Thursday, August 31, 2017

Quinoa Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas

I recently had a craving for enchiladas with a creamy verde sauce. So I decided to use a little creativity and make one of my favorite comfort foods a bit healthier!

During a recent shopping trip at Whole Foods I picked up a package of Frontera Fire-Roasted Tomatillos. I had a feeling they would be a great base for a verde sauce once pureed. When combined with the plain Green yogurt, it's a deliciously creamy sauce that tastes super high-calorie/high-fat but is actually pretty healthy. 

Don't let all the steps scare you away. This one is worth a little extra prep time!

Quinoa Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas
Serves 4-6

8 soft-taco size tortillas (corn or flour)
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups spinach
1 package Frontera Fire-Roasted Tomatillos*
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Mexican oregano
Salt & Pepper
1 cup chihuahua cheese, shredded
Cilantro, chopped

*Purchased at Whole Foods

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add quinoa to a medium-size pot and toast over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add vegetable broth, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili powder and bring to a boil. Top pot with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer until quinoa is cooked through - about 15ish minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, add the tomatillos, Greek yogurt, 1 tsp cumim and 1 tsp Mexican oregano to a food processor. Process until smooth and well combined. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and black beans and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted and mixture is heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spread 1-2 Tbsp of tomatillo sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Add about 2 Tbsp quinoa filling to each tortilla and roll. Place each enchilada seam side down in the casserole dish. Top with the tomatillo sauce (you will probably have extra - freeze it for another batch of enchiladas or use on leftover chicken) and sprinkle with the chihuahua cheese.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes - or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired!

This is delicious served with a side of Mexican Street Corn Salad or with a simple avocado salad.


- ST

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Summer of (Not) Running

Hey everyone! I'm super sorry I've been MIA lately. It seems like these past few months have gone by in a blink of an eye. One moment it was the end of winter and the next moment the middle of summer. But I guess it's like the saying goes - time flies when you're having fun :)

But if I'm completely honest, I also haven't been posting because I haven't had a lot to say about running because ... I haven't been running.

It's kind of hard to explain. For the past several years, I've been all about running and I never once considered it wouldn't play one of the most major roles in my life. However ... something changed during the past few months. 

It started back in May. My body felt like it was breaking down again and I was losing motivation to train. If I really think about it, I guess I would really point back to a year and a half ago when the injuries started and never really seemed to stop. I would get injured, recover, then immediately get injured again, which meant I haven't been able to train as consistently as I did a few years ago. And once I started taking a few days off here and there, my motivation also decided to take a vacation.

When I had a run on the schedule I'd dread it for hours, wondering how it would go and if I'd be able to hit my times for the day. And when I finally did get out to run it was a chore that I just wanted to get done as fast as possible so I could cross it off my to-do list. You know all those motivational quotes that talk about pushing through day after day and never giving up? I told myself I was just going through a bad patch and in time I'd be able to push through and get back to where I wanted. I didn't want to be that girl who gave up, but I knew I was only digging myself a hole. 

So I decided the only hope I had of getting back to loving running was to take an extended break. I was really anxious about it at first because the past few years my life have revolved around running and fitness. Suddenly I didn't have a routine and all this extra time. As weird as it seemed at first, I grew to love having things less structured. A few weeks in and I found I hardly missed running.

I still went to the gym but only did a normal 4-5 workouts per week. To someone who used to force herself through 8-10 workouts every week, this seemed like nothing. I felt better rested and had more time to do other things I love like catching up with friends over drinks, going out dancing, following fashion and style, reading, etc. I also had time to try out new workouts, such as OrangeTheory Fitness.

The only thing that gave me pause was losing fitness as the weeks went by. Things that used to be easy suddenly weren't and my speed and endurance definitely took a hit. But I told myself I wasn't going to push myself to train for anything - or even follow a fitness routine - until I felt ready again.

Although I wondered at times if I was done with running, I've finally started feeling like I want to run again. It's been little things like getting excited about certain races or feeling inspired while watching the Track & Field World Championship races. And I've actually started to miss the routine of structured training and working toward a goal race.

It's going to take some time to get back into things but I think I'm ready. I'm not in the best shape right now (read: super slow) but I think if I work hard and regain the fitness I've lost, I still have plenty of fast times left in my legs. 

So that's where I'm at right now. Plugging away, slowing building up and hoping to get back to running fast again. 

It's been a long time, friends - tell me:
  • What have you been up to this summer? 
  • How is your running going? Any fall races on the calendar?
  • Have you ever taken an extended break from running? How did you know it was time to start up again?


- ST