Swiss Muesli

“Busy” is one of my least favorite words. It’s exaggerated and overused, an excuse for flakiness or laziness, and a way to make us seem more prestigeous. I try not to get swept up in the whole “I’m so busy” thing, firmly believing that I will make time for the things that are most important to me.

That said, with classes and work and the rest of life, I certainly have to be smarter about how I use my time lately. I do a lot of mental calculations to determine if it’s better to go out with friends or go home and do the pile of laundry that is oozing out of my closet like some horror movie villain. I allow myself a few meals out a week, because cooking is just not always happening. I have, on occasion, prioritized sleep over running and socializing over sleep. But so far, things aren’t too bad. I’m surviving, and I’m mostly happy.

One of my favorite time-saving techniques is batch cooking. I’ll hit my kitchen on a Sunday or a Monday and make a big pot of something to eat all week. This saves time, and helps ensure I’m eating right most, if not all of the time. Lately, in addition to lunches I’ve also been making breakfasts. At first, it was just plain old overnight oats, but then I remembered the muesli I had at Swiss Bakers a few months ago. The muesli there is insanely good… like so good that there is no way it’s good for me (hint, it contains whipped cream!).  I started to wonder if I could make a muesli at home that would taste almost as good, but also be better for me. A bit of experimenting led to a basic recipe that tastes like it’s a lot worse for you than it actually is.

My favorite part about muesli is that it can be altered to your tastes, or whatever’s handy in the kitchen. It takes about 15 minutes to make a batch, which makes about five, one-cup servings. Essentially, breakfasts/ snacks for a week.


Swiss Muesli
1 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk, but use any milk you like)
1 cup non-fat yogurt
2 cups rolled oats
3 apples, grated or shredded (peel if you want; I don’t)
1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (or another nut/seed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons honey (or agave or other sweetener)

Other optional adds: wheat bran, ground flax, chia seeds, spices, seeds, nut butters

Comine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit overnight in refrigerator. Store in closed jars. Serves five to six.

Welch-Dickey loop

The days are getting short and the air is getting crisp… pretty soon I’ll be skiing down mountains instead of climbing them.

Last weekend may have been my last hike in the Whites for a while. I have races the next two weekends, then the Harvard-Yale game down in New Haven, and then it’s Thanksgiving. November is going to fly!

My friend Danielle is getting married in January, so we gathered this past weekend for a bachelorette party of sorts, albeit a low-key one. Our destination was D-Arces, a not-for-profit permaculture farm and educational homestead in Dorchester, New Hampshire. In addition to being a working farm, D-Acres also operates a low-key hostel, which is pretty fantastic. Rooms are clean, the meals are delicious, the lack of cell service enables you to truly get away, and common spaces like porches and fireplaces encourage group bonding.

We arrived late Friday after a rather arduous drive. Fortunately, we had wine and snacks to help us unwind. I stoked the fire and while Joey picked up a guitar… a low-key end to a high-strung week.

Saturday we were up with the sun. After a delicious homemade breakfast, we took a stroll around the farm. Our first stop was to see the happiest pigs on earth.


D Acres gets food scraps from a local college to feed their pigs. The pigs live in a large fenced in field, with a cozy house for shelter, and lots of room for roaming and rooting. Their meat is some of the best pork I’ve ever tasted.


The farm also has chickens, a hoop house, raspberry bushes, a playground, and a fire circle. There’s an extensive trail network and a couple of swimming holes nearby. Basically, it’s wonderful.

We left D-Acres at about noon and headed northeast to the Welch-Dickey Loop, a 4-mile trail that climbs to small mountains on the southern edge of the White Mountains. I chose the trail because it’s not too long, but is moderately challenging, and offers some spectacular views.


We made it to the top of Welch Mountain in just over an hour, which included some stops for picture taking and general goofiness. There were PB&Js and pumpkin bread to sustain us before we walked over to Dickey Mountain, where we nestled into some rocks and enjoyed a beer.



Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!

Hiking Mt. Chocorua

Last weekend, Amina, Sam, and I headed north. Our plan was to do a Bonds Traverse, but a spotty weather forecast had us rethinking that. We are pretty #weatherproof, but several hours on an exposed ridge in snow showers and 35 mph gusts didn’t sound like a lot of fun. So, I pulled out a map and looked for another option. Chocorua, with its close proximity to North Conway and many trails, was alluring. We could hike a good loop, and if the weather got bad, it would be easy to bail out.

We’d all taken Friday afternoon off, so we hit the road mid-afternoon and were in the Whites with plenty of daylight. “You guys want to go for a quick jaunt?” I asked. The reply was a unanimous yes, so we headed to Lincoln Woods.


Lincoln Woods is one of the most popular trails in the Whites, but we’d beat the traffic and had the place almost to ourselves. I kicked myself for not planning better and proposing it as a trail run, but Amina and Sam were happy to wander and chat. The trail is easy: flat and open, but also super pretty. The foliage was in it’s prime and the Pemigewasset River sparkled in the afternoon sun.

IMG_4962-2Fall foliage

Attachment-1-3Yes, I hiked in Toms. Not terribly smart. 

We kept things at an easy pace, and reached the bridge at Franconia Brook (2.5 miles from the parking lot) just as dusk was settling in. Pretty soon, we were walking in complete darkness, with headlamps to guide the way.

Normally, walking in the woods on pitch blackness would freak me out a bit. But with two friends by my side chatting about podcasts and running, I felt like I was out for a walk around the block. We got back to the car at about 7:30 and were eating pizza in North Conway before we knew it.


The next morning, we were up by seven. The day seemed pristine; a rainbow greeted us as we loaded up the car, and a clear blue sky hung over cloud-filed valleys. I wondered if we’d made a mistake scrapping our traverse plans. After a delicious bagel sandwich, we headed to the Piper Trailhead to begin our day in the woods.

Chocoura is an exceedingly popular hike, so I was surprised that there was plenty of space in the parking lot when we arrived at 9:30. Perhaps everyone had hiked the previous (holiday) weekend? Or maybe they were deterred by the forecast?

We had the whole day, so rather than hike straight to the top, I thought a loop might be more fun. We followed the route laid out here, going up Piper and then veering right to the Carter Ledge Trail. At first, I worried that we’d chosen something too easy. But things picked up once we were on the Ledge Trail and pretty soon we were scrambling over rocks and admiring the views.

Looking west 

After two hours of pretty heavy climbing, we stopped on a rocky ledge to catch our breaths and have a snack. Soon after, we were admiring the abandoned weather station at the top of Middle Sister. The weather had been pretty good until this point, but as we got there the winds picked up, the clouds rolled in, and it began snowing pretty heavily. The summit of Chocorua looked close, but it would take us more than an hour to cover the next steep and rocky 1.3 miles.

The summit


The snow tapered off, but the winds stayed steady as we reached the junction with the Piper Trail. Fortunately, the hard hiking was keeping us warm.

The last half mile was almost laughably hard. The yellow trail markers were faded and hard to find, and the winds were persistently strong. At some points we were heaving ourselves up rocks like clumsy billy goats. And after hours of seeing almost no one, all the trails on the mountain seemed to converge, placing us in a swarm of hikers, laden with babies, dogs, beers, and cameras. It was a bit chaotic.


Attachment-1-8Amina and Sam navigate the ledges

Finally, we were at the top (about 4.5 hours after we started). We took a quick photo and then ducked into the lee-side of the mountain about 20 feet below the summit for a peanut butter sandwich and Ritter sport picnic. Out of the wind, everything was gorgeous.

The best peanut butter sandwich in the world

Leaving the summit proved a bit confusing. My map clearly showed a trail to the Jim Liberty cabin from the summit, but an older gentlemen on top insisted that I had to go back the way I came and then pick up the Liberty Trail. We did, but then came to a junction after about a half mile that clearly went to the summit. I’m still not sure where I went wrong.

The hike down was much easier; steep, but no rock scrambling. My legs felt great, and hiking with poles made the descent much easier on the knees. We picked up the Weetamoo Trail, which brought us back to the Piper Trail and were back at the car in about two hours.

Trip details:
Length: 10.5 miles
Time: 7 hours, 6 hours hiking
Temp: ~30 degres
Gear: heavy base layer, ski shell, hat, buff, gloves, and poles.
Other stuff: space blanket, extra layers (top and bottom), water, snacks, headlamp, first aid kit