Spiced Beet Dip with Hazelnuts & Goat Cheese

Eat a beet and be fast on your feet!  

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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

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.
  3. Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the hazelnuts, goat cheese and scallions on top.

The Dreadmill

 

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Ah, the dreaded treadmill.  It is monotonous and humdrum.  You literally go nowhere.  I much prefer a remote technical trail or winding flat long road.  But at the end of the day, the treadmill is where I do most of my runs.  The treadmill has brought me to where I am.  Yes, folks, I need the treadmill.  Okay, I’ll admit it: I love the treadmill.

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So why do I love this torture machine?  Here are eight excellent reasons, in no particular order:

1.  Climate control. As much as a love outdoor running, I very much dislike the cold.  And the extreme heat isn’t so great, either.  I’m a southern California girl, after all, spoiled by my endless perfect 78 degree days.  The weather at the treadmill is always the same and that suits me just fine.

2.  I live in hill country.  Every road and trail out of my front door has hills.  Like, serious hills.  Both ways.  So unless it is a hill day or I am driving to another location (e.g., the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, a gorgeous flat circle), the treadmill is my easiest option for “flat” road.  I keep my incline at 1% or more to approximate the road, though I know this is controversial.

3.  The mirrors.   Yes, I am that crazy one-woman show on the treadmill and I blame it on the mirrors.  I lip-synch with wild gesticulations and facial expressions.  I check out my legs.  I give myself the evil eye if I want to slow down or stop.  I shoot myself high fives and smiles when I’m feeling good.  It all boils down to the fact that I am vain.  I enjoy staring at myself while I am running.  Beyond the fun they bring,  the mirrors are terrific for ensuring good form.

4.  My workouts typically include very specific drills.  Increase speed every minute.  Do 30-second sprints with two minute recovery.  Increase incline by .5% every quarter mile.  And so on.  These drills can be done on the road or a track, but they are easy peasy to control on the treadmill.

5.  I run odd hours.  My schedule requires me to run early in the morning before the sun is awake or later at night after my little ones are sleeping.  And while the quiet stillness of the outdoors at these hours is magical, it is also a bit spooky.  I’m a big chicken, really.  The treadmill is in the well lit safety of the gym.

6. Cars suck.  How many of you have been struck by, nearly struck by, or run off the road by a dumb driver?  Me too.  Enough said.

7.  Other people.  Running is a pretty solitary sport (at least for me), but there is bound to be someone on a treadmill near you.  Perhaps this other person is running a tad bit faster and inspires you to bump up that speed.  Maybe they give you that nod like, “yeah, you’ve got this.”  Or they look at you with admiration and boost your ego.  Maybe they farted or have B.O., and the minutes just tick by as you think, “oh god, that is so disgusting.”  Or they provide a one-woman show and distract you for a few miles — oh, hey, were you running near me?

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8. Proximity to a bathroom.  Let’s get real, folks: sometimes poop happens when you run hard.   And when it happens, I need a bathroom, STAT.

Is it boring?  Yes.  Would I rather be running elsewhere?  Sure.  But I’ll take a treadmill run any day.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill?  Share in the comments.

Hummus

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

1.  Place all the ingredients a food processor and puree until creamy.
2.  Serve with a sprinkle of paprika or sumac.

Ditch the Rules and Run

I am a classic “Type-A,” rule abiding woman.  But running has no rules. With running, you can escape the rules of reality. 

My reality: I am a stay-at-home mama of two little ones, ages 2 and 3. For fun, I am an indoor cycle instructor.  I’m the wife of an amazingly supportive husband and have the best network of friends and family.

My running: I started taking running seriously in May of 2013, when a very dear (and very fit!) friend motivated me to try a half marathon.  In the past year, with a lot of dedication and coaching, I have improved my running beyond what I ever thought was possible.

Please share this freeing and fulfilling journey with me!

*Disclaimer: I am not a certified trainer, running coach or nutritionist. The workouts and meals posted here are informational only.  Consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any exercise or nutritional program.