Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm back!

Hey everyone, hope you had a good weekend and first half of your week!  I had a lot of fun up in New Hampshire with my family and am back in Upstate NY now with a busy 2nd half of the week and weekend ahead of me.  I wish I felt more refreshed and energized coming back from a few days off but instead I'm a bit stressed and feeling totally grossed out with myself.  I just shoveled candy for days straight my friends.  Ugh.  Trying to get back into a lifestyle I feel good about leading. However, in the meantime, when I have nothing positive to share, I will give you the latest in my family music video series. I love that my family is so goofy and silly and I love that we are all so different yet have so much fun together. Happy Wednesday everyone :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Off to Waukewan!

Excuse me for a few days while a little of this stuff takes place. And

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Simple recipe for beet hummus

Hey guys!  I had a busy day in Connecticut today and feeling proud that I accomplished a 4.25 mile run this morning.  It was a great feeling knowing that the last time I had tried to run here it was cold and I was miserable and had given up.  I finished the run despite the hills and the heat!

Other than that it wasn't too exciting of a day, although I really did enjoy the work trip I was on, which is pretty normal for me but still always makes me happy that I have a job I enjoy. Today I wanted to share with you the recipe for the beet hummus that I made this past weekend.  I brought it with me to the ballet earlier this week and everyone loved it!  I am excited to still have more left and a stash frozen for the future.  And, for now liking beets!

Recipe: Beet Hummus

~5 small beets
15 oz can of chick peas
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

1.  Clean the beets and cut the end so that they are small bulbs.  Cover them in water and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.  Cut the beets in half and peel off the skins of the beets.  Mince the clove of garlic.

3.  In the food processor add the chick peas, beets, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic.

4.  Begin to pulse the mixture in a food processor and strain in olive oil as it mixes.  Add olive oil until the mixture processes and comes together to a thick consistency.  Add more olive oil depending on preferred style of hummus.  The less you use, the thicker it will be.

5.  You may need to open the food processor once or twice to scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure that everything is incorporating.

6.  Serve with favorite pita chips or veggies!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A few days that have included lots of smiles!

Hi everyone, hope your week is going well!

I wanted to just put up a quick post to say that I am having a really good week.  Since I wrote last I have been smiling a lot and that makes me totally happy to be able to say.  I got up early on Tuesday morning and met a couple of friends for a run before work.  We ran through a really pretty part of town on the bike path and there were lots of friendly runners and bikers around.  We did 4 miles and with chatting while we ran, it went by so fast and painless!

Growing up, my mom was always a morning runner.  She would meet up with friends and run in the AMs, usually before I was even awake.  I couldn't help but think of that as I met friends to run on Tuesday.  It's so weird how the times have changed and I see why my mom continued that for all those years.  I am hoping to start more mornings that way in the future!

Tuesday continued to be a fun filled day because we finished the evening at the ballet!  It was the group I ran the Saratoga Firecracker Four with, and Dani, who I watched run a half marathon earlier this year.  Dani and one of the other friends from the ballet were who I ran with in the morning! It's been really nice to get to know a new group of run-loving ladies who also like to do fun things!  I had never been to the ballet and it was a really fun experience.  It was at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and (I told you 'Toga would be appearing a lot!) and performed by the National Ballet of Canada.  We brought wine and snacks and had a really nice evening outside under the stars for the ballet!

White wine, seltzer and blueberries!

Speaking of running friends.  I circulated the following article to a number of my friends this week who all love to run.  Do you all find this as true as I do?  The blurgh can be a total beast but man, is nutella good!

This morning I didn't head into work but instead traveled to Connecticut with my manager and a colleague/friend, Andrea, who I realized I've written about a lot on here.  We went to Lake George this weekend AND she was that super sweet friend who gave me the most amazing gifts before my half marathon.

We are here for an alumni session for the work program that we all did completed at different times.  I gave a presentation earlier today and have another on tap for tomorrow! I don't like to write about work too often on here but it's been a really special and fun trip for me and wonderful to spend some time as "alumni" and pass on a lot of what I've learned over the years to the younger class.

Program alumni!
Jess and I started together at this company 5 years ago!
It was a great day so far that included dinner out at a new restaurant in Stamford called Plan B Burgers.  I loved the restaurant and their extensive menu (with so many different types of french fries!)  I ordered the blue cheese burger "in the grass" which means it was served on top of lettuce rather than a bun, and truffle french fries.  AND I ate 90% of a dessert of a delicious chocolately cake thing.  I somehow felt I deserved that chocolatey cake because I abstained from the bun and didn't get a beer with dinner.  I'm not so sure that adds up though...  All was delicious though!

Blue cheese burger  (blue cheese, sauteed onions and BBQ sauce) "in the grass"
So, something funny is that I am actually staying at the same hotel that I stayed at back in April when I had my completely miserable fail of a run attempt.  Our company does a lot of conferences at this place I guess!

I've made it my mission to redeem myself from that last run in this location and am planning to get up in the morning to get a few miles in.  Wish me luck and I hope to have better news to report than last time!  Happy mid-week to you all.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not a lot of exercise but lots of fresh foods!

You guys, I have been cooking and eating such real foods lately, it's making me happy!  I also had a really fun weekend, which is something I've needed a bit.  I still haven't been feeling well and getting weird headaches, anxiety, and some uneasiness but I'm making progress and I hope that some of the fun upcoming activities I have (Waukewan!!!) will help relieve some stress as well.

So, although it's Monday night already, did you guys have a good weekend?  Mine had just the right mix of friends, good food and drink, being outside, and laziness.  It's such a good feeling when all those things come together to equal a fun few days.

On Friday, I headed from work to a friend's going away party that was at another co-worker's house.  It was a nice night out and great to catch up with people I haven't seen a while.  The hosts of the party had some adorable kids, which is always fun for me since I'm a kid myself.  It was also fun to get a compliment from one of their daughters... after playing and chatting with her for a while, I guess she went up to her mom and asked what my job was at work and said she wanted to do what I did when she grew up.  That really made my night!  Well, that and this pretty sunset we had:

From the cookout I went to dinner and drinks with some friends in Saratoga.  For those of you unfamiliar with upstate New York, Saratoga is about 45 minutes from where I live.  It's a really beautiful place and I have quite a few friends who live there.  We are about to head into the 6 weeks of the year that Saratoga residents dream about -- track season.  There is a big horse racing track in Saratoga and once the track is in session there is ALWAYS lots of fun stuff going on in Saratoga and people come from all over to visit the track, restaurants, and night life in 'toga.  You'll likely be hearing about more trips to Saratoga in the coming weeks!

Saturday I tried out a new class at the gym -- my only workout in quite some time -- and then did a few errands, including picking up my bike from the tune up shop.  Considering I am competing in a sprint triathlon in a few weeks, I figured I should probably get out and get some bike rides in.  Or else race day could end up being quite problematic.

I am not sure why I haven't been able to get back in the groove of training for something.  I need to really shake myself out of the funk that I am in or else my upcoming tris and half marathon are going to be terrible.  This weekend, I had to back out of something that I was really disappointed to have to do -- the Boilermaker 15K.

I had registered back in January and on Thursday I made the decision to not run.  I was having a horrible headache and spent about 30 minutes at work curled up in a ball in the bathroom because I was also nauseaus and just thought to myself... this isn't smart to try and run the race.  I deferred my enrollment to next year, but it still makes me really disappointed to not compete in something that I had set out to do.  Aside from these weird headaches and dizziness I've been getting for a week or so now, I  also just hadn't been training.  The longest run I've done in a while was the Saratoga 4-mile race.  Once I made the decision to not run, although disappointed, I did feel a bit more relaxed though.

One of the highlights of my day on Saturday was going out to the farm to see where the food that I get from my CSA is grown!  It was a really cool experience and I definitely will be heading back in future weekends.

I was able to pick some snap peas, basil, cilantro, parsley, and flowers to take home with me, which made my car smell SO good.

On the way back from the farm I stopped at a little farmer's market and got some blueberries, raspberries and tomatoes.  I was really excited to dig into this food!

I made myself a snack plate almost as soon as I got home.  It included a fresh cut up tomato with some salt and some balsamic glaze I made recently.  A cut up cucumber, pita chips, and hummus and some berries.  All delicious!  The cucumber was from my CSA basket so slowly but surely I'm ticking away through that food.

I also tackled the beets that I had gotten from the CSA and made BEET HUMMUS!  I am so excited about this you guys.  It's so pretty and pink and tastes delicious.  It is great for people who don't think they are beet fans, such as myself.

It made a lot, so I threw a container into the freezer so that I can save it for when I m having people over some time in the future!  Or just when I want some beet hummus :)

I continued my healthy eating throughout the day with another salad of CSA lettuce, grilled chicken, goat cheese and chili lime roasted almonds.  Then met up with some friends for a nice evening out with lots of laughs and good conversation.

And then Sunday, even more laughs and good conversation in Lake George, where I went with a friend and one of her best friends who was visiting for the weekend.  It was a beautiful day and we spent it hanging out the beach at Lake George.

I brought some yummy snacks along including beet hummus and some cut up watermelon.  It was such a great summer day!!

All good things must come to an end though, so the weekend did conclude eventually (booo!)  I didn't write last night though because I kept my weekend going as long as possible and had a friend over and spent the evening hanging out on my porch drinking Coronas with lime.  Gosh, I love that porch!  Although the bugs are pretty terrible out there.  I had bought some citranella candles but they didn't seem to do any good last night.  Anybody have any suggestions to keep the bugs away?

Today I skimped on a workout yet again because I was feeling dizzy but I did do some fabulous grilling and cooking with more CSA food... grilled summer squash, zucchini, scallions, and some sweet potato I had in the kitchen.  Along with some chicken sausage and a cilantro/lime sauce I put on top.  All delicious and plenty leftover for tomorrow!

I am heading to bed because I am supposed to get up really early to run tomorrow.  It will be my first run since the 4th of July so I am nervous but I really, really want to be able to do it!!  Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Recipe: Swiss chard tian (CSA Day 1!)

Today was a pretty successful cooking day for me, which is nice, since it's been an unsuccessful week in the exercise department. At least I'm doing something good!

I'm determined to use up all the food in my fridge and not go grocery shopping for a while.  Especially because I received my first delivery of food from the CSA I joined today!

Today's haul of food included lettuce, squash, zucchini, beets, chard, corn, cucumber, fennel and scallions.  Yeehaw, what a challenge this will be.

I decided to get to work cooking up some of this food right away and started first cooking a "Swiss chard tian."  Now, let me tell you first off, that I had no idea what a tian was.  Although reading how to make the recipe I would have called it something like an egg frittata or egg bake.  But hey, I'll be fancy and go ahead and say I made a tian.  That IS what the recipe was called after all.

The recipe was sent over by the organizer of the Community Supported Agriculture group I joined and I had heard from a friend that the recipes are pretty good.  I am determined to try all the new vegetables and I had all of the other ingredients in my fridge to use up so I figured I would just go for it.  I tried a bite and it is really yummy so I am looking forward to eating this recipe throughout the next few days!

Recipe: Swiss chard tian
4-6 Servings

1 generous bunch of swiss chard, trimmed
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 teaspoons of water
Bread crumbs (I used panko)

1.  Wash the chard, then chop into 1/2 inch size pieces (both the leaves and the stems.)  Then boil the chard in slightly salted water for about 20 minutes.

2.  While the chard was boiling I preheated the oven to 350 degrees (I know, I know... using the over in this weather sort of sucked.)  Put a bit of olive oil into a large skillet and saute the chopped onion over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and then saute for another minute.  Garlic burns easily so be careful.

3.  Drain the swiss chard and then add to the saute pan with the onion and garlic and continue to heat, mixing well for 2-3 minutes.

4.  In another bowl, beat 3 eggs mixed with a bit of salt and pepper and the water.

5.  Thoroughly butter a rectangular shaped baking dish.  The one I used was 13x9 but I actually think that was a bit bigger.  I would say probably use something like 11x9 dish.  Place the chard mixture in and spread evenly.  Sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top surface then bake for 30 minutes.  Serve hot!

Mine came out really thin and really yummy.  As a side note though.  I just now Google image searched a tian and I'm sorry but this recipe should not be called a tian.  I guess I'm not that fancy.  But at least I can pretend with this mislabeled recipe I got from the farmer guy...

In addition to making the non-tian, I also did something else I've never done before.  I GRILLED.  Last year one of my summer goals was to learn to grill and I never did.  Today, I really wanted to use up some chicken breast I had in the fridge and didn't feel like doing anything in the kitchen with it.  I actually called up one of my good friends (who managed the grill at my BBQ on Saturday... yes, I hosted a BBQ and didn't know how to work the grill or do any of the grilling...) to ask how to start the grill.  He told me over the phone and recommended I put the grill on low and cook each side for 12 minutes.  I marinated the chicken and then tried this out and the chicken came out PERFECT.  It was the most delicious piece of chicken I've ever eaten.  It may partly have been part of the excitement of grilling it myself.  But, it was delicious.

I have lots left over for the rest of the week and weekend too!  As a side to the perfect chicken, I had a salad with the fresh greens from the CSA.  I topped it with some goat cheese and chili lime almonds.  Yummo.

One little challenge I had tonight was how to dry the greens.  I haven't ever received salad like this before... fresh from the farm with dirt still on it.  I washed it but then wasn't sure how to dry it because I don't have a salad spinner.  I first wasted a ton of paper towels trying to pat try the lettuce and then googled what I could do and a lot of search results said to put the greens in a pillow case and shake it.  I couldn't find a pillow case (besides the ones on my pillows) so I took a clean thin towel and made a makeshift pillow case.  It worked pretty well.

So, for the future.  I recommend these recipes and this trick!  Now, I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of my food from the CSA.  Anyone have any ideas for beets?  I've never been a fan so I need some not-so-beety beet recipes!

Note: In full disclosure, I also ate an unspeakable amount of vanilla frozen yogurt tonight that was topped with chocolate raspberry peanut butter.  I had the froyo in my freezer leftover from the weekend and it is all gone now, so at least that is a plus.  However, there was way more than one serving left when I polished it off.  Ooph.

Hi guys. I miss you!

Hi Bloggy Friends, I just wanted to post quick to say that I miss you! I haven't been writing a bunch lately because I haven't been able to shake the sick feelings I've had from the weekend. I'm past the point that thinking my lightheadedness, dizziness, and headaches are just from the heat because I've been spending my days in air conditioning. But, I'm not really sure what's going on. I haven't exercised since the race except for when I tried to play in my soccer game and felt pretty much like I was going to fall over. I've been having a hard enough time concentrating at work and not really wanting to have to put words together when I get outside of work. BUT, I have been doing some fun stuff this week. Like painting. And I'm getting my first basket of veggies from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group that I joined this week. I can't wait to explore that! I just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about you all and will be back soon! Hope you're all well. Miss you! Katelyn

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy 4th of July weekend!

Hi everyone, sorry I've been a disappearing act on here lately.  It's hard to get back into a routine after traveling and usually I post on here in the evenings, but with only having a 2 day week last week... well, things got discombobulated.  I had the time though.  I've just also been a bit at a loss for words, having a hard time putting thoughts together lately.  It was a really tough week with the funeral of my friend Kelly, and on Wednesday I received the news that a close friend's mother had passed away.  I just haven't really felt like writing but am forcing myself to now because I think I will feel better afterwards.

I had a really lazy long weekend for the 4th of July and I feel a bit like I wasted it doing nothing, but sometimes you need that and I am trying to not feel guilty for it.  One of the exciting parts of my weekend included running the "Firecracker 4" road race in Saratoga on the morning of the 4th.  It's a fun, festive race and I got choked up a number of times with all the patriotism that was at the run.  It was a HOT 4-mile run, with temperatures around 90.  The first 3 miles were relatively shaded and lots of water stations but the last mile there was NO shade, NO water, and it was UPHILL.  It was brutal.

I spent the rest of the day in Saratoga after the race, including a couple naps at different friends apartments!  I don't think my body ever cooled down after that hot run and I felt pretty terrible throughout the rest of the day.  I was actually a bit scared because despite drinking water and replenishing my body, I couldn't shake a headache or feeling of lightheadedness.  Despite that, I had a pretty nice day eating meals at Druther's, Cantina, and enjoying some patriotic fro yo at Plum Dandy.

The rest of the weekend I spent a lot of time in my air conditioned apartment because it was just so darn hot.  I felt guilty spending the whole weekend that way but I had been so lightheaded and felt so sick on Thursday that it really took me a while to shake it.  I did spend some time on Friday at my friend's pool and met friends out on Friday night for a friend's going away.

However, the highlight of the weekend was the BBQ I threw on Saturday night.  I had a great group of friends over for burgers, hot dogs, chips, vegetable kebabs, corn on the cob with a lime chili butter, edamame and black bean salad, and lots of cookies, ice cream, and beer.  And, one friend brought over a watermelon, feta, and mint salad, which was really delicious!  I apparently didn't take a single picture the whole night but there was lots of good food and shenanigans to be had.  The night included water balloon and water gun fights, some Apples to Apples playing, and lots of conversation and hanging on the porch.

Midway through any party or gathering, I start to turn in to "game mode" and love organizing and playing games.  Apples to Apples is usually my go to but lately I've been hearing a lot of great things about the game "Cards Against Humanity."  My friend Heidi and I have been talking about it because she is my usual game playing partner in crime.  Yesterday I went to 2 different stores looking to buy the game but then when I looked it up online I realized that you can't buy it in stores!  You can either order it online or make the game yourself.  This is definitely going to be on my to-do list before my next gathering!  Is there anything that you guys recommend?  What are your favorite party games?

I'm going to recap my trips soon, because I want to document them on here.  But for now, I am going to wrap this up.  Hope you had a great fourth of July and weekend.  Hugs and happiness to all.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sad day.

Hi guys, I am officially back home and have so many wonderful things to fill you in on from my trip to Berlin, Munich and Prague.  I've started the entries and am still compiling everything from my week away and getting my life back in order here, but I will be posting about the trip soon!  Unfortunately I have some sad news to share first.

I mentioned at the end of May that my friend Kelly had been suddenly diagnosed with what turned out to be very aggressive cancer.  And tragically, on Friday, Kelly lost her battle with cancer and passed away.  I got the news while in Europe and I think I'm still in a bit of shock.  Arriving home late last night I wasn't able to attend the wake, but was at the funeral this morning with some co-workers and friends.  It was a sad but beautiful service honoring an incredibly happy, positive, caring, and loving woman.  It's hard to believe it's even real with how fast things happened and my thoughts are nonstop with Kelly's family at this time.

I wish I had something really positive and uplifting to end on, but honestly, I'm not sure what to say because sometimes, life just scares the hell out of me, guys.  And this is one of those times.  Just a few weeks ago we were talking about Weight Watchers and I was texting Kelly to get the details on some guys I thought were cute.  It all just happened so, so fast.

We texted a bit over the past few weeks while Kelly was in and out of the hospital.  However, what I can't get out of my mind is a message that she actually sent me over Twitter.  And although it makes me uncomfortable to say this, I guess it was the last tweet that Kelly sent out at all.  Kelly asked me to pray for her and run for her every day.

So tonight, that's what I did.  Despite jet lag, physical exhaustion, and being emotionally drained I went out and ran 3 miles for Kelly.  The first mile I ran I felt like I wanted to run away from the world.  Just run away from life and pain and sadness.  I felt like I was flying and I think it was the fastest mile I've ever run in my life.  My Garmin said it was at an 8:19 mile which is much faster than the 10ish minute miles I've been doing lately.

Thanks for the help today Kelly.  Thinking of you and your family. #runforKelly