Archive for For Runners

A Proper Breakfast

The idea of breaking fast excites me. Knowing that I need to eat after holding out for 6-8 hours is enough reason to fuss over a meal. Which is why I don’t understand how some people choose to skip the most important meal of the day. They must be starving by noon! Also, it is a fact that the lack of energy and calories slow down one’s metabolism. So folks, eat your breakfast!

Every weekend, I look forward to making a proper breakfast because I have the luxury of time. Mike and I used to head to the weekend market to get his favorite forest ham sandwich but I soon figured that I could make the same meal for much less. Yes, I take pride in my frugality. I’ve found that The Swiss Deli’s Smoked Farmer’s Ham is quite identical from the one at the market. Once armed with the right kind of ham, all you need is a fresh baguette, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and your choice of condiments. We always put mustard and Mike piles on the horseradish. The result is always a healthy and hearty breakfast.

I’ve also been getting into the habit of making breakfast smoothies. It’s a great way to start the work day and is definitely a full meal in itself. This smoothie keeps me full until lunch, which is great since I’m trying to avoid mid-day snacks. Flavors vary depending on the available fruits but I usually like using bananas, frozen blueberries or strawberries. I add milk, yogurt, some OJ and about 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats to give me my daily dose of fiber. Don’t be afraid of the oatmeal as you really won’t taste it in the smoothie. I used to just have this for dinner and lost a good amount of weight. 🙂

So treat yourself to a great breakfast. You’ll be surprised at how it can make a difference in your day.

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Basil Pesto with Mayo?

The heat has been unbearable and it’s taking every ounce of my will power not to turn the air-con on the moment I get home. I am also running out of summer clothes and am this close to wearing my singlets to work (those things are quite airy).  It’s now wonder the malls are packed because with this Manila sun, free air-conditioning rocks.

The upside of this weather is that I tend to stay in my room longer, watching my favorite cooking shows. The other day, The Barefoot Contessa was featuring recipes for a portable picnic – simple recipes but sure to be crowd-pleasers like, basil pesto pasta, tomato feta salad and this scrumptious looking lemon cake.  My mind went crazy with excitement, trying to think of reasons to invite friends over so I could feed them.  Right now, I’m thinking, carbo-loading party!

Her recipe for basil pesto intrigued me because it involved an ingredient that I would never put in my pesto – mayonnaise! But I know better than to doubt the Barefoot Contessa and her culinary instincts. So without thinking twice, I went ahead and put a large dollop of mayonnaise into my basil pesto and lemme tell you… my basil pesto will never be the same again.  You don’t actually taste it in the pesto because the mayo emulsifies so well with the olive oil that it gives it a richness and a creaminess that you will certainly miss. I do suggest though that you use good mayonnaise such as the Japanese mayo.

Go ahead and try it. You can thank me later 😉

You can find all the recipes from that episode here.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Pesto:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.

* Recipe from thefoodnetwork.com

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Eat, Pray, Run

Several weeks into the new year and almost two months since I signed up at the gym, and I am feeling great. I was feeling a bit frustrated at the beginning since the scale wouldn’t budge but I knew that it was just a matter of time.  I am now slowly but surely shedding off the holiday weight and am feeling very strong, and not to mention, very hooked on running.

It’s been a year since I started running, and although I haven’t been as dedicated as I wished to be, I can say that I’ve improved in this sport. I am now doing 10k races and am training for my first 11k trail run in February.

Being this active has also made me eat a lot more, and healthily too.  Considering my need for carbohydrates and my fair share of skills in the kitchen, I was forced to get creative with my lunch box menu.

Aside from exchanging white rice for brown rice, I have learned to love couscous even more. This whole-wheat grain is a great low fat source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber. On my more active days, I usually have this for my lunch with a large salad and my chosen protein for the day and I’ve never felt low in energy.

So I am quite happy to be coming into good terms with carbohydrates, no longer carrying that feeling of guilt every time I take a spoon full of anything starchy. And I hope that I’ve enlightened other weight watchers out there who think they have to completely cut off rice, pasta and bread from their diet. So go ahead and say this to yourself, “Carbs are not bad. Carbs are not bad…”

Couscous with Seared Tuna

For more tips on how to eat healthily, grab your free copy of The Bullrunner magazine and get yourself an instant food guide for runners, a 5k training program, a list of races for the coming months, an inspiring cover photo of Coach Ani de Leon and more. I haven’t stopped flipping through my copy since I got it.

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