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One of my favorite easy week night dates is the “Whole Foods Picnic”. Grabbing food to-go and heading to the park for a picnic is much cheaper (and healthier?) than eating out at a restaurant, and allows for a bit more conversation.

Usually I hit up the UWS Whole Foods since it’s closer to my apartment, but since I was coming from an event in midtown, Dan and I headed to Columbus Circle on Tuesday night and took our food down to Riverside Park. We enjoyed the scenery and nice cool river breeze with made the hot temps bearable.

I <3 Riverside Park

The only downside to date nights is when Dan’s alarm goes off at 5:15 am, since he gets into work around 7. Not so pleasant. I’m usually able to fall back asleep (or half-asleep) until my alarm goes off, but I was just not feeling it. On Wednesday morning around 5:45 am or so, I tweeted:

All the sudden, replies popped up!

It was like MAGIC! I had a longer run planned for the morning anyways since I am going away this weekend, so I was thrilled to have company. I <3 Twitter for reasons like this. I met up with Susan, Megan, Ali and Kelly for some easy miles, and ended up at 11 miles for the day with an average of around 8:00/mile. Perfect!

Tonight, I headed to Central Park for a CPTC workout. Only my second week of workouts back, I didn’t know what to expect from the 4-mile tempo run at half-marathon pace and wanted to go off feel. I aimed for 6:45-7:00 miles but got caught up with my group and ended up a bit faster than that. Whoops!

It was a tad longer than 4 miles, but an average pace of 6:25. YIKES! This was a pretty hard effort, particularly struggling in mile 3, but the workout was completed at my exact half-marathon pace so I suppose I nailed the task at hand.

I am trying to make an effort to not go too hard in these early weeks of training, as I’m building up my base and I want to have enough in me to rock workouts in later weeks. I suppose it’s a fine line I’m dealing with from not wanting to burn out or peak too early, to really pushing myself beyond where I’ve been to get to the next level.

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Backing it up to the weekend, I wanted to share some recipes I made this past weekend for “cooking club” with my friends. And, they’re healthy and delicious!

Kale Quinoa Goddess Salad

(based off Angela’s Weekend Glow Kale Salad)

  • Kale (I used 1 large bag from Trader Joe’s– removing the stems)
    • Tip from Angela: massage your dressing directly into the kale before adding other ingredients and let sit for about 15 minutes to absorb!
  • Quinoa (1 cup, cooked)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Chopped Zucchini
  • Walnuts
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Baby Tomatoes

Mix it all together, and top with your favorite dressing! I love Annie’s Goddess dressing, it goes perfectly with any vegetable and added a great flavor to the (kinda) bitter kale.

I have only tried to make kale chips, but I’ve never had it in a salad! I never knew what went well with it, until I saw Angela’s recipe and figured it’d be the perfect veggie-packed salad. It was so flavorful with the feta, the quinoa added a bit of substance and texture, and I love tomato and zucchini in anything.

Yum!

I also made dessert this weekend. I’m not going to share the exact recipe since I made some tweaks given what I had on hand and it didn’t turn out as well as I’d like. It was still good, but the original recipe looks and probably tastes better– so make this instead! Deep Dish Cookie Pie by Chocolate Covered Katie

Ready to go in the oven...

This recipe was appealing to me because it uses a secret ingredient: chickpeas! Coincidentally, I’ve had about 6 cans of chickpeas sitting around waiting to be used. This recipe called for 2 cans, so maybe I’ll be making a few more batches.

Everyone really enjoyed the taste of the cookie pie (which I cut into bars), and nobody could guess the secret ingredient! They agreed they tasted ‘healthified’ but not in a bad way. They were super gooey and chocolatey considering I used about double the amount of mini chocolate chips. Yum!

I am headed to my friend’s lake house this weekend, so running may be at a low but fun and drinking will be at a high and I can’t wait to get out of the city and enjoy the great outdoors :)

Have you tried any new recipes this week? What do you have planned for the weekend?