Chicago Marathon Training Week 14

Welcome to the taper.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 2 mile run (got sucked into a new hole and was late leaving for my run, whoops)

Friday: rest (I got my hair done, and skipped yoga so my hair wouldn’t get sweaty because my priorities are in order)

Saturday: 12 mile run

Sunday: Yoga. I pretty much kicked its butt. Boom.

Reflections: 

  • I took my taper very seriously this week. The combination of having a cold and getting my hair done really did me in. The cold hit Monday and I felt like dreck. I average maybe one cold a year so the slightest cold pretty much turns me into a baby. It actually hit at the perfect time. I have more or less recovered from the cold but it hit after my 20 miler. Win. I did manage to gross out many Santa Monica tourists by snotting all over myself. Freaking out tourists? Double win.
  • 12 miles feels very short after running 20 miles. I felt great about my 12 mile run and I completed it in about 1:55 mins. I will take that as it’s more or less on pace with my last half.
  • Yoga is amazing as per the usual. I can’t wait to practice more post marathon. I will also be incorporating zumba in. I love running but I also love other things too and I’m excited to diversify my routine.
  • I am getting very excited for Chicago! How excited? I started writing mantras in my head while I was running. I also started to think about all the things I’m going to eat. And, most of all, I thought about how it will feel to finish a marathon. The next year is full of scary things like law school graduation, the bar, and finding a job. I really could use to emotional pick me up that the marathon will likely be.
12 more days!!!!!!
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Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Coffee Reduction and Pumpkin Ice Cream

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program I was lucky enough to receive two pounds of Godiva Coffee’s two new seasonal flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark.

While I love coffee, I’m not a huge fan of flavored coffee. What can I say? I love bitter things. I decided the best way for me to enjoy the coffee wasn’t simply brewing it, but placing it in the context of a fall dessert. I decided to make a variation of Orange Pound Cake and top it with a strong coffee reduction.

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 vanilla bean, split and the insides removed

3 tablespoons coffee, I used Godiva Coffee Carmel Pecan Bark flavor

2 scoops seasonal ice cream, I used Trader Joes Pumpkin Ice Cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350. I started by combining the sugar and butter. Then I beat the sugar and butter for 8 mins until it was very fluffy. I am a major proponent of beating butter and sugar for a minimum of 8 mins, it tastes so divine.

Yes, I may have had a few bites of this while watching the Emmy pre show last weekend. Can you blame me?

Then I added the vanilla extract with a spatula and mixed with a spatula. Then I gradually beat in the eggs using a hand held mixer.

Then I added the salt and gradually added the flour. After adding the flour I added the insides of the vanilla bean. I split the bean with a knife and scraped out the insides. I made sure it was well mixed with the spatula.

I buttered a loaf pan and poured the batter in.

I baked for 60 mins.

While the pound cake was baking I got cracking on the coffee reduction. To start, I brewed 3 tablespoons of coffee in my French press, using 1 1/4 cups water.

You can use whatever brewing method you like. I only have a French press (I’m a bit obsessed with it actually) because personally, I think it brews better coffee. It’s mostly important that the coffee is a little stronger than usual.

Then I poured the coffee into a pot and set the heat on low to simmer the coffee.

It’s important not to let the coffee burn. I kept an eye on it until the coffee had reduced by half.

I check it by pouring it into my liquid measuring cup.

Reduced by over half: success!

I put the reduction aside to cool and took the pound cake out of the oven after it finished cooking and let it cool.

When I was ready to consume I sliced the pound cake, topped with my favorite fall ice cream (Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream) and drizzled the coffee reduction over it.

Fantastic! The coffee was very flavorful and the scent was pretty intoxicating. I still probably wouldn’t drink this plain because of my personal preference for non flavored coffee but the scent was delicious. I also loved how the coffee was absorbed in the pound cake. Typically I add cinnamon or something to the pumpkin ice cream because I love adding things to pumpkin ice cream generally. I actually think I liked the addition of the coffee reduction more. The coffee reduction makes the flavor of the coffee even stronger and the strong flavor played well off of the pound cake and the ice cream.

I spent the rest of the week adding the coffee reduction to things like ice cream and muesli. Overall, I really liked Godiva Coffee for baking purposes and I will probably use it again. Indulgent and delicious for Fall!

Go nuts for fonuts

LA is home to some interesting food trends, like $3 bite sized tarts. When I heard from my friend Danielle that there was a new dessert trend in town I knew we had to check it out. Fonuts is pretty new and located on third street. I love third street so I was all over making the trip. In fact, while in the car I got my daily Tasting Table news letter which actually profiled fonuts. We’re so on trend it hurts.

The outside is super clean cut and cute. I love the yellow bench.

I should probably explain what a fonut is! Fonuts are baked doughnuts. They taste like a light cake and come in numerous different flavors. Some of the flavors are both vegan and gluten free for my GF buddies! Fonuts also serves coffee drinks.

See that delicious chocolatey thing? Yep, its gluten free friends.

The interior of fonuts is pretty minimal which I really liked.

However my favorite touch was the old oven being used as a coffee station.

Am I weird for wanting an old oven over a new oven? I hope not.

Danielle and I decided to celebrate Friday by getting two fonuts each and splitting one each.

I picked cinnamon sugar (for later) and strawberry for Danielle and I to split.

Danielle made the wise decision of taking Hawaiian home and picking maple bacon to split!

We know how much I love bacon.

The bacon fonut was delicious and also twice the size of all the other fonuts. It was cakey and sweet with bacon on top. I would totally order this again.

As I mentioned before, we also shared the strawberry.

The strawberry wasn’t as cakey as the maple bacon but it was still pretty good. It was sweet but not too sweet which, I think, is sometimes an issue with strawberry flavored things. When I got home I had the cinnamon sugar. It was sweet and cakey. Again, like the strawberry, very simple and delicious. I literally inhaled the cinnamon sugar. While it wasn’t a flashy flavor it was so simple and delicious.

I enjoyed an iced latte.

Overall, I really like fonuts. I’m not going to lie, when I heard about fake donuts I raised my eyebrow a little bit but I have to admit I am a convert. I really like the flavor and while it was baked and not fried it still tasted like a treat! This is a good trend I am so down with.

What do you think is the weirdest food trend? I feel like LA is home to food trends like fusion tacos, cupcakes, and tart fro yo.

Chicago Marathon Training Weeks 12 and 13

I have a small cold but I’m a total baby plus Joan Rivers Fashion Police is on so this will be short and sweet…

Week 12

Monday: 6 mile run

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest day (felt totally fatigued and sick)

Friday: 18 mile run

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Yoga, 4 mile run

Total miles: 28 miles

Week 13

Monday: 6 mile run

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 20 mile run!

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 5.5 mile run

Sunday: Yoga

Total miles: 37.5 miles

Week 12 was a little bit rough. We were having a heat wave in CA which I refused to run in so I moved my 18 miler and choose to do yoga on Tuesday instead of running. I felt truly awful on Thursday night hence why there was a double rest day. What can you do? It just wasn’t happening that day. Not a great mileage week but I loved going to yoga twice in one week. That was fantastic. Week 13 was an amazing running week. I hit almost 40 miles. I already blogged about the epic-ness of my 20 mile run. I wanted to get to 8 on Saturday but I was running late to a friend’s party and a cut it short to drink, eat bbq and stuff my face with cake from Sweet Lady Jane. I’m human. I’m excited to start tapering and I’m starting to get very excited for the marathon! This week really solidified in my mind that I can do it.

I want to do a series of posts after the marathon about training and my experience. I’ve gotten feedback that people want to hear about fueling and I want to address body changes that I’ve undergone in the past few months since I started training. Is there anything else you, my wonderful readers, want to know about regarding marathon training? I’m no expect but I can share my experience with you!

20 miles done!

Source

I know I owe a training recap from last week but I had to update the blog about this achievement: Last night I ran 20 miles!

I don’t know that I have words to adequately describe how I feel about what went down last night. I took off along my usual route, extended by two miles. I took it easy with my usual run/walk intervals. I was antsy to get going and had an adrenaline high the whole run. I took my friend Carolyn’s suggestions and loaded my ipod with house music so the whole run felt like I was dancing in the club. I turned around to head towards home near a familiar pier which I ran to the end of, coming back and seeing the entire coastline in front of me was incredible.

My lower body got tight around mile 14 so I pulled off and did some stretching. Once I knew that I was only a mile away from home I took a slightly longer walk break with the knowledge that if I did I wouldn’t have to take another. With my eye on the watch I saw the walk break was off and I took off like the wind sprinting to the end of the 20 mile run. Nothing hurt anymore, all I felt was adrenaline. I finished the run and did a little fish pump in the air. The high I experienced was completely unparalleled (so far)! It is true, running never takes more than it gives back. Running 20 miles takes a lot, my whole lower half was tight, but the feeling I got back was 1000x.

I walked it off, took an ice bath, ate dinner, drank water and iced my knees. It took a while for me to come down enough to sleep despite being totally beat. Luckily I woke up this morning and didn’t feel sore at all! Actually I feel fantastic, like I’d completed a light yoga class. Tomorrow I have an 8 miler so I can have a round 40 on the week.

In the past few months I’ve learned that marathon training takes a lot out of you. It cuts into your time, it seems to last forever, it leads to soreness, hunger, exhaustion and weird body quirks (I promise you don’t want to know) but yesterday reminded me why I am doing it and I cannot wait for three weeks from now when I am in Chicago.

Bring. It. On.

Thanks for all the support I’ve gotten via facebook, texts, twitter, the blog and email. You have no idea how much it means to me. I really appreciate it. You guys are the best!

Blog Worthy

Around this time last year I figured out that the more I posed on the blog, the more page views I would get. I let myself get temporarily drunk off the notion of page views and as a result, started posting every day. Let me just say there is nothing wrong with posting everyday or even every meal. People are able to do it and do it well. Daily posts, however, are not my strong suit. I felt like I was posting food that wasn’t particularly special and that I was running out of interesting things to say about it. I set a policy in my own mind to only blog if I had something truly blog worthy and, my friends, that is what I have for you today. Now I think before I snap. I ask myself, “is this blog worthy?”

This is truly blog worthy.

Behold: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sundae from Sweet Rose Creamery.

I told you it would be blog worthy!

Danielle and I have gotten into the habit of going to Sweet Rose Creamery weekly on Sunday’s. Why? Why not! A couple of Sundays ago we decided to be more adventurous than usual and order a sundae that incorporated two of the flavored we had sampled (obvi we’re all about the liberal use of samples): peanut butter and Concord grape. The grape flavor tasted exactly like jam and the peanut butter flavor was super rich and creamy. To top the sundae off there was roasted peanuts in some kind of a caramel sauce, whipped cream and pieces of a waffle cone.

It hit the spot!

Today is my 10 hour day (I’m in the midst of one of my breaks) and I had to take a moment to drool over this ice cream. Time to wipe the keyboard clean and head to class.

On another note: Tomorrow I am running 20 miles! I have been staring the day down on the calendar since I plotted out my marathon training last May. Based on the fact that I ran 18 miles last week, I know I have 20 in me. I’m excited both to accomplish the 20 mile run and to start to close out my marathon training. Only 3 1/2 weeks to go!

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo

Seeing as I started the summer with a delicious orzo salad, roasted shrimp orzo, I figured I should end the summer with one. I broke open a cookbook I got for my birthday from my Mom.

So far, this cookbook is great! I love the recipes (there are a ton) and the saucy commentary with the recipes. This one was pretty simple. I subbed the mozzarella for feta because it’s what I had on tap. This recipe took literally no thought to put together and was great cold the next day. We had a mini heat wave last week with temps in the 90’s. Having no AC, a cold lunch was necessary. I couldn’t bear to turn on the oven.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo Salad

Ingredients

3 servings of orzo

1/8 cup chopped basil

1/8 cup EVO

1 tablespoon EVO

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange and yellow ones from the FM)

1 small minced clove of garlic

1 cup crumbled feta

Sprinkling of pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Combine the halved tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, feta, and 1/8 cut EVO in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour. This was great because it allowed me to get a post run shower in. Wahoo!

After an hour, cook the orzo. Combine the cooked orzo with the other ingredients and the additional tablespoon of EVO. Salt and pepper to taste.

Seriously, can a meal get any easier? I don’t think so. The tomatoes were so fresh and amazing, because they’re in season now. The feta melted just slightly onto the orzo and the basil. Be still my heart it was so good! Is there a better flavor combination than tomatoes and basil? Nope.

This makes three servings. With my marathon appetite I housed a serving and a half and chilled the other portion for lunch the next say. As I mentioned above, it was so hot that the chilled portion came in extra handy. I don’t think I would have heated it up if I could have; it was great cold like all orzo salads. This is something I can see myself making in mass for several days worth of lunches.

One Year Ago: I set my 10k PR in the Santa Monica 5000. It was also the race that introduced me to Kaitlin! Isn’t running wonderful?

Tart

Wednesday is my long day this semester. In total, I spend 10 hours on campus. While my long day left me totally beat, I managed to rally for dinner out with my friend Kelly. Kelly worked outside of LA over the summer and is externing full time this semester so she isn’t on campus. Clearly, an extended dinner with multiple courses was necessary. I’ve wanted to go to Tart on Fairfax for a while and after scanning the menu and seeing bacon wrapped dates AND truffle mac and cheese on the menu, Kelly agreed.

Source

Tart has a small, inside restaurant with a bar and a huge outside patio complete with Christmas style lights and huge booths. There weren’t many people there at 8 on Wednesday so we got a great table on the patio.

I can’t remember our waiters name but he was awesome! We love getting input on the menu and the waiter had no problem telling us what was good and what was bad.

First, after a long day, it was clearly time for a drink.

I opted for a strawberry and champagne drink and Kelly got a black berry mojito. If you love muddled fruit, you will love these drinks.

Kelly and I have our system for eating at restaurants totally down. We always get appetizers and entrees to split. Based on our waiters recommendations we ordered Pigs go on a Date and Ahi Tuna Sliders.

A roasted date with bacon wrapped around it. What is not to like about this? Love, love, love.

Plus sliders.

I LOVED the ahi tuna sliders. They were on a brioche bun which was slightly sweet and they had avocado compote on them. These were delicious and I would love to order them again.

For our entrees we decided to split the Pork Belly and Fried Chicken.

The pork belly came with a side of seasonal veggies. The pork belly consistency was fantastic and there was a sweet marinade to it.

We also had the fried chicken which came with greens, mashed potatoes and a homemade biscuit.

The batter that the chicken was fried in was fantastic! Not too salty, but crispy and delicious. The potatoes and the greens were good, and the biscuit was fantastic. Definitely homemade.

I didn’t really try the potatoes because I was distracted by the complimentary mac and cheese they brought us!

Yellow and cheesy and rich and delicious. So glad they added this! Plus, who doesn’t love food presented in a cast iron pan?

I also managed to squeeze in some garlic bread. Thank god for marathon training!

Love my second stomach!

Needless to say, after this feast Kelly and I were totally stuffed. And because we care about not totally blowing our budgets, we had decided not to get dessert. We were happily surprised when they offered us complimentary dessert!

Strawberry compote with a shortcake crust, al a mode and whipped cream. Kelly literally threw the mint aside and we dug in. The appetizers and the dessert were the best part of a really good meal. I loved the strawberry dessert and would totally order it again.

Overall, we both really loved Tart! This would be a great place to go for appetizers, drinks and dessert. I would also love to go back and try the burgers on the menu because they all looked so good!

Other meals with Kelly:

OK LA peeps, where else do we need to try!?

Let me Tempeh you

I’m sorry this title is terrible but I just couldn’t help myself.

Last week I got back to being adventurous in the kitchen by cooking tempah for the first time. You might be asking yourself, “What is tempeh?” Well, let me inform you!

Tempeh is a soy based product originally from Indonesia. It is much firmer than tofu which I like because the consistency of tofu has always kept me from truly loving it. I’ve had tempeh numerous times at Real Food Daily and I see it frequently in Trader Joe’s so I decided it was time to give it a try.

For my first recipe I adapted something I found in a new to me cookbook:

I received the other Heidi Swanson cookbook for Christmas last year from a friend and I love it so when I received an amazon gift card in August I immediately knew I wanted to get her other cookbook.

And no, I do not have pomegranate glaze on hand in my apartment. Luckily Heidi provides with substitutions. I also subbed in purple potatoes for butternut squash. I also halved the recipe.

Ingredients:

1/2 package of tempeh

3 small eggplants (or 1/2 a long Asian eggplant)

3 purple potatoes, diced

1/2 a lemon worth of zest

1 clove of garlic

Sprinkling of red pepper flakes

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

To start, I diced the potatoes, eggplant, and tempeh making sure that they were around the same size.

As you can tell, I had a purple dinner. Maybe because College Football Season is starting? Yes. Showing my Northwestern pride.

Chop it up and stack it onto a baking sheet with a rim. Add lemon zest on top.

Then I combined the maple syrup, olive oil, and red pepper flakes together. Then mash the garlic into a paste with your knife and add that to the sauce.

Whisk it together and put it on top of the potato, tempeh and eggplant.

Spread into a single layer.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 mins. At the 25 min mark, take the pan out of the oven and move the food around. Stick it back into the oven and monitor it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Yum! Throw in a bowl and top with feta!

Holy carp this was good! The tempeh was delicious and sweet and SO filling. This is the perfect dinner for marathon training because tempeh is protein packed. I’ve been in a constant state of hunger the past month with marathon training and tempeh is great for me because I am too lazy to eat meat. I can’t wait til winter squash is in season so I can make this with butternut!

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been hot in LA (90 degrees today) so I tabled my long run until tomorrow. I’m feeling super run down tonight. I’m very hungry, I have a tension headache and I’m too tired to focus on my work. I think I’m going to head to bed early!

Have you tried tempeh before?

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 11

Not many weeks left now!

Monday: 1/2 marathon recovery

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: 16 mile run

Friday: yoga

Saturday: rest -> dad was in town so I spent the whole day with him

Sunday: 4 mile run -> again, dinner with dad so I ran, didn’t go to yoga

Total miles: 26

Observations: What this week of training doesn’t reflect is the fact that I ran 37.1 miles in 5 days (Sunday to Thursday). I was VERY proud of myself when I finished my 16 mile run Thursday. I had calculated the 5 day mileage total in my head. My legs felt like jello during my 6 and 16 mile efforts but I managed to hang in with both and I ran a negative split in the final mile of my 16 miler. Hello runners high! Seriously was swelling with pride. Runners run! The mile total for 7 days was lower than I had planned but hitting 37 miles in 5 days is a huge accomplishment and injury free! Who says a running week needs to be Monday through Sunday? I love to buck tradition.

That’s about it! Only two more really long runs left (18 and the dreaded 20) and I’ve already gone to yoga once this week! Yesssssssssss.