “What kind of things were they doing, that were so enviable?”

Eating farro, of course.

Farro wasn’t even on my radar prior to reading about it on Ashley and Emily’s blogs. Nor was Il Cane Rosso. Though I do love The Ferry Building, I really don’t spend as much time there as visitors to San Francisco seem to. I really only go there on market days. Nevertheless, I wanted some of this farro porridge that they told of. Maya and I were going to try it in November when she was in the states, but they weren’t serving it that day.

After missing out on farro that day, I became even more determined to try it out. I ended up buying some from Rainbow Grocery in the bulk section….and leaving it in my cabinet for over a month. Oops.

Today was the day, however. I was ready to try out this farro thing in my own kitchen.

Tip: When you buy things from the bulk bins, don’t only put the bin number on the tag, but write down the name as well. Or else you’ll be like me, standing in the kitchen wondering what is what. Fail.

Ashley has done several posts on making ground farro, so I pretty much just followed the general instructions for preparation. First up, the farro needed to be ground. I wasn’t quite sure my magic bullet was going to do the job justice, but having no other option (besides a not so great blender), I went with it. Using the flat blade, I went to work.

I did it in 1/3 cup batches, as I wanted to make sure the magic bullet did an even job. And yes, I’m the blogger who forgets to take a pre-grinding shot of the flat blade.

The magic bullet actually did a pretty good job. I was very surprised. The only objection I had was how loud the grinding process is. Scares the bejeebus out of my cats!

Due to the noise factor, I decided to grind the whole bag while I was at it. I cooked about 4 BIG servings worth (about 1/2 cup ground farro or 1/3 cup whole farro would be 1 serving) of ground farro and put the rest in some tupperware for later use.

I used a 2:1 ratio for cooking up the farro. I used about 2 cups ground farro, 2 cups of 1% milk and 2 cups of water, then cooked just like oatmeal. Towards the end of the cooking process I also stirred in a dash of salt, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1 tablespoon of Land O Lakes Lite Canola Butter and 2T of brown sugar.

Although I like my hot cereals thick, I think I would either cook for a shorter amount of time or use more liquid next time.

I decided to top my farro with the last 1/3 of a container of mixed berries from Whole Foods (an expensive impulse buy after the Strawberry Hill 5K), some chocolate peanut butter and a tiny bit of Galaxy Granola for crunch.

The chocolate peanut butter, by the way, is AWESOME.

Overall, I really enjoyed breakfast. It kept me full for hours and was quite the tasty meal.

And now that I have had it, the only thing feeling green with envy in my household is my set of Shamrock Fiestaware.

What is your favorite breakfast grain?

A year or so ago, Maya gave me the recipe she was using for pancakes at the time. I had never made pancakes from scratch before, and even my Bisquik attempts had failed. Nevertheless, I gave them a try and they turned out great. For quite some time I made double batches once or twice a month and kept all of the extras stored in the freezer. That way I could grab a couple whenever I was short on time. A couple of minutes in the microwave and I was in business again!

But after a while, I got lazy. Dirtying up all of the dishes and standing around making pancakes seemed like too much effort. I mean, even a single batch of 8 pancakes could take forever, as I only have a 3/4 sized stove in my studio and thus can only cook in small frying pans, lest the food cooks unevenly.

On Tuesday, I decided it was time to get off my butt and get over this bout of extreme laziness. On Tuesday, I made pancakes. Whole Wheat Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes.

Like those measuring cups? Valentines Day 2010. I’m a lucky woman– Heart Shaped Measuring cups and PEZ dispensers!

Yeah, ignore the dirty dishes, sink, counter, stove top…really…I’ve been L-A-Z-Y lately…

See? I’m serious. Two pancakes at a time. I usually make double batches of pancakes, so it takes at least an hour.

I ran out of blueberries about 1.5 batches in. I had a can of pumpkin sitting around…and exactly a 1/2 cup of flour left, so I made a half batch of pumpkin pancakes. I had never made pumpkin pancakes before, but I’ve played around with this recipe several times with great success, so I just added 1/2 cup of pumpkin, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to the batter.

Tasty pancake-y goodness!

I wrap the pancakes up in twos. I take two pancakes, wrap them up in wax paper, making sure that a layer of wax paper is separating the two cakes–this allows me to only eat one if I want. (Without the wax paper, the cakes get stuck together.) Then I wrap them in plastic wrap. Lastly, I put all of the two-packs into a freezer bag. They keep for quite a long time and it’s easy to grab a pack, toss them into my purse and heat them up at work and have them at my desk…yum!

In the moment, I decided on one blueberry pancake and one pumpkin pancake with a little syrup. There was only one egg left, so I decided to cook it up over easy. Deliciousness.

Maya’s Recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Flax Pancakes:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup nonfat milk
1 tbsp honey
1 egg

Directions:

Mix flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Pour milk and honey into a measuring cup. Whisk in egg. Dump wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once; whisk until just mixed.
Heat non-stick pan over medium heat. Add batter 1/4 cup at a time, making sure not to over crowd. Cook until golden brown or bubbles appear and edges dry out slightly, flip, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

Number of Servings: 8

As I say, I change up the recipe all of the time. I’ve made chocolate hazelnut pancakes, banana pancakes, strawberry pancakes and other flavors too. Sometimes I use a whole egg, other times, egg whites. Sometimes low fat buttermilk, other times whatever milk is in my fridge. It’s a good recipe to use when you’re wanting to mix things up.

I think Maya has had several improved pancake recipes since she passed this one to me. Maybe one day you’ll all get lucky and she’ll do an official pancake post.

I think my pancake obsession is back!

Are you a pancake or a waffle person?

I hesitate to speak too quickly, but I think I may just about be over my cold. I still have an occasional runny nose or stray cough, but yesterday I deemed myself well enough for exercise!

I bounced around between what I wanted to do. I thought about going to Cardio Kick class, but I wasn’t really feeling that and I didn’t have the time to walk to the Y. I really wanted to fit in the walk. In the end, I decided to just go ahead, walk to the YMCA and then do some easy work on the fitness floor.

It had been about 4 hours since breakfast when I set out on my walk, so I decided to eat a snack on my way to the gym. I’ve never tried a Larabar, as they’re made from dates, and as I recently learned, I’m not a fan. Despite this, I decided to give them a try and picked up a few flavors that sounded interesting. They have been sitting in my kitchen for several weeks.

Key Lime Pie

I obviously didn’t look at the ingredients too hard, as “coconut” is clearly listed on the wrapper. I’m not a coconut enthusiast either. Despite not really liking 2 out of the 5 ingredients, I ate the bar anyway. It was okay. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture (date-y) or the coconut-y goodness, the lime flavoring really took the lead in this bar and I did enjoy that. I ate the whole thing and it made a decent snack. I think I still prefer a more oat/grain based bar though.

I stopped for water (didn’t bring a bottle from home) and a magazine at 7-11 and then proceeded onwards. Once at the gym, I decided to do the “weight-loss” program on the elliptical, as then I could zone out without having to manually fiddle with the incline and resistance. I thought I would give reading on a cardio machine another try, but alas, I couldn’t do it. Is it just me, or is it really hard to focus on text when you’re bouncing around?

After the elliptical I went into the “quiet area” room to stretch and do a few crunches. I then decided to do the initial push-up test for the “100 push-up challenge“. I promised Elaine recently that I would do the challenge, as she was going to do it also. I won’t lie, this test wasn’t pretty. Do you know how many push ups I could do?

2.

Seriously.

And my arms were shaking.

Pathetic!

I was about to do the first day of the program, but I made the mistake of looking around me….the guys in there were doing head stands and 1 armed push-ups…I suddenly felt really super lame.

So I decided I would do that at home. Later. By myself.

Anyway, despite my t-rex arms and embarrassment, an overall successful trip to the gym. This morning I wanted to get up and go for a run, but I just found out that I’m going to have a plumber in my apartment sometime in the next couple of days. Since I had two back to back colds, I sort of let cleaning go by the way-side.

Read: My apartment looks like a bomb went off inside of it.

Plans for today:

1) Breakfast

2) Cleaning/Laundry

3) Trip to Amoeba to redeem gift certificate I got for Christmas

Dunno how the cleaning or music field trip will go, but breakfast was good.

Found this sitting next to the Country Choice Steel Cut Oats I usually pick up. Thought I’d give it a whirl.

(I really need a table…taking pictures on top of an upside down cardboard box is kind of lame. I won’t lie, either….that tablecloth is one of my shirts. What? I don’t have a table, you couldn’t possibly believe I’d have tablecloths!)

Made up a big pot (6 servings…breakfast for my work week, just heat up a bowl at the office). 2.5 cups milk, 2.5 cups water, 3 cups hot cereal, dash of salt, 1 T of chia seeds. I also cut up some apple and cooked it with the oats and added 1 tsp of ground cinnamon. Just like with oatmeal, I mixed in a banana towards the end of the cooking process.

Topped with 1 T of apple butter and eaten while drinking too mcuh some coffee.

Ugh. Time to clean.

How are your push-up skills?

I am suffering from mega cabin fever.

For the life of me, I cannot shake my cold. The sore throat, body aches and fever are long gone, but the cough just won’t quit. It’s down deep in my chest and periodically I just have a coughing attack.

Due to the cough, I haven’t been able to get in cardio, and it is totally bumming me out. I’m all psyched to start up training for the Bay to Breakers, but with this cough, it just isn’t possible. I don’t know how many of you have this problem, but when I have a cough that deep, exercise seems to set it off. All I’ve been able to do is walk, and the other day even that sparked an episode.

Due to still feeling under the weather, I’ve been trapped in my apartment. I had plans to visit with a friend tonight, but he canceled because he is sick too.

Seriously, these colds have got to GO!

I had wanted to go out and try to play with my new toy, but haven’t been able to yet. Only had a chance to mess around with food photography in between episodes of Degrassi Junior High.

Don’t judge.

Trader Joe’s Chickenless Nuggets, bbq sauce and Broccoli/Cauliflower mix (roasted)

Steel cut oats made with water, skim milk, banana and chia seeds. Topped with TJ’s Sunflower Seed Butter, Crofter’s and some butterscotch chips. I also had one of my Harry and David pears.

Still have no idea what I’m doing, but I did take the camera off of auto mode and played with white balance and ISO. You should have seen some of my photo fails!

Any idea how to kick a persistent cough? I am so over it!

Greetings from the state of infirmity!

I woke this morning thinking that all was well. I felt greatly improved from yesterday. I could breathe through my nose. I had no fever. My throat was feeling dandy and I had absolutely no desire for Jamba Juice.

(Well, that’s a lie. I always have a desire for Jamba….it just wasn’t as intense as it has been for the last couple of days.)

Instead, I put on my usual 1/3 pot of coffee and then examined the contents of my fridge.

Well, freezer.

I bought these a while back and thought I might give them a try. Truth be told, I don’t mind Eggo’s myself, but no harm in trying other brands.

I know, I know.

Homemade would be better…but I don’t have a waffle maker or waffle pan….or whatever people make waffles in. I can make pancakes, but waffles? No. Not without a toaster.

And apparently I can’t even do that…I burned them! My bad!

They still tasted pretty good though! I liked them. I decided to have a couple of sunny side up eggs as well. To keep with the theme, I overcooked the eggs a little also. Oops.

After this triumphant return to normal eats, I decided I must be (mostly) recovered and it was time to do a mass laundry expedition. Clean the sick coated sheets and comforter. All of the towels. Make everything fresh and new.

About halfway through this exercise, I learned that I was in fact, still sick.

And wanted to die.

Okay.

Not really.

But I didn’t feel good to be sure. I have a bad habit of over exerting myself when ill. I think it has to do with never taking sick days at work. I feel like no matter what, I need to push on as normal. Not so. Even when you feel a little better, it’s still wise to take it easy for a day or two. Deciding to embark on the great apartment cleaning that you’ve been meaning to do isn’t the soundest idea.

I had meant to wash all my dishes and clean my floors, but after going to Walgreens for cat litter and washing all of my clothes and sheets, I had nothing left to give. I struggled to put sheets on the bed, and then I nuked a bowl of soup from yesterday, putting Daria back on my TV.

The soup wasn’t anything special. Just a “toss whatever you have into the pot” creation. It had onions, garlic, chicken broth, chicken, black beans, Trader Joe’s Three Grain Blend, half a bag of frozen peppers and some spinach in it. Chunky and filling.

Now those of you who are healthy living purists and never do anything nutrition-wise that you shouldn’t, look away.

Oh yeah.

I went there.

I can’t help it. I don’t care whether these things are healthy or not. I grew up crumbling them into bowls of soup. I’ve done if for as long as I can remember and there’s nothing that comforts me more than taking 4 or 5 of these and crushing them over a bowl of hot steamy goodness.

Yes.

So good.

I pretty much spent the rest of my day coughing. Most of my other symptoms are gone, but I cough and cough and cough. There’s nothing I can do to stop it either. Nothing helps.

Not even sparkling Sofia Coppola wine.

I may have or may have not tried to soothe my coughing with a lot some of this sparkling wine that I picked up at the Coppola vineyard back in April when I went wine tasting with my friends, Cindy and Florence.

(I know it sounds fancy…but recently I spied the same bottle on the shelves at Safeway. So much for feelin’ swanky. Wait. I take that back. It’s not wrapped in girly pink cellophane at Safeway! Totally worth the weekend trip to Sonoma! ….)

Alas, despite my efforts, the cough remains.

What is your least favorite cold symptom?

For me, it’s a tie between sore throat and cough.

Just so you know, my Mom and I found more reasons why breakfast is awesome on Wednesday at the Copenhagen Bakery in Burlingame.

Holy deliciousness, Batman.

I was trying to figure out what my last post of the year was going to be. I have lots of things I would like to write about, but not a lot of time to write about it. I’m working a NYE party at work tonight and I need to get out of here pretty soon.

I do want to leave 2010 with something aside from amazing breakfasts, however.

I woke up this morning and I felt like rolling around in bed and doing nothing until it was time for work. I decided to check and see if my official time had been posted for the Christmas Classic 5K yet. It hasn’t been. But I did see this on the website. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find myself, but I wound up to be pretty easy to find.

It isn’t about running the fastest or always PRing. It’s about achieving things you never thought you would.

So I told my house guest that I would be back in 30 minutes, laced up my brooks and went out for my final run of 2010. It wasn’t fast, or long…but it was mine.

Happy New Year, everyone.