Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Apple Chips

Over the course of the past semester, I discovered the joys of dehydrated fruit: specifically apples and mangos. They sell snack-sized packets in the campus convenience stores. I'm addicted.

And I needed a fix.

So I took apples and made apple chips. They proved to be a scrumptious snack. And they're easy as apple pie to make. Except easier. Much easier.

You will need:
Baking Apples (I used Granny Smith, but any will do)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Take your apples and slice them as thinly as possible.

If you have a mandolin, now's your time to use it.

Unless you are like me, and the only mandolin you own is a musical instrument. I did not use my mandolin.

It is not necessary to peel and core the apples, though I do recommend removing the seeds, because they are not tasty, and they contain cyanide.

Place the thinly sliced apples on a baking sheet. I used parchment paper to reduce messiness.

This is about two medium-sized apples worth of chips

Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon to your taste. 

Stick them in the oven and bake for 2 hours, flipping the apples every 30 minutes. When the apples begin curling around the edges they are ready.

Mhmmm. Delicious. 

It didn't take long for these apples to disappear, but they weren't quite on par with the packaged ones. Next time, I think I may try peeling and coring the apples. 

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Strength Matters

Okay, I can't deny it any longer.

I've been blinded. Blinded by my love for Running. I mean, we've been flirting for years, but I've always managed to keep it casual. Involve other sports in my life.

Swimming I had been seeing before I even met Running. Even after I had found my match I would regularly spend afternoons with Dance or Yoga just to keep things interesting. And then there were the trips to the gym. Not my favorite, but I couldn't avoid an occasional rendezvous.

But in the past couple months, I've been overcome by my passion for Running. It seems that now I'm more of a one-sport girl, and we just can't have that.

But why, you may ask? What's wrong with being loyal to Running?

The answer: Running isn't everything. A routine of running alone puts an athlete at risk of both serious injury and serious monotony. That's why strength matters.

When we run, we are primarily working the muscles in our legs. That's why runners have kickass calves, hamstrings, quads, and gluts. Of course, running works out other parts of the body as well, but not nearly to the same degree as it works the legs.

Working muscles groups in your core, arms, and back with not only improve total body health, but also make you a better runner with fewer injuries.

That's why today, I did strength exercises for 30 minutes. Crunches, pushups, planks, calf raises. You name it, I did it. It didn't look pretty, and it wasn't as fun as hitting the pavement. Not even close. But if I want to maintain a healthy relationship with running I need to include other activities in my life. That is why, from now on I'm going to make a point of including more swimming, dancing, yoga, and rock climbing in my life.

I am not going to be a one-sport girl any longer.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Baby

Happy day folks!

Once again I am in North Carolina with my mother's family. We've been having too much fun spending time together and eating and drinking. And drinking...
I ran up this hill

I managed to sneak a quick 4-miler in yesterday, and today I have done nothing.

Nothing but take pictures! That's right. I got a camera. From my lovely parents Debbie and Boxie. They're too sweet. I had asked them for a refurbished (cheaper) Canon Rebel XS, but was surprised with a beautiful new Canon Rebel T3!

 Get ready for some more photos. Such a long way I've come from the phone photos.

But now its time to shower and prepare for Christmas dinner! Happy Holidays to all! I hope your day is super great. Pinky promise to add more recipes soon!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Half Marathon Training

So last Monday I began my official training for my first Half Marathon! Or so I thought... I had decided to follow Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan. I hadn't run much the previous week, and I took Sunday off after racing on Saturday, so I decided I would skip the included rest day on Monday and run. 

Monday's run went as planned. I had planned on running Tuesday as well, but I ended up spending the day in Chattanooga. I ran Wednesday, but since then... Nothing. I ran 6 miles this week. What???

This break has been far busier than I expected it to be. I feel like I am stretched to the limit trying to spend time with my friends that are in town for the holidays. My days have been full of shopping and lunches and coffee with friends while my nights have consisted of birthday and Christmas parties. I NEED SLEEP. 

Yes, I realize it is ridiculous to complain about "having" to go out every night. In 4ish years, when I am out of school with a real job (fingers crossed) I will be looking back on this time of my life with envy. But for now I will be whiney. At least for a little bit. 

But though I will whine I will also run. I must run. For the sake of my sanity. So beginning tomorrow: I train. 

I tried to make that sound intense. Did I succeed? Maybe?

Anyway, here is a schedule of my training for the next 15 weeks. As you can see, some of the weeks are doubled. This is because Hal Higdon's plan is only 12 weeks. I figured that 3 extra weeks couldn't hurt me. I also had trouble finding a prescribed 10k race in my area so I settled for an 8k. I apologize for the size of the plan; I battled with the computer for over 30 minutes, and lost. 

tiny, tiny
In addition to Half-Marathon training, I am also beginning my journey towards doing 100 consecutive pushups! Tomorrow's plan calls for sets of 12, 10, 7, 7, max (>9) with 60 seconds rest between each set. That's at least 45 pushups! I can do it

That's all for this week's fitness goals. Tomorrow, I'm waking up early to bake these brownies. And then I'm going to Dollywood. Yeehaw! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Irish Soda Bread


I've been insanely busy this past week. Insanely...

But somehow I found the time to bake bread.

I found this recipe while perusing through my edition of Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against healthy fats. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have picked out this book for myself (it was a gift); however, its lead me to some really great recipes.

Besides, I think I eat enough peanut butter to justify cooking or baking with less fat. But enough about that.

Irish Soda Bread. This recipe caught my eye because of its rustic appeal. Okay, bullshit. I'm still new to bread baking, and this recipe looked less intimidating that other bread recipes. Plus it looked pretty simple.

But seriously, this bread was yummy. Perfect for breakfast. Or tea. If you're into tea. I am. Health wise it is pretty amazing as well. Whole wheat pastry flour, very little butter or sugar. And currants, which add sweetness and plenty of nutrients.

Currants are like raisins, but cuter.

Anyway, the bread:

1½ cups unbleached flour
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 egg separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup currants

First preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix in the brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or food processor cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture until it appears crumbly.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the egg yolk, buttermilk, and currants, and mix until homogenous. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, stirring until the dough is evenly moist. Turn out the soft dough onto a floured board, and with your hands all floury gently need for 30-45 second. Do Not Overknead!

Form the dough into a 9-inch dome and place on an oiled baking sheet. With a knife cut a X ½ and inch deep.

X Marks the Delicious Spot
Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

 The only modifications I made to the recipe was the inclusion of the egg yolk, for added moisture. This bread should be eaten quickly. After a couple days it will harden up a bit. It is served best warm and buttered with a cup of tea.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Moving Home & Jingle Bell 5k

Remember when I said I would be blogging more often?


So it appears that I have a lot of catching up to do. I've been busy!

I am officially moved in with my parents for the break. Fun right? Obviously I love my parents. They are wonderful, but I was not looking forward to moving back home. So far it has been okay. There are both good and not so good aspects of living at home. I'm very glad to have a kitchen, and access to lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. And a kitchen. I could list the not so good aspects, but I've got less whiney things to talk about. Like...

The Jingle Bell Run!

I was lucky enough to be able to run the Knoxville Jingle Bell 5k yesterday for free courtesy of my residence hall association at UT. The only thing better than running a free 5k for a good cause is PRing at said race. I ran the race in 24:19.4. That's a 7:50 pace! I also placed 1st in my age group (15-19). Of course, there were only 17 girls in my age group, but still that is exciting! Overall I placed 69th out of over 500 runners and walkers! It was a really great day (hence the excessive exclamation marks).

The run itself was fantastic. It was mid-30s outside and a little windy, but the sun was shining, and it didn't feel too chilly. The race took place downtown with a course that was fairly flat for Knoxville. There were a series of short hills with shallow inclines during the run, but they were not too challenging. I went out pretty fast with a 7:20 mile, and then slowed to more of an 8:00 mile for the remainder of the race.

It's reassuring to know that a couple slow weeks here and there in my training won't hinder my progress. Overall, I was extremely pleased with myself, and though I wasn't able to stay for the awards ceremony, I still earned a trophy. Boy Wonder is the sweetest. I am a lucky lady.

I will try to post more this afternoon about my endeavors in bread-baking, and my plans for half-marathon training which begins tomorrow!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Preparing for Winter Break

Thankfully, I am only a few days (and a few exams) away from winter break.


This semester has been really amazing overall, I loved my classes, and I am really loving UT, but I am SO EXCITED about taking a month-long break from school. Ideally this time will be used for some rest and relaxation right?

Oh hell nah. I've got shit ta do.

Really though, during a study break today I made a Goal List for my winter break. And so I present to you...

Kathryn's (somewhat) Realistic Set of Goals 
8 December 2011 - 10 January 2012 


  • Begin 100 push up challenge! It's a 6 week program, but it may take longer. We will see...

  • Run 4-5 times a week with at least 2 times a week on the trail (weather permitting). I'm planning on beginning half-marathon training after finals are finished. As you may have noticed, I haven't had too much time to run these past couple weeks, so this goal is very important to me. For my half-marathon training, I'm going to roughly follow Hal Higdon's Novice Plan. The race I'm running is on April 1st, so I will have more than the prescribed 12 weeks to train. I am also planning on trying to incorporate some speed work into my schedule. More on this later though...

  • In addition to more pushups and running, I want to incorporate more core/strength workouts in my routine. Maybe more swimming as well. I feel like often times I'm not the most well-rounded athlete. 


  • During the break I want to take advantage of living with my parents by utilizing their kitchen. Honestly, I have about a thousand different recipes I want to try out. Here is a short list of some of the items I will be cooking/blogging about:
    • Eggs in a Basket
    • Some sort of Pesto
    • Grilled Cheese
    • Waffles
    • Blueberry Spinach Crumble (I've made this before. It rocks.)
    • Baked Eggs
    • Some sort of soup/stew
    • Bread!
    • Pizza
    • Stuffed Eggplant and Peppers
    • Stir-fry
    • Curry something or another
    • Many, many others

  • While I am looking forward to LOADS of cooking, I also plan on trying for some type of "detox week" over break. As of now, I am envisioning a week of raw eating. I imagine its going to be a challenge, but after a semester of cafeteria food and eating out, my body is craving lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. It should be an interesting experience.

Anyway, I believe that I have procrastinated enough for the evening. I probably won't post again until after finals, but after that it's going to be blogapalooza up in here. Oh yeah, that was my last goal. GO BLOG CRAZY. 

Don't cha just love having goals?


Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in Review and Finals Week

This week has been strange to say the least.

Stranger still is the fact that it is currently 2:00 AM and I am in a large room by myself not writing my research paper that was technically due today. Thank God for soft-deadlines.

While Thanksgiving offer a much needed break before finals week, in itself the holiday can be somewhat stressful. I spent Tuesday through Friday with my immediate and extended family in North Carolina.

Spending the holidays out of town can make running somewhat difficult. I managed to squeeze in one 3ish mile run on Wednesday, but the rest of the week was jam-packed with family activities and eating. Too much eating. It seems like the times I need to run the most (stressed out and over-fed) I have the least opportunities to get out on the road.

But aside from my petty complaints, my Thanksgiving was nice. I enjoyed seeing my family and being able to contribute some to our Thanksgiving meal!

A couple days before we journeyed across the mountains, I called my mom to tell her that I was going to bake some sort of dessert this Thanksgiving. No ifs, ands, or buts. After perusing a couple different recipes I finally decided upon Joy the Baker's Pumpkin Cream Pie.

It was delicious. I didn't adjust the recipe at all. Picture? Yesh.

Maybe not so pretty, but really incredible.

My apologies for a very short post (though still very sweet, see pie above), but as it is finals week I may be incognito for a while. However, I can promise that once the break begins, there will be posting galore. And more coherent posting at that.

For now, I beg adieu.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cocoa Pumpkin Overnight Oats

So after my first attempt at overnight oats was a soupy disaster, I vowed that I would try again. This time, I based my recipe very loosely off of a recipe from Kath Eats Real Food.

This woman is the queen of oats. Seriously, an entire page of her blog is dedicated to oatmeal. I have a friend crush. Creepy? Maybe...

Anyway, these overnight oats were certainly more successful. They were creamy, chocolatey, and very very rich. That being said, I'm still not a huge fan of overnight oats. I simply prefer hot food in the morning.  But if sweet velvety oatmeal is your thing than this recipe is for you.

Please excuse the shoddy phone pictures. I managed to procure a temporary camera yesterday, and hopefully I will have a camera of my own in the next month or so (hint hint Santa).

First some oats. And cinnamon. I love me some cinnamon.

Hey look! Its pumpkin! Adding some Autumn flair to these oats.

And cocoa powder. Antioxidants? Yes, please.

After all of this magic has taken place add some agave nectar and almond milk and voilà:
You have Overnight Oats.

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the picture I took of the final product, but they were pretty. I pinky swear.

Cocoa Pumpkin Overnight Oats:

1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbs. agave nectar (or to taste)

First, combine all the ingredients in a cereal-type bowl. Next, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. ENJOY!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Buddy's Race Recap

Each November, thousands of runners and walkers congregate in World's Fair Park in Knoxville to participate in the Buddy's Race Against Cancer. This year was my fourth time racing Buddy's and I'd have to say it was probably one of my favorite races to date.

The event began with touring the multiple booths set up in the park and taking pictures with my teammates. This year I ran with a group from my most recent job at a locally owned café/deli/market. It was really great to see all of my former coworkers and run the race with them!

As we had a few walkers in our group, we decided to begin a fair distance behind the start line. This made for an interesting few minutes of walking and jogging after the gun went off. In fact, it took me almost 3 minutes to cross the start line. The next 1/2 mile or so was spent trying to dodge the numerous walkers in my path. While this may have slowed me down, it definitely added some variety to the run.

Once I had passed the majority of the walkers I was in race mode.

I had not realized how much I miss racing. To be honest, my runs had not been great in the couple weeks leading up to Buddy's. I feel like I may have tried to increase my mileage too quickly in the previous months, and as a result most of my runs just felt crappy. I had basically cut down to running 3 days a week, and any mileage exceeding 3.5 miles was painful.

During the race itself I felt fantastic! I had so much fun racing, and overall I was pleased with my time.

However, my favorite part of the day was seeing so many people out and running for a really great cause. Everyone knows someone who has battled cancer; it is a disease that affects everyone in our society. I found it incredibly inspiring to see so many survivors participating in the race, and I can't wait to run it again next year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Running: A Love Affair

If you haven't figured out by the name of my blog or from About Me section, I love to run.

Growing up, I tried out numerous sports from gymnastics to softball, with some noncompetitive soccer thrown in for good measure. After some trial and error (and error and error) I found my niches in swimming and dance, mainly because these activities require minimal hand-eye coordination.

I really didn't discover running until I joined the cross-country team my freshman year of high school. Shortly after that I quit dancing (in a studio, everywhere else I still dance).

Dancing: All day, Every day. 
Swimming I was never too passionate about, though I did meet some incredible people through my summer-league team over the years, but running was different from any other sport I had ever attempted.

I loved the way my legs burned through a tough workout. I enjoyed pushing myself and seeing what I was capable of. Though I have very little natural talent (I blame short legs and utter lack of coordination), I found that by working hard I could run pretty fast, by my standards at least.

This year is my first year of running without a team and a coach planning my workouts. What does that mean exactly? Well, so far it means that I have done very little speed work. In fact, I haven't been near a track in over a year. It also means that I can go out on the trails far more often.

Overall, running on my own has resulted in a more zen approach to the sport. More often than not, I don't time my runs, and I'm learning to focus on how my body feels during a run rather than the miles I'm logging. That being said, I'm still sure that I take at least one or two rest days a week, and that I do other activities such as swimming, rock climbing, or Zumba.

I still love racing, and I just completed my first 5-K of 2011 this past Sunday. I'm planning on running another 5-K on December 10th, and shortly thereafter, begin training for my first half-marathon which will take place on April 1st.

But for the present, I'm just gonna focus on enjoying my relaxed running.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Morning Run and Unsuccessful Overnight Oats

When I went to bed at 1:00 am last night I had no intention of waking up early and going for a run. I love sleeping and I turn into a cranky crazy monster if I get less than 8 hours. Seriously, it is ridiculous.

So when I woke up this morning at 7:30 I didn't even consider getting up, until I realized that one of my eyes was crusted shut. Ick. After a mad dash out of bed, and a quick examination of my eye (and forcing my roommate to examine my eye), I'm pretty sure it's not pink-eye, which is fabulous because contracting pink-eye is my greatest irrational fear. Still, it seems that I have some sort of eye infection.

After all of this nonsense I was wide awake and forced to choose between:
  1. Going for a quick run
  2. Taking a trip to the student health center
Being the responsible adult I am, I went for a run. To be fair, we've been having unseasonably warm weather here, and the forecast for the later parts of the day predicted HEAVY rain. 

Fueled by one mustached mug of coffee I was off into the misty humid morning. 3.5 miles later I was back in my dorm room, and after a quick shower I was ready to refuel with some overnight oats I had prepared. 

Now, oatmeal is probably one of my favorite foods ever. Like in the whole world. 

There is just something about the heartiness of oats and the endless flavor combinations that motivates me to jump out of bed in the morning in time to microwave some breakfast. But last night, after acquiring a brand new box of rolled oats, I decided that I would mix up my morning meal by making overnight oats instead of the standard hot fare.

They didn't really turn out as I had expected... I think I my liquid/oat ratio was off; the oats didn't absorb all of the milk. Also, I regret choosing apples as they were much crunchier than I would have liked in my oatmeal. One triumph of my attempt was the discovery of the magical flavor of chai tea in oats. It was amazing. Until I decided to microwave the whole mess and thus return to my old standby. After I heated the oatmeal, the chai flavor all but disappeared.

I'm not too worried though. Round two of overnight oats will be coming soon.

In case you're curious, here is my failed recipe for overnight oats.


1/3 cup rolled oats
>2/3 cups skim milk
1 small apple thinly sliced and mirowaved until soft
a splash of strong chai tea (I used Stash black and green chai)
a couple teaspoons of chia seeds
dash of cinnamon
7 raw almonds


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and leave covered in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Unwrap oats, and take a few tentative bites. Realize that the overnight oats were a failure and heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
3. Enjoy!