Monday, March 27, 2017

Running Shoes and Vegetarian Jambalaya

Ever since I quit racing regularly (which means I'm not 'in training' all the time) I don't pay as much attention to my running shoes.  A couple weeks ago while running my shins and left knee started aching, which is a pretty good sign I need new shoes.  When I got home I took them off and turned them over to look at them.  I was shocked to see how worn they were.  My left shoe, which is the side I pronate more (also the foot I fractured), had a spot on the bottom where I think I could have punched through with my finger. Oops!  I started looking for new shoes, specifically looking outside of Asics because I wasn't thrilled with the last iteration of the Cumulus.  I don't know why shoe manufacturers have to constantly tweak good shoes - it's very annoying.  After trying several different kinds, I still ended up with Asics, but this time I chose the Nimbus 18.  I used to wear Nimbus when I marathoned but they're expensive and once I started running less, I went down one notch to the Cumulus, which were not quite as expensive and were fine for the running I was doing. When I went out for my first run in them Sunday, I was  delighted at how cushioned and supportive they were.  I'd forgotten that Nimbus are so much more cushioned (thus more $).  My whole run felt fabulous.  I love getting new running shoes! Also, I have now activated the gear feature on my Garmin so I can keep track of the mileage.

Our weather has remained unseasonably cool and gray.  Over the weekend it rained off and on as well and felt really raw.  When the weather is like this I don't love to eat salads which are sort of a staple lunch for me so I'm always looking for ways to fit in more vegetables.

I went through my "recipes to try" file and found one for vegetarian jambalaya, looked at it quickly and thought I had most of the ingredients so decided to make it for this week's lunches and/or a side dish for dinner.  Once I got into making it, I realized some of my ingredients were frozen where they called for fresh and vice-versa.  I also forgot one thing completely, but no matter this came out absolutely delicious!  Probably my favorite thing about this recipe is that you don't have to finely dice anything, all the vegetables are chunked!

Helen's Vegetarian Jambalaya

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
4 shallots, peeled then cut lengthwise into quarters
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/4 cups converted white rice
1 1/2 cups canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
8 ounces frozen okra, cooked for 3 minutes in the microwave, remove and drain

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the celery chunks, carrots and red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the paprika is toasted, about 1 minute.
Add the rice to the skillet and stir to coat. Add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
Lift the lid then scatter the black-eyed peas and okra over the rice. Continue to cook, covered, until the rice is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 3 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork stirring in the okra and black-eyed peas. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes 8 generous 1-cup servings: 129 calories; 4 g fat; 63 mg sodium; 20 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber;  4 g sugar; 4 g protein
Notes:  I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven for this recipe. Make sure to use converted rice (like (Uncle Ben's).  Using regular long-grain rice will cause it to be sticky and not a nice fluffy mixture. The original recipe said this is four servings which I guess might be true if this is all you're eating.


  1. Ahhh, new running shoes. There's nothing better than going for that first run and feeling like YES, these are all I need in life! I track my shoes via my Garmin, and while I don't pay attention to the number very often, when I do start having those telltale signs of knee pain, more often than not, when I check my shoe mileage tracker, sure enough, I'm over 300 miles which is when I need new shoes.

    I'm going to look at some other styles/brands next time I get a new pair (in the next few months), just because like you said, the manufacturers keep tweaking things, and I know my model will be changed for the next round...for the better? Who knows??

  2. Yum - John would love this!

    I am kind of bad about my shoes in general. I am so hard on my shoes and wear them out way faster than I should be (I think). John is always amazed when I show him the bottom of my shoes after a couple months LOL!

    I like Saucony shoes. They have a roomy toe box, which is what my feet need.

  3. I love new running shoes!!!! I will have to check out the nimbus! I have been running in the cumulous the last few pairs I've purchased. (To keep the cost down I try on the current years version at a show store and then order it from amazon...usually cheaper!!)

  4. I have the Nimbus too! I've had good luck buying them on eBay "barely used." For someone who walks fairly short distances, these do the trick for me. I love how cushioned they are too.

    Your rice recipe reminds me a little of how I make my fried rice, and you made me realize that I could do this same thing with different vegetables and different base flavors! Thanks for sharing this.