Friday, February 27, 2009

USAT Certification and Bananas to Celebrate!

Yesterday was a good day. After a long day at work, I came home deciding to go for an easy run. The weather was good so I took Juno with me. She managed to jog with me for the first half, but on the way back we walked a bit. She actually did better than I thought she would. I think we were both glad to be outside and since this is a recovery week, I didn't mind a little walking. When we got back I checked the mail and there it was - the letter I'd been hoping for! Tthe official word that I passed the USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification test and am now a certified coach! I can now wrap up some of the details in setting up my coaching business. The March shutdown (2 weeks of no "day job" will be perfect for this).

Tim got home a few minutes later and we decided to head downtown for dinner. We went to the Metropolitan, an underground bar that also serves "small plates." So we got drinks (mint chocolate chip martini for me) and some pretty good food. Tim was still a little hungry, and of course I can always eat, so we got dessert - baked bananas with vanilla bean ice cream. Not bad - the dish was a banana cut in half, lengthwise with cinnamon, sugar, and possibly some vanilla sprinked on top and then baked, still in the peel. The ice cream was just vanilla on the side in a small dish. Simple but good. A nice way to celebrate my certification!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend Report and Red Snapper

Weekend Report:
Here's the report for the week. I finally got over the sniffles I caught last week. There are quite a few colds going around, but I didn't get it too bad. Mainly head congestion - ick. I got most of my training in, but rule #1 before working out was to make sure I felt good enough to train.

Let's see -
Monday was a rest day except for yoga, which is always a very relaxing session. Took Tim to the airport (DC trip) early in the morning.
Tuesday was the first TNT track session. WINDY! Not super cold (30's-40's maybe), but gusts I'm sure 30+mph. The team ran a timed mile and then some 800m intervals. I was chilly so I ended up running the last couple intervals with them. Oh yeah - swam ~2000yds over lunch.
Wednesday - I did a trainer ride in the morning along with a Chris Carmichael video - it was the time trial video with some power intervals. I didn't take it as intense as I could have, since I'm still in my base phase, but it was still a really good session. Juno went to doggy day care today. She has such a blast out there at Preppy Pet Suites.
Thursday I ran a timed mile after work. Jogged over to the nearby middle school and then pushed out a 7:10 on their gravel track. Not as fast as last summer's 6:54, but I'll take it, especially at the end of a cold and no day off of training before hand. Another morning swim of about 1900 yards.
Friday - Another morning session on the trainer, this time a recovery session of 45 minutes. Got my new seatpost installed and fit over lunch. Now I will really be aero and fast!
Saturday - TNT group run in the morning. Was chilly - low of 15 but is was probably 20ish by the time we ran. The sky was blue and the sun shining so it made for a really beautiful morning to be out on the trail. We did 40 minutes easy. Later that afternoon I swam 2400 yards. Didn't really mean to swim that much, but it was a nice session. I'm pretty consistent about 2:00min/100yds with easy to moderate effort! That's the pace where I want to race at, so I am pleased with my progress. In the evening Tim and I went to a fantastic Mardi Gras party. I made bread pudding from the Commander's Palace cookbook. Delicious!
Sunday - Not as good a day as I planned. I think I ate too much at the party (who didn't!). I've been eating smaller meals for the last few months and have been eating pretty healthy, I think that rich food got to me. So I bailed on a bike ride with friends and hopped on the trainer instead. Much better to be home for GI issues that out on the road somewhere! I got an hour in watching Pirates of the Carribean. I've spent the rest of the day working on my business plans and making meals to freeze for lunches during the week.

Here is a non-breakfast banana recipe for the week!

Red Snapper With Pecan-Banana Butter (from
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. hot paprika
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbs. peanut or canola oil
Four 6-oz. red snapper fillets (you can also use catfish or haddock)
4 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch salt
1 large firm-ripe banana, diced
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro or parsley

Stir together the flour, paprika, thyme and salt on a large plate. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot, not smoking. Dip fish in milk, then flour mixture. Cook in hot oil, in batches if necessary, until browned on the bottom. Turn fillets and brown other side, about 4 minutes per side for 1-inch fillets. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Drain cooking oil and wipe skillet with paper towels. Heat butter over medium heat and add pecans, nutmeg and salt. Cook, stirring, until pecans are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add bananas and cook, stirring, about 1 minute or just until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Place fillets on warm plates, spoon some sauce over each and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 45 minutes

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Banana Heaven!

So I'll start out with this week's banana recipe. I stumbled upon the new Banana Nut Cheerios at the grocery store this weekend so I had to pick up a box. I am looking forward to trying them tomorrow morning! And they have some delicious looking recipes on their website....Jess, is this healthy enough for you? ;-)

Banana Date Muffins from
Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:35 min
Makes:12 muffins
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2 1/2 cups Banana Nut Cheerios® cereal
1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse or granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray, or line with paper baking cups. Spray bottoms only of paper baking cups with cooking spray. In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, coarsely crush cereal with rolling pin or meat mallet to measure 1 3/4 cups.

2. In large bowl, mix crushed cereal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. In medium bowl, beat buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg until blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in dates. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm or cool.

OK, so now on to this week's training and other stuff.
This week was "Kickoff" for our Team in Training summer season. Looks like the tri team will have about 12 participants - which is great! We had our first group workout on Saturday - in the 17 degree slightly snowy weather! Brrrr. But I think we all managed the 1.3 mile jog to Criterium Bicycles for a basic triathlon gear clinic. It was really nice of them to let us use some space in the store and since they have tri gear, I didn't need to lug any of mine! Then we jogged back to the cars and refueled at Einstein's Bagels. I was pretty hungry by then because I put in a 40 minute run prior to the group workout.

On my way home I stopped off to check on my brother's bird, Archie. He seemed just fine. I gave him some fresh water, some birdy treats, scratched his head a little bit and headed home for a well-deserved nap! After my nap it was time to hit the pool for about 2000 yards. The best reward was the hot tub afterwards, which was really hot, maybe a little too hot, but still gets the blood flowing from being in a cold pool! My swimming is also coming around - my SwimLabs lessons are paying off because I am faster. I also think the yoga I've been taking is working to improve my upper body flexibility.

Today I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, which is now turning into some head congestion. There is a cold going around work, so I may have a mild version of it (and running in the chilly weather probably didn't help). I think I got close to 10 hours of sleep last night - much needed! I felt well enough to get my 90 minutes in on my trainer mid-morning. I had really planned on riding outside, but with temps in the mid-30s (sunny, though) I decided it best to not get chilled with this congestion. So instead I was dripping sweat in the family room. The Bourne Identity helped get me through some of the monotony of sitting on a trainer.

Tomorrow is a rest day with only yoga in the evening, so I'm hoping the cold symptoms don't get any worse.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why Breakfast Rocks

Breakfast rocks because:
1) you can eat a lot of carbs (just call me a carb-o-holic!)
2) it is usually the easiest meal to prepare
3) it gets you going after that morning workout and fuels you for the one over lunch
4) there are soooo many great foods to choose from!
5) bananas are a great breakfast food!

Some of you who know me know that breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. This is one benefit of my increased exercise, as I can usually justify a good sized breakfast because I do a lot of training in the morning and over lunch.

Dunkin' Donuts new waffle sandwich inspired me to write this post. I love scrambling up some eggs and making a waffle sandwich. So I usually don't have bacon and cheese with it, but I do love the Sonic Bacon, Egg and Cheese Toaster sandwich, so using waffles will just be heaven for me! Ok, so I won't eat these very often, once a month or so, but yummy. It's also nice that most fast food places are putting the nutritional info on their websites so that I can plan a splurge.

On a healthier side, my breakfast staples during the week are:
  • Oatmeal - I like Archer Farms multigrain oatmeal. I'll usually throw in some mixed berries (I buy frozen for convenience) and if I need a protein boost I'll cook it in soymilk or add a tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Cereal. Kashi GoLean has good fiber and protein. Again I'll throw some fruit.
  • Eggs. I'll use the egg whites you can buy in the store or egg beaters, or just mix a real egg in there if I want a little more fat. I cook them in olive or canola oil.
  • Pancakes. I'll make a big batch of whole grain pancakes and freeze them. I'll usually add some soy protein powder. Last week I threw in some zucchini so I got a serving of veggies in my breakfast!

These are all easy to bring to work (eggs I cook ahead of time but they refridgerate or freeze well) for when I swim in the morning before work.

Ok, so now it's time for the week's banana recipe. Of course it is a breakfast one!

Chocolate-Banana fille Crepes from Paula Deen - coutesy of the food network.

Crepe Batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 jar hazelnut chocolate spread
5 bananas, sliced
1 can whipping cream

Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg and egg yolk. Pour in the milk, slowly, stirring constantly and, when half is added, stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Beat well until smooth. Add the remaining milk, cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before using. The batter should be the consistency of light cream. Heat a well greased 6-inch skillet,. Add 1/4 cup batter. Tip skillet from side to side until batter covers bottom. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, turn and remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Spread a thin layer of chocolate hazelnut spread onto crepe and place banana slices down the center. Roll or fold crepe. Just before serving top with whipped cream.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Banana Recipe for week of 2/1 - Warm Bananas with Brown Sugar and Bay Leaf
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
Pinch salt
6 ripe bananas, peeled and cut on the bias into 1/3-inch slices (about 1 quart)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
Store bought chocolate cake or ice cream, for serving
In large skillet over high heat, melt the butter and cook until it browns, about 3 minutes. Add the bay leaves and stand back (it may pop). Add the lemon juice, orange juice, brown sugar, brandy, and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture up to a boil. Stir and cook until the liquid has reduced by half and it has reached a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the bananas and pepper. Stir to coat the bananas evenly. Serve immediately spooned over cake or ice cream.
Cooking Notes: You can make the sauce hours ahead of time. Just add the fruit after you bring the sauce back to a simmer. The fruit should be a little cool inside. Serve it with a good, store bought chocolate cake or spoon it over your favorite ice cream.