Tag Archives: oatmeal

Half and Half

7 Apr

IMG_0669So…first of all to explain the title. I did my weekly long run yesterday, and I reached my peak distance before I start to decrease in my “tapering” leading up to the race (only 3 weeks from Sunday!)…this peak distance was 13 miles, also known as a half marathon. So that’s the first half…the other half comes from the fact that I only worked a half day today…hence why I had the time to run so far in the middle of the week.

I chose to do the long run yesterday so it would be out of the way for the weekend. It’s not that I really mind the long runs (well sometimes I do, depends on my mood), but they are, well, LONG…especially for someone like me who is not-so-speedy (I did my 13 miles in about 2 hours 40 minutes…so I’m expecting to finish the half around that time…I would LOVE to get 2 and a half hours, but don’t know if that’s gonna happen). It just frees up my Saturday a bit, allows me to go to Military Tone at the gym, and, since I’ll be out all day Friday, I don’t need to worry about getting to bed in good time.

The weather yesterday was supposed to be about 7 degrees with light rain, if my memory serves me correctly. Well, it certainly felt cooler than that, and although the first part of my run was precipitation-free, I was greeted with a lovely rain/snow mix for the second half Smile with tongue out. Other than the weather, the run went pretty well…I did a 7 mile loop then the same 6 mile loop I did for my 12 miler. I discovered again why I love mapymyrun so much. I went on the verify my 6 mile loop and to create a 7 mile run, but then discovered that I had created one last summer…and it was saved for me…so easy! If you are a runner and haven’t checked out this site, go now! It is so helpful if you need to figure out distances for runs (and you can do either miles or kilometres).

I was working today at a school about 30 minutes away, and had to be there for 11:45. So I got up a bit before 7, had the fibre one 100 cal bar and a glass of water (it worked last time, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), left just after 7 and got back about 9:45. I did the usual stretch, Epsom salt soak and A5-35 rub, but I had to sort of rush through them since I was heading to work. This may be why I felt stiffer than I have been on the last couple of runs. I was actually so sore at school that when I had a 20 minute break, I went into the staff room and stretched again (I was REALLY glad no one walked in to see my stretching in my argyle sweater and dress pants).

I decided to structure my “eats” for the day as follows, given my schedule: eat a big breakfast/brunch after my bath (1round 10:30), take an apple to eat after school (they have their lunch early, so it was already over when I got there) while getting my snow tires off (yay!) and then have another snack when I got home before supper. So what did I eat for my post-run brunch? SO glad you asked! Smile

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I decided to jump on the “overnight oats” bandwagon that I’ve seen all over the blog world. For those of you who are new to this craze, over night oats are made by combining raw oats with a mixture of liquid ingredients and then refrigerating overnight for a delicious, cold version of oatmeal. Instructions for my version are below. I also had a salad with one of my quickie vinaigrettes (balsamic vinegar, flax oil (any oil will work, I just bought this ‘cause I felt like it was healthy), Dijon mustard, fat-free Italian dressing, a pinch of sweetener – combine all in a container and shake) that I had made the night before and an egg substitute omelette (instructions below as well).

Here are the before and after photos of my overnight oats, as well as the how-to. I’m calling them overnight pear oats because, like my clever fellow bloggers, I want to give them a cute acronym: OPO…I started with Pear Overnight Oats, but didn’t really like the way that acronym came out (you figure it out Winking smile)!

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Overnight Pear Oats (OPO)

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt

1 pear (I used Bosc, they’re my fav), grated on the coarse side of a box grater

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Splash vanilla

A couple shakes of cinnamon and Epicure Gingerbread Spice

A dash of brown sugar twin (or your choice of sweetener)

Combine all ingredients in a cereal bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Open your fridge in the morning, remove plastic wrap and enjoy…you have no breakfast prep to do!

I thought this turned out pretty well, but I want to play a bit with the ingredients/combinations/proportions. What I did like about the OPO was the lack of A.M. prep….if I hadn’t just run 13 miles, this would be enough for me as a breakfast on its own, especially on a morning when I was in a rush and didn’t have time to make breakfast. But, since I had just run 13 miles, I made the omelette you’ll read about below…I am more of a sweet breakfast gal, so I don’t make omelettes that often, but when I do, they’re some variation on this recipe.

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Veggie and Cheese Omelette

Sauté veggies of your choice (this time it was broccoli, onion and red pepper) in a small non-stick frying pan that has been preheated to medium-high and sprayed with cooking spray, until tender-crisp (3 to 5 minutes), season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-high. IMG_0667 Pour in half a cup of fat-free liquid egg substitute (this time, it was Southwestern egg substitute, I always buy plain, but my mom was doing the shopping and she bought this stuff by accident…it’s actually pretty good though). Add a bit more salt and pepper, cook until partially set, then flip. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of light cheese (Tex-Mex this time), then cover the pan and let the omelette cook through and cheese melt (another 2 or 3 minutes).

I will say that I am by NO MEANS an omelette chef. I haven’t mastered the art of the graceful flip, and my omelettes certainly wouldn’t win any beauty contests…but they taste good, so that works for me. This meal did the trick in satisfying the half marathon hunger. It had a nice combo of protein, fat and carbs, and I really wasn’t that hungry for the rest of the day (I was a little hungry right after I ate, but was less so as the day went on…does that ever happen to anyone else?

Have you ever tried overnight oats? Any tips and tricks for me? What’s your go-to post-workout meal?

Time Warp

3 Mar

Ok…try to keep up with me. I’m writing this post on Wednesday that is going to be posted on Thursday that is about my breakfast on Wednesday and my lunch on Thursday which I made on Wednesday…did you follow all that? That’s one of the wonders of blogging…you can write posts in advance (which is what I often do). That’s why you get new posts coming up during the day when I am working. Sorry if that confused you…now onto the good stuff: food!

Yesterday I worked a half day so I had a bit more time for breakfast…this meant: oatmeal! But not just any oatmeal: chocolate chai pear oatmeal! Oh yeah…and it was as good as it sounds. Here’s how to make it: I did the same basic method as for my apple cinnamon oatmeal, but with a few tweaks. I used chocolate almond milk instead of vanilla. And instead of the water, I used leftover brewed chai tea for the liquid in the oatmeal. Instead of cinnamon, I added Epicure Poudre Douce (LOVE this stuff…it’s got a great spicy/chai flavour…perfect for oatmeal, baking, and it’s great in my pumpkin spice latte) to the oatmeal. I cooked a pear instead of an apple, and I cooked it in chai tea instead of water and again, Poudre Douce instead of cinnamon. I added vanilla to the oatmeal again and also a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa (if you love chocolate, you should really try cocoa powder…it adds a deep chocolate flavour for minimal calories…I use it in lots of drinks (hot and cold), this oatmeal, even mixed into yogurt sometimes (especially good with raspberries)). The result of all this tinkering? A spicy, chocolate-y bowl of oatmeal goodness!

I also used my extra time on my morning off to make today’s lunch (well, as I’m typing this, it’s tomorrow’s, but it will be today’s when you read this…confused yet?). I wish I’d taken a better picture to capture this amazing salad I made…I’m so excited to eat it! Here’s what went in (it’s a long list): spinach, green beans, red onion, mushrooms, rainbow mini tomatoes, red pepper, 4 slices diced light deli ham, a handful of broccoli slaw and two of my funky canned favourites: capers and artichoke hearts. Doesn’t that sound yummy? I sprinkled it all with dill seasoning, salt and pepper. My dressing is a combo of olive oil, fat-free Italian dressing, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and just a touch of Splenda. I know it’s a salad…but like I said…I’m excited to eat it (does that mean I need a life?)! To accompany this healthy deliciousness, I packed a cheese string, 100 calorie fibre one bar and 2 Source yogurts (from the super fruits collection)….wouldn’t it be great if eating super fruits gave you super powers? 😀

What are your favourite packed lunches? If time was no object, what would you make for your lunch box? I don’t eat a lot of salads in the winter (they make me cold), so I hope it’s not too chilly outside today/I don’t have outdoor yard duty! 😛

On the bright side…

27 Feb

Friday was a snowy day in Simcoe. But apparently it wasn’t snowy enough for school to be canceled. However, I do not like taking chances with winter driving, and since the job I was scheduled for was a 40 minute drive away (on a highway where my family had previously been in an accident), I canceled my job. Bad news = I didn’t make any money on Friday (and I already had to cancel one day this week since I was sick 😦 ). Good news = I had extra time on my house, time enough to fit in an extra class at the gym and make 3 delicious meals. 🙂 Allow me to share what I enjoyed on a day when I had the luxury of time to make whatever I wanted.

For breakfast, I enjoyed a delicious bowl of oatmeal. I used to eat oatmeal on a semi-regular basis, but had sort of gotten out of it. Tina (and lots of other healthy-living bloggers) makes all sorts of creative oatmeal creations. I’ve enjoyed this oatmeal breakfast a few times in the last couple of weeks. Since I cook the oats on the stovetop, this breakfast is not an ideal weekday option, but for weekends or mornings when you have a bit more time, this oatmeal is the way to go, especially during these cold winter months. Here’s what I did: In a small pot, combine 1/3 cup old fashioned oats (go for the old-fashioned – they have WAY more texture than quick or instant oats), 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, a few dashes cinnamon, Brown Sugar Twin to taste and a splash of vanilla. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed. In the meantime, chop up an apple and cook in a saucepan with water, cinnamon and Brown sugar twin until tender. When oatmeal and apple are done, combine the two and serve in a bowl. The drink on the side of my oatmeal is 1/2 cup almond milk, vanilla extract, Splenda and chai tea. I made this oatmeal after my run last weekend and it was just what I needed to warm me up.

Lunch was equally delicious…and a vegetarian delight! Inspired by this recipe I saw in Rachael Ray Magazine in an article featuring hearty vegetarian entrees (and by the piece of eggplant in my fridge), I created a stuffed eggplant dish by baking a chunk of eggplant at 450 for 20 to 30 minutes (seasoned with salt and pepper). The filling was a mix of 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, Dijon mustard, garlic salt and pepper. I made a quick tomato sauce (garlic and chili flakes sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil, then added a handful of cheery tomatoes and some canned tomatoes and simmered). I used a bit of the tomato sauce to cover the eggplant (after I cut it in half and stuffed it), then baked it for another 10 minutes. I put the rest of the sauce on a dish of Hungry Girl-fredo, mixed with steamed broccoli rabe and spinach and one portabello mushroom cap I broiled with garlic seasoning. The result of this combination? A delectable Italian-style totally filling and satisfying vegetarian lunch! I had an apple for dessert and later on as a snack, a delicious mint chocolate mocha drink I whipped up.

On to supper….Friday night = pizza! 😀 I was super-stoked to try the new President’s Choice Blue Menu Light Brie Cheese I bought…which I did. I LOVE brie and I was SO EXCITED when I saw that a light option was available! Another winning pizza creation! The crust was my standard crispy thin tortilla crust. And the toppings were: 1 wedge the Laughing Cow Light cheese, spread over the crust; 1/2 onion and few handfuls mushrooms, sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil; thinly sliced apple (lovin’ the apples on pizza these days); 2 slices diced lean deli ham; salt and pepper; a sprinkle of dried thyme and an ounce of the above-mentioned brie. YUM-town! It was soooo tasty! What about the brie? It didn’t really make or break the pizza. What I had was good, but there wasn’t enough on there to really make a difference. The flavour was good, but the texture wasn’t the same as full-fat brie (not that I expected it to be). The salad in the background was spinach, the rest of the apple, sliced red onion, a little bit of cooked butternut squash, sprouts, 6 chopped roasted almonds (doesn’t sound like a lot, but the toasty flavour makes a little go a long way)! For a change, I made a creamy yogurt dressing (sort of inspired by the one on this salad ) out of fat free plain yogurt, white wine vinegar, fat free Italian salad dressing, a dash of cinnamon, chipotle chili powder, Brown sugar twin, and just a touch of apple butter (it really added something)!

For dessert, I enjoyed a chocolate and a couple of these meringues I made for my mom (she was having a business dinner on the weekend and wanted something light for dessert). Meringues are light as air (and gluten-free, for all you avoiders out there) and fat-free….you can eat 2 of these things for less than 50 calories…score! Another bonus? 4 ingredients and so simple to make! The recipe was so easy that I can type it from memory.

Chocolate Meringues – adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook

3 egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

2/3 cup white sugar

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking cocoa

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy (you want an electric mixer for this…it will take forever to do with a whisk, but my hat is off to you if you want to try:) ). Beat in sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Continue beating until mixture is stiff and glossy (you should be able to remove the beaters and the meringue will form peaks that hold their shape). Fold in the cocoa with a spatula (there will still be a few streaks).

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a spoon to drop the meringue on the cookie sheets – makes about 2 dozen cookies. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely then store in an airtight container.

Light as air and chocolate too…YUM!

So not bad for a day’s work, eh? I don’t eat like this every day (I wish I could)…but this is how I like to eat when I have the time. What would you make to eat if time was no object?

P.S….I remembered that my lunch was not completely vegetarian. After my extra workout at the gym and an hour and a half running errands, I was HUNGRY…I needed a protein boost while I was putting away groceries and making lunch….so I spread 2 slices lean deli ham with a wedge of Laughing Cow light and a touch of Dijon mustard. I topped this with spinach and rolled them up….yummy and oh-so-satisfying. This is great to pack in lunches, or any time you need a quick hit of protein. Even if you just do the ham and cheese it is delicious. 🙂