Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not For Wimps!

I wanted to squeeze in a post before Kevin and I take off for a kidless vacation to Colorado in 48 hours to celebrate our 6 year anniversary and Kev's 30th. If you're a burglar reading this, save yourself the time, you won't find anything here but lego Batmen and goldfish crumbs.

Organizing childcare was no small feat, and this trip is possible thanks to three wonderful, brave women, two of whom are watching MY kids, in addition to their OWN kids, at different times in different places! Such an undertaking is NOT for wimps!

We have vacationed to Colorado several times before to visit Kevin's sister, Kelly (who is coincidentally my best friend) and something I love about it out there is that we spend the entire vacation being ACTIVE and OUTSIDE. Hiking, biking, walking, running! Cause that's just what you do there. That is the one thing that makes me want to uproot our family and head West.

Lucky for me, the training plan for my September marathon kicks off this week and I will get to do my first long run in the beautiful mountains of Boulder! Sounds picturesque, and it will be, but running at 5,000+ feet elevation is not for wimps! Kelly will have to escort me just to ensure that I don't pass out on the trails!

Sticking with my theme today, here's an aweeeeesome recipe, although not for wimps. And by wimps in this case, I mean kids. Too spicy for the little people, but sooooooo yummy for the big and brave.

I love having an EASY new crock pot recipe for my repertoire, especially since I now have about 6 minutes between when I put Sage in the farthest corner away from the stairs, and she ends up here:

Spicy Shredded Beef (Not for Wimps)
adapted from Sunset magazine on Myrecipes.com

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck (Buying meat with weird names like "chuck" and "round" usually intimidates me but I just walked up to the counter and asked the butcher to find it for me)
6 oz of jalapenos
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (recipe called for chipotle sauce but that was impossible to find. You can get chipotle chili at any grocery store)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tsp cumin
2 cups of beef broth

Kaiser rolls, red onion, greek yogurt, tomato slices, and cilantro for serving

First chop up the garlic, jalapeno, and onion. MMMM you know it's going to be good when you start by chopping up 6 oz of jalapenos!!
Did that in a bowl with my salad choppers, then added the can of undrained diced tomatoes
Then one and a half cans worth of beef broth. Recipe called for 2 cups but I ended up doing more like three.
Then two teaspoons of cumin
1 tablespoon of chili powder
The chipotle chili powder
Annnnd the honey
Mix it up, and dump it on top of the beef in the crock pot!
Cover and low for 8 to 10 hours! When it's done, I took it out and rough chopped it all up
Then added it back in with the sauce until it was ready to serve
Toppings ready to go
Toast the buns
Annnnnd put it all together. INCREDIBLE. One wasn't enough for HungryMom so I did my second one open face and it was fab. Kevin had about 15.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One Shoe

It's been an insane May. We have about 200 family celebrations in May and I love every minute of it. Well, in complete honestly, some years on May 1st when I look at my calendar for the month my heart starts palpitating. But all in all I DO love celebration after celebration. Just this past weekend we partied it up for the last of our May celebrations; my husbands 30th, our 6 year anniversary, and Batman's 4th.

One event in May I always look forward to is MOTHER'S DAY! Love Mother's Day. It's a day where I know I can guarantee that I get quality time with my little family of five, and I can ask Daddy to change diapers, do dishes, make dinner, and pick-up totally guilt-free. :) Maybe it's the Catholic in me, or maybe it just comes with the territory of being a Mom, but I always feel a bit of guilt hanging over me about leaving my family for whatever reason. Running races is definitely one of those times. I feel guilty leaving the kids before they wake up. I feel guilty spending a weekend morning running a race instead of having quality family of five time. I feel guilty spending money on a race entry.

On Mother's Day I decided instead of sleeping in, I wanted to start the day doing something I love, totally guilt free. I entered a local 5K with some other mommy running friends. On the way there we laughed about the fact that we must be a little crazy to choose getting up early to run over sleeping in on a day that is devoted to us.

A part of me wanted redemption at this 5K. I was still a little bitter that the last 5K was short, making my finish time not all that valid. From the second the gun went off I knew it was going to be a bust. My Garmin didn't start. Shoot. I heard Meredith next to me say, "Forget about it, just GO." In a 5k, there really isn't time to stop and think. It's over before it even starts, so I just forgot about the watch and started running hard. About halfway through the first mile I noticed my shoe was untied. Okay, no big deal, I kept going. Then by midway through my second mile my shoe was more than untied, it was falling off. For a minute I was pissed. Is this really happening? Then I started laughing to myself. Oh hey God, there you are, just messing with me a little. A little reminder that I don't run and race for redemption, or to win, or to have some personal glory, I run to enjoy the gifts that He gave me.

I'm a mom. I'm a mom who can run. I'm a mom who can run with her friends.

I dragged my foot on the ground through the rest of the race just pondering those blessings and laughing about how things never go as planned, but sometimes they go better.

The last .1 I decided just to run without dragging my foot, and my shoe came flying off. I finished the race with one shoe. I had such a fun morning with my friends who all did amazing, just laughing about how I ran with one shoe, and how the course was way hillier than we thought it would be, and how we all had a great time just enjoying one another's company.

In a lot of ways, I feel like I'm running through life right now with one shoe. We are entering the crazy time of life. Little kids running around with lots of different schedules to coordinate, very little time to ourselves, a calendar so packed it makes my head hurt a little, a constantly messy house, way too much work and way too little sleep, and a To-Do list that never shortens. I feel like I spend half the day running around like a crazy lady with one shoe. And I'm pretty sure it's only going to get more chaotic from here on out for the next few years. The shoeless race was a little reminder to enjoy these days for exactly what they are... crazy, unexpected, and great memories I will look back on one day and both laugh about and long for.

And what would a running story be without a recipe, especially since I've been ignoring recipes on this blog lately. Just a quickie I've been making a ton, courtesy of Breanna Doyle.

Black Bean Salsa

1 can of Corn
1 can of Black Beans
4 roma tomatoes (I prefer roma over the grape I used here)
half an onion
1 seeded jalapeno
juice from 1 lime
3 garlic cloves

Rinse and drain the corn and black beans and place in a bowl
Oops skipped some steps, but I just put the tomatoes, onion and jalapeno in a food processor and chopped well. Then add to corn and black beans and mix well.
Forgot to put cilantro in the food processor! I used salad choppers to chop those up into the salsa after the fact.
Add lime juice and pressed garlic and some salt to taste. YUMMY.

I usually serve it as a dip but this would be awesome served over grilled chicken or fajitas!

Monday, May 16, 2011

HungrySister Presents: Sunday Night Dinner

It's me, HungrySister! Karen asked me to guest blog as she has been even busier than usual recently. Before we start, let me set the scene:

Act 1: Karen asks me to guest blog. I am VERY EXCITED.

Act 2: My mood plummets as I realize that the only recipes I make are in fact HungryMom meals. Depression sets in as I realize my guest blogs will be nothing but recycled recipes made in a less cool kitchen - without even cute kid pictures to distract you. No Laura, no! Pull yourself together!!

Act 3: I whip out the 5 Barefoot Contessa cookbooks I've been getting consecutively Christmas after Christmas and realize that I actually DO have some stuff in my arsenal! No recycled dishes and recycled pictures of Superman, Batman, and TGB! That's a lie; I'm definitely throwing in some vintage kid pics to keep you guys interested. Look, here's one right now!!!

So my first attempt of a non-recycled Hungry Mom recipe will be my version of a family Sunday night dinner in our household growing up. During the week I'd come home from track practice and eat from the second I got home until the second I went to bed (….but for real, that happened) no matter how may times my mom told me to wait until we could eat as a family - I was a ravenous monster and could not be stopped. Fridays and Saturdays were usually spent with friends, but there was mandated attendance at Sunday night dinner - no excuses! Attending Sunday night dinner clearly wasn't difficult when Karen and I were younger - we'd spend way too much time setting the table and getting everything perfect for dinner time. I recall Karen once orchestrating a Japanese-themed meal with paper lanterns and kimonos included - she was 17 at the time. Sike sike sike, subtract about ten years.

I've been making an effort to keep Sunday nights special by trying out a new recipe every Sunday. This probably actually really happens about twice a month, but every other week ain't bad! Warning - this recipe is not the healthiest…but it is delicious and perfect for a special Sunday night. Shout out to my girl Ina Garten for showing me how to put it all together.

Sunday Night Chicken with Shallots

You'll need:

4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on

3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/3 fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

1/4 cup minced shallots (about 1 shallot or 1 small onion if you don't have any shallots!)

3 tbsp heavy cream

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and give them a good sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes in a good sized skillet. Place the chicken breasts skin side down in the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes WITHOUT MOVING THEM! Seriously, don't touch them. Step away. That is the only way they will get golden brown!

Using tongs (or in my case a couple of mismatched spatulas) turn the chicken breasts skin side up and put the skillet in the oven for about 12-15 more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Proof of golden brownness:

While that's cooking away, combine the white wine, lemon juice, and shallots in a medium pan and cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes (until a few tbsp of the liquid remain in the pan). If it reduces too much you can add another splash of wine or water.

Check out the PC citrus press I got for my bday! Heck ya, 24! P.S. - Those are not my hands, promise.

Add the cream, some salt, and some pepper and bring to a full boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Mmm, cream and butter, thankfully there are no calories on the weekends.

Stir it all together and add a little more salt!

Chicken with the shallot sauce - I think the pink shallots looked a little weird but got over it very quickly after I had my first bite!

I had it with some easy pesto roasted tomatoes and baked red potatoes. A very Sunday night dinner, if you ask me!