Monday, August 22, 2011

ain't no steak

So just as I should be really getting into being ready for the tri, I am totally losing steam. I can't stand having a schedule to stick to because life never seems to go along with the plan... brick workouts seem to be scheduled on the busiest days, swims on days when it thunders. That being said, I really haven't stuck to the plan. At all. Personality wise a training schedule is just not compatible with my workout style which is to work out according to my mood. I tend to run further, strength train harder, swim longer, ETC.

That being said, I have been pretty lax on  the plan, although I have gotten over my disdain for the bike and convinced myself to just stick with it for the next few weeks. In the past 4 days, I've biked twice for more than 40 minutes- on Friday I biked as hard as I could to outpace a wicked thunderstorm. I've also forced myself to run after biking in order to train my legs for the transition, and its been going better than expected. Luckily my foot, which was killing me all week, finally felt better on my run today. Hopefully that continues. As for swimming? Let's not go there, because I sure haven't. Yipes.

I've had some fun weekends this summer and somehow worked exercise into most days of those weekends, but the puffy feeling is getting to me so I'm working on more veg, less carb this week. For dinner: tofu steaks (again, not sure why the heck these are called steaks in the recipe), sweet potato "fries", and roasted eggplant & yellow squash (marinated in the same mustard sauce as the tofu)...

and of course, kale chips. This time with garlic powder, Sam's Salt ( a seasoned salt from Nantucket- the best), and cayenne.

I love my condiments, so of course there was ketchup involved for the fries and chips. For the tofu, I bought TJ's Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce which is delicious on the tofu steaks. It's 10 calories per tsp which means its a great condiment as long as you don't use too much; use as more of a spread than a dipping sauce to keep the calories in check. I made everything yesterday except the kale chips and just heated everything in the same oven as the kale cooked.  Perfect timing wise.

Highly recommend this dinner- especially the tofu. Just as great as last time.

Off to pop an Advil since I ran 5 and biked just shy of 10 before my nap today, then it's off to work. Spread the tofu love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

mix n match

I was a bit at a loss for what to make for dinner this week. I knew I had a fun and busy weekend on deck (Happy 21st Timmy :)) and I also knew I had four days of work. So, I needed something a) quick and b) with enough variety that I could eat it for four days. I figured a sandwich or the like was a good direction to go in. So, after wandering around TJ's I decided on a bunch of ingredients I could mix and match:

- TJ's Jalapeno Chicken Sausage (100 calories!)
- TJ's Whole Grain Tortillas w/ Flax
- Hummus
- Avocado
- Tomatoes (from my Aunt Sheila's garden)
- Baby spinach
- Green pepper (roasted under the broiler)
- Red onion
- cucumber
- jarred jalapenos

I froze the sausage so that it wouldn't go bad before I used it, and then each day I thawed in the microwave. I did a quick saute in a pan with the sausage, roasted peppers, and onions. Pre-roasting the peppers meant I only had to heat the through which allowed the onions to keep a slight crunch. Mmm.

Each day I've been playing with which ingredients I actually use, and how they are used. The avocado can be a spread of cut in chunks, the spinach can be heated or raw (ditto with the tomatoes). 

I also used variety for my sides: kale chips, fruit, graham crackers w/ peanut butter (don't judge).

Tonight I was hoping to head out for a swim before work, since yesterday I opted for a longer bike and run rather than doing all three (45 min bike, 4 mile run + 1 mile walk cool down). Unfortunately, it looks like a rainy, cool day which may mean no pool. Unfortunately may be the wrong word here though, because honestly I don't really want to swim later and riany days are my favorite kinds of sleeping days. Hmm... maybe it will be a Jillian Michaels DVD day. Or maybe just sleep.

If I do motivate myself to wake up early AND exercise, it'll just be a be another quick wrap and heat up the Babaganoush Soup I made this weekend and COMPLETELY neglected all week. I hate when I make something that sounds great and then don't want it after all. Tonight it's a must.

Good day to you and good night to me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Wow the summer really takes a lot away from blogging. While it only means I am outside and away doing things, it also seems to mean that my eating habits have slacked from my more regimented, less vacation-y spring. Which is why I've decided that blogging actually makes me accountable for what I put in my mouth. Hence, why this morning I decided I am going to try to get a bit more back into this blog thing and cut back on those less than nutritious things that have been derailing me this summer...

Breakfast today: sandwich thin with 1 egg + 1 egg white, 1/2 an avocado, TJ's red pepper + eggplant spread, and a big leaf of basil. Cherries on the side.

Protein? Check. Veg? Check. Carb? Check. Fruit? Check. Tasty? Check.

As for work this week, I made a big pasta salad with veggies for my four night week. I've been craving pasta salad and figured it was something that could hold up for a few days.

Italian Veggie Pasta Salad

2 1/4 cup dry Barilla Plus rotini
1 small zucchini 
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1 red pepper 
1 can red kidney beans (rinsed) 
1/2 red onion 
1 English cucumber 
12 mini mozzarella balls
1//2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup EVOO 
garlic powder 
salt+ pepper 

Cook pasta according to package. Allow to cool. Chop all veggies and basil (mince onion finely). Chop basil.  Cut mozzarella balls in halves or quarters according to preference. Whisk together vinegar and oil. Toss all ingredients together with vinegar and oil. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. 

This is an easy, make ahead lunch that holds up for a few days. I especially like the raw bite and flavor of the raw zucchini  and the creaminess of the red beans. Since this is a complete meal in itself I only packed an organic peach as a side dish. For breakfast/snack at work I also packed a Fage yogurt and Larabar. I am obsessed with Larabars- the best flavors I've tried are the Blueberry Muffin and Key Lime Pie. I love that they are an on-the-go alternative to granola bars that don't have any grains. 

Now I am off to clean my room some and attempt to swim, bike, and run before work. A bit overly ambitious but I worked until 11 yesterday, slept til 5, ran errands, and then opted to head to dinner at Panera with my family over working out.  Sooo workout definitely necessary. Off to motivate myself...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

burger demolition

Over the summer I've been choosing veggie burgers more often than usual when I've gone out to burger places than I ever have before. Ordering a veggie burger is always risky- sometimes they are great, and full of flavorful veggies and beans- but other times its an overcooked, formerly frozen, grocery store burger for $10. That being said, I decided if lots of places can make their own awesome veggie burgers, how hard could it be? 

So, I searched for a bean based burger and came up with this burger... made with pinto beans and corn as the base. Smelled and looked great as I made them. I followed the recipe almost exactly except that I used fresh corn, parsley (instead of cilantro- it's what was in the garden),  whole wheat panko bread crumbs, and Greek yogurt (for sour cream). These swaps are all so close, I'd consider them harmless. The mixture made A LOT- 6 large burgers worth- and I stuck the formed burgers in the fridge for about 1 hour because the reviews said that extra refrigeration helps keep them together in the pan.

All was going well. Until the burgers hit the pan. Most stayed together but two fell apart- until I attempted to flip the burgers. Then it was all over... enter pinto bean and corn mush (kind of looks like ground beef though)...

MAJOR FAIL. But only in form. The cooked mix tasted delicious and I couldn't let all my work go to waste on a perfectly edible mix. So, I decided this was the perfect salad topping for work. throw in some tomatoes, avocado, and grilled zucchini/squash and it's a full dinner.

Only thing left? A delicious dressing.

Jalapeno-Lime Dressing 
(4  dinner salad servings)

2 cloves crushed garlic
handful fresh mint, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced and partially seeded
juice of 2 limes
dash of agave 
salt + pepper

To make the dressing, whisk first five dressing ingredients together. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Balance tartness of lime juice with agave syrup (honey or sugar work too). Note: I like heat and use 1/3 of the jalapeno seeds. Go light if you don't know how many to use- you can always add more. 

Off to the last work night of the week. Had a great day yesterday tubing on the Delaware river with Tim, Liza, Colin, and Liam for Tim's 21st. Tried to do a brick workout after, but only had time for 40 minutes of biking. Gotta let things like that go- life is too short to stress over a silly training schedule, now more a training "guide"since today I swam 20, instead of the slated 25. I was NOT in a workout mood for some reason today, so I just made sure I did more than the 1/2 mile race distance and got out when I couldn't stand it anymore.

Birthday festivities continue tomorrow with dinner at Satis and then out for the night- can't wait! Happy 21 little bro. 1/4 can now hit the bars with me. :)

Busy weekend ahead- not sure how posting will go- but I will try. Later days.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

tofu for you

Got my cooking on Friday after a Whole Foods adventure on Thursday. I made it out in under 50 dollars- and that included impulse buys of Honest Tea on sale and Larabars. BTW... I may be late to the game here but Larabars are DELICIOUS. They are made with anywhere from 3-9 ingredients- and the ingredient list includes simply salt, chocolate, fruit, and nuts. These energy bars are natural in the true sense, not in the "let me label my product natural and watch suckers believe it." I had the Blueberry Muffin and PB & J flavors. They are tasty and satisfying without being heavy. I'm even considering using them as refuel during the tri.

Speaking of the tri- Norah and I had an awesome bike ride Friday in Sandy Hook (where the tri will be) and finished about 14 miles. It was a beautiful day, not too hot but nice and sunny. The breeze was great when we were stopped but killer when we rode into the winds. I'm still not loving biking, but I did get to ride Norah's really nice Cannondale road bike. It puts my hybrid from Target to shame, and was significantly more fun to ride. Unfortunately a fancy bike like that just isn't in the budget right now. I've been really good about keeping to my newly made training schedule, and it was perfect that my Friday workout was already slated to be a bike day.

I have to head to work, so I can only comment on one of the recipes I made for the week. I decided to make a few recipes I found online, and this one was a winner. The recipe is for Tofu Steaks with Red Pepper-Walnut Sauce.  I followed the recipe exactly, so I won't post it in the interest of time (just click the link). The marinade was simple and tasty..

... then I breaded the tofu "steaks" in panko (whole wheat), flour (whole wheat) and egg. Add salt and pepper to the panko! After breading, I pan fried the steaks in just a tiny bit of EVOO. I didn't make the sauce, but instead used TJ's Eggplant + Red Pepper spread in the interest of time. Delicious (but why these are called steaks beats me- not one similarity). 

I grilled some eggplant, green pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash to go with the tofu...

... and purple pesto. A friend at work had lots of extra purple basil and offered it to me, which was awesome. I made a pesto out of the purple basil, walnuts, sundried tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, and asiago cheese (all things I had lying around). It tastes good but my proportions were off. Too cheesy, not enough herb. A work in progress. 

With all of that, I arrived at a delicious, light dinner for the week: tofu "steaks" w/ eggplant and roasted red pepper spread with grilled veggie stacks w/ purple pesto. (FYI the tofu reheats without a problem in the toaster oven at 450 degrees). 

Off to work now- night 2/3- have a good one!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

training time

I finally gave in and decided that my "just wing it" method for tri training just isn't going to cut it. Thanks to Google I stumbled across plenty of training plans, but I decided to bade my training off of the simplest one I found- one based on time rather than distance or heat rate. Rearranged the workouts to fit my work schedule and put every workout onto my Google calendar so that I can keep track.

Yesterday I was slated to run for 35 minutes. I ran for 45 because I really wanted to do my favorite 5 mile loop. Today's workout was a 25 minute swim and 35 minute bike- which I followed pretty exactly. It ended up being about 3/4 of a mile swim and 8 mile bike. Unfortunately I've decided I really don't like biking for exercise. All the more reason I need a plan so that I don't totally neglect the biking.

As my post-workout snack I made a Chocolate-Banana Protein Shake. I've had Chocolate Designer Whey Protein in my cabinet for a long time, and I figure it was time to use it. The protein powder is 100 calories and 18 grams of protein per scoop. It has a pretty good flavor but mixes best in a blender. This recipe is amazing- tastes like a real shake but is packed with protein, good carbs, and nutrients for recovery.

Chocolate-Banana Protein Shake 
(makes one)

1 frozen banana 
1 scoop chocolate protein powder 
6 ice cubes 
4 - 6 oz original flavor almond milk

As I mentioned in my last entry, meals this week are leftovers, pantry, and freezer staples. For work this week I made pasta tossed with TJ's Pomodoro Sauce with sauteed frozen artichokes, canned chickpeas, and frozen green beans. I bought organic raspberries, apples, and a mango to supplement lunch but that was it!

Dinner tonight- flour tortilla with chickpeas, baby spinach, tomato, fresh mozzarella, and lots of TJ's Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread. I have to admit, I snacked on a leftover chicken finger and a few potato chips earlier in the day, so I wasn't particularly hungry for dinner tonight and this was plenty without anything on the side- which is rare for me!

Off to work. Had trouble napping for the first time in my memory which could get interesting... better not become a trend.