Archives for December 2016

Runner Safety

If you are like me, you run — often times alone — and think of all the disaster scenarios that you could possibly encounter on said run, plus how you would get out of them. Like, what if the dog that is chasing you isn’t friendly, how would you get away? Or what if a creepy guy jumped out from behind a giant electrical box and attacked you? Or what if you got hit by a car, and you were knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital, and they didn’t know your identity or medical information!?

No? Just me?

WHEW! Cause if we all did, can you imagine how different our world would be? Thank goodness for all the sane people out there, who don’t let their fears get the best of them. But my family does love the saying, better to be safe than sorry.

So if you DO worry like me, here are some tips you may not have thought of, and if you DON’T worry like me WELL YOU BETTER START DOING ALL OF THESE THINGS. CAUSE OMG I want you to be safe!

In absolute seriousness, I genuinely hope none of you ever encounter any of those situations in real life.

  • First of all, you should absolutely identify yourself. I do this by wearing a Road ID bracelet. They are so lightweight you can’t even tell you have it on, once you slip it over your hand. If you don’t want to spend the money, just stick your driver’s license in your running shorts mini-pocket or water bottle pocket – find a place.
  • Secondly, you need to figure out a way to carry your phone with you. You don’t have to use it on your run, but bring it as a backup for emergencies. I always carry mine in my spibelt and again, don’t even notice it’s there.
  • UPDATE: I’m going to add the wrist mace I just bought, based on many reader comments here and on social media! I needed a hands-free one and something I didn’t have to dig out of my pocket. I just ordered it, so I’ll let you know how it works once I’ve actually worn it.
  • Consider using a technology tracker app on each run, for peace of mind. Lately, I’ve been using the iPhone app called Glympse. It allows you to share your location, in real time, with anyone of your choosing for a specified length of time. So for instance, just before I head out the door, I send an active link to my husband, telling him how many miles I’m doing and he can track my location as I’m running. It tracks in 1 mile segments as well, so it is better than the “Share my Location” feature on the iPhone.
  • And of course, if you can, run with a friend! After so many years of running on trails and on the road, and experiencing various bizarre encounters, I would prefer running with a trusted friend. And lately, Mr. Zucchini Runner has been joining me on my long runs, by riding his bike next to me. (Yes, I’m aware I’m totally and utterly lucky.)
  • If you are going to listen to music or an audio book, keep the volume down low enough that you can hear cars or people approaching. This is for your own safety, but also just good running etiquette. Wearing one earbud is a good choice too.
  • The graphic below features runner safety apps for smartphones which are designed to keep you focused, informed, and connected to your surroundings. So much can be done on a smartphone, from pinging your location to monitoring your home security system. Ultimately it’s about finding what works for you.

Click the image to learn more about SimpliSafe and keeping your home secure, while away from home.

What about you? What are some of your safety measures when running?

This post was prompted by SimpliSafe.  I was in no way compensated for this post.

Pumpkin Pie

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE baking vegan foods. It allows you to be creative in the kitchen, forcing you to think outside the box. This pie was SO fun to create! Especially since the end result  = SUCCESS! (5 out of 5 taste testers agree!)

This recipe came about because of this Facebook post:

Let’s hear it! I want your feedback! What recipe have you always wanted as vegan and/or gluten-free that you can no longer eat? I’m trying to get ideas for my Dec. 21st blog post. I thought I’d check here first, to see what people want the most. 

I had 4 responses and thankfully two of them were already on the blog! (Vegan mac n’ cheese and Pad Thai). I had one request for pizzelles (which I’m still going to tackle) and one request for pumpkin pie! This pumpkin pie request was for no eggs, but I also know this person personally and know her kids have some other allergies as well. So this pie is VEGAN and NUT FREE. So, no dairy, no eggs, no coconut oil or milk. Challenge. Accepted!

Also, like all things on this blog, I try to make everything from scratch – because that’s what I enjoy the most and what I think tastes the best. But I understand there are people out there that don’t share that same passion, or have the time, so while this is a time consuming recipe as listed below – you can make it WAY less time consuming by utilizing the suggested shortcuts. However, I take no responsibility for the outcome. haha 😀



1 1/4 c. einkorn flour
1 TBSP organic sugar
1/4 tsp. Real salt
1/2 c. very cold, or frozen vegan margarine
3 TBSP. cold water
extra flour for dusting countertop and crust during rolling
*You can also buy your favorite store bought crusts and save a ton of time.

You will need:

Rolling pin
Pastry cutter/spatula
9″ pie dish

Pumpkin Pie Filling*,**

1 c. cooked, pureed pumpkin (*you can try canned, too)
1/2 c. organic packed brown sugar
1 TBSP. ground chia seeds
1 TBSP. ground flax seeds
1/3 c. applesauce, no sugar added
**1 1/2 c. oat and/or flax milk (You can buy from the store, or make your own to get a thicker consistency)
→ 1 1/2 c. water + 1 c. quick cooking oats + 1 TBSP. flax seeds pureed in the blender and strained with a milk bag
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the homemade crust:

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Grate all the vegan margarine on a cheese grater. Add to the flour mixture, using a fork to cut flour and margarine together. Note, it will be very crumbly and dry. Add the ice cold water at this point and combine with the fork more. You don’t want the margarine to be thourougly combined with the flour, since you will be working the dough more as you roll it out. So it is preferred to see chunks of margarine within the dough. Shape into a ball.

Dust the countertop heavily with flour, place dough ball in center of floured surface. Pat down with your hands, being careful to maintain a circular shape. Flip dough over and add a little more flour to counter surface as well as dough surface. Using a rolling pin, carefully roll out dough, starting at the center and moving out and lifting up, following a clockwise pattern. This will help to maintain a circular shape. Pick dough up and flip over again, adding more flour to the countertop and top of dough. If you just keep it on one side the whole time, it will be very hard to remove from the countertop when finished. You want the dough to be 1/4″ thick.

Roll with a rolling pin until it’s large enough to cover the pie pan.

Once the dough is large enough to fit over your 9″ pie dish, with about an inch or more overhang, you are ready to remove it from the counter. Using a pastry cutter/spatula, lift up the edges and ensure the whole dough circle is free moving, and not stuck to the counter. Fold in half to transport it to the pie pan, this will help reinforce it so it won’t crack. Center the fold on the center of the pie pan. Unfold dough. Starting in the center, gently pat down dough to ensure it is fitted to all edges and bends of the pie pan.

The overhang should be folded up on itself, on the lip of the pie pan, and pressed into itself and the dough. This is very important, because it will be the lip of the crust, which helps to hold the filling in place and ensure the crust doesn’t melt down the sides of the pie pan during the pre-bake.

Pre-Bake the pie crust:

Pre-bake the pie crust to ensure you don’t have a mushy crust on your final pie. Using a fork, poke the crust bottom 6 times to create ventilation. This will prevent the crust from bubbling up during the pre-bake. Cover the entire pie crust with parchment paper and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. While the crust is baking, you can prepare the filling. Below is a slideshow to help along with the pie crust assembly.

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For the pie filling:

If you are using fresh pumpkin, you can bake it by cutting the pumpkin in half, scraping out the seeds and placing on a baking sheet, hallowed side down, in a half inch of water. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until a fork can pierce through the outer skin. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, and measure 1 cup. The remaining can be frozen for later use. For an extra creamy pumpkin filling, you can puree this 1 cup in your blender. You can also try using pumpkin puree, but I did not try that with this recipe so I’m not sure if it would change the consistency or not.

Now, for the flax and oat milk, I made my own because again, I don’t like any of the store bought milks because they always have additives and preservatives. Plus, when you make your own you can control the consistency. For this milk, I used 1 1/2 c. water + 1 c. quick cooking oats + 1 TBSP. flax seeds, and used a nut milk bag to strain out all the pulp. (You can watch my video on How to Make Homemade Almond Milk here, if you haven’t done it before.) Again, if you just buy store bought, you will save a ton of time on this step.

Using a coffee grinder, grind a little less than 1 TBSP whole flax seed, to make 1 TBSP ground flax. Do the same for the ground chia, starting with less than 1 TBSP whole chia, to create 1 TBSP ground chia. Add to the applesauce, stir and set aside. Measure out all your pie filling spices and set aside.

In your blender, combine all the pie filling ingredients and puree until silky smooth. Pour into your pre-baked pie crust. Below is another slideshow step-by-step which helps provide visuals for the pie filling instructions.

Pour into pre-baked pie shell.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bake pie at 350°F for 40-50 minutes. Keep a close eye on the crust so it doesn’t get too brown and make sure the center of the pie is starting to firm up. It’s ok if it isn’t as firm as the outer edges, you just want it to stay together when it’s cut later. We let ours cool overnight and ate slices in the morning with coffee for a pre-breakfast taste test. My parents came over and we were all thoroughly surprised at how yummy this pumpkin pie was, especially given all the restrictions.

My biggest concern was that the consistency would be strange – but it was actually better in some ways than a traditional pumpkin pie. I really hope my friend and her family get a chance to try this pie recipe AND can all enjoy it together as a family, worry-free of any allergy concerns. <3

Looking for some healthy dessert ideas, in printable format? If you subscribe to the blog via this link, you will get 3 healthy, plant-based dessert recipes.

What is your FAVORITE pie?