What really matters after a race...

The food of course!

After running such a (mindboggling) distance as I did on Saturday, it is necessary to give the body proper fueling and rest so that you can recover quickly. I say (mindboggling) because there is a part of me that absolutely lacks the ability to comprehend the type of distance that I covered or the type of effort it takes anyone to do something like that. Maybe that's why ultrarunners keep coming back for more, we remember that nice afterglow but at least I don't have an ability to get my mind around it. It was this way last year, I always kept waiting for it to sink in and it never did. In the week after a race, I often times have to remind myself that there is a reason that I am tired, sore, hungry all the time, etc. The body and mind are amazing adaptable things. If I had ever thought about just how far ultras are or try to wrap my head around the distance first, I never would have run my first race. I am simultaneously trying to be smart about resting and get back on to training for WS. Here it is Thursday and I am thinking, ok I should feel all better now. I have to laugh that I even think that, when I look back to my first marathon, less than three years ago, and remember that I took 3 weeks off/easy after that first race. I have come so far in 3 years and that even more so than the distances, boggles my mind but at the same time makes me excited and curious to see what the next several years will hold for me for I have just begun!

Now on to the food...

Part of being in recovery is having a bit more time on my hands since I don't have quite so many workouts to do. Part of racing is also having a lot of time to sit around doing nothing and so I had put together some menu plans for my week while hanging around post race. Monday I cooked 4-5 things before work, including delicious cookies for my coworkers. Tuesday when I came home from work quite hungry, I made 3 separate dishes that were all so delicious!

Eat Dessert First

I got this cookie recipe from off the bag of Gluten-Free Oats that I have and I merely Veganized it. But I have also included the non-veganized substitutes here. There was a part of me that was being cheeky when I made these cookies. I just find there is some irony in going for my first race while at this job, winning and then coming back to work with fresh baked homemade cookies. I think my coworkers don't know what to do with me. But they definitely knew what to do with those cookies. Comments included, "I am really picky about my oatmeal cookies and these rock", "wow this is the best cookie I have ever had", "amazing that a cookie can be crumbly and so smooth at the same time" "Martha Stewart watch out". I had been a bit worried that the texture would throw some of them off since they are pretty crumbly (eat with two hands and a napkin), but figured the flavor would hold them up and it did.

Monster cookies

1/4 cup earth balance shortening or butter, room temp
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg equivalent for egg replacer or 2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3 cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats (normal oats will work for normal people)
6 oz of Vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Beat sugar, brown sugar and shortening until creamy. Add egg replacer (prepared), vanilla, baking soda and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and (optional) 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped-I didn't do this but feel free! Place large spoonfuls of dough on parchment paper covered baking sheet (I made mine with a 1/2 cup scoop) about 2 inches apart and press down on top with scoop to reduce thickness. I actually would recommend no more than 1/4 cup to reduce some of the fally-apartness. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around edges. Then try not to eat them all in one sitting...

What a Jerk!

Jerk Portobello mushrooms that is. I got this recipe from Vegan Planet which is my current Veganomicon, if you know what I mean. I just can't get enough of it! While the cookies were cooling, after I had already made my salad mix for the week and homemade Tarragon-Dijon dressing, I put together my lunch which included Jerk Portobello mushrooms with Green Apple Salsa over garlic rice with a side of sauteed red pepper broccoli. Absolutely delicious!

I'm really a nice mushroom
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed.
1/4 cup evoo

1. Mix together in a shallow bowl the brown sugar through the nutmeg. Set aside.
2. Coat the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then coat them evenly with the spice mixture. Rubbing them to make sure they are thoroughly covered. Heat the remaining olive oil i a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Serve hot. Top with Green Apple Salsa.

Green Apple Salsa
2 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup minced scallions
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cut minced fresh mint leaves

1. Place the apples in a medium sized bowl after chopping. Add the jalapenos, scallions, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Just before serving, stir in the mint. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.

Around the world in 80 bites

After a long day at work on Tuesday, all I wanted was to come home and eat some delicious food. While most peoples idea of relaxing may not be creating three separate dishes and cooking for an hour after work, it is very meditational and rewarding to me. I made three dishes that spanned the world of taste: Curried Sweet Potatoes and Peas, West Coast Chili and Soy Glazed Green Beans. Fabulous just fabulous.

Curried Sweet Potatoes and Green Peas
peanut oil
1 small yellow or red onion, minced
1 large sweet potato, baked until tender, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 garlic clove, minced
curry powder
fresh cumin

Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until soft 5 mins. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. I didn't put specific amounts on the spices because they aren't exactly measure. Cayenne should be only a dash though. I believe I might have added a dash of Garam Masala as well.

Soy Glazed Green beans
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons peanut oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup (or more-enough to cover) Wheat Free Soy Sauce

1. Lightly steam the green beans or parboil them until just tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden. I find it helps to tilt the pan and pool the oil in the edge (carefully!) so the garlic can be fully submerged. Add the green beans and saute for a minute or three to make sure they are heated throughout and fully tossed with the garlic. Pour in the Soy Sauce and crank up the heat to high. It should vigorously boil. You are reducing the soy sauce down to a glaze, so let it boil like this until it is reduced and the green beans are glazed (there will be maybe 2 tbsps of liquid in the pan).

West Coast Chili (another great recipe from Vegan Planet)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 med yellow onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups water
2 15 ounce cans cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
2 ripe avocadoes, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 cup pitted and slice black olives

1. Heat evoo in large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, wine, water,beans, salt and pepper. Simmer until flavors are blended and the desired consistency is achieved, about 30 minutes.
2. Serve hot, topped with avocados and olives.