Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hallo Weenie


Last weekend was pumpkin carving weekend in the Kocher/DiLiberto household. 

Someone got a little more than he bargained for with his snot rockets. 

Hands down, the best part of carving pumpkins is roasting the pumpkins seeds.

Once roasted, the seeds mysteriously disappeared during an episode of the Wonder Years on Netflix. It must have been Buck.

That's a guilty face if I ever saw one. 

Although, it might have been this guy

Although, that might be considered cannibalism.

This year's jack-o-lantern dons an expression that Brandon and I lovingly call "the Lessman". Otherwise known as the inebriated, raised eyebrow, "let me tell you how it is..." look while struggling to keep both eyes open at the same time. 

I'd be a cannibal too, if I had pumpkin seeds for organs. 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
what you'll need:
  • pumpkin seeds (as many as you get out of your jack-o)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder


  • preheat oven to 400 deg(F)
  • wash and season pumpkin seeds with salt, pepper, garlic and onion
  • spray cookie sheet with oil or cooking spray
  • roast seeds for 12-15 minutes

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Love You A Latte

I'm not usually a big latte drinker. Starbucks is probably my least favorite place.

In fact, most of you would scoff at my coffee drinking habits....I drink decaf. There, I said it.

Still, I couldn't help but notice all of the pumpkin spice latte hashtags that have been popping up in the Twitterverse. "It's not fall until I have a #pumpkinspicelatte"

Yep, I'm looking at you. You know who you are.

I'm not going to jump on the Starbucks bandwagon anytime soon, but I can g
et behind making my own pumpkin spice lattes! The other day, Mama Pea inspired me to do just that.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Serves 2

  • 2 cups-o-joe
  • ½ cup milk of your choice
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

  1. prepare your coffee however you wish. I use decaf french roast made in a french press.
  2. put the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds
  3. fill two coffee mugs, each about ¾ full with coffee, then add about half of the milk mixture into each cup. enjoy the taste of fall!
The flavor of the latte is all based on what you add to the milk before blending it. You could try:

  • Mexican Hot Chocolate: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Peppermint Pattie: 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • Fallatte: 2 tbsp mashed sweet potato, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon

Friday, October 21, 2011

DIY Hand Soap

How much do you pay for hand soap? $2-$3 per bottle?

At this point, you guys know that I'm a fan of making my own anything rather than buying it. Here's another money $aver: homemade liquid hand soap.

While we're at it, let me briefly get on my soap box (pun intended) and say that it's also an environmentally friendly make-your-own. Buying less soap = throwing away less plastic. Duh, winning.

All you really need to do this is a bar of soap and some water.

Now, I'd like to tell you to buy local. Get the bar soap that is all natural. Avoid soaps with ingredients that you can't pronounce (much like your food!)


know, when you do that, it's going to cost a bit more. If you're like me and and are a bit skeptical about making your own soap, then start with some cheap-o-deluxe bar soap. I got mine at Target at $1.15 for a three pack.

Here's the run down...

  1. grate your soap bar in a cheese grater
  2. measure 1 cup of grated soap for every 3 cups of water you use
  3. mix soap and water and a saucepan and heat over medium heat until soap is dissolved in water. be sure not to let the soap/water boil over...that spells a messy (clean???) disaster. 
  4. let the soap/water cool before putting it into your soap dispensers
I was actually pretty surprised with the outcome. My homemade soap filled up 2 soap dispensers with about 1 cup to spare. So I essentially turned one bar of soap into 3 bottles of hand soap bringing my total per container to grand total of:


So, let's recap: 
  • I'm keeping my plastic soap dispensers out of a landfill
  • I'm paying a fraction of the price that I would for a new dispenser full of hand soap
  • Thus far (and I've been using these for about two weeks) my home made liquid soap is still liquid and works just as well as any soap I would have bought at the store
I mean, even if I had bought a more expensive soap, it would have been worth it. Next time I'm going all out...I am going to stock up on bar soap from Trader Joe's!! 

How do you save money on household cleaning products? 

Homebrew Review

Name: Imperial Nut Brown
ABV: 6.75% - 7.75%
IBU's: 47-50

  • 6.6 lb Amber LME
  • 2 lb Amber DME
  • 2 oz. Maltodextrin
  • 4 oz. Caramel 80L (specialty grains - so are the next two ingredients)
  • 4 oz. Chocolate
  • 8 oz. Victory
  • 1 oz. bittering hops
  • 1 oz. flavoring hops
  • 1 oz. aroma hops
  • Safale S-04 yeast
Package Description: A rich, complex high-gravity specialty ale. It's a full bodied brew with plenty of hop character to balance this Imperial-style Brown Ale. The slight caramel and chocolate flavors are followed by a nutty aftertaste.

My take on it: This one is a much heavier beer than my last homebrew. I like it a lot actually, from a boldness perspective. This is the kind of beer that I'd like to have on a cold Sunday morning with breakfast - because it's not overly bitter. I actually kind of want it to be a tiny bit less sweet, but I am wondering if that has to do with the fermentation time? Generally, when our kombucha comes out too sweet, it means it needed a little extra time to ferment. I am happy with the carbonation too! I am always amazed when I pour one of our homebrews into a glass and I see foam at the me that means, "whoa! I actually made beer!"

Next up: Brewer's Best IPA

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Calcium Power

One huge take away from my biomed classes in college was that calcium is a super element. You pretty much need calcium to get your body to do anything productive. For runners, the obvious motivation to get enough calcium in our diet is our bones.

Let me give you a bit of background - your bones are basically your body’s calcium storage units. When the metabolic processes in your body are lacking calcium, it take it from the bones. When the bones are lacking calcium, bone loss occurs and they become very brittle and are more prone to fractures.

Fractures often mean not running (gasp!)

So, it’s super important as a runner, that I’m getting enough calcium in my diet, but even more so because I’m a female.

fun fact: astronauts in orbit often lose bone density faster than a post-menopausal female.

Female athletes are often also at risk for losing their period, which translates to a low level of hormones that play a role in bone density. TMI? Sorry guys, this is important stuff. That’s why, it’s even more important for runners of the female variety to make sure they are getting enough calcium. Those with no, or an irregular period should be getting about 1700 mg per day of calcium (source). Here’s a fun comparison of daily calcium needs:

WHOA! 7 glasses of milk a day? I sure as shit can’t manage that!

So, here are some other ways for you to get more calcium in your diet from natural, whole food sources (source)

  • leafy green vegetables, 40-240mg per cup depending on what type of veggie
  • figs (uncooked), 300 mg per cup
  • almonds, 80 mg per ounce
  • salmon, 170-210 mg per 3 ounce serving
  • canned sardines, 370 mg per 3 ounce serving
  • blackstrap molasses, 135 mg per tablespoon
  • sesame seeds, 280 mg per ounce
  • tempeh, 75 mg per half cup
  • yogurt, 450 mg per cup
  • amaranth, 135 mg per half cup

Then, there is always calcium supplements and calcium enriched foods. There are also some other things to consider

  • vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium, and vitamin D is a fat soluble molecule - so if you take a calcium and vitamin D supplement, take them with a fatty meal for the best absorption
  • a very high intake of sodium, caffeine or protein can cause an increase in the urinary excretion of calcium (a.k.a. you pee out a lot of calcium) (source)
  • certain types of fiber can interfere with calcium absorption by binding to the calcium molecules and sweeping them right through the intestines

I know it’s a lot of things to think about, but try to think about how easy drinking one extra glass of milk or eating a handful of almonds per day would be. A lot of our training is accomplished out there on the road, but equally important is what we put into our bodies.

Got Calcium?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Best. Idea. EVER.

I have to hand this one to Crystal for her post on Friday, about using beer in your pancakes in honor of Cleveland Beer Week. Since reading her post last week, I had been absolutely dying to try it out.

Basically her instructions were replace the liquid in your pancake recipe with your favorite type of beer. She claimed that it would make your 'cakes fluffy and awesome.

Easy enough, right? Well, I typically suck at making pancakes. It might take more than just a beer to make my pancakes edible. More like a few shots of whiskey.

I found a very basic pancakes recipe, made a few substitutions and voila! Vegan Pumpkin Beercakes. (Well, it's vegan to me. I know they make specifically vegan beer, which I didn't use, but from what I know about the beermaking process, beer should always be vegan unless there are some unknown additives made from animal products.)

When I first tasted the batter, I got worried. It tasted like BEER (I know, shocking.) Seriously though, it was super bitter and I was really worried that I wasn't going to like the end product.

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. The pancakes were fluffy, as promised, and DELICIOUS. Topped with a little apple butter and some Ohio maple syrup, I was pretty much in pancake heaven.

Breakfast. Reeeeeeemixed.

pumpkin beercakes
serves 4
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour (or all-purpose)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups beer (I used Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale)
  • 1 flax egg
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder,  and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, flax egg, maple syrup and pumpkin puree; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Secret to Taking Great Race Photos

I'm pretty impressed with myself. The last few races I've run (minus the CLE marathon) I've ended up with some a.w.e.s.o.m.e. race photos.


I also have some pretty terrible ones.

I look like I am dying. 

And yes, I am wearing the same clothes in both of those pictures...but they're not the same race. 

Still, I actually have more awesome pictures than not awesome pictures.

So what is my secret? You ask. 

I'll tell you, but you have to keep this between us. Because not everyone knows the secret. Case in point:

My secret to taking GREAT race photos is.......

know where the cameras are

Alllriiighht, you are all going "well, that was pretty anti-climactic".

I'm seriously though, if you can locate the cameras, you can make sure you look good when you check in on your race photos a few days later. Trust me, it's worth it. Not only that, but camera-watching might help keep your mind off a particularly tough race. 

It's win-win. 

Do you take great race pictures or awful ones? Do you have any tips for taking good pictures?

Happy Smiling!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's in Season? Pumpkins!

Alright alright, I'm a little late on this...but here's the October edition of {drumroll, please...}

What's in Season!?!?!?


This is my big Halloween carving pumpkin for the year:

This is my little cooking pumpkin:

So, let's talk p.u.m.p.k.i.n.s.

One of my favorite things to do with pumpkin puree is substitute for butter in a recipe. That's a pretty easy way to make a recipe vegan and add a little taste of fall.

If you feel like getting a little more DIY and rustic this year, it's pretty easy to make your own pumpkin puree rather than buying a few cans of it. Here's how:

1. Cut a pie pumpkin in half (it's best to use a pumpkin carving knife for this - I do it for all my squash, because cutting a butternut squash with a regular knife is a pain in the A)

2. Pull out all of the seeds and the pumpkinnards. Compost them if you don't want to roast the seeds. But you really should roast the seeds.

3. Oil a cookie sheet and put the pumpkin halves, cut side down, onto the sheet. With your oven on 350 deg(F), let your pumpkin cook for about 45 minutes - or until you can pierce the skin with a fork pretty easily.

4. When the pun'kin is cool, scoop out the insides and put them into a blend or food processor with a bit of water (I think I ended up using about half a cup - but use your judgement on this one).

5. Blend until the pumpkin is the consistency you want. You can use the puree in any recipe or freeze it until you need it!

Remember, this is an interactive series of posts! I want to hear what you are doing with those pumpkins!! Here's how you can contribute:

  1. in the comments section, tell me and other PL&B readers what you like to do with pumpkins
  2. post a picture on the Peace, Love & Bagels facebook page of a dish you used pumpkin in
  3. mention @peaclovebagels in a tweet about how you use pumpkins
  4. add a picture or discussion topic to the What's In Season? Flickr group
  5. leave a recipe in any of the above forums

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Race Recap: Towpath Half Marathon

People! Kali's out of town because she ran the Chicago Marathon on, go check out my guest post today over at Finishing Firsts about yin yoga for runners
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If the Cleveland Marathon was a 10 on the pre-race anxiety scale, this race was a 1.

And I like 1's a lot better!

Not gonna lie, I left work on Friday feeling like, I should be more nervous or more prepared for this race...but oh well! (Or "swaha" as my yoga teacher would say)

You know what? We did A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

I ended up running my second fasted half ever, and Brandon PRed! 

(for those of you with bad eye-sight, like me)

Seriously, people, it was birthday weekend. I gorged on sugary sweets and one too many glasses of red wine on Friday night. I guess that's how I should do it every time. 

Actually, I'm the most happy with how the race went because I didn't commit to a training schedule. I ran a couple times a week and a few races and probably one or two long runs. Ha! Running was almost an afterthought actually.

What I did do was a lot of cross training: 
Yoga (loads of it)
Walking the pups (probably should have happened more often)

I honestly felt good the whole time. A little fatigued at the end, but it felt like we were cruising for the first 7 miles or so. We stopped for a few walk breaks to drink water, but overall had a really solid race.

This is a race that I would totally consider coming back to do the marathon next year (er...maybe in a few years). It's an awesomely flat course and it's beautiful! The towpath in the fall is probably my favorite time to run it.

Sunday's race also sealed the deal on half marathons for me - the half is far and away my favorite distance! My reasoning?
  • Training for a half doesn't take up your entire life like a full does (and in this particular case, it hardly took up any of my life, although I would have liked to get in a few more longer runs)
  • I feel much better running a half than a full. For some reason I ALWAYS die in the second half of a marathon. Maybe it's my training, or lack thereof, but I love being done after 13 miles. 
  • After I finish a half, I'm not burnt out from running. Usually I need a good solid break from running after a full marathon. Not so much with a half.
  • I honestly think I can PR a half. I'm not so confident in my ability to PR a marathon at this point.
That's not to say I'm not going to run full marathons. When the time comes and I'm ready again, I totally will. In the meantime, I'm going to keep on running and loving my half marathons. I know that I can keep up my half marathon endurance if I just keep on doing what I've been doing, and I absolutely love that.

What a great birthday weekend! Smiles all around!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Year 26: The Bucket List

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!

Just in case you were wondering who else I share my birthday with, these are some famous October 7th babies (in no particular order)

  • Rachel McAdams
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Thom Yorke
  • Toni Braxton
  • John Cougar Mellencamp
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Simon Cowell (iiiiinteresting)
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Evan Longoria
  • Desmond Tutu
  • Elijah Muhammed
Some of those are pretty awesome, and some are pretty not awesome.

Every year, I write a "bucket list" of sorts. Things that I want to practice/do/accomplish for the year to come. Each year, the list gets one item longer...last year there was 25 things on that list, this year - 26. Last year's went something like this (my comments are in blue italics):

Bucket List
Age 25
1. Spend time with my baby sister, face-to-face
2. Eat something new I've never had before
3. Full expression of Visvamitrasana (and maybe Hanumanasana?) MY full expression of these poses
4. See a game at Wrigley
5. Discover new wines
6. Run a great urban race/adventure race...OR another relay!
7. explore other types of hatha yoga and go to different studios
8. read more about yogic history/yogic texts
9. learn a new sport
10. Becca time, at least once a week...just rest debatable
11. reiki
12. massage school
13. run another marathon
14. compete in a sprint triathlon or longer bi/duathlon
15. plant a tree does it count if Brandon did it?
16. shovel snow
17. mow the lawn
19. make sure Brandon knows, everyday, how much I love and appreciate him
20. rock climbing (real or wall)
21. Run 2 "destination" races (races I've never run, or places I've never been!) gonna say I didn’t do this one, even though I ran several races in CLE that I’ve never run before
22. learn "where the boat leaves from" on my uke
23. make progress on our urban farm (not necessarily selling our own produce but do something that will help move us toward that goal)
24. blog more often (Becca, you have a LOT of recipes and thoughts to share with the world)
25. take more pictures

Not to shabby, right? I consider all but eight of those things achieved. What's up for me this year? Let's see...

Bucket List
Age 26
1. plan my wedding with the least amount of stress possible (by practicing santosha)
2. run a destination race
3. practice photography by taking pictures of EVERYTHING! and hopefully this will result in more blog posts
4. reconnect with a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while, and keep that connection open
5. practice finding peace in uncomfortable situations, by staying in them instead of running away from them
6. take a day off of work for no reason in particular
7. play an instrument once a month
8. be a part of brandon’s music; whether it’s recording, promoting, album art, hanging out at the studio, whatever it may be
9. see a game at wrigley field (yep, still on the list)
10. go to pittsburgh
11. make these cookie sandwiches again
12. get together with someone I haven’t seen in a while
13. try out a few restaurants in Cleveland that I haven’t been to
14. make up my own beer recipe
15. watch all THREE Star Wars movies (the old ones - a new hope, the empire strikes back, return of the jedi - love me some Han Solo)
16. Keep running OUTSIDE through the winter, even though I may not be training
17. keep our lemon tree alive through the winter
18. make a recipe from one of my cookbooks (NOT a blog/website) once a month
19. get my next tattoo
20. do a big filtering of everything in the basement
21. for every item of clothing I buy, donate two items
23. purchase (or acquire, pilfer, whatever) a food processor
24. make my own pasta (gluten free, perhaps)
25. PR in any distance that I have already run
26. be confident in expressing my beliefs and values (not that I’m not confident in them. This is specifically about standing up for myself at work - “do you really stand all day?” “I thought you were a vegetarian, why are you eating meat?” “Becca’s recycling paper again, I’m going to go burn 5 tires when I get home” - instead of just shrugging it off.)

Today, I'm going to celebrate my birthday with a schweddy balls ice cream cake, a glass of wine and a half marathon on Sunday! And just for fun, I'll leave you with a completely uncharacteristically unhealthy PL&B recipe: funfetti cookies!! As long as they're not an everyday cookie, I'm totally okay with an uber processed food recipe once in a while. Plus, funetti is delicious. 'Nuff said.

Funfetti Cookies
makes about 30 cookies

  • 1 package funfetti cake mix
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • preheat your oven to 375 deg(F) and cover cookie sheets with parchment
  • mix all the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed (you'll probably have one big ball of cookie dough)
  • roll about 1 tbsp of dough into 1" balls (haha, balls) and place them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet
  • place a small piece of parchment on top of a cookie dough ball and, using the bottom of a glass, press the cookie down until they are about a quarter inch thick (actually, I just pressed until the cookie was the same diameter of the glass...who can really tell if it's a quarter inch thick just by looking/feeling anyway?!)

  • bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. 
  • let cool on a cooling rack and en-freaking-joy! 

happy birthday to all those other October birthdays out there!!
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