UPC’s Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe and a Winter Workout story!
An amazing storm blew through the NYC area yesterday. We got buried in snow, and it was wonderful! I could do without the cold that blew in with the snow, but the snow itself is a beautiful thing. It transforms the otherwise brown, lifeless landscape of the NYC area into a sparkling, shining winter jewel! I know, I know, not everyone shares my opinion on the matter. And I truly feel for them. It is cold outside, there’s no doubt about it. Trust me, I know! As you’ll see in the pictures, I run in the winter with just shorts and a t-shirt. When it’s cold out, I am truly the first one to know about it!! But let’s be honest here: it could be cold without the snow. And then it would just be cold. Right now, at least, it’s cold and beautiful. The sun is shining, the ground is sparkling with white wonder, and the air is filled with that crisp wintry smell that tells you that the storm is over. It’s the cold version of the same smell after a summer storm. I couldn’t be happier!
I could, actually. I could be living in Cabo, independently wealthy, and writing to you all from my winter weekend place in Tahoe, where I go for ski trips. But given my current circumstances, I am pretty satisfied right now.
So here’s the workout story:
I get at least a short workout in nearly every day. It’s typically a combination of strength and endurance training. Sometimes that’s a 20 minute core, push-ups, and pull-ups workout, and then a 30 minute run. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes of core and arms, and 60 minutes of running. And unless there’s a really good reason not to be running outside, I’ll almost always choose an outdoors workout over an indoors workout. Usually the difference between outdoors and indoors happens at about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, or 40 mile winds. Or somewhere around there. It’s not a hard and fast rule; it’s a “feel” thing. I know when my body really doesn’t want to workout outdoors.
So I checked the weather after writing my post yesterday and realized that the winds were getting stronger and the temperature was dropping. And unfortunately for people who like to workout outdoors, and commuters, the weather wasn’t going to let up until after midnight. Which meant that I had to get my run in early, during the storm but before the weather got to unmanageable levels, or workout on the treadmill. It wasn’t a difficult choice…
I pulled on my shorts, t-shirt, and Vibrams and headed out the door at full speed, with only barely enough thought-space leftover to grab the camera on the way. Snow storms are a beautiful thing, and getting the right picture is always worth the effort!
Not far from where I live is the Hudson waterfront, which as many of you already know (I think I mention it at least once a week) has a beautiful waterfront walkway for exercise and recreational use. There’s a trick to running in a light snow: always stick to where the snow has been left alone. When people walk, put down salt, or plow, the texture of the snow is changed and it becomes unpredictable. It could have ice from the salt, it could have patches that are packed from footsteps and then covered, or there could be any number of other inconsistent surface issues. When you’re walking, that’s probably ok, since you’ve got more time to react to things happening underneath your feet. But for runners, that’s far from ideal. So I headed to where I was reasonably confident that there would be minimal disturbances: the waterfront walkway! The streets and sidewalks will get plowed right away (as you can see from my pictures) but the walkway is non-essential, and is the last place to get any maintenance attention. Which makes it the place most people avoid during a storm, and thus the place I headed straight for!
The walkway portion of the run was picturesque. I managed to grab a quick “selfie” while running along the snow-covered walkway, as well as grabbing a shot of my foot in the snow. That is a running shot, by the way, I didn’t stop and pose (it’s too cold for that!). As soon as I turned to get some hills in, I saw the maintained walkway that I show in the pictures. There were several workmen out on the sidewalks keeping them clear. It looked like they were set up to be there all day… Which isn’t surprising, since the snow wasn’t going to stop until midnight. They all stopped what they were doing and shouted at me; probably trying to convince me to put a jacket on…
Then I headed up the hill. You can see the serene looking staircase, just before I go and disturb the snow-covering on the steps! It was fun! There are about as many steps behind me in that shot as there were left in front of me, so needless to say, my legs were burning by the time I got to the top. And no, I didn’t slow down and take them easy. What, are you crazy? It’s cold out there; I’m not slowing down!
At the top of the stairs is a short climb to the top of the hill, and then I turned around and headed down the long, snowy road that you see in the picture. About half-way down the road, some guy pulled over and snapped a cell phone picture of me, no doubt to tell his wife and kids about the “crazy dude” that he saw running “just in shorts” today. Because let’s be honest, if the story is worth telling, it’s worth embellishing! I was amused by that, but my amusement was cut short… Right at the bottom of the hill was one of those puddles where you don’t see it coming. There was a thin film of snow over the top of the puddle, so it looked like the rest of the ground. But when my feet cried out in soon-to-be-numbed cold pain, I was immediately regretful that I’d been wasting my attention on the guy taking a cellphone picture of me, rather than trying to see the puddle. I’m not sure I could have anyway; but I sure do wish I was trying! That was COLD!
The run finished up shortly after that, after another long, quiet, picturesque stretch of the waterfront walk, and then off toward my apartment. Despite the screamingly cold toes, it was worth it!!
UPC’s Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe; How to do it:
- 1 cup Fresh Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric (yes, I put it on almost everything)
- Optional Spices: 1 pinch Chile Pepper, 1 teaspoon Paprika (if you use paprika, skip the turmeric)
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 (Fahrenheit).
- Scoop the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin.
- Rinse the pumpkin seeds thoroughly, and then strain them. You may need to get your hands in there and massage the seeds a bit to get most of the pumpkin strings out.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, the salt, and turmeric (or paprika, if you're going that route) to a salad bowl or other small mixing bowl and stir, making sure that the pumpkin seeds are thoroughly coated.
- Spread the pumpkin seeds out on a wax-paper lined baking sheet (silicone baking sheet works well too) and put them in the oven for 20 minutes. Make sure that they're well spread out.
- After 10 minutes of baking time, stir the pumpkin seeds again on the sheet, then make sure that they're well spread out.
- Now serve and enjoy!