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You know those times growing up when you cross your fingers, wear your PJs inside out, do a dance in front of your freezer, and stay up kinda late in the hopes school will be cancelled for a snow day? (Or was that just me?) Well, this weekend was one of those times, but the grown-up/Hurricane Irene version. On Saturday, NYC braced itself for Hurricane Irene by shutting down the entire subway system at 12 noon, with “reports service wouldn’t be restored until late Monday afternoon” and preparations made for mass power outages. Excited by the chance of no subway service, I crossed my fingers and mentally prepared for the day off work Monday, or at least the day working from home.

Thankfully, NYC wasn’t hit bad by Hurricane Irene at all. I’m so glad we’re safe and sound here, but thoughts are with the hundreds of others who are left without power or stranded with damages to home. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for NYC,  this also meant subway service was restored early this morning so Manhattan-ites were expected to be in the office, doing business as usual. I kind of felt like a kid whose dreams were crushed, but there are worse things in life than being safe and going into work. And, I randomly have a ‘summer day’ tomorrow which means I can still sleep in and eat breakfast in bed tomorrow…which I was so looking forward to today.

While Irene was a nice chance to stay inside, complete my blog self-hosting activity, do laundry, clean my room, and drink a few bottles of wine, by Sunday afternoon I was a bit stir-crazy. My legs actually felt weird from laying in bed and on the couch for so long, which I didn’t think was possible. Since it didn’t look too bad outside, I ventured to Riverside Park for a leisurely run!

Hurricane Irene <3s Sweat.

I made my way down to the Hudson River Bike Path, which was packed! Much more so than on a typical, nice weather weekend. Strangely enough, despite being just feet away from the Hudson River, there was no flooding along the path—barely even a puddle. I covered 7 miles total, and I was extremely thankful to have the tail wind at my back on the way home…the gusts and spitting rain really picked up on the latter half of the run.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and night relaxing, watching trash TV, and cooking up some lunches for the week. I prepared a batch of quinoa to make 4 servings, and put the cooked plain quinoa into different tupperwares to dress up with different ingredients throughout the week for variety. For today’s lunch, I mixed quinoa with zucchini ribbons, feta cheese, walnuts and sliced Garlic Chicken Sausage. This meal took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, including cooking the quinoa and rinsing all my dishes. And now, I’ve got a great lunch base for the rest of the week. Easy!

Quinoa is a very versatile ‘ancient’ grain, and can be found at most grocery stores (even Trader Joe’s!). It is a ‘complete’ protein, meaning it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids our bodies need. It has a slightly sweet and nutty taste, is pretty quick to prepare, and 1 serving has around 170 calories with 3 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 5 grams of protein, along with 10% of your daily iron. I’m not a big refined pasta/rice person, so quinoa is a great way to get in healthy carbs and iron, which is extremely important during marathon training.

Quinoa with Garlic Chicken Sausage, Zucchini, Feta and Walnuts

  • 1 cup quinoa (makes 4 servings of quinoa)
  • Toppings for 1 serving:
    • 1 Trader Joe’s Garlic Chicken Sausage (or any protein of your choice)
    • 1/3 zucchini, peeled into ‘ribbons’ with peeler
    • ¼ cup feta cheese
    • ¼ cup walnut halves
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions, for 4 servings of quinoa it’s usually 1 cup quinoa boiled in 2 cups water for 15 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy
  2. While quinoa is cooking, microwave or grill chicken sausage. Peel skin from zucchini using peeler, and continue peeling insides to create ‘ribbons’. Alternatively, you could also slice/chop the zucchini.
  3. Once quinoa is done cooking, split into 4 serving sizes. To your single serving, add in sliced sausage, zucchini, feta cheese, walnuts and mix. Store remaining cooked quinoa in tupperwares, or add more toppings to save for later!
  4. Enjoy! This is also portable and can be re-heated for about 1 minute or more in the microwave, and eaten from a Tupperware at your desk like I did today :)

East coasters, are you back in work today? Have you ever tried quinoa, and what’s your favorite way to make it? I’ll need ideas for the next few days…