Archive for May 2012

Lettuce Week: Salads are great, but…

Lettuce  just get the pun out the way up front, so we can jump right in and make good use of the leafy green bounty in the spring garden.

From the Lynch Farm

I’m pretty thrilled that our little lettuce crop survived the bizarre hot-and-dry-then-rainy-and-cold spring, and didn’t end up as groundhog food. But now there’s the question of how to use all of it. We’ve been eating plenty of simple green salads, and tried a strawberry and goat cheese salad from Eating Well that was very tasty. Some of our lettuce also has ended up in tacos when we had make-your-own taco bar recently.

From there, though, I ran out of lettuce ideas besides just eating green salads for 27 days in a row. Thankfully, Teh Internets provided a week’s worth of recipes that make creative use of the leafy green stuff. Head past the jump for the list & a recent award.

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Giveaway: Tim Woodbury’s Running Recipes

Did you read my review of Tim Woodbury’s Running Recipes: Chia-Powered Sole Food and think, “How can I try my hand at some of those tasty recipes?”

Well, you can either follow this link & shell out $19.90 for the ebook that includes a brief overview of chia and 21 recipes that put it to tasty use (seven each for breakfast, entrées and dessert), or you can enter my giveaway & possibly get it for free! Tim has offered a free download code to 1 lucky ETW reader, so you could be mixing up some coconut lime iskiate bars before you know it.

The giveaway will be open until Friday June 1 at 5:00 pm EDT. I will chose one entry at random using the generator at Random.org by 9pm on Friday.

To enter, just leave me a comment saying whether you’ve tried chia seed before.

And if you want to earn some extra entries, you can do any or all of the following:

  • Follow @midpackrunner (Tim) on Twitter, then tweet me about it so I know you did. Something like “Hey @eatingtheweek, I’m following @midpackrunner for a chance to get Running Recipes!”
  • Like Midpack Runner on Facebook, and leave me a comment here saying you did.
  • Post a link to the funniest chia pet photo you can find on Teh Internets in a comment below.

Thanks for entering & good luck!

Disclosure: Affiliate links above will earn me a portion of any resulting Running Recipes sales. The giveaway item was provided by Tim Woodbury at no cost to me.

Cookbook Review: Chia-powered sole food by Midpack Runner

Like many of us who run (or swim, bike, hula hoop, etc), Tim Woodbury of Midpack Runner runs to eat. He appreciates the importance of healthy fuel for running, but also doesn’t think virtuous-but-boring fare is a “reward” for his efforts. So when he started using chia – the seed of Raramuri/Tarahumara legend – Tim was dismayed to see a lot of recipes that went, “…and then throw some wet chia seeds on top.”

Healthy? Yes. Appetizing? Well...

Tim set out to develop recipes that include these healthy-fat and fiber packed seeds as a central ingredient, for (in his words) the first chia cookbook that doesn’t suck.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Running Recipes: Chia-Powered Sole Food to review, and after trying out a bunch of those recipes, I’d say he hit the mark. This ebook includes a brief overview of the history and nutritional value of chia, and 21 recipes that put it to tasty use (seven each for breakfast, entrées and dessert). The menu spans from bagels to seared ahi with chia noodles, and includes foods for everyone from vegans to the paleo crowd.

At Chez Lynch, we tried out the Asian sesame turkey meatballs that my husband really liked…

…the spinach, mushroom and goat cheese frittata that could maybe use a splash of lemon juice, but we otherwise enjoyed…

…and the coconut-y, lime-spiked iskiate bars that could well be my sole (har!) source of sustenance for the next several days, I like them so much.

If you want to lay virtual hands on a digital copy of Running Recipes, you can do so here for $19.90. You’ll also get a free four-recipe bonus supplement, which contains chia-based recipes for natural, unprocessed energy gels like these chews made from fresh strawberries.

I can’t offer an opinion on the merits of these chews relative to running performance, alas; my recurring foot tendon injury has me doing more down-dog yoga than uphill wind sprints right now. But I’ve been using Tim’s chia pineapple orange energy gels on long runs for about a year now successfully, so I am confident the other recipes will keep your feet moving.

Because this is a review, I think I’m obligated by law to include a “loved it but” statement, which would be that I’d like to see nutritional information per serving included on each recipe. The kinds of folks who buy a chia cookbook are generally runners and/or nutrition nerds, and we like a side of data with our food. Maybe in subsequent editions?

Either way, I highly recommend this creative, whole-foods-based cookbook for anyone from the long-time chia fan to the newbie trying to figure out what the heck to do with these hydrophilic little weirdos. If you grab a copy, let me know what you think of the recipes in a comment below!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Running Recipes: Chia-Powered Sole Food to review. Book purchases through my affiliate link return a share of the proceeds to me.

Recipe ReDux: Sea what you’ve been missing

There are some people who just aren’t going to be swayed by seaweed. It may be chock full of minerals – especially iodine and (compared with other plant-based foods) calcium – and useable in everything from sushi to salad to baked goods. But the pro-sea-vegetable arguments sometimes fall flat when people are presented with a bowlful of this:

Even if we pretty it up a little for photos…

…it does, frankly, look like something you’d take pains to avoid lest it spoil a beach stroll by goo-ily (sure, that’s a word) grabbing hold of your foot.

So even thought I like the stuff enough to eat it in sheets, plain, as a snack, I thought I’d use this month’s “Sea What You’ve Been Missing” Recipe ReDux to try my hand at (cue James Bond music) Secret Seaweed. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to hide this nutritious ugly duckling inside some tomato and clam soup.

When the Reduxers were charged with creating recipes that celebrate the more-obscure culinary treasures from the deep (little fished like sardines, or sea vegetables like seaweed), I knew I wanted to use seaweed. I have zero sushi-rolling skills, but figured seaweed soup was in my wheelhouse. Many traditional Korean seaweed soup recipes feature beef, which I don’t eat, but why not swap in clams? And while we’re at it, why not pretend the seaweed is like the spinach I use in a pasta with clams, tomatoes and spinach recipe, and base a soup on those flavors?

The result: an Italian-style seaweed soup (seriously, that’s a thing) that could easily be passed off as one of its “kale and beans and tomato” brethren. I even sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese (not kidding; cheese on seaweed) and it tasted great. So if someone at your dinner table is giving you a face full of seaweed skepticism, see if you can sneak it past the guards in this recipe.

Seaweed, tomato and clam soup (text file here)

4 servings, approx. 125 calories each

Ingredients:
½ tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ red onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
15 oz (1 ½ cups) diced tomatoes
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 6-oz can of clams
½ ounce dry nori seaweed

Soak the nori in water for a few minutes, then drain it and slice it into inch-wide strips.

Heat the olive oil over medium-heat heat in a nonstick pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 minutes then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and just starting to brown on the edges.

Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and juice from the clams to the pan, and remove it from heat. Allow it to cool slightly, then add the pan’s contents to a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes. Puree until smooth.

Pour the blender’s contents back into the pan or into a stock pot. Add the clams and nori, and bring the soup nearly to a boil. Remove from heat, divide among four bowls and enjoy.

My fellow Recipe Reduxers have also been busy working with the lesser-known bounties of the sea; you can find links below to their contributions for this month:

 


App Review & Giveaway: LaLa Lunchbox for your hungry little monsters

Do you like being told what to eat? How about having someone else pick your meals for you, without your input? And then maybe getting chided when you didn’t eat everything someone else thought you should? When I think about it from the kids’ point of view, it’s no wonder school lunches can be a battleground for many families.

But an iOS app called LaLa Lunchbox seeks to change that by empowering kids to stock their own lunchboxes.

The premise is pretty simple. Kids can set up their own “lunchbox” in the app, choosing the monster and color they want to represent them.

When they open their lunchbox, it will display a week’s worth of meals to plan. For each day, kids can tap one of the four food categories – Fruits, Vegetables, Protein and Snacks – and then swipe their choices from the bottom menu bar into the hungry orange monster’s mouth to populate their lunchbox.

Head past the jump to hear about customizing and organizing grocery lists, and how to enter my promo code giveaway.

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Smoothly Subversive Week: Drink your dinner with curried lime mango spinach smoothies

It’s time for some rebellion, unorthodoxy (actually a word; did not know that until today), and subverting the dominant paradigm. For too long, we’ve been hemmed in by the rigid confines of Appropriate Smoothie Timing. Breakfast? Have at it. Post-workout? Blend away. But dinner time? Whoa, there, tough guy.

This tough guy loves green smoothies any time of day

This prohibition makes no sense, though. With just a few minutes, (generally) no cooking, and a lot of flexibility in terms of ingredients and measures, smoothies can put food on the table and some more fruits and vegetables into our diets. Dinner is often an end-of-day struggle against limited time and waning patience for the effort of healthy home-cooking, so what better thing than a smoothie every so often?

Curried lime mango spinach smoothie

If we’re really going to stick it to The Smoothie Authority, maybe we need some dinner-appropriate recipes. So I set out to find liquid equivalents to some of the best flavor combinations in typical dinner fare.

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Last Rhode Scholar: Recap of The Great Flail

I spent 4 hours, 42 minutes yesterday earning the right to say this: I’m a marathoner! It’s still a little surreal that I did that – and that after 4 months of training, it’s already over – so maybe a brief recap will help it all sink in.

Pandering for cheers from spectators

Team Flail convened at my hotel room in the morning to get bibbed up and then head to the start line just a block away. I met up with Portia at the 10:00/mile group marker, where Amy C got a picture of us (scroll about halfway down this page). We had a few minutes to freak out and then it was time to go.

The first 18 miles were just plain solid. Portia & I held ourselves back to slow-pace the first 2, then settled into roughly 9:50 miles. About halfway, her knee started acting up & she pulled back but told me to go ahead. I kept running with a guy (John or Sean? Not sure) who had joined us, until he pulled back around mile 14.

I put in both earphones and settled in. But around mile 18, the effort started to feel harder. I hadn’t really planned what I would do in the latter parts of the race, but considered two options: keep running until I absolutely couldn’t, then struggle through whatever was left; or start conserving what I still had, and “enjoy” the end of the race. Since my plan has always been “one & done” with the marathoning, I went for the latter.

From Barrington Patch

I switched to 1 minute walk, 4 minute run in miles 18-20, then roughly half & half through those *%@!ing hills in miles 21-23, then mostly powerwalked 24-25. Weirdly, walking was actually more painful than running, so I got back up to a trot whenever I could. Just before the 26-mile marker, I ran and kept running as I turned the corner (waving to Leah & Annie who were cheering me on), where I saw the 5 ½ year-old bandit who jumped in and ran across the finish with me.

Official time: 4:42:21. Going into it, I thought 4:30 was the optimistic edge of doable, so I’ve got no problem with those extra 12 minutes. My Flailmates, on the other hand, put their wheels on yesterday. Now-three-time-marathoner Andrew PR’d with 3:47, Adam beat 4 with 3:54, and John (who, I’m not kidding, ran not more than 6 times total in the entirety of our training period) came in at 4:08.

It’s a good thing I’ve got finals to cram for, or else I’d go on forever about this. One final additional round of thanks before I shut my trap about all this running – thanks to our friends Annie, Amy, Alison, Joe, Leah, Pippi, David & Michele, who all witnessed and cheered us on in The Great Flail yesterday. We promise not to do anything this ridiculous again.

Rhode Scholar: Quick thanks before the 26.2

Relaxing in a hotel room right next to the marathon start, I’ve got a little time to kill before meeting other Rhode Scholar bloggers for dinner. Let’s put that time to good use and say thanks to a bunch of people who helped me get here, and to the starting line in 14 hours, and to the finish line (hopefully) 4-ish hours after that.

So in no particular order, except this very first one, thanks to:

My husband & kid.  Tim & Miles have put up with me for 4 months of marathon training. I’ve shirked household duties “because my legs are tired,” missed t-ball practices due to weekend long runs, and left the cabinets empty numerous times following training-induced carb rampages. So they really need to be thanked for helping me do this crazy thing.

(more after the jump)

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The Bite-Size Week: Healthy snacks

After yesterday’s Funky Monkey twitter chat, I’ve got snacks on the brain. Truth be told, snacks are always on my mind. I’m a pretty consistent two-snacks-a-day eater, bridging the time between major meals with simple things like a piece of fruit or a granola bar.

But lately I’ve been in a snack rut, eating banana after banana, and I’ve also been downing carbs like they’re going extinct in preparation for that little running thing I’m doing in a few days. Snacks are supposed to be a little something different in our day, so this week’s challenge was to add some variety to the mini-meal roster. That, and get a bit of protein in here once in a while.

I remembered an appetizer recipe I threw together for a recipe contest last year, and not yet shared on Eating The Week – dried fruit and yogurt over crisp crackers. Sure, they were meant to be appetizers, but the bite-size packets of warm fruit and protein-packed strained yogurt can easily double as snack food.

Teh Internets also yielded several good ideas to tide us over between meals. See if any of these help snap out of the snack rut:

  • Apricot blue-cheese and pistachio canapes from Eating Well (here)
  • Pineapple, papaya and sunflower seed granola from Whole Living (here)
  • Date and puffed rice balls from Choosing Raw (here) - Portia brought these tasty little things over to my house this weekend, and they were a great post-long-run snack
  • Cottage-cheese stuffed avocado from FitSugar (here)
  • Asian-inspired snack mix with nori from Food & Wine (here)
  • Greek salad stuffed tomatoes from Starter Knife (here)
  • Dried fruit and yogurt bites (recipe follows below)

Dried fruit and yogurt bites

I originally wrote this recipe to use Peeled Snacks’ GoFigure mix, but you can certainly use any similar mix of dried fruit.

8 servings

Ingredients:
1.5 cups mixed dried fruit (figs, dates, apricots, or others)
½ cup water
½-2/3 cup plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
Honey, to taste
3-4 crisp wafer-style whole-grain crackers (like Ryvita or Wasa)

Chop dried fruit into small pieces. In a small pan, combine fruit and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool slightly (1-2 minutes). Strain the mixture to remove the liquid.

Break or cut the crackers into 8 pieces. Spoon a dollop of yogurt (approx. 1 Tbs) onto each cracker piece. Top with a spoonful of the warm fruit pieces, drizzle with a bit of honey, and serve.

Rhode Scholar: Week 16 – Trusting those 400 miles and 60 hours

60 hours. Nearly 400 miles. 42,000 calories. By the end of this week, that’s what I will have invested in running as preparation for the Cox Rhode Races marathon. That doesn’t even count the cross-training, stretching, endless blog reading, and running playlist tinkering. The running alone racked up the two highest-mileage months I’ve ever had since tracking with RunKeeper:

I mention all this primarily for my benefit. Similar to right before each of the halfathons I’ve run, I started to doubt my readiness. This time it’s been: should I have done a 22-miler? Skipping that last interval workout was a catastrophic mistake, right? How did I get these love handles while training for a marathon?

But I read a recent article from Jeff Gaudette stressing that when you’ve mapped out a plan and done the time, you have to trust your training. So that’s what I’m going to do. I mean, my training involved a 20-miler where I ran the last 8 carrying a broken finger, so I’ve got to believe I can handle 26.2 on tapered legs and an early start time (my preferred way to run is at Early O’Clock).

Speaking of that training, week 16 involved two workouts where I mixed it up with tempo and marathon-pace speeds, two cross-training days (step aerobics), an easy 4-miler, and a 10-miler:

That 10-miler marks the last double-digit-mile run on my schedule (yay?). It was also a trial run to see if Portia & I can keep each other entertained enough (or just shut our traps when needed) to run a good chunk of PVD together. Survey says yes, we’ll cover as much of the 26.2 miles together as possible, with ample leeway for either of us to speed off or hang back at any point.

So now all that’s left are a handful of easy miles to keep the legs loose, a 7-day regimen of tart cherry juice to keep the post-marathon pain to a minimum, and 5 days to make myself and everyone around me completely nuts obsessing about the race.