Sunday, December 7, 2014

Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato "Fries"

You know what really makes my day? When we finish dinner and the (former picky eater) husband proclaims, "Well,  THAT meal is a keeper!"

Yep, that makes me feel pretty awesome. That was the case with last night's meal - Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato "fries."

Seriously - this was the black bean "quarter pounder"
The burger recipe was really basic, as I have never made them before and I was a little bit nervous about the consistency. Next time I make them, I will definitely be spicing them up and adding in some extra veggies.

1 can black beans
1 egg
Chopped yellow onion (next time, I will be sauteeing these prior to cooking)
Bread crumbs OR oats
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder

1. Mash black beans by hand (I highly recommend using the Pampered Chef nylon masher - love this thing!). Mix in egg, bread crumb/oats, onions, garlic powder, and onion powder until super thick.
2. Make into patties.
3. Put onto parchment paper.
4. Cook at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flipping 1/2 way through.

Nate even liked the Sweet Potato fries (he claims he doesn't like sweet potatoes, but this is now the second dinner I've made with them that get his stamp of approval).

1 sweet potato sliced (next time I'm using two - I wanted more of these!)
2tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove cut into small pieces
Cumin to taste
Salt to taste

1. Slice the potato and put in a ziplock bag.
2. Add all the ingredients to the ziplock bag and mix em up!
3. Put fries on a pan spayed with cooking spray.
4. Cook at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes - the longer, the crispier!


After cooking. Yum Yum Yum! SO making more "fries" next time!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sweet Potato, Kale and Lentil Soup (POWERHOUSE MEAL!!)

For those of you who have followed this mission to learn to cook and eat clean from the beginning, you know that I was, and sometimes still am, a DISASTER in the kitchen. So before we get onto this recipe, I have a confession to make. This was only the 3rd time, in my life, making soup from scratch. BUT, this was SO good (and husband approved) that I am ditching the Campbell's forever! Buh bye!

Sweet Potato, Kale and Lentil Soup

(as always, I apologize for the incomplete quantities on the ingredients list. I still like to pretend I am like my little old Sicilian grandmother who could just throw Lord knows what in pot and make a five course meal out of it).

2 carrots diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 sweet potato
1/2 bunch of kale
1 cup lentils
1/2 onion diced
Vegetable broth + water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cumin to taste (you better believe I used a ton)
Garlic powder to taste (next time, I'm just using garlic)
Olive Oil or whatever oil you prefer to use!

1. Saute carrots, celery, onion and kale. Add in diced sweet potato for just a few minutes at the end.
2. Boil vegetable broth and extra water. Add in cumin, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. When boiling, add in lentils until cooked.
3. Add in sauteed mix for the last 3-5 minutes.
4. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese (my vice, yes please!).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cheesy Vegetable Quinoa Bake

This recipe was a HUGE win! With just one bite, Nate the Great declared this one his new favorite (he didn't even mind that there was broccoli in it - just for the record...he now eat broccoli, spinach, artichokes and onions...he wouldn't even touch those a year ago!) Oh, and for any new readers out there, Nate is not my child..he is my husband...and yes, he is just that picky! ;-)

This is the only picture I got...because this meal went REALLY fast!

So the best part about this recipe, is that you can put whatever veggies you want in it. The original recipe said it was a "mac and cheese" type recipe, but I didn't put enough cheese in it to make it such. I am trying, key word, trying, to use slightly less cheese in my meals. Now might be a good time to mention that although I used less cheese in this one, it still contains a ton of dairy - a cup and milk and two eggs! If you make this one and modify it to be a bit healthier in terms of the dairy, I would love to hear back from you so I can give it a try!

Cheesy Vegetable Quinoa Bake

1 cup quinoa cooked
1 cup chedder cheese
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs
broccoli chopped
spinach chopped
red onions chopped
salt to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
panko as a topping (optional, of course)

As always with my recipes, easiest directions ever. Cook quinoa. When it is done mix up all the rest of the ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with panko, if desired. Cook for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Artichoke, Spinach and Quinoa Wonderpot!

Today marks ONE week into my build strength and muscle mission! So far, I am LOVING it. I am still running 5 times a week, and cross training once a week (swim or elliptical). I am taking a temporary break from the Quick Strength for Runners program I have been repeating since May to consistently devote myself to PiYo and 21 Day Fix and drinking shakeology everyday. I'm loving the new workouts and am already seeing a difference. Drinking shakeology was further out of my comfort zone - I've never been a big smoothie or shake person (as I've always said, I prefer to eat my food) but Nate convinced me to give it a try (mostly because he wanted to try it I think). And it is seriously good! It's my new quick and easy breakfast and it is like having a milkshake for breakfast. I game to start my day with dessert any day!

One of my "whys" - Boston Marathon 2015 (and yes, my DVD player is broken to I'm 21 Day fixing on my laptop!)
To celebrate being one week in, I made one of our favorite new recipes I discovered this summer. The WONDERPOT (original recipe here!). The original recipe called for pasta, but I used quinoa instead. I also simplified a bit (no surprise there, but really this is SO easy you don't need to) and cut out a few ingredients. And OF COURSE I added garlic...pshh..who leaves out the garlic! My favorite part about this meal is that it only uses ONE pot. I'm all about less dishes in the sink!

1 box Frozen spinach (thaw before adding to pot)
1 can artichokes
1 cup quinoa
2 garlic cloves
Chicken or vegetable broth
Oregano or spice of choice

1. Cook quinoa in broth.
2. When quinoa has almost cooked, add in everything else. I don't drain the artichokes and use the liquid to finish cooking the quinoa.
3. Serve with grated cheese (this is a huge vice in our goes on everything).
4. Enjoy and clean only ONE pot afterwards!

Only one pot to clean!

So good even dog wanted some. Too bad Nate wouldn't share!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Taco Spaghetti Squash

Ok, so if you are like me you LOVE casserole dinners, but hate how unhealthy they are. C'mon, butter, heavy thank you! So I am constantly finding casserole recipes and revamping them. Well..there's that and also the fact that no matter how hard I try to keep my grocery list up to date I always manage to forget something on my list and don't realize it until I'm halfway through prepping the meal! (Honestly, I don't even have children yet...I can only imagine where my brain will be when I do - props to all your awesome mommy's out there).

So tonight's recipe is brought to you by my forgetful grocery shopping brain and an attempt to clean up an unhealthy casserole dish! This one was definitely a keeper (although Nate the Great claims it would be even better with taco mix - one of the items I forgot). And another side note - I did choose to add a little crunch to the top of it. I had meant to get Rice Thins at the store (also forget) and sent Nate to get some on his way home from work. He returned with Wheat Thins, which we don't typically eat (very processed!)...but for tonight, it worked.

Taco Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cumin and Chili Powder (I used these instead of taco mix, but taco mix works too)
1 cup salsa
Green Pepper
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
Something that goes crunch on the top
1 cup chedder cheese (I may have cleaned up my diet, but I will not give up my cheese!)

1. Cut and clean out the spaghetti squash. I salt and pepper mine to taste before putting it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
2. When spaghetti squash is done, rake out the spaghetti and put in a casserole dish. Add black beans, salsa, green peppers, corn, and taco mix (or just cumin and chili powder) and mix. Top off with your choice of crunch and of course chedder cheese.
3. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Nom nom nom very yummy!

I should add that the original recipe called for ground turkey, browned. Nate and I still are on a very limited meat kick, so we choose to forgo the meat, but it is certainly another option to modify this dish.

I need to learn how to take better food pictures, but trust me, this one was delicious!

On another food related note...tonight I made my first shakeology recipe! I have just been mixing with milk and ice in the blender, but tonight, I gave this a go.

1 scoop shakeology, ice, 1/2 banana, milk and a spoonful of peanut butter! Holy YUM this was good! This will be my go-to breakfast for the next few days until I decide to give another recipe a try. I am totally loving how this stuff 1) tastes 2) keeps me full 3) makes my tummy feel (I am very prone to bloating and general stomach ickiness and I swear this stuff has made a HUGE difference in that regard) 4) supports my workouts! I am a believer!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Maybe it was turning 30 last month. Maybe it was my amazing experience running the Chicago Marathon, getting a new personal record and having my strongest marathon yet. Maybe I'm just bored (probably, I have the attention span of a gnat). Maybe it was my experiences going to physical therapy and all the subsequent reading I did on strength training for runners. Maybe it was the fact that my last marathon cycle consisted of more strength work that I've ever done before. Most likely, it was a mix of all of these things, but finally...finally, it happened. That kick in the booty I've needed. Similar to that kick in the booty I had 26 months ago that first led my on this journey to clean up my junk food diet. My next step.

I am blessed to have amazing accountability with running. I have a great network of running peeps, races always on the horizon to keep me moving forward, awesome running clubs like Crow Athletics (CAW) and Maine Track Club, and some absolutely amazing roads to run in Maine! Running has become habit.

2015 Boston Marathon Acceptance - MAJOR accountability!

Strength training - not so much. No accountability. No one to strength train "with," no one to keep me going. No one to teach me tips and tricks like I've had with marathoning. Much like when I started my eat clean mission, I've been on a information journey since attending PT in May. I've pinned a gazillion strength training routines and moves (to the point where I entered a "do nothing" phase because I was so overwhelmed), I've asked people what they do for strength training, I've people watched like crazy at the gym (I swear, I'm not a creep, I'm just trying to figure stuff out!) and I've watched Nate the Great do Insanity, P90X3 and T25.

I've consistently done my PT work since May and in late July, when my moves started to not be so challenging anymore, Nate recommended that I try his DVD's. But I was a little bit intimidated, so he suggested I get PiYo. And I fell in LOVE. It was SO runner friendly, SO easy to do with marathon training. It was my jump start. A

nd then Chicago happened. I was convinced I was going to run a 3:45 - 3:50 marathon based on my running. Convinced! I had missed a long run, took 9 consecutive days off due to plantar's fasciitis, and was unable to to speed or tempo work for nearly 6 weeks due to it.

Legit, not believing what I'm seeing - is this thing broken today?
And then I managed a COMFORTABLE, key work, COMFORTABLE 3:32. In true geek Jamie fashion, I spent the next week pouring over my training logs trying to figure out how it happened. Strength was the difference. Consistent strength. It had to be!

So, now, I am on a mission. I have accountability for running, but now, I also have accountability for strength work! To keep accountable I have signed on as a Beachbody coach and will be running my first CHALLENGE group in a week! I have chosen 21 Day Fix as my program, but will be doing lots of PiYo as well! The best part, Nate is in on it too! We are shakeology-ing it up each morning (did I really just make that a verb?) and working it out in the afternoon (he is sticking with P90X3 for now). And we want YOU to join us! Come be a part of this challenge group and we will keep each other accountable and motivated! Contact me for more info!

It in For the Long Run TOGETHER!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recipe #12 (yikes, I'm behind!): Squash Chips!

Despite my lack of posting, I HAVE been busy cooking and trying new recipes this summer! A new challenge this summer was to cook from our garden. (Huge thank you to my amazing summer who spent about two weeks in the blistering June-July sun redo-ing the dilapidated fence!).


Our garden provided us with fresh tomatoes, peppers, kale, cucumbers and yellow squash all summer. (My pumpkins and cauliflower were duds due to some rookie mistakes, but next year, it's on!).

Nom, nom, nom.    

I had never really eaten yellow squash before, so I pulled out a few recipes, but in the end, ended up just throwing them in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and covered them in breadcrumbs. I cooked them up for about 10 minutes until they were crispy and VOILA! A REALLY good side dish, or after dinner snack! And yes, this one even got the stamp of approval from Nate the picky eater. 

I have used this recipe with zuchinni before, but I definitely preferred using the yellow squash - it was a bit sweeter and they crisp up a bit more.

Ok, so this was kind of a cheat recipe for my New Year's Resolution - it was super quick and easy and not necessarily a meal. SO, be on the lookout for another newbie early next week - THE WONDERPOT!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I do still blog...really: A very long, semi-disjointed ramble about where I've been...

Really, I do. It's just been stuck in my head for umm...5 months and 2 weeks. Yikes, has it really been that long? I've reread my last post regarding getting ready for the Providence Marathon probably a thousand times this summer in preparation to write something about that (not so pleasant) experience, but each time I was unable to get the words out of my head and down in a coherent fashion. So instead of writing a big lengthy piece about it, filled with emotion and an in depth analysis of the inner turmoil surrounding the unfortunate turn of events that caused me not to run Providence, I'll just stick to the facts so we can move on.

1. I came down with a fierce stomach bug the Wednesday before the Providence Marathon and spent 12 hours in the bathroom, sick in all ways (won't go into more detail than that).
2. I was unable to eat until Saturday afternoon (no food, except for a donut D convinced me to eat on Friday, for 2.5 days).
3. I knew I shouldn't run, but I also knew I couldn't NOT run. So I did. And with 100 meters I knew I wasn't going to finish. But I kept running. And decided at mile 8 I had gotten in a good enough workout to call it quits as I had probably sweat out any remaining sickness at that point...but apparently there was no "aid station" until mile 15...which wasn't even an aid station but an ambulance that would only take me to the hospital.
4. So, in a "holy crap, I am so effed" moment, I hitch-hiked. Yep. Jumped in a car with total strangers. And they brought me back to the start/finish. At least I can know cross hitch-hiking off my bucket list.
5. I got my first DNF. I was ok for a few days, because I knew there was no way I was finishing that race without ending up in the hospital first. Then, I suddenly was not ok with it. I was angry. Not angry at the DNF. But angry that I had got sick. For Providence. AGAIN. (brief overview of that disaster here).
6. I decided Providence is indeed cursed and most likely will not be making a return trip.

Ok, the end.

But then, the best thing happened. A pain in the butt injury (literally) I'd been nursing all through Providence training became very real. I finally rested up after my "non-marathon," as I've come to call it, thinking this niggle would heal. But when it didn't, I went to see my good old friend Dr. Sedgwick (his response - "you's only been 5 months this time"). After X-rays and poking and prodding he said that I most likely had hip bursitis along with some tendonitis and referred me to PT. PT was beyond awesome. Seriously, the best thing that ever happened to me. It was my wake up call. My PT was blunt and honest and I loved it. He told me I had some very weak glutes. We worked together for only about 3 weeks and I was religious with my home exercises, but the pain went away almost immediately, and I instantly caught the strength training bug.

So, since we've last chatted, I've completed this book TWICE through...

And then started PiYo. (More to come on this later).
I felt stronger and better than ever.  I had finally stuck with strength training for more than two weeks and was proud.

But just as my strength training started to take off, my running got sidetracked, yet again. I was struck down with Planter's fasciitis in late July and had to take about 9 days off. It took almost 6 weeks to heal, and although I was lucky to be able to run through most of it, I had to stop doing workouts, as speed bothered it, and was resigned to slow miles. I had also gotten some health related news in early July that threatened to put the kibosh on my marathon training (don't really want to get into this yet - maybe someday) and just really took the wind out of my sails for training in general.

One step forward, two steps back.

As Chicago approached, I was really at a loss for a goal, and decided just to run what I felt that day.

Race day happened, and I somehow had the race of my life. No wall hit. No need to walk. First marathon I've run in it's entirety. First marathon done on heart rate, and done way UNDER heart rate levels (ave 159 - 9 beats below lactate!).  Present the whole time. A PR (ok, it was only 9 seconds, but it was a hell of a lot easier than my last marathon at almost the same time!). And, a very unexpected, second Boston Qualifier.

I was lucky enough to have the company of Danielle for this race experience. She sums up the race much than I just did in her blog. What was so neat about it, was that Danielle had a similar experience to me at marathon 10 (cursed marathon number 10). A damn DNF.

After the marathon, she posted this on her facebook page...

I kept going back and rereading it in the days after the marathon. I'll be honest, after Providence, I really questioned if I wanted to run marathons anymore. ALL that training, ALL that hard work...for one, flipping day. And then, if you get a stomach bug, get a chest cold, aren't hydrated enough, there is a freak hurricane, is such a let down. But even though it is a let not all for nothing. My DNF and subsequent injuries laid the groundwork for strength training I would have never done otherwise. I am a stronger runner, and person because of it. Mentally and physically.

I've been reflecting on the Providence non-marathon, and the Chicago AWESOME marathon all week, and I was reminded of this picture I've posted before in my blog.

Yea...I may have "failed" in Providence. But it was just fuel for the fire. Fall down 5 times, get up 6, or something like that. I'm back on the horse again, and now I'm on a mission...

 Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Providence, Chicago and Boston, (and...MDI, GULP!), OH MY!

My city hopping marathon tour began (bright and early!) Monday morning at the mile 14 hydration station on the Boston marathon course. My husband and I, along with our good friend Steve, volunteered with the Maine Track Club at the station. It was an extremely long, but very fun and rewarding day. From being feet away from the elites flying by, to meeting my virtual Hanson's training partner, Erika, from Florida, to seeing marathon dreams come true for many friends, it was just a surreal day. The absolute best part of it, however, was seeing my husband become invested and excited in the marathon. He has always supported by marathon adventures, although he now admits that he thought marathoning may just be a phase, not something that has completely consumed my life, but he, naturally, has never been as obsessed with it as me. We chatted most of the way home about the marathon and the elites. The next morning, I was exhausted from the long day and ready to sleep in late. However, I was woken by him watching videos on his computer. Crankily, I rolled over wondering what the hell he was doing (SLEEP IN DAMNIT). Much to my surprise, he was watching the marathon. He wanted to see where Meb got in front and where Shalene fell back (his words). I was shocked. We ended up watching the whole thing again. I was ecstatic to see him interested. Towards the end of the mens race, we were even picking out spots along the course where he could watch me next year. Which leads me to my next very exciting point. Now, after 6 months of waiting, I can finally say "I am running Boston NEXT year!" Yahoo!

MTC Boston Marathon Volunteers

The newest marathon fan!

But before Boston, I have two (umm, maybe three) marathon to conquer.

#1 - Chicago - 10/12/14. It is official. I am IN! Flights and hotel are booked. This will be my first (very mini) vacation/marathon combo and I couldn't be more excited. In fact, this will be the first time (in our 9+ years together) Nate and I have even been on a plane together/on a "vacation." I think we are well overdue (even if there is a marathon involved - sorry Nate!).

#2 - MDI. Well, this came as a bit of a surprise and was rather unplanned...but...

Oops. My plan as of now is to run with a friend, pending an injury free Chicago training/marathon. MDI is easily the most scenic marathon I've done and I'm excited to have chance to go back and actually enjoy the course and not race it.

#3 PROVIDENCE, BABY! 10 days and counting. I am not sure I can concisely put how this training cycle has gone down quite yet. I am still a bit on a roller coaster ride about it. I had a perfect 10 and a half weeks on the Hanson's plan, then modified the plan for the last 8 weeks. Even with the modifications, I managed 5 days of running each week, averaged 45 -50 miles most weeks and did most SOS (something of substance) workouts, although I cut back the mileage on some, and the pace on others. One second I feel like I'd be lucky to even get my time from my last marathon (3:32). Then the next I remember that even with the modified plan, I've put in more mileage and more work than I ever have before.I know that when push comes to shove, it's going to come down to how my hip flexor feels that day. If it feels good, pending any weather issues/wall hitting, I know i have a PR in my legs. If my hip flexor is tight and cranky that day, it's not happening. This is something I have just come to accept, and I suppose, at this point, time will tell.

10 perfect weeks of Hansons...and then some modifications.
Regardless of what happens, I do know that the fitness I have gained from this marathon cycle is monumental and it will show this racing season. Tuesday was the first day of track and I had four - one mile repeats on the schedule, at 7:30 pace. I fell into the first one on feel without looking at my pace and was shocked to see it read 6:45 at the mile mark, at lactate. I followed that up with two more comfortable mile repeats at lactate in 6:35 and 6:45, and then the hip flexor tightened up and I put out the last on in 6:50. I needed this run for my brain - to convince me that 1) I can still run fast 2) running feels good 3) I am faster and stronger than last year. Now, if my brain can just remember this track workout for the next 10 days, I might be able to maintain sanity during taper!

;-) hehe

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recipe #11: Enchilada Quinoa and Some Random Happenings!

So, I have been working on this blog post since Sunday night, and four days later, it is finally ready to post. Truth is, after starting it on Sunday, I really have not been in the mood to write. Sunday night, (after devouring the delicious new recipe to come later in this post), we decided to bring Smokey the Cat back to the emergency vet (for the fourth time). We were now going on about 5 weeks of emergency vet/regular vet trips and an exorbitant amount of expenses.

One week of meds for poor Smokestack! 
But we knew Smokey was sick again. The vet we saw was excellent, but sadly informed us that as a result of having the catheter in for too long, Smokey's kidneys had shut down and were unable to recover. As we were speaking, his little body was giving way - he had developed a heart murmur, and his body temperature was plummeting (earlier in the day we caught Smokey and Dixie cuddling on the bed...very strange for Smokey to let the dog so near, must have been for warmth). We had no other option at this point but to put him to rest. This was our first animal loss and was extremely hard on us, and especially on my husband as Smokey was his "wingman." I have been spending the week giving extra cuddles to our other cats and dogs, not wanting to take one moment with them for granted.

Dixie keeping Smokey warm in his final hours.
Dogs are amazing creatures...she knew he was not well,
and took care of him. 
Nate's Wingman. They shared a love for Lays. 

Smokey <3 
Fenway, Smokey and Dixie upon one of Smokey's returns from the E-vet. 

Anyways, tonight was the first night I started to feel a little bit more like myself, so, back to the delicious recipe.

On Sunday night, I made "Enchilada Quinoa and Black Beans." First and foremost, you should know that this recipe can serve a small army! I ended up splitting it in two and we ate (well!) for two nights this week. Nate really enjoyed this recipe and stated that it tasted just like enchiladas. This recipe was also extremely easy to make.

Here is the recipe:

1 Cup Quinoa
1 can black beans
Olive Oil
1 onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 can of corn
3 cloves garlic
1c enchilada sauce
Cumin to taste
Chili powder to taste
Cilantro to taste
lime juice
Mexican shredded cheese mix

1. Boil the quinoa. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add in the onion, green and red peppers, corn and garlic. As it is cooking, add in the cumin, cilantro, and chili powder. (I say add to taste because I never measure my spices!). Sprinkle some lime juice over the mix.

2. In a large bowl, mix the quinoa with the can of black beans. Add in the sautéed vegetable mix and the enchilada sauce.

3. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole pan. Top the dish with the Mexican cheese (you may want to add some throughout the mix as well). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes and then enjoy!

As I said before, this recipe makes a ridiculous amount of food. It is going to be a great one to have on hand when we have late nights after school (conference night!) and need a quick pre-made meal.

HUGE skillet of vegetables!
Cheesy Enchilada deliciousness
(this is one dish of two this size that the recipe made)
On another, training related, note, someone using the Hanson's method reposted this quote from the Hanson's Marathon Method training book on their facebook page this week and I got a BIG kick out of it....

"How much and what kind of pain you feel the day after a marathon can vary; however, it's common to feel stiff, sore, and supremely worn-out. The marathon breaks down your muscles on a microscopic level, leaving them in dire need of time for rest and repair." 
Hansons Marathon Method, by Luke Humphrey, pg 207

Well, that is refreshing and reassuring (I think???). "Supremely worn out" might describe it at the moment! As of today I hit 725 miles training for this marathon (I don't think I hit 700 miles till the end of May, mid June last year....). My training seems up and down - one run feels awful, the next I feel amazing. The hip/glute issue I was having is slowwwllyyy resolving itself (knock on wood) and feels to be at about 80%-90% right now. I have come to the conclusion that I have absolutely no clue what to expect on marathon day and have no guesses to how it is going to go. If I wake up that morning and the hip feels good and loose, it will go fine. If it is tight and achy and I have no range of motion, I will probably have to settle for 8:30-8:45's for the race as that is all I can seem to get out of it range of motion wise when it is tight. Not knowing has kind of taken some of the pressure off. Whatever happens, happens. Time shall tell! 

For now, I am going to enjoy this (semi) taper and I am really going to enjoy volunteering the mile 14 water stop at the Boston Marathon on Monday! Happy (almost) marathon Monday! 

Post Run stretch-cuddles in last year Boston Marathon
Volunteer jacket. Dug it out for my run 4/15 to honor the day. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mission 24 Recipe #10: Kale and Spaghetti Squash Casserole

It is hard to believe, but even with no new recipes the whole month of March, I am still on track to meet my goal of experimenting with 24 new recipes in 2014 for Mission 24. I finally had the energy to dig up and plan a new recipe for today's dinner. This afternoon I whipped up a Kale and Spaghetti Squash Casserole. I tend to stay away from casseroles because they usually call for some sort of cream and lots of cheese, but I decided to suck it up and give it a try.

To start with, I cleaned and cooked the spaghetti squash as I usually would (40 minutes at 400 degrees). I had a little surprise in today's spaghetti squash. Apparently, my squash has sprouted! I am just going to take this as a sign that spring has indeed sprung!

While the squash was cooking, I sautéed the kale, an onion and a few cloves of garlic. At the same time, I also mixed together 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 egg and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (my stomach may have churned a few times during this step...the consistency of these items does not sit well with me). When the spaghetti squash was done, I grated it out into spaghetti strands and mixed it in with the kale/onion/garlic I sautéed and the cottage cheese/sour cream/egg mix in a casserole dish. I decided it needed some mozzarella cheese and breadcrumbs sprinkled on top as well before I put it in the oven (the original recipe did not call for this). Last, I put it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. 

Voila! Dinner!

Nate really enjoyed this recipe. He has requested it with breadcrumbs mixed in throughout for next time. I really loved how the kale on top crisped up with the breadcrumbs making it nice and crunchy. I still could kinda taste the sour cream/cottage cheese in there, which was a turn off for me, but I think if I reduce the amounts a bit for next time I can manage. Other than that, it was a really yummy (and easy) dish.

On another note, today we started our spring planting! I am wicked psyched to get our garden up and running (FINALLY) this year. We moved into our house August four years ago (really cannot believe it's been four years!) and unfortunately the previous owners had let the garden overgrow, as they were busy making a huge out of state move. It has been overgrown ever since, but in the fall, Nate took down the old fence and we begun the planning. In May, he will be building me a brand new fence (thank you, You Tube). We have 8 huge boxes to fill, so I started some seeds today! Time to see if I have a green thumb! 

Onions, tomatoes, green peppers and cauliflower!
One of two kits ready to roll! 

And last, but not least, after another trip to the vet last week, we made one final, as the vet called it, "Hail Mary" attempt at saving Mr. Smokey. I am literally sick to my stomach every time i think about how much money was spent to save this cat, but somehow, he seems to be turning a corner. He is doing better the last few days, but if he digresses, he will need to be put down. Since he came back home on Wednesday, he has been quite the cuddle bug, and even has found a new found love for his doggie siblings! 

Despite the look, he really is loving this...

as is his dad....

Smokey's medicine cabinet...twice a day...

Until next time...happy running (4 weeks until Marathon day!) , happy eating, and happy spring! 

Kale and Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 bunch of Kale
1 onion
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C cottage cheese
Mozzarella cheese and breadcrumbs (if you choose)
Spices of you choosing (I used pepper and parsley)

1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and clean. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
2. Sautee kale, onion and garlic.
3. Mix egg, cottage cheese and sour cream.
4. Mix everything together in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs.
5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.