Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Am I suffering from runner burnout? Ugh. SO frustrated right now.

I attempted an 8 miler today since the weather decided to return to normal and failed miserably. WHY O WHY?? It's like everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong...
  1. Even though it was no longer running shorts weather, I put on the shorts I laid out for yesterday's effort (that didn't happen because it was way too hot). I forgot to rock the Body Glide and I wore the looser pair of my favorite shorts. ANNOYING. Bunching, riding up, ARGH. I had to adjust every 2 minutes!
  2. Apparently I need a haircut because even the tightest ponytail holder won't hold my heavy hair up. On top of having to adjust my shorts, my hair was constantly loose and coming undone. Had to fix it at every stoplight.
  3. Dropped iPhone twice while fixing situation #2.
I don't know...maybe it was just one of those days. My stride felt off, my shoes didn't feel right, terrible. I ended up just running 3 miles and walking the rest of the way home. As usual I got bored and charged up a couple hills at the end. Ech. Disappointed. Big time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What goes up must come down

I was in the middle of a long walk to the farmers market on this lovely, sunny Sunday morning when my mind wandered off. Where did it wander to? Running, of course.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm an extremely cautious runner. This is both good and bad in that I do everything possible to avoid getting injured, but sometimes I worry that I'm so cautious that I end up not pushing myself enough.

Since moving to the land of hills, I've started paying even more attention to form and control, particularly when it comes to all the steep hills. I've also noticed that I'm more aware of how other people attack these hills (what can I say, I'm a big people watcher ;p).

One thing that I've noticed a lot is how little control most people have when going downhill. So much that it makes me nervous. Just because you've pushed it through a massive uphill doesn't mean you can just go flying on the downhill! The less control you have over your legs, the more likely you are to injure yourself.

I know I look like a fool running downhill because I tend to take it slow and basically try to keep my body as compact as possible (no flailing arms or legs!) and I think I might like running downhill less than running uphill. Crazy?? As much as running uphill sucks, I think I actually end up exerting more energy on the downhill. What are your thoughts on the ups and downs?

I eventually found myself at the farmers market and snagged some peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, basil and eggplant. Overall, a pretty tame shopping trip. I really just wanted to get some eggplant while it's in season :) Check out my basil 'tree':
I wonder how long this one will last me...

Originally I planned on making Angharad's Quinoa Salad, but forgot to grab a few critical ingredients from the grocery store. Meh. Looks like I'll have to save that for another day.
On the menu: Caponata-inspired Rigatoni

Caponata-inspired Rigatoni
2 small eggplants, cubed
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, diced
3 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp capers
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp basil, chopped
1/2 lb rigatoni, cooked
salt & pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute. Stir in anchovies, tomatoes and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add eggplant and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add capers and red pepper flakes

Stir and cover for 3 minutes.

Add basil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes before adding to pasta.
Toss with pasta and serve with shaved parmesan and additional basil (optional).

Um, yeah...notice how bright the light is in my pictures? That's because I cooked my dinner at 1pm. Why on earth did I do that? What else would I do on a Sunday afternoon? ;p haha. Just kidding. I wanted to make sure I cooked before heading to the movies at 4.

What did I see? Well, originally we planned on seeing Inception (I even loaded up on caffeine to make sure I stayed awake since I have a tendency to doze off during movies) but traffic held us up and we ended up seeing Eat Pray Love.
I liked it, but didn't love it. It's hard to explain...I just left with no strong feelings about the movie. I enjoyed the scenery (totally wanted to plan a vacation when we left the theatre) and the food (also had a serious craving for pasta or pizza), but I didn't enjoy it as much as the book. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read the book. Hm. Have you seen the movie yet? Thoughts?

Afterward, we grabbed dinner at Incanto in Noe Valley since everyone was craving a giant bowl of pasta. O yes you read that right. I cooked pasta for dinner and then ended up going out for pasta. Effed up, no? Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera with me so no photos of the delicious meal :(

I was torn between two different dishes and went with the Handkerchief Pasta & Rustic Pork Ragu. Solid choice. The big squares of pasta were perfect with the salty, tomatoe-y, pork-y sauce. Comfort food at its best :)

To go with our plates-o-pasta, three of us split a great bottle of red (they were offering some bottles for $30, which was a much better deal than the 1/2 liter option on the menu). I only wish I remembered the name of it.

Dessert was split between four of us and was a light and simple Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Red Wine Swirled Ice Cream. The actual dish wasn't what I pictured. The cake was angel food cake with lots of chocolate chips and the swirl of red wine was actually on the plate with some plums. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side made for a perfect bite.

My first Incanto experience was a great one and I look forward to going back with a certain adventurous eater to sample some of the bolder offerings!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Longest. Run. EVER.

Lesson learned, man. I should always stick to my "stay home every Friday night" more exceptions.
Last night I caved and met up with friends for some shabu-shabu at Cafe Mums in Japantown.
Have I mentioned my love of shabu-shabu before? Thin slices of meat, bubbling broth, veggies, noodles, sauce...AAHH YUM! There was this place in Rockville that Jamie and I would go to (total hole in the wall, obvs), and the last time we were craving shabu-shabu we found out it was closed! AGH! It's been ages since my last shabu-shabu experience so I really couldn't say no ;)

I had no idea what I was in for. Apparently Mums is known for it's all-you-can-eat and drink deal. Ehhh. I allowed myself a sake bomb and then stuck to water for the rest of the night. The late late night.

A few communal plates of meat and several hours later, it's way past my bedtime and I'm BEYOND full. I finally got home at 11:30...a little too late considering I had to be out the door at 6:30am for my 18 miler. Yeeh.

Woke up still painfully full (how is that even possible??) so I passed on meeting up with the early morning group runners. I was determined to get all 18 done today no matter what, so I forced myself to get out before noon...even with a belly full o cow :\

Since it was going to be a doozy of a run, I actually rocked the headphones. The first time in a long time for me! Took it slow and steady to make sure I didn't burn out and did pretty well for the first 13 miles...until this guy popped up:
Mapping fail! The following block (we're nearing 14 miles at this point) was a set of stairs. Meh. I ended up running halfway up the hills and walking the rest. And believe me, there were a bunch of hills.

Things flattened out eventually, but I had to make a pitstop at a Vitamin Shoppe to get more water/electrolyte beverage because there are no water fountains in the middle of the city. Hm. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find Gatorade while running? Bizarre. Then I found myself in a pretty sketchy part of town where I got creepy comments as I bolted through the streets. In the middle of the day. Yeah, I will not include that neighborhood in future runs.

My second and final mapping fail came at the very end when I realized I mapped the last smidge of the run through the Stockton Street Tunnel. PASS. I decided it was ok if my run was just shy of 18. Seriously, I'm not going to be picky. I got it done, right? I have no idea how long it actually took since it was a lot of city running with traffic lights and random stops (hi, Vitamin Shoppe). All I know is that I was extremely grateful to have headphones. Here's just a snippet of what got me going this afternoon...

Yeh, I also surprised myself with all the Lenny Kravitz and Chemical Brothers. And that I went through my entire playlist on this run. All 64 songs. Jeebus. Also, Footloose seems to be one of my favorite songs to run to b/c I repeated it 3 times. Hahahaha heeey Kenny Loggins!!

How did your Saturday runs go?? I hope they went much smoother than mine did!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back in action.

So you know how I was bummed last weekend about my two failed attempts at getting a 16 miler in? Well, guess I just needed the rest because last night's Sunset Run rocked. :)
I was a little concerned since late nights at work kept me from the runs I had planned on Monday and on earth was I going to survive Saturday's 18 miler without a midweek run?? Luckily I had registered for the last Sunset Run of the season. Scooted out of the office early and hoped the fog would hold out, but no such luck.
Notice something missing from this picture?? Perhaps the GGB? Yeah, that fog is no joke. It was FREEEEEZING on the Marina Green, but once we got moving I appreciated the chill. It took me awhile to get into a comfortable pace, but eventually I pulled it together and finished 5.05 miles in 47 minutes. My cough even held out for the whole run! Woooo!

How do your runs go after a mini break? Does your body appreciate the time out?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ode to a Sweet Potato

I've been reunited with a delicious tuber that my mom introduced me to several years ago.
Blogbuds, allow me to introduce you to the Japanese Sweet Potato *nice to meet you*

Since my schedule has been a bit nutty and I'm trying to save up some cash, I have to admit that this starchy, chestnutty tasting guy has been my go to meal lately. Scrubbed clean and wrapped in a paper towel, this guy just needs a few minutes in the microwave and a sprinkle of salt. Warm, comforting and filling. I heart you.

Unfortunately, I think I've hit the bottom of the barrel at the Real Foods. *sigh* 'Til we meet again...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Running fail, kitchen success.

Perhaps I was a little too ambitious in thinking I'd be able to rock a 16 miler this weekend after being sick all week. Yah? Yah.

Yesterday's mid-day run felt good since I was itching to get the legs moving (I had a serious case of runner envy this week), but apparently my body had another idea. I made it about 30 minutes before the coughing kicked in so I decided to walk up some hills the rest of the way home. I took a little side trip to snap some photos at the Palace of Fine Arts

Can we say obsessed with Hipstamatic? Ha.

Of course I got impatient with the whole walking thing and ended up running halfway up hills and walking to the top. Not a bad workout after all! What are your thoughts on walking? Do you get impatient too or am I crazy??

I decided to give 16 another try this morning and mapped a pretty sweet route. Unfortunately, this time around the coughing cooperated, but I was just feeling too tired to even make it through a run/walk. FAILURE. I power walked home and planned on stopping at the farmers market except I forgot my debit card. Sad. Looks like produce at the grocery store instead :\

I'm seriously bummed about missing the farmers market...I tasted some grape tomatoes I bought at Safeway and they are totally not the same. I miss my farmers market tomatoes :( MUST go next Sunday!

After a quick stop at the apartment, I headed out on a walk to meet a friend in Union Square. I opted for a fairly hilly and long route to make up for my failed runs and to enjoy the beautiful weather. I love that it's gorgeous and sunny on weekends...totally makes up for the cloudy and cold weekdays :) Naturally, I snapped a photo
Once I got back, I realized I might have a bit of a shoe problem...
O yes, count 'em up...3 pairs of identical sneaks. Haha. Hey, just because two of them aren't good for running anymore, doesn't mean I can't walk in them! Since my most recent pair are still ok for short runs, I took them out yesterday. The oldest pair gets demoted to walking. Ta Daa.

I rocked out in the kitchen to a fun cooking soundtrack as I whipped up an early dinner of Tilapia with Orzo Salad and Brussels Sprouts.
I know, I need to start using regular sized plates so my food doesn't fall off. It'll happen...someday.

Sunday Cooking Funlist

Yes, I was a very happy camper in the kitchen. I'm sure my across the street neighbors enjoyed the dancing. HA.

Recipe time!

Orzo Salad
1/2 lb orzo, cooked and drained
1/2 c grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 c fat free feta, crumbled
1/3 c corn
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 onion, minced
1/4 c mustard vinaigrette (see below)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. Onion can be substituted with shallot or scallions.

Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp tarragon
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients together.

Spicy Brussels Sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili garlic paste
sprinkle garlic powder
1 c frozen brussels sprouts

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add frozen brussels sprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic powder and chili garlic paste, stir and cover for 1 minute. Uncover and cook for another 2 minutes.

Quickie Pan Seared Tilapia
1 tilapia fillet
garlic powder
olive oil
lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish and let tilapia marinate for 5 minutes. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. *I used mirin only because I didn't have any white wine and it seemed like a good idea. Not bad.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Still there??

Just checking.

I've been sick and busy this past week so kitchen experiments have been super lame. Plus, I seem to have developed an obsession with Yelp. Yes, I'm late to that party, but whatever. Most of my restaurant reviews will be placed there, so be sure to check it out! Let's do a little photo dump catch up, shall we?

Last Friday (yeesh) I met up with friends for dinner at Epic Roasthouse to experience the 3B special (burger, brownie, beer). Remember my first visit? Well, this time I actually tried the other 2bs ;) Burger was ok, potato wedges were fab, brownie was insanely sweet, beer was delicious (went with the Speakeasy Prohibition Ale). Overall, good deal for $20, but not my favorite burger. Just saying.

Oh, did I mention I had a 10 miler on deck the next morning? HA! I had everything prepped and ready to go but woke up with a crazy headache and sore throat. WTF? I decided to push my run back to Sunday and ran some errands/cleaned instead. Hey, gotta be productive!

Also found some time to hang out on my rooftop with a friend that was in town from DC before making dinner. Please forgive me for this terrible dinner creation.

So awhile ago (pre-blog), I made Ellie Krieger's Macaroni and Four Cheeses. It was a veg out weekend and I watched her make it...seemed like a good idea. I love squash, I love mac n cheese. She said it could totally pass for mac n cheese. LIES. Jamie can confirm that. I think I made him eat the rest of the leftovers :\

Don't get me wrong, it's not inedible. It just isn't mac n cheese. It was squashy (I love squash), weird textured (not at all creamy), and pretty bland once you got past the squash taste. So naturally, I made it again on Saturday. Why? I like a good challenge. Plus, I had a little too much fun in the frozen veggie section at Safeway.

Spicy Squashy Mac
1/2 lb trottole, cooked to package instructions
1 15-oz package, frozen pureed winter squash, defrosted
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chili garlic paste
1/2 c 2% Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp heavy cream
Sriracha sauce

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add squash, chili garlic paste, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat and stir in cheeses, salt and cream. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in pasta to coat and pour into a baking dish. Drizzle with some sriracha sauce and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

I did a bunch of modifications/omissions and it was still squashy in my opinion. Texture was improved, but just barely. Okay, it wasn't terrible, but let's just say I wasn't excited for lunches this week. At least I'm being honest and not trying to call it mac n cheese!!

Dinner fueled my Sunday morning 10 mile run/walk but o my, was it a disaster. I started out running, but was just so burnt out. Switched to a run/walk after about 4 miles and felt good about my decision. Almost called it quits around mile 7, but kept chugging along. Not sure that was a good idea since I was obviously getting sick. Did I mention it was cold and misty out? D'oh!

I redeemed myself this week by a) taking a sick day and b) making a tasty sick day sammich. Once I started feeling a little better, I moseyed over to the kitchen and whipped up some Mustard & Tarragon Tuna Salad

Mustard & Tarragon Tuna Salad
2 cans chunk light tuna, drained
1.5 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp light mayo
1/4 c dried cranberries, soaked in warm water and drained
1/4 tsp tarragon
1 small shallot, minced
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Simple and delicious! I toasted some bread before topping it with the tuna salad, avocado and some ridiculously sweet grape tomatoes from the farmers market. YUM! Do you ever get cravings for tuna or chicken salad sammiches?? I do and I have no idea why.

The rest of my week was filled with leftovers and lentils...nothing too exciting. To spice things up a bit, I went to Japantown after work yesterday for a really late lunch/wandering. Stopped into the Najiya Market for some futomaki and wandered into the Peace Plaza for some, uh...peace. Found a bench to sit on and enjoyed my sushi and the afternoon weather. Snapped a few pics with the trusty iPhone (Hipstamatic app=fun) and called it a day.

How was your Friday?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Recipes galore!

As promised, here are the recipes for my weekend creations. Enjoy!

Tomato, Fontina & Basil Tarts
1 package phyllo dough, cut into 2x2 squares
melted butter
24 cubes fontina
24 grape tomatoes
24 pieces basil
balsamic vinegar

Brush layers of phyllo dough with butter and place into a mini muffin tin. Drop a cube of fontina, one tomato and a piece of basil into each phyllo cup and brush with butter to finish. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes or until phyllo turns golden brown. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Sole Wrapped Asparagus
4 Dover sole fillets
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
8 spears asparagus, trimmed

Combine all ingredients except asparagus in a dish and let marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Roast asparagus for 5-10 minutes at 375 and set aside to cool. Wrap sole around asparagus and secure with a toothpick.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Cook sole for about 2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.

Mustard Tarragon Sauce
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp tarragon
2 tbsp heavy cream
dollop honey

Melt butter in a pan over medium low heat. Whisk in mustard and tarragon for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream, honey and salt to taste and whisk for another 2-3 minutes. Spoon over fish before serving.

Mixed Potato Pancake
1 medium Russet potato, shredded
1 medium Japanese sweet potato, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 small onion, shredded
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
oil for frying

Drain as much liquid as possible from the shredded potatoes and onion and place in a bowl. Stir in salt, flour, baking powder and egg.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with oil over medium high heat. Spoon 1.5 tbsp of potato mixture into pan and flatten. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until potato starts to brown and flip over for another 4-5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I know, I know, I haven't posted in over a week. I was doing so well, too! Here's a quickie about what I've been up to. Recipes will follow.

I was so excited about the half marathon that I forgot to tell you guys about my Ferry Building Farmers Market experience! Since the race fell on the same day as my usual farmers market, I figured I'd take the opportunity to explore another one.

I've been to the Ferry Building market a couple times, but I've never actually shopped before. I started my morning off right at the Primavera stand. Instead of going with the Chilaquiles, I decided to try something new...
Oaxacan Tlacoyos (black bean and masa cakes with queso fresco, chorizo, salsa verde, white onions, radishes and cilantro) - I might even say these are better than the chilaquiles! The masa cakes were perfectly crisp and soft in the inside...sort of like a super crispy pupusa. The chorizo provided a nice kick, but it was a little oily for me. I loved the crispness and flavor of the radishes and onions. They were a refreshing contrast to the masa cake and chorizo!

After enjoying my breakfast on the pier, I wandered around for an hour totally overwhelmed by all the vendors. I am not allowed! I can zoom through Fort Mason in 15 minutes max...I've already flagged my favorite vendors! I ended up doing 5 laps trying to figure out what I wanted to buy. Yeeh. I ended up with a few peaches (I think I'm now up to 8 as far as varieties I've tried)
That super light colored one was a last minute grab and it was called Strawberry somethingorother. I'm not a fan. It was the first thing I snacked on when I got home that day and I thought the skin was way too thick for a peach. Bleh.

I also got some mixed greens...I found a stall that let you mix and match. My mix included dandelion greens, sweet mixed greens and wild arugula.
I enjoyed my little mix...especially the arugula :) I also snagged some baby bok choy and a little gem. My bok choy was only $.50!
A long, but successful farmers market adventure. I don't think I'll be hitting up the Ferry Building Market anytime soon since it was super crowded and a little pricier than my Fort Mason one. Cannot wait to return to Fort Mason this Sunday :)

Ok, so what have I been up to since we last chatted...
I built a couch with the help of a friend. Yeah, that sucker finally arrived and to my surprise it wasn't assembled. Boo.
Happy houred at Gordon Biersch with a couple out of town friends.

Visited some tourist attractions with the out of town visitors. I also hijacked friend's fancy camera so keep an eye out for more pictures.
Dined on a yummy Quinoa Bowl (with sautéed vegetables & greens in ginger miso sauce) at Plant and sampled a friend's PLANT burger (made in house from lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews & bulgur wheat). My quinoa bowl was nice and gingery, salty and sweet, however I think it may have been a little too salty since my fingers puffed up a little afterward. Bleh.

Friend's PLANT burger was awesome. The beets actually made it look like he was chomping on some raw beef, but once you bit into it there was no denying it was a lentil burger. I loved it. I'd even eat the patty on it's own!

Brought back early morning runs with a 6:45am start Saturday morning. I had a 16 miler planned, 7 of which would be run with a running group through Golden Gate Park. I mapped 6.25 miles through Presidio Heights (with 3 massive hills I had to walk up) and the o so very flat Richmond District. I managed to get to the group run just in time and we looped through Golden Gate Park and then I convinced a couple ladies to keep going for another 3ish miles along the Great Highway. Total milage: 16.88. Total time: 3:13.

Hosted dinner at my home for the first time ever! On the menu:
Tomato, Fontina and Basil Tarts
Trader Joe's Arancini
Sole Wrapped Asparagus with Mustard Tarragon Sauce served over a Potato Pancake

Stay tuned for recipes of all these goodies :)