Archive for October 2013

Running: Favorite. Race. Evar. Superhero 5k

It’s hard to put into words what I love about the annual Superhero 5k in Cambridge, but it’s pretty obvious from pictures.

Was the crowd at the 5th running of the SH5k as creative & hilarious as usual? You bet. Were passersby confused & laughing at the spandex and be-caped crowd running up and down Mass Ave? Oh yes.

How much fun did our family have running together? A bunch.

Recipe ReDux: Chipotles are red, corn can be blue, slowcooker cornbread is ready for you

The Recipe ReDux crew are taking advantage of fall(ing) temperatures to break out the slowcookers. We were charged with steering clear of the casserole zone, and to instead use the low & slow treatment roast a chicken, bake bread, make homemade yogurt or for other creative dishes.

Cornbread

I’d seen several recipes for avocado cornbread recently and thought, what a great way to add fiber and healthy fats, followed immediately by whoa, you need how much oil and butter? So in Recipe ReDux fashion, I took the added fats down a notch, and spiced things up with chipotle peppers to make a loaf of chipotle avocado cornbread in the slowcooker.

Cornbread2

On a whim, I used blue cornmeal, which seems to taste the same but gives the cornbread an added color dimension along with the peppers’ red, corn kernels’ yellow, and the green from bits of not-fully-mashed avocado. In my original attempt, I only used 1 chipotle pepper and it wasn’t enough kick for my liking, so I’ve suggested 2 in the following recipe:

Chipotle avocado cornbread in a slowcooker

(8 servings, approx. 225 calories each)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbs butter, melted
1 avocado, diced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
½ cup frozen corn kernels

Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the egg into the milk in a separate bowl.

Add the melted butter to the avocado in yet another bowl, and mash them together until creamy (but leave some of the avocado a little chunky).

Add the milk/egg and butter/avocado mixes to the dry mix in the large bowl, and mix until the batter is well combined. Fold in the chipotle peppers and corn.

Batter

Line a slowcooker with parchment paper (or grease the sides), and pour the batter in. Cook for ~3 hours on high. Lift the parchment paper out to remove the cornbread; slice into 8 wedges and enjoy!

But don’t stop there – my fellow ReDuxers came up with another ~60 recipes to keep your slowcooker busy! Just follow the links below:

Running: Fish or cut bait

Maine! The land of lobsters, moose and, for me, high-speed indecisiveness.

After summer vacation plans and some pesky norovirus scuttled my plans to race Maine earlier this year, I got up to Portland this weekend and checked off #11 from my Race in 50 States list with the Reiche International 5k on Sunday.

I usually think play-by-plays on 5ks are fairly uninteresting – for me, at least, they don’t last long enough to create the mental highs & lows that accompany longer distance running. On this one, though, I had a game of Effort-Level Ping Pong going on in my head that kept things interesting.

ETW Reiche

See, I’ve been focusing lately more on increasing my mileage than on improving my speed, so I thought I would just fun run the 5k while racking up another state, like I did in the TC 10k a few weeks ago. But then I went out on Sunday morning and found myself surprisingly comfortable at a just-sub-8-min-mile pace (for me, that’s the line that divides easy and working for it).

I kept at it, but couldn’t really wrap my head around what I wanted to do. Go for it? Pull up? Stop thinking about it? Pet that cute dog in a Halloween costume? And since I never really decided whether to fish or cut bait, I ran the 3rd mile at a uselessly middle-ground pace – too fast to be fun and too slow to slip in under 25 minutes (I’ve only ever broken that threshhold once, and barely [24:52]). I saw the finish-line clock roll past 25 minutes just before I closed in on the chute, for approximately 25:10 (no formal timing for this race).

Not me (the finishers or the fish)

All that said, hey, I’m not hilariously slower than usual! I may throw in some speedwork, finally, and see where that gets me in states 12 and beyond….

Recalling Fall with Favorites from Cooking Light

You know the feeling when you run into someone who you know you know, who you probably worked with, or traveled with, maybe dated… but for the life of you, just can’t place them or recall their name?

That was me trying to make pizza this week. There was a time that muscle memory would immediately kick in, and my hands would assemble, knead, proof and stretch the dough without an assist from any higher brain functions. I knew that recipe, inside and out; made it at least weekly, often a few times a week.

Dough2

But after a long pizza-making-free stretch (moving, work, the usual), I was staring at a jar of yeast and bag of bread flour, dumbfounded. It’s what, five ingredients and a handful of steps? How have I forgotten this?!

Maybe this was part of a bigger food-related amnesia, as I have been stumbling through the switch from no-bake summer fare chock full of fresh new produce, to the warm, hearty fall standards. Squash? Crockpots? Pies? What are these things and HOW DID THEY GET IN MY KITCHEN?

Our CSA went bonkers with the apples in the last couple weeks

Our CSA went bonkers with the apples in the last couple weeks

Thankfully, Cooking Light helped jog my memory with 24 favorite fall recipes. Reading through the collection – soups, desserts, pumpkin-y things, spiced meats, vegetable-rich sides – and then reviewing the aforementioned pizza dough recipe, that muscle memory clicked back on. Right, yes, I do know what to do with flour, yeast and salt! Apples, butternut squash, bring them on!

Pizza

Need a little guidance on your memory-lane trip? Here’s a week’s worth of recipes from the CL list that I thought looked especially good, plus a oldie but goodie from me (fruit-and-barley-stuffed butternut squash), now that I remembered my own recipe:

  • Apple, goat cheese, walnut pizza from Cooking Light (here)
  • Bacon & butternut pasta from Cooking Light (here)
  • Savory baked apples from Cooking Light (here)
  • Baked Italian-style cauliflower from Cooking Light (here)
  • Fall vegetable curry from Cooking Light (here)
  • French onion & apple soup from Cooking Light (here)
  • Fruit-and-barley-stuffed butternut squash from Eating the Week (here)

TC 10K & marathon weekend – checking off state #10

Hey, internets, long time no see! You’re looking good; what’ve you been doing? Really? Tae Bo is still a thing? Well, I can see it’s working.

Me? Well, I haven’t been blogging, that’s for damn sure. The list of reasons for my impromptu summer/fall hiatus is as boring as it is long, but suffice it to say that the dust has settled & I’m back in the saddle.

I’ll get to the usual foods later this week; for now, it’s just running rambling after a great weekend in Minnesota ticking the 10th state off my Race In 50 States list and watching our friend & Team Flail-mate Andrew hand the TC marathon its butt on Sunday!

TC marathon

Photos courtesy of Joe & Leah Lofgren

On Saturday, Flail Subteam Alpha (Adam, Alison & Adam) met up in the wee dark hours of the morning & ran the TC 10k.

Team Flail

The condensed version is that I ran up a hill, around a corner, and back down a hill. After a 21-day running streak in July, followed by nearly no running in August and a respectable but modest 60-mile September, I just stuck to a fun-run pace and finished in 55:26, for 30/190 in F3539. But there were PRs all around since this was a first-time 10k for everyone.

That race marked by initial foray into double-digit territory for my goal to race in all 50 U.S. states and D.C., so I’m pretty excited regardless of time.

But I think my vicarious excitement may have been even greater on Sunday when we all watched Drew power through the 26.2 route from Minneapolis to the capitol building in St. Paul. He had a bone to pick with that race, having run it before under hot, pace-wrecking conditions; and he owned it this go around with a 3:44:11 time and a shiny new PR.

Not going to lie – that spectating rekindled some marathon lust in me. But while I await the return of my sanity, I’ll be targeting Maine next with a 5k in a couple weeks. Here’s hoping that knocks some sense back into me.