Running Forward

Flying By

This week flew by so quickly compared to spring break (which is a good thing). For the past few weeks Clint Eastwood filmed part of an upcoming movie in downtown Athens. I got this picture when they were setting up for an all-night shoot on Monday. Some of my friends even snapped pictures of Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams while they were filming.

I did a lot of veggie  stir fry-ish dishes for dinner, but I only remembered to take one picture. This happens to consist of onion, green bell pepper, baby bella mushrooms, and diced tomatoes. So good!

My view at the gym yesterday:

This weekend consisted of seeing The Hunger Games (so good! I must get my hands on the books now!), work, and a strong 7 mile run this morning. My knee hurt quite a bit in the middle of the run, but went away during the 5th mile. So glad I decided to do 7 miles instead of my usual shorter run. Now it’s time to hit the books.

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My parents recently discovered the dollar movie theater in Marietta, so we went to see Hugo 3D this past Sunday. None of us knew what to expect because all the trailers we’d seen were pretty vague. In fact, I thought it was going to be an animated film. Definitely wrong. The cinematography was beautiful, especially in the opening scene of Paris. Overall, it was a great film that I would definitely recommend. The plot revolves around some film history, which makes the story so unique because it uses actual footage of silent movies from the early 1900s. Two thumbs up.

     Now a note about running: I need to find a cool race in NYC this summer. Any suggestions?


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An Irish Feast

Last night we had some neighbors over for a St. Patrick’s Day party. It was my first time being home for the holiday since high school, so I was pretty excited. We’ve always done something fun to celebrate, so I was happy to finally get the chance to participate again. Of course, we decorated the house in green decor and cooked up a couple pots of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes.

I spent Friday afternoon baking in the kitchen. I started out with blueberry muffins to bring to my grandmother and my high school english teacher. I used this recipe, but changed up the yogurt. I added a 6 ounce container of blueberry yogurt and then added about half a cup more of plain nonfat yogurt. Also, I didn’t add an entire cup of frozen blueberries, I just added a couple handfuls. The muffins turned out moist and beautifully purple. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture, but just imagine beautiful pastel purple muffins.

Next up I made Irish soda bread, but had to make a few changes. I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand, so I used regular skim milk and added a touch of lemon juice. The dough also turned out a bit wet, so I added some whole wheat flour until it was a better consistency. I had never eaten Irish soda bread before, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. The final product turned out moist and  slightly sweet. Perfect to accompany the party table.

Lastly, I baked Guinness cupcakes with an Irish cream frosting. I used this recipe for the cake, but made up my own frosting using cream cheese, powdered sugar, Irish cream, and coffee. The method was new to me, but worked very well. And the batter was so freaking delicious. I had to use some major self control in order to not eat half the batter straight from the bowl.

It was a great night with great friends and delicious food. Now I have to get myself mentally prepared for six more weeks of class. So close, but yet so far! I don’t know how I’m going to make it through with all the anticipation for New York. I dream about Food Network every night. Not even kidding. It’s slightly concerning, but oh well.

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Coffee in the Afternoon

So far my spring break has been pretty great. Even though I’m just spending my time at home it’s nice not worrying about class or thinking about studying. Instead, I’ve cooked, gone running, and watched some new movies. On Tuesday my dad and I did chores and ran errands together before my brother’s baseball game. We also worked together on cornish hens with roasted veggies for dinner. Roasted vegetables might just be one of my favorite foods.

Last night I had complete dinner duty, so I made citrus salmon with cauliflower rice paella. I thawed out two frozen salmon filets and marinated them in lemon juice, orange juice, oregano, basil, thyme, and a pinch of salt. I made a foil packet and baked them for 30 minutes on 400. For the paella I used the same technique as my cauliflower fried rice, but first sauteed a chopped onion, green bell pepper, and celery. After the vegetables were cooked through, I added artichokes, sliced green olives, and some spices. Next, I added the cauliflower and a splash of chicken stock. Once the liquid cooked down, I added a can of diced tomatoes and allowed the mixture to simmer for a few minutes. So delicious!

I’m thankful for the nice weather because I’ve been able to get outside and run quite a bit. And the best part? Barely any knee pain! Time to go out to dinner with the family.

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Finally Sleepy

I don’t know what is up with my body, but I’ve been unable to fall asleep until 2 am for the past two nights. On top of that, I’m still getting up at 7 am on the dot. I love having more time, but it caught up with me today. I figured out that I can’t drink caffeine at all, so today I went without my morning cup o’ joe and am feeling a good night’s sleep coming my way. Now onto the fun stuff!

Yesterday afternoon my family went to Whole Foods to watch the “Crack Heard Round the World”. The main event involved two 75 pound wheels of parmesan being cracked into, and the store featured countless samples involved the delicious ingredient. Both wheels came from a small farm near Modena and were aged for 24 months (twice the average time). Here are some photos from the event:

Last night I watched 50/50  with my parents, which we all loved. I definitely recommend watching it to understand what it’s like to go through a serious illness. This morning began with a quick baking session to make some biscotti for my mom. She’s been requesting it for quite a while, so I finally gave in. Then we made our way to the mall for some internship clothes. My mom and I store-hopped, but finally found luck at Ann Taylor. Let me just say, I am in love with this store now! The employees were extremely friendly and helpful without being pushy, and the clothes fit me so well. I left with two skirts and a cute top. I finished today with a run (with Daisy!), some yardwork, and a delicious dinner.

I roasted a spaghetti squash and made a tomato and eggplant sauce to top it off. I also made some penne with bolognese sauce for my brother. For the sauce I simply sauteed half of a chopped onion and some minced garlic until translucent, then added one chopped eggplant. Once the eggplant started browning, I added a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. Of course, I threw in a bunch of spices and let it simmer away for about an hour while the squash cooked. This is my kind of comfort food!


Beginning the Break

Spring break finally graced us with its presence. I’m ready for a week of relaxation and productivity. Yes, it’s possible to do both at the same time. Anyway, I started the morning with a workout and a grocery run. First I went by Aldi and got a ton of stuff for only $18. They didn’t have a few of the items my dad wanted me to get, so I stopped by Kroger for 5 things and it cost me $19! I’m officially hooked on Aldi. The food is so much cheaper and the quality is still good. When I got home I made some cookies for my mom’s friend because she hooked us up with some tickets to see The Artist tonight at the Fox Theatre. I tried a new cinnamon swirl cookie recipe and they turned out pretty cute.

I drove to her house to drop off the cookies, then got ready to go downtown. The movie was fantastic once again! Seeing it in a packed theatre (especially a theatre with a history like the Fox’s) helps you get immersed into the film and causes you to notice so many new details.

As we walked into the theatre the sound of the organ filled the room. After the organist wrapped up his sing-alongs, a news reel and cartoon were shown. I especially enjoyed the Looney Tunes because it was a spoof of one of my favorite films, Casablanca. What a wonderful way to spend the beginning of my spring break. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some more adventures. I’m planning a nice run and then we’re going to Whole Foods to see “The Crack Heard Round the World“.

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Lotus Root and Other Asian Gems

On my way home last Friday I took a quick tour by stopping at H Mart to pick up some things. I love exploring the produce section for new ingredients that I’ve never cooked with before. This trip I bought taro, lotus root, yam cake, corn silk tea, oyster mushrooms, and a few other things. I planned on making a stir fry with everything for my family, but we went to a wedding shower on Saturday and then my parents wanted sushi on Sunday, so I brought everything back to Athens with me. On Sunday we also went to the dollar theater in Marietta to watch Sherlock Holmes 2, which was okay. We all agreed that they should have cut the movie down to make it shorter. On our way home we stopped by a really cute French market on Canton Street. I’ll have to go there again sometime to by some cheeses.

Yesterday for lunch I used some of my H Mart ingredients to make a quick stir fry. First I peeled and thinly sliced the lotus root. You have to let it sit in vinegar water as soon as you cut it in order to take out some of the bitterness. Next, I sliced part of an onion and sauteed it while I chopped the oyster mushrooms. After the onions and mushrooms were almost finished, I added the lotus root and cooked until brown. While everything was cooking, I opened the package of yam cake. Normally, I buy the noodle version, but the block was cheaper, so i decided to try to cut my own noodles from it, which worked pretty well. This stuff is pretty cool because it has zero calories and adds a fun element to the stir fry. Once everything was in the pan, I added soy sauce and sauteed until the flavors blended together. Conclusion: Lotus root is delicious! It reminds me a lot of water chestnuts because of its crispy texture and mild flavor. I’m definitely making it for my family next week when I’m home for spring break.

Time to get through the week!

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Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Today was wonderful! I definitely think my mood is directly correlated with the weather. Yesterday’s dreary surroundings gave me the blues, but today’s sunshine made everything go right. Thursdays are one of my busy days where I stay on campus until 5. Unfortunately, I woke up nervous about the midterm in my first class, so I decided to go for a quick run to calm down. It left me in a bit of a hurry to shower and get ready for the day, but at least my workout was done. It also helped that I packed my lunch last night while making dinner. Anyway, the midterm went really well (I think)! After my second class, I met one of my best friends downtown at a table she snagged in front of some coffee shops. I ate my lunch while we chatted, then enjoyed reading more of The Help for about an hour. In the middle of my reading, I received an exciting phone call. I don’t think I can give details online, but it definitely added to my wonderful day.

We didn’t get much work time during my last class due to some presentations, so I stayed until 6 pm to finish up some research. The walk back home was perfect! The sun was just starting to set and the air was cool and breezy. Why can’t the weather be like this everyday? Now, to the food! I’m going home tomorrow, so I had some random veggies to use up: one portabella, 3 romaine leaves, broccoli, cauliflower. I simply steamed the broccoli and cauliflower, but decided to be more creative with the mushroom and lettuce. I sliced the mushroom and sauteed it with some fajita seasonings. I then used the lettuce leaves as a wrap. So good! Next time I want to try to add more toppings to make it like a taco. Here’s a pic of the meal. I also had some PB2 and cereal on the side for some protein.

Tomorrow should be an easy day (and includes a trip to H Mart!), so I’m just taking it easy tonight and playing around on the laptop. Looking forward to the weekend!

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