Monday, January 30, 2012

"Super" Foods for the SuperBowl

It's Superbowl Week in case you didn't know.  And for once I care MORE about the game then I do about the food.  You know, because my team is playing.  
New England Patriots vs New York Giants.  The Rematch.  
This Guy: Eli Manning
Versus: This Guy: Tom Brady
The Man.  I mean who would you want on your side?

All I can say is as a New England sports fan, we've been through a lot of heartbreak.  You know the whole not winning a World Series in 86 years.  Then everything got turned around.  The Red Sox won in 2004 and 2007.  The Celtics won in 2008. The Bruins won in 2011. The Patriots won in 2002, 2004 and 2005.  Then they crushed our hearts when they lost in 2007 to the Giants with an undefeated record.  I have faith this won't happen again!  I believe in our team! Jesus may be with Tim Tebow, but God is with us... I mean how else can you explain this?

It's NO GOOD!  Wide Left! The Patriots are in the Superbowl!
On a side note, how hysterical is this?
Poor Poor Bill Cundiff, courtesy of Bar Stool Sports

Okay, moving on.  Besides the game, what's the most important thing at a Super Bowl Party?  
FOOD, of course.

Here's a list of the "Super" Foods you should have at your Super Bowl gathering. Or at least some easy options for your party! And I mean EASSSSY.

Buffalo Chicken Bites
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bit size pieces
1/2 Package of Seasoned Shake N Bake Mixture
1/2 Cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Cup of your Favorite Buffalo Wing Sauce
3 Tablespoons of Honey
Preheat Oven to 350. Pour Seasoning Mixture and Panko Breadcrumbs into bowl.  Mix Chicken bites with Mixture until coated.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and add Chicken. Bake for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, add sauce and honey to another bowl and microwave for three minutes.  Take chicken out and add to sauce mixture and mix well, then serve!

Taco Bites
Both recipes are adjustable and really simple.  Use ground beef or ground turkey, add some seasonings.  Spray muffin pan and add either wonton wrappers or small flour or corn tortillas into each slot.  Fill with ground meat, and shredded cheese.  Top with either salsa or sliced up tomato and avocado!

a mix of guac and edamame!
 This is one of the simplest recipes you could ask for.  Thank Cara for that.  I've had Edamame hummus before but never edamame guac.  It intrigued me and I'm glad I made it!  My recipe was even easier than Cara's because I bought Ready-to-Eat Edamame at Trader Joes, along with a Guacomole Kit (2 avocados, 1 jalapeno, 4 limes, garlic), Cilantro, Red Onion and Fage Greek Yogurt.  So pretty much you mix those ingredients together in your handy food procesor and well, that's it!  I only used half a jalapeno and it was still pretty spicy.  So as I always say, taste as you go and season as needed with salt and pepper.

Southwestern Egg Rolls
In the filling mix was 1 cup of corn, 1 can of black beans, 1 small can of green chiles, 1 10oz package of defrosted spinach, 4 diced green onions, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. And all you do to wrap them is put the filling in the middle, fold up the bottom, then the sides, then roll it over and close the flap.  Then you bake for 15-20 minutes at 375°. Serve with Salsa!

Zucchini Pizzas
(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. Remove zucchini from the grill or grill pan then add sauce, cheese, pepperoni.  Put loaded zucchini slices on a cookie sheet and finish in the oven until the cheese is melted 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. 

Quinoa Chili
Combine quinoa and water/broth in saucepan, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large, non-stick pan; add onion, bell pepper, celery and jalapeno. Saute 7 minutes over medium heat. Stir in fresh tomatoes and carrots; saute 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in beans, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings; cook about 25 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in quinoa; cook 5 minutes more. Ladle chili into bowls and top with avocado and cheese.

3 Ingredient PB Cup Cookies
Throw about 20-24 PB cups in a food processor.  Process away, then add in 1 egg.  Continue to process.
Then scoop cookie dough into small balls onto a lined cookie sheet.  
Flatten with a fork, add some sea salt.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Watch them though! They can burn easily!

So there you have it... easy recipes to make for your gameday celebration, regardless of who you're rooting for.  But, all of these recipes will taste a lot better if you root for the Patriots!  Okay, maybe not, but I can try!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Pregnant Running Routine

So, the name of this blog is FOOD to RUN for.  But, I haven't talked about running lately.  It's been a long time since I've tried to run consecutively without walking.  Even in the first trimester, I was often left defeated, slow and truthfully, ashamed.  I wondered why it was so easy for other pregnant women to get out there and why it was so hard for me.  I pretty much gave up early in my second trimester and succumbed to the idea that walking was enough.  Then one day I was talking to my friend Leah about her running recovery.  You see my friend Leah and I ran together in college.
We were both pretty similar runners with similar times (although she definitely got faster after I quit Junior Year).  But after college something changed. Leah dropped the middle distances and started running long.  And well, in 2008, Leah qualified for Boston running in the high 3:20s on a very hot Chicago day.  And when she showed up to run Boston in 2009, she ran an amazingly impressive 3:11.

So that's my friend Leah in a nutshell.  Once a standout 400-800 meter runner, she has now become my fastest marathon friend.  Although I could go on and on about how awesome I think Leah is as a person and a runner, that is not my point of this post.  But if you want to read about that and get to know her better, you should check out her new blog here!
My point is that in early June Leah found out she had a Labral Tear and all her fall running goals went out the window.  She couldn't run and she couldn't do yoga and she was left frustrated.  After surgery and months of Physical Therapy she began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And after many months off, her Doctor and Physical Therapist allowed her to run!  Her Physical Therapist gave her a four week walk-to-run plan where she runs 3 days a week, gradually increasing the amount she runs.

The plan was something like this:
Day 1: Walking for 4 minutes and 30 seconds and running for 30 seconds
Day 2: Walking for 4 minutes and running 1 minute
Day 3: Walking for 3 minutes and 30 seconds and running for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
... and on...
lowering the walking and increasing the running...with each week...

Leah and I gchat daily so when she told me about this plan sometime around early December, I thought to myself... "hmmm, I can do this too!"  And MAYBE this will make me feel successful at running instead of such a failure.

So for the past month and a half or so, this is the plan I've been doing.  1-3X a week (depending on how much time I have), I've been walk-running.
My workout plan that has worked for me is: 
4 minutes walking to 3 minutes running for 30-45 minutes
Which translates to about 2 to 3.5 miles and about a 14 minute per mile pace

So I walk pretty slowly- 2.8-3.0mph on the treadmill and run at about 6.8mph.
I've done this workout on the treadmill at my gym, outside, with my brother and with Dave and it's made me feel strong and worth something.  Although I can't run like I used to, the fact that I can still run at all brings a smile to my face.  See, I'm smiling!
So at 6 + months pregnant, I'm still trying to get out there.  I may not have had the ACTIVE pregnancy I would have liked, but I am happy that I'm doing something.  And those 3 minute spurts of running is giving me just the adrenaline I need. I hope I can continue this plan for the rest of my pregnancy!  Wish me luck : )

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings & Green Vegetable Curry

Also on my theme week using Wonton Wrappers, I made Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings and equally as delicious Green Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk over Jasmine Rice.  Both dishes packed a ton of flavor and I had a ton of fun creating Asian takeout style meals at home!
First, before I tell you about these recipes, I first want to tell you about my favorite Asian ingredients.  If you like eating this style of food, here are some ingredients I think you should always have on hand.  And yes, some of them are "cheat" ingredients (meaning they make your life much easier!)
I always have red and green curry paste.  One of my favorite ingredients!  I also always buy :90 second Uncle Ben's Microwavable Rice.  It's an awesome, easy product to have around!  And the squeeze ginger.... it lasts longer and I love it.

Okay back to the dumplings.  They take some prep work, but they are pretty simple to put together and cook.  And look how gorgeous they turn out!
Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece) or 2 big squeezes of your ginger bottle
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
3/4 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined) (I bought mine pre cooked and already peeled and deveined- make it easy for yourself!)
4 teaspoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
24 wonton wrappers (from a 12-ounce package)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons ginger and scallions and cook, stirring, until scallions are slightly softened and mixture is fragrant, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a food processor, pulse shrimp until finely chopped. Add ginger mixture, curry paste, and fish sauce and pulse a few more times.
Place a spoonful of the shrimp mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. With a wet finger, moisten edges of wrapper, then bring all 4 corners together, pinching at top to seal.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over medium-high. Add dumplings, seam side up, and cook until golden brown on bottom, 1 minute. Carefully add 1/2 cup water to skillet, and cook until water is almost evaporated and dumplings are tender, 3 minutes. 
Continue to cook until water evaporates, 1 minute (reduce heat to medium if dumplings begin to overbrown). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Serve dumplings with dipping sauce.
Quick, simple, beautiful and delicious.  Can't beat that.

And because I can't just have dumplings for dinner, I also made a Green Vegetable Curry.  I love curry dishes because curry paste mixed with coconut milk is one of my all time favorite combinations.  I could drink the broth ... not that I did or anything....ummm...

This dish mixed together a ton of vegetables, you can really use anything you have on hand.  It was another dish inspired by Martha Stewart.

Green Vegetable Curry
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, halved if large (I used half shitake, half portabella)
Handful of Broccoli
4 heads baby bok choy sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
Cooked jasmine rice, for serving
In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. 
Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer until beans are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Both these dishes I will make again in different ways.  This was DEFINITELY a favorite of the week.

Curious what else I made using Wonton Wrappers?
Cara's Baked Salmon Rangoon with Apple.  Combining salmon, goat cheese, sesame oil, ginger and apples... I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  But they were quite good.  I was really impressed!

 Emily's Turkey Ravioli with Spinach Cream Sauce. Only I used swiss chard because I didn't have spinach and ground chicken instead of turkey.  I don't think this dish was quite as pretty as the others, but wow did it have a ton of flavor.  I loved every bite and I enjoyed it even more the next day! I mean c'mon, spinach cream sauce?  How could it be bad!  One other big thing I changed was I added cream cheese AND boursin cheese in the filling.

I also made a sweet dish- Mini Pumpkin Pies! I got this recipe from Dashing Dish and I really didn't change much.  I can totally see myself making these again for parties!
So there you have it.  My week in Wonton Wrappers.  By the end, my husband was definitely sick of eating bite size meals but I know he enjoyed it.  I do love theme weeks!  If you're going to buy the ingredient, why not use it in a variety of different ways, especially when they give you so much in each package : )

What is the best meal you've made with Wonton Wrappers?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taco Bites

I had a few recipes in my queue that I've been wanting to make using Wonton Wrappers so I decided to make a whole week of meals using that ingredient.  First up were these tasty Taco Bites.  Do you like tacos?  Well here's a new way to eat them!  We all know I love everything in mini form and love using my cupcake pan to make savory dishes.  This is an easy recipe that I know I will make over and over again in many different ways!

It's pretty simple really.  You spray your cupcake pan.  You put a wonton wrapper in each one.  You saute up some ground meat (I used ground sirloin) mixed with taco seasoning.  Add that to the wonton. Sprinkle cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20ish minutes.  Keep your eye on them and don't let them burn.  Take them out, add salsa and any other toppings you like.  Serve with side salad. 
Boom.  Dinner done in a flash.
 PS, Do you like my pictures?  I borrowed a friends Cannon Rebel T2i.  I'm leaning towards getting one.  I have no idea what I'm doing yet, but I can't wait to learn more.
Baked Taco Bites
12-16 Wonton Wrappers
1lb Ground Meat of Choice (I used Ground Sirloin)
1/2 package of taco seasoning of choice
Sprinkling of Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese 
Avocado (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Put a little oil in a hot skillet.  Add your ground meat and mix to brown the meat.  Add taco seasoning mix and stir well.  Once cooked through, turn off the heat and put aside.  Grab your cupcake pan and spray with cooking spray.  Add one Wonton Wrapper in each mold.  Then spoon some meat in each cup, about 2-3 spoonfuls.  Add the cheese on top and bake for 25-30 minutes or until your wontons start to crisp up.  Remove from cupcake pan and serve with salsa and avocado on top.
This is one of those recipes I know I'll make again.  It's the perfect party food! I also know I could do a million different things- turkey or chicken tacos?  Most definitely.  Maybe even a tofu taco or a fish taco!  I can't wait to explore the possibilities!

What kind of taco would you fill in those tasty, crunchy mini shells?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Years Eve Dinner: Beef Wellington

Special Occasion Dinner Alert!  This would be a perfect Anniversary Dinner or Valentine's Day Dinner.  On Sunday of last week, I prepped this meal of my mom's Leek Soup, Individual Beef Wellingtons with Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin and Maple Glazed Salmon.  After everything was all ready, we headed down to the South Shore to see our friends Stef and Mike's new house and celebrate the New Year together.
All I had to do was cook the Wellingtons, Salmon and reheat the Gratin before dinner.  None of my photos are that fabulous because, well, I was so excited to eat!

Let's start with the showpiece recipe: Individual Beef Wellingtons.  I took inspiration from many different sources- Simply Recipes, Ella Says Opa, and Tyler Florence.  In the end I combined high quality filet mignon, sauteed delicious portobello and shiitake mushrooms, prosciutto and dijon mustard and wrapped it in a flaky puff pastry and cooked it to a perfect medium rare.  The flavors were so well balanced it didn't need a sauce!

Individual Beef Wellington Recipe
4 Filet Mignon
Salt and pepper
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb mushrooms (we used half portobello mushrooms, half shiitake)
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
7 ounces puff pastry (needs 3 hours to defrost in refrigerator if using frozen)
2 egg yolks, beaten
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large pan on high heat. Season the fillet generously with salt and pepper. Sear the fillet in the pan on all sides until well browned. Remove the fillet from the pan and let cool. Once cooled, brush the fillet on all sides with mustard. Heat a large sautĂ© pan on medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms and onions until soft and onion is opaque. Transfer mixture to food processor and pulse a few times. Roll out your puff pastry.  Cut 4 sheets big enough to cover the filets. 

Lay the prosciutto on the pastry.  Place the beef in the middle.  Add the mushroom mixture on top. 
Wrap up the beef securely.  You can use plastic wrap to make sure it stays in a tight shape but I didn't do that. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten eggs. Chill for awhile before baking. Place the pastry-wrapped fillet on a baking pan. Brush the pastry again with beaten eggs. Bake for 25-35 minutes. The pastry should be nicely golden when done. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 
 The other dish I made was a Maple Salmon which is so simple to make.

Maple Salmon
1 pound salmon
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Marinate the salmon in the maple and soy for 20 minutes. Cook the salmon in a preheated oven set to broil for 5-10 minutes. (Pour some of the marinade over the salmon several times while cooking.)

And the last dish I made was Smitten Kitchen's Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin.  Over the last couple years, I've made this dish many many times.
I loved using Smoked Gruyere cheese.  It made this vegetarian dish taste like there was some bacon in it!  This has a bunch of steps, but its totally worth it in the end.
Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin
1/2 stick of butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 pounds of swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut very finely
2 cups of half and half
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds
dried parsley and thyme
salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups of grated Smoked Gruyere Cheese
Cook onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan or pot.  Add the chard stems and salt and pepper. Increase heat and add chard leaves by the handfuls. Season with salt and pepper then transfer to a colander and drain well.  To make the sauce, combine half and half and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Melt two tablespoons of butter in another saucepan and stir in flour.  Cook roux, whisking  then slowly whisk in warm cream and boil.  Season with salt and pepper. 
Then assemble gratin by first preheating oven to 400.  Spread sweet potatoes in the baking dish and a handful of the cheese. 
Spread the greens over the mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper and then pour the bĂ©chamel sauce over. 
Repeat 1-2 more times and sprinkle the remaining quarter cup of the cheese.  Bake gratin for around an hour.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  

 And that was our New Years Dinner!
What's your go-to special occasion meal?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011: In Photos

Yes, I'm aware it's 2012.  But I'm not ready to let go of 2011 yet.  One more post...I promise...

I'm copying this from Katie who originally stole the idea from Liz.  I think it's a good one.

2011 in Photos.

Hanging out at the beach on Cape Cod, first day of 2011.  Was warm enough to wear flip flops!

Mid January- meeting up with my favorite bloggers for the very first time!

Finished FIRST in my age group at the Foxboro 5K!

Ran the Hyannis Half Marathon in the snow.  Ran the whole thing with Becky by my side! And this may be the first time I met LB.  Soon to be LC.

Major PR in the National Half Marathon, finishing my last mile in 7:43.

Ran the Boston Marathon on two months of training.  Yes, you read that right.  My two favorite on-the-run girls jumped in beside me in final 6.2.

Also turned 29 in April.  The last year of my 20s....

Went to my first of what I hoped to be many Red Sox games and vowed to follow baseball again like I'd done in the past.  Didn't last long...

Spent Memorial Day Weekend on Cape Cod and witnessed the most beautiful sunset

Let's call June Blogger PR Month.  Ran the Foxboro 5K and PR'd...

Followed by the Mini-NYRR 10K with fellow bloggers. PR'd barely.

Slip and Slide on the Cape, July 4th Weekend

Went on many walk/runs through various parks with my husband...

Ran my last race of 2011 by trying to pace Theodora to her first sub 2 hour half.  She more then succeeded, I fell off the pace and finished in 2:01.  
Deep down I had a feeling I was already pregnant (I was!)

Indulged in my favorite pasta dish of all-time: Lobster Ravioli from La Cantina

Finally met Cara and hang out with Elina again : )

Visited my family in Omaha, Nebraska and got these professional photos done.  I didn't know then, but it would be the last time I would see my Papa Jack.

In October I flew back to Nebraska to celebrate my Papa's life

Finally announced my pregnancy on the blog!  By this point, I was already 13 weeks...

Also hosted Thanksgiving with my family....


And the biggest thing to happen in December was the birth of my nephews! 

Hope you enjoyed my year in photos.  I take a million photos every year so it was fun to choose my favorites from the best events of 2011.

I've thought about setting goals for 2012 but decided that I really only have ONE goal for this year....
And that goal is...
To have a healthy, happy baby BOY come MAY 2012!