Tag Archives: training

Let’s Eat All the Carbs!- Cherry Chocolate Bock Bread with Cherry Cabernet Jam

15 Apr Cherry Chocolate Bock Bread with Cherry Cabernet Jam

Cherry Chocolate Bock Bread with Cherry Cabernet Jam

So… when I last left y’all (a short five days ago, none the less) we were on the nutrition plan of champions in this household bearing down on Boston Marathon and leaving nothing to chance- or lack of micronutrient consumption.  To hell with “if the furnace is hot enough, it will burn anything” we said.  We’re going to burn the best of the best in this house!

Until The Hubs got norovirus (which, apparently, is the stomach virus of champions) and created a bonded association between quinoa and nausea. Now the only thing that sound appealing to him is ultra-refined carbs.  Ugh!

I’ll admit that this is tough for me.  When he injured his achilles and we decided it made sense for him to healthfully and safely drop some extra race weight I invested myself into the task with gusto.  It meant extra market trips, extra late nights prepping meals and snacks, and extra adorable/neurotic texts about dining decisions.  It meant sometimes prepare separate meals for he and Baby Bird.  And it meant tossing out all our standard taper menus I’ve become familiar with to recreate the wheel.  When he steps on the scale and is on track for the race weight we’ve been targeting, I feel like it’s a win in my column.

So tossing it all out and saying ‘Totally, eat all the refined carbs you want!’ seems pretty cray at this point.  There are SEVEN. DAYS. TO. GO!

Would a cold pressed, green juice IV line be an unreasonable thing to invent?

Admittedly, eating refined carbs is far better than eating nothing- the only other alternative for my poor patient who turns pale at even a mention of kale right now- and so my kitchen has become an artisanal bakery with hyper-obsessive portion control.  That is… until I DNF out of a half marathon, down a quarter of a bottle of Cab, discover a cherry chocolate bock in the outdoor fridge and need a more sensible way to finish it off…

Then it’s “Forget it, y’all!  Let’s eat ALL THE CARBS!” time in the most awesome way possible.

Like… seriously awesome.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

No, wait…

When life gives you 3/4ths a bottle of Cabernet, a lonely bottle of chocolate cherry bock beer, and the thumbs up on ripping into a new bag of all-purpose flour- make boozy jam and bread!

Cherry Chocolate Bock beer is in its heyday during winter months, but a cherry wheat (or even cherry chocolate stout if you’re feeling bold) would work just as well.  Spread your warm bread with a simple, good-quality chevre, slather with jam and enjoy.  You might even momentarily forget about your DNF, your stomach virus, or the A race you have looming on the horizon.

Carb blinders are sometimes a good thing.

Cherry Chocolate Bock Bread with Cherry Cabernet Jam

 

Cherry Chocolate Bock Bread with Cabernet Jam

Bread:

  • 1 package Rapid Rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Cherry Chocolate Bock + 1/4 cup water, heated to 120 degrees F
  • 1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • coarse sanding sugar

Jam:

  • 3 cups of Cabernet
  • 2 cups frozen cherries, thawed, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 pouches liquid pectin
  • 4-6 cups of sugar

To make Jam: If you will be canning in a water bath, prepare jars. (This makes 2 16 oz jars + some additional for immediate use)

Add cherries and all but 1/2 cup Cabernet to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, slowly adding sugar cup by cu and stirring to dissolve (amount of sugar depends on your preference for sweetness).  Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until cherries are softened and wine has begun to reduce slightly.

Add the liquid pectin and remaining half cup of wine and stir throughly to disperse pectin. Skim off any foam and continue to cook over medium heat until jam mixture will coat the back of a metal spoon of mixture spooned onto a chilled plate will firm up and gel on the surface.

Ladle hot jam mixture into prepared jars and waterbath can (15 minutes at sea level) or store in fridge for 3-4 weeks.

To make bread: In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, whisk together the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, and cherries.  Add the liquids and knead the bread until it forms an elastic ball.

Oil a large bowl with olive oil.  Form dough into a ball and place in the bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise undisturbed for an hour until doubled in size.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Gently deflate dough.  Reform into a ball and place on baking sheet to rise once again undisturbed until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Gently slash the top of the bread with a sharp knife, taking care not to deflate it.  Brush top of bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake bread for about 35 minutes until brown.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Beef and Quinoa Taco Bowl with The Mother of All Taco Seasoning

25 Mar The Mother of All Homemade Taco Seasoning

Beef and Quinoa Taco Bowl- Perfect for endurance athletes!

Here we are y’all… a month past Austin Marathon and I’m still avoiding writing about it.  I’ll get there, but there are so many other things going one and the fact that it doesn’t really count as a race because I basically strolled through the second half makes it feel pretty unnecessary to even recap.  Besides, I’m SO BEHIND on recipes right now it seems the recap will have to be squeezed in amidst far more interesting and yummy topics.

And, since I’ve currently got a backlog of recipes half written and ready to post, this is the perfect time to delay them further to write about what I’m making a this very moment in my kitchen.  Obviously, that makes perfect sense!

Boston Marathon is just a month away, so logically The Hubs is facing an achilles injury with less than four weeks before he has to line up in Hopkinton.  No bueno!  Luckily, we’ve got a little time and a lot of awesome resources so we aren’t concerned.   Who needs long road runs when you’ve got access to an AlterG and 3 hour aqua jogs (in a 25 meter pool none the less… The Hubs has deemed it the “actual insanity workout”)?  Dedication and hard work trump perfect circumstances every time, mostly because perfect circumstances don’t exist.

What does this have to do with food?  Major changes in training intensity this close to a race coupled with an injury mean we need to keep a careful eye on his weight and nutrition- even more than usual.  Every calorie has to count big time in terms of nutrient density.  Which means bye bye to refined carbs and the sugary treats that he loves to sneak!  I have to make sure he is satisfied and nourished enough that he doesn’t have the desire to snag a candy treat when I’m not around.

It also means making dinners that can be packed up as lunches for the next day because I’ve got my hands full at night ensuring I pack the right combination of snacks to keep him full… but not too full.

Last week, I brought a tray of my made-over mac and cheese to my friend Laura’s house for a lunch playdate, and she served me a quinoa side dish very similar to the one I feature here that I promptly mixed in with my serving of mac- and it was delicious.  I quickly realized that the concept of her quinoa side dish would be a versatile one that I could draw on for years to come.  As I made my menu plan for the coming week, the memory of that little quinoa side kept shouting at me in my brain “Top me with ground beef and serve me over salad!”

If you’re a distance runner or endurance athlete, you’re probably pretty familiar with skillet style meals- brown some meat, dump in beans and tomatoes, and serve over rice.  While easy, I’m not a huge fan because skillet meals lack texture or color interest- they are meals of necessity and not enjoyment.  This beef and quinoa taco bowl is just as easy, but far more flavorful and offers levels of interest for your eyes and your palate.

I make my own taco seasoning, and you should too.  Mine is spicier and smokier than the one my friend Laura makes and serves mixed straight into the quinoa , but that’s the beauty of making your own spice mixes- you can make them perfectly to your liking.  I served the beef and quinoa over mixed baby herb greens, but you can just as easily use it to stuff an tomato, a pepper, or an avocado… or wrap it up in a spelt tortilla.  Top it according to your nutritional needs and taste preferences- plain kefir (instead of sour cream), queso fresco, or diced avocado.

The Mother of All Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 tbs chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp organic sugar
  • 1 tsp Chihuahua de Mexico wood smoked salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked tomato powder

Directions: Mix all spices in bowl to combine.  Store in an airtight container.

Beef and Quinoa Taco Bowl- Perfect for endurance athletes!

Beef and Quinoa Taco Bowl

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or veggie broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs+ of homemade taco seasoning
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 a small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb grassfed, lean ground beef
  • grapeseed oil
  • serving options: plain kefir, queso fresco, mixed baby greens, avocado

Directions: Rinse quinoa well and drain thoroughly.  Bring veggie broth or water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add quinoa and I smashed garlic clove to the broth.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat, uncover and fluff with a fork.

Thinly slice remaining garlic clove. Saute sliced garlic in a dollop of grapeseed oil for 2 minutes until fragrant but not browned.  Over medium/medium-high heat, add ground beef  and break up into large pieces.  Add taco seasoning (add seasoning to taste, I like to start with 2 tbs) and cook through, breaking up into small pieces as you cook.  If desired, season with additional salt while browning meat.

Line a colander with paper towels and pour in ground beef to drain off/ absorb any unnecessary fat.

In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, corn, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro.  Squeeze lime juice into quinoa mixture and toss to mix thoroughly.

Serve quinoa on a bed of greens, topped with beef and additional toppings of your choice.

 

Following the Leader

17 Jan

Following the Leader- My first run back after a break; Go Running, Mama!

Sunday I’ll run my first race for the year- 13.1 miles through the flat streets of Houston.  In my short time as a runner, this is the longest I’ve gone without running an organized race.  It’s also the least I’ve ever trained for a race.  It’s incredibly disappointing.

It’s disappointing because I’ve basically nullified all of my progress from last year.  It’s even more disappointing because I know that, despite all the challenges, I could have just gotten up one day and said “screw it, I’m doing this for me again.  Now.” But I didn’t.  It’s most disappointing because I encouraged two of my good friends- Rachel and Casey- to run this one with me, confidently assuring them that I would get them through the entire race.

When we put our names in the lottery for Houston in May, I was on a major training binge and doing fabulously.  They both expressed concern that they would hold me back on such a flat, fast course.  Over and over I heard “just run ahead if you need to” and over and over I assured my friends that I would run with them and encourage them the entire way.  That I would sing songs or tell jokes.  That I would keep a slower pace if needed.  That I would pee my pants instead of stopping at a porta potty so that we didn’t run a step apart.

Each time they said it, I know they knew it was pointless.  I would never take off on my own.  I wanted to be there for Rachel’s inevitable PR and the first time Casey crossed the finish line of a half.  But they would say it anyways.  And I knew that they meant it just as much as they knew I would never do it.

Here we are two days before the race and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they are both now better trained for this race than me.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be the one holding everybody back.

And that feeling sucks.

Rachel has drastically improved as a runner and ran her second half in December pacing a friend at a much slower pace.  I know she would like to put her training to good use at this race.

Casey, despite her insistence that she is slow and undertrained, paced the end of my PR half last year like it was no biggie after running a 5k… and is “undertrained” enough that she ran 10 miles last weekend (which I’m pretty sure is a reverse taper)… and, oh yeah, holds arguably the fastest 100 meter time for a white American female ever (thank you, internets).  So no big deal at all there.

So on Sunday I’ll tell them to just run ahead of me if they need to.

And I’ll mean it too.  But I already know that those words will be wasted words.

They aren’t going to leave me.

They are going to run with me and encourage me the entire way.

They are going to sing songs or tell jokes.

They are going to run a slower pace for me.

And they’ll probably pee their pants with me just so we don’t have to stop running.

But they wont leave me.  No matter how many times I say it.

All three of us are teachers, moms, and runners- it’s a trifecta of humanity that breeds a Soldier’s Creed mentality.  No one is getting left behind.

Until the final stretch that is.

Because Casey is going to smoke us on that last 100 meters.

I’m looking forward to it.

Breakfast on the Run: Baked Egg Cups To Go

15 Jan

The The Hub’s new Team Rogue schedule is a bit of a game changer in our household (not just because they’ve lead him to finally accepting that he has insanely loud feet).  He’s now out the door for the day pre-workout instead of our old routine in which he ran the neighborhood/area, came home to eat breakfast and get ready for work, and then left for the day.  Because it was routine, I found this slightly easier in my mind because the dirty laundry made it in the bathroom immediately and I could worry with his morning nutrition on the spot.  In reality, I’m realizing that it made me less strategic- and also meant The Hubs often made his own eggs while balancing a business call if and when I managed a morning run for myself.  We’re multi-taskers ’round here, y’all!

I’m realizing that pre-prepped breakfast to go is a thing of beauty.  It forces me to be strategic and also means I don’t feel like a lazy bum on the mornings that I sleep in a bit later than I meant… because I was up later than intended… because I took extra time to stop and smell the roses with the little one during the day… (You see the cycle right?)

Last week I created Mango Recovery Muffins for The Hubs to tote along for breakfast and this week I’ve added baked egg cups into the mix.  They are easy enough that you could bake them the morning of if you prefer, but I’m streamlining our morning shenanigans (read as: I’m not waking up at 4:15 am for someone’s track practice until it’s because I have to get up to drive Baby Bird to the track) so I’m baking them the night before and packaging them up neatly for the next morning.

Breakfast on the Run: Bake Egg Cups, fruit skewers, Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins, and Raspberry Refrigerator Jam from Go Running, Mama!

As you can see- via the beauty that is my late night Instagram snapshot- The Hubs left this morning with two baked egg cups, fruit skewers, a Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffin, and a generous scoop of raspberry chia refrigerator jam.  The kiwi blueberry skewers made it easy for him to eat his fruit quickly without having to use utensils or picking up each piece with his fingers.  A little box of balanced, satisfying, premade nutrition designed for him to consume quickly in the transition from workout to work.

Now that is a productive start to the day!

Baked Egg Cups To Go

Ingredients

  • 2-4 jumbo eggs
  • i slice of thick cut bacon; cooked, fattiest part removed, and diced
  • truffle salt
  • butcher’s cut pepper
  • olive oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

“Grease” silicone muffin cups with olive oil.  Place muffin cups on a baking pan or sheet.

Crack an egg into each muffin cup.  Sprinkle each egg with diced bacon, truffle salt, and pepper.

Place baking sheet and muffin cups in oven and bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating pan each 6 minutes.  Remove when eggs are white and yolks still have a slight wobble.

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins with Raspberry Chia Jam

14 Jan

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins with Raspberry Chia Jam- Go Running, Mama!

These muffins were born of the need to provide The Hubs with a homemade “recovery” food that was portable for his early morning runs.  I can make a batch, toss them in the freezer, and pull one or two out each evening for him to take with his very portable breakfast. The jam only has to be made once a week and a generous scoop in a small Wean Green container makes are great muffin accompaniment.

I needed an easy, freezable non bacon and eggs protein option for The Hubs to easily reach for in transit post workout since I keep having to stress over and over and over and over that he needs to start consuming protein within the first half hours after a hard workout (which, given the fact that I’ve spent countless hours ensuring this is the best nutritional plan for him, means that I will soon discover is completely incorrect in the next major nutrition paradigm shift). These muffins pack in a little extra protein and TONS of nutrients thanks to the addition of both Vega protein and Amazing Meal.  I love the chia jam as an addition (Thanks to Family Circle for this idea… OMG.  That statement really drives home the fact that I’m a middle aged mom.)  because it assists with hydration and provides a hefty does of Omega-3s.

Most importantly… they are darn tasty.

No more morning excuses.  Put the PopTarts down.

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins with Raspberry Chia Jam- Go Running, Mama!

Mango Macadamia Recovery Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup vanilla rice milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 30 g Vega Sport Vanilla Performance Protein
  • 30 g Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • generous 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 1/3 tsp baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine egg whites, maple syrup, and rice milk in a bowl and mix well to combine.

Add rolled oats to a food processor and pulse to create a fine textured oat flour.

Combine oat flour, wheat bran, baking soda, Amazing Meal, and protein to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine well.  Make a well in the center and add wet ingredient mixture; mix to combine.  Add mango and macadamia nuts and mix well once more.  Gently stir in the coconut oil.

Line a 12 well muffin tray with baking cups.  Fill each well almost to the top.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Cool in muffin tray for at least 10 minutes before removing liners from the tray directly to the cooling rack.

Cool completely before enjoying.

Raspberry Chia Refrigerator Jam

Ingredients

  • 3 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Directions:

Combine raspberries, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes until raspberries are defrosted and beginning to cook down very slightly.

Stir in chia seeds.  Continue to cook over medium low heat for 8-15 minutes until thickened and and slightly gelatinous (the consistency is a judgement call here).

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Store in a tightly sealing jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Top 13 in 2013

2 Jan My 5 Favorite Posts of 2013- Go Running, Mama!

This blog has been a new adventure for me and, even though it only covered the second half of the year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at my 13 most popular posts of 2013.

It’s been a lot of fun sharing, and I’m excited about another year with y’all!

Top 13 posts in 2013- Go Running, Mama!

13. Exhaustion, Smoothie Pick Me Ups, and a Virtual Half Marathon Comedy of Errors (September)- Forgetting water during a high altitude half marathon, finding out I had mono, and the smoothies that got me through the ordeal!

12. Carrot Top Tacos (July)- Spiced carrots and beans with carrot top chimichurri.  Never, ever waste your carrot tops again.

11. Maple Bacon Biscuits (September)-  Maple.  Bacon. Biscuit.  Trifecta.

10. Gifts from the Heart: Apple Cinnamon Ornaments (December)- An ultra non-toxic clay that makes heavenly scented ornaments or an amazing material for sensory play.

9.  #FirstontheFirst Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Penuche Frosting (October)- We were supposed to make candy, but I cheated and frosted a very yummy cake with this praline-esque frosting.

8. #FirstontheFirst Gateau Larsson (September)- My Scandinavian twist on a traditional Basque dessert.

7.  Gifts from the Heart: Baking Soda Clay Ornaments (December)- These smooth ornaments are an inexpensive (and toddler friendly) alternative to a trip to a ceramics studio.

6. Creamy Garlic Kefir Pasta (July)- A probiotic packed easy meal.

5. Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars (August)- Lunchbox snacks don’t get much healthier.

4. Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties (August)- Healthy food tastes even better in Mickey Mouse form.

3. #FirstontheFirst Candy Canes for Cheaters (December)- Once again, we were supposed to make candy.  And I didn’t.  But I think you’ll forgive me when you taste these cookies.

2. Frosty the Cheese Man: Snowman Cheese Ball with Hand Cut Tortilla Chips (December)- The most adorable, toddler friendly appetizer you’ll ever bring to a gathering.

1. Gifts from the Heart: Homemade Ornaments– Salt dough ornaments are a classic go-to holiday activity.

Looking for even more fun?  Here are my five favorite posts you may have missed this year…

My 5 Favorite Posts of 2013- Go Running, Mama!

Long Run Breakfast: Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits and Fruit Salad

30 Dec Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

Hey, Jenn… remember when you stated a blog and called it ‘Go Running, Mama!’ because you spent all of your ‘me’ time running?  Remember that? Do you think you should… I don’t know… actually talk about running again sometime soon!?

Fair point, Inner Dialogue. Very fair point.

Except I haven’t been running consistently since the summer because the second half of 2013 has been a bit of a comedy of errors for me.

So what’s a mother runner on hiatus to do?  Post about my husband’s runs.  Obviously.  It’s smoke and mirrors, y’all… just enough to get myself back into training mode (which is happening TODAY) so that you forget that you read the last 10 posts and thought “She should have called this blog ‘Go Make Ornaments and Cookies, Mama!'”  It’s all a clever ruse.

This weekend The Hubs had his first long run with the Team Rogue Sisson crew.  We’ve both been working with an amazing coach, Leah Soro at Enlightened Performance, for a almost two years (I like to describe myself very officially as the most infuriating runner Leah has ever had to coach) and she has pushed The Hubs to a level of excellence… not to mention the miracles she always works with me in the inevitably short period in which I focus before each race and claim I’m going to be consistently dedicated forever and ever from that point on (Spoiler Alert: I never follow through on that promise).

The only thing that is lacking with one-to-one coaching is teammates.  For me, this is is fine- I need someone who is going to help me work around toddler illness and playdates, late nights and nap boycotts, and who understands that workouts change based on whether or not I might need to push a stroller that day (Hill repeats?  During a week filled with freezing rain? With a toddler in a jogger?  It’s great to be able to send a text to Leah and get some different direction); when I need a running buddy I toss mine in the stroller; and there are no shortage of ladies I know willing to run my pace during a race.  I need the world’s most flexible way to be a coached runner- which Leah has patiently and graciously provided for me.

The man of the house is different.  If it’s on his plan, he will do it.  If there is a blizzard he will still do it, and he will probably do it better and faster than you asked him to perform.  And then he will come home and do double the conditioning exercises you asked him to do, a focused yin yoga series and foam rolling, and commence to quiz me on his appropriate nutrient intake based on that specific workout given our current elevation and a slight fluctuation in his temperature and heart rate.  And then he’ll do 100 burpees because he’s been standing still for too long.  So he’s a little serious.

In his less than three years as a runner he has made major strides, much of that with Leah’s guidance.  Joining Team Rogue is going to give him a new edge- the ability to push himself to the performance level of even faster athletes.  Peer pressure at its finest.  I don’t know if you can tell, but he’s not the kind of guy who likes to be left behind.

The Team Rogue Sisson crew was scheduled to run 20 miles on Saturday.  The Hubs is coming back from a calf injury so he said he thought he’d run 15 or 16.  I know him, so I figured that meant he would run a 10 mile warm up at 4:30 am and then decide to run the full 20 with Rogue as well.  Judging by his extreme focus and determination when laying out his gear on Friday night, the odds seemed in my favor.  30 miler, anyone?

Big training events are celebration points at our house, so Baby Bird and I decided to make a big breakfast for Daddy.  After a long run, he needs around 20 grams of protein and ideally we aim for around a 3:1 carb to protein ratio for his meal 30 minutes after his run.  Though I knew he would come home and immediately ask for bacon and eggs, I wanted to back off of the cholesterol and rely on healthier fats.  I decided on scrambled eggs, fruit salad,and maple walnut kefir biscuits.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

Our scrambled eggs are eggs with just a pinch or salt, butcher cut pepper, with a little olive or grapeseed oil in the pan- no extra daily mixed in.  (Last year we did an elimination diet in which we discovered The Hubs performs better when he avoids uncultured dairy) We mixed up a fruit salad with berries (high in antioxidants), bananas (potassium), mint (abundant in nutrients such as vitamin A and iron), and avocado.  In addition to the abundance of healthy monounsaturated fats contained in avocados, they also help to slow down the flow of glucose to your cells so they provide a bit of a balance to the high sugar content in fruit salads (especially if they contain high glucose fruits like grapes, date, bananas, or oranges).

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits were born of my love for all things drop-biscuit married to the prolific use of walnuts, grade B maple syrup, and kefir in my kitchen.  We are seriously obsessed with kefir.  I often use it as a substitute for sour cream, creme fraiche, or yogurt when cooking.  It’s a great probiotic addition to smoothies and make a really simple pasta sauce.  Plus, it’s about as toddler friendly as probiotics get.  Lifeway Probugs have been a game changer for us, Baby Bird thinks they are the greatest dessert in the world.  When she saw that Lifeway had a booth at ACL Kiddie Limits this year and were giving away free Probugs push pops, she declared it the coolest event in the universe.  She is still talking about how much she loves ACL.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

A maple walnut biscuit should clearly be a sweet biscuit.  Using maple syrup in the biscuits lets me cut down considerably on the sugar content, and using grade b maple syrup lets me use even less maple syrup in the sugar’s place without sacrificing sweetness or mapleyness.  Glazing the biscuits with grade B maple syrup packs an extra punch of manganese and zinc for a guy who is sufficiently sweating out huge quantities of salts and minerals on a daily basis.  Walnuts are high in omega-3s but, more importantly, research shows they may have significant cardiovascular benefits.  And a healthy heart is a very good thing for an endurance athlete.

When The Hubs returned home from his run (20 miles… underachiever) he was in great spirits and very much in need of a post run meal.  Once he hit the entryway, I heard the expected question… “Can we have some bacon?”

The answer was yes… a little… spread sparingly on a walnut kefir biscuit (in the form of bacon beer jam) and enjoyed with fruit and eggs.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits and Bacon Beer Jam- Go Running, Mama!

That was an acceptable compromise.

We all sat down to enjoy a recap of that morning’s run over a fabulous breakfast.  And admire the sweet new Adidas Glide Boosts he purchased at Rogue after his run.

And, of course, to enjoy a little family core work and yin yoga.  And to discuss the carb to protein ratio in the exact breakfast portions The Hubs had just consumed.

Some things never change.

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits- Go Running, Mama!

Maple Walnut Kefir Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted cultured butter (slightly softened)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs grade B maple syrup + more for glazing biscuits
  • 1/4 cup plain kefir
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • generous 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine butter, sugar and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream.  Add the maple syrup and kefir and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda and whisk well to incorporate.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined.  Gently stir in the walnuts.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet lined in parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes until biscuits are beginning to brown slightly.

Remove to a cooling rack and brush biscuits with maple syrup to glaze.

Make 12-14 biscuits.

Something to Celebrate: My BRF’s Runiversary

20 Aug Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

I’m not a life long runner.  I didn’t start running until after I gave birth to Baby Bird and when I started I hated it.  But I saw results… and I cleared my mind… and I felt like a better person as time wore on and the miles got easier.  As I often say, running made me the person I was always meant to be- it transformed me into me.

Apparently other people could see those changes in me as well.  Over the past two years, I’ve gotten lots of questions about my “running testimonial” from people (most frequently “Why the heck would you choose running!?”) and every once and awhile someone feels moved to give running a shot themselves to see if they too can experience the near transcendence I often describe.

Exactly a year ago, while I was in the thick of training for my first full marathon I received the following text from my very good friend Rachel while she was trying to kill time during a predictably redundant teacher training session:

Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

Over the course of the next four hours (if you are a veteran teacher who has been subjected to inservice geared towards first year educators, you can totally understand why she had so much time to kill), our text conversation transformed from the idea of Rachel beginning to run to planning to help her train for her first half marathon in six months time.  And that afternoon, Rachel went for a run.

And she hated it.

But she stuck with it.

And she saw results… and she cleared her mind… and she felt like a better mother, wife, friend, and teacher as time wore on and the miles got easier.

Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

In February, I had the privilege of pacing her through her first half marathon.  She may have sworn at me.  I may have physically drug her up the hill affectionately termed “the big one.”  I may have sort of peed my pants so that I wouldn’t have to stop and throw off her rhythm and momentum.  And she may have finished 10 minutes ahead of her goal time… and 5 minutes faster than my first half marathon.

Because she is awesome, fierce, and powerful… as a mother, wife, friend and teacher.

As a runner.

Go Running, Mama!- My BRF's Runiversary

Happy Runiversary, Rachel!  I’m looking forward to all the miles to come.

 

Getting It Back: #Rogamonth and Virtual Races

16 Aug Go Running, Mama!- #rogamonth and Virtual Races

In January, when I received my bib number for the WDW Goofy Challenge I discovered I had been corralled incorrectly and was starting even further back than my modest times would normally provided.  Unfortunately, when we arrived at Disney World to pick up our bibs at the expo the line for corrections was exceptionally long and we were on the verge of missing our ADR at O’hana which would have been an unacceptable faux pas in the eyes of our exceptionally excited toddler.

Go Running, Mama- #Rogamonth and VIrtual Races

Baby Bird entertains herself (and Grandma) while she waits for Mama to finish the marathon leg of Goofy- there was no way this patient kiddo should have to miss dinner at O’hana!

Oh well… having lost some training time due having the flu over the holidays I figured I would be slower than normal and I was already staring down something near eight hours of running in the two day span so what would it matter if my gun time was an hour behind others?  In truth, it didn’t matter too terribly much except that marathon day ended up being so hot once the sun was out that every extra minute made what seemed like a major difference.  Bobbing and weaving around walkers and lollygaggers was exceptionally aggravating.  Sure, I was further back than I should have been but the extra agitations magnified the situation in my mind as the miles wore on.  Being in the back was starting to suck.

After that race, I decided that I was ready to commit myself training hard enough to get out of the slow corrals.  Two months later, after lots of sweat and a few tears, I rounded a huge corner and finished 13.1 miles of rolling hills with a finish time of 1:58:34, a major feat in that it was 25 minutes faster than my previous half marathon PR.  Success!  I was rolling!

I kept the momentum going as summer approached.  I was running more, training harder, listening to my coach’s feedback and my body’s cues… and I was on cloud nine.  Even as the weather heated up, I kept seeing improvements.

And then I had surgery.  And had to stop all activity for four weeks.

When I returned to running it was in the dead heat of the summer and with stalled momentum after feeling pretty invincible.  Nothing seemed to be going right.  I was slower.  I couldn’t hit my paces.  I was out of the morning run routine.  Ick!

I was having a hard time figuring out how to look beyond my little world and become part of the larger running universe again.  I needed a nugget of the inspiration and public accountability that comes with a race.  Luckily, the month of August provided two great accountability methods for me to get back on track through virtual races and a little insta-accountability!

In an unbelievably timely way, Jost Running offered me the complimentary opportunity to participate in their virtual races for August through October.  The Nike Women’s Virtual Half Marathon was the only other virtual race I’d done and it was an amazing experience because A) it was the first time I’d ever run more than 10 miles B) it was my first race since middle school track and C) it gave birth to the amazingness that is Team Victorious!  Given my previous positive experience, it seemed like an awesome way to bump up my accountability while still training on my own terms to get back to where I knew I could be before we kick off race season here in Austin at the end of September.

A few fine ladies on instagram (Jen from Why I Run, Julia from Running on Om, Susie from Long Run Yoga, Toney from Ultra Toney Trainer, and Humble Beginnings Yoga) also started the month long #rogamonth challenge to get yogis running and runners yogi-ing(?) with the added accountability of an instagram community.  Heck, I can’t avoid it if I need to take a picture of it, can I!?

Go Running, Mama!- #rogamonth and Virtual Races

On the 5th day of Rogamonth, I did the Jost Virtual 5k benefiting ALS.  With a 30:16 finish, it certainly wasn’t my fastest but it was a great way to get myself moving again and to see my finisher stats alongside the other participants for encouragement.  If felt good to step out the door that morning knowing I was accountable for my time- whatever time my body might be ready for that day- and give ownership to my recovery training.  I’ll be doing the August Jost Half Marathon soon with the added challenge of running at high altitude, so I’m sure a hilarious recap will follow.

Additionally, I’ve been keeping up with my Rogamonth challenges.  Feel free to help keep me accountable on instagram… if for no other reason than to watch me yoga it up with my toddler or while vacuuming.  Hey, fit moms make it work!

Relax, Mama: Sun, Run & Fun

29 Jul Go Running, Mama!- Run, Sun, Fun during family vacations

It’s summer.

It feels like summer outside, but it doesn’t feel like summer in my mind.

Does that make sense?  It probably makes sense to most moms.

I started the summer with a sizable list of things I wanted to accomplish, and the list has grown instead of receding.  Not only are the to-do’s piling up, but I feel like I haven’t managed to squeeze in any of the fun summery things that make me love Austin oh-so-much.

*sigh*

During summer weekdays, the Baby Bird and I have only managed to make it to the pool once, Deep Eddy once, and Barton Springs once.  We haven’t made it to Art Park at all this summer.  We’ve squeezed in a bare minimum of green market visits.  We’ve yet to make it to visit the dairy goats to see “other mama’s who make milky.” (Oh yeah, I’m still nursing a toddler.  I may have neglected to mention that previously.)

It’s possible that my little scheduling blip while I had surgery several weeks ago is partially to blame.  It’s also possible that I’m learning to let go of all my highly idealized view of immersing my daughter in every experience under the sun to ensure she has the “best childhood possible” and instead am living in the moment with her more and more each day.  If we don’t get to take a “zoom zoom bus” ride through downtown to go see the “Texas Castle” (Capital building) and I don’t manage to have pictures of this fantastical journey to someday artfully arrange in her baby book we will all survive.  After all, you don’t have to have plans to make memories.

Relaaaaaax, Mama.

It’s a lesson both Baby Bird and the hubs are working hard to drive home for me which is good… because I’m a planner over-planner.

Sometimes my type-A tendencies can beat my hippie lala leanings into submission.

The hubs and I had a beautiful, organic, dog-friendly, earth-friendly, locally sourced wedding.  I planned it.  And the entire wedding party may have had color-coded schedules telling them where to be by the minute for three whole days.  And some of the guys still drank too much (that was NOT on the schedule) and were late to the rehearsal… and the wedding.  Guess what, Mama (See how I’m talking to myself here!?)? It didn’t detract from the experience or the memories at all.

Go Running, Mama- Sun, Run & Fun

When Baby Bird turned two I decided to scale back from the soiree I threw for her first birthday and just have a little play date lunch party at home. I made individual sized pizza crusts in the shape of Mickey silhouettes in that each child could customize for lunch (you know… totally laid back), created a craft, and made four dozen Mickey silhouette cookies iced in plain-white so that kiddos could decorate their own cookie with food markers. For an hour and a half long lunch party.  For two year olds.  The kiddos slapped together pizzas, ravenously gulped down Mickey faces, and then had playtime free for all.  Not a single cookie was decorated by a toddler.  No one left with their craft.  Guess what, Mama (reminder to me, once more)? It was fabulously fun and the Baby Bird still talks about it.

Go Running, Mama- Sun, Run & Fun

Even when we visited Walt Disney World for Marathon Weekend- a place where hyper planning with a toddler in tow makes you a genius instead of a nuisance- I managed to go a bit overboard with excel files, itineraries, and an ADR schedule truly unrivaled in quality and value (How do I know, you ask?  I created a spreadsheet, studied menus and costs, and basically became a WDW ADR actuary.  Is that a thing?  It should totally be a thing!).  And though the memories created by my countless hours of planning are priceless, I’ve come to realize that the little one would have been just as happy waving at characters in passing and the parking herself on a curb near the castle to spend the day watching stage shows and passing parades.  And those memories would have been just as magical (although not nearly as tasty and value-packed).

Go Running, Mama- Sun, Run & Fun

I’m letting go of the schedule reins just a bit.  I promise.

Thankfully, the people I love most give me little pauses here and there that help me remember how fabulous life can be when we get to enjoy just being.  The past weekend, my little fam got the chance to join my parents at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort for a mini-vacation… and a chance to refocus on such moments.

Having grandparents with us also gave us the added bonus of couple time without having to take a “couple” trip- we could hang out withe Baby Bird but also spend time on our own while the little one napped or needed quiet time.

I, of course, prepared for the weekend by creating a mental checklist of everything I wanted to do while there- run such-and-such distance at such-and-such pace each day, workout early each morning, study my French, menu plan for our big vacation trip, menu plan for the next few weeks……….

Go Running, Mama!- Run, Sun, Fun during family vacations

What actually took place on vacation strayed from my list just a bit.  I didn’t menu plan.  At all.

I didn’t study a single French term.  Or even read.

I didn’t write.

I didn’t even run all of my runs the way they were set on my training plan.

Go Running, Mama!

I did run though.

I ran once once treadmill (Yuck! I had forgotten how much I hate treadmills!) because of the temperature and once with my husband (HUGE luxury we don’t frequently get with a toddler at home). We also enjoyed the opportunity to work out in a gym each day while grandparents played with Baby Bird on the beach at the pool.

Beyond that, I spent a good deal of time enjoying the company of my daughter and husband in the sun (which for me means frequent layers of SPF 70 , a sunhat, a nice shady spot given my Melanoma situation.)  I closed out the weekend blissfully slowed down.

Go Running, Mama!- Run, Sun, Fun during family vacations

Perfect timing too, because this week is a “dead” week for us.  No playgroup, no dance camp, no parties to plan- just time with the Baby Bird!  Normally it’s the type of week where I would be inspired to dust off the list of things we haven’t accomplished yet this summer, but thanks to my weekend reminder of the beauty of each moment I’m planning for our week off to be a bit different.

We aren’t going to be held hostage by anything- today that means Baby Bird is building castles around her beagles and sporting pink training panties, I’m fitting in exercises amidst spontaneous activities,  and I’ll be running in the evening instead of the morning.

Tomorrow?  Who knows.

All I know is that it should be glorious.

And memorable.

I’m planning on it 😉