Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eat, Sleep, Run

Lately, I've found that there are two things I really, truly enjoy in life: Running and Cooking. Okay three, obviously the other is Sleeping!!! But running and cooking keep me sane, challenge me personally and make me a better person. I'm first going to talk about my love of running. It started back in the winter of '96 when I joined the Natick High Indoor Track Team. I had no idea the profound impact running would have on my life- but it would forever change it. Running and competitive track taught me so much about life- and I am truly grateful for my high school and college track and running experiences....

On that note, since graduating college and no longer having a coach, I've started pushing myself by doing road races. Only problem is that I hate running by myself. So when it's too cold to run outside, I've been running on the treadmill and I think I may be the only person in the world who actually really enjoys the treadmill. (Well, most of the time) Obviously, there is something to be said about running outside and enjoying the fresh air, but sometimes its nice to get in the distance you need to do while watching your favorite TV show or reading a gossip magazine. (Oh yes, I've learned the art of reading while running- even at 8:30min/mile pace!)

On Sunday, I ran the Hyannis Marathon relay with three other teammates. It was a really great race. Cold and icky but really beautiful. I listened to music for only the second time during a race- it got me motivated but I never really knew if I was on pace or off pace until like the 6th mile. I ended up running about 8:20 min/miles which I was pretty happy with. It just makes me love running even more when you finish a race and makes me excited about the next one. Today, I looked into joining a Running Club. It seems I lack the speed I need to run faster races and that's mainly because I don't do any speed training. (Unless you count, sprinting the last quarter mile of every run?) I think having teammates and someone pushing me could be just what I need. Here's a picture before the race of our Relay Team!

My other favorite thing is cooking. This past weekend, I cooked like the Italian girl I have now become- making Spicy Spaghetti and Home-made meatballs- Dave's favorite meal. Now Italian food is VERY far from my favorite thing to cook but before long runs, you can't beat it. Here's my recipe:

Fake Homemade Tomato Sauce:
Bottle of Spicy Red Pepper Classico Tomato Sauce- with more time, I make my own, but Classico is great!
Can of Diced Tomatoes with Jalepenos
Italian Seasoning

1 LB- 93% Lean Ground Turkey
2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic
1/2 Small Onion- Diced
1 Cup of Diced Parsely
2 Egg Whites
1 Cup of Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup of Grated Parm Cheese
1 Grated Carrot
Half Handful of Italian Seasoning
Half of a half Handful of Garlic Salt

Roll the Meatballs with your hands and form 10 balls. Put them on a baking sheet and Broil them on high for 15 to 20 min. Cook the Spaghetti while you bake the meatballs. Simmer the Sauce at the same time. After 20 min in the over, place the balls in your sauce and let cook together for another ten. Then plate and enjoy!

Speaking of Comfort Food, on Friday night, I made Macaroni N Cheese- a little healthier version.

First, I boiled water and put the corkscrew pasta in with some salt. Then in sauce pan, I combined "I Can't Believe it's not Butter" with Flour. Then I added 1% Milk (About a cup and a half), Chicken Broth, a Touch of Cream, a Dash of Hot Sauce- secret ingredient, Mustard Powder and a Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard with about a Cup of Soy Mozzarella Cheese and 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese. Make Figure Eights with a Wooden Spoon until all the Cheese is melted and you have a nice cheese sauce. I also put in the rest of my baby spinach leaves and cut little pieces of Chicken and the rest of my turkey sausage I had cooked the night before. When the pasta finishes, combine it with the cheese sauce and i
f the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a little bit of your pasta cooking water. Absolutely delicious and so much healthier!

For Valentine's Day- Dave said he would cook me dinner (which didn't end up happening). We were supposed to get Steamed Lobster but unfortunately, we had a lazy day and didn't get to the grocery store until 5PM. And guess what? No Lobsters left. I improvised at the store. I decided to get Jumbo Shrimps and Seafood Stuffing as well as Fillet Mignon. For the First Course, I made Crab Bisque and it was my favorite dish of the entire meal (recipe to follow!). I also sauteed Asparagus and made Mashed Potatoes.

First thing I did was get a large Soup Pot out on Med Heat. I Chopped an Onion, Three Carrots, Three Celery Stalks and threw it in the pot with a tablespoon of olive oil. Next, I got out the Grill Pan and got it nice and hot for my Shrimp and Steak. (If you don't have a grill pan, you should invest in one- they are amazing for the winter time when you can't grill outside!) After ten minutes, I added a quart of Seafood Stock to the Vegetables. Back on the grill, I added the Steak and Shrimp. I let the shrimps cook for about three minutes on each side and then I took them off the grill and put it on a baking sheet. I cooked the Steak for five minutes on each side then also put the steaks on the baking sheet to finish cooking in the oven. I covered the Baking Sheet with Tin Foil to remain hot and turned the oven on to 375 degrees. Then, I put the Asparagus in a pan with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice and let it saute. I also got some water boiled for the potatoes and then threw the peeled Red Potatoes in the pot. In the soup pot, I added the two tablespoons of Seafood Stuffing, a Cup of Light Cream, about two rustic potatoes (skin removed) and lots of salt and pepper. I let that hang out for ten minutes and then I used my Immersion Blender (another amazing kitchen tool!) and blended the soup together. I added a pound of Lump Crab Meat and I let the soup simmer. Then, I took out the rest of the Seafood Stuffing and Stuffed the Jumbo Shrimp. I squeezed fresh lemon juice over the shrimp and baked it with the Fillet for another ten minutes. In that ten minutes, I took the Asparagus off the heat and plated it and I drained the potatoes and put them back in the pot, added a little light cream, fat free mozzarella cheese, chives, S & P and mashed the potatoes until they were smooth. This is my favorite thing to do, I don't really even like mashed potatoes, but I do love mashing them! Then I took the Shrimp and Steak out of the oven and off we went into the Dining Room for our romantic dinner! See below!

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