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The boys and I are now self-hosted! Please update your readers and come visit us at blackcatkitchen.com.

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I seriously cannot say “chocolate milk has muscle,” without wanting to strike a bodybuilder pose.

Go ahead, laugh. I am.

I meant to add this to my 10k training update post, but … I forgot. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. In fact, I went to the grocery store this week to get chocolate milk – it was one of only TWO thins on my list – and I forgot it. And then almost forgot it on the second trip.

Yeah, I need help.

So, anyway, why the post on chocolate milk?

Cause the kind PR people for The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board offered up some free T-shirts for three of my fabulous readers. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

So, in honor of chocolate milk, I made a super yummy smoothie after my run. It’s high in protein – which I’ve heard is helpful for recovering after a workout.

chocolate strawberry smoothie

1 cup chocolate milk
1/2 cup Oiko’s vanilla greek yogurt
handful of frozen strawberries
1/2 banana

Optional ingredients:
protein powder (I like Amazing Meal from Amazing Grass)
ice or chia seeds (if you want it thicker)

Blend and enjoy! Just be sure to enjoy it before it gets knocked over by a mischievous cat.

 

How to enter the giveaway:

Leave me a comment telling me why you love chocolate milk. Be sure to include your e-mail (which won’t be published, but how I’ll notify winners). I’ll pick a winners on Nov. 18!


I love kale. I don’t know what it is about it, but I love it. I never would have tried it if it hadn’t been in my CSA box last year. And now I can’t seem to get enough of it.

What’s not to love about it? It’s a great anti-inflammatory food (something I need with all the running I’m doing). It’s also high in Vitamins A and K and low in calories.  I really love it in place of spinach in smoothies.

But this might be my new go-to recipe for kale. I saw a similar recipe in my CSA newsletter, but this one from 101 cookbooks just screamed my name. The goat cheese really makes this dish for me. I could not stop eating this right from the bowl.

winter kale 'pesto' with goat cheese

Winter kale ‘pesto’ with goat cheese
from 101 cookbooks

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 small shallots, peeled
1 small bunch of kale – 1/2 lb, stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
12 oz dried penne pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don’t overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with more crumbled goat cheese.

 


I’m 4 weeks into my 10k training plan. I can’t believe how fast the last four weeks have gone! I’m actually enjoying it. I love having a schedule, even if some days I really don’t want to run that far. But, I’ve stuck with it – including the 4 mile run I did Sunday. This was one of those runs where I woke up and really, really wanted to skip it. No reason, just felt like being lazy. But, even after finding out my ipod was DEAD, I still forced myself to go outside. And I”m SO glad I did. Cause I rocked that run – going the whole run without stopping. It wasn’t fast, but it was fabulous! I had mapped out my run on dailymile and knew about where each mile marker was. I thought about stopping a few times, but managed to push through it. My legs felt a little sore and tight in the beginning, but by the end, I was actually smiling. I even laughed as I walked up my driveway. I’m still not sure I can wrap my head around the fact that I ran for 4 miles, nonstop.

In related news, I signed up for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge over at Run to the Finish.

HBBC Logo

Why? Cause I’m hoping it will keep me on task throughout the holidays. My 10k training is over in 4 weeks … and while I”m worried that I may slip back into doing nothing, I may have told a friend I would be ready for a half in the spring.

Now, I just need to get motivated to do some weight training. *sigh*


If you know me, you know that I love Hawaii. It was, by far, my favorite place I ever lived. If I could, I’d move back in a heartbeat. But, it’s a little too expensive, and too far from my family. So, I’ll have to settle for re-creating my favorite dishes. I’ve mastered chicken katsu, and now I think I’ve got char siu pork and mac salad down. And just in time for my dad’s retirement ceremony – which will have a Hawaii theme. (I don’t think I’m the only one who misses it!)

Char siu pork with rice & mac salad

Crockpot char siu pork
Adapted from myrecipes.com

  • 1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4  cup  hoisin sauce
  • 3  tablespoons  ketchup
  • 3  tablespoons  honey
  • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
  • 2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
  • 2  pounds  boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm. Shred with two forks and add back to the sauce. You can thicken sauce by adding some broth and cooking on low for about 30 minutes, but I found my sauce was thick enough.

 

Macaroni salad

2 red potatoes
2 Cups uncooked pasta (elbow or rings)
1 T diced celery
1 tsp diced onion
Mayo to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook potatoes and pasta together until done. Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces. Toss with some pickle juice, then add back to pasta.
Add celery and onion and mayo to taste. Season with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with paprika for color.
Now, if only I can find a good mai tai mocktail, life will fabulous.

Brownie + pumpkin pie = heaven.

The fact that it’s vegan is just an added bonus.

I’ve been meaning to make these ever since I saw them on Oh She Glows.

In a word, they are magical. The brownies are probably some of the best I’ve ever had. They are so moist and cake-like, but so very dense. They are so good.

And topped with pumpkin-pie like filling. Ooooh yes.

Angela is a genius.


Pupmkin Pie Brownie Cupcakes
From Oh She Glows

Pumpkin Brownie Layer:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pumpkin Pie Layer:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. For brownies: In a stand mixer or by hand, mix together the coconut oil, pumpkin, vanilla, and sugar until blended well. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking, soda, sea salt and mix until incorporated. Take about 2 tbsp of the mixture and place in muffin tin. Wet fingers and spread around evenly so it is smooth.

3. For pumpkin layer: In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, vanilla, and milk. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until all clumps are gone. Now add approx 1.5-2 tbsp of the pumpkin pie mixture on top of each brownie in the pan.

4. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes and then move to the fridge to chill for 1.5 hours.

 

I cut the recipe in half and got 6 muffins out of it. Also, Angela suggests greasing the muffin tins, but I didn’t and had no troubles with them sticking.

I am, however, having trouble keeping away from them. They are SO, SO good.


No Halloween costumes for the boys, but they don’t need any. They can be anything …

Like a lion …

 

Rawr!

Or Phantom of the Opera

Or a hurricane

 

Hurricane Loki

Taste tester

yum.

Or the devil.

I've come to take your soul!

A Vampire

Or an 0tter

Whatever you dress up as, have a safe and Happy Halloween!


If you like Asian cuisine, you’re familiar with ginger as an ingredient. And most people know that ginger ale will help settle an upset stomach, but did you also know that ginger can help ease menstrual cramps and provide migraine relief?

If you do any kind of Google search on the benefits of ginger, you’ll find it can be used for a variety of ailments:

  • Nausea – from motion sickness, pregnancy or chemotherapy
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Inflammation of joints from arthritis
  • Relieving gas
  • Cold and flu
  • Sore throat

There have even been studies on how ginger affects cancer. One study suggests that ginger actually causes ovarian cancer cells to die off. With history of ovarian cancer in my family, I’m hoping this one is true.

So, it seems ginger is good for darn near everything. But, how should you take it?

You could take a ginger supplement, but the easiest (and most fun) way is to use raw ginger root in recipes. Simply slice or grate into stir fries, add to a salad or dressings, sauté with fresh vegetables (think broccoli!), use as in a glaze for fish, or even bake into cookies or muffins. You can even add it to fresh juice for a nice spicy kick & warming quality. Even nibbling on the candied ginger can help ward off nausea.

But one of the simplest ways to enjoy ginger is in tea – add 4-6 slices of raw ginger to cup and cover with boiling water.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Add honey and lemon (or lime) if desired.

ginger tea - perfect for cool fall days

Ginger tea not only help digestion, it just tastes good! Try it the next time you feel a cold or sore throat coming on.

What are your favorite ways to use ginger?


The wonderful thing about soup is that it’s hardly ever bad. You can throw just about any vegetable into a pot with some stock and come out with something pretty darn wonderful.

Which is exactly what I did this week. I had some CSA veggies wilting away in my fridge that I knew would be perfect in a soup. So, I got to chopping and ended up with some tasty vegetable soup.

vegetable soup with baked delicata squash

The sad looking veggies in my fridge included:

carrots
celery
leeks
potatoes
green peppers
garlic
green beans

Add to some vegetable or chicken stock (I used 3 32 oz. containers) and heat until vegetables are cooked through.

I was going to add the squash I had in the fridge, but realized that probably wasn’t going to work well. So I roasted it with a bit of olive oil andsome seasonings instead. And although I read you can eat the skin of a delicata squash, that was SO not happening. The skin was rock hard. Instead, I topped with butter and scooped the squash out.

Totally delicious and simple meal.

What are your favorite vegetables in soup?


This week, I was off Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and got to spend some quality time with the boys.

Lovie & I read blogs.

where are the cat treat recipes?

And Loki helped me in the kitchen:

This celery doesn't look so fresh to me mom. I should probably just eat it for you.

But mostly, we did this:

Yeah, we like to nap. In fact, Wednesday was all about the napping. I wasn’t feeling too well and the boys were all for just laying around with mom. Lovie even held my hand for a while ..