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ULTRA Recipe:


In the summertime, many of us are a little more tired than usual. It's not because of a more hectic work schedule-in fact if anything, we are vacationing and getting more R&R. We are tired because we are ultra runners. We don't take running breaks in the summer when it's unbelievable hot. In fact, some of us deliberately head out for a run in the heat of the day to get "heat trained". The heat can take it's toll on our energy level.

Because we are tired, the last thing we want to do is spend a lot of time and energy in the kitchen preparing our meals. So lets KISS! Lets KEEP IT STUPID SIMPLE. It is not necessary to grab fast food or waste money on mediocre food in some restaurant chain when you can cook something delicious and nutritious at home. All it takes is a few basics: 1) extra virgin olive oil 2) red pepper flakes (if you like heat),3) onions 4)fresh garlic (not the minced jarred stuff!), and 5)salt and pepper. Yes, if you have those basics and a large nonstick skillet or pot, you can make something healthy and tasty at home in no time at all.

10 tomatoes, chopped (I used homegrown but feel free to use canned whole tomatoes-probably 3 cans)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium size vidalia onion, sliced
1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of dried oregano
a pinch of dried basil
1 cup of fresh basil
4 yellow squash, chopped
1 box of whole wheat rotini (or any pasta of choice)
1 cup of fresh spinach
goat cheese

In a large pot, bring water to boil and follow the instructions on the box of pasta. 5 minutes before the pasta is al dente, add the yellow squash.

In a large nonstick pot on medium/low heat, add olive oil and red pepper flakes, then add onion and garlic. Do not burn the garlic and bring the flame down to low if needed. Once the onions are fairly soft, add the tomatoes, dried herbs and fresh basil. Save some of the fresh basil for garnish. Salt and pepper the sauce and bring up to a boil. Then, immediately, bring back down to low/simmer for about 15 minutes.

Drain the pasta and squash and serve it over a bed of fresh spinach leaves. Pour the sauce on top and add some cheese if you like. If you are a vegan, skip this step. And if you are a Paleo, skip the cheese and substitute coconut oil for olive oil and sweet potatoes for whole wheat pasta. Some other variations include adding balsamic vinegar to the tomato sauce, adding lemon juice, adding a little sugar or carrots for sweetness if your tomatoes aren't very sweet, and of course choosing your favorite cheese whether it's pecorino romano, parmesan, or even fontina cheese. Also, if you want more protein, add some chicken or some toasted pine nuts on top. Again, KISS! If it's homemade, it will be delicious so have fun!


Beth McCurdy