Sunday, January 31, 2010

The boy did good

Today is my actual birthday. It's been a really nice weekend, although verrrrry cold. Yesterday I planned on running with the Lake Effect group, but I woke up and it was -4 degrees. I'll run in the cold, but not that kind of cold, I don't have the gear for it. I dug out an Under Armour sweatshirt that was a cast off from my 12 year old nephew, but that wasn't going to cut it, even though it fit. So I got on the treadmill and banged out seven miles while flipping between Groundhog Day and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
Out sitter was here by six o'clock, so Mike and I headed out for dinner and drinks. We started at bc, where they make a great dirty martini, with bleu cheese stuffed olives. Then we walked down the street in the sub zero temps to Bistro Elephant. I had never been, but it's a bright space, and there were two musicians playing funky tunes. The tables were close together, and I'm the type of person who wants to join in other people's conversations if I hear something interesting, but I don't actually do it. At the table to our right there was a huge guy and his girlfriend, he looked like he could play football for SU, which he very well may have, the way the staff was fawning all over him.

To start we had a Thai Beef Salad, with onions, tomato, cilantro, and mint, and shared a spicy tuna and asparagus roll. It had crispy panko on the outside, it was a large roll, but sliced thin, which was a nice change from the usual thick sushi pieces. Mike had the crispy duck for dinner, and I had a lovely bacon wrapped cod, over a tomato saffron broth. No room for dessert! Mike did make me my favorite cake, yellow Duncan Hines with chocolate frosting, and it has to be cold, from the fridge. For good measure he also bought a Pepperidge Farm chocolate, chocolate cake, because I said the other day how much I loved them when I was a kid.

This morning I slept in, and the kids pounced on me as soon as I came downstairs, begging me to open my presents. Mike did a great job this year, I opened up a gift card to Fleet Feet for new running shoes, a medicine ball and resistance band. I guess he was listening when I said I'm working on my core and toning. I also received the new pj's I requested, as well as new running shorts.

The sun is shining, and we're going to head out and take the kids ice skating. This will be a first, so we might be home after 5 minutes. In any case, there's a fire in the fireplace, I have a good book, my telephone, my family, and the Grammy's are on tonight. All in all, it's already a great day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let's Get This Birthday Weekend Started (Fist Pump, a la The Jersey Shore)

One day I was talking on the phone with my Mom, and she said "I can't believe you're going to be 40!" And I said, "Yeah Ma, in like TWO years!"

I'm approaching 40. I don't feel like I'm turning 38, not that I know what it's supposed to feel like. I'm still me, but better, I don't miss my 20's at all. I hated all that Searching For Meaning In Your Life, the quest to find a husband, to find a career that you love. The last birthday milestone I had was when I turned 30, and my brain feels much more settled now.

Which is making me think about some of my birthdays.

There was the year I turned six, and wanted a big blue suitcase. Which I got, and proceeded to sit inside of to watch television.

The year I turned 16, and my parents rented out a room at an Italian restaurant, and I had all my best girlfriends out for dinner. I'm still very close to five of those girls.

The year I turned 17 and got my drivers license, and spent the weekend driving around in my Dad's car, which didn't have working seat belts.

The year I turned 18 and I was just excited that I could vote (dork).

The year I turned 19 and was in college, and I got busted for drinking in the dorm. I was so mad I started whipping birthday cake frosting at the window until it looked like it was snowing outside. Then my friend S cleaned it up (Thanks S).

The year I turned 21 and the bouncer at the bar didn't believe my drivers licence (maybe he was used to seeing it chalked) so I had to walk home in a snowstorm to get my passport.

One of many years that my birthday was on the Superbowl, I won $40 in a betting pool.

The year I turned 29 and went out for dinner with friends, and there was a little girl there who looked like my Mini Me. Which made me start to think about having a kid.

The morning of my 30th birthday, I cried on my way to work, it was cold and rainy and crappy out. I didn't feel better until Mike told me he was taking me to Vegas the next day, and had already cleared it with my boss. My coworkers surprised me with a cake, and my family and friends met me at our favorite bar for Happy Hour. I received one of my best birthday presents ever from my friend Jennifer (who I mention so often in this blog that I should just write a whole post about her), a scrapbook, all about me. I'm so happy to have it so Luke and Eliza will know what their Mom was like as a person, and not just as their Mom. On the subway ride home, I sipped from my brown paper bag wrapped beer and felt loved. Until I got off the train, and saw an undercover cop wave me over, to give me a ticket for open container. I told him "I turned 30 today" and he said "Happy Birthday" and let me off.

The year I turned 32 and I was pregnant with Luke. Mike and I went to Balthazar for breakfast, and in addition to my wonderful meal, I ordered a $16 bread basket and ate that as well.

I've had several birthday dinners with my sisters in law, as our birthdays are close together. We've been here, here and here.

The morning I turned 36, and put on my favorite jeans, and they ripped. I wondered if that was some kind of message.

So that's that. For this birthday, I put in my request for a chocolate cake, some time for a run, and a new pair of pj's. And time with Mike and the kids. Like this photo of my first birthday as a Mom of Two. Mike's not in it, but my other loves (including the cake) are.

Veggies....Bacon....I have room for it all

I ate almost a whole head of cauliflower the other night, and surprisingly enough, my stomach didn't explode. I honestly love vegetables, I grill them in the summertime, and roast them in the winter months, I'll make a big batch of something and have it as a side dish for a couple of days. I think I've perfected the roasting of cauliflower technique, I usually cut it into large segments, but this time I broke it down into small bite sized pieces, tossed them in olive oil, ground pepper, and kosher salt, then roasted them on a cookie sheet. They were done before the rest of the meal, so I started picking at them like popcorn while gabbing on the phone with my sister. I ate half the tray before Mike took them away and put them back in the oven. Didn't matter, I just reached into the hot oven to eat them. By the time we ate, Mike only got a large spoonful, the rest were in my belly.

I'm bummed that football season is coming to an end. I love Football Sunday afternoons, either kicking back and watching the game, or just the sound of it in the background while cooking a stew or chili, or playing with the kids. Not sure what we're doing for the Superbowl this year, but I already know what snack I'm making, and I think it's mandatory that you eat some kind of meat that day, so my choice is bacon. I don't know what you call these little slices of bread, covered with a mix of bacon, cheese, and olives. My neighbor made them a few summers ago for our block party, and every time I make them, they are gone in ten minutes.

For lack of a better word, here is the recipe for Bacon Bread (yes, it's a splurge):
One baguette, sliced into circles (about 30 slices)
5 oz shredded swiss cheese
large can of black olives, chopped
1 cup of light mayo
1 medium onion, minced
3/4 pound of bacon, cooked, then chopped into chunks
mix all ingredients, scoop spoonfuls onto the bread slices, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Eat one now because you won't get one later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sidebar Bling

I've got some new additions to my sidebar, and they both make me happy.

I admire people who have an interest in something, and take it to a whole new level. A friend of mine from college is a perfect example. He's been playing lacrosse for over 24 years, and is a teacher and varsity coach in Westchester, NY. He started Wendol Worldwide Athletics, boys & girls sports camps and clinics, for students of all ages and skill levels. He believes that all children can learn and excel in athletics, and become team players as they maximize their potential. The clinics run throughout the year, and I'm sure he's already gearing up his two year old for his future in lacrosse!
To top it off, he started a clothing line, Gargoyle Athletics, tshirts and skull caps with funky Gargoyle characters like this one:

so check his site out.....and fyi, I wrote about Gargoyle Athletics because I wanted to, I'm not being compensated for my views. : )

There's lots of happiness floating around the blogosphere lately....I was tagged last week for a happiness post which I split between running and cooking. Now over the weekend, I was tagged again by Susan from Family Formula, and Bella from La Bella Vita passed the Happiness Award to me.

I need to list 10 things that make me happy......

1. taking walks with my kids
2. thick socks
3. talks with Mike, where we catch up on what's going on in our family, and in the world
4. a full refrigerator
5. the Fab Six - my group of girlfriends, we've known each other for over 25 years
6. bodies of water, either the beaches of Long Island, or lakes in the Adirondacks
7. a clean house
8. when I'm flipping channels and find a good old movie to watch, when I say old, I mean the '80's
9. classic rock, disco, rap, and grunge
10.a book that is so good you hate to finish it
happy happy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who said January is a slow month

After the craziness of Christmas, I look forward to some downtime in January, but when I think about it, it's never the case. Every weekend we say we're going to sit around and do nothing, but it doesn't happen. Which I guess is a good thing.

I had a good week fitness wise. I had time to play with the Wii Fit, did two, three mile runs on the treadmill, and ran yesterday with Lake Effect. It was 18 degrees when I left my house, and there was a crazy fog coming up off the snow, I couldn't see the cars in the opposite lane until they were right next to me. It burned off though by the time I reached town. We headed out, and I was really feeling the cold, after the first two mile loop, my legs felt heavy, and the hills were hard compared to last week. Then my ipod crapped out, it was charged, but it just turned off, and wouldn't turn back on. It was right in the middle of the Black Eyed Peas too! This is the second time it's happened, and it's three years old, so I hope it hasn't reached the end of its ipod life.

After a second loop, my throat was scratchy from breathing in that cold air, my nose was running like crazy, but we decided to go for one more loop. I figured we were out, so why stop now. We ran the last loop in the opposite direction, and only had to deal with one hill, and the rest was a nice decline. Ended up doing 5.75 miles. I'm surprised at how much I sweat, even in that cold temperature, my hoodie was really damp and my headband was soaked.

I made it home for a quick shower, and got ready to go and see Wicked. It was a celebration of sorts, primarily for my mother in law, who is finishing up her last rounds of radiation for her breast cancer. It was her idea to go, and she gave the tickets to me, and my sisters in law for our birthday present. Our birthdays are around the same time, so it was a great gift. After the show we had dinner and drinks at Riley's. I went for the grilled snapper, which was topped with a roasted tomato, red pepper, onion and caper sauce. It went nicely with my two Harps.

Now it's time for football. I'm a Giant's fan, but since they're out, I'm going to have to root for the Jets over the Colts. Although I love me some Peyton to see why....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sweet Riot Winner!

Just a quick post to tell you the winner of the Sweet Riot Chocolate Cacao Nib giveaway.....I used to generate the winner, and it was number seven...JenLo! Congrats Jen! Thank you to everyone who entered!

I just got back from a hilly run outside in the 18 degree weather, I did almost six miles....more details later.....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Mind is a tricky thing

I had a weird thing happen to me the other morning, and it really bugged me out. I've written posts about my mother's house on Long Island, where I grew up, basically, she lives with ghosts. My whole family has seen them, Luke had a conversation with one once. If you want the full story, here is the post about it.

I've been feeling like we have a ghost of our own, lately we've had a few weird things happen, we woke up one night to the television in our room turning on, then off, over and over. Another night we were sitting in the family room, Mike had just built a fire in the fireplace, and one of the glass panes in the fireplace shattered. It was if someone had hit it. The fire wasn't hot enough yet to cause that, and we didn't see or hear any sparks fly before the glass broke. My sister thinks that we have some kind of spirit hanging around. Maybe it's all in my head, but I think it's weird.

Okay, this is going to sound nuts, but bear with me. The other morning, I woke up at five when Mike was getting ready for work, but then I managed to fall back asleep. I started to have a dream that I was at my mother's house, and was showing two women a face that appeared in a bedroom wall. I thought it was a ghost. Then I woke up, to something odd. I was on my side, and it felt like someone was holding my hand and foot down, and I felt a dark presence hovering over me. It leaned in and started talking in my ear, but I couldn't make out what it was saying. I couldn't open my mouth to yell out, so I just thought in my head "I don't believe in you." Then it went away. Good luck going back to sleep after that!

I emailed a friend of mine who is a psychic (I have some interesting friends) and explained to her what happened. She said it could be a spirit, since it seems like I have a sensitivity to seeing them, or, more likely, it was a sleep paralysis episode. I googled it, and I think that's what it was. It's fairly common, and is caused by irregular sleep patterns (check), increased stress (check) or a lucid dream that precedes the episode (check). It's when you wake up from a REM cycle of sleep, but your body is still in REM mode, so you can't move.

I've always been a terrible sleeper, and I think this has happened to me before. Regardless, whatever it is, I don't want it again!

Pictured, a blurry shot of Yoda that Eliza took the other day when she swiped the camera....makes you think of a creepy ghost like presence, no?

Monday, January 18, 2010

What can I find in my fridge......

Mike is gone again this week for work, so that means Dinner For One is back in effect. I've been eating leftover beef stew for the last three meals, but today I found a can of tuna and threw that into a salad. There is an extra baked sweet potato in the fridge that I'll probably have later, topped with plain greek yogurt. I'm loving that thick, fat free goodness, I've been using it in place of sour cream, and I don't notice a difference.

I like to see what I can come up with for a meal, based on what's in the house. I'm good about planning meals for the kids, and for me and Mike, but I like to have a day to just finish up whatever is hanging around the kitchen. I was looking at my pictures from Christmas, and found this photo of shrimp nachos. I've been taking more food pictures because I post them to my foodbuzz profile. I was pretty happy about these nachos, made from leftovers from our New Years Eve party: organic blue corn tortilla chips, leftover shrimp cocktail (minus the sauce), carmelized onions, kidney beans, white cheddar cheese, salsa, guacamole and greek yogurt. It took ten minutes to throw together, then a few more under the broiler and they were kill-ER....

So that's what they mean by a forefoot strike...

I've been playing with my running form on my last two treadmill runs. I definitely strike with my heel when I run, and it has caused a myriad of problems. I have plantar fasciitis in my left arch, and a heel spur as well. I've endured cortisone shots in my heel , and I've done other things to get over the PF. I wore that big boot every night to bed for 6 weeks, had custom arches made for my dress shoes, I use Spenco inserts in my running shoes, and wear an arch support when I run. Phew, such high maintenance, but I've kept it at bay for over five years. Surprisingly, I think that now that I'm home with the kids, and wear casual shoes instead of heels, that too has helped quite a bit.

I had an "A HA!" moment one day playing Wii Fit, they have a segment where you can do a 10 minute run, so I did it with Eliza. If you aren't familiar with the Fit game, you need to be barefoot to use it. After I started running, I realized I was landing on my forefoot, and it wasn't causing any pain, which I thought it would since there is no padding there compared to my heel. I started running circles around the house and it clicked, I knew what all these barefoot runners were talking about! On my next treadmill run, I kept my shoes on, but made a conscious effort to land my feet correctly. I was leaning forward, and felt like I was going to topple over, but it made sense. Today I tried it again, and kept it up for a full three miles. Very cool!!

On the "choosing a marathon" front, my friend Jen (who also entered the NYC lottery for this fall) told me that NY State residents have a one in three chance of making it into the race! I still don't have high hopes to get in, but those aren't bad odds at all.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just what the Doctor ordered

I made it outside this morning for a run, the first one since getting over this stomach bug, and it was great! I ran with the Lake Effect runners for the second time, I've been wanting to join them again since early December, but between the holidays and various commitments, I haven't been able to do it.

This morning everyone met up in the town next to mine, to run a two mile loop through the village, as many times as you wanted. It was a balmy 35 degrees when I got there, with clear roads, perfect running weather for January. I got my Yaktrax in the mail this week, and even though we have snow, the paths and roads are pretty clean, so I'm going to have to wait for the next snowfall to try them out. Everyone met up at a coffee shop in town, called Ophelia's. It's a nice, spacious spot, they serve big mugs of coffee and bakery items (I took home a box, you know, for Mike). The nice thing is that proceeds from the shop help support their non-profit organization, which provides resources for individuals with eating disorders.

I didn't bring my ipod, I wanted to chat, and I need to learn not to be so dependant on it during runs. We set off, and about a 1/2 mile in, started up a gradual incline. If I have to do hills, that's how I like them, in the beginning, so I can get them over with. The loop passed through quiet residential roads, and a school, we went by a bunch of teenage boys out running, they were obviously having some kind of Saturday morning practice. The run went by pretty quickly, and aside from the first hill, it was fairly flat. Then around mile three, my stomach started churning, which got me nervous for a bit, but I think my body is still working itself out after being sick. So we finished up that loop, and headed back to Ophelias, grabbed coffee, and sat down to chat.
My sis in law, Jeannine, had a new gadget with her, which I lusted after right after she showed it to me. One of the benefits of a January birthday is that I can try and finagle gifts that I didn't get for Christmas. J has a Nike + iPod , and it was really cool. It tracked our distance (4.25 miles), calories burned (457), and pace (9:23).
Speaking of ipod's, I need new running music again, although I have a new favorite running tune, Use Somebody, by Kings of Leon. It kind of grew on me, it's the kind of song that makes you want to run fast, or drive fast.....both of which I like to do.
Don't forget about the Sweet Riot ends January 22, so check it out!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lots to be Happy about, but I'll start with running and cooking

I never posted our Christmas card photo, here it is, but in our cards it was black and white.

What a week, our whole family got hit with a nasty stomach bug. These are the times when I really appreciate having three bathrooms. I may hate cleaning them all the time, but they come in handy when you have more than one person urgently needing one, at the same time! At one point Mike and I were both sick and Eliza took it upon herself to get her own breakfast one morning. After pushing a stool over to the fridge, she swiped a yogurt drink, made a little hole in the foil, then sucked it down. I feel like I shouldn't complain though, after seeing all the images from Haiti, it's breaking my heart to see all that devastation. Another reminder of how lucky we are.

Well, anyway, I met some new Blog "friends" this week, via Felice at The Happy Runner. She made a list of Upstate NY Bloggers, and I'm one of them! I was tagged by Ajh at Age Groups Rock, for a 10 Things That Make Me Happy list. I've done a few of these, so I figured I'd mix it up, and do 5 things about Running that make me happy, and 5 things about Cooking that make me happy! So here goes:

Running Happiness:

1. I love how can run alone, or with others, inside, or outside
2. I love how after the first mile, I get into that great running "groove"
3. I love getting all sweaty after a run
4. I love to make playlists to help me dance along as I run
5. I love setting new goals for myself, they can be as small as doing a bunch of hills in one run, or running a half marathon

Cooking Happiness:

1. I love the whole process, planning, shopping, chopping, mixing, stirring (with a glass of wine at my side of course)
2. I love to make a bunch of food, and freeze half of it, for nights I don't feel like cooking
3. I love to make people happy with food, I can get my husband to do anything, I just have to bake him some cookies.
4. I love to look at a recipe, but tweak it to my liking, by adding some things, and subtracting others.
5. I love how I can control what goes into my food, to make it healthy for my family.

Now I need to tag 10 people, so here we go:

Jennifer at Arcane Matters

The Girl with the Flour in her hair at Peeling an Orange with a screwdriver

Lauren at Mud Mama

Teri at the Mighty M Family

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Organic Snackin'

I have a love/love relationship with food. There really aren't many things that I dislike, other than sea urchin, and I've always eaten my veggies, and although I'm not a vegetarian I eat vegetarian meals several times a week. Like so many people, I struggle to find balance in what I eat, but I think there is room for all types of foods in your diet, if you just try not to go overboard. Easier said than done, I obviously struggle with this more often than I like, but I realize now more than ever that I need to set a good example for my children, as my Dad did with me (if you'd like, see this post here.......and while you're at it, if you'd like to see how I became a runner, click on this link to RunnerDude's blog).

Today I was so excited to receive a package from Newman's Own Organics, chock full of all sorts of organic treats and snacks for me to try, and review. There is so much to talk about that I'm going to have to do a few posts to cover them (tough job huh?).

Newman's Own Organics started as a division of Newman's Own (love their light salad dressings), but are now their own separate company. Their tagline is "Great tasting food that happens to be organic" They focus on the kinds of products we loved as kids, but they take them one step further by using the highest quality organic ingredients. I'll be trying out their dried fruits, chocolate (!), soy crisps, various cookies, pretzels and mints. I'm going to have Mike and the kids help me out too, kids and husbands obviously like to snack, plus I have to wait to sample the chocolate goodies, since that's on lockdown this month.*

So I'm curious, other than fruits and veggies, what do you snack on? And what do you give your kids?

*The reviews will be my own, I haven't been compensated in any way for them.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What a dork

I don't think I've touched on this subject before, but I'm kinda nerdy. Physically I'm a dork, I wear glasses (mostly contacts), and have long arms and legs. In high school I had a hard time finding pants that were long enough to reach my ankles, even my math teacher said I looked like I wore floods. I can't dance, but I'm good at falling. I get a huge kick out of physical comedy, and easily laugh at stupid commercials. I've already mentioned that I don't know how to tie my shoes correctly. And at times I laugh like this "huh huh huh HUH huh"

My dorkiness has come out in full force since we got the Wii Fit. After it analyzed my weight and balance, it asked me if I trip a lot! I've been having fun with it, and I'm embarrassed to say that I was sore last week...I've been good about doing planks, and I'm doing some new exercises. The kung fu and boxing sections are cool, I get a bunch of squats in at the same time I'm working my arms. But my favorite has to be the hula hoop - you move your hips as quickly as you can to get a high number of reps, and you have to lean back and forth to catch hoops that are thrown at you. Mike just stands there and shakes his head at me while I do it, looking like a spaz.

Last night I went to Rochester to have a night out with the girls. Dawn and I began the night at my friend B's bar and pizza restaurant, The Dragonfly. We got there early enough to score a table in front of the fire, and watched some of the Jets game. The pizza was yummy, thin crust and cheesy, my kind of pie.

Our plan for the night was to hit up some of our old stomping grounds, including a trip to Muthers, a bar that does Drag shows. I thought of wearing a "clublike" black top and tall black boots, but between the sub zero temps and snow, I stuck with a magenta top under a brown argyle sweater and my skinny (still!) jeans and Frye boots. Bad choice. Everyone in the place was wearing black, black, and black. I walked in wearing my white North Face parka, and looked like a librarian (or soccer mom, which I am on the path of becoming). I was dancing around like a dork, swinging my purse and my white coat (didn't want to get it dirty on the floor) and I could see the white and pink argyle pattern of my sweater reflected in the wall of mirrors, in all that black, you could still find me.

As Lady Gaga blared, I channeled Wii Fit and started doing the hula hoop! I was pretty happy that I had a new dance move, but then I proceeded to pull something in my left hip. It's a bit sore today, but it's my own fault, thinking I could dance. Dork.

We hit one more place for last call (gasp! two late nights in one week, I can't take it), then my friend K drove us home. She has a four month old, and this is what she texted me when she got home....

What a crew. A bunch of mom's out on the town, lactating, and pulling our muscles.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Sweet Riot of a Giveaway

Last month I was visiting Dawn, one of my BFF's, (check this post to see a picture of us here), and she introduced me to my latest treat, Sweet Riot Cacao Nibs. Dawn knows me well, and has witnessed my annual Lenten sacrifices of chocolate, so she knew I would love these little lovelies.

The nibs are little pieces of chocolate covered cacao, one of those natural wonders full of antioxidants. I'm off the sugar for the month, but I'm telling you, these are the bomb, each little nugget has 1 - 2 calories, I nibble a few and I've got my guilt free chocolate fix.

Lucky for you, I have two ways to try Sweet Riot, the first is a discount code to use at their online store. Use the code "rioting" for 10% off your order, although it excludes their riot club, which is already discounted on a monthly basis.

And second, Sweet Riot is giving away a package of three tins of their original nibs, with a retail value of $19.99!
To enter, check out their website Sweet Riot and then leave me a comment. For additional entries you can do any of the following, be sure to leave me a comment for each one you do.

1. Become a Follower of my antics, or if you already follow, just say so
2. mention this giveaway on your blog and let me know
3. become a fan of Sweet Riot on Facebook -
4. follow their tweets
5. register for their newsletter for news & monthly discounts -
Giveaway ends at midnight on January 22, and is open to residents within the with my earlier giveaways, this post about how much I enjoy Sweet Riot is my own, I have not been compensated in any way for it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yet another Quest

How does that Salt n Pepa song go...."here I go, here I go, Here. I. Go. Again..." Nope, I'm not talking about men, I'm talking about my latest quest!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I'm always up for a challenge. I did a month of Amazing Grass smoothies (still going strong) as well as ten weeks to Get Active with blog friends. I read Tall Mom on the Run for inspiration, she writes about being active while working full time, and being a wife and mother, and she reviews the latest and greatest running products. Well, she cooked up this doozy of a challenge after completing it herself in's to run 1,000 miles in one year. And since our New Year just started a week ago, that means I'm in a good place to try it myself!

It's a bit daunting, especially after I decided to take it easy on running for January. I'm not a betting kind of gal (except for the time I went to Vegas for my 30th birthday, and was yelling at the slot machines) but I bet that I can do it.

I ran three miles on the treadmill today, we have several feet of snow here, it definitely feels like January. I ordered a pair of Yak Traxs online (on sale, free shipping, I love after Christmas deals). I want to try and do more outside running during these winter months, and not be such a slave to my treadmill. Mike is nervous about me being on the road since the weather is so crappy, with all the large snowbanks he's afraid a car won't see me when I'm running. Until some of this melts, I'm going to have to stick to the trails around my house to give the Yak's a try. My cross country skis are also calling to's a good thing I like winter! : )

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year, New Pizza Post

I think it's kinda funny how I'm writing about food right after I stated my goal to lose weight this month. But hey, that's how I roll, so let's go with it, and talk some more about my pizza love. I'm pretty much a pizza purist. Thin crust, lots of cheese, fresh tomato sauce. Sometimes I go for a loaded veggie slice, but if I go that way it's usually just onion and mushroom. I'm not a big sausage and pepperoni person, but don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn it away if it was presented to me.

The above photo is Goat Cheese, Walnut and Carmelized Onion pizza, on a beer crust. When we're not making a traditional pie, we make this recipe from Jeanne Lemlin. Mike and I will have this for dinner with salad, or we cut it small and serve it as an appetizer, as we did on New Years Eve. It's really worth the effort.....
Carmelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

For the topping:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds (6 or 7 large) onions, very thinly sliced, I use Vidalia's
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) crumbled soft goat cheese

For the crust:

3 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer
Vegetable Oil for greasing (don't use olive oil, it will burn the crust)

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and a bunch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat well, then cover the pot. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the onions are very soft and are caramel brown all over. After the first 10 minutes, you will have to lower the heat to prevent sticking. The onions need to be cooked slowly over low heat in order to caramelize properly; this can take between 45 and 60 minutes, keep your eye on them. Keep them covered for the majority of the time, you will be surprised at how much they shrink. Remove the lid towards the end so you can get them the right color, once they are light brown, remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour in the beer and mix well. The dough will be sticky. Spread a handful of flour on your work surface and dump the dough onto it. Toss the dough around to coat it with the flour and prevent it from sticking. Knead it 2 or 3 times to make it pliable. You can shape the dough into a ball, then divide it in two to make two pizzas, but we just grease a large cookie sheet and make one big rectangle pizza.

Top the dough with the onions, then sprinkle the walnuts and cheese all over. Bake it about 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. You might want to sprinkle salt and pepper over it, but taste it first to decide. Then send me some.....

Friday, January 1, 2010

the chocolate is on lockdown

Two days into the New Year and I'm off to a good start. In an earlier post, I talked about my goals for the year, and I've worked out a plan to get there, step by step.

I decided that for January, my first step is to tackle strengthening my core, and muscles overall. I love cardio, I don't feel like I've accomplished something in a workout unless I finish it covered in sweat, but I'm going to suck it up an run just once (maybe twice) a week, and fill the rest of my days with yoga and Wii Fit. I made it outside last Sunday for a seven mile run, which was good timing, as it started snowing the next day and has not stopped. I filled my days with walks in the snow, including my annual solo walk on New Years Eve Day, to reflect before the evening festivities (and we were festive this year, bedtime for me was two a.m.)
I have to say I am very gung ho about running a marathon, but I am forcing myself to be cautious. I have a habit of doing too much too soon, or doing more intense work before I'm really ready for it. I was looking at races online the other night, and have a few in mind. I just finished Dean Karnazes' book 50 50, which is a great kick in the ass to get moving if you need one. I decided to follow his marathon training plan once I'm ready, it's very similar to what I followed for my half marathon (if you want to see what I have planned for the next few months, check out my sidebar).

I hooked up my Wii Fit the other day, and so far, so good. It gave me a BMI of 24, which is in the healthy range. I'm 5 '10, and a solid boned Irish girl, so I was happy with that. It did say if I wanted to get to my ideal BMI of 22, I need to lose FOURTEEN pounds. That is lower than my Wedding Weight (which, in my head, was my perfect weight before I gave birth). I think that's a bit low for me. I do want to lose five pounds, so I made that a goal to reach by my birthday, which is the the last day of this month.

I said goodbye to sugar for January, my last cookie was on New Years Eve. It was chocolate, chocolate chip, made by my friend K. It was a deceptive cookie, after I bit into it I tasted mint, which to me is heavenly. She said the secret is to top each mound of dough with an Andes Candy before baking.....Whoo HAH! it was good.