Nutrition Spotlight: Farro, An Ancient Grain

Have you heard of farro? It is an ancient grain that is part of the wheat family. Farro, when cooked, is a dense and chewy grain with a nutty flavor.

image from pbs.org

image from pbs.org

Farro can be added to salads, eaten on its own as a side, or baked into bread. It packs a nutritional punch. It is a great source of complex carbohydrate (great fuel for athletes!) meaning it takes the body longer to digest, keeps blood sugar levels stable and lowers cholesterol.

Other health benefits of farro include:

High in fiber

Farro contains more fiber than other complex grains, like quinoa and brown rice. Fiber is important in maintaining bowel health and assists in weight management because it keeps you full.

Great source of protein

One cup of cooked farro contains 8 grams of protein, which is important to help rebuild muscle after intense workouts. Combine farro with lentils or beans for a dish with a complete source of protein.

Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

Farro contains vitamin B3, also called Niacin, which aids in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is also a great source of important minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium. Farro also contains lignans, polyphenolic compounds that may prevent cancer.

How to cook farro

You can find farro pre-cooked in packages in stores like Target. However, you can also buy it dry and cook it yourself on the stove. Simmer one cup of farro in two cups of broth or water for 45 minutes to one hour.

Check out these recipes featuring farro:

Warm Farro Salad

Farro bowl with crispy salmon & toasted sesame spinach

Farro with mushrooms

One-pan farro with tomatoes

Farro and herb pilaf with sausage, mushrooms & spinach

Winter Hike: Crane Mountain

On Wednesday Jordan and I went hiking again! We decided on Crane Mountain, outside of Warrensburg. This was the one that really got me into hiking in the Adirondacks, back in 2013. The trail to Crane is short, but steep! We used our snowshoes for the majority of the hike.

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There were a few ladders, which weren’t too horrible.

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The climb was tough! But we managed. The view from Crane is beautiful!

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The ascent was a piece of cake compared to the descent. We opted to do the full loop, but I didn’t realize how steep it was going down the other side. Thankfully, we took our snowshoes off and used microspikes for the last portion of it, which made it easier. My crampons would have been a better choice, but I didn’t bring them! Lesson learned.

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Crane Pond is so serene in winter.

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//image from CNYhiking//

It was getting dark by the time we reached the farm trail (the last mile of the loop) but it was flat. I was very glad we were off the mountain before sundown. Next time, we leave earlier! We always carry head lamps when hiking. Jordan even brought his mountain bike lights which are super bright and were helpful for the last mile! I definitely would not recommend this hike in the winter without some previous winter hiking experience. It was pretty tough.

Crane Mountain
5.2 mi RT
Elevation 3254′
Ascent 1,492′

Gear used Tubbs Wilderness snowshoes, Kathoola microspikes, LL Bean merino base layer tights, EMS hiking pants, Lululemon base layer top, EMS Freescape 3-in-1 jacket, Kelty trekking poles, Osprey Sirrus day pack

Winter Hike to Rooster Comb Mountain

My first hike of 2016 is in the books. On Wednesday, Jordan and I drove up to Keene Valley to hike Rooster Comb, a small mountain right off of Route 73. We were unsure of the conditions up there, so we brought along microspikes and snowshoes just in case. There was snow on the ground, but the trail was hard packed, so microspikes worked just fine.

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The weather was perfect for hiking. Cold but not too cold and not much wind. The trail starts off pretty flat. It passes to the left of a pond, and then you see a bridge on the right. The trail to Rooster Comb continues left. Eventually you come to a junction.

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After a few miles of gradual climbing, there is a sign pointing to an overlook ledge.

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IMG_0688It was such a clear day! After stopping here briefly, we backtracked back to the main trail, and continued .3 miles to the summit of Rooster Comb. It got steep for about 200 feet. There are some great views of the snow-capped Giant on this trail.

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Finally, the summit!

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Sunday actually marks the one year anniversary our first date! <3 We had a great time hiking Rooster Comb. It was great hike, I’d highly recommend it if you are looking for a shorter hike with great views. It can easily be combined with Snow Mountain for a longer loop.

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After the hike, we stopped at one of my favorite spots in the high peaks, the ADK Cafe for a delicious late lunch. Yum.

Rooster Comb Mountain
Distance 5.2 mi RT
Elevation 2,762′
Ascent 1,816′
Time 3 hours, 48 minutes including stops

Gear used Osprey Sirrus daypack, Kelty trekking poles, Katoola microspikes, EMS hiking pants, Terramar fleece baselayer tights, EMS Freescape 3 in 1 jacket, Nike baselayer thermal top, Vasque Snowblime hiking boots

Mountain Biking at Pittsfield State Forest

Riding a mountain bike, in the snow, without fat tires up a mountain is not easy. That’s what I did on Sunday…for fun. Well, the second half was fun. I went with Jordan and our friends to Pittsfield State Forest, just over the border. I knew we would be riding up hill but I didn’t expect there to be so many switchbacks! The trail went up for what seemed like forever..but it was just over two miles.

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Nothing like riding up a large hill (mountain?) to make you feel completely out of shape.

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We got to the top and took the same trail back down. It was a lot more fun than I thought–usually I freak out on downhill portions, but I decided to just stay on my bike and see what happened. I only crashed twice.

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It really wasn’t so bad!

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Find it:

New Years Fun and the Hangover Half Marathon

Happy new year! I can’t believe it’s 2016 already. Where does the time go? My good friend Jackie and her husband Brian came up to visit from NJ on Thursday for New Years. Jordan and I brought them to Thacher so Brian could try fat biking with Jordan. It finally snowed and the trails were covered in snow/ice!

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Jackie and I just walked to the hang glider cliff while the guys rode the mountain bikes. It was really quiet there with not many people on the trail. We only saw one other guy trail running. We chatted with him for a little bit when we stopped at the lookout, but it got cold pretty quick, so we headed back.

IMG_0641The sun started to go down–the clouds had this pretty glow. I love that!

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It was nice to spend new years eve outside, even if it was just a short hike! We didn’t get too crazy that evening. We played some games and had a few drinks. Very low-key!

Hangover Half Marathon

The next day I was planning on running my third Hangover Half Marathon. Organized by the HMRRC, one of our local running clubs, the Hangover Half is a no-frills race on New Years Day that starts at SUNY Albany. I had zero goals, as usual. It turned out to be a pretty decent run for me. I finished in 2:15:35, about a 10:10 per mile pace. Not bad, considering my last long run was only 9 miles. And with that, my marathon training cycle officially began!

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Can’t say I missed the endless State Office Campus loops though.

Shipyard Maine Coast 39.3 Challenge Goals

It’s been awhile since I’ve set goals for myself. But this time I have some I want to stick to for this training cycle.

  • Clean up my eating and drink less alcohol
  • Weight train 2x per week (either with Bootcamp or Kinetix classes at my gym)
  • Speedwork or hill workout 1x per week
  • Yoga 1x per week

Don’t forget, if you plan on signing up for any of the Maine Coast Races, use my code JenM for $5 off you registration fee!