Monday, April 23, 2012

Suprise 13.1

Yes, a "Suprise 13.1 HALF-MARATHON!"

What crazy person decides to just up and run half-marathon not planned?
A person who is active, runs a bit as part of their workout, slightly off-balance, and is offered a free entry registration for a half-marathon. 

To be fair, I do run some already-Probably about 7-10 miles a week. 
I work out about 4-5 days a week and usually my rest days involved something low impact activity 
(i.e. walk a couple of miles or bike about 30 minutes). 
I do cross-train. 
I run, rock the elliptical, walk, bike, do intervals, and strength train.
So, I am moderately fit.
However, the farthest I have ever ran is 7 miles. 

I had contemplated running our local half-marathon.
However, I have other priorities that I thought training would interfere with and figured I participate in one in the fall.
Well, surprise, surprise.  
Fall came a bit early.

2 days before the race, an individual (a "he") in our company offered a free entry to a friend (who would be out of town at the time of the race). She then suggests "he" offer it to me.
After about 5 minutes of me going, "Omigosh, I don't know if I can do this!"
I accepted.

I may have later freaked myself out by watching a video of the route.
Considered backing out.
But didn't.
Since I had a couple days notice, I did eat more carbs the day before 
I did get plenty of rest the night before.

How'd it go?

I awoke about 1 1/2 before the race (5:30 a.m.) and ate my oatmeal and toast.
I arrived at the race at about 6:20 
I found a pace group I thought I would attempt to keep up with- the 2 hour and 10 minute pace group.
I had no idea how I'd do.
My strategy was to try and pace myself just so I could finish.
10 minutes a mile...I thought I could do that.
I told myself to just keep moving!
And guess what? 
I finished in right under 2:10.
My first half -without proper training.  
For that, I am pleased with the result!

Factors of my Success:
1) I stuck with my pace group the entire race.
2) I focused on make sure I had proper fuel during the run 
(and also before w/ breakfast & carbs):
At mile 2, I drank a Energy Stacker.
At mile 5 1/2, I at a 100 calorie Clif bar.
At mile 7, I ate half of a Clif performance gel.
At mile, 10, I ate the other half of the Clif gel.  
I grabbed drinks of water or Gatorade at about 5 stops. 

Another factor to my running success?
3) I gabbed to people the entire race-I'm a talker and it really helps get your mind off things! Just puts me on auto-pilot...just run and go...don't think about it.
I just kept talking the whole way-I primarily talked to the pace leaders (a couple a bit older than myself) and a fellow-runner named Pam (a 44 yr old kickboxing teacher). 

I was SO PUMPED for about 1 1/2 after the race-then the adrenaline wore off.

Would I do it again?
Heck, yeah. 

Can't wait for the next one!

As for soreness/recovery. 
I took it easy and sat on my butt the rest of the day.
Yes, I was tired later in the day & took about a 20 minutes nap. 
I did stretch some. But, I'm not a huge stretcher.

I feel even less sore the day after.
 Not nearly as sore as I expected.
Which is awesome.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

7-Layer Meditteranean Dip

 7-Layer Meditteranean Dip
Coursey of Closet Cooking

1 1/2 cups hummus (I used Red Pepper Hummus)
1 cup tzatziki (I made my own-equal parts plain greek yogurt and lowfat sour cream, added dry dill, garlic, pepper, and lots of salt to taste. Let set in fridge overnight. Delicious!)
1 cup tomato (diced and mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon oregano)
1/2 cup cucumber (cut into small pieces)
1/4 cup red onions (diced)
1/4 cup feta (crumbled)
1/4 cup kalamata olives (pitted and coarsely chopped)
(For the Feta & Olives, I went to Kroger and purchases from their olive bar (by the deli)-No pits!)
1 handful mint (chopped)
4 whole wheat pitas (cut into triangles and toasted until just crispy) (Yeah. I just purchased the already baked pita chips.)

1. Assemble dip starting with the hummus and stacking each ingredient on top of the last.

I made this "new" recipe for a work lunch. In concept, this is similar to a 7-layer Mexican dip, but Mediterranean style!

Verdict: Good, but personally, I prefer the Mexican layer dip. This was good. Give it maybe 3.5 or 4 stars. I probably won't rush to the store to make more, but I liked it. Solid, average dish. Depends on your preferences.

*Helpful Hint*
I made my dip the night before and let it set in the refrigerator. BUT, I recommend making this right before serving OR waiting to top with the veggies until right before serving. The liquid from the veggies made my tzatziki watery *sad face.* Dish still taste good, but not as pretty. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Say Hello to My Little Friend...


Yes, they ARE as delicious as they look!
No joke.
This recipe is definitely going in my "Keeper" file of recipe.
For sure a crowd-pleaser.
And a tummy-pleaser.
And a "I want more, please-er".
Har. Har.

So, you know, one day, I'm putting along, looking at Pinterest, and BAM! There are these fabulous looking cupcakes.
I knew once I seen these, I WOULD make them.
It was going to happen.

The recipe found on Annie-Eats will have you drooling.
Her directions are awesome!
AND I followed her recipe 99% of the way...
I only added a heaping Tablespoon of sour cream to the batter for fear of a dry cake.
(Couldn't help it! I've had some dry cake experience with "from-scratch" cakes).

Oh, and I did decorate mine differently...minor change.
Something about the hubby eating some of the Oreos that were suppose to be reserved for this receipe...
BUT, the mini-Oreos are way cute.
When life hands you lemons hubby eats your oreos, make lemonade go buy a cuter garnish!
So, happy little accident.

I brought these to work and  
(after the "Darn you and your cupcakes...I'm trying to watch my weight" remarks)
people LOVED them.

For a made-from-scratch cake...this one was really pretty simple.

Gosh, I love me some cookies and cream.

See Annie's Blog for more!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grillin' Time & Choco-Peanut Balls

Get it?
Still no? 
Odd, yes. 
But, yummy, nonetheless.

So, we FINALLY got to use our *NEW* grill we received for Christmas.
I LOVE grilled food!!! 

The only protein I had to cook was chicken.
So guess what we had as our first meal on the grill? (Oooh, that rhymes!) 
Not that I'm complaining.
I do like me some chicken. 

I chose a marinade from> Amazing Chicken Marinade

It was good. As I made it, I give it 4 stars
BUT, I didn't have the lime on-hand, so I omitted, and added a bit of dried rosemary.
I only was able to let it marinate for an hour, but the chicken definitely had flavor.  
Hubby said it reminded him of teriyaki.
My thoughts...Yes and no.
The chicken had some sweetness to it (brown sugar), but wasn't the same as teriyaki.
Probably would have been even better with the dang lime!
I would make it again, but I'm not sure if this is our "go to" chicken marinade. 
We'll see.
I also had hubby cook red, yellow, & orange bell peppers on the grill.
I seasoned them with dry Italian seasoning.
I pretty much ate all 3 peppers by myself.
Stinkin' delicious.
Next time, we'll get more char on the peppers for sure. 
'Twas delicious. 

Additional sides: Corn & Broccoli & Cheddar Rice (for hubby)

Now, to Dessert!!!
Choco-Peanut Butter{Honey} Balls
This is a more natural, healthier version of a no-bake cookie, of sorts.
Which is one of my favorite cookies.  

This is simple and yummy.
See the recipe here---->Fit Food Finds
This is a great energy bar type of recipe for on-the-go.
Hence, I like to leave mine in the refrigerator or freeze 'em.

Oh, yum! 

Other recipes this week:
Friday Dinner-Assembly-Style Beef Tacos (Mine was a salad. And, Yes, there IS lettuce underneath all that!
Teriyaki Salmon, Asparagus, & Boiled Sweet Potatoes

(Not pictured) Chocolate chip cookies & chili dogs. Mmmm.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eek! I'm So Excited! ~At-Home, Air-Popped Popcorn!~


Finally took the plunge & tried it - At-Home Air-Popped Popcorn!
I often buy Orville Redenbacher 100 calorie mini bags - they make a great snack.
But I've always wondered if I could make my own popcorn at home that would be cheaper, healthy, and not require special gadgets.

So, I googled it.
Isn't that the answer to everything?
Heck, I even googled how to spell "Redenbacher."
Who can spell that off the top of their head?
Not me, no siree, bob.

Well, now I can.

I didn't want a recipe that required a lot of oil or butter.
I preferred not to use the stove ('cause a bag is easier).
Solution found!

1) Place 3 Tbs of popcorn kernels (found at your local grocery) in a brown paper lunch bag.
2) Fold the top closed and secure with tape.
3) Microwave using the "popcorn" setting (for small bags)
4) Take out and season to your liking.

Seriously, ridculously easy.
Cheaper too.
Plus, you can experiment with different flavors!
I tried it with Frank's red-hot sauce, salt, & pepper last night.
Got a little too hot!
Still yum, though.
Can't wait to try other toppings!

P.S. I sprayed the inside of my brown lunch bag with no-stick spray, however, I think this caused some very light smoke issues...I plan to omit that next time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Herb-Crusted Mustard Pork Tenderloin

Check it Oooouuuut!
Mmm. Mmm. Good!
The famous lick does not only apply to soup, baby.

This what I call a "fancy pants meal."
I.E. I would be Proud to serve this to guests.
I'd be standing there, beaming with pride, with my pork tenderloin in hand. 
I can see it now... 
"Who me? What this little ol' meal was no trouble at all!" 

And I'd be tellin' the truth! 
This was quite simple, especially for the delicious outcome-great taste AND presentation!

This recipe all starting when I was given 2 recipes for pork tenderloin from a co-worker whose recipes are always good ones...I trust her suggestions 100%.
BTW: Isn't it great to have someone whose recipes you know you can trust.
'Cause we've all had those we shouldn't have trusted....
I haven't had any that bad, geez!

Back to planet earth.
Long story short, out of the 2 recipes she gave me, I used 1 as a starting point, combined that with a 3rd recipe of hers, then, scoured the internet for additional help.
The result was a *new* version (all while using her cooking know-how, of course).
She had my back, dawg
 Food just gets me all excited.

Okay, okay...
The recipe 
(which is both Slammin' AND Jammmin'

3 Components:
1) Rosemary Rub:

1Tbs dried Rosemary
1Tbs Garlic Garlic (which is made by Tastefully Simple, but one could use any other dried or fresh garlic) 
1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp course ground Black Pepper

2) Stone-Ground Mustard
3) 1 (1 lb) Pork Tenderloin

1) Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2) Rub 2-3 HEAPING Tbs of stone-ground mustard into tenderloin.
3) Coat the tenderloin with the Rosemary Rub.
4) Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes*
5) Let rest for 5 minutes.
6) Cut & Serve. Yum!
*If tenderloin gets too brown on top, cover with aluminum foil
**This cooks pork to about medium/medium-well.

Hubby approves.
We WILL make this one again! 

Doesn't that look nice? Just ignore my semi-burnt pan. :)
Served with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges & Peas
 Funny Tidbit: Whoopsie! I may have cooked the sweet potatoes slightly BLACK on one side (yep, I totally hid that side in my pictures)....Remember to turn oven-baked potatoes! They were still good...caught them in time! (Before the tasted like burnt ash.)