Sunday, March 7, 2010

Food, Running & Celebrations!

Where did I leave off?  I'm all over the place today so this blog entry will be definitely scattered.  Wednesday I went out for sushi with my friend Remi and it was sooo good.  I haven't been out for sushi in so long.  I had half of one martini and my head killed all night and into the next day.  I totally can't drink anymore.  Not sure what happened to me.  Thursday I took off from working out and then Thursday night I made Chicken Caesar Salad with home-made dressing.  (I popped into Trader Joe's to get the much needed anchovies).  I discussed how to make the dressing with Gretchen earlier in the day and she had an interesting way to add the egg yolk.  She told me to boil water to cook hard boiled eggs, then add two eggs to the water, and cook one for a few minutes so it removed any chance of salmonella. Genuis!  I really feel like I learn so much from Gretchen!!!  Rachael Rays recipe called to take some of the boiling water and add it into the food processor so I did that as well. Alright, on to the recipe.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Inspired by Annie Eats and Rachael Ray
For the croutons:
4 slices sandwich bread 

3 tbsp. olive oil 
For the dressing:
2 Tablespoons of EVOO, plus 1/2 Cup
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
5 small anchovies

2 teaspoons of Worcestorshire sauce
1 lemon
2 egg yolks, cooked in boiling water for 1-5 minutes to remove any chance for salmonella
1/4 cup of boiling water from cooking eggs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
Romaine lettuce
2-4 chicken breast halves

tomatoes, pepperoncinis and other toppings of your choice
2 hard boiled eggs
Shaved Parmesan cheese

To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and place in a medium-large bowl.  (Trim the crusts off if you wish – I prefer to leave them on.)  Combine the olive oil or butter, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Stir together to blend well.  Pour the mixture over the bread cubes and toss gently until evenly coated. Transfer the bread cubes to a baking sheet, spreading them out into an even layer.   Bake for 15 minutes.  Check to see if the croutons are golden and crisp.  If not, toss lightly and bake up to 15 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Transfer to an airtight container until ready to use. To make the dressing, get skillet nice and hot and add in oil then add anchovies.  Let the anchovies melt into the oil and then add in grated garlic.  once combined, add to a food processor with lemon juice, water, garlic, mayonnaise, egg yolks and pepper.  Blend until well combined and completely smooth then slowly add in the oil with the motor running.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves, removing the greener leafy portions if desired.  Chop or tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and place it in a large bowl.  Season both sides of the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken on a grill or grill pan, until golden and cooked through.  Meanwhile, add salad dressing to the lettuce (a couple tablespoons at a time) and toss to coat.  Add more dressing as desired.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and slice diagonally into long pieces. Portion the dressed salad into serving dishes.  Top with homemade croutons, grilled chicken pieces, vegetables, hard boiled eggs and Parmesan shavings.

 This was light and delicious.  I love having dinners like this.  I LOVED the dressing and will totally make it again.  Rachael Ray called for a cup of oil and Annie called for a cup of mayonnaise so I tried to cut down the fat a lot by adding more water.  It was a little runny but the anchovies had such a strong taste that it worked.  If you are afraid of anchovies, don't be.  They are salty and delicious!

Friday morning I went to the gym and ran 5 solid miles and then lifted my arms.  I ran right around 8:45 pace and really pushed the last two miles.  Friday night I made what I like to call "whatever's left in the fridge pizza."  I had whole wheat pizza dough that I rolled out and added tomato sauce, random veggies (red onion, red pepper, green pepper, brocolli, green onion) and lots of shredded cheese.  I served this with more Caesar Salad!
So also exciting is that I finally got the camera I've been eying for awhile... the Cannon G11!  Hopefully my food photography will improve tremendously since I think my Sony has been slowly dying for months. I'm probably going to switch back and forth between cameras depending on where I am.

Saturday morning I woke up and drove to my brothers house for my long run.  The plan was 15 miles. If you don't know, my brother is graciously helping me train for my marathon on May 2nd and will even be running most of the race with me.  Caitlin posting an interesting entry about "bandit" running.  My brother is not going to sign up for the race and will most likely run 15-20 miles of the race with me.  I don't see this as a bad thing.  He's done it for me in the past (my first half) and I've done it for various races as well (running with a friend to encourage them to finish without signing up).  I always see friends helping friends in races without numbers and its never bothered me. Just last week at Hyannis I saw several runners pulling off course in the last 200 meters so their friends could finish.  Okay on to the run!
I felt pretty good for most of this run.  At mile 6.5 we stopped to get water and carried it with us for the rest of the run, which was important since it was almost 60 degrees out!  Gorgeous.  My brother went out Friday night and didn't eat anything before our run so he started to feel pretty awful around mile 12.  But we pushed through it even if the last two miles were pretty miserable.  I did end up running 13.1 miles in 1:58:47 in this run.  Pretty hysterical considering I basically ran that in my race last week.  Oh well.  Miles Splits:
15 Miles: 2: 16: 54, Avg Pace: 9:08, Fastest Pace: 6:02
Mile 1: 8:44
Mile 2: 9:02
Mile 3: 9:08
Mile 4: 9:04
Mile 5: 9:04
Mile 6: 9:07
Mile 7: 8:45
Mile 8: 8:54
Mile 9: 9:05
Mile 10: 9:11
Mile 11: 9:14
Mile 12: 9:16
Mile 13: 9:31
Mile 14: 9:17
Mile 15: 9:34
Overall, I'm psyched I felt strong and I'm excited about adding on the mileage in the next month.  Bring it on Providence.  The one thing that really hurt was my lower back.  All you marathoners out there... does this happen to you?  Any idea why my back hurts after mile 10?  

Okay after the run, Mike and I went grocery shopping (since he is the woman of the house) and then I headed home to get ready for the night.  Yesterday was my best friends birthday and we had a busy night planned.  Our friends Gordon and June were also visiting from Washington and staying with us so we planned a dinner at The Living Room in Boston and then a party at Courtney's apartment in the same area.  Dinner was delicious but A LOT of food.  My friend Stephanie and I split the Mac N Cheese and the Jambalaya.  We barely got a dent in either.

I also got a couple tasty martini's that are currently killing my head right now.

Here's Gordon and June at dinner.  We love them! June is 7 months pregnant and came home for her baby shower today.  After dinner, we headed to celebrate Courtney's 28th birthday!

Such a fun night!  I'm trying to get motivated to run 3 miles but not sure I feel up to it.  Here is the Weekly Mileage:
Monday: Physical Therapy
Tuesday: 4 Miles
Wednesday: Speed, 6 Miles
Thursday: off
Friday: 5 Miles
Saturday: 15 Miles
Sunday: off or 3 Miles (undecided)
Total Mileage: 30 (or 33)

Menu for the Upcoming Week:
Sunday: Swiss Chard Pie & Cajun Seafood Bake
Monday: Spicy Chicken Sausage, Butternut Squash, Feta Tacos with Sweet Potato Fries
Tuesday: Brussel Sprouts Squash and Apple (Chicken) Sausage Salad
Wednesday: Bulger Wheat with Shrimp
Thursday: Party
Friday: Pizza?
Have a good week!


  1. I was in your old stomping grounds and you were in my current! Livnig Room is like 2 blocks from me. yay for good martinis.

  2. Hey Lizzy! You can take this for what it's worth since I am not a serious runner right now, but when I was training for my half marathon, I did experience a lot of lower back pain. Not just when running but practically all the time. If I remember correctly this is called piraformis syndrome and it's very common among women. The only thing that seemed to ease it was lots of stretching!

    But I will say that as I got more involved with strength training, one of the first things I learned (from New Rules of Lifting for Women) is that the majority of females do not have a very strong back side compared to the front side of our bodies. The beginning stages of New Rules really focus on strengthening the back (upper, lower, and hamstrings). I have noticed that as my whole backside and core have gotten stronger, I have never (crossing fingers) felt that lower back pain when running or after a long run. So maybe it could be that you just need to work on your core and back strength a little more?

    Again, I'm sure you know a lot more about running-related injuries than I do, so feel free to disregard if this is not helpful!

    Have a great week :)

  3. Cara!! Thanks so much for the comment and I totally agree and figure the problem was that I needed to strengthen both my lower back and my core more! I need to make it a priority in my workouts... making your chicken sausage tacos tonight... can't wait : )