Category Archives: Dinner

Things I Highly Approve Of

Ahhhh….the weekend. A time for rest. A time for relaxation. A time for carefree enjoyment and jubilance.

In honor of the weekend, I present to you a list of things I highly approve of, particularly on weekends….

1) Taking the time to try out any recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks.

My mom and I joined forces this past Friday in an effort to make Heidi’s Spinach Rice Gratin, a delicious casserole dish made of brown rice, tofu, spinach, shredded gruyere, olive oil, eggs, pine nuts, and olives.

It was basically heaven in a casserole form. Who knew?

Before spending some quality time in the oven:

After + garnish:

Oh baby. Oh baby. It reminded me of a lighter version of a quiche.

My only  complaint about the recipe revolves around the number of serving sizes the recipe is supposed to produce. Reportedly, it serves 8-12. In reality, it served my mom, my dad, and myself. That’s it. We finished the whole damn thing in one sitting….

I don’t know if this says more about my family’s collectively exorbitant appetite or Heidi’s understanding of portion sizes. On second thought, don’t answer that….

I would definitely agree that the recipe serves 8-12 if the 8-12 in question are midget chipmunks. In all fairness, I think it could possibly serve six people, provided there are lots of side dishes to supplement it. But if that’s the only thing going on at the dinner table, it serves three or four. Tops. Actually, I could probably eat the whole thing in a sitting if I really put my mind (or stomach) to it. Don’t believe this 8-12 business.

2) A cat in a bucket.

That’s right…no need to be suspicious now. I will say it again: A cat in a bucket.

Such an entity provides hours of quality entertainment.

Provided the cat is not sleeping in said bucket, which is a high probability when it comes to cats. See what I mean?

3) Using cross-training days in the marathon training schedule as an excuse to do nothing but stretch. Today, I spent 30 minutes doing easy Hatha yoga (aka. yoga for 90-year olds), and I loved every second of it. Who needs heart-thumping power yoga when you can instead lounge on a mat for half an hour? That’s exercise, now. No judgements.

4) Lemon Drop Martinis.

I’m not the biggest fan of hard alcohol. But for the lemon drop, I will make an exception. It’s achieves the perfect balance between sweet and tart. Just like my personality? Maybe?

5) A nice dinner out with the family.

This is a picture of my aunt Deb and I while under the influence of the Lemon Drops mentioned above. My mom, the photographer, is probably also exhibiting effects of the lemon drop martinis. Notice the complete lack of focus in the picture. Way to go, Mom. One lemon drop martini, and the photography abilities go right out the window. 🙂

Besides exhibiting an obvious enjoyment of martinis, the fam and I also ate a lot of food. A lot of really good food. Food that I certainly will not be able to afford once I start up with my AmeriCorps job in a few weeks.

With my parents footing the bill, I enjoyed the likes of:

Oysters on the rocks

Lobster salad with caramelized pine nuts, grapefruit wedges, and a honey olive oil dressing of sorts. BEST course of the night!

Sea scallops with truffle risotto, green beans, and grilled summer squash.

My aunt’s dish, a seafood pasta concoction of sorts, was also beautiful, so of course, I had to take a picture of it. I am a food blogger, after all.

Honestly, can you every go wrong with having that many mussels in your seafood pasta dish? I think not. Usually, restaurants are skimpy on the mussel front, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that the entire Pacific Ocean’s mussel supply had arrived on my aunt’s dinner plate.

And don’t think for a second that we, as a family unit, had any trouble whatsoever finishing all those mussels. As I mentioned above, my family members are known for their “healthy” appetites. If that’s what you want to call it….My aunt, however, wasn’t in the mood to eat the entire truckload of mussels for dinner, so I transferred some of them onto my plate and devoured them within 0.2 seconds. It was quite the sacrifice I made.

I’m telling you. The things I’ll do for family….

Question: What is your alcoholic beverage of choice (and if you’re underage, what is your “theoretical” alcoholic beverage of choice)?

I’m a wine gal for the most part, but obvious exceptions will be made when lemon is involved.

East And West

First of all, I just wanted to thank each and every one of you who commented on my previous post. Reading your tales of running woes and the lessons you learned from them really made my day. You guys have so much to say, and I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of such a vibrant, intelligent, and supportive community. In a nutshell, you all rock, and I’m taking all of your encouragement with me into my next long run. 🙂

So, as you may have noticed, I’ve been a bad food blogger as of late. The food pics have been few and far between.

Please accept the following pictures as my form of an apology. They feature a sampling of the international flavors I’ve enjoyed over the past few days.

From West:

An all-American classic: Turkey burgers with horseradish sauce, cheddar cheese, diced peppers, onions, salt, and pepper.

Adding horseradish sauce to turkey burger patties is a stroke of genius that I credit to my mum. They add great flavor to the burgers! That and the cheese. If there’s one thing I know in this life, it’s that you can never have too much cheese in your burger patties. Never.

To East:

A take on spicy Thai stir-fry: Marinaded pork tenderloin stir-fry with sprouts, bell peppers, asparagus, lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and garlic.

Colorful veggies galore!

Many of my favorite meals are wok-based. Some veggies, some flavorful meat, a little brown rice on the side. A perfectly balanced and delicious meal.

And back to the West again.

That cornhusk-wrapped classic of Latin American cuisine: tamales!

My sis picked up some of these bad boys at a tamale shack in the middle of Nowheresville, CO on her way to Breckenridge a few days ago. I enjoyed one cheese and one chicken enchilada for lunch today…

My favorite part of eating tamales is unwrapping them from their little husks. So fun! Or at least, I find it fun to do this. Then again, I’m weird.

Mmmm….doughy cheesy corn-based deliciousness.

One of these days, I’m going to have figure out how to make tamales on my own, but for now, I’ll just enjoy them straight from my fridge. Trust me, the people who work at the tamale shop in Nowheresville, CO know what they’re doing.

Question: Which type of cuisine do you prefer most often? American, Asian, or Latin American?

Killer Hills

Take a good, hard look at this scenery.

Looks pretty, doesn’t it? Awe-inspiring, I might daresay.

But this scenery has a malevolent side. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies and blue skies. Far from it.

This scenery handed me my sorry runner booty on a platter today, and it wasn’t a pretty thing.

Today, I ran 10 HILLY miles amongst the gorgeous terrain featured in this photo. This particular area is a mere city park here in Colorado Springs. Can you believe that? A city park! In any other state, it would at least be a state park, but we have an abundance of scenery riches here in Colorado. One can’t go around naming everything a state or national park. The whole damn state would be a national park if we were going on the basis of looks alone.

See what I mean?

Anyway, this run was probably the toughest and most arduous run of my life. No joke. Tougher than both of the half marathons I’ve run and any other training run that preceded it. It KILLED.

This lovely park, appropriately named “Garden of the Gods,” is one of the toughest places to run in Colorado Springs, and I know this. I know this, and yet I still thought it would be a grand idea to do my weekly long run amongst the killer trails and endless hills of this area.

I shake my head in shame at my own stupidity. Oh, silly and misguided Lindsay…..thinking I could tackle the killer hills for miles on end.

It didn’t help matters that it was incredibly dry and sunny out today. I had to loop back to my car for water bottle refills several times because I was going through my water much faster than I had anticipated.

This was where I started the run. Home base, if you will. I made several trips back to this area during the run to refill the water bottles and refuel.

I also started this run a little later than I meant to- 9:30 instead of 7:00. Those extra two and a half hours between my original start time and my actual start time led to a significantly higher temperature that I had to combat throughout the run.

A mile and a half into my run (which starts straight up a steep incline and never relents….the park literally has no flat parts. It’s all steep hills!), my legs were beginning to burn.

In all ways possible. My muscles burned, and I also acquired a sunburn on the backs of my calves! Double whammy. The fierce Colorado sun sure can do a number on someone with fair skin like mine.

Due to these circumstances, I decided to throw all expectations for this run out the window. I just wanted to survive it. That was all….

I slowed down my pace a fair amount, so I could contend with the hills (and I am quite proud of myself for conquering the vast majority of them, some of which extended for a mile and a half at a whack). I also took a few walking breaks when the muscle burn became too much. Mentally, this run seemed endless; and physically, it was just painful.

But I survived. I survived, and I feel that the experience has served as worthy preparation for those last few miles of the marathon, when I imagine I’ll be feeling quite similarly to the way I felt today.

When you just want it all to be over with, but you have to force yourself to keep going, to dig in deep to whatever reserves of energy you have stored deep within you and use it to get you through the run.

That’s what I did today, and I’m proud of myself for it.

It doesn’t hurt that I had these views as the reward for my efforts. Beautiful mountain views ALWAYS motivate and inspire me.

Dinner

For dinner tonight, I had a soup n’ sandwich combo platter. I might have even made the sandwich all by myself- my first attempt at “cooking” in more days than I’d like to admit (that is, if you can call assembling a sandwich “cooking”). For my sake, let’s just roll with it.

The soup of the day was a lovely gazpacho (…made by mom…).

The featured sandwich (made by me!) was a turkey havarti melt with spinach and cilantro-mint pesto on a whole wheat sandwich thin.

Yum, yum. I love any and all melted cheese action. The havarti paired nicely with the pesto too.

Question: What’s the toughest run (or workout) you’ve ever had? Did you find it demoralizing or motivational?

May or May Not

After an extended absence over the weekend, I am finally back and in blogging action! Kinda…

Things I may or may not have done this weekend included:

  • An oatmeal photoshoot. It’s been far too long since I’ve captured the beauty of this breakfast for the camera. Work it, oatmeal.

Coach’s Oats, milk, blueberries, 1/2 banana whipped, flaxseed, Barney Butter, and granola.

Beautiful….just beautiful. It practically bring tears to my eyes…and if my tastebuds could weep, they would have as well. Oatmeal just does that to me (…just when I thought I couldn’t get any stranger, I write out the previous sentence and mean it…). Tell me I’m not the only one who harbors such affection for the oaty goodness!

The Oatmeal Mullet: Spoon in the front, party in the back.

Where the focus should always be…

  • A visit to Boulder for apartment hunting and general exploring. I have officially decided that I am moving to a land of crazy hippies, and it will be glorious.

My future roommates and I took a stroll along the Pearl Street Mall, a large outdoor pedestrian center filled with cute boutiques….

….and crazy hippy street performers. This guy was juggling flaming batons on a 10 foot unicycle.

Pretty impressive, if you ask me.

  • Signed a lease for a beautiful townhouse in the north Boulder area. It was SUCH a relief to have an official place to live next month when I start work up in Boulder. It doesn’t hurt that the townhouse has sick mountain views.

I will be waking up to this view every morning.

Not too shabby, if I do say so. I heart Colorado….

  • Ran six miles with the sister this morning and enjoyed a big plate of Japanese Pan Udon noodles with tofu from Noodles & Company afterward (which unfortunately went unphotographed). Noodles & Co. always knows the way to my heart…and stomach.
  • Made Matt’s Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Burgers for dinner tonight and practically drooled all over the plate in delirious ecstasy. These burgers are AMAZING, especially if you use organic, grass-fed beef. The flavor combination is just perfect! My whole family loved them….

My photo doesn’t do it justice, but know that these burgers might change your life.

Props, Matt. Major props. Great recipe!

And with that, my friends, I may or may not be heading to bed.

Question: What did you do (or not do) over the weekend?

The Cooking Vacation

Before I returned home to Colorado, I promised my parents that I would cook for them. I had visions of myself running gleefully back and forth between the well-stocked fridge and the ample counter space while whipping up gourmet meals for my family. The mere thought of my parents’ beautiful kitchen brought a smile to my face.

Now that I’m actually home, the aforementioned vision has not yet become a reality. In fact, I would daresay that I’ve been reveling in the act of not cooking. As though I’m now on a cooking break or something….

To be honest, it’s easy to take a cooking break if your mom is as good a cook as my mom. For lunch, she busted out a beautiful cold potato and zucchini soup for us to enjoy. Why would I dare turn on the oven burners when she’s around to make such amazing meals?

All I’ve had to do for the past couple days is pull out the camera when it’s time to eat and photograph my mother’s cooking. A food blogger could get spoiled with this kind of service….

I know, I know. I should be a good daughter and give her the break from cooking. She’s been doing it for the past twenty something years, after all! But why cramp the woman’s style when she obviously knows what she’s doing?

Can you spot me in that last photograph? I snuck into the spoon’s reflection….

Just for the record, you all should make this soup. It’s simple and tasty, and while I’m not sure if it takes a lot of time to make (you’d have to ask my mom), I would venture to say that it’s worth the effort. The addition of the roasted almonds was particularly delicious.

Anyway, you’ll just have to blame my mom for the lack of new and creative culinary efforts on the blogfront as of late. I’m sure I’ll return to my cooking ways soon enough; but for now, I can’t say that I’m not enjoying being spoiled by my parents. 🙂

For dinner, I continued my lazy streak. We had grilled salmon burgers (which I didn’t grill), steamed asparagus (which I didn’t steam), and potato salad (which I didn’t assemble). It takes a lot of effort to be this lazy.

The salmon burger topped with grilled onions and avocado slices…..

I just love salmon burgers….well, I guess I love most things that come in burger form, to be honest. Veggie, salmon, bison, turkey. You name it, I’ll undoubtedly enjoy it in its burgerized form.

Green, green asparagus….a meal isn’t complete without a little green goodness!

What’s taters, precious?

A meal fit for a queen….or a lazy daughter on a cooking vacation.

On the exercise front, I attempted to do an hour’s worth of Yoga For Runners, but it was a fail. It was nice to stretch out my legs from the 13 miler yesterday, but I didn’t feel the burning desire to do a gazillion chattaranga pushups in a row or hang out in boat pose for 10 minutes straight. I stopped the podcast after about 45 minutes and chilled in child’s pose for a while. That’s more my pace…especially on a cross training day. I usually use my cross training days as an excuse to do the least amount of exercise possible without actually calling them “rest days.”

Like I said, lazy.

Question: What is your favorite thing to do on a lazy day?

A Birthday With Altitude

It is only fitting that my first full day back home in Colorado is my birthday. My 23rd birthday, to be exact.

What a birthday present….the day could have been boring and terrible (it most certainly wasn’t!), and I still would have enjoyed it if only for the fact that I am now back in Colorado. I really love it here….the crisp and dry air makes me smile. Just like this:

I started my day off with a 3 mile birthday run around my neighborhood. It started off great….I ran down the hill from my house and completed the first mile in a blistering fast 9:03 (for me, this is lightning speed!). I could hardly believe my Garmin when I saw my pace…..

….and then, the altitude struck.

Oh yes, altitude.

I had forgotten about how much that little factor can affect you when embarking upon cardiovascular activities at 6,000 feet above sea level. There really is less oxygen at this altitude, and I started feeling it once I hit the turn around point in my run. As I turned around to start heading back uphill to my house, the altitude started kicking my ass. My lungs were burning, and my heart was thumping much faster than it normally does at sea level when I run uphill. On the final hill up to my house, I had to stop and let my heart slow down. It felt like it was about to thump out of my chest! This run was the anti-negative split run. My first mile was a speedy 9:03, the second mile was a moderate 9:43, and the last one was a sputtering 10:43.

That last hill up to my house KILLED.

Lesson of the day? Even though I am a Colorado native, I am not invincible to altitude. My next run (which will be a 13 miler tomorrow) will be done at an extremely slow pace to prevent altitude burnout like I experienced today.

Lunch

For lunch, my mom took my sister and I out to one of my favorite places in downtown Colorado Springs, a funky little restaurant called Poor Richard’s.

Their menu features all sorts of fresh salads, sandwiches, and homemade pizza selections. They even offer a spelt crust option for the pizza, which I think is just fantastic. I love spelt.

While I love the thin crust pizza at Poor Richard’s, my heart longed for one of their fresh and fabulous veggie burgers.

I chose the Mexi-veggie burger which was served on homemade whole wheat bread (so soft and doughy!) and was topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, mustard, and lettuce.

I could only finish a little more than half of it, but I savored every bite that I could manage…fresh veggie burgers are glorious.

Dinner

For my birthday dinner, my family and I went to a tapas place downtown called Nosh. My family loves good food just as much as I do, so the meal was enjoyed by all. Honestly, can you every go wrong with eating a whole lot of everything? I think not. It’s a foodie’s dream!

The mom and me:

Being a huge goofball:

My sis and my dad got in on the photo action.

The little sis can be a big goofball too. Guess it runs in the family…

My mom and I started the meal off with a refreshing cucumber vodka cocktail (not my normal drink choice, but my dad thought I would like it). This guy packed a punch, so I sipped it slowly and only finished about half of it by the end of the meal. I’m such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I have to be careful with drinks like this….one too many, and it wouldn’t be such a pretty sight.

My dad went with his usual martini. The man loves his vodka….

We ordered a slew of tapas plates including a roasted beet salad with herbed yogurt cheese, large leafy greens, and tofu-garlic vinaigrette dressing….this was so earthy and delicious!

...Wild tuna sashimi with crispy rice crackers for scooping. This had a great sesame-infused flavor, and it tasted lighter than air!

…Grass-fed bison tar tar with homemade vinegar potato chips (my dad’s choice….he ate 90% of this….the whole raw meat thing is a bit too much for my mom, my sis, and I). I dug the chips though!

…Spicy shrimp with sweet basil and kale. This was good, but I feel that I could make this type of dish at home. Whenever I go out to restaurants, I always try to order things that I wouldn’t normally cook in my own kitchen.

….Roasted brussel sprouts with manchego cheese, candied lemon peel, radicchio, polenta, and a buttery sauce made of mirin, ginger, and honey. This was hands down the best dish of the night! I am already a brussel sprouts lover, but this dish would convert even the most fervent brussel sprout hater. My family and I practically devoured this dish. The sauce was to die for!

Roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions, cilantro, and cashews.

And no birthday is complete without a little dessert. Or in this case, a LOT of dessert. I have a serious thing for chocolate, so I decided to share the “Chocolate Lovers” dessert platter with my family. Aren’t I generous?

So much chocolate. So good. My taste buds are smiling.

With that, I’m headed off to digest before my run in the morning. Let’s hope the chocolate doesn’t make a reappearance then.

G’night!

Colorful Colorado

Two thousand miles, three double digit driving days, and three subway Veggie Delites later, and I am finally back home in colorful Colorado!

I was so happy to see the ugly poop brown welcome sign that I made my dad stop the car and snap a picture showcasing my gratitude and joy.

Swooooon…..oh Colorado. Don’t make me blush.

Today’s drive across Kansas went smoothly. People often balk at the mere notion of driving across Kansas, but I actually enjoy it. It’s not nearly as crowded as most of the interstate back east, which makes for less stressful driving conditions. I also find the scenery in Kansas to be strangely intriguing. The sky is BIG. The plains are BIG. The views are BIG. You can see hundreds of miles in any direction without a skyscraper, pedestrian, or tree to block your view. Everything in the state is on such a huge and vast scale that it definitely makes you feel very small while driving across the plains in your little car. They weren’t lying when they called these the Great Plains!

Big sky country….

There were grain elevators a-plenty spotted throughout the drive. These are the things you will find only in Great Plains….that and country stations featuring songs about “sexy tractors.” I’m not kidding…

Are those tractors I spy in the background?

Oh yes. Yes, they are.

Upon arriving home, I said hello to some familiar faces including my mom!

….and this little guy.

Sorry I woke you up, Horace (yes, our cat is named Horace….that’s just how our family rolls)!

After three days of road food, it was fantastic to enjoy a fresh, homemade meal. My mom had prepared for us a crab + gruyere quiche alongside some mixed fruit salad and steamed green beans mixed with a little EVOO, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar.

After dinner, I was hoping to get a few quality mountain shots, but they were shrouded in evening thunderstorm clouds….

You can sort of see them here, but they are definitely not in their full glory with this kind of cloud coverage going on.

I was slightly annoyed that the weather foiled my plans to bask in the mountain glory. Way to be lame, weather.

Tomorrow mountains, we shall meet again….

Question: What is your favorite part about visiting home?