Saturday, March 30, 2013

Victory Lap

This morning, I woke up naturally around 6 am. Normally, I can go back to sleep, but this morning, I lay awake, thinking about my impending brick workout.

I got out of bed, ate a quick breakfast, put on my ridiculously uncomfortable bike pants (seriously, this padding thing is awful), took off my ridiculously uncomfortable bike pants (never, ever forget to wear bodyglide) and got the Blue Terror down to the car...and spent a good 15 minutes cursing at my bike rack.

I got to Peirce Mill a little late (sorry guys) and after some frantic tire pumping, Rachel, Victoria, and I set out on Beach Drive. It all clicked. I know I need some start/stop work, but I didn't fall over. I remembered how to clip in/out without screaming or nearly falling. We took an out and back to Connecticut Ave.

Riding a bike is, in fact, just like...riding a bike. It comes back to you pretty quickly.

I couldn't keep up with my teammates, but they're far better athletes than I am, and at the very least, I am excited to say I pulled 17.17 miles in around 1:04. I don't know what my first hour bike ride distance was, but I'm fairly certain it was many miles shorter than that. My endurance isn't entirely gone!

Rachel and Victoria had longer bricks, so I swung back by Coach, dropped off my bike, and did a very short, 15 minute victory run lap.

I nearly made it 20 because I wasn't paying attention to the time. Slow, yes, but running felt natural. My ankle didn't seize up. My arch wasn't swelling. I was simply running.

Though I am fighting off a nap before yoga with Rachel, I can only say that I feel amazing. And I am so glad to be back.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Victory! Or, the week I started training (in earnest) again

2013 started out, in a word, crappy.

Early January, my foot was swelling at the end of long runs. I'd had ankle issues for a while now, but I mostly ignored them...until January. By early February, my entire ankle was made of #RAGE. It got to the point where running was totally out of the picture. Soon, cycling was too much, and swimming wasn't doing anyone any favors. I could literally hear grinding in my ankle and the back of my heel was turning shades of purple unknown in nature.

No one knows what caused it. No one had any perfect solutions. By mid-March, I was apoplectic every time I saw someone running (which, in DC, is frequently). But I still did my best to support runners at the RnR Half.

Finally, things started to change. My podiatrist re-fit my orthotics with a higher arch. I started seeing Erin twice a week for active release therapy, I continued to foam roll and use the stick like my life depended on it...and...I bit the bullet and took up yoga. I know, I know. But, much like my experience with Crossfit, yoga wound up surprising me. I used to be a mix of "this isn't making me sweat" and "w.t.f."

I signed up for a 6:30am flow yoga class with Yoga District in Dupont. I should say, up front, that Kat is a GREAT instructor. I'm not flexible and I'm really impatient, but class flows (ha) at a pace that keeps me moving, engaged, and focused. I loved starting my day SO much with yoga that I went ahead and signed up for Tuesday morning...and then Friday morning. Yoga feels a lot more like this:

aka: badass.

Ayla, if you want to gchat me with "I TOLD YOU SO" ^ infinitum, go for it.

A brief #miacooks interlude: my new favorite breakfast is a very simple protein shake. I use Vega protein powder at the recommendation of Christine. I do a banana, frozen strawberries, heaping tablespoon of greek yogurt from the market (no, do not buy that from the grocery), a scoop of Vega, and some almond milk. Boom. Awesome post morning workout breakfast.

I also went back to Crossfit this week. Since CFDupont is no longer (unicorn tears), I went ahead and gave Crossfit DC a shot. I got back from my first workout and talked Chadd's ear off. I said I might look around at other boxes, but I knew I'd already made up my mind.

So, come to Crossfit DC. Best box in DC. Chris and Tom know their stuff. They care about everyone there. The equipment is great. The space is epic. The vibe is like coming home. Or maybe I just missed Crossfit. Or both, who knows, but I'll go with it.

Better yet - Lindsey came to town! I was healed up in time to workout with her before she moves back to California.

This was for a photo opp. Let's not judge my form more harshly than I have.

On Wednesday, I was allowed to run precisely 1 mile at track. I'm sure my time was shameful, but my ankle didn't swell. I woke up Thursday feeling NORMAL (hence: all systems go for Crossfit).

This weekend is my first brick since...a long time. Wish me luck and enjoy the weather this weekend!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mia Cooks - Mushrooms and Broccoli

Training update: none. well. the basics. A day on my feet more than usual and my ankle is swollen and tender. Goooood stuff. The doctor basically told me that 3 ibuprofen, 3x a day and "if it hurts, don't do it." Not helpful. We'll see what happens on Tuesday when I go back.

I'm keeping up my Sunday cooking for the week; I made sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a few other things:

Portabella Mushrooms 

You need:
- Portabella mushrooms
- Olive Oil
- Red wine
- 2 cloves garlic
- Soy Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar

1) Preheat oven to 400
2) Clean mushrooms (remove stems)
3) Mix. In a baking dish, mix 1/2 c. red wine, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 2 cloves garlic, minced.
4) Marinate the portabellas in the dish, upside down for 15 minutes.
5) Cover with foil and put into the oven for 25 minutes.

These are great cold or hot - I recommend sautéing spinach or another green and putting that over the mushroom cap with some goat cheese. You can also slice these up and eat with other grilled veggies, or as a side dish for a dinner. The possibilities are endless.

Broccoli with Raisins and Bacon

Growing up, I remember this very Southern salad recipe - it's basically broccoli, mayo, raisins, and bacon. Great tasted, but I can feel myself getting fat thinking about that. Instead, I decided to roast some broccoli and try to get some of the same flavors into the recipe. I wound up with a recipe that blew my mind. I cannot recommend this enough.

You need:
- broccoli
- coconut oil
- cayenne pepper
- cinnamon
- salt
- red pepper flakes
- golden raisins
- bacon
- onion
- garlic

1) Chop broccoli
2) Toss with coconut oil, cayenne pepper, salt, and some cinnamon

3) Bake broccoli on 400 on a baking sheet for 15 minutes

4) Microwave 4-5 pieces of bacon, until crispy (6 minutes)
5) Toss some coconut oil into a skillet and melt, then add about a half cup of chopped onions, saute.
6) Once the onion is sautéed, add the raisins, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, salt, red pepper flakes

7) Add the raisin mix to the broccoli and salt/cayenne pepper as needed.

I also spent some time sauteing some greens - if you don't know how to saute greens, here's your step by step:

1) Heat up a tiny bit of olive oil
2) Add a little garlic
3) Add chopped greens and cover
4) It'll cook quickly, but stir now and then until reduced and thoroughly cooked

After all the cooking today, here's how I made out:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mia Cooks (again) Pesto Shrimp

I'm a little (a lot) wound up over the amount of work I have to do (but thankfully, I'm actually excited about all of it) and what turned this fabulous energy from productive to #RAGE was when, as I was leaving from teaching #RAGE spin, I heard one of my participants say to the other "I'm so tired, I'm just going to go heat up a lean cuisine" and the other said "Oh that's a great idea! I love having healthy stuff in the freezer!"

Seriously. I was looking for the Punk'd crew to show up and be like LOL GOT YOU!

No such luck. So, while I went silently apoplectic in the elevator, I vowed to come home and make dinner in less than 15 minutes. I know, sorry, this is the time it takes to cook TWO lean cuisines, but it'll taste more than twice as good.

Pesto Shrimp over Spaghetti Squash

You need:
- pesto you made on Sunday
- shrimp
- grape tomatoes
- olive oil 
- 1 clove garlic
- spinach
- spaghetti squash

1) Clean shrimp.
2) Chop spaghetti squash in half, longways and clean out the crap in the middle.
3) Put spaghetti squash cut side down in a microwavable container with some water and cook in the microwave for 15-18 minutes.
4) Heat up a tiny bit of oil and some garlic on low/medium.

5) Add shrimp.
6) Add tomatoes once the shrimp is pinkish.
7) Give it another minute and add some chopped spinach.
8) Cover and steam until spinach is wilted and add a heaping tablespoon of the pesto.
9) Scoop out the spaghetti squash.

10) Mix shrimp stuff and spaghetti squash.

Stop it with the Lean Cuisine. Or at least, let's all admit that it's not healthy. It's just low calorie.

Now taking requests from the peanut gallery on what you want #miacooks to do next.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mia Cooks: Moroccan Beef Lettuce Wraps

In lieu of talking about training (at all) because I'm not doing training in any form (I work out like a normal person these days and I'm feeling super sucky about it), here's another recipe from me to you.

Moroccan Beef Lettuce Wraps

You need:
3/4 lb ground beef
1 egg
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger

1 c. greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon rind
2 tsp tahini
1 garlic clove

"Wrap" Ingredients:
- big leaf lettuce (I like iceburg for this)
- tomato
- onion

1) Mix all ingredients for the patties
2) No, I mean REALLY mix it.
Yes, use your hands.
3) Form 8 patties out of that meat
4) Cook the patties on medium heat on the stove, use non stick spray. About 2:30 on each side should do it.

5) Put the patties on an oven tray and pop into oven on 400 for 5-8 minutes.
6) Prep the sauce - just combine all ingredients and stir
7) Prep the fixin's
8) Wrap and eat!

And...I'm off to foam roll. F*cking ankle.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mia Cooks: Prep for the Week Edition

Christine and I had a chat earlier this week about better planning for food - it's too easy to be slammed with work and eat whatever instead of eating real food.

We agreed that the best way to stay accountable would be to cook every Sunday (or once a week if I have Sunday plans) and do a #miacooks along with it. I don't blame you if you want to mute my twitter feed every Sunday.

Today, I got up, felt rested, then wandered over to farmer's market. When Chadd asked what I got, I said, "If it was green, I bought it," which is pretty accurate.

(not pictured: ricotta, greek yogurt, and mozzarella from Blue Ridge Dairy)

I spent the afternoon cooking, with a couple of #sportz breaks, most notably a "restorative yoga" class which was basically guided nap time. Suffice to say, I feel incredibly peaceful today.

Here are all the recipes that showed up on #miacooks this afternoon:

Bacon Brussel Sprouts
I had these at a barbecue the other weekend and they totally blew my mind. I've made them twice in the past week.

You need:
- Brussel Sprouts
- 3-4 slices Bacon
- Salt
- Cayenne Pepper
- Olive Oil

1) Cut sprouts. Take the rinsed sprouts and cut off the stem bottom, then chop the sprouts in half. 

2) Prep the sprouts. Drizzle the sprouts with a little olive oil. Add sea salt and cayenne pepper.
3) BACON. Chop uncooked bacon into small pieces and add to the brussel sprouts.

4) Bake. Pop the sprouts into the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes (check a couple of times, they'll start browning, but be easily stabbed)

Kale Chips
Best snack food. Ever.

You need:
- Kale
- Salt
- Cayenne Pepper
- Olive oil

1) Rinse and thoroughly dry kale. Seriously - it needs to be DRY. 
2) Cut kale into chip sized pieces and toss with oil, salt and pepper.

3) Bake. Spread kale onto a baking sheet and cook in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes (check a few times, it should be totally dried out, but not totally brown)

4) Storage - I put my kale chips into ziplock bags so they don't get stale. I wouldn't throw them into fridge, either.

I really love this pesto recipe - I put it on spaghetti squash, shrimp, chicken, or eat it with carrots. It's a very basic, but delicious recipe.

You need:
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 c. macadamia nuts
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and peper

1) Prep. Clean up the cilantro (rinse, take out any brown leaves)
2) Mix. Put all ingredients into food processor.

4) Enjoy over pretty much anything.

Christine's Death Metal Chili
I took Christine's Chili Recipe and made it tonight so I could have a bunch in the fridge/freezer for emergencies. Her other soup recipes have blown my mind, so I knew this would be good. Let me assure you - it's delicious. Our recipes are a little different - I used Rotel and you'll see she has tempeh in her recipe. Soy makes me sick, so I avoided it. I also added cayenne pepper (have you seen a theme in all these recipes yet?)

You Need:

1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups kale, ripped to shreds
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian style diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 0z) can pinto beans
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp sugar or honey
1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1) Prep. Chop up the onion and garlic, drain the beans, but keep the tomatoes in their water (also: don't mind me, I didn't see I needed two different kinds of diced tomatoes, so I used Rotel instead). Shred some kale.
2) Sautee the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent (2-3 minutes).
3) Add everything else to the pot and cook on medium for 20-30 minutes.

4) Enjoy!

I love chard for getting my greens - it's a little less spicy than kale and a little faster to cook. Chard has almost a buttery taste to it. Think spinach, but a little more rich.

1) Clean chard - rinse and dry.
See why it's called "Rainbow" Chard?

2) Chop off the stems, then chop the chard into 3rds.
3) Heat up olive oil in a skillet, add a little garlic and toss in the chard.

4) Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then stir, then cook another 2, for maybe 6-8 minutes.

Tonight's dinner was a quick one, but a Chadd favorite. 

Lemon Artichoke Chicken
This is an easy easy dish, takes maybe a half hour from start to finish. 

You need:
- chicken (we used about 1.5-2 pounds of boneless, skinless breast)
- 2 shallots
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1/4 c. capers
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp lemon juice

1) Chop up shallots and quarter the artichoke hearts, preheat oven to 375.
2) Season chicken with a little salt and pepper, maybe garlic salt or whatever you prefer.

3) Melt butter in the pan
4) Sautee the shallots for a minute or two
5) Add ingredients - artichoke hearts, capers, and lemon juice

5) Add chicken and sear on either side quickly
6) Bake for 10-12 minutes (check to make sure it's cooked through - it'll be just slightly pink when done and finish cooking in the pan.)

I also made some sweet potatoes earlier in the day.The recipe is here. I quickly threw some asparagus into the oven with olive oil and salt and pepper. When that came out, I put some lemon juice over it.

I've got a couple more things I want to make for the week, but I'm out of steam for the afternoon and with the time change, I'm going to tuck myself into bed.