Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

It's supposed to be in the 80s on Wednesday, so I'm making chili while it's a cool 60º out today! This recipe makes 10-12 servings, so I can throw the rest in the freezer in 1.5-2 cup portions for a quick lunch. I have to admit that even though I love fall and the cool weather, I'm excited for the temps to warm up just for this little bit. The Husband and I have tickets to the Red Sox ALDS game 1 on Friday and then we're going to a wedding on Saturday. Yay!

Ok, on to the chili. I made this on the stovetop, but you can make it in a crockpot if you would like.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large yellow onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 green bell peppers, diced
2 small cans diced green chilies (I have two different brands in the pic by chance, use whatever you find)
2 14.5oz cans no salt added diced tomatoes, including the juice
2 15oz cans of pumpkin puree
2 15oz cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Heat the oil to a large heavy stockpot over medium heat and saute the onions until they are browned. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce and cumin to the pot and cook turkey through until it's no longer pink. Once the turkey is done, add all remaining ingredients to the pot, including the juice from the tomatoes. Add two cans worth of water to the chili and mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: I use the no salt added tomatoes (and beans when I can find them) to counter the salt in the Worcestershire sauce. You can use what you prefer. You can also add any veggies you'd like and substitute different meat (or leave it out) and beans. You can also add cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper or hot sauce to make it spicier or reduce the green chilies if it's too much.

I still suggest cooking the onion, turkey and garlic in a skillet first, adding the Worcestershire sauce and cumin just before the turkey is cooked through. Then transfer the mixture to your crockpot and add all the other ingredients. I'd probably cut the water in half, since none of it will cook off like it will on the stove top. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste at the end.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie and 2014 Half Ironman plans

I am ready for fall. I am ready to not be sweaty anymore (it was 96º in here yesterday!!!). I am ready for this smoothie I made!


1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or "milk" of your choice)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling, just plan pumpkin)
1 banana (better if it's frozen)
6 large ice cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 scoop/serving of protein powder
cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves

Add everything to the blender, spices to taste, and blend it up! I did about 8 good shakes of cinnamon, 5 or 6 of the ginger and nutmeg and just a dash of the cloves because I love cinnamon and ginger. Adjust as needed. You can always blend it with less at first, taste and then add more. Enjoy!

In other news:

Ever wonder what goes through my mind as I realize juuuuuust how far away the turn buoys in an open water swim are, despite how they appeared from land?

This is also most definitely what my face looks like when someone touches my feet, receives a warning kick and then GRABS my foot. You can imagine what happens next. Not. Amused. 

I realize that some of you wondered where my Boston Triathlon race report went. I also owe you a report on the Cranberry Trifest Sprint Triathlon that I signed up for at the last minute and did on 8/24. Mostly, my computer is SUPER old and slow and getting the pictures uploaded on here takes forever. I'll do an overall recap of the two at some point. Both were great races and I learned something in each of them. I really fell in love with triathlon this summer. I had so much fun I kind of forgot to train hard and actually race! Next year.

So what's next? A Half Ironman of course!

A Half Ironman is half of the classic Full Ironman. A full is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon/26.2 mile run. I'll be training for a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon/13.1 mile run, for a total of 70.3 miles.

I have no fear about doing any of those distances alone and I feel confident I can string all of them together with proper training. There are a few things that make the race special though.

#1 and the least of my control - the weather. I plan on doing a race I can drive to in August or September. If all works out well, it will be the Timberman 70.3 in Guilford, NH. It can be sunny, humid and in the 80s or it can be stormy and in the high 50s/low 60s. The course was even closed early one year due to a severe thunderstorm rolling in. It's just that time of year!

#2 time cutoffs. ARGH!!! You have 8.5 hours total to finish the entire race, but there are cutoffs along the way. You have to be out of the water 70 minutes after the last swim wave starts. I'm hoping to be done in 50 minutes. You must complete the bike by 5.5 hours after the last swim wave starts. I hope to be done in about 3:45 (which is a fairly conservative pace for me), which put me about 4:55 in. If I survive the bike cutoff, the final cutoff is the finish time at the end of the run. If I make all my paces, I'll have 3:35 to complete the half marathon. I did my first with a sprained ankle in 3:10 so I should be good. I'm shooting for  2:20 half marathon. That's pretty ambitious for me but I've never been as motivated (read: been able to force myself to follow the training plan) as I am now. Hopefully I'll be in killer shape by then! ;)

#3 COURSE ELEVATION!!!  Man oh man. The half and full ironman races are notorious for not only being a true endurance event, but for each leg being really challenging on its own. Check out the course elevation:

So there's that.........oh, and don't forget the run!

HAHAHAAA...HAHA...HA.....ha......hooo doggie. It's like I'm seeing them for the first time each time I pull them up! Good times! Gooood tiiiiimes...

So you can see why I'm excitedly nervous. Or nervously excited. Or...yeah. I am really truly excited though. Not only to race, but because I am starting the process now. Over the next 6 months or so I really want to drop some weight. I can't imagine hauling myself up those hills where I am now. There's no magic to it and I know what needs to be done. Eat real food. Eat more lean protein, lots of veggies and some fruit and healthy oils. Eat less sugar and cut out processed food. Most importantly, less booze. Wah. Byebye nightly glass of wine (or two)!

In addition to tightening up my diet, the exercise I'll need to build my base will be more than enough for weight loss. I'll train for an hour with my trainer once a week. I now share my sessions with a partner, which saves me about half of the cost and is a good motivator to not slack off. I'll also be swimming at least once a week as soon as I get a chance to check out the pool at the South End Fitness Center. Finally, I will stop being a weenie and sign up for a spin class orientation. Yep. Next Friday if I can get a spot in the class after the 15 minute orientation. I'll be riding my bike outside as long as the weather permits. I don't mind the cold, but snow and ice is an issue. Oh yeah, and I'm going to need to run a bit more than I did this summer. My run times were laughable during this summer's tris and pretty much what I deserved. That's what happens when you just do some fun swim workouts a bike rides!

So that's it for now! Thanks for sticking around during the radio silence here.