Blueberry and Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free!)

I woke up hella early this morning with the irresistible urge to bake. I knew I had a handful of ripe bananas, so I thought I’d improvise on some sort of banana bread. And so, a new breakfast stand-by was created….

Blueberry and Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free!)
Makes 12 standard muffins

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3 ripe bananas
3/4 cup blueberries (I used frozen ones, thawed slightly)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and mash bananas in a large mixing bowl (I used a fork) and add eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined.

3. Add the coconut oil and stir until dissolved.

4. Add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

Side note: It was 5:30 a.m. when I was making these muffins. I was frantically scanning my kitchen for baking soda. Thankfully, my dad came to the rescue with this GIANT bag of baking soda we use to maintain the pool…how many batches of muffins do you think I could make with this?? Haha.

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5. Add the blueberries and stir gently so you don’t break them in the batter. Once everything is combined, add cinnamon to your liking.

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6. Pour them into lined muffin tins until the liners are 3/4 full. Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until well firmed. Slightly browned is preferable. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

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Nutritional Details (approximate):

serving size one muffin

Calories 85

Fat (monunsaturated) 1 g

Cholesterol 46 g

Sodium 73 g

Potassium 145 g

Carbohydrates 11 g (10 g net)

Fiber 1 g

Sugar 5 g

Protein 2 g

Vitamin A 2%

Vitamin C 6%

Calcium 1%

Iron 2%

In Which I Finally Leave the Hotel Room

We went to the public market at Granville Island yesterday.  We found a cool little music shop that had a bunch of instruments I’d never even heard of before.  One of them was a sound cradle:

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The owner was incredibly nice and demonstrated several of the instruments.  With one person sitting in the sound cradle, another stands behind them and plays the strings on the sides of the cradle like a harp.  The effect is a soothing, breathtaking surround sound.  It was very, very awesome. 

He also demonstrated singing bowls, a giant gong (which had to be one of the coolest and scariest sounds I’ve heard in my life…completely mystical), and explained various instruments’ healing powers.  The sound cradle, for instance, is used in Germany to wake up coma patients.  He told us that in one study, a man who had been in a coma for 6 months woke up after 30 seconds or so of sitting in the sound cradle…how cool is that?!

Since my current project is a manuscript regarding healing music, I found all of this especially interesting.  Here’s the link to Gandharva Loka.  I can’t stress enough how awesome the man (owner?) was.  He told us he spent several years traveling and encountering people who were looking for specific, exotic instruments, so he decided to start a shop to cater to them.  Looking at the website, it says the shop will be featured on June 25th on House Hunters International!  (Which I spent about four hours last night watching…House Hunters can be addicting).  Thumbs up for a cool business.

After wandering around the market (where I splurged on a 3-section notebook from Paper-Ya), we took a photo of the Vancouver skyline:Image

There was a cool art show around the market using recycled art, so of course my mom and I took a silly photo.  Traditions.

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There were cool art sculptures everywhere:

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We then headed to Chinatown, where I bought some flipflops (I forgot to pack mine!) and a cheap notebook (no way was I going to scribble in my very pricey notebook, which is becoming a nice, neat reference book for two manuscripts).  I’m writing in pencil, too, just in case I decide to change some details.  I’m ridiculously excited about the graphing section.  I can finally draw some (accurate!) maps and not lose them!  This is going to be so great.

After Chinatown, we headed to the Empire Landmark Hotel to go to the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon expo.  Even though I wasn’t running the race, I still wanted to check it out. 

Whoa, this expo was super tiny!  I nabbed some (Canadian) running magazines, a free smoothie, and the good workers from The Stick had me roll a little on my head.  Yes…on my head.  It did feel nice, although I don’t know if it helped with the concussion or if the Tylenol just kicked in….

We walked back to our hotel and stopped at A&W for some burgers.  (By the way, my entire family is STILL on East Coast time, so we ate dinner at like 3 pm…the time difference to Vancouver is just enough to be frustrating, but not enough for our bodies to sync up with the new time!  Days feel sooooooo long (we’ve been getting up early and going to bed early…going to bed at 11 last night felt LATE!)Image

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I thought the fries in mini fryers were super cute!

Mmm, I love root beer.  I don’t usually drink soda, but root beer is my exception.  It’s my “it’s going to be a fun time” drink.  Really.  So going to A&W was a novelty; I’d never been.

After watching several hours of House Hunters, House Hunters International, and House Hunters Great Escape, I headed to bed.

It’s off to the cruise (and Alaska!), hurrah!  No internet for the next week or so…do you like being cut off from the internet on vacation? 
I enjoy it sometimes, it’s nice to take a break occasionally, but I like keeping in touch with back home.  (and calling internationally is sooo expensive!)

I’m sipping complimentary chai tea and feeling cool.  Tea: yay or nay?

An Unexpected Rest Day

So…I ended up not going to the park yesterday.  In fact, I spent most of yesterday in bed.  My head hurt so much.  Not going into detail here, but I basically lived in the hotel room for 1.5 days and did not leave.

Well, I attempted to leave, and we went up on the hotel’s roof:

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You can see the mountains from the hotel!  Crazy awesome.  I love our hotel’s location in downtown Vancouver.

I had a pounding headache.  I started to feel really, really dizzy and thought going to the park was a bad idea.  So I spent the day in the hotel room (sigh).  It is a nice hotel room, though, and my mom was nice enough to bring me a sandwich from Finch’s!

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Edam, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Yum.

And raspberry and brie for dinner:

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Delicious (the brie is sooo good), but I think I prefer the salty, slightly bitter sandwiches over the sweet ones.

I spent the day feeling reaaally dizzy if I turned too quickly, and with a throbbing headache.

Totally love vacations like that.

I made the most of it with an ice pack:

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Although that morning I walked about a block, thinking I *might* be able to run, I quickly threw that thought away.  Better to take a week (or more, if needed) and completely rest than end up having to take several months off!  I’ve made that mistake before…yikes….

Have you ever been injured on vacation? 
I had a broken wrist in Florida once…I still rode all the roller coasters.

What do you do on a rest day?

I read, edited, and watched a lot of Supernatural (new guilty pleasure!).

Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part IV

I was getting tired.  I had passed double digits, there were no more characters on the road, and I was overwhelmed that I had less than a 5k to go.  Many, many people were walking at this point, but I kept up a slow jog.  I was still feeling good (I had to use my inhaler again around mile 9, right when I passed the Central Florida Accordion Club playing Disney tunes (it’s a real thing).

Careful spectators (or Disney workers?  There were people with camping chairs cheering runners on, including little kids.  High-fiving a little girl lifted my spirits) had placed pine cones in a YOU ROCK formation.  Hehe.

Mile 11!  I was overwhelmed.  I’ve always liked the number 11, and I was especially glad to see it here.  “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” started playing on repeat in my head….

Right around this point, there was a turn and we headed (slightly) uphill.  Now, I go to college next to the mountains, and I didn’t think it was a big deal, but it was definitely an incline and we were all tired at this point.  There was an announcer with a video camera and microphone, and as you ran by, he asked you where you were from.  It was pretty cool (I said my college town, not my hometown, because I had already heard someone say my hometown).

I knew I was going to finish with a smile on my face.  I was so, so excited….

And they must have heard me humming, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” because I got to pose with Mushu, too:

I was so tired at this point.  I remember passing an older spectator in a wheelchair with a sign that almost made me cry…I just wish I could remember what it said!  I was too tired to take a picture…if anyone remembers what it said, it would be awesome!  She was after the characters, but before entering Epcot.

I see the ball!  I was grateful that it was almost over, and was feeling really tired.

Chip AND Dale?!  Awesome, awesome.  I knew the finish line was close and I was excited to run through the World Showcase…or so I thought.

I consider myself a Disney enthusiast, but I’m still puzzled as to whose Fairy Godmother this was.  The fairy godmother of runners?!  Maybe….

I was really, really looking forward to running through Epcot and finally finishing! Yeah!

Just kidding…you don’t really run through Epcot.  You just run slightly under the monorail, into a little turnabout, and run right back out the way you came.  I was sad (note to self: CAREFULLY READ course description!).  It wasn’t a big deal (I had most been looking forward to running through the MK, anyway), but at this point in the race, it was a let-down.  I did, however, hear tons of things about the gospel choir that was coming up near mile 13!

Right before the gospel choir, it started to drizzle.  I whipped out my camera to take a photo of mile marker 13, and my lens got a little foggy.

But then I saw the finish! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

There weren’t too many spectators at this point, but it was still really cool.  One of the spectators I saw throughout the race must have been following someone close to my pace, because I saw his just keep swimming sign several times.

I picked up my speed to run through the finish line.  Then I did a double-take and ran in the OPPOSITE direction from the finish. I almost missed THIS:

The perfect photo finish!  Now only if my lens hadn’t been foggy…I still think it’s pretty cute, though.  (Do I look like I just ran a half-marathon?!)

After I waited for my parents (unfortunately, they got stuck on a monorail when it broke down, and missed me finishing by minutes), we took the bus back to the hotel and showered.  I was too revved up to sleep and I was dying to go to the parks to show off my medal.  So we headed to Hollywood Studios.  On no sleep, pretty much, having been up since three am.

I’m exhausted, but happy.  We grabbed something to eat:

Then we went on Star Tours, watched a parade, and I started to have a gigantic headache.  It’s hard to fight your body, even if you really want to have fun.  We headed back to the hotel for some much-needed snooze time.

Then later that night, around 7, we headed back to Hollywood Studios!  Even though I know it’s not MGM anymore, sometimes I still call it that….

We caught my favorite Disney show in the history of Disney shows…Fantasmic!  I bought a giant Mickey rice krispy treat (that would be a giant rice krispies treat shaped like a Mickey head, covered in chocolate, and covered in M&M’s on top of that…yum.  I was definitely thinking about getting one of these at mile 10!)

We rode Toy Story Mania (another great ride!), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (okay…only I did), The Great Movie Ride, and the Tower of Terror.  I had never been on this last one (my mom has been teasing me, saying she’s going to take me on it since I was five).  Supernatural things and heights scare me (even though I LOVE roller coasters…go figure), and some people in the lobby were saying it was the scariest ride in Disney and be prepared to be terrified…I was cursing like a sailor the whole time (the elevator was pretty empty), but the drop was really mild!  I was pleasantly surprised and I thought the coolest part was when the doors opened and we got to see the whole park lit up at night.  My mom thinks it would be cooler during the day, because you can see more, but I always think rides at night tend to have just a little bit more magic.

As if I didn’t have enough sugar in my life (true fact: every stomach has a compartment just for dessert.  The dessert compartment.  This is how I always managed to go, “I’m sooo full,” when I ate real food and still had room for dessert.  Now you know!

Mmm, ice cream sundae.  Delish.  We took the bus back to the hotel and I fell asleep quickly.  What a magical day.

Oh, man.  After this series of posts, I’d love to go back to Disney.  My roomie plans to run the Tower of Terror 10-Miler in two years, and I think that’s probably the next time I’ll be back.  Have you ever been to Disney World?  What about Disneyland?

I’m a huge fan of thinking about what I’m going to eat after the race to get myself through some tough mileage…do you ever think about food when you run/work out?  How do you motivate yourself?