Monday, June 29, 2009

One potato, two potato...

It's a potato sort of month. For dinner we had Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes with Peas and Onions:
I'm guilty of loving mashed potatoes so much that we keep a box of potato flakes handy at all times. There's nothing wrong with potato never know when you'll need them (I've even used potato flakes as filler for mini meatballs for a friend that's allergic to gluten). Tonight's dinner made use of actual potatoes, some peas, onion and lemon zest. It was inspired by Tyler Florence's Smashed New Potatoes with Peas, Lemon and Pearl Onions - a dish I made for Christmas dinner this year.

Mashed Potatoes with Peas and Onions
4 small white potatoes, cooked
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1/4 c peas
2 tbsp cream or skim milk
1 tbsp butter

Heat olive oil and 1/2 tbsp butter in a skillet. Add onions and saute until soft. Add potatoes and break up with a spoon. Add cream or milk, remaining butter, pepper and lemon zest, stir to combine. Add peas, pepper and salt to taste.

This dish was pretty good, though I think I prefer the potato dish I made last week. Of course, this pales in comparison to the original recipe which was
AMAZING. I was worried when I made it for Christmas dinner without trying it first, but the fam seemed to enjoy it! The peas, potatoes, lemon and onions were such a great flavor combination - something I wouldn't have thought of on my own. I must say, Tyler Florence has yet to disappoint me.

My potatoes were just missing one little thing....
A BATH IN TEXAS PETE. Haha. I know most people will find that absolutely disgusting, but I love mashed potatoes doused in hot sauce. I don't know why, but it's my ultimate comfort food. Do you have any weird/random favorite flavor combinations?

Sorry for the short post! LONG day tomorrow with an early start :( Have a great night!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday night already?

This weekend FLEW by!

My 'cross-training' activity for today was cleaning up the apartment. What a freaking workout. As I mentioned a few days ago, I feel like I haven't been able to catch up on anything, including cleaning. Boy did I made up for it this afternoon!

Since the bathtub was sparkly clean, I decided to finally use the Sakura Bath Bomb I got awhile back at Lush. A friend of mine is a hardcore Lush fan and last time I went with him, I decided to pick up 2 bath bombs - one for me and one for Jamie. Since Jamie's big on baths, he used his almost immediately. Mine has been sitting in the bathroom for, oh, I'd say about 5-6 months now?

So I used it...and decided I don't think I like baths. I just couldn't relax, nor did I understand the point of the bath bomb. I mean, it smelled awesome, but that was about it. Bummer. Maybe I'd like baths more if we had a ginormous soaking tub with jets. Yes. Yes, I think that's how I've always imagined a bath. :) Moving on...

I prepped my salad for the week after my bath - Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Avocado and a Soft-boiled Egg:
Well, this is only the tomato, shallot and cucumber part...I still have to do the eggs and avocado. This salad is inspired by a 'breakfast salad' I came across a few months ago on FoodGawker. To prep for the week, I chopped the bulk of the veggies up and I'm going to soft boil a couple eggs (figuring this will last 2 days) and maybe throw in some CORN hehe. The avocado and dressing (red wine vinegar and olive oil) will probably go in tomorrow morning so they don't get all yucky.

Jamie took charge of dinner tonight and I must say it was pretty successful! We had a Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Green Beans and Corn.
As usual, Jamie's plate is always best to photograph since he's a skin/dark meat eater.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen
1 1.5 - 2 lb cornish game hen
1/3 stick butter, softened
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder and vinegar and mash together (can also be done with a food processor). Rub butter mixture between skin and meat of the hen and on the outside. Roast for 1 hour.

Cornish game hens (or yard buzzards as Jamie likes to call them) are pretty easy to work with and I think they're a pretty good option if you don't feel like roasting a whole chicken. The one we made tonight was just 1.7 (or so) pounds and was just enough meat for the two of us.

Green Beans a la Jamie
Handful of green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Sprinkle of garlic salt

Bring a medium pot of water, olive oil and crushed red pepper to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and toss with garlic salt.

I had no idea that Jamie was planning on getting frisky with the green beans! I came into the kitchen and saw this pot bubbling away with red flecks in it. Turns out he was adding some fun flavors to the water! I sprinkled some garlic salt in last minute b/c I thought they could use something salty.

Corny Corn
2 ears of corn
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 lime
olive oil

Boil a pot of water, cook corn for 5 minutes. Drain and sprinkle with chili powder, lime juice and olive oil.

So I love corn. It's probably one of my favorite things to eat EVER. I usually like it plain - none of this butter business. For some reason I decided it needed some random flavors tonight...bad idea. The chili powder and lime really needed to be turned into a chili-lime butter. On their own they added nothing. No matter, it was still corn and I was happy.

Speaking of corn, I know everyone that has seen me eat corn thinks I'm weird...I'd just like another opinion. Have any of you eaten an ear of corn and left this behind?
I know it's super weird - I eat my corn row by row. At least I don't get anything stuck in my teeth!

For dessert (yes, there's been a lot of dessert going on lately) I grabbed a couple single serving cups at the Giant:
Jamie got the Party Cake (duh) and I got the Wildberry Parfait.

The Party Cake looked and tasted exactly like the name...kinda reminded me of Carvel cake icing. Jamie was a fan:
My Wildberry Parfait was ok. I think there was too much berry going on :\
Okey, off I go to play with my foam roller. This is going to be another hectic week with some not so exciting meals, but I'll still try to post! If I disappear for a bit, don't worry...I'll have plenty to write about this weekend while we're visiting the fam in NJ (and NOOO I'm not from where the Real Housewives are from ;p) and exploring NYC. I'll let you know later on this week what fun/nerdy things we have planned! Nites :)

Things that make you go hm...

So I'm sitting here trying to plan our dinner menu for the short week (hooray mini vacay!) and I've come to realize there are a lot of flavors/ingredients I used to hate and now can't get enough of. Strange, no? Have my tastebuds evolved??

Here's my list (at least what I've come up with so far):
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Thai Basil
  • Parsley (all varieties)
  • Lamb
  • Goat cheese
  • Anchovies (though, this isn't fair...I refused to ever try them)
  • Mustard (all types)
  • Orange zest/any citrus zest
I don't think I was ever a picky eater growing up or in college. I mean, somewhere along the line I developed a bizarre fear of any food that was looking at me - no joke. While at a somewhat fancy dinner in Kuala Lumpur they served me a softshell crab (set menu) with it's face facing me! EEK! I actually got a little queasy and had to turn it the other way when no one was looking! Yes, I'm a weirdo. I like to think I've gotten over that crazy fear, though I'm still not cool with like whole fish. Nuh uh.

Have your tastes changed as you've gotten older? What does your list look like?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Running on empty

Have you ever overbooked yourself and found yourself just barely being able to keep up? That's what this past week/weekend has felt like. I'm finally getting a few moments to breathe and 9:45pm. Yeesh.

First of all, I have just completed week one of marathon training. YAAAY! I did all my runs except for Thursday's scheduled 3 miler - after Wednesday's pang, I woke up to a pain in my right leg as I walked. I decided to just chill out, not stress about missing a run and get a good stretch in. Luckily I was working at the running store on Friday and I was able to pick up my new best friend:
Allow me to introduce you to the
foam roller. Basically this sucker exists to loosen up my not so happy IT band (which, btw, I've never had any issues with until recently). It can be used for a bunch of other things (hamstrings, quads, back, etc.), and it's essentially like using a rolling pin to roll out some knots and tightness in your muscles. You use your body weight so you're pretty much guaranteed a good massage. Fair warning - it's not a pleasant feeling. It kinda hurts a lot when I roll up toward my hip area, but I know it's a hurt that will only be good in the end. I used it for the first time last night and I definitely felt a little better during this morning's run.

After a long day of volunteering and working, I wasn't about to cook dinner so Jamie, running buddy and I walked up the street to Shanghai Garden for dinner. Running buddy started off with a
Volcano and I HAD to take a picture of the massive bowl lit on fire:
Ridiculous...and awesome at the same time.
Who orders tropical drinks?? I certainly don't. Ha.

We ate a TON of food. I'm almost ashamed to admit how much...and how not painfully full I was. I think I really need to start finding more portable snacks. With all these extra activities I have during the week, I'm finding that I forget to eat enough during the day. BAD! Anyway, the food we did eat was plentiful and delicious. We split half a
Peking Duck as an appetizer and it was pretty good...excellent crispy skin - exactly what I look for. The rest of the meal was family style - Szechuan Pork with String Beans, Spiced Orange Beef and my favorite Thrice Cooked Tofu. I wasn't a big fan of the beef, but I think that's because it was a little tough and I wasn't feeling the sweet sauce. They didn't mess around with the pork and string beans - those suckers were SPICY...and I like spicy! I mostly stuck with my tofu...don't have a clue what they put in it, but it tastes like delicious.

Unfortunately, all these tasty treats were
SALT LADEN. I could feel my fingers swelling the minute we left the restaurant and I was parched when I woke up this morning. Totally not what I needed pre-run. Mind you, I eat some pretty random stuff pre-run and pre-race, but that's a whole other post.

I tried to hydrate and de-swell and managed to make it out the door this morning by
9am for my solo 8 miles. WOOO! It's not that I haven't done a long run on my own's that I haven't done a morning long run on my own before. Getting out there and whipping out 10 miles at like 10 or 11 am is a piece of cake. For some reason my body just boycotts anything before that. Hmph! I'm quite proud of my morning endeavor!

On my way back, I stopped at Lawson's in Dupont for a cold bevy since it was hothothot out. I walked out with this:
Again, sucker for fun packaging. The owater caught my attention because I didn't really want the sweetness of a Gatorade or Vitamin water, but I wanted something more than just water. Figured I'd give it a shot. The bottle says "
Think of a cool, refreshing glass of water with a slice of mandarin orange. Honest fruit taste, crisp but not sweet." That pretty much sums it up! It was definitely refreshing after my run and was totally like drinking a water w/an orange floating in it. Would I pay $1.99 for another bottle? Probably not, but it was a fun taste test.

I barely had time to shove some
Muesli bread w/Peanut Butter in my mouth before heading out to work. Threw a Peanut Butter Z Bar in my bag and off I went...without my berry. I felt so naked.

After standing for 7 hours straight at work/visually shopping for items I shouldn't spend money on, I walked back home
STARVING. We're talking cranky, stomach hurts, can't decide anything HUNGRY. To tide me over, Jamie cut me a piece of the Mango Bread he made during the day. YUMMY!
Jamie decided we should go out to eat instead of making food so we walked
back to Cleveland Park (like I needed to kill some more calories) and ended up at Paragon Thai. We've ordered takeout from there before and had a pretty good experience so we figured why not check it out in person?

It was pretty empty around 7:30 which was shocking. I'm wondering if it would get a lot more business if it wasn't tucked away in the shopping center. Hm. Anyway, I needed sugar and caffeine to kick me back into gear so I started out with a
Thai Coffee:
Same concept as a Thai Iced Tea, but with coffee. It was good for the first few sips, but toward the end, I just couldn't handle the sweetness of it all. I wish it came in mini form!

We started with one of the day's specials -
Garden Rolls:
Yeah, kinda weird that a typical Vietnamese dish was on the menu, but it was a fun variation. They stuffed these with
thai basil, egg noodles, tofu and red peppers. They were also topped with ground peanuts and served with a sweet chili sauce (or at least that's what it reminded me of). Not bad...though, I am partial to a hoisin peanut dipping sauce ;)

Jamie got the
Kee Mao Fried Rice (Pork fried with steamed rice in chili and garlic sauce with fresh basil, onion and red & green bell pepper)
It was pretty good, a little too dense and wet for me, but the flavors were good. Just enough spice!

I got the
Pad Mah Kua (Chicken sauteed with eggplant, chili black bean sauce, red and green bell pepper and basil leaves)
SO SO GOOD! I do love a good chili black bean sauce and thai basil is one of my favorite flavors ever. I'd totally get this again, but maybe with mixed veggies and tofu instead of chicken - it was a little dry. I loved the eggplant in this dish with the sauce! YUUM!!

Paragon Thai did not disapoint! The staff was really friendly and helpful and the food was fantastic. They have a pretty decent sized menu and for the most part you can choose what sort of meat (or not meat) you want with your dish - mixed veggies/tofu, pork, chicken, beef or shrimp. They also give you the option of
brown rice (though, our waiter forgot and gave me white instead. Whatevs.)

For dessert (no there was no skipping dessert. I needed more.) we stopped at YogiBerry. Duh. Crazy long line, but we waited and got:
A slight variation to my usual -
Original Yogurt with Blueberries, Mango and Yogurt Chips. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell goes with Cinnamon Chips. I just want to get them!! Fruits go well with cinnamon chips, right?

Jamie went with his usual candy coated cup:
Berry Yogurt with MARSHMALLOWS (yes, they are multicolored), Cap'n Crunch and Strawberries. Needless to say, we walked home after dessert.

I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing weekend! Tomorrow morning I'm off to DC Central Kitchen to chop up some veggies for meals and then I'm going to come up with a cross training workout, shop for some groceries and write about our Sunday dinner! Til then, I leave you with a picture I took with my friend's fancy new Canon...the one I gushed about:


For being M.I.A! It's been a hectic few days but I promise I'll post after I brave my solo run this morning. Running alone in the morning is always rough - since I'm so not a morning person - but I HAVE to get this done before I head to work this afternoon! Thought I'd drop a quick post so you knew I didn't forget about you guys!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot town, summer in the city

If you didn't already guess, my 5 mile early morning run turned into a 5 mile post work downtown run. It actually wasn't too bad...well, aside from the heat. At least it wasn't humid!

My run this evening took me through GW's campus (which is surprisingly shady and full of stop signs - not stop lights!), to the Lincoln, along the Reflecting Pool, around the Washington Monument and up and down the Mall. Pretty scenic, huh? As much as I may complain about all the silly interns, bus loads of tourists and TERRIBLE summer weather, I know how lucky I am to have all this great stuff around me ALL the time. I mean, how many other people can decompress after a crappy day at work by running along the Reflecting Pool? It's pretty f-ing calming! (Btw, I managed to not get hit by a softball today even though it was like softball central by the Monument and on the Mall!)

The last leg of my run took me up 14th Street, which is a very gradual uphill. I started feeling a little pang in my right hamstring so I took it easy. Might have to take tomorrow's 3 miler indoor and slow. I'm guilty of not stretching that much lately after runs. This whole running and going back to work thing totally throws me off and let's face it, do I really want to stretch in the office? No. I want to go home.

Tonight's dinner was
Chicken Teriyaki with Brown Rice and Snap Peas:
Jamie marinated some chicken tenderloin in a teriyaki marinade he found in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. This thing is like a cooking bible so don't be surprised at how many dishes come from here or are inspired by recipes in here. I got home, showered, got the grill pan going and dinner was ready in record time!

Here's the chicken all cooked up (after getting the apartment all smokey):
Since he cut the tenderloins into bite sized pieces, it took almost no time to get them cooked up! The brown rice and snap peas were quick too - brown rice was leftover from taco bowls and peas just got a quick dip in boiling water!

For dessert we had these single serving frozen yogurt parfaits I found at the Giant last night. I was browsing the frozen treat section and saw this woman piling these into her basket. Of course I was curious and mosied over to that section. These were on sale for $1 each! Score. I brought home two to test out:
Jamie got the
Mango Peach (since he's all into peaches and mangoes) and I got the White Chocolate Raspberry (just because). There were also some really random weird flavors like Wildberry with Granola. Um, no...I don't know how I feel about frozen granola bits in my frozen yogurt. Hm.

I opened up my frozen yogurt, expecting there to be these nice bits o white chocolate and instead:
I mean, I get it. It's frozen yogurt. You're not supposed to pile on the chocolate chips, but doesn't this look a little sad? :( Aside from that, the yogurt wasn't bad. It actually tasted like a frozen raspberry yogurt. I'm cool with that!

Jamie's ended up being the better flavor even though his looked like this when I opened it:
Not exactly a pretty sight, but boy was it tasty! I had never heard of this brand before...Kemps? Have you?

Ok, sorry about the short post. I've got a long day ahead of me and I MUST get the run in tomorrow morning - no time in the evening! Nitey!

Teriyaki Chicken
1/2 lb chicken tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 c dark soy sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Could it be??

I can't run with music anymore??

I did a quick 3 mile loop downtown on my own so I decided I'd bring the ipod with me (keep in mind I rarely run with music these days). I don't know if I just had a weird playlist or what, but I just couldn't get into a comfortable pace! Plus, the whole earphone cord flopping around and having to hold my gigantor brick of an ipod was annoying. I run just didn't feel right. It also could have been all the people/car dodging and traffic lights...hmm.
Do you prefer city or bike path/trail running?

Jamie got dinner started while I walked home from running errands in Cleveland Park and I was able to have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes. YAY teamwork! Tonight's dinner was something I pulled together with the help of a friend this afternoon -
Smashed Red Bliss Potatoes with Artichokes and Spinach served with a Side Salad with Salsa.
Occasionally I don't want to cook what we have planned for the week and instead I try to come up with a way to use any leftover ingredients we might have (hey, there's nothing wrong with not wasting food!). Tonight's 'must be used' ingredients were about 1/2 lb of
red bliss potatoes, a bag of baby spinach and approximately 5 artichoke hearts. Random, right? My friend almost immediately suggested I grab some cream and cheddar cheese to make some artichoke and spinach mashed potatoes. Being a HUGE mashed potato fan, I was sold on the idea...with a few modifications of course ;)

Jamie chopped up a few slices of the deli ham we have (I think we're on a ham kick at the deli counter...or maybe ham's the only thing on sale lately ;p) and I stopped at the Giant for a lemon, cream and a shallot...and maybe a few other random things you'll see later on this week.

Here's the ham, shallot, spinach and artichoke mixture. Something about it just screams spring to me:
I drained the potatoes and smashed them into the mixture - that was the fun part :)
Everything was smelling good, but looking a little dry so I added a smidgen of butter (barely half a pat) before the cream. A few minutes later, it was dinner time!
I wasn't really sure what to eat with the potatoes so I went with the last bit of bagged salad we had and threw in some leftover red peppers and some snap peas. Instead of dressing I used the leftover fresh salsa (which btw, I am never buying again - it was a random brand and not that good) from the Taco Bowl incident.

The smashed potatoes turned out to be surprisingly delicious for a random afternoon suggestion! I think I'm going to play this game more often :)

Smashed Red Bliss Potatoes with Artichokes & Spinach
1/2 lb red bliss potatoes, cooked
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c baby spinach, chopped
5 artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3 slices deli ham, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp light cream
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and ham until shallots begin to soften. Add artichokes and spinach and cook until spinach begins to wilt. Add potatoes to the pan, smashing with the back of a spoon.

Add butter, cream, lemon zest, salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.

I'm off to bed. I'm thinking about being ambitious and running my 5 miles tomorrow morning since I might have to work late again tomorrow. We'll see!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday came too fast!

I feel like I haven't been able to catch up on blogs, cleaning, errands, anything! Eek!

Tonight's dinner was really fast and easy since I didn't get home until 8 (and that was without any residual delays from tonight's Metro accident - scary stuff). On the menu tonight -
Linguine with Garlic, Oil & Anchovies:
We have this How to Cook Everything day by day calendar that is essentially a recipe box. Jamie's been waving the Linguine with Garlic and Oil card around for the past few weeks and he managed to sneak it onto this week's menu. The back of the card has a few variations on the dish so that's where the anchovies came in and I hate not having a green in my dish so that's where the spinach comes in!

Linguine with Garlic, Oil and Anchovies
(adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything)
1/2 lb linguine, cooked
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 handfuls baby spinach
black pepper

In a skillet over medium low heat, combine garlic, oil and anchovies. Mash up the anchovies until they break up into small pieces. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach and cook until it starts to wilt and then add linguine, pine nuts and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and serve.

This dish was pretty good for a quick weekday dinner. It reminded me of Linguine w/White Clam Sauce, without the extra work! Just a few things I'd change - 1) the dish was a little too oily for my taste (I usually prefer tomato based sauces on my pasta) so I'd reduce the amount of oil to somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 cup and 2) I think spinach wasn't the right choice for this could use a bitter green like broccoli rabe or arugula (and no, I'm not just saying that because I love those greens ;p).

Now I'm craving something sweet :\ I rarely crave sweets but for some reason whenever I have something really salty or super garlicky, all I want is something sweet afterward. Do you ever get those weird cravings??

Today marks the official start of my Marine Corps Marathon training (even though Monday is an off day ;) ). WOOHOO! I'm excited to FINALLY train properly for a marathon - NO SLACKING this year! I feel good about my running base and I'm determined to bring my marathon time to UNDER 5 hours. I know I can do it...I just need to stick to my plan (which will involve some training on the not so fun parts of the course)!

I'm in need of some good cross training and strength training ideas (aside from swimming or biking), so please send some my way! Running is the easy part - motivating myself to do the rest is another story!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who needs Chipotle?

When you can make some Brown Rice Taco Bowls at home???
I found this recipe in an issue of Women's Health awhile back and this has become my go-to comfort/lazy meal. I've made it a few times now and each time I make a couple of changes. Tonight's version featured avocado chunks and some fresh salsa. One of my favorite things about this dish is that you can do whatever you want with it. The basics are just lettuce, brown rice and some ground meat (though, you could do ground chicken or turkey, grilled chicken, beef...anything!).

Brown Rice Taco Bowl
1/2 c brown rice, cooked
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
2 handfuls of lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1 small avocado, chopped
Fast Black Beans
2 tbsp salsa
2 tbsp 2% mexican style cheese blend

Cook chicken or turkey according to taco seasoning packet directions, set aside. Place 1/4 c of brown rice in each bowl, top with 1/4 c of seasoned meat, 1-2 tbsp beans and 1 tbsp salsa. Scatter lettuce on top of each bowl, followed by some tomato and avocado. Top with a sprinkle of cheese.

Here's the under-lettuce layer:
If you're not into brown rice, you can also just do this with white rice...whatever your heart desires! My heart screams brown rice and Texas Pete ;) Is it weird I love my hot sauce and that I have a handful of favorites?? Sometimes I think it's weird.

Ok, back to Baltimore (no, I didn't finish writing about all the food and stories)!

Some perks I'd like to mention about the Baltimore 10-miler:
  • SWEEEET Rain jacket. We're talking quality material and tastefully done. It's navy and hooded with a small logo for the 10 miler (sorry, I can't seem to get a decent picture of it). Unfortunately, I think mine's too big...should have gone with the XS.

  • Baby Luna and Clif bars post race!

  • Not one, but TWO free drink tickets attached to your bib! Everyone took advantage of it as shown by the huge beer line...for CANNED beer. Klassy. (I've only seen them serve post-race beer in cups)

  • Post race food also included (aside from the mini Clif and Luna bars) watermelon - sliced right in front of you. I don't know about you, but I get really excited when there's more than just cold bagels and bananas.
Overall, I really enjoyed the race. It was by far the most challenging 10-milers I've run, but challenging is a good thing! I definitely would have preferred a non-rainy race day, but I'm glad we braved the rain and hills. It was a fun experience :)

We hung out for a beer each after the race and then headed back to Susan's to warm up and shower. Lunch was at Baltimore Pho...though we were advised by Susan
not to get the pho. Hm. I don't know if I've already expressed my love of a steaming bowl of pho after a long run. There's something about the saltiness of the broth, the acidity of lime, the protein, the starch, the all just makes me so happy post run.

Anyway, according to Susan, the broth wasn't anything special (and all pho eaters know it's all about the broth!) so we decided to explore the other fun dishes they had to offer.

We started out with an order of
Fresh Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls (also known as summer rolls):
I feel like you can't really mess these up unless you can't wrap them properly. These were probably the most tightly wrapped rolls I've ever seen. I could probably toss one across the table and it would stay intact. Ha.

For my main dish, I ordered the
Bun with Barbecued Pork
Bun is basically a bowl of cold rice vermicelli noodles topped with a grilled meat (Susan got shrimp, I prefer it with pork) and fresh veggies and a side of nuoc cham (a Vietnamese dipping sauce that's made with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, chilis, garlic and probably some other secret ingredietns). This is one of my favorite summertime dishes because although it's a fair amount of food and is filling, it's not heavy at all and there are lots of different textures going on. Plus, who can say no to veggies??

Jamie got the
Caramelized Pork (slices of pork rib cooked in a claypot with absolutely wonderful aromas and flavors - that's what the menu says)
I took a bite and I thought it was a little too salty for my taste.

Overall, I thought Baltimore Pho had some pretty good dishes to offer. Though I must say I thought it was a little pricey for what we got. Jamie's dish only came with that small bowl of rice and they charged him extra when he asked for more to finish his food. Dude, rice is cheap...why must you be all frugal with it?? Also, service was a bit slow. We got there at 11 and didn't leave until 12:30 AND we were the only ones there for a good 30 minutes.

After lunch, we headed back to DC so I could get ready/shop for a gift for the bridal shower I had to attend in Baltimore later on that evening. I ran to Crate & Barrel, picked up a gift, refrained from browsing all the sale items (yes, they are having a big sale right now), showered and then it was back to Baltimore!

Here's a shot of the delicious cake (I'll update this once I get the other pictures)
At first, I thought it was draped in fondant but when I nibbled on my piece, I found out it was MARZIPAN! I've never had cake with marzipan was pretty tasty! I'm not much of a cake person (I only like ice cream cake) but I thought this cake was fantastic. The bride's cousin described it as having a strawberry and cream filling and I started picturing a strawberry shortcake cake. However, when she started handing out slices (again, I'll post that picture soon), I noticed the 2 cake layers were super thin and it was mostly WHOLE strawberries with a bit of light cream. Delicious!

The bride's cousin also put together these really cute wedding cake cookies. Thumbs up for all her hard work!
Sorry for the blurry. I took a few other shots with my friend's fancy new camera that I want in such a bad way. It was AMAZING. I started running around taking random artsy shots and I can't wait for her to send me the pictures. I think she said it was the new Canon Rebel? It made me want to throw my camera out the window. I think I might love her camera more than the one I used at work! :(

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

Adventures in Baltimore

Hi all! Long time no post (and I tried to post this at like 9am when my internet crapped out on me)! There wasn't enough time Friday afternoon (and nothing really exciting happened) to blog before we left for Baltimore and I didn't get back until really late last night. Never fear, I'm back with a ton of pictures and stories! :)

After a traffic-ridden drive up to Bmore, we decided to head over to Canton for dinner. I did a quick Gmaps search (I love Gmaps on the berry!) and we narrowed our dinner choices to either Nacho Mama's or Mama's on the Half Shell, conveniently located on the same block! We popped into both to check out the menus and since Nacho Mama's was packed and was more bar-y, we settled on Mama's on the Half Shell.

Seeing that it was a Friday night around 7, we had 30 minutes to kill while we waited for our table. We decided to walk down the block and stumbled into
Portside Tavern for a quick drink. We each grabbed a beer (I was excited about
Magic Hat #9 on tap and Jamie was psyched they had the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA) and Susan's new roomie started chatting with the bartender about this new booze he seemed to be pouring every 5 minutes.

Turns out we were all out of the loop about this new tea infused vodka...who knew it was all the rage?? I certainly didn't! So he pours us some of the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka with a splash of water. WOW. TROUBLE! It tastes NOTHING like vodka. If I had this available while I was in college, I would have been a DISASTER! Anyway, he informed us that it comes in a ton of different flavors - Peach Tea, Raspberry Tea, Mint Tea and Lemon Tea. I thought Mint might be interesting. I'm going to keep an eye out for this next time I head out to the liquor store!

Once we finished our beers, we went to see if our table was ready. It wasn't, but we hung out and oogled everyone else's dinners. I was pretty much set on getting a side of Mac 'n' Cheese when I saw a table get theirs. MMM.

We were finally seated around 8 something and I was excited to jump into the menu. I knew I wanted was just a matter of if it would be in the form of a sandwich with fries or as a single cake w/2 sides. I settled on the Single 6 oz Crab Cake with Mac 'n' Cheese and Cole Slaw:
They gave a HUGE side of tartar sauce that wasn't even necessary. I drizzled a little lemon on my crab cake and *sigh* heaven on a fork! This crab cake made up for the last one I had in San Francisco (the one that was really rich and full of filler). It was seasoned perfectly and oh my god, I put my fork in for the first bite:
Ladies & Gentlemen, that was one whole chunk of meaty crab. I think the largest chunk of crabmeat I've ever seen in my entire life. LOVE!

I dug into my cute bowl of Mac 'n' Cheese and was equally happy. It had a perfectly crisp breadcrumb crust on top that protected the ooey gooey cheesy goodness inside!
I have to admit that I dove in kinda quickly and I was burnt by the ooey gooey cheesy goodness ;\ It was totally worth it because it was deeeelicious. The only thing that could make it even better?
Sprinkle on some Old Bay, DUH. I love how they have a shaker of Old Bay on the table along with the salt...yay Maryland haha.

Jamie got a MASSIVE Seafood Club that included Shrimp Salad in one layer and a 3 oz Crabcake in another:
It was so big he had to break it into sections! Needless to say, Mama's doesn't mess around with portions! Jamie walked out with the other half of this sandwich in a to-go box.

After dinner, Susan drove us over to Pitango Gelato in Fells Point where Jamie and Susan got Strawberry and Crema gelatos. I'm not a big gelato fan (plus I was STUFFED from dinner) so I passed. I took a small bite of Jamie's and confirmed my no love for gelato...I think it's too rich and creamy for me?
Bellies full and happy, we went back to Susan's apartment to get organized for the 10 miler. Luckily she only lives (according to Google Maps) 7 minutes away from the start so we were able to sleep in until about 6am. While I was at work on Friday, I found out that this race was going to be hot and rainy so I packed properly this time (unlike Annapolis).

There was a crazy line once we got to Druid Hill Park - I guess all the runners were trying to get into the parking lot - so Jamie and I hopped out of the car and ran to the start line while Susan searched for street parking. We settled on a spot pretty close to the actual start line when it started sprinkling.

The race started at 7:30 and by 7:32, it was raining so hard that I was drenched and could barely open my eyes! AGH! It let up enough by the first mile marker and I looked at my watch - 8:45 had past. WAY faster than I usually run. I knew I had to slow it down or else I'd burn out.

Thankfully the rain stopped for a bit and I could see and breathe without getting water in my nose :) I checked my watch again at the 2 mile mark and, eff! Just over 17 minutes. I had slowed down a smidgen, but not enough so I kept telling myself to chill out and take it easy. Was it the rain? Was it because I started toward the front? Who knows...whatever it was, I needed to get it under control. I finally pulled it together around Mile 5 while we were running around Lake Montebello. I don't know what it is with me and lakes, but they mess with my head. I think it's because I had a really lonely 5 mile lake run toward the end of my first marathon and I associate all lakes with that. Who knows.

Anyway, Baltimore doesn't mess around with hills. I remember thinking during the first 5 miles, wow, those hills really weren't that bad. I should be reminded that with every downhill, there's an uphill...oops. The second half of the course was the reverse of the first half so all those fantastic downhills were now steep uphills. WHYYYY?? Once we got back into the park, I wanted to cry there were so many gradual inclines! I started wondering if the finish line was at the top of a hill!

I am SO glad that Jamie and I decided to run that short distance between the park entrance and the start line because that ended up being the last quarter mile or so of the race. I knew I could book it for that short of a distance. Crossed the finish line and it started pouring - totally welcomed it this time around :)

My only goal going into the race was to run smart (so I didn't injure myself - marathon training starts this week!) and to at least run it in 1:35 (my last ten mile PR). Final time? 1 hour 33 minutes :) Not bad for a rainy, hilly run!

I have a lot more to report on - bridal shower in Bmore last night had really cute goodies :) I just need someone (ahem, Gitas ;p) to send me the pics I took with her super fun new camera (that I want to steal). I'll post some more this evening after dinner!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

We don't live in the dorms!

Sorry for not posting last night :(

After an almost FOURTEEN hour workday (of actual work and only 2 mini blog-reading breaks), I got home around 10pm and couldn't imagine sitting in front of a computer. I shoved some food into my mouth because I was STARVING. I definitely didn't anticipate being at work that late so I didn't pack enough food :\

I think I finally fell asleep around 11 or so and then at 1 am the fire alarm starts blaring. Thankfully we live on the first floor so I basically sleepwalked outside. A few minutes later, the fire department moseys (literally) in and when we're finally let back into the building I find out that the fire alarm was PULLED. SERIOUSLY?? We do not live in the dorms! I don't care if you're wasted and visiting your college friends that just so happen to live in this building. IT IS NOT COOL TO PULL A FIRE ALARM. UGH.

Needless to say, I was not a happy camper last night or this morning when I had to be up super early (for me at least), to pull together a fairly substantial breakfast before heading out to DC Central Kitchen and my part time job.

I was inspired by yesterday morning's HungryGirl newsletter about microwaved eggs. A friend of mine had suggested I keep some Egg Beaters in my work fridge and do these egg scrambles. I thought it was kinda weird at first, but they're not bad! Definitely not the same as scrambling them in a pan, but they were glorious after having a month of boring oatmeal!

No Egg Beaters at home, so here are my 2 eggs all beaten with a pinch of Kraft 2% Mexican Style Cheese, 1 slice of ham chopped up, and 1 tsp of salsa.
Stir it all together and put in the microwave for 2:45, stirring every 30 seconds or so and you get...

A fast, one mug breakfast!

I'm hoping this will tide me over for the morning...I'll definitely have to stop and buy a snack on the way to the running store because we don't really have any on the go food right now. Speaking of food in the apartment...I think something must have died in the back of our fridge. I opened it up and almost fell over there was such a potent stank. Jamie tossed anything that might have smelled yesterday (no we don't keep things for obscene amounts of time), but it still stinks! Eek.

Why I love working at a running store reason #457:
Standard outfit is jeans and a dri-release logo tee :) PEERRRRFECT for muggy, 80 degree days like today is supposed to be. No gross, sweaty meee!

I'll try to post again this afternoon before we head off to Baltimore (twice in less than a month!). Jamie and I are running the Baltimore 10 Miler tomorrow morning and crashing at a friend's tonight. I'm all sorts of wound up from stress so I'm hoping to also squeeze in a super easy jog at some point today. I NEEEED it.

Crazy busy weekend to follow a crazy week!