And now for something…completely different

I’m still trying to figure out this whole blogging, tagging, SEO, following, gobbly-gook, so forgive me if I’m a bit clueless about some of these things.  But a friend and fellow blogger, Little Runner, Bigger City, nominated me for a “Liebster Award,” so I figured hey, go with it!  I was very curious about what exactly this was, so a quick 30 second Google led me to this other blogger’s research behind it: Liebster Award history.  Essentially, it started in like 2010 and is just a fun way for smaller bloggers to connect and recognize each other.  Okay sounds good!  Now supposedly, I have to nominate TEN other bloggers for this- I’m not sure I really even “know” ten other bloggers, plus my guess is many of them received the “award” long ago.  But I’m happy to play along and answer some non-food related questions for once!  Here are her questions for me:

1. What place would you submit to Runner’s World’s “rave run” feature?
Hmm, well for places that I’ve ACTUALLY ran, I think the top would be in La Quinta Vergara in Vina del Mar, Chile.  It’s a small little garden with this cool mansion and amphitheater in it.  It was right next to the apartment I lived in there and I looped around and around in there because I felt relatively safe, though I think the groundskeepers thought I was a bit odd. 🙂  Surprisingly, the second place that came to mind was the Heritage Trail in Dubuque, Iowa.  I was very familiar with this trail during my first marathon training and it is a very serene location.

la quinta vergara, chile

la quinta vergara, chile

heritage trail run

heritage trail run

2. What race would you tell others to put on their bucket list?
The Des Moines Marathon, of course!! 🙂 I have done the half three times and the full twice now and I just think it such a great race.  Big enough that it is fun and there are plenty of crowds, but not so big that it is overwhelming.  I also am a fan of the Capital Pursuit 10 miler, I think mostly because I have found that 10 miles is my sweet spot.  I have also had a BLAST at Run4Troops marathon relay the last two years with my Dubuque running buddies- it goes the length of the Heritage Trail.

3. What’s your worst race experience?
I was not a fan of the new Drake half marathon route, which I ran last year.  It was the first long race after winter and I just hadn’t trained all that well and then hills were just terrible.  I was just disappointed with how I did and felt.  I also got myself into a bit of an adventure inadvertently when I decided at the last minute to do a random Thanksgiving race in Pittsburgh.  I knew that it was on trails, but I had no idea just how ridiculously hilly it was and there were several times where I was very close to injury.  It was exciting and I felt proud to have survived, but it was definitely a gamble!

4. What food is a must-avoid leading up to a run?
Oh geez, I have a list a mile long!  It’d be easier to give my short list of what I CAN eat haha!  Definite things that I avoid are dairy, eggs, soy, chocolate, fatty meat, onions, garlic, alcohol and definitely no junk/processed food.  During my marathon, my staple was very lightly seasoned barley with spinach, avocado, and tuna and sweet potatoes with raw honey.  Now, with this new diet I’m trying, I would add avoiding wheat and barley and limiting avocado or too much fruit.

5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on a run?
Wow I’m sure I’ve seen some weird things, but I’m really blanking!  The only thing that springs to mind is recently there was a possum running around my neighborhood.

6. Do you have any special pre-race rituals?
Does toe taping count?  Haha, I do make sure my feet are blister-proofed the best they can be.  My feet are ridiculously blister prone, I swear!  Otherwise, it’s just making sure I have the right clothes out and ready to go and pre-race, light and easy food figured out.

7. What foods/drinks do you crave during or after a run?
SALTY, I always crave salty things after a long run.  So usually crackers or now tortilla chips are a must for a quick fix.  After a few of my longer runs last fall, I craved avocado grilled cheeses mmmm.

8. How do you pamper yourself after a tough workout or race?
Occasionally I take epsom salt baths and I try to roll out on my foam roller.  Otherwise, I suppose a nap would be my definition of pampering!

9. Who would play you in a movie?
Audrey Hepburn of course!

10. What was the first concert you ever attended?
Amy Grant!  She’ll always be my all time favorite artist 🙂

amy grant!

amy grant!

 

Back at it!

I have had a seriously crazy couple of weeks in regards to homework, holy cow!  I had some major cheat days (hello flour tacos from Tasty Taco??), but have been for the most part sticking to the low FODMAP diet.  Despite the chaos, I still had some time to try out a few new recipes and tried to snag some pictures when I remembered!  Here are the ones that I can remember:

Skinny Baked Lemon Dill Mahi Mahi: I didn’t have fresh dill so just used the dried that I had and I subbed my homemade coconut milk yogurt for the cream cheese.  It turned out super yummy!

mahi mahi

mahi mahi

Roasted Fennel & Quinoa Crunch Salad: I made this as a side for a family dinner and everyone thought it was great!  The roasted fennel was really good and all of the flavors and textures melded together really well.  I think I might make it again this weekend, especially now that I have a HUGE bag of quinoa courtesy of CostCo!

fennel quinoa salad

fennel quinoa salad

Carrot Fries: This looked really tasty and super easy, though it was harder to find the matchstick style carrots than I expected.  I found a bag at Trader Joe’s for $1.69.  I was very underwhelmed by it, not as crispy as I had hoped and they shrunk up super small- did not look like the picture on the website.  They weren’t bad, but I wouldn’t bother making them again.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Thighs with Tabbouleh: I have use this recipe before for chicken thighs and it is so easy and they turn out so yummy!  If you are afraid of grilling chicken because you think it will dry out, try thighs.  I always overcook chicken breasts on the grill, but thighs have enough fat that they stay nice and moist.  For the tabbouleh, I used quinoa instead of bulgar and added some chopped spinach.  Great meal!

Parmesan butternut squash: Yum!  I’ve had a squash hanging around for probably a month now that I keep meaning to use, so I finally had time to chop it up last night and decided to give it a try with parmesan cheese instead of my usual cinnamon and ginger.  I liked it!  The hubby said he liked it better with cinnamon, so I guess it’s a matter of preference.

Pumpkin Quinoa Flake Microwave Muffin: I’ve been wanting to make something like this since I got my quinoa flakes, so I finally had time one morning when I had off work.  I used ground chia seeds instead of flaxseed and 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup instead of Truvia.  It was very tasty but very filling so I saved half for the next day’s breakfast.

pumpkin quinoa muffin

pumpkin quinoa muffin

Oats & Amaranth Granola: I went through my last granola batch super fast- it was so good!  I wanted to try a slightly different variety and was wondering if steel cut oats would work.  I found a recipe that used steel cut oats as well as amaranth, which I bought quite a while ago.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, though added some pumpkin seeds and ground chia, as well as an egg white.  I added golden raisins and dried cranberries after it was cooked because I felt they stuck in my teeth in the last batch since I had baked them with the rest of the granola.  It turned out very good again, though honestly, I could do without the amaranth.  They are these tiny seeds and get stuck in my teeth, though do help to give a little bit more of a crunch.  I’ll probably use them again at some point so I can use up the bag, but don’t think I’ll use them every time.

oat & amaranth granola

oat & amaranth granola

Mint Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream: Just tonight I made this up- sooo good!  I had bananas already frozen in the freezer and several avocados hanging out from my trip to CostCo.  I made a pretty big batch so that my family can try some this weekend, so it was probably 5-6 frozen bananas, 1.5 avocados, 1 tsp mint extract, 1 cup homemade coconut-oat milk, and 1-2 tbsp maple syrup.  It was awesome!!  I used a mix of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and EnjoyLife’s dark chocolate chips.

mint choc chip vegan ice cream

mint choc chip vegan ice cream

This week has mostly been eating on the chicken thighs that we grilled up as well as the whole chicken I roasted in the crock pot.  I used some of the chicken to make my version of “ave paltas,” my favorite Chilean sandwich.  It is just chopped up chicken, avocados, lime juice, salt and pepper, and a little bit of garlic olive oil mixed up and put on bread with a tomato.  For my bread, I made the GF instant flatbread several times.  This is a great, fast bread especially now that I’ve been mixing dried rosemary into the dough.

I haven’t had much brain power to do meal planning the last few weeks, but hope to get back to that this weekend.  I have a lot of options now that I made it to CostCo!