This recipe has become one my favorite lunches!  Tossed together with kale, avocado, cucumbers and hemp hearts, it makes a delicious big green salad.  This fennel-apple mixture creates some good juices, so there’s no need to add any dressing to the salad.

Apple cider vinegar has the tendency to remind me of one of my biggest culinary mistakes (absent-mindedly using apple cider vinegar (ACV) instead of apple cider (AC) in a brown sugar apple cheesecake…yuck!) but in this savory recipe, it works well with all of the flavors.

fennelapple

Fennel Apple Salad
Adapted from the 21DSD
Whole30, 21DSD approved
INGREDIENTS:
1 fennel bulb
1 Granny Smith apple
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Sea salt & pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice fennel and apple into matchstick-sized pieces.
  2. Toss with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Makes 2-3 servings when tossed with other ingredients to make a large green salad.

Have you ever unintentionally used the wrong ingredient?

Yesterday my boyfriend and I traded in our long Sundays runs for a muscle building workout.  We did 3 free weight exercises (4 sets ranging from 12 reps x2, 8-10 reps x1 and 6-8 reps x1) targeting front, side, and back of the shoulder muscles, and then 3 weight machine exercises that targeted the same areas.  Then we did full bicep curls, and half-way curls with wide grips (4 sets ranging from 12 reps x2, 8-10 reps x1 and 6-8 reps x1).  Finally 3 sets of 21’s (7 reps of half-way up, 7 reps nose to half-way down, 7 reps nose to all the way down).  We then ran 4 miles and maintained our anabolic state of fat burning, while not dipping into the muscle burning zone.

After our hearty workout we followed it with a nice slice of bacon pie…

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Bacon-Lattice Frittata
Inspired by Mini Frittata Muffins
Whole30, 21DSD approved
INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 large eggs
1/8 cup light coconut milk (canned)
2 tablespoons of almond flour (or coconut flour)
1 package of bacon
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook until they’re tender and the mushroom juice has evaporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the coconut milk, almond flour, salt and pepper.  Add the sautéed mushrooms and spinach and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon in the frittata mixture, and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the bacon on the stove top over medium heat (Leave it a little under than what you normally consider done).
  6. At 25 minutes), create a lattice with the cooked bacon over the top of the pie and gently press in.
  7. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Double check the frittata is done by sticking a fork into it.  If it comes out clean, it’s ready to be taken out of the oven.
  8. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then cut it up like you would a pie!

How many more acronyms can I use?

Like I said yesterday, meal prep is a big part of success in any type of eating plan or lifestyle change.  I love that this stuff is ready when I need it and most of it is portable and great for on-the-go.  For example, I successfully ate a green apple in one hand, almond butter packet in the other, while I drove from work to yoga.  Talk about talent!  Here’s the stuff I prepped Monday to eat all week.

photo 1

Breakfast – Mini Frittata Muffins
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
INGREDIENTS:
Coconut oil, to coat pan and muffin tin
½ pound of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 large eggs
¼ cup coconut milk (the fatty stuff at the top of the can works best)
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
5+ oz of Prosciutto
Salt and pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat pan over medium heat.  Melt 2 tsp. of coconut oil.  Add the mushrooms and cook until they’re tender and the mushroom juice has evaporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the coconut milk, coconut flour, salt and pepper.  Add the sautéed mushrooms and spinach and stir to combine.
  4. Brush some melted coconut oil to coat the muffin tin (bottoms and sides). Line each cup with prosciutto.  Make sure the bottom and the sides are covered.
  5. Spoon in the frittata mixture, and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let the muffins cool in the tin.

photo 2

Snack – Jicama Fries
From 21DSD
INGREDIENTS:
1 Jicama bulb
1 lime
Sea salt
Cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel and cut jicama into sticks, then toss them with with lime juice, pink himalayan sea salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Great for dipping in homemade guacamole, added to salads, or just eaten by themselves.

photo 3

Lunch/Dinner – Mustard-Glazed Chicken Thighs
From 21DSD/Practical Paleo
INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp. stone ground mustard (gluten-free, and I used sodium free)
1/2 tsp. paprika
Sea salt
6 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine melted coconut oil, mustard, paprika and salt in a small bowl to create sauce.
    Starting with the bottoms, brush each chicken thigh in the sauce.  Spread it evenly, and brush the tops.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  When it is heated, place the thighs skin side down into the pan.  Let the thighs cook for around 2-4 minutes (depending on the size of your thighs) until the skin side is golden brown.
  4. Flip the thighs over for about 2 minutes in the skillet, then transfer to a cookie sheet and place in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes (again, depending on the size of your thighs).
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit to cool before you eat or store it.

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Yesterday I took a rest day from working out and instead spent about 3 hours in the kitchen prepping meals for my variation of the 21-Day Sugar Detox.  The 21-Day Sugar Detox is by Diane Sanfilippo, who also wrote the cookbook Practical Paleo.  I ordered the PDF and checked out the different levels (1-3).  3 is the most restrictive, but it is also the most ideal for someone who is following a paleo diet or has completed the Whole30.  A lot of the restrictions are the same, just more intensified (essentially no fruit).  I’ve gotten better about my fruit intake compared to a couple years ago when I thought it was fine to just eat an entire bag of grapes in one day, or a whole melon at one sitting.  Something that is healthy isn’t healthy when consumed in copious amounts.  I feel like meal prep is essential to success in this program, because as long as I have something to eat (that’s approved) when I’m hungry, I’ll be fine.  Ultimately, I wanted a new challenge, a new plan to follow, and a new goal to achieve.

Speaking of goals…let’s take a trip down memory lane to old May…

May Goals – I pretty much set goals that I didn’t follow through with.

-Nutrition: Eat Paleo.  The meals I make for myself are primarily paleo.  But then I found Chipotle salads, started drinking soda again, and dipped a little into fro-yo.  Sunday night tacos with chips and fresh ceviche from the Mexican market and fluffy potatoes with cobbs of corn on Rollswisserie Wednesday’s have become the norm.
-Workouts: Early Morning Workouts. Went to yoga once at the beginning of the month, and not again until the 3 days leading up to the Rock ‘n Roll Half (all early morning).  Had some early morning runs in there, but my blister got in the way of maintaining that schedule.
-Running: More Structured Workouts (e.g. Run Less, Run Faster program).  Totally nixed this in the beginning when getting to a track would be too much of a hassle.  Just went the other direction and decided to increase my mileage instead.

This month I’m more determined to follow through with my goals.  I will be smarter about running and training and not set myself up for any type of impeding injuries.  I also won’t be trying to work between training from one race to another in the span of 4 weeks.  I’m planning on focusing on my health, fitness, and well-being overall, and will turn my attention back to training for the AFC Half Marathon (Aug 18) in July.

June Goals

– Nutrition: Start the 21-Day Sugar Detox.  Modified to be 14-16 days.  My dad is coming down to visit again and when that happens it’s usually hard to stick to a restricted eating plan.
Workouts: Cross-train more.  Last month I ended up only cross-training 3 times (2 with trainer, 1 body pump class).  Goal to cross-train 2-3x per week, and incorporate morning bikram yoga 2-3x per week.
Running: Run less.  Around 3x per week.  And look into joining a running club or partake in local free runs.

What are you working towards this June?
What are your goals?

It’s once again taper week!  Today I shake off my holiday weekend vices (aka big gulps and fro-yo).  I’m trying to keep my Nalgene filled with water and glued to my hand to stay hydrated (and avoid any Diet Dr. Pepper cravings).  My schedule for this week is/has been:

Sun –  6 mi
Mon – 2 mi
Tues – 3 mi
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – AM yoga
Fri – AM yoga + 2 mi shake-out after work
Sat- AM yoga
Weekly mileage: 17
Sun – Race Day!

Today, let’s talk a little about carbo-loading.

2-3 days prior (so Thursday and Friday for me) you should up your carbohydrate intake to increase your storage of glycogen (glycogen is your body’s most easily accessible form of energy).   I never go all out carbo-loading with pasta dinners or bagel breakfasts, but I do enjoy eating more sweet potatoes and Japanese yams guilt-free.  Plantain chips are not recommended for a low-carb diet, howeverthese are perfect for pre-race “carbo-loading.”  I’ve got these prepped and ready to be my go-to snacks for the end of this week.  If you’re just looking for something to dip and scoop, these baked plantain chips (not fried) provide a healthy alternative to regular potato chips.

How to pick your plantains: unripened plantains are starchier, and ripened plantains have higher sugar content.  Green plantains = firmer, yellow = stickier.  I opted for unripened plantains to ensure that they were easier to cut.photo 1 copy

Paleo Plantain Chips
From Fed and Fit
INGREDIENTS:

2 plantains
2 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
Pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the plantain, and make 3 shallow slits, just through the skin (this will help to peel the plantain).
  3. Peel the plantain and then cut into thin slices.
  4. Toss the plantain slices with the melted coconut oil, lay out on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with the salt.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Once golden brown, remove from heat, let cool, and eat!

photoIt’s been a relaxing weekend so far.  Filled with running, the Farmer’s Market, movies, cooking, fro-yo, SVU, slurpees, reading, and tanning by the pool.  Today’s lunch was simple and consisted of these spaghetti squash fritters.  One of the reasons I love paleo cooking is how easy it can be.  These, like the paleo pancakes, have minimal ingredients, that you might already have on hand.

fritters2
Spaghetti Squash Fritters
by Empowered Sustenance
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup spaghetti squash strands from a cooked spaghetti squash
2 eggs
Sea salt and pepper
Dried herbs, such as oregano and French tarragon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash.  The easiest way to do this is poke holes all over it and microwave for 8-10 minutes depending on the size.  Remove from microwave, cut off the ends, and slice in half.  Remove the seeds.  With a fork, string out the squash.
  2. Mix together 1 cup of spaghetti squash, 2 eggs and seasonings lightly with a fork.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Spoon the batter into pan and cook until golden brown.
  5. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.
  6. Makes 6 beautiful little fritters.  Best served with a little hot sauce or ketchup.

photo 1

I’ve decided to take it easy today and tomorrow.  I’ve had shin splints since last Thursday and have been running through them ever since.  I knew my old shoes were becoming a problem when my shins started acting up.  I calculated I had run around 300+ miles in them since February.  And even though I got new shoes and feel better running, I still have some residual pain.  I also have to keep in mind I need to start decreasing my weekly mileage since my taper is approaching next week (RnR SD on June 2).  However, I’ve been running pretty much every day since I haven’t had training and I haven’t had much else to do.  So from Sunday to Wednesday I’ve done 4, 8, 6, 4, respectively, resulting in 22 miles with 4 miles still planned for Saturday (I calculate my weeks Sunday to Saturday).  So since I’ll be resting today (and most likely shopping for my race outfit 😉 ) I’ll leave you with another something I do best…baking!

photo

This blog should really be called “Donuts & Smoothies” or “The Breakfast Club” because everything I have been making of late has been in this category.  I slightly tweaked this mini-muffin recipe from Running to the Kitchen, and then thought it would be fun to make them in my roommates donut molds (thanks London)!  They turned out so cute, and are so delicious warmed up with some almond butter and honey.

photo 3

Baby Banana Chia Macadamia Donuts
Adapted from Running to the Kitchen
INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup almond meal
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 egg
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons canned light coconut milk
¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini-muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, coconut flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
  3. Whisk together the banana, egg, coconut oil and coconut milk.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
  5. Mix in the nuts until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon batter into mini-donut pan (about 1/2 Tbsp. for each donut) and bake for about 15 minutes until tops start to turn golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  8. Makes12 mini donuts and 3 regular sized donuts.

The past couple of days have been pretty toasty by the time I’m off work and ready to run.  Here are some tips on how to beat the heat, or at least compete with it.  I could have taken some of this advice myself, resulting in a “doh!” moment after the fact.  I probably deserved a Gibbs head slap.

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Tips for Training in the Heat

1. Hydrate!  Either run with a water bottle or mark out a course where you know there are water fountains (and functioning ones at that).

2. Go Naked!  Take off all your make-up.  The other day I forgot my make-up remover wipes and ended up running with a full face of make-up (ok I don’t wear that much, but still).   I was trying to avoid rubbing my eyes on my shirt since mascara stains never seem to come out.  Sweat, running down my face, through my mascara and into my eyes was blinding.  I ended up sticking my fingers straight across my eyeballs to try and blink out any mascara gunk and salty sweat.

3. Breathe!  Let your body catch a breeze by wearing sweat-wicking material and loose fitting fabrics.  Don’t just opt for cotton tees.

4. Lube up!  Sweat, shorts, and fabric rubbing can cause chafing.  Use Vaseline or Body Glide to doctor these problem areas before  it’s too late.

5. Suck it up!  Just kidding.  If it’s really hot, like hotter than what I consider hot (aka anything warmer than 80 degrees), take your workout indoors.  If your training has wiggle room, cross-train instead or stick to the treadmill.  Maybe this is a good time to test out a pool workout?

6. Replenish!  Drink something cool and refreshing, but still filled with protein to aid in muscle recovery.  Try something like my version of a Mango Lassi below.

photoMango Lassi
Paleo and lactose-free
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup plain lactose-free kefir
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen mango chunks
DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Add all ingredients in the blender and blend until all frozen ingredients have broken down.  Pour into glass and garnish with mint leaves.  Makes one 16 oz. smoothie.

Happy Monday!  Here is a Disney Channel Original Movie, or rather an Asheejojo Original Recipe.  Healthy, paleo, gluten-free DONUT HOLES.  These get better, moister, tastier, the longer they sit in a closed container.  So pace yourself, and let the flavor settle in like a fine wine of dough balls.

cookies Paleo Donut Holes
INGREDIENTS:
2 1/8 cups almond meal
¼ cup shredded coconut
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ cup maple syrup
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix everything together with a hand or standing mixer.
  3. Drop tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

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Here’s a “What I Ate Wednesday,” but of yesterday.  It was a delicious day that started out with these pancakes that I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF!  I jazzed them up with some banana slices and almond butter in addition to some honey.
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Then after work I was feeling a bit lethargic, but thought I would still feel better after a run.  I ran, sans watch, influenced by Olive to Run’s May Challenge.  It was only 3 miles, but it was just one of those days when you can’t get your legs to move.  I kept turning my wrist in to look at my time…but there was no time!  It was actually quite refreshing and it allowed me to focus on my latest obsession — The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

photoFor dinner I made spaghetti squash hash browns.  Did you know there was even such a thing?  Or that this could be done?  They tasted almost identical and I think this is even easier to make.

Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns
Adapted from Empowered Sustenance
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 medium-sized spaghetti squash (about 2 cups prepared)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash.  The easiest way to do this is poke holes all over it and microwave for 8-10 minutes depending on the size.  Remove from microwave, cut off the ends, and slice in half.  Remove the seeds.  With a fork, string out the squash.
  2. Take half of the spaghetti-ed squash and remove all excess water.  Option to wring using a clean kitchen towel, or I pressed it between a few paper towels, several times until it was dry.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the dried spaghetti squash in an even layer and press down with a spatula.
  4. When you see the edges begin to brown, wait a couple minutes and then flip.
  5. Sautee the other side until golden brown.
  6. Remove from heat and serve as a side with your favorite dish, any time of the day.
 
 
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