Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"average" American kid rather than the bittermelon on white rice that
often appeared in its place. I tried this delectable golden pasta in
small bits in my school lunches, but dang it, by the skin of my
Americanized Asian self, I wanted Kraft.
So Sister S made a whole box for a few of us, and a few tablespoons later,
I was done. She made it correctly, but I guess I was not meant to wolf
down a bowl full of buttery melted cheese powder and tube-y noodles.
But once in a while, I do enjoy taking bites of mac 'n cheese at barbecues
and other social functions. There's something about the cheesy goodness
on pasta that lured me into trying a vegan version.
I based my recipe on this one below, taken from THIS hink. I modified the
recipe a bit by using whole wheat rotini instead of macaroni, and I also
added 1/4 tsp. of tumeric to give it a more yellow color.
¾ cup plain soymilk
½ cup water
1/6 cup tamari or soy sauce
¾ cups nutritional yeast
½ TBSP paprika
½ TBSP garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1.5 oz firm tofu
½ cup canola oil
¾ pound macaroni noodles
1 teaspoon mustard
Apologies for the poor documentation of the assembly, but I was in a hurry
to just get it done on time!
Once I whirred everything but the macaroni in a blender (there's the Magic
Bullet in that picture, but I ended up whipping out the big guns), I
poured it on my cooked noodles in a casserole dish. I added a few
tablespoons of bread crumbs mixed with a little margarine on top to give
it that more casserole-y feel. Then, I covered it with foil and baked at
350 for 10 minutes, then uncovered it and broiled for another 5. The
extra few minutes of broiling was slightly too long, as a few of the
crumbs got burnty. Fortunately, I smelled it in time and took it out
Here's the final dish (after we got to it, lol).
"The Ukrainian" said that it was more reminiscent of alfredo than mac 'n
cheese, a sentiment that I agreed with. I think that the soy sauce that
was used was too strong, hence giving it a more salty/soy sauce flavor
than intended. However, it did definitely taste like something dairy,
which I guess was my main goal. I may try again using one of the zillions
of other variants of this recipe online, but we'll see. I got that
craving out of my system for a while...
Above: I quickly made a salad to go with it.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
One of my worst runs ever! When I got back to my car more than 3 hours later, I hobbled back into my office to buy a cold drink. The only decent choice was a can of Cactus Cooler. Eh. Checked the temp. Still in the 80s. Good gosh, I don't like summer!
Above: The next day, which was even worse in terms of heat, I watched these giant stuffed animals ride this lift. Reminds me of Mammoth (<-- hah! I named "The Ukrainian" in this entry -- gotta love keeping a blog to help you remember stuff!). Wish I was there now... well, at least a snow-covered Mammoth.
Above: It look a LONG time to get to the Fair, and when we did, we were both HUNGRY. We went for this veggie combo. I had about a third with some ketchup/ranch. And then I ended up getting a horrific stomachache that ended in fried food eviction (sorry, TMI).
Above: Wine-tasting. I had some sparkling wine to settle my stomach a little. This also did not sit long in me.
Above: In spite of my weak-sauce-ness, we did have a good time, checking out stuff like this nice dino.
Above: And my favorite part of all... the trains! This is the actual interior of some old train. That string is the real horn, but so many people were blowing the LOUD horns that I decided to spare my ears and hearing.
I had been on a quest for a chocolate-covered pickle, but after checking out what seemed like ALL the stands and even asking around, no such pickle was found. My friend later told me it was near the concert area, but oh well. I ended up eating a corn later on. My poor stomach. I guess I have a reason to come back next year. No more fried food, though.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I've tried other Amy's frozen meals before, though I don't eat them regularly, because this frozen meal was $4.69, and that is on the CHEAP end. The veggie pot pie, veggie meat loaf, and mac n' cheese were yummy and squelched down my craving for those dishes. Of course, they taste less processed and more wholesome than their normal counterparts, but the sodium is generally still up there. Enchiladas came in at 31% of the daily value recommended.
Here's the snap after I took it out of the microwave. I was sooo hungry that I could not wait to try it. And look! It looks pretty darn close to the representation on the package, so no false advertising there!
The enchilada was stuffed was tiny bits of tofu, corn, and black beans. It reminded me of a tamale. The rice was soft and yummy (though I like most Spanish rice), and the beans, although a little salty, were yummy and not too mealy.
And the nutritionals -- 330 calories for all this. I'd say this is the most voluminous way I could stretch 330 calories for all the yum in this package. Nine grams of protein, some Vitamin C, iron, and calcium also grace this fine meal. I'd say this wins for my favorite Amy's meal. I used to see my co-workers eat it all the time with no idea why.... but now I know!
Finally, I know that a lot of Amy's meals are vegetarian but not vegan, even if some are lactose free. This one specifically said "vegan."
NOTE: The title of this post was not intentionally made to reference Eminem's tribute to Amy Winehouse.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This Week's Workouts:
Sunday - rest
Monday - 1.5 (of 5 mi); 20 min strength; 30 min stepper
Alarm woke me instead of me waking naturally (unusual). 80 degrees at 5:30 AM. Decided to screw the run and cross-train. Yay for phoning it in!!!
Tuesday - 4 (of 8 mi)
Wednesday - 4 (of 5 mi); 15 min weights; 5 min stretching
Thursday - 5 mi - outdoors
Friday - 10 min s.bike, 40 min strength
Saturday - rest
Weekly Mileage: 14.5
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I am pretty sure that this week's mileage will NOT be equal to what's planned here.
Do people really need to run this much to do well in marathoning? What am I doing wrong? While I haven't re-injured myself *knock on wood*, I haven't exactly been 100% on the mileage for these past couple of weeks and feel that I might as well have not tried to do an Intermediate level training schedule.
Given that this is Week 11 with four more weeks of heavy training before taper, I am trying to hold on. I REALLY want to know if being on this type of schedule will ultimately deliver better results than my haphazard ways or a more basic program. Given that I haven't followed a program so closely since... ever(?)... I really want to be able to say, when I finish the San Antonio Marathon, that my efforts were worth it.
As I've mentioned before, I want to PR. I even joined RuntoFinish's PR Challenge to motivate me. But really, really, at 6 AM when I am trying to move my sleepy legs on pavement, it seems like NOTHING can motivate me.
Next weekend is the Camarillo Half-Marathon, my 17th half-marathon. I am definitely not aiming to PR there, but I AM aiming for sub-2, and for once, I am taking that aim seriously. I hope that my energy has returned fully by then and this time goal won't kill me. Due to sluggishness and lack of motivation, I have been running pretty slow during training and really don't know how this will pan out over the 13.1-mile course.
But I guess it's "less talking and more doing," which is precisely what I hope to accomplish this week. I've still got a full plate of other obligations to deal with...
Goals for the Week
1) TRY to stick to the schedule, but don't burn out or injure self.
3) On a related note, look into more tunes and take out the ones that I pretty much always skip.
4) Eat more healthfully.
This Week's Workouts:
Sunday - rest
Monday - 8 mi
How the heck did I used to do most of my runs (and even LONG runs... did 15, 18, at some pt) on the treadmill? Had to re-arrange my training schedule to show as below.
Tuesday - 5 mi - outdoors
Wednesday - 8 mi - outdoors
Thursday - 0 (of 5) mi; 10 min upright bike; 20 min strength
Decided to can the run because I ran previously in the evening and couldn't bear to run again in the morning knowing that I have a 3-hour run the next day (see Friday). Plus, sleep did not come easily last night. Lately, I am having delusions that I can finish my dissertation in time to walk in this year's graduation, but perhaps I am being unrealistic.
Friday - 10 min s.bike; 30 min weights/stretching; 18 mi - outdoors
That run was so bad... but hopefully the makings of a better race!
Saturday - lots of walking at the Fair
Weekly Mileage: 39
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds, preferably golden
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (see Note)
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped golden raisins
1/4 cup creamy almond butter (see Note)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (see Note)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
I got the recipe from THIS website. I subbed the the currants for dried mango bits and apricot with dried cranberries. All I really had to do was mix the dry ingredients together and lightly boiling the rest. I did, however, have to toast some of that in the oven, but on a hot day, a few minutes toasting is better than a full-on bake...
Pressed in the pan.
Cut up, wrapped, and became a work-time snack!
I liked this bar, as it wasn't too sweet, but it was pretty crumbly in some parts because it seems like the "goop" that held it together hardened and became inflexible, unlike honey or other goo in granola. Maybe the preemptive refrigeration caused this, but I can't imagine it. But now that I know how to do this, I will alter the recipe and make my own (and for my possible future children?).
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Last month, it was my turn, so without any bias whatsoever, I chose Soi 7 in Downtown LA. Soi 7 is a Thai fusion restaurant with very reasonable prices. If you're ever on 7th Street and Grand (near were all the busses come in), you should definitely come check it out!
Okay, so "without any bias" is a lie -- I have some relation to the owner of this place. Still, an excuse to go to Downtown is always good. On the way there, we saw a bunch of young hipsters walking around art exhibits and going to a slew of food trucks. While I still have not realized my life goal of going to a food truck, I didn't want to do it that way. I don't know... this stuff is what makes me feel as though I REALLY do not fit into the LA culture in spite of the fact I was born there.
Anyway, parking around the corner in a huge lot was $3. We made it before 7 PM, which meant $3 off appetizers and $3 beers, but we did not want to sit at the bar. So we took a table and ordered some soup (tom yum and ginger), which I sadly did not take a photo of. At that point, the said-owner recognized me. We chatted for a bit, but he had squid on his hands and had to go. Soon, he gave us a free appetizer (crab cakes, which I did not take a pic of -- I know, bad me!). The reviews were positive, though I did not partake.
Above: Vegetarian tofu pad thai. Apologies that I used my camera phone... just didn't want to create a ruckus in the restaurant considering the extra attention that our table was already getting.
Above: Fried rice... there's pineapple in there!
Above: Ribs and coleslaw.
Above: Basil fried rice.
When the food arrived, we were all genuinely blown away by the yumminess of all of it. Since I had been there before, I resorted to my vegetarian tofu pad thai, which was a bit "al dente" but had great limey flavor, ample peanuts, and nicely fried tofu.
"The Ukrainian" ordered some ribs... these ribs are fall-off-the-bone good. While I didn't try it, it DID come with good coleslaw. The Councilman liked them as well.
The Councilman and BFF got two different fried rice dishes, and they were both really good. Especially the BFF's basil fried rice. We all thought it was amazing.
We were treated to dessert, which we normally wouldn't have ordered. Say hello to coconut creme brulee and Thai tea tiramisu. Although my dairy-intolerant self was hesitant, I'm so glad I tried both. The creme brulee was a hit with all... it had a great coconut flavor under a nice shell. I really liked the Thai tea tiramisu... it was cold, creamy, and definitely an interesting concept. I thought it could have used more ladyfingers (or whatever they were using as the solid component), but it was really great nonetheless with a subtle coffee(?) flavor at the bottom.
Above: Coconut creme brulee.
Overall, great visit. I made sure to tip well and note my thanks on my receipt. I'm pretty sure I just reeled in two more returning customers. =)
Finally, The Councilman insisted that we go to one of his favorite bars (Seven Grand), where he made us all have whiskey. Ugh, gross! Even the "sour" version was virtually undrinkable and tasted like something that humans should not consume. I shared mine with the BFF.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
My previous two running shoes are depleted of their cushioning. I have noticed a general lack of support from my shoes lately.
I just crossed the 4000 mi mark over the span of running career that my blog has covered, so appropriately, I got these new shoes to celebrate and hopefully put a spring back into my currently-uninspired steps.
"The Ukrainian" and I went to Road Runner Sports in Torrance, and I was determined to find a "perfect" shoe or the most perfect one possible. In all the shoes I've run in so far, I have yet to find one that doesn't injure, bruise, or weigh me down. In the past, running stores have typically just told me that I NEED motion control shoes and give me maybe one or two pairs to choose from. This time, I marched in and announced that although I may overpronate, motion control shoes weigh me down big time, and that's when I realized that there are stability-plus shoes that are in between stability and motion control.
So after several light jogs, wearing different shoes on different feet, and even trying on men's shoes, this pair of Asics was the winner. It was a bit more expensive than I'd like my shoes to be (MSRP = $139.99, but we had a coupon and a "VIP discount"), but for the health of my legs, it will hopefully be worth it.
What I like about these shoes so far is that they are light and having lacing that runs along the side of the foot for more true-to-life support, albeit the weird look it may have.
I will update this entry later on once I've had a chance to run in these a bit. Luckily, Road Runner Sports offers a 60-day return period, even if the shoe has been used. This gives me MUCH peace-of-mind.
Friday, September 17, 2010
This Week's Workouts:
Sunday - rest
Monday - 4 mi; 30 min stepper; 10 min s. bike; 10 min strength
As ambitious as I was to try to do Tuesday's 8-miler on Monday, I had my preliminary dissertation oral defense and really didn't want to exhaust myself beforehand.
I had to present my research idea (with theory and all that) to my 3-faculty committee and basically allow them to fire at me. Fortunately, they were all really supportive and not too harsh. There was a lot of academic discussion and questions directed toward me that made my head spin, and after nearly 2 hours, my chair asked me to step out of the room while they discussed my fate.
The verdict: 2 committee members signed my Dissertation Contract; my chair withheld her signature until some changes are made. This is the typical outcome for "prelims," according to my chair and the one I had expected. So in spite of the fact that there's more to do before I can even collect data, I'm happy that I don't have to defend again until the end. In short, I passed. My committee congratulated me on a job well done as they signed. Whew!
So much for workout log, huh?
Tuesday - 4 (of 8) mi - outdoors
Was not planning on doing the whole 8 miles due to time restraints. Running is important, but so is work, and perhaps less really IS more... Might be re-evaluating if two long-ish runs during the week is working for me. Well, I KNOW it's not working, so will prob start cutting it down like I did today. Guess I'm not all that hardcore after all, and frankly I am short on time and will. Still motivated to train as well as possible, but there HAS to be a better way!
Wednesday - 8 mi - outdoors
Thursday - 4 mi; 5 min upright bike & weights
Friday - 10 min s. bike; 35 min strength; 15 min stretch; 2 mi walk
Saturday - 17 mi - outdoors
Weekly Mileage: 37
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Pita bread + tomatoes + spinach leaves + avocado + cilantro + lemon juice/salt/pepper + onion + vegetarian refried beans =
I popped the split pita bread in the oven, heated the beans, shredded some cheddar and pepperjack cheese, and added a blob of Fage 2% Greek Yogurt. The "Ukrainian" arranged this tostada for the photo and told me to tell you (the blog readers) that "the key to making this look nice and yummy is a big glob of Greek yogurt." Thanks, "Ukrainian"!
It certainly LOOKS like a tostada, doesn't it? Don't be surprised, but this Greek yogurt really, really tastes like sour cream. I got mad props for making such a healthy and realistic version of something that otherwise isn't so good for you. =)
This was accompanied by a quick faux apple cobbler that I loosely based on this recipe. It is basically an apple with cinnamon, some oats, brown sugar, and whole wheat flour. I made two ramekins. Overall, it was good, but it needed some more "goop" inside. I think preserves might help...
P.S. I had some more kitchen fun recently and actually have a pretty gnarly cooking post coming up, so be sure to keep checking back!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It started well over two years ago prior to the Laguna Hills Half-Marathon. See this text taken straight from my original race review:
There was no medal awarded at this race, which is unfortunate, though they had a finisher's glass and good food such as Souplantation muffins and pizza from the California Pizza Kitchen. I was feeling too sick to eat too much but managed to get down half a banana and some muffin tops.
After about a month of hanging out (or whatever they call it these days) with "The Ukrainain," he asked me about the race and asked for the URL.
I was taken aback, as this was not expected and a huge plunge for someone who has never raced before and only been seeing someone for such a short time. Reluctantly, I gave him the info, and next thing you know, we were at the starting line together!
Little did he know, I had something up my sleeve (or in my running short pockets)...............
I had gone online and purchased this little number. Our little inside joke at the time was that he was "Superman." I attached it to some green ribbon that I had and sealed it off with a glue gun. This was the outcome:
Yes, it sucked to run 13.1 miles with a semi-heavy object in my pocket when I wasn't yet used to bearing extra weight during races. But somehow, I PRed that day.
Once we had crossed the finish line and caught our breaths, I started regretting that I had done something so cheesy, but I sheepishly took the medal, protected by a small ziploc baggie, out of my running shorts pocket.
I said something to the effect of, "I know there was no medal for this race, but this was your first one.... so I made you this." And just like a race volunteer, I put it over his neck.
At the time, I tried to make as little mention of "The Ukrainian" as possible in this blog (or in life in general), but I thought that maybe one day, I'd be able to tell this little story. I guess the day has come.
I'm sure I can come up with more of these little "side stories" that have transpired throughout my time on the blog. Thus, I created a tag for them! My original purpose of blogging was to scrapbook my running adventures so that I would not forget. So now, the medal story = not forgotten.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
DATE: Saturday, September 11, 2010
LOCATION: Rosemead, CA
RACE BEGAN: 08:00 am
FINISH TIME: 00:51:46 (Garmin; tag time: +2 seconds)
Course Map -- Definitely weird to be running a race on routes that I've trained on numerous times...
So here is a parade of pictures that surrounded this event!
Above: Packet pick-up. T-shirts (with the logo at the top of this post) were given, along with a few other small goodies like a car freshener!
Above: Denny's dinner, because I was craving breakfast foods like mad. I eat there pretty frequently due to a 20% discount that I get, and their food is actually getting more and more healthy. I had an egg-white omelet with spinach, pico de gallo, and avocado.
Above: They carted this beam over from the debris of 9/11. I saw this as I was approaching the last loop before the finish line. I thought I was going to throw up at this point, given the heat and exertion. Seeing this and thinking about 9/11 gave me the inspiration to keep going until the end! I am happy to report that I did not stop a lick during this race!