Fight Your Cold With A Spicy Curry

Jannine Myers

Battling a cold? Try eating curry!

Whenever sickness invades my home, I usually try to combat the symptoms by making meals that include foods known for their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. While I would normally go straight for the lemons and honey, and chicken and vegetable soup, I decided this time to go for a spicy curry. The spices in most curries typically promote the production of mucus, which is just what the body needs since mucus traps unwanted bacteria and prevents it from entering the bloodstream.

To make sure my curry was spicy enough, I opted for a Thai red curry with crushed red pepper flakes. It worked; I had to eat with a pile of tissues by my side!

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Here’s what I added to my curry:

  • Coconut oil (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes (as little or as much as you like)
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into cubes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 can lowfat coconut milk
  • 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • dried mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. Saute onions, garlic, and red pepper in coconut oil, for several minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add crushed pepper flakes, sweet potato, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil at low heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. When the sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for a further 15 minutes or so.
  3. Add some dried mint for extra seasoning (and a little lime juice if desired).

Make sure it’s piping hot when you eat it – it will help to soothe your throat as well as get the mucus flowing :) An extra bonus is that this is a fast and easy meal to make, and it’s really delicious!

This Week’s Farmers Market Buys – Part Two

Jannine Myers

Another purchase I made at the farmers market last weekend is a bag of yomogi leaves.

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I first learned about the yomogi plant (known in other countries as mugwort) a few years ago, when I asked one of my Japanese friends why yomogi mochi, or kusamochiseemed to be so popular. Apparently, the yomogi plant grows everywhere in Japan, and because it’s so abundantly available, it’s commonly used to make mochi.

While yomogi leaves are great for making delicious rice cakes, they can also be utilized in many other ways and they are actually believed to contain significant anti-inflammatory effects. One way I use yomogi leaves is by adding them to my smoothies; the leaves do have quite a distinctive taste but I don’t find it unpleasant at all.

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Ingredients

Yomogi leaves – a decent handful

Fresh ginger – cut a generous piece

Grated carrots – 1/4 cup

Frozen (small, or half) banana

Frozen strawberries – 1/4 cup

Camu camu powder – 1 tsp

Chocolate protein powder (I use Vega Protein Smoothie Choc-A-Lot) – 1 scoop

Almond milk -1/4 cup

Water – 1/2 cup

Throw everything in a blender and process till smooth and creamy.

If a “yomogi smoothie” doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then you can always try some kusamochi; I bought this one with the sweet azuki beans inside and coated with kinako powder – yum!

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Celebrate your Tribe!

Anna Boom

Corinne and I were chatting on our run the other day (okay, really she was chatting and I was trying to catch my breath) about how our group is a great place to meet other women who respect each others strengths, rather than tear each other down to make ourselves feel better. If you’ve ever been the on the other end of gossip, you’ll know what I mean.

But back to respecting each others strengths–WOOT has fast runners, great hill climbers, speedy trail blazers, the best cheer squad, women who just need to run without a stroller at least 1 morning a week!, women looking to become better runners, women looking for a group to hold them accountable, and all of us, really just looking to connect and have some fun outside.

We all have strengths that together make us an amazing team.

Scrolling through our WOOT Wall, I came across a picture that I adore. It says it all, celebrate Our Tribe.

The Tribe of Women Trail Runners

The Tribe of Women Trail Runners

Thanks, Molly for the pic. (she’s a talented photographer, too)

As a few of us take off for the race we’ve trained all summer for, Five Mountains Shinetsu 110 Km, and many of continue to train for the Suck It Up Princess Adventure relay, the Kunigami trail race in December, and the Great Wall half/marathon in May, remember this:

our tribe

Keep coming out with us to celebrate our strengths, and party on trail with your Tribe. Yes, I am talking to YOU :)

This Week’s Farmers Market Buys – Part One

Jannine Myers

I am loving the Japanese orange-flesh sweet potatoes right now! If you like sweet potatoes as much as I do, check out these recipes:

The first is a recipe that reminds me of winter-time meals back home. You’ve probably all tasted or heard of Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, but if you haven’t it’s a popular dish in New Zealand (though traditionally from northern England), that’s made with ground beef and topped with mashed potato. The recipe I used is one that replaces the potato with sweet potato, and it’s really good! I actually made these for my 11-year old because she’s kind of a picky eater, but my older daughter and I love them too.

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Ingredients

  • Sweet potato – 2 large, sliced
  • Almond milk 3–4 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cheese (e.g. colby, edam, cheddar) 1 cup grated
Pie filling
  • Olive oil 1 tablespoon
  • Onion 1, finely diced
  • Garlic 1 clove, minced
  • Carrot 1, peeled and grated
  • Zucchini 1, grated
  • Ground beef (organic, if possible) 500g
  • Tomato paste 2 tablespoons
  • Tamari soy sauce 1 tablespoon
  • Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon
  • mustard (e.g. Dijon or wholegrain) 1 tablespoon
  • Flour 1 tablespoon
  • Beef broth ½ cup

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil.

  1. Cook sweet potato in pot of boiling water for 12–15 minutes, until very soft. Drain and mash with butter and milk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large fry-pan on medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini for about 3–4 minutes. Add beef and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon (drain fat before continuing with remaining ingredients). Add tomato paste, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and mustard, stir until combined. Sprinkle over flour, stir to combine and cook for 1–2 minutes then add beef broth, stir and simmer for 5–7 minutes until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Fill four individual ramekins (to 2/3 full) with pie filling. Top with sweet potato mash and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, then let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a side of fresh greens.

[Recipe from Nadia Lim]

The second recipe is one that is currently my favourite post-run breakfast meal! Seriously, if you have not tried eating sweet potatoes this way, you must:

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Just three ingredients are needed for this awesome recipe:

  1. Sweet potatoes (orange-flesh) – 2 or 3 medium/large
  2. Almond butter – 1 tbsp per half sweet potato
  3. Cinnamon – a generous dash

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F. Gently scrub and clean the sweet potatoes, then pierce the tops of them with a fork before laying them on a foil-lined baking tray. Bake for at least 45 minutes.

[Tip: I bake the sweet potatoes the night before]

In the morning, when you’re ready to eat, take half of one of the sweet potatoes (keep the rest stored in an air-tight container in the fridge), and warm it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Spread about a tbsp of almond butter over the warm sweet potato, and sprinkle with cinnamon. So delicious!!! {And don’t take the skin off, it’s packed with nutrients!)

I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts why sweet potatoes are a great food for runners, but here’s a good visual reminder:

6-Health-Benefits-of-Sweet-Potatoes-Om-Nom-Ally

 Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!

Book Review: Running For Health And Happiness

Jannine Myers

jason fitzgerald

 

Like other resource books for runners – such as “Runners World Complete Book of Running,” and “Marathon:The Ultimate Training Guide” – this is a book that aims to provide new runners with everything they need to know about taking safe and progressive steps towards their running goals.

 

With a focus on improved running performance and injury-prevention, Fitzgerald attempts to identify common mistakes that runners make as they try to get stronger and faster. He claims for example, that the reason so many runners get hurt is that they fail to recognize that metabolic changes take place faster than structural changes. Hence a runner’s improved level of fitness may be stunted by a weaker structural system. Fitzgerald explains how such imbalances can be corrected by incorporating short dynamic warm-up and cool-down routines, as well as specific injury-prevention exercises, all of which can be found either in his book or on his website.

 

Another point heavily emphasized in this book, is the idea that the “10% increase” rule is too limiting for most runners. Fitzgerald believes that a far more effective approach to improving both endurance and speed is to focus instead on consistently running the same mileage over a period of time, and then adding, for example, an additional day of running – even if that means more than a 10% increase in overall mileage.

 

Other viewpoints expressed in this book are well justified and explained, and backed up by testimonials of runners who have experienced pain-free and faster running as a result of following Fitzgerald’s advice. Fitzgerald himself, suffered a serious ITB injury in 2008, after finishing the New York marathon in 2:44. A subsequent six month absence from the running world forced him to question his views on previous training methods, and thus his current training philosophy was birthed from that period of reflection. Since developing the Strength Running program in 2010 and applying it to his own training routine, Fitzgerald has only had one injury, and he also ran a 5+minute PR of 2:39:32 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011.

 

In reading the promotional excerpts about this book, one gets the sense that readers will be able to acquire the kind of information that cuts to the chase of what beginner runners really want to know about faster and pain-free running. For new runners, I would certainly recommend this book; it will take away a lot of the guesswork for you in terms of how to set safe and realistic goals. For more experienced runners, I’d suggest that you give this book a try; I have a feeling you’ll be as surprised as I was and you may even find yourself pulling out pen and paper to scribble down a note or two.

 

[Fitzgerald is also a USA Track and Field certified coach, co-founder of Run Your BQ, and contributor to various publications such as Active, Competitor Magazine, and Daily Burn]

A Few More Healthy Snack/Breakfast Recipes

Jannine Myers

Most of you know by now that when I cook or bake, I tend to make snack and meal choices based on what I have in the pantry and refrigerator. What I enjoy most about this method of eating, is that I am constantly eating different foods and getting a wide variety of nutrients into my diet. The following recipes are some of the snacks that resulted from the previous week’s pantry and refrigerator ingredients:

Soft Gingerbread Cookies (Low-Fat/Low-Sugar/Fresh Ginger)

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (add a little ground ginger too, optional)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 beaten egg + additional almond milk to the equivalent of 1/2 cup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine almond milk, sugar, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and egg/milk mixture.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined; roll into balls and place on baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar over the tops of the cookies.
  6. Bake cookies for about 10-15 minutes.

Buckwheat Porridge Loaf With Fresh Fruit

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 fresh peach, washed and sliced with skin on
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut (+ more for topping)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • GF flour (enough to turn mixture into a bread dough)

Directions

  1. Soak the buckwheat groats in a bowl of water, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse the buckwheat in a strainer for about one or two minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375F. Once the buckwheat is drained and rinsed, add it to your food processor and pulse a few times to break up the groats.
  3. In a bowl, combine the milk, mashed banana, chia, dessicated coconut, baking powder, vanilla extract, and buckwheat and stir until well combined. Let this sit for a few minutes so the chia can soak up some liquid. Add enough flour to turn the mixture into a bread dough.
  4. Lightly grease a small baking dish and pour in the porridge mixture. Top with the peach slices. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from your oven, let it cool slightly and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Eat as is, or with yogurt and cinnamon.

Spiced Muesli And Coconut Yogurt

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Ingredients

  • 3 fresh dates, pitted, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • A small dash each of nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves, anise seed, and cinnamon [Spices not only add great flavor, but they contain numerous health benefits]
  • 150g tub Chobani Non-GMO Coconut Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup organic muesli (I buy Alishan Organic Muesli from Green Leaf in Chatan)
  • Handful of almonds and sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Combine dates, orange juice, muesli, and spices in a small bowl.
  2. Spoon half of date mixture into a jar or serving bowl. Top with half of the yoghurt. Repeat layers. Finish with almonds and seeds.

Mini Banana, Oat, and Yogurt Muffins (great for school lunch boxes)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I like the Japanese brand Meiji Bulgaria LB81, which is supposedly good for intestinal health)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups oats
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (or up to 1/2 cup if you prefer a sweeter muffin)
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and fill a mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients except for walnuts to a blender or food processor and process on high until the oats are broken down and the batter is smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about ¾ full. Sprinkle a few walnuts over the top of each muffin. [Note: I had leftover batter, so I made a few regular size muffins as well].
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.