Feb 16, 2015

Posted by Jo W. 2/16/2015
Quinoa and kale seem to be appearing everywhere on menus these days. You can usually find a variation of a "quinoa bowl" at any salad restaurant, but they run you at least $8. I sometimes get them at a local restaurant chain and shell out about $10 for a healthy and satisfying meal when I'm too lazy to cook. However, making your own quinoa bowl is so easy, and with a little preparation, you can throw one together in just a few minutes.

1. The first step to making a quinoa bowl is to cook the quinoa. Having cooked quinoa on hand cuts down on prep time and you can use the leftovers to make more quinoa bowls or other recipes such as quinoa fried rice. 

Cook quinoa in a 1 to 2 ratio of quinoa and water (1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water). Add a dash of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down low to simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 20 minutes.

2. Next, prepare the kale by removing the tough stems and tearing the leaves into small pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste, then massage the kale to rub in the oil and distribute the salt. You will notice a change in the appearance; the kale will look more "cooked" and tender. Place kale in your serving bowl and top with a serving of cooked quinoa.

3. Add whatever veggies, proteins, and garnishes you like. Below is a list of things I like to add to my bowls for some ideas, but this is where you can customize  your bowl to your own preferences. Prepping these ingredients beforehand, like chopping veggies and roasting veggies, can also cut down on prep time.

4. Finish the bowl with your favorite dressing or sauce. In the one I made above, I made a quick spicy hummus dressing with sun-dried tomato hummus thinned with water and some sriracha sauce. Stir it all together and enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal!

The Base
shredded kale massaged with a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste
pre-cooked quinoa 

The Veggies
roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potato)

The Proteins
grilled chicken
baked tofu
hard boiled egg

The Garnishes
toasted walnuts, almonds, pecans
sunflower/pumpkin seeds
dried cranberries, raisins, figs (chopped)
fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, chives)
shredded cheese, blue cheese crumbles

The Dressing
peanut sauce
tzatziki sauce

What are you favorite flavor combinations? 

Feb 1, 2015

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/01/2015
Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I don't really watch football at all, so today's kind of like a regular old Sunday for me. I'll be busy studying for my exams on Monday and Tuesday. I know, my life is so exciting, right?

When I get super busy, I tend to get really lazy about cooking. Especially when I'm cooking for one, my meals are usually very simple. I made this tuna salad for lunch today and added shredded brussels sprouts to boost the vegetable content. It's actually more "salad" than "tuna". The dressing is mayo-free and made with Greek yogurt for more protein. I threw in some shredded radishes and cranberries for added flavor, but this recipe is really customizable with whatever you usually like in your tuna salad. Try adding some chopped celery, onions, sunflower seeds, etc. I had my tuna salad on an open-faced sandwich, topped with some avocado. Yummy :)

Tuna Brussels Sprout Salad

You will need:

3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1 6oz canned tuna
1.5 cups shredded brussels sprouts, about 6-7 sprouts
4 radishes, shredded
1/3 cup dried cranberries

To make the dressing, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the tuna and add to the dressing. Add the shredded brussels sprouts, radishes, and cranberries and stir to combine evenly. 

Make it vegetarian- use a can of lightly smashed garbanzo beans instead of the tuna. Add dulse flakes if you desire, for a more umami flavor.

Make it vegan- do the same to make it vegetarian, and sub 3 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise for the Greek yogurt. 

Jan 28, 2015

Posted by Jo W. in , , , | 1/28/2015
Let's pretend that it hasn't been over two months since my last blog post. And the fact that I am lazy and the only reason I am writing is because I have two snow days in a row due to the blizzard dumping 2 feet of snow in Boston.

The storm started Monday night, picking up early Tuesday morning and lasting throughout the day. I was notified of my school's closure midday Monday, so the evening was spent with plenty of wine and Netflix.

It was windy and nasty-looking out, and while I usually love snow and extreme weather, I didn't feel like venturing out. I kind of wish I did go out and brave the storm yesterday while the snow was still fresh. 

Instead, I finally bundled up this morning to explore the transformed city.

The city did a pretty great job at clearing major roads and walkways. I went down to the river, around Beacon Hill, and the Commons. A lot of the narrow streets were still snowy and cars were mostly buried. 

And now to my soup recipe, the perfect food for a blizzard. I made this on Tuesday and survived, so it's proven to be effective.

Broccoli and Kale Cheese Soup

You will need:

1/2 onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 small bunch green kale, chopped
1 head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons corn starch
2/3 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sweat the onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook on medium heat until they are softened. Add half of the broth and bring to a simmer.

Pour the contents of the pot into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add the cheese and cornstarch and blend again. Be careful to let the steam escape through the lid so that it doesn't pop off!

In the meantime, steam the kale and broccoli with the rest of the broth in the large pot (no need to wash it) until tender. Add the contents of the blender to the veggies and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat for a few more minutes. If you want to thicken the soup, add more cornstarch dissolved in a little water. Season to taste with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, sriracha, whatever your heart desires.

Ladle into bowls and eat, preferably while watching a snowstorm :) I topped mine with a sprinkle of cheese and sriracha sauce because I am obsessed.

Make it vegetarian- sub vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
Make it vegan- sub 1/3 cup nutritional yeast for the shredded cheese

Nov 29, 2014

Posted by Jo W. 11/29/2014
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is enjoying the long weekend. I am back in Maryland for the holidays! I've been home since Wednesday, and have been busy catching up with family and friends.

On Thanksgiving, my family kept up the tradition of going to the annual Turkey Chase 10K. My brother, older cousin, and I ran the 10K, and my aunt and younger cousin ran the 2 Miler. I haven't run a race since Pike's Peak back in April, so it was great to feel that race atmosphere again. I was definitely not running it this year for time, since I am still regaining my running fitness that I lost from my ankle injury.

I started running with my brother, and we kept an easy conversational pace. However, at about 2 miles, he had to stop and walk because of stomach issues, so I went on ahead. Around mile 4, I caught up to my cousin, who started a bit ahead of us in the corals. He was walking, so I slowed down to ask him how he was doing, but then he started running again. I ran with him for the next mile or so, but lost him when he had to stop and tie a shoelace. 

I finished, then my cousin, and brother. My parents were at the finish line to greet us, and we all met up afterwards. I can't believe that another Turkey Chase is over. It's nice to have an annual tradition, and I hope I can come home for Thanksgiving to run it for as long as I can. 

After the race, we went home and I started cooking. Every year, my mom makes the turkey and I make all the sides. I had a seven sides on the menu this year, so I got busy cooking. And then eat. Needless to say, a lot ;)

On Friday, instead of going out shopping at a ridiculous hour, I went to a my old yoga studio for a class. In Boston, I've been trying to practice yoga at least once a week at the weekly Lululemon class. I haven't found another yoga studio to practice at, and I really miss the one at home. The class was 75 minutes with a lot of core work, so I was sweating. 

The only shopping I did on Black Friday was at a bike shop. I needed to pick up some winter gear, since I am going to try to cycle in Boston for as long as I can. I also needed the gear because I was planning on joining the 50 Miles to Nowhere ride with my bike club. Unfortunately, I didn't really pack cycling clothes, and wish I had my jacket. The Saturday ride was pretty cold! It was in the 30's with a bit of wind. Despite that, there was a good turnout. Lately, I haven't been riding much because of school, so I'm glad I got the chance to ride. 

My Thanksgiving break has been fun and relaxing so far. It's so nice to get a break from my studies. Less than a week before the end of my first semester of dental school!

How has your Thanksgiving weekend been? 

Nov 11, 2014

Posted by Jo W. 11/11/2014
It's been so long since I've posted a training log. I haven't raced since... May, which was a cycling road race. For the entire summer from June to August, I was cycling across the country and then I broke my ankle on July 20th. It's been a long journey to heal and get back to where I was before the accident.

Some details about my injury: I broke my ankle on July 20th and found out that I needed ankle reduction surgery. I had the surgery on July 24th, where a metal plate and seven screws were placed in my ankle so that it would heal properly. I was in an air cast and on crutches for 6 weeks, and I progressed to bearing weight and walking in my air cast for another 4 weeks or so. I started walking without the cast around September 25th and have slowly regained the strength that I lost in my left foot. Physical therapy has helped, and I am happy to say that my strength has almost fully returned to normal, though there is still a bit of pain and stiffness.

As you can imagine, being unable to run and cycle has been pretty tough. Especially after moving to Boston, where I see runners everywhere, especially along the Charles. I had to exercise a lot of patience, but I must admit I jumped the gun on my recovery and started doing more on my ankle earlier than was medically advised. Don't worry, everything's still healing perfectly.

Right now, my goal is to get back into running shape and regain my speed. My long term goal is to Boston qualify, because heck, I'm going to be in Boston for the next four years. I'm not sure how feasible it will be, especially since dental school will keep me busy.

As for my cycling, I haven't been able to get out much. I missed most of the fall season because of my ankle, but once I got rid of the air cast, I started cycling outdoors. I actually cycled on my trainer with my air cast! Since moving here, I've met a few cyclists and have gone on a few shop rides with Community Bike Shop. I am trying to do a longer ride at least once a week on the weekends, but it's getting colder and darker earlier, and I am a wimp.

Here's what I've been up to for the past week.

11/2 Sun- 4 treadmill miles, progressive run

11/3 Mon- 30 minutes stationary bike, intervals

11/4 Tues- 45 minutes cycling on trainer

11/5 Wed- 4.6 treadmill miles, pyramids

11/6 Thurs- 5.4 treadmill miles

11/7 Fri- rock climbing

11/8 Sat- 37 miles cycling

11/9 Sun- 60 minutes yoga

Nov 7, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 11/07/2014
I was invited to participate in a fun link-up called Life in Pictures, where I share a bunch of photos from the past couple of weeks. No captions, so you can guess what I've been up to! Hint: there's a lot of yummy food involved. I wouldn't be me if there weren't ;)

Enjoy and happy Friday!

Fit Fed and Happy

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

A photo posted by Jojo (@runfasteatlots) on

Nov 5, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 11/05/2014
Wow, I am the worst... Sorry to keep you all in suspense after my last post about two weeks ago. I had a busy weekend traveling down to Maryland to see my 4K teammates, been busy with exams (as always), and was just plain lazy over the Halloween weekend.

I am continuing with my story from this past summer, as I was cycling from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR with my 4K for Cancer team. Here are the previous parts to my story if you need to catch up:

Part 4- The Part You've Been Waiting For
Part 3- Into the Tetons and the Best Hike Ever
Part 2- Back to Jackson, WY
Part 1- Life Updates

So here was my situation:

1) I was 99% positive that my ankle was broken
2) I was in a hard to reach location on the side of the mountain, approximately 7 miles and 3,000 feet in elevation from the trailhead
3) Three of my hiking buddies were MIA because they continued on ahead and were going to meet us later. At least I wasn't alone and was with Chris.
4) Both our cell phones had low battery and almost no cell phone service.

After assessing the situation, the next logical step was to call for help. The location I was in wasn't the best, so Chris walked around the area trying to get better cell reception. After a few tries, his 911 call went through. He explained the situation and was transferred to Search and Rescue. Since we weren't the ones planning the hike, we didn't really know how to describe our location. In my current state of mind, I could barely recall anything. All I remembered was the name of the peak across the canyon: Desolation Peak. That name stuck in my mind for some reason...

The dispatchers tried to pinpoint our location using the cell phone signal, but it kept cutting out. The call was dropped, but at least someone knew we were out here. Chris tried to call again and again, but the signal was lost. The other hikers in our group had phones with them, so we were hoping that when they met back up with us, their phones would get a call through.

At that point, the swarms of mosquitoes were coming back. It was also getting chilly as the sun sunk behind the mountain peaks. As we were waiting for our friends to find us, the reality of my injury sunk in. Of course I wouldn't be able to complete the cross-country bike ride with a broken ankle. I thought how ironic it was that although I never got injured on the bike (while my teammates had countless mishaps, even flipping over handlebars), I had to get injured on a rest day. Although I didn't know the extent of my injury, I was determined to stay with my team until we got to Portland, even if I had to hobble around on crutches and ride the support vans every day. I was going to continue the trip, nonetheless.

After what seemed like at least an hour, our friends finally made the descent and found us. They looked very concerned, so I tried to make things more lighthearted with jokes and laughs. I hated to make everyone so worried about me. One of my friends had the best cell reception, and was able to reach Search and Rescue again. He was able to describe our location better, and they said that they were on their way. 

It was a long wait, but we finally heard the unmistakable sound of a helicopter overhead. It made a few passes in the canyon as they assessed the best way to reach me. Two rescuers were dropped off and hiked over to meet us. They took a look at my ankle and tried to see if I could bear weight on it. Just lifting it from the rock it was propped on was painful, and I was too scared to try to walk on it. There was no choice but to fly me out, so they began to prep for a short-haul. I thought they were going to lift me up into the helicopter and fly me down. Nope. I was going to be harnessed, lifted, and flown down essentially dangling from a helicopter. Needless to say, there are some risks, but I had no choice. Part of me was thrilled to able to fly down the Tetons in such a manner. I mean, this is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime experience. And of course part of me was scared shitless. I couldn't help but think about how this could go terribly wrong...

First, my ankle was protected in an air splint. I was getting pretty cold, so one of the rescuers gave me his jacket. Then the harness went on and a helmet. One of them was going to fly with me and support my leg while the other stayed behind to hike down with my friends. The helicopter slowly approached us with the ropes and they were attached to my harness. I felt them lifting slowly, bearing my weight in the harness, and I was airborne! 

The ride down to the valley was probably five minutes long, but it is an experience that I will never forget. Let me tell you, the view was spectacular. The sun was setting as I was lifted above the peaks of Garnet Canyon. My view stretched for miles across the valley, and I could see the lakes that we hiked around earlier. I tried to take it all in while I could. The wind was also very strong and very loud, almost to the point that it was deafening. I was just glad that I had on an extra layer to keep me warm.

The helicopter slowly lowered me in a field, where there was an ambulance, stretcher, and many first responders ready to unhook me and load me into the ambulance. There were also a few onlookers gawking at the girl dangling from a helicopter. After I landed and safely in the ambulance, I was headed to the hospital in Jackson, WY. I was a bit worried because my friends were still on the mountain and they had to hike down in the dark. I also didn't have my cell phone on me, so I didn't have anyone's numbers and wouldn't be able to reach them. I tried to relax as the EMT inserted an IV, took my blood pressure, and chatted with me.


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