Sunday, September 28, 2008

Missing in action

I have been remiss of late, especially for much of the month of September. For some reason, having my mother at my house tends to make me lackadaisical these days about getting anything done when I am in the house with her. I feel like all feelings of productivity just fly right out the window when I come home from work, and the same is true on weekends. This is not a good thing since there is much to be done and much food to be prepared.
Preparing food is the one thing I cannot avoid since we have to eat our meals. I am still looking for creative ways of preparing vegetables since I feel that having a vegetable serving with dinner every night is extremely important. So, with that in mind, last night I tried a new way of preparing broccoli, which is one of my favorite veggies. Usually, I steam it and toss it with olive oil and lemon juice. That's an easy, no-fail method of preparing a lot of veggies. And it's pretty good, but after a while I feel like I need a change. So last night I decided to roast the broccoli. I looked at my little broccoli florets before I popped them in the oven, and they were crying out to me, "hey, we're lonely down here on this pan. Give us some action!" So I tossed in a few whole cherry tomatoes and combined all together with olive oil and sprinkled with the tiniest amount of coarse ground salt (which I mainly applied to the broccoli). It was a nice change, but next time I want to maybe drizzle the vegetables with a little balsamic vinegar when it comes out of the oven. Another idea to try is to substitute adobo seasoning for the salt. The upside of this new method is that my mother liked it too! And she didn't ask for more salt. Yay!
My husband very proudly informed me the other day that he has joined our local YMCA which means he is ready to start working out! I feel like this is a gigantic step in the right direction for him and I am so proud of him for doing this. The next step is for him to begin eating more carefully and making the right choices about his eating habits. I'm going to start working with him on that while my mother is off at my brother's house. She goes there today for a 2-week stay. Who knows, I may be able to get him to appreciate veggie bacon yet!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sweet potatoes - yes!!

I have a great recipe to share that involves sweet potatoes - big surprise, right? My 83-year-old mother is staying with me and we are starting our 3rd week together tomorrow. Ohmigosh!! Two weeks is okay, but 3 weeks? Help! Nevertheless, my husband went off to visit his dad, so I decided that we could have fish for dinner tonight since no hubby around (and he hates fish). As a side, I told my mother that we would have sweet potatoes. Sweet!! I love them and look for any opportunity to have some for dinner. So, I went online and looked up recipes. The recipe that I found, and that I wanted to try, was a Robert Irvine recipe from the Food Network . It's Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Wilted Spinach and it's totally comfort food! Try it, you will not just like it, you will love it - and you can veganize it if you want (which is how I had it - simply involves using margarine instead of butter). Very simple to make - I highly recommend it.
Tomorrow is Chickpea Salad - I will report on that after I have sampled it.
So, getting on with my running plans, I am now done with the Couch to 5k running plan and am in the middle of a 2-week self-imposed plan of just running for 30 minutes three times per week. I will do this and hopefully increase my speed and then start training for my first 5K! I also have to start running outdoors too. I would really like to find a running or workout journal that I can access on the internet. Somehow, using a notebook just doesn't appeal to me. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Woo Hoo!! I made it through!

Today I overslept and wasn't able to do my workout! Oh no!! Well, today I was scheduled for weights so it's no big deal if I miss that. Frankly, if I didn't have my mom staying at my house, I could just go over to the YMCA this evening and do my weights then. But I have to make dinner for her when I get home, then I have plans to go down to the Zoo Bar to hear my husband's band for a little while. It's my husband's birthday - 9/11! Yup, that's his birthday. Anyway, no time for the YMCA tonight. Can't do weights tomorrow because it's my running day - the last one of the last week on my running plan! Woo hoo! I made it through!
I saw a recipe posted on 101 Cookbooks' blogspot that I really want to try - it's Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry Recipe. I think I am going to give it a try on Sunday after I get back from New York, tofu and all (don't know how my mother will like that). I'm going to New York on Saturday to take some more furniture up to my daughter and while I'm at it, I'm going to give her a copy of this recipe. One of the things about it that interests me is that the chickpeas are stir-fried until golden and crusty. Yum, golden and crusty chickpeas sound good! I also have a recipe for a chickpea salad that uses toasted chickpeas. This seems to be a pretty cool trend in chickpeas. I'll let you know how it goes, unless you beat me to it and try it out before me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

mmmm, yeah!

I finally have some resolution to one of my food quests. For a while, I was searching for a good dish that would include both whole wheat pasta and vegetables and still be yummy. Oh, and a protein to complement the whole grain pasta would be nice as well. Well, finally, I found it! Once again, it's a recipe from the Food Network, courtesy of Giada deLaurentiis. The recipe is fusilli with spinach and asiago cheese and it filled the bill. Of course, I only used about 1/2 as much olive oil as was called for, plus I reduced the amount of cheese by one-half as well. Extra cheese can be on-hand for individual taste, but mine was fine with the reduced amount. Tonight we will try this dish as a leftover - can't wait!
Another idea I am eager to try is polenta lasagna a la Michael Chiariello, again of the Food Network. However, since I haven't tried this recipe yet, I am also not ready to post it. That will just have to wait a little while.
In running news, I am now up to 30 minutes/2.5 miles. Nothing earthshaking - it's very pleasant how everything has gone up to now. Hopefully it will continue this way. After this week, which is my last week on this running plan, I will concentrate on increasing my speed slowly for a couple of weeks, then transition to some outdoors running (weather depending, of course). Then I will begin training for running a 5K. Then who knows what will happen? Senior Olympics?
Currently, however, I am working out 6 days a week. I run 3 days, do weight training 2 days, and I also incorporate a long, cardio walk 3 times a week. Sometimes those walks are in conjunction with my run days. I get one day off. This suits me well - I seem to be getting enough sleep at night and am not having any aches or pains yet (I guess I should knock on some wood somewhere!). I keep a pretty strict schedule, and if I miss a day I usually am able to make it up somewhere, somehow. For now, it's fun.
I still believe that weight training is an absolute necessity for women, so girls, don't forget to lift those weights!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

s'been a while

Gee, I guess it's been a few weeks since I last published a post here. The fact is, I have been so busy with people moving in and moving out that I haven't had time to think about new ideas for food and have just been serving up the same ol' stuff. But I think that's coming to an end soon. I have been mulling and conjuring up some new ideas, and in a short while I will be ready to post them.
For now, however, I'll just have to stick with some tried-and-true recipes. For instance, one of my favorite ways to fix asparagus is to roast them. In fact, I love roasted asparagus so much that I usually fix this dish at least once a week. I think the turning point for me and roasted vegetables came when my daughter introduced me to roasted brussels sprouts a la Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa). Now I want to roast anything I can get my hands on. Only trouble is, roasting isn't the best way to prepare foods in the hot days of summer. But I do it anyway.
As I said, new ideas are coming, so stay tuned.
In the world of fitness, I am now up to running 28 minutes (or 2.32 miles) three times this week (I have already done this run twice this week, only 1 more day to go). Next week will be the last week of this running plan and it will culminate with my running 30 minutes three times over the course of the week. After this, I will start a training plan for running 5Ks. It seems like my only problem now is side stitches which I seem to get chronically but am able to control and get rid of if I concentrate fully on my breathing. That means, no music because the music is too distracting. So welcome boredom! It's not so bad - it's only 28-30 minutes. And I count every minute that goes by. I know it will get better when I start running outside, whenever that happens. My goal was originally to run in 5Ks and such with my daughters, but now I'm thinking about the Senior Olympics! haha, just joking of course.