Monday, July 28, 2014

Meatless Monday Linkup: Sesame Peanut Spaghetti Squash

Happy Marvelous Meatless Monday! Even though I am planning on testing this out as a regular feature, Heather does such a great job in focusing on the happiness in our lives through her Marvelous Mondays! Did you see my exciting news about the Chicago marathon?

I am a little nervous about this post, as I am not sure how well it will do, and I have never hosted a linkup, but here goes.....Welcome to the first Meatless Monday Linkup! I have had a great deal of feedback about my Meatless Monday recipes, and would love for you to participate too. It is so important to include meatless meals in your rotation for your health....and wallet. Monday could not be a better day to be meat free, as we are often guilty of overindulging on the weekends....well, I know I this cold stone demonstrates....

How does a love it size, cake batter ice cream, cookie dough, and brownie pieces cold stone sound to you?
So please linkup your meatless recipes, refer your posts back to this post, and enjoy my Spaghetti Squash Recipe . Help me spread the word, and keep the momentum going. Happy Meatless Monday!

Sesame Peanut dressing on pasta is one of my favorite summer meals, especially as it is one of those dishes that tastes even better cold the next day, as the flavors have had time to soak in. I decided to try using spaghetti squash noodles instead to lighten it up a bit, and it turned out wonderful. This dish still has a great balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates, along with giving you lots of vegetables with many of their own health benefits.

This Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Sesame Peanut Dressing meal from elite athlete is the perfect, balanced, post workout meal.

Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash Noodles

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 4


1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 onion, diced
2 green onions, sliced into small circles
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 bell peppers of different colors (I used purple and green), diced
1/2 cup edamame
3 beets, diced
1 large tomato, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 tbsp sriracha
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

3/4 cup peanut butter (I used homemade, but any will work)
1/2 cup hot water
1 tbsp soy sauce


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthways. Place the cut sides down on the pan.

Cook the spaghetti squash for around 45 minutes, until a knife inserted goes through easily. Some parts will be very tender, but other parts will be a little more crunchy-like. This is good as it will prevent the squash from becoming a mush.

Meanwhile, when the squash has been cooking for around 20 minutes, toast the sesame seeds in a pan (no oil required) over a medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan, and add the oil. Cook the onions and green onions until golden brown. Add the garlic powder, peppers and beets, cooking until soft (the beets may turn the other ingredients pink). Stir in the sriracha, chili powder, salt, pepper to coat the vegetables evenly. Turn off the heat, and stir in the tomatoes and edamame.

Keep the pan covered for a few minutes while you heat up the peanut butter and hot water, stirring until smooth. Add the soy sauce, and then pour into the vegetables mix, along with the spaghetti squash. Stir to combine, and serve with the toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, additional green onions and tomatoes.

Nutritional Information

377 calories, 27g fat, 1002mg sodium, 23g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 9g sugar, 0mg cholesterol, 15g protein

How often do you eat meatless? What is your favorite indulgence? 

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Exciting News and Chicago Marathon Update #2 (July 2014)

Firstly, I wanted to share some exciting news with you.....I am officially running Chicago (marathon) as an elite! In addition to elite athlete entry, I have been provided two nights hotel rooms, and travel money! This also means I will be able to prepare my own liquids and bottles for the race.....meaning I need to up my game on testing them out so I can be sure which one I will use on the day. SO excited about this as they can be very selective, and some of the best athletes in the world will race there!

Racing as an Elite for Cherry Blossom was so much fun!
Training has gone well overall, but I am going to take my down week next week instead of the first week of August. I am having another listen to your gut moment, and I am proud to say that I am going to do just that. Although I feel fine, and there is nothing specifically wrong, I have that gut feeling that I need to cycle down. I have just felt very tired on most my runs, and a little "beat up" as my coach likes to say. I am gonna take one full day off next week, and back down to around 70 miles.

Unfortunately, my mind changes on this constantly, as I feel like I am admitting defeat....I have probably changed my mind since you started reading this post! Thankfully, during one of my strong moments, I told my coach this gut feeling, and he agreed. Once I say something like that, he knows me well enough to know that I will probably go back on my decision.....but its too late, its set and he will be strong in resisting my bullying persuasion tactics (yep, I am not as nice as you think :p).

It is better to be safe than sorry, and Chicago is still a long way away. As I have been told many times, the hardest part of marathon training, is getting to the finish line healthy. I intend on doing everything I can to make sure of that!

My long run last Sunday went very well. I ran alone and carried my Nathan bottle for 10 of the 16 miles, sipping water at least every 3 miles. I ran on soft trails most the way, which aggravated my hamstrings, and made my knee feel a little weird for a few miles, but it was good to test it the course before the distance is too long. I did not look at my Garmin for the entire run, and was surprised when I finished to see I ran as fast as I did for this point in my training.

I am now into running 10 miles instead of 9 for my regular daily run. This is one change we have made since last marathon segment, but I am enjoying it so far. My training differs from most of the other elite women I race against in that I do not really run doubles. My coach thinks it is more important to get my body used to running continuously, this plays to my strengths. I am also not running enough miles to where I need to run doubles to get the miles in.

I had one workout this week; 35 minutes of a hilly course. That is the longest set of hills I have ever run, and I was happy with how it went, especially considering the terrain was very soft as it has not rained here in about a week.

Stretching after my workout, excuse the creepy stare!
I wanted to include this in here to show that everyone has rolls on their stomach, and
I can be self conscious about it too, just because you are strong, doesn't mean you don't have body parts you are insecure about!
I am racing a 12k next Saturday at Run Clark Lake, which will be a good test of fitness, and another reason to back down a little this week.

Finally, I have been keeping up with the Yoga, which is really helping with my flexibility, especially in my hips and hamstrings. I would recommend it to anyone with muscle tightness/soreness!

What is the biggest race/competition you have ever competed in? Are you good at listening to your gut? 

Oh yes, I am hosting my first Meatless Monday linkup THIS MONDAY (28th July), so get cooking, and add your meat free meal to the recipe collection!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Skinny Buffalo Chicken and Vegetable Enchiladas

With all the articles we read highlighting the benefits of spices on our health, I have been trying to experiment with heat to see how much I can tolerate. When enchiladas was selected as the request for a meal to work with, I thought hard about what I could do to step outside the box, while adding in some kick start your metabolism spice.

Buffalo chicken wings came up on my Pinterest during search for inspiration time (Pinterest is such a wonderful resource for looking up new ideas). I thought maybe I could make buffalo enchiladas. The challenge was to make them a little healthier, as enchiladas are traditionally calorie bombs. I know I can afford to eat a few more calories; the miles I run provide me with the luxury not everyone has....mind you, I work damn hard  for those extra miles! Regardless, I wanted to make this a more nutritious meal to focus on what I could add, rather than what I would take away.

I came up with Skinny Buffalo Chicken and Vegetable Enchiladas. Using Greek Yogurt instead of cream cheese, major calories are cut down, and protein is added. Vegetables bump up the nutritional value of this meal to make it a well balanced, but very enjoyable taste of an American Classic.

I cooked my chicken breasts in vegetable stock in the slow cooker for 4 hours prior. This resulted in tender shredded chicken, but you could cook them however you like, or use chicken pieces if you prefer.

These Skinny Buffalo Chicken and Vegetable Enchiladas by are wonderful to enjoy this American classic without all the calories or fat of deep fried chicken wings.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken and Vegetable Enchiladas

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves 6


1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp sriracha
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt

6 whole wheat tortilla wraps
2 chicken breasts, shredded
1 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
2 cups spinach
1/4 cup edamame
1/4 cup black beans


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to break the blue cheese into very small crumbles. Add in the greek yogurt, paprika, vinegar, garlic powder, sriracha, cayenne, pepper, lemon juice and salt. Stir well. Adding more sriracha or cayenne pepper for more heat if needed.

Drop 1/6 of each of the vegetable ingredients, and 1/6 of the chicken onto a tortilla wrap. Spoon 2 tbsp of the buffalo blue cheese mix on top. Roll up, and place seam down on the 9x13 pan. Repeat with the other 5 tortillas. You should use around 2/3 of the buffalo blue cheese mix. Reserving 1/3 for the top.

Spread the remaining mixture on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle with any leftover vegetables.

Cook for 20 minutes, until beginning to turn golden brown. Turn to broil for 2 minutes, until the edges are all golden brown.

Remove, and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

382 calories, 14g fat, 1218mg sodium, 42g carbohydrates, 11g fiber, 8g sugar, 17mg cholesterol, 24g protein

What traditionally high calorie meals have you made a healthier version of? Do you tend to focus on what you can remove from a meal, or what you can add in to make it more nutrient dense?

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