Minneapolis Farmer’s Market

This weekend was SO beautiful. Sunday was pretty much the perfect day – a slight breeze but sunny temperatures in the 60s….perfect bliss. To take advantage of the weather, I rode my bike to do all of my errands:

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Due to the gorgeous weather, this weekend was also the season opener for the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. Minneapolis’ farmer’s market is located on the north end of Lyndale past downtown, and it’s been at that location since 1937! According to their signage, it is the largest open air market in the upper midwest.

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I would believe it! Even though it wasn’t too packed with vendors today (presumably since it was the opening weekend), I visited the farmer’s market several times last summer and fall, and it is quite an operation. You can enjoy a bounty of farmer’s market staples…

like flowers:

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and fruits and vegetables:

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In addition, there’s a separate area with crafts, soaps, jewelry, clothes, prepared food and sauces, and meats:

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Stands that caught my eye on this visit included homemade pasta (in flavors like basil, italian herb, and spinach!):

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pottery:

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and homemade soaps:

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The roasted sweetcorn also seemed to be a hit judging from the number of people who were eating it:

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I give the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market an A+++. There’s a lot of variety, fresh and delicious produce, and great people watching. Plus it is incredibly affordable. The produce usually goes 2 or 3 bins for $5. To give you an idea, a bin would usually include 5-6 onions, peppers, or pieces of fruit – at the least. There’s also a ton of variety. On this visit I saw: onions of all types, cabbage, yellow squash, oranges, grapes, plantains, tomatoes, sweet peppers, potatoes, green beans, hot peppers, mango, ginger, and strawberries…to name a few.

I bought green beans, cabbage, and onions. Check back soon for my recipes on how I used them!

Bowling at Memory Lanes

Groupon has been running an amazing deal for 2 hours of bowling at Memory Lanes (pizza and two pitchers of soda included!) for only $30. A friend of mine bought this Groupon a week or so ago, and a group of 4 of us used it this weekend. Memory Lanes is in the Seward neighborhood, and the exterior has a very retro feel:

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Inside, the bowling alley is huge- there are 30 lanes! The retro feel ends as soon as you walk inside and are greeted by black lights and music:

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#1 essential for bowling alleys: BRING YOUR SOCKS!

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Things were off to a great start, but there was a slight hiccup when we found a bone next to the table at our lane:

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This was hilarious disgusting. We debated telling the server about it, but we thought it would be too uncomfortable to say, “um, excuse me…there’s a bone under our table. Do you think you could get rid of it?”

Fortunately, it didn’t deter our enjoyment for too long since our pitchers of diet pepsi and iced tea soon arrived:

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A pizza was also included with our deal, and we had our choice of three toppings on the pizza. We went with green peppers, onions, and tomatoes:

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Two hours of bowling is a lot of bowling. We bowled 5 games – the last one with our left hands since our wrists hurt too much!

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Overall, Memory Lanes was a great time. The music and atmosphere was really fun, and it seemed like they have a lot of interesting events going on throughout the week (rock and roll bingo, live music, and Sunday night trivia – to name a few). I would definitely return here for another bowling excursion…or maybe even Rock and Roll Bingo!

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Spiced Chickpeas with Mixed Greens

When I made roasted tomato coconut soup last week, the recipe called for two tablespoons of tomato paste. Unfortunately, tomato paste comes in a 6oz jar. As a result, I’ve had 6 ounces (less 2 tablespoons) of tomato paste sitting in my fridge for the last few days. I also had about half of a 12oz bag of mixed greens, so I decided to use these two ingredients as the basis for a dish. Wanting to involve a protein, chickpeas seemed like a good fit.

On my roommate’s recommendation, I checked out a Spinach and Chickpeas recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Referencing Smitten Kitchen’s spices, I made up my own recipe. *full recipe below

Heat 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup water, and 6 ounces tomato paste (less 2 tablespoons) in a skillet:

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Stir to combine and add one can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed:

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Add a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each of paprika and garam masala, stir to combine:

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Add 6oz mixed greens (this is an approximation as I used about half of a 12oz bag):

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Continue to mix until the greens cook down:

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This entire recipe look less than 15 minutes to come together. I divided it into two tupperwares with some roasted potatoes to bring for lunch during the week:

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Ingredients
- 6oz can of tomato paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 6oz mixed greens
Method
Combine water, vinegar, and tomato paste in a skillet. Stir to combine.
Add garbanzo beans, paprika, and garam masala. Stir to combine.
Add mixed greens and cook, mixing constantly, until the greens wilt.
Serve and enjoy!

Magers and Quinn

Magers and Quinn Booksellers is a real gem. Right in the heart of Uptown Minneapolis on Hennepin between Lake and 31st, Magers and Quinn is the Twin Cities’ largest independent bookstore. Open until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weeknights, it’s always busy, always well-stocked, and always has several carts of sale books displayed on carts outside the front door. Inside, it’s a treasure trove.

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As soon as you walk into the front entryway, there’s an impressive collection of displays and shelves. It gets better though when you realize there’s an even larger back section:

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M&Q’s numerous awards are humbly stowed away in a corner:

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The atmosphere is one where you can browse through books in the store and not feel any pressure to buy or be on your way. On several occasions I’ve relaxed in the store, reading through cookbooks or browsing topics, and no employee has ever seemed to mind. Today, I was interested in browsing some food theory books:

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After skimming through Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, I decided to purchase a copy of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. The book is about the American food paradox: the most nutritionally focused our society becomes, the less healthy we are. I’m interested to read it and think I will learn a lot!

After my adventure at the bookstore, I was in need of a snack when I got home. I decided to make a protein shake with 1 scoop of chocolate Tera’s Whey protein powder, 5 strawberries, 1 cup of almond milk, and 6 ice cubes:

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Very refreshing! I like the flavor of this protein powder a lot, but I don’t think I could stomach it with just water.

The Herkimer

I tried The Herkimer in Uptown for the first time today.

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It’s right in the heart of Uptown on Lyndale between Lake and Lagoon. I got a Groupon for brunch here a couple months ago, and I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to use it:

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It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to sit outside. Everyone else seemed to feel the same way, and the outdoor tables were packed while the inside was pretty deserted. There was a cute dog at the table next to us:

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I will admit, my expectations for the food at the Herkimer were not too high. I figured it would be regular bar food – standard fare cooked in a way that wasn’t anything special. I was wrong! The food was a lot better than I expected, and there were several interesting items on the menu that looked delicious. I settled on a breakfast burrito (without sausage and without sour cream). The burrito came with cheese, eggs, onions, potatoes, black bean spread, and a side of guacamole:

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Very yummy! Two of my table mates got the veggie burger which was a homemade mix of quinoa, black beans, pico de gallo, and almond basil pesto. One person ordered the burger with a side salad and the other with sweet potato fries:

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I didn’t taste the burger myself, but it got very positive reviews. The other order at our table was an ALT sandwich (avocade, lettuce and tomato):

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This sandwich was also greatly enjoyed.

Overall, the Herkimer was a pleasant surprise – and it’s only a few blocks from home! I would definitely go back here.

Race Day!

Today was the big day of the half marathon! If you missed it, check out my earlier post about packet pick-up, and you can learn more about the Get in Gear race there. The race’s start time was 9:00am, so I set my alarm for 7:10, planning to leave the house between 8:00-8:10.

As soon as I woke up, I laid out the essentials:

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iPod arm band + headphones, garmin GPS watch, face sunscreen, and my beloved body glide. I also got out my ugly Christmas sweater:

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My former (and fabulous) roommate actually gave this to me second-hand to wear prior to running my first only marathon last June (I ran Grandma’s in Duluth). I wore it pre-race before checking my bag at Grandma’s, and it took on a sentimental value for me. It only seemed appropriate to wear it again today. 🙂

What to eat for breakfast was a little bit of a dilemma. I wasn’t that hungry when I first woke up, so I didn’t want anything too heavy. I decided to have the fig bars from the March Bestowed package along with some walnut butter and a banana:

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Another tough decision was what to wear for the run. The weather looked promising:

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So I settled on shorts and a t-shirt. Specifically, my Grandma’s finisher tee:

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I figured if I did a full, then I could do a half. That’s how it works, right?!

When I got to Minnehaha Park just after 8:30am, it was gorgeous weather and runners were streaming in from all directions:

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The area near the expo tents and bag check was crowded…

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…but not as crowded as the porta-potties!

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One thing I thought was pretty neat was a special area where people could lock up their bikes if they rode to the park:

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The race started promptly at 9am, and the 10k and half-marathon runners started together and ran the first 5 or so miles together. After that, the 10k runners split off to go back to the finish (which was also the start) while the half-marathoners continued. The run was primarily along West River Parkway next to the Mississippi River. One of my favorite parts of the race was when we crossed the river from Minneapolis to St Paul and got to look out on the Mississippi:

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Pretty much everything about the race went better than I expected. There were three main victories for me:

Victory 1) My goal was to finish within 2 hours. I ended well under!
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My official race time was 1:52:38! The timer above was about a minute over since I didn’t stop it until I got my medal and walked off the course. My average pace was 8:36, and I placed 14th in my age group (F20-24).

Victory 2) The second victory was a negative split! Negative splits are a hallmark of smart and successful races, but I can never seem to pull them off in anything besides short training runs (maybe I just get overly optimistic and run too hard at the start…). Anyway, this race marked my first significant negative split! I ran the first half of the race in about 57 minutes and the second half in about 55 – woohoo!

Victory 3) I’ve only run two official half-marathons. I’ve run that distance several times more as either just a long run or part of my marathon training plan, but this is only my second half-marathon race. The first time I ran a half-marathon was about 4 years ago, and it was at a time when my eating disorder was at a low point. I weighed about 20 pounds less than I do now, and I was running about 60-90 minutes every day. Since I was over-exercising so much, I didn’t even need to train for the half marathon and actually registered on a complete whim the day before. The memory of that half marathon is extremely tied up with symptomatic memories – binging the night before, not eating anything prior to the race, not fueling properly afterwards, binging the night afterwards, etc.

Despite knowing that I wasn’t fueling or running (or living!) in a healthy way at the time of my first half marathon, part of me was a little terrified that I would run a time a lot slower today. I felt that if I did run slower today than four years ago, then some negative thoughts would creep in, telling me that the slower time was due to weighing more. Lower weight equating faster speed is a common thought pattern in runners, and there’s an interesting Runner’s World article called ‘Running On Empty‘ precisely about how easy/common it is for runners to develop disordered eating habits in an effort to lose weight and run faster.

Which brings me to my third victory; I ran not one, not two, but THREE minutes faster in today’s half marathon than I did 4 years ago. I may have weighed 20 pounds less then, but today I am stronger and happier and healthier than I was, and seeing those facts reflect positively in my time was definitely the day’s greatest victory of all. 🙂

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Packet Pick Up

Spring is here! It is officially warm(ish) and beautiful outside. Now that everyone can feel good about the weather….

I’ve been on an egg spree for breakfast this week (see here and here and here). Today I returned to the yogurt+cereal morning fuel. What can I say? It sounded good! In the mix, plain non-fat yogurt, fiber one cereal, mixed nuts, dried apricots, and dried cherries:

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After work, I needed to pick up my bib number and chip for the Get in Gear. The Get in Gear is an annual spring race in Minneapolis. They offer several distances: 2k, 5k, 10k, and half-marathon. I’m running the half marathon and I’m very excited! Packet pick-up was at Minnehaha Park – the same location where the start/finish will be during the race.

As I got to the park, I realized that this is the location of Sea Salt.

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Sea Salt is a sea food restaurant – open only during the warmer months – that I’ve heard raves about since I moved here. There’s a similar fair-weather restaurant, the Tin Fish, by Lake Calhoun that I’ve also heard highly recommended. Even though this is the first real warm day, Sea Salt’s kitchen was fast and furious:

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The outside deck was completely packed, and I checked out the chalk-written menu behind the counter:

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Check out all of these sauces:

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I guess people really like sauce with their fish! The restaurant definitely piqued by interest, and I think it would be fun to come back here during the summer and get some fish tacos or something. Plus, I appreciate their sense of humor:

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Back to the packet pick-up…the Get in Gear is a HUGE race! It’s the largest 10k in Minnesota, and it’s one of the top 15 in the country. To get their number with their timing chip, runners had to find their bib number by looking up their name on these sheets:

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There were about a million sheets, but it was organized alphabetically and I went when there weren’t too many other runners, so I didn’t have trouble locating my name. I picked up my bib:

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BIG BONUS: my name was on the bib! I love having my name on things. 🙂 I also picked up my technical tee that all registered runners get:

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The tents for the expo were already set up although there wasn’t much action:

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I’m looking forward to an exciting race – check back soon for a post about the race itself!

 

Twins Game

I had a great run this morning! 4 miles in 34 minutes, so an 8:30 pace. I felt really good and excited for the half-marathon on Saturday!

After the run, I had another 10-grain cereal + egg combo for breakfast. This time, instead of adding pesto, I added some avocado at the end. I like this even better – it was delicious! I served with an apple on the side:

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I had a pretty busy day at work, but in the evening I had a fun excursion to a Minnesota Twins game!

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The Twins were playing the Texas Rangers. To be perfectly honest, I hardly watched the actual game. I did a lot of walking around with the people I was with and exploring Target Field. It is such a nice field! There are a lot of surprisingly good food options too. There is a LeeAnn Chin booth, a kosher hot dog stand, and – what I ended up getting – walleye! For some reason fish and chips sounded really good (trust me, that is not a meal I generally eat). It was very yummy – definitely a good decision to get it. 🙂

The seats we had were not amazing, but still decent. We were in section 133 facing home plate. This was our view:

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This section also had a covering overhead so we would have been protected if it had been really sunny or rainy. Luckily for us, neither of these weather conditions were occurring. When the sun went down it got a bit chilly, but fortunately I had several layers and didn’t get too cold.

Also at the game, I learned two things about my iPhone.

First, I learned about a free countdown app called Big Day Lite. You can program this app to count down the days until an event. Bonus perk: you can put a picture with the countdown.

Second, I learned how to take a screen shot on my iPhone (you hold down the home and power buttons at the same time). Am I the last person under the age of 45 to know that? Maybe…

Good thing I’m a fast learner, and I was able to combine both of these new bits of knowledge to set up a countdown on my phone for the number of days until I go to Italy to visit Noah!

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15 days until Rome! (and it’s actually only 14 by the time I am posting this) 🙂

Highland Grill

This morning I had eggs again for breakfast. Instead of making eggs plain though, I cooked them into some Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain cereal. I got the idea from my roommate who made savory oats a couple weeks ago. For this breakfast, I cooked 1/4 cup of 10-grain cereal with slightly less than 1 cup of water. After cooking for a couple minutes, I added in one egg, one mini-babybel cheese wedge, a roasted tomato, and 1 tablespoon of pesto. I served it with a sliced banana.

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This breakfast was very good and I will definitely make again. The savory cereal was very satisfying, and the eggs really thickened the whole dish.

For lunch, I met a couple friends at the Highland Grill in St. Paul – which seems to be a favorite eats spot for almost everyone I know in St. Paul. Highland Grill serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they have a nice combination of creative meals and comfort food dishes.

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The atmosphere inside is casual and comfy – as evidenced by the fact that all of their coffee mugs are unique and similar to something you might find in your own cupboard:

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Every day there are featured dishes. Today it included buckwheat pancakes, a fried chicken sandwich, cajun pork chop with risotto, and chili prawns:

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In addition to featured dishes, there is also a daily deal. Tuesday’s deal is half price on all bottles of wine. Obviously, too good a deal to pass up:

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After much deliberation (and by that I mean wondering if I should maybe order something ‘healthier’)*, I decided to order Peter’s burger. The burger came with sweet-mustard pickle relish, a fried egg, ketchup, grilled onions, and sourdough bread. I ordered it with sweet potato fries:
*see below for further explanation

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One of my lunch companions ordered the fried chicken sandwich special with a side salad:

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The other ordered buckwheat pancakes with a side of fruit:

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Everything was delicious! This is a great spot for any meal of the day.

Going back to my wondering if I should order a ‘healthier’ option…
Often when I go out to eat, I feel a slight sense of anxiety regarding the calories and fat in the meal. When I was struggling a lot with my eating disorder, I would often try to get out of eating meals I didn’t prepare for myself. Or, if I did eat out, I would try to stick with salads or things that didn’t include extra sauces or oils. I would stress out about butter or oil being added to bread or meat, and would try to alter my orders to make them as low-caloric as possible.

Now, I realize that eating out should be something enjoyable. Yes, a meal at a restaurant will almost always have more calories and fat than one that I prepare for myself at home, but I will also have the added enjoyment of dining with friends, testing out a new restaurant, and trying a meal that I would not ordinarily eat or prepare for myself.

When selecting what to order at a restaurant now, my primary goal is not to determine what will be the ‘healthiest’ but, rather, what sounds the best to me and what will be unique. I know that if I choose the ‘healthiest’ item for its calorie count and lack of added fats, I am not truly being healthy but am instead letting unhealthy rules and restrictions make decisions for me. When I was in recovery from my eating disorder, one of the most important things I learned was that health is about lifestyle – not about one meal or one day or one workout. Real health is understanding that it’s okay to have sweet potato fries and a burger once in a while, and it’s okay to enjoy that meal while dining with great friends and not feel guilty afterwards. Hallelujah, amen. 🙂

Eggs for Breakfast and Art

I’ve been eating more eggs for breakfast these days. I used to be a big bowl of cereal all the girl, but as part of my efforts to get in more protein I’ve been making a transition to eggs. I definitely still have a lot of yogurt/cereal/fruit/nut butter mornings, but eggs are in the steady rotation. I can’t really tell which kind of breakfast fills me up more, but I will continue my detective work and let you know if I have any breakthroughs. This morning’s breakfast followed a 4 mile run, and I was craving something warm, flavorful, and filling.

I cooked up two eggs with some of the leftover roasted garlic and tomatoes from this soup:

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Once the eggs were nearly cooked, I added in about a tablespoon of pesto. I plated the eggs with one slice of wheat toast and a sliced banana:

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yum – look how good this is:

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After this delicious breakfast I had a very busy day, not returning home until after art class. Instead of taking a watercolor class like I normally do, I’m trying drawing this session. I enjoyed the drawing class today, but I definitely think I’ll go back to watercolor for the next session – it feels more fun and free to me. During art class today we worked on an artichoke. Here is the original picture we had:

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We were primarily supposed to focus on replicating the shading and layers. Here is my version:

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Side by side:

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Overall, I think the exercise went okay, but I definitely felt like I couldn’t get quite enough texture into the leaves. I was using a pencil from the B series (softer lead), so the tip didn’t stay as sharp. Perhaps a harder pencil would have given a little more texture.