Category: recipes (page 1 of 10)

Runner’s Recipe: Onigiris

It’s the 4th of July this week! Independence Day! Happy Birthday America! We’re going camping to celebrate. But before we go, I thought I’d share a little recipe. And because I’m all about being timely and stuff, I thought this would be a good week to share . . . onigiris!Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

For those of you who may not be familiar with Japanese culture, onigiris could be considered a “Japanese sandwich.” I thought it might be good to share because, even if it is America’s birthday this week, it’s also picnic season. And onigiris are pretty good picnic food. Pop some rice cakes in some tupperware, mix up a simple tuna salad, toss the seaweed sheets (nori) in your picnic basket and you’re good to go.Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

When Micah and I were in Japan, we would pick up a couple of onigiris at 7-11 (actually, in Japan it is the “7&iHoldings”) to eat while we rode the Shinkansen (bullet train) or walked around whatever city we were in. But my relationship with them actually goes back a decade, to when Micah and I were engaged. Micah taught me to make them and I thought they were pretty awesome.Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

They would have become a staple in our lives then, but, of course, not every store carries nori, so it does take some planning to keep them on hand. You can get them at Asian food stores, of course. Some health food stores carry them. And, of course, there’s Amazon. If you’re in a pinch, you could maybe “deconstruct” your onigiri and scoop some rice in a bowl, add some tuna or salmon salad, and crumble some Trader Joe’s (or Kirkland Signature brand) seaweed snacks on top.

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I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me tell you the rules, and then you can decide how to break them.

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Basic Onigiris

Makes approx. 10 onigiris, serving 3-4 as a meal, or 5-6 as a snack

Okay friends, I’m giving you a list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions such because I know when you are new to something, it’s easier to become acquainted with it if you are “formally introduced” — such as in a recipe format. However, please know that you can cook as much or as little rice as you want. You can add sesame oil or rice vinegar (or whatever you like in your sushi rice!) to taste. You can use crab or avocado or various other deliciousness as the filling. As I said, feel free to break the rules to make it to your liking.

2 cups uncooked medium grain or sushi rice

4 cups water


2 tsp. toasted sesame oil (optional)

2 tsp. rice vinegar (optional)

1 7-oz. can of tuna or salmon in water

2 T. mayonaise

nori sheets (seaweed paper)

Bring the water, with a sprinkling of salt, to a boil. Add the rice, cover, lower the heat and let simmer about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. (We use a rice cooker, but if you are new to rice and don’t have one, here’s a tutorial.

Once the rice is cooked, uncover, take off the heat, fluff with a fork and let it sit until it is cool enough to handle, but still warm.

While the rice is cooling, mix up the tuna/salmon salad: open the can, drain it, and empty the fish into a bowl. Spoon some mayonnaise in and sprinkle with salt. Mix it all up and taste to be sure it is to your liking.

When the rice is cool enough to handle, stir in the sesame oil and/or rice vinegar if using, then shape it in to cakes: wet your hands, sprinkle with salt, and pick up about 1/2 cup of rice. Mold it into a triangle shape, and use your thumb to make a dimple. This might be kind of difficult to get at first, but you’ll master it before too long. Shape the rest of the rice, placing the finished cakes on a plate (or into a tupperware, if you are taking it on a picnic). (I hope the above photos give a clear idea of what you’re going for.)

When you are ready to serve, scoop some of the tuna/salmon salad into the dimple. Cut a sheet of nori in half (we just crease it and break it), place the filled rice cake in the middle of the seaweed strip, and wrap the rice cake in the seaweed. Take a bite and enjoy.

RSBC 2014 Week 4 Round-Up: February With a Cherry on Top

For some reason I was expecting a little more fanfare with the end of February. You know, 32 degrees or something. But it was not to be. It’s a good thing we took matters into our own hands and added a little bit of summer to spur us on through what I certainly hope are winter’s death throes, right? A good thing we tossed some cherries at the snow and cold? Just to show them what they’ll be missing out on in a few months?

But even though we had to use most of our energy to stay warm, we were able to spare a little for brainpower this February, were we not? We did learn something? Something about just how much we can take . . . and when to stop complaining and get back to the business of life? Am I right? At least that is what I learned: I can’t be bothered with the weather, I’ve got an 8-miler to run. Life, for better or worse, doesn’t freeze even if my fingers do.

We also learned that cherries are a little bit harder to find in February than at other times of the year. And maybe a little trickier to work with. Kara has a delicious sounding scone recipe to share, which, unfortunately, was not a hit with the kiddos. (I’d eat them Kara! All of them!) But she did hit a home run with the Ironman, finishing up the last couple of miles as February was turning to March.

(Which, as previously noted, did not mean winter-turning-to-spring. *sigh*)



Once again, I’ll add more round-up-ish-ness as it arrives in my inbox!

UPDATE: Rachel finished the half-Ironman option of the challenge. Way to go, Friend!

RSBC Week 3: Squash That Chocolate Craving

I feel a little bit like I cheated on this week’s cooking challenge. It’s a silly thing, really, but I bought butternut squash that had already been peeled, seeded and chopped. Does that disqualify me? For some reason, I feel like the “honest” thing to do in the RSBC Challenge is took cook with the whole-est of whole ingredients. And this butternut squash was in pieces when I bought it. Forgive me, please.

As penance, I submit to you my offering for the week. Please do not confuse it with a health food, even if there is a shocking lack of butter. It is a cake. A butternut squash cake, rolled around a cushion of whipped chocolate ganache. It is both tasty and delicious. More so than I expected and I expect a lot from my baked goods.

In other news I, well, ran a lot this week. I didn’t think I’d be able to since Manchild was out of school and I’d have to wake up early to go running. But, as luck would have it, it’s much easier to get out of bed at 6:00am when there is a small person kicking you in the face and you’re not getting any sleep anyway. Credit goes to Little Miss for the fact that I ran every day this week and am currently — including this morning’s 19+ miler — sitting on 143 miles for the month. So, yeah. Ironman completed!

But there’s still next week’s cooking challenge! And the challenge ingredients are . . . honey and cherries. Two of my favorite things. I hope it’s a fun way to end this year’s RSBC challenge!

Now that the business is all out of the way, let’s get to the pleasure. Here’s the butternut squash roll cake recipe. Make it and love it.

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Butternut-Chocolate Roll Cake adapted from *sigh* The Food Network

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup butternut squash puree (I steamed my butternut squash until tender and then put it in the blender)

powdered sugar

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

sprinkle of salt

splash of vanilla extract


Prep an 11×17 pan by buttering it, lining it with parchment paper, and then buttering the parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375.

Prep a clean kitchen towel by sprinkling it generously with powdered sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer, mix the eggs and sugar at high speed until thick and pale yellow — a couple of minutes. Add in the squash puree and beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 12 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the powder dish towel, peal off the parchment paper, and roll the cakeup tightly, starting from the short end. Place the rolled up cake on a cooling rack to cool completely.

While that is cooling, make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream until it just begins to bubble around the edges. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is all melted and it is smooth. Stir in the salt and vanilla, then let cool completely — first to room temperature, then in the fridge.

To assemble the cake, use a hand-mixer to whip the ganache until light and fluffy. Unroll the cake and spread the ganache evenly over the entire cake. Then roll it back up. You *may* want to let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours after that. Or you may just want to slice off a piece and eat it, which was what we did. We didn’t regret it. Not even a little bit.

RSBC 2014 Week 2 Roundup: Carrot-tops and Gingers

As promised, the round up for Week 2 of the Run Swim Bike Cook Challenge. Although I don’t know if I can really call it a “roundup” if I only have one other competitor to report on. Can I? Well tough. I’m doing it anyway. Here’s the roundup of one:

Our good friend Kara Wheeler submitted a delicious sounding carrot-ginger soup which, also happens to be a “secret” family recipe. It’s for sure on my list. She’s also killing it in the Run-Swim-Bike portion of the competition with 16.5 miles running, 1.3 in the pool, and 70.3 on the bike.


Way to go Kara!

I’ll update with additional information — including week 3’s challenge ingredients — as it comes!

UPDATE: The culinary challenge of the week is squash + chocolate. I think I can get behind that. 🙂

UPDATE 2: Justin and Brianna submitted an absolutely mouthwatering recipe for carrot-ginger scones. Check it out!20140219-215644.jpg Definitely something to try.

UPDATE 3: My good friend Rachel has submitted her carrot-ginger goodness, as well as her mileage. Rachel is training for a triathlon in May (which I’m totally jealous of), so she’s getting some good training in this month. Last week she ran 4 miles, swam 600 meters, and did a yoga workout as well. Oh, and she cooked up some Thai Orange Chicken. Mmmmm.

thaiorangechickenI’m having a little dinner envy in addition to triathlon envy.

RSBC Week 2: Don’t You Carrot (and Ginger) All About Your Body?

I’m going to go ahead and be grateful that my annual bout of the flu hit relatively early in the month, and that it appears to be relatively mild. A day or so of achy-ness, a mild fever, some coughing. (Little Miss is slightly worse off that I am, but not so badly off that she can’t continue in her paper-shredding, table-climbing ways.)

It does, unfortunately, mean that I missed a couple of days of running. Boo. My total mileage for the first half of the month: 73.6. And even though I’m more than half way to my 140.6 Ironman goal, I’m feeling a little behind. I also got a little bored with my normal running route and did this one day instead:


I may sound a little bit like an overachiever here, but I didn’t do all the cooking/baking I wanted to do. Yes, I did make a carrot/ginger dish for dinner this week. But I wanted to make some carrot-ginger muffins as well, and instead of doing that, I took 7 hours worth of naps in two days. Time well-spent, no doubt, but still. The carrot-ginger muffins didn’t get made. Yet. Maybe next week.

This dish is actually a quick-and-easy family favorite. Soba noodles. Sauce. Stir-fried veggies. Squish asked for seconds, and the next day when I served myself a bowl of leftovers, he and Little Miss begged for me to share and I ended up having to get myself something else for lunch because they didn’t leave any for me. :/

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And all you do is cook your package of soba noodles according to package directions, and while that is happening make the sauce (from Eat Live Run) by blending these ingredients in your blender until smooth:

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup canola oil

about 1/2 cup hot water

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tsp fresh minced ginger (I used at least a tablespoon

1 tsp minced garlic

When that is done and your noodles are drained and rinsed, heat some oil in a skillet. Peel and cut up some carrots and sugar snap peas (and/or any other vegetables you want) and toss them in the skillet (I added some chopped fresh ginger as well) and sprinkle with some salt. Cook until slightly tender — 5-7 minutes, probably. Then pile some noodles on your plate, top it with the veggies, and drizzle some sauce on top. You should have plenty of sauce left over to dip vegetables in or as a salad dressing for the next week or so. You’re welcome.

Don’t forget to send me your week 2 tragedies and triumphs! I’ll post them here, along with Christy’s week 3 cooking-combo challenge, next Monday.

RSBC 2014 Week 1: Get Yourself an Egg and Beet It!

So, beet greens. And eggs. I thought I could probably do something with that. And I did. Something that looked like this:

This is how I did it: First, I cooked some quinoa. Then I took a few beets (3), peeled and chopped them into 1/2 inch dice and a couple (2) sweet potatoes and did the same. I tossed them together with some olive oil and and salt. Spread them on a baking sheet, slide it into a 425 degree oven, and let the heat have its way with them for about 30 minutes — until the beets were soft enough that a fork went right in.

While the veggies were roasting, I cleaned the greens and stacked them up so I could cut them to ribbons with minimal effort. I heated some olive oil in a skillet and added some pressed garlic (if you don’t have a garlic press, let me recommend investing in one), and after the garlic sizzled for a minute or so, I added the beet greens. It only took a minute or two (during which I added a light sprinkling of salt) for the greens to wilt a bit after which I took them out and put them on a plate.

I cracked some eggs into the hot skillet and let them sit, undisturbed, for a few minutes until the whites appeared to be set (but the yolks were definitely still runny). Then I turned off the heat.

To serve, I tossed the greens and veggies together. Then I spooned some quinoa on our plates and scooped the veggies/greens on top. An egg went on top of that. And it was, in all honesty, absolutely delicious. I had no idea about beet greens. But now I do and I will repent of all those times I just tossed them. Plus roasted veggies . . . people, they just all taste good. All of them.

So that’s what I cooked. I also ran 39.4 miles. Even though there was snow and ice piled up all over. And even though I had to push a fully loaded double-stroller through it. This marathon isn’t going to train for itself, so I’m going to have to do it. But, as you can see, there are perks to running in the winter. Such beauty that I would have missed if I’d stayed in.

My goal, of course, is to run all 140.6 miles of the Ironman, and with nearly 40 miles in the first week, I think I’m in good position to achieve the goal, but it is still early. Anything could happen! If you want to join in but you’re feeling like it is too late, remember the half-Ironman option that is new this year. You can totally do 70 miles in 3 weeks.

For week 2, your cooking challenge is to combine two delicious roots: ginger and carrots. Send me your updates so I can post them next week. (You should be sending weeks 1 and 3 to Christy at christy.spackman at gmail dot com.)

Happy Ironmanning!

One Last Christmas Cookie

raisin filled cookies

I know it is Christmas Eve. You are done baking cookies. You are done shopping and wrapping and planning. It’s time to sit back and enjoy, right?

But I thought I’d share one last recipe with you, you know, as a Christmas gift. It comes with a fun little story of how my sister and I learned to bake. (Hint: you start by reading the recipe!)

These raisin-filled orange-scented cookies are easy enough to put together, but they come off feeling a bit extravagant. They use simple ingredients that seem fancy in a sugar cookie. And, if you are lucky, Grandma will ask you for the recipe by the end of the night.

Click here to see the recipe on!

Runner’s Recipe: Edamame Hummus

I read somewhere recently that “heart healthy hummus is taking over the world.” Or something like that. I think that may have been a small exaggeration. Micah, who read the headline too, was quick to point out that the cookie section of the store is probably still bigger than the hummus section of the store. The chip section, too. And the ice cream section. And . . .  well, most sections of the store are still bigger than the hummus section.

While we’re discussing hummus, can we discuss whether or not “hummus” by definition excludes dips not made with chickpeas? I admit that I don’t know the answer to that, although I think it is understood that hummus=chickpeas. However, that is not going to stop me from trying to pass this edamame dip off to you as “hummus.” It’s green and pretty and tasty. And it is made, mostly, with the same ingredients you would find in chickpea hummus except, significantly, chickpeas.

Actually, I put an Asian spin on the version I made the other day. I think that is fair game. I thought it was a good idea before I made it and a great idea after I made it. I spread it on some okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake), but I think it would go well with just about anything. Veggies. Crackers. Sandwiches. Yum.

Maybe, just maybe, this kind of thing will be a step in hummus actually taking over the world.

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Edamame Hummus

This makes a very thick hummus. Which is how I like it. If you want to thin it out, increase the tahini and water to 1/3 cup.

1 12-oz. package frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup water

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/2 tsp. salt

2-3 T. soy sauce (to taste)

1/2-1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (to taste)

3 T. olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more soy sauce and/or sesame oil if you’d like. Refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour before serving to take the edge (or “spiciness” as Manchild likes to say) off the garlic. Serve with dip-ables or spread on whatever you’d like.

This Week in Marathon Training

The flu is not conducive to training for a marathon. Or any race, for that matter. I am sure there are people who do it. I am also almost sure that those who do are those who actually have a chance of winning the race and the prize money that goes along with it. In short: they are the elite.

I am not elite. At all. Even so, when my legs started feeling a little achy, a little sore last Friday, I wondered if it could have possibly been caused by running. Because, you know, I’ve been killing it out there, right? But then I thought better of it: between Little Miss being sick and me taking a cross training day, I’d only run twice last week. My “long” run the week before had been a mere 8 miles. My legs had done almost nothing to deserve soreness.

Within a few hours other symptoms started coming up, and pretty soon I realized that my family had a textbook case of the flu: fever, sore throat, chills, cough, runny nose, headache. You name a symptom, I’m pretty sure we had it.

And so I took this week off, mostly. No long run. No speedwork. Just a little yoga here and there and a lot of sleep, orange juice, kleenex, and immunity smoothies.

But because marathon training does very often wear people down to the point of compromising their immune systems, I thought I’d share a glass of immune-boosting goodness as part of the marathon training saga. It’s adapted from the January 2013 issue of Runner’s World.
Immune Boosting Ginger Berry Almond Smoothie

1 cup frozen berries (we used blueberries one time and strawberries another – I liked the blueberries better)
1 cup plain yogurt
2 T. raw almonds
2 T. wheat germ
1 T. honey
1 tsp. fresh ginger

Put all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Then keep your fingers crossed that it’s enough to save you from the worst of what’s out there, and enjoy!


RSBC Week 4 Roundup: Drinks with a Dash of Cinnamon

Cinnamon. Such a warm flavor. So comforting. So tasty. I thought it would be nice to end this year’s RSBC with the taste of cinnamon on our tongues to warm us from the inside out.

Of course, then I made a cold drink, which, though tasty, isn’t something I’m going to brew up on a day a snowstorm is scheduled to shower us with love, er, hate, er SNOW.

But Stephanie seemed to have the right idea. She brewed us up something warm and exotic to warm our chilly fingers and transport us to the Arabian deserts, which sounds pretty darn good right about now.

Stephanie’s recipe is the only one I’ve received (so far!). And not only did she kill it in the cooking challenge, she also ran 30 miles this month and biked 9. I’m pretty impressed with Stephanie’s showing, especially considering she lives in Utah, which, I’m led to believe, has been a bitterly cold sheet of ice for much of the winter. Rock on, Stephanie. Rock on.

I’ll post additional recipes as I get them. I know Christy has one to share, but she’s been traveling and may need some extra time.

Otherwise, this concludes the 2013 RSBC Challenge! Another February conquered! Another Spring (or almost Spring) off on the right foot. Thanks again to Christy for letting me co-host. It’s been a pleasure.

ps My first post is up on! Check it out and tell me how you power up for parenthood.

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