Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pumpkin-Chicken Chili


Ok, I'll be honest.  This probably shouldn't be called a chili...because there are no chilis in it.  But that's just because I don't eat spicy things.  If you try out this recipe, all ya gotta do is throw some chilis in the pot and then it can qualify as a chili.  Or maybe that's not how it works...I have no idea.

Ingredients
1 chicken breast 
1 giant scoop of pumpkin (probably 3/4+ c)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can sweet corn
1/2 c veggie stock
1/2 c beef stock
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root
small chunk of onion
4 radishes



Directions
Chop the onion and mince the garlic & ginger.  Brown them in a skillet.  Trim skin and excess fat off of the chicken, then place it in the bottom of the crockpot.  Don't worry about the bones for now.  Dump the onion/ginger/garlic on top of the chicken.  In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, tomatoes, corn, and stocks, and stir well.  (I used beef stock because that's what I had...I'm sure chicken stock would work just as well).  Add seasonings, stir again.  I used oregano, turmeric, garlic powder, and ginger powder.  Chop the radishes and add them to the bowl.  Mix it up.  Dump the contents of the bowl on top of the chicken.  
Put the lid on the crockpot.  Cook on low for 6.5-7 hours.  



Now for the fun part...removing the chicken bones.  The chicken should fall apart when you try to lift it out with a fork.  If you want to be more thorough than me, I suggest you use a very large spoon to get the chicken out.  Then shred it, remove all bones, and return the chicken to the crockpot.  I ended up shredding the chicken without taking it out of the crockpot, and then I had to go fishing for the bones.  I think I got them all...but I'm not positive....

I was going to make some cornbread to go with this chili, but I was too hungry after my run today to wait for it to cook, so I just ate a bowl of chili by itself.  (Ok, not entirely by itself, I had a bowl of pasta next to it).  I will hopefully make some cornbread tomorrow to go with it.  






3 weeks til Blue Ridge

What a week!  It started out with this: The demise of "Grumpy."

I didn't name my car...somebody else did last winter, and it fit so nicely, it stuck.  Grumpy was grumpy, but Grumpy was also a very good little car who got me where I needed to go.  But unfortunately, on Monday morning, Grumpy hit a patch of ice that sent us into the path of oncoming cars, so in the heat of the moment I jerked the wheel in the other direction.  I know jerking the wheel is never a good idea in a skid...but at least I got us out of the path of the oncoming cars.  However, we ended up plowing into a couple of fence-posts instead.  I have to say, Grumpy took good care of me til the end, I came out without a scratch.  The car was declared a total-loss though, so after 5+ years and 61,921 miles, I had to say goodbye.

Running-wise, it hasn't been much of an exciting week.  I ran every day, but didn't get any serious mileage.  I'm having trouble with running shoes right now.  I have 3 pairs, and I don't like any of them.  Very, very, frustrating.  One pair is fine for a few days and then gives me calf cramps/shin splints.  Another pair is fine for a few days and then starts making something in my heel hurt.  The 3rd pair has become my "racing pair" and I can also wear them for training runs, but they just don't feel that great for every-day running.  
Since I'm on spring break this week, (and hopefully buying a new car tomorrow...wish me luck!), I plan on going to Fleet Feet Roanoke and getting fitted for shoes, and getting some input on what shoe will actually work best for me.  I've been buying shoes online for years, but it is just not working right now.  I can't afford all this hit-or-miss stuff when I'm going through 3+ pairs of shoes a year!  It drives me absolutely crazy that every time I find the perfect shoe, it is discontinued.  
(Mizuno Wave Creation 12 was the absolute best shoe ever.  I now have a pair of the Wave Creation 14s and they are ok...but don't even compare.)

This week's training:
M : 5.56 / 39:55 / 7:10
T : 5.56 / 41:14 / 7:24
W : 6.17 / 45:45 / 7:24
R : 4.5 / 33:17 / 7:23 
F : 5.56 / 40:34 / 7:17 
Sa : 7.45 / 57:31 / 7:43
Su : 4.7 / 32:58 / 7:00
total : 39.5 miles

Today's run was cold and rainy, just like the weather the first time I ran the Blue Ridge 1/2 in 2011.  
I'm wearing a shirt right now that says "Life is too short not to run in the rain."  
And it's true.  Can't let a little bit of rain stop you from getting out there and getting in some miles. 
Besides, rain helps me run faster.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Awesomeness Bread



It's probably been over a year now since the day I was stumbling around on StumbleUpon and found this recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread on Joy the Baker.   I saved the page, and planned on making it...someday...  I had no idea it would take me this long to get to it.  Every now and then, I have gone back to that page, read through the recipe, thinking I would make it, and then changed my mind for whatever reason.

Tonight, as I was lying on the couch reading, and realizing that I was not going to fall asleep any time soon, I decided it was time to finally try the recipe out.  Of course, since I'm me, I didn't quite follow the original recipe.  You can use the link above to find the original.  Here's what I did:

Awesomeness Bread

Ingredients (Dough)
1/3 c heavy cream*
1/4 c water
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 c whole wheat flour
2 c white flour
2 eggs

*the original recipe calls for milk, but when I opened my milk bottle it was...not pleasant.  
So I used cream instead.



Ingredients (Filling)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1+ tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 square of chocolate (86%), grated



Instructions
Heat the cream, water, and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is almost melted.  Remove from heat and continue stirring until the butter is completely melted.  In a bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and salt.  Add the heated liquids, stir til combined.  Add the vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, the wheat flour, and 1 c of the white flour.  Stir well.  Beat the eggs and add them.  Stir/knead with wooden spoon until well combined.  Add another scant cup of white flour.  Knead until smooth.  Cover and let rise for 1 hr. 

Preheat the oven to 350.

After an hour, knead a few tablespoons of flour into the dough and roll it out.  Melt 1/2 stick butter on the stove until it begins to brown.  Spread it over the rolled out dough.  Mix together the remaining filling ingredients, then sprinkle them over the dough.  Cut the dough into rough rectangles and stack them up.  Turn the stack on its side and place in a loaf pan. 
(I lined my loaf pan with tin foil for easy post-bake removal)




There was a whole bunch of filling left on the cutting board after I put the dough in the loaf pan, so I gathered it up and sprinkled it on top. Yum. 



Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is turning brown.


Look at all that oozy chocolaty goodness on the bottom...



Cookie Give-away



I'm going to give away a batch of cookies.  
Just because I can.  
And because baking is fun, but I don't need to eat cookies for dinner every night.  

Sorry, I'm not shipping outside the lower 48.  
But as long as you live in one of those 48 lucky states, I will mail you your cookies.
(and if you live in the Lewisburg area...let's save me the cost of shipping and arrange a pick-up)


There are several different ways to enter, I'll use some online random number selector to choose a winner.  
The more ways you enter, the more chances you get.  

1) like Comida Es Divertida on Facebook
2) comment on this post
3)"follow" this blog (click the "join this site" button on the right-hand sidebar)
4) share one of my posts from the Comida Es Divertida page on Facebook
(I want more likes!)
5) bonus 2 entries if you get 5 people to like my page
(make sure they leave a comment saying you referred them)

If you win, you can request your favorite cookies that I've posted on this blog, or you can let me concoct something random and delicious for you.
Check out this page for previous cookie posts.


You have one week.  I will select a winner first thing Tuesday morning.

I will post the winner in a blog post, so check back to see if you won! 

You will have 48 hours to supply me with your mailing address, or I will pick someone new.
Good luck!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Carrot Tomato Soup


I had some leftover tomato paste from the chili I made on Thursday, and I have been wanting to make some variation of my Carrot-Ginger soup, so I decided to make a Carrot-Ginger-Tomato soup.  

Today was a good day for soup making.

1:00
 4:00
 view from my kitchen window:


INGREDIENTS

4-5 cloves garlic
large chunk of ginger root
1/2 sweet onion
10+ carrots
5 radishes
4 sticks of celery
tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
veggie stock
water
seasonings

DIRECTIONS
I minced the garlic and ginger, then browned them in olive oil.  While they were browning, I cleaned and chopped the carrots.  The carrots went into a soup pot with 1/2 stick of butter.  When the garlic/ginger was browned I added it to the soup pot.  Put the lid on the soup pot and turned the burner onto medium heat.  While that was steaming, I chopped the onion and put it in a skillet to brown in olive oil.  Meanwhile, I chopped the celery and radishes.  I added veggie stock to the soup pot as needed.  I added turmeric, mustard powder, tarragon, and oregano to the soup pot.  When the onions were browned, I added them to the soup pot, along with 1 cup of water.  I added 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste, some veggie stock, and 2 more cups of water.  I sauteed the celery and radishes in the skillet, then added them to the soup pot along with the can of diced tomatoes and some more veggie stock.  

lots of ginger!
I got squirted in the eye while I was peeling it...ouch!










deliciousness



Countdown : 4 weeks til BRHM

The Blue Ridge Half Marathon is 4 weeks from yesterday.  I'm looking forward to it, as it's my favorite race.   I would really like to win this year...but the same girl has won for the last two years, and last year she finished in 1:29 which is faster than I have run on flatter courses...so we'll see.  I'm not gonna give up before I try!  It would be super amazing if I PRd on a race this hilly!

I unintentionally had lower weekly mileage this week, due to 2 days that I ended up taking off because of a busy schedule.  But I'm not worried about it, my body may not be ready for 40+ miles every single week yet anyways.

M : 3.81 / 35:24 / 9:11 (yikes that was slow!)
T : 9.88 / 1:18:36 / 7:57
W : 5.56 / 41:50 / 7:31
R : off (too busy making chili
F : off (didn't want to get out of bed early...and didn't get home from school til 7)
Sa : 10.86 / 1:29:13 / 8:12
Su : 4.7 / 33:38 / 7:09
total : 34.81

I ran in all kinds of crazy weather this week.  Tuesday the wind was strong enough that it was really hard not to get blown off the road into a ditch.  Wednesday was also windy, although not quite as bad.  Both Tuesday and Wednesday were warm enough to run in shorts (hooray!).  Saturday it was in the 20s when I started my run, and still only low 30s when I finished.  It got quite warm later in the day, but I had to run in the morning because the Chili Cookoff was in the afternoon.  Today's run involved an ice/snow storm.  Yay, fun.  Actually, despite the ice falling from the sky, I was really excited to get out and run today.  I just really, really, wanted to run.  I don't like taking days off.  I was determined to run no matter what the weather today, since I already took 2 days off this week.  


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chili Cook-off 2013



2 years ago, my friend Josh and I entered a Gumbo competition.  Neither of us had ever made a gumbo before, but we threw one together and won the competition.  This year, we entered again, made our gumbo even better, and won again.  A month or two ago, we found out that there would be a chili cook-off.  Neither of us had ever made a chili before.  So, of course we entered.



Our Gumbo is known as Heart-Attack Gumbo.  It's got lots of bacon in it.  We wanted to go for the same theme with our chili, so we named it "Artery Clogging Chili."  It involved an entire package of bacon.  Also, a big hunk of beef, 3 or 4 cans of tomatos, some Guinness, some Jameson, some dark chocolate, some onions & mushrooms, some garlic, and various seasonings.  And we chopped up a little orange pepper thing...I don't remember what kind of pepper it was.  I can't stand spicy things so I didn't pay attention to that part.

Big pan of bacon cooking.  My apt. smelled pretty awesome!

We cut up the meat into cubes and rubbed it and a bunch of beef bones in some seasonings.

The meat got to take a nice bath in Guinness and Jameson.  It was like a spa...for meat.


I set the crockpot on low and let it cook all night long.  It got turned off about 12 hours later, before I left for work the next day.  I added 2 squares of dark chocolate at that point.  The chili took all day to cool off, and I put it in the fridge when I got home from work that evening.  


This is what I found when I took the chili out of the fridge this morning.  Grease much?


How bout a big pile of skimmed-off grease?

There were 17 chilis to taste.

Ours was by far the best.  And one of about 3 that didn't put me in severe pain...

Some happy tasters.

 Unfortunately, we only came in 2nd place.  We couldn't remember particularly liking the chili that came in 1st, but oh well.  Everyone has different tastes.  Maybe ours wasn't spicy enough for most people.  It was spicy enough for me to taste it...any spicier and I wouldn't have been able to eat my own chili!  
We'll be back next year, with an even better chili and hopefully win.  
We want to be gumbo champions AND chili champions!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

1 month til Blue Ridge 1/2



Yesterday marked 1 month to go until the Blue Ridge Half.  I only ran 5.5 miles, but the day before, I had a good training run for this race.  I ran a 9.88 mile route with some very steep hills.  It took me 1:18:36.  Not too bad for a training run after a long day at school.  Also, there was VERY STRONG WIND.  So strong, it was blowing me off the road. (It also was strong enough to down some power lines...but I didn't really know that while I was running...I just knew that my hair was blowing around and trying to choke me.)   There was one point where the wind flung a swirling cloud of sand and gravel at me.  That was "fun."  But there was another point where the wind was pushing me up over the top of a very steep hill, so that was actually rather nice.  I probably won't get that assistance on Mill Mountain during the race.  That road is much more sheltered by trees than the route I ran yesterday... On the up side, Mill Mountain is also not as steep as the hills I ran yesterday, so I'll have that going for me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pumpkin-Craisin-Choc Chip Cookies



I've had an actual stand mixer in my apartment for a whole week now and I didn't get around to breaking it in until this evening.  But somebody has a birthday coming up and will be receiving some cookies in the mail.
(Hopefully on time...but no promises. Who has time to go to the post-office?)

my new toy:

So this evening, I made cookies for the first time in 5 years without having to melt the butter first.  And I didn't have to use a fork to mix the dough.  Craziness.  Guess now I should stop bragging about how I can make delicious cookies without a mixer.

Pumpkin-Craisin-Choc Chip Cookies

1/2 stick butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 egg
3-4 tbsp pumpkin
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 c wheat flour
1+ c flour

This is my basic cookie recipe, but I added the pumpkin.  I normally use 3/4 c white flour, but ended up adding quite a bit extra because the dough seemed too soft.  I have no idea how much I ended up adding.  






These are the "fluffiest" cookies I have made in a long time.  
Often my cookies end up pretty flat.  But even when I get the dough cold enough not to spread really thin, they don't usually end up as tall as this batch of cookies did!