As I shared earlier with the Tahini Marinated chicken, there is nothing worse than bland chicken. I can’t say it enough, so expect it a couple more times. So with some chicken thighs in the freezer, I was looking for a new flavor combination to give the chicken some life (…the irony doesn’t go unnoticed). I stumbled upon a cookbook that Erika gave me for my birthday (or maybe graduation, but either way a present) and landed on a Moroccan chicken recipe. 

And because it’s my birthday tomorrow, it is like Erika’s gift keeps on giving. Because this chicken is truly a gift. Grilling the thighs keeps everything juicy, with the added help of molasses and honey creating a nice crispy exterior. Served with rice and some grilled bok choy, the sauce drizzled over it all…a dinner worthy of a birthday eve.


Moroccan Chicken (serves 4)

Adapted from The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook

The Stuff

For the chicken and marinade:

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 minced garlic cloves

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup local honey

1/4 cup molasses

8 boneless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

2 cups chicken stock

2 carrots thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

Salt and pepper to taste 

Toasted Almonds for serving (about 1/4 cup)

1. Make the marinade. Heat the oil in a small sauce pan, and add the garlic, coriander, and cinnamon. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the honey and molasses and heat until bubbling. Split the marinade in half (put in two separate bowls to cool).

2. Once cooled, pour half the marinade into a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken thighs and salt, massage, and place in the fridge for at least two hours (up to 24, I did mine for 6).

3. When you are about 45 minutes from your desired dinner time, start the rice. Meanwhile begin the sauce. Pour the second half of the marinade into a sauce pan, along with 2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minute stirring occasionally. Add the chopped apricots and carrots, and cook for another 20 minutes.

4. Once you’ve added the apricots and carrots, cook the chicken. Our grill heats up fast, so I started the grill right when the marinade sauce began to boil. On a grill that is medium-high, cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes each side. 

5. When the chicken is done and resting, mix the cornstarch with the water. Pour this mixture into your sauce to thicken that baby up. Serve with rice and a vegetable of your choice, and dinner is not only tasty but also served!

And some other things I ate this week… (And a raw cake I want to make)

Roasted salmon with parsley, a simple salad and fresh spinach pasta with pesto!

People often think that just because I’m an athlete things like bacon are off the table. I’m here to say bacon is ALWAYS on the table.

Some awesome pork tacos courtey of the New York Times with quick pickled onions, chard, salsa and avocado on corn tortillas!

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013807-carnitas-braised-in-witbier

And this raw cake is beckoning… It is my birthday tomorrow after all :)

I feel like I am pretty good at covering all of my nutritious food bases throughout a day. I eat a wide variety of dishes, eat until I’m full, and then eat again an hour later. But around this time of year- without fail- I go through salad burn out. With all of the amazing fresh and local salad ingredients, for the months of June and July I pretty much don’t go a day without some kind of leafy green side dish.

Don’t get me wrong- I still love vegetables. But I stop wanting them chopped up and mixed on top of a bed of greens. So I get conflicted- I know I need the vegetables, but need a new way to consume them.

So I add bacon.  I skip the leafy green stuff and get straight to the goods. I make this 10 minute broccoli bacon salad. It covers all the bases both nutritionally, texturally, and taste bud-y. Walnuts for crunch and some healthy fats, raisins for sweetness, bacon for goodness, and broccoli and red onion for nutritious-ness. And of course my go-to Greek yogurt for some creaminess, and local honey to fight the allergies. I’ll be eating this on repeat (or for at least two more lunches, the recipe serves three of me).

The What

2 broccoli heads, cut into bite size florets

1/2 small red onion

Handful (my very precise unit of measurement) chopped walnuts

Handful raisins

6 pieces cooked bacon, chopped

1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

The How

Literally so easy. Put the broccoli, onion, walnuts, raisins and bacon into a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine the yogurt, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small dish. Pour over the dry goods and mix completely. Serve right then, or put in a Tupperware. This kind of dish tastes just as good (if not better) after a day or two in the fridge.

Two more kitchen highlights:

Real sourdough bread. Just flour and sourdough starter. I’m so pleased (and a little surprised) that it turned out so well!

Chicken legs that I cooked under a brick (yes, a brick) with brown rice and ine of the aforementioned salads I’m a little burnt out on.

Check back next week for some homemade Graham crackers I’m perfecting, and an energy ball recipe I’m working on for the Birkie foundation!

Simple is good. So for this week’s recipe round up, I’m sharing some no-recipe-recipes. These are perfect quick meals for anytime- ideal for a mid-summer rest week. There is plenty of room for substitution- so use this as a template for your own creativity. Or if you’re a mosquito, skip this and just chomp on this writer.


This is an empty the fridge bowl. Since I was leaving Stratton for the week, going to the grocery store seemed excessive. So I opened the fridge to bacon and eggs (two things I always have in the fridge), some leftover polenta, and the last remnants of a successful early week farmers market visit. Oh, and some Parmesan.

Cook polenta according to package instructions (I use corn meal and chicken stock for mine, and add a good amount of butter at the very end for some added richness and deliciousness). Preheat oven to 425, and toss vegetables with some olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. When you put the vegetables in, fry up some bacon. Once cooked, set bacon aside but DO NOT DUMP THE LEFTOVER GREASE. Use it to fry your eggs. Crack eggs into the hot pan, and don’t touch ‘em! This will give you a nice crispy edge. Cook until whites are set. Put some polenta in the bottom of a serving bowl, then put down your vegetables, the eggs, and finally sprinkle with chopped bacon and some Parmesan. Dinner is served!


Some simple pizza inspiration. I made a sourdough crust with my starter, and topped with some parsley pesto. Then I used some leftover baked chicken (another fridge staple), peaches, sugar snap peas, green onions, goat cheese and a sprinkling of chopped pecans. For an added treat, get yourself a little dish of honey to dip the crust in. Also a cute bicycle pizza cutter doesn’t hurt.


This recipe from the New York Times for corn basil pasta is incredible. I used my ancient grains fusilli for the pasta, but your favorite brand would work. For some serious protein I grilled up a pork chop (well two, one for lunch the next day).


French toast a la me! I used some of my whole wheat sourdough, and soaked the pieces in a mixture of two eggs, a little maple syrup, a dash of vanilla and a sprinkling of cinnamon, I topped it with Greek yogurt, blueberries and roasted peaches- but French toast is a wonderful place to use up anything you have left in the pantry. To roast the peaches (which everyone should do), set your oven to the broiler setting. Halve a peach (or two, I won’t tell), and add a small piece of butter to the middle, drizzle with maple syrup and a little cinnamon. Put onto a baking sheet lined with foil skin side down, and broil for 8-10 minutes. The peaches will just begin to carmalize and be soft to the touch.


And for the simplest recipe…get some good sourdough bread, toast, slather with almond butter, slice a dried fig to put on top and drizzle with honey. Adult peanut butter toast :)


Okay I lied. For the SIMPLEST recipe, get yourself to River’s eatery in Cable, Wisconsin, fill out your order sheet, sit back and let them do the cooking for you.

Few things excite me more than a new cookbook. Especially as a present. Especially when that cookbook is a goldmine for new recipes. So when Thomas presented me with Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook, I was out of this world excited. I immediately cozied up on the couch, and read the book from cover to cover. 

A few things became immediately clear. One, Chrissy is my soul celebrity.   She appreciates food in a way few do, viewing the whole cooking and eating process as a healing, at times almost religious, ritual. Two, the woman isn’t afraid to indulge, even though she is a swimsuit model.  She understands the balance between primarily healthy eating, while not restricting yourself from some of life’s greatest pleasures (hot dogs). Three, I have to make every recipe in the book.

The biggest stressor with every new cookbook is where to start.  When every recipe looks like a winner, you just have to drop the book and see where it opens.  I also get quite excited for a good bowl of pasta, and with an upcoming volume week in training I figured I might as well kick off the week with carbs. I used some Vermont Fresh pasta for this recipe, because I can’t go back to boxed fettuccini.  I modified this recipe to last me two meals, and doubled the chicken because protein.

   

  Sesame Chicken Noodles

Serves 2 

Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s book Cravings: Recipes for all the food you want to eat

The stuff

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (preferably 2 8 ounce breasts)

6 ounces pasta of choice (but long noodles are a must)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 tablespoons tahini

1.5 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or red if that’s what you have!)

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

2 scallions

The how

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add a generous amount of salt.  Add the chicken breasts, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from water, but save the water for your pasta! Shred with two forks (or your hands)
  2. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients (except the scallions) in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Bring the chicken water back to a boil, and add your pasta. Cook according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and dry to the best of your ability with paper towels.
  4. Add chicken and cooled pasta to your sauce bowl and toss until well coated. Dole out your individual servings (for me that was one for now and one for tomorrow!) and garnish with scallions.
  5. Take a pretty picture, because this baby is worth it.

One other quick pasta recipe (no picture, but still delicious)

Serves one

The stuff

3 ounces pasta (I used the ancient grains pasta!)

4 ounces Italian chicken sausage (or pork or turkey)

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Handful cherry tomatoes

1 zucchini

1/2 a medium onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

The How

1. Preheat your oven to 375. Halve your cherry tomatoes, and using a mandolin or very sharp knife slice your zucchini and onion into very thin slices. Toss with olive oil, put on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet and cook your Italian sausage.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.

4. Toss your vegetables, sausage, and pasta into a bowl with Greek yogurt, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

…And one other dish you definitely need to give a try. This salmon comes together in a real life 15 minutes, ideal for a busy weeknight when you want to be an Instagram worthy gourmet.

 

The easiest and tastiest salmon from the NYT cooking section, with brown rice and fresh green beans! http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/5703-salmon-roasted-in-butter

 

  

When I go to bed at night, I usually fall asleep thinking about what I’m going to be making for breakfast the next day.  In fact sometimes I can’t wait to fall asleep, because I’m so excited about what I’ll be cooking up in just nine short hours.  Further, breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day.  You can go so many directions- even toast can be spruced up to suit savory or sweet hankerings (or both at the same time).  The endless cooking options for eggs is liberating, and anything with greek yogurt in it is an instant favorite.  If I could, I’d eat breakfast every single meal of the day.

USST Roller Ski 6.30.16-2657-XL

Listening to Pat or figuring out tomorrow morning’s breakfast? You decide. Reese Brown/ SIA Nordic Photo.

 

The only unfortunate thing with breakfast is it is typically the meal right before training.  So as much as I love a big, hearty, can’t-eat-till-dinner type dish, I’ve been forced to find breakfast meals that simultaneously fill me up but leave me feeling ready to tackle anything from threshold intervals to three hour runs.  I’ve taken particular care to make my breakfasts photogenic this week to provide you with some nutritious and delicious waking-with-the-sun bowls and plates.  I’ll include a recipe for some high protein pancakes, a sweet and savory toast combo, and the best steel cut oat bowl I’ve ever had.

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High protein pancakes, my pre 2 hour specific strength breakfast.

 

The Ingredients

1/2 ripe banana

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1 egg + 1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour (makes these nice and thick- for thinner pancakes substitute another flour!)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

dash of salt

The How

1. Put all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth (45-60 seconds)

2. Heat a non-stick medium sized skillet over medium heat

3. Once hot grease skillet (butter is my go-to), and use a 1/4 cup measure to make your cakes.  Cook for 3-4 minutes a side (until golden).  To add fruit, once you’ve put the pancakes on the skillet add a small handful to each cake.  I like this better than stirring the fruit into the batter.

4. Top with all of your favorite toppings- I love more greek yogurt, berries, granola, nut butter…bacon (try it with bacon and blueberries-delicious!).

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Sweet and Savory toast.  This was my recovery day breakfast.  I’m currently wrapping up a recovery week after a big June of training, so all I had on tap for that day was a 45 minute ski with mobility and yoga after.  Even though it is a recovery day doesn’t mean you can get away without breakfast!

The Ingredients

2 pieces high quality wheat bread (I made my own using a sourdough starter)

2 eggs (preferably local to get that bright orange yolk!)

Your favorite cheese (I’m not normally a big cheese with eggs person, but Jessie recently returned from Norway bringing me back my all time favorite- Norwegian brown cheese- the best!)

1 tablespoon of your favorite nut-butter

1 fig

Cinnamon, shredded unsweetened coconut, honey (optional)

 

The How

First roast your figs.  Pre-heat your oven to its broiler setting.  Slice one fig into thin pieces, and lay out onto a baking sheet (I covered my sheet with a small piece of parchment paper to minimize clean up).  Drizzle with honey, and place in oven for 5 (ish) minutes.  The timing depends a lot on your own specific oven, so check often.  You don’t want them to burn, but you want them to get some color and really bring out the earthy fig flavor.

While the oven is pre-heating, make your hard-boiled eggs. There are a lot of different methods, but I like to place two eggs in a medium sauce pan, and fill with cold water to completely cover the eggs by 1-2 inches.  Bring water and eggs to a boil, and once the boil is really rolling remove from heat and cover.  Set a timer for 10 minutes, rinse with cold water and peel.  Slice each egg into 4-5 pieces.

Once you have your eggs peeled and your figs roasted, toast your bread.  On one slice slather on your favorite nut butter and top with roasted figs, shredded unsweetened coconut and some cinnamon.  On the other put on a thin layer of your cheese, put eggs on top, then salt and pepper to taste.

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Best ever steel cut oats bowl. I used this as fuel for a three hour run along the Vermont Appalachian Trail!  I prefer the texture of steel cut oats to rolled oats, but obviously either would work for this purpose!

 

The Ingredients

1/4 cup steel cut oats

1 cup nut milk (I’ve been making my own but without the dates or vanilla!)

1 cup greek yogurt

Local fruit

Your favorite nut-butter

Cinnamon, shredded unsweetened coconut, chia seeds (other fun toppings!)

The How

1. Bring the nut milk to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Once boiling add your steel cut oats, stir, cover, and bring down to a simmer.  Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. **I like to double or even triple this single serving recipe of oats so I have some already to go for coming mornings**

2. Put cooked oats in a bowl. Spoon yogurt on top, and on top of that put your favorite fruits and nut butter.

And that’s it!  Super easy, but quick, filling, and most of all delicious :)

 

Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, claims to have invented Caesar Salad (modestly named) during a July Fourth rush at his San Diego restaurant when he ran out of his normal ingredients.  Making due with what little he had in his kitchen, he came up with the classic and everlasting salad dressing.  Normally Caesar dressing involves a lot of work and whisking, and also contains an element of risk.  Due to the usual involvement of raw emulsified egg yolks, salmonella can be a concern.  To avoid that problem, most dressings turn to mayonnaise to achieve the creamy texture.

Nothing against mayo, but anything that can last literally years on a shelf has to contain a certain number of unnatural ingredients and preservatives, which science consistently tells us to avoid like the plague.  The only problem: I love creamy dressings and dipping sauces.  So, I turned to my forever friend greek yogurt.  Subbing greek yogurt for mayonnaise doesn’t sacrifice any flavor, and simultaneously adds a little protein to my salad dressing.  Yes please!

I threw together this dressing to toss with some kale and pasta to create an all-in-one side, and served it with some roasted chicken to round out the meal.  It was a quick, easy, and insanely delicious comfort food, perfect for after a big day of training.

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Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chicken

 

Kale Caesar Pasta Salad

Recipe adapted from "The Forest Feast" by Erin Gleeson

The Base

1 bunch kale

1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

3/4 cup (dry) of your favorite pasta (I’m currently really loving this ancient grain fusilli)

The Dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon grainy dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Make the dressing.  Put all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth.  This will make more dressing than you need for the “base” of the salad, but it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

2.  Prepare pasta according to package instructions.  Once you drain it, rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

3. Prepare your kale, chiffonade style.  Cut off the tough stems at the bottom, and place each kale leaf on top of one another.  Roll the kale lengthwise to create a “straw” of kale, and then cut into small ribbons using a sharp knife.  Place kale in bowl, and add a teaspoon of olive oil.  Massage your kale until the fibers have released (you will get a distinct “earthy” smell and the kale will be dark green and shiny).

3. Toast your pine nuts.  Be extremely careful, as these little guys go from not toasted to burnt in about 10 seconds.  Give your full attention to this process, and make sure you are constantly shaking and stirring the nuts in the pan.  Once toasted (you will get a nutty smell and they will just start to turn a nice golden brown) remove from heat, and chop into very tiny pieces.  Let cool.

4. Put cooked pasta, cooled pine nuts, parmesan and anywhere from 1/4-1/2 cup of the prepared dressing in a bowl and mix until everything is coated.  Start with a 1/4 cup dressing, and add as you see fit to get maximum flavor without drowning the kale in dressing.

5. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, and then enjoy!

 And some other things I ate this week…

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An elaborate snack. As previously mentioned, I have a sourdough starter so I’ve been a baking machine. I tried out King Arthur Flour’s whole wheat sourdough recipe, and it worked out beautifully. I roasted some tomatoes for the base (cut cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes), made some hard boiled eggs and topped it off with some crispy bacon and sunflower greens.

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Taco night! I switched out pork for skirt steak (iron!) in a New York Times Cooking recipe, Vietnamese Tacos. Slow cooker meals are awesome, especially on double workout days.

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And coming at ya later this week…Patriotic High Protein Pancakes!

 

 

I’m currently drowning in sweat (and seltzer) on this very hot rest day.  It is the first day of Summer, so it seems fitting to be running around the house in nothing but a sports bra and shorts, getting myself all ready for the upcoming week of training.  When I first began this adventure as a full time ski racer, I thought I would have nothing but time.  In fact I was worried about being bored.  Boy was I wrong.

Between two training sessions a day (each lasting about two hours of actual activity, plus about on hour of transit), fundraising (the intensity depends on the time of year), resting for training, eating, and of course sleeping, I find I almost don’t have enough time in the day.  So when our “rest” day comes around, I often have a “to-do” list that spans two days on my planner.

With all of this bustling I do on Mondays, I often find it easier to make easy fuel to both help me recover from our typical Sunday Over Distance workouts, prepare me for the upcoming week of training, and on this particular day cool me off.  Enter smoothies.

Smoothies are a quintessential non-recipe food.  It’s pretty hard to mess up a smoothie as long as you use high quality, complementary (and complimentary if you’re having a bad day :)), and fresh ingredients.  I designed this particular smoothie for my brother, Henry.  Henry is maybe the only person I know who could mess up a smoothie, so before I left Minnesota for Vermont I wrote him down a very exact recipe.  It has been a hit.  Henry- a self-proclaimed-not-hungry-for-breakfast-person- has made this every morning.  It is easy, portable, and delicious.  Packed with protein from Greek yogurt, healthy carbohydrates (trying to get Henry off of bagel-bites) from strawberries and bananas, and a good dose of fat from nut butter, ensures this smoothie’s spot on the top of Henry’s list.

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I asked Henry to send me a picture of his creation, and he sent me some with the reminder that he isn’t a “food picture expert.” I think he did pretty well. Looks better than bagel bites, isn’t that right Henry?!

 

Give it a whirl (pun fully intended).

Henry’s Breakfast Smoothie

Banana chopped into 6 pieces

8-10 frozen strawberries (much cheaper than fresh strawberries)

1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (Fage 2% is my personal favorite)

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 Tablespoons Nutbutter

Put all ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth (so easy).

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Henry’s very precise recipe card.  I think I’m the best big sister ever!

 

 

We do a lot of training in the summer months.  This leads to two constants: Ever evolving rounds of questions during long over distance workouts, and lots of time thinking about (and later eating) food.  One of my favorite questions my team spent about an hour discussing one hot and humid run was what your five kitchen essentials are.  These types of questions tend to tell you more about a person than you might think, and also provide a great amount of debate and time-passing.  Depending on the time of year, my answer to this question varies.  But for right now, these are five kitchen tools I always have in my arsenal:

1. A garlic press.  I’m unique in this regard on the Stratton team.  Other people don’t seem to mind chopping up garlic into really tiny pieces, but I (1) hate going to sleep smelling garlic on my hands and (2) use garlic so often that the press is a significant time saver.

2. A really good blender.  Especially in the summer when the training gets hot and turning on the stove or oven seems less and less appealing, a blender that is quick but effective is a must.  I prefer the Bella Pro Extractor Plus.  This baby is a little pricey, but it is the only blender you will ever need.  Not only does it make the best smoothies, but you can make salsas, batters, soups, pestos and about a million other things with this one tool.

3. A well-seasoned cast iron pan.  These things are AMAZING.  You can make literally anything in them, and they clean up in no time.  Additionally, you get a little strength workout (the big ones do get quite heavy).

4. A sharp knife.  I don’t need a million knives, but any person who spends a lot of time chopping can agree- dull knives are the absolute worst.

5. Tupperware.  As I mentioned before, we do a lot of training in the summer.  As such, I find it easiest to make double recipes, and save half for the next meal.  My biggest challenge is keeping track of tupperware lids.  I’m not sure where they go, but somehow I’m always missing at least one.

 

These are my five essentials, and I’ll be using them a lot this summer as I train and eat my way to the upcoming race season.  I’ve been pretty inconsistent in posting recipes the last two years, but I’m committed (my mom will remind me AND I have an alarm on my phone) to posting nutritious, delicious, and most of the time beauteous recipes to the site.  I’m going to expand my repertoire beyond the bakery, introducing smoothies, savory breakfasts, my go-to dinners, and of course some sweets.  There will be a mixture of original and copied recipes, but I hope everyone can find something they like, and will actually make.

 

 

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Toko drink belts are the perfect vessel to carry one (or a couple) of these bars on longer efforts!

Before big group workouts (regardless of length), Coach Sverre gathers the group together and doles out instructions.  Today we had a brand new running route on tap, so the pre workout meeting involved a lot of directions, homemade maps, reminders to stay as a group, and even more reminders not to twist any ankles.  In addition, today Sverre gave us exact instructions on fueling during the run.  One of the most important aspects of training is eating, especially on longer runs where the potential for bonking, hungriness (hanger-ness), and subsequent unhappiness runs rampant.  So instead of just reminding people to fuel during the two and a half hour effort, Sverre gave specific locations where we were to eat our bars (even specifying how much of a bar to eat).  And it worked!  Everyone stopped as a group to drink some water and eat their bars, no one bonked, no one fell, and no one got lost.  I think Sverre is on to something.

I know that fueling is important, but one of my biggest problems is I don’t love a lot of the bars out there.  And because I love cooking, I figured I could engineer myself something I like and easily bring with me on a training session.  After a couple “recipes” (basically me going through drawers, throwing things into a bowl, and mixing them around), I landed on my favorite so far.  I think I’ll keep experimenting, but now that I have a solid baseline I can’t wait to try different add-ins.  These bars have all the macronutrients and good stuff to keep you rolling (or running, rowing, biking…you get the idea).  And, they make a great snack even if you aren’t in the middle of a workout.  I’ve learned that it is still possible to bonk just walking around the grocery store.  Beat the bonk, have a bar.

Homemade Bars

Makes 12

 2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats

4 Scoops Protein Powder (I used 4 scoops of Progenex Belgian Chocolate More Muscle,but your favorite will work too)

3/4 Figs, Chopped

1/2 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter (I prefer salted!)

1/2 Cup Honey

1/4 Cup Almond Milk

1. Mix all ingredients together in bowl until a big ball has formed (I used my hands)

2. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking sheet with wax paper, and smash mixture until it fills up the tray

3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour

4. Cut into 12 pieces, and either keep them in the pan or wrap individually for an easy on the go snack.

And that’s really everything!  Super easy.

 

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Even energy bars can look artsy with the right light and filter.

 

When something is described as a “30-minute meal,” I usually triple the time.  I don’t know how the inventors of these recipes manage to marinate, chop, peel, dice, sauté, brown, bake, cook, serve, and photograph a dish in under 30 minutes.  It just doesn’t seem possible.  So when I browsed through America’s Test Kitchen’s “The Best Simple Recipes: Foolproof recipes that cook in 30 minutes or less,” I was skeptical.  But, the magazine was filled with delicious looking recipes, so I decided to give these guys a chance.

 

And I’m so happy I did.  The Chicken Chorizo Paella I made after a tough strength work out truly only took 35 minutes for me to prepare with tired triceps (I’m thinking if I hadn’t had strength, I could have knocked five minutes off the preparation time).  The flavors melded beautifully, the leftover potential is high (the leftovers are sadly gone now), and the nutrition index through the roof.  An “all-in-one” dish that provided all of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), textures, and flavors an athletic person could want, I’ll definitely be making it again.  And now that I trust America’s Test Kitchen to stay true to their recipe times, I’m super excited to try everything (and I mean everything) else in the magazine.IMG_8411

Chicken Chorizo Paella

(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Best Simple Recipes)

Serves 3 hungry athletes

1 Cup Brown Rice (cooked according to package instructions- I had some already made from another dish, and cooking brown rice in mass is a great way to cut down on preparation time after workouts!)

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

1/2 Pound Chorizo Sausage (sliced 1/2 inch thick)

3/4 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (sliced 1/4 inch thick, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper)

1 Onion, Chopped

6 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1/4 Teaspoon Saffron Threads, Crumbled (this is not a cheap spice, but a little goes a long way.  If you live near a co-op or grocery store with bulk spices, just get as much as you need, which for this recipe is not very much at all)

14.5 Ounces Diced Tomatoes

1/2 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Chipotle Cholula

9 Ounces Frozen Artichoke Hearts, Thawed

1 Cup Frozen Peas

Cilantro, Avocado for Serving (optional)

1. Heat coconut oil in 12 inch non-stick skillet until just smoking.  Add chorizo, and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until browned.  Use a slotted spatula and transfer to plate.  Add the chicken to the same skillet, and cook for 2 minutes per side, until no longer pink in the middle.  Once finished, transfer to plate with chorizo.

2. Put onion in the same skillet (LOVE one skillet dishes), and cook until softened (3-5 minutes).  Stir in garlic and saffron and cook for 30 seconds to a minute.  Add tomatoes, rice, 1/2 cup water, and chipotle cholula and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in artichoke hearts, peas, chorizo, and chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until everything is hot.  Serve immediately.  Further, I found that cilantro and avocados provided a nice touch at the end.  Enjoy!IMG_8412