Monthly Archives: November 2012
No Gain November Revisited
It’s the last day of November! So did you participate in No Gain November?
At the beginning of the month, I posed a challenge to keep off holiday pounds amidst the No Shave November fever. (With all luck, we will be seeing some clean-shaven faces tomorrow!) So it is weigh in time! I stepped on the scale yesterday and was happy to see that my efforts paid off and I had a difference of .2 lbs. For me, the toughest “rule” was not eating after 8! Sometimes I just wanted a little snack while I was up late studying ;)
Speaking of studying: I’m going to switch gears from being a health enthusiast to a normal college kid right now. This week has been a culmination of all the end-of-semester assignments,studying for finals which are just 4 days away, and my highest running mileage yet. I’m striving for A’s in all my 6 classes, so I’ve been spending extra extra extra time burried in textbooks and camping out in the library to study! I’m definitely taking my own advice with Healthy Study Snacks to make sure the stress of finals doesn’t lead to unnecessary and unhealthy snacking. We need brain power!
Late nights in the library = Bring on the Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes! Starbucks, I’ll be bringing you some business in the next coming nights. The other day, I really wanted to try the Eggnog Latte. I’ve never actually tried egg nog, and I’ve only heard terrible things about it. But something new and different sounded good! UNTIL I read that a grande, non-fat no-whip eggnog latte is 440 calories! Aaaaand that order changed to a Skinny Latte real quick. Pays off to do some nutritional research (another reason why food journals are helpful!)
When these finals are all over next Thursday it will be nice to relax and not think about graphs or statistics or court cases for over a month! I plan on spending my first day of winter break next to our beautifully-decorated Christmas tree with my episodes of Revenge.
The day after that, it is back to New York for my mom and me for my next surgery on my facial venous malformation. (I’ll keep you posted.) Talk about a stressful 2 weeks! All the more reason to make sure I am staying healthy to keep my immune system strong and energy levels high.
Bear with me for the next week while I may not post so much! As soon as I CRUSH these finals I will be back with plenty of workouts and recipes :)
Butterscotch Pumpkin Granola Bars
This recipe is TOO GOOD not to make. Seriously, if you like the Nature Valley Oat n’ Honey bars, you will fall in love at first bite with these homemade creations that are pretty easy and muy delicioso. The recipe originally came from Heatherchristo.com, which I found on Pinterest.
My mom and I made these bars together for our awesome (and painful) 10 mile hike on Friday. Trail mix always seems like the perfect go-to fuel for long hikes, and these bars are like bringing all the trail mix flavors together for an on-the-go snack. The flavors were fantastic for fall, and the butterscotch is really powerful and sweet! Good combo of nuts, seeds, sweet and salty going on here :)
You will need a large bowl and the following:
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup pure pumpkin
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 (heaping) tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup of pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
- 1 (11 oz) bag of butterscotch chips (chocolate or white chocolate would be just fine!)
- Optional: shredded coconut, dried cranberries, cherries, or pineapple
1. First, in a LARGE bowl, combine oats, oil, pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and salt.
2. Throw the pepitas and almonds in to the mix.
3. Add in butterscotch chips and any additional fillings.
4. Line a 9 x 13″ baking sheet with parchment paper; evenly spread the granola mixture onto the parchment paper and use a spatula to flatten it as much as possible.
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and use spatula again to press down and flatten the sheet of granola. Place back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.
6. Let cool completely!
7. Slice into bars; make approximately 24.
These bars do go soft after storing in a container or plastic bags, so they are best wrapped individually before storing in an air-tight container.
The oat texture, the bites of almonds and pepitas, the sweet butterscotch chips – it’s ridiculously good. So good that I’ve had two a day since Friday. With coffee of course.
How good would these be just broken up in a bowl with milk, eaten with a spoon? Mmm I think I just found my next breakfast for when I return home over winter break ;)
“Bridge to Nowhere” Leads to Emergency Room
On Black Friday, many people braved the crowds in the wee hours of the morning, while my family drove to the San Gabriel River in the Angeles Forest for a beautiful 10 mile hike to “The Bridge to Nowhere.” It was an out-and-back trail, and we packed our lunch to enjoy at the midpoint – the bridge (which is frequently used for bungee jumping!)
Within the first mile, we had to cross the flowing river, as the trail weaved back and forth. We would cross the river a total of 8 times, sometimes over rocks and logs, other times walking straight through the water and cooling off our feet.
We made it to the bridge in just over 2 hours and 30 minutes. Perfect rest/lunch stop before heading back:
My mom and I have a history of clumsiness. We can’t seem to clear a table or counter top without bumping our hip, or walk near a coffee table without smacking our shin. So I would’ve expected one of us to take a tumble in the river, or at least trip over the rock.
But it wasn’t my mom or I who came home that night with a cast. It was the seasoned hiker – my dad. And I’m sure he would like to say that his fall was the result of a treacherous climb up a vertical rock structure, 30 feet off of the ground. But the truth is he stepped weird off of a rock not 8 inches from the ground. CRACK! We all heard the noise his ankle made; it immediately swelled up to his shin.
The problem was, we were still 2 miles from the car and not an easy 2 miles. We needed to climb up and down steep rocks and slopes, and cross the river a couple more times. There was NO cell service, and no way my mom and I could support him through parts of the single-file trail. No, dad had to walk on his broken and swollen ankle for over an hour as we hiked out. We found him a “walking stick” though I’m not sure what a help it was.
Aside from all the teasing and grief we gave him for his uncharacteristically clumsy move, I gotta give him credit for that painful hike. BEAST. Detour to Urgent Care on the way home for some X-rays (yep, it’s broken!) and a temporary splint until the swelling goes down. No hiking anytime soon for you!
So it turns out that the Bridge to Nowhere leads to Urgent Care for this family. Minus the whole broken ankle thing, it was an INCREDIBLE hike! We can’t wait to go again. Late November was the best time of the year to go too, because the weather wasn’t too hot and the trees were dark orange and yellow and made the trail beautifully colored. It was challenging and pretty and fun. We also made these delicious Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars to take with us that I will share the recipe for tomorrow :)
Time to enjoy my last day home before heading back to school tomorrow.