Monday, April 29, 2013

Baked Scallops

Preheat the oven to 400.  Thaw 12 oz of frozen bay scallops.  Melt 4 tbsp butter in a glass pie plate.  Spread the scallops out in the pie plate in a single layer.  Pour a few tbsp of stout beer over them.  (I usually use white wine, but I didn't have I used beer instead).  Sprinkle bread crumbs and garlic powder over the scallops.  Bake for 20 minutes.  

scallops with angel hair, brussels sprouts, and bacon

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pita Bread

A few weeks ago, The Beeroness posted a recipe for pita bread.  It had never occurred to me before to make a pita bread, but I loved the idea.  I have made bread and rolls that work for sandwiches, but I haven't loved any of them for sandwiches.  Pita bread is great for sandwiches though, so I was excited to try it out.  Also, I got to try using the dough hook attachment on my mixer for the first time.  Wow was that so much easier and less messy than kneading bread by hand...

1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c white flour
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp salt
1 c Killian's Irish Stout

Combine the dry ingredients in the mixer.  Heat the beer in the microwave until it reaches 120 degrees.  Add it to the mixer and mix it until smooth.  It only took a few minutes in my mixer.  Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour (mine ended up rising for more like 2 hours because I was busy).  Knead the risen dough with a little bit of flour, then divide it into 8 chunks.  Flatten each chunk as thin as possible.  Heat a non-stick skillet, and cook the pitas one at a time.  Cook for a few minutes on each side.  

Rip a pita in half, and carefully slice each half open.  
Fill it with some yummy chicken salad.  

I'll be having pita sandwiches for lunch this week!

April Race-Craziness is OVER!

I'm glad it's over.  April is an exhausting month.  I only PR'd in one of the 3 races this year, but I am super happy with that PR.  The distance in the 3rd race was questionable.  It is supposed to be a 3 mile run, but last year I ran it in 18:24, and this year I ran it in 20:09.  After talking to other people, it seems fairly certain that last year the race was shorter than 3 miles, and this year it was a 5k.

After the last 3 weeks of races and recovery with very few "normal" runs, I'm looking forward to getting back to normal, and actually running more than 3 days a week!  I've got a 4 or 5 week break until my next race.

This week:
M: rest
T: 4+ mile walk/jog with students, 45 minutes of jogging (River Trail)
W: rest
R: 4.7 / 35:45 / 7:36
F: rest
Sa: 3.1 race / 20:09 / 6:29
Su: rest
total : 12.3

Last week:
M: rest
T: 5+ mile walk/jog with students, 43 minutes of jogging (River Trail)
W: rest
R: 7.01 w/BG / 57:29 / 7:59
F: rest
Sa: Blue Ridge 13.1 / 1:29:36 / 6:50
Su: rest
total: 25.11

Diabolical Bacon Cookies

Somebody come save me from myself! I was left unsupervised on a rainy Sunday, and 45 of these appeared in my kitchen.  There are still 42 left...

1/2 stick butter
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c stout beer
4 slices of bacon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
mini chocolate chips

My new favorite stout (after Guinness of course)
Magic Hat's Heart of Darkness Stout

Chop the bacon into little pieces.  Throw it in a skillet on medium heat.  When the bacon starts to look crispy, drain the excess grease.  Add the beer, cook until the liquid has evaporated off.  When done, put the bacon on a paper towel to soak up any remaining grease.

In a mixing bowl, combine the other ingredients, in the order listed.  Add the bacon and chocolate chips last.

Put tiny spoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet.  I got 3 sheets of 15 cookies each.   

Cook at 375 for 6 minutes.  
(Longer if you make bigger cookies)

Enjoy responsibly with some beer.

Pot Roast Sandwich

For the Pot Roast:
Sprinkle whole wheat flour and brown sugar across the bottom of a crockpot.  Roll a 2.5 lb roast around in the flour and sugar.  Mix together 1/2 c pumpkin, 1/2 c orange juice, and 1 c cranberry juice, then pour the mixture over the roast.  Cook on high for 6 hours, then shred the roast.  

For the Sandwich:
Toast a whole wheat bun.  Put a handful of arugula on the bottom half of the bun.  Cover with pot roast.  Add some tomato slices and avocado. Add the top bun.  
Eat. Devour.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blue Ridge Half Marathon 2013

I was hoping the title would read "I won" and that the first sentence here would be "And I set a course record."

Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  I DID beat last year's course record though.  But...last year's winner passed me in the last half mile and beat her previous time by even more than I did.  Last year, she was well ahead of me for the entire race, and beat me by about 6 minutes.  This year, I never saw her until the last 2 miles, when we were on opposite sides of a hairpin turn and I realized she was creeping up on me.  Quickly. According to official results, she was 1:30 behind me at 6.5 miles.  Apparently, she ran her second half of the race a lot faster than her first half.  By the time she caught me, I was done.  I wasn't getting a whole lot of oxygen, and my legs had been threatening collapse for several miles.  I was running on sheer will power.  I tried really hard to stay ahead of her, but I just didn't have it.  I'm disappointed that I lost the win that close to the finish, but I know I gave the race all I had and then some, so it just wasn't my year to win.  She only beat me by about 20 seconds though, which is a lot closer than last year's 6 minutes.  I'll get her next year...

The starting line was ridiculously cold and windy.  When the race finally started and I took off, I couldn't feel my legs.  It was a very odd's hard to run comfortably when you can't feel your legs...
I lost feeling in my fingers pretty soon into the race, as I always have trouble with circulation in my hands when all the blood is flowing to my legs to keep them moving.  My hands/arms didn't unfreeze til mile 6 or so.

I did a stellar job on my race braids this morning.  Best braids I've ever done.

I ran a fantastic race.  I did end up leaving the watch behind.  I took the first mile at a comfortable pace, not too slow, but not blisteringly fast either.  There was another girl ahead of me, but as we went up the mountain, I steadily gained ground and passed her just before the 3rd mile marker.  The course started back downhill just before the 4th mile marker.  I FLEW down the hill.  The downhill was much twistier and steeper than the uphill, and I hated how hard I was slapping the pavement, but I knew I could lose the race on that downhill and I wasn't about to let that happen.  At one point, I thought that girl was going to catch me, but she didn't.  I held my lead until the end of the race.

Two years ago, I finished in 1:58.
Last year, I finished in 1:35.
This year, I finished in 1:29:36.  

This is my second fastest time.  Ever.  The only race I ran faster was Myrtle Beach in February 2012.  It's crazy that I just ran that fast on this course, which is the toughest one I run.  It means there is no excuse for me not to consistently break 1:30 in my future races!

Random pictures I took while waiting for the awards ceremony.

Pictures I took while waiting outside the Hotel Roanoke for the shuttle back to my hotel.

Now it's time to take another few days off.  All that downhill pounding has my hip hurting. And I don't have another race until...this coming Saturday.  It's just a 3 mile sprint, I don't need to train.  I don't think I'll mind if I take most of this week off.

update 4/24/13 :  I keep getting tingling feelings in my hands.  I think I messed something up by not having feeling in my hands for 5 miles on Saturday...they kept falling asleep during my jog yesterday too.  Ugh.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Countdown to Blue Ridge

In about 12 hours I should be about halfway done with the race...yikes.  I think I'm ready...maybe. (Actually, by the time I finish typing this and actually post it, I'll be way more than halfway done...) I've never "tapered" before a race like I did before this one.  And the only reason I took it so easy this week is because of how bad I messed up my quad muscle last Friday.  I was so scared that I wouldn't be able to run this weekend, I only ran twice this week.  A light 5 mile jog/walk with 2 5th graders on the river trail on Tuesday, and a 7 mile run with a fellow teacher on Thursday.  My quad didn't stop hurting on stairs until Tuesday or Wednesday.  The Tuesday jog was completely flat so it was hard to assess how the muscle felt.  It didn't hurt at all on Thursday's hills though, so I guess I rested it well.  Hopefully the easy week will end up helping me tomorrow, and not hurting me stamina-wise.

Thankfully, spring has at long last arrived.  When I drove to Roanoke about 2 weeks ago to buy new running shoes, everything was brown and dead looking.  Not pleasant scenery.  Today, there was tons of spring green, and a lot of trees with bright purple flowers.  It was a gorgeous drive after the drab grays and browns of an obscenely long winter.

This is the road heading up towards the top of Mill Mountain, about 2 or so miles into the race.

A short trail section at the top of the mountain, shortly before mile marker 4.


The view from the top of the mountain.  
No time to stop and take it in during the race so I drove up there today to check it out.

The Mill Mountain Star

This year's race t-shirt. 
Most awesome race shirt.  Ever.

There seems to be some sort of convention of young college boys in my hotel.  They were rampaging through the hallways's quiet now but I'm terrified that they will be loud in the wee hours of the morning and keep me awake.  I sincerely hope that all is quiet so that I have at least a chance of sleeping in this bed that is sadly not mine...

Last major decision to run with a watch or not to run with a watch.  I'm trying not to race with a watch anymore, but I've developed a nasty habit of running my first mile way too fast (like dangerously close to 6 or below).  I kind of feel like I need to bring a watch just to make sure I don't ruin my race by doing that again.  (I think that I would have done way better in my February race if I hadn't gone out so darn fast). But, I don't want to bring a watch because I want to run the rest of the race by feel without keeping an eye on my watch and obsessing about splits and pretending that I can actually do the math in my head.  (Ok, I can probably do the math in my head if I try really hard.  But it's hard to get it accurate when most of my brain power is going towards keeping my legs moving and my lungs working)

Decisions, decisions.  

I'm pretty sure I'll leave the watch behind.  I sincerely hope I can run my first mile between 6:30 and 7 if I do that...and not end up over-compensating and running my first mile slower than 7.  That will be hard to make up later in the race.  Winning time last year was 1:29 and my 2nd place time was 1:35.  If I can break 1:30 on this will be amazing.  And I totally want to achieve that.  Please.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cucumber-Ranch Dressing

1/2 large cucumber, chopped
1/4 c ranch dressing
garlic powder
ginger powder

throw it all in a food processor and blend it up

I didn't have any salad greens left, so I used this as a dip for my carrots.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Springtime Adventure the First

It was a nice day out today, warm and sunny this morning (although it ended up cloudy by afternoon).  I desperately need to clean my apartment, but it's hard to justify staying inside and cleaning when I have been waiting so long for warm weather.  Also, I've been itching to play with my camera taking pictures of something new.  So, I decided to venture to Babcock State Park for the afternoon.  The drive took about an hour, and by the time I got there, I was thoroughly bored of driving and really hoping that it would turn out to be worth it.  It was.

playing with the white balance setting...

stairs down to the water

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE waterfalls?  They are awesome.  And fun to photograph.  These ones were flowing so fast and hard, I could hear them almost the entire way up the trail I hiked.

I saw the trail head on the side of the road, and decided to hike some.  I hadn't looked at a map, and had no idea how long the trail would be, or if it would actually show me some good views.  But I had plenty of time on my hands and figured it wouldn't hurt to give it a go.  It was a good steep climb, but didn't even make me winded.  Guess running has me in pretty good shape.  I couldn't help thinking how much I would prefer to run up it than walk up it...but my quad is still tied in knots and I don't plan on allowing myself to run until Tuesday.  And right now downhills/down steps are pretty painful.  

The view at the top was decent, but it's not too exciting in pictures.  Even though spring has finally arrived, trees are only just barely starting to show some green, and the landscape is still very, very brown.  I'll definitely have to go back up there in the fall to catch the colorful leaves though!

 After hiking the trail, I got back in my car and headed further into the park, until I found the lake. 

After almost 2 hrs and 300 pictures, it felt good to sit for a moment. 
now I need to head to my Slouchers Anonymous meeting...
sitting up straight just takes too much effort.

Fruity Chicken Salad II

3 b/s chicken breasts
rice vinegar
cranberry juice
veggie stock
large handful of red grapes
1/4 c craisins
1 large granny smith apple
1 tbsp mustard
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp turmeric powder

Clean the chicken breasts and place them in the bottom of a pot.  Sprinkle with rice vinegar.  Add enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the chicken.  Add veggie stock until just below covering the chicken.  Add cranberry juice until well covered.  Cook on the stove on medium heat until it begins to boil.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pot and shred with a fork.  Mix with the ginger, mustard, and turmeric.
Chop the grapes and apple, then add them to the seasoned chicken.  Mix in the craisins.  Mix together the mustard and mayo, then stir the mixture into the chicken/fruit.