Thursday, August 30, 2012

fall semester begins...

Classes started this week which means the undergrads are back on campus.... which means campus is much noisier, I have more to do, and parking is harder to come by.
Despite my general disdain for undergrads* (I have to teach them, fight them for parking spots, wait in longer lines for my coffee, and deal with their antics in general), there are some benefits.  Perhaps most importantly and relevant to this blog, the dining hall reopens!
Dining hall food here is actually really delicious.  They have delicious Indian, made to order stir fry, the best broccoli cheese soup I've ever tasted, and a very extensive salad bar (sweet potatoes, roasted egg plant, and more!).
Sadly, the dining hall has made some changes this year: they now have the calories for each dish posted right by where you order food.
This has made eating 20 pounds of Indian food considerable more difficult to enjoy.  Stupid nutrition.  I was informed that my favorite meal (which might I add is called a "mini combo") has over 1,000 calories in it.  I can no longer pretend that eating an Indian vegetarian mini combo is healthy.  Jerks.
all gifs stolen from
*despite my general disdain for undergrads, I have to admit that the ones I work with both in my lab and in the organization I advise are, in general, pretty awesome.
Anyway... a recap or recent workouts:
Thurs. 8/23: Easy Run 3.07 miles, avg. pace 11:06 min/mile.  Started off really tired/worn out and then slowly woke up, so my mile splits are kind of funny:  11:59, 11:21, 10:46, 7:03 (0.07 nubbin).  Definitely needed to warm up before I found my stride, haha.
Fri. 8/25: Walked 3 miles, skipped the strength
Sat. 8/26: Jumping on the trampoline for an hour at Defy Gravity!
Sun. 8/27: 7 mile run with M!
Mon. 8/28: 2.2 miles of treadmill running, broken up by 10 minutes of elliptical in the middle... my calves were pretty sore, so after 1.2 miles I stretched and switched to the elliptical... after feeling better I switched back and ran just one more mile.  I didn't want to overdo it, so I figured 2.2 was enough for the day... plus the ~1 mile walk I had to the car afterwards.
Tues. 8/29: SPIN CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wed. 8/30: Speed work: 0.5 mi warm up, 1.0 mile @ 9:13 pace, 0.5 mi jog, 1.0 mile @ 9.13 pace, 1.0 mile cool (total: 4.0 miles in 40:44 avg. pace 10:11)

In summary, I've been running often but mostly slowly (I can't even imagine PRing in the half right now, but that's a story for another day), and I haven't done any strength training in over a week.
I should probably get back into that.  Whoops.  It's been hard enough to run, though, I don't have leftover energy for strength!  Alas, I know it's good for me / will help me run faster / will help prevent injury... sooo, I need to just force myself to do it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

we moved, part 1

About 6 weeks ago, Scott and I moved into a bigger place.  It's taken quite some time to get settled, but I wanted to show off some of the new diggs!  First off, we have our dining room: 

We have a beautiful, brand new dining room table and chair set which we were given as a wedding gift.  The place mats you see were also gifts :)
We also got a china cabinet from my mother in law's house that she no longer needed:
The top half has most of our wine and beer glasses, water pitchers, and some nice bowls.  The bottom holds more serving platters and other odds and ends.
We also bought a kitchen server from Classic Treasures, a consignment furniture store in Durham.
The server is serving as my coffee/tea bar, which I absolutely love!  Aaand, all together now:
On the left I have a bookshelf that holds all my cookbooks and lots of odds and ends.  The dining room is decorated with a bunch of paintings I bought in Europe when Susan and I went there the summer after college graduation.

Onto the kitchen!  Don't judge the dirty dishes...

Our kitchen is on the smaller side.  On one side, we have the stove/oven, counter space, the dishwasher, and the sink.  On the other side is the fridge (full with magnets!) and more shelves/drawers.  One of my most favorite parts of my kitchen is the spice rack that Scott built me!
I LOVE IT!  I still need to get more spice jars to fill it out, but I have a pretty good start.  It's so nice to be able to see them all and find whatever I need quickly!
The second project Scott worked on in the kitchen area is also pretty awesome.  There is plenty of space for my kitchen stuff, but there wasn't really enough room for our food.... so he turned our coat closet into a pantry!
Having this humongous pantry is AMAZING.  It is so spacious and I can finally organize all of our foodstuff and actually find what I'm looking for!

Hope you've enjoyed part 1 of my "tour my new house" segment.  It might be a while before part 2 (and beyond?) come out, as the rest of our house isn't quite as well organized and decorated yet!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

running update

I'm now ten whole days into half marathon training, so I thought I would update you!
Sorry if you are about to be bored, haha.

Recent Runs:
Mon. 8/13, Easy Run: 3.14 miles, avg. pace 10:47
Wed. 8/15. Farklet: 3.19 miles, avg. pace 11:19
Thurs. 8/16, Easy Run: 2.41 miles avg. pace 11:19
Sat. 8/18 Long Run: 6.0 miles, avg. pace 10:32 (treadmill)
Mon. 8/20 Hill Training: 2.17 miles, avg. pace 10:41
Wed. 8/22 Tempo Run: 4.0 miles, avg pace: 10:21 (treadmill)

...Which totals to 20.91 miles and 3 hours 45 minutes 16 seconds of running in just 10 days!  Huzzah!
As you can see I've been doing a few runs on the treadmill.  Mostly because I've been lazy, slept in, and then discovered it was too hot to do that run outside.
The undergrads are slowly taking over again moving back in, which makes going to the gym interesting.

Anyway, I've also done a few strength workouts:
Sun. 8/21:  arms, legs + abs
Tues. 8/14: arms + abs
Fri. 8/17: Jillian Michael's 30 day shred, level 1
Tues. 8/21: arms + abs

I've been meaning do the 30 day shred more frequently, but I haven't been feeling up to the challenge.  It was harder than I remembered and my runs have been taking a lot out of me, so I've wanted to do something more low key.  I'm hoping that my body is just readjusting to running regularly after a lot of inconsistency, and soon my easy runs will actually feel easy... because right now, I feel like this:
Oh well.  Sorry this post was super boring.  I've been feeling uninspired I guess... too busy with grad school to be an interesting/good blogger.  So, I will leave you with this:
Which of the following is more true:
Vote in the comments!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

bad blogger

i never prepared a post for today.


instead, please enjoy my new favorite tumblr:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

deep south dish - chicken and dumpling bake

Back in June, I tried out this recipe for the first time.  The first time around, I followed the recipe closely except I added a layer of green beans and corn on top of the chicken.  Scott really likes chicken and dumplings - his mom makes a good chicken and dumplings dish with Bisquick (which I have also made), so I figured I would give this one a try.

The first time around, the batter was pretty thick - which made it hard to spread on top of the chicken/vegetables.  Also, I wasn't sure if the 1/2 stick of butter on the bottom was necessary, and it definitely adds plenty of fat/calories.  It turned out okay - Scott liked it, but I thought it was rather bland.  When I reheated leftovers I added garlic, black pepper and salt, which made it somewhat better.

I tried it again this week with a few changes.  First step was to mix the two batters and make sure they weren't as thick (I used just a liiittle extra milk).  One other change here was that I used cream of mushroom instead of cream of chicken soup... mostly because that's all I had, but also because I wanted to see if Scott would notice/dislike the cream of mushroom!
I also had to cook and chop/shred the chicken.  This is possible the most annoying part of this recipe.  I made note of it the first time - for a weeknight, cooking and shredding chicken and THEN baking it for ~45 minutes is just too long of a process.
Next, I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and skipped the butter, layering chicken, then vegetables, then the flour mixture, then the cream of soup mixture...
I added in garlic, parsley, black pepper, salt, and a little bit of hot sauce to try to kick up the flavors a notch, and then I baked the casserole for 45-50 minutes at 400.  I do think it had more flavor this time ,but I might have gone overboard on the pepper and added too much.  Scott still liked it (didn't notice the mushrooms) and I think the mushroom flavor added a lot.  Overall, this is a good, easy, everyone-will-like-it type of recipe... but unless you have pre-shredded chicken you might not want to make it on a weeknight.
Next time, I'll probably add black pepper (but less) and salt again and maybe try either Dijon Mustard or Honey Mustard - something to give it more flavor!  Other veggies would be good too (but Scott friendly veggies are hard to come by).

Scott commented that I've been making a lot of casseroles lately... so maybe I need to try something new and exciting... any fun recipes that you would recommend?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

half marathon training

This summer FLEW BY.  I can't believe it's mid August already.  I haven't been running very consistently in the past 6 weeks, but all of that is about to change... because it's time for half marathon training to begin!  M and I have signed up for  the City of Oaks Half Marathon!

We are just under 12 weeks away, so we officially started our training program on Monday!  Here's a snapshot of what my August training looks like:

Basically, the plan is 4 runs per week: one long run, one speed workout, and two easy runs... but every other week, one of those "easy" runs may be replaced with hill training.  My new neighborhood is fairly hilly, and the half course isn't exactly flat either... so as painful as it may be, I need to train on these...

to get ready for this:

I'm also going to try to do regular strength training - probably mostly at home, with hand weights, and my trusty Jillian DVDs.  It's been a few years since I've done the 30 day shred - maybe I will bring it back!  I also probably need to incorporate more cross training.  I'll definitely start going to spin class when the semester begins, and I am anxiously awaiting the release of the fall gym class schedule to see what else I might try!  (Zumba? Cardio Dance? Pilates? Yoga? Who knows!!!)

I'm really pumped about this half for several reasons.  One of the beneficiaries is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I currently work with bone marrow transplant patients - so I definitely feel connected to that cause!  The patients I work with are so incredible - I am always inspired by how resilient they are, and I hope that I can capture that spirit during the race and tough training runs.

Training is going well so far - Sunday I did some strength training at home, and Monday M and I headed out for an easy 3.14 mile run.

Who is also starting to train for a big race?  What races do you have planned for the fall?

Completely random, but local Durham blogger Sarah has a $100 Visa card giveaway on her blog right now - so go check it out - especially if you are a mom or expecting mommy - the post is (sponsored by and) about Boudreaux's Butt Paste - a diaper cream/paste she highly recommends.  If you haven't seen Sarah's blog before, she writes about life as a doctor, her adorable little one A, running, cooking/eating, and life in general.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

camp weekend, part 2: fun in the sun

As I said Tuesday, every summer, we invite all of our friends to the lake for a long weekend, named "Here's to Good Friends" - a tradition started by my husband's parents in the 80s, paused for a period of time in the late 90s, and resumed by Scott in 2000.  This year was lucky #13 for our generation, and it did not disappoint!  Here are some (non-food-related) snapshots from the weekend:

Ahhh life at the lake.

Beautiful, right?  I meant to take more pictures than I did, but rest assured that there was lots of swimming, boating, kayaking, picnicking on rock islands, and other shenanigans...

I also went for many walks (and a few runs):

And had campfires nearly every night (mmm s'mores!):

There may or may not have been a game of True American played...

Overall, and amazing weekend with awesome friends.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

camp weekend, part 1: good eats!

Two weeks ago, Scott and I got to spend about 6 days at the camp (read: cottage) his family owns in Maine.  The house is right on a lake and is absolutely gorgeous.  Every summer we invite all of our friends to come up for a long weekend.  This year was lucky #13, and it was filled with laughter, friends, fun, and FOOD!
The big ticket item of the weekend was LOBSTAH! Lobster prices in Maine are extremely low right now, so I took advantage of that and visited a local lobsterman (friends with my aunt-in-law) and put in a nice big order of lobster (with clams as well).  Naturally, before cooking the lobsters, we played with them:
hanging out with my dinner before i cook it

hello there
just petting a lobster, no big deal
even his little claws are strong - look at that grip!
lobster pots filled with water, salt, and beer.. yum!
Lobster is pretty simple to cook.  The most important part is keeping the lobsters alive until you boil then (if they die beforehand they go bad pretty quickly).  Fill a huge pot about 2/3rd full with water and add a lot of salt (the water should be almost like salt water).  You can also throw other things in the pot.  Beer is probably the most common - just pour a can of beer in.  Why not?  Then, instruct your lobsters to dive into boiling water head first.  Don't worry, they will only scream a little :-)

sorry lobster, but it's time to die boil
lobsters are done!
 Depending on the size of the lobster, you will cook them from anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes (or more).  We had 1 1/2 lb. lobsters so we cooked them for 20 minutes.  If they are bright red you are probably on the right track, but some people will warn you that red doesn't necessarily mean done, so using a timer is a good idea.
dinner is SERVED!
so ready to be EATEN!
 The preferred method for eating lobster includes dipping the meat in butter, which we definitely did!  Just melt a stick of butter in the microwave (or 4 if you are feeding 15 people!).
the lobster remains!
Clams are also pretty simple.  Soak in water (or beer), and then boil for about 3-4 minutes, or until the clams open.  To get rid of grit, some people will soak the clams in water and flour, but this isn't a requirement.  Once the clams are open they are done.  If one doesn't open up, then it's probably bad and should be discarded.
and a side of clams!
 The lobster feast was a big success, and I hope we get to do another one next summer!  We had a few other meals while we were there too...  lots of grilling!  Here's a sampling:

Scott's dad's mac salad recipe is a camp staple!
LOVE having a grill at the lake
Grilled BBQ chicken, rice, and freshly picked green beans!
Our friends made kabobs!
Kabobs on the grill... yum!
chicken quesadillas
mmmm quesadilla
fresh guacamole made by friends
black bean, tomato, and bell pepper nachos
chicken nachos
So there you have it... a LOT of food, and a great weekend with amazing friends.  More about the fun things we did at the lake in my next post :-)