Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rutgers Big Chill 2011

This race holds a special place in my heart. Last year, this was the first 5k I ran. The Big Chill is not only a fabulous and fun event, but it is for a great cause. The only entry "fee" is a donated toy for a child in need.

The only goal I set for myself pre-race was to be sub 39 min. Last year, I finished at 45 minutes. Having lost almost 75 pounds in the last 12 months and been running quite a bit, I knew I'd beat my time at least.

About a quarter mile in, I had to pull over and pull up my underwear that was falling. If it were the last quarter mile, I would have run through but it was so annoying that I just couldn't deal and certainly didn't want to have a wardrobe malfunction.

Mile 1 I hit 10:20- my fastest mile yet. This course is hilly after mile 1. I slowed down a bit before hitting the couple of big hills. I completely missed the mile 2 marker and in a way, I am glad I did.

Coming up to the finish line, I saw the clock turn from 34:59 to 35:00! I had said I wanna run sub 35 one day and this was almost that day, had I not stopped to adjust my attire. Nonetheless, I was absolutely thrilled with my performance!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Products :: Old Navy Techno Trapper Hat

This has got to be one of the coolest products for running outdoors, if you wear a hat.  Me, I am not much of a knit hat runner, but I may have to get this for those frigid outdoor runs.

When I began running last year, I did buy the techno hoodie but the earphones were terrible.  I love the iPod earbuds; they fit my ears well and the earphones on the techno hoodie were so uncomfortable and kept falling out.  There is nothing more irritating during a run than fussing with earphones constantly.  

Maybe I will add this to Santa's list.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tidbit :: Portion Control

I saw this repinned a few times on Pinterest.  It's very helpful especially when dining out, if calories aren't posted.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Picadillo Stuffed Peppers

This has been in our recipe organizer for about 5 years. It's just that delicious. In fact, I had to toss the old copy because I could barely read it, it was so tattered.

I love the combo of sweet and savory. From the beginning, we substituted dried cranberries for raisins since my husband is not a fan. The cinnamon just adds enough flavor but certainly doesn't take over your taste buds.

Picadillo Stuffed Peppers
(c) Woman's Day
Recipe Ingredients

6 medium peppers, preferably red and yellow
1 jar (26 oz) pasta sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
2 small zucchini (12 oz), scrubbed and diced
11⁄2 cups chopped onions
2 tsp minced garlic
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp pepper
1⁄3 cup raisins
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil


Cut 1⁄4 off stem end of peppers; remove seeds. Stand peppers and tops in a microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1⁄2 cup water, cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high 5 minutes, or until peppers are crisp-tender. Stir 11⁄2 cups pasta sauce into water in dish.
Meanwhile, sauté beef, zucchini and onions in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up meat, 7 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are almost tender.
Stir in garlic, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute until fragrant. Remove from heat; stir in raisins, vinegar, sugar and remaining sauce. Spoon into peppers; replace tops. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.
To bake: Heat oven to 400°F. Uncover baking dish; brush peppers with the oil. Bake uncovered 30 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and pepper tops are lightly charred.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Almost a month ago, during my kickboxing class, I tweaked my back and then went to spin the next day. My own fault, but I could barely walk the next day. it's finally starting to feel a little better, of course, since I just made an appt to go to the chiropractor.

The worst part of this whole injury is not being able to workout. I am usually at the gym three-four times a week in addition to running outdoors. So I feel like a huge part of me is missing and I can't say anything more than it sucks!!

I did swim a few laps last week and ran last weekend. Stretching has never been something I have ever been good about remembering, but I have made sure I stretched out.

I am hopeful that the chiro will be able to fix me. My primary doc said 3-4 wks before an MRI would be done and since it's about 85% better, I'd rather try something else first.

November is already full of races, rugged maniac and hopefully my spin certification. So I really have no time to be down and out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spinach Meatball Subs

We love Skinnytaste's Spinach Italian meatballs, so I decided to change up spaghetti and meatball night to meatball subs. I haven't had a meatball sub in, oh, I can't even tell you the last time I had one. My husband and I really enjoyed our meatball subs immensely.  This is a pretty quick dinner, especially if you mix and roll the meatballs out ahead of time.

I follow the recipe for the Skinnytaste meatballs.

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of all liquid
  • 2 slices whole wheat Weight Watchers bread (or any half point bread) - I have omitted the past few times and the meatballs stay together without.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley - I subbed dried oregano & basil for the parsley.  We are not fans of parsley in our family.
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or your favorite Parmesan Cheese)
  • salt and pepper

Wet bread with water then mash up with your hands. Add to large bowl and combine with chopped beef, chopped spinach, egg, garlic, parsley, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well until thoroughly combined. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure meat, then divide in two so that each meatball is 1/8th of a cup. Roll into little meatballs.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil on low heat. When oil is hot add as many meatballs that will fit, cook on low, turning often so that all side get browned. Cook until the centers are cooked through. When finished, place on a dish lined with paper towels to blot any excess oil. Drop meatballs into sauce and continue cooking the remaining meatballs, repeating the process. When all meatballs are in the sauce, simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. 

For the subs:
Slice the rolls lengthwise and place 3-4 meatballs on the buns and top with shredded mozzarella, if desired. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and golden.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers

We love burgers and try to make them at least once a week changing them up weekly. Although I am a huge fan of a good ole American cheeseburger, I enjoy crazy burgers too!

Sadly, my mouth was watering over these burgers and taking a bite out of my dinner reigned over snapping a quick shot of the finished product.

  • 1lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 8oz. can pineapple rings
  • 1 tbsp. low salt soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (ground ginger can be used too)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 hamburger buns
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey with all ingredients except for the pineapple rings.  Mix well with hands.  Divide the ground meat into 5 equal balls and form into hamburger patties.  Embed a pineapple ring on top of each burger.  Grill the burgers until meat is cooked thoroughly.  Place the burger on the hamburger bun.

You can always make double the sauce, too, and add it to the burgers. However, I am a ketchup-on-any-burger girl.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli, Tomato & Garlic Oil

Even since I was pregnant with my first daughter, the teeniest amount of tomato sauce will send me on a hunt for some form of antacid.  So I try to avoid it as much as possible or at the very least, limit how much we do cook with it. My husband suggested a pasta dish with garlic oil this week. I created this dish entirely on my own and was very proud of the results.


Garlic Oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1lb. pasta
  • 1 broccoli floret
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil with garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat after about 8-10 minutes, once the garlic is golden.  Set aside.

Boil water for the pasta.  Add the broccoli to the boiling water two-three minutes before the pasta.  Drain pasta and broccoli.  Toss with tomatoes & oil in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple Chips

After apple picking, we have quite a few apples that were calling to me.  As much as I would love to make an apple pie, cake or another delicious-but-not-waistline-friendly dessert, I decided to take a stab at apple chips.  And boy, did the house smell delicious.  This is a very simple recipe, but certainly healthy & delicious.  In fact, these apple chips didn't last 18 hours in our house.  They are all gone!


  • Apples, washed and quartered
  • juice from half a lemon
  • bowl of ice water
  • ground cinnamon
  • sugar, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place a footed cooling rack on top of the parchment.  Fill a bowl with ice water and squeeze the juice from half a lemon.
  2. Cut each apple into quarters, removing the seeds.  Slice apple quarters thinly. (I used a mandolin on the thickest setting)  Place the slices in the water as soon as they are cut.  Keep them in the water until the oven has been preheated. Once the apples are ready to bake, blot dry and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, or a combination of, if desired.  I did use a very light sprinkling of sugar, but honestly, will forgo the sugar next time.  The cinnamon was more than enough for flavor
  3. Bake the apples at 250 degrees for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  The apples will darken and shrink.  Let the apples cool.  The chips should crisp up.  If they are not dry & crispy, return to the oven for another 30 minutes.  
  4. Store in an air-tight container.  Chips should last about five to seven days, but they will probably all be eaten before that. 

About 4 apples worth of apple chips!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

I have found it really hard to find an easy, but healthy muffin recipe.  My daughters love muffins for breakfast and they are a great option when we run out of the house in the morning to get to the gym.  Over the past few months, I have tried quite a few different blueberry muffin recipes and none of have fulfilling.  Either they aren't moist enough, or just aren't tasty enough.

Well, I took to my friend Lauren's blog (why I didn't start there first is beyond me!) and used her Very Berry Muffin recipe.  (P.S. Lauren - looking at two year old posts was very fun.  I cannot believe how big R. is now in comparison to two years ago.)

Very Berry Muffins
(c) Lauren's Kitchen

  • 4 tbsp butter (melted and cooled)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (thawed and divided) -- I used only blueberries.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup berries and milk and mash well. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar; add egg and beat well. Gradually mix in dry ingredients by hand. Mix in berry/milk mixture, followed by remaining berries and mix until just combined.

Using two spoons pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each chamber 3/4 full. Sprinkle top of muffins with sugar. Bake for 22-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

I loved this recipe because of it's simplicity and versatility.  I wasn't planning on making muffins last night, but am so very glad I did.  The house smelt divine while the muffins were baking and they were the perfect breakfast while we were trying to get out of the house for apple picking this morning.  

Sweet Potato & Corn Chowder

Since the temperature in NJ has been more autumn like the past few days, we wanted to add a soup to this week's menu.  It takes a lot for me to absolutely love a soup, especially as a main event for dinner.  As we were going through our usual sites and books for recipes, I decided to look for a corn chowder recipe and I stumbled across a sweet potato & corn chowder.

Absolutely delicious!  I made a few variations to the recipe and am glad I did.  This was an absolutely delicious and filling chowder and will definitely be added to the frequently made recipes.


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced (I added this to the recipe)
  • 10 ounces frozen corn
  • 3-4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup water 1 cup chicken broth (I changed)
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk


  1. Saute onion, red pepper, and garlic in oil over medium heat, for two minutes
  2. Add corn, potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk flour into 1/2 cup of the milk, until smooth.
  5. Gradually add the flour and milk mixture to the vegetables, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to stir as you add the rest of the milk, cooking until soup boils and thickens.
  7. If desired, use a stick blender for about 5-10 seconds to blend.  (I added this step as well.  I think it gave it that extra blend of the flavors melding together!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

While I fell off the wagon with my blog, I certainly haven't neglected my healthy lifestyle. Since last blogging in April, I doubled(!!!!) my weight loss. Now I am SIXTY pounds thinner than I was before beginning my journey back in January. My husband and I will be celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary this weekend and I am at least 30lbs smaller than our wedding day!

This year has been a year of milestones: my 30th bday, running my first 5k, etc... All of which I have been using as motivation for goals and each one I have achieved so far. My next goal is to lose another 20lbs by October 22nd. It's going to be a challenge but one I am ready to run with.

So continue on this journey with me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

AW: Thirty Pounds Down!

This week I reached a huge milestone...


So many people have been asking me "what's your secret?", "how did you do it?", etc.  And honestly my answer should be that I bust my butt four days a week at the gym (2 spin classes, a weights class & kickboxing) two days at home (Yoga, running, or the Biggest Loser for Kinect) and one day for rest, and eat the best I can without depriving myself of a sweet now and then.  I also participate in an online community and owe much of my success to them for keeping me on track.

Has it been easy?  For the most part, yes, it has been.  I make it a priority to go to the gym and to plan healthy meals.  Life happens and I just can't beat myself up over a bad week.  It's about taking that week and making the next week better.

And this is it.  I am not going back to where I was.

Pesto Primavera

Over the past 3 1/2 months I haven't eaten as many veggies as I have in my entire adult life.  And I am not talking mashed potatoes or french fries here, but healthy, tasty vegetables.  We have a year round Farmer's Market and are taking full advantage of not only the quality and selection, but the prices are unbeatable.

After receiving the pasta primavera recipe in the recipe swap, we made it three times and wanted to change it up before we grew really tired of it.  My husband recommended adding a pesto sauce to the primavera.  The great thing about this dish is that it can be changed with just the different veggies you decide to throw in each time.  Some other veggies to use are: eggplant, asparagus, and any bell pepper.

Pesto Primavera
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
2 small yellow squash, cut into thin strips
1 onion, cut into eighths
1 zucchini, cut into thin strips
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. italian seasoning
1 lb. penne pasta

2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (I omitted)
1/2 cup EVOO
kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, & pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add 1/2 cup of oil and process until smooth.  Blend in grated cheese and season with salt & pepper.

Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Mix olive oil and seasonings in a small bowl.  Arrange cut veggies onto a baking sheet.  Pour olive oil mixture over the veggies.  Bake veggies for approximately 20-25 minutes in the oven, adding the cherry tomatoes for the last 10 minutes.

While the veggies are baking, prepare the pesto in a food processor.  Also, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.  In a large bowl, combine pasta with veggies and pesto.  Add the reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time and mix after each time.   (I only used 1/2 cup of the water).

Recipe Swap:: Thanksgiving Burgers

The latest swap category was panini or sandwich.  I really like these swaps because since I have started documenting my weight loss journey it makes me go through my recipe box and remind me of what delicious dinners we have been missing.  I submitted another Rachael Ray recipe for Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.  The link to the recipe is from my friend Lauren who received the recipe in the swap.

The recipe I received was for Thanksgiving Burgers from Lisa's Cooking Adventures.  My husband is always excited to see what recipes we receive and we were both looking forward to these burgers since last week.

I omitted the parsley since we aren't huge parsley fans.  I used shredded cheddar since we had that on hand.  The flavors were delicious and definitely tasted like Thanksgiving dinner sans stuffing!  The apple gave it such a great crunch and added flavor.  I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant about the cranberry sauce/mustard combo, but it was so tasty!!  Such an easy recipe to follow and definitely took me less than 30 minutes from prep to plating.  I totally forgot these were supposed to be on English muffins when I was at the store and bought panini rolls instead, which was way too big for the burger so next time I would use an english muffin or a smaller roll.

On the side, I made sweet potatoes fries to accompany the thanksgiving theme and tossed them in a cinnamon-agave mixture.

(Slightly adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe)

1.3  lbs ground turkey breast (1 pkg)
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley - I omitted
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
8 slices  cheese
1 green apple, cut into 12 slices
1/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
4 sandwich-size english muffins, split and toasted

In a bowl, combine the turkey, scallions, parsley, grill seasoning and poultry seasoning. Form into 4 patties, pressing your thumb into the center of each to prevent it from bulging.
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.   Add the patties and cook for 8 minutes on each side. Top each with 3 apple slices and 2 cheese slices, tent the pan with foil and cook until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the cranberry sauce and mustard; slather on the muffin tops; top with the patties and set the muffin tops into place.

Cinnamon-y Sweet Potato Fries
2 large yams, cut into sticks for fries
2 tbsp. agave syrup
1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt, if desired

Combine agave & cinnamon and toss with the sweet potato fries.  Layer the fries on a baking sheet and bake at 425º for about 25 minutes.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fajita Burgers

We planned on having burgers this week, but the weather hasn't been very cooperative to grill outside on the days we planned them.  Just a plain ol' cheeseburger wasn't sounding extremely appealing tonight especially since they would be baked in the toaster oven so I turned to FoodNetwork for some ideas....

and was very happy with my decision, as was my husband.

Beef Fajita Burgers by Rachael Ray

  • 1 1/3 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh picked thyme leaves, several sprigs
  • Several drops hot sauce - I used Crystal
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
I baked them in the toaster oven on 350ºF for about 25 minutes.  These were cooked thoroughly and perhaps just a little too well done for my taste.  But the beef was juicy and quite delicious.  I topped them with a little bit of cheese & salsa (I love, love, love Wegman's Pineapple Salsa).  Accompanied with baked seasoned fries, this was one deliciously unexpected meal!

Monday, April 4, 2011

French Onion Mac 'n Cheese

When I was working, a few free issues of Rachael Ray's Every Day with Rachael Ray were sent to our school.  I would peruse the magazine, but then they went on the bottom of our bakers rack to be looked at another time.  I was doing some early spring cleaning back in January when I came across this recipe for French Onion Mac 'n Cheese.  I really enjoy her recipes because they are usually fairly easy and quick, but never lack on taste.  And this absolutely fit into those categories and will definitely be added in to our rotation.

Ingredients, Adapted from Rachael Ray's Every Day with Rachael Ray
  • EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne 
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 pound munster cheese, shredded

In a skillet, heat EVOO on med-high heat.  Stir in onions, thyme & bay leaf for 5 minutes; season with salt & pepper.  Lower heat and cook until the onions are browned, 10-15 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain and return to pot.
In reserved skillet, melt the 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the chicken stock & milk and bring to a boil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Lower heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cheese until melted.
Combine onions & sauce with pasta and toss well.

Recipe Swap:: Coq Au Vin

The latest swap was a chicken dish.  I submitted my favorite Cheesy Chicken Shells recipe!

I was given Coq Au Vin from Melissa's I Was Born to Cook.  Melissa has a fantastic cooking blog with many, many recipes.  This recipe was quite delicious.  It definitely required a bit more work than I like in weeknight recipes, however, we weren't able to make this dish over the weekend.  I omitted the cognac as we didn't have any on hand and Wegmans was wiped out of carrots (unless I wanted some awfully sad, whimpy carrots) when I went food shopping yesterday so those had to be left out as well.  Overall, this dish was good - definitey a great Sunday night or special occasion dish.  This also made me remember how much I love pearl onions and that we don't use them enough.  

Coq Au Vin
adapted from 
Ina Garten (she says the recipe serves 3, but it definitely could serve 5-6)

4 oz. bacon, cut into chunks
5 chicken leg quarters
4 chicken legs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. carrots, cut into chunks
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac
1 cup red wine
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons AP flour
1/2 pound frozen pearl onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

5k:: Paulette Steps Towards Cancer

Sometimes I doubt myself a little too much.  I felt really unprepared for this 5k which took place at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan, NJ.  I was uncertain of the course and elevation, but knew it was hilly terrain because I grew up about 6 miles from the park and had visited the park before.

The morning of the run wasn't too great in our house - my husband wasn't feeling well and I had crazy nerves; I felt like a student who woke up to find out that the final was that day and didn't study.

But I knew this was for a great cause - colorectal cancer - and so my nerves had to be put behind me and many of my personal bests were achieved during this race.

As the race began, I had Scooter's Jump That Rock helping to pump adrenaline through me and over 200 of us were off running.  We did a quick loop, about 3/4 mile, and then a volunteer was directing the runners onto the dirt trails.  Yes, trails...sand, dirt, grass, through the woods, up and down hills.  And at that point, I couldn't turn back so I just had to trudge forward.  First mile, I hit at 11:50 - my fastest mile to date.   The second mile was about 25min & crossing the finish at 41:05.  My best 5k yet.

I was quite proud of my accomplishments during this run.  Running on pavement is what I am used to.  So to hit personal bests while running trails and especially trails that are uneven was awesome.

A definite proud moment of 2011!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recipe Swap :: Pasta Primavera

This week's recipe swap's theme was a vegetarian dish.  I submitted our favorite, but unique macaroni and cheese recipe from Rachael Ray.  It  was a French Onion Mac 'N Cheese.  I have not made it again since starting this cooking blog, but I must put it on our list because it's just too good to not write about.

I received the recipe for Pasta Primavera from Christina who is the author of Tales of the Mad Men Kitchen.  She has a great cooking blog so I knew this was going to be a delicious recipe!

This was a huge hit in our house.  I made this for our "Tiff Tuesday" when my best friend comes over for dinner.  What a light, but delicious dish -  what a perfect Springtime dinner.  While we were eating, we were already thinking ahead to the next time I would make this dish and what other veggies we would add: broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, the possibilities are endless and just as yummy!  We didn't have any herbs de Provence on hand (I used it up and forgot I did) so I used a combo of dried basil, dried thyme, dried sage and then a touch of garlic powder.

Pasta Primavera
3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
1 pound farfalle 
15 cherry tomatoes, halved 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.