Tag Archives: cooking

So Fresh and So Clean

1 Jan

A new year, a clean start. In general, I don’t believe in “resolutions” because if something is important to you, you should start trying to make the change immediately. A new year ain’t nothin’ but a number. However, I do like trying to set measurable goals over a set amount of time. Most of my goals are things I’ve already been working on, but now it’s time to up the ante and boost them to goal status.

So what are my goals for this year?

1. Run in at least 12 races in 2011.

I have already signed up for 7 races through the end of June, so I figure what’s 5 more in the last 6 months? Right now I’m signed up for 3 5Ks, 2 10Ks, a 5 miler, and a half marathon. Woop woop. The first race is just over a month from now, and it’s the very first 5K I ever ran. I really want to obliterate my PR.

2. Get to the gym at least 4 times per week.*

An asterisk? Already? Yep, gotta be realistic. Right now, I have a fitness plan that involves me going to the gym 6 times a week and includes two yoga classes (new yoga mat and tank <3 ), two muscle classes, an interval class, and time on my own. Ambitious? Yes. That’s why my goal is to regularly hit 4 out of those 6 days. Ideally I’d be able to go to every class all the time. But muscles get sore, late nights happen, social events pop up, and sickness happens. I’m not going to beat myself up if something comes up and I miss a day and only make it 2-3 times one week. Heck, I didn’t do a lick of fitness today because I have quite the cold.

Chugging Cold Season tea and green juice. Hidden: my totally hot BreatheRight strip on my nose.

 

3. Stick to my monthly budget like a pro.

I recently revised my monthly budget, putting even more money towards paying off the money-hungry student loan monster. I moved some numbers and came up with a pretty reasonable spending allowance. If I can stick to that schedule in 2011, I’ll be in pretty good shape.

Quick Tip: If you guys don’t already use Mint for money management, I highly highly recommend it. It’s owned by Intuit, the makers of Turbo Tax, and it is completely secure. You can import as many bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, etc as you’d like and see them all in one place. I set my budget through Mint, and the chart on my home page shows how well I’m doing each month and if I’m reaching the top of my budget too early. It’s also what helped me pick a better credit card and savings account to earn more money. I’ve been using it since 2007, and I wouldn’t use anything else.

4. Plan at least 3 homemade meals per week.

It’s no secret that cooking at home is often cheaper and healthier than eating at a restaurant or getting take-out. Over the last few months, I lapsed pretty hard in setting a weekly menu, which left me eating a few too many microwave dinners on super busy nights. This morning I organized all my cookbooks on some new kitchen shelving, and tomorrow I’m going to spend the morning flagging recipes I want to try. When the time comes to plan a meal, I can just reach for a book, flip to a flagged page, and yay there’s a recipe.

5. Organize myself for the holidays.

I completely forgot to send Christmas cards this year, and I really regret it. I’ve set up a system so that I can send cards for each birthday and major holiday and not flake out on it. Super important that I stick to this. I’m also going to take a lead from my mother and start buying gifts for birthdays and Christmas. In January? Yes. My mom already has at least 50% of this year’s Christmas shopping done. I’m not that ambitious, but I hope to have a few things picked out by springtime.

6. Drink more water.

Dur. I bought a water bottle holder for my purse so now I have no excuses. Water wherever I go. Always.

 

That seems like a pretty good list to kick things off. My Cold Season tea is done and it’s time to move on to TheraFlu, which may or may not knock me the eff out. I need a good night’s sleep to get ready for my first Tabata class early tomorrow! So excited.

Happy new year!

 

I’ve Missed You

18 Oct

Hello. I’ve missed you. The “you” here is this blog, everyone else in blogland (I’ve been reading/skimming, but also absent from commenting), and being more creative in general.

By the end of marathon training, I began to feel completely overwhelmed and out of control. Running and fitness began dictating almost every part of every day, especially in my peak weeks. Scheduling a 40 mile week? Egads. On top of that, I’m also in a local production of Cabaret (woooo come watch me be a skanky Nazi), so I lost a lot of both social time and personal time. It was too much for me to handle. And as sad as I am that the marathon is over, I’m sort of glad I have more time back in my weeks.

Oh yeah, that whole Chicago Marathon thing ;) I did it! I’ll write my recap later today once I download my pictures. I’m sure you all know most of the race details by know, like how disgustingly hot it was. I’m ecstatic to have finished. Plus, I totally have motivation to PR on my next(!) marathon.

Know what else I’ve missed terribly while being consumed by training? COOKING. I made up for it by doing my own cooking marathon yesterday. The end result: apple butter, pumpkin chowder, kale chips, butternut squash red curry, southern kale and beans, and red wine & pear sorbet. “Elated” does not begin to describe how I felt. Also: kale chips are addictive. Proceed with caution. Or don’t. Because it’s kale.

And just for fun, here I am absolutely hamming it up for the cameras in Chicago. Face says “wheeee look I’m running!” brain says “fuuuuuuuuuuu”

PowerLunch

14 Jul

I devoured this too quickly to even think about taking a photo, so text will have to suffice.

What to buy:
1lb of pasta (I use Barilla Plus varieties)
1lb of lean ground turkey
5 boxes of Green Giant Health Blend frozen vegetables
Whatever other veggies you like (I just grabbed mushrooms)

Now, if you haven’t heard of the Green Giant Health Blends… go find them now. They’re awesome. There are six different varieties, each targeted towards a different health focus; immunity, digestion, vision, weight, etc. Each blend is different and comes in a light herbed sauce of either butter or extra virgin olive oil. The packets are 7oz and contain two servings, but I like my veggies so I eat the whole package.

On Sunday night, boil up the pasta and sautee up 6oz of the ground turkey. freeze the other 10oz and cook it on Tuesday night (or switch it up; cook 9oz on Sunday and leave the other 7 oz for Wednesday night). Put however much cooked pasta you want into your lunch container. I pack about a cup or so. Throw on 3oz of the ground turkey. Save the rest for the next day or two (this is why you freeze half, you don’t want to cook it all and eat five-day-old meat. Yuck). Sautee/steam/bake/whatever any other vegetables and toss those in. Put it in the fridge and forget about it until the next morning.

While you make your breakfast the next morning, throw a packet of Health Blends into the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes. Toss ’em on top of everything else in your lunch container. There’s already sauce and seasonings on the veggies, which should be enough for the whole meal. If not, drizzle a little extra olive oil and seasonings. Pack up, heat at lunch, eat, and you’ll be set until dinnertime.

I’m almost always hungry for a snack around 3pm. After two days of having this for lunch, I don’t get those afternoon cravings anymore. I’m not a huge breakfast eater during the week (which I’m trying to change), so lunch is one of my bigger meals. And this lunch is amazing. It covers the bases of carbs, protein, healthy fats, and lots of veggies. And it takes practically no time to put it together once the Sunday and Tuesday/Wednesday prep work is done (which takes all of 10 minutes). The variety of veggie packs mixes things up throughout the week so it doesn’t get boring. Switching out the pasta for rice or another grain, or the turkey for chicken, tofu, or any other protein also adds to the possibilities.

If you try this out, tell me what combo you made and what you think!

Recipe + Photo Time

10 Jun

Before I embark on my Market Square Day 10K adventure tomorrow, I wanted to share some long-overdue items. I guess this is like a modified Three Things Thursday :)

Olive Bread French Toast

Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. “What?” But don’t knock it until you try it. It sounds weird, I know. It’s definitely more of a savory dinnertime dish instead of a breakfast toast. I imagine this would pair well with a green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with crumbly goat cheese.

This recipe is scalable for however many pieces of toast you’d like to make. Also, I’m not really the type of person to measure anything unless I’m baking, so I’m estimating the amounts here.

Ingredients:
2 large slices of 1+ day old olive bread
3 large eggs
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp milk
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Mix everything but the bread and butter in a bowl. Once combined, place the bread in a baking dish and pour the egg mixture over the slices. Move the bread around a bit to get it coated on the top and bottom. Let it soak for a few minutes, then flip the slices and soak a few minutes more. This will ensure total goodness throughout the whole toast, and not just an egg coating outside and a bready interior.

While it’s soaking, put a pan on medium-high head on the stove. When it’s hot, drop in the pad of butter to coat the pan. Place the soaked toast in the pan, checking after 2-3 minutes for golden doneness. Flip and wait another 1-2 minutes. Plate, serve, eat.

This was so good on its own, it didn’t need any sort of topping. The parmesan cheese mixed in gives it a glorious little cheesy crunch.

The Garden

It’s been a bit less than 3 weeks since I planted my garden. And WOAH these babies haven’t wasted any time stretching their leaves.

two tomato plants, three pepper plants, and an eggplant sprout

oh my god lettuce. I harvested about a third of what you see, and it almost filled a 2.5 gallon bag. pickles and more tomatoes in the back.

a cute little cucumber tendril curl. aka my new banner image.

It’s been a rainy few days in New England, so I haven’t had to worry about watering the garden. But oh boy I need to get back there and check on the size of the plants. It may be pruning time.

And For Funsies

Here’s a semi-blurry photo of Conan O’Brien rockin’ out with Dropkick Murphys.

woahhhhhh

Recipe Night: Lots o’ Potatoes

30 Nov

With the super long holiday weekend, I finally had some more time to do some cooking. I experimented with two new recipes this week, and have two more in the works. The first two I’ll share with you: Potato Cauliflower Mash and Potato Parsnip Chowder. Why so many potatoes? I could only find a 5lb bag of Yukon Golds, so I decided to run with it.

(Lots o’ text, so it’s all after the jump)

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