Random Thoughts #2

So I was going to post a post about peach pie.

But I didn’t.

That should come tomorrow or a bit later in the week, because my brain is totally fried. So much homework, oh my goodness yuck ahh. It’s funny how gross things totally ruin your day. Actually it’s not funny at all.

At this current moment I’m lying on a massive pile of laundry that is waiting to be folded.

What a day!

And now I’m looking at my word count and it says 86 words. As I gaze philosophically into the distance, I wonder who the heck would want to read this bizarre post about absolutely nothing. But hey, this blog is about recipes, running, AND real life so, I’m going to be obnoxious and write about nonsense. Real life is full of nonsense sometimes. We all have our days.

I just hope you had a good one today.

ūüôā

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Free-for-all Granola

Once upon a time, I was eating my 10,000th ¬†bowl of store bought granola and yogurt. I love to read while I munch, so I grabbed the box and read the ingredient list on the back. Much to my surprise, the ingredients weren’t too crazy (keep in mind I was eating an “all natural” brand). It was just oats, sugar, oil, salt, vanilla, and some tasty preservatives. But even that short list didn’t inspire me. The next day I poured my 10,001th bowl of that sugary and overpriced granola. That continued for a very long time…Then I found out an amazing secret.

Making your own granola is very simple, totally not daunting, and so delicious. Not to mention healthy.

You need oats, a thick sweetener (think syrup, honey, or agave), nut butter, and some add-ins like dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate if you’re feeling a sweet craving. Oh, I almost always add vanilla and spices too. Gives the granola a nice flavor.

I call this Free-for-all Granola because you can use pretty much anything that’s lying around in your pantry. This recipe makes a small batch of granola because I only had two cups of oats in the house. It was really tragic. But you could double the recipe, or triple it. Or use almond butter instead of peanut butter. Or use honey instead of syrup. Use your imagination and make a delicious, homemade granola that you will want to eat in one sitting.

DSC_0334

Top this stuff with fruit- so good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or other sticky sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Any tasty add-ins you want

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the oats, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, melt the peanut butter in the microwave then add the syrup. Stir well. Add the vanilla.
  2. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oats. Mix until all the oats are covered. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Spread the granola evenly over the baking sheet, taking extra special care to have large clusters. Large clusters are critical.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. (It burns easily!) Once it is done baking, let it cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Pour it into an airtight container. Eat it all day, every day.

Granola is the savior of the world. Make it now. Check your pantries. So simple, so good, so easy. That line was so cheesy.

I’m sorry.

How to Start Running

So, school has started for me. If you read my Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes post, you’ll know how I felt about going. The good news is: it’s still summer! Summer for me means warm weather, ice cream, and running. (Oh, speaking of ice cream, has anyone else tried Talenti’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie gelato? That stuff is like, glory. Try it. Even my raisin hating family loved it.) I don’t know why I’m discussing sweets in a post about running. Well, we all run for sweets right? I’m not right? Oh.

Anyways.

Running is one of my favorite activities, and I want to share what made it¬†a successful (and fun) experience for me. It should not be a miserable experience. Though it might feel like it is when you first start…

Think positive!

  1. Take it slow.¬†You will not be able to run 3 miles on your first day. You¬†probably¬†won’t even be able to run one. No rush. Don’t go super easy on yourself, but know your limits.¬†
  2. Know why you are running.¬†Are you running for fitness? Health? Are all of your friends running? Try to push these reasons aside at the start. Just run. Run only for yourself, and don’t focus on weight loss, or heath. That’s the wrong¬†attitude to go running with.
  3. Invest in good shoes.¬†Good shoes are key. Running with blisters is about as fun as dancing barefoot on a cactus. I have Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 shoes. (Fancy name right?) They’re lightweight, sturdy, and stylish.¬†
  4. Eat enough of the right foods.¬†You can’t run on¬†candy or carrot sticks.Consume an¬†adequate number of calories.¬†Eat plenty of carbohydrates for fast energy while you are running, and have some protein afterwards to help repair your muscles. Don’t forget dessert. It is an essential in anyone’s healthy diet.¬†
  5. Hydrate!¬†Drink water! (Duh.) You sweat a lot while you run so drinking (water) is very important. Drink before and after your workout. People always say to drink during too but I don’t want to carry water ahaa… If you are dehydrated while running, you will most likely feel dizzy and miserable until you faceplant on the trail, sidewalk, or asphalt. ¬†DRINK UP.¬†

I have many more tips that I would absolutely love to share with you but I have to go organize my school stuff. Yay. Also, many of my other tips are um, weird. I have some running horror stories that I could share too. Every runner does I’m sure. You just might not want to hear them.

But I’m almost positive you’ll experience what I’m talking about when you start running. Running has high moments, and low moments. Good luck*.

*You don’t need luck to be a good runner. Keep at it.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Today is a very, very sad day. A true tragedy for me, my sister, and all the other kids in our area.

Today is the last day of summer vacation.

I woke up this morning, feeling miserable and down in the dumps. When I woke up, I trudged into the kitchen, almost eating a boring breakfast of a bagel and peanut butter. Then I got an idea. A delicious idea. A pancake idea. I hopped on the computer and checked Sally’s Baking Addiction for a tasty (and healthy!) recipe. These whole wheat pancakes are darn good even though I um,¬†forgot to put in the egg.¬†Shhhh. The ripe banana adds a natural sweetness while the Greek yogurt makes them moist and flavorful. A warm, healthy stack of pancakes will make anyone’s morning (or evening) better. They cured my down in the dumps-ness and fueled my run.

I am going to miss making breakfast in the mornings. Why, why must school start so early? 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

    DSC_0321

    Peaches and peanut butter on pancakes is actually good.

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2%, almond, soy, whatever works best for you)
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 large banana)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, nonfat, full-fat, whichever you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a different bowl, combine the egg, milk, banana, brown sugar, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir until very few lumps remain.
  2. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir batter gently. Don’t mix too much, over-mixing will cause grossness.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray, butter, or oil. Make the pancakes any size you like. A common measurement is about 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Let the pancake cook until bubbles start forming at the top. Flip, then let cook for 2-3 minutes more. Keep the made pancakes in a 200 degree oven to prevent cold, sad breakfast.
  4. Once all the pancakes are made, cover them with delicious toppings, then eat them. I used peanut butter, cinnamon, and yogurt. Yum.

You’ll love these sadness curing pancakes. I sure needed them today.

This tasty recipe came from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I should probably change my blog name to¬†A Summary¬†of Sally’s Baking Addiction by Grace.¬†Here’s the original recipe:¬†http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/01/02/whole-wheat-banana-pancakes/

Orange and Cherry Scones

Many scones I eat taste like baking¬†horror stories. Dry, flavorless, feels like sand-in-your-mouth scones with a dry, over sweetened glaze. Yuck. When I was younger I asked for scones, solely for the purpose of scraping off the glaze and eating it. And here’s the sad thing: even my un-picky little kid self didn’t like the dry scones. That’s BAD news. As I got older, I stopped asking for scones because I could just make glaze and eat it plain. Yeah, I did that. So up until today, it has¬†been years since I ate scones. Then I decided to make them. My mom just returned home from a trip to Scotland and Ireland. Every day when she was there, she had afternoon tea. Tea usually consisted of tea (duh), or coffee, and sweets like small cookies, cakes, or scones. She decided that our family should have tea time, so yesterday we went to the store and bought some tea. I instantly pounced on the opportunity to bake. Since scones are a staple tea-time snack, I decided to take the challenge of making non-horror story scones. I flipped through The Jimtown Store Cookbook and found this delightful recipe that produces moist, perfectly sweet scones with a¬†mellow¬†citrusy tang. The tart dried cherries in it balance out the sweet cinnamon¬†glaze on top. Perfection. Run, eat these, pretend to be British, repeat.

Ingredients:

DSC_0302

Tea-Euro style

For glaze:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cream or milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For scones:

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (It should be a little cooler than room temp, but not too cold!)
  • 1/2 cups chopped tart sun dried cherries
  • 1-3 teaspoons orange zest (depends how orangey you want it)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. First, make the glaze. Wisk the glaze ingredients together¬†in a small bowl. I feel stupid writing this, it’s so simple.
  2. To make the scones, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until it resembles a crumbly mixture with some butter chunks about the size of peas. Stir in the cherries and orange zest. Add the one cup of buttermilk. If the dough is really dry and crumbly, add 1-2 extra Tablespoons of buttermilk. If the dough sticks to your fingers, add more flour until it is moist and smooth.
  3. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a 9 inch by 6 inch rectangle that is about an inch thick. Spread the glaze evenly over the top. (You may not need all of it). Cut your large rectangle into smaller rectangles, then cut the smaller rectangles in half diagonally. They will (sort of) look like triangles. Chill the scones on a baking sheet covered with parchment for 30 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F fifteen minutes before you bake your scones.
  4. Set the chilled scones in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Without opening the oven, reduce the temperature to 425 and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The scones should be golden on the top and bottom. The second they come out of the oven, grab one and eat it piping hot. (Or not, they taste just as good cooled). Top with butter of jam if you want. I enjoyed mine plain. Either way, you will love them.

Make these today. You won’t regret anything. Unless you eat the whole batch. Then you’ll sit and cry on the couch for a minute before getting up to make more. Baking is vicious.