Monday, November 22, 2010

Week One of Month One

Well, actually this is the beginning of Week Two..But I thought I'd do a recap of last week! I looked at my schedule about a week and a half ago, and realized that I could get in a month of solid base training before Mexico. I was so stoked! I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner that I could start training before I leave the country for two weeks. But I'm glad I came to this obvious realization!

The first week went well! A few missed workouts due to school, but thankfully my graduation application was accepted, so I officially only have three more weeks of school left. Soon, the days of 'studying < training' are over! Or is it 'studying > training'? Clearly college has left some gaps in my education...

So back to workouts. Nothing major, nothing extraordinary. Lots of half-hour runs, 1k-1.5k swims, and hour-long rides.

(Actually, my ride on Friday was 1.75 hours, though I was only on the bike for about an hour of that..I flatted..and yes, it took me 45 minutes to fix the flat. Why? 1. I am the slowest flat-changer EVER. 2. My tool broke! 3. My tires are really, really stiff. And I will keep using that excuse even when they're well worn-in and supple as butter.)

Sunday I went on a 90 minute ride with Travis that started off great, albeit chilly, and ended with what might be my worst on-the-bike bonk to date. I don't know what happened. It might have been eating too little, it might've been dehydration, it might've been overheating with all my layers, or maybe it was a combination of all of that. But about 15 minutes from the house I got super hungry, super 'hot-flashy' hot (Not that I really know what that's like, of course, but I can't think of how else to describe it!), and I was getting lightheaded and spacey. My arms felt like they could barely support me, and my legs kept spinning though I felt like I had no control over that. I sure couldn't make it up hills very easily.. I just kept focusing on not falling over, and on the pumpkin bread that I could devour once I got home. Once I did get home I devoured pretty much everything in sight, and was exhausted for the rest of the day!

Today was a total workout fail. I don't feel well (still a little lightheaded and woozy), and I've been so busy all day..I hate making excuses this early into a training block, but I decided to skip workouts today, focus on getting things done, eating well and drinking lots of water, and diving headfirst back into workouts tomorrow (feeling great and rejuvenated, I hope!).

So, again, lessons learned. Tomorrow: Back to base, Week Two!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I actually did not make these cookies..Travis did! We were both craving dessert, but had just polished off the ice cream the other night...(see what I mean about needing to eat a bit healthier??) I was busy studying for a test, so he offered/I coerced him into baking. He mentioned how he'd love a chocolate chip cookie, and I mentioned, with a convincing tone and sly smile, how I'd just seen a recipe for a delicious, whole wheat chocolate chip cookie...the next thing I knew, he was pulling ingredients out of the cupboard!

I was curious about this recipe as it was, so last night's dessert-shortage worked out well. The raves on Orangette's blog had me intigued..could a simple chocolate chip cookie really be as good as her post made it seem? Was it really the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever? And how could one chocolate chip cookie be so much better than all the other perfectly delicious chocolate chip cookies out there? As it is, I am not someone who gets incredibly excited about chocolate chip cookies. Don't get me wrong--they are scrumptious, and I will never turn one down. But if I'm the one baking, I'll almost always prefer to make Pumpkin Cookies or ginger cookies or even double chocolate chip cookies. But rarely do I get the urge to bake plain old chocolate chippers. But Travis was the baker last night, so chocolate chip it was! And I will say--they were exactly what a good chocolate chip cookie should be: thick, crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. The nuttiness of the whole wheat flour was great--it offset the sweetness just right. My only complaint with this recipe was its greasiness(and here it becomes apparent: maybe there is no perfect chocolate chip cookie..with such high standards and so many delicious variations, will there ever be a totally pefect, everything-I've-ever-wanted-in-a-chocolate-chip-cookie, chocolate chip cookie??). I think this might have to do with the fact that Travis melted the butter in the microwave to soften it..But we'll overlook that! Why? Because I am convinced that the sooner he becomes fed up with mixing butter and sugar with his hands, as I have to do every time I bake, the sooner we will get a stand mixer.

All that being said, this is a great cookie. The only amount I cannot vouche for is the chocolate chips--we just added them by the handful. I'm sure the recipe's amount is fine, as our cookies were a little light in the chip department.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (8oz.) unsalted butter (The recipe calls for cold and cubed butter, but we went for mostly liquified...Go with cold and cubed.)
1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar (Oops again: we used light brown sugar. I doubt the difference is significant, but go with the dark just in case!)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
8oz chocolate chips (the recipe calls for chunks of bittersweet chocolate..all we had was chocolate chips!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line three baking sheets with parchement paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, knead together the butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs one at a time, combnining between. Add the vanilla and combine again. Pour the flour mixture over the wet mixture, and mix until the flour is just combined. Dont' overmix! Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Roll dough into balls equalling about 3tbsp and place evenly on the baking sheets, leaving 2-3 inches between each cookie (we got 8 per sheet). Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate completely (that is, bring the sheets on the bottom rack to the top and visa versa, and spin each sheet). Bake for another 8 minutes*. Allow the cookies to cool for five minutes on the sheets, then transfer them to wire cooling racks, or just dive right in!


*EDIT: I just ate one of these cookies since tasting one fresh out of the oven last's definitely very crunchy now. I'd recommend baking them for only 6 minutes after rotating the sheets.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Udon Noodles and Veggies with Peanut Sauce

The off-season must be coming to a close...I am baking less and less, and cooking more and more. Indeed, today was the start of my first 1 month training block! It's all base, and all fairly easy, but it's still exciting to be "training" again!

One of my main projects lately has been incorporating more produce into meals. While I'm sure Travis, and frankly me as well, would be content eating burritos all winter, it certainly wouldn't be healthy, nor would it support our training very well! I know with how much we put our bodies through we need to refuel with nutrient-dense, healthful foods instead of what's necessarily the "quickest acceptable dinner".

I have also been eyeing this recipe for awhile now. Who could resist chewy udon noodles, a creamy peanut sauce and a bed of soft, colorful veggies? Not me! And I figured with all the veggies it calls for, and the blast of protein in the sauce, this would be a great meal with which to kick off our 2011 season! I modified the recipe a bit because I was out of things, and also because I doubled the recipe.

Udon Noodles and Veggies with Peanut Sauce

2 packages whole wheat udon noodles
3 carrots, grated with the peeler
1/2 cabbage, chopped
1 large zuccini or yellow squash, sliced into half-moons
soy sauce for cooking
sriracha or another hot sauce for cooking
olive oil for cooking
minced garlic, for cooking

For The Sauce:
6oz 0% plain greek yogurt
6 tbsp creamy peanut butter
10 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp ground ginger
1tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 heaping spoonful minced garlic

In a wok or large skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Add the zuccini, and toss with a splash of soy sauce, a spoonful of minced garlic, and just a drop or two of hot sauce. When the zuccini is just barely tender, add the cabbage and carrot and heat for another minute or two, or until the zuccini is cooked and the cabbage and carrot are just soft. Set aside. Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Once the water is boiling, add the udon noodles and cook until chewy. Scoop a bed of the vegetables onto a plate, pour a small amount of sauce over them, then top with noodles and more sauce. Tear cilantro over the whole thing, and if you have any, sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I haven't been baking or cooking very much lately! In fact, the wet burritos I made last night are about as adventurous as I've been in the kitchen for over a week! But I did want to write about a recipe I attempted awhile ago: Seitan!

The seitan recipe I found over at (neverhome)maker. I'd wanted to try it for awhile, so one day I just dove right in! Here's my recipe, as I made a few slight modifications.


1 1/2c wheat gluten flour
1/4c nutritional yeast
1tsp salt
2tsp paprika
2 tsp pepper
2 heaping spoonfuls minced garlic
3/4c cold water (PLUS about 3 tbsp)
4tsp tomato paste
1tsp olive oil
1tsp soy sauce
2 tsp vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients (including garlic) in a large bowl. Whisk together until well-combined. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients--EXCEPT the 3 tbsp water--whisking in the tomato paste last. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and combine well with your hands. If your seitan seems too dry, as mine did, add water from your 3 tbsp reserve until all of the dry ingredients are mixed in. The seitan becomes very gummy very quickly, and adding the extra water allowed me to keep mixing the seitan.

Roll the seitan into a log shape. Wrap in two layers of foil, twisting the ends to seal the roll, and bake on a baking sheet for 1.5 hours.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Monster Dash

Ran the Monster Dash Halloween Run on Halloween. It was definitely one of the most challenging courses I've ever run. The first two miles were uphill, followed by two steep, short downhill sections, and a gradual downhill to the finish.

It was also surprisingly, 80%? So of course I got totally, completely dehydrated. By the first mile I was getting random 'blackout flashes' at the bottom of my vision. I also got the worst cramps I've ever, ever run through. That last half mile hurt, not being able to take in a full breath. I think I had the pain written all over my face.

The frustrating this was, I ran a horrible time. I guess it just speaks to the difficulty of the course that my 23:53 time landed me a fourth-place finish. And also that it's not a competitive race..haha.

It was, however, really really fun to race again! I can already tell how all my distance training has improved my mental toughness. Usually I cannot suffer through a 5K without music. But cruising through a 7 mile run without music has helped alter my perspective. I was so happy to be out there, pushing it, just having fun doing so! And yes, I was having fun the whole time, despite the pain!

Now I just have to get through a few more weeks of school+training, and then Mexico, and then my training can start for real! I cannot wait!