find your motivation.

Today’s the day! Marie and I are running the Heritage Trail Half Marathon in Lafayette, Indiana this morning. I’m all signed up for Spotify Premium so I can listen to my running playlist while I’m running! Marie and I will be running the half together – today’s not about time, it’s about getting to the finish line with my sister.

My best friend sent this picture to me, and it makes me laugh every time! We always pretend to have t-rex arms and hands (we’re so mature), so this was definitely fitting:

63896_10151715291620829_1910694969_n

 

To be honest, I don’t really need Spotify Premium. I’m just going to be listening to this on repeat:

Advertisements

lentil and sweet potato stew

Seemingly overnight, the heavy humidity of summer gave way to beautiful, clear, crisp fall mornings – and I couldn’t be happier. Autumn is my favorite time of year: warm enough to wear dresses without getting all bundled up but cool enough that you can get creative with layering. Just wait another month when the leaves are turning and it’s time to start breaking out sweaters and flannels. I’ll be donning an ear-to-ear (and tights and scarves and jackets, oh my!) grin from now until the temperature drops below freezing.

I could go on and on about what all I love about autumn, but that’s for another day. Today, I wanted to share a new lentil and sweet potato stew that I recently whipped up to warm my belly at the end of a long day.

One of the challenges of living alone is cooking healthy dishes from fresh ingredients before they all become over-ripened or rotten. I wanted to create a healthy, veggie-based stew that offered enough interesting flavors that wouldn’t taste bland when eaten meal after meal. This recipe is adapted from a number of recipes I found online and inspired by my brother-in-law’s delicious homemade stews. I have a lot to learn from him, especially about cooking delicious meals!

lentil sweet potato stew

get ready for a flavor explosion! yum!

Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

  • 1.5 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups bell peppers, sliced or diced
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 ½ tsp. fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bag (~2 cups) dry lentils
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 box or bag fresh spinach (5 oz)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. grated lemon zest

Directions:

Heat a large saucepan, then add the oil and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the onions begin to brown.

Add the garlic, peppers, and carrots and cook 5 more minutes.

Then add everything else down to the cumin, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add all but the spinach and lemon zest. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the liquid – about 1 hour.

Uncover and add the spinach and lemon zest. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach begins to wilt.

Serve, or divide into Tupperware containers for easy-to-prepare individual meals. This recipe makes 12 servings (about 12 cups total) when paired with a slice or two of toast.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from “1 Million Veggies” Lentil Stew by Chocolate Covered Katie.

homemade guacamole

guacamole.

when summer rolls around, there’s nothing better than chopping up fresh fruits and vegetables and making yourself a tasty, quick, and healthy snack! I’ve recently fallen in love with avocados – in salad, with meat, as spread on toast, and most of all, in fresh guacamole.

IMG_1629

 

I have Trader Joe’s to thank for the ‘guacamole kit’ that provided the original proportions for this homemade guacamole, but it was several rounds of experimenting that have resulted in this recipe. Without further ado,

homemade guacamole.

2 ripe avocados
1/2 roma tomato
1/4 white onion
2 cloves garlic (or 1t. jarred, chopped garlic)
1 HOT pepper (Serrano, jalapeno, etc.)
1 small clove of cilanto (approximately 1/2 c.)
1/2 t. ground black pepper
sea salt, to taste
1/2 T lime juice

Peel the avocados and cut into large slices. Chop up the tomato, and dice the white onion, 2 cloves garlic, and the hot pepper. Pro tip: chop the onion before the pepper, so if you wipe your teary eyes, you don’t rub the pepper oils onto your face! Chop up the cilantro, and add black pepper and lime juice. Add in a few shakes of sea salt.

Now is the fun part! With all of your ingredients in a large bowl, use a fork to mash up the avocado and start blending together the other ingredients. Pro tip: use a potato masher! Depending on your preferences, mash until you have a chunky or silky-smooth guacamole.

Makes ~2 cups.

Serve with chips and fresh salsa.

Olé!

welcome back (to me)

A recent survey has shown that 100% of my (2) subscribers wonder why I haven’t posted anything recently.

Life has been a whirlwind the past month: friends visited from Lehigh and Boston, I spent an amazing 4th of July weekend with the boy on a lake in rural Indiana, traveled back to Minneapolis for a week to see the family (and Queen Bey!), and then the boy was here for two weeks. So that pretty much gets us to today from the end of June. Crazy. Maybe I’ll update you on some of my adventures one of these days.

Before we return to the regularly scheduled programming, here’s a short story and a brief running update: My sister Marie has been busting her ass for the past 6 months to not only lose a little weight, but to create a healthy, active lifestyle. She’s cut most fried foods and cheese out of her diet and is going to the gym upwards of 5 times per week. Here she is, touching the tip (just the tip!) of democracy:

just the tip

I challenged her to run one of the various distances with me at the end of September, and with a little encouragement, she decided to run the half marathon! Keep in mind, she’s never run a race in her life. I am so proud of my sister, and she has been a huge inspiration for me over the past few months simply by hearing all the time and sweat she’s been committing to her new lifestyle. She’s been lifting and running and going to cardio classes, and I’m pretty sure she qualifies as the fittest MacBeezie sister at this point!

For my own training, I must admit that I severely overestimated my level of fitness before starting my marathon training. Maybe in high school I could start running 20+ miles a week with zero base, but now my body resists much, much more. I felt like I was falling apart doing the marathon training – my body wasn’t ready for the amount of mileage that was expected in the training plan.

I decided in part to save my body, but more importantly to support my sister, that I would instead focus on running consistently and run the half marathon with Marie. It has been such a relief on my body, and I’m going to use this training as a base to start working towards longer mileage for a marathon in the spring perhaps.

I’ve been running pretty consistently 3-4 times a week, 3-5 mile runs, as well as hopping on my bike or going for a walk on off days. I’m getting faster, feeling fitter, and not hurting. Life is good. Now that we’re just a little under 2 months from the marathon, I’m going to start pushing my mileage a bit more and working in a bit of speed work to make the mileage push easier (I don’t think this is actually how it works, but I generally find that doing a speed workout during the week generally sets me up well for a long slow run on Saturday).

Anyways, that’s life right now.

Remember,

IMG_1495

mind over body

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

– George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Inspiration for tomorrow’s 10-miler. Happy Friday, everybody!