Friday Fête: Reading List and Protein Smoothies

Yesterday I got up at 4am to drive to Utah for work. In a 13 hour period I had driven 2.5 hours, had several meetings, gave a lecture, had lunch with my mom and drove 2.5 hours back home to pick “A” up from school. Then I realized I had forgotten to get anything out to defrost for dinner… so we “sadly” had to go out to Cafe Rio. I will happily eat at Cafe Rio nearly any day of the week! Meal planning has been hard for me and it seems to get harder and harder each week. But with all the work/mom tasks on my agenda this week and the fatigue from no sleep during Ragnar, running has taken a bit of a hiatus this week and that makes me sad. I like running, but I have to live my life in a balanced way and sometimes you just can’t “have it all!”

When I do run, I have been listening to audiobooks a lot lately. I rarely have time to just sit down and read books these days but I still want to get in some reading. So instead of choosing between reading time or running time, I merge the two! Recently on my reading list lately:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poeher's Yes Please

As I was listening to this book, I kept wanting to tweet out or share on Facebook lines from the book. But if I did that, I would have ripped off the majority of the book. I really loved when she talks about how career and passion are different things and says that your career shouldn’t define you because your career will cheat on you or push you aside for a younger model so you shouldn’t wrap your whole self-worth up in that. Instead focus on the passion of doing work that fulfills you and doing it well, but practicing some level of ambivalence too. She also talks about keeping a positive body image and the demon that it seems all of us have in our heads and learning to not let it control us.

Hopefully as you get older, you start to learn how to live with your demon. It’s hard at first. Some people give their demon so much room that there is no space in their head or bed for love. They feed their demon and it gets really strong and then it makes them stay in abusive relationships or starve their beautiful bodies. But sometimes, you get a little older and get a little bored of the demon. Through good therapy and friends and self-love you can practice treating the demon like a hacky, annoying cousin. Maybe a day even comes when you are getting dressed for a fancy event and it whispers, “You aren’t pretty,” and you go, “I know, I know, now let me find my earrings.” Sometimes you say, “Demon, I promise you I will let you remind me of my ugliness, but right now I am having hot sex so I will check in later.

Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story

I like Jim Gaffigan’s comedy, so this book is an extension of his standup shows. In fact, if you’re familiar with his standup you’ll hear some carry over from those into this book. But there’s enough new stuff to make it entertaining. Enough to actually make me laugh out loud while running and causing me to feel like a doofus. There’s a section that comes from his Mr. Universe special, but is a little bit adapted/updated in the book to have more 2014-ish references, but it resonated with me.

I’m tired of people acting like they’re better than McDonald’s. It’s like you may have never set foot in McDonald’s, but you have your own McDonald’s. Maybe instead of buying a Big Mac, you read Us Weekly. Hey, that’s still McDonald’s. It’s just served up a little different. Maybe your McDonald’s is telling yourself that Starbucks Frappuccino is not a milkshake. Or maybe you watch “Glee.” It’s all McDonald’s—McDonald’s of the soul: Momentary pleasure followed by incredible guilt eventually leading to cancer.

I don’t know how most people get a toddler to eat breakfast each day, it’s nearly impossible for me to get “A” to sit down and eat breakfast. Particularly on school days, she wants to “read stories/watch videos/play slide/put ponytail in/go potty/get smiles/RUN RUN!” – in no particular order. Plus we’re trying to do all this in the window from 6:45 when she wakes up to about 7:15 when she needs to leave with her daddy to go to school.

*Get smiles = “A” has been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately and she’s convinced she didn’t want to go back to sleep and was awake for the day. I was sitting on the floor with her, feeling exhausted (as one would at 2 AM) and she asked “Mommy sad?” So I told her, “Yes, I have no smiles right now because it’s the middle of the night and we should be sleeping.” She nodded and said, “I go to sleep. I get smiles.” And now that’s our new thing, we say good night and promise to wake up with our smiles. Then in the morning she shows off her smiles!

So most breakfasts are liquid in nature so I can try to get as many different nutrients in there in one dose. She frequently likes to drink “monkey milk” – which is actually Orgain Healthy Kids drink and not actually milk. But if I have a little more time I like to make her a smoothie. This is one of her favorites and we don’t reserve “pumpkin spice” to just the fall in this house… we have it year round! (Stock up on big cans of pumpkin at Costco this time of year though!)


This is no real recipe though… It’s just kind of process or something. All ingredients are measured in terms of “however much you feel like” while “using your best judgment.”

  • Spinach (did you know that entire bag of spinach has 4 grams of protein? Obviously I’m not putting the whole bag in there, but vegetables contain more protein that we often give them credit.)
  • Pumpkin (plain pumpkin… I’m sure pumpkin pie filling would be delicious or too sweet, but the plain ol pumpkin is your better choice!)
  • Stonyfield Plain Greek yogurt (go Greek… get more protein in there! Of course, their new Petite Creme lineup has a good amount of protein too and would be tasty in the smoothie.)
  • Banana (the riper the better, it will provide all the sweetness needed)
  • Chia seeds 
  • Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (or cumin, as my daughter always calls it when she shakes it in the blender cup!)
  • Milk of choice (we used soy, it provides additional protein and fat… and isn’t actual cow’s milk which “A” and I rarely drink. Yogurt has cultures that help us digest it.)
  • couple of ice cubes (or use a frozen banana)

Place ingredients in the blending device you have available. Yell “Fire in the hole” and turn it on. Let it whir until it’s all blended, pour it into a cup with a straw… it’s a known fact that smoothies taste better with straws. Hand it over to the toddler or drink it yourself. Watch the toddler dance with joy as she takes a sip. Then try to get her in school clothes for the day.


I’m running the Boston Marathon this upcoming April as part of Team Stonyfield. I can’t wait! All of my Ragnar mileage this past weekend gave me a much needed confidence boost about ramping up my training for the marathon.


  1. Whoa! I didn’t know Jim Gaffington had a book – I could listen to his Subway and Hot Pocket rants over and over and over and laugh every time.

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