Thursday, April 28, 2016

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

I just finished my last training run for my marathon.  This week was sort of silly, but it was the final week of taper so really it was just about staying loose and feeling comfortable.  At this point in training, you are totally ready for the marathon so this week I just ran 3, 3, and then 2.  I don't want to tire myself out and I want to stay ready.  I just finished my 2 miles and I feel great! I am nervous, but so excited.

In honor of traveling to Nashville for the weekend, I decided to share a recipe for some good-old biscuits.  I saw the recipe on Cook's Illustrated and then I adapted it to use my favorite whole wheat flour.  They came out AMAZING! I ate these with everything! Chilli, butter and jelly, some peanut butter, anything!  They were flaky and super tasty and I was in love.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen for about 20 minutes
1 1/4 cups light buttermilk, cold

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, toss the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Coat the butter with some of the flour mixture and then using a cheese grater, grate 14 tbsp of butter into the flour mixture.  Toss to combine.
3. Pour in the buttermilk and using a spatula, fold until it is combine.
4. Dump mixture out onto a well-floured surface and use your hands to shape the mixture into a rough square.  Roll the mixture out using a rolling pin (or if you're me, a wine bottle!).  You want to create about a 12 by 9 inch rectangle.  Then, fold this into thirds like a business letter about to go into an envelope.  Then, roll it out the perpendicular (see? math!) direction from where you rolled before into a 12 by 9 inch rectangle and then fold into thirds again.  Continue to do this for a total of 5 folds.

5. Roll the dough out into a square so that the dough is about 1 inch thick.  Cut into squares using a sharp knife.  Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Melt the last 2 tbsp of butter and brush the tops of each biscuit with butter.

7. Place on the upper-middle rack of your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.   Biscuits should be golden.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Dallas Adventure

This past weekend I was in Dallas hanging with some of Bri's Wash U besties.  Bri was roommates with Stephen and Amy and they are now engaged! We had a fabulous time exploring their neighborhood and eating tons of food.  It was a great weekend and here are some highlights:

We took a tour of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  This was super cool because you even get to go onto the field! I even did a cartwheel on the football field because...why not?
We had a couple amazing breakfasts as you can see below:  

We got breakfast tacos at Tacodeli.  This place was super great and even had a salsa bar where you could sample all of their salsas! They also do lunch and dinner. 
I did my usual Saturday morning run and then we went to Cafe Brazil.  I ordered the Vegetarian Migas and it was one of the greatest post-run breakfasts I have ever enjoyed.  They also have this amazing selection of coffee at their coffee bar and you are allowed to get as many cups as you want!  
Our final morning was spent at The Meddlesome Moth eating one of the best brunches I have ever had.  We had coffee from individual french presses, mimosas, and I ordered the omelet.  
We also went to some great places for Lunch/Dinner/Beer: 

This Bahn Mi Sandwich came from this amazing food truck that was parked alongside a bunch of food trucks in a park in downtown Dallas.  This was awesome and the park was adorable! 

This amazing BBQ came from the Lockhart Smokehouse.  When in Dallas, one must eat some BBQ! Get the it.

Like Chipotle for Pizza lovers, Pizza Snob was a must try as Bri is a HUGE pizza fan! I got the Buffalo Chicken Pizza and it was so good I took a bite before remembering to take a photo! 

Go to Emporium Pies.  Eat all the pies....

The Highland Park Soda Fountain is a cute little dive that has amazing milkshakes and just plain good grilled cheese.  I got chocolate, but Bri got cherry and Stephen ended up with Strawberry.  We were all very happy. 

We went to a great bar called Luck and sampled a ton of good Texas beer.  Then, we walked over to the brewery next door, Four Corners, and tried some of their stuff as well! 
I swear we did more than eat!  We shopped, walked around cute areas, and spent a good amount of time at the Fort Worth Stockyards: 
Engaged Cowgirls :) 

It was a truly amazing trip!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Marathon Training Monday: Eventbrite and my Favorite Races

So, something super cool happened recently.  Eventbrite inspired me to chat about some of my favorite races.  Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform.  You can use them to create your own events!  Just go to their Event Planning and Management page and sign up!  They help you get organized and get everything you need to get your event planned and make it happen!

Races are obviously some of my favorite events.  One of my favorite races of all time was the Chicago Marathon.  It is such a terrific event and although I was super nervous to be running a marathon, the event was so well run that it made a lot of my anxieties go away and I could just focus on being there and running well.  I felt like I just had to talk about this phenomenal race today because I was just accepted through the lottery system to run it for my THIRD time!

To prepare for a marathon, I start the week before.  I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, I eat normally (I don't try anything new), and I wear comfortable footwear.  I start to lay out everything that I will need for race day a few days in advance.  This includes my running outfit, but also my energy gus, sunscreen, chapstick, advil and whatever else I feel like I may need.  Then, I make a reservation at an Italian restaurant for the night before so I can get that typical carb-loading dinner in.  Basically, I have everything planned out and ready to go.  The Chicago Marathon itself is very much the same way.  They have everything super organized and well planned.  When you get there crazy early in the morning and you are feeling nervous, there are plenty of volunteers and signs helping you find your way.  They also have tons of water and gatorade, supplies you may need, and tents for you to change in just in case you need that space.  They are playing music and the overall atmosphere is just inspiring.  This is what really gets me into running and makes me want to run more!

Eventbrite is really great because you can create your own events and they support you by helping with all the logistics as well as the web page.  If I were to create an event, I would want it to embody the same sort of spirit as well as organization as the Chicago Marathon.  Maybe one day I will host my own event!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marathon Training Monday: The 20 Miler!

Ok, so it is Tuesday, but I was super lazy and didn't post yesterday.  I am feeling super lazy because this past weekend was moving weekend and the 20 miler.  Basically, I am super exhausted.  However, I am also super proud that I completed the 20 miler.

This past Saturday, I ran 20 miles along the Chicago Lake Shore Path.  It was the most difficult and most miserable run I have ever been apart of.  For 10 miles, we ran on ice (take a look at that pic above) and then for another 10 miles we ran into super strong/cold wind.  My face felt destroyed and my legs were hurting so much by the end.  I started the run nervous because I was already sore from moving.  Then, that ice just made me miserable.  You run differently on ice and you hold a lot of strain in your body.  Thus, I am still a little sore.  I also know that if I can do what I did on Saturday, I can definitely run a marathon.  AND, the plus side is now it is TAPER TIME!

Taper means we run less and less over the next few weeks in preparation for race day.  I am officially 18 days from race day and I couldn't be more excited to be at this point and finally tapering.  This week the mileage is 5, 8, 5 and 12.  I know this still sounds like a lot, but it is a far cry from last week's 6, 8, 6, 20.  So, I am very excited.

At this point in training, I am also hungry all of the time! It is sort of crazy.  So, I keep a lot of high protein snacks (like almonds or greek yogurt) nearby at all times.  I also celebrated the completion of the 20 miler with a bloody mary/brunch at Roots.  You even get a mozzarella stick on top of your bloody mary!

I am also stretching and resting as much as I can and I only wear comfy flats to school.  Overall, I am trying my best to take care of myself and get ready for the big day!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Clean Out Your Pantry Quinoa Enchilada Bake

IT'S MOVING DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ARGH! I am so excited!  I have this ginormous container of Quinoa Enchilada Bake because I literally put everything I could from our pantry into a giant mixture of cooked quinoa and baked it.  We have been eating it for a week, but it is delicious and it is all we have left in our fridge!  Why? BECAUSE WE ARE MOVING TODAY!

We close on our condo this afternoon.  That's right!  WE ARE GOING TO BE HOMEOWNERS IN 4 HOURS!

I couldn't be more excited and I can't believe I am at this stage of my life.  This is amazing!  I feel so proud to have a career and the ability to do this and I can't wait to make a home with Bri.  Also, it is exactly 4 months until our wedding from today and that also makes me smile from ear to ear.

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

2 cups uncooked quinoa
6 cups water
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 onion, sliced
olive oil
4 tbsp cilantro
4 tsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup (or so...) shredded cheddar cheese
extra cheese (your choice) to sprinkle on top

1. Place quinoa and water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork when you are done.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, place the onion slices in a pan with 2 tbsp of oilve oil and cook over medium heat until nice and caramelized.
3. Pour some enchilada sauce in a 13 by 9 inch pan and preheat oven to 350.
4. In a large bowl, place the beans, chickpeas, corn, cooked onion, cilantro, adobo sauce, and all the spices.  Toss with the shredded cheddar.  Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the mixture and toss to combine.  5. Once the quinoa is done, stir in the rest of the ingredients and pour into your prepared pan.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and cover with tinfoil.  Cook for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wedding Planning Wednesday

We are about 4 months away from the big day!

Everything is pretty much done, but we are working on fine tuning and small details.

Here is what I have going on:

1. We got our reception shoes!
2. We are in the process of booking a trolley to schlep the wedding party from the hotel where we are getting ready to the venue with one stop in between for photos.
3. We booked the makeup artist and scheduled times for makeup and prep for the day of
4. I found super cute "walking down the aisle" shoes.
5. We met with the Rabbi to go over ceremony details.
6. I am going wedding invite shopping on Sunday to order paper and have our invites printed.
7. My wedding dress is in and my fittings are scheduled.

So, I feel pretty accomplished.  I can't believe we have so much done and I really haven't felt stressed at all.  We have been making decisions, keeping track of a check list and getting things done.  Now, I have some pretty fun stuff to look forward to!  We are sending out our invites in June, my first wedding shower is in May and the other two (yes there are three total) are in June.  Plus, my MOH (maid of honor) has been amazing and she is working on planning the details of my bachelorette weekend and Bri's family is getting all the rehearsal dinner details set up and ready to go.  I can't wait to start celebrating and I am so excited for what is to come.  I am incredibly appreciative of everything people are doing for us and so far it has just been so wonderful.  What a great way to get ready for a wedding!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Clean Out Your Pantry Cookie Bars

I'm moving in THREE days!  I can't believe it!  We are buying our own condo and I couldn't be more excited.  This past week we have been packing up boxes, cleaning, and getting things in order.  I decided that I was going to cook/bake things that I had all the ingredients for already so that I could clean out the pantry/fridge.  This was the inspiration behind these cookie bars and I've gotta say, it was a great plan.

I only had white whole wheat flour left in the pantry so I used that.  I had more brown sugar than regular sugar, so I used more brown sugar.  And, I already had open bags of peanut butter chips and dark chocolate chips.  I figured that with that combo, I really couldn't go wrong.  Then, just for kicks, I threw in some old-fashioned oats as well.  Why not, right?  These cookie bars are super yummy!!!! I may have to host my own edition of chopped: clean-out-your-pantry-style.   It could be the next big reality show!  I would go to different houses of people who are moving and you would have to cook with whatever they had.  The Goal: make something amazing that uses as many ingredients as possible so that the pantry is clean when you are done.  I feel like I am onto something big here.  Feel free to contact my agent...

Anyways, I have been really busy getting ready for the move and I am grateful that I decided to take off half of Thursday and all of Friday so that I can just focus on moving and getting all settled in our new home.  I have an amazing kitchen waiting for me and I can't wait to beak it in!

Clean Out Your Pantry Cookie Bars
(Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars)

3 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
sea salt

1. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 inch pan and preheat the oven to 350.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cornstarch, and oats.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg until well combined.  Beat in the egg white until well combined.  Beat in the vanilla.
4. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Stir in the peanut butter chips and dark chocolate chips.
5. Spread the batter out in your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  The cookie bars should be slightly browned around the edge of the pan.  Let cool for 20 minutes.  Cut into bars!

Enjoy :)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Marathon Training Mondays

I can't believe it's April.  It is snowing! Ugh.  My run on Saturday was a 14 mile run which I was excited about because it was a taper run (it is the longest "taper" run).  However, as we ran those 14 miles, it SNOWED.  And, it wasn't just pleasant flurries, nope, it was horrible, wet, blowing in your face, snow.  At this point in training, I would love for it to get warm because I want to sort of dress how I will dress for Nashville.  My actual marathon may be significantly warmer than any of the training runs leading up to it.

To account for this, my running group leader suggested taking really steamy showers just to get used to being warm.  Also, running indoors, while super boring, can allow you to at least get used to the clothing that you will wear for the actual race.

This week is peak week.  This means that I will be running about 40 miles in one week.  This week culminates with the 20-miler.  20 miles is the longest run that I will do before actual race day.  I can't believe I am already at this point!  Today I am planning to run 8, then I just have to run 6 and 6 on two other days.  It is going to be tough, but I am excited and I can't wait to get that 20 miler over with! Wish me luck!