Saturday, July 31, 2010

Me and Padma

We went on a little trip this week and we ate mostly from restaurants.

After ordering a pizza that we redesigned to be vegan Ike told us that we are difficult customers. He said it in that embarrassed way 13 year olds have. I said, "Of course! If we are paying $22 for a pizza (this was in Vail, CO after all) I want it done right!" And so it went the entire trip.

When ordering the Irish steel cut oatmeal be sure to order without cream or butter or yogurt and ask for the berries on the side (you get more). And clarify that you want the grilled veggie sandwich without cheese. You have to be exacting and demanding. It goes against my nature to make demands but I have actually found that in a restaurant it is fun! Especially an upscale restaurant with a chef who has celebrity aspirations. We've had some delicious meals from those chefs.

On our last night there we went out for a  celebration dinner and chose the restaurant because several people in the group were vegetarian and we saw "Mushroom Meatloaf" and assumed it was like a mushroom burger - but meatloaf style. We were wrong. I asked the waiter what vegetarian/vegan options were available besides dinner salad. After checking with the chef he said the chef was up to the challenge and would create something special for us.

It was like Top Chef and I was Padma.
Yup. I'd say that's pretty much how I looked when I was being a "difficult customer".

The chef brought out our dinner and explained it to us (just like on Top Chef!) and we dug in. And we judged it to be good. He wouldn't need to pack his knives.

Orzo, smoked rosemary, pine nuts, grilled leeks and asparagus, strawberries and little slices of mushrooms. And lots of olive oil. I would have backed way off the oil, played up the veggies more, and garnished it with something fancy looking and given it a side of fresh mango. Ahh. That might have been perfect.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Younger Next Month

This is a good book:
Sure it says "Live like 50" but I think if you start early you can live like 40 or 30!  I definitely feel younger now than I did in February. And I am doing all kinds of new stuff. Like mountain biking. Down a mountain.

If you are older or if you have parents I recommend this book to you (them).  It is fairly repetitive so I found myself skimming parts and jumping ahead and still getting the message.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Losing-est Loser Figures It Out

The Goddess of War - and apparently more than 150 lbs.

If you are a woman who weighs more than 150 lbs, in the race I ran today, you are in the Athena Division. I am in the Athena Division.

When we lined up at the race start (The Classic 10K - dubbed the "fastest race in colorado" because it is relatively flat) I realized that I was the only non-athletic person there. 5K's attract walkers and very slow joggers but 10K's weed all those out (except the BolderBoulder because it is more like a street fair than a race). It was a small race - maybe 300 people? At the gun everyone took off and I told Roland, Ike and Kelly that they didn't need to run with me.  It took me about 5 minutes to realize that I would most likely be the last person to finish. It made me cry. Not sobbing wrenching tears, just a lump in the throat and a burning behind the eyelids.

Athena doesn't cry.

I was embarrassed. I wanted to turn back and wait at the car. I didn't want to run 6 miles knowing the whole time that I am the slowest. Athena doesn't quit. So I slogged it out. I ended up "running" with at 22 year old girl for most the race and I asked lots of questions so I could focus on listening and running.  Before long we were at the halfway point and I was feeling good. Better than I felt at BolderBoulder. But still - I was last.

In case you haven't ever been last (and you probably haven't) I will describe it for you. They've turned off the victory music. The finish line is empty except for the people you are riding home with, the race staff, and the Ethiopian winners of the race who are collecting their prize money. There is no fanfare. No one tells you what an inspiration you are for even showing up much less running that whole stupid thing. Your husband will hug you and tell you he is proud and that you really need to hurry to the bus because the last one is leaving soon. Your girlfriend will try to convince you that she saw someone running behind you and you weren't last. And, thankfully, everyone else will ignore you. No one, but you, really cares. And unlike the winner there is no recognition, thank goodness.

I did win though. I took 11 minutes off of my BolderBoulder time. So. That is a victory.

Afterwards we went to the farmer's market to pick up our CSA share (what the heck do you do with a kolrabi?) and I thought:

"Who are we? Last year I wouldn't have run 1/2 mile and certainly wouldn't have been excited about a bag o'beets! But today I ran 6 miles! 11 mintues faster than I did in May! And I can't wait to get this kolrabi home!"

I don't even recognize myself.


Friday, July 23, 2010

10K Manipulation

The running thing has slipped a bit. I've only run about 6 times in the last month. The less you run the less you want to run. I keep telling myself that once school starts I will be more consistent. But I worry that I won't.

Ike loved the BolderBoulder race and wants to do more races so a few weeks ago Roland said we should all do a 10K. Blah! I almost talked him out of it with my argument that we should spend the morning hiking instead. Or maybe painting the garage? I didn't want to run that race- even if it is mostly downhill. Finally Roland said, fine just drop us off and pick us up. So, I am doing the race.

It is tomorrow. I'll be the last one over the finish. High 5 me if you are still there.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I find myself leaning towards burgers as a dinner solution in the summer. Here are 3 of my favorite burgers:

You can buy these at Costco and they are spicy delicious. I usually heat them in a fry pay (without oil) and serve them on whole wheat buns with guacamole, tomatoes, romaine and sweet onion. SO SO GOOD!

Most Like Meat:

Grilled marinated portobello mushrooms. Roland says they are as good as a burger. I marinate mine in balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, red wine vinegar and Montreal Steak seasoning. Roland puts 2 on his burgers. If you aren't worried about fat intake add some olive oil to that marinade.

Most Surprising!

Grilled Eggplant! Just slice in rounds and marinate (in the mix above) and grill. I make sandwiches out of these (I didn't make the sandwich in the picture).

Serve burgers with grilled corn on the cob - Just soak the corn (still in husks) in water for 20 minutes or so and then grill with husks on. Roland wears gloves and husks the hot corn after grilling.

Slice up a watermelon and dinner is ready!

Hey, as long as the grill is hot marinate some zucchini (quartered lengthwise), peppers, onions, and sweet potatoes and grill them up for sandwiches tomorrow.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Smoothie Addict

5 months ago my breakfasts consisted of cold cereal and toast. Somedays I would have eggs. Usually I would rummage around and find some cookies or a little bit of candy to reward myself after the morning rush getting the family out the door. That has completely changed. My breakfast now is usually a green smoothie.

The Eat to Live program guidelines call for 1 lb of raw veggies a day. So I have a huge salad for lunch and a smaller salad at dinner but that still isn't 1 lb of veggies. It is hard to chew all those veggies too and it takes a long time! Enter the green smoothie.

I pack the smoothie with spinach, kale and any sort of greens we might have (chard, romaine, etc.). I've been getting beets in my weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) share and I've tossed the beet greens greens in too. You want bland greens that you can flavor with fruit (spinach is especially bland).

These smoothies are loaded with protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, and phytonutrients. It basically kicks cold cereal's butt. And steak and egg's butt too. With one arm behind it's back. And if you don't use carrot greens or collard greens it tastes wonderful!

This recipe is flexible, use what you have and what you like. I load my blender full of greens - I want as many greens as I can get and still have it taste like a smoothie rather than a blended salad. I probably use 6-7 cups greens (that blends down into 2-3 cups). But if you are just starting - maybe ease into the green-ness. Maybe just do a handful of greens.

Robin's New and Improved Green Smoothies
  • 1 cup liquid (I use water unless I suspect that the greens might be too greenish tasting then I use a milk substitute [soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk])
  • Spinach - 3-6 cups - whatever tastes good to you
  • Greens - work your way up -shoot for 3-5 large leaves of kale, chard, beet greens, or romaine
  • Banana  - this is a must have item. It provides creaminess and sweetness. Sometimes I add 2 bananas
  • Apple- or some other fruit cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, whatever you have handy.
  • Flax seed - about 1 T per serving. just toss in the whole seed and let the blender grind it. This adds creamy texture too.
  • Frozen fruit - about 1 cup unless you want it thicker (add more for thickness) I am partial to blueberries. Also try strawberries, and frozen fruit mixes. they should be sugar free
If you don't have a vita-mix ( I don't) add the liquid and half of the spinach first. Then add the remaining ingredients a little at a time so they can mix in easily.  These are remarkably filling and satisfying. I usually make about 6 cups of smoothie. Roland and I drink about 2 1/2 cups each and Ike has 1 cup.

Another smoothie idea:

Watermelon Smoothie
I made these last week on a hot day at the cabin. They were so cool and refreshing!
  • Watermelon cut into cubes
  • Frozen Fruit (from costco)
Shove watermelon in blender and blend until smooth and watery. Add frozen fruit until thick "milk shake" consistency.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lean In More Baby

I'm Back!

I've been all over the place and finally I am home and ready for a routine. It was pretty easy to stick to the Eat To Live plan while traveling, except for the last 2 long car road trip days when I broke down and had peanut M&M's and Pita chips. And a Diet Dr. Pepper. And some Chocolate Cake. And then some more M&M's. And you will be pleased to know that they all left me feeling blah-ish.

We've been eating nutritiously for 5 months now! 5 MONTHS for crying out loud! And we feel great. The weight loss slowed for me the last month. As I read back over my posts the last few months I realized that I have let processed foods, flour, sugar, and salt sneak back into my diet little by little. So yesterday I recommitted to the strict 6 week phase of Eat To Live to jump start my progress and already I feel better and more in control.

My sister Emily started the eat to Live program too and she has a blog you should check out: She and her husband are on week 3 I think - they are great writers and very honest in their reports.

Tomorrow I'm going to tell you about the evolution of my Smoothies!