Sunday, August 23, 2009


Thanks for dropping by. I moved! Hope you keep running (and resting) with me! :D

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rested Knees and Dough Kneading

Thursday was a rest day for me and with the evening wide open without a run, I decided to make bread. Inspired by Sagan's post, I thought it was time to face my fears of yeast, kneading, and dough rising. My first attempt last night resulted to rock hard bread due to my carelessness in reading oven settings. :P I was determined though so I found another recipe for kids so that even a first timer like me wouldn't go wrong. List of ingredients was short: flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water. I actually had fun kneading and bashing the dough. While the dough rested, I was too excited to focus on my book and couldn't wait to see how my first risen dough would turn out. After two hours, I became a believer. I saw it with my own eyes - Dough does rise. Haha. A revelation for a quick bread lover that I am. :P Less than 30 minutes after, I had freshly baked babies.

{Fresh Plaids}
I have a couple questions for the more seasoned baker readers. Kindly fill me in on these things. Thanks! :D
- If a recipe calls to let the dough rest for 2 hours, would it make a difference if I let it rest for an extra couple hours? Will it still be okay to let the dough rest overnight?
- At what point does one add the spices, herbs, nuts, etc. to the dough? How about toppings? I added the sesame seeds just before baking but they didn't stick to the bread very well.

{Sesame Spill}
While this may only be the lazy version of Sarah's breakfast challenge, eating bread that I personally made from scratch put a smile on my breakfast face. Being the balanced person that I'd like to think I am, I had one slice with fig jam and another with whole grain mustard and avocado this morning. One sweet, the other tangy.

Weekend is just around the corner! I've got a long run, a barbeque party, and grocery shopping to look forward to. What do you have in store for the weekend?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Half Marathon Training: Go!

Forgive the nerdy runner in me but I thought I should post how my training is going. Not only will it serve as a monitoring tool for my progress (regress?) but hopefully will also make me accountable to you all. :P Plus, some tips and comments are most welcome.

Here's how Week01 went:
{HMT Week01}
Along with that spreadsheet, I also posted my weekly run calendar in my wall. Crossing each day's workout with my pink highlighter gives me much satisfaction, yeah! I may be guilty of over-analyzing but I write more details there such as: running shoes used, with or w/o music, suspected cause of tummy trouble, etc. Last week's runs were all sans music while this week I'll be strapping the shuffle. Do you run faster with or without music?

Another thing that I observed was that my legs hurt more when I'm walking or standing. During the two non-running days, I felt tightness on my legs when we went walking and shopping. These two days were after four running days so maybe that's the reason. My weekly run plan is supposed to follow a 3(day)run-1rest-2run-1nonrun pattern but I had to adjust. Another possible culprit is that I haven't iced my knees/shins after any of the runs last week. Hopefully, Week02 won't be as busy so I can stick with the 3-1-2-1 pattern. Also, I shall make it a point to ice after every run this week.

The past week was abnormally hectic and I had to say no to half of the social activities. I feel a bit guilty not hanging out with friends more and choosing to run. But it would be worse if I went but my mind was lost in thoughts such as: "By this time, I would have been at mile02/at the last mile/stretching/etc." Yeah, I love running. :D I'd say this week was balanced - went on staycation, had great times with friends, and still managed to cross HMTraining Week01 with a big pink DONE! Happy running!

Update: Karena has a giveaway to celebrate her 100th blog post! She's giving away items every runner would want - socks, gels, Luna Moons, headphones, and Nuun. Go!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Staycation Highlights

{Yuriko Sensei's rare smile was a surprise when I saw this pic.}
Wearing yukata (summer kimono) at amusement/theme parks is normal practice during summer. It was a fun experience when we spent Friday evening in the park to watch fireworks and just hang out. While we had to follow school rules, it sure was a lot more relaxed since we were on staycation. Food was still delicious and I enjoyed helping out at the kitchen. As always, miso soup, tea, and pickled veggies were always served with our meals. Love Love Love Japanese homecooking. :D

The school principal treated us to lunch at an eat-all-you-can yakiniku place. Check out my eats. I started with sushi, asparagus, pineapple, pasta salad, brocolli, and peaches.
{Salad and Sushi}
While the principal grilled beef, I used my grill space for satsuma imo (sweet potatoes), kabocha, and squid steak. I think I amused him when I also threw in some of the peaches and pineapple in the grill. :P
{Lower Half of the Grill: Kabocha, SweetPs, Squid Steak, PApple, Peaches}
Second tray. Grapefruit, orange, onion, and more kabocha. A scoop each of chocolate and matcha ice cream. There were tons of flavors to choose from but I had my heart on these two flavas from the very start. :D A bowl of cold udon on shiso flavored sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds. Last saucer contains a takoyaki, slice of omelette, and nimono (stewed carrots, renkon, and daikon).
{MORE Kabocha, Fruits, Choc&Matcha Ice Cream, Udon, Takoyaki, Omu, Nimono}
We chose half of the pastry selection for sharing. Here are my six bites of sweet heaven: plain cheesecake, strawberry cc, mango cc, chocolate cake, angel cake, and strawberry shortcake. PLUS, edamame! :D
{Cake and Edamame}
Do you think I overindulged? Personally, I think I handled this buffet well. I skipped the fried rice, curries, fried potatoes, fried chicken, yakisoba, spaghetti, salad dressings, and a lot of the high calorie items. While everybody else grilled meat, I was very much satisfied and comfortable grilling my kabocha and onions. My fave pick for this buffet was the chilled asparagus. The last buffet I went to, my fave was wakame salad in ponzu sauce. Haha. :D It must be the heat.

How do you handle buffets? Do you choose your fave dishes or do you like getting a bite of everything? If I had it my way, I wouldn't go to an eat-all-you-can restaurant. For me, the amount of available food choices is just not normal. One needs to exert more restraint compared to when one simply orders what s/he wants from a menu.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back To School Staycation

Before starting work at a Japanese company, I took Nihongo and Japanese culture classes at an international school for 3 months. Living at the dorm, I had to comply with strict rules and schedules. We woke up before 6am, cleaned, exercised, then had breakfast at 7. We had classes the entire day with an hour break for lunch. Dinner was served at granny o'clock (6pm), bath at 7, and lights out by 10. Another rule that I found shocking there was that students weren't aloud to eat while walking in campus!

Being invited to stay at the school for four days at Week01 of my HMTraining, I immediately made adjustments with my run sked. I can still fit in runs for Days 1 (before I leave) and 4 (when I get back). For the two full days that I'm at the school, adjustments are necessary. I'm not sure about the activities planned for this staycation. I don't have as much freedom with time though, that's for sure.
I'm looking forward to homecooked Japanese meals, though! :D A fun thing about the school is that we get to help with the food preparation, table setting, and cleaning.

I have already found a route for a short 3 miler. The problem would be if I can find the time to sneak in even a short run. If this was a regular vacation, that wouldn't be a problem at all. Like I said earlier, the school HAS RULES and I just have to find a way to bend them. :P

{Lake Run (I hope!)}
If I can't squeeze a run in those two days, I still have my Rest Day card for the week and power yoga instead. The TV room was always empty when I was there so hopefully I'll be able to use that as my personal yoga room. :)

What would you do if you had a couple extra hours added to your day? I'd choose to sleep or to run. Dear runners, how do you keep with your training schedule while on vacation? Happy Hump Day y'all! :D

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lake Night Rest and Early Morning Run

My official training has started today and I'm glad to report that my 3 mile easy run for the day is DONE. Yey! Some of you suggested for me to get more mileage on the next four weeks but I decided to start with the training plan instead. It's my first time using a program and I was worried with how I would respond to following scheduled runs as compared to running whenever I felt like it. I figured I should start now and see how it goes so that I could have more time to make adjustments if needed. Obviously, it's still too early to tell if I like sticking with a plan. Waking up today knowing that I had a 3 mile run per schedule was enough motivation for me to lace up and hit the road though. I wore the Mizunos for their second run and I'm loving them. They now have 8 miles shaved off their running life. :P The Asics have yet to be tested sometime this week. Now, I'm including shoe details on my training log to also keep track of each pair's mileage.

Backing up to the weekend that was, Saturday was spent by the lake with friends and their kids. Naomi was so full of energy the entire day. She tried to learn how to use her mom's camera but gave up after 2 seconds.

{Never too young (or old) to learn something new!}

She also played by the lakeside under the watchful eye of K, entertained us with her funny dancing, and ran around while waiting for the sun go down.

{Oh to be a kid again!}

We got to the lake a couple hours before the fireworks so we had plenty of time to kill. Onigiri (rice balls), cold tea, and chips were passed around along with fun conversation. When I asked Jacob (whose 6th birthday it was that day!) what he misses most about the US, I got an honest and funny answer: STUFFED CRUST PIZZAS! He asked why in the world don't Japan and Canada have them?! Don't they really have those in Canada? We have those back in the Philippines so I thought it was available everywhere. Then it was time for fireworks.

{Lake Pic Before Battery Fail}

My battery died on me so that's all I got to show for you. :D The show was better than I expected. It went on for an hour and there were a lot of oohs and aahs from the crowd. Whenever everybody thought it was the finale, we would clap in appreciation but the show went on with more surprises. It was a great night.

Sunday was more laid back: reading, veggie shopping, dropping by friends' place and later walking in the park. I got home and baked brownies for this week's running fuel. :P They worked on this morning's run. :D Even if its hot hot hot, that didn't stop me from making Thai Green Curry. Yeah, it came from a can but all these fresh veg more than made up for health points, right? Carrots, eggplant, goya, kabocha, and soy beans - it was an explosion of flava! The curry had 4.5 chili points and boy was it HOT! I love the creamy coconut milk and sharp taste of lemon grass .

{Veggie Thai Green Curry on Rice Penne}

To balance the heat, this simple and quick salad was just the right side dish. Mushed tofu mixed with wholegrain mustard made a creamy sauce for some organic cucumbers bought from the road stand. Not too pretty but definitely refreshingly good.

{Cool as Cukes}

I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I hope it wasn't as hot and humid as it was here! Stay cool and happy Monday!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Double Eight and Honest Ten

I love 8's, today's 8/8 and I'm feeling extra great! It's the weekend and exactly two months before the 8th of October - my 26th birthday. Yahoo! :D It's never too early to get excited about one's special day, right? Right! This morning, I woke up at 6 and the sun was already beating down hard so no run for me. Instead I did some yoga and after an hour or so started my weekend eats with porky pancakes. Using whole wheat flour for the first time, I was quite worried how it will turn out but the results were so good I ate two right after they came off the pan and decided to bake the rest of the batter into my fave - whole wheat banana bread. Are you sick of reading about my banana breads yet? I can't help it! I just love them. Haha.

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant. This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who oftentimes put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul.

Awww, Katharina is a real sweetheart and passed me this award. Thank you! So I'm supposed to list 10 honest things about myself. Well, here goes nothing:

1. I love that I am able to amuse/entertain myself with whatever way I can. While I enjoy spending time with others, I am perfectly comfortable being on my own. There's the tv, internet, running, cooking, and reading to keep me busy. Other times, I play with my camera and whatever catches my fancy. Salt and pepper shakers were two of my first subjects when I first got my camera.

{Salt&Pepper Wedding}

2. My family and I are fortunate enough to be able to afford balanced meals everyday. I often write about my obsession with fruits and vegetables and you may get the impression that everybody eats the same way as I do back in the Philippines. It's sad to admit though that malnutrition is a huge health concern in my country where about 28 million Filipinos are unable to buy food to meet their nutritional requirements and other basic needs.

3. Issues (such as the one mentioned above) and current events (from Mischa's meltdown to wars) sometimes seem too distant or too huge for me to comprehend that I feel nothing but apathy. It's been said that being indifferent is the worst state and I hate that my apathy stems from feeling like I can't help the situation at all.

4. They say (Who are
they anyway?) that one may choose to live life whatever way s/he wants. Only rule is not to hurt others while living your own life. I'm guilty of this attitude sometimes (read item 3) but I'm working on not only loving myself but loving others as well. I know I love my family and friends to death but I have to work on being a better person for other people as well.

5. Maybe items 3 and 4 are the reasons why I'm still single? Haha! Is it really too much to ask for somebody just like my Dad for a boyfriend - handsome, humble, smart, and funny?

6. While I don't care much for makeup, I take the time to prettify photographs. Since I forgot to snap a picture of my breakfast, I took a pic of my pan. Here's why I called them porky pancakes. I wish I could send a pan to each one of you; I really do!

{Unwashed Porky Pancake Pan: Haha, how very classy!}

7. Sorry, TMI but I like getting sweaty. After a run, I relish the moment when I'm doing my stretches and the sweat just pours out from my uhmmm, pores. It feels so cleansing. Makes the shower feel 13,453 times more refreshing! Don't worry; I drink more than enough water throughout the day and after a workout for optimum hydration. :P

8. I don't get contented easily. Don't we all? I feel like my writing, pictures, running, and many other things are so so. Compliments are reassuring but then I'd always find faults and imperfections. It can be seen in a positive light though - a passion for continuous improvement maybe?

9. I can never follow a recipe to the letter. :s I improvise and experiment with my cooking after taking inspiration from others. Oh yeah, Julia - here's the recipe for the kinako banana bread. For everybody else who can't read Nihongo - it's basically mixing bananas with store bought pancake mix (bonus points for honesty)! :D Since I just have to mess with every recipe, I nixed the sugar and doubled the banana. Then I added kinako since I'm addicted to it. Here's my freshly baked BBread from today's breakfast leftover batter (without kinako) which was so moist. It was a good thing I added a bit of water since I read that WW flour absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour.

{Whole Wheat Banana Bread}

10. PB used to be my crack but when I moved to Japan (where food is the best but lacking in PB awesomeness), I found a worthy replacement in kinako. It's toasted soy bean flour and is used in Japanese traditional sweets. Everything kinako flavored, I tried it - mochi, Kitkat, donuts, ice cream, soy milk (soy overload much?), everything. But the best way for me is to eat a spoonful straight from the bag. Haha!

{KinakoDonut by MisDo: Check out their mouth watering summer goodies!}

I'm going against the rule and not tagging 7 fellow bloggers but I'd love to hear about a random fact or two about yourself at the comments! :D I'm off to watch fireworks tonight, still no plans for tomorrow, and half marathon training starts next week! Eeep! Enjoy your weekend, dolls!