Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Costa Rican flashback

this morning I headed to the YMCA bright and early to get my run finished for the day. 
I ran 4.13 miles in 35 minutes then restarted the treadmill for an additional 1.21 miles in another 10 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking as a cool down.  
Total distance ran was 5.34 miles in 46 minutes 

Once I got home I had some errands to run and ended up just having some coffee on the go.  By the time I got home I was starving and figured since it was around 11am I could make myself a breakfast and lunch combination.  I brought back some memories of our honeymoon in Costa Rica where we ate basically the same thing as below:
Black beans and rice (leftover from Monday night's dinner), 2 eggs over easy (1 got slightly messy), chorizo (Spanish sausage), and a generous drizzling of hot sauce (salsa picante!).  This meal totally hit the spot and left me yearning for another awesome trip to a Latin American country.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

does working out 2 days in a row excuse me from today's workout?

I would say the answer is yes to skipping today's workout.  I'm just not feeling it.  and I know I can always go tomorrow morning before work.  plus it's too hot outside for me to run outside (did that sound as whiny as I think it does?).

yesterday I headed to the gym with Ryan and did some running on the treadmill while watching "Iron Chef America."
I completed 4.32 miles in 36 minutes (35 minutes running, 1 minute walking as cool down)

Once I got home it was time to make dinner.  I've been trying to eat everything in our fridge/freezer before rushing out to the grocery store and last night was a perfect example of finding random things to eat.  I made some spicy chicken sausage and served it alongside some rice with corn and chopped sweet potato.
Not only did it look pretty but it tasted delicious as well.  Tonight's dinner is a little less original and consists of a ground turkey meat sauce with pasta.  At least I made my own garlic knots :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

sunday funday

Shockingly I actually made it to the gym on Sunday.  I skipped running (just wasn't feeling it) and worked out my back instead.  
  • 3 sets of 12 reps each - low row (40 pounds)
  • 3 sets of 8 reps each - lateral pull down (40 pounds)
  • 3 sets of 12 reps each - side and front bends (10 pound plate)
  • 10 minutes of rowing
row row row your boat ...
Later in the afternoon Ryan and I treated ourselves to some delicious frozen yogurt from Menchie's.
yep those are gummy bears in there
Fat kid day continued as we went to Revolution Pizza for dinner.

My banana bread beer tasted so much like banana bread ... almost like dessert in a glass.  We picked prosciutto and peppers as our toppings on our pizza.  Wish I could say we had some leftovers but we definitely ate the entire pie.  Such a good way to end the weekend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

food always makes me happy

I had a pretty crummy day at work yesterday.  the day started off super duper enough when I picked up a large iced coffee and egg and cheese croissant sandwich from Dunkin Donuts.
Lunch went unpictured because I was too busy being sad about spilling my drink on my macbook.  Awesome Jess.  Way to be.  I quickly tried to dry off the sticky beverage but ended up shutting it off and putting it aside.  Ryan saved the day by bringing my very terrible and bulky Dell laptop to the office.  

Once I got home at 7pm (nice 11 hour work day) I was pretty sad about the unfortunate demise of my macbook.  Ryan quickly suggested dining out for dinner since he knows that always cheers me up.  Smart man.

We headed to Lulu, a restaurant over in the Plaza Midwood area, for a french meal. 

We started off with some red wine and the Lulu platter - an assortment of meats, cheeses, chicken liver pate (not our favorite), olives, and some hummus.  
I ordered the steak and frites ...delicious.  I only ate about half of the portion to save room for dessert.
I love creme brulee.  Love Love Love it.  Favorite dessert ever.  I need to buy myself a mini blow torch and get working on making this at home.

The good food train didn't stop last night.  I awoke this morning with a desire to make homemade biscuits ... I mean it could be worse living with me.  
I was surprised with how easy they were to make and how well they turned out.  On the side I had a poached egg and 1 strip of bacon (sadly we only had 2 slices left and I HAD to share with Ryan).

We spent part of our afternoon with our friend Alex driving around the Plaza Midwood area.  Once it was time for lunch we stopped at Dish where the boys ordered BBQ pork sandwiches but I opted for a chickpea veggie burger with a side of macaroni and cheese.  Awesome food!  
We made a stop at the apple store and after waiting around for 45 minutes found out the cost of repairing my laptop would be $755.  Fortunately for us they felt bad that we had to wait so long to see someone at the genius bar (we had an appointment) and they waived the ENTIRE fee.  talk about feeling pretty damn lucky.
And now its time to eat my leftovers from last night.  Not a bad 2 days of eating.  Looking forward to getting back on the gym wagon tomorrow and running.  I ran on Thursday night on the treadmill but have skipped Friday and today.  Gotta pump out those miles tomorrow!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

better than nothing

so ... don't be mad at me BUT I didn't end up running last night.  GASP.  I know I know I was disappointed in myself too.  I hadn't seen Ryan in days (he was out of town) and I wanted to spend time with him.  Sue me.  I was even in my running clothes, but quickly put on "normal" clothes when he mentioned going out to grab some dinner.  

I made up for not running last night by waking up at 7am and heading to the YMCA for a run on the treadmill.  I started off pretty sluggish (guess eating wings and drinking beer aren't the best pre-run fuel), but picked up the pace towards the end.  
4.09 miles in 35:00 minutes (ran for 34 minutes and walked for 1 minute as a cool down)

Now I'm done with my work out for the day and can focus on happy hour with a couple of girls.  I'll get back to the running tomorrow ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

first time at Five Guys

today I met up with a couple of girls for lunch.  Natalie had suggested eating at Five Guys ... not my first choice since I've always heard how terribly greasy and bad for you the food was but I went anyways.
I ordered the "little cheeseburger" with mayo, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mustard.  I opted out of ordering any fries and went with some soda instead.  Without any of the toppings the burger comes out to 550 calories and 32 grams of fat.  That seems a little excessive to me.  Luckily the cheeseburger tasted really good and I know I'll be running off those calories later tonight. 

dressed up oats

I apologize to all of the food bloggers who spend the time and make real deal oats.  You know the kind that has to sit on a stove for more than 1 minute.  I just don't have the time in the morning to make anything BUT quick cooking oats. 
I dressed up my oatmeal this morning with some dried cranberries, golden raisins, and brown sugar.  Reminded me of the oatmeal that they sell at Starbucks but for WAAAAAAAAY cheaper.  We all know how much I like a bargain.

Monday, July 18, 2011

will run for a veggie burger

Today I headed to the YMCA for some alone time on the treadmill ... I'm laughing as I'm typing this because anyone who just read that statement would say "How is being in a crowded gym equivalent to alone time?"  Well my friends, I popped on my headphones and tuned the world out.  I even ran on one of the treadmills that had NO television.  Just a girl and her thoughts ... and Britney Spears radio on Pandora.

44 minutes ... 43:30 minutes of running, 30 seconds of walking ... 5.08 total miles

Once I got home I iced my left knee for a bit.  Not sure what it's problem is but it's definitely been bothersome lately.
Then it was time for dinner!  What had I been running for ... a veggie burger of course.  I topped a veggie burger with some brie, smeared the top of the sandwich thin with some honey apple butter, and finished it off with fresh spinach.  The result was a combination of sweet and savory .. my favorite flavor combination.
On the side I enjoyed some baked french fries with some spicy ketchup and a glass of wine.  Why not right?

What will I run for tomorrow?

weekend recap

Friday night it was time to carb up for my race Saturday morning.  I made some pasta and tomato sauce, sausage and peppers, and garlic knots.  Garlic knots are by far my favorite part of having any sort of Italian food.

The carbs must have been the secret to my PR on Saturday morning!  The weather might have had something to do with it also ... 67 degrees during the race (unheard of for mid July).  My goal was to run the 4 miler in 30 minutes (7:30 minute/mile pace).  Well friends I did it.  I actually finished the race with a chip time of 29:59 minutes.  I even placed 7th in my age group.

As a celebratory meal I made homemade scallop ceviche and shrimp paella for dinner on Saturday.  I even made my own tortilla chips to have with the ceviche.  Much better to bake the tortillas for chips than to buy the  bagged, fried variety.
Alex joined us for dinner and while he was hanging out he asked if I wanted to play golf on Sunday.  Sounded like a plan to me!
We played 9 holes of golf on Sunday afternoon then headed to the movie theater to see "Horrible Bosses."  If you haven't seen this movie yet GO.  It is so silly and funny.  I couldn't stop laughing.

Great weekend spent with some great people ... oh and throw in a PR and the weekend just gets better :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

2 stop breakfast

Back when I worked at the "bank" we would take turns bringing in breakfast on Fridays.  Most of the time the popular choice among the breakfast club was Chik-Fil-a.  Chicken biscuits for everyone!  This morning I woke up craving one of those delicious little breakfast sandwiches.  I grabbed one to go and made sure I had my usual condiments ... honey and Texas Pete hot sauce.  

On my way back to the office I stopped by Starbucks for some coffee.  This time I made sure I grabbed the one that said Jessica and not Barkley ... 
Happy Friday everyone!  Definitely could use another form of caffeine today ... I'm dragging.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

what is a runner?

the other day my friend Alex told me that I wasn't a runner.  see, in his eyes he only thought people who ran marathons could call themselves runners.  I disagree.

I run miles.  Some weeks I run more than others, but for the most part I run an average of 15 miles per week.  When I begin training for the half marathon I'll be hitting more than 20 miles a week.  Shockingly enough, that excites me.  I can't wait to push myself.  I can't wait to have a goal to work towards.  Openly I say my goal is to run a sub 2 hour half marathon (shaving off 7+ minutes off my 1st half).  Secretly I hold onto some more ambitious goals that I hope to achieve.  

After running 4.44 miles tonight in 35:40 minutes (an average pace of 8:01 minute/mile ... so close to sub 8!) I hung out with some "runners" at a local bar.  

gotta keep it light ... I am a runner after all

We ordered beers and sat there in our sweaty clothes and just talked.  Just talked like "normal" people.  I had such a good time ... I finally had some people that I could hang out with that CARE about my pace.  They CARE about which race I'm planning on doing next.  They CARE about what sneakers I wear and when I plan on getting a next pair.  Don't get me wrong I love my friends.  Everyone who knows me would say how much I bend over backwards for each and every one of my friends and how much they mean to me.  But these "runner" friends are pretty cool too.

It's been 6 weeks since I started running with the Charlotte Runners meetup group ... and I must say I'm having a blast being a runner.  And who knows ... maybe one day I WILL run a marathon.  Just not today.

who is Barkley?

so this morning I decided to treat myself to some iced coffee from Starbucks.  I be-bopped my way over there and stood in the ridiculous long line.  I ordered a grande iced coffee, sweetened, for JESSICA, and proceeded to the waiting area. 

Do you know how popular that drink is?  Every time the barista put another grande iced coffee, sweetened, on the counter, someone snagged it up.  Eventually it seemed like it was my turn so I grabbed my drink and headed over to add some creamer.  Not even 1 minute later, the drink is called again, and some lady grabs it.  She looks at it and notices her drink has Jessica on it ... so that means I stole someone else's drink!
Lucky for me Barkley and I enjoy similar tastes in coffee ... oh well next time I'll try to be a little more awake and look at the name.  Although I thought it was the barista's job to call it out?

And since I have nothing else to talk about and I am obsessed with my dog, here's a picture of her from this morning.
I mean, how awesome does she look?  Ryan and I consider ourselves to be weird dog people, and are convinced we have the best looking dog.  Don't judge ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

brunch on a wednesday

This morning I headed out to run some errands before having any breakfast.  By the time I got home and was ready to make breakfast I noticed it was 11:30am ... close enough to lunch.  I decided to make myself a tortilla, or Spanish style omelette, to satisfy both meals.

Growing up my mom would always make a tortilla when we were running out of food or when she didn't feel like being too creative.  She would make tortillas with just potatoes, or sweet plantains, or at times with chorizo, Spanish sausage.  I had told my mom that I hadn't found any real Spanish groceries since I had moved to Charlotte so she brought up a couple of items from Florida when they visited in June.  One such product was a package of chorizo.

I sauteed some diced onion and jalapeno while I got the rest of the ingredients ready.  I then added some chopped chorizo to the onion/jalapeno mixture and after a few minutes added some fresh chopped spinach.  Once those ingredients had been cooking together for about 5 minutes I added 2 eggs to the pan and mixed everything up.  I served my omelette on top of a whole wheat flour tortilla and added some shredded cheese and a drizzle of hot sauce.  Oh. My. God.  The flavors of the spicy jalapeno mixed with the salty chorizo were incredible.  I'll definitely be making this again ... for breakfast or lunch!

Now I get to work from home for the next few hours while hanging out with this lazy dog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

heat wave

let's talk about this massive heat wave that is hitting the southeast USA today.  Temperatures in N. Carolina have been in the mid-high 90's today, with a heat index topping 100.  At one point it felt like it was 105 degrees in Charlotte this afternoon.  

"Forecasters say people should limit outdoor activity during the hottest portions of the day, wear lightweight clothing, drink plenty of water and be watchful for signs of heat exhaustion, which include heavy sweating, pale and clammy skin, weak pulse, fainting and vomiting."

This tidbit of information was featured in the article, "Heat Wave hits North Carolina," on Reese Nation.

I decided to heed this warning and skip out on my usual Tuesday night run with the Charlotte Runners meetup group.  Instead I headed to the YMCA with Sue to do some cardio.  The treadmills were all full so I had to give up mine before I really wanted to.  I was hoping to still get in 5 miles today (usually do 5.15 miles on Tuesday on the Booty Loop) but instead only ended up with a little over 4 miles.
  • 4.12 miles in 35 minutes (8:29 minute/mile pace)
While waiting for Sue to finish I did 5 minutes on the rowing machine.  I think I was slightly embarrassing her since I was dripping with sweat from my run.   
I'm pretty embarrassing
I mean, that's pretty gross right?  I guess I couldn't blame her.  Once I had showered I treated myself to a delicious dinner ... cereal.  I must admit, this was my 2nd dinner of the night.  Around 5:30pm I made myself a cheese quesadilla to hold myself over until after the gym.  

Sometimes a nice, cold bowl of cereal just hits the spot. 


usually between 11am and 12pm I daydream at work about what I'm going to eat for lunch.  today was no exception.  I knew I would be eating solo at home so the pressure was slightly less to come up with something spectacular.  

now before you see the picture of my lunch and start to think to yourself "ewww" give me a chance to explain.  
I decided to create a sandwich centered around brie cheese and spinach.  I toasted one of those 100 calorie wheat sandwich thins (deja vu from breakfast) and spread one side with honey apple butter.  On the other side I topped some spinach with some caramelized onions.  The honey apple butter side had some brie and 1 slice of bacon.  What's not to love ... brie, bacon, caramelized onions, and fresh spinach, with an added sweetness from the honey apple butter.  Delicious!  on the side I had some jalapeno Cheetos (a little childish?).

After lunch I took Honey for her midday walk.  It's already in the mid 90's outside and Honey was not a huge fan of the intense heat.
Lucky for both of us she did her business quickly and we scurried back indoors. 

Afternoon snack will include some maple bacon ice cream (that I brought to work packed with ice in my lunch bag) and a banana.  Hopefully it'll be enough fuel for my run tonight.

15 minutes

last night I made the decision to set my alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier so that I would have enough time to have breakfast with Ryan.  
  • 15 minutes was all that it took for me to make a delicious homemade meal before rushing out the door for work
  • 15 minutes of sitting with Ryan and having meaningless meaningful conversation
  • 15 minutes of making fun of Honey for having a fat Buddha belly (she does)
  • 15 minutes without any stress
Breakfast this morning was my favorite combination of sweet and savory.  I used a 100 calorie wheat sandwich thin and topped it with a slice of reduced fat mozzarella cheese, a serving of egg whites, 1 slice of Canadian bacon, and then I smeared the other half of the sandwich with blackberry jam.  So so so good.  All washed down with some orange juice.  Best part of the whole meal was sitting down with Ryan at the table and not scarfing it down while racing to work like usual.

So far it's been a good Tuesday.  How is everyone else's Tuesday morning coming along?  

Remember to take an extra 15 minutes today for yourself.  Take the long way home ... stay at the gym a little longer ... walk your dog an extra block ... read a few chapters of your favorite book. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

grilled veggies = awesome

Today I met up with the Charlotte Runners meetup group for the usual Monday run.  It starts off at the Charlotte Running Company store and winds its way through Freedom Park/Dilworth area.  The hills are pretty intense, and although I've ran this course a handful of times, it got the best of me today.  I was pretty bummed that I stopped to walk for 1 minute around the 3.5 mile mark, but I'm glad I still finished pretty strong, considering it was 90 degrees out.
  • 4.45 miles in 36:28 minutes (8:11 minute/mile pace)
Once I got home it was time to prep dinner.  I got some veggies and chicken ready for the grill and headed upstairs to our rooftop BBQ area with Ryan.
My plate included some grilled sweet potato wedges, 2 sweet mini bell peppers, 1 quartered de-seeded tomato, 1 chicken breast, and some spicy ketchup in the center to dunk everything in.  Such a delicious and healthy meal!

Now onto my not so healthy dessert ... some more of my maple bacon ice cream ... cue evil laugh.

bacon full sunday

I woke up Sunday morning craving biscuits and gravy ... this really isn't an odd occurrence, especially in the south.  I headed to my favorite spot, Zada Jane's, and sat at their bar for a little breakfast for one. 
I should've taken the after picture ... everything was completely gone.  I loved every bite of this meal.  This perfect dish includes: bacon, 2 eggs over easy, sweet potato hash, and a biscuit with a side of herb gravy.  AMAZING!

I spent the rest of the day doing some random shopping.  Seems to be the trend on a weekend when I'm bored.  Anyways I walked away from Target with an ice cream maker.  I had seen 5 Ingredient Fix on Saturday morning and was dying to make one of the recipes from the episode.  

Maple Bacon Ice Cream
  • 1 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon (about 6 slices) 
You can find the steps and instructions on the Food Network site.  I basically followed it exactly as it's listed except I halved the recipe.

This was probably in my top 3 best things I've ever made.  The maple flavored ice cream was so dreamy and delicious.  Add some candied bacon to that and you've got quite the masterpiece. Thank you Claire!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

treadmills and Luna Bars

After my shopping adventure at the mall I came home and changed into some gym clothes.  I figured if I was going to do some running I should just get it over with (I sound thrilled to be running today don't I).  

I was lacking motivation again so I headed to the YMCA to run on the treadmill.  I put on the "Bon Iver" radio station on Pandora and set the television to the show "House" and started running. 

I tried to start off conservatively since I hadn't run 7 miles in a long time and didn't want to wear myself out right away.
The treadmill automatically stops at 35 minutes so I was right under the 4 mile mark at 3.94 miles (8:52 min/mi pace).

I started the treadmill back up and kept trying to run at a slightly faster pace than the previous 4 miles.  I was getting tired and my left knee started bothering me a bit.  Before I knew it I had reached a combined 7 miles and I could finally stop.

My 2nd treadmill work out was 3.06 miles in 26:30 minutes (8:39 min/mi pace).  I was super sweaty and gross by the time I was done (shocker).  I headed over for some water and quickly did some stretching. 

Once I was home I checked the mail on the way up to my apartment.  I was super stoked to find a box from Luna
Inside were samples of their 2 new flavors, Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Dipped Coconut.  Thanks Lauren!  I quickly tore open one of the Chocolate Chunk bars ... I was pretty hungry since I only ate a handful of almonds before running and hadn't eaten since my delicious breakfast.  

Holy chocolate goodness!  I love the chunks of chocolate scattered throughout the bar.  Each bite was delicious and I found myself inhaling the entire thing.  Some nutritional stats:
  • 180 calories 
  • 5g total fat
  • 9 g protein
  • 26 g total carbs
  • 20% vitamin A
  • 20% vitamin C
  • 30% iron
 Along with my delicious bar I had a Zico coconut water.
mmm refreshing
I feel a lot better now and am looking forward to some serious couch time with Honey. 

saturday morning boredom

It's a rarity when I don't have 30 things planned for the weekend.  Today is one of those days when I have absolutely nothing to do, and I'm not entirely sure how to handle it.  At least all of this confusion isn't fogging up my brain when it comes to preparing food.
I poached a couple of eggs and placed them on top of a slice of whole grain toast that had been spread with blackberry jam.  On the side I enjoyed 1/2 of a sliced tomato, seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil and salt/pepper ... all washed down with a glass of orange juice.
hey lady you're being creepy again, stop staring

After staring at Honey for a while I figured my best boredom solution is to hit up the mall.  I've been itching to buy a fancy black clutch for a while and haven't found "the perfect one" yet.  I'm torn between two so far ...

Logo clutch by Tory Burch

Bixby clutch by Kate Spade

I'm having some technical difficulties posting the pics but check them out and let me know which one you like.

Friday, July 8, 2011

rainy day

It's raining right now ... sort of suits my mood.  I've been working from home today, technically it's Brandon's home, but still.  Fridays tend to be the busiest day for our company so I've been quasi stressing myself out.  Luckily I get to hang out with Sue and the 3 dogs (yes 3 of them) while we work.
view from Brandon's office
Looking forward to this work day being over so I can go out to a fun restaurant with Heather and Sue for dinner.  Time to listen to some "emo" to round out my gloomy day.

interval treadmill running

sometimes I find myself in a running slump.  my legs don't feel as fresh and I'm dreading starting a run.  that's when I usually head over to the YMCA to run on the treadmill.  mindless running is sometimes the key to get me out of a rut.

yesterday I decided to try one of the running programs on the treadmill.  I picked the "interval" option and set the initial speed to 6.0.  I ran for 2 minutes at 0 incline, then ran for 2 minutes at an incline of 3.0, alternating the entire 30 minutes.  Once I ran for 10 minutes I increased the speed to 6.3.  After 20 minutes were up I increased the speed again to 6.5. 

what I love about interval running is how much you really end up working.  Although I wasn't running as fast as I usually do, I was still working up quite a sweat.  I looked like a hot mess (literally) when we left the gym.  I'm sure the people at Target really enjoyed me walking around in their store looking like that.

once we were home and showered Ryan and I headed to Moosehead Grill for some wings.  We heard they were the best in town and decided to give them a shot.  Along with our wings we ordered the BBQ nachos.
Holy nachos!  They were amazing ... such a huge portion and definitely too much for 2 people to share.  Luckily we restrained ourselves after eating 3/4 of it to save room for the wings.  The wings were really good (sorry no picture ... too messy) and the atmosphere of Moosehead was perfect.  Such a chill laid back scene.  Looking forward to eating many more wings there.