Monday, September 2, 2013

How to start off poorly with vegan MOFO....

So, I'm posting from a kindle in a shoddy motel with sketchy WiFi. Why? Because I wanted to get involved in MOFO, BUT didn't take in to consideration the fact that for the first 9 days of September I would be on vacation, climbing peaks, drinking beer, and getting my third state 5k.

So, in honor of the month of food, I'm typing when I can't even see what I am typing. I promise I will make up for a lack of quality blog posts when we get back.

As for food, we are currently enjoying some local microbrews, while having a large amount of chips, salsa and guacamole in our slightly mildewy smelling room.

To be continued....

This is Mimi, she's 17. Hopefully she helps make up for lack of posts

Monday, August 12, 2013

Huckleberry 10k

I had decided that doing a half marathon two weeks before Portland to Coast (PTC) would be a really bad idea, so instead I signed up for the 10k.

It was a bit of a drive from Portland, as it started in Welches (on your way to Mt. Hood), but the race medal was calling my name! Laser cut bigfoot race bling, yes please!

The Huckleberry 10k  was described as "A quintessential Mt. Hood experience, the route is mostly a large loop on all-paved flat and rolling hills."

Sooo, maybe should have looked at the race course a little better to see what those rolling hills really were like...

Over all, I enjoyed this race! The course was a bit hilly, but it was a great work out and test run to see were I was at in regards to my speed walking pace for PTC. Originally I was going to run/walk, but decided to keep my knee happy and switched over to the walk only the day before.

The lovely Steph also came out and gave her speed walking at try on the course. Have to report, we did sweep our age division with a 1st and 2nd place!

Nice course on back roads, with lots of shade!


Loved keeping an eye out for the mile markers on this course!
We didn't get to enjoy the huckleberry muffins or doughnuts post race, as they were not vegan, but did get our fill of bread and fruit!
So much bread, that everyone go to take a whole loaf or bag of buns.
And, we ran in to bigfoot after we finished! The only downfall I could find was running out of water at the aid stations, but seeing it was the first year, that is an easy fix.
The race medals were awesome, and we got a cloth bag, coffee cup, reflective clip on and some coupons and chafe gel in our swag bags. I will be back again next year, and will see about getting our PTC team out there to do one more test walk before the event!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pop Up! Taco Shop! Part 2 ~ The recipes!

Alright, in all their taco-y glory, the recipes for my fillings!

Chilled avocado chick pea filling
Or, "Damn, this shit is tasty"
I got the original recipe for this from the Oregonian Food Day. I made it for Mexican night while my family was camping, and that was the first and only time I actually followed a recipe for it.
You pretty much just mash up some avocados, add some spices to your liking, a bit of fresh lime juice, and a couple cans of chick peas that you rinsed off.
For Pop Up! Taco Shop! I used:
9 or 10 avocados
3 cans of chickpeas
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika (because it was on the spice shelf)
A few shakes of garlic powder
A few shakes of onion powder
The juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon of smoked black salt
Sea salt and pepper to taste.
I mashed up those bad boy avocados in a huge bowl with a pastry cutter (works great, way easier than a fork!).
Tossed in all the spices I have listed, stirred it all up, and taste it. I know I added more of some of the spices, but didn't actually write it down. Just give it a try, and add what ever you think it needs more of. You're eating this, not me.
Once the avocado part taste good, stir in the chick peas.
Let it chill for a while so the flavors all mingle, then make some damn tacos.
See how easy this recipe is, and it taste great, and only requires one bowl!
Now, for the really good stuff!
Asian Fusion Smoked Soy curls with Mango Slaw and a Green Curry Drizzle
For the smoked soy curls:
I smoked up a HUGE pan of soy curls, because I needed enough to feed 15 on Saturday, and also have enough to sample out 60 mini tacos on Sunday. If you are making this at home, probably two bags of the soy curls would be plenty. I soaked them, drained them (but didn't squeeze them out) and placed them in a big aluminum pan, and smoked them for a little over an hour.
If you don't have a smoker, you could try a little bit of liquid smoke to add a smokey flavor
Or, just use plain soy curls. These tacos would still be really tasty, even not smokey!
For the sauce:
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
3-4 green onions, diced up
1 oz fresh ginger, peeled
about 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
1 oz lemongrass (I bought lemongrass in the herb section, and it came in a plastic container. About a 5 inch chunk was 1 oz on my scale)
 3/4 of a bunch of  cilantro
¼ cup rice vinegar
  1/4 cup sesame oil
1 cup orange juice
 2 cup veg stock
Dice up the ginger and lemongrass into little teeny tiny pieces. Coarsely chop the cilantro (it's going to wilt when it get's cooked, so you probably don't big long stems in there, but it doesn't need to be micro chopped)
Add everything together in a bowl, stir it all up until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Pour over your smoked soy curls, then cook them up in a fry pan. I used a little olive oil so they wouldn't stick, and just pan fried them until they started to get a little crispy. The extra sauce will cook down in the pan and help coat the soy curls with all that flavor.
Once they are all cooked, pull them off the heat, spoon some in a tortilla, top with the mango slaw, and drizzle with the green curry!
Green Curry Drizzle
2 cloves worth of garlic (I just used minced garlic, since it's in my fridge)
½ oz ginger, peeled
½ oz lemongrass, coarsely chopped (it's going in the food processor, so it can still be big chunks)
 2-3 chilies in adobe sauce, with a big extra blop of the sauce
~2 bunches cilantro
 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
 1/2 cup canola oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons agave

Directions for Green Curry:

Mince garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and chilies and sauté for a little bit. Add to food processor with cilantro and process for a little bit.. Add the chilies and extra adobe sauce, the vegan cream cheese, the vinegar, cumin and agave, blend until mixed. While processing, slowly add canola oil until mixture is thick and smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

Mango Cabbage Slaw :

2 bags of shredded green cabbage (or shred your own if you want to get fancy)
2-3 mangos, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon garlic
Chopped fresh mint (About 1/8 of a cup once chopped)
Chopped fresh basil (about 1/4 cup once chopped)
3/4 a bunch of cilantro (or less, but I like cilantro)
1/3 cup agave
Salt and pepper to taste
You pretty much just toss everything together in a bowl, mix it all together, and let it sit in the fridge for a little bit for the flavors to all mix. Use more of less fresh herbs for your taste. I like mint and basil, so I used a lot.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vegan Iron Chef ~ Pop Up! Taco Shop! Part one!

Look! Finally a post about vegan cooking! So far my blogs been about a lot of running, but figured I'd go big with my first real food post.

And big did I go!

About a month ago, I agreed, mostly on a whim and wanting to help a friend out, to enter in the Portland area's Vegan Iron Chef food competition.

The idea of PUTS was that local chefs would bring in a tasty taco filling to feed about 60 small sample servings. The people over at VIC would supply the tortillas, taco toppings (lettuce, cheese sauce, lime wedges and the like). 3 local judges would judge the tacos, and there would also be a people's choice award. 
I had told Steph I would bring two fillings to the table. First off, a chilled avocado chick pea taco filling. Super easy, involves no cooking, and tastes great.
My other plan was to see about smoking some soy curls, since I had never tried that before, and pretty much just pan frying them up with some dried spices (cumin, Mexican oregano, chili pepper, etc). I figured I would just win people over by having humorous signs to go with my fillings.
 I will win fellow vegans over with Gossling vegan taco jokes!

And sloths, because I love them!
But then Steph sent me a note on facebook that the chef from Portobello would be there...
At that point, I figured I'd should actually make an attempt and a better than my "normal" taco filling....
Now, I forgot to mention that the 3.5 days before the competition, I would be running around getting ready for, setting up, actually participating, and tearing down a local Relay for Life event.
I though I would find a recipe to veganize, buy supplies, test it out on friends at family and hopefully it tasted good enough that I could just remake it Sunday morning, take a short nap, and then head over to the Pop Up Taco Shop.
So, it didn't go as smoothly as planned. Found a recipe to veganize on Tuesday. Thursday we smoked a LARGE amount of soy curls.  Friday (at 10p.m.) I was buying supplies, and then around midnight I was making the green curry drizzle (mainly because it involved a food processor, and I couldn't take that to our Relay camp site). Saturday I hada go with the test run. Which meant that I had Steph putting together my mango slaw recipe at a picnic table, while I made the sauce and cooked the curls over a camp stove (as the wind decided to blow over our big shade tent and bust the legs...) with my finger crossed that it would taste decent.
Even as crazy as it was, it turned out delicious, and there very little left overs. If my Omni family loves a vegan recipe, I know it's a keeper!
Between everything that needs to happen for Relay for Life, I was going on about 7 hours of sleep in the previous 36 hours to the competition.
That nap I was hoping to take before heading over, yeah, that didn't happen. Relay ended at 10a.m. on Sunday, and I was packed up, and over to Jill's house by 10:20.
I got prepping, chopping, soaking, and cooking! It took a bit longer than I thought it was going to, so I had just enough time to finish my two fillings, take a super quick shower, load up, and drive over to Portland.
I think I managed to take all of 3 photos (although I don't remember taking them)
This was my little set up. I got to sit next to Rosie of Portland Juice Press, who ended up winning first place with the judges!
At this point, I was pretty tired. I can honestly say I don't remember a lot of what was going on at PUTS. I remember setting up my station for serving (I think there ended up being 14 fillings to try), eating Steph's plate of taco goodness (since I hadn't eaten since the night before, and she watches out for me), and then at some point cheering because my taco filling was announced for something.
My two fillings are in the upper right photo, the green blop and the soy curls with the green drizzle)
Photo by C. Sobolowski (borrowed from Facebook, as I forgot to take any photos of my tacos)
I only brought home a little bit of the smoked soy curls (yea for planning correctly the amount needed!). Every other bowl I bought was beyond cleaned out.
I was so tired that after I sat in traffic trying to get home, I laid on the couch, and passed out for 12 hours.
I sent a message to Steph on Monday to see how my tacos did.
And you know what?
Third place for people's choice, and second place with the judges!
Part 2 will have recipes, I promise!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Portland Electric Run

I signed up for the Portland Electric Run right before the last price increase. I have a hard time shelling out more than about $38 for a 5k event, and by the time I was registered, with a team discount AND a discount code (and added fees and taxes? Come on races, if the race says $55, make it $55, don't tack on another $5 half way through the registration process) it still came to a little over $50 for this race.
And, no beer included.....

It's Electric?
I had a good time walking this event (we'll get to that part shortly) with Leann, another Team Slow Poke member, but once was plenty. Even if I had remembered to sign up with the early bird discount, it just wasn't my style.

Waiting for about 1.5 hours to actually start....

The race was out at Portland International Raceway. I've done a couple of events out there before, and it's always been on the actual race track, so I figured it would be the same for the Electric Run.
Yea, no so much...
The parking was rough, and it was recommended to get there several hours early to park.....
 they weren't kidding. With 9000 runners attending, it was a bit of a cluster.
Leann and I managed to get up to the front of the start line, so luckily we ended up in the second wave of "runners" after waiting over 1.5 hours. I know they were waiting for the sun to set, but even after checking out the few booths at the start line, there wasn't much to do, besides dance to the DJ (also, not my style, I don't dance. It's just safer for everyone that way) They released many waves, and I think by the time the finish party was over, people from the last wave were still coming in.

The aid station water, cool to look at, but warm dusty plastic flavored water was kind of yucky

We ended up walking the race because the course was actually out behind/next to the PIR, so we were out in grass, gravel roads, uneven ground and who knows what else. Lots of tripping going on, and runners brave enough to actually run were crashing and rolling all over the place. With Portland to Coast coming up, I was not going to bust an ankle with this event.
I know it's advertised as the "Electric Run" and there were some pretty cool displays and music playing, but they were spaced pretty far apart, so there were a lot of dark places to be trying to run. We had some blinky/glow stuff with us,  but had I known it was going to be that dark, and flash light might have been handy to have.
We didn't hang around for the finish line party, with store brand granola bars (not vegan), more warm water, and rock star "juice" to drink, we were good to skip.
If Leann and I had remembered to bring our rave drugs maybe we would have stayed longer ;)
It was beyond dark out in the fields where we were parked, and I managed to roll my ankle while walking to the car. I guess on the upside, at least I wasn't on the course and still had miles to go.....
We thought that the parking before was bad, leaving was even worse. I think it was an hour or more to get out of the field, and Leann happened to know a back way that got us away from the huge line to get on the freeway. For some reason the organizers didn't think to have anyone directing traffic out of the fields.
So, for $50+ for the Electric Run, you got a few neat light show displays in the dark and techno music, a shirt that runs pretty small, a race bib, a blinking bracelet, a pair of glow stick glasses, some water and a granola bar.
Like I said, once was plenty for me. I can say I did it, but not doing it again. There seems to be several more glow/neon night runs happening in the Portland area, and they are one paved roads, which seems a lot safer, if I do decide to try another race like this again.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Craft Dash ~ 8k with a happy ending

I did the Craft Dash last year, by myself, and it was a blast! I loved it so much that I conned-er-convinced a bunch of friends to join me! "It's great, you run to whole bunch of breweries, you drink at every stop, and by the end you are running fast because you feel awesome (a maybe a little bit sloshy)"

So we all signed up, and didn't catch on to the "happy ending" change to the name.

Apparently, it's not the best idea to have a bunch of half drunk people running around Portland at 10a.m.

There was a few days of pre-race disappointment that we wouldn't be getting beer during the race, but Craft Dash totally made up for it in the end!

 Did I mention that there is also a costume contest with the Craft Dash?

Bay Watch? They even had a shark in there.

I think this group won, pretty kick ass Mario Cart theme
We started at the Hop & Vine where we had a group toast with a glass of beer before we were released into the wilds of Portland. The organizers had managed to arrange one beer stop on the run, but we would have to wait until we got to the finish line before the beer really started flowing.
Cheers to the Slow Pokes!

Why yes, a Team Slow Poke shoe shot, with my "Hop-ster" claw
I promised MJ that I would speed walk with her for this event, so we waved good bye to the other Slow Pokes, and got in the groove. We might have been at the back of the pack, but we got to enjoy watching some of the fun costume teams that might have created their own beer stops on the course....
Finish line glass and all those beer tickets!
The finish line was at Widmer Brothers Brewing where the breweries we ran past were all represented. Each of those tickets was good for a decent pour of beer, so by the end, we all were feeling pretty great for having done an 8k on a hot morning.
I have to say, July as been the sweatiest race month for me! Who knew claws were so toasty to exercise in?
Craft Dash, in addition to being a fundraiser for a local school, we got a really nice shirt (the design changes each year)a glass tasting glass and a bunch of beer. As you could guess, no race bibs (unless you count our ID bracelets) or timing chips, but a pretty epic 8k for $40

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Foot Traffic Flat 1/2 marathon 2013

July 4th marked my sixth 1/2 marathon since I started running about 3 years ago. It also marked the first 1/2 I was doing with out a bunch of Team Slow Pokes there.

I had signed up for the Foot Traffic Flat I think back around the new year. My first year of running, I did one 1/2. My second year, I signed up for two 1/2 events. Seeing it was my 3rd year of running races, thought I better aim for 3!

$60 got you a nice tech shirt, fun race bib with your name on it, post race food and after party, and a HUGE finisher's medal. Foot Traffic events seem to be well known for over sized race bling, and they didn't disappoint!

My morning started really early. Traffic and parking on Sauvie Island was apparently supposed to be bad, and when I picked up my race packet, the staff guy told us to try to aim to be on the island by 5 a.m. to avoid the back up.

Getting up early has it perks!
I was pulling into the parking lot at the start line at a little bit after 5, and I ended up hitting no traffic, and having front row parking too! Plus I got to enjoy the sunrise while finishing getting ready.
This race is called the Foot Traffic Flat for a reason! For the most part, you are running on nice paved flat roads. There were, I think, maybe 3 little hills to tackle, but after having done the Shamrock 15k, hills like these are easy peasy!
Everyone had warned me about mosquitoes, but I didn't end up with any bites.
It's easy to get in a running groove when this is where you are at.
Once again, it was going to be a toasty day, so I ran with my little pink camelback. I had never put in more than 6.5 miles wearing it, but I was glad I had it! In addition to tanking water at the aid stations, I also took a lot of hits off the pack (and for those who know me, I try to drink only enough to stay hydrated, and not enough to have to pee during a race).
The great thing about 1/2 marathons, for me anyway, is that it's the distance where I do get that runner's groove, slip into the "zone," and truly have miles disappear while I'm out there. Miles 6-12 just happen. I think I would have even maybe stayed in the zone, if I had not gotten a rock in my shoe at mile 12, which lead to some crazy running, which lead to my first foot cramps during a race.
Even with the foot cramps, heat and that rock, I still set a new PR on the 1/2 distance for myself!
I finished the 1/2, got my huge race bling, limped out to my car to get my flip flops and some Nuun tablets to get some electrolytes in me, and head back to the post race party.
I have to admit, the lines are the Foot Traffic Flat are a bit crazy. Huge lines to the bathroom to start, big lines to get your beer and another big line to get your race food. But, this event also allows for great people watching, so it balances out!
Veggie hot dogs and strawberry (minus eating the short cake) post race!
I'm glad I can say that I've done the Foot Traffic Flat, but I'm not sure I'll be doing another July 1/2 marathon. The heat is hard to deal with. Even with as much as I drank, it took me over a day to get re-hydrated again.