Monthly Archives: November 2014

My Current Race 3 Plan + Chicken

There are seven days before I toe the Start Line for Race 3 of my three race training cycle and my training has been going well.  Before I get into my Race 3 plans, Happy Thanksgiving!  I hoperace 3 everyone had or is having a fantastic time with their friends and family.  Doug and I slept in then went to our annual neighborhood Turkey Trot and Breakfast before he rotisseried a pair of small chickens on the grill.  Even though we both like turkey, he’s been itching to use his grilling toys and with just us, why not?  Jordy was very helpful and made sure everything cooked as planned.  We ate an early dinner of delicious chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes (my favorite), veggies and wine to get ready for the Eagles game.  A little bit of relaxing followed the game then it was back to work this morning for both of us.race 3

With the holiday behind me, it’s time to start looking towards the Rehoboth Beach/Seashore Half Marathon next Saturday.  It’s the end of this short training cycle and I’ve been a little all over the map with my plans for it.  One day it’s going to be a PR race, the next it’s just a training run.  After a bad run at Race 1 in Las Vegas and a really good one at Race 2 in Norfolk, I’m leaning towards going for the time I missed in Myrtle Beach next weekend.  My training has been solid over the last 10 days and I’d like to see what I can do without weeks of concentration.  I worked really hard for my 1:39.09 PR in March at a windy race and without really trying beat it at 1:38.42 three weeks later.  To come in ahead of my Myrtle Beach time, I’ll simply have to run the same pace for less distance.  This weekend’s long run will be a hard effort that, hopefully, leaves me with a good idea of what my goal should be.

This is, of course, all contingent on the weather.  The first weekend of December in 2014 hit the east coast with winds, rain and cold temperatures that made making a PR effort extra difficult.  The current forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-40s and a 10% chance of rain but if things lately are any indication, that’s no guarantee.  If the weather looks bad or the wind kicks up to 10+ miles an hour, my Race 3 plans will include taking this one easy and getting back to business before trying again at Rock n Roll Arizona in a few weeks.  If I do manage to hit the 1:37.00 goal in Delaware, I’ll have to put some thinking into my goals for the first few months, and races, of 2015.

Meredith

How was your Thanksgiving?  What special recipes did you use?  Are you racing next weekend?

Harbor Lights Half 2014

The inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon in Norfolk, VA is in the can.  I teamed with two other runners to pace the 2 hour group and had a wonderful race day.harbor lights halfRace Weekend kicked off with a trip to the Half Moone Cruise Center to pick up my race gear and work the pacer booth Friday afternoon.  It was so much fun getting to meet people I would be helping on Sunday while harbor lights halfcarolers got everyone in the holiday spirit and Bon Secours In Motion held free mobility and muscle imbalance testing.  My short shift flew by, though little did I know I probably should have hung out a bit longer.  Leaving the expo was an absolute disaster.  I got into my car at 4:38pm and didn’t get out of the City of Norfolk parking garage until after 6.  Not only was this a massive pain in the rear, it cost me an additional $2.50 and wasted plenty of gas.  I’m not sure who is at fault for the fiasco but hope the horrendous situation is resolved before the 2015 edition of the Harbor Lights Half Marathon.Harbor Lights Half

I had a nice relaxing Saturday and got ready for Race Day.  After the previous week’s debacle, I was excited to get a solid training run in while cheering on some fellow runners to new PRs.  I popped out of bed Sunday morning, dressed for the cooler temperatures, fueled up with breakfast and an E2 then headed to the course.  Doug dropped me off before going to do his own harbor lights halflong run and I met up with all of the other pacers, including my two hour buddies, Mike in a turkey suit and Tony with an apron and plastic knife, before using one of the numerous Port-a-Potties.  No lines!  I then dropped off my gear and slid into Corral 3 just as the National Anthem began.

Before we knew it, Corral 3 was off.  The course started with a slight incline to really get my body moving and we had some serious GPS issues.  Quickly we decided to work off of total time rather than the watch splits.  The course travels through several scenic areas of Norfolk and it was nice to be out on the quiet morning streets with a few hundred friends.  Much like when I paced the Rock n Roll Virginia Beach, I paid little attention to the course’s details as I was more worried about clocking steady miles and helping those around me.  I did, however, make some general observations.

Course support was great.  There were sprinklings of fans who were quite enthusiastic on an early, chilly morning and fully loaded, well staffed water stops helped everyone stay hydrated.  Later there were gels around Mile 7 and around Mile 9 (I think) a Baker’s Crust pie stop.  Port-a-Potties dotted the sidelines and the timing mats at 5k, 10k and 10 miles were very visible.

The course itself was narrow at points, especially when you hit the cobblestone stretches and everyone opted for the sidewalk.  Most of the race was run on one side of the road or the other with light morning traffic passing by.  I struggled to find a flat surface because of this which started to bother my knee and I found myself on the sidewalk for a few minutes to even things out.

Turns and hills.  There were lots of turns on the overall flat course but there were three large reverse hills, meaning we started going down under a road and came up on the other side to break up the flatness.  Mile 11 felt very long and Mile 12 has you run past the post-race party before making a sharp right turn and weaving back to the Finish Line along the river’s edge.

Mike, Tony and I crossed the Finish Line at 1:59.59 and the race couldn’t have gone any better.  It was a blast to run with the two hour group, especially when we were call and responses of harbor lights half‘gobble, gobble…beer, beer’ under every bridge.  Congratulations abounded as we walked through the shoot collecting water, bananas, pretzels, race logo glassware, inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon bottle opener medals and heat sheets.  It was very rewarding to have so many runners thank us for pacing them to new PRs and we all went on to celebrate at the Post Race Party.harbor Lights half

Unfortunately the heat sheets weren’t as helpful as I hoped because the sun wasn’t out to warm them but  J&A Racing did another great job putting on a fantastic post-race party.  While we partied, Jerry of J&A Racing continues to work hard to make sure every single runner has a good experience.  Such a nice thing to see.  The party featured Right On Band, who always put on a great show, Blue Moon beer there was never a line for and quickly served delicious Baker’s Crust Stew.  A bonus?  No post-race Port-a-Potty lines either!  The event swag included a women’s cut tech t-shirt that I actually really like, a nice big bottle opener medal and a logo glass I was quick to pour my post race libation in.

The Inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon was a great late fall race and I hope J&A puts it on again next year.  As long as the early expo parking problems are ironed out, I’ll be there.

Meredith

Have you run an inaugural race?  Does this one sound good to you?

RnR Las Vegas: Part II

RnR Las Vegas was hands down the hardest training run I’ve ever completed.  I’ve run longer, I’ve run harder in more heat, more wind, ice and snow but this was a disaster.  To catch up on what happened before the race began, and quite possibly played a role in my mess of a race, check out RnR Las Vegas Part I here.

I got a solid nine hours of sleep Saturday night but when Race Morning drnr las vegasawned, I knew it hadn’t been enough to make up for Friday night’s lack.  With two nights before a race being the most important, I scrapped my start slow plan before I even climbed out of bed.  I just wanted to run with Meb.  After I got out of bed, I even questioned that.  My legs felt terrible and I could tell I just didn’t have it. The day was sunny and cool, meaning the weather for the race would be great.  I was definitely looking forward to that.  What I wasn’t looking forward to were the nine hours before race time.  My Race Day routine wasn’t possible with the Rock n Roll Las Vegas beginning at 4:30pm and that didn’t help my legs feel any better.

As those nine hours crept by, Mom and I did some shopping at the Grand Canal Shops, ate lunch and suffered through the first half of an atrocious Eagles game.  My hydration and fueling strategies were non-existent but I wasn’t concerned because I didn’t plan on ‘racing’.  Around 3:15, I put an E2 in 16 ounces of Las Vegas tap water and drank it dry just before heading to the Start.  Immediately I knew it was a mistake.  When I travel I typically stick to bottled water. Changing can upset my digestive system and it takes me a day or two to adjust.  I had been doing a good job for this trip until that moment.  The water tasted funny and I knew I’d need to use the restroom before running 13+ miles.  No worries, there would be plenty to use at the starting area.

Getting to those Port-a-Potties was an entirely different issue. The walk should only have taken 25 minutes but with huge crowds and a much further than expected distance to go, it took close to 45. My mom and I had begun the walk together but after realizing how much further I had to go, I took off at a jog, leaving my phone and any chance at Start Line photos behind me while she went to find a place to cheer from.  I continued moving towards the Start for what seemed like forever.  Eventually I did find and use one of the many Port-A-Potties near the back of Corral 48 and just as I entered, Corral 1 was released.  At that moment I stopped to retie my shoes and knew I wasn’t going to make it to my desired Meb Corral between 6 and 7.  I simply put the pedal to the metal and power walked, dodged and excused my way as far forward as I could. During this process my entire plan for the race changed.  There was no way I would be able to catch the 1:45 group starting so far behind them and with my legs feeling pretty crappy already, I just wanted to get in a solid training run.

By the time I made it to the front, I was crossing the RnR Las Vegas Starting Line with Corral 11.  I asked around the crowd and found out it was a 2 hour finish time Corral, less than ideal but it certainly could have been worse.  Mile 1 was full of traffic and about 30 seconds slower than I wanted.  After that things opened up at bit to give me some running room as I passed my cheering Mom at Mile 2.  The next six miles were pretty steady with traffic, making it hard to clock consistent half mile splits but I had some fun chatting with other runners, thanking volunteers and the LVPD and smiling for the race photographers.  I hit 5k in a leisurely 26:03, 10k at a better pace in 51:21 and was feeling pretty good after grabbing some water just before Mile 6.  While that second dose of Las Vegas water didn’t tip my system over the edge, the water stop at Mile 9 spelled the end for me.

As soon as I drank that water, I knew things were going to take a turn for the worse.  It tasted funny, immediately turning my stomach.  I couldn’t find a Port-a-Potty fast enough and when I finally did, it wasn’t pretty.  Officially dehydrated, I took off again to feet that were starting to cramp and a course filled with water that wasn’t going to help much.  Next to go were my glutes and hamstrings.  Never, ever during a run has my posterior chain gotten such a good workout.  Every muscle down the back of my body below my hips was screaming.  My knees and IT bands hurt with every step and I took some walking breaks.  Every mile seemed like to took forever.  I was in more pain than I have ever been in during any run in my life.  I had ceased caring about my long run, training and finish time while I was inside that portable restroom and just wanted to make across the line without any serious injuries.

I struggled through the final 5k to finish 13.27 miles in 1:59.36.  I’ve had bad races before, and I’m sure I’ll have one again, but this was awful. Everything below and including my abs hurt as I picked up my playing card inspired medal, immediately downed an entire bottle of water and grabbed pretzels, chocolate milk, Powerbars and a heat sheet.  My knees hadn’t felt like that in a long, long time.  My posterior chain was sore, aching and altogether upset.  I needed a foot massage and couldn’t get to my compression soon enough.  Unfortunately in the mass of people at the Finish, I missed my mom and we didn’t meet up again until we were both back at our room, which is why I don’t have any finish line photos either.rnr las vegas

In the end, the first eight miles of my RnR Las Vegas long run were very good and the last five were terrible.  It was a big learning experience and looking back, I’m actually glad I had to fight through it.  The ample support on the course, from water stops to Port-a-Potties, was great and the run through the lights was special in spite of being too busy looking at the people around me, trying not to run into them, over them and get in their way to really take in the scenery.  What I did see was pretty cool and the flat course definitely has the potential to be fast. Had I felt better, not been in a panic at the beginning and had fresher legs, I’m sure it would have been a much more enjoyable experience.

Would I run RnR Las Vegas again?  Absolutely.  I have a lot of ground to cover first (42 more states) but I’m not counting it out.  If you have the chance, I recommend giving this race a shot.  Just be sure to worry more about taking in the scenes than the people around you.

Meredith

Have you run RnR Las Vegas?  Would you?  Why or why not?

Rock n Roll Las Vegas: Part I

Rock n Roll Las Vegas was the hardest training run I have ever completed.  The first 8.something miles were great.  The last 5.something were excruciating. If it hadn’t been a race, I probably would have bailed.  I’ve had bad races before and I’m sure it will happen again, but this one took the cake.  This is a two-part post, the before here and during and after coming next.  Here’s how the worst run I can remember got started.rock n roll las vegas

My plan was to run an easy training run and finish the race around 1:45 with eight miles at long run pace and the last five faster.  When I saw that 2014’s Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi was pacing the 1:45 group, I decided to jump in with them.  How cool would that be?  I printed proof of having raced in that time range, my confirmation sheet, hotel reservations, flight itinerary and packed up.  My Mom was flying from Philadelphia and the plan was the meet up at McCarren airport Friday night.

I had work before my evening flight and got up at my usual Friday morning 5am ET.  I worked, finished packing and made my way to the airport.  I was tired by the time I arrived in Charlotte for the second leg and had big plans for sleeping at least half of the almost five hours it would take to arrive in Las Vegas.  After boarding, I noticed two infants across the aisle from me but hoped they were good little travelers and everyone would be able to get some shut eye.

Nope.  The kids were miserable.  I got maybe four minutes of shut-eye before landing at 10:30 PT.  Staying up late is not something I do often, especially on race weekend.  I waited for Mom to gather her luggage and we cabbed it to the hotel.  Exhausted, I hit the hay around 1am PT after close to 23 straight bright eyed hours.  Seven fitful hours of sleep later, my feet hit the hotel room floor.  I couldn’t sleep anymore because my body was still on East Coast time but I knew not sleeping well two nights before a race can spell disaster.  As I started to move around, I immediately knew this wasn’t going rock n roll las vegasto be a chance to push myself.  I had done a good job of drinking water while flying and wasn’t dehydrated but my legs didn’t feel fresh and I regretted not wearing compression on the way west.

A tasty carb load breakfast where I hoped my grumpy legs would loosen up as I walked around during the day kicked off Saturday morning and we made it to the expo just after the doors opened.  I had proof of running in the 1:45 range to join Meb’s in my hand as Mom and I found the end of a giant but steadily moving line to enter.  I quickly acquired my number from a friendly volunteer who had also come all the way from Virginia Beach.  The gentleman was very nice and we chatted for a moment about the RnR Virginia Beach and how excited we were to be part of the Las Vegas event.  Next stop was t-shirt pick up then I stepped in line to get my Meb Corral sticker.  An orange ‘M’ sticker was applied to my number before we wandered through the crowded expo, snapping a few photos before taking the Las Vegas Monorail back to our hotel.rock n roll las vegas

The rest of Saturday was mostly relaxing.  I knew if I was going to have any success on Sunday I need to get some more sleep and I tried to take a nap but failed miserably.  I try to stick with bottled water when I travel because sometimes strange tap water upsets my system and did an excellent job of drinking plenty of it.  After failed nap time, Mom and I had a better than expected dinner at KGB Burger (definitely check it out if you’re in the mood for a hamburger) then went to Aria to catch Zarkana.  The 90 show flew by.  The performances were fantastic.  Amazing athletes, great music and incredible set designs set the scene for a show I’d love to see again.  After the show we gambled a bit before my exhaustion from Friday caught up and I wanted to get to bed.  I got a solid nine hours of sleep Saturday night but still didn’t feel great heading into Rock n Roll Las Vegas Race Day.

Stay tuned for my Race Day recap in Rock n Roll Las Vegas Part II 🙂

Meredith

Did you run the Strip at Night this year?  Do you plan on it?

Kooee Super Snacks Review

I recently received the opportunity to try a sample of Kooee Super Snacks as part of my Girls Gone Sporty ambassadorship.  I’m not a big jerky eater but that’s mostly because I don’t think to buy it.  A friend of mine makes delicious venison jerky I can’t wait to get my hands on each kooee super snacksfall and when beef jerky is flavored right, I’ll munch on it any time.  After learning a little bit about the product, I was very excited to give it a try.

Kooee Super Snacks are gluten free, soy-free, paleo friendly and feature beef that was never given antibiotics or additional hormones.  Each package contains tons of protein, 20+ grams, but it is a little high in cholesterol and sodium compared to a 20g Powerbar.  Kooee Super Snacks are currently available in two flavors, Smoked Chipolte with Apple and Lime Pepper with Mango, and two packages of each were included in my sample.  I opened the first of my Smoked Chipolte as a post-workout refuler.

The first thing I noticed was the packaging.  One of my favorite things about the snacks, the resealable packet is divided into two parts, one for the jerky and a second section for the nuts and apples, that combine when you unzip the top closure.  Two compartments helps ensure freshness while the ability to close the package means you it’s portable when you don’t finish an entire serving at once.  In addition to those fun features, the packaging is slim and easy to slide into a laptop, gym- or hand- bag.

After the packaging it was on to the jerky snacks themselves.  I dove right in and grabbed a big piece of jerky to fill my rumbling post-workout belly.  The smoked chipolte flavor was strong, fresh and good.  A sneaky burst of heat was eased by pulling out an apple slice to go with it and the pairing works wonderfully.  Of course I shared a bit with my fellow worker-outers and they also thought it was quite tasty.  It only took about half of the package to satisfy my post session craving, making me glad I could close the remaining food up and take it with me.

The next day I decided to finish my first batch of Kooee Super Snacks as an after lunch, before dinner filler.  To my delight I found the resealed package still held fresh food after 24 hours and the final third was more than enough to ease my hunger.  As I munched and prepared to discard the packaging, I noticed I could swing by the website to track my beef.  It was really neat to enter the code and see where the meat came from.  It gave tons of credibility to the no added hormone and no antibiotics claims and lets me know that I was eating exactly what I thought I was.

I definitely enjoyed the smoked chipolte but to be fair had to give them lime pepper a try.  It was just as fresh and convenient as the previous package but I’m not a big lime person and preferred the chipolte.  The fruits and nuts in both packages were really nicely paired with the meat’s flavor making it clear some serious time had been spent trying to concoct these mixtures.

I enjoyed the time I spent exploring Kooee Super Snacks and recommend the portable, protein packed jerky mixes for any road trip, workout or afternoon.  Be sure to visit the Kooee Super Snack website to help them with their Kickstarter campaign or order your own to try!

****I received Kooee Super Snacks as part of my partnership with Girls Gone Sporty.  I received no compensation for this review beyond complimentary sample product.****

Meredith

Have you tried Kooee Super Snacks?  Would you like to?

Three Race Training Cycle Begins

My three race training cycle has begun.  I’m ramping up for three races in the next few weeks, all of them half marathons and each with a different goal.  You can catch up on those plans here!  In that post I talked a little bit about my plans for this week’s training but now most of it is in the books and I’m pretty happy with how the workouts have gone so far.

Monday’s strength training was tough.  The weights weren’t incredibly heavy but it was an intense combination of movements (power cleans, front squats, shoulder to overhead) put together with some elbow soreness that didn’t help much.  On the bright side, power cleans are one of my most favorite weighted exercises and I’m glad I got them in this week.

Tuesday was speed work.  I ran alternating 400M intervals of 15-20 seconds faster than 5k pace and long run pace with mile warm up and short cool down for a total of five miles.  I did this workout in my racing shoes.  The drop in them is only two millimeters less than my regular trainers but, along with the calf crushing speed work, they left my lower legs a bit upset.

To add insult to calf tightness, I had to can the first long run of my three race training cycle on Wednesday afternoon.  My schedule changed and I wasn’t going to have time to get it in before dark.  I don’t particularly like running the dark if I don’t have to and I definitely didn’t see myself logging 90 minutes on a dreadmill so I decided to cross train again.  Heavy deadlifts, pull-ups and running.  The deadlift and pull-ups felt great.  The running wasn’t good.  My legs were much more tired than they should have been and my gym shoes felt like cinder blocks on my feet.  It turned out better than I expected.  A solid workout I was glad to be done with.

Thursday dawned dreary, rainy and very unmotivating.  Long run pushed back again, I took the week’s rest day instead of waiting until Saturday.  Friday there was a mild improvement in weather until the time I was finally able to head out to get that 90 minute run started.  The sun was shining, yes, but there were also steady 15mph winds and gusts upwards of 25mph.  No, thanks.  A light cross training that included lots of squats kept my legs working for the day and I knew I had no choice but to pop up this morning and get that run taken care of.three race training cycle

I’m glad I waited.  The weather this morning was the best for running I’ve seen in months.  I took off with the goal of logging somewhere between 10 and 11 miles, knowing I have at least seven to complete as part of my Harbor Lights Half pacer duties at the course preview tomorrow.  The first 5k of three race training cycle long run #1 were awful.  It felt like those three miles took an hour.  I took all of those 5,000M to get warmed up and my calves let me know they weren’t too keen on the idea of going any further.  I stopped to give them a much needed stretch and tried to figure out why they were so very tight.  A-ha!  Racing shoes Tuesday, trotting around in four inch heels both Wednesday and Thursday nights and completely ignoring them Friday.  Another stretch at the halfway point finally eased the calf pain once and for all.  I wrapped up the run at 90 minutes with 11 miles in an average pace of 8:05 per mile.  I was really happy with that.  It felt great to know my body barely lost any running fitness with only one run of five miles in three weeks.  I’m ready to rock Vegas, stick to my plan, skip the heels and have three race training cycle long run #2 go well.

Tomorrow it’s seven easy miles with Team J&A, my fellow pacers and lots of happy Harbor Lights Half participants.  J&A always put on a good show and I’m ready to finish the week with something fun.

Meredith

How was your training week?  What races do you have coming up?

Three Races, Three Different Goals

My two weeks of rest, recovery and relaxing are over.  I head into three races with three different goals over the next few weeks and I’m getting back in gear with a middle mileage, lots of cross training program.  This event centered training cycle kicks off with Rock n Roll Vegas next weekend, the Harbor Lights Half the week after that and the Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon the first Saturday in December.  I’ll tackle each race individually and I’m using this week as a gentle build into more intense workouts in the upcoming months.

I’m not logging many hard, fast miles this week but I will be running 28 total in preparation for Rock n Roll Vegas.  I lifted some heavy-ish weights Monday and got in a round of 400M repeats yesterday to get back in the running groove as I kick off this first week of my three races training cycle.  A 90 minute long run today and more cross training will send me into the weekend where I have a fun, non-race running event coming up.  As part of my two hour pacer duties for the Harbor Lights Half, I’ll be helping with the course preview run Sunday.  A seven mile tour of the beginning and end of the race’s path will help me get the rest of my miles in while having a great time with some fellow Harbor Lights participants.three races

After Sunday’s course preview event, it’s right into Rock n Roll Vegas Race Week.  I’ll do three short, hard runs leading up to two days of mostly rest as I cruise into Race #1.  Race day will be my longest run since Myrtle Beach and I am just fine with that.  I want to get out and take in the scenery while enjoying my short vacation with the first of these three races.  My goal is to run the first eight miles at long run pace then pick up for the next five to average about an eight minute mile, bringing me across the line right around 1:45.  I expect this to be a solid training run even though I haven’t racked up many miles in the past few weeks.  No matter what, it will definitely be a good gauge of where my fitness level is after four weeks of not too tough training.

At Race #2 a week later I’ll be pacing the two hour group in the Harbor Lights Half in Norfolk.  I had a blast pacing at the Rock n Roll in Virginia Beach earlier this year and expect this to be just as much fun.  The pace will be a nice easy one but the miles still count and I’ll shoot for about 30 miles during this training week.  Depending on how I feel after Vegas I might ratchet up my other runs during the week between these two events with the ultimate goal of trying to break 1:37.00 again at Race #3.

Ideally Vegas leaves me feeling good so I can shoot for a new PR in Delaware.  With two weeks to prepare, I should be in good shape to have a chance.  I won’t have to be faster than I was in Myrtle, I’ll just have to run 13.1 miles instead of 13.29.  I could even be a hair slower per mile.  The weather was terrible on this weekend last year so even if my legs feel good I’ll be playing it by ear to decide how hard I really want to run the flat course.  I’d rather save myself to try again at Rock n Roll Arizona in January.

Three races, three different goals.  Race #1:  Get a good long run in.  Race #2:  Have fun, help, root and cheer while racking up some miles.  Race #3:  Potentially a new PR opportunity.

Meredith

Do you have different race goals?  How do you break up training cycles?

Kitchen Shortcuts for Healthy Eating

It can be hard to eat healthy.  Especially when I’m in a busy training cycle, running a lot of weekly miles or just plain worn out, getting motivated to chop, slice, dice, stir, boil and mix is hard to do.  I love prepping meals in advance and tossing them in the freezer.  Here are five of my favorite kitchen shortcuts (originally posted here) to help you make healthy meals while spending less time in the kitchen and sticking with your nutrition plan.

Kitchen Shortcuts #1:  Use simple cooking methods.  Steaming, broiling and roasting are easy ways to prepare vegetables, plus you can usually walk away from them while they cook to take care of something else quickly.  They’re also healthier than frying and faster than baking but still make flavor-filled food fast.kitchen shortcuts

Kitchen Shortcuts #2:  Stock up.  I’m always sure to have a stock-pile of brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, frozen veggies, low fat nuts (peanuts), low-sodium canned beans, diced tomatoes and chicken and vegetable stocks on hand.  With so many ingredients close at hand, it’s pretty easy to throw something simple, healthy and delicious together without stressing.

Kitchen Shortcuts #3:  Cookbooks.  I do have a stack of cookbooks but probably get an equal number of dinner ideas from the interweb.  Cookbooks that contain simple, 30-minute or less recipes are the ones I’ll go to most often and that definitely saves me time in the kitchen and at the store.  Picking and planning my meals in advance allows me to put together a list and get through the grocery very quickly.

Kitchen Shortcuts #4:  Buy quality meats when they’re on sale.  Divide them into the size you typically use for cooking, wrap and freeze.  Not only will you be saving money, you won’t need to butcher or thaw excess meat because your portions are already set up for you.  This works for cooking large volumes of rice, quinoa and legumes, too.

Kitchen Shortcuts #5:  The ultimate weeknight time saver is to do all of your cooking on one day each week even though having a block of time large enough to do it can be a challenge to find.  By preparing freezable meals in advance, getting dinner on the table takes little more than opening the freezer, pulling out a pot and turning on the burner.  Another bonus to having ready-to-go meals?  Fewer dishes to wash each evening!

I hope these kitchen shortcuts can help you save time cooking and spend more time with the things and people you love.

Meredith

What’s your favorite kitchen shortcut?