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Archive for March, 2010

7:45 AM (at the gym):

Resistance training at the gym: 2 sets, 12-15 reps of each:

  • hip abductor (70lbs outward motion, 90lbs inward motion)
  • chest press (70lbs)
  • seated row (70lbs)
  • shoulder press (45lbs and 50lbs)
  • front planks (2 x 90sec)

7 PM:

Temperature: 9-11° C

Distance run/type: 6K (plus 2K cool down)/tempo

Clothes: Capri pants, Lululemon tank top, Adidas outer layer, Asics TrailRunners.

Feeling: Great – I wore my jacket for the first 3K or so because I wanted to play it safe in case I was cold, but after I took off my outer layer, it felt perfect.

♦♦♦

I almost didn’t wake up this morning. I’m really falling behind on my sleep and I really need to make an effort to catch up on lost sleep this weekend if possible. Since I went to the gym yesterday to do some RT, I briefly considered skipping this morning’s session (it’s amazing how much debate can occur in the early hours of the morning) but I didn’t want to open the door to making excuses to miss scheduled work outs. So I started my day with the usual (plus a bit of some Banana Nut Muslix cereal that has now been added into “the mix”) – Kashi Go Lean/Go Lean Crunch, Fibre 1 and Banana nut Muslix cereal with chunky natural peanut butter and strawberries with organic unsweetened soy milk.

When I got to work, I had a container of yogurt and a mini bagel toasted with some cheddar cheese. The purpose of the eraser in the picture is to illustrate just how tiny these bagels are. They are seriously the best thing in the bread world since sliced bread – it seems that my cheese obsession continues….

For lunch, I had another delicious salad (getting hooked on these!) with Olive and Dill basmati rice, chopped apple, chopped grilled chicken, black olives, and mixed salad greens. I’ve also discovered a great way to transport salad dressing to work without ruining your salad (or buying a fancy salad plastic container: put them in little plastic bags (shown in picture below) that you can buy in bulk from the dollar store. This helps you to portion the amount of dressing that you want to bring, and keeps your salad crisp and fresh until you are ready to eat it!

My mid-afternoon snacks consisted of a few Ritz mini smores, a few crackers, and two cookies ‘n cream hershey easter eggs. At around 4, I had another container of yogurt and a mini toasted bagel with cheddar cheese.

I was actually able to make it to the clinic talk tonight, and I’m really glad I did because it was on Biomechanics, and I missed that talk last clinic. I learned a lot about what proper form should be in theory, and I’m pretty sure I break most of those general rules of thumb. *sigh* During our tempo run, I decided to try correcting some of the things that I was guilty of falling short of – but that all went down the drain when I mistakenly went out too hard and fast during the first half of the run, and struggled throughout almost the entire second half of the uphill run back. I finished feeling completely used up – I suppose that’s probably a good thing because tempo runs are supposed to be difficult, right?

I wasn’t in the mood for anything too heavy, so I had another salad for dinner tonight. This time, I included cucumber, olive and dill basmati rice, goat cheese, and smoked salmon on salad greens with an italian salad dressing. Delicious, delicious, delicious!

I was still feeling a little sorry for my running miscalculation, that I ended up snacking on some multigrain waffle pretzels, ketchup crispy minis, and one organic dried fig. I’m a little more stuffed than I’m comfortable with, but hopefully my body will thank me for the surplus of carbs when I’m struggling through hill training tomorrow!

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This morning began with a bowl of mixed cereal (Kashi Go Lean/Kashi Go Lean Crunch/Fibre 1), flash frozen strawberries, a combination of rice/soy milk (I only had 1/4 cup of rice milk left), and 1 tsp of chunky natural peanut butter.

My mid-morning snack was a small container of yogurt and a handful of crispy minis (you will see me reference these a lot – they are so tasty!).

For lunch, I had some of my Dill and Olive Brown Basmati Rice and a big salad with chicken, apple, black olives, and salad greens with an italian salad dressing. It was a perfect lunch.

My afternoon wasn’t so perfect – I snacked on some Sweet Chili Triscuits, yogurt, and Ritz minis smores.

After work, I went to the gym and did some light weight lifting which was great. By the time I got home, I wasn’t in the mood to cook, so I made myself another salad, similar to my lunch but with smoked salmon, cucumbers, and roasted red peppers instead of chicken and apple.

I finished the evening with two steaming mugs of Peppermint, Ginger, and Fennel Seed tea. Definitely a nice way to end the day.

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Temperature: 3-5° C

Distance run/type: 12k (plus 2K run home)/LSD

Clothes: Lululemon running pants, sports bra, Adidas base layer, Adidas top layer, Adidas outer layer, Asics TrailRunners. I also brought my hat and gloves.

Feeling: I knew I overdressed because I wasn’t planning on running to the store – even with my top layer off, I was still hot in my base layer and outer layer. I didn’t need my hat or gloves.

♦♦♦

Since I didn’t get home until around 2:30am, making my 8:30am run was a big maybe this morning. It helped to know that I’d be extremely disappointed in myself if I missed the run, so I set my alarm and decided that I’d see how I was feeling after getting some rest. Waking up at 6:30 was not fun. I purposely set my alarm for 5:45 so that I could snooze several times before I actually had to wake up. I always make sure that I allow myself at least an hour to digest my breakfast before my run begins, so on the mornings that I have plans to run or go to the gym, I literally roll out of bed and make a beeline for the kitchen to start eating immediately. Yesterday, I picked up two containers of strawberries on sale for $3 at the grocery store, so I went a bit overboard with fresh strawberries in my Kashi/Fibre 1 cereal mix with 1 tsp of natural peanut butter and rice milk.

Although I thought the run would be a real struggle, it was such a gorgeous morning, and something about the crisp air (and Espresso Love Gu) made me forget about being tired and allowed me to just enjoy the run. I was a little overdressed – something I seem to be guilty of more often than not these days, but it wasn’t a big deal to tie my extra layer around my waist while I ran.

After we got back to the store, I picked up the pace a little and ran back to my apartment. As soon as I got home, I had some water and a banana – delicious! Shortly after, I left to meet some friends for brunch at Utopia Cafe. It was only 2.6k from my apartment, so I managed to sneak in a really nice walk there and back as well. Initially, I was planning on ordering something off the brunch menu as I have a special weakness for Brunch, but I was in the mood for something more substantial than that, and ordered a vegetarian burger with roasted red peppers and Brie instead.

Don’t worry, because the burger was incredibly delicious and filling, I actually managed to show some restraint and only ate a few fries on the side.

In the afternoon, I headed to Starbucks and treated myself to a green tea latte, something that’s become a sort of weekend tradition. For dinner, I went back to my parent’s place to spend some time with them and we shared some take-out Chinese food that my parents picked up on their way back from Ottawa. Normally, I’m fine with eating take-out Chinese food from time to time (nothing beats my mother’s homecooked Chinese food though) but tonight’s food left me with a really bad stomach ache. In retrospect, I think my stomach was reacting to the shiny grease-laden rice noodle dish that I actually requested. Bad move, Alison.

When I got back to my apartment, I decided to freeze my strawberries because some of them were feeling a little squishy and I didn’t want to risk them going bad. Ever wonder how to stretch the life of on-sale fruit? Just follow these easy steps:

Method: Flash Freezing Fruit

  1. Wash fruit.
  2. Lay out fruit onto pan and freeze for several hours (or overnight).

3. Remove frozen fruit from pan and store in an airtight plastic container or bag.

It’s as simple as that. The key is to lay out your fruit so that it freezes in individual pieces that will stay separated. If you just dump the fruit into a container and throw it in the freezer, all of the fruit will stick together and you will likely have to defrost the entire contents of the fruit in order to consume it.

Notes:

  • 90% of the time, I buy and freeze fruit so that I can always have some on hand to add to my cereal. When I buy strawberries, they are big enough that I used to have to defrost them in the microwave every morning before I could cut them into bit size pieces for my cereal. To skip this step, I started chopping the strawberries into smaller pieces before I froze them because I realized that they would actually defrost on their own once mixed with the milk in my cereal.
  • It doesn’t hurt to add pre-chopped strawberries to your favourite blended beverages either!

After I finished preparing the strawberries, I got to work on making some rice to accompany my lunches and dinners for the upcoming week. Initially, I was only planning on making my standard dill rice, but then I saw the can of black olives that I bought yesterday sitting on my counter (originally bought for pizzas that I plan to make later on this week) and wondered if the olives taste good in my rice. There was really only one way to find out, so I threw them in voila! My dill and olive rice was born.

Dill and Olive Brown Basmati Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 part brown basmati rice
  • 1 parts water
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder (or more if you like – I don’t actually measure this)
  • 1-2 tsp dried dill weed (or more if you like – I don’t actually measure this)
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic (or more if you like – I don’t actually measure this)
  • 1/3 cup black olives
  1. Prepare the rice however you are most comfortable doing so (I use a rice cooker) and add turmeric, dill, and garlic.
  2. When the rice has finished cooking, fluff with a spoon and add in the black olives. Mix well and enjoy!

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Last night I signed up for the A Midsummer Night’s Run before I went to sleep. It was my favourite race last year (sorry to cheat on you, Scotiabank), mostly because the race itself had this great intimate feel to it, the technical shirts we got were really cute, and I loved my purple and pink medal. I also felt really great throughout the race, and it got me really excited for my Scotiabank goal race. When I got the email reminding me to sign up, I didn’t hesitate. If I know that I want to run a race, it just makes sense to me to sign up for it and save some money. If things change later on, there’s always the option to sell my bib, but otherwise, I’ve spent less than I expected and I don’t have to stress about signing up before it’s too late. Done!

This morning, I had every intention of making another bowl of Red River hot cereal, but I was impatient to start my day (and also hungry), so I went for my go-to bowl of Kashi cereal. This time I mixed in some Fibre 1 cereal as well, because I want stretch out the remaining Kashi cereal that I have left. Since I was out of strawberries, but I still wanted to add something sweet in my cereal, I chopped up some dried cherries and added them into my cereal. It was perfect!

A few hours later, I headed out to the gym, where I worked on my lower and upper body. I probably should have done some core exercises too, but I wasn’t feeling it and it took me an hour to get through the various machines. I did two sets of 12-15 reps on the following macines:

  • leg extension (60lbs)
  • hamstring exercise (70lbs)
  • hip abductor (70lbs outward motion, 90lbs inward motion)
  • chest press (65lbs)
  • seated row (70lbs)
  • shoulder press (45lbs and 50lbs)
  • pull-ups (60lbs assistance)
  • tricep dips (50 lbs assistance)

After that, I went to the grocery store that’s within the same building, and picked up tons of goodies for myself. I’ve been craving smoked salmon for weeks, so I finally decided to indulge myself and pick some up for my lunch today. On my way home, I ate a banana and a dried fig to tide me over. Lunch consisted of cucumber, baby carrots, and two mini whole wheat bagels toasted – one with herb cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill, and the other with some aged yellow cheddar cheese.

I also picked up another box of peppermint, ginger, and fennel seed tea, so I had two huge mugs of that as well on the side.

A few hours later, I snacked on half a cup of green tea vanilla yogurt, some Sweet Chili crispy minis, and a few Sweet Chili Triscuit Thin Crisps. You might have noticed by now that I will pretty much eat anything with a Sweet Chili flavour.

Tonight, I’m celebrating a close friend’s birthday and the hope is that I’ll be able to make it to tomorrow’s 8:30 LSD run. Will keep you posted. Happy Saturday, everyone!

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Breakfast cookie

Before I forget again to post about this, I wanted to post about the breakfast cookie, which will likely become a regular in my breakfast item rotation list. I first heard about the breakfast cookie from the Runner’s Kitchen who referenced the original recipe which can be found here.

As soon as I read about the ingredients and incredibly easy prep involved, I knew I had to try it. So off I went using the following:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 2 tbsp rice milk
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • 2 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

The verdict? A-MAZING! The espresso powder gave it this lovely coffee flavour, and the honey helped sweeten it a bit. The only thing is that this cookie wasn’t as firm as I thought it’d be – I’m not sure if that’s because of the added honey, or if it’s because this breakfast cookie isn’t baked. Either way, it was a really nice departure from my regular breakfast and it kept me full right up until lunch. I highly, highly recommend this breakfast cookie. All it takes is a few minutes to assemble it the night before, so there should be no excuses for skipping breakfast from  now on!

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I briefly debated making my way to the gym this morning, but when my alarm clock went off this morning, I knew that my body would really punish me if I forced myself to get up at 6:30. So I snoozed for a little while longer until I finally managed to roll myself out of bed at 7:30. Breakfast was, as usual quick and delicious:

I’m running low on both Kashi cereals though, and I was starting to worry about what I’d have in the morning, when I stumbled across my old favourite cereal, Fibre 1 on sale for $2.99 at Shoppers. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that hoarding sale items does pay off eventually. I hadn’t seen Fibre 1 that cheap since the summer, when I bought something like 8 boxes. During the several months that it took for me to finish all of those boxes of Fibre 1, not once did I find it discounted that heavily. That brings me to another sad discovery that I made today. My favourite snack, Crispy Tortillaz have been discontinued. I refused to believe it for as long as I could, and whenever I found them on sale, I’d go nuts buying multiple bags of them… but I noticed that I hadn’t seen them in months, and while everyone doubted the authenticity of my belief that they were discontinued, I decided to call Quaker and try to confirm it once and for all. It turns out that they are – I really wanted to be wrong! 😦 The customer rep sounded like she felt genuinely sorry for me – I suppose I couldn’t hide the disappointment in my voice. I’m very, very sad by this. And, Quaker, just so you know, a few of my coworkers are just as upset as I am. So there it is, rest in peace, Crispy Tortillaz.

For lunch, I had a salad with grilled chicken and chopped apples with an italian salad dressing.

I wasn’t very responsible for the rest of this afternoon. I snacked on chocolate eggs, a Nature Valley Sweet & Salty granola bar, a Late July Vanilla Bean sandwich cookie, and a few wine gums. Hey, it’s Friday!

For dinner, I was still feeling tired from all the travelling this week, so I made last minute plans to meet a friend for dinner and ended up having a delicious bowl of beef soba noodles in soup. Delicious!

Later that night, I made myself a huge cup of peppermint, ginger, and fennel tea which I enjoyed with a few Sweet Chili Crispy Minis (I have an addiction – it’s bad), and two reduced fat Oreos.

And now, I’ll leave you with a few more recipes (I’ve almost caught up on my backlog of recipes!).

Whole Wheat Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 small tub of cottage cheese (1%)
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
  • 2 cans of salt-free tomato sauce
  • baby portobello mushrooms
  • shredded cheese (I used one package of shredded cheese blend)
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray
  • your favourite tomato sauce spices (I used roasted garlic and an italian seasoning blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°C.
  2. Slice eggplant as thinly as possible, cover them with and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Squeeze out any excess liquid that comes out of the eggplant and set aside.
  3. Slice mushrooms and saute them with garlic and cooking spray in a non-stick pan until liquid is released. Add in both cans of tomato sauce and spices. Simmer until ready to use.
  4. Break egg into cottage cheese and mix until blended. Add in spinach and mix well with the cottage cheese.
  5. With an 8″x13″ pan, line the bottom with tomato sauce. Add layers of lasagna pieces, tomato sauce, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and eggplant. Repeat with another layer of everything and finish the lasagna with a layer of lasagna pasta, sauce, and cheese.

6.  Bake in oven until pasta is cooked.

Notes:

  • While this lasagna was really tasty, it was a little bit dry. While I usually enjoy my pasta with as little sauce as possible, I really felt that this lasagna would have been much better off if I had more cheese and more sauce.

Blue Cheese and Cherry Turkey Meatloaf (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
  • 1 tsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic and red pepper (dried)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°C.
  2. Combine all above ingredients and mix well.
  3. Spray a small loaf pan with cooking spray and add in mixture into pan. Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until the meat is thoroughly cooked through.

Notes:

  • Instead of buying blue cheese, I used up some dried cranberry blue cheese that I happened to have in my fridge. It added such a nice flavour, that I think I might do it again but use dried cranberries instead of cherries next time. Don’t get me wrong though, the cherries were DELICIOUS.

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Temperature: 1° C (feels like -5)

Distance run/type: 6 hill repeats (plus 6k LSD warm up and cool down) / hill training

Clothes: Lululemon running pants, sports bra, Adidas base layer, Adidas top layer, Adidas outer layer, Asics TrailRunners.

Feeling: Really cold at first, especially when I had to wait almost 10 minutes for my Garmin to pick up signal, but then I had to take off a layer by the time I got to the bottom of the hill.

♦♦♦

Today has been quite a blur as well. I’ll attempt to recap as best as I can, but I make no promises on accuracy. As a peace offering, I’m throwing in some old recipes of things that I’ve made in the last few weeks that I thought were worth sharing.

After I got home from the airport, I worked for a couple of hours and then passed out from 10am – 2pm. I haven’t had a nap/mid-day sleep in as long as I can remember, but I really needed the sleep. I woke up feeling really groggy and it was a real struggle to finally get back to work. Lunch and dinner today were virtually the same; leftover grilled chicken breast mixed with a salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, carrots, and apple. I threw in some fat-free italian salad dressing as well, and voila: a nice, satisfying light meal to counter 3-4 days of “whatever’s available” food. At lunch, I also heated up a leftover pumpernickel dinner roll and threw in some slices of aged cheddar cheese (I couldn’t help it!). I took pictures using my camera’s internal memory by accident so pictures may show up much later when I figure out where my camera cable is (I normally use a memory card reader).

After work, I decided that I felt well enough to make up for the hills training that I missed last night. I decided to run to an old hill area that I trained off of throughout the winter and was delighted to discover the hill to be too easy. I ended up switching to a harder hill – one that I was intimidated by after one particularly challenging hills training session that I did on it and was also happy to see that it was much easier than I was expecting. I’m not sure if this was due to the fact that my fitness levels are actually higher, or if the weather was more mild than it was last time I ran up that hill which made the hill easier to run up. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I did feel like I almost cheated during my run and briefly considered running a few extra hill repeats but the sun had set by the time I finished 6 and it started getting really cold.

And now for a few recipes to whet your appetite.

Sweet Sweet Potato Falafels (original recipe from here)
Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
a scant cup chickpea flour
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees (220C) and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size). Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

2. Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).


3. Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Make falafel balls and bake on a lined baking tray for around 15 minutes.

Notes:

  • The original recipe suggests using sesame seeds and although I think they would have been an excellent addition, I didn’t have any sesame seeds on hand. Next time I make these (yes, there will be a next time!), I am going to make sure I have sesame seeds on hand so that I can throw them in.

Dill Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1.5 cups water
  • turmeric (I don’t measure this, but if I had to guess, I might say 1/2 tsp or so)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dried dill weed (throw in as much as your heart desires – I would guess I put in 1.5 tsp or so)

Mix contents together and cook as you would normally cook rice (I use a rice cooker). It’s as simple as that!

Millet Mash (original recipe from here)
Ingredients:
1 cup millet
3 cups water
1 medium onion
1 small head cauliflower
2 Tbsp flax seed oil
2-3 cloves garlic
Salt

Directions:
1. Rinse millet well by covering with water and swishing it around, then draining. Do this 2-4 times until the water runs clear.

2. Chop cauliflower and onion into chunks.

3. Put rinsed millet and water in a large pot and cover with chopped vegetables and salt. Bring to a rapid boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the millet is cooked.

4. Remove from heat, add flax seed oil, and mash with a large fork or potato masher.

Notes:

  • I personally thought it was delicious on its own, but after a while, I started adding in some hot sauce to kick it up a bit and it was delicious!!

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