Monday, August 31, 2009

Keeping it random...

Long time no post about food! Sorry, it's been tough dealing with a cranky computer and closing stuff out before vacation.

Last night we dropped my sick computer off at Jamie's mom's house before heading out to grab some dinner. Jamie's monthly Mexican craving kicked in and we found ourselves checking out Los Tios Grill in Alexandria. From the website:
Los Tios Grill describes their dishes as ‘’Fine Tex-Mex & Salvadorean Food.” Los Tios could also be described as the newest smash hit restaurant in the trendy Del Ray shopping and dining area of Alexandria.
Los Tios Grill was FANTASTIC. I might say it's the best Tex-Mex food I've had in a long time! It looks pretty small from the outside but when you walk in it's massive. One downside is that it is really loud and echoey - we could barely hear each other talk.

I forgot my camera, but while I was Googling for images, I found a post Olga from Mango & Tomato wrote back in May! You should check it out :) She's got pictures of the two desserts we got - the
Ice Cream Sopapillas (well, imagine there being a scoop of vanilla ice cream) and Tres Leches Cake. I do have a soft spot for Sopapillas (fried dough drizzled with honey), but combine it with vanilla ice cream? Amazing. I love how the honey gets a little thicker with the cold ice cream and the texture and flavor of the sopapillas changes when you mix it in your mouth with the cold vanilla...MMMM. Love it! Don't worry, we didn't just eat dessert ;p

For dinner, I decided on
Mexican Combination #2 - Tamal and Beef Soft Taco served with rice, refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole. Best. Tamale. Ever. I've had my fair share of really dry and dense tamales so imagine my surprise when I dove into a super moist and flavorful tamale! The rice and beans were equally delicious. Great flavor, not too salty. Not going to lie - it was a pretty large plate and I DEVOURED it all (I'm convinced I hadn't consumed enough calories from the day before or yesterday morning) and didn't feel uncomfortably full. I also started thinking 'hm, this would be perfect post marathon' haha.

Both Jamie and his mom went with Salvadorian platters -
Carne Asada Salvadorena (grilled beef steak with mexican rice, refried beans, salad and 2 tortillas) and Pollo Guisado (stewed chicken served with mexican rice, salad and 2 tortillas). Jamie's steak was quite flavorful, but a little too chewy for me. It came with this spicy sauce on the side that tasted like the green sauce they serve at El Pollo Rico (translation: deliciously spicy).

I'd definitely recommend a trip to Los Tios Grill if you're in the DC area. The service was really fast and the food was excellent. The drinks looked pretty good too...everyone had a massive margarita on their table. MMM Margaritaaaa. It's probably a 30 minute drive or so from DC into Alexandria...unfortunately, I can't think of any public transport :\

We're having 'clean out the fridge' dinners this week which really means large salads with whatever veggies and toppings are in the fridge. I figure we'll be eating tons of heavy Hungarian cuisine, so salad seemed like an appropriate last meal ;p

While we ate tonight's bowl of veggies, we decided to check out What Would Brian Boitano Make? on the Food Network. I had heard about this show from a few friends and mentioned how every time I hear Brian Boitano's name, the song from the South Park movie always pops into my head. Um, hello.
Didn't realize that it was the theme song! Genius.
Of course the episode we DVR'd (wow, no more Tivo) was the one where he makes a ton of bacon dishes for the roller derby girls! I must admit - dude is not bad in the kitchen. I mean, some of the dishes were a little too bacon-y (even for me!), but overall pretty delicious looking!
Have you checked this show out?

I'm off. Time to begin the packing process! Hooray!!! If anyone out there has any fun Hungarian food recommendations or must sees/eats in Budapest, let me know!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quick post b/c my computer hates me

My computer freaks out almost every time I turn it on, telling me I have practically no disk space...even after I delete a whole bunch of things. AGH! So frustrating. It's getting sent off to get checked out while we're on vacation, so I apologize for the short, all over the place post! I'll write more once I get my butt near a functioning computer!

For now, a few highlights -
  • Pizza for dinner Friday - toppings and sauce were delicious, whole wheat Boboli, not so delicious. I think from now on, if I want pizza it's just going to be regular must! I'll post pics soon of my creation.
  • After a slight misunderstanding, I found myself altering today's scheduled 17 miler in VA to an 18 miler (I really only threw that extra mile in b/c it seemed silly to stop between two metro stops, not far from home) downtown. Jamie ran the first 10 with me and I ended up finishing in just over 11 min pace - WITH a not so pretty uphill on Connecticut Avenue from Farragut North to Cleveland Park! I also showed Hains Point who was boss...ME! muahahaaa! Got home, stretched briefly, made a ghetto wrapSabra Supremely Spicy Hummus and turkey in a multigrain tortilla), and off to work for 7 hours...on my feet. SO glad to be sitting right now. (
  • Around 4pm, my stomach couldn't stand it anymore so I fed it some California Tortilla. Got the Carnitas Soft Taco - holy delicious. Totally hit the spot.
  • Off to watch Body of Lies now since computer is yelling at me. I'm a nerd and really want to check this movie out b/c they were filming this when I worked near the White House. Totally guilty of doing stalker laps mid-day for Leo and Russell sightings. haha.
Hope you're all having fantastic weekends! I'll try to find a computer to post tomorrow! I've got some fun stuff in store for everyone :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's like my inbox has ESPN or something...

Creepy. My RW Quote of the Day email has been reading my mood:
I often lose motivation, but it's something I accept as normal.

- Bill Rodgers, Olympic marathoner
Some days I just lose all motivation to get out there and run. It helps that I have some running buddies to fall back on (it's really hard to bail on a run if you have a bunch of people waiting on you) and keep an extra pair of clothes at the office. I don't know what I'd do if V wasn't training for her first marathon - long runs are just not the same without someone to talk to and share in your early morning misery. How do you stay motivated?

For some reason last night's dinner didn't sit well in my belly, so maybe I'll scratch that from the quick post-run meal list. Perhaps breakfast this morning was an equally bad tummy choice:
Yep, I'm back to my standard Fage breakfast. I think I like how thick Fage is. I realized this after I started stirring everything together. The plain Oikos has a better flavor than the Fage (not too tart), but I really like the texture of the Fage. I wonder what would happen if I mixed them together. muahahahaaaa.

Off to the office for a few hours of work, erranding, maybe a run, some laundry and then a few hours at job #2! Just FOUR more days until vacation!! Woo!! Any fun weekend plans?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I'm content with what I can do and if I'm completely satisfied with my pace, distance, and form as a runner. It's only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards.

- John "The Penguin" Bingham
I opened up my RW Quote of the Day email and chuckled at the timeliness.

Tonight's 8 miler marked the return of Hains Point. Yep, I think we're up to 4 or 5 visits now? We're going to be BEST BUDDIES, I tell ya. To avoid grumbly tummy syndrome, I chomped on a small salad from Daily Market (which clearly has become my go-to lunch place), a banana and some Salt & Vinegar Pop Chips for lunch. The S&V Pop Chips were ok...I definitely shouldn't have opened them so close to my face because when it opened, I almost fell over with the strong smell! They were nice and tangy, but I still prefer the Salt & Pepper flavor.

That was lunch #1 at 12:30.

Did I forget to mention that I packed a mini burrito for lunch but I didn't want it at lunch, so that's why I found myself walking to Daily Market? Oh yeah. I might have forgotten that little tidbit.

My mini burrito was the result of a frantic lunch packing at 8am this morning. I stuffed a small multigrain tortilla with leftover pinto beans, some string cheese, meatless ground round and salsa - basically a variation on dinner the other night. I think I hate non-white flour tortillas. They just aren't right. Some things aren't good when you turn them healthy. Flour tortillas are one of those things.

It occurred to me around 3:30 that if I was going to eat lunch #2, I should probably eat it sooner rather than later. There's nothing worse than a belly full of multigrain bean burrito before an 8 mile run - YIKES!
I went to nuke my burrito and ran into a coworker. Apparently
eating two lunches is weird because she shot me a look when I told her it was my second lunch...which immediately lead to me launching into an explanation of why I needed to eat before my run. AND THEN I got even crazier looks when I told her I was going on an 8 mile run on a Thursday evening. Am I weird? I don't think I'm weird. No, not at all.

We started our 8 miler a little late so dinner was a dump stuff in a bowl sort of meal. The base was a Kashi Moroccan Curry Pilaf Side. While it is pretty sodium laden (at about 400mg per serving), it was totally what I needed post super sweaty long run. I'm pretty sure this would make my fingers swell pretty easily on a regular day. Blech.
I added a few
frozen mixed veggies and thought it was pretty good for a packaged side dish. It had a slight kick to it, but it smelled stronger than it tasted. I wouldn't eat it plain as a side would definitely need some extra ingredients.

I am EXHAUSTED. We finished what turned out to be an
8.26 mile run in about 1 hour and 21 minutes - that's after calculating about 4 minutes of stoplights, including a presidential motorcade stop (sometimes I wish traffic would stop everytime I left my house). It felt like we were stuck at lights for a lot longer than 4 minutes, but who knows. I stopped counting after 3 minutes. Oh how I hate city running :\ I'm feeling better and back on that fast mid week run gave me an extra boost!

Bedtime for me. I'll be back tomorrow somewhere between my quick run and work...hopefully with some fun eats! Tomorrow's dinner - pizza :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vacation is so close I can smell it

Ok, maybe not THAT close, but close enough. Around this time next Wednesday, we'll be en route to Budapest! You have no idea how much I need a vacation right now. I think it's the only way to save my sanity. Ha.

I'm hoping to squeeze in some track work between now and when we get back from vacation because
the Parks Half Marathon is just around the corner! Man, that snuck up on me. I don't even know how I'll get up to Gaithersburg! I signed up with the intent to keep it an easy training run, but I'm one of those people that can't enter a race and not treat it like an actual race. I'll settle for a slow-ish time, but nothing too far from my previous half marathon times.

Unfortunately, running buddy #2 (
who I will now call Sparky because I can't keep track of these numbers) is out of commission with an IT band issue. He was probably the only running buddy who was enthusiastic about track workouts. AGH. We'll see how this goes. Did I mention I didn't wake up early this morning, therefore no run took place? Yeaaahhh, I might give up on weekday morning runs.

Tonight's dinner was courtesy of
Sometimes you just need to keep bagged salad mixes on hand. This Fresh Express brand has never really disappointed me. They have fun green mixes, toppings and pretty tasty dressings. Tonight was an experiment with the Pacifica! Veggie Supreme. It sounded pretty good at the store -
Spring mix, carrots, pea pods (though, our bag had ONE pod - weird), roasted soy nuts, roasted sunflower kernels and poppyseed vinaigrette.

used about 2/3 of the dressing packet to start since I've never had it before. After shaking everything together in the bag and sampling, it was just the right amount. Dumped salad into bowls and I topped mine with some tuna and avocado (avocado was a last minute post-picture add).
Pretty yummy. I doubted the poppyseed vinaigrette at first, but it was really good. I'd probably buy the dressing if they sold it on its own. Still a little weirded out by the one stray peapod, but whatever, the salad still had good texture - not too many floppy greens and just the right amount of crunch. How do you like your salad? With floppy greens or crisp romaine hearts? Lots of toppings or more greens?

I'm off to map a route for 8 mile Thursday and pack up my work bag. Definitely making sure Body Glide is in my bag for tomorrow evening! It's been so sticky lately, I don't want to forget it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Looks like I've got some catching up to do

Hihi! Sorry to disappear for a's a hectic week between running and work. Plus, my computer seems to be mad at me for some reason. Ah well. Yesterday was break-from-blogging night since I had to squeeze a run in before a friend's birthday celebration. What a way to kick off the week!

I had a
fabulous review at work #1 which was both good and bad - basically, it confirmed that I need to start thinking about exactly what I want to do. Where do I want to go from here? What do I want to be when I grow up? Anyway, I left with that to marinate on...among other things.

On that list of other things is
my running - specifically my speed. I've been feeling slow lately. I think I'm a cautious runner. I've always run at a comfortable's like I'm always saving up extra energy for who knows what. I think about all my races and the one thing they have in common is that I've felt perfectly fine afterward - like I could keep going. That can't be right. So, my mission is to change that.
Last night was
day one of my mini experiment. I took my 4 mile run indoors on the treadmill because I knew that was the only way I could keep a steady pace. I started off with a comfortable mile around 9:30 min pace and then bumped it up to 9 minute pace for the next mile. I felt good and light on my feet so I bumped it up again to 8:25ish min pace for the last two miles. I was definitely breathing heavier than normal, but I was still feeling good. By the end of it, I really only started feeling a slight burn in the legs, but could have easily gone another half mile or so. I ended up finishing all 4 miles in 36 minutes so I guess it evens out to what I've been running on my shorter runs. Not too shabby :)

As I mentioned earlier, I had to cram that run in before heading out to the Uptown Tavern for a friend's birthday happy hour. I remember the Uptown Tavern as
Park Bench Pub (and when I actually looked it up to confirm, I found out it hasn't been Park Bench since 2005 - holy crap I'm old) and it is changing hands yet once again. The owners of Sabores next door (the random tapas place we checked out earlier this summer) are expanding into the Uptown Tavern's space to make room for a lounge of some sort. What does that mean? Well, right now it means that you walk into a total dive bar that serves you food from Sabores - on the fancy plates and with cloth napkins. Also, on Sundays and Mondays food is 40% off. Yes. 40%.

We walked back to the apartment and I was shocked to see that I had a package in the mail. I totally forgot about the book from The Special K Treatment. Hooray!! Can't wait to read it!
For breakfast this morning, I packed a container of Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt with Honey
I've read so much about Oikos on blogs lately that I really wanted to check it out. The Giant by us doesn't sell it, so I was psyched to see that the Teet in Pentagon City did. I grabbed one of the
Honey cups and a couple Plain ones to sample.

I sprinkled the usual suspects into this cup of yogurt, and it has good a
good texture and flavor (the price was definitely better than my usual Fage), but I dunno...I think I like controlling the amount of honey in my yogurt. I got really nervous because I didn't realize the honey was on the bottom (no I don't read packaging) and I started thinking o crap, this is going to be gross. Thankfully they didn't go overboard with the honey :) I think I'd buy the Oikos again. I'll let you know how the plain goes!

As I pulled that picture off my camera, I found this one:
AGH! How could I forget this from Sunday?? It was so yummy! A coworker brought a pint of Ciao Bella Sicilian Blood Orange Sorbet in for Breakfast Thursday a couple weeks ago and I was so excited to see these single serving ones at the Teet (oh, I miss the Teet!). This flavor was so
delicious and refreshing! I also grabbed a container of Turkish Pistachio Gelato for Jamie, which he promptly devoured.

Anyway, I got a little off track there. Dinner tonight was
fast and simple. An August Stir Fry! Wow, I think I do a stir fry every month. Do you have a meal you've been making a lot lately?
This month's version included
bean sprouts, green pepper, onions, chili garlic paste, oyster sauce, Tempura sauce and a package of this:
Um, I'm not going to lie. I may have developed a love of wheat protein in the past few months. Wow. I never thought I'd see myself type that. I like the texture - much more than squishy tofu in stir fry. This beats trying to press tofu only to get a mildly firm product that still falls apart when you cook it. Don't doubt the wheat protein until you try it!

Ok kids, I'm off...attempting an early EARLY morning run w/Jamie in the morning. If this actually takes place, I'm totally marking this day off on the calendar. Me, run at 5am? PSH. Riiiight.

Promise I'll catch up on reading and commenting tomorrow afternoon!! Google Reader is piling up! Agh!

Btw, since walking is just as cool as running - especially when it comes to good causes - I think you should click here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

P-nut Butter time.

I don't know why, but I always laugh whenever Jamie writes P-nut butter on the grocery list. Hm. Anyway, BSI time! We're doing an early early dinner since we won't be getting back until late tonight.

On hot summer days (or cool fall evenings or chilly winter nights...) I find myself craving Vietnamese Summer Rolls. They usually leave my belly pleasantly full and my tastebuds thrilled at the light, refreshing, somewhat salty/sweetI'm not too skilled at the summer roll rolling, I decided to make a summer roll my way...the messy way:

I present to you, a Summer Roll Explosion:
taste. Since I'm not just going to grab an order of summer rolls from a restaurant, and At the heart of this is meal is a spicy and sweet peanut butter dressing inspired by the typical sauce served with summer rolls and the nuoc cham served with my other favorite dish - Bun.

I used about 1/4 package of rice noodles:
And tossed them with some radishes, cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, chopped lettuce and basil (for some reason I couldn't find Thai basil ANYWHERE - weird) before adding the peanut butter sauce. Verdict? Delicious. It has all the flavors I was looking for and minimal work! The hardest part was chopping up the veggies and remembering exactly what I put in the sauce!

Peanut Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
3 1/2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp chili oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp salad oil
1/4 tsp sriracha sauce
4 tbsp water

Stir first 10 ingredients together in a bowl. Add water slowly until sauce thins out. Add to rice noodles and veggies.

I love dinners like this - ones that are crisp, refreshing and filling...and leave just a hint of spice in the back of your throat :)

Ok, I'm off to a staff meeting out in VA...ON A SUNDAY! At least I'm getting paid for it hehe. We've got one more errand to run and then I'm hoping to FINALLY catch up on all the posts in my Google Reader. Yikes! I feel so out of the loop!! Hope you're having fun Sunday meals :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Whole Lotta Water

Thanks to another one of my mapping fails (I mapped a little over 11 and we turned around a smidge too early), I think we either ran exactly 11 miles or like 10.8 miles this morning. At that point, is .1 or .2 miles really a big deal? No. Either way, it was an f-ing sticky and wet run. I felt like I jumped into a pool with all my running clothes on! It wasn't even really that hot was the humidity that did it. So yeah, I have no idea what our pace was but it was comfortable and we finished whatever distance in 1:56.

Once we got back to the apartment, I introduced Jamie to the Egg in the Hole. This time I avoided the charred look and browned it to perfection (though, I think the egg could have used a little more cooking). Vegged out a bit with my book and then off to work I went! This standing at work immediately after long runs is NOT cool, by the way.

I was going to do my BSI entry tonight, but the market didn't have everything I needed (plus it was pouring!) for my creation. So, I grabbed a bag of sweet potato fries and fixins for burritos!

I picked up a package of Yves Meatless Ground Round Original:
Multigrain flour tortillas, pinto beans, Montchevre Goat Milk Cheddar
and for a side dish, Alexia Sweet Potato Fries:
I heated up the pinto beans with some garlic powder and Adobo seasoning and in a separate pan, I sauteed some shallot with the ground round, chili powder, Sazon Goya seasoning, cumin and Jamie's Costa Rican Salsa. Final product from the inside?
And as a whole meal (with some salad on the side):
Not too shabby. I didn't realize the ground round came in taco flavor...I would have given those a try. I mean, it wasn't ground turkey or anything, but it wasn't bad. To compensate for the no-meat dinner, I nuked up some of last night's yellow rice with chorizo and scooped some into the burritos. There's no way around it. We're a meat-loving home. I appreciate some vegetarian goodies every so often, but I don't think I could handle living sans meat forever. Just something I realized this evening.

One thing that did stand out in tonight's meal - the Goats Milk Cheddar. I randomly picked this up because I love a good piece of goat gouda every now and then. The first time I had it was when I was in San Francisco for the Nike Women's Marathon and a friend of mine picked a wedge up for a dinner party. Hooked! I figured, if goat gouda is good, then goat cheddar can't be bad! Delish. It doesn't have an alarmingly goat-y's nice and mild and I think you should give it a try! What are some fun foods you've come across by accident?

Sorry for a choppy and short posting. I'm going to pass on the reading tonight to watch Dedication. Random movie that stars Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup that I saw a preview for while watching the Nanny Diaries. It's probably sappy and Jamie will probably kick me for making him watch it with me. Full report tomorrow!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Way to lie to me!

Before leaving the office around noon to run errands, I checked out the radar map on - I love the new 'future' button. The map looked clear until 4pm so clearly I wasn't about to start searching around for an umbrella to steal. About halfway through erranding (around 2pm), I made a detour to browse some clothes at Banana Republic and then it POURED. Ech.

Once the rain let up a bit, I
ran/puddle jumped to the metro station before the rain started again. Apparently I'm not skilled at puddle jumping because I landed smack dab in the middle of a puddle. I was wearing regular socks and old running sneakers. Not cool! Soggy and squishy socks! Balega take me away!! I am now going to replace all my socks. End of story.

I got home to dry off and relax before heading to job number 2 and got really into
Running with Scissors. It's really f'd up, but also really entertaining. He uses such vivid descriptions that I find myself playing out the scenarios in my head. The movie is definitely going on the Netflix queue (yep, I still spell out q-u-e-u-e as I type!).

Dinner tonight was
Yellow Rice with Chorizo Bilbao with a side of black beans and salad.
We picked up the Chorizo Bilbao from Eastern Market and I've been waiting to use them all week!

Yellow Rice with Chorizo Bilbao
2 links chorizo bilbao
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 c frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
1 (5-oz) package yellow rice (I use the Mahatma packs)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth

Heat olive oil in a saucepan and saute chorizo for 4 minutes.
Add onions and saute for 2 minutes before adding tomatoes and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in mixed vegetables and rice. Stir rice around to coat and add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir and serve.
As you can see, we only had a few bits of tomato in here. I threw in the last yellow grape tomatoes from Sunday's trip to the market. Sometimes I throw in a bay leaf for fun, or half a can of drained, diced tomatoes. Yellow rice is one of my favorite things to keep in the cabinet since you can throw pretty much whatever you want in it!

The chorizo was pretty good...a little milder than I expected, but I'd buy it again. I'm still trying to figure out what the difference is between Chorizo Bilbao
and Spanish Chorizo - those were the two options at the market, but I failed to ask. Anyone know?

Time for the evening reading session - I'm amazed at how much reading I've done lately. I haven't read this much since I was in elementary school! I was notorious for reading in bed into the wee hours of the night and falling asleep mid-read. When I woke up in the morning, the book would either be in the crack between my bed and the wall or at the foot of my bed. I was a reader. Hehe. I have no idea what it is, but I couldn't even sit through an episode of No Reservations tonight! WTF? I love No Reservations! Could I be going through an anti-TV phase? Hmph. Interesting.

I'll be back tomorrow post-11 miler. I've got my fingers crossed that it'll be a good one! Plus, I've got my peanut butter creation in about you?


After last night's stop/start 7 miler (have I developed a hate for city running?), I needed to redeem myself with a quick 3 mile run on the treadmill. Why 3 miles? Why the treadmill? Aren't those two of your least favorite things?? They are, but I knew if I ran on the treadmill there wouldn't be any stop lights and I could maintain a steady pace. Plus I needed a cushy ride.

I got my ass up at 7:30 (I know I know, 7:30 is LATE for most of you ;p) to go downstairs to the gym. With the help of a motivating playlist and thoughts of post-run breakfast, I knocked out the 3 miles in an easy 28 minutes. I was kinda disappointed because last time I did an easy 3 on the treadmill I did it in 27 minutes. I feel slow :( *sigh* Oh well.

Since I had some time to kill, I decided to test out this Egg in the Hole I've seen on a couple blogs. Seemed easy enough - poke a hole in your bread and plop an egg in the middle. Hm...what to cut the hole with...
I'm not a cookie cutter owning kind of girl, so I reached into the depths of our cabinets and grabbed this guy. Yes, that is a frog smoking and drinking. Klassy. Perfect size!

Ze egg in ze hole:
So, as I was trying to multitask and get my giant pile of drycleaning in order, I walked away from the stove. It wasn't on high or anything and seriously, I wasn't gone for that long. Promise...
BURNT! Salsa couldn't even make it look pretty! Agghhh. Whatever, dark toast aside, I thought it was pretty good. I'd throw some ham or bacon in or near the toast just because I love meat. Unfortunately there wasn't any to be found in the fridge.

One cannot live through the morning on just toast and egg alone so I reached for a container of Fage to make my usual yogurt parfait. I've gotten Jamie hooked on it as well so he took the container of honey with him to work, meaning I had to get creative. This morning's parfait consisted of a really cinnamon-y granola, crasins and a drizzle of maple syrup (because, let's face it, plain yogurt is not so great unless it has a little sweetness added to it).
Maple syrup - just not doing it for me. Neither is the cinnamon-y granola. I might just have to buy a large bag of that vanilla almond granola I picked up a few weeks ago!

Ok, I'm off. Work, errands, work #2 and then reading. First up - Running with Scissors. Happy Friday everyone :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Giveaway - DONE!

And the winner is...

Julia at Chocolate Shoestrings! Shoot me an email with your address and running shoe size (for the socks) and I'll pack everything up :)

Thank you for participating!

While I was googling about how to figure out a winner, I stumbled across the Online List Shuffler - brilliant. I made a
list with everyone's entries and copied it into the list shuffler box. It generated a shuffled list with numbers and then I hopped on over to and it spit out lucky #32! You should definitely look into it for your next giveaway :)

I'm exhausted from my surprisingly long and brutal 7 miler so I'm off to lounge in bed w/one of the three, yes three, books I picked up at Borders this afternoon. I swear, I need supervision at all times. I can't even be trusted on a mid-day trip to the bookstore! Though I must say, I am pleased with my summer reading selections. They all sound like easy, funny reads. Don't worry, I'll give you the full report as I finish each one ;)

Bitter is the New Black - Jen Lancaster
I'm looking forward to reading this one on the plane.

The Geography of Bliss - Eric Weiner
This was one I just grabbed from one of the front displays. I like getting lost in a good travel book now and, it seemed like one Jamie would enjoy as well.

Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
This one was also a random pick up. I read a few pages at the store and it seemed like a fun read.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Only 24 hours left...

Until my giveaway will be gone...the socks, gel, Nuun, Moons and earbuds...all gone! C'mon, you know you want to enter ;)

Double work day = no run for me...unless I learn how to get up early. I know there are
tons of you morning people out there! How on earth do you do it?? Fess up!!

I had two extremely
pleasant surprises waiting for me when I got home today. FIRST was the smell of dinner cooking when I walked into the apartment :) Jamie set out to make Penne Arrabbiata from our stack of How to Cook Everything calendar cards.
Penne Arrabbiata (from How to Cook Everything)
1/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-oz) can whole plum tomatoes
1 lb penne, ziti or other cut pasta, cooked
1/4 minced parsley
grated Pecorino Romano (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil, garlic, and chiles in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes brown (but not black) - 7 or 8 minutes. Turn off th eheat for 1 minute. Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes and remove their seeds, if you like. Crush them with a fork or your hands and add them to the skillet, along with salt and pepper; turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes saucy, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Top pasta with sauce, parsley and serve with grated cheese if desired.

I was
a little worried that the garlic would taste burned, but it was actually quite nice in the sauce. We only had a box of rigatoni so that's what we used for this dish. I don't know why, but I always associate rigatoni with meatballs or a chunky meat sauce. That being said, we both agreed this dish might have been good with some ground meat, or without the parsley garnish (which was a little leafy/grassy tasting to me). I like when I don't have to cook dinner :)

My second surprise came
via mail. A week or so ago, a friend of mine suggested I sign up to receive the Republic of Tea catalog. She's a die hard fan and has always talked about their teas so I figured why not...I like tea and glossy pictures! I totally forgot about this until I opened the mailbox and saw my catalogue...with a free teabag! Thanks to the generous folks at the Republic of Tea, I am now sipping on a very tasty mug of this:
smells fantastic and fruity as it steeps - it smells a tiny bit like the Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger, but not quite as tart. The flavor is smooth. I didn't really notice the green tea at first, but now that I'm a little closer to the bottom half of my mug, I get that green tea-y aftertaste (hard to describe!). Anyway, it's a tasty tea that I bet would be great iced. that's what I call a fun introductory catalog :)

For dessert, we hacked into that Korean melon from our Eastern Market adventure. The one that was supposed to taste like a watermelon and canteloupe
Yeah...not quite watermelon-y or canteloupe-y...and trust me, I KNOW my watermelon and canteloupe hehe. This tasted like a crisp honeydew. The flavor of a ripe honeydew with the texture and crunch of an unripe one. Not bad. Though, I am a little bummed it wasn't a cantemelon or waterloupe :(

Ok, off to finish up the last few pages of Eat, Pray, Love. Definitely going to make a Borders trip tomorrow for a new read. I think Bitter is the New Black is the winner ;)

Speaking of winners...why not enter for a chance to be one??

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hmph. That'll teach me to post at work!

What's with the funky layout, blogger? Has anyone experienced weird text issues (different fonts and sizes throughout a single posting even though it looks fine when you type it?) with blogger? Boo. Ah well. It's a sign I shouldn't be blogging at work hehe.

This will be quick since I've been writing some pretty hefty entries!
Don't forget you have until Thursday to enter my fun giveaway...even if you're not a runner, who can turn down free socks, earbuds and gooey treats??

Since I had an appointment out near Jamie's office after work, we decided to grab dinner at
one of Jamie's favorite lunch spots - Pollos Inka out in Herndon. We stopped here once before, pre-Leesburg outlet outing, and went with the Pollo a la Brasa.

I have take a minute to tell you about my
looooove of Peruvian rotisserie chicken. AMAZING. I can't bring myself to eat any other kind of just doesn't compare to whatever delicious spices they put on that bird! It's such a distinct smell too...I've smelled it on long runs before and I've started salivating and CRAVING chicken. SO GOOOD! Anyway, my favorite place to get Pollo a la Brasa is El Pollo Rico in Arlington. Fast, reasonably priced and perfectly cooked chicken. I'm a white meat sort of girl and I have never had a dry peice of meat at this place. Check out my brief review here.

Pollos Inka doesn't quite compare to EPR, but it does have a
large menu...and pupusas! Oh pupusas, you are up there on my list of favorite foods! I was a little overwhelmed with the menu and couldn't decide on something other than chicken, so I went with the chicken. 1/4 white meat with yuca fries instead of rice and beans (I also will take yuca fries over regular fries any day).
Ta daa. Pictures courtesy of the all their blurry goodness. That's what happens when you don't come prepared with a camera!

And the yummy pupusas.
A tad smooshy, but definitely tasty!

Peaaanut, peanut butter...and jelly.

Wooo! Random mid-day posting thanks to a lapse in the hardcore security on my work computer. Thought I'd take the time to fill you in on a few things before I forget!

First of all, check out Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet for some fabulous recipes AND this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient

Yep. PEANUT BUTTER! Unleash your peanut butter recipes…you know you have some :)

This afternoon I had a pluot fail. I think Val may have posted about pluots a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest. I'd never heard of a pluot before...and let's face it, I kinda like the way it looks and sounds. haha. Apparently I don't know how to pick these things because mine ended up all meely and gross so I didn't get a good taste :( Ah well, better luck next time!

I'm just about through with Eat, Pray, Love and am looking for my next read! Thanks to K at the Special K Treatment, I've got a copy of Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant headed my way...

but to tide me over (and to prepare for the plane ride we'll be taking in 15 days!), I'm also considering picking up one of these:


Bitter is the New Black

Has anyone checked these out?

Speaking of checking things out...

HeatherBakes has a yummy giveaway going on right now that I think you should hop on over to read about and Don't forget my giveaway that's going on until Thursday...

More this evening :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

100th Post, lots of food and A GIVEAWAY!

Happy Monday, bloggers :) I'm happy to report that this is my 100th post! WOOO! Why am I so excited? Well, I initially had doubts that I'd stick with this whole blogging thing, but thanks to you all (however many readers I have out there!) I've made it to the triple digits :) Yay!!

In honor of this milestone, I'm going to share some of my favorite running-related items with one winner.

Here's how to enter (You have until 9pm EST THURSDAY 8/20 to enter):
  1. Leave me a comment on this post - 1 entry
  2. Mention this giveaway on your blog and link back to this post - 1 entry
  3. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway - 2 entries
  4. Add me to your blogroll - 2 entries
And what do you get for all that work?

A pair of my absolute favorite sock EVER - the Balega Hidden Comfort. It's seamless, thin on the top, cushioned on the bottom and wicks moisture away from your feet. What more could you ask for in a running sock?? I wore these during the Baltimore 10-Miler when it stormed for the first 5 miles. My feet were blister-free and they didn't even feel squishy in my sneakers! Sometimes I love sitting in the office just in these socks...they are that amazing.

Two Mocha Clif Shot Gels. I swear by these on my long runs. I was hooked on the GU brand gels during my first marathon and tried these while training for Chicago...ADDICTED. The texture of these is much better compared to the GUs - they aren't as thick. The flavor is fantastic...just like a chocolate covered espresso bean or a cafe mocha! These have just enough caffeine in them to give me that boost on Saturday mornings when my body just wants to stay in bed ;)

A pack of Watermelon Luna Moons. Hey, solids aren't for everyone. I'm still giving them a shot because they taste like a delicious treat mid-run! Hell, I'd eat these like candy if no one stopped me ;p After sampling Blueberry and Watermelon, I decided Watermelon had just the right amount of sweetness to be consumed mid-run. I hope you like them too :) They taste like watermelon fruit snacks from elementary school days...ahhh memories!

My must have earphones that I tell EVERYONE about - the JVC Marshmallow Headphones (though, they are really earbuds). I'm really picky about headphones/earbuds because I'm convinced my ears are either too small or funky shaped. Stuff that fits normal people, never seems to fit me. Grr. I stumbled across these 'buds a couple years ago and have been hooked since! They've stayed in my ears through numerous sweaty sessions on the treadmill and I love them for that. They also come in a variety of colors, but I'm sharing my fave - lime green :)

And of course...the Nuun! Nuun is great to keep on you at all times because well, you never know when you might need it. Jamie and I found ourselves in quite the dilemma in Grenada last November and luckily I had a tube of Nuun in my bag. When water isn't enough, portable tablets of electrolytes are a quick fix. These are also great to stick in your pouch for a long run. Fill up at a water fountain, pop a tablet in and poof! Instant electrolyte replenishment. Pure genius!

Good Luck :)

Now on to the eats!

As promised, here are the details from last night's Gnocchi Experiment

Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage
1 lb gnocchi, cooked and drained
2 links chicken sausage
1/4 c chicken broth or dry white wine
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 handful arugula
1 shallot, minced
1 c grape tomatoes diced

Brown sausages in a large pan. Remove and cut into thin disks; set aside. Deglaze pan with wine or broth, reduce heat and add butter. Once butter has melted, increase heat and saute shallots until soft. Add tomatoes and sausage and cook until sausage is cooked through. Add arugula and saute until wilted.
Stir in gnocchi and cook for three minutes. Serve immediately.
Not bad for my first gnocchi experience! I think the dish would be
equally good without the sausage...or a different flavor of sausage (I used that Chicken Habanero and Tequila sausage from the market and thought it was a bit overpowering).

Tonight's dinner was a throwback to our Grenada vacation last November. Jamie and I seem to be a bit obsessed with trying to find a recipe for the pigeon peas and rice that kept showing up at all our meals. I attempted one a few months ago (maybe pre-blog?) and it wasn't quite what we were looking for. I think tonight's recipe might be close!

Pigeon Peas and Rice (adapted from
1 c long grain rice
1 c pigeon peas, rinsed and drained
1 c lite coconut milk
1 c chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp thyme
1/2 tbsp butter
1 small tomato, chopped

Simmer coconut milk, broth and thyme in a medium pot for 15 minutes. Add butter, tomato, rice, salt and pigeon peas. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
To go with the peas, I got a little frisky and experimented with marinade for some boneless skinless chicken thighs.

Sweet Curry Chicken*
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp sliced lemongrass
1 tbsp guava jam (or maple syrup)
1 tsp sesame oil
splash fish sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let chicken marinate for at least 10 minutes before placing on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.
*I may have to revise this recipe...I wrote down the ingredients and for some reason I have lemongrass down twice so I think there's something missing from this. Hmph.
For a green veggie, and because I wanted to experiment with okra, we had some Indian Style Okra

Indian Style Okra (adapted from
1 lb okra, sliced
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
splash chicken broth

Heat butter in a large skillet and saute onion until soft. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
And everyone invited to the party:
Not a bad meal! The rice and okra combination was a little rich for me, but I LOVED my chicken experiment! It was just the right amount of heat and curry flavor. Jamie mentioned he didn't even notice the guava jam I threw in (I really just saw it and dumped it in for no reason) so maybe next time maple syrup will do. No need to waste the precious guava jam!!

Phew, that was a massive posting! I promise I'll keep it shorter tomorrow ;p

One last thing...I think you should check out this posting over at the Special K Treatment, not only because I won a new book (just in time!), but because she has created a cookbook of everyone's 'ME Meals' - Meals you make just for you. ME Meals aren't made to wow people, they are made because you want them. My ME Meal might repulse some fact, I'm pretty sure most would find it gross...but you know what? It makes my belly happy and is my ultimate comfort food. :) I think you should share your ME Meal too :)