What I’m eating this week 5/27/14

This week I definitely don’t feel on my meal planning game, but I picked out three things to make.  One of them is a Mac and Cheese recipe from another blog that I found on Foodgawker.  The second is the Jar Salads I made a few weeks ago.  The third is just a little concoction of my own which I’m too lazy to write up a formal post about so I’ll just summarize it.

  • Sweet Potato and Potato Hash with Green Beans and Master Sauce
    • For this I simply took one sweet potato and 3 small red skinned potatoes and roasted them at 400° F until soft.
    • I then chopped an onion, and three small button mushrooms and sauteed them in some butter and olive oil
    • When the onion was almost cooked I added the potatoes and about half a cup of frozen chopped green beans to the pan
    • I also added a heaping table spoon or so of this great sauce I got at the Burlington Farmer’s Market called “Master Sauce“. It’s full of everything you could ever want and is deliciously spicy.
    • Just mix it all up ’till combined to your liking.  I like to let the bottom kinda burn a bit to give it a nice crisp.

Vermont City Marathon (well half of it)

First Running Medal!

First Running Medal!

Last weekend I ran my first ever half marathon!  I have been feeling pretty bummed out that I wasn’t able to run the unplugged half marathon in Burlington due to a stress fracture; however this weekend I had my redemption. I was able to sign up last minute for the Vermont City Marathon as part of a two person relay team raising money for the Vermont Make a Wish foundation.  I was very nervous about the race because I’ve never run this far in my entire life, and I haven’t really been training for a half so I was worried I would re-injure my foot, AND I still had to find a partner to run the other half.

Luckily for me a friend of a friend of a friend saw my post on Facebook about needing a partner and was able to help me out. My acquaintance Adam, whom I’d only met once before, was already signed up for the full 26.2 so he was able to join my relay team as long as he fund raised for Make a Wish.  Now that all the details were set all I had to do was pack up, head to VT, and figure out how the hell I was gonna run 13.1 miles.

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Me and Greta on our way

Oh let’s also just get one thing straight, Vermont is my favorite state. I often tell strangers I’m from Vermont, or call myself an honorary Vermonter. I just feel that on the inside I’m more Vermont than anywhere else. That being said I rolled up to my girlfriends lake house with my trusty co-pilot Greta, and instantly felt at home.  The lake was slightly overcast, but as beautiful as ever.

View from the Lakehouse

View from the Lakehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a feeling this was going to be a great weekend no matter what happened at the race on Sunday.

Leading up to the race I was able to spend time with some friends from college that I hadn’t seen in a while, and we did the typical Burlington things like stroll church street, check out the farmer’s market, and sample some local brews. We also went to a food truck meet up at the Arts Riot, which I highly recommend if anyone is in town. It takes place every Friday evening during the summer.

Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Market

Hey Church Street

Hey Church Street

My friend Meredith was also participating in the Marathon as part of a 5 person relay team for Make a Wish so the night before the race we spent the evening making pasta, watching the season 2 premiere of House of Cards, and stressing about tomorrows events.  As usual I woke up before my alarm since I was nervous I’d sleep in.  I had my typical pre-race meal of an English muffin with peanut butter, honey, and banana. I was well hydrated, well stretched, and had gone over my gear probably 50 times. Meredith and I headed downtown to park and made our way to our required exchange points. My exchange point was at Oak ledge Park, and let me say it was a clusterfuck. This was the only negative part of my race experience.  It was very unorganized/crowded and no one could hear the numbers being announced or see their partners coming in very easily. That meant that everyone was leaning into the only chute open to try and see their partners while the race officials were yelling at us to get back. It was actually the only time I’ve felt kind upset with any race organizers. I was stressed out enough and being yelled at because they couldn’t organize the race was a little upsetting.

Selfie's while waiting for Adam

Selfie’s while waiting for Adam

Anyways Adam reached me at about 1:53 into the race, which was a little later than I expected him.  Turns out Adam sustained a foot injury at mile 9 (probably stress fracture from my diagnosis) and slowed way down.  I was shocked that he even made it to the halfway point. I was left to soldier on alone.  I took the first few miles WAY faster than I meant to, I basically ran 5k pace and only slowed slightly upon reaching battery hill. I also didn’t really know my pace because in the confusion of the exchange I forgot to start my watch. I don’t know if it was adrenalin or what, but I felt great for most of the race and my mile splits were usually in the low 7’s. I really enjoyed my leg of the course. I first ran along the lake, then up through battery park, and then into some of the surrounding neighborhoods. The neighborhoods were my favorite part because the people cheering on the front lawns were unbelievably supportive. They were handing out water, gatorade, fruit, GU’s, and even one house handed me a budweiser (I’ll admit I only drank half of it). The final stretch of the race went along the Burlington bike path. It was partly shaded, and had a slight downhill slope to it. At mile 25 I was really starting to get jelly legs, but then some November Project members wearing grassroots gear, and holding signs reading “fuck yeah!” cheered me on giving me the extra boost I needed.  I ended up with a time of 1:34:46, which was about 10 minutes faster than I had hoped for!

Morning of the race #grassrootsgear

Morning of the race #grassrootsgear

 

In the end an impulsive decision to sign up for the race turned out to be one of the best running weekends I’ve had yet. I was able to spend time in my favorite place, with some of my favorite people, participating in the sport I love. I definitely feel the itch to run the whole 26.2, but I still think the half marathon distance may be my favorite. I liked that I felt like I was running fast and pushing myself, however I still needed the endurance required to finish the whole 13.1. In the past I’ve mostly run 5K’s, but I’ll definitely be on the look out for some longer races for the rest of the season.

 

Just Running for Fun

Today my friend John and I went for a run with the intention of putting in 3-4 miles at just above 5k race pace.  I was feeling good and just felt like I needed some speed.  We started on a well groomed trail that follows along a long pond/stream near our hometown.  We were clipping along just below 7min/mi pace, and I definitely felt in the zone and could tell I was getting a good release of endorphins.  We had run this path before, but never gone all the way to the end. All of a sudden we turn a corner and the path opens up into a much wider and much more beautiful pond.  We both kind of stopped dead in our tracks and just took in the unexpected site.

Our final destination

Our final destination

IMG_20140521_164759_196One of the things I love most about running is being able to discover something beautiful that I’ve never seen before, while improving my health and fitness.  We decided that since this wasn’t too serious of a workout, plus I had a big race coming up this weekend that we would just jog around a little further and explore.  We ended up finding a neat painted rock and climbed up top to pose for some pics.  The whole area was pretty neat and we’ll definitely be back to just hang out and maybe swim later in the summer.

On the way back we ran faster than we normally would when just jogging together, but not as fast as on the way out to the pond.  In the end we ended up logging just under 4 miles.  I realized that one of the reasons I’ve fallen back in love with running over the past few months is because of the fun factor.  Don’t get me wrong the competition of high school running was always fun for me, however I never really thought of the runs as something for me.  I always thought of them as a workout I was required to finish.  Today I thought my run would be more of a workout but in the end it just ended up being a really fun run with one of my best friends.  This is why I’m running again, for myself, for my health, and most importantly because it’s FUN!

Just taking it all in

Just taking it all in

 

Rest days mean more time for cooking

How I picture myself in the kitchen

How I picture myself in the kitchen

Some days the weather is just so perfect I just can’t control the urge to lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement. Today was one of those days, BUT with a potential half marathon coming up this weekend I’m trying to taper it down a bit this week so today is an obligatory rest day. With Mother Nature tempting me from outside I knew I’d have to find another way to distract my mind and body, this is when my inner chef came out.

Lentil Dahl w/ tortilla and plain greek yogurt

Lentil Dahl w/ tortilla and plain greek yogurt

I decided to make the Lentil Dahl tonight and got that quickly simmering on the stove.  Within minutes the entire kitchen smelled of cumin, turmeric, and masala spices.  Once that was simmering down I started deciding what type of granola bars I wanted to make.  I rummaged around the cupboards and found a half empty bag of craisins and a partial bar of Ghirardelli dark chocolate with sea salt.  I prefer to make my own granola bars when I have time.  I just feel better about eating something that has all real ingredients and hasn’t been pre-packaged and sitting on a shelf for however long.  Plus I can control how much sugar and salt goes into it.  Anyways I found this recipe in an Instagram post by Energy Bits.  I just adapted it a little and added some “spice” (see number 6)

 

Granola Bit Bars

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 cups rolled oats
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 apples
  • cinnamon (a dash)
  • ~3/4 bar of dark chocolate
  • ~1/3 cup of craisins
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Start by pulsing the oats a few times in the food processor just to break them up a bit, then add them to a large bowl.
  3. Core the apples, with skin and add to food processor and blend up pretty well, then add to the oats.
  4. Add the four egg whites, cinnamon, craisins, chocolate, and agave to the bowl.
  5. Using a wooden spoon combine the ingredients.
  6. Next take a baking sheet and line with parchment paper, then scoop out and press the mixture into the shape of your choice.
  7. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes.
  8. When finished just lay them out to cool and then chop them up to desired size.  I usually try to eat them within a week or so just so they taste fresh.  It’s easy to customize them to your liking, the first time I made them I used maple syrup instead of agave, and threw in chopped walnuts.
  9. Within about an hour I had a delicious dinner of Lentil Dahl, and granola bars for a convenient healthy snack that I plan on taking with me this weekend to VT for my race.  This way I won’t be tempted by the many less healthy options available when on the go.
Bit Bars cooling

Bit Bars cooling

What I’m eating this week 5/19/14

Every year my college friends and I make a point to get together and celebrate in the spirit of P-day.  P-day is the name of the spring weekend from our alma mater, and usually involves lots of food, drinks, and sun. Last weekend we celebrated, and while I had a great time I do feel guilty because I know all the unhealthy food and drinks weren’t good for my training [especially with a potential half marathon next weekend]. I’m definitely dedicating myself to sticking to a meal plan this week so I can run my best race next weekend.  That being said here’s the recipes I’m cooking this week:


Most of these are pretty simple which is key this week since I can’t seem to get any quality sleep working a shift starting at 5am.  I’m hoping this lack of sleep isn’t going to lead to an injury cause lately I’ve felt like a the Walking Dead.

An actual image of me every day at work last week, "Hi my name's Benton and I'm here to draw your blood..."

An actual image of me every day at work last week, “Hi my name’s Benton and I’m here to draw your blood…”

Mediterranean Farro Salad

This is a great salad and can be eaten warm after the Farro has just been cooked or cold. It’s a pretty simple salad that is great when the tomatoes and cucumbers are in season. Farro is an awesome grain full of vitamins B & E, Magnesium, and packs about 8 grams of fiber per cup.  It’s also a great source of complex carbs.
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 5 or so olives of your choice
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Feta Cheese Crumbles

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Method:

  1.  Rinse the farro, then add it to 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for about 30 minutes or until cooked al dente
  2. While the farro cooks cut the tomatoes in half, dice the cucumber, and pit and chop the olives
  3. When the farro is cooked add everything to a large bowl, pour in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and mix it up.  Add black pepper and feta to taste.

What I’m eating this week 5/12/14

Most weeks I try to plan 3-5 healthy meals that I can make for dinner, and bring as left overs to work.  This way I’m eating home-made meals, and saving money by not eating unhealthy food in the cafeteria.  Usually this works out pretty well for me. On nights I don’t have something planned I usually end up eating a salad since we always have spinach, or I use up odds and ends of things from the cupboards and fridge.

This Sunday I was feeling very uninspired until I started poking around on my favorite recipe site Foodgawkwer!  Here’s what I found.

Between these three meals I’ll get plenty of left overs, feel free to share what you’re cooking this week!