Thursday, 22 February 2018 06:09

Water for coffee is critical for all types of training

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In about a minute, someone's going to tell me that it's wrong to put coffee in the water bottle holder of my elliptical trainer. But I say, better there than on the coffee table while I sink into the couch for a quick 20 minutes in front of the TV.

And while it mightn't look like it from on the other side of this page, the way I see it, this, for me, is actually a promising development.
Reason number one is that it means I'm consistently hitting the cardio, sweating off all those sweets and savouries I make for you every week. Macaroni & Cheese Cakes and Chocolate Cream Pies don't just shed themselves, you know. And neither will this week's Orange & Fennel Biscotti.
Reason number two, on the other hand, has more to do with countering the German in me. In an attempt to one-eighty certain ingrainings, I consider it a step in the right direction to aspire to imperfect efforts.
Now now. Don't get your hosen in a knot. This is not a diatribe. There'll be no kraut-bashing here. It's just that, in my experience, being from that corner of the Black Forest means I've also been exposed to a certain vein of conditioning that slants my attitudes and actions towards a "more than all or none whatsoever" kind of skew.
Loosely interpreted, the environment I was brined in tells me that if I'm not running a marathon, I may as well not walk to the store, either. And if I can't have the whole cake, then I'll sulk in a corner and not even have a piece.
So, as those of you who might come from a kinder, gentler leaning might imagine, breaking down such cemented pathways has become something of a theme of my adult life as I aim to have my piece of cake and leave the rest for someone else. And to then work off that piece, but not every other calorie until I zero the balance. A scale, after all, is supposed to hover around some middle ground.
Now, I know someone out there is picking up what I'm throwing down. I know, because I've talked to enough of you who know yourselves well enough to know that enough is enough!
Together we understand that when it comes to keeping fit, moderate, consistent effort is more valuable than a Herculean beginning that ends with a doughnut binge.
So, while I can concede that water is a better liquid to reach for in a sweat, I'm leaving room for improvement. Today, water for coffee. But afterwards, I'm having a biscotti with my post-workout coffee before I knuckle down to turn the next page.
Orange & Fennel Biscotti
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbs Triple Sec
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbs fennel seeds, lightly toasted
fine zest from one large orange
2 tbs "coffee sugar" (large granule, unrefined sugar)
Sift together flour and baking powder into a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add three eggs, one at a time. Add Triple Sec and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in fennel seeds and orange zest.
Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface. Divide in half. Roll halves into 12-inch logs. Flatten slightly and transfer to a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Beat remaining egg and brush over surface of dough. Sprinkle with coffee sugar. Bake 35 minutes at 325F. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 300F.
Slice logs on the diagonal into about 16 pieces each. Transfer to baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes. Turn over and bake another 8 minutes. Cool completely.

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