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Showing posts from August, 2013

Peanut-Butter-Banana-Chocolate-Chip-Oatmeal Cookies

It's a mouthful to say, but I can't think of a better name, and anyway, it's not my recipe. The author of the recipe simply calls them "Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies," but I feel that's misleading. I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make it last week for a former coworker's last day in the office. One of the reasons I chose this particular recipe among all of the varieties of "healthy" peanut butter oatmeal cookies was because it required two ripe bananas, and I happened to have two bananas that were almost too ripe to eat as they were. Plus, it's a really easy recipe, and it uses no oil or flour. These can easily be gluten-free and vegan; I did not buy certified gluten-free oats, because they're pricey, but regular oats are still largely gluten-free. And the chocolate chips I bought are not completely vegan, but again, they're close. Sunspire does carry a wide variety of "chocolate" chips, some of which are c…

A Rough 16

This past weekend's long run was supposed to be my "recovery" long run from the previous weekend's 20-miler. I wasn't expecting any magic, but my performance still fell below my already low expectations. Part of the reason for my shoddy run, I'm certain, is because my quads were still terribly sore from the previous Wednesday night's Crossboot class. It's been a long time since I've finished a CB workout that left me in crippling pain for days afterward, so I wasn't expecting it this time. And I have a feeling most others who took the class weren't in as much pain. The problem is that my legs--particularly my thighs--are not very strong, so when I did a wall-sit for about six minutes straight, just to start out the class (which was followed by weighted squat jumps and other quad-burning exercises), I should have known I was in trouble. In fact, I should have backed off. I should have chosen to do my reps with a weight lighter than 20 pound…

First 20-Miler...and Burnout

This past weekend I ran my first 20-miler of Steamtown training. It was planned (unlike last year's), nothing went awry, and I finished it, actually faster than I'd hoped.
I ran four early miles on Bayshore prior to meeting with running buddy Nicole--who was running 16--and about 50 others who were running with the Blue Sharks group on Davis Island. Those first four miles were the worst. The air was humid and heavy, and I felt as though I was just dragging myself through the miles. I got back to DI just before 5:30 a.m., when the group run was scheduled to start. People socialized for a bit, and then Nicole and I decided to start. Shortly thereafter, many of the other runners passed us by, which was a sort of frustrating feeling, like at a race, but we kept steady at just under a 10-minute pace. We had a lot of distance yet to go.

The mileage through the residential section of DI--about four or five miles--still felt difficult, but once we got out of it and the sun began to s…

Salad Nicoise and Sweet Potato Fries (GF/V)

My new dinner creation this week was a bit of an experiment. I'd been craving a Salad Nicoise (pronounced "nee-'shwa" in butchered-French English) recently and decided to make my own. But I'd also been craving sweet potato fries, so I swapped out the white potatoes in a traditional Salad Nicoise and made baked sweet potato fries on the side. I didn't include tomatoes, because Tim doesn't care for raw tomatoes, so I added carrots instead (why carrots? I don't know). I also didn't add the hard-boiled egg, mostly because I forgot. But I did retain the lettuce, tuna, green beans, olives, and vinaigrette. 
For the sweet potato fries, I peeled two medium-sized sweet potatoes and cut them into wedges or cubical lengths (I'm at a loss for words), but this was more difficult than I anticipated, due to the cylindrical shape of the sweet potato. My skills got better toward the end, though. I added olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and turmeric to…

San Antonio (FL) Hill Run

I'm learning a lot about Florida, after living here for most of my life--and not just from the seemingly recent onslaught of bizarre national news headlines--but also from running in new places. This past weekend I finally went out to the city of San Antonio, where runners and cyclists gather in hordes for hill training. I've known about this place for a couple of years, but I haven't really wanted to make the 45-minute drive out there so I could endure more difficult terrain on my already-challenging long runs. But because I chose a hilly marathon this year, it was essential that I get in more hill training than the one Ohio run I did the weekend prior.

So Tim and I headed out there early Saturday morning to meet a bunch of others at 6:00am. I would be running with my run-buddy Nicole, and neither of us had been there before, nor did we know what route we were running. But luckily some veterans of the course gave us basic directions, and then then guys took off with us fo…

Honey-Cinnamon Banana "Ice Cream"

I've made this "ice cream" before, last year when I was marathon training and craving banana-everything, and I saw a version of the recipe floating around on Pinterest. Seemed simple enough--cut up some bananas, freeze them, blend them, add desired flavors. I didn't have many things i could add to it, but I did have honey and cinnamon, which I believe make a divine combination, so that became my recipe. It's been a while since I've made it, so I decided to revisit the recipe last night.
I gathered my ingredients:


3 frozen bananas, pre-slicedAbout a cup of almond milkA tablespoon or so of honeyAnd a few good shakes of cinnamon  The original recipe doesn't call for a liquid, because the bananas aren't frozen all the way, but I don't have the luxury of timing the freezing process just right do the bananas won't require liquid. So I use almond milk. 
In the end, this is how if came out:


It looks a little melty, and that's because it was; it…

A Not-So-Good "Cheese" Trial

All of the meals I've been cooking for the past couple of months have so far turned out great. (Mind you, these are not complicated meals, but I'm an amateur in the kitchen, so I take pride where I can find it.) I had high hopes for last night's meal, green lentils mixed with brown rice and baked slices of yellow squash topped with vegan mozzarella cheese. You can probably tell where this is going.

I'm not and never have been a huge cheese fan, but because I tend to do a lot of straightforward beans, grains, and veggies, I thought I'd add a little something new this time. I've tried a variety of brands of vegetarian cheese, but many of the good-tasting brands have casein in them, which is a derivative of milk protein (which makes me wonder why they make a vegetarian cheese in the first place, when dairy cheese is already vegetarian), and which allows these alternative cheeses to taste so cheese-like. So when I started looking for vegan cheeses (that also do not…

Ohio Trip + 18 Miler in Darkness, Hills, and Country Road

This past weekend I made my annual "pilgrimage" to Ohio, where I was born and lived until age seven. My dad has been organizing family trips back to Ohio for the past four consecutive years, and for the past three years I've taken advantage of the cooler weather and more varied terrain that Ohio has to offer for logging some training miles. The particular town (technically a village) of Yellow Springs is where we tend to spend the most time, and to my good fortune there is a bike/pedestrian trail that goes right through the area and its surrounding towns. Last year we stayed in Beavercreek in a neighborhood that was located right up against the trail, so it was no trouble for me to access it and get my mileage in. This year, however, we stayed in a bed and breakfast, which was about 3.5 miles from the trail--on the route I chose to take, anyway.
When visiting with some old family friends on Friday night, I mentioned that I had 18 miles to run the next morning. I first t…

Spinach-Cannellini-Sundried Tomato Pasta (GF/V)

Last night I made one of my best meals to date (this was conferred by the boyfriend). It was also one of the simplest. Here's what went in:
Gluten-free penne pasta (I like this one by DeBoles)1 can cannellini beans (sometimes called white kidney beans)1 head fresh spinach1 bag sundried tomatoes, julienned olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic I first boiled the pasta, which is a little more tricky with gluten-free pasta. As you can see in the picture, it tends not to hold its shape as well as traditional semolina/wheat pasta. I might have let it boil a minute too long. 
Next, I heated a frying pan and poured in some olive oil, probably a couple table spoons, then a spoonful of minced garlic, then added the other spices to my liking. 
I added into the pan the rinsed and torn spinach (if the leaves are large), beans, and sundried tomatoes, all over medium heat. I let it cook until all the spinach leaves were slightly wilted--probably 6 or 7 mins.--then I added in the pasta and sti…

Morning Runs: A Pros/Cons List

It's that time of year when the weather is so oppressive that even waiting until after 7:00pm offers little relief from the heat and humidity. So I have switched my weekday runs mostly to mornings. This week, I have completed an astonishing three runs all before 8:00am (I know, that's not terribly early, but I don't have to be to work until 9:00am). I did two six-milers and a nine-miler. Here are the pros and cons, as I see them, of running in the morning versus the evening:

Pros
My workout is out of the way for the day.I'm more energized going into work.My evening is free. I can do household chores that often get neglected, cook dinner, go to yoga--the options are endless!I get some solo running time.I get to see the sunrise. Cons It's more challenging to get started.I'm likely to eat more throughout the day at work (more than necessary).I'm too tired in the evening to do productive things.I (sometimes) miss running with friends in group runs.It can still get…