Monday, September 28, 2009


Who am I? What have I become? I'm afraid I'm turning into one of those hippy-dippy's that we make fun of because for the second time now, I've made my own homemade granola. And its GOOD.

The first batch turned out just okay...not sweet enough, a little burnt, but still added a nice guilt-free crunch to pumpkin pie yogurt.

I made some modifications to the second batch and it turned out SO DELICIOUS that it's almost gone (and I just made it yesterday.) Even A is inhaling will eat it.

Try it, you will probably scarf down all 9 servings in less than 48 hours like it:

Pumpkin spice granola

2 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C pumpkin puree
3/4 C water
1 T (sugar free) maple syrup
1/2 C Splenda
2 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
1 T Torani sugar free pumpkin pie syrup (optional - you can find this at Cost Plus on sale right now!)
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 C raw pepitas
Non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a small food processor, blend pumpkin, water, maple syrup, Splenda, cinnamon, vanilla, Torani, syrup and sea salt until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, toss the wet ingredients with the oats and pepitas.
4. Lay out the mixture in a thin, single layer on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. (This aids the browning process, but is completely optional.)
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes until oats are starting to brown. Check granola every ten minutes. (I “flip” mine after the first ten minutes and spray the bottom with non-stick cooking spray. After 20 minutes and 30 minutes I use 2 large knives to break the clumps down into smaller bits. This speeds the drying process too.)
6. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet.
7. Crunch away!

Makes about 2 1/4 C
Nutrition Facts per 1/4 C serving (approximate): Calories – 93.2, Fat – 2.9, Protein – 3.3, Carbohydrate – 13.9, Fiber – 2.5

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I bought one of these this afternoon to motivate me to follow-through with my planned long run tonight:

It worked. I headed out around 6, intending to run for about an hour and a half while A had his weekly Sunday night bro-mance.

1:46:18 later, I finished my first 10-miler!

1:47:48 later, I drank my mango peach coconut water. From an iced glass.

So, so happy :)

Resolutions - Week (I don't know)

After a brief hiatus, I'm back with the resolutions this week!

Tomorrow I kick off two really big, really stressful, really simultaneous work projects. Man am I not looking forward to this. I also have some exciting plans in the works, more info to be revealed on that later. So, to help me keep some sanity and health in my life over the next 2 months or so, here are my resolutions for at least the next week (if not longer):

1. Run, bike/spin or go to Pilates every day
2. Foam roll 3x
3. Read a chapter every night

Attainable. Not easy, but even with the increasingly hectic schedule, at a minimum, I should be able to keep up with these resolutions.

I discovered a great new running blog (No Meat Athlete) and a great new workout. Much like the claims, the first session was increadibly painful (read, lots of rolling around on the floor, wincing and yelping in pain, while A sat on the couch alternately watching football and laughing at me in my misery). But, after a half-hour of rolling, I have to admit, my lower body feels much more relaxed and ready to tackle a nice long run tonight.

I've also noticed that I have a tough time falling asleep when I spend my evenings in front of a computer or TV screen. So, I'd like to start developing a better evening routine, including some leisure-reading. I'm reading a fantastic new book - Three Cups of Tea - and have a healthy stack of reading waiting in on my nighttable, so I need to get reading!

Here's to a great new week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Scenes from the trail

Some shots from one of my favorite hikes, Los Liones to Paseo Miramar in the Santa Monica mountains:

(View from the summit)
(Nate, extolling the merits of his 'breakfast of champions')

(rest stop)

(with Nate at the top)

(the long way down)

(Dirt encrusted feet. Please note - not, I repeat NOT a sock tan. This is all 100% old-fashioned dirt.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Seasonally appropriate

How did you start your morning today?

I welcomed the day with a hot mug of pumpkin spice coffee and the October J Crew catalog.

I think I'm in love...

(photo courtesy of J Crew)

(with the dress, not the girl, don't worry)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I'm waiting...

Patiently...So, so patiently...

But, it IS the 3rd day of fall already. So, you know, ANY DAY NOW!?!?

That's all.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Inspiration awards

I belong to a great Women's networking group, and every year they host the, "Step Up Inspiration Awards" honoring underprivileged teenage girls and well-known female role models.

Today, my day was inspired by three people/things and so, I present to you, the first ever Run Betty Inspiriation Awards:

1. Goes to dietgirl for not only being an inspirational (and hilarious) role model to those who struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also, for posting the recipe for this healthy, tasty ,homemade granola.

2. Goes to Dr. Ed Wolfgram, a 76 year-old ironman triathelete (and open-heart surgery survivor) who, in his own words, "...frequently runs where I'm going when I run errands," including, but not limited to, the mile-and-a-half trek to his OWN OPEN-HEART SURGERY. (Article in this month's Runner's World magazine, or here.)

3. Goes to the pumpkin.

A's parents gave us this beauty last weekend and I've been itching to cook this cutie (and all its' little canned friends) all week long.

So - how did these people/things inspire my day?

It all started with an overripe banana. What do I do with this? (Just one overripe banana, mind you.) Not enough to make banana bread with, too mushy to eat plain, too wasteful to throw in the trash. And then, THEN! I remembered dietgirl's granola recipe called for a mushy banana.

I started in on the recipe in typical fashion (i.e. not reading through the ingredients or instructions very well and just hoping for the best.) I got so far as the, "toss the banana goo with the dry ingredients" step when I realized, quick-cook instant oats probably don't make for the best granola, now do they?

What to do?

And then the inspiriation from Dr. Ed struck. I'd just read the article over breakfast - while sipping a cup of pumpkin spice coffee - and before I even had a chance to think about it, I was pulling on a sports bra and running shoes, grabbing my credit card, and dashing out the door to Ralph's (one of the many benefits of living 0.4 miles from a grocery store.)

Ten minutes later (no joke - I timed it with my handy running watch - thanks Vita's!), I was back in the kitchen, spreading banana-goo covered old-fashioned oats onto a baking sheet.

I now had 40 minutes to kill, but not a passive 40 minutes mind you, because granola needs to be flipped, mashed and broken apart every 10 minutes while baking.

What to do?

Since I've been running a lot this week, I'd planned to rest today and go to yoga instead. But seeing as I already had my running gear on and a good endorphin rush going, I did what any other runner in my state would do with three 9-minute-ish intervals on their hands - I ran sprints on my treadmill.

Yup, that's right. 10 minutes is just enough time for me to walk the ~50 feet from my kitchen to my treadmill, sprint a mile, cool down, and walk the ~50 feet back to the kitchen to rescue the granola from the oven.

Now, Kara Goucher I am not, but let me tell you, I am pretty darn pleased with myself for those 3 miles - 8:58/8:52/8:44 splits - not too shabby for someone who usually crawls along at a 10:xx/mile pace.

After I pulled the granola out of the oven, I jogged another half mile to cool down, and headed back to the kitchen and made myself the most delicious post-run snack I can remember having:

Pumpkin pie yogurt

(Mix 3/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt, 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and splenda to taste. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup granola, and tell me that doesn't taste just like a creamy, delicious pumpkin pie?) Nutrition facts: Calories - 218, Fat - 3g, Protein - 21g, Carb - 27g, Fiber - 4.5g

Still on tonight's agenda:

Pumpkin Risotto (thanks Susie for the recipe!), a fresh loaf of bread, another batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and a relaxing night at home with a bottle of Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale.

Hope you all have wonderful weekends!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unofficially official

The arrival of fall (finally!) has been the topic of so many blogs, facebook status updates and tweets lately. Some posts indicated fall had 'officially' started, and others claimed to be welcoming fall even so it had not 'officially' started. What's with all the contradiction people?!

So, I did what any rational person looking for an 'official' answer to a question of fact does - I Googled it.

The 'official' answer is - it depends (on where on the Earth you are standing in relation to the equator, which influences when the Autumnal Equinox occurs.) Gee thanks, WikiAnswers.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, apparently this year that magical moment will be on 9/22/09 at 2:18PM PST.

Now that we have that cleared up, I have only one thing to say: Equinox Schmequinox (good luck pronouncing that one IRL!)

I could care less if it is 'official' or not - Fall is HERE. How do I know? What data could I possibly present that is more convincing than the most 'official' answer the Internets had to offer?

Exhibit A: The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks

(Photo courtesy of Starbucks)

Exhibit B: Target has replaced the "Back to School" display with the "Halloween costume" display
Exhibit C: Number of mugs of pumpkin spice tea I have consumed in the past 24 hours: 3
Exhibit D: I needed a blanket last night while watching DVR'd episodes of...
Exhibit E: ...the new fall TV lineup
Exhibit F: Our friday night cookies were replaced with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Compelling, no?

If you're haven't been persuaded yet, well, then just throw a batch of these in the oven:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 C whole-wheat flour
1 C ground quick oats
1 T cinnamon
2 T cornstarch
1 t fine sea salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 C butter
1 1/4 C sugar
1/2 C pumpkin purée
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 C chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, blend flour, oats, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla until combined.

Fold dry ingredients into wet, until combined. Stir in chips.

Place cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, and flatten your cookies as much as you like (they do not spread much while baking, but they do spread a little)

Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate for as long as you can stand it: 3 hours is ideal, longer is better. (I skipped this step completely...patience? what patience?...and my cookies turned out just fine.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies for 22 minutes, or until golden on top and around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (Or shove into mouth uncontrollably and burn tongue. Your choice, really.)

Yields about 24 medium cookies

Once you smell them baking, I'm pretty sure you'll be convinced too.

Fall is here. And I for one am CELEBRATING!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nine thousand words (and then some...)

(left to right, top to bottom: 1. Hotel at night 2. Hotel beach beds 3. Starry night 4. Sunset on the beach
5. View from our sister resort 6. Our pool at night 7. More sunset 8. Pool - long exposure 9. Cabo arch)

We are back from Mexico. Sighhhhhhhhh.

It was a great vacation: beyond relaxing, so beautiful, delicious, exciting, and above all, just what I needed. (See photographic evidence below:)

Back to (semi) regular posting on Sunday, complete with a brand-new set of resolutions. Happy early weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hasta luego

I'm off to Mexico!

(Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Vacation at last. I'll be sure to drink lots of these:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ode to Beethoven

So, Ludwig van Beethoven was born in a simple, non-descript row house in Bonn, Germany back in 1770. And everyone, I mean EVERYONE in Bonn is hell-bent on making sure that us stupid American tourists know it. I think they're really proud or something, (though it's not like anyone actually KNEW the guy, sheesh).

Exhibit A: The original LVB statue in Munsterplatz:

Exhibit B: Decorated LVB imposter statues (also in Munsterplatz):

Exhibit C: Three of my personal favorite LVB renditions:

(Liberace LVB, Finding Nemo LVB, Ronald McDonald/Elvis LVB)

Exhibit D: The birthhouse itself (complete with commemorative plaque:)

But I think it was perhaps our clients' suggestion that tonight, "perhaps we might enjoy going to see the opera?" that I decided enough was enough. And so, I have this to say to the proud citizens of Bonn:

ENOUGH already. I get it. Beethoven was a famous guy, a great, prolific musician, and the pride of the Rhine River valley. But at the end of the day, there are only so many statues and buildings one can look at before it gets a little, well, boring. Its' not as though the statue plays 'Ode to Joy' or anything interesting like that.

Also on today's itenerary was a morning run through Poppelsdorfer Allee (in a failed attempt to find the Rhine):

Can you tell it's September? Fall definately hits earlier in Germany than it does in Southern California. It even smells like fall in the morning, complete with obligatory drizzle. It was lovely, actually. I can't wait for tomorrow morning's run.

This time, hopefully I'll be able to find the river...

My very best Jerry Seinfeld

An excellent imitation, don't you think?

Skinny jeans and running shoes - man, even I wouldn't want to be seen with me.

(In my own defense - it was a short trip, I only brought one pair of jeans, and my feet just couldn't stand the punishment of trekking around Bonn in my work shoes anymore.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

wie geht es

(That's "how's it going" in German, for those who need translation)
Given the late time and the jet lag, this posting will be sparse for text, but hopefully you'll enjoy some pictures from my travels through Bonn and Cologne today:
(Crossing the Rhine on the ferry)

(Restaurant at Hotel St. Petersburg. Which is really just a great big castle up in the hills.)

(Night view of the Rhine river valley from the St. Petersberg)

(Bike path along the river - EVERYONE bikes in Germany, I miss my bike...)

(View from the roof of our client. Too bad they aren't hiring (and too bad I don't speak German!)

(Cologne Cathedral)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weekend photo essay

Saw him turn one:

future doctor

Biked here to eat a delicious picnic with my best friend:

lovely santa monica

And finished reading this:

really not so great (at least the greatness was not commensurate with the hype)

And now, on to Germany! For the LAST of the work related trips, (oh thank heaven.)