Tag Archives: cycling

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Tikka Masala

Professional cyclists DO NOT eat a healthy diet. Especially not the riders over in Europe. Mike and I saw this first hand when, while following the Giro d’Italia, we picked up their discarded feed bags on the side of the road. All we found were pastries and “energy bars” full of refined sugar and bad carbohydrates. It was unbelievable to us that their team directors think it acceptable and, above all, profitable to fuel their riders with these kinds of food. How much better would they perform on a 5 hour race day if their bodies could actually use the food they were given?

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This weekend I met two of my favorite chef’s: Dr. Allen Lim and Chef Biju Thomas. They co-authored “The Feed Zone Cookbook.” Allen Lim was the director of sport sciences for professional cycling teams, Radioshack and Garmin. He introduced the idea of gluten-sensitivity and the importance of a healthy diet in a training plan. Biju Thomas is an avid cyclist and chef to some of the top riders in the US. The cookbook is based on very simple but very healthy meals that could be cooked with 3-5 ingredients on one stove-top while on the road. I love it.

One of my favorites (and now perfectly adapted for me) recipes is their Chicken Tikka Masala. Their version uses lots of yogurt which is fine if it’s raw (or at least organic) but I wanted to see if I could get rid of it altogether. So I replaced it with canned coconut milk and OH-EM-GEE. Really, really yummy.

I was always nervous about cooking curry because it’s so tasty that I figured it would be complicated. Absolutely not the case. This is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever cooked and it now holds a preferred spot on our meal planning menu.

Curry-Published

 

Ingredients (3 servings, double this to make 6 servings and last a couple days)

  • 4 cups of cooked quinoa for the base
  • 2 lbs chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I used my leftover chicken from my roast last week)
  • 1-cup tomato sauce
  • 1 12oz can organic coconut milk (shake before opening)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 a sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper or 2-4 green chiles, cut into strips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and, if you can, let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. I didn’t have time for this and it was still delicious.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a deep pan and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Spoon on top of your quinoa and enjoy!

It’s the simplest and most delicious meal. Definitely one of our favorites. Try to pair it with a spinach salad to get your raw veggies in.

Let me know how it goes! I hope you’re all having very fun and spicy days 🙂

 

Monday Mayhem: Cyclocross Nationals

Gooooooood Morning! This weekend was Mike’s birthday. We decided to drive three hours up to Madison, Wisconsin to see some friends race and check out the city. What an awesome 48 hours it was.

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Mike’s best friend, Kevin, decided to make the 5 hour trek from Cincinnati, Ohio to surprise Mike and spend the weekend with us. I have never seen Mike genuinely surprised and it was so wonderful. After a few awkward moments of, “What the heck are you doing here??” They were both so happy. The sarcasm and inside jokes started immediately and lasted all weekend. Luckily I know them both well enough that I could be included.

Madison is a really great city. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Wisconsin University has 42,000 students. In a city of 250,000 residents, they have a huge impact on the fabric of the city. Their downtown is full of hippie dippie restaurants and shops and we all felt right at home 🙂 On top of that, I love the urban design and architecture of Madison and would love to spend some real time there.

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After we woke Mike up with Happy Birthday and cupcakes, we spent all day Saturday watching Cyclocross bike races. They are a combination between road racing and mountain bike racing. Basically racing in parks and on hills and through mud and over obstacles. Unfortunately, Wisconsin in January is very wet and very cold. The mud was about 6″ deep and it was 20°F. Mike, Kevin, and I were SO happy to be spectators instead of racers. We got to watch our friend, Katy race. She’s incredibly strong and came in 6th! Not bad for collegiate nationals!

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We also got to spend some time in the indoor pool and jacuzzi and our hotel. It came in very handy when our hands and feet were completely frozen. Can you imagine how the racers felt??

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Some awesome businesses we visited in Madison: The Great Dane Pub and The Old Fashioned Restaurants (cheese curds with garlic sauce and grass-fed beef burger, YUM)

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Mike’s birthday was a success. We were all reminded how awesome bike racing is and are starting to get excited about the upcoming road racing season. I also, thankfully, remembered that there is life outside of Peoria and that I have friends! Haha. I’m struggling a bit here but looking forward to being able to plan some of our future over the next couple months.

The Wonderful World of Bikes

I ride bikes. Scratch that, I LOVE riding bikes. My family is very health conscious so I was a regular at the gym play room when I was a kid and then, for my 11th birthday, I got a gym membership of my own. That gift began a lifetime commitment to fitness. Soon enough though, I realized that gyms are boring! So I tried every sport in the book (basketball, soccer, track, swimming, water polo, softball, you get the idea) and sucked at pretty much all of them. I came to realize that I’m terrible at anything that needs hand-eye or foot-eye coordination. It was pretty frustrating because I always knew I could be good at something if not for the passion and discipline I would bring the sport.

Finally, in 2008, I accomplished one of my goals of doing a triathlon. I was in San Diego (the mecca for triathletes) for a 6 month internship and joined the Tri Club of San Diego. They have an incredible calendar of multiple training sessions per day and it was so easy to jump in on a few of those before and after work. They also held FREE monthly sprint distance triathlons and before I left to head back to Boston, I had done six. SIX! I also managed to squeeze in the Pumpkinman Olympic Distance at Lake Mead in Nevada.

When I got back to school I realized how crazy expensive triathlons are so I looked for a new outlet. I always loved to swim so I did some of that but it’s so fricken lonely. Then I found Green Line Velo. It’s a Boston-based bike race team started by a couple of kids that graduated from my school. I joined one of their community rides and, in my first day, met several people who would become my best friends. Triathlons drifted to the back of my mind for a while and I got fast on a bike.

Image^ that’s me! we had a pretty sweet team photo shoot (photo credit to Sam Rosenholtz)

Image^ me and some teammates on a training trip in New Hampshire.

I joined my school’s bike team my junior year and felt really sad that I hadn’t joined sooner. Collegiate road racing happens for all of March and April and became my favorite time of year. My last year at school I volunteered to captain the team (along with Mike, my now boyfriend) and we had one of the best adventures I’ve ever been a part of. While it was an incredibly intense nine weeks, it was well worth it. We would leave midday Friday, drive several hours to our host housing (usually a teammates’ parents), sleep for a few hours, then race both Saturday and Sunday. Monday through Thursday was spent cramming in ALL classes and homework (this was pretty hard during thesis time).

In the last few years I have discovered an amazing world of cyclists. People that are so dedicated and excited to be a part of the sport that they’ll do anything to see you get into it as well. Seriously. Next time you meet someone on a bike, mention that you were thinking about going out on a ride sometime; they will inevitably invite you on various group rides and make it impossible for you to resist. And honestly, don’t even try. The people I met on Green Line Velo and my collegiate team have become some of my closest, most encouraging friends. They’re amazing people and they’re totally worth the 7am wake ups and ridiculous training rides.

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^ that’s me in the white helmet with a great friend of mine, Carolyn, in the pinstripes (photo credit to another friend, Chatura Atapattu)

ps. I fully intend on reentering the tri world but may have to wait until my real life job starts panning out and I can afford it.

Questions: Have you ever thought about riding bikes? Why haven’t you started already? Please comment, I’d love to hear what everyone else has to say.