Sunday, March 27, 2011

Breakfast party time!

Yesterday, myself and some of my best ladies got together for our monthly "dinner" party.  Each month, one of us takes a turn hosting and we usually have a theme.  This month, Brittany hosted and wanted to make breakfast food so we switched the time from dinner and had more of a brunch. 
All the ladies at our first dinner party last year
There was NO shortage of food and we sipped mimosas with raspberries as we all caught up on life and gossip!
Asparagus, red pepper, smoked salmon frittata with potato crust (recipe below)

Blueberry pancakes...I had 2 but could have ate 10!

Kath's famous coffee cake (I'll have to bribe her for the recipe), cinnamon rolls and fruit skewers.

We ate picnic style on the floor and as you can see everyone licked their plates!

I made a frittata adapted from my favorite cooking classes at Green Lake Nutrition.  This recipe is switched up a bit from the Broccoli and Smoked Salmon Frittata with Potato Crust from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Smoked Salmon Frittata with Potato Crust

Serves: 6-8
Time: 40 minutes total

2 cups grated potato (about 1 HUGE potato or 2 smaller ones)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup red pepper, chopped (almost one whole pepper)
1-2 cups chopped asparagus (depending on how much you like the stuff!)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped up small
3/4-1 cup chopped smoked salmon
8 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Plate grated potato and salt in a bowl, let rest for about 10 minutes.  The potato will turn a little brown, that's OK!  Squeeze out excess water.  Oil a pie plate with olive oil or butter and place grated potato into pie plate and press evenly to create "crust".
3. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.  Add pepper and asparagus to soften for 2 more minutes.
4. Add eggs to large bowl with salt, pepper, and thyme and whisk lightly.
5. Add skillet veggies to egg mixture.
6. Pour egg mixture over potato crust.
7. Cook at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.

Grated potato, you can use a food processor to make this step easier as well!

Squeeze out water in colander over sink.

Press potato into bottom of pie pan.

Finished product before going in oven!
Okay, I'm off to attempt a 6-7 mile run in the rain!

Question: What is your favorite breakfast food?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thai Chicken Salad

Inspired by the Cabbage Crunch Salad with Thai Basil Dressing from my recent cooking class, I decide to change up the recipe a bit to make the salad a meal and make some substitutions with things I like more.  This can definitely be served alone as a meal or paired with brown rice to make it more filling.  I've been eating it for pretty much every meal and snack since I made it last night!

Could there be any more colors in this??
Lar's Thai Chicken Salad 

Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes start to finish


Small head of purple cabbage, cleaned, cored and shredded
4 scallions, finely sliced
1 cup shredded carrots (or other veggies that you have on hand)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
handful of chopped parsley <---I really don't measure anything, add as much as you want!
handful of chopped basil
2 chicken breasts cooked anyway you like (George Forman all the way for me!), then chopped or shredded

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (toasted really makes the difference...splurge for this oil!)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons Bragg (soy sauce as alternative)
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Combine all salad ingredients in large bowl.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour dressing on salad and serve immediately. 
Salad ingredients in bowl minus the chicken

Dressing ingredients in bowl  
Stacey thinks it looks lick smacking good too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Race Recap: Mercer Island 10K

On Sunday, March 20 I ran the Mercer Island 10K with a member of Team Flying V, Stacey!  The original plan was to run the half marathon but life got in the way and we opted to run something we knew we could finish and be proud of.  I was unsure how I would feel race morning due to eating fish and chips and a couple beers the day prior (oops!), but I fit in a good breakfast and felt energized by the 8:30 start time. 
Charging up my Garmin and Ipod pre-race and watching my NCAA bracket, which by the way I'm out of thanks to Notre Dame's less than stellar performance yesterday

It was a PERFECT almost Spring morning in Seattle, sunny skies in the upper 40's and lower 50's by race time.  The course was hilly and hard but provided just enough of a challenge to keep pushing forward.  The beginning was a little congested and being on a semi-muddy trail didn't help much.  But after mile 1 everyone spread out on the street and passing people was easy.  Each hill was long enough to provide a good cardio boost but not drain all my energy and the downhills waiting on the other side were the perfect way to get my heart rate back down to normal to keep going.

Thanks to my awesome Garmin watch (I should have put that on my favorite things list!) I got a mile by mile breakdown:

Mile 1 - 10:11 <---warming up and being herded like cats on a muddy trail
Mile 2 - 9:19
Mile 3 - 9:09
Mile 4 - 9:12
Mile 5 - 9:12
Mile 6 - 8:42 <---WHOA...someone wanted to finish the race pronto!

Overall time - 57:36 <--- New Personal Record (PR)....yeah!

More importantly, this race kicked off my 2011 running season.  Next up, Kirkland Half Marathon on May 8 with Katie, Kelly (Katie's sister) and Paula (Katie's mom).  Since it's mothers day weekend I'm trying to talk my mother into coming to Seattle and walking the 5K.
This is how Stacey spent her Sunday!

Runners: What race are you most looking forward to this year?  I would say the marathon is mine but that isn't really true.  I am looking forward to running the Seattle Rock and Roll since Team Flying V will be reunited for the race and I miss my flying V formation!

UPDATE: This just in...I finally have a racing photo where I don't look like I'm about to pass out and die!  I'll have to gather some of my deathly photos at another time but in the meantime enjoy this one taken right before the end of the race, on a hill!
Totally stole this from the photographer website...don't tell!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My favorite things: March edition

So in the blogging world, apparently it’s popular to do a monthly favorite things list and since I’m a serious blogger (insert sarcasm here) I thought I should jump on the bandwagon.  Plus, there are a few things that make this March quite fabulous! So, without further ado…my 5 favorite things this March!

My Vegas ladies

Of course what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas so I really can’t say much, but I can say that 10 ladies went to Vegas and 10 ladies made it safely home.  We ritzed it up at The Wynn and celebrated the upcoming nuptials of the beautiful Lindsey or “EY” as she is affectionately known.  Here is an internet approved photo of all of us at Blush nightclub the first night out.  Can’t wait for the wedding on April 9 to reunite with all my girls!

March Madness! 

If any of you know me at all you know I’m not into sports…at all.  But what I am into is competition, and every year all my friends join a bracket and compete for a FREE dinner at Daniel’s Broiler…FREE RED MEAT!  So in the hopes of winning a delicious filet mignon dinner, go NOTRE DAME!

What was scheduled to be the first half marathon of the year has turned into a 10K.  Stacey and I will run the race on Sunday to kick off the 2011 racing season that is jammed packed full of runs including a marathon, YIKES!  Look for a race recap post soon.
Stacey and I at the finish of the 2009 Mercer Island half marathon.  Let's hope we look this happy after the 10K!

Okay, this is my brother’s new company but he was kind enough to send me this awesome hoodie so I could “sample” the product.  I really love it! It’s simple, comfortable and the little logo on the hood is genius!  Their creative use of the flight theme is super fun and they have some very unique men’s screen tees.

Sunflower Seed Butter

This is more of a favorite every day of every month thing, but it’s so delicious I have to include it. I have a treenut and peanut sensitivity so this hits the spot for something creamy and delicious to spread on toast, dip with veggies or just dig a spoon in and enjoy. Plus this gives me one more reason out of 1000's that I LOVE Trader Joe's!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cooking Class - Gone Fishin

On Monday night I attended a cooking glass at Green Lake Nutrition.  It is the 4th one I've attended and it has been worth every penny each time.  The instructor Adriane Angarano is full of knowledge on healthy eating and why it doesn't have to be tasteless!  She has introduced me to things like miso, amaranth, acorn squash and much more more.  I'm sure my wallet as suffered a bit as a result of some fancy ingredients but it has been fun trying to re-create the recipes at home.

Last night we cooked fish four ways that included halibut, trout, cod and salmon along with two cabbage salads.  I thought I would share the two recipes that were my favorite, the salmon and one of the cabbage salads.  They were both super easy and offer a new way to cook salmon and make a salad.

 Nori-Wrapped Wasabi Salmon
The salmon with herb spread and then wrapped up in nori, otherwise known as seaweed.  Sounds weird, tastes delicious...adds a great salty component.
Salmon out of the oven in it's tasty nori pouch!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2-4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs: any combo of thyme, basil, garlic, parsley, and mint
Salt and pepper
2 - 8oz wild salmon fillets
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder
2 sheets nori (can be found in asian section of most grocery stores and comes in sheets the size of paper)

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Mix oil, herbs, and salt and pepper. Rub salmon with mixture.
2. Mix mustard and wasabi together.  Spread on nori (this will help make nori more pliable for folding)
3. Place salmon face down in the middle of the nori sheet and wrap like a package so fish is fully covered. 
4. Place wrapped salmon in lightly oiled baking dish.
5. Cook for 10 minutes per inch of fish.

Recipe from Cynthia Lair's Feeding the Whole Family

Cabbage Crunch Salad with Thai Basil Dressing

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Yield: 4-5 servings

1/4 medium head of green cabbage, cleaned, cored, and shredded
1 teaspoon black toasted sesame seeds (I would argue this are optional if you don't want to purchase these)
2 scallions, finely sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg (like soy sauce but minus the alcohol)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parley (I'm a cilantro hater, so I'm all about the parsley)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a large mixing bow, combine cabbage, sesame seeds and scallions
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk olive oil, sesame oil, Bragg's, garlic, cayenne, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper
3. Pour dressing ingredients on top of cabbage salad, mix very well.

In Lent news, I have been doing pretty well with no sweets or added sugar...except the fact that I was in Vegas over the weekend and cheated a bit, but hey "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"...right?

Question: What is your favorite type of fish to cook? Mine is definitely salmon, however, when I'm feeling fancy and have the cash I also love halibut!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm giving up...

Judging by multiple facebook posts I've seen over the past few days I finally realized it is lent.  Growing up Catholic I'm sure my mother will read that and be horrified that I didn't even know today was Ash Wednesday, but I'll blame it on the fact that today is also my cousin's birthday and I was thinking about that...happy birthday Janel!

My co-worker and I began to have a conversation about what to give up for lent that began with chocolate.  My obvious Achilles heel, I LOVE chocolate and usually indulge in it in some form a few times a week.  But why stop there we ask, how about ALL sweets...cookies, candy, cake, etc.  I THINK I can do this.  I should probably stop following Trophy Cupcakes on facebook though so I'm not tempted everyday by these beauties:
I want one already...this is going to be a long 40 days!
I'm posting this on my blog to hold myself accountable and record this idea of mine so I can't give up and just say I never really meant to give anything up anyways.  And if any of my 1-5 readers see me reach for a sweet, slap my hand and give me a piece of fruit!

Question: What are you planning on giving up for lent?  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Hummus with a Twist

I LOVE hummus!  I eat it almost everyday and when I'm not feeling lazy I love to make hummus.  It's really a simple thing to make if you have one piece of essential kitchen equipment...a food processor.  Add some beans (black, garbanzo, white, etc), an oil, an acid (lime or lemon juice), some spices (cumin, salt, pepper), whirl it up in the processor and voila!

One of my favorite recipes is one for spicy black bean hummus that I found in Cooking Light years ago.  For a dinner party I went to last night I decided to change it up a bit and add some creaminess with an avocado and  I must admit it turned out pretty well.  Even an avid guacamole hater enjoyed the dip!

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the finished, plated hummus, since it was devoured in record time I'll be making a double batch.

Spicy Black Bean Avocado Hummus

Serves: 4-6


2 garlic cloves
1/2 jalepeno seeded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
Dash of crushed red pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1 avocado
Salt to taste


1. Process garlic and jalapeno in food processor until finely chopped
2. Add black beans, olive oil, cumin, red pepper, and lime and process until almost smooth
3. Add avocado to processor and process until completely smooth
4. Add salt to taste
5. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or veggies

Garlic and jalapeno processed
Finished product!  Color isn't the most appealing but the taste is delicious!
 QUESTION: Do you have a favorite dip you always bring to parties?