Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tasty Tuesdays - Jackfruit Tacos

Yay, it's time for Tasty Tuesday again!  Well, except that it's Wednesday.  I kind of lost track of the day.  But better late than never :)

I was visiting my parents over Christmas and when that happens, my brother and I always make Christmas dinner.  This year, we decided on roasted vegetable salad, jackfruit tacos, and pies (peach and berry).

Salad and pies

My focus was the tacos and my brother took on the pies.  Needless to say, it was all delicious.

I had never cooked with jackfruit before so it was a bit of an experiment.  I decided to use canned jackfruit since it seemed like less of a production than using a whole jack fruit.  Canned jackfruit should be available in Asian markets.  You would want to get unripe or young jackfruit in brine, not ripe jackfruit in syrup as that would be too sweet for a savory dish.

I didn't taste the fruit on it's own so I can't really tell you what it tasted like.  But it smelled a bit like canned artichoke, probably because of the brine.  The texture seemed similar to canned artichoke too.  The great thing about jackfruit is that it shreds so that it kind of looks like pulled pork or shredded chicken.  I think you would have to use it in something really flavorful like this type of Mexican recipe or a barbecue recipe.

I started with this recipe from Chad Sarno.

- 2 cans green jackfruit in brine, rinsed

Dry Rub
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder (it ended up being a bit spicy so alter as needed for your tastes)
- 1/2 tsp onion granules
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (I reduced it from 3 in the recipe)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- sea salt to taste

Braising Liquid
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1.5 tsp fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- Juice of one lime
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 chiptle in adobo sauce, minced
- Sea salt to taste

First, I rinsed the jack fruit and put it in a mixing bowl with all the spices for the dry rub.  I shredded the jack fruit while mixing in the spices.  Some of the chunks of the fruit were a little hard so I didn't worry about shredding it too finely, I just did as much as I could figuring I could shred more later while it was cooking in the liquid.  I let the fruit marinate in the spices for about 2 hours.

Shredded with spices, you can see some of the large chunks as they came out of the can

I had read conflicting directions on the seeds.  Some recipes said leave them out and some said leave them in.  I decided to leave them in, mostly because I'm too lazy to fish them all out.  They weren't noticeable in the final product at all.

After the marinating is done, heat the oil in a pot and then add the onions.  I also added half a green bell pepper since I had one at hand.  Saute for a couple minutes and then add the jack fruit.  Stir for a couple more minutes and then add in the rest of the items for the braising liquid.  Bring to a simmer.  This is when I shredded any of the remaining big chunks of fruit.  Once the liquid started simmering, I reduced the heat to medium low, covered, and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Most of the liquid will have evaporated and it's ready to eat.

Cooking with the braising liquid

We served it with corn tortillas (I would use flour next time), salsa, cabbage slaw (cabbage, vinegar, salt and honey that marinated together for about an hour), and homemade guacamole. Yum!

This was an interesting experiment and tasted great!  It took some time with all the marinating but it didn't take that much active cooking time so wasn't too hard.  It was definitely an unusual vegetarian option that I think everyone enjoyed.

I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday and will be linking up with Deborah and Tina for Meatless Mondays.
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon onion granules
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cloves garlic minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
Sea salt to taste
- See more at:
2 can green jackfruit, rinsed well (you can purchase green jackfruit in most Asian, or Indian markets, make sure it is only in water, or brine) – or can also use cubed tofu (1 ½ block), cubed tempeh (1 ½ packs) , chopped hearts of palm, or artichoke hearts
Dry Rub:
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon onion granules
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cloves garlic minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
Sea salt to taste
- See more at:
2 can green jackfruit, rinsed well (you can purchase green jackfruit in most Asian, or Indian markets, make sure it is only in water, or brine) – or can also use cubed tofu (1 ½ block), cubed tempeh (1 ½ packs) , chopped hearts of palm, or artichoke hearts
Dry Rub:
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon onion granules
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cloves garlic minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
Sea salt to taste
- See more at:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekly Review - RnR DC Week 2

I hope everyone had a great week!  I know I was a bit MIA last week but I was enjoying Christmas with my family in Ohio.  My parents had a full house with Mike and me, my brother and his dog, and a cousin from India and her husband.  We had a great time with everyone and spent lots of time experimenting with cooking, playing games, shopping, vacation planning for India in February, and just general hanging out.

The work outs went ok.  It was a bit of a rest week as I'm still having problems with swelling in my foot after I run.  I'm hoping to be able to get an appointment with the doctor this week to get it looked at.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - Strength training

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - Ran around 2 miles in my parents' neighborhood.  There's a loop that was almost exactly half a mile so I did that 4 times.  It was a bit overcast but the temperature was great and I didn't even need my running jacket. I forgot to sync my garmin information but I think the total was 2.15 miles at an average pace of around 12:30 minutes per mile.

Friday - Yoga with my dad for an hour.

Saturday - Jillian Michaels yoga in the morning and then a 1.5 mile walk in the evening with dad and my brother's dog.  The dog and I had short bursts of some running in there but he kept stopping short when he discovered interesting smells :)

Sunday - rest day

I hope everyone had a great holiday week!  I am a little sad that the holidays are almost over and it's back to the normal work weeks.  But we still have New Year's this week and I'm looking forward to a New Year's Day 5k.  Anyone else have fun plans for this week?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekly review - RnR DC week 1

I am happy to report that I finally had some good runs this week!  I may have just needed to acclimate to the cold and get back into it.  I also stuck with the plan to run by feel this week and not to worry about pace too much.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - about 50 minutes on the elliptical (I took a mid workout break to go pick Mike up from the metro)

Wednesday - my first track run with the MCRRC half marathon training group.  We did a 2 mile warm up run in the neighborhood and then 4 400s and 1 800 with a half lap recovery in between each set.  I felt good, even during the speed work, and didn't need my inhaler afterward.

Thursday - rest day since sadly my foot was hurting again :(

Friday - rest day

Saturday - strength training with jumping jacks mixed in the get my heart rate up

Sunday - my first long run with the group.  It was 9 miles (I started the garmin a bit late) and I felt good for most of it.  Sadly, my foot did start hurting again though.  Hopefully it's better next week.  Also, I really like this group so far.  They had a mid run water stop set up with some snacks (dried fruit, pretzels, etc.) and post run food that included spinach lasagna!

I might try to get a bit more rest in this week if the foot doesn't start feeling better.  The problem is that it feels better after a couple days but then starts swelling and hurting again the next time I run.  I hope you all had a great week!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday traditions

Yay, it's Friday again and less than a week from Christmas!  I'm definitely looking forward to the break this year. And it's time for the Friday Five again with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia.  Today's theme is Holiday traditions.

1. Travel - we don't have a lot of what most people would consider holiday traditions because we travel every Christmas.  We alternate between visiting Mike's parents in Atlanta and mine in Ohio. We have gotten very experienced with flying around the holidays.

2. Cooking - my brother and I always cook a holiday meal together.  We take this as an opportunity to try out new things and just have fun together. This year, I think I'm going to experiment with jack fruit tacos.

3. Games - both of our families are into playing board games and card games.  I'm excited because we've already got some new games for Christmas and it'll be fun to try them out.

4. Birthday party - Mike's niece was born right and Christmas so we started a new tradition last year and that is a birthday party for her.  A one year old's birthday party was quite the experience!  It was fun to watch all the kids running around having fun.  We'll miss it this year but I'm looking forward to it next year. This is her when we visited shortly after her birth.

5. Zoo lights - this is another new tradition. We really enjoyed it when we went to the one here.  We haven't had time to do it this year but I saw that there's a similar event at the zoo in Columbus so we'll hit it while we're there and the tradition can continue!

And of course, there's always dressing the cats up in their holiday best!  Here's Shelbly looking very dapper in a bow tie.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Year of Running

I can't believe that it's almost the end of 2014!  This is my first full year that I've been running and I've had so many amazing moments.  When I saw the Year of Running link up from Miss Zippy, I knew I had to participate.

  • Best race experience? I'm going to go with the obvious one and say the Richmond Half Marathon.  It was my first half marathon and it was an amazing experience to know that I could not only finish the race but finish feeling good thanks to my year of training.

 Ecstatic to be finishing my first half marathon
  • Best run? I've had so many good runs this year (and a fair share of bad ones) so it's hard to choose the best.  But I think I'm going to go with my run on the Strip while in Las Vegas :)  It was my first time running on vacation and it was good to discover a new way to see and enjoy a vacation destination :)
Seeing a new city on the run

  • Best new piece of gear?  I started out the year with essentially no running gear (other than my shoes) and have ended with a lot, so I have a lot to choose from! I'm going to take out the obvious (my shoes) and go with my garmin forerunner 220.  It's really helped with my training to be able to have access to the data from the watch after each run.  

  • Best piece of running advice you received? To cross train.  I used to think that runners just ran and that was enough.  But then I got some knee pain and I was told that I needed to include core and hip strengthening exercises.  The more I read, the more I realized how important it was to include other types of workouts in my routine.  And I love yoga so that remained a big part of my routine.  I'm still working on the weight training.
Still haven't mastered an unsupported headstand but I'm working on it!
  • Most inspirational runner? There are so many people out there to be inspired by but I really can't just choose one.  I will say that I found watching the Marine Corps Marathon to be amazingly inspiring, especially watching all of the individuals who had lost limbs still completing the race.  

  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Commitment and Joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Lentil Wellington

We had some friends over for a dinner party over the weekend.  And I have a tried and true recipe I use for a vegetarian main when I want to impress... a vegetarian wellington.  The filling can be adjusted for the season, but I generally like to use some sort of lentil filling in colder weather.  It makes a nice, hearty vegetarian entree that looks beautiful and tastes great.  Sadly, I again forgot to take photos until the dish was almost done.

The original recipe is from the BBC.  Makes 4 servings.

5 oz lentils (I used green lentils, you want ones that will retain their shape when cooked)
1.5 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp sugar
1 large lemon
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped finely
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Heat a pan over a moderate heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, and turn the heat to low. Add the sugar and cook until well caramelized, stirring occasionally. This can take quite some time.  I think I ended up cooking the onions for 45 minutes or so.  Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Put the lentils and water in a pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until soft - about 15 minutes. You may have to add a little more water while cooking if the lentils seem to be too dry, but don't add too much as the lentils should be thick. Add salt to taste. 

3. Stir the caramelized onions through the lentils, add the lemon zest and juice, rosemary and black pepper. Chill in the refrigerator

4. Lay the thawed puff pastry flat on a baking sheet. Spoon the lentil mixture down the middle in a thick sausage shape, leaving a border at each end. Wrap the pastry around the filling and press the edges firmly together. Seal the ends of the Wellington. Roll the pastry over so the seam is underneath. I had way too much of the lentil mixture so I only put about half of it in the pastry and served the rest outside the pastry.

5.  Brush with beaten egg (optional, it's just for color) and then slash with a sharp knife several times diagonally.  I slashed three times so it would be easy to divide the pastry into 4 servings.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden and puffed all over. 

I served it with some green beans sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I've made different variations of this. For example, I've done lentils with mushrooms and parmesan instead of the caramelized onions and lemon.  Or in the spring I've done asparagus and goat cheese.  There are a lot of possibilities and it's a wonderful dish for a special meal.

I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday and will be linking up with Deborah and Tina for Meatless Mondays.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly review

My week was a mixed bag but there were definitely some good things in there.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Strength training (lots of abs and lower body work, only push ups for upper body).  I've got to work on my upper body as well.

Wednesday - Rest day.  I was feeling under the weather and really congested, to the point that I felt like my balance was off.  So I skipped track work with my training group.

Thursday - I was mostly feeling better so I tried to get in the speed work on the treadmill after work.  It didn't go so well and while I did it all, it wasn't at the speed I should have been at.

Friday - I did some time on the elliptical at home.

Saturday - DDP yoga and a 15 minute abs video

Sunday - Saturday afternoon my under the weather feeling I'd had most of the week turned into a full on illness :( I was sick with muscle soreness and chills.  So I skipped the Jingle Bell Jog 8k and spent most of the day in bed and binge watched some Gilmore Girls on netflix.

So that was my week.  We did also see Interstellar at the theater Friday night (great movie) and had some friends over for dinner Saturday evening (before I realized quite how sick I was getting). So there were a lot of good spots but I'm worried about missing a long run.  Next week I'm getting together with the training group for the long run and I hope I can keep up.  I think right now I need to stop worrying about time and just run by feel for a little bit until I get back to where I was at the beginning of November.

I hope everyone else had a good week!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Five - favorite winter activities

It's time for the Friday Five link up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia.  This week has gone by super fast and I can't believe it's already Friday again.  That tends to happen every week in December since there is just so much going on.  But I'm not complaining since it's mostly fun stuff!

This week's theme is favorite Winter activities.  I'll be honest and say I don't have that many.  I'm not a giant fan of Winter.  But here are some of the things that get me through.

1. Holiday Cards - I love holiday cards, especially the ones with photos of friends and families. I love hanging them up and being able to look at them throughout the year.  This year, I participated in a holiday exchange organized by Fairytales and Fitness.  I sent off my card earlier this week and I love the card I got from Jenny though this exchange :)

2. Indoor projects - Winter is a great time to finish up all those little projects around the house that need to get done.  This may not sound fun but hopefully they're things you enjoy doing but just didn't have time for in Summer.  And I love the feeling of accomplishment with getting things off my to do list.  I foresee lots of winter evenings finishing up some photo editing and some knitting.  And Mike just put up a medal display for me, which I love!  I have it up next to the medals I got from the Nerd Herd virtual races this year.  I don't have a lot of medals on there yet but I'm hoping for more to come next year. And the medals hanging there now are special because they're my first 10k, first 10 miler, and first half marathon.

3. Zoo lights - I love the zoo and Winter isn't a time of year you would usually think of visiting.  But I really enjoy zoo lights, which is a fun holiday event that the zoo here has in evenings.  And they have adult hot beverages, which makes the zoo even better!

4. New Year's Day race - Last year was the first year I did a New Year's Day 5k.  It was a cold but beautiful morning.  And I just really enjoyed it as a way to start the new year.  It seemed like a great way to get things started on the right foot.

5.  Vacation - I'm not going to lie, my favorite thing to do in Winter is to get away from it!  I love taking a break to somewhere warmer when possible.  A couple years ago we went to Belize in December with my family and that is probably still my favorite Winter activity :)

I hope that everyone has a great weekend, and if you have any activities that get you through the Winter, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jingle All the Way 5k

This past Sunday, I ran the Jingle All the Way 5k put on by Pacers.  This has been an 8k race in the past but it was converted to a 5k this year because of construction.  I was excited to run this race because I'd heard great things about it and I had heard that Pacers races were really well organized.

So they had packet pick up available the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the race at any of their stores.  I went to the Pacers store in DC Saturday afternoon and packet pick up was a breeze.  There were a couple people in line ahead of me but it moved fairly quickly.  And since it was at the store, I was also able to buy a new pair of running gloves since I knew I would need them for the race.  The shirt was a really nice long sleeved tech shirt.  I love the red color.

The race started at 9am.  I liked that it wasn't super early.  Mike dropped me off at the metro and it was an easy ride into the city.  I was meeting friends in front of the National Theater.  I was a little early so I did a couple laps around the block to get warm.  Then I hung out in front of the theater and enjoyed checking out all the costumes.  There was one group dressed up to represent the 12 days of Christmas and that was awesome!  There was also another group in fun animal costumes and Christmas lights.  One of the things I loved about this race was all the entertainment from the other runners :)

My friends found me easily and then we went over to gather with the masses near the start.  We started toward the back of the pack but I still felt like there was always plenty of room in spite of the 4.836 other finishers. There were walkers but also plenty of room to go around. And it was awesome to run down toward the Capitol in the company of other runners, so many of them dressed up in holiday attire!  I sadly didn't take photos while running but will have to remember to do that next time (I'm pretty sure there will be a next time for this race).

 So how did my race go?  It went ok.  I initially thought I might try for a PR since I knew this course was flat. But I decided against that since this was only my second run after the half marathon 3 weeks ago and I was trying to avoid re-injuring my foot.  So I just stayed with my friends and had a great run with them catching up since we hadn't seen each other in a while. My official bib time was 41:03.  According to my Garmin, it was 41:55 for 3.19 miles.  My 5k PR was 38:54 from the Semper Fi 5k in May.

After the race, we were able to grab a banana and some water before taking a selfie and heading over to brunch.  There were photo opportunities and a photo booth with Santa but the line was pretty long so we skipped that.  There was an official post race brunch at the Hamilton but it was super crowded.  We headed over to another nearby restaurant with plenty of room.

Overall, this was a great race!  Definitely a fun one for the holidays and a great thing to do as a group.  I can see this one becoming a regular every year.

And don't forget that the give away for an armpocket is almost over! You have until tomorrow to enter.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekly Review

Well, I had my first sessions running since the Richmond Half Marathon three weeks ago.  And it only went ok :( I was really excited to run again but it was harder than I thought it would be.  I didn't think taking a couple weeks off would make that much of a difference.  But there may be several contributing factors.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday- rest day

Wednesday - orientation run with MCRRC training group.  This run did not go well.  It was less than three miles and I took it really slow so it should have been a breeze.  But it felt really tough for some reason.  I think part of it was that the run wasn't at the track as most of our Wednesday runs will be.  It was in a neighborhood where we were running on the sidewalks.  There were too many of us for this so it was super congested.  In addition to that, it was dark and the sidewalks were very uneven.  Lastly, the cold weather was making it hard on my lungs.  But there was another woman who seemed to be struggling at a similar pace so we finished up together.  Neither of us really knew where we were going but I had my phone if we got really lost.  And we had a rough idea where the start/end point was so we did make it back to rejoin the group as they were stretching. I needed my inhaler after the run, and my ice pack since my knee hurt and my foot hurt :(

Thursday - My knee didn't hurt at all today but my foot still had some pain. However, it seemed mostly back to normal by the evening so I did some DDP yoga with Mike and an abs video afterward.

Friday - rest day

Saturday - Jillian Michaels yoga in the morning and walking around DC showing my mother-in-law some sites in the afternoon

Sunday - Jingle All the Way 5k - I had initially planned to try to PR on this race but after hurting my foot, I decided to take it easy and run with the friends who were doing the race with me.  I felt good with no foot or knee pain afterward! I'll do a review of the race later this week.

The plan for this week is to continue getting back to the running and keep up with the yoga.  Monday will be a rest day, yoga on Tuesday, track work with the group on Wednesday, running on my own Thursday, rest day Friday, yoga Saturday and an 8k race Sunday.

I hope everyone has a great week ahead of them!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Five - gift ideas for runners

It's Friday again and that means it's time for the Friday Five link up with Cynthia, Courtney, and Mar.  This week's theme is favorites and I thought I'd take the opportunity to talk about favorites as ideas for gift ideas for runners.

I've seen a lot of gift guides and gotten a lot of great ideas.  But a lot of the items mentioned can be hard to buy for people you don't know that well.  Shoes, race registrations, medal hangers, etc. may be better left for people that you're really close with.  Here are some of my favorites that could work as ideas for friends that you have a more casual relationship with.

1.  Books or movies about running - My favorite book dealing with running is still "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Heminsley.  I thought this was a wonderful book, both funny and touching.  You can read my full review of it here.  This would be an especially great read for a new and/or female runner.

If you're looking for a movie instead, I haven't seen Spirit of the Marathon yet but I'm dying to see it.  I've heard great things about it and it seems like the type of thing any runner would enjoy, especially if you made it a date complete with your company and popcorn :) It would be a nice bonding gift from a non-runner to a runner.

2.  Jewelry - There is a lot of running inspired jewelry out there.  My husband got me a necklace from Lift Your Sole when I finished my first half marathon and I love it! I'm planning on organizing a girl's runcation with some friends, maybe the Princess Half Marathon in 2016, and I think I might get us all some sort of matching necklace as a memento. 

13.1 Enjoy The Journey Charm Trio Necklace

3.  A subscription box - There are so many different boxes out there these days for things as varied as fashion, beauty, pets, food, running nutrition, etc. And the gift option usually allows you to choose form a variety of number of months so it can be adjusted to meet your budget.  I love that it's a gift that keeps giving.  I loved the feeling of getting my Bestowed box every month while I had the subscription.  I ended up cancelling it because of the cost but as a gift, it would be awesome!

4.  Food - I love food.  The gift of a home cooked meal can rarely go wrong with me.  In addition to that, little food gifts can be a nice stocking stuffer or little addition to a card.  Many runners have weird fuels they eat and I'm hesitant to try new ones because of the price.  But it would be cool if someone wanted to get me a little assortment I could try out and maybe find a new favorite!  (My current favorite are the margarita clif shot bloks).  And I love trying out new teas in the Winter!  My favorite right now is this new Tazo Chocolate Chai I picked up at the grocery store.

Tazo Chai Chocolate Black Tea Filterbags, 20 count, 1.9 oz 

5.  Your company - I think this is often the best gift I can get from loved ones :) If you know someone who's been trying to get you to run a race with them or someone who doesn't run but wants to try it, offer to sign up for a race with them and even run training runs together.  This is great catch up time and can create lots of fun memories. Or if running isn't your thing, maybe volunteer for a race someone is running at.  We love volunteers and it's such a great thing to see a familiar face on the course or at the finish line.

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead of them!  My mother-in-law is visiting so we have a weekend of touring DC ahead of us, and I'm looking forward to my Jingle All the Way 5k Sunday morning :) And don't forget my give away for an armpocket.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Armpocket give away 2!

Well, I went for my first run since my half marathon more than 2 weeks ago. And it was the first run with a new training group.  It didn't go too well but I'll elaborate more on that later and hope that it will be better the next time.  All I can say for now is that I was glad I had my phone in case I ended up getting lost. And I'm glad that I had my armpocket to carry the phone.

Just back from my bad run.

I've mentioned before how much I love my armpocket.  You can see my review here.  It continues to be awesome and has gotten even more comfortable as I've worn it more, which I wouldn't have thought was possible.

There was a lot of interest in my last armpocket giveaway so I'm happy to announce that the company has agreed to give away another arm pocket to one US reader! So if you're interested, feel free to enter using the rafflecopter below. The give away will be open until Thursday, December 11th. And if you have a runner in your life, this would make a great Christmas present :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - parmesan oatmeal cookies

The holiday season always seems to be full of cookies.  And don't get me wrong, I love cookies!  But sometimes, all the sweet treats get a little overwhelming.  That's why I looked for a savory treat to take to my in-law's home for Thanksgiving.  And these savory cookies from the kitchn were perfect. The recipe was pretty easy and I didn't alter a thing.

The recipe resulted in 21 cookies for us.
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sifted unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350° F and put parchment paper on a cookie sheet. 
Place the oats in a large mixing bowl and pour the water over them.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, brown sugar, and egg. Pour this mixture over the oats, stir to combine, and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, sea salt, baking soda, rosemary, and black pepper. Whisk to combine well. Stir in the Parmesan.
Gradually sprinkle the flour mixture over the oat mixture, stirring until combined. This part took some work for me and it was a bit difficult to mix because it was a thick dough.  I ended up abandoning the spoon and finishing up with my hands,
Form tablespoon-sized scoops of dough and evenly space on the baking sheet. Flatten each piece of dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of each.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the edges are slightly darkened.  It took the full 17 minutes in our oven. The cookies puffed up a bit but didn't really spread.
Sadly, I was so concerned with making sure that these turned out well that I forgot to take any photos of the cookies in progress. But here is a photo of the cookies after we took them out of the oven.

They turned out delicious and I'm sure I'll make these again in the future.  I might increase the pepper and reduce the parmesan, especially if I was going to serve these with cheese as recommended in the original recipe.  If just serving by themselves, I would probably keep this amount of parmesan. I thought these would be kind of like crackers but they weren't crispy and the texture was definitely more like a cookie than a cracker.
Now, I don't think these are necessarily healthy but there are oats, olive oil, and much less sugar than a traditional cookie recipe.  More importantly, it's just a nice change from all the sweets that are around at this time of year.
 I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday and will also link up with Deborah and Tina for Meatless Mondays.
Do you have any unusual cookies you've made or eaten?  Another favorite of mine is a white chocolate chip root beer cookie recipe that I got from the Washington Post but that one is definitely sweet!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekly Review

I spent most of last week nursing my foot because of the muscle strain so there isn't that much to report. 

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 1 mile walk
Friday - Yoga -  I chose Jillian Michaels since I wasn't getting any other cardio this week and she's always a tough work out.
Saturday - 1.5 mile walk
Sunday - Jillian Michaels yoga again.

The good news is that my foot seems to be feeling much better!  This is the first day that I'm not taking the anti-inflammatory medicine so we'll see how it goes.  I did go ahead and sign up for the Montgomery County Road Runners Half Marathon training program and it starts this week! The goal race I'm training for is the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in DC in March.  So Wednesday will be my first run since the Richmond Half Marathon a couple weeks ago.  Wish me luck :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Five Thanksgiving edition

It is the Friday after Thanksgiving and I'm enjoying a quiet morning after sleeping in a bit.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I love this opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things I am lucky enough to have in my life. The Friday Five link up theme of gratitude is pefect for this week.  Thanks for the link up, Mar, Courtney and Cynthia!

So here are 5 things I'm grateful for.

1.  My husband - He is amazing.  He is the perfect match for me, always ready to support me, challenge me, and keep me laughing. I am thankful for the life we've created together.  

2.  Family - I have an amazing family. Their support is never in doubt and we always manage to have fun together.  I never dread Thanksgiving or other family holidays. I'm excited to be going to India with them next year and be able to spend more time with extended family too.  My dad did a 5k with me this year and I'm working on convincing my mom and brother to do one with us next year.

3.  My kitties. I never had pets growing up and never really understood the type of joy and love they could bring into your life.  I'm grateful for my cats teaching me about that.

4.  I'm grateful for all the wonderful friends in my life and especially that so many have discovered the joy in running around the same time that I did.  I love that I have company for most of the races that I do and that we can keep each other motivated and enjoying this journey. And this includes all of you!  I love that I have been able to meet an entire group of new virtual friends through this blog.

5.  And I'm thankful for my health and ability to run.  That's definitely been brough home after this bout with minor injury when I haven't been able to run.  Hopefully this is almost over and I'll be back to running again next week.

I hope that you've all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Hello Fresh

A while ago, I received a coupon for Hello Fresh.  I also saw that there was a groupon available for them.  I thought this was a sign that I should give them a try and since the groupon was a slightly better deal, I went with that.  What is Hello Fresh?  It is a weekly subscription box service that delivers ingredients to you for three meals.  You can choose if each meal serves 2 or serves 4.  You can also their traditional box or the vegetarian box.  I chose the vegetarian box for 2 servings.  This is regularly $59 per box ($29 with the groupon) and that price includes shipping.

I like that the recipes are posted in advance so you can know what you will be getting in the upcoming week.  If you don't like the recipes for that week, you can even pause your delivery and skip a week.  If you choose the "classic" box, each week you will have 5 recipe options and you can choose the three out of the five that appeal to you the most.  Unfortunately, the veggie box doesn't have any options.

So I received my box last week and I was very impressed with the delivery process.  I received an email notification when it was shipped and when it was delivered.  You can choose the day of your delivery but not the time.  It was delivered in the morning and I was a little worried about it sitting out all day but when I got home and unpacked the box, everything was still cold from the ice packs and insulation in the box.

You can see that everything was packed pretty tightly in the box.  When I unpacked it, there were 2 bags for each recipe, produce being separated from the non-produce items.  There was also a random protein bar thrown in as a sample.  It was very clear what items went with which recipe from the labeling and it was very convenient to just put the produce bags in the refrigerator and the other bags in the pantry.  The unpacking process was quick and easy. The ingredients included everything you needed except for oil, salt and pepper.

In addition to the food, there was a recipe booklet.  The recipes were cards that tore out of the booklet and were very easy to use.  The front of each card had a description of the dish, a photo of the ingredients, a list of the ingredients and the nutritional information.  The back of the card had the cooking steps.  I thought the recipes were packaged attractively and easy to read.  The steps were also easy to follow for the most part.  I also liked that they were written in a way that avoided excessive use of extra pots and pans.  I have cooking something and then having a ton of dishes to wash afterward.

Recipe number 1 was a kale and mushroom quesadilla with an apple salsa.  We ended up loving this dish and felt it was kind of unique.  I wouldn't have necessarily thought of this on my own.  But there was a lot of chopping, especially considering the salsa ingredients all had to be chopped finely. I think this one took around 45 minutes.

So step one was tons of chopping.  I chopped the apple, onion and pepper and tossed them into a bowl with lime juice, salt and pepper. Then I cooked the kale, mushrooms, onion and garlic.

Once that was done, the tortillas were layered with the cooked veggies and mozzarella cheese and put into the oven to bake.

And here is the finished product!  Delicious and pretty.  Not bad for 45 minutes at all, even if most of it was active prep time.

Dish #2 was a fall vegetable soup.  I was a little disappointed in the taste of this one.  It just wasn't that flavorful or unique.  I could have come up with this easily myself. It was nice that the garnishes of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley were included.  Also, this dish took about 45 minutes but a lot of that was passive time since it was just cooking on the stove for about 20 minutes. Though this made much more than 2 servings for us.  It ended up being 4 servings so that was nice to have leftovers for later in the week.

Dish #3 was a vegetarian chili.  It was flavorful but again, not creative and absolutely something we've done on our own often.  It was nice that it had the garnishes of cheddar and sour cream for the top, and it had nice little single serving packages for the spices.  Though the recipe called for a package of stock concentrate and it was missing from the items we had.  I put in some extra spices to compensate for that.  It took about 30 minutes, so the quickest of the three recipes.  That was probably because this one didn't have that much chopping, just an onion, pepper, and taking corn off the cob.

So what did I think?  I don't think I'll necessarily get the box again.  The meals still took a lot of time and all the vegetables still had to be chopped so I don't feel like it was a time saver for me.  We still have to go grocery shopping to get things like lunches, snacks, breakfasts, etc. And I enjoy cooking and fiddling with recipes to adjust them for my taste. Plus, the price comes out to a little more than $9 per serving (less for the soup since we got 4 servings out of it) and I think I can generally cook our meals for less than that amount. A big downside for me was that there was no option to choose your meals for the vegetarian box.

But I think for someone who is new to cooking and can feel overwhelmed by having to find recipes and shop for them, this could be a good option.  It's also great if you don't have a full pantry of spices, canned items, cheeses, etc. since this allows you to get just the amounts you need for the recipe.  It is definitely more cost effective than eating out and a good way to learn and become a better cook. It was great that everything was pre-measured and that all the ingredients were packaged together.  It was also great that the nutritional information was easily available.  The ingredients we got were all really fresh and great quality.  Mike felt that if he was still single, this would be an option he might be interested in since he wasn't that familiar with cooking before we met.

Have you tried anything like this before or is this something that you think would work for you?

I'm linking up with Lean Lena for Tasty Tuesday and I'll be linking up with Deborah and Tina for Meatless Mondays.