New NMA Stamp-Logo Items and a Special on Ebooks

I’ve got a couple new things to tell you about today, but first I wanted to take a minute to let you know what I’ve been up to.

If you’re a frequent reader, you’ve probably noticed that we haven’t had a ton of new posts here recently — just one a week for the past month or so, when ordinarily I shoot for two (but don’t always hit it!).

You can call it a summer vacation, I suppose. I’ve been taking some much-needed time away from the computer to focus on a few other, no-less-important things (some with No Meat Athlete, some at home). A few very exciting new things have developed, but right now I’ve got to keep them surprises. More to come soon!

But I’m getting back into the swing of things. I haven’t stopped running, and a week from Friday I’ll be running in the Blue Ridge Relay with 5 friends. We’ll share a vehicle and take turns running, to cover a total of 200 miles, all day and all night, from the Virginia-North Carolina border down to Asheville (where I live). I have no idea what to expect, but I’m guessing it’ll be mountainous, fun, and sometimes miserable. And that the car will smell terrible.

One more piece of news before I get to what’s new: No Meat Athlete will be returning to the DC Vegfest this year, on September 22nd! My wife Erin and I had a ton of fun meeting people last year, so I hope you’ll come out and say hi if you’re in the area.

New NMA stamp-logo shirts, stickers, and magnets

stampstickerWe all know the carrot has been the long-time cartoon face of No Meat Athlete, but about a year ago I started to think I’d be more likely to wear my shirt more if it looked a little … well, tougher. And less carroty.

So I talked to my friend Jenny about working up a new, slick, alternate logo, and she came up with what I now call the “stamp logo.” (The idea was originally an ironic take on those beef stamps you see in ads.)

mensstampwhite 224x300It’s not really fair to call it new, since we’ve been selling a few stamp-logo items since early spring, but having seen their popularity, I can say they’re here to stay. So just last month we got in stickers, magnets, and some white technical shirts to add to the line of red and grey ones.

Check out all the new stamp-logo stuff in the store! We’re pretty short on quantities of a few of them (what else is new), but if your size is out, it should be back within a few weeks — or you have one more reason to come to DC Vegfest, where I’ll make sure we’re stocked up!

And not to worry, carrot fans — he/she/it isn’t going away, and will still grace plenty of shirts and remain the logo of the site.

End-of-summer special on Marathon Roadmap and Half Marathon Roadmap!

I’m not really into doing sales. Bonuses sometimes, but I don’t usually do the straight prices-slashed sale. But hey, it’s the end of summer and I figured it’d be fun to offer each of No Meat Athlete’s two popular training guides at 35% off for a week (that’ll save you $13 on the Marathon Roadmap and $10 on the Half Marathon version).

That week, however, is almost up — the special price goes away tomorrow (Thursday) at 8pm Pacific.

Here’s a snippet from an email that No Meat Athlete reader Steph sent to me, after she finished her first half marathon (the Providence Rock ‘n’ Roll Half) using the Half Marathon Roadmap:

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Steph, after her first half marathon

I can’t thank you enough for writing that book. I’ve learned so much, it helped calm my nerves and to be perfectly prepared the morning of the race. I’ve made it through the training injury free, although I did have to stop wearing heels on a daily basis about 6 weeks into the training to get rid of a nagging dull hip pain. I’ve been in flats for over 2 months straight and no more hip pain since. I’m addicted to my morning smoothies and even my husband is a fan of giant salads for lunch now. I’ve also dropped 14 pounds since last year, which is great. The biggest change I’ve noticed, is this confidence I have now, that if I train hard enough, and smart enough, I can achieve any goal. About 2 weeks before the big race my mother in law asked me how did I know I could run 13 miles if I never have before, and inside I just knew I could, and I said, “I’m just going to do it, there’s not much thinking about it, I’m not going to be the fastest, but I’ll finish.” …I love my running life, and I can’t wait to call myself a MARATHONER! Runner for life right here!

So if you’re on the fence about making the commitment to run your first marathon or half as a vegetarian, I hope I’ve given you one more reason to say, “Screw it, I’m doing it!”

You can find out more details about the special here. Remember, the price goes back up tomorrow evening!

 

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5 Easy Ways to Get Even More from Your Smoothie

iStock 000017201805XSmallA year and a half after posting the Perfect Smoothie Formula (and probably three years after I started using it), the smoothie is still an everyday habit of mine. Even when I’m sick of smoothies, my wife still wants hers, so we make ‘em. And vice versa.

I have to be honest; I don’t change it up too much. Even with the limitless possibilities afforded by the formula, it’s pretty much the same most days: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and banana are the mainstay ingredients, augmented by a rotating cast of characters like whatever protein powder I like at the time, a green vegetable, a combination of seeds and nut butters, and sometimes virgin coconut oil or an omega blend.

But over time, I do discover new ways to get just a little more nutrition from my daily smoothie, or a way to make it a little quicker to prepare (because when you’re putting 15 different ingredients in and it’s every single day, it adds up to a lot of time).

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The World’s Most Versatile Veggie Burger Recipe

iStock 000019040143XSmallAfter seeing how useful (and how popular) the Perfect Smoothie Formula and the Ultimate Energy Bar Formula were, my sister Christine and I set out to see what other foods could benefit from a good formula-izing. That’s a real word.

In case you haven’t seen our other formulas, the idea is simple: instead of creating just one recipe, to make just one smoothie or one energy bar (that your taste buds will surely tire of by next week), we come up with a template that can be used to create virtually limitless variations, leaving room for your ideas in the process.

Smoothies and energy bars were natural choices for formulas. These are foods we eat all the time, so we need endless variations. But what else would lend itself well to a formula?

Enter the veggie burger formula

It’s not that we eat veggie burgers every single day. Or even every week.

But what’s great about veggie burgers is that if you’ve got just a few standby recipes, on any given weeknight you’ve almost certainly got everything you need in your pantry or fridge to throw something edible together in 20 or 30 minutes.

They’re super healthy and a good protein source too. And most importantly, they’re substitution-friendly, making them a perfect fit for a formula — if you’ve got a can of beans and a few random veggies in the fridge, chances are you’ve got what you need.

About the formula

And so Christine got to work creating a new formula. What’s really interesting is that she started with the energy bar formula as the backbone, since the bars are based on beans as well and have a texture that’s befitting of a burger. Of course, she replaced sweet flavors with savory ones, and designed the burgers to be fried, not baked like the bars are.

These burgers work great for a weeknight meal, and they’re perfect for tucking into a pita for a lunch on the go. We like to make them slider-style, since smaller burgers tend to stay together better than large ones and have a better texture. You can also make a large batch on the weekend and freeze ahead of time, but keep in mind that they tend to defrost better in the refrigerator than in the microwave.

Alright, here we go! The master formula is below, and we’ve listed several options for each broad type of ingredient, which you can mix and match to come up with your perfect burger. We’ve also included, at the bottom, three of our favorite combinations in case you’re not in a creating mood.

Enjoy!

The veggie burger formula

Ingredients:

  • 1  pound can of beans, drained and rinsed, or 1.5 cups cooked beans (suggestions: your favorite bean!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced veggies (suggestions: carrots, celery, mushrooms, chopped spinach, chopped kale, corn, chopped artichokes, zucchini, squash, sweet potato)
  • 2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons oil for frying (suggestions: olive, coconut, grapeseed)
  • 3 tablespoons liquid flavor (mix and match suggestions: mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, vegan worcestershire, buffalo sauce, balsamic vinegar, salsa, pasta sauce, marsala, water)
  • 4 teaspoons spice (we recommend combining at least two: smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, montreal steak seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fennel, oregano, curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit or reduce if your liquid or spices contain salt)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient (suggestions: buckwheat, unsweetened protein powder, bread crumbs, cornmeal, oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup texture ingredient (suggestions: chopped walnuts, olives, avocado, sundried tomatoes, leftover cooked rice/quinoa/bulgur, parsley, cilantro, basil)

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the onion, veggies, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and pulse with beans, liquid flavor, spice, salt until combined but still chunky. Pulse in the dry base and texture ingredient.

Form into golf ball size balls and flatten into patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Fry patties 2-3 minutes per side until browned and heated through.

Makes about 18 small patties.

Our favorite variations

Mexican Sliders

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups of veggies: 1 cup canned yellow corn, 2/3 cup sweet red pepper, 1/3 cup packed spinach
  • 3 tablespoons liquid: 1 tablespoon lime juice (1/2 a lime), 2 tablespoons red prepared salsa
  • 4 teaspoons spice: 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry ingredient: cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup texture ingredients: 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup white rice

Classic Sliders

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups of veggies: 1 cup mushrooms, 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup green pepper
  • 3 tablespoons liquid: 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, 2 teaspoons soy sauce or vegan worcershire
  • 4 teaspoons spice: 3 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt (omit salt)
  • 1 cup dry ingredient: panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup texture ingredients: 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Indian Patties

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups of veggies: 1 cup sweet potato, chopped fine, 1/2 cup sweet red pepper, 1/2 cup yellow corn
  • 3 tablespoons liquid: 1 tablespoon lime juice (1/2 a lime), 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons spice: 3 tsp curry, 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dry ingredient: oats
  • 1/2 cup texture ingredient: 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped cashews

 

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Thinking about Your First Ironman? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start

Hi Susan. I read your blog on your fabulous finish at Ironman Wisconsin and I was really inspired! I’ve been googling around about the race for awhile, just finished my first half Ironman, and am flirting with the idea of IMWI 2014.

 I guess I worry about how much investment I need to make–do I have to buy a tri bike, hire a trainer, etc?

-Margaret

susan finish image1About once a week, I get an e-mail like Margaret’s. Every time, I have to exercise restraint.

If it were up to me, I’d register every triathlete for an Ironman. Heck, I’d probably register non-triathletes for an Ironman, too. After all, I’m the one who says Anyone Can Do an Ironman.

And so, with every e-mail like this one, I suppress the urge to respond with an OVERLY ENTHUSIASTIC MESSAGE! BECAUSE! IRONMAN! IS! SO! RAD!!! (I, ahem, use a lot of capital letters and exclamation points to convey said enthusiasm. Also, 90’s-era words like “rad.” Told you I had to exercise restraint.)

If you’re considering taking on an Ironman triathlon, consider these questions first.

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The Dr. Seuss Secret to Simplifying Your Meal Planning

Dr Seuss Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and HamThese days, there’s no reason meal planning should be tough, even for vegetarians and vegans.

We’ve got tons of cookbooks and nearly infinite recipes at our fingertips on the web, not to mention all of the loose ideas of meals in our heads.

So why is it so hard to answer the question, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” Or, even harder, to sit down over the weekend and actually plan out — gasp! — seven dinners?

The problem: We have too many choices

Telling yourself you have all the time in the world, all the money in the world, all the colors in the palette, anything you want—that just kills creativity.

–Jack White (of the White Stripes)

In Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist (where I found the Jack White quote), Kleon relates a story about Dr. Seuss that really hit home for me. First as a writer, and later as a cook.

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