Another reason to love the CLE – football is back! [plus a ticket giveaway!]

Disclosure – I was asked by the Browns to give away 2 tickets to an upcoming game! Read on (or just scroll down) to enter to win! NOTE: the giveaway has now ended. The winner has been contacted. Thanks to all that have entered!

Football season is back! That’s right, the Browns are back in town.

Since moving downtown, I’ve gotten a lot more excited about football season. Let me be honest with you – growing up, I did NOT watch much football. I didn’t understand football. I came from a family that didn’t really watch it, so I never really got into it OR understood it. Even after I was gifted a book, Teach Me Football (yes, someone GAVE me a book about how to understand football!).

Yes, I own this book.

Yes, I own this book.

Then came college. Going to BC, I grew to LOVE game days! The excitement around campus, the Superfan Shirts, and really just the experience of tailgating, rallying behind the team and of course the perfect fall weather. Suddenly I got it. For me – football wasn’t really about the game. Sure, I began to understand what was happening and how to score points – but I really enjoyed just hanging out with people before and during games.

Superfans enjoying some BC football!

Superfans enjoying some BC football!

Then came Cleveland. And moving downtown. And being in the middle of all the excitement that comes with living in a real live NFL city. And of course the fun cooking that comes with tailgating (might I recommend some low fat taco dip, football brownie sandwiches or buffalo chicken dip). So last year I finally made it to a few games – and I can’t wait to attend even more now that the season is BACK! Here are some favorite shots from last year:

B and I ate a seasonably warm game.

B and I ate a seasonably warm game. Love the sea of brown and orange in the background!

Tailgating with B's sister - brr!

Tailgating with B’s sister – brr!

Mark your calendars, the official season starts on September 8, at 1 p.m. against the Dolphins. I’ll be on vacation, but I hope to see some awesome tweets, photos, Instagram shots and Vines of everyone tailgating and having a good time.

Also, have you heard that the Browns are celebrating the 2013 season with some cool events, giveaways, etc. all leading up to the game next week? Their new website, Paint the Town Browns, will have information about all the fun.

Paint The Town Browns Logo

Okay, now here’s the good stuff. I also was asked by the Browns to share with you FREE TICKETS to an upcoming game! That’s right, you can win 2 tickets to the Browns vs. Jaguars game on December 1. I’m pretty jealous!

Want to win? Here’s how to enter: you can complete one, two, three, or all four entries – just leave a SEPARATE comment for each.

  1. Leave a comment sharing your favorite tailgate/game day food!
  2. Like the Cleveland Browns on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know.
  3. Follow @koskim on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you’re following me!
  4. Tweet about the giveaway! You can share the following and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:
    The Browns are back! I just entered to win 2 Browns Tickets from @koskim! http://bit.ly/17sc9Ul #WeAreCleveland

If you want, you can tweet daily for extra entries, just leave a new comment each time you tweet!

The giveaway will close on Friday, September 13 at 11:59pm ET and the winner will be contacted within 48 hours. If the winner does not respond with 48 hours, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Browns to drum up excitement for the 2013 season. In exchange, I will some Browns gear and 2 general admission tickets to give away to you! As always, all opinions are 100% my own.*

1,000 Miles … Achieved!

If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a few months, you may know that I like to run. I’ve trained for a marathon, run half marathons, tried running streaks … but I’ve never seemed to hit 1,000 miles in a year. So this year, as part of a 2013 goal (I’m not much of a Resolutions girl) I decided I would run 1,000 miles. The goal seemed achievable – but I still was worried. Even when I trained for the Cleveland marathon last year, I didn’t hit 1,000 miles. Would I be even close without marathon training?

Yes! The answer is yes. In fact, last week I hit my 1,000 mile goal! AND I didn’t even realize it until two days later. So much for anti-climatic, right?

See the cool chart? It’s proof!

handy dandy excel chart

handy dandy excel chart

This is me super excited to have reached my goal. And post a 10k run with B so please excuse the sweatiness.

I'm pretty pumped.

I’m pretty pumped.

And some scenes from my week running – what a gorgeous few days it’s been!

Not a bad view!

Not a bad view!

Yup, pink skies in the morning - meaning the days are getting shorter!

Yup, pink skies in the morning – meaning the days are getting shorter!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you set running goals?
  • Do you set New Year Resolutions? How are you at keeping them?
  • What should my next running goal be?
  • How do you track mileage?

Scenes From A Busy Weekend

HOW is the weekend over already? I have no idea where this weekend went at all – seriously, it flew by! Here’s just a snippet of what we did:

Flaming Ice Cube Friday! I’m starting to love this tradition B and I have – each Friday night we’ve been getting Flaming Ice Cube takeout. The downtown vegan restaurant is literally next door and it’s nice to just relax with some healthy takeout after a crazy week. Plus, I am addicted to their kalebouli!

Kalebouli and couscous from The Flaming Ice Cube

Kalebouli and couscous from The Flaming Ice Cube

B, Mary and I met early Saturday morning for a 10k through Ohio City and Tremont. We’re on pace for a sub-two hour half marathon … but it’s going to be tough!

Splits according to Brian's garmin

Splits according to Brian’s garmin

B and I made pizza! Well, B did. We  got fresh dough, mozzarella cheese, sausage and tomatoes in our CSA this week and it was perfect to make two little pizzas for us to enjoy. We even made our own sauce from the fresh tomatoes.

prepping tomatoes for homemade sauce

prepping tomatoes for homemade sauce

fresh pizza!

fresh pizza!

Oh, we also took a break from working to grab a few flights of wine and champagne. It was a beautiful day to enjoy some bubbly on the patio! I love just walking to the grocery store and grabbing drinks on the way. Seriously, I am so in love with downtown living in the summer!

perfect weather for some flights

perfect weather for some flights

We also attempted some packing. I’m starting to feel like I’m in an episode of Hoarders walking through my apartment, climbing over boxes, etc. I really need more time before we move this week to get packing!

Hoarders? No, just moving!

Hoarders? No, just moving! And yes, B already boxed up my Kitchenaid 😦 

How was your weekend? Not pictured- drinks at Noodlecat with B’s parents and their friends, plus a bbq at B’s parents house with his softball team. I meant to take pics of the delicious food and fun company .. but enjoyed myself too much to stop and document!

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I’m Italian. You wouldn’t know it by my name, or really how I look — but I swear, I grew up in an Italian household with an 100% Italian mother. For better or for worse, I still find meals without pasta or bread, incomplete. And I can’t stand a canned or jarred tomato sauce that isn’t homemade (I think it tastes like catsup. And I hate catsup!). BUT I do love nearly all things Italian – including biscotti (or as my mom says, “biscott”) – which is why when B and I got invited to a friend’s house during the Feast of the Assumption Celebrations, I decided to bring some homemade biscotti (and Peroni).

I can’t take full credit for this recipe idea. B’s mom has been making biscotti for years and sent them to her kids as part of finals-studying care packages. She made a few different kinds, but one of B’s favorites was always the chocolate pistachio. I didn’t get to ask her for the recipe, but I saw a few recipes online (including one that used cinnamon) and20 thought I’d try a recipe of my own. The verdict? A hit. B loved them! And I may be snacking on some as I write this post.

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

(Modified from this and this)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 c plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy and creamy.
  4. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, and mix well. The dough will be very sticky and you may need to mix for a few minutes until it’s all thoroughly combined.
  6. Mix in the mini chips and pistachios.
  7. Divide dough into quarters. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, shape portions logs, about 8-10 inches by 2-3 inches. Sprinkle logs with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  8. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or mostly hard.
  9. Remove logs to a cooling rack and cool for 3-5 minutes. Keep the oven on! After the logs are cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and cut each log into 1/2 inch slices on a diagonal.
  10. Bake the dough again! Take the slices and place with the cut side face down on baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes on each side until hardened. I took mine out after 5 minutes on each side because I like my biscotti a little softer.
  11. Cool and enjoy!
Maybe these should be called "double chocolate pistachio biscotti" because of the mini chips AND cocoa?

Maybe these should be called “double chocolate pistachio biscotti” because of the mini chips AND cocoa?

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Shape the dough into four balls, which you’ll shape into logs

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Enjoy!

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Or share with friends 🙂 I promise they’ll enjoy!

Running and Feasting – Another Fun Weekend in the CLE

Any weekend recap post that includes “running” and “feasting” in the title has to be a good weekend, right? I mean, what else is there?

Here are some highlights from the weekend.

Okay, the weekend may have started with a little bit of working late. But check out the view from our office as the sun sets – how gorgeous is that?

working late sky

AND I still got out in time to enjoy some patio beverages. I know summer is coming to an end so I am savoring all the remaining patio days!

IMG_20130816_193851

B and I went for an 8 miler on Sunday. And it was a beautiful day! I love days like this:views on running

And I got to try out some of my new running gear! Like the hot orange shorts? (please ignore the orange lighting in my hallway)
new running clothes

After our run we headed to the West Side Market to pick up some fresh veggies, chicken and a snack (or two). We made sure to stop at Ohio City Farm to get some SUPER local produce, including a huge yellow squash (which prompted B to say, Do you even know what to do with that?).

west side market ohio city veggies

Check it out – it’s Ohio City Farm! Their stand is open next to the West Side Market on Sundays.  They also have a CSA which I want to try – the program goes to support the refugees who live in Cleveland work there. I highly recommend you stop by their location on your next visit to the market.

20130516_144338

Sunday included a short recovery run and some more weightlifting at the gym followed by Nike Training Club activities. And some baking. Because Sundays and baking seem to go hand-in-hand don’t they?

homemade biscotti! (recipe posted soon)

And while I was baking I caught the movie, Something Borrowed, on TV. Which was pretty awesome because I read the book years ago and forgot that they had made it into a movie. Who doesn’t like baking AND a chick flick? (PS – I think Kate Hudson plays the same character in nearly every movie)

B and I were also invited to my City Advocate friend Laura’s house in Little Italy to celebrate the Feast! So Sunday afternoon we hopped on the bus and found ourselves in the crowded streets of Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. One of my favorite festivals in Cleveland is the Feast of the Assumption. I ❤ everything Italian and it’s probably the one festival where I could (and try to) eat everything in sight. Give me a cannoli, gelato and some Italian sausage and I’m a happy girl 🙂

The Feast!

Laura even had green, white and red-themed food at her house!  (not pictured – her delicious green white and red flatbread and pasta salad)

20130818_170658

Laura is awesome. The veggies came from her CSA and the basil was from her patio herb garden!

We still of course had to stop for a meatball sub on the way back.

20130818_183150

B bought this. But he graciously let me have a bite.

And that was it! How was your weekend?  Some questions for you: (and my responses in italic because I know you’re dying to know even more about me) i’d love to hear about you!

  • What’s your favorite type of ethnic food? My favorite – Italian! And then sushi, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese tied for second. 
  • Least favorite type of ethnic food? English. Or German. Or Irish. Not a fan of any of those foods! 
  • Do you go to cultural celebrations in your city? Which ones? We most frequently attend the Feast, Oktoberfest and then the Irish festival. See above for my thoughts on the food at the other festivals 🙂
  • Do you have any Sunday or weekend routines? Lately my Sundays have involved waking up somewhat early and then lifting weights and baking/watching a girly movie while B is at softball. I could get used to that!
  • Do you have any idea what type of squash that is? 

Crock Pot Lentils and Kale

Some nights for dinner I just want something healthy, easy, filling AND tasty – is that so much to ask for?

Most nights I can get 3 of the 4. Pasta with meatballs – tasty, easy, filling, but not super healthy (especially when served with a chunk of crusty bread and fresh mozzarella .. OMG I can taste that goodness now).  Homemade black bean burgers with sweet potato fries and braised kale – tasty, filling, healthy but not really super easy (well it’s easy .. just takes time to prepare). So last week when I was “cleaning” out my fridge and found some leftover kale from our CSA and an onion – and then of course found lentils and canned tomatoes in our pantry – a light bulb went off. I realized that combining all those ingredients would most definitely satisfy all of the above! Healthy? Obviously! Easy? Yes – I’d be using my crock pot. Filling? Of course – 1 cup of this dish has about 15 g. of protein (and more if you pair it with chicken). Tasty? Um, anything with lentils and kale in my opinion is tasty (I understand if you disagree).

Enjoy the following “recipe.” I literally just threw everything in my crock pot, googled “lentil crock pot cooking times” and hoped for the best. And it worked! Serve as is, or with chicken, which B had. He actually looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if he wanted anything with the lentils for dinner. “You mean, do I just want lentils and kale for dinner? Am I a rabbit?” – may or may not be exactly what he said. I also sprinkled Penzeys vindaloo seasoning on my leftovers which made for an awesome Indian-type dish. 

crock pot lentils and kale - i crashed the web

Crock Pot Lentils and Kale

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped kale (don’t forget to remove the stems)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken, if you don’t mind if it’s not vegetarian)
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Rinse lentils. Add to crock pot with onion, garlic, canned tomatoes and kale.
  2. Add spices — ginger, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin. Mix all ingredients within crock pot. Pour broth and water over mixture.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 5-6 hours.
  4. Enjoy! Serve alone, or as a side dish with chicken if your husband gasps at the thought of just eating lentils and kale alone.

Enjoy! As you can see, it’s not the prettiest dish, but it’s healthy, filling and SUPER EASY.

slow cooker lentils and kale - i crashed the web

PS – Here are some more of my favorite crock pot dishes. You MUST try the jambalaya!

Weekend Update – the Carney Games!

My whole body is SORE. Not from a super hard weight lifting/pump/workout class – but from a run and softball game. That’s right – softball. I played a sport this weekend that required hand and eye coordination  – both of which I don’t have (which is why I run). And I’m paying for it now. Ouch!

This weekend, B’s family got together for their sorta-annual Carney Games! The Carney Games does not sadly, involve any cool carnival games – but it is a big family reunion/engagement party for his cousin/sporting competition/lots of eating and drinking. I admit, I was somewhat nervous. I’m not a softball player. I’m not an athletic person. Well unless you count being able to run athletic. But even that is debatable.  But it was actually a great weekend with some fun activities, great food and good company. Here are a few highlights:

Right before the weekend started, B and I snagged awesome seats (fourth row behind the dugout) to the Indians game. It was a gorgeous night – sadly the Indians didn’t do so well …

B and I enjoyed an Indians game. fourth row seats ... but caught a loss. But a gorgeous night!

Then Saturday morning our alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. (too early for a weekend in my opinion) so we’d have time to get in a training run before the Carney Games began. We had 7 on the schedule and ran it with B’s sister Mary throughout the beautiful University Circle and Cultural Gardens. Definitely nice change of pace and it was another beautiful morning – upper 60s, partly cloudy – perfect for a run!

7 miler

Then it was time to get on the road for the Carney Games and play some serious softball. I was nervous. What if we lost  — because of me? I was catcher, and actually sorta knew what I was doing! AND I ended up hitting the ball each time I was up. Pleasantly surprised!

Then it was time for some softball. I was catcher, and actually sorta knew what I was doing!

 B and me post-game. We have actually a super similar picture from the last time we played softball together! I’m surprised – I had a really good time. I didn’t suck terribly, and wasn’t in a high-pressure position, so that made me relax and actually enjoy the game. Plus, B loves softball so I know it meant  a lot to him that I actually played.

B and I have a very similar picture from the softball game two years ago. <3

Photo of the winning team. B’s family and extended family. I’m actually standing next to his cousin Michele who said she reads this blog! Hi Michele 🙂

The winning team! Yup. That's us. I think we won like 16-2?

The not-winning team. I think the final score was 16-2? See how serious it is – we all have matching shirts!

the not winners

After the games there was an impromptu pool party back at B’s uncle’s house. They live on a sorta farm – they have horses, lots of land, some plants and a pool. A great place to host a family celebration!

Isn’t Oliver the cutest? He didn’t play but looks adorable in that t-shirt (this picture is before he got in the pool). Oh and he’s holding up a #1 because our team won of course.

winning wiht oliver

See all that land in the background? Anyway, that’s the poor pig that was roasted to feed us. There was tons of awesome food – fresh pork, pasta salad, veggies, buffalo chicken dip, cake, cookies, and more.

pig roast

That is my plate of food. I’m sorry that i’m not sorry that I ate every single bite. Plus a cookie.

my embarrasing plate of food

The next day B played some more softball with one of his leagues and they won their first playoff game! Woohoo! He’s played in this league for years and this is the first time they’re past the first round in playoffs. Exciting, I know.

While B was at softball I decided to go for a short run to loosen my legs. I was super tight, and I’m not sure if the 2 miles helped. I then hit the gym for the elliptical and some weights. I typically just use the weight machines but since my quads were tired from squatting while catching, and right arm was super sore from throwing all the balls back to the pitcher, I decided to do something different. I downloaded the Nike training app and decided to try out an arm workout and core workout. It wasn’t bad – it was kinda hard but probably because my arms were already so sore. I can’t wait to try it out again after my body recovers.

Yes, I started the “Butt Buster” workout but some of it (aka the thrusting) felt a little strange doing it at the gym so maybe I’ll do the rest of the 15 min workout in the privacy of my own apt… or gym.

Screenshot_2013-08-11-21-25-53

After working out, B and I grabbed some coffee and started packing. That’s right – we’re moving in just a few weeks and finally started packing! Well … we put together half a box and got rid of two giant garbage bags of stuff – one to donate (I got rid of a ton of stuff – sweatshirts, coats, more).

We opted for sushi for dinner now that our favorite sushi place downtown is open 7 days a week!

SUSHI 86

SUSHI 86

And any weekend that ends with sushi and fro-yo is a good weekend in my opinion 🙂

IMG_20130811_180814

Hope you all had a great weekend! Some questions for you:

  • Does your family have a big family get-together or family reunion?
  • What’s your favorite fro yo topping? I chose mango balls, a gummy worm, cookie dough and my favorite – HEATH bar! 
  • What’s your sushi order? I got (not pictured) a rainbow roll plus a few pieces of just the fish  – mackerel and salmon roe. YUM! 
  • Any tips for packing/moving? No – that’s why I’m asking you!