Monthly Archives: September 2010

Snack Attack!

We’re constantly on the hunt for a really, really, really good cookie. One that’s crispy on the outside but still magically gooey or doughy in the middle. Healthy? Usually not. But when you find a keeper, it’s totally worth the splurge. Plus, it’s sure to be homemade, all-natural and super hard to forget. For example, we still dream about the chocolate chip cookie at Baked in Brooklyn. Then again, pretty much everything in that bakery is worth the splurge—sweet & salty brownies, whoopie pies, brookies (a brilliant combination of their brownie & their chocolate chip cookie). Even their granola is to-die-for. This is why Lindsey had to purchase their cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, before she left NYC and headed west.

Just try flipping through this book without getting hungry or wanting to whip up a batch of something sweet.

It’s been staring at her since she arrived in Portland, waiting to be opened. The recipes were screaming to be prepared. “Make me, make me!” But rather than caving for the Monster Cookies (which look as tempting as they sound, by the way), she opened it up to the “Easy Homemade Granola” recipe and decided to give it a go. Besides, she has a trip coming up and needs a good, hearty plane snack to take along. This would be much better than the usual cookies or packaged trail mixes that the airport provides.

Bottom line: This granola is the breakfast bomb. It’s so easy to prepare, wholesome and positively scrumptious. The recipe makes 1 lb of granola, which is good for snacking and morning yogurt parfaits all week long. It’s sweet and salty, with oatmeal and nuts that are filled with fiber, which helps you feel full longer (PERFECT for cross-country flights and road trips). Totally a make-and-take recipe (ie, take with you to snack on everywhere you go!).

Almonds, hazelnuts, dried cherries & golden raisins make this granola a keeper.

EASY HOMEMADE GRANOLA

2 cups rolled oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole almonds

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup dried cherries

* Preheat oven to 325′. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

* In a large bowl, toss oats with cinnamon and salt.

* In a medium bowl, stir together oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk until combined.

* Pour honey mixture over oats and use hands to combine: Gather some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all oats are coated with honey mixture.

* Pour mixture onto baking sheet. Spread it out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and flip granola with metal spatula. Sprinkle almonds over granola and return to oven.

* Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and flip granola again. Sprinkle hazelnuts over granola and return to oven.

* Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle raisins and cherries over granola and use your hands to transfer it to an airtight container.

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Rolling on the River

Rolling tape, that is (or whatever they call it now that everything is digital). If you happened to be watching the local news on Portland’s Fox 12 yesterday evening, you may have witnessed our 15—well, more like 2, but who’s counting?—minutes of fame. We talked with reporter David Wilson about our road trip, our blog, and, um, cheese balls.

If this super-flattering shot of us squinting into the sun isn’t enough for you, check out the full segment here.

The coolest part? Not only did the segment give The Fit Trip a little publicity, but it also introduced us to a new part of the city. We filmed downtown near the Salmon Street Springs Fountain, right on the Willamette river. Had we not been trying to preserve our hair and make-up, we would have done all sorts of active things post-taping: rented bicycles from Kerr Bikes, gone for a run on the extra-wide riverwalk, maybe even done a few of our signature lunges around the fountain.

Being in the heart of Portland’s business center, the area is particularly great for anyone traveling to Portland for work. We know you’d never skip that meeting/panel discussion/awkward pre-conference breakfast, but maybe you can work in a quick jog along the river beforehand.

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Go Green

No, really—go. green. Turns out that keeping that color in mind when you travel isn’t that tricky after all. In fact, Travelocity dedicates an entire site to it—www.travelocity.com/travelforgood. Its Green Hotel Directory allows you to search over 1,500 eco-friendly properties that are certified green by various programs, such as Earth Check, Green Key and Energy Star. The site also hooks you up with how to rent a hybrid instead of a regular gas-guzzling car. It even offers a separate “green deals” page, where you can find special vacation promos on all of the above. Genius!

After you book smart, pack smart. Each jacket, top and pair of pants from Earthtec, a Portsmouth, NH-based company, is made out of about 12 plastic water bottles. The plastic is recycled into a polyester-like fabric that is then turned into soft, cozy, totally functional apparel that’s good for all kinds of outdoor activities. Again, genius.

And speaking of water bottles… check out the new Takeya Classic Glass Water Bottle:

Another "friendlier" way to drink your water every day...

Not only is this bottle better looking than plain old plastic, but it’s also reusable, dishwasher-safe and doesn’t retain any plastic or metallic flavors like some other BPA-free options. Need we say it? Genius.

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Super Strap

We’re fans of anything that makes it easier to exercise, which is why we love our new lotuspad yoga mat sling. It’s super simple—just ribbon and velcro—but pretty ingenious. Two shorter lengths of ribbon wrap around your mat, and the longer piece acts as a handle that you can sling over one shoulder like a purse or wear across your body like a messenger bag.

Beth goes for the cross-body look.

The strap eliminates that extra-annoying problem of trying to stuff your mat in your too-short gym bag (Beth has been trying that for the past couple of weeks, and the mat falls out of her duffel constantly). Plus, since the lotuspad frees up your hands, you can bike to class, like Lindsey did last week and Beth swears she’ll do next week.

Break out the bike, Beth's ready to go!

The best part for traveling is that the strap is so tiny that it will always fit in your bag, no matter how much you’ve already stuffed in there. Added bonuses: It’s cheap ($13) and comes in a bunch of fun colors and patterns.

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Farmer’s Market Sandwich

Run in Forest Park + Portland Farmer’s Market = happiness. Sometimes it’s that simple. We hit the Leif Erickson Trail, the park’s most popular well-groomed path, and then headed straight to the market in search of fresh, local ingredients to help us build a better, post-run brunch. The market moves to a different location every day, but Saturday’s is by far the biggest and brightest of them all. Rows and rows of vendors line the sidewalks by Portland State University, offering peppers, tomatoes, greens, pork, pickles… Let’s just say that walking through makes you very, very, very hungry. Thank goodness for all the free samples!

The first booth we came to was Tastebud. We wanted to walk right on by, but we’d heard that they make some of the best bagels in Portand, and being from Brooklyn, we had to get one. Had to. Besides, they’re Montreal-style and much, much smaller than the doughy beasts we’re used to in NYC.

Tastebud bagels: pretty tasty.

We picked a sesame seed bagel and split it. The outside was slightly harder than we’re used to (more like a soft pretzel), but it blended well with the smaller, yet still doughy inside. Different, but still delicious. Plus, it would help hold our hunger over til we got home and pieced everything together.

Next distraction: the flowers. The deals on bouquets here are insane. We purchased two bunches of dahlias for $7! They would make a lovely centerpiece for our healthy Saturday morning meal.

Beautiful bouquets for only $3.50!!!

We also picked up Ciabatta rolls from Pearl Bakery, basil and heirloom tomatoes from two different farms, creamy havarti cheese from Willamette Valley Cheese Company, honeycrisp apples and a delicious Americano from Spunky Monkey Coffee.

Ingredients for a great breakfast...

We made some eggs (omelet-style with a little red pepper and olive oil), toasted the rolls in the oven for about 5 minutes, and then made one of the tastiest egg sandwiches we’ve had in a while:

* Place a few pieces of havarti cheese on bottom of toasted roll.

* Top cheese with half of cooked eggs, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

* Place four pieces of fresh basil on top of eggs, then top with two slices of heirloom tomato.

* Top with other half of roll and enjoy!!

From farm-to-table in minutes!

Along with a sweet amount of free samples (apples, hazelnuts, jams, smoked salmon, bread), the market also has a good selection of fresh, prepared foods—pita sandwiches, breakfast burritos, biscuits. So even if you’re on the road and don’t have an oven to come home to, it’s still worth making the trip for a fabulous farm-fresh meal.

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Stair Masters

There’s something a little bit grating about those articles that tell you to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Sure, you get some exercise, but stairwells in office buildings (and they always seemed to be talking about office buildings in these stories) are just plain depressing, with their gray cement stairs and sterile white walls. Who in her right mind would choose to spend time in them, even if it means getting a little exercise?

But stairs aren’t inherently awful. Add a little fresh air and some trees, and suddenly climbing can actually be kind of fun. We can say this with authority because for the past few weeks we’ve been braving the stairs on the west side of Portland’s Mt. Tabor Park almost once a day. It starts with just a few:

Then we get a break before we hit some more:

And more:

And a bunch more:

By the time we get to the top of the park, we’re definitely feeling the burn—especially now that we’ve started taking the stairs by twos (masochistic, we know). But the rewards are pretty great. There’s the elated I-just-pushed-myself feeling, of course, but also some spectacular city views:

So while we’re not necessarily going to recommend pushing open that ominous “Stairs—Use in case of Emergency” door next time you’re in a random building on vacation, there is something to be said for seeking out a good set of stairs, whether they’re in a park, leading up to a monument, or along a cool trail. You’ll definitely get a workout, and chances are you’ll happen upon some pretty incredible views, too!

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Gym-free routines

You can’t always predict what is going to get in your way of a good workout—you head to the hotel gym only to find a broken treadmill and no TVs, you work late and miss your chance at a safe walk outside, you’re staying with a friend and there’s no gym nearby or you start running, your ear gets stung by a bee in the first 5 minutes and you’re forced to turn back around (sure, this sounds random, but it literally just happened to Lindsey). This is why we love exercise DVDs. You simply throw one in your bag and know that all you need is a DVD player to get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. No excuses!

Here’s one that we just tried and think is totally worth taking with you on your next trip: Step-by-Step Strength Training with Petra Kolber.

65 minutes worth of training in one DVD!

This DVD includes a 10-minute upper body routine (beyond biceps curls), a 10-minute lower body routine (killer lunges!), a 20-minute total body routine (curls, meet lunges), a 20-minute strength and balance routine (woodchops galore!) and a 5-minute bonus abs routine (creative crunches). You can choose to do one of these workouts or, if you’ve got an hour to kill, do them all together. So no matter what you’re in need of most while on the road, this DVD is pretty much guaranteed to include the perfect workout for you. Petra, who we absolutely adore, offers modifications for every move and great form notes to make sure you’re following along correctly, which will help you stay safe and see results. All you need is a chair, a set of weights (travel tip: fill up two Klean Kanteen bottles with water and use instead of dumbbells) and a mat or towel to get the party started.

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Stretching Your Dollar

Now that we’re settled in Portland, we’re on the hunt for “the” yoga studio—good location (i.e. close enough that we’ll never have an excuse not to go to class), great teachers, nice price, lots of classes. Last week we took one of the free classes at Lululemon, led by the uber-energetic Alex Cole of YoYo Yogi. This morning we headed to Yoga Union, where we’d read about a very cool introductory offer: $25 for two weeks of unlimited classes. Considering a single class can run about $15, this is quite a deal (assuming you make use of it—and we’re frugal enough to make sure we will!).

We kicked off our two-week trial with a 1.5-hour Prana Vinyasa class. The studio coursebook describes this class as being great for the athletic-minded, and they’re not kidding. The stretches were intense, the poses were challenging, and we had worked up a sweat 10 minutes in. By the end, we had that awesome tingly-energy feeling you can only get from a good yoga session. We need to try a few of the studio’s other classes and instructors, but so far, this place is looking pretty great.

We’ve recommended dropping in on a local class while you’re traveling, but Yoga Union’s introductory deal gave us another idea for Fit Trippers: If you’ll be in one place for at least a few days and you know you want to get in more than three yoga sessions, look into the local studios to see what kinds of start-up deals they offer. Sure, the deals are geared toward people who live there, but that doesn’t mean they’re off-limits to everyone else. It’s a great way to ensure that you get your workouts in, and you get the added bonus of mingling with locals (and we’ll take that any day over the random businessman on the treadmill next to you at the hotel gym).

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The sporty girl’s Container Store

Reminder: We both used to work at Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications. Translation: We’re suckers for anything that spices up and/or helps organize a space. We used to scour every home improvement catalog known to (wo)man—The Container Store, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, The Home Depot, Lowes Home Improvement, Restoration Hardware and more—searching for the perfect baskets, bins and secret storage solutions (you know, like the ottoman that actually holds all your blankets). Okay, we still do this. But this is no longer limited to the house. We are officially obsessed with adding method to the madness everywhere—in the car, hotel rooms, even tents (we hear people camp a lot out here). So now we also visit backcountry.com and other sporty sites regularly to see what magical organizational tools are available for the outdoorsy set.

Recently found— the Kelty Basecamp Bureau. Nothing will satisfy a sporty girl who geeks out every time she goes to The Container Store more than this. Seriously. This easy-to-carry case holds four separate collapsible “drawers,” each with a space for you to stick a label. Each is lined with steel wire so that it stands upright and can be stacked inside the case, too. We stuck running outfits in one, swim stuff in another, cycling clothes in another and hiking gear in another.  Simply grab the bag you need every morning based on the day’s activities and go. Pretty sweet, neat freaks!

As if organizing our gear wasn't enough, the Basecamp Bureau also brightens the trunk up a bit. We love the drawers' colors!

We labeled our drawers "bike," "hike," "run," and "swim." The handles make it super easy to pull one out whenever you need it.

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To Market, To Market

We’ve always thought that one of the best stops you can make on any trip is the local farmers market. The produce is the best around, obviously, but what we love the most is how market gives you such invaluable insight into local culture. Spend an hour or so talking with the farmers, chatting up the bakers, getting wine-pairing advice from cheese makers, and interacting with other customers, and you’ll learn more about a place than any tourist brochure could ever teach you.

So what did we learn at the Walla Walla Farmers Market on our recent trip?

1. You should always dress your best for the market.

2. But don’t let a little bed-head keep you away.

3. It’s ok to make jokes about pesticides.

4. Pumpkins are cute…

5. But nowhere near as cute as babies sitting on pumpkins.

Now that the farm-to-table movement has taken off and more and more people are paying attention to where their food comes from, farmers markets seem to be everywhere. If you’re looking for one next time you travel, check Local Harvest—it has listings for hundreds of markets—not to mentions grocery stores, co-ops, and restaurants serving sustainable food.

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