Recipe box: Peanut Butter Energy Bites

I’m all about the protein lately.

Cottage cheese, edamame, peanut butter and piles of grilled fish. I’m sure the bean in my belly has something to do with it.

So when I was in full nesting mode last week, I started whipping goodies up in the kitchen. Banana bread, roasted potatoes, baked chicken, pasta fagiole.

Then a peanut butter-looking concoction popped up in one of my social media feeds. I realized I had all the ingredients and set to work to make PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES!

All lined up in a row.

Ready to try this super easy recipe? Here is what you will need:

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2  Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (I used ground chia)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover, let chill in fridge for 30(ish) minutes.

Grab a handful of oats and a few chocolate chips and scatter them on a clean cutting board. Roll the chilled mixture into bite-sized balls, then roll over the cutting board for another layer of oats and chips.  My batch made 20 teaspoon-sized bites.

Store the completed energy bites in an airtight container in your fridge. ENJOY!

Even my brutally honest husband liked these. I’ll be making them more often for sure.

What’s your go-to protein snack?

 

Ragnar is returning to PA

The scoot chicks love a good Ragnar Relay. You know we do.

Cam, our resident Ragnar expert has tackled numerous relay races around the country. The rest of us simply dreamed of the day we could manage a 12-person, 200-mile relay.

Meri was beyond jazzed to take on the challenge, but her plans and potential teams repeatedly fell through.

Me? I didn’t want to travel far for the race. When my dream Ragnar was discontinued a few years back, promptly ending my interest in participating in a relay….until today.

What changed, you ask? The return of the Pennsylvania Ragnar Relay in June 2017.

You see, this race begins in my hometown of Lancaster, PA. The first leg kicks off in front of my elementary school. It loops through downtown Lancaster, past my former employer and my childhood church, through the park where I attended day camp as a child and attended many an elementary school field trip.

It winds through rural Lancaster County, past Amish farms and through rolling hills of my hometown before heading north, ultimately ending in Mt. Pocono, PA, not far from Hickory Run State Park, one of my favorite PA state parks.

If ever there was a Ragnar made for me, this is it. Sure, I’ll need to figure out what to do with my infant son, how to fund my entry fee and how to coordinate to make this happen, but I know one thing for sure. I will be there as part of team Scootadoot. Who is with me?

Have you run a Ragnar? Which ones and what advice would you offer to a novice like me?

Too much? A preggo’s confession on overextending

We’re less than two months from baby’s due date. 52 days to go, to be exact.

There’s been no hiding my burgeoning belly for months, but in the past few days I’ve really started to feel my limitations.

I’m tired guys. More than tired. I’m exhausted.

To be fair, I totally overextended myself this past weekend. Saturday included a gaggle of errands followed by a strength training session at Baby Bump Academy, a local gym for expectant and new mamas.

wod

Saturday’s WOD

The workout was fabulous, and I felt more like myself than I had all week. But I followed it up with a cooking session before Jo and I headed to an outdoor wedding.

Surprisingly, I felt fine all day. I didn’t tire out, drank loads of water and enjoyed all the experiences (including repeatedly sniffing my hubby’s gin and tonic after the nuptials.)

Jo and Vic at a summer wedding

Jo and Vic at a summer wedding

The next morning, I was up bright and early as I volunteered at a local 5K, one organized by my friend Jo. Upon arrival, Jo greeted baby boy first, a move that both surprised me and brought a smile.

“Get used to people ignoring you for him!” she said with a laugh. The race was a whirlwind, and a joy to be a part of. (Next year, I run!)

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Jo at the start of the Pride 5K

Fast forward several hours – past a lengthy brunch outing with my hubby’s college friends. I was done. I wanted nothing more than to sleep.  But I had laundry to do, and food prep and chores and….

Yeah. I was wiped.

That’s the biggest difference I noticed as I’ve surpassed 30 weeks of pregnancy. I grow tired far more easily. I repeatedly try to do too much and then I crash.

I spent Monday d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g. Tuesday wasn’t much better.

I understand that this is the way it goes, and I do my best to cope by resting after work most days and drinking glass after glass of water. But yeah, I can’t pack in the activities like I used to. I can’t do as much as I’d like. And we already know I can’t lift things as I once could.  Even a few weekends ago, when I celebrated baby boy with friends and family in Pennsylvania and Kyle’s engagement, I was wiped after 4 straight days of activity.

I’m not complaining as I feel so blessed to be in these shoes after my last few months. But boy, growing a baby is hard, tiring work. And while I love how his constant kicking keeps me company when I can’t sleep, my expanding body is getting cumbersome and uncomfortable.

In my first trimester, I was queasy and tired. I mainly laid low and rested outside work.

In my second trimester, my energy soared. The queasiness subsided and I was on a mission. I was incredibly active, between regular walks, hikes, yoga and trying new activities like Pilates.

Then the third trimester – and the summer heat – hit me like a truck. Yeah. reality check.  Did I mention that we don’t have central air? Yeahhhh.

But that’s ok. Baby boy will be here soon enough, and we’ll enjoy the crisp fall weather together.

Any tips for a third trimester mama with 7 weeks to go? Share in the comments!

Rock n Roll Marathon Series Global Tour Pass Giveaway!

So you may have read last week that I’ve got a busy year ahead.

And since running is currently a no go, I wasn’t able to use my Rock-n-Roll Marathon Series Global Tour Pass for 2016, an awesome perk that comes along with being a race series and brand ambassador.

I was hoping to at least run #RnRDC in March, but my body stopped cooperating early in the first trimester. My other “must-run” RnR races for the year in September and October (Philly and Brooklyn) don’t seem incredibly feasible, as I will then have a newborn on my hands.

So instead of fretting about the timing, I decided to share my pass with one lucky reader and postpone my race plans until 2017.

Up for grabs is a 2016 Global Tour Pass worth $479. It gives you entry to any and all RnR races in 2016.

Click on the image below to enter:

scootadoottourpass

This giveaway will begin Monday, May 23 and will last one week, ending at midnight on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day.) There’s only one pass up for grabs and only one winner. I received this pass (a $479 value) through my role as a #RocknBlog ambassador. While I love this series, all opinions on my experiences are my own. Winner must be a US, Canadian or European resident. Current #RocknBloggers are no eligible to win the pass. Cheating to enter this giveaway will disqualify entrant. Required entries are a must to be considered for prize.

And HEY! Since I know you all love a deal, use my discount code “ScootaDoot” to save some cash on an upcoming Rock n Roll Marathon race. Save $15 on entry of the marathon and half-marathon distance at 2016 RnR events.

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What’s on your Rock n Roll Marathon Series bucket list? What RnR races do you want to run in 2016?

Changes

2016 has been one helluva year to date.

My father passed away after a 10-month battle with leukemia. My business moved to a brand-new office building, uprooting me from my home-away-from-home for the last 14 years. And the biggest life change – my husband and I are expecting our first child.

I know this post is long overdue, but where to start?

My dad, an Ecuadorian who moved to United States in the 1950s to attend university, had a spectacular life. A mapmaker by trade, he lived 85 years and remained positive throughout his last year, despite his terminal diagnosis. He died in February, and I was fortunate enough to spend several days with him and my mother the week before he died. At that time, I shared our news – that he would have a grandchild.

My dad was thrilled. He couldn’t get over it, as I’m the youngest of his four children and I’m what the medical community politely refers to being of advanced maternal age…a geriatric pregnancy.

You see, my dad and my pregnancy are linked. I don’t like to talk about it and hesitate to share even here, but it’s time to take a leap of faith.

The day I found out dad was sick, I also learned I was pregnant.

The day I helped tell my father he was dying, I learned that my pregnancy wasn’t viable.

The day I learned dad’s chemotherapy had stopped working I also learned I was again expecting.

Less than two months later, he passed away in my parents’ Pennsylvania home.

Dad was what I’d call a true gentleman and an incredible storyteller. He was quirky (who isn’t?) and intelligent, but lived for his loves – most importantly my mother. He was dedicated to his job and would have been honored to see dozens of former co-workers from across the country lovingly share stories as they attended his memorial service.

I know he is still with me, as I can feel his love and guidance regularly. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to hold his grandson.

As for me, I’m nearly done with the second trimester.

The first trimester was physically exhausting. The second was mentally draining with all the changes and adjustments, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful network of family and friends who have simply been incredible.

Since just before dad passed, I’ve felt good – the energy returned when I most needed it and I’ve slowly realized I need to slow down a bit –  and I have.

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

In mid-April I outed myself at work, as I could not longer hide my rapidly-expanding waist. I also launched a new series about prenatal fitness, starting with yoga.

Now, I’m looking forward as my husband and I prepare for the birth of our son. I’m blessed to be able to share the journey with my cousin Keith and his wife Laura, who are expecting their first child (a girl!) in July, and my brother-in-law Andy and his wife Diane, who are due in September.

We’ve been purging the house of unneeded items. We’ve been preparing the nursery. We’ve been spending time together, relishing our last months as a couple.

It’s a whole new world.

Recipe Box: Festive Black Bean Chili

This vegan recipe is a long-time love and even a fan favorite of my meat-eating friends. It was also among the first “real meals” I learned to make in my post-college life, back before Y2K.

Umpteen years ago I moved to Ithaca, a stunning and liberal college town nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes. Back then, I was a 22-year-old college grad, a vegetarian and working my first job at the local newspaper, The Ithaca Journal.

Not two blocks away from my office, I came across a great vegetarian eatery that quickly became my go-to lunchtime haunt. The Moosewood Restaurant, known for its veggie and vegan fare, was widely known. I quickly fell in love with the food and in turn started acquiring Moosewood cookbooks. (Um, I confess I have more than a half dozen of them.)

This recipe, which I’ve adapted a bit over the years, was among the first I tried and remains one of my favorites. I hadn’t made it in years, but the other day, inspiration struck.

I forgot how damn good it was. So for you, my adapted version of Festive Black Bean Chili from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites.

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Ingredients:

1 diced onion

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. coriander

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 15-oz can black beans

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 cup salsa

salt and pepper to taste.

feb March 2016 979

In a large pot, brown the onion with garlic in 1/2 cup of water for about five minutes. Add the cumin, coriander and stir on high heat for about a minute. Add salsa and bell peppers, lower the heat and cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the black beans and tomatoes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add corn and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Stir every now and again and salt and pepper to taste. I typically pair this with either cornbread or tortilla chips (hint of lime flavor hits the spot!) Sometimes I top it with avocado before serving.

Serves 4 people. Reheats well. Each 11 ounce serving has 222 calories and 10 grams of protein (that’s without the bread, chips or avocado!) Enjoy!

Happy birthday Meri (and Jay!) I used this because these two lovelies share a birthday!

Happy birthday Meri (and Jay!) I used this because these two lovelies share a birthday!

On a completely unrelated note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MERI! Today is our chick’s 30-somethingth birthday and we love her to bits! Make sure to wish her a happy day via Scoot’s social media or in the comments below!

Chilly running ramblings (and dodging snowplows)

We’ve been lucky this winter with mostly mild weather. Sure, Rochester had a huge snowstorm last week, a storm that brought 19 inches to my yard and the typically hearty community to its knees for about 24 hours.

So true cold-weather running has been pretty much non-existent for me this season. That said, there are always a few thoughts that zip through my mind when I hit the pavement amid snow and subzero temps.

It was bitter cold when pal Beth and I ran a winter half-marathon last year. Subzero temps had us bundle up and we were still darn chilly by the time we finished.

It was bitter cold when pal Beth and I ran a winter half-marathon last year. Subzero temps had us bundle up and we were still darn chilly by the time we finished.

Here are just a few random winter running thoughts:

  • I can’t feel my fingers. I should’ve worn more clothing. (This usually occurs within the first half-mile.)
  • Did my water bottle just freeze? Why yes, I am now carrying a 5-pound ice weight.
  • None of what I am wearing matches, but it’s all bright neon. Notice me, oncoming cars. I’m a beacon of color.
  • Sidewalk? What sidewalk?
  • Aim for the bald patches in the road. Anything not to wear spikes when not snow/trail running.
  • Perhaps the treadmill would’ve been a good idea today.
  • I’m melting. I should’ve worn fewer layers. (about 3 to 5 miles in.)
Wintry run!

Wintry run!

I love winter running, actually. In part because I feel like a badass for braving elements that send many inside for a warmer workout.

And there was a time that a passerby asked me how much I was being paid to run in the snow. (Ha! Wouldn’t that be nice?)

But there are challenges.

Sometimes a 5-mile tromp through fresh snow equals the effort for a 10-miler on a crisp fall day. Sometimes you find yourself on a busy road’s shoulder because the icy, unplowed sidewalk is downright treacherous. Occasionally, you have to jump into a snowdrift and out of the path of an oncoming snowplow.

No matter the obstacle, I always feel great once I am done. It’s always well worth the bitter cold effort.

What runs through your mind when you run in the snow?