My first real addiction

I love running.  Sometimes I crave a good quick run in the rain, or a long run on a chilly fall day.  When I go too long without running, I go a little cray cray.  BUT… I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to running.  I could probably get the same thing from some other endurance sport, but I haven’t tried those… yet. 

Last year during the fall semester, some kid commented that he thought I was addicted to coffee because I always had my coffee in my hand when I got to class in the morning.  I laughed and told him that it was more likely that I was addicted to 1. having a cup in my hand because it makes me feel cool and reminds me of the Pacific NW, and 2. a good dose of sugar… because my cup was almost always full of hot chocolate… not coffee.  Too poor for daily lattes. 

When I started work a few weeks ago (it has already been 3 weeks!) I started going to Starbucks in the morning because it was the one little thing that I did for myself each day.  If you know my mom, you’ll understand why going to Starbucks reminds me of home and family.  It has become my comfort food of choice.  When I lived in Spain for a year it was my go-to cure for any homesickness.  Beyond the nostalgia, I enjoy my few minutes alone outside with my white and green cup every morning because it always, without fail, feels like an indulgence.  I hope that never goes away. 

So what’s the problem?  The problem is that I don’t like Starbucks hot chocolate and it has been way too hot for anything but iced coffee every morning here in Boston.  So, I’ve had coffee for the past 3 weeks.  One of them was even free because my Starbucks gold reward points kicked in!!  Yesterday I slept in… A LOT, but it was ok because Brendan did too.  After lunch with a friend, I came home and I was super productive studying for my next CPA exam took a super long nap.  I just figured it had been a long week, and I needed the rest.  But then the same thing happened today, except it didn’t feel good because it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, and I knew I wasn’t actually tired.  Then I got horrible head and neck aches while I was running.  Then I got cranky and felt like I needed sugar… any sugar.  When I started explaining these symptoms out loud, I realized that I needed coffee.  I needed coffee for the first time in my life. 

I’m still not sure if I’m ok with this situation, but I sure did feel better after grabbing an iced coffee this afternoon! 

Onto dinner…

I had a major craving for chicken parmesan…

Cornmeal-crusted Chicken Parmesan

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Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast tenderloins (uncooked)
  • Cornmeal
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dried basil or Italian seasonings
  • Grated parmesan
  • Egg whites
  • Canned or homemade marinara
  • Whole wheat spaghetti
  • Mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a shallow bowl of egg whites and another shallow bowl with a mix of cornmeal, S&P, parmesan, and Italian seasonings.  Prepare the chicken by giving it a bath in the egg whites and then coating it in the cornmeal mix.  Set aside on a plate while you prepare all of the chicken.  Heat a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook on each side for about 3 minutes.

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Remove each piece and place them in a casserole dish or brownie pan.  Cover with a coat of marinara sauce and mozzarella, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melty!  Serve over spaghetti with extra sauce!

YUMM… this was so good. 

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My new life…

will be busy

includes less running

will be fun

includes long walks into the city to go shopping!

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I bought a bunch of new clothes for work this weekend.  It is a lot easier now that I’ve been to the office and seen the level of formality I’m dealing with.  It’s not as high as I was expecting, but I think I will still dress on the nicer side because I feel more confident that way. 

We went to my favorite “real fast food” place in Boston for lunch: b. good. 

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Yum!  I had the veggie burger with avocado and fresh baked sweet potato fries! 

Skip to dinner!  Brendan made cornmeal-crusted tilapia with mango-cilantro salsa!  and I made some quinoa and steamed broccoli slaw to go with it.  It was great and super quick and easy!  The fish was from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. 

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I couldn’t get over how quick and easy this dinner was!

I’m off to catch a flight to Texas for National Training!  I’ll be there for a week.  I might blog, but I’m not allowed to take pictures there, so what’s the point!?  I will definitely be running and taking advantage of their super fancy gym and group exercise programs.  I’ve heard you can rent bikes for free to go exploring off campus, too.  I’ll let you k now how it goes! 


First day of work!

Yesterday was my first day of work!  It was a lot of orientation-type activities, so it wasn’t very intellectually stimulating or anything.  I met some new friends and got comfortable riding the T (subway in Boston).  My first day of work outfit was this red-orange top from J.Crew that my brother helped me pick out and a black pencil skirt from Banana Republic. Not pictured: black pumps.

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My hair ended up in a loose low messy bun, but I kept it down for most of the day! 

For dinner we made a pizza on our new pizza stone that Brendan got us at Target!  We used Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough, some jarred spaghetti sauce, shredded mozzarella, chicken sausage, and caramelized onions!  It came together pretty quickly!  I also chopped up another Italian chopped salad.

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We couldn’t get the crust on the bottom as crispy as we would have liked it.  Any suggestions?  Should we heat the pizza stone first?  How do you put the pizza on a hot pizza stone?


A working woman!

Today is my first day of work!  I still feel like I am just starting another round of school; I even caught myself calling it my freshman year!! Call it whatever you want, but I sure hope it pays better than the other schools I’ve gone to!  I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Last night we had another go-to weeknight favorite of ours: peanut sauce noodles.

I don’t really have a recipe for you because we make it differently every time, but I can give some good pointers…

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The sauce that I use is just natural peanut butter, Trader Joe’s teriyaki sauce, and some water in the ratio of 2:2:1.  For example, I would use 1/3 cup PB, 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce, and 1/6 cup water (eyeball it).  I originally got a recipe for the sauce from my All things Trader Joe’s cookbook, and it calls for some oil in the sauce, as well.

All you need for the dish is some spaghetti (we use whole wheat) and your favorite veggies and protein.  Last night, we used broccoli slaw (from Trader Joe’s), a yellow bell pepper, a tomato, and some chicken breast meat.  Broccoli slaw is better when it is blanched, but it is SO much easier to just put it in the strainer before you strain your noodles.  Just pour the boiling pot of noodles over the broccoli slaw and let sit for a minute or so.  Then toss with your other veggies, meat, and peanut sauce.  It is great warm or cold.  And it is SUPER good the next day.  Brendan already has it packed up for lunch tomorrow!

Let me know what you think if you try it! OR if you have a similar recipe, I’d love to hear about it!


Exploring Boston

Brendan and I set out this afternoon to tour the Back Bay in Boston, since that is where my office is, and I wanted to know how to get there on the T(subway).  I loved the Back Bay so much when I visited for interviews; it probably had a lot to do with why I chose the firm I chose. 

Our trip started out at… the Finish!! Yep, that’s the finish line of the Boston Marathon… drool. 

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You have to risk your life for a pic with the finish line.  I ran out there while the light was red, and Brendan took a quick picture of me!

There is only one thing that Brendan and I like as much as new ice cream shops…new CANDY shops

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Brendan was VERY excited about these peachy penguin gummies.  They were just OK.

We walked through the gorgeous brick buildings on Newbury Street, along the Charles River, and over to the Boston Common.

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I just realized that we meant to do the Freedom Trail today, but we forgot… another day.

It was such a beautiful day, and there were literally TONS of runners all along the river.  It was more crowded than some races I’ve been in!  Not kidding.   Needless to say, I was pretty excited to go running when we got home.  I have runner’s envy real bad.  I thought I knew where I was going, but then I wasn’t sure about my loop route plan, so I ended up doing an out-and-back 7 miler.  It was SO beautiful out.  There was a crazy cloud formation and a beautiful sunset over the city.  Sorry, but I took my water bottle instead of my camera.  You’ll just have to come visit me! 

Dinner tonight was turkey chili from the “Cooking with all things Trader Joe’s” cookbook.  It’s super simple and healthy, making it one of my go-to dinners. 

Turkey Chili – serves 4

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (we use white meat)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 can refried beans
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup TJ’s Chipotle salsa (or your fav salsa)
  • 2 Tbs. BBQ sauce
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Toppings: cheese, nonfat greek yogurt or sour cream, avocado

Directions

  • Sauté the onion with the olive oil for a few minutes over medium heat
  • Add the ground turkey and break it up as it cooks
  • Once the turkey is cooked through, add the cumin.  Stir
  • Add the refried beans.  Smash them so that they mix with the other ingredients.
  • Add all other ingredients through black beans (not the toppings!)
  • Stir!
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy with toppings of your choice, cornbread, chips, sourdough bread?  Yum.

Ice cream in Cambridge

Once again I realize that I have not written about a single run I’ve been on in Cambridge, but here I am writing about ice cream again.  Oops!  I did go on a few nice runs this week while the weather was temporarily Portland-like (not current Portland, but normal Portland); that is… nice and rainy!  It was really beautiful on the Charles River in the rain.  I went out around after school time, so there were a ton of cross country and crew teams out by the river.  Nothing makes you feel old and slow like a bunch of college and high school athletes running 7 minute miles in circles around you!  But really, the run was great.  I brought my camera, but I really regretted it when I got too hot to wear my rain jacket, so my camera was just bouncing away on my rear in the pocket tied around my waist.  So… I didn’t really take pictures on my run.  I did take a few, but the light was awful. 

I did take pictures of the TWO ice cream places we’ve been to in the past few days!!! 

For now I’ll just tell you about the one we went to today… J.P. Licks.

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We went for a walk through the Harvard campus, and just when we were walking off campus I spotted the cow…

It is super cute inside with grass on the wall, bright chalkboards for all the menus, LOTS of options…

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My picture sucks, ok!! Get over it… They have tons of coffee options, ice cream, cakes, yogurt, sundaes…

I got a swirl of the oatmeal and cinnamon latte frozen yogurts in a pretzel cone!

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The pretzel cone really was just a hard pretzel with salt shaped like a cone.  It was actually disappointing… I never say this, but it was just too salty for me.  And the pretzel option costs almost $2 more, so I’ll just get plain next time.  The yogurt was AWESOME!!

Brendan got a waffle cone dipped in white chocolate with oreo cake batter ice cream.  He also loved the ice cream, but will pass on the fancy expensive cone next time. 

We are already pumped to go back, and pumped to take all of our out of town guests when they come! 

Finally, we walked home and decided we needed some more nutrients for dinner, so we went to the store to get stuff for an Italian chopped salad.  Quick and easy.

In the mix:

Romaine lettuce

Chopped tomato

Chopped bell pepper

Chopped salami

Shredded mozzarella

Garbanzo beans

Chicken

Italian dressing

We also had some wheat dinner rolls that were left over in the fridge from dinner this week.  It was an easy dinner that we will definitely be repeating soon since we have all of the extra salami in the fridge now!


Dinner time!

I don’t post the food I eat on my blog like a lot of healthy living and running bloggers do because it would be an unhealthy habit for me, personally.  I don’t have a problem with other people doing it.  There are some that I feel like I can read without feeling triggered, but there are other blogs that I choose not to read altogether because something about them gets me thinking about food toooo much.  Not good for me. 

However, I am going to post what Brendan and I make for dinner sometimes, even when it is not very interesting or involved.  This is going to serve as a resource for me when I am planning rushed weeknight dinners in the future, or before I head to the grocery store.  I hope that it may also serve as a resource for some of you as you battle the back-to-school craziness of fall when there is suddenly not even enough time to eat dinner!!

If you don’t care what I eat for dinner and you hate me, don’t read these posts.  If you think this might be useful or interesting to you, I will tag all of the dinner posts with the word “dinner” and you can find a list of the dinners I post by clicking on “dinner” in the tag cloud on my homepage.  Comment if that doesn’t make sense. 

Tonight Brendan and I teamed up to make risotto and caesar salad.  I love making risotto because I feel like once you make it the first time, you never really need a recipe except for the ratio of rice to liquid.  There are often a lot of extra steps in risotto recipes that may add subtle flavors, but I find they are really unnecessary for the average weeknight creamy risotto. 

Simplified Risotto (for 2-4 people, we usually have 1-2 servings of leftovers)

I think it takes 30 minutes for the whole process.  We poached the chicken while the risotto was cooking and just added it in. 

Ingredients:

a few tablespoons olive oil

one yellow onion (coarsely chopped)

extra ingredients: artichoke hearts, mushrooms, chicken, sausage, spinach, tomatoes, etc.

one 32 oz. container chicken broth (or veggie)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

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(I used chicken that Brendan had poached and chopped and a can of artichoke hearts)

Directions:

Pour all of the chicken broth into a saucepan over medium heat.

Put the olive oil in another pot over medium heat and sauté the onions and whatever other ingredients you have chosen to add to your risotto.  Honestly, you can’t really mess it up, so add whatever you think you like in your risotto.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the rice and mix it around, allowing the  rice to toast slightly and become more translucent. 

Add 1 cup of the (still on the stove heating) chicken broth and let cook/stir occasionally until that is absorbed.  Repeat this process until you are out of chicken broth.  The 1 cup measurement doesn’t really matter, but you should add the chicken broth in small amounts (about 4 times), allowing the rice to absorb the broth each time before you add more. 

You should continue to stir to avoid burning/sticking. 

When the last of your chicken broth is absorbed turn the stove down to low and cover the risotto for a few minutes.  I like to sprinkle some parmesan on top at this point so that it melts a nice layer across the top while the lid is on!! 

Serve with parmesan and some good bread.  We also had a salad. 

This is definitely on my go-to list for dinner because it is so easy to always have arborio rice and chicken broth around, and then I can just add whatever is in the fridge…

Shout out to Braedon who ran his first high school cross country race today!! Yay!!