Skipping to the present

I know it has been a while since you’ve heard from me. I know that I’m skipping two years of my life, but some people in my life are anxious for me to post a certain picture to my facebook page. As of now I have shared it only with a small group of friends. I keep a copy on my phone, just in case I want to look at it. Which, anymore is very rarely. Currently, I just look the way I look. Maybe on a bad day I take a little peek.

This weekend I will be doing my second full marathon. To say that I am excited is an understatement. I have been training for 18 weeks to get that finish line. Looking back on all the hard work and countless hours that I have spent on my feet I can’t believe that the weekend is finally here. The Pig will forever have a special place for me. The 5k was my first 5k. The half marathon was my first half marathon. While it is not my first marathon, 26.2 at any time is an accomplishment.

I sometimes wonder where I would be if I wouldn’t have made the decision to put my shoes on and get out the door that first time. I am happy that I made that decision. I am happy that I have so many people supporting me. I am happy that I am able bodied. I am happy that I am me. It has not been easy getting here nor is the journey over. I know that I am ready though.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the “Finish Swine” this weekend!

transformation

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Red Beans and Rice

Lets be honest, we all have nights where we struggle to get dinner ready. I would love for you to have the illusion that every night I cook from scratch. In reality, I don’t always have the time. Lets look at this week for example. Monday and Thursday I am coaching Sit to Fit (a great 5k training program if you are interested). Tuesday I am meeting a friend to walk after work and probably won’t be home till after 7. Wednesday Jess and I have tickets to a concert.  Then we are to Friday, which is sushi night for us. Saturday who knows. Sunday we have family dinner night. Like I said, busy little bee.

Weeks like this I have to go to one of Jess’s favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice. We are not normally box food people, but this and occasionally ramen, don’t judge, are some of our go to meals. It is easy and fast to whip up. Plus, you can doctor it up to make it a little better. Some nights we top it with baked catfish other times we will brown some andouille or kielbasa and use that. Avoid sausages that have corn syrup in them – an artificial sweetener has no business being in sausage.  (Seriously – check the label). I also read all the boxes of Red Beans and Rice to find the one with the lowest sodium/serving.

RedBeansRice

Red Beans and Rice with Baked Catfish

no nutritional info, look on your package
catfish/ 6oz 230 cal, 0 carbs, 13 fat, 0 sodium, 0 fiber, 26 protein (sodium will vary depending on your seasoning)

For the catfish:

1 fillet per person
favorite cajun seasoning
a little olive oil or a spray of cooking spray

  1. preheat oven to 400
  2. spray or rub catfish with olive oil, then sprinkle with your favorite cajun seasoning. There is no measuring here, the more you use the spicier and saltier.
  3. place on a rack in a rimed baking sheet.
  4. pop in the oven for 15-20 min.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pack of your favorite Red Beans and Rice (+ what it calls for)
1 can of rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
red pepper flakes to taste

  1. bring the liquid and the red pepper flakes to a boil. 
  2. stir in the rotel and rice mixture
  3. simmer covered for 25 minutes
  4. turn off heat, uncover, stir and let sit for 5 minutes
  5. Spoon into bowls and top with a catfish filet

notes: I mentioned before that you can add sausage. Brown the sausage in a heavy bottomed pot with a lid. Then proceed from step 1 of preparing the red beans and rice.

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Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

I could eat eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner. All around I just love things that are traditionally considered breakfast foods. Pretty certain it’s because most of the time, it’s comfort food at it’s best. I started making baked eggs a couple of years ago. When I read a recipe for them baked in tomato sauce, I knew I had to try it. What is not to love in a meal that is based around an ooey gooey egg yolk and dipping sauce for bread? Personally, I like to break up the whites, stir it all together, and spoon it on top of a an english muffin. One of the best aspects of this meal is it can be a one pot meal or you can take it up a notch and make individual portions.

Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

serves 4, 389 cal, 56 carbs, 4 fat, 610 sodium, 12 fiber, 21 protein
recipe adapted from Everyday Foods

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbls fresh rosemary, minced
salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

Extremely optional items 

1 carrot shredded
1 bell pepper, diced
1 pint of sliced mushrooms (i like portobella)
A couple of handfulls of baby spinach, rough chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. heat oil over medium high in a heavy bottomed, oven proof dish (i like to make this in my saute pan)
  3. once the oils is simmering add in the onions, saute until translucent. This is the best time to also add in the mushrooms, bell pepper, and carrot
  4. once the onions go translucent and the rest of the vegetable soften, add the garlic and ref pepper flakes, cook about 30 seconds until fragrant
  5. pour in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer
  6. add salt and pepper to taste, stir in the rosemary and spinach
  7. Make 4 wells and break 2 eggs in each one, crumble goat cheese on top
  8. pop in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until whites are sets and yolks are to your liking.
  9. serve with lightly dressed greens and bread for dipping.

Notes: Bacon is always good. serve it on the side or par cook it and line your ramekin with it. If you are short on time, skip making your own sauce. Bring your favorite jar of sauce to a simmer and skip to step 7. You can also switch out the cheese, maybe a little parmesan.

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thinking I was doing everything right

After our first 5k we needed to keep motivated. Jess had us signed up for 5k races almost every weekend. Our second 5k was the weekend after our first. I thought he was nuts to do another race so soon, but this was something we were doing together. I should say, we walked to the starting line together. The race started good, but this was the first time I was by myself. I had no one to chat with, no one to keep me motivated. Soon my running intervals were getting shorter and shorter. I was walking more, but I was still out there. I finished that race and said to Jess, I am never running again and I haven’t (there will be more on this later). My running shoes became my walking shoes in which I kept on moving.

The summer was a lot of fun. Jess was always cheering me on at the finish line. I was starting to feel better. My clothes were getting lose. I even bought a couple new dresses. When it was time to for my annual physical, I wasn’t dreading it. The day of the my physical, I was not in the best mood. My physical was at 2 in the afternoon, which meant I had not eaten all day. I was cranky and a bit shaky. When I stepped on that scale and saw that I have gained 10 lbs, I was devastated. Then when the nurse took my blood pressure I made her repeat herself, as I couldn’t believe what she was saying. Finally, the doctor came in and we started talking. She told me she wanted to put me on high blood pressure medication. At this point I was on the verge of tears. I boldly said, there is no way. If I started taking medication at 31 (which I had just turned the week before), would there ever be an end to it? After some uncomfortable conversation she reluctantly agreed to give me 6 weeks.6 weeks to make some major life changes.

As soon as I got in my car I called Jess and completely broke down. How could I feel like I was going everything right and this was the end result? Why did it sound like my doctor had no faith in me? Luckily for me I have an amazing supportive husband. He calmed me down and once again said, we are in this together. That night we started planning. We laid out how we were going to do this. Step 1, we were going to start tracking our food. While not ideal, it was the best way for us to monitor our portions. Step 2, we were going to continue to work out. There was a 30 day challenge going on at my yoga studio, everyday I was going to be there. I will not lie, I was stressed and nervous.

That month was hard. No matter how well I thought I was doing, I still didn’t think it was enough. When the time came, I put on the exact same outfit as I wore to my physical. I wanted the most accurate change as possible. Warily I stepped on that scale, I stared at the numbers as they started climbing. When the numbers stopped, I was down 10 lbs! Then it was on to getting my blood pressure taken, which I am a firm believer skyrockets the minute you step foot in a doctor’s office. Being the weirdo that I can be, I sat and meditated until they came in to take it. I was going to do anything to stay calm. The nurse took it first, then when the doctor came in, she took. Success, I had brought both my systolic and diastolic down. While I was not in the normal range, I was finally moving in the right direction.

Now, for anyone who is dealing with something similar, I am going to give you a peek into the conversation I had with my doctor. She asked me what I changed. I say, “I took a 30 day yoga challenge and I am tracking my food.” I kid you not, she replied, “You will not always have time to do yoga everyday.” Wow, thank you doctor for being so encouraging. I really appreciate it. At this point, I have no idea what I said to her. I was too caught up on that one comment.  In the end, I agreed to come back in 3 months for a follow up. I am not really sure why I didn’t change doctors, maybe I had something to prove.  BTW, I don’t want you to dislike my doctor. Just know everyone says stupid things. Remind yourself that you are doing this for you and no one else.

I have no dramatic weight loss pic to show with this post. you get to see the view from my chair on the day after that doctor’s appoint. A very well deserved vacation.

 

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How it started?

There is so much that I want to tell you, but this post would turn into a novel if I told the story of the last 2 years at one time. So, I will try to give you a little bit at time. Way back in May 2010 my cousin Ana ran her first Flying Pig Marathon. The whole family came together to support her. Lucky for us, the marathon passes about 2 blocks from our house. The morning of the race we headed down to watch and cheer for her. As we stood there in the rain we were in awe of these runners and walkers. The excitement was so overwhelming, just standing their we were inspired.  Before we headed back to the house my sister, brother in law, my husband and I pledged that next year we would relay the marathon as a team.

Fast forward to January 2011. My sister, brother in law, husband and I start freaking out. We made this commitment, yet we had done nothing .As a group we decided we needed a plan. After a bit of research, we were all doing the couch to 5k program. At the time, we had a couple of goals: 1) Just to do a race. 2) My sister wanted to be an example for her son. 3) We all needed to get healthier. We were going to do this relay. Well, we thought we were going to do the relay. One small problem, none of us looked up the length of each relay leg. I guess we are lucky that someone thought to do, because it turns out the legs were closer to 10K each. This could have gotten us down, but instead we just changed our plan. We would do the 5k the Pig weekend.

Looking back we did so many things wrong the morning of the race. Only some of us went to the planned meeting place. Jess and I didn’t have a phone on us. We seeded way too close to the starting line. The one thing we did do right, was show up. I was so nervous that morning. I have never been athletic and here I was 30 years old doing my first 5k. Hello, scary! Lucky for me, I had my sister by my side. We ran and walked our way through the course. We weren’t the fast people. We weren’t the slowest. What we were was determined. We crossed that finish like we big smiles on our faces.

Doing that first 5k was life changing. I was putting one foot in front of the other to make myself better, to my life better. The training was hard, but I did  it. I was so proud. Looking back I really didn’t realize that that 5k really was just the beginning. It was a good beginning, but we always have to keep moving.

 

my first time at the finish line

 

 

 

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Clams and White Beans

Back in December I was testing some recipes for a dinner party then I threw together this little dish. I very rarely follow a recipe, normally combining my favorite elements from a couple different ones. The recipe has a little bit of everything, saltiness from the clams, spicy from the red pepper and a smooth mouth feel from the beans.

Last week I had this on the menu, but after fighting traffic and snow for an hour and half I really wasn’t in the mood. Then I thought, Jess started the water boiling, just get it done. Honestly, it turned out to be the perfect week night meal – I walked in the door at 6:35, sat down to eat at 7:10. I even had time to put on my pj’s.

Clams with White Beans
serves 4, 389 cal, 56 carbs, 4 fat, 610 sodium, 12 fiber, 21 protein1-2 Shallots, minced

1-2 Shallots, minced
2 Garlic cloves, minces
.5 T Olive Oil
1 tsp Red pepper flakes, use your judgement
3/4 cup White wine
2 cans Cannellini beans, rinsed, divided
2 cans Whole Baby Clams with juice
1 T Rosemary
3/4 cup dried whole wheat elbow macaroni, cook to just under al dente
1 cup pasta water, just in case

  1. in a blender, puree 1 can of the cannellini beans with a little bit of the wine
  2. heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan
  3. saute shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes until the shallots start to turn translucent
  4. add in the remaining wine (if there is any), bring to a boil and reduce by half
  5. stir in the pureed bean, whole beans and clams with juice, return to a simmer
  6. add pasta and allow to simmer until al dente, or your preference
  7. If it is too thick for your liking add in a little pasta water
  8. stir the rosemary and add salt and pepper to taste (make sure you taste before you salt)

Notes: I am going to attempt to provide nutritional information for as many recipes as I can. I can’t promise that they are perfect, but I did input the recipe into MyFitnessPal. If all goes as planned, once it is added to the database you will be able to search for it and add it to your food diary….As for this recipe, it would be good with some chopped spinach or kale wilted into it at the end if you want more vegetables.

 

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Why 2.0?

For a while I have been thinking about coming back to this blog. Since I last had your attention many things have changed, but mostly I have changed. I have spent many hours and miles making my life better. To be 100% honest with you, many of the changes that I have made were not optional. I learned the hard way that there can be too much of a good thing. So here I am today, 60 lbs lighter, happier and healthier. Over the next couple of weeks I will tell you about my journey, the start, the wake up call and where I am heading. I will also give you a peak inside my kitchen, which also underwent a major renovation. So, come back and visit often. I hope that you will find inspiration for eating well and living well.

For the curious ones, a small picture of the new kitchen.

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V.2.0

Hey friends, Welcome back to CincyEats 2.0. Looking forward to spending time with you in the very near future.

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Food Porn 9

smoked trout with chipolte hollandaise

Smoked Trout with Chipolte Hollandaise from Nectar

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Lots to do

This weekend is packed with lots of activities around the city.  I just wanted to point out a couple that everyone might enjoy.

Tonight there is a wine tasting on Fountain Square.  I can’t comment on what the wines will be, but I am sure you will find a few gems in the pack.

Tomorrow morning there are two events that any a gardeners will enjoy. Hamilton County will be selling composters. There will only be 1000 at both locations so you will probably want to get there early. Jess and I will be paying a visit to Cincinnati State to pick ours up.  Also, there is the Herb Society’s annual Herb and Plant Sale. If you are still in the market for herbs there will be over 100 varieties for sale. I had no idea there were so many different herbs that you could grow here.

Sunday is Mother’s day so I am sure many of you have brunch plans. If you are looking for something to do afterward head over to Second Sunday in OTR. Main street will be closed and all the shops will be open. Or you could check out the wine tasting at Market Wines. I hear that they will be doing a special 5th wine just for Mother’s Day.

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