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It is a good day to announce that I recently registered for my fourth BolderBOULDER 10K race on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th!! I had the experience of a lifetime last year and I cannot wait to follow it up with another incredible experience in my home town of Boulder, CO. If you are not familiar with the BolderBOULDER it is “America’s all-time best 10K” and has been going since 1979. With over 50,000 runners every year, it is highly organized and accessible for walkers, runners, kids, and elite runners. Entertainment on the course includes costumes, slip and slides, belly dancing, cotton candy, live bands, and more!

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[Photo: Competitor.com]

When it comes to training for running races there are a variety of different options out there, some are free and some cost money, some are online and some are with groups, and some even come on your smart phone.

  • Hal Higdon online training programs (free). With novice, intermediate, advanced, and walk programs, you can choose the program that matches your goals and your current fitness level. I am using the novice plan since I took some time off of running and have been struggling with a knee injury.
  • Cool Running (free). This site also has a variety of free training plans for different levels, including one focused on speed.
  • RunKeeper (free smart phone app). This app will talk to you while your walking/running while it also tracks your distance through GPS. Built in training programs can be selected so that you are reminded of your workouts right on your phone.
  • Zen Labs 10K for Pink (smart phone app). Featuring a couch to 10K running program for those that are coming off the couch.
  • Runners World Smart Coach ($4.99/mo). I used this program for my half marathon last year and it worked great! You can set up your program based on when you want to start, when the race is, a previous race time, and how hard you want the program to be. It used to be free, but it looks like they are charging for it now…but it is still reasonable.
  • Fast Forward Sports (Boulder, CO group or online). If you live in the Boulder area, these guys are great to train with! The groups are large and all abilities are present and welcome. Scott, the owner is personable, and will remember your name even after just a single group run. Also features online programs.
  • Revolution Running (Boulder, Denver, Littleton, Golden, Fort Collins areas, group or online). Another running group in the front range area. If you need a little extra motivation and accountability, training with a group might be right for you. Online programs also offered.

There are so many training resources out there! If you don’t live in the front range area, do a search for running clubs in your area. Often times local running stores will host weekly runs for free. It is a great way to meet people, get some motivation, and hold yourself accountable. If you can’t find a group in your area, grab a friend, pick a race and a training program, and plan a day to run together.

If you are a seasoned runner, increase your running performance by adding the following to your training regiment: tempo runs, Fartlek, high intensity intervals, hills, and strength training (particularly core!). Click the links to read more about each.

Thanks to the lovely folks at BolderBOULDER, I already know what I am wearing for the race! Look for me in these Helly Hansen 3/4 Pace Tights 2 and Cool SS T-shirt at the finish!

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Stay tuned for some nutrition tips and a recipe!

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Turkey meat sauce in one of my favorite recipes my Mom makes. Anytime I can create something similar to it in my own kitchen is a good day.

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This recipe takes sausage ragu (inspired by My Recipes) and serves it over millet polenta (inspired by NYTimes Recipes for Health) as an alternative to pasta. Feel free to sub pasta for the polenta if you wish. Using seasoned turkey sausage and pre-made marinara sauce makes this recipe super flavorful without too many ingredients.

Turkey Sausage Ragu over Creamy Millet Polenta

Serves 4 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | Print here!

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 55-60 minutes

For millet polenta:

1 cup millet

3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or water

1 cup low-fat milk

¼-½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1 tablespoon butter or ghee

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For turkey sausage ragu:

1 ¼ pounds hot Italian turkey sausage, removed from casing

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups marinara sauce

½ cup water

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

¼ cups chopped fresh parsley (optional for garnish)

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional for garnish)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat a 10-inch oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add millet and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown; about 3-5 minutes. Carefully add milk, vegetable stock, and salt; stir to combine. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes, stirring half way through. Stir in butter and bake for another 5-10 minutes until liquid is completely absorbed. Remove from oven, stir in Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as desired.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, break up with back of spoon and cook until browned; about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate, wipe skillet clean, and return to medium-high heat.
  4. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add onion to cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add cooked sausage, marinara, water, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes while millet polenta continues to cook. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
  5. Serve ragu over millet polenta topped with chopped fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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I could seriously eat that entire pan of millet polenta…in one sitting,

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Serve sausage ragu over polenta with steamed broccoli on the side for a complete, well balanced meal.

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We opened a delicious Orin Swift Location I wine to go along with it. Kind of a nice bottle for a weekday but I certainly didn’t mind.

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Enjoy! Have a great day!

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I have been having some serious cravings for Matcha Green Tea Lattes lately, so when Kiss Me Organics contacted me about trying out and reviewing their Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, it couldn’t have been better timing.

Organic Matcha

If you are not familiar with Matcha, it is high-quality green tea milled to a fine powder. Originally drank in Japanese tea ceremonies, Matcha is now commonly found in Starbucks’ Green Tea Latte, mochi, green tea ice cream, and other confectionaries. Matcha has numerous health benefits as it is a concentration of the whole green tea leaf. It has more antioxidants (including EGCG) than blueberries, it contains the amino acid L-Theanine which promotes relaxation and a state of well-being—preventing you from getting that jittery caffeine high you get from drinking coffee, it boosts energy while increasing focus and potentially endurance performance, it boosts metabolism while being low in calories, and it promotes detoxification with its chlorophyll content.

Anytime you consume something that is made from highly concentrated plants, you may want to consider choosing organic to minimize your exposure to toxins, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. This is particularly important if you are consuming the product on a regular basis. Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder is Certified Organic and culinary grade, so you can feel good about adding it to your daily smoothie or latte and cooking with it!

Since receiving the sample I started out simple, making delicious green tea lattes.

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To make them, I add 1 teaspoon Kiss Me Organics Matcha and 1 teaspoon Organic cane sugar to a mug. Then I boil about a cup of water until just boiling, pour it over the Matcha and sugar mixture, and stir until well combined. I then top them with 2 ounces of steamed and frothed 2% milk. Voila—your very own homemade green tea latte!

Then, I became more adventurous and started adding the Matcha powder to waffles.

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And eventually these Matcha Ginger Oatmeal Cups (recipe inspired by fauxMartha with modifications suggested by Mag-Pie’s & More).

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Matcha Ginger Oatmeal Cups

Makes 12 | Recipe by Lauren Larson | Print here!

Prep time: 7 minutes | Bake time: 25-30 minutes

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

½ cup chopped crystallized ginger* (or raisins, chopped dates, or some combination)

¼ cup oat flour

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups almond milk

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a 12-muffin tin with liners or grease with oil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, ginger, oat flour, brown sugar, Matcha, walnuts, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine almond milk, applesauce, egg, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken slightly.
  5. Fill 12 lined or oiled muffin cups about 2/3-3/4 of the way with batter.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown and firm in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Freeze for an on the go breakfast, snack, or workout snack anytime, or refrigerate for up to one week. Eat cold, at room temperature, or reheat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.

*I like a lot of ginger, but if you don’t (or you can’t find it) you may want to replace the ginger with raisins, or chopped dates, or use half and half.

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These oatmeal cups would be perfect for breakfast on the go, a mid-afternoon snack, or a portable snack for a hike, bike ride, or run. Freeze them for long term storage, or refrigerate and consume within one week.

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If you would like to try these recipes out for yourself, Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea can be found on Amazon. Thank you Kiss Me Organics for rescuing me from Starbucks and inspiring me in the kitchen! Excuse me while I go drink a Matcha Green Tea Latte with a Matcha Ginger Oatmeal Cup on the side!

References

Health Benefits of Matcha Tea. Retrieved April 12, 2014.

Kiss Me Organics. Retrieved April 12, 2014.

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