Friday, July 27, 2012

Cumin-Lime Pasta Salad

      Whipped this little bad boy up today for lunch. Pasta salad is a favorite of mine on a hot day. I gave it a little mexican flair and ta-da, new flavors and reinvented salad.  Perfect for a picnic, a warm summer evening or heck...whenever you want to eat it!

Cumin-Lime Pasta Salad

1 package Corn Penne Pasta (you can use any pasta, I was giving the gluten-free, corn pasta a try)
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 tomato, chopped or sliced
6-8 mini bell peppers, sliced
1 avocado, half cubed and half sliced
1 ear of corn, grilled and kernels cut off (this was my vision, I didn't make it to the store for corn)
Crumbled cotija cheese 

Cumin-Lime Dressing
1/2 extra virgin olive oil
2 limes, zested & juiced
1 tbsp agave/honey
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Salt & Pepper

While the pasta is cooking, chop, drain and prep salad ingredients
Then work on the dressing - add oil & cumin in a bowl
Zest & juice your limes,  add 1 Tbsp agave
Whisk ingredients together and add chili powder, salt & pepper to taste
Toss it all together. Serve with sliced avocado and crumbled cotija on top. yummo!
Super easy and light for a summer meal.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weekly Sweat Stats 7/17-7/22

      This week had its ups and downs. Downs because of body fatigue but a lot of ups also!  No point in dwelling on the downs, summer break has begun and I have all the time in the world to rest, heal and clear my mind.  

     I spectated a triathlon for the first time this weekend at the Solana Beach Triathlon. I met a friend of mine in Del Mar and we ran a little over 2 miles to the swim start of the tri.  I was very interested to watch the athletes start, crowd control and the transitions from sport to sport.  There were athletes of all ages and shapes! I know I will be able to do this!  My first tri is Septemeber 8, so about 6 1/2 weeks away.  I have been running and swimming, but still really scared of road biking.  I can already do the 24.8 miles on a flat course, but up a steep hill (twice!), is going to be a challenge. Anywho - let's just say, watching this weekend was exciting, motivating and pushed me to get my gears going (pun intended).

   The earlier part of my week was strickened with leg cramps and some ankle pain again. I was so upset about it, that I almost sold my bib for AFC half marathon (which is in about a month). Instead, I took it easy for a few days, took a few baths, massaged legs and started taking potassium & magnesium supplements again.   By Thursday, I was feeling a lot better and went out for a pain-free run. I was thrilled!!  I think my cramping had a lot to do with little sleep and the swollen legs I was getting during the work day from standing around in a 98 degree classroom! blech. Friday was the last day of school, so now I can stand or sit down whenever I feel like. neener, neener, neener.

   The next few weeks, I am going on two vacations. There will be a lot of indoor workouts (treadmill = yuck!), but this upcoming week I am still home. So I am making sure to take full advantage of having my bicycle and a lap pool nearby.  As I approach the next few months of races, I will be reminding myself that it is about the accomplishment - not the best time or a personal record.  Bottom line...I want to finish.

Here's what I did last week:

Weekly Sweat Stats 7/17-7/22
Monday: spin bike & 500 yard swim
Tuesday: easy 4 miler (legs hurting)
Wednesday: 2 mile run & 1,012 yard swim - first 1,000 yard swim!
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: day off
Saturday: 8 mile easy run
Sunday: 2 mile run to the Solana Beach Tri and back = 4 mile run

Since triathlons are on the mind, I want to wish my friends Tammy, Missi, Ian, Aren, Ashley and Lauren the best of luck this weekend on their Half-Ironman and Ironman races at Vineman!!!!   They have been training for months and this Saturday is finally the big day. I can't wait to hear about their adventures.  Good luck to them!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

10 reasons to smile

       As I look back on the past few busy weeks, I am so thankful for my life and the wonderful people who are with me on this journey.  Here are 10 things that keep me smiling!

1. Spending time with old friends
2. Live music
3. Exercise
4. Overcoming fears
5. Fresh & local fruit
6. San Pellegrino sparkling soda water
7. Grapefruit & Gin cocktails
8. My fabulous family
9. Finding happiness in the smallest moments
10. Summer vacation!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookie Bars

During the summer, cherries are abundant! But, I have a hard time finishing the bunch I buy before some of them get wrinkly. So a few weeks ago - I thought about tossing some with dark chocolate, which lead to a cookie idea... mmmmmm!

I started with the Original Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I substituted for chopped dark chocolate chunks and chopped fresh cherries. Most cherry recipes I searched for included dried or candied cherries, but I wanted to give the fresh ones a try. Fresh is always better, right? YES!

By no means are these healthy, they were full of ooey gooey buttery goodness but MAN they were gooooooooooooooooooooood!

   Gathering the yummies for the cookie bars
Blend the butter, sugars and vanilla.
 Once smooth, add in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and cherries. 

Now choose if you want cookie bars or cookies. 
I wanted bars, so I spread the dough out flat on a cookie sheet.
Bake until brown on edges. I could have taken a fork to this and just gone to town. 
Instead, I sliced into bars and brought them to work the next day! A treat for students & coworkers!

Recipe for these bad boys..

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookie Bars

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c shortening or butter
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz chocolate chunks/chips
1-2 cups chopped, fresh cherries

Preheat oven 375 degrees. 

1. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine shortening/butter, sugar, brown sugar & vanilla. Beat until creamy. 
3. Beat in eggs. 
4. Gradually add flour mixture, beating between additions. 
5. Stir in chocolate & cherries. 
6. Drop spoonfuls or spread onto parchment/ungreased baking sheet.
7. Bake 8-10 minutes for individual cookies, 20 minutes for pan cookie bars
8. Cool and enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekly Sweat Stats 7/9-7/15

I had an amazing week! San Diego had beautiful sunny days, I enjoyed live music every day this weekend, booked a vacation for next month and had a lot of good company. Shining sun and good laughs always make life better! 

Here's how I maintained my sanity this week...

Weekly Sweat Stats 7/9-7/15

Monday: Easy 5 miler
Tuesday: 800 yard swim, 5.5 mile hill run
Wednesday:  day off
Thursday: 13 miles on spin bike, 5 mile run
Friday: core & yoga video
Saturday: rest and relax
Sunday: 60 minutes on elliptical

Not too heavy on exercise this week, but I am just keeping moving right now until school gets out and then I can train all day long! 

I hope you are smiling tonight!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weekly Sweat Stats 7/2-7/8

       What a wacky week of workouts! (I'm a little behind on my update..oopsy!)  I did a lot of cross training and it sure was FUN!    I ran, I swam and I hiked. And boy did I hike struggle through!

         I was invited to join a group that was hiking Mount San Gorgonio.  I knew that it was an all day hike, climbing to an elevation of about 11,000 ft but I had no idea how long and grueling it would be. We drove about 2 1/2 hours north of San Diego and spent the night in a cabin about 10 minutes from the trailhead. The goal was to start hiking by 6:30am because it was projected the hike would take up a total of 12 hours round trip. Yikes! First 2 miles were killer and we were already wondering what the heck we got ourselves into. We hiked up the woods, past beautiful views and practically scaled some Sahara Desert on the side of the mountain, totally 9.3 miles to the top. It took us 7 hours to reach the summit; with water, bathroom and snack breaks included.  To put into perspective how steep it was, the climb up was 7 hours but going down took about 4! Quite a difference!

Working my way up the side of the mountain, loooooong stretch toward the summit.

        When we reached the top, we felt #1) void of energy and #2) very proud.  

Fun fact:  The summit of Mt. San Gorgonio is the highest point in Southern California!

                          A beautiful clearing with about 2 miles left until we complete our trip

So.... it was quite an eventful week, here are my stats:

Week of 7/2-7/8

Monday: 10 mile bike ride, 880 yard swim
Tuesday: 6 mile run
Wednesday: day off (aka hang out with girlfriends and snack & indulge all day)
Thursday: 8 mile run
Friday: stretch & core
Saturday: 18.6 mile hike to the highest summit in So Cal
Sunday: rest & foam roll!!!

This week is already half over, I will be updating again soon. Now get out there and sweat!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Figs

Dear Stomach, you're welcome. 
Have you ever had a fig picked fresh off its tree?   If not, take my word for it... it will change your world. Okay, maybe not your world - but it will change your mind about figs.
 My parents have a Black Mission Fig tree in their backyard and lucky for me, the tree bears a lot of fruit. Last year when I realized how delicious dates were, I gave figs a try also.
 mmmmm mmmmm.  So good! 
I was heading to a birthday party a few weekends ago and wanted to bring a yummy snack to share with the group. The group loves food as much as I do, so I wanted to really bring something fab.
And thus, bacon wrapped figs came to fruition.
 Look for figs with firm and greenish-dark skin, no breaks in the skin and no little fruit flies!
It is important to pick figs that aren't too ripe - you want a little green still 
so the fruit stays firm while handling and cooking.
 A few figs were up higher in the tree, I coaxed my mom to get them for me... Where did she go?
 Give those suckers a little rinse, pat dry gently with towel.
 Trim hard stem just a bit and slice those beauties in half
 Scoop some of the seeds out, to make a teeny boat for the cheese.
 Spoon in about 1/2 Tbsp of goat cheese into the fig, and wrap it up with bacon!
 Broil, bake on a rack or BBQ until bacon is crispy and brown
 The combination of sweet & savory will knock your socks off!

Bacon Wrapped Figs

14-16 black mission figs
1 lb bacon
4 oz goat cheese 

1. Rinse fresh figs of sticky "sap" and yuckiness
2. Trim the hard part off the stem of the fig
3. Slice figs in half lengthwise
4. Scoop out a bit of the seeds to make a hollow space for cheese
5. Fill hole with as much or as little goat cheese as you want
6. Slice bacon strips in half, lengthwise
7. Wrap bacon around fig 
8. Bake on a rack at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or grill on BBQ to allow fat to drip and bacon to get crunchy! 
9. Take a big bite of amazingness
10. Repeat

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Weekly Sweat Stats 6/25-7/1

So I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. But all the photos on my computer have!   I haven't been posting any new fabulous recipes because my iPhoto crashed and I lost all my photos. I don't want to upload anything new until I get a chance to bring it into the computer store. FINGERS CROSSED that everything gets retrieved. In the meantime, here is an update on my training and workouts.

Weekly Sweat Stats 6/25-7/1

Monday: 5 mile run & 880 yard swim
Tuesday: 5 mile tempo run
Wednesday: 10 mile ride - 14mph
Thursday: rest
Friday: 3 mile am run
Saturday: 8 mile easy run
Sunday: rest

In reflecting on my week of impatience and busy times, I leave you with this.  Whether its a bad run, a struggle with attaining a goal or a crazy week at your job... it will happen. Whatever it is that you seek, if you want it bad will happen.

off for a 5-6 mile run with hill repeats!  Hoping for a 4th of July bike ride and swim tomorrow morning!