Every weekend should be three days long! For once in my life I can happily say that this weekend did indeed feel long and didn’t simply fly by in the blink of an eye. The start of every new month usually involves excessive complaining, but I adore September and couldn’t be more excited for it’s arrival.

FFTW Summer

(Link up to ‘Frames From The Weekend’! Read the official “rules” here.)

Unfortunately, I’m currently experiencing some major marathon training burnout so this weekend revolved primarily around resting in bed. I’m really bummed about this because I was doing so well up to this point!

Friday

{I spent Friday morning working in the downtown office, where I had the chance to meet up with a friend for coffee before heading home to finish off the workday. I picked up my favorite salad from Chop’t on the back and hungrily ate it for lunch with some burrata cheese (soooo delicious). As usual, Friday evening featured TV while snacking on an amazing popcorn combo – dark chocolate, honey, salt, and shredded coconut. I also bought a rug for my apartment (see photo above) but am still deciding on whether to keep it or not!}

Saturday

{I woke up at 6:30AM on Saturday and set out on my long run about an hour later. Thank goodness it was a cutback week because the 13 miles felt torturous! I refueled with coffee, a massive salad, and greek yogurt, and then spent the afternoon on my couch catching up with The Big Bang Theory. I felt exhausted all day but any napping attempts failed…probably because of the coffee. Regardless, I threw on a cute skirt with some comfy flats (no heels!) and met up with my friends in East Village for drinks and girl talk. My body protested the late night and I happily obliged by heading home at 1AM. Trust me, that’s early and unusual for this crazy chicka!}

Sunday

{I did my best to sleep in on Sunday but still woke up in a sleep-deprived state. I felt groggy and drained but still managed to take a walk outside, sneaking into T.J. Maxx and purchasing a comfy white top along the way. I came home and collapsed in a state of exhaustion, and it was then that I finally understood the extent to which running burnout was affecting my body. Because of this, I opted out of a trip to Williamsburg with friends and decided to stay in. My body truly needed a break from everything. I spent the entire day reading, eating (so much), and binge-watching Netflix. Netflix highlights = the Steve Jobs movie and Grey’s Anatomy, which I am now officially addicted to.}

Monday

{Labor Day was extraordinarily lazy. I *almost* stayed in all day but decided to embrace the fresh air, so I took a trip to the Upper West Side and stopped into both T.J. Maxx (yup again) and Whole Foods. I tried on what may be the most expensive dress I’ve ever worn just for fun (it was $600+ !) but walked away with some much cheaper goodies including running tops, essential oil, and a nice black shirt. My ultimate reward for making it outdoors was a huge cup of froyo with allthecandy from Yogurtland. And then I got sucked into Grey’s Anatomy the rest of the afternoon…}

food

{Food food food! I’m experiencing major marathon training hunger these days and have been feasting on nut butters and plenty of meat daily. Food highlights include: maca powder from T.J. Maxx, the best raw almond butter I’ve ever tried by Artisana, ground beef, plantain brownies, and a whole chicken.}

I’m excited for the short week ahead, especially because that means I’m a few days closer to vacation! September is shaping up to be a great month already.

What are your favorite TV shows?

Are you a fan of raw almond butter?

Have you experienced running hunger? It’s the worst!

♥ Irina

If you celebrated Valentine’s Day along the same lines I did, you’re probably craving some wholesome foods after a day (or weekend) of indulgences. Here’s a pretty-in-pink recipe I created on the actual “dreaded day” and it turned out to provide the perfect amount of nutrition without sacrificing taste. These festive cookies are packed with all those healthy ingredients you probably skipped out on recently.

Oatmeal Beet Breakfast Cookies

Oatmeal Beet Breakfast Cookies
(vegan)
Makes about 12 small cookies

Ingredients:
– 1 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
– ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped *
– ¼ cup hemp seeds **
– ¼ cup cacao nibs
– ¼ cup almond butter
– ¼ cup maple syrup
– 2 Tbs. coconut butter
– ¾ cup beet puree ***
– 1 ounce dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

* can replace with any chopped dried fruit: apricots, prunes, raisins, etc.
** can replace with any small seeds: chia, flax, sunflower, etc.
*** I made my own beet puree by blending boiled beets

Directions:
1.) Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (leaving out the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut butter, and beet puree) and mix well.

2.) Mix the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut butter, and beet puree in a small pot over low heat until combined.

3.) Stir the almond butter-beet mixture into the dry ingredients and carefully mix together until fully incorporated.

4.) Spoon small amounts of the cookie mixture onto a cookie sheet and top each cookie with one (or more) pieces of chocolate.

5.) Bake for 20 minutes until the cookies are firm to the touch and crispy on the bottom. Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

oatmeal beet breakfast cookies

Chow down on these for a guilt-free sweet breakfast, preferably with a side of coffee. Who doesn’t like dessert for breakfast, especially when melty chocolate is involved. Your body will thank you for nourishing it with true superfoods – beets, dark chocolate, hemp seeds, almond butter – the entire ingredient list!

oatmeal beet breakfast cookies

I grew up eating beets and so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for them. Much like buckwheat, beets are a staple in Russian cooking. Because of this, I’m naturally drawn to this magnificently colored vegetable. I constantly encourage skeptics to give beets a chance!

oatmeal beet breakfast cookies

The gorgeous magenta color will capture your attention and boost your mood from the moment you take the first bite. I hope you enjoy these cookies!

♥ Irina

On the very last day into Round 1, I knew my breakfast challenge would continue for another week. The exact same thought dominated my mind at the end of Round 2…and here’s what I ate for Round 3!

7 Day Bfast Challenge R3

My pancake craving came on again at the start of the week but I still managed to make some phenomenal meals later in the week.

DAY 1 – onesie buckwheat pancake topped with peanut butter and berries

onesie buckwheat pancake

DAY 2 – teff banana pancakes topped with peanut butter and berries

teff pancakes

DAY 3 – microwaved quinoa + carrot egg bake finished off with a dollop of yogurt + peanut butter

quinoa bake

DAY 4 – greek yogurt & chocolate chia pudding parfait with bananas & blueberries buried between the layers, and topped off with a strawberry/cacao nib mix

yogurt parfait

DAY 5 – baked prosciutto + avocado pita pizza with an eggy surprise stuffed inside

pita pizza

DAY 6 – veggie & chicken sausage omelette with a side of grapefruit

sausage omelette

DAY 7 – porridge (made from finely-ground raw oats) with almond butter & honey drizzled atop of fresh strawberries and kumquats

porridge

So I may have eaten pancakes two days in a row, but the grains I used to make them were very different so it counts, right? Let’s ignore the fact that the toppings both days were pretty much identical. My favorite breakfast by-far was the prosciutto “pizza”- I baked the egg right inside the pita pocket, and the combination of salty prosciutto with avocado was perfection.

Stay tuned – the recipe for the (incredibly simple) quinoa egg bake is coming to the blog later this week!

Do you prefer sweet or savory breakfasts?

♥ Irina

Privet! I’m in a jolly Russian-esque mood thanks to the Winter Olympics. In full disclosure – my eyes have been glued to the T.V. all weekend. This newly-installed cable in my apartment is both a blessing and a curse!

FFTW Winter

(Link up to ‘Frames From The Weekend’! Read the official “rules” here.)

food

{Fun food products: * chia seeds * sleepy time tea with Valerian by Traditional Medicinals (they make the best teas!) * organic almond butter * kumquats! * a drawer full of fruits…my current craving * }

cooking

{Of course I have to share some fun meals from the weekend! I’ve been craving carrots lately, and it’s gotten so extreme that I started buying those 4lb. bags of organic carrots. I’m slowly turning orange, but at least I don’t look as pale? This past weekend I roasted up the carrots (and cauliflower florets) for a fun twist. I also made some raspberry chocolates to satisfy a sugar craving. And you better believe I made more chocolate chia pudding! My two cooking/baking experiments over the weekend were one-pot whole wheat pasta and vegan plantain almond butter oatmeal cookies.}

running

{Sooo remember those Mizuno Wave Riders I bought last weekend? I gave them a whirl on the treadmill and absolutely hated them! #sorry…they completely tore apart my shins. I’m pretty sure the high 11mm offset was to blame – I’m used to a 4-6mm offset and my legs immediately felt the difference. I ended up exchanging them for the Saucony Cortana 3, but yikes were these shoes expensive! I tried them out on the treadmill last night and I’m in love. I just hope they feel equally great when running longer distances outdoors! My new foam roller finally came as well and I’ve been using it non-stop while watching the Olympics.}

I’m bracing for another busy workweek but I’ll be back in Chicago again in a few days! That’s right, I’m actually looking forward to flying back this time around…homesickness unexpectedly snuck up on me last week and a Chi-city visit is the only cure.

Who else thinks running shoes are insanely expensive? 

Do you rotate between different running shoes? If so, how many?

Have you been keeping up with the Olympics?

♥ Irina