Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Bad Run Beats No Run

It's the truth.

This morning my alarm sounded at what felt like the middle of the night. Not an alarm to roll out of bed and get started on the day downstairs, or an alarm to get up and hop in the shower, or even an alarm to bundle up and head outside for a nice, even-paced run with Kate. It was an alarm to get up and outside into the dark, cold rain for a track workout!

I laid there in bed gripping my phone, and quickly sorted through all the reasons why I SHOULDN'T get up, out of bed, and out into the wet, dark cold to sprint, no less. I'd only been in bed for 4 hours! I was up changing sheets 2 hours ago!! I had a lot to do today and needed to save my energy!! I was feeling a little sick!! What if I'm too slow to keep up with everyone on the track??

Even though I KNEW from many, many, experiences that I would hate my decision later in the day, I still gave into the excuses and turned off the alarm. Was that extra hour of sleep worth it? Nope. Now I'm cranky about the rain outside, the fact that I'm a few steps behind the kids and my long to-do list, and my general lack of motivation.

On mornings like this one, I should have reminded myself that even a bad run would have beat no run! Whether you run, walk, do yoga, spin, swim, go out for a hike, or take a cardio class at your gym, I'm sure most people would agree its much better to start a long day with a little sweat, than a bad attitude! Even if its at the expense of a little sleep.

I was having the same train of thought last night. I was beat from the day and not really up to trying out the new recipe I had meal planned for dinner. Would all the work be worth it if it wasn't even good? But even a bad dinner would be better than no dinner!! Turns out it was a delicious new recipe! I would have never known, had I never tried!

Winter Mulligatawny Soup
(I grew up eating a lot of Indian food, and this didn't really taste like the Mulligatawny I've had in restaurants, but it was still REALLY tasty and I loved the use of the fall/winter produce!)

1 chicken breast (I cooked mine separately but you can brown it with veggies)
4-6 cups chicken broth (I used 4 but more is advised for more soupiness)
1 tbl butter
2 small apples
2 celery stalks
2-3 carrots
1 onion
couple cloves garlic and about an inch of chopped ginger (DOROT - huge time saver!!)
veg or chicken broth
3/4 cup lentils
2 tbl curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne (leave it out if you can't take heat!)
3/4 cup light coconut milk (not pictured)
a cranky kid

I started by chopping all the veggies small. You could throw in a food processor if you don't feel like cutting with a knife, but I used my food chopper.

At the very least, it gave something for the cranky kid to do!
Melt butter in sauce pan first and add allllll the chopped veggies (saute the chicken first here if its not precooked)
Add in the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cayenne, and a little salt
Add in the chicken broth, and let it come to a slow boil before you add in the lentils

Chicken is read to be added in!

Let the lentils simmer for about 10 minutes before you add in the chicken

Then add about 3/4 cup of the coconut milk

I put some parsley on top because it was pretty and I had some!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Normal... But Better

Thanksgiving Day embodies everything I love about a "normal" day. Well, a normal day... on steroids.

My favorite parts of a normal day include a run, eating mostly healthy, and spending a whole lot of quality time with little people.

But on Thanksgiving... I race (annual 10K in the morning!), I absolutely stuff my face with whatever is on the table, and I get to hang out with tons and tons of family! It really is my dream day.

Here's the first of the two dishes I'm bringing to the In-Laws... I saw this on Pioneer Woman and had to re-create it! It's basically scalloped potatoes... but true to the Thanksgiving theme it's scalloped potatoes on steroids. Instead of potatoes it's turnips, and instead of cheddar cheese its Gruyere, and instead of being kind of tasteless, it is really really awesome.

I made it tonight to see how much of an undertaking it would be for the big day. It is SO simple and uses minimal ingredients, always a plus! Tonight I served it with pork chops. This could definitely be a good side dish on any winter night, but I like to save these cheesy-gooey-buttery-creamy-fat recipes such as this for the holidays! ...When 12 other family members are there to share in the guilt :)

Pioneer Woman's Turnip Gratin

(I made this to serve 3 to 4, so double/triple/quadruple if you need!)

3 small turnips
Half and Half or any cream
Gruyere cheese
Chicken stock (forgot to picture)

Now go back and read those ingredients and tell me this isn't going to be awesome

Peel the turnips and cut off the tops and bottoms

Ta da... I thought they were pretty. I've never cooked turnips before! So this was very fun and exciting. Never thought I'd be 25 years old and finding turnips very exciting but it tis what it tis.
I used a mandolin to get even slices but of course you could use a knife too.

Now I decided to make this right in may pan because that's what Pioneer Woman did, but for actual TG I'm going to layer it in a casserole dish since I have to travel with it.
So melt some butter in the bottom of the pan (or layer it on the bottom of baking dish).

Layer the turnips and add some pressed garlic, a little bit of butter, a quick dash of cream and a quick dash of chicken stock. I know! So fat! So good. Its Thanksgiving!!

A layer of Gruyere (which is kind of like Swiss cheese, but better)

Keep layering turnips, garlic, cream, butter, stock, Gruyere, then put some cracked pepper on the top layer. No salt necessary, because Gruyere is pretty salty as is.

Then bake 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes of until bubbly.

Yum! A slightly healthier, sweeter, old family favorite will be posted tomorrow!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving to Christmas

I LOVE Thanksgiving, and I fully believe in embracing all the Thankfulness, football, turkeys and pilgrims that come along with it. But I always find myself a little antsy about Christmas this time of year as well. As soon as Starbucks breaks out its Red Christmas cups.... it's official. The Holidays are here.

So what I end up doing is having a little mix of both in my house. Christmas music playing while the kids color turkeys. Red Pointsettas sharing a flower pot with mums.

I made this appetizer for a party we had last weekend, and I love the way it transitions from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Cranberries, apples, cinnamon... those ingredients are fair game for a Thanksgiving appetizer, but will transition perfectly into Christmas as well. So put this one in your recipe file to use up over the coming weeks!

Baked Brie with Cranberries and Apples

Preheat oven to 350

1 round of Brie (about 4 inches in diameter)

1 medium apple

a handful of dried cranberries

2 tsp cinnamon (love the Pampered Chef Cinnamon, its the same one Cinnabon uses)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Sliced Almonds

Wheat thins for serving

OH and... left out a really healthy ingredient. Just 2 tablespoons of butter. :)

Melt the butter in the microwave, then mix in the cinnamon and brown sugar

Steer it up

Chop your apples real small, and if you have a food chopper, you're really happy right now.

Add in the brown sugar/butter mix, the almonds, and the cranberries and give it a stir
Then slice the Brie in half lengthwise

Put the bottom half cut-side up... this was perfect on a round stone but you can use a cookie sheet too.

Scoop half the apple mix on top

Put his hat on

And scoop the rest on top! At this point, if you were traveling, you could wrap the Brie up in aluminum to transfer it to your party.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until gooey. I served it on the round stone and put wheat thins all around it.
Sadly, I have no "after" pictures, because my family stood next to this appetizer like vultures and devoured the entire thing!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I'm Thankful For

I've been in a funk lately. I've been a bad blogger. And while I'm at it, a bad wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister, employee, and runner. Sometimes I sign up for way more than I can handle, and when I do I find that instead of being my best at anything, I'm only half-present for everything. The life of a mom is certainly one of a juggler, but it's crucial to realize when there are too many balls in the air.

Last week while trying to get something edible on the table amidst the chaos of the 5 to 6 o'clock hour, I burned pasta. I didn't even know this was possible.

But there I was, trying to squeeze way too much into my week, my day, even that very minute, because that's what women do, and God sent me a little message. Don't spread yourself so thin, Karen, or you're going to burn it.

This stage in life is SO full, SO challenging and SO rewarding, all in the same breath. Little kids can run you ragged and wear you down like you'd never possibly believe or understand until you've experienced it. Yet at the very same time, they fill you with more pride, joy and love than you knew your heart could handle. Now add on to child-rearing the other one zillion life factors... holding down a job, keeping the bank account full, being a supportive spouse, keeping finances in order, keeping in touch with family and friends, trying to stay healthy and active, and maybe even possibly squeezing in some healthy meals for your family, a house that's not a total disaster, and a load of laundry when you can, and you can see how quickly raising your children can start to feel like more of a chore instead of an awesome God-given privilege.

November ushers in a month of Thanksgiving. A month to focus on gratitude. My burned pasta and subsequent melt-down that night reminded me that I need to put down some of the balls I have in the air so that I can be PRESENT and GRATEFUL for the important things in my life that I chose and I am blessed to have.

And because I'm female, the best way to snap me out of my funk, take a deep breath, and re-prioritize that night was clearly... wine and chocolate. I was up late making these for a Pampered Chef Party I was doing the next day, and then decided they didn't need all 48... they could share with me. :)

So THANKS, or no thanks, to Breanna Doyle, for letting me know about this recipe. These are highly-addicting and will vanish quickly!

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

1 package of Brownie mix (plus, eggs, oil, water that the box recipe calls for)
Cooking Spray with Flour
1 package of Miniature Reeces Peanut Butter Cups

Preheat oven to 350

Spray each cup lightly with the Cooking Spray with Flour. Use a small scoop to fill each mini muffin tin 3/4 full

Open 48 Reeces. Kevin came home while I was making these and saw this stash on the counter. I can only imagine what he was thinking about the kind of day I must have had to create this stash of chocolate wrappers. He quickly disappeared upstairs and out of my sight. HAHA

Push one down into each brownie, then throw them in the oven for 12 minutes

I love my kids and I love my life.
But I'm also thankful for...
A quiet house, wine, chocolate, and a good book.

P.S. Don't let the picture fool you... I had way more than 1.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Extra Long Monday

I'm definitely a morning person... it's pretty much a guarantee that I get the most done between 5 AM and noon, and then I'm useless after 9 pm. Of course the whole getting up early thing STINKS, until you're actually up and moving. This morning was the best of both worlds, because thanks to Daylight Savings Time change this weekend, a 5:15 alarm felt more like 6:15, and I can't believe that its only 7:30 AM right now.

The downside is that my kids are all off "schedule"... That Girl Baby is already back asleep for a morning nap and Supermans been up since 5:30, but hey, at least my morning feels like its lasting a little extra long today, and I'm ok with prolonging my favorite part of the day.

Now I have a few extra minutes to get a meal plan in... I'm looking in the fridge and pantry and its SPARSE. But I've got a lot of parsley (random) and a ton of carrots and onions, so I'm going to work around that until I can get to the store.

(This post is really really old, so no pictures. But its a great pantry meal for nights I have nothing on hand... like tonight)
(I've blogged this before, but going to reblog with pictures this time)
Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I can't wrap my head around Saturday and Sunday right now... family in town!! What are you making this week?? I need some new ideas!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Winner - Recipe

With the hustle and bustle of Halloween in the 'burbs... Thursday through Sunday was pretty crazy over here. Who would have known the massive amounts of effort it takes to get little people in costume and out the door??

So this morning, after Superman had chocolate for breakfast (great Mom over here), he donned a Batman mask to choose a winner for the Cut N Seal Givewaway. Batman was still sleeping soundly, surely hungover from his Halloween Sugar Rush, so Superman was happy to step in.

Names in the bowl...

Hi "Batman" ... make sure you hold onto this mask, it might come in handy if you ever want to rob a bank one day

The winner is....

Oops turn that around... Heather! From "The Crazy World of a Running Mom!"
Congrats Heather! Send me an email at HungryMomontheRun@gmail.com with your address so I can ship it over to you! Also, if you didn't win and would still like one, send me an email and I'll let you know how.

Well Heather's not the only winner around here. Laurie sent me a recipe this week for Enchilada Dip, I changed it around a bit based on what I had in the pantry, but it was DEVOURED in minutes. I brought it to a few Halloween get togethers this weekend and it was EASY and AWESOME. Healthy? Not so much. Addictive? YES. I made an extra large batch the second night and saved it to stuff in Enchiladas later this week one night for dinner.

Chicken Enchilada Dip
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded/chopped
16 oz of softened cream cheese
Enchilada sauce (Green enchilada sauce rocks, but who knew? Target is actually one of the only places you can find it. This particular time I only had red enchilada sauce, so I went with that)
1 can of Rotel
1 Jalapeno
Shredded Cheddar/Mexican Blend

Chop the jalapeno really small
Throw it in with the enchilada sauce, cream cheese and rotel

Mix it in with the chicken

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then top with some cheese

Don't eat the whole thing by yourself!