Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta With Butter Beans

 

Chickpeas are a staple in my diet. Not only are they really versatile and able to be used in sweet and savory dishes, but they are a perfect food for runners. High in both carbohydrate and protein, beans in general provide many essential nutrients that I need to fuel long runs. Start your Meatless Monday off right!

Not only are they great in macronutrients, but they have a swell micronutrient profile as well. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber which helps cleanse the colon and maintain a healthy gut.

Why is that important?

Well, I eat a lot, fiber helps my body process those calories and nutrients and then swiftly eliminates the extras.

Chickpeas also provide 70% of your RDA for folate (helps make DNA) and almost 80% for both manganese and calcium (healthy bones, essential enzyme function).

Chickpeas are naturally gluten free, which brings me to the wonderful product I was gifted from Barney Butter: Banza Chickpea Pasta!

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Pasta is something I eat TONS of. Not only spaghetti, but I enjoy every shape, color and type available. When I was sent a few boxes of Banza to try, I was overjoyed simply because, well, a new type of pasta shipped to my door is like the second Christmas.

Banza pasta is non-GMO, naturally gluten-free and high in protein thanks to it’s signature ingredient: CHICKPEAS

How does it taste?

It’s heartier than other pastas I’ve tried, but honestly if I didn’t cook it myself, I wouldn’t know the difference. It was simple to make, delicious to eat and most importantly, I had a great run the next morning (that’s how I judge the worthiness of food).

Now of course I had to create a recipe with this pasta (although I loved it with this cheese sauce) and it seemed like a natural fit to make an almond butter pasta.

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The inspiration for this recipe comes from my attempt to use up veggies in my fridge for my future move and a stew I absolutely adore. At my (old..sob) past job, I always got excited for West African Stew. Not sure exactly what is in it other than collard greens, peanuts and sweet potato, but it is mighty delish!

This recipe is a take off from that. Subtract the sweet potato, add some beans and almond butter and we’ve got a WINNER WINNER TOFU DINNER!

This pasta dish is perfect for cold nights or next day lunches eaten cold. Try it out and then share the love and tell Banza what you thought!

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Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta With Butter Beans

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1Total:

You'll Need...

  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup butter beans
  • 1 cup Banza Chickpea pasta, cooked to instructions

Directions

  1. In a small pot, boil the vegetable broth over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, ginger and salt. Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  3. While that is simmering, in a small bowl, stir together almond butter and tomato paste until combined.
  4. Transfer 1/4 cup of the simmering liquid to the bowl and stir until no clumps remain.
  5. Marry the contents of the bowl to the rest of the vegetable broth in the pot.
  6. Stir in the spinach and butter beans.
  7. Allow to heat through for another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to coat.

Serve immediately, keeps about a week in the fridge.

Try this Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta with Butter Beans made with @barneybutter and @eatbanzo #vegan #glutenfree Click To Tweet

The Final Days

I have two shifts left at my job. The job I’ve had for three years. The place my friends are, where I get most of my food and where my roots lie. Although I am really excited to be moving, I will miss it so much.

When I decided to take a job at a vegan cafe in Syracuse, I didn’t realize how big of a change it would be in terms of my vegan journey.

I will never have to touch or serve vegan food again if I don’t want to. 

There will not be non-vegan food in my fridge.

I will not have to ethically debate myself each time I make a sandwich.

That is kind of nuts.

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The things I find normal; working with animal products, cooking beside my roommate while she makes meat, having to deflect questions about what the best turkey sandwich is will no longer apply to me.

I will live like a lot of other vegans, animal products don’t really enter their zone.

That is kind of frightening.

Ok, hear this out. Part of working with animal products means desensitizing myself while in that environment. I don’t often allow myself to get sad over a roast beef sandwich or the animal that was slaughtered for it simply because that would be inappropriate behavior at work. I’ve been able to put those horrible things outside my mind.

This is good and bad. Good because I am a happy person and getting upset every second is just not how I want to live my life. Bad because it has also hindered my activism at points. I sometimes don’t think about it, being vegan. I know I will always make the right choice for me, but when my coworker’s or customers have questions, being desensitized means I do not always provide an appropriate ethical answer.

I will not have to think outside the vegan bubble anymore. Everything in my life will be vegan.

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If I haven’t alluded to this yet, this means I can be a more effective activist because every person around me also has my same ideology. I don’t have to desensitize myself to my job, I can embrace it.

I’m not the oddity anymore.

I will miss CTB so much, but I’m ready to experience a fully vegan life.

Two more days.

26.2 Miles on the Treadmill

On Monday, (or…today if I post this immediately) I needed to get in my last long effort in this training cycle. I was aiming for 20-25 miles, easy paced and to work on getting in nutrition.

I planned a route in my neighborhood that had the right amount of hills and went by my house at mile 16 in case I needed to refill my bottles or something happened.

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Well, mother nature went from 60s on Saturday to 30s and snowy on Sunday. Normally 30 degree weather is fine for me, however when that also involves freezing rain and snow, I take a step back. I have to work early most of the week and so I jumped at the chance to run before a later work shift today. However, I still wanted to begin my run at 6:15ish, which meant the roads were not ideal and it was dark.

Instead of scrapping it, I modified the plan.

I took it to the treadmill.

Running on the treadmill? Podcasts, fuel and attitude make it bearable #runchat @runningblogs #vegrunchat Click To Tweet

3 hours and 45 minutes later, I had completed my first treadmill marathon. My pace was actually quite ideal for the goal of this run. 8:33 average getting faster as the time went on.

To be honest, this could have gone terribly. I’ve had bad treadmill runs where 3 miles felt like a death slog. Today was different. There are a few things that stuck out to me that I did differently:

1.) I chose my podcast of choice wisely

This was the most important thing to keep me going. The first podcast on my list was the Running Inside Out podcast with Chris O’Brian, specifically the episode was called The Things We Love About Running. This show could not have put me in a better mood to be running, even on the treadmill. It reminded me of all the reasons I run, the small victories and joys that running brings and just made me content to be there. Running gives me so much. The community, the endorphins, the hard work, the big breakfasts. All of it is incredible and keeps me coming back for more.

2.) I started drinking early

I wanted to practice nutrition on this run. Specifically, I wanted to get down Tailwind and see how effective RunGum was for providing a second wind. For those of you who don’t know, RunGum is caffinated gum, designed by Nick Symmonds to give athletes the benefits of caffiene without the sloshing stomach. I took the gum 16 miles into my run and can say it did clear my head and helped me ignore my fatiguing muscles. Providing my body with a slow burn of calories from the Tailwind also helped me stay engaged and motivated to kepp going.

3.) I kept the pace slow

Using a treadmill provided a way for me to control my pace. Running long is about going slower so you can sustain the effort. Even if it seems boring in the beginning, your body thanks you later by allowing you to finish the race. I started slow, went a bit faster in the middle and then ended at the same pace I started. It did not really feel boring because I was listening to the podcast mentioned above and knew I was in it for the long haul.

4.) I allowed myself to stop if I wanted to

I gave myself permission to stop at regular intervals (like an aid station) and get a good drink of Tailwind or just rest for a second. In my experience, stopping at aid stations or if you need to on the course can sometimes provide just the right amount of rest and relief to keep going. That permission, that I allowed myself to stop was very comforting. Sometimes it’s really difficult for me to only do “x” amount of miles when I wanted to do “y” amount. However, I know I am fit enough even if I stop or if I break up the run into two smaller ones. Perspective is huge.

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How do I feel?

I feel relatively good. Not to sore, no headaches (which has happened before) and I am ready to get after it!

That is how I ran 26.2 miles on a treadmill. Just please, don’t ask me to do it again tomorrow (or ever hahaha)

When Running Feels Good

I love running right now.

I feel strong. I feel confident. I feel ready to bloom.

After a less than amazing summer of running, I planned to take time after Watergap off. However, the running Gods had other plans for me.

I raced again. I kept running. I found my happy place again. I am ready to finish the season strong and content.

In my experience, I will always run even if it doesn’t feel ideal.

For me, less than ideal running looks like this:

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1.) Runs feel blah no matter the pace. I could be doing a workout or an easy run and it all feels the same. Blah. Sluggish. Mentally draining. Ew.

2.) I get sore more often and start to neglect strength training.

3.) I do not sleep well.

4.) I am on constant worry for injury because I know something I am doing isn’t working, but I’m too tired (see above) to figure out what it is.

5.) I use races (like the Syracuse half marathon) to kick my own ass and try to get me out of that funk. I need races to be motivated, even if I know I am undertrained.

On the flip side (how I feel now) running looks like this:

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1.) I jump out of bed to get out there each morning.

2.) I cook more nutritious meals for myself and am motivated to do so.

3.) Running feels, not easy all the time, but everything feels manageable. Workouts are hard, but it’s nothing I doubt I can do if I try hard.

4.) I cannot contain my excitement to race because I know I am fit.

I am in this blessed state of ready to go and get after it, but also content with where I am and my running at the moment. If I never race or PR again, it’s ok, because I love to run. I will never stop (I mean that in a long term sense, not an off season sense).

Most of all, I let myself enjoy every step, every breath, every drop of sweat because I know it’s my lifeline.

Running keeps me alive. Time to get after it.

Life Transitions (and good vegan food)

I really am just amazed at the turns my life can take in such a short period of time. In this past week I turned 25, ran my second 50K (ok, that was on Saturday but still), and got a new job (haven’t started yet but still…)

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Since I’ve gotten older and lived on my own for a while now, I’ve learned that doors will open for me if I relax and let them. Take IIN for example. I knew about it, but wasn’t ready to commit to something if I didn’t have the finances or time. Both things lined up at the right moment back in August, so I decided to go for it.

The changes this week happened in much the same way.

On Monday, I turned 25 and spent it with friends. I ran a few miles that morning with my best gal pal, Lesley (her birthday was this week too!) and then got lunch with on of my Strong Hearts teammates, Suzie, who had come to Ithaca for the day to hike. We tried the lunch at Purity Ice Cream and it was absolutely amazing!  img_3922

On Tuesday I had two job interviews in Syracuse, yup, Syracuse and not Ithaca. This is fitting because I also signed a lease that day because in less than a month, I am moving there! I’ve made it known I’ve wanted to move for a while. I do love Ithaca, but I think it’s almost too comforting in a sense. I’ve lived here or close by all my life. I believe that the time has come to try a new city and see how I do.

So, I will begin a new job in mid December and spend a year, at least, enjoying what Syracuse has to offer. When I told on of my coworkers, she just said she was waiting for me to finally move there because I will be with my people. I will be working at Strong Hearts Cafe (yes, the same cafe that my racing team is named after) and getting my feet wet. I am really looking forward to this move and to being surrounded by other vegans.

The apartment I will be moving into is smaller and a studio but it has what I need. It’s cozy, furnished and has a fitness room, laundry and all that jazz right in the building. I might even donate my stationary bike to the fitness room because it is a bit small, but enough for me. It also does not have an oven, but I really think I will manage just fine. It’s got a microwave and TBH anything you can bake I can microwave in half the time 😉

The rest of the week I spent working and recovering from the 50K. All the downhills made my legs really sore on Sunday, but taking an active approach to recovery helped me out. I did some yoga, foam rolled and spent time spinning while watching Gilmore Girls. I had a few great runs the past few days and feel recovered to get into my next very short training block.

On Friday I ran a VERY windy couple miles with a few newer running ladies. One of them said it right “this wind is strength training.” Luckily the temperature was pretty balmy, so that made the wind less cumbersome. I touched up my hair, both getting a trim and dying it black again. My roots were getting pretty noticeable and short hair is easy to dye.

On Saturday, my mom and I went out for dinner and I took her to a vegan food truck called The Star Truck. They were doing a collaboration with Strong Hearts that day, so it seemed like the perfect place. The food was delicious (I am now always going to top my nachos with macaroni and cheese) and my mom and I had good conversation. I spilled the beans about moving, she asked me to help her solve some computer issues (not sure if I helped but I tried) and we caught up on life.

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[not my picture, but this is what I got]

As I write this, I am done with work and have the next two days off from CTB. I put in a couple tempo miles this morning to keep that pop in my legs. I won’t do too many speed sessions in the next few weeks, but just enough to keep a good leg turnover for downhill running. Tomorrow I work my third-to-last shift at the gym, which is kind of sad because I’ve only been there a few months. I only have two weeks left at CTB, which I am trying not to think about so much. I just love my coworkers.

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There are a few other things on the horizon, and I might write about them if I feel I can express my emotions in a coherent way. Just know, I’m feeling strong and ready for these next few weeks to be a blast 🙂 I don’t know how posting on this blog will go, but as I mentioned above, I will write when I have words to say and it seems right.

Cheers to the weeks ahead!