Kelly the Culinarian: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cooking with Kelly: Raisin Scone Recipe

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I intended to spend my three-week taper period in a quest for the perfect scone.  This started because Tim bought a delicious Irish soda bread loaf at Whole Foods last weekend. It was amazing - rich and buttery with a crunchy exterior and crumbly interior. I read the ingredient list and it looked like a basic scone.  This recipe isn't quite it, but it was delicious nonetheless. I think it tastes like pancakes and Tim said it tasted like cake.

Raisin Scone Recipe
3/4 cups raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold butter cut into cubes
3/4 cups cream
1 egg
1 egg whisked with a splash of water (egg wash)
Sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow dish, spread out the raisins, then sprinkle the vanilla over it. Set aside.

Whisk together the flours, sugars, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers, a set of knives or a pastry cutter, mix in the butter until the dry ingredients resemble wet sand.

Next, fold in the raisins. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and egg, then add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. To make this easier, I split it into two small circular loaves, chilling one for later, but that all depends on how many people you have to share with.

Slice the scone loaf into triangles (like a pie), then coat with egg wash and sprinkle sugar over it, if you like.
Bake for 18-25 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.  Consume within a day as this will get soggy.  Transport in a paper bag only as plastic bags or containers will make these get soggy and nasty.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Tim and I are headed to the movies tonight. We don't go all that often, so I'm pretty excited. The last time we went to a movie was when we saw Batman, and that was a preview showing.
2. I haven't even finished my first marathon, and I'm already delicately scrutinizing my next year of training and racing. I know I want to do a 70.3 half Ironman triathlon, Ragnar and possibly another marathon, but beyond that, I'm unsure. It's all going to be a matter of when I can fit in what with still giving myself enough time to train properly.
3. I'm keeping the tri suit I talked about yesterday, despite the weird bulges and stuff. I tried it on again today and didn't feel nearly as self conscious about it as I did yesterday. Plus, Kim and Erin put it all in perspective for me, too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Love the Postal Carrier

After work tonight, I met MacKenna for a drink and dinner, then shopping. We had a great time - I got an adorable cheap skirt at H&M and MacKenna got several items for an upcoming trip. When I got home, I received a pleasant surprise:

Eat & Run from Kim! I asked her earlier this week if I could borrow it from her based on her review. She said that she already gave it to another running buddy, but would pass it along to me when it was returned. I was so surprised to see it in my mailbox and can't wait to read it! That Kim, she's a thoughtful one.

The other thing that arrived that I'm not as enthusiastic about is my new triathlon suit. I bought this two-piece suit off of The Clymb because it was such a great deal. With shipping, I got this suit for $75. I'm not so sure I like it, though, or if I need to size up or what.  I certainly have a muffin top, but I've noticed none of these outfits are all that flattering.  Maybe it's just in my head? I'll try it on again tomorrow before I decide.
Plus side? My new tri kit matches my bathroom.  I'm all about coordination.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Training Tuesday: Taper Time

It's a glorious time!  I went to CVS tonight for the first time in weeks.  There are never enough hours in the day, but I magically feel like I have gained all the time in the world.

I used some of that time yesterday to take myself to the doctor's office. I visited my family physician for a physical to ensure that I'm not going to keel over at the marathon next month. It was your standard heart-lung-health screening and it turns out, I'm healthy. No surprise there.

Another not surprise: I did not win my August DietBet Challenge. In fact, I was fortune to lose just a pound during the month, because I have the appetite of a teenage athlete at this point.  After the marathon, I hope to get it under control and lose some weight gained during this training cycle.

What is a surprise is my monthly mileage total.  August isn't quite through yet, but I've already logged more than 130 miles while running! Incredible to think that two years ago, I couldn't do any of this.  Hilarious that I can run the distance to Madison, Wisconsin, in a month and not lose weight, but oh well.

I have been going the distance running wise. After my last long run on Sunday, Tim picked me up a two-liter of Diet Pepsi to celebrate.  Caffeine is the key to my heart and it was the sweetest gesture I could ask for.

And now, I wait.  Of course, I have a few shorter runs to maintain my fitness and whatever, but now, I'm just ready to get this marathon over with.  I didn't necessarily train for pace or speed, so once this is over with, I intend to get back to speedwork, including fartleks and repeats, in order to PR at the Zooma half in Lake Geneva.

In case you haven't heard, me, some friends and a bunch of other Chicago Running Bloggers have acquired a vacation home in Lake Geneva for the weekend of Zooma. Chicago Bloggers Do Zooma will take place Oct. 19-21 and it shall be epic. We're already planning meals to ensure we don't have an empty wine bottle disaster. That simply would not be acceptable!

This week's motto: The hay is in the barn (meaning the training is over and you've already stored all the benefit from it that you're going to get. Relax and reap your rewards).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Last long run done!

So glad today is over! I got up early to eat and get over to Half Day Road Forest Preserve with all my supplies for my last long run. For 20 miles, I needed a sweat-wicking hat, sunscreen, the Garmin, two packets of gel and my handheld water bottle packed with gummies.

I met up with Kim and Bobbi around 7 a.m.  Kim had 26 miles to complete today as she trains for a 50K race, and Bobbi had to knock out 12-14.  After a few miles, we picked up Gingerfoxxx and ran around Lake County to pick up 14ish.  My fastest mile was the last portion of this leg, where I practically sprinted to the bathroom. That's motivation for you.

This random dude came out of the woods and followed up around ... just kidding. That's Matt, he was a blast to run with.

After we dropped off Bobbi, Sara and Matt, Kim and I soldiered on. We ran back to her car and it promptly poured.  We were both sweaty, stinky and muddy, but we were starving. I have to say, this 20-mile run was so much easier than my last accidental 20 miler. I was scheduled to do 19 miles two weeks ago, but got turned around and accidentally added an extra mile.  Running with people and chatting made this so much easier.

When Kim and I were done, we took our nasty runner selves out for lunch to Noodles and Company, then sat as far away from everyone else as possible.  Noodles and salad have never tasted so good.  Thanks again, Kim, for lunch!

I showered at my parents house, did a little stuff around the house to help out, then headed home, where I now sit on the couch matching socks, eating a ton of food and watching trashy television.  I'm already contemplating how early I can go to bed and still sleep through the night ... 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Baby got back

I need to get my butt in bed fast because I've got an early morning tomorrow. I'm meeting Kim for my last long run of this marathon training season.

So here's what I've been up to.  I got an extended life battery for my phone in hopes that I can use it all day long during an upcoming business trip. With the factory-standard battery, my phone only lasts about four to six hours.  Ironic, since I have the Droid Charge, that it doesn't hold a charge very long.

But now, my cell phone has quite an ample rear.  This certainly won't fit in my armband for running. I weighed it - my phone is now six ounces.  Ridic.

New phone in hand, I dragged Tim to the happiest place on earth - IKEA! He'd much rather clean every surface of the house than go inside this terrible place, so I made it quick. I bought two picture frames for my ego wall to update the wall with my new photos. I got a collage with the photo from the tri that MacKenna took, along with photos from the Venus de Miles ride, the Karhu 5K and the Heatbreaker Indoor Half.

I also had a bit of an arts and crafts project with trying to frame my name in of Chicago Athlete magazine. It didn't turn out so well, but that's usually how my craft projects go.

And the before and after:

I'm loving all the medals on my homemade medal display.  Time to rest up so I can train to get the next medal!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The stuff of nightmares

I had my first marathon-related nightmare this morning.  Just 23 days out and I'm cracking up.

During the dream, I couldn't find my corral (there aren't corrals at the Fox Valley Marathon, of course, but whatever). I looked down at my bib, which didn't give me any indication as to where to go. After catching up with my corral as it walked towards the start line, I realized my bib was pinned to a down jacket. And I had a gym bag slung across my body.

So I started to run, then pulled my bib off my jacket, trying to pin it on my shirt under the jacket and gym bag.

I knew it was bound to happen, but really?  I don't sleep enough as is, and now I'm dreaming about what could go wrong at the marathon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Second Fort2Base Fun Run

What a busy couple of days! Last night, I packed up a cooler and snacks and headed down to Dick Pond Athletics in Carol Stream. This awesome running store is where I've gotten my last several pairs of shoes. They know their stuff, and the tiny store there is packed to the rafters with every running accessory you could possibly ever want.  They generously agreed to let me host their Wednesday night fun run for Fort2Base.

I set up my little table and made sure to have enough snacks for some hungry runners, thanks to our race sponsors. 
While I waited for them to get back from their run, I enjoyed the scenery. Dick Pond travels to a ton of races, so they have custom trucks parked out front. I really like hipster running truck: "We were running when running wasn't cool!" 

The shop also has a ton of gear, apparel and goodies for the Fox Valley Marathon. I can't believe how soon this race is happening. Where did the summer go?
When the runners got back, I talked a bit about the race and gave away some shirts and a race entry.  Steve, the winner, will be running our 10 Nautical Mile race with his wife, daughter and son. How sweet! 
 Thanks again, Dick Pond, for letting me crash your Wednesday night run!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Snazzy Gourmet Winner picked a winner for my Snazzy Gourmet giveaway and it's ...

Erin! Congrats on your prize! E-mail me for all the details.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Training Tuesday: Last Long Run Week

Last week was a step-back week in my training plan, and I had a great 12-mile run.  It was refreshing to experience some cooler weather and a run that didn't feel like a death march. It helped my confidence, too, which is great since this weekend will be my last long run.

Therefore, my mid-week runs are shorter. I had a five-mile run yesterday and a five-mile pace run this morning, which thanks to the cooler temps, I was able to execute as prescribed for the first time in weeks.  It was exhilarating!

So for this weekend's 20 miler, I'm meeting Kim again in a new location to knock this out. She's training for a 50K (31-mile) race, so she'll be completing 26 miles. What a brave gal.

At this point, I'm completely confident that I can complete the marathon.  My hip is bothering me big time for no particular reason, but I'm sure I can rest/foam roll/ice it out.  Oddly, my left hip was bothering me after the Heatbreaker Indoor Half, and now it's the right hip that's clicking and sticking.  Really attractive, I know.

The question is, how long is this marathon going to take me? At the beginning of the summer, my goal was to finish in four hours. Now, I think that might be a little out of my reach. According to the McMillan Calculator, it will take me anywhere from 3:55:17 (based on my 10K time) to 4:04 (based on my most recent half). But let's not get crazy.

This week's motto: Get it done.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scenes from this Weekend

What a crazy fun weekend! Saturday morning, I met up with some lovely ladies for a run at Busse Woods. Kim organized the event as one of her Zooma fun runs.
I brought a cooler of drinks courtesy of the Fort2Base Race. We enjoyed ONE Coconut Water, Muscle Milk, FRS Energy and Clif Shot Bloks after I knocked out 12 miles. It's the best I've felt on a long run in a long time, and I think the distraction of talking helped.

Tim came along for the ride. He brought his bike and thought he'd pedal a few laps while I plugged along. Within the first two miles, I ran into him heading back to the car. He had a mechanical issue and walked while he waited for me to finish up, then took me to Panera for an iced coffee. I love that man.

This other guy gets my heart, too.

After that, we went out for sushi for lunch. We went to Sushi City in Downers Grove, which I absolutely love.  The Godzilla rolls and the sweet potato rolls are amazing.  Instead of fortune cookies, we got fortune rolls ... that just happened to have "thong" on the label.

MacKenna is turning 30 and had a party last night. I brought the gift that's great for every occasion: wine.  This wine cover cracks me up. I found it at IKEA.

I brought no knead bread with dipping oils to share. It turned out really well because I mixed up the dough on Wednesday and put it in the fridge. I took it out of the fridge Friday night and baked it Saturday morning, so I got a faux sourdough without the work.

This morning, we had breakfast with our niece in Wisconsin, then took Napoleon to the dog park.

Now, I'm off to prepare our meals for the week, plan out my training and get dinner done.  Have a wonderful Sunday evening!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Look What the Post Office Brought

My Heatbreaker Half age group award! This is different: it's not a medal, it's a pin. At first, I was annoyed, but now, I think it's brilliant. I already have a medal, so I just affixed this to the ribbon on the medal and have a singular representation of this race.  Very smart, indeed.

My little medal model did not want to cooperate tonight. Despite the promise of his favorite treat, I couldn't get him to pose very well in this medal.  You can tell in each of these photos that he is getting increasingly anxious that there are treats nearby. Here are the outtakes:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I feel very hipster because my breakfast was served in jars today.  I had overnight oats in a jar and a homemade frappuccino.

2. I didn't mention it before, but Tim and I have booked a Caribbean cruise. We went on a cruise in 2008 and are going on a different itinerary, but the same cruise line. If you'd like to help me fill my blog while I'm gone, I'd love to have a few guest posts. Just e-mail me your idea!
3. I'm helping a friend find a place to live in a hurry. If you know someone who's renting out a townhouse in the Chicagoland area that's single story, please let me know.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Win it Wednesday: Snazzy Gourmet Goodies

I love giveaways! And I think you will, too. Reid from Snazzy Gourmet contacted me a while ago about sharing his products with my readers.  I checked out the Web site and was excited to try out the products.  I mentioned to Reid that I just started eating fish and need all the help I could get. Mere days later, I this arrived:

A few days later, I decided to bust this out to make my first at-home salmon.  I seriously had no clue what to do with salmon, so I was glad to have the rub. I mixed a Tablespoon of the rub with a half of a Tablespoon of oil, then brushed it on both sides.  Next, I broiled the fish for three minutes per side under the broiler on low.  Surprisingly, my first venture into the world of cooking fish went well!  The salmon was flaky and tasty, with the rub lending a sweet and smoky flavor to my dinner.

If you want goodies from Snazzy Gourmet, too, here's your chance! To win, go to the company Web site and leave a comment about the product you find most exciting. I will use to select a winner next Wednesday. You have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to enter.

Want additional entries?
1. Like Snazzy Gourmet on Facebook. Leave a separate comment.
2. Like Kelly the Culinarian on Facebook. Leave a separate comment.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Training Tuesday: The Temptation Edition

I cannot believe how soon the marathon is.  It kind of freaks me out.  I feel like I've only gotten slower this summer, which is disappointing considering how much time I'm spending working out.

Part of why I'm not getting faster, I'm sure, is because I'm eating like crap.  Despite busting out miles upon slow miles, I've lost a total of one pound this month during the August DietBet Challenge. It's great news for the other challengers, since it's unlikely I can lose more than four pounds in the next two weeks, so they'll likely get my $20.

Perhaps if I could get these temptations under control, my running would feel easier. I got up early Saturday and set out for a very slow 19 miles.  It was lovely weather and I explored the Prairie Path, running as far east as Beverly.  I really enjoyed this path as there were more bathrooms, water fountains and runners than my usual route, but I couldn't figure out how to get back home easily.  I ended up finishing 20 miles and feeling pretty good about it, despite the fact that my overall pace was 11 minutes.

I also did a weight-training circuit at the gym that's closest to me, which is always a hilarious experience. It's a super old school, meathead kind of weight room that's missing a lot of the equipment I normally use.  Additionally, I have to drive through the Steak n Shake parking lot to get there and stare at Taco Bell while I run on the treadmill.  No wonder I'm finding junk food hard to resist.

This week, I'll be running 12 miles on Saturday with Kim during my step-back week.  My goal is to focus on my food a bit more and give my runs my best effort as we inch towards the marathon.

This week's motto: Life itself is a binge. (from Julia Child, of course)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cooking with Kelly: Perfect Summer Grilled Vegetable Entree

Now that my garden is in full swing, I almost have more produce than I can handle.  It's a great problem to have.  I'm growing squash, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and a host of herbs. A few days ago, I wanted to use up as much of it as possible to not let a single thing go to waste.  It was so tasty, Tim and I both had seconds and didn't have any leftovers.

Summer Grilled Vegetable Entree
1 squash
1 zucchini
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 tomatoes
1 bunch of basil (to taste)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the grill on high.  Slice the squash and zucchini into1/2-inch rounds, then brush with olive oil on both sides. Place the zucchini and squash on the grill and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook roughly three minutes per side or until the veggies are charred.

Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes, then cut into quarters.  Tear the basil into small pieces, then add to the tomatoes. Once cooled, slice the other veggies into quarters as well, then season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.  Can be served warm or cold.

Serve alongside a salad to use up even more veggies!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Bourgeois Pig Cafe

What a busy day!  I got up early this morning and headed downtown to meet up with Fort2Base Race Director Caylei at the Chicago 10K. We had a great time, but I wish I would have ran this inaugural race. The medals and shirts looked awesome.

After I helped Caylei pack up and got more goods for the ambassadors from our sponsors, I headed over to Mandy's new apartment. We decided to go out and grab a quick bite, and I was eager to try a place I've had my eye on for years. Every time we go to the Lincoln Park Zoo, I see the Bourgeois Pig Cafe and wonder what it's all about. It's always busy and is in an adorable converted house.

Mandy started with a mocha coffee and I ordered a giant iced coffee. The barista told me the coffee is cold brewed for 24 hours and the recipe was something he had been working on since he started. He said it improved vastly under his careful watch. While I didn't try the previous version, this was pretty tasty.  I believe I detected a hint of cinnamon in this particular brew.

Mandy got a Belgium waffle, since I woke her up when I showed up at her apartment.  I was ready for lunch, however, after a busy morning, and went with the salad and soup combo.  I got the house salad and the East of Eden sandwich, which features vegan basil hummus, black olives, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, sprouts and spinach on sundried tomato bread.

The portions were huge on my meal and I was stuffed by the time we left.  I loved the balsamic salad dressing, which was the perfect accompaniment to my super crisp and fresh salad.

My only complaint was that the bread was so soft that my sandwich fell apart on me.  The hummus was totally awesome and the avocado pulled the sandwich together.

Another successful and filling vegetarian meal!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cooking with Kelly: Banana Muffin Recipe with Streusel Topping (with vegan option!)

Last week, I had a string of bad luck. I rode my bike to work, then had a flat. My coworker had to give me a ride home, so I wanted to bring in a baked good to show my thanks for her kindness.  But, I was low on butter, so I had to get creative. Essentially, I started with my favorite vegan banana muffin recipe, then decided to jazz them up with a streusel topping, which I stole from my pumpkin apple streusel muffin recipe (which I could eat 12 of right now ... yum!). This whole recipe could easily become vegan by using organic sugar (read why many vegans use organic sugar here) and a butter alternative.

What I like about this recipe is that it doesn't require anything exotic - I usually have bananas in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients are basic pantry staples. Now, I have a go-to recipe when I need an impressive treat quickly.

Banana Streusel Muffin Recipe
4 crushed bananas (frozen is fine)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons Splenda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons butter

The method is so easily: crush up the bananas, then add the rest of the ingredients. Grease two muffin tins, then use a 3-Tablespoon scoop to portion out the muffins. It should make roughly 18 muffins.

Mix together the topping ingredients in a small bowl, using your fingers to combine the items until it's the consistency of wet sand.  Top the muffins with the mixture, then bake for about 22 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove.

It shouldn't be a challenge to get rid of these, but consume these within a day or two because the topping starts to get soggy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I am a Chicago Athlete

Why hello, Chicago Athlete.
Look who's on page 38 .... 

It's me! I was in the overall top five females for the Karhu 5K, so I made it into pages of the July issue.  I feel quite legit now.  I think this will be the moment I look back at later and say, yes, this is when I started to consider myself an athlete.