shrimp soooooooup…

You are what you eat. We’ve all heard it. And look. I’m not proud of it, but it happens every year. I get busy and my diet goes down the pooper. And when that happens, my training struggles.

Likely I don’t have the energy because snacking on cheese and crackers and a handful of peanut M&Ms for “lunch” doesn’t exactly give you strength and lasting energy for sustained efforts such as those required for Ironman training (probably why I’ve been having a rough training week, don’tcha think?!).

Adding to that is the overwhelming feeling that working out this much should (and nearly always does) mean I can eat whatever I damn please. So I do. Is that usually a well balanced, nutrient filled meal? Not unless you count a reuben and tater tots as well balanced…Sluggish runs, here we come!

photo from ebruli, flickr

photo from ebruli, flickr

The ongoing struggle in our household is having quick, easy and healthy meals (and the ingredients needed on hand) and the foresight to plan ahead, making grocery lists and go to the store. This year, I swore I’d do better. The jury’s still out but this week was pretty much a FAIL, with the exception of last night.

Here’s a newly discovered favorite that we’ve adapted to make even faster and even easier and it was a lovely feast that becomes yummier and yummier as the leftovers sit beckoning in the fridge:

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Soup 

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 whole large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 2-3+ minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce (the recipe calls for 1 tbsp but we can’t get enough of the smoky, spicy wonderfulness of these chiles!)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) can great northern beans or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 24+ ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp (if you get cooked shrimp, you only need to add the shrimp and cook till warm)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • tortilla chips
  • avocados

Preparation

1. Heat a very large soup pot / stock pot over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and saute onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 6 minutes or until celery is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done (or heated through if you used pre-cooked).

2. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips and avocado, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings (about 1 3/4 cups soup)

(Sorry for no photo – I was so hungry last night I forgot to snap one before I dug in and scarfed it down! Adapted from Cooking Light – they have a lovely photo you can ogle)

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mmmmmm, cheeseburger…

Last week, after a 2 hour 30 minute brick (that was preceded earlier in the day by a run with some girlfriends), I had SUCH a hankering for a cheeseburger. With bacon. Jalapenos. Maybe some BBQ sauce. Tater tots. Oh man, I’m hungry just thinking about it.

My wonderful hubby had gone to the grocery store just a day earlier though and picked up some salmon, spinach, black beans, tomatoes… you know, super foods. Healthy stuff. Boy is he responsible.

I remember finishing the workout and laughing: Ho-boy, he’s crazy if he thinks I’m eating grilled salmon tonight!

But then I remembered this recipe from Rachel Ray’s “365: NO REPEATS” cookbook and thought, what the heck. Healthy isn’t going to hurt this once (and also I had grand visions of sneaking out for a  midnight hamburger snack in the middle of the night, waking the hubby and running out for the least healthy thing you could possibly eat in the middle of the night…you know, as a reward for working out and also as a reward for eating healthy, haha).

Anyway, this is a yummy one and a good healthy standby (especially when compared to, say, a bacon cheeseburger!) so I thought I’d share it here in case you need some food inspiration some night in the near future.

 

Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Corn and Black Bean Salar

 

Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Corn and Black Bean Salad: 

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 + tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp honey

1 tsp chili powder

24 oz salmon fillet (s)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

10-15 oz (fresh, canned or defrosted frozen) corn

1/2 cup stock

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

6 cups baby spinach

2 limes (or lime juice)

 

In a shallow dish, combine juice of 1 lime, honey, and chili powder and mix well. Coat the salmon in the mixture thoroughly and then cook it in a skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil, 3-4 minutes on each side or until the salmon is just cooked through. (I think next time I might try to marinate the salmon in the mixture and then broil it).

In another skillet, pre-heat 2 tbsp olive oil and cook the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cook for 3 minutes and don’t forget to stir occasionally.  Add the bell peppers and corn and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften peppers. Add stock and cook for an addition 2 minutes. Add black beans and cook until the beans are warm. Remove from heat and add juice of one lime, cilantro and spinach. Toss to wilt spinach.

Serve salmon on top of a bed of warm bean and corn salad.

Enjoy!

(adapted from 365:No Repeats, Rachel Ray)

 

 

 

rewards (in the form of lemon berry ricotta crepes)…

One of the reasons we work out is so we can eat more, right? If you know me, you know I LOVE food and you know that I think that one of the great things about this many workouts a week is that I’m torching tons of calories. Which basically means I can eat almost anything I want and be (almost) totally justified in the irresponsibility of the indulgence. Awesome.

The trick is to a) not to eat more than I’m burning (and that is definitely a feat some days – I hate to pass up an opportunity to indulge!) and b) to replace those burned calories with things my body can use for fuel in the next day’s workout (i.e. protein and carbs and all that good stuff). It gets a little scientific for me, but I know that eating potato chips and Twix bars for meals will leave me feeling worn out big time in the next day’s workout. It’s not really worth it to be dragging over a bad decision. So we stick to the basics, a lot of super foods – fruits, veggies, salmon, black beans. Lots of salads. Stir frys. Mexican goops. And fortunately, we don’t usually have much of the “bad” stuff in our house anyways, so not much temptation.

But obviously it’s fun to reward yourself for sticking to your training, so I often do. And often these rewards are in the form of food. Not only that, but they commonly take the form of processed sugars. You know, cookies and the like.

Sundays are great for rewards like sleeping in. Waking up without an alarm clock. This particular Sunday also proved to be a great day for Lemon Berry Ricotta Crepes, which we had originally planned to have for breakfast but turned out to be a great dinner as well –

Here’s the recipe, which I adapted from a recipe for crepes that I found in our local paper and combined with a recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce from Two Peas & Their Pod (though I pretty much just used their blueberry sauce recipe and saved the pancakes part for another reward day…).

Ingredients:

For the Berry Sauce:
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen berries
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water

For the Ricotta Filling (you could probably cut this in half – we had a lot leftover):
2 cups ricotta cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Crepes:
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 fluid ounces water
1 cup all purspose flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Vegetable oil for the pan

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and cornstarch and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine berries (we used frozen mixed berries), sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in lemon juice and cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens slightly. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

Combine ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to fill crepes. Refrigerate until ready to fill crepes.

Combine eggs, milk and water; mix well. Add flour and mix until just combined. While stirring, pour in melted butter. Mix well until smooth.

Heat ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel, leaving a thin film of oil.

Pour a scant ¼ cup crepe batter into the skillet and tilt the pan until batter evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook crepe without moving until top surface is dry and edges start to brown, loosening it from the side of the pan with a spatula. Gently slide spatula under edge of crepe. Grasp with fingertips and flip crepe. Cook until second side is lightly spotted golden brown.

Fill each crepe with sweetened ricotta cheese and berries. Roll up and place seam side down on a plate. Top with a dollop of ricotta (and the recipe also suggests fresh mint leaves and fresh fruit. We weren’t classy enough for fresh mint, but we had strawberries!)

What’s great about having these for dinner is that you know you’ve either earned them. Or you haven’t. In our case, I figured that 8 workouts over the course of this past week called for a crepe-tacular, fruit and ricotta-filled breakfast/dinner.

Although now that I think about it, having these for breakfast would put some pressure on me to go get a workout in at some point during the day! Cheers!