The Ninja, kale, and the winter that won’t give up!

Happy (rainy and kind of cold here in the Northeast) Friday to all! It seems to me like this winter is really having trouble letting go. I mean, parts of NH have gotten snow the past week. SNOW! In April. This is not cool. Luckily, we haven’t had any in a week or two (knock on wood), because it’s the time of the year when we start planning our outdoor activities. Sightseeing, Red Sox games (first one of the season is booked for a few weeks from now, woohoo), and this weekend: hiking! We are going to make the trek to the southern New Hampshire seacoast for a day of hiking and exploring, capped off by lunch at a brewery. Although I can’t say I made much progress on my running this week (or really enough to justify a beer flight), I have noticed that giving myself a cheat day usually makes the weight come off more easily the next non-cheat day.

The hiking will negate at least part of the lunch, I figure. Anyway, we are down to less than a month (as of yesterday) before the big 5k! This is another reason the weather needs to cooperate. Although I am getting my endurance up ever-so-slowly on a nice, flat treadmill, it’s not the same as an outdoor run. Or even a run on a track! We’ve been trying to do some form of jogging/walking every weekend lately when the weather is good. I have a feeling it’s going to be a bit of a muddy hike tomorrow. We didn’t pick a strenuous one because we don’t want to risk any weird injuries before the race. You might think a month is a long time out to worry about this, and I would direct you to my left big toenail, which actually had to grow out once damaged (and has finally fallen off and is being slowly replaced with a super thin, baby toenail) from my last hiking adventure…LAST FALL. Yeah. Stuff happens when you wear the wrong shoes. I know better now.

Last Saturday, I killed my cheapo blender. I was making a Vanilla Pear Protein Shake, and I decided to use some of my frozen kale in place of the nut butter component. My blender started to smell like burning rubber and the shake ended up pretty chunky because I was afraid to let it keep blending. Upon the recommendation of a coworker, I purchased a Ninja Blender with a coupon from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. My first concoction with that was a Caramel Apple Pie Protein Shake from Dashing Dish. I recently bought a $5 a month membership to the site to get access to the really juicy recipes! The Ninja did its job pretty well, and the shake was pretty smooth (I used vanilla sugar free Jello instant pudding powder in place of the caramel extract, by the way), but I think I was really aware of how loud it was and worried it was late and I was bothering the neighbors, so I didn’t let it go long enough and had some chunks.

Pear shake!

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Apple shake!

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We had homemade fruit and and yogurt parfaits for our Sunday brunch after our walk to Starbucks in town. They’re in our wedding wine glasses (which we never use because we’re not wine people). Presentation is everything!

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We had a tasty quinoa dish from Ambitious Kitchen, found here, one night, except I subbed out the cabbage for baby spinach and didn’t include the cashews. It was kind of fatty enough with the dressing.

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Another night, we did a Chicken Chickpea Soup that I found on a blog I stumbled upon. I used baby spinach as the green components, and baked boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (about 8 oz.) instead of a whole rotisserie chicken. It made enough for a filling dinner, and Dan’s lunch leftovers!

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It wouldn’t be a normal week if I didn’t make some sort of pancakes for dinner! I used my new Dashing Dish membership to make her Almond Joy Pancakes for One, which I doubled to make four small pancakes for Dan and myself to share. It’s the first time I’ve used coconut flour and carob chips, but the result was tasty and satisfying! This is a members-only recipe, I think, so sorry if you can’t view it.

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I played around with two single serving desserts in a jar/mini ramekin from the same site, a One Minute Skinny Individual Brownie made with coconut flour, and a Banana Bread for One, also using coconut flour (both members-only recipes, too, I’m pretty sure). I ate the brownie all myself and doubled the banana bread for Dan to have one, too. Coconut flour makes things softer and poofier somehow. It’s less dense than regular flour.

Brownie in a jar!

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Banana bread for one!

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And finally, tonight we had Curried Chickpeas and Kale, which, despite the name of the blog, I made unvegan with my chicken broth. It was all I had! I did finally buy fresh, organic kale, which I found to be a pain to shred and de-stalk. Bah. The curry was decent, though.

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I should be heading to bed so I’m not the slowpoke on the hike tomorrow. Happy weekend and happy cooking!

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