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Posts Tagged ‘running

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!

Hi!

Good busy news from me! I’m running about 12-15 miles per week, I have one more class to go to make 9 fitness classes taught this week, and… while I’m a bit exhausted, everything seems to be in working order! Go, me!

So, I’ve been trying to find recipes that aren’t too challenging (yeah, I really don’t feel like standing up in the kitchen for hours this week, nor do I feel like cleaning a ton of stuff) but provide a lot of nutrition. A quick web search led me to this veggie-filled recipe, which I tweaked in several places.

This is one of those recipes where it’s tough to figure out a name, since it’s full of so much stuff! It also contains spinach, onions, garlic, a few seasonings…. wait, don’t run away! There isn’t a long ingredient list, don’t worry.

I cut back on the amount of liquid in the soup (this was based on the comments at the end) and it ends up giving you more of a stew, not much broth. If you want more broth, increase the amount that you add. THe original recipe calls for 5 cups of broth, and I probably wouldn’t go quite that high.

White Bean, Fennel, and Tomato Soup
based on an All Recipes recipe

1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c veggie broth (more if desired)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 c shredded fresh spinach

1. Saute onion, garlic, and fennel in oil over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, thyme, pepper, salt, red pepper, and bay leaf and bring to boil, Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let simmer another 30 minutes or until fennel is tender. Remove bay leaf.

3. Add spinach and cook another ~3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve!

The weather is wonderfully sunny outside, so I’m going to take advantage with a longer run in a few minutes! (I did see one of the news stations predict a low of 17 degrees today, though–hopefully that’s passed! Brrrr!!!) Go and make it a great weekend, whatever it is you’re doing!

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!

Hola, Amigos!

I hope those in the Southwest and the Northeast are doing OK! It seems that once we finally got our perfect weather, the rest of the country started going to shambles. Be careful, OK?

As for me, I’ve been playing around with different workout routines (why not…) and started experimenting with a Jamie Eason lifting routine this week. It’s supposed to give me a “whole new body”, but I imagine the “new body” would appear more quickly if I were to follow the nutrition plan (too regimented for me). Anyway, the lifting has been different and challenging–good stuff!

Also, a few home improvement projects this week… but that leaves me wondering: is today’s hamstring strain from 1. more weight lifting, 2. two rounds of pressure washing, 3. back-to-back spin classes and working the second one extra hard (I know, baaaadddd…), or 4. using a Peak reformer (heavier springs) to do Pilates last night? Toooo many variables.

Today’s recipe involves changing only one variable in a recipe I’ve made several times previously–yielding entirely different flavor! Fortuitously, I’d run out of quinoa, so–what the heck–try it with bulgur and see what happens!

The result was a sensory illusion–almost creaminess, despite no dairy at all in the recipe!

So, here’s my rough translation of what I did.

Warm Bulgur, Roasted Corn, and Caramelized Onion Salad
very loosely based on a Mark Bittman recipe

2 c bulgur
2 c mushroom broth
canola oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced into half-moons
1 c corn (either fresh if you can get it, or thawed from frozen)
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Warm the mushroom broth (not to boiling) and pour over the bulgur. Stir, and allow the bulgur to sit for 20-30 minutes until chewy (it will soak up the liquid).

2. Meanwhile, roast the corn: in a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add (thawed) corn, Cook/roast, stirring frequently, until some spots of brown appear on the outside and corn is fragrant, ~7 minutes. (Don’t let it burn!) This should smell good!

3. Also meanwhile, caramelize the two onions using the best caramelized onions technique. Triple multi-task!!! (These things don’t need constant stirring, so it’s easy.) **If you use oil and not butter in the onions, you can keep the dish vegan!

4. When the bulgur is hydrated to your level of doneness, pour off any extra liquid (push it through a strainer so you don’t lose any precious bulgur!). Place it back in the bowl, and stir in the roasted corn and caramelized onions. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.

I just finished off what was leftover of this to fuel our day’s hike! Go, complex carbs!

So, we’ll see how the hamstring does during the hike… and Sunday, in honor of those who can’t, I’m going to try to (run a minute or two–yikes!) for the first time on my post-op hip and leg. I promise not to do anything stupid… but at the same time, wish me luck!

I posted this about a year ago. But with college and school graduations going on, vacations aren’t far behind! It’s high time we revisit these ideas.

So, you’ve been sticking to your plan—eating well, exercising regularly. Great! But along comes the vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months. What do you do?

Don’t lose hope! Do not abandon ship!

Rather than giving up on your fitness agenda while you’re away, keep your eye on the long-term prize! Here are a few ideas that will keep you going, whether it’s for fun or for work.

1. Take a stroll to see the local sights. When you whiz through the neighborhood in a car, you barely get to see what’s around you. Instead, if you go for a walk or run, you have more leisure time to take in your surroundings. Walking the ‘hood around my hotel is one of my favorite activities when I’m staying somewhere new. And it gets the heart pumping faster, it gets you out in the sun, and it makes you feel more refreshed and alive! (Makes you feel less guilty about that extra ice cream, too.)

2. Do try the local cuisine! But remember that it doesn’t have to be the sauce-laden specialty. Many of us vacation along the coast in the summer, and coastal regions are known for grilled fish. I’m just pointing out that some of the tasty local foods are actually healthy and potentially lower in calories than what you’d have at home. However, please don’t sacrifice trying something local and yummy if you think it will “wreck the diet”. You only live once, and if you’re good most of the time, it’s OK!

3. Please enjoy yourself on the vacation, and don’t stress out about losing weight! That is to say, this might be a better time to focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing. As I said earlier, this may be your only time visiting this part of the world, so live it up! On the other hand, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… right. 😉

When you get back from vacation, your same healthy habits will be there, waiting for you! (They might be jealous that they didn’t go on the vacation.)

How do you all stay on track when you’re on vacation?


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