One down, 999 to go

1000 Vegan Recipes

I don’t buy cookbooks very often. You can get so many recipes online, pirated adapted by bloggers like me, that it’s hard to justify spending 35 dollars (29 with my BN member card) on a cookbook.  But impulse buys are fun.

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Also fun — posing for stupid pictures.

I’m not a vegan but I’ve been eating a lot of vegan meals, noticing that they leave me feeling considerably more energetic than even vegetarian meals made with cheese or milk.  Something about them just feels “cleaner”; whether that’s psychological or not I can’t really say.

But even if 1,000 Vegan Recipes weren’t vegan, I’d still have bought it.  (Though in that case, I’d suggest they change the title.)  Without exaggeration, I’ve never seen so many easy, good-looking recipes in one place.  My favorite part is that while there are a decent number of tofu and tempeh recipes, the vast majority of the recipes don’t use any processed soy products.  Instead, care is taken to recreate the flavors — not just the textures — of meals that ordinarily use meat or meat products.

For example, French onion soup is a dish I haven’t quite enjoyed the way I used to.  Vegetable stock alone just can’t replace hearty beef stock in this one.  But in 1000 Vegan Recipes, the French onion soup recipe uses brandy and apple cider in addition to the vegetable stock to recreate the heartiness of the original.  There are lots more examples I’ve found just leafing through the book, like using bulgur wheat rather than TVP to give chili a ground-beef texture.

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I’m excited.  I’ve been in a rut with cooking recently and I think this book might singlehandedly get me out of it.  Meal planning for the week was a cinch; actually I was overwhelmed by the number of recipes I wanted to try and more or less just chose the first ones I read.  On the menu in the NMA household this week:

  • Roasted chickpeas (a crunchy snack, apparently)
  • Watercress, fennel, and avocado salad with dried cherries and macadamias
  • Fennel-orange salad with black olives and pine nuts
  • Quinoa salad with black beans and tomatoes
  • Soba and green lentil soup
  • Ziti with red pepper-walnut sauce
  • Red bean and bulgur chili
  • Lemon-kissed linguine with garlicky white bean sauce

As they say nowadays, “I know, right?”  Lots of beans.  Lots of poor person food.  Right up my alley.

Pasta with White Beans and Garlic

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Here’s my adapted version of the last recipe on that list, which I made for lunch today.  (It really is adapted; their recipe used a little too much garlic and it wasn’t saucy enough for what I wanted.)

Ingredients (for 3 servings):

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-oz can white beans
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 12 ounces dried linguine
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving about half a cup of pasta water when it’s done.  While the pasta cooks, heat the oil over medium heat.  Saute the garlic for just a few seconds (don’t let it burn), then add beans, lemon juice, oregano, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until heated through.  Mash a few of the beans, add reserved pasta water, and mix to form sauce.  Toss in pasta and add parsley.

Aging racefully

Last thing: I just published the most recent Running Shorts article — all about how running offers 10 years of improvement, regardless of how old you are when you start.  If you’re old, check it out and rejoice!

26 Comments

 

Sweet-Tooth Friday: Vegan Pumpkin Pie

christine pumpkin pie photo 300x200Hey everyone!  It’s Christine here for Sweet-Tooth Friday!  There’s no denying it now, Thanksgiving is just around the corner so I have an amazingly easy and delicious recipe for No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie!

Tofu, or not tofu

…that is the question.  Classic pumpkin pie is just another version of custard pie, so it is hard to pull off without the use of eggs.  Many vegan bakers solve this problem by using tofu.  And it works: tofu mimics the structure of the eggs while still adding fat and creaminess.

But as you know by now, I am not interested in simply making soy copies of desserts.  Plus, I was hoping for a no-bake recipe to ease your stress around Thanksgiving preparation, and I’m not into uncooked tofu!

vegan pumpkin pie ingredients photo 300x200I came across a raw recipe for pumpkin pie which was a great inspiration.  The real eureka with this recipe was the use of two ingredients: cashews and coconut oil.  Problem solved for fat, creaminess, and structure!  Both are sources of good fat, cashews have a yummy creamy taste, and the coconut oil can stay in a solid state!

Interestingly enough, the recipe I liked used carrot juice in place of pumpkin, I guess because the pumpkin rind always needs to be cooked down to be enjoyable.  I wanted the real deal, but since I’m out of my homemade puree I went with canned pumpkin instead.

The raw recipe also required the pie to be kept frozen.  To avoid this, I mixed everything on the stovetop with some arrowroot until it thickened up, and then just spread it into my crust.

Oh yes, the crust!  My gingerbread cookies from last week went the extra mile- I threw the leftovers into the food processor and turned them into a delicious press-in-the-pan cookie crust!  The version I made was just a little too crumbly for that perfect clean slice, so I have added a flaxseed paste to the recipe here to help keep things together.

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The gingerbread cookies have a hearty spiciness to them so I didn’t add much spice to the pie filling itself.  If you end up using another kind of cookie, I would recommend adding a teaspoon or two of pumpkin pie spice.

No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

For the crust:

For the filling:

  • 2 cups (1 can) pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot

Mix the ground flax seed with 2 tbsp water and stir until thick.
Combine the cookie crumbs, salt, oil, and maple syrup.  Stir in flax mixture.  Press into a greased pie plate firmly on the bottom and up the sides.  Store in freezer to chill.

vegan pumpkin pie filling photo 300x200In a saucepan, set the heat on low and whisk together the pumpkin, cashew butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil.  Once the coconut oil is melted, stir in the spices, salt and arrowroot.  Continue stirring until the mixture thickens and sticks to the whisk when lifted.  It should be about the consistency of peanut butter.

Spread the pumpkin filling into the chilled crust.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.  If you are storing overnight, wait for the pie to cool all the way down, then cover with plastic wrap.

YUM!  This pie is unbelievably rich and creamy!  The cashew butter is just awesome.  For vegans and non-vegans alike this will be the star on your Thanksgiving table.  I hope you enjoy this animal-free way to sweeten up your big meal!

See you next Sweet-Tooth Friday!
xoxo Christine

17 Comments

 

Stu Mittleman: Burning fat (not sugar) for 1000 miles

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I make no attempt to hide the fact that I’m a huge Tony Robbins dork.  As my first post explains, it was at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within seminar where (in addition to walking across hot coals) I was inspired to become vegetarian and start this very blog.  I’m not going to try to sell you on what Tony teaches, but what I like about him is that he studies the people who are getting the most incredible results in certain areas of life, then models them and teaches what he has learned.  It’s about results, not theory.

To model someone getting astounding results in the area of physical performance, Tony turned to a man whose accomplishments are truly amazing.  A man who ran 1000 miles in less than 12 days and holds the American record for distance in six days — 577 miles.  That man is Stu Mittleman.

On Tuesday night, I got a chance to see Stu speak to a small group of about 40 people, as part of a Tony Robbins PowerTeam meeting (told you, I’m a dork).  For two hours, Stu talked about his story and the things he has done to train his body to burn stored fat rather than sugar for energy, the primary reason he’s able to run such incredible distances.  Stu’s beliefs are radically different than traditional fitness tenets, so be warned.  But you don’t see the Governator, Jillian Michaels, or Tony Little (The Gazelle!) running across the country, do you?

Rather than try to synthesize a coherent story out of my notes from Stu’s talk, I’ll just list the points I took away from it.

Stu’s diet and training principles

  • In most every culture, athletes that achieve elite status have shorter-than-average life expectancy.  The reason?  Elite athletes are generally built for short, fast movements and spend much of their lives training in an acid-producing, stressful, anaerobic state.  They shouldn’t be the ones we look to for lifelong fitness advice.
  • Of the roughly 160,000 calories worth of energy in our bodies, only 4500-5500 are stored as sugar, and the nervous system requires much of this sugar energy.  When athletes “bonk,” it’s because the brain shuts the muscles down in order to conserve sugar for the nervous system.
  • 146,000 calories (85%) of our energy is stored as fat.  By training our bodies to burn fat rather than sugar for fuel, we can tap into this nearly endless supply of energy and achieve unbelievable levels of endurance.
  • Our modern, mostly-sedentary lifestyle is so different from the way humans have lived for nearly our entire existence.  To compensate, people try to work out at high intensities for short periods of time.  The body turns to sugar to fuel such intense states of exercise.
  • Exercising in an anaerobic state and consuming sugar create acid in our bodies.  The acid is quarantined in fat, making it difficult to burn fat for fuel and creating a vicious cycle.  To break out of this cycle, we need to eat alkalizing foods and train primarily at low intensities.
  • Half of the time we spend exercising should be in a comfortable, aerobic state in which it’s easy to carry on a conversation.  Of the remaining half of the time, two-thirds should be spend at threshold level (where aerobic becomes anaerobic) and only the remaining one-third should be spent at an anaerobic level.  This distribution can be visualized as a pyramid.
  • We are designed to be the most able roamers of the earth.  It’s psychological concepts like “the wall” and worrying about things that haven’t happened yet that prevent us from doing what we’re capable of.  Most of these concepts have been invented by people trying to sell us stuff to prevent them.
  • Exercise should be done mostly in a state of total awareness, processing everything you’re experiencing and “learning to be everywhere your body is.”  Stu uses sights, sounds, and feelings rather than heart rates and intensity levels to describe exercise states, since our bodies vary so much.
  • The body doesn’t know miles; the body doesn’t know pace.  It knows only frequency, duration, and intensity.
  • Stu’s diet consists primarily of water, salads, oils, low-temperature cooked vegetables, vegetable soups, certain lower-starch grains, seeds, nuts, and fish.  He used to be a vegetarian but believes fish is very healthy.
  • Regarding supplements, Stu thinks it would be preferable to get our greens through whole foods, but because of the stresses of modern life, he considers greens supplements to be an “alkaline seatbelt on the acidic highway of life.”
  • I asked Stu after his talk about what he consumes during a long run, and he said he eats mostly things like almonds or pureed vegetables, not sugar.  Certainly not commercial sports drinks, and not even something like a banana!
  • “Focus on results and you won’t change.  Focus on change and you’ll get results.”

Stu might be the only runner I’ve ever heard of who doesn’t eat sugar for fuel on long runs.  I mean, endurance runners practically survive on gels, gummies, and sports drinks!  The idea that sugar is a good thing when you’re running is nothing short of gospel.  But it’s hard to argue with Stu’s resume, so consider me intrigued.

slow burn stu mittleman2 1 202x300I really doubt my summary has done justice to the inspiration I gleaned from listening to Stu speak.  I was so excited about this stuff that as soon as the talk was over, I ordered a copy of his book, Slow Burn: Burn Fat Faster By Exercising Slower.  I can’t wait to read it and start applying it to my ultra training.

You can learn more about Stu at his website, WorldUltraFit.com.  He also has some free videos and a marathon training audio program at MarathonMastery.com.  I haven’t looked into either of these yet, but I’m particularly intrigued by a mineral salt product called Alka-Blast that Stu has helped develop for alkalization of water and other drinks.

Hope you’re inspired to put this information to good use!  I’ll be sure to write a book review once I’m finished with Slow Burn. If you see a post called “How I Ran 600 Miles” or “I’m Running to California Tomorrow,” then you’ll know that it worked!

New Running Shorts Post

Last thing: don’t forget to check out Megan’s True/Slant post about fitting in running when you’re pressed for time!

38 Comments

 

Falafel that didn’t suck

The first time I made falafel, back when I was just a newb’ vegetarian, it could only have been described as fal-awful.  The problem, Erin and I decided, was that it was grilled, not deep-fried carnival-style.  And as a result it was dry and mostly tasteless.

To give it another go, I turned to trusty old Fine Cooking, where I found a recipe for falafel sandwich with cucumbers and tomatoes.  And no, it still wasn’t fair fare served by a bearded lady, but it was at least pan-fried on both sides to give it some color and flavor before it was baked.  And it was surprisingly tasty!  In fact, I’m going to eat it again as soon as I get home.

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The recipe is ridiculously easy to make; all you really have to do is combine chickpeas, onions, breadcrumbs, and some spices in a food processor, then chop up the veggies while you fry and bake the falafel.  Then you serve it all in a pita with some yogurt — only you use real pita, not this crap I bought called “Sandwich Thins.”

You see, the town grocery store that I’ve gone to my whole life was recently bought out by a chain, and now they have crappy stuff, such as this instead of pitas.  Plus the place is in danger of being overrun by old people, and if you thought grocery shopping was loads of fun before, well — I’ll stop.

The moral: delicious, easy, cheap, healthy recipe.  Make it next time you don’t know what to make when the spouse is on her way home.

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A scare!

Yesterday my November streak of running every day was kept alive by a technicality — a mile and a half around the neighborhood.  I was so busy during the day that I didn’t get a chance to run until after I got home at 6:30.  It was dark by then, so I strapped on my headlamp and Vibrams and was “that guy.”  But during this little nothing of a run, I had some pain in the top of my foot, which set off my metatarsal-stress-fracture alarm.  So I worried about it for the rest of the night, decided not to run in my Vibrams again until next week, and ran seven normal miles today with no problems.  So fingers crossed, all is fine.

Runaround Stu

I’m writing this post in the car!  My mom and I went to see Stu Mittleman speak tonight and now we’re driving home.  A lot of people haven’t heard of Stu — I only know him because Tony Robbins always talks about him — but his ultrarunning accomplishments are pretty incredible.  577 miles in six days, 1000 miles in less than 12 days, and, oh yeah, a leisurely 52-mile per day jog across the country.

Anyway the guy was completely inspiring and talked a lot about alkaline nutrition and the joy of running easy.  I just ordered his book!  And as soon as I get a recap post together I’ll fill you in on the details from his talk.

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My big fat Greek trail run

Happy Monday everyone, sorry for no post this weekend.  It was a toss up between living life and blogging about life, and the living won out.  Sorry, blogging!

The first week of my run-every-day-in-November challenge went great.  I did in fact run every day, capping it all off with a 15-mile trail run on Saturday for a total of 53 miles the first week.  I’m pretty sure this is the most I’ve ever done in a week; I’ve never really been a high-mileage guy.  Even during this last marathon training I think I only got up to the mid-40’s.

The Saturday run was called the Feronia Funrunium, put on by the Trail Dawgs, an ultra group near me.  It was Greek-themed, so some people wore togas and one wore pajamas.  (Greeks wear pajamas, too.)  I did the 24K (about 15 miles) version, which had us running along deer trails in the woods and even through an equestrian park, where we had to run back and forth following clues telling us where the course went next, because the Trail Dawgs claimed the ground was sacred and couldn’t be marked.  It was actually a lot of fun, and taught me that not only are ultra runners a blast to hang out with, they also have a few screws loose.

But there was nothing weird about the lentil soup and bread provided afterward, or with the Dos Equis I celebrated with. (Or was it seis or ocho equis?)  I’ll have to bring a camera on one of these trail runs soon, but just in case you’re interested in pictures of me standing around after the run, here are pictures of me standing around after the run.

Riveting, I know.

I’m a little sore today, more sore than I’ve been after any other trail runs.  I took it easy for about the first ten miles and went harder on the last five, finishing in about two and a half hours.  This amounts to ten-minute miles, and believe it or not, that felt plenty fast.  It’s just so different from running on roads that the times are pretty much incomparable.

And since trail running is about the only thing in my head these days (well that, the baby, and pirates), I wrote a post for Running Shorts about it.  So head over there to read my thoughts on trail running versus road running.

Amazing Grass giveaway winner

Just like last time, I used the true random number generator at random.org to pick a winner in the Amazing Grass giveaway.  118 entrants, and the winner is…

14 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Comment #14 was from CK from divaknitting.com, so CK wins either a tub of Amazing Grass’ Green Superfood or Amazing Meal!  More giveaways are always in the works, so even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about what I have to say, at least come back for the free stuff.

Enjoy the rest of your Monday.

13 Comments

 

Vegan Gingerbread Stout Cookies

Beer Isn’t Vegan?

gingerbread family photo 300x295Yippee, it’s Sweet-Tooth Friday!  It’s Christine here with the first “festive” dessert of the season!  I wanted to make a vegan version of my famous Guinness gingerbread, but boy was I in for a surprise when I typed the words ‘vegan’ and ‘Guinness’ together in my search engine – instead of yummy recipes I found lots of discussions on how Guinness (and other cask beers) are not vegetarian friendly!

Really?  Beer isn’t naturally vegan?  Turns out, many use a fish product called isinglass to filter cask beers.  I can’t believe I had been in the dark about this.  Shouldn’t that kind of information be on the label?

Actually, the FDA requires food and beverage labeling, but alcohol is governed by a different agency.  Right now, alcohol companies really only need to back up their product with the facts if they make certain claims, like the beer is organic or low-calorie.  I read one comment against labeling alcohol that was particularly hilarious: “Wine fined with isinglass labeled ‘Contains: Fish’ would wreak havoc on consumer perceptions.”  Um, yeah, it would!  But is the right response to that just keep the offensive ingredient a secret?

I understand that transparency is not a black and white issue.  Among many problems is that it is expensive, especially for the smaller companies.  But if it is for something I put into my body, and the economics have worked out over on the FDA side, it seems like it should be worth it.  I don’t think I’ve heard any of the low-cal beers feeling the hardships of their labels (though most are from large companies).  My impression is that it would be a competitive advantage to let consumers have the information to choose.

After all, lots of people are concerned about calories and carbs.  And the sugar content would be great for diabetics to access.  But you know what’s totally frustrating?  While reading the official 26 page proposal on labeling, I could not find one petition for vegetarians.  With all these health concerns, the use of isinglass, egg whites, bone charcoal, or any other animal product in alcoholic beverages somehow was not an issue.  Luckily, Guinness has confirmed that their Extra Stout is in fact vegan.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies with Guinness Stout

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So, without further ado, I give you truly vegan gingerbread cookies, made with Guinness Extra Stout.  I modified this recipe from one on the wonderful site The Post Punk Kitchen, where vegan really does rawk.  My main change was adding the Guinness as the liquid.  I simmered it down to concentrate the flavor and get rid of the alcohol.  I also wanted a really super thin and crisp cookie, so I switched to powdered sugar instead of granulated, a trick I picked up from a certain cookie guru.  Then I made up my own Guinness flavored royal icing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Guinness Extra Stout [Update: Guinness Extra Stout is no longer vegan or vegetarian-friendly icon sad Choose a different stout.]
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (the brand Wholesome Sweeteners does not filter through animal products)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • 1/2 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • optional tsp grated fresh ginger

gingerbread ingredients photo 300x200Simmer the cup of Guinness Extra stout uncovered on the stovetop until it is reduced by half, which took me about 25 minutes.  Let cool.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, set aside.
Mix together the oil and sugar, then add the molasses and 1/4 cup of the Guinness. (Save the rest of the Guinness for the icing).
Stir in the grated ginger if using, and gradually fold in the dry ingredients until it makes a nice coherent dough.  Mine was too dry at first and needed an additional tablespoon of the Guinness to get it to a workable consistency.
Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour (up to a couple days).

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray.  Place one ball of dough on it, smoosh with your hand into a disk, and then roll out until very thin.  It’s ok if the edges crack a little, but if they are seriously ripping then let the dough warm up for about 10 minutes, then try again.

Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.  Gently peel up the excess dough, leaving the cut out shapes on the foil.  This way you don’t need to handle the shapes and risk breaking them.  Move aluminum foil onto a cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant.  Gather the dough scraps into a ball and repeat on a new piece of foil.  When the first round of cookies are done, wait a minute to cool, then transfer cookies to wire rack.  You can keep using the same two pieces of foil, just re-spray with Pam each time.

Vegan Guinness Royal icing ingredients:

  • 2 tsp egg replacer
  • 2 tbsp reduced Guinness extra stout
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Whisk together egg replacer and Guinness until quite frothy and thick.  Add the extract and powdered sugar.  Place icing in a pastry bag or plastic bag with just a snip of the corner cut off.  Wait until the cookies are completely cool to decorate.  The icing dries quickly, so this amount will ice one half of the cookie recipe.  Make another batch of icing if you are baking both balls of dough at once. (I made one half and froze the other ball of dough for later.)  Once the icing is dry, keep the cookies in an airtight container.

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Now this is my kind of cookie: thin and crisp, without being too crunchy, plus a big dose of spiciness!  The Guinness adds an elegant malty bitterness that totally compliments the gingerbread flavor!  Best of all, these are simple to make and the whole process is a lot of fun.  I think if you use autumn cookie cutters like leaves, acorns, and turkeys, these would be super cute for Thanksgiving.  (For some reason I have only compiled the most random and seasonally-useless collection of cookie cutters, like motorcycles and flamingos!)  You could even ice names on the cookies and use them as place cards!

Be sure to stop by next week for more yummy and healthy ways to veganize your holiday desserts!
xoxo Christine

About the Author: Christine Frazier writes vegan recipes through lots of research, trial, and error … now she is applying the same theory to her other passion, writing stories. Follow along as she deconstructs bestsellers and learns how to write a novel.

23 Comments

 

Questions and Answers

You: Hey Matt, how’s your new plan of running every day to get out of your rut going?

Me:  Funny you should ask, I was just going to mention that on my blog today!  It’s going really well.  So well that I went to bed at midnight last night and still managed to get up with Erin at 5:30 and not go back to sleep.

You: And what about that cooking rut?  I haven’t seen much good food on your blog recently…

Me: Again, perfect timing.  I decided today that I was going to throw the health food out the window and make something really bad, but really good, to make cooking fun again!

You: Ok, can you just tell me about it in a normal post instead of this weird Q&A format where you make up questions you want to answer?

Me: Sure.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

So what is it that I made?  (That’s the last question, I promise.)  Butternut squash lasagna!  Last week I had an extra butternut squash lying around — really — and I came across a Giada de Laurentiis recipe for butternut squash lasagna.  It looked really good but it was loaded with cheese and whole milk, so I passed.  I’ve actually been tending toward vegan meals recently, noticing that I feel better, especially while running, when I don’t eat much dairy.

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But desperate times call for desperate measures.  As healthy as all the vegan, poor person food I’ve been eating is, it’s just not very exciting.  And it never seems worthy of being blogged about.  So today I decided to make Giada’s lasagna.

As I do every time I write about Giada, like when I made her delicious veggie pasta bake, I must make the obligatory “Giada scares me because her head is big and weird-shaped and she says things with funny accents” comment.  So there that is.

Anyway, the lasagna turned out pretty good.  When Erin and I were meat-eaters, we used to make this fabulous lasagna entirely from scratch.  All-day simmered meat (turkey, eventually), homemade pasta noodles, and a creamy bechamel sauce.

This butternut lasagna is made with a bechamel, but by comparison to the lasagna we used to make, it paled a bit.  Some of the bechamel gets blended with basil, which is kind of cool, until it all gets mixed together in a strange green color.

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But it was a nice change of pace, at the very least.  And it has amaretti cookies in it (though I couldn’t find them and just used almond cookies)!  And hopefully, it’s a start to getting out of this cooking rut and putting a little more effort into choosing exciting meals.

And now I’m off to do my weekly Thursday night trail run.  In the complete dark, thanks to daylight savings time.  And then drinking with a little bit of eating afterward.  These people bring beer in their trunks to drink in the parking lot as soon as we’re done.  It’s awesome!

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The plan in action

Thanks for all the encouraging words about getting out of my little rut!  (I’ll just pretend that there was no contest to enter, and all those comments were motivated by genuine concern. icon smile )  Seriously, it is neat to see how many people have felt exactly the same way after a big race.  My favorites are the ones who tell me to just listen to my body and go back to bed.

The plan to jumpstart myself with running every day in November is going well so far.  Three days, 22 miles.

Sunday’s run was 11 miles.  It was actually a five-and-a-half mile race put on by the running club that I’m in, but I showed up early with two of the guys in the ultra group to do the course an extra time.  It was kind of cold and rainy, but the course was fun because there was a nice trail section with a really steep hill and a stream crossing.  Yes, this is fun now.  So different from how I used to feel about trails.  I ran the “race” part in 40 minutes and got all sweaty and muddy, so it was nice to meet Erin and Target on the way home and have people wonder why there was a jungle boy in the store.

Then on Monday, I did just four miles, but in my Vibram FiveFingers.  I’m still trying to build up mileage in them, and four miles at a time is about where I am now.  I definitely notice that I get tired much faster in the VFF’s; it’s just a different kind of running and all those small muscles in my feet and lower legs fatigue really quickly.  But it’s getting better, and it’s a lot of fun.

The worst part of the VFF’s is still the blisters they give me; on this run it got so bad that I actually took them off and went completely barefoot for about half a mile until I couldn’t stand it anymore!  I got a lot of looks from the women who were doing their morning walks on the trail, but they weren’t exactly longing, come-hither looks.  No, they were more of the horrified, why-is-that-savage-running-in-barefeet-and-man-does-he-need-a-haircut looks.  And I got a nice splinter in my foot to show for that little escapade too.

I did get a haircut yesterday, all part of the plan.  Is nice!  (Borat voice.)

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And for the third run, I ran the whole trail near my house, seven miles.  And in a pretty good time too — 52:26, about a 7:30 pace.  This is actually really fast for me on this trail; usually I’m good for about eight-minute miles at best.

The Dearth of Food

If you haven’t noticed, there has been one on this blog recently.  I still cook a new recipe almost every single night, just haven’t had any real winners recently.  But fear not, I’ll keep tryin’, and when I find a good one, I’ll post it.

Things You Musn’t Do

  • Forget to check out Running Shorts for my Born to Run review.  Plus a little birdie (named Megan) may have told me there would be a new post today.
  • Forget to enter my Amazing Grass giveaway.  Get your comments in by Friday!
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