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Exercise Log

This week was a much lighter exercise week than anticipated.  I had planned to head back to the pool this week but it didn’t happen.  Instead, it went like this:

Monday – We had company over so I decided to skip the pool and get some things done at home before our guests arrived.

Tuesday – 30 min. lifting – I did  6 regular unassisted pull-ups toward the end.  I think my personal best is 8?  The most I ever did as a very athletic teenager was 4!  I followed that up with a quick mile on the indoor track.  I wanted to save my legs for a run with a friend the next day.

Wednesday – It was 45 and raining and things at work were too busy to break away so we skipped the run.  I decided to work late that night and skipped swimming.

Thursday – Rain that turned into sheets of ice, company move, worked from home, everything in town shut down early.

Friday – Finally!  Exercise again.  25 min. lifting and 2 miles on the indoor track.

I also had my body fat % measured today.  I do this every few months as a supplement to my occasional weigh-ins at the gym to confirm that everything that feels balanced is balanced.  I expected it to be up a little bit since I haven’t been training as hard as I was the last time I measured and got my lowest % yet (although I am running a lot more than I was then).  However, it was the same at 20.5%.  Interestingly, I was up a pound or two from my weight at the last body fat measurement.

Hopefully the weather cooperates tomorrow because I have grand plans for Mother Nature. 🙂  First the farmer’s market, then some trips around town for a few things, and then a nice solid run before it’s time to bake cookies for game night and put on my face. (Sort of a creepy saying, no?)

G’night and happy weekending!

Ribollita

Wow! Another smash hit from 101 Cookbooks, at least for me.  D liked it; I thought it was terrific.  This recipe was easy but took a while (mostly simmering) so set aside an hour and a half or so to do this one, at least the first time.  It’s worth it, though.  It is so delicious and comforting on a chilly winter day.  I can’t wait to see how this tastes “reboiled.”

I’m going to post Heidi’s version of the recipe along with her picture.  It is much more appetizing than mine.  I love watching how the various (sometimes unexpected) ingredients in her recipes play off of each other and come together to form a truly delicious dish.

P.S. I’ve added it to the Recipes tab.

Ribollita

I had a number of beans in my freezer and used a few of them here. Yes, you can even see some flageolets in there. But when starting from scratch, I usually opt for cannellini. On the bread front, I used a loaf of two-day-old whole wheat bread, but have at times opted for ciabatta. Canned beans can be used here, the equivalent is roughly two 15-ounce cans. Look for cavolo nero – a craggy evergreen-hued kale that might also be labeled lacinato or Tuscan kale.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 14-ounce / 400 ml can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound / 16 ounces / 450g cavolo nero (lacinato kale, Tuscan kale), stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped

4 cups / 22 oz / 620g cooked white beans
1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225g crustless loaf of bread
1 1/2+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
zest of one lemon
lots of well-chopped oily black olives

In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the cavolo nero, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups / 2 liters water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water – until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or “ribollita” meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped olives.

Makes a large pot of soup – enough for 10 servings.

New Schedule For The New Year

With the new year upon us and a new season of race training, I’ve been pulling the new practice schedules and working on an updated routine for myself for the next couple of months.

For the last few months, my schedule has looked something like this (give or take the swimming depending on facility availability and runs depending on weather):

Monday – lift; short, easy run

Tuesday – swim

Wednesday – lift; moderate run or cross train (cycling or elliptical)

Thursday – moderate run or rest

Friday – lift; cross train

Saturday – rest or long run

Sunday – rest or long run

I had been swimming with the local triathlon club but I think I’m going to go back to my local rec center advanced masters’ practices.  I enjoy the tri club swimming a lot but the facility is hard to get to and the practices consist of almost all distance freestyle.  This is great for triathletes, I realize, but it bores the heck out of me after a while and my first priority above all else is to enjoy what I’m doing.  The advanced masters’ practice is in a less-nice facility and isn’t quite as challenging as the tri club practice but it’s more interesting and easier to get to.

That said, here’s a tentative look at my new schedule for the next couple of months.  I may tweak this in a week or two after I see how it works out initially.

Monday – swim 6:20-7:20

Tuesday – lift & easy short run

Wednesday – swim 6:20-7:20

Thursday – lift & cycling

Friday – moderate run

Saturday – easy long cycle on my bike trainer

Sunday – long run

Since my brain is still focused on running races, I haven’t given a lot of thought yet to triathlons in 2010 despite the fact that I know I want to do at least one Olympic distance tri.  Once the year progresses a bit more I’m sure that will change so stay tuned if you have an interest in triathlon!

Exercise Log

Monday, 1/11 – 30 minutes upper body & abs strength training, 30 minutes cycling on level 7 above 85 rpm’s

Friday, 1/15 – 30 minutes lower body strength training (this must have been pretty hardcore because I am still quite sore on Sunday night!), 20 minutes cycling on level 6 above 85 rpm’s

Saturday, 1/16 – It was gorgeous outside (50*F, no wind) so I went for a run in an effort to ease some of the soreness from Friday.  I ran six miles in about an hour.  I remember when this was a fairly daunting task for me back in September/October.  Success is always a work in progress!

During a conversation with my dad a few weeks ago about my half-marathon plans for April, he suggested that I consider doing a 10-miler in February/March as a dry run and to get me used to racing more than a 10k.  I thought this was a great idea so I’ve kept my eyes out for the perfect race and finally found it this weekend.

My town is hosting a 10-miler in late February just down the street.  The best part?  It starts at 1:00pm.  No waking up in the cold, early morning hours of a brisk February Saturday.  I’ll be able to sleep in and will have plenty of time to replenish my caffeine and glycogen stores before the race.  I’m so excited. 🙂

Weekly Menu

(Courtesy of Org. Junkie)

Confession:  For the first time in my life, I am really enjoying having a weekly menu plan.  It has not only made my life easier during the week and saved me from almost-daily dinner waffling with D (“What should we have for dinner?”  “I don’t know, whatever you want.” “I dunno, what do you want?”  “I don’t know.” “Aghhh, I hate this!”), but it has also saved me money and trips to the grocery store.  The small block of time on Sundays spent planning our meals for the week provides much more payback than flying by the seat of my pants.

Because I’ve had leftovers for lunch and “planned” how we would use the produce and refrigerated foods in our house, there has been less food wasted.  I’ve also spent less money on food this month than normal, yet I feel as if we are eating better than ever.  Once again, allowing myself the flexibility to swap meals among different days has been key.

Here’s our weekly menu from the past week (1/11-1/17) and what we really had in red:

Week of 1/11-1/17

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Already packed: tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, small orange, carrots w/ almond butter, one low fat cheese stick, banana
    • Dinner – Pounded walnut strozzapreti
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Leftover strozzapreti with veggies, orange, banana, low fat cheese stick
    • Dinner – Mushroom casserole
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch – Leftover mushroom casserole, strawberry greek yogurt, low fat cheese stick, carrots, banana (hamburger with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, mustard, fries courtesy of work; yogurt/apples/granola for snack)
    • Dinner – Veggie lasagna
  • Thursday
    • Lunch – Salmon salad, yogurt with apples & granola, zucchini spears (leftover mushroom casserole with yogurt/apples/granola and veggies)
    • Dinner – Girls’ Night for me; leftover veggie lasagna for D
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends (no Friday lunch this week so I had leftover veggie lasagna, raw veggies, a low fat cheese stick, apples/yogurt/granola, and a banana spread throughout the day)
    • Dinner – Easy mushroom sauce on whole grain pasta with veggies on the side (breakfast for dinner – hash browns cooked in olive oil, veggie scrambled eggs w/ a sprinkle of cheese, and donut holes with guests as a treat 🙂 )
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Breakfast for dinner (whole grain pancakes, hash browns cooked in olive oil, scrambled eggs w/ cheese and veggies) (leftover veggie lasagna & veggie scrambled egg sandwiches on sandwich thins)
  • Sunday
    • Dinner – Lean turkey burgers with thick slices of fresh mozzarella, spinach, mustard, and any leftover mushrooms

Weekly Menu for the week of 1/18-1/24

  • Monday
    • Lunch & snacks – Tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, small orange, carrots w/ almond butter, one low fat cheese stick
    • Dinner – We are having guests over and they are bringing dinner.
  • Tuesday
    • Lunch – Tuna sandwich with mustard and fresh spinach on wheat, veggies, orange, yogurt w/ apples and granola, nuts
    • Dinner – Large pot of ribollita
  • Wednesday
    • Lunch – Leftover ribollita, strawberry greek yogurt, low fat cheese stick, carrots, banana
    • Dinner – Leftover ribollita
  • Thursday
  • Friday
    • Lunch – Standing Friday lunch with friends
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish
  • Saturday
    • Dinner – Leftover butternut squash dish or odds & ends
  • Sunday

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Per my weekly menu, the meal of the evening was Heidi’s Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti.  I hadn’t made it before but I’ve made several other recipes from 101 Cookbooks with great success – they have all been easy and absolutely delicious (btw, the link’s in my blog roll) – so I had faith that this one would also turn out well.

I was not disappointed.  It was pretty simple and really. good.  To the point where D and I each had two bowls and then he had a little more.  And I almost thought I’d have to resort to fisticuffs to leave enough for my lunch tomorrow.

A couple of things:  I couldn’t find farro pasta at the store so I went with another textured whole grain pasta.  Instead of roasting the walnuts in the oven, I used the Kath method of microwaving them for 1.5 minutes.  Instead of marjoram I used oregano.  And both the parsley and oregano were dried.  Yikes! As my coworker would say, I’ve yet again completely butchered a recipe with my own modifications but it’s what I had so I went with it.  And, yet, somehow, it was still delicious, so much so that five minutes in D said, “Add this one to your rotation.” and I said, “Mmmm, oh definitely.”  The fact that it uses whole grain pasta, walnuts, and olive oil also makes it pretty nutritious.

I take no credit for anything below this sentence.  Enjoy!

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi.

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta

Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.

Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.

Serves 6.

This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi.

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta

Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.

Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.

Serves 6.

This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).

A Healthy Lifestyle Should Be

A healthy lifestyle should be:

  • fun
  • an enjoyable challenge
  • yet also realistic and reachable
  • a catalyst for growth
  • a journey
  • fulfilling
  • available to everyone
  • joyous and without judgement
  • delicious
  • maintainable
  • guided but not restricted
  • desired

A healthy lifestyle should not be:

  • gruelling
  • embarrassing
  • high-stress/high-pressure
  • a sole source of self-worth
  • an item to check off the list
  • an elite, hardcore club
  • boring
  • an excuse to look down on others
  • difficult
  • forced
  • bland
  • limited

Have fun with it. 🙂  Happy health!