Tag Archives: summer

Mud, grass, sauce & sprinkles

How do you like that randomness for a title?

After leaving Ginger at home on Sunday for 9+ hours I felt like I owed her one. So after work I sucked it up and put her in my car for the 2 mile drive to the bike trail. I had done a quick 25 HIIT run on the treadmill earlier and wasn’t feeling much else besides a walk.

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Doesn’t she look thrilled? For 2 miles I had one hand on the steering wheel and the other keeping her wet little nose from touching my dash everywhere.

The damage:

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And I thought I lost a lot of hair! You can bet I wiped that off within 2 minutes of being home. I kind of have OCD tendencies with keeping my car clean. It probably stems back to my childhood and a father that wouldn’t let us eat in the car or get in with dirty feet. I blame you, dad.

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Ginger enjoyed the hour walk minus the bikers. She’s a little skittish around them. Not sure what a bike has ever done to her but she apparently found them scary enough to hide between my legs anytime one would pass. Wuss.

We stopped by the creek that runs under the bike path at one point to let her have a drink since it was kind of hot out and she was panting like crazy.

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And this is the payback I got.

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A bike went by on the bridge above us while she was drinking and rang it’s stupid little bell horn which freaked Ginger out and she jumped out of the creek, flinging mud all over me. So then I had a wet, muddy dog and muddy sneakers going into the car! We both got hosed down when we got home.

Oh, but the fun did not end there! Fast forward about an hour and I’m outside grilling dinner when Ulysses comes home and Ginger runs onto the deck to see him. That’s when he points this out.

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Can you see it? ASS GRASS!  And yes, I’m holding her tail up so I can get a better picture. Wouldn’t you? This has happened before so Ulysses knows full well I draw the line here. Ass grass removal is his job. I just take pictures and blog about it. That piece of grass ended up being a good 6 inches long (guess we don’t mow the grass often enough). Perfect dinner time entertainment.

Speaking of dinner, we had roasted vegetables and tofu on the grill with Mmmm Sauce. I’m starting to think I should rename the blog to “Running to Mama Pea’s Kitchen” considering how many recipes I make of hers. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it though, right? I actually saw Caitlin post about it yesterday and finally decided to take matters into my own hands and make it myself instead of drooling over everyone else’s.

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There’s a reason it’s called “Mmmm Sauce”. It is tasty! So tasty that I was lamenting the fact I couldn’t get it all out of the blender without risking some digits.

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Does it drive anyone else crazy that you can’t get the stuff under the blade out?

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I pretty much slathered it on everything. This was the first time I grilled tofu and all I did was season it with olive oil, salt & pepper. I purposely kept it simple because I knew this sauce was going on top of everything anyway. It reminded me of a sauce you’d find in an Indian dish. Loved it. Glad there is at least a cup left in the fridge.

And since it was the first day of summer and all, this was necessary.

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And promptly devoured in about 3 minutes.

Happy Summer!

 

Sprinkles or Jimmies? Sprinkles!!!

Would you pull grass out of your dog’s butt? Heck no, that’s what husbands are for!

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37 Comments

Filed under Around the house, Around town, Dinner

NROLFW update & more mango

I’m halfway through the first stage of NROLFW and wanted to do a quick update on my thoughts/progress so far with the plan.

Stage 1 calls for 16 workouts, alternating between workout A & workout B. After 3 full weeks, I’ve completed 8 of the workouts at the “2 set” phase and just today moved into the second half of stage 1 which increases the sets to 3.

I’m not going to do any updates on measurements yet, I’ll wait until the end of stage 1 for that. Sorry, no awkward full body muscle pictures today. Winking smile 

In general, I love it! In these 3 weeks, I’ve learned to live and function in a perpetual state of soreness (in a good way!). This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a strength training program before. I seriously look forward to each and every workout. I think a few things are contributing to that:

  • The way the program is structured it encourages you to add heavier weights as the workouts progress.
  • It gives you “beginner” moves when necessary so it’s easy to tell when you’re gaining strength because they start to feel easy and you move onto the “real” moves (push-ups are an example here).
  • I think the emphasis on dumbbells and barbells instead of machines makes it more easily recognizable when you can handle increased weight.
  • I already see a difference in muscle definition. Positive reinforcement baby!

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These are me not flexing. I’m going to call them my “rolling hills” and I’m pretty sure they weren’t there before. Winking smile Well on my way to looking like the book cover.

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Click here for before pictures (granted, I am flexing in those so they’re not totally comparable).

A few fun facts:

Prone jackknife is my favorite move of this stage.

Step-ups are my least favorite (boring and tedious)

-I can now do 3 sets of 10 full push-ups!

-In general this is how I feel about deadlifts:

Diet wise I haven’t been doing anything out of the ordinary besides being more cognizant of my protein intake. I will try to have a protein smoothie or something high in protein after each session. It doesn’t always happen, but I’d say about 75% of the time.

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Today’s smoothie, which overflowed the second I put the camera down and which Ginger promptly licked up.

Stay tuned after another 3 weeks for a full Stage 1 recap.

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Now, let’s talk about mangoes. Again.

I actually bought 2 mangoes for last week’s Mango black bean salad but only ended up using one because the other was hard as a rock. 6 days later after hanging out next to the bananas getting all ripe, it was begging to be used. After reading Jenna’s recap on her fruit detox, I had been craving fruit and couldn’t even think about “real” dinner foods. I just wanted fruit. The practical side of me kicked in though and somehow I ended up with this.

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Quinoa, mango, spinach salad.

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With a piece of whole wheat sunflower seed bread. Delicious, light dinner.

Quinoa Mango Spinach Salad

Makes 2-3 full dinner servings or 6 side dish servings

  • 3 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 1 mango chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Rinse quinoa and toast with coconut oil before adding water and cooking normally (optional, but recommended). Combine next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. When quinoa is finished cooking, add to bowl and mix to combine. Whisk together last 5 ingredients and pour over salad. Toss. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

 

What’s the weirdest craving you’ve ever given into for dinner (or any meal)?

18 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Strength training

Father’s Day

Like most everybody else, we spent yesterday honoring the dads in our lives.

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Ha! Got ya mom! At least we don’t think he’s a dad yet?? Winking smile

Of course, no get together in our family is complete without the canine brood.

You already know these two, Sugar & Switch.

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Let me introduce Mack, Claire’s son (we like to keep it in the family here).

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Adrian & Doreen’s puppy who just turned 1. He has many talents including plastic bottle domination in 1 minute flat.

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And way more impressively, hammock acrobatics.

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He’s a pretty cool dog.

Ginger missed all the fun today. She got to spend 9+ hours at home because I’m too lazy to clean up the massive amount of dog hair that would’ve been in my car if we took her. Dog mommy fail.

It was a gorgeous day and we just sat, chilled, ate and drank. Smile

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Do we look alike?

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Classic Sal pose. No doubt telling some ridiculous story.

Hope all the dads out there had a great Father’s Day, especially mine. Smile And, thank you Adrian and Doreen for hosting at your lovely house!

18 Comments

Filed under Around the house, Family, Videos

Dear Summer,

Yesterday, June 13,  I used the heated seats in my car. Please understand we have 6 winter months in which that is acceptable, June is not one of them. Summer is for A/C and barbeques. Swimming pools and beaches. Beer and mango, black bean salads. Not heated seats. I’d appreciate it if you could get your act back together.

*Warmest* regards,

Gina

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Mangoes bring me back to my childhood and memories of my dad. I can clearly remember the first time I had one.  We waited patiently for it to ripen on the countertop. Once ripe, it went into the fridge to chill. Then, we all waited for dad to cut it “correctly”. Did you know mangoes are the national fruit of India? My dad grew up in Calcutta, India. He knows mangoes.

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From that day on mangoes have been one of my all time favorite fruits. I don’t know why I then tend to forget about them for extended periods of time. It’s almost as if they are too much of a “treat” to just be considered fruit. I equate them more with the likes of chocolate cake. Enjoyed occasionally, not an everyday indulgence. When they caught my eye in the grocery store yesterday, I knew it was time for us to get reacquainted.

Since the weather hasn’t been cooperating, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a salad that at least tastes like summer. Mangoes + black beans + cilantro = summer. Anyone who disagrees with that equation obviously didn’t excel in math class.

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6 ingredients + chopping/dicing + a simple vinaigrette = 1 delicious summer salad

That’s some AP stuff right there. Or not. I got a 2 in AP calc, what do I know?IMG_0322IMG_0332IMG_0340

 

Mango, Black Bean Salad

Makes 6-8 side dish portions

  • 1 large ripe mango, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 fresh ears of corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 very small red onion or 1/4  of a medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro, diced
  • 1 medium jicama, coarsely chopped

Simple vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp evoo
  • juice of 1 lemon or 1/2 lemon + 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

After chopping and dicing, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and pour over salad. Toss to combine. Season with more salt and pepper if needed and chill before serving.

 

How do you cut/eat a mango? I have a coworker who pokes a hole in it and then sucks the fruit out.

31 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Side Dishes

Not your ordinary pesto

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Looks good right? Recipe to come, but first you’ll have to read about my day. Smile

First of all, thanks for all the nice comments on the dresses! The majority of you picked dress #1 and that’s exactly what I went with. Wasn’t a huge fan of the fabric that trailed off the back on the 1 strap dress. Felt a little too Greek Goddess for me. Works out well too because there are 7 of us as bridesmaids. 5 of the girls had already ordered their dress and 4 of them picked the 1 strap option, so I’ll even things out a bit more with my choice.

After Friday’s sore, slow run I was itching to get out today to redeem myself. The weather was overcast and barely 70, perfect for a run. I filled up the camelbak and hit the bike trail for 5 miles. Awesome run. Even if my face doesn’t exactly scream “yay!”. It was good to know that I just needed some rest and fresh legs.

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5 Mile Stats: (8:34 average pace)

Mile 1: 8:42

Mile 2: 8:36

Mile 3: 8:26

Mile 4: 8:47

Mile 5: 8:20

 

Came home to do workout 1A of NWOLFW which I was technically supposed to do yesterday but I was still so sore that I ended up taking a complete rest day instead. <—worth it! I still got my 3 workouts in for the week. Hopefully next week the lunges won’t be as bad!

After the workout, I attacked my car which badly needed a cleaning. Inside and out.

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Dad would be proud, I even did the tires. I don’t think the outside of my car had been washed since before winter. It’s just not worth washing in the spring here though because there is a constant film of green pollen on everything until about now.

Up next was dinner. My basil had already almost gotten to the point where it was bolting so I decided a pesto was in order. I didn’t have enough basil for a true pesto so it quickly became an “anything you need to use up that’s green pesto”.  I ended up using basil, parsley, arugula and baby spinach as the greens. I knew I didn’t have any parmesan at home either so instead of the creamy, hearty route, I added lemon to give it a nice citrus kick.

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As well as some garlic and pine nuts like a normal pesto.

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I love how green it stayed without the parmesan mixed in. Seriously, isn’t that the greenest pesto you’ve ever seen? Pesto > marinara sauce any day in my book. This one was a winner. Even better when served with whole wheat linguine with sautéed mushrooms and zucchini.

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The pasta was simple. I sautéed some shallots and garlic then added sliced baby portobellos and the zucchini which I peeled into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Once the pasta was cooked I added it and the vegetable mixture to a bowl and tossed with the pesto. If anything, it needed more salt but all in all a great, fresh tasting dish. The citrus was mellow enough but you could still taste it in the background.

Next time you have a random assortment of greens laying around try making it into a pesto. It’s an easy, tasty way to use up your leafy greens and there are so many variations to play with.

 

Everything Green Citrus Pesto

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1 cup packed baby arugula
  • 2 cloves of garlic (if you’re not a huge garlic fan, 1 clove will do)
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Place everything except evoo into food  processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Scrape down sides. Process again while adding evoo through top. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

 

Do you make your own pesto? What’s the best thing you ate all weekend?

16 Comments

Filed under Around the house, Dinner, Recipes, Running, Side Dishes, Strength training

A fabulous Friday

It started with an amazing bowl of oatmeal on a sunny deck.

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An impromptu lunch time tanning session. These pale legs need some sun!

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A kicking lunch. First time I put avocado in a tuna salad. Best idea ever! The avocado makes it creamy. No need for mayo here. Pepper, tomatoes, avocado & a peach #projectvegup!!

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An after work 4 mile run. This was a tough run! I got to the parking lot of the trail, turned on my Garmin and it said “batteries low”. I took that as a sign to just ditch it and go with the flow. Definitely glad I did because this was a slow run with a couple of untimed walking breaks. I am so sore right now from the lunges in workout 1B of NWOLFW that my legs just did not want to go fast. The type A in me would’ve been staring at the Garmin the entire time getting pissed at myself for my average pace. Without it though, I was able to think about why it was such a hard run and realize it’s probably all my body can handle right now. I still ran 4 miles. 1.5 years ago I would’ve laughed at the thought of that. Smile

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An absolute gorgeous day.

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The new trail even has signs about the area. This makes me feel better about my taxes, at least I know all about the creek I’m running over for our $8K a year. photo 4

We actually had intentions to go hiking early in the evening but I got hit like a freight train with a wave of exhaustion around 6:30 and it just wasn’t happening. Almost gave up on dinner, but then got my second wind.<—No idea what was going on!

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Beer helps.

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Last 2 chicken sausages!

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Then things got wild.

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Sweats and flip flops. Living the dream.

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And even wilder.

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Since our Friday night was so riveting, I’ll leave you with a video of Ginger trying to channel her inner Mishka.

She needs some work.

Can your dog/cat/furball of any sort do any cool tricks?

6 Comments

Filed under Around the house, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Running, Videos

Tribute to Spain: Summer gazpacho

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Junior year of college I studied abroad in Malaga, Spain. Almost 9 years later, I can still say it was the best 4 months of my life. Of course, as you age you always look back at things with a different perspective, isn’t that where the saying “hindsight is always 20/20” comes from? Sure, I wish I had enjoyed myself in the moment a bit more in Spain, not worried about grades and papers as much, not focused on how much I missed my family or boyfriend (now husband) at the time and just soaked the experience all in. But the one thing I really wish I had done in Spain?

Learned how my host family made their gazpacho.

Did you really think it was going to be something mushy? (My mom is shaking her head knowing full well it wasn’t Winking smile).

My host family had it’s downfalls. Mainly that they didn’t feed me enough! I was always  hungry. I used to sneak into the kitchen at night and “steal” food to hoard in my room for the next day. I got the only “wealthy” family in the program because they just happened to meet my “absolutely no animals in the house” stipulation. This was pre-allergy shot days. They were prominent architects in the city and were never home unlike all the other host moms whose sole mission was to fatten up their host students. In a sick, twisted way I was kind of jealous of my friends as they all gained weight over the 4 months. At least they were eating! Despite this major downfall, the gazpacho made me forgive them. It was that good.

We had gazpacho almost everyday. Most of my friends in the program hated it and complained about how often it appeared at lunch (the main meal of the day). I, however, would be bursting with excitement on days Maria, the “maid” came because I knew gazpacho would be on the menu. Maria was the sole gazpacho maker. Unlike my host family, she didn’t speak a lick of English. 20 year old me, totally unconfident in her Spanish speaking abilities, never worked up the courage to ask her how she made it for fear that I either wouldn’t understand her (she spoke fast with no regard to the fact that Spanish was my second language unlike my host family) or wouldn’t be able to articulate my questions correctly as she explained the recipe.

I regret that every summer when the heat kicks up and I crave that chilled, tomato-y goodness.

I’ve tried gazpacho at almost every restaurant I’ve been to that has it on their menu since Spain, hoping and praying I could find something reminiscent of Maria’s to no avail. In fact, I’ve had some pretty disgusting encounters. Most restaurant gazpachos use way too much onion (an ingredient that shouldn’t even be in there in my opinion) and taste like chilled Campbell’s tomato soup. Gross. So, I embarked on a mission to come up with my own.

I do know her recipe required boiling and peeling the tomatoes. It was an all day event. I don’t have time for all-day events in the kitchen, but I was determined to come up with something that came close to at least replicating the flavor of hers.

Meet the star of the show:

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His lovely supporting actors.

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And, the “extras” who add some kick.

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No boiling here, just coarse chopping, seeding, and blending.

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I think Maria would be proud.

It needs to be chilled for a couple of hours and after that it’s up to you how you want to accessorize. I chose a drizzle of olive oil and some more diced up peppers as that was exactly what my family did in Spain. They also had these little pretzel shaped bread sticks called “piquitos”. I have never seen anything like them in the states and wouldn’t even dream of being able to replicate them so I improvised with some crumbled up Mary’s crackers. The soup is incredibly versatile. Eat it as-is for a true gazpacho feel, add in beans (chickpeas work nicely) for some added protein, or add any diced up vegetable to top it off. And, if you really want to be true to it’s roots, say it with the heaviest lisp you can muster for the truest Andalucian feel. “Guh-spah-choh”.

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If this doesn’t epitomize summer, I don’t know what does.

Summer Gazpacho

Makes about 4 bowls

  • 6-8 vine ripened tomatoes (heirlooms are even better if you have them)
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red/orange/yellow pepper
  • handful of basil
  • handful of parsley
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce (if you don’t like heat, omit)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if you don’t like heat omit, or only use either this or chili)
  • splash of balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Coarsely chop tomatoes, removing as many seeds as possible. Coarsely dice peppers. Add everything to a blender and blend until desired consistency. I like to keep it somewhat textured. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add any toppings you like and enjoy!

 

Are you a gazpacho fan? I feel like people either love it or hate it.

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Filed under Dinner, Recipes