Simple Granola

Who doesn’t like granola?  My favorite way to enjoy granola is over Greek yogurt for breakfast. Sometimes I’ll add milk to a bowl of granola for a great alternative to cereal; sprinkle it over ice cream as a yummy crunchy topping; or add 1/3 cup of dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, raisins, dates or apricots, and eat it by the handful as a snack. The type of nuts or seeds can be swapped out. I sometimes use more walnuts and omit the pecans or use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of sunflower seeds. Choose your favorite nuts. Just make sure the nuts are unsalted.  The granola can be stored up to 1 week in an airtight container.  Placed into a mason jar wrapped with a bow, fresh homemade granola makes a nice little gift.  Who doesn’t like granola?

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick oats)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine oats, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. In separate small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour over oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Spread out evenly over parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, stirring granola every 12-14 minutes to ensure even browning. Allow granola to cool on pan completely unless you forgot to line the pan with parchment paper. Clean up might be easier if the granola is transferred from an unlined baking sheet to a glass casserole dish to cool. Otherwise, the granola will cool to crisp little chunks and slide right off the parchment paper. I prefer to leave the granola in some smaller chunks to store.

Cool and store in airtight container up to 1 week, if it lasts that long.

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granola parfait

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I like a variety of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews, in my granola.  Choose the combination of you enjoy most.
I like a variety of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews, in my granola. Choose the combination of you enjoy most.

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The granola can be stored up to a week in an airtight container.  They also make nice gifts.
The granola can be stored up to a week in an airtight container. They also make nice gifts.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

How do you feed 30 athlete friends a vegetarian friendly meal, which you can prepare in advance and serve warm with minimal fuss? My Butternut Squash Chili was the winning answer, setting a PR* in my kitchen for nourishing the largest gang of hungry athletes in my house to date. Like an endurance athlete, the chili finished strong, held up to being kept warm for hours and with plenty to go around for seconds, thirds and eh hem, fourths.

A variety of beans keep it interesting; frozen corn kernels add a nice contrast of texture and sweetness while cornmeal is the secret ingredient to thicken it all up.

The chili freezes well and is also vegan and gluten-free.

* In case you are not familiar with the term PR, it’s short for personal record.

Serving size: 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ½ cups vegetarian broth
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 4-ounce can dice green chili
  • 2 16-ounce can black beans
  • 2 16-ounce can garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn (roasted frozen corn adds a nice smokey flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder (add more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Optional Ingredients: 

  • sour cream
  • chopped green onion
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. With a very sharp knife, slice off the top and bottom of the butternut squash to create a level surface for it to stand on either end and cut crosswise into 2 halves. Cut each half lengthwise into 2 more halves. Scoop out seeds and stringy parts with a spoon. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing once, until tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a large 6 quart Dutch oven, heat remaining olive oil. On medium heat, sauté chopped onion until soften.

Add ½ cup vegetable broth, onion, garlic, and chopped bell peppers. Stir over medium heat for another 5 more minutes.

Add remaining vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, green chili, beans, corn, beans, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Simmer for at least 1 hour but 2 hours is recommended.  Even better if prepared the day before and reheated. Season with salt to taste. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and sliced green onion. My favorite way is with a dollop of sour cream and green onion.

 

 

J’Wow’s Salsa

I had the pleasure of training for my first Ironman with Jerrold, a good friend and triathlete known as J’Wow.  He’s like a little brother to me.  He’s rescued me when I was suffering from heat exhaustion during a long training ride and encouraged me to run with him when I was suffering from stomach pain during our first Ironman.  And like any little brother, he thoroughly enjoys annoying me with his teasing.

I joined J’Wow at Lake Tahoe this summer when he came up to train with his coach.  This is when I discovered J’Wow’s delicious fresh salsa.  Fresh salsa is a very healthy snack.  Tomatoes, onions,  jalapeños and lime juice contain vitamin C.  Jalapeños contain capsaicin, which generates heat, increases the heart rate when consumed and naturally raises the metabolic rate.  Avocados contain healthy fats, mostly oleic acid, which helps reduce bad cholesterol.  In addition, avocados contain protein, fiber and is an excellent source of potassium.  What a delicious way to consume raw and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

J’Wow prefers chips with a hint of lime flavor to serve with the salsa.  I’ve used the salsa with fish tacos, burritos and a variety of chips.  Although you can serve the salsa right away, it tastes even better the next day after all the flavors have had a chance to marry.  We had 6 people in the house and this recipe made enough salsa for us to enjoy for 2 days.

Serving size: 12

Ingredients:

  • 10 tomatoes on the vine diced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 ripe avocado diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 – 2 1/2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and minced
  • ½ cup of lime juice (4 medium fresh limes)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, dice the tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper and avocado.  Add finely chopped cilantro and minced jalapeno peppers.  I removed the seeds and was careful to wash my hands well after handling the peppers.  Add more or less peppers depending on your taste and how hot the peppers are.

Add the lime juice. One fresh medium lime should yield about 2 teaspoon of juice.  If the limes are small or dry, you may need more than 4 limes to yield ½ cup.  To get the most juice out of a lime, I put pressure roll it on the cutting board while putting pressure on it with the palm of my hand. I then use a reamer.  You can also put it in the microwave for 20 seconds before squeezing.

Toss all of the ingredients together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Healthy Potato Leek Soup

The inspiration for my Potato Leek Soup came from my dear friend Kelly, a 10 time Ironman and 2 time 50 mile endurance runner.  This courageous woman is battling leukemia for the second time.  While undergoing chemotherapy, Kelly requested potato leek soup made without cream for lunch.

The potato leek soup also served as a nutritious and tasty breakfast prior to a long run or trail race, where I am running anywhere from 3 to over 6 hours. Chicken Rice Soup and Potato Leek Soup are now my two favorite early morning meals to help fuel my long workouts.  Both also provide potassium.  I usually consume half a bagel or some oatmeal in addition to the soup.  Some races offer broth on the course or soup at the end of the race.  At the finish of this weekend’s trail race, I grabbed warm soup and chased it down with low-fat chocolate milk.  Since I often cannot tolerate solid food immediately after an endurance event, I find that calories in liquid form are the easiest way to get nutrition down.  I personally prefer real food over “recovery” drinks.  Remember, it’s important to consume calories within 20 minutes of your workout.

Leeks belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables which includes garlic and onions and contain many of the same beneficial compounds.   For more information on the nutritional value of leeks, check out this article:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=26

Serving size: 8

Equipment:  Hand held immersion blender or regular blender

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large leeks or 4 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and diced
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 7+ cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (for Kelly, I reduced or omitted this)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté the leeks in olive oil for 8 minutes until the leeks are softened but not brown.

Add chopped garlic, thyme, potatoes and broth.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  If using a hand held immersion blender, puree soup until smooth with no lumps.  Be careful.  The soup will be very hot.  If using a regular blend, allow soup to cool down before pouring into blender.  Once in the blender, puree soup in small batches, using a towel to cover the lid in case the hot mixture escapes.

Add additional broth to obtain the desired consistency.  I prefer it to be a little creamy and loose enough to drink out of a mug.

Stir in chili powder and salt to taste.  It’s important to add a bit at a time and keep tasting.  You can always add more but you can’t take it back out.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or croutons.  Add additional broth to soup if it becomes too thick when re-heating.

Use the white and pale green parts of the leek.  Cut the stalk in half length-wise and rise out the layers.  I prefer to remove the outer tougher layer.  Then slice.
Use the white and pale green parts of the leek. Cut the stalk in half length-wise and rise out the layers. I prefer to remove the outer tougher layer. Then slice.

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When re-heating, you can add additional broth to thin out the soup if it gets too thick.
When re-heating, you can add additional broth to thin out the soup if it gets too thick.

Roasted Corn, String Bean, Tomato and Cucumber Orzo Salad

A great way to encourage children to enjoy eating vegetables is to teach them how to grow their own garden.  Chloe’s and Zachary’s parents built two garden boxes in their back yard, one for each child.  The children planted their first garden in the Spring, watered it diligently and watched with excitement, their garden grow before their eyes.  They were recently rewarded with strawberries, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans.

Innocently unbiased and ferociously inquisitive, Chloe and Zachary will ask to taste all the ingredients in its raw form no matter what it is.  When I cook with them, I guide them on what they should or should not try and am thrilled they are willing to try everything.  What a wonderful way for the children to appreciate the true flavors of raw vegetables and understand how their flavors can change when cooked or seasoned.

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My Roasted Corn, String Beans, Tomato and Cucumber Orzo Salad was inspired by Chloe’s and Zachary’s garden.  The vegetables in this recipe are either raw or lightly cooked so their freshness can be enjoyed.

This salad can either be served as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course.  Add chopped roasted chicken for a protein-rich main course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 2 ears fresh corn, roasted
  • 1 pound green beans, blanched
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed, stemmed, and cut in half or thirds depending on size
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Pinch Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Cook orzo in boiling water for 8-9 minutes until barely tender.  Drain and rinse in cold water.

Husk corn and roast on grill until some of the kernels are evenly browned on all sides.  Remove the corn kernels by holding each cob upright on it’s stem and carefully running a sharp knife down the cob over a large bowl.  Add cooked orzo.

Cut green beans into 2-3 inches.  Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Green beans should still have a crunch.  Drain and place in ice water.  Drain again and add to orzo and corn.

Cut cucumber in half.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds.  Cut the cucumber halves into thirds or quarters lengthwise.  Then cut into ½ inch cubes.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half or thirds depending on size.   Add cucumber and tomatoes to orzo, corn and string beans.

Rough chop parsley and add to orzo mixture.

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard.  Add salt and pepper and whisk again.

Pour over orzo and vegetables.    Toss well.   Allow the orzo salad to sit for at least 1 hour to absorb the flavors of the dressing.

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Orange, Fennel and Arugula Salad

Oranges are a wonderful winter fruit that is in season right now.  Several of my friends and neighbors here in Northern California have more oranges growing in their backyard than they know what to do with.

Here’s a refreshing and healthy recipe that will give you a reason to use up those oranges.  My Orange, Fennel and Arugula Salad is a burst of flavor with every bite.  The sweetness from the oranges, hint of licorice from the fennel and the peppery notes from the arugula, compliment each other well.

Did you know that oranges and fennel are a good source of vitamin C and calcium?  In addition, fennel has many health benefits.  It is a good source of fiber, potassium, folate, niacin as well as minerals, such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper.  In animal studies, the anethole in fennel has been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer.

Serving size: 2

Equipment: Mandoline (but not required)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced thinly with a Mandoline (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large or 4 small oranges
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ freshly cracked pepper (about 5 turns of the pepper mill)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 6 cups arugula

Directions

Using a mandolin set at the thinnest setting, or with a knife, slice the fennel bulb.  Set aside.

Cut the skin off of the oranges and then slice the oranges into ¼ inch cross sections.

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In a small mixing bowl, make the salad vinaigrette by whisking together the juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, ground cardamom, salt, freshly cracked pepper and honey.

I a small bowl, toss fennel in 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette.  In a separate bowl, toss the arugula in 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette.

On a serving plate, make a bed of arugula.  Arrange orange slices on top of the arugula.  Sprinkle fennel over orange slices.  Spoon remaining vinaigrette over oranges. Garnish with the chopped fennel fronds (leaves).  Top with freshly cracked pepper.

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For a dinner party, I used mixed greens instead of arugula.  This salad pairs well with a lot of dishes.

 

Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta with Red Pepper Flakes

A couple of my Ironman training partners are on a vegan diet.  Both maintain a busy schedule working full-time while training 6 days a week.  This doesn’t leave much time to prepare healthy vegan meals.  One hired a nutritionist to cook meals for her while the other is a single bachelor.  I created My Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta with Red Pepper Flakes for them.  It’s a healthy, carbo-loaded recipe that is quick and easy to prepare.

A single serving of this dish contains a cup of broccoli, one of the super-foods.  Broccoli is low in calories and rich in nutrients including protein.  Broccoli also contains the highest levels of certain glucosinolates, which scientists believe may reduce the risk of certain cancers.

The broccoli is cooked for only a couple minutes.  Experts recommend that broccoli be cooked for only 2-3 minutes and remain crunchy in order to retain its health benefits.

For more information on broccoli, check out this article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011112501.htm

 Serving size: 2

 Ingredients:

  • 1 small garlic clove or ½ large garlic clove
  • 1 cup of cooked whole wheat pasta (or gluten-free pasta)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, plus more if desired
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese freshly grated (optional and may be omitted for a non-dairy diet)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Slice off enough of the top of the garlic clove to expose the cloves.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.  Roast for 25 minutes.

While the garlic is roasting, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to the water and then add pasta.  Cook until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.  Uncooked spaghetti, about the diameter of a quarter when held together between your thumb and index finger, should yield about a cup of cooked spaghetti.

In small sauté pan, sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are lightly brown.  Season with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked peppercorns.

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Boil or steam broccoli for 1 minute.  Discard the water in the pot used to boil or steam the broccoli.  Return cooked broccoli to the empty pot.

Once the garlic is roasted, peel each garlic clove by removing the outer most cloves first.  Then cut the tip of the skin off the top of each clove.  The roasted garlic clove should now be easy to remove.

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Course chop the garlic gloves and add to the broccoli.  Then add mushrooms, red chili pepper flakes and olive oil.  Saute over medium heat, for approximately 1 minute, mashing the garlic into the broccoli and mushrooms.

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Add the pasta and reserved pasta water.  Season with salt and freshly cracked peppercorns and toss for 1 more minute.

Place in individual serving bowls and add grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese before serving.  Sprinkling a pinch of red chili pepper flakes on top makes a nice presentation.

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Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse

Two physicians inspired this recipe.  One is my father, a retired pediatrician, who taught me how to live a healthy life by learning how to love eating delicious, healthy foods and learning how to enjoy physical activity through the love of sports.  Dad was also in love with chocolate mousse.  My father spent many years trying to perfect his chocolate mousse recipe.  The other inspiration came from a friend of mine who made me aware of the health benefits of cinnamon.  He also loves dark chocolate and has been known to enjoy licking a bowl of chocolate batter.

While the lab results are mixed, some research has found that cinnamon, may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, fight bacteria and may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.  For more information on cinnamon, check out this article:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-cinnamon

This healthy chocolate dessert has a surprise ingredient.  Trust me.  You won’t be able to tell what it is when you eat this chocolate mousse, but read on.  You’ll quickly figure out what the surprise is.

Serving size: 6

Ingredients:

  • 11.5 oz. good quality dark chocolate chips (The Hungry Athlete prefers dark chocolate but semisweet chocolate chips maybe substituted)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large, ripe Bacon avocado*, pitted and peeled
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 3 tablespoon agave syrup*
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 egg whites**
  • ½ teaspoon lemon
  • 6 strawberries for garnish

* NOTE: I used Bacon avocado because it has a mild flavor but a Haas avocado can be substituted.  In addition, if you are on a gluten-free diet, ensure that the ingredients you are using are gluten-free.

** NOTE:  If you have concerns using raw eggs, which can carry salmonella, use pasteurized egg whites which are available in supermarkets.  Make sure the label states that it is pasteurized.  Pasteurized egg whites may require more time to whip.  Adding lemon juice (an acid) will help the pasteurized egg whites to whip up.  I personally enjoy many recipes using raw or undercooked eggs such as eggs sunny side up, soft poached eggs, holladaise sauce, meringues and Caesar salad.

Directions:

Melt the chocolate with the cinnamon in a double boiler over hot water and set aside.

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Purée the avocado in a food processor until smooth.   Add vanilla extract, agave syrup and salt and continue to puree until combined.

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With the machine running, pour in the chocolate mixture.  The easiest way to do this is to transfer the chocolate mixture to a measuring cup first and then pour the chocolate mixture from the measuring cup.

Using a stand mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they begin to form soft peaks.  Add the lemon juice and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

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Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.

Fold in portions of the chocolate mixture at a time.  Take your time to continue to fold until the chocolate is fully incorporated.  Resist the urge to stir.  You want to maintain the airy lightness of the egg whites.
Fold in portions of the chocolate mixture a big spatula full at a time. Take your time to continue to fold until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Resist the urge to stir. You want to maintain the airy lightness of the egg whites.

Pour the mousse into 6 small serving bowls, juice cups or wineglasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or covered with plastic wrap overnight.  Garnish with strawberries.

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Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions

I am the social athlete.  I never turn down an opportunity to have a meal with my fellow athlete friends.  Last week I had the pleasure of dining with 4 other fellow female Ironman triathletes, two were racing a 50K marathon in the next 48 hours and I was racing a half marathon in the next 72 hours.  Our carbo-loading meal was a fabulous Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza.  It was so good, I was still thinking about it this week and decided to make it.

Since I’m the busy every day athlete, with competing fulltime responsibilities like everyone else, I take cooking shortcuts every chance I get.  The big time saver for this recipe is buying the pizza dough.  These days you can find a variety of pizza dough in your local supermarket’s freezer.  I decided to buy whole wheat dough, but you can also use multi-grain or traditional pizza dough.

Here’s nutritional information for whole wheat pizza dough:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrients-whole-wheat-pizza-dough-3626.html

NOTE:  I originally made candied walnuts to add to the pizza (in the photos), however the caramelized onions added enough sweetness.  I ended up picking the walnuts off and enjoying them separately.  Next time, I’ll use plain toasted walnuts for some crunch without the added sugar.  Nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and pecans, have been shown to have heart healthy benefits, including lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol.  Walnuts are also a source of omega-3.

Ingredients:

  • pizza dough*
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced onion
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly cracked peppercorns
  • corn meal
  • 6 ounces of crumbled goat cheese*
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 ripe pears, thinly sliced (depending on the size of the pear, you may only need 1 1/2)
  • arugula
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts (optional)

* NOTE: If you are a gluten-free diet, ensure that the ingredients you are using are gluten-free.

Directions:

Preheat over to 450F.

Follow the instructions for the pizza dough.  Usually the dough, if frozen, will need to  defrost over several hours and then allowed to sit a few more hours in a bowl, greased with olive oil, until the dough doubles in size.

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Cook onions covered in pan over medium/low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook for about 15 minutes until soft and caramelized.  You may need to remove the lid to allow all of the liquid to evaporate towards the end of the cooking time.  Allow to cool.

The caramelized onions will be very sweet so a little bit added to the pizza will go a long way.
The caramelized onions will be very sweet so a little bit added to the pizza will go a long way.

Prepare pizza dough and place on pizza stone or baking pan dusted with corn meal.  Bake pizza dough for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and top pizza with goat cheese and bake for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is starting to melt.

Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon and salt.  Toss arugula and in olive oil and lemon dressing.

Remove pizza from oven and top with pears, caramelized onions and arugula.  Season with freshly cracked pepper.  For some extra crunch, top with some plain toasted walnuts.

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Quinoa with Turmeric, Peppers, Onions and Broccoli

My Quinoa with Turmeric, Peppers, Onions and Broccoli is a quick and easy meal to prepare and eat post workout, or anytime.

After a race or intense workout, I do 2 things to help my body recover : 1) restore glycogen and 2) reduce the inflammation.  I do this by eating protein with carbohydrates and taking an ice bath.  I sometimes have difficulty eating right after an intense workout either because my appetite is suppressed or the food/protein drinks available are unappealing.  I also don’t look forward to sitting in an ice bath, although appreciate how much better I feel after.

And then I learned from my coach and a doctor friend that turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. Turmeric, a relative of ginger, is a major ingredient in Indian curries and makes American mustard yellow. This spice is also a disease-preventive agent and powerful antioxidant. Check out this WebMD article about turmeric:

http://blogs.webmd.com/food-and-nutrition/2012/10/turmeric.html

Add turmeric to protein, such as quinoa, and you have an ideal post work-out “recovery”meal.  While turmeric may not replace my ice baths, it could potentially help in my recovery.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely medium onion chopped (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon corriander
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt to taste
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts

Directions:

Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add peppers and quinoa.  Saute until quinoa is lightly toasted.  Add vegetable broth, cumin, coriander, white pepper, turmeric and kosher salt.  Stir together, then add broccoli and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes until broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender.  Turn off heat and allow to sit for an additional 15 minutes covered.  Fluff up quinoa and add lime juice and pine nuts.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fresh and nutritious ingredients makes this a healthy meal.
Fresh and nutritious ingredients makes this a healthy meal.
Chop broccoli into small pieces.
Chop broccoli into small pieces.
Toast pine nuts over medium heat.  Toss frequently and don't leave them alone.  They burn very easily.
Toast pine nuts over medium heat. Toss frequently and don’t leave them alone. They burn very easily.

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