Friday, October 5, 2012

Early Fall

I have to admit that, in all honestly, the fall bums me out. The weather is getting colder, we wake up in the dark, and October is the rainiest month of the year. And, of course, there is a reminder that winter is coming -- always a downer. 

Obviously, feeling sad about the fall is not very productive, so I've been trying some exciting new things to keep the season fun. After all, fall has it's pluses: comfortable temperatures for outdoor exercise, cooler nights for sleeping, fun seasonal activities (like fairs and apple picking), tasty fall-specific foods, and the beauty of the leaves changing. It is a lovely time to live in New England!

I started the fall with an exciting project: I made pancakes. Making pancakes might not sound too adventurous for most people, but, as anyone who knows me would say, I'm not super keen on cooking. I would, in fact, say I dislike cooking. I try to avoid the kitchen unless absolutely necessary. When I do prepare food, I keep it simple. I can, for example, make a most excellent salad.

I was inspired to make pancakes after reading an article in Runner's World called "The Ultimate Guide to Pancakes". The article included a multi-grain pancake recipe, Pam Anderson's Multi-grain Medallions, and options to mix it up with added ingredients. One delicious-looking option was to add cocoa and chili powder with chopped up dark chocolate to the recipe. The picture looked amazing -- I had to try it.

The multi-grain pancake recipe was fairly straight forward and had detailed ingredients, but there was no information about how much of each ingredient to use for each of the add-on recipes. I played it by ear and added cocoa until the batter looked an appropriate color. 

Then, over the course of thirty minutes, I made pancakes one-by-one in our little pan.

The results were excellent. A cooking success. The pancakes were lightly sweet from the cocoa and had a little zing from the chili powder. 

Next time I have an hour free, and the wherewithal to spend it in the kitchen, I want to try another one of the Runner's World pancake recipes!

I've also been embracing the fall with a little bit of trail running. Living in Amherst, there are loads of trails right near my house. It is the perfect place for someone who wants to exercise outside. 

About a quarter mile from our house is the 47-mile Robert Frost Trail. For my Tuesday morning run, I headed back into Echo Hill and pick up the trail. It was lovely!

I was able to take the Robert Frost Trail back into the nearby Amherst Woods residential area and then along the K.C. Trail to meet the Norwottuck Rail Trail.

I always love running along the rail trail. I can get to it by running about a mile from my house. The rail trail goes all the way into Northampton where, I believe, you can connect to other rail trails. Some day, I want to run the rail trail from home to work. It's around ten miles, so I know I could manage it.

If the rain clears up, I plan to attempt to further embrace the fall season and do more trail running. (I fear going out into the woods when it's wet, especially considering I am running in street shoes, as I don't have a pair of trail running shoes.) 

This weekend, if the weather turns out to be nice, I'll definitely have some fall activities planned!

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