la belle nouvelle vie; an overture in three parts

Despite being an up and down week, it truly is a beautiful new life. My saturday has been productive, I ran errands, I ran miles and I threw down in the kitchen! What more can you ask for?

Bubba Cakes-a work in progress

This morning I decided to attempt to make a vegan gluten free oak cake, based on the "flying aprons" at Flying Apron. I had a rough idea of the ingredients and absolutely no idea of ratios, amounts, etc so I just played around with it.

In the end, they turned out with great texture and layers of flavor. However, they needed a bump up on the sweetness factor. I was pleased with their texture, crispness and the berries. I topped with almond butter to add a nice sweetness. The recipe was good enough for a name, a special name.

These are called "flying aprons", but obviously since these are my own take on that and are uniquely my own, I can't call them that. But what are they? They aren't a muffin, they aren't a scone. It isn't granola, cereal, a cookie. It is mostly a cake. Not a birthday cake, cake. Instead an oat cake. How absolutely boring sounding!

I went for my run, leaving the creation sans name, off to enjoy a nice 15 miles in the early afternoon sun. As I ran, my mind wandered as it does and around mile 11 I started thinking about Julian. Julian and I dated for about 3 1/2 years and despite things not working out between us, I have absolutely no doubt that my love for him was never misplaced. He and I have been back in contact for only about a year and a half and his life has taken an interest turn over the last year, not only is he finishing up his PhD at UVA, he is about to be a father. As I ran, I began to wonder if his daughter had been born and resolved that I should email for details as soon as I made it home. A light bulb went on. The thought of Julian + baby= my oat cake's name. Bubba cakes!

Julian was a master mind of nicknames. No one I have ever known has given me more nicknames than Julian. I think we once counted and there were more than 25. Some of them were simple progressions of a word through different pronunciation or verbal laziness, much in the way that uisce beatha because whishkeyba became whiskey. One of my favorite nicknames he gave me was "baby d". This nickname would obviously spring to mind when thinking about his new baby girl, Evelyn Rose. Ironically, overtime and through pure affectionate sillyness, the letters got drawn out in baby and eventually became bubba d. I still can hear him drawing out the word bubba and almost howling it. Those are the little things about loving relationships that are most meaningful to me. And so, while this recipe is still in progress, it is in fact a labor of love and therefore worth a special name. In honor of that memory and in honor of a beautiful new life, I dub these cake Bubba Cakes.


1 cup oats
1/2 cup sweet sorgum flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sucanata
1/2 cup frozen or fresh berries
1/2 cup almond milk
4 tbsp applesauce
1 tsp baking powder
note: these were in need of more sweetness, so I am considering using Maple Syrup or Agave in lieu of the sucanata.

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl combine oats, flour, sucanata, salt, and baking powder. Add in the applesauce until the mixture starts to stick together well. I used approximately 4 tbsp but I wasn't being all that specific in my measurements. Add the almond milk and berries and fold until well combined. Using a 1/2 cup dry measure, scoop out the mixture and place on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Press down with the bottom of the measuring cup to flatten. Bake for um....I didn't look at my watch.... 20 minutes? Until golden brown. If you make as is, consider topping with almond butter while still warm and enjoy! If you sweeten more, no need, but feel free by all means!!!

Saturday Salads and Spices

When I got home from my run, I immediately turned on the oven to 400 degrees to make a much anticipated roast cauliflower & broccoli with African Peri Peri Spice (made by Rub with Love). Peri Peri takes me back to South Africa and London and is a spice that is not readily available around here. It specifically reminds me of Nando's which was a chicken place that I ate *regularly* (ok,not that often but enough to remember!) while living in both countries, including a very memorable trip in my last week in London with my CI co-workers. I can still taste the peri-peri spiced fries. When I lived in Atlanta, I could get Nando's hot sauce, but nothing since I have been on the West Coast. My uncle Ray last wednesday showed me the spice rub he got at the fish store and was planning on putting on the fish he was making for dinner. It was peri peri!!! I was so excited. I resolved to pick some up asap. Yesterday I was at the grocery stumbling around looking for a smoothie after a really strong 10 miles on Cougar Mtn and I came upon the same blend my uncle had shown me! I snapped some up and looked forward to utilizing it in a spin off of a recipe I had seen for roast cauliflower with paprika. I tossed the cauliflower and broccoli with a tbsp of olive oil and a nice heap of the spice rub and tossed in the oven, until browned and perfect.

While the roasting was going on, I constructed a salad that I was inspired to make after watching 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray (what can I say, it was Thursday and I was brooding and sulking). She was using jarred/pickled vegetables (antipasto) ingredients in a chef's salad. When I stumbled upon the Peri-Peri spice, I also came upon a veritable plethora of jarred/pickled vegetables. In a pinch, these add a great dimension to many dishes. If you are smart about selection, they actually have a lot of health benefits. Pickling is a fermentation process which adds probiotics and has a long standing history in world cuisine. There are also roast vegetables which are merely packed in water or olive oil, such as roast peppers. I picked organic varieties and ones that didn't include any ingredients that I couldn't pronounce (go for things that are pickled in vinegar, and don't have much more than salt added.

Ingredients for the salad (amounts are up to you!):
mixed baby greens
fresh fennel, sliced
fresh ripe tomatoes
salad sprouts
salad beans, from canned, rinsed
fresh anaheim pepper
jarred roasted bell pepper
jarred pepperoncini
jarred artichoke hearts
jarred spicy pickled beans

high quality olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

chef's note: when dressing a salad, drizzle vinegar over the salad first, then olive oil, as if you do it in the reverse the oil will coat the veg and the vinegar will just slip right off!

Sleeping like a bat

After last years Mad City race, I experienced (another) very unfortunate side effect of long distance running. By the time I got home from WI, two days after my race, my legs and ankles were so swollen and my jeans were incredibly tight. What gives, I thought a bit panicky. I immediately emailed my friend and should be world record holder, Connie to see if this was normal. I was worried something was wrong and plus, who wants to feel like a cow after running 62 miles! She emailed me back, "yes, it is normal. Its the most messed up thing that you can run 100k and for a week after not be able to zip up your jeans". I was retaining about 6+ pounds of water. It makes sense though, it is the bodies was of healing from the "trauma" you inflict on it, much like the swelling you experience when you twist an ankle or the like. Thus, I had to "put my feet up" as much as possible. Inevitably that translated into me sleeping on the floor (with my back on a pillow) and feet/legs up on the bed. Over the rest of the year, I found myself more and more in this position after races. I dubbed it sleeping like a bat. This week I have been experience this once again and thus have been sleeping like a bat.

Other than having to sleep like a bat (and the reasons for that) & the endorphin crash, I have felt great this week. My recovery week was in fact a very strong training week, which is what I had hoped. I didn't train through Chuckanut per se, that is I didn't run a heavy mileage week and then race, but I didn't want to have much if any down time after the race and bounce back quickly. After a lovely Sunday off, I have had a solid week of training.

Monday I was able to work out the kinks in my legs in a moderately slow 10 mile jaunt. Tuesday I sandwiched a trip to Olympia to visit Alison and get a fantastic massage by her, with an 8 mile run in the morning and the SRC club run in the afternoon. When Wednesday rolled around and my emotional crash set in, I was only able to muster 8 miles and worried that I would have to take off more time than I wanted to. Thursday wasn't much better. I just couldn't get it together. I spent the entire day pacing around, but unable to accomplish anything. After aforementioned brooding and sulking, I managed to pull it together to spin on the bike in my kitchen for an hour. While I was spinning Krissy called and said that she was hopping a plane to come up for the night to attend Jenny U's going away party (which I was invited to but having a hard time motivating for). She said, that she would be there about 10:30 and I said to myself, come on now, if she can fly up from Bend, than I can drive a few miles. Plus, I have found one too many excuses to opt out of evening get togethers in recent months, I have been damn anti-social and that is not good. I think more than that, I just get settled on the couch and have a hard time rallying after getting comfy. To help me bridge the time and ensure getting to the bar at 10:30, I decided to head out for a run after spinning. It felt great to get out in the cool crisp evening air. I had thought I would just tool around G-lake for a 5 miler, but I was really feeling it once I got going and did a great, fast 8 miles down through Fremont.

Yesterday, I was starting to bounce back and headed out to Cougar to do the 10 mile loop. After starting off a bit slow on the incredibly long uphill, I started flying and feeling great. I got home, refueled and a few hours later was inspired to head out again for a high intensity 5 miler around G-lake. I felt great and again, it helped me bridge the time so that I wouldn't get sucked into my couch for the evening. Last night was my friend Monica's monthly wine tasting/dinner party. I have opted out of the other invitations she had extended to me, each time coming up with a thoroughly self-convincing excuse not to go. Afterall, who ISN'T tired on friday night? But I was resolute and I went and it was so much fun. The wine of the month was Syrah/Shiraz, each person bringing a bottle to share and enjoy. Monica made a delicious spread of food, including appetizers of artisan cheese and breads and a main course of bbq'd chicken and ribs for the meat eaters and vegan risotto and roast veggies. I am excited for next month and had a really great time mingled with the other guest! Next month I am going to help Monica in the kitchen and do a Vegan South American spread and have the theme be Chilean wines!

While I couldn't wake up this morning and motivate to go run Tiger with Jove like I had planned, I did manage to get out and run a nice 15 miles on the roads! Tomorrow, most likely Jove and I will head out to Tiger and do another 15. That means for my post-race week I am throwing down a serious 85 miles. Excellent. It has been a rollercoaster week, but really would I have it any other way?