Monday, July 2, 2012

WAY, WAY too hot to run

At about 6:30 last night, my sister and I were hibernating in the air conditioning. We looked outside at the fading sunlight and also down at my dog, who was sulking on the rug from not being able to play outside. So we decided, "How hot could it be? Let's just go for a quick walk down to the Coffee Hag so the dog can get some fresh air."

By the end of my 40-foot driveway, I knew I had made a mistake. My forehead was glistening. By the one-block mark, I had my mouth open like a beached trout, trying to take deeper breaths than the humidity would allow. By the time we got to the Hag, I was frowning and had stopped talking to my sister. I won't talk about the walk home. Let's just say I considered giving up and plunking down a curb, accepting my fate: Amanda Dyslin, age 31, died Sunday of heat exhaustion just a block from home. She blames her dog, who guilted her into venturing outdoors into her least favorite weather of all time.

I won't regale you with yet another tangent on my heat sensitivity. I'll just say this: I have not run in many days. I simply cannot do it. I'm miserable just walking. If I ran, I would burst into flames. I would melt. I would die in the worst possible way imaginable -- in sweltering heat. Shuuuuudddddder.

I'm willing to accept that when a cool, low-humidity morning does come along, I will have taken a hit to the endurance. I may have to revisit the Runner's World Couch to 5K program and do 5-minute runs and 1-minute walk breaks. That's OK. It'll give me something to work for again. : )

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Corn and Bean Salsa

This salsa is perfect for burgers, for quesadillas, for chips, or as a side salad. 

Soak and cook black beans. You can buy canned, but I think they are often really mushy. 
Chop tomatoes, green pepper, jalapeno, sweet peppers, onion, and cilantro. Throw in a bowl with salt.
Cook and cut corn from cob.
Mix all together.
Serve. So fresh. So light. So good.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Red, White, and Blue Pancakes

Basic Pancake Recipe

1 1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1 egg
3 tbsp butter
strawberries, blueberries, white chocolate chips

Mix all but berries and chocolate.
Spoon batter onto hot skillet. Turn heat way down. Sprinkle with berries and chocolate.
Fry slowly.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hot Dog Bun Stuffed French Toast

You know the hot dog bun conspiracy, right? The fact that eight or 12 hotdog buns are sold in a package, and hotdogs are sold in packages of 10? So you end up having two extra or buying a whole other bag of buns to make up for your deficit of two.

I got to thinking about what one could do with extra hotdog buns. All in all, it's fluffy, delicious bread. It must have other usages. Food Network gave me my answer. ... This will sound crazy. Just try it. Trust me.

Hot Dog Bun Stuffed French Toast

1. Toast your buns

2. Pick your stuffings. Jellies, fruits, whatever you like.

3. Stuff your buns. These three have cream cheese in each, and then one has apple butter, one has strawberry rhubarb jam and mashed strawberries, and one has mashed blackberries and whole blueberries.

3.5 This is the healthy version of bun-stuffing. This bun was squirted with Promise and toasted and then stuffed with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

4. Mix your egg bath. Three eggs, 1/8 cup milk, sprinkle of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

5. Dunk your sandwiches on all sides in the egg mixture and cook on the griddle until browned. Sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Top with warm maple syrup. On the side, scrambled eggs and bacon.

5.5 Here is the healthy option. You can still dunk the sammies in the egg wash and cook on the griddle. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and extra mashed berries. Only a tiny drizzle of maple syrup on top. On the side, scrambled eggs.

A guilt-free (or splurge) Shrimp Roll

I love a good lobster roll. But I'm cheap. So, most of the time, I love a good shrimp roll. And it's not impossible to make one healthy.

Here is a great recipe with both healthy or splurge options, and either method you choose will equal one hell of a sandwich.

                                                         Shrimp Roll

In a bowl, mix two tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt (splurge: 2 tablespoons mayo), a squirt of lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, sea salt and pepper to taste, 1/8 cup green onion. Mix. Add 1 cup salad shrimp. (I found a bag of frozen, fully cooked salad shrimp at Aldi that are just 120 calories for a third of the entire bag. Not bad!) Mix.

I used a split-top kaiser sub roll that you can spray with Promise (or splurge: butter) and toast on a griddle. The toasting of the bun is essential. You want it crispy and buttery.

On the bun bottom, add thick, leafy lettuce. Spoon your shrimp salad mixture on top. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles. (Splurge: add bacon bits.) Top with your bun top and smoosh down to fit into your mouth. : )

On the side, fresh grapes and low-cal sweet potato fries. Enjoy!

Today's running stats:
Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: Forgot my watch
Get through it song: Thanks to the go'geous weather, didn't need one. It was Cake ... literally and figuratively. Gotta love "Fashion Nugget."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Empty-the-Jelly Jar Brownies

OK. I really like to buy new jars of jellies, jams, and preserves. I love the colors, the flavors, and the seemingly endless possibilities for use. Sometimes, though, I will collect seven or eight nearly empty jars in the fridge and will still find myself staring at the grocery shelf, wanting to throw another two or three in the cart. To ease my guilt and clear up some space, here's a way to use and get rid of bits of jelly left in the bottom of the jar.

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan. Combine 1 3/4 cups of sugar (I used raw, but you can use granulated), 1 1/2 sticks of butter, and 1/4 cup of coffee. Then, add two eggs. Mix. In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups of flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar, a dash of salt. Blend all together.

Spread in a greased pan. Dollap some jelly on top. Watch out for Archie's nose.

Swirl it around with a knife. Don't mix it up too much, though. You want to leave ribbons of jelly throughout your batter. Throw it in the oven.


Build a fort in the living room for 18-20 minutes.

Pull out of oven when the brownies have just slightly pulled away from the pan and the middle springs back a bit when you touch it.


Yes. I know this is a Get-Fit summer and that this recipe is for brownies. Brownies! With sugar and butter! In my life, I have gained and lost more than 200 hundred pounds. Not all at one time, but in fluctuations having mostly to do with certain medications and then pregnancies. With my last child, Gordon, I gained 45 pounds. Gordie only weighed 8. I was left with what I then coined "a lot of water weight." Ha! I have done starvation diets. I have done the "I'm only going to drink my food" diet. I have done "I'm going to drink 8 ounces of water every time I'm hungry diet." I have done the "beady-eyed animal only" diet. I have done the "I'm only going to eat one lean meal a day diet." But, each time, I found my desire for sweets, chocolate especially, to come on full and determined and persistent. Now that I'm slightly less crazy, a bit more reasonable, a little more reverent toward my body, now that I prepare mostly whole foods and nutritious meals, I have no qualms about downing a brownie. Now, especially when I know that I have Fitness Bootcamp at Natural Pathways to help keep me in check, I might eat two and not lose a wink of sleep.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

The beautiful berries have arrived

I've been obsessed with two things lately: fresh berries and Brownberry pocket thins.

At HyVee, there are these delicious pita pocket-esque pocket thins. They're only 100 calories apiece, which makes a nice alternative to a couple of slices of bread when making sandwiches. And they're so delicious. I really like the 8-grain and Italian herb varieties.

Anyhow, this was an easy sammy on the go: a pocket thin stuffed with lettuce, Italian-herb marinated chicken, green onion and diced tomato. I also had everybody pick whichever sauce they wanted: thousand island, bacon ranch, mayo -- whatever works. On the side, fresh berries, of course!

But the piece de resistance in pocket-stuffing came yesterday, inspired by my blog cohort Nicole Helget. Her spicy chicken salad looked delicious, as did a photo of a dark red bowl of cherries she posted on Facebook. So I decided to make up my own spicy BERRY chicken salad.

In a bowl, combine: diced red sweet cherries, blackberries, blueberries, diced chicken, walnut pieces, red onion.
In another bowl, combine: a small tub of low-fat Greek yogurt (very healthy alternative to mayo), 1/8 to 1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette, squirt of lime juice. And if you want it spicy, crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

Then, mix up all the ingredients into a pink chicken salad!

I stuffed the mixture into an 8-grain pocket thin, topped with green onion and served with more cherries on the side.

Last night's running stats on NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!
Distance: 2.75 miles
Time: 32 minutes
Get through it song: Pink, "Raise Your Glass"