Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hyannis Half Marathon Recap!

Today I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon.  Starting early week, the weather did not look good for our race.  I tweeted my running buddies this: 
 And by Friday this:
 And by Saturday, there was a 90% chance.  So there was no escaping it.  I was going to run in the snow. Luckily, Becky and I had planned to run together!!! I stayed on the Cape last night at my friend Stef's house.  She was supposed to run with us too but she is currently injured.  I hope she gets better fast for Boston : )

I got to the race around 9:30am and it was a madhouse.  Much like last year, it was seriously a zoo.  Luckily, I found Becky and we got to the start and got running.  We chatted and had a blast for the first 8 miles.  I didn't have a real goal for this race other than to try to run as close to what I ran last year as possible (1:58).  None of my long runs have been under 9 minute pace so I wasn't sure what to expect.  But Becky and I felt pretty good.  But there were a lot more rolling hills than I remembered!  PS- Don't believe it was snowing... check this out!

Here are our first 8 miles, we were having fun in the first 8 miles!
Mile 1: 9:13
Mile 2: 9:04
Mile 3: 8:55
Mile 4: 8:57
Mile 5: 9:02
Mile 6: 8:52
Mile 7: 8:57
Mile 8: 9:05
Then mile 9 happened.  Becky and I started talking less and less and Becky kept encouraging me to go ahead.. something I didn't want to do.  I needed my partner!!!  See how fun she is! Just look below : )
We ended up staying together until Mile 11 I believe but Becky was only seconds behind me until the finish.  It was definitely hard for me to finish up with no Beck and no music!  But I did it.  And I'm pretty psyched with our almost very even splits. 
Mile 9: 9:17
Mile 10: 9:04
Mile 11: 9:02
Mile 12: 8:50
Mile 13: 8:39
.20: 7:28
1:58:29, 8:58 min/mile
not official, not posted yet
 After the race, we met up with speedy Lauren (who finished in the low 1:30s... she is a super star) and Bekah.  
 And then we went to get food.  I'd show you pictures of the food but we were starving runners and ate before I remembered to snap the photo.  Oops.  But we did remember to grab a picture of us girls!  Us four plus Corey are running Black Cat next week!  More races!  Let's just hope there is no snow : )
One more shout out to my awesome running partner Becky! I totally would not have been able to do it without you!  Thanks for running with me!!!
Oh and here's a recap of my weekly workouts.  I had a tough week and didn't get to the gym much!
 Weekly Recap of Workouts:
Monday 2/21: 
Off, Holiday
Tuesday 2/22:
Speed Workout, 5 miles, 9:31 pace, 47:50
1 mile warmup- 6.2 mph, 1.0 incline
Workout- 2X1mile, 400 rest, 2x800 400 rest
1 mile: 7:38 (7.6-8.0) 400 jog rest
1 mile: 7:29 (7.7-8.2) 400 rest
800: 3:38 (7.8-8.4) 400 rest
800: 3:34 (7.8-8.6) 
Wednesday 2/23: 
20 minute big step
lifted biceps and triceps and abs
Thursday 2/24:
Friday 2/25: 
Saturday 2/26:
Ran 1 mile on the treadmill, walked 1 mile, 15 min eliptical, stretched
Sunday 2/27:
Hyannis Half Marathon 1:58:29, 8:58 pace
Mile 1: 9:13, Mile 2: 9:04, Mile 3: 8:55, Mile 4: 8:57, Mile 5: 9:02, Mile 6: 8:52, Mile 7: 8:57,
Mile 8: 9:05, Mile 9: 9:17, Mile 10: 9:04, Mile 11: 9:02, Mile 12: 8:50
Mile 13: 8:39, .20: 7:28
Total: 3 days running, 19.10 miles, 2 days cross train, 1 day lifting, 3 Days off
 Biggest Loser update- Not so good this week.  Too much yummy carbs!  Don't believe me, go check out what I made last week!

Oh and you have until Tuesday to enter my giveaway!

PS- I planned another theme week in the kitchen!  Im making all recipes using Egg Rolls and Wonton Wrappers.  Stay Tuned!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Carbo Loading

Thank you so much for entering my giveaway!!! And if you haven't entered yet, please do! You have until Tuesday to enter.  I will pick two winners on Wednesday!
You can enter my awesome giveaway HERE!
Now, it's been quite a week in my kitchen!  As you may be aware, I try to plan my meals for the week around a theme.  A few weeks ago I did mini-loaf week, followed by burger week.  Sometimes its just one ingredient that's the common theme.  Like cooking a pound of chicken and using it in meals throughout the week.  When I first started my menu planning for this week, I had no real common thread. But, now that I'm writing these recipes out, I'm noticing that my menu this week was VERY carb heavy.  Oops, maybe that's why I didn't do so well in the Biggest Loser competition this week : )  But I think I needed a week like this! And maybe deep down, I made all these carbo loading meals for my half marathon this weekend.  Tomorrow I'm running the Hyannis Half Marathon in what looks like snow and rain.  At least I will have my running buddies with me!

The first meal I made was Thai Chicken Enchiladas.  I raved about the Thai Chicken Pizza I made a couple weeks ago and when I saw an old recipe for a version of enchiladas on Closet Cooking, I knew I had to try it!  I used his ingredients for the filling but the peanut sauce from a few weeks ago.  This recipe is out of this world.  Plus I cheated a bit and bought already cooked rotisserie chicken.  You gotta take shortcuts when you are gone from the house for 12 hours each day : )  I also used whole wheat tortillas so that made it healthier right? Right? Okay maybe not.  But they were the most perfect enchilada I've ever had! Just such an interesting twist on a classic Mexican dish!

Thai Spicy Peanut Chicken Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
1 large carrot
2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 cup jack and cheddar cheese (grated)
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (chopped)
2 red chilies (sliced)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the red pepper and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the green onion, carrot and bean sprouts and saute until tender, about a minute. Remove from heat. Mix in the chicken, cilantro and 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce. Spread some of the peanut sauce over the bottom of a baking dish. Place some of the filling in a tortilla, wrap it up and place it in a baking dish. 
Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Pour the remaining peanut sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle on the cheese. 
Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese is melted about 20-30 minutes. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts, sliced chilies and cilantro.
Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter (I like smooth, use whatever you want)
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha (or hot chili sauce)
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 cup boiling water
Put the ingredients except for the boiling water into a bowl. Put the sauce into a saucepan and let it cook through until it is hot.  It is going to be really thick and this is where the boiling water comes in.  I add enough hot water to get it the consistency that I want it to be.
Just one of these tortillas fills you right up.  I enjoyed these enchiladas Monday night and again throughout the week for lunch. Huge fan of these!

Then I made Spaghetti and Meatballs, one of Dave's favorite meals.  Although, I made pesto turkey meatballs AND Katie's Quinoa "Meat"balls!
This was such a fun recipe and it was pretty quick!  I prepped all the ingredients for the quinoa meatballs the day before so this really came together quickly!  The first thing I did when I got home was get some water boiling for the pasta.  Then I made "fake out" homemade sauce. I used a jar of really good tomato sauce and then added San Marzano crushed tomatoes with a bunch of seasoning.  I let that simmer together for about 40 minutes. Now on to the meatballs!
Quinoa Veggie "Meatballs"
Ingredients:1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup of sliced portobello mushrooms (sliced small!)
1 cup of fresh baby spinach
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
2 tbs pine nuts (almost any kind of nut would work well here too!)
2 eggs - one for egg wash
1/4 cup of parm cheese
A couple generous pinches of crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package using either water or vegetable stock and set aside to cool a bit. Cook the onions, mushrooms, red pepper and spinach in a large skillet for 5-7 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, wilted spinach, red pepper and onions. Add the oregano, rosemary and crushed red pepper.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the pine nuts and cheese and combine mixture.  Add the cooled quinoa and mix in one of the eggs.  Shape the mixture into even-sized balls and place on a greased and foil lined baking sheet.  
Make an egg wash by mixing together the remaining egg and a splash of water.  Using a brush, paint the meatballs with the eggwash.  Bake at 400 degrees until they are cooked through, browned and slightly crispy.  

For the turkey meatballs, I followed Baked Bree's recipe. You know, my favorite food blogger. Her recipes are amazing!
Pesto Turkey Meatballs
1 pound of 93% Fat Free Ground Turkey Breast
3/4 cup of bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of pesto sauce (I would have made my own but I couldn't find basil so I used prepared)
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
1 egg
Mix everything in a bowl and combine well.  Roll mixtures into balls.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.
I took the turkey meatballs out a little earlier than the quinoa ones and added them to the sauce.
Once the quinoa "balls" were browned and cooked through, I put the whole thing together.  Pasta, sauce, and 4 "balls" sprinkled with parm cheese on top. Such a delicious comfort meal, taken to a new level : ) I would be lying to you if I said these stayed together perfectly.  The quinoa "balls" fell apart pretty quickly but like Katie, I loved the texture.  Quinoa is so versatile and this recipe rocked!

I also made Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprout, Bacon Carbonara inspired by Closet Cooking.
Mine wasn't as creamy as I would have liked, probably because I used an entire package of pasta.  I  tried to "healthify" this recipe by using rice pasta and lots of veggies.  But really, carbonara isn't supposed to be healthy!

Butternut Squash Carbonara

1/2 pound pasta
4 slices bacon
2 cups squash 
1 cup of brussel sprouts
pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
Roast brussel sprouts and butternut squash on a baking sheet at 400 for 20 minutes. Start cooking the pasta. Fry the bacon in a pan (I cooked the bacon in the microwave). Mix the egg yolk, heavy cream and parmigiano reggiano in a bowl. Drain the cooked pasta reserving some of the water. Add the pasta to the pan and toss. Remove the pan from the heat and wait for the sizzling to stop. Add the egg mixture and toss to coat. Add a bit of the pasta water and toss to mix and coat. Add in roasted squash and brussels and top with more parm cheese.
And last but certainly not least, I made Pesto Arugula Lasagna Stacks, also inspired by Baked Bree. These were suuuper simple to make and packed so MUCH flavor.  I can totally see myself using this method with a variety of ingredients.  This vegetarian meal was a tasty surprise for the end of a long week.
Pesto Arugula Stacks
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 (6-ounce) package washed and rinsed baby arugula
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of pesto
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Brush 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil all over the surface of a baking sheet. Place the lasagna noodles in a large pan and cover with boiling water.  Let the noodles soak for 10 minutes. While the noodles are soaking, put the arugula in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a paper towel.  Microwave until the arugula is wilted, about 3 minutes. Mix together the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, lemon zezt, egg, and pesto.  Season with a pinch of salt (the cheese is very salty so go easy) and pepper. Drain the arugula and get out the excess water.  I like to squeeze it through a paper towel until no more water comes out.  Chop the arugula and add to the ricotta cheese mixture. Take the noodles out of the water and drain onto a kitchen towel.  Lay 4 sheets of pasta onto your baking sheet.  Spread 1/4 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture on the pasta and top with a bit of the mozzarella cheese.  Add another layer of pasta and repeat.  Top with the rest of the Parmesan cheese and a little fresh pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes.  The cheese should be melted and bubbly.  Makes 4 lasagna stacks.  Slice the stacks in half and serve on top of each other.
It was a really fun week in my kitchen.  I hope these meals give me the energy I need for tomorrow's race : )

What did you cook up this week?  And... if you are running Hyannis, let me know!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday & Giveaways!

Two years ago today, I started this blog. I had no idea THEN what it would turn into today.  I also had no idea how passionate I would become about reading blogs, engaging and writing my blog.  It truly has become a huge hobby of mine that I can't imagine my life without. So... I just want to say Thank YouThank You for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for writing.  I love being part of this amazing blogging community and I'm here to stay.  I really cannot believe it's been two years.  What started as an online food journal has quickly shifted into meals I cook, restuarants I enjoy and my running/working out schedule.  

Now on to my first Giveaway!  
If you are into cooking, this is the giveaway for you. CSN Stores has graciously offered one Food to Run For reader a $50 gift code valid on any of CSN's sites. CSN Stores sells everything from cookware to luggage to computer desks for home

CSN can only ship in the US or Canada.  You could buy a lot with $50! Just look at all the options on the site, there is so much I want!  

Now if read my blog more because you like to hear my running stories, I'm also giving away some of my favorite running products!

I love my Nathan Handheld water bottle, my Experia Running Socks and my Honey Stinger Energy Chews and Gu Chomps.  I pretty much never leave the house for a long run without these products! Now is your chance to win my favorite running items!

You can enter both Giveaways or just one, up to you.  You can get up to 8 entries! Leave two comments if you are entering both.

Here are the rules:

To enter the CSN Giveaway...

1) Leave a comment below telling me what you would buy with the $50 gift card
2 + 3) Follow me on twitter and tweet this- 
RT:@Foodtorunfor is hosting an awesome CSN Giveaway, enter today:
4) Add Food to Run For to your blogroll
5) Link to this post on your blog if you have one
6) Become a follower of my blog

To enter the Running Products giveaway....

1) Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite running product
2 + 3) Follow me on twitter and tweet this- 
RT: @Foodtorunfor is hosting an awesome Running giveaway, enter today:
4) Add Food to Run For to your blogroll
5) Link to this post on your blog if you have one
6) Become a follower of my blog

*You can tell me how many of these you did in my comments section, no need for a separate comment for each entry*
The giveaway will end on March 3rd. I will randomly choose 2 winners!

Thank you so much for reading and for making these last two years memorable!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Restaurant Review: Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar

Last Friday Dave and I met up with my best friend Courtney and her boyfriend Ryan at Lolita in Boston.  Lolita is a hidden gem tucked away on Dartmouth street, directly behind Newbury Street in Copley Square.  And when I say hidden, I mean HIDDEN.
See what I mean, this is the entrance.  We almost walked by it! The atmosphere of this place is SOOO New York.  Very dark, lots of Red Lights.  When we walked in, we were greeted by two hostesses who took our name and number using an iPad.  Pretty cool, right?
Dave and I ended up waiting in the back bar.  The place was definitely crowded with lots of young people.  I ordered the te leche for my first drink: jeremiah sweet tea, peach liqueur, fresh muddled lemon, strawberry, mint & soda water.  Heaven.  This was so refreshing.  I loved it!
Courtney and her boyfriend arrived shortly after we ordered drinks and we hung out for about 45 minutes before being seated.
Clearly, I'm in desperate need of a tan. hahah! Once we were seated we got a tequila grapefruit palate cleanser.  Yum! And we all ordered another round of drinks. 
 We also got chips and salsas.  I wish I could remember all the sauces, but all I remember is that they were all pretty spicy.  But I liked the yellow one the best for sure.  We also ordered a couple appetizers.  We got Guacamole and Short Rib Nachos.  Both were pretty tasty.  But not spectacular.  There wasn't a lot of short rib in the nachos- a lot more refried beans though!
For dinner, Courtney ordered the spicy mahi mahi flautas that was extremely spicy (and I love spice!)  But I did like her dish better than mine.
 And I got the blackened mahi mahi tacos.  These were good, but nothing really that special.  They were spicy too!
The highlight of the night (besides spending time with my bff and her bf) was the cotton candy with poprocks.  Sooo good, Courtney and I devoured most of it : )
Overall, Lolita was a really fun place with a funky NY style atmosphere.  The drinks were definitely impressive but the food wasn't fabulous.  But to tell you the truth, I don't think people come here for the food.  And I will definitely be back.  My one piece of advice is be prepared for really spicy food if you come here! And be prepared to wait! But in general, Lolita was a lot of fun and I'm glad we went.
PS- Come back later in the week- it's my 2Year Bloggervesary and I have a Giveaway!!!
Have you been to Lolita? What's your favorite tequila drink?