Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Vegetable Burgers

Happy Belated Easter!

While St. Patrick's Day was a bit of a disappointment, Easter was a complete success.  Maybe one of the best ever?  Best traveling Easter ever.  I still prefer Easter at home, but of all the Easters we've spent with the inlaws, this might have been my favorite.

We flew in Saturday morning and headed right over to MIL's house.  The boys got to hang out with their cousins and dye eggs.

We had our big Easter dinner, which I could actually eat this year since it's not Passover!  And then, AND THEN, we headed back to the hotel.  Yup, you read that right, THE HOTEL.  Which makes all the difference for me.   I got in a run at the hotel gym, we all got some good sleep, and in the morning we discovered the Easter bunny had paid a visit to our hotel room. 

There were baskets for all my boys, and Thatkid ate his weight in candy before getting dressed.  Then the boys put on their dapper duds.

We spent the morning with my inlaws, then the boys took a nap while their cousins hid eggs.  My SIL's family all came over to celebrate Easter.  There were 9 kids ranging in age from 9 months to 16 years.  While supper finished cooking, the kids went egg hunting.

Thatkid totally cleaned up.  Thatbaby started strong.  Getting a head start and locating an egg before the hunt even started.  But he peaked early.  That was the only egg he found.

And at the end of the night, back to the hotel we went.  Monday morning we headed to the airport.  It was quick, it was painless, and now it's over.  YAY!

Getting in Monday morning, I headed straight to work.  With two little tow-heads in tow.  This meant I needed a dinner all ready to go when we got home.  These veggie patties freeze beautifully.  In fact, I think they work better after being frozen.  Fresh they tend to be a little mushy.  But when you cook them from frozen, they tend to hold together a little better.

With chickpeas as their base, these have a very falafel feel to them.  But so much more flavorful.  The potatoes, jalapeno, and red onion ensure there's nothing boring about these.  They may be the tastiest veggie burgers I've experienced.

Vegetable Burgers (From Cooking Light)
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh cilanrtro
1/2 cup coarsley chopped carrot
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp amchur powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and quartered
2 lbs red potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup coarsley chopped red onion
1 cup dry  breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
2 2/3 cup spinach
8 red onion slices
4 whole grain pitas, cut in half

  1. Place chickpeas, cilantro, carrot, salt, garam masala, amchur powder, black pepper, red pepper,  and jalapeno in a food processor.  Process until finely chopped.
  2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water.  Bring to a boil; cook 13 minutes.  
  3. Add chopped onion; cook 2 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain.  Cool 10 minutes.
  4. Place mixture with a potato masher or fork.  Stir in chickpea misture and breadcrumbs; cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Divide potato mixture into 8 equal portions (about 2/3 cup mixture), shaping each portion into 1/2 inch thick patty.  
  6. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 4 patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned and heated through.  Repeat procedure with 1 Tbsp oil and 4 patties.
  7. Place 1/3 cup spinach, 1 patty, and 1 onion slice in each pita half.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Runday: March is rough

Last year in March I was in the middle of a huge trial, (and pregnant) so my mileage slipped.  I couldn't get out for runs during the week at all.

Fast forward one year, and even though I wasn't in trial, I certainly found myself busy once again.  Between work and travel, I've been getting in maybe one run a week during the week, and then a long run on the weekend.

Travel can complicate my training schedule.  We were in Arizona last weekend when I needed to get in 7 miles.

My original plan was to bang out my miles on the hotel treadmill.  But after a rough night Friday and Saturday with Thatbaby, Sunday morning found me rushing to get ready for breakfast with nary a mile behind me.  Aaaaaaannnd we were checking out of the hotel.

Sunday night wasn't much better.  Teething is so hard!  But Monday morning was my last day to get my miles in for the week.   So on very little sleep, I got up and headed out.

Toxicesq lives in a gated community, and Sunday night we spent looking over a map and trying to figure out miles.  It's always such fun to run in a new area.  I ended up running past a golf course, where I saw another woman on the cart path.  I decided to follow her.  Not in a creepy stalker way, in a "well if I get in trouble, she'll get in trouble first" kind of way.

It was a slow, beautiful, and hilly run.  It was also nice to get away from my screaming child for a bit.  Sometimes the runs are worth the lack of extra sleep.  And this weekend I get to do it all over again.  Kind of.  This time I'm guaranteed a treadmill, but not any more sleep.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Special Delivery: Beefy Enchiladas

In my group of friends, we like to have baby-buddies.  I say that tongue-in-cheek, because it's never planned, but as a happy coincidence there are usually two of us pregnant at the same time.  When I was pregnant, my baby-buddy was M, who was due a week after me, but had her daughter 5 days before Thatbaby was born (because everyone has their babies before me).  

More recently Horsewhisperer and Jurisslave were baby-buddies.  Both due in March.  But, in an uncanny coincidence, both gave birth in February.  I joked that their boys just couldn't wait to meet each other.  

Which means earlier this month I was running around, visiting babies and bringing food to my friends. 

Like orange cinnamon muffins, for quick one-handed breakfasts.

I love chicken, and it easily serves a grip of people, so I always like to bring a chicken dish to homes with a new baby.  Like this Cuban chicken.

Or this rosemary chicken.

With this warmer weather we've been having, a chilled soup makes a nice, easy lunch.  I thought the avocado soup would work well with the Cuban chicken.  And the strawberry soup is popular enough in my house that I wanted to share it with my friends.

One other trick I found when bringing over meals is to bring a special treat for the new big sibling.  Like chocolate chunk cookies.

Or cream puffs.

Or a berry-filled steamed pudding.

I love feeling helpful and bringing food to my friends.  It wasn't so long ago I was trying to balance adjusting to a new family member.  And although it was easier the second time around, it's always nice to feel taken care of.  When I make food, I will sometimes make a meal specifically for my friends, like the chicken dishes.  Other times, I take a meal we're eating for dinner at our house and double it.  Like the strawberry soup, or these enchiladas.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to make a ton of enchiladas?  It's a great thing to serve to a crowd, which means it's easy to make enough to feed 2 families.   They also freeze fantastically.  I made a set of these enchiladas for us, and a set for Jurisslave and her family.   You'll notice these are "undressed" which I prefer if you're going to freeze them.  Add the sauce right before reheating in the oven.

Beefy Enchiladas (From Guilt Free Weeknight Favorites)
 1 cup chunky picante sauce, divided
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
5 corn tortillas
2 Tbsp chipped cilantro
  1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Spread 1/4 cup picante sauce in a 9-inch square baking dish, set aside.
  2.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute bell peppers, onion, and ground beef until peppers are soft and beef is browned.  Drain excess liquid.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup picate sauce, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in half the cheese.
  5. Stack the tortillas and wrap in wax paper.  Heat in microwave on HIGH 10 seconds, or until warmed.
  6. Spoon 1/2 cup meat mixture down center of each tortilla. 
  7. Top evenly with remaining picante sauce, remaining cheese, and the cilantro.  Roll up and serve.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Portobello Cheeseburgers

Last year's St. Patrick's Day was so perfect.  We watched Darby O'Gill and the Little People as we ate corned beef and colcannon, and drank shamrock shakes.  I had high hopes for starting a new family tradition.

But this year seems to have put an end to a tradition that had barely got off the ground.  I thought Darby O'Gill was a little scarier than I had anticipated, so I set the DVR to record Finnian's Rainbow instead.  Except it didn't record for some reason.  So I was scrambling to find a kid friendly St. Patrick's Day movie.  There is not a huge selection.  We ended up with "The Last Leprechaun" about two kids who befriend a leprechaun.  It had the whole "evil stepmother is a witch" thing though, which terrified Thatkid. 

And McDonald's decided that since Southern California is the test market for their new breakfast bowls, they would not have any Shamrock Shakes this month.  Awful.

It's so disappointing when things don't go as you planned. Luckily life is a source of endless do-overs.  So I'm hoping for better luck next year.

One area in which I have yet to be disappointed (knock on wood) is portobello mushroom sandwiches.  I can still remember my very first taste.  I was no stranger to portobellos, Thatdad often marinated them and served them with steak.  Their meaty, earthy taste was a rich addition to the meat.  But it's also the same reason it serves as a wonderful meat substitute.  Biting into a portobello burger gives you a very similar mouthfeel to one made with ground beef, in my opinion moreso than most veggie burgers. 

I love the tang of gorgonzola, and if you're used to blue cheese burgers, then this will be right up your alley.  The bitter bite of arugula helps to round out the flavors so it's not too "mushroom-y" if you fear that kind of thing.

Portobello Cheeseburgers (From Cooking Light)
2 tsp olive oil
4 portobello mushroom caps
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola  cheese
3 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
4 sandwich rolls
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup sliced bottled roasted red bell pepers
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and pepper.  
  2. Add mushrooms to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender, turning once.
  3. Add garlic to pan; saute 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.
  4. Combine cheese and mayonnaise, stirring well.  
  5. Spread about 2 Tbspns mayonnaise mixture over bottom half of each roll.
  6. Top each serving with 1/2 cup arugula and 1 mushroom.
  7. Top evenly with peppers, and cover with top halves of rolls.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Homemade Quick Black Bean Burgers

On Sunday we had my cousin and girlfriend over for dinner.  When "the kids" come over I like to have a range of foods to serve, because I never know what sort of food my guests might enjoy.  Sunday I served lamb with a veggie couscous. 

It was a good thing I did, because my cousin's girlfriend had some dietary restrictions.  So while she didn't partake in the lamb, she had multiple helpings of the couscous.

The couscous I made was Moroccan inspired, and filled with lots of vegetables and spices.  Really, it served as an excellent meal on its own.  Because when something is loaded with flavor, it doesn't need to have meat also.  Like this black bean burger.  Meat free, but you won't miss it.  Black bean burgers can be tricky.  They often end up mushy, or fall apart.  The secret to this one is the combination of mashed and whole beans.

Like the couscous, bold spices make this a very-non boring dinner option.  But if that's not enough, the creamy avocado and spicy cheese serve as the perfect complementary counterbalance. 

Homemade Quick Black Bean Burgers (From Cooking Light)
1 can black beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
5 hamburger buns
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp grated lime rind
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup mashed avocado
2 Tbsp salsa
1/2 tsp hot sauce 
4 slices reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese with jalapeno pepper
4 slices red onion
16 spinach leaves
  1. Place 1/2 cup beans in a medium bowl; mash slightly with a potato masher.
  2. Tear 1 bun into large pieces and place in a food processor, pulse 4times or until crumbs measure 1 cup.
  3. Stir crumbs, 1 Tbsp oil, lime rind, chili powder, oregano, salt, garlic, egg white, and remaining beans into mashed beans.
  4. Preheat broiler.  Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions with moist hands, shaping each into a 3-inch round patty.
  5. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add patties to pan.  Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are browned.  Carefully turn patties over, cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are broned.
  6. While patties cook, arrange 4 buns, cut sides up, on a baking sheet.  Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted.
  7. Combine avocado, salsa, and, if desired, hot sauce in a small bowl.  
  8. Spread 1 1/2 Tbsp avocado mixture on bottom half of each bun.
  9. Top each serving with 1 patty, 1 cheese slice, 1 onion slice, 4 spinach leaves, and bun top.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mommy Mondays: 9 Months

Weight: 20lbs 10 oz (+12bs 6oz)
Height: 30.5 inches (+9.25 inches)
 Head: 18.1 inches

Sleep:  Hahahahahahahahaha.  In the past month Thatbaby has completely forgotten what this is.  That's unfair.  I'm sure he remembers, he's just not interested.  Or he is interested, but the teething pain makes him unable to partake.  Poor kid.  We are in the thick throes of teething here. He's up about every 2 hours and/or has a really hard time getting to sleep.  About 25% of the time he ends up in bed with us.  One night he could literally only sleep if he was nursing.

Eating: Along with the teething, his solid eating has been a little off this past month.  He's still nursing like a champ, every 3-4 hours, and drinking 16oz at daycare most days.  He especially loves soups.  I scoop out the meat and veggies and plop them on his tray and he goes crazy.  He had 3 servings of hamburger soup this week.

Best Moment: He plays with Thatdog!  Which might be the cutest thing ever.  And we've realized that Thatdog doesn't dislike kids, he just didn't like Thatkid!  He is so patient with Thatbaby.   He lets Thatbaby chase him, take his toys and throw them.  And when we get home from work/school, he runs over to give Thatbaby a kiss.

Monthly Wisdom: If you want all the parts of your brain to work, you need sleep.  Since I haven't had sleep in a pretty long time, parts of my brain are definitely not functioning on all cylinders. These are the moments where I appreciate that this is our last child.  Because one day, ONE DAY, his child will sleep.  And then I will sleep.  And we all will sleep.  And we will live happily ever after.

Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- Get through our first MAJOR car trip.
- Get through our first airplane ride as a family of four.
- Survive Easter with the inlaws.
- Get some more sleep.

Things Thatbaby is doing:
- crying
- whining
- growing teeth!  He's got 2 of them.
- high fives!
- cruising
- He loves one of his books - Corduroy's Halloween.  He waves at in the morning.  He wants to pick it up/hold it all the time.  He picks it out to read every evening.
- Playing fetch with Thatdog. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Runday: St. Patrick's Day 10k

I  have to admit, I was looking forward to this race.  I have no idea why.  It's not a big race.  It's not terribly well publicized.  And I'm not even Irish.

I think part of it was the fact that I got to gear myself up in my favorite color.  With a shamrock headband and leprechaun socks.  I wasn't the only one.  Mission Bay was filled with green yesterday!

It might also have been the fact that it's been years since I've run a 10k.  I didn't have any goals in mind for time, I just wanted to see how I did.  And no expectations is always a nice change of pace.

There are 3 distances for the race.  2 miles, 4 miles, and 6.2 miles.   The 2 and 4 mile started first.  And I can't really tell you anything about that course.  After they were gone, those of us running the 10k lined up.

The first 3 miles were around Fiesta Island, much like The Resolution Run.  I'm pretty sure the fourth mile was there too, but I'm not positive because after mile 3, there were no more mile markers!

But eventually we were back along the bay. 

At mile 5, there was a man with a stopwatch and a sticker that said "Mile 5" so at least I knew that I wasn't still running the longest third mile of my life. Although I felt okay.  My running app glitched and had me running 4 minute miles, so by the time I hit Mile 5, it considered me long done.  (Maybe that's why there were no mile markers after mile 3?) In reality I was running about 10 minute miles for the first few miles.

And then I saw the Finish line approaching.  And I had enough energy to pick up the speed before I crossed. 

My low expectations worked to my advantage.  I finished in 1:04.  And while that's not my fastest 10k time, it's my fastest in a long time.  And seems to correlate with my current 5k speed.

After I finished, I headed over to the line for picking up my shirt.  Since Dominoes was the sponsor, they also provided pizza for all the runners.  Yum to pizza at 9am!     I picked mine up and headed to the highlight of the race - the beer garden.

Runners were treated to as much beer as they could handle in the beer garden.   There were 4 different beers to choose from.  2 from Coronado Brewing Company and 2 from Ballast Point.  I chose a Pilsner from Coronado Brewing Company and grabbed a seat on the grass.

 Pizza and beer after a race was very much appreciated.  I was a little bummed I couldn't hang out and enjoy, but I had a baseball game to get to! So I finished up and headed out.  But there's a good likelihood I'll be back again.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Baked Tomato and Tapenade Galette

I bought a pineapple 2 weeks ago.  Despite the fact that it is far from pineapple season.  And it was amazing.  It's what got Thatbaby hooked on pineapple.

So I pressed my luck again and got a watermelon this past week.  It was not the same experience.  While both kids happily munched on slices, Thatboy and I were unimpressed by the lack of any sort of flavor.  But not unsurprised.  You just can't get good watermelon in March.

I should know better.  I used to be so good about eating in season.  And for the most part I still do.  But there are those times where I throw caution to the wind and buy what I want.  Like the plums and nectarines that came home with me over the past few weeks.

Are you sensing a trend that my impulse purchases seem to revolve around fruit?  Because they do.  And I mean the broad definition of fruit, the one that includes tomatoes.  I hate myself for buying tomatoes in the winter, because they are not a year-round fruit.  But at the same time, I love tomatoes, so it's hard not to pick some up every week at the store.

Paired with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar, these winter tomatoes still shine.  Balsamic is great for bringing out sweetness that way.  The puff pastry isn't given a chance to rise. making these galettes a flaky tart, as opposed to an overly doughy pizza.  In reality, this really is a summer recipe.  Light and crisp, they'd make the perfect picnic staple.  Especially with summer tomatoes.

Baked Tomato and Tapenade Galette
1 1/3 cups goat cheese, chopped
 1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp chopped basil
1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into 6 inch rounds
4 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
8 plum tomatoes
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp chopped thyme
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
  1. Heat the goat cheese in a small saucepan.
  2. Mix in the cream and remove from the heat.
  3. Add in the chopped basil and some freshly ground pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the puff pastry rounds between 2 sheets of wax paper and place on a baking sheet.  Lay another baking sheet on top and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  
  5. Turn oven to a low temperature.  Divide the sundried tomato paste between the pastry rounds.
  6. Spoon a small amount of the goat cheese mixture into the center of each round.
  7. Slice the plum tomatoes thinly and arrange on top.
  8. Drizzle the rounds with olive oil
  9. Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven to warm for 3-4 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with thyme.
  11. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Griled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers

When I was in elementary school we would make seasonal locker decorations every month.  You know, like hearts for February, or turkeys for November.

In March we made lions and lambs.  To a school child, this was fairly confusing.  Because what did lions and lambs have to do with the month of March?  I remember my teacher explaining to us that there was an aphorism about the weather in March.  (We took our weather pretty seriously in Pennsylvania - aphorisms and groundhogs) Either "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" or "March comes in like a lamb, and out like a lion."  In essence, March is one of those months whether the weather is variable.  It's not temperate, like June, or freezing like January.

This March is coming in like a lion.  Not just the weather, although the storms the past few days certainly are leonine.  It's also been lion-like in terms of every other aspect of my life!  Work and home are like a whirlwind.  With that in mind, I've been looking to simplify my time in the kitchen, which for me, means relying on a lot of vegetarian meals.  In find them much easier to throw together than meals with meat.  I also like the lighter feeling they leave me with, since it's hard to be always on the move with heavy meals on your plate.

Thatboy and I have been eating tofu a couple times a week in our lunches.  And I've been experimenting with how to prepare it.  Grilling tofu is probably not your first thought when it comes to tofu, but it's a fantastic solution to anyone who may be tofu-shy. Tofu's best quality is that it takes on flavors beautifully.  So marinading it gives you a deep, rich profile.  Grilling it gives it some body, and really, almost everything tastes better grilled!

Grilled Lemon Basil Tofu Burgers (From Cooking Light)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsps grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 lb firm tofu, drained
cooking spray
1/3 cup finely chipped pitted kalamata olives
3 Tbsp reduced fat sour cream
3 Tbsp light mayonnaise
6 hamburger buns
6 slices tomatoes
1 cup trimmed watercress
  1. Combine basil, lemon rind, lemon juice, mustard, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper, and 3 garlic cloves in a small bowl.
  2. Cut tofu crosswise into 6 slices.  Pat each slice dry with paper towels.  Place tofu slices on a jelly-roll pan.  
  3. Brush both sides of tofu slices with lemon juice mixture, reserve remaining juice mixture.  Let tofu stand 1 hour.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Place tofu slices on grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill 3 minutes on each side.  
  5. Brush tofu with reserved juice mixture.
  6. Combine 1 minced garlic clove, chopped olives, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a small bowl; stir well.
  7. Spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise mixture over bottom half of each bun.
  8. Top each with 1 tomato slice, 1 tofu slice, 2 Tbsp watercress, and bun top.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Mommy Mondays: Breakfasts for Babies

So Baby Led Weaning has been going strong here.  Thatbaby is a voracious eater, which works out pretty well for us.

The hardest thing for us has been breakfast, since we're in such a rush in the mornings.  In fact, before Thatbaby started eating, Thatkid and I both ate our breakfasts in the car or at school/work. 

I know I'm not the only one out there facing this dilemma, so let me share with you some of our favorite morning meals!

 Toast with butter, toast with avocado, french toast.  For each of these I cut the toast into 4 sticks to make it easier for him to grasp.

These easiest/best thing I do with eggs is make them over the weekend.  So I can just reheat and serve during the week.  And the easiest way to do this is by making "egg cups."  I mix together some egg, cheese, and vegetables, then pour the mixture into muffin cups and bake until set.

On the weekend I make pancakes on request, and enough where I have leftover to use for breakfast during the week.  Or, if I have a couple of extra minutes, I'll make a 2 ingredient pancake - mashed banana and egg.  I also keep frozen waffles on hand, which are great for teething, and really quick breakfasts.

Sliced apples, pears, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, mandarin oranges.  Lately with the teething I've also been making use of frozen fruit - mango and pineapple are big hits here.  Blueberries dipped in coconut yogurt and then frozen are also a fun and easy breakfast treat.

Oatmeal is super messy, so I like to keep that one for the weekends, but when I make it, I make it thick, so it's easy for him to eat with his hands.  Cold cereal, without milk, is a really easy quick breakfast idea.  Cheerios and Puffins cereal are the two we keep on hand.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Sunday Runday: Current Favorites

I feel like every blogger keeps you updated in the things they're digging, and I love reading them.  So helpful in finding new obsessions!

So I thought maybe it would be fun to share with you some of the things that keep me moving lately.

Nike Free 4.0 Flyknits
I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but I'm picky about my running shoes.  I know.  Show me a runner who isn't, and I'll show you a person with blisters and sore knees.  When my favorite running shoe got discontinued (Nike Max Motos), I started a search for a new shoe.  UDubb has been indispensible in this pursuit.  These were a Christmas gift from her, and I was a little skeptical, but I adore them.  They're like a cross between my beloved Vibrams and a more traditional running shoe. They have it all, light weight, flexible, but supportive.  So far they've been pain-free and super comfortable. 

Zombies, Run!

This isn't new, and I've written about it before, but it deserves an honorable mention because
it's my motivation for my weekday runs.  Plus I think it helps with my speed.  I'm very invested in this season, which is fun and full of zombie vikings. 

The Police's Synchronicity II

Currently my favorite running jam.  As soon as I hear the opening chords I just want to go faster - many miles away.  I have no idea why I'm so into this song right now, but I am.

Shower beer

I could probably right a whole post just about this.  One of my favorite rituals after a long weekend run.  Especially since the weather has been so warm lately.  The combination of the cold beer and the hot shower is surprisingly perfect.  ("The hot and the cold are both so intense, put them together it just makes sense.")  Beer has electrolytes, making it great for hydration, and carbs which is perfect for refueling.  Just make sure you eat something before you pop in the shower.  Because the combination of beer, heat, and an empty stomach could be very dangerous.

Athleta Straight Up Capri

 I got these pants when I was still pregnant with Thatbaby, and they worked for most of my pregnancy, but I appreciate them even more now that I'm not longer pregnant.  The higher waist band helps to cover the other result of my pregnancy (2 for 1!  Baby AND stomach flab!)  They're comfortable and the material is nice and thick.  I really appreciate the high quality of Athleta clothing, and if you're in the San Diego area, now is a great time to restock your closet or try it for yourself.  This Saturday, March 12, Athleta in UTC is having a blogger appreciation day and offering all of YOU a sweet discount! Just stop by and mention my blog!  Time to find some favorites of your own!

Friday, March 04, 2016

Suddenly Spring: Chocolate Ice Cream Soda

I'm loving the weather lately.   It means my morning runs are not quite so cold.  It means we've been spending a lot of time outside, enjoying it.   It means it's time to reintroduce ice cream.

I'm weird with ice cream. I know there are people out there who love it.  I'm married to one of them, and the daughter to another.  I don't love ice cream.  I mean, I like it okay, but it's not a "need to have" thing for me.  If ice cream is offered for dessert, I'm just as likely to pass.  And I'm really uninterested in the winter.

I just have no desire to eat cold things in the winter - with the exception of salads, which I adore year-round.  Ice cream for me is strictly a summer treat.  So now that it's getting warmer, the idea of cold, creamy ice cream sounds really appealing.  And I especially like it in drink form.  Because I'm super lazy, and straws require less effort than a spoon.

Milkshakes are fine, and I do appreciate a good milkshake, but if we're going for low effort, a cream soda is the way to go.  No blender to clean, it's a one-cup recipe.  Just put in 3 ingredients and stir.  Which gives you more time to sit back and sip!

Chocolate Ice Cream Soda
3 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1 cup sparkling water
2 scoops chocolate ice cream
  1.  Mix everything in a tall glass and stir.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Mr. Baseball: Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant

Well, we made it 4 years, but now we have entered the world of sports.  Baseball to be exact.

The mother of one of Thatkid's friends alerted me that they could play on the same team, and so we signed him up.  I liked the idea of him starting his first team sport with friends, which I hoped would keep him interested and on the field.

So far, so good.  His team is made up of 3 and 4 year olds, and they are adorable.  Probably just about the cutest thing you've ever seen.

Practices have been going well, as the kids run through drills, batting, catching, and running the bases.

And we now have a game every Saturday.  Which is fun.

We start with the pledge of allegiance, and then play 2 innings.  Instead of 3 outs, we play so that each kid gets to bat and run the bases.  Then we switch sides.

The kids all take turns playing the different positions.  So far Thatkid has been catcher, 2nd base, and shortstop.

So far, Thatkid seems to really enjoy baseball.  He talks about it all the time, his team, the different teams, rivalries, etc. 

Although like most 4 year olds, he is does sometimes get bored or distracted.  Like the rest of his team.  This is a picture from during a game.

We also are using this as an opportunity to teach him about baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.  And show him our favorite baseball movies like The Sandlot and Rookie of the Year.

The baseball practices are during the week, which adds on to our already busy schedule.  They're at 4:30, so dinner needs to be quick and ready to go shortly after we get home.  Burgers are a great quick cook meal, especially if you prep that patties ahead of time.  Then you just need to throw them on the grill and you have a meal in under 10 minutes. 

I've mentioned before that turkey burgers run the risk of being dry.  Adding pureed eggplant into the patty definitely helps with that.  I like to form the patties and then throw them in the fridge for whenever I'm ready for them.  The pureed eggplant also works as a nice burger topping.  

Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant (From Cooking Light)
1 eggplant
cooking spray
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
4 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp lower-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp marmite
4 hamburger buns, toasted
4 Bibb lettuce leaves
8 slices tomato
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly coat eggplant with cooking spray; wrap in foil, place on jelly roll pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until very tender, turning once.  Remove from foil; cool slightly.  
  2. Cut eggplant in half.  Carefully scoop out pulp to measure 1 1/4 cup.  Discard the skin.  
  3. Place pulp in a food processor; process until smooth.  Reserve 1/4 cup pureed pulp.  
  4. Combine remaining pulp, 1 Tbsp parsley 2 tsp oil, juice, and garlic.  Stir in 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Set aside.
  5. Combine reserved 1/4 cup eggplant puree, turkey, 1 Tbsp parsley, soy sauce, and Marmite in a large bowl.  Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2 inch thick patty.  Press thumb in center of each patty, leaving a nickel sized indentation.  Cover and chill until ready to grill.
  6. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat patties with coking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Place patties on grill rack and grill 4 minutes.
  7. Carefully turn patties over and grill 3 minutes until done.  Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with 1 lettuce leaf, 2 tomato slices, 1 Tbsp eggplant mixture, and top half of bun.