Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Successes and Mistakes

Well, this morning I made a mistake; a couple of them actually. See, I've been very much enjoying yogurt smoothies for breakfast, lately. Today, I looked in the refrigerator and saw a very ripe mango in the crisper drawer. I think that it had been there for a while; the skin was a little wrinkly, and it was soft to the touch. But it was still good, so I decided that it would be the perfect ingredient for my morning smoothie.

Now, as I was making this smoothie, I thought that strawberry-mango sounded like a promising combination. But I decided to forego the strawberry element and stick with straight-up mango. To the diced mango, I added 1/2 cup yogurt (the last of it! I must buy some more!), a scoop of whey protein powder, and 1/2 cup of milk.

Or at least, I thought I did.

The blender didn't blend as smoothly as I am accustomed. It had to work a bit to get everything mixed up. Then when I poured the blended, um, "drink" into my cup, it looked a little . . . glooooopy. So I grabbed a spoon.

"Hmm," I thought, "This smoothie is really, really thick. It's actually more like mango/French Vanilla (flavoring from the protein powder) yogurt than a smooth drink. I guess next time I need to add more milk." And it was heavy enough that I couldn't eat/drink the whole thing at once, so I went to return it to the refrigerator until such time as I am hungry again. And on my way to the fridge, I saw my second mistake: 1/2 cup of milk sitting on the counter. Yep; I never added it to the blender. So I really was eating mango yogurt.

As for the first mistake, after I mixed in the milk, I realized that mango is just too sweet to be a good smoothie-maker on its own; it needs some tartness to balance it out, and the strawberries would definitely have done that.

But it hasn't all been mistakes! I've had a couple of original recipes work really well in the past couple days. For your gastronomical pleasure, I present:

Venison Mushroom Nu Ways

1/2 pound ground venison
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp steak sauce (or BBQ or Worcestershire)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and let them set for 15 minutes or so, enough to let the flavors mix around a bit. Brown the meat mixture in a skillet until it's crumbly and cooked through. Drain the liquid off, if you like (I don't, because both meats are so lean). Serve on whole grain bread with lots of mustard, and cheese, if you want it. Sliced onions are really good on top, too. I don't know how wide-spread the Nu Way restaurant chain is, but we have them in Wichita. A Nu Way sandwich is like a crumbly hamburger, and so this is a take on that idea. I use venison because it's very lean, much better for you than beef, and has a much stronger flavor. The mushrooms really highlight that slightly wild, gamey taste. A very healthy alternative to fast food. By the way, I used 5 oz ground venison and 3 oz ground turkey in this recipe, because I needed to get rid of the last little bit of ground turkey. Makes 2 servings.

Blawberry Smoothie
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp turbinado sugar

Frozen berries are okay. Blend together. Add protein powder if you like.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Longest Run Ever

Not because it was difficult; I'd just never run 8 miles at once, before.

My training over the past few weeks has been mediocre, at best (and nonexistent at worst). I was out of town for three weeks, then when I came back, I started working my first 40 hour work week ever. I'm working at a gym, but still. Being gone from 8:00 to 6:30 every day makes it difficult to get in the kind of miles I need for my upcoming events.

But getting out and running today will (I hope) act in a revitalizing fashion. The climbing wall (which I'm staffing at my club) is cutting back to fall hours starting Monday, so I won't have to be there from 12-6 every day. Which means that I can get in some of those big rides and runs during the day, instead of having to get up super early or stay out super late. 8 miles wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be; I feel like 10k was the big hump, and after I did that (my first 10k training run was in April), everything else is cake. Although we'll see if that's the case as I get into 10 and 12 mile runs. Obviously, it's not easy to keep those legs moving after the miles start building, but it's possible. And it reminds me of that self-discipline that makes me love running so much; once I get going, I feel so strong, so empowered, so capable. And I think that reminder will keep me going over the next few weeks as I train for non-tri events (which, frankly, aren't as exciting to me).

I now know the importance of carrying band aids along with me on training runs. I actually had to stop at Walgreen's to buy some and bandage my blistered feet. I also really need to purchase some new running shoes; I've had my current pair since December. Including stops for band aiding, I was out for 1:51; without those stops, 1:36. That's about a 12-minute-mile pace, right? I guess that's okay. I'd really like to be between 10 and 11 for the race, but that might not be realistic. At any rate, this will be my first half marathon, and so my primary objective is to finish!

My dad is also training, although I think he's focusing more on his biking right now. I'm really looking forward to these endeavors. And I can't wait for my 10-mile long run next week!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Still Alive

Back from Kaua'i. Ke3y6bo9ar4d st5i8ll br4o9ke3n. Hope to get it fixed soon, at which point I'll really update. Until then, i8t5's si8mp0ly6 t5o9o9 fr4u7st5r4at5i8ng t5o9 have3 t5o9 de3le3t5e3 e3ve3r4y6 o9t5he3r4 char4act5e3r4.