Friday, August 31, 2012

Ready, set...

Here I go! I leave early tomorrow morning to catch my flight from Albuquerque to Anaheim. Next stop, Disneyland! If you're new here, the short catch-up is this: I've been training to run the Disneyland Half Marathon since February, when my daughter called out of the blue to tell me that she was going to run it. I hadn't done any consistent exercise in about 30 years, but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to take on the half marathon challenge myself. There were times when I thought I'd truly lost my mind, and other times of deep discouragement when I thought I'd never make it. But here I am, 7 months later, 25 pounds lighter, and ready to run like the wind - or at least a nice gentle breeze - on Sunday.

I've been vegan all the way, and I'm absolutely sure I could never have done any of this on a typical American diet. I feel better than I've ever felt, even when I was younger. At 55, I'm younger than I was 10 years ago. And not at all coincidentally, 55 was the age when my mother died, overweight, and sick with cancer. Yes, I do have something to prove - that it's never too late to make positive changes in our lives, and that we don't have to surrender to getting old and fat and sick. Mom didn't know this, and neither did I until many years later. I'm running this race for Mom this weekend, as well as for my daughter, Lauren, and for me of course. This is one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

Since I'm a first time runner, I started myself in the last group. My runner number is 15851, and if you want to, you can check the runDisney Results page to see how I did. Of course I'll be back with a full report next week, but if you're my friend on Facebook, check my page for pictures during the weekend.

Okay then. I'm off! Wish me luck! I'm so excited I can hardly sit still!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My First Cooking Class

I taught my first class yesterday, and it was a blast. It was actually a practice class, which I didn't charge for, because I needed to know how long it would take, what food costs would be, and if there were any kinks to be worked out. Aside from a little fine tuning I want to do, it all went really, really well. I'm happy as can be, and will get right to work picking dates for real classes as soon as I get back from my Disneyland Half Marathon Adventure. There's so much going on, and I'm so excited about all of it! I'll check in once more tomorrow with my race number and other details some of you have asked for. But right now, look what fun we had in the first ever "How To Feed A Vegan" class! Want to get in on the fun? sign up for the mailing list so you'll always know when new classes are being offered. I can also come to your very own kitchen. Gather up a few friends, and we'll get cooking.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Apple Tarts

My dear friend just had a birthday, and I had the pleasure of making dinner for her party. It was a little tricky, because she's been on a yeast-free diet for a couple of weeks, and that leaves out a lot of foods. I was up for the challenge though, and it was really a lot of fun for me. Dinner itself was fairly simple. We had bean tacos, with sprouted corn tortillas, refried beans, calabacitas (squash), avocado, lettuce, tomato, and salsa. We all loved how such an uncomplicated dish could be so complex in favors, and so satisfying, plus it was easy for everyone to customize their own plate. I'll make them again soon and show you how good they are. We ate it all up before I thought to take a picture.

Dinner was easy, but dessert was the real challenge. How does one make a tasty birthday treat without any sugar? After my lemon bar adventures, I was feeling a little bit over-sweetened myself, so I came up with something that surprised us all. These little Apple Tarts were really tasty, but maybe only for people who are already used to not eating sugar. I'm sharing the recipe here because I think some of you will like it just the way it is, and also because I think there's great potential to create a more mainstream, sweeter version that will still be wonderfully healthy.

Apple Tarts

For the crust:
1 cup cooked buckwheat groats
1 cup raw cashews/macadamia nuts - soaked in water for 20 minutes or more and drained
3 T ground flax seed
pinch of salt

Chop the nuts in a food processor. Add the other ingredients and blend for a few seconds. You'll have a nice dough that sticks together well. Press about 1/4 cup of filling into the cups of a lightly oiled muffin tin. It will fill about 7.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the filling:
Chop 2 medium apples into small cubes. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon over the apples and mix well to coat them.

Fill each of the partially baked crusts with apples. Any extra filling can just be baked in one or two of the empty muffin cups. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Variations: to make this sweeter, try adding soaked, chopped dates to the crust mixture, and maybe a little maple syrup to the apples. You might also fill these crusts with other fruits, chocolate mousse, or even the lemony filling from the Lemon Bars recipe. Mmmm!

Friday, August 24, 2012

One More 10-Miler

Just a little over a week to go before the big race. I ran 10 miles yesterday morning, and it was actually kind of easy. Who is this living in my body? It can't be the tired old bead maker who hauled herself out of her studio last February and barely made it 10 steps in those new running shoes before having to walk for five minutes just to catch her breath. At the time, I thought maybe I could get in shape by September, but I wasn't totally sure. I'm amazed and relieved to see for myself how much control we have over the condition of our bodies.

I'm quite sure I wouldn't have come this far on my "old" diet, and that this super healthy, whole foods, plant based thing I'm doing now is the perfect fuel, at least for me. I agree that every body is different, and that we all need to discover what works best for us. But the one thing I truly believe is that no body needs meat or dairy or any animal products at all. Some might get away with eating these things for a while, but I honestly don't think anyone needs them. And from my own experience these last two and a half years, there's no better way to feel your best and do your best than to get friendly with the plant food kingdom.

After all these months and all this work, I actually feel like I'm ready to run a half marathon. As Chevy Chase so eloquently put it in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, "I wouldn't be more surprised if I woke up in the morning with my head sewn to the carpet." Of course I haven't actually done this race yet, but even if I don't make it (which to me is not an option), I'll know how far I've really come, and I'm feeling really good about it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Veganizing Katie Couric's Lemon Bars

A friend recently gave me a recipe for Katie Couric's Lemon Bars, which look really beautiful, but are filled with eggs, butter, white flour, and regular sugar - all things I won't eat. But I love lemon bars, and I wanted to make some so I decided to see if I could veganize Katie's recipe. They came out great, and are ever so much healthier for all concerned than the originals. This really encourages me to take on a project I've been thinking of for a while - veganizing Julia Child! I think that would be really fun.

Lemon Bars

Preheat oven to 350º
Oil a 10x10 or 9x13 pan (I like the 10x10 for a slightly thicker crust)

In a food processor, blend:
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
2 cups brown rice flour
pinch of salt
3 T ground flax seed

1 stick Earth Balance "butter," softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Pulse until blended.
Press dough into the oiled pan and bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, blend in food processor:
1 cup silken tofu
2 cups organic cane sugar
6 T brown rice flour
6 T lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
grated rind of 2 lemons

1 T agar powder with 1/4 cup boiling water.
(If using agar flakes instead of powder, you need 6 times more, or 6 T)
Add to lemon mixture and blend well

Pour lemon topping over the hot crust and bake 35 minutes more. Cool completely before cutting - in the fridge is OK. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. These are best kept in the refrigerator.

NOTES: I used organic cane sugar because it's the "whitest" natural sugar I could find here. The lemon bars will not be as bright yellow as if you used bleached sugar, but who cares. Also, you can make your own powdered sugar by buzzing it up in a coffee grinder. I have one that I keep just for food, not coffee. Same with ground flax seeds. It takes about 5 seconds.

The original recipe can be found in People Magazine, May 14, 2012, however I see a note on the page saying that Katie's recipe was adapted from Loukoumi's Celebrity Cookbook, by Nick Katsoris. I love how recipes evolve!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

the Gear (and GoGo Bites!)

I closed up my bead business yesterday. After almost 16 years, I was done. That's it. There are longer explanations, but what's important here is now I have time to do what I consider to be my real work - making beautiful vegan food, and helping other people learn how to eat better and get healthier. If you're curious about the job I've just quit, you can visit my bead website at I know some people think I'll go back to beadmaking as a career. I hope they aren't holding their breath or betting large sums of money on that. I don't believe in going back. Only in going forward.

That said, I ran 10 miles this morning, not feeling that it was necessary to keep up the 12.5 mile distance I ran last week. A friend of my daughter's, who runs full marathons, told her that you only need to train your body to run 10 miles, the rest is in your head. I'm all for that. Can I admit to you that I get a little bored on the long runs? I have yet to find that zen sort of head-space that some runners go to, and as for endorphins... I'm not at all sure I have any. I'm good with 5 or 6 miles, and then I'm ready to do something else. I'm pretty sure I won't be progressing to ultras, or even full marathons. I don't have that much to prove.

The race is just over two weeks away now, and while I'm running, I'm mentally packing and taking stock of all the gear I've collected. When I started this in February, I thought all I needed was good shoes. Sure, shoes are the most important bit of running gear there is. But while I think I could get by without a lot of the stuff I've gathered, I really like my stuff, and want to have it with me on race day. Through trial an error, I've found a few really good things that work for me. Starting with the shoes, here they are.

I like Brooks shoes. They fit me right, and they're vegan. I bought a pair of their trail runners in February, but I knew they were messing with my stride and making me feel all clunky and dorky. So then I bought another pair of Brooks when we were in Seattle, and had several good running stores to try things on in. I tried on several shoes, by several companies, but the Brooks PureCadence made my feet feel like "happy little bunnies." That's what I told the sales guy. Really. They're sort of in between a traditional runner and a minimalist shoe, and I love them beyond reason. The only problem with a lighter weight shoe is that it wears out faster than a heavy one. These dirt and gravel roads around here eat shoes. I wasn't sure if my shoes were losing some of their spring, so I ordered a new pair just like them (but in turquoise!), to see if there was a difference in the feel. I put one of each on, side by side, and it felt like one leg was shorter than the other. The soles and cushioning had compacted to a very noticeable point. And when I ran the 10 miles today in the new ones, my feet were happy bunnies again. I really can't afford new shoes every 4 months, so I might need to look for something a little tougher. Or maybe Brooks wants to sponsor me. They could market me to real people. Good idea. Meanwhile, I'll go back and forth between the new pair and the old ones, and will use the original trail runners for walking on my in-between days. I'm really glad I have the new ones for the race! I hear most runners have a "shoe pile," and now I know why.

The next thing I have and like and use all the time is my water bottle,  a CamelBak Performance 22 ounce. The reason I like it is it doesn't leak. My needs are simple here. It needs to hold water, all the time, and it does. This is my third water bottle, and the other two leaked no matter what I did. Those were the Nathan Quickdraw Plus 22 ounce handheld, and the Amphipod 12 ounce, which besides leaking, was just too dinky. I did keep the bottle carrier from the Nathan model. The CamelBak fits in it perfectly, and I like the little zippered pocket on the side for stashing my snacks.

Clothes are important too. I have several things to choose from, but my favorite by far is my Skirt Sports Women's Lotta Breeze Capri Skirt. It's comfortable, stays put the entire time I'm running, and well, it covers my butt and makes me feel cute.

A good sports bra is something a girls needs, but that and shirts are something you all can figure out for yourselves. If you really want to know, I get my bras at Target. They do the job, and they're cheap. And on race day I'll be wearing my Plant Powered tank top. I had it made at CafePress, and it's the only one like it.

Socks, like shoes, have to be perfect. Lauren turned me on to Drymax socks from Roadrunner Sports, and they're my absolute favorites for serious running days. I also love my bright pink "run like a girl" socks, which were a gift from a friend. They make me feel happy every time I look down at my feet.

I carry my iPhone when I run, part for "just in case," and part for music. OK, mostly for music. I usually use Pandora radio on it, with a single earphone, because I want to be able to hear approaching trucks and dogs. I carry the phone in my super-nifty Spibelt, which I love because the pocket stretches to fit more than just a phone if I want it to, and because it doesn't bounce around.

And while we're on music, I'll admit to a preference for the Monkees station on Pandora when I'm running. I created the station when Davy Jones left this world. I love Davy, and I know many of you secretly love him too. Before I started listening to that station, I was playing Vivaldi or Latin Essentials. Both are good, but the Monkees station plays more than just Monkees - like Van Morrison, the Beatles, Mamas and Papas, Youngbloods, Queen, the Foundations, Stevie Wonder, the Turtles, the Guess Who, the Beach Boys, Norman Greenbaum, and Tommy James and the Shondells. Crimson and clover, over and over... It takes my head back to a younger place, and fools my body into feeling younger too. I run better with the Monkees than I do with Vivaldi. Amazing.

Last on the gear list is my Timex Ironman watch. I got this particular model because it has GPS, and because it's huge and I can see the numbers without reading glasses. Yeah, I'm old, remember? It also has an interval timer, which helps me keep my pace. It took me a few days to figure out how to use it, but now I just set it as I head out the door, and when I get home it can tell me how far, how fast, how many calories, and a whole lot more. I love my watch.

So there you have it. All the most important, can't do without 'em things that will go with me to Disneyland. I'll also bring some food, just to be safe, like almond butter sandwiches and my favorite (so far) eat-and-run snacks. GoGo Bites are the easiest recipe I've ever come up with - only 4 ingredients - but they also have lots of room for experimentation and additions. I pop one of these every so often when I'm running, and my energy level stays really good. Rick and our grandson think of them as tiny little cookies, but I like knowing they're good for them too.

GoGo Bites

1 cup raw almonds - soaked in water 4 hours or more. Overnight in the fridge is fine.
1 cup pitted dates - cut in half (to be sure they're pitted) and soaked in 1 cup of water for the same amount of time as the almonds.
1 cup cooked quinoa - leftover quinoa works great for this.
1 tsp sea salt

Drain and rinse the almonds, and chop them in the food processor until they're as coarse or fine as you like them. Since I eat them on the run, I chop them pretty fine.

Add the dates and their soak water to the almonds and blend for a few seconds.
Add salt and quinoa and blend a few seconds more, until everything is mixed.

Spread the mixture about 1/2 inch thick on a cookie sheet with either a non-stick silicone liner or parchment. Bake at 325º for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is browned, and the edges are a bit browner. You want them to be firm and fairly dry, but not burned.  Let them cool before cutting into little one-inch squares. (You can also "cook" these in a dehydrator if you want to do the low-temp raw thing. I've tried it, and it takes about 10-12 hours.)

If you like, stir in additions like unsweetened coconut, raisins or other dried fruit bits, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, or vegan chocolate chips before spreading batter on the pan.

Here you go. Take two, they're small!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Blogger - the Beautiful Miss Lauren

OH EM GEEE... I did it! 

August 11th
I ran 10 miles! I finally freaking did it! Not that I had tried before, mostly because I was scared, but partially because I am lazy. But I woke up, had some fuel set out on the pavement and went for it. It was a gorgeous day in Seattle, not too hot, not too cold. It felt easy and fun, it was around mile 8 that I started feeling pain in my knees and lower leg. I pushed through and finished with a huge smile on my face! 10.32 miles in 1hour and 33 minutes. The fun part came after my run when I had realized I overestimated my loop and had to walk another six miles home... Oy! 

August 12th
Rest... My knees felt like someone smashed them with a baseball bat. 

August 13th
Intended on running, but per usual, life got in the way and I ended up just eating guacamole instead... Totally worth it. 

August 14th
Woke up early for a 6am class. Also totally worth it, I felt strong and accomplished the entire way through. After class I normally just leave but today I ended up talking to the trainer and a couple of the girls in class, they were super motivating to me to stick out the end of my training. I know I have tons of support from my friends and family, but every once in awhile it's nice to hear it from a stranger too. 

Tomorrow another class and maybe a late night run. Temperatures are supposed to hit in the high 80s this week... Gotta be careful! 

Friday, August 10, 2012


Since Lauren's putting me to shame blog-wise, I'd better get in here for a quick update too. I ran 12.5 miles yesterday, and came home smiling. I'm kind of amazed, and totally encouraged. I got the food right for the first time, I think, which really makes a big difference - a big glass of emergen-C, followed by a banana, followed by a small almond butter on Ezekiel sandwich and a small cup of yerba maté tea - all an hour or so before heading out the door. I took along some dates stuffed with almonds for mid-run snacks too. I believe in fueling, at least for me. Besides, my new magic watch says I burned over 1400 calories on that run, so I had room for some extra food. I also like to take a water bottle filled with coconut water, to replace electrolytes on the go. I never touch bottled sports drinks. Yuck.

There were no mean dogs this time, and I figured out how to minimize the hills as much as is possible around here. It still feels like I'm running uphill all the time, but I kept imagining how nice a smooth flat road will feel on race day. Lovely.

All the cars that passed me were slowing to a respectful speed, and everyone was waving in a friendly way. My neighbors are starting to recognize me. At about mile 11, a small car coming toward me slowed way down, and the driver smiled and handed a nice cool (but not too cold) bottle of water to me out of the passenger side. I still had a slosh of coconut water left in my bottle, enough to get me home, but no longer refreshing in any way. I thanked the guy - actually I wanted to hug him, but the logistics were all wrong - and headed off down the road, drinking as I went. I don't know who that guy was, but if I had to guess, I'd say he was an honest-to-goodness Angel.

Only three weeks to go until race weekend, and I'm stopping at that 12.5 mark. I want to save that last half mile for The Race. After all, I am a half-marathon virgin... gotta save a little something for the big event. I'll keep up my 3 runs a week, but will start tapering off on the Long Runs, down to nine or ten miles at the most. The main thing is I finally feel really confident that I can do it, and now I'm pretty sure I can do it well.

Still smiling today...

Guest Blogger - the Beautiful Miss Lauren

August 7th cont.
I finished off this day with a short 2.6 mile hike. The hike wasn't extremely difficult, though it started with walking down about 500 feet, which made the end of it that much more enjoyable. The path lead out out to the Puget Sound, it was a pretty gorgeous night out on the beach. It felt good to keep my muscles working through the evening and it made me just tired enough to sleep like a baby.

August 8th
I had intended on going to class this morning but didn't make it due to an incredibly blonde moment. Long story short I didn't have my car and it's hard to drive to class at 5:30 am without it. Since I had done so well Monday and Tuesday I figured I could use a rest day, probably didn't need it, but I sort of ran out of time after a 13 hour day in the office. C'est la vie.

August 9th
Today I decided to go on a "no agenda" run. Obviously there was an agenda to get a workout in, but the point of the care free attitude was just to run until I was tired, run until something bothered me or I needed water or felt like my legs were gonna fall off. It is time to start figuring out what is best for me in a long run. I want race day to be comfortable and post race day to be relaxing and not spent recovering from chaffing or injuries. So I did a run to figure out what is going to work for me. I ended up running 4 miles in 40 minutes, which is more than a normal weekday run and I figured out a few things that I want to change before race day. First thing shorts... Guess it's time to go shopping.

August 10th
Woke up this morning and went to a 6 am class. I cannot even explain how discouraged I felt after each exercise we did. I like to think that my arms are pretty strong, my core is okay and my legs have super power strength in them... boy was I wrong today. After each plank, squat, frog jump, triceps curl, mountain climber or whatever else we were doing I kept thinking, "Aren't I stronger than this?!" The only thing that didn't leave me discouraged was the jump roping, guess that Double Dutch team I was on in elementary school is finally paying off. I know that I was struggling because I was working hard, but damn... that was freaking hard!

Tomorrow's goal is 10 miles. I sought guidance from a friend who ran in college about what I may expect and any suggestions that she had. I feel pretty confident that I can do this... hoping for a time of about 2 hours. Wish me luck!

Good Luck Sweetie! You can DO IT!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Blogger - the Beautiful Miss Lauren

Well all of a sudden my darling girl is doing a lot more blogging (and boating) than I am. I have an excuse. I'm busy closing up the BeadShop, which has meant countless hours of sorting, photographing, editing, emailing, wrapping, and shipping each day, only to go back and do it again and again. I'm not done yet, but there's an end in sight. That's when I can get to my real work, which is back here blogging, and back in the kitchen whipping up healthy running fuel for this last month of pre-race training. I'll try to keep up with Lauren as far as these quick updates go though. I'm regularly running 3 days a week, and walking and swimming 3 days. I rest on Sundays. 

Today I went to Santa Fe, and had lunch at a terrific new raw vegan place called Mama Pacha, which I'll talk more about soon. What I want to mention here is the little laminated story I read while washing my hands in the restroom, about the world's oldest marathon runner, who is now 101 years old and still running. He credits his vegetarian diet, as well as his faith. He started running at age 86. OK then. That's what I call encouraging. Here's a bit of his story: Fauja Singh

And now, heeeeere's Lauren...

Just as suspected this weekend didn't include any real working out... I did fake workouts instead. There was a lot of floating around in the water, trying not to drown takes some energy. I used a tiny bit of my muscle power to help dock the boat a couple times, that is at least two solid minutes of engaging my core and arms. I walked some, had to sit up every once in awhile to grab another cool beverage or snack and occasionally I would be jumped on and asked to taxi people from one boat to the other, extreme core balance. Basically it was a really difficult weekend as far as fake workouts go. And even though I was exhausted from being in the sun for 15+ hours this weekend I did not miss a beat come Monday.

August 6th: 
After work, even though I still felt as though I was floating among the waves on Lake Washington I went to a boot camp class. It may have been the hardest class yet because the room was about 95 degrees and I was mostly using eight pound weights instead of my usual three. By the end of it every person in the class looked like they had just oiled up for a photo shoot. Clearly it just means we (myself included) were all working very hard! 

August 7th - 26 days to go
This morning I got up to to go the 6am class. With the workout room still stiflingly and the stiffness from yesterday's workout setting in I managed to push through a gruesome workout. I think I must have done at least 100 squats while pressing my eight pound weights in the air, 15 minutes of solid planking and enough push-ups to make my arms feel like jello. I will be surprised if I can move tomorrow. This evening just so my body doesn't totally shut down I think I am heading out on short hike, nothing to strenuous, but I think it helps with the pain and tightness when I do an easy evening workout. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guest Blogger - the Beautiful Miss Lauren

August 3rd - 28 days to go
Friday Friday Friday! Yippee, the weekend has finally arrived. I am physically exhausted, four days of pretty intense/different workouts has been brutal on my body. Now that I am not just running I notice there are a whole bunch of muscles I haven't been using... weird! Along with trying new workouts I have also decided I am not going to drink alcoholic beverages on "school nights". And not that I need it, but I'm 26, it's the summer and a nice cool vodka drink after work is pretty lovely. My reasoning for giving it up is that I really want to focus on my training; getting enough rest, feeling up to my early morning workouts and cutting out unneeded calories. It's not the hardest thing I've ever done, but I won't lie, it's not the easiest either. 

Today's workout: 6am boot camp class, we did a circuit work today, a bunch of things that I don't know the name of, but I am sore. Did a few stair sprints after work and a short walk. 

This weekend I don't have any workouts planned. It's Seafair here in Seattle, which means less land more water. Maybe I'll get some swimming in? 


PS from Kim - Did a 3.36 mile figure 8 loop run this morning. My time is good, my strength is pretty good, and the dogs ran away from the sonic dog repeller. WooHoo! A trip to the farmers market afterward gave us a big basket of wonderful things to play with in the kitchen later. I'm really super-concentrating on the right fuel these last few weeks, and I have to tell Rick to just not buy those "crack chips" anymore... You know the ones - organic sea salt and black pepper potato chips. I have no control over myself around those things. But here's some good news. I got on the scale this morning, and for the first time in my driving life, my driver's license says I weigh more than I actually do. Now that feels good.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Daily Check-in from Guest Blogger - Lauren Miles

August 2nd - 29 days to go
I've been a little more stressed about life than usual this week, so focusing on my workouts has been a real big help. Not only does it give me something to do, but it makes me push a little bit harder. Today I had planned to go to hot yoga with a friend, but as we all know life happens and we didn't make it. Now I know, I KNOW, I could have gone alone, but I didn't... I've never done it before and I wanted someone to hold my hand... sue me. BUT prior to finding out we wouldn't make yoga I had already decided I should do a short run, so I did.
2.2 miles - 21 minutes, my muscles were burning from the boot camp class, my legs felt like cement and my abs were on fire. At the end of my work out I was complimented on my outfit, all that pain... totally worth it. 

Tomorrow, another 6:00am boot camp... YIKES! 

PS from Kim - I ordered a sonic dog repeller gadget yesterday, hoping I can scare off the mean dogs without hurting them. Also ordered pepper spray as a backup. I don't want to use it, but I want a dog bite even less. And - Go Lauren Go! I'm really proud of you!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Those Beautiful Spring Rolls

Last weekend I went to a friend's open studio, and thought I'd take along a little treat for the food table. I made these lovely spring rolls, which were devoured in no time. Fortunately I thought to take a picture of them before we left the house. I posted it on my Facebook page, and people are going crazy for it over there. Lots of new fans. Very cool.

I'm getting a lot of requests for the recipe, and while I want to oblige, I can only give you part of it. I don't mean to be all weird and mysterious, but I kind of have to. I learned this really wonderful technique for making the spring rolls from Mark Reinfeld of Vegan Fusion. He specifically asked that we not share the technique online, and I have to respect that. But assuming that many of you already have your own way of making spring rolls, I can tell you what's inside of these. If you don't know how to roll up a spring roll, there are lots of YouTube videos on how to do it. I've watched a lot of them, and I really do know a better way, which I hope I'll get permission to share with you at some point. For now, here's all you get!

Spring Roll Filling
(in order of placement - all vegetables are raw)

white sesame seeds - down the center of the wrap
chopped lettuce - over the sesame seeds
grated carrots - over the lettuce
zucchini "noodles" - made on a Spiralizer - everything from here is placed for easy rolling
Buddha Belly Sauce - just a little over the zucchini
red bell pepper

Roll it up, slice in half at a slight diagonal, and garnish with black sesame seeds and asparagus. Serve with extra sauce for dipping if it won't be to messy.
Enjoy, and see you on Facebook!

Guest Blogger - the Beautiful Miss Lauren

As I've said, I'm running the Disneyland Half Marathon with my daughter Lauren. We were blogging together for a while, but she got busy and we haven't heard from her in a while. I'm happy to have her back!  ~Kim~

August 1st - 30 days to go

Okay people I am back! Between training, life and generally being super cool I didn't have enough time to write. But now, as the half marathon nears I think it's a good idea once again to write about my training. I am motivated and driven to get all I can out of these next few weeks. Between my positive attitude, drive to succeed and support from friends and family I am getting so excited for this event to finally be here!
So here's what I did...
6:00am - Boot Camp Workout: I have never done a class like this before. It was a good work out, working parts of my body that I have been neglecting. I liked it.
5:00pm - 2.6 mile run: Short run, didn't push too hard, really had no intention of a double workout day, but it was pretty outside and I felt like my muscles needed a little run.

Vegan Running Update

Another Thursday, another Long Run. Only a month till the race, which for those of you who are new here is the half marathon at Disneyland on Labor Day Weekend. I know, it sounds kind of wimpy to all the "real runners" out there, but considering it's my first race ever, and I was never any kind of runner or athlete of any kind before, and the little fact that I'm 55 years old... well, I think Disneyland is just the right choice. And the best part is, I'm running with my daughter. That's the cherry on top of the Coconut Bliss sundae.

I headed out just before 6:00 this morning, all decked out in the new shirt I had made for race day. It has my blog address on the back. I thought I might as well be my own billboard, rather than somebody else's.

The hummingbirds were already buzzing my head as I stepped out the door, and the big full moon was still in the sky. It was the perfect Taos morning, nice and cool, and just right for running.

I tried a new version of the neighborhood loop I've been working with, and it went pretty well. There's no getting around the fact that there are way more hills around here than I need for this particular event. Sometime it feels more like I'm training for an ultra rather than a little old urban half marathon. But I'm hoping that because this is so darn hard sometimes, it's making me tougher than I'll actually need to be on race day.

A few hills aside, it's not all moonlight and hummingbirds though. Loose dogs are still a big issue. At mile 10, two snarly, mean ones ambushed me from under a fence, and scared the hell out of me. Fortunately they didn't bite me, but my stomach did a flip-flop, my insides turned to jelly, and after I was done yelling at the dogs, the owner (who was nowhere in sight, or probably earshot), and the neighborhood barbarians in general, I slumped into a walk and just cried for 5 minutes. Terror on top of exhaustion just don't mix well. I hate to do it, but I'm getting some kind of doggy deterrent spray. Enough of this.

After my little tantrum, I got back to my running pace of 2 minutes running to 30 seconds walking - the hardest pace I've attempted so far, and probably as hard as I'll go. I made it back home after 11.27 miles, and sat down and cried again. Yeah, I cried like a girl, and I'm OK with that. Sometimes we all need a little bath from the inside out.

Nobody said this was going to be easy. Nobody even said I was going to be able to do it. But after all the drama, I really believe I can do it, and I'm sure not going to give up at this point. I'm spending the rest of today drinking lots of water and coconut water, eating my beloved grains, greens, and beans, and perfecting the Power Cookies I plan to take along as fuel for the race. I'll have that recipe for you soon, along with some others I've been meaning to get to. Soon. Really soon. I promise.