Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CSA Week 5

Before I write about what I got with last weeks CSA and what I made, I need to interrupt regularly scheduled blogging about food and/or running to congratulate my friend Emily Halnon on her IRONMAN finish.  Yes, you read that correct.  Emily did an IRONMAN on Sunday and knocked it out of the park.  She had major obstacles that she overcame to finish a MOTHER-F'N-IRONMAN.  So please, even if you don't care about running, or biking, or swimming.... read this recap.  It will bring you to tears.  And please join me in congratulating Emily on her IRONMAN finish.  Emily- you are beyond a rockstar, you are my idol!  And I'm proud to call you a friend!!!!! (Who I met through this blog!!!)

Moving on...
 I got an insane amount of produce for CSA Week 5.  In the bag:
Butter Lettuce, Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomato, Hot Peppers, Zucchinis, Cucumbers, Peaches, Arugula, Kale, Swiss Chard, Basil, Green Beans and Blueberries.
Carrying the squashes into the kitchen was quite the production!
One of the first things I made with all this produce was a gorgeous salad of heirloom tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, mozzarella cheese, and arugula with a dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.
This is one of the freshest salads money can buy!  I cannot wait to get more heirloom tomatoes.  They are so perfect this time of year.  And this is coming from a girl who used to run from raw tomatoes.  Not anymore...

Another day I made a beautiful salad using the butter lettuce we got with peas we got from last weeks CSA mixed together with parmesan cheese.  I served the most amazing zucchini cakes on top.
These zucchini cakes alone could have there own blog post.  Now these aren't your typical zucchini cakes.  No... these are THAI inspired adapted from one of my favorite food bloggers- Joanne over at Eats Well with Others.  These fritters have one of my favorite ingredients in the world- RED CURRY PASTE.  Sadly I finished my jar with these cakes, but it was well worth it.
Thai Zucchini Cakes
2 lb zucchini, grated and squeezed to drain out as much liquid as possible

1/2-1 cup flour
1 egg
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbs fish sauce or soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Mix the zucchini, flour, egg, curry paste, fish/soy sauce, and lime juice in a bowl.  Heat up a skillet with oil so you can fry the cakes. Using your hands, form patties.  Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes per side.  Serve over a bed of lettuce with your choice of toppings!

Joanne served a thai peanut sauce on top but I chose to use my favorite salad dressing instead.  I loved LOVED the subtle heat from the thai curry paste.  This was such a delicious dish : )

With all the swiss chard I got, I made a recipe I saw last month on Love and Olive Oil, but re-found while pinning.  Did you know that search on Pinterest?  Have too much kale?  Search Kale in pinterest and there's a bunch of pictures/recipes at your fingertips!  

How amazing is that?!  So, I decided to make Flatbread Swiss Chard Bianca. Only I used Flatout wraps instead of pizza dough which worked great.  And I made two of these even though my husband wasn't around to eat them.  Oh, and I also ate both- they were that good.  Hey- I'm eating my greens right?  Just so you know, that means I ate the entire bunch of swiss chard in one sitting. Oops?
Flatbread Swiss Chard Bianca
2 Flat Out Wraps OR pizza dough
1 bunch of swiss chard
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 cup of part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
Cook chard in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender.  Drain and rinse under cold water and drain again.  Squeeze dry and then chop.  Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir.  Add chard and stir.  Season with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired.  Place flatout wraps on a baking sheet and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.  Scatter swiss chard over cheese then crumble the goat cheese on top.  Bake until crispy- 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  
Healthy and delicious right?!

I also made beet chips in the last week or so.  But I still don't like beets so the best thing to come out of these chips was this pretty design the roasted beets left behind.
Beets aren't my thing, but the recipe was fun- I used Naturally Ella's recipe for the chips.  Her blog is beautiful so if you haven't been there before- check it out.
What have you made lately with your farm-fresh produce?  Anything great- link it to me! And how amazing is Emily?!?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26th- 3 Year Wedding Anniversary!

Celebrating July 26th!!
This post has nothing to do with food or running, but I feel compelled to let you all know that TODAY Dave and I have been married for 3 YEARS!!! It seems like its gone by so fast so I thought I'd share some photos from the best day of our lives!

And a couple of my favorite pictures...

Our wedding was so amazing and so special and I wouldn't have changed a thing!  (Even though I had no idea what I was doing with the planning - my wedding was one of the first I'd been to!!!)

Happy Anniversary to my husband David.  I love you very much!  

Hope you all enjoyed my pictures!  
Now tell me, what is your dream wedding?  Outside on the water (like mine), backyard BBQ, church ceremony? Do tell!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How NOT to train for a race

On August 14th, I am running a half marathon with my friend Lindsay and Theodora.  I just dialed up my training with a solid week of running two weeks ago and then struggled to find the time last week.  On Friday, Corey and I were gchatting about running together on Saturday.  She wanted to run 11 miles at a slower pace for her (which happens to be my pace) and then speed up the last 4 miles.  I wanted to run 11 miles so it was going to work out perfectly. Problem was it was supposed to be 100 degrees Saturday morning.  Corey texted me later in the evening and told me she was going to push off her run until the cooler day on Sunday.  So I set my alarm to run on the treadmill Saturday morning. BUT... here come the excuses....  This is HOW not to train for a RACE.

Dave and I celebrated our anniversary at The Capital Grille in Chestnut Hill.  (Review on that to come)
And our waiter was really generous.  Meaning, after some Stoli Dolis, we got complimentary Champagne and Port Wine.
Needless to say, I was feeling the alcohol when my alarm went off Saturday AM. So I opted for more sleep rather than running.

In the late morning, I headed to my friend Sara's Bridal Shower.  I drove through some insane thunder and lightening storms before making it down to the South Shore. Sara is one of those friends that I know I'll be friends with for life so it was extra special to see her 'showered' with love (and presents!).
I had a few hours in between the shower and her bachelorette party so I headed to the gym.  I was optimistic for a long run, but after four miles I called it quits.  

Again, drinking the night before and then continuing to drink mimosas at the shower does not equal a successful run.  You would think I would learn my lesson and not drink (or drink less) Saturday night.  You would think.

But I had a bachelorette party to attend.  And a fun night with my high school friends after that. 

I first headed to Temazcal Tequila Cantina on the Waterfront for Sara's Bachelorette Dinner.  When I arrived, the guy at the door wouldn't let me in saying the restaurant was at capacity and there was a 2.5 hour wait at 7pm.  Luckily, a few minutes later some people left and they let me in to join Sara's friends at dinner. First, let me tell you, this place is GORGEOUS.  And CROWDED.  And loud.  But the place was super swanky- they had ipads in place of menus!  Pretty cool!  My camera died and my phone was charging with the hostess (as you can tell I was a hot mess) so I stole these photos from their website and made a fun collage so you can see what I ate and drank : )
The food was pretty good.  It's hard for me to judge exactly because I didn't have an entree but I definitely want to go back to try it out again.  My tamale didn't have nearly the amount of lobster that they show in this picture though : (. But the views are what you pay for and what makes every place in the Seaport area so breathtaking.

Around 9:15, I had to quickly run over to meet my high school friends at Whiskey Preist.  I was told that if I didn't show up by then, there would be a line.  And even at 9:15pm, I waited in line.  Luckily I got through fast and joined my friends just as the band was setting up.

My friend Jamie is here from California and she knows the singer in the band Bearfight.  Well, they were the best live cover band I've ever seen in Boston and I cannot wait to hear them play again.  If you ever get the chance to hear Bearfight, GO.  They will make your night!!!
So, as you can see my Saturday was A TON of fun but obviously a run on Sunday was out of the question. I did have high hopes that I would feel better by evening and I would be able to do my long run then, but that was not the case.

Truth is, I wouldn't change this weekend for anything. I had a romantic dinner with my husband, celebrated a life-long friends upcoming marriage and partied with my best friends from high school.  Although I definitely regret some of the alcohol, I do not regret one moment spent with these special people.

My legs haven't forgotten how to run by taking a few days off...
(I know that for a fact because I busted out 8 miles this morning before work!)

Do you let life interfere with your running training plan? Or are you strict with it?
I'm a huge advocate for balance and moderation and if life calls, you gotta roll with it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Running & 7 Links

Happy Friday!  This post has two parts, as most of my posts do.  I'm sorry about that- I do wish I was the kind of blogger who could write more often, but life gets in the way : )

As I mentioned before, I tweeted wondering if you guys thought I could run a half marathon in four weeks.  You guys said to go for it.  So I amped up my running and ran 4 days last week and hiked 4 miles on Sunday.  I ran Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and raced 10 miles on Saturday.  All in all, I ran 25 miles last week and hiked an additional 4.  And it felt great!

I hoped this week would be more of the same, but the heat wave hit and work was really busy.  I know I complain about my long hours away from my house- but its true, the work day and my long commute takes a lot of me.  Last week I was able to sneak out during lunch a few times.  This week I wasn't so lucky.  Combine that with the fact that my hips and achilles are a bit sore and I decided to take it a bit easier. Meaning, so far this week I've only run 1 day.  But it was a great run and I'm super happy with my speed workout. I do plan on running tomorrow AM with Corey for a long run though! On Wednesday morning I headed to the treadmill for a workout I received from my local running club.  As I've mentioned before, due to where I live and work, it's hard for me to do speed on a track, so I often do my speed workouts on the treadmill.

Workout:  400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 (with 400 RI)
My goal as always is to get faster with each intervals.
1 mile warmup- 10 minutes, 6.0mph
400: 1:42 (6:50 pace)
400 rest (1/2 walking, 1/2 jogging)
600: 2:40 (7:09 pace)
400 rest (1/2 walking, 1/2 jogging)
800: 3:37 (7:16 pace)
400 rest (1/2 walking, 1/2 jogging)
1200: 5:28 (7:19 pace)
400 rest (1/2 walking, 1/2 jogging)
800: 3:33 (7:08 pace)
400 rest (1/2 walking, 1/2 jogging)
600: 2:33 (6:50 pace)
400 rest (1/2 walking, 1/2 jogging)
400: 1:33 (6:14 pace)
Cooldown- 6 miles
Curious about how to run 600s on a treadmill?  Check out this post- one of my most popular : )

PART II: 7 Links (or maybe more...)
Speaking of my posts, my buddy Theodora over at Losing Weight in the City tagged me in "Seven Links."  In case you're not aware of this fun blogger quiz thats going around the interweb, here are the rules/goals.
I'm going to go with my two of my most beautiful posts: 1 Year of Marriage and A Year Ago. 
If you ever wanted to see what my wedding was like, check this post out. "A Year Ago" shows you a collage of my most amazing vacation: The Mediterranean cruise I went on last summer.

My most popular blog posts in the running world was my Boston Marathon Race Recap. No surprise there.
In the food end of things, my most popular was my Best Meals of 2010 and my Valentine's Day dinner I made.  I'm still so proud of that dish- it was restaurant quality in my opinion! 

Most of you didn't read my blog when I wrote this, but I wrote a post called Pearl Izumi and the Great Debate: What Makes a Marathoner? 
I published and then rewrote that post several times because I didn't want to offend too many people.  But my opinion still remains the same- If you walk most of a marathon or stop to take a million pictures during a marathon, then you didn't run it.  Not everyone HAS to finish a marathon. As I've written before, the marathon does not make you a runner and 26.2 miles should not be taken lightly. I believe the marathon is meant to be, well, RUN.

As I mentioned above, I get a lot of hits from my How to Run Speed Workouts on the Treadmill post. As you all know, I'm a huge believer in speed work, and an even bigger advocate for the treadmill.  I also think my three posts that led up to my marathons were helpful too because they were honest and real about my feeling of the 26.2 distance. Here they are:
THE RACE (before Providence Marathon)
Home Stretch, I'm ready to Go! (Before NY Marathon)
Prepping for THE RACE (Before the Boston Marathon)
An excerpt from THE RACE..."running has been my best friend and my enemy. I've run to win, run to finish, run with teammates, run with friends, run through heartbreak, run through conflict, run through love, run with hundreds of people on the treadmill on the track through many states and cities.  I choose to torture myself in the cold and in the heat, through pain and injuries.  I chose this sport. And I love it.
I'm scared to death about Sunday.  I'm scared about my sore throat. My achilles.  The weather. The heat. The course. My stomach.  More than anything I want to finish.  More than anything I want to finish and not be disappointed."
Any post I write about myself- my confessions, my simple things- it always surprises me that people are interested.  But mostly, I was really happy with the support I got from my Marathon Perspective post.  I still want to run a successful marathon but I need to do it when I'm fully committed.

I'm floored you guys read my blog (and comment) at all so I'm happy that any post gets attention! Most of my earlier posts didn't get any comments, mainly because I didn't understand that you have to engage.  I feel sooo lucky that I've met such amazing friends through my blog. Becky, Lauren, Corey, I'm talking about you. I talk to these girls almost everyday via email or gchat and I feel beyond lucky.  These girls aren't just my BLOG friends anymore.  We don't just talk about running or healthy eating.  We talk about life.  Relationships. Happiness. Jobs. So don't underestimate the power of your blog, you can meet lifetime friends on here : ) I met Corey and Becky in my Blogger Meetup Post. I actually can't remember when I met Lauren, but I do remember that she sized me up before really liking me (you know its true LB).  But seriously, my blog friends support me in ways I never thought someone I met on the internet would.  So thank you.  Not just to you three, but to everyone out there who reads this blog.  It really means the world to me!
Hands down my most proud moment is finishing my First Marathon.  Followed shortly by running the New York marathon.  New York is {in my opinion} the greatest marathon on the planet.  Running through the five boroughs, seeing the fan support, NYRR... everything about this marathon is top notch. The race I am most proud of is the National Half.  I ran negative splits- something I never thought this former sprinter was capable of!

Are you still with me?  Hope you enjoyed my Seven (ahem, 15) Things!

Now time to pass on the tags so here we go!
Elina at Healthy and Sane
Meg at Meg Musings
Liz at Liz Runs DC
Kimmy at Tales of a Endless Runner
Daisy at Indulge Inspire Imbibe

To copy Lauren- If you didn’t get tagged and want to play along, you should share a link for your favorite category in the comments, or do a post of your own!

Monday, July 18, 2011

CSA Week 4 & Recipes

 It's already been a full month of my CSA!  This week I picked up at City Hall around 5:30pm during the torrential rain storm.  It was not fun.  But what was fun was getting all this amazing produce!!!  In the mix:
Kale, Arugula, Fennel, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Beets, Lettuce and tons of herbs.  I also got these beauties...
 One of the first things I was eyeing to make was another recipe I pinned on Pinterest.  Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices by Kalyn's Kitchen.  Great way to use up zucchini in a non traditional way!  And these were fun!

These were so easy!
Grilled Zucchini Pizzas
large zucchini slices, cut 3/4 inch thick 
olive oil spray
pizza sauce of your choice
grated cheese 

pizza toppings of your choice (I used low-fat turkey pepperoni, keep in mind you don't have a ton of room on these small slices!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Preheat grill to medium-high.  Cut zucchini into thick slices about 3/4 inch thick.  Grill the zucchini 7-8 minutes, or until there are some grill marks and it's starting to be tender. emove zucchini from the grill, putting them grilled-side up on a cutting board you can use to take them to the kitchen.  Add sauce, cheese, and other toppings as desired.  Put loaded zucchini slices on a cookie sheet and finish in the oven or if you used a grill, and not a grill pan, put them back on the grill until the cheese melts.Remove zucchini pizzas from grill and serve hot. 
 Another recipe I was itching to make with my fresh from the farm Arugula was Fig Proscuitto Pizza with Arugula from Pioneer Woman.  I've made another recipe similar to this last year when fresh figs were available at the market and I knew I loved the sweet and savory combination. Plus fresh arugula is so tasty- its more bitter and peppery then it is in a box, where I usually get it!
 I took a lot of help from the store to make this an easy meal.  I bought whole wheat pizza dough, prosciutto, fig jam, mozzarella balls, and pre-shaved parmesan cheese.  Look - only 6 ingredients!  Anyone can make this!
 Fig and Prosciutto Pizza Pizza with Fresh Arugula
Store Bought Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (or make your own)
4 tablespoons of Fig Jam
10 balls of mozzarela or 12 ounces, sliced thin
6 ounces of prosciutto
1 bunch of washed and rinsed arugula
1/2 cup of shaved parmesan
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roll out the pizza dough as thinly as you can and place on a large baking sheet.  Spread fig jam over surface of dough.  Lay mozzarela all over the dough and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.  Remove from oven and lay prosciutto over hot pizza. Then  add arugula on top with parmesan shavings.
Then slice up and enjoy!  This pizza rocked my world!  I love the sweet and savory combination.  I know it isn't for everyone but it is one my favorites : ) And super simple!
 And lastly, I used a bunch of CSA Veggies to make a Rustic Squash Tart from Woman's Day.  Random recipe I found while pinning.  I think Rustic is a nice way of saying it doesn't have to look pretty! Which mine definitely didn't.  I used pie crust that I've had in the freezer but it wasn't that easy to roll out into the perfect circle like the recipe suggests.  So I made my tart a rectangle : )
 But it was another simple recipe that you could use with a variety of different vegetables- whatever you have on hand : )
Rustic Summer Vegetable Tart
Olive Oil
Mixed Summer Vegetables- I used 2 small zucchinis and 2 small summer squash
1/2 red onion, sliced
fresh thyme and sage
1 refrigerated pie crust
4 oz of goat cheese (they used blue)
1 roasted yellow pepper (I used from a jar)
1 large tomato, sliced
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add squash and zucchini and red onion to skillet until crisp or tender.  Remove from heat and in thyme and sage or whatever herbs you have on hand. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use your silicon mat and unroll pie crust.  With a rolling pin, roll crust to a 13 in round.  Mine was more of a rectangle.  Crumble cheese on crust within 2 inches of the edge.  Arrange vegetables on cheese in a pretty row then fold edge over crust.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Then slice it up and serve!
 This was a great summer dish!  And if you notice, there are three other components on the plate.  I also made zucchini "rollatini's", a side salad with lettuce and cucumbers from my CSA and I used the leftover squash and zucchini from the tart to make a gratin.
Now that's a vegetarian dinner!

On a random note, while in line for the bathroom at the race on Saturday, Lauren, Corey and I were discussing our fun plans to go to the beach after the race.  The woman in front of us warned us of the green head bugs that were taking over Cranes Beach.  We politely ignored her because nothing was going to stop us from going to the beach.  Well, I have three insane bug bites in the most ridiculous places.  One is on the bottom of my big toe!  It's not fun- AT ALL!

Secondly, I've been doing my grocery shopping during the week after I pick up my CSA.  That way I can plan meals AFTER I already know what I'm getting for produce.  Its freeing up a lot more time on the weekend. I usually spend hours meal-planning and grocery shopping.  My husband and I again took advantage of our towns State Park and hiked around for four miles yesterday.  It was another gorgeous day : )
Random Questions of the Day:  When do you shop for groceries?  And what is your favorite farmers market vegetable?