Turmeric Rice Pudding

turmericI’m not sure if this qualifies as a recipe or just a fun idea for using up leftover rice, but either way it makes a delicious snack and was particularly wonderful on this gloomy New England Wednesday.

Sidenote -> the weather here in Boston is throwing me off so much. It cycles between freezing and 60 and sunny within a week, and now we’re facing a week of January rain. There is nothing more depressing to me than January rain. I am obviously not built for the pacific northwest (which is what I fear New England is turning in to with all this global climate change).

img_1935

Turmeric is gaining speed in the food and health world these days thanks to it’s solid reputation as an immune-boosting and inflammation-reducing herb. Turmeric is a primary component of curry powder, and its yellow tint, which comes from the antioxidant component called curcumin, is not only great at staining fingers but coloring foods. It’s actually now used as the primary coloring agent in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese– go figure!

It’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat illnesses such as pain, fatigue and rheumatism, and is commonly taken as a supplement today to treat inflammation, arthritis, stomach, liver and gallbladder conditions, among others. Few strong scientific studies have indicated that turmeric actually reduces inflammation in the human body, though like any nutrient or plant chemical, but remember it’s hard for even the strongest and most well-designed studies to truly prove cause and effect. More research is always warranted in the field of nutrition, and there’s lots currently happening with this lovely yellow spice.

Some interesting things in the literature that have been associated with turmeric intake:

  • Reduced number of heart attacks after bypass surgery
  • Controlled osteoarthritic knee pain as effectively as ibuprofen
  • Reduced skin irritation after radiation treatments for breast cancer

The University of Maryland Medical Center has a great resource available of the current Turmeric research in case you’re interested in learning more.

Personally, I love the color that turmeric provides. I find that it has a very mild flavor and gives food just a little bit of smokiness and warmth. For this recipe, I added about a teaspoon of turmeric to the water that I cooked the brown rice in, but you could also add the turmeric to the rice after it is cooked. I used leftover rice to make this, but you could verywell cook up a batch of rice just to make this darn recipe if you so please.

This quick little recipe is a great pre-workout snack to have about 1 hour-45 minutes before activity. The rice and dates provide a quick source of carbohydrates, while the nuts and cinnamon will help to buffer an intense spike in blood sugar and sustain that energy out for a longer duration during a workout. Use brown rice to get the full benefit of the grain, but white rice can be helpful if wanting to limit fiber (ie. right before a run or long workout). Shorter grain rice is better at soaking up liquids and makes more of a pudding-like consistency when cooked here, but all grain lengths will work.

This would also be a delicious side dish to some baked chicken or curry-spiced fish. I might even have it with my leftover peanut stew for dinner tonight.

Ingredients for one serving

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (I cooked mine in turmeric. If you didn’t, add about 1/2 teaspoon to the rice)
  • 1 medjool date, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped pecans (or nut of choice)

Mix all ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for at least 3 minutes until milk is absorbed into rice and has softened the nuts. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

img_1930

Step one: Add one pitted and chopped medjool date per half cup of cooked rice.

img_1931

Step two: Add a sprinkling of cinnamon to suit your taste (I like a lot of cinnamon), about 1.5 tablespoons of chopped pecans (or whatever nut you have on hand), and about 1/3 cup of almond milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)

img_1932

Step 3: Microwave for at least 3 minutes, until the milk boils and softens the rice and nuts.

img_1933

Step 4: Fluff with a fork, and enjoy!

 

img_1898

 

 

Week 10 NYC Marathon Training + Life Update + Bonus Recipe

 

142fb9d91b0a914f0a7b1499d7ffa1e8

Here we are — 10 weeks in, 11 to go. Almost half way! I’ve been feeling super motivated (and also very much in awe) watching all the insanely athletic olympians kick ass in Rio. Sportz!

IMG_0710

Rio-Inspired Breakfast Scramble

This heat. Needs. To. Go. Away. I’m so tired of constantly sweating and sticking to furniture, not being able to breathe, etc. etc. On Friday my thermostat in my apartment read 94 degrees. Inside. WHAT. Needless to say there has been a lot of non-cooking going on, lots of fruit, salads, ice cream, and literally anything that takes no heat to make. Even pantry snacks like nuts seemed too hot to eat sometimes. So far, my mileage hasn’t been that crazy so my appetite has been pretty much where I started at baseline (besides my long run days where I feel like I could literally eat all day), though this past week I’ve had more than a few bottomless pit episodes…runger here I come. You can bet it’s gonna be out in full force once the cool air of fall hits…. (If it ever comes… please come back, fall!)

IMG_0679

Training Recap (Credit to Heather for the Plan)

Monday: Spin Class + Core Work 

Took my workout back to Turnstyle for a morning spin class that was full of leg-burning hills and perfectly high energy. I always leave these classes on some kind of high. I love it. Followed up with a 30 minute core workout at home.

Tuesday: Group Run + Yoga

Nope. Got stuck at work on a phone call that kept me downtown until 7:15pm and the run was all the way up in Cambridge at 7:30pm. No-can-do. I had planned to leave work just before 7 and hop on the T to make it in time, but ended up feeling pretty burnt out by the end of the day anyway. Thought about just running on my own back at home, but figured I’d be in better shape if I just took the day off and saved my legs for tomorrow’s hills. Did a lovely Yoga With Adrienne stretching routine for Sore Legs which was perfect.

IMG_0720

Uh oh, I bought some crack at the grocery store…. Vanilla Life were $1.99 and yes, they are very tasty

Wednesday: Hill Repeats

Luckily my neighborhood is known for its hills, so finding a good one was not such a hard task. Started with a 20 minute jog to warm up and completed 6 runs up a residential hill, with light jogging/walking down it between each set. The Hill was about 1/4 mile long and each round up I focused on engaging my core, legs, and glutes to push me ahead with strong strides. Even though it was tough work, it was one of those workouts that felt super rewarding. Each round up was short – about 2-3 minutes, so I was able to push myself hard with comfort in the fat that I would have an easy jog back down. I felt like the training I had already done, spinning and strength and running over moderate hills during all of my runs, definitely prepared me here and I actually enjoyed the burn. Felt fine all day but damn when I woke up the next morning my booty was definitely feeling sore.

IMG_0722

Another fav. Made a batch of tuna with just a few tablespoons of this dressing mixed in and it added some bomb flavor. Delicious on crackers, with pepper slices, or in a pita pocket!

Thursday: Crosstraining

Did 45 minutes of easy cardio on the elliptical, increasing resistance from 11-15 over the course and pedaling to the beat of the music while watching the olympics!

IMG_0701

The perfect no-heat recipe: Tilapia Ceviche with Avocado, Cilantro and Green Pepper on a bed or crisp romaine lettuce. With corn chips on the side for scooping!

Friday: Easy 45

Took this one inside to the treadmill because remember what I said about it being 94 degrees INSIDE? yeah, apparently on Friday the heat index was upwards of 110 degrees with all the humidity so there was no way I was wasting energy and life slowly dying for an easy run. Ended up being a pretty solid decision because it’s a lot easier for me to control my heart rate on the treadmill and keeping it under 155 was no problem. I also was able to watch most of the Women’s Olympic Soccer match between USA and Sweden before the tragic ending – so this one was a win!

IMG_0721

Drinking this stuff like it’s going out of style. Heat and humidity life saver if you like bubbles like I do.

Saturday: Long Run, 2 hours 15 minutes

This was a first for me – ran with a running buddy! Somehow, after Friday’s oppressive heat, the heavens opened up and graced the city of Boston with temps in the low 70s. I was almost shocked leaving my house, which was still about 20 degrees warmer than outside, in a tank top. Couldn’t have asked for better weather for this run, really. It was a little humid but definitely a small price to pay for being able to run a little later in the morning (read: not at 5am) and not melt in scorching heat. I met my running buddy, who happens to be moving down to Knoxville, TN TODAY, in Harvard Square and we headed north to one of my new favorite paths — super shaded and woodsy for most of the whole way. Of course, he is a good FOOT taller than me so I felt kinda bad dragging him along (lol Will if you’re reading this, hey!) at my slow warm up pace, and definitely could tell that I was running a little faster than I would have if I were solo. Tried soo hard to slow down and keep my HR under 155 like I was supposed to, but stayed right between 155 and 160 for most of this leg. He was great enough to stick with my pace basically the whole way and it was awesome to be able to spend a sweaty couple hours getting a good run in for his send-off from New England. BUT I don’t think I’ll be running many of these long runs with a partner again because it’s just too hard for me to truly check in with my body and respond. I felt more burnt out from this run in my legs than any of my previous long runs which weren’t all that different, and I think it’s because I ran too hard during the first hour. After that first hour, we did 3 x 15 minutes of half-marathon effort, which I think I again overshot – especially the first one. Finished up with 20 minutes of cool down by the Charles where I really started to feel the lactic acid in my legs. I had a 30 minute walk home from saying goodbye which helped loosen up some of the tightness — motion is lotion, as they say. Got home and rolled out some of the tough spots right away. I had a pint of Arctic Zero in my freezer (going back to the dark side here but so far so good…) that was calling my name. It ended up being the purrrrfect refueling immediately post run – super cold, super refreshing, and full of a decent balance of carbs and protein. Definitely not the most wholesome post run option but it did the trick and honestly felt amazing.

For fueling during the run, I brought along my usual 20 oz water bottle with a full scoop of Skratch and brought a packet of the high sodium clif chews since I figured I’d probably be sweating buckets in the humidity. I ate one every 30 minutes up until the cool down, 3 total. Before leaving, I made sure to get a bit more energy in me than last weekend and toasted up a slice of whole grain bread with some homemade cashew butter and half a banana and ate it about 1.5 hours before the run.

I am feeling inspired to try my hand at maybe making some running fuel to bring with me on runs? Something along the lines of energy balls or easy-to-chew dried fruit snacks, instead of leaning on all this refined sugar every Saturday. Hopefully with this much time left before race day I can come up with something my body likes and that also keeps my blood sugar from going to whacko.

IMG_0718

I prefer salads the size of my head, please and thanks. This one had fresh romaine, watermelon, feta and mint with raspberry vinegar drizzled on top. Super satisfying and hydrating. (Clothing is obviously optional in my apartment these days)

Sunday: 45 minute Jog/Walk

I ended up walking all of this because after the first 10 minutes of walking my heart rate was already at 150. What?! I was so confused, and thought maybe my watch was going on the fritz – since it’s already having trouble with my manual laps. But it’s possible there’s a physiological reason here too — maybe I was still dehydrated from yesterday, though I didn’t feel thirsty and made sure to drink lots of fluids on Saturday. Maybe since my run was particularly hard, my body was still under stress and was trying to recover and my heart rate reflected that. Whatever the case, I did not run and kept my HR right around 150-160 which it did on its own while I walked at an easy pace. CRAZY. and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad sign but we’ll see how it looks tomorrow.

Total Miles = 27.3

So far still so good! My legs are still holding up, feet feeling tired after long runs but better with rest. My glutes and lower back always seem to tighten up so I am continuing to focus on these areas with foam rolling and yoga, and strengthening my core and glute muscles with crosstraining. Thanks to my glorious A/C unit that I finally installed in my window, sleep has been no problemo.. though I am really looking forward to the nights where I can leave the window open and let the fresh air lull me to sleep…

IMG_0692

So excited to make some of these delicious recipes!! Some really great ideas in here (full review coming soon!)

Life Update!

Wait, I do things besides run? Haha. Sometimes. I forgot to mention this a few weeks back (and shoot this is also running related…) but I ended up registering last minute for the BAA Half entry lottery and got in! So I have that to look forward to on my calendar on October 9th – just about one month before my marathon. I’m probably not going to PR in this one as I’m going to use it to practice my marathon pacing, and will most definitely be running slower than my previous races. But it will be great to have a day to practice pre-race and during-race fueling, pacing, music vs. no music… all that jazz. Plus, the BAA Half is lots of fun and they have a great medal and shirts so I’m glad it worked out! I wanted to try to get into a half that I hadn’t already done, but it was so hard to find one at a good time that wouldn’t require a bunch of travel and lodging arrangements. Even though the bib price of the BAA half is higher than a lot of other races, I’ll end up saving a bunch of money not having to pay for somewhere to sleep, a car rental for a full weekend, and a lot of stress associated with all of the above.

IMG_0719

Haha I WISH I was eating gelato for breakfast at work. I had fun pretending with this batch of oats and chia soaked in milk with a half scoop of protein powder – Kept me full for hourssss which is always nice when talking about the weird and delicious food people ate all day at work.

I also have some random news… I am now an ordained minister! Anyone want to get married? I can do that for you! My best friend from college recently got engaged and is planning a small ceremony at the end of the month with her Fiance, and they asked me if I would officiate the ceremony with one of the groom’s best friends. Before this summer, the thought of getting ordained seemed way out there – but my friends who got married earlier this summer had the groom’s dad get ordained to officiate their ceremony, and my cousin is having her brother get ordained to officiate her ceremony next year. Hopping on the new trend, I guess! But I am SO excited, and so honored to have such a major role in the start of their life together ❤ I’ll be flying out to Chicago and Madison at the end of the month for a last minute vacation before school starts up again in the fall and am so grateful I’ll get to see all my most special friends again!! I miss them out in Boston every single day. My official ordination materials are apparently in the mail, and now I have to start figuring out what I’m going to actually say during the ceremony…. EEP

Bonus Recipe!

IMG_0677

I have always loved sweet potatoes, and normally just steam them up in the microwave to cook them, cut em open and stuff them full of lots of goodies like black beans, other veg, greek yogurt, apples, berries, peanut butter…. all the things. Sweet potatoes are a great vehicle for many flavor combos. But recently I started seeing these sweet potato breakfast bowls popping up – almost like oatmeal. I knew I wanted to give it a try because hello sweet potatoes are BOMB and the idea of having a starchy veg be the base of a breakfast meal is something I can definitely get behind. Well, it ended up being a major success. Definitely adding this to my breakfast repertoire and breaking it out frequently during cooler mornings. I’m sure you could make this ahead of time and stick it in the fridge and eat it cold like an overnight oats deal – that is going to be the next thing I test. This is another recipe that literally comes together in minutes, but I think you’ll get the best success if you take the time to fully bake the potatoes in the oven so they get nice and soft inside and the skin is easier to remove. I like to wrap my potatoes in foil and stick them in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Bake a full batch and you have breakfast ready to go for the whole week!

Without further ado, here is how I pulled this beaut together:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes, baked and skins removed (feel free to save the skin for something else, don’t waste all those nutrients!
  • 1/2 scoop (15g) protein powder of choice* – I used PEScience Select Protein Blondie flavor
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice – I used 1% dairy milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Toppings of choice: Banana, berries, apple, peach, chia seeds, cacao nibs, dark chocolate, coconut, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil; the base of this is primarily starchy carbohydrates and protein so feel free to add some healthy fats here

IMG_0674

Directions:

  • In a bowl, mash baked sweet potato into a mush.
  • Add protein powder and milk, and stir until completely combined
  • Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute or so
  • Top with cinnamon, toppings of choice and enjoy!

IMG_0675

IMG_0676

*If you don’t have protein powder at home, you could easily sub in one egg white here – just make sure you really stir to combine so the egg is completely mixed in and you don’t end up with bits of egg white scramble mixed in with your potato bowl!

Not a fan of bananas and nut butter? (Who are you!?) Here are a few other flavor combos that sound absolutely delicious

Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin pie spice + Pecans + Apples (try microwaving them with cinnamon for 30 seconds before adding to the mix!) + Vanilla yogurt

Tropical Vaca: Coconut Flakes (unsweetened) + Mango slices + Cashews + Coconut milk

Mexi-Cali: Make it savory and omit the flavored protein powder. Add black beans + avocado + sautéed peppers + greek yogurt + chili powder and lime juice

——————————–

I’m so excited just to have this day to lounge around and watch the olympics, make some food for the week and reset.

Have you guys been watching Rio? What has been your favorite event to watch? Anything you guys are still looking forward to?

Do you tend to prefer sweet or savory for breakfast? I tend to prefer sweet but there are definitely days when nothing but savory will do. Luckily, sweet potatoes fit both of the bills!

HELP ME REACH $1,500 BY SEPTEMBER 1ST!