Monday, May 23, 2011

Start of the Season!

Yesterday was the start of triathlon season - despite the dreary weather it was a great race! I did the Independence day triathlon at Eisenhower Pool on Long Island. The one thing I love about racing on Long Island - delicious post race bagels! The race was a nice way to ease my way into the season with a 500 yard swim, 6 mile ride and 2.25 mile run. The race usually takes place on Independence Day and I've actually never started the season this early (this is my 3rd year experimenting with triathlons) but it felt great to get started and was an excellent motivator to keep going. Despite having kept up with the healthy eating and exercising since the half marathon, last week I hit a bit of a wall with Billy's birthday and him being away - I had no desire to cook anything so today we're starting over. I can't wait to post the pics that Billy took from the race. Today we're heading to the gym to teach spin and because of the pouring rain we'll probably hit the treadmill for a 20-30 min interval workout and then some intervals and weights and hit the spin bike. I don't mind running in a drizzle or getting caught in rain but heading out in a downpour is not for me.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese...

Mac and Cheese is one of those feel good recipes that always makes a dark day seem a little better. Last Friday when it was cold, dark and rainy, I decided that mac and cheese was a perfect meal to eat while catching up on the DVR. I tried to make it a little healthier with some veggies and complimenting the mac with cauliflower. You can use your own fav veggies with it.

I used roughly 2-3 servings of macaroni about 1/2 cup uncooked. Cooked and drained the pasta according to the directions.
I used one head of cauliflower, rinsed and drained. With 3 minutes left on the pasta I put in the cauliflower to cook slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a separate pan I sauteed some mushrooms in a lil EVOO with salt and pepper and then added a little white wine. Removed them from the pan and started a cheese sauce with some margarine about 3 tbsp then whisked in flower 1 tbsp at a time - I added about 2 and 1/2 tbsp. Then I added 1 1/2 to 2 cups of skim milk slowly while whisking. To that I added 1 cup each low fat shredded mozz and shredded sharp white cheddar. I poured in the pasta and cauliflower and added the mushrooms and I also put in the some cooked peas because Billy loves peas. I put in a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and then put in a 9x12 baking dish that was buttered and topped with panko and parm and spots of margarine. I baked for 25 to 30 minutes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hills n Thrills Spinning ride

Hills and strength training are an important and sometimes overlooked part of the Spinning program. This was the ride I put together.

Lovers In Japan (Osaka Sun Mix) 3:58 Coldplay - WARM UP
Sun Is Shining (ATB Remix) 3:38 Bob Marley - SEATED 2 min, Standing 1:30
Radioactive 3:28 Kings of Leon Radioactive - SEATED 2 min, Standing (faster pace) 1:30
Suck My Kiss 3:35 Red Hot Chili Peppers - SEATED 2 min, Standing 1:30
Howlin' for You 3:12 The Black Keys - seated 50 seconds 10 sec run in 2 (fast pace)
The Fixer 2:58 Pearl Jam Backspacer- CLIMB in 3 1 min, 8 jumps, repeat
It's My Life 3:44 Bon Jovi - SEATED climb
Nice Guys Finish Last 2:51 Green Day - RECOVERY
Rope (Deadmau5 Mix) 5:53 Foo Fighters Wasting Light (Deluxe Version) - run in 2 (flat) 1 minute - 3 minutes jump seated to 2, 2 minutes flat road race to hill
Rock the Casbah 3:43 The Clash - seated climb (moderate road)
Body Movin' 3:04 Beastie Boys - CLIMB in 3
This Years Love 4:06 David Gray -
Waiting On An Angel 4:27 Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Chicken Apple Hash

Billy loves potatoes so whenever he goes shopping we end up with tons of potatoes in the house. So there I was with a ton of little red potatoes and white potatoes and I needed a way to use them. I decided to create a hash dish and once I was in the kitchen I found some green apples and decided to use those in it too.

I used
8 small white potatoes cut up into small 1 inch pieces
8 small red potatoes 1 inch pieces
3 small green apples 1 inch pieces
1/2 package ground chicken meat
1 red pepper 1 inch pieces
2 green peppers 1 inch pieces

I cooked the ground chicken in a lil pam with salt and pepper, removed on paper towels on a plate. Then I added a little EVOO and sauteed the peppers while I boiled the potatoes for 5-7 minutes then I added the apples for an additional 2 minutes, drained everything well and added it to the peppers, I added a little rosemary and thyme and got everything nice and brown and added back in the ground chicken with a lil bit of white wine and chicken stock. I let everything sit and get nice and melded for 10-15 minutes on simmer and served with ketchup. because everything is better with ketchup.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

I've had some bananas going bad on the counter for awhile and I've been meaning to use them in PB banana muffins. I love anything peanut butter and banana - hence the smoothie in a previous post - it makes a great pre or post workout or on the go meal. I love making super healthy muffins to have around to take on the go. I have made Ellie Krieger's pumpkin pie muffins and apple walnut muffins - yum! So I used a slight variation on one of her recipes with peanut butter and banana. The muffins are in these awesome reuseable muffin cups from Crate and Barrel my cousin gave me - now these are no waste of money - they mean no spraying no lining muffin tins with wrappers just plop on a cookie sheet and pour in the muffins.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a medium bowl
2 cups whole wheat four
1/2 cup oats - can you tell i love oatmeal in everything I try to keep Billy healthy and kickin'
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl
3/4 firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp molasses - if you run out of molasses as I did I added a drizzle of maple syrup (like I said I tend to fly by the seat of my pant - not always good for baking but hey they taste good)
1/4 cup canola oil
add one egg

Add a second egg

1 mashed banana
melt 1/4 cup country crock spread and 1/4 cup peanut butter in micro about 30-45 seconds
pour in slowly while whisking

Add half the dry ingredients in between add 3/4 cup nonfat milk then other half dry

Add the mix to muffin cups or the re-useable cups like I had. I did spray just a bit of non stick spray. Tap on the counter and bake about 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Enjoy!

Saturday Morning Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Oat Pancakes

This recipe originally hails from Ellie Krieger's book Eat What You Crave but because I don't always have all the all the ingredients I made up this one this morning.

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup instant oats
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl

I melted 1/4 cup country crock spread in micro for 30 seconds
3/4 cups nonfat milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
stir together all wet ingredients in a large bowl

whisk the wet ingredients into the dry and stir like crazy. I always test the batter here to make sure it tastes up to snuff. Mix in blueberries. Batter is somewhat lumpy. I use a lil country crock on the griddle and laddle them on. Keep warm in 200 degree oven. Top with blueberries and maple syrup.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Go Gaga

Today for spin class I put together a Lady Gaga based spin class. Lady Gaga was seemingly everywhere...on glee, on american idol, in a new why not...I broke it up with some Madonna and a few other ladies to not go completely well gaga. I've been experimenting with themes - recently I did a ladies spin with pink, cyndi, madonna, spice girls, a duets spin, a mother's day spin (all mom's - dixie chicks, madonna, britney) and a cinco de mayo spin featuring santana and ricky.

Here's the profile

Open Your Heart - Warm UP
Judas - increase speed in the saddle and jump to 2 with some speed. 60 seconds down, 20 in 2
The Fear (Dresden & Johnston Radio Edit) - standing climb add a little pace every minute
Bad Romance - seated climb, adding every minute
Telephone (Ming Extended Remix)- take the resistance back to about a 7 out of 10 and run in 2, add jumps after 60 seconds, jump 30, run 30
Get Outta My Way- recover one minute, reminder for water and settle into the saddle for a quick flat road
Born This Way (Dada Life Remix) add a lil road for 30 sec, seated climb 30 seconds, 20 second sprint in 3, 20 second recovery, last recover is a slightly longer
California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)- seated climb
Blow- run with resistance
Just Dance- standing climb
Poker Face (Glee Cast Version) [feat. Idina Menzel]- recovery
Shanti/Ashtangi - stretch

Simple Smoothies

I've been giving smoothies a go for breakfast...

Mango Muscle Milk Strawberry Smoothie
5-6 mango slices (pre-cut)
6 frozen strawberries
half of 11 fl oz muscle milk
splash of cranberry juice


Pineapple and Blueberry Sensation (from fitness magazine)
Frozen or fresh pineapple 7 or 8 pre-cut pieces
Handful of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup of skim or soy milk


Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
1 Banana
2 tbsp peanut butter
a lil ice
1 cup milk or soy milk
option (1/2 cup vanilla or plain or banana yogurt) I've done with and without


Sorta Clean Diet

In the week after the race, I rewarded myself by taking the week off to recover and ice and eat as much junk food at I could lay my hands on. Ice cream, pizza, diet coke, peanut M&Ms. Last week, while celebrating Eileen's 28 and 12/12ths birthday, it was decided that a cleanse of sorts was needed. Eileen sent over a link to the Clean Diet and it was decided that sorta clean was the way to go. It was both easier and cheaper. I am aiming to eat well 80% of the time and expect to cheat 20%. Here are some BLD recipes I started using.

Yogurt Parfait

1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
a drizzle of honey or agave
a handful of almonds and a lil granola.

Hummus Pita

Spread a lil hummus on a whole wheat pita
Handful of Spinach
Sliced Grilled Chicken
Feta Cheese

Salmon Salad

Roasted Salmon, roasted in the oven on high with olive oil, S&P, lemon slices and rosemary
Blanched String Beans - boil 3 minutes, stop cooking in cold water
On a bed of Organic Greens put a serving of string beans and salmon and drizzle with a dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, S&P and whisk in a lil mustard

Roasted Mushrooms and Brown Rice
Roast Mushrooms under the broiler in with your salmon with olive oil and S&P
I went with minute rice nuked in the microwave
Chop the mushrooms and combine with the rice
Add some parmesan cheese, chopped basil and pine nuts (optional)

Roasted Pesto Salmon
Pesto: I mixed a small handful of basil, handful of parmesan cheese, handful of pinenuts and 1/4 of oil in the magic bullet. Lacking enough basil I substituted a handful of spinach leaves. Added a lil S&P and blend. Gave it a lil taste and the spinach made it super green and delicious.
I gave the salmon a lil olive oil and S&P and then spread the top with pesto. I put it under the broiler for about 20-25 minutes. It was about 1lb.

Zucchini Slaw
I peeled and then julienned green and summer squash and then boiled it in a pot of chicken stock with S&P and lil rosemary and thyme for about 3 minutes. I added a dressing of olive oil, S&P, lemon and mustard and added some roasted broccoli that I had salted, peppered, olive oiled and roasted under the broiler.

Run Like a Girl

I recently started reading the book Run Like a Girl right before running the half marathon. I picked the book up when I was looking for some back ground on women's health issues for my thesis. I think what I am enjoying most about the book is reading all the stories about women who have been told they shouldn't or couldn't be athletes or just weren't athletic and they've managed to make the naysayers eat their dust. As a non athlete turned weekend warrior it gives me a little rush to read their stories of accomplishment. It's amazing how a weekend activity, such as running a race or finishing a triathlon, can improve your self-esteem and give you a satisfaction that few other things can match.

I ran my second half marathon early this May. Eileen was already registered, as part of a bucket list for her 30th, and I figured this was a great incentive to get back in shape. My goal for my first marathon was just to finish - I remember my friend Katie asking me what time we were aiming for at one point and I looked at my watch and gasped "2:37" mostly because I remembered the words "1:37 pm" from Empire Records to a 37 seemed as good a time as any. We had trained a good deal together, running in Central Park, Hoboken and doing several 10k's that summer before the race in the fall. So despite our initial plan to run at our own pace, we ended up running together and finished at a respectable 2:31. We shared all the "give up" moments. At mile 10 when I felt done, her hatred of hills, our plan for walking the water stations and support when we needed encouragement, jokes about the golden girls and getting a cheesecake at the end. So this race would be very different running on my own. Another friend warned me that I had to beware of my own head getting in my way and fucking me up. In the book, the author shares her own struggles to deal with races that went awry and accepting the failures. In the weeks before the race during training I had screwed up my knees, my hip and developed shin splints. I was not feeling up to snuff in the week of the race. I felt okay that morning but things quickly went downhill.

The mechanical failures were first. As a spin instructor, I always check my equipment pre-race but today I totally failed on that note and ended up listening to the same track for 6.2. (Note to self - learn how to use Ipod before next race). The first thing I did was google "how to take Ipod off repeat." I debated stopping to ask a high school volunteer. By mile 10, I was bored, sore and ready to quit. With 3 miles to go, I could feel every step in my shins and knees and my hip was killing me. I had to walk. I felt like a failure in every regard and when I realized I would in no way finish in 2:30 I was disappointed. I had wanted to put forward a better showing and despite everyone telling me that it was great that I finished I was not happy.

But in the weeks since the race, I have realized that I need to regroup, get back on track, and ready myself for the next obstacle. Sounds like good advice in the workplace as well and in the job search. My parents always said "Life's rough in the big city" and "always try your best" and this could be more true. I had to accept what I considered a failure, find what had been positive, eliminate the negative talk and get in the game for the next run.

Six months in...six months to go...

They say "live and learn" and that expression could not be more fitting today. After having worked very hard yesterday to update my blog and put new and exciting recipes and more on there...I somehow managed to lose everything. Having managed a blog on blogspot for work this is now both embarrassing and infuriating! The ideal calm I gained in yoga an hour ago flew out the window. Technology is both a gift and a curse, no?

I am trying to remember where I left off ...
So I recently hit 30 and I hit the ground running. After a fantastic 30th birthday amongst friends, which I barely remember but from what I can ascertain from the pictures was a ton of fun, I hit a brick wall at the end of the year. The end of the year was bit less than fantastic, kind of the very longest hangover headache I've ever had, but I am working my way back - trying to accomplish a few goals before my 31st birthday on 10/15.

I've been struggling with a thesis for 3 years now, entering my 3rd triathlon season, training for my 3rd half marathon and hoping to bounce back out of my semi-retirement into full-time employment soon. While I procrastinate and search, I've been taking in reruns and also training hard and taking an enthusiastic interest in cooking. So I'll keep triing and hopefully everyone can share in my success and encourage me through the failures.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sorta Clean Diet

Well, despite the fact my May race had some flaws, I am still pretty damn proud for having gotten out there. So I'd like to thank my friend Eileen for getting us out on the course with her pre-30 bucket list. While I won't be joining her on the road to the marathon, I think I may have managed to convince her to join me in some future half marathon races and we've both realized that training is nothing without a diet to compliment it and post race we both had our share of twizzlers, pizza, snacks and beer.

While we haven't decided to go buck wild and do a complete cleanse we decided to "freshen" up our diets. I've always thought of dieting as an 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and expect to screw up 20% of the time. The first 2 days started off 3, well not so much. We attended a fundraiser for the local homeless shelter and the room with the food was way to crowded so we left starving and decided to go out to the dinner. Oh well, there's my 20.

Here's a few recipe samples from when I started

Yogurt Parfait
1 cup strawberry yogurt
Handful of blue and raspberries
A lil drizzle of agave or honey
Sliced Almonds and a tbsp of granola

Snacks (pre workout - 2 hours before)
Rice cake with peanut butter, bananas and honey

Whole wheat wrap
Feta Cheese
Sliced Grilled Chicken

Blueberry Blast Smoothie (post workout)
1 cup skim milk
1/2 container plain or pineapple coconut yogurt
frozen blueberries, handful
frozen or fresh pineapple about 7 or 8 chunks

Blend - Enjoy.

Dinner - Salmon Salad with String Beans and Brown Rice with Roasted Mushrooms
Roast Salmon in the Oven on High with a lil Olive Oil, salt, pepper, sliced lemons and rosemary
(this can be pre-done and left to get cold)
Blanche String beans for 3 minutes, douse in ice bath to stop cooking process
Arrange on a plate on top of organic greens
throw together olive oil, lemon, S&P and whisk in some mustard for a dressing
For the rice I bought 2 containers of minute brown rice, nuked them in the micro
In with the salmon I had roasted some mushrooms with a lil OO and S&P and then topped the rice with the mushrooms, some basil, lil parm and some pine nuts.
The salmon and mushrooms I did before spin for 20 minutes and the rest I finished in 20 minutes after I got home.

Morning Smoothie

Today's Breakfast

Mango Muscle Milk Strawberry Smoothie


Roughly half of 11 fl oz. container of muscle milk
5-6 mango slices (bought pre-cut in store)
6 frozen whole strawberries
a splash of cranberry juice

Blend. Not bad for a morning smoothie pre-workout.