Monday, December 20, 2010

end of the semester fiesta!

It's been a cold, snowy, icy and stressful finals week for me, so I slacked off on the cooking AND the running this week.  M and I had plans to go Thursday and Friday and Saturday... and they all fell through.  She was sick, the roads were icy, etc.  I did manage to squeeze in one legitimate work out: I was about to head to campus to run on the treadmill, but the icy roads were too intimidating for me.  So I popped in Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat Boost Metabolism and sweated it out in my living room.  I seriously have a love/hate relationship with that woman.

I was feeling less than creative, and wanted more Loaded Baked Potato Casserole, so I made a modified version of Corn, Ham, and Potato Scallop to satisfy my craving.  It turned out delicious.  I want to make this over and over again.  Scott enjoyed it as well!

 I want this again. right now.  immediately.

Then on Saturday, I had a dinner party planned with the ladies in my cohort to celebrate the end of a very stressful semester.  The theme was "international" and we had quite an array of food.  I made Chili Verde, but skipped the sour cream.  I was running low on time, so Scott helped me chop of the veggies:
Peppers and potatoes and zucchini, oh my!
This was a ridiculously easy chili to make.  I just threw all the ingredients in the pot...
...let it boil, and then turned it down to low heat for about 20 minutes.  The result:
Steamy, spicy chili!  Everyone at dinner loved it, and the best part: gluten free and vegan!  So all my friends with their various dietary restrictions could enjoy it. 
We have some vegetarian friends, some gluten-intolerant friends, and some lactose-intolerant friends (who can have goat's milk/cheese), so everyone always gets creative when we have pot lucks.  Here's my plate, round one:
Gluten free mac and goat cheese, goat cheese enchiladas, and baked asparagus.  Delicious.  Later on, I also had some Pad Thai and some Indian food... I don't remember exactly what the dish was, but it was spicy and amazing!  Thanks ladies for a great end-of-semester dinner.

Now I'm traveling to visit family for the next three weeks.  It's going to be a little nutty, and I'm not sure how much cooking (of my own recipes, at least) OR running I'll get to do, but I'll keep you posted as much as possible!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

delicious dinner party.

This morning it was 16 degrees, so M and I planned to hit up the treadmills at her gym... only to find that every single one was broken.  Ridiculous!  I was quite annoyed, but we made the best of it and hopped onto the elliptical for 25 minutes.  I haven't been on an elliptical in a while and it was... boring!  Luckily, Saved by the Bell was on to distract us :-)  It's going to be cold here for a while - so we need a new plan to stick with the running.  What's the coldest temperature you'll withstand to go for a run outdoors?  I think my limit might be 30, but then again, that means no running for the rest of the week!  Yikes.

Lunch today was Double-Cheese Chicken and Vegetables.  By "double-cheese," I mean that the recipe called for both cheese sauce AND shredded cheese.  It was really good, but the consistency was a little bit... off?  Anyway, it was basically like macaroni and cheese, but with veggies and chicken - yum!  It was also ridiculously easy to make, so I definitely think I'd make it again.  It's a good way to make healthier macaroni and cheese when you have a craving!  (Sorry - forgot to photograph it.)

Tonight, Scott and I had our friends J & D over for a little dinner partay.  I made Mustard Lamb Chops and green beans, and J brought potatoes.  Let me start by saying her potatoes were awesome!  They were red potatoes, cut into smaller pieces, and sauteed/cooked in balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, garlic... I don't know what else, but it was delicious!  The green beans were... meh, nothing special, but I like to have veggies at every meal if possible  They were very crisp, which is the way I like them... hooray fresh veggies!
The star of the show was definitely the lamb chops.  First, I spread the sauce/glaze on one side, which was made of Dijon mustard, thyme, and a little salt. 

I broiled the lamb chops for 3 minutes, turned them over and put the mustard mixture onto the other side.  Broiled for another 4 minutes, and done!  They were cooked exactly perfectly, if you ask me (or Scott). And J & D certainly had no complaints :-)  All in all, it was a fun night :-)

This was a definite success, and VERY easy to cook... if lamb were cheaper we'd probably eat it all the time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

and the cross training begins.

I'm not big on new year's resolutions, because I usually have trouble coming up with them right around the new year.  Also, once I've decided I want to try something new or work towards a goal, I want to start right. that. minute.  None of this "starting January 1st" stuff, unless the idea pops into my head December 31st.

So, one of my "resolutions" is to get better at cross training.  M and I have really stuck to our running over the past 8 months, but I've pretty much failed to do any other sort of exercise regularly.  I know that I need to cross-train and do strength training - not only for my health but also because I hear it prevents injury!  So today was step one.  I went to the gym with my friend S who is way more into strength training than I am.  We warmed up with 20 minutes on the incumbent bike.  And by warm up I mean I totally sweated it out, because I thought a hilly course sounded like fun.  It was fun, but it was a challenge!

Next we headed to the weight room.  First, we did a few lower body machines: the leg press, hip adduction and hip abduction.  Then we moved onto upper body: chest press, pull down exercise, bicep curls, and tricep extensions.  Last, S introduced me to the "captain's chair."  Neither of us knew what this was called, and I actually spent a good amount of time googling it to no avail before Susan came to the rescue.  She has better google skills than me.  In case you don't know either, it's this thing:
(thanks google images)

So, that was my first legitimate attempt at a weights sesh in a while.  Hopefully we can keep that up at least somewhat regularly next semester!  Anyway, after 50 crunches to the front and 20 on each side, I was ready to go home and EAT.  Tonight for dinner was Hearty Steak and Potato Soup.  I chopped everything up this morning, plopped it into the slow cooker, and then went about my day for 8 hours.

Oops, sorry that's really blurry.  My photography skills have been lacking lately.  Anyway, the soup turned out pretty delicious (Scott agrees), but the meat was a little dry.  I wonder why that was - it was drenched in beef broth the whole time and I cooked it for a little LESS time than it recommended.  Sigh.  Anyway, it served as a fantastic and hearty meal after my awesome workout :-)
Again - this so does not look delicious... two explanations: (1) my photography lacks and (2) some food, while delicious, is not pretty.  And you know what, that's okay!  Off to bed for me - I have interval runs to do in the morning :-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

weekend cooking!

I just finished the most DELICIOUS dinner I've had in a while.  But we'll get to that in a little.

Friday night for dinner, I made a Scott-friendly favorite: chicken pot pie!  This was super easy, and the star was one of my favorite ingredients: Bisquick.  Seriously people, if you aren't using Bisquick, you are missing out.

Yesterday, M and I ran 4 miles on the treadmill.  We did an "at tempo" run which means we did an easy pace for 1 mile, a slightly difficult pace for 2 miles, and then an easy pace for the last mile.  It felt great for the first 3.25 miles, but I definitely started having some foot pain towards the end.  After stretching and icing I'm feeling much better, though.
Later Saturday afternoon, I made Swiss Rye Strata for Sarah's blogger bash.  I had so much fun meeting new blogging friends!  Sarah's white chicken chili was so good, I'm definitely going to have to make it myself!  Anyway, people seemed to like the strata, but it didn't turn out quite as good as my other strata in my opinion.  Oh well!  It's still pretty tasty and I have lots of leftovers.

This morning for brunch I made Tex Mex Scrambled Eggs... which I botched.  Basically, I burnt the eggs.  Can't win 'em all right?

Which brings me to tonight's dinner: Loaded Baked Potato Casserole.  I told Scott that I "felt like I was cheating on my diet" while eating this.  It's THAT delicious.  He thinks it would be great football food.  I think it's great any-time-you-want-cheesy-potato-goodness foot.
I put green peppers only on my half, since Scott turns his nose up at peppers.
Delicious!  I am definitely going to bookmark this to make again :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

spinach and crabmeat enchiladas

Tonight for dinner, I made Spinach and Crabmeat Enchiladas.  I had a hankering for Mexican food that was not completely satisfied by a burrito from Chubby's yesterday - so it was time to cook myself some Mexican delight.  Note: this it not to say that Chubby's was not completely and utterly satisfying.  It's just that I once again wanted Mexican food when it came time to eat today, but I thought it would be better to cook and eat something healthy as opposed to returning for another burrito approximately the size of my head.

This recipe was fairly easy.  First, I made my own enchilada sauce out of salsa, taco sauce, chili powder, cumin, cilantro.
Step Two: break the crabmeat down into small bites - this is key because you don't want huge mouthfulls of chunky crab - you want the topping to be well mixed!
Once you've done that, mix together your spinach, some cheese, and a little bit of the sauce.  I think I put way more spinach in than necessary... but it's better to overdo it on the spinach than to overdo it on the cheese, right? Haha.
Next, put some of the sauce down onto your 13 by 9 inch pan.  Take a tortilla, put in some filling, wrap it up, and put it down on the pan folds facing down.
Once you have all of your enchiladas in the pan, smother them in the rest of your sauce, and top with cheese! 
Bake, covered, for 35 minutes at 350.
The result: bubbling cheesy enchilada DELICIOUSNESS!
Delicious.  I'm pumped that I get more for lunch tomorrow, too!!! Back to studying and working on finals :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

i have been cooking!

So it looks like I'm destined to be an "every once in a while" blogger.  Maybe I should make my goal to post at the end of every week?  Thoughts?

Here's the pesto chicken pizza I made last week, but had not yet uploaded the photo of:


Saturday after Thanksgiving I got back to running, after taking a week off after my 10K.  I didn't MEAN to take a week off, but with Thanksgiving it just didn't fit into the schedule well.  So, this week's theme has been SPEED!  Saturday I ran 1.7 miles around the east campus track in 16:56 - less than 10 minute miles!  Then, Tuesday M and I had planned to time our miles at the track, but it was raining.  So we headed to her apartment complex gym and decided to run a mile as fast as we could on the treadmill.  I managed to finish mine in about 8:58 - woo!  I think I have it in me to go even faster, too... it wasn't my legs that were holding me back, but rather my lungs.  By the end, I was huffing and puffing quite a bit.  Thursday was quite chilly, so we headed to the treadmill again to do intervals.  After warming up for 5 minutes we alternated fast for 2 minutes, slow for 1 minute, with our 'fast' ranging from 6.5 to 7.0 on the treadmill.

I think we are going to spend this month working on increasing our speed.  Intervals, farklets, whatever else we can come up with!  I don't have any dreams of being particularly fast, but it would be nice to increase what I feel is a "comfortable/manageable" pace before we start training for the 10 miler.

This week was also full of cooking!  I made a nice big pot of Vegetarian Chili for myself to take for lunches a few days  this week, and froze another 3 servings worth for future lunches.  I kind of ignored the instructions on how to cook it and just threw it in the slow cooker... because everything is delicious in the slow cooker!

Dinner this week was full of Scott's favorite.  First up was a Turkey and Mashed Potato Casserole dish.  This was perfect to have right after Thanksgiving, because I was still craving all my turkey day favorites but had no leftovers!  I know that the fake mashed potatoes you buy in the store probably aren't the best for you, but they are so easy to make and I must say... really delicious!
Plus, one serving of this casserole (which consists of turkey, veggies, turkey gravy, and mashed potatoes) is still only about 300 calories and fairly filling!

Next up, Lemon Chicken and Broccoli Casserole, which consisted mostly of noodles, chicken, and broccoli.  Of course, Scott hates broccoli, and I love Scott, so I made it a Lemon Chicken and Green Bean Casserole.  This was also quite easy and very much to Scott's liking.

Unpictured, I also made a chicken casserole type dish with chicken, chicken gravy, and veggies.  For the veggies, I used celery and corn since that's what I had around.  Then I made some risotto to go on the side... I LOVE risotto, even though it can be a pain to make because you have to continually stir and add the broth little by little!

Up next: Gotta make the grocery list and figure out what's in store for this week...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

last week, in review.

 To finish up what I cooked the week of 11/15-11/19...

Caramelized Pork Slices: Scott really enjoyed this!  It was pretty easy too.  Brown sugar and molasses makes everything delicious.  We had this with a side of rice and green beans.
Pesto Chicken Pizza: Yum!  I really enjoy making these pizzas.  This one turned out delicious - the right amount of pesto without overpowering the pizza.  I'm finally getting the hang of making the crusts myself on the pizza stone ... I just can't seem to get my pizzas to be very round, haha!
Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary:  Sad but true: I made this last Thursday night so we could have it for lunch last Friday and it's still in our refrigerator. I wanted Chipotle.  My willpower isn't strong.

And, as promised, a recap of my 10K!
M and I went to Hains Point in Washington DC for our very first 10K.  Our longest run during the training program was 5.5 miles, so we had another 0.7 to tack on, making it the longest run either of us had ever done.  Based on our training, I knew I wasn't going to be able to run the whole distance without a walking break, so we decided to set my watch to do 10 minute running / 2 minute walking intervals.
The morning was chilly, and when I got out of the car in long pants, a t-shirt, and a track jacket I was feeling under dressed.  I was wishing for gloves, a hat, or earwarmers... but we had none of the above.  Luckily, I have felt this way before at the start of a run and I knew that after a mile I would feel appropriately dressed.
The race was a 5k/10k and the 5k started 10 minutes before us.  I realized that this meant that anyone who wasn't 'serious' about running would be running the 5k... meaning there was a very legitimate chance we would finish dead last in our 10k.  I reminded myself that we weren't trying to break any records, and that the goal was to cross the finish line, not beat anyone!
Before I knew it, we were off.  I was worried about starting off too fast and losing steam so we were sure to not sprint away, and soon we were towards the back of the pack, but not dead last.  The first 10 minutes felt great and I probably didn't need the walk break right then, but I also wanted to pace myself.  After our walk break, we were fairly close to dead last.  Oh well.  We started running again and managed to pass some people that had jogged past us.
The course was basically 2 laps around Hains Point and as we neared the end of our first lap, there were people on the sidelines cheering us on - "almost done!"  I wanted to hurt them.  Haha.  They didn't know we weren't running the 5k I guess, but we were not almost done.. we were almost HALF done.  At this point I realized I had not been in any pain from my foot - AWESOME!  I had been worried because on my run Tuesday and the prior Saturday (we  took Thursday off) I had definitely felt significant pain in my right foot.
I was feeling awesome about our progress at the halfway point and we stopped for about 20 seconds to get some water.  The next mile wasn't so bad for either M or I.  I guess 4 miles is officially a "good" distance for us.  Around the start of the 5th mile, M was definitely hurting.  "I don't know if I can run for 10 minutes anymore" she said.  Usually, M is doing just fine, I'm whining, and she has to be my cheerleader.  This time I was feeling pretty good and tried to be a cheerleader for her.  We were doing so well!  We only had like 2 miles left!  We made it to walk break #5 and I was so excited we had been going for an hour.  Last push of running, I told her.  We had less than 10 minutes of running left before we would be at the finish line. 
So we started interval #6, and I immediately wanted to die.  I was just done.  My muscles were not listening to me as I told them to push on.  I begged her for a chance to walk and she told me no.  Finally, we saw Scott and my friends K and D (D had run the race to, but finished 10 minutes before us) cheering us on a little ways before the finish line.  Usually, I like to sprint to the finish line and finish as strong as possible, but I really was spent.  And then the unthinkable happened.  As we ran towards the finish line, we saw that THE FINISH LINE HAD BEEN DISASSEMBLED! What the hell?!?  I guess park police had come and told them there was some problem with their permit, and made them TAKE DOWN THE FINISH LINE.  So we ran up to where the finish line had been, approximately.  Talk about anti climatic!
Other than the finish line snafu, though, I have to say I was really happy with our time and the race overall!  Hains Point is a beautiful, flat course, which I think might be part of why my run was so pain-free.  And, what I know you are all curious about: my time was 1:07:34, which is about a 10:50 minute mile pace!  Pretty awesome considering we walked 2 out of ever 12 minutes!  I'm so proud of M and I and am definitely excited to sign up and start training for the 10 miler :-)

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

keeping good on my promise!

Hello!!! I'm updating - after only a few days instead of weeks!  Here goes it.

This weekend's 5.5 mile run was... rough.  M and I were both in quite a bit of agony by the end... but we survived!  Luckily the soreness was gone by Monday and I was feeling good.  Tonight we ran 3 miles on the treadmill since it was dark, gross, and rainy out.  My foot pain returned, which is a little worrisome for this weekend.  But hopefully it will subside through lots of stretching and icing and I'll be ready for Saturday's 10K!

I've been COOKING!  Woo!  Lunch the past few days was Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup.
A fairly simple soup with... well.. chicken, spinach, and tortellini.  Add in some carrots and that's really about it!  Next up on the menu this week was Monday's dinner: Cheese and Pesto Strata.

Can I just say, I LOVE french bread?  It's so addictive.  Scott thinks so too.. he finished the loaf that wasn't in the strata in one sitting, haha.  This recipe turned out alright, but I think it's more of an appetizer or something to have in small doses - not really a dinner type of food.
Then tonight I made Chicken-Noodle Casserole.  This was also super simple. 
I left out the mushrooms to appease Scott, and he was very grateful.  This recipe doesn't have any exciting herbs or spices, which I might have enjoyed, but Scott thought it was perfect - simple clean food that 'tastes like food should taste, not like the spices would make it taste' so says Scott.

Friday, November 12, 2010

not only am i alive, i run!

Now that you are all up to speed on what I've been cooking, here's a recap of my recent runs:

10/23: I went to visit SUSAN in NYC and on Saturday morning we went running in Central Park with a running store running group.  We ran about the first mile together - woohoo for our FIRST run together! Then we split off and she went with the speedy group while I picked a more appropriate group for me :-)  I find a buddy who was at my pace level and we did a combo of running and walking 3.5 miles through Central Park, at an average of 10:52 miles.

After that run, I fell off the wagon.  I didn't run for a week and a half!  One day M didn't feel good, another day I was stressed, etc.  Finally, we got back on track a full 12 days later.  Oops.

11/4: M and I ran 2.5 miles in 27 minutes, for an average pace of 10:48.  Pretty good for having taken 12 days off.  This run was two firsts for me: my first run in the rain (it wasn't pouring - but there was a steady drizzle!) and my first run in my new shoes! 
While I was in NYC, I asked the running store folks about my shoes.  I'd been having more pain after running recently so I thought it might be time for new shoes.  I tried on a few pairs at the store, and it came down to Asics Kayano's or Brooks Adrenaline.  Susan recently switched the kind of running shoes she wears, and just happened to have a pair of Brooks Adrenaline in my size, brand new, that she had no intentions of wearing.  So, of course I opted for the free pair of shoes!  Anyway, 11/4 was my first run in the shoes, and they felt great!

11/6: Longest run ever but it felt SO GOOD!  We went 5.38 miles in 1:03:11, which is an 11:45 pace.  We decided that for long runs, we would go 10 min running and 2 min walking.  It was definitely a slow pace throughout but I felt so good and strong after!  It definitely renewed my confidence that I CAN complete my upcoming 10K!

11/8: M was sick so I went onto the treadmill for 3.0 miles in 31:48, avg. pace of 10:36.  I think 3 miles is about the longest I can go on the treadmill without a good television show, haha.

11/11: Back on the road with M!  2.0 miles in 23 minutes which is slow, because we decided to walk up our least favorite hill, which was a solid 5 minutes of walking.  Oh well :-)

This weekend (on Sunday) we have a 5.5 mile run!  We are sticking with the intervals of 10/2 for now, and I'm really looking forward to the run.  It's finally cooled down here, and last weekend when we ran it was about 45.  This weekend is warming up again, but not too much - a high of 71.  Should be good!  I'll try to blog about it sooner rather than later :-)

no, really, i'm alive!

All I can say is... grad school is busy!  I've managed to keep cooking, but not at the pace I had hoped.  Here's what I've cooked since I last posted:

141.  Halibut with Potato Succotash (November 2, 2010)
142.  Sausalito Chicken and Seafood Salad (November 2, 2010)
143.  Orange Teriyaki Beef with Noodles (November 3, 2010)
144.  Tortilla Soup (November 4, 2010)
145.  Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti (November 5, 2010)
146.  Ranch Tuna-Melt Pizza (November 4, 2010)
147.  Tex-Mex Meatloaf (November 8, 2010)
148.  Creamy Quinoa Primavera (November 9, 2010)
149.  Easy Bake Ravioli (November 10, 2010)
150.  Beef Tenderloin with Pear-Cranberry Chutney (November 11, 2010)
151.  Chicken and Tortellini Salad (November 12, 2010)

I don't think I could possible recall and talk about all 11 dishes.  Here's some highlights/lowlights:
#141: the suggested frozen potato stuff that went into the potato succotash was lacklaster.  I had high hopes for frozen potatoes, but the texture and taste was... off.
#142: I loved this.  I love avocado, I loved everything about this recipe.
#143: I made this with chicken instead.  Definitely good.
#144: Putting tortillas in a pan to cook them and get them crispy was the best idea EVER.  Yum.
#145: So good, and so worth the fact that it took 8 hours to make a sauce.
#146: I am becoming a pizza dough pro.  This needed more cheese, but I ran out!
#147:  This was good flavor-wise but it was heavy on the meat.  Needed more bread/veggies - kind of felt like we were eating burgers!
#148: I love quinoa, and the cream cheese combo is stellar.  Carrots don't really go though - I'd suggest zucchini or squash as your veggies.
#149:  So easy and basic, but if what you want is cheese ravioli, this works!
#150: My first chutney!  This was flipping AMAZING. I love pears.  I love cranberries.  I love pumpkin pie spice.  Perfect fall dinner.
#151: Good, easy salad.  I like the dressing quite a bit.

And now, I will give you a photo montage of the past month of food:

 Asian rice and lentil burgers
  Baked chicken and rice with autumn vegetables

  Moroccon Skillet Chicken
  Moroccon Skillet Chicken
 Smoked turkey and couscous
 Italian Chicken Pitas
 Lox and Cream Cheese Scramble
  Halibut with Potato Succotash
  Ranch Tuna-Melt Pizza
 Tortilla Soup
 Tex-Mex Meatloaf
 Creamy Qunioa Primavera
 Easy Bake Ravioli
 Beef Tenderloin with Pear-Cranberry Chutney
Chicken and Tortellini Salad