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State of the Blog

Five years ago, I started this blog with a terrible photo and a recipe for tortilla soup. I was relatively newly married, student teaching, doing the occasional triathlon, and still living in the town where I went to college.

Now, we’re almost to our sixth wedding anniversary, we’re parents, I’ve been a teacher for three years, I’m signed up for my first Ironman, and we live in the East Bay.  There have been lots of changes in my life, and lots of changes on this blog.

I used to spend hours planning meals, taking pictures of those meals, and posting them on the blog.  I voraciously read blogs and checked cookbooks out of the library, and my personal cookbook collection started to grow.  Somewhere around 2010, I started talking about my athletic endeavors on the blog as well.  I had ups and downs, but I was pretty consistent about posting and always looked forward to sharing pictures and stories of what I was up to.


Blogging helped me make some amazing friends, helped me feel connected to people at home while we were traveling the world, and definitely expanded my culinary horizons.   These days, though, I just don’t feel any drive to post, and I’m starting to not really want to read blogs either.

I’m not going to take down any of the recipes or posts just yet, but now that Ellie is older and Mike and I are both training for big races, I’d rather spend my time with the people I love than glued to my computer. I may pop back on from time to time if I cook something REALLY good (and actually take a photo of it), but right now, Cate’s World Kitchen is going to go quiet.  Thanks so much for reading!


Family Vacation without leaving home

My sister stuck around for a week after the marathon, so we basically packed as much fun as possible into the days she was here.

First up: a day in Santa Cruz! After reading her blog for 5+ years, I finally met Brianna at her family’s brewery.


My favorite was the On the Porch Pale Ale… but the Saison was good too.  Ellie loved the kids table and books.

After beer, it was time for some beach and boardwalk action.


The Giant Dipper is one of my favorite roller coasters of all time.  This place is so fun.


Emily and Ellie had some quality bonding time on the beach.  She just finished her first year of med school (SO FREAKING PROUD OF HER) so she was in full-on relax mode.

The next day we hit up some fun spots much closer to home: the steam train and carousel in Tilden Regional Park.  Ellie was totally freaked out about the train while we were waiting in line, but I think she loved it once we got on (she said “toot toot!” every 10 seconds for the duration of the ride).

steam train

Ellie had her first carousel experience in Santa Cruz and completely fell in love.


The one in Tilden park is $2 per ticket and she spent the whole time solemnly holding the bar and saying “giddyup.”


On our third day of fun, we drove up to Muir Beach.  We had the place to ourselves for about 10 minutes, and then a kids surf camp showed up, but it was still absolutely beautiful.


On the way home, we tried to stop for drinks at Mill Valley Beer Works but it was closed between 3 and 5.  However, that meant more playground time for Ellie at the best park ever (Old Mill Park).  She tried out the big kid swings by herself for the first time ever.


Now my family is back in Oregon, I’m stay-at-home momming for the summer, and Ellie and I are going to try and find a million fun things to do all over the Bay Area.  We’ve got a membership to the Oakland zoo, plans to visit Mike at work in the city, and a bunch of playgrounds on the list to explore.





2 Great Salads and 2 Weekend Workouts

This was it. My last BIG training weekend before the taper for Wildflower. And it ALMOST went perfectly.

On Friday after work I picked up my fancy new Rudy Project helmet, which I got an awesome deal on because they sponsor the tri club I’m in. It’s such a huge improvement on my last (junky, ugly, old) helmet.
Riding high on new gear, and with my aero bars newly attached to the bike, I headed out for my usual Saturday morning group ride. Pretty much right away, my seat started slipping, tipping slightly back with every bump I went over. 10 miles in, I decided to stop and see if I could tighten it, and thought I had, but a few minutes later it slipped even more. I decided to throw in the towel and call Mike for a ride to a bike shop (this may have been a slight overreaction on my part, but it was frustrating and I couldn’t seem to fix it myself).

Sitting by the side of the road waiting for him to pick me up, a guy from the group ride who had turned back early stopped and fixed the seat. It was an easy fix, but for some reason I couldn’t  figure it out on my own. I called Mike and told him I actually didn’t need to be picked up, then rode home and finished the ride on the trainer, because I was worried something else would go wrong. Fortunately, after that, my transition run went really well.

Workout two of the weekend was much better. Aron figured out how to run to some great trails less than a mile from my house, so we had an awesome 2 hour run as the sun was coming up. Perfection.

I’ve become an extremely lazy weeknight cook and pretty much just stick to salads. This week I made two that we all adored:
1. Bulgur, lentils, kale, and avocado.
This one is super simple: boil 2 cups of water, pour over one cup of bulgur, and let stand while you prepare everything else.
Chop a head of curly kale and a clove of garlic. Mix the garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and massage into the kale.
Cook 1 cup of French green lentils in a pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes (or until tender), then rinse and drain.
Drain the bulgur (if necessary) toss everything with the salt and 2-3 tbsp lemon juice (to taste), and top with diced avocado.

2. Marinated tofu, bean threads, lettuce, and jicama, carrots, herbs

This one is slightly more involved.

To make the tofu marinade: chop 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp of garlic.  Put in a blender with 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Pour over 1 lb of extra firm tofu (diced), and let stand for 20 minutes. Soak 2 ounces bean threads in warm water.
Put 6 cups of mesclun mix in a large salad bowl and add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil. Add 1/3 cup each julienned carrot and jicama.
Saute the tofu in 1 tbsp of peanut oil until golden brown. Set aside. Drain and chop the bean threads into 1″ pieces, then add to the salad.
To make the dressing, combine 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tsp honey, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil, and 2 tsp minced fresh ginger in a blender.
Add the tofu and dressing to the salad bowl and mix well. Top with a little diced avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

A Week In (and around) Atlanta


We just got back from a week in Atlanta (with a night in Asheville, NC), and it was amazing.  I’d never been anywhere in the South and was honestly SHOCKED by how friendly and polite everyone was.  California, take a lesson.

The whole week we were gone, I ran exactly twice (and the race is now less than a month away. crap.) but I had so much fun hanging with Mike and Ellie, eating tons of good food, exploring new places, and meeting friends from the Internet.

I was soooo looking forward to going to Asheville, but the town itself wasn’t as awesome as I was hoping.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent time in other hippie towns like Eugene, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz, and maybe it’s because the weather was drizzly and freezing, but I’m glad we only decided to spend one night there.  The food, however, was fantastic.

asheville food

We had lunch at Rosetta’s Kitchen (Buddha bowl for Mike, tempeh reuben for me, and coconut curry for Ellie) and dinner at Laughing Seed (Omega Hempnut burger for Mike, Dal and steamed vegetables for Ellie, and raw Dragon Bowl for me).  I wish both places could open in my neighborhood.

I loved pretty much everything we did in Atlanta, which was basically just cruise around neighborhoods drinking coffee and finding playgrounds.


Can I please just move to Inman Park right now?

We also ate the healthiest meal of the trip at the Varsity. Onion rings, grilled cheese, and a frosted orange? YES PLEASE.

the varsity

Also, I’m pretty sure Atlanta has the best pizza in the country, as random as that may seem. It’s far from glamorous, but it’s BYOB and absolutely delicious.


The city also happens to have a really fun Children’s Museum.  We spent three hours there on Easter, and Ellie just couldn’t get enough.
I also got to meet some Internet friends!  I’ve “known” these people online only for 5+ years and it was awesome to finally meet them in real life.


We had coffee with Annie and Josie (and their adorable kids), a super tasty Cuban lunch with Trish, and ran 7 miles (then drank beer, obviously) with Shelby.

It was such a great trip, and Ellie only screamed a couple times on the plane (she hasn’t flown in a few months, and this trip was MUCH longer than that one, so I was totally worried about having that kid.  Thanks to a few packets of snacks, Mr. Potato Head, and some sticker books, she did really well.)

List of stuff we enjoyed:
The Varsity
Octane Coffee
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Running on the PATH
Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party
Candler Park
Grant Park
Inman Park

Way too Cool 50K: a recap from the sidelines

Having friends on the sidelines at CIM made the race a million times better, so when a bunch of my best running pals got into the Way Too Cool 5OK this year, I was excited to make the trek up to Cool, CA (yep, that’s really the name of the town!) to cheer.

We were on the road at 6:10 and got to Cool in under two hours.  I JUST missed the start of the first wave, so I didn’t have a chance to see Aron and Jessica off, but I did get this picture. I know they’re in there somewhere!


After that, Mike and I found Alyssa and hung out with her until the second wave started.


The runners did an 8 mile loop then came back through the start, so Jana and I posted up right across from the aid station to wait for our friends to come through.


It was nice and sunny and it was really fun cheering for everyone.

PicMonkey Collage

Jess, Aron, Alyssa, Kristen, and Layla all looked awesome!

After they all went through, we knew we had a little while until they all came back to finish, so we set out to do the first 8 miles of the course.  Unsurprisingly, we were not the only spectators with this plan. After 1.5 miles on the road, it turned off onto beautiful single track.

photo (22)

As awesome as it was, I really appreciated that I got to stop after 8 miles.

We hung out on some hay bales near the finish and the first man came through in 3:08, a new course record. CRAZY!  The our friends started finishing.  Jess and Aron stayed together and ran a huge PR, and Alyssa, Layla, and Kristen all became ultramarathoners.


It was an awesome day, but by the end I was so exhausted it almost felt like I’d run 31 miles. Spectating is tiring, but it was great to see my friends run and celebrate with them at the finish.


6 Easy Vegetarian Dinners for Busy Days

None of these are really recipes worthy of their own post, but I always find it helpful to have some ideas for quick meals.  These are quick if you’re prepared: I’ve included what I have ready in advance, because prepping a bunch of beans, grains, and vegetables on Sunday really does make healthy eating much easier all week long!


Throw a few corn tortillas in the toaster oven to crisp up, and while they’re in there, saute half an onion, a clove of garlic, and a few kale leaves in some olive oil.  Stir in the black beans, and grate some pepperjack cheese.

Put the tortillas on a baking sheet with some black bean mixture and top with shredded cheese.  Heat under the broiler until the cheese is melted


This is my favorite thing to do with vegetable odds and ends.  I fry the tofu in a little oil first, then set it aside while I cook the vegetables (this mix included broccoli stems, kale, and cabbage).  The sauce I added this week included soy sauce, lime juice, and minced garlic.


I made Moosewood lentil soup, which basically just entails sauteeing some onion, celery, and carrot until soft with a pinch of thyme.  Then I added 2 cups of lentils, a can of drained diced tomatoes, and 6 cups of vegetable broth.  I am definitely planning on trying it in a slow cooker!

While it simmered, I poured 2 cups of boiling water over 1 cup of bulgur and let it stand for 20 minutes, then added the juice of a lemon, a bunch of chopped parsley, and some crumbled feta.


If you have a big batch of cooked quinoa and some roasted squash in the fridge, this comes together really quickly.  Just toss together quinoa, black beans, and roasted butternut squash cubes, and season with salt.  To make the dressing: stir together 2 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp lime juice, and 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) ground cumin.  Toss with salad greens just before serving.


Rub some chopped kale with olive oil and let stand.  Put some oil in a skillet and add cubes of tofu and some chopped shallot.  Add cubes of roasted sweet potatoes and heath through.  Toss with the kale and add some cooked wheat berries.  Dress with a little balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.


This is just like fried rice, but with quinoa instead.  Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet, add half an onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, a small head of broccoli (chopped) and a cup or two of shredded cabbage.  Cook for a few minutes, then stir in two cups of quinoa, and a few dashes of vegetarian fish sauce and soy sauce (or Golden Mountain sauce).

It can be kind of tough to put together a healthy dinner after a long day of work, workouts, and errands, but if you take a little time to get food ready on the weekend, there are lots of easy, healthy options!

Tri Training, Teaching, and Being a Mom

I was hesitant to sign up for the Long Course at Wildflower because I knew it would mean a big chunk of time each week out training.  And it is. I’ll be building to about 12 hours a week over the next two months.  But triathlon training is going really well, and I love it!

Now that I’m following a training program, each week is laid out pretty much the same way: Bike and swim double days on Tuesday and Thursday, runs on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and a brick (bike + run) on Saturday.  Mondays are rest days.  That’s made it pretty easy for Mike and me to sit down and make a weekly schedule of who is going to be working out when.

Balancing training with teaching is easier this year than its been before.  Now that I’m in my third year, I have a slightly better sense of what I’m doing, and I hardly ever have to bring work home.  Our department plans as a team, and I work with absolutely AMAZING veteran teachers who make this job (7 classes of 35, 2 grade levels) much easier.

As far as cooking goes, I’ve scaled WAY back on the time I spend prepping dinner.  Instead, we get a ton of stuff ready on Sunday: wash all the fruit and vegetables, bake bread, cook dried grains and beans, and roast cubes of sweet potatoes and squash.  It makes last-minute lunches and dinners possible without having to get takeout or make a mid-week store run.

Also, Mike is truly awesome.  He does SO much around the house and with Ellie, and is completely supportive of my training.  There’s no way I could do this without him.

A couple people have asked how I fit everything in, so here’s a glimpse at my Tuesday/Thursday schedule:

4:45 AM – Alarm goes off and I jump on the trainer for an hour and 15 minutes.  This is when I watch the Bachelor on Hulu.

6:05 AM – Shower and get dressed

6:25 AM – I’m in the kitchen getting breakfast and lunch ready; Mike gets Ellie ready. Hopefully we can sit down for a minute and eat as a family, but it doesn’t always happen


7:05 AM – Out the door! I drop Mike off at the BART station, then drop Ellie off at daycare

7:35 AM – Arrive at work.

4:00-5:00 PM (depending on how much I need to do) – Leave work, pick up Ellie, head home

5:00-5:30 PM – Do some sort of food prep: chop vegetables, make salad dressing, etc. Feed Ellie, give her a bath, read books.

6:45 PM – Pick Mike up from the gym (he works out right after work), drop him off at home

7:10 PM – In the pool for about an hour.  Mike puts Ellie to bed


8:20 PM – Home.  I throw together something super quick for dinner, like a big grain-based salad, and we eat

9:00 PM – BED TIME!

Wednesdays and Fridays, depending on Mike’s plans, I either run early in the morning and then have the whole evening free to hang with Ellie; or I leave school around 3:45 and run for about an hour before picking Ellie up.

On weekends, group rides don’t start until 9 AM, so when I go to those, there’s a significant part of Saturday that Mike and Ellie hang out together.  To keep more family time intact, I sometimes wake up at 5 AM so I can get my training done around the time Ellie is waking up. I’ve always been a morning person, fortunately!

Mike commented the other day that it seems like triathlon training makes me really happy, and it’s totally true.  I’m having a blast working on all three sports, and I am way more excited about my workouts than I was while training for CIM. It’s not always easy to squeeze everything, in, but I feel like it’s all worth it for my sanity, and so Ellie can have a happy, healthy mom.


Spreadsheets are fun: our food budget

One of the things we’ve had to get real about since having Ellie is our food. I wish I were more of a budget person because I’d love to know where the heck all the money was going before we had to pay for daycare, because MAN it is expensive.  We’ve never really tracked our spending that carefully, just paying bills when they came up and moving money into savings whenever there were chunks leftover (I know, we are financial GENIUSES).

We decided to start tracking all our food purchases at the beginning of January.  We didn’t have a target number in mind, it was more just a loose plan to collect receipts, enter them into a spreadsheet, and see if there was anything we could cut back on.
food list

Mike was awesome about setting up the spreadsheet in nice little categories (price, food type, store) so when I say “we’re tracking our food spending” I pretty much mean he’s doing all the dirty work.

A few things jump out at you when it’s all laid out like that.  One, we really like our cheese and butter.  Two, AVOID the “make your own six pack” shelf at Whole Foods ($21 dollar six pack? oopsie).  Three, We spend a TON on produce.  A TON.  I’ve definitely started noticing that some things are cheaper at Whole Foods while others are a better deal at the Farmers Market.  We try to buy only organic produce (and local as much as we can) but it is not cheap!

Now, how can we cut costs?

– I’ve cut way back on tofu and processed soy in our meals and haven’t really used any in the last couple weeks.  We still have a bunch of big jars of dried beans that I’ve been working through, and that definitely means less money spent.

– We stopped buying dairy milk.  The kind we bought came in glass and you return the bottle to be refilled (no waste except for the tiny top, yay) which is awesome, but we realized that Ellie doesn’t drink milk and we don’t really use it.  We started making our own almond milk instead because it’s SUPER quick and seems to be pretty cost effective, plus that cuts back on packaging a lot.

– I started baking our bread.  It’s really not that time-intensive to bake two loaves of whole wheat bread on Sunday afternoon, and it costs a fraction of the cost of buying it, plus no plastic is involved!

– Mike is now brewing our beer.  Still not sure whether this is going to end up saving us money, but it’s a hobby he loves and so far, the results have been fantastic.  The start-up costs weren’t exactly zero, but our alcohol spending has gone way down now that we have a whole bunch of home brew ready to drink.

– I’m being way more careful about using up all our produce.  I go a little crazy buying greens sometimes, and they don’t always get eaten.  But at $2.49 for a bunch of organic chard, I’m making sure to put extra greens in my morning smoothies when they start to look a little limp.

– We’re prepping WAY more food.  It’s amazing how much more likely we are to use produce when it’s already washed.  I’m trying to get in the habit of washing everything as soon as it comes in the door, before going into the fridge.  I’ve also started making big batches of dried beans and freezing them so I can use them more quickly than having to wait for them to soak and cook (plus dried beans are cheaper and have lest waste than cans!)


Tonight I made a batch of these bean burgers to put in the freezer, so now we have those and tamales in case we need last minute dinners (why didn’t I do any of this when I was pregnant with Ellie? Who starts stocking the freezer when they have a one year old?)

– I’ve cut back on baking.  I don’t NEED to have cookies lying around, and when I bake cookies, I eat way more dough than I should.  Plus, buying all that chocolate adds up.  I do still have all that butter in the freezer though…

One of the things I’m not willing to do is switch to non-organics or buy things that have more packaging.  I’m trying to keep our food spending in check, but I’m also really concerned about waste.  The less plastic that comes into this house, the better, so I’m doing everything I can to make sure that what I buy doesn’t come with any.

And now for the obligatory end of the post question: Do you keep a spreadsheet of your groceries? Any food budget tips?


CIM Training: Week 8

Hideous picture to go with an equally hideous week of running.

I was on top of the freaking world after my 57 mile week/200 mile month.  It was awesome.  And then I got sick.

I actually only missed 3 days of running, but one of them was a long run (which I started but cut short because my throat hurt too much and it just didn’t seem worth it to keep going) so I ended the week with a measly 25 miles.  Fortunately this week I was able to get right back on track, and I’m grateful that it was a pretty minor cold.

Three more days until taper starts!

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 7.66 miles (8:13 min/mile)

Wednesday – Track workout: 5 miles total, with 5 x 800 (3:14, 3:15, 3:15, 3:16, 3:11)

Thursday – 7 miles (8:17 min/mile)

Friday – Sick

Saturday – Sick

Sunday – 5 miles

Total: 25 miles

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I really, really appreciate weekends, and this last one was the best one we’ve had in a while. Dinner with good friends on Friday, a beautiful run in Alameda on Saturday…

followed by beer on a patio in Hayes Valley with my favorite college roommate.

A new half marathon PR on Sunday was followed by coffee with my 2 favorites.

We’ve now reached that point in the year when some people are doing entirely too many things with pumpkin. I’m one of those people, and I don’t really plan on changing that any time soon. I feel like just about everything that one can do with pumpkin has been done before, and I know making coffee cake with it isn’t exactly earth-shattering and new.  But my whole family loved this coffee cake (and of course I drank a pumpkin spice latte on the side), so if you’re still craving more pumpkin, here you go!

I cut the topping recipe in half because although I usually can’t get enough, here it was just too much, especially when combined with the filling in the middle.



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