Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Granola Wars

There has been a battle brewing at our house as to who can claim the top spot in all of granola land. On one side stands my wife with her granola bar recipe which is dense and oh so yummy, perfect for a snack. On the other side, stands me with a recipe that was supposed to be bars but with a slight modification has become a granola that has become a breakfast staple with fresh fruit and a bit of soymilk.


2 cups quick cooking oats 
½ cup brown sugar 
½ cup honey 
½ cup peanut butter/almond butter (my favorite!!)  (you can even use  1 stick butter, softened - I haven't) 
½ cup M&Ms (raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, etc.)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat so the granola won't stick
3. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. 
4. Spread and bake for about 18 minutes, or until lightly golden on edges.
5. Cool five minutes on sheet, turn over with spatula, and completely cool before serving
6. Store in an airtight container.
7. Enjoy!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Attacking Our Tribe

Running has always been my safe place.  In it, I could lose myself in my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. From a pimply faced, pear shaped, angry adolescent to a vegetarian, marathoning father, I have always felt comforted no matter what challenges I faced physically and emotionally out on the roads and trails. That bubble was burst today.

Having had the chance to run my boyhood dream of the Boston Marathon in 2010, I have come to look forward to Patriots Day through social media to follow what some might call Christmas for runners.  It's an exciting day, and my joy of seeing Shalane and Kara finish in the Top 6 of the race was decimated by news of a senseless act of violence at the finish line. Lives lost forever gone from the tribe.

We are all part of the same tribe. Pace, weight, height, distance covered are all irrelevant. When you lace up your shoes and head out the door for a run, you are part of the tribe. If you support that runner by standing at the finish line, handing out water at an aid station, or a word of encouragement from afar, you are part of the tribe.

If your like me, some of my strongest relationships have been forged out on the roads with fellow runners. We simply get each other. People from all different walks of life who we would probably not know elsewhere, we understand out there in the sweat and firing of muscles. It's that bond forged that makes an event like today so devastating.

Whatever message a person or group who felt they needed to do this to bring attention to their cause, they will get their 15 minutes of fame because that is what the popular media will give them. What they don't realize is that in attacking our tribe, we will circles the wagons and protect those out on the roads and trails. We will not relent and we will not forget.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

2 months Vegetarian: 5 Things I Have Learned

"I could just throw grilled cheese at you, " said the wife over a bowl of barley, cucumber, and tomatoes, "but I support your lifestyle change" at dinner this evening.  Licking the bowl clean after another tasty vegetarian meal, I have learned quite a bit in what has just been two months since giving up meat, poultry and fish.

    1. Granola Wars!!! In what has become a fierce battle, the wife and I scour the internet and whip up a few batches a week of varying granola bars or granola seeing who can claim the top stop. Either way, granola has become a nearly daily staple and I have been looking forward each morning to a bowl of granola with fresh fruit and a dash of soymilk. 
    2.  Quinoa is the bomb.... I had only read about this grain before trying it out and making a weekly batch on Sunday. It makes a great replacement for oatmeal in the morning, and you can easily throw in some veggies and have a quick lunch. Tried making it with vegetable stock instead of water and was glad when that batch was over.
    3. Tofu tastes like..... whatever you marinate it with. Affectionately called "toad food" by my kids, I usually saute the tofu and add to whatever vegetables, grains, or salads, that we might be having. Enjoy the extra firm cubed variety. 
    4. Fresh fruit....gets frozen and thrown into smoothies. Bananas with the skin removed and thrown in several hours or days before adds thickness to a smoothie when combined with other fruit or soymilk and a couple of ice cubes. The other day, the local market had strawberries for $1 a quart. Not a hard decision. Throw 5 in the cart, come home, chop most of them up and throw in the freezer. 
    5. I used to be..... known for only making chicken and rice. A one dish guy. Giving up meat, fish, and poultry has opened my eyes to so many more choices.  I have been checking out books from the library and looking for great new recipes to try with the family. Conversely, while my wife and kids still do eat meat, my wife is making a conscious effort when planning out our weekly meals to include a lot of variety and if I were to be diligent about counting, a lot less meat.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Don't Call It A Comeback

I've been here for years. Sort of. Well, not so much as of late. Seems cyclical that I end up back at this point waxing about my lack of blogging activities and how I am going to jump back on the writing horse and get moving. This is that post again, I think.

I have this conversation with myself over and over about great ideas in my head that I want to get down in print and then forget, thanks ADD, or talk about them on the podcast. Feels like I would be double dipping, but then again, who listens to the podcast and then goes and checks out the blog? Come to think of it, when I listen to certain podcasts and I hear something of note I do just that because I certainly don't stop mid run, pause the Garmin, whip out the smarhphone and que up Evernote to jot a thought down.

In any event, hear I stand, wait sitting, because that is how, I type just over two weeks out from my first 24 hour race and almost 2 months vegetarian. What??? Certainly those topics should be ripe for content, but alas I have just walked on by.

So today, don't call it a comeback, call it a fresh start. And momma said, I'm gonna knock you out, but your going to have to catch me first.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Easy Greens Tart

One of the things that has happened as a result of me giving up meat, is that my wife has sought out new recipes. Coming home from the grocery store and hearing her say I got you some swiss chard for a recipe I found certainly perked my ears up. This is one that she found via Life as Mom blog and whipped up this afternoon for dinner. 

*Note* I am sure you could make this vegan by substituting canned coconut milk for the heavy cream, unsweetened applesauce or egg replacer for the eggs, and  extra-firm tofu overnight in lemon juice and minced garlic for the feta cheese


  • 1 unbaked pie crust, placed in a tart pan and chilled
  • 2 cups sauteed greens (We used Swiss Chard)
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °
  2. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Sprinkle the greens in the pie shell. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the greens.
  3. In a small mixing bowl combine the eggs and cream. Season to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and greens.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until set.
  5. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8

Throwing in the Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard reduction

Crust making with mom's helper.

Layering in the  chard.

Add the feta

Next comes the mixture

Golden brown and waiting to be sliced.

Light, airy and tastes good.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Recipe: Broccoli Rabe/Cannellini Beans/ Brown Rice

Since undertaking my no meat challenge which has hit the two week mark today, my wife has sought to make meals that are vegetarian. The following recipe was made last night.


1 pound(s) uncooked broccoli or broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, extra virgin

3 Tbsp minced garlic

15 oz canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp table salt or to taste

1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste


Bring a large pot of boiled water water to a boil over high heat. Boil broccoli rabe until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes, drain and set aside.

Place oil and garlic in a large nonstick saute pan; set over low heat. Sweat garlic for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently, keeping oil and garlic together in center of pan to avoid browning.

Add beans to pan; stir well to combine.

Add broccoli rabe and lemon juice to pan; toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving

Separately,we also made some brown rice to throw into the mix.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beyond the Marathon: Insights Into The Longest Foot Race in the World

3,100 miles. That  is roughly the equivalent distance from Los Angeles, California to Portland, Maine or from Boston to Miami, and back.  Now, imagine covering that distance on a 883 meter block in Queens, New York and you have the Self Transcendence 3100 mile foot race.

Founded in 1997 to exemplify the endless possibilities of the the human spirit by Sri Chimnoy, participants in this adventure have 52 days and must average 60 miles per day to complete the distance. The race course is open for 18 hours per day in order for participants to get their mileage.

Beyond the Marathon: Insights in the longest foot race in the world, , by four time finisher and 2012 winner Grahak Cunningham explores this event and gives readers an inside take on just what it takes to complete arguably one of the most difficult athletic endeavors on the planet.  What I took away from this book is the ability of participants to focus on just the mile and moment they are in. Certainly it is an important skill to have given the duration and distance of the event. Definitely worth checking out as an inspirational read coming off the cold winter base training months and we start sharpening our focus on spring events.

Monday, February 18, 2013

5 Days In...Challenges and New Foods

Why I certainly didn't think that giving up meat and pop would be an easy endeavor, I was met  with some choices right away where I would have to confront those choices sooner than later.

Valentine's Day was pretty easy because my wife, who had been a vegan for several years before I met her before giving it up, made me black bean toastado's while sharing chips and salsa with the kids having turkey taco's.  Certainly delicious and good fuel for my long run the next day.

After my long run of 16 miles the next day, I needed fuel and stopped by Chipotle for a burrito at lunch. While my normal order in the past would be a chicken burrito with white rice, black beans, corn salsa, and a large Diet Coke refilled at least once, this time I went with a veggie burrito, brown rice, black beans and corn salsa. To drink? A Nantucket Nectar Apple Juice. Actually reading the menu, I learned that the Pinto Beans are seasoned with bacon! So far so good.

The fifth day so far proved to be the most interesting as I tried several new items. On a lunch date with my daughter before heading out to roller skate (cue the early 90's pop music), we went to Panera's. A normal order in the past would have been to have a chicken noodle soup/baked potato soup and a Sierra Turkey on Asiago bread. This time a wonderful tomato/mozzarella 1/2 sandwich with a cup of vegetarian black bean soup and a water. Later, my wife has somehow procured a babysitter, so we actually had a dinner and movie date. Checking out a new joint called Social Kitchen and Bar, I really had to scan the menu. The waiter had recommended the Chicken and Waffles as well as the Burger, which again probably a week ago, I would have been all over. This time, I settled on an amazingly delicious kale salad with pickled onions, raisins, quinoa, tomatoes, with a red wine vinaigrette and a grilled cheese sandwich on naan bread with a tomato soup dipper. While I munched mindfully taking in the new flavors, it was hard not to hear my wife proclaim that it was the best burger she had ever eaten.  That's ok, I felt really good in my choices, because they tasted so good.

So here I sit at my local Starbucks trying yet another new item, a soy vanilla latte, and experiencing new tastes on my palette.  So far, giving up pop has been relatively easy. It was something that I maybe had a few sips of my wife's on a daily basis and had a can a few days a week. Replacing it has simply been with  more water.

Meat? Well, it has been much more of a conscious effort heading into meals but so far so good. It has forced me to really read menu's and to try some things that I would have normally skimmed over. One person, has given me the best tip so far as I head down this road and that is to be forgiving.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Going No Meat

Yesterday began Lent and with a bold declaration I told my wife that I was going no meat and no soda/pop for 40 days, she deftly replied, "You can't just go all willy nilly with no plan, your going to get sick." With my Kindle in hand, she hadn't seen me since Christmas diving into books like Scott Jurek's Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey into Ultramarathon Greatness  nor watching Food Inc, Forks Overs Knives, and Vegucated .

As an runner, one of my weakest links has always been my diet. I have swung the pendulum both ways from being healthy and conscious of my eating to gimme that extra slice or two of pizza because I just ran 20 miles. I have always been aware that the better I ate, the better I felt, but have just never made it a priority. Can't change the past, so time to aim my focus forward.Even with meeting several fellow runners who were vegan, I never have stuck to making any meaningful change.

Perhaps it has been the perfect storm of my increased yoga practice and delving into the books and movies that my interested has been renewed and given my purpose to my eating over the last month. My yoga practice has given me a better awareness of my body as it slowly works to unwind itself. While I have been in no ways perfect, one of the highlights that I learned from Jurek's book was that his transition to veganism was a slow one. In order to make a systemic change that will last, you need to incremently make changes in order for them to take effect. Henceforth, I decided during this period of Lent due to my religous practice to give up meat and soda/pop.

Forgoing soda/pop for me should be an easy one. I am not one much for the bubbly concotion, but I am not gonna lie that a Coke or a Root Beer doesn't satisfy the palatte every once in awhile. Going no meat though should prove to be a challenge. On average, I would say that I have meat 3-5 times a week at lunch or dinner and in various forms. I know from my initial reasearch that we do not need as much protein as we believe and that you can get in many forms via a whole food or plant based diet.

Putting it out there for public record should also help to strengthen my resolve and accountability. Saying it only to yourself makes it far easier to quit when no one knows your really making any changes. So here we go. One day down so far and 39 to go.

Monday, February 04, 2013

New runner

It's like having a newborn all over again. Late nights of howling and cleaning up pee and poop, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Dash has been home for just over a week now and everyone is adjusting to a new schedule. He isn't Nemo where we could just leave him be. Nope, you have to keep a close eye on this one as he is exploring his new world and wants to put his teeth on everything to figure out just what it is.

In some instances, it is the most responsible I have seen the kids. They are making sure he is going out on a regular basis, has adequate food and water,  and making sure he gets his play in. My son fancies himself the "trainer" and is eagerly anticipating "puppy school".

 Me? I'm chomping on the bit for him to grow up, not to fast mind you to get those early morning runs Dash on my friends.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Sharing My Practice

It's important to share. I want to make sure that my children know the value and importance of getting out to play on a daily basis. If I am not playing or coaching them in sports, they see me coming in from a run as they are just waking up in the morning or finding me in my running/yoga/man cave in practice.  I believe seeing and doing has rubbed off on them as they will sometimes join me for short runs and will strike some yoga poses in the house.

Although my kids can run with me outside, they are not usually allowed to come to my place of practice at the Yoga Shelter. That's why I was super excited to see a Kids Yoga class offering a few weeks ago and my daughter wanted to go. Unlike a typical class where all the mats faced the same way, my daughter and I had to face each other and work together as we did some easy poses under the gentle and playful guidance of our instructor.

 This is lizard on a rock.

At the end of every yoga practice, we get to engage in one of my favorite yoga poses, Savasana (Corpse Pose). A great ending to an opportunity to share my practice.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Entry Point

Wherever you are is the entry point. Kabir

 You are in the perfect place to begin anything. Your starting line is right in front of your feet. Don't wish, hope or train to get to a point where you can say, "Now I can begin. " Do it now. Take that first step.

Those first steps might look like a wobbly toddler searching for something to hold onto for balance and that is ok. You have begun the journey.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A New Runner

There has been a distinct quietness and lack of finding fur around the house with the passing of our border collie Nemo a few weeks ago. When the wife and kids left for a few days to visit her side of the family, it was even worse when I didn't have a wet nose that would nuzzle against me looking for a pat or my morning routine of opening the door to let him out to do his business while I prepared his breakfast. My task when they were gone was to look at various rescues via Pet Finder  and even at some purebred places where we might get a puppy.

Needless to say I was able to find some rescue dogs who indeed deserved a good home, but my wife reminded me that our kids are at the age (8 and almost 6) where they should get the experience of having a puppy if we couldn't find a rescue dog. Whether it was the holidays or simply we didn't make the cut, the rescues we contacted had not gotten back to us when we found Jawanna Border Collies. 

Looking on the website prior to our visit, we had narrowed down the available puppies to one boy and one girl. Upon entering the house, the puppies were all nestled in a laundry basket and of course any doubt that we might not pick one was erased. 

In the end, we chose a boy who had been named Smoke, but we will call him Dash. He was born on December 10th so we can not take him home until January 26th at the earliest. I look forward to the day when I can take him out running and share with him the roads and trails that my good friend Nemo and I used to share.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Just As You Are

A new year is upon us and a blank road lies ahead. Read any number of posts, blogs, or tweets and you will find declarations of great expectations, hopes, and dreams for 2013 as to how people plan to travel down that road. Those ideas out there for a variety of reasons, but what is wrong with not declaring anything at all? What if during 2013, you do nothing but focus on just being as you are?

 Focusing on just being as you are, means living in the moment. You are not thinking about 2012 or the great expectations, hopes and dreams of 2013. Attention to yourself, is an even harder road to travel than the blank one that awaits those with stated expectations, hopes, and dreams.

 Living in the moment is the “flow” that runners talk about when everything just falls into place on a run. The body and breath are aligned, and it feels like you could run forever. Those moments though soon fade and we head out again in search of that feeling.

 What if we could translate that “flow” into our daily lives? Living in the moment could be a constant state and we are just being as we are. Don’t mistake though that by doing this you would become stagnant and not grow. Instead being as you are and noticing it opens the pathway to growth. That growth is an acknowledgement and acceptance of where we are right now. We are no better or no worse than where we stand at that moment. Keep moving forward and I will catch up with you down the road.