Half Marathon Weekend Recap – The Holy Half

B and I ran a half marathon this weekend in South Bend, Indiana. You may recall that one of my goals for this year was to run at least 2 half marathons (to partially make up for my injury while training for a full marathon last year). I was thinking of training for Cleveland, but since we’ll be at B’s sister’s graduation from Notre Dame that weekend, we started looking for other races. So when B’s sister mentioned she’d be running the Holy Half at Notre Dame, it only seemed appropriate that we run that!

holy half marathon

How did it go? The race itself went well except B wasn’t feeling good most of the time. He was feeling a little sick the first half, and then was in much more pain the second half of the race – stomach, legs, etc. I kept with him the whole time and we finished, but definitely weren’t running for time. Maybe that’s why I felt so good after the race and could have run at least a mile or few more.

B's Aunt Marie took this action shot!

B’s Aunt Marie took this action shot!

What did we like about the race?

  • The running crowd – I really enjoyed the group of people that were running. It was mostly Notre Dame students so it was a lot of young people – but quite a few non-ND students were mixed in as well (including a BC grad like myself). It didn’t hurt that B, his two sisters and one of his brothers were all running the half or the 10k!
  • The cheering – The students were all over campus cheering the runners on. It was fun to see the students with signs and cheering everyone on – even those who clearly weren’t part of their campus.
  • The water/Gu stops – There seemed to be plenty of water stops to keep us hydrated and even 3-4 stops that also included Gu Chomps.
  • The run through campus – The running route was about two laps of a 10k course. Parts of it were through campus, which was fun to see! I’m slightly biased with my idea of what a beautiful campus looks like (Sorry, but BC was GORGEOUS!) but it was nice to see another pretty college.
  • The start time – Starting at 9 a.m.? LOVED not having to get up at the break of dawn to get to the race!
  • The post-race food – Free Jimmy John’s subs (veggie for me), Dunkin Donuts bagels, Peeps, fruit and more. The supply was endless!

What didn’t we like about the race?

  • The weather – I guess you can’t really blame this on the race but it was COLD! I couldn’t feel my fingers at the end, at all, which wasn’t fun. I was wearing normal winter running gear, but for some reason couldn’t get my hands warm. This could have to do with the fact that I’m incapable of drinking water during runs and spilled the ice cold water cups a few times. Whoops!
  • The overall course –  While I did love running through campus and liked the loop, I didn’t like miles 2-4 of the loop, which were almost like a trail run. They were around a lake or pond on campus and the path was very narrow – some parts you were barely able to pass anyone, which is not good for the start of a race – and the ground was rock solid and uneven. It had clearly been muddy at some point, and then re-frozen and it hurt my knees more than the normal concrete. B also didn’t like the last few miles of the loop because it was mostly running around parking lots, etc.
  • No medal – We didn’t get a medal. Not that I do anything with the medals I get (do you?) but we didn’t get anything for finishing. Our race bags had t-shirts and some odd assortment of goodies (jewelry cleaner?) but there was no medal or anything at the finish line.
Post-race relaxing at Notre Dame .. and a photo-bomb by Pete!

Post-race relaxing at  Legends on Notre Dame .. and a photo-bomb by Pete!

After the race, we met up with B’s aunt, uncle and cousin, who had been cheering everyone on and grabbed a few drinks on campus before heading back to take a nap. Post-nap we were starving! We enjoyed some pretty good pizza (surprisingly good for what I was expecting out of a small pizza joint in Indiana) and then headed to a local bar for some dancing, fuzzy navel shots and some seriously amazing games of beer pong (B was undefeated!). Definitely not a bad way to spend a half-marathon weekend! 

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • Have you ever signed up for a half marathon less than two weeks before the race? How did it go?
  • Do you like to run with a friend/significant other when racing? Do you leave them behind or stick with them through the end?
  • Have you ever run a race through a college campus?
  • What’s your favorite post-race indulgence?
  • What’s your favorite college campus?

Meatless Monday: Easy Roasted Cauliflower

Disclaimer: this is a non-recipe post. What’s a non-recipe? It’s something that I typically just throw together, without following instructions. Or measuring things. Something that you just do but don’t really think about (or something that didn’t seem blog-worthy at first). But I decided to actually pay attention and write down what I do, so I can share it with you!
B’s been eating a lot of vegetables lately and this is one of the easiest, no-hassle ways to prepare one of his new found edible vegetables, cauliflower. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and then just sits in the oven while you go about your business. Think about all you can do in the 45 minutes it takes for this to cook! Go work out (only if you’re not leaving the building. I wouldn’t recommend having your oven on 375 without anyone around!), prepare more parts of your meal, make some lentils (the take about 30 minutes from the bag and is cheaper than the can) to go with the cauliflower, read a trashy magazine, catch up on your DVR, give yourself a manicure … think about it!
Easy Roasted Cauliflower

Here’s what you need: 

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced or diced
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Chop up cauliflower. Remove the stems and leaves and chop florets into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Place chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet covered with Pam. Or spread foil sprayed with Pam on a baking sheet for an easy clean up. Drizzle cauliflower with olive oil.
  4. Add salt and pepper and garlic.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

A whole head of cauliflower made enough food for B and me for dinner, plus I got leftovers for lunch the next day!

chopped cauliflower

Chop your cauliflower (this is the longest part of the process)

seasoned cauliflower

Season with garlic, pepper and salt (or other spices, like rosemary!)

roasted cauliflower

Eat it! I served mine with lentils, fish, Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut

This is a 4HB friendly recipe (without the modifications, below).

Modifications:

This is the basic roasted cauliflower recipe. I’ve also made it where in addition to the above steps, at about 10-15 minutes before it’s completed I’ve added Parmesan cheese or other shredded cheeses (cheddar, gouda, etc.) for a slightly cheesy roasted cauliflower. I’ve also added breadcrumbs for added crunch!

Tunes Thursday: My Latest Running Mix

I’m running a half marathon this weekend. B and I signed up a few weeks ago, and I’m so excited! After last year’s marathon-training-gone-wrong, I have been weary of running long distances. We have done a handful of 5ks and other short runs since my tibia and metatarsal have healed – but a long run? Like double digit? Not until last month. And it has been fine! So, I was eager to get a race on our schedule and this weekend’s race fits in perfectly with our training runs – AND B’s sister is running it too!

So in honor of this week’s race, I’m sharing a super belated Running Mix. Some of these songs are old by now, but I’ve slowly been adding them to my playlist and as the runs grow longer, so does the list. They’re a mix of upbeat happy songs that make me want to move. As always, these songs are on my What I’m Listening to Spotify playlist (among other songs).

Rockstar – A Great Big World (one of my new fave bands)

Wings – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Really, I just love Macklemore. Otherside and Same Love are also AMAZING)

The House That Heaven Built – Japandroids

Only Wanna Dance With You – Ke$ha

I Love It – Icona Pop (the lyrics sometimes just pump me up and remind me to ENJOY my runs)

This is The New Year – A Great Big World

Round and Round – Imagine Dragons (this one is good for a lonnnnng hill)

Some thoughts to ponder:

What’s on your Running Mix?

Do you have any races coming up?

What do you consider a “long run” vs. “short run”?

Meatless Monday: Spicy Kale with Yellow Pepper and Onions

Hope you all had a great St. Patrick’s Day! I made it outside for a few hours and judging by what I witnessed downtown, most of you were having a good time. While I didn’t enjoy any corned beef this year (still meatfree for Lent!), we did enjoy some green food – including a kale dish like this one.

As B has started eating more slow carbs, one of my challenges has been to find new and not boring bean/veggie/meat (or other protein) combos. B would be perfectly happy eating the same meals day in and day out. Me? Maybe for lunch, but half of the fun in eating is the cooking! And half the fun in cooking is trying new recipes. So, last week for dinner, we were debating on the bean/veggie/meat combo when I suggested cooking up some Kale with Peppers and Onions for our veggie. Not a kale fan, B was skeptical. As I was putting it together, B even made the comment that he expected the ratio of peppers and onions to kale to be a little higher than he was expecting (meaning – “You’re using too much kale!”). Plus, when I had made the Kale with Lentils and Sweet Potato recipe a few weeks ago, he wasn’t sure he liked the texture of the kale, but this was due mostly to the fact that I may have forgotten to remove the stem from many of the kale leaves. Whoops! I was determined to leave a better impression this time, so I included one of B’s favorite ingredients – Cholula sauce!

As we sat down to eat our meals, I ate in silence. I didn’t want to ask … but I was dying to know what B was thinking. After a few bites it was clear. It was a hit. “We should have this again,” B told me. YES!

spicy kale with yellow pepper and onion

 Spicy Kale with Peppers and Onions 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, sliced 
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (if you like garlic a lot, feel free to make it 3)
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed, chopped / torn into small pieces (about 4 cups) 
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons Cholula sauce (depending on your taste for heat, use more or less) or your other favorite hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth

Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot on medium heat.
  2. Dice the onion, yellow pepper and 2 cloves of garlic.  Add to pan and let soften.
  3. Tear kale from stem and chop or tear into bite size pieces. Remember to remove the stem! (This reminder is courtesy of B)
  4. Once onion and pepper are translucent, add the kale and vegetable broth. Feel free to add more garlic at this time too 🙂
  5. Add hot sauce and hot pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium-low, put lid on pot, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. After about 10 minutes, remove lid and turn heat down. Add more hot sauce if you like and cook until the liquid is absorbed  
  7. Enjoy!

I served mine with baked tofu and some black beans for a complete  Four-Hour Body friendly recipe.

spicy kale with peppers and onions

Saute the pepper, onion and garlic

spicy kale with peppers and onions

Chop/tear up the kale. Don’t forget to remove stem!

spicy kale with peppers and onions

Add chopped kale to translucent pepper and onion. Add hot sauce, hot pepper flakes, vegetable broth and more garlic if you want.

spicy kale with peppers and onions

All done! Check out how much the kale cooks down.

Enjoy! Here’s how I served mine:

SPICY KALE WITH yellow pepper & onion, baked tofu, avocado and black beans

Some questions to ponder:

  • Have you tried any slow carb diets or the Four-Hour Body? What’s your favorite meal combo?
  • Are there certain meals you have over and over again and never get tired of them?
  • What’s your favorite way to cook/eat kale?

Another St. Patrick’s Day Dessert: Baileys Cake with Irish Cream Glaze

I’ve been on a baking and cooking crusade lately. Baking, cooking and running are my outlets when I am stressed, and I tend to go overboard when that’s the case. Anyway, I decided to bake one more St. Patrick’s Day dessert just in time for the holiday – this time, a Baileys Cake.

What? More Baileys desserts? — you’re probably thinking. Well, yes. One of my favorite things about our trip to Ireland this summer was the people and the scenery, not the food (sorry!), but I did love the ever present and available Irish Cream, so that’s exactly what I’m planning my recipes around.

baileys cake with an irish cream glaze

Baileys Cake with Irish Cream Glaze

adapted from this Baileys Pound Cake Recipe

Here’s what you need:

For the cake (loaf)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 stick low-fat butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs (or 3/4 cup Egg Beaters, which of course I used)
  • 1 cup Baileys (I used the caramel kind. because it’s my favorite)
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

For the glaze

  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. Baileys

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with Pam.
  2. Cream together butters and sugar.
  3. Mix together eggs and Baileys. Add to butter and sugar mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add to liquid batter, about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix batter well until super smooth and evenly combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Test at about 55 minutes by sticking a toothpick into the loaf – when it comes out clean the loaf is done! Mine took about 62 minutes.
  7. While loaf is baking, make the glaze! Combine powdered sugar with 1/4 cup Baileys. Feel free to use a whisk and combine until a smooth glaze forms.
  8. After loaf is removed from the oven and cooled slightly, drizzle glaze on top.
  9. Enjoy!

baileys cake with an irish cream glaze for st. patrick's day

baileys cake with an irish cream glaze

Feel free to enjoy with some Baileys on ice .. or in your coffee!

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles

Happy Almost St. Patrick’s Day! Last year I made some delicious Murphy’s Stout Cupcakes with an Irish Cream Buttercream Frosting. This year, I was going to make the same thing, but lately I’ve been all about the cake and cookie balls (if you haven’t made the Birthday Cake Truffles or Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls, stop reading and make them immediately. They were DELICIOUS!), so I decided to find some St. Patrick’s Day truffles!

homemade baileys irish cream chocolate truffles for st. patrick's day

The following recipe was okay. They tasted delicious, but honestly, I am not a fan of how they looked. The batter was too sticky and heavy, making it hard to make nice circles.  If you are going for taste – they’re great! Looks? I’m going to try again.

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles

Borrowed from this post from Life Love and Sugar.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ½ vanilla wafer crumbs (Almost one box of Vanilla Wafers) 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream With Caramel
  • 12 oz bag chocolate melting wafers (or chocolate chips … if you use chocolate chips you may need to use some Crisco while you melt just to make it melt smoothly)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Okay, it’s not exact science but add nearly one box of Vanilla Wafers to a blender. I had about 15-20 cookies left in my box (can you say snacktime for later?). Blend completely until you have about 2 ½ – 2¾ cups of vanilla wafer crumbs.
  2. Combine vanilla wafer crumbs and powdered sugar in a bowl until you have a nice powder-like consistency of both ingredients.
  3. Add corn syrup and Baileys to dry ingredients. Mix well until consistency is sticky, yet moldable. It sounds gross, but the consistency reminded me of when I make turkey meatballs.
  4. Let batter sit in fridge for about 15-20 minutes until chilled. Once cool, shape batter into balls and set aside. I put mine in the freezer so they would harden up and not melt when mixed with the warm chocolate. I made about a dozen balls.
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave according to package directions. I did not end up needing the entire package, so I recommend heating up half the chocolate wafers at a time.
  6. Using a fork, dip balls into the melted chocolate and shake off excess chocolate by tapping bottom of fork on the side of the bowl.
  7. Place completed balls on a cookie sheet (I used foil sprayed with Pam on my cookie sheet to prevent sticking).  Top with green sprinkles, if you wish. Let balls dry.
  8. Enjoy!
Put your vanilla wafers in the bender!

Put your vanilla wafers in the blender!

Combine powdered wafer crumbs with powdered sugar. Then add corn syrup!

Combine powdered wafer crumbs with powdered sugar before adding syrup and Baileys.

baileys irish cream truffles