Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Quinoa Kale Salad

It's spring (although it snowed in Chicago this week) so I'm back to eating salads for lunch instead of comforting and warm soups. I have lots of quinoa salad recipes but I haven't make one with kale yet, so here it is! The key to making kale edible is to massage it with oil. This helps break down the vegetable and easier to eat. This salad has quite a few ingredients but it's easy to make. The amounts are approximate so feel free to adjust to taste and skip an ingredients or two if you don't have it.

Ingredients (3-4 servings)
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
4-6 stalks kale
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 red pepper
1 carton cherry tomatoes
2 green onions
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. dulse flakes
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

These ingredients are approximate so use to your own taste. First, start cooking the quinoa by combining with the water in a pan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer until the water is absorbed. Add more water if quinoa is not cooked thoroughly. While the quinoa is cooking, shred kale into bite-size pieces (without the stem) in a large bowl. Add olive oil and thoroughly massage into kale until it turns a dark green color. Chop the red pepper and onions and add to bowl. Halve the tomatoes and olives and add to bowl. Add the pine nutsdulse flakes, chickpeas, vinegar, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Once the quinoa has cooked and cooled, add to bowl and mix again. It's good to let the salad set for a while for the tastes to combine and absorb, the vegetables won't get soggy so the leftovers are great too! Serve cold.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 7 of Indy 500 Mini Marathon Training

Here's week 7 training for the Indy 500 Mini Marathon on May 3. This plan is an intermediate program with the hopes of getting a PR and finally beating my 1:55 half marathon time. I made this plan with the help of The Crew and Kate of The Four Percent.

Monday - short run
5.02 miles at 7:59 pace!
Today was just supposed to be an easy run to recover from the long run over the weekend but I ended up going out fast and staying that way. I'm actually pretty sure that this was my 5-mile PR, a week after the Shamrock Shuffle of course. I never run under 8:00. The reason might be is that Ryan said he would meet me after work at Chipotle at 6:30 pm and it was already 5:50 when I went out for the run. So I rushed to get my 5 miles in before dinner. So, maybe I should have Chipotle for dinner every night??

Tuesday  - HIIT at BAC
As I said last week, I'm trying to check out more of the classes at BAC because I'm just terrible at working out on my own at the gym. I thought HIIT would be a good one to try but we really didn't do HIIT. High-intensity short intervals are supposed to be something like 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. And a real rest so that you can go all-out in the next set. But we did thinks like high knees for 30 seconds and running in place for 30 seconds, not really HIIT. There were some fun core movements where we passed medicine balls in a circle but I was not impressed with the class, overall.

Wednesday - Run
I met up with The Crew at Road Runner Sports for Girls Night Out. We did a 3 mile run (I ran there to tack on 2 more miles) and then there were some raffle prizes along with cupcakes and champagne. I also got to test out physical therapy from Delos Wellness. The therapist massaged out my tight ankle and it was both painful and good. 

Thursday - Spinning at BAC
Recovery before long run 

Friday - Long Run
12.1 miles at 8:47 pace
My legs were pretty tired during this run and I really didn't feel great. My calves and ankles hurt the most and it was a pain to finish. I did get the miles in though and greatly enjoyed the warmer weather we had in Chicago this weekend. It was beautiful on the lakefront (see above). I decided to take the rest of the weekend completely off to let my legs recover and the upcoming week will include only easy workouts. A recovery week in training can greatly help down the road. I also have the CARA Lakefront 10-miler this Saturday, so it will be good to rest up for it. Then, I'll go harder next week, and finally taper for a week.

Saturday + Sunday - Rest

What was your favorite/best workout last week?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Favorites

Favorite Read
Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini that I got from Lion + Maven

Favorite Workout
"Girls Night Out" with The Crew at Road Runner Sports 

Favorite Lunch
Eating on the patio at Big Star with fellow bloggers:
Lion + Maven // The Garden Apt. // 312 Beauty

Favorite Run
This morning along the lakeshore path, what a beautiful day!

What were your favorites this week?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quinoa Curry with Chickpeas and Sweet Potato

I came back from vacation in Florida last month and didn't have much fresh food in the kitchen but luckily my cupboard provided me with enough ingredients for this recipe. Also, Kristen at Fab Fit Chicago inspired me with her curry recipe! South Asians are all about their spices and curry generally contains spices, like turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and ginger, which have great health benefits. This dish can be eaten on its own for lunch or dinner but also makes a great side dish!

Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings)

4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup quinoa
1 sweet potato
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 16oz can chickpeas
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. curry powder
1 cup spinach leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Sirarcha sauce to taste (optional)


Add vegetable broth (or water and vegetable bouillon) to large pan and bring to a boil. Peel and chop the sweet potato into small cubes. Add quinoa and potato to pan, reduce to a simmer once the water is boiling. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and water mostly absorbed. Then, add the red pepper, chickpeas, peas, oil, and curry powder and sauté for a few minutes, add more water/broth if necessary. Add spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Add salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste. You can add more curry also to adjust taste. Ready to serve and great as leftovers too!

What is your favorite curry recipe?

What is your go-to meal when you get back from travel?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 6 of Indy 500 Mini Marathon Training

Here's week 6 training for the Indy 500 Mini Marathon on May 3. This plan is an intermediate program with the hopes of getting a PR and finally beating my 1:55 half marathon time. I made this plan with the help of The Crew and Kate of The Four Percent.

Monday - short run
4.75 miles at 8:40 pace, good recovery from the Shamrock Shuffle

Tuesday  - WOD at Cheetah Crossfit

Wednesday - Run Cross Training
I was supposed to do another 5 mile run today but I had a break down with the weather. I went outside all ready to run and decided that I just couldn't take the freezing weather anymore. So I went back inside and back to work and then later in the evening checked out BAC for the first time since it opened. I had signed up back in January and it was supposed to open in February but didn't until the end of March. I got a great sign up special with 2 months free so I'll get my money's worth before I make the big move. Anyway, I tried to run on the treadmill but that was boring (I hate the treadmill except at Shred415). And then I just hung around the machines for a while and did some floor movements. I've completely forgotten how to workout without a class! But BAC does have a lot of classes so I'll be checking out more of them over the coming weeks. 

Thursday - Cross Training + Sprint Workout
I had the chance to be one of the first people to check out the new Shred415 studio in Wicker Park! We just did a shortened half hour workout (usually an hour) but it was still a great workout. Since part of the class is sprinting on a treadmill, I count it as my "track" workout. 

Friday - Cross Training
Spin class at BAC - nice recovery before long run tomorrow!

Saturday - Long Run with The Crew
10.7 miles at 8:50 pace
My Nike+ app didn't work for the first quarter to half a mile so we ran 11. I had 12 on the schedule for this week but I skipped 11 last week because of the Shamrock Shuffle and this training plan is meant for the DC Half the week before mine that many of CRW people are doing. Not sure if I'll do 13 this week or leave it for after the Lakefront 10-miler. But anyway, the run felt great and only my feet/ankles were tired towards the end. The most annoying part is that the water fountains are still not turned on on the lake! Luckily there was a guy giving water by North Ave. beach but not enough stops for this long of a run. Later on Saturday, Ryan and I helped our friend move which involved a lot of stairs and thus my legs were shot by the end of the day. I also got over 7000 points on my fuel band, that's probably my most ever!

How do you plan your workouts at the gym?

What was your favorite/best workout last week?