Tag Archives: summer

I’m Running & A Giveaway!

Well hello there… it’s been awhile, huh?!

I always think about things I want to blog, but I never take the time to sit down and actually write something up. I’ve also found that any time I’m coming back from a running injury or down time (which has been pretty frequent over the last 3.5 years) when I come here to blog and talk about how I’m finally back, things will be different this time, yadda yadda yadda… I jinx myself and wind up hurt again. So call me crazy, but I’ve been afraid to come here and talk about my running for fear of winding up hurt again! But I’m sure the words on this blog do not correlate to my running injuries, so might as well rip off that proverbial band-aid. And what better way to do it than with a giveaway?! But first, let’s recap running lately.

After my weird femoral stress reaction in March 2016, I took some time off and tried to slowly get back into running. It seemed like I was a little overzealous coming back (not doing anything super long, but maybe running too fast), and so I wound up taking off about another 2 months in the late summer/early fall to try finally get rid of any issues hanging around. I started running again consistently in October to prepare myself for the Disney Half in January. I just wanted to be able to finish the 13.1 miles in one piece, so my mileage wasn’t anything crazy; I was running 3-4x a week with two to three of those runs being 3 to 4 miles, and then one longer run. Everything seemed fine. I went to Disney World… and then the race was cancelled due to bad weather (but I ran around the resort anyway!). When I got back home, I tried to increase my speed and mileage thinking that I was finally far enough away from my initial injury that I could just jump back into things… wrong. I started to feel some weird pains and discomfort in my hip and thigh again in late February, and shut things down. I was SO frustrated because we were now coming up on a year of this femoral drama, with it still nagging me. And I’d been going to PT almost every week for a year! I took off another month and then decided to get back into things VERY slowly. I didn’t have any big races on my calendar, so I was happy with being able to get back into things without stressing over future races. Since starting to run again in mid-March, I’ve just been slowly building my weekly mileage. I’ve done a handful of races, but they’ve all been at a moderate effort; I don’t see myself completing a race at race effort for another few months. In fact, last week was the first week I broke 20 miles per week!

My goal for the summer is to just continue building a solid base for myself. I’ve completed a bunch of New York Road Runner’s races and am signed up for a few more, because no matter how much I try to ignore the facts, the hills of Central Park are helpful for building strength. I love running in Jersey City, but it’s just so flat! No race I’ve completed (with the exception of the Brooklyn Half) or have on my schedule for the foreseeable future is over 10k. It only took 3.5 years, but I’m finally figuring out the combination of things that seem to consistently lead towards my demise. My biggest issue, I think, is that each year I’ve had a big race looming on my schedule in the future, and I’ve tried to scramble to start training for it to get in the appropriate mileage. This has obviously not worked, so I’m excited to not have anything on my schedule over 10k, and nothing past July (as of right now). If the summer goes well, I may consider a late fall half marathon, but I’m not signing up until the last moment if I decide to do it! I’ve also realized that there is a precise way for me to do strength work in conjunction with my running. As much as I’d like to be the person that does multiple workouts a day, that just isn’t for me. Sure, my body can handle it if I’m not running, but once I throw running into the mix, all bets are off. And at the end of the day I want to run… so why jeopardize it?! That isn’t to say I’m not doing anything else, I am… strength training is important! But I’m being more deliberate in what I do and when, and I’m hoping that will make a big difference. So fingers crossed that my relaxed (but smarter) approach to running this summer works out! And now onto the giveaway!

I’m sure most of you have heard of NATHAN Sports. Since I’ve used a few of their products before (their power wash, some reflective gear), I was excited when they reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in partnering with them for Global Running Day. Now I know Global Running Day happened last week, BUT I wanted to make sure I had enough time to test out everything before offering it up as a giveaway… I wouldn’t want to do a giveaway for stuff I didn’t like myself! With summer running in full-swing here in the Northeast, all of these products are great additions. You can enter to win a package with the following goodies:

  • uCool Ultra Cooling Towel – This is a copper infused towel that can cool surface temperature by up to 30 degrees! I can see this coming in mighty handy this summer.
  • Hipster – I’ve been thinking about getting a belt like this for awhile, and I was sold on this one as soon as I read about it. It’s the #1 product across all categories of running essentials. It can hold your keys, gels, ID, cash, lip balm, tissues, hair tie, and even sunglasses! I used mine during the Mini10k this past Saturday and it was so great. Being able to have everything right there on me without needing to check a bag or worry about it fitting in my shorts pocket is a great option.
  • SpeedShot Plus Insulated – An insulated handheld that keeps 12 ounces of fluids, and has a pocket for running essentials. This will be great to have available to me when it starts to get really hot… I’m looking at you, July!
  • Power Wash – I’ve used this wash before, and highly recommend it. It’s eco-friendly, pH neutral and fragrance free, and has a new detergent formulation to combat smelly workout gear. Considering I could smell myself on the train on the way home after the race Saturday, I need to use this more often!

So, how do you enter? Simple! Follow the instructions on Rafflecopter below! This giveaway ends Monday, 6/19 at 1pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Filed under Giveaway, Running

Smorgasburg: A Little Bit of This & That

When I first heard about Smorgasburg, I couldn’t help but think of Fat Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. It might sound odd (and troubling) that a rat from one of my favorite childhood novels was what I thought of when I heard about a food festival, but I have a reason! At the fair where Wilbur and Charlotte are, Templeton realizes that once the fair is closed for the night there is trash everywhere. He refers to the trash-filled fair grounds as a rat’s smorgasbord.

So after hearing about it from pretty much everyone, I finally made the trip to Williamsburg on Saturday to check it out. It was a beautiful day and when I arrived at around 3pm there were plenty of people getting their eat on. I had asked a few friends for suggestions, but decided to take a lap around to (try to) see all the vendors before making any decisions. I only had so much stomach real estate and I wanted to make every bite worth it! They have pretty much everything you can think of: Thai street food, Vietnamese, burgers, lobster rolls, tacos, mac ‘n cheese, ice cream, ice pops, doughnuts, fried chicken and waffles, BBQ… the list goes on and on.

My first stop was at the Chickpea + Olive stand, where they were slinging beet burgers and sliders. I wanted one of everything, but eventually settled on their Calexico; a beet slider topped with jalapeño, pickled red onion, avocado, tomato, daiya cheddar cheese, and a chipotle aioli. The beet burger (made with beets, lentils, brown rice, and mushrooms) had a nice char to it and the toppings were awesome. The pickled red onions and chipotle aioli were plentiful and really made the slider next level. It was absolutely delicious and I was so sad when it was gone… but since it wasn’t a full-sized burger (which they do have), it was the perfect size for my quest to try a bunch of different things. I also got an iced coconut black tea which was equally delicious and refreshing.

Next up was a stop at Oaxaca Taqueria for a taco. I mean, you didn’t really think I’d go somewhere that had tacos and not have one, right?! I settled on the Papas y Rajas, which included roasted potato and poblano peppers, pickled red onions, salsa roja, avocado salsa, cojita, and cilantro. The tacos were listed as $4 for one, $7 for two, etc.,  but I decided to just get one since I wanted to be able to try other things. The taco was literally two bites, but it was two delicious bites. It was super fresh and vibrant thanks to the salsas, and it really was a great bite sized snack. If you aren’t planning to try a bunch of different things, I would definitely suggest ordering a few – one just isn’t enough. This was my second dish of the day with pickled onions, and again they were a great addition to the taco. I guess I need to start adding pickled onions to more things!

After the taco, it was time for frites! My love affair with frites hit an all time high when I was in Brussels, Belgium in January, so I was thrilled to see Home Frite there. While waiting in line, I weighed my menu options and eventually decided on the “Dutch” (I mean, might as well go all in), which included curry ketchup, garlic aioli, and chopped onions. It was super messy to eat, but absolutely worth it. The fries were piping hot and crispy, and the curry ketchup and garlic aioli added a nice creamy element. While I was bummed this particular version of their frites didn’t come in a paper cone, the fact that they were delicious helped make up for that.

frites

To end my tour of deliciousness, I made a stop at Kelvin’s for a slush to wash it all down. I don’t think I’ve had a slush drink in quite some time, but growing up I was a huge 7-11 Slurpee fan (how could I not be?!). So I was thrilled to see a grown-up version of a childhood favorite. The line was long and while we were waiting they had to give the machines a few minutes to re-freeze, but it was worth the wait. They had either Arnold Palmer or Ginger slushes with a few different flavor add-ins (white peach, pear, guava, etc.). I decided to go with the Arnold Palmer with the white peach add-in, and it was amazingly refreshing.

kelvin.jpg

By the time I left, I was happily satiated and wishing I could get my Smorgasburg on every weekend. I mean, what a fantastic idea! It provides people who don’t necessarily have the funds (yet) to have a storefront or food truck to showcase their delicious treats, and also those that have found success and have storefronts to reach another audience in a laid-back and fun environment. Plus, it provides people like me who love to eat and to try new things the opportunity to do that in one space, and without breaking the bank. Everyone wins if you ask me!

Tell me…
Have you been to Smorgasburg? What were your favorites?
If you don’t live in the NYC area, have you been to any similar food events?

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Restaurant

Summer Cooking

It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season. Sure it can be oppressively hot, but the days are long, the sun is shining more often than not, and I can get away with boycotting pants much more easily than during the winter months. It also means that I don’t turn on my oven much… which is something I think I get from my mother. We didn’t have central air conditioning in my house growing up until I was in high school, so the mere thought of turning on the oven to make the house hotter during the summer was unbearable. Just writing about it brings back memories of sitting in front of the giant oscillating fan propped in the kitchen, skin hot and sticky, while in my summer uniform – a bathing suit.

So now that I’m in charge of making my own meals, when it comes to summer cooking you can usually find me throwing something on the grill, occasionally turning on my oven’s burners (but never the oven itself), or making things that do not require any cooking at all. Aside from the heat-in-the-house factor, who wants to be inside slaving over an oven when it’s gorgeous outside, anyway? I could take the “easy” route and just eat the same thing every night, but that’s boring. Enter my most recent creation – vegan curry tofu salad! Yes, it has “salad” in the title, but it’s not the leafy greens type of salad… though you could put it on top of one if you wanted.

The idea to make a vegan curry tofu salad stemmed from my love of sandwiches. As a vegetarian, I often feel like my sandwich options are limited since they so often revolve around meat… which isn’t necessarily the case. There are plenty of ways to enjoy sandwiches as a vegetarian, you just have to get creative! I had been thinking about tuna and chicken salad, and how not only are they quick and easy, but you can really make them as simple or dressed up as you’d like (add some apples, celery, spices… it can get crazy!). Since I don’t eat chicken or tuna, and am not a huge egg salad fan, I immediately thought of tofu as a substitute and tried to figure out how I could make it more than just a mushed tofu sandwich (gross). Throw in some curry powder for flavor, some (vegan) yogurt and mayo for creaminess, and something for crunch, and you have yourself a quick, easy, oven-free salad that you can use as a sandwich, a dip, or a salad topper. I’m pretty proud of myself for this one – I had it for dinner on Tuesday, followed by breakfast and lunch on Wednesday. I guess you could say I liked it!

Even though the recipe is vegan, you can definitely use regular yogurt and mayo for a vegetarian version. Or, you can completely ignore the meat-free part and add in shredded chicken! The possibilities are endless.

Vegan Tofu Curry Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

Vegan Curry Tofu Salad
– makes enough for 4 salad sandwiches –

Ingredients:
1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt
1/4 cup vegan mayo (i.e. Nasoya or Veganaise)
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes*
1 cup red onion*
1 cup diced green apple or celery*

Directions:
1. Drain the tofu for 10-20 minutes (I do this by placing it in-between two plates with a heavy book or weight on top, with a paper towel on each side to help absorb the liquid).
2. Once the tofu is drained, add it to a large bowl and mash it with a fork – you want the consistency to look like scrambled eggs. Chunks are good!
3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, and curry powder.
4. Add the curry/yogurt/mayo mixture to the tofu along with your red onion, green apple, and/or celery. Stir to make sure the tofu is evenly coated.
5. Enjoy on bread, a top a salad, or as a dip!

*Notes: The ingredients with an asterisk are optional. You can use more or less red pepper flake for a little kick. The onion, celery, and/or apple give some crunch and flavor, but you can choose which you do or do not want to include.

Tell me…
Do you have any favorite no-cook (or minimal cooking required) recipes for summer?

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Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Transition Chili

I always find myself with mixed emotions when summer comes to a close. It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season (it’s always been), but I don’t mind fall. In fact, there are a lot of things I do enjoy about fall, like cooler running temperatures, being able to wear boots and scarves, not working up a sweat while cooking, and Halloween!

I’m looking forward to this fall because it means I get to relax – at least a little. This summer has been packed with marathon training (even if it’s been half-hearted, it still takes up a lot of time!), and a LOT of weddings. Basically, I’m looking forward to not having to wake up at the crack of dawn to run because it’s too hot and I have a million things planned for the afternoon. Yes, I can’t wait to be lazy.

Aside from cooler temperatures and new fashion, there are foods that evoke the feelings of different seasons, too. One food that makes me think of cooler weather is chili (and soups in general). Even though it’s still technically summer (I can’t handle people saying things like, “it’s officially fall!” because it in fact, is not until tomorrow), I decided to deviate a bit from my “hang on to summer for as long as possible” mantra and made a pot of chili. For me, this wasn’t just any old batch of chili, though, rather it was more of a transition from summer to fall because of the ingredients – they’re light and colorful, but still provide that quintessential big bowl of chili feeling.

Veggie Grain Chili
– serves 4-6 –  

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp Adobo
1 tsp oregano
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 15 0z. cans of beans – I used black and pinto, but any combo will work! 
4 oz. soy chorizo (or regular chorizo)
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced (smaller pieces help it cook faster)
1 ear of corn (kernels removed)
18 oz. vegetable broth (about 1.5 cans)
1 cup dry cous cous or quinoa

Directions:
1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and poblano pepper for for 5-10 minutes, until they’re translucent. 
2. Add in the spices (chili powder, cumin, Adobo, oregano), and tomato paste. Stir constantly, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
3. Stir in beans, soy chorizo, sweet potato, corn, and vegetable broth. Turn heat down to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. 
4. Add in the grain, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. 
5. Serve with avocado, cilantro, cheese, and/or sour cream! 

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Heat Wave Fries

The past few days have been quite warm. Actually, they’ve been down-right HOT.

Growing up, whenever it was hot out, my mom would refuse to put the oven on. In the days prior to us having central air it was a godsend, and then even after we finally had central air installed, the tradition stuck. Her logic was that heating up an oven would only heat the entire house more than what was bareable. So, this meant our dinners were either grilled, or in the rare event we needed something to be cooked in some sort of oven, we opted for the toaster oven, which emitted far less heat. Like most things you encounter when you’re young, this is something that’s stuck with me, and is the norm in my own kitchen.

With it being so hot this past week, I insisted on grilling. Not only does warm weather put me in the mood for grilling, I just couldn’t stand the thought of heating up my oven to 425 degrees. It’s making me sweat just thinking about it. So, since I couldn’t make oven fries, I made grill fries! They had a perfect crisp (with a little char, of course) and were full of flavor even though I didn’t season them too much. They were a perfect compliment to our grilled veggie burgers! You should make these.

Grill Fries
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
2 baking potatoes, sliced into wedges
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
2. Toss sliced potato wedges with oil, salt, and red pepper flakes
3. Place wedges on the top rack of the grill, and cook on each side for about 10 minutes, or until crisped to your liking

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Moles and Molé

On Tuesday, I was thrilled that the projected high temperature was 80 degrees with sun. I couldn’t wait to get in a run after work, and heat up the grill for dinner.

There have been some seriously warm days the past few weeks, sandwiched between days of serious rainfall. I was able to take advantage of the warm weather for my run on Sunday, which actually resulted in a sunburn. I’m now on mole watch, which is something I’m sure any of my fair skinned readers know all too well – when we inspect and make note of all freckles and moles to make sure they don’t change and look “abnormal.” This usually means I find something, freak out, and then am told I’m insane. But you can never be too safe! I’m definitely going to be slathering on the sunscreen before my runs now.

Tuesday’s run was after work, so the sun wasn’t too much of an issue. The heat, though, was a killer. Both my fiancé and I just couldn’t power through our 4 mile run – it was brutal. Neither of us had any energy and our legs felt like lead balloons. I didn’t feel like I was struggling aerobically, but I just couldn’t hang energy wise; I don’t know if it was the heat, going to bed late the night before (boo end of the semester), or a combination. I just have to remind myself that for every not so great run, there will be a great one to follow.

Once I was done whining about our run, I marinated some chicken in Dona Maria molé sauce. I was lucky enough to have this sent to me to sample in preparation for Cinco de Mayo, and I thought it’d be great with grilled chicken. The chicken only sat in the molé sauce for about 30 minutes before going onto the grill, and it was plenty of time for it to really absorb the flavor. Since it’s a thicker sauce, it didn’t require an overnight/few hour soak. Having a sauce already made that will really jazz up an otherwise boring meal (sorry, but just plain grilled chicken is boring) was great – perfect for a weeknight dinner. I also received a can of diced pickled jalapenos, so I threw those on top of the chicken for a little kick.

I decided to keep it simple and just have brown rice with sauteed onion, pepper, black eyed peas, and corn. The rice we used was from our Half Marathon (or 9.55mile race) goody bag. I think it’s so random to get a mini bag of Carolina brown rice, no? But I’m certainly not complaining!

The meal was super simple, and really flavorful. Plus, I really only did half the work. I forgot how much I like cooking in the summer, because it means getting my fiancé in the kitchen (or in this case, manning the grill)!

Grilled Chicken Mole
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
4 thin chicken cutlets
1 cup Dona Maria Molé sauce

Directions:
1. Heat grill to medium-high heat
2. Fill tupperware container with 1/2 cup of molé sauce. Add chicken, then cover with remaining sauce. Make sure to coat chicken completely (don’t be afraid to get in there!).
3. Once grill is heated, cook chicken breasts, about 5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), until done [no pink!] 

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Filed under Recipe, Running, Spanish Food

Summertime Nomz

Man, I have been seriously lacking in the blogosphere lately, haven’t I? My sincerest apologies! This whole going back to school while still working full time and simultaneously trying to plan a wedding and somehow still have a life is quite time consuming.

I have to admit, I haven’t done much exciting cooking recently. My time has been spent at a LOT of BBQ’s, and it isn’t even officially summer yet! So, I figured this post could be about two of my favorite things: summer and eating. These are two very broad topics, but I’m referring to their relationship to one another. I mean BBQ’s, ice cream, iced coffee, eating outside and all that other goodness.

In the past two weeks I’ve devoured enough BBQ-style food to last me a lifetime. Hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, grilled chicken, grilled veggies, ribs, and more. There’s just something so wonderful about the smell of a grill, no matter what’s on it cooking. I relish the days where you’re driving with the windows down, and you can smell someone’s grill off in the distance. I think I’ve been craving BBQ food more and more simply because my fiancé and I don’t have a grill. We’re in the process of procuring one from my parents (they’re getting a new one), but we haven’t gotten it yet and are chomping at the bit to use it. I suppose we better pick something phenomenal to grill first!

In addition to summertime food, there’s also summertime drinks. This means lots of iced coffees, teas, lemonades, frozen concoctions, and everyone’s favorite, booze! I myself am a big fan of mojito’s, Patron and pineapple, and margaritas! Other than that, you can probably find me sucking down iced coffee throughout the day. Now, I’m going to have to agree with Shelby from eat, drink, run that iced coffees are a waste of money; how can some frozen water jack up the price nearly a dollar?! Because of that I find myself making iced coffee on most occasions, which is actually pretty easy. I just double brew (so if I need three scoops for hot coffee, I’ll do six instead), and if I have the time, I throw it in the refrigerator for a bit. That way, I don’t need to use as much ice. Delicious!

While I haven’t explored the veggie BBQing world too much, I think I’m going to try it a little more this summer. I’m a big fan of Morningstar Farm’s spicy black bean burgers, and Dr. Praeger’s california burgers, but I think I want to branch out some more. I know Morningstar makes a mean “grillers” version that is apparently pretty close to an actual burger. I’m a little “meh” about veggie hot dogs, mainly because I’m not a huge fan of regular hot dogs either. I’m also looking forward to just grilling a ton of veggies; eggplant, zucchini, squash, corn… yum! Oh, and I’m totally grilling a pizza and getting my salad on. I’m not talking about boring lettuce thrown together. I mean bean salads, pasta salads, and crispy veggie salads. I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon some really good side and main dish salad recipes that are pretty easy and straight forward, so I’m definitely looking forward to those, too.

As you can tell, I have big plans for myself in terms of cooking this summer. There’s just something so wonderful about sitting outside (sans bugs, of course) enjoying some good food and drink. Sure, living in New Jersey means probably a lot of bugs, and serious humidity. But every once in awhile we get ourselves the perfect day, and I can’t wait to make good use of it. So feel free to send any good grilling recipes my way, I’m going to be a grill master by the end of the summer – you just wait and see!

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Filed under Home Cooking, Vegetarian/Vegan