Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CSA Week 1

Not a good sign that I'm already two weeks behind on my CSA posts but here is the first!  If you look at my CSA link on the top of my blog you can see that in 2010 I really enjoyed produce from local farms.  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a great way for people like me (and you!) to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Last year, my farm was Silverbrook Farms and I picked up Mondays at City Hall Plaza.  I loved Silverbrook Farms and I will definitely continue to buy produce from them this year.  But, I decided to switch my share to Stillmans Farm in large part because they had a pick-up in City Hall Plaza that worked for me (last year they didn't).  AND because they have Kale in every pick up.  In case you didn't know this, I love Kale : )

I paid $350 for a Half Share from Stillman's Farm.  Which translates to just under $20 a week for 18 weeks.  Under 20 bucks for all this produce!  I say that's a steal.  Especially to know EXACTLY where your produce comes from : )

So what did I get in my Week 1 CSA from Stillmans Farm?
 Basil and Kale to plant, three kinds of Kale, Beets, Romaine Lettuce and Strawberries.
Right Away, I got planting : ) I'm excited for the future with Kale, Basil and Chives in my planter : )
Three kinds of Kale definitely made me happy- Curly Kale, Dino Kale and Purple Kale (is that what it's called?)
 Besides Kale Chips, I also made Tuscan Kale and White Bean Pasta.

Pretty simple recipe and dinner was done in a flash.
Kale and White Bean Pasta
Olive Oil
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
pinch or two of red pepper flakes
1 bunch of kale, chopped into small pieces (without the stem)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of white cannellini beans
1 package of pasta of your choice
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of grated parm cheese

In a large  skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil and saute the onion about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and half of the kale and cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and the garlic is fragrant. Add remaining kale, tomatoes, and salt to taste, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until soupy, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, stirring to combine.
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. When al dente, drain pasta and add it to the kale mixture. Cook about 2 minutes over medium heat, then sprinkle with Parmesan, if using, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Then put in mini casserole dishes, add some mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melty.  Serve with Kale Chips.
Next up... the strawberries.  Well, I just ate them.  In Week 2, I did something super fun, but you'll have to wait for the recipe! How could I not just eat them, look how delicious they are! Yum : )

 Then the beets.  I wish I could say I like beets, but sadly they just aren't for me.  I did have fun cooking with these guys though!
 I took all the beets, trimmed the ends and put them in a glass baking dish, added a little water and covered the dish with foil.  Then I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.
(I added some turnips in there....) When they came out, they looked like this!

 Then you wash them under the sink and peel the skin off.  Then you can get chopping.  Pretty soon I had a pretty pile of beets.
 I turned the beets into a salad of goat cheese, sliced green apples and Arugula.  I made a dressing combining honey mustard and olive oil.  I wish I could say I loved this salad, but I just don't like beets. Luckily the husband enjoyed it : )
Hope you enjoyed Week 1 of my CSA goodies.  Weekly I will be updating you with what I get and what I do with my CSA produce.

Do you belong to a CSA?  Do you buy from local farms?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Track and the BAA 10K Race Recap

I had a busy week and although I've wanted to tell you about my awesome speed workout on the ACTUAL track (not the treadmill) I decided to wait to combine it with what I hoped would be an awesome PR in the 10K distance.  Unfortunately, not every race and run can be full of rainbows and smiles.  I've never had a {short} race that I felt so completely defeated so early on.  By mile 2 I was off my pace and I realized that I just might drop out.  I was extremely hot.  I was dehydrated.  I wasn't well rested.  I felt the opposite of a competitor.  I felt like a loser.  And then I saw my brother.

My brother is my best friend.  I've told you guys that before, but I'll say it again.  Just when I had given up on the race, there was my brother at the 5K mark, ready to jump in.  He had woken up at 8am (the time of the race) and got to the 5K point in just over 11 minutes (2 miles away from his apartment) in hopes to see me.  Just so you know, that means he sprinted to the 5K mark (at 5:30 pace) and made it there mere minutes before I showed up.
I didn't think he was jumping in so I waved and told him I felt awful and then pulled over on the side of the road and started {are you ready for it- my apologies} puking.  I had nothing in me except water so it wasn't that disgusting {okay that's probably a lie}.  He came up behind me and said "Let's finish this.  Don't give up." So I stopped looking at my watch and ran.  With my brother next to me, walking through every water stop, listening to my brother tell me stories, we ran to the finish line.

I finished in just under 56 minutes and just over 9 minute pace.  But the point is... I finished when I didn't think I could.
55:58 9:01 Liz C
And I'm not sure I could have or would have done it without my brother.  I know I'm lucky to have such a huge role model in my life who wants me to succeed sometimes more than I want to.  I'm privileged to have Mikey in my life- so thank you!
Here's what I'm learning about races this summer:
1) I hate the heat
2) I should probably try to eat/drink fluids before I run
3) I need to stick to 5Ks
4) No more signing up for races unless my heart is into it.

I love running but it doesn't always love me back.  However, Wednesday was the exception.  I took a personal day from work and got over to the track. When I showed up, it started down-pouring and I loved every second of being out there.  It brought me back to high school where I loved everything about that oval.
I ran a mile warmup then did 4X200s and 4X400s with 90 seconds rest in between the 200s and 2 minutes rest in between the 400s.  I loved running the 400s, it was my favorite race when I competed but the 200s felt hard!

200: 44 seconds
200: 47 seconds
200: 47 seconds
200: 47 seconds
400: 1:43
400: 1:39
400: 1:34
400: 1:32
Overall, I was happy with this workout.  And it makes me think I need to get to the track more often.  Thats where my running love is : )

So two different days, two different opinions on running and what it means to me.  Everyday is not going to be my day but with encouragement and determination you can always get to the finish line.

Oh... anyone else obsessed with USA Track and Field Championships?  I've DVR'd as much as I could and just watched the Men's 1500 online.  Matt Centrowitz beat Bernard Lagat to win!  Centrowitz is my college coaches son.  So impressive!  Check it out here if you haven't yet.

Have you ever wanted to drop out of a race before?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Restaurant Review: Ninja, NYC

Remember how I went to NYC?  Well besides from hanging out with my running blogging friends, I also met up with two of my besties Debbie and Dana who live in the big city.  Debs was my college roommate and I've known Dana since we were 8.  These girs pretty know every one of my dark secrets and love me all the same. Right girls?
Debs planned a special dinner out at a restaurant called Ninja.  Our reservation were at 6:30pm.  Early for New York.  Perfect for me!
Here's what we know about Ninja...from the website of course... "the interior of the NINJA New York is designed to depict a Ninja castle of the feudal days, with individual rooms layed out in complexity of a maze and clever contraptions are setup throughout so as to deceive the eye of the intruder."
Basically, the place is set up to scare it's patrons.  Yep, and scared we were!  

We arrived a little after 6:40 and were greeted with a somewhat frantic hostess who infomed us we had to wait.  And wait we did.  For about 30 minutes.  With a reservation.  That's NY for ya!  When we finally were called, we took an elevator down to the basement where we were greeted AKA scared by our first Ninja in this creepy hall.
Then our ninja convinced us to take the creepy way through dark quarters.  I was scared!
Finally we were seated in a very cool, ninja-like atmosphere.

First order of business: DRINKS.  I ordered RIN which was delicious.
Our waiter was hysterical and we had a blast all night with his ninja-isms.  The restuarant in general was so much fun and the service was stand-out.  Aside from our somewhat moody hostess, the service was first class and lots of fun!
Our waiter rolled out our menus for us- they are acutally part of the Ninja-look (you'll see in the picture of him below).
We definitely knew we wanted to order some ninja art dishes which were signature dishes.
First, we shared the Caesar Salad.  
What made it art was that we had to break the parmesan cheese topper with our chop sticks in order to enjoy our salad.  See below.
Then we ordered four sushi rolls- Teriyaki Roll, Rock n Roll NY, Shrimp Tempura Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll.
YES, there were poprocks.  And it was amazing.
My pictures aren't great because I was too busy downing RIN cocktails : )  
We had a lot of laughs at Ninja in NYC and I highly recommend it if you are interested in an intriguing restaurant with great sushi and tons of fun.
Our waiter with us girls (see the menus are part of his uniform!)
Have you been to Ninja?  Ever been to a restaurant where the waitstaff/employees try to scare you throughout the night?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thai Burgers and Sliders

Hi, my name is Lizzy and I have a food blogging idol.  Someone who I've never met (but feel like I have!).  Someone who enjoys very similar food flavors as me.  Someone who knows how to eat healthy without losing any of the amazing tastes.  And that person is... can you guess...she is local... she is inspiring... she is creative... do you know?

Yep, Cara from Cara's Cravings.  I made Cara's Thai Turkey Burgers a few weeks ago and then made her cute sliders this week.  And I'm in love with both. I served my burgers with roasted broccoli and kale.
Cara used a mayonnaise based dressing for a sauce and since I have a fear of mayonnaise I made the burgers without a sauce.  There was enough flavor without a condiment but my crazy husband asked if he could put ketchup on them (ummm NO) so when I made the sliders, I knew I needed to add some type of sauce on top.  So I used my never fail thai peanut sauce inspired by another favorite blogger: Baked Bree.

Truth be told when I need food inspiration I turn to two blogs first: Cara's Cravings and Baked Bree.  I don't love following recipes exactly or measuring anything and their recipes I 100% trust even without using the exact ingredients or measurements.  So thanks girls!

For the burger, I followed Cara's recipe for the most part but added my own twist. Meaning I added a little more heat with thai chili paste and red pepper flakes (that's how I roll).

Thai Style Turkey Burgers OR Sliders
Inspired by Caras Cravings
1 package of 93% lean ground turkey
2 medium carrot, shredded or 1 cup of pre shredded carrots if you're lazy like me!
2 large scallion, minced
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 spoonful of chili garlic sauce (I used thai chili paste)
2 large spoonfuls of natural peanut butter
shake of red pepper flakesfreshly ground salt & pepper
Hamburger Buns or Bibb Lettuce, Wraps
Instructions:Combine the burger ingredients a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into 4 large patties, or 10 or so miniature "sliders". Cook large patties for about 7-10 minutes per side, until cooked through. 

Sliders will take 3-5 minutes per side. I served my sliders on a Whole Wheat Wrap with Romaine Lettuce. Then I tossed it with the worlds best peanut sauce...

For the Sauce- 
Thai Peanut Sauce 
inspired by Baked Bree
1/2 cup peanut butter 
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha (or hot chili sauce)
1 Tablespoon fish sauce

red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup boiling water

Combine everything in a sauce pan over medium heat while heating up the water in a kettle.  Mix it together and it will be super thick.  Then, add water a little at a time until you have the consistency of a nice peanut sauce. Then spread sauce over the burgers and enjoy!  You will have plenty more sauce left for dipping!
This burgers ROCKED!!!  I loved the burgers and the sliders and the peanut sauce made them even more amazing.  So easy to make, you guys gotta try them : )

On another note, I've been trying to write this post all week.  It's been a crazy couple of days with work! I'm helping plan my companies anniversary party that will be held tomorrow.  The bad part- I can't get into the convention hall until past 10pm to set up!!  It will be a long night for me!!!  I'll recap this years party next week, but check out last years, here!

And more random thoughts of the week... my CSA started this week!!! This year I've switched to Stillmans Farm from Silverbrook for one reason and one reason only: You get KALE every week! haha!  Look for a recap on what I got and what I did with this weeks goodies : )

And... we got our pictures back from the NYRR Mini 10K and they are hysterical.  Becky and I started the race together and in the first mile we saw a camera.  I remember saying "Becky, look... there's a camera- let's wave and smile and get a good picture together!"  Apparently Becky heard, "Camera, time to spaz out!!!!"  hahaha.  Love you Beck.  You are hysterical : )
I'll spare you with the picture of me almost vomiting at the end.  You're welcome. It's a beauty!

I have more thoughts going on in my brain but I'll save it for another post.  Topics you get to look forward to on the blog in the upcoming days...
-Anniversary Party Recap
-CSA Week 1
-My {possible} Marathon hiatus
-Restaurant Reviews- Ninja in NYC and TICO in Boston

oh...Happy Father's Day!

When you get behind on blogging due to busy schedules how do you get back on track?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scenic Running

I pretty much believe that Boston is the best city in the world.  And this morning while driving into the city at 6am, I decided instead of going to my comfort spot (the treadmill), I would head outside and enjoy a leisurely 5 mile run along the Charles.  No Garmin.  Just me, my headphones and my phone, which happens to have a pretty sick camera.  So I decided to show you just how beautiful Boston is.
I ran to the Memorial Drive side of the Charles River and snapped this gorgeous picture.  
 And a half mile later or so, this one.  Then I crossed the Mass Ave Bridge.
 On the bridge you can see beautiful views of the city eastbound.
 And Fenway Park, the Citgo sign west bound.
 On the other side of the river, the Storrow Drive side, I ran along a path.
 And eventually made it to the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.  The Hatch Shell is where concerts take place and its an awesome place to visit!
 Right behind the Hatch Shell is the ramp I take to head back to Beacon Hill and downtown.
 They don't call it Beacon HILL for nothing.
 At the top of the Hill is the Capital!  I love the Bruins pride.
And before I knew it, I was back in the office : )

5 ish miles 51:41 (no stoppage time for pictures).
Great way to start my Wednesday morning : )

Before I forget, I also ran a pretty tough speed workout yesterday.
1 mile warmup, 3X1200s, .50 mile cooldown
1200- 5:38 7.9-8.0 (7:33 pace)
400 Rest, 6.0
1200- 5:32 7.9-8.2 (7:25 pace)
400 Rest, 6.0
1200- 5:29 7.9-8.4 (7:21 pace)
4 miles, 37 minutes

So two days after a PR race, two solid runs.  Both didn't feel easy, but it was good to get them done.

Have you run along the Charles in Boston?  Do you love it as much as me?