Fast Food: HOKA Athlete’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Turns out that even though brussel sprouts are collectively hated by 10 year olds around America, they are a Thanksgiving favorite for HOKA Athletes. Try Sage or Steph’s favorite brussel sprout recipes and see if your kids change their mind this year. If there’s no hope for brussel sprouts, try Cecelia’s fun take on asparagus wrapped in bacon and puff pastry. These Thanksgiving favorites are quick, delicious, and good enough to fuel our athletes.

Sage Canaday’s Cranberries and Brussel Sprouts Caramelized with Dates and Balsamic Vinegar

sage-sandy

4-5 cups Brussel sprouts (lightly steamed first so they’re not totally raw)…chopped into quarters

2 cups cranberries

1.5 cups chopped and pitted dates (we use Medjool dates)

1 small sliced sweet onion

1/2-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey (optional) or a sprinkle of sugar (if one has a sweet tooth!)

Salt to taste 

Other options for more volume/veggies: add 2 cups of broccoli florets (or diced up pieces) as well.

Mix everything together in a bowl, making sure the veggies and fruit are coated in the vinegar. Spread out evenly on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 25-30min at 375 until golden brown.

Cecilia Barowski Bacon Asparagus Twists

(inspired by Buzzfeed)

cecilia

1 sheet puff pastry

6-8 slices bacon

12-15 asparagus spears

1 egg

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the puff pastry into thin strips. Slice the bacon in half lengthwise. Wrap a strip of bacon around an asparagus spear. Wrap a strip of puff pastry around the asparagus in between the bacon spiral. Repeat. Place the wrapped spears on a lined baking tray. Brush them with egg wash, then sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 18 minutes, until golden. Serve!

Steph Schappert’s Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

steph-s

1 Butternut squash- peel, remove the core, and chop into cubes

Brussels sprouts- trim the ends and cut in half

Olive oil

Real maple syrup

Salt

Optional: pecans and dried cranberries (but I truly think these are a must!)

Line baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts and butternut squash in olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for about 25 mins (halfway through I toss in the dried cranberries and pecans).

Fast Food: Breakfast Acorn Squash Two Ways

Grocery stores are filled with beautiful squash varieties this time of year, but it can be overwhelming figuring out how to actually use them. Here are two easy and unique ways to enjoy acorn squash for breakfast. A Roasted Acorn Squash with Yogurt and Walnuts for those of you with a morning sweet tooth, and a Sausage and Egg Roasted Acorn Squash for those in need of a hearty breakfast.

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash with Yogurt and Walnuts

(serves 2)

sweet-squash

1 acorn squash

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch of salt

1 cup vanilla yogurt

ingredients-1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and fibrous threads. Slice halves into wedges. Place wedges in a pan over aluminum foil. Prepare wedges by rubbing with coconut oil, and sprinkling on salt and cinnamon. Bake wedges for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. While wedges are baking, prepare filling by mixing walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Remove wedges from the oven, and spoon mixture onto squash. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until edges are slightly crispy. Be careful not to burn the walnuts. Top with your favorite yogurt, and a drizzle extra maple syrup on top if desired.

nuts

Sausage and Egg Roasted Acorn Squash

(Serves 2)

savory

1 acorn squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper for seasoning

2 large sausages (Italian style vegetarian sausage also works well)

1 tomato

1 cup spinach

1/4 cup cheese

2 eggs

1/2 avocado

ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and fibrous threads. Place halves in a pan over aluminum foil. Prepare squash by rubbing with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Bake halves for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. While the squash is baking, prepare the filling by sautéing sliced sausage, spinach, and chopped tomato. Remove squash from the oven, and place filling in the halves. To create more room, you can scoop out some of the squash and mix it with the filling. Top with cheese, and crack one egg on top of each half. Return to the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the egg has cooked to desired consistency. For a more cooked egg, finish off cooking with your broiler. Remove from oven, and top with fresh avocado.

sausage

Fast Food: Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Halloween may be all about the candy, but here is an equally festive way to enjoy the holiday while sneaking some veggies in. These jack-o-lantern inspired stuffed bell peppers are half the mess of a traditional pumpkin, and simple enough for your kids to be involved in the preparation.

Our filling is an easy no prep involved burrito style. We know how busy Halloween on a Monday night will be. However, you can be as fancy as you want with your creation. Cooked ground meat with taco seasoning would be a great addition to up the protein. Salsa, sour cream, and avocado would also make delicious toppings.

peppers

Here is what you will need to make your own Jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

3-4 orange bell peppers

1 small can black beans

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 package pre-cooked Spanish rice

peppers-before

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut tops off of peppers and remove seeds. Carve peppers with desired jack-o-lantern style faces. Layer spoonfuls of rice, enchilada sauce, black beans, and cheese in the peppers. There will likely be room for two layers. Finish with cheese as the top layer. Replace tops of peppers. Place in an aluminum foil lined tray, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until peppers have softened and cheese has melted.

Fast Food: Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pie for National Chocolate Day

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Who doesn’t love avocados?

So why don’t we stick them together?

Alright, so we can admit that chocolate and avocado sounds like an odd combination. But trust us, this one really works.

When we were searching for healthy ways to indulge on National Chocolate Day, we found that avocado is just as good with chocolate as it is with guac…when you know what you’re doing. You’ll never guess that this green fruit (yes fruit) is hiding in your pie. It actually provides a lovely pudding like consistency.

Healthy? Check.

Easy? Just blend and refrigerate.

Vegan? Yup (when you are selective about your chocolate and graham crackers).

Gluten Free? Not quite. Substitute the graham crackers for a nut of your choice if you would like it to be gluten free.

Don’t take our word for it, try it! Here is what you’ll need.

pie

Crust:

One sleeve graham crackers

5 pitted Medjool dates

1/4 cup coconut oil

Filling:

2 large or 3 small avocados

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

5 pitted Medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Start by blending one sleeve of graham crackers in a food processor. Once finely crushed, add pitted dates and coconut oil. Pour crust filling into a round pie tin, and press into sides of the pan. Pack the crust tightly, then refrigerate while preparing the filling.

graham-crackers

Rinse food processor. Blend avocados until smooth. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring occasionally to avoid burning (Recommended: 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds). Add melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt to the avocado. Blend until well combined. Add coconut oil and pitted dates to the mixture. Blend until mixture is smooth. Consistency should be thick. If it is not thick, add more dates and coconut oil.

crustPour chocolate mixture into crust and spread. Let set in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving.

Fast Food: Hunting with Nikki Kimball

HOKA ONE ONE Athlete Nikki Kimball realizes that hunting can be controversial. However, the 2006 Western States 100 winner is confident in her decision to eat only meat that she has hunted. As a former competitor in biathlon, Nikki knows what she’s doing. In many ways, hunting has proven to be a more ethical and sustainable way of eating meat for Nikki. Here’s what she has to say about this intriguing lifestyle choice.

nikki-hunting

HOKA: What made you decide to start mostly eating meat that you have hunted yourself?

Kimball: That answer to that question is complicated, and in fact I actually have multiple reasons for my decision to start hunting. For nearly a decade and a half, beginning at age 13, I did not eat red meat. I adopted this dietary choice on the advice of a medical doctor who, at the time, advocated a very low fat diet for athletes. Though my often near complete vegetarian dietary choice was not made secondary to ethical considerations, the diet did expose me to thinking deeply and broadly about food choices. After returning to eating red meat in 2001, I enjoyed much better mental health, and much better athletic potential. But after a few years of eating meat, I felt I needed to better understand the cost of that decision. I felt hunting would expose me to the cost of taking a life in order to feed myself. Further, with my history of racing biathlon, a sport combining cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship, I am comfortable and well trained with rifle shooting. So hunting was something that I was already decently equipped to do, and it was the easiest way for me to truly understand the entire process of eating meat: the stalking, the killing, the field dressing, the butchering, and finally the cooking. 

Having been a hunter for several years, I’ve learned a lot. First, I am okay with my choice to eat meat. As we humans have eradicated most predator species, hunting is necessary and well studied method of population control for game species. Like other meat eating animals, I am part of a larger system which has balanced life and death throughout history. At least in areas in which human populations are under control, eating meat is sustainable, and hunting is quite helpful in balancing populations of prey species. Further, my respect for eating all foods, plant or animal, has increased. I find I waste very little food as I understand more deeply now that, whether I am eating animals or plants, what I eat used to be alive. Therefore wasting food seems more wrong to me than it did prior to my hunting.

nikki-vikaHOKA: How has this decision impacted your lifestyle and health?

Kimball: Eating meat and a high fat diet has greatly improved my mental health, as well as my athletic performance. Interestingly, I had tried for many years to make US National teams in skiing and running events. Within 12 months of adding meat to my diet I made US teams in mountain running, 100k road running, and snowshoe running. The decision specifically to hunt has also added to my life. I like to take a few weeks off from running every year in order to give my body and my mind a rest. So every fall I trade my HOKA shoes in for hunting boots (in warmer weather, I actually use my HOKA Tor Ultra hiking boots). I usually amass just as many steps on days I hunt as I do on days of running training. In the woods while hunting I notice the minutiae of the forest in ways I completely miss when running: perfect spider webs coated with dew, rime glistening on a branch, as well as the sounds of squirrels and the musky smell of elk. I think for many hunters, the act of hunting makes us appreciate the wilderness in a way we otherwise wouldn’t. In hunters, society finds people who deeply respect and want to preserve nature.  

HOKA: Did eating sustainably effect your decision to do this?

Kimball: Yes. Here in Montana we do need to hunt to control game populations. Our Fish, Wildlife and Parks service does a great job of managing wildlife by allowing specific numbers of hunting tags for each species. In most areas not overpopulated by humans, eating meat is quite sustainable. 

HOKA: How about fishing?

Kimball: I used to fish a lot and I still like trout and other fish. I think I will return to fishing once I’m not spending quite as much time running. For now though, hunting is just a very efficient way to eat. One elk can keep me fed for most of a year, whereas one needs many fishing trips to keep oneself fed all year.

HOKA: Have you faced any negative judgements for this decision? What do you say to those people?

Kimball: I have. I’ve been unfriended and viciously attacked on Facebook on occasion. And one of my hunting partners has had multiple death threats. And this occurs to those of us who never post gory pictures the animals we kill. One guy who unfriended me stating that hunting was lamentable; during the same week he posted a picture of his lunch plate which included about 30 shrimp. Another asked my friend why she couldn’t just get her meat at the supermarket like everyone else rather than killing those innocent animals. 

Many of the people who judge hunters negatively eat meat themselves. Arguing with these folks is easy: I’m eating sustainable meat; I practice shooting enough to nearly always make a clean, fast kill with one shot (much less stressful than dying of starvation, disease or predation by a mountain lion); the meat I am eating has not been mistreated, or pumped full of chemicals; etc. When vegetarians argue that hunting is bad, I point to the need for game animal population control. Granted we could not feed the entire planet off hunted animals. But that simply uncovers the problem of human overpopulation. I am very strongly in favor of zero population growth for humans, and I felt the same way nearly 3 billion people ago. Eating meat is not the prime issue with sustainability. And arguing that it is shifts focus off the primary problem of human over population. 

HOKA: Which animals do you most frequently hunt? 

Kimball: I hunt pronghorn, an animal which looks a lot like a springbok antelope, white tail deer, mule deer and elk. Each species presents its own challenge, and hunting teaches one a lot about the habits and preferred habitat of each.

HOKA: What tips do you have for someone who is interested in trying this for themselves?

Kimball: First take a hunter’s safety course. Then be sure to practice shooting a lot. Wounding an animal can happen to any hunter, but hours at the range make clean shooting much more likely. And spend a lot of time off season in the woods. Look for scat, beds and other sign of game. This will make your hunting much more successful.

HOKA: Do you have a favorite recipe for a meal that you have hunted?

Kimball: My favorite cut on any game animal is tenderloin. I usually marinate the meat in spices, vinegar and maple syrup, then sear it on a very hot grill leaving the meat cool and rare (well, raw) in the middle. This cut is simply too good to get creative with: the meat is fantastic, all the cook can do is mess that up. With less precious cuts, I make a lot of game and vegetable chili.