I really did mean to do a short write-up of my experience running the Red Rock 50 at the end of November, arguably one of the toughest 50-mile races out there (and conveniently in Santa Barbara’s backcountry). But time slipped away (doesn’t it always?), the holidays hit, etc. Plus, this is a blog about food, not running. But since the two are intertwined in my life, I want to talk a little more about running.
I’ve been what I would consider “a runner” for almost 9 years. The running path along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia is where I started to fall in love, and I did my first half-marathon a few months after moving to Santa Barbara. Somehow I managed to skip the marathon distance and go straight to ultramarathons (anything over 26.2 miles). I’m still not sure how it happened. I had started running the local trails, and when looking for races, the 50k distance kept popping up. So I went for it, and its now been 3 years since I successfully completed the Woodside 50k.
“When the going gets tough, remember to be thankful.”
A friend shared this phrase with me a few years ago, and it has since become my mantra for running. I really do very few races; I run because I just LOVE BEING OUTSIDE. As much as possible. I love the feeling of moving through the landscape, and the way I can connect on a different level no matter where I am. We’ve done some pretty neat runs in some of the most beautiful places on earth: the Sierras, the Tetons, the Dolomites, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Canyonlands… almost every vacation, we find our way beyond the tourists and have the place to ourselves. I love it. Not to mention, I’m so thankful for the fabulous people I have had the pleasure to share the trail with.
So what does running have to do with food? Everything, it turns out. You can’t run well without fueling the right way, and for the most part I eat healthy because I know it will make me a better runner. (That’s not to say I don’t overindulge in sweets once in awhile – I’m a sucker for cinnamon rolls.) I experimented with cutting out meat and dairy for ~6 months (but still eating eggs and sometimes fish), and I’m pretty sure that allowed me to run the fastest I ever have. Its also important to eat the right foods to help my body recover from long runs and prepare for the next one.
I enlisted a coach to help me train for Red Rock, and my legs were perfectly prepared for the race. Unfortunately I woke up with a stomachache, and had a pretty tough day overall. But still – I ran 52 miles and approx. 14,000 ft of elevation in one day. I did some pretty intense long days in training (I ran the famed 9 Trails course: 34 miles and 12,000 ft of elevation), and the combination of good coaching and nutrition is not to be beat!
I love running the trails on weekend mornings, and coming home to a breakfast like this. I’ts fast and easy to prepare, but also has some vital nutrients. Turmeric aids in reducing inflammation, the protein in the eggs helps to rebuild muscle, garlic helps to bolster your temporarily suppressed immune system, and the kale… what’s not to love about kale? I grow three different kinds, and have come to appreciate each prepared in different ways. I like lacinato (dinasaur) kale best in my smoothies, and curly or russian kales better when cooked. But find the kind you like, and then eat with abandon!
Scrambled Eggs with Kale
2 eggs per person, whisked in a bowl
Big handful chopped kale per person
1 clove garlic, chopped
Turmeric, Cumin, Salt and Pepper
Heat a cast iron pan (or your favorite skillet) over medium heat. Coat with olive oil, and briefly saute kale and garlic until the kale is wilted. Push to the side of the pan, and recoat with olive oil if needed. Pour the eggs in, and immediately sprinkle turmeric and cumin on top (I’d aim for about 1/8 tsp of each per person, or to taste). Scramble eggs to your liking, and when done mix with the kale. Serve with a grind of salt and pepper. (I like wheat toast or a scone, but whatever you like with your eggs!)
Filed under: October Challenge
Wow, here we are: a month after my last post! To say I got burned out on gardening would be an understatement. I knew it was coming (like, back in August) but managed to hold on until our fantastic Challenge week was over. I approached these last few months like I would a long distance race: even though your body is already hurting by mile 18, you dig a little deeper and manage to keep going for another 12 (or 32).
After October 8, I had a complete meltdown in terms of the garden. I hardly go out there or think about what to harvest. I’ve just barely been motivated to cook. And vegetables? Yeah yeah, I know I need to eat them. But I kind of don’t care which ones, they don’t really excite me. I’m mostly picking kale for smoothies, and making sure the last of the tomatoes and peppers don’t go to waste.
I’m (not really) sad to say that we didn’t finish out Eat Local Month. Asides from all the above reasons, it just seemed silly to go stock my cupboards with only local ingredients, when it was still stocked with lots of other food that I haven’t gotten around to eating (you know the type: bulk bin purchases, frozen items, etc). So instead I’ve been focusing on whittling down that stash. It might not be exciting, but that’s where I’m at right now.
I have managed to do a few canning projects though. One of my friends from the Challenge week had a crate full of club-sized zucchinis, so we’ve made endless quarts and pints of both dill and bread-and-butter zucchini pickles. I also made batches of tomato basil jam and green chile jam. Head start on Christmas presents, I say!
The one exciting garden harvest from the last week was our first pomegranate. The tree isn’t overly loaded this year, but its got a few good-sized fruits on it.
No recipes here… hopefully I’ll be re-energized soon and gain back my excitement about vegetables!
Filed under: Breakfast, Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: Eggs, green chile, onion, potato, tomato
Well here’s the short version: WE DID IT. We managed to eat very locally for seven full days. It was definitely not easy, but it truthfully wasn’t that hard either. I feel like I still have ideas left to continue on for another few days at least – if not as much variety in ingredients as when we first started. The weekend was a bit of a struggle to maintain motivation – I was tired of spending so much time in the kitchen, and thinking about what to eat next. Not to mention, I was unusually sore after my 20-miler on Saturday, and ready to add some more variety to our plates.
Yesterday all I could think about was “what will I eat tomorrow?” There wasn’t anything in particular I craved, but just the thought of free choice was really nice. However, after our group dinner last night I felt full and satisfied, and re-inspired to continue on with the Eat Local Challenge (100-mile radius, with some exceptions) for the rest of the month. The richness of braised goat, smoky vegetarian chili, three types of roasted squash (kabocha won out for flavor in my book – though smashing the 13 lb blue hubbard beast was a definite highlight yesterday!), and a swirl of mulberry blood orange mead for dessert. I think this week was a positive experience for all of us, and I’m looking forward to the ripples this week will create in my own outlook (and hopefully inspiration for others).
What I ate yesterday:
Green smoothie (kale, blueberries, plums, banana, amaranth, lime)
Potato Egg Scramble (potatoes, eggs, roasted tomatoes and green chile, onions)
Leftovers salad (millet, zucchini noodles, fava beans, corn, beans, roasted green chile, butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, cabbage)
Oranges, grapefruit, sapote, pickles, tomatoes, avocado
Vegetarian Chili, Millet/amaranth, roasted hubbard squash, pumpkin and kabocha, braised goat, potato and summer vegetable pie (potato, roasted peppers tomatoes, eggplant and onion), slow-cooked zucchini, pesto, avocado
Matt made a version of this potato egg dish on Saturday for me after my run, and I tweaked it just a bit with the addition of peppers, onion and tomatoes to move it into the home fries realm. I boiled the potatoes the night before, so it was a snap to put together after our Sunday run.
Potato Egg Scramble
2 cups parboiled potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 roasted green chiles, chopped
6-8 roasted tomatoes (or sun-dried would work great too)
1/4-1/2 onion, diced
4-5 eggs, beaten
Saute the onion over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add the potatoes after just a few minutes, then add in the tomatoes and pepper. Once its all hot and slightly brown, scoot it over to the side of the pan and add the eggs. Cook gently til done, then mix all together and serve with a grind of pepper and salt. Top with avocado or pesto if you have it.
Filed under: October Challenge, Running | Tags: lemon, lime, october challenge, orange
I really didn’t mean to miss a post yesterday, but the day just got away from me, and then last night I made cupcakes for a friend’s baby shower. That was probably the most challenging event of this whole week: not licking the lemon curd and frosting off my fingers! (Although you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be eating leftover lemon curd and frosting come Monday.) So here’s what I ate yesterday:
Amaranth porridge with blueberry-plum-honey compote, 1 orange, potatoes, 1 1/2 fried eggs
Green salad with butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, avocado, beans, millet, green beans, shredded scallop squash, kale
Grapefruit, orange, strawberry agua fresca
Sauteed fish, potatoes, corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes, sapote, canned apricots
This morning I had to run 20 miles as training for the Red Rock 50, an extremely challenging 50 mile trail race coming up at the end of November. All week I’ve been a little nervous about today’s run. In principle there was nothing to worry about, as I’ve eaten things like potatoes and oranges in 50ks before. I think I was concerned about taking in enough calories in the days beforehand to not start out with an empty tank. In any case, I made sure to eat a fair amount of carbs yesterday (millet, squash, potatoes, corn), and made a (not so good) green smoothie with extra banana and amaranth to get me started this morning. I actually felt mostly great on my run – maybe no better but certainly no worse than any other long run. It was a tough one too – a loop of Romero, Blue Canyon, and part of the Red Rock course, for a total of 19 miles and 5,300 ft of elevation gain.
Here’s what I ate today:
Green smoothie (cooked amaranth, banana, kale, brussels sprouts greens, plums, blueberries, orange)
During my run
Potatoes, figs, banana, electrolyte drink (added tangerine juice ice cubes)
Scrambled eggs and potatoes
Millet with avocado, butternut squash, balsamic vinegar
Gazpacho (tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, celery, lime, arugula, garlic)
Leftover lunch mixed with beans, fava beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, roasted green chile, cabbage. Acorn pancakes with rhubarb-plum-honey compote and elderberry syrup.
Homebrew Electrolyte Drink (similar to Gatorade, and adapted from this website)
Electrolytes are extremely important in long runs to help replenish lost fluids/salts/etc. I don’t really love the taste of most electrolyte powders/tablets, so I’ve been happy to find an easily made replacement.
1 lime, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
~1 tbsp honey
~1/2 tsp salt (start with less)
Combine in a 2 quart pitcher and add water to taste. You may want to add more juice, depending on how strong you like it.
Filed under: Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: edamame, frittata, goat cheese, kale, october challenge, onion, potato, tomato, zucchini
Today’s guest blog post comes from Mark Fennell, the instigator and mastermind behind the Eat-from-your-Yard Challenge week.
The only words from me will be what I ate today:
Green smoothie (greens, banana, plums, blueberries, strawberries, scallop squash)
Acorn pancakes w/ elderberry syrup, 2 eggs
Green salad with roasted butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, avocado, balsamic vinegar and leftover fish
1 apple, 1 orange, 1 grapefruit, pineapple guavas
Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce, beans, and roasted eggplant, peppers and onions; applesauce, sapote, canned apricots
Day Four, Kale, Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Frittata
by Mark Fennell
“But where will you get your protein?” That question was a common response I got after telling people about our Eat-from-the-Yard challenge, and it was often followed by the statement, “Oh, I could never go a week without meat!”
Well, it turns out you can indeed get adequate protein when eating from your yard (and the yards of your friends and neighbors). We prepared for our protein needs by planting several varieties of dry beans, including black turtle beans, kidney beans, and heirloom Pawnee bush beans. The plants grew quickly and thrived in our mild Santa Barbara summer weather. By mid-to-late September, the pods had dried and the beans inside were hard, which meant it was time to harvest. Each day I’d come in with a full bowl, and Gina and I would sit down and pop beans from their pods, occasionally chasing wayward ones across the room.
In total, we ended up with almost 8 cups of dry beans. At 11 grams per ¼ cup, the total protein content of our dry-bean harvest was 350 grams. Quite coincidentally, that’s about the recommended amount for one adult for a week!
But there are two of us, so we need additional sources of protein. We also planted a 4’-x-4’ bed of soy beans, which yielded about a pound and a half of edamame (immature soy beans in the pod). Plop a handful in salty boiling water, and five minutes later you have a tasty, protein-packed afternoon snack.
Another protein-rich crop we grew, albeit with more limited success, was quinoa. It’s prefers a higher-elevation cool environment, but I like experimenting in the garden so I planted it in a few spots around the yard. The soil quality and micro-climates varied, and some plants grew better than others. The quinoa grains are seeds that form in a large colorful flower on a thin center stalk. We harvested them when they were mostly dried. It was a shame to destroy the pretty quinoa bouquet, but we needed the grain, and after quite a bit of threshing and winnowing, we ended up with a little more than a cup of dry quinoa. That’s enough for a meal later in the week.
But not all our protein is coming from plants this week. Our four lively chickens continue to provide us with 2-3 eggs a day, and we sparingly use the milk and chévre we received in a trade with a friend who keeps pet goats.
So as we finish Day 4 of our Eat-from-the-Yard challenge, we have already enjoyed a bunch of healthy, tasty food and we’re neither protein-deprived nor hungry. Here is a list of what Gina and I have enjoyed thus far:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs topped w/ avocado & tomato; hash brown potatoes; canned apricots
- Lunch: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, grape juice, kale, honey)
- Snack: Edamame, tomatoes, roasted squash seeds
- Dinner: Fresh fish, baked butternut squash w/ goat cheese, sautéed kale w/ onions and garlic
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, OJ, nectarines, blueberries, goat milk)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover fish, goat-milk mozzarella, figs, apple, pickled green beans
- Mark Lunch: Fried new potatoes, over-easy eggs, “tangerine Julius” (tangerine juice & milk blended
- Dinner: Frittata (potatoes, eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, zucchini, onion), salad w/ avocado, tomato, and pickled green beans
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, kale, grape juice)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover fish, sautéed squash, apple
- Mark Lunch: Leftover frittata
- Snack: Edamame, figs
- Dinner: Spaghetti squash w/ marinara sauce, fish, roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, salad, goat-milk ice cream
- Breakfast: Smoothie (banana, blueberries, strawberries, grape juice, goat milk)
- Gina Lunch: Leftover frittata, apple, figs
- Mark Lunch: Leftover frittata, roasted butternut squash
- Dinner: Minestrone soup (beans, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, new potatoes, onions, oregano, hot pepper flakes)
Kale, Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Frittata
6-7 small potatoes
3 Tbl. Olive oil, divided
2 c. kale, chopped
1/4 c. oil-packed dried tomatoes
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 c. goat milk
1/2 – 3/4 c. goat cheese
Salt/pepper to taste
1. Boil whole potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain water and smash potatoes to flatten.
2. Place flattened potatoes on bottom of greased pie pan. Put a little oil on top of potatoes.
3. Bake in 400 degree oven about 10 minutes.
4. Sauté kale, onion, and zucchini in olive oil until tender.
5. In another bowl, mix eggs, milk, sun-dried tomatoes together. Add salt and pepper.
6. Put sautéed kale mixture on top of potatoes. Add crumbled goat cheese. Pour egg mixture over all.
7. Bake in 350 degree oven about 30 minutes until done.
Filed under: Main Dish, October Challenge | Tags: beans, eggplant, october challenge, peppers, tomato, zucchini
On Day Three I hit two extremes: very low blood sugar after a workout, and absolute satisfaction after dinner with our group. I needed to do a core workout yesterday, so I headed to The Dailey Method via my bike after a green smoothie. However, by the time I got to work afterwards, all I could think about was the orange in my backpack (that I’m not quite talented enough to eat while riding my bike). Fortunately I know the signs of so-called “bonking” and how to remedy it, but it still wasn’t fun.
After work, we headed over to Mark & Gina’s house for trading and a group dinner. I was pretty impressed with our spread: a butternut squash and goat cheese appetizer greeted us, accompanied by carrots and celery. I opened the bottle of elderberry wine that I traded for with my co-worker (thank you Kelly!), and we sat down to a filling dinner of spaghetti squash and sauce, green salad, rockfish, roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts, all doused with a generous sprinkling of goat cheese. (Matt and I decided to make an exception to our no-dairy rule for group dinners.) The real highlight though was dessert: goat milk strawberry mint ice cream. Yes, you heard that right- ICE CREAM. Enough said.
Yesterday’s trading got us: applesauce, pickles, dry beans, sapote, monkey coconuts, bananas, blueberries, rockfish, and arugula.
Here’s what I ate yesterday:
Green smoothie (Strawberries, blueberries, plums, greens, banana)
1 grapefruit, 2 oranges, 2 apples, roasted potatoes, pickles
Spaghetti squash fritters (squash, corn, onion, egg, cornmeal, lemon thyme) with fava bean avocado spread, sautéed brussels sprouts leaves, sauteed zucchini
Spaghetti squash, tomato sauce, goat cheese, salad (lettuce, avocado, tomato, dilly beans), roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts, butternut-goat cheese spread w/ carrots and celery, squash seeds, rockfish, goat milk strawberry mint ice cream w/ caramel sauce (goat milk and honey)
I finally managed to write down a plan for the next two days of what to make and when, so a flurry of cooking last night produced lots of goodies for today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We’re going to a lecture tonight at UCSB by Alex Honnold, so that meant in addition to packing lunch I needed to make dinner ahead of time as well. I’ve been hearing about zucchini noodles for awhile, so I decided to give it a shot. The easiest method involves a spiralizer, which if you’ve never used: go find one. It produced long strands of zucchini that, after sitting in salt for 15 minutes, look and feel exactly like traditional noodles. If you didn’t know they were zucchini, could you tell the difference?
Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables and Beans
3-4 small eggplant, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 bell pepper, cut similar size
1/2 onion, cut into slices
Your favorite tomato sauce
1 can of white or cannelloni beans, or 1-2 cups cooked beans (I used fresh shell beans that I boiled for ~20 minutes the night before)
Basil or other fresh herbs
Toss the eggplant, pepper, and onion with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375 for about 30 minutes (start checking around 25 to make sure it doesn’t burn). Stir every 10 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, either use a spiralizer to turn your zucchini into noodles, or use a vegetable peeler to cut thin slices. Put noodles into a colander and toss with some salt. Let it sit over a bowl for at least 15 minutes to drain excess water, until soft. Shake off the extra water and put into a bowl for serving.
At this point I tossed my noodles with heated-up tomato sauce, the vegetables, basil, and beans. But you could also plate individually (layer noodles, sauce, veggies, etc) to make it look a little nicer
Filed under: October Challenge, Salads, Smoothies | Tags: october challenge, quinoa, vegetarian
Today, Katie and Ben Haldeman will be my guest bloggers!
But first, a short recap of my day: Day Two was a little harder than yesterday, mostly because I started out with a run up Jesusita Trail. I felt a little sluggish, and I’m not sure if it was the heat or a lack of calories. I did a bit of trading with some other Eat Local Challenge participants to get oranges and avocados, and also picked about a dozen figs. Here’s what I ate today:
Green smoothie (Avocado, strawberries, pineapple guavas, celery, greens). Post run: 2 smashed potatoes and a fried egg
Spaghetti squash with roasted seeds, fava beans, tomato sauce, onions, and peppers
1 grapefruit, 2 oranges, 1 apple, 4 figs, cherry tomatoes, avocado
Corn on the cob, rockfish, roasted potatoes, sauteed zucchini, canned apricots
Day Two, Quinoa Salad
by Katie & Ben Haldeman
We have quite a stash for the week after the Sunday evening trading session, and plenty to last until the first group dinner. The tricky part is planning and timing: when to defrost, soak and cook so that things will be ready for the appropriate meal. Since we have different schedules every day, each day takes planning the night before and prep in the morning. I’m not familiar with how to cook and prep some of these foods (acorns, sunflowers, quinoa, etc.) so I find myself googling ‘how to . . .” more often than usual.
Even though it’s only Day Two, this challenge has both Ben and I more active in the kitchen, and it has also made for some logistical challenges (as I anticipated) around working dinners and lunches and group gatherings. Last night I had two meetings that would potentially have food, so we did some advanced planning to stick to the challenge while not being rude guests. I had my monthly Book Club gathering that featured all sorts of wonderful wines and fresh foods, so I snacked on avocado before the meeting and brought a bottle of wine instead of making a dessert dish like I usually do. We arranged the second meeting with our business partners over “Google Hangout” video chat, instead of going to their house for dinner as was initially planned. Since I would be getting home later, Ben made a wonderful fish and squash dish that also provided us with leftovers for tonight, as we will be short on time to make dinner since we’re going to see The Black Keys in concert at the Bowl!
We plan on doing smoothies for breakfast most of the week, as Ben is now a smoothie expert after we took Charity’s Green Smoothie Class. Ben does a smoothie routine in the morning while I get lunch together. I don’t like green things in my smoothies as much as Ben (sorry Charity) so he serves mine, then adds greens to the other half:
Smoothie (for 2)
2 C. goat’s milk
2 pineapple-guavas, whole (including skins)
1 C. ice
½ frozen banana
1 C. frozen apples
Handful of frozen blueberries and strawberries
½ to 1 whole avocado
Leafy part of Chard
For lunch, I finally used the quinoa I had so laboriously collected and winnowed from the plant parts. I briefly soaked the quinoa in an attempt to remove the bitter tasting saponins from the seeds, but I didn’t soak long enough, because the cooked product tastes more bitter than the store-bought stuff.
1 C. quinoa (well-rinsed)
2 med. sized tomatoes
1 carrot, grated
1-2 TBS olive oil
Juice from 1 large lemon
¼ C chopped parsley
3 sprigs of green onions
1 cucumber (if you can find a fresh one, I didn’t have one to use)
Salt & Pepper
Cook the quinoa using 2 parts water to 1 part grain. After cooking let sit for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Add all other ingredients and mix, then refrigerate.