2011 Goals

I have some pretty lofty goals for the new year. Some of these are pretty hardcore and will be hard to stick to. However I am printing up this blog entry and sticking it on the fridge so no excuses!!

1. Drink 3 Nalgene bottles of water a day. (72 ounces)
-I am always so thirsty, probably because at the moment I am drinking maybe ONE a day!

2. Floss daily
-My dentist will thank me.

3. FILE!!!
-We have a stack of paid bills that is an eyesore and preventing me from having a clear tv stand. So
2011 will be a year of organization and filing!

4. No candy (this is kind of a big deal–I have a problem)

5. Only turn on the tv when I have something specific I want to watch.
-No more of this channel surfing and just having the tv on to have it on. And on that note, start watching
Top Chef religiously.

6. Take my vitamins EVERY DAY! (multi and omega-3’s)

7. Respond to emails as soon as I get them
-I am really bad at this right now. In fact, I would say I am infamous for letting them sit in my inbox. On
the flip side, I get super annoyed when people don’t respond to my emails right away!

8. Ride my bike at least twice a week
9. PR at the Bay State Marathon
-Hopefully now that I have one under my belt and know what to expect, I should be ready to PR!

Since I am feeling listy, here is a meme going around the blogosphere. Take it and do it (in the comments or on your blog!)

1. Four TV shows that I watch:
Top Chef
Family Guy
Real Housewives (all of them)
Iron Chef

2. Four things that I’m passionate about:
Running
Teaching
Reading
Cooking

3. Four words/phrases I use a lot:
“That is bologna!”
“meh”
“NBD”
“What the?”

4. Four things I’ve learned from the past:
Family really is the most important thing.
Dont take a million years off from working out if youre stressed out. It is what will make you feel better!
You get out of situations what you put into them.
Life goes on!

5. Four places I would like to go:
France
Ireland
A tropical non-US island
Cross-country

6. Four things I did yesterday:
Visited friend
Ran
Cooked
Played with the dogs!

7. Four things I am looking forward to:
Summer and the races that come with it
More years with PW (awww)
Getting another dog?!
Working on our house

8. Four things I love about winter:
Snow storms
uhh…thats it. I dont ski or ice skate. I dont like running it. I do like the snow though!

Visiting

One of my friends got injured in a car accident Wednesday night (thankfully she is okay, other than a severely broken wrist). We rallied and camped out at her house yesterday after she got home from the hospital. And of course we came with a lot of food, because thats how we roll.

Included was:
Chips and salsa/queso
Hummus and pita chips (I went with plain and then brought too mix ins–carmelized onions and roasted garlic)
Ice cream sundae fix-ins
Chocolate Chip cookies to be baked.

One of our friends outdid herself though, she went through a Trader Joe’s cookbook and found some great recipes. She made the recipes over the course of the afternoon.

Started with Provolone and Prosciutto wrapped roasted asparagus.
This was SO GOOD! Its my new go to appetizer recipe!!

(Roast asparagus for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and wraps provolone around asparagus. Then, wrap that deliciousness in prosciutto and put back into oven until cheese is slightly melted.)

Apricots with Goat Cheese


(Slice apricots in half, remove pit. Put on lined cookie sheet and fill with goat cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes until they start to brown. Remove, drizzle with honey, and top with chopped pistachios.)

While this was all being consumed over the course of 5 hours, she was ALSO slowcooking some Wild Mushroom Beef Stew! (I love beef stew!) She made that, along with bringing some organic Egg Noodles to be the base. This was great, and super hearty. It does take a while to cook though, but when you are eating classy things like the above, you can live with it!

(The pictures are so discolored–maybe my iPhone camera isnt as good as I thought it was?!)

We also watched a couple of movies which were way more hilarious than I expected–Despicable Me and Surf’s Up.

Today I am down for a 40 minute run and some serious grading and planning for next week. Not sure what is happening for New Year’s Eve. There are a couple of options, but I have been out almost every night this week and am thinking sleep may be a more viable option. Even though it is the end of a decade (crazy to think about!).

Just for kicks, a couple of pictures of this mornings delicious breakfast (vacation leaves me time for making intense breakfasts!)


Tune in later this afternoon, I am in the midst of writing my 2011 Goal Entry!!!

2010 Year in Review

This year I-

Turned 27

Went to my beloved Fenway

Went to Utah (and watched my husband qualifiy for IM Hawaii!)

Went to Lake Placid, my favorite vacation spot of all time

Went to Hawaii

And ran my first marathon!

So much more happened, but I don’t have it in pictures! Celebrated our first anniversary, bought a house, ran a million races, started a career, didn’t swim or do any triathlons at all, started this awesome blog and learned how much I really love to cook.

2011 should be just as awesome…hopefully including an overseas trip, a trip to Idaho, hopefully a marathon PR, another relay run, and maybe the addition of another dog? Looking forward to seeing what will happen!

Off to run on the treadmill now…back later with some COOKING!

Some eats from yesterday and today

Started yesterday with an immense pancake craving. Not just any kind of pancake–buttermilk pancake.

Here is my lonesome cake:

At some point I also decided I wanted a grapefruit. Sometimes I get this intense urge to eat really juicy fruit–its almost like being thirsty but not quite. Anyone else get that?

Festive (and photogenic) fruit:


Dinner was a stew made from leftover turkey. The secret to making it thick? Mash up some of the cut up potatoes when they get soft–natural (starchy) soup thickener!

Tonights dinner consisted of epic salads and garlic bread. After 75 minutes on the treadmill I need some FOOD!


And now? Going out to play some Tuesday night trivia!!

Asked and Answered

You guys asked some thought-provoking and funny questions! Here are the first few (I hope to do this again…so keep asking away!)

1.) Do you amp up your workout/run routine when you have a vacation? or are you going to do
more relaxing next week?

I am on winter break right now (for those of you that don’t know!). My running has a very specific progression, so it is what is is whether I am working 100 hours or 3 hours. My schedule for the year is planned out at the very end of my “off time” by my awesome coach, so there is no getting around it.
However, I usually have no time to swim. I like swimming as a recovery activity (same with cycling), so I AM going to amp that up this week. And by amp up, I mean actually go and do it!

2.) Bucket list?

Ive never really thought about this before. Visit France and learn to speak French fluently are at the top of the list. Be a foster home for dogs is another (we need a bigger yard first!). Oh and run a super fast marathon :)

3.) Why does your husband wear your running pants?

Legitimate question! I bought a pair of running pants long before I knew PW, and when I was a little…heavier. One day he was at my house and needed running pants, and before I knew it, I had involuntarily gifted them to my future husband. Which is totally cool now because they are too big, and always were wayyyyy too long!

4.) What does it mean when PW says, “em, nom, nom…”

One day I was enjoying a snack (my delicious chewy multivitamins!) on the couch, with a stuffy noise. I was a little louder than your average bear because I could hardly breathe. It was at this time that PW told me I was actually making the “internet noise” for chewing…aka “Om, nom, nom”. Here is a website with some Om nom nom pictures that will help clarify!

5.) If you had to pick one thing that was most important in making you a good runner (besides genetics), what would you say it is?

Good one! I am going to assume you dont mean me, but in general what makes a good runner (because I know I am awesome ;) ). I think genetics plays a very small role in being a “good runner”. Way more important than genetics is consistency. Years and years of it.

Here is a very short-term example. In 2009, I did RAGNAR in September. My zone 1 run pace (meaning at a specific heart rate) was 8min miles when I did the race. After the race I took 6 months off from running. When I finally got back into it last year, my Zone 1 pace was at 10:30’s at that same heart rate.

However, this year before the marathon (2010) my zone 1 pace was again 8 minute miles (no improvement from last year). I took 3 weeks off and came back and my zone 1 pace is already back to 8:40’s.

With consistency, you are able to build on fitness. When race season starts again, my zone 1 pace (and therefore race pace) will be much faster. Without consistency you are just losing and regaining the same fitness.

Consistency allows you to build a base and to keep building on that foundation…

Wow, again, this was a great question!

6.) When you coming to FL to visit the old folks??

HOPEFULLY SOON! I want to run outside again! Too. much. snow.

More Details on Snowpocolypse

I know we have had blizzards here before, it shouldnt be a big deal. But this is my first blizzard as a homeowner. And seeing this forecast is not comforting:

Chloe is tucked in, trying to stay warm:

Meanwhile, I have gathered emergency supplies:

Unpictured: a 3 pound bag of gummi bears.

I have also fully-charged the kindle and downloaded 2 new books, so I will have something to do if (when) the power goes out!

You know what they say…

To keep me entertained, I looked through my sister-in-law’s gift to me again. It was pretty (very) awesome. She is a true blog fan. I mean, check this out:

I love Pier 1. And I love dishes! These will make for some fantastic food pictures. A few close ups:



Cant wait to take and post pictures in these little merry dishes! (Yes, I did just use the word merry–it’s festive!)

Stay warm and safe tonight all you northeast peeps! I have a hot date with my brand new heavy duty shovel in about a minute!

Exciting BrooksID News!

Christmas was, of course, lovely. I have a pretty epic Christmas gifts +Christmas Day post in the works at the moment. If you havent heard, a snowpocolypse is coming here to the NorthEast and there will be plenty of time for blogging (while we still have power at least!). I have broken down this entry into three categories (coincidentally also the title to my blog): Life (exciting news), Food (Christmas food!), and Running (its cold here!).

Life:

But, back to the point of the entry, I was caught off guard by something I got in the mail yesterday. It went to our old address, so I had no idea it had even come. It was a Brooks contract for 2011! I was on the ID team last year, and this year they had switched to invite only, and got rid of the “regular team” so I thought I was dunzo. But I open a letter from Washington to find this:

I am sooo excited! The P.A.C.E team! Can’t wait to race in the uniform!

Food:

Let me throw in a couple of Christmas Eve pictures while you are still reading….

Christmas Eve we went to PW’s grandparents house to have dinner and participate in the always-hilarious Yankee Swap. While there, I played against Nick in the Droid version of Words With Friends. I kicked his butt resulting in this picture:

I saved that picture as “SadNick.jpg”. I could have done “LosingNick.jpg” but felt it might be too harsh.

Pre-Christmas, PW and I decided that we would half-do the diet until Christmas and then put all our chips in on the 26th, going hard (ie walking the straight and narrow Core Diet line) because we both have half-marathons coming up. I took that as a challenge, and after all that Scrabble-ing worked up an appetite, this was my dinner:

Roast beef, turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade mac and cheese (with pancetta-amazing), green beans (under the cow), bread with butter. I did in fact eat all of it. Along with my fair share of appetizers (which included, but is not limited too: lamb, bruschetta, salsa and chips, creamcheese raisin dip), and dessert (frosted brownies, cookies, trifle, oreo bark). Let me tell you, when necessary, I can eat almost my weight in good food!

Running:

The 5k last week completely wrecked me in that my Zone 1 pace dropped so much my legs cant keep up with my cardiovascular system!
I had to run 25 minutes on Christmas Day, in the flat land of Bridgewater. After running 9:15s on the treadmill in the middle of Zone 1, I was NOT prepared to run 8:30’s yesterday outside! Felt like I was sprinting the whole time, but of course I am not complaining, because running is more fun that way!
Today was long run day, and due to the impending blizzard and unreasonably cold temps (Mario and PW would disagree with that statement) I decided to do it at the gym. 77 minutes and 9 miles later, I was actually psyched to see that perhaps yesterday’s run was not a fluke–I really am getting faster! Excited for the coming week–have a lot of miles on tap!

Check back in because entries in the works include: Christmas post (presents galore!), Asked and Answered post (have gotten some awesome questions so far: Go here if you have any questions you want me to answer on the blog!), and exciting trip news!!

Amazing Bruschetta

So, I finally decided on the appetizer I would be bringing for Christmas Eve dinner…Bruschetta. I rarely have it (PW doesnt like tomatoes) but when I do, its a treat! Perfect for the holiday.

Ingredients were as follows…

1 loaf french bread (cut into 3/4 in slices)
3 Tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic (1 to rub on sliced bread, 2 to go into mixture–minced)
6 Roma Tomatoes (chopped up)
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Our party doesnt start until 4:30, and we have some serious traveling to do between now and then so I decided to try something a little different. I toasted the baguette and put the cheese on it and then brought the topping separately so it wouldn’t get soggy in the car. Worked out great! That way people can also decide how much bruschetta they want.

So I started by slicing the bread, brushing the top with olive oil, rubbing 1 of the garlic cloves on top, and topping with mozarella and baking for about 5 minutes (broiling, really…about 450 degrees) until cheese was pefect and bread was toasty. Then I put the bread on a cooling rack so it could get crunchy on the bottom.

While that magic was happening, I combined the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mixed them up really well. (Cut up tomatoes, minced garlic, pesto, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar).


I think this will get better the longer it sits, but I couldnt wait and had to try it right away!

This is by far the best bruschetta I have ever have! I think it also may be one of the best things I have ever made. It is delicious and satisfying. The key is definitely the fresh basil. Cannot wait to unveil it tonight at the party!

Will be back with a non-cooking entry soon, a lot has been going on!

Almost there…

A random concoction of things:

Getting close to being finished with my Christmas shopping. I have been running around like a mad person trying to fit it all in. We don’t have much time to do anything on Christmas Eve before our travels start (just a quick run!), and Thursday is an hour run and an afternoon dedicated to my baking (after work of course), so I am flustered!

Half my presents are wrapped (those Ball jars are a gift hint for some gals!)

Luckily, since he is so hard to shop for, PW and I decided instead of buying each other gifts this year we were going to donate some stuff to a charity near and dear to our hearts…The Worcester Animal Rescue League. Everytime we drive by, it breaks our hearts to think about those pups all alone in there at night! I did get him one small thing but a picture will have to wait until the 26th!!

If you have been wondering why I haven’t been using my DSLR for pictures lately, its because I am an idiot. I kept trying to take pictures and it wouldnt budge. I was getting an annoying yellow 0 flashing on the screen. I havent had much time to do research on it but finally got fed up and googled it. Get this–it just means your memory card is full. DERRRR!! Thats right, I had 800 pictures just hanging out on my camera. Transferred them over and now it is ready to get back in the game.

Like for pictures of tonight’s dinner….

Or this picture I took of Kona. It was my “test picture” to see if downloading all the pictures on the card had fixed my issue. Looks like I caught her by surprise, huh?

Still trying to decide what I am baking for the upcoming holiday parties. An appetizer for one and dessert for another. I was thinking cheesecake, because really, when is cheesecake NOT appropriate? As for an appetizer…I really wanted to do something with bacon. Or prosciutto (bacons classier cousin). Still doing research, but the countdown is on!

Lastly, I was thinking of doing a “Asked and Answered” blogpost. To do, I need questions asked so I can answer them!! My new FormSpring account can be found here..ask me anything anonymously so I can answer it on the bloggidy blog!

I mean…who wouldn’t want to ask this lovely lady anonymous questions? Perhaps about things like looking good and staying trim? And how to find hats for an enormous head, maybe…

QT2 Systems Team Party and Food from 12/18/10

Where did I leave off? After the 5k yesterday, we had french toast. And then for lunch I had an awesome sandwich:

chicken, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Ethan showed me up by making this epic salad:

Then we hit up the QT2 Party!!!

Pictures of peeps first, food second.

Me and PW (does anyone else always do that awful default angle when they take a picture? Trying to work on that!)

(Props to Charlie for the picture!)

Nancy and Rick:

Me and Brian:

And Charlie and Jane:

You sure can tell which pictures where taken with a nice camera and which were taken with my phone!

Now onto the food. I love Maggiano’s. The food is good. And plentiful. We started out with spinach artichoke dip, calamari, and stuffed mushrooms. I ate my fair share while getting to catch up with some people I havent seen in a long time, it was great!

Dinner started with a cobb salad (worst picture of the bunch, but most delicious salad!)

Then the main courses. Pasta with mushrooms and chicken, chicken parm (its so good here), a random addition of mashed potatoes (i just really wanted them), and cheese ravioli in alfredo sauce. I could hardly eat this all, I was so stuffed at this point! I did make a serious dent though :)

And dessert was the infamous puff pastry ice cream concoction and cheesecake with strawberries. I may or may not have eaten that entire piece of cheesecake. Myself. Minus the whipped cream though, I have some self control.

We then went across the street to hang out for a little bit, getting home at 2:45 this morning (unheard of in this house!). After a good night we rolled out of bed at 10AM, and now PW is getting ready to run and I am getting ready to scavenge for something to eat….even though I am kind of still full from last night!

I have a short run planned for today (recovery, even though I dont feel all that bad despite racing yesterday?!), some lesson planning, and some Christmas shopping. Already looking forward to the next holiday party!!