Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lifting Wednesday - with friends

I had another teaching workout - this time with two of my friends. I think it went a bit better this time, mostly because working with dumbbells is a lot simpler than working with kettle bells. Most people have used free weights at some point, so anything I showed them was relatively familiar.

I used 12.5 lb weights for everything except for the front/lateral combo raises, which I used 5lb weights for. If you're just starting out, I would recommend 5 or 7.5lb weights for everything, and then 2-3lb weights for the raises. You can even try doing the raises without any weights at all, which is what one of my friends did. It's surprising how difficult they are, even with a low amount of weight.

I used my heart rate monitor, but wasn't expecting any huge numbers. The workout took longer than if I was doing it by myself, since I was demonstrating everything. We also got sidetracked with conversation several times. Because of this, we took a lot of breaks, and my heart rate was lower. Still, not bad results.

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 01:10:27
Calories Burned: 467
Average Heart Rate: 124 (64.2% max)
Max Heart Rate: 157 (81.3% max)
Time in Zone (65-85%): 0:35:41

After we finished the workout (we did two times through), we went in the hot tub for a bit. I would have liked several cycles of pool (cold) --> hot tub (hot) --> wauna (hotter), but it was already pretty late. I changed back into my sweaty workout clothes, because they were actually drier than the clothes I wore to work (got caught in a major downpour), bought some drop-in class passes, and Joey picked me up. We made green beans with cauliflower, oven baked fries, and burgers on homemade pretzel rolls. I had some leftover double bean veggie burgers that I made last week (recipe to come soon!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wild Mushroom and Fontina Pizza

Like I mentioned in my Best of Charlottesville post, I made two pizzas last week. For the first time in a while, I made the dough from scratch. I got to use my new yeast! (I bought SAF instant yeast recently)
In the past, we've always made two pizzas from the single batch of pizza dough, or three pizzas from a double batch. I guess we normally make up a pizza recipe, and just put on whatever ingredients we want. I came to the realization that if you're following an actual pizza recipe, it is going to assume you're using a 16 oz ball of pizza dough, or at the minimum, 12 oz. When weighing the dough so I could split it perfectly, I found that what was supposed to yield two pizzas, was only 16 oz to start with. Because of this, I'm including the full dough recipe below to use for just the one pizza. We somehow made it work, with a very thick topping!

I'm not going to include a recipe for the second pizza we made. We roasted a bunch of onion, mushroom and bell peppers with some salt, pepper and garlic powder, at 450 F for 20-30 minutes. Instead of a pizza sauce, we mixed together homemade pesto with goat cheese, and liberally covered the pizza dough with it. We topped the pesto goat cheese with the veggies, and then sprinkled some shredded fontina on top.

That pizza was delicious, but here was the real winner. This pizza uses more mushrooms than you think could possibly fit on one pizza (yet somehow we fit them on half a pizza...), and has such great flavors. I'm going to note that the only thing we did differently was the pesto, and only because I didn't have some of the ingredients. One of our local stores usually has dried mushrooms, but they were out when I went. I just upped the amount slightly of mushrooms in the pesto instead, and used warm water instead of the soaking liquid. I didn't add a shallot. I also used way more garlic than the recipe called for, and have noted that below since I thought it tasted awesome that way!

Just a note - the pizza dough needs to be made in advance. If you decide last minute that you really want this pizza, any store bought dough will work just fine.

Recipe: Wild Mushroom and Fontina Pizza on Homemade Pizza Dough
Adapted from Pink Parsley and Alton Brown

1.5 tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup warm water (100-110 F)
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp olive oil

Mushroom Pesto:
5 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
5 cloves of garlic, whole (still in skin, if possible)
1/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp butter or clarified butter
8 oz mixed mushrooms (I used white, cremini and shiitake)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Prep dough:
Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, flour, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until the dough just comes together. Knead for 15 minutes on medium speed, adding 1 tbsp flour at a time if the dough starts to stick. Make sure the dough is smooth and elastic, without being sticky. If not, mix another 5-10 minutes and add additional flour.

Roll the dough into a smooth ball on the countertop. Place into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add 2 tsp of olive oil to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.

Make pesto:
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss the sliced mushrooms with 1 tbsp oil and salt and pepper. In a separate piece of foil, put in the whole cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, then close up the foil. Add to the baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp - about 20-25 minutes. If the garlic was in its skin, peel when it is cool enough to handle.

While the mushrooms are baking, soak the dried mushrooms in 1/4 cup boiling water for about 5 minutes. Strain through a paper towel-lined colander and reserve the liquid.

In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process roasted mushrooms, garlic, porcini and liquid, shallot, thyme, parsley, and remaining 3 tbsp oil until smooth. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make pizza:
Place pizza stone into the bottom of a cold oven, sprinkle the surface with cornmeal, and turn the oven to 500 F. Wet hands barely with water and rub them onto the countertop to dampen the surface. Roll the dough on the surface until it tightens. Cover with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms. In a skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned and softened, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in the wine. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and remove from heat.

Sprinkle your pizza peel with cornmeal. Stretch the dough into a round disc, rotating after each stretch. Toss the dough in the air if you dare. Shake the pizza on the peel to be sure it will slide off, onto the pizza stone.

Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a small border (about 1/2 inch). Scatter the mushrooms evenly over the pesto, and top with the fontina and Parmesan cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and the bottom of the crust is golden brown. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note - I don't know how this happened, but we only took pictures of the no-recipe pizza!

Here is a picture when I last made the mushroom pizza, last summer. I think we made homemade whole wheat pizza dough.

If you like mushrooms, please make this pizza! It's so good!

Hilly Treadmill Interval Workout

Yesterday was my last big run before my race this Saturday. I wanted to do something that incorporated hills, but it was way too hot and humid to attempt anything outside. I decided to make a hilly version of a treadmill interval workout. I looked at a bunch of published treadmill workouts to try to get a good idea of what incline to use. I saw a big variety of inclines - some workouts went up to 6%, some went up to 15% incline. I thought that 15% incline sounded pretty steep, and boy was I right. I talked to Joey, and he said he didn't think some treadmills even went over 10%.

With this information in mind, I wrote out a workout that would take ~45 minutes to complete, and focused more on varying the incline than the pace. Once I started, I made some adjustments. I originally didn't include any walking throughout, but by the time I got to minute 28, I really needed a break. If you are still feeling good, then run at 5.7 for those 3 minutes instead of walking at 4.0. Of course, all of these paces are just what is comfortable for me. If you would prefer something that is faster or slower, just adjust what I have, keeping the same general trend.

Later last night, I asked Joey if he could help me with some math. I wanted to get a general idea of what an equivalent hill would be outside, for what I had done on the treadmill. He worked it out that for 1 minute at 6.0mph, with a 5% incline, would be a 26 ft increase in elevation. (The equation is actually pretty similar - you multiply your % incline (as a decimal) by the distance you did, and then by 5280 to get the answer in feet.) That is pretty similar to the hills I find in Charlottesville, they just usually last longer than the 1 minute.

I'm glad that I did this treadmill workout. I think that it could be really good in the future, to try to simulate a hilly course. With some effort, I could probably even try to replicate a specific course, although without any fine detail. I also am not exactly sure how I would do downhill - it always feels like I'm going downhill at first, when I decrease the incline, but it obviously levels out.

In this workout, I completed ~4.25 miles total, and ran a total of ~3.6 miles in 37 minutes. The average pace of the running was 5.9mph. 

I kept the heart rate monitor on after I finished the workout, while I stretched, on my way back to my house, and when I put two loads of laundry in the wash. I was still moving, and my heart rate was still up, so I wanted to include it.

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 01:11:50
Calories Burned: 734
Average Heart Rate: 155 (80.3% of max)
Max Heart Rate: 185 (95.9% of max)
Time in Zone (65-85%): 0:27:37

Giving Kettle Bell Lessons

I showed someone how to use kettle bells on Monday! One of my friends approached me last week, saying she was interested in doing some lifting/strength training, and was wondering if she could tag along for some of my workouts.

Joey helped me come up with a workout that would really highlight the basic kettle bell exercises, while still being a good workout for me. I went up in weight also, which made a big difference. I had been using a 20lb KB and switched to a 25lb KB for the first set. I still used the 20lb one for the second set.

I first went through and demonstrated everything from the first set, having her do a few as well. Then we completed the first set in an "I go, you go" fashion. I went first, to remind her of how to do each one. After that, I showed her a few more advanced versions. I finished up with KB 300 on my own.

I'm curious to see if this will be a regular thing, having my friend join me for KB. It's a tough workout, and I know it took me a while to get used to the movements. I'm still relatively new to it, so I know that I'm not the best teacher. But hopefully she had fun!

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 01:17:35
Calories Burned: 645
Average Heart Rate: 139 (72% of max)
Max Heart Rate: 172 (89% of max)
Time in Zone (65-85%): 0:52:37

Monday, August 26, 2013

Recipe: Quinoa Succotash

When I was at the gym last Wednesday, for my running+yoga workout, I had no idea what I was planning on doing for dinner. I wouldn't get out until almost 8, and I knew I would be too tired to come up with something then, but I still couldn't think of anything before hand. Joey even asked if there was anything he could prep, but my mind was a blank.

When he came to get me after yoga, he told me that he bought ingredients to make something, but if I didn't want it that night we could do it another time. He had seen a recipe for a quinoa dish that day, and as he was describing it, I realized it was from a blog I followed! I had seen the recipe myself, but for some reason didn't think to save it. I decided that sounded delicious, and helped him make it once we got home.

Recipe: Quinoa Succotash
Adapted slightly from Simply Recipes
Yield: 4 servings

1 cup quinoa
2 tbsp clarified butter or oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 cup baby lima beans, canned or frozen
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
Sliced avocado (optional)

Soak quinoa in warm water for a few minutes, then rinse it and let it drain for a few minutes.

While you are soaking the quinoa, heat the clarified butter or oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Once the quinoa is ready, add to the pan and increase heat to medium-high, until the onions and quinoa are golden.

Add the corn, lima beans, tomato and thyme, and stir to combine. Add vegetable stock and salt, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. (Mine took a lot longer to cook, probably because I used extra lima beans, and both my corn and beans were frozen. Just keep an eye on it.)

Stir in the lemon juice and fluff with a fork. Top with avocado slices, if desired.

331 calories
9 g fat
53 g carbs
7.8 g fiber
10.8 g protein

Refried Bean Tostadas

Sometimes I have no idea what I want for dinner. Usually when that happens, Joey comes up with something that I would like. Every once in a while I come up with a concoction - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This one worked pretty well.

I'm not going to call it a recipe, since you can make it however you would like. This is how I happened to make it.

First I sauteed some garlic and veggies. I used a TON of garlic - probably 5 giant cloves. I minced it and then added it to some oil in a large skillet, until it smelled really good and was golden brown. Then I added some diced onion and green bell pepper - I used 1/2 of a giant onion, and 1 small pepper. I added some salt and pepper here. Once that was mostly cooked, I added some chopped mushrooms - I think I used 5 giant button mushrooms. While that was going, I drained and rinsed a can of pinto beans, and then mashed them in a medium bowl. Once the veggies were cooked, I dumped them in the bowl with the beans and mixed it all up.

I used small corn tortillas - first I toasted them in the toaster oven, so they would be a bit crispy, and so they would be sturdy enough to hold the veggies. Then I topped them with a generous amount of the bean/veggie mixture, and some shredded cheddar cheese. I put them back in the toaster oven so the cheese could melt, and then ate them with homemade tomatillo salsa. I had enough filling for 5 tortillas. Delicious!

While I was making my tostadas, Joey was making sausage with onions and peppers, to go on a nice piece of bread for a sandwich. He used a recipe that was originally meant for a slow cooker, but did it in the Dutch oven instead. I took just a few pictures of his process:

Running and Yoga on 8/21/13

Time to start catching up on posts! This is what I did at the gym, last Wednesday night.

I FINALLY went to a yoga class! There's a new class called Power Yoga that I've been wanting to try out for some time now. The class doesn't start until 6:45, so I either talked myself out of going, or just couldn't make it. I decided to give it a try last week. It's described as being a good class for people who love yoga, as well as athletes who are interested in cross-training. I thought that sounded perfect for me, but was a little nervous about how hard on my muscles it would be. I was already crazy sore from my KB workout two days prior. I also hadn't been to yoga in 3 months!

I decided to do a quick run before yoga, so I strapped on my heart rate monitor and headed up to the indoor track. Once I got up there I realized that I forgot the watch..whoops. I didn't feel like going back down to get it, especially since I wanted time between running and yoga to cool off, so I just started running without it. I think I ran 2 miles in 19:04 - I always manage to lose track of how many laps I did. That makes it an average pace of 9:32/mile, which makes sense. Then I walked 3 laps (between 1/4 and 1/3 mile) in 4:38, and ran another 2/3 mile in 6:52. I did that last part nice and slow, at a 10:18 average pace. I used the stopwatch on my phone to keep track, and pressed the lap button after finishing the 2 miles, the walking part, and the last running part. I walked another couple of laps after of that, and am just seeing now that I never pressed stop! It was up to 116 hours haha.

After running, I had plenty of time to cool down for yoga. I went back to the locker room so I could grab the heart rate monitor watch. The class was pretty good. I liked the instructor. I don't know if she went super slow because some people said they had never done power yoga, or if that's just her style, but it was definitely a slower pace than the Yoga Flow class I've gone to. It was also much much easier. I still really enjoyed it, for the same reason that I always enjoy yoga. It made me realize how much I've missed going to yoga regularly. The drop-in class schedule at the gym just changed for the fall semester, so I'll have to pick a class (or two) to go to regularly.

Heart Rate Monitor (just from yoga):
Duration: 01:05:14
Calories Burned: 327
Average Heart Rate: 109 (56.5% max)
Max Heart Rate: 132 (68.4% max)
Time in Zone (65-85% max): 0:03:52

Fantastic Weekend - The Best of Charlottesville

I just had the best weekend ever. My best friend visited from New York, and we basically did everything that you can do in Charlottesville. I spent a lot of time planning her visit, and then we were really busy during our fun packed weekend, so I have a major backlog of posts to put up!

Here's what we did:
Stef got in Thursday afternoon, then we went to Trader Joe's to stock up on some goodies. She introduced me to their cold brew coffee, which was surprisingly good. We tried out one of their new products, edamame tofu nuggets, and they were delicious! After we got back, we went to the corner to meet my friend Emily for coffee. Next, we went back out for more grocery shopping, this time to Cville Market. We bought everything we needed for dinner that night and picnic lunch the next day. Once we got back, we made two pizzas, and drank some nice white wine.

Friday, we got up bright and early to go on a run at Riverview Park. I had planned on doing 4 miles, but the weather was just too humid - I felt like I couldn't breathe. I managed 3 miles, and then we headed back to shower and get ready before going out to meet Sarah for coffee. We went to Para Coffee, and I really liked it. I hadn't been there in a really long time. After coffee, we went back to pack up our picnic lunch, and headed out for a day at the wineries. The weather was really crappy - the humidity from the morning turned into rain the entire rest of the day. We went to Barboursville Vineyards first, where we tried ~19 different wines. Next we went to Keswick Vineyards - this is where we had our picnic lunch. I had planned on eating outside, but instead we camped out on their covered porch. We had multi-grain baguette, baba ghanoush, different kinds of cheese, quinoa salad, fruit, etc. Finally, we went to Castle Hill Cider. I think that Barboursville was my favorite of the three places we went to. You got to try a ton of different wines, and their wines were the best (in my opinion).

On the way back home, we stopped at Kroger for the rest of our shopping. We made pretzel rolls, homemade veggie burgers, summer fruit cobbler and homemade ice cream. We must have been all wined out, since we didn't have any, and I didn't even think about offering it!

Saturday we walked to the farmers market and met up with my friend Emily and her two kids. We wandered around for a while, then bought a few things - a candle, some purple potatoes, bell peppers. Stef got kombucha and I got a popsicle. On the walk back, we stopped at Bodo's to get a bagel sandwich for Joey. He had frisbee practice from 10-2, and would need some instant sustenance when he got back. As soon as he got back and showered, we drove to Humpback Rocks for a hike. We sped up the steep 1 mile hill to the top - the sign says it could take 40 minutes, it took us just 17.5! Stef and Joey were in much better shape for that. We hung out at the top for a bit, took some goofy pictures. Then we continued hiking to the next overlook, before heading back down. I would have to check with Joey, but I would guess we did ~5 miles in just over 2 hours.

We headed back in to Charlottesville, showered and dressed up for dinner, and went out to Tara Thai. Whenever I have guests in town, I have the hardest time coming up with a good place to go out to eat. I always feel like I have to pick something fancy. Joey suggested Thai, and this seemed like the best option. I'm so glad we went there - it was faster and tastier than some of the other more expensive options. We came back and prepped cinnamon rolls for Sunday's breakfast.

Sunday we actually slept in a little, then Stef and I went out on a run. I had planned on doing either a 3 mile or 3.8 mile run, and once I got to the turning point I decided to make it the 3 mile version. But then I didn't even end up doing all of that - once we got to the corner, it was just so crowded, and I was so hot, I walked for a bit. I started running again once we passed the crowds, and ended up running for a total of 2.8 miles. While we were out, Joey started the cinnamon rolls, and made some delicious scrambled eggs with part egg whites. Poor guy had to smell all of the good food cooking while we were out running, and waited for us to come back and shower before eating anything! Stef and I went to the pool for a bit after that, while Joey did the grocery shopping for the week. He made a batch of granola for Stef, since she really seemed to like it. And that basically ended Stef's epic weekend in Charlottesville! I was so happy she came, and we had such a great time.

All of the recipes mentioned here will be posted soon.

Here is more information about the runs and the hike.

3 mile run at Riverview Park on 8/23/13
0.25 in 2:29, 9:56 average pace
0.50 in 4:42, 9:24 average pace (8:52 last 1/4 mile)
0.75 in 7:07, 9:29 average pace (9:40)
1.00 in 9:24 (9:08)
1.25 in 11:34, 9:15 average pace (8:40)
1.50 in 13:43, 9:09 average pace (8:36)
1.75 in 15:56, 9:06 average pace (8:52)
2.00 in 18:07, 9:04 average pace (8:44)
2.25 in 20:39, 9:11 average pace (10:08)
2.50 in 22:55, 9:10 average pace (9:04)
2.75 in 25:11, 9:09 average pace (9:04)
3.03 in 27:35, 9:06 average pace (8:34)

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 0:32:21
Calories Burned: 412
Average Heart Rate: 177 (91.7% of max)
Max Heart Rate: 191 (99% of max)
Time In Zone (65-85%): 0:05:16

~5 Mile Hike at Humpback Rocks on 8/24/13
Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 02:17:48
Calories Burned: 883
Average Heart Rate: 122 (63.2% of max)
Max Heart Rate: 174 (90% of max)
Time In Zone (65-85%): 0:38:50

2.8 mile run in town on 8/25/13
0.25 in 2:21, 9:24 average pace
0.50 in 4:44, 9:28 average pace (9:32 in last 1/4 mile)
0.75 in 7:04, 9:25 average pace (9:20)
1.00 in 9:18 (8:56)
1.25 in 11:36, 9:17 average pace (9:12)
1.50 in 13:56, 9:17 average pace (9:20)
1.75 in 16:21, 9:21 average pace (9:40)
2.00 in 18:49, 9:25 average pace (9:52)
Walked for 3 minutes
2.25 in 21:04, 9:22 average pace (9:00)
2.50 in 23:21, 9:20 average pace (9:08)
2.75 in 25:42, 9:21 average pace (9:24)
Total: 2.81 miles in 26:17, 9:21 average pace

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 0:35:33
Calories Burned: 418
Average Heart Rate: 170 (88.1% max)
Max Heart Rate: 187 (96.9% max)
Time in Zone (65-85%): 0:10:02

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Workout Recap - Kettle bells on Monday, August 19th

This was my first KB workout in two weeks - all of the gyms with KBs were either closed or had limited hours last week. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, just missing the one. Boy oh boy was I wrong! I think that since I not only missed KB last Monday, but since I also didn't do any strength last Wednesday or Friday, I just wasn't prepared for that workout. I also did a pretty hard one, since I stole some from Joey's posted workouts. I am STILL sore from this workout, from almost 3 full days ago!

For some reason, my body just didn't want to do pushups. I really struggled during the burpee laps because of this. I decided to just make sure I did 3 sets of the century exercises, regardless of what the time was. I ended up doing all of that in just about 22-23 minutes, so not that far over the normal time.

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 01:26:14
Calories Burned: 754
Average Heart Rate: 143 (74% of max)
Max Heart Rate: 176 (91% of max)
Time in Zone: 0:46:41

Vacation in West Virginia

Wow, I haven't done much posting this week! Besides putting up my weekly finds and what I made last week, I've really left you hanging.

Last weekend, Joey and I went on a mini vacation! We went to a bed and breakfast in West Virginia that we had been to once before. We originally found it on Living Social and went because it was a great deal and sounded really nice. The deal included a two night stay, horseback riding, a wine and hor d'oeuvres reception, and two vouchers for their restaurant. The restaurant was fantastic - they had the best gazpacho I've ever tasted. Everything is located in Lost River, and there is a state park down the road. This is where we did the horseback riding, and we also went on a hike and sat out by their pool. Just down the road is George Washington National Forest, with a pond and manmade beach. We did so much that weekend, and really enjoyed the trip.

When I saw this spring that there was another Living Social deal, I jumped on it. This time it didn't include horseback riding, but I was okay with that since that part was scary for me! We had a really nice time our second time there. No gazpacho this time :( But the rest of the food was really great. We got a bottle of wine on arrival (had them switch out the merlot they gave us for a nice sauvignon blanc - we don't like red!)

This time we did a much bigger hike, since we had the whole day. I slept until 9:30 - seriously, I don't know the last time I slept that late! Had a nice leisurely breakfast, and got our hike started around 11. It was an 8.5 mile hike, so we didn't know how long it would take. We always trust the recommendations on, but know that their estimates for hiking times are on the conservative side. We usually finish a bit earlier than they say, which makes sense, since their times are for the general population. This hike said 5 hours plus a half hour for lunch. I put on my heart rate monitor, to get an idea of how hard I was working, and we set off. We were excited - it was rated pretty high for both difficulty and views.

The first part of the hike was the  most difficult - it took us a little while to find the trail at one point, and then we were going up up up for a long time. After that, everything was pretty easy. I think that it was rated high for difficulty just because of the steep part. When we got to the overlooks, we were a little disappointed. There were a lot of trees in the way, so it was difficult to see much. We definitely couldn't get any great pictures. I think it would be a lot easier to see in late fall or winter, once the leaves have fallen. I did think that it should have been rated higher for solitude, however. We only saw four people while hiking, and two of them worked there. There is a lake at the beginning/end of the hike with lots of people, but that's it.

What I did find out on this hike was that Joey is in much better shape than I am! We both had our heart rate monitors on, and I burned so many more calories than he did. Considering that he has 50 lbs on me, that shows that my heart rate was so much higher than his, because I was working harder. It's interesting, thinking that a measure of my fitness would be to do this hike again in 6 months and burn fewer calories doing it. Also, I really shouldn't be surprised that Joey is in great shape. He's been working out hard, consistently, for several years now. I've just been doing it for 7 months, and not at the same level as him. I do know that I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, so I'm still pretty happy about it.

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 03:39:00
Calories Burned: 1107
Average Heart Rate: 110 (57% of max)
Maximum Heart Rate: 154 (80% of max)
Time in Zone: 0:40:07

Also one thing to mention - I twisted my ankle on the trail. It was on one of the downhill portions, where I just have a harder time finding my footing. I was mostly okay for the rest of it, just every once in a while my ankle would bend in the way it did when it twisted, and I would get a big twinge of pain. It was aching a bit by the end of the hike, but completely fine the next day. I think I really need to get some good hiking shoes. Right now I have running shoes, and cross training shoes, but no hiking shoes. I used the cross training shoes on the hike, but I'm sure they weren't completely suited for the rough terrain.

Workout Lessons Learned:

#6 Having the proper equipment for your activities is really important. The expense is always worth it. Some things are multi-purpose, but most likely your running shoes will not double as hiking shoes, and definitely not vice-versa. Also make sure you replace your equipment regularly. Whether this is by just using one pair consistently, then getting a new one; or by having 2-3 pairs that you rotate through. Joey will typically buy a couple pairs of cross-training shoes that he'll rotate through, so he isn't completely screwed if one pair falls apart. Once it's time to get rid of one, he'll buy another, so he always has a backup.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What I Made Last Week - 4

Sunday, August 11th:

3-egg omelette with sauteed veggies and smoked gouda

Honey Wheat Bread - I didn't take a picture, but I think you know what it looks like by now...

Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches

Monday, August 12th:
Instant Polenta with Baked Tilapia and Steamed Veggies

Tuesday, August 13th:
Pizza with Herb Crust, Roasted Veggies, and Fontina

Wednesday, August 14th:
Me: Light Life Veggie Burgers on Sandwich Thins, with Tomato, Lettuce, Baba Ghanoush and Feta
Joey: Steak with blue cheese
Accompanied with steamed veggies and baked fries

Thursday, August 15th:
Baked Crab Rangoons + tofu egg rolls

Pizza with Herb Crust, Roasted Veggies, and Fontina

Joey and I love to make homemade pizza. Sometimes it's completely homemade, with homemade sauce and crust. Sometimes we cheat a bit and use store-bought pizza dough. Last Tuesday night, we decided to cheat a bit. We both were going to be home late, so we bought some garlic and herb pizza dough from Trader Joe's. We roasted a bunch of veggies Monday night, so all we would have to do on Tuesday was assemble and bake.

Veggies, ready to be cooked

This isn't exactly a recipe, so I'm not going to do this in the typical recipe format. Pizza is so easy to make, and you can use whatever you have on hand. For example, we didn't have any "pizza sauce" so we used an open jar of pasta sauce in the fridge (vodka sauce, if you're curious).

With purchased pizza dough, you have to keep it refrigerated until you're ready to use it. You can freeze it for longer storage, but then you should thaw it in the fridge at least overnight. Put a pizza stone on the bottom rack in your oven, and turn the oven to 450 or 500 F, whatever your oven goes to. Take out the pizza dough from the fridge, and let it sit out for ~20 minutes.

Start bringing out your ingredients. You want something for a base sauce, some kind of meat and/or vegetable toppings, and some kind of cheese.

Options for base: olive oil and garlic, white sauce, pesto, red sauce
Options for toppings: meat - sausage, pepperoni; veggies - sliced, cooked zucchini and eggplant, sauteed mushroms, onions and peppers, fresh tomatoes
Options for cheese: any cheese works here - fontina, mozzarella, ricotta, goat, feta, etc

While our pizza was sitting out (still in the bag, as it instructs), I pulled out our container of homemade pesto, the cooked veggies from the night before, a big wedge of fontina, and the pasta sauce. I shredded the fontina using the large holes on a box grater. Sprinkle a pizza peel and your pizza stone with cornmeal - go light on the pizza stone, but go heavy on the pizza peel.

When it's ready, flour your hands and remove the dough from the plastic wrapping. Either roll it out on a floured board, or stretch it out gently with your hands, until it is not too thick. Place it on the prepared pizza peel. Using a spoon or offset spatula, spread sauce on the pizza. We did pesto on half and pasta sauce on the other half. Cover with veggies. Sprinkle cheese on top - we used ~1 cup of fontina.

Give the pizza peel a shake, to make sure the dough isn't sticking anywhere. Open the oven door, and carefully shake the peel to let the pizza slide off onto the stone. Depending on how thick your pizza is, and the temp in your oven, it can take anywhere from 8-20 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on it - check the bottom of the crust from time to time. Once the pizza is ready, take your pizza peel (shake off the cornmeal that was on it from before, first), and slide it under the pizza. Lift up and pull it out.

Let the pizza rest for a few minutes, then slice using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekly Finds: 8/18/13


Crock-Pot Brioche
This is pretty crazy - a buttery eggy pillowy brioche, made right in your crock pot! You do your normal rises, then you bake for 4-5 hours on low, or 2-2 1/2 hours on high. It's not long enough to do while at work or while sleeping, but it's perfect if you have to go out and run some errands.


Corn "Farroto"
Here, farro is used in place if the typical arborio rice to make risotto. Corn is pureed with vegetable stock to add creaminess, and also added whole at the end. This is a summery and healthy take on risotto.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi
I've seen many gnocchi recipes where the cooked potatoes are replaced with ricotta, to make a lighter take on the typical recipe. Here, zucchini is also added, giving a pretty speckled green look to the dish. To avoid the extra water that comes with zucchini, it is shredded and then squeezed of all extra liquid. 


Blueberry Pie Bars
These taste like blueberry pie, without all of the work of actually making a pie. A simple crust is made of flour, sugar and butter, and cooked. The filling is custard-y from the use of greek yogurt and eggs, and is bursting with fresh blueberries. It is topped with a crumb topping, and then baked until the crust is caramelized.

Cinnamon Peanut Butter Skillet Blondies
I'm always so impressed with skillet cookies. You're making something perfectly sweet in a kitchen tool I always associate with savory. Plus, they always achieve that perfect shiny crackly top, with a gooey center. These are a riff on the skillet cookie - being a blondie that is accentuated with cinnamon and peanut butter. All I can say is yes, yes, yes. 


How to Work Out When You Have a Cold Great tips for what is okay, and what is not recommended, when you're sick with a cold. Good to know, because I know that sometimes I will use a cold as an excuse to not work out.

Killer Cardio and Strength-Training Routine
"First, power your way through a cardio workout on a rowing machine, then tack on a muscle-building routine that will impress even the biggest guy in the weight room. They recommend for the rowing machine, to set the display to show the distance traveled. This way you can try to beat that next time. For the strength-training portion, you'll need a barbell, a TRX strap, and a pull-up machine.

Gym Tips for Newbies Want to try out a new gym (or a gym at all for the first time) but are a bit intimidated? Here are some really good tips, as well as good rules of etiquette, for first-time gym users.

Twisted BOSU Plank Some cool variations to add to your basic plank, to make it a bit more challenging. Also a good way to work the BOSU ball into your workout.

Wall Sits to Avoid Runner's Knee

30-Day Squat Challenge This printable challenge has you work your way up to 200 squats, giving you a rest every 4 days. To make it more interesting, you alternate between 5 different kinds of squats, which also helps work different muscle groups.

Cooking Tips:

10 Foods You Need in Your Diet
Here are 10 great foods to try to incorporate into your diet. How many of you can say that you already eat all of them??

Kitchen Helpers Here are several lists of really helpful kitchen conversions and substitutions. 

Favorite Fashion Staples:

This is my new favorite nail polish!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Recipe - Baked Crab Rangoons

We are really loving these baked versions of popular Chinese takeout foods! Last week we made baked egg rolls (buffalo chicken for Joey, and sesame soy tofu for me). When Joey bought the egg roll wrappers, he bought two packages. He figured that we could use them to make egg rolls again, or to make something else. They have a pretty long refrigeration life, and an even longer freezer life. I suggested that we make homemade crab rangoons, since I've had a couple of recipes saved for a while now.

We took inspiration from one of the recipes I had saved - mostly following the recipe, just making some minor changes. Since we were using egg roll wrappers instead of wonton wrappers, we cut them in half. We now had rectangles, so instead of folding them diagonally, we just folded them over to make squares. They turned out great! The edges got really crispy, and the inside was creamy. I think next time we would double the amount of crab - canned crab was so cheap, it would be worth it.

We dipped the crab rangoons in Trader Joe's sweet chili sauce. It's kind of funny how we came across this delicious sauce - one time when we were in Delaware visiting my parents, Joey was looking in their pantry for something. While looking, he came across NINE bottles of this sauce! Apparently it's just so good that every time they go to TJ's, they buy another bottle, because they are always afraid they're out. Of course we decided to slightly deplete their stash and take one home to try for ourselves. It really is that good! It's also pretty low calorie, so you can enjoy it without indulging too much.

Note - once opened, I would recommend using all of the wrappers immediately. When making the egg rolls last week, we made a few later in the night, and the wrappers started to crack. To prevent that, since we only used 12 of the wrappers for the crab rangoons, I made 8 more tofu egg rolls to use up the rest of the package right away.

Recipe: Baked Crab Rangoons
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Yield: 24

12 egg roll wrappers, sliced in half
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp greek yogurt
2 tbsp chives
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup white crab meat, drained (from 1 can)

Preheat oven to 415 (this is what the original recipe asked for). Line two large baking sheets with foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Lay out your cut egg roll wrappers, short side facing you.
In a small bowl, mix the cream with the greek yogurt, until smooth. Add in the chives, garlic, ginger and sugar, blend well. Fold in the crab meat.
Place 1-2 tbsp of filling on the bottom half of the egg roll wrapper. Dip your fingers in water, and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Fold the top of the wrapper down to cover the filling, and press slightly to get out any air. Seal well, use more water if necessary.
Put the filled wrapper on prepared baking sheet, and continue until all of the filling is used up. Spray all of them with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are dark golden brown.

Nutrition: (per crab rangoon)
61.1 calories
2.4 g fat
6.9 g carbs
0.2 g fiber
2.9 g protein

Picture Tutorial:
Filling placed on bottom half of wrapper. Water ready to moisten the edges.

One tray filled with wrappers waiting to be baked!

Perfect golden edges post-baking

Even the bottom got crispy!

Dipped in the sweet chili sauce

Two of the tofu egg rolls made with the leftover wrappers. One is bursting a bit in the middle!

4 Mile Run in Charlottesville + Runkeeper Mishaps

I ran three days in a row! Even though the mileage wasn't very high, I still feel like I've been doing ALL the running lately. I think it's really what I needed to make me feel like I can actually complete the race I have coming up.

Thursday morning, I did exactly what I did Tuesday morning. I came in early to lab, got stuff going, then went on a run. I planned it so it started at lab, and ended at home, so I could shower before coming back into lab. Tuesday's run was pretty short. I woke up feeling crappy, and drastically changed the run I had planned. Thursday I woke up feeling pretty good. I decided to stick with my plan to do a 4 mile run, but to just go super slow.

As soon as I was ready in lab, I snapped on my heart rate monitor, turned on my music and runkeeper, and got going. Of course, runkeeper decided to malfunction on me. I had barely started, when I heard a voice in my ear telling me that I had just run 0.25 miles in 41 seconds. Um, not possible! I stopped the current workout, and decided to start a new one. 40 seconds later, it was again telling me that I had completed 0.25 miles. I decided to just ignore it, and keep going. That I knew where my route was, and would just use the total time (plus the first 41 seconds) to figure out an overall pace. I didn't want to rely on the time of my watch, since I pause runkeeper at lights, but I don't pause the heart rate monitor. Too many buttons to push and knowing me, I would mess it up.

By the time I hit 1/2 mile, I could tell that the system had fixed itself, and it now had my accurate pace. It was still using the data from the first few points (it was telling me that I had gone over 1 mile by now), so the average pace was off, but that was okay. Once I got home, I looked at the map of the course I had completed, and immediately saw the problem. It had me running zigzags all over the medical campus at UVA!

Crazy zigzags in the first 1/2 mile

The course that I actually did

I attempted to figure out some general splits by combining the two maps.
1 mile: 9:51
2 miles: 20:05
3 miles: 30:16
4 miles: 40:01

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration; 0:47:05 (I kept it on while walking to cool down, plus this includes times I was paused at a light)
Calories Burned: 526
Average Heart Rate: 165 (85.5%)
Max Heart Rate: 182 (94.3%)
Time In Zone (65-85%): 0:16:40

Workout Lessons Learned:

#5 Don't rely too much on any kind of gps running device. It might show that you are running in circles when you know that you are not. Just go out and run. In a race, if it is telling you something that is slightly different from the posted mile markers on the course, remember that the only time/pace being recorded is the one through the race. And yes, having to run around people in the first mile of a race will add distance.

Just as a reminder, the race I'm referring to is the Charlottesville Women's 4 Miler, and the proceeds to toward breast cancer research. If you're interested at all in supporting this, make a donation! Go to this website, and either make a stand-alone donation, or choose to sponsor me. Look me up by my name (Jennifer Kaplan), and make a donation of your choice. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Workout Recap - Running on Wednesday, August 14th

While trying to plan out my workout yesterday, I got a little overwhelmed. Normally Wednesdays are strength training days, but with two gyms being closed, and just being exhausted from the week, I didn't know what to do. I already did my day of straight lifting, and kettle bells weren't an option. I technically could have done a sparty workout, but that just seemed daunting. I asked Joey what I should do, saying I was just too tired to figure something out, what with the long week and all of the running I've been doing lately. He suggested that until the race (August 31st!), that I just focus more on running. I had already been planning a longer run for Thursday morning (more to come on that), but he said that I would be fine to do a different kind of run on Wednesday. I decided to do a short run (2 miles), followed by either striders or short hill repeats. I chose striders, since I was doing it on the treadmill, and those are easy to do. There's a short hill just outside of the gym, but I figured I would be getting plenty of hills in my long run the next day.

The run felt really great. I did 2 miles at a pretty good pace (19:35), and then did 3 sets of striders. Striders are 20 seconds sprinting, followed by 2 minutes recovery jog. Each of those were 1/4 mile, so I did 2.75 miles in 26:40. I walked the last quarter mile, doing 3 miles in a total of 30 minutes. I really enjoyed this run. It's a quick and easy run to do, and helps strengthen your legs with the striders. I've included a table with a general format. I didn't keep track of exactly what I did, but I believe I did the first 1/4 mile at 5.7mph, then bumped it up to 6.0mph until 0.6 miles. At that point I increased to 6.3mph. There was one song maybe around 1 or 1.5 miles that made me push it up to 6.6, and then I moved it back down to 6.4 to finish out the 2 miles. For the striders, I did the first two at 8.0mph, and the last one at 8.5mph. I did the recovery jogs at 6.0mph.

After I got off the treadmill, I did some core exercises. I did 50 traditional crunches (legs up), then 10x2 v-ups. I ended with 1 minute forearm plank, and 30 sec side plank (on each side). In the last 10 seconds of the side planks, I did some leg lifts. Those are hard! Make sure to do them really slowly, and keep your hips aligned.

Heart Rate Monitor:
Duration: 0:47:50
Calories Burned: 482
Average Heart Rate: 155
Maximum Heart Rate: 182
Time In Zone: 0:23:48