Charleston & Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

My sister, Emily,  lives in Charleston now! While we were there for the Charleston Marathon back in January we drank mimosas, ate giant cinnamon rolls the size of my head from Wild Flour Pastry , and ate dinner at this delicious and highly-hip Vietnamese restaurant called Xia Bao Biscuit . Also, the Butcher & Bee might have been my favorite lunch spot so far this year. Please do yourself a huge favor and check these places out the next time you are in Charleston! Obviously I was more concerned with taking pictures of food than people while in Charleston, hence the dearth of actual photos from the race or photos of my sister, who is actually quite beautiful.

cinnamon roll

cinnamon roll pictured on a normal-sized dinner plate

I thought you should know my goal for 2015 is to blog more, as well as  post my eats on Instagram more often. I have been missing this space lately. This is a lofty goal because I am at heart a slow-it-down, turn- off -technology type of person on the evenings and weekends due to  sitting at a desk all day at work.  The best way for me personally to manage stress levels and happiness is UNLPUG,  watch the fish tank for a while,  or sit outside and take in nature and relax .  Speaking of fish tanks, this is the newest 90 gallon addition that Larsen setup this weekend. We will add some big fish in a few weeks.

aquarium

 

But back to the  food! This is a  recipe I shared at a recipe-swapping/Thirty-One party recently . I call these pumpkin dinner rolls. I pair them with salty country ham or sausage, but you can eat them plain,with butter, honey or jam too for any Holiday occasion or just for a Sunday morning brunch.

pumpkin rolls

Let’s clear several bread-making myths out of the way right now.

Bread making does not have to be scary, difficult or time-consuming. All you need to do is make sure your yeast is alive and working properly and utilize a mixer with a dough hook.  The dough hook has been the only reason I started making bread because , honestly, you don’t want to see me in the kitchen with just flour and a ball of dough . It’s scary…-little poofs of flour end up in the weirdest places in my house. Sometimes I even leave flour hand prints on my butt and go to the grocery store like that…

So, for me the dough hook is  a magical and essential piece of equipment because it takes out the whole kneading-by-hand process.

I hope you enjoy these rolls and just so you know, I consider these a treat, not a daily part of healthy diet.

I am obviously an advocate for eating as much whole, unprocessed food as possible about 90% of the time . White flour and sugar are definitely treats in my book.

As I mentioned before, my new year’s resolution is to post more here as well as post healthy daily eats over on my instagram page: LYDIA2BLUEEGGS

 

Toodles!
Lydia

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 22 minutes
Total time 3 hours, 22 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Appetizer, Bread, Side Dish
Misc Freezable, Serve Hot
Buttery pumpkin rolls for your next dinner party!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 16oz canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cups brown or turbinado sugar
  • 1 packet fast-rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5.5 cups bread flour

Note

You can  test your yeast by sprinkling a bit into warm water (approx 110 degrees). Leave it for about 10 minutes and come back. If the yeast has not bloomed, you know the yeast is either bad or your water is too hot or cold. If it has bloomed and expanded, you should be good to go to proceed with your recipe.

Remember, hot liquid will kill yeast, so do test the temperature of your liquid if you can. Around 110 degrees is perfect. If you have no thermometer, the liquid should just be warm to the touch on your wrist, not hot.

Directions

Step 1
Combine warm milk(warmed to temp advised on yeast packet of 110 degrees), yeast, pumpkin, flour, 1 egg, sugar and salt in bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. Quickly mix all ingredients just to combine with a wooden spoon.
Step 2
Knead the mixture with the dough hook on medium speed for at least 5-7 minutes. Keep in mind this will be a somewhat sticky dough. It will still look stickier than normal bread roll dough.
Step 3
Turn out mixture to a clean, greased metal bowl . Cover with plastic wrap tightly, and store in a warm place for 1.5 hours.
Step 4
The dough should be at least double in size at this point as pictured. Grease two metal pie pans. Punch the dough down and roll 15 balls with your hands, placing each ball of dough touching or nearly touching side by side in the pans. Cover for 1.5 more hours.They should rise and all be smashed together.
Step 5
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake your rolls about 22 minutes. Drizzle with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter a few minutes after baking.
Step 6
Serve sliced with country ham or sausage for sandwiches.

 

 

 

Sweet Sweet Summertime

I have to say I am thrilled to see my blog is still in existence. I had serious doubts.

I know I dropped off the face of the Earth for 5 months a while . I am not going to apologize anymore because sh* happens. You  forgive me, right?

Why don’t I start when I left off, sometime in March before I started studying for another dreadful exam and had no life for 3 months?

We brought home a package of bees and embarked on a beekeeping adventure with the bee boxes I had bought Larsen for Christmas.   Their population has exploded so much that we have added a 4th box to their hive, which will be slowly filled with honey over the next several months. I have noticed folks are quite curious about them.  Most commonly, people ask how we will actually extract the honey. That, my friends, is done with what is called an extractor, which we will be purchasing shortly. Basically,  after you uncap the wax off of the frame filled with delicious honey (which is covered in wax to keep the honey in), the extractor will spin  the frame to remove the honey. You then filter the honey and jar it. You can actually use every part of the hive in some way, including wax, propolos, honey and royal jelly. Pretty neat!

bees

The garden has been in full swing since April , but sadly the tomatoes have not fared well again due to the rain and bugs and disease. Many of them have black bottoms. I am so disappointed in our tomatoes this year. However as you can see from the photo below, the marigolds, jade green beans , yellow squash and carrots have done amazingly well!

veggies summer 2014

 

On the cooking front,  grilling out fish and veggies has been our summer meal of choice . I thought I would share a recipe I developed with grass fed beef and fresh herbs and cucumbers from the garden. See below for the recipe! It is super fast, fresh, healthy and the perfect meal to cap off a dreadfully hot day because no oven is required.

I am happily back to running, coaching and working out hard, incorporating light weight training at home and power yoga into my week too. It’s great to be back with the crew! Rock N’ Roll Marathon is right around the corner in November, then I will be training for the Charleston Marathon (if I can be convinced to run another full marathon, cough cough), then Cooper River Bridge Run. We have a lot of travel planned for the first half of next year, so  I just hope I can fit everything I want to do in. But travel is another post in itself!

For cross-training, here are 2 of my favorite online workouts so far for the experienced yogini or exerciser, both intermediate/advanced levels. (Please do not try these workouts if you are not familiar with proper weight training form or yoga.) These will kick your butt. Be forewarned. But nothing in life is worth having if you didn’t sweat a little for it, right?

YOGA:

ALI KAMENOVA INTERVAL POWER YOGA-40 MIN

WEIGHT TRAINING(need 5 or 10  pound dumbells):

GYM RA ADVANCED DUMBELL/CARDIO WORKOUT

We are officially boaters now, which was completely unplanned thanks to my wonderful grandfather.  I cannot wait to take friends out on  the boat,  fish, and explore the rivers. We had to drive all the way to Louisiana to get the boat from Pa and celebrate his 87 th birthday with the family for a short but sweet long weekend in Cajun-country.  Much to my  vegetarian friends’ dismay(sorry I am really not sorry) I ate a huge fried oyster po’boy, Zapp’s potato chips, cracklins(which is double fried pork fat dusted with a delicious seasoning), boudin, homemade crawfish etoufee, duck, turtle soup, and coconut pie in  matter of 48 hours. Then we drove home for 16 hours listening to a book on tape . I didn’t want to look at meat for 2 days after that.  Totally Worth It.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pa fishing

Pa and all the ladies in the family!

Pa and all the ladies in the family!

Life is good. Summertime is sweet.

And I missed you guys!

With Love,

Lydia

Mediterranean Burgers with Cucumber Salad

Serves 6-8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Occasion Barbecue
This summertime deconstructed burger is a perfectly refreshing meal topped with a light cucumber salad.

Ingredients

  • 2lb grass fed beef
  • 1/2 cup grated onion and juices
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 cucumbers (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • .5 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 6-8 wedges Naan bread or pita bread
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons pepper

Note

You can buy Naan bread at Whole Foods or make your own! Grass fed beef can be found at your local farmer's markets and specialty grocers.

Directions

Step 1
Combine the grass fed beef, grated onion, cumin and coriander in a large bowl. Add 1 t salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Step 2
Shape beef into patties and grill over medium-high heat until just cooked through and juices run clear. Remember that grass fed beef cooks significantly faster than store-bought beef. Cover with foil and set aside once they are cooked.
Step 3
Combine the yogurt, mayo, olive oil, fresh herbs and cucbmbers in a medium bowl and chill for 20-30 minute.
Step 4
Serve the burgers on top of warm Naan bread topped with a huge helping of cucumber salad.

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Cool Weather Meal

I ran a marathon a few days ago, and last night  I honestly didn’t even want to stand up to walk to the bathroom, let alone cook. Can someone bring me a bedpan?

I enjoy the aches and groans of my muscles reminding me I ran freakin’ 26.2 miles. Truth be told Saturday November 3rd was an amazing day, the weather was perfect, and I had some gas left in the tank at the finish and great cheerleaders along the course. I had the pleasure of running with some wonderful ladies from C.R.E.W. for part of the race, and they kept me at a steady pace until I jetted off by myself for the last mile!

Marathons. Are. Awesome.

The training is the hard part.

But back to those the -last-thing-I want-to-do-is-cook nights like last night, coincidentally.

Lentil Dal is my absolute favorite recipe for those kind of nights because it is cheap, fast, delicious,  healthy, and vegetarian(though I am sure you could throw in some bacon).

Lentils are not especially exciting, I know.  Until a few years ago I cast a wary on on any menu item involving lentils mostly because I had never been exposed to them much. We were not Indian -food eaters in my family. Yet, last year something in me changed when I realized an ugly, dried up little legume can be transformed into soups and stews and patties and make you feel happy when you eat it with a thick slice of warm bread by the fireplace and a good book.

Dal can be made in so may different ways, but this one is incredibly light and fresh  and  not at all  heavy thanks to the lime juice and coconut milk.

Lentils are a protein-packed legume, fat-free, and each variety has a different taste and cooking time. My personal favorite lentil is the red one, which you can find at nicer grocery stores, and health-food stores. Red lentils cook lightning fast, and become soft and mushy when cooked, whereas the typical brown lentil you see at the grocery store has a longer cooking time and keeps it shape more when cooked. I think you could feasibly use any type for this recipe, but red would be the best.

Turmeric , which I add to my dal, is  a powerful healing spice. It  contains phytochemicals which have been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells and lessen arthritis symptoms .

Lentils +turmeric+coconut milk+rice+chilly night+sore muscles+laziness=heaven.

This will  warm your body and soul. Enjoy.

Creamy Lentil Dal

Serves 12
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This creamy lentil dal with coconut milk and lime juice will warm your body and soul on a cold night .

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • juice of 2 small limes or 1 large lime
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 6-8 cups jasmine rice (cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)
  • 1.5 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions

Step 1
First cook your jasmine rice according to package direcetions, and set aside.
Step 2
Meanwhile, cook your lentils in 3 cups of water and 3 cups stock.Bring to a boil, reduce, heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Step 3
In another pan, saute your onion in coconut oil 5-10 minutes until browned. Toss in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
Step 4
Stir in all the spices to onion mixture until well combined. Stir in lentils and a bit of stock if needed. Then add in coconut milk.
Step 5
Warm on medium to low heat and stir until well combined. Take off the heat and stir in lime juice.
Add more stock to taster depending how thick or thin you would like it.
Step 6
Serve over jasmine rice with a slice of lime.

 

 

 

What I Am Loving Lately

Can we just pretend it is April 1st again, please? Because somehow the entire month has passed by so quickly that I have yet to post about Easter eats, my birthday eats, the actual Boston Marathon, and all that other stuff that has happened in between. Somehow in all that hoopla I forgot my best friend’s birthday, made a batch of  cookies that never rose, then made a batch of super-flat muffins, and had a few nice runs. It all balances out I guess, the good and the bad.

This is a “What I am Loving Lately Post” because there is  a great deal to love about April, namely..

1) Working in the garden and planting veggies before it becomes too ding-dang hot. It is  incredible to watch a seedling transform into a monster tomato plant in just 6 weeks. I eagerly watch them everyday, how they change and grow, and those things literally grew an inch a day for while. Is this how raising a human baby feels, with less crying and poo?

We grow everything organically and currently grow 4 types of tomatoes, 4 types of squash, onions, shallots, eggplant, bellpeppers, lemons, key limes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, and a host of herbs. Marigolds planted around the perimeter keep off pests!

 

 

2) This adorable reusable bag to adorn yourself with at  the farmer’s market . This is waaaay cooler than anything you have seen. Promise! Inside the front pocket you will find 2 re-usable, matching grocery bags.

 

Then, look inside and , BAM, you have a whole other galaxy, the cooler. But that’s not all. ANOTHER adorable clip-on fabric wallet that holds…you guessed it…another re-usable bag. This is starting to sound like an infomercial.

 

Now, you won’t ever be  the dodo that forgets your reusable bag at the farmer’s market, has to endure hippies staring at you in disbelief as you grab yet another plastic bag and sheepishly carry them all to your car hoping no one notices..oh and then one breaks and you have to frantically collect rogue tomatoes rolling between people’s feet..not that that happened to me or anything.

3) This cookbook from Back in The Day Bakery.

It is FAR from healthy, so very far, sigh,  ….but I plan on tweaking the recipes so you can enjoy them without concern that you just gained a pound from that cookie. Sweets are not healthy, but you CAN include nutritious ingredients rather than eat a nutritionally-empty calorie bomb as an occasional treat.

I ran home to make the lemon loaf from the book, and mine below turned out pretty incredible. So. good. people.

 

 

4) Local Strawberries, used in this cake I made for Easter.  Yes, friends,  two cakes in one post, because there has been more cake eating than usual this  month! Back to local strawberries, which  are tiny, super-sweet, and bear little resemblance to those gargantuan ones at the grocery store. Give them a try! You can use them in so many healthy ways, such as smoothies, yogurt parfaits, just for snacking, and of course for baking!

I used Southern Living’s Strawberry Mousse Cake recipe, but changed the outside frosting recipe to include lemon zest and juice.

5)  New running kicks, Asics GelNeo 33. In case you did not know, I work in the running business, so , I will most likely have some shoe reviews here. I will tell you the honest truth ,too if I do not like them.

 

I have to say I love these. I have only ever run in the Asics Kayanos, but lately those have felt heavy. These feel lighter, and they are grey, which means they will show less dirt.  I need a bit of support for my feet, so these work perfectly and they are pretty eye-catching.

 

Just so you know, I was not paid to review anything in this post. These are just some of my faves from April that I felt I should share.

Coming up tomorrow, a healthy and filling farmer’s market -fresh pasta salad.

Happy Dance

I am doing my happy dance right now. It is probably a good thing you cannot see this. I am alone,  new clothes strewn about, doing a small fashion show to the sound of sirens and horns 30 floors below me. It’ s not what you think.

Let me give you a hint about where I am:

Clam Chowder, Hopkinton, Elite Runners, Baseball……………

 

I can check off the beautiful Boston, Massachusetts to my ever-growing travel bucket list and the Boston Marathon, no less. I am in a hotel room at the Marriott Copley Place in downtown Boston for the next 5 days.

My boss asked me to go to Boston to “work”  for a day with Adidas to roll out a new running program, and Adidas  just so happens to sponsor this incredible event, this little thing called the Boston Marathon. It is tough leaving the dogs and chickens and man alone for 5 days . Tough for him, that is. I hope he comes out of it alive. He is probably eating quesadillas and beer and camping on Little Tybee right now with the dogs, barefoot, dirty, and in heaven, so I am not too worried.

 

I don’t receive the royal treatment often, so when I arrived at my hotel and shortly after received a welcome package, I was completely blown away by what Adidas provided to me to wear for the next 5 days.

Check out the booty!

 

 

 

I was speechless when I realized just how many things they so graciously provided to me. I did  not need to pack any clothes. That is certain. I probably should have flown naked to account for the extra clothes I will be carrying home.

You will see me wearing these Boston Athletic Association Jackets proudly in 90 degree weather when I set foot in Savannah again. Why not? It is an unseasonably warm spring, but I will wear them nonetheless!

Actually, while that package was a highlight of my day, the meal we ate for lunch came in close second.

We strolled over to Stephanie’s on Newbury for some grub.

The clam chowder was excellent, as was the calamari and Thai chicken salad. Yes, I had all three things. Why do you ask?  This girl can EAT.

                                                                                       (please excuse the terrible restaurant lighting)

 

Back to the clams and squid. HOW do people afford to live in this city or New York for that matter? A normal lunch here is double what it is in Savannah. My boss picked up the tab and I am grateful for that, but dang, city life is expensive. And loud.

I can see the infamous Boston traffic now from the 30th floor and hear it. Bostonians are not afraid of their horns.

 

I will report back as soon as I hear a real Boston accent, stuff my face with more fresh seafood, and galavant around town in 3-4 items of clothing that all say Boston Athletic Association on them. You can’t miss me.

I may throw a workout in there at some point, but my  main concern right now is just wearing the new clothes, not working out in them. Wait, what?  Who am I?

 

An Extra-UN-ordinary Morning

I had the most virtuous intentions when concocting this recipe. Healthy breakfast  foods on my mind.

Organic spinach, fresh local tomatoes, fresh chives and thyme from the garden, whole wheat flour. You get my drift? HEALTHY, PEOPLE.

Then, it happened.

I smelled bacon. Glorious, thick cut bacon the man had made this morning. All the virtuous qualities of the recipe forming in my head went out the window. I hid a half slice of bacon under the tomato. No harm done.

You will thank me later, if you aren’t a vegetarian. If you are, well, that sucks for you. Just kidding! Leave the bacon out or better yet, replace with Tof-acon. Do they make that? If not, I am inventing it. stat.

 

 

 

 

 

This breakfast was inspired by a run & breakfast post-run  at Clary’s Restaurant. This was not any run, mind you.

I went on a run through scenic downtown Savannah with a few friends AND a  writer from Runner’s World: Ted Spiker.

No big deal.

He was in town to do a story on running & post-run food:my two favorite things. Duh!

 

Containing my excitement was excruciatingly painful, so I simply wore bunny ears.

I had to welcome him to Savannah in true funky-and-slightly weird Savannah style. We are not Charleston you know. Thanks, VTB, running-costume extraordinaire from Victoria Runs for letting me borrow the tutu and the bunny ears from another runner,Jean. Easter is next weekend, so wearing bunny ears through downtown Savannah on a Friday at 8 a.m. is totally acceptable. I wish I had a photo, but in all the excitement, I forgot to take any. I  must get better at this blogging thing. Sorry, friends.

Here is the recipe already. After that grease -bomb of a breakfast at Clary’s I needed to inject some whole foods into my day somewhere. Let it be known I do not eat bacon or butter often, but, wow, I was in need of both after a hard week of workouts. More on that to come!

 

Herbed Biscuit BLT’s

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 T baking powder

2 T Dijon mustard

5 T butter

1/2 C light sour cream

1 C cheddar cheese

1/4 C chopped chives or green onions

2 T chopped, fresh thyme

 

Servings: Makes 9, 2 inch by 2 inch square bisuits.

 

Combine the  flour, salt, and baking powder, and whisk until combined.

Cut In Your Butter

Chop up very cold butter into cubes or slices and using a pastry cutter, cut into the flour mixture. Alternatively you can use a fork or very cold hands to break it up into pea-sized pieces. They key is to keep it cold.

In another bowl, combine  the eggs, sour cream, Dijon mustard, and cheese.

Pour into the dry  ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Add chopped chives, thyme and grated cheese. Mix until it forms a crumbly wet mixture.

Crumbly, Cheesy Dough

Shape the mixture into a rectangle on floured wax paper  approx 3/4inch thick.  Work quickly and keep it cold! Slice into squares or any shape you like.

Bake to golden perfection 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees on parchment paper or greased pan until edges start to brown.

By the way, the Runner’s World article does not come out until the Fall, but , by golly you will know about it when it does.

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Lydia’s Outdoor Workout

Cardio of your choice nice and easy 30 minutes minimum today.

If you did not do cardio, then warmup with 3 min of jumping jacks & dynamic stretching for shoulders . If you have an interval timer set it to 5 rounds of 1 minute of work, 20 secs rest However, watching the clock is fine too!

DURATION:15-20 MINUTES

plank 1 min

20 s rest

right side plank 1 min

20 s rest

left side plank 1 min

20 s rest

situps1  min

20 s rest

reverse crunches 1 min

2-3 minutes Rest Interval (RI)

Repeat again.

 

I must rest up for Saturday’s long run! If you do long runs on Saturday, are you able to work legs Fridays?  I find the most effective way to prevent being too sore on run days  is to do legs after my runs.