Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sweet or Savory

A while back there was a run of posts around blogland and other internety places of recipes making oatmeal savory instead of sweet.  They must have started right around the end of spring because I have yet to try that as I tend to be a fall and winter oatmeal eater, except when I'm training for a race, which I am currently doing.

Sweet oatmeal is one of the things I can manage to gag down prior to my longer runs.  The fact is, when you're going to be out running for a couple hours, not only do you need to refuel at some point during the run, you need to eat something about an hour before you take off and it needs to be sort of carby with some protein and easy on the tummy.  In this case, you absolutely have to eat even if you're not hungry - which is usually the case for me as my stomach tends to take a while to wake up.

Faithful readers know me to be an early morning runner and while I do not run my weekend long runs at 4 am, like I do my shorter ones during the week, I do try to get out between 6 and 7 depending on the weather (read: heat) forecast and just exactly how long I'll be running.

So, in order to eat something an hour before a 6 am run, I have to eat by 5.  Which means I still have to get up at 4:30 or so and that's why I said I gag down my oatmeal. 

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a recipe for a Breakfast Couscous.  If you've never had couscous, the best way to describe it is that it is a pasta but the size of it goes from small grains that look like sand, to a big pearly size.  Usually, this is made as a side dish or used like rice where you put something over it. It's yummy and we eat it often in its savory mode.

Intrigued, I made a batch and I love it! This weekend, when I do my long run I will be gagging down a bowl of this prior to heading out. Of course, being the sort of cook I am I made some changes to the original version I'd seen. So far, I've only used the smaller couscous but as soon as the batch I have made up now is gone, I am going to try a larger size.

Whether or not you're a runner or athlete who is trying to fuel up, breakfast is an important meal. Here is my version of the Breakfast Couscous; maybe you'll like it too!

Fruity Breakfast Couscous

1 cup whole-wheat couscous
4 teaspoons brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup dried berries & cherries mix, chopped a bit
¼ cup dried mango, chopped

Combine couscous, brown sugar, cinnamon, almonds, and dried fruits. Mix thoroughly. Store mix in an airtight container until ready to use.

To prepare 1 serving, in saucepan, combine 1/2 cup dry mix with 1/2 cup skim milk. Heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix well before serving.

4 servings, per serving (including the skim milk): 288 calories; 4.2g fat; 56g carbs; 3.3g fiber, 11g protein


  1. Sounds delicious. I love couscous in all it's forms. I wonder how quinoa would do in this recipe?

    Stay cool!

  2. You make me laugh - gagging your breaky down :)

    That really sounds good and very quick and easy. I'm going to have to give it a try!

  3. That sounds yummy! I have a hard time gagging down food before running or working out, so I usually do it on an empty stomach. I know that's bad.

  4. You kill me with these early morning runs. I must confess. I don't eat before runs. It's difficult for me to even think about eating beforehand. So...I eat along the way :/ I'm that girl eating a granola bar while running :)

  5. I am so with you on the gagging something down before an early morning's awful. I'd prefer to eat breakfast about two hours after I've woken up, but let's face it...I'm not getting up THAT early before a run! I actually have all of the ingredients on hand to make this, so I will put everything together and try it this weekend. I don't like oatmeal, though, so I'm hoping this different texture will work. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Interesting spin on the couscous. I'll check this one out. Maybe as an afternoon snack for me. I might drop those ingredients (minus the couscous) into a snack size cottage cheese.


  7. That looks really good! And I bet you can substitute other grains...quinoa has a nice nutty flavor on it's own anyway!

  8. It was in the WW recipe book the other week, and it did look good. I don't run but I love Quaker's Weight Control oatmeal in the morning. It is very yummy and lots of protein. Have you tried it?smile.

  9. It's hard for me to eat too for a morning workout, but since I've been at rest all night, if I don't eat and take insulin, my blood sugar goes through the roof!

    I love this recipe Helen! Of course, I'd probably go the savory route and add bacon bits, egg beaters, cheese and my beloved Tabasco!

  10. This sounds good! I am a huge fan of the egg-in-a-mug for breakfast. Crack an egg in a coffee mug, break the yolk, and nuke it for 45 seconds. Throw it on a WW english muffin and I'm out the door. Yum!

  11. YUM!
    What do you do between gagging down the oatmeal and running? I would go back to sleep. I am not a middle of the night person, which 4:30 IS TO ME! I must admit, I am pretty bad, I'd have a banana before a big run. Before my half, I am remembering sitting in my dark hotel room at 5:00 (ok, I can do it when I have to) eating banana and peanut butter while my son slept. No, I wasn't eating it, was gagging it down and running to the bathroom with nervous stomach...I can feel it NOW!

  12. Now...that is a creative option for cous cous....perhaps even some fruity quinoa for a higher protein punch!

    Your early morning running is amazing...I need to get my tushy out of bed!

  13. for some reason Ive not cous coused in eons.

    Stuck in an OATY rut much? I know...

  14. just discovered your blog, am loving it so far! The couscous sounds yummy, looking forward to trying it!