Archive for September, 2010

Wednesday>Tuesday>Monday

My prediction this week was right! Today has been better than yesterday (knock on wood) and yesterday was tons better than Monday. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that we are inching closer and closer to the weekend :)I am happy to report that I am putting all social obligations aside this weekend and looking forward to some very therapeutic painting. I’m going to be painting our kitchen-so be sure to check out the before and afters on Monday! We are going from yellow and country to brown and sleek with pops of green. I got a little inspiration from these…

Last night’s run was tiring. It was only 4.5 miles but it seemed to wear my body out. It was a feeling that I haven’t experienced with running so far, it almost felt like I was getting sick. My body was just weak and lifeless after the run and it was really hard to push through. To make matters even worse my route was just plain awful! I will never run it again (back to mapmyrun.com I go!)I can’t complain about the weather though, the seasons have officially clicked. I could smell it in the air as I was running  and I’m wearing my brown boots for the first time today since last winter, and I’m still cold in the office. It’s time to switch from cool smoothies in the morning to warm hot chocolate or tea!

Last night’s dinner was the tortilla soup I had planned for tonight. This is an old-time favorite of Chris’s and he suggested we have it since it’s been so rainy and cold all week. That sounded good to me, so the chicken tenders got bumped. It was as good as I remembered it being. Hot food is so comforting. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken (I baked the chicken and shredded it)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (I don’t like beans so I left them out!)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained
  •  

    Directions:

    Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through.

    Sprinkle cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top-serve with chips.

    since we are already on the topic of food, I’m ridiculously excited that I found some great recipes in this little FREE booklet at the grocery store. That Martha Steward is so clever, I tell ya! Here are just a few of the recipes I found that I am dying to make in the coming weeks…

    • Baked Eggs in Tomatoes
    • Tomato and goat cheese tart
    • Baked Plantain Chips
    • Salmon Skewers with Smashed Potatoes
    • Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
    • Bacon, egg and toast cups (trying these this weekend!)
    • Upside-down Mushroom Tartlets
    • Okra Fritters

    Tonight I am going to feed the hungry at the historic “Wall” in downtown Charlotte. Every Wednesday many of my city’s residents line up to be fed by one organization or another. It is really sad to see how many faces there are out there in my own community that are homeless or don’t have means to get a cooked meal every night of the week. I urge people to try and volunteer in their cities, it is beyond gratifying and as cheesy as it sounds, LOVE really does make the world go-round!

    Deeeeeep Breaths!

    Sometimes life just gets overwhelming and most of the time, I’m the only person to blame. I have always had a hard time saying “no” to social events and sometimes my calendar can get out of control. This past week & last week too I had a jam-packed schedule. It kicked off with a Thursday night, family-style dinner where me and my 18 other relatives met at Presto’s for dinner. We’ve started getting together once a month to catch up, eat and drink good wine. This is so Italian of us. I don’t know why but I ordered a Buffalo Chicken Pizza and I was a little disappointed with it. I did not like the fact that they put celery on it but it was also just way too blue-cheesy. As you can see, I managed to get half of it down…

    On Friday I couldn’t resist an offer to go to my all-time favorite lunch spot Yu-Yus. This place has revolutionized the way I think of rice bowls. I always go with the brown rice with chicken, cucumbers, bean sprouts and red onion. It is divine.

    Now, you know now that my weekend meals are a bit of a mystery. Partly because Chris and I will try to eat out and I don’t cook as much and partly because I’m embarrassed that on some nights it might include a jr. bacon cheeseburger and a frosty from Wendy’s after a long Happy Hour 😉 Like I’ve said before, this blog is about me trying to keep balance-between all of life’s indulgences-including great beers, summer nights on porches and your average late night craving.  I justify these less than healthy vices because most of the time I’m striving to live healthy, but I’m only human and I’m a firm believer that what you do in moderation, can’t hurt. If I didn’t allow myself some of life’s guilty pleasures I would be miserable. Every once in a while a night out with good friends and some greasy food is just a vice I have to indulge in…especially when there are out-of-towners to hang with, like this pretty lady!

    Monday was back to the grind as usual. Work was less than stellar on this gloomy Monday and I had grocery shopping in my future (which just put me in a worse mood). After making a quick and inexpensive trip, I came home-changed into my p.j.’s and made tonight’s meal plan recipe: hamburger and macaroni. It’s basically home-made hamburger helper but instead of a packet of powder, the ingredients include yummy things like sautéed onions, parsley and diced tomatoes. This was an easy recipe (shocker) that hit the spot. No running on the schedule today-just stretching-so now I can’t wait to cuddle up on the couch next to my hubby and my dog while I make both of them watch Gossip Girl and 90210…ahhhh peace at last.

    Hamburger and Macaroni Recipe

    Recipe from Simply Recipes

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped (or mixed chopped green onion greens and yellow onion)
    • Olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon Vegesal or other seasoned salt
    • Dash crushed red pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
    • 1 large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes
    • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
    • 2 cups uncooked macaroni (use rice pasta for wheat-free version)

    Directions:

    Get a large pot of hot water heating and begin cooking the macaroni as per the directions on the macaroni package.

    In a skillet, brown the ground beef in a tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Stir only infrequently so that the ground beef has an opportunity to brown.

    In a large skillet, sauté chopped onion with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the ground beef and lower the heat to medium. Add a dash of crushed red pepper. Add Vegesal or other seasoned salt. Add celery seed. Add canned tomatoes. Add Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the drained and cooked macaroni and parsley. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

    Meal Plan for the week of 9/27

    Hey folks! This is going to be short and sweet! I needed to get together a meal plan as much as I needed to post one-yesterday was spent lounging and doing laundry and a trip to the grocery store in the rain was just not looking fun, so I have to go today. Unfortunately it is still raining and gloomy outside so I foresee a lot of comfort food this week….

    Monday: Hamburger and Macaroni

    Tuesday: Herbed Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce

    Wednesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Thursday: Fried Green Tomato BLT*

    Friday: Jambalaya

    Saturday: Wild Salmon with Pearl couscous, slow-roasted tomatoes and lemon-oregano oil

    Sunday: Stuffed Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Basil

    There is a lot of chicken on this meal plan-I have a ton I need to use up and I don’t feel like spending a ton at the grocery store tonight. Chris and I are trying desperately to save more money so I’m trying to utilize whatever it is I have in my kitchen already!

    Happy First Day of Fall!!!

    Summer is officially over according to our calendars, but not according to the weather we are still experiencing. Last night Chris suggested that we send off summer with one last grilled hamburger and I conceded because I was so exhausted all day-and not cooking sounded really good. One last yummy burger with a slice of white American cheese, red onion, lettuce & tomato and sweet potato fries! While I will miss grilling, I am very excited to replace grilled food for oven-baked goodness.

    (Can you see the smile?)

    I needed to run a quick 2 miles and quick it was! I don’t know if it was motivating to have a meal ready for me when I got back or if I just wanted to get it over with so I could collapse, but I ended up running it in 16:44 minutes!!

    I love Fall for many reasons but one of them is the month of October. My birthday is the 28th and Chris and I are planning on going to Washington DC. Chris’s mother lives in Baltimore and we’ve always wanted to do the trip and my birthday and the season seemed like the perfect time. Any suggestions on things I have to see? Besides the obvious? I’m going to be such a tourist! I’ve never been there before but am really looking forward to it!

    On another note my work is putting together nightly 3-6 mile runs every Tuesday. I’m really looking forward to breaking up the monotony with group runs at Renaissance Park. The coming months should make for beautiful scenery as the leaves change colors!

    What are your favorite things about Fall???

    Well Whadda Ya Know?

    Yesterday I ate a yogurt and granola bar for breakfast, a wrap for lunch and an afternoon snack of grapes and carrots. Why is this relevant you ask? Because it was also a day where I needed to run 4-miles. In case you missed how the last 4-miles went when I ate junk, check it out here. After drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating food with some sustenance, yesterday’s 4-mile run was actually a breeze. Just goes to show you how much food can play apart in training.

    Speaking of food, last night’s dinner was quick and easy. I try to coordinate the meal plans with the training schedule for the half-marathon and I knew after running 4-miles I wouldn’t want to cook a huge dinner. I was right, I was barely hungry after my run but Chris was so I cooked us up some pasta and a salad with some pumpernickel bread on the side. I was really bummed I couldn’t make the goat cheese rounds, but we were out of breadcrumbs 😦

    First I had to make the pesto-which is what I will be giving you the recipe for today. I think we all can figure out how to throw together a salad and cook pasta. Pesto is one of those recipes that I was surprised how easy it was to make and so thankful that it was, because it adds great flavor.

    Fresh Basil Pesto

    Combine the basil in with the pine nuts.

    pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

    Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    Recipe from Simply Recipes

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
    • 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    *Serve with pasta, over baked potatoes or spread over toasted baguette slices.

    Monday night was dinner out and a movie. My work gave me 2 advanced screening tickets to Disney’s Secretariat and it was inspirational! I knew it be good by the trailer Knowing very little about the Secretariat beforehand was in my favor and it was a great Monday night double-date with my hubs and friends.

    Meal Plan for the week-9/20

    Happy Monday peeps! How was everyone’s weekends? Mine was pretty good. It felt rather long, which never happens. Friday I stuck around at home and rented a movie because the race was so early on Saturday. Speaking of the race, it was an amazing morning and the weather could not have been better. My time was not near what I wanted it to be (34:31) but I didn’t even care! I had the best time with my co-workers, for the cause and at the race. I want to sign up for another one immediately! I can always try to improve my time…

    After the race a few of us went out to breakfast at the Flying biscuit. Very cute little breakfast nook located off Woodlawn and Park Rd. I had an insanely good goat cheese and mushroom omelet with fruit on the side. After the race and a good meal, I was ready for a nap.

    Saturday night I was fortunate enough to get last-minute tickets from Interscope to the Lady Gaga show @ Time Warner Arena. The show was fabulous but even more so was the suite we got passes to thanks to my uncle Kenny 🙂

    Sunday was full of cleaning and Pilates. I’m not looking forward to the run schedule I’ve got this week. It’s time to get down to business and I’m scared! Tuesday is a 4-mile run, Wed is a 2-mile, Thursday is another 4-mile run and then 6 miles this Saturday. Should be interesting-I will keep you posted on my progress…or lack there of.

    Sunday was football but we won’t talk about that. The Vikings are off to a bad start this year and it was pretty disappointing to say the least. 😦

    On to the Meal PLAN!

    Monday: Dinner and a Movie Double-Date (advanced screening of Secretariat!)

    Tuesday: Pesto Pasta Salad with spring mix and warm goat cheese rounds

    Wednesday: Apple Chicken Quesadillas

    Thursday: Herbed Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce

    Friday: BLT’s with Fried Green Tomatoes!

    …and the Winner is!

    Hi faithful readers! Today is the day that I announce the winners of the Pilates DVD work-out videos. Since there was an amazing outpour of responses (some of you got to me on facebook) I was reluctant to go out and buy you all Pilates videos! At the very least, I decided to split them in half so there could be 2 winners…randomly selected, the winners are (drum roll please….)

    Julie Billarant and Meghan Helms! Congrats to you both! Just message me your addresses and I will put them in the mail this weekend 🙂 Thanks for reading!

    Now on to Friday’s post-

    I wanted to entitle this post “No Wonder” because I had a horrible run last night. First I had to run on the treadmill, which I’ve learned to hate after all the beautiful outdoor runs I’ve had lately. But also, watching the numbers slug by was pretty terrible and while I was trying to get my mind off the drawn out pain, I was thinking, “why is this so bad today?”

    I thought about my day and realized that I didn’t eat breakfast. I ran out of strawberries and therefore didn’t make my morning smoothie. I had planned to eat a yogurt I had in the fridge at work but got caught up and never ate it. Then for lunch, we celebrated Stephanie’s birthday (Happy Birthday!) and went out to a team lunch at Roosters in South Park. I had the quarter chicken with a salad and a side of maccaroni and cheese. Not the healthiest option but when in Rome…eat as the Romans do. Chicken seemed to be their specialty. This place is amazing! You have to check it out:

    http://roosterskitchen.com/

    Then we took a quick trip to Poka-a-Dot, which I know I’ve talked about before, but that little bakery has a soft spot in my heart. Their cupcakes are the best! I went with my original, vanilla bean and chocolate cream and it was perfection.

    Then I went home and decided I would run before making dinner. Eventually I came to the conclusion that “No Wonder” my 4-mile run was so excruciating. I had fed my body nothing but junk, consumed very little water and was basically running on sugar fumes. It just goes to show you that when you training for anything, food is FUEL! I will definitely be more conscious about what I’m putting into my body to ensure an effective run.

    To add to the epic fail of fueling for the day, I came home and just ate a bowl of Kashi cereal for dinner. My 4-mile took me an embarrassingly 50 some odd minutes and I was too tired to cook. Sometimes a bowl of cereal is the best dinner because it’s easy clean up and no-prep time at all. I downed that and called it a day.

    Today is my “rest” day and I’m thankful for it, I might even push myself to run again if I didn’t have a 5k tomorrow morning. I’m going to change-up the meal plan and make the pasta tonight, that I was going to make on Saturday, in hopes it gives me an extra boost for tomorrow.

    Hope everyone has great weekends!!! Wish me Luck 🙂