A Plant Based Memorial Day and Remembering a Friend

I’m afraid I don’t have a new recipe to share today, but check below for a few links to last minute grill-worthy dishes. Sadly I was sidetracked by the death of a friend and co-worker that has shocked and saddened me. It seems appropriate on this Memorial Day, dedicated to remembrance of those lost in the service of our country, to take a few moments to remember a woman who was dedicated to teaching and coaching the youth of our country. Convoluted sentence, but that’s pretty much how my brain is working today.

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I first heard the news about Becky Baker, the cross country and track and field coach at Indio High School for 23 years, early last week. Technically she was our competition, but that never mattered to Becky. What was important to her was the kids. All of them, her team, our team, her non-running students. I was told that she’d had a stroke last Saturday (later determined to be a brain aneurysm). I was shocked. Becky was close to my age, fit, active, and always full of energy! I could hardly believe it.

She ran a Facebook page for the high school cross country and track team, so I headed over there to see what was happening. Sure enough, the page was filled with her current and former athletes and students sending their prayers and wishes for a quick recovery. Sadly, they weren’t enough. She passed away early Saturday morning.

Becky

After Alan told me, I headed back to Facebook. It was almost overwhelmingly sad and touching to see the comments. Hundred of students, not just posting a quick note, but eloquently describing the difference that Coach Baker had made in their lives. Many past students stated that they would never have graduated without her help. Many of her team said that they considered themselves runners because of her dedication and belief in them. So many pictures and memories that brought me to tears because of their heartfelt sincerity.

Becky Quote

I will always remember Becky, in red, white, and blue, the school colors, running around the cross country course, always with a camera in hand, coaching her girls, taking pictures, and cheering on all of the runners. She was the one who kept our league organized, kept up with rule changes, and got the coaches together each year so that we could be on the same page with our league business. She was the one I’d call if I had a question about anything related to cross country.

They are holding a Celebration of Life at the high school gym next week. I have a feeling it will be standing room only. Becky was only 60 years old. She will be missed.

Memorial Day

If you’re planning a barbecue or picnic for the holiday, here are a few last minute ideas.

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Tempeh Burgers

BBQ Kidney Bean and Quinoa Burgers

Southwest Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, and Quinoa

Potato Salad

I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday. Let’s make it a plant based and cruelty free Memorial Day! Stop by and check out their posts!

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Have a wonderful Memorial Day. Comments are closed today. Get out and enjoy the holiday.

Meatless Monday: Quesadilla with Gardein Beefless Ground

Is it Monday again already?

These days Mondays make me happy because I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! As promised I have a vegan quesadilla recipe made with Gardein Beefless Ground that will knock your socks off!

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Not only is Gardein Beefless Ground 100% plant based, it is also gluten free, so if you’re wanting some healthy deliciousness, simply make these quesadillas with gluten free tortillas.

Quesadilla 2

Quesadillas are one of my go-to dishes when I’m short of time. They are ready in less than a half hour, delicious, and really filling too. You can use prepared refried beans and salsa or make your own. The guacamole used in this recipe is very simple, just a mashed avocado with a little lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper. It works perfectly with the seasoned Beefless Ground and salsa.

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We are the Restaurant Killers and other random stuff

I’m linking with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

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Birthday!

Birthday

Wednesday was Alan’s birthday. And my gift to him was…a pair of socks! Actually, two pairs, which isn’t as boring as it sounds. Alan has been wearing the thick Thorlo running socks for years, and he mentioned the other day that his old socks were getting pretty ragged. So when I was shopping for a birthday present the other day, it just so happened that Sports Authority had a special, BOGO half off. I thought that they no longer made the super thick ones that Alan always liked, so I had a couple of pairs of their new, still pretty cushy, socks in my hand when I decided to wander around the sock section just to make sure. What do you know:

ThorloActually, I planned to buy him a swim suit too (is that what they’re called for men?). I didn’t realize though that they come in waist sizes as opposed to small-large and I wasn’t sure what to buy. I settled on 32 (yes, he’s that slim), but when I was checking out the cashier told me that suits weren’t returnable, so I backed off. Turns out I had the right size, but instead I bought a suit that he picked out from the Speedo website (with a discount!), so all was good.

suit

Restaurant Killers

We went out to eat a couple times this week. On Mother’s Day Alan took me to Native Foods in Palm Springs. Since I always say we live in the Palm Springs area, you may not realize that it is actually a 40 minute drive, so we don’t get there as often as we’d like. We enjoyed it very much, as usual. It’s so nice to be at a 100% vegan restaurant, so we can have anything on the menu, including desserts, without worrying.

Native FoodsWe decided that for his birthday we’d go to lunch at a Thai restaurant in La Quinta that we liked a lot. In fact, we were just there about a month ago.

Thai

So we were really surprised when we pulled up and it was gone! Well not gone, but cleared out. Moved, closed, whatever, it was no longer there. Another good restaurant with vegan options gone.

Legacy ThaiThat got us to talking about how many restaurants we’ve “killed.” It seems like every time we find a place that we enjoy, poof, it goes out of business. This list won’t mean anything to you, because, well, they’re all gone, but here’s a short list of our victims: Mrs. Bones, Pita House, Kacoon, Frankies, Cucina Pasta, Thai Smile La Quinta, Kokapelli’s, and a few others whose names I can’t remember because this has been happening for close on 20 years.

So, if you ever open a restaurant and you see Alan and me walk through the door you had better either 86 us immediately, burn our meal so we never come back, or just say goodbye to your restaurant. Sorry.

Bob and Peg

I finally heard from my two favorite clients who moved back to Northern California last year. Or rather, they chose to stay there year round and not, at age 83, put themselves through the stresses of traveling back and forth. We’d lost touch, but I finally spotted a Facebook message from their daughter (don’t forget to occasionally check your “other” folder!), and we spoke the other night on the phone. I’m happy to report that they are still exercising, though they feel they could use a little instruction and aren’t really impressed with the trainer at the gym they use. When you’ve had the best…(just kidding)! I may have to put something together for them that they can follow on their own.

Bob and Peg

Car in the Water

Last weekend we were in San Dimas where Alan announced a triathlon, I took a run, and it was really cold. Well, for us. It was in the 50s though, and we’ve grown used to 90s, so yes, it was cold. Anyway, the most interesting thing that happened was this:

Car in the Water

Yes, that is a car in the water. It floated (drove?) by towards the end of the triathlon, beeping its horn to get everyone’s attention. Of course, I took a picture and posted it on Instagram (<–follow me!) with the hashtag #carinthewater. I noticed when I posted it that there were about 80 other pictures with that hashtag. When I checked them out there were the usual cars under water, but interestingly (I thought), there were two other pictures of cars that looked just like mine, same color and everything (and not from California). That’s all, I just thought it was interesting.

Naked Nails

I actually did this last week but forgot to write about it (shocking, I know). I decided to take off my fake nails for the summer (at least), so now I’m dealing with the aftermath of that: weak, broken, chipping, splitting, ugly nails.

nailsMy strategy for nail repair is to keep them as short as possible for now, treat them with tea tree oil (suggested by a couple people) and a nail strengthener, and I’m trying some Biotin, because that’s what it says it does. I’d appreciate any suggestions that you may have because I hate how they feel. You know, like they’re going to bend backward all the time. Though I’ve got to say that typing is a lot easier.

My most popular post

Several years ago I had a breast cancer scare and had to have an excisional biopsy, which fortunately came back negative. I wrote about the whole experience and since that time, that post has become the most popular one I’ve ever written. It still gets 10-15 hits a day, and I’ve had so many women comment about their experience both before and after the operation. It warms my heart to hear that my words have comforted them and helped them prepare for their procedure. I’m reminded why I write sometimes about very personal topics. It’s on my mind because I had another comment today.

The Fitfluential Blog

And finally, in case you missed it, my article was featured on the Fitfluential blog this week. It’s a post about vegan protein sources and Everlast VP, Everlast Nutrition’s new vegan protein powder. Plus I created an outdoor HIIT workout especially for the post. You can get a free sample of Everlast VP and enter a contest to win a two month supply! Check it out!

Everlast VP

What’s on your mind this week? And what should I do about my nails?

Meatless Monday: Spaghetti with Gardein Meatless Meatballs

I am always on the go. Between work, blogging, dog care (yes, seven dogs including one who is handicapped are quite time-consuming), plus running and working out of course, leaves very little time for cooking, especially on weekdays.

The thing is, I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen. It’s just hard sometimes when time is short. So I’m happy when I find a product that is not only plant based, it is also healthy, easy and delicious.

Gardein Meatless Meatballs

I’ve shared recipes made with Gardein here many times. Their products are a great option for almost everyone, whether you’re participating in Meatless Monday, trying to eat more healthfully by adding more plant based meals to your diet, or if you are already a vegan or vegetarian who loves the taste and ease of cooking with Gardein.

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Vegan Pesto Pizza

I’m joining Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday, and sharing some of my favorite recipes.

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Now that I’m (temporarily) not training for anything (except life, you know), I decided to join in the link up fun.

Speaking of training (sorry, can’t help myself), after taking a long recovery week, getting reacquainted with my foam roller, and, well, Aleve, my back is feeling much better and I’m ready to get running again. This past week consisted of a three mile run on Wednesday, and a two mile run with my dogs on Sunday, so you can see I take my recovery seriously. Oh, I also got in a TRX workout and spent some time on the Pilates reformer.

Doggies on the run.

Penny, my Dalmatian, turned 14 last week. She was so excited to run on Sunday that she charged out like a two year old. Look at the smile on her face. Of course, she was good for about a mile, then we walked home, but in her mind she is still a runner. I know the feeling!

Back to Meatless Monday. Today I’d like to share one of my all time favorites dishes, Pesto Pizza.

Vegan Pesto Pizza

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Before you can make pesto pizza, you need to make some vegan pesto! Regular pesto recipes include cheese of course, but I assure you that you can take the cheese out and it still tastes great. In this recipe, I used nutritional yeast to add a little cheesy taste and texture, but I have also made pesto without it and it was very good.

Pesto Pizza 2015

Vegan Pesto

2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (walnuts work too)
2-4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast to a food processor. Process until just roughly chopped. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Process until thoroughly mixed.

Now that you’ve made the pesto, let’s put that pizza together.

Pesto Pizza 2015_2

Vegan Pesto Pizza

Vegan Pesto Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pizza
Cuisine: Pizza
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Pre-made (vegan) pizza crust. I used one from Trader Joes
  • ½ cup pesto sauce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
  • Any additional favorite toppings of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven and pizza stone or pan to 450
  2. Roll out your pizza dough to desired thickness
  3. Transfer the pizza to your preheated stone/pan
  4. Spread on the pesto evenly
  5. Add a layer of tomatoes
  6. Sprinkle on the cheese
  7. Add the mushrooms
  8. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

I think this may be one of my favorite pizza creations ever! Of course, feel free to add your own toppings. I’m just a mushroom pizza addict, though I did add some caramelized onion to this one. Extra basil, faux meat, other veggies would all be great additions.

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Do you make your own pizza or order out? What are your favorite pizza toppings? And oh, if you didn’t get enough doggy cuteness above, here’s Coco to fill you to the brim:

Coco

It’s Taper Time! The Week of Training and other good stuff

It’s Taper Time!

We’re almost there! With less than two weeks to go until the SLO Marathon I can honestly say that I’ve done the best training that I could for this race. I know I’ve complained a bit, and I’ve had challenges to my training schedule, but all in all, I’m happy and feel ready for this race.

Want to learn more about the Art (and some Science) of the Marathon Taper?

I say that in spite of having a really bad run on Saturday, what should have been my last longish run before the marathon. How bad? Well, I’ll tell you.

My plan for Saturday was to run 16 miles. I changed that to 15 after heading out with Christina, my new runner/neighbor, who wanted to run 14. I’d put in my first mile while waiting for her to finish getting ready, so I figured with 15 we could run the whole thing together. That sounded great after last week, when I had to run half of my 22 miler on my own.

Christina

From another week, but this is Christina.

 

We got started about 6:45, a little late, but with a shorter distance I wasn’t too worried about it getting hot before we finished. The first half of the run was fine. An easy pace, lots of chatting, my favorite horse paths to run on. At about mile nine, I had a little hint of what I consider the precursor to my exercise induced asthma: just a little lightheaded feeling that I shrugged off. I put my focus on breathing and it seemed to pass without having to stop.

Silverrock

The best rest stop ever! Clean bathrooms and they provide cold filtered water for ME!

 

At about mile 10.5, we walked for just a moment because it felt good we reached a turnaround point. As soon as I stopped, I could feel it coming back. Tunnel vision, lightheaded, dizziness, a combination of all three. I took a couple puffs on my inhaler, we walked a little more, then it seemed to pass and we started to run again.

For about a half mile. Then it came back. It continued like that for the next mile and a half. Run a little, walk a little, completely stop and hold onto something because otherwise I might just fall. I was struggling, and Christina, bless her heart, stayed with me even though I told her that I’d been through this before and I didn’t want to spoil her run. Finally, at about 12.5 miles my guardian angel Alan came riding up on his bike, returning from his 30 mile ride.

As we spoke to him I got so dizzy I had to sit down. He asked if I wanted him to come back with the car. I hesitated, but said yes, please. I’m tough, but not so tough (or dumb) to think I can overcome something like this.

When he rode on, Christina and I tried to run a little more but I just couldn’t. We ended up walking about a mile until Alan finally got back with the car. Christina continued on to run home, I thankfully got in the car.

It took me several hours to recover. I still felt lightheaded even after we got home. I ate a little, drank a little, then slept a lot. I felt better after my nap, but not normal yet.

I’m not sure why my exercise induced asthma, if that’s what it was, was so bad for this run. I’ve had a couple issues during my training, especially during my 22 mile run last week, but nothing this dramatic. Lately I have not used my inhaler before my run because I haven’t needed to. I did sleep badly the night before, but that alone doesn’t seem enough to cause such a bad reaction. I took Sunday off, but I’ll see how I feel on my next run before I get overly concerned. Remember, I’ve been dealing with this for a long, long time. Thirty six marathons worth.

So anyway. I did have a much better hill workout earlier in the week. I dragged took Christina with me for her first ever hill repeats. We managed 10 altogether, and I was proud of her for pushing through. Like the week before, we used the mile home for some downhill training. No breathing troubles at all during this workout even though it was pretty intense.

Hill WorkOther Good Stuff

First of all, Grandsons!

Our twin grandsons, along with their parents, were in town for spring break this week. I had to work much of the time, but Alan had a great time swimming, hiking, playing baseball, and skating (he was a spectator for that endeavor) with them all week.

Cash Collage

Dane CollageThey are both good athletes. We usually get to take a run with them when the visit, but we didn’t get a chance this visit. Alan took them on an eight mile hike on Thursday! Quite an accomplishment for two 10 year olds.

Dane CashVegan Food

For the basketball finals last Monday, I made my “famous” basketball food. At various times it is also called football or baseball food too. It is basically vegan junk food, but sometimes it’s fun to eat a little junk while you’re watching a game.

basketball food

From another game, but you get the idea.

I also made vegan Caprese. I use tofu instead of the buffalo mozzarella and it absorbs the flavors nicely. Caprese was always one of my favorite salads, so I am happy that I have a plant based version to enjoy. (The recipe is here, though I made it without the baguette.)

Caprese

Sunday morning I felt I needed a little protein boost after a day full of carbs, so I cooked up some Eggy tofu and seitan bacon. (The recipe for the tofu is here, on Cadry’s Kitchen). So good!

Eggy Tofu

From Last Week

In case you missed it, I guest posted on Run to the Finish last week.

Run until 90

Don’t forget about ASICS Gear for a Year Sweepstakes. They’re giving away $3,000 in ASICS gear ($300 per month for 10 months). You can enter once a day through April. Enter here.

Asics gearAnd Finally

Okay, I post a lot of pictures of Johnny. And he is usually on this chair, in this pose. But what was cute this time is that he made himself a little nest by pulling down the sweatshirts that I had piled on the back of the chair. Of course, now that he’s done it a few more times it’s not as cute (um, maybe I should just put those things away?).

Johnny

How was your weekend? Any races, events, great training moments? Any bad ones? I’d love to hear about both!