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Cheesy Spinach Dip Biscuits

26 Aug

Check out these bad boys.

Spinach Dip Biscuit

These babies are A-MA-ZING and super easy to make. Here’s the how-to:

Ingredients

1 package of Pillsbury biscuit dough
6 tbsp of cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
2 cups of chopped spinach 1 garlic clove
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 cup of mozzarella

Directions (preheat at 350F)

– Fry spinach and garlic in olive oil. Meanwhile, spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Separate the biscuits, flatten and put at the bottom of the muffin tin.
– When spinach is wilted, mix all the ingredients (except the mozzarella) in a bowl. Spoon about 1 tbsp of mixture on the flattened biscuit.
– Top each biscuit with mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes.
– Makes 10 biscuits

Voila! These biscuits are so tasty and have an awesome hint of salt and chili. It’s a nice side or appetizer for a small crowd.

I found this funny video on the Runner’s World website on runners’ hand signals between motorists.

For the most part I have a good relationship with motorists because I don’t assume they see me. But when they do see me and they are clearly in the wrong it’s a good thing I’m normally wearing sunglasses and they cannot see my evil stare.

Hand Signals

Hand Signals

I still haven’t figured out how to insert a video so you’ll have to click on “Hand signals” to view the video.

Have you had to use hand signals with motorists? Have you been vocal with motorists? I would sometimes like to be vocal with some motorists but you never know who can be behind the wheel. I live in a small-ish town and I don’t want to risk making a bad impression. Besides motorists, do you wave to other runners/cyclists? Or are you too much in the zone to notice others on the sidewalk?

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Energy Bites

30 Apr

I’m happy to announce that my hours (although not as many as Mark would have liked) on the trainer have paid off! I have completed two hill repeat sets – one last Tuesday and one today – and a long ride. Although the hill repeats were extremely hard and I felt my heart was going to explode out of my chest, the long ride was a lot of fun and I was proud when I finished the whole 56km. I know, strange kilometerage but I got a little lost which tacked on a few kilometres.

Of course, the trainer has prepped my muscles for long rides and holding myself up on the handle bars. It did not, however, prep me when I could not unclip my shoes fast enough. I had a pretty nasty fall with a couple of good scrapes and bruises to show for it. Nothing too damaging though.

With my biking and running right on course for where it should be in my training, I suppose I should mention a little something about swimming. I have been going to the pool early in the morning quite faithfully twice a week and debating whether I want to add a third swim. There is an other triathlete with whom I share a lane with who is good motivation. He is quite an experienced swimmer, friendly and offers great advice.

Since my swim workouts are early in the morning and I’m an a big breakfast eater, I am always looking for a good quick snack before my swim. I often turn to toast and peanut butter but sometimes I feel it is too filling. I recently came across these Energy Bites that are just the right amount of food for a morning swim.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  3. 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  4. 1/2 cup of ground flaxseed
  5. 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 hour. When chilled, roll mixture into 20 – 25 balls. Keep Energy Bites in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Per serving: 86 calories; 8 gramsof  carbs; 5 grams of fat; 3 grams of protein; 2 grams of fiber; 4 grams of sugar.

A successful batch of hummus

18 Mar

I have struggled for months to make the perfect batch of hummus.  It’s either come out too dry, tasting too much of tahini or too garlicky. But in an attempt to curb all those problems I thought: “What if I added a bit of yogurt?” My goodness! The heavens themselves parted with that revelation! The result was the perfect mixture of flavours and consistency for veggie dunking and falafel spread.

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Now that I have discovered the secret to perfect hummus, I will impart it onto to you: 1/4 cup of plain yogurt. That’s all!

I have now refocused my training to Half-Ironman training. Mark and I are doing the Peterborough Half-Tri in July. That does not give me much time to get my butt into shape so I need to focus on discipline. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the weather co-operated. It is now mid-March and we are still under winter storm warnings in the GTA. Although it is not heavy snow fall, it’s slush, ice pellets and freezing rain. Not really the kind of weather in which you want to spend much time. Regardless, I am in the midst of creating a training schedule that I will post here for anyone who is curious.

Most of my training for at least another month or so will be indoors in the pool or the bike trainer. Saturday afternoon I came home from work to my living room looking like this:

DSC00955If that’s not a big hint, I don’t know what is! Mark cycled for 3hrs whereas I did 1.5hrs. It was my second ride over an hour and I made an effort to stay in high gears than the previous ride. To stay motivated we watched a Tour of California stage with some high tempo music. I find that kind of audio and visual distracting very beneficial. I find my mind just turns off and I spin. But I need to be careful that might cadence does not drop in those instances.

I tried something new for dinner. I made a spaghetti squash casserole with roasted tomatoes, white kidney beans and garlic. It was delish!

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To roast the toppings, marinate grape tomatoes, garlic and white kidney beans in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and parsley for a few minutes. Then roast in the oven for 30 minutes. When both the mixture and spaghetti squash are done, toss them together and add a bit of Parmesan cheese. A great low-carb Sunday dinner.

Tracking nutrition

13 Feb

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Oh to be a cat! Life would be so simple…

But as an athlete and a vegetarian, life isn’t as simple. You need to make sure that the food you are eating is making a healthy and useful contribution to the overall function of your body. There is so much food one must eat in the course of a day to maximize health and performance during a workout/training session.

I’ve recently started tracking my food on MyFitnessPal to see where I could improve. I also wanted some accountability. I know no one is watching over my account but you never know who may stumble upon my food log. I know, bizarre irrationality but hey, it works! Anyway, you can friend me on MyFitnessPal here if you have an account and if you don’t, you can still see my food log.

Now that’s over with, one source of nutrition I’ve been struggling with is protein. I keep craving sweets and I’m pretty sure it’s caused by a lack of protein. I had made Peanut Butter Protein Balls that I found on Desserts with Benefits blog. I loved them! I hid them from Mark so they were my little secret. Eventually he found them in the freezer. Anyway, I decided to try something new this week. I came across Recovery Rice Crispies on Pinterest and thought I’d give them a try. Mine did not turn out as firm or thick as the picture, but it’s tasty anyway. I’ll keep them in the freezer and that’ll keep everything together. Here is the recipe if you don’t want to be directed to another page.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Rice Crispies
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup Plain Oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 scoop 100% Whey Protein Powder (any flavour, I used chocolate)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 F, spraying a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray.
Melt the butter and honey over the stove. Add vanilla. As you add the whey protein, keep whisking the mixture as you would to make an alfredo sauce.
Add the mixture to the pan. I drizzled some extra honey on top for extra “glue.”
Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes or until crisp.
Let cool then slice and serve.

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Sugar Free Pumpkin Muffins

12 Feb

The weather here has been just awful! We were hit with a big storm last Friday. There was so much snow that the sidewalks still haven’t been properly cleaned. I doubt now that they will actually be cleared of snow. This has, obviously, made running very difficult. The snow melted a bit yesterday but has frozen over night so now the sidewalks are snow covered and icy. In order to keep up my cardio, I’ve been cycling almost everyday. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the spring – I am so done with snow!

In the meantime, my best friend, Natalie, is coming to visit me next week! We met just over two years ago in our first class at college. We clicked instantly! We had similar backgrounds and have continued to follow our shared interests together in the last few years. We both love running, eating healthy and besting each other at cribbage! Unfortunately we no longer live in the same city so when we get together we make it worth while! Natalie is spending the entire weekend with Mark and I. I’ve got a whole menu planned along with activities, sight seeing and, of course, lots of cribbage!

I’ve already started prepping for this weekend. This morning, I made Sugar-free Pumpkin Muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 375F and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Once stirred, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir using a wooden spoon until moistened.
  4. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes

Each muffin contains 122 calories, 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

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Sunday Bake Series – Oatmeal Banana Bread

10 Sep

While I’ve been away for the last two weeks I really had to continue with my bake series. But I have an excuse for not fulfilling my blogging duty yesterday: I was exhausted from a 30km run. I normally do my long runs on Saturday but when I woke up that morning it was pouring rain. There was no way I was going out for a 3hr run in the rain. Now this wasn’t just a drizzle, it was big ol’ fat rain and lots of it. So I decided that I would have to switch my run to Sunday.

While it was a good run, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it. My last two weeks haven’t been completely faithful to my mileage due to travel. But I did try to run every day and that was pretty successful at completing various distances. Anyway, my body did pretty good for its first 30km. However, by about 23km my hip was really sore. I stopped running to take my gel and when I re-started to run, it was reduced to a limpy run while I got back into a groove my hip was comfortable with. I struggled with it, it disappeared for a bit and when I got closer to home the pain came back. My muscles and aerobic capacity was not a problem throughout the run which gave me a big amount of confidence. Now, I just have to nurture this hip. I’m going to swim at noon before work for some low impact exercise.

For today’s baking I made a loaf of banana bread from a recipe I got from Sarah Cupcake. I’m trying to free up space in the freezer and fridge by using left overs and all our produce. I’ve noticed lately that we’re wasting some food and I want to stop that. Last night we made Veggie Soup with all kinds of veggies. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can put in any kind of vegetable.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 large bananas, ripe
3 tsp canola or walnut  oil
1 large egg
2 medium egg whites

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil, egg and egg whites and mix thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.

Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes.

Blueberry oatmeal cookies

14 Aug

I wanted to make something different besides my usual granola bars or poppy seed loaf. I was getting the feeling that Mark was getting bored of the usual treat so I was thinking along the lines of raisin oatmeal cookies. But then I looked in the fridge and saw the fresh blueberries I had purchased from the farmer’s market on Saturday. The raisins were out and the blueberries were in!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of blueberries
  • 8 tbsp on butter (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour (I did 1 cup all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups of oats (not instant)

Directions:

  • Preheat at 350F
  • With a mixer or by hand, beat the butter, apple sauce, brown and white sugar. Using a mixer is best but I had to do it by hand because Mark was sleeping from night shift.
  • When fluffy, add egg and egg while, milk and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the batter and beat until the flour is absorbed.
  • Fold in the oats and then the blueberries.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.

Also, when I was making pancakes last Thursday, my pancake batter took this form:

A shell! Isn’t that neat?! I thought it was cool…

It’s a gloomy day and I’ve got a 15km run ahead of me sometime today… when I get around to doing it. These cloudy days just suck the life out of me. Luckily, working from home allows me to get up and go whenever motivation finds me. I’m thinking it’ll come sometime mid-afternoon.