Sweet Potato Runner’s Recovery Smoothie + a Running Tour of San Francisco

Photo Courtesy of zoonabar. Click to see the original.

I am a runner. And I live near the gorgeousness that is the San Francisco Bay area. If you ever come visit, bring your running shoes. And a good pair of lungs.

There’s a beautiful bay-side pedestrian/cycling path that brings you through some of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks — Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, views of Alcatraz, Fort Mason, the Presidio…complete with lots of lush greenery, beaches, and views of the bay with all the yachts, cargo ships, and ferries that populate it. And Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory.

Photo courtesy of http2007. Click to see the original photo.

I love running this route. It’s a real treat, except that getting there require summiting several of San Francisco’s infamous hills, the steepest kind where there’s no sidewalks, just stairs. Oh, and today there were 25 mph head winds that all but render you motionless. Altogether, I think I ran 16 miles, but they were 16 miles that were extra…punishing. I was bonking hard by the end!

What’s a girl to do when she runs out of calories?

Why, she crams as many as she can in a blender, and makes this smoothie of course!

My goal here was to pack as much superfood nutrition as I could in a smoothie. It’s chock full of protein, fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals…it’s got it all. Of course, you don’t have to run 16 miles to enjoy it. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato chunks (I used canned)
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 1 heaping scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • Granola for topping (optional)

Directions

Starting with the greens and ending with the sweet potato and banana, put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until it reaches your desired consistency. Add more milk as needed.

Now to enjoy my runner’s high, wind burn, and sweet potato recovery smoothie topped with granola!

How do you like to refuel after a tough workout?

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3 Seed Overnight Oats

Sometimes I get overly excited about how much health you can cram into one meal. 🙂 This one features an old-time favorite ingredient of mine, hemp seeds.

They are normally kind of expensive, so you can imagine my excitement at finding them half price at Whole Foods Market. They are high in Omega-3 fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals…they’ve got it all. And a super unique taste.

Overnight oats typically require 1 part oats, 1 part yogurt, and 1 part milk. But I find it works well without the yogurt, and with vegan milk. I use almond milk here.

Such a quick, filling, and nutritious breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cooked quinoa (optional)
  • 1 tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbs oat bran
  • 2/3-1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt of choice (optional)

Directions

Just mix everything in a bowl, and wait til morning! Top with whatever you like — fruit, nut butter or nuts, granola, dried fruit, cinnamon, maple syrup or honey, etc. This makes one hearty serving (or two smaller ones), and is best served with coffee. 🙂

Chia Seed Crackers

Perhaps you’ve seen chia seeds in energy bars or health food stores. Chia seeds are an excellent source of soluble fiber and vitamins and minerals. They plump up a lot when soaked in water (they form this gelatinous halo), so they’re great as natural thickeners in smoothies, puddings, or as “glue” as they are here! These crackers are inspired by the roasted pumpkin seeds my wonderful mother made for us as kids…she would roast seeds from pumpkin or squash in soy sauce and I remember just loving them.

The Native Americans, Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs, I’m told, used chia seeds as an important dietary staple, and to fuel long hunting expeditions.

These crackers are inspired by the roasted pumpkin seeds my wonderful mother made for us as kids…she would roast seeds from pumpkin or squash in soy sauce and I remember just loving them. These crackers provide great sustaining energy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas, raw
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free sauce)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Mix all the seeds in a bowl.

Then add the soy sauce, water, garlic, salt, and onion flakes.

Spread the mixture out on a greased baking sheet. I just smoosh it with my hands until it is thin enough — a rolling pin won’t work. I like them somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until they start looking drier. Pull them out and cut the into your desired shapes with a rolling pin. Return to the oven and bake for another 15-20 until they look browned. I find the crackers around the edges burn quickly, so I’ll usually pull those out when they’re done and let the rest bake.

I’m sure you could use any variety of seasonings you like. Have fun with it!

Berry Chocolate Green Smoothie

Mmm, who would guess this chocolatey, dessert-y treat contains almost 4 cups of fresh kale? 🙂

Normally, I use  2-3 cups of greens in a green smoothie, but thanks to the added sweetness of the chocolate milk and berries, you can get away with more!

Ingredients

  • 2-4 cups spinach or kale
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen berries (I used a mixture of blueberries and blackberries
  • 1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate milk of your choice (I’m a huge fan of chocolate almond or soy milk)
  • Ice cubes

Directions

Just toss everything in a blender (greens first) and blend until it reaches the desired consistency. Yum…