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Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Happy New Month!

A time to renew ourselves and make new plans, right? Especially since the weather has been shining bright upon us up here. I checked the weather report, and it’s not supposed to rain again until next FRIDAY. Yes, that’s next week. Do I live in Seattle????

I wish I could get in all of my running now! I’m doing my best to train for an April half-marathon. My last major hip surgery was only 11 months ago, so I’m taking an easier path. I’m using one of Hal Higdon’s plans and hope to get to the starting line! I have no time goals, since this is proof of concept that I can actually run one again, but maybe next time I’ll improve my pace!

So, I just made an interesting soup for a lunch group. Interesting? Yes… because I read the recipe and had no idea what it would taste like! So I had to do it. And… it’s subtle but comforting. Fluffy, light quinoa, and the feta melts into the warm soup just enough to make the broth lightly creamy. The texture is light, not too brothy, and hearty for a chilly winter day. Try it!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison)

3/4 c quinoa, rinsed
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or more, if you’re me)
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (I used yukon gold), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, finely sliced into rounds
3 c finely chopped spinach
1/4 lb feta cheese, finely chopped
1/3 c chopped cilantro
(1 hard-cooked egg, chopped. I don’t like hard boiled eggs, so I omitted this.)

1. Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir.

3. Add the cumin, 1 tsp salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water (which smells so nutty and good… kinda like me) and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season the soup with pepper and garnish with the chopped egg (if you’re into that sort of thing).

This is supposedly South American… but I can’t vouch for it. I know! I need to take a field trip there to find out where this soup is native to, don’tcha think?

Enjoy! Happy weekend!

Hey, gang!

Fall is falling! We’ve been really lucky to not have many rainy days and far more sun than we usually have during this time of year. That means we’ve been able to enjoy the autumn leaves while they’re still on the trees, rather than after the wind has violently blown them off.

Also means that I have had a lot of nice outdoor runs! (Chilly, but lots of sun!) I think I just might try to extend my half-hour of running this weekend. Where will it get me? It’s always great to have this romantic notion of running longer distances, and it sounds great on paper, but then actually going out and doing the run… not always easy. I’m still in the process of building back my base from a long injury hiatus, and I hope to be really comfortable hanging out with my friend Running soon!

Link theme of the day? Holidays… and this will be an ongoing theme for the weeks to come. Some food, some exercise, some crafts… all having to do with holidays.

1. A month from today, I’m hopping on a plane to here, which is where I will spend Christmas this year!

2. A simple felt napkin ring for your Thanksgiving dinner. Spruce up your table decor quickly, and free up more time to spend with friends and family.

3. It’s too late to start this Couch to 5K program for your local Thanksgiving Day turkey trot, but many cities hold 5Ks during the month of December, or especially New Year’s Resolution 5Ks. Set a goal to start running (or walking), and use this program to get there! It’s only 3.1 miles…

4. and after you burn the calories, you can eat this Santa party mix. Looks like a bit of work covering the Bugles with red coating to make Santa hats… but it’s really cute!

5. Give someone edible coal in their stocking!

Well–I hope this starts you off with a few fun holiday ideas! There will be more to come in the next few weeks.

Start putting on your thinking caps: what are your favorite holiday recipes? Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas… whatever you celebrate, we all like eating good food at this time of year! Pass ’em on! 🙂

Hey, gang!

Before we get to the recipe, can I share one little victory?

OK, maybe it’s huger than I make it out to be. Once up on a time, I was a runner. Marathons, even. I just did it because “everyone else did” around me. I abused my body nutritionally, and didn’t really follow a good training plan. I was young and dumb. (I like to think I’m a little bit wiser now… some days…)

Fast forward to my work injury, which also revealed a congenital problem, all dealing with my hip. Come to find out that all of the running I’d done was pretty destructive, without my knowing it. (Well… I knew that running while 50 pounds overweight, subsisting on beer and garlic fries, was also not the healthiest behavior in the world. Ah, youth is wasted on the young.)

September 11th of this year was roughly 18 months after the last time I had run (and after 2 hip surgeries, the second one successful). I went out for 30 minutes of 4 minutes walking, 1 minute running. It was hard. But I knew it was the right thing to do. I needed to get back in the game.

I’ve been building myself up since then, three times a week on the walk/run routine. Today–about a month since I resumed running–my half-hour consisted of 2 minutes walking/3 minutes running. In just that short amount of time! I’m hoping to get to a 4:1 ratio before the end of the month, and will keep you all posted.

Anyway! This is a recipe I tossed together yesterday via experimentation. Next weekend, I’m hosting a mini-yoga retreat for some friends at a neighbors’ cabin in the Cascades–another friend is doing the teaching, and I’m doing the mostly healthy cooking. Here’s the salad dressing I’m using, more or less. Modify amounts as you see fit. Make it your dressing for your tastes!

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp mustard (I used Dijon)
~3 tbsp vinegar (I used red wine vinegar; white balsamic would also work well)
~1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a small container, whisk the first 3 ingredients. Add the oil while constantly whisking (the mustard should allow the mixture to emulsify). Add any salt and pepper to your liking. Tarragon might also be nice, here.

This makes a small amount of dressing, true. It should scale up just fine…

I think this would go great on a simple romaine with fresh tomatoes and cucumber… but if any of you have other suggestions about a salad that you think would work well with this dressing, that would be great for a crowd–let me know!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Everybody knows what happens on Tuesday! My goofy list! Of goofy things!

Fall has arrived here… and I’m guessing for good, this time. (It’s teased us a few times over the past few months, but didn’t have the guts to stick around. Chicken.) Sunday was the first time that I ran a few minutes since my two hip surgeries, so the cooler weather will be great for upcoming runs. Or, I hope upcoming runs. Jury’s still out on whether it was the right thing to do, but I ran in the middle of refinishing the deck… so, lots of variables. But you know me… I’m gonna try it again!!! (Of course, I picture myself running a half-marathon by the middle of next year… one can always dream, can’t one?)

Anyway, on to silly things:

1. Who knew that cows like Dixieland jazz?

2. Bruce will probably be thrilled that I found a recipe for these cookies. Or the two of us will be very sad, after having downed the whole thing (after a brief moment of bliss).

3. If you love whipped cream (ah, what a silly statement) but have trouble with dairy (I do, sometimes) and want an alternative to soy, here’s a way to make whipped cream from coconut milk. I’m going to have to try this soon!

4. Why I can’t give up coffee.

5. Chatting whales!

All right, so I gave you three sillies and two recipes today. I dunno, I felt like we needed silliness in our lives… happy to provide. Hope you liked it!

I’d love to see any funny links you’ve come across today! Post them in the comments!

See you on Friday with a recipe! It’s getting to be soup and stew time, friends!

Hey, since you all are gearing up for your turkey trot, I figured I’d give a few words of advice on what to eat on race morning—or any morning you’re going out for a long run, hike, bike ride, or tough workout.

(How’s the training been for that 5K, by the way? Our turkey trots are going to be very white here in Seattle…)

While there’s a little bit of personal preference when it comes to pre-workout grub, I think most of us agree that you should eat no sooner than 2 hours before a tough workout, unless it’s a light, quick snack. You don’t want tummy troubles during the last push of your race. Many nutritionists (and budding RD’s, like me) suggest a small breakfast consisting of easily digestible carbs, plus a bit of fat and protein (for staying power—otherwise, you’ll burn right through the carbs and be hungry an hour later).

What are some ideas? My favorite pre-workout munch is a piece of fruit (carb) plus a little peanut butter or some nuts (fat and protein). Oh, and don’t forget the coffee! Never! Lots of good nutrients going on in that combination, and eating the nuts satiates you. Another combination might involve some lowfat yogurt (fat and protein and carbs) with some fruit. Just make sure you don’t go too heavy on the fiber, or else……. do I even have to say what’ll happen?

That brings up another point: if you’re running/walking/biking a race, try out your breakfast before the big day. That way, if your stomach balks, worst case, you bail on a training run—no big deal. I had a running coach tell me years ago: No New Is Good New! And this is another reason to eat 2 hours prior to working out: it gives your large intestine time to… well… move, if need be.

So, go do it, and best of luck on your turkey day runs (for those in the US)! I’d love to hear other people’s ideas for favorite pre-workout meals—bring ‘em!

(note that I’m adding a “bad jokes” tag. Beware!!!)

Of course you can! A 5K is only 3.1 miles, and that’s a great goal for anyone who’s just getting their feet wet in exercising, or someone who’s been running/walking for a while and wants to test their abilities.

Thanksgiving weekend is just over 5 weeks away, which gives you plenty of time to build up to the big day. The good thing about a goal is having an end-point to work towards. Rather than running or walking the same ho-hum route, day-in, day-out, you’ll want to improve with each outing. Suddenly, working out becomes less routine and more exciting!

How do you prepare yourself for a 5K? There are many training programs online—just let your fingers do the walking. This article at Runner’s World talks about running your first 5K after five weeks of training, and this plan will get you there in the same amount of time. If walking’s your gig, just substitute the word “walk” for “run” in the plan.

If this is your first race, I suggest setting a goal of just finishing and having fun! Especially in a “turkey trot” or “fun run”, most of the participants will be casual runners just like you, and the crowd will be too large to set any land speed records. With any luck, you’ll catch the racing bug, and start looking for more!

5K’s are easy to find through web searches, and the schedule varies, depending on where you live (for instance, they tend to be held year-round here in the temperate Northwest, but you probably won’t find one in July in Arizona). If you’re in the Seattle area during Thanksgiving, check out the Seattle Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning!

Have you run a 5K? (I was 18 and overconfident when I ran my first. Don’t go out too fast!) What would be your advice to someone running their first?


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