Thursday, March 29, 2012

Healthy Soups, Luna Fun, and Getting Back into Shape!

Ok, so the head/chest cold is subsiding (thanks to a Z*pack and some meds to help me sleep through the night without leaving both lungs on the floor) and I'm starting to get some more energy lasting throughout the day, and motivation to expend that energy in more active ways (lifting the remote and mug of tea is no longer on my sufficient exercise list).  I have been experimenting with some barre classes lately (which I don't think are exactly my thing, but they definitely get me doing more squats and core work), got in a semi-long run, and have been looking daily for new gym classes to explore.

I have also been trying to figure out ways to cook using only the items in my pantry (which are plentiful, believe me) and the produce I am getting in my Boston Organics box, especially since I will be leaving on a work/fun vacation this weekend (more on that below) and want to use as much of the goodies as possible - seriously hate wasting food!

Which brings me to my three things Thursday....

1. Healthy Soups: In an attempt to use the pile of organic yellow onions growing by the week, and my most recent delivery of organic sweet potatoes and apples, I decided to make myself some sweet potato/apple soup.  I looked at a few recipes online, but wasn't in the mood for a big elaborate recipe, so I just winged it!!

Curry Sweet Potato & Apple Soup (vegetarian, vegan)
Serves: 2 (dinner) 4 (starter or side)

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 small/medium yellow onion (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (plus dash to garnish)
  • 1 Large sweet potato
  • 1 medium/large apple (I used organic empire)
  • 1/2 15-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 3/4 quart of veggies or chicken broth (I used organic chicken broth because that is what I had open)
  • optional: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Begin by heating up the coconut oil in a medium sized pot.  Add onions and cook until tender, then mix in curry powder, salt and cinnamon.  While the onions are cooking, wash, peel, and dice your sweet potato and apple.  Once the onions and spices are combined, add in the sweet potatoes, apple, and chickpeas - pour the broth to just cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-25 minutes (the potatoes and apples will become very soft).  Remove from heat and puree in a blender or food processor until fully combined and smooth.  If using, mix in nutritional yeast (to add a little thickness and cheesy hint to the soup).  Pour into bowls, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve immediately.

I topped mine with some organic pea shoots (also from my produce box) that I sauteed in garlic and olive oil for about 5 - 8 minutes.

2. Luna fun: Tomorrow morning I will be flying out to California for the annual Luna Chix Summit, our in Berkeley, CA (closer to Clifbar headquarters than San Francisco).  Last year was my first experience with this event (and with the team!), and I couldn't believe how much fun this was, how well run it was, and how much Clifbar & Co. care about their employees, athletes, and consumers!

Summit is made up of two and half days of fun, activities, clinics, good food, and lots of Luna products :)  It is a time when we get to meet the other Luna Chix teams from across the country and sports (Luna supports not only Run teams, but also Mountain Bike and Tri teams).  As a member of a Run Team, I will be getting in a lot of info on run form, running nutrition, as well as some speed workouts on the track and longer run through Berkeley on Sunday before summit ends.
Jessie, Emma and I hanging out with two new friends we met at summit last year
Last year I was able to meet so many incredible women, including the Luna Chix Pro-athletes, pick up some valuable nutrition information to keep my energy stable and efficient, and hear the stories about how the The Breast Cancer Fund is impacting lives and cancer prevention research.
I will miss Emma this summit, but I have a whole season to make up for it with her :)
I cannot wait for tomorrow morning to get here - as this year I won't only be enjoying all of the above, but I will also be picking up a special session that has to pertain with my role on the Boston Luna Chix Run team this season (I will explain next week, but I am very excited about this opportunity and it is right up my ally in terms of passion and interest - it also might be helpful for some of you guys too!).

On Sunday, Jessie, Ashley, Julia and I will head to Sonoma for a phenomenal wine tasting experience, then head back to San Fran for some sight seeing before catching a red-eye home Tuesday night - so incredibly excited!! Work Hard, Play Hard - am I right?!

3. Getting Back into Shape:  Something I didn't think I would have to say I was doing after my last knee injury this past fall/winter, but I have taken a big endurance/energy hit with my wrist injury (no upper body work for a month), layoff fogginess, that then was replaced by a head/chest cold.  My typical paces have been a struggle to maintain, and my perception of distance while running has greatly altered (5 miles feels like a mini-marathon).  I have to take more breathers and stretch breaks while running shorter distances, which can really deflate your running mojo.

This week I did a lot of reflection on this, and realize that two weeks of sniffling and coughing can really do a number on your breathing and ability to stabilize heart-rate during workouts - I know this is not my fault, and it is not permanent.  I will get back into shape, it just might be a little slower than intended.  My hip has been giving me some pain, but I know it is because I am trying to interlace increased strength training with increased running too quickly after a period of less activity, so I am resting and taking care of it - stopping when I need to.  I am becoming a smarter athlete, which I intend to use to my advantage while getting my mileage back up, my paces back up, and my mental well-being back up.

I have nothing that I am actively training for, so I need to let go of my competitive mentality just a little for right now, and accept where I am at, and reach for where I want to be. I will enjoy my running for fun with friends or on my own, I will push it where I know I can push it (and where it doesn't hurt my legs or breathing) and my fitness will return, as long as I continue to have faith in that.

What's your favorite soup combo?

I have enjoyed most soup combos I have come across to be honest - I really love a flavorful lentil or butternut squash though :)

Any idea what I will be learning at summit that has me so excited?!


  1. YAY for being back with the luna chicks ;) and I am totally going to make that soup.....maybe right now. Gotta check for the ingredients

  2. Your soup looks soooo good. Love sweet potatoes.

    And I think you should give yourself a break and ease back into things, especially with illness so recent.

    Have a wonderful time... love the Sonoma Valley and wine touring.. nice!


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