Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Super Easy Ginger Carrot Sweet Potato Soup (celebrating an awesome run)!)

Ran my best paced training run today in a few months with my strength and running coach, Jenny Palamar, along with her husband Mark and friend Lisa.  Today was the fastest I've run since the beginning of June.  It felt so good that I was inspired to make some soup today.  I'm still unsure as to why soup is on my mind almost constantly in this sweltering heat (probably one of  the hottest mornings we've had in recent memory as far as humidity is concerned).  94 is the high today?  What is this guy thinking?  Well, I've always wanted to dabble in sweet potato soup, and I got it right on the first try.  Here's the recipe:

What you will need:
3 pounds of sweet potatoes skinned and sliced in food processor (or cubed by hand)
1 pound of carrots peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet yellow onion (vidalias are my favorite) diced
64 oz of broth (veggie or chicken)
ground tumeric
ground ginger
ground cinammon
garlic powder
sea salt
pepper (black or white..if you don't like seeing black flecks in your soup, then use white! hahah)
ground nutmeg
two large soup pots
food processor

1. sautee diced onions in one of the pots adding spices to taste (pepper, garlic, salt etc.) until soft and slightly         golden brown
2. combine following ingredients to onions: sweet potatoes, carrots, and chicken broth.  Stir.
3. I didn't measure spices, but did shake both tumeric and ginger shakers over the entire surface of the soup.
4. Add cinammon---going to say about a tablespoon?
5. Add about a teaspoon of nutmeg
6. Bring all to a boil on high heat then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.
7. Allow to rest/cool for a few minutes
8. In batches, pour soup into blender but do not blend too much soup at once--hot stuff!
9.  Blend until extremely smooth.  Add each portion of soup to other pot you've set aside from the beginning (2 pots necessary for this one, remember!)
10.  Should have a very thick consistency.  Definitely a spoon needer!!! If thinner soup is desired, add coconut milk, regular milk, or additional chicken stock at beginning of process or before your next soup experience!

Enjoy!  I really love knowing EXACTLY what I'm eating when I make this kind of thing, especially with ingredients I can actually PRONOUNCE!!  Carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, chicken broth.  Got it!  :)

Now eat some yummy soup, get your butt outside, into that gym, on that bike, in that pool and GETCHUSOMMADAT!!!!  :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hitting milestones and not getting knocked out

Greetings from the swamp aka Tampa Bay area of Florida.  It's been raining for 2 days straight, and I wish some of this rain would make its way to Texas where it's actually needed. Anyway, I digress from my much neglected blog.

According to the dictionary, a milestone can be defined as the following:

  • A stone marker set up on a roadside to indicate the distance in miles from a given point.

  • An important event, as in a person's career, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point.

  • Hitting milestones and not getting knocked out
    I will address both definitions because I have reached both in recent weeks.  

    Last week, I logged my most miles running (broke 30 miles for the first time in my life).  A mile marker or milestone for sure.  Within the last few weeks I have run 3 trail runs through sand, dirt, mud, and water.  A milestone?  Sure!  Each had a mileage attached to it (10, 5, and 11, respectively).  This is certainly a milestone in my current training for the Savannah Marathon in November!  Yess!
    Trail running will become a major part of my running life after spending 11 miles on the trails at Croom State Park in Brooksville, Florida on Sunday.  Here are some amazing photos of this amazing trail:

    Here's a video of the 16 mile race at Croom that I will be running in October as a preparation for my marathon!


    The video doesn't show the amazing hills that make up the last few miles of the orange trail which consists, I believe, of one of the highest elevations in all of Florida (the regulars call it Croom Mountain)--all of about 130 feet in elevation, but in flat Florida, it looks like a mountain!  My favorite area is called the Pit, which is a sharp descent into a giant, well, Pit..and an immediate run up a steeper section to get out of said pit.  I enjoyed every second of this run, and I really wanted to do some more miles when I completed the eleven mile loop because it was so beautiful (this could have been a result of dehydration, but I still can't be sure of this..haha).  What an amazing place, and I can't wait to go back.

    Onto milestone number 2.  After working with my personal trainer, Jenny Palamar, for about ten weeks of high intensity circuit weight training, and 4 or so runs per week, I went shopping today.  Yes, I shop, but usually not for clothes.  On this occasion, I needed a pair or two of new jeans and some shirts.  Well, much to my surprise and happiness, my waist is now the smallest it has been since I was a teenager.  When I got to high school, I wore a 34 inch waist.  Before that, it was just medium, large, extra large youth sizes.  Today, my friends, I am in size 30 waist straight leg jeans...not relaxed fit as I have been in since high school.  Regular cut, people, and in athletic cut and fitted shirts.  Un.be.lie.ve.a.ble.  This marks an amazing turning point in my life of health and fitness (I am even going to have to buy a smaller hydration belt!!).  I haven't bought new clothes for myself in about two years (yes, I need a new wardrobe now...oh, shucks)!  Elizabeth and I have decided that a lifestyle of mostly "clean" non-processed foods is the key to a successful health and fitness journey.  This milestone not only helps me physically, but also in my career as more and more casting decisions are based upon lookism.  It is a sad truth, but real.  If you're not in shape and sing just as well as someone else, but they are in amazing shape, guess who gets the job??

    Another milestone happened recently as well.  My cholesterol level is down from 195 two years ago before I seriously got into training and eating properly to 147 two or so weeks ago.  There is a correlation, people.  Look into it!

    So, tomorrow, I strap on my new gps training watch, my newish sneakers and one of my not-so-loose-anymore running shirts to take the next steps towards my ultimate goals which includes a 16 mile trail race, a 26.2 mile marathon,  half ironman triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), and eventually to the pinnacle of all craziness the full ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).  Building and maintaining lean muscle mass is going to be the key to my success in all of these important milestones.  

    Until the next milestone, folks, get out there, move that body, pedal that bike, swim in that ocean, or pump that iron and GETCHUSOMMADAT!!!!!!!