I am not a runner. I’ve never been a runner. I was a late bloomer from an athletic standpoint, and you could probably argue that as an athlete I never really bloomed at all. This is partly why the sports I ultimately chose did not involve running in excessive amounts. Excessive, by my definition, meaning anything over about 25 yards.
My body fights me when I try to run. Each stride is a colossal effort, but even worse than that is the head game. I’ve tried to pick up running, as if it was as easy as trying out a new knitting pattern (that’s not one of my gifts either, so in my case running may really be easier than knitting), but every time I have failed because I have convinced myself that I wasn’t improving and I would never get there.
Recently, my good friend and Beach Body Coach, Miranda, told me about a new challenge group that was starting up to help people train for a 5K. This has been a goal of mine for so long, I had to give it another try. The challenge group format has been really helpful in encouraging me to be active, so I thought that maybe it could help motivate me to once and for all, tackle a 5K, which in my mind is my own personal Mount Everest. I got started and it’s hard! Maybe you also struggle with winning the head game when you are out running, or maybe you are doing a much better job of chasing down this goal and my ridiculous thoughts will make you feel even better about yourself. Either way is fine. :)
I am a non-runner attempting to be a runner and these are real thoughts that really entered my brain while I was out for a jog.
Disclaimer: They’re not all diamonds.
I kind of feel like I should insert that gdonk, gdonk sound from Law & Order here. Just imagine it in your head.
In the World According to Allison, nothing comes close to making me think of summer like avocados and lime. If it was up to me, I’d put avocado and lime in everything. Partly because I love the combination of creamy avocado and lip-puckering lime and partly because no matter what you put them in, the addition of avocado and lime makes any dish an automatic match for a margarita. Don’t even get me started on those. My love affair with margaritas will be a topic for another day, or several, likely. But at risk of getting completely derailed, let’s get back to avocado and lime.
First, however, we need to talk about hummus. In what I am calling my Relatively Recent Recommitment to Health & Fitness, or RRRH&F, for short, I have tried adapting my diet to include 5 smaller mini meals instead of 3 ginormous ones. I’ve been doing this for several months now, and I am consistently surprised by how little I need to eat and still feel satisfied. The hardest part was resetting my brain to understand that I didn’t need a thermos of soup, plus a salad, plus yogurt, plus fruit, all for lunch. I was eating healthy foods, just entirely too much of them at one time. Which brings me to hummus. It’s one of my go to snacks/mini meals because it’s delicious and it makes me want to eat fresh vegetables. And because it’s one of those things you make a batch of at the beginning of the week and Bam! You’re good to go for one of your daily snacks for the next few days.
I pack soup for lunch just about every day. It’s easy to think of soup as strictly “winter food,” but I work with my husband who prefers to keep our office as cold as possible so every day is winter in our building! In January it’s chilly and drafty and in August the air conditioning is cranked so high that you need two sweaters to remain defrosted enough to type. Needless to say, I find hot soup to be welcome no matter the season.
Recently, I made the potstickers from over at Damn Delicious and they were indeed damn delicious. I was such a fan that I wondered if I could use the filling to make meatballs and float them in a soup kind of like an Italian wedding soup with an Asian twist. So that’s what I did. I modified the filling and shaped it into little potsticker meatballs and then used similar flavors to spice up the soup broth.
It is my general belief that more people would eat their vegetables if they came in colors as beautiful as those found in swiss chard. The stems are practically hot pink! Why wouldn’t you want to eat that? Don’t even get me started on the fact that swiss chard as a great source of Magnesium as well as Vitamins K and C.
Be that as it may, to some, the idea of eating a plateful of chard is less than appealing (Yes, Ray, I mean you). Here, we pair some sauteed chard with caramelized onions and Gruyere in a quinoa crust. The onions are sweet, the Gruyere is nutty, and you don’t even realize you’re eating something that’s actually really good for you, which is exactly how I prefer my food to be. You could definitely substitute any old swiss cheese here, but one reason you can use so little is because Gruyere has a more intense flavor than your average swiss. If you splurge for it, wrap up the rest and throw it in your freezer, because we’ll use it again in the future!
Do me a favor, and don’t wig out about the prospect of a quinoa crust. It’s actually a fantastic idea. I thought for about five minutes that I was the brainchild behind this whole concept, until I Googled “quinoa crust” out of curiosity and discovered that not only did I not create it, but I’m actually late to the quinoa crust party. I wish I could adequately describe it with a word other than “chewy” or “crispy,” both of which seem entirely too prosaic for an idea that is so innovative. Unfortunately for you, I’m getting nowhere on that front, so I suppose you’ll just have to give it a try and find out for yourself.
If you have never cooked quinoa, don’t be afraid. It is cooked much like couscous or rice. Do make sure to rinse your quinoa before putting it in the pot, otherwise it can have a bitter flavor. Once cooked and cooled somewhat, combine it with a beaten egg and press the mixture into a pie pan to form your crust. I found that getting the mixture evenly distributed was most easily done by using a large dry measuring cup to press the mixture down and around the sides of the pan.
When it comes to holiday dinners, the unofficial motto in my family is “Prepare enough food for everyone that is coming to dinner. Then make more.” I always laugh when I get cooking magazines that feature holiday dinners with about 3 things on the plate. Are you kidding me? We have three different vegetables alone! Plus salad, and bread, and a variety of meat, need I go on? So. Much. Food. Good food. Food that people you love have taken the time and effort to prepare because they know that you will savor it. How can you not sample a little bit of everything? Then perhaps a little bit more? And before you know it, the skinny pants you wore thinking that they would help keep your food consumption under control are digging into your belly and you’re counting the seconds until it’s socially acceptable to go upstairs and put on your pajama bottoms so that you can finally get some relief and when you do you want to shout “Thank you Sweet Jesus!” because in that moment you can’t imagine anything better than that blessed elastic waistband. Phew!