9/18/09

Potato Latka's

L'Shana Tova!!! You don't have to be Jewish to "have a good year". So to all my Jewish friends out there, enjoy the holiday!
My mom would make my brother and me potato Latka's around the Hanukkah holiday but you can't go wrong with a potato pancake any time of the year..and you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy one! Plus, with my sour cream dip that I made the other day (previous post), I had the perfect topping for our pancakes.
To balance the carbs from the potato, I cooked up my favorite mixture of veggies (if you haven't noticed through previous blogs that I could eat this mixture every day for the rest of my life) which included green peppers, corn, mushrooms and onions, as well as tofu.
Since I love chopping, shredding and dicing I used a large potato for my recipe. However, you can absolutely use frozen unseasoned hashbrowns (shredded) if you want to decrease the prep time for this meal.
I think potato pancakes are a great way for the meat and potato eater to enjoy something different, without an excess of fat and calories (respectively). Along side the potato pancakes you could do grilled chicken, deli ham, a veggie burger or scrambled (or sunny side up) eggs. Pick a lean protein to go with your potato pancakes and you don't have to fear those scary carbs that you may be avoiding because you fear they may cause you to get fat.
Did you know that a medium baked potato has 5 grams of fiber and 140 calories?
Now, I know that the health-conscious athlete that you are, looking to lose or maintain weight, would never give up your morning oatmeal which is proved to have positive effects on cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Did you know that 1/2 cup oatmeal has 150 calories and 4 grams fiber?
You could do this meal in the morning for breakfast or for dinner...I hope you enjoy every bite!!!

Potato Latka's (pancakes)
(makes 5 large pancakes)
1 large potato (shredded)
2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
1/4 cup onion (diced)
1 egg
1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika (about 1-2 tsp each)

1) After shredding potato, add garlic, onion and seasonings. Mix together (I mixed together on the plate I was using to shred but you can use a bowl).
2) Add egg and mix well.
3) Slowly add flour as you are mixing with a fork. Your mixture should be easy to mix together so stop adding flour if mixture gets clumpy. However, if mixture is too runny to stick together when you finish adding 1/4 cup flour, add a little more by spoonful.
4) On a medium heat skillet, spray pan with 1-2 quick squirts of non-stick spray.
5) Take 1 big spoonful of potato mixture and form into a pancake with clean hands. Let cook on skillet until the pancake is golden brown and able to flip without braking in half. Before flipping, spray each pancake with 1 squirt of non stick spray.

Did you know:
Healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, avocado) should be included with every meal, especially when eating veggies. Many nutrients in veggies aren't efficiently absorbed in the body after digestion unless fat is added to the meal. Veggies which contain fat soluble nutrients require fat for absorption. Veggies which are rich in beta carotene, vitamin E and vitamin D will be better absorbed with olive oil than when eaten alone.
You don't need a lot of fat with the meal. A few nuts (10-15), 1/2 tbsp olive oil or 1/2 avocado will do the trick. Choose flax seeds or olive oil, rather than full-fat dressing if you want to add fat to salads. Remember, healthy fats are the key to a healthy heart!
*You will notice that I generally use olive oil when I cook veggies.




9/17/09

Sour cream dip

Are you a dip eater? Chips, pita chips, veggies, fruit....bring on the dip! How about spreads? Can you eat a wrap or a sandwich without your favorite condiment? Do you enjoy a little topping on your baked potato, enchilada, wrap or salad?

Here's a super easy (and cheap!) dip that I put together the other night. Karel makes sandwiches every day for lunch (usually with our panini maker) and I knew he would love a spread for his panini's. Here are some other ways you can use this dip:
1) Top baked potato
2) Top potato pancakes
3) Top omelets
4) Dip for veggies
5) Dip for pita chips (portion control with chips)
6) Stir in with veggie stir-fry
7) Top tofu
8) Spread for sandwiches
9) Dollop in soup
10) Topping for stuffed peppers or grilled veggies
11) Topping on fish or grilled meat
Any other ideas?


Sour cream dip

1 container fat-free sour cream
1/4-1/3 cup chopped jalapenos (you can also use green or red peppers or onions)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup Parmesean cheese (fresh either in container or shredded in bag)
Extra's: pepper, cayenne pepper

1) Mix together sour cream, jalapenos, garlic and Parmesan cheese in Tupperware container.
2) Add extra spices. Mix well and refrigerate.






And for your enjoyment a cute pic of Campy all warm and dry and then one of him after watching Karel's cycling race in the rain.


9/15/09

Off-season training

I love the off-season. I count down the days to my last race of the season but I also count down the days until I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Although the first few weeks are tough when I'm so conditioned to following a schedule (Mon = easy swim, Tues = interval bike + run, Wed = swim, run, etc.) I really enjoy just exercising and not training. Since my last triathlon race usually falls between Aug and Oct, I typically use Oct, Nov and Dec. as my active recovery phase. During this time I am usually training for running races (since running season falls from Nov-March in Florida). Come January, I start building my base for the upcoming tri season and I always enjoy this build phase because without it, I would be lost when I start my second phase of training in March which includes intervals and threshold training.
I always go back this article I wrote in Hammer Enduranec News 57 when I talk about the off-season. I really put a lot of time and effort into this article and I hope you enjoy reading it for the first time as much as I enjoy reading it for the millionth time.

http://www.emdesports.com/endurancenews_57.pdf
*pg 16

I'm very jealous for those who get to cross country ski, snowboard/ski or partake in snow sports in the winter time. However, for those who can workout outdoors (or indoors) during the winter time, I'll share my choice of exercises in the off-season:
1) Elliptical - I first thought I was too uncoordinated to do this but I love the butt workout it gives me. I don't get my HR up as high as running but I can defiantly feel the burn on my legs. It is also great for me right now as I re-build my strength in my legs, hip and butt from my pre-IMKY injury.
2) Weight training - I Love weight training. I don't go all-out when I'm in the weight room but 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps gives me a great feeling when I am finished. I enjoy making up exercises and I rarely use machines. You will see me stepping up on benches, using the Bosu for squats and bicep curls, doing single leg squats with free weights and using ankle straps to work my adductors and abductors. I also use the bosu and stability ball for most of my abdominal exercises. I recommend the New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift like a man, look like a goddess.
My good friend Cassandra wrote this book (along with Women's Health: the perfect body diet) and I recommend it for everyone who is a little intimated (or clueless) in the weight room.
I am also a big proponent of plyometrics so I will start doing these in Oct.
3) Small chain ring - Karel is super big on this and I can tell you, it works. I am a big gear pusher. I love my big chain ring. It just wears me out to ride in my small chain ring cause I can't spin my legs that fast. However, I enjoy spending the off-season in my small chain ring (except when I ride in groups) and really working on those fast-twitch fibers that aren't as efficient as my slow twitch fibers and less in quantity. Because I don't recommend anaerobic training in the first few weeks (or first month) of your off-season, I find that I can still keep my heart rate under control while spinning in the small chain ring.
4) Putting up my tri bike - the other day, my coach told me "road biking is fun, triathlon biking is work". I totally agree. Although I love riding my tri bike, I have so much fun riding a different bike than I am use to training on during the summer. My tri bike stays on the wall in our "bike room" from my last key race until Jan. I won't get on it for at least 3 months and I ride my road bike all the time. I also try to commute a lot more on my road bike such as riding to the Trek store to bring Karel lunch. As for Karel, cycling season is usually March - Sept. Since Karel has no other sport to train for he alternates his road bike for mountain bike and enjoys racing MTB in the fall. This is another option for those who enjoy getting a full body workout and getting a bit dirty.

9/13/09

So many choices

A big problem I find with couples is that one person prefers x-food and the other person prefers y-food for dinner. Rather than preparing x or y, one person compromises and generally, it is the person who is trying to lose weight. I think a common problem for men and women (generally women) in relationships is that the person trying to lose weight is so focused on clearing the house of the "bad" foods and tries very hard to prepare and eat the "right" foods but the other person is not supportive or does not need to change his/her diet and the house becomes uncomfortable when it comes to meal time. The same thing often occurs in the work environment where co-workers do not support your "healthy" lifestyle nor your choice for healthy eating.
My first question for the x-eater (unhealthy eater) is whether or not it is important to reduce risk for disease, improve quality of life, see your kids'd kids grow up and improve body composition? If you answered yes to one of those questions, then it is time to start cleaning up the diet. As for the person who tries to eat healthy, I do not want you to eliminate foods in the diet. For every high sugar, high fat or high calorie food that you tend to "binge" on (overeat), eat uncontrollably or go-to when you have a craving, replace that food rather than eliminate it. No matter how healthy we eat, we all (including me) have a food which we generally go-to when we should be eating something a bit more healthy such as fruits or veggies.
Now, just because you eliminate a food, you are not guaranteeing yourself that all cravings will be removed without that food in the house. You may find yourself overeating another food (one that you once were able to control when eating it) or you may find yourself eating more calories than necessary at your meals because you just want to feel full to avoid feeling hungry without your go-to unhealthy food in the house. Secondly, as you are preparing healthy meals, it is important that you do not feel like you are alone when trying to prepare these healthy meals or that you have to eat alone when choosing to eat those healthy meals.
There are many times when Karel and I eat completely separate meals but most times I prepare foods for both of us but in different portions. No matter what I have in our house, our food choices are healthy for both of us and can be eaten at anytime. If you are providing your family foods which you are avoiding (ex. kid snacks, donuts, frozen dinners) then re-evaluate those food choices. Remember, you and your family should eat similar foods but different portions depending on your training/exercise volume and dietary requirements.
I prepared a meal that can be eaten in many different ways for any person looking to lose weight, maintain weight or just eat healthier.
Here are my suggestions for the following meal (and examples):
*of course, it is important to eat 2 additional balanced meals of 400-500 calories during the day and 3-5 healthy snacks at 125-225 calories before and after meals.
1) Stuffed pepper and sweet potato - person who had a 60-90 minute workout that day.
2) Lettuce wrap w/ veggie stuffings + piece of bread- person who wants a light, late night dinner and/or worked out less than 60 minutes
3) Stuffed pepper + piece of bread or sweet potato + lettuce wrap - person who had a 90+ min. workout or gearing up for a high volume workout tomorrow
4) Stuffed green pepper + Lettuce wrap w/ veggie stuffings - Non workout day, ending the day with a quality meal.
5) Lettuce wrap w/ veggie stuffing + sweet potato - Non workout day, ending the day with a quality meal




*Stuffings for stuffed pepper and lettuce wrap: cook 1 veggie burger, 1/3 container firm tofu (cubes), black beans, 1 large (or 2 small) vine tomatoes (cut in chunks), 1/3 cup corn and 1/4 cup sliced onions on skillet in 1/2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat until golden brown
*To assemble pepper, scoop out inside after cutting off top of pepper. If the pepper breaks, no worries just make 2 open face stuffed peppers. Place 1 spoonful salsa or marinara sauce in bottom of pepper and scoop in a few spoonfuls of stuffing in pepper. Use extra veggies on your choice of a very leafy dark green.
*You can substitute your choice of lean meat or fish for the insides of the stuffed pepper in exchange for the veggie burger if you want a non-vegetarian meal.
*On my sweet potato, I like cinnamon, raisins and a drizzle of honey.