Hi guys!

How are ya this morning? I hope your week is going well so far. Before we get into today’s recipe, I just wanted to remind you that if you haven’t yet entered my Plant Based Diet For Dummies book giveaway, you’ve still got time! I’ll be picking the winners and announcing them in Friday’s post, so get your entries in ASAP if you’d like to win a copy.

Speaking of plant based deliciousness, let’s keep that theme going. If you need some new salad inspiration, today’s recipe is for you!

1. Recipe of the Week. There are a few activities that make me completely lose track of time. These include cooking, trail running, cleaning (but only sometimes), making my annual vision board, Pinterest pinning (don’t lie – I know you do it too), Instagram scrolling, and shopping.

Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

All throughout my childhood, my mum (hi mum!) claimed she hated shopping. Yet still, every year my sister and I got super excited when she’d take us to the mall for our back to school shopping trip. She had a strategy: She’d send us off to the stores we wanted to visit, tell us to try on clothes and narrow down our choices, put the final candidates on hold, then return to our meeting spot at a specific time. Then, she’d come around with us to all the stores we had outfits on hold at, sit in the dressing room (typically with Kernels Superkid flavoured popcorn which fueled us all for this marathon event) and judge the finalists.

Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

This trips really only happened once a year, and it was clear why. We literally shopped till we dropped. At the end of the day, we’d pile everything in the car and munch on leftover popcorn until we got home. Then I’d rip all the tags off of my new duds and have a mini fashion show in my room as I decided which outfit was going to be “the chosen one” for the first day of school. Because let’s be real, these are big decisions.

Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Now that it’s my own money being spent, these trips are a little different. And while clothes can still get me very excited (especially ones from Lululemon), groceries rank high on the list too. (You know you’re an adult when….) Instead of writing out my “need to buys” and “want to buys” as I used to do for back to school clothes, my grocery list has recipe plans scribbled down on one side and ingredients on the other. The other day, I cleaned 17 of these lists out of my purse. SEVENTEEN!

Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Luckily, 17 ingredients are not required for this Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad, which I kind of wanted to call the Chop Till You Drop salad because it involves a lot of chopping. HOWEVER. It’s all worth it. I could go on about all the valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you’ll get from this bowl of veggie goodness, but I won’t. What you really need to know is that it tastes delicious, will fill you up, and can be made in big-batches ahead of time. Hello, speedy weekday lunches!

Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

And if you’re really good and eat all your veggies, you can have some Superkid popcorn for dessert. Deal? 😉

Click here for the recipe!

Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat 1Garden Vegetable and Chickpea Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

2. Oterro Trail Shoes from Topo Athletic. My adventures in trail running have only just begun over the past couple of months, and although I don’t intend to add many more races to my 2014 calendar, this kind of race is is definitely going to be something I get into more next year. In the meantime, getting out onto some of our local trails, whether for running or just a long walk has been one of my favourite summer activities.

Oterro Shoe Review

Recently I learned about a new-to-me shoe brand, Topo Athletic.  Their shoes are made by athletes for athletes (yes, that includes every-day fitness enthusiasts just like you and me) and the company’s mission states that they’re about building their brand in partnership with their customers. Their openness to feedback and communication was really appealing to me, and that led to some further site browsing.

As far as products go, Topo Athletic has a variety of very cool and unique looking shoes built for the road, gym, and trail. Since trail running is one of my new interests, I was particularly keen to try the Oterros. According to the description on the website:

The light, rugged and versatile Oterro is ideal for trekking, light hiking, fast packing and multisport activities. A speed lace and traditional lace option allows you to customize your desired closure. With a more streamlined anatomic fit, the Oterro may fit 1/2 size smaller than other Topo’s.

Oterro Shoe Review

As far as features go, here’s what’s going on with the Oterro:

  • 4.5 mm rugged rubber outsole
  • 17 mm total stack height/zero drop
  • Seamless printed upper pattern on breathable mesh
  • Speed lace closure for easy on/off or traditional lace option included
  • Weight: 7.2oz (for a size 7 – I’m a size 10.)

Due to my tendency to over-pronate (that is, to roll inward slightly when my foot strikes the ground), I’ve always worn running shoes with support – normally Asics GT-1000, 2000, and Gel Noosa Tri models. As far as minimalist shoes go, I have a few pairs that I wear around as casual shoes, but this was my first foray into wearing them for running. The first thing I noticed when I took the Oterros out of the box was their weight – or lack of! They’re a super light shoe but the rubber outsole still feels very strong.

Oterro Shoe Review

The speed laces were also really easy to use, and I liked that the ends could be secured under the elasticized loop near the base of the laces. From what I understand, all of Topo Athletic’s shoes have a wide toe box. I don’t have especially wide feet, but do have narrow heels. The fit was really comfortable, with plenty of breathing room for my toes but a secure fit around the heel area.

I took the shoes for a spin yesterday morning on some trails near my house, and had mixed feelings about them – mostly due to the fact that minimalism is a very new experience for my feet. The first thing I noticed as I ran across a grassy patch to the trail was that they certainly are not waterproof! We got a bit of rain the night before and my socks were wet within seconds. As I ran, I figured that perhaps this should be expected from a minimalist shoe – after all, your feet WOULD get wet if you didn’t have any shoes on at all! Movement-wise, I felt good on the flatter, more even parts of the trail. My ankles struggled on some of the uneven bits that were covered in grass, but as somebody who normally runs in a supportive shoe, I knew this would likely be the case.

Oterro Shoe Review

Most shoe experts generally advise runners to ease into minimalist shoes gradually, and that is definitely what I’ll do with the Oterros. While they wouldn’t be my first choice for a really long run, I’m a huge believer in varying surfaces and shoe support in order to strengthen feet and prevent injuries. My ankles aren’t particularly strong, so I know it’s something I should work on. For now, the plan is to log some lower-mileage runs on flatter, even trails before taking on anything more technical.

Now, tell me…

  • Did you try anything new yesterday?
  • What’s one activity you can get totally caught up in and lose track of time doing?
  • Are you a fan of minimalist footwear? Do you use it regularly or mix it in with more supportive shoes?