As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and one that I try to live by most aspects of my life, whether it be checking out new trails or ride routes, new cross tubular treads, or new cuisines.  But every once in awhile something comes along that seems so perfect that I never tire of it, and it keeps me coming back over and over again.  To hopefully balance out the yin and yang of healthiness, these are two foods that I haven’t gotten old to me yet.  Both are delicious, but based on the little knowledge I have of nutrition, one of them is not considered a food that should be consumed on a regular basis.

The first is my go to breakfast, and has been on the menu since I was a kid.  Back then it was prepackaged, Maple and Brown sugar variety of Quaker Oatmeal.    I tried all of the flavors back then, but would always come back to the Maple and Brown Sugar.  And over the years oatmeal has always shown up on my breakfast menu, both for the taste, and as a quick, easy and nutritional breakfast.  It wasn’t until later in life that I started working with plain oatmeal and adding my own ingredients, with the goal of adding flavor, but hopefully improving the nutritional value.  After much testing, this is what my recipe consist of.  Start with plain oatmeal, and add: peanut butter, walnut pieces, raisins and brown sugar.

Add some boiling water, and after everything is mixed, top it with some 1% milk.  The mix has sweetness from the raisins and brown sugar, and richness from the peanut butter and walnuts.

The addition of the peanut butter and walnuts hopefully adds some protein to the carb rich recipe.  When I was first experimenting with the recipe I tried to make oatmeal healthier by going with honey, but kept me coming back to brown sugar.  Probably not the healthiest option, but my sweet tooth won out in that battle.    I have found that oatmeal will keep you going for many hours on the bike, and is my go to breakfast on race days.

The next dish is the simple chicken wing.  Probably not the most healthy snack, but when done right can provide amazing flavors, but is unfortunately easily ruined by many a restaurant.    My favorite wings in Chicago can be found at my favorite Chicago Brew Pub, Revolution Brewing.  Revolution Brewing has an amazing beer menu, and a really solid food menu, that is essentially pub grub, well executed and done with fresh, quality ingredients.   Every time I visit Revolution it can be a tough decision on whether or not to get the wings, as the rest of the food is great, especially the wood fired pizzas.  We don’t always go with the wings, but they do show up on our table on a regular basis, and is easier to  justify after a long bike ride or race.  These wings have pretty much everything I love in life; spice, smoked meat, potatoes and most importantly blue cheese.  The wings are applewood smoked, and then covered with a fairly spicy buffalo wing sauce that definitely has more layers of flavor than your average run of the mill buffalo wing sauce.



The wings are then served with a side of blue cheese potato salad and some thinly sliced celery.  I normally skip the celery with wings, but the thinness of these make for a great little snack.  The blue cheese potato salad is really amazing, and the richness and creaminess goes really well with the spicy wings.  Pair these wings with an Anti-hero IPA, which is easily my favorite Chicago brewed IPA, and you have a nice little meal on their own.  As I mentioned above the rest of the food is really great, with some highlights being the Flemish Stew, and all of the pizzas.  My favorite pizza is the Smokehouse, which is covered in pulled pork, bacon and  smoked tomato sauce.  They even have a vegetarian pizza made with seitan that isn’t half bad.   So for your next race day, start off with some homemade oatmeal and finish it up with a stop at Revolution for some brew and food, to balance out your yin and yang.






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