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So here’s the breakdown of my current health standings.

Energy: Well, I slept through the night – again. And after 4 days of total rest, I think my fever is gone and my body is finally making it’s way back to “normal,” or whatever that is. At any rate, I don’t feel like falling back asleep immediately after getting out of bed, which is a big improvement when compared to the last few days of fatigue hell. Plus, the fact that the sight of fruits and veggies no longer make me nauseous doesn’t hurt either.

Spirits: Lifted! Being sick – or at least that sick – can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health. I hate sitting around. I hate working from home (well, not all the time, but 2 days in a row is 1 day too long without any human interaction). I hate that feeling of hopelessness, as though I couldn’t care less that I wasn’t running. But the truth is, from Sunday until yesterday, I really couldn’t care less. My body was in attack mode, and I knew there was absolutely, positively no chance I was running. So I just accepted it. And that was that.

Throat: Sore still, but ah, c‘est la vie. Can’t win ‘em all. Anyway, a lingering scratchy throat is nothing when compared to how I felt over the last few days. Throat shmoat; that’s how I feel about that.

So yea, I’m back! And boy did I miss you, old friends.

As hashed out on Wishful Wednesday, I planned a short, introductory 3-mile run for Thursday – you know, just something to get my head and body back into the game. Because while, trust me, I’d love to bang out 5 miles in the park or more, I’m not an idiot. I’m a firm believer in easing back into something in order to avoid (in the case of injury) re-injury or (in the case of what I had) exhaustion.

So 3 miles it is.

To make sure that I actually stuck to my guns, I planned my usual 3-mile route along 1st Avenue, over to Sutton Place, and home. It wasn’t the prettiest path (at least not by satellite; the run was actually quite nice), but it was short, quick and very much welcome after so many days of feeling weak and feeble.

The run began at my apartment, between Grand Central and Murray Hill. I followed the roads straight over to 1st Avenue so that I could take in the sights (as though I don’t know what the U.N. building looks like, but still – it’s kind of invigorating).

Not really in the mood to over-think my morning run, since I only had 3 miles to tackle, I rode 1st Avenue all the way up to the Queensboro Bridge (it’s like, 20 blocks or something), where I turned right to catch a quick glimpse of the East River and the apartments I will one day – some day – never live in. Reality – and New York City real estate – can be such a drag.

The weather and the views were as glorious as ever, but unfortunately, I couldn’t stop to stay a while. On any normal day, I’d take a moment for push-ups, tri-dips and cross-training, but I was on a mission to take it easy, and take it easy I would.

The run went by all too quickly, and before I knew it, I was at Piccolo Cafe, where Noah was waiting for me with a skim cappuccino. (He’s really keeping this awesome boyfriend streak going; so I repaid him by scrubbing the tub with bleach after he left it looking like a frat house. You’re welcome, Noah.)

Overall, the morning was somewhat perfect even though I felt tired and winded. I guess I had hoped that, because I took 4 “rest days,” I’d be back up and running like a freaking banshee when, in reality, they weren’t rest days at all; I was just dealing with a different kind of sweat. Pools of it, in fact.

Still, I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. The days I was sick, save for Sunday, were gray, cool and drizzly. Thursday, on the other hand, was bright,  sun-shiny, and – my favorite of all – just a little dewy after a few days of much-needed rain.

As for the rest of the day, I’ll leave you with a new dish I cooked up the other night in a desperate push to fill my body with vegetables and nutrients and anything other than Saltines and matzah balls and blue Gatorade drinks.

So without further ado, I bring to you my healthy(er) take on spinach artichoke dip(Warning: Don’t judge by the photo. It’s apparently really difficult to take a picture of green slop that looks appetizing.

Stacy’s Broccoli and Walnut Puree Dip

What You Need (ingredients):

1 head of broccoli

2 garlic cloves

1/2 a sweet onion

1 handful of walnuts

Salt + pepper (to taste)

Parmesan cheese (obv.)

Any bottle of sweet wine

Balsamic vinegar

Cooking spray or olive oil

What You Need (kitchen supplies):

1 medium size sauté pan

1 medium size pot

1 immersion blender

1 wooden spoon (something about cooking with plastic irks me)

What To Do

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a little salt for flavor and to speed up the process.

2. Coat your pan with cooking spray or olive oil depending on your taste and dietary habits. Turn up the heat.

3. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Place in the heated pan and let sizzle. Once the water content is gone (you’ll know because your onions and garlic will begin to stick; try to avoid this), pour in enough wine to just cover the contents of the pan. Allow this to cook out.

4. Your pot of water should be boiling by now. (If it’s not, turn up the stove.) Cut up your broccoli and toss the florets into the boiling water. Toss a pinch of salt in and cover the pot. You want this to cook until the broccoli is extra mushy.

5. Back to the pan. Once the wine has cooked out and you’re left with onion and garlic, toss in a handful of walnuts, crunching them with your beastly fists as you pulverize them into the pan. Stir for a minute or so, allowing the nutty, earthy flavor to disperse. Once this is done, pour just a few drops of balsamic vinegar in. Let this mixture sit on low heat so that it continues to caramelize.

6. Once the broccoli is nice and mushy, pour out any extra water left in the pot. Crack a little pepper (to taste) on top.

7. Hammer time. Whip out the immersion blender, and get blending. You want the broccoli to have a nice, thick consistency since you’re using this as a dip. When the broccoli is nearly ready, dump in the garlic, onion and walnuts from the pan. Blend until all of this is mostly mixed together.

8. Now you’re almost done, but you’re still missing one key ingredient. Unplug the immersion blender (so no one gets hurts) and take out the Parmesan cheese. Lightly sprinkle. I’m not even gonna mess with you on this one; go crazy with the cheese. This dip is a lot like spinach and artichoke, which everyone knows gets better the cheesier it is.

9. Eat straight from the pot with whole-wheat Melba Toast crackers. Or, serve in a nice dish and devour it all. With whole-wheat Melba Toast crackers.

  • What’s your protocol for getting back into running after being sick or injured? 
  • Do you love vegetable dips as much as I do? Which are your favorites?
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