As most of you know I am a Brand Ambassador for FlapJacked and have been for some time now. The reason I continue to work with them is that the product tastes great, and I mean that about the Mix and the Muffins. Beyond that they are great people who support me through all of my endeavors regardless of how stupid they may be.

One of the other main reasons I love the product as much as I do is that you can be very creative with it. From cookies to crepes to cakes of all shapes and sizes. This recipe is for an individual sized cake that you can make in about 10 minutes but comes with all the flavor of a cake that has been labored over for hours.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed eating the results

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Published in Snack/Dessert Recipes
Tuesday, 01 December 2015 18:08

Vegan Recipe: Overcome Illness Stew

The last month has been full speed ahead with racing Ironman Florida (race report here) and then Wild Hare 50 (race report here) two weeks later and registered for Isle Du Bois 52k two weeks post Wild Hare 50 had run my body into the ground. Endurance events take a lot out of you both physically and mentally and your immune system is shot.

I learned this first hand Saturday into Sunday of this past week. I was feeling sluggish on Saturday but managed to do some running around (in the rain) with my wife but by the end of the day it had become full blown - leave me the F alone. I got in bed with a tremendous pain in my face around my sinuses and knew I had a sinus infection. I woke up every 1h20m and had difficulty going back to sleep. When I woke up Sunday I planted myself on the couch and did nothing but neti pot and try to watch football.

The Giants-Redskins game made me not feel any better as that was possibly one of the worst games I can remember watching. Just horrible football. I went to bed Sunday night hoping to sleep through the night but that did not happen until midnight when I got finally got 6 straight hours. When I woke up I felt much better. Less achy in my muscles and less pain in my face. The illness started to turn but not wanting to take any chances I kept up the fluids, vitamin C and when dinner rolled around I wanted nothing but a hearty stew.

I decided on the drive home that the stew would include rice, beans, mushrooms, onions and leafy greens. All of these are high in micro-nutrients but also included complex carbs, protein and healthy fat. I did stop myself from adding additional ingredients as I kept to the keep it simple stupid method.

When I woke up this morning I felt better than I had in the past 48 hours and believe that I am on the other side of the illness. Now the stew is not the only reason because the neti pot is the main helper here but the soup is sure to help battle illness as well as warming you up during these cold winter months. The recipe below is super simple, takes no time and tastes great. Enjoy.

Published in Dinner Recipes
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 20:32

Vegan Recipe: Tempeh Fajita Burrito

Recently I started a burrito kick and it has taken on a life of its own. It is at the point where I am now trying to get #BurritoWednesday trending since it seems that all the other days are taken not to mention the sheer ridiculousness of these hashtags. Also, please do not get me started on National Coffee Day or National Chocolate Day or National Non-GMO Gluten Free Sugar Free Fat Free Peanut Butter Day.

The internet is a wonderful thing to have at our finger tips but some days I have to laugh at how days pick up momentum and thus why I am pushing hard for everybody to join me on #BurritoWednesday. Truth be told I eat a burrito 4-5 times per week because of how convenient they are to make. Take your favorite dish and wrap it up and eat it with one hand. What is better than that? Go ahead and think about it.......I will wait. Told you that you cannot come up with something.

The burrito and the waffle are my all time favorites and maybe I can create a thin waffle to wrap up other foods in and have the first #BurritoWednesday with a #WaffleBurrito.  Stay tuned but until then here is a recipe for a vegan tempeh fajita burrito that is sure to please.

If you decide to make this meal be sure to hashtag it with #BurritoWednesday and let's get this absurd movement rolling along

Published in Dinner Recipes

Back when I was eating meat I could be found at the nearest bar or in my kitchen devouring wings by the dozens.  Yes, dozens. An afternoon watching football could easily consist of 50 wings, beer and an apple pie to finish the day.  When I made the lifestyle decision to become a vegetarian the one thing I missed the most was chicken wings on a Saturday or Sunday in the fall. That went away fairly fast when I began to use tempeh in my homemade buffalo sauce. As time has gone on I decided that anything and everything could get tossed into the buffalo sauce.

This weekend, that is exactly what happened. I started with the thought of using garbanzo beans but soon enough crunchy cauliflower would go well.  Wait, that is not enough let's toss in some Brussels sprouts. Do you have a crunchy texture that stands out? No, you do now in the form of shredded red cabbage.  How can I cut the spice without blue cheese?  How about some fatty avocado. Alright, we got it all so let's start the cooking.

Published in Dinner Recipes
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 13:45

Recipe: Freekeh and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Karen and I have been using Hello Fresh for a few weeks now as a way to make time for each other during hectic work and training schedules. The recipes they provide are terrific and easy to make. The Freekah Sald has become one of our favorites and is one that has been made three times now.

If you are unfamiliar with freekah then I suggest you get familiar with it and this recipe is a great way to use the grain. Freekeh has a slightly smoke and nutty flavor that seems pronounced in this dish. Probably because it is paired with the acidity from a Fuji Apple and the creamy/crunchy fat from the walnuts. Of course, Brussels Sprouts cannot be ignored because well.......Brussels Sprout.

This recipe is great for vegans but also for those carnivores that are trying to follow a Meatless Monday ritual.

 

Published in Dinner Recipes
Monday, 21 September 2015 14:22

Recipe: Deconstructed Pasta Carbonara

Some days getting into the kitchen and chopping, dicing, mincing and everything else that comes with making a meal is relaxing and allows me to exercise my creative gifts. Other days I want to get into and out of the kitchen faster than Andy Potts swim a half-ironman distance of 1.2 miles (which was 24 minutes at the 2015 version of Timberman). The reality is that my weekday evenings are my sanctuary to put my feet up and relax so the long cooking days are Saturday and Sunday. Thursday has also become a day in the kitchen as Karen and I have been cooking together on those days.

But, the last thing I want to do after riding the trainer for an hour and running for 15-30 minutes then showering is to start prepping at 7:30pm. I know a lot of people do meal prep and I am all for it but it does not work for me. I listen to my body and eat what I have a craving for and that has a tendency to change on an hourly basis during training. If I had 5 tuppware containers in my fridge already prepped I know that 3 out of the 5 days I would not eat the food because I just did not want to eat that on that day.

This is where keeping it simple and keeping it easy comes into play. One of my favorite dishes is pasta carbonara (vegetarian without the bacon of course.) The creaminess of the egg along with the crunchy texture of the bread crumbs. Add in garlic (OR COURSE!!!!) and some spice in the form of red pepper flakes and the dish as as easy as it is tasty.

The recipe below is for a pasta carbonara but it removes the technical aspect of getting the eggs into the pan without it turning into a scrambled egg and ruining the dish before you had a chance to taste it.

After you have had the opportunity to make this dish I would appreciate your feedback on the ease, complexity, taste, etc. Thanks.

 

Published in Dinner Recipes
Monday, 14 September 2015 16:20

Recipe: Puerto Rico In A Burrito

I have a tendency to go through waves of eating. By this I mean that I will put my hooks into a certain type of food and not let go for a long time. A lot of the correspondence I have received in the past year has revolved around making waffles. I am still a waffle fiend but as times change and tastes change so do the meals that I prepare.

I also love to make things easy in the kitchen. I do not have a lot of time during the week to create elaborate dishes and so I try to keep my cooking to 30 minutes or so. Sometimes that involves prepping before hand (not often) or making a breakfast meal (happens a lot) or knowing how long it will take to make a dish and not wasting time when I walk through the door from work.

Since my desire for a particular meal can change in a heartbeat knowing what I have in my pantry and fridge is vital to getting into, cooking and out of the kitchen as quick as possible. That is no different with this recipe for Puerto Rico In A Burrito.

Back to putting my hooks into a particular type of meal. Lately, I have loved rolling burritos and putting anything and everything into them. From the simple Cobb Salad Burrito to Buffalo Cauliflower Burrito to this burrito there is nothing easier to eat than a burrito.

As a kid rice and beans was a staple of our diet becaus Puerto Ricans serve it with practically every meal and yes that includes breakfast. When I thought of a rice and beans burrito I also decided that plantains, the way my father loved them, had to get thrown in along with some peppers and onions.

What came out of my kitchen was better than I had imagined. Give this recipe a try and let me know if Puerto Rico In A Burrito is a keeper for your menu.

 

 

Published in Dinner Recipes
Friday, 04 September 2015 14:02

Recipe: DIY Cold Brew Coffee

Cold Brew Coffee entered my life a bit over a month ago and since then I have become somewhat addicted to coffee being made this way, especially after an intense and tough training session. I have found that cold brew coffee has given me energy faster than I have experienced before. Typically I will combine cold brew coffee with a San Pellegrino-Nuun Hydration combination and my body feel revived within moments.

Of course, Starbuck's is what started this cold brew addiction and as anybody knows when Starbuck's is involved that means that you have to take out a loan to continue to consume their beverages. With that in mind I decided to do some research and see how I could make cold brew at home. What I found out is that it is easy BUT it takes a long time to brew coffee with this method so advance planning is needed.

The key to making cold brew is good coffee beans because that will make a difference but also knowing the proper water to coffee ratio. I have made cold brew four times in the past two weeks and the best combination is 32 ounces of water to 5 HEAPING tablespoons of coffee grinds. With that ratio and 12 hours you too can enjoy cold brew at home.

Cold Brew Start

Published in Breakfast Recipes
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 13:11

Sleep - Is 8 Hours Really Necessary?

I was asked by Chloe of 321delish.com to write a guest post and I was honored that she would ask.  She and Steph have great information and as they say it is like getting two blogs for one.  I wanted to write about sleep because just a few days after I was asked to write the guest post the topic came up.  I am repurposing the post I wrote for them on my blog since it is a topic that should be discussed.  Here is my post: ==================== [caption id="attachment_3771" align="alignright" width="121" caption="Are these necessary?"]sleep_caps_endurance_athletes_glycogen_cortisol[/caption] Is 8 hours really necessary?  Maybe more or maybe less?  Why am I even approaching this topic you might be asking yourself, so let me give you a little bit of background about me. I take my training and racing seriously.  I am focused on becoming a better triathlete on a daily basis and it was through this that I started to wake up at 3am to eat breakfast and drink some coffee then fall back asleep for an hour prior to training around 5am. When I talk about the 3am wake up call I typically get a response of:  You are crazy! (You’re thinking the same thing right now aren’t you?)  Or the other response I get and typically through Twitter is:  Do you EVER sleep? (Yes, I do and I sleep as much as the next person I just have a different pattern.) My patter consists of resting (and I mean purely resting on the couch) starting around 8pm and not moving.  My body is in a state of relaxation and is recovering from the morning workout and day full of work activities.  I get in bed by 9pm and begin to fall asleep around 930p (If I haven’t fallen asleep on the couch already - told you I am in a state of complete relaxation.)  I then wake up at 3am and eat, drink and tweet and fall back asleep between 330a and 345a.  I then wake up at 445a and am out the door to start my training by 5a. So you can see from this scenario that I sleep anywhere from 7 hours to 8 hours, I just don’t get it the way most people do and I bet that I probably get more than most people. I have read articles from back in 2007 that there was no direct study linking sleep to athletic performance but just extrapolations.  Obviously this would do us no good because you cannot extrapolate the damage that an endurance athlete does to their body during their training cycle compared to the average person who is exercising for 5-6 hours and probably not at the intensity level of marathon or triathlon training. Since 2007 there have been other studies done and the most recent one I found included testing young males (18-27) based on three different sleep cycles.  They were asked to sleep for 8 hours in one week, then 4 hours in another and finally 12 hours in another.  The 4 hours was the sleep deprivation cycle and was used to compare against the other two cycles. The interesting part of this study, for me, is that the sleep deprivation was linked to metabolizing glucose less efficiently in addition to the fact that levels of cortisol were higher. The glucose levels for the group were no longer normal during the sleep deprivation week and resembled those found in the elderly.  Since we know that glucose and glycogen (stored glucose) are the energy sources behind the ability of an endurance athlete to perform one can conclude that getting enough sleep is very important. What the study doesn’t address is how much sleep is enough?  I don’t know that getting 8 hours is perfect but I do know that getting 4 hours is not enough and not just because of the glycogen stores, but because your mind is not in the game. You have a tendency to lose focus with sleep deprivation and this is caused by the increase in cortisol.  If your mind is not focused then the task at hand is going to be more and more difficult to perform.  Think about your best race and how well you slept the night before and think about your worst race and how you slept the night before. I am comfortable with the amount of sleep that I get because I very rarely feel tired during the day and so for me my schedule works.  You may need 8 or 10 or 12 hours of sleep to get your performance to be at its peak.  Just like eating and training there are going to be different responses for everybody but there are rules of thumb and I will go out on a limb and say you should sleep more than 4 hours per night.
How much sleep do you get?  Do you nap?  Do you feel more hungry on days when you do not sleep well?
Published in Train
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 16:30

Strength Training For Endurance Athletes

[caption id="attachment_2971" align="alignright" width="267" caption="Strength training can improve form which will improve performance"]strength-training-endurance-athletes-triathlon[/caption] Before I got involved in this awesome (some call crazy) sport I could be found at the gym lifting like a guy in a prison yard.  I was tossing around steel plates and grunting and eating protein bars and sucking down protein drinks.  I was on a course for the no neck, concrete deodorant look.  I even did the entire just work on the upper body and not focus too hard on my legs.  Lollipop comes to mind when I think about this. I had an excuse though.  I was going through a divorce and in New York when winters last 8 months people don't see your legs under jeans but in a T-Shirt those pecs and biceps had better be popping.  I had a date with the gym every day and worked out for 1-2 hours each day with a circuit of chest one day, then biceps and triceps, then back and shoulders over the course of three days.  Then repeat and no rest day in there.  I was punishing my body but the rewards were that I was getting bulked up. 2009 rolls around and I had dabbled in endurance sports with one marathon, a few half-marathons and a sprint tri but it was time to make a commitment to the sport of triathlon.  I hired Claudia and her first training plan came out and I stared.  I flipped the calendar.  I turned over the computer (maybe it was hiding under there) but not one mention of lifting.  What was this about?  I immediately emailed her about this over sight and she promptly responded with:  there will be strength work to be done but we need to get you away from that and more toward a triathletes concept of strength training. A triathletes concept of strength training?  What was that?  Did they not use weights?  Did they shoulder press their bikes?  Seriously, what was this about and what did it mean?  Since I believe in allowing the experts to do what they do best I put my full faith into coaches plan.  I thought nothing about lifting again until the first strength training came on the screen. When I did see that first strength schedule I put myself back into the old lifting mindset.  Go heavy or go home!  A little more reading and there was a list of exercises to be done.  Calculating in my mind I would be lifting for approximately 10 hours, then get on the bike for 2 hours.  Hmmm....how would I fit this all in?  I emailed Coach and she gave me a break down of what I had to do and that I should get it done in 45 minutes.  Much more manageable. After the first couple of months of strength training twice a week I could see and feel my muscles getting leaner and more toned.  They were being developed to not just swim and bike, but to also run as well.  Coach was creating a machine (my words not hers) that would enjoy the rigors of a triathlon and not suffer through them. I am a big believer in strength training throughout the year.  By doing two workouts per week of approximately 1 hour each I am not giving up any quality time in the water, on the bike or on the run.  I am enhancing those sports by developing muscles to deal with the constant beating our bodies take as triathletes.  I relish my time in the gym and getting stronger, but it doesn't just end with weight training.  Once that is over I head over to a mat and get in a good 15 minutes of core work as well.  Your core needs to be strong to get you through these three sports and cannot be ignored. [caption id="attachment_2972" align="alignright" width="259" caption="Throw around some iron and get better at endurance sports"]strength-core-training-endurance-athletes-triathletes[/caption] When I was conducting interviews with triathletes of all levels I asked them the one thing that triathletes should not skip and almost to a person that one thing was core work.  Develop a strong core because you need it in all three phases.  With a strong core you will have better form than somebody who does not pay attention to their core.  I love screaming (in my head, not out loud) at my abs that it is time to pay the piper and be ready to suffer.  I don't want to skip a core workout or even take it lightly so I mentally prepare myself for the fatigue that my abs are about to go through.  15 minutes later I feel great and I can tell for the rest of the day that my core is sucked in and supporting my back as well. So, now you are asking yourself what is it that you actually do when you are lifting.  Funny you should ask because I do 2 sets of 12-15 repetiions of an exercise with no break in between each set (super sets) and then 30-60 seconds between the super sets.  I break down my super sets as follows and am including why I do these exercises as well:
Set 1 - Leg Extension (supports weight-catching phase of running and builds additional muscle mass) / Leg Curl (boosts pull-through for both cycling and running)
Set 2 - Leg Press (most important exercise for developing power on bike) / Lat Pull Down (improves pull phase of swim stroke)
Set 3 - Calf Raises (helps push-off for running) / Seated Row (improves pull phase of swim stroke)
Set 4 - Squats (generates power for cycling and strength necessary for hilly running) / Push-ups (improves pull phase in swim)
Set 5 - Bench Press (improves pull phase in swim) / Overhead Pullovers (works all muscles in catch phase of freestyle stroke)
Set 6 - Shoulders (supports healthy shoulders to prevent swimming injuries) / Tricep Extensions  (maintains form through back half of swim stroke)
Set 7 - Backward Lunges (targets all muscles used in push phase of hilly running) / Bicep Curls (assists in part of the pull phase in the swim and provides climbing leverage on the bike)
My core work is the P90X circuit plus the Bridges Over Kenya that you can find here: Interview with Kristin White
I found this article on Active.com written by Mark Allen for Triathlete Magazine.  It discusses each of the exercises above but goes into more detail of different phases of strength training which I plan on incorporating Phase Three in a few weeks.  Right now I am in Phase Two but the next big race is 70.3 Austin and I will incorporate the new phase of strength training 9 weeks prior to that.

Do You Do Strength Training?  What Types Of Exercises Do You Incorporate?

 
Published in Train
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