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2002 Jim Fiore, all rights reserved

Here are a couple of recipes for things I like. My preferences are not exactly normal, so be fore-warned. I naturally prefer foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat. I call these fast foods because they don't slow me down and are an effective way of refueling workouts. What most people call fast food I call slow food: Heavy and fat-laden, they propel you to the couch in order to digest. The first two are items that I modify depending on mood, so I don't have a strict recipe. As a matter of fact, I think strict recipes are something of a joke in most cases. I like to experiment in the kitchen. Sometimes wonderful things happen and sometimes not. That's life.

Post-workout Smoothie

This is nice after a long or hard workout. It's tasty and easy to digest. In a blender, mix 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup fresh orange juice, 1 banana, and about 6 oz. of tofu. I use low-fat silken tofu. 6 oz. is half a block. You might wish to add some honey as well. I never measure these quantities but just eyeball them, taste the result, and then modify as needed. Variations include low-fat vanilla yogurt in place of the tofu (and sometimes even ice cream) and other fruits. If I go with multiple fruits such as blueberries and a peach, I'll leave out the orange juice. If a milk and OJ combo sounds odd, just remember that's the base for the classic creamsicle!

Power Pasta Fagioli

I'd wager that this is unlike almost any pasta fagioli you've eaten. I love it. I find that it's a great way to refuel the evening before or after a long run. If my energy is low I just crave this stuff. Start by cleaning and dicing about a dozen fresh, ripe plum tomatoes (I don't bother to skin them but some folks might prefer to). Dice a medium-sized sweet onion and saute it in a deep-sided skillet (or pot) with about 3 or 4 good-sized mashed garlic cloves. Once the onions get translucent add in the tomatoes slowly, stiring as you add. Season with goodly amounts of basil and parsley. Also add some black pepper and a little oregano. Let this combine (covered) over medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes and then add an 18 oz can of dark red kidney beans (with liquid). At this point I sometimes add a handful of thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Continue for another 10 minutes and then add about a half-pound of uncooked pasta such as rotini (maybe a little less), mixing around well. At this point the mixture should appear very watery. The pasta will absorb almost all of the liquid. To ensure that the pasta absorbs evenly, you need to mix well every 5 minutes or so. The dish will be ready in about 15 minutes (still covered). The result is very thick, not at all soupy. Some might note that this isn't very authentic, but I'm not striving for authentic here, I'm going for a taste and stick-to-you effect that I like. In any case, garnish with fresh basil and sprinkle with pecorino romano and a shake or two of crushed red pepper. Again, this is one of those dishes that I vary as I feel. Sometimes I make it using canellini beans, and sometimes with cavatelli instead of regular pasta. If you want a more traditional version, consider adding some tomato sauce and skin the tomatoes.

Autumn Bread

Autumn bread is a variation on banana bread, but is very low in fat. If you add the optional nuts, the fat content goes up but it's not saturated fat or trans fat as in butter, margarine, or shortening. Walnuts in particular are a decent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a "good fat". Autumn bread is fairly dense and moist. It definitely "sticks with you". For variations, you could swap one of the bananas for another apple if desired. In this case you might consider adding a little nutmeg. Also, if you like it less sweet, you can drop the honey back to 1/3 cup. I really like raisins in this, so note that I added an extra 1/2 cup. For many people, there are sufficient raisins in the raisin bran. Actually, I don't measure out the raisins and walnuts, I just eyeball them and add what looks good at the moment.

3 egg whites
3 overripe mashed bananas
1 medium apple, diced
3/4 C plain non-fat yogurt (Stonyfield, Breyers, etc.)
2 T molasses
1/2 C honey
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1/2 C walnuts, almonds, or pecans; or combination thereof (optional)
1/2 C raisins

1 1/2 C raisin bran

2 1/2 C flour (I use 50/50 whole wheat/all purpose)
1/2 t baking soda
2 1/2 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl beat egg whites for about a minute by hand, then add next 9 ingredients (through raisins), mixing well. Make sure you do this in a large bowl as doing it directly on the counter will probably be messy. Add raisin bran, mixing to make sure it's all wet. Let stand 10 minutes or so. While you're waiting, combine flours, baking soda and baking powder in a second bowl. Go back to first bowl and mix it around to make sure that the raisin bran is broken up. If it's not broken up, tell it a funny story and see if that breaks it up. Add the flour mixture to the wet bowl in batches, mixing thoroughly. If you don't know how to spell "thoroughly", just do the best you can. Now, grab the loaf pan. If you sprayed the OUTSIDE of the pan instead of the inside, discard it, get another pan, and only spray the INSIDE this time. Dump the contents of the bowl (not the empty one) into the loaf pan and pop it in the oven (the loaf pan, not the bowl). Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of pan. Cool on rack for 15 minutes. I prefer to let the loaf cool and then cover it in plastic wrap for a couple of hours as this softens the crust.

This makes one big ma-honkin' size loaf, enough to feed a family of four for a week, or one hungry distance runner for the afternoon.

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