This blog is part of Take It and Run Thursdays, which is put together by The Runner’s Lounge. Each week they put together a new theme to help those of us with writer’s block. It also helps start a conversation about important topics (like last week’s all-important topic of overtraining…).

This week’s theme is about food! That’s something easy enough to talk about. And since I’m just sitting here with ice on my leg, I figured there’s no better time to blog than right now. (I must admit though that I tried to go for a run this morning. I didn’t get far though. If I tried to go above a walking pace I began limping all over the place. It was really horrible. So I guess I really am going to be taking some time off. Oh, and it’s definitely the shoes. They aren’t old shoes, but after I began thinking about it, I remembered that I’d been complaining about the extra strain I felt in my shin muscles when I first got these shoes. I thought it was just something I’d get used to, but I guess it’s something I should have changed in the first place. Note to self: Bad fitting shoes are never an option.)

OK, what were we talking about now? Oh, yes, FOOD!

As far as pre-run fuel, I don’t do much. I have a super sensitive stomach and if I eat much more than a banana before a run I’ll be running straight for the nearest bathroom, rather than finishing up my long run. This is why, for me, it’s important to have a well-balanced dinner and lots and lots of water. I drink a ton of water before running in the mornings too. Because I know I can’t eat much before a run, I make sure to have yummy, nutritious snacks ready for when I get home. I’m a major fruit-a-holic so I’ll buy a basket of strawberries, cut out all the stems the night before and put them in a tupperware. This way I can just pop the top off and dig in when I get home. I’ll usually eat a bowl of multi-grain cereal as well.

But my most favorite after-run treat is fresh-squeezed Orange Juice. Making fresh-squeezed OJ is a habit I started last fall and I nearly never miss a day (unless I run out of oranges!). It’s super easy if you get an electric juicer. I don’t have anything fancy. It doesn’t do vegetables and all that jazz. It just does citrus and takes up minimal counter space. I use the black and decker one, which costs $20 at Target. You just need two oranges and an 8 oz. glass. You can add sugar if you want to, but California oranges are sweet enough not to need it. For a change of pace you can also try grapefruit (which definitely needs a little bit of sugar) or, my personal favorite when they’re in season: blood oranges.

My favorite summer meals are the things I can get from my garden or from the farmer’s market. We have to enjoy fresh produce while it lasts, right? What I love most is making tomato-basil-mozzarella salad. And I’ll pretty much eat anything with avocados in it. Last night I put together a new salad that was delish:

Tomato-Avocado Salad

5 garden-ripened tomatoes, any variety (mine are russian black and lemon boy), quartered
A handful of cherry tomatoes (about 10-20), sliced
1 Avocado, peeled and cubed (I secretly use 2 because I love avocado)
3 green onions, sliced
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Feta Cheese

2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a shaker jar and shake vigorously (or put in a bowl and combine with a whisk). In a medium-sized bowl, add the tomatoes, onions, avocados and bacon. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Sprinkle feta over salad just before serving.

You can add more tomatoes, avocado and green onions to your own tastes.

One other thing I haven’t been able to get enough of lately is sweet potatoes (yams). I found this fab recipe at MyRecipes for Sweet Potato-Chipotle Gratin. It’s AMAZING. If you’re sick of pasta, seriously consider making this. You won’t regret it.

Speaking of MyRecipes. If you haven’t checked out this site, you really should. I’ve been using it a lot this summer because it’s my first summer with a garden. I’ve got more summer squash and tomatoes than one couple can handle. I’ve also been frequenting my farmer’s market and buying weird stuff that I don’t really know how to cook. Just because I want to try new things. And that’s where My Recipes comes in. You can enter in any food item and it will come up with hundreds of recipes containing that item. This really helps me from having fresh produce go to waste (especially fruit!). I’ve made cherry barbecue sauce, strawberry cucumber salad, and a host of other dishes I would have never thought of on my own. Definitely check it out if your stumped for new ideas on the cooking front.