Running update

So the weather is (for the most part) pretty darn great in Florida right now. Trust me, I’m not bragging to my Northern readers, as summer is just around the corner here already. You will get your time soon enough, Northerners!

MapMyRun

To take advantage of the weather, I’ve been trying to run, training for a 10k later this month. I know I’ll be able to run the 10k, but I’m not sure I will run it at the speed I would like. I felt much more ready for my 10k last spring. I just don’t seem to have the energy or even as much motivation (this is a first for me in running) and my “good” runs are happening less often. I’m enjoying running, so I”m not sure what’s up. However, the running app I use, MapMyRun, is giving me motivation with emails like the one above to keep moving! In addition to running, I’m working on a few things to make running better and get into the zone.

I’m looking to create the ultimate running playlist. I’m not talking Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift songs that are always on the radio. I’m looking for long-term, tried-and-true songs to get people moving, especially in the 10-15 years ago range. What songs get you moving?

I’m focusing more on what I’m eating, making sure I’m eating enough food in general and a good mix of food. I haven’t felt as hungry lately, but I think that is leading to a loss of energy. I have been eating the food from my farm, so I”m eating healthy, but I think it’s still not enough variety or calories some days, especially days for a big run. I’m having a post-run smoothie (so refreshing after a run and easy to digest and start muscle recovery and restore energy) but need to keep eating enough. What do you eat after a good workout or when you feel like you are in a slump?

This lentil salad caught my eye because it seems balanced, is served at room temperature and has contrasting flavors and texture, so I knew it would be a great post-run meal in a pita or lettuce, or a small snack. I added some three-seed bread for carbs and nutrients.

pomegranate lentil feta salad

Pomegranate, feta and lentil salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 or 8 cloves garlic very finely minced
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate, deseeded
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils under the tap then put them in a small pan with the water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently until lentils are cooked (about 25 – 30 mins). They should be tender inside but still holding their shape.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves & chop the onion very finely. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion & garlic and cook over a very low heat until well softened, about 10 – 12 minutes. Then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. When lentils are tender, drain well, rinse under cold water then return to the pan.(Not on the heat). Turn the heat back on the garlic & onion pan, add the lemon dressing mixture and heat for about a minute. Pour this over the lentils and gently stir to make sure the lentils are well coated in the dressing.
  5. Stir in parsley and season well with salt and black pepper. You can serve this salad warm or at room temperature. When you are ready to serve the salad sprinkle it with the pomegranate seeds, crumble over the feta and finish it off with a few more chopped herbs.

Chocolate coffee shake

chocolate coffee crunch smoothieRunner’s World tweeted a link to post-run smoothies. One particular smoothie jumped out right away: Crunchy coffee fix. This blends (get it??? Instant rimshot time.) the two things I want after a run: Coffee and a smoothie.

Truth be told, I didn’t have this after a run. I had this as an afternoon treat during a running off day. But it worked really well for that. Especially since I had a salad for lunch, it was nice to have a little sweet treat in the afternoon. And that’s what is great about this smoothie. The chocolate, banana and almond are all present in this smoothie, giving it a nice balance and texture. It has things I always have on hand and can whip up after a run or as a healthy afternoon snack. And the foods work well together, as described in the Runner’s World post. The post also have recipes for a few other smoothies, including smoothies that are each savory, green and dessert-like. So check out the article yourself!

Crunchy coffee fix

1 large smoothie

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces chilled coffee
  • 4 ounces fat-free milk
  • 1 banana (preferably frozen), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons whole almonds
  • 2 teaspoons natural cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

What do you crave after a good workout?

Beet burgers

I recently posted about not liking beets and asked for suggesting on how to use beets so they didn’t have that “beet” flavor. (Good unprocessed food vegetarian I am, right?!) Well, AgriGirl was kind enough to suggest beet burgers. Since I’m a sucker for any veggie burger, I thought I would give it a shot. Thanks for the suggestion, Tammy!

beet burgerI modified the burgers using Tammy’s suggestion (shred the beets and add flour, walnuts, rosemary and feta and saute) and remembered I had this beet and beet green fritters recipes. I love not wasting the greens and adding them to get a little more nutrition.

I combined the recipes to make a super recipe. I used beets, walnuts, caraway seeds, the greens and feta and it made a nice, naturally salty and flavorful patty with great texture. In the end it still tasted beet-ish, but it was a great patty I would make again. And I haven’t tried this beet, bean and rice burger, but it sure looks great, too.

Beets and greens burger

Makes 12, depending on size

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch beets, with greens, peeled and grated
  • Salt
  • Greens from 1 bunch beets, stemmed and washed in 2 changes of water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • Corn meal to coat the  burgers (optional)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Greek yogurt to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Salt the beets generously and leave them to drain in a colander placed in the sink or in a bowl for 1 hour, tossing and squeezing the beets from time to time. After an hour, take up the grated beets by the handful, squeeze out as much liquid as you can and transfer to a bowl.
  2. While the beets are draining, heat a large pot of water over high heat and stem and wash the beet greens in 2 changes of water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the beet greens. Cook for about 1 minute, until tender, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain, squeeze dry and chop fine.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg and add the grated beets, walnuts, cumin, caraway, beet greens, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and feta. Mix together well. Put it in the refrigeration about 30 minutes to firm.
  4. Combine the oils in a large frying pan and heat until rippling, about 275 degrees. Take up heaped tablespoons of the beet mixture and form patties. Lightly dredge in corn meal. Carefully transfer to the pan, taking care to fry them in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, and fry until patties are golden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain briefly on a rack or plate lined with paper towels. Serve with yogurt in a pita.

Southwest grain and veggie bake

swbakeWhen I was looking through the Hy-Vee magazine, the chicken and quinoa Southwest bake jumped out at me. I knew I could make it vegetarian and use my trusty grain mix from Target. Despite having a lot of ingredients (most are veggies or spices), this didn’t take long, was easy and was a filling meal.

Southwest grain and veggie bake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 3/4 c. dry quinoa or rice and grain mix
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c. diced onion
  • 1 c. diced carrot
  • 1 c. diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 1/2 c. corn
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring 1-1/2 cups broth to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat 12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the broth. Remove from heat, fluff, cover and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, red bell pepper, celery and corn; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add black pepper, chili powder, cumin and coriander and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add remaining 1 cup broth, black beans, diced tomatoes and prepared quinoa. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.

Buffalo potato ‘wings’

potatobakeThese Buffalo potato ‘wings’ are incredible. It has some of my favorite foods: hot sauce, potatoes and cheese. And not a lot more. When I saw this dish, I said aloud, “Why didn’t I think of this?!?!” I would be jealous I didn’t think of it, but my mouth was drooling and my mind was racing about what ingredients I needed and how fast could I make this.

Other than baking for more than an hour to get the potatoes cooked through, this is a crazy easy dish to make, using very common ingredients. I used half russet potato and half sweet potato. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe and the people I have shared it with that I know are into hot foods (yes, there is a group of us at work who bring spicy foods for one another to try) have saved the recipe to make in the future.

This miiiight be slightly better/more addictive than my breaded tofu wing bites.

Two other Buffalo-inspired dishes I plan to make soon include the spicy Buffalo cauliflower wings and these tofu hot wings.

Are you into hot foods? What is your favorite spicy vegetarian dish? If it doesn’t bring heat to my face or tears to my eyes, it’s just not hot enough!