Run, Eat, Snorkel, Repeat: How to enjoy your vacation

So I took a vacation to Hawaii.  We had a fantastic time and basically just alternated between running, playing in the water and eating lots of delicious food.  Like this:  Wake up.  Run.  Eat breakfast.  Swim.  Eat lunch.  Snorkel.  Eat shave ice.  Swim.  Eat dinner.  Drink a Mai tai.   Bed.  Repeat.

Although we ate a lot of fresh fish, we also ate a lot of…less healthy things.  Things which might have caused some guilt if I was at home and not on vacation.  One of the reasons guilt did not happen was because almost every minute not taken up by eating was spent running, swimming, snorkeling and playing on the beach.  The other reason is because Kelsey Miller at the Anti-Diet Project, who you know is pretty much my hero, wrote this excellent post about why your vacation is not a “cheat day.”

“In the past, the weeks leading up to vacation had involved strategizing a master plan about how I’d maintain my diet. Then, two days in, I’d slip up and eat, like, the whole of Switzerland. Then, the rest of the trip would be spent eating additional countries and laying awake at night feeling layers of imaginary fat grow around my stomach. ‘When I get home, it’s gonna be kale and hot yoga and THAT’S IT,’ was the promise I’d hang onto as I panicked and ate and panicked and ate.”

Especially if you have a really restrictive diet at home, it’s easy to go a little crazy on vacation.  You’re away from your routines, and in a new place full of tempting new delightful food.  But you want to eat the delightful food!  You want to enjoy the delightful food!  You definitely don’t want to spend the whole vacation feeling intensely guilty about the delightful food!

When you’re on vacation for the express purpose of having fun, relaxing and experiencing new things, its really okay to eat things you might not normally eat.  But also, it’s really okay to eat those things at home, too.  That way, you won’t go too overboard while you’re away and you won’t feel the need to atone for your food sins when you get home.  Everybody wins.

On a sidenote, running 11 miles by the beach in a tropical paradise was not as fabulous as I had hoped.  Although the view was lovely, the humidity was not.  I don’t think I’ve sweated that much probably ever in my whole life, but it did give me a new appreciation for public water fountains and for the crispy, dry heat of Sacramento.  It might never rain again in California for the next hundred years, but it sure will be pleasant for running.

Feel-Good Friday: All About that Bass

In case you haven’t heard this song because maybe you live under a rock, or maybe you listen exclusively to NPR and as a result are extremely well-informed about world events but know little about pop culture, you need to hear it.  Especially if you’re a girl, especially if you have thoughts about your body, and ESPECIALLY if you like dancing around your room singing into a hairbrush.

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Meghan Trainor–All About that Bass

Happy Friday!

Becky’s Kale Chips

My coworker Becky made these for me, and simultaneously convinced me that kale could be delicious.  So delicious that I had to steal her recipe.  They are super easy to make, and super easy to munch on when you want a crunchy, salty, healthy snack.

Becky’s Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 12 cups kale, stems removed, sliced or torn into pieces.  I used one big bag of kale from Trader Joe’s and it made enough to cover two cookie sheets.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Generous sprinkles of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss 6 cups of the kale with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.  Spread the kale in a single layer onto one of the cookie sheets.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the other half of the kale, the other tablespoon of olive oil, and the salt, pepper and garlic powder again.  Spread it into a single layer on the other cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and flip the leaves over or stir them around the best you can.  Place them back in the oven and bake for 4-8 minutes more, or until all the leaves are completely crispy.  They will shrink down a lot as the water evaporates.
  5. Let cool and enjoy!

Before

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After

Green and Orange Smoothie

I know I need to eat green things for lunch.  But some days, especially after a run, I just can’t bring myself to munch up a bowl of leaves.  One way I deal is by blending them up with some fruit and protein for a  drinkable, vitamin-filled snack.  Smoothies are the best for lazy people, because you don’t even need to use a fork.

Green and Orange Smoothie

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 smallish orange, peeled
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk or your choice of milk/milk product
  • 1/3 cup plain greek  yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Blend.  Drink.

Tomato and Zucchini Frittata and Roast Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

I am not very good at gardening.  But despite the extreme drought conditions in California, temperatures above 100 degrees, and my lack of plant expertise/TLC, the herbs and tomato plants in my garden manage to flourish.   To reward them for their resilience and fortitude, I like to eat them them whenever I can.

If you’ve never made a frittata, it might sound fancy but it’s super easy to make.  It’s like an omelette except easier because you don’ t even have to flip it.  Instead, you cook it on the stove for a minute and then bake it in the oven and eat it like a pie.  I don’t know if Italians eat frittatas for dinner, but I do and I fully support the practice.  The roast potatoes are super easy too, and make a good side dish for this as well as for chicken, salmon, etc.

Tomato and Zucchini Frittata

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Ingredients

  •  4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shaved or grated
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, sage, parmesan and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-safe steel or iron skillet.  Saute the zucchini and the tomatoes over medium-high heat until they start to soften and break down, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, evenly covering the sauteed vegetables.  Without stirring, let sit on the stove over medium-high heat for about 1 minute.
  5. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for 8-12 minutes, or until the top starts to look brown and puffed.  Remove from oven, let cool a little bit, slice like a pie, and enjoy.
  6. DO NOT, as I did, badly burn your arm by accidentally touching the extremely hot handle of the skillet.  Just.  Don’t.

Roast Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

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Ingredients

  • 4 small yukon gold potatoes, cut into wedges about 1/4 inch thick (other potatoes work, but these are my favorite)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Generous sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, toss the potato wedges with the rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden, a little crisp, and soft all the way through when you poke them with a fork.  Let cool a little and enjoy!

Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad

I know, I know.  Another salad. But its still hot, and I’m still lazy, so I just keep making them.  This salad is inspired by one my friend Susan makes and brings to every potluck because everyone loves it.  Mine is not quite as good, but it’s pretty tasty, it contains a lot of food groups and its easy to make on a summer weeknight.

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Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1/2 large avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 tbsp diced red onion
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta

Dressing

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Instructions

  1. Place the quinoa and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until water is completely absorbed. Spread cooked quinoa out on a plate and place in the fridge to cool.
  2. Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes, onion, beans, cilantro and feta in a large serving bowl. Add the cooled quinoa.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Toss the salad with the dressing and enjoy!

Oatmeal with Fresh Strawberries

This is not some fancy overnight oat thing with Chia seeds and whatnot.  These are instant oats for when you need something hot and healthy in your belly to get you through the morning, and you don’t have time to mess around.

For breakfast, I either have this oatmeal or gluten free toast with scrambled eggs.  If I’m eating before a long run, I like toast with peanut butter and sliced strawberries on top because its less filling. I never skip breakfast (or any meal for that matter) because if I do I turn into a hangry monster.

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My food photography is always terrible, but especially this one. I was in a rush to eat my breakfast, ok?

Oatmeal with Fresh Strawberries

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup dry instant oats
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla flavored protein powder
  • 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or your choice of milk/milk product)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small chunks
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Dash agave syrup (optional)
  • 2 drops liquid stevia (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, water, and 1/3 cup of the almond milk.
  2. Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Stir in the strawberries, the extra tablespoon of almond milk, the cinnamon, and the agave and stevia (if you prefer it unsweetened, leave those out).  Enjoy!

*Option for the extra hungry: I make this for my husband the same way except with 1/2 cup each of oats, water and milk, and I microwave it for 2 minutes.