Time for a treat, folks. Running is hard and we deserve something tasty.
Have you ever made popcorn on the stove? My mama used to make it when we were little, but I had not tried it myself until last week. Now I am totally hooked! And the kids adore making it, too. They shriek with delight when the kernels start to pop.
Not that you need an excuse to eat popcorn, but it has tons of fiber and is 100% whole grain. If you skip the butter, a cup of popcorn only has about 31 calories. Whee! And a recent study found that popcorn is also loaded with antioxidants.
We use organic popcorn and organic coconut oil (great for high heat cooking) from Trader Joe’s. We season it with only a sprinkle of sea salt, but you can add Kerry Gold melted butter if you want the extra yummy indulgence. Crunchy, warm, YUM.
- 3 Tbsp oil with a high smoke point (coconut, canola, peanut or grapeseed are good choices)
- 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
- 1 3-quart covered saucepan
- 2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter, optional
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
- Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
- When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
- Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.
- Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
- If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.
- Salt to taste.
Time for a treat, folks. Running is hard and we deserve something tasty.
If you have been following my posts, you know that I’m an ice cream addict. Being an addict means I have to generally stay away from the real stuff; tell a coke addict to snort “just a little bit” of cocaine and see how that works.
So I’m always on the lookout for treats that satiate like ice cream, but won’t drive up my calorie, fat, and sugar intake the way that ice cream does. My cherry chocolate chip “ice cream” does the trick these days.
Cherries are in season and delicious. Did you know they have all sorts of hidden health benefits? I didn’t! They are surprisingly high in melatonin, making them a nice pre-bedtime snack. And they are a terrific post-run treat: one and a half cups of tart cherries can significantly reduce muscle inflammation and soreness. Pair them with Greek yogurt, as I do in this recipe, and you have a terrific protein-antioxidant-anti-inflammatory punch after your workout.
- 2-3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I love the brand Fage with 2% fat, but anything unsweetened and unflavored works fine)
- 1/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- Cover a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper. Lay pitted cherries on the pan in a single layer and place in freezer for approximately 3 hours, or until frozen.
- In a food processor or blender, mix Greek yogurt and frozen cherries. Blend until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
- Return to freezer until re-frozen, approximately 2 hours.
- Alternatively, if you want your “ice cream” sooner, you can skip steps 2-3 and simply sprinkle frozen cherries and chocolate chips on top of the Greek yogurt. Some of the yogurt will “freeze” from the cold cherries. Still satisfying and refreshing without the wait time! 🙂
Time for a treat, folks. Running is hard and we deserve something tasty. This granola is delicious. It isn’t going to make you run faster or cure world hunger or do your laundry, but it is damn good granola. You won’t want to stop eating it. It is just the right blend of sweet and salty and has a delicious aroma from the spice blend.
The best part is that you can change the nuts, dried fruit(s), and spices to suit your personal tastes. Use the same total measurements (e.g., if you decide to use dates and apricots instead of figs, use half cup dates and half cup apricots).
Folks, this granola is so good that it is how I “pay” my running coach, who refuses actual monetary payments. I always at least double the recipe. You’ll thank me later.
Hazelnut Granola with Toasted Quinoa
Recipe by Anna Brones of Foodie Underground
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts (or nut(s) of your choice), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dried figs (or dried fruit(s) of your choice), chopped or cut into small pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors
- 1/4 cup uncooked white quinoa
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (here is where you can play with the spices. Try ginger, coriander, nutmeg, allspice, etc.!)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- In a bowl, combine the oats, coconut, hazelnuts, salt and spices.
- Place the quinoa in a small frying pan and toast over medium heat, constantly stirring so that it doesn’t burn. After a little bit, you’ll hear popping noises. That means the quinoa is toasted. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the oat mixture. Stir the ingredients together until well blended.
- Pour olive oil and honey into a small saucepan, and slowly warm on low heat. As it warms, whisk or stir with a fork until the oil and honey are thoroughly blended together. Pour over the oats, and using a wooden spoon or your hands, stir until the oats and other ingredients are evenly coated.
- Spread out the oat mixture on a baking tray and bake at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Granola should have a golden brown color to it. It may not be crunchy; it will become crunchy as it cools.
- Remove from the oven, gently stir in the dried figs (or fruit of choice).
- Let cool. Once cool place into a glass jar with a lid to store. Attempt to not eat it in one sitting.
Time for a treat, folks. Running is hard and we deserve something tasty. These Honey Tahini Almond Cookies are just the right blend of salty and sweet, chewy and crispy.
And did you know that sesame seeds might be the oldest condiment known to humans? They are loaded with beneficial minerals like copper, magnesium, and iron. And they contain super fibers called lignans, which have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans. Delicious!
Recipe and photo from Anja’s Food 4 Thought, a wonderful blog with terrific clean recipes. I want to try them all!
HONEY TAHINI ALMOND COOKIES
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chopped candied ginger (optional; my addition because it added some tasty zest)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine almond meal, salt and baking soda.
In a large bowl, stir together honey, tahini and vanilla extract until well combined.
Add the almond meal mixture to the honey tahini mixture and stir until well incorporated. Add ginger, if using. The dough should be solid enough to form balls. If it’s too wet, add some more almond meal.
Form balls of the size of a cherry. Roll in sesame seeds, then flatten it to 1/4 inch thickness and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave 1-2 inches space between cookies. Repeat until all dough is used up.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden. For extra crispy cookies, flip them upside down and leave in the warm oven for a few more minutes.
A traditional taco salad is usually a calorie bomb waiting to explode, loaded with fat and empty carbs. This clean version is flavorful, super easy to throw together, and loaded with nutrients!
For the salad
- Shredded collard greens (Trader Joe’s!), or greens of your choice
- Black beans
- Roasted corn
- Diced tomatoes (I love sugar plum tomatoes!)
- Fresh salsa of your choice
For the mahi
- Wild caught mahi filet(s)
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lime juice
Heat a pan to high. While pan is heating, rub mahi with chile powder, sumac, salt, and pepper. Sear on one side for 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness of filet. Flip. Add the lime juice. Sear an additional 3 minutes or until fish is just opaque. Please don’t overcook your fish!
Toss the salad ingredients, using the salsa as dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with mahi filet. Enjoy!
I love kale. Beyond being trendy, it is a superfood for us runners. Kale is rich in iron and vitamins K, A and C. It is anti-infammatory and heavy with antioxidants. While you can best absorb kale’s benefits when it is lightly cooked, raw kale is equally delicious.
This salad, adapted from Smitten Kitchen, is a tasty way to get your kale in. I have added orange to the salad and orange juice to the dressing to help with iron absorption, and fennel and avocado to make the salad more hearty.
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 8 ounces Black Kale, also known as Cavolo Nero, or Lacinato, Dinosaur, or Tuscan Kale
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 large orange, peeled and sliced
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, very well toasted and cooled
- 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped a bit
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Few gratings of fresh lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (or more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer with a couple pinches of salt. Simmer at a very low temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain any un-absorbed liquid from cooked quinoa. Spread quinoa on a plate to cool quickly.
Wash your kale and dry it well. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients to kale and toss to mix.
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dig in.
Time for a treat, folks. Running is hard and we deserve something tasty. Loaded with almond butter and cocoa powder, these Double Chocolate Cookies from PaleOMG are the perfect “good for you yummy” that the end of a tough week requires.
- 1 cup thick almond butter (I used TJ’s Raw Crunchy Almond Butter)
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 egg, whisked
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cocoa nibs or chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together almond butter and coconut sugar using a large spoon. Then add egg and mix again until well combined.
- Add ¼ cup of cocoa powder at a time. You might ditch the spoon and use your hands because the dough gets very sticky. Add all the cocoa powder and completely combine.
- Add baking soda, vanilla, salt and cacao nibs and combined until everything is well mixed. The dough should be very thick at this point.
- Use a spoon or your hands to scoop out around 2 tablespoons of dough and make into a round ball. Place on silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Use a fork to press the cookies down just slightly. If you press them down too much, they’ll come apart when they bake so be careful.
- Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes until removing from baking sheet to place on cooling rack. If you try to remove these from the baking sheet early, they will come apart.
Eat a beet and be fast on your feet!
Did you know that beets “acutely improve running performance?” Yep. The studies have small sample sizes, but several show athletes perform better after eating beats or drinking beet juice. Beets are super rich in nitrates, which help muscles use oxygen more efficiently. More efficient use of oxygen means more power at less cost. Beets also are high in iron and folate.
Beets are delicious alone or in salads, but why not try something new? This spiced beet dip is super tasty and easy to throw together.
Spiced Beet Dip with Hazelnuts & Goat Cheese
Adapted from Food & Wine
- 6 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon za’atar or other spice blend
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup roasted skinned hazelnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly. (alternately, take yourself to Trader Joe’s and buy their delicious pre-roasted beets!)
- Peel the beets, cut into wedges and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and za’atar and puree. Season with salt.
- Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the hazelnuts, goat cheese and scallions on top.
High in healthy fats and protein, hummus is a terrific runner’s food. This is my tried and true hummus recipe. In an ideal world, I would cook dried garbanzo beans, but my time is limited. If you wish to reduce the olive oil, you can substitute part water (but it might not be as tasty!).
Good fuel in! Enjoy.
- 1, 15 oz. can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tsp salt, plus a pinch if needed to taste
- Pinch of cumin
- 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) good quality olive oil
1. Place all the ingredients a food processor and puree until creamy.
2. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika or sumac.