Monday, October 26, 2015

Thai Quinoa Veggie Salad

I just spent a really great weekend up in Minnesota!  Bri, Lauren and I all went there to visit our friends Patrick, Tommy, and Braden.  It was the second time I had ever been there and the first in four years!  Last time I was there it was for the State Fair (which is a crazy awesome State Fair) and so this time I was excited to just sort of hang out and explore Minneapolis.  

We drove there (6.5 hours each way) which means that my weekend felt really short!  We had a great time, but now I feel a little crazed.  I'm up at 5:15 (instead of 4:45) and instead of going to my workout class, I decided to sleep a little longer and get to school a little earlier to catch up on some work and get ready for the week.  

Today is going to be exhausting.  I have school and then after school cheer practice and then after practice we are cheering at a soccer game.  It's an away game so that means I have to go on the bus with the team and then come back.  Last time we did this, I did not get to leave school until after 7:30.  I guess it could be crazier.  Like if this was a night football game it would be much later.  But, after my whirlwind weekend, I know I am going to be beat later.  

Anyways, it has been a little over two weeks since I decided to be healthier, lose a few pounds, and focus on strength training as well as running.  That means that I am running less (way less compared to marathon training) and I am focusing on what I eat more and more.  This recipe is the perfect thing to share.  Plus, Bri has the day off and promised to go grocery shopping and I want to make sure he has a good list of things to buy...(so if you're reading this, Bri, make sure to get these ingredients!).   I made this Thai Quinoa Veggie Salad a while ago, but I never got around to sharing it.  Today it is the perfect thing to share!  This recipe is super simple, the ingredients are awesome for you and on top of it, it is Vegetarian, Gluten Free, and Vegan! 

Thai Quinoa Veggie Salad
(adapted from Avocado Pesto)

1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to directions
1 red onion, diced
1/2 cup grated carrots
2-3 tbsp cilantro, chopped, to taste
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
4 tbsp peanuts, chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp tamari (make sure you use gluten free if that is what you are going for!)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic powder

1. Cook quinoa according to directions and then when it is done, place in a large bowl to cool and combine with the broccoli, red onion, grated carrots, cilantro, green onions, and peanuts.
2. Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together.  Then, add half the dressing to the bowl and toss everything with the dressing.  Give it a taste and add more dressing as needed.  

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Veggie Sandwiches on Homemade Pretzel Rolls

Remember that time I made Homemade Pretzel Rolls?  Well, then I made some seriously awesome sandwiches with said rolls.  This is their story:

Bri and I love food.  Bri is a vegetarian.  I am trying to eat a little healthier and I've been trying out all sorts of fun veggie-filled recipes.  Then, I came across this recipe and I was like "OMG I HAVE TO MAKE SOMETHING LIKE THAT!"

So that's how these Veggie Sandwiches came to be.  I had one for lunch at school and made everyone a little jealous.  Now I am just drooling thinking about them.  

School has been pretty great lately.  My students did a fantastic job on their last quiz and I am excited by how well they are doing overall!  We are in the middle of a unit on solving systems of equations, inequalities, and matrices.  It's pretty fun.  My cheer-girls are also awesome.  They had their first pep rally on Friday and it was a total success.  They did this amazing cheer, dance, and stunt and it was so cool to see them looking so happy and doing such a great job.  I am coming up with a new dance for them and I am also working on incorporating some fun math activities for my students.  I'll keep you all posted! 

Veggie Sandwiches on Homemade Pretzel Rolls

2 portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 red pepper, sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
1 avocado, sliced
Goat Cheese Spread:
8 oz goat cheese
1 bulb of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
Red Pepper Sauce:
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1. You need to roast the whole bulb of garlic for the goat cheese spread.  Cut off the base of the bulb so that the cloves are visible.  Place this on a piece of tinfoil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap in the tinfoil and place in the oven for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.  Once done, you should be able to squeeze the roasted garlic cloves right out of the bulb.
2. Make the roasted red pepper sauce: In a food processor, place all the ingredients except for the olive oil and salt/pepper.  Process until you have a smooth sauce then continue to process as you add in the olive oil.  Stir in the salt and pepper to your taste.  Set aside.
3. Wrap the sliced portabellas in tinfoil with the 1 minced garlic clove for the sandwiches and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Place foil packet in a small pan over the stove and heat over warm until the mushrooms are cooked, about 5-10 minutes.  
4. Wrap the sliced peppers and onion in a packet of tinfoil: Place all the veggies on the tinfoil and then sprinkle with 2 tbsp of olive oil, the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper and paprika.  Wrap the veggies up and place in a pan over the stove.  Heat on warm until veggies become translucent, about 10-15 minutes.  
5.  Once veggies are done, remove from heat.
6. Make the goat cheese spread, once your garlic bulb is roasted, squeeze the cloves out into a food processor with the goat cheese, basil, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Process with adding in the 2 tbsp of olive oil until you have a nice spread.  Use a spatula to get the goat cheese into a bowl.  (I ended up with a lot of extra of this stuff so place it in a container so you can put it in the fridge when you are done.)
7.  Assemble the sandwiches!  Spread some goat cheese on one piece of bun and some red pepper sauce on the other piece.  Place some peppers and mushrooms over the goat cheese and then top with a slice of avocado.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

3 Bean Vegetarian Chili

I love meals that are super easy and super delicious.  This is definitely one of those.  All you do is throw a bunch of stuff into a pot, let it get warm, and then enjoy!  Now that the weather is getting colder, this is the perfect type of meal to come home to.  

In other news, I'm a cheer coach at my school and this is the first year we have a cheer team.  Almost none of the girls had any prior experience and we just had our first game!  It was so exciting to see them out there cheering and they did a really great job.  I love that I became involved in this and I can't wait for more games.  This Friday we have a pep rally and the girl's are performing a cheer and a dance.  They're pretty nervous, but they are looking so great!  They have worked really hard and it is exciting to see them become so invested in something.  Today we have a practice and then a dinner where we are going to hang out about make some cheer bows!  It's gonna be awesome.  

So, although tonight I am having pizza with my cheerleaders, I still wanted to share this great chili recipe that I made recently.  Then, I can't wait to share how the bow-making goes and how the pep rally goes tomorrow!  The chili recipe is totally relevant because now that cheer is taking over my afternoons, I ahve less time to cook when I get home!  This chili recipe is going to be making quite a few appearances in our apartment in the near future...

3 Bean Vegetarian Chili
(adapted from Cait's Plate)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 red peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp southwest chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
Toppings: Crumbled Goat Cheddar Cheese (optional)

1. In a large pot, over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add in the peppers and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  
2. Serve with whatever toppings you want.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wedding Planning Wednesday: Invitations

I'm pretty ahead of the game right now.  Invitations don't need to go out until 2 months before the big day.  However, my cousin Jenny is like the DIY Invitation Queen and she offered to meet with me to help me shop and decide on invites.  So far, I have been gravitating towards the ones I found on Etsy, but I have also looked at PaperSource, and Minted.

If anyone has any suggestions for me, please let me know!

I like the look of something more casual or vintage and I don't want to break the bank!

Here are some of the ones I found that I think are great:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Homemade Pretzel Rolls

After you run a marathon, you get this special "eat whatever you want" pass.  This can be dangerous with me since I'll crave something weird and then I'll go an make it.  However, this year I didn't really crave anything that strange.  I have been super into pretzel things lately though.  I decided that I needed to make my own pretzel rolls and then I used them to make sandwiches for lunch or dinner.  They were pretty simple to make.  You just need a lot of time since you have to let the dough rise.  As a post-marathon snack.  These guys are great since they are filling and a little salty.  For a school lunch, they are also amazing since they are a little bigger than slider sized.  They made for the perfect sized sandwich when I don't have a ton of time to eat!  

Today I have to go back to school after a long weekend.  That is always a little tough.  However, I am excited to see my students and get back into a routine.  I am also trying to get myself moving again so that I can work through some of my soreness.  So, I am up early and I am going to walk on the treadmill in my building.  I'm hoping that once I start I'll feel better.  

I am also planning on heading over the LA Fitness sometime this week for a morning class.  I haven't been there in a really long time and I feel guilty about having this gym membership that I haven't been using.  So, I am going to pack a shower bag and try out a morning workout at the gym.  

Then, since I'm getting my workouts done in the morning, I will have more time to make these awesome rolls again in the afternoon! 

Homemade Pretzel Rolls
(adapted from Mel's Kitchen)

1 tbsp active yeast
2 tbsp canola oil
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp kosher salt
6 1/2-8 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
3 quarts water
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup baking soda
salt for sprinkling

1. Heat the milk and water in the microwave for about a minute.  They should be warm.  Then, in a large bowl, combine the yeast, canola oil, milk, water, and salt.
2. Using a mixer, a spoon, or your hands.  Start to add in 6 cups of flour.  Mix until you have a dough-like consistency.  Add flour as needed so that it is not too sticky.  Once your dough comes together, knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should form a ball and be slightly springy.
3. Grease a separate, large bowl and place the dough in.  Cover with a towel and pace in a draft-free area for about 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. 
4. Punch down the risen dough and start to peel off pieces to make small balls.  You should end up with 16 balls of dough.  Gently roll each ball and let sit on a baking tray or the counter for about 20 minutes.  
5. While the dough balls are resting, pour the 3 quarts of water, sugar and baking soda into a large pot.  Bring to a boil on the stove.  
6. Take 4 balls of dough at a time, pinch one side of the dough to gather it into a ball-like shape and place in the boiling water.  Let them boil on each side for 30 seconds - 1minute each.  Place each finished piece of dough on a lightly greased or parchment covered baking pan.  Repeat this process with all the dough pieces.
7. Preheat the oven to 425.
8.  Using  a very sharp knife, slice a few slits into each ball of dough.  Sprinkle some coarse salt over each one.
9.  Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Second Marathon!

Guys...I killed it!  It was 15 degrees hotter than last year and the last three miles were tough, but yesterday, I finished the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Plus, I did it in 4 hours, 30  minutes, and 7 seconds.  This is 7 minutes FASTER than last year!  It was amazing. 

I got ready by laying out all my clothes and gear bag the night before and I went to Caro Mio for a delicious pasta dinner.  I had one glass of wine with dinner (I figured it might help me fall asleep) and I didn't overeat.  I just enjoyed my pasta until I was full and brought home leftovers.  Then in the morning, I got dressed, ate breakfast, drank coffee, and took some advil.  I also made sure my name was stuck to my shirt and put on sunscreen.  Finally, I took my running belt with 4 Gu's, chapstick (for chafing), my phone and headphones and I was ready to go.  I wore a long sleeve throw-away shirt over everything since it was chilly and it was perfect.  

All ready to go!
Lauren and I are ready!
It was her first marathon and she killed it as well! 
Around mile 15 I found Bri!
After the race, I felt so stiff and so awesome all at once.  Like I said earlier, it was hot so the last 3 miles up Michigan Avenue were tough.  Then, you have to power through this stupid hill on Roosevelt.  But then, you can see the finish.  I didn't think about how tired or hot or sore I was, I just ran and it was awesome.  Here are some after shots:

Right after...

Celebrating with our families and friends!

And this is the best WHATEVER you want :)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thirsty Thursday: Fall Moscow Mules

Last night I went to a Team Have Dreams pasta dinner party! It was so nice to meet other members of team have dreams.  We talked about how we are getting ready for the big marathon day and experienced runners shared stories and advice.  Plus, we had so much pasta and pizza!  It was a really nice evening and it always amazes me how much you have to talk about with other people who are also running a marathon.  I only have a few more days left until the big day! 

So, I just ran my last TWO miles! Yep, only two.  I feel very excited and I can't believe the next time I run it will be in the Chicago Marathon!  Woo!

Last weekend, my buddy Caryn came over.  As we were getting ready for a girl's night out with dinner and wine, we decided it would be a splendid idea to make some Moscow Mules.  I am a huge fan and I decided to put a little twist on it so that it would be fall themed.  I found some ginger vodka at the store and delicious apple cider and I was ready to go.  It was a great tasting drink and we loved how the apple cider really went well with the ginger.  I don't have the cute copper mugs (I registered for them!), but the drink was still great!  If you are looking for a cold, fall cocktail, this is the one!

Fall Moscow Mules

2 oz. ginger vodka
2 oz. apple cider
juice of 1/8 lime (or more to taste)
ginger beer (get some high quality stuff)

1. Pour the vodka, apple cider, and lime juice into your cup.  Then, add the ginger beer.  About a 1/2 cup works well.  Add ice and serve! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wedding Planning Wednesday: Save the Dates

I ordered Save the Dates!!!

I used Shutterfly and I waited until they were offering a 50% off coupon.  So, I ended up with a great deal.  We are expecting to invite about 300 guests (I know...its huge), and so I was told that I should order 200.  However, it was $2 more to buy 225 and I figured I would do that just to be safe.  I know that you only need to send 1 to couples and such, but I wanted to have enough and I figured they would be a nice keepsake as well.

Here are some of the designs that I was considering:

Plus, we used 3 of our engagement photos on the cards and they look so pretty :)  You all will just have to wait to see the finished product!  OOOH! And, it's a magnet! I can't wait to get them and then start sending them out!

Also, my friend, Caryn, has been calling them "StDs," which I think it pretty hilarious and every time I think about my Save the Dates I giggle a little...but anyways...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Spring Veggie Pasta

I only have 6 miles left to do on my marathon training plan.  The race is super close and I figured I would share a yummy pasta dish in honor of all the carb loading I've been doing.  I ate this for dinner the night before my big 20 mile run and I felt great.  It was a pasta dish filled with great flavors and I loved the way the roasted broccolini and tomatoes came out.  I used whole wheat pasta and the whole thing ended up being a really healthy way to get some good carbs in your diet.  

Tomorrow I have a 4 mile run and then Thursday is a 2 mile run and then that is it! I am ready to run Chicago's fantastic 26.2 mile route!

School this week is also somehow flying by.  I'm not sure if it is excitement or nerves, but the time is just slipping right by me.  Plus, Wednesday is a testing day where I am proctoring the ACT and Friday is an Institute Day with no students.  Then, we also have Monday off for Columbus Day.  All this is making this, plus the marathon is making this week feel extra special and super strange.  Today my students are starting some graphing work for precalculus and my AP guys are getting ready for a test on Thursday.  I am trying real hard to stay focused, but I honestly feel a bit all over the place! Then, I also have cheer practice, but that is mostly just a lot of fun and the team is getting really good!

So to wrap up, this week is crazy, this pasta is crazy good, and I am a bit of a scattered-brained, mess.  So head over to Food & Wine for this pasta recipe, it is really yummy.  I followed everything pretty exactly except for the fact that I used whole wheat linguini and instead of shaved ricotta salata cheese (my grocery store did not have any), I used a hard goat cheddar cheese (which was super delish).  Have fun and enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Marathon Training Monday: The Final Countdown

9 miles left.

That's it! This past Saturday was the last training run with my CARA buddies.  We ran 8 miles and it didn't even feel like anything.  I feel great.  I am so excited. And now it is time to run these last 9 miles (3, 4, 2) and prepare for the big day: Sunday.  

This week is all about rest and food.  Nutrition is so important at this point and I am getting ready by eating my carbs, but not overdoing it.  I am wearing flats to school so that I don't put extra stress on my feet and ankles.  I am also planning out this upcoming weekend.  

The day before, my parents are coming down to Chicago for brunch and then we are all going to head to the expo together to pick up my race swag and check out all the vendors.  The expo is pretty great and I am excited to shop for a new marathon clothing item.  Then, we are going to head back to our apartment to chill before a delish pasta dinner st Caro Mio.  I can't wait and it should be the perfect day before the big one. 

So, the next time I talk about marathons, I'll have finished my second one! Wish me luck :) 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Crock Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

School has been going really well.  Cheer practice has started, we are already starting Unit 3 for math, and it has been so much fun getting to know my students.  I even got the chance to chaperone a field trip to a college fair with the juniors.  They were super into it and it was really great to see.  I love that I get to help them out and be part of the whole picking out colleges experience.  

I have also been busy with wedding planning, as the days count down, we are starting to get more and more into the smaller details.  This means lots of decision making, which is not always my strong suit.  However, it also means lots of fun and excitement which is what I am focusing on. 

And on top of all that, the marathon is right around the corner! I have 4 training runs left and 11 days until the big race!  I am super pumped, but also starting to get nervous! 

Now, for this recipe.  It was one of the easiest meals I had ever made and it made for some really great school lunches.  All you have to do is dump all the stuff into your crock pot, wait, and then enjoy! Can it get any easier?  Plus, it was really tasty.  I would put some of the chicken mixture into my school pyrex container, sprinkle a little cheese on top, and then add some avocado slices if I was feeling really fancy.  Yum! 

Crock Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
(adapted from The Kitchn)

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock (I used vegetable stock because it was what I already had in the fridge)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 cup brown rice
1 15 oz can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
Optional: Salsa, Guacamole, Avocado, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Green Onion...etc.

1. Wash chicken and pat dry.  Place in the crock pot.  Put tomatoes, 1/2 cup stock, chili powder, salt, and cumin in as well.  Cook on low for 4 hours.
2. After about 4 hours, add in the black beans, brown rice, and corn.  Cook on low for another 3-4 hours.
3. Serve with a little melted cheese, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream or greek yogurt! It's really up to you!

Enjoy :)