bake.sweat.create.

Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!


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And so it begins! I conquered my last set of intervals yesterday and am now in full rest mode. I had a nice swim this morning and this evening took it easy, doing some stretching and icing. I also had lasagna! The BF and I met at home over lunch and whipped up a couple pans of his homemade lasagna. He has a great recipe that he loves from him mom. We were conveniently making a to-go meal for his co-worker who’s wife recently had a baby and then also a pan for my own enjoyment.

If you know his mother at all, this recipe is fairly healthy. Lean meat, cottage cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and I whipped up some homemade sauce to replace store-bought sauce. It came together pretty quickly, we stored the pans in the fridge, and we were back from lunch just a few minutes late.

On the way home I made a special stop at the Market Street Market in downtown Charlottesville. They have the best baguettes in town! They are baked fresh daily and the BF swears they ship the dough down special from NYC. I thought it would be a nice treat for the two of us.

After I got home, I added the last layer of the lasagna and topped it with some cheese – a nice layer of mozzarella and fresh grated parmesan. I popped it in the oven for about 45 minutes, until it was bubbling and the cheese was just browned. I sealed up the second pan, without baking it, and the BF will deliver it to his co-worker tomorrow.

The finished product was awesome and we made some nice garlic bread and salad on the side, our normal staples. We have tons of leftovers, so this may also now be my pre-race meal.

I love racing when it allows me to indulge like this!

I love racing when it allows me to indulge like this!

I’m off to Richmond tomorrow after work to pick-up my race packet and check out the course. A cold front is moving in so my clothing strategy will begin tomorrow as well. Saturday will be here before I know it. Finish out the week strong, y’all!

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Home Stretch

I’ve reached the home-stretch in my fall training! I’m 10 days away from the Anthem Richmond Half-Marathon and today was my last hard interval workout. Daylight savings came in clutch this morning and the sun was up as we did 4x1600m on the track. I’ve been coercing the BF into running my weekly track workouts with me. It really hasn’t taken too much coercing, he ran track in HS, so goes back to his roots on the track, but it still can be early for him. My goal pace for the 1600m was 7:27. We hit 7:16, 7:28, 7:25 and 7:19. I felt great for most of the workout but was definitely tired by the end. I am coming off a 12 mile run on Saturday so I feel good about my training level and taper plan leading into next Saturday.

Over the next 10 days I am going to try to concentrate even more on what I am consuming. Eating a plentiful amount of fruits, vegetables and lean protein and (try to) avoid too many sugars. I have been intrigued by stuffed peppers for months now, but also avoiding them. Today after work I decided to dive in after finding this Rachel Ray recipe for Lamb, Feta and Couscous Stuffed Peppers and recognizing I had the makings of this recipe at home. Now before you get too excited, I didn’t use lamb. We had chicken in the refrigerator that needed to be cooked. I have also been trying to find a creative way to repurpose leftover couscous and this fit the bill. Any recipe with feta gets my attention too! Another note, I subbed the zucchini for fresh carrots I had leftover from the soup. So not quite everything in the recipe from my fridge, but I think the substitutions I made were a delicious twist. The stuffing mixture came together quickly in a frying pan, cooking and shredding the chicken and softening the onions and carrots. I tossed it all with the tomato sauce, couscous and feta and once the orange pepper was softened in the oven I stuffed each half of the pepper and roasted it again.

The recipe came together in about 35 minutes.

The recipe came together in about 35 minutes.

I realized a silly part of what intimidated me about stuffed peppers was how to eat them once they come out of the oven. Easy trick – a knife. Not even a trick, just common sense! We paired it with a nice spinach salad, with more feta of course. My latest salad dressing obsession in Brianna’s Real French Vinaigrette. It’s sugar free which is a huge plus for a salad dressing!

Full & clean plate!

Full & clean plate!

This recipe made lots of leftovers, so I am looking forward to packing some easy lunches for the rest of the week. Happy eating!


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Embracing A Fall Weekend!

Last weekend was a bye week for the Virginia Cavaliers football team. As they happen the BF’s employer, it was good news for him because it meant he had the weekend off! After I got in a good 10-mile run with an old friend on Saturday morning, we enjoyed the pleasure of watching college football on a Saturday afternoon and he didn’t have to worry about his work, or agonize over the play of the Hoos.

On Sunday we planned to take advantage of our relaxing weekend and go for a hike in the Shenandoah National Park. The park boasts beautiful fall colors this time of year and plenty of hiking trails to explore all year round. We decided on the Jones River/ Doyles Falls trail, it was a 6.5 mile loop, which was a max for me after 10 miles the day before, and a good mix of up and down hill. Unfortunately the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. We drove up to the park in a cloud of fog and saw threatening dark clouds through occasional breaks in the fog. We bundled up in our fleeces as we set out on the trail, determined to do our hike. We were lucky to have a nice canopy of trees for most of the hike, so we didn’t end up too soaked as the rain came down for over half the hike. But we still had fun and the colors did not disappoint!

SNPHike_Trail

Our trail through the woods and welcome canopy from the rain!

One of the three waterfalls we saw on the trail.

One of the three waterfalls
we saw on the trail.

After the hike, we needed to warm up! I was chilled to the bone by the end so we fired up the crockpot when we got home and made some Turkey Chili. The combination of three different types of beans appealed to me and we used three fresh jalapeños we had from the farmers’ market last week.  I did add the corn but used a combination of crushed tomatoes and unseasoned diced tomatoes in place of the tomato sauce to add a different texture to the chili. I cooked up the turkey, onion and spices in a skillet and added that mixture to the beans, corn, etc…, in the crockpot then about four hours later, we were ready to eat. It was the perfect meal for a rain, chilly fall evening and filled the house with a nice, spicy scent.

Hearty, delicious and healthy!

Hearty, delicious and healthy!

I also whipped a little cornbread as a side, which was awesome. I had been in search of a quick, yet delicious recipe and came across this cornbread recipe on Pinterest last week. Definitely another repeat recipe for my recipe box.

Just a bit sweet, not too dense and so delicious!

Just a bit sweet, not too dense and so delicious!

We wrapped up the evening catching a little Sunday night football on TV before heading to bed early to get a good night’s rest for the week. We needed it, we’re off to Canada at the end of the week!

 


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Catching Up!

I have been on the move! I left my job and moved from Madison, WI back to Charlottesville, VA and took on a new career and new opportunity. It has been quite the whirlwind month but I am finally getting settled into the new job, my old apartment and settling into a workout and cooking routine.

I signed up for a new half-marathon in November, The Anthem Richmond Marathon. I signed up for just the half and broke out a 10-week training program to get ready for it. I’ve been familiarizing myself with some of my old routes around Charlottesville and adapting to running hills again! During my last couple weeks in Madison and my first nearly two weeks in Charlottesville, my workout routine dropped off significantly. With packing and logistics and being between gym memberships took me out of the pool for nearly a month, it has been nice to get back into a routine with work and workouts the last couple weeks.

It has also been amazing to be back in my own kitchen! I have been experimenting with recipes and have enjoyed cooking for two again.

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Greens

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Greens

Southwest Salad with Creamy Cilantro

Southwest Salad with Creamy Cilantro

Ok, so I didn't bake this but I did have a birthday and this ice cream cake was delicious!

Ok, so I didn’t bake this but I did have a birthday and this ice cream cake was delicious!

All recipes will come soon as I get back into the groove of living, working and posting in my new environment. Thanks for being patient! I’m looking for new recipes, would love to hear from you!


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Final Preparations!

Race day is almost here! In less than 36 hours I will (hopefully) be almost done with the Madison Marathon half-marathon! After work today, I was off to downtown to check out the race expo. I picked up my race packet including bib number, map (which I have already studied well) and race shirt. With the winter training plan and a hectic work schedule, I can’t believe race day is here already!

I did my final training run yesterday, a quick but easy 2.5 miles. It felt good and traced a little bit of the course, the hills are going to be brutal! For some exercise today, I splashed around for a nice, easy 2,200 m swim and tomorrow will walk and do some light stretching before early Sunday’s wake-up call and 7 a.m. race!

My watch, bib and shoes are ready, let’s get ready for Sunday!

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A Case of the Mondays…

This Monday morning didn’t quite go as planned. After a restful weekend it was a bit difficult to wake up this morning… In fact I pressed snooze on my alarm at 6:20 am and it was nearly 8 am before I pulled myself from my morning stupor. This is VERY unlike me and a frustrating way to start off the week. But I rebounded, grabbed quick shower while a couple trays of cookies baked in my oven for the afternoon celebration with our student interns and bolted out the door to the office. I survived the day without my traditional morning exercise, but that just meant I had procrastinated my sweat until this evening.

My go-to evening workout originated around Christmas 2010. My family is admittedly, excessively active – we all love to workout. So my sister put together the Miller Family Christmas Shred, which we all did together before Christmas dinner that year. We each picked two exercises, for a total of 12 exercises (my BF was lucky enough to be home for Christmas that year with us). We split those exercises into two rounds of six exercises, set the timer and did 1 minute of each exercise followed by 30 seconds rest. In between each round we did two minutes of cardio. We all earned our Christmas feast that night!

Since then I have made moderate adjustments and adopted the Home Shred into my workout schedule at least once a week. It is helpful (and healthy) to break up my cardio-heavy routine. Here’s my Home Shred:

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I like to mix up the order in which I do the exercises and toss in a new exercise every few weeks. The routine consists of some body weight exercises and I also have 5-pound weights I add in on some exercises. Lately I’ve included a bonus fifth round to add a little extra sweat to the routine. I use the Interval Timer app on iPad/iPhone which is a perfect way to time the routine. I cool down with some time on the foam-roller too, my fave!

What are your favorite toning body-weight exercises?


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Spring Has Sprung!

The weather seems to finally be turning around here in Madison. It has been a spectacularly sunny weekend! On Friday, we made a staff trip to the Milwaukee Brewers game, BBQ’ed in the parking lot, watched the Final Four Badger men’s basketball team throw out the first pitch and enjoyed the game in a suite. On Saturday, I continued my half-marathon training and knocked out a 10-mile run in the sun around the arboretum followed by the Farmers Market.  Then today, had a lovely brunch with a friend and walked around the Capitol Square looking at the tulips. It was a relaxing and refreshing change of pace from non-stop sports action. I’ve been able to reflect a lot this weekend and have been especially thankful for the people in my life and place I am in. Happy Sunday everyone!

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