Spicy Salmon Tacos With Watermelon Salsa

Have you seen hints of its arrival? On Yahoo news? Huffington Post? Twitter? VariousIMG_4352
food-related blog and web sites? That ubiquitous (albeit lovely, warm) flavor that takes over everything, every autumn? Pumpkin spice latte, bread, beer, cookies, cake, dog treats, pumpkin spice everything! Hey, I love pumpkin spice as much as the next girl, but I also love those light, fresh, cool summertime citrus-y, fruity flavors. While we’re still in grip of  August, held fast by bright sun and heat that still sing notes of high summer, we can delay the pumpkin spice extravaganza that accompanies the fall season and still enjoy light, easy, fruity, flavorful dishes such as this this salmon taco recipe, served with watermelon salsa and a light coleslaw with avocado dressing. Continue reading

Advertisements

Bubba’s Gluten-Free Turkey Burger: A Satisfying Post-Work-Out Meal

Bubba's Turkey Burger 1

The burger is there, under the lettuce and tomatoes, I promise!

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.” (John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley: In Search of America)

Yesterday I had one of those magical runs, the type of run that inspires the subliminal thought “this is why I love running” to flow underneath all the conscious thoughts that one ponders as she runs. I can’t say why, exactly, the run was so awesome – at least from a training perspective. I ran only five miles, a shorter distance than I had planned for the day, and I had gotten a late start. The temperature was already hot. The bright sun, already high in the sky, was unrelenting in its determination to super-light and heat the world (or at least the part of the world in which I was running). The Crown Ridge neighborhood I had chosen for its hills had zero shade under which I might find some relief as I ran my hill repeats. Yet though my pace was slow, I managed to run the reps without walking even one step. I listened to the cry of the red-tailed hawks as they glided on wing over-head, flying low enough to occasionally cast their shadows over me as they circled above. I could hear the Tejano music on the radios listened to by the construction crews as they worked building houses in the distance. Somehow all of these elements of my run came together to excite in me anew my sense of place: I was home. Everything in that moment came together perfectly to exemplify what makes South Texas, well, South Texas! With the exhilaration that accompanies a run well completed and enjoyed, I drove home from Crown Ridge looking forward to and planning my second work out for the day. Plans for a second work out include careful planning for lunch. Since I had a fairly arduous late morning work-out and planned a second, evening work-out, I would have to eat well, but not too heavily, for lunch

Last week, I picked up some gluten-free Bubba Turkey Burgers at Sprouts. I had never tried these burgers. They’re frozen, but judging from the cooking instructions on the package, the burgers cook easily and quickly. They seemed like good way to get in some protein at lunch or supper time, or between work-outs. Yesterday, I decided to try a Bubba turkey burger as my between-work-out meal. The burger did cook quickly. I pan fried it, just a few minutes on each side. I planned a fifteen mile bike ride as my second work-out of the day, and since I had a hard work-out just before lunch, I decided to get in a few carbs in addition to the protein by eating the burger on Udi’s millet chia bread. The four ounce turkey burger fit perfectly on the Udi’s gluten-free bread slices. I topped the burger with muenster cheese, some Organic Girl super greens, and a small tomato from Phil’s garden. The burger was actually juicy, as the Bubba website claims. It had a texture much like the texture of a home-made turkey burger. The flavor was ok; I prefer beef burgers to turkey burgers, though, so I’ve never had a turkey burger that tasted better than ok. I have, however, had turkey burgers that tasted less than ok. I liked the Bubba turkey burger enough to make Bubba burgers a part of my regular quickly prepared double-work-out day meal rotation. Next time I believe I’ll top the burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, and Fredericksburg Farms Sweet and Hot Jalapenos. Yum.

Simple Gluten-free Summer Salads

X.Caprese Salad with Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
So, on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers—as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You’d think; a burr had been a treasure-trove.

XI.
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
“Or shut your eyes,” said nature peevishly,
“It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
“’Tis the Last judgment’s fire must cure this place,
“Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”

XII.
If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock’s harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk
All hope of greenness?’tis a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute’s intents.
(Robert Browning, “Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came”)

South Texas is a capricious region. She seduces us with her sunny, mild winters and colorfully floral, sometimes delightfully cooling springs, so that we think we live in paradise and wonder who would ever choose to live elsewhere? Oh, but then: suddenly summer. Overnight, without warning, late spring turns to something akin to Hell. Death steals the blooms from the wild flowers that just the day before had abundantly crowded any patch of grass visible in every field and pasture, alongside every path and trail, and parallel to every back-road and highway. The air heats up to triple digits, so that even morning runs are Hellish as the insensitive sunshine aggressively pours itself out on the land, assaulting anyone caught without shade or shelter, making it seem much as desolate and hopeless as the wasteland described by the hapless speaker in Browning’s unsettling poem. When sunset arrives and the outside temperature falls from 102 at 7:00 pm to 95 at 8:00 pm, the condition finally seems cool enough to get in a decent run for the evening. Though still hot, with the humidity rising at this point, the slight twilight breeze that often accompanies the setting of the sun creates an environment more conducive to running or biking. Continue reading

Coffee, Butter, Cocoa: Scrumptious Fuel for a Joyful Return to Running

“Humans aren’t built to sit all day. Nor are we built for the kinds of repetitive, small movements that so much of today’s specialized work demands. Our bodies crave big, varied movements that originate at the core of our body.” (Scott Jurek, Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. bullet proof coffee 3
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur”)

Ultra-runner champion Scott Jurek (whose autobiography is an extremely inspirational and interesting read, even for those of use who vehemently disagree with the ideas about diet and nutrition he espouses in the work) is correct: human bodies do long for big, varied movements, and when one is used to moving – running! – for miles every day, for long periods of time outside the house, a sudden halt to that activity brings her shock at first, then disbelief next, then finally a reluctant, depressed acceptance of reality. At the moment when she realizes that she really, absolutely cannot run for an unspecified period of time, a sort of panic takes over. How, she asks herself, will she replace that movement: that activity that releases such endorphins into her being, and releases her into the world as well? Should she do upper body and core work  at the gym, where she will be surrounded by television screens showing CNN or music videos? Surrounded by people plugged up to machines that merely mimic running – not even truly moving – while they remain plugged into their various personal  technological devices? Where, in the gym, are the trees?

McAllister Park

McAllister Park  Boardwalk, N of Tobin Trailhead

Continue reading