Tuesday, June 29, 2010

indian food truck.

I meant to make a plan for dinner during work today, and then grocery shop on my way home.  But things don't always go as planned, and at 7:15 when I was still in my office, I realized I was not picking a recipe, nor was I going to the grocery store, and thus, I couldn't cook.  That's okay, because one of my friends had been telling me that I absolutely HAD to go to the "Indian food truck" aka Indian Food on Wheels, conveniently located less than 2 blocks from my office.  So, to the Indian Truck I went.

(Pictures from the Herald-Sun and Yelp.)

I ordered the beef with a side of spinach and potatoes.  My favorite Indian dish is Palak Paneer, which is a spinach dish with cheese.  This spinach and potato dish (apparently called Aloo Palak?) may have just beat out Palak Paneer for most delicious Indian food.  The beef was also made in a fantastic sauce.
Basically, I think I know what I'll be getting every time I don't want to cook for the entire school year.  It was that good.  Better than the Indian food I often splurge for on campus.  Yum.  Ok - goal for tomorrow: cook something to share with ya'll... haha

Trashy TV Tuesdays & More

First of all... producers of the Bachelorette: PLEASE make this show a little less predictable.  While I would have been really sad if one of my favorite guys had a girlfriend, it was sort of annoying that the jerk that no one liked, shocker, had a girlfriend.  Although I will say that the scene of him walking away and the voicemails he was leaving for his girlfriend playing was hilarious.  But, beyond that, the most eventful part of last night's Bachelorette was the previews for the upcoming episodes.  It was obvious that she didn't feel chemistry with Craig and felt only a friendship-vibe with him.  Seriously, though, the previews MADE EVERYTHING SO OBVIOUS. So now instead of wondering who the top 3 are, we know with certainty.  Thanks.  I can't believe my fave is not making it.  Unless they did some wacky editing, I know already that my favorite is not going to win Ali's heart.  SAD.  Fingers crossed that he'll be the next bachelor?

Full disclosure: I also watch The City. I'd buy Whitney Eve's entire line if I were super rich.  I wish she would be friends with, but not work with Roxy, because I'm always terrified Roxy is going to mess something up - they have different styles, and I can't see it working.  I flipping hate Olivia, but of course the show is designed to be that way.  Of course, I've made Tuesday Trashy TV day, meaning it's an entire week after a new episode when I finally post, so not much to say.

This morning M and I started transitioning from "run/walk" to just running.  We went 1.5 miles at a pace of about 11:50 min/mile, and it wasn't so bad!  I'm super excited, as that's the longest we've gone without a walk break.  The rest of this week are run/walk work outs - which honestly is good because after only running for 17:47 I don't really feel like I did enough cardio today (I came home and did strength stuff after the run, though).  The next two weeks our weekday runs will be distances, and our weekend runs will be longer interval runs.  After that we will officially be starting an 8k training program!  Woohoo!  We went with the 8k program because honestly, after the interval training over the last few months, the 5k programs looked lame.  So, although we have yet to pick a race to run, we will be training for an 8k and then finding either a 5k or 8k race to run in mid September.  Anyone know of a good 5k or 8k race to run in mid September?  We're open to suggestions!

Time to get to work for the day - and at some point I also need to decide what I'm making for meals over the next few days so I can go to the grocery store and get cooking tonight!

Monday, June 28, 2010

two small dinners is better than one large dinner?

Wondering how my Italian Chicken Bracciole was for lunch?  IT WAS FANTASTIC.  To know whether or not you would enjoy it, let me tell you what I am starting to learn are the keys to a delicious (Italian, in this case) dish for me:
  1. Fresh garlic, chopped and cooked in a pan (possibly garlic powder works just as well, but I like to use fresh garlic).  I also like to include other Italian seasonings.
  2. Cheese (Usually Parmesan and/or Mozzarella).
  3. Bacon (I use low-fat turkey bacon).
  4. Diced tomatoes - fresh or canned - cooked so they become more of a chunky sauce.  This is so much better than marinara sauce in a jar, I don't think I'll ever go back.  Yum.
  5. Cooked onions (gotta be chopped up small and cooked through).
Delicious. This recipe also had bread crumbs, another love of my life.  This would have gone well with pasta, but instead I had it with a side salad.  On to dinner.  I am definitely in a cooking funk this week - I am just not motivated to go to the grocery store or cook.  But dinner must be consumed, so I have to push through!

I had one piece of pork yet, so I made a fairly simple recipe: Pork Medallions with Hot Pineapple Glaze.  I don't like pineapple, and this recipe said to use either pineapple or orange marmalade spreadable fruit, so I went with the latter.  Even the orange marmalade flavor isn't my favorite, but it's definitely better than pineapple!  This recipe was quick, simple, and tasted good.  However, I could not for the life of me think what vegetables go well with orange marmalade, so I ate it solo and decided to eat two small dinners instead of one big dinner tonight.

After dinner #1, I knew I needed to find a way to use the asparagus I had leftover from last week.  I found a recipe for Halibut and Asparagus Stir-Fry.  I didn't have halibut, nor did I need another serving of meat/protein right after my pork, so I basically made this recipe sanz fish.  It was pretty good, but not spectacular... although I feel like I have to try this again when I have some halibut.  Also, I didn't chop up the asparagus spears very small, I think that would have helped.  The mushrooms, onions, soy sauce, and garlic were a great flavor combo, though!

Err... no plans for lunch tomorrow and nothing much in the fridge to make... we'll see what happens.  Still in a funk, not really excited about cooking or going to the grocery store.  It would be a miracle if I avoided fast food even for the rest of the night, haha!  What do you do when you are just craving fried, unhealthy, greasy fast food?  Hopefully having my eyes glued to the TV (BACHELORETTE!) will prevent me from going out.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

60 recipes completed!

All day today I was craving unhealthy food that I couldn't make in the kitchen... but given that I had a huge plate of nachos yesterday while watching the World Cup, I knew I needed to resist the urge!  I was also really not in the mood to go grocery shopping, so I had to figure out what I could make with what I already had.  Despite those delicious nachos, I was still in the mood for Mexican, so I whipped together Salsa Fiesta Chicken.  I love the fluffy texture of Bisquick, but the last time I tried a recipe with a Bisquick baked bottom, it turned out to be a bit of a mess.  However, I also forgot to spray the bottom of the pan last time, so I thought that was to blame.  This time, the crust came out of the pan more easily for the most part, and was only a little bit of mess:
 Unfortunately, I'm not sure Mexican and Bisquick's fluffy crust really go together.  I felt like the recipe ought to be with marinara sauce instead of  of salsa.  And of course, now that dinner was sub par, I'm going to want something else.  Bah Humbug!

While my dinner was baking, I made Italian Chicken Bracciole.  Of course, I didn't have any chicken thighs, so I used chicken breast instead.  This means that my stuffing is mostly just on top of the chicken instead of really stuffed into it, but that's ok. 
 Mmm, lots of diced tomatoes.  Stay tuned to see how it turns out after I eat it for lunch tomorrow!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

sleepy running

Anyone who knows me in real life probably doesn't believe that I go running in the morning, or they at least are a little skeptical.  And if you told them that on top of that, I went running on a WEEKEND morning at 7:30am, they would laugh.  Why?  Because I hate the morning.  I love to sleep in.  And I love to nap.  This is a well known fact.

One of the reasons I love sleeping in is because I've always been a night owl.  So after sleeping in a bit on Friday morning (no run scheduled), I knew it was going to be a challenge to fall asleep early on Friday night in order to be well-rested for my Saturday morning run.  10:30 sounded like a good time to go into bed, so I turned off the TV and climbed under the covers at about 10:45.

I usually like to fall asleep to an episode of a show or something, so I geared up some netflix.  But I didn't fall asleep, and then it was 11:15.  And 11:45.  Then, Susan came home from work and was on gchat, so we chatted a little.  1am.  Oops.  Say goodnight, return to sleep attempt - this time without any background television, since it wasn't really working. 1am became 2, put the noise back on... 2 came 3, and then... yes, 4am.  Shortly after the clock glared 4:01, I think I fell asleep.  So the 7:00am alarm was... less than pleasant.

M only fared a little bit better, clocking in at 5 hours of sleep.  Neither of us have particularly good explanations for this.  Oh well.  We were, however, a bit of a mess.  My driving to campus was questionable, and just as we pulled in I realized I forgot my watch.  I almost turned around to get it, but it seemed too far.  So for the first time ever, we set off for a jog with no clock and no particular goals.  Given our exhaustion, we opted to run two shorter loops instead of one longer out and back.  While I have no idea what our time was, we went 3 miles total, and ran about 2.4 of the 3.

Came home and did a very abbreviated version of strength training - just a few crunches and situps and whatnot.  It's crazy how awake I feel after morning runs, even on only 3 hours of sleep!  Now I'm off to run some errands before meeting up with friends to cheer on TEAM USA!

Friday, June 25, 2010

spice overload

The Asian Pork Salad I had for lunch today turned out spicy, but not too spicy for my tastes, surprisingly.  I ate it slowly to avoid spice overload, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit.  I think the black beans helped tone down the spice.  This is definitely a salad I'll make again!

Tonight for dinner, I made Cajun Smothered Pork Chops for dinner (online recipe slightly different).  I did something dumb though.  Even those this recipe calls for one "jalapeño chile, seeded, chopped," I for some reason decided I didn't need to seed it.  So I chopped up the whole jalapeño chile and added it to my skillet.  This is possibly the worst thing I've done so far in my cooking escapades.  THE SEEDS ARE THE REALLY REALLY HOT PART.  And an entire jalapeño chile is too much spice for me.  My mouth was burning!!! I managed to move most of the pieces of jalapeño to the side and finish the pork chop, but oh man... it was spicy.  Definitely will have to re-make this recipe at some point, jalapeño's seeded!
Does that salad on the bottom half of my plate look familiar?  Well, I had lots of leftover cole slaw mix, so I re-made the dressing from the Asian Pork Salad (but with a little less chili puree!) and had a side salad!  Delicious.  Now it's time to get ready for an early Friday night bed time - we are running at 7:30 tomorrow morning!  Wish me luck :-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

back in action.

Yes, I realize I was out of commission for less than 48 hours.  Whatever, I'M BACK, and I'm sure you are excited about it.  So, the first thing I did when I got home from work today was COOK!

First, since I wasn't starving, I threw together lunch for tomorrow:
Hello, Asian Pork Salad.  Looking at the recipe,  I was really excited to make this... but after having a small taste, I'm not sure sure.   The dressing is so, so spicy!  It has "Chili puree with garlic" - which I had to use last week and couldn't find at Kroeger... so I just substitute chili puree and chopped up garlic.  This week I went to Harris Teeter and found a bottle of this:
Which may or may not be what Betty & Co. meant.  A google search for chili puree with garlic comes up with a bottle of that and similar things, so I think it's what I'm supposed to use.  And it's SPICY.  This is coming from a girl who likes spicy food.  Anyway, I'll let you know tomorrow how it actually tastes.

After whipping together my Friday lunch salad, I moved onto dinner: Chicken with Carrots and Mushrooms.  This is a very basic recipe, which is nice, although I was skeptical: do carrots and mushrooms really go together?  The answer: they go together just fine - although I wouldn't say they are my favorite combination.  This recipe was a solid meal.  My favorite part was the sauce, which tasted like a nice, light gravy.  The chicken was also good, although as per usual I could have cooked the chicken for less time and it might have been even better.  One day, I will learn to cook a chicken breast in a pan without letting it get dry.
Other than that, I'm feeling good about my run this morning, and the plan is to do some strength training with NMTZ tomorrow.  Then we have a long run on Saturday.  Tonight's plan: white wine and chocolate with a friend!  Nothing beats a glass of cold white wine on a hot summer day.  What are your favorite summertime beverages?

dear stove, please turn on.

I just wanted to quickly update you guys on my cooking situation!  I ended up microwaving the Mexican Macaroni and Cheese the rest of the way to have it for lunch yesterday... and it did not turn out all that great.  It could be a less-than-stellar recipe, but I think trying to make a cheesy sauce in the microwave was my main problem.. so we'll award this recipe "No Grade" and try it again some other time (because I was SO excited about it, and then SO disappointed as I ate).  The maintenance people didn't make it out to my place last night, and after a less-than-thrilling microwaved lunch, I wasn't really in the mood to nuke a can of soup or veggies, which seemed like my only options.  So, I splurged and got some food from the Whole Foods hot bar.  Yum! Although, probably not at all healthy.  Whoops.

This morning M and I ran the 2.5 mile loop again, 2 minute walking followed by 8 minutes of running.  We must have kept our pace about even with Tuesday's, since we started/finished in almost exactly the same spots in the 30 minutes!  Given that she was sore from her abs work out and I was running on very little sleep, I was pretty impressed with us.  We are doing another longer run on Saturday - but this time bright and early.  I'm tempted to try the 5 mile / 60 minute path again, to see if we can do better in the heat, but I'm not sure if that's too ambitious.

Anyway, hopefully the maintenance people come today and when I get home this evening I'll have a working stove/oven... keep your fingers crossed for me!  Otherwise I'm going to have to start getting really creative with my food... or perhaps visit the famous Indian Food Truck near campus :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

broken stove?!?

This morning, M and I set out for a 30 minute run, and decided to do 2 minutes of walking followed by 8 minutes of running.  It was in the low-to-mid 70s and only (ha, only) 75% humidity - so it was way more comfortable than our recent runs.  I wouldn't say this felt 'easy' by any stretch of the imagination, but it was so better and more pleasant than Saturday's run, or even the weekday runs last week!  We didn't go terribly fast - 12:30 pace for 2.5 miles overall - and when you calculate the walking pace at 16 min/miles that makes our run pace 11:30 - but I felt refreshed and good at the end!  Woohoo!

This was a good start to my day - since I wasn't completely exhausted afterward I managed to only lay on my floor for about 5 minutes before showering and having my coffee and perusing my Google reader.  I made it to the office by 9:45, feeling awake and ready to work.  I definitely enjoyed my Antipasto Chicken for lunch - and surprisingly had a hard time finishing it!  Yum.  I still think I don't particularly like the texture of the artichokes, but I like the flavor.  I wonder what I could do to fix that... suggestions?

Dinner was Plum-Mustard Pork Chops with a side of mixed vegetables.  I made some extra plum-mustard sauce and poured them on the veggies as well.  Attempt #2 at making pork went somewhat better - it wasn't as chewy and it still wasn't dry!  I watched the pork like a hawk and as soon as it wasn't pink in the center I took it off the skillet.  Possibly I could still cook it less and be happy, haha.  I like my meat rare, what can I say?
Not the prettiest dish, but the plum-mustard sauce was AMAZING.  I had never heard of Chinese plum sauce before, but it is delicious.  I would eat it by the spoonful.  Okay - maybe not, but I would eat it with just about anything.  Anyway, dinner was delicious and after eating, I decided to prepare lunch for tomorrow.  I was super excited about this dish: Mexican Macaroni and Cheese!  Unfortunately, shortly after I began cooking the macaroni, my stove .... broke.  I was standing right next to the stove, getting into a drawer for a can opener for the chopped green chiles.  As I closed the drawer, suddenly I heard a loud POP and saw a spark.  Now, none of the burners on my stove will heat up, and neither will my oven.  I guess I'll be calling maintenance first thing in the morning.... :-(

The only good part is that the macaroni, after staying in the warm water, finished cooking.  I had no source of heat, so I couldn't cook the rest of the ingredients into the pasta mix... so for now they are just in a plastic container, waiting for my stove to be fixed!
Looks good... I'm excited for this recipe to come together.  I figure, worst case scenario I could stir everything together and put it in a microwave... but keep your fingers crossed that my stove is fixed in time for lunch!  That's all for today - now I'm off to make a pre-bedtime snack that doesn't involve my stove or oven (which means no delicious sleepytime tea tonight, boo!).

trashy tv tuesdays.

I'd like to introduce to you a new section of my blog: Trashy TV Tuesdays.  Every Tuesday, I will allow myself to talk at length about the happenings of all of my favorite TV shows, and perhaps other topics unrelated to cooking and running.  Why Tuesdays?  Because my favorite show, the Bachelorette, comes on Monday nights.  Why Trashy?  Um, hello, my favorite show is the Bachelorette.  For now that's the main show I have to blog about - but I also love The City (Whitney Eve - if your clothes were not so expensive I'd buy all of them), Glee (not trashy, just love it), and Project Runway (also not trash, just amazing).  When the Bachelorette ends and my other shows start I might have to pick a different day to post about TV, we'll see :-)

SPOILER ALERT, if you haven't watched last night's episode of the Bachelorette and you don't want it to be ruined, stop reading here.

So, the previews for this week's episode made it seem like Kirk had something huge to tell Ali.  It turned out to be a very touching story about an illness he went through in college - and while I think sharing the story with Ali brought them closer together, it definitely wasn't what I expected!  C'mon Bach, I'm waiting for "I'm dying of cancer," or at least "I have a child," haha.  Anyway, after their date I feel like Kirk definitely has a shot at being the guy for Ali in the end.  He's so sweet and they have great chemistry.  Of course, after their one-on-one, Ali went on a group date where I was immediately reminded of how much I love Chris L. from Cape Cod.  I just hope he and Ali continue to develop more romantic chemistry.  I have this strange feeling that Chris L. will end up making it to the top 3, but not be Ali's ultimate choice.  On one hand, this is sad... but I totally think he would make a great next Bachelor, which could be fun, too.

This week we FINALLY hear Chris N. speak, but of course it was all disaster.  This wasn't at all surprising.  From the moment he stumbled over his poem, I knew that he was getting airtime simply to demonstrate why he was going home... and I was right.  This week's rose ceremony was so anti climatic... it was so obvious that they had no chemistry, while all of the other guys had much better conversations with Ali.  Speaking of anti climatic - I definitely thought there would be more drama on Kasey and Justin's 2-on-1 date.  I was surprised how civilly they both behaved!  I was also impressed with the way Kasey framed his tattoo - "grown so much from this experience" .... "will have these memories forever no matter what happens"... I almost thought he wasn't completely insane.  Alas, the tattoo was still a creepy move, and Ali had to send him home.  Thank goodness.  Although her inability to celebrate Justin staying definitely shows that she isn't very in to Justin either... so I doubt he's staying around for much longer.  In fact, I almost thought she'd send them both home!  Justin definitely annoyed me this week - he kept framing the date as a chance to "beat Kasey" and "win the rose," and I had to agree with Kasey that he sounds like he's just trying to win a game, not necessarily develop anything serious with Ali.

Previews for next week - will we finally found out who really has a girlfriend?  I hope it's Justin, but I'm afraid it's someone she's closer to.  Who could it be?  From the preview, I kind of thought it looked like Chris L... but that would be shocking (and devastating!!).  I can't imagine it being him, Frank, or Ty... and after this week's "drama" with Kirk I doubt it's him either.  Could it be Roberto?  I wouldn't be totally shocked... while I think she really likes Roberto, he isn't great at assuring her that he's really excited to be with her, so I foresee trouble there!

Alright, that's enough about The Bachelorette for this week.  In other TV news, I just finished watching all three seasons of Arrested Development... and I'm SO sad it's over.  It's funny how the writers definitely got me to hope for Maeby and George-Michael to get together, despite it being totally wrong, haha.  I hope they really are coming out with a movie in 2011!  Have a great day everyone, I'll update about my run and my food later on today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

fresh is best!

Today for lunch, I had a Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe.  After reading the ingredient list and seeing the finished product, I was skeptical that this would be anything but bland.  I tasted a few bites last night, and my suspicions were confirmed.  Betty, what were you thinking?
Basically, veggies, rice, and chicken in a dish, baked.  The only other ingredients were chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  So really, there wasn't much flavor.  To avoid hating my lunch and buying something unhealthy at work, I poured some teriyaki marinade over the whole thing.  It was, with the marinade, still just average.  The only way I can see to make this better is some sort of flavored or exciting chicken - the recipe just calls for "cut-up cooked chicken," so I guess you could use any sort of spice/herbs on it.

On to today's meals.  For dinner, I made Fresh Tomato and Garlic Penne.  First, I diced up fresh garlic, which is something I do quite regularly.  However, after a conversation with some friends this weekend, I learned that you are supposed to use your big knife and rock it back and forth to chop garlic - I had been using my small knife.  I don't think I got the rocking motion down really, and I'm still not sure I have it figured out, but the garlic was chopped, so no harm was done:
Don't you love my cutting board?  I got it as a gift for winning a game at a friend's wedding shower years ago, and I smile every time I use it!  Anyway, onto the recipe.  I was very impressed with this sauce!  I don't think I ever realized how delicious diced tomatoes with garlic and basil could be!  It tasted so fresh and delicious!  I added in some artichokes, black olives, and zucchini I had extra from another recipe, since I wanted to eat more veggies.  I am definitely excited about using this as my go-to pasta sauce in the future (assuming I have fresh Roma tomatoes and time to make my own sauce).
I have to say, making this sauce I felt a little bit like Teresa from The Real Housewives of New Jersey making red sauce with her family.  Yum! I'm definitely learning that fresh ingredients make the best food - hence the title of today's post!

I also made lunch for tomorrow - Antipasto Chicken.  I am really excited to eat this.  I actually made it before dinner, and I was so tempted to gobble it up right away!  The chicken looks delicious, as do the fresh vegetables.  I was pretty careful to not overcook the chicken, so I'm feeling very optimistic about it being done well.  And anything topped with feta cheese is good in my book!
Artichokes, red pepper, tomatoes, yum!  I'll let you know how it turns out.  This will be the third recipe in about a week with artichokes - good because I need to use them up before they go bad, but I'm questioning how much I like artichokes.  I am realizing that I enjoy their flavor, but not so much their texture.

Well, it's time to watch THE BACHELORETTE; but I'll be making a separate post with my thoughts on tonight's episode, and posting it tomorrow.  I'm waking up bright and early to go for a 30 minute run with M.  It's going to be hot and humid all week - but we have to push through!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

goodbye fish, hello pork!

Saturday, M and I decided to try running a little later in the morning - we knew we'd have increased temperature, but the decreased humidity was enticing.  Unfortunately, the humidity didn't decrease all that much, but the temperature was about 10 degrees warmer at 10:30 than it would have been at 7:30.  We've been doing relatively short runs lately - 30 minutes - so we wanted a nice long work out for the weekend.  We picked out a 5 mile course with the goal of finishing it in about an hour.  We decided to run for 2 minutes, then run the rest of the mile.  This worked for about the first two miles (although M had to encourage me quite a bit at the end of mile 2), and then I was exhausted.  I had plenty of water and breakfast before the run, so I think it was mostly the heat affecting me.  I can't remember the last time putting one foot in front of other was so hard!  We stopped to walk a little bit until I felt slightly better, and then switched to intervals of 4 minutes running, 2 minutes walking.  We made it about another 2.5 miles, and then walked the last 0.5 miles back to cool down.  Even though we only ran a little more than 35 minutes total, I was proud of us for doing that much, and for going the whole 5 miles.  Lesson learned though: heat is a killer!

For dinner on Saturday, I made Shrimp Scampi and had it over pasta.  It was good, but I think I should have made more of a sauce for the pasta (instead of just more of what the shrimp was cooked in).
And so ends Pescatarian week.  This week I am making several pork dishes (and a few chicken)... which is a little bit terrifying to me.  I HATED pork chops growing up, but as an adult, I learned that my dislike for them was mostly due to my family often overcooking them, resulting in dry, chewy pork.  Now that I know pork chops can be so delicious, I'm determined to learn to cook them well.  I'm just a little scared that I might overcook them the first 27 times.  So, attempt #1 was Peppered Pork in Mushroom Sauce (don't ask me why the online recipe name is slightly different - the recipes are identical except that my cookbook doesn't suggest specific brands for the broth or flour).

This turned out decent... but the pork WAS slightly overdone.  I definitely cooked it less than the suggested 13-15 minutes, but the pork was probably done after only 5.  So, the meat was slightly chewy, but at least it wasn't dry!  I'll just have to be more careful with the next pork recipe!  Other than my slightly overcooking the meat, this recipe was deilcious - the sauce was gravy-esque, but light, and the flavor was very good - just kind of mild.  There wasn't much pepper taste, so I think next time I'll have to put more pepper on the pork... probably a few more drops of balsamic vinegar too.

Friday, June 18, 2010

a mediocre meal day

While I didn't wake up particularly early today, I did get some strength training in!  I did the last 3 circuits of Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones, which are mostly core-focused.  I knew I didn't have it in me to do the whole DVD today (it's so hard!), so I just chose a few circuits and then did some extra leg exercises after.  Tomorrow, M and I are going for a long run - we have a 5 mile route plan and will do intervals, should take us about an hour.  I'm hoping it won't be too hot or humid and that we'll be able to make it through without me collapsing, haha.

Today for lunch, I made Rigatoni with Artichokes.  This recipe was pretty decent, and I haven't had artichokes in a long time so I was excited to eat them!  The recipe has you sprinkle bread crumbs and parsley on the top, which I thought was kind of strange, but it actually made it tasty.  Oh, and I used penne instead of rigatoni, but who has the money to buy 27 different types of pasta just so I make everything by the book?
Then, for dinner I had Vegetable Kung Pao.  I was surprised how the sauce for this is made - it's basically just water, sugar, and cornstarch.  I guess I'm not well-versed on my Chinese cuisine, but I think of Kung Pao as having a brown sauce, with soy sauce or teriyaki or something similar.  The main 'flavor' ingredient here was the chili puree with garlic.  Unfortunately, I could not find chili puree with garlic ANYWHERE.  So I ended up getting diced chilis from the Mexican food section and adding garlic.  So, of course I have no idea... if I had found the right thing maybe it would have tasted completely different?  Anyway, the dish was surprisingly sweet - possibly because I don't have real sugar and used Splenda.  Other than that, it was ... decent?  I won't lie, after I ate half of it, I put some soy sauce on it to make it more flavorful.
Otherwise it was okay.  I didn't miss having meat in there as much as a I thought... but I also just finished eating about 4 minutes ago, so it's too soon to tell if my tummy missed it!  The recipe does have peanuts, so you get protein, but I think I would have liked it better with some chicken.  That's alright though, only one more day of Pescatarian week!  I can't believe how quickly it went by, and how I didn't really miss meat all that much.  I don't know if If could handle no meat or fish, though!

So, after two medicore meals today and and a few others that were just "fine" this week, I need to find some "WOW!" meals to make this week.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

dessert for dinner?

The mostaccioli recipe was good, but nothing terribly exciting.  I'd make it again, as its a good basic pasta with tomato-based sauce, but it didn't blow me away.  Although, again, I don't own a blender, so the sauce might have been improved by actual blending instead of just chopping things up quite small and mixing them together.  I really need a blender, haha.  Anyway, I didn't eat lunch until 2:30pm, since I had coffee and fruit around 9am and then a snack of pecans round 11.  That plus drinking lots of water kept me feeling full until dinner time.  Dinner tonight was Graham-Crusted Tilapia, which I was excited about ALL WEEK.  It was from the "Center of the Plate" chapter of the cook book, which means there were no veggies or anything to accompany it.  I used this as an excuse to have my leftover ravioli lobster on the side (even though they really don't "go together" very well), and cooked some extra mushrooms to go with the ravioli!
The ravioli was good with extra mushrooms, I only wish I had some spinach to add to it!  The tilapia... well, it was good, cooked the right amount (I cooked it for about 8 minutes instead of 10), but I'm not sure how I feel about the combination of graham crackers and fish.  When I think of graham crackers, I think of s'mores... so this sort of confused my palate: am I eating dinner or dessert?  (Although, dessert for dinner is probably my favorite way to avoid overeating but still get to eat unhealthy food).  Can't decide how I feel about this dish.

This morning's run with M was a success in my book!  It is SO HUMID HERE, so simply finishing what we set out to do is a success as far as I'm concerned.  We decided to return to our trusty intervals, and went with 1 minute walking / 7 minutes running - something we both thought should be fairly easy.  At 95% humidity, NOTHING is easy, but we powered through and made it 2.65 miles in 32 minutes, for a pace of about 12:04.  While reading up on potential training programs last night, I found a quote: "When the temperature rises above 60° F: runners slow down by 30 seconds a mile for every 5 degrees above 60° F." (source: Jeff Galloway)  Umm, it's 90 here most days, and it is at least 75 when we head out for our morning runs.  So by that logic, if we are normally able to run 10 minute miles in 60 degree weather, we should run at 11:30, which we have proven that we are able to do.  By this logic, when it finally cools down in October, we should have no problem pumping out 10 minute miles.  Flawed logic?  Maybe.  Am I going with it anyway? Absolutely.

So, M and I are currently planning out our training plan for the next 9 months, leading up to the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  We are going to use a half-marathon program for that race, which will start in mid January.  Before that, we figured we ought to try some shorter races, so we are planning to do a 10K training program in the fall (before the holidays and vacations make it hard to train), and a 5K before that.  We weren't crazy about the 5K programs we found, because they start up with very short runs - only 1.5 miles.  And sure, I've yet to run more than 1 mile without a walking break, but I've tackled nearly 4 miles with my intervals!  Plus, I just don't like the idea of running 1.5 miles and calling it a day.  So we chose a beginner 8K program instead, and will race either a 5k or an 8k in mid September, depending on what we find.

Question to my readers: all these programs suggest strength training twice a week.  What strength exercises or programs do you enjoy?  In the fall, I might go to a Body Tone class at the gym once a week, but as for strength at the gym or at home, what are the best strength exercises for runners? 

It's game time... GO CELTICS!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

what is "mostacciolo?"

Shrimp Tacos today turned out pretty good.  It was definitely a basic recipe, but still delicious.  Next time though, I definitely need to chop up the shrimp into smaller pieces - not sure why it didn't cross my (or Betty's) mind.  I might also think about adding lime juice and/or cilantro!  The day today was fairly uneventful, and I once again failed at exercise in the morning - but I have a 7:30am run scheduled with M which I'm excited about!

Tonight a bunch of us went out to dinner for two friends' birthday.  We went to Carino's, an Italian place - and I think everyone enjoyed their meals!  I had Lobster Ravioli (picture courtesy of Carino's), which was good - although the lobster flavor wasn't all that strong.  I successfully saved half of it for later, and then had a few bites of the ice cream that the birthday girls got.  Then when I got home I realized I needed to make lunch for tomorrow, so I quickly whipped together Mostacciolo with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.  I had never heard of Mostacciolo before, but a quick google search told me it was basically the same thing as Penne pasta.  In fact, at the store, when I looked at the box of Mostacciolo and the box of Penne, I couldn't tell them apart.  So I of course went with the store-brand Penne, since it was cheaper.
I have a feeling that after a morning run, even with fruit as a mid-morning snack, this will not fill me up - I'm going to need some protein!  I'm going to pack some pecans as a snack, so we'll see if that helps.  Anyway, time for bed since I have to run at 7:30.  The forecast is 74 degrees with 90% humidity... yikes.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

hungry is the theme of the day.

Lunch today was eaten in a hurry and without lettuce, so I guess it was just Shrimp Paella, minus the salad.  Oops.  It was pretty tasty, even though I had to eat my lunch at 2pm (I was so hungry by then, but my day was busy!) in approximately 30 seconds.  Despite eating lunch on the later end, I was STARVING by the end of the day, so when I came home I had some pecans and Mott's Summer Strawberry Applesauce before cooking dinner.

Dinner tonight was Baked Fish Packets with Chinese Parsley Paste.  I mixed veggies and cod, wrapped them in tin foil and baked for 15-ish minutes.  I didn't have and radishes, and I don't like radishes (so I didn't want to buy any at the grocery store this week), so I used red onion instead.  While the mixture baked, I made the Parsley Paste.  Problem #1: I don't own a blender - so I just chopped up everything very finely and mixed it.  Overall, this recipe was... somewhat boring, I suppose.  Definitely not bad, had a nice enough flavor from the parsley paste... but nothing to rave about.
While I was waiting for dinner to bake, I put together lunch for tomorrow - Salsa-Shrimp Tacos.  I used fresh green peppers instead of frozen, since I had some.  I will have to let you know how this recipe turns out - it's so simple!  Makes me think it'll also be nothing special, but we'll find out tomorrow.  I snapped a picture of just the filling, since I probably won't remember to take one of the taco put together at lunch tomorrow:
Exercise this morning didn't happen.  Despite having woken up early Monday and having a full day, I stayed up late and had a lot of trouble falling asleep.  I'm going to try and go to bed right after the Celtics game tonight, and will set my alarm for a reasonably early hour and try to do a Jillian DVD tomorrow again - we'll see.  M and I decided to run on Thursday instead of Wednesday - our options were "75 degrees, 99% humidity, 30% chance of thunderstorms" or "75 degrees, 99% humidity, 30% chance of rain showers."  We've opted for potential rain.

After my less than thrilling dinner, I'm definitely still hungry - what's that about?!?  I'm craving TCBY, or some sort of ice cream.  TCBY is too far away to run out for tonight - and probably closed 2 minutes ago.  There's a chance I'll cave and have a Cookout Milkshake, but I'm trying to talk myself out of that since I had one on Saturday!  I might make myself some s'mores: I have chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and graham crackers in the pantry.  Or, I could just have a cup of hot chocolate to ease the sugar craving.  What are your favorite (healthy-ish) snacks when you are craving something sweet?

Monday, June 14, 2010

fish is delish!

note: please be patient with me while i play with various design settings over the next few days (weeks?).

So, I am actually liking getting up early and running.  I normally hit my snooze 80 times, but when I have a run to go on, I feel much more able to wake up and get going!  However, this morning's humidity sucked away all of my excitement about 30 seconds in.  We originally set out to go 2.78 miles total, with some walking breaks.  But with humidity at about 87%, we decided to cut our run short.  I also had some pain in my shins/etc. from the start - so I think this was a good decision.  We ended up going 2 miles with two short walk breaks, and our running pace was about 11:30.  Nothing to brag about, but I think the important part was that we got out there and tried.  I seriously might have to become friends with the treadmill this summer - but I haven't been on a treadmill in over a year and I never really liked it.  Anyway, we are going to run intervals on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on which day looks less humid.  I'm also thinking on my non-running days I might try to do Jillian Michaels DVDs (I have 3) in the morning, or tune into something on FIT TV to help get the morning started right! I'll be letting ya'll know how that goes, starting tomorrow morning.

Today for lunch I had Lemony Fish and Vegetables.  This was superbly tasty, at least in part (and maybe mostly) because it was made with fried rice (rice and vermicelli mix with almonds and Oriental seasonings) - so delicious!  I have to apologize for all of these pictures being low quality - I STILL cannot find my camera, so the pictures are from my cell phone.  So frustrating ... I took pictures Thursday evening on it, uploaded them Thursday around 10pm, and since then I have no clue!  Alas, here's today's lunch (cooked Sunday night):

Yum!  The only downside to bring cod for lunch: multiple people commenting about how it makes the office reek of fish.  I feel bad, but not bad enough to not eat seafood at work in the future, haha.  I was actually too full to finish it at lunchtime, but then I found out I had a meeting from 5:30-7:00, so I ate the rest at 4:30 to avoid hunger during the meeting!  I rushed home to try to get dinner cooked before the Bachelorette started.  Tonight I made Roasted Tilapia and Vegetables.  This dish was fine, but nothing terribly exciting.  I think Betty suggested a little bit too long of a cook time again - I put the tilapia in for 15 min when it said 18-20 and it was cooked perfectly or maybe just a smidgen too long.

Since I was roasting things in the oven, I also whipped together lunch for tomorrow: Shrimp Paella Salad.  I put a little more rice in the recipe than 1 serving should be, because I had about 1.5 servings of rice left in a box.  Oh wells.  I am waiting til tomorrow at work to get the lettuce so it's nice and fresh (and because Kroeger lettuce hasn't worked well for me in the past).  Looks tasty:

So, lots of cooking to share - woohoo!  Now that I found out Betty Crocker posts many of these recipes online for free, I'll link as many of them as I can for ya'll.  I'm really enjoying "Pescatarian Week" - everything so far has been great, and is definitely helping me satisfy my seafood craving!

Alright, now I will move onto a portion of this blog I'd like to call "I watch trashy TV and I'm proud of it".  Obviously, I have to comment on tonight's episode of the Bachelorette (feel free to skip this if you don't watch):
  • Kasey's random outbursts of song on his date with Ali were creepy.  I can't believe she didn't just send him home on the spot.  I think he's genuine, I just think he's a psycho.  And that tattoo, so stupid.  11 diamonds for the top 11 men?  WHAT?  The worst part (obviously) was that he didn't get to show Ali has crazy side, and gave her candy which won him points and kept him around for another week.  Boo.  Remember Michelle from last season's Bachelor?  Someone should introduce them.
  • Roberto gets the win on the group date, and another amazing chance with Ali - BROADWAY, wow.  He's definitely a front runner.  
  • Kirk, tucking Ali into bed - so smooth.  I told my boyfriend "If I were single right now I would be in love with him."  He responded "you are only in love with his muscles and his good hair."  He might be right.  
  • Chris L. on his date, talking about his mom and calling his dad, totally made me want to cry!  So sweet.  He's probably my favorite.  I'm a softy for New Englanders, lobster, and men who are close to their families.  What can I say?  (Also, Joshua Radin plays on my Pandora - LOVE him!)  
  • Chris N. gets a rose.  WHO ARE YOU?  Has this man ever spoken?  Haha.
  • Ty, Rated R / Crutches, and Craig, you are fine in my book.  I can't say I have strong opinions about any of them at this point.
  • Jesse's singing at the Lion King audition was sooo good - I was impressed!  I can't believe he went home this early- so sad.  But she was spot on, they didn't really match well.
  • Weatherman, this whole episode all I was thinking was, stop whining and go home ASAP - he can't sing or play guitar and he whines a lot. Thank goodness he's gone!
  • Ali, I love you, but at the cocktail party your cleavage was OUT THERE, haha.
  • Previews: What is Kirk's secret?  I'm so worried! Will Kasey ever show her his tattoo, creep her out, and go home?  Ahhh, 7 days to wait and find out!
Alright, that's all I have for today - super long post, I know.  Celtics Game 6 tomorrow in LA - woohoo!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

welcome to pescatarian week!

I really love meat.  I can't imagine becoming a vegetarian.  But I also really love fish, and have been craving it quite a bit lately.  So I decided to declare this week Pescatarian week!  We started with dinner tonight, Sesame Shrimp Stir-Fry:
Fresh snow peas, carrots, mushrooms, and shrimp served over rice.  This was quite good, and easy to make.  However, it wasn't very "sesame flavored" in my opinion.  The sesame chicken I made in May had soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, and sesame seeds to make the sauce (see the recipe here), whereas this recipe was basically just Teriyaki marinade with sesame seeds.  Still delicious, just not very sesame-flavored.  All in all, a great start to pescatarian week, and I got to enjoy my dinner while catching up on the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  This season is a little bit much for me - Danielle is just CRAZY.  Alas, only 45 minutes until Celtics vs. Lakers Game 5!  GO CELTICS!

Friday, June 11, 2010

running records

So, today was a first for me: running in the morning.  For starters, I'm not great at going to bed early AND I've been having trouble falling asleep lately.  So when the alarm went off at 7:30am, I was not pleased.  (Yes, I am aware that this is not really that early, but I'm not a morning person!).  Alas, I got of bed and decided I should hydrate and have something in my stomach.  I went with a slice of toast with some peanut butter - which I think was good: some carbs, some protein.  I yawned as I got dressed and drove over to M's house.

The plan for today was walk a few minutes, run 1 mile, repeat 3x.  I used usatf.com to plan out where the 1 mile marks were and how far our walking breaks were ahead of time.  The first mile was okay - we had a hill to run up pretty early on, and my right foot hurt a little, but I pushed through.  The very end of the mile was painful, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had completed it in 11:07!  We walked and stretched for a few minutes and started mile 2, which was mostly okay other than a closed sidewalk causing a little drama for our path!  Mile 2 took 11:33 - still perfectly fine.  We stretched again, and I could tell I was going to be sore!  Onto mile 3.  This was mostly flat, but we had to pause twice for stop lights which was both nice (so I could breath) and annoying.  The end of the run is a downhill followed by an uphill, and I really thought I was going to die.  My legs were burning. My heart was pounding.  I wanted to cry.  And then we finished.... in 9:53.  No wonder I thought I was about to die - how the heck did we run that fast?  I was so proud of us!  That's such a fast mile!  WE ARE SUPERSTARS.  Overall pace, 10:51 per month, 3 miles total.

Of course, I basically collapsed after - too sweaty, hot, and tired to take a shower, but alas, work was calling my name.  Normally a cup of coffee and I'm ready to go, today, after one huge cup I could just barely function.  But I have to at least smile, because as of this morning's run, we have now run (well, run/walked) 50 MILES SINCE I STARTED BLOGGING.  Woo!

Anyway, lunch was leftover meatloaf, and then tonight for dinner I used the last of the ground beef to make a Broiled Dijon Burger.  This patty turned out way better than last night's:
I didn't really feel like having the burger on bread/a bun, so I decided to make some more Pasta with Dijon-Tomato Sauce to go with it - same recipe from Tuesday.  Both were quite delicious.  That sauce is heavenly - I love the combo of sun dried tomatoes and dijon mustard!  Note, these pictures are from my phone because I can't seem to figure out where I put my camera after snapping photos of dinner last night!
Now I'm just staying in for the night, watching Say Yes to the Dress and icing my legs - I'm pretty sore from this morning's run!  Nothing too crazy planned for the weekend - just relaxing, cleaning, and getting work done.  Oh, and watching World Cup Soccer for sure!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

salisbury-mushroom steak fail.

I ate the Garden Vegetable Fritatta for lunch today, which promptly reminded me that I really don't like eggs all that much.  It's kind of strange - but for maybe the last 6 months, eggs seem to give me a stomach ache.  I had Deviled Eggs at a party a week ago and they were perfectly fine, so maybe hard-boiled eggs are okay.  But scrambled eggs, eggs over easy, eggs in a breakfast sandwich, or apparently eggs as they are used in a fritatta do not get along with my stomach.  Oh well.

Tonight for dinner, I attempted to make Herbed Salisbury-Mushrooms Steak.  This was supposed to be accomplished by mixing ground beef, chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs, fat-free egg product, skim milk, and spices together to make a patty/steak.  I failed to make the meat stay together as a burger/patty ought to:
I'm not sure why this fell apart.  I've made burgers before.  I've mixed ground beef with egg and random other things and had a perfectly nice meatball or hamburger-esque patty.  Alas, once it fell apart, I decided this would just have to be ground beef with Salisbury-Mushroom flavoring.  I also had more mushrooms than needed, but I liked mushrooms, so I added them in.  I also added in some extra sauce to go with the extra mushrooms.  Then, I made a baked potato and put some of the sauce and a little fat-free sour cream onto the potato.  I also cut up  some red pepper, thinking I would add it into the pan... but then I wasn't sure how well peppers and gravy go together, so I decided to just eat them raw on the side.  And so we have:
So, I have to say it was kind of bland/boring.  I like mushrooms, they were yummy.  Beef gravy is fine, but it's nothing special, and ketchup & thyme were the only other real additions.  But, it wasn't bad by any means.  i just feel like, maybe some dijon mustard, some onions, some Worcestershire sauce, or barbecue sauce would have improved the recipe.  Who knows.  By the way, this is what I was supposed to be eating:
...Well, the steak anyway.  Picture courtesy of Betty Crocker, who also listed the recipe verbatim on this website, hence me being a little more liberal about telling you what all went into it.  Anyway, if I ever make this again, I'll probably not add the milk - I think the burger had too much liquid and that stopped it from being burger-like.  I will also grill some onions in with the sauce and add something more flavorful.

Tomorrow, M and I are going running in the morning - a first for us.  I'm a little nervous - do I eat first? How much? How long before I run?  And will I be able to get a good night's sleep tonight?  I haven't been sleeping very well lately, so I'm a little worried!  I'll let you know how it goes :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

short runs & delicious dinner

Today I had lunch at one of my favorite lunch spots - Baba Ghannouj.  I freaking love gyros! And tzatziki sauce!  Yum.  That is all I have to say about that, haha. (Oh and no, no one pays me to say anything, nor do they give me anything discounted or free.  I wish.)

I just finished dinner, and oh man, all I want is to eat more more more!  I made beef teriyaki stir-fir.  So far, I have to say that the Asian recipes in this book are fabulous!  I was a little weary about how good a teriyaki could be with ground beef, but it was quite good!  I had also never bought or prepared bok choy before, and that made me nervous!  I tried a bite of it raw and wasn't excited, but once cooked and sauteed in teriyaki sauce it was great!  Even though I'm full, I totally wish I could have another plate full.
Back tracking in my day, before dinner M and I went for a shorter run.  We decided to do 2 minute walking, 10 minute running, 3x.  The second 10 minutes I thought I was going to die, but the 1st and 3rd were pretty good!  I also didn't feel sore or tense at ALL after running (usually when I stretch after my muscles are screaming at me and very tight/tense), which made me wonder if doing 30 minutes vs 45 minutes sometimes might help.  We decided to start going 3x a week instead of just 2x, so I suggested we do 2 shorter runs (e.g. 30 minutes) during the week and one longer (45-60 minute) run on the weekend.  We'll see how that goes.  Anyway, today we made it 2.93 miles in 36 minutes for an average pace of 12:17 minute miles.  We both felt really good after, and either Friday or Saturday we might try doing that but 4x, with a longer break to stretch in the middle.  I'm so excited about our progress!  Now that I know we can run for 10 minutes I feel super motivated to stick with that and push us into running longer lengths, but I still want to keep doing some interval training, since so many people rave about how great it is!  We are still brainstorming about how to keep a good balance and what that looks like - suggestions welcome!

I also made myself lunch for tomorrow but I think it's a total flop.  I made a Garden Vegetable Frittata.  Basically, it's just a bunch of vegetables chopped up and cooked with egg over them.  Except I guess I'm bad at whisking eggs, because the top of  the frittata definitely has parts of egg white and other parts of eggy yellow.  It also looks REALLY eggy, and I don't even like eggs that much.  Ugh.
Needless to say, I'm not excited about lunch tomorrow.  Slash, how is cooked eggs + vegetables a lunch?  No meat, no bread/pasta/rice?  Blehh.  I at least get to melt cheese on the top of this (says the recipe, not just my obsession with cheese).  Anyway, that's it for today - I'll let you know how the frittata is... and what I end up packing to go along with it and make it more exciting!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

double recipe dinner!

Today, I had my meatloaf for lunch, and I have to say it was pretty good!  It was a pretty basic meatloaf; when I was growing up my dad always added onions and various veggies, whereas this recipe was just some sauces, bread crumbs, and meat basically.  I definitely will have to try more creative ways to make meatloaf in the future, but this was a tasty start!

Then, tonight for dinner on the menu we had snapper with sauteed tomato pepper sauce.  The recipe called for "red snapper, cod, or other medium-firm fish", and I couldn't find red snapper so we went for cod.  The cod was actually REALLY good, and I'm excited to eat it some time soon again.  However, I suck at cooking cod.  As in, it totally fell apart in the pan.  First, since the tilapia yesterday stuck to the pan, I tried to move it around more to keep it from sticking.  That sort of helped at first, but then not so much.  Then, when I went to flip it, it totally fell into pieces.  So instead of having a nice pretty fillet, I had a messy chunk of fish.  Luckily for me, it still tasted really good, and I think I cooked it for the right amount of time at least.  The tomato pepper sauce was fine, but I'm not sure I did it quite the way Betty intended.  It wasn't much of a sauce; it was more vegetables with a little bit of liquid.  Maybe I was supposed to chop up the vegetables much smaller"  It says "chopped" for the tomatoes and peppers; "sliced" for onions.  Anyway, it still tasted pretty good - ESPECIALLY the fish!
I think it needs more herbs/spices next time, but other than that, I'd make this again for sure!  However, the whole recipe was only 140 calories, so I knew I needed something else.  I had a recipe planned to make tonight for lunch tomorrow, but as it turns out I have lunch plans!  So, I instead made another recipe, Pasta with Dijon-Tomato Sauce.  OH MY GOSH THIS WAS YUMMY.  Except for when I was overly enthusiastic about eating it and ended up burning my tongue.  Anyway, it had sun-dried tomatoes which I'm obsessed with, and as one might guess, Dijon mustard, among other things.  Just typing about it makes me want to go make some more!!  It was supposed to be made with bow-tie pasta, which I didn't have, so I used some alternative noodles (it's not like they taste all that different, right?).  Anyway, it might not look pretty, but oh my gosh I want some more right now!
It's topped with Parmesan cheese,. and the only thing I'll say is that more cheese might have made it even better.  But I'm also the girl who thinks cheese goes well on everything.  On the fitness end, I totally failed today - I was going to do my Jillian Michaels strength training DVD this afternoon, but it didn't happen - maybe tomorrow I'll do some of it after I run with M. I was home doing work til about 6pm, when I dozed off for 45 minutes before making dinner, and then I had to run errands before watching the season finale of Glee with some friends!  Fellow Glee fans, what did you think of the finale?  I was super excited with how much singing there was!  I wasn't surprised to see that Quinn had her baby, and generally I liked the way it all turned out!  But, there wasn't really a cliff hanger for next season, so I wonder what will happen with various story lines!

So my "errands" today = going to Home Depot and buying herbs to grow at home!  Recipes always suggest fresh herbs, but they are expensive and I'm afraid they'll go bad before I can use them, so I'm always using stuff out of the jar.  I'm sure fresh tastes better, so I now own oregano, basil, parsley, and culantro (which is apparently like cilantro).  I definitely do NOT have a green thumb, so I hope I don't kill my new plants!  While I was there, I couldn't help but buying a small potted Jade and a small potted Cactus was well - they are hard to kill and I wanted some plants for my apartment (although I might take one to the office).

As a sports fan, I must shout out to the National's newest pitcher Stephen Strasburg - 14 strikeouts in his debut, a team record!  I'm so excited for him and for DC!  In some very upsetting news, the Celtics just lost Game 3.  I didn't get to watch the whole game tonight because of Glee, but BOO!  Hopefully Thursday goes much better for my boys in Boston!

Monday, June 7, 2010

back in the swing of things!

Sunday, I made my mom and I open faced tuna melt sandwiches (recipe #30) - which I then forgot to photograph.  But they looked something like this (thanks google images).  I don't think I left them in the oven long enough because the tuna wasn't warm; but my mom said she doesn't like the way tuna tastes when it's warm so I guess I'm glad I didn't cook them longer!

Today, I'm back home and went on a run with M.  I was feeling fairly sluggish, but we actually went faster than I guessed.  We went about 3.5 miles in 42 minutes, which is an average of 12 minute miles (doing 1 minute walking / 6 minute walking intervals).  Those 6 minutes were feeling LONG for some intervals, though.  Also, we stopped after every 2nd interval to stretch / so I could catch my breath, which I'm sure helped me keep up the pace. 

On my drive home, I was determined to do some strength work, but by the time I actually got in the house, I only managed to do 25 crunches before dinner.  Then, I did a little more strength work while I watched Bachelorette - one of my favorite shows!  Oh reality TV, I know... are there any other fans out there?  Who do you like? Not like?  So far, I'm sick of the Weatherman (I was surprised he got a rose), and I think Craig R. and Kasey are kind of  annoying.  I really like Chris L. from Cap Cod, am excited about her chemistry with Kirk (what a kiss tonight!); think Frank looks better with his glasses on, like Roberto quite a bit but don't think he's "the one" after their one on one.  Similarly, I really like Jesse but also do not think he's "the one".  Justin, I can't decide about!  I liked him, but then he cried, and he's causing all this drama... but, I don't think he's there for "the wrong reasons," honestly.  I wasn't terribly surprised that she kept him, even though the guys were all sorts of mad.  Everyone else I either somewhat like or have no opinion of yet.

Anyway, M and I are going running again Wednesday, but thinking about switching up our routine.  One idea was to do a shorter run overall, but with longer intervals of running (e.g. 10 min run, 2 min walk, 3x).  Part of me thinks we can totally do that and it would be great, but the other part knows that 6 minutes felt long at some points today.  Another idea is to do shorter intervals (like 2/1) and try running a bit faster during the runs?  Or, we might just stick with what we've been doing but go for a shorter time.  Any suggestions?

I have this month's issues of Self magazine, which had an article featuring Kate Goucher, an elite marathoner.  They featured a running program, which also included some speed work.  I'm not sure I'm quite ready for it, but it's definitely something I'd like to try!  I enjoy reading health/fitness magazines, and I am pondering whether or not I want to subscribe to one.  Does anyone subscribe to Self, Women's Health, or anything similar?  What are your favorites?

Now that I'm back in town, it's also time to get back to some regularly scheduled cooking!  Tonight I made Tilapia with Thai Peanut Sauce (#31).  Despite having seafood twice while I was gone, I was still craving more, so I was excited about dinner tonight.  I've never made tilapia before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  First, it stuck to the pan, even though I had heated oil in the pan first.  Then, it was flaking pretty easily so I thought it was done, but it was still a little raw in the middle.  It still tasted pretty  good, and I love love peanut sauce.  It was served with stir fry vegetables, and I added in a little pasta for some carbs!
After dinner, I was still hungry (I always get more hungry AFTER dinner, why is that?) so I snacked on some blueberries and tried drinking water.  Then, made myself lunch for tomorrow, so I made mini meat loaves (#32)!  I used to love meatloaf growing up, and I think this was the first time I ever made it myself.  It was a pretty basic version, but I'll have to let you know how it tastes.
Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to local blogger, Sarah.  Sarah is a runner and works less than a mile away from me!  I met her once through my college roommate, Susan.  Anyway, Sarah is doing a giveaway on her blog right now, which I think is so cool!  I don't have anything to give away right now, other than offers to cook for anyone who's local, but maybe I'll come up with something!  That's all for now, but stay tuned for an exciting week of running and cooking!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

vacation continued :-)

Thursday night, I made dinner for my boyfriend.  I made Philly Cheesesteak Casserole.  I first browned the beef with onions and peppers, cooked the noodles, and then mixed up the sauce.  Tossed it all into a casserole dish and baked it for about 30-40 minutes.  I also added extra cheese, because, well, why not! After the 30-40 minutes, the casserole was soupier than I thought it should be, so I added some extra flour.  It also was somewhat bland, so I added more mustard before topping it with cheese to cook for 10 more minutes.  Unfortunately, I think I adding the flour was a mistake - because while the sauce thickened, it was pretty heavy (perhaps too much so).  I think adding SOME more mustard was smart, but I added a little too much for the boyfriend's taste.  But, I considered the  recipe a success overall because the boyfriend liked it, and didn't even complain about the peppers (which he doesn't like... I chopped it up very small!).  The only other downside was that the beef was a little too well done.  When a recipe says to cook meat for "2-3 minutes, until it has browned"... at least so far, steaks do not brown in 2-3 minutes!  So, am I supposed to cook it until its brown? Or cook it for 2-3 minutes?  I'm worried about the steak being undercooked and raw, but I guess if it goes in a casserole dish and bakes for 40 minutes, that'll take care of it?  Who knows.  Anyway, like I said, a success overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit, although it was not a particularly attractive dish:

So, I was somewhat busy and definitely NOT in the mood to run this week, mostly due to the ridiculous humidity here.  I finally forced myself to go today near my parent's house.  It ws still super humid, and despite not going until 7:30pm I was covered in sweat within minutes!  I think taking 7 days off wasn't the smartest idea, because I immediately had soreness in my legs.  I ended up walking more/for longer stretches than I intended (I probably walked 20+ minutes overall), but I still managed to do 36 minutes of running and went 3.77 miles.  I need to take tomorrow off (because I don't like to go two days in a row, and because M and I have plans to run together on Monday), so I will only have run twice over my vacation.  So it goes.

Today, I also made dinner for my parents in the crock pot.  I made Country French Beef Stew, served over egg noodles.  Again, I had the same problem with browning the beef: I didn't want it to still be red and raw when I put it in the crock pot, so I browned it for a little longer than the suggested 2-3 minutes.  The recipe said to let it cook for 7-8 hours.  After 6.5 hours, the meat was tender, (but not too tender? seemed like it could improve?), but the vegetables weren't cooked through enough.  So then, after 7-ish hours, the vegetables were ready, but then the meat was somewhat dry.  What gives?!?  Anyway, the stew turned out fine overall, although again it isn't the most photogenic of dishes:
29 recipes down!  I'm heading back home either Sunday evening or Monday morning, and then we'll be back to more regular running as well as more frequent cooking!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

vacation!

Before I forget, and to avoid breaking a streak, here is a picture of the soup I made last week, which was quite delicious and affirmed my suspicion that Bisquick is magical:
So, I promised that I would complete three runs while I was out of town, and I was successful with just one so far.  I got to run when I was up north (or "down east", depending on who you ask, haha), and running without humidity was AMAZING.  I sort of got confused about which way I was going, so I'm not actually sure how far I went.  I just know that I went for about 45 minutes, which was good enough for me.  I really wanted to run a second time while I was up there, but I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction that got in the way.  In any case, running is pretty great when this is your view:
Tonight, (still on vacation, just not quite so far north) I was able to have two of my sorority sisters over for dinner tonight.  It was fun to get back to cooking, and I used the grill for the first time ever!  It was actually really easy and not at all stressful - I can't wait to grill again!  Too bad I don't currently have a grill of my own.  So, tonight I made Seafood Jambalaya Packets, which included scallops and shrimps:
Delicious!  One of the girls brought cookies for dessert which were also quite good, but I didn't take a picture, oops!  I am hoping to run and cook again on Thursday, so I will update then.  It's super hot/humid here, so I'm not as excited about running, but I have to run twice more before Monday!