Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not your average spaghetti and meatballs.

Still so obsessed with zucchini noodles.

zucchini noodles

Friday night we made a “baked spaghetti and meatballs” dish with spiral-sliced zucchini, homemade tomato sauce, and meatballs made with a combination of ground turkey and some spicy Italian pork sausage.  First Jason combined the meats with a bunch of herbs and spices, then he formed the balls and browned them in a pan:

meatballs browning

Then he sautéed some onions, peppers, garlic, and mushrooms in a pan before adding canned diced and crushed tomatoes, some tomato paste, and tomato sauce.

onions, peppers, mushrooms  blurry chef

Jason is even cute when he’s blurry!  To put everything together, we laid the meatballs on top of the spiral-sliced zucchini and then covered the whole thing with the sauce.


meatballs on zucchini noodles pouring sauce on noodles pouring sauce on noodles

We baked it at about 350° for about 25 min total.  Next time, I might try to bake the zucchini a little to get some of the water out, because it kinda flooded the dish.  However, the whole thing ended up SO GOOD.  Especially with some grated Romano cheese on top.

turkey meatballs and zucchini spaghetti

I freaking love the spiral slicer.  Also, we indulged a bit; back when Lay’s brought out their “you pick the flavor” campaign, we only found the Sriracha flavor.  Well thank goodness they brought it back – we finally got to try the Chicken & Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread flavors:

Cheesy Garlic Bread and Chicken & Waffles Lay's Chips

Too bad the Chicken & Waffles didn’t win – it was totally my favorite.  I love salty/sweet combinations like that.  One of the best things I’ve ever put in my face is the chicken and waffles at Early Bird Diner in Charleston – I doubt I’ll ever try anything else there because they’re SO GOOD.

Also we sampled a couple of mini bottles from the bounty we picked up at the liquor store:

mini bottles

The best way to indulge without going too crazy!  The Van Gogh chocolate vodka was good, but the Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie Liqueur was definitely awesome – will probably buy that one again!

Did you have as wild and crazy a Friday as we did??

Monday, August 5, 2013

Anniversary Blog after Month 13

Still alive.  Still hangin’ in there.  Trying to get a better routine going to keep myself healthy but also mentally sharp.  I have a tendency to zone out in the evenings after work, but I’ve been toying with the idea of (maybe?) going back to school (or at least thinking about it) and realize I do much better when I have structure when working toward my goals, whether they be personal, physical, or professional.

So tonight instead of surfing on the iPad or futilely putting away clothes only to have them get strewn about the bedroom again, I’ll get a leg up on some structure by writing a quick recap on what’s been going on lately.

Last I checked in, we had just done the Color Me Rad event in Charleston.  I’ve run a little since then, but it’s been either ball-sweatingly hot and humid OR it’s been raining nonstop.  I shouldn’t blame the weather, but I am.  Meh.  We’ve had some cooler days in the past week, so I’ve taken Maddy to the park several times just for a brisk walk.  The loop we take is a little over 2 miles, and it usually takes us 40-45 minutes (depending on potty and sniff breaks). 

Maddy at the park

If you can’t tell from the picture, she’s totally freaking out.  I forgot how much I like going for little “hikes” in the woods, and now that we’ve started back doing it pretty regularly, I feel like I can keep the habit up a little easier, both for physical and psychological benefit. 

Jason and I celebrated our year anniversary at the end of June with a gourmet-y dinner at home, just the way we like it:

Jason cooking filet, scallops, brussels sprouts, broccoli champagne

Lately we’ve had some local food obsessions, like okra (favorite prep method: sauté with tomatoes and onions):

okra, tomatoes, onions

Fresh tomatoes, which I’ve never been a fan of until this year (now I eat at least one every day while they’re in season):

SC tomatoes

And zucchini “noodles,” made with our spiral veggie slicer thingy.

zucchini noodles

Hopefully we won’t get burned out on these any time soon…I could eat all 3 every day and be fine!

So part of my proposed Regimen to Betterment is getting to bed at a descent time (currently it’s 1am….strike against me there), taking my vitamins every night, doing some kind of physical activity every day – especially strength training (I had to go to physical therapy for awhile for some shoulder and SI joint issues, so I reeeeeally need to keep those in check with regular attention), reconciling budget/bank account every night (we’re trying to buy a house in the next year or two and are REALLY going to be pinching pennies for awhile to get there), and doing some kind of critical thinking, whether that’s reading a self-help book or some kind of social or political discourse online, my brain needs to work out more than it currently is.  So setting aside the time and attention to do this stuff is really the hardest part, when TV and Pinterest and Facebook and Candy Crush are so damned alluring. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nose to the Grindstone

Newly motivated by both the spring weather and some fun events on the horizon, I’ve picked up running again.

“Again,” you say?

Yeeeeeah, I haven’t run since the Color Me Rad event a few weeks ago. 

Color Me Rad "before" I had a blast with my group and beat my only “running” 5K time, even though I walked a good bit this event (my only goal was to beat my previous time, so I’m 100% pleased since I was dealing with an injury AND bronchitis).

Color Me Rad "after" Color Me Rad "after"

I’ve been going to physical therapy for quite a few weeks for a low-back issue that sidelined me earlier this year and slowed me down a good bit during that event.  So I picked up today with Week 3 Day 1 of C25K and pushed through pretty well (Jason picked up with Week 5 and made it his bitch…I’m a little bitter that I’ve lost so much endurance!).

4/15 interval run

Then this evening I took the dog on a 2-mile walk/hike at a local park.  I wanted to do more but don’t want to expend all my motivation at once.  We’ve attended several events lately, weddings and a big equestrian event, that I’ve been looking forward to for awhile.  While I had a fabulous time at each of these with our friends, it has made me realize how uncomfortable I still am with my weight, mostly in a few trouble areas that really give me grief.

Carolina Cup Wedding in Charleston Wedding in Columbia

I’m almost back to my lowest weight that I reached around the time of Lofton’s wedding, but I’m ready to keep moving down.  It’s great to have an external motivator of an event or a dress, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately and realize how badly I want to feel strong and healthy not only for myself but for the people I love.

So….here’s to hoping I keep on keepin’ on!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Anti-Munchies Trick

Tonight all I want to do is eat.  My solution?

eating peas with chopsticks

Eating peas…or corn…or beans…with chopsticks.  I get the satisfaction of putting something in my mouth (thatswhatshesaid) but it takes foooorrrreeeevvvverrrrrrrr and staves off the obsession that could potentially lead to a binge.

Crazy?  Yep.  But it works for me!  Do you have a trick for beating the munchies?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine’s Date In

Instead of braving the crowds on Valentine’s Day – a holiday neither of us are crazy about anyway – we decided to stay in and do one of our favorite things – cook!

Jason picked up a couple of giant filets an we made this awesome coffee rub for them:


While they were finishing in the oven, I dumped a bag of frozen brussels sprouts in the pan after I steamed them in the microwave.  here they picked up some of the pan drippings and got a little crispy.

brussels sprouts

I also was craving some mushrooms and onions, so I sautéed them with some olive oil, some Worcestershire, and some red wine.

mushrooms and onions

One of my gifts to him says it all:

I'm a Keeper

Hopefully you Muggles will get the reference!  What did you do this Valentine’s Day?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Domestic Date and Backtracking

Friday night we wanted to stay in and cook but had to run a few errands beforehand.  We were out a lot later than we realized we’d be, so we decided to do a quick-ish dinner instead of starting from scratch like we initially intended to.

First off, my boss gave me a piece of salmon from her lunch that she no longer wanted (not as weird as it sounds).  I knew I wanted to make a salmon cake appetizer with it, so I threw some stuff together:

salmon cake ingredients

the salmon, a couple tablespoons of light mayo, some fresh-grated pecorino romano cheese, some red onion, adobo sauce, and this quinoa mix:


In hindsight, I should’ve just gotten plain quinoa and added a smidge to the salmon, because this ended up being mostly quinoa with a little salmon inside – I had to add some extra stuff to help my cakes stick together.

cake binder

Some cornmeal, soy flour, and cornstarch later, I got ready to pan-fry.

salmon quinoa cakes

They turned out pretty tasty, and I have a better idea of how I’ll fix it in the future!

salmon quinoa cakes

While we cooked, we sipped a super-adult beverage.

fiber and red wine

Nothin’ like some red wine with fiber.  Mmmm-mm.  The main course was tilapia stuffed with crab – a quick-grab entrée from the grocery, since we were eating late already.  I also roasted some zucchini and Roma tomatoes in the oven and added a little more cheeeeeeeese on top.  Smile

tilapia, zucchini, tomatoes

It ended up being a really good combo and was ready relatively quickly!  And it allowed for leftovers for brunch.

brunch eggs and quinoa cakes

We went for a run this morning, and instead of trying to push myself for 30+ minutes or 3+ miles, we backtracked to Week 6 of C25K.  While I struggled a fair amount, the intervals were much easier on me and allowed me to fight through the trouble instead of just getting discouraged, overwhelmed, and giving up like I have been.  I feel a lot more confident after today’s run, and we “celebrated” with some scrambled eggs with salsa and leftover salmon quinoa cakes.

I’ll actually look forward to the next run now that I’ve come to terms with backtracking and know I’m capable of succeeding at the intervals!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Running Woes

So what have I been up to lately?  Some experimenting in the kitchen with the fella:

turnip greens with bacon

(turnip greens with bacon),

scallops with homemade pesto

(scallops with homemade pesto),

“hot crash” sweet potato with cayenne and spices

(“hot crash” sweet potato with cayenne and spices).

But I’ve also been doing a lot of running.  Jason and I have completed the Couch-to-5K program (my sophomore effort) and have been working on building endurance.  Over the Christmas holidays, I developed some crazy upper respiratory bug that sidelined me for a week or two, and I haven’t been the same since.  I’ve had a couple good runs, but I’m having to take waaaaay more breaks than I was in late December, and my endurance just isn’t there.

Today was the last straw; I was really in need of a stress-busting GOOD run, and I couldn’t make it 5 minutes without walking.  Then, every time I tried to pick it back up, I got side stitches and stomach cramps.  I made it about 2 miles of unplanned run/walk intervals, but in between being a huge crybaby and pushing myself too hard, I hyperventilated every time I picked up the pace and finally gave up.

So what does one do in this situation?  Bitch and moan on social media, of course.  I finally broke down and asked for advice on Facebook, bracing myself for the influx of “try this” and “you’re not doing this right,” even though I thought I had exhausted all efforts.  I did receive a lot of suggestions I’ve tried, but I think I need to give those options a more fair shot now that I’m REALLY concerned and motivated to fix this. 

One of the most intriguing pieces of advice I received was to build back up slowly after being away from running.  Seems obvious, right?  But I didn’t realize it was to this extent.  The gal who shared her story said that if she has to take time off from running, she has to start back building up a quarter mile or so each day, starting with a mere 0.25 miles.  After my December crud was cured, I didn’t build back up to where I had left off, I just tried pushing to get back to that point.  There have been a few days since where I felt really good, but for the most part I have to stop and walk a good bit due to fatigued lungs and legs or tummy pains.

Another thing I’ve tried to focus on is eating the right thing at the right time, and the only way to figure it out is trial and error.  In order to avoid a huge tummyache, I’ve been eating a more brunch-like meal, running on my lunch break any time around 1-3pm, then eating lunch or a heavy snack in the afternoon at work.  I’m still trying to find the balance between too much and too little food beforehand, because apparently I’m very sensitive to both.  Screw trial and error, man.  Annoyed

If you’re a runner, did you have any issues like these getting restarted after taking time off?  What’s your best solution for side/stomach pains?  I’ve heard “two breaths in, one breath out” from a couple of people – that seems difficult to focus on, but I’ll try it!