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Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Category

I’m now 90% convinced pull-back weeks in marathon training are necessary.  The other 10% will come if I can successfully complete 16 miles on Friday.  My confidence in the pull-back week comes from the fact that my past three runs have been some of my fastest yet.  Here’s the recap:

Friday, 5 miles:  9:20 pace
Sunday, 6 miles:  9:02 pace

And as for Tuesday’s 6 mile tempo, I averaged 8:34 for the 4 tempo miles -

Mile 1:  warm-up
Mile 2:  8:35
Mile 3:  8:30
Mile 4:  8:36
Mile 5:  8:35
Mile 6:  cool-down

Other than an 8k I did last spring where I paced 8:25, I haven’t run that fast for 4 miles straight…ever.  Hence my newfound love for the pull-back week :)  Clearly my legs needed some time to recover after 14 miles.  Now that I’ve gotten my speedwork in for the week, and I haven’t had a long run in over 10 days, I’m itching for a long and relaxing 16 miles on Friday.  Now I just need to come up with a game plan on how to fuel for this one!

For 14, I simply took in 2 gels since that’s what’s always worked for me for my halfs – although I remember wishing I had some sort of electrolyte replacement (which is probably completely mental, but isn’t almost everything about running??).  Right now I am planning on bringing 3 gels and two Nuun tablets to try in my water.  I’ve never tried these before, but I’ve read about them in a few different places and the guy at the running store raved about them (selling through enthusiasm gets me every time).  Nuun tablets are simply an electrolyte replacement (as opposed to a sports drink like Gatorade which has sugar/carbs).  They dissolve easily in water, which is perfect for my run on Friday since I’ll be carrying my water bottle and have access to fountains every few miles.  If these work, they might even be my solution for race day.  According to the website, one Nuun tablet has:

active ingredients level (mg)
Sodium (carbonates) 360.0
Potassium (bicarbonate) 100.0
Calcium (carbonate) 12.5
Magnesium (sulfate) 25.0
Vitamin C 37.5
Vitamin B2 500mcg

Pretty good stats!  It’s hard to believe I’m at 16 miles already.  I have no time goal in mind for this run.  If I feel strong during my last few miles, I’ll be happy.

Now onto some eats :)  When I was in Philly today, I made a quick stop at the Schuylkill River farmers’ market.  I didn’t have my camera on me, but you can see a recap of that market here.  Due to limited cash funds on me, I couldn’t go crazy buying everything I saw (probably a good thing!), so I kept it simple and bought some berries and fresh figs (!!)

I believe the first time I was introduced to fresh figs was at a restaurant out in California’s wine country.  I fell in love instantly.  I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to try them in a recipe on my own!  Aren’t they gorgeous?

I decided to roast another acorn squash and create a “lazy girl’s fig and squash pizza.”  After realizing I had about 10 minutes to cook before heading to class, I threw a handful of spinach, a few slices of roasted squash and two spoonfuls of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese onto a whole wheat wrap and baked it in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

And then I topped it with sliced fresh figs.  This pizza had only five ingredients and was delicious.  The salty cheese complimented the sweet squash and figs perfectly.  Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate the leftover figs into my breakfast!

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Memorial Day Weekend is supposed to be spent outside on the beach to welcome the unofficial start to summer.  Unfortunately for me, I had my first test for A&P on Tuesday and couldn’t take part in the festivities.  Despite the looming test, I refused to miss out on our Memorial Day barbecue.

Last week I was directed to put together a menu for my family to make while I studied.  I was to create a list of ingredients for them to buy and supply all recipes for them to follow.  That only partially came true.  I couldn’t stay away from the kitchen long – and so once the food arrived, my hands ended up in just about everything. 

While cooking, we opened a bottle of wine from Moore Brothers, a local wine store that sources wines directly from artisan winegrowers abroad (not exactly local, but the care they put into choosing each wine is incredible).  In college, I drank my fair share of white zinfandel and because of that, stayed far far away from anything blush colored for years.  But during a trip to California’s wine country last summer, I fell in love with rose wine (which is actually completely different from white zinfandel…who knew??).  This bottle was $16 and was possibly one of the best wines I’ve ever tasted.

Back to food – we started with a simple salad of arugula, heirloom cherry tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  These tomatoes were the most gorgeous colors – reds, yellows, oranges and greens – this picture doesn’t do them justice.

After the salad, we had a ‘deconstructed caprese salad.’  Last week when I was looking for recipes, one of my first stops was RhodeyGirl’s blogSabrina’s recipes are always simple, delicious and described so well they’ll make you want to go out and buy the ingredients that day.  Her Caprese Barley Salad had that effect on me…and before I knew it, pearled barley was in my pantry :)  Per her recommendation, I added some more cheese than the recipe called for…but if you want to keep it on the light side, just use the original amounts.  This was so good.  The barley added such a fun texture to this traditional salad.  It ended up being a favorite among everyone at the table!

After seeing the recipe for Shaved Asparagus Pizza on Smitten Kitchen’s blog last week, I knew I had to make it.  I’ve oooh-ed and ahhh-ed over her recipes for far too long...it was about time I put one to the test.  This lived up to all my expectations.  We even decided to be brave and try baking an egg on top (Stella-style)…and it actually worked!  This was such an amazing and unique way to use asparagus.  The only place I strayed from the original recipe is in the pizza dough.  I used fresh whole wheat dough from Whole Food’s pizza counter instead of homemade.

Finally, for the main course (and the barbecue portion of our evening), we made grilled salmon using this recipe (the second one on the page).  I know I keep claiming that everything was amazing…but everything truly was.  I wish I could recreate this dinner every week!  Grilled peaches and ice cream was on the menu for dessert, but we were too stuffed to handle any more food.

This meal had an amazing combination of healthy fats (olive oil and salmon), protein (salmon and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese) and whole grain carbs (barley).  I enjoyed the salad, a slice of pizza, about a 1/2 cup of the barley and half a piece of salmon.  And had the leftovers last night :)

Lighten it up:  We had three “chefs” in the kitchen while cooking this meal, so I wasn’t in charge of preparing everything.  If it were up to me completely, I would have used half of the oil listed in both the pizza and salmon dishes and about half of the mozzarella cheese for the pizza.  While I welcome olive oil as a healthy fat in my diet, I’ve found that in most dishes, decreasing the amount doesn’t change the end result much.

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At 7am tomorrow morning, I’ll be taking off among a sea (pond?) of 800 people at the ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park alongside Leslie and possibly a few other Philly bloggers.  Originally, I was planning on setting a time goal of under 2 hours – and my last training run proved to me that I can do it – but I may have to adjust my plans in the morning if this forecast is correct

I’m letting myself be sad about this potential rain…but only tonight.  Whatever the weather is in the morning, I’m going to go out there, rock out and have an amazing time.

In preparation for tomorrow, this past week I ate clean, upped the carbs, and hydrated hydrated hydrated.  I learned from my first two half’s that there’s really no need to carb-load the night before a race; instead I found it’s better for me to just incorporate more carbs into my diet throughout the week prior.  Easy enough, right?  ;)

I’ve actually really been itching to run all week.  I know it’s best to “trust the taper,” but I find the week before a big race so hard.  All I wanted to do was run.  I’m hoping all of my bottled energy is released during the race tomorrow!

So about the race itself…  There are a few ODD things that set it apart from other races I’ve done:

  1. Costumes are not only welcomed, they’re encouraged.
  2. There will be “obstacles” along the course.  These are optional, but should make the run pretty entertaining.
  3. And finally, according to the website, “All finishers will receive an official ODDyssey Half Marathon pint glass.  Finisher’s medals sit in a drawer; use our prize to toast your victory!”

Any race that encourages celebratory drinks is my kind of race :D

I’m staying in Philly tonight so I can be closer to the race in the morning.  I packed everything I’ll need – although that shirt might be switched to black in the am if this weather forecast holds ;)  I have my clothing, hat, socks, shoes, water bottle, garmin, iPod, two Clif gels and body glide…

…and my pre-race fuel of whole wheat bread, almond butter, a banana, and rhubarb jam from the Union Square Farmers’ market (I know, it’s quite fancy for 5am).  Plus two bottles of coconut water – one to drink during the race, and one to have for after if necessary.

And my pre-race dinner?  Pizza from Stephen Starr’s Pizzeria Stella.  That would be the Tartufo on top and Margherita on the bottom.

The Tartufo was incredible.  It is made with black truffles(!), fontina and parmesan cheese and a fresh hard boiled egg broken in front of you.  I had two pieces of the Tartufo and one Margherita.  

Later in the evening I met some friends for frozen yogurt at Scoop de Ville.  Now I’m stuffed, my glycogen levels are maxed out and I’m ready for bed.  Night!!!

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As part of my training plan for the ODDyssey Half Marathon, which I am running in two weeks, I ran a relaxing 11 miles around the Kelly Drive loop in Philadelphia today.  It was my first time running the entire loop, which spans from the Art Museum all the way to Falls Bridge.  I ran with Leslie, who I first met at the blogger/reader meet up at Garce’s Trading Co. a few weeks back (which was organized by both Leslie and Sabrina – you can read about the meet up here).  The weather was perfect – 64 degrees and a completely clear sky – the type of day that makes me feel lucky that I run so I have a reason to spend time outside exploring a new area :).

I’ve only ever done an out and back route along Kelly Drive, but with Leslie leading the way, I was excited to cover new ground.  Around mile 5, we even ran up the Art Museum steps…talk about a workout!  I definitely started to regret those steps around mile 9.  It makes me think it might be a good idea to incorporate them into my “hill training” for the marathon!  We ran the 11 miles at about a 9:33 pace and finished in 1:45.  Between the fact that we talked the entire way and stopped at a few spots along the way to take pictures, I feel really good about this time.

During the run, I was already thinking about what to make for dinner.  I remembered a bottle of open marinara sauce and suddenly started craving pizza.  I quickly stopped at Whole Foods and was pleasantly surprised that the woman manning the pizza counter in the “Market” area was willing to give me a ball of their homemade whole wheat pizza dough for $3!  The only problem was that it was frozen and I only had 2 hours until dinner…


With a quick Google search, I found that all you need to do to defrost dough (without affecting the yeast) is put it inside a sealed bag and submerge it in hot water.  It took about 30 minutes for the dough to completely defrost.


I used a recipe out of Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave, one of my favorite cookbooks.  Ellie Krieger is an R.D. (you might recognize her Food Network show “A Healthy Appetite”) who promotes a healthy relationship with food by never sacrificing flavor in her recipes. She believes in whole foods, fresh ingredients and reasonable portions.


I chose to make her Mushroom, Onion and Basil Pizza, but doubled the recipe since I had so much pizza dough to use…great for leftovers!  I portioned out the ingredients before getting started.


While rolling out the dough, I cooked the mushrooms and onions with 2T olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar, in order to add some extra flavor.


Although not as flavorful, I used minced garlic from a jar since it’s what I had on hand…and I’m pretty sure I quadrupled the amount.  You can never have too much garlic, right? ;)


Next I layered the ingredients on the pizza – sauce, mushroom and onion mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, freshly grated part-skim mozzarella cheese and then parmesan.  I put these in the oven for 16 minutes at 460 – a bit longer than the recipe suggests.


While the pizza was in the oven, I threw together Sabrina’s White Bean Crostini – minus the crostini – over arugula with a garlic olive oil vinaigrette and parmesan cheese on top.  This was DELICIOUS and so easy to make! I chose to make this because it used many of the ingredients used in the pizza, plus a few I always have on hand, such as tomatoes and a can of cannelloni beans.  I can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow!


The pizza turned out amazing.  We each added our own sea salt, red peppers flakes and garlic to taste and paired it with a bottle of Chianti and some (unpictured) strawberries for dessert. This was the perfect dinner after an 11 mile run :).

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