Monday, September 3, 2012

Things I Want

I want...

1. A water fountain in my bedroom. Specifically on my night stand. Fetching water is annoying and I never plan ahead.

2. For this lamp to go away. (how do I insert my lamp picture on the blogger iPhone app?) Anyways, it's been mighty unhappy since I moved (oh 4 months ago) and exists only to fall over. That's not what lamps are for.

3. Laundry to put itself away.

4. The Internet to turn itself off at say 10PM so it stops distracting me at bedtime.

5. To apologize for this random (and sober) post.

The end.

Goodnight. Maybe. The Internet is still on.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Freihofer's Run for Women 2012

Chocolate chip cookies, professional runners and a women's only race - what could be better? Freihofer's Run for Women is quickly becoming a favorite for me (3rd time running) and right in my neck of the woods! ( BTW = Freihofer's is a huge bakery chain in the Northeast, hence the cookies and bread in the swag bag). 

Before! A look out over some grey skies. 

4500+ at the start!
Lining up under the staircase

Finish line (and the museum where I work)


I was able to run the whole 3.1 miles and felt great. I had a race PR which is always a cause for celebration. As soon as I finished it started to pour so I passed on the post-race refreshments (more cookies) and headed home to relax (and eat cookies).

Once again Mamitu Daska won it in 15:19. 15:19! She was probably 1/2 way back to Kenya by the time I finished! Congrats to her and everyone who ran!

Race for the Cure 2012

Race for the Cure recap from back in May.

So… it was sort of a come back race for me. I had to stop running in November after some old and new injuries came together to be best friends (bursitis in the hip, tendonitis in the foot). Things aren’t 100% but are definitely getting better. It was my first race since November 6th.

Race recap… prettydamn decent. I’ve been getting back into the mileage doing run/walk intervals. Did my first full 3.1 miles 10 days before the race but have been sticking to 4/1 run/walk intervals. During the race I fully ran the first 2 miles!! Then I walked 2 mins, ran 4 mins, walked 1 min and then ran the rest of the way to finish the race. I sort of wished I had just pushed through but I was hitting a wall and it was getting pretty warm. Taking it easy from around miles 2-2.5 helped me feel pretty good during the last part of the race so I’ll take it.

Another thing that helped…

During the last ½ mile I was running at nearly the same pace with the woman next to me. I made some generically lame comment about the heat (it was getting pretty toasty). She agreed and we spent the last ½ mile of the race going back and forth with comments about getting close to 3 miles and being nearly done. At one point I asked if she had done the race before and she joked about how she had, even though you might not be able to tell (because of the struggles). I told her I’ve been doing it for the past few years with my family because my Mom is a survivor of breast cancer. She then remarked that she had a lumpectomy 2 years ago. Now while running alongside this woman for 5 minutes, I didn’t really get a good look at her. She was in my periphery and wearing a hat but I knew in general she was pretty young. I made a comment (probably an assholish comment – I blame it on the running) about “but you aren’t that old” or something and she said she was 28. (Hi, that’s how old I am.) I know breast cancer can strike at any age but I was shocked, I have no idea what I said back but we were really close to the finish line and we both kicked it into high gear for a strong finish. She rocked it. I was trying not to puke. After we crossed the finish line she turned and gave me a huge hug and congratulated me on the race. I’m sure I did the same. And then she was gone. I lost her in the crowd in my desperate search for water.

I had time to kill until the rest of my family finished the race so I snuck off to a shady corner to catch my breath, drink some water and recover.  I’m always so overcome by thanks that I can run this race in “Celebration” of my Mom and not in “Memory” of her. And I was overcome with gratitude for having spent the most memorable 5 minutes of my running “career” with this woman. I’ll never forget it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mole Pork Enchiladas

This has to be my fastest kitchen-to-blog post ever, in fact, I'm still eating as I type. Though, it might be one of my longest procrastinated recipes. I'm pretty sure I bought my primary ingredient about a year ago. Enter: Mexican Spicy Dark Chocolate. It's the perfect base for this savory sauce that has a little bit of sweetness and kick. 

Mole sauce is one of those things you either love or hate (or haven't tried yet). In my opinions, yum! I've made it once before but it's been far too long.

Mole sauce:
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
1-2 TBS olive oil
1 small (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes with liquid
1 small (8 oz) can of plain tomato sauce
1-2 cups chicken broth
2-3 oz dark chocolate (spicy mexican or regular)

1-2 tbs chili powder
1-2 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/4 tbs nutmeg
salt/pepper to taste

In a food processor (mainly because you'll have to use it again later) - chop garlic and onion. Saute in a "soup" pan with olive oil. Once the combo is lightly browned and fragrant add it back into the food processor. Add diced tomatoes with liquid, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Process until smooth and then add back to the soup pan. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer at least 30 mins (the longer the better). If it reduces too much, add more chicken stock (I always eye ball this part). 

Mole Pork Enchiladas:

Once the mole sauce is done, the possibilities are endless. Tonight I used it to make mole pork enchiladas. Combine 2 cups shredded pork with 1/2 cup mole sauce.

Add to your favorite corn or flour taco, fajita or burrito wrap to desired fullness (about 1/2 cup for burrito sized enchiladas and roll into a bundle. 

Spray your pan with cooking spray, add 1/4 cup mole sauce to the bottom and then place your enchiladas seam side down in the dish. Top with another 1/2-3/4 cup mole sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 mins. Remove foil for the last 5 mins. Covering with a layer of your favorite cheese is optional though encouraged.

Tonight I topped my enchiladas with some mashed avocado and sour cream. In the oven, the sauce continued to cook, meld and reduce. It's so delicious with pork but would go great with any of your favorite enchilada fillings. I even enjoy it over eggs for brunch. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I need to..

... find my missing box of dishes (I’m pretty certain the movers lost it).

... get over the fact the movers lost a box.

... take a trip to the Adirondacks. I need that air in my lungs STAT.

... run (run/walk) 3.1 miles tonight. It just needs to happen and I need it to go well.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Scenes From a Run - Tulip Edition

Rebuilding mileage after an injury, especially an injury you haven't really recovered from, sucks. Tulips help. I forgot how much I love running through Washington Park after work. I need to bring this back.

The city announced a press release that (basically) said, if you want to see the tulips, go see the tulips, STAT. The early summer we had this spring means the tulips won't really be sticking around for Tulip Fest, bummer. A sunny and perfect April day before a rainy weekend sounded like a great time to go. 

2.5 miles later and a few tulip breaks, here ya go!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Orleans inspiration - Pasta Rosa

Back in February I traveled to New Orleans for a few days before The Rock Boat set sail. It was such a blast and of course the food and drinks were amazing! I wrote myself a note of meals I had to recreate at home and this was my first attempt!

On our last night in NOLA we had dinner at Coop's Place.  I had already had my fill of shrimp poboys so I was looking to try something new. The "Pasta Rosa" caught my eye and it did not disappoint. It was the perfect blend of spice from the cayenne pepper, creaminess from the goat cheese as it melted, and crunch from the pine nuts. And sneaking in some vegetables never hurts when eating out all the time while on vacation.

Now... my attempt to recreate the dish was helped by the list of major ingredients on the menu. I'm not much of a follower of recipes so all measurements are approximate/eye balled and certain ingredients are to-taste (like the cayenne pepper, add a little at a time). This made 2-3 generous servings so you may need to adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your crowd. I also think this dish would be great with chicken or as a vegetarian dish. Maybe next time!

1/4-1/2 cup julienned sundried tomatoes
1-2 oz. pine nuts
penne pasta (4-6 oz dry = 2-3 cups cooked)
pancetta (I used 4-5 slices of center cut bacon)
2-3 TBS olive oil
6 - 9 oz baby spinach (1 small bag)
1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
½ lb shrimp (about ¼ lb per person)
1/4 cup goat cheese
Salt, pepper, garlic power, chili powder, cayenne pepper (to taste - or whatever sounds good to you)

1. I bought dry sun dried tomatoes (not in oil) so I started by soaking them in water (enough to cover). I added a little bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder to the bowl just to spice 'em up. They soaked around 15-20 minutes while I was preparing other things. Save the water to add to the mix later.
2. Toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned (keep an eye on them).
3. Bring water to a boil and cook penne (or pasta of your choice) per the directions.
4. Chop bacon (or pancetta) into small pieces and cook in a large pan until nearly crispy.
5. Add 1 TBS olive oil, minced garlic, drained sun dried tomatoes, and 2-3 TBS of the soaking liquid (reserve the liquid).  Sautee until tomatoes are softened adding more water as needed.
6. Add spinach to the pan and cook until wilted, stirring every 2-3 minutes.
7. Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until pink. (I pushed the spinach mixture to the side so that the shrimp had contact with the pan - you could also remove the spinach and return once the shrimp is cooked.)
8. Toss in cooked pasta and add another 1-2 TBS of olive oil, 1-2 TBS of the tomato soaking liquid or pasta water (you want enough moisture so that everything is coated).
9. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cayanne pepper to taste. Toss and mix well.
10. Serve and top with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese.
11. Enjoy!

My taste buds thought I did a pretty good job recreating this dish and it's definitely something I'll make again.