Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Running Shoe Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Wave Rider 18 - "Realize the Power Within"

The Wave Rider 18, an update from Mizuno for their flagship shoe, is designed for the neutral runner who needs support and cushioning for high mileage training. Key features include their U4ic midsole for optimal shock attenuation, resiliency, and responsiveness. It's also 30% lighter than previous materials. The Dynamotion Fit reacts to the motion of the foot with added support. Mizuno Wave Technology provides a stable ride. According to Mizuno, the heel to toe drop is 12 mm.

According to Mizuno, they adopted the inspirational influence of the Japanese concept of “Hado,” the intrinsic vibrational life force energy that promotes powerful transformations. The Wave Rider 18 displays this in its sleek design, inspiring runners to get out and do what they love best, run.

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 and 18 comparison
A visual comparison of the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 and 18

There have been a lot of comparisons to the Wave Rider 17, some good, some bad. As with all shoes, you have to try them on to see how they work for you. The new design improves on the previous model, in my opinion, in more ways than one. Immediately noticeable is the color gradient that is dark at the heels and lighter towards the toes, a very pretty look. The sole's general pattern remains the same, though the colorful swirls of the 17 have been replaced with a simple black rubber. While both models retain a narrower arch, the 18 feels roomier overall, with a wider base feel (though physically they appear equal). Breathability seems better with the 18, perhaps due to the larger circular-shaped mesh used. While also a bit stiff out of the box, these were definitely a lot more flexible than the 17s, a welcome improvement. Perhaps the strangest difference are the noticeably shorter laces on the 18s, not sure why this change was made.

If you're in the market for a neutral trainer with responsiveness, support, and cushioning to give you the option to run far, take a look at the Wave Rider 18s, they might be the shoe you're looking for. Suggested MSRP is $120.00.

More information can be found via the Mizuno website, Facebook, and Twitter.

These shoes provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sausage Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust [Recipe]

Sausage Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

I've longed loved quiche (guess I'm not a real man), so a switch to a pale/primal nutrition plan meant no more yummy crust for me. Nothing wrong with a frittata,  but the crust does add quite a bit to the pleasure of eating this eggy dish. When I saw the recipe for "Sausage Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust" in Danielle Walker's Against All Grain (Victory Belt Publishing, 2013), I knew I had to try it. Would this be the answer to my search? Yes and no.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato
  • Sausage
  • Rosemary
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 T coconut milk
  • Sea Salt
  • Black pepper

Sausage Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust steps

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Oil a pie plate or other baking utensil.
  • Slice sweet potato into 1/8" thick disks; arrange in bottom, overlapping, to create a "crust."
  • Spread desired amount of sausage over sweet potato. (Danielle suggests using breakfast sausage, but I went with straight ground Italian sausage and it tasted great.)
  • Press rosemary into sausage. (I also added fennel seeds as I've really had a taste for it lately and it goes perfectly with sausage.)
  • Beat eggs, coconut milk, salt and pepper; pour over sausage and sweet potato. (To me quiche has cheese, so I added some mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Probably not necessary, but really good.)
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

This was a fantastic dish and really easy to make. I really enjoyed the sweet potato "crust," but will admit it did not replace the yumminess of a regular pie crust. Still a dish that stands on its own, however, definitely worth making.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Impacts to Nature, Chicago Cubs, and Jerky

Impacts to Nature

You have probably heard the news about "artist" Casey Nocket (aka "Creepytings"), who apparently has vandalized National Parks by painting rocks with indelible paint. Parks include Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks in California; Canyonlands and Zion in Utah; and Crater Lake in Oregon. Whether you agree with what she did or not (I personally don't), it's good reminder that even the best-meaning visitors have an impact on nature. The image above, created by the Access Fund, shows timeframes for how long certain items will remain, blemishing the landscape. Pack out what you brought in.

Chicago Cubs waitlist

When we moved back to the Chicago area in 2008, I put my name in for Chicago Cubs season tickets - to my amazement, I was number 103,492 or some other mind-boggling high number. Over the years, my interest in the Cubs has waned, some from their poor play, but mostly because our life doesn't revolve around the city , like it did for me in college. Imagine my surprise when I got a notification that I had reached the season ticket list after only six years, kind of sad. Truly a testament to the ineptitude of the owners, players, and coaches, but mostly to the fickleness of fans. I still think it would be fun to have season tickets, but my money and interests have moved on, so hopefully the next round of waitlisters will be a little happier to get the news.

Jamaican Style Turkey Perky Jerky

I haven't taken the ultimate step yet to make my own, but I am a huge fan of jerky. Smoke and salt and protein - when done right, it is truly a one-of-a-kind treat. I recently received a sample of Perky Jerky, created by a couple of "Jerks" who weren't happy with what they found in the market, so they came up with a way to make soft and tender jerky with turkey and beef. They are not just in it for the money, however; the company donates a portion of their earnings to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Down Syndrome research. My sample, the Jamaican Style Turkey Perky Jerky, made by marinating turkey overnight in a blend of zesty peppers and flavorful jerk spices, was soft and chewy as advertised. I'm not always a fan of jerk spicing, but this was a nice blend of sweetness and spices, making it appealing. Gluten free, no preservatives, no added nitrites, this has a lot going for it. In fact, the only improvement I would suggest is that they switch to organic turkey meat and grass fed beef. (Sample provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.)

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza [Recipe]

Mike suggested that I share some recipes that I've tried on my Primal/Paleo experiment (though at this point it's no longer an experiment, definitely something I will continue). In our house, we LOVE pizza, I would wager it's probably the one meal most requested overall, especially it's so easy to make, order in, or enjoy out. Casual and satisfying.

One of the recipes I've seen for quite a while that intrigued me was cauliflower crust pizza - in the past, I had never really considered it, since I loved bread so much, but cutting out the bread meant no pizza (or cheating). So several weeks ago, I bit the bullet and made the pizza. There are many, many recipes out there, so I distilled several into one I thought would work.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients:
1 cauliflower
kosher salt
dried basil
dried oregano
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese
egg
To make:
  1. Preheat pizza stone or baking sheet in a 450 degree oven.
  2. Place in food processor and process to an equal consistency. 
  3. Transfer to oven-safe or microwave-safe container. Cook or microwave until just tender. 
  4. Let cool and then pour into cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel. Wring it until no more liquid comes out. This will help create a chewier crust.
  5. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl, adjusting for taste and texture. I ended up using extra cheese (1/2 cup of each) and 2 eggs to get it to the desired consistency - it really depends on how much cauliflower you have.
  6. Place mixed ingredients onto oiled parchment paper and shape into even thickness crust, then transfer to preheated pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake until golden brown - times will vary depending on ovens as well as actual ingredients used.
  7. Remove from oven, add toppings, then return to oven to melt cheese and heat toppings.
  8. Enjoy!
Cauliflower Crust Pizza Step by Step

I will say that this turned out better than expected, really an enjoyable alternative to regular bread crust, a necessity if you are Primal or a dairy-eating Paleo person. While this crust is softer and more pliable than typical crusts, it definitely works. It's no more time-consuming than making regular homemade pizza crust.

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