Shrimp Fried Quinoa for Marathon Monday

I wrote this blog in the days leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon as I reflected on my own experience the previous year, and planned to post it when I got home from work on Monday.  After the tragedies at the finish line, I debated if I still wanted to press the “Publish” button on this one.  After re-reading it though, I realized I had no choice but to post.  Below, I recount of my experience in 2012, but I think it is all too telling of the character that embodies this special race.  As we mourn this tragedy, let us not allow the actions of a few to overshadow the spirit of joy, giving, and determination that is alive and well in the runners, spectators, medical personnel, race officials, and city of Boston!  I couldn’t be more proud to have a qualifying time that will send me back to that fine town to run again in 2014.

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Did I ever tell you about the time that I visited Boston?  Did I ever tell you the reason that I went to Boston was to run the Boston Marathon?  Did I ever tell you that the time I ran the Boston marathon there was a freak mid-April heat wave and it was 87 degrees by 10AM on race morning?  Did I ever tell you that Roommate accompanied me on my trip to Boston and in the classic way that things happen only in our lives, we BOTH had a broken right hand/wrist for the trip?  Did I tell you that we made a completely embarrassing mess eating lunch at the fancy restaurant atop the Prudential building, because really, people with broken hands who are incapable of cutting their food should NOT eat out in public.  I don’t think I ever told you any of those things, so now I’m telling you.  A year later.  Better late than never, right?

Today is Marathon Monday 2013, so I can’t help but reflect on my own experience when I had the opportunity privilege honor of being one of the few thousand to earn a spot in the 2012 Boston marathon.

I get chills when I think about that day, recalling the way that the people of Boston came together, championing us crazy marathoners through every single step of the 26.2 mile course.  As we withered in the heat and sun, there they were with their kind words, cold water, and unending encouragement.  Not because they knew us, but because they believed in us, in their city, in their marathon, and everything that it stands for.

Here I am a year later, and I still get a little choked up thinking about the men outside the firehouse in Framingham, pumping their keg and cheering like crazy people at 10AM.  The girls of Wellsley college holding their “kiss me” signs and screaming like teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert.  The young children handing out chilled bottles of water from coolers on their front lawns, and the grandparents who pulled their garden hoses out to the curb to spray down over heating runners.  The completely trashed Boston College students.  The girl holding the sign that said “I don’t know you, but I think you’re AWESOME” as I crested the first of a tough series of hills.  I’ll never forget the man who looked me in the eye and said “This is Heartbreak Hill, and you’re almost to the top.”  Or the college student who grabbed my hand, put ice in it, and said “Here, take this.  You’re doing so well and you’re so close to being finished.”  I’ll never forget the feeling of relief when the Boston skyline and Fenway Park finally came into view.  And I will never ever ever forget the wave of pride I experienced as I ran down Boylston Street to cross the finish line, completely spent, and had that medal hung around my neck, signifying that I was no longer just a Boston Qualifier, but now I was a Boston Marathoner.

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I talk about it all the time, but marathons really are such a great metaphor for life.  I think that might be why I’m so addicted.  A year ago my hand was broken, but in many ways my heart was broken as well (not in the ‘I got dumped’ kind of way, but in the tragedies of life kind of way).  The marathon did a lot to help in the healing process.  I saw hope that day, I saw strength that day, I witnessed the overwhelming kindness of strangers, and experienced an absolute OUTPOURING of love and support from family, friends, and co-workers.  Most importantly though I saw the triumph of the human spirit first hand, and was reminded that even in our deepest struggles, we will prevail.

In honor of the most inspirational event I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of, I want to share a recipe that I’ve been loving recently as I prepare for my upcoming marathon in Pittsburgh.  I’ve been trying to increase the amount of protein I eat during the day to help my muscles recover properly after all of the miles I’ve been logging.  I love quinoa, because it’s the ultimate power food… at least in the grain family.  It has 6 grams of protein per serving, compared to the 3 grams found in brown rice.  Pair it with the egg, shrimp, and lightly fried veggies, and you’ve got yourself a lunch that will leaving you feeling full and healthy all day long.

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The Goods:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, prepared to package instructions
  • 1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 12 large shimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 cups raw vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Siracha

The Deets:

Prepare the quinoa per the package instructions.  In my case it was 1 cup of water and a half cup dry quinoa.  Since the grain cooks in about 15 minutes, this dish is quick and easy to make.

While the quinoa is cooking, wash and cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces.  I used 1/2 a small zucchini, 1/2 a small red pepper, and a handful each of mushrooms and snap peas, but feel free to use whatever is in season or you have on hand.

Heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the shrimp.  Cook for about 4 minutes, flipping once during the cooking process, or just until they turn pink.  Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.  Let them cool for a couple of minutes, then cut each once into bite sized pieces.

As soon as you remove the shrimp from the skillet, add the cut vegetables.  Cook the veggies, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or just until softened.  About this time, the quinoa should be finished cooking.  Add the prepared quinoa along with the cooked shrimp and an additional 1/2 Tbs of vegetable oil to the skillet.  Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Crack the egg directly into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to break the yolk.  Stir until all of the ingredients have been coated with the egg.  Continuing cooking for another 4 minutes over medium high heat, stirring frequently.  Finally, mix in the soy sauce and Siracha.  Taste and add salt or more Siracha if necessary.  Serve immediately.

Fried quinoa makes great left-overs if you are looking for a protein packed lunch at work like me!

The Inspiration:

Eat, Live, Runs’s Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

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Believe in the run!

XOXO,

Tall One

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