Archive for June 2013

Recipe ReDux: The seedy side of nutrition

Are you stealing a furtive glance over your shoulder to see if anyone noticed you entering… The Red Fruit District?

Chia berry pudding

Well, there’s no need for secrecy about this month’s Recipe ReDux – we should be loud and proud about the nutritional benefits of seeds! Because they have to fuel the start of new plants from scratch, seeds are packed full of nutrients that are good for us human types, too. Many have a good dose of healthy fats, fiber, and minerals; and they’re often a great way to add crunchy texture to foods.

Chia

Chia seeds are among my favorite little germinators, because they’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and are hydrophilic little weirdos that grab onto water & form a cool gel. That lends itself nicely to making chia pudding, which I’ve done in previous posts already.

So to make this one a ReDux, I added in a surprise source of seeds – fresh strawberries. We have a TON to use up from our recent CSA box, and it occurred to me that we could get a two-seed punch thanks to all the little studs on the strawberries’ skin.

CSA June

The result is a quick, warm, one-bowl meal that mixes seedy nutrition with a classic flavor combo – banana, strawberry and chocolate (thanks to the dark chocolate peanut butter I used). Here’s the quick recipe:

Chia berry pudding

(1 serving, approx. 390 calories)

3 Tbs chia seeds
¾ cup almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
½ banana
½ cup diced strawberries
1 Tbs chocolate peanut butter (like this)

Mix the chia seeds and milk in a microwavable bowl, and stir several times over 8-10 minutes (giving it time to set into a gel consistency).

Add the banana in small pieces, the strawberries and chocolate peanut butter, and microwave on high for 1 minute.

Mash everything around so the banana gets softened and the peanut butter mixes in.Enjoy!

If my recipe wasn’t risqué enough for you, there’s still more seediness in the tasty treats put together by my fellow ReDuxers. Just follow the links below:

 

Review & Giveaway: The Good Bean’s roasted chickpea snacks & bars

Have you ever fallen into a protein rut? Ever since a sports dietitian encouraged me to boost the protein quotient in my meals and snacks, I’ve been gravitating to the same handful of foods – nuts/nut butters, eggs, canned beans & dairy – to work in those intricately arranged amino acids. And they’re great, don’t get me wrong, but variety got lost somewhere along the way.

Luckily, variety got scooped up & put to work by Berkeley-based The Good Bean, who recently sent me a bunch of their roasted chickpea snacks and fruit & no-nut bars!

Good Bean products

The roasted chickpea snacks come in four flavors – Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt, Smoky Chili & Lime, and Sweet Cinnamon – that run the gamut from sweet to kick-in-the-tongue spicy. They have a light texture, a decent crunch and just a bit of softness to them. I especially like the zing of the Cracked Pepper, while our 6-year-old asked, unprompted, to try the Sweet Cinnamon & enjoyed it.

The fruit & no-nut bars mix those little beans with some fun ingredients like apricot & coconut, cranberries & pumpkin seeds, or dark chocolate & berries. They’re a not-too-big size and have a pleasing dense chewiness.

Good Bean chickpeas and bar

All their products have a lot of “no” that people can say yes to: no gluten, no nuts, no GMOs, no hexane (wait, what?).  And the best part – Good Bean’s chickpeas and bars have 5-7g of protein per serving, so my post-run muscles get a new shipment of parts to use for rebuilding.

The good folks at The Good Bean (I’ve been waiting giddily through this whole post to write that) have offered sampler packs – 3 chickpea snacks plus 2 bars – to three lucky ETW readers. Winners can choose which varieties they’d like, or The Good Bean can send you a mix of their most popular flavors. Want to meet these tasty little beans? Head past the jump for details!

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CBHM Recap: At least the fails are funny

I had a lot of extra time to let my mind wander during today’s Covered Bridges Half Marathon, and at one point I was thinking about what my contribution to the running blogosphere is. It’s not technical advice or training know-how, nor tales of superhuman ultrarunning prowess; and it’s clearly not a roadmap to consistent improvement, given that I once again set a PW (personal worst) time for the half marathon (last time was at the Runner’s World halfathon).

So if I’m not bringing any of that to the virtual table, why chronicle training and recap the races? Because if nothing else, I’ve got a sense of humor about the ways I contribute to my own running fails:

I totally misjudged the weather. We queued up at Suicide Six under bright skies and already-balmy temps, and things got started smoothly.

CBHM start

My legs felt good to go for a while, but after about 5 miles, the heat started to get to me. I thought we’d be starting in the mid-60s and ending in the 70s, but temps were in the low 70s when we started, and in the upper 80s by the time I finished. Not Death Valley hot, by any means, but way hotter than I’d been training in. Add some thick humidity to the mix, and I may as well have been running with a fresh-from-the-dryer quilt wrapped around my face.

I let the love handles fly. By the time we reached this covered bridge near the end of mile 6, I’d cried uncle to the heat and pulled up to walk, realizing that 1:50 wasn’t happening today.

What was going to happen was me stripping down to my sports bra, leaving my stylish but stifling No Meat Athlete shirt on the side of the road. Get excited, spectators – shirtless middle-aged mom who’s been slacking on her core work, COMING THROUGH. Did this improve my aerodynamics? No. Did it improve my sunburnedness? Yes.

I had THE WORST aim for spectators’ garden hoses. Through miles 6-12, I saw several runners who had collapsed (but were obviously still conscious) and were picked up by emergency services, so I realized that taking it slow was probably the prudent thing to do. That, and bee-lining for every spectator who had brought out their garden hose. However, my aim was less than stellar and I ended up mostly getting sprayed in the face (great for visibility), or on my water bottle (glad it’s feeling cool), or over my head (I’m 5’6”!).

I aided another runner who then passed me & finished before me. At one point, I stopped and essentially forced a guy who was cramping from dehydration to lie down so I could manually stretch out his recalcitrant calf in mile 12. He apologized for holding me up – and then went on to pass me and finish probably a minute or two ahead of me.

But, despite getting in my own way at nearly every turn, I did at least finish the crazy thing.

Me with Health Connections executive director Cathy Hazlett

So if you want to know how to consistently de-improve your half marathon times and find the funny in it anyway, do swing by for my next running update.

The Week Last Year: June 2012

June 2012 was prolific on ETW – I must have been energized by the end of the grad school semester and the pleasant early summer weather. There’s some fun stuff worth a second read, so here’s a little recap of posts from this month last year:

Last June marked the first time our no-longer-so-little dude went to summer camps, and I had to come up with healthy, non-repetitive, peanut-free lunches to pack along with him.

We celebrated the first year of Recipe ReDux with bite-size treats, including my mini-mousse parfaits. And I participated in Foodie PenPals for the first time, receiving goodies from Jessica in Kansas City.

June also welcomed kumquats, star anise, nutritional yeast and more – new-to-me ingredients that I tried in the fifth installment of Hello, Stranger.

I featured a week’s worth of Cooking Light recipes to celebrate joining the CL Bloggers’ Connection.

And on the running front, it was all about my nose.