Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Pretty Amazing Weekend + Chili

As I sit here sipping a delish glass of red wine while snacking on mini Cadbury eggs, I can't help but think about how amazing my weekend was.  It was busy but never felt like it was going by too fast.
First, let's revisit my workout goals for the week and see how I did.

Cardio plan for the week:    
Monday - run
Tuesday - morning gym workout
Wednesday - morning gym workout/run after work
Thursday - run & tap class
Friday - kickboxing
Saturday - sleep in
Sunday - long(er) run??

What I actually did:
Monday - 5 mile run
Tuesday - 50 minute elliptical and core morning workout
Wednesday - 50 minute elliptical morning workout 
Thursday - failed attempt to make it to tap class on time
Friday - 3.5 mile run
Saturday - rest
Sunday - Hot Power Yoga
        All in all, not too shabby. I would like to work in a longer run this week, hope I can find the motivation! I have plans with a good friend for a run tomorrow, excited to catch up with her!

        So back to my fantastic weekend. I am not sure how I managed to squeeze so many things that make me happy into one weekend, but it happened. And all of it was by chance. Smiles on my face.
        Friday: I stayed late at work getting things done so I wouldn't have to take any school work home. Went on a a quick run and then out to get drinks with a friend who was in town. Sipped my way through a few bars in North Park, lots of laughs and had some yummy portobello sliders for dinner! 
       Saturday:  Slept in and woke up with some coffee, laying around on the couch in my sweats. Then headed to a matinee showing of The Hunger Games. If you haven't read this series, you MUST! I was so happy with the way the movie was made, I have to say it was a GREAT movie and not just an attempt at portraying a book.  Browsed Nordstrom for a few hours on my own leisurely time. Picked up fro yo for dinner and watched The Wrestler, in bed by 8:30.  What a fab day, but then my weekend continued with happiness. 
      Sunday:  7:30 Hot yoga with my best bud, finally cashed in on my Core Power Yoga Groupon. So now I have 5 weeks of unlimited classes to use. I will definitely be writing up a yoga post soon.  Then I cleaned up, did some gardening, prepped my chili for dinner and headed off to mass with one of my best pals and her baby girl, Julianna. Julianna also happens to be my goddaughter and I haven't seen her in a few weeks so I had to get in some baby girl time!  After mass, we went to Tio Leo's for lunch - yummo! We gorged on chips, split some taco fingers and just had a nice time catching up. The rest of the day has been spent watching more netflix, enjoying some homemade chili and now a glass of red wine. 
      So there you have it, an amazing weekend. Exercise, movies, drinks, friends and resting. As I head off to finish up my glass of wine, I will leave you with my recipe for Three Bean Turkey Chili. What are some things that made you smile this weekend?

Three Bean Turkey Chili
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 can El Pato "Tomato Sauce" (also called Salsa de Chile Fresco)
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped 
Cayenne pepper
Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper
Optional toppings: cilantro, shredded cheese, onion, jalapeno

1. Saute meat, onion, garlic & jalapeno until meat is browned on all sides. 
2. Put everything in a large pot, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for a few hours. 
3. Enjoy a warm meal!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm bringing running back, yup!

I am back!! I can still run!

      5 weeks ago, I ran the San Dieguito half marathon with some friends.  It wasn't my best time, but I also wasn't able to train very hard as I was experiencing a sore heel and pulled muscle for parts of december and January. The race was fun and I loved doing that 13.1 distance again, but I was kind of glad the race was over so I could really rest my heel. So basically, running was out of the question for a while.
              I have used the last few weeks to rest my muscles, incorporate cross training, get back to the gym and read a lot :) Finally, today I knew I had to hit the pavement again. I was scared to see how my heel would feel or that I might be so slow! I started telling myself "Just do 1 mile..." I almost even gave up before I started because my Garmin wasn't charged. But I went anyway, ran my normal warmup mile and felt so good that 5 miles later... I cruised back to my apartment feeling so strong! I was on a super high - I could still run! I hadn't lost it! I wasn't in any pain! Actually excited about running again!                                                            

Cardio plan for the week:
Monday - run
Tuesday - morning gym workout
Wednesday - morning gym workout/run after work
Thursday - run & tap class
Friday - kickboxing
Saturday - sleep in
Sunday - long(er) run??

Think I can do it? 

Finally looking forward to my next race! Now I just need to get back out there with my running buds!

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

This morning, all of Southern California awoke to rain, hail and in some places snow. It turned out to be a perfect day.

Recipe for a Happy Sunday: 
Read for hours in bed
Make soup for lunch
Throw a meal in the crock pot, which took less than 20 minutes
Efficiently get report cards done
Clean apartment top to bottom
Eat yummy dinner
Get back in bed and read some more

I wanted to quickly share the recipe I saw on Pinterest this morning. It comes from a blog, Six Sisters' Stuff.  I think I will be going back to their blog for a few more recipes!

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken: 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup honey (I used honey and agave nectar)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 tsp cornstarch dissolved into water
Sesame Seeds
My additions:
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
add veggies & water chestnuts if you'd like

1. Season both sides of chicken with salt & pepper, put into crock pot
2. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except the cornstarch and pour over chicken.
3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or high 1 1/2 hours.
4. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce
5. Dissolve cornstarch into 6 tsps water, stir cornstarch mix into sauce in crock pot
6. Let sauce thicken for about 10 minutes (I took the lid off to thicken)
6. Cut chicken into chunks and stir back in with sauce
7. Serve over rice! mmm!

  I think this mix could make a good salad dressing, minus the onion & add in some rice vinegar??

Sprinkly on sesame seeds before serving... enjoy leftovers all week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Latest Smoothie Craving!

A few weeks back I think I saw a strawberry and date smoothie, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I bought some dates the other day just for this reason.  And in one week, I've had this smoothie 3 times. Planning on making another later today, it is a delicious treat!

Strawberry-Date Smoothie
1 cup frozen strawberries
3 dates, pitted and chopped
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1 scoop of protein powder (optional, helps to thicken and adds protein!)


Chopping the dates helps with blending. I made one earlier this week without chopping and ended up with big wads of date in my smoothie. This time around, they were perfectly blended in!
Dessert, breakfast, a snack... anytime of day, it's yummy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vintage Marketplace

A few weekends ago, my mom and I went to The Vintage Marketplace.  Basically, it was like a dreamland for those who like vintage and shabby chic. They put this marketplace on a few times a year, in a little town called Rainbow (near Fallbrook, about 45 minutes north). Different vendors set up with furniture, old pieces of sheet music, old books, burlap and crystals everywhere.                        Oh and pearls, lace and more lace!

We browsed around, picking up odds and ends but I made off pretty well. Especially with a new piece of furniture! I bought a hutch for my kitchen, a couple vintage lace doilies, vintage dollhouse wallpaper and some little birds nests. 
Here is the hutch!  
The hutch set up for now...   
 Either for some candles, centerpieces or whatever else comes to me. 
  Here are a few other things I loved, but decided that I will recreate for much less expensive.
                                           LOOOOOVE the idea of the sheet music....

It turned out to be a very nice morning with my mom. The next Vintage Marketplace show is in June... Definitely will be checking it out! And most likely, I will spend my spring break in a few weeks making some of these items! Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Steak & Double Potato Soup with Fried Shallots

Made this soup last week and it was amazing. I had a few sweet potatoes and white potatoes in the fridge and knew I wanted to make something with them.  I was browsing through my Soup of the Day cookbook and found this...
I didn't have a parsnip, celery or tomato paste so here is what I came up with.

Steak & Double Potato Soup with Fried Shallots 
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb tri-tip steaks 
3 cups beef broth
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced 
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
fresh salt & pepper
olive oil
red table wine

Fried Shallots
Stir together 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Add 2 sliced shallots and toss to coat. Heat 1-2 Tbsp canola oil (the recipe said 1/2 cup, gross!) in a frying pan over medium-heat until very hot. Shake off any excess flour from the shallots and fry until golden brown, 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. And then put them on everything you eat, wait... that's just what I wanted to do.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel & chop potatoes, toss in olive oil (I started with 1 Tbsp), generously season with salt & pepper and roast until caramelized, about 25 minutes.
While the potatoes are roasting, warm a grill pan over high heat. Brush both sides of the steak with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Cook to medium-rare, about 5-6 minutes per side. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes. *You can use flank steak as another option
While the meat's cooking, I sliced my shallot and chopped the onion & garlic. Probably should have prepped everything at the beginning but this was me using my time wisely (since I had to wait for the potatoes anyway).
In a large, heavy pot, warm 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic (throw in celery here if you like that too) and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add broth and 1/4 c red wine and cook for 10 minutes (can add 2 Tbsp tomato paste if you want it thicker).
  Add the potatoes and steak into broth and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
I wanted to just eat these right then and there. 
Shallots ready for a quick fry. What a great touch to the soup!