Fall Recipe Roundup

Since today was the first day this school year that I regrettably walked out of the house without a coat, it seems like a good time to do a recipe round-up of fall recipes!

And of course, this means pumpkin. Lots and lots of pumpkin.
I keep canned pureed pumpkin in the house year-round, since it makes a good substitute in baking for some of the butter, fat, and oil (I use up to half of the amount of fat called for and for the rest I use applesauce or pumpkin). But since it is a seasonal item, I tend to stock up during these fall months. Since its just hitting the shelves, now's a perfect time to make some fall-tasting recipes and also buy some extra to hoard for the rest of the year.

*Not all of these are skinny, healthy, or low calorie, but I tried to include recipes that are somewhat good for you, or at least not terrible for you! And a treat once in a while isn't a bad thing either. You can't deprive yourself of all good things!

From Skinnytaste
These look like every good taste of fall in one bite.

From Eat Yourself Thin
A healthy, easy, and elegant dessert for a holiday party. Or a Tuesday night.

From Urban Nester
I'm not a fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte from a certain coffee shop. It tastes like a toddler threw together a bunch of things he likes to eat thinking it will result in the most amazing food ever and then it ends up tasting like a hot mess. (Literally.) But I could come around to this recipe.

From Smitten Kitchen
I haven't made anything from Deb that hasn't been fabulous. This looks like it wouldn't disappoint!

From Cooking Light via Dwell on Joy
A healthier spin on a classic cake

From Minimalist Baker
Hello Saturday morning post-run breakfast!

From Eighteen 25
Hello Sunday morning post-long-run-to-burn-a-bunch-of-calories breakfast!


A few that embrace all good things about fall, even without the pumpkin...

From Shape Magazine
Just think about how good your house would smell waking up to this in your slow cooker!

From Say Not Sweet Anne
Vegetables and dessert? Shut up. Seriously. This looks amazing.

From Cooking Light Magazine
Everything comforting...


And one savory dish that screams "Falling Leaves and Football!"

From Emily Bites
And its only 6 points per serving. What?!?!


Summer Eating

(BTW - if you thought I forgot about the giveaway, I didn't! And thanks to those of you who entered. If you didn't win, I still highly recommend Teach to Run or HowtoRun5K.com and encourage you to take a look!)

Its not over yet! School may have started, vacations may be in the past, but the summer season is still here! (Just look at the forecast for this weekend.) This struck me when I looked at our CSA schedule and realized that our boxes are still marked as "Summer" through the end of September. So if you're looking for a "cool cooking" idea, or a lighter salad, or just something to do with all of those tomatoes and zucchini in your garden, take a look.

This recipe is totally customizable. Switch up the grain (farro, bulgur), change out the veggies (white beans, yellow squash, pieces of green beans), swap out the vinegar (rice, apple cider), mix up the herbs (italian parsley, perhaps?). Use what you have, but I do highly recommend this combination. And wow, is it filling - I ate it for lunch yesterday and I didn't have that nagging hunger around 3, I went for a run, and I was still good until dinner last night.

Photo from Weight Watchers, though mine looked pretty much like this too:)

Summer Vegetable & Grain Salad
Click here for Printable Recipe

¾ cup pearled barley, uncooked
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 cup corn kernels (either thawed from frozen or 2 ears fresh)
1 cup uncooked zucchini, diced
1 cup diced tomato (2 plum tomatoes or 1 beefsteak tomato)
2 green onions, chopped
¼ cup fat free plain greek yogurt
¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine barley, salt, and water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until barley is tender and water is mostly absorbed, about 20 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold water to cool and to get rid of the excess starch.

Combine cooked barley with corn, zucchini, tomato, and green onions.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour yogurt mixture over barley and vegetables; fold together gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

WW Points Plus: 4 per cup of salad
Nutritional Information (using My Fitness Pal): 233 calories, 45 carbs, 5g fat, 7 protein, 4 sugar


Giveaway! Giveaway! (Winner Announced!)

Its a big milestone here at What We Are Eating... its the first giveaway here on the blog!

Perhaps you've noticed, I've been doing a bit of running in the past year. Last summer was dedicated to training for my first 5K. This summer is dedicated to training for this half marathon. It doesn't feel like that big of a jump to go from 3 miles to 13.1 (I might be singing a different tune closer to race day...) but a big part of that is because I've had some great coaching for this endeavor from Mark at TeachtoRun.com and HowtoRun5K.com. (Pause here - take a minute to check out the websites... Okay, let's continue.)

Here's a bit of what I wrote in a testimonial earlier this summer...
My best racing time was a 10 minute mile. Two months into my training with Mark, I ran a 5K with a mile time of 8:33! He plans a variety in training with speed, hills, distance, and time, so that you don't get bored with workouts and you are ready for any conditions in a race. Thanks to Mark's coaching, I'm now a stronger runner, a smarter runner, and a faster runner.

And I really wanted to let other runners know how great this training has been, so I'm giving away one Ultimate 5K Training Plan from HowtoRun5K.com!

These are training plans that will help you run your best, regardless of whether you're a beginning runner or someone who's looking for better workouts and an improved time. 

(Its worth noting that Turkey Trot season is about 12 weeks away, and what do you know? These plans are 12 weeks long! You can do it!)

The giveaway will end at midnight Monday, August 19, at which time I will randomly select a winner, confirm their entry, and pass along the necessary information you'll need to get your plan and get running!

Here is how you can enter:
~ Subscribe to the What We Are Eating e-mail list (look on the right side of this here page)
~ Share this giveaway blog post on Facebook
~ Share any other What We Are Eating blog post on Facebook
~ Tweet about the giveaway
~ "Like" Teach to Run on Facebook
~ Follow Teach to Run on Google+

Please make sure to record your entry on the Rafflecopter widget below!

The giveaway is live, so get your entries in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is sponsored by What We Are Eating.


Homemade Gatorade

My training runs are starting to get longer (I have to do nine miles tomorrow... yikes...), and I've started to determine the best ways to keep my energy consistent and stay hydrated during these longer runs.

At first I figured I would just drink water when I'm out running, but that gets a little boring and sometimes your body needs a little more than plain water. I figured this out pretty early on this summer. I was just back from a longer run on a pretty hot day. Our street is under construction and things have been pretty dusty and dirty for the last few months. When I got home, I figured that all of the grit on my face was from the construction. But no, it was dried sweat and saltiness. (Sorry, TMI?) I realized that I needed to replenish my vitamins and minerals a bit more during and after runs. But not wanting to drink lots of artificial flavors, colors, and something with rosin, I hunted for a homemade recipe which you'll see below!

Homemade Citrus Gatorade
Based on WellnessMama.com
Click here for Printable Recipe

1 Quart Liquid (warm water, brewed tea, coconut water)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed calcium magnesium tablets
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1-2 Tablespoons honey

Add salt and crushed tablets to base liquid and stir until dissolved.

Add juices and honey, stir until completely mixed together. 

Cool and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Note #1: A warm base liquid will help salt/tablets and honey to better dissolve. Just try stirring honey into cold iced tea sometime. Its a mess.
Note #2: You can use any juice to play around with the flavoring. Just make sure it adds up to 1/4 cup juice to replace the lemon, lime, and orange juices in this recipe. I don't think, however, that you will find a natural substitute for "Cool Blue"...


Taking a Break for Grocery Shopping

I love grocery shopping. Its relaxing, fun, and I like scoping out all of the products, doing some comparison shopping, and educating myself on the food my family eats. My usual round for a week is Aldi first, then either Meijer or Eurofresh to get whatever else we need. (In a pinch, I'll go somewhere else, but I don't think I ever leave that store happy that I went there in the first place.)

Around our house, for the most part, we eat fresh food, made from ingredients, not pre-packaged mixes or starters. I keep a few convenience foods on hand, but even those are pretty carefully vetted so that I know its good stuff that's going in (GIGO, right?).

And if you do most of your eating in this same way, did you know that you can do most of your shopping at Aldi? Many think that to get "real" food, you need to shop at specialty food stores. But even then, if you look at a lot of their pre-packaged foods, they're not always better for you than the food you'll find at a regular grocery store. And despite assumptions, not all of the products are organic (You know what happens when you assume...) so just be sure to look at the label if that's what you're going for. In fact, some of the vegetarian/vegan items have so many additives to pump up the flavor volume that you're not doing yourself much good. And here's the kicker - did you know that Aldi and one of those stores are owned by the same company?! I was pretty surprised when I found out about this myself, but it makes total sense. Here's a snippet from this article:

"It really comes down to the small formats, well-edited assortments and 
value pricing of unique private-brand products."

Describing Trader Joe's or Aldi? Hard to tell. Probably because they're both based on store-specific brands with limited but varied stock. Interesting business model, eh?

There is a lot of discussion to be had about organic foods vs. non-organic, GMO vs. non-GMO, but just not right now. If you're looking to use fresh, whole, healthy, real ingredients in your family's food, give Aldi some consideration! To get you started, here's a looong list of what we have in our house from Aldi* on a regular basis (and if you're interested in a nice litte "How To" for Aldi stores, check out this three-part series over on Gimme Some Oven).

Pantry Staples & Baking Supplies
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
White Sugar
Canola Oil
Olive Oil
White Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Cooking Spray
Spices/Spice Mixes
100% Apple Juice
Dried Fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots)
Canned Tomatoes (diced, crushed, paste, sauce)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti (organic)
Tuna in Water
Corn Tortillas
Instant Brown Rice
Pure Maple Syrup

Dairy & Deli
Almond Milk
Orange Juice (not from concentrate)
Greek Yogurt Cups
Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
Sour Cream
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Queso Fresco
Laughing Cow-Type Cheese
Cheese Sticks (organic)
Shredded Cheese
Goat Cheese

Chicken Breasts
Pork Ribs
Ground Turkey
Ground Beef
Reduced Sodium Bacon (no artificial sweeteners)

Frozen Fruit (berries, mango, peaches)
Frozen Vegetables (beans, broccoli, blends)

Fresh Produce
Baby Spinach
Green Beans
Baby Carrots
Tomatoes on the Vine
Grape Tomatoes
Sweet  Corn
Bell Peppers
Green Onions
Butternut Squash

Here are a few foods we buy from Aldi that are regulars on our grocery, even if the product itself has more than one or two ingredients:

Whole Wheat Bread (no HFCS)
English Muffins

All Natural Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

Jennie-O Italian Turkey Sausage

Marinara Sauce (regular and organic)
Multi-Grain O's Cereal

**BTW, Aldi does not know who I am, except for the cashier who sees me every Monday when I check out. And she's really friendly and so patient when I'm managing check-out and the kids at the same time; but even she doesn't know I'm writing about how great Aldi is.


Mile Marker 4: Vegas, Baby!

I haven't taken much time to talk about food yet. I know there are people out there who have some tough issues to work through regarding food, but honestly, I just like food. I like cooking it, eating it, sharing it, and giving it away. I like the way food tastes, and I'm not about to sacrifice good food for the rest of my life.

And after all, food is something we need. It is essential to the everyday workings of our bodies. It fuels us whether we are recovering from illness and injury or training for a half marathon. Its like air - we need it, you can't deny that.

Earlier this year, when we went to Vegas to cheer on Steve and Mike in the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, two things happened. First, the whole time we were there, I didn't track my food. This was the first time I wasn't fastidious about tracking. Even now, a few months after achieving "Lifetime" status at Weight Watchers, I still track every day, for better or for worse. And you know what? I was fine. We walked our feet off in Las Vegas, and since Steve and Mike were gearing up for a race, we were pretty responsible in what we ate and drank on that trip. I didn't gain or lose after that weekend, and it made me realize that its all about balance. I could be more flexible about eating because we were walking all. day. long. So I could have a really phenomenal meal at Olives at the Bellagio, because after the steak tartare appetizer, I had a pretty light seafood entree.

And when we were at Todd English P.U.B., I didn't order fries, but when you're eating prime rib sliders, fries are non-essential.

And when I had to walk 30 minutes to 'wichcraft and 30 minutes back, I treated myself to a cookie. And the walk was worth it because the tuna with fennel, olives, aioli  and lemon confit was maybe the best sandwich I've ever had.
Photo from Food & Wine

And the second thing that happened? I decided to register for the Shamrock Shuffle, and from there it wasn't long before I registered for the Park2Park Half Marathon. More on that soon.

But until then, here's something we had for dinner tonight, and it was a hit for all four of us (if you don't count the fact that H picked off the best part, the avocado). Check out that nutrition information - low in calories, high in the good fats, moderate carbs, loads of protein, and hardly any sugar. How's that for a post-run meal, especially if you add a little chocolate milk for dessert?! And if you take out the bread, there are only five carbs and zero sugar. Lots of good stuff to fuel you in a healthy way, and lots of flavor too.

Grown-Up Tuna Melts*
From Cooking Light
Click for Printable Recipe

4 slices reduced sodium bacon
10 ounces tuna in water, drained
3 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
black pepper to taste
4 slices bread, toasted (whatever suits your fancy, we used marble rye)
1 avocado
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with foil and place bacon on the sheet. Place in the oven and preheat oven to 425. Let the bacon cook until its crispy how you like it. I let ours go for about 20 minutes. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from oven and set aside, but leave the oven on. Once bacon is cooled, break each piece in half.

While the bacon cooks, flake the tuna into a small bowl; add mayonnaise and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.

Halve the avocado, spoon out the flesh, and cut into thin slices. Allot for two slices of avocado per sandwich. (Serve the rest on the side. Or to the cook.)

To assemble sandwiches: spread each slice of toast with tuna mixture. Next comes two halves of bacon, two slices of avocado, and two tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Put each open-faced sandwich on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes, just until cheese is melted. Sprinkle a little salt on top and serve!

Serves four

WW Points Plus: 7 per slice/open-faced sandwich
Nutritional Information (using My Fitness Pal): 378 calories, 22g fat, 21 carbs, 30g protein, 1g sugar

* But not exclusively so


Mile Marker 3: Motivation

You may have noticed that after we breezed by mile marker 2, its taken us a bit of time searching for this sign:

I can quite easily blame it on work stress, busy-ness with the kids, etc... but the truth is, I'm so close to being finished that its hard to look back. Last week I ran the Shamrock Shuffle downtown, and I stayed at a really consistent pace throughout (Disclaimer: the mile 2 lag was due to the bathroom break. We were in the start corral for 45 minutes before the race!)

But if you look at the last mile split, I shaved about :45 off of my mile time. I knew I was close and I finished that race guns blazing. Here's my question - why, after 4.8 miles of running, would you end the race walking across the finish line? I was so baffled by that. And that's where my brain is now, trying to finish strong, not stumbling. 

While we were running the Park 2 Park 5K, Dad talked to me a little bit about his verse that he keeps in mind while running: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13). Guess what I saw scrawled across the back of someone's racing shirt right around mile 4 of the Shuffle, when I needed to see it most? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

The week before the Shamrock, we were with family for Easter dinner, and talking about running. My cousin Sarah put it so well, that "when you run, you feel powerful. Like you can do anything else that week, because I can run ___ miles." 

Even though all of these conversations, observations, races, and realizations happened at different times over the last six months, the fact remains: I can do anything with the confidence that God's hand is guiding me, and I have strength and power in His grace. Right now, the focus of that fact is very much physical for me. Every decision I make about food, exercise, and wellness has its roots in the knowledge that I have the perseverance to keep doing my best to honor God through my words and actions and hopefully prolong the time I'm able to do that by making the right choices. The mile marker here is the realization that the main reason I'm taking this journey isn't vanity, physical appearance, or what others say about my looks. Its about being around for my kids for a long time, setting a good example for them in every aspect of my lifestyle, and taking care of the physical body with which I've been blessed.