The Sunday Ritual: Umami Burgers & Beach Time

Since I am reluctantly taking some self imposed time off until my knee issues get sorted out, I had a fair bit of spare time this weekend.  It's amazing how that happens when you take roughly 3.5 to 4 hours of exercise plus the stretching, showering and post workout food prep out of your weekend.  Not to mention the post run lounging / napping I like to do.  So, since I had the time, I made myself a rather ambitious to do list, most of it revolving around meal prep for the week.  I have to admit, once marathon training starts, I tend to wing it, relying mostly on leftovers or my favourite easy go to salad:  broccoli slaw with peppers, green onions, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts, canned tuna all topped with either a sesame dressing or a peanut sauce dressing.  Incredibly easy with minimal prep.  And, it's pretty "clean" other than the dressing.  If I was uber organized, I'd make my own dressing but right now, that's a wee bit ambitious.  Although if I'm off for much longer, I will probably go down that road.  I do have a cupboard full of empty mason jars that are just begging to be used.

I usually make a big batch of turkey burgers along with some salmon cakes and then G will grill up a bunch of chicken breasts.  I also try to cook up a bunch of veggies as well.  I've almost run out of the turkey burgers and I didn't bother buying any canned salmon this week so there won't be any salmon cakes.  Since I bought a couple of packages of extra lean ground beef, I spent Sunday afternoon making some Umami burgers.  Oh yes.  I've been messing around with this recipe for a while and I think I've finally nailed it but I'll let you know once I actually have one of the burgers.  If it knocks my socks off, I'll post the recipe.  

What is umami you ask? 

Umami is defined as a savoury taste.  It is one of the 5 basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter & salty.  It is a Japanese word that means "pleasant savoury taste".  There is actually quite a science behind this taste as well and you can read all about it here.

Because I had all this extra energy and spare time, I spent Saturday afternoon roasting a huge pile of veggies & cooking some quinoa.  I roasted some zucchini, peppers, sweet onion & cremini mushrooms that I plan on adding to quinoa for a quick post workout dinner.  Top it with some feta cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar and you're good to go.  I also roasted a sweet potato for some post work out carbs.  Then I got into the white veggies:  parsnips and cauliflower.  I cut the parsnips up like fries, tossed them with a bit of olive oil and salt and popped them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.  Amazing.  The cauliflower was cut up, tossed with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.  Also amazing and so. freaking. easy.  Now I have a ton of veggies that I can either toss on a salad, or use as a side dish in my lunch.  Love it.

Veggies:  roasted and ready to go!
Umami burgers...ooh yeah baby.

I'm setting myself a little challenge for the next couple of weeks and it's being fueled completely by vanity.  In two weeks, G and I will be sitting on a beach in Mexico, soaking up the sun.  That means it's bikini time.  For someone who's in her early 40's, I think I look alright.  I'm pretty lean but my goal is to fine tune my abs.  Anyone that knows me that's reading this is probably ready to smack me up the side of the head.  I know, I know...so very vain.  But I don't care.  I've never had really well defined abs so my goal is to get as close as I can to that state by the time we get to Mexico.  That is going to mean I need to step up the #plankAday work (I've been doing it about 3-4 times a week) and I am going to have to be really diligent about what I eat.  Especially in terms of sugar.  So that means no afternoon chocolate.  Whenever I feel like having something sweet, I am going to make myself a cup of tea instead.  I have a couple of awesome teas from Harney and Sons that satisfy my sweet tooth perfectly: Pomegranate Oolong and Hot Cinnamon Sunset.   It's like dessert in a cup.


I'm going to have to be extra diligent food wise because it looks like this will be a week of no running or cycling.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I may be given orders to rest my knee as much as possible when I see the PT tomorrow.  That means I'm really going to have to tighten up my nutrition belt for the next couple of weeks.  I'm always up for a challenge so lets see how I do with this one!

Do you take time on the weekend to prep meals for the week or do you just wing it?