Saturday, February 12, 2011

Run Swim Bike Cook: Week 2

True confession: I nearly quit Run Swim Bike Cook this week. I've been working myself saddle sore to knock down the 112 miles of biking, and it's been hard. After a chilly early morning bike ride where my fingers got so cold I could scarcely change gears (good thing I didn't need to brake), I was simply burnt out. The good news is that I logged 45 more miles this week. The bad news is that I still have 45 left to go.

Cycling has always been challenging for me. I generally feel slow and a little awkward. Clocking these miles has been tougher still since I'm often hauling an extra seventy pounds of bike trailer/munchkins. On the positive side, the practice is starting to pay off. I feel stronger and more confident on my bike. It's also creating some good family memories. The wee ones have really enjoyed our long bike rides to play at different parks in the warm afternoon sun. And, so have I. While I certainly could never manage 112 miles on a stationary bike, given the advantages of mild February weather and gorgeous scenery, I just might make it. Maybe.

I also ran 8 1/2 miles this week, giving me a total of 16 miles. I only planned for a 5 mile run around a loop course, but 4 miles into the run, I discovered that the trail was being torn up by a menacing bulldozer. I had no choice but to turn around and run back the other way. I'm just grateful I finished in time for preschool pick-up!

No swimming yet--I still need to renew our family pass to the local aquatic center.

The cooking challenge: a snack using sweet potatoes. Okay, more true confessions. After glimpsing all of the amazing hazelnut breakfast concoctions created by the other RSBCers last week, I felt totally intimidated. My own cooking, by comparison, just seemed, well, lame.

And then I realized that comparing is even lamer.

Run Swim Bike Cook is a personal challenge, not a competition. It's never been my goal to run the fastest or bike the farthest: why should I care about cooking the best? (Or worst, as the case may be...)

So why am I doing this? This year I'm striving to complete the triathlon to give me a better respect for the Ironman triathletes that are coming to St. George in May. When our family cheers them across the finish line, I'm going to applaud in awe; in a single day, they will accomplish a feat which I am struggling to finish over an entire month.

As for the cooking, I want to expand my culinary comfort zone while helping my family to make healthy food choices. Instead of being intimidated by all the other innovative ideas, I should appreciate their wealth of wisdom.

And so, instead of trying to compete for the fanciest sweet potato snack, may I instead contribute Sweet Potatoes chez les Wheelers. This recipe may not be particularly gourmet, but it's 100% original.

The inspiration:
Successful snacks at our house fit three criteria: simple, healthy, and fun. We enjoy playing with our food. Pitas, tortillas, bagels, and pancakes are empty canvases just waiting to be adorned. Why not turn a sweet potato into a similar creation? Given the round shape, I expected traditional smiley faces. I was pleasantly surprised when my children created not only faces, but monsters, geometric patterns, even the Grand Canyon. All good enough to eat!

The recipe:

Sweet potatoes
Ricotta cheese
Maple syrup
Favorite toppings (we used mandarin oranges, raisins, and hazelnuts)

Peel sweet potatoes, cut into rounds, and boil for about ten minutes until fork tender. Let cool. Mix ricotta cheese with maple syrup and spread on sweet potato rounds. Let your imagination run wild as you adorn with your favorite toppings.

The result:

Some Seriously Sweet Snacks.


candice said...

Wow, that is a really creative way to eat a sweet potato! Hats off to you for your running and biking ventures. I'm super impressed!

Anonymous said...

Although I like the smiling sweet potato Brooklyn is proudly displaying, her own enthusiastic jack-o-lantern smile is priceless!

Julie L said...

Kara, I think this is an absolutely great idea! Look how much fun the girls are having, and I hope they had as much fun eating them as making them!

Never compare. Your ideas are perfect just as they are! You are a very creative person and you inspire me with all you do! Congratulations on the Iron Man successes. I'm really hoping to be in a position to join it next year. I think it's a perfect way to tackle February!

Erin said...

Kara, kudos for your commitment to the RSBC month. I confess that I have neither cooked nor run in the past 2 weeks, both of which I intended to do. Sigh. Well, last year I had no intentions, this year I had intentions, perhaps next year, I'll actually do something?!

Chou said...

This is a brilliant idea! So fun. My friend Scott does recipes for kids, and interactivity is one of his key suggestions. ;) So you know, I've biked 4 miles this month. Four. Agh. And the only sweet potato recipe I've made is in my head . . .

Kristin said...

Enjoy the rest of the challenge! If anyone can do it, you certainly can.

And those sweet potato snacks look awesome.