Why Do Girls Love Jars?: A Recipe

One of my friends brings this up nearly every time I am over at his house and choose the mason jar out of the cabinet to be my glass for the night.

In short: because they are multifunctional, you can put coffee OR a salad in them, or take leftovers, or prepare overnight oats, you could do non-food related things with them too like make a little pot for succulents, a piggy bank, the list goes on and on…

Jars are also my saving grace when it comes to busy weeks. If I have the time/make the time instead of watching Netflix, I try to plan out at least 2-3 meals in advance that will give me enough leftovers for 2-3 more meals. Because I only cook for myself, this 2-3 meal range is perfect. I used to do more but then figured out that I was wasting a lot of leftovers or I was agreeing to go to lunch or dinner with a friend last minute, leaving fresh produce to wilt.

The best thing about jars is that you can pre-portion everything out and just grab and go. Last week, I realized that I was going to be running around a fair amount with little time to make anything so I planned to use my rice cooker to make a big batch of these oats that I could portion out in jars and take with me or prepare quickly as I was getting ready in the morning.

I had searched for other quick oat breakfast ideas because I’m not a huge fan of instant oats, I just love the texture of rolled and steel better, but all the recipes I could find were done up had the word “porridge” in them and better for a slow weekend morning, I have found these to be way more efficient and a great substitute for overnight oats if you want a warm breakfast on a cold morning.

If your rice cooker has a delay time, this is also especially useful before early race wake up calls, I live with 4 other people so making noise in the kitchen before 6AM on the weekends is not the most welcome.

If you have a shorter run planned during the week for a recovery day, you can also throw this together before your run and come back to a hot bowl of oats!

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(I really need to step up my food photography) 

Rice Cooker Oats:

3-4 servings

1 cup oats *

1.5 cups water (or more as needed)

Splash of your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk (optional)

2 TBS coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 TBS cinnamon (my personal favorite but adjust as needed)

2 TBS ground or whole flax seeds

Pinch of salt

All you need to do is throw all of this in your rice cooker, stir a little bit, use the “white rice” setting, and it’s all done in no time!

Serve with classics like milk and raisins or add your favorite seasonal fruit and nut butter (figs are my go to when in season).

*if using steel cut oats, put a little more water in and use the “brown rice” setting

Featured

About

Hi there. Here are the basics.

Name: Rebecca Murillo

Things I am a part of: Oiselle Volée, Salomon Run Ambassador, SFRC Bay Birds Racing, 18 Reasons Community Cooking School, Berkeley Unified School District Gardening and Cooking Program

Ways I spend time: Running (trails and roads), cooking, wandering through grocery stores and bookstores alike, eating tasty foods, drinking tasty beers

Blog: Started as a compilation of stories from studying abroad, now turning into a compilation of stories from life, runs, and consumable goods.

Note: Inconsistent posts often due to amount of fun being had.

Straight Scoop: Lux Raglan Top

Last week was filled with many opportunities:  hanging out with the Oiselle Nest, taking some pictures, seeing friends, and trying on some new clothes (all the new clothes according to Megan’s tweet). Each opportunity deserves a post, but this one will be dedicated to the last item on that list.

To be more specific, this is the Straight Scoop of everything you need to know about the the new Lux Raglan of the  Oiselle Fall 2016 line which I wore for an entire sweaty workout led by none other than Lauren Fleshman herself. There is plenty of photo evidence of this shirt going to work (which will also be featured in future Oiselle things), and I am here to back up those photos with some written evidence (and lots of praise).

First off, as soon as I put this shirt on I was sold. I own a few other Lux pieces, one being the previous version of this shirt, and the fit of this is definitely more refined, with a closer to body fit that is ready to go for any and all runs. While the top is more fitted it is definitely not clingy, feeling more like a gentle, Lux-butter hug you may give someone you have just met, with a neck spacious enough to prevent any weird rubbing/chafing opportunities. I am also a huge fan of the Shine color and am so happy it made it’s way to the lux fabric, it’s the perfect way to cheer up gloomy mornings and the color turned out beautifully on the heathered fabric without becoming too dull or too bright.

During the fartlek workout I honestly forgot I was wearing a shirt, but not in the way you would expect from shirts made of mesh, or the ever-breezy hole punch shorts. The shirt felt like a second, lighter skin, and even though every minute brought on more sweat, the shirt did not feel sticky or uncomfortable, or most importantly, it didn’t sag! I have had several occasions where other shirts will sag as I run, and end up cupping my butt by the end of it, taking my attention off my workout or race and onto the fact that my shirt has somehow turned into a diaper.

The shirt did a great job of keeping me at a comfortable temperature as well as allowing me to wipe sweat on during the working without feeling like I oversaturate it.  Even after I finished and my body started cooling down, I didn’t feel the slightest bit cold because the fabric felt thick enough to keep heat in but also handled sweat like a champ, yes it shows sweat, but that’s just a sign to you and everyone else that you are putting in some great work, own it!

Workout wise, I actually thought this shirt was perfect for fartleks, but can see myself wearing it for more fall/winter tempo workouts to keep me warm and comfortable for longer efforts, I would probably not pick it for any run over 70, as I think the fabric does a better job of keeping in heat. This could also be an excellent post-workout shirt where soft and dry are the most important attributes. Currently, I’m training for the North Face 50k this December which means lots of miles and long workouts and this shirt will definitely be a go-to item for those slightly chilly, fog-filled, Bay Area mornings or early evenings (yes, the fog is there for both).

Overall, I think Lux is truly a Fall/Winter staple, and the raglan fit gives enough room to layer comfortably underneath to feel toasty without feeling corseted, and is just close enough to the body to layer over with a vest or jacket and not feel bulky.

I had so many layering ideas that instead of writing a long paragraph of them here is a bulleted list:

  • Race day top over the Volée singlet (especially the shine!), because you don’t always need a long sleeve on race morning
  • Under Vim vest or Vigor/Wallace jacket for a wet morning or warm up, add Lux gloves for lower temps (or chronically cold hands like mine!)
  • Over any tank for a pre-workout layer
  • Underneath a puff-vest or jacket for when you need extra help staying warm
  • If using as your main workout top, underneath the Lux tech hoodie for some doubly soft goodness
  • For feeling the coziest you could ever possibly feel, underneath the Girls in Hoodie, soft fleece on top of soft lux? It actually makes me excited for cold, rainy days.

 

Head up, wings out!

For more info on the amazingness of Oiselle and the women behind it, check out their blog!

New Post, New Design

Like dusting off your racing shoes after finding them shoved in the back of your closet, taking out that juicer you bought to “cleanse” and gave up after 3 days, or more literally picking up the pen and putting it to paper after a LONG time, this blog is all jazzed up and ready to go.

For the third time, I am going to start writing consistently, and stick to it (trust me on this one, guys). Why is this different? Because my community has grown, my experiences have become more meaningful, and I am so darn inspired by countless other blogs that I just had to get back in the game.

Keep It Simple 3.0 is bringing you more a comprehensive view of the wild world that is my running life and how I manage to feed myself. Maybe there will be some extra posts thrown in there, but with the help of you, dear readers, I shall adjust to popular demand accordingly.

And now, a list of updates! What has happened in the last 2 years (no, seriously, it’s been two years since I touched this thing)

  1. I have moved 3 times: SF > Berkeley > Oakland
  2. I have had 3 more jobs: Bi-Rite > 18 Reasons > Berkeley Unified District
  3. I have run plenty of races taken one step into the world of ultrarunning with my first 50k
  4. I have found amazing communities through food shared, group runs, and the running teams I have become a part of: Oiselle Volée, Bay Birds Racing, and the Salomon Run Ambassadors

Alright so two years is harder to list out than I thought without getting crazy long. But we are all here now, so let’s just go from here, ok?

An Unapologetic Long-winded Account of When I Felt Like Anthony Bourdain

6:47PM

“My friend is coming to meet us at 7:30.”

I am slightly hungry/also thinking it is a result of being awake and moving since 4AM. I take an extra few seconds to pause, then have one of those moments where you think you should say something and then you top and you come back later to realize you should have done the opposite. Anyways, I decide an interview in a second language I would not consider myself fluent in to be a bad idea and hold back a question to be revealed later. I respond:

“We should just grab something really quick and be bad before he gets here.”

Really quick turns into a dinner of fish/shrimp ceviche followed by ice cream because the sweet tooth is strong with me this particular evening.

7:34 PM

The friend shows up and we invite him inside for an interview.

“No, we go to my father’s restaurant.”

Duh.

Now the backstory (or if this were a film manifestation, the title and opening credits). I must get all of this out in the span of minutes because we all know as audience members we stop watching those credits as soon as we don’t recognize names anymore. I am a teacher’s assistant for a field course in Costa Rica. The field course is in primatology and I am no primatologist of non-humans. “Then why are you there?” you are asking, it is because I had collected data for my own study on diet and culture during the previous year and this year there happened to also be some students interested in the human promote side of things so my knowledge would be useful. My ticket was paid for so I could assist and travel around and drink wine and watch monkeys and do all of the things but also help out students with the cultural side. This took me and one student from Primavera (a very small town that no one has heard of and can only be located by exact latitude and longitude) to the capital San José. This trip involved a 4 AM wake up call and a little over 3 hours on a bus.

Skip ahead just a tad.

We have been waiting for this student’s friend for half of the day to get an interview and some inside information on the city that will be useful for the student’s and my research. He is useful because he speaks a little English and grew up here and will probably know some people.

Note: we are all caught up now.

Alan comes to the door and introduces himself, a large set latino man with the skin tone of a man who works in software (which he does), close-set brown eyes, and thin dark hair slicked back into a low ponytail. He is relieved I can speak (some) Spanish and we follow him to some midsize black car that is very nice looking and get in.

“You ever had chifrijo?”

“No, but i was wondering what it was when I passed by and saw that Burger King had it.”

He seems to get a little more excited.

We drive in enough directions that I am turned around. A task that is actually….quite easy to do. Many a turn later, we arrive at Rafa’s.

Rafa’s almost looks like a tourist bar, it is covered with mahogany tinted wood panels both outside and in, but inside there is the classic long bar situated on the right, stocked with about 1/3 of the amount of booze you would see at a US bar and a drink fridge with enough bottled beer for a busy night. No, beer on tap is not a thing here, but beer as the primary drink is. You still might be surprised to know that beer choice is limited to a handful of things, with Imperial and Pilsen being the most popular.

Back to the food though.

We pull up and are greeted by Alan’s father, Rafa (short for Rafael), and his two friends Daniel (pronounced Danielle), and Sherman (pronounced very convincingly as chairman). After sitting at a table in the back Morris and I are asked if we would like beers.

“Si, claro.”

“Imperial?”

“Como no.”

Translation:

“Yes, clearly.”

“Imperial?”

“Well obviously, how could I not have an Imperial.”

Note: that last part is not a direct translation.

We sit and chat about the city of San José, where Alan has lived his whole life minus the year he just spent traveling Europe for a study abroad program in English and Business. He really loves it here because the for is great, the people tranquilo (chill), and the beautiful scenery (he keeps trying to take us to this volcano but we have to tell him no because we need interviews for our research).

And then comes the chifrijo. At this moment I also realize that chifrijo emerges from the combination of chi-charron and frij-oles. Just wonderful.

It is served in a small bowl that might otherwise be used for a little side of beans. It already look magical and then we are told that inside this tiny vessel of tastebud glory are whole red beans, chicharron(in this case grilled pieces of what looked to me like pork loin, and topped with what Alan called chimichurri but what appeared to be pico de gallo. The dish is usually served with tortilla chips which were brought out on a small plate along with some homemade chile sauce in a repurposed water bottle.

At first bite, I was in the throes of red beans complimented by diced tomato and onion. At second bite I had found a hunk of the grilled pork which tasted like it was marinated in spices that I wouldn’t mind eating for the rest of my life and had just come off the grill because I even got a tiny bit of char at the end, which I, unlike people who’s taste preferences I won’t comment about, very much enjoy. I continue to take bites and then realize that I also need to keep up in the conversation. I turn away from this tiny bowl and talk with Alan some more while sipping my Imperial to draw out the bites.

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Rafa himself comes out and I quickly tell him how much I loved it, all of it, everything, and don’t offer me more because I will eat it all. He smiles gratefully, whole heartedly even, and I can tell we understand each other. I love these moments, and here is why:

Food is culture, it is a manifestation of the history, the people, and the agricultural resources of a nation. It tells a wild story of conquerors and diseases, of revolutions and the strength of people, of someone’s wild idea to just “throw something together” with a creativity that can only be inspired by knowing one’s nation. When I cook, I love, and I like to believe that those truly passionate about sharing food feel the same. Food is how I connect with people, it is something I can talk about for hours (as my close friends have noticed), and it is offers me the opportunity to learn and teach. Food became a passion of mine, the source of giddy excitement and wonder, and identifying it in myself has allowed me to see it in other people. Do you know how great it is to help someone else find what they are passionate about? Let me tell you that excitement is equal to the excitement of totally nailing a new recipe and people liking it. I’m almost too excited to continue now to tell you the truth, my heart is racing and I can barely form words because how can words describe that? Ok, I’ll calm down (takes one deep breath), we continue.

So Rafa and I share this great moment and then Chairman (yeah, I know Sherman is his real name but I just love this name so much) comes over and tells us he makes patty, a typical Caribbean baked empanada. So of course I have to try one those and talk with him about the Caribbean culture in Costa Rica that is a result of immigrant Jamaican workers back in the 19th century. The patty is a small baked empanada, Chairman tells me he has made beef and chile or plantain. He then says

“My policy is, you try it first, then you pay, if you don’t like it you don’t pay.”

I like this man and his Caribbean ways.

First, beef and chile. Tasty. Ground beef plus green chiles encased in a thin dough. Second, plantain, I take a bite, it’s red! Why is this red? There are no such thing’s as red plantains, are there? Have I been missing out on this crazy fruit/vegetable? It is plantain, cinnamon, and some beet juice for color. Well no wonder I love it, cinnamon is my jam. So I paid for them.IMG_0017

At this point we are full. We have chatted, learned, shared, laughed, and just spent the last 5 minutes trying to get someone to take a picture of us and figure out how to turn the flash on Alan’s camera phone. He drives us back, points out a popular expensive hotel and tells us many prostitutes hang around because of the travelling business men inside, tells us areas to stay away from at night, and we part ways at our front gate.

That question I was going ask earlier before we ate ceviche/before we met with Alan?

“If his Dad owns a restaurant do you think he’ll take us there to eat?”  

Lesson: Second dinner and dessert should always be welcome.

Woman Traveling Alone, Stay Away

QUICK! A SUMMARY! 

Rebecca has been working hard in San Francisco, she has two jobs working as a deli girl at Whole Foods and a waitress to the Marina folk who love brunch (so all of them). She misses school and is still working on a Biocultural Anthropology paper with her super cool professor and will be applying to grad school shortly. She runs and works and tries to fit in drinking good beer on her time off. She was kind of talking to her professor about going back to Costa Rica but was really nervous for a lot of dumb reasons so when her professor called and said she could come down to help out again for 2 weeks she said, with a adventure-ridden mind, yes. 

Cue curtain and the short tale of her arrival begins:

Oh boy I’m in Costa Rica!

Same aggressive behavior from the taxi drivers. Shouting at the confused gringos, assaulting with help.

Henry approaches me and speaks in English asking where I want to go. Even though he speaks in English my mind tangos with spanish and things just kind of pour out of my mouth without the filter of my mind to stop them.

Are there buses from here? I need to get to Cariari.

Oh Cariari, you need to get to the bus terminal de caribeno.

Ok, and there’s no bus from here that can take me there?

I already know he’s going to say no, even if there were/is a bus, telling me means losing business. But I take the bait, this guy seems nice. I think about it as he waits there, well why not? It’s faster, and I’m already travelling (read: struggling) with three bags.

So Henry takes my bag and explains to me that his car is parked “over there.”

Oh cool, over there in a dark alley? Over there out of sight? Over there by other cars?  I am slightly prepared to grab my bag back from him and run (read: struggle) back with my three bags. I had been previously advised to only trust the guys with the red taxis in white shirts. Henry was wearing a white polo, but the car would tell all.

We walk across the street.

It’s just a little further, Henry says.

We walk into the parking lot of a gas station and there is sitting a red taxi.

i then wonder if this taxi is stolen and this is all just a ploy. But on the walk Henry tells me he is from Minnesota and he loves the United States so I relax a little. And then I get twice as paranoid because i think he is that smart to pretend he is from Minnesota (a state I know little to nothing [nothing] about).

Traveling as a lone woman is hard, guys.

On the drive Henry tells me he loves the United States, it feels like his first country. He wants to be there permanently but he has to be back here to figure out some paperwork (Also questionable).

Normal conversation topics pass as I hope we eventually end up at the bus terminal I am familiar with from previous travels. Twists and turns, no less than 6 near accidents occur, and then familiarity.

Hey! I know that taller de automaticos.

Hey! I know this bus stop!

Hey! Henry wasn’t trying to capture me after all!

I am lone woman traveler, here me roar! 

Rainy Dreams

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For the first time in a while, I was woken by the sound of heavy rain falling outside.

As I blinked-hard and squinted, I almost thought I was back in Central America. Not to say that I was really ever mistaken, but probably more hopeful. This rain still cannot rival that of Costa Rica, where I was sure that was the closest to some sort of natural flooding disaster I will ever be.  And in El Salvador when I always hoped class would be cancelled so I wasn’t forced to walk a mile down hill in the rain (and then back up it past the best smelling panaderia in the neighborhood).

The nostalgia inspired me. And for the first time in a while I picked up my journal and pen and wrote. And for the first time in a while I remembered my dream. It wasn’t as pleasant as waking up to rainfall was.

In short, it went something like this:

I was sick of my life in the US and decided to take all my money (not a lot) and get on a plane to China. I told my mother this and oddly enough, she agreed. I packed up and we hopped in the car for the airport. I check bags, make sure I have everything, start getting nervous, questioning my motives, etc. The airport is wildly confusing in a Harry Potter switching staircases way (note: I’m pretty sure this airport is a recurring dream location). But I find the gate, step in the moving hallway that takes you from the terminal to the plane (I forget what this thing is called), and then all the panic hits. I change my mind, look back, look sideways, look anywhere but forward because that is no longer the direction I want to move. I call my mom.

“Mom, I don’t want to go to China.”

“I know.”

Peace for a second. I tell the Flight Attendant I have changed my mind.

“Um, ok.”

That was a dramatic move, Rebecca. Now I can stay here and run my marathon on Sunday (actually happening). Phew.

Wait. Wait. Why is this hallway moving forward? How did I get ON the plane? I just told you I’m not going.

Panic for a few more seconds. Then, out of nowhere I am off the plane, on the runway. Being picked up by some firefighters in a very rickety looking truck with extra “lookout features” piled on top like some sort of whimsically gravity defying Dr. Seuss building.

And then I go on to fight zombies with them/help them ID who has been infected with the zombie virus. No, I’m not kidding. No I don’t play zombie games. No I didn’t fall asleep watching I Am Legend/Invasion/Warm Bodies/Walking Dead/Insert Name of Zombie movie or show here.

Mid-zombie fighting, I am woken by the rain.

 

Dreams can go anywhere.

Running in San Francisco

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Things I passed on a 14-mile run:

  • Kezar Stadium
  • Bison in Golden Gate Park
  • Ocean Beach
  • Lands End
  • Presidio
  • Plenty of tourists looking slightly confused about where they were going
  • Almost the Golden Gate Bridge

Turn around, repeat.

This can be considered one of those runs where you are just amazed at where your feet will take you. Kudos to you, feet.

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Ode to My Delicious Chocolate-dipped Almond Coconut Cookie

You’re malleable to the touch, meltable in my mouth, I chastise myself for primarily being wary of your almond-paste composition because now it is what I love most. Or perhaps what I love most is your transparent bipolarity.  Your pure soft side is perfectly complemented by the rough textured coating of the other.  How can I treasure you slowly? How can I savor you sweetly? When you are constantly giving me something new to taste. Something new for my teeth to break apart. I place you in a bag to cherish later but then later comes too soon and I have neglected time and reasoning to nibble you up. But wait! There you are! a tiny fragment of you nestled in the corner of the bag, my fingers grasp and pinch your remnants, a sweet reminder that you were, for a short amount of time, the greatest thing in my life.