Oh hey, weekend … where did you go?

Happy First Weekend of Spring! Yahoo – it’s finally here. Spring is here, spring is here.

We kicked off spring with a pretty fun weekend full of food, friends and films (yup, I did that alliteration on purpose because I’m fancy like that).

Friday night started off with some drinks with coworkers to celebrate the weekend. I don’t know what it is but all of us had seemed to have a crazy week and were happy to be able to kick off and relax. The bar in our building where I work has some good happy hour specials so it was great to finally take advantage of them!

Then it was time to meet up with our friend Steve! Steve was in town for work but had the weekend free so of course we were able to show him a fun weekend. Which meant that Friday night also involved some drinks at Parnells and dinner at Barrio. I headed to bed earlier than the guys and they spent some more night out on the town.

Bols at Barrio!

Bols at Barrio!

Always the best Guinness pour

Always the best Guinness pour

Saturday morning I texted Erica to see if she was running again – and she was! I met up with her and the weather was chilly but again, so nice to be outside. We got in a 6+ mile run and then went and saw a movie at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Erica had an extra pass and I was so happy to take it and see the movie I’d been wanting to see – Limited Partnership. Here’s the trailer:

It was a really good pic and the director stuck around afar the movie as part of a panel discussion that was also really good.

Saturday afternoon was my monthly Ladies Craft Beer event – this time Cuoghi hosted it and put together quite the spread – this girl knows how to cook and entertain! She also taught me how to use a sewing machine, and I successfully finished our craft – homemade scarves!

so much good food!

so much good food!

sewing supplies

sewing supplies

OMG I'm sewing!

OMG I’m sewing!

some of the ladies and our scarves

some of the ladies and our scarves

At night, I met up with B, Steve, Dave, Anson and Joey for some drinks at Nano Brew and March Madness, followed by some late-night TV watching of Doogie Howser because why not?

Sunday, B, Steve and I got brunch at Phuel before Steve had to fly back to DC.

I'm a creature of habit - always order the same granola bowl and love it every time.

I’m a creature of habit – always order the same granola bowl and love it every time.

B and I spent the rest of the day at the Cleveland Film Festival – we caught two movies and bought tickets for quite a few more this week. I love love love the Film Festival and am so glad we actually made time to see some movies this year!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite international or independent film?
  • What’s your go-to brunch order?
  • Do you know how to sew?

 

WIAW: Busy Monday

Today’s What I Ate Wednesday features some of my eats from the start of this week. And it includes some meals that are NOT homemade for once! Woohooo! Because that’s how my Monday was.  

I woke up hungry! I don’t typically eat anything if I’m running early and it’s not a long run, but I grabbed a handful of trail mix from this pack that I had gotten at the St. Malachi race. I had eaten part of the package on Sunday at the movies and was happy to have a few nuts and pieces of dried fruit to quell my hunger before a 4 mile outdoor run. 20150323_070704 Per usual, my breakfast was eaten at my desk and included egg whites and veggies, made by B. We had run out of frozen veggies, so I had made some Brussels sprouts Sunday evening and B cooked up some spinach. 20150323_082222 I had a busy morning and was pretty hungry when lunch rolled around. I had some leftover soup that I had frozen – some black bean, butternut squash soup.

Disclaimer - this is not the pic from my lunch. this is the pic I took from the night before. But still just as yummy!

Disclaimer – this is not the pic from my lunch. this is the pic I took from the night before. But still just as yummy!

And since I was hungry for lunch, I was super hungry for afternoon snacks. I had a bunch of smoked almonds (from the office), a pear, a sweet potato, some tea, and lots of carrots. I had already eaten half the almonds and carrots by the time I took this pic.

snack one. already had eaten some almonds and carrots before taking the pic.

snack one. already had eaten some almonds and carrots before taking the pic.

Half a sweet potato with cinnamon and honey. SO good.

Half a sweet potato with cinnamon and honey. SO good.

20150323_154516     After work I had a board meeting meet up at Heinen’s. I enjoyed a few glasses of wine with the glorious view of the new grocery store!

Wine at Heinen's!

Wine at Heinen’s! (Another disclaimer – this pic is from another time…again I forgot to take a photo of my wine but I assure you I had some red wine at Heinen’s)

After happy hour B and I had tickets to the Cleveland Film Festival. For my fourth film (yup, I love CIFF!), we saw the Hollywood Shorts. Oh my goodness – they were so good! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shorts program where I enjoyed all the movies, but they each kept getting better and better! My favorites were  Today’s the Day and Dragula. The movie didn’t get out until after 9 and of course I was hungry again. I had finished the breakfast trail mix already and wanted something quick and ready (not something I’d have to make at 9:30 p.m. at night). The solution? Noodlecat! I picked up my favorite salad, the Super Salad. Its description:

Noodlecat's Super Salad.

Noodlecat’s Super Salad.

We didn’t finish eating until after 10 and I wanted something else, so I satisfied myself with some more citrus. I’m not typically a huge orange fan, but maybe the orange and grapefruit on the salad got my in the mood? I would’ve gone for a peanut butter brownie bar that I had made last week, but B and his friend had eaten them all over the weekend. :(

"Dessert" - okay not really but just some fruit to finish off my meal.

“Dessert” – okay not really but just some fruit to finish off my meal.

AND here is an update of my Fitbit for the day! My morning run, plus walking to and from my happy hour and the movies, put me at a weekday high – I never get this high unless I have a weekend (and lots of walking around) or a long run. Screenshot_2015-03-23-22-50-48 (1)

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have a fitbit?
  • Do you have a go-to quick and easy takeout meal for nights when you didn’t plan a meal and don’t have time to cook?
  • Do you eat before working out in the morning?

This week’s WIAW linkup hosted here!

Training Tuesday: Back on the Running Buddy Bandwagon

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another edition of Training Tuesday, where I share my Cleveland Half Marathon Training experiences for the week.

Another week of  Cleveland half marathon training is DONE. Despite some soreness in the beginning of the week, it was a pretty good week. I ran outside several days and even got back together with a running buddy, Erica, for two – not one – runs this week. Again, mileage was lower than it had been prior to training season where I was earning 30+ miles a week, but I’m not taking my miles for granted and trying to stay uninjured.

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Monday: On the schedule – 3.5 miles.

Actual run –   4.5 miles outdoors! The weather was perfect to run outside – I was even slightly WARM which was awesome. My legs were a little tight from the race still but it felt SO good to be outside!

Running outdoors means I can take pictures :)

Running outdoors means I can take pictures :)

Tuesday: On the schedule – 35 minute tempo run.

Actual run – 3.7 miles, 35 minutes tempo run. It was rough – normally tempo runs aren’t that bad for me but this day for some reason it was rough. You can see I literally have to write down minute by minute what I’m doing when running tempo runs  – I get mushy runners brain otherwise and forget.

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Wednesday: On the schedule – 3 miles.

Actual run – 4.27 (3 miles plus warmup and cool down). Didn’t make it outside but instead got in some indoor miles.

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Thursday: On the schedule – NO RUN. 

Actual workout –  I did the elliptical on EASY and lifted some weights. I’m really trying to take my off days seriously!

Friday: On the schedule – 3 miles.

Actual run – 7.89 miles. I wasn’t sure if I’d have time Saturday to get in a long run (or motivation, I knew we’d have a friend in town Friday through Sunday) so I headed out early with Erica, one of my running buddies. We hadn’t run together in FOREVER and it was so nice to see her! I got in 3 miles before meeting up with her and finished what I thought was only 4 more miles … my Nike+ had stopped working, though, and I didn’t realize I got in a few extra miles. Whoops!

Erica and me. I made her take a selfie before one of our TWO runs together this week!

Erica and me. I made her take a selfie before one of our TWO runs together this week!

Saturday: On the schedule – 7 miles.

Actual run – I was planning on doing an easy 3 (Friday’s workout) but instead ran with Erica again! Erica wanted to do 6 and I figured I’d try to get in a few with her — I got in 6.89 miles (not sure what’s up with the .89 miles on both Friday and Saturday) and felt pretty good. Woohoo!

Sunday: On the schedule – cross train or rest.

Actual run – none! Spent some time on the elliptical for a short workout and then got in a few walks with B and two movies at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Perfect off day!

Overall thoughts about the week:

The good:

  • I got back outside and it was great! Some days were a little chilly but it was so nice to be back outside and off that dreadmill.
  • I proved to myself that I could do a semi-long run (7+ miles) in the morning before work. It had been some time that I dragged myself out of bed and outside in the cold and dark and I was pleased with my ability to do so.
  • I ran with Erica twice in one week. Sometimes running indoors for a long time makes me doubt my ability to run not only outside, but also with others. Nope – still got it!

The bad:

  • I was pretty sore for a few days after Malachi. I don’t know why but those 5 lies really put a stress on my body. Guess I raced hard?
  • I didn’t 100% follow the plan – I ran a few extra miles. Not that that’s REALLY bad, but it’s still something I shouldn’t make a habit of.
  • Interval running still kicks my butt. Even an “easy interval run” (meaning not 200 meter repeats) was tough this week.

 

Questions for you:

  • Did you finally get outside and run this week?
  • Do you like running with other people? Yes, while I do love my alone runs and the solitude of it and being able to think to myself, running with others keeps me entertained and motivated. 

Meatless Monday: Zoodles with Spinach Basil Pesto

I love my spiralizer. Have I told you that lately? Okay, I did just last week … But seriously, I’ve even written an ode to my spiralizer.

I love my zoodler.

It makes cooking so much fun.

I feel like a kid.

There you have it – my haiku to my spiralizer. There’s just something about it that makes cooking so much fun and reminds me of when I was a kid playing with play dough and making mystery meals … you know what I mean? Now that that’s off my chest (#awkward), here’s a quick and easy recipe that I made last week for St. Patrick’s Day- a super green, yet healthy, vegan dish for B and me. Sorry, I’m Italian and we had already had corned beef on Sunday  – so for the holiday it was super green noodles.

zoodles and pesto

Zoodles with Spinach Basil Pesto

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium-to-large zucchini
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • a large bunch of basil – about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped or slivered almonds (toasting them brings out a nutty flavor)
  • 3-5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (depending on how thin you like your pesto – I like mine a little thicker so I use less olive oil)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Using your zoodler (okay, or spiralizer) cut your zucchini into fun noodle-like pieces. When done, I put my zoodles in a pile on the cutting board and like to cut them in 1/3s or 1/2s so the pieces aren’t so large. Set aside.
  2.  Add garlic, basil and spinach to blender or food processor. I use my food processor and it works just fine. Mix well.
  3. Add in toasted almonds, continue to blend until a thick paste forms.
  4. Add in olive oil, one tablespoonful at a time and continue to blend until paste becomes somewhat creamy. Add in any extra salt, garlic, basil or olive oil to taste, as necessary. Mine makes about 1/3 cup pesto, which is perfect for this recipe. You could probably use a little less pesto but I like my zoodles coated!
  5. In a pan over medium heat, toss zoodles with pesto and heat for about 3-5 minutes or until just tossed and warm. Enjoy! Makes two healthy dinner portions.

Top with any of your favorite toppings – I like mine with parmesan cheese (not vegan), diced tomato, more fresh basil and even sometimes sautéed onions.

I’ll definitely be sharing more zoodle recipes soon – I’ve already made shrimp zoodle scampi, zoodles with homemade tomato sauce … and even used my spiralizer on sweet potatoes to make curly sweet potato fries!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s the next Meatless Monday recipe you have planned? I’m joining with this MM linkup and of course checking out MeatlessMonday.com for ideas!
  • Zoodler fans – what zoodle recipe should I make next? This is my second one shared in a week.
  • How do you make your pesto? I typically use basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pignoli nuts, so this is a different version for me! 

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles

Have I mentioned that I got a spiralizer? I know, I’m behind the times. I had been using my mandolin to make zoodles and even a knife to make thin shreds for salads (like a papaya or apple salad). But guess what – the wait is over. I finally found a spiralizer I love, that meets my needs (is easy-to-use, doesn’t take up a lot of space and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles) and I tried you out. So beware – there may be an influx of zoodle recipes coming your way!

Here’s the first recipe I tried out. Good news – even B enjoyed it!

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way shape or form giving up pasta. I am Italian and pasta holds a special place in my heart, especially homemade pasta. So yes, to answer your question (I knew you were going to ask) – I will still be making homemade pasta. BUT this is great for a quick, easy, healthy weeknight dish. The following meal took less than 30 minutes to make!

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium-to-large zucchini (mine were each about 8-10 inches in length and 3 inches in width about)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 14 large peeled and deveined cocktail shrimp (note: you can use raw shrimp, just cook them a little bit first before anything else – I just didn’t want to handle raw shrimp)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Use your spiralizer to make zoodles! I have this spiralizer (iPerfect Kitchen Envy Spiral Slicer Bundle – Vegetable Spiralizer – Zucchini Spaghetti Pasta Maker)  and LOVE it because it’s perfect for my needs – its simple, easy to use and easy to clean and takes up practically no space in my kitchen. I used the larger size zoodler setting for this recipe (my spiralizer only has two settings which is perfect for me). I chopped the zoodles in about half so they weren’t super long. Set zoodles aside.
  2. In a large nonstick pan, add 1/2 of extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until start to become translucent. Add in garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add in shrimp and be careful not to overcook- toss with oil, shallots and garlic until just warm.
  4. Add in zoodles, broth and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook the zoodles – I like mine just a little bit softened – if you prefer yours al dente, definitely don’t cook more than 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and toss with rest of olive oil, basil and hot pepper flakes. Serve while warm.

Enjoy!

Garlicky Spicy Shrimp and Zoodles

Some questions for you:

  • What noodle dish should I try with zoodles next? Spaghetti and meatballs? Chicken lomein? Pasta puttanesca? Spaghetti and clam sauce? Another?
  • What’s your favorite pasta dish? Not talking with zoodles, but talking REAL DEAL PASTA! I love any pasta with seafood, especially spicy dishes. I also love B’s homemade turkey meatballs :)

What I Ate Wednesday: A Real Wednesday

Guess what – for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, I’m actually going to share with you a Wednesday of eats. I tend to share Monday or Tuesday (because those are the days I remember to take photos of everything), but this week I’m showing you an actual Wednesday!

For those of you that have followed my WIAW posts before, you know that breakfast for me are typically the same. My hubby B makes me egg whites with an assortment of vegetables and/or beans. This week was no different – I put some cholula on my veggies and wolfed this down around 8 a.m. at my desk. No coffee today – I don’t drink it daily and instead focused on hydrating with my crystal light. Yes, I have a slight addiction.

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Work was busy, so lunchtime came and went. Whoops! Thankfully, I was able to heat up my lunch I had prepared the night before – an assortment of roasted cauliflower, sweet potato and onion with smoked paprika and hot sauce (I like spicy food) and tofu. I give up meat for Lent and sometimes I take the easy way out to get in some protein.

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For snacks, I had a whole cut up yellow pepper, some peanuts, carrots and of course, tea with honey. I love decaf herbal tea and this lemon ginger tea is so yummy.

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B went for a run outside after work, and since I had already worked out, I made dinner while he ran. I was craving some brinner and was happy to see we had the ingredients on hand. Thankfully, I was able to throw something delicious together quickly – we had everything for my sweet potato zucchini hash, and I added a runny egg and avocado. I love this meal so much!

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And for dessert?  Some homemade browned butter chocolate chunk cookies I had made and of course more tea and honey.

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Some questions for you:

How do you like your eggs? I like the whites the most, but do love the yolk when it’s runny. Yummy!

What are some non-meat ways you get in protein? Eggs, tofu, beans, etc. 

Training Tuesday: Starting off sick, ending with a PR

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll be celebrating at work today, but hopefully catch a view of our city’s parade from my office. Still, it’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another edition of Training Tuesday – here are some of the highlights from this week’s Cleveland half marathon training.

The week started off not-so-good – I had some sort of virus that knocked me out Sunday and Monday pretty hard and made the beginning of the week’s runs less-than-outstanding. But later in the week I got outside (3 times!) AND even mustered up the energy to get in a 5 mile race on Saturday (and a PR!).

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 2.09.44 PM

Monday: On the schedule – 3.5 miles.

Actual run – Not a real run. I managed a slow 2 miles on the treadmill at 0% incline before calling it a quits. I walked on and off until deciding just to give up – I felt lousy. I took my temperature and sure enough, had a fever still. So it was back to bed. I slept pretty much all day.

Tuesday: On the schedule – 5×400 at 5k pace.

Actual run – 5x400m with some at 5k pace. I had slept all day Monday pretty much and woke up Tuesday feeling a lot better. I dropped the incline, dropped my pace (a little – some were still at my goal 400m pace of abut 8 minute/mile) and got the run in. Was totally impressed with myself afterwards for not just bailing a third day in a row.

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Wednesday: On the schedule – 3.5 miles.

Actual run – 4.68 miles – OUTSIDE. I was super tired and slow, and the girls I were supposed to run with didn’t end up running, so I was without a route and pacers. BUT I was outside and managed a few small hills. I finished up with a few ab exercises and 10 minutes on the elliptical.

Thursday: On the schedule – REST. 

Actual workout – 5.4 miles OUTSIDE again! After Wednesday’s less-than-great run and the whole week not feeling so good, I wanted to get in a confidence-boosting workout before the race on Saturday. I went for a run, outdoors, with 2 small hills and felt great. Finally – I was back!

Only downside – it’s now dark in the mornings thanks to Daylight Savings. But soon it will be light again!

pitch black after my runs

pitch black during my runs

Friday: On the schedule – REST.

Actual run – a super easy elliptical workout while reading Runner’s World. Barely a workout but just getting in some movement before my day.

My elliptical set up. Phone, check. Water, check. Magazine, check. TV, check.

My elliptical set up. Phone, check. Water, check. Magazine, check. TV, check.

Saturday: On the schedule – 5K RACE.

Actual run – 5 Mile Race – the St. Malachi Church Run. I PR’d, too! I somehow managed to run it in just about 41:16 – a time I never dreamed of. I ran with B for the first two miles and then felt like I was going to collapse so let made him go ahead. Still, I think him pushing me for that long helped with my time.

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Post-race with B and our medals!

Post-race with B and our medals!

Sunday: On the schedule – cross train or off.

Actual workout – 45 minutes on the elliptical at a super easy pace and level. I was seriously snoozing and should have worked harder but my legs were tired and a little tight from racing and decided to play it safe.

Later that afternoon, B and I got in a short walk.

 

Overall thoughts about the week: 

The good: The St. Malachi 5 miler not only got me outside (during the race and before the race during the week) but got some of my running confidence back. I know that the speed work is paying off and will continue to do it!

I’m loving the “warmer” weather. I can so run outside in 30 degrees as long as there is no ice, etc. and so far so good! Thank goodness – because it’s spring marathon (or half) training time!

 

The bad: I’m a little sore/tight after the 5 mile race and hoping that that’s just it – just soreness. I’m not typically sore after 5 miles but guess I was really pushing it?

I didn’t stick to the schedule this week minus the interval running day. I got in runs, but they weren’t what the schedule called for.

I was sick in the beginning of the week and it’s incredible to see how much some slight illness can make a difference in my running. Thankfully it was gone in a few days and 5 days later I was still able to race!

 

Questions for you:

  • Do you have any races coming up?
  • Are you back outside for running?
  • What happens when you’re sick – do you run? Stay in bed? Test it out?

 

spring half marathon