real food days 3-5, and a recipe

as far as eating whole, real foods instead of fake wanna-be-foods that are more sugar and chemicals than real nutrients, days 3-5 were about 85% on track. the truth is, i still have a couple bags of dutch crunch potato chips in my house. and when i'm tired and stressed, i just want to shove all.the.chips into my face. so, now that i've done some grocery shopping and successfully pushed the potato chips off on my husband, i think this week will go even better.

i got up this morning and did the thing i used to do ritualistically on saturday mornings - roll out of bed, throw on running clothes, and go out for a "long" run. my wednesdays, thursdays, fridays, saturday sand sundays since about june have been a steady decline throughout the week of more food, more booze, more junk and more fried food. and then i get to monday and i'm all "alright let's do this!" and start of my week eating clean and working out. but come wednesday, so begins the steady decline. this has been my pattern for a good six months now. no wonder i "can't" lose weight. i'm seriously not trying very hard.

so this morning, in the crisp, grey light of morning, i got up and instead of putting on street clothes, i put on running clothes. i loaded up the children to take them for their saturday morning visit with the man who sired them, and i drove towards the river parkway and started running. this is the running trail i ran endlessly when i was training for my first half marathon. this trail is beautiful, especially in the morning, and especially in the fall. as i tracked over this familiar path from 2 1/2 years ago now, i felt strong, and i felt capable. just running on that path, imaging my 2 1/2-year-ago-self, i kept telling myself "this is your memory. you've stepped here. you've done this before. this is yours." and 3.2 miles clicked by in a blink, and they didn't even feel difficult.

if you don't think this is beautiful, you're an asshole.

i've been doing a lot of my runs the past month or so at the gym, since a) i have a membership and don't like wasting money, and b) it's been working with my home-work life to do my runs during the day or at the end of my day. but i seriously feel like i have to find a way to run more outside. which, unfortunately, means i have to become a morning person. and my track record with that is not good...

anyways, i'm feeling pretty good at the end of week 1 of the 100 days of real food challenge. we already eat pretty well at the badger den, so this isn't too much of an adjustment. but, like everyone, we often give into convenience foods like boxed mac and cheese (organic, but still...), pizza delivery at the end of a long week, and pre-made foods like white pasta, bread crumbs, soup and cereal. being aware of this and cutting it out has been a change. for example, on friday, we couldn't just order pizza when it was 6pm and we were tired. we had to put in the effort and and forethought to make a homemade crust earlier in the day for pizza night. and instead of quick cereal in the morning, we're doing things like overnight steel cut oats, and whole grain/minimal ingredient bread with nut butter and fruit.

one of my huge weaknesses is sweet treats in the morning. bagels, cinnamon rolls, pastries, donuts, yum! but all that white flour and refined sugar is not doing anything beneficial for my body. i found a great recipe on the 100 days of real food blog for whole grain pumpkin muffins, and decided to amp it up a bit for some extra spice and rich flavor. as they were cooking, john texted me from upstairs (because we're such a modern couple): "the house smells amazing!".

recipe: whole grain spiced pumpkin muffins (adapted from this)

(makes 24 muffins)

you will need:

2 12-count muffin pans
muffin/cupcake liners, or coconut oil spray for your muffin pans
3 cups white, whole wheat flour* (king arthur brand is a winner! see my note on flour below...)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (trust me!)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup organic, blackstrap molasses (i got a shit ton of this at costco for an amazing price)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pure pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut oil, melted (could also use butter)

clear all of the crap off of your oven, make sure there isn't anything inside of it, and turn it on to 350. while you're at it, pour yourself a drink. because cooking while imbibing is just more fun.

combine all your dry ingredients in a big bowl. 

in a separate bowl, whisk your eggs with the molasses, vanilla, and pumpkin. whisk it good. now, slowly pour in the coconut oil while whisking. i have learned from cooking with melted coconut oil that if you pour it too quickly into something that is too cold, you'll get chunks of coconut oil all over your food. and you will cry. so don't do it. add the melted oil slowly and whisk, whisk, whisk.

in your bowl of dry stuff, make a little hole in the middle. pour in the wet stuff. using a spatula, get it all mixed in! don't over mix, because then your muffins will be tough. and you will cry.

spoon the batter into 24 muffin cups (use cupcake liners or spray the pans with some coconut oil). bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. let them cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a cooling rack and/or your mouth. i froze one whole tray of these in order to have some quick-grab options for my busy mornings.

these turn out delicious, dark and beautiful. which is just how i like it. i can't have pumpkin without molasses - i just love the deep hue and the extra-sultry spice from the molasses.

if you don't think this is beautiful, you're an asshole.

ashley "there's no food in your food" rebekah

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