Rime Ice

Rime Ice

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Rime Ice

A combination of meteorological conditions resulted in rime ice that was 0.5 - 1 inch long above the ridge line here in Duluth. It was magical!

Magnetic mount antenna on my car
I first noticed it when looking out my window at my car, but then when I got into the woods on my run... well, it just proved too enticing and I had to stop and take a few photos:






For more information about rime ice.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sourdough Creations + Tahini-Pumpkin Seed-Cranberry Bars

When it became clear that I wasn't tolerating a lot of wheat in my diet, but that rye seemed to be okay I went in search of recipes for rye bread. I eventually decided I wanted to make a sourdough starter from scratch that was 100% rye as detailed in a previous post.

I also went in search of recipes for 100% rye sourdough bread and stumbled across this cookbook:
100% Rye.

Not only does she include a great No-Knead Sourdough Loaf, but there are lots of other fermented and baked goods using rye flour, traditional fats (butter, lard or coconut oil) and honey (or molasses).

My favorite recipes, so far:
 - No Knead Sourdough Loaf - this loaf keeps incredibly well so I am making only one at a time
 - Sourdough Clafoutis - I use coconut oil instead of butter as I am dairy free, and add cranberries as well as apples, plus leave out the cinnamon (a highly inflammatory food for me)
 - Fudgy Sourdough Brownies - again using coconut oil. I also use dark cocoa powder which gives it a deeper, richer flavor.

I have found that all of these foods have been well received by friends, even those who were a little skeptical when they heard the words sourdough and brownie used in the same sentence!

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Tahini-Pumpkin Seed-Cranberry Bars

This recipe was adapted from one I found at Sweet Potato Soul for her Cinnamon Tahini Cookies.

At some point while baking up a batch I got lazy and put the whole mixture into a baking pan and made bars. When I learned that cinnamon was out, I tried other spices (nutmeg - go lightly on this stuff!) but eventually just left the spice out. As I am nut free due to allergies (as well as peanuts and sunflower seeds, but thankfully NOT coconut) I substituted pumpkin seeds for walnuts and eventually, because all things are better with cranberries, added those as well.

These bars are vegan, nut, soy, dairy and gluten free (if made with gluten free oats).

My version makes enough for a 9x13" pan (24, 2" bars)

1.5 cups tahini
.75 cups maple syrup
3 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together well. Add:

2.25 cups oats (I use thick rolled oats)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup whole frozen(fresh) cranberries
pinch of salt

Stir until well combined

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up). Add batter and press into place, evening out the top and ensuring it reaches all corners. Cut into 2" squares.

Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes, then turn the oven down to 250 F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Cool (lifting bars out by parchment paper onto a rack), separate along the scored lines into individual bars and store in an airtight container.

Double-baking makes for a firmer bar that can hold up to being in a pack during a long run or ride.


Wildknits Ramen Soup

I should note that when I first created this recipe I didn't measure anything, just went by what seemed right. The last time I cooked up a batch I tried to keep track of what I did, as well as the measurements.

So - my version of a ramen noodle soup. Gluten, nut, soy and dairy free. Can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by substituting an appropriate protein source and broth.

Ramen Soup

Lotus Brand Rice - Millet Ramen noodles (their other varieties are delicious as well, available at my local Co-op and at Costco)
Cook per instructions, rinse well, drain and set aside
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1 chicken breast, cubed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp diced ginger
black pepper to taste
olive oil

Saute spices in oil for about a minute then add chicken and stir well.

Chop an assortment of veggies. Some I have used:
carrots
mushrooms
asparagus
broccoli
pepper (green, red, orange or yellow)

When the chicken is almost cooked through add the chopped veggies to the pan and saute for a few minutes. Add a quarter cup or so of chicken broth, cover and cook until chicken is done and veggies are tender.

Place noodles, chicken and veggie mixture in a sauce pan and add enough broth to cover and make a nice soup consistency. Add additional minced ginger (1/2 tsp), nori (1-2 sheets), a healthy splash or two of coconut aminos (or tamari or soy sauce) and greens (spinach or kale work well). Heat until greens are wilted and all ingredients are heated through.

The above version made enough for 3 meals and reheats well.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Updates and Recipes

It has been over a year since I started on a journey to sort out some nagging GI issues and heal my gut. Working with a fabulous dietitian (Rachel Turi @ Trail Transformation), and starting with foods I suspected were causing issues, we began a process of elimination and food trials to see if we could sort out the triggers (see posts from last January and February). By May we decided to try MRT testing. I will admit to being quite skeptical and it took Rachel some convincing to get me to agree to the test, but by that point I was interested in anything that could help me feel better.

The test results were pretty remarkable and showed that some of the foods I had been eating a lot of were those that caused the most inflammation. So, on to another strict elimination diet. This one also resulted in more weight loss, enough so that we talked a lot about how to boost my overall caloric intake and maintain my weight while staying on the diet and continuing to train for a 50 miler in June and a 100 miler in September.

While my main interest was in addressing my GI issues, an unlooked for but very welcome "side effect" was the cessation of the hand, wrist and arm pain I had been experiencing for years. It would ebb and flow but was always present. I also had developed Heberden's nodes on my pinkie fingers (which would come and go) and they also completely resolved!

Overall I was feeling a lot better. So much so, that when it was time to start adding in new foods I was a bit hesitant. I just didn't want to go back to how I had felt prior to the dietary changes. Over the summer we added back in many foods and settled on a pretty decent list of "safe" foods. By the end of August it was time to start trying out the foods that MRT testing had indicated were moderately inflammatory for me. This happened to coincide with my upcoming 100 miler so I opted to wait until I had made it through that race to do anything new.

I should note here that when I have a flare it may start anytime up to 24 hours after eating the offending food, and will last 24-36 hours, with a "hangover" that lasts another day or so after the main symptoms have resolved. Not debilitating, but not very pleasant either. And once I was not having these issues on a daily basis I was even more loath to re-experience them!

Proof that the diet was working and my training was paying off:

 - Black Hills 50 mile (52.5 miles) 12:50:29
This is a tough course with big climbs and descents. While the elevation isn't very high, for a flatlander like me getting near 6000 ft will cause a noticeable effect.  I was on sub 12 hr pace (my audacious goal time) until the final 10+ miles when my quads said enough is enough. The downhills are so runnable compared to the SHT and I had flown down many of them. I just couldn't muster a run any longer (or even sit or squat without whimpering). I ended up hiking the last 8 miles or so to finish in what I feel is still a quite respectable time.

 - Superior 100 mile (103.3) 33:57:31 (38 min PR!)
After last years DNF I was motivated to figure out what went wrong and to fix it. I had a great crew supporting me, had worked closely with Rachel on fueling and hydration plans for the race, taking into account my dietary restrictions (aid station tables are not the food oasis they are for most runners) and had followed my training plan from Jake closely.  Despite some overnight nausea, and vomiting (first time for me in a race), I rallied on day 2 and felt awesome in the final miles. When I realized a sub 34 hour finish was in reach I really started pushing. It was such a great feeling to finish a race feeling that good!

The great race results have continued through 2018 and into 2019. I am really excited to see what I can accomplish this year!

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Recipes

In an effort to gain back some basic foods I have missed (bread) and expand my choices I have gone in search of recipes that are "dietary compliant". I posted about my adaptation of a tahini cookie recipe and have gone on to adapt it even further to make what I call Tahini-Pumpkin Seed - Cranberry bars. Cinnamon, sadly is one of the highly inflammatory foods found during the MRT testing so it is gone from my diet (as is mint and several other foods). These are a great nutritious snack and, if baked properly, travel well in a pack for mid-run/ride snacking.

Other favorites:
 - Cocoa Bites (cocoa powder, coconut oil, pumpkin seed butter and maple syrup)
 - Rye Sourdough bread*
 - Rye Sourdough Apple-Cranberry Clafoutis *
 - Fudgy  Rye Sourdough Brownie*
 - Ramen (noodle soup) made from scratch using Lotus Millet-Brown Rice Ramen
 - a saute of hamburger, veggies and tomatoes, topped with spinach or baby kale and served over sweet potato (my creation)

* from 100% Rye

I plan to start posting the recipes in the near future. I have found that every one of these items has been well-received by friends, many of whom have no dietary restrictions, and I figure they might also be of interest to others. All of the recipes are dairy, nut, soy and sunflower free. Some are vegan, but others are not, though could be adapted. I will note that I use coconut oil as a substitute for butter (many of the alternate butters contain one or more ingredients that are a problem for me) so if you have an allergy to coconut be ready to substitute your favorite fat.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Sneak Preview Screening of Worlds of Ursula K Le Guin - Duluth January 13, 2019



January 13, 2019     7:00 pm
*One Night Only*


I am really excited to be part of the team that is bringing this movie to Duluth. 

A bit more information about the film:

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guinis a feature documentary exploring the remarkable life and legacy of the late feminist author Ursula K. Le Guin. Best known for groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy works such as A Wizard of Earthsea,The Left Hand of Darkness,and The Dispossessed,Le Guin defiantly held her ground on the margin of “respectable” literature until the sheer excellence of her work, at long last, forced the mainstream to embrace fantastic literature. Her fascinating story has never before been captured on film.
Produced with Le Guin’s participation over the course of a decade, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin is a journey through the writer’s career and her worlds, both real and fantastic. Viewers will join the writer on an intimate journey of self-discovery as she comes into her own as a major feminist author, opening new doors for the imagination and inspiring generations of women and other marginalized writers along the way. The film features stunning animation and reflections by literary luminaries including Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Michael Chabon, and more.
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If you have a favorite poem, or excerpt from one of Ursula's works (1 minute or less) that you would like to read prior to the screening please let me know. We will accommodate as many people as we can in the 10 minutes prior to the screening. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Winter Trails!

Woke up this morning to a couple of inches of fluffy snow. Made for a lovely run on the single-track at Hartley Park. I even got to lay down the first tracks on one segment (neighborhood connector trail).

First tracks!

The multi-use trails through the park, as well as the Superior Hiking Trail, had already seen some use by the time I got there - hikers, dog walkers, and fat bikers (multi-use trails only).

Superior Hiking Trail  - can you find the blue blaze?

The oddest encounter was a couple of fat bikers that saw me, stopped in the trail completely obstructing it, and waited for me to pass. I ended up heading off trail into the woods while the female biker admonished her male partner for not moving off trail.  Slightly irritating and amusing at the same time!

The sun was shining and snow was falling at the same time. There was little wind and temps were hovering around 20F. Winter running doesn't get much better then this! With a few more inches of snow the trails will actually become less technical (today's snow fall was just enough to obscure small obstacles and icy patches) and even more fun to run on!


OKC

I didn't quite make my stretch goal on finishing the Tomten Jacket I am knitting. Once that deadline passed I slowed down a bit, then had a bunch of travel (I was driving and attending a conference = less knitting time) which slowed me down even more. I have picked up the pace again, and am working on finishing touches. Instead of a zipper I have decided on buttons for this sweater. I am using applied i-cord to finish off the front of the jacket. By knitting two "rows" and leaving gaps between the 1st and 2nd i-cord I will create buttonholes. The buttons are handmade by Incomparable Buttons, are handmade, ceramic and machine washable. For this sweater I settled on their ladybug beetle design as I think it will go well with the yarn I used.

Next up: a lace baby blanket





Wednesday, October 17, 2018

100% Rye Sourdough - the completed loaves

Rye bread is not caraway - though you would think so in the United States. I personally am not much of a caraway fan, but rather like rye (as does my gut).

The recipe I used makes a rather sticky, batter like dough that needs to be baked in loaf pans. Once it had doubled in size I gave it a good stir to take the gases out and poured it into two loaf pans (prepped with coconut oil and flour to prevent sticking) and set it to rise again.

Three hours later (post NMTC run/race):
Marks left by plastic bag I had covered the loaves with - where they touched
the dough a bit came off, luckily not deflating the loaves entirely. 
 Decent rise height for a sourdough (no added commercial yeast):


The directions stated to sprinkle the loaves with a bit of rye flour. I am not entirely sure of the point and will probably skip that in the future. The oven is preheated to 450 F and when you put the loaves in you immediately turn the heat down to 350 F. After 35-40 minutes of baking (pretty quick for bread) out came two nicely browned loaves, that had a nice hollow sound then thumped.


I think I showed great restraint in not slicing into the loaf immediately (recipe says to cool for several hours). I did break down and only let it cool a couple of hours. Yum!! Shared some slices with friends that were over for knitting night and they agreed - a good bread. 


I am enjoying the ability to make sandwiches again! And to have bread as a side to a meal.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Experiments with 100% Rye Sourdough

It's been a year since I started on a journey of sorting out what was causing my GI issues and healing my gut. In that time I have been on a few elimination diets while trying to sort out food sensitivities, and am now slowly adding foods back in and assessing their impact on my health.

One thing I have learned; certain foods are tolerated in only small to moderate amounts; wheat is one of them. Fortunately rye and rice have been well tolerated and so they have been my go to grains. But I miss bread, and the simplicity of throwing together a sandwich when I am on the go.

Our family has baked bread for decades, and in the past 10-15 years have been exclusively using sourdough starter for baking. Since that starter was wheat based I went on a search for a 100% rye sourdough starter. I found some hints in my old, battered Tassajara Bread Book, then went looking on the internet and found this gem of a resource: 100% Rye.

I downloaded the book, printed it out (because I am old-school that way when cooking) and waited patiently for my sourdough starter to be ready to use.

Birth of my starter one week ago:
Rye flour, water, a bit of honey and 1 Tbsp yeast to get this rolling
A couple of hours later I had to stir it down several times to keep it from overflowing the bowl
Once the starter had settled down (it went crazy for a few hours and I was wondering if I was going to have to stay up all night to keep an eye on it) it just needed stirring once a day until it had matured. 

Yesterday I deemed it ready for use and readied to feed it. This meant discarding all but 1/2 cup of the starter and feeding that with 1 cup rye flour and 1 cup water. Within a short period of time it more then doubled and actually started overflowing the quart jar I had it in. 

I had covered it with paper towel to keep fruit flies out
Still "doubling"

Eventually at least 1/2 cup of starter had spilled over the sides of the jar
Happy, healthy sourdough starter

By the time I got ready to make the initial batter for the dough the starter had subsided and I realized I did not have the 2 cups necessary for the dough as well as a 1/2 cup to set aside for future bakings. So I put the starter back in my biggest bowl, fed it again (twice as much flour and water as starter) and set it aside to double. Which it did quite nicely in about 8 hours. 


I needed 2 cups of starter for my bread (No-Knead Sourdough Loaf) so had more then plenty for the dough and a cup to set aside for future bakings. What to do with the remainder, besides discard it? The 100% Rye cookbook came to the rescue and I made up the Sourdough Clafoutis recipe, adding cranberries along with the apples and omitting cinnamon (one of the foods/spices that is a no-go for me). 



Delicious! And a great breakfast. I easily polished off 1/2 of this 8" x 8" pan. Very light and fluffy and I think would pass muster even with those who can eat wheat.

I am waiting for my dough to double and will then bake up some rye sourdough loaves for daily use. I am excited to see how they turn out in light of how vibrant the starter has been.

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On (and off) the Knitting Needles:


Sweater for my grandson G. I had started it prior to a visit in June but was unable to finish it while there, so had to ship it. Apparently it is a big hit, and arrived in time for their first snow

The Sawtooth/Wild Duluth version of my Runner's Hat. The main color is Autumn on the Shore. It perfectly represents fall in northern Minnesota. Sadly the contrasting color, while it stands out nicely in the brim, is a bit harder to pick out in the main body of the hat due to the variegated yarn. Still, the recipient is quite happy with it. 


A quartet of Duluth Dishy cloths to thank my crew and pacers for their help at this years Superior 100.


After knitting up a bunch of cloths that took attention to detail it was time for a nice soothing basic hat. Knit with yarn dyed by a local from Great Falls, Montana. It has still to decide who it belongs to. 

Next up: baby knitting!! Three people that I know are all due in April. So it is time to get to work. First on the needles will be a Tomten Sweater. This is one of my favorite sweaters to knit and I think it is quite dashing on babies and toddlers. Bonus - garter stitch is adaptable and tends to "grow" with the user, making the sweater last awhile. 

I polled the recipient's parents-to-be and came away with the following favorite colors: blues, greens, greys. With that in mind I went shopping for yarn and found a lovely wool/mohair blend in a color-way called Kamchatka Sea Moss. 
It is a brighter green then this photo indicates
and a bit greener then this photo indicates
In a few days of concentrated knitting, including a concert last night, I have already reached the hood.  I am beginning to think about fastening methods (zipper vs buttons) as I have a stretch goal of completing this in the next two weeks and, if I decide I need a zipper, the search for one will likely take almost all of that time (limited sources for notions in my hometown).