Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Hour: Chatelaine

If there's one thing Lilly P. has taught us Southern girls, it's that every hour is a happy hour! My favorite liqueur is St. Germain, made from Elderflowers. It is sweet and subtle and so delicious! For my Cardmaking Party, I made this cocktail and it was a big hit. The color from the Pomegranate juice also makes it a perfect holiday cocktail.

2 oz crisp white wine (I used a Copain Chardonnay)
1 oz Gin (I used Bombay Saphhire)
1/2 oz St. Germain
1 oz Pomegranate juice
Pom Arils to garnish

Combine and serve over ice!

I scaled this recipe up to make a pitcher for the party. Here are my measurements for a pitcher.
3 cups white wine
1 1/2 cups Gin
3/4 cup St. Germain
1 1/2 cups Pomegranate juice

I also froze Pomegranate juice into ice cubes so the cocktail wouldn't be watered down.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Comforts

Today was a very special day. I got together with a very sweet group of girls to make cards for our troops deployed over the holidays in support of Operation Write Home. When you add cocktails, cheese, Christmas cards, and a bunch of cuties, it's bound to be a good night! Here are some snapshots from our night. Details and recipes to come.

30 DOT, Day 17: I am thankful for our troops who sacrifice so much everyday and even more during the holidays to keep us safe. 

There is still time to write cards for our troops! The deadline is November 30! Visit the link above for more information or ask me!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Mission Accomplished!

This weekend was absolutely perfect. The weather for the race couldn't have been more beautiful, the company was amazing, and it was so great to share this special day with my best friend. To top it off, I accomplished my goal of completing the race in less than two hours, coming in at 1:57:54! Next goal, 1:50!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fig and Pig Pizza

So this is what I was trying to make Sunday when things just wouldn't come together and I said that Sunday wasn't treating me very nicely. I went to 4 stores to find all the ingredients and when I finally did, there was a slit in the pizza dough bag and it filled with water as I attempted to defrost it thus thwarting all the effort. Alas, I will not be denied. I grabbed another container of dough today and let the magic happen! This is such an easy, delicious pizza (once you have everything you need) that tastes and looks very gourmet and impressive.

Fig Preserves
5-6 thin slices of Prosciutto
~6 ounces of Gorgonzola
Pizza Dough

First, spread the dough out on a greased baking pan and prebake according to the instructions. I used Pillsbury Artisan Whole Grain pizza dough in the tube and prebaked it at 400 for 8 minutes.

Then, spread a VERY THIN LAYER of fig preserves on the dough. Fig is super sweet and can be really overwhelming in excess amounts. 

Next, evenly sprinkle the gorgonzola over the preserves. 

Finally, lay the slices of prosciutto over the top. I chose to tear the prosciutto into smaller pieces to make cutting easier. If you're preparing this for a party, you may want to lay the prosciutto in whole slices just for presentation purposes!

Do a final bake according to your dough instructions and enjoy!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Pre-Race Nutrition Tips

Happy Monday, y'all! Let's get race week started right with a few pre-race diet tips and pitfalls.

ONE. Pasta the night before is great...just not an entire box of it.
Runners need to have a good store of glycogen to carry them comfortably through a race. But "carbo loading" to excess the night before will likely send you running for the porta-potty and not towards the finish line. Eat moderate amounts of carbs for a few days before the race such as organic granola or oatmeal for breakfast, whole grain bread or brown rice for lunch, and potatoes or whole grain pasta for dinner. Whole grain carbs have lower glycemic values which means they digest more slowly leading to greater energy payoffs and lower rates of fat storage.

TWO. Get hydrated! But don't chug a gallon of water the morning of the race.
Every athlete knows that hydration is key to optimal performance. However, so are electrolytes which are minerals that are responsible for optimal muscle contraction. Too much water will dilute electrolyte levels leaving you crampy and weak. Hydrate normally in the days before the race and even throw in a sports drinks or two to amp up electrolyte levels. The morning, drink a couple glasses of water several hours before the race and then another cup or two right before the gun.

THREE. Use the whole week leading up to the race to enhance your carbohydrate stores.
Start adding in more calories in the days leading up to the race by slightly increasing protein and carbohydrate intake. Try adding an additional serving of fruits and starchy vegetables each day. If your normal diet consists of burgers and greasy pizza, however, be careful about spiking your fiber intake too dramatically. This can have serious negative consequences for you on race day. The key is to not adopt a new diet right before a race but to tweak your existing diet to optimize carbohydrate, electrolyte, and protein levels.

Sample Meal Plan. Adapted from Women's Running.
Breakfast 24 hours pre-race
Steel cut oats with peanut butter and 1/2 banana

Lunch 20 hours pre-race
Chicken burrito with guacamole, black beans, and brown rice

Snack 16 hours pre-race
Trail Mix

Dinner 12 hours pre-race
Chicken and vegetable stir-fry
Whole Grain pasta
Water and low-calorie sports drink

Snack 10 hours pre-race
Vanilla pudding with sliced banana

Breakfast  2 hours pre-race
Whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter and jelly
8 oz. water and 8 oz. low-calorie sports drink

Snack 1 hour pre-race
8 oz water or low-calorie sports drink

This meal plan is adapted specifically for half-marathon nutrition. Check out Women's Running for more meal plans tailored to other distances! Keep running, loves!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's starting to feel real!

I completed my final long training run tonight! Only 3 weeks left until race day!!! My pace has slowed a little but I'm still feeling confident that I will be able to complete the race in my goal time of less than 2 hours.

In the interest of full disclosure, I got completely lost in DC and had to have my roommate come pick me up outside the Jefferson Memorial where I finished my run. Huge thanks to my sweet roomie, Danielle, for driving around for 45 minutes being thwarted by road closures (no thanks government shutdown) to get me! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rain Training

Sometimes, you just need to embrace the rain and dance...or run in our case! My gal pal Salina and I went for a 7 mile run in the rain last night...DC looks pretty good wet. We felt a little rebellious skirting the "Closed Due to Government Shutdown" signs to get close to the monuments!

Panoramic of the World War II memorial

Washington Monument from WWII Memorial

Visiting our fellow Virginian, TJ!
TJ's memorial from across the Tidal Basin


Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's official!

Last night, I booked my flight to Augusta, Georgia! In almost exactly 6 weeks I will be with my best friend driving down to Savannah to run our first half marathon together!

This is a big deal for both Julia and me. Julia had some health problems that prevented her from running distance for a long time. For a former cross country runner, that was really tough for her. She has overcome so much to get to this point and I'm so proud of her! For me, I was signed up for two half marathons this Spring as a personal challenge but was forced to bow out of both by a longstanding injury that I never rehabbed properly. We're both so excited!

I only have two more long runs before the big day, 9 miles this weekend and 10 miles weekend after next. I'm currently running anywhere between a 7:30 and 8:00 minute mile pace. Fingers crossed I can keep that up!

Almost as excited as I am for the race, I can't wait to spend the weekend in Savannah! Lots of pictures to come!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Change of Scenery

The view on the front half of my 7 mile run a couple of weekends ago while at home. Way better than skyscrapers and concrete if you ask me. This kind of view makes half marathon training much easier! What are your favorite escapes during the Autumn months?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Guiltfree Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Wraps

I know I am! I'm making a sincere effort to get into football this year and have even joined a Fantasy league! I have to admit that the real draw of football for me is the food and friends that come along with it. Today, I made Crockpot Buffalo Chicken wraps. As much as I love wings and things, a girl has to consider her waistline. Moment on the lips, forever on the hips! This low carb, low calorie treat is a great spin on a classic football season staple.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
16 oz low sodium chicken broth
1/2 of 1 sweet onion
1/2 cup of Frank's cayenne pepper hot sauce

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot and cover with the chicken broth. If the broth is not enough to cover the chicken, use water in addition to the broth. Add the onion and cook on high for 3-4 hours. My crock pot took about 3 hours.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the crock and shred using two forks. Reserve 1/2 cup of the broth and discard the rest. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot with the broth and the hot sauce. Let cook another 30 minutes on high.

To assemble the wraps, take a leaf of iceberg lettuce and spoon the chicken into it like a bowl. Top as desired! I used sour cream and a slice of avocado. Other options are Ranch dressing, Blue Cheese dressing, shredded carrots, diced celery. The possibilities are endless! If you're serving this to a man who is not concerned with preserving his figure on Game Day, turn it into a sandwich or maybe even add cheese. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Great Falls Hike

This morning, a friend and I headed out early with my puppy to hike in Great Falls. I have been to the park before but had never actually seen the falls. I didn't know what I was missing, they are beautiful. They mark the steepest fall line of any eastern river. With more than 800 acres and 8 marked trails, there is so much beauty to explore. It can get crowded so the best times to visit are weekdays or very early and later in the afternoon.

The entrance fee is reasonable, $5 per vehicle (good for three days) and $3 for visitors on foot, bike, or horseback. You can also purchase an annual pass, which my friend had, that provides free entry year round. Dogs and other pets are allowed on a 6 foot leash and it is so much fun to see them exploring, playing in the river at the boat ramp, and making new friends with 2-legged and 4-legged nature lovers alike. My pup swam for the first time today and I am SO proud of him. He jumped in not realizing it was so deep but his instincts kicked in and he was happy as a clam.

We arrived at the park around 8 this morning and there was a massive running event going on. We overheard several spectators talking and it turns out it was the Northface Endurance Challenge. It was great to see so many people using such a beautiful park to attain personal goals and challenge themselves. Yet another reason that DC is ranked as the 2nd fittest city in America! Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped for a teaser of this beautiful area.

Consider a visit to Great Falls on the next nice day for a hike, picnic, or a nature photo shoot!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a Whiskey girl. Maker's and Coke, Jameson on the rocks, Jack and Ginger. It's all good. I also have an insatiable sweet tooth. This dangerous craving duo led to my favorite errand of the day: Bourbon Buttermilk Pie.

My grandmother makes an amazing Buttermilk Pie, a simply sweet staple of the South. I put my own twist on it by making it a touch sassier than Grandma Nash does, but no less sweet. Topped with tipsy berries and peaches and my mama's homemade whipped cream, I was transported back home in no time.

I used a premade pie dough because, as sad as I am to say this, I have not mastered pie dough. I also have limited space in my darling apartment. We'll call this [almost] homemade cooking. Enjoy!

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Blind bake the pie shell by pricking the bottom of the crust with a fork and baking in a 400-degree oven for 7 minutes. If you have them, fill the bottom with dry beans or pie weights on top of parchment paper. I skipped this step and it came out fine but it is possible the crust will bubble up without pressure on top.

Combine 3 eggs with 1 cup of sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mix. Add 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 ounce of Bourbon (I used Maker's Mark), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 stick of butter, melted. Mix in a pinch of nutmeg (I used a little more than a pinch because I love nutmeg). Pour the filling into the cooled, pre-baked pie shell.

Bake in a 325-degree oven for 45 minutes. The pie may need more than 45 minutes depending on your oven. Mine needed closer to an hour. Make sure the center is almost completely solid and a fork comes out clean. A little movement in the middle is okay. Let cool completely before serving.

To make the tipsy berries and peaches, combine 2 cups of sliced peaches with a pint of berries. I used blueberries because they were on sale but blackberries would also be great. Mix in 1 tablespoon of Bourbon, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Let stand for 25 minutes. 

The whipped cream is super simple and way better than Cool Whip! Just use an electric stand or hand mixer and mix heavy whipping cream with sugar to taste until it forms stiff peaks et Voila!

This pie is kind of like us Southern girls, a little sassy but always sweet.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good morning!

Nothing says "Good Morning" like fresh from the oven Pumpkin Spice Donuts and a cup of hot coffee! Happy weekend, readers!

What is your favorite weekend morning treat?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Birthday to a Hero

Today would have been Corporal Jonathan Tyler Yale's 26th birthday. Jon and I went to high school together and were both in the drama club and on the competition cheerleading squad. He was one of the kindest hearted guys I ever met and I considered him a dear friend. After high school, Jon joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in Ramadi, Iraq, one of the deadliest areas of the war.

On April 22, 2008, a van came barreling towards the gates as Jon and his brother in arms Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter were manning the main gate. With unimaginable courage, the two sentries opened fire on the van as their Iraqi police counterparts ran for their lives. The van stopped just short of the main gate and exploded, killing both Marines but saving their brothers inside the base. Jon was set to come home in a matter of days.

Today, take a minute to remember the sacrifices, past and present, of our true American heroes. Please read the story of The Last 6 Seconds of these young lives.

Happy Birthday, Jon! We love and miss you!

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