Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Will Run For Mom's Easy Pasta Primavera


2013 was a pretty amazing year.  I had a lofty list of events that I wanted to complete and I completed each and every one of them.  The highlights of my year were shaving 5 minutes of my marathon time and completing my first (yes, there will be more) 1/2 ironman.

  The year was amazing.  Then it wasn't.  One of my worst nightmares came true.  I lost my mother.  She passed away suddenly at the beginning of December after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm.

I was lucky in that I always appreciated how wonderful my mom was and told her so often.  She regularly told me that she was proud of me and that she was so lucky to have me.  I am so grateful for the relationship that I had with her.

Now sometimes I pull out my mom's cookbook when I'm missing her (which is always) and laugh as I read recipe titles like hot crap (crab) dip or ingredients like 900 kg (g) of pasta.  I hope that you enjoy her recipes as much as I do.

  
Mom's Easy Pasta Primavera
(Serves 4-6)

ingredients

450 g of wholewheat linguine 
3-4 C broccoli chopped small
3 carrots cut into small strips
1 C frozen shelled edamame
1 small red pepper cut into small strips
2 cloves garlic pressed
10 oz vegetable broth ( I used 10 oz of water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes)
1 small red onion cut into small strips
2 tsp dried basil leaves (I used Heritage Line Herbs Zippy Garden Vegetable Dip Mix)

In a large pot cook pasta.  When there are 4 minutes remaining add broccoli, carrots, red peppers, mushrooms & edamame.  Vegetables will still be crisp.




In a wok or large skillet add olive oil and saute garlic for 1 minute.  Add red onion and saute until onion is translucent approximately 5 minutes.  Add dried basil and vegetable broth.  Simmer for 2-3 until liquid is reduced.





Drain vegetables and pasta.  Add vegetables and pasta to the wok or large skillet.  



Mix thoroughly until pasta and vegetables are coated with olive oil.  Enjoy!


Photo Booth.  A great way to trick your mom into taking her photo



Sunday, 10 November 2013

Will Run For Cashew Butter & Ginger Fudge

Cashew Butter & Ginger Fudge

Friends don't send friends fudge recipes. 

 They do however make fudge & drop off just a piece or two on your doorstep.  I'm convinced that my cousin jennifer-lynn who is currently very busy growing baby *Penny is trying to fatten me up.  She's mean like that.

With that being said unless you can be responsible & eat just one or two servings of fudge (clearly, not describing myself) I suggest not licking the bowl spoon or eating a few pieces as you pack it into a container. Instead make it for a special occasion (every day from now until Christmas holidays is not a celebration) and get it out of your house fast!  It's that ridiculously delicious.

Cashew Butter & Ginger Fudge
(23 pieces)

Ingredients

1 C cashew butter
1/8 cup maple syrup
3 slices crystallized ginger chopped (mix 1/2 into the batter & sprinkle the rest on top)
1/4 tsp pink himalayan sea salt
1/3 C melted coconut oil
1/8 C ground cocoa nibs + 1/8 C cocoa ( 1/4 C of cocoa will work just fine)

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined.  Pour into a silicone loaf pan.  Sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger.  Place in the freezer for 1 hour (checking repeatedly to see if it's ready won't help).  Remove from freezer just before serving.  Share.

* not the baby's actual name but who wouldn't want to be named Penny.



Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Will Run For Kale Salad With Creamy Garlic Dressing (and pumpernickel croutons too!)





Some of us run for kale.  Others run for dog treats and puddles.  It hard not to love running when you have a bouvier who splashes his way through puddles like they are the best thing that's ever happened to him.  The key however is not getting dragged into the puddle alongside the bouvier who thinks that he's a water buffalo.

Tonight Hank ran for puddles & I ran for kale.  Happy fall running!



This salad dressing will make you want to eat kale.  Lots & lots of kale.  Unless of course you are allergic to cashews & hate kale.  

Kale Salad With Creamy Garlic Dressing
(serves 4)

Salad

bunch of kale (or romaine lettuce)
1/2 cup sliced cremi mushrooms
  1-2 T sliced red onion
creamy garlic dressing
pumpernickel croutons


1.Toss as much or little of each ingredient as your wish  together in a large bowl. 2. Put your elbows out.  3.  Enjoy. 


Dressing
(1 cup)

1/2 cup soaked cashews (at least an hour)
1-2 cloves local garlic (depending on whether or not you need to talk to anyone during the day)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C parmesan cheese (or use an additional 1/4 C nutritional yeast and add a little more salt)
1/4 C olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 - 3/4 C water
*2 tsp dulse
salt & pepper to taste
chipotle powder to taste
1-2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 T hemp hearts

Combine all ingredients in your blender & blend until desired consistency is reached.

* dried reddish-brown seaweed.  You can usually find it in the seafood section of the grocery store.

Pumpernickel Croutons

4 slices pumpernickel bread cut into cubes
1 T olive oil
1T melted butter
1 tsp of mixed herbs (e.g oregano, basil)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine olive oil, melted butter & herbs.  Toss pumpernickel cubes with olive oil mixture.  Place bread cubes on your baking stone and bake until crispy.  Allow to cool slightly before adding to salad.








Sunday, 29 September 2013

More Sourdough Bread Than Egg Bake

More Sourdough Bread Than Egg Bake

I love rainy Sundays.  They make me feel much better about spending most of the morning drinking coffee & hanging out at the kitchen table after a run.  Why would anyone want to shower and spend their day doing errands when they could spend it eating breakfast?

This More Sourdough Bread Than Egg Bake recipe is one of my go to recipes when I'm having company for breakfast/brunch.  It's really forgiving and works with just about any combination of eggs + bread + cheese + add ins.  

More Sourdough Bread Than Egg Bake
(serves 6-9)

ingredients

2 1/2 C sourdough bread cubed
4 beaten eggs
1/4 C red onion ( garlic scapes are also delicious)
4 ounces chopped spinach (add more if you're feeling green or skip it all together) lightly steamed or sauteed
1 C grated cheddar (or feta)
1/4 C parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine bread, eggs, onion, steamed spinach, cheddar & parmesan.  Pour into an oiled 2 quart ceramic or silicone baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

How are you spending your rainy (or sunny) Sunday?





Sunday, 22 September 2013

Will Run For Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Celebrate fall with chocolate zucchini bread! 

I don't know about you but after a big event (Montreal)I lose just about all motivation to train.  It's usually fear of my next event that eventually gets me out of the door.  That and feeling like a giant slug isn't much fun.

I've discovered in the past two weeks that eating and training  are not the same thing so you probably shouldn't exchange one for the other.

I've been reminded of just how intense cross-fit workouts are (four days later I could finally walk normally).

And I've come to realize that running the least amount possible between now & my next half-marathon at the end of October may not be the best strategy if I want to be able to climb the three flights to my classroom on the Monday after the race.

So even though eating and training are not the same thing here is a chocolate zucchini bread recipe.  You could put it in a cake pan and call it cake.  With a little frosting no one would know the difference.

So question of the day is how do you get back into training after a big event and/or the end of racing season?  


Chocolate Zucchini Bread
(1 loaf)

ingredients

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C Cocoa (Camino is my favourite)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C melted coconut oil
1/2 C + 1 T unsweetened applesauce
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 C finely shredded zucchini (do not drain liquids)
1/3 C raw pecans
1/3 C chopped dates


Preheat oven to 350 F.   In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, dates, pecans and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl combine melted coconut oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla and zucchini.  Add wet mixture to dry mixture stirring until just combined.  Your batter will be thick enough to make you think that you might have forgotten something.  Pour batter into a greased loaf pan (silicone is my favourite) and bake for 50-60 minutes.


Share with your Granny & Great Aunt (if you are so lucky) over a cup of tea.

Maybe it's time to stop cursing all the zucchini on my counter

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Will Swim, Bike, & Run for the Montreal Demi-Esprit Triathlon


I'm not exactly sure when I decided that it would be a good idea to give a half-ironman a try.  Sometime after I completed my first sprint distance triathlon.  That's logical, right?

  We picked the Montreal Esprit triathlon because it was fan friendly, there was no open water swimming, there was a cycling track  and the run was flat.  What more could a girl want?

TRAVELLING TIP: When travelling to a french city make sure that your GPS 'speaks' french. Streets like rue de la Gauchetiere sounded more like rue du la gouche (sounds a bit like a sexually transmitted infection doesn't it). We got lost.  Then we got lost again.  Oh, and then we got lost.  Learn the rules about turning left and right (police officers will help with this by angrily waving their arms and shouting in french should you fail to learn the rules).

The race expo/briefing left a lot to be desired.  Learn. French.  What we understood from the entire briefing (it took about an hour) was that if you were really slow you could go to the special needs table and eat as much as you want and that EVERYTHING happened at the "air pin turn".  There was lots of speaking in french and very little english translation.

The swim took place in the Olympic Rowing Basin.  A basin is nothing like a pool. Don't be fooled.  Prepare yourself for a few weeds and cold murky water (and kayaks & some scuba divers too).  Oh, and prepare yourself for the sound of a whistle that will blow repeatedly because someone has decided to take a swimming tour of the basin.

No idea what I'm in for.


Triathletes are generally pretty nice people from what I can tell.  EXCEPT.WHEN.THEY.SWIM.  The triathlon started with a spartan or gladiator style swim.  I've decided that swim training will now consist of shoving as many people as possible into a bathtub where they will punch & kick each other until there isn't anyone left in the tub. Last person in the tub (and without a broken nose) wins!

If you think the world is out to get you mass start swims may not be for you.  There were more than a few moments when I was pretty sure that someone was trying to drag me to the bottom of the basin by the toes (really, they were just trying to swim overtop of me).  On the upside I wasn't worried about swimming off course (although some people did) or being attacked by fish or a water snake and I did make it out without a broken nose or broken fingers. 

SWIMMING TIP: It helps if you talk to yourself while swimming "I'm okay", "I'm okay" until you actually are okay & having some fun.

Donna, out of the water while I continue to battle it out in the basin.

The bike consisted of 20 laps of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve which is the site of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand-Prix.  20 laps sounds much more manageable than 90K.  I was pleasantly surprised by the "hill" that I had read about.  It was more of an incline really.  The wind decided to make things a little more interesting by blasting you each time you made it to the top of the hill.

CYCLING TIP #1 Learn how to say your number in french.  They will call it out along with a french phrase that means you are done.  Luckily they call out your name as well.

CYCLING TIP #2 Learn to cycle in clipless pedals.  Everyone else is doing it (except me).  Pretty sure they are on to something.

Cycling TIP #3  Cycle in a position that doesn't make you look like Mary Poppins especially in gale force winds.   

CYCLING TIP #4:  Ask your cycling buddies if your cycling/tri shorts are see through (especially if you are wearing a one piece white leotard).  Clearly, many of my fellow triathletes are without cycling buddies or I missed the memo about showing off the crack of my behind.  And yes, I clearly wasn't peddling hard enough if I had time to critique other people's outfits.

watch out boys
Possibly the only time in the race when I didn't look like Mary Poppins 

The run.  The run started down a dirt trail lined with pylons.  You run until you are pretty sure that you are going to be eaten by a dog or a cormorant and then you turn around and run on a dirt trail until you make your way back to the basin.

The run was all fun and games until the last 11k or so.  Then it just wasn't pretty.  You run past the finish line three times before you actually get to finish.  Nobody likes that.

There were people yelling "l'arche pas" which sounds a lot like "marche pas" or in other words don't walk.  It's kind of mean for people to tell you not to walk when you are obviously running really fast or at least as fast as you could possibly go.  Oh, wait.  They were actually saying "don't quit, don't give up".

RUNNING TIP: Learn.  French.

7:31:26  
I was lucky to have a cheering brigade waiting for me at the finish line (thank you).  What wasn't waiting for me was a medal. I thought that I was too slow (and I had a pretty awesome race shirt so I wasn't complaining) but it turns out that finish line volunteers just forgot to give it to me.  Who does that (it's kind of important)?

congratulations to me & Donna & Mariane

I skipped the line for subway and post-race snacks (salad, watermelon, etc.) in favour of a bathtub, drinks, and a dinner date.  It was a pretty easy decision given that my subway coupons were in the car and I didn't really want to walk more than I had to.


What next?  I've heard (even though my fingers were in my ears and my eyes were closed) that there is still one more distance to cover.  Relay?

Finally, A big thank you to all of my training partners who convinced me that swimming when the sun was coming up was fun, that biking for four hours followed by a run was a great way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon, that swimming to an island in the middle of the lake was something I could do and that 0 K was really not the new 8K.

A big thank you to my mom & granny who dog & (guinea) pig sat and cheered me on from home.  

And of course thank you to my biggest fan, translator & chauffer.  I'm sorry about the bike grease, the swimming/biking/running gear that seems to make it's way all over the entire house, sorry about wearing nothing but spandex for months, waking you up at the crack of dawn to find swimming goggles and of course I'm sorry for making you drive in Montreal.  

Monday, 2 September 2013

Will Swim, Bike & Run For Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bars

carrot cake oatmeal bars

It's almost that time of the year again.  You know, the time when you have to start wearing pants that aren't spandex & don't have an elastic waistband.  I fear that this may not go over well.  If I don't make it to work tomorrow it's because I'm thrashing around my closet looking for something to wear.

It's the time when back to school nightmares begin.  Although, I'm finding that with the Montreal Espirit Triathlon less than a week away I don't have time for back to school nightmares. I'm too busy having triathlon nightmares!

Note to self: DO NOT sign up for a triathlon 7 hours away on the Saturday of your first week back to school.  Even better don't sign up for a triathlon that will likely take you as long if not longer to complete than the time it took you to drive to the triathlon that is 7+ hours away. 

It's time to say goodbye to early morning swims and hello to packed lunches.

see you later sunrise

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bars
(12 bars)

ingredients

2C rolled oats 
2 C milk (dairy, almond, soy, etc.)
1/2 C grated carrot
1/2 C grated apple (Macintosh)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C raisins
1/4 ground almonds
*1-4 T pure maple syrup 
coconut oil (for greasing the pan)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Place mixture in a 9 x 9 square silicone baking pan or a 3 quart casserole dish greased with coconut or olive oil.  Using silicone bakeware will make it really easy to get your bars out of the pan and will eliminate the need for cursing, stomping, and swearing or just eating the bars out of the pan.

Bake at 400F for approximately 45 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing into bars.

*  I often forget to add the maple syrup but if you are feeding a picky eater (like your Granny) the more maple syrup the better! 



mix it up

breakfast to go

Monday, 26 August 2013

Will Tri For Medals

Not just one medal but two!

My goals for my first Olympic distance triathlon were to not get eaten by a shark (relatively easy in fresh water), to finish the bike portion without any tears or a flat tire and finish the race upright and smiling.

It's amazing to me the range of emotions that you feel before, during, and after a race.

I usually spend most of the time immediately before a race wondering what in the world I was thinking when I signed up, wondering if I could switch to a shorter distance, and convincing myself that I am not going to embarrass myself.

Checking the water temp.  It better be cold enough for a wetsuit!

Twice?  You want us to swim around twice?
During the swim portion of the race I have a ridiculous amount of fun and think about how awesome the sport of triathlon is until of course I need to start thinking about getting out of the water and on the bike. 

I spend every km of the bike thankful that I still don't have a flat (seriously learn how to change a flat!), telling myself that I'll walk up the hills if I have to (hasn't happened yet) and thanking the universe that I'm still alive as I barrel down a hill (still working on peddling instead of braking while going down hills).  I count down the kilometres until the run which I always convince myself is going to be much better than swimming and cycling (lies).


Transition area.

Beautiful bike course on quiet country roads.


We turn around before this hill?  Right?


Beautiful farms.

Not last.
Post race I feel like a superhero and wonder why I worked myself into such a tither.  It is all kind of ridiculous.

I did not finish last!  I was pleased with my swim time and it was so much fun.  It is possible to laugh and swim.  Why can't there be more swimming and less cycling? 

I was happy to have made it through the bike portion of the race without a flat or wanting to lay on the ground kicking and screaming (hills, wind, and everyone passing me makes me a feel a little like doing this) but not so happy that I was passed by EVERY SINGLE PERSON who was competing in the Olympic distance.  On the upside I did run my fastest 10K.

I received a participation medal (yes, I've finally taken it off) as well as a medal for finishing second in my age category.  I will confess that there were only two of us (the other person finished an ENTIRE HOUR before I did) and I'm not entirely convinced that my friend Mariane didn't bribe someone else into giving me their medal but I'll take it!

In the end I had tonnes of fun and I can check another item of my  New Year's to do list .

If you are thinking that you would like give triathlon a try check out St. Joseph Island Triathlon.  It's a great race and very beginner friendly.





Saturday, 10 August 2013

Will Cycle For Minestrone With Basil Pesto

Summer Minestrone


I think I quit about every 10K of my 90K bike ride today.  Then, I quit again once I finished my ride and was supposed to be running.  I quit because my bed and two bouviers were calling.  I quit because I was sick and tired of battling it out with pickup trucks that like to drive too close and yell obscenities at cyclists (even though I was following all the rules).  I quit because I would rather be at home drinking coffee and eating soup.   I quit because I have a long run planned for tomorrow.  I quit because my legs were tired.

I might have quit over and over again but I also started again.  I did lots of math.  90K = 10 + 10 + 10.... or 10 + 10 + 10 + .5 + .25....  I bribed myself with honey stinger waffles. I thought about race day.  And, I thought about soup.

Anyone have some motivation to spare?  I'm accepting donations. 


Summer Minestrone  
(Serves 6-8)

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion diced
2 cloves local garlic
2 large carrots sliced
1 small grated zucchini or your favourite summer squash
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
48 oz water + 2 vegetable bouillon cubes OR 48 oz of vegetable broth
1/8 buttercup squash diced (I didn't bother to peel)
1 14 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed (nobody likes bean slime)
1 T dried rosemary

In a large pot warm 1 tsp olive oil.  Add onion & garlic saute until onion is transparent.  Add carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, chickpeas, buttercup squash, rosemary & pesto.  Simmer on medium until carrots and squash are tender (30 minutes or so).

Monday, 5 August 2013

Will Run For Pesto Kale Chips

pesto kale chips

My love affair with kale isn't exactly a secret.  Neither is my love for pesto.      

Something that I don't love is wind.  Have you ever been mad at the wind?  Seems reasonable to me.  So mad that you want to stand on the side of the road, throw off your helmet, flail your arms, and stomp around (kind of like a 4 year old, don't want to leave grandma's atomic meltdown)?  I do have some self-restraint so this meltdown happened in my head (that & I needed to get home) but it was by far the worst bike ride I've ever been on.

To make things even better when I got home farmer says to me, "so you're not doing anything else? That's it."  She's a jerk.  I got over myself (barely) with the help of some kale.



Pesto Kale Chips

(serves 1 kale lover)

1 bunch of kale 
 1 T basil pesto

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Rinse kale & cut off the majority of the kale stems.  In a medium bowl combine kale & pesto.  Massage pesto into kale.  Place kale in a single layer on a baking stone.  Bake for 20 minutes turning after 10 minutes.  Watch the kale carefully during the last 5 minutes of baking.  Nobody likes burnt kale.