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...