Category Archives: Zelda

What I Do When I’m Not Training

… because swimming, biking, and running have taken over my life.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  But let’s be real:  The running, triathloning, and healthy living communities constantly surround me.  After all, I go to practice and then head to work and help others discover this lifestyle too.  With that being said, here’s how I spend my time when I’m not working or working out.

When I’m not training …

… I’m drinking coffee.

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I am not a verb!

Please don’t tell me this surprises you.  Early-morning wake-up calls demand pre-workout java, and there’s no way I can ride the subsequent endorphin high all day.  However, I have discovered I can make it to 3:30 p.m. or so before crashing. (Which also means if there are evening plans on the agenda, then I need my second cup around this time.)

… I’m cooking and meal-prepping.  Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Whenever I have 30-45 minutes at home, it’s likely broccoli, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and/or sweet potatoes are roasting.

… I’m watching Downton Abbey and/or Parks and Recreation.

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Seriously two of the best TV shows ever.  Speaking of, happy Galentine’s Day!

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… I’m hanging out with coworkers, a.k.a. work friends.

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Whether it’s watching them race, grabbing drinks on the weekend, or simply supporting their non-JRab endeavors, I’m so grateful to call them friends.

And eventually, I will write one of those “day in the life” posts.

How do you balance fitness with other activities?  What do you do when you’re not working out?

National Dog Day, Training Updates, and a Bout of Nostalgia

Hello!  Woah, I totally didn’t mean to take a five-day hiatus, but it feels like I’m still catching up from my weekend in New Hampshire.  Here are some highlights from the past few days.

Celebrating National Dog Day

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Unofficial blogger rules question whether I celebrate since I didn’t Instagram a picture of Zelda–ha!

Setting a new bike personal distance record (PDR)

Early Sunday morning, a teammate and I rode across the George Washington Bridge, explored New Jersey, and logged 60 miles.  For the serious cyclists and long-course triathletes, this distance won’t seem impressive, but it’s a PDR.  And we’re already planning to break it this upcoming weekend with another multi-hour outing.  In related news, I’m now taking road saddle suggestions.  And starting my tri bike research.

Contemplating a long (for me) race

Speaking of going long, I need to start doing some double-digit runs.  Even though there’s a training philosophy that says you should go fast before you go far, it’s important for athletes to develop both fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers. (Read more here.) All of my Full Throttle Endurance run training has worked toward building speed (our workouts cap at five or six miles), and I haven’t logged longer runs this season.  In fast, my farthest one was with Jen back in February.  And sure, I could go long for fun, but I know myself well enough that a tangible goal (read: race) would hold me accountable.  Enter the 3rd Annual Fall Foliage Half-Marathon.

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Yes, I am considering a half marathon.  Considering.

Starting the final training cycle

Yep, the last eight-week training session kicked off this week, and it’s been bittersweet so far.  I’ve had so much fun this season—training, racing, and hanging out with my teammates—and part of me doesn’t want it to end.  But on the way to practice yesterday, it hit me:  I’ve been swimming, biking, and running for eight months.  Eight months.  Let’s just say some downtime (read: unstructured workouts) will be welcomed.

Feeling nostalgic

College students across the country are heading back to campus, and my alma mater hosted its first-year orientation this past weekend.

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Photo has reached 113 likes, FYI.

This is for real.  There are no words.

Moving on, I met a teammate and newly crowned Ironman for lunch last week. (He’s the one who completed Lake Placid.) Of course we talked triathlon, but we also discussed writing (because he finally launched his blog)—blogging for a digital space, getting into a writing routine, etc.  It’s been a while since I’ve talked about writing, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.  And that in turn made me miss the critical classroom discussions, which in turn made me think about college … you see where this is going, right?

When’s the last time you felt nostalgic?

Home For The 4th (and 5th) of July

Hiya, friends!  I hope your long holiday weekend is going great so far!  On Wednesday, I hopped on a flight home to Syracuse, and I’ve been fully enjoying Central New York.

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A little different than New York City, right?

My first stop after the airport was Wegmans.  Obviously.

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I have yet to find sushi that even comes close to this in NYC.

While home, I needed to complete a tempo run, so I signed up for my hometown’s 4th of July 5-K.

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I debated whether or not I should write a race recap, but honestly, there isn’t too much to say.  I did a quick warm-up mile on the high school track, and excluding two big hills at mile one and two-ish where my pace creeped up to 8:1X, I hit and held my tempo pace.  Official finishing time was 23:36 (7:36), which I’ll take for not “racing.”  Shortly after, I took Zelda for a “recovery jog.”

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Good news—the Mizuno Wave Sayonaras can withstand both road racing and greyhound walking!

Anyway, later that afternoon, my entire family—aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents—came over for 4th of July festivities.

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My uncle’s girlfriend’s mother made this patriotic fruit salad, and I had to try really, really hard not to put away the entire spread.  The fruit was delicious, but it was the dip that proved to be my demise: fluff and cream cheese.  Yum!

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Other shenanigans ensued.

And yesterday, I completed a five-mile recovery run before hitting the pool.  I mean LAKE!

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Words cannot begin to describe how much I missed open-water swimming here.

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My 20-minute “workout” consisted of a 10-minute warm up and 10-minutes of intervals.  I swam steady to a predetermined point, then swam hard back, and repeated this cycle.  My mom and dad spotted me, and this was the first time since last year they’ve seen me swim, bike, or run—and they were floored.  They said I looked like a completely different swimmer.  Woohoo for progress!

The rest of my day consisted of napping outside and trying not to get sunburned.

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My extended family eventually visited for round two of festivities.  No pictures, but I will say we polished off a bottle of limoncello and citrus-flavored vodka.

How did you celebrate the 4th of July?

Zelda’s on Slowtwitch!

Hi there, friends!  How’s your Thursday going so far?  Thanks a bunch for your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post.  Riding and becoming comfortable in aero will take time—but patience isn’t exactly my virtue (ha!), so we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, Zelda wanted to pop in and say hi.  She hasn’t been on the blog recently and was feeling neglected.

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She also told me to share a link to a story.

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Yep, that’s Zelda on the Slowtwitch.com homepage.  She even got a shout out in the Q-and-A itself, so check it out!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Good morning!  I’m off to work shortly, but I wanted to pop in quickly and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day—from Zelda.

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She wasn’t exactly feeling the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night.  But she got her act together and sent me a cute care package, which is so kind of her because this is usually how I feel about today.

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Also, I joke that races are the only things I want to commit to right now—ha! (Speaking of, I solidified my travel plans for Miami last night—South Beach, I’m coming for you!) Anyway, Zelda spoiled me.  Have you ever seen a greyhound card?

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Neither have I.

How about chocolate?  Dark chocolate to be specific.  Or a greyhound beanie?  This is too cute!

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And just so this post isn’t all about V-Day, I had the best brick workout to-date yesterday.  After a 75-minute indoor spinning class with my Full Throttle Endurance teammates, we quickly swapped our cycling shoes for sneakers and headed to the indoor track to run off the bike.  Andrew said going forward, we’ll always run after these Wednesday cycling classes, but we shouldn’t push the pace today; the goal was to slowly get acclimated (acclimated being relative, of course) to the jello-to-lead leg feeling.

For the first two miles, I ran with one of my pace group teammates, and we clocked 8:0X miles.  I don’t know whether I should credit wearing my new Sauconys, following the “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker” approach, or just becoming more triathlon fit in general, but this pace felt manageable.  Very manageable.

As we finished mile two, we caught up to two guys from a faster pace group.  Technically, they should’ve been out in front, so we dropped our pace to 8:20-8:40 and finished the final two miles with them.  Sure, I experienced some rough patches mentally—do you really think you can hold this pace for four miles?—and I have to credit my teammates with pulling me through.  For the final two laps, the guys sped up (probably to 7:30-7:40), and I told my female teammate, “Let them go.”  That didn’t go over well; she responded, “No way!  We’re going with them!”  So we matched their pace for three laps (they started before us, so we had another 400m to go when they were done) and finished strong.  The final lap was tough, but I willed my body to respond, and plus, I didn’t want to let my teammate down.  Honestly, I questioned whether I had enough gas in the tank for this pace, but I did.  Granted it hurt, but in a good way—the kind of pain that means you’re working.  Overall, I was so amped with how this brick turned out; I would literally smile to myself at random points yesterday just thinking about it.

Arguably more exciting than yesterday’s brick, I think my teammates view me differently now.  Not that they didn’t like or take me seriously before, but I’ve known everyone for about a month now, and they’re getting to know me better too.  Not to mention completing these tough, early morning workouts bonds people.  Plus, in the case of my running pace group teammates especially, they feel comfortable enough pushing me—or, in the words of Andrew, refusing to let me “punk out” when the workouts get tough.

Do you like working out solo or with a team/teammates/friends?  When your workouts get tough, how do you push yourself to finish?

Happy 2013!

Hi, friends!  Happy New Year!  Did you have fun celebrating last night?  We went to my aunt and uncle’s house for appetizers and soups.

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So much food!  We hung out for a few hours before coming home to pop champagne with our immediate family.

Workout – Running

Did you do a resolution run (or workout) today?  I slept in and headed outside around 9 a.m. for snowy 45 minutes.  Nothing too exciting to report—expect some unplanned speedwork when a dog started chasing me!  Luckily, it was a small doggie that promptly returned to its owner when called.  Whew!

Breakfast

Since we were out of spinach this morning (the horror!), I added chopped red pepper to my egg-white sandwich.

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Plus some Sriracha,.  My mom and I had some errands to run, so I also ate a sliced pear with PB.

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Random, but delicious.

Our first two stops this afternoon included a visit to my grandparents’ house to pick up a sewing machine and a trip to Barnes and Noble so I could get a book for the train ride back to New York City.  Before I found a copy of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I stumbled upon this display.

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And if being ambushed by Downton Abbey spinoffs weren’t enough, the section next to it included a ton of triathlon books.  Well played, B&N.  I almost bought Race Weight:  How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald, but I didn’t want to carry another book home.  Don’t worry—I added it to my Amazon.com shopping cart.

Next up, we went to Wegmans, aka the happiest place on earth.

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Although I’ve become a fan of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Wegmans will always be my favorite.

Lunch

A trip to Wegmans meant my standard sushi and soup for lunch.

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Citrus tofu roll and rotisserie chicken noodle soup for the win!

While at Wegmans, we also picked up a new toy for Zelda.  Besides some chew sticks and cookies from the Union Square Holiday Market, she didn’t get any real Christmas presents; Zelda tends to destroy new toys in minutes, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep buying her stuff she rips apart.  However, this squirrel’s package said it would be “long lasting,” so we figured what the heck.

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Zelda’s been playing with the squirrel for 30 minutes now, and it’s still intact!

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Typical!

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What did you do for NYE?  How did you spend your first day of 2013?

Thanksgiving Preparations and a Walk with Zelda

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, friends!  If your Turkey Day celebrations involve cooking, baking, or traveling, I hope you have a delicious and safe journey.

With “only 17” people coming tomorrow, we have plenty to do!

I need to start cleaning and organizing, so it’s a quick post today!

Dinner

Yesterday involved a lot of food prep, so it was a takeout kind of night.  Hello, Chinese!

I ordered hot and spicy baby shrimp—mmm.  I would definitely get it again.  Prior to last night, I don’t even remember the last time I had Chinese, so I’m sure that added to its tastiness.

I had to Instagram my fortune cookie, too.

Workout – Running

I took a rest day Monday (two days before a race, I always take a day off), and I set out this morning for an easy, 20-minute shakeout run.  The cold weather made it quite difficult to warm up—thanks a lot, 35 degrees—so I’ll have to keep that in mind during tomorrow’s turkey trot.

Breakfast

After my run, I made a spinach and egg-white open-faced breakfast sandwich.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been having a hard time cooking food in a pan; between yesterday’s “pancake” and today’s “omelet,” it’s struggle city big time.

As I ate my breakfast, a certain greyhound refused to leave my side.

Someone wanted a w-a-l-k. (Zelda recognizes the word “walk,” so we have to spell it out or simply abbreviate it to “w.”) How could I say no to that face?  The cold weather called for a coat—for both of us.

For greyhounds, the general rule of thumb states whenever you wear a jacket, they need one, too.  Anyway, we drove into town and set off!

Zelda loves stalking squirrels, which is funny because as a former racer, she had to chase a fake rabbit around the track.  She wasn’t a great competitor—she “retired early”—but I’m sure if she had to chase squirrels she would be a champion.  But then she’d probably still be racing and not living here.

Did you have any pets growing up?  How about now?  Are you a cat or dog person?

What Day Is It?

After my “special talents” post, you knew this was coming.

It’s October 3.

Dinner

Last night’s meal was one of my favorites—spicy shrimp with cilantro and lime.

Jasmine rice upped the ante.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve had rice—let alone a starch with dinner—so it was a tasty treat.

Plus roasted broccoli and mushrooms.

Workout – Running

This morning’s 50-minute run was relatively uneventful, except for the surprising warm weather—the thermometer read 60 degrees.  In October.  In Central New York.  Crazy! (Just for reference, we’ve had snow on Halloween; this heat wave is unprecedented.) Needless to say, a grey t-shirt was a poor apparel choice.  Oops.  Anyway, after my run, I completed some upper- and lower-body work including squats and bicep curls.

Breakfast

A warm workout called for a cool morning meal—protein smoothie for the win!

Into the blender went one frozen banana, spinach, frozen blueberries, almond milk, and one scoop of Jay Robb protein powder.  In case one Jay Robb-based item wasn’t enough, I also ate a slice of protein-packed pumpkin bread.

To celebrate Oct. 3, my mom and I went to Fleet Feet. (Not that I need a reason to celebrate Oct. 3 or go to Fleet Feet; let’s be real.) Say hello to runner heaven.

She wanted walking sneakers, and I realized I’ve had my Asics Gel-Cumulus 14’s for about six months.

[Back when they were brand-spankin’ new.]

These sneaks have seen a ton of races.  I bought them before the Seneca7, and I’ve worn them for the Nate Race, 4th of July 10-miler, Boilermaker 15-K, Fleet Feet’s Runapoolza, and the Tromptown Run, my first half-marathon.  Not to mention three triathlons—Cazenovia, Skinnyman, and DeRuyter–and a slew of college races Before Fitness and Frozen Grapes (BFFG).  They’ve seen a lot of pavement (and a lot of Central New York) and logged a lot of miles, so it was time for a new pair.

In total, I tried on four options (Asics, New Balance, Nike, and Mizuno), and these New Balance 870V2’s were the front-runners for a while.

Ultimately, though, I went with the Mizuno Wave Elixirs.

They fit my feet perfectly, and they’re lighter and more aerodynamic than my old Asics.

Lunch

With a boatload of roasted veggies leftover from last night’s dinner, a huge salad was in order.

Beneath the veggie mound, there’s spinach, apple slices, and blackened tofu.  Yum!

Not going to lie, I’m going to take my new sneaks out for short jog in a bit.  As soon as I started lacing them up, Zelda thought she was getting a w-a-l-k.

Zelda’s pretty pleased with herself today:  Runner’s World named greyhounds as one of the best dogs for “brisk shorter runs” and “going fast.”

I could probably PR at my next 5-K if Zelda ran with me; when we go for “walks,” she pulls me along!  What brand of sneakers do you wear?  Do you have a different pair for running, other forms of cardio, and strength training?  How many pairs of sneakers do you own?  Do you ever go running with your dog?

Healthy Pad Thai

Hiya, people!  First, thank you so much for your supportive comments on my 4th Annual DeRuyter Lake Triathlon recap.  I’ve had a total blast embarking on this new hobby-turned-lifestyle, and your (virtual) support means a ton—you rock!

Dinner

Last night, my mom and I teamed up to try a new entrée:  Paleo Pad Thai, a recipe Tina posted earlier this month that’s originally from Well Fed:  Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat.

However, since neither we nor Wegmans had some of the required primal-friendly ingredients (coconut amino, say what?), the dish ended up being a healthier version of this Thai food favorite.  We also substituted some ingredients based on our personal tastes (like forgoing the onions) what we had on hand (like using green beans instead of snow peas and peanut instead of sunflower butter).  Here’s how we made it. (We doubled the recipe so it would make four servings, but these are the original measurements.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch Sunshine Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 2 cups roasted spaghetti squash
  • 6-8 ounces rotisserie chicken

Directions:

Crack eggs into a small bowl and use a fork to scrambled them with soy sauce.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes and add 2 teaspoons coconut oil; when it’s melted, pour in eggs and let them spread like a pancake.  Reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid, letting eggs cook until they set and start to brown on the bottom (about 3-4 minutes).  Flip and lightly brown the other side.  Remove eggs from pan and slice into strips with a pizza cutter.

Using the same pan, increase heat to medium-high and add 1 teaspoon coconut oil. [Because we doubled the recipe, we needed to use a bigger pan for this step.] Sauté green beans until they’re crisp-tender (about 5 minutes).  Add spaghetti squash, chicken, and cooked egg.  Continue stirring until heated through (about 3 minutes).  Add the Sunshine Sauce and stir-fry until everything is well-blended and hot.  Serves 2

Sunshine Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions:

Place all ingredients except coconut milk in blender and whirl until combined.  Scrape down sides with rubber spatula, then add coconut milk.  Process until it’s blended and smooth.  Store covered in the fridge.

It was pretty good; a little salty from the soy sauce, but tasty.

Next time, I’d make it as a Paleo-friendly dish and add more cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes.

For dessert, my mom made Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake.

She used some of our apple-picking apples, and it was delicious!

In other news, a certain greyhound stole an ear of corn last night.

During the summer, my dad loves getting local corn for dinner.  And clearly, so does Zelda.

Caught in the act!

Workout – Biking

Prior to triathloning, my workouts consisted of running, strength training, and maybe an indoor spin class or two, and now, the sport has helped me appreciate other types of sweat sessions.  One year ago, if you told me I’d enjoy swimming and cycling, I would’ve had a good laugh, but that’s exactly what’s happened.  In fact, when I don’t do one discipline for a few days, my body starts to crave it.  And since I hadn’t been riding since Saturday’s triathlon, I was itching to get in the saddle this morning.  I completed two leisurely laps around the lake that took a little more than 60 minutes.

Breakfast

OK, confession time:  On Friday, I bought a jar of Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter on a whim.  Not only do I love all things chocolate and nut butter (have you seen my Pinterest board?), but I also thought it would be a perfect post-triathlon treat.  Except for the fact that I didn’t wait until after Saturday’s race to open it.  Somehow, I ended up standing next to the pantry with a spoon buried in the good stuff and wondering where the past 10 minutes went.  Whoops.  Needless to say, the jar didn’t last long, and it made a perfect base for this morning’s batch of overnight oats.

I prepped my go-to mixture last night—frozen strawberries and blueberries, plus Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds—and this combo was such a winner.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Have you ever bought anything on a whim while grocery shopping?  Was it as good as you expected?

Protein Smoothie Mishap

Thursday afternoon got a little messy thanks to a protein smoothie mishap.

During the process of pouring her concoction from the blender into a glass, Margaret managed to spill three-quarters of her smoothie all over herself, some cupboards, and the kitchen floor.  Zelda was all over this green mess.  Can you blame her?  After all, she just took what the defense gave her.

Dinner

Once Zelda we cleaned up, Margaret and I started preparing dinner.  While I cut and seasoned veggies for roasting, she made a homemade BBQ sauce, which we used to marinate seitan (say-tahn) kabobs.

A wheat-based source of protein, seitan works well in dishes that center on meat, making it perfect for this vegetarian-friendly meal.  I’ve had it only a handful of times—I vividly remember first meeting seitan in the form of vegetarian sloppy joes—and it’s fairly easy to prepare.  Interestingly enough, a lot of vegetarians don’t like its “meaty” texture, which makes sense:  these BBQ seitan bites tasted similar to popcorn chicken.  Margaret and I even convinced our meat-loving dad to try a piece.  He didn’t exactly enjoy it, but we’re proud of him for giving it a shot. (We can’t get him to try tofu, though.)

Breakfast

Since today is my rest day, I had a leisurely morning and fixed myself breakfast later than usual.  I really wanted to incorporate banana into my morning meal—Kodiak Cakes with banana slices sounded perfect—but since we’re out, I settled for a veggie scramble.

Two scrambled eggs with spinach and red peppers, plus a slice of Ezekiel bread.

After breakfast, I headed outside to do some reading.

I started The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan two days ago, and I can’t put it down.  Look for a book review within the next few days!

Lunch

After yesterday’s trip to Chipotle, I really wanted to visit the chain again, but I settled for a panini.

Ezekiel bread made another appearance, this time accompanied by turkey, spinach, hummus, and some red pepper slices.  I also had a bowl of watermelon.

Plans for the rest of the afternoon include visiting The Great New York State Fair, and a fried Oreo might be in order.

Are you a vegetarian?  Do you like vegetarian sources of protein?  Have you ever tried seitan?