Marathon Time

If you know me, you know that I’m a runner. It’s one of those things that I do. All. The. Time.

Above is a picture of my and my grandparents. Aren’t they cute!?! In the past few years it has felt like I have constantly been training for something, and I guess I have been. I have competed in group triathlons (myself being the running leg), a personal triathlon, and many 10 km races. I completed two half marathons last year, and this Saturday will be my first marathon…in the Swiss Alps. Running a marathon is something I have always wanted to do, but I never actually considered it seriously. When I got a 5 month contract job in Switzerland starting this past April, I thought it would be a good opportunity to live out my dream.

Living in Switzerland has been amazing. And not the annoying use of the word amazing like “wow, that fruit salad is amazing”…really? REALLY?? You were amazed at the fruit salad? Seriously?….anyway, yes, living in Switzerland is amazing. I wake up every day so grateful to be here, and running in such a beautiful countryside literally takes my breath away sometimes.

Training has been hard. I work from 8 to 5:30pm everyday, so I often have to wake up at 5:30am to do my cross training (weights, kickboxing, cycling, etc), and then either run during my lunch hour, or after work. So, training pretty much takes over my life. I wake up, do cross training, work, run, sleep. The weekends are when I get to kick back and see the countryside of this beautiful place. Sunday is long run day, so sometimes I take the train to a nearby town and run in the alps for practice, or I wake up super early, train, and then go see the sites like any other person would.

So clearly I love it here. I love running in the alps and through the flowing hills. I love running through vineyards and along lakes. I can’t believe it will all be over this Saturday. I’ll be going through the post-marathon blues. But, I can keep exercising to to keep fit and keep eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to keep healthy. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite “marathon training” breakfast and snack recipes for you, so you know what a marathon gal gets to chow down on. Enjoy! Oh, and wish me luck!! :)

For breakfast try this protein packed salad from Oh She Glows.

Or try these yummy recipes:
Blueberry Banana Muffins
Multigrain waffles by 101 Cookbooks.
Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread
Cherry Pecan Granola by Healthy Food for Living.

For a snack try this avocado Chocolate Pudding. I love this stuff!

Or try one of these:
Pumpkin Cranberry Granola Bars
Energy-Packed Granola Bars
Marathon Cookies <—My favorite!
Green Monster Smoothie by Oh she Glows.

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Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread

Call me crazy, but I turned my oven on again. I’ve been baking in the early mornings to keep myself less hot and can’t say I regret it. I NEED a new breakfast in my life.

I chose this bread because it was quick and full of good stuff. Good stuff being sweet potatoes, zucchini and walnuts. Yum! I feel like I’m existing off of cheese and chocolate and I sometimes have chocolate cereal for breakfast! Hellllppppp! So, I made this quick bread to put some green and orange in my life. Also, this bread is moist and super tasty. It tastes like carrot cake actually, which makes me feel like I’m eating cake for breakfast. This makes me happy. Let’s get baking!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3- inch loaf pan and set aside. Sift the first 7 ingredients into a medium sized bowl.

Then, grate your sweet potato.

grate your zucchini…

and chop your walnuts.

In a separate, large bowl, mix the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla extract.

Beat them together well.

Mix in the zucchini and sweet potato. Mmm it’s looking good now.

Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the nuts and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Cool bread in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread with a butter knife and turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe taken from Joy the Baker
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 cup peeled and grated sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts
(optional) you could also add 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to add some fruit if you’d like!

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3- inch loaf pan and set aside.

Sift the first 7 ingredients into a medium sized bowl.

In a separate, large bowl, beat the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in the zucchini and sweet potato. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the nuts and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Cool bread in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread with a butter knife and turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

It’s raining here in Switzerland. Hard. I can’t say I enjoy that, but it’s nice to have an excuse to turn on the oven.

When it’s raining I like to use whatever ingredients I have laying around to feed myself. Going outside is not an option. No way. Not a chance. Never….unless you have chocolate to give me.

I decided to make this hot spinach artichoke dip with the ingredients I had on hand. It’s super scrumptious. The bubbly cheese, artichoke, garlic and spinach go perfect with tortillas or toasted pitas. I devoured this…fast.

To begin, preheat your oven to 400˚ F. Then, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, parmesan, sour cream and mayonnaise.

Chop up some artichokes…

and some spinach…

and add chopped spinach, chopped artichokes, roasted garlic, salt and red pepper flakes to cream cheese mixture.

Mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are evenly blended.

Spread into a small baking dish (I used a french onion soup bowl). Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over the top for more awesomeness and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers. Drool.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup coarsely chopped canned artichoke hearts
4 cloves roasted garlic*, smashed
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. roasted red pepper flakes

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Parmesan, sour cream, mayonnaise, spinach, artichokes, roasted garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are evenly blended.

Spread into a small baking dish (I used a gratin dish). Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over the top if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with baguette slices, pita chips, crackers, etc.

*To roast individual cloves of garlic, I just throw the unpeeled cloves into a baking dish or pan and bake at 350˚ F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before squeezing the cloves from the peels.

Lemony Raspberry and Rhubarb Muffins

With all this sunshine, I’m really feeling the need to eat something fresh.

Sure, it’s hot outside, and my oven makes me a sweaty mess, but if I want something fresh in baked good form I need to bake! So, I chopped up some rhubarb.

Then I grabbed a bunch of lemons.

And then I made these:

Yummy, fresh lemons tossed with raspberries and rhubarb in muffin form. I like these because they are light in your mouth and have a burst of tartness with the raspberries. They are sweet and low calorie too! My kind of muffin.

Now I have muffins for the week! Thank goodness.

To begin, place the flour, 2/3 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir thoroughly.

In a medium fry-pan, melt the butter with the lemon zest.

Turn off the heat. Add the milk and yoghurt and let the mixture stand for a minute or two. Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well blended.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour the milk mixture into the well and stir well with a spatula. Mix only until there are no streaks and the batter looks fairly smooth. A few lumps scattered throughout are fine.

Gently fold through the raspberries and the rhubarb.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg and sprinkle over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops feel firm and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.

Transfer the muffin tin to a rack a let cool for 5 minutes. Then, remove the muffins from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemony Raspberry and Rhubarb Muffins
Recipe adapted from Kitsch in the Kitchen
makes 9-12 standard muffins
181 calories for one muffin of 12

Ingredients:
285g (2 cups) unbleached plain flour
135g (2/3 cup) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
85g (3 ounces) butter
Finely grated lemon zest
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
65ml (1/4 cup) yoghurt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup finely chopped rhubarb

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F and position an oven rack in the centre. Place 12 muffin papers in a muffin tin, or 9 self-standing papers on a baking tray.

Place the flour, 2/3 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir thoroughly.

In a medium fry-pan, melt the butter with the lemon zest. Turn off the heat. Add the milk and yoghurt and let the mixture stand for a minute or two. Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well blended.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour the milk mixture into the well and stir well with a spatula. Mix only until there are no streaks and the batter looks fairly smooth. A few lumps scattered throughout are fine. Gently fold through the raspberries and the rhubarb.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg and sprinkle over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops feel firm and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Transfer the muffin tin to a rack a let cool for 5 minutes. Then, remove the muffins from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I made you some cookies. Healthy cookies? Maybe, they have fruit! And oats. Yum. They also have butter and sugar in a blend of deliciousness. I’ll let you decide their health points.

These cookies are a blend of apples, walnuts and oats with a swirly mixture of sugar and cinnamon. They are also thick and chewy and feel so satisfying as you chew. I like a good cookie, and Joy the Baker did these one’s right. So give ’em a try, and let me know how it goes!

Peel and dice the apple and toss with lemon juice. Set aside for later. Beat the sugar and butter in the bowl until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg one, beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add to the butter and egg mixture slowly beating on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and apple chunks last.

Spoon onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-13 minutes. I like my cookies chewy so I cook them for about 9 or 10 minutes.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 small apple, peeled, diced small (i used a granny smith apple)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Peel and dice the apple and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.

Beat the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Beat until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg one, beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture slowly beating on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and apple chunks last.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 13 minutes or until they’ve reached your desired doneness. I like mine a little underdone and cook them for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.